Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
A monstrous figure walked slowly, but steadily across the barren landscape, dust thrown into the air with every step. It fell right back to the ground after each step though, the wind having long ago stopped blowing.
Alone…she was all alone. She had once been not alone but that had been an eternity before. She had been alone before, unable to be understood by those near her. Friends had come, and with them joyous times, but apparently she was cursed to lose it all. Maybe she was a poison, and it had been her fault that they had all died, she had killed all she loved.
The figure gave a loud pained roar to the empty world, no one able to hear her anguish.
"Then when I asked him if he'd like to stay over while my family is all gone, Ken just freaked out and made up some excuse about needing to go home even though he said he had nothing to do earlier!" complained Yolei, waving her hands around in disbelief. "Can you believe that? How can there be such a prudish guy out there!"
Kari just continued to snap pictures on her camera, focused on trying to figure out how to best capture the water droplets still left on the flower in front of her from the rain earlier. Hawkmon and Gatomon just napped on nearby tree branches, Hawkmon because of having been up all night listening to Yolei fuming and Gatomon because it was just that time of the day. She continued to stay silent, letting Yolei vent some more.
"What guy doesn't want to be alone with his girlfriend? It's not like we'd really be alone, I mean Hawkmon and Wormmon would have been there to supervise." Yolei's tone changed and she seemed to be getting to her real point. "Does he not want to anything like that with me?"
Kari snapped off another picture, wishing she had one of the new digital cameras where she could check the image right after taking it instead of developing the film but she was pretty confident that the shot was what she wanted anyways. She looked up at her worried friend and smiled slightly.
"I appreciate that you trust my input like this even though I have no dating experience what so ever," said Kari, slightly amused. "but aren't these things you should be bringing up with Ken? He's a nice guy but not very communicative unless you push him. He'll tell you if you ask."
"Yes, but that's what I'm worried about," replied Yolei. "I know that I can come on a little strong, and I don't want to always force things out of him."
Kari raised an eyebrow slightly as something occurred to her. "Are you worried that he's just doing things because you force him to?"
"Yes!" exclaimed Yolei, sounding glad that Kari understood her problem. "This is the first time he's said no to me. I wasn't actually planning on doing anything to him or with him, maybe just snuggling and watching a movie like a happy couple, but did he not trust me? What if he's finally gotten tired of me bossing him around? What if he's tired of dating me?"
Kari stood up and put her hand on Yolei's shoulder. "That's stupid to assume," she said firmly. "Yes Ken gives in easily when you want to do something, but that's because he likes doing those things with you. I highly doubt it's because he wants to stop dating you. If he had a problem with you, he'd tell you."
"But how do you know any of that is actually true…" asked Yolei.
"Because I do," replied Kari sternly.
"But what if you're wrong…"
"Then just go and ask him if you're unsure. Tell him what you've told me. That's what couples should do, talk to each other and work things out."
"But you don't kno-"
"Argh!" yelled Kari, frustrated at the cycle. "I know because he told me about all of this last night after he left you. He called me up nearly panicking and wondering if I could advise him, you know, just like you are right now. I told him to talk to you but by that time he reasoned it was too late at night. I told him to do it today as soon as possible but what do I find when I wake up in the morning but you at my front door wanting to go out and talk! He'll never be able to find you to talk to you! You are both massive morons and should just TALK TO EACH OTHER!"
When she was done Kari just stood there, fists balled and hyperventilating as her anger left her. Yolei just stood there for a moment in stunned silence, looking down at the shorter girl. Gatomon and Hawkmon had come over during the commotion and where standing next to their respective partners, silent. A smile appeared on Yolei's face, tears starting to appear in her eyes.
"Thank you," she said. "You're right, I am being an idiot about this. Sorry for having you go through all of that. I'm going to go find Ken right away! Let's go Hawkmon!"
"Roger," replied Hawkmon.
"Good luck," wished Gatomon smiling at the two.
Before they could leave a black portal suddenly appeared next to the two digidestined and started to pull them into it. They didn't even have time to digivolve or fight against it as all four were lifted off of the ground and dragged, yelling, into the portal. It closed behind them, leaving no signs that they had ever been there.
The figure stopped roaring after a lifetime, silence once again greeting her. She was very surprised though to see that she wasn't alone anymore though. A black portal had opened up next to her, inviting her in. She stuck in a hand and felt the long forgotten feeling of a cool breeze running across it. Her face could no longer smile but her heart soared in joy and she moved into the portal without hesitation, unaware of the fallout from her actions.
Mimi smiled as she watched Sora practically soar across the soccer field. She was everywhere that she needed to be, intercepting, passing to teammates, receiving passes and scoring goals no matter how hard the other team tried to stop her. Watching Sora play soccer was the only time she engaged in anything sports related but it was one of her greatest pleasures. It was almost disappointing to think that in a few months they'd be graduated and going off to different schools. Their interests weren't the same, a mismatched pair of friends they were often called. So of course they needed to go to different schools to work toward their goals, Sora soccer and Mimi fashion design. Their schools were close enough together that they were thinking of renting an apartment together though, so she was looking forward to that.
The game didn't take much longer, at least in Mimi's eyes. Sora's team dominated the game and soon there was whooping and cheering from the stands. Sora went off with her team to change. Mimi just sat and waited as the field cleared out. Waiting was boring but if she was patient she was sure that good things would come her way.
Mimi felt a lurching in her stomach and the world suddenly disappeared from out from beneath her. Beneath the stands on the empty field a black nothingness suddenly spread out below her. The bleachers started to slowly sink into the nothing. Mimi gave a squeak of surprise and started to climb higher on the metal structure. She got to the highest step and tried to figure out if she could reach land when she heard a cry.
"Mimi!" yelled Sora, running over to her, panic on her face. She stopped near the edge of the hole, only able to watch as the bleachers, with Mimi on it continued to slowly sink into it. Sora held out her hand to Mimi. "Jump!"
Mimi didn't need to hear anymore. Sora needed her to do something so she would. She wasn't sure she could make such a large jump but she knew she needed to make it to Sora. Mimi ran as carefully as she could along the metal bench she was standing on and leapt off of it as far as she could. For a moment it felt like she would make it but then she landed in the black nothingness instead of Sora's arms, her legs being sucked down quickly. She gave a yelp of fright but a strong hand reached down and grabbed hers. Sora tried to pull her up but the pull of the black nothingness was too much and both girls were dragged into it. As they fell they heard familiar voices calling their names.
"Ow!" complained Yolei as she landed roughly on her butt. Looking around she saw that she was in a forest in the digital world. She stood up and brushed herself off. "Is everyone ok?"
"Yeah," replied Kari, also standing up.
"I don't seem to be missing any feathers," responded Hawkmon.
"I'm not," complained Gatomon. "Cats are supposed to land on their feet, my pride is pretty hurt right now."
"I'm not sure whatever that was counts as falling," said Kari, scratching between Gatomon's ears, eliciting a purr. She looked around, confused. "This looks like the digital world, but what brought us here?"
"It seems to have been that black portal," replied Hawkmon, trying to be helpful.
"That's obvious," said Yolei. "The real question is what created it? Why did it bring us here?"
"Did it bring the others?" asked Kari. Gatomon sniffed around before looking at one particular section of the forest.
"Someone s here," muttered Gatomon, looking confused. "They smell…familiar, but not…"
Just then two small figures came crashing out of the bushes and crashed right into Hawkmon, toppling over into a pile.
"Owiee," muttered Hawkmon. "Oh, it's you two."
"Biyomon and Palmon?" asked Kari, looking at the two digimon in front of her.
"Uh, hello!" greeted Biyomon.
"You know who we are?" asked Palmon, looking around confused at the group. Palmon's gaze stopped on Gatomon. "Gatomon! What are you doing here?"
"Kari and I just got dragged here through some weird portal from the human world," replied Gatomon.
"You were in the human world?" asked Palmon, confused. "Since when?"
"Kari?" asked Biyomon, looking up at Kari. "You've digivolved it seems."
"She's just grown older," replied Gatomon, confused, "but you know that, you just saw her the other week along with Sora and Mimi."
"Sora?!" chirped Biyomon happily.
"Mimi!" cried Palmon. "How are they doing?"
"They're doing quite well," said Hawkmon. Biyomon and Palmon just gave a confused look at Hawkmon.
"Who are you?" asked Palmon.
"I'm Hawkmon!" replied Hawkmon indigently.
"Yeah, my digimon partner, don't you guys remember?" asked Yolei.
Biyomon and Palmon just exchanged confused looks. Palmon then spoke up for them. "Uh, who are you? Are you a new digidestined or something?"
"Yeah, I helped to rescue you guys and the digital world from the Digimon Emperor and other threats! Like Malomyotismon!"
"Myotismon returned?!" cried Biyomon, scared remembering the battle before that they had barely survived.
"We trounced Malomyotismon quite thoroughly," responded Yolei proudly. "You don't remember?"
"No," replied Biyomon and Palmon at the same time.
Kari just studied the two and their surroundings, something feeling wrong. "This isn't right…" muttered Kari. "Something feels wrong here, very wrong."
Before she could figure out what was bugging her, the crack of thunder ripped through the forest, causing everyone to need to cover their ears. The sky immediately started to turn dark and a chill ran through Kari's spine. A black portal like what had sucked them up appeared in the sky in the distance. A shadowy figure was dropped from the portal into the forest below. It was like someone had dropped a bomb. As soon as the figure disappeared below the tree line a shockwave swept through the forest, uprooting trees and spraying dirt everywhere, but the worst part were the screams. Horrible screams tore through the forest as digimon were wiped out in an instant. Kari flinched as she felt each death sweep through her. She could also feel the mysterious figure moving towards them. It was a raw bundle of nerves, feeling more pain, suffering, and hate then should be possible and still be able to live. She felt as it swept a hand and wiped out swathes of trees and the digimon that inhabited them.
"Kari!" yelled a voice, sounding panicked. After a moment Kari realized it was Yolei and she wondered why. Then she realized that she was on the ground, clutching her head. "What's wrong? Are you ok?"
"We need to run," groaned Kari.
"Huh?" asked Yolei, confused. "What do you mean, what's going on?"
"I don't know but we need to run!" yelled Kari, feeling the mysterious darkness getting closer and closer. "It's coming and it'll kill us if we don't run now!"
Yolei finally understood the urgency in her friend's voice and her digivice glowed. In a flash of red light Hawkmon had digivolved to Aquilamon.
"Get on!" urged Aquilamon. Yolei tried to lift Kari onto Aquilamon's back but was having trouble since Kari wasn't in any state to help her. Green vines reached and wrapped around Kari. Palmon lifted Kari onto Aquilamon's back. Yolei, Gatomon and Biyomon all pilled on and even though burdened with a lot of weight Aquilamon lifted off and flew up and over the forest. From their new vantage point they could see a smoking crater and a swath of destruction that was just tearing its way through the forest in their direction.
"Go in that direction, away from it!" said Yolei, directing Aquilamon in a direction diagonally away from the path of their mystery assailant. The destruction seemed to home in on them though and shifted its path to correct for theirs. As Aquilamon sped up, so did the destruction, and it was getting faster and faster. Screaming reached Yolei's ears but she just pretended that it was the wind whistling past her ears.
"Dodge to the right!" yelled Gatomon. Aquilamon obeyed without question and a black blast on energy flew past them and hit a hilltop, vaporizing the whole thing. Looking down Yolei saw the destruction speeding up after the attack as whatever was after them sped up even more. Within a matter of seconds it was almost directly below them. Then something clipped Aquilamon's wings and they were all thrown off and tumbling down to the ground, the injured Aquilamon unable to recover from the hit.
"Aquilamon!" yelled Yolle, reaching out desperately for her partner.
"Kari!" yelled Gatomon. Kari's digivice glowed and Gatomon was replaced with Angewomon. Angewomon flew over and rescued Kari but didn't have enough hands to grab them all.
"Sora!" yelled Biyomon, unable to arrest her own momentum correctly.
"Mimi!" yelled Palmon, her voice fearful from never seeing her partner again.
Another black portal opened up next to them and dumped out two figures holding hands who joined them in free fall.
"Sora, we're falling!" yelled one of the figures, girls that sounded familiar to Yolei.
"Biyomon?!" asked one of the girls, noticing the falling group.
"Sora!" yelled Biyomon happily.
"Biyomon, save us!" yelled Sora. A light glowed from her waist where her digivice was always fastened. Biyomon immediately responded and was replaced with Garudamon. Garudamon swept quickly down and grabbed everyone but Angewomon and Kari in its massive hands. Another blast of energy shot up at them but Garudamon and Angewomon dodged to the side. Sora pointed to an empty field. "Land there!"
Garudamon and Angewomon landed in the clearing Sora had pointed out and dropped off their passengers. Yolei cradled Aquilamon's head in her arms, glad that the injury hadn't done a lot of damage. On the ground now the two girls that seemed to be Sora and Mimi, although not as Yolei knew them, finally released their hands and walked over to their respective digimon partners.
"Palmon!" yelled Mimi happily, kneeling down and hugging her partner. "Oh I'm so glad to see you again it's been so long!"
This Mimi seemed to have long auburn hair while the Mimi she knew, and had seen a picture of just the other day, had short hair dyed pink. She had a large pink hat with her that Yolei recognized from pictures of Mimi from her time in the digital world. The Mimi she knew had lost the hat many years prior while moving to America.
"Garudamon, I can't believe it," said Sora tears in her eyes as she looked up at her partner. She also looked slightly different than Yolei remembered her, now having short hair and a white hat that was also an artifact the Sora she knew had lost before they had even met. "It's been six years…"
"Wait, six years?" asked Yolei, making herself known to the apparently happily reunited partners. "You just visited Biyomon the other week, didn't you?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," replied Sora, looking confused. "I haven't seen Biyomon since we defeated the Dark Masters."
"Something's wrong…" said Kari, drawing everyone's attention. "It's still coming towards us, we need to leave and get help, now!"
"What's coming?" asked Mimi, confused.
"There's this scary thing in the forest that was trying to kill us!" exclaimed Palmon.
"It's very strong?" asked Sora.
"It's wiping chunks of the forest with every step!" replied Palmon.
"We'll just have to fight it now," said Yolei.
"That's suicide!" replied Angewomon. "We need to stop talking and leave! This thing is way too powerful for us to take without the others!"
"But if we just leave it, it will continue to destroy things," pointed out Yolei. We just need to keep it busy and hold out for the others."
The mysterious figure came bursting into the clearing, a trail of utter destruction behind it. The thing looked like a digimon, but not one Yolei had ever seen before. It was a mix of shades of black and grey that seemed to shift when looked at too closely, making it hard to exactly decipher its proportions. What she could tell was that it was large. Not as large as Garudamon but towering over everyone else by a couple meters. It seemed to be covered in armor, black feathered wings coming out of its back. Its feet ended in sharp, hooked claws and its hands were armored gloves each with a single long spike coming from a mounting on its arms. Its head was helmeted like an old European knight; red hateful eyes glowing from underneath it. Horns jutted from the helm and spikes adorned each shoulder. Many, smaller spikes ran down its back until it reached where a thin, wicked looking tail came out. The tail whipped back and forth, the metal spike on the end gouging out sections from the ground with each swipe.
Kari stepped forward, one hand still clutching her head. "What do you want?" she asked the monster, but got no answer. She tried again. "We mean you no harm, can you tell us why you were attacking us."
The monster gave a guttural growl in response and took a step towards them. It stopped moving, then raised a hand. A ball of black energy quickly coalesced in front of its hand and then shot at them. Yolei braced for annihilation but was instead greeted by the sight of one of Angewomon's light arrows intercepting the blast and cancelling it out, although a small ripple of force still came and knocked the wind out of her. The monster growled and started to charge another blast again.
"Guess it's not friendly!" yelled Yolei. "Let's stomp this guy!"
Flashes out light lit up the clearing as Palmon Digivolved to Lilymon. Angewoman and Aquilamon DNA-digivolved to become Silphymon. Yolei grabbed Kari by the arm and led her away from the impending fight; Mimi and Sora following close behind. Along with Garudamon, the three Ultimate level digimon each launched a powerful attack against the mysterious dark digimon.
The attacks all hit simultaneously, causing a large explosion. When the smoke cleared Yolei saw that the thing was unharmed, it's energy blast having been refocused into a shield. "You've got to be kidding me," she muttered.
The shield dispersed and the monster charged forward with fearsome speed, engaging the three Ultimate digimon in close combat. Silphymon dodged to the side and Lilymon took quickly to the air. Sadly Garudamon was too big and slow and the monster leapt up and kicked Garudamon in the chest, knocking it to the ground. Silphymon charged up another blast and chucked it at the monster but the monster just blocked with a hand.
"What is that thing?" asked Mimi. Why is it attacking us? How did we even get here?"
Lilymon flew up high into the air and its hands morphed into a large canon. A blast started to charge in the canon.
"We don't know any of those answers," replied Yolei. "We only got here a little while ago through a black portal that sucked us up and brought us here. By chance we met Biyomon and Palmon but were attacked."
Lilymon fired down at the monster as Silphymon fired another blast, stopping it briefly in its tracks. The fully charged blast hit the monster but did nothing except elicit another rumbling growl.
"We got sucked up by some black portal too," mused Sora. "It just appeared underneath the bleachers and started to suck in Mimi. I tried to grab her but we both got sucked in."
"Sorry," apologized Mimi. "If only I had jumped a bit further…"
Sora put a hand on Mimi's shoulder and smiled at her. "It's not your fault. That thing was trying to suck us in no matter what. I'm not sure you could have gotten away even if you could fly."
"Something is wrong," muttered Kari again, seeming to be in a trance.
Silphymon was raining punches and kicks on the monster but they were doing nothing. A backhand hit Silphymon and knocked them threw a tree.
"Silphymon!" yelled Yolei, worried for her partner.
"I'm fine!" yelled Silphymon, standing up shakily. "This thing hits like a truck."
Another blast of dark energy clipped Lilymon and knocked them out of the sky, tumbling to land heavily onto the ground.
"Lilymon!" cried Mimi.
Garudamon was back up and in action though.
"Crimson claw!" yelled Garudamon.
A large fist came crashing down and pounded the dark digimon into the ground. Garudamon continued to rain down blow after blow, their fists covered in fire. It seemed to be working briefly but then suddenly Garudamon gave a cry as their arm just exploded in a bunch of digital particles. Garudamon de-digivolved to Biyomon, collapsing onto the ground in a heap at the feet of the still uninjured monster.
"Biyomon!" yelled Sora, rushing forward to try to do something. Mimi leapt forward though and grabbed her around the waist, stopping her. "No! I need to help Biyomon!"
"No, you'll die if you go out there!" yelled Mimi.
"I don't care, I need to save Biyomon!"
"I care!" yelled Mimi, clutching Sora even tighter.
The monster went to stomp on Biyomon but another blast from Lilymon grabbed its attention. While it was distracted Silphymon ran at top speed and rescued Biyomon and retreated to the clearing where the digidestined were. Mimi let go of Sora and Silphymon deposited Biyomon into her arms. She hugged the pink bird digimon closely to her chest, tears running down her face. Back by the monster, Lilymon created a giant wreath of flowers and slung it over the thing's neck.
"Hopefully this calms you down!" yelled Lilymon. Surprisingly the flowers did seem to have an effect, starting to purify the monster's data. It started to glow a variety of colors from dark blue to red, to yellow, light blue and green. But then, the flashing colors stopped and it returned to its regular colors. The monster gave an anguished scream that forced everyone to cover their ears. The flowers disintegrated into digital particles. The backlash from the flowers being broken swept over Lilymon, who de-digivolved to Palmon and tumbled down to the ground.
"Lilimon!" yelled Mimi. Silphymon leapt up and caught Palmon. Mimi ran over and took Palmon into her arms.
The monster growled at them at started to close in, only Silphymon left to stand between them and death.
"What are we supposed to do now?" yelled Yolei, panicking.
Kari was on the ground from the earlier scream, clutching her head and mumbling incoherently now. Mimi and Sora were just clutching their partners, tears on their faces. It wasn't a good way to get reunited with your partners and Yolei felt for them but this really wasn't the moment. Suddenly a glowing red portal opened up next to them and an unfamiliar red headed girl stuck her head through the portal.
"Hurry up!" she yelled at them, holding out her hand. "Get in here right now!"
"Who are you?" asked Yolei.
"I'm here to help you before you die, now come!" commanded the red head. Sora and Mimi didn't need to be told again and both ran through the portal. Silphymon grabbed Kari and Yolei and carried both of them through the portal, the world turning white.
Alone, she was alone again. She had been once again with others, but they had fought her. She just needed to absorb them so that they could never leave her alone again, why couldn't they understand that? Now they were gone and she was alone again. She could also still feel them, and concentrating on that point she created another dark portal to where they were, stepping in and leaving behind the trashed forest.
Jeri knelt in front of the gravestone, lit incense and flowers already placed out on the polished stone. She had arrived to find everything already cleaned and prepared. She wondered just who could have beaten her to the grave, but then she saw a figure standing just at the edge of her sight, several graves away and watching her.
"Come on out," she called to the figure. "I know you're there and that you cleaned the grave. I just want to know why."
The figure came out from behind the gravestone and Jeri saw that it was a teenage girl. She had medium length brown hair that came down to just past her shoulders and light brown eyes. All in all she was just a normal looking girl, although Jeri couldn't really comment since she was also about as plain looking as could be with her long brown hair, now grown out to almost her waist and brown eyes. What really stuck about this girl wasn't her features but her clothes. She had on a black shirt with a leather biker jacket over it. She had on thick, steel toed boots and fingerless gloves on each hand. Wrapped around her neck was a red bandanna and Jeri wondered if the universe had once again decided to laugh at her some more after having given her thirteen years to rest. The girl had a guilty expression on her face at having been caught.
"I'm sorry," apologized the girl. "I meant no harm. I just wanted to do a favor for Leomon and then leave but you arrived as I finished and I just got curious about what you would be like."
"Who are you?" asked Jeri, continuing to study the girl. She noticed something she had missed on her first once over. On the girl's belt was a purple D-Arc, one of the devices that signaled a partnership between a human and a Digimon. Jeri herself had a yellow version of the D-Arc, and kept it with her at all times. Seeing the D-Arc, she realized she knew who this was. "You're Ai, Impmon's partner, aren't you?"
"Yes, I am," replied Ai, shuffling her feet nervously. She looked up at Jeri after a moment, tears in her eyes. "He's really sorry about it. He can't forget it and I don't think he ever will."
Jeri just gave a sigh, knowing that this talk had to happen at some point but not looking forward to it. "I already forgave him for killing Leomon years ago. He has nothing to feel bad about anymore."
"Do you mean that?" asked Ai, her eyes lighting up with hope.
"Yes, I do," replied Jeri sincerely. She had had a hard few years afterwards, but now she was stronger for it. She felt proud of herself as a person and all she had accomplished. She was someone who could say, with pride that she had been Leomon's partner. Jeri liked to think that if Leomon saw her now he would just smile and tell her she had a lion's heart in that proud, almost fatherly tone of his. "Beelzemon helped to rescue me from the D-Reaper, risking his life to do so. I know he regrets what he did, but there is no reason for him to continue regretting his actions. He's hurt enough, we all have. I think it's time to just let it all go."
"He would be so happy to hear that," cried Ai, tears running down her face. Jeri walked over, taking a handkerchief out of her purse and handed it to Ai. The teenager just looked at the cloth for a moment then took it and blew her nose loudly.
"It's too bad I can't tell him this personally," said Jeri sadly. "But I'm glad you came in his place. I really do appreciate it."
"I wish I had come here sooner," replied Ai, wiping away the snot and tears. "I only found out about all of this a little while ago when I bio-merged with Beelzemon."
"Wha?" asked Jeri, confused.
"Bio-merged," repeated Ai, once again sounding shy, her face turning bright red. "You know, where humans and Digimon become one and fight together? I was attacked by some big, scary digimon named Darkdramon but Beelzemon came through a portal and saved me! Together we defeated it but he had to leave once more. When we were merged I found out about Leomon and how he still regretted his actions, so I decided to come here to make things right instead!"
"That's…quite a tale," replied Jeri slowly, surprised by all she had just heard. "So you decided to dress like him also to act like his proxy?"
Ai turned an even darker shade of red at the question and turned away from Jeri. "Well, when we broke off from the bio-merge we were wearing each other's clothes so I got to keep his and I kind of like wearing them and all that. They make me feel cool..."
Jeri couldn't help it anymore, she just burst into laughter and she saw the tips of Ai's ears turn bright red. "Hahaha! That's one large crush you have going on there!"
Ai turned around to face her, bright red and indigent. "I don't have a crush on anyone!"
"Hahaha! No reason to feel embarrassed. Beelzemon is lucky to have such a cute girl looking out for him as his partner."
Suddenly a purple light started to shine from the D-Arc on Ai's belt. The teenager took it off her belt and just stared at the screen in confusion. A similar yellow beam started to flash from under Jeri's shirt. She reached down and took out her D-Arc, which hung on metal chain. On the screen flashed several words. 'Anomaly forming.'
"Anomaly forming?" asked Ai. "What's that mean?"
Jeri felt her skin tingling and saw as a slight wind grabbed on the stray strands of Ai's hair and casually lifted them up, like when attracted by static. Looking in that direction she saw a small point of existence that just seemed…wrong. It wasn't conscious thought, it was instinct, pure and simple. So, acting on her instincts she grabbed Ai's hand and pulled her in the other direction.
"It doesn't matter what it means," said Jeri. "Just run!"
As they started to run a large black hole just ripped into existence from the point that had been causing Jeri worry. It exhibited a force that tried to suck them in but they had had a large enough head start that they were able to go another couple of meters before the force increased enough that Jeri could feel herself about to be ripped from the ground. Reacting quickly she grabbed onto a gravestone with her free hand. It was just in time as they did fly into the air against the force of the hole.
"What's happening?!" cried Ai in fright and confusion.
Jeri couldn't answer, just gritting her teeth as she strained to hold onto the gravestone with one hand and Ai with the other. Each moment she felt the pull getting stronger and her grip getting weaker. Then, after what felt like an eternity of holding on, she finally lost her grip. She let go and the two girls flew through the air, brought towards the hole.
"Beelzemon!" yelled Ai. "Help!"
Ai's D-Arc glowed even brighter and a voice rang out from out of it. "On it!"
Right in front of the portal another glowing purple portal appeared. Out of it came what could only be described as a demon biker. Jeri recognized the digimon in front of her as one from her nightmares, but also as a good friend. Beelzemon landed on the ground as his portal disappeared and he caught Jeri and Ai.
"Got ya!" he yelled. Sadly the pull of the black portal was too strong, too close and he hadn't had enough time to brace properly. The force of the two girls hitting him was too much and the Demon Lord digimon lost his balance and flew backwards, right into the portal "Aw crap!"
The three were surrounded in darkness, and silence as the world disappeared around them.
As soon as they were through the portal Sylphimon deposited Yolei and Kari gently onto the ground. Looking around Yolei saw that they were all standing in a barren landscape, almost completely flat as far as she could see. What really caught her attention though was the sky which had a large green orb floating in it from which purple data streams shot into and out of; going off to far off areas of where ever they were.
"Whoah," she muttered, admiring the view.
"Where are we?" asked Mimi, also looking around.
"The digital world?" suggested Sora.
"Not our digital world," said Yolei. "I've been to every edge of it, and this isn't anywhere there."
"'Our digital world'?" asked Mimi, looking curiously at Yolei. "What's going on? Why are you acting like you know us? Is that really Kari with you, I thought she had long hair…"
"I think I can explain those questions," said a voice.
Everyone turned to look at the newcomer and Yolei saw a tall, red headed young woman, the same from the portal, who looked to be a few years older than them. She was rather stunning even wearing just jeans, a t-shirt with the English word 'badass' and a leather jacket; Yolei wondered if she was a model. Her hair was pulled back in a tail and she had a stern expression on her face. On her belt was some type of box shaped holster and something that looked like a blue digivice, but not in a style Yolei was familiar with.
"Oh! Can I do it?" asked another voice excitedly. It was then that Yolei noticed that the red headed woman had three companions with her. Standing slightly behind her to her right was a tall, yellow fox digimon standing on two legs. To her left was a young Chinese girl with her black hair in buns and wearing a sailor outfit reminiscent of Sailor Moon; decorated in a pink color scheme. Another of the box-holsters and strange digivice like what the red head had, this one pink though, hung from her belt. She had a smile on her face and was looking around excitedly. Sitting on her head was a Lopmon with a slightly embarrassed look on its face.
"Suzie, should we not leave this to Rika?" asked Lopmon, speaking very formally.
"But that wouldn't be any fun!" complained Suzie. Then she turned to face the young woman, Rika, a pleading look on her face. "Can I? Please?"
"Sure," replied Rika, a slight smile appearing on her face. "But expect me to correct you if you get something wrong."
"I bet I understand the time travel and multiversal theories better than you do!" stated Suzie proudly.
"Well, then you're on your own, good luck," said Rika, raising her hands in a gesture of defeat. "But make it fast, that thing could be right behind us."
"If it didn't appear immediately then we should be fine," proclaimed Suzie calmly with a giddy smile on her face. "I bet it doesn't know exactly where we are yet and obviously can't move to a when in time, which helps to prove some of the theories they've been throwing around at Hypnos!"
"What are you talking about!" yelled Yolei, stomping her foot on the ground.
Suzie looked back at Yolei, a smile on her face. "I'm glad you asked! My first question for all of you, what year is it?"
"What year is it?" asked Yolei. "Why's that matter?"
"Just answer the question please," replied Suzy calmly, almost smugly.
"Well…" started Yolei. Before she could answer the question though yet another of those crazy black portals opened up near to them and three people were flung out of the portal onto the ground. The portal faded away into nothing as Yolei, Kari, Silphymon, Sora, Mimi, Palmon and Biyomon all just stared in wide eyed surprise. Rika, Suzie and their digimon didn't seem surprised about the portal though, but when the newcomers stood up, the yellow fox finally spoke up.
"Beelzemon?" asked the Fox.
"The one and only, fox face," drawled Beelzemon He looked something like a demon biker and didn't sound too friendly either. He looked at the people gathered around him. "And what are all of you doing here? Some type of reunion of people I don't know?"
"I'm kind of annoyed that you forgot who I am," said Rika, stepping forward. "But I'm not surprised. Can I ask you something, who are you three and what year are you from?"
"Wait, you're the brat who was Renamon's tamer?" asked Beelzemon confused. "You've sure grown up."
"Rika?" asked one of the two people that had arrived with Beelzemon. She seemed to be the older of the two, wearing a yellow dress, with light brown hair down her back. The other girl looked to be a teenager but was strangely dressed in the same clothes as Beelzemon, although with less spikes everywhere. "Why are you so young?"
"I'll explain in a moment," replied Rika. "Can you identify yourselves and the year you're from?"
"Uh, I'm Jeri," said the young woman. "And this is Beelzemon and Ai. It's 2015, isn't it?"
"What?!" exclaimed Suzie, looking distressed. "That's Ai? Aw man, now I'm the youngest again!"
Ignoring Suzie, and the confused stares she attracted, Rika stepped in with an explanation. She pointed to herself, then Renamon, Suzie and Lopmon. "For everyone here my name is Rika, this is my partner Renamon, and Suzie and Lopmon."
"Wait; that can't be Suzie!" complained the girl named Ai. "I saw Suzie just the other day and she's several years older than that!"
"That's because in the world we come from, it's the year 2007, six years after we defeated the D-Reaper," said Rika.
"Wait, do you guys know each other but not know each other?" asked Yolei, stepping forward. "And what's with all of that 2015, 2007 stuff? It's 2008."
"Last I checked the calendar it was 2006," said Mimi, stepping forward.
"And that brings me to my explanation!" yelled Suzie, leaping to stand in roughly the middle of the gathered humans and Digimon. She coughed into her fist to theatrically clear her throat and then with a bright smile on her face, continued to talk. "As you all are probably aware there are two worlds, the human world and the digital world, correct?"
A chorus of ascent rose up from the gathered groups, managing to follow along so far and just going with the flow of things. Suzie's smile widened and she continued cheerily.
"But in addition to those two worlds, which are connected to each other, there is a whole host of similar 'mirror worlds'. Think of the space that surrounds the human and digital worlds you know as a box, nothing gets in and out of that box but travel inside of it is basically open. Now, imagine that there are rows upon rows of similar boxes that are mirrors of each other all stacked up. In each of those boxes time flows the same and the events are all the same, is that clear so far?" asked Suzie, looking around.
Slightly more uncertain ascent greeted her question and she took that as her cue to continue her explanation.
"Now, the reality is that all of these boxes are not the same. Time flows differently between them. In one it might be the year 2015 and in the other it might be 2008, like a clock wound up funny. The events that have and will happen are the same between the worlds. The Meiji era would have started in the same year in each box, but one box would be running slower if you compared the two but eventually reach it like a clock will eventually strike midnight. And then, imagine if instead of the Meiji era happening Japan had become a colony to the United States of America and the events of that second box would be radically different from the first box where the Meiji era did happen. Does that explain everything about what's going on?"
Suzie looked expectantly around at the faces surrounding her but Yolei saw that basically everyone else seemed just as baffled by the explanation as she felt. She saw Rika give a sigh and walk into the center of the circle, putting her hand on Suzie's head, drawing an indigent look from the girl.
"Ok, picking up where Suzie left off," started Rika. "The reality we live in isn't a universe but a multiverse where there are many different versions of the same thing, some radically different and some almost exactly the same except for an event or two. If you could travel between the worlds, which is what happened here, you'd find that you might be in a different year than your own, even though time is always progressing forward and moving backwards is almost impossible. So, let me get this out of the way."
Rika pointed to each person and digimon standing in the barren landscape and listed off who they were exactly.
"Mimi, Sora, Palmon, Biyomon, Yolei, Kari, Silphymon, Jeri, Ai, Beelzemon, Suzie, Lopmon, Renamon and Rika. Everyone got it?" asked Rika. Everyone shook their heads in acknowledgement, even Suzie. "Good. And if you're all wondering how I know this, it's all very simple. Sora, Biyomon, Mimi, Palmon, Yolei, Kari and Silphymon are all characters from the Digimon TV show that was popular in my world as a kid."
"Wait, what!?" yelled Yolei. Everyone else Rika had just listed seemed too shocked to even look surprised.
"Sounds, crazy, right?" said Rika, flashing them a smile. "I would have thought that too until what was once a TV show and card game popped into my life as a real life Renamon who came to be my digimon partner to fight to become the strongest. Jeri, Ai and Beelzemon are also from my world; just that apparently these three are from a different version of it. I have also confirmed with Hypnos, the group that monitors the digital world in this world; that our Ai and Beelzemon are off in another sector fighting against Lilithmon."
"This is crazy," muttered Yolei.
"Apparently listening to Izzy talk has actually helped me understand gibberish," commented Mimi to Sora.
"So wait, there's two of me?" asked Ai.
"Yes," replied Rika.
"Ain't two of me," said Beelzemon.
"That's exactly what our Beelzemon would say," said Renamon, sounding like she was about to start laughing.
"Why I oughta-, "started Beelzemon, but Ai just put her hand on his arm and he backed down, just glaring angrily at Renamon.
"So what brought us here if you can't travel outside of your own world?" asked Jeri, finally speaking up. "And why do you sound like you have prior experience with all of this?"
"The 'prior experience' is a story for another time," replied Rika. "Suffice to say we've met someone from another world. And for what brought you here, that would be an anomaly."
"An anomaly?" asked Jeri.
"There's some dark digimon that's appeared recently," explained Rika. "It's more like a force of nature than anything else but it's been ripping apart the boundaries between the worlds just by existing. Hypnos has been logging increasing anomalies for the last several weeks. We're not sure if that's because whatever it is was just created or if it's finally starting to move after a long dormancy. Either way, it's ripped those black holes in between the worlds and sucked all of you towards it. We realized what was happening and managed to create a portal just in time to rescue Mimi, Sora, Palmon, Biyomon, Kari, Yolei and Silphymon from the monster."
"But what does it want?" pressed Jeri.
Rika just gave a tired sigh. "Honestly, I don't know. We haven't had direct communication with the thing, but it doesn't really seem to be too talkative."
"That's for sure," commented Mimi. "All it did was growl, roar and try to kill us!"
"What about all of the other digidestined?" asked Sora.
"It only seems to have grabbed those that are gathered here as far as we can tell," replied Rika.
"There's something…wrong with her…" muttered Kari.
"Wait, 'her'?" asked Yolei, looking over at her friend. "What makes you think that thing's a girl?"
"I can just feel it. When she roared, I think I…connected with her a bit or something. I think she might be in pain. There was a lot of sadness…I can't really describe it past tha…ah!" Kari gave a small gasp and brought one hand up to her head. "She's here!"
A large black portal ripped into existence a few meters away from them. Out of it stepped the monster from the forest, seeming even more ferocious now. It looked directly at her and she felt a chill go down her spine. It was almost like…like she was looking at the death of all life. Rika, Suzie, Renamon and Lopmon all moved to stand between the monster and the rest of the group.
"In the name or peace and love, would you be willing to stop attacking and have a chat with us?" asked Suzie, somehow managing to smile at the thing. As the portal behind the monster disappeared it gave a loud roar and raised its hand at them. Another blast of dark energy started to coalesce in front of it and then shot towards them, tearing a groove in the ground.
"Looks like negotiations have broken down!" yelled Rika. She and Suzie each held up their strange digivices and reached into their box-holsters and pulled out what looked like a blue trading card. They quickly swiped the cards through grooves in their digivices and in a flash of light two digimon were standing where the two human/digimon pairs had been, Rika and Suzie completely gone. One of the digimon was a tall statuesque woman in golden armor with a golden staff in her hands.
"Twin blades of Beauty and Truth!" yelled the digital woman. She struck the ground with her staff and pink cherry blossoms scattered from the tip, creating a barrier around them all. The dark energy collided against the cherry blossoms and stalled, cancelled out by the shield. The second digimon, a large pink rabbit that stood on two legs with golden bands around each ear, charged up a bolt of lightning in its hand and threw it at the dark digimon. A dark barrier flashed in front of the bolt, stopping it.
"I was really hoping that would work," commented the pink rabbit.
"Did you really think that it would be that easy Kerpymon?" asked the golden-armor clad woman.
"No," admitted Kerpymon. "But I was really, really hoping it would. So, any ideas Sakuyamon?"
"I'm not sure the two of us can take this thing on. We'll just need to hold off this thing until everyone else can arrive," replied Sakuyamon. "Which could be a while since they're all preoccupied with other issues. Why did this thing have to decide to appear right when the Demon Lords attacked us?"
"Murphy's law," commented Kerpymon. "Bad things happen at the same time."
The dark digimon gave another roar and charged at them. Kerpymon moved forward to intercept the monster. It swung with one of its spikes at Kerpymon but the giant rabbit just jumped over the attack high into the air and charged up an attack of her own.
"Heaven's Judgment!" yelled Kerpymon. Several large thunderclouds formed and shot down a barrage of lightning bolts onto the dark digimon; obscuring it in the onslaught. Kerpymon landed on the ground and charged up another large bolt of lightning in her hands and threw it at the dark digimon. "Lightning Spear!"
The lightning spear struck the dark digimon which was still preoccupied with the barrage of weaker lightning bolts still raining down on it. There was a large explosion, dust kicked up everywhere. Inside of the barrier they were protected from the shockwave and dust. Yolei prayed that the attack had worked. She was disappointed when the dust cleared and the dark digimon was just standing there, looking to be completely unharmed by the attack. It gave another growl and charged with lightning speed at Kerpymon, swinging a punch at the pink digimon.
"Aw crud!" yelled Kerpymon, barely managing to get her hands up in time to block the attack. It still knocked her off her feet and sent her tumbling away.
"Kerpymon!" yelled Sakuyamon, still keeping up her barrier. Yolei could see she wanted to go help her friend but couldn't risk leaving them unprotected. It was times like this she wished she was able to fight together with Hawkmon, just like Rika and Suzie seemed to be able to do.
"I'm fine!" called Kerpymon, standing up shakily. The dark digimon charged at Kerpymon once again, punching and kicking with stunning speed. Kerpymon was ready this time and dodging all of the attacks, but wasn't able to retaliate with her own attacks. It must have been taking all she had to just dodge.
"I don't know what's going on but I'm tired of sitting around!" yelled Beelzemon. The demon biker looked at their partner. "Ai?"
"Got it!" yelled the teenager. She pulled out a digivice similar to those Rika and Suzie used and held it against her heart. A purple light flashed out from the digivice and engulfed Ai and Beelzemon. When it was gone so was Ai, only Beelzemon standing there. Beelzemon was different, two large black feathered wings with two smaller ones below them now came from their back and a large metal contraption on their right arm.
"Let's do this!" yelled Beelzemon. They crouched down and with a flap of their wings had shot into the air; a hole appearing in the shield to let them out. Once Beelzemon had altitude they pointed their metal arm at the dark digimon, the tip splitting into two parts. Purple light started to glow at the tip of the weapon and Beelzemon drew it in the shape of a pentagram, trails of light drawing the symbol in the sky. "Make space bunny rabbit!
Instead of dodging the next strike like she had been doing, Kerpymon grabbed ahold of the dark digimon's arm and threw them away. The dark digimon flipped through the air and landed heavily on their feet, a dust cloud spraying up. As soon as they were on the ground they charged back at Kerpymon.
"Lightning Spear!" yelled Kerpymon, leaping backwards and throwing the spear at the dark digimon. It managed to stop the dark digimon in its tracks long enough for Beelzemon to fire off their attack.
"Corona Destroyer!" yelled Beelzemon, a large purple blast of energy shooting from the pentagram and striking the dark digimon dead center.
The blast utterly destroyed the dark digimon's left arm, sending up a spray of digital particles. But before they had time to cheer, the digital particles moved back towards the dark digimon and formed the shape of its arm. Purple-white data strands snaked around the particles and when they disappeared, the arm was back. The dark digimon looked at and flexed its newly regrown arm, showing the first signs of conscious thought that didn't include rage, growling and destruction.
"What do you mean that didn't work!" yelled Beelzemon. They started to charge up another attack, drawing another pentagram.
The dark digimon looked at Beelzemon and Yolei swore she heard the thing chuckle. More purple-white data strands snaked out from the thing's back, splitting off into two separate directions behind it. They disappeared and pitch black wings that looked to be made out of metal plates instead of feathers adorned its back. The dark digimon flapped the wings and in a split second was face to face with Beelzemon. It put its fists together over its head and brought them down on Beelzemon, smashing the demon digimon hard into the ground.
"Lightning Spear!" yelled Kerpymon, throwing an attack at the monster still floating in the air. The dark digimon held out a hand and did the last thing Yolei expected.
"Null Barrier!" yelled the dark digimon in a voice that sound more like a crowd than a person. A dark energy barrier sprung into place and stopped the attack cold. Then the dark digimon spoke again. "Null Wave!"
The barrier crashed down onto Kerpymon before she could react, exploding on contact.
"Kerpymon!" yelled Sakuyamon, still holding fast.
"Ugh," muttered Kerpymon, standing up shakily in the freshly made crater. "Anyone get the number of whatever just hit me?"
High up in the sky the dark digimon swooped down on Kerpymon. The pink rabbit was unable to react but was saved when Beelzemon came barreling through, tackling the dark digimon in midair. The two went tumbling end over end on the dusty ground, eventually breaking apart collapsed near to each other on the ground. But then, the dark digimon stood up, still unharmed. A rumbling noise rolled through the area and Yolei realized that it was the monster laughing.
"All will join me," declared the dark digimon. It pointed its hand right at Beelzemon who was still on the ground. Dark energy started to collect into a ball in front of its hand. "Null Blast!"
"Crystal Barrier!" yelled Sakuyamon. In an instant the pink shield around them had disappeared; a new clear barrier appearing around Beelzemon. The null blast hit the nearly formed shield, causing a large explosion that destroyed the shield, but left Beelzemon unharmed. Sakuyamon leapt into action. "I'm sick of you picking on my friends! Spirit Strike!"
Four fox spirits leapt out of tubes on Sakuyamon's belt and struck the dark digimon, actually managing to move it away from Beelzemon by a few meters. The thing grunted, annoyed but unharmed. Sakuyamon was intent on fixing that though.
"Jouenkobu!" A blue flame shot from Sakuyamon's hand and hit the dark digimon, causing it to actually scream in pain. She swung her staff and a blast of cherry blossoms shot out at her foe. "Amethyst Wind!"
This attack was by far the most effective, blasting away sections of the dark digimon's armor. Underneath the darkness of the armor Yolei caught a glimpse of an array of all types of colors, the thing's skin perhaps? Sakuyamon continued the assault on the now staggered dark digimon. "Koenkyaku!"
She struck with a kick, fox fire flashing around her foot and licking at her foe. Sadly the dark digimon wasn't as staggered as it had seemed. Its hand flashed out and grabbed Sakuyamon's foot, seemingly unharmed, or at least not caring about the fox fire burning at its hand. Darkness slid in to cover the wounds it had sustained before. The dark digimon delivered a blindingly fast punch to Sakuyamon, sending her flying over the huddled digidestined and rolling to a stop on the ground behind them. Yolei prayed that if a miracle was going to happen it would happen soon. Overhead a glow caught her eye and looking up she saw a blueish-white orb like those she'd seen around Azulongmon. Yolei reached up for it, warmth filling her.
"I want to fight this thing with Slyphymon…"
"Sakuyamon!" yelled Jeri. The former Tamer looked around and saw that Kerpymon and Beelzemon were struggling to stand up, but wouldn't be able to do much. She hoped reinforcements would arrive but they didn't seem likely to arrive anytime soon.
Something caught her eye and she looked to her right and saw the glasses wearing girl she'd been introduced to before, Yolei, reaching for something. Blueish-white energy surrounded her and her partner digimon, Slyphymon. In a flash the two were gone, replaced by a single digimon. Jeri realized she had just witnessed a new bio-merge. The new digimon was a tall, white feathered bird-woman. She had wings coming out of her back that were colored red at the tips, the only sign of color on her. On her left arm was a golden diamond shaped shield. On her hips were belted a sword and a quiver of arrows; a crossbow on her back. On her arm was a golden bird, surveying the area around it.
Jeri took her D-Arc and pointed it at the newcomer. The screen lit up, displaying an image of the new digimon, words appearing below the image. She read them aloud, "Valkyrimon; a mega level warrior digimon. It is the possessor of such speed that it shows up like a gale, then slashes at the opponent with a swiftness too quick to catch with the eyes. It wields the cursed Fenrir Sword, and the unerring Aurvandil's Arrow. It is accompanied by the golden bird Freyr, which informs it if danger approaches. Also possess the power to raise fallen warriors as digi-eggs."
Freyr flew off of her arm and Valkyrimon drew her sword, pointing it at the dark digimon. "I hope you're ready for this, because I am about to wreck you!"
Valkyrimon was gone from next to Jeri and right in front of the Dark Digimon in an instant. "Punishing storm!" yelled Valkyrimon. A tornado formed around the dark digimon, lifting it off of its feet and into the air. Valkyrimon flew up and lashed out with her sword.
The sword slashed through the dark digimon but didn't cut it. Instead it froze the dark digimon solid; a layer of ice covering it. Valkyrimon released the tornado and it fell, striking the ground with a resounding crash. The ice shattered off of the dark digimon. From where it was collapsed on the ground it raised its hand at Valkyrimon and shouted. "Null blast!"
The blast of energy shot towards Valkyrimon but she just dodged, landing on the ground before the blast reached where she had been. She lashed out with a vicious kick that staggered her foe. Freyr flew down from the sky and clawed at the dark digimon, forcing it to try to defend itself from the golden bird.
Valkyrimon sheathed her sword and gathered energy in her hand. A golden javelin appeared in her hands, energy collecting in the tip. Freyr let up its attack and fled as Valkyrimon threw the javelin. "Laser Javelin!"
The javelin struck the dark digimon and sent in flying away from them. As it tumbled end over end it managed to right itself in mid-air and with a flap of its metal wings took to the sky. Valkyrimon took her crossbow off of her back and quickly loaded and fired a bolt at the dark digimon. "Aurvandil's Arrow!"
The dark digimon tried to dodge but the bolt correct for the dodge and hit it anyways. Valkyrimon kept up the barrage, firing arrow after arrow, all of them hitting their mark. The monster raised a hand. "Null Barrier!"
A spherical barrier of dark energy sprung into existence around the dark digimon, disintegrating Valkyrimon's attacks. Valkyrimon stopped firing, no doubt assessing the situation.
"How did she do that?" asked a voice. Jeri turned around and saw the girls from the digimon TV show watching in wonder. Kari was kneeling on the ground, her head in her hands and mumbling something to herself. Sora was watching the stalemate in fascination, Biyomon by her side and doing the same thing. Mimi was looking at Jeri instead, having asked the question. Palmon was by her side, also watching the fight. Jeri noticed that Sora and Mimi were holding each other's hands quite tightly; something she didn't remember seeing in the TV show.
"Do what?" asked Jeri, confused at the exact nature of the question.
"Become a digimon with her partner," said Mimi.
"It's called a Bio-merge, where a human and a digimon become one to become stronger and fight together. Sakuyamon, Kerpymon and Valkyrimon are all Bio-merges. It seems even though Beelzemon is a mega he could still Bio-merge with Ai I guess."
"So anyone can do it?" asked Mimi, interested. Sora was listening intently now; Biyomon and Palmon also looking at her. Jeri felt strangely pressured to answer. She wasn't really an expert on the subject and didn't have the answer. Looking around though it seemed pretty likely that anyone could in fact do it, although there seemed to be some type of trigger needed.
"Yes, anyone can," replied Jeri confidently. "You just need to have a close bond with your digimon partner and to want to fight with them."
"So this hasn't happened for any of the digi-destined because we're not close to our partners?" asked Mimi, sounding worried.
Jeri hastened to correct her statement. "No, that's not what I meant! Well, not exactly. You see, it has to do with the properties of this world. In here you're digital, like your digimon. I think how they mentioned worlds before, Bio-merging is something you wish for here, and I think it will happen."
"There's no doubt it will!" chirped up Biyomon. Sora gave her partner a smile and pat her on the head.
"Null Wave!" yelled a voice. Jeri saw expressions of horror dawn on the faces of the digi-destined and turned around as if in slow motion. The dark digimon had fired their barrier as a blast of energy, but not aimed at Valkyrimon. The blast shot right past Valkyrimon, who only realized too late what was happening, and it headed right towards them. In a blink Valkyrimon was in front of them. She didn't have enough time to move them all though and instead intercepted the blast on her shield. It wasn't enough though and Valkyrimon collapsed to the ground, smoking from the blast.
The dark digimon landed on the ground and stomped towards them. Jeri stood firm, but felt every fiber of her being shouting at her to run as fast as she could away from the monster. Mimi and Sora walked hand in hand past her, Palmon and Biyomon walking next to them. They moved to stand in front of Valkyrimon who was trying to get up but was too weakened.
Mimi lifted up her free hand and pointed a single finger at the approaching dark digimon. "You've been picking on us for quite a while but you're going to get it now!"
"We won't let you harm anyone else," declared Sora.
A glowing white orb and a glowing green orb descended from the sky from nowhere. The green one moved towards Sora and the white one towards Mimi. The two girls and their partners were suffused in light and when it cleared in their places were two new digimon. On the left where Sora had been standing was a large golden bird digimon. Her face was covered in a bronze mask and around each of her ankles were Holy Rings. To her right where Mimi had been was a tall, statuesque woman with a rose for a head. In one hand she had a thorn whip and in the other a long, thorn covered sword.
Jeri held up her D-Arc, the screen flashing and displaying each digimon and their bio in turn. She read aloud for the Rose woman, "Rosemon, a mega level Fairy digimon. It has an appearance like the rose, which is said to be the queen of flowers. It has the form of a beautiful woman, and desires to remain beautiful forever. Its personality is more or less that way, and though it is excessively self-conscious about such things, its true strength does not in fact compare unfavorably with other Megas. Rosemon has a large variety of attacks making it a dangerous foe."
She moved clicked a button and the D-Arc displayed the information for the golden bird. "Hououmon, a mega level Holy Beast digimon. It is a holy digimon that possesses four wings that shine gold. It is the head of all Bird digimon, and is said to be the one that presides over holy-species digimon. It wears Holy Rings around its ankles, and it is understood that the power possessed by Hououmon is unfathomable."
"Tag team or do you have another plan?" asked Rosemon, never looking away from the dark digimon.
"I have another plan," replied Hououmon. "Could you please hold it off for at least a minute?"
"Your wish is my command," replied Rosemon, giving Hououmon a slight bow. Hououmon flew up high into the air and Rosemon turned back to the dark digimon which had stopped to study them. The dark digimon held up a hand and tracked Hououmon through the air, a ball of dark energy charging in its hand. Rosemon took a fighting stance. "Like I'd let you do that! Burst Mode!"
White energy surrounded Rosemon and then just exploded outward. Rosemon's clothes and even her rose head had changed to a pure white; her whip and sword having turned a shiny black color that made a large contrast. The cape around her shoulders glowed pink with the massive amount of energy she was releasing. The dark digimon aimed at Hououmon who had started to just hover in one spot, gathering energy. Right before it could fire a blast a whip wrapped around its arm and pulled, throwing off its aim. The blast hit the ground right in front of the dark digimon, blasting itself backwards, but Rosemon wasn't going to give the monster time to recover.
"Beauty Shock!" yelled Rosemon, electricity chasing down her whip and to the dark digimon, electrocuting it. With the dark digimon now caught she threw her sword with a shout. "Rose Spear!"
The sword pierced through the dark digimon's side, but Rosemon still wasn't done. She followed it up with a barrage of different attacks. "Ivy Hug! Danger Thorn! Thorn Shot! Rose velvet! Rose cradle! Forbidden Temptation! Tifaret! Kiss of breath! Charite!" Jeri couldn't even keep track of the attacks as the dark digimon was barraged by thorns from every possible side, even shooting out of the ground. Rose petals swarmed around the monster, followed up by several jewels shooting from Rosemon to strike the monster with unbelievable force. The barrage was continued as Rosemon blew a kiss that turned into a high powered laser, noticeably staggering the dark digimon. The barrage was finished as Rosemon leapt the distance between them and draped her mantel over the dark digimon. She leapt away and the pink mantel exploded in a tremendous blast that forced Jeri to turn away, shielding herself from debris.
Jeri saw Kari on the ground, watching everything; unresponsive even when a chunk of rock hit her in the head, drawing blood. She just returned to watching the fight, a trickle of blood going down her forehead. She knelt down next to the girl, a handkerchief in her hand in an instant.
"You're bleeding," said Jeri, dabbing at the wound on Kari's head; still not drawing a response from her. "Is there something wrong?"
That comment got a response from Kari. She turned to look at Jeri, tears forming in her eyes and starting to run down her cheeks. Kari finally spoke, her voice hoarse with sadness. "Everything is wrong. She's in such pain. She's confused; she doesn't know what's going on. She doesn't even know that she's hurting people and is too far gone to even realize that they're hurting her. She might not be able to feel it, but I do. Every hit she takes or delivers. When she finally realizes what is happening it will destroy her."
"What are you talking about?" asked Jeri. "You mean that dark digimon over there?"
"She's not a dark digimon, just a digimon that is engulfed in a world's worth of darkness and sadness. She's looking for something, but she doesn't know what."
"Do you know?" asked Jeri. Looking over her shoulder she saw Rosemon kneeling on the ground; back to normal. The dark digimon was down on one knee, holes in its, armor. Large chunks were gone, but they were quickly being covered up by more darkness.
"Yes," replied Kari. She surprised Jeri as she started to shakily stand up. Jeri grabbed her and steadied her, helping her up as much as she could. When Kari was standing she went to take a step but stumbled as if she had forgotten how to do so and Jeri caught her, just barely keeping her balance. Kari leaned against her and Jeri felt her breath on her ear, and then heard her words. "She wants friends to make up for the ones she lost."
"Star-Light Explosion!" yelled Hououmon, firing the holy energy she had been charging up while Rosemon had been fighting. Then the world exploded as the purifying light struck the dark digimon and a terrifying howl ripped through the world. The attack didn't cause an explosion or kick up debris. In fact, nothing was hurt except for the dark digimon. The dark digimon let loose a multi-voiced scream of pain as the dark coating around it was slowly ripped off of her by the sustained beam of light. As the dark, rippling fog that had been covering it was ripped off, a new digimon was visible underneath. The dimensions of the new digimon were almost nothing like the old. The new digimon was much more humanoid now, taller too; gone were the tail and wings. it wore plated armor that was crimson on the arms and chest, and blue on the legs and crotch. All throughout the edges of each plate was gilded with gold. Its helmet was like that of a samurai's, a golden crescent decorating the forehead. Behind the new digimon was a Golden Ring that had three spikes emerging from it.
Jeri's D-Arc beeped and the display popped up, revealing a picture of the new digimon followed by a name and description. She read it aloud, "Susanoomon. Mega level God Man digimon. It is the strongest destructive god and the god which governs regeneration. It is told that when the Network System descends into chaos, it will erase the existing system and create a new one. It wields the "Zero ARMS: Orochi", from which emanates a gigantic sword of light."
Susanoomon fell to the ground, collapsing forward. It glowed purple for a moment and then suddenly shrunk in size; what Jeri recognized as a de-digivolution. When the light faded, Susanoomon was much smaller, about Jeri's height actually, but still wearing a miniaturized version of the armor. Jeri heard groans and looking around saw that everyone else was managing to get up now, standing up from where they had previously fallen. Hououmon floated gently to the ground next to Rosemon and collapsed next to her. Both digimon de-digivolved and Sora, Biyomon, Mimi and Palmon were left standing in their place.
"Is everyone okay?" asked Sakuyamon, surveying the group.
"Just my pride," replied Kerpymon, looking around. "Did we get it?"
"It looks like it," commented Valkyrimon.
"Who's that?" asked Beelzemon, pointing to the fallen Susanoomon. "That it's rookie form or something?"
"That was Susanoomon," replied Jeri, still crouching by Kari who still had her head in her hands. "When the dark digimon was destroyed, she appeared briefly and then de-digivolved to that."
"She?" asked Beelzemon, looking at Susanoomon. "How can you tell what it is in that armor?"
"Kari told me when you were fighting it," said Jeri. "She told me she could feel the pain and anger and sadness it was full of."
Kari muttered something very quietly and Jeri looked at her. "Did you say something?"
"I can still feel it…" replied Kari, still barely above a whisper.
"Feel what?" asked Jeri, a sinking feeling in her chest.
"The darkness, it's still there!" yelled Kari, standing up. She started to run away from Jeri towards Susanoomon. "We need to save her before it gets her again!"
"Wait!" yelled Jeri, running after the girl. "Come back!"
Suddenly the sky darkened, clouds rolling in and forming from nowhere. The wind started to howl and swirl, around Susanoomon's still unmoving form. Lightning flashed, thunder cracked and rain started to pour down, soaking Jeri to the bone almost instantly. She ignored it though and ran after Kari. Valkyrimon made to retrieve Kari but was suddenly struck by several bolts of lightning from nowhere. It was too sudden and too many, she had nowhere to go.
Sakuyamon reacted quickly to the assault though, striking her staff on the ground. "Amethyst Mandala!" A purple field of energy spread out from Sakuyamon and covered Kerpymon, Beelzemon, Sora, Biyomon, Mimi, Palmon and the beleaguered Valkyrimon. The shield pushed back the lightning, revealing the collapsed and unconscious forms of Yolei, Hawkmon and Gatomon. Jeri and Kari were too far away to be protected and probably too close to what seemed to be the center of activity for the storm. Jeri just ran harder after Kari, determined to catch up and bring her back to the barrier before they were fried. She managed to overrun the girl and was about to grab her when a bolt of lightning struck down at them.
"Jeri!" yelled Sakuyamon. Jeri only had a moment to flinch, expecting it all to be over. She was proven wrong as a pink spherical barrier formed around her and Kari. The lightning hit the barrier, shaking it but not breaching it. Kari continued to run towards the fallen Susanoomon, unaware of anything else around her. The barrier started to follow her, apparently a set size, and Jeri ran after her. The two made it to Susanoomon and Kari's barrier closed over their fallen foe.
"This is crazy," said Jeri as Kari knelt down next to Susanoomon. Closer now she saw that the miniature Susanoomon wasn't wearing a helmet anymore and had long blonde hair going down her back. She flipped over the unmoving digimon and saw something she hadn't expected. "Is that a human?"
"She's a human girl, yes," replied Kari haltingly. "She became a digimon in a different way than bio-merging. Her and her friends fought evil in their world but they died in the final fight. She survived and exacted revenge. The world ended with her still there. She then became what you see before you. We need to get her away from this storm and to Sakuyamon."
"We need to carry her all the way over there?" asked Jeri disbelievingly.
"Yes, and quickly. I can't hold this shield for too long."
"Fine, let's do this," replied Jeri, kneeling down and draping one of the girl's arms around her shoulder. Kari knelt and grabbed the other. Together they started to slowly carry the unconscious girl over towards Sakuyamon's purple pink shield.
Around them the storm increased in intensity, throwing the occasional lightning bolt at their shield. Sakuyamon's shield was also getting struck repeatedly but holding strong. No one exited the shield to assist them though, probably for fear of facing the same fate that Valkyrimon had. The going was agonizingly slow, but after what felt like an eternity they were just a few meters from the edge of Sakuyamon's shield. Kari was sweating heavily and leaning under the weight of the girl she was carrying. Jeri braced her legs and shifted the weight a bit so that she took some off of Kari. The other girl gave her a small smile in thanks and they started to pick up the pace as much as they could.
The storm picked up, tornados forming all around them. It felt like any moment the wind would just pick up their bubble and throw them into the air. The others in Sakuyamon's bubble were visible now, cheering them on, but Jeri just droned them out, just focusing on carrying and walking. She made a vow that when they got home she'd hit the gym. They were just a meter away when the expressions in front of her turned to ones of horror. Something was happening behind her but she didn't care, she only needed to walk a few more steps.
"Look out!" yelled several of the people inside the shield. Jeri wasn't able to look and was surprised as something from behind them hit the shield and shattered it. The three girls collapsed to the ground from the impact, Jeri managing to fall to one knee while the other two fell flat onto the ground. Jeri looked behind her and saw the dark digimon from before standing with an out stretched hand. It seemed less solid than before, but no less threatening. Another ball of dark energy charged up and then fired. Jeri threw herself instinctively in the way between Kari and the other girl and the attack. A yellow glow emanated from her D-Arc and engulfed her. Jeri felt power fill her; she felt larger and able to take on anything. She punched with her large fur covered fist.
"Fist of the Beast King!" yelled Jeri. An orange lion shot from her hand and struck the dark energy in midair, detonating it. Jeri was thrown backwards, de-digivolving as she did so. Sakuyamon's shield opened up to let her in, while Sakuyamon herself caught Jeri.
"Got you," she said. She gently lowered Jeri to the ground. Looking around Jeri saw Sora, Mimi, Palmon, Biyomon, Hawkmon and Yolei dragging Kari and the armored girl into the shield. The shield closed around them, the storm still raging outside. In the distance the dark digimon was just staring at them, unmoving.
"Who's this?" asked Yolei, looking at the armored girl.
"Her name is Zoe," said Kari, standing up shakily with Sora's help. "Her friends were all killed and she was consumed by darkness. She became the thing we've been fighting. Hououmon's attack freed her from it."
"So what's that out there?" asked Sora, pointing to the dark digimon.
"That's the remaining darkness," replied Kari. "It's much weaker now without her inside of it."
"It doesn't seem much weaker," commented Mimi.
"Much weaker of near omnipotence is still very powerful," said Sakuyamon. "I can sense its energy and it's much, much weaker now. We might be able to defeat it like this."
"Didn't you have friends who were going to come help us?" asked Mimi.
"They're caught up in something else at the moment," replied Sakuyamon. "The threats they were facing suddenly got more severe, possibly because of this thing weakening the walls between the worlds."
"Are we going to spend all this time yapping or are we going to go out there and kick that thing's butt?" asked Beelzemon.
"Well there's only two of us to fight against it," said Kerpymon. "Got a plan?"
"Yeah," said Sakuyamon. "Kerpymon, keep it pinned down while Beelzemon charges up their strongest attack. After that I'll hit it with a purifying attack and a sealing card, hopefully ending this fight once and for all."
"Don't you need to support the shield so that they don't get fried by lightning?" asked Kerpymon.
"I'll keep it up until the last moment and then go in," replied Sakuyamon. "Didn't you notice during the fight before? The most effective attacks were those that purified versus dealing damage. Hopefully that still holds true."
"Sorry we can't help you," said Yolei. "The whole thing took a toll on us."
"It was your first time bio-merging or fighting anything that strong, it's understandable," said Sakuyamon. "Just leave it to use and we'll get this thing defeated and you home in no time."
"Ugly is moving!" said Beelzemon, pointing. The dark digimon was now on the move, charging right at their barrier, and gaining speed.
"Then let's stop that train!" yelled Kerpymon. She ran out of the barrier, straight at the dark digimon. Beelzemon meanwhile flew up into the air and reformed the large blaster on their arm. They swept it through the sky, once again drawing a pentagram and charging up purple energy.
"Lightning Blast!" yelled Kerpymon, bringing back her hand, forming a large lightning bolt and throwing it at the incoming dark digimon. The attack hit the dark digimon and was repelled by a dark energy barrier that sprung up in front of it. Kerpymon just held her hands out in front of her and a white-pink portal opened in front of her. "Thousand Spears!"
True to its name an innumerable amount of lightning bolts came flying out of the portal and struck the dark digimon. On their own each bolt wasn't powerful, but together in numbers they showed a stopping power greater than the previous attack. The dark digimon slowed down and then stopped to stand in one spot. It had its shield up and didn't seem like it would crack anymore, but at least it wasn't moving.
Kerpymon increased the pressure though, yelling a second attack while sustaining the first. "Final Judgement!" yelled Kerpymon. The thunderclouds that had been randomly striking at everywhere around them glowed faintly pink and all moved to converge and merge above the dark digimon. As one the new thundercloud rained down hundreds upon hundreds of lightning bolts right on top of the dark digimon. The strain was clearly getting to Kerpymon but luckily Beelzemon was ready to move forward with the plan.
"Corona Destroyer!" yelled Beelzemon, sending all of their energy down in one attack towards the immobile Dark digimon. Unable to move, its shield it was struck by the purple energy attack. Its shield held for a moment then shattered, allowing the Corona Destroyer and lightning bolts to come in and strike the dark digimon. Jeri had to avert her eyes from the bright flashes, instead looking down at the girl Kari had called Zoe. She seemed to still be unconscious, but something seemed weird to Jeri. Before she could figure out what she felt a rush of air as Sakuyamon leapt into the air, releasing her shield as she did so. Jeri looked up and watched as Sakuyamon swung her staff, purple energy sweeping from it.
"Amethyst Wind!" yelled Sakuyamon. The purple energy moved harmlessly past Kerpymon and hit the dark digimon, tearing away large sections of darkness, leaving only empty holes. Sakuyamon landed on the ground and threw a card at the dark digimon. "Kofusatsu!"
The card hit the dark digimon and let off a bright flash of light. Wind, fire and water swirled out of the card in a twister and surrounded the dark digimon. It screamed its horrifying multi-voiced scream but was dragged into the card as the elements swirled back down into it. Suddenly everything was quiet as the screams were halted; the dark digimon sealed inside of the card. The thunderclouds started to disperse as Kerpymon let up her control of them. Beelzemon landed next to the other two Mega level digimon and looked around.
"Did we kick its butt?" asked Beelzemon.
"Its power should be sealed for good now," said Sakuyamon, sounding exhausted.
"I sure hope so, that was a lot of work," commented Kerpymon. Kerpymon glowed pink and then separated, leaving an exhausted looking Suzie and Lopmon standing in her place.
"What? Tired from a little fight?" teased Beelzemon. They glowed purple and broke into two parts, Ai and Beelzemon's rookie form, Impmon standing in their place. Ai was still dressed like Beelzemon and Impmon was missing the red bandana around his neck that Jeri was used to seeing. Instead he had a light blue ribbon wrapped around each horn. He looked around in surprise. "Aw nuts."
"Tired?" asked Suzie with a mischievous smile.
Sakuyamon glowed purple and also separated into Rika and Renamon, both of which were standing with their arms crossed looking sternly at the two other girls. "I suspect we're all tired." She put a hand to her ear. "Rika reporting to Hypnos, we've defeated the anomaly. Requesting a status report on the others."
Rika frowned as something was said on the other end. Suzie also paled; hearing the same thing through her own headset. Rika looked over at them and yelled in a panicked voice. "Get away from there now!"
"Huh?" asked Mimi, confused.
Jeri's instinctive sense of danger started to blare inside of her head and she looked down and saw that Zoe was covered in a mist of darkness. Her eyes suddenly opened up, a glowing red underneath. A blast of wind swept everyone away from her in a circle, depositing them roughly onto the ground a ways away. Jeri felt drained by the dark blast and struggled to get up. The most she could manage was to one knee, which seemed to be the state of everyone else hit by it also.
Zoe rose up into the air and the dark mist left her body and collected in a single spot next to her. The dark energy took the shape of a duplicate of the girl except with black armor, black hair, and ashen skin. With nothing to hold her up anymore Zoe fell out of the air but was conscious now and with a yell of surprise righted herself and managed to land on her feet wobbling a bit.
"What's going on?" asked Zoe looking around. Her gaze fell on her doppelganger. The doppelganger opened her eyes, revealing golden eyes, and looked at Zoe, sneering. "Who are you?"
"I'm what is left," replied the doppelganger. "I'm Takuya. I'm Kouji. I'm Kouichi. I'm Tommy. I'm J.P. I'm Bokomon and Neemon. I'm Lucemon and the three celestial digimon. I'm all the digimon who once resided in the world. And most importantly, I'm you. I'm the you who killed everyone in grief. The you who ended a world. Hi."
Jeri couldn't blame the blonde haired girl for just staring in stunned silence at the doppelganger. Rika on the other hand didn't freeze up.
"Hey, you!" yelled the feisty red head, drawing the attention of the doppelganger. "Now that you gained the ability to talk are you going to use it to surrender to us?"
"Why would I ever surrender to a bunch of dead people?" asked the doppelganger.
"Wrong answer," replied Rika. She pulled out a card from the holster on her belt and ran in through her D-Arc. "Digi-modify! Max Charger!"
Renamon glowed and disappeared for a moment. In the next moment she was next to the doppelganger. She delivered a powerful kick to the surprised doppelganger, knocking her away from the gathered digi-destined, digimon and Jeri. The doppelganger flipped in the air and righted herself, landing in a crouch.
"Diamond Storm!" yelled Renamon, leaping into the air above the doppelganger. Small, sharp crystal shards formed in the air and fired en-masse at the doppelganger. She just responded by raising her hand.
"Null Barrier!" yelled the doppelganger. A circular dark energy shield formed in front of the doppelganger and disintegrated all of the incoming shards. Renamon landed on the ground and kicked at the doppelganger again. She jumped over the kick this time, and held out a hand at Renamon. "Null Blast!"
"WarGreymon's Shield! Activate!" yelled Rika, swiping the card through her D-Arc. Renamon held up her now shield adorned arm and blocked the attack, but was still thrown backwards by the force, her shield disintegrating from the attack.
The attacks hit the doppelganger from all sides, engulfing her in a variety of multihued flames and projectiles. When the doppelganger was visible again Jeri saw that she was unharmed, a thin mist of darkness settled around her. Jeri realized that it was probably a secondary shield of some sort. The Doppelganger just waved her hand in an arc at the various digimon surrounding her.
"Null Wave!" she yelled. All the digimon were hit, collapsing on the ground as their strength left them. Gatomon was the least affected as the holy ring on her tail glowed but the doppelganger was on her in an instant. She delivered a flurry of powerful blows to the champion level digimon, never letting up. With each hit there was a flash of dark energy. The doppelganger finished with a kick, knocking Gatomon away to roll to a stop on the ground a few meters way, unmoving.
"Gatomon!" yelled Kari. All the human partners had worried looks on their faces except Rika. Jeri noticed that she had card in hand and was swiping it silently through her D-Arc. Renamon had used the other digimon as a distraction and was right behind the doppelganger. Before she could respond Rika's card took effect and Renamon's eyes glowed red.
"Darkness Wave!" yelled Renamon, releasing a wave of dark energy point blank on the doppelganger. Jeri recognized the card as the Lady Devimon card that she herself had used many years prior to defeat Orochimon. The attack used dark energy to reverse the phase of the opponent's own powers, obliterating them from within. The more powerful the opponent, the more powerful the attack, making it great for situations like this where the opponent seemed almost limitless. The attack consumed the doppelganger, bringing her to her knees. Sections of the doppelganger started to flake off and disintegrate into red digital particles.
"Noooo!" yelled the doppelganger. The digital particles that had been flying away went back into her, reforming her body. She lifted up a hand and hit Renamon point blank with a dark energy blast. "Null Blast!"
"Renamon!" yelled Rika in horror as Renamon went flying away from the Doppelganger. She landed on the ground in a heap, unmoving. Rika ran over to her and cradled her partner in her arms. "Renamon…"
"You almost got me there," said the doppelganger angrily. "Maybe if you had had another digimon on hand you would have succeeded, but you didn't so your fate is sealed. By the time anyone manages to get here I'll have killed you all and restored myself on your data and despair."
The doppelganger looked over at the still stunned Zoe who had been quiet the whole time, just standing in the same spot doing nothing.
"I hope you're ready to rejoin me in destroying all life. Not that you really have a choice," sneered the doppelganger. Zoe muttered something and the doppelganger just frowned. "What did you say?"
"I don't want to…" repeated Zoe weakly.
"You don't want to?" asked the doppelganger, starting to laugh. "Oh now you decide you've had enough. After your friends died to Lucemon who was it who killed Lucemon and then destroyed every living thing in the Digital World? Was that a different blonde haired Japanese girl? You've lost all accountability now, you might as well just give in to the inevitable!"
Zoe looked unsure of herself and Jeri didn't know what to say or do, but Kari walked over to her and grabbed the blonde girl by the shoulders. "I've felt your emotions and seen your thoughts in that moment, none of it was your fault. You were mad with grief and overcome by the darkness that was Lucemon. That wasn't your fault," soothed Kari.
"SOMEONE has to take the blame," said the doppelganger. "She pulled the trigger. Heck, she was the gun!"
"Be quiet!" snapped Yolei, glaring at the doppelganger.
"Oh, so you want to die first do you?" asked the Doppelganger. She raised up a hand at Yolei but didn't attack. Jeri wondered why she was talking instead of just killing them. She should be able to do it now that all of the digimon were unconscious. Or could she? Had the fight taken more out of her than they thought? Jeri doubted that they could actually take her in a fight or that she would stay weakened for long though.
"Everyone makes mistakes," said Sora, walking over to stand next to Zoe and Kari. "It's how we act after the mistake that matters the most. Do we learn from and work to fix our mistakes or do we just dwell on them and keep making it worse?"
"This isn't a mistake, it was a massacre!" yelled the doppelganger.
"Stop trying to use her to justify your own actions," said Suzie, cradling Lopmon in her arms.
"If she was bad before then she just needs to be good from now on," said Ai, holding Impmon.
"If a no good digimon like me can do bad on purpose can be forgiven, then someone who did it on accident can be also," said Impmon.
"A reality where a bunch of kids can be abducted by an angel from another world and thrust into a war and die is a reality that shouldn't exist," insisted the doppelganger. "The only solution is to destroy the old system and build a new one."
"It's not just a system, its living beings!" countered Rika. "People with their own thoughts, emotions and lives! Happiness can still be found after despair."
"Your friends are all dead, why bother living?" asked the dopelganger.
"Because people die," replied Jeri, walking over to Zoe and looking her straight in the eyes. "People die, it's a sad fact of life. We lose those we care about and love the most. Only by staying strong and continuing to live can we find new people to care about. New people to love. New friends can be found all around you if you just look around and ask."
Zoe's eye filled with tears and Jeri wrapped her arms around her and brought her into an embrace. Zoe just cried for a moment into Jeri chest, several years' worth of tears and pain. Zoe couldn't be much older than Jeri had been when she'd lost Leomon and fallen into despair. She couldn't fathom what it would have been like to witness everyone she cared for die, but she was willing to help this girl as much as she could.
"No you don't!" yelled the doppelganger. Jeri looked and saw her face was twisted with anger and she leapt through the air right at Zoe and Jeri. A ball of dark energy coalesced in her hand and she moved as if in slow motion to thrust it right at them. A red digizoid shield materialized between them and her, taking the attack. The shield disappeared as the surprised doppelganger landed in a crouch on the ground. Zoe separated from Jeri and held out her hand at the doppelganger.
"I'm sorry for making and forsaking you, but I need to move on," apologized the blonde girl.
"No!" yelled the doppelganger as a blast of purple energy shot out of Zoe's palm and annihilated the doppelganger, not even a wisp of darkness left.
Zoe started to collapse but Jeri caught her, holding her up. The blonde girl gave her a smile. "Thank you, for everything. I'm sorry I put all of you through that."
"That wasn't you," said Rika, walking over. Renamon was up and walking weakly, her arm around Rika's shoulder for support. All around them Jeri saw everyone going to their digimon partners and cradling them, comforting them with apologies and praise.
"I sure hope so," replied Zoe. "I'm glad that thing is gone from me now. She made me feel…ugly. I feel much better without her. I don't know what I should do now…
"Why don't you stay in this world?" asked Suzie, walking over with Lopmon resting on her head. I'm sure with Hypnos helping we can figure out something to help you and your world! And if we don't, here is still very nice."
Rika put her hand to her ear as something was said through her ear piece. A smile appeared on her face. "Good news, the others have dealt with the problem on their end. The digital world is once again secure and stable."
"I'm looking forward to a long rest," commented Renamon.
"Same," replied Rika. She looked around her at the gathered humans and digimon. "So, how do we get everyone back home?"
"Can we just use Zhuqiaomon's digicore to open a portal again like we did before to get them here?" asked Suzie. "We just locked on to the anomaly and opened a portal nearby, right? Can we target specific worlds?"
"I don't actually know," said Rika uncertainly. "It was only a theory before that we could do so since the digicore usually sustains the portal between the Human and Digital worlds here along with those of the other three Sovereigns. During the fight Azulongmon's, Ebonwumon's and Baihumon's digicores came out of nowhere and allowed everyone to bio-merge, that wasn't something we activated on purpose. It might be possible but it could take Hypnos some time."
"Can I have a look at one of these digicores?" asked Zoe. "I brought everyone here, maybe I can put them back. Without destructive consequences hopefully.
Rika thought a moment then shrugged. "Sure, why not. These cores only do things when they want to do things, not when we ever really need help. If it's anything like the digimon who it belonged to Zhuqiaomon's core might just send everyone home to get some humans out of the digital world. I don't know why it allowed us to bring you here either, but I guess I shouldn't complain."
A dust cloud rose up in the distance and Jeri saw something was fast approaching. Everyone else turned to look.
"Is that a motorcycle?" asked Yolei, squinting.
"It looks like it's towing something," commented Sora.
Mimi just turned to look at Ai and Impmon then let out a cry in realization. "There's two of you!"
"There ain't ever two of me," said Beelzemon, stopping his motorcycle a few meters away, a large trailer being towed behind the motorcycle with several chains. He looked over the gathered crowd and his eyes settled on Ai and Impmon. "Hey! There really is two of me!" How's it going pipsqueak? Your Tamer has a much better fashion sense than mine you lucky garden gnome!"
"What's wrong with my fashion sense?" asked a familiar voice. A second Ai, this one younger than the Ai from Jeri's world, exited the trailer. She was wearing a similar outfit to Suzie's, although it was in a purple color scheme instead of Suzie's pink.
"Nothing if you want to run around in a skirt yelling about the power of the moon!" said Beelzemon.
"I don't yell about the power of the moon!" countered Sailor Ai. "We use the power of Venus!"
"That's not better!" yelled Beelzemon.
"If you two are done flirting, can we get going?" asked Rika, a smirk on her face.
"We're not flirting!" yelled Sailor Ai and Bellzemon at the same time.
"Sure you're not," said Renamon.
"Don't make me punch out your lights fox face!" threatened Beelzemon.
"Ignore prince charming over there and everyone load up into the trailer," said Rika. "We've got a bit of a ways to go."
It wasn't long before they made it to the site with the portal. Rika looked around and saw Jugernaughtmon standing at their usual place by the portal, protecting it from incursions from either side. Everyone else had already headed home, having fought a threat that was almost as strong as what she'd just beaten. Two giant reality threatening monsters in one day was a new record for them, and one she hoped was never repeated or challenged. The area her and the scattered girls from the other worlds had fought in had been mostly an empty wasteland, hence why they had aimed to teleport everyone there and away from everything else.
Throughout the trip to the portal everyone had talked about their plans and what they were going to do next. Zoe was going to be staying with them in what Hypnos had designated world 3d for simplicity reasons. Hopefully they'd be able to help her in some way but that would first mean she needed to find out what she really wanted to do. Jeri, Impmon and their Ai would be returning to the world designated as 3a. Rika wondered how these designations were decided but was worried she'd have to face another long boring lecture on quantum physics. Supposedly in world 3a they'd never been reunited with their partners for over ten years except for a visit by Beelzemon. Rika felt sad for them and wondered how her counterpart was dealing with the separation from Renamon. She had a hard time imagining the world without her partner.
Meanwhile Yolei, Kari, Hawkmon and Gatomon would return to the world designated as world 2, but not until after autographing several of her cards. Their world seemed pretty similar to what she remembered about the show with the gate between their human and digital worlds free to access. Sora, Mimi, Biyomon and Palmon(designated as from world 1) were much different from the show, and from their counterparts that were known in world 2. They'd never gotten back to the digital world or their partners, and had in fact never met Yolei or the other second generation digi-destined. The members of world 1 and world 2 spent a long time talking back and forth about the differences between their worlds. Rika was pretty sure such conversations wouldn't unravel the fabric of space time (at least not more than they probably had been) but she didn't ask Jeri too much about her counterpart.
When they made it to the large portal that allowed access between the worlds, Rika smiled a bit at the awe the others showed at the sight. It was definitely a more impressive portal than holding a digivice up to a computer monitor. On this side it was several meters high and made of an unknown golden metal, indestructible to anyone's knowledge. Around the frame were forty-eight digicores, the ones that used to belong to the sovereigns. In between the frame was a glowing rainbow light that allowed access to the human world. Zoe slowly approach the portal and held out her hand to touch the golden metal. When her hand touched it the rainbow center changed instead to a bright purple hue. It glowed and then changed into the image of a soccer field, a metal bleacher sunk halfway into the ground with a large crowd surrounding it.
"That looks like us," said Sora.
"Can we go in?" asked Mimi.
"Yes, it's safe for you to enter and will take you home," said Zoe.
"Is it really okay for us to go to the human world with you?" asked Biyomon uncertainly, looking up at Sora.
"Of course it is," said Sora, smiling at her partner. "I'd love to have you with me again if you don't think you'd miss the digital world."
"I think we'll miss the other digimon but we miss your guys too," said Palmon, tearing up.
"I miss you guys all the time too," said Mimi also tearing up.
"Let me try something…" muttered Zoe. The portal flowed brightly and the image split on two. On the left side was the soccer field and on the right side was a trashed digital forest. Zoe winced at the image slightly. "I think I've managed to get it so that using your digivices you can communicate and travel between the two worlds. Would you like to each go back to your respective worlds or all to either the human or digital world?"
"We'll head to the digital world," said Biyomon. We should check to make sure everyone is okay."
"Thank you very much for all of your help!" said Palmon with a smile.
"Anything I can do to make amends," replied Zoe.
Sora walked over and put her hand on Zoe's shoulder, smiling at her. "Don't beat yourself up over it too long. I hope you can come to love yourself once again."
"And don't forget to find people you can speak your mind to," said Mimi with a wink. "It's not healthy to keep all of those feelings and thoughts bottled up!"
"Goodbye," said Rika, waving with one hand as the four walked into the portal and disappearing. The appeared once again as images on the portal. Biyomon and Palmon in the digital forest and Mimi and Sora a ways away from the crowd around the bleachers. The two girls exchanged a look and then walked away from the crowd.
Zoe gave a smile and the image in the portal changed. Now there was park dotted with puddles of rain. Zoe frowned. "Is this anyone's world?"
"That looks like our home," said Yolei. "I think, there's not really a lot of defining characteristics there; are there? Is it possible to land in a world almost identical to ours and get stranded with copies of ourselves?"
"Don't worry," assured Kari. "I can feel that that is in fact our exact world. Plus I'm not sure the world could handle two of you."
"I'm not sure Ken could handle dating two Yolei's either!" said Hawkmon.
"Ken!" said Yolei, remembering something. "I need to apologize to him. We need to hurry back right away!"
"Goodbye," said Kari, waving to everyone else. The four walked into the portal and appeared in the park. Yolei looked around and then ran off somewhere, Hawkmon flying desperately to keep up. Kari just gave a laugh and walked after her friend, Gatomon by her side. The image faded away and was replaced by a graveyard. Rika saw a gravestone that had the name "Leomon" written on it.
"That's us," said Jeri.
Impmon walked over to Zoe and looked around shyly. "Could you uh…do a….favor for me?"
"A favor?" asked Zoe, confused.
"He wants you to make it so that that he can stay with Ai," said Beelzemon, drawing the glare of an embarrassed Impmon.
"You want me to make travel between the digital and human worlds of your world possible?" asked Zoe.
"Well I don't care about going back to the digital world, I just want to stay in the human world," said Impmon. "And I guess the others would all like to return home too if you could. We don't really see the digital world as home, even if we've lived there longer."
"I'll see what I can do," said Zoe. She closed her eyes and a digital fog blanketed the graveyard in the portal. It cleared up after a moment and in its place was standing a group of confused digimon that included Guilmon, Renamon, Terriermon, Lopmon, Gaurdromon, MarineAngemon, Calumon and Cyberdramon.
"Thanks," said Impmon. Ai grabbed his hand and smiled at Zoe
"Thank you," said Ai.
"Good luck," said Jeri, smiling at Zoe. She turned to look at Rika and winked at her. "You're just like her by the way. May you two have lots of happiness."
Rika turned red and Renamon gave a chuckle. Jeri, Ai and Impmon all walked into the portal and appeared among the gathered digimon. Rika watched as the startled digimon turned to look at them and pantomimed something. Zoe removed her hand from the portal frame and it returned to its normal rainbow hue.
"Well, that's everyone," said Zoe with a tired smile. "Right?"
"Yep," said Suzie. "Pretty sure we're not missing anyone."
"So, now what?" asked Ai.
"Now we go home and take a well-deserved nap," said Rika with a smile. She held out her hand to Zoe. "And introduce you to everyone. Lain'll probably be excited to meet you."
"Who's Lain?" asked Zoe.
"A very long story…"
Author's Notes: World Guide (and related fics)
Sora and Mimi (World 1 – After the events of Adventure, but 02 never happens. Featured in "Digimon Adventure: Notice Me")
Kari and Yolei (World 2 – The period of time between Malomyotismon's defeat and the epilogue)
Jeri and Ai (World 3a – More than 10 years after the defeat of the D-Reaper, no digimon returned to Earth except for Beelzemon's brief visit. Featured in "Digimon Tamers: Digimon King" and "Digimon Tamers: Nightmare Invasion")
(World 3b – After the events of "Run Away Locomon" the Tamers live peaceful lives. Featured in "Digimon Tamers: My Head is an Animal")
(World 3c – Rika and Takato are killed by an evil digimon. From their data Henry constructs a Human/Digimon Hybrid. Featured in a yet unwritten crossover story about what happened in World 3d between the end of the D-Reaper and the events of "Digimon: Multiverse". Explains all plot holes that might be glaring at people because they aren't inside my head. If curious, feel free to harass me about the project, it just might get the project off the ground after all these years.)
Rika and Suzie (World 3d – After the events of the D-Reaper, the Tamers and their digimon were reunited. New threats forced the formation of a Digimon protection squad to guard the gate between the two worlds. The four Digimon Sovereigns gave their lives to restore the Digital World and re-connect it with the Human World. Featured in a yet unwritten story related to World 3c)
Zoe (World 4 – The battle against Lucemon goes horribly wrong when everyone but Zoe is killed. Wielding the data of her friends and the ten Legendary Warriors Zoe defeats Lucemon. Mad with grief she annihilates the digital world and makes it a part of herself. She waits in the digital world several years before her power and grief open up portals that lead to the start of Digimon: Multiverse)