Disclaimer: This story involves a bad guy doing bad things. Three hours previous, in the Real World..."Digital World?" Victor put down his newspaper to look at Marcus, his latest subordinate and right-hand man. His breakfast had gone untouched; egg whites, an apple, a single strip of bacon, and a glass of orange juice to go with it. He would have rather had a glass of wine, but he couldn't afford to reduce his faculties today. It was "inspection day", after all. He had to visit the homes of his followers in Harmonia, his own gated community. But back to the topic at hand, Marcus nodded while showing Victor a news article on his tablet. "Yes, Victor," He answered. "Do you happen to know about?" It took Victor a bit to recall, but he nodded. "That online game," He finally answered. "Many players went into a coma during the update. I haven't kept up to date with the rest, however." "There wasn't much to keep up to date with," Marcus answered. "None of the victims have woken up, and their vitals haven't changed, either. In fact, most people are forgetting about it with all the recent disappearances as of late." "Those 'Labyrinth Events', I believe they were called?" After the initial one in Japan, Victor had been following them as they popped up here and there across the world. Most media outlets excused it as mass hysteria, and a couple after that were always given some bizarre reason like, "mass hallucination due to a gas leak", or something. He had wanted to take advantage of those for quite some time, but doom-saying wasn't his preferred method. Doom-saying brought in followers afraid to die. Victor's ideal follower was different. He liked his followers broken; he wanted people that valued their life so little that the only use they had was to devote it to Victor. And if they happened to be useful; all he'd need to do is lift their spirits a little, and then they'd devote their life to him out of gratitude. "Yes, those. But if we could perhaps get back to these victims, it's been several months since..." Victor raised his hand up to interrupt Marcus. "Let me guess; we reach out to the victim's families, perhaps financially invest in their recovery, and claim we'll be able to heal them, correct?" Marcus only nodded. Victor rolled his eyes and shook his head at Marcus. The man was a fool. "Taking advantage of a victim's family isn't ever the right thing to do!" He slammed his hand down in anger. "For starters; we don't have the medical expertise to properly care for them! We'd be throwing money away by paying those ridiculous hospital fees! And if those vegetables never wake up or if they die when under our financial care, then the families only have us to blame!" Marcus nodded meekly, and Victor gave an exasperated sigh. He had let him into his inner circle, but he was turning out to be a major disappointment. Frankly speaking, he wasn't sure what to do with the fool. He couldn't just let him back into the regular community with the knowledge he had obtained, and excommunicating him would likely raise questions. He had considered dealing with him like how he had with Wallace, but... it was far too soon for that. Two deaths related to the community in the span of a year... no media outlet worth their time was going to ignore that. And when there was the media, there came destruction. Victor didn't want to invite that into his community. He decided to give the man another chance. You never know who will truly come through for you in the end, after all. "I'm going to go for a stroll by myself for now," He said, folding his newspaper and throwing it next to his uneaten breakfast. "Here, eat this for me. Perhaps some proper nutrition will sharpen your mind. When I return we can discuss any ideas you might have, then we'll go visit the townsfolk." Without waiting for his response, he threw on his ridiculously gaudy-looking jacket. It set off alarms for every fashion sense in his body, but the extravagance of his appearance was imperative for him to maintain. He couldn't go out in public looking like an ordinary person, after all. He stepped out of his cabin to go for a stroll in the woods, and was never seen or heard from again. Labyrinth Event - Intersection of WorldShe had run as far as she could before she found out she was lost. Usara's rabbit-themed hood of her habit flopped back and forth with each step, and when she realized she no longer recognized the tree patterns, she froze and looked around her. The forest around her seemed... fragmented somehow. It was like the forest she knew had... merged with the forest of another. The normal trees seemed to merge with much stranger trees. Ones that didn't have any electrical sockets or cords hanging out of them. "No... no... oh no... This can't be happening right now... Please... don't let this happen right now!" She dropped her trident in despair. Tears were streaking down her face as she knelt down and clasped her hands down together, seeking aid from some sort of higher power. Which was strange; she didn't truly believe in a higher power, or at least one that would hear and listen to her. But all she could do is pray. Perhaps this strange effect would fade away as quickly as it had passed. Despite her sobs, she heard footsteps approaching through the grass. Whatever caused this phenomena had created a fine mist throughout the area, so when she looked up all she saw was a silhouette. The figure was in a shape quite similar to Usara herself, though this one was much taller, probably nearing two meters in height. He didn't say anything at first, and Usara couldn't find the words to speak up. He walked right up to her, knelt down beside her, and in a sudden move he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her gently into his embrace. His hands at her back and the back of her neck, he whispered into her ear. "It was destiny that brought me here to you, child. Allow me to guide you to salvation..." "I... I beg your pardon?" Usara replied, leaning back to look at the mysterious man's face. She looked in his deep, violet eyes. He had sharp, narrow face. He had a sharp gaze; unsmiling, but not unapproachable. There was some sort of fierce intensity that she couldn't quite make out. "Then... you came here to help me?" His face remained unchanged, yet somehow Usara could tell that Victor was lost in though. Eventually his mouth moved from a focused scowl to flat lips; probably his version of a smile. "Of course. My name is Victor Caine. What is your name, child?" Usara wiped the tears from her eyes, slightly ashamed. Nekora would get mad at her if she found out that she just started kneeling down to cry again. She stood up, and watched the man do so as well, towering over the child-Digimon. "My name is Usara. Usara the Sistermon Blanc," She replied. She extended her hand out to his, and he grabbed it with a firm grip, yet a gentle shake. She turned around to where she came from, and noticed the mist clear around them. Soon, the forest returned to the way she originally remembered it. She picked up her trident from off the ground. She grabbed onto the man's hand and pleaded, "Then we must hurry and help my sister fight off the Digimon attacking the orphanage!" "The... what now!?" She heard him exclaim, but there was no time to explain. She began to easily drag him along. Despite his size, he didn't seem that strong. She wondered if he could be of any help at all. She had to shake her head at the thought. He appeared right when she was at her weakest and was begging for help. Surely he was able to do something to help! And they were already out of time! Digital World - Orphanage"Come on, you filthy heathens! There's more where that came from!" Nekora's boast was without merit, however. She was already exhausted from avoiding all three of the Digimon's attacks, and had only just now been able to take one down. Unfortunately, the damn Devidramon was taking forever to vanish. She guessed it was tougher than she thought it was. Her back was against the wall, and she kept her guns pointed out towards the ragtag group of adult Digimon. The first was a reddish-orange-skinned, ogre-like creature with a large, spiked bone he used as a club. Fugamon grinned as a swung his bone around in the air. He was easy enough to dodge, but the fool kept charging at her and making it difficult for her to attack. Plus he was nimbler than he looked; she hadn't been able to hit him with a single bullet yet. The second was a large, yellow, one-eyed monstrous dragon-like creature with a spiked helmet and a silver shoulder pad. It exuded a great deal of heat every time it took a breath. Cyclomon It's heat breath had nearly got her once, and took a great chunk of Orphanage with it. Plus its arm was much longer than it looked. Finally, there was the injured Devidramon, a jet-black demonic-looking gargoyle Digimon. It's flight had been an issue before she shot its wings down, but even after taking a few bullets to the chest, the creature seemed almost desperate to survive. Now all she had to worry about were its sharp claws and demonic attacks. Individually, Nekora could easily take these Digimon, but with the three together she knew that she didn't have much of a change. The few Digimon that were living in Orphanage didn't make it; Devidramon had ripped them to shreds of data while Nekora was busy trying to deal with the other two. Her only hope remaining was that Usara could make it out safely. She would no doubt try to find help, but there wasn't anyone out here for miles. Nekora hoped that after the three dealt with her and razed Orphanage to the ground, they would move on before her sister could come back. So naturally, when she saw Usara come running back before the fight even finished, having a human of all things in tow. "Sister! I have brought aid! His name is Victor!" She cried out with a great deal of cheer. Read the situation, damn it! What good was a human going to do with three adult Digimon? Unless... she had heard rumors of some humans being able to turn into Digimon of adult strength before! Maybe they had a chance if... "Wh-what are these strange beasts!?" The human cried out in shock. So it was a newcomer. Wonderful. "And why are they attacking that woman!?" "Get a grip on the situation, human!" Nekora called out, taking a breath and swinging her guns around. "Mickey Bullet!" She fired out her guns in many directions, sending the three adult Digimon around her in a dancing frenzy as they worked to avoid the gunfire. A couple grazed the slower Cylomon, but Fugamon and Devidramon avoided the attacks. "Usa! Guard up!" She ran past the three attacking Digimon to Usara and the shocked human. The Cyclomon was too slow to respond and Fugamon had to dive into the ground to avoid the bullets. Only the injured Devidramon was able to pursue her, and she was easily able to get into place in time. "CRIMSON NAIL!" Devidramon swung down with his massive claw, but Nekora was able to stand behind her sister in time. "PROTECT WAVE!!" Usara cried out as loud as her meek voice could get. She stabbed the butt of her trident into the ground as a bright surge of pink energy clashed against the demonic Digimon's attack. It was only able to stop the attack for a second, but it was enough time for Nekora to make a countermeasure. "BLESS FIRE!" She cried out, firing a series of shots in a straight line in front of her. Two streaks of Anthony's bullets pierced through the Devidramon's chest as the creature scattered into data soon after. "That's one down, now only two to g-" She saw Usara fall to one knee, panting with exhaustion. She was still only a child-stage Digimon, after all. There wasn't any chance of her stopping another adult-stage Digimon's attack. Which meant that she had to take on the remaining two. Then, she heard a beeping sound from the human man's pocket. He pulled out a strange device that he held out as if it were an alien object, right towards the scattering data of the Devidramon. Streams of data flowed into the Digivice like it was absorbing the data, somehow. "Wh-what is this!?" The human gasped, looking on in horror as he witnessed a Digimon shoot several holes through another Digimon, then his own strange device started functioning on its own. Nekora sighed and snapped her fingers in front of him. "No time for the long version!" She cried out, speaking as fast as she could. "You're a human! We're Digimon! You're in the Digital World! You think we're weird, we thing you're weird! Other humans exist! You all have those strange things with you! For some reason Digimon seem to follow you humans around!" "HYPER HEAT!!!" She heard the Cyclomon shout as he fired a beam of extremely hot air at the group. Usara hadn't quite recovered enough to move, and she could tell the human was going to be useless. She moved in front of the pair, crossing her arms and taking the brunt of the attack. The rush of air brought utter agony to her arms, thankfully masking the burning she felt throughout the rest of her body. She let out a shout to hide her painful scream as she fell to her knees. "G-get away from here..." She growled through gritted teeth. "Human! Grab Usara and get out of here!" Fugamon had gotten up and charging towards the pair. Nekora couldn't find the strength to lift her arms up and shoot. "I won't run away!" The younger Sistermon jumped in front of Nekora, holding up her trident in a defensive position. "I'll protect you, so you have to protect me, okay sis?" Fugamon swung down with his bone club while Usara attempted to block. The force was too great, however, and her trident, Cross Barbée, went flying out of her hands and landed several yards away. Fugamon grinned and lifted up his club again. Nekora tried to get up and help but still hadn't recovered enough. She turned to the human. "Either help us or get out of here!" She cried out in desperation. The man, frozen in fear, seemed to snap out of it and shoot back an angry look. "And what would you like me to do, huh?" He gripped his Digivice in anger, inadvertently pressing a button. Black streams of data shot out an swarmed around Usara. Her hands began to grow in size as they turned completely black with sharp, red nails. Tattered black wings shot out of her back. "Xcros-Up! Sistermon Devidra Blanc!" Fugamon paused his attack in surprise. Usara looked to see the changes in her body as she reacted with shock. "Eh! What's with my hands!? And my back feels so heavy now!" The Fugamon pushed past the confusion and let out and angry growl as he swung his club, but was met with the claws of a panicked Usara. She put her hands out in front of her in a panic and her claws impaled the Fugamon's chest by accident. It wasn't enough to finish the Fugamon off as he struggled to wrench the Sistermon's hands free from his upper body. "Oh dear God, I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" She cried out as she flailed her arms about in a panic, coincidentally tearing up the Fugamon even further. The Fugamon had to step back as his upper body was turned into a mess of loose data. Usara looked at what she had done in horror. "Finish him!" Nekora urged with a crazed glare. Usara nodded to her sister and charged forward. "C-C-CRIMSON NAIL!" She shouted, slicing at the Fugamon with her eyes closed. Nekora saw her sister tore through the weakened Fugamon, thrusting her entire hand through the adult-level's torso. She opened her eyes, and shrieked at the sight. She Fugamon's data began to fade away, its face half-pain, half-shocked to be dying like this. Victor held out the Digivice once more, and streams of data flew into it. Nekora turned to see him looking at it with a sense of composure. "I see," He commented, nodding. "I can absorb the powers of slain foes, then use them to power up other creatures." He pointed the device at Nekora, and pressed a button. After a couple of seconds, nothing happened. Victor stared at the device, an inquisitive look on his face. "Perhaps it only works on the other child...?" His spoken thoughts were interrupted by the Cyclomon's scream. "HYPER HEAT!!!" It let out another beam of scorching air towards Usara. The Sistermon Child screamed in terror and took to the skies as she flew over the blast. "HYPER HEAT!!!" She ducked out of the way of another blast. "S-somebody help me, please!" She cried out. "Eeeep!" "HYPER HEAT! HYPER HEAT! HYPER HEAT! HEAT HYPER!!! HYPER HEAT!!!" Each time, Usara narrowly avoided the streams, crying all the while. Nekora could only watch as the Cyclomon was beginning to wind down, thoroughly distracted by her sister, who, while admittedly unstylishly, was able to avoid his attacks with ease. She tried to move her arms, but they could only budge a little. Then she saw the human man pick up one of her guns, gingerly pulling it from her burnt hand. "This is quite heavier than I expected," He noted, examining the design. "I have never even held a gun before, but I suppose using it shouldn't be too difficult," He lifted his arm up and steadily aimed it at the Cyclomon. "I assume that helmet is some sort of armor, but seeing as it's being so polite as to be looking up at the moment, I suppose I should just aim for it's exposed throat," He pulled the trigger, but nothing happened. He looked over to Nekora. "Those guns are a part of me..." She tried to explain, speaking as basically as possible so the human could understand. "I have to be the one who fires them or else they won't work." Victor nodded thoughtfully. "I see. And you can't use your arms right now," He looked over towards Usara, still scared out of her wits and avoiding the attacks. "And it seems that child won't be of any further use. A predicament, sure, but not an unsolvable one. How badly do your arms hurt?" Without waiting for an answer, he placed Nekora's gun back in her hand, crouching down behind her. He began to wrap his body around hers. "HYPER... HEAT!!! HYPER... HEAT..." Nekora heard the Cyclomon begin to wear down, but she had other concerns at the moment. "What do you think you're doing, human!?" She demanded. Victor slid his arms around hers, and moved his head close to hers. "If you wish to protect your sister, find the strength to stand and pull the trigger. If you can't move your arms, then I will guide them for you," He whispered. Something about this human bothered Nekora, but she didn't see how she had a choice in the matter. Worn down or not, the Cyclomon was still the most likely winner. "Are you ready?" "Of course!" She gritted her teeth for the incoming pain. Making sure to grip each Anthony tightly as Victor guided her arms to point them directly at the Cyclomon. She let out a groan of pain, but tried to keep it muffled. It would all be over if they got the Cyclomon's attention. Fighting through the agony, she cried out, "Bless Fire!!!" pulling the triggers and firing off a string of bullets in a straight line into the Cyclomon. Victor held her arms tightly, causing further agony stacking with the recoil of her guns. She didn't even attempt to hold back her screams of pain anymore. The bullets pierced through the Cyclomon, weakened by it's constant yet futile assault. It shouted out a hoarse cry before scattering into data as well. Victor dropped Nekora immediately, held up his Digivice, and absorbed the remnants of the yellow-scaled dragon Digimon. Nekora immediately collapsed to her knees while her arms hanged limply by her side. "Forgive me for not being gentler," He apologized with a straight face. "It seems that this only works at the point of the creature's death, so I didn't want to waste the opportunity. Would you like me to help you back up?" "Sister! Victor! Thank goodness you're all okay!" Usara came swooping down from above. She looked exhausted, and as she landed, her wings vanished and her hands returned to normal. She lost her balance and began to fall, only for Victor to grab her. "Th-thank you, Victor..." She said before losing consciousness. To be honest, Nekora also wanted to collapse, but there was something that she had to do, first. "Human... Victor, was it? We need to talk." Digital World - Aftermath"I see. If this... Digivice, if that is what it is called, only works on Usara, then there is a high probability that she is my... partner Digimon?" The group had moved into the remains of what Nekora had called "Orphanage". Until today, it had apparently been used as some sort of sanctuary for weaker Digimon. Several walls were blown away and the roof had collapsed in many places, but there were still a couple of rooms left relatively untouched, though. Usara lay sleeping on the floor of one, carried in by Victor. He and the Sistermon Noir had walked into a basement to check the damages. It seemed to be untouched. Victor set down Usara's trident in the corner, sitting next to them were Nekora's two strange pistols. "I know about as much as you do," the black-garbed Sistermon in with cat-ears on her hood replied. Nekora had only been able to tell him what the rumors surrounding humans were. It seemed like there was very little information on the subject. She had her arms crossed ever since she regained the use of them. Victor saw that the still shook whenever she tried to move them. She was putting up a defensive front, then. It seemed she didn't fully trust him. "Though I have to say you're taking this information rather well." "There isn't any point to getting flustered about inconvenient information," Victor replied thoughtlessly. He hoped a little candidness would help improve her thoughts towards him. "What's important it finding out how you can benefit from the information you have." "Oh? And how do you plan on benefiting from all this 'information'?" She challenged. Victor shot her a glance and saw her gaze was more accusatory than inquisitive. It seems his attempt had backfired. Or perhaps this was just her personality. She was apparently a creature from another world, after all. Simple psychology might not apply here the same way it does in the real world. "Hmm. I honestly don't have enough information to go on. It would be best to go out and collect as much as I can. I have my own place in my world. I would rather return to it as soon as possible," He paced back and forth before Nekora spoke up. "To do that you'd have to traverse through the Digital World. And you can't do it by yourself, so you would like to take Usara with you," It seems she was smarter than she looked. "I can't allow that. You've seen her fight. Even if you have that Ex-ross or whatever to power her up, she doesn't like to hurt anyone." "You underestimate her potential," Victor replied. "I've already seen that she will fight to protect the people she cares about. If you were to come along, the-" "Then Usara would still have to fight. I already said that I forbid it!" Her eyes flared with anger, but she kept her composure. "I'm not immune to your plight, though. Usara and I are going to rebuild Orphanage. You're welcome to stay. We get a lot of traffic, sometimes, and you'll be free to talk to anyone who stops by for information on other humans and on ways of returning to your world. And Usara and I frequently go out to File City for supplies and the like. You're welcome to come and go whenever you please." Victor stayed silent for a minute, trying to calculate his next decision. But Nekora's unwavering gaze had already given him his answer. "There's no possible way that you'll budge on this issue, is there..." He let out a defeated sigh. "Very well. I suppose this is the best opportunity that I could possibly have," He extended his hand to her. "Do we have a deal?" Nekora looked at Victor's hand, giving him a dirty look. She let out a grimace as she slowly grabbed his hand an shook it. Even with her injured arms, her grip was tighter than he could ever hope to compare. "You helped us out a great deal. I won't forget that. It might not be the way you prefer, but I will find a way to help you in return, Victor," They shook hands and after disengaging she looked up, moving past Victor to go back upstairs. "Now I should probably assess the damage. We might have to break part of this place down, and use the materials to fix up the rest of the building. We won't have as much room, but I think we'll survi-" In an instant, Victor twisted around, grabbing Usara's trident along the way, and drove it into Nekora's side. Without even a scream, Nekora reached out and grabbed Victor by the shirt. She pushed him into the wall, lifting him up over her head with one arm. Still weakened, Nekora's stance staggered for just a second. Victor used his opportunity to strike at her still-scorched arm. She let out a muffled cry as she was forced to drop Victor. Landing on his feet, he slammed the staggered Sistermon Noir onto the floor. He jammed a knuckle into her arm, and with his other hand he covered her mouth to stifle the scream. It seemed this creature had an unbelievable amount of strength. Much like how the small child was able to so effortlessly drag him through the woods, but to a whole other level. If it weren't for her injuries, ironically obtained by protecting the person going to murder her, it was likely she would have simply torn him to shreds. Victor had no choice but to laugh at his fortune in the midst of his incredible misfortune in being stuck in this world. He yanked the trident out of her side and stabbed into her again, making sure to twist the trident as it went in. She lifted her arm up and grabbed Victor's throat, nearly crushing it in an instant. Yet her strength gave out, and her arm fell to her side. Victor saw the data in her abdomen begin to scatter. "You''re going to help me a great deal more than you think," Victor whispered into her ear, still covering her mouth just in case she screamed loud enough for Usara to wake up. "It's a shame, though. If you shared my eye for recognizing potential, then things would have been different..." Victor heard her try and speak. He lifted his hand slightly, prepared to muffle her again. "Promise me... you won't let Usara get hurt, you bastard..." Was all she could say, her plea the last thing she said before scattering into data. Victor absorbed her data into his Digivice. He noticed the data from her guns going into his Digivice as well. "Of course I won't," He answered to his Digivice, a wicked grin appearing across his lips. "She's my partner Digimon, after all!" His Ascent, Her TragedyUsara awoke to a conflux of temperatures. The cool night air was certainly uncomfortable, but being by the fireplace had helped a considerable amount. But... Orphanage didn't have a fireplace. She shot up once she got her wits about her, only to see a cascade of orange light as a fire engulfed what remained of Orphanage. She looked around her to see Victor... and no one else. His face looked pained and somber, as his hand was touching a bruise on his neck. "Victor? What... what happened here? Why is Orphanage burning? Where is Nekora? Victor!" She crawled up and grabbed onto his arm, as if to plead for Nekora's safety. But she could tell on Victor's somber expression that something was amiss. "She was suddenly attacked..." He tried to explained. "She struggled as much as she could, and I took a bit of a beating myself," He looked down towards her. "Her attacker managed to start a fire after he..." Tears were already forming in Usara's eyes as she put her hands to her mouth and shook her head in disbelief. "After he got away with it." "No... no... That can't be true!" In response, Victor raised his Digivice and in a flash, Usara felt... different. More of a weight was placed on her head. She reached up to feel... cat ears. At her side, she saw two pistols, Anthony... the same guns that Nekora wielded. She picked them up, feeling like they were comically large for her small hands. Just like the times she would play around with them when she was younger. "She made me promise to keep you safe, before she..." He placed his hands on her shoulders as he stared into her tearful eyes. "She will always be there to protect you, Usara. As will I!" He held her close to his chest, as she buried her face into it and cried. She felt his upper body convulsing. He was kind man, after all. He was sobbing along with her. It wasn't like he was trying to hold back his laughter, or anything.