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Return to the Digital World I: Reunion

Chapter Text

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

A group of four teenage guys was lounging around a pair of park benches, garnering a few dirty or suspicious looks from passers-by. They were generally dressed like slobs, one had a cigarette sticking out of his mouth (the one sitting blatantly next to the ‘no smoking’ sign), and a bag containing what looked suspiciously like beer bottles rested by their feet. It also didn’t help their case that they were catcalling and overtly hitting on any female between the ages of fifteen and thirty that passed by. One particular blonde around their own age had just caught their attention.

“What’s up, babe? Haven’t seen you before.” One, wearing a suggestive grin, got up and moved to stand in front of her, blocking her path. “You new in town?”

The girl in question narrowed her green eyes slightly, not cowed in the slightest. “So what if I am?”

He responded with a lascivious look, his eyes trailing up and down her body. The action wasn’t missed as she frowned deeply, but he seemed to neither notice nor care. “Well, we can’t have a pretty thing like you getting lost, now, can we? I can give you a tour, show you around. And you and I can get to know each other a little better.”

“No thanks,” she replied in a falsely sweet tone, “I can find my way around just fine.” She turned to move around him, but he grabbed her by the wrist.

“It’s not just knowing your way around that’s important,” he breathed in her ear. She stiffened at the invasion of her personal space. “There are the spots where the real shady people hang out. We wouldn’t want you running into those places all by your lonesome. You should have someone by your side. I’ll stick real close to you.”

She pulled back, though he still had a grip on her wrist. “I can also take care of myself just fine.” Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “And unless you let me go right now, I’ll be more than happy to demonstrate.”

The idiot only chuckled and leaned in even closer. “I like my ladies feisty.”


The guy looked up at the new voice breaking into the conversation, and the girl used the distraction to wrench her arm free and punch him in the face. He stumbled back and landed flat on his ass, nearly crashing into the new guy on the scene. The guy blinked his light grey eyes in slight surprise before turning to face the rest of the gang, who had all gotten to their feet.

“You shouldn’t have done that, bitch,” one spat, “Now we’re gonna hafta-”

“What?” the stranger interrupted harshly, stepping between the girl and them, “You do remember the last time you thought you could mess with a lady around here, don’t you?” One of the less tough-looking gang members hesitated and took a half-step back. The first one staggered to his feet.

“You think you’re so tough, Miura,” he growled, “One day, you’re going to regret tangling with us.”

“You say that every time. Now run along, unless you’d like to make a scene in front of all these people.”

The guy’s eyes flicked around to the people walking by, either slowing down to watch the brewing confrontation or hurrying along to avoid getting caught up in it. This seemed to change his mind, and he backed off, still scowling. “You’d better watch yourself, Miura. One day, I promise, and you’re never gonna see it coming.” Then he turned tail and ran.

The boy glared after them before turning to face the girl. His face softened in concern. “Are you okay?” he asked gently, “They didn’t hurt you or anything?”

She shook her head. “Nah, I’m fine. They would’ve gotten more than a fist to the face if they’d actually tried anything. But thanks for the assist.”

He ran his fingers through his shaggy, dark brown hair. “No problem. Though now I’m not sure you really needed it. That was some right hook.” He stuck out his hand. “I’m Miura Kyōsuke. Are you new in this neighbourhood?”

She shook his hand back with a small smile. “Orimoto Izumi, and yes, we just moved in two days ago. I was just walking around to get a feel for the place.”

“At the risk of sounding like that creep, I could show you around, if you want.” He offered her a shy grin.

“Sure, I think I’d like that.”


“Tomoki! Pass it over here!” The thirteen-year-old looked over across the field, seeing that his buddy Kagura Sasuke was wide open. He kicked the ball to him and paused for a second as his partner received it and, with one strong kick, sent it flying past the goalkeeper and between the two stumps at the edge of the local park, which marked the makeshift goalposts.

“Goal!” Tomoki shouted, pumping his fist in the air, “Game over!”

High-fiving each other, the two boys and the rest of their team cheered, while the other kids argued.

“I told you we shouldn’t have picked that new guy,” one boy stated, “He’s a total klutz!” A Hispanic kid with dark hair and a purple sweater vest turned sadly and began to walk away. Noticing this, Tomoki broke off from his team and followed him.

“Hey, wait up!” he called. The boy stopped and faced him. “Don’t listen to Tetsuji, alright? He’s a sore loser. Besides, he screws up more than everyone around. Don’t tell him I said that, though.”

The new kid smiled a little. “Thanks,” he replied in somewhat clumsy Japanese with a Spanish accent, “I’m Juan Cortez. My family and I just moved here from Spain only two days ago.” His brown eyes had the look of a kicked puppy, but they brightened up as Tomoki spoke to him.

“I’m Himi Tomoki. You know, there’s this new skate park that just opened across town. We’re gonna check it out. Wanna come?”

“I would, but my Mamà doesn’t want me to try anything like that, and I promised I’d come right home after the game. Thanks anyway.”

“Shin’ya, how many times do I have to tell you?! No basketball in the house!”

“Sorry, mom! I mean, we’re not breaking anything, but sorry, anyay!” The tanned young teen tossed the ball to his friend Matsuno Mami, but missed. Instead, it bounced off the head of an older boy, Shin’ya’s brother, lying on the couch talking with his girlfriend on the phone.

“Listen, Yuki, how many times do have to say I’m- Ow!” Takuya yelped, “Shin’ya!” The daggers in his brown eyes sent the younger ones running for cover. “You two are so dead!” He snatched up the basketball and lobbed it after them, also falling short of his target.


“Takuya!” his mother shouted, “Tell me that wasn’t the lamp!”


Fingers were tapping on the steering wheel of a plain, black car by the time a dark-haired teenager finally emerged from the kendo dojo. “You took your sweet time, Kōji,” an annoyed voice nagged him, “Now we only have five minutes to return all these books.” The driver gestured towards the back, where several books of various sizes were scattered all over the seat and floor.

“Hey, it’s not my fault you check out two dozen books at once, Nii-san,” ‘Kōji’ retorted as he slid into the passenger seat, allowing his blue duffel bag to join the books and straightening his worn bandanna as it slipped over his long, dark hair.

The boy driving looked exactly like his brother, only his hair was shorter. He gave him a look and a dry laugh.

“Ha ha. Just for that comment, you're helping me carry them.” He started up the car and drove in the direction of the local library. As he stopped at a red light – and groaned in frustration – both of their cell phone text alerts went off.

The redhead stared down at the piece of paper in her hand. A 56% glared back at her in red ink. Stupid language barrier. Now she’d have to face her mother’s lecture again. At least when she was doing it over the phone, she didn’t have to hide her facial reactions, didn’t have to play meek and repentant. Her plan was slowly going downhill, and she was running out of time. Only a few more months before she would be sent home, and the past seven had turned up nothing.

An observer would see her rolling her brown eyes and twisting a lock of her long red hair in frustration as she argued with her mother in English. “I know, Mother, I’m trying! … But- … Yes, I understand. … No, I’m not rolling my eyes! … Yes, Mother. … I know. I love you. ‘Bye.”

She hung up with a huff, leaning against the subway station wall. Her cell phone buzzed with a text alert, and she checked it. An eyebrow rose, and she muttered: “What in the hell is a Digital World?”

The classroom was half-filled with about a dozen high school students, ranging in demeanour from desperately attentive to bored out of their minds. One tall boy near the back kept flicking his brown eyes to the clock, as if he could will the next five minutes to just fly by, and impatiently scratching his head with the eraser end of his pencil.

Whoever it was that came up with the brilliant idea of holding extra-help history lessons on Saturdays, he wanted to shoot them. Preferably with some wicked lightning bolt. Heh. As if he could do that anymore. So for now, he had to settle for imagining his evil-and-out-to-get-him World History teacher getting electrocuted repeatedly.

His cell phone suddenly started vibrating in his sweatshirt pocket, giving him something to pay attention to – besides the Greek emperors, or were they talking about the French now? He wasn’t really listening. Of course, that attitude was what had landed him here in the first place. Carefully, he pulled it out and looked at the screen under his desk. He’d received a text message, from an unknown person:

‘The Digital World is in need of the Legendary Warriors once more. Go to Shibuya Station and take the elevator to the basement by six o'clock today.’

Junpei felt a grin spreading on his face, along with a spark of excitement in his chest. That summer he’d gone to the Digital World, it’d been the best and most life-changing experience of his entire life. Wait a minute, six o’clock? He had less than half an hour! When was that stupid bell going to ring? Oh, never mind; he’d almost forgotten that Shibuya Station was only a ten-minute walk away from the school.

Chapter Text

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

“All aboard!” Trailmon shouted as he heard someone getting out of the elevator.

“Long time, no see, huh?” It was Kōji and Kōichi, identical grins on their faces as they ran up to the front, with Junpei right behind them. “It’s hard to believe we haven’t been down here in five years! Man, this place looks a whole lot bigger when practically empty.”

“I hope the others are coming,” Kōichi added.

“Guess who, guys!” Izumi cried as she stepped out of the Trailmon’s only compartment, “I sure missed you!” Junpei and the twins walked over, glad to see their old friend again. Another boy poked his head out.

“Exactly how many people are coming, Izumi?” he asked.

“Including you and me, ten. I think.”

Junpei and the twins stared at their friend, confused. “Um, I know we’re all wondering this,” Kōji said, “but I’ll go ahead and say it: Who is that guy?”

Izumi grabbed the guy by the arm and gently pulled him over. “This is Miura Kyōsuke,” she introduced him, “He got the same text message we did, so I brought him along. I think there are a few other new kids coming, too. When I looked at the message in the taxi, I saw that it was sent to ten people.”

“Well, it makes sense,” Kōichi thought out loud. Kōji understood his brother right away, nodding. There were ten different elements, so that would call for ten different warriors. So four other kids, including this Miura guy, would have to find Spirits of their own, assuming all the old Legendary Warriors got to keep theirs.

Junpei clearly got it as well, but Kyōsuke seemed like he still had no clue what was going on. Izumi obviously hadn’t explained it to him. “It does?” he asked. Izumi sighed and pulled him back on board. Junpei and the twins followed.

“How about we save the explanations for when everyone’s here, okay?” Izumi suggested.

It wasn’t long before the ding of the elevator reached their ears. “Are you sure this is the right floor?” asked an unfamiliar voice, “I’ve never been to this part of the station before.”

“Come on, Shin’ya. This is definitely the place.” All but Kyōsuke grinned as they recognised the voice of their leader. They cheered as Takuya stepped on, waving at them. He tugged a sandy-haired kid about Tomoki’s age, presumably his younger brother, on board. “Hi, guys!” he greeted them, “You remember my brother Shin’ya, right? I’ve already explained everything to him.”

Kōji checked the time on his cell. “Tomoki and the other two new kids better get here soon,” he announced, “We leave in a couple minutes.”

Ding. Someone else was coming down the elevator. Ten seconds later, Tomoki poked his head in the door. “Hey!” he cried, “Good seeing you guys again!” He called to the outside: “Juan, hurry up!” and helped another kid on board. “Juan here got the same message on his phone, too. So I brought him with me.” Juan gave everyone a small, shy smile, then continued staring at his shoes, fists stuffed in his pockets.

“Well then, that leaves one more person,” Izumi concluded.

“Whoever they are,” Kōichi interrupted, checking his watch, “They might not make it. We’ll be leaving any second.” The words were barely out of his mouth when they heard the ding of the elevators – just as the compartment doors automatically slammed shut.

“WAIT!” The girl’ cry was barely audible over the engine of the Trailmon. Kōji jumped up and ran over to the rear end door, throwing it open. A girl in a green shirt was chasing after the now-moving Trailmon.

“Grab my hand!” he shouted, stretching his arm out to her. The girl reached for him and grabbed hold, her purple-manicured fingernails digging painfully into his wrist. Her extra weight nearly pulled Kōji off; he felt a hand grabbing his other arm, looked back, and saw his brother behind him. Kōichi tugged, hard, and all three fell onto the compartment floor, groaning.

Izumi helped the girl up. “Are you okay?” she asked, “You almost got left behind, there.”

“I’m… fine,” the girl replied uncertainly, like she was uncertain of the words coming out of her mouth, “Uh… My Japanese isn’t very good.” Kōji couldn’t help but notice she was pretty hot, despite the fact that her clothes were covered with various dirty smudges.

“Yeah, we're okay, too,” Kōichi grunted, pushing his brother off him, “Don’t worry about us.” Junpei and Takuya helped the twins to their feet, staring at the new girl all the while.

Izumi smiled at her. “I’m Orimoto Izumi. What’s your name?”

“My name’s Lexi,” the girl said, running her fingers through her long red hair and dusting off her clothes nervously, “I got a text message telling me to get on this train. Did you guys all get one, too?” She put her mirror away and sat down, eyeing all of them curiously.

“Yeah,” Izumi replied, “And you’re one of the three people who probably don’t know where we’re going. Oh, and your Japanese actually sounds pretty good.”

“Thank you. So… where are we going, then?” Takuya, Kōji, Tomoki, Izumi, Junpei, and Kōichi all smiled at each other.

“We’re going to the Digital World,” Takuya announced, stretching out in his seat, “It’s an alternate dimension some of us saved five years ago.”

Lexi sat in firm disbelief ten minutes later. This was all a big joke, and a stupid one at that. Digital World? Yeah, right. People turning into magical spirit warriors? Impossible! Takuya and his friends were just making this up. She looked over at the other two new kids to see their reactions. Juan looked like he was going to throw up, and Kyōsuke was shaking his head in confusion. As for Lexi herself, she sat up straight in her seat, arms folded over her chest.

CRASH! A sudden jolt sent everyone to the floor. Lexi thought she must’ve bumped her head, because for a second, she was no longer with the others. Instead, she was surrounded by monsters. Even worse was her own reflection in the train’s windows. She was wearing shiny, pale turquoise armour, her hair had turned dark blue, and her skin… it was pale green! Her now blood-red eyes widened at the sight.

Another flash, and they were dark brown again. Her wavy red hair was back, and so were her regular clothes. The others had turned back to normal and were climbing back into their seats.

“Shoulda seen that one coming,” Takuya groaned, “That’s what happened last time, too.”

And just when things couldn’t get any weirder, they did. A strange light came from Lexi’s pocket, along with everyone else’s. She pulled her cell phone out, realising that it was glowing. She could feel it moving in her hand, changing shape. When the light finally died down, she was clutching a strange aqua-green and blue device. It beeped, and she jumped, startled, dropping it on the floor.

“What the hell?!” Lexi looked up and saw Kyōsuke, Juan, and Shin’ya staring in shock while holding objects similar to hers, except that Kyōsuke’s was orange and brown, Juan’s green and brown, and Shin’ya’s olive-green and silver.

The other six seemed much less shocked. “Hey, my D-Scanner's back!” Izumi cried happily. Takuya, Kōji, Tomoki, Izumi, Junpei, and Kōichi each had one of those things as well. They were black and red, black and blue, white and green, pink and lavender, blue and yellow, and grey and black, respectively. Lexi noticed that Kōji’s and Takuya’s were of a different design than everyone else’s.

“What the hell?” Kyōsuke asked again, “What just happened to my phone?”

“It’s become a D-Scanner,” Junpei explained, “It’s what we use to Spirit Evolve.” Again with that ridiculous story! When were they going to give it up, already?

They’d been travelling through a dark tunnel for the entire trip, but it suddenly opened up into a vast expanse. The track ran a hundred feet or so above the ground, and blinding sunlight shot through the windows. The land nearby was green and luscious, the single town on the cliffside painted bright orange. “Hey, I think that’s Flame Terminal!” Tomoki cried, looking out the window.

Izumi joined him, squeezing next to Lexi. “It is!” she exclaimed, “Boy, has it changed! And I think I can see Bokomon and the others!” Takuya, Junpei, and the twins all jumped up and crowded together to see for themselves. Lexi squirmed her way out of the mass of people and found a new seat next to Juan.

“Who?” It was again Kyōsuke who blurted out the burning question.

“Some friends of ours,” Kōichi replied, “Trust me, you’ll really like them.” The train screeched to a halt, and everyone rushed off.

“Thanks for the ride, Angler!” Izumi called. That was yet another thing Lexi found weird. Like the train was going to answer back!

“No problem.”

The train just answered back.

“Anything for the Legendary Warriors! You saved us all; the least I can do is give you guys a lift!” Izumi smiled sweetly before following after the others.

A swarm of small creatures surrounded them. A yellow rabbit-thing in red pants was clinging on to Kōji’s left leg, its face buried in his knee, while an orange winged guinea pig was being held by Tomoki. A brown animal had its long ears wrapped around Junpei, and a creature that strongly resembled an ordinary puppy nuzzled Izumi’s ankle. Most interesting of all was a mostly white creature that had jumped up and was hugging both Takuya and Kōichi at the same time. Or rather, hanging onto their necks while their faces were slowly turning blue. That thing must be stronger than it looked.

“Oh, it’s been far too long!" it wept hysterically, “I didn’t even get the chance to give you a proper goodbye! And Kōichi! I thought you were gone for good! Oh, this is wonderful, simply wonderful!”

“We missed you too, Bokomon,” Takuya choked, “Now could ya quit strangling us?” ‘Bokomon’ let go, still crying. The other creatures broke away, too. “So what’s going on? Why were we summoned back to the Digital World?”

Bokomon’s face darkened. “A new evil has arisen. Luckily, it’s not quite as powerful as Lucemon was, but it’s still too strong for anyone but the Legendary Warriors to face. We don’t know much else about it, not even its name. And even though the original six of you are more than capable of handling the threat, we figured it would be safer to bring the other four Spirits into play. So Plotmon was able to contact the rest of you, and pick out a few new Legendary Warriors, as well.” The puppy-creature beamed with what Lexi assumed to be pride. Bokomon turned his gaze to Lexi, Kyōsuke, Juan, and Shin’ya. Shin’ya looked excited, while the others shrunk back.

This was all too surreal for Lexi. This at first seemed like an elaborate joke, but some of it was impossible to pull off! Was it a trick? Or could this experience actually be… real?

Chapter Text

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

“What are we doing down here, again?” Kōichi asked as Kōji led him down a flight of stairs.

“Don’t you remember what Bokomon said? We have to get our Spirits back. Bokomon thinks they were hidden in the same places as before, and this is where I found mine.” They came to an opening and onto a ledge overlooking the interior of a large cave with lots of holes in its walls, letting in enough light for them to see by. A deep pit was located in the centre of the floor. Grabbing onto one of the long poles that stretched from floor to ceiling, Kōji slid down, Kōichi right behind him. They stood at the edge of the hole. “Don’t follow me,” Kōji warned him before jumping down. Kōichi hoped his brother knew what he was doing.

A flash of light, and a sight not seen in five years. Wolfmon, Legendary Warrior of Light, rose up out of the hole, landing easily. “Need a lift?” he asked. Kōichi nodded, climbing onto his twin's back. Wolfmon took a huge leap, and both landed safely on the ledge.

“Now, let’s get out of here. I never liked this place five years ago, and I don’t like it now.”

Kyōsuke was growing impatient. Both sets of brothers had run off to go get what they called ‘Spirits’ and left everyone else to explore this freaky terminal place. He didn’t get anything around here. The creatures wandering around were unlike anything he’d ever seen, up close or in books – of course, he wasn’t really a fan of fiction books and all that fantasy crap, so maybe there was something like these things in those. The problem was that they weren’t supposed to actually exist in real life. Yet now he and his new friends were surrounded by a whole swarm of them. Lexi and Juan, like Kyōsuke, kept their distance, while Izumi, Junpei, and Tomoki gladly accepted their attention. The creatures kept calling them their ‘saviours’ for some reason. Beside him, Juan was muttering nonstop in Spanish. Kyōsuke had no idea what the kid was saying, but he had a feeling it was something along the lines of ‘I want to go home’. He checked his digital watch, to figure out how long they’d been waiting, only to see that it’d gone haywire. ‘That’s just great,’ he thought, ‘First I’m summoned to some alternate dimension, which shouldn’t even exist in the first place, and now my brand new watch breaks. What else could go wrong?’ As if the universe was answering his question, an earthquake shook the ground. Now what?

“What’s going on?!” Lexi cried. Before anyone could react, a huge hole opened up only a few feet away from where the group – minus Takuya, Shin’ya, and the twins – stood. The rumbling and shaking stopped as suddenly as it had begun. A hissing sound came from the hole’s depths. Most of the little monsters fled, terrified. Juan almost followed them, but Junpei managed to grab his arm.

“No!” he insisted, “Juan, you’re a Legendary Warrior just like the rest of us. You have to stay, too.” The other kid looked back to the hole, and pulled away, still talking to himself. He ran after the rest of the creatures. “Hey, Juan! Come back!” Junpei shouted, chasing after him. Despite the younger boy having a head start, Junpei quickly caught up to him and grabbed his arm again, this time with a tighter grip. “Didn’t you hear what I said? You’re a part of this team now, and we have to stick together!” Another sound came from the pit, this one louder and deeper than just hissing.

With a loud roar, a huge monster leapt up from its depths. It was the most terrifying thing Kyōsuke had ever seen. It looked like a lion with blood-red fur – and its head was that of an old man’s, albeit a horribly disfigured one. Kyōsuke froze in terror. This wasn’t real. This wasn’t real. THIS WASN’T REAL! The monster roared again, and he could smell its putrid breath. It sure smelled real.

“Oh my goodness!” Bokomon cried, pulling a book out from his pink haramaki, “It’s Mantimon! He’s one of the evil Digimon I was warning you about! Get away!” Kyōsuke still couldn’t move, purely out of fear. He felt someone grab him under the arms and drag him back as the monster moved forward threateningly. The creature opened its mouth, revealing three rows of sharp, stained teeth – was that blood on some of them?! – and a torrent of flame burst out, burning the grass only a few inches away from Kyōsuke’s toes. The heat seemed to make his legs work again; he jumped up and ran, pulling Izumi with him, but they were stopped by a huge building very inconveniently sitting in their path. All the so-called heroes were backed in against the wall with nowhere to go. Mantimon took another deep breath, ready to attack.

Just as the blazing wall came barrelling down, a tall figure, a silhouette against the fire’s glare, appeared in front of them. While a smaller figure slid off its back, the first held out his hands and pushed the flames away. Mantimon growled at his new adversary. Just then did Kyōsuke realise that the smaller figure was Shin’ya. “Go, Takuya!” Tomoki cheered, “Kick his butt, man! Yeah!” Kyōsuke took a closer look at their saviour. He had long, wild, straw-coloured hair and was decked out in some impressive-looking scarlet armour. But he was way too tall to be Takuya!

“Be careful!” Izumi called.

“Alright, Agnimon!” Junpei shouted to their hero.

“You’re kidding about all this, right?” Kyōsuke asked, “I mean, how could a bunch of kids fight monsters?”

“We were all given the Spirits of the ancient Legendary Warriors,” Kōji explained, crossing his arms, “So we were sort of infused with their powers, I guess. It’s kind of hard to explain.”

“Yeah, I was the first to get a Spirit.” Takuya leaned even farther back in his seat casually. “Cerberumon had no chance once I became Agnimon. The dude was toast in five minutes!”

So that was Takuya! He was pushing forward slowly, beating back the flames Mantimon kept blowing his way. Suddenly, the tail swung around, hitting Agnimon and tossing him out of the way. Growling, he advanced upon the others. “At last,” he declared in a deep, rumbling voice, “I shall eliminate the Legendary Warriors for my Master. I shall be revered among all his most loyal followers!” O-kay. Now the big monster was talking. Kyōsuke really wanted to wake up now.

“LICHT SIEGER!” Kyōsuke looked up to see another warrior, this one in white armour, leap down from the top of a building, wielding a bright white blade that looked like a lightsaber. It was official: this was the weirdest dream he’d ever experienced, but he might as well go along with it. He’d wake up once the worst part came, anyway.

Kōichi stood on the roof, too, fists clenched in clear anxiety. So that meant that this one was Kōji. Kōji took a swing at the tail, slicing half of it clean off. Kyōsuke and the others cheered, but Mantimon wasn’t through yet. Baring his sharp teeth, he swung at Kōji with one of his huge paws. He missed on his first shot, but caught him off guard with a swipe from the other side. Kōji landed on the ground – hard. A swirl of light surrounded him for a few seconds, and when it disappeared, he was back to normal.

“Kōji!” Kōichi yelled, climbing down. His brother lay unmoving, a sitting duck for the monster glaring down at him. Mantimon inhaled. In a matter of seconds, Kōji would be burnt to a crisp. Without even thinking, something he normally always did first, Kyōsuke ran over to his new friend and tried to pull him out of the way, but Kōji was too heavy. As the blaze shot towards him, Kyōsuke saw Agnimon step in front of him. At first, he seemed to have no trouble holding back the flame, but it became clear that he was weakening. Kōichi suddenly appeared at Kyōsuke’s side, and the two of them dragged Kōji over to the others.

Agnimon, finally tired out, was thrown back by the force of the blast. Another flash, and he too was back to normal, clutching his side in pain. Mantimon roared and stomped on the ground. The tremor he’d created knocked everyone off their feet. Kyōsuke stumbled and fell into the pit. Someone screamed his name. Kyōsuke reached out to grab something, anything, to hold on to. His fingers scraped against the walls of the deep pit, cutting into the palms of his hands. Finally, he gripped a stone jutting out, stopping his fall, and slammed into the wall. The impact nearly forced him to let go, but he hung on by his fingertips. More shouts came from above, all calling out to him. “Kyōsuke!” Izumi screeched again.

“I’m okay!” he hollered back, even though he doubted she could hear him. He strained to find another handhold or foothold. He had to help Izumi. He had to help the others. He had to do something. He’d come here for a reason, hadn’t he? Sure, it had felt like some strange dream, but the pain in his hands screamed otherwise. As twisted as this trip was turning out, it was the real deal.

The rock he was hanging on to was beginning to loosen. Kyōsuke looked down. Now he could just see the bottom of the pit; it wasn’t too far down. He took a deep breath and let go, landing roughly on his feet, but not quite sticking the landing, losing his balance and falling over. “Ow.” Kyōsuke got up and looked around. It was very dark down there. He pulled his mini-flashlight out of his back pocket. Playing the beam around, he noticed that the portion of the wall to his left had a huge hole in it. It was a large, dug-out tunnel, one that stretched out so far back that he couldn’t see the start, or a curve. Just a long, straight, endless passageway. “So that’s how she got here,” he mused aloud, “But where did she come from?” A bright light suddenly flared up, growing more and more intense by the second. “What…?” It became so bright, it nearly blinded him. A weird tingling feeling came over Kyōsuke. Realising it came from his vest pocket, he reached in and pulled out his cell phone – or what used to be his phone. It had been turned into that strange yellow and brown device back on the train. What were they called again? V-Scanners?

Out of the glare, something was coming towards him. Another monster? No, this thing didn’t feel threatening at all. In fact he felt drawn to it. As it came nearer, he realised what it was: a Spirit. His Spirit. He pointed his V-Scanner at it instinctively. The Spirit shrank until it had been absorbed into the V-Scanner. As he held his hand out in front of him, a glowing ring of data appeared around it; he swiped the end of his V-Scanner at it. “SPIRIT EVOLUTION!” he shouted, without really knowing what he was doing.

The feeling that came over him was amazing. He felt newfound strength and power like he’d never felt before. He was Gnomemon.

If he could see himself in a mirror, Kyōsuke would see that he’d been transformed into a tall, wiry warrior with yellow-orange skin and pointed ears like an elf’s. A reddish-brown hood covered his hair, except for chin length brown bangs a bit lighter than his original colour. A scarf of the same as his hood covered his lower face, showing only his now blue-green eyes. Purple metal plated armour covered his chest and shoulders, and he also wore boots that went up to his knees and arm-guards, both fashioned from the same metal. Under the armour, he wore a grey sleeveless shirt and leather pants the same colour as the hood and scarf. A brown leather belt with a huge buckle depicting a symbol similar to the kanji for earth, and a long-handled grey stone hammer fastened to his back by another leather strap completed the look.

Stronger than ever, he leapt out of the hole in a single bound. Coming out, he saw that everyone had scattered, trying to get away from Mantimon, who was breathing fire in pretty much every direction. Kōichi and Junpei were supporting a still-unconscious Kōji between them, while Tomoki and Izumi were doing their best to help Takuya move around. The smaller Digimon-things, along with Juan and Shin’ya, had escaped to the safety of a rooftop. But wait, what about Lexi?

Gnomemon looked around, but it was as if she’d vanished. He heard a shrill scream, and then he saw her. Lexi was backed up against a wall, Mantimon just barely shielding her from his line of sight. The beast opened his mouth, about to toast the girl. Gnomemon had to do something.

It was as if something else was guiding him through the whole fight. Gnomemon pulled out his hammer and brought it down and pounded the ground at his feet. “ROCK SLAM!” he shouted. The earth rumbled and cracked beneath Mantimon’s paws. A stone spike erupted from that spot, launching the beast into the air.

As he landed, his massive body turned dark, and another ring of data, this one much bigger, appeared around him. Gnomemon’s V-Scanner appeared in his hand. “All right, you twisted freak! Show’s over!” He slashed the V-Scanner sideways. “DigiCode, Scan!” The device absorbed the data, and Mantimon – or what was left of him – disintegrated.

The intense feeling of power was suddenly gone, and he sank to his knees in exhaustion, somehow a human again. “That was amazing!” Izumi cried, running over to him and hugging him. “Welcome to the team, Kyōsuke!”

Welcome to the team. Yes, he was part of this crazy team, wasn’t he? He didn’t respond to Izumi’s words, because he was too busy going over the events of the past hour in his mind. Had it really only been an hour? This was the most unbelievable experience he’d ever gone through, it seemed impossible that it’d happened in such a small amount of time. Of course, the impossible didn’t seem so… impossible anymore.

“Kōji?” His head was throbbing like mad. “C’mon, budd-y, wake up!” Takuya's loud tone really wasn’t helping Kōji’s headache. He reached out and waved his hand around, making contact with someone’s face.

“Owchie!” Neemon cried, “Why’d you do that?”

“Sorry,” Kōji muttered, “I was aiming for Takuya. My head hurts, and his shouting is not helping.”

“Are you okay?” Kōji opened his eyes at Lexi’s voice, finally realising where he was: on board a moving Trailmon, with everyone crowded around him, even the Digimon. “That thing hit you pretty hard.” What thing? Then it all came back to him. Mantimon had knocked him down – and apparently, out cold – in front of everyone. Great. Just great. How were the new kids supposed to take the old warriors seriously if they were getting smacked all over the place?

“I’m fine.” He tried to sit up, but Takuya grabbed his shoulder and forced him back down, knocking his head on the armrest. “Ow. Watch it!”

“You should've seen it, man!” Tomoki cried, “Kyōsuke actually got a Spirit and saved us!”

“Which one?”

Tomoki grinned a little. “He got the Spirit of Earth.”

“Grottomon?” Kōji laughed a bit, stopping when his head started pounding harder.

“No, it was a different form,” Izumi explained, “Now that all those Spirits have been purified, they’ve completely changed. It’s like what happened with the Spirits of Darkness, remember?”

Once everyone finally stopped fussing over his brother, Kōichi and the others took their own seats. At first they had a talk with Kyōsuke about calling their D-Scanners ‘V-Scanners’, but then Takuya started discussing their plan of action. “Okay, so our long-term goal is to take out the leader of these guys, but to do that, we need to find those other Spirits.”

“Thanks a lot, Captain Obvious,” Kōji commented dryly, “I think we’ve already figured that one out.” At least he was back to snarking at Takuya like usual.

“We should head to that cove near Seraphimon’s castle,” Junpei announced firmly, crossing his arms.

“Why there?”

“Because there are three Beast Spirits there, remember? Water, Wind, and Thunder.”

“Thunder? Oh, I get it. You just want to get your own Beast Spirit back.”

“Look, were almost there,” Izumi cut in over Junpei’s protests, “How about we just meet up at my place tomorrow, and sort out the details there? It’s been a long day.” Kōichi had to agree. All he wanted to do was relax for a little while.

“I still can’t believe the Digimon are actually coming home with us,” Kōji added, “How are we supposed to hide them in the Human World, anyway?”

“Well, it’s already been decided we should split up,” Bokomon explained, “To make hiding a little easier. But Neemon will have to go with you and Kōichi.”

“Why us?!”

“Because it will most definitely take two of you to watch him.”

“Hey, Kōji?” Neemon asked, “When we get to your house, can we jump on the bed? I’ve never done that before. Please? Pretty, pretty, pretty please?” Both twins groaned.

“Have fun,” Takuya chuckled. Both shot him a glare.

As the Trailmon screeched to a stop, Kōichi noticed that Lexi had barely said a word the entire trip. She’d spoken to Kōji a little when he’d woken up, but she’d been completely silent otherwise. Shin’ya, Kyōsuke, and even Juan had come to accept the truth, but Lexi still seemed like a non-believer. What was it that made it so hard for her?

Chapter Text

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

“Lexi! Supper’s ready!” Aunt Mitsuki’s voice drifted through the closed bedroom door. “Come and eat before it gets cold!”

Lexi didn’t move from her spot at the windowsill. Her mind was currently swimming with thoughts of the day’s events. So much had happened. She didn’t know what to do. One didn’t discover a whole other world every day. She almost thought it had been a dream, except that the scrapes on her palms and knees from when she’d tripped while running from that monster were still there.

Her gaze shifted over to her notebook, frowning at the half-page of writing and wishing there were more. An address, a list of bars and small restaurants, and not much else were all she’d amassed since September. It was now April. She had until June to find what she was looking for, before she was forced to go back home half a world away.

Just two months. How could she continue her search if she was busy trying to save another dimension? How could she even fight evil anyway? She was just Alexis Walsh, of Toronto, Canada. She was a sixteen-year-old exchange student who’d never even taken a self-defence class in her life. She wasn’t a warrior at all. Why on Earth was she chosen? Whoever had decided to drag her into this was borderline insane.

“Lexi!” Uncle Toby was calling her now.

“Coming!” Lexi replied. As she got up, she remembered the piece of paper in her pocket. On it was Izumi’s address in curly script. The blonde had handed one out to everybody so that they could discuss their little ‘battle plan’ tomorrow. Lexi fished it out and tossed it into the trash can on the way out.

Lexi hoped that they succeeded in their quest, she really did. She just knew that she couldn’t be part of it.