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Fanfic » Anime » Digimon » Genesis font size: (+) : (-)
Author: logan
R - English - Romance/Drama - Reviews: 447 - Publish date: 01-03-01 - Updated: 05-06-01 storyid: 163013

Disclaimer: I don't own Tai, Sora, Kenny, gel demon (heh heh) or any of the other digimon characters. I do own this long-ass fic though. Dear god this one is long..... I probably should have made it a chapter for each of the final fights with the lords, but I didn't wana make the next four chapters redundant. Ok... damn... for those of you who tell me they print out my stories... I would like to offer my condolences for your printers. Because odds are this chapter will kill your printer.

Well.. This chapter is mainly about the final battles against the four lords... and just to warn you.. This is where that R rating is proven. Dayus' fight gets a little icky -_-'



and to those of you who e-mailed me about making matt good..... sorry to disappoint you.

But frankly I hope you admire my restraint here... and trust me.. I was holding back a LOT.

Heh heh heh ^-^



let me know what you think at logan91235@aol.com











Genesis



8











By Logan















"The Unleashing"













Grendle leapt from turret to turret of the nearby buildings. The air was hot with flame and billowing smoke. The missiles had started a considerable blaze which now raged against the stone moorings of the buildings as a great sea of red. It was a sea of fire, and from the banks of the stone building the waves crashed outward in a spray of burning embers which danced as fireflies in the choking winds of bitter smoke. Grendle was a capable warrior.. Yet the hot winds were rendering his wings useless. It was a difficult task to manage to glide from spire to spire alone.. But with the current hot updrafts it would be far more menacing. Thus he simply relied upon his muscle to carry him from building to building with a series of graceful leaps.



His mind was enraged as he contemplated the image of Taichi as he pulled ken down to the ground. Grendle was not at fault for this, but he did bear the responsibility of the emperor's life. He was circling the blaze in a desperate attempt to find his lord. The wall of flame danced high into the heavens as energy rippled outward in violent and strangely compelling mannerisms. The fire was like a brilliant dance of destruction and devastation. He knew this was a day unlike all others... this day was a day that his dragon mind could recognize. The air would soon be filled with the coppery aroma of thick, stagnant blood. He could feel the pressure around him as the primitive side of his intellect called to him. The world looked beautiful to him from the luminescence of his glowing amber eyes. All was dry.. So very dry. Like brush which had been sun baked to a golden hue.. Like dry wheat. Begging for the fires. That was the desire of the flame.. The same as dragon, Grendle longed to embrace the fire.. He would not burn within the ruby inferno.. But he would loose control. He was a dragon after all.. A creature born of fire... he hungered for the great heat as all his kind hungered for their element.



The saurian race was based off the DNA of the dragons...

various kinds of dragon at that...



Some were of water.. A cool blue hue marked their scales.. These creatures would be more likely to digress if they came in contact with the ocean.. They would leap into the endless blue with utter contempt for the dry land. Their kind would surface, yet never venture far from the womb of water in which their reptilian side was conceived.



Others - the sky... these creatures were built for flight.. Small bodies, light bones. They usually wore longer horns. But their defining characteristics where the huge and leathery wings. Grendle possessed wings.. But his were for gliding, not flight. His body was built too tight and bulky. Also he lacked the conditioning to fuel the fires within. To fly was to use great reserves of energy. The flyers were often ravenous... constantly swooping down and ripping flesh in great shredding bites with their sickle fangs. They were a world of their own.. A word that could not be appreciated by the land dwellers... this was the home of the winged.. The endless void of the sky...



The earth bound Grendles were far and away the most bulky of all the breeds. They were armored to the point that a sword would splinter against their underside. Their flesh varied greatly with greens and browns. They possessed no wings.. Just massive claws. The claws could split stone like sand.. And what those razors could do to man was quite evident.



The final of the four was that of fire.. Grendle's breed. They were the most powerful of all in the battlefields. They hungered for the sweet kiss of the fire against their bluish black flesh. They were the embodiment of all which was feared of Grendle. He had never allowed himself to touch the flame... for the second his body received the blessed heat he would be gone. At least he thought he would... he wouldn't stop. He would leap into the pyre with a simple joy... he would cast off all the shreds of humanity in favor of the flame. He could accept his heritage as a fire breed. His kind could reduce cities to ash... perfect charcoal ash.... he could breath in the fires and ignite the wick within his body. Ignite the pilot light and allow the torches to truly burn. He found himself veering towards the fire... longing for it... needing it.



"NO!" he snarled in a voice that was now far from human. It hissed outward in a great sneaky rasp. He cleared his mind. Pushed back the need. He had to find the emperor... but within his mind he still danced to the song of the fire. A world waiting for the torch... a world ready for the burning.

He feared abandonment of his humanity. Feared it for if he did lose that side to himself he would dishonor himself further by becoming a beast. He still could appreciate it though.. The simple nature of it all. To each of the four breeds their element was a sacred thing. Almost religious to each. And though Grendle was not truly converted to the religion of the flame.. He did feel the sacredness of the fire.



"Greetings demon..." the spectral voice whispered out in a tone of perfect dark.



"Hello Cody." he replied as he turned.



"It is time for you to receive justice. Your time has come for purification, for honor." he replied as he drew out the long black sword. His eyes were stone as he looked upon the dragon. He smiled lightly as he recognized the eyes.. They were the eyes of his grandfather. Not as they had been, but as he stared into the amber eyes he did see the grandfather he loved. He drew up his weapon to a ready stance. Firm posture, sword at shoulder height.



"You fight sssso hard to regain my honor grandssssson. Is it truly for the name of our family, or issss it ssssstill the boy I knew sssso long ago? The boy who isss perhapssss fighting to regain the love of a grandfather by giving him back honor.. Even if it means hissss own death? I believe that issss what it is you crave, the life before... Before I dawned the guisssse of the dragon, and before you took the cloak of the ninja." he rasped out in a tone that was as close to affection as his thick serpentine lips could produce.



"I act of selflessness... you are a dishonor... you dishonor the memory of my grandfather with each breath you draw in. I crave only the restoration of honor to our family.. This can be done only by the sword now. Prepare yourself!" he snarled, yet his eyes shown with a subtle sorrow as to the man behind the dragon.



"Very well... in the wayssss of the old, a duel. Whoever winsss issss correct... "





The two stared at each other with a bitter silence between them. Despite Grendle's form.. He was a capable strategist, a calculating warrior who knew his foe. Cody stood upon the Stoney surface with a rigid posture. His eyes never once left the mighty dragon that he would now slay. It was beyond family. It was simply two warriors of the old code who were now dueling. Grendle's claws seemed to flex outward to a more razored edge. He crouched low upon the corner of the rooftop. The embers swirled around them as burning snow would dance upon. The features of two winter travelers. Then with a sudden flash of speed they launched outward at one another.



Cody's blade shrieked as it raked against Grendle's hard scaley skin. But before he could regain composure from the attack Grendle spun around on the Stoney terrace with the reflex and balance of a cat. The mighty dragon charged him in a fierce rush -his jaws hanging open revealing rows of daggers. Cody had managed to regain balance just in time to feel the bone crushing collision of the dragon man's reinforced skull as it crushed into his ribs. Cody was able to leap away before the teeth closed over him. That was close, for the moment he was able to evade the attack he heard the slam of teeth on teeth as the alligator-like jaws slapped shut over air. The force of the collision threw him back several feet. He was off balance, and thus proceeded to fall back. It was by sheer skill that he was able to turn the impact's force into a roll. He slid across the Stoney path until he landed in a bent knee posture.



Grendle was already on the offensive as he leapt into the air. He seemed to hang there for a time before he came plummeting to the ground in a great meteorite from the blackened skies. Cody managed to leap back just in time to avoid the crushing claw which splintered the Stoney ground where he had once been. Grendle seemed stunned as the stone splintered upward to him like a hail of reversely flying stone raindrops. Cody managed to rebound from the ground several feet away driving himself forward -blade out-. Grendle snarled in rage as the weapon plunged into his thigh with a sickening 'plunk' sound. Cody knew enough to pull his blade out fast and try an evade, for Grendle was beyond all else strong.. He could take a considerable amount of abuse before he would fall. Thus if Cody tried to press the weapon further into his flesh it would only make him a simple kill for those menacing hooked talons.



He was right. The claws came at him, yet only gouged a gash in his forearm as he leapt back. The wound was light.. Little more then a deep scratch. Grendle however seemed to be far more injured by the gouge to his hind leg. He snarled venomously as he stared at the black clothed morsel who was holding his bleeding arm up in a ready posture.



He was hurting.. More then he had ever hurt in any battle. It was in part due to his arm, which now bled freely upon his black sleeve, but more so he was hurting from the inside. This beast was his grandfather. He was the only man Cody had ever loved since his father died. Now he was trying to kill him. Grendle charged again.



His claws seemed to change as the battle progressed. Perhaps the data on the Grendle was lacking, for nothing they had ever seen was comparable to this, nothing about his body being able to change in response to combat. His talons lengthened even more to the point of a dagger. He ran at Cody with a howl of wrath as he slashed wildly. With each swipe Cody was able to hop back, yet the slashes also gashed through the Stoney floor in great swipes. The stone split with each slash. Cody was truly afraid as he defended against the dragon's rage. He was moving too fast. Cutting biting, slashing, swiping. All the while moving forward while Cody continued to be pushed back. He was getting a full glimpse into the nature of the dragon as with one mighty downward thrust the stone path splintered to fragments of gravel. All it would take is one hit to connect and he would be ripped in half. He began to stumble as the barrage continued onward. Grendle's eyes lit up with a demonic joy that he would soon take down the prey. The fight had pushed the pain away.. Now all that was the lust of the dragon. A world ripe for the burning...



Cody lost his footing and in a moment of true terror he began to fall. He would not be able to get back up. The second he fell the dragon would be on him. He would leap forth as a demon and in that moment his jaws would find the boy's throat.. And then the fight would end. Cody gave one final wide slash as he went down. Much to his amazement he connected. The Grendle screamed in a voice that was of both a deep reptilian hiss, a roar, and the cry of a stricken man. All these voiced blended in to one deep scream as he leapt back. Cody didn't let the opportunity fail as he quickly scrambled to his feet in a frantic rush.



Grendle screamed in rage as he clutched the right side of his face which was now bleeding profusely. The cry was an eerie one to Cody, for within he could hear his grandfather, but also the demon. They were locked together within the dragon's frame as he snarled out a enraged hiss. Good and evil bound as one. You cannot strike one without the other. He drew his claw away and studied the blood that now painted his hand. He hadn't lost the eye, just scared the cheek and brow. The cut was deep, it had most likely nicked the bone.



"Well done Cody... you are quite impresssssive, but it ends now..." he hissed as his elongated claws melded back to the talons he was seen more commonly with..He reached to his side and withdrew the object tucked within the folds of his great leather wings. Cody had never seen the strap. It was most likely custom made for Grendle's unique body type. He withdrew the long and powerful blade of their family.



"You know thissss blade?"



"I do..."



"Then you know that if you win... you musssst claim it assss your own."



"As you ask grandfather." he replied softly as he took a ready position.



Grendle opened his wings wide as he lifted the massive blade to a ready position which mirrored Cody's stance. The huge creature seemed noble as he raised the delicate and yet devastating weapon to a posture no different from that of a samurai of the past.



Cody took several steps back, widening the gap between them. Then drew up his sword again. His eyes were burning as he stared into the hot coals of Grendle's gaze. The burning embers danced around them merrily, like the fires of hell would delight in the act of war between blood relatives. The walls of this arena were of burning flame, the spectators? Mearly devils of fire.





They leapt for each other. Grendle's wings were so wide they blocked out the sky itself as he descended upon Cody. His jaws were clenched shut in a feral snarl as the silvery blade began its downward motion, which would certainly be a killing blow. He never looked more menacing then this moment as he propelled forward in a lustful rage for blood. It was then that he cried out in a reptilian howl. "FOR HONOR!!!"



Cody had never leapt like this, it was as though he were flying. Though his mind did not begin to enjoy the sensation of artificial flight. It remained upon the blade in his hand. It was as though the steel were now a part of him. That the two were intrinsically bound to one another as light is to dark. He had to focus on the blade... hone its' edge to the precise ark.. Had to become one with the attack.. The weapon grew hot in his hands as he recalled the love of his grand father, the lessons he had learned from him.. The honor he had learned from him. He breathed out a deep jumble of words he had learned from his grandfather. "A samurai is splintered when he has something he loves more then his honor.." he reverberated the words through his heart for they were the words of his grandpa. He would not falter now.. He would live by the same code which his grandfather now lived by.





They met.





The feel of blood against skin was felt by both as they landed several feet away from eachother, both frozen in waiting for the searing pain that preludes death. Cody glanced down to his blade. It was painted in red, yet he was unsure if the blood was Grendle's of perhaps it was splattered when he was cut. As he studied the weapon his eyes widened. The neo-titanium splintered as a series of gaping cracks reverberated through the blade.. Then it shattered.



"It would sssseem I wassss victorioussss....." Grendle spoke in a somber voice as Cody turned to face him.



The mighty dragon was slumped on all fours as he stared up to his grandson with a almost loving smile on his lips. He was bleeding deeply from his chest.



"I am victoriousss, not asss a warrior. But assss a grandfather. I raissssed a boy that underssstandssss the waysss of the old. A boy who issss both kind and hard. One with love in hisss heart, and love enough to defend what isss right. I will die with pride." he relinquished the blade of his ancestors to Cody's feet.



"I accept your blade grandfather but I will not kill you. That wound is not fatal."



"You have besssted me. It isss time to bring honor back to me. Through my death." he rasped.



"What honor can be gained by killing the last family I have? I have come to realize this will not restore your honor. You have committed crimes against mankind, and thus you are dishonored. But death shall not make right what is wrong. Only you can do that." he pressed the blade's tip to Grendle's heart. Then pulled it back.



"There... the killer of my mother is now dead. The evil Grendle is now dead.



Please.. Join us.. Help us put right the wrongs you have helped to create." Cody sheathed the blade and took the dragon's hand. His grip was returned with a loving squeeze from the reptilian hand.



"Alasss.. I cannot.. Live well grandssson. Know that I am ssssplintered, for I do have ssssomething I love more then my honor. I love you Cody." he rasped out as he pushed away from Cody. The boy;'s eyes widened as he fell from the high wall in which they were battling.





Grendle fell with open arms. He did not attempt to fly, merely left his wings open to feel the heat as it drew ever closer. His amber eyes continued to stare at Cody as he grew farther and farther away. The boy had tears in his eyes as he watched the dragon fall. How he longed for tears. To cry for his loss. He would pay anything for one solitary tear which he could shed for all the wrongs he had done, all the faces he had missed, all the times he could have embraced his grandson. But sadly.. That he could never do.



Grendle fell swiftly into the sea of flames that were now burning brilliantly below him. The draft had combined with ample fuel for the fire creating a sea of fire. Grendle would regain his honor by killing himself. By giving in to the blessed heat. By becoming it... he fell for what seemed like forever until he hit the waters of flame. With a foamy eruption of burning embers he was consumed in it. He was possessed by the perfect heat and radiance of the flame. He had vanished into the sea and been swallowed by it. Devoured in the loving kisses of fire to his skin.





Cody paused for a moment as he watched the shadow of his grandfather vanish within the inferno.

He was preparing to leave when he heard it. A call he could feel within the hollows of his chest and the recesses of his mind. A strange call of saurian origin. A howl of blessed release....

It sung out into the heavens in a deep and mournful scream.. The scream of freedom from all that binds... a scream savage delight. The scream of a dragon.



****************************





Kari walked slowly across the vacant rooftop. It was hard for her. She listened to the world with ears which heard beyond the gusting wind or the distant blaze. Ears that could hear into the cries of pain as guards were chopped away and dawn soldiers fell to the ground as lifeless husks of men. She was saddened by the death that laid heavily upon the wind like an odor of decay. She was up-wind of the inferno.. There was only a faint golden glow on the horizon that indicated the fire was thriving on the wood and debris which it required as sustenance. Her cloak billowed in the cold winds as she looked outward to the faint iridescent orange glow that bathed the billowy black clouds in pigment.



God it was cold. She shivered as she drew the white cloak up more to shield herself from the biting icy winds. The cloak did nothing. The cold seemed to radiate from the aura of this place. She visibly shook her head to push off the feel of death which hung heavily in the air. The sensations os psychic awareness came to her as great billowy fog. There were times when she would perceive something through the wispy kisses of thin fog. But there were other times where it was more oblivious to her.



Her hair danced in the winds with slow and dramatic motions as she felt the waves of evil pulse outward from this place as life-blood is pumped outward through the beatings of a great black heart. The organ of evil was beating faster-as though it's dark pulse was now racing with adrenalin. Each wave crashed over her-flooding her mind with a thousand horrible images of pain and death. She could now here the screams of the tortured as a faint chorus against the wind.

She shivered more severely as she pulled up the white fabric tighter.







"You hear it don't you?" she turned to see Dayus who was leaning back against the Stoney edge of the roof. He was dressed in black leather pants, yet left his shirt off to reveal the road map of scars and slashes upon his pale flesh. His hair was longer then Kari's while her's ended in a neatly trimmed edge at the base of her back, his trailed beyond his waist in long and thin wispy tendrils which flew around him as a demonic cape in the wind.



He smiled to her in a cute manner as he looked at her through his bandaged sockets where once eyes had sat. he would almost have been attractive in a stretched manner. With eyes of course. But his face was not entirely hideous. Thin chin ending in a cleft, high cheekbones which didn't advertise the common stiffness about him that those features often implied, a small and shapely nose, and a thin slit of a grin. But there was nothing charming or handsome about him. His actions and contortions of the face were enough to make him run hand in hand with the most mangled gargoyle on the most twisted spire of some cathedral of old.



His words came out as a deep hiss mixed with a perpetually sinister laugh. All in all... he gave Kari the creeps.



"You hear their song don't you sorceress....?" he smirked as he flexed his hooked razors which served as hands. The metallic hands 'clicked' and chirped with each movement as metal slid over metal. He slid his sickle fingertips over themselves in a metallic laugh.



"Hear what?"



"The song they sing for us.... listen to the screams of the dead.... they are bubbling up from hell just for us. .. It has such a nice beat too." he began to sway softly as he danced to the demonic music.







He sang in a low and very un-musical voice:

"Once we were and now we're not. Once we lived and now we rot.

Gone are days of joy and mirth. Now we fester within the earth.

We know no heaven, only hell. Our pleas to heaven we must yell.

But to us no pearly gates, thus the fire compensates.

For each of our sky-bound cries... a new torture the devil tries.

Each time we yearn, our skin shall burn...

Once we were and now we're not. Once we lived and now we rot..." he trailed off.



"Come now sorceress... I know you hear their music."





"What are you?" she spoke aghast.



"Family...." he laughed slowly as he drew his razor fingers to his own face. He blew her a kiss before gouging the claws into his own scalp. Kari's eyes widened as the tributaries of blood began to trickle down his face. With a ripping sound, he drew his claws down over his face-cutting a series of gashes. The blood trickled down his face as he grinned happily at the pain.



Kari was going to puke....



Then as the razors trailed down his face they severed the bandage for his gaping sockets, which fell away as soon as it was cut. Kari gaped in horror as she looked into the vacant expanses of his skull. He had no eyes... but there was no flesh either. In its' place there was a golden glow which churned like molten fire in each of his empty cavities. The light glowed maliciously from his gaping skull eyes. And as the bandage fell away the light began to wisp outward as smoke into the air. his eyes were of molten fire.. Evil fire.. Hellfire...



Kari stepped back slowly -her eyes wide with fear as she stared into his vacant, and yet demonically radiant eyes.



"You're.. A descendant of the sorceress lineage?" she gaped



"What's the matter sis.. Not ready to give up being an only child?" he smirked



"YOU ARE NOT MY BROTHER"





"Come on kar.. I need you to be a big girl for me while I'm away killing myself..." he spoke in tai's voice



Kari's eyes filled with tears as his power began pushing into her mind.





"I HATED YOU KARI!

That's why I killed myself.. Because I was tired of looking after such a pathetic little girl. I wished you had died that one time when you were sick! You have never been anything to me other then a burden.. A spoiled little burden who made my life so miserable I chose to end it."



Dayus advanced as Kari began drawing farther back. She didn't look at him, for if she did she knew it would be tai she was staring at. He was pushing deeper and deeper into her mind with each word spoken as her brother. He smiled.



"Kari sweetie... I have something to tell you.



I am leaving you...." tk spoke.



"I'm tired of taking your crap.. Oh save the digimon.. Save the world.. Save this.. Save that.. Then when I need something from you, you refuse me. I wanted to just go off and live a happy life.. But nooooo..... you had to try to follow in your brother's footsteps. Well go ahead and do that.. Follow those foot steps of his right to suicide!" he snapped as Kari began hugging herself and rocking slowly.



"I have found a real woman now... not some weird little freak with white hair." He smirked as some blond girl who was as Kari perceived her 'the image of beauty.' The girl was thin and beautiful with eyes just like tk's. She had red lips and no lingering trace of imperfection. Every insecurity Kari possessed seemed to be completely erased from this young girl.. And magnified on Kari.



"But... you said you liked my hair like this... and... I know I'm not very pretty but I do love you. Please tk..." she replied pathetically to the spectral Takeru which Dayus was now projecting into her mind. Tears were beginning to fill her eyes as she watched tk vanish into blackness. Though the look of contempt on his face seemed to linger with her.



"That's funny.. I don't give a shit about you..." his voice reverberated through the darkened air as it too vanished into the blackness.



"This isn't real.... this isn't real.. It's sorcery.... not real...." she repeated slowly as she rallied her strength. She looked on the verge of collapse, yet through sheer willpower she did not fall. Instead she focused on the real TK... the real Tai.. She loved them both, and knew that they loved her back. Thus she was able to focus. And her eyes went straight to Dayus who was laughing happily at her tears.





Dayus was still chuckling as Kari's eyes began to grow brighter. It was a small transformation, but a steady clime from soft hazel to snowy daggers of sheer rage. With wispy tendrils the radiance of her eyes began to gleam outward in icy rage. Her mind stretched outward as a great invisible arm, taking hold of a small pile of stone fragments which were created in the assault. She gripped them together in her mind as a fist might scoop up a handful of pebbles.



Dayus suddenly became aware of her freedom from his power, though it was too late. As he turned to face her she propelled the shrapnel of stone outward in a great barrage of artificial shotgun pellets. Dayus shrieked as he was thrown backwards by the blast, but due to his power, the attack was nowhere near a mortal blow. He tumbled on the ground for a moment before regaining composure. As he rose up to face her again the look of dark mirth had subsided for a look of rage.



He began chanting some strange collection of words beneath his breath. Kari couldn't hear them all.. And what she heard was a language in its own.



The earth suddenly screamed beneath Hikari's feet as the stone split open in a mouth and snapped at her as a dragon of stone. She leapt back, and thus avoided the jaws, though the sheer force of her landing on hard ground jarred her. She was capable of many acrobatics, but her body was not conditioned to it as tk's was.



She made a sharp gesture with her hand and the flame from one of the torches suddenly streaked outward as it leapt upon Dayus. The fire was more like a small - yet fearless animal- it clawed and bitt at his face and skin as a enraged feline would.



He was hurt, yet with a small gesture of his own the flame perished quickly.





The two stared at each other with utter disdain in their eyes, or in Dayus's case.. Where eyes would be. His claws were visibly twitching with hate. "You like fire? Fine..." with a slow and drawn out motion he drew his razor claws up to the heavens in an act that could almost be perceived as preying.. If not for the fact that it was Dayus making this motion. Th gesture seemed blasphemous coming from those taloned hands. His prayers rasped out of his lips like demons erupting from hell in this strange and godless chant.



Kari suddenly became aware that it was getting hot. Too hot.. She glanced to the stone floor in which she was standing, only to find the stone was now sizzling and hissing as a nest of vipers. Dayus drew his clawed hands out to face her. The palms of his fleshless hands were radiating a demonic white. This was not the white of snow... that was a gentle white. This was a white of pure blinding evil. The same white steel takes on as it is heated to the edge of melting.



He spat out the final incantation with demonic glee. The second the words left his lips his grip exploded with flame. It came at her from all angles as a great tunnel of fire. It was moving too fast to evade. Thus she would have to endure it. She did not scream. For the sorceresses of history were not afraid of their destiny. She had never tested her powers like this. Against a foe who was not mearly sparring with her. This was a truly capable enemy... and an enemy who wanted her dead.



She was vaguely aware of the faint call of Garurumon howling out in battle. The burning dawn had elevated the plan to part B. Their entire digimon army was now attacking the empire's forces before they could counter the main attack.. Angewomon, magna angemon, war greymon.. His mate phoenixmon.. All would be at this battle fighting. The digimon were capable enough to fight without their humans. Thus this attack was crucial. If they could engage the imperial forces. Those soldiers would be unable to take back the slave camps, or rescue the emperor and his lords. The assault team was already eliminating the few soldiers in the area.. And her friends were dealing with the lords. As the fire swallowed her up like a great serpent she preyed she would be able to survive. For TK... to see Tai again... to embrace her sister, Sora once more....



It was like the eye of a hurricane. All was swirling fire and heat. Kari needed to scream in pain from the smell of her own skin burning. But if she did Dayus would know he had won. This was not just a fight between two humans. This was a battle within the sorceress lineage. If he won... god, she couldn't think about that. Dayus was perverse enough to use his power for the evils of mankind. And he would relish tormenting all humanity for the rest of his life..



The walls of the inferno rippled inward. Kari closed her eyes.



They toppled over her as a wave of fire would crash upon the banks of the ocean had it been born of water and not brimstone. She felt the fire licking at her flesh.. Trying to tear her apart. And them a stillness came over her. She was unsure if it was the onset of death.. Or the onset of something else.







Dayus watched with glee as the inferno swirled around her charred corpse. It looked so beautiful that he was tempted to embrace the burnt remains of the sorceress. He could not see her clearly enough. The fire left only a still -unmoving- shadow within the fire. And then that too faded away. He wished he could see her expression as the fires bit her face off to nothing more then charred bone. Oh how beautiful it would be to watch... to smell her flesh as it sizzles away to nothing. He had heard before that the smell of burning human skin is the worst smell on earth. Quite the contrary.. It was the most lovely perfume he had ever smelled. He both longed for and cursed the fire. It had left nothing more then ash of her.. He wanted a body... a perfect corpse to either assimilate into his art.. Or do other things too.



"Alas... it was simply not meant to be." he said softly as he debated where he could find other victims. He turned to walk away with a demonic chuckle still reverberating through his frame. He had killed her.. Killed a sorceress. She was unworthy of the name.. Of the lineage. She had fallen too easily... it was as though she had no grasp upon the power which flowed through her. Much less the true nature of the lineage. It was not to save or protect. It was to kill! To bring hell to the humans! And she simply couldn't grasp that. It was a pity...



He lurched forward as his chest exploded outward with a splash of blood. The scarlet puddle of blood pooled at his feat in a grizzly tone. There was pain.. It riddled through his chest in contractions of agony as he staggered forward, almost tripping in a pool of his own blood. The blood ran down his chest in a series of intercrossing streams of red water. As he looked to the source of the pain his eyes widened. Just above his heart there was a lance of ice protruding through him. The smooth blue hue of the sickle was tainted with his blood, leaving it a grizzly red. It had torn through a bone, and muscle. But thankfully missed his lung and his heart. He turned to face the origin of the blast only to find his pillar of fire split at the top. Kari stood defiantly upon that pillar with a look of contempt upon her twilight eyes. She was not burned. Not singed. Her hair hung freely and danced in the winds with utter disregard for the demonic sorcerer. The white cloak too flew along with the hair as great white angelic wings. For an instant Dayus feared he had sent her to heaven, only to return with a flock of arch-angels. But thankfully God was not involved here.. It was just a cloak... but her resurrection from the flames did leave him somewhat afraid.



"You're dead...."



"I'm a sorceress."



"But how, we can't transcend life and death... can we?"



"Fool... death is a doorway in life. There is no end... I'm not ready to go through the door yet. So I closed it... but you Dayus. You are ready to cross that threshold." her eyes glowed white.



"The sorceress lineage was once a thing of good and righteousness. It was born of peace not hate. When our ancestors fell in love and abandoned hatred we were born. Children who bear a gift. A power. That power was made from love, not hate. You disgrace the name of the sorceress. And thus... you shall pay..." the skies began to swirl with clouds of thick silverish light. They were quick as they choked out the sky in a great spiral of thick greyish silver. Kari's hands began to glow lightly as the fire bowed to her- gently depositing her on the Stoney ground.



Dayus grinned softly as he wrenched the icy dagger from his side. The pain was great, but to Dayus the pain was pleasure. It invigorated him to feel his own blood trickle down his side. His claws scraped against themselves with anticipation as she dismounted her fiery podium.



"In the ages of darkness our kind warred with each other for supremacy as a decedent of the sorceress lineage. Perhaps it's time for you and I to breath new life into the ways of the old.

Come Kari... let us play." Dayus spoke in his normal dark and demonic tone.



"Lets..." she replied. Her eyes burning with fire as she spoke.





Dayus leapt forward at her, his claws slashing at her as she used her arms to re-direct the force of his attacks. It was far from easy, blocking while avoiding the claws. Dayus was grinning darkly at each move she made. Sh side-stepped a vicious thrust as she launched her fist upon him. She was stronger then she appeared, but pain only affects those who it bothers. She was simply adding fuel to the fire of psychosis that was raging within his darkened soul. She leapt back slightly and summoned the power.



From her vacant grip a sword manifested. It's blade was irregularly shaped and it possessed a pommel of twisted silver rings. The weapon was neither spiritual nor physical. It was energy focused to a shape. Kari had no solid grasp on how she was able to do it. But a delay would give Dayus time to plunge those claws into her. She could afford no time for explanations... thus she attacked. The weapon was as light as air, yet it did have substance enough to register that she was holding it as it crashed against Dayus' talons. She was not great with a sword, but she did have the basic knowledge of how to use one.



But in war basic knowledge rarely ever is enough to be good enough.



Dayus was grinning happily as he proceeded with a newfound speed and diligence in his frenzied attacks. Kari was thrown backwards as he suddenly drove his booted foot into her mid-section. She stumbled backwards as she frantically tried to get her breath. Dayus lunged.



With three fast swipes he cut three perfect gashes upon her. One on her hand -causing her to loose grip of the weapon. The sword fell to the ground, and as it made contact vanished with a series of sparks. The second cut caught her on the cheek. It was the smallest of all the wounds, yet it's sudden jab of pain caused her to automatically draw her hands to her face. The final slash raked across her abdomen leaving four long wounds that trailed horizontally across her creme skin. She bled. In the suddenness of the three strikes she fell backwards. On the flat of her back she suddenly realized how close she was to dead. This was the moment he would kill her.

Her eyes found him in mid-leap. It was by sheer reflex that she drew her legs up far enough to push him off as he landed. It took all her strength, but she was able to propel him off her. He tumbled backwards in shock. Yet that didn't last long. Within a moments time he was on his feet ready to charge again.



Kari had been able to get to a crouched position just as he came at her again. This time his claws were wide open, ready to shred her to ribbons. Yet with a sudden burst of strength -with which she had no clue where it came from- was bale to lunge at him.



They met suddenly. Kari's hands grabbed Dayus' by the palm, thus rendering him incapable of slashing her head off. They were locked together in a biter grapple. Dayus was trying to free his hands, while Kari was doing all she could to prevent him from doing so. His claws suddenly plunged into her hands with an agonizingly sharp set of tips. Her hands bled freely as he drove his hooked talons deeper into the soft fleshy hands. She refused to relinquish her grip despite the agony with which she now was reveling. Her eyes met Dayus' glowing orbs of light in a hateful scowl. He smiled at her lovingly as he blew her a kiss.



Kari was losing blood fast. She was aware that soon she would be too weak to keep up the grip. And the second his hand slipped free, he would chop her in half.



Her eyes slipped shut as she contemplated her death. She would miss so much. The chance to see the world regain its freedom. To be held by tk as he allowed himself to visit his mother for the first time since his father had been crucified. He had hated her after that. She had given in and began writing for the empire. Nothing against their cruelty. Just the doctored truth.... tk could understand why... his father was killed for reporting against the empire. He had refused to retract the statement of ken as a maniacal tyrant who should be united against.



Kari knew tk wanted to forgive her. But he could never bring himself to that until the war was over. She doubted he could look at her now that she was still one of them.



Taichi... he was back. He was alive again. And that meant there was a chance she could begin piecing back her life. Her parents were dead. That life was over. But still there were a few loose piecing she could unite to something more. Tai and Sora. They had been made for one another. This was obvious to all. They would try to make a new life after the war. Maybe even marry and have children. Kari could be aunt. A mother. Tk wanted children once. He stopped voicing that desire during the war, but she was sure he would be able to reclaim those hopes. Fatherhood. They could make a new world... one without ken.. Without hate...



But that would not happen if she died today. She would not get to be a mother or an aunt. She would be a ghost. She would not let this come to pass... she would not let it all end like this. She could not!



Her eyes opened pure white.



With a sudden burst of strength she tightened her grip on Dayus' hands. His eyes widened into her pure white ones. He tried to free himself for a whole new reason now. Not to kill her, but to get away from her. Something was wrong. She was getting more powerful with each second. The clouds of translucent white gaped outward as a cloud of swirling silver. Molten steel which danced as white fire within the two mystical orbs of her eyes. Her lips were devoid of all emotion, leaving her before him as a god of kinds. She was radiant with the aura of white which cloaked around her with white wings of swirling energies - which danced as snow-flakes against her tan complection. The hair now was whipping more violent still as her grip became a vice upon his demonic hands. The blood he was drawing was bubbling and sizzling against her flesh as she stared at him with the same soulless expression on her radiant eyes.



It had been so long since he feared, yet now the familiar waves of convulsion within his stomach had returned. He did not fear death in some respects, for what more could he ask.. Hell.. Fire.. Brimstone.. Home. That was his paradise. But this girl was something more to him. The eyes of molten silver seemed to radiate unto him a divine knowledge that there was a god. That this being of power far beyond the lineage, was all to real. So real in fact he had sent an emissary from the kingdom of heaven to claim vengeance for the evils he had done. Purification... that was truly the one thing this demon man feared. The knowledge that all he had done. His shrine to darkness.. His throne of death... all could be wiped away with some divine motion. All the perfect evil he had bred forth could be expunged with one motion of a hand. And Hikari was the hand.



Steel screamed as it twisted in contorement as the grip became harder. The soft and low whine of his metalic digits made his ears shriek in agony. She looked into him. Then she smiled.

With a sudden wrenching cry from her thin- pink- lips she pulled him in two. He screamed a high pitched girlish shriek that was not just his voice, but also the cry of his arms as steel tendons snapped like piano wire. Cables snapped and pulled out with a mixture of sparks from some, and gushing fluids from others. The steel armor twisted wildly as the last cables gave way with a demonic rain of red sparks. Kari held the arms in her hands as Dayus fell away. His vacant slots on his torso were black with severed wire and steel mountings. The cables which carried electrical impulse from the brain to the appendages were flailing wildly. There were wires and chips - all blackened from either construction, or the searing heat of the arms as they were pulled from him. She tossed them aside with a seeming glee about her. As they fell onto the floor they began to convulse frantically as the tail of a lizard would upon being severed from the mother-mass. The taloned digits scraped long scars in the ground as they seemingly tried to claw their way back to him. This was futile however as without a power source such as his body's natural furnace, each convulsion would push them closer to exhaustion of their remaining power. He staggered away in three wide and irregular steps.



"Do you repent for what you have done? This will be your last chance before I end your evil." she spoke in a tone akin to that of a goddess. Power beyond comprehension.



"N.. Never! I would never repent! I have taken thousands of souls.. Do as you wish with me bitch. Whatever you do won't give them peace! " he spat out as a small tributary of black, tarish blood ran from his temple to shoulder.



"Oh yes... I can make you feel them Dayus. I feel the pain of this world. The pain is always there.. Each soul crying out as it is murdered. You have done so much evil that I condemn you to the worst fate I could wish you. Atonement.



I will give you back ever once of misery you have given out through your wretched little life. Every cry and wail will hit you at once. Every tear shall swell to an ocean, then crash into you. All the evil you have done shall be returned.. All of it. And.. All at once."



He tried to flee, yet was caught withing her grip. She snarled hatefully as she pressed her tender lips to his own. She wanted to gag. Thankfully it was not open mouth, but a kiss was the only way she knew to share this with him. Tk.. She had learned this magic with him.. It was something they shared, the ability to give the joy and happiness to each other. Pool the good memories of both of their lives together, as each memory of love and joy merged to the pool as mercury re-assimilates back into the mother-mass of silverish liquid. Before she had given only happiness to TK. As he had for her. Through the kiss they were able to become more intimate with one another then ever before. It was as though they linked together not just in the chains of love, but at the core of their twin souls.



But now that was different. Through this kiss of hate she forced every pain and sorrow that hung upon Dayus' soul into him. The surge of grief, agony, hate, loss, and pain was a great wall of emotion all which hit Dayus at once. He was both crushed, burned, skinned, melted, etc all at once. Every evil act in his life merged together upon him in one great primal blast of emotion. Kari pushed him away from herself as she spat away the memory of kissing him.



He wasn't even able to scream. It hit him so fast that all he could do was allow his face to contort in an expression of such horror that words could dare not frame it to a reader. He looked as a corpse, yet quite alive, basking in a hell that no one man could comprehend. He fell to the ground like a rag doll. Still in that same expression. His muscles twisted wildly against the skeletal frame which held them. They spasmed outward in violent twisting contortions. Their stress was visible even beneath the skin which now rippled like the cool waters of a pool as some fish treaded just beneath the glassy calm. They screamed against each-other as the spasms grew more violent. With several contractions, it became clear that the muscle of his calves and thighs had actually strained so hard that they pulled off from the ligaments and tendons with which they were bound.

Even as they floated freely within his twitching skin they still continued to dance in agony. More popping sounds indicated the stress had ripped other predominant muscles from their moorings.

Kari listened to the sickening cries of his body as the straining muscles of his abdomen squeezed him so tight that his ribs cracked and then broke off into the tangled assortment of convulsing organs housed within his cage of ribs. The bone shards gouged and stabbed him in a thousand splintery fingers. Even then the muscle continued to spasm tighter around him - driving the bone deeper into the mound of vital organs which were now gushing a vast assortment of vital fluids into some great soup of bile, blood, and digestive acids which pooled in the pit of his throbbing stomach.



With a great wheezing cry the pressure collapsed his skull inward upon the brain which had began to cook itself through each strike of electrical impulse which was no longer being controlled by the mind that had once been Dayus. He wore the front section of his face as a mask over the quivering flesh that had once been his head. He was contained within the bag of his skin, yet the pouch of flesh was becoming more unrecognizable due to more bone and muscle ripping itself apart, feeding the soup which was now flowing through him...



She stared down on him almost sadly as the fires of his vacant sockets faded to just plain blackness of bone and flesh. He had died of grief... yet there was no heaven or hell for him.. Simply an eternity of this. Feeling all the pain at once. His own private purgatory. She had given him this violent end. A death far more hideous then the sword or the sudden explosion of the gun. He had died in agony. All the agony of a lifetime of evil compiled to one kiss of divine retribution. She watched as his soul left the twisted cadaver only to fade away into the darkness which she had condemned him to.



Kari was ill as she stumbled away. With the act of becoming a conduit to all his evil, she felt it all herself, though to a fraction of what he got. You cannot touch evil and not get the filth of it on your hands. To touch the hand of evil you are corrupted by it. Wickedness is a plague which infects those who handle it readily. Some of the handlers develop an immunity to the dark virus, while others are struck down by it. It was a minute portion of what Dayus got.. But.. The potency, however was enough. She felt slow tears running down her cheeks as she thought of tk. Pure, loving tk. The boy she would give anything for, even life. And then... she fell cold onto the ground.



All was black.





****************************





Sora ran down the bleak and darkened expanses of the passageway. The tunnel was rustic and barely furnished with light enough to see. Small wall lights cast strange and eerie shadows from where they glowed phosphorescently - each tied to the wall by a steel panel. her footfalls echoed outward as the rapping upon a large and gothic old oak door. They reverberated outward against the Stoney ground in a panicked chorus of 'slap slap slap.' the air was sickening, it did not smell of moist earth, but instead of musty staleness combined with the faintly sweet smell of decay. Perhaps a rat had died here lately, been mortally wounded and crawled into the recesses of the blackened tunnel - where it died slow. But rat or not, something had died here... now that same animal was blending with the hackneyed bitterness of long dead air into some putrefied perfume.



The tears had left her. Collin was now a thing of the past, a thing to be grieved over, but a thing she could not mourn now. Tai. It was all that mattered to get to him. After she had confirmed his condition, they could solidify their forces for a final assault on the emperor. If he was alive... oh god let him be alive. She recalled the sound of several shots to his chest. Hopefully his armor had taken the shots.. No. she could not think of that now. He was alive. Hurt maybe, but alive. She would get her bearings once she managed to find a way out of this tunnel, which seemed to stretch outward for far too long. She only hoped it would not carry her too far away. She doubted that though. This was for immediate escape, not a tunnel to some far off escape. As she ran she began to focus on the tightness far too much. Sora had always been slightly claustrophobic. - side effect of watching tai die in such a tiny room. But she could not let the tightness of this tunnel squeeze her to immobility. They were children, the burning dawn that is. Each was capable, but without someone fully capable of getting them into rank and organizing the battle.. They were good, just not good enough to deal with this by themselves. She needed to be there...



Just as the darkness seemed to be endless she reached a new door. This door was different. Instead of a stone age steel plating door as she had previously come from, this door was different. Steel yes, blast proof, yeah. But unlike the previous door, this one was lever opened. Hopefully it was made so that the years of non use would have left it more mobile then the previous barrier that she had been forced to surmount. She docked her sword at her side. Then with a great heave wrenched downward on the lever. It clanked out painfully as it gave way with some reluctance, yet not the full-blown steadfastness of the previous door. It opened.



Making note to only open it a fraction of the way she seized her sword. Held it tight. She nor Collin had known where this would lead. It was an escape route, thus it was possibly going to lead her right into the heart of the guard's room. She drew up her breath and readied herself. From the crevice of the door came a silvery tendril of light. Sora wanted to run it over her hand, perhaps the light could elevate her fear of confined spaces. Yet she did not. This was going to be a dangerous moment. She would have no clue what lay beyond, thus she could not risk letting one of the possible guards glimpse movement from behind the threshold of the steel door. She would need to have what little surprise she could muster. They may have heard the lever's cry, seen the door slightly open. But they mustn't get a vague idea of where in the tunnel opening she was. She could not let them have a rifle trained on the area where she would be. She drew in a deep breath slowly. Then drew her foot up to kick the door open. She expelled the breath suddenly, as she threw her foot against the door. It swung wide as she rushed from the threshold, then pivoted to the left.



Her actions were on impulse, as the brightness of the outer-world temporarily left her blind. She heard no weaponry begin to fire, thus she assumed she was alone in the room, yet as her eyes adjusted to the new light she discovered she was in fact not alone.



"Hello bitch.." lady kale trailed off as she glowered darkly upon Sora. Her eyes widened as they took in the aspect of lady kale. Her hair was held neatly at her back by the steel clip. Black dress was smoothed perfectly. Not even a run in her dark stockings. Sora was amazed that she had handled the explosion so effortlessly. Perhaps she had ran home to change before coming here to intercept Sora. By comparison, the two women looked a world apart.



Sora was dressed in her battle attire, plain, yet comfortable. Boyish armor almost. The only real difference from male armor was the breast-plate - for obvious reasons. But in all it was heavier modern armor.



Kale on the other hand represented a dignified side of the war. Black dress, dripping refinement. She looked more like a porcelain doll then a demon with her fair skin and blond hair which bore not a single misplaced tendril. Her beauty was more intimidating then the glowing heat-rod which lay coiled in her arms.



The room had widened considerably. There would be ample room for the battle which was on the verge of occurring.



"How did you follow me?"



"I knew you would have to take this escape route to avoid the guards. I knew where it would lead..."



"No soldiers?"



"No interference.. This is between us." she replied coldly.



"Good...." Sora growled as the sword raised upward to a ready position. She tried to appear far more formidable then she actually was at the moment. The stranglehold of the tunnel was rapidly losing its grip upon her, yet the touch was still there. She drew in shallow and quick breaths of fresh, non dead air as she began a slow circle of the blond woman who was smiling with calm malevolence.



She was beautiful as Sora observed. Hair was in perfect condition, strait and shimmering as golden thread would shimmer within the richness of a medieval tapestry. Sora studied her smooth and creamy complection with a faint realization that she was a craven image to the Greek goddess of love: Aphrodite. Perhaps she was more worthy of Taichi... She wore elegant black silk, while Sora hung ready in a almost male set of battle armor which was worn and scared by battles long ago. Sora was beautiful in a way you look upon a girl you have loved since childhood is beautiful. But as she studied the aspect of the woman who called herself lady Kale, she was aware of the beauty found of a woman of exotic origins. Kale was just that. She was every bit as woman as the word inscribed. Elegant and graceful, capable of fierce aggression alongside gentle submission. Lady kale was silken rose petals upon the gardens of the empire while Sora was wild heather growing upon the stones of the land.



"How did you know where I would be?" she said in a low and calm voice as kale smiled a toothy grin of sinister expression.



"You were cut off from the arena... the only way you could have survived the wave of guards would be to flee through the old access tunnels. You are still quite close though.. Just one level down and still in the shadow of the Colosseum. It was easy to find you.. That tunnel is ancient, it was steep and twisted. I had plenty of time to track it to its origin. And here I found you."



"Why do you follow him kale.. I researched you... you aren't like him."



"And how would you know what I'm like?"



"You were almost killed by your father during a psychotic episode. He had murdered your mother in cold blood. But when he came for you, you killed him. You grew up in an orphanage." she paused.



"We were able to dredge up a few written records from the orphanage. You were described as an extremely gifted child, quick to learn, so well mannered that they questioned if you were still troubled by the rage you experienced after your father died. You never let anyone in. Never cried or laughed.. You just were...



After you turned eighteen you disappeared for a time, only to resurface upon the conquest of the human world. When the lords were assembled you took your place among them.." Sora quoted from a old data spread she had studied upon the beginning of the battles against the empire. Kale had always troubled her... she was different from Dayus who was so deranged that killing was his one joy in life. From Grendle who was a honor bound saurian. And from Sephiroth who at the time was a mystery as thick as the velvety night.



"You do your homework."



"Know thy enemy....." she replied simply



"Sound logic..

I tried once, to find out who you are. Strange... but I could not find anything about lady Kamiya or Sora Takenouchi beyond that it is your name. It would appear a skilled hacker deleted all data on the generals of the burning dawn. Sora Takenouchi is a ghost."



"I'm not dead."



"Yet.." kale completed as she stared into Sora's eyes.



"Who were you Takenouchi or Kamiya?"



"I was born Sora Takenouchi, a poor girl who's mother owned a flower shop. I was raised without knowing what hatred or war were really like. I was born into a life of innocence, yet cast that away when I was chosen as a digidestined." Sora spoke softly as she sensed this would be the last time they would have a chance to talk. Sora didn't truly hate kale.. She hated the demon which was a part of her.



"Ironic that a little flower girl would grow up to be one of the most feared killers of all history." Sora winced as the word killer fell upon her ears, she hated that word, but sadly could not defy its validity.



"And the Kamiya.." she continued. "That is the name I took for myself when the boy I loved was killed. His name was Taichi Kamiya, first true leader of the digidestined, first hero.. You know him as genesis." lady kale's eyes widened lightly as she stared into the burning rubies. The sapphires of her gaze clashed against the burning jewels of Sora's.



"That's not his name anymore.. That's not who he is anymore."



"You are lying to yourself kale. He is every bit as much a hero as he once was."



"Tai is dead.. He is genesis. Betrothed to me... he will re-join the empire... he will forget all about you bitch!" she snapped.



"No kale... Taichi will not. Mark my words lady kale, Taichi Kamiya will save this world. He is the greatest man I have ever known.. He will free us all from ken's grip. And in the end... it will be me who he loves."



"He is a great man.. That I'll agree too. He won't be able to choose you in the end if you are dead though."



"You're welcome to try kale... but in death I will always be closer to his heart then you could ever be in life."



"I've had enough of talking to you bitch. Lets settle this once and for all. I'll kill you and be done with this rivalry. Winner takes all.. Winner gets to be with him." lady kale drew up her heat rod as Sora continued to circle her, getting into a more mobile position. The circles were closing ever slowly as the heat rod had now left her arms where it had lain folded neatly. It now hung outward as the coils of a serpent ready to strike outward with a fatal bite. The tool was a weapon of demonic origins. It had steely barbs which were coiled around a fiberoptic cable which carried the impulses by way of radio signal from kale's neural implant to each of the steely sections of the whip-like appendage. It moved much more like a living thing then a advanced collection of hydraulic motors and various cables. It had sinewy motions as it rose up from the floor to a posture of a scorpion's barbed tail.



Sora took another step to the left, only to be alerted by a faint buzz of electric current. She cast a wayward glance to the cobalt grey circuit which hung on the wall. If she got any closer she would run the risk of brushing up against the exposed conduits. That would be bad. She mused to herself as she reversed several steps away from the box. She didn't look at it, didn't dare take her eyes off the glowing viper of steel and cable. But the buzz grew farther off so that it was only a faint hum, so she figured she had drawn far enough off to be ready for the assault that was hungered for in the sapphire eyes of the blond woman.



And with the sudden flash or hatred and rage the weapon exploded outward with a scream of metalic origin. The snake lanced at her with a jabbing motion of its lower coils. Sora avoided the strike with no effort. The tendril returned to her with a sudden backward snap. Sora glanced to lady kale with question in her eyes. Kale replied with a soft chuckle as the lance wiped forward once again, this time almost stabbing her through the head in one great jab. Sora dodged this also, with a quick movement of her frame. Again kale chuckled. Sora realized with a sudden dread that the woman was playing. Each death lunge was no more to her then a poke. A test. She was seeing if Sora was capable of defending herself against rapidly rising levels.





As if on cue the weapon speared at her again. This time Sora deflected the shot with a quick swipe of her sword. The whip returned quickly, this time hanging over kale's head in a ready to strike posture. Kale smirked.



Then with a flash of speed the weapon began flailing out in a dazzling barrage of stabbing motions which came from one source, yet by sheer speed appeared as five at once. Sora yelped as she leapt to the right, and as she was in mid air lashed out with her sword - deflecting another jab. She landed on bent knee several feet away, yet the second she made contact with the ground, she pushed off it. As she had just cleared the spot the rod crashed into it with a shower of fragmented rock. From the point of impact several gaping cracks were gouged into the stone ground. The weapon lingered there for a moment before resuming the chase.



It wiped outward at Sora, who was struck on the side by one of its coils. The collision wasn't as bad as it could have been. She hadn't made contact with a edge, though it was unclear if that was the doing of pure luck, or a sick whim on the part of kale. She was broken from her stride as the rod hit, it hurt badly, but thankfully it didn't break her hip of leave any gaping wounds which would cripple her. she did fall though. Fell hard. As her foot slipped out from under her she broke into a staggering roll which deposited her against the hard floor.



She glanced up from the ground with a bitter snarl on her lips as Kale suddenly began advancing somewhat faster upon her. before she had let the heat rod do the work for her, yet now the weapon had been drawn back to a tightly coiled sword-like appendage. As kale was drawing close enough to bring the makeshift sword down over Sora's side the girl gritted her teeth through the pain and rolled forward. Kale was taken aback by the sudden movement, yet even more so by the booted heel which crashed into her side sending her lurching backwards. The heat-rod flared hatefully outward with a random swipe into empty space as the woman was momentarily unable to focus its attack. Sora made it to her feet as kale composed herself. She was clearly not amused by the sudden retaliation Sora had made. Sora on the other hand was stifling a grin of triumph in that she actually hurt kale's pride more then her ribs. Short lived however. The rod exploded against the stone ground several feet before her causing a small wave of rock fragments to pelt her. she staggered backwards as she felt the sharp spears of stone jab into her soft skin. It became clear to her that the game was not even into full force yet. At this point it was simply a game of tag. Yet as kale glowered over her side which still ached with Sora's kick it became clear that the actual fight was on the verge of becoming a reality.



"Oh kale... I'm sorry. It looks like I got my boot-print on your dress... you can send me the dry-cleaning bill." Sora smirked. Kale snarled.



Sora dropped to the floor as the whip flew across in a horizontal arc intent on decapitating her. she frantically scurried in a half run- half crawl sprint. The weapon crushing into the earth beneath her feet with explosive rage. Sora continued on like that, frantically dodging and evading the weapon which shot forward with no delay. The neural implants had left kale able to control the heat rod with the same ease as moving an arm. But the heat-rod was so much larger and more versatile then a human appendage. With it she could strike outward with the speed of a cobra and the same lethal kiss of venom. She made use of her sword as best she could, though it could only be defensive. The weapon could travel over its body with such speed and ease that it offered no chance of making a desperate lunge to kale. Sora was pinned to a defensive posture.





The weapon moved against the ground like a snake of steel. It glided against the stone ground like a serpent glides through smooth waters with no ripple to advertise its presence. Yet this snake was far more dangerous as it could also lunge through the air with a second's elapse. Sora snarled as she began repelling the weapon with a series of slashes. Steel rang out against steel as the weapons clashed against one another. They sang out in a chorus of strikes against an anvil, and with each blow a series of sparks rained down. The frenzied pace of the battle began to elevate to that of a raging tide of screaming steel and fire as kale began lashing outward with the heat rod again and again. Still Sora was bound to defense and not to offense as kale was able to neither kill her, yet still maintain defense enough to prevent an attack.



Sora was losing.. Kale could maintain her assault by relying on the machinery of her heat rod, while Sora was tiring with each onslaught of furious lashes. Her muscles ached as she missed a block, resulting in the viper's bite. She screamed in pain as the white hot edge cut a small gouge in her calve muscle. She staggered backwards a step as the whip returned to kale, only to explode out again. Sora was able to move out of its path, yet not far enough to stop it from connecting. This time it lashed her arm with a searing bite of fiery fangs. She gaped in pain as her arm called out in waves of fiery misery. Kale drew back once again, this time lined up for a great wide lash, one capable of upending Sora, and cleaving her into two halves. The heat-rod sang out with a burning hiss as it prepared to kill her. Then it lunged.









with a sudden burst of strength Sora heaved the blade against the coming death. She hurled it with all her strength, and as it med the steely assassin the impact jarred her badly. They clanged out against each other in a steely scream as one of the two weapons was slain.



Sora shrieked in pain as her sword shattered to jagged shards of metal. One such piece was driven hard into her forearm where it hung outward in suspension amidst a sleeve which was rapidly becoming stained bright red. The final defense had saved her from that strike of the heat rod, yet as her sword exploded into her arm she was so overwhelmed by sudden pain that she slumped to the ground - clutching her arm.



Kale snarled with triumph as she looked down to Sora several feet away. The great lady Kamiya had fallen, and fallen hard. The blood from her impaled arm now bled down her side and pooled on the floor. She didn't cry, yet she did huddle against herself as she rocked the arm softly. Her hair hung against her softly as she didn't look up to meet kale's gaze. The fragments of the sword which had not been projected into the wall now hung against the stone ground lifelessly.



"You almost had a chance..."



Sora said nothing



"I'm serious, I've killed hundreds. Not one of them lasted as long.



She just shuddered in a sudden jolt of pain as the wound began to bleed more freely.



"The heat rod is linked to my mind, it is tied to the base of my brain so I can move it just like an arm or leg. But it doesn't get tired like a arm. You were so close... maybe you would have even won if it weren't for the rod..."she grinned happily.



"Poor genesis.. Guess I'll be the one, not you."



Sora glanced up to look at her with a look of sad strength in her fiery eyes which were not marred by a single tear. She simply stared at kale with a quiet defiance. The look didn't waver even as kale drew up the weapon to strike her down. She simply stared up at her with a low burning fire through the hot coal of her gentle eyes. There was no burning hate there.. Simply a defiance of the woman who would be her executioner.



"Anything to say? Any clever jabs before I split you down the middle.? Come now bitch, you wouldn't wana waste the chance to spit at me before I kill you?"



"Kale.. GO TO HELL!!" Sora snarled as she threw the piece of jagged metal at her. kale's eyes widened as the piece of sword which had once been embedded in Sora's arm now glided as a Sorokin. The weapon flew fast and true until it caught her against the face. She screamed wildly as the projectile cut into her face. It didn't kill her as Sora had hoped, yet it did do considerable damage. She wrenched it from her forehead as the wound began to bleed deeply. She screamed louder then Sora had ever heard anyone scream. It was a shriek of agony and rage and pain all muddled together in a great call of demonic agony. Her hands flew to her face as Sora struggled to her feet. The wounds were bad, yet not fatal... they would leave scars, but not horrible ones. The blood was flowing freely down her face and into her eyes, thus rendering her blind. Yet in her blindness the heat rod lashed outward wildly. It cut gaping wounds in the ground and walls as it flailed wildly. Sora was nearly killed twice in its raging motions.



She scrambled away as the weapon crashed through the ground in an explosion of rock and metal. The heat-rod was undamaged, yet without kale to guide it the weapon was out of control. Sora managed to halt herself just in the right place as lady kale began to regain composure over the whip. The blood still rendered her nearly blind thankfully.



"Hey bitch!" lady kale spun around to the source of the voice, and without a moment's pause lanced the heat-rod outward as a great spear. It was faster and more intent on killing her then she had ever known. Kale wanted her dead now more then ever, dead and bloodied under the burning lashes of the rod. Sora leapt to the side as the weapon missed her, yet continued outward until it impaled the electrical box.



The sparks exploded outward as the neo-titanium weapon plunged into the heart of the breaker with a flash of electrical fury. The swarming buzz that Sora had once heard was now a roar of electrical screaming mixed with the shrill cry of kale as the heat rod conducted the voltage directly into both her body, and by way of the implant.. Her brain. Her body convulsed violently as the weapon shivered under the current of electricity which sparked and flared against it. The rod began to thrash more violently as each of its coils began to billow smoke. Each of the ligaments were burning now. The fiberoptic cable was being seared by the electricity, and as that was fried the implant within lady kale began to short and scream within her cranium. Her eyes widened suddenly, then went pure white as the pupil became murky under the white haze, then vanished.



Sora gaped in horror as the ligaments of the heat-rod popped and crackled as each of their motors exploded. The result was as the slumped to the ground like a dead snake on the road. Lady kale suddenly slumped backwards as the rod left her hands. She fell hard and dead like a marionette whose strings had been severed suddenly. Sora cautiously walked over to her and studied her expression. She was looking up to the ceiling with a look of death. Her eyes were white and motionless. Sora almost thought she had died when the voltage killed the heat-rod, even more so when she checked vitals, only to find there were none. As she was getting up to walk away the voice of the fallen called to her.



"Sora..." it said in a soft voice of utter and complete helplessness.



"You're alive?"



"The implants in my body have a short battery.. I'm running off residual charge now. Sora.. I can't see.. What happened to me? Where's the rest of me?" Sora was puzzled by the comment for a moment before realizing she meant the heat rod. It was tied to her cerebellum after all. Thus it was a part of her.





"The heat-rod was destroyed, it took your neural implant with it. I guess it fried your brain pretty bad when the implant blew. You're senses must have been killed sense they were tied to the heat-rod's implant."



"I'm going to die aren't I?"



"You said it.. The charge in your implant's battery was minimal. There must have been just enough left to run some of your functions." she replied with a hint of sadness.



"Things are getting fuzzy..." she paused as she struggled to regain the thought she had on her mind.



"Genesis... you won.. It's your job to save him.... Don't let him die... he doesn't deserve to die.. Please Sora... save him..." she spoke as her voice began to waver lightly.



"W..what did you call him before? He had a name.. I.. Can't think of it anymore."



"Taichi..."



" T...Taichi... Sora... he loves you... He deserves you, and you deserve him... don't waste the chance with him. Don't give it up.. L.. Life is for the strong... you're stronger then me.. So don't be weak and give up. Kill ken.. Save the world if that's what you want... but don't give up..." she trailed off as Sora reached out and stroked her cheek.



"Taichi... it's a shame I never knew him by that name... it sounds so g..good... T..Taichi..." she faded off as the last of the residual power of her charge faded away. With the expiration of her charge the last shadow of life left lady kale. She faded away, and Sora was unsure where it was she went. She had done so much evil in her life that the odds were high it would be hell.. But the words of Mimi hung in her mind. A conversation long ago had. One where Mimi had told her that anything capable of love was capable or redemption in the eyes of god.



Perhaps lady kale had found redemption in that last moment...

Perhaps.. They all could find redemption......



****************************





The coliseum was huge, crafted to ornate detail of the glory which was the empire. Upon the far wall of the great structure there stood a statue of massive perportune. A mighty fire-bird whose wings wrapped around 75% of the circular structure. These wings stretched outward in brilliant detail as though the colossal bird were protecting the coliseum. It was of alabaster stone and thus shimmered in the light of the flaming pillars which now danced around the fire-bird. The smooth blue stone shimmered as though it had been carved from the night itself. Thus illustrating further that ken was god-like enough to create such a monument to the empire. The phoenix represented the empire's power to rise above all other things as the massive black bird now did. The empire would dwarf and humble all other man for there was no man who could match the splendor of the empire. From the perch of the mighty bird's midnight hued head all was visible. The city fell before it as a endless procession of humble monks and servants on bent knees. The clouds overhead had been fortified by black tarish smoke from the blaze. Now the white clouds which had once danced innocently in the heavens were polluted with the black stink of war and death. They grew malignant and swallowed up the sky like a great cancer of precipitation. Soon it was black as night. Dark and hateful. A testament to god's wrath over man for making war with itself. Would he care which side was in the right? Or would it simply be about who was killing and who was not? Regardless of god's favor or disdain they would fight onward.



From the top of the phoenix's head he stood. Casting a simple glance to the inky eye of the mighty bird. It shimmered back at him with the soft warm radiance of the flames which surrounded it. A soft orange glow which was reflected in the perfect luster of each chiseled feather. Of the strong and powerful curve of the beak to the menacing razors of the talons. All was shimmering with reflected flame.



His cloak danced with demonic glee as it made violent and hellish motions with each guest of hot air. It was as deep black wings which flapped and fluttered like those of a crow in the hot winds which danced around him. He was clad entirely in black though the rest of his wardrobe was obscured by the massive black cloak. His hood was gone, pulled back so his hair was free to fly about the same winds which animated his cloak. Each tendril of golden hair glided softly on the winds. He had grown longer hair since the digital wars had concluded. Since he came to become one of the four.



With a sudden motion of his arms he threw back the cloak. His shirt was pure black, with a thin layer of leather armor which closed over his torso like the underbelly of a dragon. His arms were exposed, leaving clear view of his ivory muscles which were more visible in context to the perpetual darkness the phalanxes of clouds provided. They were normal arms, yet their normalcy ended abruptly as they came to each forearm. Black steel was mounted to the apex of each arm. It was from this steel that the jet-like blade would discharge outward in a whoosh of steel. A sound matt had come to love. Strength was all that matters. To survive the digital world he had to be strong and calculating. He would not have ended up like tai, a fool who was so willing to become a martyr. That wasn't matt. He had once tried to be TK's protector, yet that got old quick. All ideals of noble sacrifice for your brother were hazardous at best.



Seadramon... he had leapt into the fray to save him.... almost got killed doing so. Stupid. Matt had come to resent his actions for they were suicidal and bore no practicality to normal life. He would not put his life down for another again. His acts of heroics had become far more sporadic as the months passed. He had seen what they were up against. Myotismon.. Devimon... they were tough guys.. Granted, no match for Kamiya and the others but they were still formidable enough to kill. Matt had been dragged into too many fights against foes who were capable of putting him in the ground. Thus once tai died and ken became a threat. He chose to side with someone who could obviously survive. Not just survive... he was capable of so much more then that. He could lead, and plan, and win. Matt's second ambition aside from survival. Power.





He had no power when his mom left. No power when the digital wars drafted him. No power when he was suddenly responsible for TK. No power when Sora had chosen to fall in love with a dead guy before him. Power was important in life. And through ken he could have that in spades. All the power he ever dreamed of. The strength and speed and fury of a lord of the empire. He could be whatever he wanted. And he did want something. Not just something, everything! He could have whatever he wanted if he proved just how worthy he was to take it.



He chose a new name. A name of power. Sephiroth. He had no clue where he heard it. Just that in some tongue it meant death's emissary. Death had power. It was able to take tai. To cripple the digidestined in both power and heart. Thus he chose the name of his one true partner in the digital wars. His secret benefactor who removed his only rival from the game. He became Sephiroth.



His eyes fixed over the burning world around him. They burned with an icy cold which could burn far more then fire. They shimmered in almost an arctic blue with each scene of fire consuming life. He knew he should be there.. With them... one of the soldiers who was dispensing release on the edge of a sword and not sitting up here admiring the view. But he couldn't risk any interruption.



This was his moment of truth. A moment to be savored and not wasted in the midst of a group of imperial soldiers. A death he had been hungering for long enough. One he wanted to savor and enjoy. Tai had been right. Fighting was a drug, an addiction. But the part tai was too weak to enjoy was what matt had learned to savor. Death... it could come in a thousand faces.



Death takes different people differently. Some scream and thrash about as they frantically try to rip themselves free of the sword. Others simply go white and slump over in defeat before the reaper could take them. some die heros and try to muster their strength for one last swipe. It was what truly enlivened him now. But he wanted to see how this one would die.



No. he needed to see it. As a child he had been a cry-baby, as a teen a hero who never cried...



That was the mystery to him now. How would his brother die. As a child or as a man. Would he scream out? Or just accept death? The thought struck Sephiroth with a simple joy. He would wait no longer for this answer. He had chosen this place so TK would come to him. So they could settle the fight once and for all. So he could kill the boy. Part of him was saddened by the idea... the rest of him was hungering for it. He was the bearer of hope... hope is a horrible thing. It gives people the impression there is a chance for better things in life. There's not. You are bound at your station in life as though you were chained to it. That was perhaps the main reason he wanted this fight. To kill hope.



"Hello brother." TK spoke softly as he clutched the sword in his white fist.



"Took you long enough..." he smiled as he turned to the boy.





"You knew it was me?"



"I know my brother... even if he hides under a cloak."



"Good... I was worried you wouldn't come."



"Wouldn't miss it for the world... why would you do this matt?"



"Betray you? Because it was in my interest to do so."



"We meant nothing to you? I meant nothing to you?"



He paused.



"You did once brother..." he replied with an almost sad tone



"What happened?"



"You started to grow up. You grew up into Tai." TK stared at him for a moment as if debating how that was an insult, yet from matt's lips... it was a horrible insult.



"So tell me bro... still have hope that you're going to change me? Make me come back to the flock?" he smirked



" Matt.. How can you help them? They killed dad. Nailed him to a wall and left him to die slowly!" he barked as his eyes shimmered with tears which would never fall.



"He was using the news-station to broadcast calls against us. He had to be taken out." TK grimaced by the tone devoid of emotion from his brother's lips.



"But... they crucified him!" he gaped in horror at his brother who was now smiling sweetly.



"TK... who do you think nailed him up there?" the young blond's eyes opened wide in horror as he looked upon his father's killer for the first time. Matt was smiling broadly as he studied his brother's eyes. But he couldn't tell if there was still hope there.



"I'm planning on making a visit to mom's by the way. Anything you want me to say to her?" he smiled even more broadly as Takeru took a step back in disgust.



"So... that offer to take me back still stand?" he smiled, yet stopped abruptly as TK looked him dead in the eyes. It was a frightful gaze only by the fact that there was no emotion in it.



"Idiot..."



"What?"



"I said you were an idiot.... you honestly thought I would beg you to come back.. Be my brother again?" he chuckled softly " there has never been an offer to come home matt... not once. You chose to do all this evil on your own... chose it... to kill dad... to abandon me... what gave you the idea I would ever let you anywhere near my family? And that's what they are now matt.. Sora, Kari, Taichi... they're my family. You.. Are not." he drew up his sword with a look of pure hate on his soft features. Matt looked into him for a time with question as to who this boy was.. he bore no resemblance to the child he had abandoned. He looked so.. Strong...



Matt smirked darkly as he drew both hands our to his sides. Then with a hydraulic whoosh the blades ejected from his arms. He wrapped his fingers around the shaft of the weapons just before the bladed edge began. The grips had been custom made to fit his hands, the pivot joint had been deigned to accommodate his distinct range of motion while maintaining a solidity of one piece steel. The weapon had been fitted to his brain much as lady kale's had been. With each thought he could control the swords. Will them to move with him, retract, or eject.





TK snarled as he lifted the sword up to his side in a defiant posture while matt drew both of his downward to his sides. They paused for a moment of debate as to how to kill their brother. It was matt who made the first move as he began running at TK with a scream of wrath and hate. The younger boy was able to swipe outward with his broadsword, yet just as they were about to meet matt launched himself into the air. He evaded the sword as he gracefully leapt over the TK. It was strange to witness as he glided through the air with one mighty flip. As TK's eyes followed he caught the faint grin upon his brother's lips as his hair and cloak danced hatefully in the hot wind. He landed with an air of grace about him as his polished black boots slapped against the alabaster of the head. He had landed back to TK, yet as Takeru swung around with his sword he was met by a blade. The two weapons rang out against each other with a metalic clang. Matt turned slowly - still holding his sword to TK's.



The two were standing face to face as a whoosh of steel sounded the retraction of his second blade. TK looked to him with a moment of bewilderment as to why he would retract a sword without driving it through him . He got his answer as the back of matt's hand crashed against his face throwing him several feet away. TK rolled on the ground with a splitting pain in the side of his face. It throbbed and ached with agony as he clutched it with his free hand. He had been thrown so far with a slap from his brother's hand.





"What are you? You're not human anymore.." he stammered.





"Not entirely anymore..." he chuckled



"What did you do to yourself?" he gaped as matt's eyes began to glow with icy light.





" you remember Gabumon? Well.. He's the source... scratch that.. Was..." TK's eyes went wide in horror as matt continued.





"Once I had the empire to supply the know how... I used a donor...



I had Gabumon digivolve to metal-Garurumon.. Since we were partnered he was capable of becoming a donor to me. My body wouldn't reject his parts...



We harvested certain bio-technological components from his body, gradually replacing my organs with his. The process killed him of corse.. But it left me with a edge.. And a power...." TK's stomach twisted in nausea.



"You took your own digimon's organs... killed him...."



"Yes...

good old Gabumon, truest friend I ever had. Only friend.... he begged me not to do this, but in the end he agreed to give his life for me. Give his power... his soul for me.



You see TK.. Digimon have incredible power... but none more then their souls, how that soul can be assimilated into a partner. And since I had part of his soul in me.. I could use his body.

I'm human on the outside, but these swords... they're just the tip of the iceberg. I have metal- Garurumon's bio generator in place of a heart. His cybernetic muscles in place of my own. hell.. His optical circuitry is wired in right behind my eyes." matt gestured to his eyes which were now glowing with a strange icy glow. They danced with wispy tendrils of frosty smoke.





"As you can see... it left me stronger... I am the equivalent of a mega digimon. Fast as one too..."



"Does this mean you're a god now? Some sick god... can you fly? Or did you decide not to have his jets ripped off his spine." TK spat.



"Thought about it... but not practical.. They would have been far to awkward. I prefer to be self contained... no wings sticking out.. Nothing that could easily give away what I am."



"Tough shit matt... I can see what you are just fine... you're a monster... evil... worthless."



"Sticks and stones little bro." he smiled.





"I AM NOT YOUR BROTHER!!!!" TK screamed as he leapt at him with his sword intent on cutting the thing's head off. Yet as he was about to cut matt in half the sword flew forward to block him again. Before TK could react he felt matt step forward and grab his arm. He smiled hatefully as he suddenly lunged forward and planted a kiss on his brother's head TK was stunned as the knee rammed into his mid-section. He staggered backwards as he tried to catch his breath, yet an awkward footing left him on his backside upon the ground. Matt smiled as he drew closer.



"Oh god that was close. Almost cut me with that toy of yours bro...." he drew his sword upward in a gesture to bring it down over TK. Splitting him in half. Yet as he was about to chop off TK's arm the younger boy slammed his foot outward, driving the steel-plated heel of his boot right into his brother's crotch. Matt screamed in pain as he lurched backwards in agony. TK scrambled to his feet with a light smile on his face.



"Looks like you weren't able to replace everything with metal-Garurumon's steel parts."he smirked at his own joke with only a little more humor then matt was showing as he clutched his throbbing groin.



His eyes shot upward in a hellish rage as the second sword shrieked into position. He snarled in a voice of feral rage as he lunged at TK. With a series of evasions he was able to keep head to head with the lord of the empire. Though matt was capable of using his two swords with little effort. And the augmented cybernetics left him considerably faster. Thus TK had to simply redirect ever attack's momentum or dodge it all together. There would be no way in hell he could really block one of those death swings when matt was this intent on killing him. With a quick duck he was able to keep his head, yet also given the chance to get an actual shot in. With a fast parry he plunged the tip of his sword into matt's leg. He screamed out in pain as TK withdrew the sword in attempt to block the coming onslaught. Little success.



The very leg he had impaled suddenly sprang to life as it collided with his chin in a crushing kick. TK sprawled backwards as matt swung at him with a sword. It made contact. As the weapon cut across his chest TK fought the urge to scream in pain. The armor he wore did little... it slowed the progress of the weapon, but was nowhere near capable of matching a mega digimon's wrath. He snarled as he felt the horizontal wound on his chest bleed freely. He didn't pause to feel the pain, for the moment matt was off balance he took a swipe at his brother, he cut a deep wound into matt's arm, yet was repaid with a spinning kick to the side.



The two continued onward like that in a dance of hatred and war as their blades met again and again in a symphony of steel and sparks. TK was doing quite well for an actual human. But matt was a hybrid. A being capable of taking more pain and dishing out much more. With each moment the battle raged his eyes glowed more fiercely with sapphire light. He was getting stronger as the battle continued. As more and more adrenalin triggered the lust a digimon feels for a fight to the death. The savage joy of an animal mingled with the mind of a man. TK lunged at matt with blade out, yet the elder brother spun out of the attack's path and continued with his 360 turn - driving a minor slash into TK's back. It was becoming far more obvious now who was more capable of winning this fight. They were doing a good job of distributing the damage to one another, yet matt was still ahead.



TK's arm throbbed with exhaustion as he repelled round after round of jarring swings of two swords. The digital hybrid could hit harder then TK could comprehend. And he was now smiling happily despite the fact that his blond hair was now matted with blood from a passing cut. His dark cloak was billowing with each movement as he charged TK happily. He could feel the power rushing through his body. The joy of the hunt. He was after all part wolf now. He enjoyed that side more then he ever let ken or the doctors know. He could smell the blood in the air now. Smell it through his new olfactory unit. The blood was part his and part his brother's yet it thrilled him in every cell of his twisted body. The wolf was now unleashed and happily hunting. The blood was thick in the air as the psychotic joy of a predator was hungering for it on his lips. He wasn't sure where this was leading.. In all his fights he was never pushed so close to the edge. To the side of himself that was not human, that was Garurumon. He had feared it once.. Feared the idea that Gabumon had begged him not to do this not for his own life.. But for fear of what matt would become once he was part Garurumon. Now this new thrill was a part of him. Like the saurians could regress to savagery, maybe he could too. And maybe he could hold on to enough of his mind to temper that savage joy with the mind of a man. His eyes were burning with cold fire. The same fire that thundered from his bio-generator. Garurumon's heart.





TK was now in a new zone of consciousness as he too felt a new thrill of the fight. Though his was not the lust of a wolf. It was not the lust of matt's psychosis... it was the idea that he could end it now. He could put his father's murderer to death. That he could avenge the pain he had known from losing a brother. Not in death but in life. He had lost matt's soul somewhere along the digital war... lost it to a darkness that he had not shed in a cave.. but instead taken back when no one was looking. He was evil... he killed and defiled his digimon in a way that was more evil then TK had ever known. A digimon partner was special.. It was a link forged by the two. The idea that matt had done that to Garurumon was more hellish then TK imagined Satan could be. He must fight now.. Must avenge all the evils done by Sephiroth. He would stop this monster from doing any more harm... regardless of wether he was blood or not. It was in that moment that TK felt the sword embed itself within his chest.



TK let out a soft gasp as he felt the weapon being pushed deeper into his side. In that instant he was entirely aware of his body, the feel of the sword as it scraped past his rib. As it cut deeper into his chest until it hung still inside his bleeding body. His eyes met matt's in a intense stare as he felt the blood begin to trickle down his side. Matt smiled.



"So much for heros.... tell me Takeru... have you given up hope yet?"



Matt smiled with a dark glee as he felt the smell of blood assault his nostrils. He had killed hope. When he had abandoned them the crest of friendship faded away. And behold the world that was created. One of depravity and pain. One of death and betrayal... one where there was no friendship.

Perhaps such could be with hope... maybe if he killed it's bearer he could smother the fires of hope. By extinguishing the life of TK.. He could rob humanity of the will to fight. The will to live..



TK mumbled something softly as he continued to stare into matt's eyes. It was spoken in the language of expelled breath with only the faint wisp of structural language. Matt leaned in further as he repeated himself, no longer able to stop the beaming smile that had appeared on his features. "Have you lost hope brother? have you embraced despair in the knowledge that you have lost? That this world is lost?"



He drew nearer.



"We will never lose hope!" he plunged the sword into matt with a sudden burst of strength that he never assumed he was capable of generating. The sword was buried to the hilt as the loss of blood was beginning to play with his senses. He could hear the scream that was more a howl then a human cry. He felt the boot as it kicked him off the sword which was still impaling him. He released the sword and allowed himself to fly backwards. He was vaguely aware of distance traveled. As he allowed himself to be thrown. He was done fighting... it was time to rest.



He landed hard upon the ground as a lifeless doll with glass eyes that only vaguely mirrored the beautiful blue they had once been. He glanced over to his side to find he was only inches from the edge of the statue's head. The fall would have killed him and frankly he was disappointed in matt. He would have preferred a fast death as opposed to a slow death of blood loss. The sword hadn't punctured organs, just impales muscle and scraped bone. The threat was of blood loss and the wound did allow for that. He would be dead in minutes as the crimson liquid began to pool around him. The pain was a ghost of what it should be.. The numbness was fast to set in.

He glanced to find matt still standing with the blue fire now billowing from his eyes. He wasn't bleeding, though there was blood. It had frozen to his chest. Apparently the blade had cut into the bio-generator that had been the source of metal-Garurumon's strength. It was a bio-machine... but also the generator for his powerful ice attacks. The wound must have cut into the structure.. He was freezing from the inside out.. Slowly feeling the blood in his veins turn into shards of crimson ice. He looked panicked and enraged as he wrenched the sword from his chest with a cracking sound of both bone and ice. The weapon landed on the alabaster stone with a impact which shattered the weapon like glass. Frozen solid.



"Did you think that would stop me brother? you are like Taichi... a martyr... Be proud Takeru... you're just like him.. Another brave fool.... and just like tai it's your turn to die!" his swords were fully drawn as he began running at TK. His lips were pulled into a hateful snarl that made his face look more like some demon mask and not a face at all. He leapt into the air in a frantic dive with his blades held outward, ready to plunge into TK. In that instant that he was about to make contact TK's mind suddenly sharpened to the edge of a razor. With a sudden cry he shot upward and took matt's hands by the wrist and brought his leg up to meet matt's mid-section. With a great heave he was able to use Sephiroth's momentum to propel the lord of death over the edge of the statue's head. In that instant he was able to send matt into the night air. He heard the shrill scream as his mind began to grow hazy. He huffed painfully as he forced his head to look down at matt for fear that the lord would be clinging to the statue like some villain in the movies. This was not the case.



His arms flailed wildly as he continued to plummet downward. His scream of both terror and hate was rapidly fading as he continued to fall. He fell forever as he sunk deeper and deeper into the haze, then with a sudden shriek his fall ended.



Matt lay there with a look of horror etched on his now still face. He was able to glance down to the source of his throbbing pain for only a heartbeat. Then with that heartbeat which was cut in half by death's grip on his eyes frosted over pure white as the cold overtook him. And that was how the life of matt ended, though no one would know him by that name. That is how the life of Sephiroth ended. He hung there in suspension. Arms held out to his sides in a dead slump of complete lifelessness. His head had fallen backwards as the life left him. The spear which now held him aloft had impaled him through the chest puncturing what would have once been a heart. He didn't bleed, simply hung there with his ribs broken inward and insides mangled by the protruding spear which had once been a flagpole bearing the insignia of the empire. The flag now was stained red and hung against his frame like a burial shroud. That was the end of the bearer of friendship. The one time digidestined... who would be only known as Sephiroth : emissary of death.







TK turned away as he sunk deeper into the haze that was filling his eyes. The pain of his wound was now replaced with a strange warmth. All fear began to fade away as he continued to stare up at the sky through a break in the phalanxes of black clouds. It was beautiful... there was a strange peace as he felt his lifeblood draining from his body. Yet as he continued to stare up into the heavens it grew brighter. With slow movements the sky turned to silvery light that took his breath away as he stared up into the glowing shroud of silver mist. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. And then the mist began to take shape with slow movements as the light transformed into the image of his own angel. She smiled softly into his pale expression.



He choked out one word through his parched lips.





"Kari?"





****************************







ken slowly rose to his feet as he surveyed the damage to his body. There was none. The fall had been hard, yet by some strange quirk of fate he had survived with no more then a light bruise on his left leg. But that was stating the obvious that fate had sided with him. He was the one fate loved more then any other man. Since he was a child he had been the best. The strongest and most destined of all. From the days of his childhood it had became clear that he was being groomed for something bigger then all others. And that is how he grew to know himself. He would watch other children with a simple smirk upon his lips. They were not at his level. Fate had not destined that they would know true greatness, only ken would have that future. The years had passed well for him as with each day he grew closer and closer to his goal. It didn't shock him at all that the fall had left no wound upon him, for how could fate strike him down when he was so close to the ascension he had been making gradual steps tword from childhood. He was at the doorway to this brave new world which he would create and consume inside himself. He was so close.



His thoughts were pushed aside as he tested his muscles. He could not permit self indulgence yet. Not when there was still one who could break him of his glory and future. The one being who was capable of defeating fate and destiny itself. The one capable of defeating ken.. Genesis.. Ken suddenly began scanning the arena for him. He saw the corpse of the saurian, several imperial guards who had been thrown into the arena as well. Yet when his eyes met the shadowy form several feet away he was filled with dread. Genesis lived. The chest was marred with blood that had stopped flowing and yet adorned him with a grizzly war-paint. His hair was lashing in a wind that seemed to blow only for him. This spectral wind tugged at his cloths now as he began to walk forward with slow and thunderous steps that fell both silently upon the sandy path and thundered like the coming of a god with each slow step. His eyes were dark in a way never before seen. The pools of his eyes were forged of burning shadow which flickered like the fires that now clawed at the arena's wall. He held a sword ready for the coming fight, yet ken got no solace from his weapon for genesis too had a sword. And his was now shimmering in the same black fire of the boy's darkened eyes.





The guards rushed upon the genesis with a sudden vigor to protect their sovereign. Yet as they met him with a sword pressed to his chest he showed no fear that could be seen by any observer to the slow trek ever closer to the lord of the empire.



"Step aside" he murmured darkly as he took hold of the steely weapon, then bent it away as though it were tinfoil. The guard's eyes were wide as he met the gaze of the new genesis. This was not really Taichi now.. But it was something that moved through him. The same power that once called the digidestined to the digital world now moved through him. The same force that enabled all digimon to digivolve now flowed through his blood. It was as though he were now the embodiment of a world that was now gone and yet still existed. He was the digital world's prince. The one chosen to save it, and now chosen to avenge it. The digital world had been assimilated into earth, yet the old gods of that data realm perhaps had not died and faded away. Perhaps they were just asleep.. Asleep in the form of a scrap of data existing in suspension within the fabric of the digital. A scrap of form that had been human once, yet now was the genesis.



That thought troubled ken. If Taichi was the instrument of the digital world's vengeance he had been playing along with something he could not comprehend. He had no clue where he found the secrets of genesis... but the power was present all through the digital world, and now that power was scattered across the new earth. Taichi moved past the guards with a slow trek. They were white as sheets - perhaps having seen something they weren't meant to see... some great primal force of ancient power contained within the genesis. They ran.



"It's time brother... the empire is dead... now you must join it." he spoke in the words of Taichi and yet beyond Taichi. It was fearsome regardless of its origin.



"No tai... this world is not free yet.... nor will it ever be!"



A new voice sang out from across the expanses of the arena. It came from the nearby bleachers and as it rang out both boys turned to see who it erupted from.



"Your lords are dead ken! Your armies are retreating... you've lost!" Taichi smiled as he looked upon the face of Sora. Who was now standing alone on the wall of the arena. She looked beautiful to Taichi as he studied her soft frame. The dragon's tear still hung around her neck and now shimmered in the dim light.



"The burning dawn has taken the city!"



The arena floor began to fill slowly with a series of faces the dumbstruck emperor could recognize vaguely from data files. The generals of the burning dawn were filtering into the arena. His expression pales as one after another they came. Came and took their places beside Sora.



Izzy had now linked arms with Mimi who was smiling softly. the two kissed softly and turned their gazes to ken. They had a look of emotionlessness upon their stern features as they stared at ken. They had each seen so much pain that the combined sorrow seemed to swell about them, yet it did not drown them. Instead they had rose up through the surf of black water and now stood atop a sea of hatred. They had watched so many others die, and now as they looked upon the last fight.. It was as though they were seeing the end of the storm. They could have a new world to begin anew in now. They would be married in a world where there was infinite possibilities, and among those possibilities peace and love were present again.



The next faces to arrive were that of Davis and Yolie. They had managed to free the captives and had now returned to watch the final battle of a war that had gone on too long. Davis scowled at ken and gestured to his scared face. Yolie had wrapped her arm around his waist. Her hair was tousled and drenched in sweat but she was alive. The two had been through a lot, yet it all suddenly seemed alright. It was as though the night were slowly being shattered by the golden rays of morning. Yolie turned and smiled softly to a older woman who was smiling proudly at her. then to another set of people who were the family she had lost so long ago. Her eyes were streaked with tears as she smiled at each of her brothers, sisters, and parents. Davis was smiling too now as he watched the woman he loved interact with her parents, her family. Davis had lost his... jun was dead.. He found her marker upon the slave camp's cemetery. He was alone in the world, and yet with Yolie by his side... he would never be alone again. They were his family now too.



Cody now joined them. he said nothing, mearly stared into the fearful eyes of the emperor. He held a sword in his hand that shimmered softly of silver in the growing light he was made of stone and just as intimidating as his features gave no clue to his emotions upon this day of freedom. He had a sorrow in those eyes, yet also a sense of strength. A iron determination about him that radiated outward as an aura of strength... and honor.



The next face was that of joe. His eyes were not to ken, but instead to the frame he was supporting as he made his way to the others. He was above vengeance, he had been and always was a doctor, and that is what he was now. A saver of lives. He held Takeru in his arms with some effort. The boy was bandaged and treated carefully for all his wounds and injuries. He was still able to look up at ken though. His eyes burned as they stared at ken. If he were crippled with agony it would not be knowable by those eyes. They looked upon the emperor with a strength that exceeded his body's injuries a thousand times. He was propped against the wall with the air of joe. He was able to stand on his own power which both amazed and frightened the young doctor.

He cast a soft smile to joe which was returned, yet then his gaze turned to the woman at his side.





Kari stroked his cheek softly as she brushed the blond locks from his eyes. He was on the verge of death when she came to him, but by some magic that exceeded the sorceress he was able to live. He had a power that swelled within him as he looked upon the angel who had come to take him. Kari had found TK on the verge of death, yet as their lips met in a soft kiss goodbye something happened that neither of the two could comprehend. Perhaps they never would understand it, but they could never doubt it. Somehow their love was able save them, to give them hope. And perhaps that's what the magic was... the faith that the nightmare was now ending. That the war was not at its end. That perhaps there was hope for the human race.



Ken stared darkly at them as each silently stared into his soul. Yet his gaze drew wider still as new faces took their place in the arena. Not the faces of soldiers. But instead the faces of ordinary men and women. They came as a great swarm of utterly silent faces, the faces of the empire. The faces of those who would plea for freedom against tyranny. The bleachers were filling quickly as more and more stood up in opposition of the emperor. They were as a great sea of men each rising up in their own private war against the chains that bound them. the coliseum filled with such faces as ken's eyes remained wide with shock that so many would revolt against him. Even after it filled more came. They stood in the isles and once the isles were filled they filled every void of space.





It was then that the first voice called out. Soon echoed by another, and another still. Sora listened in amazement as they began chanting out in a great swelling roar for deliverance. A roar that took the name of Taichi. They called out to him over and over in a great swelling cry that pulsed outward like a great thunderous heartbeat that was growing stronger and stronger with the second as deliverance from evil grew within arms reach. Sora smiled with pride as the people she had fought for now fought for themselves. They fought to take their own lives back and they sang out with that desire in the name of their savior. It was not the name of genesis that they tolled out in the cheering toll. It was the name of the boy she loved more then life and had more pride and faith in then any other. she turned to the burning dawn only to find them now calling out the name of their savior. Kari was beaming with a similar pride as she chanted along with the others in the great thunderous song of freedom and deliverance in the form of her brother. Sora felt tears sting her eyes as she glanced to the source of the call. He turned to her with a look of shock and amazement as their eyes met. Sora smiled and whispered out 'I love you.' then she too began to call out his name proudly.



"TAICHI - TAICHI - TAICHI..." they sang.





"It's time ken... relinquish your power over this world and I swear to you that no harm shall come to you." he spoke softly in a voice of soft tenderness to his brother who was looking at them with a burning hatred. His eyes burned as he listened to them call out for his brother.



"Never...."



Taichi raised his sword upward, signaling his seriousness.



"Don't make me do this brother... I don't want to kill you..."



He chuckled... "don't worry tai... YOU WON'T!!" in that instant he raised his hand to the sky in a defiant gesture. His ring exploded with light. In a blinding flash of a power that Taichi recognized in sudden terror. Ken snarled with victory as the black stone radiated with the power of the genesis. The ring smoldered with pure white light as the voices halted in a panicked silence. No one knew what he was doing except Taichi who had turned white as a sheet. The ring's glow was becoming brighter with each moment elapsed.



"KEN!?! YOU DIDN'T!?!" he screamed as he watched the boy smile darkly.



"If I can't have this world, no one will...." he chuckled as Sora vaulted over the wall and made her way to tai with a sudden panic as she sensed what this light was. And what it meant to the world.





"Tai is that what I think it is?!?"



"Genesis phase 2.... " he replied gravely yet was cut off by ken.



"Without the solution to the zero factor..." he grinned



"Ken! Without the solution for the zero factor that will destroy the world! All life with be eradicated!" tai yelled in a panic.



"Like I care?" he replied with a smugness that pushed Sora over the edge.



"I'll make you care you son of a bitch!" she snarled as she grabbed Taichi's sword from his hand.



Before either of the two boy's could react she swung the sword at him in a great cutting slash. Ken brought his hand up reflexively to guard his face, only to find his head was not the target of the slash. With a sudden splash of blood he cried out in a shrill scream as his hand was cut away in the great laceration. The red mist splattered on Sora's face as she snarled out in a feral growl that was in no way gentle or compassionate. She watched with a sudden sense of shock at her own actions as the emperor's right hand was severed from his forearm.



He cried out in pain as he clutched the stump that had once been his wrist. It bled profusely as the hand complete with ring fell to the floor in a sudden sickening thud. Taichi's eyes were wide as he grabbed the sword from her hands. He had never seen Sora so enraged, yet he had no time to think of that as the hand was suddenly reduced to ash in an explosion of white light which threw them all backwards several feet. Sora landed in tai's arms as the two lovers stared in horror at the pillar of white light that now erupted from the ground and into the heavens. It swirled in what would appear to be a temporary calm before it would erupt in a purge of all life.



"Oh god... that light..." Sora gaped as her eyes filled with tears.



"It's familiar..."



Sora stared at the pillar of silver light that she had seen once before, not from a ring, but from a tower. It was the same light that had once taken Taichi from her, and now was ready to take all life away. She feared that light more then anything she had ever known. It was not a beautiful light, but instead a light that had illuminated the most painful loss of her life. And here it was again.. Ready to take it all away from her again.



"How do we stop the phase?"



He was grimly silent.



"Sora is that genesis phase 2?" izzy asked with a notable hint of fear on his voice as he joined them.



"Yeah..." tai replied as he stared into the light as if in a trance.



"The process in chain reactive. We can alter the program but we can't stop it. The phase is happening.. But if we can solve the zero factor then the process is correctable. It wouldn't be fatal." izzy said as he pulled out his lap-top and began spooling through the data on the genesis that he had liberated through the empire's compute system.



"Koshiro... the empire scientists spent years studying this... they couldn't solve the zero equation. What chance do we have in a few minutes at most?" Yolie said as she drew closer and glanced at the laptop.





"Sora..."Taichi spoke softly in words hidden within his breath. He was pale as he glanced to her and she was pulled away from izzy's computer by his eyes.



"Tai?" she questioned as he stared into her soft eyes which were not looking at her, but through her.



"It's calling me..."



"What is?"



"The light.. The genesis." his eyes faded away to a golden glow as he spoke. Sora's eyes were wide as she stared into the same eyes she had loved as a child and yet were so different now. They glowed with molten gold now. Her eyes were filled with tears as she looked into the golden pupils of her love. They smiled softly at her in a way that was both Taichi and not.



"Taichi!? What's happening to you?" she blurted out as izzy took his gaze from the laptop and cast it upon tai. His dark eyes widened as they looked at the boy.







"The genesis is not random energy..." he spoke softly in a voice that was only part tai.



"Tai... are you ok!?" Sora panicked lightly.



"Sora.. I.. Understand. The genesis is not just power. It's life."



"What?" izzy asked as he stared at tai.



"I understand it now... at least part of it. The genesis is the soul of the digital world. It is the power that enables digivolving. The power that sustains life while the body is broken down to bytes of data and then reconfigured as a higher level digimon. But.. It's more then that. Genesis is not just a part of digimon.. It's a part of us all..." he replied as his eyes continued glowing softly with a warmth that somehow terrorized and comforted Sora the same time as she stared at him.



"Taichi.. Are you referring to the premise that all matter is at its base level energy?"



"It's something like that... I don't understand the science behind it all.. But I feel it all around me. In the air.. In the earth." he turned to Sora. "In you."



"Genesis is life... it's a part of all life..."





"Tai.. You said it's calling you... do you know how to solve the equation for the zero factor?" izzy questioned in his normal analytical tone.



"Yes... I think I do." he began to walk to the light as Sora let out a shrill cry before grabbing his arm and pulling him away from the pillar of light. He looked at her with question in his radiant eyes as they stared at each other. Sora's eyes shimmered with tears As she mouthed out a heartfelt plea for him to not do what she knew he was planning. He stared at her for a moment before taking her into his arms. She buried her head into his chest as she sobbed with grief.



"Please not again." she cried.



"Sora.. I have to do this."



"No.. No you don't! You'll die right!? You can save the world but you'll die doing it right!?"



"I'm not sure if I'll die..." he spoke softly as he stroked her hair. The other members of the burning dawn were with them now, though they were silent as they watched the two of them. Kari stared at tai with a strange lack of sorrow. He looked so different since last she had seen him, but he was still tai. She wanted to throw her arms around him but instead she remained silent by a force she could neither bless nor curse.



"Sora... the genesis was never evil.. It wasn't made to destroy, but instead to create. It wasn't the genesis that turned me evil.. It was me who turned the genesis evil. I corrupted it. It was my human side that did all this when it was bonded with the genesis power.... I have to make it right. Or at least try."



"You're not evil to me tai." she sniffled pathetically as the light grew brighter around them.



"Guys... we're running out of time." izzy spoke as he motioned to the pillar of light.



His eyes stopped glowing as he looked at her with a sad smile. She returned it with little enthusiasm since she knew he was going to do it. He held her tighter then he had ever held her before. She clutched him tightly as she stifled the tears against his strong chest. He kissed her softly as he smiled against her soft lips. They didn't get to kiss goodbye last time.. But this time they did. That was perhaps the most painful part of it all.. That last kiss.



He left her with only a heartbeat's delay for he knew that if he stopped now, he would never be able to do it at all. She looked at him with the same eyes she had looked upon him with before yet this time there was nothing left to be said. All was known.. All was felt... but sadly the regrets were still there. He approached the pillar of light with no trepidation. Yet as he reached the cylinder of glowing energy he paused and turned.

"I'm still proud of you all... more then you'll ever know."



he stepped into the cylinder of light with a great flash of silver. Inside the beam all was still and he could feel his body vanishing in the power of the destructive light. He didn't pause, for a moment's delay could bring him too far to the edge. He saw the black ring floating silently in the blinding light of the pillar. He snarled in pain as he clasped it within his white hands. Then with pure determination.. He put it on. The device sensed that it had been claimed by a new finger. And thus the circuitry responded by locking on to him. Tai snarled in pain as the ring's claws embedded themselves upon his finger, locking the two together until he were killed, or like ken.. His hand cut off.



He tried not to show pain despite the agony he felt as the steel claws dug into the bone of his finger. The ring had chosen its new owner, and as the two were joined the pillar of light began to stabilize. The swirling energies now seemed somewhat more calm. Wasn't enough though. The ring began to burn on his finger as though it were smoldering hot. He could feel tendrils of grey smoke as they wafted upward from under the glowing hot steel. He was bearing the pain, for each moment he existed within the beam it stabilized more, yet it also was that much closer to killing him. He could feel himself vanishing within the power that was a part of him. He was broken from his trans of pain by the new sensation of pressure around his mid-section. He looked down only to find Sora had thrown her arms around him and was now with him inside the core of the genesis. His eyes widened in horror as he stared at her. yet she simply looked up to him with a defiant gaze.



"Not letting you do this again..."



"Sora.. you can't survive here... the genesis, or the ring may have protected me a little. But you'll die!" he tried to push her off but was unsuccessful in two ways. She was already exposed, and she would never let him go willingly. He closed his eyes as he allowed himself to hold her for what would be their last time. The raw power of the genesis was dangerous without an outlet, and to a human it would be the equivalent of radiation. He held her in complete silence as he felt the surging energy against his skin. Tears began to fall slowly down the sides of his cheeks as he now preyed for death. He wanted an end. Wanted to be with her. she was going to die... and he preyed to god that he could die with her.



"Tai..."



"What?"



"You were right.... the light is beautiful." she awed as she continued to stare into the silvery column of light. He remembered the pain of leaving her.. But it was dwarfed by the pain of losing her which he now felt.



"Yeah.. It is beautiful..." he kissed her softly as he felt the pain fade away.





The swirling mass of light began to twist and pulse outward in a great wave of energy. Izzy stared into the silvery power which was known only as the genesis. The beginning. He wasn't sure if the presence of tai in the core could change it. He did know it was possible that since Taichi was both human and genesis he could possibly be the key to the zero factor. But frankly he didn't know anymore. Didn't care. It was now a matter of destiny. Yet as the light passed over him he was amazed by its feel. The power was not painful, just strangely warm. It moved as a fog across the land with a slow and all-consuming touch.



Davis studied his hand as it seemed to change somehow. Then his arm. It was not an unpleasant change, or a physical one at that. It was indescribable. But it was something that felt strangely right. Like he was digivolving, though not to some higher level life, but changing inside. Every cell in his body began to become something new and yet strangely familiar. It was maddening to describe how the change occurred in him, but it was there. He watched as the waves of light pulsed outward beyond the arena floor and out into the streets. Farther still. It began to stretch out its silvery fingers across the globe as the snowy light embraced all life within itself and began a similar change. The power of genesis was beginning something that none of them could expect or prepare for. The world was changing into something beyond what it once was. perhaps for better....perhaps worse....



Tai didn't look out at the world. Not at the light. He simply clung to the frame in his arms with a growing terror that she had not survived the change. When he turned to look at her would she be dead? Would those beautiful eyes now be still and faded. The fires smothered to blackened ash? He didn't want to face that yet. Not ever. He wanted to believe that she was alive though in his heart of hearts he knew it was not so. As his eyes opened they widened to something that bordered between dream and nightmare.



Sora stared at him through new eyes. Not just red, but molten red. Like the shimmer of rubies can glow with a iridescence of burning red light. The glow was soft and yet inspired pure shock in him. He glanced down at her with a silent assessment to if she was still really Sora or something else. He stopped at her neck. For the source of the change lay there. The dragon's tear necklace was now smoldering with the same ruby glow that was reflected in her eyes. She smiled and with a gentle touch took his hand, then with her other hand brought the fragment of the destiny stone to the black ring. Tai's eyes widened as the black stone began to glow softly with a golden radiance as it was brought closer to the necklace.



"There was more then one fragment of the destiny stone Taichi..." she smiled at him.



"It.. Saved you? Us?" he gaped



"I guess you still have a destiny to fulfill... and that I am a part of it." she grinned broadly as she stared into his eyes that were now alive with a golden glow. He smiled, then with a sudden act he drew her into a deep kiss. The light whirled around them in violent and caressing patterns as the two were lifted several feet into the air. They hung there, still locked together by the power that danced around them with white lightning that did not burn. Their hair was tousled wildly as they remained locked together - completely oblivious to the world around them. The heavens began to swirl about as the great clouded sky now now reacted to the genesis too. Nature was bending to the power that radiated from them. tai wasn't sure anymore if Sora was not the cause of it all herself. But the thought resounded through his mind as he continued to explore her mouth.



He had been dying, yet when she joined him in the light they were able to solve the zero factor. They were able to balance the massive power of the genesis with life. Genesis means the beginning. Creation. He recalled that biblically creation was an act of love. Perhaps Sora was the key to unleashing the power within. Perhaps the love he held for her was enough to counteract the evil he had made the genesis into for long enough to create again. Sora was the key to it all.. Her love for him, and his for her was perhaps the only way to create life. To preserve life.

Maybe that was the destiny of the twin fragments of the destiny stone...





"My god.. It's amazing..." TK stammered as he stared into the light that now radiated from the two."



"It's the beginning of something...." Kari awed as she looked at her brother. The one chosen to bring about a new beginning for both the digimon and the humans. For all life. But as she stared into the perfect white light she was overcome by a sudden wave of premonition. This was not over... they had unleashed a power that no one would be able to comprehend. A power that she, the sorceress was beneath. The genesis was something she couldn't quite understand. And that scared her. she wanted to believe this power was benign. Yet somehow she knew there was something dark on the wing. Something that had just been unleashed.



"Lets just prey it's something good...." she completed as she watched tai and Sora step out from the pyre of white flame.





They looked the same as they had before they had entered the pillar of light. Their eyes had returned to their normal red and brown coloration, yet something seemed slightly different within those eyes. Like they had touched something that was greater then all of us. Sora's necklace had returned to the onyx-black. And tai's ring appeared as normal as the black ring got. Joe was now examining the ring on his finger with only a light whimper from tai as the doctor studied the now attached piece of jewelry.



"It cauterized the wounds as it cleaved them. I'll need an x-ray to see if it will be possible to surgically remove it." tai turned white and frantically ripped his hand back. Sora laughed softly as she studied the look of terror on his face.



"No thank you! I can live with it! No surgery!" he squeaked in a shrill voice.



"All men are babies" Sora chirped oblivious to Kari's stare. She was studying them intently. How can two people just save the world and now be giggling like children? How could they be so light in a time like this? She sighed in defeat and assumed it was simply paranoia. Tai and Sora were most likely dealing with it as best they could. And often laughter was the best cure for terror nearly averted. But still... she felt the thing... the darkness that was a faint whisper upon the wind.







"Umm... guys?" Davis gaped with a sudden pale expression. "Where is ken?!?"





"Oh god." Sora snarled as she frantically scanned the surroundings only to find him gone.





It was then that they heard the call upon the wind. Kari's eyes widened as she listened the beastly howl that rang out through the suddenly darkening skies. It rang out loud and clear with a deep bellowing roar which brought the hairs on the back of every neck to full attention.

It snarled out in this great demonic roar that somehow was alluring. It's origin was as of yet a mystery... but there was some things they could distinguish.

Whatever it was.. it was big. And it was coming...











Can we truly comprehend the full reach of our actions?

We like to believe we are omnipotent

Yet that is far from true.



As we blunder outward into the unknown can we be truly ready for the full spectrum of what lays beyond?

To see the wonders that wait beyond, to know the beauty of the unknown...

but in our quest do we dare contemplate what we unleash with each act of ignorance?

And if we are omnipotent

will we be able to deal with what we set loose upon the world?

But even knowing that... we continue onward.







Not The End....