Chapter 20: Speak for the Devimon (Part 3 of 4)

"The wait is over, sir."

"About time, Dr. Lewis. Consider yourself on thin ice. I'm a man of results, not waiting."

"Right you are, Mr. Yamaki, sir. As you can see here, the wild ones have avoided the Shinjuku area for the past week, but an anomaly has congregated in New York over the past month. Far more noteworthy than anything happening here at this time."
"For the last time, doctor. I do not have the authority or permission to worry about what's happening in the United States."

"Sir!" cried out a female voice.

"Tally! What are you doing outside of the Grid Room?! There could be something to report any minute!"

"I understand that, but you're going to want to see this. Turn on the news, doctor."

"…Strange events are happening at Times Square in Manhattan, New York City," said the Anchorwoman.

"What now?" asked Yamaki, taking off his shades.

Hours earlier…

"No! Stop! Please, no!" screamed Liz in agony as she faced absolute darkness, and the memories that came with Shademon's attack. Flailing her arms rapidly through the dark, she could only face Shademon's projection of her worst fear. Like Shademon's last attack at Dillion's apartment, Liz felt everything that happened to her when IT happened.

"Hold still!" growled an unseen masculine voice that Liz remembered all too well.

Suddenly, as if a light had been lit in a dark tunnel, the illusion lifted and Liz escaped her deep sleep—if one could call it that.

"Lizzie? Are you okay?" asked a familiar but much more welcoming voice.

"Sam?" muttered Liz as she rubbed her head. She had awoken in Mr. Beard's gym, now a cratered battleground from their Digimon's fight against Shademon and company.

"How are you feeling? Don't worry, you're safe now," said Sam as she crouched next to Liz's laying body.

"What happened?"

"Shademon got you again with his nightmare illusions. He got me too this time," said Sam with a nervous laugh. "I dreamt that my parents left me again. What about you?"

"I…don't want to talk about it. How come you got up first?"

"Turuiemon was able to snap me out of it soon after with a good slap to the head. You wouldn't wake up, so I watched over you while they took care of the Digimon outside. They've been at it for a good ten minutes."

"Turuiemon?!" sputtered Liz as she raised herself up. "You mean Lopmon digivolved again?"

"Yup," said Sam with a proud smile. "I was surprised too, but I think it has to do with how I was in danger. My bond with Lopmon has never been stronger."

"Yeah. You and your Digimon," said Liz with a frown. Where's Beebee? She okay?"

"She's fine. Sukamon came out earlier and helped her distract Gorillamon while Turuiemon fought Shademon. I think he ran away again. There were still some Goblinmon and Vilemon too, last time I checked," replied Sam. "Come on. Let's see if there's anything we can do."

Sam tried to grab Liz's hand up, but she refused, opting to get herself off the floor. Liz could see the former piles of gym equipment now in shambles scattered across the room as if there had been a battle.

"This place is a bigger mess than last time," noted Liz.

"You can thank that purple eyed freak for wrecking my establishment!" cried a voice from behind a nearby shelf. To Liz and Sam's shock, it was Mr. Beard, bruised but in the flesh.

"Mr. Beard, are you okay? Sukamon said you were unconscious," said Sam.

"Nothing a little liquid medicine from Russia can't handle," replied Mr. Beard as he massaged his chin. "You should have seen it. There were fifty of them flying bat things and troll guys blasting my store asking to see something about getting more Deecheemon! That angel guy of yours tried to stop them from taking my workers, but they fried him! Sukamon hid me here before knocking me out, but I saw what they did to him. Sad stuff."

"They…killed Angemon?!" muttered a horrified Sam. Liz remembered Angemon from the last time she was here. The partier tried to get her to disco dance with her, but she refused.

"There were a few others, but none chose to go with these guys without a fight. You're lucky you got here when you did or else I don't know where the rest of these guys would have done," added Mr. Beard with a sorrowful look of survivor's guilt.

"It's not over yet," replied Liz as she got her motivation back. Turning to Sam, she added, "Let's show these guys whose house this is."

Nodding in agreement, the two girls made it outside of the store to witness an intense battle between Biyomon, Turuiemon, Sukamon and Gorillamon surrounded by his henchmen.

Noticing the girls, the leader Goblinmon laughed as he thought of a way to win the battle.

"It looks like the tides have turned! Gorillamon, blast their Tamers and take back their headquarters!" he barked with a sneering expression. Gorillamon snorted in obedience as he turned his arm cannon towards the store entrance.

"Look out!" cried Liz as she grabbed Sam back inside. Before he could fire, Gorillamon felt an additional weight on his arm as a pair of shovel blades nicked his neck.

"Don't even think about it, buddy!" warned Turuiemon as her eyes glared into his, her form crouching on his outstretched arm with her blades around his head. "Just walk away while you're ahead, and still have yours." Sweating with fear, Gorillamon nodded silently and lowered his cannon.

Turuiemon back-flipped from her perch to the front door as Biyomon and Sukamon joined her.

"That's right! At least one of you has brains!" mocked Sukamon, outstretching his tongue at the digital assailants.

"What are you doing, you overgrown excuse of a lab monkey! Blast them already!" cried Goblinmon. Without a second thought, Gorillamon wrapped his large hands around the puny Digimon and hurled him into the air, blasting the yelping leader with his arm canon, spreading data all over the street.

"You're not my boss," growled Gorillamon before turning to his comrades, a mere dozen Vilemon. "Is Shademon gone?"

"Uh, yes?" squeaked a Vilemon weakly.

"If he's gone, then so are we," ordered Gorillamon before turning to Turuiemon. "This fight…not over. I'll see you soon."

"Agreed," replied Turuiemon with a growl as Gorillamon and the last of his crew escaped into the Digital Fog.

Their enemies fled, Sam and Liz returned outside and saw the fog disappear, revealing an oddly intact street.

"I don't understand, why is the street okay while the store isn't?" asked Sam.

"I've seen this before. The fog is some kind of gateway to the other side. Any damage they gave the digital ground didn't happen here. The store wasn't so lucky," replied Liz thoughtfully.

"Mi Amor! I thank the Digimon Sovereign for your safe return to sanity!" cheered Sukamon as he hopped over, trying to give Liz a sloppy kiss.

"I'm good. Stay away from me!" cried Liz as she slapped him away.

"Thank you for helping us, Suki!" said Sam with a giggle before Sukamon smooched the back of her hand.

"It was no problema, mi fuega. I had to avenge Angemon and protect you all," replied the custard-looking Digimon.

"Yeah, no. I did most of the protecting here!" corrected Turuiemon as she crossed her arms playfully.

"Hey, I helped!" cried Beebee as she flapped her wings angrily.

"I doubt it," muttered Liz. I still can't get her to digivolve, she thought.

"What do we do now? Should we follow them?" asked Sam.

"How? With the fog gone, there's no telling where they went," answered Turuiemon as she rubbed her shoulder, worn from the previous fight.

"Your comrade is right, Mi Uno. There will be customers soon and we need to fix the place muy rapido," suggested Sukamon as he hopped back to the store.

"My life!" cried out Mr. Beard as he looked at the severe damage in the place. "How am I going to fix the store?!"

"Leave that to us!" squeaked Chuumon as he and several Champion level Digimon emerged from the basement to help. With mop in hand, one Jijimon was eager to literally attack the craters away.

"Oh yeah, I forgot," added Sam to Liz. "Chuumon had left us earlier to look after the scared Digimon downstairs."

"I hadn't really noticed," muttered Liz, not caring.

After an hour had passed, the place had soon returned to its former glory—for the most part. Piles of treadmills had created another work hazard in the far corner, but the rest of the place was surprisingly good as new.

"I can't thank you guys enough for helping me," said Mr. Beard to Sam and Liz as the Digimon resumed their work.

"It's the least we can do," replied Sam with a giggle as Turuiemon used her shovel blades to scrape Digi-Dust off the ground nearby, and onto Biyomon's head.

"Seriously, I don't know much about these Deejeemon of yours' but you guys helped me a lot. Even if people would believe what I saw, I still would keep it secret for you guys. If there's anything I can do to return the favor, say the word," said Mr. Beard.

Looking to Liz and remembering her job situation, Sam had a thought.

"There is one thing…"

Hours later, at the Sunset Retirement Community Center in Brooklyn, Dev had reached closure with his sick grandmother as the two reminisced about his father: her son. The poor woman had suffered amnesia for years and according to Dev's mother, soon to suffer permanent blindness. Unaware of her son's death in Afghanistan, Grandma Eve had often confused Dev for his father until today, when Mrs. Norris told her the truth. Although she would eventually forget this sad truth, Eve Norris took the short time she had left to give her grandson the best advice she could ever give.

"I am proud…to call you my grandson," she whispered weakly from her bed as she turned her attention from the room's television to him.

"I love you so much, grandma. I wish you'd remember that," he replied.

"I will, don't worry. There is something I need you to remember that will lay my mind to rest."

"What is it?"
"You are the spitting image of your father. I may be old, and almost blind, but I can see that with clarity. From what I remember, your father was brave, strong, and was willing to do anything he set his mind towards. He…he gave his life protecting his men and fighting for this country. I want you to promise me you'll find something worth fighting for, like he did."

"Don't worry, mama, I'll make him proud," he answered as he hugged her.

"You already have. You just don't know it yet…"

Leaving his grandmother's side as his mom entered the room, Dev went back to the lobby to find Black.

"Buddy? You here?" Dev whispered, luckily unbeknownst to the elderly crowd nearby.

"Yes…" muttered a shadow from a nearby potted plant.

"You weren't with me when I talked with Mama Eve. She can't see well, so you didn't have to wait out here."

"You had to be with your family. It's okay," said the shadow with a sigh. Dev frowned.

"I noticed you've been pretty quiet lately. Well, quieter than normal. Is something bothering you? I know this place can be depressing, but you don't have to be here if you don't want to."

"You're right. I do not…," chirped BlackAgumon as the plant shook.

"Black, be careful! What if someone sees you?" gasped Dev as the plant turned its back—relatively speaking—on him.

"Dev? You love family."

"Uh, sure buddy. What about it?" replied an exasperated Dev as he tried not to be noticed talking to a plant.

"Am…am I family too?"

"Of course you are. Why would you think you're not? Is that why you are feeling down?"

Silence. Dev frowned as teardrops fell from the leaves on the plant.

"Why do I hide then?"

"What?"

"Dev, why am I hiding if I'm family too?"

"Black, what are you talking about? We're buddies. You can't be out in the open because you're a talking black dinosaur that shoots flames. Not that there's anything wrong with, you know, being a dinosaur."

"You say that, but the others don't hide. Lopmon lets Sammy hold her…and Biyomon flies with Lizzie. Betamon can walk. That girl's Wizardmon walks. Why am I hiding?"

"Because you're you," was all Dev could say and he soon regretted it. The plant soon watered itself as tears fell. With nothing else to say, and ashamed of himself, Dev walked back inside his grandmother's room. They were watching the nightly news with great interest. Not wanting to watch the boring old news, Dev went back to the lobby and flipped through channels. Looking for the cartoons, Dev turned to the shadow sitting next to him on the couch.

"I'm sorry for what I said, do you forgive me?" he asked Black.

Black didn't say anything, but growled ominously, much to Dev's shock.

"Whoa, buddy, calm down. I didn't mean…"
"No. Look!" cried Black as everyone's attention soon turned to the television.

To Dev's shock, a familiar Digimon from his favorite show was making headline news over the screen.

"…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."

"Thank you, Mimi," returned the Anchorman as he revealed what the news team knew at the moment.

A quick replay of the earlier story depicted the very Devimon the team had worried about for so long, surrounded by cowering crowds of at least fifty people inside a strange barrier of purple darkness.

"…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 didn't say anything.

His mother caught his eye from the room window, a look of worry across her face. Apparently, they had seen it too.

"Mom, I think I'm going out for a bit," said Dev nervously as he mouthed the words across the hall. His mother glared back, motioning for him to see her.

"Absolutely not! You're my boy! I don't know what you've been doing these past few weeks, but I'm forbidding you from leaving this place!" she yelled as soon as he entered the room.

"Mom! I swear I never met that monster before, but he is threatening those people if I don't go. I need to at least talk it over with my friends first," said Dev.

"No! Those kids have parents too. I know they wouldn't let them go."
"Yeah well, Sam's parents don't care and they let her go wherever. Liz and Noah have jobs and they save the world a lot so…"
"NO! You are my son. That's all that matters. You cannot go out there. I can't protect you," cried his mother as tears streamed down her face. "You're all I've got left."

"But I have Black. We'll be okay," answered Dev, unsure if he really was.

"I don't know what's going on, or who this Black friend of yours is," said Mama Eve as she finally spoke, "but if you think you can make a difference, then be a man about it. That's all there is to do."

"Mom, you don't understand," said Mrs. Norris as she tried to explain.

"I think I do," replied Eve as she turned to Dev with absolute lucidity in her eyes. "Be a man, like your father. Find something worth fighting for, and take responsibility with this great power of yours."

"Thanks, Mama," said Dev as he hugged them both. "I promise I'll be careful. I have to do this. Trust me."

"You don't have to do this, trust me," said a relaxed voice from Dev's phone.

"What do you mean, 'I don't'?" asked Dev, annoyed as he was already taking the bus with Black to Coney Island, where Noah's surf shop and nearby home were located.

"Look, dude. From what I can tell, this Devimon wants the 'Thorns on his side' or whatever to face him. That can't be you, can it? I can get that me and Sam, plus Liz, have been fighting Devimon's bros in some way or another for the past few months, but you? You just started. How can he know who you are?"asked Noah on the other end of the line.

"Well, Black and I did save Sam from MadLeomon that one time. And we did almost get eaten by Cyclomon and Gesomon those other two or three times. Oh yeah, and I fought Dokugumon and almost got eaten by it too."
"Exactly. All the times you messed with them, you either almost got eaten, or Sam had to save you. I doubt that this commander guy would even know you. You're good, dude. Stay indoors."

"But what about those people? Who's going to save them?"

"Dunno about our friend Prue, but I just talked to Sam. She and Liz are pretty upset with me for leaving my phone at the shop. Anyways, they had a little of a tussle at the gym with some of Devimon's 'mons there. They heard about the news and want some payback, so they're in."

"Oh god, is Sam okay?"

"Yeah, man. Don't worry about it. Lopmon digivolved and showed them what's up. As for me, I'm definitely going, but I hit a bit of a snag."
"What? Did Betamon get stuck in the sewers again?"

"Nope, but close. I kind of agreed with this kid's parents to babysit him for the rest of the night. It was really weird. I don't even know how to babysit, but they wouldn't take no for an answer. The thing is: he's a Tamer too. His name is Tim and he has an Armadillomon. Thought it was some kind of dog, you know?"

"That didn't sound close, or weird. That's pretty awesome! Can he help?"
"I'd rather he not, since he's just a little kid," said Noah as a kid in the background yelled in disagreement. "Sorry, he's ten. I guess that makes him a Tamer."

"Well, if a kid is joining the fight, then count me in."

"Look man, Tim's probably going to wait at Dillion's shop after the meeting anyways, so you're welcome to look after him."

"We're meeting there? Dang, I'm in the wrong bus. I was heading to your shop."

"Then tell Uncle Joe I'll be babysitting at Tim's house for the meantime since you're heading over there."

"Wait, he doesn't know? I told my mom and grandma and they were upset."
"Ouch. Bad move, bro. Don't worry about it, just come straight here and look after Tiny Tim for me, will you?"

"But I want to help!"
"Now you're starting to sound like a kid. Look, you said it yourself that you wanted out of the Digimon fighting club. You got what you wanted, just stay put. Besides, we need the best we have and Sam and I can't protect you."

"Why does everyone think I need protecting? I thought I was the leader or something!"

"Why'd you think that? I've been having meetings at my house, kept Digimon at my places, and recruited people. I'm not much of a leader, but if anything, I'm this one. Never mind that, your attitude will only get someone hurt or worse."

"Those people have families! I told my mom that I'd help."

"Then help by not going."

With a click, Dev ended the call in anger as he considered leaving the bus to get one headed towards Knickerbocker Avenue, the location of Dillion's card shop and meeting place for their next battle.

"Who does he think he is, my mother?" muttered Dev to himself apparently as Black ignored him.

"I mean, what are the odds that there is another Tamer out there with a BlackAgumon?" he asked, tempting the fates.

Many miles away, in a seedy bar in the middle of an underground rock concert, a young man in his late teens was busy at work, teaching a pair of hoodlums in the school of hard knocks.

"...ColdBloods can bring an army for all I care," said the dark eyed teen as he slammed a thug into the wall. "I ain't comin' back."

"Blood is life, Grey," whimpered the other hoodlum as he nervously grabbed a broken glass bottle. "8-BIT said that 'to lose one's Blood is to lose one's Life'."

"He's right, yo. You can't sing songs forever," added the punk with his head against the wall. "There's only one way this ends, brother. You either live with cold blood until the day you die, or you die tonight losing a whole lot of it."

With a nod, the punk motioned for the other hoodlum to lunge at the man with the bottle.

The dark-eyed man quickly dodged his lunge, knocking him out with a well placed chair to the face. With violence out in the open, the rest of the bar soon devolved into ravenous brawlers as the loud rock-and-roll performance continued on the stage.

"Change! Into Power!" bellowed a grunge-sounding vocalist on the stage as the song drove men and women mad. "All my friends…are METALHEADS!"

"When will you guys ever learn?" asked the man to the two thugs as a large shadow appeared from behind the counter. "I still have friends."

"Dead Center," growled the shadowy T-Rex as he opened his mouth aflame, aiming his attack.

"Your days are numbered, yo! You'll be sorry!" cried out one of the hoodlums as they fled the scene.

"NOWHERE NEAR…STRANGE!" screamed the rock singer as the band appeared to lose their minds in the noise otherwise known as music.

"I'm never sorry," muttered the dark-eyed Tamer to himself as he turned his attention to his BlackAgumon.

"Nice work, Rex," said the man, surprising his Digimon with a compliment.

"Thanks, master, but it was wasted power," replied BlackAgumon, named Rex by his Tamer.

"Agreed," said the man as he calmly sat down on the chair, surrounded by an ongoing bar brawl. This was evidently part of his lifestyle.

"It's been awhile since our last real battle," added the man as he served himself a soft beverage to stay sober amongst the chaos. "I'm sure another Minotarumon or something will turn up."

"THE IMPRESSION…THAT I GET!" screamed the vocalist as he slammed his guitar in the ending song, temporarily distracting the two.

Without warning, his D-Power added to the cacophony of the bar. The beeping was difficult to hear, but the Digimon sensed it too.

"What is it this time? More ColdBloods?" asked the Tamer, not really caring regardless.

"Even better, master…" answered the Digimon with an inhuman excitement for carnage.

"…Target Practice."

Noah had finally reached the usually empty card shop only to notice that there were a lot of Digimon in the room.

"I'm…here?" he said as he set Betamon on the floor to take in his surroundings.

He could account for Samantha and Liz, along with Beebee, but a Champion level ninja-looking rabbit took Lopmon's place at Samantha's side. Not only that, but Prue was there too with her Digimon, apparently a Candlemon this time.

Beside her, stood two older guys he had never seen before with a small-dragon looking Digimon. It kind of looked like a Dracomon, if Noah's memory served him correctly which almost never did, but this Digimon was wearing the oddest disguise he had ever seen: a tank/drill machine of cardboard.

"We were worried about you!" scolded Sam with her arms crossed.

"I'm sorry for not having my phone earlier, but I had to take care of something urgent," answered Noah.

"Don't worry. I told them it was my fault," said Prue, grinning towards Sam and Liz. Noah shrugged. It was Prue's idea for him to chase the Tamer with Armadillomon.

"Wait, you mean you guys have already met?" asked Noah, puzzled.

"Yeah, we kinda got here the same time these girls did," answered one of the unknown guys.

"We had some trouble of our own, so we thought a few cards wouldn't hurt," added the other guy. "What are the odds that we would all go to the same card shop?"

"Well, the one we usually go to was destroyed under mysterious circumstances the other day," answered Sam.

"A mystery for another day," said Turuiemon from behind them.

"Uh, this guy's right. Somethin' strange is goin' on around here and this whole thing with Devimon is just the beginning," said one of the new Tamers.

"Oh, Noah, I almost forgot," said Prue as she introduced the two Tamers. "This oddly named dude is Artur, without the h for some reason. And my friend here is Donnie. They kinda saved my life a while ago, but I've known them for a few weeks."

"We're just returning the favor. She saved me when we first met," added Donnie as he shook Noah's hand. Artur, on the other hand, was not so friendly.

"So, who you supposed to be, anyways? Their leader?" asked Artur with his arms crossed, unimpressed with the laidback surfer.

"Something like that," answered Noah, cautious of this guy. "Are you one?"

"Sure thing. I got a small crew of about five or six Tamers on call. Nothing fancy. Lucas, my brother, is a Tamer too, but we don't always get along. Another guy named Lucas is in my team but we really don't get along. I've personally crossed dimensions and reached Burst-Mode Evolution. Overall, we're the best," boasted Artur.

"We've fought at least a dozen enemy Digimon a piece, with about a hundred kills overall," added Donnie. "What about your team?" This made Noah frown in silence.

"We…don't exactly fight to kill Digimon," answered Sam.

"You don't?!" questioned Artur as he turned to Prue. "I thought you said these guys could help! What kind of a circus is this?"

"Look. I know this is crazy and we just met, but if you guys can't help us, don't," said Noah.

"He's right," added Prue as she looked to Donnie. "I called you to help me out and you did. This whole Devimon thing might be too big for you. You don't owe us anything."

"The hostages need our help and the four of you won't be enough," replied Donnie.

"Ha! Too big for us?" boasted Artur as he high-fived his Dracomon.

"Master Art is correct!" replied his blue Dracomon. "Draconic Sword or the Time-Space Ripper Crystal should have no problem dealing with the likes of our enemy!"

"Okay…"said Noah. "Then it's settled. Donnie and Artur can help us fight Devimon's army while Dillion and Timmy stay here."

"Hey!" cried out Dillion and Tim in unision.

"Who are you?" asked Sam. Noah had forgotten to introduce the boy beside him.

"This is Timmy and Armadillomon. He won't be joining us, but I sort of accidentally agreed to take care of him," said Noah.

"Can Armadillomon help us? Can you Digivolve him?" asked Sam.

"I don't know how, but he did get huge once when he sneezed last month. He looked like a dinosaur then. Didn't change back for a whole day," muttered Tim, much to the annoyance of Liz.

He digivolved, by sneezing, she thought to herself. What is wrong with me?

The group sat around the card table purchasing cards from Dillion as Noah spent the next few minutes explaining what he went through. He informed them how Tim is just a kid, but has a Digimon unbeknownst to his oblivious parents. He had agreed to babysit the ten-year-old, but is leaving him at the shop for his safety.

"You think you had it bad babysitting a kid? Try fighting a Shadow Digimon of your worst nightmares!" replied Liz.

"We also fought Gorillamon but he got away," added Beebee.

"Oh yeah, and I was ambushed in Devimon's lair," said Prue with a sly grin.

"You what? I thought I told you not to go there alone!" replied Noah, concerned. "You mean that's where you were all this time?"

"It's no big deal. We saved her, so she wasn't alone," boasted Artur as he patted his Digimon on the back.

"I was there too, guys," muttered Candlemon although nobody paid him any attention.

"Which reminds me, but why is that Dracomon wearing a costume?" asked Noah, pointing at the Green Dracomon.

"It's his disguise, okay?" cried Donnie in anger. "Why does everybody ask me that?"

"What is he disguised at? A pile of poop?" joked Turuiemon, sounding like her rookie-level.

"Lopmon! I mean, Turuiemon!"

"Sorry, Sam," muttered Turuiemon as she sulked in a corner.

"Seriously, though. You're better off following Tim's example," said Noah as he turned to the undisguised Armadillomon. "He just says he's a dog and people believe it."

"Really? That doesn't make any sense. He doesn't even look like a dog," replied Liz.

"Maybe if you say he's from Japan," joked Prue, although everyone laughed in agreement.

"It's worked before," said Tim, nervous to be the center of attention.

"My Dracomon can turn into my motorcycle!" bragged Artur, getting a nudge on the elbow from Donnie. "Ow! What was that for?"

"A word, please," said Donnie as he headed for the door. He and Artur left the room as Dillion handed Noah a familiar card.

"What's this?" asked Noah. The card was blue all over without any text, save for a picture of what appeared to be a dinosaur head with its jaws open.

"It's one of a few cards my grandpa got in the mail today before he left for Atlantic City. Time Share there, I think," answered Dillion, also nervous to be around so many people.

"I know that card! It's a Digivolution card! I got one from the sky once!" said Prue.

"Really? Mine appeared in a dream. No joke!" added Sam.

"Cool! I think it's because we're the 'Chosen Children' or whatever," said Prue. "My Candlemon reached Wizardmon that way."

"Did you say Wizardmon?" asked Sam with a look of worry on her face.

"Uh, yeah I did. Why?"

"Nothing. It's just that I had a few bad experiences with a mean one."

"I'm sure it wasn't Candlemon."

"I know. He was destroyed in one of our last battles."

"Oh."

"I was just under the impression that all Wizardmon were evil."

"Why would you think that? If anything, that Wizardmon you fought was a bad apple," replied Prue. "He was pretty cool on the show if my memory serves me right."

"Look, Miss Samantha," replied Candlemon as he approached her. "I'm sure if Wizardmon was around, he'd tell you he's sorry. There's no way a Wizardmon like me would attack a beautiful girl, ever."

Blushing profusely, Sam giggled in response. Liz felt like she was going to vomit as Sam and Prue became fast friends.

"Let's be friends!" cheered Sam and even Turuiemon.

"Only if we can be best friends!" replied Prue with a Cheshire Cat-like grin as she brought the three of them—and the shy Candlemon—together in a group hug.

"What the Hell is your problem, bro? I thought that's what we were: bros!" yelled Artur as Donnie puffed smoke from a cigarette outside of the shop on the curb.

"We are, but you need to watch your mouth in there," said Donnie, coughing. "We got a good thing going in there, meeting new people like us. People who aren't stubborn like Lucas. By Lucas, I don't mean your brother. The other one."

"Aren't they both stubborn?" joked Artur, causing the two to laugh together. Donnie started coughing uncontrollably as he dropped his cigarette on the ground. "I just call my bro Luke when they're around."

"You're right. Luke suits him better," replied Donnie as he picked the cigarette off the ground.

"I wish you'd stop doing that," said Artur.

"What, being the boss of you?" joked Donnie as he resumed smoking.

"That too. But I meant that," said Artur, nodding towards his cigarette. "It kills you, you know."

"I'll stop smoking when I'm dead, which might be soon," replied Donnie, not exactly joking.

"Come on. You don't mean that."

"I kinda do. Them Tamers and your tall tales won't be enough to face Devimon. He has an army! What about us? Our group can't even get along with you or me as leader and this group has a bunch of kids in it! The only thing Prue's good at is getting in trouble. That's how we found her today. We're not going to make it if we go out there tonight."

"You're wrong. I really did enter another dimension once. I swear. I might exaggerate every once in a while but there's truth in it. If we get some of our boys here, will that even the odds? I'll get Prue to call some of our guys over. Cheer up. I'll even call Ana for you."

Donnie straightened up as soon as he heard that name. Ana was Artur's childhood friend and another Tamer in their circle of friends. While Donnie enjoyed the nice girl's company in their group to counter the obnoxious behavior of the other guys, it was Artur whom the girl had a crush on.

"You know she likes you, right?" asked Donnie, causing Artur 's face to turn red.

"What? You're crazy!"

"Sure am, but you guys have been just friends for too long. You could use a girlfriend. Keep you in check," joked Donnie.

"Whatever. Let's just get back inside and talk about the plan," said Artur.

Later, Prue had borrowed Artur's iphone to call up his friends, for she could be more persuasive than the stubborn leader. While Artur and Donnie were calling up some of their closer friends, Prue was in charge of anyone she knew and their acquaintances and/or rivals.

"Are you really going to bail on such a big opportunity?" she asked, in the middle of a debate with Lucas, Artur's rival.

"No way! I'll help in any way I can. I'm sure there are plenty of enemies in that army for Liollmon and me to fight elsewhere. I just want nothing to do with Artur," said Lucas on the other end.

"If you're helping at all, I'm glad. But you know Devimon is holding hostages, right?"

"Yeah, that can be you and Artur's problem. If I'm not the leader, then forget about me being anywhere near that guy. Lucas out." With a beep, the call ended. Next, she tried Marcio's number.

"…And that's why I can't make it."

"Oh, well that's fine I guess."

"Just kidding! I had you going for a minute there!"

"Uh, right. So can you and Gomamon make it to the Card Shop at Knickerbocker in thirty minutes?"

"Maybe. Gomamon wants to know who else is there."

"Well, you might not know anyone here. There's this surfer boy named Noah with Betamon, two girls, Sam and Liz, with a Lopmon and Biyomon I think. Some kid with an Armadillomon, but he's not going to the fight. Oh, and Donnie and Artur—"

"—No way! Donnie Klebold? Artur without the h? I know him! I go to school with him! You mean he's a Tamer too?!"

"Yup. Him and Donnie share a pair of Dracomon. I don't know them that well, but if you're friends with them, you're welcome to come with us and fight Devimon's army."

"Sure thing! I'll take about an hour or two to get there though. I'll just meet you at the square."

"Cool, thanks. Bye!" Despite her luck with Marcio, the rest of Artur's acquaintances weren't so willing to make it. Especially Daniel, a Tamer as cocky as he was lazy.

"Not really feeling it, dude."

"What do you mean, you can't make it because you don't feel like it?"

"That's what I just said, yeah. Kudamon and I just ate some pizza and today's COD day. I'll call you later when I'm done."

"Videogames can wait, man. Artur, Donnie, and Marcio are going."

"They don't know me. It sounds like you have a team already. Peace out. Oh, and Kudamon says hi."

Prue nearly slammed the phone against the wall, but it wasn't hers. Giving up with Artur's supposed 'team', she tried calling up some of her acquaintances, but none were willing to help a stranger.

"I don't even know you. We fought those Goblinmon together, but that was it."

"I know, Gary, but what about Labramon? He used to be a stray in Devimon's army! Shouldn't he be helping us fight them?"

"You mean Dobermon. Don't forget, Labramon is Dobermon now. He digivolved a while back."

"Then he'd be perfect!"

"Look. I wish I could help, but it's my friend's birthday today and I'm already at their house."

"Those people will miss a lot of their birthdays if we don't help them!" As Prue said this, this caused Gary to pause to reconsider.

"I'll see what I can do. You said some guys you know are helping later, so maybe I'll stop by if I see things on the news aren't getting better. That's the best I can do. I'm so sorry."

"It's fine. Thank you, Gary. Goodbye." Prue hung up the phone as she returned to the room, sitting next to Noah while Sam and Liz talked nearby.

"Everything okay?" asked Noah.

"You bet. It's just that nobody wants to help us. Either Artur is a real jerk, or I am. Nobody wants to help us out, even if it's for the hostages."

"From my experience at the shop, sometimes you got to be a friend to make a friend. Other than with Sam, you seem pretty distant around other people. Maybe you need to help them out first."

"What are you talking about? I know lots of people. The problem is that I can't convince these stubborn kids to fight with us. No matter how hard I argue with them, they can't see that I'm right."

"My uncle Joe said that sometimes being nice is more important than being right."

"How? I appreciate your Jedi advice, but it's too late. Maybe I have been distant making friends. Wizardmon is always telling me to stick with one group, but it's hard. I know so many Tamers, but none of them really know me."

"When this is over, maybe you can join Team Awesome with us."

"Is that what you're calling it now?"

"Probably not, but its Devon's name for us. It suits us all pretty well."

"Speaking of him, is he going to be able to make it? We could use whatever Champion that BlackAgumon can turn into."

"Black can't make it because he can't digivolve. Dev would only get in the way. He can find trouble better than you can."

Prue laughed. "You're probably right. Artur and him might be good friends if stubbornness is a positive trait."

The two of them laughed as Artur and Donnie came to join them.

...

Meanwhile, Sam and Liz were talking by the corner.

"What's wrong with you? We're friends now and suddenly me being friends with another girl is making you jealous?" asked Sam, confronting Liz about her aloofness.

"It's not that, although I don't like her," answered Liz, whispering to keep the rest from hearing her. "You and her make it look so easy. Even Noah can digivolve Betamon whenever he feels like it. I heard that those new guys can do all kinds of Digivolution. That other kid even got Armadillomon to Digivolve, by sneezing! Then there's me."

"Is that what this is about? You think you can't digivolve Beebee? That you're not good enough? Don't think like that."

"Yeah? Well Dev isn't going because he can't. Why am I going? So I can be some kind of 'Red Shirt' and die instead? I might as well be wearing a target on my shirt."

"Don't think like that. Look, you and I work well together even if Biyomon doesn't digivolve. We have at least four new people helping us, and it'll be nice working with someone I can trust. Noah might be busy and Wizardmon still gives me the creeps. You're the best card player I know."

"You don't mean that."

"I do, and you know I do. We need each other and I know you want to help those hostages. Do it for them."

"I guess you're right. That Devimon is going down tonight for all the times he got me fired from a job."
"That reminds me. I talked it over with Mr. Beard, and he wants to hire you to work at his gym in order to keep Sukamon and the rest of them in check. I know you don't like them, but the new rookie Digimon are going to crowd the place and he needs an employee. You interested?"

"How is the pay?" asked Liz, wiping tears off her face.

"Whatever you want it to be. My parents helped fund the place, whether they know it or not. The Digimon volunteer, for the most part, so you'll get a manager's compensation. You won't have to work at so many jobs anymore."

"Thank you," said Liz, speechless. "You didn't have to do this."

"I did it because I care about you. No one should have to do what you go through every day," said Sam as they hugged it out.

"Are you girls done making out, because we got work to do," joked Prue, much to their annoyance and embarrassment. The whole group was watching them from the table.

"Anyways, based on Prue's estimate, the total kill count of everyone we know is around a hundred Digimon or so, give or take," said Noah, continuing his strategy.

"Not every Digimon we defeated were working for Devimon, unfortunately," added Donnie.

"With a general number of filters, such as level and type, we've concluded that Devimon's henchmen—or henchmon as I like to call 'em—have been coordinating many particular attacks around New York City," stated Prue.

"She's right," said Sam, going up to the table with Liz. "We had drawn out a weird star shape when Noah mapped out the attacks earlier this week."

"I remember him doing that with me," said Prue, "I think it's deliberate. It could be something bad."

"It's a pentagram."

"What?" asked Artur as everyone turned to Liz.

"Don't look at me like I'm crazy. I mean, it's a satanic symbol. I grew up catholic so I kind of read up on these things," defended Liz.

"If that's the case, then we really are screwed," said Donnie.

"Why's that?" asked Noah.

"I read about this in an online forum once. If Devimon was making a shape like this around the city, then it's either going to summon a whole lot of monsters or a really big one," replied Donnie as he fumbled for another smoke to calm his nerves.

"Either way, a complete one spells the end of life as we know it," said Candlemon from nearby. The Digimon had apparently been playing Yu-Gi-Oh with Dillion and Tim.

"It's not finished, though, and it won't be if we defeat Devimon tonight," said Turuiemon.

"What's the plan then?" said Artur. "I say we hit them from all sides, scare 'em into losing the hostages and everybody digivolve at once."

"There isn't a plan, not this time. I haven't been the best leader, but I think we should trust our guts. So, basically Artie's plan but with whatever we can do. Not all of us can digivolve, but I don't think Devimon is expecting us now," said Noah.

"He's right," said Sam. "If we take him by surprise, we can evacuate the hostages and focus our firepower on him before he can react."

"You guys are gonna need a lot of cards," interrupted Dillion.

"Which is why we are here," joked Prue.

"How much for all of these?" asked Noah, motioning at the table full of five stacks of cards given by Dillion.

"No charge. These are my personal stash from last Christmas. I can still use them at tournaments afterwards, so feel free to use them. I organized them by type so that you can match styles," said Dillion nervously.

"Thanks! You've been a good help," said Noah. "Look after Tim here while we're gone, will you? I'd appreciate it."

"No problem. Tim's already been a friend of mine, even before the whole Bitsy thing. I'm sure he won't mind," said Dillion.

"I want to go home!" cried Tim, pouting.

"Later, kid," said Noah. "Right now, we have to save the city from bad guys."

"Can't I come with you?" whined Timmy as he gripped Armadillomon close to his chest. "Armadillomon can roll into a ball. He can beat them up!"

"You guys could use all the help you can get. Maybe you can get Bitsy and the four of us can help you out," suggested Dillion to Noah.

"There's no time, and plus, Kodokugumon is pretty mean. I don't know how she'll handle it," answered Noah. "Just look after Tim here and if Dev shows up, keep him here."

"That's not fair! I never get to do anything! Bitsy is my Digimon. Just because I'm not a Tamer like you guys doesn't mean I can't help," complained Dillion. "Artur told us earlier how he started out with two Dracomon and Donnie took care of one until he got his own D-Power. That means that I can get one if I have Bitsy! Why won't you let me take care of him, I mean, her!"

"That's not the same," said Donnie. "We were chosen. You haven't been chosen so this Bitsy or whatever can't be your Digimon."

"He's right" said Sam. "You aren't a Tamer like us, Dillion. What would your dad say if you got hurt? We can manage."

"My dad doesn't care about me, and I know I can be useful! Please!" begged Dillion.

"I'm sorry, but we don't need your help. Goodbye," said Noah as the group made their leave.

"My brother Luke and my friend Ana are on their way here, so just tell them to meet us there," added Artur as the group left in Sam's limousine, pulling up at the curb.

"Not too shabby, miss Petit!" praised Prue as they got in.

"Thanks, but it's nothing," said Sam.

"Your friends, to Times Square in the middle of this crisis?" asked the driver Mr. Sykes, careful to question their motives. After everything he's seen, it's no surprise.

"Yes sir. Step on it," added Turuiemon, to Mr. Sykes' silent surprise.

"You losers can ride a limo for all I care. I'll take my bike," said Artur as he got on his ride with both Dracomon. "Lose the suit, Green," he told the Drill-tank disguised Digimon.

"You didn't have to ask," chirped Dracomon as he burned it away with fire.

"What about you, Donnie? Are you riding with me?" asked Artur as he looked over to the limousine.

"I think I'm going to ride with the girls, I mean, the guys," answered Donnie with a mischievous grin as he snuggled up between Prue and Liz in the limo. "Take care of Blue and Green until we get there."

"Whatever, man," said Artur with a grunt as he put on his goggles and sped away.

With raised eyebrows, Mr. Sykes pulled out of the driveway as the limousine carrying Sam, Liz, Noah, Donnie, Prue and the Digimon Candlemon, Biyomon, Turuiemon, and Betamon drove towards the center of their next battle.

"I still think I could have helped…" muttered Dillion as he continued his duel with Armadillomon.

"You activated my Trap Card!" cried Armadillomon as his paw scraped a card face-up. "My Barrier traps your monsters while I attack your life points!"

"Darn!" pouted Dillion as he put up his cards. It had been a good hour since the group had left them. Tim sulked at the corner, playing Solitaire by himself.

"Timmy! Want to play Skylanders or something?" asked Dillion, not wanting to be a bad host for his supposed best friend.

"No thanks," said the boy as he sulked some more.

Suddenly, a familiar face made it into the shop, panting at the Taxi ride and mile-run it took to get there.

"I made it! I hope I'm not too late, apparently the end of the world means traffic for days," said Dev as he looked around. "Oh, hey Dillion. I'm sure you met everyone. Did they leave already?"

"Yeah, buddy. Noah said you might make it. This is Tim and Armadillomon. I'm babysitting them for Noah," said Dillion.

"Uh, sure. Look, I need to get there right away and I left my phone at Noah's house so my mom wouldn't bother me. Can I use your phone to call a good cab? Maybe that chauffer of Sam's can take me."

"I can't let you do that, bro. Noah told me to keep you here while they fight the bad guys," said Dillion.

"Oh really now? Not even if I brought a special friend?" asked Dev as he turned behind to at the door. BlackAgumon stood there, still sulking, but with a strange spider Digimon latched onto his head.

"Bitsy?! You came!" cheered Dillion as he ran over and picked the Digimon off of Black.

"Hungry!" hissed the Kodokugumon as he bit onto Dillion's shoulder.

"Ouch! I knew you missed me!" said Dillion as he hugged his murderous Digimon close.

"I picked him up while I was at Noah's place," said Dev. "I know they don't want people like us to help, but Devimon asked for me personally. I can't back down. You can come too, Dillion as long as you have Bitsy. He'll protect you. Bring your cards."

"Bitsy is a girl! Wizardmon said so," said Dillion as he kissed his pet on the head.

"My eyes! Kill!" cried Kodokugumon as she struggled in his grasp.

"Okay…anyway, what about this kid? Tim?" asked Dev as he looked over at Timmy.

"I promised to take care of Tim, my best friend-that's-not-as-best-as-you," said Dillion cheerfully.

"I guess he can come with us as long as you keep looking after him," said Dev, turning on the TV. "Let's see how it's going so far. I can't believe you haven't been watching. Who knows what I missed."

Dev and his buddies watched the following events unfold as news helicopters surveyed the area formerly known as Times Square.

Over the last hour, as the replay had displayed, hundreds of rats had escaped the sewer and storm drains, crowding the square as they scurried for shelter. This had covered the area in blackness, even more so than the purple sphere that formed a barrier around the hostages. Devimon stood over the twelve-story barrier as he watched the police surround the perimeter.

"That's weird," said Dillion. "The barrier was smaller last time I checked. It must have grown."

"Why would it do that?" asked Dev.

The rats were not enough to keep early responders busy, so Devimon had unleashed a swarm of what had appeared to be giant bats with outstretched jaws. These Vilemon had attacked the police and kept them busy.

Elsewhere, in adjacent streets, marched several squads of Goblinmon led by an Ogremon, Hyogamon, and Fugamon respectively. They were apparently heading over to the scene slowly, smashing jammed vehicles in their way. Digital portals were opening up even closer, filled with various silhouetted Digimon formerly located in Devimon's dungeon. Among Dokugumon and other Champion level Digimon was one Gorillamon that Dillion remembered Biyomon talking about.

This was an army alright, and there was nothing Dev could do from here.

They should be there by now, thought Dev.

As filming reached the present, the news copter (the only thing able to film the chaos, above the reach of the rats) saw a large shadow appear from within the sphere.

"There's something waiting in the barrier!" said Tim, paying attention.

"He must be having more Digimon wait inside the barrier with the hostages. Unless…," said Dev as he pieced it together. "…It's a trap! I have to warn them! Let's go…"

Dev, Dillion, Tim, and their respective Digimon left the now locked up shop, now opting to take the subway on account of heavy traffic leaving town.

"Are you ready for this, Black?" asked Dev, sweating as he wondered what he would do when he approached this Devil.

"Are we?" asked Black.

"Am I late?" asked a feminine voice from the road. Turning, Dev and company saw a boy and girl standing there with a Dobermon and Veemon.

"Who are you people?!" shouted Dev. His day was getting weirder and weirder.

Back at Japan, finally in the present as Yamaki finished his discussion with the Chairman.

"I know we can't do anything about the American crisis, but I'm urging you to consider Protocol Yuggoth!" yelled Yamaki as he replaced his sunglasses.

"I appreciate your concern but as I've said before for the last half-hour, it is out of my hands. I'd rather not activate such a potentially dangerous operation in the wake of a foreign problem. Yuggoth is only to be activated in preventing domestic anomalies. Is that understood?" asked the Chairman.

"Understood."

"Good, now as soon as I finish my meeting with the President, I will stop by so we can go over the logistics. As you were," said the Chairman as the silhouette faded out on the video screen. Yamaki's blood was about to boil.

Turning to his assistants, Yamaki gave out the new orders.

"Activate Yuggoth. I don't care what the Chairman says. He won't be here for another hour or so. Let's see what damage we can prevent until then."

"Yes sir," replied Riley as she and Tally prepared for the Grid Room.

Let's see who's in charge now, thought Yamaki as he considered his options. His Chairman thought he could be the boss of him but there were higher-ups he could talk to get him replaced.

"Let's hope the Americans can deal with whatever made it out first. We can only hold the wild-ones in the zone," said Dr. Lewis, one of Yamaki's technicians.

"Sir! You have a long-distance call on the line!" cried out Tally from nearby.

"Is it encrypted?!" barked Yamaki as he got the go ahead. Picking up a nearby phone, Yamaki listened. "Pan? Our last call was too long ago. How's the weather down there?"

"…You prayed for rain. It's happening," answered a gruff voice on the line.

"How bad? I told you to carry an umbrella," said Yamaki as he took off his shades.

"There's water everywhere. My umbrella won't be enough. No shelter. People will be wet…I'll think of something."

"Think fast, Pan."

"Thinking fast wasn't my strong suit."

"But you do have a good suit."

"That I do. It's been a weird week for rain. The stripes gave me a timeout for my suit. Apparently it raises attention in the wrong places."

"Then wear a new one."

"I will as soon as I find the inspiration. You know me. By the way, I met a kid today on the street. Had a wild friend with him. Thought I'd give him a calling card."

"I trust your instinct. Go on."

"There were others. With what you would call pets."

"I don't know if I have the time to listen to your story right now, but next time we chat, you can tell me all about it. Keep me posted on the weather and let me know if it gets worse."

"As you wish. I think the kids are going to play in the rain."

"Then watch them drown," said Yamaki as he hung up the phone.

Noah and company had a tough time getting through traffic, going slow enough to spot a TV display through the windows to watch the news. To his surprise, Noah noticed a familiar cosplayer across the street.

"Hey, it's Panda Guy," muttered Noah. "I guess bears watch the news."

"What?" asked Prue, in addition to the other puzzled looks in the car.

"Me and Dev saw a guy in a panda bear costume twice this week. Maybe that's him over there."

"I'm sure there are others," replied Sam. "Although it is an odd choice to wear a costume like that."

"This is New York, baby!" joked Donnie as he wrapped his arms around Prue and Liz. "Things like this happen all the time."

"The thing is, the last time we saw him, he was getting arrested by police in Brooklyn. It was after we had left the sewers chasing Gesomon," added Noah as he pondered the possibility.

"You sure have some interesting stories," laughed Prue.

As the limo passed by, they failed to notice the Panda Guy hand a strange card to a teenager standing near him. Both had stood in silence, watching news unfold on the store display's Television sets.

"Shibumi sends his regards," said the Panda Bear Guy as he whisked away.

"Whatever," said the dark-eyed teenager as he placed the card in his pocket.

"Are we going now, master?" whispered a voice from a nearby alley. The trench-coated BlackAgumon had been waiting for some time.

"Not yet. I want to see if there are others coming. Let's see them spring the trap first before we go," answered the Tamer as he kept watching events unfold.

Noah and company were unfortunately not going to be on TV, as a swarm of Vilemon covered the cameras.

Unable to keep flight, the helicopter sputtered out of control as it nearly crashed into one of Times Square's giant screens.

"I can't stabilize! We're going down!" cried the pilot as the buckled up cameraman and the reporter, Mimi, held on for dear life.

Suddenly, their descent has stopped as the vehicle was gently placed onto the ground.

"Did we crash?" asked Mimi as she stuck her head out of the helicopter. To her shock, a large dinosaur-dragon had caught them.

"Thou art okay, miss?" asked the Blue Coredramon. Mimi, nearly fainting, nodded.

"Get out of here, now!" shouted Artur as he tore up a trail with his bike between the rats for the passengers to escape.

Turning his attention to the sphere, Artur removed his goggles.

"Devimon! I challenge you!" he yelled. As if he couldn't hear him, Devimon stayed on top of the giant sphere as a dozen or so Vilemon attacked from above.

"Green Flare Breath!" shouted a nearby Green Coredramon as flames shot out and disintegrated the Vilemon.

"Great job, you two," said Artur proudly as the two Coredramon joined him. "Devimon won't know what hit him."

"Hey! No fair!" whined a voice from behind them. "You got started without me and you digivolved them both?" It was Donnie, followed by Noah, Sam, Liz, Prue, and their Digimon.

"I got tired of waiting. Besides, Devimon is about to kill a hostage if we don't do something," said Artur.

"YOU ARE MISTAKEN, human!" boomed Devimon's voice from above them on the sphere. "This fight was over before it had even begun."

"Release the hostages! We're here!" yelled Prue, remembering her earlier ordeal.

"I never break a promise, but it seems you just did," answered Devimon. "I asked for the thorns on my side and the Tamer with BlackAgumon to be here, and I see no BlackAgumon. It looks like I shouldn't have released the hostages already."

"What are you talking about? We can see them right there!" yelled Noah, motioning towards the giant sphere where they could clearly see through the transparent barrier a multitude of frightened New Yorkers on their knees.

"It was an illusion to build on the dramatics," said Devimon. "It was going to get crowded here anyway, so I had my agent conjure up an illusion while my Goblinmon moved them away in the shadows. If what you call police can hear me through the squeaking, you will find ninety-nine hostages in one of the theaters on Broadway. I believe it was Cats the Musical, ironically."

As he said this, the sphere's transparency from the side wavered and the real occupants within could be seen for just a moment. Three pairs of large eyes glared at the Tamers from within.

"What's in there?" asked Donnie.

"Not hostages, that's for sure," answered Noah.

"I believe you children have been thorns on my side long enough," said Devimon. "Destroying my agents when all they want to do is conquer your world. They couldn't finish my task, but with your deaths, they might have an easier time. My only regret is that with this demonstration, more of you children might choose to stay away, prolonging their lives long enough to give me a headache. Allow me to introduce my elite enforcers, courtesy of the Dark Lord, now under my authority. Akatorimon, Kokatorimon, and Parrotmon!"

A mass of purple eyes opened around the barrier as Shademon changed form, reverting to his cloud-like shape the size of a Champion level Digimon despite his real level.

Where the barrier had once been, stood three monstrous bird Digimon.

Parrotmon spread his wings and lifted into the air while Kokatorimon and his red-colored variant, Akatorimon attacked on foot.

"Feather Sword!" cried Kokatorimon as his wings nearly sliced the Tamers in half if it hadn't been for the quick thinking of Blue.

"Strike Bomber!" yelled Coredramon as he spun his tail around and blocked the Cockatrice Digimon's sharp wing.

"Run!" yelled Donnie as the Tamers ran for shelter. Rats were everywhere, fleeing from the drains. Trying not to vomit or scream, Liz and Sam had a tough time kicking their way to shelter.

"Akatori Kick!" roared Akatorimon as his large overdeveloped legs kicked the Green Coredramon relentlessly, blocking the enemies from the Tamers.

"Kill them!" yelled Devimon, laughing. "Make them squeak like the rats that have become their coffin!"

"What does your D-Power say, Sam?" asked Noah as he covered her from leaping rats.

"Kokatorimon and the redder one are Champion level. Kokatorimon can turn things to stone with his gaze," muttered Sam, nervously as the Tamers crowded at the street corner. The police had their hands full further away as Vilemon cruelly dropped piles of rats on them from above, distracting them.

"We have to get out of here. Our odds are bad," cried Turuiemon as she blocked one of Vilemon's rat bombs.

"Nonsense! We have them on the run! No hostages, remember?" replied Artur as he and Donnie swiped power and energy cards on Coredramon.

"What about Parrotmon?" asked Noah as he looked up. The green bird Digimon merely circled from above, leading other news helicopters away with his fearsome approach.

"Ultimate level. One we never faced before," said Liz as she swiped a few cards for Biyomon. The pink bird Digimon was out of her element as she tried to provide cover fire for the Champion level Digimon. Realizing her niche, Beebee opted to attack the soaring Vilemon instead, knocking their rats away and targeting them instead.

"Spiral Twister!" she yelled as green spiral flames blasted out of her beak and into scores of Vilemon, turning them to Digi-Dust.

"I say we fall back and gauge a new strategy. We're in a trap!" yelled Noah.

"Over my dead body!" yelled Artur from ahead as he dodged Coredramon's swinging tail. "Watch it!"

"You watch it!" yelled Green as he hit Akatorimon in the torso with his tail. Falling down, Akatorimon was protected by the Kokatorimon as he glared straight at Green.

"Petra Fire!" yelled the bird Digimon as a bright light shined from his eyes.

"What's happening! AHHH!" roared Green as his body carbonized into stone in the attack.

"Green!" yelled Donnie as he ran over, dropping his cards as he tripped over a pile of rats. "Ahh! Get off!"

Struggling to get the rats off him as they trampled him, Donnie was helpless as Kokatorimon looked down at him.

"Your turn," said the Digimon as his eyes glowed again, encasing Donnie in stone.

"Donnie!" yelled Artur as he ran over to his best friend, now a statue.

"Artur, look out!" cried Sam as Akatorimon brought his foot down, kicking Artur in the side.

Artur soared through the air only for Turuiemon to catch him, bringing the pair down.

"It hurts!" yelled Artur as he placed his hand over his ribs.

"Get Donnie!" cried Sam to Turuiemon. Donnie's statue was under the two bird Digimon's feet.

"I can't. He's too heavy!" replied Turuiemon.

"I'll take care of it, but I'll need cover. A lot of it. Noah?" asked Prue as she took out her own Digivolution card.

"Right. This is about to be a full street. Back up," said Noah as Sam and Liz moved an injured Artur further down the street.

"Digivolution, activate!" yelled Noah and Prue simultaneously as they swiped their Blue cards, courtesy of Dillion's shop.

Digivolution_

Betamon and Candlemon found themselves in the action as they became surrounded in a strange egg-like matrix.

Betamon's voice changed as his squeak became a serpentine hiss, his protoform exposing itself as his skin blew away.

"Betamon! Digivolve to…SEADRAMON! KKKRRRRRYYYYYAAARRRRR!"

Candlemon also changed evolution, although not as dramatic as the little Digimon.

"Candlemon, Digivolve to…Wizardmon!"

To Sam's surprise, this Wizardmon held a certain dignity about himself, tipping his hat to his Tamer as he teleported himself away. Seadramon's long body took up most of the street, clearing it of most of the rats as the little things left the street finally as a result of this giant snake's presence.

With a swing of his mighty tail, Seadramon swiped both Bird Digimon across the street as Wizardmon teleported to Donnie's statue and carried him back to the Tamers.

"What now?" asked Noah to Prue as they struggled to come up with a plan.

"MY TURN!" interrupted Parrotmon from the sky as he landed in front of the fallen Bird Digimon. "SONIC DESTROYER!"

In fright, Noah and his friends saw a beam of electricity surge towards them, and then darkness.

"We made it!" yelled Dev as he and his buddies made it out of a closed subway tunnel in the middle of the action.

"Thanks for the sub-fare, Lucas," said Dillion as he shook the Tamer's hand.

"It's Luke, and don't mention it," said the Tamer, Artur's younger brother.

"I hope we aren't too late," said the young girl, named Ana and another one of Artur's friends. The new Tamers filled Dev in on how Artur is a friend that agreed to help.

"I think we are!" cried Luke. "Look!"

About a hundred yards away, was a scene that looked like lightning had struck mere moments ago.

Among a pile of fried rodents lay Sam, Liz, Noah, Prue, and a statue of what had probably been an ally. The Tamer identified as Artur lay nearby, unconscious between a pair of fallen Dracomon.

Biyomon desperately held her ground in front of the unconscious Tamers as a trio of giant bird Digimon approached them. Beside her, lay Lopmon, Candlemon, and Betamon, injured from parrotmon's attack.

"Oh look! The gang's all here!" said Devimon, chuckling as he hovered on the ground between Dev's group and Noah's fallen group. "I see you brought BlackAgumon, but I recognize none of you as his Tamer. Where is he hiding?"

"You're lookin' at him," said Dev, nervously. "Give us back our friends and the hostages!"

"I see you don't know. The only hostages I have are your friends, and I'm not giving anything up until I have my revenge," said Devimon. "Now where is BlackAgumon's Tamer, for real?!"

"Pepperflame!" echoed a voice from far away as Devimon took a fireball to the back.

"How interesting to see that two Tamers with BlackAgumon answered my call," muttered Devimon as he turned his attention to the roof of the building where the fireball had came from.

"Can we kill them, master?" asked Kokatorimon to Devimon as he passed.

"Knock yourselves out," he answered, much to the enjoyment of the henchmen.

"Run!" yelled Dillion as he grabbed Tim and Armadillomon to safety. Ana and Luke held their ground.

"We have to get to Artur!" yelled Luke, nodding with Ana before looking to the petrified Dev. "What about you?"
"I..don't know. All this time…I wasn't the one?" he pondered.

"SONIC DESTROYER!" screamed Parrotmon as he pointed his metal skull towards the trio, charging for an attack.

"Black!" yelled Dev as he tried to push his Digimon out of the direct line of fire.

"Look out!" yelled Ana as Parrotmon struck them in a beam of electricity.

In the bright light, Dev thought he could see his dad's face. In an instant, he saw nothing but black.

To Be Continued…

(June EDIT: I'm moving to New York for the summer as I type this, but expect a new chapter tomorrow. By the way, as an easter egg to the awesome soundtrack of Digimon: The Movie, every line uttered by the grunge singer in the Underground Rock Concert scene was the title of a song in this movie. Check it out and expect another homage next chapter. Stay classy!)