Episode 42:
The Unmade, Remade

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“Why couldn’t this wait ‘til tomorrow~?!” Irbimon complained loudly from the back of the group. This was not the first time he had asked the question or whined, and it was also not the first time Rubimon had ignored him and carried on walking. That was what she had been told to do, to keep walking, to not stop until she had taken the Digimon to their destination; then she could answer their questions. No matter how much they all moaned about being made to move.

She understood how tired they all were. How hungry and annoyed they were having not been allowed to rest like their partners would be now. Rubimon only hoped that Ryudamon’s hunches were correct and the outcome of this trip would not be fruitless.

It was just past midday, the sun was still high, but it was not unbearable. It would take them several hours to reach their destination and they had only been walking an hour or so. Poemon flew a few meters ahead of everyone else, still within Rubimon’s eyesight – scanning ahead for any danger. Rubimon didn’t tell her it was a pointless endeavor; very few Digimon ventured this way anymore. They were entering the equivalent of the Digimon’s no man’s land.

As a group, the Digimon were alright from what Rubimon could tell of them so far, which wasn’t much. Admittedly in this form, few of them seemed to hold the God-like qualities the legends talked about – some less than others. Rubimon could feel it though. Dormant energies coursing through each and every single one of them, waiting to be properly released.

The two wolf twins kept close to each other, walking in tandem. Hatimon was more quiet than her brother Skollmon, who happily joined in conversations with the other Rookies. She was still timid of them, and she didn’t trust them entirely yet, just as a few of them didn’t trust her fully either. Skollmon was less picky about his company. He talked openly and cheerfully with Caesarmon and Ailurmon as they batted stories and anecdotes back and forth.

Irbimon was the loudest, and the most vociferous. He liked to be heard and became annoyed or irritated when he was ignored or told to be quiet – which was quite often. His brother, Siberimon, was like a completely different Digimon, and it was hard to believe the two were siblings. He was stoic, wary, and the times he did speak, he meant himself to be heard.

Ailurmon shared a few of the same traits as Irbimon, needing to be heard and making sure she was. But she didn’t complain. She had to begin with, but now didn’t, and was just walking in the direction everyone else did and went with the flow.

Poemon and Odocomon were the two Digimon that argued the least. They went more on faith that if Ryudamon had meant for them to do something, then they were to do it and without questioning him or his apprentice. Rubimon liked that. That they did as they were asked without making a ruckus.

Then there was Caesarmon, who was accompanied by his companion Corneliamon. Caesarmon talked and talked. He was easily distracted by anything, and had run off once or twice to investigate things a few feet away before bounding back to the group. Corneliamon kept close to him, rarely leaving his side, and only speaking when spoken to. She seemed shy and uneasy in the large group.

“Couldn’t you at least tell us where you’re taking us?” Irbimon’s voice aired again loudly. Rubimon glanced back at him over her shoulder, seeing him walking with his arms folded and a disgruntled expression on his face. “It’s rude!”

“Your voice is rude,” Rubimon retorted quietly under her breath. “And you’re giving me a headache.” She hadn’t meant for anyone to hear her, but caught the eye of Odocomon, who was closest to her.

“It’s a fair question,” Odocomon said after a few seconds. “Far be it for me to question Ryudamon, I am more than certain he knows what he’s doing, but you cannot be angry with us for being curious. All the secrecy is most... unsettling.”

“And necessary,” Rubimon said sharply.

Odocomon looked taken aback, and said nothing else.

Ailurmon took over. “Why is it necessary?”

“What?”

“Why. Is. It. Necessary?” Ailurmon inquired, her eyes narrowing suspiciously at the ruby-colored dragon. “Did I stutter?”

Rubimon rubbed her claws over her head. They were so difficult and annoying. Why did they have to ask questions? Why couldn’t they all just go on faith that Rubimon was doing what Ryudamon wanted, and leave it at that? She doubted they would have so many questions if it was Ryudamon taking the lead and telling them what to do. But because they were unfamiliar with her and she was just his lowly apprentice, all her motives had to be questioned.

“We’re going to the Circle,” Rubimon said finally, stomping on a few paces in front of the group to distance herself from them.

Small glances went between the Digimon as they followed. Caesarmon bounded up behind Rubimon, closing the gap she had purposefully created.

“What’s the Circle?” he asked cheerfully.

“Are you dense?!” Rubimon snapped at him. “Don’t you know anything?” Caesarmon backed off a little, puzzled by Rubimon’s attitude and her question.

“Uhm... I know a bit about a lot of things,” he said slowly, twisting his head to one side. “Is that what you mean?”

Rubimon groaned loudly, rubbing her face with her claws and muttering something inaudible into them. She took everything she thought about them now back. They were all stupid. There was no way they were the Gods. Ryudamon had it wrong, and this would be a wasted trip. She had half a mind to turn around and walk them back and tell Ryudamon as much.

“The Circle is where the old Gods convened,” Siberimon explained, sensing how aggravated Rubimon was getting and taking on the role of explaining for her. “It’s where we would hold seats of power and... discuss the important issues of the time.”

“Kind of like a parliament,” Odocomon added.

“Oh,” Caesarmon replied simply. He went silent, appearing to understand and kept walking with the group.

Thankfully, that was the last foolish question Rubimon had to deal with for some time. It seemed her snapping back at Caesarmon was enough to put everyone else off of asking unimportant questions and focus more on the task at hand, which was getting to their location before nightfall. Poemon returned from flying further ahead to walk with the group – Rubimon was thankful for that, as she seemed to be the only one Irbimon listened to and his moaning lessened considerably, almost to a point where he didn’t speak at all for some time.

A few times, Rubimon stopped them to get her bearings. She had taken this route with Ryudamon several times before already to acquaint herself with it, and gone alone, but at one or two points she still found herself getting turned around or getting confused with the correct direction she needed. The walk took them through places that looked the same whatever way you turned, so Rubimon had taken to leaving landmarks for herself and would take a few moments to find them. Scorch marks in tree trunks, or arrows carved into wood with her claws, pointing her in the right direction. They were subtle markings, not looking out of place, so only she could find them and no one else could spot them without knowing what they were looking for.

She knew they all had burning questions, and the further they walked, the more questions they would have about everything. Why they were going to the Circle. What purpose this trip held. And why their surroundings had changed so drastically.

Ryudamon’s house was hidden away in thick forest, green, lush and healthy. Trees reaching as high as skyscrapers with large bushes and flowers littering the ground.

Where they were now might as well have been dead land. The grass was almost completely gone, and what little remained was black and polluted beyond saving. The ground, too, was hard with no nutrients in it to allow anything to grow. There were fallen trees everywhere, which crumbled when they were touched, and it was possible to see the sky through the naked branches of the few trees that remained upright. It was as if even the sun and sky died here, as where it had been bright and warm, it was now black and cold.

Everyone walked in silence, listening for sounds with caution. Even Rubimon became wary when she came here. Despite the times she had come, this place was still eerie and frightened her a little. It was unnatural, but nothing like what was coming up.

The dead trees gave way to a field of what looked like glass and crystal formations. Giant, thick walls and turrets had risen up straight from the ground it seemed. They would have been beautiful in an unnatural sort of way, if not for the trapped beings inside them. They gave off an unnatural aura which always made Rubimon hurry to move. The Digimon she led though were fascinated, and she was forced to linger.

“Where are we?” Poemon inquired, staring at a Digimon imprisoned in the clear casing.

Rubimon looked at her. “It’s... known as the Gardens of the Dead,” she said slowly, avoiding the eyes of the frozen Digimon that looked at her. Their faces forever stuck as images of terror, anguish and agony.

It had not always been like this, according to Ryudamon. The fields they were in now were once alive and buzzing with life - plants, trees and all manner of flora had flourished here. The fields around the Circle had been some of the most beautiful and fertile in the Digital World, and had been home to certain plants only seen in that area because of the perfect conditions. Not only had flora thrived, but fauna too. Birds of brightly colored plumage had sung from trees, while others had made homes and families in the ponds and lakes that had once dotted the fields. Bees went from bloom to bloom busily, and other Digimon, those who worked and served the Gods and the Circle itself, made their homes in the fields, working the soil and the land to make it as useful as it could be.

All that had been destroyed when Mukademon’s infection had begun to spread.

“Gardens of the Dead...” Hatimon repeated. She and Skollmon stood on their hind legs, looking at one of the creatures that stared back at them. It was twice the size of either of them, canine in shape with a metal mask which had a giant spike sticking out like a horn. “I feel... like I know this place.” She dropped down onto all fours and walked to another jagged edifice.

Irbimon was quiet for once, apparently lost in a reverie of confusion as he took in the sights around him. As did the others. All of them reacted the same way Rubimon had done the first time: horrified, but with a deep sense of morbid curiosity. It was like seeing something so grotesque and unnatural it was impossible to pull one’s gaze away from it.

“What happened here?” Siberimon asked, timidly touching a paw to one of the formations, inside this one was a giant leopard-looking Digimon, frozen with a fearsome snarl on its face. “Are they all dead?”

“Yes,” Rubimon murmured, “according to Ryudamon.” She hesitated for a moment. “We... we should move on.” She didn’t dare admit she hated it here. That this was her least favorite part of the journey, and that she had no intention of remaining here to let them sate their curiosity.

Siberimon repeated himself, his tone demanding. “What happened here?”

Rubimon stared at him with a quiet anger. She wouldn’t tell him. She wouldn’t tell any of them. It wasn’t her place and they should have known anyway. If what Ryudamon had said was true and that their memories were slowly returning to them, then they should have known.

“This is a battlefield,” Odocomon said, walking a few paces towards Rubimon. “The remains of one, isn’t it?”

“A battlefield?” Ailurmon repeated.

Poemon ruffled her feathers. “It’s not just a battlefield...” she said, slowly looking around at the frozen structures and the others around her, “it’s the battlefield.”

Rubimon regarded them with well hidden surprise. Of all the Digimon, she had not expected it to be Poemon to recognize this place. After all, she came across as the most timid and the one least likely to speak out or make an announcement to take anyone else by surprise – which this obviously did.

The other Rookies all looked at each other, the formations around them, and the area they were in, littered with a few dead trees and remains of grassland. Rubimon saw it, the slow recognition in the eyes of five of them, while Skollmon, Hatimon, and Corneliamon stood further off, letting it all sink in. It was like they were seeing images none of the others could see, each of them having their own memories return, drifting at them from the frozen faces of the Digimon who had fought.

“This is what happened when we attacked Mukademon,” Caesarmon spoke, sounding serious for the first time since Rubimon had met him. He also sounded saddened by his realization. “We caused this.”

“It was Mukademon who led to it,” Ailurmon responded firmly, but not fiercely. She was just as astounded as the rest of them. “If it hadn’t been for him, none of this would have happened.”

“Is being here... seeing this place...” Siberimon looked at Rubimon seriously, “something to do with the ritual we’re to undertake?”

She shook her head. “No.” Sighing, she continued. “There’s no other way to get to the Circle without going through the Gardens of the Dead. This place serves as a reminder to those who venture this far in, of what happened so long ago, and what could still happen if Mukademon wins overall.”

“This could happen to the real world!?” Irbimon asked.

“Yes,” Rubimon told him plainly. “If he wins.”

“Which he won’t,” Ailurmon interjected, her arms folded.

Rubimon said nothing in response, but turned and started walking again. “Come on, we’ve lingered here too long and the ghosts are growing restless. There’s still a lot for us to do.”

-----------------------------

The impact of the Garden seemed enough to silence the group for the continuation of the walk. One or two of them spoke a few words to another, once or twice, but for the most part they travelled the remaining distance in quiet through more fields of more dead trees, and Digimon encased in glassy crystal. Rubimon noticed how none of them dared look at the Digimon inside, avoiding their furious and horrified faces by keeping their eyes down and distracted. She found them mostly staring straight ahead, keeping up with Rubimon’s pace.

It was impossible to tell what time it was when the ruins of the Circle finally came into view. It was still daytime, but with the sun having disappeared, there was no way to tell what time of day. Rubimon knew it had taken them longer than originally planned to reach their destination; she hoped it would not take them as long to get back.

The first time Rubimon had seen the ruins she had been unimpressed. From a distance it had just appeared there was white stone in a remaining shape of a cylindrical tower. It had crumbled from top to bottom and it was impossible to see where things had been or even where it started or ended. The Digimon she led didn’t see them, they didn’t know what they were looking for, or if they did spot them, and no one made a comment. Like with her first time, if they saw what remained of the Circle, she was willing to guess all they saw was a destroyed building.

Another reminder of the war.

Having travelled this way before, Rubimon knew how it felt. How underneath everything, under the dead ground and the soiled trees, there was life - an intense power ebbed unseen and barely tangible, but Rubimon had been taught to feel it by Ryudamon. Every time she had come this far on Ryudamon’s instruction she had felt it, and each time it behaved a little differently. Sometimes it was so hard to tell it was there, it was like the power had completely disappeared. And other times it was as if it was a living, breathing organic being, enveloping Rubimon in invisible folds as she walked.

It was searching for something, and Rubimon was not it.

But these Digimon, these eight were.

The others felt it, she knew they did from the way they were all suddenly alert and on edge. They could feel the energy all around them, investigating the newcomers and wrapping itself around each of them like a snake. Rubimon was familiar, the sensations she felt of her skin tingling and the ripples up her spine did nothing to deter her any longer, but she glanced back and saw the other Rookies.

Skollmon and Hatimon had their hackles up, snarling and biting at hands that weren’t there. Odocomon picked each leg up uneasily in turn, rapidly spinning, her eyes wide and nostrils flared. Siberimon and Irbimon had both puffed up, making themselves appear bigger and more intimidating to an entity they could not see. Poemon hovered above the ground, attempting a bird’s eye view and failing. And Caesarmon was protectively guarding Corneliamon, teeth bared, scratching marks into the dead ground.

Ailurmon was the exception to the rule. She stood with her hands together, and her eyes closed, appearing to listen. Rubimon was not surprised, Ailurmon was more in touch with the earth in latter forms from what Ryudamon had told her - the earth and the more spiritual side of things. She could sense what was around them and was the only one not threatened by it.

The power was there, drifting around each of them, taking in their forms, familiarizing itself with them. Rubimon could feel it, the energy engaging, almost like a heartbeat, thumping softly at the back of her mind with excitement.

It recognized these beings she had brought with her, it knew them by shape, and name, and reacted accordingly. Within a moment, eight crystals sprouted from the ground and floated upwards, leaving small holes from where they had formed.

“What’s going on?!” Irbimon demanded.

Rubimon backed away a few feet, beckoning Corneliamon to follow after her. Uneasily, she did as Rubimon bid her, and they stood, watching the spectacle unfold before them.

“Calm down,” Ailurmon told the others in a voice that sounded foreign to them. “We’re not going to be harmed.”


The other Rookies stared at her as if she had gone mad, but before any of them could speak, the crystals each erupted with intense blazing lights of pink, yellow, orange, blue, green, purple, white and an eerie black. The crystals spun, scanning each one of the Digimon, backing them together into a clustered group. They all faced out, unable to see what lay beyond the light barrier now as it was too bright.

Poemon grabbed Irbimon in a choking grip.

The crystals span, faster and faster until the Rookies were surrounded by a technicolor ball, caught in it, and unable to move until they stopped suddenly. Each crystal hovered in front of its corresponding Digimon, perfectly still, suspended in the air and still shining their brightness on each of them.

A few moments passed of this.

“What do we do?” Caesarmon asked no one in particular, never taking his eyes off the suspicious yellow glowing item before him.

Ailurmon took the lead, walking towards the crystal in front of her with an outstretched arm.

“What are you doing?!” Poemon asked, her voice high pitched and frantic. “Ailurmon, don’t touch it!”

“Calm down,” Ailurmon told her gently, in that same unfamiliar voice.

Odocomon quirked an eyebrow. “Marquismon...?”

Her eyes glowing blue, Ailurmon’s paw closed around the stone and she was engulfed in the blue light that pulsated over her small form, causing it to grow and extended upwards and outwards, making their colorful prison grow too. She felt the same power coursing through her veins as she had when she had first evolved to Marquismon, but it wasn’t just the power she felt. She felt a warmth surrounding her, like open arms welcoming her home for the first time in a long while. Her mind was open, letting in thoughts and memories from a lifetime ago that all hazed in front of her eyes as she changed.

Following Ailurmon’s example, Odocomon was next and grabbed the crystal in front of her in her mouth. One-by-one the other Rookies snatched up the floating objects in their paws or wings, and were each swallowed up by their respective colors. Their forms all changed together, each growing in different ways.

Irbimon and Siberimon gaining human torsos, their feet growing larger and each of them holding a sword. Caesarmon extending onto his back legs in a humanoid stance, snatching a hood up over his head. Antlers sparkling and sprouting from Odocomon’s head. Poemon’s small wings transforming into lithe, delicate arms with hands that held a fearsome spear. Skollmon and Hatimon took on human forms, their remaining wolfish tails swishing back and forth.

In an explosion of light and color, the transformations finished, and standing in the places of each Rookie were now their Mega forms.

Rubimon looked at them all with approval. They were exactly as they had been in the stories and the legends Ryudamon had told to her and shown her documents of. Standing in front of her, dazed, confused and a little bewildered as a result of their rushed transformations, were the Gods from over a thousand years ago, and the forms the divided Core had taken on.

It was a momentous occasion.

Something that was never expected to happen again, had happened.

And there would be more to come.

“That was a rush,” Morrigamon commented, holding her fingers to her temple. She saw her fingers, the gauntlet, and started. “What!? When did-?!” She stared down at herself, taking in her form, still in the mindset of Poemon.

She turned quickly, looking at the others around her. Their forms - all but Ymirmon’s beside her - were unfamiliar and yet, at the same time, familiar.

“Ymirmon.” Morrigamon nudged him, and Ymirmon looked at her. The surprise on his face was easily schooled and he smiled gently. “Look.” She pointed beyond his shoulder, the others were all coming to their sensing, realizing their forms had changed in the flashes of light they had experienced.

Turning, Ymirmon stared at each of them in turn, taking in their appearances. How they all looked the same after so long being dormant.

“Brother?” He heard the voice beside him, turned, and came face-to-face with a replica of himself with a white tiger headdress and similar paws. “Ymirmon?!”

“Vayumon!” Ymirmon’s reply was jubilant and the two embraced tightly, each releasing deep purrs from their throats in greeting.

Morrigamon suppressed a small chuckle, watching as the brothers broke apart, quickly checking around them to see if any of their companions had witnessed the moment. “Marquismon, is that you?” She hurried across the gap to the floating woman in the lotus flower. Hearing her name called, the flower and the vines allowed Marquismon to shrink in size to be more on level with Morrigamon.

“In the flesh,” she responded with a grin. “Look at you! You’ve barely changed.”

“I could say the same!” Morrigamon replied cheerfully. She turned to Heliomon, “and who might you be?”

“Don’t you recognize me?” Heliomon placed his hands on his hips, smiling broadly. “It’s me, Skollmon. Though, really I suppose it’s Heliomon in this form,” he explained, grinning. “And you already know my sister, Selenemon.” He indicated to her.

“Hopefully not the same as the one we met previously,” Marquismon teased.

Selenemon smiled a little. “No... the opposite in fact. No dark control anywhere in or on me.”

“Still glum, eh, Gaiusmon?” Ymirmon jeered, nudging the cloaked otter Digimon as water pooled at his feet on the ground.

Gaiusmon regarded him with a silent gaze and sighed loudly. “It’s been some time,” he said slowly.

“Some time?” Ymirmon retorted. “It’s only been a thousand years or so. I see time has not changed you or your cheery disposition.”

“Nor yours,” Ceryneiamon commented, from where she stood, her arms folded and a small grin on her face.

Ymirmon bowed his head a little. “It’s good to see you again too, sister.”

“Sister?” Ceryneiamon repeated.

Morrigamon smiled. “You didn’t forget, did you?” She touched Ceryneiamon’s shoulder and indicated to Vayumon with her eyes.

Realizing, Ceryneiamon’s cheeks flushed a little. “Oh.”

Vayumon stood, watching the two women silently as Ymirmon and Gaiusmon conversed beside him. Ceryneiamon turned towards him, bowing deeply and keeping her head low, her hair spilling over one shoulder. “My Lord, Husband.”

Vayumon took his time regarding the bowing woman in front of him, before closing the gap between them slowly. He hooked his fingers beneath Ceryneiamon’s chin, lifting it so he was able to see her face. Her eyes were shining, while her expression was impassive and patient. He quirked his head, a lopsided smile slipping into view. “Wife.”

She smiled and leapt at him, wrapping her arms around Vayumon’s neck, planting a kiss on his mouth as he reeled back, supporting her with one arm around her waist.

Marquismon raised both her eyebrows at the display, before turning back to Morrigamon. “I told you to be calm, didn’t I?” she teased.

Morrigamon gave her a look, but smirked none-the-less. “You did, I was foolish to doubt you.”

“It’s alright, you weren’t to know,” Marquismon replied.

“So, what now?” Heliomon asked loudly.

In their happiness of being reunited, the Digimon had practically forgotten their companions, and that they had been on a mission. They each looked at Heliomon and then at Rubimon on the ground. Corneliamon was in awe of each of them, staring with wide open eyes. Rubimon regarded each of the Megas in turn with a discerning gaze.

“We experience a reunion, witness some jovial greeting and that’s it? Is that the ritual?”  Selenemon asked and turned to Rubimon.

Gaiusmon, who had been the most silent in the greetings spoke now, looking out over the heads of the smaller Rookies. “We’re near the Circle.”

“Yes,” Rubimon confirmed. “You remember?”

He nodded silently, looking down at her. “Explain to us what happened.” It was not a request, more an order. “What turned us into these forms without the need of our partners nearby or their D-Touches?”

“There’s not really enough time,” Rubimon said.

“Please,” Marquismon coaxed, “it’s a simple enough request, we’re all curious. And we will do this ritual you keep so secret.”

Still stubborn. Rubimon thought, but decided it would be pointless to argue now. “You remember what the Circle was?”

“Where we convened, and where the Core was held under protection,” Vayumon explained.

“Yes,” Rubimon affirmed. “It was also a place where energy became something of a living entity. Not something you could touch, or hold, but something that took on a life of its own when there was enough there. And you six had it in spades, plus the Core expelled excess energy all the time, day and night. Each time you all came together there, more energy would form and linger, intertwining with the energy the Core gave out. It remained here, even after the battle, after you disappeared. It waited for you to return.”

“That’s what was responsible?” Morrigamon inquired skeptically.

“Ryudamon explained it to me, that the energy that stayed here held everything about you: thoughts, feelings, and memories. When you came back in your Rookie forms, it recognized who you were and reacted accordingly. It was the kick start it needed to give you back the memories still lost to you,” Rubimon explained impatiently. She was all too aware of what needed to be done, and how much time they were wasting talking.

“It sounds a little far-fetched,” Gaiusmon murmured, his arms folded. “But not wholly impossible.”

“Thank you,” Rubimon huffed, feeling exhausted.

“What’s next then?” asked Ymirmon. “This wasn’t part of the ritual.”

“No – but you’ll need to be in these forms to complete it in its entirety. You’ll use up a lot of energy, so it’s unlikely you’ll stay like this when all’s said and done.” Rubimon explained.

“But we’ll still keep our memories?” Marquismon asked.

“I shouldn’t see why not,” Rubimon shrugged. “Come on, we have to get inside what’s left of the Circle – and I’m warning you, it’s not a pretty sight.”

-----------------------------

In their Mega forms, the Digimon were able to cross the space remaining between them and the Circle in a much quicker time than Rubimon had anticipated. It seemed, despite them all retaining certain aspects of their Rookie personalities, they understood now the seriousness of the situation and were not in the mood to enjoy the trip or make jokes. They wanted to fulfill the ritual now just as much as Rubimon wanted them to.

The Circle came into view in seemingly no time at all.

The final ruins of it reached barely three stories off the ground, and around it were slabs of crumbled stone and marble. The insides of the ruins that were visible were overgrown with moss and greenery, but it was still possible to see where windows would have been, and the remains of some stairs from the very bottom of the tower.

The power here was more potent and intense than it had been at their original distance. All the Digimon felt it as it washed around them and enveloped them in a welcoming and enticing way, drawing them back to the home they belonged in. Or at least what remained of it.

The journey was swift, and they spoke very little, knowing there would be time for talk later, and that for now they had more important and urgent things to deal with. Rubimon was grateful for that. And to her shame, grateful for the lift she got from Marquismon. And with Gaiusmon carrying Corneliamon, it meant no one had to struggle to keep up or slow down.

The Circle in view, and barely a mile away, Morrigamon’s wings expanded in a quick motion, causing everyone to stop. She planted her spear into the ground and surveyed the area with a look of deep unrest marring her features.

Ymirmon had been leading the group with her, and the other Digimon crowded around a little, trying to see and sense what had set Morrigamon off. Gaiusmon placed Corneliamon on the ground, and Rubimon quickly joined her.

“Something is wrong,” Morrigamon stated.

“What is it?” Rubimon asked.

Vayumon tensed. “I sense it too.”

“And me,” added Ymirmon.

“What’s wrong?” Rubimon asked again, more insistent this time on being heard and answered.

Morrigamon looked at her for a moment, and then back out over the remaining distance. “Hard to say. There’s just... something near that shouldn’t be here. There’s an energy emitting from close by. And it’s dark.”

“Someone should scout ahead,” Gaiusmon advised firmly. “I will go.”


“No,” Ceryneiamon chided. “You’d be far too obvious, and if it’s something looking for a fight you know you would be the first to jump in.” She gave Gaiusmon a knowing look, taking his barely audible grumble as admittance that she was correct.

“I can get close,” Marquismon said. “Close enough for my vines to do the work.”

Selenemon shifted her weight, leaning against her scythe. “You can’t go alone. What if there’s something there waiting for us to arrive?”

“I’ll go,” Morrigamon offered.

Ymirmon smirked. “You?”

Casting him a dark glare, Morrigamon turned back to Selenemon. “I can hide myself in darkness. Whatever is there, it won’t see me coming, and that way there’s at least two of us to hold off any enemies while the rest of you cross the distance.”

Heliomon chuckled a little, planting his hands on his hips. “Can I venture a suggestion?”

“If you must,” Gaiusmon muttered.

Ignoring him, Heliomon turned to Morrigamon. “It seems a little futile you two going there, scouting and coming back-”

 “It’s a sensible option,” Gaiusmon argued.

“And also the safe and slow option,” Heliomon retorted, nudging the caped Digimon in the chest with a cocky grin. Gaiusmon said nothing, simply glowered from beneath his cowl. “Surely you can cover us with a cloud or something,” he was speaking to Morrigamon again.

She looked a little surprised and puzzled by his suggestion, and glanced at Ymirmon as if asking him to clarify. Ymirmon looked as puzzled, if not more so than she did. “Could you elaborate?” she requested, shifting a tendril of dark hair back into place.

Selenemon sighed and shoved Heliomon to one side. “What my brother means to say,” she stated, ignoring the shove back from her sibling, “is that he is suggesting that if you can teleport here and there in puffs of black smoke, then perhaps you could conjure a veil that will cover us all. That way, we can all approach together. The veil will hide us from view, and we will all be able to see what you sense.”

“Can you create a veil that big?” Vayumon inquired.

Morrigamon shrugged. “I’ve never tried.”

“Now is probably the opportune time then, in that case,” Ceryneiamon said cheerfully.

Rubimon spoke up, “Hold your horses.” The Megas looked down at her, and Rubimon was suddenly very aware of her size. “Wouldn’t a trick like that use up a lot of your energy?”

“Perhaps,” Morrigamon murmured, “but as you said, there’s energy here that has been resting for over a thousand years. I’m sure any energy I expend will be quickly replenished in the current situation.”

“Besides,” Marquismon added, lowering herself to better speak to the crimson colored dragon, “do you have a better suggestion for moving our party undetected?”

Opening her mouth, Rubimon closed it again quickly and stared at the plant-woman Digimon. “Okay, let’s go with the veil idea.”

Marquismon picked her up off the ground. “That a girl.” Rubimon grumbled irritably, while Gaiusmon scooped Corneliamon up again in his arms.

Morrigamon picked her spear up from the ground and circled around the group, looking at each of them while thoughtfully tapping her lower lip with one of her gauntlet-covered fingers. She spoke to herself quietly, making little thoughtful noises as she went back and forth.

“Yes. This should work,” she stated finally. “You’ll all need to stay tightly packed together in order for this to be accomplished.”

With little argument, the seven of them clustered closely together, Marquismon in the middle with Rubimon, and the others forming a circle outside of her.

Morrigamon took to the air and hovered a few feet above them. Spinning her spear above her head, she concentrated her energy, eyes closed and her mouth drawn into a tight line. The spinning created a black wisp of smoke which grew in size until it was big enough to blanket the group. Morrigamon disappeared into it first, and then it descended lower, covering each of the Mega Digimon in a dark shroud, hiding them all from unwanted eyes.

Remaining airborne, Morrigamon guided them.

They could teleport short distances as their collective mass was too great to travel the whole distance in one go, but the cloud worked enough to get them all close to the Circle. At a safe distance, Morrigamon landed. She had moved them to the only area of cover she could find, part of a wall that was vertical, though it leaned a little. It was embedded in the ground some depth, but was still tall enough to hide them all from sight.

“I don’t think I like teleporting,” Corneliamon stated, slipping onto the ground when Gaiusmon released her.

Morrigamon offered an apologetic smile, but turned quickly to Rubimon. “There’s definitely something going on, but I can’t get close enough to see without revealing myself.”

“Leave that to me,” Marquismon smiled. Her roots dug deep into the dead ground so her lotus flower was now at ground level. Closing her eyes, Marquismon hummed softly, placing hands together in concentration. Around her, the other Digimon watched patiently, waiting for information to be fed back to them. Marquismon shuffled a little, reaching further with her roots and gasped softly.

“There are Digimon... many of them,” Marquismon explained. “One there... a Wisemon, is giving out power.”

Selenemon and Ymirmon exchanged glances, memories springing upon them of the BlackGatomon they had met, and her comment of Digimon receiving power to serve Mukademon. “Is there an altar?” Ymirmon asked gruffly.

“I can’t tell,” Marquismon replied softly. “There’s a Renamon... but something is wrong.” She paused, her brow furrowing. “Something is terribly wrong.”

“What?” Ceryneiamon asked. “What do you see?”

“The Wisemon... he laid his hands on Renamon... told her to arise as a servant of Lord Mukademon and she mutated,” Marquismon replied, sounding alarmed.

“Mutated into what?” Heliomon demanded.

Marquismon replied. “Something else. Something unnatural.” She paused, and hesitated before she continued. “Ku... Kuzuhamon?”

“Is there a BlackGatomon there?” Selenemon asked urgently. When Marquismon didn’t reply, she looked with worry at Ymirmon.

“Marquismon?” Ymirmon prompted.

“I’m trying to...” she paused, “no. No BlackGatomon. But something with a similar essence. Malkimon?”

Vayumon kneeled. “Describe to us what you’re seeing. In detail.”

Nodding, Marquismon breathed in deeply. “There are Digimon all around. At least thirty. All of differing levels. They’re all waiting for something, waiting to be touched by Wisemon. He stands away from them, with a stone altar before him and a container of some kind. It looks like a chalice, but it’s spewing what looks like purple fire. There are pyres around him, seven of them – each one has the same purple fire.”

Rubimon gasped. “I had no idea it was like this.”

“Like what?” Ceryneiamon asked.

“The pyres and the altar are generating dark energy. So much of it, it’ll be impossible for you to rebuild the Circle while that much dark energy is being manifested and used,” Rubimon explained.

“That’s the ritual?” Heliomon inquired, sounding dubious. “To rebuild the Circle?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“What else?” Gaiusmon prompted, speaking gruffly to put a stop to the pointless questions.

Marquismon was practically trembling under the efforts she was making to see everything though her vines. The soil was so dense and poisoned it was affecting her badly. “Malkimon remains close to him, bringing forth the Digimon offering themselves to him. She is followed by a cauldron. Kuzuhamon is waiting to one side, like she’s waiting for orders.”

“That’s enough,” Morrigamon said, tapping Marquismon lightly on the shoulder. In a rush, the woman in the lotus flower opened her eyes and ascended from the ground. The vines beneath the flower all coiled together as they were pulled from the earth. She breathed deeply, taking in the air, and her vines seemed to do the same, as they expanded and contracted slowly.

“Did you see anything else?” Ymirmon demanded.

“No,” Marquismon shook her head, “but I am certain Malkimon knows we’re here.”

-----------------------------

The Digimon waiting to pledge themselves to Mukademon had not been the recruits Malkimon had intended to see. None of them were particularly impressive, or looked at all intimidating. In fact, many of them looked terrified to be anywhere near the old destroyed Circle. She was willing to bet many of them had never ventured this far into the Digital World. That they had heard the stories and the tales of how the ghosts of the battle from a thousand years ago rested here and attacked any who came to close to disturb the ruins.

As BlackGatomon she had heard the stories and put no stock in them.

It had turned out they had truly been nothing but stories. That all that lay near the ruins of the Circle were more ruins and dead earth. The grass was black and brittle, the few trees that survived were long dead, the bark white and the trees so close to giving up, they looked as if they would fall over any minute.

The trip here had been hard, but it had been worth it. She had been one of the first to find Wisemon, who had summoned all the Digimon still faithful to Mukademon to this place. The power here was immense, it was almost tangible, and the feel of it coursing through her veins as Wisemon had transformed her from BlackGatomon to her new form was a sensation Malkimon regularly replayed in her head, and was one she envied the new recruits every time one of them changed.

She had to count herself lucky, though.

Her transformation had been one of the few that had not resulted in a distorted mutation of some kind. Kuzuhamon was similar, in that the change from Renamon had left her almost completely normal looking. Some of the other recruits had not been so lucky. Many of them had not been able to take the transformation and the pain that went with it, and had pulled from Wisemon’s touch too soon, leaving them halfway between their old and new forms.

Others found the pain too excruciating and it had done something to their minds. Their new forms were perfect, but their senses were gone. They were classed as insane, and despite still being loyal, were loose cannons and not easily contained. Malkimon could not remember seeing such a mismatched group of Digimon, but still felt like they were a family of a sort, if an odd family. After all, they each had the same goal in mind, to bring themselves to Mukademon’s aid when the time came, and assist in the destruction of the Gods, their partners, and to take over the human and Digital World.

There would only be a problem if the Gods showed up, and if Malkimon’s instincts were correct – which they often were – that time had come.

She hadn’t been sure at first, the sense had been so faint she had put it down to her imagination, or the memory of the confrontation at the time. But now that she concentrated, she knew the energy she felt was not a memory.

The power that she had felt ebbing off Irbimon and Hatimon as they had her pinned and questioned her that day was something she vowed she would not soon forget, and today that vow became useful to her. She knew they were close, and knew they were not alone.

“Wisemon,” Malkimon spoke clearly, wanting her voice to carry so the Gods could hear if they were close enough to do so. The floating, robed Digimon turned to her, his yellow eyes staring from an empty black face. “I feel I should tell you, we are no longer alone.”

Wisemon never had an expression, and the only way he could express his emotions was through his voice. He sounded curious when he spoke to Malkimon. “And what do you mean by that, child?”

“I sense the Gods are close by,” Malkimon told him boldly. Around them several of the mutated Digimon growled and whooped.

“And makes you sure?”

“Their putrid stench,” Malkimon said venomously. “I thought I sensed them before, but now I am certain they are here..

“All of them?”

“All of them,” she confirmed.

“How deliciously foolhardy.” If Wisemon’s mouth was visible, Malkimon was sure he would have had a grim smile of satisfaction as he turned to the Digimon around him. “You heard our beloved sister.” He spoke to them in a voice that was commanding and sinister. “The Gods are here and will not leave. It is time to prove yourselves worthy to Lord Mukademon.”

That was all the instruction they needed as Digimon starting running in all directions, some flying, others bounding across the ground. Malkimon and Wisemon stood back at the altar to guard it, and watched Kuzuhamon launch from her place, following her brethren Digimon.

-----------------------------

“Incoming,” Heliomon stated, lashing his flaming whip against the ground.

“You two stay hidden,” Ceryneiamon ordered, glancing briefly at Corneliamon and Rubimon. She readied her bow in one hand, pulling back an arrow in the other. “Crystal Nebula!” She launched the arrow, and her companions rounded from their hiding place as the crystal shards rained down on the charging minions.

Marquismon’s guess at thirty Digimon had not been wrong, and they were all different shapes and sizes.

Bellows and cries of attacks echoed over the field as Digimon met Digimon.

Several of the weaker followers were picked off quickly, leaving the larger more formidable Digimon to be dealt with.

Vayumon had summoned a second katana made of wind, while the giant paws at his back also grasped a wind-made blade, which slashed through the hordes of smaller Digimon, sending their data flying up into the air.

The ice-sword Rimefang cleaved one follower clean in two as Ymirmon heaved it overhead, turning in fluid motions to put a stop to any Digimon who attacked him. Nearby, Heliomon took great pleasure in setting flame to any Digimon who dared to come to close, releasing small barks of laughter whenever his attacks impacted where he wanted them to.

Selenemon fought more seriously, swinging her scythe and releasing attacks, nimbly dodging Digimon who attacked her head on. She was merciless, taking a more morbid enjoyment of their destruction than her brother’s entertained view.

Unlike the others, who moved from one attacker to the other, Gaiusmon dealt with several at a time, sweeping a massive trident he had created back and forth, releasing waves of energy that rushed in semi-circles at his targets. Any time he felt cornered, he leapt from one place to another.

Marquismon and Ceryneiamon worked together. Marquismon, safe and secure in the petals of her flower, sent her vines underground, shooting up giant spikes of earth. Ceryneiamon held back attacks with barrages of arrows, pinning Digimon to the ground to allow the spikes a direct target.

Kuzuhamon had gone directly for Morrigamon, clashing her own spear against that of the bird woman Digimon. They struggled for a moment, before Morrigamon successfully shoved Kuzuhamon away. They were squared, sizing one another up as explosions of attacks impacting one another rained around them. At Kuzuhamon’s waist, four fox-like spirits were awakened and fidgeted, longing to be used.

Neither moved for several long seconds.

“Banshee Keen!” Morrigamon’s spear disappeared as she inhaled deeply and then expelled the air in a high pitched wail, aiming for Kuzuhamon.

Kuzuhamon bounced out of the air, lithe and quick, she turned in midair as Morrigamon’s spear reappeared.

“Ura Izuna!” The fox spirits around her waist went loose, turning wild and feral as they were released, and torpedoed straight for Morrigamon.

“Will-o’-Wisp!” Her palms were full of black flames, which she threw one after the other into the small fox spirits. Each one disintegrated as the flames engulfed them.


Kuzuhamon launched herself off a dying tree, directly for Morrigamon, staff in hand. “Fox Drive!” She moved the staff around her, creating a circle of blue flames that descended down to Morrigamon. They enveloped her, and Morrigamon screeched against the burning until the flames stopped. Morrigamon breathed deeply, recovering.  Kuzuhamon’s staff cut across Morrigamon’s shoulder and she hissed, turning swiftly as the mutated kitsune Digimon sailed past her and landed easily on the ground several feet away.

Morrigamon drew her spear back. “Witch Spear!” She threw, and the weapon cut through Kuzuhamon’s right shoulder before she could turn and face Morrigamon after her landing. Kuzuhamon snarled, watching as the spear puffed back into Morrigamon’s waiting hands.

-----------------------------

Rubimon and Corneliamon watched from the safety of their hiding place. So far, none of the opposing Digimon had come anywhere near the slab of wall that protected them, the Gods handled everything at a far enough distance that none of the enemies got the chance to get close. But that didn’t make Corneliamon or Rubimon feel much better.

Rubimon especially.

Watching the Gods was impressive, but she was puzzled. She had thought the Digimon they fought against would be nothing to them. That the fight they were in would take no time at all and they would be able to get the Circle rebuilt. But things weren’t panning out how she had envisioned. The Gods fought well, and the numbers of their enemies was dropping. But the remaining ones were still coming, despite being injured, and they attacked with the same ferocity as before. Rubimon could see the Gods slowing down, becoming tired, and their attacks not doing as much damage as they should have been doing.

“Something is wrong,” Rubimon stated softly. Corneliamon looked at her, worried, but said nothing. It didn’t take a mind reader to know something was causing the Gods to weaken. “They should be much stronger than this.”

Rubimon surveyed the battleground. Digimon weaved back and forth between each other and between the Gods to change up the battles. Kuzuhamon kept Morrigamon occupied, while the others were all distracted by the number of adversaries they were forced to face.

Ryudamon had mentioned there might have been a possibility of this. That Digimon loyal to the Parasite would have set up camp in the area of his demise. But Rubimon had hoped she and the Gods would get there before that happened. This wasn’t how things were supposed to have been going; she hadn’t wanted the Gods to spend their energy fighting when there was something far more important they had to do first.
“Look.” Corneliamon nudged Rubimon’s arm and pointed out towards where the pyres and altar were. Wisemon was still there, his head bowed and focused on the flaming chalice before him, while Malkimon stood guard, observing the fighting, entertained. Her cauldron stood nearby, also appearing to watch as it teetered from side to side.

“Wisemon...” Rubimon murmured softly. “I wonder...”

“What?” Corneliamon prompted, looking uneasy.

Rubimon tilted her head a little. “He may be channeling the energy here negatively to power Mukademon’s followers. If the pyres and the altar are destroyed, that would give him no power, and stop Kuzuhamon and the others from being stronger than they should be.”

“How can we tell them?” Corneliamon asked, indicating to Ymirmon who was closest to them.

Shaking her head, Rubimon furrowed her eyebrows. “They’re preoccupied, and would get taken down in an instant if they lost focus.”

“I really hope you’re not suggesting what I think you’re suggesting,” Corneliamon said, her voice rising in slight panic.

“We’re small enough to cross the field unnoticed and to dislodge the pyres.”

“I hate it when I’m right,” moaned Corneliamon. “We’ll be killed if Wisemon or Malkimon see us!”

“Then we’ll have to make sure we’re not seen,” said Rubimon confidently. “We’re their only hope to get them out of this battle.”

Despite her trepidation, Corneliamon agreed and followed Rubimon out of hiding. Their cover was minimal and they were forced to move swiftly from one hiding place to another. There were small slabs of stone and a few decrepit bushes they were able to use as cover. Several times, they narrowly avoided being stepped on or skewered by arrows or jets of water. Their movement did not go unnoticed by Mukademon’s followers on the battlefield; both Digimon had to defend themselves with their attacks. Luckily, any time one of the Digimon attacking them got too close, they were picked off by an attack from one of the Gods, or one of the Gods took their attention without meaning to.

It took them longer than Rubimon anticipated to reach the base of the Circle. Here, the energy was strong and it struggled against the pull Wisemon had over it. Rubimon could feel it more than Corneliamon, and it was as if something had a tight hold around her lungs when she got close enough, that the energy being manipulated wanted to be released from Wisemon’s motives.

“Now what?” Corneliamon asked, her voice shaking a little. She had not signed up for this, some massive adventure with the Gods. She had just wanted to stay close to Caesarmon. She felt she was in way over her head, and was not keen on the idea of risking her life.

“Shhh—” Rubimon hushed her with a wave of her claws and stood with her back against the smooth stone, thinking. From their vantage point, it was a short dash over open ground to the altar and the pyres. There was no way they could take out the altar with Wisemon and Malkimon there, but the pyres were a different matter. They were fire, plain and simple, and Corneliamon would have no trouble putting them out with her water-based attacks. And Rubimon could easily knock the pyres down. There were seven of them, so they could each take three and meet in the middle.

That was provided they lived that long.

To get close they just needed something to distract Malkimon. A distraction which was promptly supplied as Morrigamon hit the ground in a heap, having been thwarted in an attack by Kuzuhamon. Malkimon sneered from her place and leaned on one hip, giggling.

“And these are the Gods of old,” she teased, shaking her head. “Pitiful, really. I was expecting more of a fight.”

“Can you stand?” Ymirmon asked, helping Morrigamon to her feet. The bird woman nodded slowly, and her spear appeared back in her hand in a puff of black smoke.

“Yes. But that bitch is really beginning to irk me,” she said fiercely.

Malkimon smirked. “Why are you helping her?” Her question was directed to Ymirmon. “Aren’t cats more your type?”

Ymirmon returned her smile with a lop-sided one of his own. “Not when I don’t know where they’ve been.”

Malkimon released a feral hiss in return and launched herself at Ymirmon, leaving Wisemon and the altar unprotected. That was the opening Rubimon and Corneliamon needed. They bolted, covering the ground quickly, avoiding attacks that landed around them. Rubimon went for one pyre, shoving her weight against it and knocking it to the ground, while Corneliamon released a jet of water onto another, extinguishing the black flames.

Another pyre went down as Rubimon knocked it back with her tail.

Wisemon noticed them, his head lifting and his eyes opening. He rounded on them both, arms up and eyes glowing fiercely.

“Little pests!” he shrieked. “You should not interfere!”

Rubimon stood in front of Corneliamon as a form of protection as the cloaked Digimon drew his arms back, the floating balls that levitated in either hand spinning and glowing furiously.

“Pandora-”

“Vengeance Crush!” Gaiusmon landed just behind Wisemon and grabbed the back of his cloak, yanking the lithe Digimon away from the two Rookies, and clamping his hands around his skull before throwing him down into the ground.

“Gaiusmon-” Corneliamon stopped, catching a look from the Mega.

“Go destroy the pyres and the altar. We’ll do the rest,” he ordered, running at Wisemon as he righted himself.

Without hesitation, the two Rookies continued, taking down the last of the flaming pyres, Rubimon knocking them to the floor as Corneliamon extinguished the flames. The altar was next. Rubimon leapt up on to the stone tablet where the chalice flamed and sputtered. She could see the tides turning all around her. Morrigamon had Kuzuhamon on the ropes, almost fleeing. There were less than ten parasitic followers left to dispatch, and Ymirmon was a match Malkimon had underestimated.

“Hurry!” Corneliamon shouted from the ground.

Rubimon lifted the chalice from its spot and dropped it to the ground as the flames exploded in front of her, causing the goblet to burn white-hot. Rubimon’s paws were burnt a little, but she ignored the pain to focus on the task at hand. The goblet rolled on its side, the flames out, and the contents of it littering the ground.

The altar was stone and built up like a table, one large slab, with two beneath it holding it up. The stone had been inscribed with glyphs that Rubimon didn’t recognize, but they glowed strangely despite there being no one focusing the power.

“How do we destroy that?” Corneliamon asked, after Rubimon’s flames had done no damage to the stone.

Ceryneiamon stepped towards them, out of breath and slightly disheveled. “Perhaps we can assist.” She turned. “Marquismon!” her voice carried.

Moments later, a giant vine had risen up from the ground like the tentacle of a serpent. Rubimon and Corneliamon dodged out of the way as the vine came crashing down onto the stones, causing them to crumble and smash under the barrage.

“NO!” Wisemon cried, ignoring his fight with Gaiusmon.

Wisemon’s yell attracted the attention of the other Gods. He, Malkimon and Kuzuhamon were the only remaining followers left to deal with, and Gaiusmon and Ymirmon had been dealing with them for the most part.

Seeing an opportunity, Malkimon gathered herself up and started running from the battlefield.

“Stop her!” Corneliamon yelled. “She’s getting away!” The small otter started to give chase, stopping when Rubimon’s voice reached her.

“She’s not worth it,” Rubimon stated gravely. “Besides, I doubt that’s the last we’ll see of her.”

Corneliamon’s expression deepened to a frown as she looked at Wisemon, who was physically shaking with rage. His eyes glowing more furiously and brighter than before, as the twin spheres in his hands spun wildly and erratically.

“You foolish creatures!” he practically screamed, rounding on the Gods, who created a barrier between Wisemon and escape. “You may have destroyed my altar, but there are followers here, still dedicated to the rightful Lord Mukademon! You cannot stop his spread! You cannot stop the power of our great Lord!”

Vayumon sighed and exchanged a bored glance with his brother.


 “I am his faithful follower, and I will be rewarded for my obedience!” Wisemon shrieked loudly, not even directing his words to any of them anymore; he was leaning back, screaming at the darkened sky.

Simultaneously, Vayumon and Ymirmon drew their blades back, lining up together with Wisemon.

Kuzuhamon leapt up behind them, flanking the two Megas between herself and Wisemon.

“Remorseless Winter!” Ymirmon cried.

“Full Moon Requiem!” Vayumon’s bellow joined with Ymirmon’s as their attacks launched together, intertwining, their powers merging and creating a huge paw made of wind and ice.

Before Wisemon could properly react, the attack swallowed him. Wisemon released a screech of agony as he disintegrated within the attack.

As the air cleared, Vayumon supported his katana on his shoulder. “I just wanted him to shut up.”

Kuzuhamon launched towards the gods, readying her attack. “LORD MUKADEMON!” she screeched, dive-bombing at top speed towards the group.

“Nope.” A vine came from the ground, smacking the kitsune Mega to the ground with force. As Kuzuhamon tried to regain her composure, a pair of white boots stepped on her back.

Selenemon smirked. “Would you like to do the honors?” she said as Morrigamon walked up.

“Why, thank you,” Morrigamon said politely, raising her spear. “Witch... Spear!” She raised the weapon into the air and brought it down swiftly into Kuzuhamon.

Morrigamon sighed in relief, flipping her hair over her shoulder. “I feel much better now.”

-----------------------------

With the battle over, with no more followers left to fight and Malkimon now leagues away from where the fighting had started, the Gods began to regroup. Ymirmon checked Morrigamon over for injuries, while Vayumon and Ceryneiamon did the same.

Marquismon’s petals released spores gently into the air, which in turn replenished and rejuvenated her companions as they all breathed in the air around them.

Rubimon could sense the energy twirling around her and the others, even if they did not say anything or make note of it as she did. It was no longer urgent or distressed, it felt more calm and at peace, as this place should have felt. It was no longer being used for means it was not created for, and soon it would be used for its proper purpose.

“There’s still a ritual to complete,” Rubimon stated, bracing herself for complaints. She was surprised when she received none.

“What must we do?” Selenemon inquired.

As far as the twin wolves went, Rubimon wasn’t too sure. After all, they had been an entity as one when the Circle had been in its original state. She hoped their part would become clear as the other Gods did as they were required to do.

“We have to go into the ruins, the Circle needs to be rebuilt,” Rubimon explained.

Ceryneiamon quirked an eyebrow. “You couldn’t tell this to us before?”

“No,” Rubimon said simply

Unwilling to argue further, the eight Megas followed the small dragon through the rubble. Corneliamon walked close to Rubimon as they navigated their way through broken bits of stone and wall, over fallen trees and overgrown bushes that were now dead. Rubimon had never come this far into the Circle, and Ryudamon had never given her an explanation of how to get inside it once she finally made it here with the Gods. However, finding a way inside wasn’t as difficult as Rubimon had anticipated.

Halfway around the walls had crumbled, creating a gap several feet wide to allow each of them through in turn.

Despite the devastation that had been unleashed on the Circle so long ago, the floor they walked on was almost immaculate, a mosaic of different colored squares in light iridescent colors. They were somewhat obscured by leaf litter and dead branches and twigs, but it was otherwise the same as it was originally – the only part of the Circle that still was as it had been.

It was deceptive how small the Circle looked from the outside, even in its current state. The room that made up the main area of the Circle was at least fifteen meters in diameter, more than enough room to allow all of them inside with room to spare. There were marks on the ground where pedestals had been, Rubimon recalled their placement from scrolls and scriptures Ryudamon had shown her, she began to move the Gods accordingly.

“Vayumon, you have to stand here,” she directed the tiger God, “and Ceryneiamon, beside him, here.” In turn, each one was moved to a place until six of them stood in a perfect circle, with Rubimon, Selenemon, Heliomon and Corneliamon all in the middle.

“You two...” Rubimon said thoughtfully. “Originally you would have been the Core, floating underground, so let’s leave you dead center and see if that will work.” Following her instruction, the twins stood back to back and nine pairs of eyes looked at Rubimon expectantly.

“Is something supposed to happen?” Heliomon asked.

“Shh!” Rubimon ordered. “Just close your eyes, and concentrate. Try to remember, recall images of the Circle before it was a ruin. Try to envision it.” Despite looks of skepticism exchanged, in turn, each of the Megas did as she told them to, eyes closing and breathing deeply and slowly. Even Heliomon and Selenemon followed her advice, holding hands, their tails swishing softly.

Rubimon watched with baited breath.

It took no time at all for things to begin happening.

The energy she had been feeling buzzed excitedly, wrapping around her and then around each of the Mega Digimon who stood close by. In turn, they were each enveloped in a near invisible field of color which expanded and contracted as each of them breathed in and out. It pulsated and hummed softly like an engine, the colored fields all merging together and rising up and up. Higher and higher, until Rubimon couldn’t see where it was any longer.

The ground shook and trembled beneath her feet. Corneliamon ran to one of the few remaining windows, using the destroyed ruins to climb up.

Parts of the destroyed tower that had been sticking out of the ground were rising up, shedding the years of dirt and dead plants. Each one floated towards the Circle, slotting into place like jigsaw puzzle pieces, each one settling where it should have been, slowly rebuilding the walls of the tower. Above them, the lights burst out, creating an onion-shaped glass roof which let the light in.

Above, the black and gray clouds were clearing, exposing bright sunlight and a warm orange-yellow sky, and grass was returning in patches of lush, healthy green. The area was being slowly purified as the energies of all eight Megas ebbed out from that one point. Trees that had been dead suddenly took on a healthy color and sprouted leaves in huge bunches and brightly colored blooms.

“Wow...” Rubimon murmured.

The floor shook beneath her, as rising up from the ground beneath each of the six Gods were mottled white and gray marble pedestals. Without bidding, each one of them sat back, and the pedestals rose higher and higher until they were level with the only other platform in the tower, one that led out to a large balcony to view over the surrounding area.

Eventually, the light faded, leaving only the fading sunlight illuminating the bright, white walls of the Circle in a soft orange hue. Corneliamon stood in the very center of the room with Rubimon. Selenemon and Heliomon had been raised onto a platform too, though not quite as high off the ground as the pedestals the Gods sat on.

“What was the purpose of all this?” Gaiusmon asked, speaking to no one in particular. He leaned to one side in his seat, his elbow propped against the arm of the chair.

“It’s a place for the new Core to rest, when it’s eventually created,” Rubimon told him.

“How do you accomplish that?” inquired Marquismon.

Rubimon shrugged. “Ryudamon didn’t tell me, and I don’t think he knows. It’s just something to do with you,” she explained. “But having the Circle rebuilt means it has a safe place to be when it is created.”

Ceryneiamon ran her hands over the smooth surface of her chair. “It’s so strange to be back here. After everything we’ve all been through,” she stated, “it’s funny to think we didn’t recall who we were. Our memories, our feelings...” She smiled warmly at Vayumon beside her, who clasped her hand tightly.

“At least we remember now,” he stated.

“But think of all the time we’ve lost,” Ymirmon said slowly.

Morrigamon shook her head, her hair billowing softly about her shoulders. “I don’t think we lost time. After all, we’re here now. There was no way we could have accomplished this before.”

“How so?” Marquismon asked, smiling blithely, seeming to be happy in her old place.

“Don’t you remember?” Morrigamon smiled. “When we all met, it was such a mess. None of us recognized each other, and there was so much mistrust between all of us, despite appearances. We didn’t know who we each were. The exceptions were myself, Ymirmon and Vayumon, who despite being separated for so long, still recognized themselves as brothers.”

“We all had issues,” Vayumon murmured. “Between not remembering each other and what we meant to one another, to not realizing what us all meeting would unleash...”

“And then there was us,” Heliomon spoke from the plinth he and Selenemon stood on. “Let’s not forget how we were enemies first.” He sounded cheerful, despite the content of his comment. “I consider myself lucky that I wasn’t so far under the Parasite’s control that I couldn’t break away.”

“Unlike me,” Selenemon said sadly. “I feel like we wasted so much time because of that. So much time spent fighting amongst ourselves,  when we should have been joining forces and unleashing our full powers much earlier.”

Gaiusmon grumbled softly. “I don’t think it would have made a difference,” he said, his tail lashing back and forth where it dangled. “Whether we discovered our memories quickly or slowly, the outcome would have been the same.”

“I, for one, am glad we received our memories slowly,” Marquismon said with a jovial tone. “Too quickly and I think it would have been too much. But slowly, over time, it allowed us all to bond again, to become friends again without knowing how connected we all really were. I think, had we received our memories too soon, it would not have been so... comfortable.”

Ceryneiamon tilted her head. “It would have been easier. I don’t think we would have doubted each other and ourselves as much. I certainly know I am guilty for that.”

“I think we all are,” Selenemon said.

“It’s odd, thinking back over everything,” Ymirmon explained carefully, thinking his words as he said them. “After everything that happened, we fought old enemies we knew from before, and yet their identities did not click.”

Vayumon nodded his head in agreement. “Bondyemon, Taranimon, and Satyressmon. Generals from the war, and we didn’t know who they were, could not recall... but they somehow recognized us.”

“Parasite influence, perhaps?” Heliomon proffered. “Or just dumb luck.”

“Luck has nothing to do with what’s going on now,” Morrigamon said firmly. “I fear things will only get harder from now on. Now that Mukademon is well and truly awake.”

“It’s a wonder how that occurred,” Marquismon said. “After all, we had only seen him as a specter. To see him the next time in flesh and blood yourselves.” She looked down at Selenemon and Heliomon. “I am forced to wonder how he came to be in full form.”

“Perhaps it was our fault,” Gaiusmon suggested.

Vayumon arched an eyebrow. “How so?” He regarded the hooded Digimon with a dark look, while the others looked at him expectantly.

“There must have been some strong energy around that day when you and Morrigamon first evolved,” Gaiusmon explained, staring at Ymirmon, unblinking. “Who’s to say that evolution, however beneficial to us, was not also something that allowed Mukademon to take full form?”

“Making his rise our fault?” Ymirmon snapped.

“No,” replied Gaiusmon calmly. “I merely offer a suggestion. If it hadn’t been you, it would have been one of us.”

Morrigamon laid a placating hand on Ymirmon’s arm. “He has a point,” she said softly. “A lot of power was needed for us to both evolve, and for the Digital World and real world to combine... Mukademon is clever, we’ve seen that, and he can bend others to his will. The added power might have been all he needed.”

Calming, Ymirmon released a deep breath and templed his fingers before him. “There is little doubt in my mind that the fight we will be entering when things return to normal will be no ordinary battle. It will be a long and hard one. Mukademon took us all to almost kill him before, and now he has had years to manifest more power and anger towards us. There is no telling what he is capable of, and what we will have to do... or sacrifice in order to win.”

The severity of his words seemed to penetrate the surrounding Digimon, as they all looked at him and each other with concern. They had only just regained their memories, and it seemed like such a short time since they had found each other again. The idea of losing one another once more was a thought none of them wanted to face.

“We cannot afford to make the same mistakes,” Vayumon said.

Ymirmon nodded in agreement. “We cannot underestimate our enemy as we have done in the past.”

Gaiusmon shifted, and brushed his hood off his head. The golden laurel circlet he wore beneath it glinted, reflecting the sun’s rays. “We have a fight to the death on our hands. It will be the only way to assure victory.”

“To the death?” Marquismon repeated.

“There is more at stake this time than just the Digital World,” said Gaiusmon severely. “We have a duty to protect this world and also the world familiar to us and our partners. Both worlds are our home, this our old, the other our new. If we give even one inch, then Mukademon will win, and all our fights, our battles – everything will have been for nothing.”

His words echoed off the pristine white walls, leaving the group in silent thought.

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