By Niki 'NeeP' Paradis
Chapter Seven: Confrontation at the Laboratory of Frankenmon

    Frankenmon stood alone in the dark.  In one hand, he clutched the silver transmitter with the transformation.exe programs, the other hand was clenched into a fist.
    The fist shook.
    "Damn him," he muttered to himself.  "How dare he...?"  He looked around his small laboratory, noting all of the damage that was caused by the minions of Piedmon.  "How dare he get in the way of my research?"  He sighed as he thought about how close he came to accessing information about the real world --one of the rewards promised by Piedmon for his work.
    He started to pace around his laboratory.  Damn Igorimon too!  She was supposed to keep those transformed children at his mansion for him to pick up.  But she let them go --no, she was leading them to this very laboratory, in order to restore them.
    Now he found that he was torn...  Now that he had decided to forgo his employment with Piedmon, he found himself with more options than before.  On one hand, he was tempted to let the Digimon-Destined return to their human forms, and battle Piedmon.  But as sweet as that notion was, the idea of furthering his studies with his Digimon seemed even sweeter.
    He shrugged.  He preferred to study the results of his experiments for as long as he can.  But the decision of what to do with the eight new Digimon can wait --he still had some time to decide.  Maybe he would be able to get another one of the former children reconfigured to completion as well.  He was already pleased with the results with his Jyoumon.  And he should be able to view the results of his experimentation with his Taimon shortly.

    When Taimon awoke, it was during the grey time before dawn.  He listened for a few moments to the sounds of small digital creatures stirring, his friends' snoring and to the sounds of Igorimon stirring the fire.  
    He sat up, feeling that something was different.  He was relieved to find that the cramps that he was feeling the night before have gone away.  He absently twisted around to straighten his shirt that had gotten tangled during his sleep.  He wondered briefly if he was starting to stretch his favourite shirt out, it didn't seem to fit him properly anymore.  He shrugged then got up to stretch.  As he was stretching, he noticed that the hem of his shirt was down almost to his knees.  
    The flash!
    Taimon brought his hands to his mouth to keep from crying out.  However, his mouth was not where it was the night before.  With his hand to his new snout, he turned towards where Igorimon was standing by the fire.  She was looking back at him with sympathy in her eyes.  Carefully, the rookie picked his way from his sleeping spot, over his friends to where Igorimon was standing.  When he was just a few feet away from her, he burst into tears and ran into her arms.
    "Igorimon?" he sobbed.  "What has happened to me?"

    Matimon stirred.  His sharp hearing caught a faint, barely suppressed sob.  He rubbed a large hand across his eyes and tried to go back to sleep.  He listened to the soft murmur of Igorimon's voice as she comforted someone.  He couldn't make out any of the words, but he recognised the soothing tones that were being used.  But the quiet sobbing continued.  The wolf-boy Digimon could hear the fear in the other voice.  Then Matimon sat up in shock as he realised that the sobbing was made by Taimon.
    He turned towards the fire and the sound of the voices.  Igorimon was on her knees, rubbing the back of a yellow Digimon who wore Tai's shirt and goggles.  
    "Hoo boy..." the wolf-boy Digimon murmured to himself.
    "Hmm..?  What is it, Mati?" asked Gabumon sleepily.
    "Looks like there was another transformation during the night," sighed Matimon.
    "Oh?"  Gabu turn to face the same direction that his partner was facing.  "Poor Tai..."
    "What's the commotion all about?" asked Soramon as she sat up and stretched.
    "Shhh..." replied Gabumon.  "It's Taimon."
    "Really?" asked Soramon as she turned to look at Taimon and Igorimon. "Oh, my..."
    "He really looks different, doesn't he, Soramon?" asked Biyomon.
    The feathered girl nodded.
    "I am afraid that I don't understand," commented Izimon.  "He was dressed.  If Frankenmon can only reconfigure the form of a Digimon-Destined when he or she is not wearing anything, then how could he reconfigure Taimon?"
    "Maybe he has gotten better at it?" suggested Meimimon.
    "Huh?" came Izi's intelligent question.
    "You know, improved on the way he can change us?"
    Izimon thought it over.  It could be possible that Frankenmon improved on his programs.  "Um, that may be a possibility," he conceded.
    "Or maybe we are overlooking something," suggested Tentomon.
    "What do you mean, Tento?" asked his partner.
    Tentomon pointed to something on the ground where Taimon was sleeping the night before.  "I think I have found what was missing..."
    "It's his Crest," commented Agumon.  "He wasn't wearing it last night.  He said that the chain was rubbing at him too much last night."
    "But he was wearing everything else?" asked Matimon.
    "Well, he was wearing his shirt and goggles," said Taimon's partner.
    "So maybe the Crest has something to do with how Frankenmon can do these things to us?" asked Tiikeimon.
    "Maybe," commented Izimon.
    Jyoumon glanced at the Crest on the ground, then started to pick his way over to where Taimon and Igorimon were over by the fire.

    Taimon felt the last of his tears wiped away by Igorimon and he took a steadying breath.  Now that the initial shock has worn off, he can be calm about what had happened to him.  So now I'm a Complete Digimon.  But I am still me.  Just different.  He paused as the actuality of his situation sank in.  So, should I be scared or excited right now?
    "Hey, Tai?  You gonna be okay?" asked a voice behind him.  Taimon turned around to face Jyoumon.  Joe.  The other completed Digimon.  He managed a smile, so he didn't set Jyou worrying.
    "Yeah, I think so," he said.  He wasn't certain if Jyoumon bought it though.
    "Well, okay.  That's good.  But if you want to talk..."  Jyoumon didn't finish the sentence and shrugged his shoulders instead.      Taimon nodded.  It was moments like this when Tai was reminded that Joe's the oldest.  He always tries to look out for the others, he thought.
    "Thanks, Jyou," he said.  "Thanks, Igorimon," he said to the Champion Digimon.
    "That's all right, dear heart," she replied.  She looked around at the other Rookies and the one In-Training Digimon.  "We best have our breakfast and be off," she said.  "We still have a ways to go."
    "Only we're going to be late," protested Karimon.  "You said so yourself, Igorimon!  You said that we had to hurry last night!"
    The tall Digimon sighed.  She looked a little sad.  "Don't worry about it, dear.  I know what to do.  You will get into my Master's laboratory."
    "I hope you are right," said Karimon sincerely.

    Breakfast consisted of leftovers that the Digimon have carried from the previous meals.   There was no time to light a fire, and barely enough time to clean up.  The Digimon quickly buried the refuse.  Taimon tried to help as best as he could but his shirt restricted his movements.  He risked tripping over the hem of his shirt whenever he bent over.
Igorimon noticed this.
    "Come here, Sweetie," she called softly to him.  Reluctantly, Taimon walked over to her.  He stood in numb shock as the taller Digimon grasped the hem of his shirt and pulled it off over his head.  She quickly folded the shirt and handed it to Matimon, who took it without comment.  She bent down, gave Taimon a quick hug, then worked on straightening the headband and goggles that he still wore.
    "Why are you doing this, Igori?" asked Taimon faintly.  He felt so exposed without his shirt.  That and vulnerable.
    "It's all right, Sweetheart," soothed the Champion Digimon.  "You still have enough on to keep yourself.  But even you would have to realize that you would be having trouble walking with a shirt that doesn't fit right.  Right?"
    "I guess so," the newly reconfigured Rookie sighed.  It felt odd to know that he didn't need clothes anymore.  He then turned and met the gazes of his companions.  He inwardly grimaced at the look of sympathy from the face of every single one of them.  But he wasn't certain why they were feeling sorry for him.
    Taimon as a Completed Digimon was now a bit shorter than before.  His body proportions were still pretty much the same, even though his chest was now somewhat narrower.  But the shape of his head was not at all humanoid.  He had a long narrow snout and heavy eye ridges.  His goggles rested on top of those ridges and were held in place by his large poof of hair and his slightly longer ears.  His hands were now down to three digits and his feet were just a little longer.  
    "Where is your Crest?" asked Igorimon as she gestured to Matimon to put Tai's shirt into Joe's bag.
    "Um, I had it..."
    "Over here, Tai!" called out Agumon.  It's right where you were sleeping last night!"  The smaller lizard-Digimon ran over to his partner and handed him the Tag and Crest.
    "Thanks, Agu," murmured Taimon as he tried to slip the strap of his Tag over his larger head.  He then blushed a deep red as Igorimon took it away from him and slid it over his snout, head and settled it on his yellow chest.  "Thanks, Igorimon."

    The rest of the clean up hardly took any time at all.  Once it was completed, Taimon looked to his fellow Digimon.
    "Well," he said.  "It's time we should be going.  If we're gonna have a chance against Frankenmon, the sooner we go, the better."
    The rest of the Digimon-Destined turned away for a moment.  Taimon could hear them murmuring.  
    "Um, Taimon?  We gotta talk about something before we do anything," said Matimon.
    "What's that?" asked the yellow Digimon.
    "I, I mean, we were wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea to let someone else take charge for a bit."
    "What do you mean, Matt?"
    "Well, you have gotten a huge shock this morning and you don't seem to be quite yourself..."
    "You're saying that because I am a Completed Digimon, I can't make decisions?!?"
    "Well, you did seemed to be freaked out.  And you don't seem to have calm down yet."
    Gabumon pulled on his partner's shirt.  "Mati..." he said hesitantly.
    "What are you getting at, Matt?"
    "I think what Matimon is trying to get at," began Soramon, "is that you might want to take time to make sure of yourself --At least until you are absolutely sure that you're you."
    "What do you mean?" asked Agumon.
    "Oh!  I get it!" exclaimed Gomamon.  "Like after Jyoumon got Completed!  He went really flakey for a bit because he had trouble figuring out who he was."
    "Hey!" cried out Jyoumon.  
    "Well Jyou, it's the truth."
    "Thanks..."  Jyoumon shook his head and snorted.
    Izimon spoke up.  "Maybe just until you are more comfortable in your new form, you could leave the decisions up to someone else.  You do understand, right Taimon?"
    "But I know who I am.  I'm still me, Tai!  You know that!"
    Agumon went to him and reached up to put a paw on his partner's shoulder.  "Tai, maybe you should just go along with it for now.  It won't be for too long..."
    Taimon grunted his reluctant acceptance.  He knew that there really wasn't enough time to argue about it anyway.  He looked to his partner, who wasn't all that much shorter than him now.  "All right.  I guess it's all a matter of going where Igorimon wants us to go anyway."
    "Pretty much," agreed Agumon.

    They started on their way.  Tempers were running high as everyone walked.  Everyone seemed to be arguing with their partners, which was not normal --with the exception of Jyoumon and Gomamon.  Those two were the only ones who were not arguing.  Gomamon rode listlessly on his partner's back just watching the others.  The answer to the question as to why everyone was so moody could be found in the local atmosphere and the feeling in the air.  Like the feeling of impending doom or like the electrical charge before a heavy storm.
    "Hey!  What's that?" asked Gomamon suddenly, straightening up.
    "Huh?" asked Jyoumon as he looked around.
    "I saw something in the shadow of those dead trees," said the smaller Digimon.
    "Where?" asked Matimon.
    "I see it!" shouted Tekumon as looked in the direction that Goma was pointing.
    A small round shadow was darting from tree to tree.  
    "He's trying hard not to be seen," commented Palmon.
    "Well, it's not working very well," commented Biyomon.  "I see him just fine."  She ascended into the air and quietly made her way over to the suspicious shadow.
    "Be careful, Biyo," called Soramon quietly.  The pink bird-like Digimon did not reply but nodded instead.  She quietly gained on the suspicious Digimon.  It wasn't until her wing scraped against the bard of one of the trees that her quarry noticed her.  The two Digimon stared warily at each other for a few moments, and then the round Digimon threw a large stone at her.  
    Biyomon squawked with surprise and was barely able to get out of the way in time.  She then used her attack in retaliation.      "Spiral Twister!"  It was a miss, but she managed to chase him out into the open.
    Everyone was now able to see the odd Digimon.  He was short and his body was a lumpy ball with knotty deformed legs and arms.  He was a pale greenish grey all over.
    "You won’t catch me!" he shouted to Biyomon.
    "I remember that voice!" shouted Taimon.  "That him!  That's the jerk who zapped me last night!!!"
    The short round Digimon started at the sound of Taimon's voice then took off.
    "Come back here!" Tai yelled again and started to run after towards the other Digimon.  The strange Digimon ran some more, then he shimmered and sprouted wings.  He took off into the air.
    "What the...?" yelped Agumon.  "Can he do that?" he asked Tentomon.
    "I would've said no if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes," replied the bug Digimon.
    Then as the strange creature flew off, Taimon fell to all fours and started to give chase after him.
    "Come back!" cried Meimimon.
    "Forget about it, Tai!" shouted Matimon.  "There's no way you're gonna keep up with him!"  The rest of the Digimon ran after him.
    Taimon didn’t hear Matimon or the others.  He loped after the odd Digimon.  But even as he did so, he soon concluded on his own the exact thing that Matt was trying to tell him.  There was no way that he could catch up to the odd Digimon.  He also realised, after about two hundred metres of in-vain chasing, that he had been running on all fours.  He stopped suddenly, then stood up and turned around to look at the others.  They just looked at him.  
    Taimon realised that he was another step away from being human.  He was able to walk on two legs and run on four.  It just seemed natural for him.  
    Jyoumon grinned as he ran up to him.  "Bet that felt weird the first time," he said as he sat down on the ground.  
    Tai gave a weak smile back --Jyou didn't have the option to get back up on two legs in his current form.
    The lizard-Digimon gingerly bent over and set his large hands/paws on the ground.  His long tail lowered until it was level with his back.  The odd position felt just as natural to him as the other --it felt right.  So it wasn't the position that felt weird, but the realisation that he could stand like this did.  "It does feel different," he conceded to Joe.  "But it doesn't hurt or anything."
    "Of course not!" snorted the white and blue Digimon.  "We are what we are, and this is how we've been made, or how these bodies were made, that is..."
    "Right," agreed Taimon.  He couldn't argue about how good the strong and capable the new form felt to him.  
    "It isn't all that bad, is it?" asked Jyoumon with a grin.
    "I guess not."  He watched as the white and blue Digimon walked back towards the group.
    Taimon padded around on all fours, trying to convince himself that it wasn't right.  He knew that he had to keep in mind their goal and the reasons for trying to become human again.  But would it be so wrong to relax and have fun in this new body of his?
    He looked towards Jyoumon again.  Even though he knew who he was, Jyou also admitted to now enjoying his current situation, and his current form.  He was no longer anxious to return to his old human self, and that bothered Taimon.  
    How long will it take until he started to feel the same way?  And would that really be a bad thing?
    Maybe it would be better for him to think about just getting to Frankenmon's lab for now, instead of fretting about his situation.
    But could he afford to do that?  He remembered what happened to Jyoumon.  When Joe forgot his humanity, the whole Digital World was in the greatest danger that it had ever been in.  They almost lost one of the Digi-Destined for good.  
Matimon was right.  There was more to leadership than just bossing everyone around.  One of the things is to choose what is best for everyone --even if it goes against what one personally desires.  He couldn't afford to ignore his duty.
    The rest of the gang came walking up.  "You okay, Taimon?" asked Tekumon.  "You really wanted to catch that guy, didn't you?"
    "Yeah, but I guess it really doesn't matter," he said.  "We should get to Frankenmon's lab first."
    "We will be there soon," said Igorimon.  "So, I want everyone to prepare themselves."  Everyone looked to the taller Digimon.  This was the first time that she looked so serious.  Everyone knew that she was still the sweet caretaker, but it was obvious that the gentleness was supported by an iron will.  "My master will be waiting for us, and this isn't going to be easy."
    "Okay," said Tekumon.  He started to scrunch down, as if he was concentrating very hard.
    "What are you doing, T.K.?" asked his brother.
    The little In-Training Digimon shimmered.  "Tekumon digivolve into... Tiikeimon!" he cried out happily as he became a Rookie again.  "If I hafta fight," said Tiikeimon, "it'll be easier to do it like this."
    Patamon cheered.  "All right, Tiikei!"
    Matimon sighed to himself.

    Everyone continued walking.
    "There's going to be a fight, isn't there?" asked Karimon.  
    "Yes, dear heart, there will be," said Igorimon softly.
    A sense of doom and gloom hung in the atmosphere.
    Meimimon sighed, "I hate fighting," she said.  "I really hate it a whole lot."
    "It'll be all right, Mimi," consoled Palmon.  "We know you do, but we really have no choice."
    "Is there anything we should know about Frankenmon's lab?" asked Izimon.
    "Are there going be any booby-traps?" asked Tentomon.
    "I will be able to lead you through the system defences," said Igori, "but you will have to be alert for other Digimon who do my Master's bidding."
    "Do you think that Lady Devimon will come back?" asked Gabumon.
    "I don't think so," replied the Champion Digimon.  "I think that she's done bothering us."

    Lady Devimon was brooding in a deep dark corner.  She had just been scolded by her liege lord and master.  Piedmon reminded her that she was supposed to assist Frankenmon in the testing and retrieval of the once human Digimon, not to try and destroy them.  The lashes and welts on her body gave evidence of the disciplinary action that she was subjected to.  Once she submissively apologised for disobeying his orders, Piedmon then praised her for trying to anticipate his wishes and desires for being rid of the Digi-Destined.
    The contrariness of her master was nothing new to Lady Devimon.  She knew that Piedmon was upset with her because she tried to interrupt his entertainment.  But after he disciplined her for disobeying his orders, he let her know that he was still satisfied with her ingenuity and performance.  
    The dark-lady Digimon sighed.  She would do anything to keep her liege lord happy, even if it meant allowing him to take his displeasure out on her.  Both the punishments and the rewards for serving him were great.  She did know that occasionally she deserved to be punished, and Piedmon always knew what was right for her, or so she kept telling herself.
    But for now, and for as long as Piedmon would let her, she would sit in the dark, and heal --until the next time he called on her services.  --The next time he needed her...

    Taimon was sulking.  He trailed behind the others with Agumon as they proceeded on their way.  He didn't want to admit it, even to himself, but he was sorta used to being the one who was in charge.  
    He looked around at the scenery.  It was getting grimmer as they walked on.  The once brilliant colours were disappearing and there were more and more stretches of bare rock.  There was no sign of life at all in the dead surroundings.
    "Whatcha thinking about, Tai?" asked Agumon.  He remained with his friend and partner, keeping his eye on him.  It was obvious to him that Taimon was concerned about something.
    "Um, nothing much," said Taimon.  "I was just thinking how dead it is around here.  Where are all of the other Digimon?"
    "You're right," commented Soramon.  "We haven't really seen anyone else for the last while."
    "Since this morning, actually," said Biyomon.  "I wonder why that it?"
    There was a thoughtful silence.  
    "Whatever it is, I think it's Piedmon's fault," said Meimimon.  
    "But it might be the work of Frankenmon," countered Izimon.  
    "But it's definitely the work of the bad guys," said Palmon.
    "It does look evil to me," agreed Tentomon.
    "Let's just keep our minds to what's on hand," said Matimon.  "There's nothing we can do here."
    "But Matimon," protested Tiikeimon, "it's so creepy around here, it's hard not to think about it."
    "You can feel it," said Karimon softly.  "The Digital World is hurting."  Tears were forming in her eyes.
    "We'll stop it, Karimon, you'll see," comforted Gatomon, touching her on the arm.

    Soon they came to some ruins.  If it was still night time, the ruins would definitely be a dreadful and frightening place, but as it was, even with the sun high up in the sky, they were depressing and spooky.  They started to walk through them and it seemed that the remains of old buildings went on for kilometres.
    For a while, no one said anything.
    "How can there be ruins in the Digital World?" asked Izimon.  "If I understand this correctly, the Digital World is based on the internet.  And that is a relatively new phenomenon."
    "True, but you have to remember," said Igorimon, "Time runs different here than it does in your world.  Eons here can pass within one of your years."
    "Kinda like the mythical "Time under the water" fairy-tale," said Taimon amiably.  "Only in reverse."
    Everyone turned to look at him.  Taimon was walking on all fours, as if he had always done it.  He looked like he was ignoring the stares that he was receiving.
    "Huh?" asked Matimon in a confused voice.
    "What do you mean, Tai?" asked Agumon.
    Taimon stood up, stretched then continued walking on two legs, his 'hands' clasped behind his head.  "I remember a fairy-tale about a man who spent a day under the surface of the sea.  But when he returned home, he found that a whole year has passed while he was away."
    "Creepy," replied Jyoumon.
    "But this is reversed.  We can spend weeks and years here, but when we get home, only a few hours have passed in our world."
    "What are these ruins, Igorimon?" asked Tiikeimon.
    "I am not certain," replied the tall Digimon.  "There is a legend about a place where the Creators of the Digital World stayed as they did the planning.  It would be nice if this was the place, but no one even knows."
    "If that's true, then it's sad that this place is in ruins," said Palmon softly.
    Everyone nodded in agreement.
    "So, Frankenmon's lab is somewhere around here?" asked Matimon.
    "Yes.  These ruins are usually left alone by all other Digimon.  My master is usually able to work in peace."
    "So now we gotta find a door, right?" asked Tiikeimon.
    "But how do we begin?" asked Gabumon.
    "Yeah," agreed Agumon.  "Where do we start looking?"
    "Don't start going off by yourselves," cried out Taimon.  
    "I guess you're right," mused Izimon.  "Smaller groups would be easier for Frankenmon or any other evil Digimon to pick us off.  But how big should we form our groups, then?"
    "Groups of four," suggested Soramon.  "That way there will be four teams."
    "I wonder if there's anything around here worth eating," sighed Agumon as he started to rub his stomach.
    "Yeah," agreed Patamon as he looked towards his partner.  "I'm getting hungry."
    "Me too," said Tiikeimon.
    "We'll look for food as well," said Gabumon.
    "Good luck," muttered Jyoumon.  "I doubt there's anything around here at all.  Everything's dead around here."
    "Stuff it, Jyou," snapped Gomamon.  
    "Calm down, dear ones," soothed Igorimon.  "Now is not the time to argue."
    "Just be alert for anything," commented Taimon.  

    Igorimon waited alone in the centre of a clearing with her bag and Joe's.  She appeared to be thinking really hard about something.  She shook herself as she heard the first of the four groups reporting in.
    "Any luck, Sweetie?" asked Igorimon to Izimon, who led his group.
    "None at all," muttered the bug-boy Digimon.  "If it's in the area that we searched, it must be very well hidden."
    "Hopefully, one of the other groups will find the entrance," suggested Palmon.
    "Hopefully before someone finds us," said Tentomon.
    "Don't say that," admonished Meimimon.  "You make me very nervous when you say things like that."
    "Sit down and take a break, dear ones," said Igorimon.  "We'll find it soon."

    Matimon grumbled as he pushed aside another unhealthy looking bush.  He hated the smell of decay and the ancient mould spoors were irritating his nose somewhat.  He grumbled as he stepped on some old thorns with his bare feet.  He winced as one of them punched through his sole.  He lifted his foot and gritted his teeth as he fought no to swear --He had to set an example for Tiikeimon.  He grumbled as he pulled out a 3 centimetre thorn.
    "Hey, Tiikeimon, Patamon!" cried out Gabumon.  "Do you see anything?"
    The two winged Digimon circled around the area that was assigned to them.  But all they saw were the tumbled rocks of the old buildings, and the bushes and trees that grew over them.
    "Nothing," muttered Tiikei.
    "Not a single thing," agreed Patamon.
    "I don't smell anything out of the ordinary," commented Matimon.  "I don't see anything out of the ordinary either."
    "Let's look a little longer before heading back," said Gabu.  "Maybe we have overlooked something."

    "I'm getting burrs in my fur," muttered Jyoumon as he pushed aside some bushes.  "And I haven't found anything that looks like a secret entrance."
    "But that's the whole point, Jyoumon," chirped Biyomon.  "If it was easy to find, then there is not much point in making it a secret entrance, right?"
    "She's got a point, Jyou..." chuckled Gomamon.
    Jyoumon blew a raspberry at his partner.  Gomamon returned the favour.
    "Knock it off, you two," admonished Soramon from her perch in a nearby tree.  "We got to concentrate on finding the entrance."
    "We're working on it," said Goma.  "But I'm built too low to the ground to see much besides all of these bushes."
    "And they're covered with burrs --Ow!" grumbled Jyou as he pulled the offending flora bit out of his fur.
    "We're almost done covering the area," encouraged Biyo.  "Just a little longer, boys!"
    "Yeah, yeah..."

    "We've been over this area already, Tai," said Agumon.  "And there has been no sign of anything to eat."
    "And no sign of that entrance either," grumbled Gatomon.
    "It has to be around here somewhere," said Karimon.  "Igorimon has to be telling the truth."
    "We'll find it," said Taimon.  "Some one will.  We're running out of places to look."
    "Hey!" said Agumon suddenly.  "There's something over there..."  He pointed to a shadow between a rock and a dead tree.      The shadow jumped at the sound of Agumon's voice.  A familiar shape revealed itself to the group.
    "It's that Digimon again!" shouted Taimon.  
    "You won't get me!" shouted the strange round being.  "My master has commanded me not to hurt you, unless you get too close to his lab but he also said that I should not be caught by you yet."
    "Your master?" asked Gatomon.
    "Yes," replied the small grey Digimon.  I am 'Igormon'.  I am the latest to have been created by him to serve his needs."
    Taimon suddenly went on all fours, and charged after the small Digimon.  His snout was in the face of the other as he growled.  "Frankenmon's your master, isn't he?  You changed me last night on his orders, didn't you?"
    "Of course I did.  You should feel honoured to have your new form.  As a Completed Digimon, you are now incapable of fulfilling the Prophesy.  You are now safe from Lord Piedmon, as he should have no interest in you."
    "That's what you meant last night?" asked Taimon, taken aback.
    "Of course.  What did you think I meant?"
    "What's going on, Tai?" asked Karimon.  "Is he a bad guy?"  She started to walk towards her brother.
    "I dunno..."
    "Good," said Igormon.  "Perhaps I can save her from Lord Piedmon as well."  He reached around and pulled out something familiar and silver.
    "NO!!!" shouted Taimon, and with his paw, he knocked the small round Digimon away.  "Kari!  Get back!  He means to zap you!"
    Karimon stopped at her brother's warning.  She started to back away, but Igormon got up and pushed by Taimon and started to charge towards her.  
    Karimon was turned to run, but Igormon was starting to catch up to her.  However, before the little Digimon reached her, Gatomon intervened with a swift kick.  
    "Hands off!" she shouted as her foot made contact with the other Digimon's face.  Igormon rolled away, but instead of coming back for more, he put two stubby digits to his mouth and made a shrill whistle.
    "'Freismon'!" he called.  "Prepare to battle!"
    The was a loud crunching sound as if there was a huge form pushing its way through dead trees.
    "Erk," squeaked Taimon.
    "Tai," suggested Agumon.  "I think now would be a good time to regroup with the others..."
    "Right."  The four Digimon ran back towards the group.

    Igorimon and the others heard the shouting of Taimon and his group.  
    "I wonder if Tai has been successful," mused Izimon to himself.  He looked towards the noise coming from a spot in the dead trees.  But he soon saw that Tai and the others were yelling and screaming as they burst through the bushes.
    "Somehow, I very much doubt it," replied Tentomon.
    "We've got company guys!" shouted Agumon.
    "Get ready to fight!" shouted Taimon.
    Everyone scrambled to their feet.
    Matimon growled.  "You were supposed to stay OUT of trouble!"  He assumed a dominant position: feet spread apart, and hands on hips.  He towered over Taimon who was currently on all fours.  
    Taimon stood up on his hind legs and landed a punch on Matt's face.  "This is NOT the time to argue, Matt!  We deal with this first, then we'll fight!" he snarled.
    The wolf-boy Digimon looked as if he wanted to retort, then he reconsidered.  "You're right," he conceded.
    "What is it?" asked Gomamon.
    "Igormon called it Freismon," replied Gatomon.
    "Igormon?" asked Tiikeimon.
    "Later," muttered Taimon.  "This first.  Explanations will come afterwards."
    Everyone nodded and prepared themselves.

    A huge Digimon came crashing through the trees.  
    "Always through the trees..." sighed Meimimon.  "Why don't they come from a different direction?"
    "Maybe it's because he's one of Frankenmon's henchmen-Digimon," suggested Izimon.  "He doesn't seem to spend too much time tinkering with their creativity."
    "You mean that they all lack the ability to be original?" questioned Tentomon.
    The gang was looking at a 10 foot tall humanoid Digimon that appeared to be made out of solid ice.  He was translucent in colour and sported what seemed to be huge crystal cylinders on each of his shoulders.  The eyes were a cold blue.  The Digimon in question didn't seem able to speak coherently, but instead roared like a beast.
    "He doesn't look bright enough to be original," said Taimon.  "This shouldn't be too much of a problem for us who can attack with fire!  Right, Agu?"  He grinned a toothy grin at his partner.
    "Right, Tai!" agreed Agumon, who then wasted no time.  "Pepper Breath!"  A well aimed fireball went towards the head of the ice giant.
    Tai followed up with his own attack.  "Petit Fire!" he shouted and went for the knees of the monster, figuring that it would be easier to deal with it once it was brought down.  
    But neither fireball attack reached the giant Digimon.  About a foot out from the body of the ice giant a field of icy mist put out the fires.
    "What the...?" exclaimed Taimon.  
    "It didn't work?" asked Gabumon in disbelief.  
    "It's just not powerful enough," said Agumon.
    "Just attack!" shouted Matimon.
    The rookies made their attack.  Gomamon, Gatomon and Karimon stood back, knowing that their attacks have no use in the type of battle that they were fighting.  
    Jyoumon let out with his water attack.  "Fountain Spray!"  The water made it through the mist, but when it hit the ice giant, it froze, and the Digimon grew larger.  
    "Whoa!  Knock it off, Jyou!" shouted Matimon.  "He's just getting bigger!"
    "Spiral Twister!" shouted Biyomon.  Spiral energy twisted towards the giant Digimon.
    "Wind Blade!" shouted Soramon.  She let loose with her energy attack.  However, the air attacks had no affect on the Freismon.  They were hoping to buffet him enough so he could lose his balance, but the attacks weren't strong enough to do so.
    Both insectoid Digimon rose into the air.
    "Shocker Spray!" shouted Izimon.
    "Super Shocker!" cried out Tentomon.  The electrical attacks made it through the cold mist barrier, and managed to hit the body of their enemy.  Small chips came off the icy surface of the giant Digimon but did little else.
    "Boom Bubble!" yelled Patamon from the air, spitting out his sonic attack.
    "Thunder Clap!" Tiikeimon shouted as he brought his hands together in his own attack.  The sonic attack struck the huge Digimon and his body rang like a crystal bell.  Fine cracks appeared along the icy surface of the enemy Digimon.
    "Blue Blaster!" shouted Gabumon.
    "Glowing Blaze!" shouted Matimon.  But the blue flames were also stopped by the freezing mist.
    Blue energy formed around the cylinders on Freismon's shoulders.  "Crystal Clusters!" he shouted and huge sharp shards of ice shot out of the shoulder mounted ice guns.  The crystals then shattered into smaller ice needles and continued towards the Digimon.  The rookies tried to stop as many of the deadly needles as they could, but there knew that there were too many to stop.  There were cries of pain as some of the un-destroyed ice needles made contact with their targets.
    Excited by the effectiveness of his attack, Freismon let loose with another barrage of the deadly needles.
    "Shield of Light!" shouted Igorimon.  The energy shield managed to block most of the icy darts, and the rookies were able to destroy the rest of them.
    "That's great, Igorimon!" shouted Tiikeimon.
    "But it's not enough," said Soramon.
    "Then we gotta Digivolve!" shouted Taimon.  "Our stronger attacks should be able to take that thing out!"
    It was tough for the Rookies to digivolve as their opponent did not ease up on his attacks.  There was only so many needles that Igorimon could stop before she became exhausted.  And that time would not be long coming.  

    Karimon, Gomamon and Gatomon were hiding behind some trees.
    "I hate this, " growled Gatomon.  "I want to get right in there and attack."  She looked to her partner.  "I'm sorry, Kari, but our friends are in danger, and I can't sit on the sidelines anymore."
    "And I know that if I digivolve, I'd be able to help Jyoumon."  Gomamon dashed out from the protective shelter.  He digivolved along the way.
    "Gomamon digivolve into...  Ikkakumon!"  The large sheepdog/walrus like Digimon dashed towards the huge Digimon.  
    "Harpoon Torpedo!" he shouted and let loose with his rockets.  The force of the impacts of the rockets shook the huge Digimon.  While the opponent was distracted, a few more Digimon were able to digivolve into Champions.
    "Gabumon digivolve into...  Garurumon!"
    "Soramon digivolve into...  Soranamon!"
    "Palmon digivolve into...  Togemon!"  It appeared that Freismon was smarter than he looked, for he concentrated on the Digimon who would have the greatest chance of harming him if they got a chance to digivolve into something more powerful.
    "I'm going in!" said Gatomon.  "Gatomon digivolve into... Angewomon!"  The graceful angel flew off to join the fray.  
    "Be careful!" shouted Karimon.
    Angewomon flew over the head of their opponent, and let loose with her attack!
    "Celestial Arrow!"  The beam of energy created a crack into the hard surface of the enemy.  
    Jyoumon saw the opportunity to get Igorimon out of the line of fire.  "Let's go, Igorimon!  We got to get you somewhere safe!"  His teeth grabbed gently on the hem of the lady Digimon and he gave a slight pull.
    "But what about the others?" she asked, reluctant to leave the Digimon that she volunteered to care for.
    "We can watch ourselves," yelled Soranamon.  "You and Jyou gotta take cover!"
    "Me?" yelped Jyoumon.  
    "Yeah, you, Joe!" yelled Ikkakumon.  "Protect Igorimon instead!"
    "Right!"  Jyoumon gave another tug on Igorimon's dress hem.  "C'mon Igori!"
    "All right," she consented finally.
    The two Digimon made their way back to where Karimon was hiding.
    "Crystal Cluster!"  A cluster of ice crystals made its way towards the two retreating Digimon.  Jyoumon retaliated and encased the ice crystal with his water attack, freezing all of the needles together.  It was easier for them to avoid the ice ball afterwards.  Quickly, they reached the trees where Karimon was hiding.
    Joe looked over his shoulder at the battle he just ran from.  He felt bad about not participating, but he did realise that there was no possible way for him to participate --even as Joaiomon.  His Pressure Spray attack would hinder the efforts of the others and he couldn't possibly get close enough to use his Claw Attack.  He figured that if he was to help, he would have to figure out another way to do it.

    With her Celestial Arrow attack, Angewomon was able to distract the huge Digimon from using his cluster attack.  A couple more Digimon managed to reach Champion status.
    "Izimon digivolve into...  Koushiromon!"  The larger Digimon now started to use his Static Burst attack.
    "Biyomon digivolve into...  Birdramon!"  The large bird creature let loose with her Meteor Wing attack.  Both attacks left tough marks on the Digimon, but to their astonished dismay, the injuries quickly froze over and healed.  All of the battle damage that Freismon sustained had managed to heal.  It was discouraging for the others.
    Taimon and Agumon were busy dodging attacks.  They both were trying to catch a moment to Digivolve, but were too occupied.  The others were doing a great job attacking, but it didn't seem to be doing much to the opponent.  But now that Birdramon and Koushi --uh, Izzy were attacking from the air, the chance to digivolve seemed to be coming up.  Now, a good chunk of the ice clusters were being destroyed before they shattered.
    But then the giant ice Digimon was starting to realise that he needed to use a different attack.  "Frozen Tear Beams!" he shouted and cold blue energy shot from his eyes.  This blue beam was hard to stop and everything that was hit by it became covered with ice.  And unlike the Crystal Cluster attack, the firing beams were not intermittent.  They were always going.
    The beam of frozen energy struck out at the flying Digimon.  As it struck various parts of their anatomy, they became iced over, and the freezing pain made it difficult to manoeuvre through the air.
    Karimon watched in horror with Jyoumon and Igori as the beam of ice struck at her partner.  Angewomon's wings were suddenly caked in ice and she came crashing to the ground.  She screamed out at the sound of contact.  But Angewomon struggled to her feet, shaking her wings to free them from their icy covering.  She breathed a sigh of relief.
    Then the ice beam struck at Taimon, covering the rookie completely with ice.  "Tai!!!" she shouted as the giant Digimon started to march towards the now helpless Digimon.  Agumon was trying to free his partner with his Pepper Breath, but Taimon wasn't thawing out fast enough.  Freismon came closer and closer and raised one foot on top of her brother...
    "No!!!" shrieked the small cat-girl Digimon as she ran towards her brother.  Panic and fear overcame her caution.  She knew exactly what she had to do...
    "Karimon Digivolve into... Hikarimon!"  And suddenly, the small cat girl was replaced by a catlike woman with huge wings.  She took into the air and physically flew into Freismon, knocking him aside at the last moment.
    "Kari!" shouted Angewomon.  Not in anger or fear, but in surprise.  Who would expect such a direct attack from quiet, demure Kari?
    Agumon managed to thaw out his partner and dragged him back a few feet.
    "Are you okay Tai?" he asked.
    "I think I want my shirt back now..." chattered Taimon.  "I'm freezing."
    "Maybe after the battle," suggested Agumon.  "Right now would be a great time to digivolve."
    They both stood up.
    "Taimon digivolve into... Taichimon!"
    "Agumon digivolve into...  Greymon!"
    The two fire breathing Digimon started to press their attack, however, Freismon would counter the fireballs with his ice beam and a puff of steam would result.  The other attacks from the others that did make contact with the giant Digimon left their mark only briefly.  The scars would freeze over and be as if they never were.  But with the damage caused by the fireballs, the large Digimon was finally starting to slow down.  But even then, Freismon seemed to still get his hits in, and many a Digimon would find an appendage suddenly numb and covered with ice.
    "Tiikeimon digivolve into...  Takerumon!"
    "Patamon digivolve into...  Angemon!"
    The two Digimon of Hope made it into the air.  They launched their attacks on the Digimon below them.
    "Sonic Scream!" shrieked Takerumon.  The attack managed to shake the icy crystal body and make it ring like a bell.  Huge cracks became evident just for a moment until they froze over again.
    "Hand of Fate!" yelled Angemon as he blasted his beam of light towards Freismon.  However, the light bounced right off the icy body without doing any damage.

    Jyoumon and Igorimon watched from afar.  Jyou snorted.  "There's gotta be a better way to fight this guy," he muttered.  
    Igorimon sighed as she repositioned the bag that she carried.  Jyoumon eyed the bad with a flash of sudden inspiration.
    "Hey!  Are all of your cooking spices in there?" he asked her.
    "Well, yes.  But why do you want to know about that right now?"  She hesitantly removed the bag and placed it in front of him.
    "I have got an idea," he said as he rummaged around with his nose in the bag.  Igorimon kept her eyes on the others.
    Then suddenly, Jyoumon dashed off to the battle.
    "Jyoumon digivolve into...  Joaiomon!"
    All of the Digimon who were fighting, the champions and rookies, were having a hard time of it.  With Freismon's ability to heal himself of most of the inflected damages, they were at a loss on how to defeat their foe.
    Then Joaiomon dashed in.  He rushed at the huge ice giant with something in one of his huge hands.  Freismon tried to aim his eye beams at him, but he was dashing between various rocks and trees and so far succeeded in not being hit.  
    "Joe!  What are you doing!" yelled Yamatomon.  "You don't have an attack that will work."
    "Trust me!" shouted Joaiomon.  "I know what I am doing!"  He dashed under the legs of the huge Digimon.  Freismon's Frozen Tears Attack followed him, and when the beam hit his own legs, Freismon managed to encase them with frozen plant life as thick ice formed around the long dead grass and old bushes at his feet.
    The blue Digimon dashed up the trunk of a dead tree.  He took careful aim, and threw Igorimon's salt shaker at the head of the ice-Digimon.  The fragile container broke open on contact, spilling its contents out.  White crystals started to dissolve on contact.
    Freismon howled in pain and clutched his head.
    "Salt?" asked Garurumon in disbelief.
    Koushiromon cheered from the air.  "Good thinking, Joaiomon!" he shouted.  
    "Of course!" laughed Soranamon.  "Salt melts ice, and it can't refreeze."
    "We've got him now!" shouted Meimimon.  She digivolved.  "Meimimon digivolve into...  Entomimon!"  She then used her Pine Bullets attack to start chipping at the surface of the huge Digimon.
    Everyone attacked Freismon at once.  Without the capability to refreeze, the huge Digimon was slowly pounded into a huge slush puddle that vanished into shimmering pixels.

    Igormon watched as the last of the pixels faded.  He shrugged.  He didn't think that Freismon would be able to destroy the Digimon, but it was quite an educating experience watching them fight.  He was impressed by the quick thinking of the Joaiomon.  He then turned and disappeared into the rubble and underbrush.  

    In a huge puddle of salty mud, all of the Digimon, except Igorimon collapsed, and shimmered back into their rookie forms.  Even Hikarimon returned to Karimon without devolving all the way to an In-Training stage.  They panted for a moment, knowing that they couldn't do so for long.  
    Everyone knew that they couldn't afford to waste any more time.
    "Let's get going," said Kari.  "We have to get going again."
    "But didn't anyone see anything?" asked Soramon.
    "When we were running back here with Freismon chasing us, I did notice a signpost," said Karimon as she panted.
    "That may help," said Igorimon brightly.  "Can you take me to it, dear?"
    "You bet."
    "Let's go, everyone," said Igori to her charges.
    Everyone struggled to their feet with a groan and proceeded to follow her.

    Frankenmon watched through his dimensional tear.  He had just come back into his lab from his little errand that he just had to run.  He noticed that his experimental Digimon minions have been working hard and managed to get most of the destruction caused earlier cleaned up.  
    He was sitting in his favourite chair as he watched the scene before him.  He snorted.  Why would these former children choose to go back to their original forms?  They were so dull, so plain...  With the exception of minor things like the colour of their hair or eyes, they all looked the same.
    Perhaps if he were to talk to them, face to face.  But he couldn't go as he was.

    In the middle of the overgrown old streets, was the signpost.  On it were the markings that made up the Digi-World written language.  Igorimon brightened when she saw it.  "I remember this!" she exclaimed.  "It's not much further now.  I just need to read it..."
    They stopped for a moment as Igorimon took a moment to read the writing on the signs.
    "How long is this gonna take?" asked Matimon impatiently.  "We don't have time for this.  We're already late as it is!"
    "Matt, please calm down," protested Gabumon.
    "Yes, I know we're late.  My Master already knows that we are coming," said Igorimon absently.
    "Then why..?"
    "Because Igorimon needs to read the signs so she can figure out where to go next," said Tiikeimon hotly.  "Weren't you paying attention?!?"
    Taimon faced Matimon.  "Ease up, Matt!  Everyone's exhausted anyway.  Relax and take a break already!  If we're dead tired when we get there, then Frankenmon's gonna have an even bigger upper-hand than he would if we get there otherwise."
    "So, it would be to our advantage to rest," suggested Tentomon.  
    "Yeah, yeah..."
    "We don't have that much time left~!" shrieked Karimon.  
    "Yes, Karimon is correct," agreed Igorimon. "We don't have much time.  If anyone has anymore food left, now is the time to eat.  We have to face my Master quickly."  She returned her attention to the signpost.
    "A ten minute break should be sufficient," suggested Izimon.  The others agreed and quickly raided the Last Resort Stash that was kept in Joe's duffle bag.

    Igormon watched them from the shadows.

    Everyone sat on the ground, resting.
    Taimon sighed.  He was already comfortable with his new form.  "You know something?" he said to no one in particular.  "I am going to miss being a Digimon."
    Matimon nodded.  "Yeah, I know what you mean.  It's gonna be a real let down to go back to being an ordinary kid again after all this."
    "I'm gonna miss being able to fly," said Izimon as he checked the strap on his computer bag again.
    "I'll be happy to take you up in the air, Izzy," said Tentomon.
    "The same goes for me, Sora," chimed in Biyomon.  "Whenever you want."
    "Thanks, Biyo," said Soramon with a sad smile.  
    "But it just won't be the same," finished Izimon.  "It would have been prodigious to be able to spend more time just to study everything in the Digi-World.  I would be able to go places that I can't as a human."
    "I am gonna miss being able to swim," said Jyoumon.
    "I'll teach ya how to swim, Jyou!" cheered Gomamon.  "I'd be a great teacher!"
    Jyoumon looked sceptical.  "We'll see..."
    The other Digimon continued to talk amongst themselves in regards to the imminent return to normalcy.  Igorimon took another look at their surroundings.  The jumbled piles of stones, the moss and the mould didn't look at all inviting.  But she was looking for something specific.  
    Tiikeimon noticed this.  "What are you looking for, Igori?" he asked.
    "A specific landmark, dear one," said Igorimon absently.
    "Maybe we can help," offered Patamon.  
    "Thank you Sweetie, but I think I have found it."  She pointed towards a large boulder that rested against a small hill.
    "Why were you looking at the sign, Igorimon?" asked Karimon as she tried to make sense of the odd symbols.
    "Well," said Igorimon.  "I needed to get my bearings.  This sign helped me a lot."
    "What does it say?" asked Izimon.
    Tentomon flew up to the top of the signpost and pointed to a specific sign.  "This one says: 'Frankenmon's Secret Lab'."
    Everyone around him did a face-fault.  
    "If there is a sign pointing to the place, how can it be a secret lab?" asked Matimon incredulously.
    "Well, Mati," said Gabumon in a reasonable voice.  "The sign says that the Secret Lab is that way.  What else could it be?"
    "So that bolder must be the lab," agreed Agumon.  "Or at least that's where the entrance is."
    The Digimon turned towards the boulder.  As they took a step towards it, the boulder vanished, revealing a door.  The door opened and Igormon stepped out.  All of the Digimon got ready for battle.
    "Wait," said the short round Digimon.  "I don't want to fight."
    "Could've fooled us," said Taimon as he got up from his four footed position so he could loom over the other Digimon better.      "I want to talk," said Igormon.  "To all of you."  
    "But you just sent a monster Digimon after us," exclaimed Meimimon.  
    "What makes you think that we're going to believe that you only want to talk?!?" asked Palmon.  
    The round Digimon walked up to them and sighed.  "Yes," he said.  "It's true that I did send Freismon to attack, but it was only so I could make notes.  There was no doubt that you were going to win against him."
    "What do you want with us?" asked Matimon shortly.
    "I want to help you," said Igormon.
    "Like the way that you helped me?!?" exclaimed Taimon.  
    "Exactly.  As a Digimon, you no longer are able to fulfil the Prophesy and are no longer a threat to Piedmon.  And if you are no longer a threat to him, there is no reason for him to keep on trying to delete you."
    "But that would meant that Piedmon would win," said Tiikeimon.  "Then the Digi-World would be destroyed."
    "We can't have that!" cried Patamon.
    "But how do you know that the Digital World would be destroyed?" asked the round Digimon.
    "Gennai said so," said Palmon.
    "And you believe that senile old man?"
    "He's been right so far," replied Soramon.  "So why would we start to doubt him now?"
    "Frankenmon has spent a long time studying the Digital World and how it's affected by certain situations and circumstances.  For instance," he pointed to Izimon, "I am certain that you have received a virus on occasion on your computer, right?"
    "Yeah, so?"
    "Then you are aware that some viruses are highly destructive, capable of wiping out all information, and that there are other types of viruses that are benign, they don't destroy."
    "Are you implying that Piedmon, as a Viral Digimon, is benign?" asked Izimon in an incredulous tone of voice.  "Somehow I highly doubt it."
    "Well, he hasn't seemed to be very benign so far," said Meimimon.  "Look at this destruction!  He would definitely destroy the Digi-World if no one stops him!"
    "Everything would be destroyed, even you," said Karimon.  "You can't really support him, can you?"
    Igormon sighed.  "Of course I don't support him."
    "But what about Frankenmon?" asked Jyoumon.  "Why is he going along with Piedmon?"
    "Originally, Piedmon had promised access to the Human world.  But now Frankenmon had quit his service to Piedmon, ever since the Dark Master has turned on him."
    "How can you be sure?" asked Gabumon.  
    "I can show you how," replied Igormon.  "Igormon digivolve into...  Frankenmon!"  And the small round Digimon was replaced by the evil scientist.  He smiled an oily smile at the Digimon before him.  "As you can see, I can be absolutely certain of what Frankenmon's status of employment is."
    The Rookies in front of him were truly dismayed.  Some of them tried to attack, but were held in place somehow.  Only limited movement was allowed.  This allowed the tall Digimon to continue on without interruption.
    "I must admit that I am torn between two decisions.  One of them is to restore your original shapes and allow the Prophesy a chance to follow through to its conclusion --with the destruction of Piedmon.  But there is no certain guarantee that you would succeed in this.  As human children, you are all soft and weak."  Faces went red with anger, but before any of them could burst out, Frankenmon continued.  "As Digimon, even this half-developed state that most of you Destined are currently in, you have capabilities that serve you well.  I am truly reluctant to change you back to the poor unimaginative forms that you held before."
    "But I liked my human self," said Meimimon finally.  "I was pretty."
    Frankenmon sighed as if he was disappointed.  "Perhaps you were pretty enough in a limited way," he said to her.  "But you could be beautiful.  A true rose among Digimon.  You all could be magnificent, like Jyoumon and Taimon here, with strong unique bodies that suit them."  He gestured to the both of them.  Jyoumon growled.  
    "I think that I will continue my studies on you all.  And I shall find a way to preserve the Digital World without resorting to the Prophesy."  He brought out the familiar silver wand.  Everyone tensed up.  "You will thank me later, believe me."
    There was a flash of brilliant white light.

    Taimon woke up.  He was lying on a cold cement floor next to Agumon.  His partner was unconscious and mumbling to himself.  Tai sat up and looked around the dim room.  He saw Gomamon and Jyoumon still out cold.  He looked around for the rest of his friends.  He saw Digimon that were familiar, yet different.  His heart almost stopped as the suddenly realised what he was seeing.
    Soramon hesitantly stood up and stretched her new clawed wings, and proceeded to look herself over.  Her yellow beak clicked in surprise as she realised that had diminished in size.  She ran her claws through the feathers on her head, noting the lack of protruding ears, and that her hair had been completely replaced with sleek pink feathers.  She flapped her new wings and gave a small gasp of delight as she rose off the ground.  Then she settled and proceeded to wake Biyomon.
    Matimon was examining his new tail.  It was long and striped.  He ruefully rubbed his muzzle as he scratched his ear with a thick hind leg.  He stood up, took note of his shorter stature and sighed.  Then he looked to his partner.  Once he verified that Gabumon was all right, he then turned to Tiikeimon.
    Tiikeimon was surprised to find that had shrunk a bit and that he had paws.  His blonde hair had lightened to match the colour of the fur on his belly.  His face had pushed out a bit and had become a muzzle.  He sat on his hind legs as he ran his tongue over his double rows of sharp white teeth.  Patamon watched his partner silently.
    Izimon was doing an inspection of himself, with the help of Tentomon.  The bug-boy Digimon seemed to have gone through the least changes, but he had apparently lost about two feet in height.  Only his face retained its pinkish colour but his nose seemed to have flatten out.  His arms, legs and torso had all gained that black suede appearance that he had as Koushiromon.  His wings have grown even longer, giving him an almost faery-like appearance.
    Meimimon was crying over the loss of her hair, one of her biggest vanities.  Instead pink petals formed a cap in the shape of an un-opened flower.  Her hands and arms have flattened out, and resembled broad leaves with delicate green thorns or claws on the end.  Palmon was trying to calm her down.  Fortunately it didn't take very long for her to convince Meimimon she was still very pretty even though she wasn't human like anymore.
    Gatomon was trying to wake Karimon up.  The pale yellow Digimon was now more cat-like in appearance.  She shrunk a bit and her body had rounded out very slightly.  Her whiskers twitched slightly on the end of her muzzle as if she was having a nightmare.  And when she licked at her whiskers with her longer, rougher tongue, she revealed extremely sharp teeth.  A stripe of fur the same colour of her hair ran along the back of her spine and down her tail.  Other than that, she still seemed very humanoid.  She finally opened her green eyes and saw his expression.  
    "Tai?" she asked with a touch of fear in her voice.  
    He went over to her and held her.  "It will be all right, Kari.  Don't be frightened."  He realised as he looked at his sister again and at the others that the only thing that any of them was wearing, except for Joe, was their Crests.  Jyoumon also wore the collar that was given to him by Igorimon.
    Frankenmon's voice echoed throughout the room.  "How is everyone doing?" he asked in an oily pleasant voice.
    Taimon as he leaped up.  "What did you do to them?!?" he shouted as he spread his arm to indicate all of his companions.  "Why are you doing this to us?!?"
    Frankenmon's voice came out of the edge of the light.  "As I said earlier, I am protecting you from Piedmon, and I am continuing with my experiment."
    "You do realise that you have doomed the Digital World," said Igorimon from somewhere in the shadows, "don't you?"
    "Not at all, Igorimon dear.  I will find a way to work this out.  But I am very angry with you, dear Igorimon.  You have disobeyed me again.  I said that you were to keep the Digimon-Destined at the manor until I came to pick them up, but instead you have taken them all out on a long pointless trek to find this laboratory and to undo the work that I have done.  I am truly disappointed."
    "But this is wrong," she whispered.  "They are not supposed to be like this..."
    "Well, perhaps.  But why don't we let them decide for themselves?"
    The room darkened even more, and a spotlight shone down on each Digimon-Destined.  
    "Tai!" cried out Agumon as he ran to join his partner.  
    Gatomon edged closer to Karimon.
    Matimon and Tiikeimon held onto each other, and their partners held onto them.
    Gomamon huddled under Jyoumon.
    Izimon and Tentomon stood side by side.
    Meimimon held onto Palmon and Soramon and Biyomon joined them.
    No one could move for the fear that they were feeling.
    Soon the room was completely dark, except for the spotlights.  The silence became louder, it seemed, but not quite as loud as the sound of their own beating hearts.

    Tiikeimon huddled in his brother's arms.  He could hear Frankenmon's voice as if it spoke to his very soul.
    "Tell me something," the voice hissed softly.  "Do you really want to go back to being the littlest one? The tag-along?  The useless one?  Haven't you spent enough time being the one that everyone has to look out for?  Isn't it much nicer to be able to fight your own battles?  To be able to lend a hand?  To be equal of everyone around you?  Do you want to give that up Tiikeimon?"
    Tiikeimon squeezed his eyes shut, yet the tears leaked through.  Then there was the sound of heavy footsteps as Frankenmon went to someone else.

    Jyoumon heard the footfalls come closer to him.  He was tempted to run, but with Gomamon in between his ankles, he couldn't safely step away.
    "Everyone knew that Joe Kido was afraid of everything, wasn't that right?"  Jyoumon closed his eyes, but that didn't stop the voice nor the fear.  "He was always afraid of new experiences.  Always afraid of never being up to the challenge, wasn't he?  And also afraid of what would happen if he didn't do what he was told.  Everyone knew that Joe would do as he was told --he was afraid of saying 'no'.  Now look at yourself, Jyoumon.  With such a strong capable body, you can handle anything.  And with such a body, you are now free from the grim future that was laid out for the human boy.  You don't have to do anything that you don't have to.  Do you really want to go back and be that sad boy?"

    "You said that you were pretty as a human," said Frankenmon into Meimimon's mind.  "But you are beautiful now.  As promised, you are now a rose among Digimon.  And you will never decay --Everyone knows that the humans lose their beauty as time rolls on.  Mimi would one day be an old woman, but Meimimon will always be as beautiful as she is now.  Think about it."

    "Knowledge is a quest without end.  You and I both know it, Izimon.  And there is definitely something exciting of being the first to find something new.  But there's only so much that you can learn as the human --You are aware of that, right?  Already you have learned so much about Digimon first hand, and now you have the capabilities of pursuing that knowledge even further.  Do you want to give up this chance of a lifetime?"

    "I watched you just now, Soramon.  I saw you test your new wings.  I noticed your delight.  You do realise that you can only keep them as a Digimon, right my dear?  Humans don't have wings.  Stay as you are and you can constantly live your dream of flight.  Sora would only dream of flying.  How badly do you want to change back with such a thing to lose?"

    "After a long time, two brothers are brought together, supposedly for only a week, but now there is a chance for the two brothers to be together forever."  Matimon clutched his brother tighter.  "Perhaps you could become human again and save the Digital World.  Then you would have to go home and be separated again.  Matt would have his brother taken away from him again, but Matimon could be at his brother's side forever.  Think of what you would sacrifice."

    Karimon whimpered in her brother's arms as the heavy footfalls of Frankenmon came towards them.  "How about you Karimon?  I understand that there was once a human girl name Kari who was sickly most of the time.  One of the greatest risks that this little girl would face was a human sickness called pneumonia and this risk would be brought to mind almost every time she sneezed."  Karimon sniffled.  "But did you know that a Digimon is not capable of catching such a human illness.  As Karimon, you have a strong healthy body that will never become ill and you would be able to do the same activities as your brother.  No more being left behind.  Now, doesn't that sound nice?"

    Taimon growled as Frankenmon's voice washed over him and his sister.  "And what about you Taimon?  You were the first one to embrace the existence of a Digimon.  Much more enjoyable than being plain old Tai, isn't it?  And for you, no goal is as much fun as the journey, isn't that right?  And you have reached your goal.  You have made it to my laboratory and now I am giving you a choice.  Who would you rather be?  Tai?  Or Taimon?  But keep in mind that one of these choices could mean the end of all of the adventures."

    Hollow footsteps echoed across the room as Frankenmon walked back to the one end.  "These are the choices that I give you.  If you decide to remain Digimon, all you have to do is to cast aside your Crests and give up the Prophesy."
    Taimon clutched at the Tag that hung around his neck.
    "I shall leave you to think about it for a bit.  But I am certain that you will see things my way."  
    Then the lights came on.  Frankenmon was gone.  Taimon got up and walked around the room, checking on the others.  Besides having a stunned and upset look on their faces, they all seemed fine.  But Tai had the feeling that he was forgetting something important.  He listened to the voices of his friends as he tried to figure out what was wrong.
    "I'm so short," said Izimon to his partner.  "How can this be to my advantage?"
    "Well," replied Tentomon thoughtfully, "you can go into places that most can't now.  I have heard tales of Digimon that live in small caves on the side of cliffs.  You can investigate that."
    "Gee Tiikei," said Matimon thoughtfully as he peered into his brother's mouth.  "I hope that you never need braces."
    "Me too," replied Tiikeimon as he looked at the paws that replaced his hands.  "I think I'm gonna have trouble holding a toothbrush as it is."
    "It's so dark in here, Palmon," murmured Meimimon as she huddled on the cement.  "I want to go out in the sun."
    "I know just what you mean," replied Palmon as she tried to soothe her.
    "I don't think that this is the right kind of place to make such a huge decision," said Jyoumon as he looked glumly up at the ceiling.
    "Do you think he'd let us out to think about things?" asked Soramon as she flew up as high as she could.  "There's not enough room in here."
    "We're forgetting something," said Taimon.  "But what?"
    "I dunno Tai," replied Agumon.
    "This doesn't seem right," said Karimon sadly.  "Especially after all that Igorimon has done for us."
    Everyone's head snapped up.  "Igorimon!" they all shouted together.  
    "Where is she?" asked Gatomon.  "We heard her."
    "So she's gotta be close by," said Patamon.
    All of the Digimon got up, their own problems and desires forgotten.  They started to search the room for their guide.
    "Igorimon?!?" shouted Soramon.  "Can you hear us?"
    "Where are you?!" called out Agumon.
    "Frankenmon!" shouted Matimon.  "What have you done with Igorimon?!?"

    In a dark room just off the one he just left, Frankenmon faced his servant.  The female Digimon sported welts and bruises and wore a few new bandages.  She sat huddled against a wall, her head hidden against her knees.
    "Igorimon," said Frankenmon in his gravely voice, "you have yet to apologise for disobeying me."
    The female Digimon said nothing, but sobbed softly instead.
    Frankenmon sighed in exasperation.  He stopped pacing and thought for a moment.  "Igorimon, I will give you one final chance to redeem yourself.  You have to convince my new Digimon to stay as they are.  If you cannot do even that, than I shall have to consider punishing you."
    "Yes, Master," Igorimon whispered.
    "Then I shall let them outside, and you shall go and convince them."

    Izimon was studying some digital insects that lived within a tree.  Not quite insects per say, but not really Digimon either.  He wiggled his way further into the hollow, trying to commit everything to memory, as he definitely couldn't bring his laptop with him.  Even though it was dark, his eyes were able to make out the forms and details of the interesting new life-forms within the dark little haven.
    "Izimon!  Haven't you been in there long enough?" called out Tentomon from somewhere behind him.  "The others want to hold a meeting.
    The small bug-boy Digimon gave a silent sigh.  At least he had a chance to study something that he would not be able to see as a human, or even as a half completed Digimon.  He carefully backed out of the hollow, and then flew to the ground, seemingly oblivious to the fact that his partner almost towered over him.
    "All right, I'm ready," he said to Tentomon.  "Let's go."
    Everyone was gathered on the field by the old signpost.  Well almost everyone.  Soramon was still flying up above the trees and ruins.  
    Biyomon called up to her.  "Sora!  You gotta come down now!"
    "Just a minute!" called Soramon from up above.  "I won't really have another chance at this."  A minute later she landed on the ground.  
    "So has anyone seen Igorimon yet?" asked Matimon as he scratched himself in the ear with his hind leg.
    "I'm right here, Matimon, sweetie," said Igorimon's voice as she approached them from the doorway of the lab.
    "What happened to you, Igori?" asked Agumon in concern.
    The Digimon noticed all of the bruises and welts that their guide bore.  Anger rose in each of them as they realised what must have happened to sweet Igori.
    "It doesn't matter, dear," she said with a forced smile.
    "Yes it does matter!" exclaimed Meimimon.  "You're hurt and we are not going to stand by and let people do that to you!!!"
    "Yeah!" said Karimon hotly.  "We care for you too much!"
    "Did Frankenmon do this to you?" asked Palmon.  "Tell us if it was him."
    "We'll make him pay," said Biyomon.
    All of the Digimon voiced their opinions and anger and their vows of vengeance.  Then Igorimon settled them down with a wave of her hands and got their attention.  
    "Listen up, dear hearts.  My master wants me to convince you all to keep your present forms.  But I want you to decide for yourselves what you want to do."
    "We already know that we have to change back to human," said Karimon.
    "But what's the rush?" asked Gatomon.  "We've made it to the lab and because of that, Frankenmon caught us.  Now you all have been changed.  You should at least experience being a Digimon for a little longer.  What can it hurt?"
    There was a few minutes of silence as they all thought things over.
    "I like being strong enough to do things," said Tiikeimon.  
    "I'm in no rush to change back," said Jyoumon.  "It's good to be able to do things, like swimming and running.  And it's nice knowing that I can do so."
    "I can learn to like this new body," said Meimimon.  "And I can stay like this for as long as I want to."
    "With this form of mine, I can explore and learn about all sorts new things about the Digi-World."  Izimon shrugged.  "It would be a shame to waste such an opportunity."
    "I find it wonderful just being able to fly," said Soramon.  "Would it be so wrong to want to be able to do so for a while longer?"
    "I wouldn't mind just staying with T.K. for a while longer," said Matimon with a thick arm around his brother's shoulders."
    "I like the feeling of being strong," admitted Karimon.  "And knowing that I can do whatever I want, knowing that I won't get sick.  But it's not just about what I want, is it?"
    "All I know is that I don't want the adventure to end," said Taimon as he scratched his knee.  But like Kari says, this isn't just about what we want to do.  And I also know that if we decide to throw away our Crests and stay as Digimon, the adventure will end anyway, and so will the Digi-World.  And you know what?  I don't think that I can be that selfish."
    Everyone sighed.  They knew that Taimon was correct.
    "Well, I guess that's that," said Jyoumon.  "But that's okay.  It was fun while it lasted."
    "If only we could Digivolve to Ultimate and Mega levels," said Agumon.  "Then you guys could stay as Digimon longer."
    "But that is not currently possible," said Izimon.  "And unfortunately, we don't have the time to figure it out."
    "Sorry about that, Igorimon," said Taimon as he moved towards her.  "You're gonna get into trouble for this, aren't you?"
    "Maybe, Taimon dear, but I believe that you made the right decision."  The smile that Igorimon gave them was genuine as opposed to the one that she gave them earlier.

    Frankenmon watched them from his tear in reality.  He was flabbergasted.  After all of the advantages that he had given them, the new Digimon --his Digimon wanted to become human again?!?  And what did Igorimon think she was doing?!?  Curiosity overcame him.  He had to know why.  He stepped through the tear, back into reality.  

    The Digimon watched as Frankenmon stepped out of his inter-dimensional rift.  The first thing he did as he stepped out was to walk up to Igorimon and smack her hard across the face.  She gave a startled gasp.
    "You didn't even try to obey me, Igorimon!  How dare you disobey your master?!?" he shouted at her.
    Then he noticed that the faces of sixteen Digimon staring at him with pure anger and hate in their eyes.
    "How dare you?!?" shouted Meimimon.  "You evil monster!!"  She leaped at him and tried to scratch at his face with her claws.  
    He knocked her aside, astonished at her ferocity.  This is not something that he expected out of his delicate blossom of a Digimon.  This was not right at all.  "You have all decided to refuse the offer that I have given you?!?" he asked incredulously.  He pulled out his transmitter and activated the stasis program.  Everyone of the Digimon before him were all locked into place.  With his special ability, he probed into the minds of his experimental subjects.  "I must find out why."

    He looked into the angry eyes of Tiikeimon.  "I am not useless!  I have learned so much since I came to the Digi-World.  And I have gotten stronger too!  I am not worthless, and I don't need to be babied anymore.  I don't have to be a Digimon to prove that.  I am going to do everything that I can to make sure that everything is okay!"

     Jyoumon stared at him through steady violet eyes.  "I may have been a wimp before I came here, but I have experienced so much that I can't help but change.  I have become stronger and I know now that I can say no to things that I don't want to do and I can choose my own destiny.  It would be nice to have this body a little longer but there are so many people who are relying on me and I choose not to let them down."

    Meimimon's pale green face was flushed with red as she glared at Frankenmon.  "Maybe I am a little too concerned about my appearance, but thanks to Palmon and my friends I have learned that a person can be beautiful on the inside and that friendships themselves are beautiful.  And there is no way that I am going to sacrifice the friendships of the people who are counting on me!"

    "Ever since I arrived here in the Digital World I have interacted with all of the Digimon that I have encountered.  Everything that has happened since we've arrived has been a learning experience.   I was already a part of this world before you made me a Digimon and I don't need to keep this body to experience it."  Izimon was smug with his reply.  "And I do have my friends to help me find the answers."

    Soramon's answer was a bit wistful, but her resolution was firm.  "Dreams are part of what we are.  I thank you for letting me experience my dream, but there is a time where dreams need to be put aside so real work can get done.  It's true that I loved the ability to fly, but now I need to get my head out of the clouds so I can help my loved ones.   They are counting on me."

    Matimon looked at his brother before answering.  "It would be great if T.K. and me could stay together.  But this isn't the way to do it.  We can't just leave the other people that we love, like Mom and Dad.  We will be together again.  And again and again.  But it will be on our own terms."

    "I have been sick most of my life," said Karimon.  "I know what it's like to be left behind because I wasn't strong enough.  But I am strong in other ways.  I can help out in other ways.  I don't need this strong body to help my brother and my friends.  Even if I can't go along with them myself, I will always be with them in spirit."

    "You say that the adventure ends if I give up this body," said Taimon.  "But you're wrong, Frankenmon.  Life itself is an adventure.  I was having an adventure at summer camp, then I was having an adventure when I came to the Digital World.  I had a great adventure as a Digimon, and I plan on continuing the adventure to defeat Piedmon.  After that, who knows what kind of adventure that I'll have next.  But you know what?  I think I want to have those adventures as Tai.  His life isn't so boring after all.  And I am not afraid to live out my life as him."

    Frankenmon didn't know what to say.  He was certain that they would keep the new bodies that he had given them.  But he saw into their hearts and minds and got an answer that he didn't expect.
    There was a low chuckle from the prone form of Igorimon.  "You have received your answer, Master.  Is it really all that surprising?  These children are not as selfish as you are."
    Frankenmon became enraged at the tone of her voice.  He had offered Igorimon a second chance to redeem herself.  He had offered these Rookies everything, life, and safety, and their hearts' desire and they all have REJECTED HIM?!?
    "I refuse to believe this!" he shouted.  "I will never change you back!  If you refuse to remain as Digimon, then I shall not let you remain at all!"  A dark energy started to form around his hands.  The Digimon-Destined and the Destined Digimon were all unable to move as Frankenmon's stasis field still held them in place.  They could only stare in fear and the dark energy became more and more concentrated.
    Igorimon broke free of the stasis and she struggled to stand.  "Let them go!!!" she shouted.  "You have given them a choice, and they have chosen!  Now change them back!"  She stumbled to get in between her Master and her charges.
    "I am finally tired of wasting my time on these obviously failed experiments!" shouted Frankenmon.  "And this time, I am going to delete them!  No more of this setting them free.  Do you hear me, Igorimon?!?"  He aimed his hands with the dark energy towards all of the Digimon.  "Dark Dissection!" he shouted as he let the energy loose towards them.
    "Shield of Light!" shouted Igorimon as she deflected his attack.
    "What are you doing, Igorimon!" demanded the evil scientist.  "I command you to step aside!"
    "I will not!  You shall not have these Digimon as long as I draw breath," she replied.  She was already panting from the exertion.  
    The sixteen Digimon were at a complete loss, they would help if only they were free from the stasis that kept them still.
    "Silly little fool," said Frankenmon derisively.  "Do you honestly think that you can stop me?"
    "I don't know," said Igorimon honestly.  "But I am going to do my best and try."  She began to shimmer.  "Igorimon digivolve into...  Titaniamon!"  The faerie queen Digimon darted in and smacked the evil scientist Digimon right across the face.  The dark energy dissolved and faded.
    Frankenmon regarded the other Digimon thoughtfully.  "This is unexpected.  You should not be able to digivolve at all.  I have not programmed it into you.  How is it that you are able to do so now?"
    "Perhaps I have found a reason to do so," replied Titaniamon.  "It is amazing what a Digimon could do when she is properly motivated."
    "You don't say," mused Frankenmon.  "But do you think that it is enough to defeat me?"
    "Spirit Shine!" she cried out, sending her faerie attack towards him, but he batted it aside.
    "Poor little Igorimon," he talked down to her.  "Can't you see?  You may have digivolved, but it still isn't enough to defeat me."  He dashed up with her and raised his hand.  "Hand of Dark Punishment!"  He smacked her across the face and he smacked her again and again.  He didn't let up at all and Titaniamon had no chance to retaliate.
    While the two Ultimate Digimon were fighting, all of the Rookies realised that they were no longer frozen in place.  They tried to digivolve but found that they were unable to do so.  But that did not prevent them from trying to help their friend.  But Frankenmon batted them aside easily and did not let up on his attack on Igorimon.
    Frankenmon knocked Titaniamon back far enough and she had the moment to get back on her feet.  She shook herself and faced her opponent.  She seemed to know that she was fighting a rear-guard battle.  She took a deep breath prepared to use her final attack.
    "Starburst Sacrifice!"  A huge brilliant pulsing ball of light shot out from her hands.  It hit Frankenmon squarely in the chest and exploded.  The resulting burst of light blinded them all.
    And when their sight returned the Rookies realised that Frankenmon now held the faerie-queen Digimon by the collar of her chain mail.  She looked weak and bruised, yet still defiant.  Frankenmon was now panting heavily.  
    He glared at her over his fist.  "I didn't think that you would defy me," he said to her.  "And that attack you just performed was impressive, but now you have nothing left to fight with.  And unfortunately for you, I am just a little winded."
    "I did what I felt I had to do.  These children must be restored."
    "And so you risk throwing away everything."  He sighed.  "Igorimon, I am very, very disappointed in you," said Frankenmon grimly.  "You do realise that I have to punish you now and that there is nothing you can do to stop me?"
    "I know," said Titaniamon softly.  Then she lifted her chin and looked at her creator defiantly.  "But if I had the second chance, I would do it all over again.  There are some things that are worth risking all for."
    The other Digimon sighed.  "I think that I built you too well.  It will pain me to do this, but I am afraid that you leave me with no choice."
    "Wait!!!" shouted Taimon.  "What are you going to do with her?!?"  He ran forward on all fours, taking a deep breath in to prepare his attack.
    "Wait, Taimon!" cried out Titaniamon.  Then she said softly, "Wait, Tai dear."  She gave him and all of the others a warm and sad smile.  "This is all for the best, trust me, and trust in yourself.  All of you."
    "What do you mean?" asked Matimon.  "You're not giving up, are you Titaniamon?"
    "No, Matt, sweetie.  You will understand."  Titaniamon shimmered and devolved back into Igorimon.  She was bruised and battered, but she didn't look like she was giving up.  Rather she looked like she was waiting for something.
    Frankenmon looked grim.  "You do understand that there is no reason to give these Digimon hope, especially when there is nothing you can do about it.  Say goodbye to them now, Igorimon.  After I am done with you, I will take care of them."
    Igorimon's right hand started to glow.  The faint light traveled up her arm and soon covered her entire body.  The gentle Digimon looked up at her creator for one last time, and smiled.  "I thought you were smarter than this, Master --Frankenmon.  Hope is eternal.  It is the light to drive out the darkness that Piedmon desires.  Even though you will destroy me, I have succeeded in what I have set out to do.  I have an accomplishment that I can be proud of.  I have brought the Digi-Destined and the Destined Digimon here to defeat you.  I have helped restore them so they can defeat the darkness.  What have you done that you can say that you are proud of, Frankenmon."
    "Shut up!  I'm still the master here!"
    "Not mine, not anymore.  I am my own master, the master of my own destiny.  I do not need to do as you say anymore; I have made my own choices."
    "You have no idea of what you are saying, Igorimon.  You say that I am no longer your master, but I hold your fate in my hands, and the same goes for the gaggle of Rookie Digimon that you have been shepherding."
Igorimon chuckled.  "You are deceiving yourself, Frankenmon.  I knew that this was going to happen, and I chose to follow through with my choice.  So do what you feel that you have to do, and I will do the same."
    "Be quiet, Igorimon!" shouted the Evil Scientist.  "I am still Master here!"
    "The master of what?  Not of me anymore.  And what have you done that you are proud of?  What have you done that will leave a lasting impact on this world?"
    Frankenmon paused as he pondered the words of his onetime slave.  Deep inside, he realised that she was correct, but he was convinced that he could hide the truth from himself for a little while longer if there is no one around to remind him of it.  He was sorry to have to destroy his work, but for the sake of keeping his peace of mind, Igorimon and the Digimon-Destined, as well as all of the Destined Digimon have got to go.  There has to be no witnesses.
    His free hand formed a glowing red ball of energy.  He raised Igorimon higher and aimed the glowing ball at her chest.  "Goodbye, Igorimon," he snarled.
    "Wait!!!" shouted the Digimon.
    "Goodbye dear hearts," whispered Igorimon and she gave them all one final smile.
    "Dark Dissection!"  The blast blew Igorimon apart into tiny pixels.

    Despair came over the sixteen Digimon.  If Frankenmon was able to beat down Titaniamon, an Ultimate Digimon, then what chance do they have, even if they could digivolve into Champion Digimon, to defeat him?
    "Now," said Frankenmon with an evil smile, "let's just finish up, shall we?"  He advanced towards them.
    Taimon realised that Igorimon knew all along that Frankenmon would destroy her.  This is what she meant when she said that she would be punished.  Yet she agreed to help us.  She led us here.  She really must have believed in us.  
    He struggled back to his feet and shouted at Frankenmon and his team-mates.  "Listen!  Igorimon believed in us!  She knew what was gonna happen and she still helped us."
    His team-mates looked at him.
    "And you wanna know what?!?" he demanded.  "After all that she gave us, there is NO WAY that I am gonna let her down!!!"
    The others nodded in agreement.  Looks of grim determination overcame all of their faces.

    The pixels in the air, the remains of Igorimon, turned golden.

    The golden motes drifted over to all of the Rookies and settled on them.  Then they were absorbed into the determined Digimon.
    Taimon felt a great warmth overcome him and with it the knowledge that he would be able to do whatever it took to defeat Frankenmon and regain the ability to free the Digital World from Piedmon's evil.  
    All at once, the Rookie Digimon realised that the stasis program that prevented them from digivolving was no longer in effect.
    They wasted no time.
    "Taimon digivolve into…  Taichimon!"  The Champion form was tall and strong and somewhat more reptilian than before.
    "Agumon digivolve into... Greymon!"  The giant dinosaur loomed over his partner.
    "Matimon digivolve into... Yamatomon!"  The wolf man Digimon growled menacingly at Frankenmon.
    "Gabumon digivolve into... Gabumon!"  The giant wolf stood behind his partner, ready to watch his back.
    "Soramon digivolve into... Soranamon!"  The graceful bird-woman flexed her hands, ready for the attack.
    "Biyomon digivolve into... Birdramon!"  The giant bird took to the air, ready to provide air support.
    "Meimimon digivolve into... Entomimon!"  The beautiful nymph-like Digimon looked grim and determined.  It was obvious that she didn't want to fight, but will for the sake of her friends.
    "Palmon digivolve into... Togemon!"  The giant walking cactus flexed her arms, preparing for the battle.
    "Jyoumon digivolve into... Joaiomon!"  The Champion form was now more beastlike, but didn't look any less capable of causing maximum damage.
    "Gomamon digivolve into... Ikkakumon!"  The giant woolly Digimon gave his partner a mischievous grin, then glared at Frankenmon.
    "Izimon digivolve into... Koushiromon!"  The four armed insect-humanoid took to the air.
    "Tentomon digivolve into... Kabutarimon!"  The giant horned beetle joined his partner.
    "Tiikeimon digivolve into... Takerumon!"  The bat-winged warrior clutched his spear and aimed it towards his opponent.
    "Patamon digivolve into... Angemon!" The graceful angel lifted into the sky.
    "Karimon digivolve into... Hikarimon!"  The fur covered angel grasped the hilt of her sword and rose into the sky.
    "Gatomon digivolve into... Angewomon!"  The winged Amazon joined her partner.

    The evil scientist looked at the sixteen Champion Digimon and smiled.  "This will be most interesting," he said.  "I will be able to see how well my creations manage to fight before I destroy them all."

    Yay, after a year, I have finished the seventh chapter.  I want to thank MoonSheen, for her support.  I want to thank Shiborugu for many an idea, especially for the Frankenmon tale.  I want to thank Silver-Stone-Wolf for suggesting the details of Freismon, and some of the battles.  And I also want to thank Alex Warlorn, for the idea and a outline of the Question and Answer period of Frankenmon's.  (He wants me to advertise his Digimorphs 03 fic and I have no problem with that --give it a read, folks!  You'll find it here on fanfiction.net, here.)

And many, many thanks for all of the people who have encouraged me to keep going with this fanfic.  

Thanks again for taking the time to read this.  Please let me know what you think!

Chapter Eight

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