The sky was alight with blues, purples, and harsh, vicious crimsons as the rain lashed down, now in spears that struck great chips from the rocks and stained the walls of the keep a deep black. Dallurmon's fury was dangerous to everybody who got caught. The black clouds were strewn across the skies of the Echo Quadrant, sending savage winds and hail all across the region.
Back in the first village, Dinohyumon and the overseers called a state of warning as the winds threatened to uproot their settlements.
Under the ruined canyon, Yagamon held tightly to her people as the storm roared outside, terrible enough to collapse some of the caves deep within.
And over on the pillars above the keep, the effects were even worse. The smaller sculptures had already been whipped away, and several of the stone towers had fallen through into the void beneath. The area was open and exposed, with each new strike of hail or barrage of rain shaking it even further. The wall at the edge of the Echo Quadrant was being tested, and such destruction wasn't going unnoticed from the lands beyond. Still, for now the keep was faring well, its spiralling structure weathering the storm admirably.
Less could be said for the people within. The administrators were running for cover; that is, those strong enough to outrun the storm. Several Rookies and In-Training levels had already been whipped up by the savage winds, and even some of the seniors had gotten caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. A good number of Dallurmon's most loyal servants cowered beneath the rock that remained, holding fast against his wrath. Some had already run, braving the storm in a vain attempt to get away from Dallurmon's indiscriminate attack. Not a single one had made it; their bodies lying broken and strewn around the pillars.
Only one was still moving.
Slowly, Phorusrhamon dragged herself forwards, her breathing heavy. She could still feel the impacts from the battle, and the imprint of SkullBaluchimon on her mind. Dallurmon's storm beat down on her relentlessly. Uncaringly.
"What did I do wrong...?"
Her armour pockmarked and her feathers falling away one by one, she looked up to the sky. The metal around what remained of her face was already peeling away, revealing more red-raw flesh next to the burn mark. Still, her eyes were as sharp as ever. She could see the lights at the very top of the keep, where the storm was still swirling out from.
"What did those children do to you...?"
She growled, and dragged herself forwards, her legs threatening to collapse beneath her.
"They've destroyed what you were..."
Her pupils flickered in their sockets, and her head bent down, staring at her hands.
"Bring...bring me my lord back!"
She cried out to the heavens, but they didn't respond. The rain only came down harder; years and years of Dallurmon's rage and bitterness and madness falling down upon her.
"You have to destroy them."
She looked up, and gasped in horror. Groundramon's lifeless eyes stared back, the vast body only half-gone, still impaled in the very place he'd fallen. The bird rushed forwards, running a claw over his cold face.
"How could...they do this to you...those...monsters..."
Phorusrhamon turned, staring back at the keep once again. She laughed.
"My lord...your strength isn't full...you don't know what they are, they will kill you...they will kill all of us."
Her claw reached up, caressing the raw side of her face.
"This is a sacrifice, isn't it? You, really, truly care for this world. For us. For me. Right? You must. It can't...there's no way it would be a lie..."
One step. And another. Then, through the vicious winds, and the rending rain, she was running, back the way she'd come. Further into the storm even as it threatened her very life.
"They will kill you, Lord Dallurmon. I must...I have to..."
She clenched her right claw, feeling her talons digging into her own flesh as she turned away from the keep, towards the mountains behind. Her vision was blurring, but she scrambled forwards, trying to find the path from so long ago. The path she could still remember so clearly.
"I'm sorry I disobeyed you, but I must...I have to-"
She paused, reaching out and touching an ancient stain on the rock, half covered with lichen, but recognisable all the same.
It was blood. Blood from a long time ago. And with it, there came memories.
"I have to save you..."
The great door to the office opened, and a blast of cold air burst outwards, striking the group and stunning them. Still they rushed forwards, spreading out immediately. The room had changed; the eye of the storm as it now was, it was layered in white fog, blocking visibility even as close as across the room. The walls were glistening with condensation, and from beyond the walls, they could hear the roaring of the storm beyond. There was the sound of the mercury pool bubbling and spitting, and though the group couldn't see beyond the pool, they knew very well that they were not alone.
"You shouldn't have come..."
Alasdair squinted; up ahead he thought he could see a figure in the mist, standing tall and broad. Blocking their path. The mist swirled, and the figure disappeared.
An arc of vicious wind swept in from the side, crashing into half of the running refugees and sending them into the wall. George heard a cry of pain, and turned to see the others, disorientated and trying to get to their feet.
Dallurmon charged forwards out of the mist, his left hand raised in a savage claw as he went for Joel, the nearest child.
Alasdair and George threw themselves forwards, trying in vain to tackle the giant, to do something to slow his rampage. But it was like trying to knock down a pillar, and he was having none of it. With a great sweep of his arm he knocked them back, the impact taking their breath away. The giant snarled, all traces of civility gone.
"How many times must you die?"
Dallurmon flinched as the attacks came at him from all directions; burning and blistering his skin, but doing little else. He exhaled, his breath forming ice crystals as the fog swirled around his feet. Now he was fully visible, with his tattoos flashing a vicious red. He wasn't as vast as his holographic vision had made him out to be, but he still stood at a good eight foot, and he was certainly no less powerful for it. Up close, the children could feel his deadly aura, his anger and his madness. There was no argument, or reason to be had; they could tell instantly. This man wanted them dead.
Something whipped past behind him, and he turned, throwing his fist down and knocking the girl, Yvonne, away. Before she could move, he bent down, thrusting his right stump against her cheek. It clicked and spun, the metal rubbing against her jawbone and threatening to take her eye out.
"You will be the first..."
"Here lies Dallurmon! Self-proclaimed ruler, and utter failure!"
The head jerked sideways, to where Neonamon was sitting, a cheeky smile on his innocent face. Dallurmon spat in contempt. "Yet another traitor. You will fall with them."
He brought his hand back, but something caught his eye. A glow of energy, just behind the snake. Dallurmon sat up, turning his body and towering above the tiny serpent. Neonamon pretended not to notice.
"Valiant, sincere, a bit pig-headed; honestly, you were a horrible boss. Everyone thought so."
He stuck out his tongue, but the giant paid no heed to him. Behind him, the D-Port grew in intensity, shaking from the energy within. And as it did so, the keep itself began to tremble. There was a groan from deep within the study, as the wall between worlds began to wake.
"So that's the infernal device. The one which summons the forbidden arts of the Digital World." He ground his teeth. "How dare you bring it into my presence..."
There was a shuffling, and Lucy and Rachel placed their bodies between Dallurmon and the D-Port. He grunted, and balled energy in his hand.
"You still don't get it, do you? You have no say here."
Still in the line of fire, Neonamon chuckled heartily, in a manner quite unlike his usual self.
"They're going back to the human world..."
Beneath the mask, Dallurmon's eyes flashed with mad rage.
"...and there's nothing you can do to stop them!"
Neonamon faced the oncoming blast with a smile on the face, as the D-Port erupted behind him. The attack was lost in a sea of colour, which blasted through the fog and rippled around the walls of the office in a beautiful and terrifying display. It flowed like water, and zipped through the air like lightning, forming a vortex that pulsed outwards and bathed the seven tamers and their seven partners in energy. The sound was incredible; thousands of whistles, and a deep, throbbing pulse, like the very heartbeat of the D-Port itself was reaching out.
Dallurmon gritted his teeth. He held up an arm. He stepped backwards, unable to hold his own against the torrent. Metal and stone were rent from the walls as, one by one, the children he had sworn to destroy dissolved before his very eyes, joining the torrent of energy and travelling towards the centre. With a cry of anguish he turned and brought his hand down towards Yvonne, but she evaporated in his grip, with a smile and a burst of data that seared the skin on his hand.
"Abominations...what have you done?"
The energy rose in the centre of the room, and shot outwards in seven white arrows, striking each of the Digimon partners in the chest. There was a crackle of energy, bursting the remaining windows and sending the door clattering down the corridor. Then, the noise and light died down. Dallurmon stood up, and turned in place, surveying the seven Digimon one by one, as they each readied themselves, their eyes focused on him.
Dallurmon roared, and his tattoos glowed bright white. "It matters not what form your dying bodies take, vermin!"
He charged forwards towards Procoptomon, swinging his arm outwards as the white glow converged in his hand, forming a vicious, curved sword that sang melancholically as he swung it.
"Sabre of the Just!"
The seven Digimon scattered, and Dallurmon's blade struck the floor, slicing into the metal and sending waves of white fire in all directions. He brought it back round, and fired again; an arc of bright fire that caught at least a couple of his assailants on the tail.
Dallurmon held up his arm as the attacks came from both directions; jewel-like scales and razor-sharp petals digging into his skin. He stamped down on the floor, causing a tremor, and swung again, causing somebody to disappear back into the fog. Dallurmon simply waited in the centre of the office, his tattoos swirling and his blade humming. He closed his mouth, not daring to even breathe. Nobody else made a sound either; he could feel their presences circling him, readying themselves to attack. It was a stand-off. Nobody spoke. There was only the sound of the storm outside; constant, and frightening. There was a clattering as one of the spires of the keep was ripped from its holdings, and sent spiralling up into the void. But that was far, far away now. The air hung still, as eight creatures all prepared to strike.
In the corner of the office, Neonamon cursed under his breath as he dragged the steaming D-Port further into the alcove, holding the fraying strap in his mouth. Already he could feel the heat and the cold of the battle, although the dust was such that he could barely see anything. He tensed himself, and moved his own body in front of the trembling device like a tiny guardian dragon.
"Come on everybody, you've got this."
He felt a rumble and warmth beneath him, and looked down to see hairline cracks stretching over the front panel. His eyes widened.
"Oh no, not now..."
A barrage of sharpened bones flew across the air, straight towards Dallurmon, who brought up his blade of light, parrying the projectiles expertly. He ducked from a dagger from Paradismon as she flew overhead, and jumped out of the way of Ahuizomon's snare as it lashed out from beneath him.
Dallurmon turned his head as Fafnirmon rushed towards him, a wheel of claws and teeth. The dragon struck true; Dallurmon was driven backwards, his lack of a right arm giving him a weak spot.
Though he was by no means defenceless.
The giant brought back a fist and struck Fafnirmon in the neck, but the dragon slipped around, raking his claws over Dallurmon's bare chest. The wounds opened up, white energy spilling forth and singeing the dragon's claws.
"You are all beneath me!" yelled Dallurmon, gripping Fafnirmon's body tightly and swinging him around, causing both Paradismon and Khrysomamon to jump back to avoid being hit by their own comrade. Dallurmon tossed the serpent into the nearest wall, where his spines dug in, ripping out great chunks.
"Sabre of the Just!"
A wall of sound hit Dallurmon, and he bent double, coughing up white light. With a cry of anger he turned, sending an arc of energy towards Wetamon, which struck her foreleg, taking out a great gouge and breaking her rhythm.
Osteomon rushed forwards, bringing one claw forwards as Dallurmon turned to face her. He drew his arm back, energy crackling around it.
He thrust it forwards at point-blank range, but Osteomon had planned ahead. Her claw fell and she threw her body sideways, the storm buffeting her and cracking her dorsal armour, but leaving her standing. She roared, swinging her whole body round and bringing her tail straight into Dallurmon's side. He staggered, and fell to one knee, glancing up as she brought her jaws forwards.
"Lend me strength!"
The ground cracked beneath Dallurmon, and he caught Osteomon's jaw with an uppercut, enhanced by the energy around him. The impact racked her body, but Dallurmon jumped, not giving her time to react. He spun, kicking her twice in the head and slashing at her cheek, taking some of her head fins.
Osteomon writhed as blood dripped from her head, her movements shaking the room, as well as buffeting Dallurmon on top of her. He rolled forwards as he landed, ripping his pelt and revealing his immense muscles.
Paradismon shot past, but Dallurmon held up a palm, catching her fist and flinging her away. He peered down at his hand, and frowned; the dagger had pierced the side of his palm, the skin being buffeted by the immense energy within him.
The giant felt a tingle and ducked, as Fafnirmon's tail went for his head. He lashed out with a terrible kick, then send more bolts of energy towards Wetamon and Paradismon, who backed away. Dallurmon stepped forwards, rolling his shoulders.
"I am your angel of death! I am-"
Osteomon charge, her head low and her arms wide, and she swiped left, right, and up, but each blow missed as Dallurmon vaulted over her head, the impact of his feet cracking her armour.
Dallurmon couldn't hold on any longer as water erupted around him, sending him spinning upwards into the air. He thrust his arm wide, his breath icy as he spun, ready to bring it down upon the sea monster.
Too late he saw her grin of satisfaction, as well as the error of his movements.
Osteomon deliberately fell back, giving Dallurmon nothing to change the direction of his descent. The attacks rushed towards him, and he braced himself, choosing between the two in a split second, and aiming for the fire. He fell through, rolling on the ground with his clothes and skin singed, and his tattoos glowing orange. With expertise he leapt to his feet, and brought up a forearm to counter Khrysomamon's hooves as they slammed downwards.
"You can't beat me. I'm faster than you."
With a quick movement he grasped Khrysomamon's foreleg, throwing the ram to the ground and stabbing downwards with his spinning key-arm.
"Stronger than you!"
"All of us?"
The giant jerked sideways as a leg from Procoptomon slammed into his face. He turned, blocking two more punches, but the kangaroo was relentless, jabbing again and again. Dallurmon changed tactics; he aimed low, scraping his key arm over the kangaroo's limbs and digging his claws in to her arms. But she was fast, and he didn't get far before another kick sent him skidding backwards, clutching his midriff.
Fafnirmon fired his attack inwards again, its razor-sharp power slashing at his skin. The giant looked up, and his arm glowed blue.
He stood up, taking the brunt of the hit, and spun his body with his arm outstretched, as wind and rain flew from his palm in a horrific twister. The blast struck many of the Champions, but Paradismon was hit the worst. She spiralled up, out of control, and hit the ceiling, letting out a gasp as she was winded from the impact. Dallurmon glanced upwards as she fell, and he raised his blade of light, preparing to run.
"Bastard!" screamed Wetamon rushing forwards and driving Dallurmon sideways. He twisted his body, glowering down at her as he dug his heels in, just short of the great mercury pool of visions. His expression was one of unashamed fury.
"My own people would betray me? You make me sick!"
A glowing fist struck Wetamon in the centre of the forehead, and she screeched, a blast of feedback escaping from her speakers and causing even Dallurmon to reel back. Still, the cricket held firm, her bloodied face staring into Dallurmon's as she twisted her rear legs.
"You betrayed us! Static Slash!"
Her vibrating barbs ripped through space as she thrust them down, sending two massive arcs of concentrated sound right into Dallurmon's chest. He rolled backwards, and landed with a splash in his own mystical pool. The mercury caressed him as he coughed, stunned from the impact.
Aware of where he was lying, he tried to right himself, but the pool was already accentuating his powers, which were reaching out and grasping onto anything they could get a hold of. Already he could see the faintest of visions running through his mind, visions of battle much like this one, far in the future. They were blurry, and they were frantic. Looking around, the pathetic Champion levels he was fighting seemed to morph and shift, becoming greater, more terrifying beings. Khrysomamon reared up, holding a two-handed sword and with mad fire in his eyes. Osteomon rolled her neck, her gauntlets morphing into chain-maces as dark portals opened up behind her. Ahuizomon twisted and contorted, his body wrapped in chains. Paradismon rose up, shining brightly. Fafnirmon's coils expanded, taking up the room.
"If you refuse to fall here, all your fates will be far, far more terrible..."
The waters rose up, dragged behind Osteomon, as her hands rushed upwards. A torrent of water overwhelmed Dallurmon sending him rolling into the great door of the study.
The attacks struck one by one, and while Dallurmon did his best to block them, they ground him down, pushing him to one knee as he gasped for breath. He saw an opportunity, and took it, releasing a wave of energy that blasted the assailants back. They gathered, catching their own breath as they watched him hold out his palm, steadying himself. He was out of breath. Only just. But noticeably so.
"What...manner of power...have you stolen...from this world?"
In the heat of the moment, nobody could have seen the true extent of the power at hand. The extent of Dallurmon's own power had been speculated by many around this great region. Some had said he had weakened over the years, due to the loss of his arm and the lack of war and conflict to keep him strong. Others said his humility had given him greater internal power than any other in the region. And yet others – those among his own staff - wondered about the terrifying aura they sensed from him, and whether his power was from the Digital World at all, and not from the great gate that he solemnly guarded, every day and every night.
Even now, as they cowered in the storm outside, some of them wondered if those humans had brought more to this world than anybody had realised.
The question would never be answered, not truly. Although the watchers of the future would speculate, talking of the lethal power of the D-Port. The D-Port which even now was reaching out, beyond the fortified door and towards the gate. Its invisible fingers reaching the edges of the wall between worlds, and it held on to another world.
It's certainly true that Dallurmon felt the wall cry out, even behind the fortified door.
He may have been outnumbered, and under far more pressure than he'd first imagined.
But he was still an Ultimate level.
And, right now, he was desperate.
The sky flashed with such ferocity that even the mighty Geryomon flinched. He looked up, seeing a glow from the top of the keep, the hail spiralling up from the tallest tower, before falling to earth all around. He held out a hand, but the biting winds and rain caught it, chipping away at his rocky flesh.
He pressed himself further back into the arch, muttering to himself. Each movement was still painful. He shifted his chest around, and a few more plates of muscle fell away. He sighed. For somebody as sturdy as him, it took a very long time to heal. Or a very long time to die. He didn't feel confident in calling it.
Still he stood guard, watching out over the ruined pillars. With a distant scraping, one of them fell away, crumbling down into the void below. The void where it was said the tendrils of Yggdrasil flowed freely. Certainly with each blast of light, he was feeling closer to the Digital World than he'd ever felt.
By chance, he found himself thinking of the Digimon back at the canyon. Yagamon and the others. He sighed again, becoming aware he'd likely never see them again. Curiously, he twisted his head, staring out over the way he'd come. Then slightly to the left, where more pillars were falling. There was a glow; bright orange, far in the distance. Far beyond the storm.
"Your wall is crumbling, Dallurmon. Someone's coming for you..."
Phorusrhamon cried out as the rock slid past her, scraping away at her right wing, which was already in tatters. She scrambled forwards like an insect, trying to avoid getting crushed, or falling into the inky blackness below.
All the while she could feel herself slipping into blackness, but every time she felt herself going, she forced herself awake, focusing on the constant pain. If she fell here, she knew she'd never wake up again.
The bird pulled herself over a ledge and stared down, seeing the familiar sculpture. It had always been her favourite, back when she was younger. Back when she and her family lived a quiet life on these shifting stones.
That was a long time ago now. A distant memory, before she'd found her purpose. Her family had long since disappeared, vanishing from her mind, and her cares.
Only one mattered now.
Her claws straining against the slippery rock, she began to descend, reaching out towards the ruined structure that had once been her home.
"Please...just a little longer..."
A blast of white lightning shot across the room, pulsing with such intensity that it tore the metal from the wall and caused the mercury in the pool of visions to boil and evaporate, sending acrid fumes across the battleground. Khrysomamon and Fafnirmon just ducked out of the way in time, but another blast froze the ground at their feet, sending them tumbling down.
Dallurmon jerked, his feet stuck in the floor. A tendril-like arm sprung out, aiming for his neck, but the giant reached out with his free arm and grabbed it, wrenching with all his might.
"Out with you, demon!"
The seal dissipated at his feet as Dallurmon pulled Ahuizomon free, before throwing him over his shoulder. The water devil let out a breath like a ruptured tyre, and scuttled away, his fur matted and singed. Dallurmon steadied himself, holding the shoulder of his right arm. The key clicked and whirred, the pins shifting in and out at a frightening speed, as if they could sense the agitation and fear in the room.
Ahuizomon reformed himself near Fafnirmon, grinding his teeth. "He's still not going down. He must have vast reserves of power left."
There was a clanking as Wetamon stepped forwards, clicking beneath her mask. "That may be, but look. He's standing still..."
Dallurmon let out a cry of anger, and fired off one, two, three more blasts in quick succession. One narrowly missed Paradismon, and the other two were parried away by Procoptomon, who landed neatly, shaking her blackened fists. The kangaroo shook her head. "Why is he standing there? Why isn't he attacking?"
"The door..." Wetamon's antennae vibrated, and she hunched her shoulders. "He's guarding the door. He's on the defensive."
Khrysomamon tilted his head. "That's good...isn't it? We're winning..."
"We're not winning..."
Due to her bulk, the giant cricket couldn't turn around. But her perception was enough to sense the presence of everyone in the room. She could sense Neonamon, still guarding the D-Port, hissing and spitting under his breath. And beneath him, the malevolent aura of the device itself, as it tussled invisibly with the wall between worlds.
And ahead, she watched Dallurmon, as he placed his palm on his knee. The tattoos had spread. They were more elaborate – more terrifying – than she had ever seen them before. They shone brightly; bitter yellow, blood red, ice blue, dark purple. Each one betraying the innermost intents of the creature she had once followed proudly.
Dallurmon was petrified.
Next to her, she heard Fafnirmon growl beneath his breath. Osteomon and Procoptomon had marched forwards, the group standing in a line, no longer on the defensive but now ready to march forwards, and take the siege to Dallurmon.
"It's now or never..."
Dallurmon thrust his arm outwards, the blade reforming through his fingers as he held it before him, his jaw quivering.
"You shall never reach the wall between worlds! You will never break this world again!"
A flurry of blows rained down on Dallurmon; biting steel and fire and brutal punches. He fought admirably, parrying nearly every blow thrown at him, and knocking both Procoptomon and Khrysomamon back. Paradismon descended, thrusting out with one dagger and slashing with the other, digging into his shoulder.
"Sabre of the Just!"
She spun away, and Dallurmon's attack struck Osteomon's gauntlet as she led the second charge, thrusting her second claw into the ground.
Dallurmon held up his arm, ignoring as several of the painful shards impaled the flesh on his forearm. Still he noticed Ahuizomon and Fafnirmon behind him, both of them vibrating with savage intent.
The second wave hit hard, blasting Dallurmon back against the door once again, with such force that he left a genuine impact. The fortified metal creaked against the strain, threatening to fall away. But Dallurmon was still not broken. Even as Ahuizomon and Procoptomon rushed forwards to strike again, he slashed with the sword of energy, keeping them away, defiant and desperate to the end.
Desperation can perform many a miracle. And can lead to many a downfall.
Thus when Khrysomamon charged forwards, horns down and ready to drive the giant into the door once again, he didn't see Dallurmon's tattoos glowing a savage golden colour.
Nor the frozen lightning spiralling up his arm,
Not until it was too late.
The office was lit up as Dallurmon thrust his arm forwards, the blast arcing outwards in a glorious display, reflecting off the ceiling and skittering across the floor. But most of it struck Khrysomamon full in the chest. The ram spluttered. He was thrust back across the room and crashed into the opposite wall, where he crumpled immediately, coughing blood.
Dallurmon stood tall, staring at the ram as he struggled on the floor. His skin seemed to glow gold, and his tattoos were almost aflame with the power inside of him. The room was already glistening with particles of ice, the blast having sent everyone backwards. Dallurmon exhaled, and took a step forwards, his feet crunching against the frost.
"You...all of you...are nothing but another prophecy. Another one doomed to never come to pass. I have seen to it. There is nothing you can do. No course of events that will change your deaths."
"Son of a bitch! Eden Stiletto!"
A blue blur rushed past Dallurmon and he buckled, Paradismon's dagger having slashed his leg. He growled, and fired an arc of energy up towards her, but she rushed to another corner of the room, gazing with fury down towards him. And she wasn't the only one.
Dallurmon jumped, the attacks striking the wall behind him. The office trembled again; perhaps from the ferocity of the storm outside, or perhaps from the energy growing within the D-Port. Nobody could tell. Nobody cared.
A crimson tornado flew towards Dallurmon, and the giant held up an arm, gritting his teeth as the whirring spikes whipped his skin away. He stepped forwards, and thrust his arm inside, grabbing Ahuizomon mid-spin and throwing him against the wall. A savage kick kept the demon down, but already someone else was up to replace him.
Procoptomon rushed forwards, throwing blow after blow, but her aggression was her downfall. Dallurmon dodged and blocked blow after blow, and the kangaroo couldn't gain enough momentum to build up to her final strike. She found herself out in the open, with no way of defending herself as the giant reared back, the white energy gathering around his hand once again.
"Sabre of the Just!"
The kangaroo ducked, but the blast of residual energy still knocked her flat. She shuffled back, but felt a sharp pain in her thigh as Dallurmon slashed, back on the offensive.
"You have no power against me!"
Another slash, this time over his shoulders. Dallurmon cried out, and smashed down instinctively, only barely missing Procoptomon as she backed up. Her legs bent and she launched herself forwards, shooting past the giant and contorting her body in mid-air.
Dallurmon spun, and the kangaroo's feet came into contact with the spinning metal of the key, making the blow a glancing one. Her momentum carried her forwards, and she rolled away, hitting the opposite wall with a crunch.
A blast of distorted noise struck Dallurmon, and he went down to one knee, his hand splayed against the buckled floor. Wetamon stared down her former lord, but her furious expression turned to one of fear as he stood tall, and turned to face her. Wetamon shifted her posture and struck her legs again, but the wall of sound was doing nothing to him now. Fury had deafened him, and with an inhuman roar he lashed out, striking the cricket in the forehead with one immense kick. She tried once more, but didn't even get a chance to make a sound before a second kick sent her skidding backwards, her stunned body crashing to the ground.
It was a clumsy attack; three directions, but uncoordinated, with each proponent lunging out the way. It was unavoidable at this point. Despite their comeback, they were all of them feeling the effects of Dallurmon's assault. And they were getting tired.
It wouldn't be long until the first one of them fell.
Khrysomamon stumbled, and glanced up, just in time to see Paradismon rushing in with her dagger, towards Dallurmon's poised arm.
"No, get out of there!"
Paradismon opened her wings in a millisecond, but even with her enhanced speed she couldn't avoid Dallurmon completely. His arm flew backwards, catching her slight body and sending her to the ground. She rolled, but the giant landed in front of her and crashed his fist down in the square of her back.
A blast of razor-petals flew everywhere, some of them digging deep into the sprite's body. It was a last-ditch attempt, and even that wasn't enough to faze the giant.
"You don't deserve this power!"
Dallurmon's hand closed around the sprite's ankle, and he thrust her sideways, slamming her body first into Ahuizomon's, then Procoptomon's, then upwards into the ceiling and down again into the rocky floor. She gasped, all the breath knocked out of her as he held her up limply, and kicked her; once, twice, three times, each blow sending feathers down to the ground and causing her vision to blur all the more.
"You don't deserve the privilege of-"
The giant looked at his palm, and the long dagger that impaled it. His blood was running freely – an iridescent blue which stained the tiles below - but he didn't even seem to notice. He merely stared at the limp sprite in his hands, as she held the second dagger in one shaking hand.
"...save it...you monster..."
Before anybody could reach him he'd thrown the sprite skywards, her body hanging limply in mid-air. With the speed and dexterity of a sharpshooter he thrust his hand open, the palm glowing with the full force of the storm.
Paradismon held up her arms as she saw the light approach her.
She didn't stand a chance.
Her body crashed into the ceiling, the blast keeping her in place for several seconds. Her remaining feathers were ripped away from the sheer force of the wind and the rain, and though she screamed, it was lost within the noise of the rushing winds. Then it faded, and she rolled downwards, trailing data as she did so. Her body crashed into the floor with a horrendous crack, her one remaining dagger clattering away. She trembled, and held up an arm, calling a name and clenching her fist as a clear liquid spread out beneath her. Then, her arm fell, and she dissolved in an instant, leaving an unconscious Lizzie and Mynahmon flat out on the marble tile.
Khrysomamon rushed towards the girl as Dallurmon stood up, shaking residual energy from his arm. His skin was black and blistered around the hand and the wrist; a testament to the sheer cold and power he was capable of wielding. For a moment Paradismon's dagger was still stuck through his palm. He closed his fingers, and it dissolved in a burst of data, leaving an ugly black mark on his golden skin, cauterised by the cold.
"I'll kill you! Blindside Bruiser!"
Procoptomon shot forwards, knocking Dallurmon off his feet before twisting her legs and launching him into the ceiling, her eyes red with fury. The giant fell down, but landed on his feet and knocked away the charging kangaroo with a sweep of his legs.
"Sabre of the Just!"
Energy blasted out as the giant's scimitar struck the ram's blade, and the two traded blow after blow; low, high, block, lunge, again and again, sending white fire and bright sparks in every direction. More than once Dallurmon got the upper hand, stabbing Khrysomamon twice in the shoulder and once in the chest, but still the sheep kept rushing forwards, gripping the hilt of his sword with such intensity that his head was shaking.
"Does this all feel good to you? Golden Wildfire!"
The sheep leapt, releasing fireballs behind him, but Dallurmon caught him as he landed, pulling him over his head and slamming him into the ground.
Dallurmon swiped, but the kangaroo ducked. A feint. The giant turned to see Osteomon rushing forwards with a roar, and he braced himself.
A deep throbbing pain struck the giant in the temple as Wetamon's attack hit just as Osteomon reached him, her claw swinging into his chest. He was thrust backwards, barely staying standing, as Khrysomamon got to his feet again, eyes blazing.
"Do you care how much harm you're causing? How much hurt? Burning BLADE!"
Dallurmon raised a hand, and grasped the black-forged sword as it swung towards him again, the metal smoking in his energy-filled grip. He pulled it towards him, and kneed the ram in the chest, winding him.
"You are clueless!"
Punch. One after another, directly on Khrysomamon's helmet. The sheep fell to one knee, but a kick to the jaw sent him keeling sideways instead.
Another kick, and Khrysomamon coiled up, his golden fleece flickering gently. Dallurmon raised a sword of white fire, only to jolt with pain, as Osteomon's jaw clamped around his wrist, drawing blue blood. Dallurmon sneered.
"You preach innocence but you are agents of devastation! Every single goddamn one of you!"
He spun around and struck Osteomon in the side with his key arm; the metal not sharp or long enough to cause damage, but painful enough to send the sea monster backwards a few paces. She planted a foot on the ground, and raised her arms.
A torrent of water rushed forth, engulfing Dallurmon. Osteomon braced herself for another blow, the constant battle having drained her severely. Fafnirmon and Ahuizomon stood beside her, and she glanced at them in turn. "Keep an eye on him. He could-"
She never finished. There was a rush of white through the raging torrent as something shot forwards like a torpedo.
"Sabre of the Just!"
There was a horrendous cracking, and splinters of the sea monster's armour flew wide, clattering on the drenched stone floor. The blade had cut through one gauntlet, and her shoulder brace, and into the soft flesh beneath. She gasped, the water stained red with her rushing blood.
"You could never understand what manner of evil you are, you insidious creatures!"
As her legs trembled, she saw Dallurmon in front of her, his sword energy spent but with plenty of energy left in his muscles. He jumped, and kicked her square in the chest, sending her skidding back and into a wall. She evaporated on impact, and Joel and Placomon fell together, their bodies lacerated heavily.
The dragon rushed forwards, immediately tussling with Dallurmon in a blind fury, as Ahuizomon turned to Procoptomon.
"Guard them. If we catch them in the crossfire like this, we'll kill them."
"I..." Procoptomon nodded, and quickly and gently rushed over to Lizzie and Mynahmon. The bird was stirring, but still immobile, and Procoptomon rushed them next to the D-Port, keeping them as far back as possible. She did the same with Joel and Placomon, being even more careful. Neonamon watched in horror, but the kangaroo shook her head.
"We have to be doing something right. We...have to be winning this..."
There was a crash as Fafnirmon struck the ground, having been tossed effortlessly by the giant. He rolled and lashed out with a tail, the spike blocking Dallurmon's approaching fist.
Dallurmon cried out as the dragon coiled around him, ripping into his flesh and holding him tight. The giant wasted no time; he rushed forwards into the nearest wall, crashing the dragon's body against the rock with enough force to crack it. But Fafnirmon didn't let go, and as Dallurmon staggered back, off-balance due to the dragon's grip, he pulled his coils even tighter, sinking his teeth into Dallurmon's shoulder.
Dallurmon stumbled, his feet sinking into the sigyl on the ground. Ahuizomon's claws lashed out, wrapping around his torso and pulling him down further. He gnashed his teeth in fury, great swathes of energy coursing off of him and burning Fafnirmon and the surrounding walls, but he was held in place for long enough. The dragon released his vice-like bite, just for a moment, and called out with all his might.
"Do it! Attack, now!"
A blade of sound from one direction, and a blade of fire from the opposite. It was nearly too much for Khrysomamon, who collapsed to one knee from the sheer exhaustion. Wetamon simply stared as the two attacks crashed into one another, sending a firestorm around the room and making it shudder.
She watched as the smoke cleared.
She tensed again, as Fafnirmon's long, shimmering body slid downwards towards the floor, the burned scales giving way to raw data.
Another explosion of white fire, even larger and more terrible than ever. It burst through the broken windows, half-melted the office door, purged the corridors and tore great chunks from the ceiling, revealing the full fury of the storm outside. Wetamon held her body close, trying to withstand the blast. On the other side, Procoptomon held her arms wide, barely able to stand amidst the terrible power.
She was the first to open her eyes, as the whipping winds reached all of them. The study had been torn apart, like a flower opening for the first time. All around she could see the spiralling winds and snow and acidic rain that threatened to purge the pillars of any life they may have had. However, in the office, it was bone-dry. They were at the eye of the storm, but it was clear that Dallurmon's power had peaked, and with such a typhoon at his disposal, such power might as well be limitless.
Fafnirmon and Khrysomamon had gone, finally succumbing to Dallurmon's attacks. Yvonne, Alasdair, Arimon and Wyvermon lay sprawled out at the other end of the room, too far for her to notice their breathing. Wetamon was still intact, but her legs were twitching, the barbs broken off and useless, and her wings in tatters. Ahuizomon was lying in his own sigyl, his body prone and unmoving. The kangaroo's own body felt like it was on fire, but she tried to stand regardless. Pieces of her armour fell away, revealing raw skin beneath. She knew she had very little fight left in her.
Not that she had a choice. Dallurmon was marching her way, his arm glowing a brilliant white. Procoptomon raised her arms, but they were swept away by Dallurmon's own. She blocked him again in an instant, her limbs moving almost as in a trance state. She threw a punch, but her vision was blurred. Still, she felt resistance. Dallurmon slid back, and swayed slightly.
Dallurmon rushed forwards, slamming the brawler with one shoulder. She fell downwards, and he kneed her in the jaw, before grasping her by the neck.
She struggled, her legs kicking out, stabbing into the giant's wounded chest – wounded – she writhed in his grasp, but he dragged her back and slammed her head into the wall behind him.
She felt something within her rupture with the final impact, and with the last of her energy she lashed out with both legs, taking more flesh from Dallurmon's bleeding chest. He doubled over, and she slid down. Procoptomon devolved before she'd even hit the ground, leaving just the young wallaby prone and cold, and the little girl staring up at the beast above.
Rachel tried to move her legs, but they were slow. Unresponsive. She reached out, grasping Marsuamon by the claw. No movement. Barely any pulse. She could feel something sticky matted in her partner's fur.
Footsteps. Slow, but deliberate. Mustering her strength she pushed herself up, looking at the eight-foot demon as he struggled to stay upright. He grimaced, his beard stained blue with his own blood.
He raised a palm, holding it over Rachel's forehead as the energy glowed within.
Rachel glanced sideways, falling back against the wall as she did so. Neonamon sat up, glaring at the giant above.
There were tears in the snake's eyes as he blew stream after stream, but they did nothing. Dallurmon held still, his head held to the side. Neonamon let out a cry.
"These children...these are wonderful creatures...if you kill them I'll...I'll make you pay...for eternity, I will make you...can't you see the beauty they have brought into this world? You were always the most vigilant of us. The watcher and the guardian. Are you so blind against the wonderful future they've offered?" Neonamon sniffed, and blew another stream of bubbles, making Dallurmon twitch slightly. "There's nothing you can do. They've arrived. They've changed our lives. Your life. The world...this world will...see that..."
Rachel stared in awe at the serpent, for a moment distracted from the looming giant above. She tried to reach out a hand, her fingers twitching.
Dallurmon tensed his palm, and the glow grew stronger.
There was a sound; a muffled crunch. Dallurmon jerked, and looked down to see three crimson claws sticking through the front of his chest. Blood was pouring. His torso was convulsing. Behind him, Ahuizomon growled, and closed his hand, digging the talons in.
He wrenched his arm out and staggered backwards, collapsing on the ground himself. Dallurmon stood, stunned just for a second. The energy remained swirling around his hand.
He brought his arm up, but it flew wide as his legs collapsed beneath him.
The blast shot out. It missed Ahuizomon. Rachel. Neonamon. All of them.
But it struck the D-Port dead in the centre.
Rachel's eyes widened in horror as the metal casket split open, sending splinters into the wall. Wires erupted, catching fire. The device seemed to collapse in on itself, the metal and gadgetry frozen in place.
Rachel tried to scream, for all the good it would do now, but no sound could come from her mouth.
As the device collapsed, the energy within remained where it was.
Then it began to expand, the tornado rising once again. Although this time it didn't travel towards the children, but it just grew wider and wider. Gone were the colours, save one. Red. Deepest, darkest crimson, thrashing around wildly, ripping great chunks from the wall and pulsating like a wild thing. The keep shuddered all the more as the tornado split apart, again and again, into tendrils that rushed downwards, shaking the pillars to their core.
They reached deep into the rock, far deeper than Oligomon or Groundramon could ever have gone.
They wrapped around the tendrils of Yggdrasil. And pulled.
There was a horrendous rumbling sound as the pillars and the mountains cracked wide open, data spilling out from the chasms beneath. Energy erupted from the shattered D-Port, some of it striking the sky, some the earth. And a good chunk struck Dallurmon in his chest. He was thrown back, writhing in pain and anguish, and he struck the very edge of the eye of the storm as it began to spiral out of control. With a wordless cry, he was whipped away, lost in his own maelstrom.
Rachel clutched Neonamon tightly, the two barely able to make out any of the others as the remnants of the office was shaken around them. The power of the D-Port let out an inhuman roar as, unconfined and uncontrollable, it began to tear the wall between worlds apart.
Phorusrhamon shivered, her very data bristling as she saw the storms converging. The fractures were even reaching her, and behind her, the dead pillars and mountains were falling inwards; aeons of Digital sculpting lost forever.
She broke into a run, clutching a bundle in her wings. The sky was darkening; she prayed she wasn't too late. Her legs and her body were burning with pain but she didn't care; there was no time to worry about her own condition.
She felt Dallurmon's divine right hand twitching in her grasp, reacting to the cataclysm. The storm had caught her up now; there was no way she could avoid its wrath. Her grip tightened.
"Lord Dallurmon, hold on! I'm coming!"
She took a deep breath, and ran into the typhoon, her cries of pain lost to the wind.
TO BE CONCLUDED...