Author's notes: Another update! Please enjoy!

HappytheExceed: I would love to answer that, but they would be spoilers. So you'll have to wait until further down the track.

darkmachines: Thanks for all your comments so far.

Blonde-Eko: Brianna and Willow will be dealt with more in coming chapters. You've intrigued regarding Amaterasu; we shall have to brainstorm together, me thinks.

Chapter 6: Genesis of Dark Evolution

"Mother! Father!" Willow called as she entered the house. "I'm home! Sorry for being late~"

A good-natured, deep laugh sounded from the kitchen. It was her father. "You're late," he teased in English, smiling at his daughter's luck. "You got your eye on that poor Kaneko boy, eh?" Sean Perry, a police officer when on duty, slyly winked at her.

Willow reddened with embarrassment and indignation. "Father! He's not poor! Sora's just... lonely," she explained, feeling pity and compassion for him.

Her father waved a hand at her explanation. "Ah, don't mind my teasing. You know I like poking fun," Sean replied, his apology sounding half-hearted.

"It's alright," Willow smiled back, accepting his request for forgiveness. She hugged her father. "Where's Mother?"

Sean reached into the back pocket of his jeans, pulled out his comb and ran it slowly through his shoulder-length red bangs. "She's at work. They called her in on overtime. Seems a few of the other nursing staff have picked up a virus." He rolled his eyes exaggeratedly. "I hope they have a couple of back-up staff working with her. I'll file a complaint if she's doing it all by herself."

Willow winced in sympathy for the other nurses and hoped they were on shift at the hospital with her mother. Exhaustion from the overly long day finally hit her, quietening her swiftly. "Willow, I would like to talk to you..." Sean glanced at his daughter through the locks of his fringe. "Is something troubling you?"

"Father," she answered, looking at him. "Something tells me the Chosen have a tough time ahead of them."

She would hate Fate when she learned she was right.

The next morning, every parent got a call from the school informing them that school was cancelled for the day, due to an unknown amount of damage from a 'black, winged dragon'. The Chosen all thought the same thing: Digimon attack. Phone calls on mobiles ensued and Shizuka and Gazimon volunteered to check the situation out.

So here they were, on the edge of the destroyed block, watching a lone child battle the dragon with a Renamon.

The large black, winged dragon had four crimson eyes, tattered wings and a tail with three separate points.

"Now, Renamon! Kick this dragon's behind!" Hiroaki commanded.

Renamon ran towards the larger opponent. "As you wish, Hiroaki," he answered.

The winged Digimon attacked as well. "Crimson Claw!"

"Power Paw!"

The dragon slashed with his red claws, while Renamon kicked and punched his foe. Both attacks broke through and each Digimon was hit by the other's move. Shizuka took the time to look up both Digimon's information on her Digivice.

"The black dragon is Devidramon. He's a Champion level, Virus-attribute, dark Digimon. His attacks are Crimson Claw, Red Eyes and Demonic Gale. The smaller kitsune is Renamon. He's a Rookie level, Data-attribute, nature Digimon. His attacks are Power Paw, Diamond Storm," Shizuka read the information on her Digivice and then put it away.

"Hiroaki, Devidramon is feral! Any ideas?" Renamon quietly questioned his partner.

"We won't give up! Keep fighting, Renamon! Don't let it win!" Hiroaki declared proudly and confidently, which motivated Renamon to continue fighting this evil black dragon.

"Crimson Claw!"

"Power Paw!"

Again, the attacks collided and Shizuka and Gazimon watched from the sidelines. Unfortunately, as the Crimson Claw cancelled out, Devidramon flew into the air and attempted to jump Hiroaki. But Renamon saw it coming and he proceeded to kick him ferociously in the head, making him crash into the building. Shizuka gasped when she saw this brave and chivalrous deed.

Renamon ran to Hiroaki. "Are you unhurt?" he asked in a worried voice.

"Yes. I'm fine. Thank you, little buddy. You're awesome! But it's not over yet!" Hiroaki told his partner. Then he saw Devidramon prying himself out of the building and preparing himself for another attack.

"Red Eyes!" He unleashed an evil power from his eerie eyes.

Renamon acted quickly and dodged to evade the technique. But Devidramon's tail whipped around and caught Hiroaki! "Hiroaki!" Renamon called.

"Oh no!" Shizuka and Gazimon exclaimed quietly.

Unfortunately, a now helpless Hiroaki was trapped in the clutches of Devidramon's strong, limber tail. Renamon ran over to him. "Let go of him!" Renamon dug his claws into Devidramon's tail and tried to pry it off of Hiroaki, but Devidramon, seeing this noble and valiant attempt, decided to turn the tables on him. He threw Hiroaki at Renamon, causing the both of them to fly into a tree. Both of them were injured.

Hiroaki got himself up first and helped Renamon get back on his feet. "Are you alright, Renamon?" The young boy asked in a kind but worried voice.

Renamon laid his brown eyes on his concerned partner. "I am fine. Thank you for worrying about me, but you don't need to anymore," Renamon explained. Unfortunately, both of them were both cornered and injured.

Devidramon stood before them and prepared to launch another attack. "Red Eyes!" The same evil power came again. Hiroaki and Renamon didn't know what was to come after this.

They weren't expecting to be helped.

"Gazimon, go now!"

"Electric Stun Blast!" Electricity arced through the air, striking Devidramon's arm, which resulted in the mighty dragon flinching and roaring in pain. Hiroaki, Renamon and Devidramon were all surprised.

Not wanting to stand by and let the worst happen to Hiroaki and Renamon anymore, Shizuka finally caved and decided to appear beside them. Hiroaki's eyes widened, his mouth fell open, and the sight before him left him flabbergasted. "Wha! Sh-Shizuka? Wha... what are you doing here?" The boy managed to croak out, sounding very confused.

Shizuka turned with her arms crossed. "I was going to ask you that!" She exclaimed.

"Shizuka, we have to defeat this thing!" Gazimon rasped.

"Let's! Gazimon! Give it your all!" Shizuka announced. Her partner stormed in on Devidramon.

"Electric Stun Blast!" Gazimon got a good hit on Devidramon, resulting in another roar of pain. This gave him enough time to let Hiroaki and Renamon regain their composure.

"Since you two are injured, I suggest you let us take care of this," Shizuka told the younger boy.

Hiroaki and Renamon glanced at each other and then back at the older teenager. "Alright, show me what you've got!" Hiroaki challenged.

Shizuka wordlessly gave Gazimon an instruction to round up Devidramon. Unfortunately, the attempt backfired.

"Crimson Claw!"

Shizuka ran from the attack, just in time. She felt bad for being cowardly, but there was no way she was going to let herself get slashed by those wickedly long claws. Gazimon attacked Devidramon again, but his attack was warded off in an instant.

"How can this be happening? It worked before!" Gazimon exclaimed.

"This thing's as tough as nails!" Hiroaki snapped back. "If you wanna beat him, then really hit hard!"

"Thanks for not telling us in time!" Shizuka countered sarcastically, not happy at the lack of notice. She didn't notice Devidramon inching his arm forward for a sneaky slash on her leg. She screamed in pain, which got Gazimon's attention.

"Shizuka!" Gazimon leaped onto Devidramon's arm and began madly clawing and biting the higher-evolved Digimon in revenge. Shizuka was behind him, injured and in pain. Nonetheless, Gazimon and Devidramon duked it out real good. Gazimon was not happy. In fact, he was positively livid and kept clawing and biting Devidramon non-stop.

"How dare you hurt my partner like that?! You'll get no mercy!" Gazimon snarled vehemently as he scratched Devidramon relentlessly. But then, he noticed Renamon walking towards Shizuka.

"You aren't too injured, are you?" The male Renamon questioned, sounding concerned.

"N-No. Thanks. Could you help me up?" Shizuka replied.

"I will do that," Renamon confirmed formally. He began to help Shizuka get back onto her feet.

Unfortunately, Devidramon saw this as a good opportunity and glided over to Shizuka. "Crimson Claw!"

Renamon and Shizuka braced themselves for an attack. But they didn't feel anything. They slowly opened their eyes after a few seconds. What Shizuka saw made her gasp in shock. Gazimon was injured, lying on the ground in front of her, unconscious. His back bled digital blood on the black bitumen. Shizuka paid no attention to that, however. "Gazimon, no!" She cried out, running to her unconscious partner in tears.

Seeing what had happened, Hiroaki and Renamon decided to act. "You're dead!" The nine-year-old shouted in an outspoken manner, driven by a fierce need to protect the older girl even though she wasn't part of his team, as he grabbed onto Devidramon's still outstretched arm, not caring about the fact he could die here and now.

"Power Paw!" Suddenly, Renamon began to rapidly punch and kick Devidramon, dealing some massive damage. His fists and feet were like a blur, making small gusts of wind around the Digimon. After one more kick, Devidramon was sent crashing back and hit the ground hard. Devidramon quickly got back up and prepared to slice into the yellow kitsune in a second attempt, but Renamon spaced out his arms and a bunch of crystals appeared around him.

This is it, Hiroaki thought excitedly. Renamon's special attack!

"Diamond Storm!" Renamon shot thousands of crystal shards at Devidramon's face. They struck home.

Gazimon finally regained consciousness and Shizuka saw this. "Gazimon! Thank God you're alive!" Shizuka embraced her injured Digimon partner.

Gazimon managed a weak, pervy laugh. "I'm so glad... I made it in time," he muttered.

"Tell me, please Gazimon. Why did you save me?" Shizuka asked. She would have a difficult time in believing what came out of the hedonistic, pervert Virus-attribute's mouth.

"I saved you... because... you're my partner. The only partner I'll ever have. It's my duty to protect you, no matter what. No one could ever take your place. I... would never ask for anyone different," Gazimon rasped out.

Shizuka closed her eyes and hugged him again. "Gazimon... I'm so happy," she murmured.

"Let me ask you... Shizuka... why didn't you challenge my attribute?" Gazimon asked.

Gazimon wasn't going to believe what came out of Shizuka's mouth. The pair stared at each other, though Hiroaki and Renamon now struggled to control the rogue Devidramon.

"Sick 'im, Renamon!" Hiroaki told him, attempting to stop the black, four-eyed dragon from breaking away.

"You will return!" Renamon commanded strongly in a mature voice, leaping onto Devidramon to subdue him. But it didn't work.

"It's because... I..." Shizuka stopped for a moment and then continued, finishing it as the both of them closed their eyes. "... Believed you were stronger than the stereotype."

Just then, Shizuka's Digivice began to glow and Devidramon finally broke away from Renamon's clutches, even though he paused at the tan light enveloping Gazimon. Shizuka had to back away, despite her leg injury, but she didn't care. She was shocked that her partner, Gazimon, was finally digivolving!

"Gazimon digivolve to..." The tan light enveloped Gazimon and he grew bigger and bigger.. until out came not Gazimon, but a very different creature! This Digimon looked like a large tortoise with a spiked rock-like back. He was tan in colour. "... Tortomon!"

The awe-inspiring, lithe tortoise appeared between a shocked Devidramon and an overjoyed Shizuka. Shizuka was so awestruck, she didn't move. Neither did Devidramon or the younger boy and his Renamon. Then, Tortomon turned to look at Shizuka. To the average human, Tortomon appeared highly unpredictable. But to Shizuka, he didn't look one bit like a loose cannon. With the way Shizuka's eyes sparkled and with the way her smile glowed just in Tortomon's presence, she felt she was the happiest person on the planet now that her partner had evolved.

"Shizuka, your dedication in me has helped me digivolve and I thank you for that," Tortomon spoke in a raspy, yet sharply rich voice. Shizuka remained silent.

But Devidramon didn't. "Demonic Gale!" He flapped his wings furiously, sending sharp bursts of gale-like wind towards them.

Tortomon didn't even face his opponent, moving forward a bit to protect Shizuka from the dark breeze. When it had passed, he mounted an attack of his own. "Strong Carapace!" He shot a barrage of rocks from his shell, each of them hitting dead on. One of the rocks hit Devidramon's head and Tortomon immediately took a step back.

Devidramon was pissed off and Tortomon knew this, so he faced the angry winged dragon. "You who has the audacity to attack my partner without mercy... If you wish to show none, then you will receive none! It's time to send you back to the Digital World! Grand Dash-Spinning Attack combo!" He lunged towards his foe, running speedily, before striking Devidramon with one front leg. Tortomon then withdrew into his shell and spun while tackling the black dragon. The Devidramon must have been a weak individual, something very odd for its species, as the combination attack from Tortomon was all it took for Devidramon to fall unconscious.

A Digital Gate opened, pulling the unconscious Champion level in, before it closed again.

Tortomon turned to face his partner. "Are you alright?" he rasped.

"I'm fine. Thanks for asking," Shizuka responded.

He stepped towards her. "I may have defeated Devidramon, but it was you who helped me digivolve. Your unrelenting dedication in me brought me to this form and I am honoured to receive it," Tortomon clarified. He then de-digivolved back into Gazimon, who was still a tad injured.

Ring ring ring ring

"I'll get it!" Saki called out to her parents as she ran for the phone. The twins had gone home for lunch after wandering around for a while and Saki was the closest to the phone. "Hello?"

"Saki! It's me, Shizuka!"

"Hi, Shizuka! What's up?"

"We're going to the Digital World, remember? We're waiting for you at the park!"

"Oh! The Digital World? I forgot, even though I organized it with Hiroshi."

"It's okay, don't worry. You've still got time to get here. Kenshin and I are the only ones here at the moment."

"Hiroshi isn't there, either?"

"Not yet. He'll probably be here soon, though."

"Thanks for the reminder. I can't believe I forgot!"

"Don't worry about it! Everyone forgets things. It happens to all of us."

"Okay, I'll be there soon! Bye!" Saki hung up the phone and called to Hisao and Candlemon, while Floramon watched her partner with some concern on her face.

Saki told her parents that she and Hisao were going to the park for a bit. They had no objection at their daughter's request and let them go. She took Hisao by the hand and led him outside. Once out of the house, the twins took off running. Floramon and Candlemon followed from behind. After a short while, they finally arrived at the park. Shizuka, Kenshin and their Digimon, Gazimon and Wizardmon, were sitting on a bench.

"Shizuka, Kenshin! Gazimon, Wizardmon!" Saki exclaimed as she approached them. Hisao nodded briefly at Shizuka. She returned it with a nod of her own.

You've arrived. Welcome, Wizardmon greeted her telepathically. Gazimon just waved a clawed hand.

"Glad you're here!" Shizuka answered, before looking sideways at her cousin. He was peeking at her through his strawberry-blonde locks, eyes flicking up and down nervously.

The older girl sighed in exasperation and gave him a firm nudge in the ribs. His violet eyes shot over to her, their wideness all but saying to her: Why did you do that? Shizuka motioned with her head in Saki's direction and he got the hint. She failed to suppress a small chuckle.

Pretty soon, Hiroshi arrived with Bearmon and the Digital Gate they were waiting for materialized. Kenshin placed an arm around Saki, Shizuka reluctantly stepped in beside Hisao and Hiroshi mentally confirmed everyone was present.

"Right," the dirty-blonde began nonchalantly. "Our Digimon seem to know we will encounter some kind of test when we arrive. I want to be sure that, despite whatever happens, we will all remain a team after this is over." He glanced at each of his team-mates and was met with a strong show of support. "Let's go then."

Kenshin and Saki stepped into the Gate first. They were followed by Shizuka and Hisao and Hiroshi entered last. The Digimon came after their humans had gone through and then the Gate closed.

Having decided the previous night that they would go to the Digital World, so the war to save Odaiba could take place in the Digimons' home world as well, the Chosen exited the Digital Gate and landed rather heavily and painfully on the ground. Hisao had just enough time to look up and see that they had fallen beside an angular, black humanoid Digimon. It had mirrors on its arms and chest. That Digimon was the last thing he saw before each of them were swallowed up by darkness, but one was immediately rejected and spat back out for reasons unknown to him.

"Time for your tests~" A batty voice piped up in his ear, before a burst of disturbed laughter was heard all around.

The blackness slowly faded from around Hisao and Candlemon and they blinked to let their eyes adjust to the light. Candlemon saw a Wizardmon in front of them and bristled at once, able to tell somehow where this one's loyalties were. But the evil mage didn't give them time to think or react. "Terror Illusion!"

They gasped and quickly took a defensive stance, looking around cautiously and waiting for the oncoming attack. But it never came. Instead, the surroundings suddenly changed. The 'room' they were held in, if you could call it a room, disappeared and they were quickly replaced by images of the day the accident happened.

"Wha...? What's going on?" Hisao demanded. The street was how he remembered it before his brother's death. There was a small cluster of native trees in their front garden, along with multiple beds of stunning, colourful flowers.

The images soon changed. It was Akira who kicked the soccer ball too far and Saki raced to retrieve it. Akira's agonized scream could be heard as Saki's small figure was run over by the out-of-control 18 wheeler... Saki being cradled gently by a sobbing Akira.

Hisao's eyes widened in terror as he slowly turned in a full circle; each way he looked, he was greeted by the deathly images of his twin's passing. "... No... No... No... No... Isn't happening..." he chanted to himself, but the cracks were already appearing.

The blood slowly stopped flowing, leaving Saki's pallid body in Akira's trembling hands, her eyes already glassy. His younger self came up beside his older brother and touched her hair one last time, as if in tribute to the life she could have had.

Hisao gasped as he backed up a bit and his mental state continued to fracture. "No!" he wailed. "It never happened like this! What are you doing?!" The visions remained, however. Each person who had died since that day, whether Hisao knew them or not, floated towards him like a haunting ghost. Saki, women, children, men... They kept on coming at every angle and Hisao tried in vain to stop them by batting them away.

Hisao had finally had enough. He sat down and curled into a ball, sobbing brokenly. It was his partner's broken state, due to the illusions, that caused the normal light of digivolution to be tainted grey.

"Candlemon dark digivolve to..." The Digimon in Candlemon's place was a large, bipedal lizard covered in dark fire. With the exception of the metal plating on his snout, he was entirely of black flames. "... DarkLizardmon!"

Hisao glanced up then, tears still running down his face. He'd realized that the energy from his partner seemed to be off.

DarkLizardmon glared around, before finding his target. "Dread Fire!" he snarled viciously, attacking the Wizardmon with a bullet of black fire. It rocketed towards the evil mage, the rage from the dark digivolution suppressing conscious thought.

A dark chuckle escaped the Wizardmon's mouth as his 'data' dissipated from the move. Hisao narrowed his eyes at this and the realization hit him. He was in an illusion. Did that mean the others were being tested as well? He hummed, but before he could do anything else, the noise caught DarkLizardmon's attention and he whirled around. Hisao didn't have time to react as DarkLizardmon was in front of him in an instant and grabbed him by the throat.

Hisao screamed in agony at the dark fire that was burning his skin, burning him alive. Long moments pass, before DarkLizardmon froze, his eyes widening in realization. He placed Hisao on the ground and yelled in despair himself, before the DarkLizardmon data blurred, apparently vanishing. A horrified Dorimon was left in his wake.