We landed in the digital world, Renamon and I on our feet and Kari sprawled out on the ground. Before I could help her up, she had already hoisted herself to her feet.

"I could have helped you, you know." I said, rolling my eyes.

She dusted herself off. "I'm fine. Stop worrying about me."

I rolled my eyes again and pulled out my D-Terminal. "Willis said he's heading this way. They met TK and will be here soon."

Kari stiffened at the mention of TK. I made a mental note to ask her about it later.

I stretched. "I hope tonight isn't too rough. I'm still exhausted from yesterday."

Renamon turned towards me. "You realized all you did was sprint a little bit, right? I did all the work."

"Hey!" I said in indignation. "I went through extreme mental stress."

Both of them rolled their eyes.

"Yeah, right." Kari giggled. "So, we're supposed to wait here?"

"Yes, ma'am. Willis specifically said to stay at the portal." I walked over to a tree and relaxed against it. "So, what's with you and TK? You seem to get nervous every time I've mentioned him."

She flopped her mouth like a fish. She stuttered for a moment before finally saying, "He had a problem and hurt those closest to him because of it. Especially me." She trailed off.

I frowned. "What do you mean?"

She refused to look me in the eye. "I don't want to talk about it right now. I'll tell you later."

I let it go. If she didn't want to talk about it that badly, it must have been pretty serious. I looked at my D-Terminal, desperate for something to break the awkward silence that had started to develop. A minute later, I another message from Willis. "We need help," was all it said.

At the same time, I heard Kari's D-Terminal go off. She read the message and looked up at me, panic in her eyes.

"TK just sent out a distress signal addressed to all of the original digidestined." She looked down.

I nodded. "Willis sent out one to the tech team as well. Whatever's going on must be pretty bad, if they're calling everyone for help." I closed my D-Terminal and shoved it in my pocket. "Which way do we go?" I asked her.

She pulled out her digivice. "It says that they're that way." She pointed to my right. "They're pretty far away. We'd better get going."

I looked over at her. "Okay, but we'll never make it in time to help if we have to walk at your pace." Before she could answer, I picked her up and started walking at a quick pace.

"Max, put me down!" She yelled. "I'll be fine!"

I looked in her eyes. "Yes, you will, but Willis and TK won't be."

She stopped squirming, sighing in defeat. "You're right. Just go."

Renamon grabbed her from me and started running. "Just try to keep up with me, Max. We'll get there faster this way."

I nodded and started sprinting behind her, barely even managing to keep her in sight. She would slow when I got too far behind. Eventually, we came to a rock wall with a small opening to a cave.

"Does it say they're inside?" I asked.

"Yeah, it does." She leaned down to look inside. "I don't see anything though." She cupped her hands around her mouth. "Willis? TK? Are you in there?"

After a few seconds, Terriermon came into view. "We're in here, now stop yelling. Come on, the others are back a bit."

We crawled in the cave, only traveling a small distance before coming to Willis. They had a small fire built.

He looked surprised to see us. "Oh. Hi, you two." He looked at Terriermon. "I thought you said there wasn't another exit to this cave."

"Sorry, Willis. It didn't sound like there was." He said.

Willis looked at the fire. "That's good news." He looked at us. "The other entrance caved in. Lopmon, Terriermon, Gatomon and I were on the inside and TK and Patamon were outside." He shook his head. "I wonder what happened to them."

Kari perked up. "Where's Gatomon?"

Willis pointed down another tunnel. "She said she heard water that way so she went to see if there were fish."

Kari smiled. "That's Gatomon, always thinking with her stomach."

"Hey, I resemble that statement!" Gatomon's voice came from the darkness. She ran and leapt into Kari's arms, snuggling against her.

I looked around. "So why are we just sitting here? Shouldn't we be going to help TK?" I said.

Willis looked up and I saw his face light up. "We can now. Aranimon could blow open the entrance and we could look for a trail."

I looked at Renamon, and she nodded.

"Well, let's get to it then." I smirked.

The rocks exploded outwards, and the outside was easily visible. "Good job, Aranimon. Better save your strength." She nodded and de-digivolved. We started to climb out, but Kari stopped half way.

"I see TK's digivice!" She shouted, reaching into the rocks. She pulled her arm out, holding a green D-3. "I wonder if his D-Terminal is here too." She started shifting rock, looking for the electronic in question. Less than a minute later, she announced that she could see it and dug it out.

Willis had a weird look on his face. "Why would he have left them?"

I shrugged. "Maybe he thought he was going to be captured and didn't want the Emperor having them? Or maybe he dropped them trying to get away from the cave-in?"

Willis was silent. Kari spoke up. "You're probably right." Willis paced around the exit for a minute before stopping.

"I see a trail, I think. Follow me." Willis said before sprinting off, the twins on his shoulder.

"Willis, wait!" He stopped just before he got out of sight. "Kari has a broken ankle. Let Gatomon digivolve so she can keep up."

Willis visibly sighed, staying where he was. "Make it quick."

"Digi-Armour Energise!" Kari yelled.

"Gatomon armour-digivolve to..."

She glowed pink, turning from cat to sphinx. I had to keep from laughing, because for some reason, it amused me way more than it should have.

"Nefertimon! The Angel of Light!" Kari climbed on top of her, and Nefertimon flew up above the tree line.

"Let's go." Willis said before running off again.

Oh, great. More running, I thought as I tried to keep up with Willis, Nefertimon and Renamon.

We came to a clearing. The trail we had been following ended right in the center of the clearing.

"Okay, what do we do now?" I asked.

Willis turned to Kari and Nefertimon. "Go check the area out from the sky. We may be able to find the trail again." He turned to Renamon and I. "Renamon, do a quick perimeter, please." He sighed. "If that doesn't work, we'll just have to wait until TK can somehow communicate with us again." The two digimon and Kari went off to do as Willis asked.

"Willis, do you feel that?" I asked. I could feel the same energy that we had felt last time.

He looked over at me. "Yeah, I can."

"We need to get away from the Spire. That energy field drains non-dark digimon."

"Well, let's fall back when they return. For now, look for signs of TK."


I walked around the clearing, looking for clues. I went to the far end of the clearing and saw a patch of orange. I got a bit closer to see that it was Patamon's unconscious form.

"Willis, look!" I yelled. I knelt down beside him, gently shaking him to wake him. His eyes fluttered as Willis got closer.

Right when Willis reached us, Patamon's eyes snapped open. They shined a brilliant red, and he immediately launched himself into the air, sending a ball of air at Willis's chest.

Terriermon ran up and took the hit, flying back and sending himself and Willis to the ground. Lopmon leapt and grabbed Patamon, attempting to drag him down.

"I've heard of hot air, but that was ridiculous..." Terriermon grunted from the ground.

"Stop being funny, Terriermon. This is serious." Lopmon remarked, hanging onto Patamon with all of his strength.

"Don't you mean stop being punny?" Terriermon giggled as he pulled himself back up.

Willis groaned. "Seriously, stop."

Terriermon jumped up. "Okay, geeze. You don't have to be so sour." He jumped to help Lopmon, who was barely keeping a hold of Patamon.

"Where are Renamon, Kari and Nefertimon?" I asked Willis as the three rookies duked it out.

"Off doing what I asked them to. They'll be back soon enough." He said quietly as Patamon threw Lopmon across the clearing.

"For a puffball, he's pretty strong." Terriermon remarked. "Bunny Blast!" He hit Patamon with a ball of green energy, sending him over to Lopmon.

"Tiny Twister!" Lopmon yelled, catching Patamon in a small brown tornado.

Willis frowned. "Be careful, you two. Don't hurt him." He dodged as Patamon came flying at him out of the tornado. "Or us, for that matter."

"We can try, Willis, but I don't know how gentle we can be with him." Lopmon commented. "He's not exactly a happy digimon right now."

Patamon landed on the ground, obviously spent. He lifted himself to a standing position and started screaming. It looked and sounded like he was in intense pain.

A bright light shined from him before it turned black.

"He's dark-digivolving!" Willis yelled. The twins got to his side, ready to protect him.

Patamon shaped into a humanoid with ripped black clothing all over him and horns that almost looked like a viking helmet.

"What is that thing?" I said to no one in particular. It laughed and grabbed for Lopmon and Terriermon.

Willis gasped as Patamon successfully got a hold of Terriermon. Lopmon managed to dodge, and started glowing black light.

"Lopmon dark-digivolve to..."

Willis reached out, as if trying to stop him. I put my hand on his shoulder. "He's our only hope right now. Let him do his thing." I said quietly. Willis looked at me and nodded.

"Wendigomon!" He leapt into action, smacking Terriermon out of the demon's hands.

The Emperor's voice rang out. "Devimon can't be beaten by anything except the Angemon family of digimon. Too bad that the only one capable of digivolving to those is the one you need them to defeat." I looked around for him, not able to locate him. However, I did see Renamon emerging from the trees.

"Renamon! We need you!" I yelled, already hauling out the digi-egg. "Digi-Armour Energise!"

Purple light started to envelope her.

"Renamon armour-digivolve to..."

I saw her head come down and a smirk appear on her face.

"Aranimon! The Charitable Hero!"

She shot a Smash at Devimon, knocking him off balance enough for Wendigomon to take a pot shot at him. While he was stunned from that, he was smashed in the back by a large stone. Immediately after, Kari flew over on Nefertimon.

"Nice one!" I yelled up. She circled around and let Kari off before hitting Devimon with another stone.

The three digimon kept pummeling Devimon, and he started to weaken. Wendigomon knocked him down, and he had a look of panic on his face.
He started to glow again, purplish-black light swallowing him. The Emperor's voice rang out again, still disembodied.

"Maybe you just proved me wrong. Don't worry. What's coming up will erase that little mistake I just made." He chuckled.

Willis looked around. "That guy is creeping me out."

I nodded. "No kidding."

The light dissipated, and the demon had become much more menacing. It now had a hard red and black exoskeleton, armour, and a gigantic staff.

"That looks like fun." I muttered.

Kari's eyes were wide. "We can't fight an ultimate."

"Says who?" Willis remarked.

"I do. We have a champion and two armours. That is not enough to take on an ultimate head on." She sighed. "That being said, I don't know how we can get out of here."

The digimon swung his staff, narrowly missing Aranimon.

"Nefertimon, get Kari and get out of here!" I yelled. Her foot would get her killed if it came down to escaping.

She looked over at me with a hard look on her face. "I'm not leaving."

Aranimon and Nefertimon attacked simultaneously, but didn't even leave a mark. The demon digimon swung his staff and connected this time with Nefertimon, who hit the ground hard.

"Nefertimon!" Kari cried, rushing over to her as she dedigivolved to Gatomon. The cat got up and leaped at Kari, pushing her out of the way of another swing before leaping into action.

"Lightning Paw!" she yelled, punching the demon in the face. It did nothing.

"Hahahah. You can't do anything against SkullSatamon. You're too weak from the influence of my Spire. Enjoy the last few minutes of your lives."

Aranimon sent a Smash at his face, but it did nothing. The staff came down upon her, reverting her to Renamon.

Wendigomon pushed him back with his Club Arm attack and followed with a Koko Crusher, but he couldn't dent the exoskeleton.

Renamon and Gatomon combo attacked from the air, but Diamond Storm just bounced off and Lightning Paw just made a hollow thud.

"Well. This is going swell." I said, gritting my teeth.

SkullSatamon swung his staff one last time, hitting all three digimon.

"This is a fine mess." Willis commented. "What do we do now?"

SkullSatamon floated above us, Renamon and Gatomon both unconscious on the ground at our feet. Wendigomon started to get up, grunting in pain. Kari and I grabbed our partners, attempting to carry them away.

"Wendigomon, that's enough!" Willis yelled. "You shouldn't be fighting in the first place!"

Wendigomon turned around. "I'm tired of you letting Terriermon do whatever he wants and then treating me like I'm made of glass. I'm just as capable as he is!" he roared, "You've been unfair and you know it!" He started hobbling out to fight again. He didn't even manage to get an attack in before SkullSatamon hit him and sent him flying. We watched as Wendigomon was thrown all around the clearing, getting hit every time he could stand up.

As we watched, Willis fell to his knees. "He's right." he said in a small voice. He then raised his voice, talking to Wendigomon. "I'm sorry. I know I've not been fair. I just worry so much about you all the time." I could see tears forming in his eyes. "I promise I'll be fair from now on. Now go get him!"

A brilliant green light shined from under Willis's shirt, and his digivice lit up brightly as well.

"Willis..." Wendigomon muttered as he started to glow.

"Wendigomon digivolve to..."

He never got the chance to finish. "Skull HAMMER!" SkullSatamon screamed, bringing down the end of his staff on Wendigomon's head. Willis's digivice immediately shut off, and Wendigomon instead dedigivolved all the way to Kokomon.

I felt my eyes widen and I looked over at Kari, who had a look of shock on her face. "We are so screwed. That was our last chance." I said to no one in particular. I looked around wildly, attempting to come up with an escape route while SkullSatamon floated towards.

"Don't be so negative, Max. We might have a chance." Kari said, her voice cracking.

"Stop kidding yourself, Kari. Max is right." Willis said from my left.

I closed my eyes. "On the count of three, grab your partner and run." I sighed. "It won't help us win, but it will help us survive."

Kari scoffed. "Run? Have you forgotten something? Like the fact that my ankle is broken?"

"What other choice do we have, Kari?" She remained silent. "Listen, you two run away. I'll give you time to escape."

"What would that achieve, idiot?" Willis snapped. "You being dead won't make this situation any better. If you're going to try planning something, be freaking realistic."

"If I could digivolve, we'd be in business." Terriermon said from Willis's head.

"Yeah? Well, you can't." Willis said harshly.

I looked over and Terriermon shrank into himself. "Geeze, Willis. Do you have to be so mean?" He muttered.

I saw Willis's intense look falter for a moment, but it immediately returned.

"So, Willis. What's your brilliant plan? Yell at Terriermon till he can magically digivolve and save us?" I shot.

Willis looked at me with that angry look of his. "Screw you, man."

SkullSatamon closed in and prepared to take a swing at us before a gigantic ball of orange fire hit him, sending him to the ground. I looked up to see WarGreymon, one of the digimon I had watched years before.

"Well, guys. Looks like we made it just in time." I spun and saw a group of six people and four small digimon. Ken and Yolei were there, I recognised three of them from watching their digimon fight on the computer, and I recognised the girl with red hair from pictures in Kari's apartment. "I didn't know your sister was here as well," said the one with shoulder length blonde hair.

"Holy, crap. Ken, Yolei, am I glad to see you two." I said, running over to them.

The one with reddish hair looked at me funny. "Who is this guy?" He asked very loudly in Japanese.

I turned to him. "Hi, I'm Max. Nice to meet you." I held out my hand. He looked at me funny. I tried again in Japanese, getting a response this time. He nodded and simply said, "I'm Davis," in Japanese, brushing me off and running over to Kari, who did not look pleased by his appearance at all.

The one with big hair walked over to me. "Sorry about Davis. He didn't bother taking English in high school and refuses to learn now." He held out his hand. "I'm Tai. Kari is my little sister." He nodded to his friends. "The blonde is Matt and the redhead is Sora."

"Nice to meet you all," I said, trying to make a good first impression.

Kari limped over to us. "What took you so long? TK messaged you over two hours ago." She had a slight frown on her face.

"Izzy's confusing program wouldn't work. After messing with it for around fourty-five minutes, we just decided to go across town and have Ken let us in. Davis and Yolei were there and the three of them decided to come with us, but Davis and DemiVeemon wouldn't leave until after they had finished eating." He shook his head. "It doesn't matter how useful a program is if you can't figure it out without a computer science degree."

Kari looked at Davis. "I didn't know you had DemiVeemon in the real world."

Before he could answer her, there was a crash behind us. SkullSatamon attempted to smash WarGreymon with his staff, but WarGreymon grabbed it and pulled it from SkullSatamon's grasp, throwing across the now-widened clearing.

Tai turned to the group. "Yolei, Davis, go smash that tower. WarGreymon can handle this guy."

Yolei gave a thumbs up. "On it, boss!" The two held their digivices up in the air, shouting, "Digi-Armour Energise!"

"Hawkmon armour-digivolve to..."
"Veemon armour-digivolve to..."

The two glowed pink and blue respectively, their armour forms appearing.

"Halsemon! The Wings of Love!"
"Raidramon! The Storm of Friendship!"

The two shot off in the direction of the tower with their partners on their backs.

"Well, when that tower goes down, we'll be in business." The girl with red hair said. "We'll have Paildramon, WarGreymon, MetalGarurumon, Garudamon, Silphymon and these two's digimon after they get back. He'll be no match for the nine of us."

Willis looked at them. "It's not that simple. That's not just a bad digimon. That's Patamon." He shook his head. "WarGreymon is plenty right now."

The blonde kid shot forward. "What do you mean? How is that Patamon?" He demanded.

"The Emperor captured TK about two hours ago. He somehow took control of Patamon and digivolved him into Devimon. When we tried fighting back, he digivolved again. He then proceeded to trash us." Willis explained. "We can't figure out how he's controlling him, or we'd have tried breaking it."

"We need to figure it out. Quickly if possible. I don't know how long they'll be able to stay in natural digivolutions in the energy field that the Spire is putting out." I looked at the ground. "That field drains regular digimon's energy until they're about to pass out, basically giving the Emperor's lackeys a punching bag. Wendigomon isn't affected by it, but Kokomon is out for the count and can't dark-digivolve."

Tai and Matt looked at each other and started discussing what could be controlling him with Willis, while the redhead and Kari were talking about what they've been doing in the real world. Renamon started to stir and then began watching us with barely opened eyes.

Ken stepped over to me. "What were you talking about? The Spires don't put out any kind of energy fields."

"Can't you feel it?" I said quietly.

"Yes, I can." He sighed. "My control spires never did that, though. Whoever this is must be modifying my old technology."

I looked back at the fight, where WarGreymon was just playing with SkullSatamon. He was easily dodging the evil digimon's attacks and keeping him from getting to his staff. When the two digimon parted for a moment, I saw the Emperor across the clearing, holding what looked like a digivice. He did a flourish with it, and suddenly SkullSatamon was able to outmaneuver WarGreymon, getting to his staff. The Emperor did it again, and SkullSatamon swung his staff, sending WarGreymon across the clearing.

The conversations stopped, the redhead and Kari gasping.

WarGreymon dragged himself to his feet. "He got stronger all of a sudden. I need help."

"That's why I'm here," said a gigantic armoured wolf as it emerged from the trees. MetalGarurumon shot past us and tackled SkullSatamon to the ground.

I saw the Emperor across the clearing one last time. This time, I could see the smirk on his face. He just continued watching as the megas fought the overly-powerful ultimate.

What the hell is he up to?

A/N: Yeah... it's been a while. This chapter just wouldn't turn out the way I wanted it to till now. That plus the busyness of college and such has kept my from updating.
The next chapter shouldn't be a month away. I think I've gotten my groove back.

R&R my friends.