16. dawn chorus

Ryo stares at the spot where the Digmon Kaiser was. Stares right past the collection of digimon there, but he seems to see Imperialdramon, at any rate. Greets him like an old friend with fresher scars. Looks like he asks something, and receives a shake of the head in return.

But as Imperialdramon vanishes again in a splash of colour, Ryo blinks and his eyes widen. He looks around in confusion afterwards, but maybe, maybe…

Then another shadow is there and Ryo is running towards it, away from them.

But maybe that's the way it has to be. They're not the ones fighting Milleniummon and this isn't their stage.

The water rushes in, suddenly. Wormmon's webs break and they are swallowed into the bubble of the newly returned Imperialdramon.

And when they next awake, it is to burning light and a cacophony of digimon.

And, later, they'll theorise it was the remnants of the dark spores and the towers, sourced from Milleniummon's power, that had led to the petrification in the first place but they'll never truly know. Only the humans and Wormmon remember. For the rest, it's a shadow. But Koushiro and Ken and Jyou will go around, anyway, and round up the children who'd been infected anyway, because Milleniummon seems to have too many doors already. And the others will grind the towers into something finer than dust.

And, if nothing else, that's less reminders of their demons. They have their digimon instead: their strengths and hopes and lights.