Götterdämmerung
Act III, Scene II
by Ajora Fravashi

*Disclaimer - I don't own Digimon. Toei does. Nyah.

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The feathered serpent struck so fast that Takeru could do nothing but watch as it snatched Ken away with the speed of a falcon. It had only lasted a heartbeat, but that heartbeat stretched out for a painful eternity. They hadn't even considered the possibility of an air-strike, and it left him stunned.

Too much had been going on recently for him to assess his own emotions and any theories he might have formed about them had to be shuffled away for later introspection. Yet it had pained him more than he thought it would when Ken was so quickly and effortlessly snatched away. Why?

Hardly a minute had passed before Stingmon gathered his wits and darted after the flying snake. Without so much as a word, Pegasumon sensed Takeru's urgency and followed closely behind. The mechanorimon Akiyama piloted, however, was slower and soon trailed far behind.

Wind battered at him as Pegasumon spared no comfort in flight. One particularly strong gust sent his hat flying away, probably lost forever. He didn't care about it anymore, all he cared about was getting Ken back.

The snake flew into the clouds with Stingmon and Pegasumon following suit. The plunge into the clouds was like having shaved ice dumped on him, though the chill failed to distract him from the pursuit. Visibility was severely limited, and he dreaded that they had lost the serpent and Ken. No, they couldn't lose Ken, not now...

Exasperated at how futile it was to maneuver in the clouds, Pegasumon soon dropped out of the one they were in and glanced around for any signs of the black snake. Only Stingmon was in the immediate area, and looked to be as baffled about where the snake had gone as he was. They all glanced around, hoping against all odds that something would come along and tell them where to go.

Minutes crawled by as if they were hours, until at last the Tamer's mechanorimon joined the three, escorted by Savali in his pinocchimon form. Despite the dire situation they were in, the marionette digimon was grinning in sheer delight. Takeru found it quite annoying that Savali was enjoying all the stress they were going through.

"The snake is heading for Demon's fortress," Ryo's called out, his voice mechanically amplified so it could be heard despite the distance between him and the others. "Savali knows the way, so we'll have to follow him. Be prepared for any potential attacks."

Takeru waved his acknowledgement, then clung to his mount's mane as the pinocchimon darted by and Pegasumon followed its lead. He did not like having a pinocchimon anywhere near him, but he'd have to put up with it. At least for now.

The surface of the Digital World appeared so small when they were this high in the sky, minute features looking as if they were merely painted upon an artist's canvas with very thin brushes. Eventually the plains and forests gave way to a coastline so littered with volcanic ash and boulders of cooled lava that it looked grey and lifeless. Presiding over it was the caldera of a volcano long dead. It was this volcano, this beach, this was the home of the Demon Corps.

.~*~.

Miyako was worried. Not because of their situation, they could handle themselves well enough. Not because Daisuke told her about Ken's orientation, for she had long since gotten over her initial crush on him. Even after Ken joined them, she could no longer view him as the perfect mate. He was simply too unstable and emotionally fragile, and she would have to constantly act as if she was tiptoeing around eggshells just to avoid hurting him. Miyako was simply too blunt a person to pull that off for very long without getting annoyed. No, she just viewed him as a friend now.

She was as worried about what would happen to him as she would have been were it any other friend. Daisuke had said that Demon was after Ken, and that was all they knew. But what could they do? Without Ken there would be no ImperialDramon; and without ImperialDramon, they had no hope of confronting Demon and surviving the encounter. The outlook was very, very bleak. Even Iori had mentioned, in that silently unassuming way of his, that it might as well be a kamikaze strike. But they all had come to trust Daisuke now, and if Daisuke was going to rescue Ken, then some way or another he'd do it.

Yet nothing showed up on the tracking programs in their digivices and they had no idea where to start looking. They asked around for any clues that could help, and they had still gotten nothing. It was starting to look like a fool's errand.

The D-terminal in her pocket beeped once, twice, three times before she pulled it out and thumbed open the screen. There was a message from Gennai, and she would have just ignored it if she hadn't noticed the urgency code set in the subject header. Her eyes widened in astonishment as she read the message in full. Gennai was giving them coordinates to where Ken was held.

Looking up, she noticed that the others had gotten the same message. A flash of silent communication passed between them all as they rose as one and went to prepare their digimon partners for the long flight to Demon's lair.

.~*~.

Sighing, Ryo closed his laptop and returned his concentration to the flight ahead. He still had an ace up his sleeve, even now that Demon was aware that Savali could access mega level. It was a long shot, certainly, and he wasn't sure that it could be pulled off. But all he could do now was hope that it would work. Demon might be too powerful for the pinocchimon or any of the Jogress pairs, but maybe if there were two mega digimon facing Demon, they'd have a chance. He just hoped the second set of Japanese Chosen Children would arrive in time.

Savali, now his partner for however long the temporary bond would last, blasted his way through the Demon Corps, with Stingmon and Pegasumon close behind. Whatever doubts Ryo once had about where Savali's loyalties laid had been washed away in under the span of six hours. He still did not understand just why the digimon saved him or why Savali was throwing aside any other allegiances he may have had, but Ryo was grateful for it nonetheless.

The sight he witnessed once they were in Demon's own lair was something he hoped never to see.

Ken was floating several feet above the floor, with nothing acting to keep the boy mid-air. Eyes that were once a blue-violet color that struck him as quite pretty now glowed red. Red... Moon=Millenniumon had those same crimson eyes. Ryo fought down the rising terror of seeing Millenniumon in any form once again, just barely aware of the strangled noise coming from Takeru's direction and the whimper from Stingmon. And, finally, Demon glared back at the boy, ignoring their intrusion.

Ryo had barely gathered his wits before the creature that was once Ken lashed out with an attack he hadn't seen in years. Moon=Millenniumon's Death Crystal attack crackled as plasma between Ken's fingers, then shot out the boy's extended left hand, formed into a massive crystalline spear, and impacted with full force against Demon's shoulder. The viral lord staggered under the blow, but did not fall. The crystal jutted out from Demon's back, penetrating one of the wings as well.

Demon's eyes narrowed as he began to lash out with his own attack. He had barely started his Flame Inferno before Moon=Millenniumon struck again. The crystal spear had just barely missed as Demon darted out of its way just in time, shattering against the wall behind him. The boy that hosted Moon=Millenniumon was too small a target, however, and Demon's Flame Inferno ended up taking out the wall behind the boy as Ken dropped a couple of feet and resumed his original position once the attack flashed by.

As the battle raged, Takeru and Pegasumon trotted to Ryo's side, both mount and rider carrying with them an air of uncertainty. "Should we step in," Takeru asked, glancing warily at the two opponents. "If one of Demon's attacks hit-"

"We can't do anything yet," whispered the Tamer as he brushed back the stray lock of hair in trepidation. They were all worried and he knew it, but they all counted on him to know the answer to everything. Dammit, sometimes he really hated being 'Gennai'. He couldn't show anything that could be considered a weakness because he had to keep the kids' hopes up.

They watched anxiously as two viral mega digimon attacked each other and ducked out of the way of each other's attacks. Takeru's fingers twisted in Pegasumon's mane as he fought down the urge to dart in and pull Ken away from this place, whether Ken was still himself or not. Triggered by his own despair and fear of losing Ken right before his eyes, his stomach felt as if lead pellets had been poured into it. He had to do something. Anything...

Finally, as if he had been waiting for the opportunity to catch his opponent while exhausted, Moon=Millenniumon lashed out for the last time with a Dimension Destroyer. Time seemed to stop as a fog of darkness swirled around Demon, then settled as it solidified and took on the appearance of deep space. Demon looked to have disappeared within the portal, lost forever amidst the stars. But, after what looked to be an eternity, the void closed in upon itself, leaving Demon frozen in place. Even the blood that dripped from three crystal spears were trapped in halted time.

Ken/Moon=Millenniumon turned away to float towards an exit left by a stray Flame Inferno. Those digimon that had been drawn to the chaos soon scattered the moment they noticed that the intruder was facing them. Ryo reacted quicker than Takeru could get up the courage to stand between whatever Ken was now and the exit hole, and had the mechanorimon darting before Ken. The boy paused as his path was blocked by a mechanorimon and its pilot.

"Get out of my way," the boy ground out, pinning Ryo under a heated glare.

Blanching at the red glow in Ken's eyes, the Tamer swallowed uncomfortably. Well, all he could do now was to go through this. "Ken, I know you're still there. Where are you going?"

"The sun shall set upon the gods' reign," two voices stated in an uncanny similarity to a Jogress-united digimon's voice. And yet Ryo could hear how Moon=Millenniumon's bass just slightly overruled Ken's tenor. "Then shall come the twilight."

"You can't take out the Holy Beasts," Ryo shot out, despite his secret desire for retribution of any kind. "The balance of the Digital World depends upon the Holy Beasts. Without them it will collapse. Ken, I know you wouldn't want that!"

"They use our kind, Tamer. You of all people should want to see the twilight of the gods." Only Ken spoke this time, his tone was that of one who would rather be asleep.

Ryo took a breath and steeled himself. There were too many variables in this, he wasn't even sure what would happen now. But he had to try. "So you would prefer to sacrifice an entire world rather than the handful of humans who never belonged in this world in the first place? I guess you were beyond redemption after all, Herr Kaiser. Nothing is ever gained from a crusade, but I guess you never really understood that either." He turned, despite the sickly coiling in his gut at what he had done. "The Ken I adored doesn't exist anymore. Come, Takeru, let's get out of here."

Takeru started, looking stunned at what Ryo had just said. His jaw worked a bit as his eyes darted between the Tamer and Ken, trying to process just what was going on. Glancing quickly over to Stingmon, he noted that the digimon looked just as distressed as he himself probably did, and he could hear Pegasumon clap a hoof against the floor in nervousness. What was he to do?

For what must have been the first time in awhile, the Child of Hope prayed fervently, silently, that he wasn't going to lose Ken to whatever it was that now had his friend floating midair like that. Not now, not ever. He needed Ken, because no one else could understand his own darkness. No one else would be there to pick him up if he fell from grace. No one else fully understood what he went through in his childhood quite like Ken could. And he needed someone who understood more than anything else.

Much to Takeru's surprise, Ken seemed to shudder violently, looking for all the world like a marionette whose puppeteer was shaking its strings. The blond kneed Pegasumon into flight as he noticed that Ken had now become limp and was beginning to fall. Pegasumon barely managed to situate himself under the falling boy in time for Takeru to catch Ken.

Both Ken and Moon=Millenniumon must have run out of energy, Ryo thought to himself as he watched Pegasumon jolt slightly under the force of gravity. At least for now there wasn't enough energy for the seed to fully bloom yet. He glanced over to the pinocchimon, who was 'playing' with Mixcoatlmon. Mixcoatlmon had been trying to get away before Savali decided to pick it out as a victim.

Shaking his head as Savali manipulated the snake into tying itself into a knot, the Tamer glanced back at Demon. Droplets of blood that had been frozen in time began to fall slowly, their pace quickening the further they got from Demon's body. Soon enough the Dimension Destroyer's power would fade out, then he would need the other kids here to finish up where Moon=Millenniumon left off. Savali just wouldn't be powerful enough to handle Demon on his own, even with the viral lord's weakened state.

Once the mechanorimon settled on the ground, Ryo hopped out and nearly tripped as he did so. Somehow his robes seemed bulkier than usual, and he couldn't quite figure out why. He'd have to check into that later. Before his thoughts could go further, Raidramon barged in with Iori, Daisuke, and Armadimon. Following closely was Aquilamon with Hikari, Miyako, and Tailmon. About damn time, Ryo muttered silently as he threw on the strictly-business mask of the Gennai persona.

He heard a choking gasp from Hikari as her eyes darted to Savali, who was now twisting the snake into the mathematical symbol for infinity. Tailmon, recognizing a pinocchimon, jumped from Aquilamon's back and hissed as she settled into a position that would allow her to strike at any minute. Oh crap...

"Stop, Tailmon," he commanded, using the inflection in his voice that she would have to acknowledge. Tailmon had been one of many digimon he trained and did as she was told. "The pinocchimon is with me and can be considered an ally. Savali, stop playing with the snake and come here."

The pinocchimon openly sulked as he withdrew the threads that allowed him to control the snake and trotted over to Ryo's side. He cocked his head as he watched the display of odd emotions across one of the girls' face and, figuring he might as well milk this for what it was worth, gave a huge grin. She blanched quite nicely too.

"Dude, what happened to Demon," Daisuke exclaimed, eyes fixated on the viral lord. Ryo, smothering his irrational dislike for the goggle boy for the moment, turned his attention back to Demon. The blood fell at a normal pace now, and Demon was breathing heavily.

Demon was also watching them as they were watching him.

With a nod from the Tamer, Savali hefted his mallet and giggled as he rushed forward to attack. The viral lord's eyes narrowed as he lashed out with a counterattack that easily knocked the pinocchimon backwards. Savali was not one to so easily give up, however, and was soon back on his feet and lauched another attack.

The Tamer returned his attention to the other kids, all of whom were staring at him oddly. Shrugging off the curiosity, Ryo focused on the auburn-haired goggle-boy, all misgivings forgotten for the moment. "We need our digimon to Jogress."

"Jogress? But Gennai..." Daisuke blinked as he trailed off, honestly confused about whatever was going on. A person can only have one Jogress partner, right? And, well, Ken was his Jogress partner. Unfortunately, Ken was also unconscious in Takeru's arms from the looks of it. "Do you even have a partner digimon?"

The person known as 'Gennai' turned slightly to call out to Stingmon. Grateful for the opportunity to be useful, Stingmon darted over to the Tamer's side. "My status doesn't allow me a permanent partner, but for the moment Stingmon shall be answering to me."

Daisuke's eyes darted from the funny guy in robes that now looked too big and Ken, then back again. Well, this was Gennai, right? Everyone trusted Gennai and Gennai was supposed to know everything. So if Gennai could order Stingmon around without question and believed that they could Jogress, then he supposed it was worth a shot.

They needed to protect Ken, and to do that they needed to eliminate Demon. While the Dark Seed was still there, Demon would always be a threat. To get rid of that threat, they would need their digimon to Jogress evolve.

Raidramon reverted to V-mon before evolving to XV-mon, and while Daisuke and Ryo were united in a common cause, XV-mon united with Stingmon to become Paildramon. Paildramon was soon by Silphymon and the pinocchimon's side, his attacks adding to the damage inflicted on Demon. Yet it still wasn't enough, and Silphymon took the full force of a Flame Inferno. This sent the androgynous digimon out of the fighting, and urged by the Tamer and Daisuke, Paildramon evolved to Imperialdramon.

Now faced with two mega-level digimon, Demon began to unleash all the power he could muster in an attempt to eliminate the more powerful of the two. Imperialdramon was bulkier and could not move out of the way fast enough, but the pinocchimon was quick to see the oncoming threat and darted in to strike the viral lord off balance. With a hefty swing of a mallet that was heavier than it looked, Savali struck hard against the back of Demon's knees. Imperialdramon took the opportunity to let out his Mega Death attack. Demon finally fell, and once his head collided with the floor, the viral lord disintegrated into a flurry of digital dust.

A silence fell over the remaining beings once Demon disappeared. The last of the great evils of the Digital World was gone and no one quite knew what to say. Pegasumon settled into a gentle walk that would not jar the two humans on his back, only stopping once he joined the group gathering around Daisuke and the Tamer. Takeru held Ken in his embrace and looked quite distressed, unwilling to turn his attention from the boy.

"I don't think we'll make it in time," the blond whispered, peeling his eyes from Ken to glance at the Tamer. "It's too far away."

"Don't talk like that! We can make it if we try! Imperialdramon, are you up for the trip," asked Daisuke. He was torn between darting over to Ken's side to make sure his friend was safe, and leaving this up to Takeru. But he could at least make sure they got to wherever Gennai wanted them to be as soon as possible.

The two voices united as one uttered their affirmative. 'Gennai', thankful that his ace had played out, requested that the other digimon devolve into smaller forms so that they could all fit into Imperialdramon's cockpit. Once the Tamer sent the orders to his mechanorimon to fly off to the operation site on its own, he turned back to the giant dragon and allowed himself and his tsukaimon to be teleported into its cockpit. He only spared a quick glance at the two boys huddled into a corner with a patamon flying possessively over them, making sure Ken was at least still breathing.

Just a little more time. All he needed was a little more time.

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Ajora: One more part and the epilogue, and this part was very hard for me to write... *falls over and dies from stress*

 

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