The sounds of cars echoed above his head as he stood under the bridge. There was little light here and a pungent smell of rubbish. He lent back against the graffiti covered wall and shoved the paper Mai-Lynn had given him into one of the deep pockets of his trench coat. Water sloshed against the barrier down below as it ebbed and flowed with the tide. It was almost melodic with the sound of the ripples ricocheting off the network of exposed iron and steel beneath the bridge. A cyclist shot past, not paying any attention to Tyler or Idomon – who was hidden in the shadows.
"We need to track down Parricidium's hideout and break in there."
"If they've got my mum then I need to be quick."
"We need to be patient!"
"I can't!" Tyler clutched his head and began to pace. "Not when everyone is at risk." He wracked his brain trying to think of options. He needed a way to save everyone and find everything out in a short space of time. "I can't." Shaking his head, he looked up at the bridge's undercarriage. "I don't know what to do." He felt tears prick his eyeballs as he thought of his mum being hurt. It was up to him to protect her and keep her safe from things like this and he had failed as a son.
He slumped back against one of the concrete pillars supporting the bridge, his shoes scuffing against the ground as he sat down. He had to come with something. "I've got it!"
Idomon hovered over. "What? Please don't tell me it's something stupid."
"It was so obvious; I can't believe it took me this long!" Tyler erupted to his feet and began walking.
Idomon flew in front of him. "Tyler, use your words."
Tyler grinned. "They're capturing people related to Digimon, right?"
Tyler side-stepped around Idomon, continuing to walk. "So, we find someone with a Digimon and wait. Come on!"
"Tyler, we don't know anyone else!" Idomon exclaimed before dispersing himself into a mist.
Tyler's phone buzzed as he emerged back into the blinding sunlight. As he pulled it out and unlocked it, he felt a cold gust of wind brush his hand. "Hello?"
Tyler paused. Whoever they were, they knew who he was and could be related to Parricidium. "How did you get this number?"
"Unimportant." It was a distinctly female voice, maybe middle-aged. However, that didn't discount the use of voice modulator software. "I believe you need my help."
Tyler felt the scrap of paper in his pocket with his free hand. "Are you part of LASS?"
"Meet me at the old zoo in Central." The phone call became dead.
Tyler slipped his phone away and glanced around for Idomon. A wisp of smoke to his right. "Be prepared to fight."
"Who was that?"
"I'm not sure. We need to go to the zoo at Central."
"I'll stay close by."
Tyler looked around, checking to see if anyone was watching him but there weren't many people around apart from dog walkers and cyclists. "I'll catch the tram."
Tyler stepped off the tram, swiping his SIAP card and felt his phone buzz in his pocket. It was the same number as before. Were they watching him? But from where? He answered it, holding it up to his ear slowly.
"I'm glad to see you turned up."
"How did—?" They were clearly clever.
"I have one condition for helping you."
"And that is?" Whoever this was had to be nearby but there were tonnes of people on phones. "You'll give something to your friends for me."
"Why can't you do it yourself?"
Tyler walked up to the entrance of the zoo and looked up at the sign. It was fairly unused these days and it showed in the rust on the ironwork. "Well?"
"It's not in the cards at the moment." Just like Gimi; she was being cryptic.
"What is it you want me to give them?"
"I'm near the gorilla enclosure. Ten minutes." The phone cut off again.
Tyler walked in slowly, glancing around. He was very cautious that this could be a trap. Parricidium could be luring him here so he was alone and easy to capture. There was a stone tablet ahead with a map of the zoo carved into it. Tyler approached and noticed rubble, scuff and burn marks on the ground. "A fight?" Was it recent?
"Stay focussed," Idomon whispered, his ghostly body floating past and sending a chill down Tyler's spine.
"Got it." Tyler ran his finger along the map for the route to the enclosure and then continued walking. Whatever this was, he would know soon.
As he approached, he saw a lone woman in a sunhat sat on the only bench in the area. Tyler glanced around, checking for anyone else but he couldn't see anyone. "Have a look around," Tyler whispered.
"I've got it," Idomon replied curtly. Obviously annoyed he even had to be asked.
Tyler walked forwards and noticed she was wearing flip flops and a blue and white sundress. Was she aware it was winter?
Tyler stopped just short of the bench, preferring to keep his distance. "Hey."
"You've got heavy feet." She lifted her sunhat and looked at Tyler. "Do you know why we're here?"
"No." Tyler took a seat next to her. She seemed strange but not immediately disconcerting.
"Your friend, Rori, had a fight here." The woman looked back at the gorilla enclosure, relaxing into the bench.
Tyler looked at the enclosure but couldn't see anything. However, this made perfect sense. The place was dilapidated and clearly underfunded. It was a shock there were any animals still alive here.
"Who won the fight?" The woman asked, crossing one leg over the other. Beyond the wide-brimmed straw hat Tyler couldn't see her expressions.
"Rori." Tyler was sure of this. If Rori had lost, then surely she would have mentioned it or even not be here given how much damage there was.
"Incorrect." The woman looked at him. "You're the smarter one, right?"
Tyler felt uncomfortable at the assertion that he was smarter than his peers. "Maybe?"
"Firstly: a fight isn't always to the death, so Rori's wellbeing is unrelated the outcome of the fight. Secondly: the evidence suggests a struggle. Third and finally: there's evidence of a third party."
What was she getting at? "So, Chrysanthemon won?"
She looked away, down the pathway towards some lemurs. "Chrysanthemon flies so her presence would be minimal. So, a third party suggests someone or something else." She pulled off her hat and stood up. Her chocolate brown hair spilled out, thick and full around her shoulders. "Let's go."
Tyler followed her as she walked. How wasn't she cold? "Why are you wearing summer clothing?"
"It isn't cold. Be fully aware at all times." She spun and threw her hat onto the ground, catching a rat that was scurrying across the path behind him. She walked over slowly as the hat moved about. Kneeling down she lifted the hat with one hand and grasped the rat with the other. "You need a warm home, so I'll place you in this bush." She carefully rested the rat into a bush where it disappeared from sight immediately. Strange how she wouldn't just let the rat do this by itself. Placing her hat back onto her head, she walked over to him, placing her hand on his shoulder. "Your mother will be interrogated in the next week." She continued walking past him towards a dead end. There was only one entrance and exit and yet she was walking steadfastly towards a wall.
"Where are you going?" Tyler asked as he stepped over the ankle high fence that blocked off the grass leading towards the wall. "There isn't a back exit," Tyler called after her as she continued forwards.
"You're a city boy for sure." She glanced back at him and then looked up at the wall, which was topped with barbed wire. "How would you solve this?" she asked.
Tyler stared at the wall and thought about it. He had an urge to tell her to use the proper exit and walk around but there had to be an alternate solution, or she wouldn't ask. There was no rope or other means of scaling the wall. There was no drill or visible holes so that ruled out over and under. "Idomon could destroy the barbed wire and then I could get over."
"Or you could go through the gap in the bushes." She indicated the bushes, which through a small gap in the foliage the street was visible.
Tyler took umbrage at being so thoroughly embarrassed, feeling his cheeks flair.
"We have lots of work to do." She slipped through the bush with ease, disappearing to the other side.
Tyler followed, albeit with some difficulty, and looked around for her on the other side. They were now back out on the street. Although it was fairly quiet, so no one seemed to notice him emerging. The brunette stood to his left and was looking back and forth. "So, was this all a trial?"
"You've failed fifty per cent so far." She began walking across the road.
"You're saying there is still half to go?" Tyler felt himself inwardly groan. He needed answers, not stupid games. His patience was beginning to wear thin. The only thing that kept him going was the knowledge she was probably the only person that could help him.
"Incorrect deduction. However." She stopped and looked up at the terraced houses. "I do think you're worthy of my time."
"Who are you?" Tyler pondered the question. She had given him nothing and yet she seemed to know everything that was going on. She knew about his mum, about Digimon, about Rori. "Why do you know so much?" As always, he needed more knowledge. With knowledge, that would lead to answers he could use to help his mum.
"For most of my life I was classed as mentally insane." She began walking down the street and stopped as she reached a red front door. She slipped a brass key into the lock and twisted it with a click. Stepping inside, she hung her hat on a coat rack by the door and then closed the door behind her and it clicked firmly, locking again.
"Wait!" Tyler exclaimed. Why had she brought him all this way just to lock him out? He ran up to the door, thumping on the wood. "I thought you had answers!" Peering into the window, he couldn't see anything past the thick curtains. "Hello?" he called out, becoming frustrated.
"I don't think she's coming back." Idomon appeared low to the ground, hiding behind the stone half wall that separated the door from the kerb.
"Another trial," Tyler muttered, pacing back and forth.
"I'll smash the door down."
"No." Tyler pondered the thought as he looked at the house, trying to discern any details that stuck out. "So far it has all been an intellectual challenge. Therefore, there's a puzzle." He walked backwards, trying to take in the whole house. "I'm just not sure what the answer is."
"She seemed to have all the answers, ask her," Idomon grumbled. Listening was the main theme throughout. She had wanted his focus and attention and had scolded him when he had made mistakes. There definitely weren't enough mistakes for him to only get 50% of the marks so there was more that he hadn't realised.
"Let's just smash it open."
"No." Tyler felt something click. "Ten."
"The ten-minute timer wasn't to test my speed, it's the number on the house."
"Well she brought us here so a bit unnecessary."
Now he had found the number he could crack the code. He began to count groups of ten. The tenth time she spoke after they met, she said it wasn't cold. The antonym of cold was warm. His brain began to whir like a fast car coming to life on a motorway. The house was presumably warm, and a place that release warmth was a boiler. They were typically in the basement. She had mentioned a bush at the same time as mentioning the word warmth when relating to the rat. "The bush."
Idomon flew forwards. "I'll check the bushes."
"Wait, I know which one it is."
Idomon sighed and turned back. "It's quicker if I just check Tyler."
"She put the rat into a bush on the right, so check the right one first."
Idomon slashed at the bush with two quick swipes, revealing a cellar entrance and Tyler felt himself brim with pride. It was like getting 100% on a test. "I'll smash it open."
Tyler ran up to his partner. "Stop!"
Idomon sighed. "What now? You and this woman are really annoying me right now."
Tyler held his hands up to his face, cupping them and blowing warm air into them. "I'll explain." He rubbed his hands together, further warming them up. "It's a four-digit padlock keeping it closed, right?"
"Yes, but in this time we could already be inside."
"She mentioned bush when explaining getting out of the zoo. She also said the word gap."
"That's three letters. And they aren't numbers."
"It's a letter-number cipher with each letter responding to its place in the alphabet. Seven, one, sixteen."
Idomon jiggled about the padlock and it clicked open. "Still would have been faster to break it," Idomon grumbled as he pulled open the handles that led into the darkness below. "Tyler, I'll go first."
Tyler nodded. "Be careful, it's dark down there."
"I'm not afraid of the dark," Idomon retorted, disappearing below.
Tyler waited but heard nothing. "Idomon?" No sound. "Idomon?" He inched over to the edge, looking down but couldn't see anything. Sitting down, he swung his legs over the drop and then eased off the edge, falling down onto hard ground below. As soon as he hit the ground, something dug into his neck and he felt his consciousness quickly wane.
Tyler felt something soft against himself. He was sat up. Groggily, he lifted his head and opened his eyes.
"Ty!" Idomon floated in his face nervously.
"Idomon?" he groaned, his head pounding and his mouth dry.
"There's water on the table next to you." Tyler saw that she was sat across from them in a yellow armchair, her legs crossed and a book in her hands. She closed the book and placed it down on the glass coffee table between them, scooting it towards him with her fingers.
Tyler turned to the right and saw the tall glass of water. He couldn't conceive being tricked again right now. He just needed water. Gripping the glass, he guzzled down the liquid like a hungry otter, not pausing until the glass was empty. Sighing, he exhaled and burped. Covering his mouth, he looked at her. "Pardon me."
"You're pardoned." She smirked and then her eyes rested on the book in front of him.
"Is that?" Tyler's eyes traced the book. Were these the answers he was looking for?
Nodding, she leaned forwards, uncrossing her legs. "Take a look."
Lifting the leather-bound book up, he felt its weight. Not light but not excessively hefty. The front page was in a foreign language; it was one he hadn't seen before. As he flipped through the book, something stood out. It was a photo of a group of children outside Gimi's house. To the right was an older man, and in the middle of the children was a middle-aged man with blond hair. He was grinning at the camera.
"Who took this?" Tyler asked, looking up at her. He wasn't sure why, but he knew it was important.
"Gennai, he's someone I'm sure you've heard of. He got an Ogremon he knew to do it. He's the man on the right, although he's aged a little in the few hundred years since then."
Hundreds of years? She couldn't be serious. This book looked a little old but nowhere near that old. "So Gennai was their leader back then?" Tyler felt sick whenever he thought of leading The Resistance. He was no leader.
She smirked. "He wasn't the leader. That honour went to Tai Kamiya."
Tyler looked up from the book abruptly. It couldn't be. It had to be a coincidence. "Kamiya?"
The woman nodded. "The same surname as your friend, Len. His ancestor."
All this time? Was it some sort of fate or supernatural force? Since meeting Digimon Tyler had relaxed his beliefs in the supernatural slightly but even Digimon still obeyed laws and had reasons. This had to just be a coincidence.
She flicked her hair all over one side and leaned a little closer, looking at the image and smiling. "A long time ago, Gimi, Raposo and Lobo were all together in the Digital World." She moved her chair slightly closer. "They're in the photo just here." Pointing at the picture she glanced at Tyler and then back at the image. "They were under the tutelage of the man in the middle there. You may already know this, but Gimi's life force is directly linked to the invention of the modern antivirus. Gennai and the other man in the image are different. They were agents; artefacts of the early days of the Digital World. Raposo and Lobo were different too, but I've never found how they came to be." She paused and turned the page. "Or were, I should say." She pointed to a picture at the bottom of the page which was filled with writing. "That." The image was blurry and looked like some conspiracy theorists attempt at capturing proof of alien life. "Defeated the man in the middle and all the Digimon who stood with him."
Tyler turned the page back. "This is quite a lot to take in." He looked up at her. "So, there are things other than Digimon in the Digital World? I thought Gimi was—"
"Gimi is different." She got up and walked over to a large window that looked out onto the street, sitting on the wide sill. "Nog, Don and Mino are the same as him. They were brought into existence by the creation of Antiviruses, Antimalware, Antitrojans and Antihackware." She glanced out onto the street, waving at a passing child. "These creations caused disruptions in the Digital World and the ripples gave rise to the four Cardinal Guardians – one for each part of the Digital World."
"I've heard of Gimi but who are the others?"
Sliding off the ledge, she paced slowly behind him, coming to a stop in the corner. She traced her fingers over an old white phone that was hung on the wall and sat down onto a singular white stool that sat in front of a hanging plant. The plants long tendrils draped around her, framing her face in their foliage. "They are the Cardinal Guardians and they've been choosing new Digidestined since they were first created. However, every single Digidestined, even those they believed were the new Chosen Children, have fallen." Sighing, she plucked a small metal watering can off the windowsill behind her, careful not to disturb the stack of books next to it. Turning around, she began to water the plant. "Your group fell most recently, Tyler." She turned back on the stool with the watering can swaying lazily, as if by itself, on her index finger. "Gimi had high hopes for you."
"You're not making sense. What does all this have to do with my mum and everyone else in danger?" Tyler was beginning to become irate. She had promised answers, and all this was superfluous pleonasm.
Idomon flew over to the edge of the white sofa he and Tyler were sat on. "We want answers, lady, I'm getting real tired of all this talking."
Rising from her seat, she walked towards him, plucking a newspaper from the end table next to Idomon and waving it through his body. "This gaseous body is unique – even among Digimon." She continued walking and sat on the table in front of them, placing the newspaper next to her. Smiling, she looked up. "Lobo's dead, correct?"
"Indeed." Tyler bit his lip. He couldn't help but lament his failure back then. People were dying and would continue to die because of this crazy world.
She placed her hand on Tyler's knee and said, "Don't be so down." Rubbing his leg, and making him a little uncomfortable in the process, she continued, "He died in battle; it's what he was born to do."
"Raposo would kill all of you in a heartbeat, even if you had reached Ultimate there and then. He probably wouldn't even need his partner. These two weren't human."
"He is a Digidestined?" If he had a partner, that made him doubly dangerous if he was ever to attack Sabhailte again, especially with Lobo now gone.
"Not exactly. Dregadramon is a powerful dragon Digimon though, and you should remain wary."
"Then how can he be beaten?"
She smirked and Tyler realised her trap. She had tricked him into wanting part of this whole dangerous world all over again.
"I just mean—"
"You have a fighter's heart, Tyler Remmie. You can't escape destiny." Leaning back, she released her hand from his leg. "Trust me, I've tried."
"What was your destiny?"
Ignoring him, she stood up, twirling her wrist around. "This was insightful." She walked away and then tugged her arm sharply. As her arm moved, Tyler felt him self tugged fiercely across the sofa, where he and Idomon were cinched together. The edges of the couch concaved slightly where something invisible was digging in. A rope of some kind. Looking up at her, he felt immense frustration and embarrassment. This was all just some game to her. "Was all that just lies? You're Parricidium too?"
"It was the truth. And I'm not Parricidium, but nice thought." She tugged with her hand slightly, inflicting a sharp sting of pain. "My trail was obvious, especially the loop around your thigh."
Idomon struggled against the string. "Why can't I phase through it?"
"The newspaper had a small device hidden in the pages. It solidifies and immobilises data-based lifeforms completely for ten minutes." She smirked as she saw Idomon stop struggling. "I said unique, not that RODAF had never faced you before."
"RODAF? So, you're with them?" Tyler asked, struggling with renewed vigour but he felt the threat prohibitively cutting into him, even through the multiple layers of his clothes.
"Wrong again. The thread I used is by them also, however. It's made to detain Digimon that may later be useful for experiments."
"Experiments?" Tyler felt a little sick as he imagined Idomon or any of the others being tortured in some laboratory. Somehow, he had never really pictured them performing such horrors, even though it was well within their capabilities.
"Best not to talk about that now, I feel."
Tyler relaxed slightly. There was clearly no point in fighting. There was six minutes and thirty-seven seconds before Idomon could fight if her information about the cube was to be believed. "What was it you wanted from me?"
"Exactly!" She hooked the thread, now glinting in the light, onto a hook on the wall next to her. Walking over to Tyler, she brought her hand swiftly towards his face.
Tyler flinched, clenching his eyes shut as he expected to feel a hit but slowly opened them as he didn't feel anything. "What did you do?"
She held the pendant that had hung around his neck in her hand, staring at it. "Lobo?"
"He gave us it to unlock the First Vector."
"The Energy Shroud is independent of training wheels." She shook it angrily. "You need to learn how to actually ride a bicycle, not a tricycle." She tossed the necklace into a brick fireplace. Walking over, she flicked a switch next to it and the fireplace erupted into powerful flames instantly, the wood inside igniting and burning brightly and fiercely.
Idomon slipped free of the thread and flew at her.
"The cube's still active." She ducked and shoved him into the wall.
Idomon growled, flying up at her and swinging his fist, which was easily caught.
She gripped firmly and turned to Tyler. "Good luck." From a pocket he hadn't even noticed in her sundress, she withdrew a gun and pointed it at him.
"Wait!" What on earth was she doing? This couldn't be how it ended! "Please, don't!" He exclaimed, feeling his eyes well up as he thought of his mother. With a bang and a purple flash, he felt it all end.
Who is this woman? Why did she shoot Tyler? What happened all that time ago in the past and how does all of this relate to our cast?
Very sorry I didn't get chance to edit the last chapter yet but that and this will be getting an update. My friend took me on a surprise trip away and so I didn't have access to my computer for 4 days and then I've had lots of other stuff to deal with, which has slowed me down. Anyway, I won't put a timeframe but both of these will be edited and the next chapter released soon. Hope everyone still reading is enjoying the story.
I don't own Digimon.