Chapter 3: The Northern Ruins
The third day in the Digital World.
Keith had gotten up abnormally early – 6 AM, to be precise. He figured that the excitement of exploring the Digital World was the cause. Of course, there was also an arrangement with the British teens – for them, it would quite literally be 7 PM. This way, there was more time for them to explore together. As Keith noted to Vix as she came into his apartment via the computer, “This is why time zones suck so damn much.”
Vix chuckled, as she leaned back on the desk. “Stop complaining, and let's go. Our friends are waiting for us.”
“Wait, they are?!”
This time, there wasn't any need to wait for the others. Their computers were linked up to the gate terminal system, which resulted in them waiting for him at the forest, which was a surprise for him. But it was a relief to see that the media were not there at all, as the 6 AM arrangement was, well, secret, and they would not have a clue that they would get up at this hour in the morning. His friends, their partners, and the British teens plus their partners, were all there. “About time, Keith, you slowpoke.” Christa giggled. Keith laughed sheepishly. “Right, I kinda forgot I don't have to wait for you guys.”
“No harm done. Roy, Lisa and I have been checking things out while we had the time. The Digimon here are more than happy to accompany us as we look for the terminals, and before we start our search proper, there's something we've arranged. It's a surprise.” James smiled.
Shawn, being there as well, laughed. “Ah, my dad said he'd take care of the store for me. You guys sure you haven't got part-time jobs that'll get in the way of this?”
“What, in the morning or evening? Hell no. Most of our shifts are spread out across the afternoons.” Jase replied.
Keith nodded, and spoke up, looking back at James. “Right, so, James, what's this 'arrangement'?”
“Just follow us. You'll see.” James suddenly took several steps back, and suddenly starting running in the other direction, with Lisa following. Roy was having a hard time keeping up. Keith sighed. “Well, I guess it's a race, then.” Then he burst into a sprint, himself, taking care not to trip over the tree roots. His friends were quick to follow. Vix was even quicker, outrunning him without even breaking a sweat. Keith, being a 'geek', was not that fit, he did exercise, but, then again, a Renamon would have no trouble outrunning a human in most cases. He found that James, however, certainly did exercise regularly as it seemed, as he was a faster runner and was able to keep up his sprints for longer, but even he was outran by Vix.
By the time they stopped, they seemed to have reached their destination. Keith was panting heavily, his hands on his knees and his head tiled downwards, he felt like he had run several miles. He had barely even taken a glance at the sight before him, he knew it was grassy, from the ground both in front and ahead of him. “Son of a... I hope it's worth it, James, because-”
“Oh, it is. Look.”
Keith looked up. His eyes widened. The sight that met his eyes was unexpected, to say the least, for him. The ground that he initially mistook for grass turned out to be some kind of flat, rubbery surface with all sorts of different patterns and colours. Stacks of giant toy blocks populated the locale, almost like a city of its own. Even the trees had toys hanging from their branches. It was some kind of village.
Then there were the eggs and cots. He saw an area specifically set aside for eggs and wooden cots, the latter holding freshly-hatched Digimon. There were so many. Keith just stood there, awestruck, not even noticing that the others had barely caught up, and his human friends were experiencing the sight for themselves. At this point, James smiled, extending an arm out towards the village, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to DigiCity's Primary Village, otherwise known as the Village of Beginnings. This is but one of many locations where Digimon are born and reborn, when the data does not come from two particular 'parents'.”
Jase blinked. “Amazing! So, you wanted to show us this?”
“Ah, not just this. That was not the arrangement. You'll see. There's someone I want you guys to meet.” James replied, walking off, and everyone else were quick to follow him. Their Digimon partners kept quiet – they knew this place, and they preferred not to spoil the surprise.
James lead them into the area where all the cots were, to a Digimon who was attending to a group of them. A Calumon with purple ribbons on her ears was feeding some of the infant Digimon. Upon noticing the group approach her, she finished feeding one of them and waddled over to them. “James! I guess these guys are the other humans, culu?”
“Hello, Liz. Long time no see.” Vix stepped forward, interrupting James before he could even speak. “This is Keith, Jase, Christa, Ada and Heath. Guys, this is Liz, she manages the village and takes care of the eggs and infant Digimon here. Practically everyone in DigiCity has met her at some point, and she has a photographic memory, to boot.”
“Hey!” “Hi!” “Hiya!” “Heya!” “Yo!” Were the resulting greetings from the Australian teens. Christa kneeled down to get down to Liz's level. “You're a Calumon, huh? Your species has the ability to make Digimon evolve, right?”
“Yeah! Though, that's kinda why my kind is so rare, culu.” Liz explained. “I may look small and cute, but I know all there is to know about raising Digimon, culu. A lot of Digimon who were raised in DigiCity think of me as a mother, culu.”
James smiled, as he re-entered the conversation. “Speaking of raising Digimon... The arrangement I was talking about, was that I've volunteered you all for helping out part-time here. In short, we're going to try our hand out as proper tamers. We even have a group of eggs picked out for us to raise on our own. The eggs and the Digimon will stay here when you're off elsewhere, so they'll be in good hands when you're not here. I know it's sudden, but if anyone doesn't want to-”
“Wait, you were thinking that any of us were going to decline?” Heath interrupted, hands in his pocket, with a grin on his face. “Yeah, creature-raising games, I never had any interest in those, but the chance to raise a real-life Digimon? Why the hell would any of us turn that down?”
Shawn chuckled. “Didn't think YOU would go for this sort of thing.”
Kyo looked up at Jase. “What about you, you gonna go for it?” Jase laughed, though he rubbed the back of his head nervously. “Yeah... Though I'm not sure how good a tamer I'll be...”
“You'll be fine, Jase, you need to work on your confidence a bit more.” Christa giggled. Rina smiled at her. “With those words, I have no doubt you'll be a great tamer!”
Ada grinned excitedly, practically jumping up and down, though she was trying to stop herself with no success. “Omigod, omigod, this is gonna be so AWESOME!” Emily was also trying to get her to calm down, with no success. “Well, it is exciting, but can you not get too overexcited?!”
Keith clenched his fist, thinking it over, before grinning. “Did you even need to ask? I couldn't possibly pass this up. No way.”
Liz smiled, as she began waddling over towards the eggs. “Well, it's decided, then, culu! Follow me, so you can pick your eggs, culu!”
The group followed her over to the egg section of the village. The eggs lying around seemed to be strewn around haphazardly, but it had a strange sense of order to them. In the middle, was a small cluster of eggs, five of them, with different colours (red, blue, green, yellow and purple) with three more off to the side (black, brown, and white). Vex explained, “We picked eggs at random, and gathered them together for you guys to pick. James, Roy and Lisa have already picked theirs. Part of the fun is not quite knowing what kind of Digimon you'll raise! The colour doesn't mean much, really.”
Keith nodded, stepping forward, and picking up the red egg, picking it up. “Well, I think I'll take this one.”
Jase picked up the yellow egg, Christa picked up the blue, Ada picked up the purple egg, and Heath picked up the green egg. The other three picked up their eggs, James' was the brown egg, Roy's was the black egg, and Lisa's was the white. Keith held his egg in his hands carefully, feeling its weight and texture. It was absolutely amazing, in his mind. He could feel that there was life inside of the egg. He could feel it moving. He rubbed the egg's side carefully, curious, remembering that a Digi-Egg could hatch in the original Digimon Adventure by simply rubbing it. “I wonder when they'll hatch... I can't wait to meet mine!”
Much to his surprise, the egg hatched there and then, as the top half of the egg burst off, and a small red slime Digimon with bat wing-shaped ears emerged, its black eyes blinking at him with curiosity. It was a Jyarimon. Liz waddled up, smiling. “Well, there's your answer! He heard the call from your heart, and came out, culu!”
Keith looked around, to see his friends' eggs hatch in an almost seemingly random order. Then, he found that the egg he was holding disappeared, and a cot appeared in its place to hold the baby Digimon. The Jyarimon in his arms blinked at him again. “Jyr?” Keith chuckled, petting him carefully. “Hey, there, little guy... I'm gonna be your tamer! But what should I call you... Uh... Alwyn. Does Alwyn sound good?”
“Jyr!” The baby Digimon replied happily. Vix looked at Alwyn, and smiled. “I think you're gonna make a great tamer, Keith.”
They then checked to see what the others got. Jase got a Fufumon, whom he decided to name “Max”. Keith pointed out, “Isn't he a carrier of the X-Antibody?”
Kyo replied, “Well, yeah. But, to us, the X-Antibody is something of a mystery. It's actually very rare for Digimon who aren't born as carriers to get it. Heck, we're not even sure why it even exists, the “X-Program” that it was supposed to destroy is practically myth.” Jase laughed. “Yeah, but that's kinda why I named him Max!”
“AW! HE'S SO CUTE~” Everyone looked over at a squealing Christa, who was holding a Pafumon in her arms, leaving Keith and Jase completely bewildered, though they agreed that it was very cute indeed. Christa smiled, and said, “You need a name! Uh... How about... Jamie?” Jamie nodded in approval, with Rina giggling.
“That's a nice name! But you gotta see mine! He's adorable!” Ada walked over, showing Christa her Tsubumon, and petting it. “I named him Neil.” Emily nodded. “This is gonna be great!”
Heath grinned, holding up a Ketomon, with Shawn looking. “Kurt. That's yer name. I think we're gonna be good friends.”
James got a Punimon, which he had named Erik. “Well, I guess I'm going to raise a Gabumon as well as Heath.” Linker replied, “Uh, not quite. He might also digivolve into a Wanyamon.” James chuckled. “Then he might end up as Gaomon instead! Well, this'll be interesting.”
Roy chuckled, as he stared down at the Petitmon in his arms, Vex also looking. “I guess I'll call you Darren, then? That works.”
“I'll call you Lance, then!” Lisa smiled at the Paomon she held, and noted to Nia, “When he evolves, you're gonna have to put up with him, okay?” Nia cringed a bit, knowing exactly what said evolution was, but she complied with a heavy sigh. “Alright, I guess so.”
The next hour was spent with the tamers and their partners acquainting themselves with the Digimon they were assigned to raise, while also learning about the village and its inhabitants, the various duties they had while working part-time there, such as feeding the babies and the in-training Digimon, cleaning up their poop, playing with them and telling them stories to pass the time. Some got into it better than others, but all of them had a fun time. Keith had found a shady spot under a tree where he and Vix could spend time with Alwyn. To him, this experience was entirely new, it was nothing like caring for a “virtual pet”. He was caring for an actual creature, and a sentient one at that. Alwyn happily chugged down a bottle of milk, as Keith patted the back of his head. Being a tamer was way more fun than he ever expected.
However, their stay was brief, as James reminded them that they had somewhere to go. The tamers and their partners left the baby Digimon in Liz's care, and she waved as they set off. “See you later, culu!”
James was holding a map of the continent, as the group ventured towards the edge of the urban area of the city. “Right. Our first stop is the Northern Gaia Ruins, to the north of here. We can catch a train there, it'll be quick and easy.”
They saw the station not far off, and went in. The station was fairly ordinary, but the ticket gates were replaced by a large barrier that let through anyone with a valid ticket. As James paid for their tickets in “bits” (the Digital World currency, he was given some by Riza), Christa asked, “Northern Gaia...? Is Gaia a continent?”
“The central server continent!” Rina replied, as they went onto the underground platform, and then stepped onto a Trailmon (the C-89 Model, to be precise) that just stopped at the station, and was heading north. “There are five server continents. Gaia, Uranus, Aether, Hemera, and Nyx. The waters that separate them are mainly the Cronus and Tethys oceans.”
The tamers and their partners found their seats, and James unrolled a map of the entire Digital World, showing all five continents. As they spoke, the trailmon went through other stations, and, soon enough, into a large tunnel. “Pretty much. All of the continents are linked via the Digital World's extensive railway network, but Gaia is the central continent, and DigiCity was founded at its centre. Odds are, if more humans come through the terminals, they will likely come here first regardless of location, but it's better for us to get there first to prevent minimum confusion for everyone involved and make sure the terminals we find are active and linked. Once we find enough terminals, it would make travelling around the Digital World a snap, as we can enter the Digital World from any linked terminal, and for near-instantaneous travel, we can quickly go back to the 'real world' via one terminal, and re-enter the Digital World via another terminal and end up in a completely different place – like moving from one side of the world to the other in less than a minute.”
Vix asked, “So, do we already know where the next gate terminal is?”
“Yep! Ever since the second terminal was found, Digimon are now actively looking for them, all over the Digital World. This means there'll be a much higher chance of humans coming through.” Vex nodded. “One Lopmon and his buddies went searching the northern ruins, because apparently one of the terminals is hidden somewhere inside. Though, they haven't come out, and that's a problem.”
“So, we get to the ruins, find those missing Digimon, find the terminal, and make sure it's linked.” Lisa smiled. “As long as we don't run into any trouble, it should go smoothly!”
“Oh, thanks a lot, now you're just tempting fate.” Heath groaned.
Keith burst into laughter. “Ah, screw fate! I make my own destiny. Even if something does go wrong, we'll solve the problem, no sweat.”
“Well, you can't say he's not self-confident.” Nia giggled.
“So... How long will it take to get to the ruins via this train?” Ada asked.
Roy decided to answer. “Actually, this is a Trailmon, a champion-level Digimon that is practically a living train. I'd make Thomas the Tank Engine comparisons, but Thomas doesn't have machine-guns.”
“That is correct, sir.” Another voice interrupted the conversation, and a screen on the wall activated, showing the face of the Trailmon they were riding, which surprised the tamers who didn't know so much about Digimon. “I am a C-89 Model, with a Battle Mode in case I need to protect the customers from outside threats. I assume you are the humans I have heard so much about? It is a pleasure to transport you today. We will reach your destination in an hour.”
“To cross half a continent in an hour? Man! That's... Amazing!” Ada smiled.
The Trailmon replied, “It is a shame that I cannot go faster. I do admit, there are newer Trailmon models...”
“An hour's fine, once we find the terminal, getting back will be a snap.” Jase replied. He leaned back on his seat, wondering about something. “And to think, we know all about Digimon, and the various possibilities of how the rules work, but it's another blank slate as far as we're concerned. Effect and Item cards are one thing, but a modern society of Digimon? Man. And there's no Digivice-like devices anywhere to be found, and you guys got Vix and Linker to evolve without them! There's no telling what's gonna happen now, or who we'll meet.”
“Nevermind that, we're just about to leave the tunnel!” James announced, looking out the window. Light shined through the windows as the Trailmon left the tunnel, blinding the passengers for a second before they saw...
Endless green fields. DigiCity slowly began to disappear behind them, leaving nothing but grass, flowers and trees rushing past them. The tamers that stuck their heads out of the windows could feel the wind roaring past them. To them, it was amazing. Keith let himself be taken in by the cool, refreshing winds, and simply smiled. Vix poked her head out as well, grinning. “I take it you've never been on a country train, huh?”
“When you live in a country composed mostly of desert, you can imagine that countryside train rides are hard to come by.” Keith simply stared out into the horizon. Was this the feeling that the kids from Digimn Frontier had when they first rode on a Trailmon? Or maybe Tsurugi's first Trailmon ride from Digimon Next? He reminded himself that, by all rights, this shouldn't be happening. Not to any normal person. But here he was, riding a Trailmon, in the Digital World, with a partner Digimon and his friends who too have partners. It was something to cherish, because he also realised that he might not be able to get the chance to take in the view like this again for a long while. There was always some kind of great evil looking to conquer both worlds, and until it's gone...
He had a feeling they had a long fight ahead of them.
“Attention, passengers: We have reached the Northern Ruins. It has been a pleasure transporting you today.”
As they got off the Trailmon and began to make their way out of the station, Heath checked his backpack. He had brought along food and medical supplies, and had made sure he still had them. “Great. I think we'll be fine for the trip.”
Right outside the station, the sight that greeted the group was a massive archaeological dig site, ancient ruins characterised by an ancient language none of them could even try to understand, and pyramids in a mixture of the style of the ancient Aztec and Mayan civilisations, maybe Inca as well. What remained of the residences of Digimon big or small. The group were wowed by the sight, the most impressed being Vix, who seemed to be gushing over the sight. “This is amazing! I always wanted to visit this site!”
Jase raised an eyebrow at this reaction. “Never figured you as a history buff.”
“Oh, right, I didn't mention it, did I?” As the group walked down the stairs towards the site, Vix replied, “It's one of my favourite subjects. The past always fascinated me. How the Digital World was created, how Digimon civilisation developed... The past has so many mysteries! This particular site used to be a small village dedicated to worshipping Yggdrasil.”
“Yggdrasil... The World Tree from Norse mythology. In the various Digimon stories, Yggdrasil sometimes appears as a computer that acts as the Digital World's god. For some reason, it often tries to destroy the human world or Digital World for its own reasons, sometimes both, and gets destroyed in the process.” James said, as he noticed that their arrival had drawn quite a bit of attention from various Digimon that were on the site, a few tourists here and there, but mostly the archaeologists and excavators on-site.
One particular archaeologist came forward, a Centarumon, wearing a brown vest and a fedora. He bowed, as the group reached the last steps. “Welcome, young ones. I am Caesar, head archaeologist at this dig site.”
Keith chuckled. “The name being the same as the ancient Roman general may or may not be a coincidence, I take it?”
Caesar laughed back. “I do not know your world's history, but, perhaps! I assume you came because of the Gate Terminal?”
“Gate Terminal? Is that the actual name for those terminals?” Jase asked.
Caesar nodded, beginning to turn around. “You may introduce yourselves as we go along, though it will not be necessary, I already know your names. I will be the one escorting you into the ruins. One of these pyramids houses the entrance to a labyrinth, and only I know it by heart.”
The group followed closely behind Caesar, as he stepped onto the stairs of the pyramid he mentioned... And the half of the stairs he was on began moving upwards like an escalator. The others stepped onto the moving stairs. Christa nearly lost her balance. “Wh-Whoa! Whoever built this place must've been an advanced civilisation!”
“In a sense, yes, though things such as this aren't so uncommon. It's handy, however, for someone such as I.” Caesar replied, “Tell me, how old do you believe the Digital World is?”
“It was created due to the activation of the first computer, the Atanasoff–Berry Computer, or ABC, right? ABC was activated in 1942. 67 years ago.” Jase answered.
“Technically, you are correct, I suppose. In your world's years, however. When the Digital World was first created, it was... Chaotic.” They reached the top fairly soon, and Caesar lead everyone into the chamber at the top, a cube-shaped room with ancient frescoes adorning the walls, showing scenes of the Digital World's creation. In the centre of the room, a large portion of the floor seemed to be 'cut out' from the rest. Caesar motioned for everyone to stand in this particular section, and he pressed a button on the wall. The section began to go downwards, much to the surprise of the tamers.
“Figures this place would have a lift, too.” Heath remarked.
The journey to the bottom of the shaft was more or less uneventful. When the lift stopped, a wall opened up, showing the entrance to the underground ruins. Caesar advised, “I suggest you stick close to me. This place is labyrinthine. As we go along, I will show you the ancient writings on these hallowed walls.”
“Figured we were going to have to find our way in a maze.” Ada muttered.
Caesar began leading the group along, taking multiple turns along the way. They soon came to a large chamber, a storage room with a multitude of pithoi (a type of container used by the Minoans), and writings on the walls, along with another set of frescoes. Most prominently on these frescoes, was a large ball of light. Caesar began to explain. “You mentioned ABC, and how the Digital World was created alongside it. That would be correct. ABC was a powerful being, the first Digital God. But it was mindless. It formed the Digital World, but was incapable of giving it any rules. Things began to form on their own, but they were... Incomplete.”
Jase nodded. “ABC... It wasn't programmable. ENIAC was, though. Maybe that's the reason.”
Heath asked, “What does something being 'programmable' have anything to do with that?”
Jase chuckled. “Think of it this way. A program is like a set of rules, conditions, input, and an output. Programming languages, like any other type of language, have a set of rules of what you can and can't do with them. Even the most bare-bones computer 'language', the only one a computer can actually understand, binary, has rules. Ones and zeroes, one for on, zero for off. They're switches. A computer that can be programmed can do a multitude of different tasks if the user so desires. One that can't be programmed can really only do the one specific task it was built-in to do, to change the task, you'd have to change the computer itself internally.”
“It is a plausible theory, yes.” Caesar nodded. “You mentioned ENIAC being programmable. ENIAC was the second Digital God, and it was intelligent, unlike ABC. It was a benevolent god, giving order to the chaos. And thus, allowing the first digital creatures to form. It had the power to manipulate time and space. It even gave its partner, ABC, intelligence. At this point, the legends are somewhat murky, apparently, ENIAC sought to bring its creators to the Digital World, and show them the wonderful things they have allowed to exist. This is where the first legends of humans came about. According the the legend, the humans who came to the Digital World began helping ENIAC establish order, and helped make things the way they are today, before going back to their world.”
Christa nodded, as she looked around the frescos, noticing one particular fresco, adorned with the image of a two-headed dragon that looked like it was on fire, surrounded by chains of fractal codes, as well as a human boy with spiky brown hair, and a Monodramon beside him. “Wait a minute... This isn't what I think it is... Is it?”
“Ah, you noticed the legend of ZeedMillenniummon.” Caesar turned towards her. “After the human creators went back to their world, digital life prospered, and they evolved into the creatures you see before you – Digimon. However, according to this legend, a powerful threat came from the future, by the name of ZeedMillenniummon, whom intended on changing history for his own goals. ENIAC and ABC was incapable of stopping him directly. But a hero from the future came in pursuit of ZeedMillenniummon – the dark god's mortal enemy, a human by the name of Ryo Akiyama. ENIAC would help this legendary hero and his Digimon partner fight this menace, and destroy it once and for all.”
“Son of a...” Keith examined the fresco closely. There was no mistaking it. It was indeed Ryo Akiyama. “So the events of Brave Tamer DID happen!”
Roy blinked. “Brave Tamer? Huh?”
Lisa blinked. “I did kinda see the third season of Digimon... Ryo... Isn't that the handsome guy with Cyberdramon as his partner who made absolutely no sense as a character whatsoever?”
“Digimon Tamers: Brave Tamer was a video game on the Wonderswan, a hand-held gaming console that never came outside of Asia. There were four Digimon games that came out for that system, all with the 'Tamer' name in their titles, and they all starred Ryo, way before Digimon Tamers (the third Digimon season) was produced. In each game, Ryo went on an adventure to defeat his arch-enemy, Millenniummon, all by himself with only his Digimon to help, except in the second game, where Ken helped out, and it's pretty much most of Ken's backstory.” Keith explained. “Ryo was originally from the same universe as Tai, Matt, Izzy and the other Digidestined, but in the fourth game, he went to the Tamers universe after defeating Milleniummon for good, and never turned back.”
Nia shook her head. “Whoa, whoa, hold up! You're saying the legendary tamer hero, Ryo Akiyama, never went home?! That's... So tragic...”
“There's a reason for that. In the third game... The Digidestined lied to him, when they didn't need to.” Jase sighed. “He spent the rest of the game as a heroic mime, and even didn't talk much in the game after. Well, that's not really the confirmed reason, but it's the most likely. Poor guy's been through a lot of crap. But I think he's happy where he is now. I dunno, if we ever figure out how to cross dimensions... Maybe we'll get to meet him.”
All the Digimon in chamber, sans Ceasar, looked incredibly excited at the prospect. Kyo grinned, flexing his muscles. “I wanna be like Monodramon, strong and heroic... Though, I'd prefer to beat the bad guy without sacrificing my hide, thanks!”
James noted, “Well, not quite.”
“What do you mean, 'not quite'?”
“Monodramon 'sacrificed' himself by performing a fusion with ZeedMillenniummon, resulting in a single Digi-Egg. In Digimon Tamers, Ryo's partner was a Cyberdramon, the 'Mega' evolution stage of Monodramon, which means the darker side of the fusion didn't win out. But while as Cyberdramon, that digimon would have a seemingly endless lust for battle, and Ryo had to control him constantly.” James adjusted his glasses with his index finger. “An unfortunate price for putting an end to Millenniummon for good.”
“At any rate,” Caesar interrupted, “We can continue the subject of Ryo later. Before we continue, I'd like to finish my tale.” He pointed towards another fresco, showing what appeared to be a large computer mixed with a giant robot, which resembled a white suit of armor, to an extent. “Eventually, ABC disappeared. ENIAC foresaw its eventual disappearance as well, and sought to ensure that a guardian would be there in its place to ensure order. It created Yggdrasil, the third Digital God. Upon its activation, Yggdrasil formed the Royal Knights, and then hid its presence, overseeing the Digital World ever since.”
Christa was about to ask, “So... What does this have to do with the difference bet-”
But she was interrupted by Caesar. “Ah, yes, that. In the 'real world', the age of the Digital World is merely centuries. On this side, the Digital World is millions of years old. How is this possible? I have a theory, which is supported by the writings here. They speak of a 'time difference', which ENIAC, and later Yggdrasil, have been trying to fix. It seems time has been running 'fast' here for quite a long time. Back when the Digital World had been first created, for all we know, a single second could have amounted to several years.”
“Well, clearly, they fixed it, because the time is exactly the same as... Huh. DigiCity time is fixed to Sydney's time zone on Earth. What do you know.” Vix chuckled.
“That's neat, but... Aren't we supposed to be going somewhere?” Keith asked.
“Fair enough. Let us be off.” Caesar began walking down the next corridor, leading everyone else. The maze-like ruins had not ended there, by any means. Linker had hopped up onto James' back, and was visibly creeped out. “James... This place really gives me the creeps... It might even be haunted or something!”
James chuckled. “Moumantai, Linker. Moumantai.”
“What does that mean?”
“No worries! Relax! Take it easy!” James smiled, as he replied, looking over his shoulder at him. “I can't believe you don't know it.”
Linker smiled back. “Hey, I kinda like that. Mou-man-tai!”
Lisa sighed. “Another Henry and his Terriermon? Let's hope this little guy actually has some tact!”
“Huh... That sounds a lot like Hakuna Matata. What a wonderful phrase...” Ada started singing that classic Lion King song. “Haukna Matata, ain't no passing phase...”
Lisa bumped up against her, grinning. “It means no worries, for the rest of your daaaaaaaayyyyyssss~”
It didn't take long for the rest of the tamers to join in, though it kind of left the Digimon out of the loop. “It's a problem frreeeeeeee, philosophhhyyyyyyy.... Hakuna Matata!”
Shawn sighed. “You guys are such nerds.”
Heath objected. “Hey, leave me out of the nerd club, it's just a really good song!”
Another five minutes passed, as the group continued to walk, taking turns as directed by Caesar. This eventually lead to an even bigger chamber – the size of a football stadium. In fact, it was a stadium, some kind of arena. The surprising scope of the arena was amazing. It was reminiscent of the Colosseum of Ancient Rome, and in a lot better condition. One could imagine the thousands of screaming spectators, watching as two Digimon fought in the centre of the arena, kicking up dust and sand with every movement, fighting for honour and glory.
Caesar extended his arm in front of him, announcing, “Welcome, to the arena. This is where Digimon fought each other for honour and glory, and show their respect for the Digital Gods.”
Vix looked like she was about to squeal. Everyone else just looked around in awe. Rina smiled, as she said, “Okay, Vix, you were right, this stuff is freaking cool!”
A young voice came from the spectator seating area. A Lopmon popped his head up from behind the wall on the front end of it. He was wearing a blue bandanna. Then, next to him, a Betamon and a Crabmon popped out as well, also wearing orange and green bandannas as well, respectively. Caesar was quick to spot them. “Ah, Simon, Trevor, Richter. I figured you three would be here. Come on out.”
The trio hopped down, and came over. The Lopmon, Simon, looked especially guilty. “S-Sorry, Mr. Caesar... I was so excited about meeting a human, that-”
“It's alright, young one. I will only administer a warning for now, but please, do not come here without an adult escort.” Caesar replied. “But, you got your wish.”
Another round of introductions occurred. The Betamon was Trevor, and the Crabmon was Richter. Then, Caesar explained, “The reason I knew these three would be here, is that this is where the Terminal is supposed to be hidden. The legendary Gate Terminals... They were said to be the devices that opened the portal to the human world, and now we know they are. I am certain one is here, but w-AH!”
The sudden cry was the result of a large dart hitting his neck, and he collapsed within seconds. Everyone dashed over to check if he was alright. James removed the dart, and looked over towards the direction of where the dart came from. “Some kind of chemical... Who's there?!”
“Hehehehe... That's the main problem out of the way. Now you don't have a Champion-level to help you now!” Standing in the corridor the group just came from, was an Impmon with a grey biker vest, and a DemiDevimon with a fedora. The Impmon boasted, “Our lord wants you out of the way, and we're gonna make sure it happens!”
Vex narrowed his eyebrows. “Uh... You're two rookie-level Digimon who we don't even know. And you consider yourselves a threat?”
The DemiDevimon noted, looking at his 'partner', “He's got you there, boss.”
The Impmon sighed, crossing his arms, and looking rather annoyed, as he looked at DemiDevimon, and then at the group in front of him. “Look, who said we were gonna fight you guys, huh? Like yesterday, we're gonna get someone else to trash you for us!”
Richter's eyes widened. “That attack on DigiCity High... That was you?!”
“Ahahaha! Yeah, that's right!” The Impmon spread his arms out wide, as he gloated. “That was all us, Raymondo-sama, and my subordinate, Keppler! For the sake of our lord, we'll crush you!”
“Well, you're a nutty one. Who the hell uses Japanese honorifics with English speech?” Lisa crossed her arms.
“He might be a Japanophile or something.” Roy suggested.
“Oh, SHUT UP!” Raymondo snapped, taking a step forward, but then stepped back, and smirked. “We'll be coming back... When our 'pet' has picked off all the meat from your bones!”
“Oh, yeah! He's a hungry one, he is! Have fun!” Keppler grinned, pressing a stone button on the wall. Then, a large stone slab came down, closing off the corridor. As far as the group could see, they were trapped, and their guide was out cold. Kyo freaked. “It's a t-”
“We know it's a trap, doofus.” Jase chuckled, patting his partner on the head, before making a quick visual 'scan' of the chamber.
Roy rubbed his chin. “So. It's a trap. Except, we don't know what it is, and where it'll be. But we gotta find a way out anyway. Let's do it the D&D way – anyone got a ten-foot-pole?”
Jase looked up. “Uh... I don't think we'll need one right now. Look up.”
Everyone looked up, to see a large cage hanging from the ceiling. And it contained a Tyrannomon, sound asleep. Nia blinked. “Why did those two idiots put it up there?”
“A better question – how did those two idiots get it up there?” Vix asked.
“Well, this 'lord' of theirs must have more minions than them. Those two must've had muscle helping them out. Probably flight-capable Champion-level Digimon.” Linker said.
“Well, it's asleep. Let's find a way out before it-” Rina was about to suggest something, but then the cage fell down, crashing to the ground loudly. “-wakes up. I spoke way too soon, there.”
The Tyrannomon emerged from the smashed cage, yawning loudly, before focusing its attention on the group of Digimon and humans, who all stepped back. Trevor gulped. “What do we do?! Do we even have a plan?”
James shook his head. “We don't have a plan yet, but we can certainly make one up as we go! This arena is huge, we've got more than enough space to spread out, that guy can only attack one of us at a time, hopefully. Stick to your partners, spread out, and...” He pointed to Simon, Trevor and Richter, “You three! Get Caesar out of the way, quickly, and hide!”
The trio nodded, and began dragging Caesar's unconscious body away towards the stands. The others split up into pairs, with each human and their partner Digimon. James attracted the Tyrannomon's attention by throwing a rock at it. “Hey, big and ugly! Come and get me!”
Upon getting Caesar up to the stands, the three Digimon there began to fret over where to hide. Richter noticed a strange, rectangular cut on the bottom of one of the seats. “Hey, what's this?”
“Wait, don't touch it! It might be a-” Simon was about to stop him, but Richter pressed the area enclosed by the cut, which caused a passageway to open up, the stairs and seats sliding down and forming a stairway to another passage. “Or, it could be that. I think we've found our hiding place!”
The Tyrannomon was conflicted on which target to strike at first. It focused its fire breath on James and Linker, whom both ran out of the way of the flames. A few arrows and crossbow bolts slammed into the dinosaur Digimon's back, and it turned around, to see Christa and Ada wielding a light bow and a water crossbow, respectively. Their partner Digimon immediately struck at it with their special attacks, but the dino Digimon brushed them aside with its claw, and blasted the two Digimon back with its fire breath.
Keith and James took the opportunity. Keith slammed his fire whip into the dino Digimon's right leg, and James stabbed an electric lance into the left. The Tyrannomon roared angrilly, swatting them both away with its tail. Vix and Linker's counterattack was no more effective, as the Tyrannomon swatted them away as well.
“Ugh... This is getting nowhere! That big guy can take hits and dish 'em out!” Roy said, observing things from his position.
Lisa nodded. “There's gotta be some way to phase him...”
The Tyrannomon roared, suddenly blasting his fire breath towards Heath. Shawn pushed him out of the way, but... “GAAAAHHH!” He screamed, as the flames washed over him, slamming him into a wall.
Heath rushed over to his partner, kneeling over him, as the Tyrannomon approached. “Man, what're you doing?! You didn't need to do that!”
“Hey, we're partners, right...? Don't worry about me...!” Shawn chuckled.
The Tyrannomon was getting close. Heath got to his feet, clenching his fist, his eyes narrowing as he frowned at the beast. “You bastard...! How dare you hurt my partner! You're going down!”
The Tyrannomon roared at him in response, but Heath began running towards it, and leaped up, punching it in the nose. Right before the fist connected, said fist was surrounded by a strange, digital 'aura'.
The dino Digimon was knocked to the ground, as if the punch was being thrown by a being the same size as the Tyrannomon. Heath grinned, as he landed. “Take that, you son of a-Hey, what's up with my fist?” He finally noticed the aura, which was still there.
Keith's eyes widened. “Son of a... Is that what I think it is?! And did Heath just pull a Masaru?!”
Jase grinned. “If it is...” He rushed towards the Tyrannomon as it was beginning to get back up, Kyo right beside him. A blue aura formed around Jase's fists, fuelled by determination and spirit. “Alright, time for a little comeback!” Once he was within range, he executed a spinning jump uppercut. “SHORYUKEN!”
The uppercut slammed into the Tyrannomon's jaw, causing it to flip over and crash to the ground. Kyo pumped his claws into the air. “WOO! Way to go, Jase!”
Roy sighed. “We are such nerds.”
Keith chuckled, as he closed his eyes, and concentrated. He had something to fight for. His friends, his partner, the whole Digital World... Like hell he was going to lose here! He opened his eyes, to see his fist covered in a yellow aura. “DigiSoul... That's what it is!” He looked up at the others. “Jase, Heath! Focus your DigiSoul on your partners! Trust me!”
The two nodded back, and concentrated, both of them wanting to help their partners, especially Heath, who wanted Shawn to recover from his wounds. Kyo and Shawn began glowing.
However, the Tyrannomon had other ideas, getting up, and was about to blast them with fire. However, it was smacked in the head by a flaming cannon ball, knocking it down. The cannonball had come from right in front of the secret passage that Richter had found, the three Digimon were there, as well as three human teenagers operating a cannon. The one at the front, a black-haired male, roughly Keith's height, with red eyes and a black vest, as well as jeans, grinned, as the cannonball hit its mark. “Interrupting a Digivolve is an intelligent tactic, but like hell we're gonna let you do that!”
The two Digimon expanded in size, transforming. Kyo had become a Greymon, and Shawn had become a Garurumon. The Tyrannomon got to its feet, only to be blasted by two entirely different sets of flames. This time, it couldn't withstand them. It was knocked to the ground, defeated, and something emerged from its neck, and flew up into the air. It was a black machine gear. The black gear shattered quickly. The humans and their partners immediately celebrated their victory, as Kyo and Shawn reverted back to their rookie forms. Keith was still examining his DigiSoul aura. “I get it now. That's why we don't need the Digivice to evolve our partners. We have DigiSoul!”
“Isn't it called 'D.N.A'?”
“Nah, that name isn't nearly as badass.” Keith replied, looking at the person who spoke to him. He was surprised to see the black-haired newcomer had come over and addressed him. “Wait, where did you come from?”
“Oh, us? That terminal over there.” The black-haired boy pointed to the passageway. “Those Digimon explained the situation quickly to us, gave us some cards to use (and told us we could make 'em into actual weapons), and we decided to help you guys fight that thing! Oh, by the way, I'm Geoffrey Leisy. You are?”
“Keith. Keith Windslow. And I take it you're not from Sydney, are you?” Keith grinned, as they shook hands.
“Nah, Wellington. So... The first guys in the Digital World are sheep lovers, and we New Zealanders are the second?”
“Actually, those three are British, and they're second, so you're third.” Keith pointed out James, Roy and Lisa... And then it occurred to him what Geoffrey just said. “Wait a minute. Oh, you did not just go there.”
Geoffrey grinned, and the two burst into laughter. The British teens were listening, and left awfully confused. The two other New Zealand teenagers walked over, a boy and a girl. The boy, a tall blonde with blue eyes and wearing a fancy blue coat (with just a singlet underneath) and a pair of teal long pants, noted, “It's a 'rivalry' Australians and New Zealanders have, you see. Accusing each other of 'relations' with sheep is part of it. It's a big fat joke, of course, and both sides are in on it.”
James blinked. “Oh, okay.” He smiled. “Ah, I'm James Kessal, these are my 'local' friends, Roy Hawk and Lisa Juse. You are?”
The blonde teen replied, “Gerado Batzer. And this is Rafaela Kennemore.”
Rafaela smiled. She was of medium height, but what made her stand out was the fact that she had rather tanned skin. She had long brown hair and brown eyes, a small nose, and she wore a green shirt (complete with a large radioactive symbol on the front), with a matching skirt. “Hi!”
After yet more introductions, it was discovered that the Tyrannomon was now more or less docile, the poor thing simply wondering where the hell it was now. Caesar also quickly woke up soon after, pleased what the humans had managed to accomplish while he was out cold. He was especially intrigued by the 'DigiSoul'. “I think there might be a use for this in this chamber.”
He showed them a wall on the far side of the arena that was different from the others, and had a small section, weathered into the wall, which looked like a human hand, large enough for someone to place their hand against the wall and it would fit inside it. Keith placed his hand against the wall, calling out his DigiSoul. The wall suddenly began to rise up. It wasn't the door to a passage, however, but a cover for another wall, showing a list of names, in English. James stepped up, reading all the names from top to bottom. “I don't really get the significance of these na-What the?!”
Linker blinked. “What's wrong?”
“I wouldn't say it's 'wrong', I'd say it's odd. Look at this name!” He pointed to a name near the bottom of the list. It read, 'SCOTT WINDSLOW'. Keith's eyes widened. “Scott Windslow... My great grandfather!”
“Let me see that.” Vix read the name, and rubbed her chin. “That's odd. Why would your great grandfather's name be on a list, in a ruin that was once dedicated to worshipping the Digital Gods?”
Caesar thought about it, before he asked Keith, “Young man, was your great-grandfather involved in the creation of ABC or ENIAC?”
“Both.” Keith said.
Christa blinked. “BOTH?! How is that possible?!”
“He was specifically requested by the US government to work on the project after his work on ABC finished the year before.” Keith began to explain. “My great-grandfather used to live in America, before he and great grandma moved to Australia.”
Gerado nodded. “That does make sense. I wouldn't have thought that your great-grandfather was involved in such monumental events in the history of computing!”
Keith sighed. “But... If my great-grandfather supposedly knew about the Digital World... Wouldn't my entire family have known about it as well?”
Caesar noted, “That, young one, is a mystery you will have to solve yourself.”
Keith lay back in bed, his right arm over his head. He continued to stare at the DigiSoul flowing out of his fist. The power of human emotions. Today's trip had answered some nagging questions. But it also gave even more questions. The true nature of DigiSoul, his great-grandfather's connection to the Digital World, Raymondo and Kessler's 'lord'... Perhaps all of these will be answered in due time, he thought.
He decided not to ponder these questions any longer. He needed to get some sleep, after all.
To Be Continued