Disclaimer and Author's Notes: I still don't own Digimon - isn't that a shame? Then I wouldn't
have to pay for action figures anymore. Oh, well. You know, I saw the Digimon movie between
now and the posting of the last installment, and thereby discovered that Patamon's Mega form is
Seraphimon. I really didn't know that when I invented Seraphmon, so sorry for any confusion!

Angel's Power
By: SilvorMoon

"You!" snarled the red-eyed Wizardmon. "You have a lot of nerve coming back
here!"

The newcomer regarded the angry Digimon with a cold stare, looking not at all bothered
by the other Wizardmon's rage. As a matter of fact, he was the calmest-looking one there, at the
moment. The Digidestined and their companions stood frozen in shock, still trying to process
what they were seeing. There were two Wizardmons?

"Yes, it's me," said the newcomer casually, but there was still a hint of ice beneath the
light tone. "The one and only, in fact. If we're to be talking about nerve, I think I should have
something to say about you impersonating me."

"Someone had to take your place," the red-eyed Digimon snarled. "Blast you, you're
supposed to be dead! What are you doing here?"

"There are some people who think that when a good person dies, they become an angel,"
the other Wizardmon replied. "Perhaps that's what I've done."

"Don't play games with me!" the first one growled. "You might have been able to slip
past Lord Myotismon, but you won't get away from me!"

"I think I might have something to say about that," the green-eyed Wizardmon replied. "I
don't care for fighting, but in this case, I'll be happy to make an exception."

The other Wizardmon didn't look as if he was in the mood to make clever retorts. He shot
a ball of crackling sparks from the tip of his wand, but his opponent was too quick for him. In the
next instant, he found himself dodging a rain of lightning that put his own thunder ball to shame,
and the battle was on. The Digidestined continued to stare.

"Do you think we should try to help?" asked Tai uncertainly.

"How are we supposed to help?" Joe replied. "I can't even tell which one is which! What
if we shoot the wrong one by accident? What if they're both working for Myotismon? If
he can get one fake, he can get two."

"All right, all right!" Tai protested. "Don't have a cow! I was just making a suggestion!
But we've got to do something to break them up before they have Myotismon and all his goons
coming to see what's making all the racket!"

Little did they realize that the best of all possible distractions was making her way swiftly
toward the scene of the battle. Gatomon was still shaken after her encounter with Myotismon.
That had been far, far too close - if it hadn't been for the dark lord's fear of the Seraphmon, all
hope would have been lost for her. Part of her wanted to be elated over her good fortune, but that
part was drowned out by crushing despair. After all that, she still hadn't been able to find
Wizardmon! It had all been a trick, after all. Maybe there would be no getting him back, after all.
If Myotismon had her friend under his complete control, she would be forced to fight against
him, no matter how she felt about it personally. She had a duty to protect the world, but to hurt
the first person who had ever been kind to her... she wasn't sure if she had the heart to do it.

Lucky for her, it was a choice she never had to make. As she made her way swiftly down
Myotismon's dark hallways, her sharp ears picked up the sound of a crash. Something yelped,
and someone else shrieked. The voices were muffled and distorted by the echoing hallways, but there
was no way Gatomon could have misheard the sound of Mimi crying out in alarm. The white cat
picked up her pace, charging as fast as she could toward the disturbance.

She got there almost a little too quickly. Rounding a corner, she had but a shattered
second to see something detonating in front of her in a burst of searing heat and light, and she scrambled
to stop herself before she could be caught in the explosion. Her claws scrabbled on the slick
stone, but it didn't look like she'd be able to stop herself in time...

Just then, something grabbed her by the tail and lifted her up into the air, raising her out of
harm's way. She looked down in blank incomprehension as the floor dropped away beneath her
and was briefly lost in a burst of light. It was only when the smoke cleared that she was able to
take in her surroundings and see what was going on. The red-eyed Wizardmon stood a few feet
away, glaring furiously, but he was not looking at her. He was looking at whoever had rescued
her. She looked up.

"Hello again, Gatomon," said Wizardmon. "I know cats don't like being picked up by
their tails, but I thought you might forgive me in this case."

"Wizardmon? But - but how?" she asked, glancing from one to the other in bafflement.

Wizardmon gently lowered Gatomon to the floor and landed lightly next to her. "As our
esteemed friend DemiDevimon said earlier, you can get another of any kind of Digimon you
want, if you don't mind raising it. That Wizardmon is nothing but an impostor trained by
Myotismon and his followers."

"Took you long enough to figure it out," the false Wizardmon snarled. "But it doesn't
matter; I still have enough power to take care of you both!"

"We'll see about that," Wizardmon replied. "Well, Gatomon, how would you like to help
me get rid of this impostor?"

"Nothing would make me happier," Gatomon replied.

The impostor looked at his adversaries and saw two pairs of angry eyes, one green, one
blue, staring back at his own red ones, and wondered briefly if he had gotten in over his head. In
the next instant, Gatomon launched herself at the false Wizardmon, and he had only an instant to
watch as a set of silver claws closed in. Then there was a flash of searing pain as his bloody gaze
was closed forever by eight clawmarks across his face. He wailed in pain and frustration, but the
sound was cut off as he was enveloped in white sparks, courtesy of the true Wizardmon, and the
impostor vanished in swirling bits of data. There was a moment of silence as everyone stared at
the scorched spot on the floor where the impostor had been standing. Gatomon was breathing
hard, looking a bit shaken, and Wizardmon went to put a hand on her shoulders.

"Are you all right, Gatomon?" he asked.

In response, she turned and flung her arms around him, hugging him tightly.

"I knew you'd make it back somehow," she said softly. "I just knew it."

"What a touching reunion," a voice remarked. "Someone should be filming this."

"Myotismon!" gasped several voices in unison.

"Indeed." The vampire lord looked down at where Wizardmon was still holding Gatomon
protectively and sneered. "I see you've found your way back from the dead, Wizardmon. How
irritating. But I thank you for destroying your counterpart - he was getting to be more trouble
than he's worth. There can be only one authority here, and that's me!"

"I won't challenge you there," Wizardmon replied. "I'd just as soon go somewhere else.
Follow me, everyone."

With that, Wizardmon rapped on the wall with the tip of his staff, and a door suddenly
appeared in a blink of green light and opened at his touch. He dashed through it, followed closely
by Gatomon and the rest of the Digidestined. Myotismon tried to pursue them, only to be
subjected to the indignity of having the door slammed in his face. A second later, it blinked out
of existence, leaving nothing but cold, blank rock. Myotismon snarled.

"The creature is too smart for his own good," he muttered. "But he did remove the other
Wizardmon, and that's something. He was entirely too independent for my liking, and now the
Seraphmon won't have him to target anymore. Perhaps that will be enough to keep him from
bothering me. Yes, this could work out to my advantage. Even if the Wizardmon double couldn't
fulfil his original purpose, he did leave me with an unexpected bonus."

He reached into his pocket and withdrew a dark, shiny object, and he stared speculatively
into the depths of the Black Lens.

*******************************

The Digidestined found themselves in a long hallway, much cleaner and better lit than
anything to be found in Myotismon's hideaway. Still amazed by the recent battle and the near
escape, everyone collapsed along the sides of the corridor to lean against the walls and catch their
breath.

"We can rest safely here," Wizardmon assured them. "We can also talk in private, if you
feel up to listening to explanations."

"I remember this place," said Izzy. "This is where we ended up when I went looking for
my laptop. Were you the one who brought us here? And where is here, anyway?"

"And how come you're alive?" asked Gatomon. "I thought you were dead! I mean, we all
saw you die..."

"One question at a time!" Wizardmon exclaimed. "Maybe it would be better if I just
explained, and you can go back and ask questions later. I'll begin at the beginning. After the
battle with Myotismon, I was indeed deleted, but my program was rescued by your friend
Gennai. He said he'd seen the potential in me to master some of the old powers, and so he began
teaching me certain things - like how to access this subspace."

"Subspace?" Izzy repeated, looking interested.

"A sort of a borderline place at the edges of the Digital World - not very stable, but useful
for a quick escape," Wizardmon replied. "You might think of it as a temporary file."

"Ahh!" said Izzy as understanding dawned. "The random access memory of the
DigiWord. Prodigious!"

Wizardmon nodded. "Gennai knew you all would be needing some help, especially when
he found that I wasn't the only one to survive that last battle, so he sent me here to assist you
secretly in the fight against Myotismon. I'm sorry I couldn't tell you I was still alive," he said to
Gatomon, "but it would only make things that much more dangerous in the long run if
Myotismon knew I was here."

"Wait just a minute!" Joe exclaimed. "If you're the one that's been helping us, does that
mean you're also..."

"The Seraphmon?" Wizardmon finished. "Of course. Who else? Seraphmon exist to
protect from injustice - who better to protect my friend from Myotismon's impostor?"

"I wouldn't want it to be anyone else," Gatomon said.

"Unfortunately, that also means that Wizardmon's going to be in a lot of danger now that
Myotismon knows he's here," said Izzy. "Gennai showed me a prophecy that says that only the
power of the Seraphmon can defeat Myotismon. He's bound to know the prophecy himself; if
he's smart enough to figure out that Wizardmon and Seraphmon are one and the same..." He
trailed off, letting his companions fill in the blanks.

"We'll just have to protect him, then," said Sora.

"On the contrary," Wizardmon replied. "I'm the one who's supposed to be protecting you.
It stands to reason that if the Seraphmon is the one destined to defeat Myotismon, then I should
be safe from him."

"Myotismon's not going to like that," said Tai. "He'll do something - something
underhanded. He's not going to let you get him in a fair fight."

"Of course not," Wizardmon replied. "Seraphmons are odd creatures - they can only exist
where injustice has been done. If he wants to fight unfairly, it will only work to my advantage."

"If you say so," said Joe dubiously, "but somehow, I still don't think it's going to be
easy."

"It never is," Mimi sighed.

*******************************

Myotismon was acting a bit unusually. His servants, what was left of them, hovered
around the door to his lair and whispered among themselves. Finally, one of their number, a
grizzled Gazimon with a scar on his nose, was appointed spokesmon, and he was shoved into the
room. He gathered up his courage and tiptoed forwards.

For a moment, Myotismon didn't appear to notice. He was reclining in a thronelike chair,
staring up at the ceiling as if lost in deep thought. No, it was more than that - he looked as if he
were in some kind of waking dream, as his lips moved in a silent conversation only he could hear,
his face alternately tensing with some unknowable anger or fear, then splitting into a demonic
grin. The Gazimon paused uncertainly. Something looked wrong here. Had his master's last
encounter with the Digidestined knocked a screw loose somewhere?

"Master?" he asked hesitantly. "Are you okay?"

"OUT!" Myotismon bellowed. "Out of my sight! I want all of you out!"

The Gazimon leaped backwards in surprise, tripped, and fell to the floor, where he
continued to try to back away. The other Digimon around the doorway melted into the shadows
yammering nervously. Myotismon rose from his chair and advanced on them.

"You pathetic creatures," he said. "You've all done nothing but ruin things since we got
here! You are useless to me."

"Please, Master," begged the Gazimon. "We were just worried about you. You're not
yourself today, and-"

"Silence!" Myotismon barked. He turned away, his eyes going distant again. "It is not
right that the Lord of the Undead should die, but death has looked me in the eye today. The
Seraphmon... he knows what I did to Gatomon. He knows everything. That Wizardmon, he's the
one. He is the one who intends to destroy me, but I will not let it happen!"

"Of course you won't," said the Gazimon, trying to be agreeable.

"Silence! You're a nuisance. I should have gotten rid of all of you a long
time ago," said Myotismon. "As a matter of fact, that's an excellent idea! All of you all will
leave... now!"

He made a swift movement, and all the assembled Digimon vanished in swirls of data.

"That is as it should be," said the vampire lord to himself. "It is better that I should meet
my fate alone... If you want something done right, they say, you have to do it yourself. Very well!
I will fight alone. I intend to rule this world, Seraphmon or no Seraphmon. If I need
servants, humankind will do nicely. But first there are some annoyances to deal with..."

Fired with determination now, he strode over to his desk and withdrew a sheet of fine
paper and a pen and scribed a short letter with blood red ink. When it had been written, he tied it
off with a red ribbon and stamped it with a wax seal, pressing a signet marked with a bat into the
soft sealant. A flourish produced a real bat, who took the letter and fluttered away. Myotismon
smiled. So far, so good.

Meanwhile, the Digidestined had gathered again at Matt's father's house. The man of the
house was in, and he greeted them all with aplomb that couldn't be shaken just by having eight or
nine Digimon drop in uninvited. After all, he'd been there when Myotismon had taken over his
television studio - there wasn't much left in the world that could rattle his nerves.

"Hey, kids," he said. "More top-secret meetings?"

"Just collecting ourselves again. It's been a long night," Matt replied. "Hey, Dad, you
remember Wizardmon, right? We've found him again."

"Hello there. Nice to see you again," said Mr. Ishida, bending to shake hands with the
wizard Digimon. Wizardmon returned the handshake gravely.

"You wouldn't happen to have anything to eat, would you?" asked Tai. "I don't want to
be a bother or anything, but our Digimon are kinda whipped right now, and they need something
to get their strength back."

"Will leftover pizza do?" asked Mr. Ishida. "I've got some in the fridge if anyone wants
it..."

"Yeah, pizza!" TK cheered. "You're the best, Dad!"

Mr. Ishida smiled fondly at his son. "All right, I'll see about getting food for everyone.
You kids go back to your plotting. Don't blow up the house without telling me about it first,
okay?"

"Don't worry, Dad. We'll tell you," Matt replied.

"Nice man, your father," Wizardmon remarked, as Mr. Ishida went in search of edibles.

"Yeah, he's cool," Matt replied. "Oh, well, back to business. What do we do now?"

"Not much we can do," Joe replied. "That is, unless we're dumb enough to
actually go looking for Myotismon again."

"He'll come to us eventually," said Izzy. "When he does, well... we do have the
Seraphmon on our side. I believe that, one way or the other, we're going to come out on top."

"Wish I could feel that positive," Matt muttered.

Sora was leaned back in a chair, absently stroking Biyomon's feathers as she listened to
the conversation. "When do you think he'll come?" she asked.

"Um... now sounds like a good time," said Tai slowly.

"Huh?" All eyes turned towards the window of the apartment. A little black bat with a red
marking on its forehead was fluttering around outside, carrying a rolled sheet of parchment and
shrieking at them.

"Should we let it in?" asked Agumon.

"I guess it wouldn't hurt," said Gomamon. "It's only a little bat, after all. How much harm
can it do?"

"If it causes any trouble, Agumon will toast it," said Tai, and he shoved the window open.

The bat flew in with a jubilant squeak and fluttered around the room a few times at high
speed, zipping erratically and causing a few people to duck and yelp as it passed too close to their
heads. Then it dropped the scroll in the middle of the floor and took off for the window. It
stopped just long enough to flutter its wings in Tai's face and scratch at him with its sharp claws,
and Tai jumped backwards and tripped over Gabumon, falling to the floor. He could have sworn
the bat was laughing at him as it flew away.

"What terrible manners!" Palmon commented.

"What does the message say?" asked TK. "Open it, open it!"

"It probably just says, 'You may have already won twenty million dollars,'" Joe remarked.

Matt grabbed the scroll and opened it, skimming the neat lines of flowing script.

"It's a challenge," he said. "Myotismon says he'll meet us outside Highton View Terrace
in an hour for a fight. No running away, no quitting until we're destroyed or he is."

"Highton View Terrace," Izzy repeated. "Where it all began. How appropriate."

"Guess he's not wasting any time," said Sora. "What do we do?"

"Well," said Tai, "it only takes a half an hour to get to the Terrace, so... I vote we eat our
pizza. Then we go meet Myotismon, and we finish this thing."

*****************************

A bit less than an hour later, Matt's dad dropped the group off in front of Highton View
Terrace. He looked at them all with worry in his eyes.

"Are you kids sure you want to go through with this?" he asked.

"It's something we have to do, Dad," Matt replied. "Don't worry. This is what we were
born to do. We'll win. You'd better leave, though. Things are gonna get pretty ugly before this is
over, and you might not want to see it."

Mr. Ishida thought for a while, then nodded. "You're right. I probably don't. Well, good
luck, Matt. Good luck, TK. Good luck to all of you!"

The Digidestined waved to him as he drove off. Then they turned back to each other. It
was true that Mr. Ishida probably didn't want to see what was going to happen next. There was
something inherent in all good parents that makes them want to protect their children from the
ugliness of the adult world. Staring at each other now, wondering what was going to happen next,
there was a seriousness in the eyes of the Digidestined children that was very adult, something
that made them look older, perhaps, than Mr. Ishida himself.

"Well?" Joe ventured. "Where is he? Why doesn't he show up? I want to get this over
with."

"Relax," said Tai. "We've still got a little time. We're early."

"According to my computer," said Izzy, "we have exactly six seconds left. Five. Four.
Three. Two. One. None."

The night sky, already dark, went totally black as fog fell down like a curtain. Out of the
fog came the sound of laughter, and each Digimon and each young warrior went tense as the
voice of their enemy came through loud and clear.

"How pleasant to see you again, Digidestined," said Myotismon, gliding gracefully out of
the fog. "Good to see you again, too, Wizardmon. I understand you've been quite busy lately."

"You might say so," said Wizardmon offhandedly. "I've noticed you've been up to your
old ugly tricks yourself. Worse than ever, in fact. You've reached some new lows these last few
days."

"I'm flattered," Myotismon replied. "Too bad flattery won't save you now. You should
have stayed dead after I killed you."

"Sorry to have disappointed you, but I think I'm going to go on living for quite some
time," Wizardmon retorted. "Bad habits are so hard to break, you know."

"What's this all about, Myotismon?" asked Tai. "We didn't come here to talk; we came to
fight! Cut to the chase already!"

"The Digidestined of Courage, always so ready for a battle," said Myotismon. Very well. I
will 'cut to the chase,' as you so quaintly put it. Prepare to defend yourselves."

With no more warning than that, Myotismon leaped into the air and vanished briefly into
the fog. There was a moment of confusion, and then he dropped into view again, straight into the
middle of the group of Digidestined. They scattered in all directions, but one of them wasn't fast
enough to avoid him. With a victorious cry, Myotismon snared Kari and lifted her high up into the
air, hovering over his enemies and listening to their cries of dismay. Kari struggled in Myotismon's
grip, but even her panicked strength was nothing next to the demon Digimon's; the hands within
those dark gloves were like steel traps. Even if she could have freed herself, where would she go?
Straight down, to most likely become a smudge on the ground when she struck the pavement.
The Digidestined, realizing the helplessness of the situation, froze to see what the vampire lord
would do.

"Well, isn't this a novel situation?" Myotismon chuckled. "I seem to have caught the
eighth child after all. I've often wondered how Digidestined would taste. Now perhaps I'll have
my opportunity."

"Let her go!" Tai shouted, fists clenched in impotent rage. "Let my sister go right now, or
I'll beat those pointy teeth right out of your face!"

"Hold your temper," Myotismon snapped. "I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet.
This girl has already played her part and proven she is no threat to me. I just might feel
inclined to release her... if you could offer me something that interested me more."

"What are you saying?" asked Gatomon, trying not to let her fear show. She glanced
uneasily from her partner - still writing in Myotismon's grip - to Wizardmon. He was good at hiding his
emotions, but not from her, and she could see the worry in his eyes.

"You know exactly what I'm saying," said Myotismon. "Hand over the avenger of the
betrayed, he who has the power of the Seraphmon, and I will hand over the child of Light.
Otherwise..." He jerked Kari's head around, baring her unprotected neck. "Otherwise I rip the
girl's throat out with my bare teeth while all of you watch."

Kari became very still as she felt the vampire lord press closer. His breath rushed across
her bare skin like a polar wind, cold and bitter. Her face paled as if her blood was already being
drained, sensing how close death was.

"Please... help me," she whispered.

"Kari!" Gatomon wailed. What was she to do? She was no match for Myotismon, and
here he was holding the reason for life she had always been searching for. He was going to rip out
half her heart, and the only way she could stop it was to betray her most loyal friend. She sighed,
ears and tail drooping. "I'm sorry, Kari. I'm so sorry."

A gentle gloved hand touched her face to brush her face and wiped away the tears.

"It will be all right," said Wizardmon quietly. "You don't have to do anything. I'll go."

"What?" Gatomon repeated. "But you can't! Myotismon will kill you!"

"He won't," Wizardmon answered firmly. He turned his gaze up to Myotismon. "You
heard that, didn't you? I'll come willingly if you promise to return Kari safely!"

"The girl will be released unharmed as long as you don't try anything clever,"
Myotismon replied. "You understand that, don't you? No trying to escape once she's free."
"I swear it," Wizardmon replied. "I will not fight in the coming battle once you
release my friend's partner... and I lose my powers as Seraphmon when I break my word, so you
know you're safe."

Myotismon gave a demonic laugh, a creaking sound of insanity creeping in at the edges of
his normally controlled tones. "Yes! Your fates are sealed now, Digidestined! Without your friend
here, you will never triumph over me! I will live forever, and you will die!"

He tossed Kari in the direction of the gathered Digidestined, and Tai and Matt rushed to
catch her. Wizardmon glanced to make sure she was all right, and then began walking meekly
toward Myotismon.

"Wizardmon, you can't do this! We need you!" Gatomon protested, trying to hold him
back.

"It will be all right. You would never be able to live without your partner, but you can get
by without me," he answered.

"No," Gatomon sobbed. "I can't stand to lose you like this."

"It will be all right," Wizardmon said again. "You'll see." He hugged her tightly, and so
softly that only her cat's ears could have heard him, he added, "I do have one last trick up my
sleeve. I am a wizard, after all."

And then he slipped from her embrace and began walking towards Myotismon again.
Stopping a few feet away from the demon lord, he placed his staff on the ground at Myotismon's
feet and held out his empty hands.

"I am at your mercy," he said. "Do as you will."

Myotismon laughed again, that same unbalanced sound that sent ice through all listener's
blood. He flashed his teeth in a malicious smile as he waved his hands at his enemy, bringing forth
waves of red-black power, and Wizardmon was washed away in lights.

The lights formed themselves into a cage with bars of an ugly-colored metal, as if they had
been stained in blood. Wizardmon sat up and shook himself, momentarily disoriented by the blast.

"You stay there," Myotismon ordered. "You would have been better off, Wizardmon, if
you had cast your lot with me instead of that treacherous feline. Now you will watch these pests
that you champion be destroyed, and then I'll pay you back for turning against me. Foolish
creature, you've sealed their fate."

Wizardmon listened placidly to the tirade. He had taken a huge gamble on betting that
Myotismon wouldn't kill him right away, but he had been certain that the vampire lord was too
proud, too sure of his own power to take his enemy out straightaway and miss the chance to
make him suffer a bit first. That would be too clean an end. Well, now he had escaped that fate,
and he could bide his time for a little while. He settled back in his cage to watch the excitement.
Then, with all the calmness in the world, he reached into his pocket, withdrew a scrap of paper
and a pen. After deliberating a while, he began to write.

Gatomon saw very little of that. The sight of Myotismon taunting her caged friend was
more than she could take. She charged at the vampire lord, shouting, "He can't do that! Kari, let
me fight! I'm going to pay him for that!"

"Go for it, Gatomon!" Kari replied, whipping out her Digivice. "Show him what you're
made of!"

The cat leaped, transforming in midair: "Gatomon, digivolve to... Angewomon!"

"Oh, it's you again," Myotismon sneered. "Don't think I'm impressed. You couldn't
destroy me before, and now I know your tricks."

"Don't be so sure about that," she replied. "Celestial Arrow!"

A shower of gleaming lights fell around Myotismon, but he dodged them all easily,
laughing at her frustration. With a flick of the wrist, he conjured two whips of red light and lashed
them at her. She managed to dodge the first, but the second clipped one of her wings, throwing
her off balance and sending her plummeting to the earth. The Crimson Lightning wrapped around
her like a pair of constricting snakes, making her scream in pain as they began tightening around
her. The other Digidestined shot worried glances at each other.

"We've gotta do something! She's going to be eaten alive!" Joe wailed.

"Looks like we'd better get to work," Matt said.

Tai nodded. "Ready, gang? It's Digivolving time!"

"Me first!" TK said. "Go, Patamon!"

"You got it! Patamon, digivolve to... Angemon!"

Seconds later, something golden flashed between Myotismon and Angewomon, and the
Crimson Lightning was destroyed in a wan fizzle of red sparks. Both combatants turned to stare
at the newest angelic arrival, who held his Angel Rod at ready in case of another attack.

"You should know better than to treat a lady like that, Myotismon. You're supposed to be
a gentleman," said Angemon mockingly.

"Very well, then. You can take her place," Myotismon replied. "Crimson
Lightning!"

Angemon almost didn't dodge fast enough. A few feathers drifted down to earth from
where the band of light touched the tip of his wing, and Angemon fluttered his ragged pinfeathers
in annoyance. Taking advantage of his momentary distraction, Myotismon produced a swarm of
bats that flew shrieking and chittering at Angemon. He turned toward them with a gasp of shock,
but they were closing in too fast, giving him no room to dodge...

"Flower Cannon!" shouted a welcome voice, and the bats disintegrated in midair.
Lillymon glared at Angemon, who managed to look sheepish.

"Worry about your vanity later, Angemon," she scolded. "You're acting like Mimi."

"And you don't?" Angemon replied.

Myotismon shook his head incredulously. "You all are unbelievable!"

"I'll take that as a compliment," a voice rumbled.

Myotismon half-turned, and that was as far as he got before something large and hairy
landed on his back, and he suddenly found himself struggling to escape the grips of
WereGarurumon.

Ahooo!" the white wolf howled exuberantly. "I still haven't finished paying you for
Pumkinmon and Gostumon! Let's see how you like it!"

Myotismon snarled in sudden pain as a pair of spiked brass knuckles collided at high speed
with his face, leaving a series of deep gouges along his cheek. They trickled a thick, dark
substance - not blood, but something like liquid shadows, as if he were completely empty inside.
WereGrarurumon had only a moment to ponder this phenomenon before the infuriated vampire
gave a mighty heave and threw his attacker to the ground. Luckily, Zudomon was standing in an
opportune place, and he caught his friend in his huge paws and set him gently on the ground.

"Are you all right?" Zudomon asked.

"I'm fine," WereGarurumon insisted. "But I think I'm going to wait for the ground to stop
moving before I try that again."

"Don't worry, I'll keep him busy," answered Zudomon. "Vulcan's Hammer!"

Lightning showered from the sky, and Myotismon couldn't avoid being a bit singed as he
darted out of the way. He was already being harried by Angemon, Angewomon, and Lillymon,
and Garudamon and MegaKabuterimon had joined the battle. Down below, MetalGreymon was
firing round after round of Giga Blasters at him, adding bursts of smoke and fire to the general
hubbub. Myotismon was beginning to feel pressured; it was becoming evident that he had chosen
the wrong battleground. Before, they had all battled on a flat space, staying more-or-less in the
same place, leaving him plenty of room to see what they were doing and counteract it. Here his
enemies were using their flight abilities to the best possible advantage, as well as the darkness and
the multitude of dark alleys that they could slip into at a moment's notice to leap out later in a
surprise attack. He might have been more powerful than all of them put together, but not when he
couldn't even see them! But he couldn't lose. The only one who could destroy him was the
Seraphmon, and that danger had been removed. He had cheated destiny! He would win this battle
if it took every ounce of strength he had!

"Crimson Lightning!" he roared. Red light flared around it, and he seized it and
spun it into a fire tornado, a raging bloody storm that lashed out in all directions. The Digimon
scattered left and right, unable to withstand an attack that left nowhere to hide. When the inferno
calmed, the sides of all the nearby buildings were scorched, their windows shattered. The Digimon
looked scorched, too. They had reverted to their customary forms and lay moaning and twitching
in the alleys. In the middle of it all, Myotismon hovered, his cloak singed, hair disheveled, mask
askew, and face still bleeding from WereGarurumon's attack. He was panting from the exertion,
but his eyes were wild and his teeth were bared in an insane grin. Very quietly, he began to
chuckle. The sound rose slowly until it became a scream of fiendish laughter that echoed off the
ruined buildings.

"Thought you could destroy me?" he rasped. "Never! I am invincible now, do you hear
me! Nothing can ever touch me! I am going to rule this world forever! Forever!"

He howled with laughter, while the Digidestined stared in alarm.

"He's gone off his hinges!" exclaimed Matt.

"Somehow," Tai replied, "I don't think that's going to help us."

"Nothing is going to help you now," Myotismon replied. "Your Digimon have been
defeated. Now to see if the rumors are true, that they die without their Digidestined partners.
Which of you would like to go first?"

"None of them!" shouted an unexpected voice.

"What?" Myotismon looked around wildly, trying to find the speaker. Then he screamed
in sudden pain as a dart speared his arm, sinking a sharp needle deep into his flesh. It was only
then that a familiar dark shape fluttered out of a shadowed alley, holding another dart in his
clawed feet and glaring at Myotismon with blazing yellow eyes.

"Happy to see me again, Myotismon?" asked DemiDevimon. For once, he was neither
trying to sound ingratiating nor sniveling in fear. On the contrary, he sounded absolutely fearless,
and there was a note of iron in his voice that no one had ever heard him use before.

"You!" Myotismon snarled. "Do even you turn against me, DemiDevimon?"

"Turn against you? That's a laugh. I was your most loyal servant! All I ever wanted was
to serve you, and how do you treat me? You replace me and throw me out the door!"
DemiDevimon replied. "Wizardmon! Do you hear me? I've been betrayed, and I want payback!
Destroy him!"

"No! You loathsome little - ack!" Myotismon made a move to attack his former servant,
but he was suddenly seized by a round of wracking pains that made him nearly double over. The
dart... DemiDevimon's darts were poisonous, and Myotismon had used up all his strength in the
firestorm. He had nothing left to resist with. He who had withstood all the powers of the
Digidestined's Ultimate Digimon was now about to be killed by a sneak attack from a Rookie, his
own servant.

"No!" Myotismon panted. "I'm not going to let it end like this! I... I have a card I haven't
played yet. I won't... I won't be... destroyed! I won't!"

"Too late for that, Myotismon! You're history!" Tai boasted.

"Think again!" From within a hidden pocket, Myotismon produced the Black Lens and
held it skyward. Red and black lights began flaring around it, obscuring the vampire lord in blood
and shadow. "This crystal still has it's power... I'm raising the stakes! Say goodbye to Myotismon
and hello to... Venom Myotismon!"

"Uh-oh," said Joe, his eyes going wide behind his glasses. "I think we're in trouble."

The storm of ebon and crimson was steadily increasing, filling the entire street with a
strange cloud of roiling lights. Then things began emerging from the lights - clawed feet, legs
covered in black fur, a rat's tail, taloned hands attached to disproportionately long arms, a pair of
huge red ragged wings, and an altered yet familiar face with eyes that glittered in all colors. The
beast stood over them all at skyscraper height, looking down and laughing like thunder.

"I really think I liked the old Myotismon better," Tai managed.

Mimi was staring up at the monstrosity with a face as pale as wax.

"I'm... gonna take a little nap now," she said dazedly, and passed out. Sora jumped to
catch her before she could hit the pavement.

"Mimi! This is no time to faint!" she scolded, shaking her friend's shoulders. "We're going
to need everyone to fight him!"

"I don't think even all of us together can handle that," said Tai. "I mean, look at our
Digimon! They're all conked out."

It was true. The Rookies and Gatomon were still lying where they had fallen, eyes half
open. It was uncertain whether they even knew what was going on.

"Izzy, tell us what's going on," said Matt, watching his friend typing busily at his laptop.

"You're not going to like it," Izzy replied. "Somehow, Myotismon used that Lens to give
himself more power - enough power to Digivolve up to another level than Ultimate. He's reached
some kind of Mega-ultimate stage that's way beyond our Digimon. Even if they were at full
power, I don't think we would have a chance. It's just like in the prophecy!"

"What prophecy? Did we miss something?" asked Sora.

"The prophecy concerning Myotismon's destruction," Izzy replied. "It said that at the time
when the worlds cross, the Lord of the Undead would bring forth a shadow to fall upon the Light.
I think that part is talking about the dark copy of Wizardmon. It also said that a beam of darkness
would reveal the true form of the Beast... and I guess it has!"

"Was there anything else?" asked Tai. "There's gotta be something else! Think!"

Izzy shrugged. "Only that the power of the Seraphmon would prevail against evil, but
since Wizardmon promised he wouldn't be in this fight, I don't know what we're going to do!"

Just then, something happened. A very small something, pale and light drifted across the
dark alley on the eddies of warm air. It drifted and darted a bit like a butterfly as it caught the
drafts. It hit Matt in the ear, and he yelped.

"What happened?" asked Tai, jumping at the noise.

"Look, it's a paper airplane!" TK exclaimed.

"A paper airplane?" Kari repeated. "Where did that come from?"

Matt took the airplane and unfolded it. "Look, Tai, it's got our names on it! It says,
'Stand in front of the cage.' What do you suppose that means?"

"I bet it means Wizardmon wants to talk to us," Tai replied. "And if that's what he wants,
that's what we'd better do. The rest of you go look after your Digimon. We'll be back as soon as
we can."

The other Digidestined nodded and went to do as they were told, and the other two boys
went to answer the wizard's summons. They found him sitting in the corner of his cage, but as
they approached, he got up and went as far as he could to meet them.

"You wanted to say something, Wizardmon?" Matt asked, as soon as they came within
speaking distance.

Wizardmon nodded. "You two are going to destroy Venom Myotismon."

"What?" Tai yelped.

"Well, your Digimon will. They're the only ones strong enough to handle the power it will
take to defeat him," Wizardmon replied.

"But - but I thought the prophecy said only you could do it," Matt replied.

"No," Wizardmon replied. "The exact words were, 'Then the Seraphmon will be born
again, and the power from his sword will prevail against evil.' It says nothing about the
Seraphmon doing anything."

"That's not the same thing?" asked Tai.

"Of course not," Wizardmon replied. "You see, Digimon have the power of giving their
powers to another to help that one become stronger. Angemon borrowed the joined powers of the
other Digimon to defeat Devimon, and Angewoman borrowed the others' powers when she
battled Myotismon. Now I'm going to give my power to you and your Digimon to help them
destroy Venom Myotismon!"

"All right! He'll never be expecting that!" Matt exclaimed.

"Shh! Keep it down," Wizardmon replied. "Before we can do anything, I'm going to need
your help. Your Digimon draw part of their powers from you, so I'm going to use you both as a
focus. You're going to have to stand close together - it will work better if you're touching each
other, holding hands or something."

"Um..." Tai and Matt looked at each other uneasily.

"Well, if it'll save the world," said Matt. "But that's the only reason I'm doing this, Tai!"

"Same here," Tai replied, but he took Matt's hand anyway.

"Now, brace yourselves," Wizardmon replied. "There's about to be a bit of excitement.
Wizardmon, digivolve to... Seraphmon!"

There was a dazzling burst of green-white light, and the two startled boys reeled
backwards from the force of the explosion. The cage that had held Wizardmon broke up and
dissolved like sugar in water, and out of the swirling light rose the awesome figure of the
Seraphmon. Venom Myotismon's eyes went wide with shock and fury.

"What are you doing?" he growled. "You swore you'd stay out of this fight! You can't do
this!"

"I'm not going to fight," Seraphmon replied. "I leave that in the capable hands of the
Digidestined. They will wield my powers for me."

"You tricked me!" roared Venom Myotismon. "You call yourself the avenger of the
betrayed! You've deceived me!"

"You deceived yourself, Venom Myotismon," answered Seraphmon. "You can't cheat
fate. Even you should know that. You have committed too many crimes to go unpunished; it's
time to meet your destiny, and you know I tell no lies. Sword of Truth!"

"No! Stop!" Venom Myotismon shouted. "I'm not letting you do this!"

"Too late," Seraphmon replied. The sword was glowing like the sun, too bright to look at
directly. He held it for a moment, then hurled it at the place where Tai and Matt stood. There was
a colossal explosion that caused a rain of white lights, and in all that commotion, no one saw a
dark-garbed figure drop from the sky where Seraphmon had been a moment before.

At the same time, Gabumon and Agumon raised their heads and blinked their eyes, first
groggily, then with a bit more animation.

"Hey, my strength's coming back!" Agumon exclaimed.

"Mine too!" Gabumon replied. "I've never felt anything like it! I feel as good as new!"

"I feel better than new!" Agumon exulted. "As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to
digivolve. Agumon, warp digivolve to... WarGreymon!"

"Gabumon, warp digivolve to... MetalGarurumon!"

"Whoa, look at that!" Sora exclaimed. "What just happened?"

"Their Digimon just jumped to Mega somehow," Izzy replied, staring in awe. "Man!
That's beyond prodigious!"

Evidently, Matt and Tai were of the same opinion. They slowly picked themselves up from
where the explosion had tossed them and looked at the new arrivals on the field. Tai shook
himself and looked again.

"Oh, wow!" he enthused. "Just look at you guys! You're awesome!"

"Venom Myotismon doesn't stand a chance," said Matt.

"You'd better believe it!" answered WarGreymon. He and MetalGarurumon turned to fix
predatory eyes on Venom Myotismon, who stared back with a wild expression.

"This cannot be happening! I've come to far for it to end like this!" he shouted.

"I think this has gone just far enough," MetalGarurumon replied. "You're going down!
Ice Wolf Claw!"

A rain of rockets fell down on the demon-beast, coating him in a thick layer of ice. He
roared in frustration as he struggled to free himself from his prison.

"What's the matter, Myotismon? Too cold for you?" WarGreymon jeered. "Let me warm
you up! Terra Force!"

The fireball slammed into Venom Myotismon with enough force to throw him off his feet,
and he toppled into an untidy heap of tangled limbs and crumpled wings. He wasn't down for
long, though. Howling with incoherent rage, he got up and began firing bolts of multicolored
energy from his eyes, forcing the Mega Digimon to leap quickly out of the way.

"They're not doing very well, are they?" Joe remarked.

"Joe, don't say things like that!" scolded, of all people, TK. "We've gotta have hope,
right? The prophecy said they would win. It never said anything about it being easy."

The Digidestined stared, surprised at such wisdom coming from such a small child. There
was only one person who could think of anything to say in reply.

"You're a smart kid," said DemiDevimon. "But you know what else the prophecy didn't
say? It didn't say those two had to do everything by themselves. I'm gonna get some help!" He
took off in a flurry of wings and vanished into the darkness.

"What do you make of that?" asked Izzy.

"Well, he's never done anything good for us before," Mimi replied. "On the other hand,
he's pretty mad at Myotismon, too."

Looking up at the battle going on between the Mega Digimon, Sora remarked, "Right
now, I'm not going to turn up my nose at anyone's help, even DemiDevimon's!"

As it turned out, there was no need to worry. DemiDevimon landed a short distance away
and walked up to the place where Gatomon lay sprawled and prodded her with a talon.

"Hey, you, wake up!" he ordered.

Gatomon twitched a little. "Just a few more minutes..."

"This is no time for a catnap!" said DemiDevimon, rolling his eyes in exasperation. "Get
up! Your friends are in danger! Do you hear me? I said they're in danger - Wizardmon and your
human friend and all the other Digidestined! You've gotta get up and start fighting again, or
Myotismon is going to win."

"What?" Gatomon sat up and opened her eyes, staring up at the battle taking place. "Oh,
no! What's going on?"

"Myotismon used that Black Lens thingy to make himself more powerful, and Wizardmon
gave his energy to your friends to help them Digivolve, but it wasn't enough," DemiDevimon.
"They need help, so we've gotta help them."

"We? Why would you want to help?" asked Gatomon.

DemiDevimon shrugged. "Because I meant what I said. I don't like you Digidestined
much, but I like Myotismon even less. I'll help you if that's what it takes to get rid of him."

"I don't know about this. We don't have a lot of strength left," said Gatomon.

"Your buddy gave all he had," DemiDevimon answered. "I don't know about you, but I
plan to do the same thing. Why give up while you've still got some strength left to fight?"

Gatomon considered. Then she smiled. "You know, you're right! I never knew you were
so smart, DemiDevimon."

Surprisingly, the little bat blushed. "Aw, well..."

"Come on, let's get the others," Gatomon said. She bounded away, and DemiDevimon
followed behind.

Seconds later, WarGreymon crashed into the alley they had just vacated, knocking
enormous holes in the sides of the nearby buildings. He moaned as he hauled himself out of the
rubble.

"This isn't going too well," he said, in an unconscious echo of Joe. "I can't take a whole
lot more of this!"

"We've got to keep it together," MetalGreymon rumbled. "We'll pull through somehow.
We have to!"

"I know we have to," said WarGreymon. "I just don't know if we can."

"You can't," VenomMyotismon snarled. "Even with your little tricks, you don't have the
power to defeat me."

"That's what you think!" a voice contradicted.

Venom Myotismon glanced down and saw Gatomon leading a small band of determined-
looking Rookie Digimon. Some of them looked battered and scorched, but all of them looked
angry.

"You think you little mites are going to fight me?" he sneered. "You must be joking. I
could eat you all alive."

"I don't feel like being eaten alive," DemiDevimon replied. "The only thing I want to do
with you right now is see you get blown sky-high!"

"Same here," Gatomon replied. "It's time to face the music, Myotismon. Everything is
aligning against you now. Your enemies are against you. Your allies are against you. Fate is
against you. You've got nothing left to fight us, and deep down inside, you know it."

"That's right!" Matt replied. "We've got power you'll never have - the power of
friendship."

"And that means we're not afraid of you," Tai added. "You hear that? We are not
afraid, because inside, you're empty. You're nothing."

"I am not!" Venom Myotismon shouted.

TK giggled. "He sounds like a whining little kid, doesn't he?"

"He sure does!" Kari laughed. "Maybe he's going to call his mommy!"

The two youngest children began laughing. Perhaps it was the stress they had all been
under, but the others began chuckling, too, and Venom Myotismon stared in utter bafflement.

"I bet he never had a mommy," said Sora. "Nobody ever loved him. Hey, not even a
mother could love that ugly face!"

Mimi glanced up at him, and a smile inched across her face. "You're right! He really
is a mess! Just look at that hair! He'd need a whole lake full of mousse to fix that!"

"Do you really think we ought to be laughing at him?" asked Joe.

Izzy shrugged. "Why not? Better to laugh than be afraid, right? Besides, you know, he
is sort of absurd. Really, he doesn't know anything! Even if he took over the whole world,
it wouldn't make him happy. He'd just go on wanting more and taking more until there was
nothing left to take, and then what? He still wouldn't be as happy as us. That's pretty crazy, don't
you think?"

"You're right, that is pretty crazy. Even I'm not that neurotic," Joe replied, chuckling.

Venom Myotismon stared. He couldn't believe it. Here he was, ready to crush them all
like insects, and they were laughing! Even worse, they were laughing at him! He was
being laughed at by little children, by the girl who screamed at every strange thing she saw, by the
boy who treated every situation as if the world depended on it... they found him funny! And now
the Digimon seemed to have caught the laughter. They were cracking jokes now, rolling around
on the broken asphalt and giggling as DemiDevimon pranced around doing imitations of him. And
slowly, a feeling began to creep up on him, one he wasn't used to. It took him a moment for him
to realize what it was: a feeling of powerlessness. There was something about these
Digidestined... no matter how powerful he became or what he did to them, even if he ripped them
to shreds, there was something about them he couldn't destroy. What was that force? Was it what
humans called love? Even if he killed them now, he was going to hear them laughing forever after.
He felt something within him begin to shiver, and his resolve faltered.

It was Tai who glanced up and saw what was happening. He blinked, rubbed his eyes, and
looked again, staring hard. Yes, it was just as he had thought.

"Hey, look!" he exclaimed. "Venom Myotismon... he's shrinking!"

"Hey, you're right! I think he's losing his power!" Matt said. "All right, gang, now's our
chance! Hit him with everything you've got!"

The Digimon cheered as if they had already won and charged the rapidly dwindling
vampire, shouting their battle cries.

"Super Shocker!"

"Marching Fishes!"

"Spiral Twister!"

"Boom Bubble!"

"Lightning Claw!"

"Poison Ivy!"

"Demi Dart!"

"Ice Wolf Claw!"

"Terra Force!"

There wasn't even enough time to scream. Venom Myotismon went out of the world in a
way he had never been before: meekly and quietly, in a simple flare of white light. Everyone
stared as he vanished, leaving nothing more than a wisp of fog that blew away on the wind. The
Mega Digimon dropped back to their In-Training forms, and Matt and Tai ran to reclaim their
partners.

"Hey, Koromon, are you okay?" asked Tai.

"Tsunomon, say something!" Matt said.

"We're fine," said Koromon. "Just a little worn out, you know. Rough day."

Tsunomon looked at his partner imploringly. "You wouldn't happen to have some food
handy, would you?"

"Is he really gone?" asked Mimi, looking all around.

"He's gone, all right," said DemiDevimon in satisfaction. "And good riddance, I say!"

Gatomon had more vital matters to worry about. "Where's Wizardmon? Is he okay? I
don't see him!"

"He landed over there somewhere," said Matt, gesturing at a heap of rubble that was all
that was left of a building.

Gatomon wasted no time in rushing toward the hill of rocks and searching for her friend.
She found him settled in a crevice between bits of a smashed wall, lying very still, but when she
nudged him, he opened his eyes and shook himself.

"Wizardmon! Are you all right?" she asked.

"I'm fine. Don't worry," he said. "I'm a little drained, but I'm recovering. I'll be fine in a
little while, really." He managed a smile for her, and she smiled back.

"Man, that was quite a fight!" said Tai. "Is it all over now? Have we won for real this
time?"

"You've won," said Wizardmon, "but I'm afraid it isn't quite over yet. Look!"

He pointed toward the sky, and all eyes turned to follow his gaze... not like they could
miss what he was pointing at. The fogged sky had cleared, and what was visible now was a starry
sky marked with wavering stripes, like waves of rising heat. Visible through the stripes was
another world, upside-down!

"What on Earth...?" asked Joe.

"It's not Earth. It's the Digital World," Wizardmon replied. "Things aren't quite right
there, yet. You see, time passes at a different rate here than it does there. You might have only
been gone a few days here, but thousands of years have passed in the Digital World, and without
you there to protect it..."

"You mean while we were saving Earth from Myotismon, some other creepy Digimon has
been taking over?" asked Mimi.

"Not just one. Several," Wizardmon replied. "They call themselves the Dark Masters. I've
been trying to help slow them down a little, but I also had to be here protecting you."

"So we've been wasting our time here?" asked Matt, outraged.

"No," said Wizardmon. "One, you found the Eighth Child. Two, you rescued Gatomon,
for which I'll always be grateful. Three, you destroyed Myotismon and saved your planet, which
is definitely a good thing. Four, you've gained the power of warp digivolving. You'll need it to
fight the Dark Masters. Your time has not been wasted here... yet. However, it would be a good
idea if you were to start thinking about heading back to the DigiWorld."

"What do you say then, guys?" asked Tai. "Are we up for another adventure?"

"I don't see where we have another choice," Izzy replied.

The other Digidestined agreed. One by one, they took their Digivices from their pockets
and held them out, watching the tiny contraptions begin to glow with colored lights. They formed
into a pillar of brilliance that began to slowly lift humans and Digimon alike into the sky.

"You're not leaving without me!" DemiDevimon shouted, fluttering into the beam of light.

In the next instant, all of them were swallowed up into the luminance.

****************************

They reappeared in a clearing at the edge of a wooded valley. Still shocked from the battle
and everything that had come with it, they dropped onto the grassy turf to catch their breath.

"Well, here we are," said Tai. "Funny, the DigiWorld doesn't ilook/i like it has
anything wrong with it."

"This is a quiet place," Wizardmon replied, "one of the one's we've managed to protect.
You'll be safe here for a while."

"So, this is where you live, huh?" Kari inquired of Gatomon. "It's nice. I think I like it."

"I'd like it even more if there were less evil Digimon around," Joe muttered.

"Well, we've gotten rid of Myotismon. That's a start. Now all we have to do is tie up the
loose ends," Matt commented.

Tai looked puzzled. "What loose ends?"

"Him. What else?" asked Izzy, pointing at DemiDevimon.

"Oh, yeah!" said Tai. "Yeah, I guess we really ought to do something about him. What do
you think, guys? Any suggestions?"

"Let me go and forget this ever happened?" DemiDevimon suggested.

The suggestion was met by scowls and snorts of derision from everyone except
Wizardmon, who stared at the bat Digimon with an unmistakably calculating expression.
Gatomon looked at him curiously.

"What are you smiling about, Wizardmon?" she inquired.

"Just thinking," he assured her with a wink.

"I, for one, don't think we ought to let DemiDevimon get away with everything he's
done," said Matt. "He ought to be punished for all the tricks he's played on us!"

"What about what he did to our Digimon?" asked Sora. "They really got hurt fighting with
Vilemon."

"Hey, let's not be to hasty here!" said DemiDevimon. He tried his best puppy-dog eyes on
them. That tactic being met with hard stares, he began searching around for an exit, but he was
hemmed in on all sides by very annoyed looking Digimon. "Hey,what's your problem? I did help
you at the end, you know! Doesn't that count for something?"

"You only did it because you wanted to get back at Myotismon," Matt pointed out. "You
can't be trusted."

"Might I have a say in this?" asked Wizardmon. "I am, after all, supposed to be the
dispenser of justice."

"Go right ahead," said Kari.

"Thank you," he replied. "Personally, I think DemiDevimon has the right idea. Enough
with fighting. What we all need now is to forgive and forget."

"Really? You mean it?" asked DemiDevimon, hopping around excitedly.

"Are you sure?" asked Tai.

"Of course I'm sure," said Wizardmon. "We should forgive and he should forget. Hold
still, you!"

"Huh?" said DemiDevimon.

Wizardmon pointed his staff at the bat and muttered a magical phrase, and a Thunder Ball
barreled toward DemiDevimon, knocking him off his feet. He lay there in a dazed heap for a
moment, then sat up and shook himself.

"What happened?" he asked, blinking in confusion. "Where am I? Who are all you people?
And who am I?"

"You're DemiDevimon," Wizardmon informed him, "a friendly Digimon who enjoys
helping people."

"Really? I didn't know that," said DemiDevimon.

"It's true," said Izzy, typing busily on his laptop. "See for yourself!"

Izzy turned the computer around so that DemiDevimon could see it. There was a picture
of the little bat creature in the center of the screen and some text below it.

"'DemiDevimon'," he read, "'a friendly Digimon who enjoys helping people.' Yup! I
guess that must be me, all right!"

Mimi looked down and peeked at the screen.

"Hey, Izzy," she whispered, "I hate to tell you this, but that's not your Digimon identifier.
That's your word processor."

"I know," Izzy replied, "but why tell him that?"

"Don't worry about our little friend here," Wizardmon assured everyone. "I'll be watching
him for any backsliding."

Gatomon stared at him in confusion. "Won't we all be watching him? I mean, you'll be
with us, won't you?"

Wizardmon sobered, turning serious green eyes to his friend. Everything suddenly seemed
to become very quiet.

"I only wish I could," he said, "but I'm afraid that won't be possible. Our paths are going
to have to diverge."

"But why?" Gatomon protested. "Don't you want to come with us?"

"If only I could," Wizardmon sighed. "Unfortunately, our tasks in this world are different.
I was given powers for protection. It is my task to defend the Digimon of this world from the
Dark Masters. Your task is to find them and destroy them, and that is not a battle in which I may take
part. Don't worry, though. When it's all over, we'll be together again, I promise."

"I hope so," said Gatomon. "I'll miss you, Wizardmon."

"I will miss you, too," he replied. He sighed and turned his gaze to the sky, the better to
hide the unnatural brightness in his eyes. "The sun will set soon. If I'm going to make any
progress today, I'll have to be leaving now. I wish you all a safe journey! Goodbye, Digidestined!
Goodbye, Gatomon! Good luck to all!"

With that, he leaped into the air and floated away, followed closely by the fluttering form
of DemiDevimon. The Digidestined and their companions watched until the two became nothing
more than dark spots that finally vanished behind a cloud. Gatomon stared a while longer, as if
she thought they might turn around and come back if she waited long enough. Finally, she turned
around with a sigh.

"I guess he's gone," said Gatomon. "And I'd just found him again, too!"

"It'll be all right, Gatomon," Kari assured her. "He'll come back, just like he promised."

"Yeah, and the sooner we finish off those Dark Masters, the sooner he'll come back!" Tai
agreed. "So I say, let's get moving!"

The idea met with agreement, though in varying forms of enthusiasm, and they began to
walk. The magic had deposited them at the bottom of a tall hill, and a brief discussion led to an
agreement that they should scale the slope and check the lay of the land. Kari and Gatomon
trailed along at the very back, the cat looking thoughtful and Kari patiently waiting to see what
her companion had on her mind.

"Hey, Kari," said Gatomon at last, "I was just thinking... remember our first night
together, when I asked you about what an angel is?"

"Yeah," Kari agreed.

"And I'm an angel, sort of, right?"

"Yes, you are," her partner answered.

"And Patamon is an angel," Gatomon continued, "and Wizardmon, too, but you'd never
know just by looking at us, would you?"

"No," Kari replied. "Remember what I said before? Being an angel isn't how you look.
It's all about how you act and what you're like inside."

"I like that," said Gatomon dreamily. "Maybe there are angels all around us, then, that we
can't see, because they're only angels in their hearts..."

They came to the top of the hill and looked down. Spreading out below them was a
massive green forest, and beyond that, a shimmering sea that was turning gold with the approach
of sunset. It was beautiful, and yet, if they stared off to the north, they could see where the forest
turned into and ugly city, and beyond that, a smudge of dead-looking greyness. At the very limits
of their vision, they could pick out a black streak that could only be Spiral Mountain, home of the
Dark Masters themselves. They felt their spirits lift a little with a surge of determination. The
Digital World had been strange and hostile when they'd first arrived, but now it was home to
them in a way Earth could never quite match. Somehow, they would save it and preserve it's
beauty from evil.

"Well," said Tai, "looks like we've got our work cut out for us. Are you all up to it?"

There was a chorus of agreement, ranging from Matt's determined, "Yes," to Mimi's
exuberant cheers. Tai grinned at his followers.

"All right! We'll show these Dark Masters not to mess with the DigiWorld, or our
friends!"

"And we'll make Wizardmon proud of us," Kari added, with a smile to Gatomon. The
white cat smiled back and nodded.

Full of good cheer, the Digidestined rushed down the hill. Gatomon was the last to leave,
standing at the peak and taking in the view for a moment longer. Despite the presence of her
other friends, she still felt a little lonely for the one who had left her... Suddenly, her eyes
widened, and she shouted to her friends.

"Look, everyone! Look!" she cheered.

Everyone stopped in midstep to look, startled by the joy in Gatomon's voice. What they
saw sent them all into an awed silence. Rising out of the forest was a swirl of white, like a
snowstorm in reverse... no, more than that, for the whiteness flashed and sparkled in a way that
something as mundane as snow never could. It gleamed like a fleet of rising stars, pure white and
glowing. Then the viewers began to pick out bits of green against the forest foliage, green that
sparkled like emerald armor, and they finally realized what they were looking at. The white and
green shapes were Seraphmon - not just one or two, but dozens of them soaring across the sky.
And as they watched, one more bright shape rose up to join the flock, a shape that was followed
by a telltale black dot.

"That's him!" Gatomon said happily. "All his life, he and I were alone. Now we've both
found friends to be with. He was right - he's where he needs to be, now, and I'm where I need to
be, with you all."

"Yeah, I think he'll be happy there," said Matt, watching the bright shapes wing their way
across the sky.

"I know it," Gatomon replied. She raced to the top of the hill again, waving her paw in
the air. "Goodbye, Wizardmon! Goodbye! I promise, I'll see you again soon!"

And then she ran back to her friends, leaping into Kari's arms, and they set off toward the
end of the story, when everyone could be together again.