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The group was still in the forest getting camp set up as Beth tried lighting a fire, try being the key word. As she yelled and sped up, only a tiny burst of smoke, barely visible, rose from her trap. Michael and everyone else laughed as he though about the Daybreaks. They were now halfway through, having beaten Terminus yesterday and Belphemon the day before that. He reluctantly counted the days left until Christine was lost. He let out a deep breath as Koji interrupted his train of though by yelling,” You used wet wood?”
“Don’t judge me!” she yelled back as she said,” It’s my first time building a fire.”
“I guess I’ll clean up your mess,” Mei said as she took her D-Tector and said,” I’ll be back with REAL firewood in a few.”
“I’ll come too,” Koji said, trying to protect her like he was asked to. They both ran off and into the forest. It was dark and the only way Koji knew where Mei was going was by following the lamp she carried. Mei went deeper into the forest, only stopping to pick up the occasional log. But Koji’s worst fear came when Mei reached a deep trench. She was crossing it by a thick tree that spanned the way. As she went on he yelled,” Mei! Don’t move!”
“It’s alright Koji,” she said happily,” I’m a big girl. I don’t need your help.”
“That’s not what I’m talking about!” he yelled. Once he saw she wouldn’t come back, he climbed on and followed her. He took each step carefully as Mei already reached the other side. Once he leaped off, he took her by the shoulders and said,” What were you thinking?!”
“Lay off,” she said leisurely,” I was just getting some wood.”
“You could’ve been killed,” he said as she glared into his eyes,” Why would you do something reckless like that?”
“I’m just trying to help!” she yelled, pulling away as she said,” You always complained about me being lazy so I figured I’d help out as a FRIEND.”
She tried walking away, but he gripped her wrist. Mei gritted her teeth as she said,” I thought you’d understand.”
“How am I supposed to understand you going off and trying to kill yourself!?”
“Okay, I gave you permission to be my friend, not my babysitter.”
“Too bad,” he said angrily,” Michael told me to guard you the moment we came into this world! Now I know why!”
“Get off of me,” she said, taking her hand back. They stood parallel, like in an old Western movie. The few noises remaining in the forest disappeared once their eyes locked. Koji then made the first and final move as he said,” If you die Mei, both worlds die with you. If you’re too irresponsible to care, then you don’t deserve this D-Tector.”
He took her digi-vice in one quick sweep as she yelled,” Give it back!”
“Not a chance. I won’t let something as powerful be used by somebody as careless as you.”
“You’re really starting to tick me off,” Mei groaned as he said,” You want me to throw it over the edge, ‘cause I will.”
Mei snarled and almost hissed before she started picking up the logs and said,” Keep the stupid thing.”
“Gladly,” Koji said as he went back to camp. Mei picked up the last of her firewood and said obnoxiously and with denial,” I’m not even that into you anyway.”
As Mei went back to camp, she started thinking about the boys she knew in the Philippines. She remembered her days as a Girl Scout. Along with her other friends, they spent the calm summer on a beautiful lake. The problem, a Boy Scout camp rested on the other side of the lake. It was filled with boys even more rude and obnoxious than she was. Mei mostly knew them from school, but knew they were no match for her and her friends.
“Hey girls!” one of them yelled. They were on bikes as Mei and her friends pulled a boat to shore. The deck was full of big fish, all freshly caught as they glared at the boys.
“What do you want Yamato!?” Mei demanded as he laughed and said,” What, are you trying to fish?”
The second boy turned to them and said,” why not save yourselves the trouble and start begging for our help now?”
Mei’s first friend crossed her arms and said,” Look who’s talking. I heard you fell in trying to catch a whopping six-incher.”
“What? How’s you hear that?” he yelled as Mei’s second friend said,” Girls know their gossip.”
“Stop acting tough,” Mei said confidently,” You Boy Scouts are the wimps by the look of things.”
“Please,” the boy said as Mei’s first friend said,” I heard you had to order pizza last week ‘cause you couldn’t catch anything.”
One of them was about to say something as Mei went,” We can smell your nasty pizza breath from the other side of the island!”
“That doesn’t prove anything,” he said as Mei went,” And finally, while you stayed in warm cabins with Jacuzzi tubs, we were camping in tents next to the dump.”
They laughed as Yamato scoffed at them and said,” Whatever. Let’s get outta here.”
As they rode away, the girls laughed as Mei yelled,” Hide your shame Yamato!”
But this wasn’t the lake. Mei couldn’t just attack Koji with words this time. At least, not after what Koji told her.
That night, Koji and Mei didn’t speak a word. Only the occasional glare was exchanged between them. They went to separate tents at the same time. Watching them go to bed, Michael couldn’t help but say,” They’re like a married couple.”
“I wonder what happened?” J.P. wondered as Renamon said,” That’s really none of out business.”
“I agree,” Michael said, yawning as he asked,” So, are we clear on the plan?”
“Absolutely,” Tommy said as Dorumon said,” You really are like a genius.”
“Don’t overdo it,” Sarah said.
The next morning, Koji and Mei were still upset. They’d race to see who could walk faster. When Michael reached a fork in the road, they’d go in opposite directions. But Michael was alright with it, even though everyone else was getting annoyed. He knew that the longer they fought, the bigger the make-up. And if that make-up were strong enough, Mei could unlock Lunamon’s next Digivolution.
As expected, around noon Terminus revealed himself to them in another open grove. He was sharpening his scythe as everyone pulled out the D-Tectors. Michael glared as he said,” I’m really not in the mood, but let’s get this over with.”
“Alright,” Terminus said leisurely. He summoned a Corridor and said with his twisted grin,” But first, an introduction.”
The Demon Lord Beelzemon came through the gate as Terminus said proudly,” I once had the pleasure of fighting Beelzemon when I brought him news of Epsilon’s return. It ended in a tie.”
Beelzemon brought out his two shotguns as Terminus continued,” If you couldn’t beat me, I’d love to see you beat him.”
“That was different,” Takuya said as Beth said,” we didn’t know about how powerful Emma was. Her friendship protects us and keeps creeps like you away.”
“Is that what you think?” he said, confusing them all as Michael; said,” Is there a riddle or not.”
Terminus put the scythe on his shoulder as he said,” Two planes take off at the exact same moment. One is heading from New York to Paris and the other is going from Paris to New York. Plane number one is going at 500 miles per hour while plane two is going at 450 miles per hour. Which was closer to Paris when they met!?”
“Ugh, I hate math!” Beth yelled as Gaomon said,” Calm down ma’am. We’ll figure it out so long as we keep our heads cool.”
“Exactly,” Michael said as he gripped his chin. A single drop of sweat fell from his temple as Terminus asked,” Ready to give up?”
“Not on your life!” Michael said as the smug look on Terminus’ face vanished,” Plane number one is closer at any given moment! It’s faster and should reach Paris sooner than plane two reaches New York.”
Terminus grinned as he asked,” Is that your final answer?”
Michael looked scared as he shook his head yes. Terminus laughed as he yelled,” That wasn’t the question!”
Everyone let out a gasp as Terminus said,” I asked which would be closer WHEN THE TWO MEET. As such, they’re both the same distance from Paris!”
Beelzemon pointed the gun at them as Terminus said,” Any last requests Michael?”
“Yeah,” Michael said with a smile,” SCATTER!”
That exact moment, several of the digimon ran into the forest. Only Chirinmon, BurningGreymon, and JagerLowemon were left in the open due to their balanced speed and power. This time, Michael wasn’t going to look like the idiot that goes into a fight without strategy. As Takuya, Koichi and Chirinmon surrounded Beelzemon, he laughed and said,” It’s like you said Terminus! I’m a genius, so I should be acting like one!”
Beelzemon looked angry and asked Terminus,” What should I do?”
“Fire,” Terminus said ominously. He started shooting at Takuya, but he blocked and countered with Pyro Barrage. The tiny explosions between one bullet hitting another quickly flew away once something hit Beelzemon in the side. It was Zephyrmon, using her Plasma Palms to help Takuya. Beelzemon tried shooting her, but she just ran back into the forest. He was about to go back to Takuya, but was attacked before he could even turn around. Chirinmon hit him right in the stomach with his horn before Takuya wrapped him in flames. By the time Beelzemon expelled the fire, everything was as it was in the beginning.
“What is this?” he demanded as Michael laughed and said,” I didn’t expect you to understand. It’s all very complex, yet simple at the same time.”
“I’ll make you shut that smart mouth!” he said as he aimed for JagerLowemon. But before the first shot, MachGaogamon and MetalKabuterimon stopped him. From the forest came the Howling Cannon and Bolo Thunder. He dodged them, but Koichi was still coming for him. Beelzemon shot at him, but Koichi countered with Ebony Blast. The charges met like last time, only Koichi won after he ran forward. He dodged the shots and used Dark Master to finish.
He was really mad now and unleashed every bullet. They went off randomly and it was easy to dodge. Once he stopped, watching to see what happened, they all attacked. Tommy came out and attacked with Frozen Arrowheads, then went back to the forest. Dorugamon used Power Metal from afar. KendoGarurumon sliced through him in one sweep as Lekismon shot him with her darts. Liamon electrocuted him with his mane as Chirinmon, BurningGreymon and JagerLowemon came at the same time. The blast blew everyone away as Terminus scoffed and said,” Even Leviamon would be laughing at you right now.”
From the smoke, Beelzemon shot in rapid succession. But this time he was focused and alert despite his injuries. He cut down every tree, hitting everyone trapped in the forest. Only Crescemon dodged, but only by a miracle. As the bullets neared the girls, everyone ducked but Mei. As one bullet came right for her, Koji slide evolved to Lobomon and sliced through the bullet. The two pieces flew past both sides of Mei’s head. She gasped as they cut the two trees behind her and said,” Koji…”
“Indeed it was a great plan,” Terminus said in the villainous way he always did,” You had your three most balanced and capable fighters in a ring around Beelzemon as the others hid in a secondary ring for cover. And with this dark place, camouflage was unnecessary. But what will you do now without your precious forest!?”
A clap of thunder came as Mei watched angrily. Aside from Koji and Lekismon, only the inner ring was still able to fight. Beelzemon easily shot them away as more lightning and thunder crashed in the sky above them. First was Takuya, who was yet again countering the bullets. But this time, he realized there was only one gun shooting at him. Somehow Beelzemon was controlling it as he jumped into the air. He landed in front of Takuya and clawed him into submission. But once Koichi started shooting again, he made a dash, dodging the bullets before he jumped again and clawed Koichi too. But then Chirinmon came, expecting him to come from above again. But instead as he tried ramming Beelzemon, he slid under and shot him from behind. As he made that famous blow into the barrel, Lekismon tried coming from behind. As he shot her away, she reverted to Lunamon. Mei yelled for her and ran to protect her, completely forgetting about Beelzemon.
“Lunamon! Are you okay?” she asked as Lunamon yelled,” Watch out!”
Before she could register what was happening, a loud boom came. It was the shotgun, aimed right at her. As Mei closed her eyes and expected the worst, nothing happened. She opened her eyes, only to see Koji fall to the ground with a thud. It was a dark de javu of the day Koji had to save Takuya from Duskmon. Only this time, there was no miracle. Koji wasn’t moving, and even up close Mei couldn’t see signs of breathing. Beelzemon started laughing as Mei crawled to Koji, screaming his name as the rain began falling.
“Koji! Koji no!” she cried as Beelzemon kept laughing as he said,” It’s so sad, NOT!”
“Koji, please wake up!” she cried as she tried hitting him to wake up. They all watched with tears as Mei broke down and admitted,” You’ve gotta come back. Who else will keep me from being reckless and mean. You’re my best friends and the best guy I’ve ever met. Please, I need you! Not as a guard or a friend in waiting. I need you as a real friend!”
She kept hitting his side, trying to get KendoGarurumon up. As the rain kept falling on her face, she finally screamed with all her heart,” I like you, okay! There I said it! Will you come back now? Please, I can’t loose another friend, not like last time.”
Mei kept weeping as he kept insulting her,” Stop crying over spilt milk. You’re pal got in the way, and now he’s gone. He got what he deserved.”
Something in Mei broke, no shattered, when Beelzemon said this. Her D-Tector started glowing as he kept laughing, Mei on the verge of insanity.
“He’s dead because he was weak!” he yelled as the glowing grew brighter and brighter. Mei saw her reflection in a puddle and thought about the kind of person she saw herself as. She saw a mean, cold person who only cared about herself. But she swore she’d change, because that’s what Koji wanted. But the rage was too much. Mei was even angrier and violent than normal, almost on the verge of becoming a demon. Beelzemon finally pushed her over the edge as he said,” And you know what, I’d kill him again if I had the chance!”
The light burst forth as Mei started yelling,” You shut up about Koji!”
She took the digi-vice as Lunamon came to her side. With darkness in her eyes, Mei scanned the new data and yelled with fury,” Execute Warp Digivolution! Lunamon Warp Digivolve to Crescemon!”
Crescemon was much like Lekismon, only slightly more humanoid. She wielded two giant axes that doubled as bowguns. As Mei shouted,” Destroy him!” Michael watched with fear and despair. In Mei he saw she was still angry. While the Digivolution was brought on by her love for Koji, the anger towards Beelzemon still burned strong. Michael dreaded what she’d have to do to relieve that pain.
Crescemon’s arrows and Beelzemon’s bullets kept bouncing off each other as Crescemon seemingly danced her way to Beelzemon. He was easily hit by her axes as he fell to the ground. A murderous smile fell on Mei’s face as she yelled,” Yes, finish him!”
“Mei,” Crescemon said sadly, backing away as Mei yelled,” What are you doing!?”
“I’m a digimon, not an executioner,” Crescemon said as Mei’s fury poured out,” That’s not good enough! He needs to pay for killing Koji! If you won’t do it, then I will!”
She took a giant log, about the size and width of a baseball bat, and walked over to Beelzemon. Crescemon backed away as Emma yelled,” Michael, do something! This isn’t right.”
“I can’t,” he said with tears,” I’m sorry I can’t. Her anger, it’s not human. It’s something I can’t explain.”
“Michael…” she said as Mei started swinging at Beelzemon. He blocked the first few strikes, but then she hit his face. After that it was a one sided fight. Mei struck him over and over until Beelzemon was barely able to move. He was scratched and bruised, wincing as he gripped his stomach. Terminus looked shocked as he said,” No wonder Epsilon wants to destroy you. I never really believed…your kind could be so savage.”
Mei let out a giant scream as a flash of lightning lit up behind her. Beelzemon shut his eyes, waiting for her to finish him off. But instead, a tear came from Mei’s eye. Soon more and more came until everything but the rain grew silent. The drops poured off her face and clothes as she yelled,” WHY!? WHY CAN’T I FINISH YOU OFF LIKE YOU FINISHED KOJI!?”
Beelzemon let out a laugh as he said,” It’s because you’re weak too.”
Her eyes widened even more as she really was ready to swing again. But Michael and Takuya took her by her arms before she could do anything drastic. Beelzemon got ready to shoot, but Emma stepped in front of the two. She held out one arm to Mei and the other to Beelzemon as she said,” I think you’re done here Terminus.”
He glared at them as Beelzemon said,” This was getting boring anyway.”
Koji and Tommy had to come in and help restrain Mei as she struggled and screamed,” You were BORED when you murdered Koji?!”
“Enough Beelzemon,” Terminus said as they vanished through the Corridors,” You’ve broken a sacred rule: Never mess with a woman scorned, or in this case scarred.”
“Let me go! I can still get them!” she yelled as a fain voice came, telling her,” Stop Mei, they’re not worth it.”
“Koji?” she asked as she turned to him. He was barely standing as her love broke through everyone’s grip. She ran over and wrapped her arms around him as she let all that was left out. All the anger vanished. Her hatred was gone, cleansed by the rain. It seemed happy, but that wasn’t true.
Later, after the rain died down and a new camp was set up, Mei sat sadly behind a tree as Koji walked up to her. He sat down and offered her something to drink as she asked with an empty tone,” You probably think I’m a lunatic now, huh?”
“Why would I think that?”
She let out a forced laugh and said,” Everyone else does. I can only imagine what I looked like, beating Beelzemon up.”
Koji lifted her face up and said kindly,” We all let out our anger sometimes. Unfortunately it’s in our nature. Some people just let it all out at once, like you did, and others let it stay inside them for a long time.”
“Revenge,” Mei said as he replied,” Don’t let revenge or anger take over Mei. You’ve gotta learn to just destroy the sadness while it’s still inside you.”
She sighed and abided in him,” When I thought you were dead, I told myself I’d become a better person, ‘cause that’s what you’d want me to do.”
“Then do it,” Koji said kindly, helping her stand as he said,” Go start by helping with camp. I’ll help too.”
She smiled and said in a cheery voice,” Thanks Koji.”
As they walked back, they could hear J.P. yelling at Beth,” You got wet wood again?”
“It’s all wet wood!” she yelled back and replied,” Why do we even need to do this. We’ve got the Walking Lighter right over here.”
“You’re on your own,” Takuya said as Mei said happily,” I guess I’ll start helping on the fire.”
“No wandering off,” Koji replied as she laughed and raced him to camp.