Spinning blackness. Again. You get used to it after a while. Still...it feels different this time. The shadows no longer attacking me, instead they are surrounding me. Engulfing me. Protecting me?
Two dots of light dance in the distance. This place...where is this place again?
"You're in my world, Kai."
I know that voice. I look up, and see him. Huddled over me, crouched down like a cat about to pounce. He is truly monstrous, yet I feel no fear. He won't hurt me.
"This is the void. All of our kind see it at some point in their life. It's our burden as beings of Darkness. A place of no hope. No future. The end of all creation. Some of us embrace it. Some of us merely accept it. And yet others of us run, run as fast as we can, just to escape from it."
He's leaning in, his eyes piercing mine. Do I even have eyes here? I feel nothing.
No, I feel something. Fear. Anger. Hurt. Loathing, hatred, the desire for destruction. I feel...I feel...
I look to one side, and her hand grasps mine tightly. The light...no, Eloise...Eloise holds my hand tightly, and smiles. The only thing for miles around. The only splash of colour in this world of nothingness.
"You can trust us, Kai. Let it out."
The shadows recoil, as do I. This isn't right. This isn't fair. I am a monster, I don't deserve...
And yet she remains.
"What happened back then?"
The shadows begin to fade, melting away as the void listens in. Around me, three friends. The judge dragon of light. The pillar dragon of darkness. And Eloise.
I relax, and begin to talk...
We never had it particularly easy, my family. My father was a paramedic, working the night shift. My mother would always come home from her retail job, say hello, give him a kiss, and then he'd be off. I think. It was a long time ago now.
A short time, a very long time ago. I still don't know exactly what happened. I went downstairs, ready to read my new story to my mum and dad, only to find my father crying in the sitting room, my mother holding him. His friend had been caught in an accident. My father had done everything he could, but it wasn't enough. It was that day I learnt the nature of death. The neverending sleep. I was only three.
After that day, everything changed. My father couldn't handle the job any more; he kept trying to do more, take on more cases, but just ended up stressed, fatigued and burnt out. He wasn't fit for work any more, so they let him go.
He found another job relatively quickly, but for someone like him, a blow like that was devastating. He turned to his friends, until he scared them away. Then his relatives, but eventually they all turned away as well. When everyone else was gone, he turned to drink. Soon after that, he began to turn on us.
It got bad. Very bad. My mother would shut me in my room whenever he came back past a certain time. Just stay in here and read, she would say. I love you. Then she would shut the door.
I could always hear them, though. Sometimes I'd even sneak out and hand onto the stair rail. My mother was the more aggressive; berating my father for what he was doing, pleading for him to stop. My father was always too wrapped up in his sorrows to notice.
Then, that day happened. It was a late night, and Mum shut me in my room again. Then, it got late. Really late, and still no shouting. I snuck out, and lay, on my hands and knees, on the landing outside. The light was still on downstairs.
The door opened, and my father staggered in. He clung to the radiator, breathing heavily. I stayed out of sight as my mother came to the hall. They began to talk. Then they began to shout. I don't remember exactly, but my father kept going on about his friend. Not the one from before; someone else. Someone he'd tried to save that night, after a particularly bad night. My mother asked why he kept doing this to himself. He replied that he had to; his friend's life was on his shoulders. He was doing the right thing. It was his responsibility.
He heard me upstairs, and staggered up after me. I tried to back away, but he caught me on the landing, his eyes full of tears and his breath reeking. I believed in him, right? I knew he was doing the right thing. I would help him, wouldn't I?
My mother came up the stairs after him, screaming. Get your hands off my son you monster.
He turned, and something happened. I don't know exactly what. He shouted, and my mum just fell. Her hands flew wide; one caught the wooden banister, but it just slipped out of her grasp. The other caught the picture on the wall; a rainforest, with two birds. One yellow, one blue, flying in a circle. It tilted, and fell to the bottom, the picture crumpling and the glass shattering. The blue bird striking down the yellow one. There was a bang, and a short yell. Then nothing.
I didn't know what had happened. My father stood there for a few seconds, his face turning from triumph, to confusion, to horror. He ran downstairs, falling the last several feet as I crawled to the landing. He lay there, wailing, while my mother lay still, sprawled out on her front. The hallway table was at an angle. Her head faced the ground. There was a puddle of something...I don't know what...
My father stood up and rushed to the phone, while I sat at the top of the stairs, watching, waiting for her to get up. My dad spent about fifteen minutes on the phone, his words barely making sense. Then he put it down, and came upstairs. He picked me up, took me down, and went to the kitchen.
I can't remember how long we stayed there, him rocking me on his lap, crying his eyes out, telling me "It's okay, It's okay" again and again. All I remember was, soon the paramedics came, along with policemen. Someone took me, and I reached out. I reached out for my dad as he sat there. I reached out for my mum as I was carried past her, the medics hurrying round her. There were too many lights and it was midnight; I couldn't make out what was going on.
That was the last time I ever saw my dad.
The next few days were a blur. Days? Maybe weeks, I don't know. There was lots of paperwork, and lots of sleeping in weird rooms, and lots of sitting in comfy chairs with bright colours on the walls with people asking me questions. I don't remember any of them. I just kept asking for my mum and dad.
Eventually they must have told me, because I stopped asking. My mum was gone. My dad...my dad was living somewhere else. Somewhere far away. I don't think they would let me see him. But by then I didn't want to. Not him. It was his fault. He did it.
In the end I had to move away from Glasgow and down to the South Coast, where my aunt, uncle and cousins lived. My uncle cared for me a lot, but my aunt got stressed, and my cousins never really liked me. There were two of them, and later another one was born. I was always the outsider, and they never let me forget it. And if they pushed me too far, I'd snap back at them. My eyes would cloud over, my hands would move, and the next moment they'd be crying. It only made things worse.
I could never fit in. A newcomer in a British state school, with a funny accent and a dodgy past. And the same thing would happen; they'd annoy me, I'd get angry, and the next thing, detention. Or worse. I couldn't help it. I just couldn't stand to see it; that kind of ignorance. That blatant disregard to everyone else. If I had to deal with it, then so be it. I would be the hero. I would be the boy to put people like him where they deserved. It didn't matter if I was the boy with "behavioural issues", or the "bloody psycho". It was up to me, and I wouldn't stand for it.
It was about then that I put a boy in hospital.
We were in class. He was being a jerk. I started shouting. We both started jostling, shoving. I remember the teacher coming over, coming to separate us. I reached for something, I can't remember what, I just needed something in my hand. I remember him calling me a psycho. I remember swinging.
But it wasn't him I hit.
I remember turning, as the teacher held me tight. I remember seeing the boy, the first boy's friend, lying on the floor. Motionless. A great gash over his head. I dropped whatever it was and began to cry, as I was pulled away.
It was then I realised just what a frickin' idiot I'd been. I was acting stupidly. Recklessly. Inconsiderately. I was acting just like him.
It was then that I started getting the nightmares. I'd always imagined, you know, what it would be like to see him again. I hadn't spoken to him for seven years. I didn't know where he was. If he was even out yet. I just imagined I might bump into him on the street one day.
And in the nightmares, it was me. It was me punching him, throwing him, stabbing him. Yelling at him. It's all his fault. He turned me into a monster. A freak. That murderer. I'm gonna kill him.
I knew that I'd gone too far. And as long as these delusions kept up, I was dangerous. So, I stopped acting. I stopped talking to people; those who would even see me at any rate. I avoided my aunt and uncle, shutting myself away. I skipped out on school as often as I could. Of course that went well; I failed most of my GCSEs and had to retake the courses in college. But I didn't care. It didn't matter what happened to me.
I didn't care if I would never be normal, so long as everyone else was safe. But it was hard, and I hoped, I wished, I prayed every night for a chance to redeem myself. To heal myself. Anything; I would do anything it took just to prove that I wasn't like him. That I wasn't a monster. That I could be the hero I always wanted to be.
Then I got the message.
"Your help is needed. Come and join a team, to save the world. Do you accept?"
I was low. It was stupid; I know it was. But it was something I'd been imagining for years. That, for once, I could be the hero. I could stop the people like him, and save the people like her. No-one else would get hurt because of me. I would be the one.
So I accepted it. And...well...you know the rest all too well.
The darkness spiralled in silence as the four beings floated over the void. Kai was bunched up, feeling the shade reaching out to him, trying to pull him back. He looked away. Above him, Eloise held her hand to her mouth. "Jesus…"
"What the hell for?"
"For getting us all into this mess." Kai sighed. "I tried. I really did, but…I'm not ready. I might never be ready. And as long as I can't control it, I'm the one trying to kill you."
He closed his eyes, still seeing lights swirling in front of them. "You should go. The others need you."
For a moment he hung there, unseeing, unknowing. But nothing changed. He opened his eyes again, and saw a hand. Eloise's hand. She was there, reaching out to him.
She nodded, and smiled. "Go on. Take it, you dummy. I'm going to help you out of here."
Kai blinked. "But…"
"But…I tried to kill you…"
"And if you ever try and do that again, I swear I'll kick your arse to Cornwall." Eloise knelt down, and looked the boy in the eyes. The two dragons stood over them, watching, waiting.
"Kai, you've tried so hard; that much is clear. From what you've told me..." She paused, trying to find the words, before shaking her head. "I can't comprehend just how much shit you've gone through. I'm sorry that I can't know everything, but I know what I've seen. What I can see is that, despite all of this, you're still doing your best to fight through. You haven't given up yet, and so I'm not giving up on you."
She held out her hand again, Kai watching her every move.
"Please, Kai. Let me help. Let us all help. We're here for you; we've been here for you since the start. None of us hate you, even if you have been a bit of an idiot."
If Kai had had a physical form, it would have gone slightly red. "I guess I have…"
"Okay, a real dummy." Eloise chuckled. "So stop pushing me away. I don't know if you heard, but I made a promise. I'm going to save everyone, and I'm going to bring everyone home. That means you too."
She waited, patiently, as Kai's expression turned to one of reluctance, then regret, then determination. Slowly, impossibly slowly, he held out his own hand, running his fingers over Eloise's, before taking it. She stood up, and he did as well, slightly unsteady on his feet.
"No worries. You okay?"
"I don't know."
"Do you need a hug?"
Kai spluttered, and bit his lip, stumbling over his words. "We're in a dark dimension in the middle of a warzone, I've just bared my soul to you and you just asked me if I need a hug?"
"So is that a yes or a no?"
Eloise tilted her head, the light strands of her hair flickering outwards. Kai coughed, looked away, and spoke in a very tiny voice.
Eloise laughed, and pulled the boy close, embracing him tightly. He was stiff at first, staring into nothing as the two dragons chuckled. Then he loosened up, feeling Eloise's warmth coursing through him. His arms came up, and he returned her gesture, holding onto her tightly. Eloise held on, noticing the boy's shoulders beginning to shake. His grip got tighter, but not painful. She smiled gently, and began to rub his back as the tears began to flow.
"It's okay. I'm here. Let it go."
"Oh god…I'm sorry…I'm so sorry…"
"Stop apologising, right now. Take as long as you need. I'm not going anywhere."
The two dragons sidled up to one another as their tamers embraced. The shadow dragon cleared his throat, and whispered to his partner. "She says that, but we should probably go. I have a feeling we still have business to deal with."
"Not a problem." The shining dragon raised her head, looking all around at the darkness, as rings of light began to cascaded away from her body.
The rings unfurled and twisted together, forming yet larger rings that expanded, slicing through the darkness and unravelling it. The tamers and their partners began to shimmer, their forms gaining substance as the world began to rebuild itself around them.
They landed, softly, on the ground just outside the wrecked elevator, the chaos still going on around them. Kai felt the breeze on his face and stopped shaking, letting go of the girl as he stared up at his partner. Eloise turned around as well, gazing in wonder at her new companion.
Ladomon's new form was slightly smaller than Luminemon, and certainly less bulky. What she lacked in stature, however, she more than made up for in majesty. She stood aloof like a horse, on four cloven hoofs, and two immense wings stood upright from her back, the jade feathers shimmering and rippling like water. Her turquoise hair now formed a ponytail that twisted behind her, and her eyes were purple and piercing. All over her body she was adorned with bands of purest gold and bronze, with silver adornments. On top of that, her armour was embedded with jewels of nearly every colour, that caught the light and glittered. Her tail swished from side to side, tipped with a great circular blade as ornate as an Incan sun, with small blue orbs that floated around and through it.
Colchimon had undergone a radically different change. Unlike the light dragon, he'd bulked out, and his stature was low to the ground, held on four grasping claws each tipped with a silver talon. His huge bone wings flexed and cracked, their skeletal fingers reaching far and wide, and he too carried a circular blade on the end of his tail; a silver sickle bordered with black, like the waxing moon. His hair had grown, forming a mane that smothered his back, and his face had become like that of a gargoyle, with a vicious toothed beak and six curved horns splaying out from the back of his head. His body was entirely colourless, yet it shone with a monochromatic grace nonetheless, his arms and back adorned with silver diamonds. His eyes were the only splash of colour, streaked with purple and blue hues.
The two dragons bowed their heads, introducing themselves to their partners.
Kai wiped his eyes, and looked up, beaming. "I've never been more glad to see both of you."
Azdajamon winked. "As if I'd ever leave you."
The group turned as Aaron, Kent, Galvamon and Seismon ran in their direction, skidding to a halt as the dust billowed out behind them.
Aaron folded his arms. "Nice. Didn't see that coming."
Kai gave a small cough, and Aaron and Kent turned to face him. The two smiled in unison. "Good to see you again."
"You're being awfully kind."
Kent raised an eyebrow. "Well, you look like you've been through a lot."
Kai looked down at himself; the tattered coat, grazed skin and all around dishevelled look. He grimaced, before focusing. "I've been away for too long. I'd like to join back with you all. If you'll have me, that is."
Eloise grinned, and bopped the boy on the head gently. "Moron. I told you; you were always welcome back."
"Of course." Aaron turned, his eyes falling upon the floating menace as she cackled maniacally. "Besides, I think we're gonna need all the help we can get."
There was a splintering sound and the group looked up to see Teslamon waving her hands, crunching up the metal and rubble before her as if it were paper. Kent gestured, and the eight of them backed away, out of sight of her as she cackled maniacally on her rampage.
All of a sudden, six rapid-fire shots flew out of the darkness, impacting Teslamon directly. She snarled, and whirled round to see Daigambilastmon standing atop a rooftop, shadowy tendrils slicing the air around him.
He fired shot after shot, but Teslamon merely raised a hand and the pellets were swept away, the black sand dissolved in mid-air. She giggled, and stuck her tongue out. "Whatsamatter, Tinman? Can't hit me no more?"
Daigambilastmon chuckled, his armour rattling. "Ah never thought you'd best me that way. Guess ah was wrong."
"So you're willing to be my puppet again?"
"Almighty Yggdrasil, no sirree." The armoured giant puffed his body out, stretching the shadows and whipping them around him. "Ah never signed up fer this and ah won't be yah puppet. Ah'm gonna take you down even if ah have t'use all mahself to do it. Scythe 'n' Dice!"
Teslamon clapped her hands, and Daigambilastmon's armour crumpled in a millisecond. However the shadow-matter exploded outwards, engulfing her in a torrent of darkness as it ripped and slashed at her flesh. The mass seemed to phase through her, before zooming down and repossessing the discarded armour, making him look very undignified yet still fighting nonetheless.
He turned, just in time to see Teslamon's wounds closing, sealed with white lightning. She grinned. "You're gonna have to do better than that."
"As are you." Daigambilastmon choked, loosened his lower jaw, and leaned on the nearest piece of rubble. "Yah may be able tah rip apart mah armour but yah got no chance a'killin' me. "
He charged again, but the shark-lady lunged forward and sent him spinning back, trailing pieces of bent metal. Teslamon placed one finger on her lips, as if in thought, before grinning wildly. "Whoever said I needed to kill you? I only need to keep you in place."
In three fluid motions she waved her arms, causing the remains of three houses to fly towards him. The shadow contracted as Daigambilastmon tried to escape, but the metal sheets, girders and roofing blocked his way, containing him in another prison. Teslamon smirked, and clenched her fists, pressing the metal closer and closer around the shadow, more bits of rubble flying in all the while.
From within the spinning mass, the onlookers could just about hear a voice, getting ever fainter as the iron cowboy's capacity for movement was slowed.
The orb spun as it contracted smaller and smaller, all pieces of shadow matter collected and pressed into the centre. Teslamon gestured and the twirling sphere flew ever closer, shrinking all the while, until it finally came to a rest in her hands. Three houses and a suit of armour, reduced and crushed down to the size of a football, and sealed tighter than the urn had ever been.
Teslamon winked, her eye sparking as she did so. "Consider yourself fired."
She dropped the ball, before bringing her leg back and booting her former colleague's vessel up, up and over the wall, flying far away into the Wastegrounds.
The tamers and their partners watched the whole horrific process, glued to the spot. Azdajamon blinked. "We are in deep shit, aren't we…"
Aaron gestured. "Let's move. We need to get to the others."
Teslamon heard voices and turned just to see the group hurrying away. Slowly, almost idly, she began to paddle in mid-air, slowly floating after her quarry. There was no rush. She had the whole city under her feet now. They had nowhere to run.
Cheerily, she called out in a sing-song voice.
"I'm coming to get yooooouuuuu!"
Rinkhalmon covered his face as the dust began to billow in his direction, and he cursed under his breath.
"This is not good. This is not good at all."
He turned to his colleague, who was backing away, completely oblivious to the warriors around him. The snake's eyes batted just for a second.
"Maarrty…how many more Fire soldiers did you bring with you?"
"Just the Volcamon. I somehow didn't guess you'd made such a mess up of things."
"Then it's up to us." The serpent hissed, and reached for several needles. "We need to take her down and get those things back right now."
"Look out! The children!"
The snake blinked as Grace and Jack rushed past him, followed by their partners, but he made no move. Martyaxmon growled, but Rinkhalmon merely shook his head. "They're not important."
"They're the reason we're in this mess."
"So is Teslamon. And unfortunately, she's the one who's got all our stuff. Now we need to-"
"We?" Martyaxmon shook his head. "No. This is your problem, you can deal with it. I want nothing more to do with those vile creatures of yours."
He made to walk away, but the serpent stepped in front of him. "What the hell!? You know you have a duty, right?"
The manticore sighed, letting out a long, deep breath. Then, in one movement, he swept his paw back and batted his colleague to the ground. Rinkhalmon yelped, clutching his scratched cheek, as the manticore loomed over him.
"I have a duty to Surtremon. I have a duty to the Fire Kingdom, and order, and a better world. But I have no duty to you, or your schemes, or your little playmates. They've done nothing but rip us apart from the inside and if it were up to me I'd be glad to see them all destroyed." He opened his eyes, glaring down at the quivering serpent. "I might have helped you, but it would be a massive shame if I lost you the very thing that you were trying so hard not to lose. Wouldn't want it to happen to both of us, now, would we?"
"What do you mean?" Rinkhalmon blinked, before swerving his head round, facing Fornaxmon, who stood, unmoving and unresponsive. "The blacksmith? What do you care about him? He hated you."
"He was a traitor. I would've killed him as a deserter. But he was also one of my own kind and one of the best soldiers…best people…I ever knew. He deserved a noble death. To do what you've done to him is an insult."
Martyaxmon looked up, and the golem swivelled his head to face him.
"By order of your new Commander, you are to retreat with me back to the Fire Kingdom."
Without hesitation, nor word, Fornaxmon walked towards him, the sounds of his mechanics being muffled by the multiple leeches being churned through his system. Martyaxmon turned again, and Fornaxmon followed him, both of them heading towards the gaping hole where the elevator once stood. Rinkhalmon got to his knees, yelling out.
"Oi! Coward! Wait till the good General hears of this; you'll be done for desertion!"
"Will I?" Martyaxmon stopped, his tail swishing, before he turned. "Very well, I accept. But if it comes to that, I will give the good General a full report of what happened here. Including the origins of the rebel known as Teslamon."
Rinkhalmon's eyes widened. "You wouldn't…"
"That's right; he doesn't know, does he?" Martyaxmon smiled wickedly. "I'm sure Surtremon will be thrilled to hear that you are directly responsible for the loss of our artillery."
Rinkhalmon's mouth hung open, but he could only make choking noises. Martyaxmon huffed. "Please, Wrinkles, this doesn't have to be messy. You can follow us, or you can make your own way home, or, you know, you can stay here and die. Any option's fine by me."
He marched through the elevator, his mane blowing in the wind. "See you later, murderer."
Rinkhalmon was left, alone and stunned, on his knees. He slumped back, and placed a single claw on his forehead. "Damn damn damn damn damn. Double damn. We can't let them get their hands on everything. So much power, going to waste. Not good at all."
There was a crash as something landed directly in front of him. He looked up, and saw a chunk of elevator embedded in the ground, cable swinging back and forth. He turned to his right, gulping as Teslamon loomed in front of him, swirling great chunks of rubble around her as if performing a hardcore magic trick.
"I heard people talking about me. That wasn't you, perchance, slimy?"
If Rinkhalmon had had eyebrows, he would have raised them. "Slimy? Really? That's the best you can come up with?"
Teslamon raised her arms. "Say one more word, you cowardly, soil-hugging, backstabbing, psycho handbag of Sukamon dollops. I bloody dare you."
Rinkhalmon raised a finger, before deciding against it and skedaddling as the pieces of building flew in his direction. He snuck into a back alleyway, cursing as he did so. His plans were falling apart by the second. If he wasn't careful, he'd be joining them very soon.
The ground shook again as, from every direction, the six human tamers and their six Digimon partners joined together, and gazed up at the oncoming Teslamon.
Eloise looked around briefly. "Is everyone here okay?"
Jack looked down, his face laden with guilt, and Grace fell to her knees as she began to shake. "I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! It all went wrong...I'm sorry!"
Kent shared a concerned look with Trilomon, before pressing. "What is it? What happened?"
"Cerebrumon's dead!" Grace sniffed, holding her hand out in front of her as it trembled uncontrollably. "Cerebrumon's dead and Fornaxmon got taken over by those...those things...he attacked us...Rinkhalmon made him...made him..."
"Grace...Grace." Aaron knelt down and held her by the shoulders, looking into her terrified eyes. "It's okay. We're here now. It's going to be alright." He gritted his teeth, before looking over at Mistramon. "What about Rinkhalmon and Martyaxmon?"
Jack knelt down and put an arm round his sister's shoulder, while the great bird shrugged. "We don't know. We ran away before they'd finished arguing."
Alopemon closed her eyes, her head bent low, before looking up in the sky at the oncoming storm. "Which probably means that it's just us and her." The others looked up in the direction she was staring, hearing Teslamon's brutish voice coming ever closer towards them.
Galvamon had his jaw open in awe. "How do we stop her? No, seriously, how? She must have half the power of the Fire Kingdom coursing through her body. We'd never even get close…"
Galvamon turned, and saw Andromon, bruised, battered and battle-damaged, but still standing in front his soldiers. His eyes glanced up at Teslamon, then back to the tamers. "I have no idea what I'll be able to do, but-"
Aaron shook his head. "Take everyone you can find into the walls. Keep them safe. You've done a fantastic job, but leave the rest to us."
Half the people around him looked at each other, obviously not sure, but Aaron turned to them. "I know. This is gonna be difficult. This is bigger than we've ever faced before. But Teslamon's not the only one with power." He raised his fist and clenched it. "And finally, we're all together again. That's got to count for something."
Jack looked around as his sister got to her feet, her panic attack slowly subsiding. The boy nodded gravely. "So are we ready?"
Mistramon grinned. "Well, us pure Digimon are. We'll save the leftovers for you."
Lyublanamon nodded. "Crude as always, but Mistramon's right. Us Digimon will lead the initial charge. You focus on positioning and observation. But be careful, alright?"
Everyone nodded. Everyone was in agreement. Kai wiped his eyes on his sleeve, and stood up, slightly unsteady on his feet. "Sounds like a plan. But do you mind if I start us off?"
Lyublanamon raised an eyebrow, and was about to object, when Azdajamon held up a hand. "Be our guest."
Kai smiled, before stepping forward and cupping his hands in front of his mouth. "Oi, bolts-for-brains!"
From her vantage point, Teslamon twitched as the message relayed through her fields. She turned, and her attention fell upon the twelve former fugitives, all standing together, looking up at her with determination in their eyes. She gave a mock gasp, and clasped a hand to her chest. "Is that any way to speak to me?"
"You'll get more respect when you've done something to earn it, miss." Kai ran a hand through his hair, looking almost unimpressed, but his voice bellowed out across the city. "It's us you wanted, wasn't it? If you really do have the power you claim you have, then come and prove it."
Teslamon grinned, and licked her lips. "Was that a challenge?"
"What do you think?"
"I accept. I also accept that you're a bunch of idiots, but very well." The flying shark woman raised both hands high into the air, ripping the ground around her to shreds as the houses flew into her orbit. The last refugees and rebels scurried within the walls and the gates were locked, leaving the entire city as her battle arena. Even then, it might not be enough.
Aaron, Kent, Jack and Grace, undeterred by the display, all brought up their D-Nexuses. "Primal Fury!" they shouted in unison.
Energy swirled and the humans stepped back, as their partners grew in size, power and rage. Great sickle claws raked the ground, and the whine of a biomechanical generator started up. A great trailing coil formed in the sky once again, and a cold mist settled over the battleground, summoned by glowing spines of ice.
Lyublanamon and Azdajamon stepped forward themselves, ready to leap at the slightest second. Teslamon smirked, and thrust her arms forward, rending the city roads anew and sending the rubble hurtling towards her opponents. "Let's go!"
The humans fell back as their Ultimate-level partners surged forward, splitting and reconverging as the houses flew past them. Even apart, they were strong. But together, they were fuelled by something more. Divided no more, they were stronger than ever. They could be legends.
The city crashed around as Teslamon laughed heartily, rising up as she did so.
"You know, this really isn't the smartest move you could be making. Seeing as, you know, I can FLY now! Perilous Field!"
She flung her arms downwards, the shockwave impacting the ground beneath. The dust billowed outwards as the ground shook again, sending Tectonamon and Dimetromon stumbling as the shark woman flew away from their reach. She placed a thumb on her nose and wiggled it. "Nyeh nyeh! Can't catch me!"
"Some of us can fly as well, you know."
Teslamon felt a sudden gust of wind, and turned to see Cyclomon's coils barrelling towards her. She yelped, before the flat of the sky-serpent's tail blade caught her in the chest and sent her tumbling away. Grunting, she steadied herself, before glaring up at the retreating beast.
"Come back here, you coward! Don't make me come and ground you!"
Cyclomon ignored her (or most likely didn't hear), so with a sigh she clicked her heels and shot upwards again, hands in front of her as she grasped for a hold.
Cyclomon's eyes darted backwards as he felt the magnetic pull on the ring on his back. He shifted, trying to pull away, but the force grew stronger and he yelped as he was diverted, sent in a giant loop. He growled, blasting a gust of wind from his beak, but Teslamon was far out of sight. He could hear her though, giggling away.
"Well, this is taking a funny turn, right?"
"Lady, enough with the jokes. They're dreadful."
Teslamon thrust out her right fist without even looking, sending Azdajamon reeling back as the magnetic field hit him. He growled, and ducked beneath her. Cyclomon yelled out. "Hurry! She's gonna pile-drive me! Then you'll all be in deep crud."
"Give me a chance, alright, I'm doing what I can."
"Need a hand? Or a foot?" Teslamon winked, before letting herself drop, her clawed feet smashing into Azdajamon's back. The gargoyle let out a hoarse woof, before twisting, his tail wrapping around Teslamon's leg and digging into her side. She snarled, kicking and struggling, until she was forced to let go of Cyclomon and focus her attention on the dragon clasping onto her. The sky-serpent twisted, trying to regain height as he muttered to himself.
Meanwhile, Teslamon had her claws around Azdajamon's horns, grappling his head as he snapped with his barbed beak. She grinned, and headbutted him once, twice, three times, before thrusting him away. He recovered quickly though, and spiralled around, his eyes shot with black and his diamonds shining white.
Teslamon raised her hands, but all of a sudden the gargoyle's body shrunk down into a black sheen, compressed to a screaming, swirling orb of chaos and destruction. Teslamon could barely react when a great taloned claw of sinewy shadow unravelled and slashed at her arms, removing great chunks of flesh. She screamed, and pulled back, holding her arms close as they regenerated, but the shadow dragon continued his onslaught as more sickle-like hands flew towards her.
"Come on, that's just not fair!"
Teslamon launched herself upwards as the hands followed her, scratching and scraping at her heels. She flew faster, and eventually began to pull away. She turned, seeing the orb unravel itself, leaving Azdajamon spinning in mid-air, looking very disorientated. Teslamon smirked. "Hehe, dumbass."
"Oh, enough of this. Chroma Celeste!"
Hovering just above the shark-woman, Lyublanamon's wings shimmered with a thousand hues, the gems around her body detaching, multiplying and swirling around her. She flapped her wings, launching the gems downwards, where the converged into an immense, spiralling laser of swirling colour and brilliance. Teslamon didn't even have time to look as the barrage struck her, launching her groundwards and impaling right through the back.
Lyublanamon stayed where she was, Azdajamon coming over to join her. "Nice shot."
"Well, it doesn't exactly require good aiming…"
"YOU THINK THAT'S ENOUGH TO STOP ME?"
Teslamon stood again, jumping skywards as the hole in her chest closed up, the laserbeam having not left even a scar. Azdajamon humphed. "And she accuses me of cheating."
"Keep going; we just need to wear her down."
The gargoyle nodded, and together they dived towards the shark-woman, glowing with celestial power. But Teslamon was ready, letting off sparks as she clapped her hands together. A sudden force hit Lyublanamon and Azdajamon, making them crash into each other and lose their flight let out a woop of joy and held her arms wide as she yelled out joyously, grinding sparks between her teeth with every word.
"DOES ANYONE ELSE WANNA PIECE?"
Way up above, Cyclomon watched with his eagle eyes as the two dragons spiralled away. "Seriously? Why do we all have to evolve with friggin' metal armour?"
"I know, right?" Teslamon winked, before spinning in a leisurely circle, yanking the Light and Darkness dragons around like ragdolls. "It's so much fun; I can twiddle my fingers and you'll all dance around like puppets."
"Not all of us."
Teslamon looked down to see Tectonamon stood amongst the rubble, reared on four legs as he fired a green orb from his mouth. She backed away, but the orb split, unravelling into a net of bone and rock that hit her square in the chest, sending her back down to earth again. She landed in a heap, pinned in place by the crystals and bones, as Dimetromon powered towards her out of nowhere.
Sparks flew in every direction as the beast got faster and faster, head lowered as he threatened to ram their opponent. She cursed, breaking out of her bone prison and standing up, before holding up her hands against his armoured snout. The impact was massive, with bolts of lightning and ripples of magnetic energy smothering the battlefield, as Teslamon was sent skidding backwards, her feet digging into the road. Dimetromon's assault was slowed, then ground to a stop.
Teslamon looked up, grinding her teeth in a twisted smile. "I see someone's a little pushy."
"Oh, shut your mouth."
"Don't be rude, darling." Teslamon winked, before taking a single step, pressing forwards with all her might. Dimetromon dug in, swinging his tail from side to side, but eventually he gave in, and had to take a step back. He managed about four before his back right foot caught on a piece of rubble, slipping inwards and causing him to roll. Teslamon laughed, and shoved with a magnetism-powered push, sending him rolling away, where his spinning sail struck the dusty road and sent up shards of rock and glass in every direction. The dinosaur rolled his eyes. "How humiliating…"
"Nice try, big guy." Teslamon cackle, before pummelling her chest and raising her arms skywards. "Come on then, losers!"
Teslamon leaped to one side as Tupilamon marched towards her, her deafening screech ringing in the shark-woman's ears. Teslamon moved like the wind, her arms shifting back and forth in a blur as she deflected the freezing projectiles coming her way. But she could still only look in one direction at once.
With a roar, Dimetromon barrelled into her while she was preoccupied, sending her slamming to the ground. Tupilamon halted her attack, bringing a paw down and striking the dusty ground.
Teslamon rolled, but her movement was stopped as her left arm was encased in solid ice. "Dammit." She huffed, blowing the hair from her eyes, before twisting her body and thrusting out at the fox beast. Tupilamon gagged, her bands choking her as she was sent flying backwards, as Teslamon yanked her arm free with minimal effort.
"You should know that doesn't hold me for long. And you, dino-guy, don't be cheeky."
She pulled another face as she stepped out of the way of Dimetromon's spinning mace, before beckoning with one hand. The dinosaur's tail was pulled back and halted, the metal cracking as she held it in her hand. Dimetromon cursed, and tried to swing her off, but she moved first. With a grunt, she bent double and, using all her power and strength, hoisted the behemoth over her shoulder in a faintly ridiculous manner. There was a rumble, and a crack, and as Dimetromon hit the ground, she was launched off of it, hovering just a few feet above with her arms folded.
"You realise I could just squash the lot of you right now, right? You're just so adorable when you try so hard."
"Oh, for the love of everything holy, shut up! Spectrum Shift!"
Three bladed rings of light shot out of nowhere, sealing themselves around the magnet warrior's arms before she could blink. Her brow furrowed, and she tugged at the white bindings, but two more rings snapped around her legs and she wobbled dangerously as she struggled to keep her balance. In front of her, Lyublanamon swooped down, rearing up as she yelled at her opponent.
"You know, I could almost handle the stuff you've done if you weren't so bloody arrogant about it!"
She struck, her right hoof smashing into Teslamon's jaw. The Silicon King reeled back, before spitting and looking up darkly. "Help! I'm being oppressed!"
"Oppressed? How dare you joke about what you've done!" Lyublanamon reared up again, but Teslamon launched herself with both legs, twisting enough to plant a devastating two-footed kick into the pegasus's chest. Lyublanamon choked, falling back, and the bindings around Teslamon shimmered and snapped off. Teslamon giggled, before rushing forward and punching Lyublanamon square in her own face, her bronze claws gouging into the flesh around her eye. Lyublanamon screamed, falling back as Teslamon pursued her.
"See how you like it!" She laughed maniacally as the dragon swerved every which way, even though it was clear that Teslamon was gaining. "And for the record, I can't stand stuck-up righteous bitches like you, so I guess we're even."
She slashed again, catching Lyublanamon in the back left thigh and sending her corkscrewing earthwards. Teslamon let out a single solitary laugh. "You can try, but nobody pushes me around!"
There was a blast of wind as Teslamon found herself rapidly accelerating in a sideways direction, being pushed around, funnily enough, by one of Cyclomon's furious wind clones. She felt the wall rushing up behind her and closed her eyes in preparation.
There was an almighty thud, and the whole city shook. Teslamon barely had a time to think when the other two clones slammed into her, one after the other, each with more force than the last. Cyclomon pulled away as the dust settled, leaving his target embedded in a very comfortable looking dent, looking slightly worse for wear.
"You still have a chance, you know."
Teslamon opened her eyes, gazing down Azdajamon who was staring up at her, his expression unreadable behind that wall of serrated beak. He flew ever so slightly closer, holding his claws in almost hesitantly.
"This doesn't have to end with all this havoc. You should know we're not going to surrender, and we will bring you down. When we do, you'll have a chance to start anew." The dragon stared at her, and his eyes were sincere. "This world has enough problems without you causing more."
Teslamon groaned and rolled her eyes. "You seriously think I give a damn about the rest of the world right now? My deal is here, with you, and with what I deserve. And I'll do whatever it takes to ensure I get it."
With a grin, she raised a hand and dug it into the wall surface, sending bits of data floating away as her claw sank deeper. She twisted, digging her other hand in, before she planted her feet against the gentle inward curve and launched herself away.
Azdajamon watched in a mixture of horror and awe as a great trail of metal from the wall, at least seventy metres in length, was ripped away, trailing behind Teslamon like a huge flail as she carried it effortlessly. With a skip of her feet, she flipped forwards, bringing both hands down as the metal followed them like a great sweeping sword.
The metal dug into the road and sliced a great gouge out of it, sending bolts and data bits everywhere as the sharpened tip disintegrated what it touched. The warriors on the ground attempted to leap out the way, but such an attack could not be dodged easily. Tectonamon stumbled as the blade smacked broadside into his body, cracking the heavy armour and sending him crashing down. Tupilamon scampered away on all fours, her pelt torn and her muscular shoulder sliced open. Lyublanamon, still recovering from her wounded thigh, escaped the worst of the damage by taking to the sky, but she could only fly a few feet before her wings crumpled, so laden were they with rubble and dust. She staggered on the shuddering ground, Azdajamon flying down to support her.
Dimetromon was the closest, and he knew he had one shot. With a roar, he held his tail up as the arcing metal flew in his direction.
The beam of lightning pierced the blade and ripped it from Teslamon's grasp, before slamming into the shark-woman herself. She was forced back, giddy with exhilaration as she was, before she landed on the inner wall again and launched herself downwards, the metal buckling behind her. Dimetromon didn't know what hit him as she slammed into him with the force of a meteorite, sending his tail cannon flying haywire. The destructive beam sliced through the road and nearby rubble, before Teslamon grabbed it with both hands and aimed it high into the sky, straight towards the flying serpent. Cyclomon banked, but by mistake turned right into the beam, feeling the searing pain as it sliced off a chunk of his front-most wing.
"Bugger," he muttered, as the wind whistled through his wound and he began to descend.
"Bullseye." Teslamon whistled, before flying up and taking another great chunk out of the city wall to continue her onslaught. Azdajamon ducked, shoving Lyublanamon out the way as the great metal flails struck again, gouging pieces out of the rock floor and revealing the remains of the cavern below. The floor of that had been shattered as well, leaving only an abyss leading to the very bottom of the once great city.
Lyublanamon blinked, hiding her tears from Azdajamon. "Our home…how did it come to this?"
"The city can be rebuilt." Azdajamon stared up, feeling the violent magnetic forces smothering the battlefield. "But the citizens are depending on us. If we fall here, there'll be no-one to stand between them and her."
He stepped forwards, flexing his sinewy wings, before leaping. "I need backup!"
"Still wanna play some more?"
Teslamon turned towards the dragon with a malicious smile, swinging her arms back as she did so. Azdajamon flinched, but before she could make a move there was an inhuman scream and a barrage of icicles flew in her direction, sending her flying backwards.
Azdajamon looked to his left and nodded, as Tupilamon fell back to one knee, trying to ignore the bleeding in her shoulder. The shadow dragon carried on, his tail glowing pure black as he swerved in a slow arc, dragging the darkness behind him. Teslamon recovered, and spun in mid-air, attempting to slice the darkness open, but the flail was merely sucked away, dropping its length by half. She hissed, and attempted to make a break for it as Azdajamon completed his revolution.
"Circle of the Void!"
There was a flash and a miniature shockwave as the ring of blackness spun into a static orb, trapping both the shadow dragon and the magnet warrior. It hung, unearthly and out of phase, just above the battlefield, as the others watched; wounded, exhausted, and nearly at their limit.
In a single corner of the city, the humans watched the entire intense brawl as their partners struggled. Kent felt his pocket vibrating and pulled out his D-Nexus, looking gravely at the screen. "Not much energy left. This can't carry on for much longer."
Grace pulled out her own device, hearing the plaintive beeping from within. She winced, before peering out again as the great black void began to pulsate. "What can we do? She's stronger than all of us; hell, she's stronger than all of them."
Kai brushed his hair aside and shook his head. "That's not quite true…"
"What?" Beside him, Aaron turned to him, a new look of hope in his eyes. "Is there another way we can beat her?"
Kai's eyes darted between the people looking at him. "Didn't you see the way she was moving? She has the power, sure, but she was reckless and attacking in great sweeps. I don't think she's got that much of a handle on her surroundings."
Kent stroked his chin, his brow furrowed. "I guess our partners figured it out. They've been keeping her on her toes. She can't handle too many opponents at once and come out scratch free. Not even with her level of power."
Eloise looked down at her D-Nexus, Lyublanamon's energy meter worryingly low. "But at this rate they're going to fall before she does."
"Then we need to step in." Aaron scoured the horizon and saw the faintly swaying sail-back of his own partner. "We need to help the others to finish her off."
Jack looked up worryingly at the great sky-serpent, who was still corkscrewing ever faster towards the ground. The moment he hit it, that was the end of that plan. He turned back, keeping one hand on the wall. "Doesn't that mean they'll have to devolve?"
"Yes, but it gives us twelve fresher warriors instead of six weak ones. And besides, you know we fight better together. We lend each other power."
The others looked uncertain, Kai more than most. Aaron noticed his concern and patted him on the shoulder. "It's alright. We'll all go in together. You don't have to be afraid."
Kai shrugged, the doubts vanishing from his face. "Actually, I kind of do. But I guess we don't have a choice."
"Then it's settled." Eloise looked around. "Everyone; ready for one last try?"
Jack folded his arms, a new grin on his face. "I'm always ready."
His sister gave him a sideways glance. "No showing off. We need to keep this quick."
"And we need to pick the right moment." Kent peered around the corner to where the sphere was now pulsating dangerously. "Which by the looks of it isn't going to be too far away. Everyone get ready."
The six humans stepped out from their safe zone and, as one, walked forward towards the sphere.
Within the void, Azdajamon was struggling badly. Despite the darkness being his domain, Teslamon could still somehow sense his every move. She was fast. She was deadly. And worse, she was getting bored. He flew past and slashed her again, but her wound healed and she whirled around, grabbing him by the throat as she drove him into the abyss.
"It's your call. If you ain't lettin' me out of here, then you ain't gettin' out either. I'm sure your pegasus friend will be so happy about that."
"You can't…keep this up…forever…"
"Oh, give me a break."
With a single, solid movement, Teslamon landed a punch square in the middle of Azdajamon's forehead. He cried out, the single diamond embedded in his face splintering as he rolled away in mid-flight. The darkness snapped, cracked, and finally splintered into vast shards that dissipated with the wind. The gargoyle landed on the rough ground, his limp body rolling as Lyublanamon shouted out. "Colchimon! No!"
"Upset, are we?"
The white dragon looked up, hatred in her eyes. Then the hatred turned to shock, then relief, then fear as she turned and bolted. Teslamon called after her, "He's this way, darling. Or have all those fancy feathers just turned you chicken?"
The wind ruffled her hair and she frowned, glancing up to see Cyclomon's immense coils headed straight for her. "Oh crud."
It was a weaker blast than usual but it did the trick, driving Teslamon into the earth and creating a wide area shockwave. The other Digimon held on, as Aaron nodded, starting to run. "Now!"
The partners held on, beginning to glow as half of their energy left them, reducing them to their Champion forms. The energy swirled around, before darting towards the running humans in a dozen coloured spears. They held their D-Nexuses out, their strides becoming more powerful and more confident with every step.
In a matter of seconds the six children were replaced by the six elemental warriors, and they split, each one rushing to reach their partners, the elemental links growing stronger.
There was a roar of anger as Teslamon returned to the sky, blowing back the dust and rubble to reveal her new opponents. Her shoulders moved heavily, and it was clear she wasn't looking as resilient as she had when she'd started this battle. Nevertheless, she still found time to smile and crack a joke.
"You guys thought getting weaker would help you? Are you mad?"
"Quite clearly not as mad as you." Kuaramon turned, beating his chest as the energy pulsed through his veins and circuitry. "You want a fight? Come and get me!"
Teslamon yelled a battle cry and swooped downwards, but before she could reach the boy somebody else stepped into her view. Only briefly, before Cratomon's great stone fist struck her across the face and sent her tumbling along the rough ground. She looked up, only to see Cratomon with his arms folded, joined by Seismon, who was limping a little but steadier than he was.
Teslamon made to scarper in the opposite direction, but her way was blocked by Ljosamon, Dokkamon, Luminemon and Achromon; all spread out, and all with weapons bared. There was a rustling to her right and Teslamon sensed Chionemon and Alopemon run into position, and above, there was a flapping and a steady beating breeze as Aeolumon and Mistramon looked down at her.
Teslamon turned back, seeing Kuaramon and Galvamon, side by side and ready to strike. She was completely surrounded.
She sighed, and planted her face in her palm.
"You really are morons, aren't you…"
With a rising yell she rushed forward, fists raised as the ground rippled with every step. Chionemon and Alopemon split, each leaping to one side as the others closed in. "Perilous Field!"
Alopemon was sent back by a flying building, but before Teslamon could move Chionemon had already gotten in close, ducking down and sweeping at the shark-woman's legs.
Teslamon landed roughly, and cursed, her legs temporarily frozen and immobile. She rolled, but Galvamon and Mistramon got in the way, readying their own attacks.
Galvamon's bolts converged on Teslamon's body, making her shudder and jerk, before she was blown back. With an angry snarl she twisted onto her knees, before slamming her fists against the rock road. Spikes of foundation metal twisted up, slashing at her attackers, who withdrew. She laughed, jerking again as an aftereffect of the surplus electricity coursing through her. "Haha! Nice try but nobody gets me that easily!"
"Wanna bet? Hurricane Pummel!"
Teslamon turned a fraction before Aeolumon's right leg slammed into her, sending her rolling away. The little soldier punched the air, before wincing. "Ow…wrong leg…"
Chionemon sighed. "That was silly. Nice kick though."
Achromon zoomed past, his tail whipping out behind him as Teslamon lifted her arms, planting them into his shoulders and stopping him in his tracks. "Please, you're making me blush."
Achromon twisted, but she moved as well, avoiding his snaps and slashed in perfect step, and cooing all the way.
"Go on, you know you want to."
"Seriously, this is getting old."
Without warning, the wyrm opened his mouth and a torrent of darkness gushed forth, sending Teslamon spinning away. She crashed into a building and yelled out in pain, before looking around, obviously dizzy. "What happened…where…no…this isn't right…I should be…"
Her eyes darted downwards, and she screamed. She stretched out her leg, watching helplessly as lifeless parasites drifted away, their eyes staring dully into the distance. Her leg felt as if it were on fire, and there was a crack in her flesh, glowing with ethereal blue as more of the leeches squirmed beneath it. She recoiled, scrambling to her feet and babbling. "No…what's happening?"
Teslamon looked up wildly as Cratomon and Seismon stepped forward. The insect gestured in explanation. "My guess is that those things fuse with your body and work together to guard it, while feeding on it. If they take too much damage, they're the first to go. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like you've got much left to support your body on your own."
Teslamon raised an eyebrow, before looking around. "Anybody have a dictionary? What the hell is he talking about?"
Kuaramon looked across at her from afar, staying on his toes as he prepared to run. "Basically, they're eating you alive."
"Bullshit. These things make me invincible."
Cratomon shook his head. "You're just lying to yourself and you know it. Stop this." He held out a hand. "We promise, we'll do all we can to help you."
"Help me?" Teslamon staggered hysterically, before pointing an accusing finger. "It's because of shitheads like you that I'm going through this in the first place. This power is mine and I won't let it, you, or anyone else control me. Molecular Obscenity!"
She rushed forward, but Seismon already had his fists raised, ducking below her as he punched the air. "Earth Cannon!" The blow struck her on the shoulder and thigh and she stumbled again. She looked back, furious, before raising her arms again.
Tendrils of light wrapped around Teslamon's legs and she crashed to the ground, feeling more of her body open up as the parasites began to fail. She spun and got to her feet, sweeping her arms dramatically. "Perilous Field!"
The rubble flew again and everybody took cover, as Teslamon screamed out. "You bastards! You ruined everything! You ruined EVERYTHING!"
She spied Aeolumon and Mistramon hovering above her and she jumped, her arms grasping as she launched herself towards her. "I'm gonna rip you to pieces. Every single one of you."
There was a flash of darkness and she turned, Dokkamon hovering in the corner of her eye. The dark elf floated for a moment, his body engulfed in shadows, before he launched himself forwards.
Teslamon shrieked as the shadowy figure phased through her and she was thrown off balance, tumbling left and right. Dokkamon reformed, his shoulders hunched for a second. Then he straightened out, and turned, looking down at the falling Silicon King.
"You shouldn't let it control you."
Teslamon wanted to shout something back, but couldn't think of anything suitable. All the while the voices played in her head, messing with her mind.
It's my fault.
I only wanted to be noticed.
I only wanted to be the one to win.
I only wanted my chance.
Someone help me.
There's no-one left.
You're all alone.
You had one chance and you blew it.
It's all my fault.
Teslamon shook with rage, staring all around as the leeches dropped left and right around her. There was a glint down below and she dropped like a stone, her arms stretched out and glowing like magnesium with enough power to rend the ground into pieces.
Ljosamon stepped forward, bringing forth her shield as Teslamon struck it with all her force.
The shockwave flew far and wide, sending even more debris flying and shaking the city to its core. Ljosamon was forced backwards, the impact knocking her away and sending her skidding along the ground. But her attack had done its job. Teslamon was sent further, crashing into two different building remains before rolling along the ground, her skin charred and smoking and her limbs convulsing. Still, she pulled herself to her feet, eyes blazing, as her opponents closed in.
"I'm not finished yet!
The shards of ice flew towards her, sealing her arms and legs and sending her to her knees. She looked up, staring at the tamers and partners as they stood as one before her, Kuaramon at the front. Each was exhausted, battle-damaged and wanted to stop, but they still stood. Never giving up.
Kuaramon extended his coils, looking down upon her. "It's over. There's nothing left for you to do. Just end this."
Teslamon's lower jaw quivered, and she raised her arms. The warriors braced themselves, but the attack never came. Instead she simply hit the ground, holding her head low as she yelled in frustration and anger and hurt.
She lay there, silent and shaking, as the warriors looked between each other, none of them really sure what to say. Then, she calmed down, pushing herself to her knees and looking skywards, her broken body limp and submissive. She stared up for a good few seconds, before saying just one word.
She stared up for about a minute or so, with all twelve warriors watching her, ready to strike again if needed. The dust settled, and the rumbling petered out. It was calm. Quiet. Almost tranquil.
"Well, thank you for all your help, but I think I'll take it from here."
Kuaramon turned, and his eyes widened. "You!"
Rinkhalmon shrugged. "What? Did you think I was going to run away and leave such a prime source of energy? I'm not done with Tessa yet, and if you know what's good for you you'll stay out of my business in future." His eyes twinkles wickedly as he held half a dozen needles up, each full to the brim with his own special poison. "I don't think you're in much shape to battle much more."
Kuaramon prepared himself nonetheless, staggering a little but raising his weapons towards the snake-man. The others followed suit, Luminemon growling. "You've caused enough damage here. You're not causing any more."
"Why is everyone here an idiot?"
Teslamon sighed, and slowly, very slowly, got to her feet. She swayed a little, releasing data particles as she turned to look at the snake-man. "I realise that includes me, but my point still stands."
Alopemon tensed, her eyes darting to the right. "Don't even think about it. You're no match for him. Not now."
"I'm very aware." Teslamon sighed, and placed her hands behind her head. "Seems like whatever I do, someone's there to disagree with me and use me and beat the shit out of me. I don't know why I didn't just accept that sooner."
Rinkhalmon grunted, "Please don't start your yapping again. You give me such a headache."
"And there y'go." Teslamon smiled. "Well, it's been fun, but old Wrinkles wants me and I'm not welcome here. Obviously there's only one solution."
In a single movement, she brought her hand up and clamped it against her chest, the hand glowing first yellow, then bright white. She coughed, then fell to her knees, streams of data spurting out from her body. Ljosamon jumped, before running towards her. "What the hell are you doing?"
"Don't come any closer." Teslamon smiled again, the glow in her eyes fading as the leeches inside her screamed, all rushing to fix the wound, but failing. "So yeah, change of plan. Turns out I can't use these little guys myself. Fair 'nuff, but do you honestly think I'm gonna just hand them back to the mad scientist over there? No way. If I can't have them, then no-one can."
Rinkhalmon's eyes quivered in their sockets as he rushed forward, arms outstretched. "No! You wouldn't!"
Teslamon rolled her eyes, before jumping skywards, launching herself away from the serpent as he lunged at her. Everyone looked up, helpless to stop her as she dug her hand deeper, her words coming out as monosyllabic grunts as she fought against the pain.
She closed her eyes, and squeezed.
"Just for the record, I hate you all."
With a flash of lightning and a shockwave bigger than any before, Teslamon exploded, disintegrating into particles that flew far and wide. The city shook again, and the dust and debris from the past forty-eight hours was whipped up and scattered as well. The leeches never stood a chance; they barely had time to screech their last before the immense energy coursed through them, burning them up like matches.
It lasted a good few seconds, before the light faded and the noise died down. Rinkhalmon fell to his knees, shaking his fists at the sky. "You maniac! You utter maniac! You've blown them all up!"
He went quiet, before looking down, seeing the tamers and their partners standing before him; all silent, all staring, and all readying their weapons.
Kuaramon growled behind his mask. "You have a hell of a lot coming to you..."
Rinkhalmon gave a half-hearted laugh, before running, scampering away over the rubble.
Nobody had any energy left to follow him.
One week later…
"Higher…no, higher…left a bit-watch out!"
Andromon covered his head as the sheet metal came crashing down with an immense bang, sending clouds of dust everywhere. He glared up at the Mothmon above him, who buzzed nervously. "Sorry…"
"This is why you're supposed to get a good grip on it." Andromon sighed, hands on his hips, as he looked down at the metal, which was sporting another great crack. "Ah well. What's one more cracked girder amongst all this rubbish."
He waved a hand at the workers around him. "Take ten, guys. We're in no rush."
The citizens and Silicon Army dispersed, and Andromon leaned back against one of the newer buildings, gazing around. It had been a tough week; over half the city lay ransacked and in ruins, and there had unfortunately been many casualties over Teslamon's brief rule. However, the citizens that had survived were more than willing to help start anew, and even a good portion of the rebels had flipped sides after they'd seen the extent of the shark-woman's damage. Still, there was a lot of rebuilding that needed doing.
And then there was the case of the Clocktower Rebels. Andromon and a select few (okay, a select many) had personally escorted Latroditmon to Teslamon's underground bunker, along with enough bindings to ensure she stayed there. She'd thankfully calmed down, and true to his word Andromon had made sure her wounds were treated and she was given company, even if said company was always on the wary side and on the other side of a locked door. She seemed happy enough for now; the princess of her own little world. Still, it couldn't last for long. He needed to keep on his toes.
As for the other three, a few scouts had ventured out into the Wastegrounds but had found no sign of them. Whether they would come back or had moved on, Andromon had no idea. He didn't particularly want to think about it.
He heard footsteps beside him and turned to see the chosen humans and their partner Digimon, all as one. He smiled. They'd pretty much been out of action for the whole week after the battle, but now, thankfully, they seemed rested.
"You all look slightly more with it. Feeling okay?"
"Kinda. Maybe. We'll see." Aaron scratched the back of his neck, feeling a little sheepish. "So, I know we caused a lot of damage and a lot of repair needs doing, but we have something to tell you."
Andromon stood up straight, and turned to them. "Don't tell me, I can guess. You think you need to head off, right?"
Velocimon nodded. "We've talked it over, and we think it's for the best. The Fire Kingdom have just had a major blow to their resources. This might be the best and only chance we have of taking them down for good. We're going to head towards the Infernal Fortress and try and finish this."
Grace shrunk into her sweatshirt a little, going slightly red. We're really sorry for all the trouble we've caused."
Andromon chuckled, and ruffled her hair. "Don't worry about it."
Grace scowled. "Please don't do that. Why does everyone feel they have to do that?"
Andromon pulled back hurriedly, and for a brief moment his nervous tic returned. He knocked himself on the side of the head and continued. "It's war; these things happen. And if you really think you can bring this all to an end, then you have my full support. And perhaps a little more."
The children looked puzzled, but the android winked. "Meet me by the gate at sundown."
Amidst all the hustle and bustle, nobody noticed the sly hooded figure as he snuck through the rubble and rock, clambering over with the agility of a spider. He stopped, and looked up, hiding his long neck and frill as he scoured around. The leech at his fingertips vibrated and let out a silent scream, calling for help. Assistance. Family, maybe?
There was an answer, and Rinkhalmon scuttled forwards again. In truth, he should have left the city ages ago, but the creature's plaintiff cries had stopped him. He still had business here after all.
His eyes darted down, to where the leech pulsated at the end of his fingertips, almost scrabbling at the ground. Rinkhalmon licked his eyeballs, and carefully dug his finger into the dust, wiggling it around. He didn't have to dig deep before he felt something bite.
"Well well, looks like my little Tessa came to some use after all…"
Rinkhalmon recoiled his finger, feeling the uneven weight of the last leech on the end of it. It was invisible - cloaked as it was from the digital atmosphere - but Rinkhalmon had handled enough of the little critters to know he'd found something special. Unlike the others it was bloated, in pain and almost comatose, but it was still active. Within it, the lifelines of a thousand leeches boiled and bubbled, threatening to explode at any moment to consume him and everyone around. But Rinkhalmon wasn't frightened. They wouldn't hurt him. He was just that friendly.
The mega-leech twitched, and Rinkhalmon gently moved it towards his soul jar, where it slithered inside, feeding on the flames of death and torture that resided within. Rinkhalmon stifled a giggle, before scurrying away.
Now it was time to leave. He had work to be doing.
Eloise looked up at the immense gates for what might be the last time. She felt a knot in her stomach; while it had been short-lived and rather chaotic, this might be the last time she would ever see civilisation. From here on, she was walking into a warzone. She might not come out again.
She felt a rustling behind her and turned to see Kai, looking slightly concerned. "You don't look so good."
"I'm fine." Eloise sighed, brushing her hair out of her face. "It's just a big step, you know? I don't think I'm ready for it."
"I don't think any of us are. But at least none of us are alone."
"Indeed." Eloise smiled, blushing a little. "I'm really glad you came back. It's not the team without you."
Kai went red, and looked away. "You…really missed me that much? After everything I've…"
Eloise walked forward and yanked his hand out of his pocket, running her fingers around the glove. "That's the past. It's done. Just don't do it again and we won't have a problem."
"I…can't promise that." Kai looked up, squinting as the sun got in his eyes. "I can still feel it. The anger. I can't bring myself to forgive him; not yet. Even though I've done the same thing as he did." He closed his eyes, the wind ruffling through his hair. "I can still feel it, in the back of my mind. I want to be stronger. But it's gonna take a while."
Eloise looked up with him, at the glory of the setting sun. Slowly, her head tilted sideways, until it rested on his. Together they watched as the sun dipped lower and lower, until it fell over the lip of the walls, leaving beautiful purple and red streaks in its wake.
"You know, this doesn't really work when you're taller than me."
Eloise pouted, moving her head upright again. "You're no fun."
"Well now, enjoying ourselves are we?"
Eloise jumped, and let out a little yelp as she pulled her hand away, turning to see the others standing there. Perimon wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. "I see what's going on."
Eloise pointed accusingly. "You saw nothing! Nothing was happening!"
"Tell him, Kai!"
Kai said nothing; just stood there, looking a little dazed. Eloise felt her cheeks flushing, and put her hands in her pockets, looking decidedly flouncy. Jack giggled a little, while Perimon continued with his smug look. Vulpimon rolled her eyes, "Honestly, you're so immature."
Ladomon and Colchimon swooped over, Ladomon settling around Eloise's neck. "I wouldn't worry about it."
She called over to Perimon, who was still strutting around with his triumphant face on overdrive. "Hey Perimon, don't I seem to remember you coming up with a love poem to Placomon that one time?"
Perimon's face flipped and he staggered back, stammering. "I…I don't…what?"
Colchimon cleared his throat, throwing one wing out as he spoke dramatically. "You make my heart soar skywards with the silver sheen of your scales, with every flick of your tail making my heart jump."
Now Jack burst out into fully fledged guffaws, and even Eloise, Grace and Kai got in on the action as Perimon went a decidedly deeper shade of red. "THAT NEVER HAPPENED!"
Feathers ruffled, he stomped away, as Kent, Aaron and their partners joined the group. Kent chuckled. "Glad to see everyone's getting along as usual."
Perimon turned, blowing a raspberry. "I hate you all!"
Kent nodded, eyes closed. "My point still stands. So, is everyone here?"
Aaron nodded, before hesitating. "Well...everyone who we started with, anyway..."
The group fell quiet, memories of the past several weeks catching them up, one by one. Jack looked up at Aaron. "I'm sorry. You know. About Fornaxmon."
Velocimon cleared his throat. "Me too. He was a good Digimon, whatever his heritage. We all lost a loyal friend back there."
"He's still out there though." Aaron sighed, looking up at the walls. "It wasn't just him. We came here to be safe, and yet we've seen more death and destruction here than before; than any of us should ever have to see in a lifetime."
The others could remember only too well. All the damage. All the lives needlessly lost. Babamon. Cerebrumon. Hell, even Teslamon had only ended up being screwed over herself.
Colchimon rested his head on his coiled body as Kai reached up to stroke him. "Situation's gone mental. This whole world is all falling to pieces." He lifted his head, looking at the group's peer-appointed leader. "Do you really think we can fix this?"
Aaron bit his lip. "I don't know. But we've got to try."
"There you are." Andromon walked up to the group, followed by around two dozen citizens, all of whom looked slightly nervous to be here.
Aaron tilted his head. "What's going on?"
"You're going off to fight the Fire Kingdom, are you not?" Andromon gestured behind him, where the Digimon shuffled amongst themselves. "This city was once a place to protect people from the war. But after the last few days, some of them wanted to do their part once again. They're not many, but they're great people, and they hope to be as much help as they can."
Aaron stepped forward, and the foremost of the citizens did the same; a stocky, bipedal dog-rabbit with a single horn, tattered blue jeans and odd, machine-gun hands. She held out an arm, which Aaron took, as they shook.
"My name's Gargomon. I…hope we can be of assistance."
Aaron smiled. "Thanks. I know you will be."
Andromon clicked his fingers and the great gates slid open, leading to the harshness of the Wastegrounds outside. The robot looked out, squinting a little. "Just go in a straight line and you'll find the Infernal Fortress. Just keep an eye out for a massive wall; even bigger than this one."
Perimon rolled his eyes. "Great. Another massive birdcage. Whoopee."
Andromon chuckled. "At least you can stretch your wings on the way there. Doesn't look too harsh out there at the moment. Still, don't push yourselves, and don't forget that we're here for you."
Aaron nodded. "Thank you. For everything."
He, the other tamers, their partners and the Silicon soldiers shuffled out, almost reluctantly, as Andromon and a few onlookers watched after them, waving their farewells. Andromon felt a tear in his bionic eyes as he gave a final salute.
"Godspeed, great warriors."
Martyaxmon scowled as his rosary spun before him, showing the grimacing face of Rinkhalmon in its mystical field. The manticore raised an eyebrow. "You're late. Where the hell are you?"
"I got caught up in things. Nothing serious. I'm on my way there now."
"You'd better be. We're in big trouble now thanks to you're idiocy. Get her now and carryon working on the new Fire Tyrants."
"Will do, Marty-pops."
Martyaxmon roared and smashed a paw into the rosary, sending the beads skittering away as the image of his colleague's grinning face faded. He looked up at the great armour at the end of the central hall, before bowing his head. "General Surtremon, I trust you now understand the situation."
The torches around the hall flared a little, before dying. Martyaxmon's tongue felt dry as his master's voice echoed around him.
"I understand enough to realise that the two of you have caused us no end of trouble."
Martyaxmon wanted to object, but kept quiet. Now was not the time. "I'm sorry, General. I accept my sanction."
"No need. Punishment is pointless if there's still work to be done." The voice let out a sigh, before carrying on. "Do you know how many of Rinkhalmon's resources we have remaining?"
Martyaxmon shook his head. "I'm afraid not. We have a few reserve supplies here, but Silicon City was our main supply. Unless Rinkhalmon's managed to salvage anything then this is all we have."
"That fool…" Surtremon's voice fell silent for a moment, before the great statue's eyes glowed a dim red. "Still not everything is a lost cause. I see you managed to find one of our old soldiers there. I trust in your hands he'll make a fine Commander."
Martyaxmon looked to his right, seeing Fornaxmon standing to attention before their mighty General. The golem's fire was dimmer than usual, and he held his blade retracted, keeping it sharp in the furnace of his body. He said nothing. The Red Beast bit his lip, before nodding. "Yes, sir."
"As for the rest of the situation, I suspect the children will be on their way here right now. I doubt such a tactical advantage would go unexploited. They'll most likely meet up with the rebels already gathering on our doorstep. They're building an army."
"So what should I do, General?"
There was a pause, before Surtremon's voice answered. "You'll do what you've always done. Obey my order and work to reach the greater cause."
"Quiet. I know you have doubts. I realise that our actions so far have been all the worse for us. Perhaps that is my fault. Perhaps I have been idle too long. As such, I will be taking full command from now on."
There was a rumble, and Martyaxmon looked up, before stepping back as the suit of armour shifted, piece by piece. The gauntlets jerked open; releasing the great sword as they twisted, then grasping it again. There was a slicing sound as the sword, over half the height of Surtremon himself, twisted upwards, held at attention as the great knight's eyes glowed a bright lithium red.
He stepped forward, off the pedestal and onto the hard stone floor with immense footsteps, as he reached behind and sheathed the great sword into the ornate scabbard on his back. Martyaxmon and Fornaxmon watched as he strode forwards, heading towards the great doors that led to the battlegrounds outside. He called back as he did so, not even turning his head.
"This war is reaching its end. I hope you're prepared."
Atop the great walls of Silicon City, Phoukamon watched the tiny specks as they began their long journey south, towards the furnaces of the Fire Kingdom's headquarters. Towards hell. They bobbed their head from side to side, humming in a sing-song fashion, before standing up, looking skywards.
"We are getting ever closer."
"Perhaps it is time for us to leave as well."
"There is not much to do, until the time comes, in which case it will be time, will it not? Or perhaps we are already out of time?"
"We've been already out of time since this all began."
"You should know. Of course you would. You're dead."
"But am I?"
"Not yet. Just a little longer. Nobody must know. The three of us, we must remain. Until the end."
"The end that is coming?"
"The end that must come."
Phoukamon shrugged, shaking their head. The problem with talking to one's selves was that they would tend to argue.
With a snicker, they snapped their fingers, and vanished in a puff of smoke.
I must feed.
I must feed on the world.
I must feed on the world until there is nothing left.