A/N: Okay, first I would like to say, I am so sorry that this chapter took so long and to make matters worse, it's 500 words shorter than my self-imposed word goal. But, alas, I thought the ending sounded better where it was and if I continued onto where I was originally going to end it, it would have detracted from the flow of the story. That being said I'm going to write the ending part in a condensed version for the next chapter (which, by the way, may end up taking as long as this one, and could be a little short. I will try not to let that happen, though).
As for the actual story, this chapter might be a little boring, since it's mostly a transition chapter. It does tie up a few things, and hopefully will answer a few questions, but I think the next chapter will be much more exciting than this one.
I would like to apologize for any confusion with the Agumon, since there are two of them. I tried to differentiate them by their way of speaking and whose partner they were, but I'm not sure if I was completely successful, since I already know who's who.
Now, then I would like to thank everyone who favorited and followed my story (or me) and would like to give special thanks to my reviewers: Jon Voris, MiraclesxFaith, The Keeper of Worlds, and Dragon and Sword Master.
You can get on with the story after this brief disclaimer.
Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon Adventure, Adventure 02, Tamers, Frontier, Savers, or Fusion or any of their plot and characters. They are the property of Toei Animation and Akiyoshi Hongo. This was made purely for entertainment and does not receive any profit.
Chapter 7: The Final Destination! The Heroes' Roles Are Revealed!
The chaotic winds died down, and their feet touched what at first appeared to be solid ground. Once they were fully present in the dimension, though, the solid surface beneath them lurched. They yelled in surprise as they were all thrown unceremoniously about. Masaru and Takuya somehow managed to stay on their feet, but the others were thrown to the ground in varying positions. The two Agumons were sprawled atop each other in a tangle of reptilian limbs. Taichi had fallen close by and his upper back was propped against a metal structure. Daisuke had fallen spread eagle on his stomach with Veemon on his stomach laying crossways on his partner's back. Takato had landed backwards on top of Guillmon who was on his back, but they were pushed up against some seats, causing their limbs to hang oddly in the air. Finally, Kuroku and Clockmon stood just a short distance from them having landed in the new world as elegantly as always.
"Ow…" Taichi groaned as he pushed himself up to seated position.
Both Agumons were struggling to get untangled. "Hey! Get off of me. Me? You're on me!" they yelled together as they moved around, only serving to get themselves in a tighter tangle.
Guillmon and Takato weren't much better, though were fighting much less. "Takatomon, you're heavy."
"Sorry Guillmon," Takato said as he tried to get off his partner without doing further damage.
Daisuke was the only one who was completely still. "Daisuke? Are you okay?" Veemon asked his partner worriedly as he had yet to feel him move.
"Yeah," Daisuke answered tiredly, his voice muffled by the floor. "But I'll be better when you get off of me."
After about five minutes of yelps, grunts, groans, and rocking movements, the Leaders and there digimon were able to put themselves into some semblance of order. Once this had been accomplished they took a closer look at their surroundings. It was nighttime, but the sky was overcast and no stars could be seen. Only a single lantern hanging from a metal post a few feet away gave light to the weary travelers. The lantern's glow illuminated the structure they were on, revealing it to be a boat. It wasn't particularly large and it seemed quite old, with splotches of rust and moss on the sides, but there were cozy looking seats and a sturdy roof that made the Leaders feel more comfortable in open water on the contraption.
"Why don't you all take a seat and I'll tell you what you need to know," Kuroku said.
"I thought you already explained everything," Daisuke said as he and the others sat down on the chairs.
"I explained the general situation, but there are some specifics regarding you five that I thought would be better to explain when you were all together."
"Well, let's hear it then," Masaru said.
"Of course, but first I'd like to let Clockmon sleep," Kuroku said as he took out a device which everyone assumed was a digivice.
They watched in confusion as he held his digivice out to Clockmon, who they could now see looked ready to collapse. One minute he was standing there and the next he was gone. Above the device, a circular viewing screen appeared and Clockmon could be seen standing in the center of it with information about him showing. Kuroku then gave a flick of the wrist and the viewing screen dissipated.
Everyone looked surprised, save for Masaru who was looking intrigued. "You can do that too?" he asked, causing the others to look at him in confusion.
"What exactly was that?" Taichi asked.
"I am simply storing Clockmon inside my Xros Loader so that he can get better rest."
"You store digimon inside of your digivice?" Takuya asked incredulously. It just seemed too weird.
Of course, he could store the fractal codes of digimon and even parts of the digital world, and you could say that his own partners were at some point stored within his digivice, but that was different. The fractal code was only data, the most basic components of the digimon and digital world. He wasn't actually storing the full on physical forms. And as for his own partners, well, they were spirits. Things worked a little differently with them.
"I don't know about yours, but the boss' digivice is uncomfortable," Agumon griped, remembering all the times he was stuffed inside when they went out.
"Hey! We didn't have a choice!" Masaru defended. Agumon just huffed.
Kuroku cleared his throat. "There are still a few things that need to be explained. Once I am finished you can all have something to eat and get some sleep." Daisuke immediately perked up when he heard this. "Now, you all know that you were brought here to help defeat Quartzmon, but what you don't know is that you five are particularly important to making this happen. You are all what are known as Legendary Heroes."
"You mentioned that before," Daisuke said, remembering what Kuroku had said when they had first met.
"Yes." Kuroku nodded his head in confirmation. "You are Legendary Heroes because each of you has lead a team of Chosen Children in a fight to save your respective dimensions. As leaders, you have each played the most prominent role in defeating you enemies and have shown character far beyond others.
"There are meant to be seven Legendary Heroes. The five of you and two others from this dimension, whom you will meet at a later date. Now then, as Legendary Heroes your most important role in the upcoming battle is to give strength to the Brave Snatcher. The Brave Snatcher is the only thing that can be used to hunt Quartzmon, which, of course, would result in his defeat."
Kuroku's words were serious and the newly dubbed Legendary Heroes couldn't help but look at each other. It was strange to be told that the outcome of this fight was so dependent on them. They had always had help before and they had never thought of themselves as having done any more than the others. They couldn't deny that they usually were the ones to give the final blow, but in some cases even that honor had to be shared. Takuya had been merged and using the strength of the others when he fought Lucemon and Daisuke had Ken's help, because Imperialdramon wouldn't even exist without Wormmon. And then there was Taichi who was in the same boat as Daisuke since Omnimon couldn't exist without Gabumon and Yamato. Still, Kuroku seemed to think that they were the ones best suited for the job. He knew more about the situation than any of them, so who were they to argue?
"Was that all you needed to explain?" Takato asked, though he got the feeling that there was still something more.
"Not quite," Kuroku said, proving Takato right. "There is still one more thing you need to know about – the DigiQuartz."
"The what?" Takuya asked blankly.
"The DigiQuartz. It is a space between the Digital World and the Human World. It was created by Quartzmon and is the reason digimon can travel to the human world. Because of it, Hunters are needed to coral the digimon and prevent them from affecting this world too much. It's becoming harder and what happens in the DigiQuartz is beginning to affect the human world more profoundly.
"Most of your training will take place in the DigiQuartz and you will even live there to further hone your skill. I have a place set up for you. You will have to be careful there, since the DigiQuartz is dangerous, but it will provide further training. On a brighter note, due to your travelling through time and space, you won't need the special "Time Shift" function which can only be provided by an Xros Loader. You will be able to travel between the human world and the DigiQuartz once you figure out how."
"Of course, because nothing can be easy," Daisuke grumbled at Kuroku's last words.
"When are we going to get there?" Taichi asked. He was beginning to feel tired and if he was, he couldn't imagine how Daisuke felt.
"Tomorrow," Kuroku said as if it was nothing.
Takuya's moth fell open. "Tomorrow!? What are we supposed to do tonight?"
"You will stay here, of course. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but it's quite comfortable."
"I don't care where we stay as long as I can eat and sleep," Daisuke moaned. He felt ready to collapse.
"Of course," Kuroku said and he went to the back of the boat where the five Heroes and their digimon noticed a table with a pot and a rice cooker on it. Kuroku pulled out some plates and utensils before going to the rice cooker and pot. He served a generous amount of food to each of his guests before he grabbed some for himself.
The food was rather questionable looking, which made some of the humans wary in eating it. Daisuke and the digimon dug in with gusto, despite the green and overly watery appearance of whatever was in the pot. Seeing their fellow Hero enjoying his food so earnestly, the others decided to dig in as well. They were all surprised to find that the unknown food was actually curry. It made them a little more at ease to know that they weren't eating some odd digimon delicacy, but it made them curious as to how Kuroku had managed to get it such a strange color and consistency. Overall it was good, despite that it was all cold and the curry wasn't spicy in the least.
Once the food was gone, Kuroku took the dishes and threw them into a large box. He would do the washing later. Meanwhile, the Heroes were trying to figure out how they were going to arrange themselves for the night. Daisuke was excluded from this conversation, as he had already curled up on a couple of seats and fallen asleep. Veemon was leaning against the legs of the chair near his head. Eventually Taichi was in a similar position, Takato was sitting on the floor using Guillmon, who was curled up by the side of the boat, as a pillow, and Masaru, Agumon, and Takato were sitting at the front of the boat in upright positions. Despite the latter threes uncomfortable looking positions, they appeared at ease, but ready in case of attack. They were all asleep within five minutes.
The following morning, four of the five leaders and their digimon awoke feeling quite refreshed despite their rather uncomfortable sleeping arrangements. Daisuke and Veemon slept on and the rest of the group were inclined to let them. They couldn't help but look around at their surroundings, which had been shrouded in the darkness of night when they first arrived. Tall, loosely packed trees surrounded them on either side of the river. Where there were no trees, there were ferns and big leafy bushes. The air was cool in the morning, but slightly damp, only adding to the tropical atmosphere they had found themselves in.
They stared for some time, relaxing in the peaceful feeling of simply being, knowing they were going to their destination as fast as possible and couldn't do anything more. It was after about fifteen minutes when they finally noticed something off about the boat: Kuroku was missing. The boat wasn't particularly large, nor were their enough places for someone to hide and go unnoticed. They looked, just to be sure, but they found nothing. Kuroku was not on the boat. This revelation left several questions lingering in the backs of their minds. The first, where was he? Second, why would he leave them alone without telling them anything? And finally, how on earth was the boat moving without anyone at the helm?
Just as they were about to give up their search, Takato spotted something attached to one of the supports for the boats overhang. "Hey, there's a note!" he announced and everyone looked to him. He grabbed the piece of paper from its place on the metal pole and read the short message aloud.
I have some business I must take care of. I will be leaving you for a short while. Do not worry, the boat will continue on its course without help. I will be back before you reach your final destination. Also, there is some food on the table for breakfast.
The Leaders looked at each other before turning in unison to the back table that had held the previous night's dinner. Just as the note proclaimed, there was a steaming rice cooker and several pans of grilled fish. They wondered what kind of business Kuroku could have possibly needed to attend to, but then decided it was likely related to their current situation and they would no doubt find out about it when he came back. In the mean time they decided to fill their grumbling stomachs and get to know each other a bit better.
They actually didn't end up talking that much. They were too absorbed in the peacefulness of their surroundings after the hectic racing to get to the final dimension. The few subjects they did talk about were their different forms of evolution and the different battles they had endured. Daisuke continued to sleep and the leaders did their best to keep their voices quiet. This did not last for very long, however.
At some point during their conversation, Masaru and Taichi began to get… competitive. Every time one of them went over one of their battles or hardships, the other came up with one that was worse. At first it wasn't too bad, but eventually, their friendly rivalry, started to look more and more like just plain rivalry. When talk of their many trials turned to the prowess of their partners. Things simply got out of hand. Both Agumon began their own arguments about whose evolutionary form was better and of course, Taichi and Masaru were quick to defend their own partner. Takato and Takuya were pretty much booted out of the conversation and spent the next little while watching the volley of bravado and insults pass between the four like a tennis match, completely riveted by the sudden turn of events.
"I… think they're getting a little out of hand…" Takato said.
"Probably," Takuya agreed, "but do you really want to get into the middle of that?" He waved his hand at the squabbling quartet for emphasis.
Takato took a step backwards and let out a nervous laugh. "I think I'm going to go check on Daisuke. He hasn't eaten yet," he said before turning to the back of the boat where their fifth member slumbered.
Takuya watched the others for a moment longer before deciding that Takato had the right idea. He wasn't afraid of them, but he didn't want to be dragged into the middle of it, either. It was too much trouble for him.
"Hey, Daisuke," Takato said as he shook the other boy's shoulder. "I know you're tired, but you should get up and eat."
Daisuke groaned as he was shaken awake. He was still incredibly tired, but he was also hungry, so he decided not to ignore the beckoning voice of his new found friend. "Okay, I'm up," he said with a sleepy slur and a yawn that nearly made his words unintelligible. He sat up and rubbed at his eyes before looking down at his partner.
"Veemon," he said, shaking his shoulder in much the same way Takato had just done to him. "Let's get some food."
Veemon, who at first had been resistant to waking, perked up immensely at those four words. "Food!" he cried as he lept from the floor and rushed towards the back table.
Daisuke laughed at his excitement before following at a more sedate pace. Once they had their food and were chowing down, Daisuke took some time to have a look around. He stared a bit longingly at the surrounding jungle, wishing he could explore, and wondered where they were. He wanted to bask in the same feeling of peace that the rest of the Leaders had felt upon awakening. Unfortunately, however, he noticed that something was missing from their little boat and couldn't bring himself to fully relax.
"Where's Kuroku?" he asked, looking around again to see if he had missed him, though he knew it was unlikely due to the size of the vessel.
"Out on business," Takuya said as he took a seat by Daisuke.
"So, we're stuck here," Daisuke deduced. They couldn't do anything without the old man.
"Seems like," Takuya said with a shrug. Who knew what kind of plan he had. If it was needed, Kuroku could probably transport them to their lodgings without even being there. Remote teleportation seemed ridiculous, but considering everything else he had been through since getting that first text from Ophanimon, it sounded completely plausible as well.
Daisuke nodded his head in acceptance of the situation before turning his gaze back to his surroundings while he finished eating. That was when his gaze stopped on four figures at the other end of the boat. He had seen them before, but he hadn't thought much of it, having just woken up and needing to satisfy his curiosity on where they were. But now he was able to take a closer look, and he was confused about what he saw. Taichi, Masaru, and their two Agumons were standing stock still, not a word was currently passing between them, and their eyes were narrowed. They looked like they were about to lunge at each other. But that didn't make any sense, because Masaru and Taichi seemed to get along really well as did Agumon and Agumon.
Veemon noticed the standoff as well. "What are they doing?" he asked curiously.
"They're going to fight," Guillmon responded, staring intently at the quartet. His pupils had slit and he looked on the verge of growling.
"What?" Daisuke was confused, though he definitely agreed they looked like they were about to.
"Guillmon, they're not going to fight," Takato said, though it lacked confidence, showing that he actually agreed with his partner, but was trying to think positively anyway.
"But they were yelling at each other," Guillmon said as if that solved everything. It really didn't, because yelling didn't automatically mean fighting. There were a lot of reasons they could have been yelling. Then again, based off the looks they were giving each other, maybe it really did explain everything.
"What's going on?" Daisuke asked a bit impatiently. What could possibly have caused the two leaders to have a fight like this?
Takuya let out a sigh and explained the situation. "While you were still sleeping, they got into this argument about which Agumon was stronger. They've been quiet for a few minutes, but I don't think it's been settled. They're probably just trying to think of something else to say."
Daisuke frowned and shared a look with Veemon. The little dragon simply shrugged his shoulders and looked towards the quarreling quartet, who looked ready to start in on each other again. Daisuke couldn't stop himself from watching either. He could kind of see where the two were coming from. He was actually curious about the outcome of such a fight too, but at the same time he wasn't so sure this was the best place to find out. He frowned for a moment as he thought that. He would never get over how weird it was to be the one thinking sensibly while Taichi was being the impulsive one.
"It's obvious that Agumon would win!" Masaru yelled with utmost confidence.
"Yeah," Taichi said almost casually causing everyone to look at him in surprise, except for his partner, who had faith in Taichi that he wouldn't betray him, "My Agumon!" he finished with a smirk.
This caused Masaru's eyes to narrow as his words were twisted out of his favor, but his partner just stood up straighter. "Me and Aniki fought against Yggdrassil, the king of the digital word," he said in pride of their accomplishment.
Agumon just scoffed, like it was no big deal. "Well, me and Taichi fought against Apocalymon, the embodiment of every negative thing in the world."
"I could totally beat you!" Agumon yelled, giving up on trying to one up the other Agumon with his exploits. Since they were from different worlds it was impossible to know whose ultimate enemy was stronger.
"You wish!" Agumon shot back.
"There's no way we would lose!" Masaru exclaimed
"You just keep telling yourself that," Taichi said, a picture of cool collectedness. Spending so much time with Yamato was obviously rubbing off on him.
"How about I just show you," Masaru challenged.
"Bring it on!"
When the four of them got into fighting stances, the spectators of the new found rivalry decided it was finally time to step in. "Wait! You can't fight!" Takato yelled as he ran up to them. The others were right behind him.
"What do you mean? We're going to wipe the floor with them!" Masaru said, never taking his eyes off of Taichi and Agumon or relaxing his stance.
"If you two fight, there won't even be a floor left to wipe," Takuya told them.
Daisuke nodded his head in agreement. "You'll sink the boat," he pointed out causing the two leaders to finally look at them with frowns on their faces.
Eventually they huffed and crossed their arms across their chests, but conceded the point. "Fine," Masaru said and then turned to look back at Taichi, "We'll settle this when we get to land."
"Count on it."
For a while after the confrontation, everything was calm. Daisuke stayed awake and chatted for some time before he finally drifted off into a light doze. Takuya and Takato took it upon themselves to keep an eye on Masaru and Taichi, just to be safe. The two "rivals" hadn't shown any real malice or any indication that they cared to start their battle again, though, and in fact they were talking quite amiably. Takato and Takuya decided not to take any chances. Guillmon and Veemon, who was wide awake since digimon didn't need as much sleep as humans, had taken it upon themselves to do the same with the two competitive Agumon. Though, like their partners, they also showed only friendliness towards each other. It was obvious that they had merely formed a friendly rivalry, but no one was willing to take any chances and risk the boat's demise.
Unfortunately their peace was eventually disrupted. At first it was a small rocking of the boat, not something that was too noticeable. Soon, the small rocking became more pronounced, but again they paid little attention to it. They were on the water, after all, so it was only natural that there would be a little turbulence. However, they most certainly couldn't ignore the next violent lurch, particularly as it had been proceeded by a thunderous boom.
The Leaders and their partners were blasted with air and water and the boat tiled dangerously. Birds could be heard cawing and flapping their wings frantically as they flew away from the origin point. Daisuke was thrown from his resting place and rolled to the edge of the boat, knocking into Masaru, who prevented him from being hurdled into the hard metal side. After a few seconds the rocking stopped, and an eerie silence followed.
Daisuke was the first to speak. "Ow…" he groaned as he pushed himself off of Masaru and held his head. He was sure he'd have a large bruise on his forehead pretty soon.
"What's going on?" Taichi asked, stunned by what had happened.
"Haven't got a clue," Takuya said as he pushed himself up and looked off into the distance. "But I have a feeling that Kuroku is somehow involved."
Everyone stared in the direction of the commotion for a while. They were all curious and wary. They wanted to be out there helping, because if Kuroku was involved, then the digital world was too. Unfortunately, they realized, not only would it be impossible for them to get to the battlefield (that's the only thing it could be), they also likely wouldn't be of much help. Two of them we unable to digivolve to high enough levels and those that could be of some help, had no idea what they were getting into, plus Kuroku had been adamant that they would need to train. While they didn't doubt there abilities, they knew that there were digimon out there that were too strong for them and they really didn't need to waste time trying to help the Chosen Children of this world, who at the moment probably didn't need their help anyway.
For the next several hours they remained alert. There were random moments of unrest and sometimes the boat shook so hard the group thought it would capsize. Other times were calmer, but no less ominous. All sounds of life had long since left them, save for their own breath and quiet talking. The splashing river and crashing of earth made an eerie cacophony over the relatively deserted place.
It was evening before the world calmed. They weren't completely sure how they knew everything was fine again. Perhaps it had something to do with being Chosen Children or maybe it was specific to the Legendary Heroes. There was no way to tell with the other Chosen Children gone. But whatever it was, they knew that the commotion was over and they all began to relax.
"I see you noticed the fight," a voice said from right behind Masaru, causing him to jump and let out an undignified yelp.
"What the...!" he yelled and turned around to face the person or thing that had snuck up on him. When he came face to face with Kuroku he deflated a little.
"Chichichichichi~" Clockmon, who was standing beside Kuroku, laughed.
"Yeah, yeah, laugh it up," Masaru grumbled as he took a seat near the back of the boat.
The sky was quite dark by now and long dark shadows were being cast over the Heroes. Kuroku faced them and looked to each of their faces. They were all alert and appeared determined. He smirked, recognizing that they were prepared for anything. They realized that they were close to where they needed to be and that everything would truly be starting soon.
"Sorry about that," Kuroku said to them. "They all got together here, but you didn't even get your turn." Kuroku knew it must have been frustrating to them, to sit on the side lines especially when the sixth Hero and seventh Hero potentials had all been gathered. "Wait just a little longer. The time is nigh."
"Right," Masaru said as he punched his open palm a few times in anticipation.
A/N: Okay, that's over with. I hope you all liked the little rivalry with Masaru and Taichi and their partners. I always thought that would happen and even though they seem angry with each other, they really aren't. They're just competitive. I know that Takuya and Daisuke have competitive streaks too, but Takuya doesn't really know any of them that well nor does he even have his partner there and Daisuke would naturally root for Taichi, but is still a little out of it right now and really isn't in the mood for getting wet.
I hope it didn't sound rushed or dragged out either. I was a little worried it might in some places.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in a review or send me a PM and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
Until next time~!