joyousmenma93 (joyousmenma93) wrote,
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joyousmenma93

Digimon: A Seraphic Tale, Chapter 25 (part three)

Part 3!


Meanwhile, the Digimon Brigade and the others finally got back to Chloros Forest. They settled back into the longhouse where they had their feast. The Digimon greeted them warmly, like usual. Hokuto, who is still unconscious, was placed in the infirmary with Shurimon and Butterflymon. As much as Kudamon wanted to stay with Hokuto, he had questions he needed to ask Link, so he decided to let Shurimon and Butterflymon watch over him. Shione and Mikuni went back into the infirmary as well. Bucchiemon, Prairiemon, and Unimon also stuck around too. All the kids and their Digimon sat at the long table, with Link and WarGreymon at the center. Link just finished drinking some tea and put the cup back on the table.

"Ah, that hit the spot!" Link said. The kids and Digimon all cocked their heads to one side in confusion...except WarGreymon.

"Link said that when he was in high school, he used to be part of the tea ceremony club," WarGreymon said.

"Boys and tea ceremony clubs? Yeah, right," Melody muttered.

"Alright, now that we've all settled down, why don't you kids tell me a little about yourselves?...or at least what you know about what's been happening so far," Link explained.

Yun decided to go first.

"Well...we all got our Digimon two weeks ago. All on the same day and possibly at the same time. After that, Digimon branded with these things called Dark Emblems started appearing. Dark Emblems are these hexagon shaped tattoos with black stripes and skulls on them that make Digimon go crazy like wild animals," The image of Hokuto's feral and rogue persona appeared in her mind when she said that sentence, but she continued on. "My friends and I call ourselves the Digimon Brigade, and we made it our job to remove Dark Emblems from Digimon whenever we see them. Then we met Witchmon and all sorts of stuff started happening. We found out later that the Digital World was destroyed at one point, which you probably know of, and that Witchmon's served some sort of master who apparently had something to do with it. That's...about it, I guess."

Yun's expression became dejected upon remembering Witchmon's final minutes, which Terriermon noticed, but not in a good way.

"You're not actually regretting killing Witchmon, are you?" Terriermon asked, feeling rather mad.

"Well, only a little bit! You heard about what she went through, right?" Yun said back at him. Link adjusted his mask a bit.

"It seems you kids are dragging yourselves into perilous circumstances," Link said.

Rena slammed her hands on the table, her green eyes twinkling with both fear and anger, which scared Lunamon. "It's not like we wanted to get pulled into all this!! And anyway, you owe us an explanation! Why did Kamitsure-kun go all mad a few minutes ago!? His eyes were glowing red and he had fangs and claws and everything!!"

"Rena-san! Please don't shout!" Lunamon pleaded.

"You'll scare Yun!" Lopmon backed her up with equally pleading green eyes and gentle tugs on her shirt. Everyone was so surprised by Rena's odd display of anger. Even Riku and Coronamon were surprised, since she's normally very docile, polite, and graceful. She's probably scared and at her wit's end.

"Hokuto-kun's NOT a monster!" Yun yelled with her hands on her ears.

Link looked down at his tea cup dejectedly and solemnly, with a grim look hidden behind his purple mask.

"It's a very long and complicated story, but I'll simplify it enough so you all can understand it, for Hokuto-kun's "condition" can't be explained properly without it. Firstly, yes, I am a certified scientist and a researcher, and..."

He dropped the bomb.

"I'm one of the few who created the Digital World."

Everyone's eyes grew so big they looked like they were going to plop out of their faces and roll around on the table like pool balls.

"WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!!!?"

Link? Link, of all people, CREATING the Digital World? Nobody could believe this was actually true! But Yun, upon hearing this, suspected that Link HAD something to do with the Digital World, hence his knowledge of Digimon, the D-Chips, and the digivice. But never did she dream that he actually CREATED the Digital World! If Link had said that he created a new species of kangaroo, nobody would've been any more surprised with what they just heard.

"Wow! Did you hear that, Lopmon!? He created us Digimon!" Terriermon exclaimed with a smile.

"Humans HAVE given us life after all!" Lopmon said with a bigger smile.

Upon hearing this, pandemonium broke out.

"HURRAH!!"

It was Prairiemon and Bucchiemon who calmed them all down.

"Everyone! Please! Hush up! Link-sama needs to tell us his story!" Prairiemon scolded.

"Yes! Calm yourselves!" Bucchiemon said.

They listened, quieted down, and sat down. Link, not feeling bothered by this, continued on.

"It all started in 1992, when the World Wide Web was made available to the public. Some colleagues and I were professors at the University of Genoa, which is in Italy, teaching students about computer science and the internet. Those very colleagues were also my best friends. Around that time, we were secretly partaking in an experiment aimed at developing artificial intelligence. Artificial means not made by real or natural means, like how plants naturally grow with lots of sunlight and water. We succeeded for a while, but later, our project was shut down due to our lack of both funds and motivation. We suddenly grew out of the experiment and we led our own lives. However...only two of us continued on with the project. Kamitsure Saruto, my closest friend, and I. We continued on with our own lives at the same time, but in our spare time we'd do more research and make some more discoveries. We ended up creating the Digital World as a result. It was my friend Saruto who gave it that name. He described what we saw as an artificial world made from data...that can be used for all kinds of possibilities. We even saw artificial life in that world. You couldn't believe how excited we were when we made this discovery! After a while, we revealed it to the public, but we got both good and bad feedback from it. Despite this, we still continued on. I was happy with what I saw. So happy, in fact, that I didn't think we needed to do anything more. I was content with what we found. But Saruto...he had other ideas...and I learned of them 12 years ago."

(flashback)

Link, without his mask, and another man are standing in a laboratory that's full of big computers, chemicals, glass beakers and test tubes, anything you can find in a science lab, you can find here. Link still had his blonde hair, but his face was full, exposed, and beaming with life and vivacity...but not today. His blue eyes appeared shocked and aghast. Both he and his partner wore white labcoats and rubber gloves. His partner is about the same age as him and has a scrawny little mop of curly dark brown hair and hazel brown eyes, like caramell. His face was beaming as he looked at his fellow partner with a smile on his face, apparently not caring that Link had shock all over his face, which is hidden by a thick pair of eye protection goggles.

"WHAT!?" A long metal scooping spoon with a spec of white powder in it fell out of Link's hand and clattered onto the floor, making the white powder scatter all over his feet. But Link seemed oblivious to this. "You want to turn HUMANS into DATA and artificial intelligence!?"

"Just think of the possibilities this holds for humanity, my friend! Look! I've already got the data we need! If my calculations are correct, we may be able to transcend the circle of life and death! We won't have to die! We can become immortal! How awesome would this be if we humans can live on forever as another, more powerful being!" His partner exclaimed happily, beaming with joy, with his arms waving and moving around with him as if he was acting in a comedic Shakespeare play.

Link, however, had a much different opinion about this matter, and he felt obliged to reveal it.

"Saruto...I don't think that's such a good idea. Creating artificial intelligence for entertainment purposes is one thing, but...turning humans into data and living on forever? Don't you think that's rather dangerous and risky? And immortality? Saruto, you know very well that we humans can't live on forever. We can't disturb the circle of life. We're not Gods!" Link explained.

"But we CAN be Gods if we try! Look at all the data we've received from all the research we've done!"

"The research YOU'VE done."

"I even have plans for how to achieve that goal! All I need is a proper vessel to test them all on. A humanoid vessel."

Now Link was becoming choleric. "Do you really believe using human beings as guinea pigs for your experiment will achieve anything? Do you even know the risks? What if said vessel dies from the stuff you could do to him or her!? You'd be setting unrealistic expectations on an innocent life!"

"Then I'll just find another one!"

"Can't you use rats for this kind of experiments!? Rats, the rodents! Are you seriously thinking of humanity as nothing more than vessels for your hypocritical ideas!? This is crazy, Saruto! You have to understand! Data doesn't have a substance! We do! We humans have solid composition in the form of proteins, amino acids, cells, blood, DNA, RNA, and, most of all, our five senses and our ability to adapt and survive! If you go on with this crazy idea of yours, you're going to destroy everything humanity's done!"

"I'll make humanity advance!"

"No you won't! What if you turn yourself into data and someone uses an all-powerful anti-virus to delete you!? Every single particle of your life and soul will be erased and lost in the depths of eternity! You won't be buried in a grave six feet under dirt! It'll be as though you didn't exist at all! You will have no substance and no solidified form! Are you really willing to risk losing every single trace of humanity's existence just to satisfy yourself!? Life isn't some game you can play with and then throw away in the garbage!"

"Why you--"

Saruto was about to slap Link, but Link successfully grabbed his wrist and stopped him from doing so. Very solemnly and sternly, he shook his head at him. No, it said. Saruto's expression loosened up, knowing that convincing his beloved partner of his plan was useless. He finally relented. Seeing this, Link let go of his arm and continued with his experiment by cleaning up the mess on his boots.

(end flashback)

"...He actually wanted to turn people into computer data!? What a freak!!" Melody yelled.

"I don't think I can wrap my head around something like that!" Otoya said with her head cocked to one side in confusion, scratching part of her blue hair with her hand.

"You're right. An experiment like that is very risky. He must be crazy if he was convinced he'd really think he'd gain something from such a dangerous plight," Labramon piped in with an austere voice as he lay calmly on Otoya's lap. Mikuni was gently petting him, apparently not paying much attention to what's going on around her (her not being able to hear is also a factor).

"And I thought I was egomaniacal!" Biyomon piped in.

"Nah, you're more vain than egomaniacal," Terriermon piped in.

"Hey!" Biyomon retorted angrily.

"No. Saruto wasn't exactly egomaniacal. He was a little vain, yes, but at the same time, he was still a good person...and my friend. He just has the bad habit of getting so preoccupied with something that he'd completely shut himself away from anything, everything, and everyone around him. He wouldn't even notice that time passed. But I confess that his methods and ideas ARE quite questionable," Link said.

"Wow! He's worse than me! I do stuff while forgetting about everything else too! I always worry about math tests since I'm not good at them, but most of the time I'd be so stuck on my math that I'd totally forget to do my English or science work too. It's awful!" Yun said.

"It's true," Terriermon said. Lopmon looked at him with a disappointed look and whacked him with her paw.

"Ow!"

"Terriermon! Don't say things like that! You'll hurt Yun's feelings!" Lopmon scolded sternly.

"I wasn't trying to!" Terriermon complained as he rubbed his head.

"You've got a valid point about anti-viruses and data being erased completely. One time, I was doing homework on the computer and all of a sudden a really bad virus attacked the computer. Dad had to call a technician to get it fixed, which took a long time, even for him. But we had to start everything over again. All my pictures and homework and data were erased. I had to redo my whole assignments all over again! There was no way to get everything back!" Minako explained.

"That happened to me once, too!" Yun backed her up.

"What else did Saruto-san have planned?" Salamon asked curiously.

"That was pretty much his only ambition. I'm sure he meant well, but still, an experiment like that is just too dangerous. Who knows what could go wrong! I...I thought I'd stopped him that day. I thought I convinced him that his plans were too unrealistic and dangerous. But later...I found out he didn't get the message. I only later found out that he acted on his own, and that...he had a child," Link said, his head drooping a little at the last sentence.

"Hokuto-dono..." Lucero muttered. "What exactly happened to him?"

"I got an anonymous tip saying that Saruto was performing illegal and inhumane experiments in a laboratory near the park," Link looked directly at Lucero as he said this, as if Link was saying that Lucero was the one who gave him the anonymous tip...which isn't possible.

"What I saw...destroyed everything I knew and loved about my friend..." Link said.

(flashback)

BAM!

Link, now a little older, kicked a metal door down so hard that it clattered onto the floor, causing Saruto to jump. Saruto was sitting on a drum chair standing in front of a big computer, which is next to a two-way mirror. The two way mirror showed...an unconscious child lying in a bed with a lot of cables and cords attached to him from a big machine that looks like those machines that doctors use to check for a patient's pulse, vital signs, and heartbeat. Saruto was surprised, Link was absolutely incensed. Behind Link are Aki, Hokuto's mother, and two other men.

"Oh! I'm so happy you're here! Why--" Saruto was about to show Link his work, but all he got in return was a punch in the face that made him fall to the ground, just like the door that Link kicked down.

"Do you realize what you've done, Saruto!? I can't believe you'd go this far!!" Link screamed as angrily as he were if he was in a screaming contest. Saruto tried to get up.

"It was the only way...to realize my ambition. I want...to make humanity advance..." Saruto muttered.

"BY USING YOUR OWN SON AS A HELPLESS GUINEA PIG FOR YOUR SELFISH AMBITIONS!!? You're sick, Saruto!! I thought you knew better, but...look what you've done to him!! If you continue like this, he's never going to know what it's like to be a real human child! He may never grow up or interact with anyone or go to school!! Do you seriously NOT care about your own kid!?"

"I LOVE Hokuto!! But I needed a willing vessel! To me, he's not JUST my vessel!"

"Oh, says the guy who wants to destroy humanity with his son's life!! And what about your wife!? Why didn't you ever have your wife make contact with Hokuto!? A mother's love is pivotal to a child's growth, yet you forbade her from having contact with him at all!! What about Hokuto!? What has he done to deserve this!?"

"All Aki would do is hinder my progress! If she made contact with him, she'd brainwash him and turn him against me! I won't have my son be taught to hate me!"

Link finally exploded.

"I'M OFFICIALLY DONE WITH YOU!!"

CRASH!

He grabbed the drum chair and broke the two way mirror with it. Then he leaped into the room where Hokuto is in, which has titanium walls, mahogany book shelves FULL of books, and a table with glass beakers containing all kinds of chemicals in them. Link and another man ran to the bed where Hokuto is in and ripped out most of the cables. Link wanted to rip them all off, but Saruto stopped him from doing so. The two got into a big brouhaha.

"Stop! Stop it, you two!" Aki tried to break them up, but these two men, once old friends and chums, were going at each other. HARD. They punched, kicked, hit, slapped, pulled, bit, everything.

"What happened to you, Saruto!? What happened to all the happy memories we made together!?"

"I want to make humanity advance!!"

"You want to make humanity advance so bad!? Which is more important to you!? Your family and friends, or your ambitions!? Do tell, Saruto, because I think you've finally gone mad!!"

"Get away from my son! I NEED HIM!!"

"To you, he's just your worthless guinea pig!"

"No he isn't! He loves me...and I love him!! You can never understand what it's like to be a father because you don't have a kid!!"

"So what!? Does that make it right for you to use him like this!?"

"I WILL NOT HAVE YOU CONTRADICT ME!!!" Saruto screamed louder than even Link did. Despite Aki and the other men's efforts, Saruto still went wild with rage. He then saw a small test tube containing a purple liquid. As Link was about to pounce on him, Saruto grabbed it and...

Splashed it in Link's face.

Immediately, Link's face burned.

"AAAAAAHHHHH!!!"

Link felt as if half of his face was thrown into an oven set at 20,000 degrees Fahrenheit. He yelped and screamed like a wild animal, tightly clutching his burning (and now steaming) face. He fell into a crumpled heap. Seeing Link's pain and hearing his screams, Saruto finally felt a small twinge of guilt. How could he have burned his best friend? And the stuff he threw at him!...only Saruto knew how to take care of it.

"H-Hang on! I'll get something for you!" Saruto, feeling guilty, mixed up a new chemical, dabbed it on some wet cloth, and rubbed it on Link's face. Aki and one of the men managed to free Hokuto from the machine he was hooked up to (though Hokuto himself remained unconscious). After a while, Link's pain finally subsided. Link looked up, with the cloth covering the burnt areas, and saw Saruto looking down at him dejectedly, with pain in his hazel eyes.

"I...I'm sorry, friend..." Saruto whispered, his voice overcome with sadness and guilt.

"It's fine. I'm alright now. Thanks...for helping me," Link said rather unsympathetically. But he did feel grateful to Saruto for seeing the error of his ways and making sure the chemical didn't burn the most vital parts of his face. Sadly, their moment ended abruptly when the police came and arrested Saruto. Some paramedics came and put both Hokuto and Link on an ambulance, driving them both to the hospital.

(end flashback)

Yun had tears pouring from her eyes. She tried to hide them, but she couldn't, she was so appalled by what she heard.

"Poor Hokuto-kun...he didn't do anything to deserve all of that! What...what did his father do to him...!?" Yun wailed. Lopmon, Terriermon, and Lucero tried to mollify her, but even they were overcome with feelings of dejection and pity for Hokuto.

"So that's why you wear that mask?" Terriermon asked. Solemnly, Link put a hand on his mask.

"Yes. I don't have the money to fix my face, and I'm rather self-conscious about the end result, so I use this mask to hide it," Link said.

"Parents can hurt their own children!? How cruel!!" Lopmon yelled.

"Yes. It IS cruel. But what Saruto did...is considered by everyone to be the worst case of child abuse ever to be documented," Link said.

"What exactly did Saruto-san do to Hokuto-kun?" Salamon asked.

"Unfortunately, I wish I knew...but I don't. I don't know all the exact details. Not even Hokuto is willing to give us details about it. He's probably too traumatized to tell us. However, I do know that Saruto was dead set on trying to find a vessel for his plans. Having his own child...was likely the only choice for him," Link said.

"I know. Cruel, right?" WarGreymon said.

"That's so stupid!! Nobody should use children as guinea pigs for illegal science stuff! What was he thinking!?" Syakomon yelled. Aria looked dejected and drooped her head similar to what Link did.

"But that still doesn't explain why Hokuto went all Michael Jackson werewolf on us earlier!" Melody snapped.

"To be honest, I've seen it happen before, but to this day I still don't know why or how something like this has come to pass. I heard a rumor that Saruto kept all his observations somewhere, like in a book or a computer, but I haven't been able to find anything," Link explained. "But I did visit Saruto in prison once, after Hokuto was released into Aki's custody. He was crying, and he said 'I've turned my son into a monster!!' through his tears."

"Ummm...Link-dono. This may not help any, but...Hokuto-dono told me that he separated from the Digimon Brigade on purpose because he feels he's not human. Could that--" Lucero didn't get to finish that sentence.

That was because Yun became the one who angrily slammed her hands on the table.

"HOKUTO-KUN'S NOT A MONSTER!!" Yun screamed, wild with rage and with flames in her emerald green eyes. Even Link was a little surprised.

"So what if Hokuto-kun went through lots of bad stuff!? That doesn't make him inhuman!!" Yun, remembering the time when the three ladies were insulting him back at the party, felt as though she were obliged to express herself and drill it into everyone's heads. "I'm sure he doesn't want to be the way he is right now!! He's still our friend!! To me, he's still that nice, quiet, and kind boy who likes rambling in detail about everything and being quiet and being with Kudamon!! Don't ever view him as a monster!!"

Everyone sat there, frozen in silence. Nobody expected Yun to rant like that. They expected Melody to be the one who did that, but...Yun? Yun, of all people, openly standing up for someone she knew for only a couple measly days? But they did see something in her eyes: kindness and passion. Kindness for Hokuto, whom she strongly believes is not a monster, and her passion in believing so.

"You tell 'em, Yun!" Terriermon backed her up while throwing his tiny green fist into the air. Kudamon smiled at her from afar, happy that she cares about Hokuto. Link smiled too.

"I agree with you. Hokuto is just as precious as any other human being out there," Kudamon said.

"I'm glad you think that, because he's going to need all of you to show him what it's really like to be human," Link told her kindly. Yun sat down and calmed herself down.

"But...when did your fight with Saruto-san happen again?" Yun asked.

"About a year and a half ago," Link replied.

"But you said you were here two years in human world time!"

"Doesn't mean I said I spent an ENTIRE two years out in another world. I made a few trips back to the human world from time to time so that nobody worries about me or thinks I went missing or got kidnapped. Wouldn't want that happening, now would I?"

"One other thing, Link-san. Why are you in the Digital World anyhow? How did you get in here?" Shunji asked.

"I saw a digital portal in the park once, and I accidentally stumbled into it. This was before the Digital World got destroyed. At first I was quite shocked, seeing the Digital World as like a world of our own, with trees, oceans, houses, and Digimon. But later on, I became very happy. Happy that all of this was created by my hand...along with those of my other colleagues, of course. I wanted to stick around for a while. I wound up in a place called the Meadow of Birth. I'm not sure if you kids know, but that's where all Digimon are born from. They all begin as babies there. That's where I met WarGreymon. He was a cute little Botamon when I first met him," Link smiled at that last sentence, possibly remembering how cute WarGreymon was as a little baby Digimon. WarGreymon blushed.

"Link! That's embarrassing!" WarGreymon pleaded with him, but Link wanted to tell the story. Thankfully, fate was on WarGreymon's side...but not in a way he, or anyone, expected.

"Look! Your bag's glowing!" Isao suddenly edicted, pointing to Link's bag.

He was right. Part of Link's bag is glowing in a rainbow-hued light! The same as it did after Kudamon digivolved into Reppamon! Only this time...the source of the power that let the Digimon re-digivolve to their champion levels and repowered them up would actually reveal itself to them! Small, egg-shaped lights floated out of Link's bag and at the center of the table. They were the size of blue robin's eggs. There are about eleven of them in different colors. Cream white, violet purple, mango orange, crimson red, ocean blue, light lavendar, goldenrod yellow, cotton candy pink, emerald green, light bronze, and sterling silver. The eleven lights all floated into the children's hands like they were destined to belong to them. Nobody knew what was happening, but as soon as the egg-shaped lights landed in their palms, they stopped glowing. Now, they're egg-shaped stones with strange markings on them, and small slits on the top which looks like those things on cell phones where you put cell phone straps on.

The stone that floated into Yun's hand is white, like the trees and egg-shaped lights in Yun's dream, though Yun considered this white to be more along the lines of snow white, like the sceneries described in one of her favorite book, The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico(4). The marking on her stone is in the form of a hollow circle with a smaller, fuller circle in the middle, and four others surrounding it. Yun smiled as she rather liked the marking on her stone. Circles always have been her favorite shape and, as she found out, circles symbolize a sense of harmony, wholeness, and completion. However, unlike Yun, Minako's expression looked a tad dismal upon seeing the symbol on her stone. It's purple and it has a peace sign on it, but with a pointed protrusion on the top pointing right, and on the bottom pointing left. Kosuke's stone is light orange, with a very small circle, a long, upside down triangle pointing down, and two odd shapes on both sides of the circle that resemble wings. Kosuke smirked upon seeing this. Melody's stone is crimson red, like her dyed bangs, and like Kosuke, the symbol on her stone is a small circle with a long triangle pointing down on the bottom of it, but on top of it is an odd shape that resembles a flame and two tiny triangles on both sides of it on the bottom, slightly above the circle. Otoya's stone is blue, like her long hair and like the ocean, with a full circle in the middle surrounding by four shapes that resemble flower petals. Rena's stone is light lavendar, and it has a crescent moon facing the right with a full circle in it. Riku's stone is golden yellow, with a full circle in the middle, bigger than Rena's, four long triangles surrounding it and facing outwards, and in between them are four smaller circles, like the one's surrounding Yun's circle on her stone. It looked like a sun rising into the sky. Aria's stone is pink, like MarineAngemon's fur, which she liked, and in the center of it is a shape that resembles a standard key hole, but with a hollow circle on top filled in with a smaller circle. Shunji looked at his with a confused face, which is odd considering he's usually so laid-back, lazy, and is normally fond of clowning around. His stone is emerald green, like Yun's eyes, with a shape that resembles a boomerang on the bottom of it, a long diamond shape above it, and with two small right triangles on both sides of it. Isao's stone is light brown, like some trees during autumn, and his symbol is a full square with a full triangle on top of it, and on top of the triangle is a small diamond. The silver stone appeared in front of Kudamon, and it showed a small circle on a shape with three points on it and with two odd shapes under it, likely to resemble small wings.

Kosuke decided to bring the subject up.

"What the heck are these?" Kosuke asked. Link didn't answer right away, but Patamon beamed upon seeing the symbol on his stone.

"Hey! I recognize these hieroglyphics!" Patamon exclaimed.

"You do?" Kosuke asked, confused.

"Yeah! This is written in the oldest ancient DigiCode! Oh! I can read it too! This reads Freedom!" Patamon edicted.

"Freedom?" Kosuke asked again.

Lopmon and Terriermon caught on, and so did all the other Digimon.

"Oh! Patamon's right! This IS ancient DigiCode!" Lopmon exclaimed, smiling from ear to ear.

"I didn't think I'd still remember it! Now if memory serves me right, Yun, this symbol here...it means Harmony," Terriermon explained with a smile.

"Harmony? How can you tell?" Yun asked. She knew that circles meant wholeness and completion, but she couldn't believe something like this was a coincidence.

"I don't really know. We can just read it somehow!" Terriermon said.

"Mina-chan, yours reads Peace! Wan!" Salamon exclaimed happily. Minako could already figure this out, and it wasn't because the sign itself was literally a botched up version of the actual peace sign.

"Otoya. You sure got a good one. The sign on your stone means Faith," Labramon said.

"Like faith as in religious faith? Cool!" Otoya yelped happily.

"Probably, though personally I don't think religion has anything to do with it," Labramon replied.

"Lunamon. What does this symbol mean?" Rena asked, showing Lunamon her stone.

"It means Grace!" Lunamon replied with a smile. "In our world, the moon is considered to be the very embodiment of grace, elegance, beauty, and benevolence."

"Hey! Riku! Yours is Justice!" Coronamon exclaimed loudly, taking the yellow stone in his hand and observing it with his gold eyes.

"Hey! It fits me, too! Now give it back! That's mine!" Riku backed him up with a bright smile, though was a little irritated that Coronamon took it so suddenly.

"Aria-chan! The picture on your stone means Mercy!" Syakomon said.

"What's mercy?" Aria asked innocently.

"Hmmm..." Syakomon ruminated, hoping to come up with an answer that a seven year old girl can understand. "Now how do I put it...Oh! Do you remember when Unimon turned me into a DigiEgg? Earlier, Unimon said he was sorry and I said it's okay. I was showing him mercy, and I did because I know he didn't mean to hurt me. He was under the Dark Emblem's control. Know what I mean?"

"Yep! I get it now! So if someone does something bad and they say sorry, or if they do it while not meaning to, then I show them mercy? Do I tell them it's okay?"

"If they're truly sorry about it, then yeah!"

"Mama always said that I was merciful."

"What does mine say? I can't read that," Shunji said.

"Oh! You got a good one! That's Determination!" Dracomon exclaimed. Shunji smirked a bit at the stone.

"Looks like this'll be interesting," Shunji muttered to himself.

"Isao-kun! Yours is Strength!" Bearmon told him with a smile.

Suddenly, Isao stood up.

"Hey! I think I know what these are! They're crests!" Isao edicted happily, holding his bronze stone in his fingers and striking a pose like he's some super hero.

"Crests?" Everyone asked.

"Yeah! The characters in the Digimon anime had them! Maybe these are our crests! Y'know, courage, friendship, love, hope, all those things? These might be part of who we are!" Isao exclaimed.

"I kinda thought that too," Yun said.

Biyomon looked at Melody's red stone. "Hmmm. This reads Forgiveness. I think--huh?"

Biyomon was about to say that the symbol on Melody's stone suited her, but she noticed that Melody is looking down on it with a rather grim and somewhat perturbed and angry face. Melody gritted her teeth and clutched the stone in her fist. Her red bangs hung over her head as she looked down at it. Then...

"Pheh!"

She threw the red stone at the wall. Thankfully the wall is soft, and Biyomon saw where it fell, so she flew over the table, grabbed it, and gave it back to Melody.

"Don't throw it away! It's yours!" Biyomon pleaded. But Melody held up her hand at her in a gesture that seemed to scream 'Talk to the hand!' Even Yun saw Melody throw her stone and became confused and suspicious. But Link pulled her out of it.

"Those gem stones...they're called D-Hearts," Link muttered.

Everyone turned to look at him.

"D-Hearts?" They all asked in unison. Isao, looking rather disappointed, slumped back into his seat.

"Awww! So they're not crests? Boo!" Isao pouted. Bearmon gently patted him on the back.

"It's okay, Isao-kun! Now you know what they are. You looked pretty cool just now too," Bearmon told him reassuringly, which made Isao smile.

"Yes. They're officially called D-Hearts. No, I didn't give them that name," Link said.

"It's true. He named the D-Chips, but not the D-Hearts," WarGreymon backed him up.

"What's a D-Heart?" Riku asked.

"What does it stand for?" Patamon asked.

"The D stands for digital, obviously. The D-Hearts are supposedly fragments of crystalized data from important Digimon who've been destroyed when the Digital World was attacked," Link said.

"Exactly how do you know this?" Kosuke asked.

"Ah! This is the perfect time for another story!" Link said.


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