Episode 44: Show Me Your Colours

Javermon's attack, while spirited, was perhaps overenthusiastic, and only the tip of his light-cloaked claws managed to hit anyone.

To the surprise of a resounding nobody, it was Egakumon they hit, who threw himself forward the moment he realized the dog was going to attack. It was only dumb luck and timing that kept the rabbit from taking the brunt of the attack. He was tossed backwards; Simon was quick to catch him, almost stumbling backwards over the buried cliff-tip in the process. It was perhaps a ten-foot drop to level ground-- and more than enough digimon raring for a fight on the flat ground below.

This wasn't something they accounted for, exactly, but they had enough to go off of.

Toby was the first to act, his D-GEAR igniting in white light that engulfed both him and his sheep partner.

"Lammon, genesis digivolve to..." and the light of the digivolution made Javermon snarl and recoil, covering his eyes, "MagnaAriamon!"

Javermon growled, raising his hand back once more. Red light bathed his hands, but the sheep was faster.

"Blood Oa--!"

"Shining Break!" MagnaAriamon called, swiftly tracing a large circle in the air in front of her with the tip of her staff. Immediately, a sphere of golden light surrounded her and the non-digivolved children and digimon. When Javermon brought his claws down, they hit the swirling orb and stopped dead, the red light seeping into the gold and dissipating immediately.

"I won't be able to hold this forever," MagnaAriamon said, quiet; indeed, she was having to focus a great deal of energy to keep the group encircled by her light.

"Got it," Simon said, taking his D-GEAR in hand, and on either side of him, Julian and Andrea were doing the same as the devices began to glow.

"Egakumon, genesis digivolve to... Kisekimon!"
"Rajamon, genesis digivolve to... ImperialBaghamon!"
"Iguamon, genesis digivolve to... WarTriassimon!"

In a flash of light, three megas took the place of three pairs of digimon and human; MagnaAriamon dropped her shield, and took her staff in both hands. In a moment's time, Kisekimon was locking his twin swords with the metal claws that served as Javermon's weapons.
This didn't last long-- Javermon managed to push him back, fueled by adrenaline and blind hatred. When ImperialBaghamon and WarTriassimon moved to step in, Kisekimon quickly threw his arms out, his swords barring the other two from stepping forward. "I'll hold him back. Take care of the others first."

"What?" ImperialBaghamon rumbled, but didn't get an answer-- Kisekimon surged forward, crossing his blades as they began to glow white.

"Double Blader!"

Once more, Javermon locked claws with the twin swords, snarling; WarTriassimon paused for a moment, before he turned. It was the plan-- if Javermon and the small army appeared at the same time, then they needed to clear the battlefield first. Simon and Egakumon had volunteered to hold Javermon back for long enough to let them cut Era's other defenses back a bit.
"Come on," the dinosaur said, and without any ceremony launched himself, spear gripped tight, down and into the small army of digimon laying between them and Era's stronghold. ImperialBaghamon growled, but with a flash of fire, his four curved blades materialized in his hands and he followed, charging into the mob with a savage roar.

"I'm gonna guess that's our signal," Faris said; Emily nodded, and both of them were quick to pull their D-GEARs out.

Though it was a bit of a shuffle, two flashes of light later...

"Delfinimon, genesis digivolve to... Galeomon!"

"Kamomon, genesis digivolve to... Rocmon!"

And then a tremendous shark was barreling her way straight into the horde of hostile digimon, and a huge bird was rising, with a loud keen, into the sky.

"Will you be okay?" MagnaAriamon whispered quickly. If her eyes were open, she would have been glancing sidelong at Luke and Sampamon, the only ones left unevolved.

"We've got... some semblance to a plan. We'll be fine," the boy responded, looking at his D-GEAR as it began to glow in its turn; he nodded to Sampamon, on the ground beside him. In her turn, the black snake began to glow brightly, bathed in light from the device.

"Sampamon, kickstart digivolve to... Serpemon!" Not a beat passed -- the light didn't even fade -- before she began to change form again, hit by a burst of light from Luke's D-GEAR. "Serpemon, virtuous digivolve to... HebiDramon!"
Luke immediately hoisted himself onto the dragon's back, and HebiDramon took off like a shot into the mob, her partner holding tight to her mane to keep steady. Finally, MagnaAriamon dropped her shield of light.

Not fifteen feet away from her, a chorus of voices -- 'Blood Oath' and 'Nova Blade' cried in cadence, flashes of red and white, metal hitting metal in a clashing beat; she breathed out heavily, and turned to aid her allies in the fray.
After all, there was no shortage of digimon to be taken care of in the meantime.

The battlefield was a flurry of light -- attacks, weaker digimon being picked off en masse only to be replaced moments later by allies. It was almost hard to concentrate in the midst of it.

"I can't stand it," Andrea (or perhaps it was more accurate to say Andrea's essence, her consciousness) said within ImperialBaghamon, and all four of the cat's fists clenched. "He's using them as living shields."

He does not care if they live or if they die, the cat concurred, and there was pure anger in his voice (or, 'voice'). Era is a coward. "God Fist!" ImperialBaghamon roared aloud, thrusting all four of his fists forward to cast a burning aura out at his targets. Even as he spoke, embers flew from his mouth-- perhaps they were the physical form of the anger boiling in his body.

"As though we had any doubt," Andrea's voice mumbled as, in front of them, two digimon -- two adult levels that they recognized as a pair of Ankylomon -- were turned to data, their eggs dropping to the sand.

Their lives will not be in vain-- when they live once more, it will be in a free digital world, ImperialBaghamon's voice reassured her. He did not notice a digimon coming at him from behind, a tremendous suit of armor brandishing a great golden sword; a Knightmon, if they could hear the mysterious, disembodied voice of their D-GEAR units over the fray.

"Berserk Sword!" the Knightmon cried, raising its sword and bringing it down at ImperialBaghamon's back; the blow caused the lion to stumble forward with a roar of pain.

"Radiant Lance!" MagnaAriamon cried from above, before the cat could turn; the ephemeral wings behind her back had grown, and she was floating in place. Her staff struck true, a glowing lance of light that pierced straight through Knightmon's armor, stopping it in its tracks and sending it up in data.

"Dragon Reaper!" cried the voice of HebiDramon from not far away, as she -- even with Luke riding on her back -- threw herself full-force at a dragon-like digimon covered in green scales, with another set of full-fledged arms in place of true wings-- a Groundramon. HebiDramon herself was covered by a jet-black aura with red eyes, taking a form reminiscent of a Chinese dragon. She smashed herself into it and the aura dissipated-- as did the Groundramon, with a roar of pain and a flash of light.

"Good work," ImperialBaghamon huffed, with a grin on his face, "for a perfect-level."

"I have my gifts," HebiDramon replied, tossing her head a bit proudly, but there was no time to gloat-- she thrashed her tail to throw off an attacking swarm of child-level dragons, and had to resume movement before she was attacked further, unwilling to endanger her partner. She wove in and out of the battle, striking strategically and taking out smaller threats.

From above, Rocmon rained down vicious hailstorms onto large groups of digimon with keens of "Bitter Hailstorm!" ; he swooped down to grab larger enemies in his massive talons, ripping and tearing with glowing claws and an announcement of "Heaven Strike!" before dropping them to earth with a crash. Such was the fate of a cyborg yellow dinosaur-like digimon, a Reptiledramon, and its mechanical wings broke from the force of hitting the ground so hard.
Galeomon, meanwhile, was a whirlwind of water and electricity on the ground, throwing out crackling orbs of electricity one moment ("Electro Break!") and smashing foes left and right while she, herself, was surrounded by a swirling sphere of water and throwing herself bodily at them. ("Crashing Wave!")

And yet, on the cliffside, Kisekimon was losing ground against Javermon.

"I'll rip your throat out," the dog snarled, teeth bared as his claws -- locked still with the samurai rabbit's blades -- began to eat through the metal swords. This forced Kisekimon to release the Reaper; his swords all but healed themselves almost as fast as they were eaten away, but it boded ill regardless.

"Doesn't he have a no-kill order?" Simon from mused within Kisekimon's core. The samurai crossed his swords and strafing to the side-- keeping an eye on Javermon, who turned on him, followed him with his gaze, but did not move. He only smiled.

Something's telling me it's been called off, Kisekimon replied to his partner. In the blink of an eye, he sheathed his swords, and held both hands palms-out towards Javermon. "Blast Burst!" he cried, shots of white energy firing straight from his hands and at the Reaper.
Javermon, for his part, merely twirled his short cape around himself; the shots, when they hit the fabric, instantly dissipated. When he lowered the arm holding the cape, he was still grinning, and it was starting to -- quite frankly -- freak both the digimon and human parts of Kisekimon right the heck out.

"I'd say that's a good guess," Simon said, and his voice ('voice') wavered.

"Nova Blade!" Kisekimon cried aloud, then, drawing one sword from its paintbrush scabbard at lightning speed. It glowed as he swung it, almost as fast as he drew it, at Javermon.

The dog-man merely sidestepped it, looking at Simon.

"Your friends abandon you," Javermon said, grinning. "They've left you to die against me. Do you realize that?"

"No, they haven't," Kisekimon said again, barely a whisper, but his body momentarily sezied with indignation at the very insinuation.

But that moment of seizing up was all the Reaper needed. "Justice Reaper!" Javermon cried suddenly, and in a flash he was tackling Kisekimon, who could not move fast enough to hold him off. He hit the swordsman with such force that it actually propelled both him and the samurai off of their little cliff, crashing into the sand not far from the fray.
He tore at Kisekimon as though he were tissue paper, moving impossibly fast as he slashed and tore and bit, his claws blazing white.

The swordsman could only cry out, with one sword in its scabbard on his back (which itself was pressed to the ground) and the other knocked out of his hand, laying several feet out of his grasp.

Javermon snarled, not once ceasing his assault on Kisekimon-- until he began to shine brightly, splitting apart into the little fluffball Efudemon and Simon a moment later. Both boy and furball lay almost motionless; Simon clenched his teeth and let loose a noise of pain when he tried to breathe too deeply.
Only now did the dog stop, his narrowed eyes settling on Efudemon

"It's disappointing," the dog snarled, but he was grinning. "I'd wished you could put up more of a fight. But don't worry," he said, then, looking at Simon. "I'll be sure to make sure you bleed once I'm done with your pet." He grabbed Efudemon, his hand encompassing the entire little digimon as he prepared to crush him.

The lack of help on the part of the other members of their ragtag was not indicative of apathy by any means. Galeomon, WarTriassimon, and ImperialBaghamon were engaged in combat with a ridiculously huge Hercules beetle (aptly named a HerculesKabuterimon), and were being tossed left and right; Rocmon was locking claws midair with a tremendous four-winged phoenix, a Hououmon, sending bursts of fire and ice cutting through the sky-- bursts that MagnaAriamon, lending her assistance to the arctic avian, had to be careful to avoid. More than once, she was knocked askew.

And as for HebiDramon, with Luke on her back?
Strike that-- she wasn't occupied at all.

And in fact, the black dragon was barreling towards Javermon, her mouth open wide.

"Nightfall Sniper!" she roared, and for a second, everything around her went dark, before a beam of paradoxical black light shot from her mouth-- and straight at Javermon's face.

It had the major advantage of surprise-- Javermon did not realize until too late that the attack was aimed at him, and so did not have time to brace himself or defend himself. True, it was an attack from a Perfect-level onto a tremendously powerful Mega such as himself, but it did what it was supposed to: distract the dog. Perhaps his rage was a plus, because it caused him to drop Efudemon-- he tumbled into the dust like a tiny sack of potatoes, but that was the price he paid for not dying.

Simon cracked one eye open in time to see Javermon turn to look at the dragon, who came to a stop a few meters away. HebiDramon's pupils were narrowed into slits, and every inch of her was tense. The goggle-wearing boy scrambled up, trying hard not to cry out from pain, and stumbled over to where his puffball partner lay unconscious.

"Bro, buddy, you gotta wake up, this is crunchtime, come on," Simon said desperately, more to himself than anything. Efudemon groaned, but did not come to, even as Simon picked him into his arms

"Hello again," Luke said, hands fisted in his partner's mane and speaking primarily to keep Javermon's attention-- and it was working.

"You just can't wait to die, can you?" Javermon said, flexing his hands and growling. "Blood Oath!" he roared, rushing at HebiDramon with glowing-red claws. She was quick, however, and fluidly leapt back.

"Nightfall Sniper!" she retaliated, but once more, it had all the effect of a light tap on the Reaper.

"Grab Simon and Efudemon," Luke whispered quickly, lying down on his stomach in order to speak into his partner's ear, using the cry of her attack as cover.

The look the dragon gave him was sidelong and didn't even last a second, but he understood: as though you needed to tell me. Like a black lightning bolt, she threw herself to the side, and -- much to Simon's rather indignant (and, honestly, rather amusing) surprise-- scooped the boy up, puffball cargo and all, over her nose.

"Blood Oath!" Javermon yelled, but HebiDramon was quick to whip her way away from the canine's claws, darting into the battlefield-- the numbers of hostile digimon were dwindling, but that only meant that those that remained were those that were strong.

Oh, and the fact that they were tearing across the battlefield with an incredibly angry dog, hot on their heels.

"Thanks, man," Simon huffed as he oriented himself and held fast to Efudemon, his voice pained.

"Yeah," Lujke said absentmindedly, his mind elsewhere. "No problem." He craned his neck to look over his shoulder, and saw Javermon begin to change-- from his bipedial form to his far more animalistic one, wild-eyed and snarling. The Reaper hunched over as four paws began to beat against the ground instead of two feet-- and HebiDramon was losing her lead.

But there was a saving grace in the form of a giant bird.

In the sky above, Rocmon let loose an ear-splitting keen as Hououmon was finally taken down, the fire-bird crashing to the ground before going up in a stream of data. It was no easy task-- Rocmon himself was torn up, his feathers ruffled and his flight a bit off-kilter.
He was, however, an eagle-eyed sort (if the pun would be pardoned), and the moment he was disentangled from his foe, he was on the scene-- or, rather, obscuring the scene --, regardless of his own wounds.

"Rolling Fog!" he cried, flapping his wings to unleash a veritable tide of heavy fog onto the battlefield.
This was planned for, even if the exact situation (in event of Javermon dueling with Kisekimon, splitting Kisekimon into his halves and attempting to kill Egakumon, HebiDramon will save him and then Rocmon will cause a distraction was not in the previous night's discussions)-- it would obscure the others' sight, but they would manage.

HebiDramon took advantage of this newfound cover, but knew it would not last. She took a sharp turn, hoping dearly that Javermon's tracker instincts would be dulled by his rage. They were-- she could hear his snarling and breathing continuing on the same course he was on a moment before.
Rocmon alighted next to the dragon.

"Take them, now," Luke blurted, indicating Simon and Efudemon with a jerk of his head. He was speaking fast, and sounded as winded as though it had been him running from the Reaper. "Javermon's a bloodhound, this fog won't hold him off for very long."

"The no kill order is off," Simon said through gritted teeth, holding his side with one arm and holding an unconscious Efudemon with the other as he climbed off the dragon's back.

"Aye," Rocmon said, scooping Simon (and Efudemon, obviously) gingerly into his talons. While it was not the most dignified of ways to be carried to safety, it was the only way he could in such a short time-- the boy and the rabbit couldn't risk trying to climb up onto the bird's back at present.

Not a moment after Rocmon risen into the air, his tremendous wings beating the fog away, Javermon was back on the scene... and the pair of dragon and boy were all but sitting ducks.
"Relentless Chase!" Javermon snarled, his body surrounded by a red and black aura in the shape of a gaunt hound with glowing eyes. He rushed forward-- the aura burst with explosive force once it hit its target, namely dragon and child. HebiDramon moved fast, twisting herself so Luke didn't take the brunt of the attack-- and immediately going up in light, herself. She fared better than Simon's partner, as she was still conscious and in child form, but the two tumbled to the ground.

Javermon approached. His words were low and rather poorly articulated. "I've waited a very long time for a chance to take you down," he rumbled, eyes narrowed and lips drawn back to reveal his teeth, acidic slobber dripping from his mouth. In one paw he gathered up the length of chain that hung from his collar, twirling it, before calling, "Chain of Command!"
He twirled the chain expertly, lashing out with it like a whip to hit Sampamon.
And instead hit Luke, who had scrambled to cover the snake's body with his own.

Javermon was of enough presence of mind to try and restrain his power mid-attack -- Era's orders were first and foremost -- but still...

Luke cried out, his vision going white as he was laid out flat. The last thing he heard was the voice of MagnaAriamon, the priestess sheep having quickly dropped down to their side:

"Shining Break!"


It had been the last day Luke had been in the real world before... in a word, everything had happened. Clouds hung heavy over the city, covering the sky in a blanket of grey; it was sure to rain soon, but the weather was biding its time.
And Lukas himself? Well, he was out for a walk, just now approaching the city-center fountain square. People were bustling around him, and he mumbled apologies and tried to shuffle out of the way of oncoming foot traffic, but it didn't prevent people from shouldering their way past him with nary a second glance. He didn't mind terribly; he was -- as he ever was -- rather lost in his own head. He had been wandering about for most of the day; it was getting late. Behind the cloud cover, the sun would be going down soon.

Luke stopped once he reached the plaza, breathing out heavily through his nose. The fountain was spitting water; he couldn't help but feel that the water would soon be redundant, as he looked to the heavy grey sky.

At his leg, his phone began to buzz incessantly-- a call. Luke waited a moment before taking it out of his pocket, and without even looking at it, lifted it to his ear. He knew who it was going to be. "Hi, Jason," he said, leaning against a building wall.

"Hey, dude, where are you?" chimed the voice of another boy over the phone.

"I'm," Luke said, and he paused, frowning. Well... he may as well be honest. "I'm... at the fountain square."

Jason let loose a low whistle. "Dang. How'd you get that far?"

"Well, I got on a bus, a while ago. That might have helped," Luke replied, half of his mouth tugging into a smile for a moment-- but just a moment. It fell back into a neutral expression; just as sure as he knew who the person on the line had been without looking at it, he knew what he was going to get asked.

"You missed it, man. Riley and Sam put a frog in Suzi's bed. She nearly hit the ceiling and when she figured out that it was them, she was on the war path all afternoon," Jason said, and Luke could hear the grin. When he didn't reply, though, Jason said, gingerly, "you coming back?"

Luke paused for a minute, chewing the inside of his cheek pensively. "Yeah," he said after a long delay, putting his free hand in his pocket. "It might take a while, though. Donno when the next bus is." He made sure to speak evenly, though his throat was tight.

On the other end of the line, the other boy sighed good-naturedly. "Make it quick." Pause. "Man, Luke, I'm afraid you're gonna end up running off for good someday."

At least once a week, Luke would up and wander off into the city for a while-- some times he only walked around the neighborhood, some times (such as now) he'd get halfway across the city before turning back. People would ask why such a young boy was wandering around by himself, to which he would reply with a faint smile and an I'm thirteen-- I'm not that little, avoiding eye contact all the while.
"That would require me to have somewhere to go, Jason," Luke replied, shrugging even though the other boy couldn't see it. "I'll be back soon."

"Later, man," Jason said, and Luke clicked the end call button with his thumb.

He would go back soon, but he was going to take his time while he was here; the next bus wouldn't be here for another ten minutes, at least. For now, he was going to take in the peace and quiet-- especially considering that big fat droplets of rain were starting to hit the pavement, leading many people to start trickling out of the square.
It was hard, after all, to get any sort of peace or privacy in a foster home with a half-dozen kids living in it at any given time; he was going to get it while he could.

Luke had seen a lot of kids come and go over the years. He had come and gone out of his fair share of homes himself, shuffled around the city every few years like a thirteen-year-long game of hot potato. The way he had understood it was that his mother was unwed, and gave him up reluctantly, as she did not have the means to provide for him, nor any relatives willing or able to adopt. All he had to go on was a last name, which wasn't much; he supposed he could try to find her if he felt the need, but he had come to terms with it long ago; it was just the way his life was.
He no longer resented the facts, but it was hard to feel any sense of permanence or placement in a whirlwind of kids and locations.

And so he went off on the walks, to clear his head, to be left alone and have a few hours to himself.

He knew he couldn't just run off, but he couldn't help but wonder if anyone other than Jason (who was, at present, on the cusp of adoption himself, and would thus be leaving) would even have noticed if he had just wandered off into the night. He wagered probably not, at least not for a good long while.

It was starting to rain harder, and Luke shook his head to bring himself out of his reverie. There was no point in being caught up in it.

He looked to the fountain, and even with the water falling from the sky, he felt the need to approach it. He had tossed a coin into it some time ago, a childish wish. Of course, at the time of the wish, and even as he was approaching it, he had no idea that said coin tossed in ages ago would have any effect on his life at all-- let alone such a huge one, years later. He struck it from his mind.

Luke sighed, rubbing his fingers a coin in his pocket and wondering if he should throw it in, just for giggles. When he reached the lip of the fountain, however, his phone began to buzz, sidelining any thoughts of fountain wishes. He assumed it was just Jason trying to get back in touch with him, but when he fished it out with an eyebrow quirked, it was anything but. There was a text message on the screen; when he clicked it open, it was blank.

Well, by this point, it should be obvious what happened then.


"Are you okay?" Sampamon said as Luke opened his eyes. MagnaAriamon was still maintaining the shield around them-- a quick look around revealed that it had been perhaps a minute at most since the attack had hit. Sampamon herself was nudging her nose against his face, her expression worried.

"Yeah," he mumbled, forcing himself up, though his back seared with pain. He looked to the snake beside him, then out to survey his surroundings. In those seconds, Javermon had turned his attention away; ImperialBaghamon and WarTriassimon, together, began to rush the dog, respective weapons poised and at the ready.

"Imperial Saber!"

"Armor Breaker!"

Both scimitar and spear raked across the dog's back, but in Javermon's bloodlust, he barely seemed to register them. Instead, he lunged at WarTriassimon and roared:

"Wicked Crunch!" In the blink of an eye, he had the dinosaur held between his jaws and began to bite down, his acidic saliva starting to dissolve WarTriassimon's armor away.

"Fire Wave!" ImperialBaghamon roared, a veritable typhoon of flames spilling from his mouth and over Javermon. The hound couldn't ignore the crackling flames; he dropped WarTriassimon, who was quick to get away, and the cat himself stumbled backwards, a bit inelegantly.

Above, Rocmon was scouring the battlefield, Simon and Efudemon still held gingerly in his talons; the bird sent down rains of hail and fog, creating glaciers from the ground, to deter down any lingering foes, while Galeomon was quick to tear her way through the weakened enemies the bird's attack left-- there were almost no combatants left. It was a testament to them-- they had grown powerful.
Even so, it was easy to see-- every one of them was growing tired. Even beside him, up-close, Luke could see that MagnaAriamon was dishevelled. Javermon was unfairly strong, and the digimon of the team were tiring in a way that he wasn't-- and that the opposing forces weren't, having an abundance of fighters.

It was a flurry of sound and chaos; it'd be hard to blame Luke for having difficulty getting his head on straight.
And maybe it was for the better that this was so.

He pushed himself to his feet a bit unstably. He closed his eyes and breathed out.

All those years ago, he had asked for a place he belonged, for people he belonged with.
Well, here it was, and now wasn't the time or place to give up on them. He just needed to have the means to help.

He opened his eyes. He pulled his D-GEAR out of his pocket, and gave it a long hard look; he then looked down at the snake beside him. "Sampamon?" he said, quiet.


"Are you ready to do something really stupid?"

"I was hoping you would ask that," the snake replied, and Luke was a bit taken aback by her answer. She looked up and smiled at him. "Always, with you."

MagnaAriamon cast a sidelong glance at the two; she smiled, and let down her barrier-- before rushing forth to take her well-deserved turn at making an attempt to beat the crap out of Javermon and keep him away.

In his hand, Luke's D-GEAR began to blaze white very quickly, almost as though it had waited as long for this as they had. The light began to seep up the boy's arm, and he welcomed it as it engulfed both him and his partner, and both closed their eyes.

True warrior of the Virtue of Empathy; this is your genesis.

Two pairs of eyes snapped open, blazing shades of brilliant magenta, before the white light overtook them and began to expand around them. The shell of light was odd; tinged with vivid pink, it seemed to make the area around it darker, taking in the light and giving off none of its own. Dark shapes streaked across the surface of the orb, and then, like a light being flipped off, the light turned from white to black.

"Sampamon, genesis digivolve to..."

The paradoxically dark orb of light grew tremendously in size, clearly following in the footsteps of the Mega forms of Kamomon and Galeomon, more beastly than humanlike. Around them, within the orb, their senses were hard to discern-- it was like their senses of touch were being turned off to all sensation, and yet they were more aware than ever. Around them, the sound of rushing data, as all before them had experienced; interspersed with this sound, however, were beastly roars, the noises half-hidden under the less-literal roar of energy swirling around them.

Sampamon grew in size dramatically as Luke lent her his power, but she kept her serpentine shape. Her scales darkened in colour, becoming pure jet-black with grey on her underside, the latter fading to nearly-black the closer to her tailtip it was. The jewel on her head morphed into a golden faceplate, inset with three jewels; feathery ears decorated the sides of her face as it enlongated to be more dragon-like, razor-sharp teeth lining her mouth. Plumage in vivid warm colours decorated her head, while a ridge of cooler-hued feathers decorated her body nearer the tail-end of her body. Three golden rings hovered around her tail-- the tip of which had burst into grey feathers; two golden necklaces settled around her neck.

But not to be forgotten was the addition of limbs-- not legs, like HebiDramon had, but rather, tremendous wings. The secondary feathers of her wings were jet-black, the exact same glossy shade as her scales, and they blended seamlessly with her body at the point where they joined. The primary flight feathers, however, were vividly hued. It began at green at the rightmost feather on her right wing, then faded through blue to purple until hitting her body; the spectrum picked up seamlessly with red-violet at the inner edge of her left wing, continuing along until the leftmost feathers of her left wing were tipped in golden yellow.

With a roar, she threw her wings open, dispersing the dark sphere of light; it dispersed into the sky like smoke, and all that was left was the final Mega of the team. (And it was about time, at that.)


She promptly rose into the sky, almost silently; she was an imposing figure, her wings making a stark silhouette against the darkening clouds, and so she didn't need to make a noise to command attention. Even Javermon turned to look, eyes narrowed and snarling low.

Within the new mega, few words were exchanged.

Shall we? Quetzacaotimon's voice said, quiet and serene.

"I was hoping you'd ask that," Luke replied; he felt a sense of serenity settling around him, even though the battle was far from through. If he had a true physical presence in the core of his partner's Mega form, he would have closed his eyes. Quetzacoatimon's huge wings beat slow-- and without warning, she let loose a roar that split through the silence, and that was signal enough:

It was back on.

First things first, Quetzacoatimon was quick to make her first move-- but it wasn't an offensive one. "Fertile Rain!" she cried as she began to circle the battlefield, her wings shining brightly. The huge serpent left a trail of multicoloured light in her stead, and seconds after being left, the trail dissipated and fell like, well, rain. If it fell on any of their foes' heads, it simply dissipated harmlessly-- but the fighters on the ground (to wit: ImperialBaghamon, WarTriassimon, Galeomon, and MagnaAriamon) found that when it hit them, they felt rejuvenated-- like all of their wounds were half-numbed. Perhaps it was not a total heal, but it was a second wind.

Galeomon was first to use that second wind, and barrelled towards Javermon. "Crashing Wave!" the shark cried, encircled by a swirling orb of water that burst like a -- well, crashing wave -- as she smashed into Javermon. The dog snarled-- it was enough to send him skidding backwards.
Even so-- he was still on his feet. As Galeomon passed, he grabbed the massive shark by the tail. In a truly surreal spectacle, considering their mismatch in size, he heaved the shark towards the dark abyss.

Galeomon twisted her body and slammed her claws into the rock, but inertia kept her hindquarters going; a moment later, she was clinging to the edge of a cliff, dangling over a swirling mass of who-knew-what.

"Don't look down," Faris advised from within Galeomon.

Wasn't planning on it, yeom, Galeomon's voice replied, but even within their core, her voice was strained as she grit her teeth, trying to pull her massive bulk up.

Rocmon was on the job-- again, he had very sharp eyes, and was quick to take note and formulate a plan. "Forgive me for this, lads," he rumbled, dropping to the ground a short distance away from Javermon; Simon held Efudemon tight to his chest as he stumbled to his feet.

"Not a problem," the goggle-wearing boy replied, nodding once.

Rocmon looked at the pair, then nodded. The tremendous bird keened loudly, before rising into the air again, swooping towards the abyss-- or rather, towards Galeomon. In perhaps an intentional move, he grabbed Galeomon's tail in his talons and lifted her by it, in an admittedly rather undignified fashion, back onto solid ground.

In one last pass before her 'attack' ended, meanwhile, Quetzacoatimon passed over Simon and Efudemon-- the light flitted down and sunk into Efudemon's body. He groaned, stirring bit by bit, until--
The little furball was engulfed in white light, quickly becoming significantly heavier, and Simon just about dropped Efudemon as he digivolved into Egakumon, whther he was aware of it not.
"What the heck did I miss?" the newly re-formed rabbit demanded as his eyes snapped open, getting to his feet quickly. He felt fresh as a daisy-- though Simon still felt like he had been hit by a truck. The boy grinned, holding up his D-GEAR.

"Nothin', bro," the boy replied, as his digivice began to glow.

Rocmon took to the air again, taking a place opposite Quetzacoatimon; both serpent and bird flapped near-silently to stay in place in the air, eyes narrowed, entire bodies tensed and ready to fight. WarTriassimon held his spear tight, while MagnaAriamon let her grip on her staff remain loose. With a flash of fire, ImperialBaghamon instead put his scimitars away; with one of his pairs of arms, he cracked his knuckles in a very clear bring it on gesture, his back arms remaining tense and in a ready position. Galeomon got to her feet, flexing her claws and grinning.
And with a flash of light--

Kisekimon took Simon and Egakumon's place, stepping forward with a flash of light.

"I think we've got some business to take care of," Kisekimon said. "Don't you guys agree?" With that, he drew his swords, slow. His face was covered by his cloth mask, but it was impossible to imagine he was doing anything but smiling.

Javermon's head snapped around-- seven Megas. The entire lot had managed to digivolve-- and the last of the brats and his pet had given them a second wind.
Fine. Fine. He figured (and correctly, at that) that Qutezacoatimon likely would not be able to do it again, at least not for some time;

"Chain of Command!" he growled, twirling his length of chain with blinding speed, and lashing out at the nearest target-- ImperialBaghamon.

"Imperial Saber!" the cat returned, two of his curved blades appearing in his two 'frontmost' arms; the metal of the chain was met with the metal of the blades, and the force caused them to wrap around the sabers, but not hit ImperialBaghamon himself. Javermon snarled, tugging his chain back, and ImperialBaghamon pulled back to keep his weapons from being pulled with them.

"So we have a slight change to the plan," WarTriassimon said, mostly to himself, but audible. But it was a good one-- the addition of Quetzacoatimon.
Two cries came from overhead, the two digimon in flight calling attacks; the fighters on the ground backed away, tense and defensive as they tried to stay out of the way of the incoming spray from above.

"Bitter Hailstorm!" Rocmon cried, releasing a veritable torrent of sharpened hail as he flapped his wings.

"Brilliant Hunter!" Quetzacoatimon growled; on the underside of her wings, a thousand tiny, needle-like blades of light formed-- they shone with colour, and when she spread her wings wide, they shot out in a blinding stream.

Javermon growled; both attacks hit him squarely. He rolled back on his haunches, and leapt. "Wicked Crunch!" he rumbled; his jump was impressive, and he managed to lock jaws in Rocmon's throat. The bird let loose a loud cry, thrashing wildly to try and dislodge the canine.

"Nova Blade!" Kisekimon cried, leaping up in turn (well, he was -- in part -- a rabbit, after all), one sword brandished and glowing. He raked the blade across Javermon's hide and, as he fell back down to the ground, turned to look at what his attack had done; while it would be a lie to say it didn't leave a scratch, it didn't seem to do much.

"Electro Break!" Galeomon roared, rearing her hands back and then firing two twin balls of lightning at Javermon. They hit soundly, and, hitting one after the other, managed to dislodge the dog's jaws, or at least loosen them enough that a good wrench from Rocmon sent him tumbling back to earth.

"We're even then, lass," Rocmon said, beaming at the shark sidelong.

"Ain't nothin', yeom."

Javermon landed on his feet like a cat, and barely seemed hurt. Every digimon held their breath as he began to howl, loudly, snarling and spitting and--
His bones contorted as he returned to his bipedal stance. It did not seem to be a particularly comfortable transition, with how his teeth were grit and his chest was heaving.

"You asked for it," he spat, flexing his claws. "Then you'll have it," he continued; the look in his eyes was manic. And he began to grin.
It made the group very uneasy indeed.

"Blood Oath!" he roared, lunging forward and slashing scarlet-red claws across ImperialBaghamon's torso. Perhaps it had been that Kisekimon's swords that had leant him at least some of his protection against the attack, or perhaps it was that Quetzacoatimon's revitalizing power only had so much to lend; maybe even it was that Javermon's rage and bloodlust were making him stronger. Whatever the reason, the cat was sent tumbling backwards, only maintaining his Mega form by a hair's breadth.

It was a chorus of sound; each digimon cried out attacks to try and deflect the canine, he merely continued to call his Blood Oath attack time after time, decimating the attacks it met and tearing through the digimon it touched. They landed attacks in return for every one of Javermon's, but it felt that they were evenly matched-- even though it was seven against one. It was dark, now; it would be impossible to see but for the violet-red light of the crystal that shielded Era's cathedral.

In short: it felt like it was going nowhere.

"How is he this strong?" Luke mused 'aloud' within Quetzacoatimon, growing distressed; only Quetzacoatimon and Rocmon in the sky were the only ones with any claim to safety as they unleashed attacks from above, and it felt like a hollow and temporary safety at best.

Desperation and rage lend strength to him, Quetzacoatimon replied after a long pause. But they cannot last forever.

"Why won't you DIE!?" Javermon snarled suddenly, his cool officially out the window and lost-- it was as if on cue, an ironic counterpoint to Luke's thought. Suddenly, it fell quiet; his outburst caused a temporary lull in the fight. Not even the wind howled in the distance-- it was utterly still.

"Had you not abandoned your allies," Kisekimon said after a moment, his chest heaving, "perhaps you would have an easier time, instead of fighting us alone."

Javermon looked like he'd like nothing more than to force-feed Kisekimon his own swords. "I don't care," he said, his voice suddenly very quiet, and he began to lurch forward. "I don't care what happens. I just want one of you dead," he spat, and he reared his claws back. They began to glow red, but he was cut off before he could call his attack.

"Spectral Tail!" Quetzacoatimon cried from above, to the surprise of all the others. She slashed her tailtip through the air; from it was generated a black blade of energy, and this would be invisible if not for the aura around it that shone with every colour in the spectrum. The energy blade surged through the air, and hit Javermon squarely in the chest, the energy seeping into his body. The red light faded from his claws, and he stumbled backwards.

That attack actually seemed to have done something, and Javermon did not take it well. He growled low in his throat, and turned to look up at the feathered snake.
He planted his feet solidly before leaping skyward once more; even without the powerful haunches of his bestial form, he had quite the jump, and he grabbed fast to the serpent. A powerful grip allowed him to hold tight to Quetzacoatimon, near the base of her head even as she, instinctively, tried to dislodge him. "Blood Oath!" he yelled, rearing one hand back and holding fast but instead of slashing, he simply stabbed in, and Quetzacoatimon let loose a roar of pain. Javermon began to drag his claws, still glowing red, through her hide, and repeated the action with his other hand.

"We have to help her," WarTriassimon said (ImperialBaghamon looked sidelong at him, quirking an eyebrow-- he hadn't expected something so emotionally frank from the so-laconic reptillian), preparing his weapon.

"Be careful not to hit her," MagnaAriamon added, but before she even finished speaking her staff was glowing. "Radiant Lance!" she cried, throwing the polearm like a javelin.

"God Fist!" ImperialBaghamon roared, punching all four of his clenched fists out, sending their flaming aura out and towards Javermon.

"Blast Burst!" Kisekimon added, holding his palms out to fire blasts of energy.

Alongside him, Galeomon was preparing orbs of electricity. "Electro Break!"
While she did, however, WarTriassimon actually clambered up her back; she quickly understood what he was trying to do, and straightened herself up as best she could.

The dinosaur was using the shark as a platform to reach Rocmon; he wasn't the best of jumpers, and needed the height boost to grab onto Rocmon's claws, and, well, he would use what he had. Grabbing onto Rocmon's foot, the bird got the idea; he maneuvered himself closer. As soon as he could, the dinosaur hurled himself towards Javermon, who still holding fast to Quetzacoatimon's hide; the attacks of those below hit him, opening up the gates for the next two.

"Armor Breaker!" WarTriassimon cried, striking out at Javermon with his spear and leaping away before the dog had the chance to retaliate, falling backwards towards the ground-- and Galeomon rushed to catch him before he hit.

"Roc Claw!" Rocmon added, swooping as close as he could to slash out with glowing claws at Javermon, trying valiantly to avoid hitting Quetzacoatimon with his talons-- he wasn't entirely successful, but it did its job.

Six attacks hitting him in quick succession was more than enough to dislodge the dog, but not before Quetzacoatimon had sustained her fair share of damage.

Javermon hit the ground, and this time, he hit it like a bag of bricks. But yet, he was still grinning; Quetzacoatimon was having trouble keeping airborne.
Within the serpent, Luke was relatively sure that he had never experienced such excruciating pain; even though Javermon's claws were gone, it felt as though they lingered.

"That'll do for now," Javermon rumbled, and he raised his claws again. This time, they did not glow red-- instead, they glowed white, and he stepped towards the nearest-- MagnaAriamon. "Justice Reap--"

"Sacrificial Dance!" Quetzacoatimon roared, and her light cut through the night. It happened almost instantaneously. She reared up, her body twisting around, before she was engulfed by light. The light then rushed out of her body as a powerful black wave of energy -- and much like the blade of her spectral tail attack, it was surrounded by a multi-hued aura.
Javermon roared, rearing back, throwing his arms over his eyes.

Above, Quetzacoatimon herself lost all of her colour-- for a moment or two, all of her brilliantly-hued feathers were shades of grey, her head hanging. She spread her wings to slow her fall; she could no longer keep airborne, and she hit the ground, before she went up in light of her own. A moment later, only Luke and little Plumon were left, both with their heads similarly.

But as for Javermon?


For the first time, they saw an emotion in his eyes that wasn't confidence or anger-- it was pure confusion, for only a moment.

"What?" he snarled, taking a step backwards as his body began to shine. "No. No," he hissed. "I haven't failed him. This isn't possible," he spat, but it was certainly possible-- because with a flash of light, the last Reaper was nothing more than a stream of data firing into the sky, and an egg falling to the ground.
His small red cape was left behind, not taken with the data; it drifted down and nestled around the digitama that was left.

It was only a moment later that six flashes of light cut the night in their turns, and the six remaining megas turned into child and digimon once more. Each child was accompanied by their small Baby II-level digimon-- it had been much longer of a fight than any of them had ever spent in Mega form. They were sore, they were in pain, and they were tired.
But they had done it.

Slowly, all seven kids sat up and picked their partners up-- their digimon looked up at them, half-expecting that they would wake up from this dream any moment now. But they didn't-- Javermon, and the entire small army of digimon, was kaput. All that was left was to take on Era himself, in the cathedral in the abyss.
They looked over; they could see chunks of floating debris, more than large enough to stand on and close enough to step (not even jump) between, providing a stable (if rather precarious) bridge of sorts across the open air between the cliff and the floating island. Perhaps it had been a bridge at some time-- until very recently, most likely. And they just had to cross over, and then they would be there.

They did not know, yet, that the fight would not end in that cathedral-- of course it wouldn't, it couldn't be so easy.
But at the moment, as far as they could see it-- they were on the doorstep of the enemy, and the door was open.

Holy crap.

They mumbled betwixt themselves and their partners, quick "you alright?"s and congratulations. It felt too surreal-- they could only sit for now.

"Hey," Andrea said after a while, looking over at Luke; he looked up, blinking. He hadn't spoken, at least not audibly, since he and Plumon had de-digivolved. "What was with that at the end? I didn't think the mid-word cutoff attack was really your style." The girl was smirking.

Luke paused, looking at Plumon, who was in his lap; she looked up at him, expectant for his answer.
It had, after all, been his initiative, not hers, that had led to the attack that had finished the dog off.

"... he had lost it," he said, measured, still looking at Plumon. "He... if he had attacked any of you... he'd have killed you, digimon and human and all... That attack was almost what brought Simon and Egakumon down." He paused, and shrugged. "We couldn't let that just... happen. So we stopped it. Don't worry about it."

He looked up, then, and realized that the other six children and their respective digimon were looking to him. "But it was, like-- if that hadn't worked, you'd have left yourself open to attack, you know?" Emily said, tilting her head.

"Well... yeah," Luke said, then, as though that were obvious. "But if that had happened, it'd be fine-- it'd have at least been a distraction, and it'd have made it so you guys could--"

"Don't," Julian cut him off, with just one word.

"Don't pull that crap, it's way too late in the game for me to have any patience for dealing with it," Andrea said with a nod, and despite her harsh words her tone was surprisingly kind.

"You're one of us," Toby said, quiet but sincere.

"One of our big, screwed up family," Faris said cheerfully; it didn't go unnoticed, by him or by anyone else, that Luke's face went pink almost immediately.

"You're gonna have to get used to that, you know? Geeze," Simon said, like it was as obvious as anything; a nod of assent rippled throughout the other kids.

Luke paused, his face feeling very overheated. He looked down at his partner; she nudged her head against his chest and nodded, smiling. He sighed out heavily, but smiled and nodded. The kids began to stand, joining in a group instead of being strewn out wherever they had been at the end of the battle. Their digimon were in their arms (or, in Luke's case, as-ever, around his shoulders, even if she was far lighter at the moment).

"Your mega form is pretty hardcore," Efudemon said, then, from his position in Simon's arms, looking at Plumon.

"It suits you," Fuwamon concurred.

"Thank you," the little snake said, bowing her head politely, but she was smiling.

It wasn't long before all attention turned on the sole source of light-- Era's stronghold. It went quiet; the wind began to howl in the distance. Luke carefully brushed Javermon's cape off of the egg that the final Reaper left behind and picked it up-- carefully, gingerly.

"Shall we?" Simon said, grinning lopsidedly-- a bit unsure, but not about to give out now. None of them were.


Era, in his control room, in the heart of the stronghold, was slumped down in his chair. He didn't worry-- even if Javermon had been defeated. In fact, he had sent the Reaper out assuming that it would happen-- it didn't matter, anyway.

Nothing the kids could do now could matter.

[Chapter 44: End]