Note: this chapter contains a lot of examples of coarse language due to some of the characters' habits and speech patterns. I really hope this offends no one. Anyway, I hope you'll have fun reading.

PROJECT IC 2

Tome 1. The Data Thief.

Arc 2. Child left behind.

Chapter 9. The fading light.

Rick came out of the bedroom, making everybody present in the living room look at him.
- Your face... - Thorin started unsurely.
- What's going on? Is the wound open?
- Nope, you just have an ugly face.
- Shuddup, Buggy.
- Stop calling me buggy.
- It's not that it's open, it just... disappeared.
- What?
A moment of silence occurred. After a short while Ann stood up and gave IRQ a mirror. He looked at it, expecting to see a scar on his left cheek covering half of his face. Instead there was just a small cut that could have been left by a branch that could have scratched him. He looked at his clothes. They were still cut, torn and burned, soaked with blood, but his torso was also merely scratched instead of having gaping burned holes all over the skin. Something was wrong and IRQ knew what. Clearly visible burns under Gabumon and Renamon's fur didn't make it any better.
- Let me guess... Another wonder power of Primal Digivice?
- Maybe. I can't tell, none of us has ever needed the regeneration on such scale. Although the data flow can speed up the healing process even for the organic creatures - Greg replied.
- Shame it doesn't work on clothes. Too bad, this shirt is done for. I need to go home and put on a new one. I just hope nobody will pay attention to a teenager wrapped in a bloody rag. Good thing my parents are at work.
- You sure they aren't waiting? You didn't come home yesterday...
- As soon as we came here and you and Ann fell asleep, I called them and told them that my friend had an accident, which wasn't even that much of a lie, and that I'll be home morning or late night. No need to worry. I'm more concerned about...
- A dumb terrorist. They said somebody detonated something but it was too weak to cause more damage.
- That certainly explains elephant - sized insects and fire - breathing canines.
- They've put up a standard explanation for this one.
- Swamp gases?
- Swamp gases.
Everybody but Nayia started to laugh. She just looked at the others bitterly. Greg suddenly became serious.
- But it's a valid point. With so many eye witnesses who will believe? We need to be careful. No unnecessary acts in the city.
- Sounds great. So, since we decided on it before, I'm out - IRQ said.
- Hey, wait! After that literal baptise in fire... You still don't want to join the team?
- Hmm... No.
- Come on! We need you!
- That's your problem.
- All teams like that need five members: a charismatic, heroic leader... Myself, for instance... A charming antihero, always second to the boss...
- Sounds like me to me - Thorin smiled.
- ...the team's brain, the guy that always knows and always has a plan, a stereotypical girl being a heart of the team and fucking destroyer, smashing mountains and shattering houses with one hit.
- Like me - Nayia and Ann said simultaneously. They both realized it and started the discussion about the identity of the strongman, or rather strongwoman, of the team. IRQ thought it through.
- Long story short, you lack brains.
- Exactly. Hey, wait...
- Oooh... I see what you did there. - Tentomon mumbled.
- One point for Buggy.
- Stop calling me buggy.
Greg frowned.
- Whatever. So? Are you in or what?
- Will you let me go if I say "no"?
- No chance.
- So no choice. - IRQ sighed. Behind Greg's back Ann was twisting Nayia's arm.
- Who's the strongest one here? - she asked. Nayia broke free with a halfpirouette then, before the other reacted, she put a full Nelson on her.
- Not you for sure - she smirked. Ann kicked her shin with her heel, before swiftly bringing her down.
- You sure? - she managed to ask before Nayia stood up and hit her below the ribcage with her elbow.
- Absolutely - she said. Then Ann jumped at her. They both fell and started to punch each other while rolling on the floor.
- Catfight! Woooo... - Tentomon howled. IRQ looked at him embarrassed.
- Hey, Greg, any jelly in da house? - Thorin asked.
- I don't think so.
- That bad. I can always go shop-
A loud thud sounded. IRQ turned around to see Thorin rubbing his forehead, now turned red, and an old shoe on the floor next to him.
- Or rather we'd stop foolin' 'round... - he just noted, changing his mind.

- Ya done yet?
- Sorry for the wait. I liked that T - shirt. I got attached. - IRQ and Thorin left the former's flat as soon as he got rid of the traces of the last fight. The scratch disappeared as well. Thorin decided to accompany him when forks and shurikens appeared amongst the items thrown at him.
- By the way, how'd ya beat da DeathMeramon? Tentomon wouldn't say a word and the others kinda weren't conscious.
- Pure unstoppable hatred by me.
- Da hell you just said but whateva.
- Point for him. All you can do is pure unstoppable grumpiness.
IRQ looked at Ann slowly approaching them.
- What 'bout the team roles? - Thorin asked.
- I got the strong one when Greg offered Nayia the antihero. Look who just became team's heart.
IRQ couldn't hold it any longer and laughed.
- Go fuck yourself - Thorin growled.
- Don't get mad, geez. It was a joke. We agreed the mission will tell. I feel sorry for Nayia.
- Confident, arn't ya?
- Yesterday, before I digivolved Renamon making her attacks ineffective against SkullMeramon, she was faster and stronger than Kabuterimon.
- Kabuterimon on plugins T, K and X times three. She's got all the reasons to be confident.
- Or IRQ and Tentomon are just that lame and SkullMeramon got hit by a meteorite.
- ...Shut it.
- See, Thorin? That's a real gentleman. He's not telling a lady to go fuck herself.
- Go fuck yourself.
- By the way... Why did you come here? - Rick interrupted the cuss exchange that was about to start.
- Since you're already outdoors, I could use your help. I have something to do here. Something regarding my visit in this world. And you two will help me.

- Boooriiing... - Jax yawned. Truly, there was absolutely nothing to do. Or rather - nothing he and Raph were allowed to do. During the others' stay in the Real Wor they had one quest - to keep a low profile. So far they were doing great. Unluckily, they soon discovered it wasn't exactly a dream job in the long run.
- Could you stop whining already? - Raph demanded, visibly annoyed.
- No.
- Yes, you could.
- Why did you ask if you gave the answer yourself?
- That was a rhetorical question.
- Oh, right. - Jax sighed. A second later he jumped off his chair.
- No.
- But...
- NO.
- Great. Keep rotting here. I'm off to make my brilliant plan.
- You're supposed to lay low.
- Who said I won't?
- Okay, you've got my curiosity.
- The Union looks for the Primal Tamers. GunNumemon and his masters, whoever they are, look for the Primal Tamers. How about the Primal Tamers starting to look for themselves as well?
- Here I am.
- Ha ha ha. Really funny. We've got two here, five in the Real World, eleven to go...

A knocking on the door sounded. An elderly woman slowly stood up and went to open. There were three teenagers outside. She saw two boys, both about eighteen years old, for the first time, yet it was a little shorter, red - headed girl that got her focus.
- Impossible...
- Hi, Nanny...
- Annie? Is that you? - The woman left the building and opened her arms. Ann came closer and allowed her to hug her. The woman's eyes were full of tears.
- Yes. It's me. I'm... I'm sorry for running away. I wish I could explain but I had no chance to.
- And now you're back?
- No. I managed to... get my life straight. I've got a place to live, plans for the future and ability to make them work.
- But... You're still a minor...
- Nanny, my eighteenth birthday is just a few months from now. What's the difference?
- There is none, darling. It's all about the papers.
- I know.. I'm sorry. It will be your problem after all...
- Oh, don't mention it. Your birthday is December the first, right? So December the first will be the day they will stop caring. You'll be an adult and adults aren't kept in orphanages. I'm glad you're right, maybe it's better you ran away since your life is better now... But why exactly did you come back? And who are the gentlemen behind you?
- These are my friends. We have something to do in the city and they offered to give me a ride here. And I came here... Because I never could thank you for caring for me. - Ann took a giant boquet guys were hiding behind their backs and gave it to the Nanny. The woman could hardly hide how moved she was. A tear went down her cheek.
- A gold child... Really... If only every our girl was like you...
IRQ for a second thought he could see a tear in the tamer girl's eye. She however blinked quickly and looked at then looked at the woman again.
- Speaking of the girls - How's Gem?
- Oh, I'm so sorry you couldn't come a few days earlier. Your friend has found new parents.
- ...What.

A long - haired brunette was sitting in one of the local fast food restaurants, looking through the window. The seat next to her was empty. Greg slowly approached her.
- Excuse me, is this seat taken?
- Gregory!
- Hi, sweetie.
- You're alright!
- As I promised.
- And the Gabu guy?
- He got a little burned, but he's getting better. We had a hard time. Have you heard the terrorist news?
- Yes, but what's with him? Don't tell me...
- Unfortunately. It was a monster. He nearly killed my friend.
- Greg, don't do this to me. I fear for you.
- I know. I wish I could say something, tell you it will be ok... But I don't know if it will. I'm not even sure what happened yesterday.
The girl didn't reply. She was looking at the floor.
- Amy...
- How long will you be staying in... this world?
- As long as I need to clean this up. A couple of days I suppose.
- Don't get me wrong, I'm proud you're a hero... But why does it have to be you? Are we going to be exchanging E - mails for six more months without even seeing each other?
Greg was ready for this question. He gave the girl a piece of paper with a web address written on it.
- I'll send you a message when I get a hold of the things. It's the gate. You'll be sent to that world... MY world. If you want, of course, I can't force you... But it's a better one. You don't need to worry about suspending your education, you get the place to live and food to eat, you can start literally any job you can dream of... And, what's most important, you get a friend always to be by your side, for good and bad, till the end of your life. Think about it.
- It sounds like utopia.
- That's because it is one. Well, it was, until recently. My mission is about bringing that back.
- But... I can go home any time?
- Naturally. I'm staying there only because I want. And, if I could ask you... The gate's address is top secret. Don't give it to anyone, no matter if you want to use it or not.
- I... think I do. I trust you. You wouldn't ask me if you weren't sure it would end well... - An awkward silence moment occured. Amy looked up at Greg to stop it. - So what now?
- My suggestion is to come back to when we were interrupted yesterday.

In an alley separating two skyscrapers two shadows appeared, swiftly moving from one building to the other. Few people looked up but they didn't see anything, let alone hearing the conversation.
- Are you seriously afraid of heights?
- Yes.
- You don't seem to.
- I just don't look down. That's all I need: a ninja paralyzed with fear during the chase.
- But why the rooftops? We didn't need to.
- I want to be alone. As in, with no other humans around.
- We could've stayed at home. Everybody's out.
- That's my point. Everybody's always out. They always have something important or interesting to do while we two have to sit on our butts. Always the fifth wheel. It's fucking annoying.
- Wasn't that the deal? We're the reserves...
- No. We were supposed to be the reserves. And then the two idiots made the third idiot join. And now? Needed by nobody.
- You're exaggerating. Since we're here, we can as well...
- No. I'm not going to do all the job for them. I'm not going to look for that army...
- We don't have to. - Gatomon jumped off her tamer's shoulder and looked at one of the walls with ears laid low.
- Why? - Nayia asked, even though she knew the answer well.
- Because the army has found us.

- I have no idea why I even agreed to that.
- You prefer to stick to board games for a week?

- Exactly. Let me do my job then. - Jax loaded another web page. Google Images.
- Well, at least I don't have to be afraid. Surfing the Internet's not gonna get us in trouble.
- Yep. And look at this one. - Jax displayed a symbol that might have been representing the Sun. It was a ring with a smaller circle inside, making it resemble a shooting target. There were also eight identical triangles pointing outside, located symmetrically around the ring. Raph raised his eyebrow.
- The Crest of Courage. What's with it?
- I see you've seen the anime series. Good. - Jax called his Y - Digivice. There was an identical symbol in the middle of the white chip. Then he callled it back and proceeded to summon the second level, the one with the metal octagonal part... with the same symol engraved in the middle.
- I don't get it... You got the Crest of Courage?
- No. The crests were the jewellery pieces that allowed the digimon from Adventure to reach their ultimate levels. I'd rather call it " the Primal Digivice of Courage". Besides... Do you know who designed the digivices everybody's using? Including the Primals?
- No idea.
- Kouchiro Izumi.
- Japanese guy. Sure.
- Doesn't the name ring a bell?
- Should it?
- How about nickname "Izzy"?
- Oh no he didn't...
- He totally did. And now for a fun fact: my digivice means courage. And my partner digimon?
- Agumon.
- Just like whose?
- Oh man... That would mean...
- Exactly. - Jax switched on the next tab. Another symbol was displayed: a ring with a vertical wavy line inside. It had two curved, hook - shaped lines on the side- the left one pointed downwards, the righ one upwards.
- The Crest of Friendship?
- Exactly. I've never seen a closeup of Greg's digivice but I can bet my goggles it's displayed on it. And this one on IRQ's. - next symbol looked like assymetric glasses. It was made of two rings connected with an arc pointed upwards. The left one was much bigger and had a circle inside just like the Crest of Courage.
- Knowledge. So, following this pattern of thoughts... This is Nayia's. - A circle surrounded by eight diamond shapes with four diagonal ones slightly bigger appeared. It resembled a flower or a shining star.
- Light. Yeah. The 'mons match, what a coincidence.
- But this gives us nine out of eighteen. The other half?
- Just look at you.
- Right, ten out of eighteen. Twelve with Ann and Thorin. Still six unknowns.
- You know what pattern Izzy used to make these?
- Is it important?
- Sure thing. First he crafted twelve, then four more, then he added another two.
- So?
- How many Digidestined were there in both Adventure seasons?
- Twel... Oh crap.
- Yep. Nine of them had crests. I think we can safely guess the other three are what we need. Next... We already know Renamon and Guilmon are on the list. What suits the set?
- Terriermon.
- Yes. Falcomon makes it complicated but it's still two unknowns instead of nine. Now for the mission: find the tamers with right partners. When we do - follow until we'd be able to say yes or no. Over.
- Jax, you've got the head on the right place.
- I know.

Nayia was running through the rooftops, jumping from one building to another. She looked back. A human - shaped digimon with a pale grey skin and wearing a white coat was still following her. His blonde hair, pushed down by his navy blue hat, was partially covering his eyes - save for one on the center of his forehead, visible through the hole in the hat.
- No looking back! I'm here to stare at him! - She heard somewhere above her left shoulder. She leaped and landed on a building with one store less.
- Yep, cats are good at staring. Just keep telling me what he's doing.
- Flying. And coming closer. Bit by bit.
- Thanks, Captain Obvious. I want to know if... - Nayia stopped mid - sentence. There was another humanoid above the building in front of her - also with deadly pale skin and blonde hair, wearing a dark suit, looking like taken from the nineteenth century, as well as a black cape with a red padding. He also had a red carnival mask over his face.
- What's that supposed to be?
- As far as I'm concerned, it can go back to "Twilight"...
A quiet flap behind her made it clear that the chaser caught up to her. She was surrounded. There was only one way to escape - to go...
- Gatomon.
- Yeah?
- Remember us talking about my fear of heights?
- It's not our biggest concern right now.
- Trust me, it is. I'll close my eyes. Tell me on the second floor.
- Second... Hey! Are you going to...
Nayia didn't answer. She kept her eyelids closed tight and ran down the wall.

Ann looked at the woman imploringly.
- Nanny, please. I just want to visit her.
- You know well we can't give this kind of information to the third party. And that couple didn't look like people who would enjoy that kind of guests.
- What do you mean?
- They seemed really old - fashioned. She was wearing a long black dress, and he had a tuxedo and a cape. And they were terribly pale, as if they had never seen the daylight. They were both blonde and her hair was so light it was close to white. I thought it was some kind of a sect or a subculture but since they got the papers...
- Nanny, please. What if something's wrong?
- Alright. Come in, please. - The woman took them to the small office. She looked through some folders.
- That's weird. All the documents from the last month should be here. But on the other hand, nobody got adopted this month. Why did I came here, Annie?
- I don't know, Nanny. You wanted to show me something but you didn't tell me what exactly.
- Oh dear, I forgot. Let's go out, we don't want any mess with the papers. - She lead the tamers outside. IRQ had a feeling something was wrong. He just couldn't figure out what. - I'm so glad you came to visit me, darling.
- Thank you. For everything. See you soon, Nanny.
Door closed and tamers started to walk down the stairs when suddenly something hard hit IRQ in the head. Said hard object happened to be Thorin's cranium. Renamon let go off the guys' heads, jumped to Ann and slapped her.
- Renamon! Are you crazy?
- Now I AM crazy? You're the one behaving like a total idiot! What were you supposed to do?
- Visit the orphanage and... And... That's all?
- And that was all that crusade to this dimension about?
- Yes... No... I don't know! What are you talking about?
- About Gem.
- What now?
Renamon growled and grabbed Ann's handbag. She took out a framed photo and showed it to the girl. Her eyes widened in a silent fear.
- No... - she whispered.
- Yes. Some kind of an obscurity curse. I don't know who took her but I doubt it was a human being...

- Nayia, NOW!
The tamer without opening her eyes pushed herself off the wall and jumped, turning one hundred eighty degrees. She landed on the wall on the other side about five feet lower, losing some speed. She immediately jumped again, repeating the maneuver. Four or five similar jumps later she opened eyes and landed. She looked up and saw two silhouettes slowly approaching her. Something told her to turn around. As soon as she did, a digimon landed with a loud thud in a place she was looking at. The newcommer wasn't a humanoid, rather a bipedal goat with unnaturally long arms. He looked like a folk image of a devil. Nayia didn't really want to focus on details. She started to run. She dashed through the streets, pushing the pedestrians and stumbling over trash cans. She only stopped after nearly getting hit by a car. She needed to talk to Gatomon and people were giving them weird looks even without that. She entered the alley between four blocks built in a square formation. Trying to ignore the trash containers' smell, she looked around. There were four exits. She could escape easily. And what was the most important - there were no people there.
- Gatomon, what the hell was that?
- Digimon. Strong digimon. I don't know how or why they got there but the five of us at full power wouldn't beat one of them. If the army is real - they were the leaders.
- The army is real. And we lead it, indeed.
Nayia turned towards the voice. The creature leaning against the wall could pass for a hobo. It looked like a human wearing a ripped suit and a patched trenchcoat. The only difference was its head. Lower part of the face was human, however above the upper lip the skull widened, taking the shape of what could be described as bear's head with goat's horns.
- And you do lack the power to defeat us. - The digimon in a white coat landed to the right of the bear - headed one, while the one in a suit and a cape took place to the left, leaving her with just one way out.
- By the way, some ninja you are. That's what they teach you? To escape from everybody?
Nayia didn't have to turn around to know that it was said by the goat digimon standing behind her. She was surrounded. She moved her arm a little. This kind of situations was why she kept some items up her sleeves.
- To survive - she said, as she threw smoke bombs on the ground. Four digimon were standing still yet when the smoke dispersed, the alley was empty - save for the fifth digimon levitating above the ground. It looked like a human woman wearing black leathers, with extremely pale skin and white hair. Her arms were unnaturally long and had clawed fingers.
- She's good - she said - but she forgot to check in every direction. From the roof I could easily see where she was going...

- I'm going to rip them. I'll tear them apart. And if they did anything to her - I'll break them into single bits. They will feel the loss of every single data piece.
- Ann, chill. We don't even know where to start looking.
- That's only because humans are weak and the curse got you all - Renamon grumbled - Two or more digimon similar to human beings or able to shapeshift into them. Pale skin, old - fashioned clothes, signaature black color - my dibs on the element of darkness.
- So bad guys. - IRQ shrugged his shoulders.
- Not clear yet. It doesn't affect attribute. But given the circumstances, I doubt they kidnapped her and made everybody forget she exists just to give her a hug and let her go.
Ann frowned.
- Renamon, who taught you how to sarcasm?
- Tentomon.
- Got it. IRQ, hit Buggy at the next opportunity you'll have.
- Not that I dont want to but what gives you the right to give orders?
- You two being too dumb to think on your own. Yes, Thorin, I'm talking about you, too.
- I haven't even said nuthin'!
- Exactly my point. What did you two do save for falling into the trap?
- Nothing. Just like you.
As soon as IRQ finished speaking, he got high fived by Thorin. Ann tried to stare them down to death.
- Well, good thing MY partner can act in times like these. Renamon basically saved our mission. How about your digimon?
- Mine is keeping his profile so low even we don't know where he is so he's doing a great job - IRQ said.
- And mine...
- ...got a piece of info or two - Falcomon interrupted Thorin as he landed.

Jax left the teleporter leading to his house, climbed the ladder and dropped on the armchair.
- How did it go? - Raphael sighed.
- Blew it. Tragedy. Total drama. Failure. Chaos and madness...
- Nothing I guess?
- I found people partnered with Patamons. Over one hundred and thirty in Sunshine alone, Neutrum still unsanned. I found four, crossed one out. It's gonna take months.
- I know that feel. Same here, only with Gomamon. Less than ninety in Light Fang, two found, both checked.
- So what? One day wasted? - Jax sighed. Raph stood up and walked closer to him.
- I wouldn't say so - he said as he opened his hand. Jax only smiled when he saw what was in there.

Nayia leant against the wall, breathing heavily. She had probably just beaten her best time. Gatomon on the shoulder didn't have to weight much to make it harder. She slowly looked around, listening. No unnatural sights, sounds or smells. Nothing. Just a silence.
- They've got us - she said - they know exactly where we are. Do you feel anything? Any digimon? Energy, scent... anything?
- No.
- And there have always been two or three hiding, right? Stronger or weaker, they have always ben there.
- So they're trying harder to hide.
- They're not stupid. They've silenced everything for us to know they're here. This or I'm going paranoid.
- In this case we're both go-
A loud crash sounded behind Nayia's back. A split second later a cat jumped to the trash can lid of which it has just pushed away and a shuriken hit the wall where its head was a while ago.
- Yes. Definitely paranoia - Nayia said, as she was pulling the star out of the wall.
- So what do they want?
- If they wanted to catch us, they would. They had us surrounded. That was all just for show. They want us to tell the others.
- So we're going to do the opposite and tell nobody?
- Think about it. What if they're expecting that? They could set up a trap any time. This information won't help us... But neither will the lack of it. They want to play a game. Well then. I wonder if they noted I can find a way to outsmart every rule...
- Paranoia.
- I know.

IRQ didn't even realize somebody was behind him until Nayia talked. Judging by the faces, everybody was surprised by her presence.
- Guys, we have a problem.
- Havin' to do with all da 'monz outta town? Falcomon found out.
Nayia looked at Thorin with visible disgust.
- What a pro. He didn't notice the strongest. They introduced themselves as the digimon in charge. Four of them but they mask so well even I might have missed some.
- Great. Four digimon against four of us here. We're waiting.
- Ann, you weren't there. Shut up. If Greg was here, we might stand a chance. With one. If he was delirious and lost control over his limbs. MIGHT. And still extremely low chances.
- Now you're exaggerating. Are they so bad?
- Exceptionally strong ultimates.
- What do you mean by "exceptionally strong"? On SkullMeramon's level?
- I suspect each and every one of them could wipe the floor with SkullMeramon. They know where I am, they realized I'll tell you. They want to scare us.
- Not that they succeeded but...
- Doesn't matter if they succeed or not. Where is Gregory?
- On a date. Trust me, after yesterday if anymon wanted to interrupt him, it'd be torn apart before saying "digimon". Even a mega level.
- "Digimon"? Three syllables. That's a lot of time.
- Human standards or ninja standards?
- Point. - Nayia started to nervously look around and listen. Meanwhile, Ann checked the city map on her digivice.
- I think he's done. Judging by his digivice's location changes during the last few minutes, he's going here.
- Great. Let's meet with him.

Two tamers slowly crossed the meadow as they were approaching a nearby hill. They were followed by two dinosaur - like digimon. The four of them quickly reached their destination. They saw a rather large arena.
- As I said. I used to spend hours here on trainings - Jax started.
- Used to?
- For a long time I was the strongest siver class tamer in Sunshine. You think anyone of my rank wanted to be trained on?
- And now you found a moron.
-Now I am a gold tamer. Besides, remember GrapLeomon, don't you.
- One does not simply forget things like that. So, are we all set? Ready, guys?
- Sure thing!
- Yes.
- That's enough for an answer... - Jax grinned. Raph smiled back. Their digimon entered the arena, occupying the opposite corners. The tamers held the Y - Digivices high.
- Agumon digivolve to... GREYMON!
- Guilmon digivolve to... GROWLMON!
Both dragons started a staredown, so did their tamers. Finally, as if ordered to, both Jax and Raph nodded.
- Attack! - they cried in the same second. Their partners both attacked.

Greg was walking through the street and enjoying life. The date was great, though it mostly consisted of him talking about the Digital World and his, for the lack of a better word, adventures. Not to be too full of himself but it's not like he got the best silver rank tamer of Darkmoon title for nothing. It seemed he convinced his girlfriend to use the portal, but he'll see about that. Now for the army, or whatever it was. He found the other tamers and noticed Ann, IRQ and Thorin standing together, so he decided to join them. For the time being he decided to ignore Nayia zig - zaging through the streets at high velocity. He didn't want to interrupt what looked like a ninja training session. When he was about halfway through the district, the car he was next to suddenly exploded.
He was saved by his fast reflexes and impulsiveness from the Digital World. He immediately threw himself at the grass patch then rolled as far from the street as he could. After a short while he stood up, cursed, dusted himself down and looked around. The street was empty. No people - and no digimon. Nobody to witness so he let Gabumon out.
- Bro... Any idea what the actual fuck?
- No... No digimon around.
- Well, there are, actually. As for the question, it was me.
Greg looked at the wrecked car with disbelief. The creature standing on the roof could have been about fifteen feet tall. It had legs covered in red, fuzzy fur and ended with hooved feet, arms reaching below the knees with giant hands, a naked, thin torso and a head of a goat. Greg couldn't remember ever seeing a digimon like that.
- If it's about yesterday's DeathMeramon action...
- It is not. It's not you I want right now. I'm here for a small demonstration.
- Demonstration of what?
- There he is!
- A few shurikens plunged into the digimon's arm. He just pulled them out and threw them on the ground. Meanwhile four tamers reached Greg.
- Nayia, that one o' these?
- Yes. We're screwed anyway but if it's alone...
- He is not. - Another digimon landed next to the goat. This one was less than seven feet tall and wore a white coat covering most of his body - save for the upper part of his head. He had a dull light blue skin and yellow hair covered with a navy blue hat. His coat was covered with tags with Japanese symbols written on them.
- My mistake: we're all thoroughly done for.
- That doesn't mean we'll be just standing here. Renamon?
- I thought you won't ask.
- You had fun yesterday. We want sum' too. Falcomon!
- Up and ready.
Both digimon materialized in front of their tamers and moved forward ready to attack.
- Idiots - Nayia hissed. Before she could stop them, however, a third digimon apperead - also more or less of human size and shape. It had a striped suit and a brownish coat. His head looked as if he was wearing a mask of a dark blue horned bear with a pentagram cut on the forehead.
- Anybody wants to actually tell me what's going on here? - Greg finally asked. Gabumon joined Falcomon and Renamon. Tentomon, whose arrival happened unnoticed, was hovering above the three.
- And me. The party starts and nobody invites me?
- On the contrary. Everybody got an invitation. And now for the other hosts... Ah, we're almost done. - The demon - headed digimon looked up. Another human - shaed one, about ten feet tall, landed next to him. He was wearing a tuxedo and a cape. He had pale skin and blonde hair His eyes were covered in a smal, blood - colored mask. He looked like a typical vampire from an old horror movie. Nayia growled.
- Almost done? So what, one versus one?
- It's a coincidence but, well, yes. There are five of us.
- And the last one would be...
- Me.
Nayia looked up. There was a woman hovering above her, also about ten feet tall. She had a skin tone that looked unnatural even compared to the other digimon, as well as long white hair. She had a tight, ripped costume made of black leather, as well as a leather mask over her face. Her eyes had no irises nor pupils and were bloody red in color. Her arms were long and thin and her hands clawed. Renamon frowned.
- You fit the description and, judging by your camouflage, you could have used the obscurity curse. You've got the girl.
- Yes. And we came here to talk about that.
- Trying to blow us up is a great way to start a conversation.
- You're not in a position to be fooling around. Your friend is untouched... for now. We may even let her go for, let's say, five Primal Digivices. Do we have a deal?
IRQ looked at Ann. She was all shaking and had tears in her eyes.
- Deal... - she said quietly.
- Well, that turned out nicely. Isn't it easier to...
- Here goes the first payment! Renamon! - Ann raised her Y - Digivice. Thorin did the same thing. IRQ hesitated for a bit but when saw Greg calling out his one and shrugging his shoulders, he summoned his device. Gatomon gave Nayia a questioning look. She just sighed and nodded.
- We're doomed... - she said so quietly only her partner heard it.
- Renamon digivolve to... Kyuubimon!
- Falcomon digivolve to... Peckmon!
- Gabumon digivolve to... Garurumon!
- Tentomon digivolve to... Kabuterimon!
Four champions jumped ahead, raising clouds of dust. Gatomon hesitated but joined them. IRQ got some dust in his eye so he turned around to get rid of it. Then a loud thud sound occured making him turn back again. Four digimon were occupying holes made in the street, Gatomon was hanging in the air, her tail being held by the bipedal goat digimon. The tamer scanned it, even though he kind of knew what to expect. Mephistomon, ULT/DRK/VIR. As predicted. He turned his digivice on the other four. Astamon, ULT/DRK/VIR. Myotismon, ULT/DRK/VIR. Ba'almon, ULT/DRK/VIR. LadyDevimon, ULT/DRK/VIR. Was it a pattern? He looked around. Mephistomon hit Gatomon against the wall a few times and threw her on the ground. Peckmon and Kabuterimon were fighting a hopeless air fight against LadyDevimon and Myotismon who seemed rather bored. They clearly had an upper hand and they proved it by pushing both champions, causing them to crash and fall down. Astamon was spinning Garurumon, making him unable to attack while Ba'almon was playing with Kyuubimon, dodging her flames. Finally the former got bored and let go off the wolf, taking Kyuubimon with his body. Ba'almon added insult to injury, hitting them with the vixen's last attack The tamers quickly regrouped.
- Anyone else up for a discussion? A bunch of ultimates so strong SkulMeramon could polish their shoes at most. Attacking them, especially one on one, is a suicide. - Nayia sighed again.
- We need to improvise - Greg said - Rick, any plans?
- Why me?
- We took you because we needed somebody smart. Now for your part of the deal.
IRQ glympsed through the battlefield. Their digimon were all laying there washed up - save for Kabuterimon who stood up, putting much effort into getting Peckmon out of him. Rick fixed his hairdo with his right hand.
- Got it. Who wants to see how we dealt with SkullMeramon?
- Me.
- Me.
- Me.
- Me.
- Then look carefully, 'cause you're in for a show. Buggy?
- Stop. Calling. Me. Buggy. Save for that I'm ready.
IRQ focused on his digivice. He turned his arm, allowing the pillar of light to appear. Thorin, seeing a familiar gesture, clapped his hands while Greg was just watching in disbelief. The girls just looked at the scene, unable to tell what was going to happen. The five dark digimon were carefully observing from a safe distance, yet their grins were a bad omen.
- Initiate! - IRQ grabbed the second level Y - Digivice with his left hand. - Perfect Digivolution! - A light beam hit Kabuterimon on the back.
- Kabuterimon digivolve to...
- What? - Greg couldn't believe his eyes when the insect started to grow.
- Why? - Ann didn't know how to react when the carapace started to fall apart.
- How? - Thorin was surprised yet visibly excited as he witnessed the wings fusing together.
- When? - Nayia's eyes narrowed when the horn grew longer and changed shape.
- ...MegaKabuterimon! - the digimon roared, announcing his rebirth, then he turned to the dark digimon, aiming at Ba'almon. The other digimon managed to return to the tamers. Everybody save for Gatomon degenerated. The cat was just watching the fight with an unsure look on her face.
- Still have bad feelings about that... - she said. MegaKabuterimon attacked.
- Horn bus...
Before he gathered energy on his horn, a gunshot sounded. The insectoid fell to the ground. In a blue dome on his back there was a hole pierced by a bullet. Behind him Ba'almon slowly lowered the barrel of his gun.
- Too slow - he said, hiding his weapon. MegaKabuterimon degenerated to Tentomon. The spike on his back still had the bullethole in it. Nayia slowly approached her digimon.
- Gatomon?
- I don't think we'll make it.
- We need to run. Can you get their attention?
- I can make them get their own attention. What's the plan?
- A smokescreen - Nayia started to whisper - only the last time LadyDevimon saw us. Now you need to get them all.
- Harder... But not impossible.
- Good.
- I can do the smokescreen. It will be thicker and will stay longer than made by human toys. No offense. - Falcomon stood behind Nayia. His wing was twisted.
- For that line I should gut you but it's about surviving. Whatever works. - Nayia looked at their opponents. Silent Myotismon was moving towards them. Astamon approached them, walking side by side with the vampire.
- You don't want to give us your Primal Digivices. So be it. We will take them from your dead bodies.
- NOW!
Gatomon jumped forward. She hung mid - air in front of both digimon with her paws raised to the sides of her head.
- Cat eye hypno! - she meowed. Her eyes started to shine like a pair of sapphires. After a short while Astamon and Myotismon's eyes became uniform blue. They both turned to the remaining three, as if ordered to. Astamon drew his weapon.
- Hellfire - he said in an emotionless voice. Then he opened fire to his allies, who had a hard time dodging. Ba'almon got hit in the shoulder and slowly landed. The other two tried to counter.
- Nightmare raid. - Myotismon raised his hands. A flock of bats left his cape, pushing Mephistomon and LadyDevimon against a wall.
- Gatomon, time left?
- A minute at most.
- Let's start. Falcomon?
- Firecracker smokescreen! - The smoke covered the whole street. LadyDevimon tried to react but the bats hitting her with great velocity made it impossible. Finally, Myotismon regained senses and stopped the attack. LadyDevimon left the already dispersing smoke cloud but it was too late. The tamers had escaped.

Thorin leaned against an air vent.
- Now what? - he asked.
- Nothing. Just sitting here and waiting - Ann replied.
- Doesn't make no sense. They'll find us no time.
- That's what we're counting on - Greg said, standing with IRQ next to Tentomon and healing his wound.
- And then? Another massacre?
- Yep. just with tables turned. Think about it: our digimon reduced their energy. Maybe not as well as the dark guys did but good enough for them to need to search the city inch by inch. So they'll split.
- And when any of them finds us - MegaKabuterimon, plugin T, maybe a few others to boot, ding dong BANNU. - Tentomon stood up, shaking off the dust. - ESPECIALLY if it happens to be Ba'almon. Dibs on frag.
- Shut it, Buggy. It's not funny.
- I'm deadly serious. Stop calling me buggy. - Tentomon and started the usual arguing, the others all looked at them. Save for Renamon, who ostentatiously sighed while looking up. And Nayia, sitting next to the chimney with her eyes closed.
- Since we're at it - I know you're here. When it comes to hunting, you're doing it right.
- Why, thank you. - Everybody focused on LadyDevimon who flew over the roof's edge. - Too bad I can't say the same thing about you and hiding. Yes, we've split. But staying on the rooftop? With four of us able to fly? I didn't even have to feel you, I saw you. It's easy to feel you though. All five of you. You don't mask so well. Oh, and I insist, try your strategy. The other members of the Assault Squad V already know you're here. If I start to lose, which I highly doubt, you'll have to fight all five of us again. Does any of you wish to add anything?
- Yes, me. - Nayia snapped her fingers. All tamers together with their partners changed into logs scattered through the roof. Save for her and Gatomon. LadyDevimon sighed.
- Logs. On the rooftop. How convincing.
- Couldn't help it... - Nayia snapped her fingers again and where the logs were standing a bunch of road cones appeared. The girl approached the one that used to be Thorin, grabbed it and threw at LadyDevimon. She slashed it mid - air.
- An illusion. Clever. You even managed to create fake energy traces.
- Now, that the rest of my team is safe and sound - what was that about our poor masking?

A PC with three laptops and four Primal Digivices connected to it was working at full capacity. Finally Thorin, sitting at the main unit, jumped up, laughing.
- Ladies and gents! Installation completed! From now on Greg's house is digiproof. The script blocks every detecting unit unauthorized by our digivices. Fith da 'mons treated like detecting units.
- That... wasn't very nice.
- Apologies, Gabumon, just a big abbreviation. No offense, brah.
- None taken. You're great with computers.
- I know.
- Anyway - Ann closed the laptop and joined the conversation - are you sure leaving Nayia alone was a good idea?

Nayia jumped on another roof without slowing down.
- Having deja vú? - Gatomon asked.
- Not funny. How far is she?
- Out of our sight. She probably didn't chase us at all.
- You need to chase the ones in front of you. For the ones behind, waiting is enough. And I'm always one step ahead...
Nayia braked down so rapidly Gatomon nearly fell off her shoulder. LadyDevimon appeared from between the buildings in front of them.
- Yes, definitely deja vú.
- And you know what? I don't even want to kill you right now. Not worth the effort. And you, even though weaker, may be a worthy opponent, Gatomon. So can be your tamer, if not more dangerous than you. So I challenge you. The two of you against me. No other tamers or my allies.
- Why do you think I'll trust you?
- And why would I trust you? A ninja? Besides, as I said. Start anything funny - I'll kill you. Accept the challenge - probably too, but with honor. Like a ninja would like to.
- First thing a ninja would say when asked what's the best death would be "as late as possible". You can live with honor. Death's always the same.
- Sure thing, sure thing. There's also the third option: you give back the Digivice of Light, which belongs to us anyway, and then we're all free to go. I must say though, Lord Devastamon wasn't happy about you breaking the terms and conditions. He might order us to slay you anyway. He might - but he hasn't yet. Decide, tamer.
- I accept your challenge - Nayia said after a long silence.
- Great, you didn't disappoint us. I've won a nearly complete Devidramon's data set. I've always wanted a pet.
- What? - Nayia didn't know how to react.
- Oh no, nothing, just a little bet between the five of us. We're betting on how the challenge will go.
- How much is our victory?
- Gatomon!
- What? I'm curious.
- Too early for that. For now we're just debating whether or not you'll accept the present.
- What present?
As if called, an octagagonal metal piece fell down at her feet. It had a flower shape made of a circle and eight diamonds carved in the middle.
- Each of us was entrusted with a scrypt. As we learned, so was SkullMeramon. Bad decision but it isn't my duty to question it. And the one I was given fits the Digivice of Light. In other words, I'm giving your partner the ability to evolve.
- Tell that to somebody else! I don't need a piece of metal to digivolve! Right, Nay?
Nayia didn't answer. She picked up the octagon and looked at it carefully. She tried to remember details of what IRQ did. A pillar of light... Y - Digivice levitating inside... With a metal part on the front...
- You must be confident as hell to give a ninja a weapon.
- Nayia! What if it's a trap?
- You don't teach me about traps. She can wipe us anytime she wants, it would be wasting energy. I hope she bet we'll accept it.
- Naturally. And it gets interesting here. Next bet is that you won't be able to use it.
- Oh, really? - Nayia called the Y - Digivice and joined the parts. It was called inside the digivice but the girl raised her arm, allowing the light beam to appear. Once again she grabbed the newly formed Y - Digivice. - Gatomon! Perfect Digivolution!
- Gatomon digivolve to...

Growlmon fell down, creating a small crater. Before he got up, Greymon put a foot on his chest.
- Not advised - he muttered.
- Right. Stop. You won.
The golden dragon degenerated to Agumon.
- That was awesome! - Jax shouted.
- Don't get too excited. But true that, these toys are epic. I'd like to see them in a real fight. - Raph helped Guilmon, also back to his rookie form, to stand up.
- Are you telling me this was a set - up?
- Not at all... Ouch my everything... - Guilmon put his hand over his ribs. Raph shook his head.
- Jax?
- Yeah?
- I think I know why people don't like to train with you.

Nayia checked the hideout. The top was covered so no attacks from above. Two entrances with a right angle between them so that she could observe both with her back covered and have the way to escape if attack. Not that she was able to run far anyway... She looked at Gatomon, lying on a temporary bed. Three wide wounds made by LadyDevimon's claws haven't healed despite the data intake. She was still unconscious. Nayia gulped as she tried to keep the straight face. Show no emotions. That was vital. It's not bad to have feelings but showing them could only get ninja in trouble. You're supposed to control your mind, not the other way around. You can't...
The first tear reached the ground. It was quickly followed by the others. That was enough for her. She was about to die anyway. Besides, there was nobody around.
- What was I thinking... - she said quietly to herself - Me and the Digivice of Light? And I expected it to choose me? I'm an idiot.:. Why did I even...
- But it chose you...
Nayia looked around. Gatomon had her eyes open.
- No. I couldn't even evolve you.
- You could. Just not to the level we wanted. - Gatomon smiled. - Falcomon told me. Before Thorin unlocked his digivice, they could reach champion. But Y - Digivice didn't appear. And you? On the first time.
- But why not now?
- I told you it was a trap.
- And I told you it wasn't. It's real, I can feel it. I just can't use it. Why?
- You still can't tell, why? Look at you.
Nayia swept the tears and looked at LadyDevimon approaching her.
- Compared to the previous owner? It should hop in my hand and use itself on its own. - Nayia already had the escape plan in motion. She was four steps too far for it to begin yet...
- Spare the commentary. Think about it. A professional thief. A person referred to as the Dark Lady. One that works in the cover of the night. People gossip about you being allergic to photons. What happens then? This person claims to inherit the power of light. Thit means either the destiny has been wrong... Or it is all a one big hoax.
She made four steps. Nayia could run. But she had to listen to her. This had to be skillfully played...
- I call your bluff. Darkness I use and light from this digivice are differen cathegories. Not opposites. They can coexist.
- Show me that coexistence. Digivolve Gatomon. Knowing your life depends on it. You can't be a ninja and the tamer of light at the same time. What will you choose? Denying yourself - or death?
- Let me tell you a secret. I don't have to choose. - Two smoke wreaths appeared where Nayia was standing and where Gatomon was lying. And two road cones materialized underneath. The one closer to LadyDevimon had a note with a picture of the trollface meme drawn on it. She took it, examined it, crushed it and threw it to the nearliest bin.
- How anticlimatic - she said before leaving the alley and flying away.

- I can't believe she was stupid enough to fall for this twice.
- You think that was a success? Swapping you was just too risky. I slowed down so much she nearly could see me. We could have died.
- Tell me something new.
- Well, aren't you wordy for somebody with three open wounds through half of the belly.
- You're overreacting.
- I am not. You can't even defend yourself.
- But you can defend me.
- For how long?
- Better question: how many ninja tricks you can use before facing me? I've said it already. You can keep your past or your future. Decide. - LadyDevimon was levitating above them. She seemed irritated.
- Maybe later. I still have some, as you put it, ninja tricks to go. - Nayia quickly moved her hand. Some shurikens flew towards LadyDevimon's face. She easily caught them all and started to look at them.
- Oh, really? Is that all you...
Shurikens exploded, hurting her face and burning her hand. She roared wildly but the explosion caused a small puff of smoke to appear while the wounds were making her vision even worse.
- No. Not all. - The demoness felt a painful stinging under the knee. Then the smoke dissolved and she regained sight. The only trace left of Nayia and Gatomon was a shuriken stuck in her right calf.
- Now I'm officially done playing... - she hissed angrily. She took the blade out, paying little attention to the bits circling around the wound, then flew away.

- I think you made her angry with that last shuriken.
- "Angry"? Understated. It was poisoned.
- How do you know the poison will work on her?
- Every blade was carved so that it would work like a USB port. In the middle I had one and a half gigabyte of rearranging viruses. If we can dodge her for an hour, the only thing left would be a Missingno.
- A what?
- Have you ever played Pokemon?
- ...No.
- Too bad. Anyway, this will look interesting.
- If only you two could watch it!
Nayia sighed and looked up. Of course. She was hanging above them. Judging by her expression, she was going to tear them apart with her bare hands. Her right knee was more interesting though: cubical and divided into separate pixels, each in different colour and constantly switching. There were similar pixels above and below the cube, yet the other parts of the leg kept their shape.
- This time you won't escape - she hissed.
- I don't intend to. Now I will fight.
- No. Now you will die. Evil wing! - A flock of demonic bats appeared out of nowhere and targeted Nayia. She countered some with shurikens and kunais but for every one killled a new one appeared. Finally the beasts caught and immobilized the girl. They easily lifted the struggled tamer and brought her to LadyDevimon. Nayia looked at scars on her face with satisfaction.
- I'll do the same to you - the demoness said when their eyes met - but first to finish the job. Black wing.
Her left hand elongated into a pointy spike. LadyDevimon turned to Gatomon, who slowly got up on two legs, in an attacking stance.
- Come at me, sis - she said, ears laying low.
- Whatever you wish for. - LadyDevimon charged with the blade stretched up front. Gatomon didn't manage to jump away in time. The spike submerged in her stomach. Data started to disappear on her wounds. Nayia screamed. LadyDevimon flew towards her with a maniacal laughter.
- Good idea. I'll slice her and make you watch. Then I'll do the same thing to you. I'll start with hands to get the digivice. I'll use it to find the others. I'll kill them, with you still alive and around. Same with the girl. And then the antidote. All before your poison makes me into a lego block. And you thought you were on my level?
Nayia looked at her with disgust.
- No. I'm not on your level. I'm way above you. Eagles don't chase rats.
- You want to annoy me? So that I made a mistake? Well, to late. I won.
- Not yet. I need to deny all my past, everything I know and can do? Here goes. I am ready. I will make you pay for everything you did, whore. And for what you wanted to do.
The bats let go. The ones closest to Nayia simply fell apart. The girl landed right next to Gatomon.
- You see, I may be working for the good guys. I may have the power of light. But this doesn't mean I have to be good to the likes of you. You've made me fucking mad.
- You keep talking and nothing more. You can't make Gatomon digivolve.
- We'll see about that. - This time there wasn't even a beam of light. The Y - Digivice with metal part simply appeared. - Gatomon?
The cat stood up, weakly holding her stomach. Her wounds seemed to disappear.
- Gatomon digivolve to...
The digimon's body stretched, taking the shape of a human woman about nine feet tall. She was exactly the same height as LadyDevimon. The details on her body were covered because of a soft, delicate glowing. The only clearly visible parts were a pair of huge blue eyes and long blonde hair. The woman bent forward when three pairs of white feathery wings grew out of her back and folded downwards. Rings of light started to form around her, shifting and covering her body with a white assymetric costume. The last light beam changet into a pink ribbon, wrapped around her. A steel mask closed on the upper part of her face, hiding her eyes. The light faded and the digimon rose into the air, straightening her wings.
- ...Angewomon.
Nayia raised her eyebrow in sheer surprise.
- All that fuss was about a pink - bowed angel? It's not a game for somebody with my nerves.
- Oh, on the contrary. - LadyDevimon laughed. - This will be quite a show.
- Just a short one. - Angewomon took place in front of LadyDevimon.
- I don't have to tell you, who's going to win this time?
- We will see about that.
Nayia looked at one or the other, still with no clue. Angewomon and LadyDevimon... An angel and a demon... Light and darkness... She finally got it.
- Is it a kind of... species rivalry?
- Old as the Digital World itself. To be honest it was my reason to give you the toy: I was counting on that form. Now if you excuse me, I have an angel to shoot down. Darkness wave!
- Heavenly charm! - A ring of purple energy crashed with a cross made of light. The attacks were neutralised while the energy created in the process threw both digimon a good thirty feet back. Nayia was standing still.
- Angewomon, get a hold of yourself, ok? Is a tie all you can do?
- I'm trying!
- Evil wing! - More bat demons flew at Angewomon. She however used her wings to make a shield that destroyed them. LadyDevimon noticed it and stopped attacking. The very same moment Angewomon approached her and kicked her, stabbing her with a long sharp heel of her shoe. The demoness bent forward with her hands around her stomach.
- Anything wrong? I got four holes like this from you! - Angewomon's fist landed on her opponent's face. She stayed in place only thanks to grabbing the angel's hair.
- Good thing Thorin's not here or he'd already be selling tickets - Nayia whispered. Meanwhile LadyDevimon let go off Angewomon's hair.
- Sorry for that cheap move but I too want to win this one - she said, kneeing her in the chin.
- I'll ask again: how much is our victory? - she heard in response when the angel was hitting her head against a wall.
- Pretty much. Only Ba'almon bet on my loss. Bastard. - The demoness slapped Angewomon. She was pushed away but she managed to catch her opponent's hair and a piece of her clothing and throw her to the ground.
- That Ba'almon's getting rich soon - she noted.
- Not really - LadyDevimon replied when the blade on her arm pierced Angewomon's thigh. She looked at her tamer and hardly noticeably nodded. Nayia saw it. She repeated the gesture.
- Nayia, watch out! - the digimon cried. LadyDevimon lost her focus and looked at the girl.
- What now? I hasn't even...
- Exactly. - Angewomon punched the demoness' face again. - I'm an angel but I don't have to play fair - she added, landing more hits.
- So what do you expect from me? Darkness wave! - Due to short distance Angewomon was unable to block. The energy wave threw her at the wall again. LadyDevimon was levitating in front of her with a smirk on her face.
- Go ahead now. Change into a log now. Oh wait, I forgot! After all, your tamer did...
A shuriken flew next to her face.
- I offered to sacrifice my skills to evolve her. Not sacrificed. It was enough. And even if it wasn't - she's already evolved so I'm back to being a ninja. The rest is your problem, not mine.
- That's against the rules.
- No, why. It's outsmarting the rules, which I happen to be good at. Anything else? - More shurikens dashed towards LadyDevimon. She dodged easily. They got stuck in the wall near Angewomon.
- I think I need to turn it around. Humans first. Digimon can wait. - The demoness called her blade and turned to Nayia. She kept on throwing her weapons but all the blades were cut in half mid - air. Meanwhile Angewomon finally was able to leave the hole in the wall she was stuck in. She grabbed the nearest shuriken and, not without difficulties, she pulled it out. Nayia tried to defend herself with a smokescreen. She didn't predict, however, that it will be no obstacle for the bats, that were able to grab her and lift her again. LadyDevimon grabbed her face and looked her in the eyes.
- Got anything cute to say now? - she asked. Behind her Angewomon started to aim with her left hand's two fingers. White glove changed its shape to form a bow attached to her arm. In her right hand an arrow made of light appeared. Shuriken she held became an arrowhead.
- Hey, witch! I do! - she shouted.
- And now what! - LadyDevimon turned around rapidly. That's what Angewomon was waiting for.
- Celestial arrow! - she shouted, sending the arrow right through the knee of the totally reshaped now right leg. It destroyed the pixel cube, making the corrupted pixels spread and cover LadyDevimon's skin with a grotesque rainbow. Starting from the knee, it all began to fall apart.
- Ba'almon will become a millionaire - she just said before being destroyed. The bats she created disappeared alongside her. Angewomon caught Nayia before she fell down, degenerating and, already in Gatomon's form, climbing her shoulder. Her stomach was healed but her thigh was still pierced.
- But a mere flesh wound - she said in an optimistic voice.
- It will get worse if you tell anybody I used my good girl powers to change you into a pink angel.
- A white angel. Only one ribbon was pink.
- That's one ribbon too many.
- Nayia, let it be. I can digivolve to ultimate. One digimon from the five bites the dust, the other four have a ninja angel to deal with. Isn't it a good day?
- You're not a ninja.
- Nayia. It's my moment of glory. Could you please not break it?
- Sorry.

================================/

Chapter nine finally translated. It took me much longer than it should. Luckily, good ol' university issues are always there for me to blame.

So, the Assault Squad V is already here. Well, mostly, given what happened in the chapter. They're evil. And in the human world. And probably after our heroes. So you can basically figure out what most of the arc will be about with these pieces of information given.

I'm glad I could put some more things than "look, I'm a ninja and imam badass" in Nayia's character. I mean, she's easy to write… because she's developed from the start and has little to no actual character development during the series, just new things to learn. Well, compared to the three main human characters of the previous chapter, at least.

As for the Ba'almon, there are two debatable things about him: his level wasn't openly stated (digimon wiki labels him as "no level") but I thought that, given his evolution into Beelzemon in the anime, he would go well as the ultimate part of Impmon's line, especially if we assume Wizardmon would be the champion level. As for the usage of his original name - I wrote chapters with Ba'almon before Fusion aired in USA so I had no alternatives then. Now I decided to stick with original, even though Reapmon sounds cool (at least compared to the other translations. Bastemon - Beastmon ;_; Lilithmon - Laylamon ;;_;; I'm DEFINITELY sticking for Japanese names for these two if they appear). And I have a reason to do so, which will be explained in due time.

Yes, Izzy from adventure is the creator of the digivices. This is the most massive plot twist, nobody ever expec-

WHAT DO YOU MEAN I WROTE THIS IN THE INTRODUCTION? Aww, bummer. I'll have to come up with more plot twists. As for the "who the crests are based on", don't jump to the conclusion though. Some of the digidestined Izzy met and based his digivices on are fictional characters not based on any series. It's not really that important but it will be mentioned a few times.

So, the tenth chapter is already in translation. We will shift focus from the human world to the digital one. Jax and Raph are still looking for new Primal Tamers… But what they are going to find is trouble. What are the odds, eh?

That doesn't mean nothing will happen with the rescue team. In fact, the opposite. Everything will go south even more than with the two dragon tamers mentioned above. This and get ready for the most epic Heroes of Might and Magic III round ever.

Chapter 10, The Shadow Dragons: coming (I hope) soon.

Disclaimer: The "Digimon" franchise belongs to Bandai. I do not claim ownership. The text above is non-profit and written only for entertainment purposes.