(Recap: Previously in the last chapter, Noah had warned Prue not to take on the warehouse hideout on her own only for Prue to later get captured in an elaborate trap. While Prue left with her Candlemon to the warehouse that late afternoon, Noah simultaneously discovered a new Tamer thanks to Prue's coincidental encounter with the young boy.)
Right now though, Prue was in trouble. Sitting up against a concrete wall in a darkened chamber deep beneath the surface of Brooklyn, Prue awoke to a start.
"What happened? Where am I?" asked Prue to herself as she took in her surroundings. The dark room was the same as the one where she had been ambushed minutes earlier. Prue struggled to get up, but several strands of Dokugumon web kept her tied up. A lone light shone nearby inside of a suspended cage.
"Candlemon?" cried Prue as she spotted her Digimon partner in the cage, the source of the light.
"Prue? Are you okay? They didn't hurt you, did they?" moaned Candlemon. Prue noticed that, for one, he was no longer his Wizardmon champion level like before. Second, that they were not the only ones in the room.
"It Would Seem… That We Captured A Fool Of A Tamer…" whispered a disembodied voice from the shadows.
"Who are you, and what do you want with me?!" shouted Prue. It hurt to speak. She had taken a tumble during the ambush, bruising her neck and elbows.
"Whatta we want?" said a laughing Demidevimon as he also revealed himself alongside the disembodied Shademon. "Only the death of you annoying humans! As for your situation, well, we had this trap laid out for you and that pesky group of snot-nosed brats. Your stubborn Wizardmon over there wouldn't give us the information we need, even after we beat the data out of him. We may not know where your twerp leader is, but we will find your pesky human friends soon enough!" Prue noticed that Demidevimon held her D-Power.
"That Is Correct…" added Shademon, "…I Will Personally See To The Extermination Of Your Allies…We Already Know Where They Hide Digimon Like Pets…They Will Join Our Shadow Force Or Die With Your City..."
"I'll never talk! You guys are gonna pay for this!" yelled Prue as she struggled to break free from her web. Above her, hanging from the ceiling waited a pair of drooling Dokugumon eager to have her for dinner.
Shademon assumed physical form as a humanoid mass of eyes, saluting to a multitude of large silhouettes standing towards the exit. The group of monsters hooted and roared in response.
"The Great Devimon Cometh! Let The Bodies Of Our Enemies Fall! Long Live Devimon!" chanted the small army as fog inexplicably filled the room. Without warning the group vanished in the fog, transporting themselves into the Digital World to enter another tunnel at a specified place in the city. Behind the spot where the group had disappeared, a very large silhouette with what looked to be a cannon for an arm stood threateningly before vanishing as well. Shademon soon followed them, after whispering to Demidevimon to 'kill her'.
Prue shook and rolled about in the confines of her web cocoon, tears starting to fall down her face.
"Stupid! How could I let myself fall for a trap like this?! I even saw it coming!" she groaned.
"I agree, human", replied Demidevimon mockingly, "You were stupid to come alone. I—I mean, the Dokugumon will enjoy tearing you apart piece by piece."
Candlemon, still very wounded from his torture, rose up from the floor of his cage.
"Don't you dare hurt her!" threatened Candlemon.
"Ha-ha! Or What?!" mocked Demidevimon, his attention to his Digital prisoner. This gave Prue an idea.
She felt in her pocket and, surprisingly, found her Cell phone had not been taken. 'I guess they were more concerned about my D-Power to care about this', she figured. The Dokugumon were held at bay, only due to Demidevimon not giving the order. He was too busy laughing in Candlemon's face.
'Call for help', was the rarely-used signal Candlemon was making to Prue. Her bond was so strong with her Digimon, words did not have to be spoken for them to understand each other.
Fumbling for her phone with her arms stuck to her sides, she could only dial the first number on her contacts and hope for the best. If it was her brother, she'd be in so much trouble.
'I hope he answers,' thought Prue as the number dialed, although she was worried what would happen if her ally did. She clearly couldn't call her recent friend, Noah, because he told her not to go in the first place. She knew a few Tamers beside Noah's group, none crazier than Artie and Artur to raid a dungeon to save her.
Lucky for her, her allies Artur and Donnie were a phone call away. The two tamers shared a pair of near-identical Dracomon, plus they owed her a favor. She remembered that Artur wasn't the super-friendly type who'd be willing to help her. Donnie was the calm, collected one of the two who'd be happy to pay her back for the time she saved them from an angry Kuwagamon. Skipping Artur (the first contact on her list of Tamers), she went to the next Tamer after him: their friend Donnie.
"Hello? Prue? What's up?" shouted the other end of the phone, much to the surprise of Demidevimon and the Dokugumon.
"What are you—"said a puzzled Demidevimon as Prue shouted the address she remembered from the warehouse along with a loud:
"I've been captured, no time to explain! Get Artur! Bring the hurt!" shouted Prue until a brief struggle with Demidevimon ended the call.
"Why, you little—"barked Demidevimon before letting out an obnoxious laugh, "This is actually great! More Tamers will show up and these Dokugumon will get more of a meal. This trap was meant for more of you anyways! Do you want to call anyone else before we end you?"
Prue didn't answer as she looked back at Candlemon, still hurt. With a knowing glance, she responded.
"What do you need to know?" she asked, "I'll tell you everything. Just please don't hurt Candlemon".
"You think that gives you mercy from us?" mocked Demidevimon before he gave it some thought, "I'll tell you what, human. Tell us everything you know, and I will think about it…"
Prue didn't have to tell Demidevimon that she barely knew Noah's group, that she was not a team player, and that she didn't know the first thing about what Demidevimon was looking for, but she was good at two things: subtle sarcasm and talking for long periods of time. She knew she could stall for time until someone, anyone, would come to save her. The question was who, and when.
"It all started a long time ago, somewhere far away," told Prue as she prepared her improvised story, "my mother and father were going on a drive..."
Hours earlier, after Prue had left Noah's surf shop, Noah pursued the boy down the street who Prue had claimed to be a Tamer.
After a brief chase, Noah caught up to the boy and Digimon as all three of them caught their breaths.
Standing on the sidewalk, Noah was dumbstruck to say something to this young boy of about ten years-old. The kid wore a Mets Jersey and a pair of jean shorts as well as the brightest pair of green tennis shoes a kid could ask for. He sported a sideways ball cap and straight blonde hair cut short below his hat. The boy also blinked with bright blue eyes that displayed his youthfulness. Noah noticed all of these things as he tried to process the image that faced him. In the kid's hands was a leash connected to what appeared to be an armored dog to some people. The beeping noise from Noah's D-Power was telling him that this was clearly a Digimon. Noah kneeled to one knee to better talk to this kid without frightening him.
"Hey kid, sorry to chase you but we gotta talk. My name is Noah Barber. I help run my uncle's surf shop over there", said Noah as he turned to point at his shop, "What's your name?"
The boy looked at him with questioning eyes before his Armadillomon nodded at him with approval.
"My name…is Tim. My friends call me Timmy", said the boy as he cautiously held his Digimon in front of him like a stuffed toy, or a shield.
"Tim? Well it's nice to meet you. I'm surprised you made it this far out in the open with a Digimon. You think people would have noticed him by now."
As Noah said this, a familiar little green creature scuttled over to his feet. "Betamon? Why did you follow us? You could have gotten hurt out here," said Noah, worried.
Betamon whispered something so silent that it was a miracle anyone could hear it. That is, except for Noah.
"Oh, you sensed a Digimon nearby and chased after us to make sure I was safe. Thanks, buddy," said Noah as he picked up Betamon and faced Tim with a smile on his face, "Let me introduce everyone. Tim, this is Betamon. He and I are best friends. Is Armadillomon your best friend?"
Tim was reluctant to speak at first with this stranger, but after a few minutes of Noah telling his life story, the strange long-haired surfer Tamer slowly gained his trust. Tim spoke of how he met Armadillomon on the street less than a month ago and adopted him as a dog. Once Armadillomon revealed his ability to speak, Tim realized that he had something special. Over the last week, Tim discovered the existence of Digimon in real life. Although he hadn't heard of Digimon before he met Armadillomon, he eventually learned the rules of the card game at a local card shop—a shop owned by none other than Dillion's grandfather.
"No way! You know Dillion too? He is a friend of ours now," said Noah as he and Tim spoke of their mutual friend.
"Dillion was mean to me last time I was with him," said Tim as he remembered the incident. "He had a big spider and it looked at me and it tried to eat me and I ran away!"
"Don't worry about it," said Noah, "we took the big spider from him so that it can't hurt you or anyone else."
"Did…did you kill it?" asked Tim with a look of childlike curiosity on his baby-face.
"No, the spider was a Digimon named Kodokugumon and she and Dillion were buddies so we're taking care of her for the meantime until we can find a place for her to live."
"Okay, good. Even though spiders scare me, I don't like to hurt them. Dillion is my new friend and I don't want him to be sad," said Timmy before he thought some more, "Noah, will you be my friend too?"
"Sure, little dude," said Noah with a chuckle, "I was going to ask you the same thing. Do you know anyone else with Digimon? I'm part of a group of Tamers and we like to take in wild Digimon."
Tim answered no, that he was the only person he knew that had a Digimon. Taking out a yellow-colored D-Power, Tim was unsure of its purpose before Noah instructed him on how to use it.
"You never used one of these before?" asked Noah as he shown Timmy his own green D-Power, "you swipe a card through the side like this and it modifies your Digimon for a short time."
Astonished, Tim gasped as Noah casually Digimodified his Betamon into having a top hat over his fin.
"Usually, the cards we use are much more powerful and dangerous but you get the idea. I can't risk making a scene out here," said Noah as he acknowledged the dozens of people on the street nearby, "Have you ever fought another Digimon before?"
"No," said Tim as he hugged Armadillomon close, "Armadillomon is my dog and my mommy said that I am not allowed to have dogs fight."
"Well, I hate to break it to ya, kid, but you can't treat Armadillomon like he's a dog," said Noah, "There are monsters out there looking for people like us to fight. If we don't train our Digimon and ourselves, there won't be anything stopping the monsters from hurting the ones we love. Where is your parents, by the way? A kid like you shouldn't be walking his 'dog' at Coney Island by himself."
"They're at work," said Tim apologetically, "I ran away from home because my babysitter was being mean to me and said I couldn't walk my dog".
"So you walked your dog anyways?" asked Noah with surprise. Tim shrugged.
"I like you, kid. Let's get ya home after I tell my uncle I'm gone", said Noah.
With that said, Noah went to the store and closed the empty shop for his uncle to open as soon as he returned from his meal. Noah would later spend the next few hours walking Tim and Armadillomon back to his home in uptown Brooklyn as they talked about sports, school, and their friends.
Meanwhile, Dev and his mother had just arrived at his grandmother's retirement home in Brooklyn, at the Sunset Retirement Community Center for the Elderly. The place specialized in senior citizens with debilitating illnesses that made them unfit to take care of themselves.
After constant reminding by his mother, today was the day for Dev and Mrs. Norris to visit his grandmother, whose health was worsening.
Looking inside the complex as they reached the door, Dev spotted the inner workings of the center. Dozens of old people sat around the lobby, either knitting or rambling about some war. As Dev and his mother entered the lobby, Dev cringed at the sight of a very old man snoring with bubbles flowing through his nose.
"Now remember Dev, dear," said Mrs. Norris as the two entered the main room, "be nice to your grandmother and don't say anything to upset her like last time."
Dev shrugged. Previously, it had been the second day after they moved to Brooklyn a few weeks ago that Dev reunited with his aching grandmother after years of just phoning in from North Carolina. The poor woman had a bad case of Alzheimer's disease, wrought from old age. Her worsening conditions, especially her blindness, required assisted care that the center could provide.
69-year old Eve Norris often lived in the past, thinking Dev was her son, Dev's father, as a teenager. Dev had somehow broken the illusion last time when he said he didn't play baseball, causing Eve to have a breakdown. To Dev however, this had been embarrassingly traumatic for him. Since then, Dev had begged his mother not to let him go see her again. He barely knew her at all.
"Mom, it's not too late to turn back now," whined Dev, "You know how Mema is. I don't want to see her! She always thinks I'm dad."
"Honey, your grandmother is getting worse," said Mrs. Norris to quell Dev's objection, "It is important to spend time with family, even if Eve is not all there. She's the only family you and I have left. When you get my age, you'll understand."
Dev hushed up, knowing his mother's family upbringing had been pretty bad. She lost her parents in a car crash, eventually getting adopted by her grandparents that are no longer around now. To Dev, seeing family, especially a broken one, was the worst. To his mother, however, this was the last chance to be together.
Upon entering his grandmother's rustic room, Dev and his mother were met with a pleasant aroma of blueberry pie. Amidst an old-fashioned bedroom with two chairs and a table sat a white-haired woman eating a slice of pie with her caretaker, a portly middle-aged woman with tired eyes. Dev's grandmother coughed hoarsely before having another bite of her pie.
"Thank you for coming," said the caretaker before turning to Eve beside her, "You have company, Miss Eve."
The elderly woman became wider eyed than before, previously staring into space. She turned to Mrs. Norris, not recognizing her before looking to Dev with widened eyes.
"Kevin, dear! Where have you been?! I fixed you some blueberry pie in the stove. I washed your uniform, so after you eat you can get ready for your game. Who's the woman beside you?" asked Eve, now looking back to Mrs. Norris.
"It's me, Eve. I'm your daughter-in-law," said Dev's mother. His grandmother looked at Dev, stunned.
"Kevin! What kind of a joke is this?! You're too young to get married!" cried out Dev's grandmother.
Dev stood motionless before turning to make eye contact with his mother. He didn't want to tell her this time.
"Miss Eve, he isn't Kevin. This is Devon, your grandson," corrected Mrs. Norris, albeit in a very cautious tone.
Eve looked at Dev and then to his mother. Suddenly, a moment of clarity hit her as if she remembered who they were. Then a look of disappointment came over her.
"Oh? You didn't tell me you two were visiting. I would have cleaned up the place. Where's Kevin?" she asked as she got up to stare out the window. At this point, the caretaker gave a warning motion for them to choose their words carefully.
"He…didn't come because he had to finish his tour," said Mrs. Norris with a blank expression. A look of sorrow in her eyes betrayed her expression to Dev.
"Oh! That's right! Kevin is fighting them terrorists in Afghanistan?! I worry about him sometimes," said Eve as she looked through the barred window once more.
Dev swallowed a lump in his throat as a feeling of sadness not felt in many years overcame him. His dad's tour ended nearly five years ago, but he never came back.
"I have to go!" shouted Dev as he rushed out the room.
"Devon, wait!" cried his mother as she tried to stop him.
Ten minutes had passed as Dev sat outside the building on the steps. He wiped a couple of tears off his face as memories flooded in his mind: images of his father before he left for Afghanistan, never to come home again. He remembered how terrible life had been for him and his mother on the farm back in Greenville. Other than the Digimon cards his father had given him, Dev had very few things to remember his father. They had to sell much of the property to stay afloat financially.
"This sucks!" cried Dev as tears streamed down his face. Even with a Digimon, some things couldn't change.
Dev fumbled in his pocket and pulled out the BlackAgumon card he always kept to remind him of his father.
"I'm sorry I couldn't say thanks when I had the chance," said Dev to the card as he remembered his mother tell him earlier today how upset he was when he was first given the card by his father. His father had somehow given him the first of the English edition of the card game alongside a small booster pack of Japanese Digimon cards. This BlackAgumon card meant something to him, and somehow gave him a real Digimon years later.
"Heya, what's up?" cried a familiar voice. Dev nearly jumped from his seat in surprise.
"Black? What are you doing here? You were supposed to stay home! What if someone sees you?" Dev muttered as people walked past.
"That's easy! I never left!" said BlackAgumon as he assumed shadow form again, completely covering Dev's real shadow, "With everything Noah said, I thought I should protect you in case another monster showed up. I followed you real sneaky until you went inside. I couldn't get in through the door so I waited. I was going to stay quiet until we went home, but I sensed you needed me. Why are you crying?"
"Me? Cry?" joked Dev. "Seriously though, if mom finds out that you are here, she'll kill me."
"Is that why you were crying?" asked Black, not changing the subject.
"No, of course not. It's just…my family is just messed up is all," muttered Dev as he turned away, watching the cars go by.
"I'm in the family, right? Am I messed up?" asked Black curiously.
"No, I mean yes. You are a part of the family but you are not the one that's messed up. My grandmother is losing her mind, my mom is trying so hard to keep this family together, and I just don't know if I can keep going like this anymore," replied Dev.
"I think your mom is great! She is trying to keep you together because she loves you," replied Black. "Digimon don't have families like you do. You are lucky to have a mother who loves you no matter what! Plus, she makes great cookies!" squeaked BlackAgumon.
"You're right about that!" replied Dev as he tried to fist-pump his shadow. It didn't work.
The door behind him opened up as his mother came to see him.
"Honey, is everything alright?" she asked, hugging him close.
"Yeah, mom", replied Dev. "I'm sorry for running like that. I just got a little emotional."
"I understand," she said. "I miss him too. I often think about where we'd be if he were still here with us. But we can't let the hurt keep us down like this forever. He wouldn't want to see you or me like this. Remember, there is nothing God gives us that we can't handle. It may seem overwhelming at first, but time has a way of healing. At least, I hope it can."
Dev let go of his mother and realized that as painful as it was for them, Mr. Norris' mother would never fully grasp the loss of her son. This frightened him to think that Eve might suffer the beginning stages of grief more than once if she were to be constantly reminded of her son's death. However, she deserved to know the truth. Dev felt it in his guts that she would be able to handle it. They couldn't lie to her forever.
"I…think I should talk to Mema some more," said Dev. "I want to tell her about dad".
"She already knows," said Mrs. Norris, much to Dev's surprise. "I told her after she saw you leave. I'll go with you if you want to speak with her."
Dev and his mother (plus and invisible Black) reentered the building and reached the doorway to Eve Norris' room.
"You left her in for quite a shock," said the caretaker with a hint of anger for triggering such a response from her, "but she's taking it well for the time-being. I must warn you, anything you say to her today will likely be forgotten tomorrow. There is no telling what parts she will remember, so I advise you to choose your words carefully and try not to upset her again."
They nodded as Dev greeted his grandma with a hug.
"Mema, I love you and I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for upsetting you earlier," he said before being fiercely hugged by his grandmother until his bones ached (Black's included).
"My…grandson! Look at you! He would be so proud of you!" cried Eve as she held him close. "I…don't have much time. If I was better, I'd tell you everyday all the things I've done in my life, your father's childhood, advice about women, but I can't. I can't remember them now, and I probably won't remember you tomorrow. I'm so sorry". She began to sob. His mother stepped in and hugged them.
"It's not your fault, Mema," cried Dev as they embraced one another, "I'll tell you everyday how much I love you even if you forget. I'll remind you always."
"Me too," replied his mother. "We are a family and families stick together. Sure, we are broken in some ways, but family means no one gets left behind. We are with you every step of the way, mom."
Black, meanwhile, was struck by the love he saw in them. Even though no one could see him, he felt that he was included in the family. Yet, he felt, empty.
"Am I family?" wondered Black to himself as he looked on.
Meanwhile, Sam and Liz were spending their day shopping with Sam's friends, Betsy and Luisa. Lucky for Liz, the snobby cheerleader Rachel who instigated a fight with her last time wasn't there. It probably had something to do with Liz slapping her in retaliation for insulting her poor upbringing.
"Try this on, Sammy!" said Betsy excitedly as she brought her a pink mini-skirt.
"I dunno, this doesn't seem like me," said Sam with a nervous giggle, "Black is more my color."
"Nonsense!" cried Luisa. "When was the last time you wore black anyways? You should totally put it on!" At this point, everyone including Liz cheered in unison for her to try it on. "Sammy! Sammy!" they cheered, much to the chagrin of the other shoppers in the small department store.
"Fine, I'll do it!" giggled Sam, blushing, "just hang tight and I'll be right back!"
Sam took the mini skirt from her friend and made a beeline for the nearest changing room.
Meanwhile, Luisa and Betsy took the time to chat with their new friend Liz.
"This is going to be so great!" squeaked Luisa. "You said it," added Betsy as she turned to Liz, "Sammy is always so reserved. It's nice seeing her come out of her shell."
"Sam being shy? Get outta here!" said Liz, "Ever since I met her, she's done nothing but talk to me."
"Well, that must mean she's opened up to you as her friend!" replied Luisa.
"You two do seem close," noted Betsy, "how long have you guys been friends?"
"Not long, although it does feel like I've known her forever," replied Liz as she thought about their recent friendship. 'Funny how rampaging Digimon can unite people', thought Liz.
At this point, Sam returned to the trio in her mini-skirt along with a pink frilly blouse. "What do you think?" she asked.
"You look like a doll!" remarked Betsy as she and her friend squealed at her adorableness.
"I gotta admit," added Liz, "you look pretty in pink. Dev and Noah won't know what hit 'em."
"Oh, stop it!" giggled Sam as she blushed; "Now it's your turn, Liz."
"Ha-ha, fat chance," replied Liz until she noticed that Luisa, Betsy, Sam, and even their still Digimon at the bench stared at her with evil intent. Although the girls were about to beg Liz to dress girly like them, in her mind her tomboyish ways were about to end by supernatural intervention.
"Why are you guys looking at me like that?" she asked, partially worried.
"You could use some pink in your wardrobe too," said Luisa as her eyes glowed an ominous red, at least in Liz's perspective.
"Yes…become one of us," growled Betsy in a demonic voice as she took out a pink mini-skirt and blouse for Liz.
"ONE OF US," chanted Luisa, Sam, Betsy, and even the Digimon in unison.
"Noooo!" cried Liz as she raised her arms towards the ceiling in defeat.
Ten minutes later, Liz reluctantly exited the changing room in her new skirt, much to the adoration of her peers.
"Wow, it looks great on you!" cried Luisa as she gushed in adoration.
"Yeah! You look like a princess!" squealed Betsy. Biyomon and Lopmon tried not to laugh, but the look on the usually rebellious Tamer was priceless.
"I hate you guys!" said Liz as her cheeks went red.
"Aww, you should wear pink more often," said Sam. "This is like a new look for you."
"You too, I guess," replied Liz with a pout. A couple of minutes later, they had finished their shopping for the day.
"See you around, Sammy!" cheered Luisa as she hugged her friend. Liz kept walking with her arms crossed until a slap on the back startled her.
"Bye, Lizzy! See you later!" giggled Betsy in a singsong voice as she and Luisa ran up the street to shop some more.
"So, what do you think of my friends now?" asked Sam with a grin, "You can't say they don't like you. They love you!"
"Yeah, well, they're nicer without Rachel. They're okay I guess," muttered Liz, "I shouldn't have bought this skirt. It's not like I have a steady income anymore. My parents will either laugh at me for how ridiculous I look or get mad at the money I spent."
Sam remembered that Liz lost her job at Mr. Blum's Pizza parlor after the rampaging Digimon incident destroyed half the building. Not only that, but the time Dev and Noah dragged her out of a baseball stadium cost her job as a part-time cotton candy girl. Sam couldn't help but feel guilty for dragging her into their lives, at the cost of her jobs. Sam frowned as she hugged Lopmon close. As for Liz's Digimon, Biyomon was halfway in her backpack with her head frozen in place.
"I'm sorry we dragged you into this, Liz," said Sam.
"What, the shopping? Don't sweat it," replied Liz, "I gotta admit, this was kinda fun."
"No, I mean, thanks, but I meant costing you your jobs to fight Digimon," said Sam as she struggled to catch up with the fast-walking Liz.
"What are you talking about? I've been fighting Digimon for a long time before I met you guys. It's their fault for attacking me," replied Liz.
"Yeah! It's not like she doesn't eat, sleep, and breathe Digimon all the time," joked Lopmon before Biyomon hushed her.
"I just want you to be our friend without having to make sacrifices," said Sam sadly.
"Don't worry about it," responded Liz, "It's my problem to deal with. I'll find a job somewhere else. Right now though, I could sure fight some Digimon."
Sure enough, as soon as Liz complained about not fighting Digimon, her D-Power gave off a beep that signified an upcoming Digimon.
"I'm glad when things work out for once," muttered Liz proudly as she let Biyomon loose from her bag.
"Wait, isn't it weird how different this beep is?" asked Sam as she took out her own D-Power, "I remember something similar happened when Noah and I became friends with other Digimon. It lets out a softer tone to signify things other than dangerous threats. It goes off when I stand next to Biyomon, see?"
"Yeah, but it's not Biyomon causing the sound on my own D-Power, or Lopmon," said Liz as she pointed across the big street. Sure enough, a pinkish parody of a cartoon mouse scurried across the road causing a panic for many street-goers.
"Yikes! Coming through! Pardon me!" squeaked the mouse as he grew closer, brushing against several city-goers in his path.
"The hell is that?" asked Liz, slightly disgusted by the ugly thing.
"I know him! That's Chuumon!" replied Sam, surprised Liz didn't already know, "he's a friend of Sukamon's. Don't you remember? He was there at the gym. Plus, he was one of the Digimon to help us fix Dillion's apartment. They helped us a lot."
"…So I can't fight him?" asked Biyomon, slightly disappointed at the thought of more shopping and less fighting.
"Biyomon!" scolded Liz. "How dare you talk about killing innocent Digimon that way!"
"Boy, you have changed," muttered Biyomon. Weeks earlier, before Liz met Sam or Dev, she would have been fighting Digimon just like Chuumon.
"Lady Samantha!" squeaked Chuumon as he struggled to catch his breath in front of them. Liz, annoyed at the attention by the crowd, waved them to go away as they moved to a nearby alley.
"What is it Chuumon?" asked Sam, "Why are you outside running around for us? Where is Sukamon?"
"Yeah, where's the fire anyways?" asked Liz sarcastically.
"Lady Samantha!" cried Chuumon. "Something terrible has happened at Mr. Beard's gym! Awful!"
"What is it? Sukamon again?" teased Lopmon until Sam hushed her giggling.
"No! WORSE! We are under attack! A bunch of Digimon waltzed right in, demanding us Champion level Digimon to side with the Shadows or be destroyed. When a Digimon refused, he was destroyed! Sukamon and Angemon are fighting them, but they sent all of the tiny Digimon to slip away and look for help! I've been looking everywhere for you!"
"That's impossible! How could they find the gym?!" shouted Lopmon, only for Sam to shush her in case anyone outside the alley notice them.
"Where's Noah? Didn't you call him?" asked Sam. Since Noah was their guardian, it was normal for the Digimon there to call him for emergencies.
"We called his home and his shop, but he wasn't there! Noah's left his shop and his phone! That's what his uncle Joe said! No one knows where he is. They cut our phone lines after that, so we couldn't call you! You were the only other person we knew of to ask for help, so we tiny Digimon had to split up around the city looking for you! "
"That's crazy," said Liz, "something must have happened to him. We were just there at the gym this week, which means they must have been spying on us to find the gym! That's the only explanation!"
"Whatever it is, we are the closest ones who can stop it," added Biyomon with a grin, happy to find some action.
"I'm sorry you travelled all this way, Chuumon," said Sam as she patted him on the head, "Please, show us the way back from here. Wait, let me get a taxi."
"At this hour?" asked Liz, "We are better off taking the subway. I can probably get us there with a shortcut I know."
"Really? That would be great," said Sam as she lowered her purse for Chuumon to climb into.
"You forget, I used to work all around the borough every day," said Liz proudly, "I had to find all kinds of ways to get to all of my jobs on time."
"Perfect! We are all counting on you!" squeaked Chuumon.
"I hope we aren't too late," said Sam.
"Yeah, to kick some butt!" cried Lopmon.
While Sam and Liz made their way through Lower Brooklyn towards Mr. Beard's gym, another important event was taking place elsewhere in downtown. A lone young man of about 18 years stood by a hotdog stand smoking the last of his cigarette. He had apparently been waiting some time for a ride.
"He should be here by now…" complained the man as he puffed some smoke towards the passing cars. He squeezed the crumpled napkin in his hand, having eaten his hotdog over a half-hour ago.
With a loud hum, a motorcycle up the road hit the brakes, slowing down from the bullet it had been seconds earlier. The driver couldn't be mistaken for a stranger to the man, as they both made a thumbs-up to each other before the vehicle stopped at the curb.
"What the hell took you so long? Couldn't find your keys, or was it Blue?" said the man as he playfully threw his ball of a napkin at the driver's face.
The driver knocked the ball away with his elbow before he not-so-playfully punched the guy back.
"You should be thanking me for getting here this fast, Donnie!" said the driver, "A short notice pickup at a place like this with traffic like this? Come on! Gimme a break!"
The guy named Donnie smiled at this. His friend was right. Artur wasn't exactly nearby with his ride when their mutual acquaintance Prue called Donnie for an emergency rescue.
"I guess you're right. It's a miracle the police didn't arrest you for speeding," said Donnie with a smoke-filled chuckle.
"Of course I'm right," replied Artur, "And believe me when I say I had a close call with them earlier in Times Square. They act like the world is ending over there. So are we goin' or what? There's room in the backseat, sort of." As he said this, he moved closer up his bike to allow some room for his friend.
"I can't wait to get my own bike," complained Donnie as he got on. "At least tell me you brought Blue. You know there'll be trouble when we find Prue."
"Way ahead of you," said Artur as he motioned downwards, "Blue is the bike."
A pair of eyes belonging to a blue Dracomon were hidden inside a side pouch of the somewhat larger than average motorcycle. He was sound asleep from the humming of the machine.
"Exaggerate some more, will you?" joked Donnie, "Blue isn't the motorcycle!"
"Yeah, well, I felt like I had to say it," said Artur. "Ya know, to make my bike sound cooler."
"Okay. Even though what you said made no sense, I disguised Green as a vehicle too. Check him out!" said Donnie.
Sure enough, from around the hotdog stand, a small haphazardly constructed machine the size of a large dog barreled towards them. The vehicle resembled a child's simplified depiction of a plastic toy tank with drills coming out of the front. A pair of green legs propelled the vehicle to the two guys.
"What kind of a joke is that?" mocked Artur to Donnie as he let out a chuckle, "That's the ugliest disguise I've ever seen."
"You should talk," replied the drill-tank with a hint of sarcasm, "Blue isn't even the bike!"
With that said, Artur's laughter ended.
"Just get in, and take that disguise off. It's not gonna fit on the bike," he said as he adjusted his goggles within his simple helmet.
With the green twin Dracomon in the second pouch, Donnie fitted his helmet and handed Artur the handwritten address he had written after Prue's call had reached him.
"Here's the address, Art. She said 'bring the hurt'. I'm guessing it's a trap," said Donnie.
"Good, then this fight will be good," said Artur, "Here we go!"
With that, the bike took off at breakneck speed as the two Tamers excitedly raced against time to rescue Prue from some unknown force.
Noah, on the other hand, had his hands full with something less exciting. He had closed his shop early without his uncle in order to return his new friend Timmy back to his house. The young boy and his Armadillomon (he thought was a dog that just so happened to come with a D-Power) had ran away from his babysitter and walked along the sidewalk to the nearby Coney Island. As strange as this was, Noah saw a little brother in Timmy. This beginner Tamer needed guidance and a role model, something that Timmy's parents could not emphasize enough.
"Our boy needs an older brother to teach him how to act," said his father as Timmy's mom served a cup of coffee to Noah.
They had been sitting together talking for some time after Noah returned Timmy to his worried parents. They had evidently fired the babysitter after coming home to find their son missing. Lucky for the babysitter, as well as Noah, Timmy's parents had barely dialed 911 before Timmy returned. With relief, his parents hugged them both (the babysitter was still let go) and welcomed Noah inside.
"Yes, no babysitter seems to be able to handle his…escapist attitude," added Timmy's mother as she sat next to her husband. Both seemed a bit eccentric to Noah, as seen in their matching clothes and tin-foil hats.
"Why, he probably got it from your side of the family, babe," said the father with a chuckle.
"Oh dear, well then he got your sense of humor!" joked the mom, albeit with a little sarcasm.
"He sure didn't get his cute face from me, it was you!" replied the father as they began embracing one another in addition to Eskimo kisses.
Noah coughed. Things were getting awkward. Betamon couldn't help him now; he was a dog in the parents' eyes just like Armadillomon was. Timmy was also in his room, definitely grounded for running away.
"Anywho, why don't you eat supper with us, Noah? It would be an honor to have a surfer/potential babysitter for my son over for dinner!" exclaimed Timmy's father.
"I dunno. I kind of left my store without telling my uncle. I should get back—"said Noah as he made his way slowly towards the door.
"Please, no!" begged Timmy's mother as she began sobbing uncontrollably, "We have no friends and we really need a babysitter tonight!"
"Yeah, we fired the old one even though it's bowling night at Good Burger!" added the equally distressed father, "We need you!"
Noah sighed. I'm sure nobody needs me right now more than these two, he thought.
"WE NEED NOAH!" shouted Liz. They had barely made it to Mr. Beard's gym a minute ago only to find the street in shambles. It had become a ghost-town in the streets as whatever struck the gym had scared everyone away minutes ago. Sam had tried calling Noah once they left the Subway, but he had left his phone at the surf shop. To make matters worse, Dev was still on 'vacation' and their D-Powers alerted a large signal of a threat nearby.
Fog had surrounded the empty street and crumpled newspapers rolled down the road like tumbleweeds. Sam and Liz's D-Powers beeped noisily as dozens of blips appeared on the screen's radar.
Their backs against the entrance to the darkened store, Liz and Sam were suddenly surrounded by a swarm of angry bat-like Digimon known as Vilemon as they came down from the roof.
"It's a trap!" squeaked Chuumon as he hid in Sam's bag.
Lopmon and Biyomon assumed their fighting stances as Sam and Liz took out their D-Powers.
"Lopmon, I need you to digivolve again," said Sam as she took out another Blue Card. The hair suddenly stood up from the back of her neck as the door behind her opened up.
"…WWWhy Don't You Join Us Insiiiide?" whispered a disembodied voice from a familiar mass of eyes in the shadows in of the store, "Your Friends Down In The Basement Are Running Out Of Friends."
"Yup! And my club is runnin' outta things to smash," said one of the dozen Goblinmon that stood in the store with Shademon.
Sam and Liz looked to each other and their Digimon. They were stuck between a swarm of Vilemon outside, and a Shademon and who-knows-what else in the store fighting their allies.
"If we stay here, we have more room to fight out in the open," muttered Liz.
"But we are more outnumbered and our Digimon buddies need us inside," replied Lopmon.
"I can digivolve Lopmon and still fit us in the store," whispered Sam. "But if Biyomon manages to digivolve, that can't happen."
"At this rate, I doubt that'll be a problem," said Liz with a sigh. She was, in her own opinion, the strongest Tamer on the team and yet she hadn't digivolve her Biyomon before while Sam and Noah have already Digivolved their partners on more than one occasion.
"Whatever you decide, make it fast," muttered Lopmon as she stared down the Vilemon, "These clowns can't wait forever."
"You took the words out of my mouth, bunny-rabbit!" screeched a Vilemon as he made a dive for Lopmon.
Lopmon yelled as she leaped into the air with her propelling ears, dodging Vilemon's tackle. The glass window shattered behind Liz as the clumsy Vilemon crashed.
"You too, Biyomon! Digivolve now!" shouted Liz to her Digimon, who sent a wave of spiral-twisters at the swarm.
"I don't know how yet, remember?" cried Biyomon as a pair of Goblinmon from inside the store charged her. Sam remembered that although Lopmon had been able to digivolve twice already when she needed her most, Liz and Biyomon still hadn't been able to digivolve in all of their fights.
"I think she'll digivolve if you are in danger," replied Sam to Liz, "That's how Lopmon digivolved the last two times."
"I don't need any help!" replied Liz with a huff, "besides, out of all the Digimon we've fought, you'd think I could get Biyomon to digivolve by now.
"I'm trying, but I can't!" cried Biyomon as she strained herself to reach champion level.
"I can't either! I think I need power!" added Lopmon as she barely ducked a swing from Goblinmon. The Goblinmon and Vilemon continued to attack the evading Rookie Digimon as Liz and Sam each swiped various digimodification cards.
"Here's An Ideaaa…." Whispered Shademon from within the store, "How About You Attack The Children."
The Goblinmon and Vilemon, having heard this, looked to each other for a moment before saying "That's a great idea!"
"Uh-oh," said Liz and Sam in unison as they back into the store to avoid the evil-looking Digimon closing in.
"That's Right, Children," said the creepily disembodied voice of Shademon as the girls stepped onto the floor possessed by his purple body, "Step Into The Darkness. Let It Educate You…"
Across the street, a very large Digimon revealed himself from the fog's cover, pointing his arm cannon at the two Digimon.
Meanwhile, Prue had apparently finished her long life story to her captor, Demidevimon, who now shook himself awake.
"That was not any help at all, filthy human!" whined Demidevimon as he flapped his wings, "You said you'd tell us everything!"
"I did tell you everything," said Prue with her characteristic grin in the face of her captor, "you just didn't specify on what you wanted to hear. You could have stopped me anytime."
"Well, I did have a good laugh hearing about your parents' deaths", laughed Demidevimon, much to the anger of Prue, "now tell me about your friends, or I will wake up Dokugumon up there." Prue looked up and noticed that somehow, she had talked both Spider Digimon asleep as well.
Suddenly, a loud explosion shook the tunnel, surprising everyone (and waking up the Dokugumon from their sleep) as bits of rubble fell from the ceiling.
"What was that?!" yelled Demidevimon as he cowered behind a fallen boulder.
"Her friends," answered Candlemon as he pushed against the bars of his cage, "I suggest you tell us what we want to know, before they make you."
"The Hell are you doin', Artie?!" shouted Donnie as he smacked Artur in the arm. "You know she's in there!"
"She said 'bring the hurt' so I'm gonna bring the hurt!" yelled Artur in return, "and don't call me Artie!"
Both Tamers had just made it to the location minutes ago when their D-Powers went haywire, signaling a large group of the enemy Digimon left after Prue's initial raid down the tunnel inside the abandoned warehouse at the haunted shipyard.
Finding a lone Goblinmon waiting for them when they entered through a hole in the fence, Artur had decided to digi-modify his Dracomon into firing a large fireball. The proceeding explosion destroyed the Goblinmon but left a large hole in the ground.
"Thanks to you, we lost the element of surprise", complained Donnie as he shook his head in shame.
"Don't worry, I got this," said Artur as he turned to face his Blue Dracomon, "ready Blue?"
"I was born ready, master. This fight will be a fight to remember. For Prudence!" replied Blue, who characteristically had a knight-like personality that contrasted with Green's less-than-formal attitude on fighting.
"Who cares about that girl? I'm here to kick some Digital butt!" added Green with a clenched fist/claw, "Let's go down there and attack them while they are confused!"
"It could be dangerous, Green," said Donnie. Artur smiled. It was funny that the most cautious Tamer of the two of them was the Tamer of the more impatient Dracomon. Artur, on the other hand, loved having the calmer Blue Dracomon to look after him. Fun fact, Artur actually owned both Digimon at one point when they first met two months prior. It wasn't until one of his classmates, Donnie, discovered his secret. Supportive of Artur's adventures, Donnie adopted one of the Dracomon as his own so that Artur could focus on one Digimon. Donnie's own words were "no one Tamer can direct two Digimon to fight at the same time." Nevertheless, Donnie got a golden D-Power afterwards for his Dracomon the same way Artur got one for his Green Dracomon.
Suddenly, a large Dokugumon erupted from the open warehouse, followed by another equally starving Dokugumon.
"Hungry!" they roared.
"Must be the welcoming party," muttered Artur as he adjusted his gauntlet. In order to individualize his D-Power from Donnie's, Artur fixed his D-Power onto an equally golden gauntlet made from scraps of lightweight metal around town. Making it himself, Artur loved to show it off, even to his enemies. The two Dokugumon were undoubtedly stirred into anger from the earthquake Artur had caused earlier. The Digimon's legs loudly scurried across the concrete as they barreled towards the four.
"This looks like a golden opportunity to Digivolve. Right Blue?" asked Artur as he swiped a blue card against his gauntlet.
"Right! To save the fair lady, we must!" shouted Blue as his body began to glow. He spun crazily in the air as his glowing body's skin began to tear apart from his grid-like form.
"Dracomon, digivolve to…" cried Blue as his form got larger.
"I forgot how cool that is," muttered Donnie, still unable to digivolve his own Dracomon. He and Green stared in amazement as Dracomon changed shape and size before their eyes.
"…COREDRAMON! EEERRRAAAWWWWRRRGGHH!" roared the Champion level Digimon as the Blue Coredramon soared in the air above the two Dokugumon.
Unfazed the two Dokugumon fired streams of poison from their mouth, barely hitting the fast dragon.
"It looks like these spider Digimon need to warm up," said Artur as he adjusted his goggles.
"Right," said Coredramon before landing on the ground behind the two enemy Digimon, "BLUE FLARE BREATH!"
A stream of blue flames burst from Coredramon's mouth, incinerating one of the Dokugumon into data in an instant.
The other Dokugumon quickly fired a net of web from her abdomen, netting Coredramon with sticky webbing.
"Blue! Use your tail!" shouted Artur.
"You don't have to tell me that!" shouted Coredramon as he turned around with his club of a tail facing his opponent.
Dokugumon received a well-placed smack to the head from Coredramon's tail, sending the beast flying into the air with a monstrous shriek.
"Blue Flare Breath!" roared Coredramon again as the Dokugumon burst into blue flames overhead.
"I'm telling you, that's all I know. I swear!" cried Demidevimon as he huddled in a corner.
Candlemon had the power to leave his cage the whole time he and Prue had been captured; he was just gathering strength and waiting for the moment the Dokugumon would leave. As soon as Demidevimon had sent them to attack the intruders, Candlemon burned through the cage and freed Prue. The now-free prisoners were now the interrogators as they questioned Demidevimon for information on who he's working for.
"This…Devimon," said Prue thoughtfully, "where is he now?"
"Lord Devimon is executing his master plan: the takeover of the city by vanquishing every Digimon and their human owners in the city! You're too late! He is already destroying your friends now!" mocked Demidevimon with newfound confidence.
"Please," said Prue with a hint of sarcasm, "I have no friends".
"Really? Then what do you call us?" declared a voice from the tunnel's stairwell. It was Donnie, followed by Artur and one of the Dracomon.
"Don! I'm so glad you decided to save me. I actually didn't need the help though, as you can see", said Prue, proud from turning the tables on Demidevimon.
"Right, and you could have taken the Dokugumon all by yourself," said Artur with a chuckle, "which I actually just did awhile ago. You're welcome".
"It's good to see you too, Arthur," replied Prue with a sigh. She remembered why she didn't call him to begin with.
"It's Artur. Without the 'h'," corrected Artur
"That makes no sense. Who named you, a caveman?" teased Prue.
"Prue isn't exactly a normal name either, buddy!" defended Green.
"Hey you guys, where did he go?" interrupted Donnie as they all turned to the corner. Demidevimon had managed to slip away in the confusion.
"Great. Now he's gonna warn Devimon we escaped. This is bad," said Prue with a nervous sigh.
"Actually, I have a feeling Demidevimon won't want to report his failure to Devimon anytime soon," replied Candlemon matter-of-factly, "that gives us a window of opportunity to warn the others."
"Right, we have to hurry!" declared Prue before she turned her attention to Donnie and Artur, "I could use your help some more. Which one of you owns the motorcycle again? I have to find a friend and tell him what Demidevimon told me. If Devimon is half as strong as he said he is, we're in trouble".
"First of all, the bike is mine, your highness," said Artur with a sarcastic bow, "secondly, I got Blue up there as Coredramon and I think I'm gonna find him a place to hide."
"We could use Coredramon soon," said Candlemon. "I suggest we go together to the rendezvous point where we met Noah and warn him about Devimon's plan."
"Just one question, who the hell is Noah and what is this Devimon?" asked Donnie
Prue sighed. "I'll explain on the way, let's go. We gotta hurry." It was going to be a long ride.
(Author's Note: The following section is a jump to the future after Sam and Liz's battle had finished its course. Consider it a sneak peek)
Devimon waited until nightfall before he leaned off the roof of one the tallest buildings over Times Square. His plan was working perfectly, except for a few setbacks. He still hadn't located the particular Tamer that was giving him the hardest trouble over the last few weeks, but his army had mobilized throughout the city, 'recruiting' any Digimon they could find. He had received word from his best agent, Shademon, that a gym full of Digimon had been located and that the team of Tamers he had been watching also visited the place often.
Minutes ago, Shademon himself approached him, albeit in a very wounded condition. He had told him that he and his minions had failed to recruit the Digimon in the gym after a confrontation with two of the Tamers. In an unusual turn of events, Devimon forgave Shademon for his failure and sent him to prepare the first step of the attack. After all, it didn't matter if any Tamers were still alive if he ruled over the city.
Shademon soon spread his dark form over the street, shattering all of the streetlights and covering the street with darkness. Devimon leapt off the roof of the building, diving headfirst at break-neck speed before gently catching himself with a few quick beats of his wings.
The frightened New Yorkers stood in disbelief as the devil-like gargoyle of a Digimon towered over them on the darkened streets.
"Citizens of New York, I have good news," he declared with a booming voice, "You all belong to me! This city is my city now! I demand your cooperation in this hostile takeover, or your deaths will be severe."
One man wasn't as taken aback as he had hoped. The man wore a blue uniform with a badge on his chest, giving Devimon the impression that this was a human of great authority over the rest. Pointing a strange metal object at Devimon, the man fired several shots at him without effect.
"That tickled,"said Devimon as he pointed his sharp claws at the cop, "let me try." A second later, the man was in several places at once, to the horror of onlookers. Purple eyes amassed themselves over the roads and sidewalk, forming an invisible barrier around the crowd on the square, separating them from the oncoming police.
"I love target practice," said Devimon with a grin, "it seems the humans want to learn of my strength the hard way. If power is poison to man, then I will show them the cure."
Dev, along with many other kids were about to turn on the television set around the same time that day. On the screen, they were to see news coverage of a hostage situation in Times Square, how a devil-like figure was holding people ransom.
In Dev's case, he was laying on the couch at the center with his grandmother and mom as they reached closure on his grandmother's illness. He was flipping to the channel Digimon was on because Black, hidden as his shadow, had asked for it when all of a sudden, breaking news had struck.
"…We are unaware of the details of this horrific hostage situation. At least four confirmed casualties," said a young news reporter with doe eyes reddened with sadness, "authorities aren't revealing anymore information right now. We will keep you informed on the latest".
A quick replay of the earlier story depicted what Dev recognized as a Devimon, The Devimon the team had worried about for so long, surrounded by cowering crowds of at least fifty people inside a barrier.
"…I will release these sorry excuses for humans as soon as the 'thorns on my side'—the Tamers, especially the one who has BlackAgumon-face me like the 'Chosen Children' they were meant to be. For every hour I get no response, ten humans will die. The clock starts ticking now. Only you can save them now…" boomed the voice of the scariest Digimon Dev had ever seen.
Sweat poured down Dev's forehead as he looked to his shadow for guidance. Black was quiet. He also knew what they had to do. His mother caught his eye, a look of worry across her face.
"Mom, I think I'm going out for a bit…"
TO BE CONTINUED...
(UPDATE, APRIL 2014 Blahmon's note: For the last time, I am not dead. I know some readers have made it aware that I haven't submitted anything in a long time. I could say the usual excuses, but I honestly shouldn't have made a promised deadline to begin with. I know I've made a mistake in this chapter's original note saying next chapter would be in three weeks. This is my first series, so I'm making tons of mistakes and I'm learning from them. Anyway, I'm in the middle of final College papers but I'm managing to get things done with Shadow Force. In chapter 15 I promised five more chapters, and here we are at chapter 19. There are two massive parts left in this arc and maybe a final chapter or two after that. I've received many OC's since this chapter and have had difficulty placing them in the plot that I had already set up. Not to worry, Artur is about to have a lot of backup. That being said, my willingness to add OC's in this story has officially closed for the remainder of the series. Seriously, we have at least six more characters to introduce! I can't add anymore without detracting from the main story of this war and Dev's clash with himself. No promises this time, but since Easter Break is this weekend, CONSIDER CHAPTER 20 ALREADY DONE! Stay classy, and prepare yourselves! :)