AINCRAD FLOOR 100: SCARLET JADE PALACE.
TEMPORAL DIVE MACHINE CONTROL ROOM.
ALFHEIM STANDARD TIME:
9TH OF FIRST MOON, 1806, 12:06 P.M.
A figure slipped up the steps into the darkened Control Room- his golden hair flowing behind him most un-stealthily.
He passed by the unguarded doors, and sneaked towards the inert and disabled control console.
A scowl formed on the man's face. The damage had been mostly repaired, it seemed, save for the cosmetic appearance of the damaged console...
He reached for a keyboard on one of the intact console, and tapped the space bar a few times to bring it out of sleep mode.
The monitor before him lit up- displaying the current status of a particular doomed timeline.
The man let out a slight hiss.
It was the timeline Shoutmon and his friends had been stuck in.
How did Yuu know about it enough to track it's status?
He supposed that he DID tell him that something was up, however-
The console beeped suddenly in alarm as the status on the Timeline began to fluctuate wildly.
"What the...?" The man scowled as he watched the status scroll through gibberish and unknown languages before finally settling on something:
"..." He stared at the screen for a few moments, "...What?"
How could an entire timeline go from Doomed to Alpha in-?
Even if they somehow escaped being doomed- the Timeline status should have reverted to BETA instead of-
The man felt faint all of a sudden.
His location had changed to...Space?
Wait- what was that massive thing coming down towards him with the swords and the-
Ryouma Mogami- current controller of the ALfheim Avatar "Oberon"- was slapped back into the present as Kirito's swords Elucidator and Dark Repulsor cut into his body.
"GYAAH!" He stumbled away from the console as he felt four sword strikes occur from a measly two. "What the hell!?"
"Oberon!" The GM Breeze stepped out of the shadows, "I nearly didn't believe it when I was told you'd demanded access to this control room, but now...!" Her fists clenched. "Why didn't you come to me or Yuuki-san first?"
"W...Who?" Ryouma scowled.
"Don't play dumb with us!" Another GM stepped forward- with Yuu and Klein behind him. "We know about your insanity, Sugou, so don't think that can excuse you from your actions!"
"No, seriously," Ryouma's scowl deepend, "I don't have a clue who any of you are... I just took this guy's AmuSphere and logged straight on."
"And you decided to come straight to the control room where Oberon had been seen not an hour before?" Kirito asked- "I doubt it. Not with the way you reacted to the information on that screen."
"..." The intruder sighed as he sent a command into the game server to change his avatar appearance to a certain way- "Fine. You've got me. I- Ryouma Mogami- have been impersonating your "Oberon" this entire time."
"Lies," Breeze insisted, "Sugou went into full dive ahead of all of us- we saw him go in with our own eyes."
"Then maybe you should check where your dear Sugou is right now," Ryouma pressed on. "Ten bucks says he's in the hospital this very moment."
"From what?" Yuu asked, eyes narrowed.
"What else?" Ryouma chuckled as his avatar's body grew taller- shifting into the more familiar form of Gravimon- although his clothes remained unchanged. Oh well- it wouldn't matter much in a few moments. "Poison in his medicine."
"Gravimon!" Yuu shouted as he drew his Scythe. "Get him!"
"RHAAHA!" Kirito leaped forwards with a Starburst Stream attack.
"HURAAH!" And every member of Klein's Guild emerged from the shadows as well to join the attack.
'Oh Crap In a Hat.' Gravimon/Ryouma swore as he was barred down on from all sides-
He felt every sword strike from Kirito twice over- each time accompanied by a brief flash of vision of that other battle...
That distracted him from the overall damage he'd taken from the other attackers- and then Yuu came barring down on him with a glowing hammer-strike-
*cue INNOCENCE, TV Size*
SWORD ART ONLINE
DIGIMON XROS WARS
*cue Title Theme (Xros Wars)*
"THE FINAL BOSS!"
Ryouma shot up in bed and threw the AmuSphere off immediately. "AAHH!" His breathing was heavy as he recalled the sensations of his body being obliterated inside the Game World.
He'd almost forgotten what it'd been like to die like that- the last time that he could clearly recall being when Anubimon had exploded the entire palace with malignant energies...
At least this time he didn't have to go through the feeling of stitching himself together again.
It was then that the several guns clicking drew Ryouma's attention up towards the armed guards who surrounded him.
"T-That's him!" Sugou/Quartzmon said between pained coughs- "That's the man who poisoned me...!"
Ryouma glanced up at Sugou/Quartzmon and swore at his alternate-future self. "I hope they strike you straight through the heart like that Piedmon did, old man."
Sugou/Quartzmon coughed up a bit of blood- but smirked just the same.
"I see..." Breeze nodded as she closed the message window, "then that boy was telling the truth. Sugou was poisoned. He claims this Ryouma boy took advantage of his sudden pain and threw him to the ground before stealing the AmuSphere and logging in."
"So it was Ryouma then..." Kirito sighed, "Then we've won? We've kicked him out fully?"
"Something doesn't add up about this," Yuu frowned, "why the hell would Ryouma go to all that trouble to put poison in insanity medicine, blatantly steal an AmuSphere, and rush in here blindly to try to take over the controls again?"
"Maybe he wanted to make sure we didn't mess anything up?" Lizbeth offered, "We were fixing the damage, after all. Maybe he thought he could pull Aincrad out to the real world."
"Well," Wisemon spoke up as he reloaded from Yuu's Xros Loader- surprising nobody but the GMs from ALfheim Online- "from my monitoring of the past events- there have been a few subtle dimensional tugs on the castle ever since we completed the maintenance. Which suggests to me that we have fully repaired the machine. Ryouma's attack just now could very well have been his attempt to aid Quartzmon in pulling us back into whatever plan we interrupted."
"So should we put it to the test then?" Yuu asked. "Pull Aincrad out of Alfheim and into Earth?"
"That would probably be the best course of action," Kirito nodded, then glanced over to Breeze. "You should probably get all the Alfheim Players off of Aincrad before we jump. There's no telling what might happen if we tried pulling out with someone from the other game on the castle."
"Right, like what we were afraid might happen before we found out Quartzmon played us all for fools," Yuu nodded, though scowled. "And speaking of Quartzmon- we haven't heard a word come out of that guy ever since we landed in Alfheim..."
"Hey, you're right...!" Klein's eyes widened slightly, "That guy never missed a chance to berate the NPCs for playing Jazz music!"
"...You don't think that Quartzmon hitched a ride out with Ryouma?" Kirito asked suddenly, "Do you?"
"...We need to get to Earth right away," Wisemon declared.
"ATTENTION PLAYERS OF ALFHEIM ONLINE!" A massive voice boomed over the Castle speakers- "We will be attempting a Dimensional Jump in ten minutes! Please evacuate to the City Aruun right away!"
Leefa didn't pause at that message even when the other Alfheim Players around her did- instead- she continued running for the warp gate.
'Not now! Not Now!' she cursed her luck- 'Not when I just got a lead on Onii-chan...!'
She stepped up onto that platform and shouted out: "TELEPORT! SCARLET JADE PALACE!"
Asuna stood up from her seat at the dining room table in her house on the 22nd floor. "Well, then, father," she smiled at the man who also stood up, "I suppose that if this all works out, I'll be seeing you in the real world then."
"Indeed," her father nodded. "I...It's been good to see that you've made a decent life for yourself here, Asuna," he smiled. "A caring husband, a lovely daughter...And you! A master of cooking! I'll be sure to tell your brother that you've done well for yourself. That his absence in coming to this world caused good rather than ill."
"Please do," Asuna closed her eyes, "though, if it all works out, I should be able to tell him myself before too long." She opened them again, tears brimming at the corners, "See you soon, Father."
"I'll be waiting, Daughter," Her father smiled as well.
Leefa materialized at the warp gate just at the end of the massive floor that had once been covered in Lava- but now was graced by the flower fields of victory.
A stairwell lay before her- and she spread her wings and soared up them.
'Faster- Faster!' She pushed herself to fly up past the retreating Alfheim GMs and past the startled guards. "ONIII-CHAAAN!" she shouted as she targeted the only black-hair-black-clothes person in the room.
He looked over in surprise- familiar eyes widening in confusion- "Haah?"
She slammed into the boy and pushed him into the floor- hugging him tightly.
"What-?" Kirito blinked in confusion- "Who...?"
"You're alive!" Leefa was crying with relief, "You really survived through this world!"
"W...Sugu...ha?" Kirito finally recognized the voice from the person who had just glomped him.
Yuu just shook his head in memory of his own reunion with his sister, Nene, four years earlier. "Has it really been that long since that war?" he asked as he pressed a few buttons and pulled a few levers.
"Ah, yes it has," Wisemon chuckled, "I'm surprised it's been as long as it has been."
"Amen to that, brother!" Starmon laughed from the Xros Loader. "To think it's been four...almost five years now since we started this adventure collecting Code Crowns!"
"We've really come a long way, haven't we?" Corone asked as she leaned up next to Yuu against the console. "I used to work for DarkKnightmon...so did Sally and Nene..."
"Kotone too," Spadamon remarked from the Xros Loader. "Then there were the Death Generals...And we're still cleaning up that mess, aren't we?"
"Gravimon," Wisemon nodded. "Quite a pest, he is."
"And he works with Quartzmon too!" Starmon huffed. "What a sore loser!"
"At any rate," Yuu chuckled as he glanced over at Kirito and Leefa, who were still chatting about all the things that had gone on, "it seems Asuna isn't the only one to reunite with her family today."
"I hate to break it up," Wisemon said, "but she really must log out before we leave. There's no telling what might happen to her when we depart."
"Yeah-" Yuu sighed.
"Oiii, Yuu!" Lizbeth called out suddenly from the other side of the console- "Incoming Video Message from someone calling himself Kamiya!"
"Kamiya?" Yuu's eyes widened slightly- "Put it through!"
The monitor above him cut to static and then resolved into a blurry web-cam video feed of Tai Kamiya- "Yuu! Man am I glad to see you!"
"Tai-san!" Yuu grinned slightly, "How'd you get this number?"
"We just got a call from Shoutmon- he gave us this broadcast frequency so you can track us back to the Earth that the SAO players belong to," Came Izzy's voice from off screen. "Also! You need to take a look at this-!"
The image spun around- as an actual laptop somewhere was spun around to look at something.
"We could really use reinforcements right about now!" Tai continued on as the image before him was fed into the camera despite the massive wind blowing past them obscuring parts of it.
"Is that a-?!" Yuu stopped himself midsentence- unable to say it.
"It's a Quartzmon Terminal, Yes!" Izzy added as he narrowed his eyes at the massive black orb lowering itself towards the city streets.
"Damn it...!" Yuu's hands clenched into fists. "Alright then," He narrowed his eyes and began tracing the feed source back to the proper dimension- "Signal is locked on and we'll be ready to depart in a moment!"
"See you soon, then!" Tai said before the feed cut out.
"OI!" Yuu spun on his heels, "Leefa-san, I apologize for this, but I've got to ask you to leave right now."
"What?" Leefa stood up in protest, "No way! I just found Onii-chan again and I'm not leaving him behind!"
"Sugu-" Kirito put a hand on her shoulder, "Please, you've got to go back now. We don't know what will happen if we try to jump and you're still logged in on the castle."
"I'll take that risk!" Leefa spun around, "I heard what's going on back home! If you go back into that you're going to fight whatever it is, aren't you?"
"Yeah, I am, but-" Kirito was cut off as Leefa glared at him.
"Then I'll fight with you!" She declared, "How do you expect to fight anything that can fly without wings!? Huh?!"
"Er...Well..." Kirito scratched at the side of his head.
"Then I'll stay!" Leefa crossed her arms and stomped her right foot into the ground, "I'll stay so I can fight with my wings!"
Lizbeth and Yuu shared a glance with each other, then looked to Wisemon.
"Well," He shrugged, "it will be a good way to find out what happens to someone in this situation, I suppose, if she's voluntering for it?"
"Well alright then!" Yuu hit a button and shouted into the intercom- "Attention Aincrad! We'll be heading out a little ahead of schedule! Please strap yourselves into any available nearby buildings, and if you're an Alfheim player, please hurry off the Castle right now!"
"Front liners!" Lizbeth spoke into it next, "We're going to be pulling into earth- but that guy? Quartzmon? He's got some kind of trap waiting for us there. We're probably going to have to fight any ALO or SAO mobs that he might have waiting for us- so get your gear ready if you're willing to fight!"
The two pilots shared a glance- then nodded as they pulled two leavers simultaneously.
To the world of Alfheim Online- the Castle at the top of Aincrad glowed red as the castle began to fade away.
Two pulses- it could barely be seen.
A Third pulse- and it was gone.
In the Kirigaya household- one Suguha Kirigaya lay in bed, an AmuSphere lying over her head.
As the Quartzmon Terminal visible through the window descended on the distant city- her AmuSphere began to glow a faint blue as her body started to glow a familiar shade of golden yellow...
As Aincrad flung itself side-wards through the Temporal Void- Leefa collapsed to the ground and shrieked in surprise.
"Sugu-!" Kirito's eyes widened in surprise.
But it was then that everyone was caught off guard as Yuu's Xros Loader suddenly shot out of his pocket- surrounded by a sphere of yellow light.
"Not Agaiiiin!" Starmon lamented as the Xros Loader acted on its own once more-
The top opened and it let out a familiar chime of beeps along with a flash of light.
"What the-!?" Yuu's eyes widened- "A Digi-Xros!?"
Suguha Kirigaya's body transformed into a sphere of light that shot out through the window and then up into the air-
-Where it shot in through the open doors and entered the avatar "Leefa."
"W...What the heck...?" Lizbeth stared on in surprise- "What's happening to her!?"
"Su..gu..." Kirito's eyes were wide open as he watched the avatar before him change in ever so slight ways- the blond hair shifted into a familiar black shade, and her eyes changed color as well. Some of her facial features reworked themselves as well to more closely mimic what the girl looked like in reality, and when the light show faded...
Suguha Kirigaya/Leefa sat where she had moments before with a pounding headache.
"Owowowow..." She grit her teeth.
"Well..." Wisemon remarked as he watched Yuu's Xros Loader float back over towards Yuu- "That was unexpected."
"Tell me about it-" Yuu frowned as he caught his Xros Loader and glared at it before pocketing it, and turning back towards the monitor- "We're coming through!"
Everyone's eyes went to the sky as a shadow began to fall over the city.
A flying castle was materializing in the sky-
Tai let out a whoop as he punched a fist into the air, "YEAH!"
Izzy frowned- "Did they have to do it in such an obvious manner?"
Much to the SAO player's surprise- their Magic Point gauges and Hit Point Gagues had remained visible to them- but among the sudden surprise was the random addition of ALfheim's magic wings appearing on their backs- each set a different color depending on the player's present armor coloring.
"Wh..Woah!" Silica cried out in surprise as her feet suddenly lifted off of the ground- "Awesomeee!"
Pina let out a proud cry- Her friend had learned to fly too!
Yuu narrowed his eyes at the wings that had sprouted from his back. "Okay- Seriously?" He pulled his Xros Loader out and glared at it- "You did that Digi-Xros thing to everyone, didn't you? Combined ALO avatar data with SAO Avatar data and gave everyone Wings?"
The Xros Loader remained silent- although it's screen flashed a winking emoticon for a few seconds in response.
"I think they look pretty!" Corone giggled as she spun around on her own recently added wings- "I wonder if I get any new attacks from this?"
"Well..." Kirito said as he helped Leefa to her feet, "I have to say that this was pretty unexpected."
"I guess this is what happens when an avatar crosses dimensions then," Leefa muttered to herself.
"In any case-" Wisemon spoke up, "I do believe it's time we go confront the Terminal?"
"Right!" everyone nodded in agreement.
From all 100 floors- glowing dots of various colors emerged from the Castle- flying out into the city towards their single target- the Quartzmon Terminal.
From its golden feet- various beasts and monsters- all of them Towers- emerged to flood the city streets.
"Knights of the Blood Oath!" Heathcliff called out as he spread his white wings to come to a halt infront of a group of flying Knights with blood red wings- "For Aincrad! For Earth! FOR OUR HOME!"
"RAAAAHHH!" Everyone behind him roared in agreement- and with that- they all soared down towards the army of Towers flooding the streets.
Kirito zipped out of the Palace and soared up into the air- getting a sense of feeling for his newly gained, translucent black wings. "Okay...this is going to change my fight style a bit..." He smirked, "But I love a good challenge!" And with that- he narrowed his eyes at a Pteramon Tower and zoomed towards it at mach speed- slicing through the metal-dinosaur with both swords and a sonic boom.
From the 22nd Floor- Asuna took flight on bright white wings of her own- with Yui right beside her. She quickly saw that stunt of Kirito's, and flew up to join him.
Leefa, meanwhile, just floated above the castle for a moment looking down at the city below in surprise. "It's so...different up here..." She was so caught up that she didn't even feel Klein putting a hand on her shoulder and asking, "Ready to kick some Quartz Crystals back where they came from?"
"HRRRAAAH!" Yuu had found that wielding a death scythe mid air was no easy task- especially when the Scythe itself had wings that could accelerate beyond normal swinging speed.
This lead to him deciding to take the fight towards the ground rather than to mid air. As he zipped down towards a mob of SAO Goblins being wailed away upon by a WarGreymon and a MegaKabuterimon, he caught sight of Tai and Izzy encouraging their Digimon.
"Tai! Izzy!" Yuu shouted.
"Woah!" Tai's eyes went wide when he spotted the boy- "Since when could you fly?!"
"About a minute ago," Yuu shrugged. "How goes the fight down here?"
"We've got a mixing of Digimon Towers and unknown monster towers," Izzy explained- "I'm guessing the unknowns are from Sword Art Online?"
"Probably!" Yuu nodded as he let Corone shift into her human form again to take on random opponents at her own leisure- he reloaded Spadamon in his weapon form to compensate for being unarmed. "There might be some from Alfheim as well."
"At the rate Quartzmon's pumping these guys out," WarGreymon shouted as he punched a Goblin into another's sword strike- "we're going to be over run pretty quickly- even with the extra back up!"
*cue No Helping It! I'll Suck Up for Just One Minute and Twenty Seconds! GURREN LAGANN OST*
"Agreed!" MegaKabuterimon squashed one flat- "They just keep coming!"
"So we take out the Tower then," Spadamon deduced, "Then they stop spawning!"
"We can't get close enough though-" Izzy said- "we tried already and there's a-"
A massive explosion occurred just above the Quartzmon Terminal's body- protected from the blast by an orange, hexagonal energy plate.
"-Force field." Tai concluded as he glanced around for whatever caused it- "Who threw that-!?"
Up in the sky- suddenly there had appeared a large temporal rift.
Everything stopped as the rift pulsed- something was preparing to come through.
Suddenly- Massive floating ships emerged through the rift- with various smaller ones along side them- and at the front was one SpaceTrailmon with one certain Digimon King wearing a dashing red cape riding on the thing's nose.
"Shoutmon!" Yuu's eyes went wide.
"Are those Vanships!?" Tai's eyes went wide.
"Look! Those two flagships!" Izzy pointed at two certain black armored ships; "The Silvana and the Silvius!"
"They really brought reinforcements from That Universe!?" WarGreymon asked in surprise.
"EVERYONE!" Shoutmon snapped his fingers- and pointed at the Terminal- "SELECT YOUR TARGETS AND FIRE AT WILL!"
Missiles launched from the larger green and white ships- from the countries of Anatoray and Disith in a certain other dimension- selecting airborne Towers and obliterating them with specially designed warheads that only sought to cause damage towards Towers and nothing else.
The Smaller Vanships spread out and selected larger, land bound targets that were giving the SAO players a hard time.
Each Vanship would launch off small hydrogen propelled canisters from under their wings and would cause the Towers to explode into cubes upon impact.
Kirito and Asuna stared out at the sudden decimation of Quartzmon's forces with wide eyes.
"W...Where did these guys come from?" Asuna asked.
Kirito was left speechless as a certain Vespa variation of Vanship swung past them, and the blond haired, green eyed pilot girl waved and grinned at them before being berated by her dark haired copilot.
"Fam! Eyes on the sky!"
"Damn!" Klein laughed as he watched a massive Disith warship fire down upon a flock of angry Dragon Towers with ease- sparing a group of SAO Players who had just about to become over run. "These guys are good!"
Meanwhile- the Quartzmon on the Terminal top just stared on in confusion- "Huh...So they decided to resort to this kind of strategy?"
He sighed- "Regardless- they still cannot pierce this shield that I've-"
It was then that Quartzmon glanced up in time to see a certain, green plated, four legged, drill wielding Evangelion Unit 05 descending towards him after jumping off of a random Anatoray ship.
Quartzmon flared up his force field- but found that Unit-05's Drill spun right through it without a problem-
"SURPRISE ANTI-AT FIELD GIGA DRILL BREAKER!" Rei Ayanami shouted through the Eva's Loud Speakers.
"OH Crap In a Hat-!" Quartzmon managed to spit out before the drill ran him through and through.
The Terminal Exploded into a shower of cubes and flashes of light that drew everyone's attention towards it.
The Quartzmon who had hidden inside Noboyuki, Sugou, leaned against a window as he watched the Terminal he'd called for be destroyed in an instant.
He started laughing- "Hah...Ahahahaha...An Evangelion..." His laughter turned to coughing- but he still persisted- "They brought in an Evangelion and Exiles...!"
And then he coughed up something rather surprising- a tiny, blood coated, silver drill.
"...?" Quartzmon's eyes screwed up at the sight- and then he fell backwards towards the ground as his heart finally gave out.
"Noboyuki-san!" the person who had been escorting him rushed to his side...
But alas- it was too late.
The body had rejected the new mind- killing itself in the process.
Nothing could be done.
The Traitor had died by being betrayed by both the one he intended to defect to and by his own body.
The remaining Towers were quickly cleaned up- and the reinforcements from another dimension sailed away back into the rift that they'd come from.
That was the news that Ryouma had last heard a little over an hour ago.
The plan had failed.
Ryouma looked up when the door opened to the interrogation room he'd been deposited in. "W...What?" He stared on as he tried to work is jaw into saying something coherent.
"Surprised?" Shoutmon asked.
"How?" Ryouma's eyes went wide- "You should be dead! You were trapped in a doomed timeline!"
"I have you to thank for that, actually," Shoutmon said as he closed the door behind him- then took a few steps to begin circling Ryouma. "A Gravimon in that timeline told me that anything can happen in a doomed timeline so long as it ends up cleared out before entropy sets in."
"...What did you do?" Ryouma asked- leaning in towards Shoutmon when he was directly across from him. "What. Did. You. DO!?"
"Me?" Shoutmon laughed lightly- "All I did was the same thing Taiki did. Pack up and leave!"
"..." Ryouma stared on in confusion as Shoutmon smirked rather dangerously.
"And besides, you gave me the idea too."
"You Xrossed yourself with a Sun-" Shoutmon leaned in to whisper almost conspiratorially upon seeing the horror flash across Ryouma's face, "claimed your 'new found' Gravity powers were from that. But you see...You used them wrong."
"Wh...what?" Ryouma was panicking now- how much did he KNOW?
"You pushed instead of pulled-" Shoutmon explained, "I might have bought it if you didn't do it like that..." He lowered his voice even more to a barely audible whisper, "Quartzmon."
"Y..You figured it out?" Ryouma asked.
"You- Gravimon- are actually you- Quartzmon-" Shoutmon pulled away from the silver haired boy and resumed his circling, "I don't know the exact loop, but I'd wadger a guess that the Gravimon who crashed onto our Earth three years ago eventually became Quartzmon- who then went back in time and ensured his own birth by recruiting you for his own- ah, sorry, YOUR own plans."
"Sigh," Ryouma sighed- "If you know that much then you're probably on the path towards hunting down the final mes."
"Oh definitely," Shoutmon chuckled, "in fact...that Gravimon-Quartzmon-Ryouma that screwed this whole plan up on? Guess where I ended up blasting him into." Shoutmon smirked from behind Ryouma's line of sight- "Go ahead- guess!"
"...A blue rift in space?" Ryouma asked.
"Exactly!" Shoutmon chuckled, "I wouldn't have known the significance of that if I hadn't seen something fly into it just moments before. Wanna take a bet as to what that is?" Ryouma said nothing. "No? Not a clue?" Again- Ryouma said nothing. "Alright then, I'll tell you..." He leaned in towards Ryouma and whispered into his ear- "A. Golden. Comet." Ryouma tensed up, and Shoutmon pulled away. "You know what I'm going to find if I go through that warp, don't you?" Shoutmon asked as he resumed circling. "I don't got a clue, honestly, but I'll take a wild guess."
"You'll never expect what's behind curtain number one," Ryouma said with a hollow voice- all emotion drained from it.
"I'll find you," Shoutmon said as he stepped towards the door, "I'll find the You that isn't doomed to die because you split yourself too thin." He reached for the handle, "I suspect that this little meeting uninterupted means you'll be rotting in jail here for a very, very long time," Shoutmon pulled the door open and stepped through. "Enjoy the rest of your life, Ryouma."
Ryouma sat there for a few moments in silence.
He took in a sharp breath- clenched his fists- and then sobbed as tears started to collect at his eyes- "Damn it! Damn it! DAMN IT!"
Tears hit the table as he sobbed again.
"What makes them win?" he asked to the empty room- "What is giving them the power to beat me at every TURN!?"
This particular Ryouma would not get the answer to that question for another three weeks.
SpaceTrailmon touched down on the first biggest gear that would fit it. Just behind it- Unit 05 had been hoisted down onto a gear that would fit it as well some time earlier.
Hideaki let out a sigh of relief once he felt the ship touch down. "Alright then...here we are..."
He got up out of the chair and quickly stalked down the hallway past the kitchen- where Kaoru, Mizuki, and Rina were all chatting about one thing or another- he continued on past them into the Time Engine room- "Oi, we're here!"
"Right!" Kaiyumi called from underneath the engine. "Thanks!"
Hideaki shook his head and turned to leave- nearly bumping into the Watch Maker as he did such- "Sorry..." And with that he walked off.
"So," The Watch Maker began- "how goes the modifications?"
"Pulling out the paradox inhibitor that just got installed is actually a lot harder than you'd think!" Kaiyumi huffed- "Especially when you THEN have to make sure that all the necessary ports are going to be cross compatible with the big machine we're plugging it into, ALL the while trying not to break anything else that's important!" She sighed- "Future You really is a genius with this Engine, by the way. I can't wait to ask him how he built it."
"If everything goes according to plan with the letter, then you'll get the chance soon enough," The Watch Maker chuckled as he glanced at a new watch on his wrist- a Chrono Synchronizer. Three weeks- it's timer read.
Kaiyumi stopped her work for a few moments to turn her head and look at him out from under the engine- "You're really sure you want to go through with this, Emmit?"
"It's the only way to ensure a happy ending for everyone," The Watch Maker said flatly, "my present self included."
"...I see." Kaiyumi turned back to her work, then called out- "Simon! Can you get me that Three Quarters wrench?"
The boy shot up from where he'd been napping in a pile of tools not a moment later. "Huh-Wha?"
"Three-Quarters Wrench!" Kaiyumi repeated- "Chop Chop!"
THE TEMPORAL DIVE MACHINE CONTROL ROOM_ _ _|
"So wait- they're all fine with letting us take Aincrad?" Yuu asked- eyes wide.
"Everyone agrees that the Governments shouldn't have their hands on this power," Heathcliff nodded, "and the only players that aren't fully okay with you taking it out are the ones that want to stay here on it to go where-ever it goes...which surprisingly to my count been over Eighty Percent of the surviving players- the ones who didn't remain within the Starting City for the entire game."
"Two years trying to escape and suddenly people want to Stay?" Lizbeth asked, eyes widening.
"We're still here, aren't we?" Kirito asked.
"I guess..." Lizbeth frowned.
"If we can easily return to this earth at any time, I think a lot of people won't mind staying," Asuna suggested a reason why, "it would be more like the game SAO was meant to be for them, I think?"
"That's quite true," Heathcliff nodded, "and as well- the sudden ability to summon wings makes us a rather large target for...scientists."
A shiver went down the group's spines.
"At any rate, Aincrad was meant to wander without a master," Heathcliff continued on, "I think that is what it truly wants deep within its core."
"I guess that makes sense," Lizbeth nodded.
"Still, we're not pulling out until we've got our pressing business here finished," Yuu noted. "The tower cleanup, and everyone getting a chance to return to their families..."
"You've got three days," Came Shoutmon's voice as he walked up into the room, "that's as long as I had to wait to get everything together to come here, so that's as long as you'll have to get it together too."
"Now Shoutmon...!" Yuu frowned at the sudden order.
"Three days?" Asuna asked, glancing at Kirito, "I think we can take care of everything in three days."
"Yeah," Kirito nodded- "Three days is good for me."
"Liz?" Asuna looked to her pink haired friend- who had her arms crossed as she tapped her foot to think.
"I'd be happier with four!" Lizbeth said finally- "But I can deal with three days!"
"I'll let the rest of the players know that if they want extended time, they can stay," Heathcliff said, "but for those wishing to head out off the bat, we'll be departing in three days."
Yuu's frown deepened a bit at that exchange, and so, once the room emptied out, pulled Shoutmon aside. "What's with you?"
"Huh?" Shoutmon asked. "What?"
"Why are you in such a rush to get out of here?" Yuu asked. "It's not the doomed timeline thing, is it?"
"No, actually," Shoutmon smirked a bit- "I'm just in a rush to get out there so we can find Taiki and Sally."
"Shoutmon, it's been three years already-" Yuu began.
"I know where they landed," Shoutmon cut off the same old spiel before it began- "I know where they landed and I'm in a rush to get to them before Quartzmon does."
"Wait...seriously?" Yuu blinked in surprise.
"Does it look like I'm joking to you, Yuu?" Shoutmon asked as he pointed at his rather serious, but hopeful face.
"And besides that-" Shoutmon grinned, "I'll be happy not to have to do all this Time Travel any more once we're done with this!"
"You seriously think it can end- Just like that?" Yuu frowned a little.
"It's been three years, Yuu," Shoutmon repeated that oft-repeated phrase, "everything has an end, even grand, adventurous stories like ours." He smiled, "But then again- endings are just another form of beginnings. Who's not to say that we won't have new adventures waiting for us once we finish this one?"
THREE DAYS LATER_ _ _|
The world of Earth stared on as the castle Aincrad took to the skies once more- floating up into the atmosphere and activating it's purple shield.
A controlled window of space time ripped open in the skies above it- and with a single VWORP! it shot across space and time towards its destination.
"By my estimates it'll take us about a day to get to the specific coordinates you marked down, Shoutmon," Wisemon explained as they hurtled towards the other side of the time-space continuum.
"A day huh?" Shoutmon asked- "Any way to speed it up?"
"Not really," Lizbeth said as she looked up from one of the consoles- "The three jumps the castle made before were to neighboring universes- so it was easy to get between them quickly. But this jump is taking us clear across to the furthest edge of everything there is."
"So we're basically making up for in carrying capacity what we lose in travel time?" Shoutmon asked.
"That sounds about right to me," Wisemon nodded.
"Alright then," Shoutmon nodded, "make the announcement whenever you get a chance."
And with that- he strolled off.
AINCRAD ACT: FINISHED!
THE STORY CONTINUES ON IN:
DIGIMON XROS WARS: ALTERNATE UNIVERSE 02!
X0VA-11! ENTER THE LAGANN CLUSTER!
A.N.: And so ends this mini-arc of self-contained (Mostly) story. If you liked this story after stumbling onto it from the Xros Over category, and want to read more of such Xros Overs, please head on over to the full story, DXWAU02, and read the insanity for yourself! ^_^ I promise, you'll really like it! :D Thanks for reading! _DTC