“So, this is Mandala?” I asked. Irene nodded.
“Due to its isolation for about 500 years, it is virtually unchanged from the time whence it sank. …It’s beautiful, isn’t it? So…romantic…” It was nigh impossible to argue with her; from the overall design of the city, its ancient, white marble architecture and its layout, to the ocean that surrounded it, with all the various aquatic Digimon swimming around it, Mandala was absolutely breathtaking. The younger girl had insisted on holding on tightly to my hand as we walked through the city. I could tell she was frightened to be here, betraying Lilithmon, but I wasn’t going to let anything happen to her. “When you want to leave, just step on that blue tile over there,” Irene said. “That will warp you immediately back to the place you came here from. Since you’ve been here now, you can use these tiles to come and go from Mandala as you please.”
“…Will the other Bio Hybrids be here?”
“It’s possible. Abigail and I left, and Magnus is dead, meaning Adrian, Sephyrus, and Michalis will be here, with Saias still in Yew.”
“Wait, Saias?! Don’t tell me he’s a Bio Hybrid too!”
“I’m afraid he is; do you remember that night he fought something in the woods, and was carried off? It was Sephyrus he fought that night; he dragged Saias to Braig’s lab, where he was turned into a Bio Hybrid.”
“…Tell me, was it Braig who turned you into a Bio Hybrid?”
“Yes; Braig turned Adrian, Magnus, Saias, Michalis, and me into Bio Hybrids. I don’t know who turned Abigail and Sephyrus into one, though I doubt it was Ienzo. It was probably Lilithmon.”
“Lilithmon…that’s who all the Bio Hybrids work for?” Irene nodded.
“She promised me she would help me find my mother if I did everything she asked of me. I’m…sorry. I joined Lilithmon…before I joined Lachesis…”
“Don’t worry about it, Irene. Nobody’s going to be mad at you when you return.” I smiled down at the petite girl, who gave a small smile back.
“Whoa, this place is bitchin’!” a loud voiced echoed practically throughout the entire city.
“…Please tell me I didn’t just hear that,” I said.
“It sounded like Statuedramon,” Irene said.
“That’s exactly what I was afraid of…”
“Oh, hey! Thomas! What’s up, buddy?!” Statuedramon came running up to me, with Zelda and Flamedramon right behind him, but stopped when he noticed Irene. “Oh…you’re here, too…”
“Statuedramon…I know I don’t deserve any forgiveness…for what I did to SlashAngemon…but I would like to apologize,” Irene said.
“There…is nothing for you to apologize for,” Statuedramon said. “I am not mad at you, Irene…You did what you had to do…”
“Please, don’t cry, Irene,” Zelda said.
I looked nervously at Zelda and Statch, and then quietly asked, “So, what are you two doing here?”
“Duh, we’re your friends! We didn’t want Lilithmon to kill you!” Statuedramon said.
“That’s exactly why I didn’t tell you two I was coming here; I didn’t want to see her do the same to you.”
“I don’t want to see any more of my friends get killed either, which is exactly why I’m fine with Flamedramon being here!” Statch said.
“…Gee…thanks a lot, Statch,” Flamedramon said sarcastically.
“Say…have any of you seen Abigail? She was right behind me…”
“…Didn’t she come with us?” Zelda asked.
“If Auntie Abigail isn’t here now, she’s not coming,” Irene said. “This is the place where all the Bio Hybrids meet; I guess she just didn’t want to be noticed…”
“Statuedramon, what’s wrong?” I asked. My Digimon had been looking around nervously for a few seconds.
“Guys…we aren’t alone…Everyone, get down!” The five of us ducked down just as two shots were fired, missing all of us.
“Aw, now look at what you’ve done, lizard. You’ve gone and spoiled my surprise entrance!” A tall Digimon leapt down from a tall, marble column and landed in front of us.
“BioBeelzemon,” Flamedramon said.
“That’s right; now, which of you wants to die first?”
“Apollomon, your luck has just run out!” BioBlackWarGreymon said. “Terra Destroyer!”
“Solblaster!” Our two fire attacks collided, resulting in a huge explosion that overtook the entire building in its flames. “Damn it…where is he?!” The flames were large, and the smoke was thick, making it nearly impossible to see.
“Black Tornado!” BioBlackWarGreymon tore through the flames while spinning, crashing into my chest.
“Dramon Destroyer!” My fists collided over and over with the claws of his gauntlets. My knuckles were bleeding like crazy, and yet I didn’t let up my attacks. After a while, I managed to successfully strike BioBlackWarGreymon in the face with my left fist, momentarily catching him off guard.
“Arrow of Apollo!” The jewel on my right hand fired numerous arrows from it at his torso, but after a few hits, he clawed at my face. My attack stopped, and the part of my face his claws struck bled heavily into the fire. A few of the flames flickered where my blood landed, and some died down ever so slightly.
“Terra Destroyer!” BioBlackWarGreymon hurled another fireball at me, hurling me backwards into the flames. I was completely surrounded by them. “Mega Destroyer!”
“Solblaster!” BioBlackWarGreymon charged through the flames once more just as I readied my strongest attack. He took the Solblaster face-first, knocking him back. “Phoebus Blow!” I began once more punching the Bio Hybrid over and over in the face, and though he was unable to block, with each punch I threw, my knuckles bled harder and harder. “How could you, Saias?! How could you betray us like this?! What the fuck is the matter with you?!”
“In order for me to get what I want…no, what I need…I must do what Lilithmon asks of me, and if that means murdering former friends of mine, then so be it! Terra Destroyer!”
“Phoebus Blow!” My fist collided with BioBlackWarGreymon’s attack just as he launched it. The fireball dissipated, though its flames rained down on the blazing inferno covering the large room we were in.
“Is this all you’ve got, Apollomon?!” BioBlackWarGreymon yelled. “It’s not nearly enough! If you aim to defeat me, you’ll have to try better than that! Hit me with everything you’ve got!”
“Solblaster!” I held onto my fireball for a few moments, allowing it to increase in size before I hurled it at the Bio Hybrid. As I did, the flames rose higher and higher, and I couldn’t see anything else. Their roar was so powerful, I couldn’t even hear if my attack hit its target or not. “Damn it…all this smoke…getting hard to breathe…”
“Dramon Destroyer!” BioBlackWarGreymon leapt through the flames, his armor badly singed. He landed on top of me, pinning me to the ground. His hand was clasped around my neck, the claws of his gauntlets just barely missing my face as they were jammed into the ground. I raised my arms and wrapped my hands around his neck, but I couldn’t get him to let go, and soon, it all went dark around me.
Apollomon…where are you?! I ran hurriedly through the darkened and wet streets of Yew, frantically looking around for the Mega Digimon. I shouldn’t have let you go alone! What was I thinking when I didn’t go with you?! What if it’s too late?!
“Hey, did you hear about that fire downtown?” said a voice on the street. I immediately stopped running so I could listen to the conversation between the two passersby.
“Yeah, it’s at the old military base, isn’t it? Just like last time, when their armory burned down.”
Oh, no…that’s where Apollomon is!
“It just started a few minutes ago, I heard. I wonder how long it’ll last this time.”
Apollomon! I began running once again, hoping I would find Apollomon in time. Apollomon, don’t you fucking dare die on me, damn it!