Hello all! I can't believe that I'm giving all my amazing readers another chapter in just under a month! Just thank my geology test that made me want to not do any work at all and allowed me to finish the second half of this chapter that I've had written for a while! And as many of you will hopefully notice I've changed my pen name at last. Sorry for any inconveniences that this may have caused but this one will be staying for quite a long time! Enjoy this lovely chapter!
Disclaimer: I'm waiting for the star I've been wishing on to fix itself. It must be broken since I still do not own any part of the Digimon franchise.
Chapter 3: Unwelcome Reunions and Uncovered Secrets
"After doing some research I have discovered that our Digital World is special. It was the very first Digital World to exist, and as such, our Digital World is the only world to hold the Fractal Code – the data for the whole Digital Universe; not just our world. With this in mind, if Lucemon had been able to obtain the Fractal Code our whole Digital Universe would have been under his control. And that, my fellow digimon, is a very frightening and sobering realization."
~excerpt from The Complete History of the Digital World by Bokomon
The two teens in front of Joe, Koichi and Tommy, seemed indifferent to the curious gazes and fierce glares sent their way. Instead, they were conversing about the digimon, Dynasmon, which had attacked them out of the blue.
"It looks like the Royal Knights have been summoned into action," Koichi frowned.
"You couldn't have expected Lucemon to work without their help," his companion, Tommy, reminded.
"That was the Dynasmon from the Royal Knights?" Joe heard Keenan burst out in confusion.
The two strangers looked back at Keenan. When neither of them answered, Keenan continued. "I've talked to the Royal Knights! They helped us save the human world!"
"Haven't you figured out that this is no longer the Digital World that you know?" Koichi spat out harshly. "Your Digital World no longer exists! This is the last version still in tact and if you want to even have a home to return to you'll do your job here and help protect the essence of the Digital World!"
"That was unnecessary Koichi," Tommy said softly, gazing around at the shocked faces of the group.
Joe's mind was whirling a mile a minute. He flashbacked to when Izzy was explaining what had transpired with his conversation with Gennai. To think that someone had destroyed the home of their partners. "Why?" he croaked. "Why would someone do that? What do they have to gain?"
The Digidestined of Reliability watched as Tommy glanced over at Koichi and when the frowning teen glanced away, Tommy sighed softly before speaking. "It's difficult to explain. A very powerful digimon, Lucemon, was imprisoned a few years ago for trying to destroy this Digital World. About a year and a half ago, he broke free. The best guess we have is that he was disoriented from his sudden release and appeared in an unsuspecting world in the Digital Universe. Since then he has hunted for this world so he can destroy the Digital Universe and recreate it. Sadly many peaceful worlds have fell to his rage at not landing on the correct world. Thankfully, the last few worlds he visited – your Digital Worlds – had guardians of their own. And with the last of their powers the Celestial Digimon – Lord Seraphimon, Lord Cherubimon, and Lady Ophanimon – were able to interrupt your travels to your disappearing worlds and cause you to wind up here."
"Why should we fight to save a world that we have no ties to?" Takato finally spoke up.
"Because once Lucemon is destroyed, your worlds will be restored. He's only been attacking and destroying worlds to absorb their data and make himself stronger," Koichi interjected.
"So who are you?" Tai questioned. "You know too much to be strangers to this Digiworld. And that thing you did to stop Dynasmon; I've never seen anything like that before."
"We're this world's guardians. As for what we did," Koichi shrugged. "It's just what we do; how we fight. You have your partners. We have our...thing."
"Very eloquent," Tommy snorted in amusement.
"Since you two seem to know this place pretty well, where do you suggest to go next? We can't stay in this forest forever," Tai wondered.
"We need to eventually regroup with everyone. I think we decided on the Village of Beginnings," Koichi glanced at Tommy and received a nod in agreement. "So we should head there."
"There are more of you?" Joe asked in surprise.
Tommy laughed. "You make it sound like there shouldn't be. And there are six of us. Koichi and I, Zoe, JP, Takuya and Koji. Zoe should be leading the group she met up with straight to the Village of Beginnings. JP had something he needed to check out at an old factory before he met up with us. And I'm not sure what Takuya and Koji are going to do. They haven't been told where we're meeting yet."
"That's why you were supposed to meet them at the Flame Terminal," Koichi grinned.
Tommy ignored Koichi continued. "Now that everything has been cleared up. Are there any more questions?"
"That scary digimon said you were supposed to be dead," Suzie clutched Lopmon close as she spoke.
Joe looked at the youngest in surprise. He had forgotten that remark but immediately wished that Suzie had as well when Koichi's face darkened and the shadows of the forest seemed to grow before his eyes.
"We are and we aren't dead," Koichi murmured. "But that's another story for another time. We should get moving."
"Don't mind him," Tommy said lightly, but Joe could see pain in his eyes. "Dynasmon just drug up a painful part of his past without trying to. But we'll explain everything once Koichi's had time to cool down."
Joe glanced at the retreating forms of the two teens. "Do you think we should trust them?" he asked Tai.
"I think we have no choice," Tai responded. "However, if they wanted us dead they wouldn't have stopped Dynasmon. So we can trust them in that respect at least."
Joe nodded, his eyes never leaving the two leading their group out of the woods and into an unknown landscape.
Yoshi sighed. Last night had been chaos. She recognized the attacking digimon as Crusadermon, one of the Royal Knights. However, the last time they had met it had been on more friendly terms. So what had made her flip allegiance and attack former allies? Granted, the only person Crusadermon had interacted with was JP, but it wasn't like the kid was exceedingly vicious. Thinking back on the night, JP's mannerisms in the face of a fight concerned her. She hadn't seen any digimon traveling with him as a partner and he had quickly dismissed how close to he had been to getting hit with lightning. For the moment she decided she wasn't going to do anything about his behavior the night before. But if he started to act like he was sabotaging the group she would step in.
"Yoshi are you ready to go?" Lalamon called from outside the door. "Everyone is outside waiting."
Yoshi opened the door and greeted her partner with a smile. "You have a map right Izzy?" she asked the red-head.
"Yes ma'am," he responded quickly. "If you don't mind there's an abandoned factory nearby and I would like to go check it out. It could have information on this Digital World."
"That sounds like a good idea," Ryo agreed. "We need to know more about what we are dealing with. I didn't like the look of that digimon last night and it looked like the only reason she left was because of the lighting."
"Are you sure it wasn't because we all showed up?" Mimi argued.
"Quite sure," Ryo shot back. "I've spent a long time around digimon and have been a pretty good judge of strength. Unless we had coordinated attacks she could have easily defeated all of us without blinking an eye."
"If we want to get to that factory before nightfall we should get moving," JP spoke up.
"Yes," Yoshi agreed before turning to the digimon standing outside their homes. "Thank you all for your hospitality. Hopefully that digimon won't come back after we leave."
They managed to reach the factory as the sun began to set behind the hills. Yoshi looked around for a safe place to set up camp, but the factory was the only possible place. She would have preferred not camping in a place that could have hostile digimon, but it was better than sleeping out in the open.
"We'll have to spend the night in the factory," Yoshi announced.
"Is that wise?" Ryo questioned.
"Don't have any other choice to stay," Yoshi admitted. "Unless you want to sleep outside in the open."
"I vote the factory! C'mon Palmon, let's find us a place to stay for the night," Mimi announced, marching into the factory with her digimon close behind.
The rest of the group followed suit and found themselves in a huge room with conveyor belts and furnaces. Izzy immediately went to a control panel and plugged his computer into the panel. He tapped at the keys for a few minutes before groaning aloud.
"What's the matter Izzy?" Mimi asked her friend.
"This system is so ancient and different from anything I've seen. For starters I don't even recognize the symbols on the screen. They're like nothing I've ever seen!" Izzy complained. "But I'll figure it out eventually!"
"We should all get some rest," Yoshi announced. "I'll take first watch. Ryo can take the second watch. And Mimi and Izzy can take the last one."
"What about me?" JP asked once he realized that Yoshi had not mentioned him taking his turn.
"You don't have a partner digimon. Therefore you would be useless if a digimon were to attack without warning. You would be knocked out before you could wake anyone else up," Yoshi explained tiredly. "Now everyone should try to get some rest."
Yoshi sighed as she took up a position at the entrance of the room. She honestly didn't know why JP was even here if he had a digimon partner. He never once mentioned one that was away on a mission or something. She shook her head and focused on the task at hand.
JP woke up about halfway through the night. He had done a silent dance for joy when Izzy had mentioned wanting to go the factory before him. He had yet to activate his symbol, which was located at the bottom of the factory. While he had been studying the electrical stream of the Digital World, Zoe, Koichi and Tommy had all taken time to activate their symbols as a preliminary line of defense between Lucemon and the Fractal Code. Takuya's and Koji's symbols had never been deactivated; however, theirs had when they had died that day. Reactivating their symbols wouldn't make the barrier as strong as it would be if they were still alive, but it was better than nothing.
As quickly and silently as he could, JP snuck out of the room. He headed down the twisting corridors, ignoring the many offshoots that would drive any intruder insane trying to find their way around. Smiling to himself he came upon the door he was heading for rather quickly. He opened it; flinching slightly at the loud creak the rusted metal made. The room behind the door held the mainframe of the factory's system and was covered in a layer of dust. JP sneezed a few times before entering. His hand fumbled along the wall for the light switch. Finding the elusive trigger he flipped the lights to what he assumed was on. When the room remained dark he let out a soft curse and sent electricity through the circuits from his fingers.
He tried the switch again and the lights gave the room a dull illumination. It wasn't perfect but it would keep him from tripping over anything dangerous. JP walked up to the mainframe and wiped the film of dust off the side. There, engraved into a smooth portion of the mainframe, was the symbol for the Warrior of Thunder. Mentally patting himself on the back, JP ran his thumb over the engraving and pushed the electricity he held within him into the grooves. The symbol flared up brightly before settling down to a dim glow.
"What did you do?" a voice from behind him demanded. JP pivoted around and saw Ryo outlined in the doorway. "Did you just alert enemy digimon when you did whatever you did?"
"What I just did will probably help the Digital World in the long run," JP defended his actions.
"And what exactly was it that you did?" Ryo demanded sarcastically.
"Activate an old barrier that will buy us time against the real enemy," JP decided that honesty would be his best choice of action here.
Before Ryo could demand anything else, a loud crash came from above. "Digimon are attacking!" Ryo glared. "If this has anything to do with what you just did I will destroy you!"
JP ignored his threat. "This way," he said moving farther into the room. "There's a lift that will take us up to the room where we were staying. It'll be quicker than going the way we came to get here."
"Why didn't you take it to get down here?" Ryo questioned, following JP to the supposed lift.
"I forgot about it," JP replied, opening the door to the lift and motioning for Ryo to get on. He entered the lift after him and punched the button. The lift's mechanics whirled for a few seconds before dying. JP tried a few more times; each time yielding the same results.
"It's dead! How are we supposed to get up there now? We should have just gone back the way we came," Ryo stated angrily.
"Sorry if I shock you," JP responded, finding the circuit panel. He placed his hand on it and sent electricity into the wires, while simultaneously pressing the button. The lift whirled to life along with Ryo's pained yelp and shot up.
They arrived at the battle scene to see two different digimon cornering the rest of their group. Ryo went to join them but JP put his hand on his arm and halted his motion.
"Are you looking for me?" he asked the two digimon. "I'm surprised you came so quickly. Did Lucemon have you stationed near here knowing this was the last deactivated symbol?"
"If it isn't the Warrior of Thunder," one of the snarled as the two of them turned to face JP. "So eager to return to his grave."
JP closed his eyes and let down the barrier that kept his element in check. He opened his eyes as electricity flowed from his fingertips and cackled around his body. "You picked the wrong place to pick a fight with me. You would have been better off attacking us outside of the factory."
Kari stared at Zoe in shock. "What do you mean? What's happening to the Digital World?" She shook off TK's restraining hand and marched towards the "ghost." "Well, what's going on?"
Kari watched, fuming, as Zoe met her gaze and then burst out laughing. The rest of the group stood in shock as Zoe calmed down. "I'm sorry. That probably wasn't the best reaction to have, but you reminded me so much of myself when I first entered the Digital World. To answer your question, it's a very complicated story. Why don't you boys build a fire and I'll tell it when we're all settled for the night."
Zoe then drifted back up into the tree she had come down from and turned her gaze from the confused group to the stars and moons.
"That wasn't a very nice thing to say," Kari was reprimanded by Kazu.
"But aren't you at all curious as to what's going on?" Kari demanded.
"I am," Kazu nodded. "But I would have gone about it in a different way. Did you even consider Zoe might not want to talk about it? What if that's the reason she's dead?"
Whatever retort had been building on the tip of Kari's tongue faded instantly. "I hadn't even thought of that."
Kazu smiled back at her instead of making a scathing remark like Kari expected. "I expected as much. You remind me of my friend Rika. She would have reacted the same way you did."
"We should go help with getting the fire going," Kari said in response and went to go join TK who was picking up firewood.
"Are you going to apologize?" Gatomon inquired from her shoulder as Kari bent down to pick up a stick.
"No," Kari said firmly. "If she had reacted differently, then yes. But she understood where I was coming from. Besides she would have been asked about what she had said eventually."
"Tai would probably have told you to apologize," Gatomon smiled.
"Yeah, well Tai isn't here," Kari huffed and added the sticks she collected to the pile. She sat down next to TK and Patamon and ignored them both telling her she needed to apologize to Zoe. Soon a blazing fire grew in the freshly dug pit and warmed the bodies around the fire. Zoe skimmed over the ground and came to a rest next to Kari. The blonde girl merely gave Kari an understanding smile and looked to the rest of the group. Kari watched as Zoe took a deep breath and began to tell her story.
"The best place to start with any story is the beginning," Zoe began, looking at each member of her group. "It starts with a story that almost any digimon knows. A very long time ago, there was a great war between the human-like digimon and the beast digimon. Each group thought they were better than the other and neither group was willing to compromise with the other. During this turbulent time, a digimon named Lucemon had gathered enough power and allies to control the two warring groups and rule them. However, being under Lucemon's control was worse than the many years of war before then. A group of ten digimon rose up and managed to defeat Lucemon and seal him away at the cost of their own like. These digimon became known as the Ten Legendary Digimon in the years to follow. After Lucemon and his followers had been taken care of, a triad of digimon – two human and one beast – rose to power and managed to make peace between the two groups. For many years, Lord Seraphimon, Lady Ophanimon and Lord Cherubimon ruled the Digital World in peace. However that peace wasn't to last long."
"Did Lucemon come back?" Patamon interjected, bouncing up and down on TK's lap in excitement.
Zoe laughed in amusement at Patamon's antics. "Sadly he did. Lucemon managed to corrupt Lord Cherubimon's mind and influence the previously kind digimon to help bring about his revival. When Cherubimon effectively betrayed the other two members of the triad, Lady Ophanimon made contact with the human world and brought my friends and me to help save the Digital World. Each of us bonded with one of the five Legendary Warriors that held allegiance to Lady Ophanimon. The other five were under Lord Cherubimon's control and in our journey to stop Lucemon's revival we came face to face with those five many times. We managed to reach Lord Cherubimon and defeat him but the revival of Lucemon had already began.
"For the six of us, the battle against Lucemon was a difficult and trying time. Eventually our friendship and trust was the only thing that managed to defeat Lucemon. The Legendary Warriors helped us seal them away and stood guard to make sure Lucemon or any of his followers couldn't escape. Then, two years ago, due to circumstances out of our control, Lucemon and his followers managed to break free. However they hadn't been kept our Digital World. Instead they had been imprisoned in the center of the Digital Universe with each of the Digital Worlds unknowingly strengthening the prison walls. This amazing plan backfired when Lucemon broke free and didn't know which Digital World was the one he wanted so he started destroying the worlds that weren't the ones he wanted to increase his power."
Zoe fell silent, not wanting to continue or tell them what had happened to their own worlds.
"What aren't you telling us?" Marcus demanded.
Zoe bit her lip but she didn't respond.
"Were our Digital Worlds destroyed by Lucemon?" Thomas inquired softly.
Zoe nodded. "Yes. He destroyed your worlds before coming back to this one. If he hadn't however we wouldn't have been able to bring you here to save this world and the whole Digital Universe. If we are successful in defeating Lucemon, we will be able to get the data from all the worlds he destroyed and rebuild them."
"Looks like things have changed," Marcus remarked. "Instead of simply fighting for this Digital World; we're fighting for our own. That Lucemon bastard is going to regret messing with us!" Marcus clenched his fist and Agumon danced around him cheering.
"Thank you," Zoe murmured. "It'll be nice to know they won't have to shoulder this burden alone."
"Who are you talking about?" TK frowned.
"That is a story for another day," Zoe replied cryptically before she stood up. "You should get some sleep. I'll keep an eye out for any hostile digimon."
Zoe drifted away from the group that was settling down for the night. A tear rolled down her face as she looked up to the three moons hanging brightly in the sky. "Takuya, Koji, stay strong. We'll always be with you."
Koji watched at his best friend weaved through the streets of the Flame Terminal like they had never left the Digital World. If he hadn't known where Bokomon's house lay, he would have lost sight of the brunet about a block away from the station.
"I assume he knows where he's going," Rika huffed as they jogged after Takuya.
"We're going to see if an old friend is still around," Koji replied shortly. He had no clue who they were and he sure as hell wasn't going to be making friends with the enemy.
"So this is your version of the Digital World?" Sora inquired as Takuya entered a house without knocking.
Koji reluctantly led the four newly introduced strangers into Bokomon's house only to find Takuya had managed to make it look like a tornado had gone through the house. "And just what are you looking for?" he asked as he wandered over to the small portion of the house that Takuya's frantic search hadn't touched.
"Bokomon's book," Takuya emptied a storage box on the floor and rummaged through the pile.
Koji spied the infamous pink book nestled in the bookcase. He pulled it out and turned to face the whirlwind that had been his best friend moments ago. "And you didn't think to check the bookcase first?" the Warrior of Light chuckled as he brandished the book in front of Takuya.
Takuya snatched the book out of his hands and managed to find the sole clean spot of the floor to sit down and frantically flip through the pages.
"A thank you would have been nice," Koji grumbled before exiting the house and leaving Takuya to his search.
"Is Takuya ok?" Sora inquired once Koji had joined them.
Koji shrugged before turning his gaze to the horizon beyond the city. There had been something tugging on the back of his mind. Something dark was coming towards them from beyond the city. A dark shape appeared along the horizon and the tugging sensation immediately pointed to the unknown digimon.
"Takuya! We've got company!" Koji called back into the house. His eyes never leaving the growing silhouette.
"What kind of company?" Takuya stepped out of the house with the book hugged against his chest.
"The dark kind," Koji responded. "Did you find what you were looking for?"
"Kind of," Takuya looked down at the book. "Did you know that the Fractal Code was sealed away right before Lucemon escaped. That's what I saw when the marks glowed. I thought perhaps Bokomon had written down where they might have sealed it, but there's nothing that talks about it outright."
"Lucemon won't be happy then," Koji mused. He could almost make out the shape of the digimon coming towards them.
"Who's Lucemon?" Terriermon piped up.
"A very dangerous and evil digimon," was the only thing Takuya said in answer.
"Our Lord would be most displeased to hear you call him that," a very familiar pink and yellow digimon called out as they came to a stop a few feet away.
"He's not my lord so I'd prefer it if you didn't call Lucemon our lord," Koji retorted as he moved closer to Takuya, shielding the other members of their unconventional group.
"Crusadermon," Takuya greeted icily. "What brings you here?"
"You did," Crusadermon pointed at the Warrior of Fire. "I'd like to know where the Fractal Code is hidden."
"Why would I know where the Fractal Code is hidden?" Takuya took a step forward, arms still wrapped around the Bokomon's book.
Crusadermon let out a harsh laugh. "Don't play dumb with me child. I know that book holds the secrets to this world."
"It's not in the book," Koji spoke up, hand disappearing into his pocket.
Crusadermon's focus switched from Takuya to Koji in a second and lashed out at Koji, throwing him back into the house. "Are you going to fight me child? I'm stronger than you last remembered."
Koji looked up to see Takuya place himself between his crumpled form and the advancing digimon. He thrust the pink book out in front of him. "Here! If it's the book you want take it!"
"Foolish child," Crusadermon snatched the book out of Takuya's hands. "You haven't stopped me, merely delayed me. I'll take this to Lord Lucemon and, when we meet again, I'll enjoy destroying the both of you."
Koji knocked Takuya's legs out from underneath him as soon as Crusadermon had left. "You just gave the enemy the sole thing that could help us stop them!" Koji grabbed Takuya's shirt. He couldn't believe what had just happened. "Are you stupid?"
To Koji's surprise, Takuya reached into his pocket and pulled out another pink book. He shoved it in Koji's face. "Did you really think I would come out of that house with this out in the open for anyone to take? I know how much this can help us defeat Lucemon," Takuya stood up and offered Koji his hand to help the Warrior of Light up. "I'll forgive you because I'm sure Crusdarmon's attack scrambled your brains for a moment."
Koji snorted in amusement and took the offered hand. Sometimes he forgot how sneaky Takuya could be due to the fact the Takuya almost always ran into things head first without thinking of a plan beforehand.
"So what exactly is going on here?" Rika demanded with her hands on her hips.
Koji looked on in alarm as Takuya opened his mouth to tell the others everything. "Hold on a second," Koji hissed grabbing Takuya's arm. "What do you think you're doing?"
Takuya frowned. "I'm going to answer their questions. They deserve to know what they're getting themselves into. What's wrong with that?"
"What's wrong with that?" Koji sputtered. "Everything! Mainly the fact that we don't know them!"
"You're being ridiculously paranoid," Takuya crossed his arms and turned to face Koji.
"I am not!" Koji protested. "I'm being logical."
"No, you're being paranoid," Takuya corrected. "And if you're so convinced that they're with the enemy, perhaps you should use your ability and sense if they are dark or not."
Koji growled before closing his eyes and focusing on the confused members of their group. Not a single one of them held any hint of darkness. Half of them held an aloof feeling that people used to dealing with things alone held, but that was about the extent of their "darkness." Koji swallowed uncomfortably and opened his eyes to cautiously meet Takuya's exasperated gaze.
"Well?" the bite in Takuya's voice was softened by the knowing smile on his face.
Koji folded his arms, not liking the position he had put himself in. "They're fine," he grumbled.
Takuya turned to face the others, "Sorry about that. Mr. Paranoid here wasn't convinced you were friends. We'll explain everything that we can as soon as we find some shelter away from the Flame Terminal."
"Why do we need to find shelter?" Matt asked as Takuya turned to lead the group into the woods.
"So we don't get rained on," Takuya looked over his shoulder with an amused smile.
Koji had to hide his own smile when he heard Matt's grumbled response of "What rain? There's not a cloud in the sky!"
Koji might not trust the others, but he could tolerate them for as long as it took them to defeat Lucemon. He paused just outside the forest and looked back at the Flame Terminal. Takuya might have seen that the Legendary Warriors had hidden the Fractal Code, but Koji could have sworn for that brief second that he had felt Koichi's presence in the Digital World. However, Koichi was dead and therefore couldn't be in the Digital World, right?
"Koji, you're going to be left behind if you don't move from that spot," Takuya's voice was exasperated but Koji saw that he guessed what was going on in his head.
Koji rolled his eyes good naturedly and followed the rest of the group into the forest, putting thoughts of Koichi to the back of his mind until they were in a safer place.
Hope you all enjoyed the chapter! If you've spotted any typos let me know! My works are unbeta'd but hopefully that isn't hard to tell...
Don't expect another chapter as quickly as this one came out. You were all spoiled by the appearance of this chapter.