“Where are we heading?” Ken looks to Wizardmon. They’re cleaning up their camp site, night having changed to day.
“My original plan was just to get as far away from the Crystal Castle as possible.” Wizardmon scans the forest. “We need to locate Taylor's, yours, and Aaron’s partners first off. Then we can head onward to the rest of the plan.”
“What is the rest of the plan?” Taylor is finishing up with Seline’s digivice, one eyebrow raised even while her eyes are focused on the screen. “You didn’t really go over that. We got past the whole Chosen and Digital World stuff, but after that, there was this whole Sovereign thing you didn’t touch on.”
“The Digimon Sovereigns are the protectors of the Digital World. One for each cardinal direction. There is Azulongmon of the East, Baihumon of the West, Zhuqiaomon of the South, and Ebonwumon of the North.” Wizardmon looks across the group. Taylor retrieves a lollipop from her bag, taking the wrapper off and sticking it into her mouth.
“And the fifth?” Taylor questions.
“Excuse me?” Wizardmon blinks at her.
“I know my mythology. There is a fifth creature that protects the center.” Taylor sucks on the lollipop. “The azure dragon is the east, vermilion bird is south, black tortoise is north, and white tiger is west. There’s elements associated with them but there’s also a creature at the center. So who’s the center?”
“I—I have heard rumor of such a being. I do not know their name.” Wizardmon shakes his head. “It is a being of gold. That is all I know.”
“Then we know what Sytrimon’s goal is.” Ken grimaces. “The fifth. He’s got four out of five locked away, so he has to be looking for the fifth.”
“Then we need our partners as soon as possible.” Taylor pops the lollipop loudly, finishing up and disconnecting Seline’s digivice. “All done. Here you go!” She appears to have managed to combine the two devices carefully, having worked a lot of the previous night on it. “I love this place, all the technology and look, I’ve even got a map!” Taylor points at her screen. “I found out there’s one on the digivice as well.”
“You found out a lot of features?” Aaron’s face turns excited. Miyuki leans over to look, Lalamon on her lap.
“Yeah. Seline’s is less advanced but generally, there’s the analyzer, a map which it looks like we can track and find each other, there’s a clock, I can play with some stuff but there’s something interesting here that I can’t seem to do anything with on mine yet.” Taylor tilts her head. “The option’s open on Seline’s but only when it’s actually in her hand.”
“It’s the partner connection,” Wizardmon explains.
“Oh.” Taylor pops the lollipop back into her mouth. “I’ll try not to play with it too much then.”
“Taylor,” Justin chastises.
“You can’t hand me something and not expect me to play with it,” Taylor protests. “Besides, if we have a destination, I can find it now!”
“How about the Machine Empire?” Giga questions. “I think I can smell it, so it can’t be that far, but I don’t know which direction.”
“Is that really a good choice of place to go?” Wizardmon questions.
“We were there to recover just before all of this,” Mega states. “Our friend did the work on Seline’s neck. We’ll be safe and indoors.”
“That way.” Taylor points in a direction. “It’s not really that far. The mechanical place, right?”
“Yep! That’s our home, I can only assume it’s Factorial Town.” Giga cheers after speaking.
“Then let’s head out and go.” Taylor shuts her computer, putting it into her bag. “That okay with you, fearless leader?” She looks to Ken. He blinks before giving a nod.
“Yeah, let’s go.” The group heads out, Mega and Giga leading the way. Ken and Seline are close behind them, the rest trailing along.
“Welcome to Factorial Town!” Giga announces as they head into the machine-like town. They both look extremely happy to be there, Seline walking along with hands in her pockets. Two large knights, KnightChessmon, stand guard in black and white, looking them over. A white PawnChessmon runs off, seeming to be announcing their presence.
“Wow, this place is awesome!” Taylor looks around, looking rather starry-eyed. Miyuki links an arm through hers with a giggle.
“Can’t let you run off alone now.” Taylor gives a complaint at Miyuki’s comment, dragging her feet. Lalamon gives a giggle at the two of them, floating along beside the two. Wizardmon and Justin are at the back of the group. By the time they reach towards the center of town, there’s a group of digimon following along with them. Ken’s having a hard time keeping up with all of them as he scans them to know what they are.
“Are you a little weirded out by this?” Aaron has caught up, speaking to him as he looks around.
“Yeah.” Ken answers after a short silence. “Yeah I am.” Seline steps back a bit, looking nervous. Mega and Giga echo her expression as she types into her keyboard, the whole device attached to her wrist.
“They didn’t do this with me from what I know, something weird is going on.”
“Damnit.” Ken glances around the digimon. “Do we have an escape route?” He keeps his voice low.
“Not really. There are too many digimon and the two KnightChessmon at the entrance protecting the city.” Ken curses again under his breath.
“Chosen ones, we welcome you to our town.” A digimon breaks through the ranks, a Clockmon as Ken’s digivice informs him. “You’ll have to excuse their manners, not many have seen humans. We were shocked enough when Mega and Giga brought this one with them.” He shoos some of the digimon away, the group beginning to disperse. It takes a lot of the stress off of Ken.
“Hi, Clockmon,” Giga greets him. “You got a place for all of us?”
“Easily. We would always have space for the two of you and any friends you may bring.” Clockmon gives a very small bow. “Any Chosen are equally welcome as our residents are.”
“Yay!” Giga cheers, seeming rather happy.
“We need Seline’s neck looked at, to see if her collar can come off. Do you know where Koku is?” Mega questions, reaching up and placing a hand on Seline’s arm. She places a hand to her neck, hanging her head as her face flushes.
“He should be in the clinic.” Clockmon nods, gesturing. “I’ll get your housing set up. I know that your home isn’t large enough to support all of you.”
“Thanks Clockmon!” Giga starts to lead Seline off by the hand. “Come on, let’s go see Koku!” There’s a small smile on Seline’s face as she’s drug along by the energetic Monodramon. Mega sighs and looks back at the group.
“You can follow us if you’d like, or I can show you around town.”
“I’d prefer us to all stay together, if that’s all right with everyone.” Ken glances over the group, getting a few nods in response. Taylor is still staring at the buildings and electronics. He starts after Seline and Giga, the rest of the group following, Miyuki pulling Taylor along.
“Koku!” Giga calls out as they head into the building. A small mechanical digimon toddles into sight, looking at them with red eyes.
“Giga, Mega, your friend is up. I’m glad that all of you are safe.” Ken does a quick scan over the digimon, reading that it’s a Kokuwamon. “Oh, you’ve got more friends.”
“This is Seline, that’s Ken, Miyuki, Taylor, Justin, and Aaron. Then there’s Wizardmon and Lalamon.” Giga points over the group. Taylor has become distracted by her digivice, playing with it for a bit.
“What’s up with it?” Miyuki’s leaned over looking at it.
“Dunno. It’s trying to tell me something but it’s like it’s blocked.” Taylor speaks quietly to her. “It’s not beeping, so I guess that’s not it.”
“Aw. This is the perfect place for you too.” Miyuki pouts, Lalamon in her arms again.
“Let’s take a peek at your neck, Seline.” Koku guides her over to a seat, starting to look her neck over with small hums. “It looks good. We could remove it tomorrow.”
“Aw.” Giga pouts. Seline smiles, scratching Giga’s head. “I was hoping you’d be able to speak again.” Seline shrugs softly, a small smile still on her face. She taps out a response.
“It’ll happen eventually.”
“I know.” Giga grumbles, bumping her softly.
“Come back tomorrow and I can take it off.” Koku starts to lead them out of the hospital rather quickly. Mega and Giga look rather surprised as the group stands outside.
“I smell something fishy,” Mega states. Giga sniffs the air.
“Let me see your digivice, Taylor.” Wizardmon holds his hand out. Taylor moves to hand it over but Wizardmon has her keep a hand on it. “Yes, something’s blocking it, but your partner is here.”
“Where?” Taylor starts looking around.
“I’m not certain, maybe you can use your computer to locate them.” Wizardmon glances around again. “We should head back. Something strange is going on here.”
“Are we good?” Ken looks to Mega and Giga. The two nod, keeping an eye out. Wizardmon has a protective spell over the room, making sure that no one can hear them. “Then let’s talk about this. Taylor’s partner is here and they’ve got them hidden away.”
“I’m working on a search for them right now.” Taylor has her computer up and another lollipop in her mouth. “I’m finding some resistance but I’m slowly working it down, like a phone trace.”
“That leaves the reasoning for the town to be hiding her partner.” Ken looks over the group.
“I don’t know why they’d do it. Or even know that it was her partner. Everything’s been feeling funny though,” Mega comments, glancing back at them. “It smells like home but everything’s on edge.” Giga nods in agreement.
“Is it possible something’s happened in the time that you’ve been gone?” Wizardmon questions the pair.
“Yeah, but we’ve been gone such a short period of time.” Mega shakes his head.
“Was there anything funny the last time you were here?” Ken asks them. There’s a very long silence.
“I did notice that everyone seemed to be a little more skittish. There were more residents compared to now too,” Giga states. Mega looks to him in surprise.
“All right, so something’s offing residents, scaring them and locking Taylor’s partner away.” Aaron states, laying out the facts that they know. “Are we in a horror story?”
“Aaron,” Taylor scolds, not even looking up. Aaron grins at her in response.
“Any progress?” Ken glances to her.
“Yeah, I’m down to centering on Factorial Town. I’ve had to slowly work my way in from the whole world.” Taylor shakes her head. “At least the digivice is constant instead of hanging up on me like a real phone call trace. I’m just playing hide the trace mainly.” She’s a little slow at typing, but seems to be extremely focused on what’s happening on the screen.
“It’s really interesting to watch.” Miyuki comments, watching the screen. Lalamon also appears to be watching the screen. Taylor pops her lollipop again, typing with one hand.
“So then, when we find out where he is, what do we do?” Aaron questions.
“Our best chance is to all go.” Justin speaks quietly. “If we leave someone behind, they could be taken hostage. And if we leave a digimon behind to protect them, they might not be able to.”
“Ooh. I don’t know if I’m good in a battle.” Lalamon is quiet when she speaks.
“Either way, there’s a battle on the horizon.” Ken grimaces. “Whether it’s here or there is a different matter, but there will be one.”
“We should stay together then.” Miyuki nods, hugging Lalamon tighter.
“I’ve got it. Giga, you know where this is?” Taylor turns the computer around to show them the screen, looking rather curious.
“That’s Koku’s clinic.” Giga blinks. “But Koku helped Seline.” Mega growls a little darkly.
“If that’s what he’s up to, holding partners hostage, then he’s only pretending to be helpful. He knew that Seline wasn’t a Chosen, so then it doesn’t matter if she’s wandering around. Five Chosen plus one Tamer? That’s a problem.” Mega flicks his tail through the air. “We should go now. The shift change is happening. No one will be on guard duty for approximately five minutes.”
“Everyone ready?” Ken looks around the room. Everyone nods, various stages of nervousness on their faces. Taylor puts her computer away, looking the most focused.
“Let’s go get them.” They head out of the building, running for the clinic as fast as they can.
“Come on, come on!” Giga calls back to them. They make it to the clinic quick enough to all get inside before the shift change ends. Miyuki leans against the wall, Lalamon hovering beside her, Miyuki breathing a little heavily.
“Taylor, where are they from here?” Ken looks out the window on the door in concern. Wizardmon summons a couple orbs of light for them to see by, the inside of the clinic dark compared to earlier. Taylor opens her computer, looking over the screen, clicking around on it.
“How do we go down?” Ken looks to Mega and Giga. Giga pauses before bouncing over to a spot in the room.
“I remember seeing Koku use this once, a long time ago.”
“Where is Koku?” Mega casts his gaze around, grimacing. “It’s unlike him to not be here. The clinic only rarely closes.” Giga opens up a hidden trapdoor in the ground, starting to head downwards.
“Everyone be on alert. We need to be aware of our situation.” Ken is close behind him. The rest of the group follows, Seline and Mega at the back, closing the door behind themselves. The group is silent as they head downstairs, Giga sniffing the air. They hit a floor at the bottom, starting to search with Taylor in the lead. She seems to have been able to turn off the beeping noise, or at least silence it. There’s a small light blinking on the front of the device.
“Here.” Taylor points at a door she’s stopped in front of. “They’re down this way.” Ken tries the doorknob before looking to Giga.
“You think it’s trapped?”
“No?” Giga sniffs the door before shaking his head. “Nope.”
“If you’ll please?” Ken smiles. Giga blinks before getting it, nodding. He uses his claws on the doorknob, ripping it off. Ken stops the door from opening however, catching the pieces of the doorknob before they can make a noise. He peers through the hole Giga’s made. “We have a very small problem,” he whispers.
“What?” Aaron looks rather nervous, eyes darting here and there.
“There might be a few digimon waiting for us on the other side of the door.” There’s a very long silence.
“Do they know we’re here?” Miyuki whispers, hugging Lalamon closer to her.
“Not yet. There’s enough of them to be concerned though.” Ken gestures a little. “Mega, Giga, Wiz, get on either side of the door, be prepared. We’re doing to see if we can knock their numbers down a little before we go in.” Wizardmon blinks slowly.
“Wiz?” The group draws to either side of the door, Ken still holding the door in place.
“It’s shorter than Wizardmon every single time.” Ken shrugs. “Come up with another name and I’ll happily call you it.” He dodges to the side as he releases the door. It slowly swings open slowly.
“Who’s there?!” Ken holds a finger to his lips, silencing every noise that could’ve come out. There’s a very long pause. “You two, go close that door again. Stupid thing.” There’s the clank of two creatures headed towards them. Mega and Giga tense, ready to pounce, while magic swirls around Wizardmon’s hand.
“Drag them out of the doorway,” Ken whispers. When the two Kokuwamon come into sight, Giga and Mega mob one, yanking it from the doorway. Ken and Wizardmon grab the other, a pair of silent attacks destroying the two before the Kokuwamon can attack them.
“Data Crusher!” The attack from the other side explodes the wall above them. Miyuki squeals in fright, Taylor attempting to protect her and Lalamon. The other three digimon run into the room, along with Seline, Justin, and Ken.
“Two Kokuwamon, and one…” Ken stops short, scanning the small digimon in front of them. “Datamon!”
“You, what are you doing here?” Mega demands. “Koku! Koku, what’s going on?” The Kokuwamon they had apparently met earlier manages to look almost guilty, the other rather blank. Then Koku’s expression turns blank.
“I control the town.” Datamon claims.
“Not good, he’s an Ultimate level.” Wizardmon holds his staff in a defensive position.
“How bad is that?” Justin questions.
“We have a total of three rookies and a champion.” Wizardmon explains quickly. “I’d feel more comfortable if we had at least two champions.”
“The only other choice in Champion would leave you with little room to move.” Mega states, jumping forward. “Crack Bite!” The Kokuwamon shakes Mega off, Mega bouncing back and launching in with a strike. “Beat Knuckle!”
“I think I can see Taylor’s partner.” Ken retreats beside Seline, attempting to aim the scan on his digivice towards the back of the room. There’s something back there, hooked up to machines. Seline gives a nod, seeming to direct Giga towards it. The Datamon and Kokuwamon block him, Wizardmon attacking with an electric attack that Datamon shudders at before responding. Wizardmon jumps back, Justin dodging to the side.
“Come on! You can do it!”
“I could sneak around them.”
“That’s a terrible idea. You could get hurt.” Ken grimaces, wishing he could do more than watch the fight.
“Ken, pull up the information again.” Taylor is beside Ken suddenly, opening her computer. Ken pulls up the information on Datamon again. “Hmph. All focused on hacking, huh?” A nasty smile is appearing on Taylor’s face. “Picking on those weaker than you?”
“Oh shit, I’ve seen that face before. When that Dronius guy was fighting her in a hacking game.” Justin looks a little wary. Ken echoes Justin’s reaction, looking rather frightened by the change in Taylor’s attitude. Aaron, Miyuki, and Lalamon are close nearby, everyone looking rather frightened by this point.
“Plug Bomb!” The group scatters, Taylor still holding her computer. Wizardmon leaps in to attack again, getting flung backwards by a Data Crusher attack. Giga and Mega have taken out the two Kokuwamon, turning their attentions towards Datamon. “Oh, you think you have an advantage of three on one?” The Datamon seems rather amused, looking between the three. “You have no advantage. Plug Bomb!” Ken grabs the back of Seline’s shirt, stopping her from running into the fight as Mega and Giga are blown backwards. Wizardmon is the first to get to his feet, retaking a defense posture. “How weak you all are.” Datamon scans over the group with one eye. “How weak.”
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