Retreating from Pennsylvania State was done quickly, with a promise from Jack to explain everything to Jamie when things had settled, and the tired group found a quiet patch of forest a few miles away to rest.
Sandy floated down onto a nearby boulder, letting out a silent sigh as the dream-sand cloud followed, dispersing gently as it deposited the battle-weary Chosen and their Digimon on the soft grass Bunny had cleared.
Retrieving the blanket from Jack, Kim threw it over her sister’s shoulders, pulling her close to share warmth as Gabumon leaned into her other side.
Shrugging off her coat, Casey gently coaxed Evie’s arms through the sleeves, zipping it up tight as Gatomon wiggled in under the hem and Agumon yawned, falling against his Warrior‘s back with a purr.
Bee shifted to compensate for her injured ankle, smiling as Tentomon took over and elevated it comfortably for her, and Ally fell over in relief, stretching out as Palmon fell over her chest with a sigh.
Leomon stopped in the middle of the clearing, scanning the area closely for a few moments before turning to the assembled group of once-controlled Digimon and Warriors.
“They need to rest if they are to have any chance of succeeding. You all should scout the area, make sure no darkness comes near.”
None of them argued, setting out to do just that as the lion-Digimon turned to face six exhausted Chosen and three worried Guardians.
“You don’t have long to rest. Devimon and Akuma are nearly ready to take over our worlds.”
“Of course they are…” Casey grumbled, relaxing minutely as Bunny sat beside them, a paw warm against her back.
“They are ruthless and cunning.” Kim commented, gaze flickering for a moment as Jack landed by her side. “They know we are weak and still regrouping, and will take advantage of the extra time to further their goals.”
“B-But our Digivices c-counteract their Black Gears a-and Devimon’s Touch of Evil a-attack.” Bee voiced. “W-We have an a-advantage this time.”
“An advantage they know about.” Kim pointed out.
“And what about Ma and Faye? They haven’t joined us yet…” Ally noticed, sitting up.
“The longer we leave Devimon and Akuma to their own devices, the stronger they will become.” Leomon warned.
Silence fell as the group mulled over their situation, trying to figure out the best course of action…
“Then we fight.”
All eyes snapped to Casey, who looked back without a single doubt in her mind.
“It’s the only way. Now or never.”
After a moment, Kim nodded as Gabumon straightened, bristling slightly.
“It’ll be hard…” Ally admitted, though her eyes soon lit up in optimism. “But I’m in, too!”
“I-I’ll help…” Bee agreed, fidgeting with the hem of her sweater.
The Guardians could not help but be proud, morale rising as they all became one in an objective.
“Then it’s settled!” Casey decided, grinning. “We’re going back to Burgess!”
Devimon scowled at the setback to his plans, and Akuma turned away from the messengers with a hiss, punching a boulder into dust out of frustration.
“It seems we will have to take care of them ourselves.”
“It’s the only reliable option, really.” His Warrior agreed, great black wings flaring out as his gaze settled on Ogremon and Pitch for a few moments.
“Give me another chance!” Ogremon begged, sensing his doom. “I’m sure I can defeat them this time!”
The smirk that took shape on Akuma’s face was predatory and dark, a warning if Pitch ever saw one, and the Nightmare King stayed silent, stepping back to hide in the shadows of the cliff overlooking Jack Frost’s lake.
“I’m positive you will, Ogremon.” The Warrior assured as Devimon raised a hand, dark energy coalescing in his palm. “As part of our bodies.”
Ogremon cried out as the large hand clamped on his throat and torso, his body disintegrating into a swarm of Black Gears.
Pitch could only watch the proceedings with dawning horror at the mistake he had made, unable to comprehend what had happened.
“Hey, Big, Dumb and Scary!”
All three turned to see the regrouped Chosen and Guardians on the lake’s shore, ready for battle and allies chomping at the bit.
“We’re here for a rematch!”
Leomon paused, taking the area in as confusion set in.
“Where is Ogremon?”
“Don’t you recognize your old friend?” Devimon taunted as the Black Gears congregated around him, hovering like deadly hummingbirds.
Bee covered her mouth with a gasp, violet eyes wide as she connected the dots.
“You turned Ogremon into Black Gears?”
The girls were visibly ill at the thought, and even Kim seemed unsettled.
Casey, however, was pissed.
“You…You bastards!” She snarled, eyes blazing orange. “He was your ally! He tried to help you!”
“And he will.” Akuma replied, a hint of madness flashing through his grin. “Once we absorb his power into our own.”
Realizing what was coming, Kim lashed out with multiple tentacles at the hovering gears, intent on destroying them.
The sky tore open at that moment, and a waterfall of Black Gears rained down to block her attack as the others reacted to join her.
Whatever damage the Digimon or Warriors dealt was not enough to so much as dent the horde, which began to rotate around the dark pair like a tornado.
Pitch disappeared into the shadows, wanting to be nowhere near the coming disaster, as the funnel contracted, growing smaller.
It was like a bomb going off, a pressure-wave of shattered ice and dark energy, that blinded the Chosen and their Digimon while sending most of their allies flying.
Once the dust cleared, the six girls gaped at the skyscraper-tall Digimon and the much-bigger Warrior before them.
“Shit.” Casey muttered, fire sparking up the entire length of her arms in agitation as Greymon snarled.
Evie curled into herself, light flaring up over her skin in irregular intervals as Gatomon hissed by her feet.
Togemon shifted, every needle along her body bristling as she shielded her partner, Ally’s hands twitching as roots twisted and curled around her feet.
Kabuterimon hovered over his Warrior, a note of warning in the buzz of his wings, as Bee’s eyes glowed brighter, pebbles and rocks and boulders shifting as they were slowly lifted out of place.
Kim moved the slightest bit, water icing over into blades as Garurumon bristled, baring his fangs.
Rocky could only stare, feeling much smaller than she was as Patamon hovered around her, bristling and puffing up as if to intimidate their foe.
Devimon straightened, towering over them like a giant over ants, as Akuma flexed his massive wings, muscles rippling with new strength.
“No more games!” Devimon vowed, spreading his wings and causing a whirlwind from the movement alone. “This time, you die!”
Casey snarled, every inch as determined and vicious as her Digimon.
“Bring it on!”
The attack struck Devimon hard in the chest, and she was already on the move, fire encasing her arms as she leapt up to deliver a brutal punch to Akuma’s face.
A hand clamped on her wrist, and Casey cried out as she was flung across the lake, skidding on the roughened ice.
Greymon thrashed as he was forcibly picked up, digging his claws into clothed flesh in an attempt to free himself.
Devimon was blinded by the blue flames, and Garurumon’s fangs sank into his arm with a vengeance.
The surface smoothed beneath Casey‘s raw back, and Akuma hissed as ice-tipped whips slashed at his face.
Shattering them with a wave of his hand, the bat Warrior released a blast of dark energy that knocked both girls off their feet, and Devimon flung their Digimon partners into the trees with a flick of the wrist.
Stumbling back as the projectiles dug in around his eyes, the dark Digimon growled as Togemon hammered at his leg with her boxing gloves in an attempt to keep him from the others.
Kabuterimon dropped sharply to avoid the errant swipe at his body, buzzing swiftly back into range.
“Electro Shocker! Electro Shocker!”
Akuma growled as thick tree roots squeezed around his legs, holding him in place as boulders and fallen trees splintered and broke against his tough hide.
With a roar, the bat-Warrior tore free of his restraints, catching a rather sizable stone and throwing it at one of his attackers in a rage.
Ally cried out as the projectile caught her shoulder, sending her flipping through the air before Bee reached out with her powers and caught her safely.
Half-blinded by tears, she gasped at the dark blur that flew towards her friend.
The brunette squeaked as she was tackled, head snapping back at the sudden stop and going dizzy from the pain, and Ally screamed as she landed on her injured shoulder.
“I’ll feast on your flesh first, child.” Akuma hissed, glistening fangs inches from the girl’s face.
Bee whimpered, every attempt at using her powers sending a stab of pain through her spinning mind and proving fruitless.
“Kabuterimon…” She choked out, struggling. “Kabuterimon!”
“Bea!” The Digimon yelled, panic for his girl blinding him to anything but her and leaving him open to Devimon’s next strike, which sent him tumbling into Togemon and into the snow.
Cursing profusely, Casey struggled to her feet, pulling Kim upright with her as Garurumon propped up a dazed Greymon.
“Son of a bitch-!”
With the roar of an enraged bull, a blur of rock and steely-grey eyes slammed into Akuma and knocked him clean off the distressed Bee, tumbling across the damaged ground like feuding beasts.
Devimon was knocked off balance by the multiple explosions across his torso, pulling his attention from the fallen Digimon at this new threat.
The brunette turned her head, vision still swimming, and let out a soft breath in surprise.
Faye pinned the larger man down, chest heaving and body trembling beneath her earthen armor as she leaned in threateningly, teeth bared in a snarl.
“No one hurts my Bumblebee.”
A burst of dark energy was the only thing to dislodge her, and she hit the ground rolling into a crouch as the wind picked up.
And then Ma was there, whirling into a kick that caught Akuma across the face, Unimon and Torime swooping down to help their fallen comrades.
“North! Tooth!” Jack shouted from his spot by Deltamon’s head, Sandy jumping up from where he sat by Monzaemon and Kuma.
“Help us out ‘ere!” Bunny added, lifting a limp Wizardmon onto his back as North ran up to check on Andromon and Tokage.
Tooth yelped as errant debris came their way, heavy boulders and shattered trees, just as a shield formed to protect the fallen and Guardians from harm.
Releasing a shaky breath, Evie let the wall of light fall, barely recovered from her last ordeal enough to hold it for longer.
Another shockwave of power knocked everyone off their feet, shaky as they already were, and it forced a lull into the battle that had still been raging.
Gritting her teeth at the pulsating ache through her torso, Kim forced herself up, water hissing and crackling as it heated and cooled in quick succession around her.
When she saw where Akuma was heading, the blue-eyed Warrior growled in maternal rage.
Rocky’s breath caught in fear as the bat-Warrior loomed over her, curling around Patamon protectively as he raised a clawed hand-Water wrapped around the exposed wrist, yanking him away from the downed girl and her Digimon with a snap.
Fed up with the resistance, Akuma turned on the interfering Warrior, knocking aside her attacks before ramming Kim firmly in the chest with his shoulder.
Hitting the dirty snow with a choked sound, the black-haired teenager struggled to restart her constricting lungs, Garurumon’s howls faint as Akuma stood over her.
“Enough of this.”
This time she did scream, white-hot pain shooting up her leg as the dark Warrior stomped and twisted on her vulnerable knee.
Curling onto her side, Kim ground her teeth at the agony coursing up through her nerves, fighting back reflexive tears as Akuma raised his foot for another blow.
With a roar, Casey slammed into his side, fire streaming behind her at the speed as they tumbled across the muddy ground before separating.
Rolling into a crouch, she wasted no time in springing back into the fray, fists aflame as she hammered away at the larger Warrior in a rage.
Growling at the annoyance, Akuma caught the girl’s next punch and landed his own on exposed ribs as he pulled.
A series of wet CRACKs and a sickening POP stole Casey’s breath, agony choking any sounds she tried to make as Akuma tossed the redhead towards her friend’s downed body.
Both of their Digimon leapt to their defense, fire building behind they fangs-
Devimon brushed them aside, tumbling through trees in a tangle of paws and tails, whining and whimpering in pain.
Trees shifted, roots growing and bursting through the soil in a tangle of cords, snapping out at Akuma to deter him from the Guardians and younger Chosen as Togemon rose up.
Devimon knocked the large needles off-course, kicking the cactus-Digimon across the lake into the small cliff there as Akuma tore through the thrashing wood and slammed Ally into a tree, taking a moment to let the splinters find purchase in her back before throwing the blonde into a still-dazed Bee.
The explosives detonated harmlessly against Devimon’s shoulder, and he reached for the arctic Digimon to pick him up.
“Harpoon Torpedo! Harpoon Torpedo! Harpoon Torpedo-!”
Ikkakumon paused and flailed as he was lifted off the ground, and Birdramon swooped in, hoping to save him.
Both Digimon yelped as they collided, falling to the ice in a heap as their partners jumped into action.
Rocks shot up from the ground in sharp spikes, blades of wind dissipating against Akuma’s hard flesh as the two Chosen moved in to subdue him.
Another surge of energy, and Faye’s rock-armor cracked under the force as Akuma kicked her in the hip, the wet POP of a joint dislocating jarring the teenager’s entire system.
“FAYE!” Ma screamed, lunging forward in an attempt to save her before the bat-creature’s fist slammed into her temple and sent her into a snowdrift, blood painting the white powder in red droplets.
When none of the Chosen or their Digimon rose up to continue fighting, Devimon and Akuma turned to face their true target.
Blue eyes wide in fright, Rocky scrambled back, heart tripping over it’s own rapid pulse as Patamon hovered before her, just as panicked.
“The prophecy says you would be the one to defeat us.” The large Warrior noted, clearly unimpressed. “So you will be the first to die.”
A massive hand came down towards them, long fingers hooked like claws, and Patamon puffed up.
He was not about to let anyone hurt Rocky.
A shield formed around them, expanding quickly to push Akuma back as a white blur barreled towards the incoming hand.
The limb retracted sharply at the unexpected assault, Gatomon latching on with fangs and claws to the wrist, ring glowing as her tail lashed about.
Devimon stumbled as the other Digimon joined her, holding on to arms and legs and his face with talons and fangs and claws and needles in an attempt to hold the skyscraper-sized Digimon back.
Despite their own injuries, the other Chosen leapt upon Akuma in the same manner, trying to immobilize him as best they could.
Kim held down one of his arms, jaw clenched at the awkward angle of her injured knee, and Casey pinned the other, fighting through the pressure on her broken ribs and dislocated arm to hold strong.
Roots came up to hold one leg still, and Ally there to keep them from being destroyed, splinters of all shapes and sizes sticking from her back like the protective quills of a porcupine.
Bee used her weight to pin it’s twin, eyes closed tight as her head pounded, struggling to use her powers.
Ma and Faye wrestled with his wings, clinging tight to keep them from thrashing, ignoring their own wounds in order to help their friends.
“Fools!” Devimon roared. “You have no hopes of defeating us!”
This next explosion of energy was much greater than all the ones before it, and sent all seven Digimon and six Chosen flying, landing in heaps around the destroyed clearing, too injured and weak to get back up.
Akuma’s fist slammed on the shield protecting Rocky and Patamon, and it shattered as Evie cried out, nowhere near recovered from the blow Ogremon had dealt her shields before as she fell.
“Leave them alone!”
A blast of cold deterred the dark Warrior for a moment, and Jack pulled Rocky back, the temperature dropping drastically.
The Guardians encircled her and Patamon protectively, weapons drawn, despite knowing the odds.
Rocky could almost see how this would end, and she knew she could not allow it to happen.
There was no one else to save them, no one else who could possibly win, and it was all up to her now.
She was their last resort, their last hope, and she would show that she had what it took to be that for everyone.
Patamon felt it through the Bond, that surge of determination and hope, and it strengthened his own resolve.
“Prepare to die.”
Devimon’s hand descended once more, and the Guardians tensed, ready to fight-
Rocky pushed her way between Jack and North, Patamon leaping from her shoulder, both pairs of bright blue eyes locked on their opponents in stubborn glares.
“NO!” Kim screamed, realizing exactly what her sister was doing.
The blonde closed her eyes as the hand closed around her, Patamon’s shout the last thing she heard before the darkness.
For the first time in centuries, the light of hope fell over the Earth and lit up the dark.
Devimon hissed, burned by the transformation, and everyone watched in shock as Rocky and Patamon underwent their first evolution together.
“Patamon, Digivolve to…Angemon!”
The angel hovered over his Warrior, white light emanating from his wings like a beacon and golden staff held firmly in one hand.
Rocky took a deep breath, yellow shining through the blue of her eyes and skin glowing with an inhuman light.
She could almost feel Angemon’s heartbeat, pulsing in time with her own…
“Damn!” Devimon cursed, smoke emanating from his injured palm as Akuma tried to shield his eyes.
“You two have disrupted the balance of our worlds. We can not allow you to continue.” Angemon stated firmly, like a judge before a convicted criminal.
“Just try and stop us!” Akuma challenged, lunging forward in a bid to rip Rocky’s head off.
The glow of her skin brightened, completely obscuring her from view, and the bat-Warrior was thrown back as if struck, skin smoking as his dark aura met purifying light.
“We won’t allow you to hurt anyone ever again.” Rocky vowed, steady and calm.
Angemon raised his staff like a beacon, and all of the other Chosen gasped as light was coaxed from their Digivices, reversing their own evolutions as all the energy converged into his weapon.
Rocky felt the spike of power, like being filled with an ocean, and closed her eyes to latch onto her Digimon for support in the sudden rising tide.
Don’t worry, RJ, his voice echoed through, firm and caring. We can do this.
In that moment, she had no doubts that they could.
The dark pair moved in to attack, enraged and desperate-
And they struck back.
“Hand of Fate!”
Rocky went numb as she unleashed all of the pent-up energy within her, focusing it into a blast that tore right through the charging Akuma.
Suddenly light-headed and weak, she stumbled, falling to one knee.
Faintly, the blonde heard voices, and lifted her blurring gaze.
Angemon, he was…
“Angemon?” Rocky choked out, mentally scrambling for the Bond as she felt it begin to fray.
Even as he disintegrated, Angemon smiled for her, resigned.
“I have to go now, RJ.”
“No…No, please…” She begged, reaching through the Bond in desperation. “Don’t…”
“I’ll come back.” He promised, sending his girl the last of his strength and love. “If you want me to.”
Rocky screamed as the Bond snapped, like her heart had been crushed and ripped from her chest, mind going blank at the pain and emptiness she suddenly felt.
A hand gently touched her shoulder, and Rocky shuddered, unwilling to move as her body shook.
Ignoring her wounds, Kim pulled her sister into an embrace, tears building as she felt the shaking turn into heart wrenching sobs against her heart.
Gabumon whined, stumbling up to press against Rocky’s back like he was sure Patamon would have done.
Pitch watched from a distance as the Chosen and Guardians, Digimon and Warriors, encircled their fallen like a protective ring, closing her off from the outside world and it’s pain.
He should have been pleased, have been glad to have an enemy so thoroughly removed from the equation…
The Nightmare King disappeared into the shadows, recalling all of his Nightmares.
For just this one night, no child would fear the monster hidden under the bed.
Evie raised her head as a movement caught her eye, gasping in surprise as she realized what it was.
Peaking out just enough to see through one teary eye, the blonde’s breath hitched as beautiful white feathers floated down from the sky towards her.
Jack watched in awe as the downy feathers landed gently in a pile, letting off the softest glow as they reformed into…
“A Digi-Egg!” Tentomon realized, buzzing from his place by North, Bee cradled in one of his burly arms.
“A Digi-Egg?” Tooth parroted, shifting to better support Ma’s weight as Biyomon nodded.
“Angemon used up too much energy, so he has to rest.”
“If you take care of the Digi-Egg, it will hatch, and the Digimon will eventually Digivolve back into Patamon.” Gabumon explained gently.
Reaching out to the yellow-and-white striped egg and scooping it into her arms, the preteen curled around the delicate shell protectively.
There was a glimmer of hope-that Pat would come back, that she would soon feel him again-, and Rocky choked out a relieved laugh through her tears.
Everything would be alright.
The Man in the Moon smiled down upon his charges, proud of their strength and their bonds.
The dark could never truly understand why they could not beat the light.
For, though it is frail, Hope is a very difficult thing to kill.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Victoria LaguardiaWrite a Review