A/N: I thought college would be a drag, but seriously!

I see Shikamaru's point now, sheesh! I've changed the layout of the chapter I had in reserve, along with the title, as it happens.

Digimon, Hurricane Chronicles

Chapter Twenty Seven: Kicking it Up

"Wow." Was all Joe had to offer. Down in the arena, a flashy, lightning fast match had ended suddenly.

Rika lay unconscious on the ground, Kazu stood nearby. His palm strike combined with the electric voltage proved to be beneficial in this match. Although only two minutes long, it was a great battle in the trained eyes of Tamers.

Cheers and clapping rapped from around the bleachers, Kazu declared victorious in the battle before he left with the medical team, overseeing Rika on the stretcher. She may have won if he'd allowed her to call Renamon, but that was forgotten. He had won.

The thunderous cheers commending the Storms performance provided good cover for Daiyo's unsettled voice.

"What if the Ishida really isn't going to be here?" he whispered toward Tsuki.

She was equally as unsettled, "Well… they might not find an opening and we'll leave-,"

"He shall come. It's in his nature."

Keenan's dark voice betrayed his youthful appearance, his arms crossed tightly in a knot. Daiyo and Tsuki dreaded trying to reason with him, so they retained their silence.

Across from them, leaning on the metal banister, Joe and Tai stared at each other.

"Where's your teammate?" Joe asked eventually, "There's no way to get out of it now. He needs to get here. NOW."

Tai looked across to Sora's distant seat, seeing a feeble slouch in her posture, "He has to be here. I won't let it slide if he's off hiding in a hole."

"Weren't you just saying he'd drag himself here?"

"That was before, when he had time."

Tai was fully serious. This was intolerable. How could Matt leave Squad Seven hanging like this; where was that legendary pride in his Ishida heritage, the confidence in those scolding, fervent Surugan eyes of his?

Tai was pulled from that train of thought.

The hairs on his exposed arms began to stand on end, and a chilly, almost unnerving wind began to blow… outward from the centre of the arena.

Upon a sudden, that small artificial wind became a full blown gale, the wind almost fleeing from two shadow engulfed figures, back to back, that appeared with an immense pressure about each of them.

In all honesty, the pressure both baffled and terrified crowds as they shielded their eyes.

Slowly, it died away, the two figures coming into focus, the crowd gaping at the blonde K'rin and his sensei.

The black, smart cut and the broad shoulders revealed without Kudamon napping on them belonged to Satsuma, his trench coat making its return. As the tail of the coat returned down after the wind quelled, it revealed quite a different Yamato 'Matt' Ishida.

The blonde seemed to have longer blonde spikes, almost beginning to descend into curtains over his blazing blue eyes. He wore a black clothed, rather haggard Terra headband. But he also sported a new outfit. A black, large collared shirt dangling over matching shorts, bandages wrapped around his thighs and all of his arms, some belt apparatus at his right wrist.

"Sorry we're late." Satsuma strongly implied, his face remaining rather stoic.

The proctor merely smirked, "Your name, kid?"

Matt looked at him, eyes narrow and ablaze, "Yamato Ishida."

Matt! Sora suddenly perked up, looking much more alive than a few seconds previously. She upheld a powerful, relieved smile.

Joe looked down upon the blonde.

Even he held a snicker, What a guy… main eventer can't even get here early.

Up on the Sha Observatory Tower, hiding it from Hyoko, the cloth covered face of the Kukisha contorted evilly… was he smiling beneath the rag?

Keenan, although eternally placid, had a glint in his eye.

One of dark, battle-lusting ferocity.

"Is that really him?" Mimi questioned, rubbing her eyes in disbelief at the change she was seeing. Sure enough, it was not an apparition or a ghost; her crush was there, and dare she say it, he looked better than ever.

JP was rather indifferent to this salient development. All he showed was a lust for his potato chips, the one match he wanted to watch (Joe's) over and done with.

"So, Matt made it!" a delighted and rather gruff voice input behind the line of seated K'rin. They turned to Spencer and his hobbling son.

Marcus, ever the energy freak, seemed unfazed by stumbling on a crutch down the bleacher steps. Only a winning smile showed as he saw Matt, ready for his battle with Keenan.

Tai was equally ecstatic, barely restraining himself from jumping up and down. Once Matt beat Keenan, his time to show his metal against the legendary Ishidas would come.

Satsuma looked up to the competitor area above and noticed Tai looking rather tired and caked in scrapes and dirt with the occasional tear in his clothing. He also took, with amazement, Thomas's absence.

A quick conference of a glance with the proctor told him it all. He smiled broadly at his student's victory. He had expected to arrive and miss Matt's match while attending the infirmary. By even greater shock, he took in Kudamon and Agumon's absence.

Realizing that they were not called, Tai's victory suddenly seemed a lot less daunting, as if he were on equal footing, alone, with Thomas all along.

Maybe Matt will have trouble, even with his and Gabumon's little parlour trick…, he understood, having processed all information in an instant, "Matt, it seems Tai has advanced. Try not to break the streak."

Matt grunted at the info. "Whatever you say."

But in truth, every bone in his body juddered in pure excitement. The T'rin Exams final round had gone in Squad Seven's favour after all.

Keenan's dark look steeled, and he strained to form an evil look of glee, "See… he came."

Tsuki and Daiyo gulped. His voice was laced with so much menace… he was giving way to the beast again.

Matt simply glanced up at Keenan, the nervous shudder he felt weeks ago when he had first met him gone. He was calm, collected and rather cool about the task at hand as the Sandstorm pre-teen began to drag his feet toward the steps down like they weighed eight tonnes.

"Matt is so~ awesome!" Mimi practically squealed, a red shade on her cheeks.

JP looked at his teammate starkly, And to think she was all riled up about Joe before… all his hard work, forgotten in an instant. Poor guy.

Questions, a tad loud and overzealous, raged in the crowd stands.

"IS THAT THE ISHIDA?"

"IT MUST BE! KICK SOME ASS, BOY!"

"DON'T LOSE TO THE SANDSTORM SPOOK!"

Mimi turned to find a brighter Sora beside her, "Your team is actually pretty awesome! Who would've thought that Tai would beat someone like Thomas!"

Marcus visibly tensed, his eyes shadowing.

"Marcus," Spencer whispered to himself, noticing a trembling in both of his son's shoulders.

Matt fights the kid I couldn't beat with such confidence, Marcus grimly realized, and Tai defeated Thomas, who I have lost to for years now…, his grip on the crutch tightened like a vice, I feel like such a failure!

"Alright, Keenan," Daiyo finally plucked up the courage, "about the plan, you do realize we're in enemy territory-!"

A hand slapped over his mouth, silencing him. Tsuki sweated visibly and looked back at Daiyo, "Don't! Idiot, look at him! He doesn't realize where he even is anymore!"

She was right. The hell of it was, Daiyo could see his adopted little brother from mere feet away, and yet it seemed like sheer miles.

Keenan's raven bangs had shadowed his features, but a devilish smile smouldered on his face, his brows arched so intently that the veins busy pumping his blood rapidly could be seen.

Keenan's sluggish walking began to hasten toward the step as his name was summoned in the arena, Tai and Joe jolting up straight as the cold aura slowly passed on by them like winter. Heavy steps made their way down onto the arena soil, Keenan's face still manic.

xxx

After a moment, he was stood in the centre, face to face with his blond prey, both with dark, engaged looks. The proctor almost felt as if hell had frozen over from the powerful pressures about the both of them.

But he eyed the younger of the two carefully. He felt a great inner pressure and strength… but it felt… rather devoid and empty. He couldn't place the grisly sensation.

Regarding both, he cut down the middle, "YOU MAY BEGIN!"

The heavy looking gourd spurt its plug, the sand coming out in droves and forming a small wave behind Keenan's head as Matt retreated three steps.

The blond made sufficient that he could easily dodge at a moment's notice, So that's the sand Satsuma mentioned during training. Still hard to believe that even he's never seen anything like it; I've never even heard about Genina involving sand before.

The ten year old began to unfurl his crossed arms when suddenly he grasped at his head, the sand swinging erratically behind him. This did not pass by Matt, who held up his guard and observed.

"N-no!" the boy's voice was practically non-existent, "F-forgive me… I know you want to fight again, but… now I need to fight…"

And like that, he looked up, apparently back in control. His face was slick with a coat of sweat and he was panting heavily.

Matt simply snorted, The hell was that? This kid's got issues if he's talking to himself.

"Come." Keenan ordered in a violent, almost bestial tone. His delirium had passed, and the sand began shifting like a cloud as he readied (he crossed his arms like he did against Marcus).

Matt tensed, grasping into his thigh shuriken holster and throwing three in a rapid succession. As he expected, sand actively slapped the weapons away, almost as if the cloud developed an arm.

Running hastily at him, Matt tested the sand's density for himself, delivering a quick rabbit punch as he went for Keenan's body, a hard, almost finger breaking resistance parrying him.

The next moment was much like Marcus's efforts reincarnate, swift blows attempting penetration, but the sand holding its ground and trying to catch the slightly quicker assailant, his blonde hair waving so much he looked like a thunder bolt with quick and efficient movements.

Up in the bleachers, where Satsuma had joined the gang and stood beside Spencer, Sora sat on the edge of her seat, pale as a ghost.

W-what if that freaky mark take's over? She frantically, frightfully, thought, "S-sensei… about Matt's neck, is the mark-?"

"It's fine. Trust me."

His quick response made her at least hopeful as she watched Matt pound the sand shield.

Mimi looked at the pair suspiciously, A mark?

A loud bash pulled them back, Matt beginning to look annoyed by the sheer magnitude of the shield's protective factor. Deciding to try going past it, he ducked beneath the wave of sand and spun on his heel, fist now mere inches from Keenan's face.

Sand shot up like a spike from beneath the pair, to which Matt smirked overbearingly.

Twisting on his heel, the blonde seemed to vanish with a jet like screech.

He phased in behind Keenan (still processing his disappearance) and held his fist high for a downward strike.

The jet like screech on the ground vanished as a fist cracked Keenan's face, He's fast… like that other guy!

The sand shroud blasted to cushion Keenan's fall. He looked up, calm rage in his golden eyes as chips of his sand armour broke off.

Matt smugly assumed Marcus's martial arts pose, "So that's your armour, is it? Pretty flimsy, to put it lightly."

The Sandstorm K'rin merely stood back up, a foul look in his eyes. He could actually have mistaken the blonde for Marcus without a second glance.

Spencer was flabbergasted by what he'd just observed, His speed and momentum strength are about equal to Marcus's without activating the States!

Marcus's heart sank. He rally had fallen behind, One month… to equal my speed I worked tirelessly for ever since training with dad? There's no way, even his martial arts stance is flawless!

Matt felt a burning fire in the pit of his stomach now, gesturing for Keenan to continue, "Come on, kid."

Furious, the sand blasted like a group of lancers, spikes protruding and stabbing the ground as Matt's incredible speed overcame the obstacle at hand, and with his flashy speed, he swiftly bypassed the sand and kicked Keenan in the face, chips falling off.

"What's the matter, Keenan?" Matt snickered, pulling his leg back from what must have been the tenth straight blow. He had to admit, that armour held on for dear life, alright. "I'm going… to tear off every piece of that armour!"

Before Keenan's eyebrows could fully fall into a scowl, a black sandal once again bombarded him, a surging force pushing him back, only for Matt to tug him into a knee in his gut, drawing a gasp for air.

Marcus watched as several more punishing blows were dealt, admiring Matt's proclivity for being wary of the sand; something he himself had failed to maintain in his lost battle with Keenan.

Finally, a gut kick sent Keenan soaring five feet back into his sand bed, the cracks beginning to reform like a liquid while Matt panted heavily.

The young Damon K'rin latched onto this, I see… he uses up too much stamina and chikara with such a relentless assault.

Daiyo and Tsuki were aghast at the scene, He's in trouble!?

Back up in the bleachers, Spencer softly asked, "What did you two do? To come this far in such a short span of time…"

Satsuma's broad smile curled proudly, "Using his Surugan, I had Matt mimic Marcus's Tekina prowess. All that you're seeing him do would not have been possible if he had not lost to Marcus. It was a heap of work, I'll tell you. But he and Gabumon managed to achieve greatness in our training."

Spencer's eyes widened, He can't… possibly mean that a mere K'rin… But, Satsuma has to realize that Yamato is merely a second rate copy of the original, and Tekina only got Marcus so far. Keenan can't be beaten by Tekina alone, so why did he bother on stamina and endurance so much?

Keenan apparently grew weary of this cycle, adopting a Tiger seal with ferocious golden eyes bleeding through the shadow cast by his erratic sand, which slowly formed a dome around his body, the peerless gold eyes fading beneath the shield.

"So, he wants to hide, does he?" Matt snarled as he forged several seals in rapid succession, slapping the ground and summoning smoke, "Summoning Technique!"

Gabumon sprung into existence beside Matt, looking noticeably tougher and toned beneath his fur coat than before.

"Gabumon, time to show our first trump card!" Matt declared, retrieving his Digivice from his pouch and presenting it, a metallic blue light engulfing his hand and beginning to cover Gabumon with a complimentary shell of energy.

The shape within the shell drastically changed; at first, it shaped into a quadruped wolf creature (Garurumon) but then it stood on hind legs, all kinds of clanking occurring as several spiked and torn clothing materialized on the creature, the shell of energy fading.

"WereGarurumon!" he announced, the creature emerging as a brash, tall and rather outlandish warrior. He was true to his moniker as a werewolf, standing on hind legs in tattered jeans and spiked accessories with a multitude of scar tissue lining his furred body clearly.

Hyoko looked on in surprise, "Amazing… an Ultimate level evolution at his young age?"

"Marvellous," the Kukisha hissed delightedly.

The duo proceeded to bombard the shell without conversing, finding it to be rather durable and tightly packed, not even a dent getting through. Thanks to Matt's Surugan connection, they plotted out ways to try and bust through the sand while dodging the pillars that shot out in defence.

"Matt, stay away!" WereGarurumon warned, leaping high with his arms outstretched. He came down and slashed onto the shell, "Wolf Claw!"

His husky voice echoed, a small shine coming off of his nails as the sand held against the slash attack. The werewolf pulled back beside Matt as another pillar appeared and quickly receded.

Matt, that thing is definitely hard! He thought telepathically to the blonde, There is no way we can break through without tiring out!

Usually an Ultimate level Digimon proclaiming impossibilities would be worrying. But Matt merely held a winning smile.

"That's fine," he replied, Because our technique… also takes a little time, right?

"It does."

Daiyo didn't care about the pair, but was terrified by that shell. It always came before…, "Keenan, please stay calm! You don't have to release that thing here!"

Keenan's voice muffled within the dome, voicing openly the zodiacs of his hand seals in sequence.

Matt and WereGarurumon sprang back, leaping high and skidding on the wall like it was the ground. Matt clung with his chikara grip while his partner stuck his feet tightly on the wall, the pure muscle keeping him up as if he were a parrot in a cage.

Matt began to formulate the seals Monkey, Dragon, Rat, Bird, Ox, Snake, Dog, Tiger and Monkey, placing his right hand, openly clenched, beneath him while gripping his right wrist. He began growling lowly in focus as a small surging sound began to form in his hand.

Tsuki kept eyes on Keenan's dome, "Hey, what's he think he's doing? The plan depends on him! Should we make a run for it?"

Daiyo looked like he wanted to comply, sincerely.

Whilst every other competitor was overcome with cheers for the 'big technique' atmosphere, Izzy had twigged onto that, What did she mean by 'plan'?

WereGarurumon, get ready! We'll attack with this and Wolf Claw at once! Matt said telepathically, his right, upturned palm alight with a metallic blue energy, flickering with jolting electrical discharge. His hand was truly holding lightning, "RAIJIN!"

Everyone gaped at the sight of the K'rin's trembling right hand, engulfed in true lightning.

What is that? Tai wondered, straightening up.

Sora was just as confused, Isn't that what Satsuma-sensei used to kill the masked kid?

"There is no way!" Spencer sounded both incredulous and infuriated, "You taught him that?"

Satsuma merely smirked powerfully, "The reason I take preference in training Matt is this; he is practically a copy of me in my youth – a genius with enough talent to take that technique upon himself."

Matt and WereGarurumon (who readied his own glowing claw) began charging down the wall, a dent forming like a trail as Matt's hand travelled past. When he got to the ground, the strong whirring sound of electricity sounded over cracking and breaking soil left threadbare in the palm's wake.

The sandy dome sensed an alarming disturbance in the air, and shot a group of spears toward the pair, but they were swiftly and easily dodged.

Now before the shell, Matt raised his Raijin and thrust it into a single area in combination with the Wolf Claw. Achievement flooded over them as they pierced through the shell together, touching a soft object inside and stopping. They didn't want to kill Keenan, after all.

"You could clearly see the chikara in his palm! What was that?" Sora frantically sought answers.

Spencer supplied them, "A mere jab, almost a rabbit punch. It is Tekina combined with Genina at once. The rapid punch alone is bad enough, but combine that with one of Satsuma's sole original moves, the lightning generation you just saw, you get the technique used for flashy assassination; Raijin, the Thunder God."

"N-no way! No one can break Keenan's Absolute Barrier!" Daiyo tried to see reason in the reality before him; Keenan's formidable shell had been broken by an Ishida and his mongrel.

"Impossible," Tsuki softly muttered.

Even their sensei seemed to be in catatonic shock in his seat, There has never been an incident like this… Keenan's vulnerable…!

"Raijin," Spencer continued, "is the reason that Satsuma is known within the Land of Earth as 'Thunderbolt'. It is one of the most powerful techniques a human can master in the Digital World, and would easily be able to wound Ultimate level Digimon with ease. But considering the momentum needed… that's why he focused on Tekina, right? What a ridiculous technique…"

"You aren't in any position to talk," Satsuma smugly put, leaning toward Marcus, "right, Marcus?"

Sora glowed at Matt's overbearing awesomeness, "I don't really get the technical stuff, but that is an amazing technique! Just goes to show who the leader of our team is!"

Tai, still in the competitor's area, looked down with distain, He got ahead of me AGAIN?

As far as he was concerned, his as of yet unseen Summoning ability seemed rather uncool. Kaerumon looked tough, but against lightning? Even a Mega failed to compare to the awesome rating it had.

Joe was still leaning on the railing, but managed a weak smile, So, the guy you thought you were equal with comes out with not only an Ultimate level, but a new technique… poor guy.

Matt and WereGarurumon knew they made contact; a warm liquid had spurted onto their palms. But as they went to pull out, they were pulled right back in, the sand holding them in place as a horrific scream echoed from the dome.

"I'M BLEEDING! THEY HURT ME!" Keenan cried out in anguish, showing his ten year old side as his sand dome compacted around the pair of assailants.

His greater muscle mass allowed WereGarurumon to pull out, but Matt stood in place, struggling against the sand threatening to tear his arm off.

With a roar of effort, and his partner pulling him back by the shoulders, Matt's hand re-activated Raijin, allowing him to slowly pull away. But the sand would not yield, a strange distortion within the sand still gripping on to him.

With one final pull amidst the crowd's silence, the sand gave, Matt falling back onto his partner as a strange arm appeared within the sand. A long, bony arm extended from the hole in the dome, black and purple muscle pulsing angrily and a large hand with talon like red fingers twitching like a fish exposed to air.

Slowly it pulled back, almost in a serpent way, as if it had no bones.

Daiyo was frozen in place, a coat of coat on his face, Barbamon's arm… we're all going to die!

Impossible, even Keenan wouldn't dare act of his own accord! Tsuki tried to lie to herself, but the hell of it was, she failed.

A low, raspy growl emanated through the shell's exposed area. Darkness suddenly seemed to alleviate for a split second as a large eye, a foul eye, came into sight through the hole. It was blood red, dilated with three pillars attaching the pupil to the outer sclera in black.

Matt and WereGarurumon couldn't even breathe, the growl sending a dark wind brushing past them.

The proctor tensed up, What is this feeling? It's almost the same as that night when 'it' appeared…

Tsuki and her brother thought they couldn't curl into a ball emotionally anymore, but their fears poured forth as the shell cracked, slowly beginning to soften and break apart. To their disbelief, the beast was not present. All that remained was Keenan, grasping at his dark red shoulder, blood dripping off as he looked evilly at Matt.

"I knew it, he's wounded!" Tsuki grasped at the railing, "He couldn't focus on transforming and the cocoon broke!"

Matt came down to a knee, catching his breath as air seemed to return to the arena.

He looked into Keenan's gold eyes nervously, No… those eyes were different. They screeched in a way… they were more malicious than those… what the hell was he doing in there?

His frantic thoughts abruptly ended as every spectator, one by one, began collapsing in their seats. Scanning the bleachers, he saw a light mist.

Sleeping gas weapons had been released by the hooded figures.

xxx

Satsuma and Spencer had greater awareness than the others.

After placing Marcus safely down, they clapped a Tiger seal together, "Release!"

At the calling, the gas faded. It was a Seiina, making people think they fell asleep from the gas instead of naturally. Tricking so many minds into switching off at once was high level work.

"Satsuma… what is this?" Spencer got back to back with his rival.

Satsuma growled his answer.

"What Lord Senksha and DATS feared is happening now."

Sora had also unravelled the spell, looking quickly from side to side. Everyone else was out like a light.

"What's going on?"

One of the hooded figures lay dormant after casting the Seiina, Impressive… Terra elites are constantly on guard, it seems…

xxx

Torune fell back in his seat, Damn it… Kurata's cast it! Now we have no choice but to act!

xxx

The competitor's area had also been flooded by the illusionary gas, Daiyo and Tsuki the only ones still standing as they were ready for it.

The Sandstorm girl frightfully realized, The mission has commenced!

xxx

Up on the Sha Tower, Hyoko narrowed his features grimly, slowly turning to face his foreign compatriot. He could tell that beneath the veil, he was chortling and giving a snide smile.

"Shall we begin, as well?" the Kukisha cryptically put, flicking his wrist and grabbing a smoke grenade as it came out. Pressing the switch, a large cloud of heavy smog concealed Hyoko and he.

xxx

The DATS teams below (in white robes and masks) shot up the building's ledges to reach the smoke cloud, "Alpha team, protect the ministers and royals, Zeta team with me to protect the Senksha! All other teams, standby!"

The radios and earpieces squawked at a hysterical pace, reports of giant Digimon assaulting the village walls coming into focus as Zeta team reached the smoke.

Two masked Tamers with daggers jumped through to ambush, but were quickly dispatched of, falling down to uncertain fates as three members of the squad observed a glum sight.

The Kukisha was holding Hyoko at knife point, and dragged him up to the Chinese tiled roof of the tower, gesturing for the team to back off. As Hyoko made no effort to resist, they stood down.

As all conscious O'rin, Sora, Matt and WereGarurumon watched on in shocked horror, four Tamers with the same clothes as Team Shindo jumped onto the four corners of the roof, clapping their hands together with grunts.

"Do it!" the Kukisha ordered the Hidden Note Tamers.

"Grand Fire Barrier Technique!"

All four of them gave exertive growls as a large purple force field enmeshed the roof, DATS forced to land and watch. The recognized this forbidden technique from past black ops missions.

If anything outside touched it, it would be reduced to cinders.

Within, Hyoko gave a light guffaw to mask discomfort, "The Sandstorm betrays us in such an unbalanced period? Are you and the Hidden Note trying to instigate a world war? Unsettling the balance of power now would drag all Five Nations to ruin."

The Kukisha simply scoffed, "This age of peace is nothing more than a perpetual state of fear preventing war. By igniting fear into fury, we will advance steadily into the future. You and I, old man, are at the centre of the world right now."

"You…"

"Took you long enough. Senility must be a chore for one who was so brilliant."

xxx

After taking in the situation above combined with crashes and explosive devastation around the village, Spencer snarled with restraint.

"Nine entire traitors from DATS… no, insurgent forces sounds more plausible." I have to deal with things here… Honey, Kristy, please be safe.

xxx

In the main arena, amidst the confusion, Tsuki and Daiyo stood before Keenan, Torune joing them to stare down Matt, WereGarurumon and the proctor.

"What have you done?" the wolfman angrily commanded.

The proctor elaborated, "It seems those rumours of Lord Senksha being worried were based on fact, after all."

The blonde remained silent, still regaining his bearings of the eyes and aura he'd seen and experienced, coupled with death and destruction around him as O'rin battled Note Tamers in the bleachers.

"Keenan, release the beast-!" Torune was cut short.

He scowled at Keenan's pained look, the boy grasping at his head.

Tsuki rubbed his back, "There's no way he'll be able to participate in this condition!"

"Idiot! Why'd you try to transform in the cocoon against a single opponent?"

Matt bolted up, Transform? You mean that creature was him?

"NOW WHAT? WE CAN'T DO THIS WITHOUT KEENAN'S POWER!" Daiyo hysterically pointed out. He looked like he'd hide in a hole for a long time than endure this pressure.

"You guys back off," Torune ordered instantly, pulling out a kunai, "I shall stay here and hold him off." He glared at the proctor, "He's the only one that heard we need Keenan, so go. Get him to recover and then return."

"R-right!" the brother and sister pair complied, hooking Keenan and jumping off, out of sight toward the forest.

"Wait!" WereGarurumon growled irritably, looking Matt over, "Will you be alright, Matt?"

"Y-yeah."

"Is Bashiori the bastard behind this?" the proctor queried, agitated further by a death throes, blood-curdling scream.

"Who knows? Let's enjoy the party. I can't let you tail Keenan with what you heard."

"Kid! Take your Digimon and tail Keenan and the other two. It seems they're important to this attack somehow."

"What-?"

"Sorry, but the Exam is cancelled until further notice," he shot a broad smirk, "so, since you already have the power of a T'rin, I'm entrusting you with this. Now go on."

Matt was hazy on the details, but nodded, "Let's go, WereGarurumon."

His eyes flared red again, his Surugan activated and connecting his mind with the beast man Digimon's.

With you all the way, and with that, they began a flashy chase, quickly entering the woodland.

Sora and Satsuma looked baffled by the pair leaving, Matt…?

xxx

The 'Kukisha' snickered, the knife still at Hyoko's throat.

"So Keenan turned out to be less of a dark horse than I thought… no matter."

"So he's your village's-?"

"Not my village, Hyoko-sensei. OUR village is currently being razed to the ground, and all because you got soft in not only this pretentious sense of humanity, but in your old age. It is all over for the Terra Village."

"Ha," Hyoko scoffed acidly, "I thought I taught you and the other two how to be more careful with your words… nothing is over until it is all said and done, Bashiori."

Holding his neck tightly, Bashiori reached up and tore the mask of the Kukisha off, revealing his cold and calculating eyes, along with his fang like grin, combating with Hyoko's own omniscient smirk.

Hyoko's voice was determined and precise, "Tell me… do you honestly think I'll fall to something as mediocre as this hostage situation?"

"Of course not. But you might throw your back out, which is why you should have found the Fifth Senksha," Bashiori's tongue wrapped around the kunai blade, "because in a moment, your blood will stain those salient white robes of yours!"

xxx

"Sir?" one guard worked up conversation with Kaname as they stood watch over the far Eastern border of the Terra Village, "I've been getting told of this Bashiori… but what is he truly like?"

"He's like a messiah, or should I say pariah, that seeks destruction," Kaname implied, biting down on his Dango, "once, he was among the three Sansai, or Three Powers, along with Master Gennai and Lady Sukeban."

"Why did he desert and become a gun for hire?"

"Originally, he placed his name fourth for the title of Senksha, but was declined in favour of the Fourth. Ever since then, he's plotted revenge against the village that rejected his claim to glory."

"Something so petty?" the guard incredulously added.

"Well, he wasn't exactly mentally sound… he participated in two of the three Tamer World Wars, after all… he saw things that even nightmares would leave untouched. The one time I saw him, I could feel… a sort of shroud of evil… I felt revolted and repulsed at once."

Suddenly, a DATS recon agent flashed in beside Kaname, "Reporting sir! Giant Mega levels have appeared and are bombarding the Western edge and are moving inwards!"

"So he came." Kaname finished the last Dango, then stood tall, "I want all available Tamers mobilized! Have available K'rin fan out and take the villagers to the shelters! I don't want anyone slacking off!"

"SIR!"

xxx

Satsuma scowled at the group of Sandstorm Tamers beside the offending, black robed insurgent.

"Satsuma!" Spencer called, tending quickly to his son's safety, "Look at the tower! There's a barrier Genina in place!"

"What is this?" Sora whispered softly.

"BASHIORI!" her sensei proclaimed in surprise of the robust nature in this assault, The enemy leader revealing himself in such a way?

"B-Bashiori?" Sora had chills at the memory of Squad Seven's plight in the Deathly Forest, "Is he here for Matt again? MATT!" she looked down, but he was not there, "Oh, goodness, no…"

Two Note Tamers flickered in before her, kunai readied, but they were quickly dispatched by Satsuma's uncanny speed.

"Sora," he put sternly as he turned to her, Spencer covering him as he spoke, "listen carefully, I'm going to issue a new mission in light of the circumstances."

"At a time like this? Matt is gone!"

Spencer kicked away an assailant, "Satsuma, I hate to interrupt, but we have a crisis at hand! What should we do about Lord Senksha?"

Satsuma had no hesitation, "He'll handle it. He's stronger than you or me, even now! Just protect the unconscious from these Tamers!"

Sora was frightened; it was like a war zone, Is the old man really all right in this? Where's Matt? Where's Tai?! What can I do?

xxx

Tai peacefully grumbled in his stupor, having gone out like a light when the Seiina was spread.

xxx

Hyoko felt no fear at being held at knife point. He had survived worse, such as Lucifermon's assault, amongst other things. He began to see fruitlessness in every aspect of Bashiori's invasion until he felt a cold spot blanket his cheek.

Looking up, he saw the venomous, serpentine eyes laced with thin tears, an evil grin betraying them.

"Tired, my boy?"

"Well, yes, actually. How did you know it was that?"

"Hmph. I've seen the atrocities and bodies desecrated in your name… you have no emotions beside greed and lusting. And those two don't contribute to tears."

"Very perceptive. Maybe you aren't a useless old fool… meaning," he pushed Hyoko away, placing the kunai back in his pouch; he'd need every reserve he had, "this battle should be a good one."

Hyoko finally grasped it. A battle with his old sensei… how very boorish yet apt of him.

"A stagnant pool in which the fish get along… a great analogy for this world today." Bashiori threw away his false regal robes, revealing his outfit from the Deathly Forest, "But, I am a shark that will be introduced to the pool."

"You know I can't allow that."

"Big words, sensei… but can you really stop me now?"

xxx

"Sora," Satsuma turned to her again, "go and wake up Tai and Joe. You'll need them for this. I'm giving you an A Ranked mission assignment. You must tail Matt and if possible subdue the Sandstorm trio. Be wary; these are actual killers around you and I will not be there like the Land of Squalls."

"What? But shouldn't I wake Mimi up?"

"No. The bigger the group, the easier for you to be spotted in this confusion." Satsuma bit his thumb, I'm also a little concerned with that strange energy surge from that shell…

"Summoning Technique!" slapping his palm onto the unconscious audience member, Kudamon appeared, not at all disconcerted with the chaos around him, "Take care of Sora, Tai and Joe Kido. They'll explain as you tail Keenan and his siblings."

"Right!" the ferret obligatorily said, "Come on. I sense that Tai and Joe are over there!"

Oh right! Sora recalled, sneaking over to the competitor's area, Kudamon-sensei is a sensor type as well!

xxx

Hyoko faced down his former pupil in the barrier, the four Tamers focusing and managing to erect barriers within to defend themselves as well.

"Intriguing… so I can't break the barrier without fully focusing," Hyoko glanced in Bashiori's direction, "which is where you come in."

"Well, I know how you old fogies like to revel in your legends. If I remember correctly, you prefer single combat…"

"Indeed." Hyoko guffawed with wise intent. He had to be careful as he was in his white robe and hat and not in battle gear yet.

Bashiori's foot skidded, intending movement.

Too slow, "Fire Element, Blazing Breath!"

Hyoko showed grand skill, as the technique that usually would require thirty separate seals was reduced to a single Tiger seal, a concentrated blast of fire shooting like a pellet.

Bashiori pulled his head aside and watched as the blast was absorbed like a drop into water by the barrier.

"You singed some of my hair," he spat courtingly, "not a nice token of respect before battle."

Hyoko didn't even deem the situation worthy of a battle stance.

"Surprise!" Bashiori hysterical called, his body breaking down into mud that slopped down the tiles.

Hyoko spun around, a snake clamping its jaws shut around his neck. Bashiori landed, his tongue transformed, only for the body to turn into mud also.

His tongue back in his head, Hyoko proceeded to perform Ram, Monkey and Ox, "Earth Element, Raging Mud Cascade!"

Tile beneath his foe turned to mud, sliding down and taking him in like a river, to which the former pupil sneered, performing seals of his own.

"That all the legendary Tamer has to offer me?"

"Earth Element, Bombarding Soil!"

At the tip of the mudslide, a large bump formed, firing pellets of dirt at Bashiori.

"Fire Element, Blazing Breath!"

Breathing fire onto the dirt bombs, Bashiori was engulfed by flames, sinking into the river of dirt.

"Enough acting. I know that was a clone."

Bashiori calmly stepped up from the other slope of the roof, behind the Senksha.

"I was merely testing you… I see some of your prowess hasn't faded with time… shall we commence for real now?"

Throwing his hat and robe aside, Hyoko stood proudly in his battle attire. A black matte armour with woven joints for incredible manoeuvrability with little weight. He wore an Edo-period helmet with the Terra symbol embossed broadly.

Bashiori scanned the armour that had seen many battles, "A great suit for you when you're in your casket."

xxx

A/N: There you go. Took long enough, eh?