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The Wizard and Art MacTavish: Into the Firestorm (Chapter 3)

by Mr.RMA

Mr.RMA Art and Wizardmon's newfound journey to purge the Digital World of a mysterious affliction has led them to an isolated mansion in a forest undergoing a harsh thunderstorm. They expect to find another possessed Digimon laying in wait. Little do they know there are other occupants in the mansion as well, and they may yet prove to be far more dangerous in the long run.
“This is insanity… You can’t contact him at all? Whatsoever?”

The entirety of the workers situated in the underground office space briefly turned their attention to the sound of growing irritation in their acting administrator’s voice before swiftly returning to their work, the vast majority of light in the room coming from their various flashing monitors reflecting off their eyewear of varying functionalities.

“It’s like I told you… He said he’d be occupied for an indefinite amount of time. Top-level confidentiality, couldn’t tell me, you or anyone else. There’s nothing we can do right now,” came the response from the man who’d actually been asked the question, sitting beside an unoccupied table with the only computer in the room that wasn’t presently up and running.

“Helluva time for the boss to isolate himself…” Yet, it wasn’t the first time Cara’s superior stowed himself away, and from how her colleague merely shrugged his shoulders resignedly, it was clear he just expected this to happen on occasion as well. Still, the circumstances were different this time, compared to all the others. “You’re seeing just how many news outlets are picking this little story up, aren’t you?” Cara asked, getting another shrug. “It’s not just fluff for the local papers, Mateo, they’ve got this plastered all over the evening news reports!”

She took out her smartphone and rapidly tapped at the screen before shoving it in front of Mateo’s face to make sure he couldn’t ignore it. On screen the news article read ‘Dragon Attacks Midwestern Town (No, we’re serious)’ with a shaky video covering a distant shot of a particular green dragon laying waste to the unfortunate city structures around it. Mateo lightly batted it away.

“I’ve seen it, almost as many times as you have, Cara, believe me,” Mateo said.

“Then why aren’t you taking this more seriously? You understand what our job is, right?”

“Yes, I understand our job.” Mateo sounded much more irritated himself at this remark.

“Then what the hell is a Digimon doing out here in our world, setting fire to buildings and getting caught on camera?” Cara asked with more exasperation than ever. “Don’t even get me started about that poor bastard that got dragged into the portal, like we needed another one of those on our consciences.”

This all seemed enough to motivate Mateo out of his chair. “Cara, for starters, let me remind you what your own species is like. Even the most superstitious conspiracy nut can only buy into so much. See, we’ve got this whole idea of rationality that can very quickly turn into little more than blatant denial, especially in the face of something so unbelievable. All anyone can muster up for evidence are distant shots obscured in dust clouds and amateur smartphone recordings. We’ve already got people moving around the clock to stifle the spread of it, sooner or later the doubt will start creeping in if it hasn’t already, and people will pass the whole thing off as just a bunch of delirium after a tragic but explainable incident.”

“But that young man isn’t gonna be ‘rationalizing’ himself back anytime soon…” Cara retorted, clearly showing more concern about that than she may have let on before.

“…I feel bad about it, don’t get me wrong… but it’s not gonna be like before, it can’t be, Alvi wouldn’t let another muck-up like that happen,” Mateo said, his irritation having faded off into a curious degree of optimism.

Cara sighed and steadied herself against her cohort’s table as she shook her head. “Yet another difference between us… I still think you trust our employer just a little too much.”

“And I still think you ought to trust him a bit more. The guy’s a bit kooky, no doubt, but he’s the head Programmer for a reason. Whatever it is that he’s doing almost certainly has to do with all that’s been going down. We just have to stay the course until something else happens. Trust me Cara, this isn’t the end of the world quite yet.”

Cara didn’t say anything after that, merely letting out a quiet sigh as she went back to her own desk and resituated herself back to her workspace. Her computer monitor, like all the others in the isolated office, projected numerous visuals of landscapes and towns, some more populated than others. A variety of Digimon were going about their days however they pleased, unbeknownst of the monitoring eyes that watched over so many of them from another world.

Then… there came a sudden shout from the midst of the room as one of the office workers rose from his chair with a jolt, nearly knocking over his peers from the unexpected exclamation.

“I found them!”

“Found them? Who?” Cara asked as she and Mateo scurried over to their subordinate’s workstation. His monitor had caught sight of a certain human and his cloaked digital companion, having just crossed over from a desert region to a much grassier terrain giving way to a lush forest just up ahead.

“I’ll be damned, that’s him!” Mateo said after leaning closer to the screen. The young man they had just been fretting about… by sheer luck this small collective of monitors had been observing their location, not an easy task with the Digital World as massive as it was, and continually expanding to boot. “Ah… he’s still with the Wizardmon…” Mateo stated with a sense of unease. He looked to Cara who seemed to share that sense of internal conflict.

“We can’t jump to the conclusion that this is exactly the same scenario…” she nonetheless murmured in reply.

“No… but we only have one instance of Tamer experience to go by… multiple examples in that one instance, and now they’ve all been deemed a lost cause…” A short silence followed before he turned his focus back to the man who had spotted the duo in the first place. “Link this camera over to Cara and me… We’re gonna need to make sure these two keep within our sights at all times. Soon as Mr. Alvi is available, he’ll need to be informed of this, but until then we can at least make note of what’s going on.”

“They seem to have some idea over where they’re headed…” Cara said as she observed the way the two were walking with the sort of determined pace that inferred they were hardly just wandering aimlessly. “Let’s see if we can get a grasp on their destination.”

The co-admins both split off back to their own workstations as the link was sent to them, Mateo staying the course and keeping a close eye on the duo, while Cara attempted to predict their course of travel. For a moment everything seemed to return to its usual level of quiet in the room, though the silence couldn’t last for long.

“…Oh, shit…” Cara suddenly remarked.

“What’d you find?” Mateo asked her.

“Well for starters, there’s a strong reading similar to what was emanating from that Coredramon… It’s coming from a large mansion up ahead of them.”

“They must be on some kind of virus purge… You think it’s gonna be too much for them?”

Cara shook her head. “That’s not what I’m worried about. I did a scan on the house. They’re not going to be the first to converge on this place… we’ve got at least six others waiting for them, and if the scanner’s accurate, half of them aren’t necessarily Digimon…”

Mateo’s eyes widened, suddenly sharing a very similar feeling of dread. “You’ve gotta be kidding me… We didn’t just find them too…”


“Finally, some green… Thought we were never gonna see another tree or a blade of grass again, that desert just kept going…” Art said, feeling a great sense of relief as he and Wizardmon walked along a meadow, making their way towards the forest up ahead of them.

“I cannot deny there’s a calming feeling to be had here… In a way this reminds me of my old home of Witchelny,” Wizardmon quipped, immediately catching his tamer’s attention with that remark.

“Witchelny?” he asked. “Where’s that?”

“Quite literally a world apart… In that way you and I are rather alike in that regard. I am not native to what a great many would call ‘the Digital World’,” Wizardmon began to explain as the light around them began to dim from the increasing shade of the trees their path led through. “My homeworld specialized in magical teachings. Those who had the capacity to learn and harness such a power were sent to study in a school specifically designed for such. The ambitious and hardworking were naturally the most favored in such an environment, led to some real rigorous study sessions, I can tell you... but those days are but a distant memory for me now.”

As the dry, arid heat gave way to a much more humid air, Art took a moment to let these new facts sink in.

“An entirely different world… but… you’re still a Digimon, yeah?”

“Yes… That is, admittedly, one major difference between our origin points… Alternate world or not, Witchelny was still very much a digital world in its own right. Very closely connected in its own way as well… hence why we had a capacity to travel to this world in the first place. A very powerful form of portal magic, that. I must say that Witchelny was much more peaceful as a whole, but that’s why those like myself travel to this world in the first place. Greater sense of danger, ideal for testing one’s knowledge and resolve… and a good mage needs both in spades.”

Art nodded as they continued walking, the limited light around them starting to get dimmer whilst the air cooled substantially. Moments later, they could both feel tiny droplets of rain breach the leafy barricade and patter along the ground.

“Huh… could’ve sworn there wasn’t a cloud in the sky…” the human said in mild surprise as he held a hand out to catch the digital water droplets, feeling very much like the real thing.

“Weather’s not always so consistent when you move about from place to place… If our destination’s truly some kind of haunted abode, then it would make sense for it to be stuck in some kind of perpetually gloomy condition,” Wizardmon commented, a clap of distant thunder echoing through the trees to affirm his presumption.

Art felt increasingly thankful for his coat as the rain grew heavier with each pace. By the time the forest had cleared and the manor that they were seeking came into view, they were being drenched in a vicious downpour, lightning decorating the sky, illuminating a mansion that did indeed check off many a box for a spooky venue from the exterior site alone. Hastily both Art and Wizardmon rushed to the front door, the entrance unlocked, the double-doors swinging open, much more easily than one would expect from the size of the ornate-looking entryway.

This first room appeared to be a massive foyer, dimly lit by candles lining the two flights of stairs from both sides of the house, black carpeting creeping up the steps and down the halls that seemed to have nary a door to another room in sight, unless, perhaps, one were to venture further, beyond what they could see from such a vantage point. There was merely one set of doors visible where the two stood, straight ahead. The intense rattling of the inclement weather outside could be heard at a hushed, yet still plainly audible volume.

“So… That back there… that’s nothing out of the ordinary?” Art asked incredulously as he rapidly fanned his waterlogged hat in the air.

“Perhaps I… wouldn’t quite go that far in this case…” Wizardmon admitted, pointing his staff at himself, a gust of wind blowing in his own attempt at drying himself off somewhat. “I can only assume that something is disturbing the overall balance of this place, more than likely connected to what that Deputymon was having so much trouble remembering about it. I fret this house might not be able to weather through such a storm if it continues to go on so relentlessly.” As he spoke, a particularly loud crackle of thunder blasted from outside. The sound of the rafters above them, creaking and clattering, only served as greater evidence that the mansion was taking quite the beating.

“Well then… we’d better get to the investigating, huh?” Art suggested, though Wizardmon didn’t respond. Looking over to him, Art saw the Digimon clutching at his chest again, dropping down to a knee as he tried to steady himself with his staff. “Crap… This again… Wizardmon, what’s going on here? What’s wrong?” Art asked concernedly as he similarly knelt down, looking to try and find some kind of noticeable cause, but considering his obvious lack of experience with Digimon anatomy, if they even had such a thing, there was little he could do and he unfortunately knew it.

“I… Don’t know…” Wizardmon could barely manage to get out before collapsing to the floor, just as Art’s digivice began to beep loudly, the human looking to it as the screen glowed with the message:


Sure enough, a familiar light surrounded the near-unresponsive Wizardmon, and Candlemon reappeared in his place, pushing himself back up from the ground, looking terribly dazed and confused.

“…I’m gonna go out on a limb here and assume this doesn’t happen to you on the regular…” Art said as he showed his partner the screen, still flashing the message for a few moments more.

“You’d be right… I don’t know what’s causing this… A ‘data error’…” He paused, contemplative, before letting out a sigh. “I suppose in a way that’s what it felt like… Like there was too much of me, too little energy to go around… I felt strained… and now we are most certainly in a pickle…”

To that, Art couldn’t agree more. If there was another one of those possessed Digimon roaming these halls, it was a good bet it would be a creature of great power and ruthlessness like the previous two. Wizardmon had enough trouble facing such a foe down… With Candlemon they’d be lucky to prolong a massacre beyond a couple minutes.

“I’d suggest for us a quick retreat, but that heavy rain’s a death sentence for me in this form,” the rookie-level Digimon lamented.

“Yeah…” Art muttered, a little delayed on the uptake, though he eventually processed what that meant, looking a little paler at the notion. “Wait… are you talking literally?”

“Yes, quite literally, Art… See… that’s something of a drawback to this particular stage. If the flame goes out, so do I, and there’s no relighting that mistake. Then you’re stuck on your own until I’m reborn somewhere, and I doubt you have the time or patience to wait for me to get all my memories back from such a journey.”

“Point made…” Art said as they cautiously crept their way towards the waiting doors up ahead. “Still… for what it’s worth, it’s kinda nice to know death isn’t so final for you, y’know, in that worst-case-scenario.”

“Hate to break it to you but that’s not the worst-case-scenario at all…” Candlemon said, quick to correct his tamer, sounding plentifully grim as he did so. “Sometimes the code that we’re made of doesn’t make it back to an egg to get reincarnated in the first place… Sometimes the very cause of one’s demise seals the deal… Doesn’t take much effort to absorb a fallen Digimon’s code before it can fly off…”

At that they heard another loud noise emanate through the manor, sounding nothing like thunder… More like the anguished roar of a beast, though one that Art couldn’t hope to compare to any singular creature hailing from his reality.

“…You’re going to have to play the crack shot again, I hope you realize,” Candlemon said as Art shakily reached for the door.

“Yeah… I kinda figured that out for myself…” Art replied, clearly not too thankful for the reminder.


“Thought we had this place to ourselves, Knox…”

“We did… You can’t expect me to predict when others decide to play trespasser the same time we do. I’m not psychic, Raka, by now I’d think you’d have figured out something as simple as that.”

Huddled in a dark corner of the storm-ridden mansion, two figures draped in plain, dark fabrics, covering almost the entirety of their bodies, stayed as perfectly still as possible, though whilst they were struggling to hold back any movement, they apparently still had plenty of time to bicker in hushed tones. Their respective companions were reacting to this in contrasting fashion.

“Please… now is not the time for you two to go on another of these pointless quibbles…” The voice of disapproval came from a large humanoid fox with greyish fur, clothed in an ornate outfit one might expect to see from one well-versed in a traditional spiritual or occultist philosophy, especially with the taijitu symbol so plainly evident at the chest and the two plates attached to its shoulders.

“Ah, come on now, don’t go spoilin’ the fun, you killjoy.” This difference in opinion stemmed from a tall fellow in a purple pinstripe suit, underneath a flowing grey jacket with a red scarf. Their face looked as if a human head with long white locks of hair had been halfway-devoured by an expertly crafted demon mask, their mouth region being all that remained, smiling a particularly toothy grin. “Let ‘em squabble, beats doin’ nothin’.”

“We’re trying to avoid being so easily detected… do you not see how a petty argument could get in the way of that?” the fox creature asked, their tone particularly condescending.

“You say… as you carry out one of those ‘petty arguments’ yourself,” the pinstriped demon countered with a smirk.

“Alright, just shut up, all of you,” spat out the cloaked figure who had been addressed simply as ‘Knox’ by their counterpart. “Obviously we ran into a hitch… but we’ll deal with it, like always. So it’s not just a simple small-time specter cleanup… So what? This crap’s still well below our league, we just can’t afford to be careless is all…”

“Yeah, maybe… but Knox, look at the damn thing…” The one addressed as ‘Raka’ retorted. Standing in the midst of the spacious, yet poorly lit, ballroom was a fierce sort of creature that seemed to be some kind of dragon or reptilian, though it was covered almost entirely in a blood red inferno that seemed to burn perpetually all around it. The only parts not completely set ablaze were the creature’s sharp claws, three to a hand, and the metallic plating fastened to its skull. It paced the center of the ballroom, though it seemed entirely unaware of its present onlookers, who mostly seemed adamant on keeping it that way for now. “It ain’t ever exactly a picnic, dealing with a Darklizardmon, but… I dunno, something’s real fishy here... I can just kinda tell something’s up with this one.”

“Yeah well… so long as it doesn’t find us or Viteri, we’ll have time to work something out. You know he’s not the type to act until we do,” Knox said. “Now… keep quiet… Soon as it turns around and passes us by, we’ll take it by surprise.”

The Darklizardmon was walking towards the door at the end of the room. If its previous pattern of momentum was anything to go by, Knox knew it would sooner or later stop, turn around and go right back to its pacing like a guard at their post.

“Alright… We’ll go with the usual scheme here… Doumon will do the trapping…” They looked to the fox creature, who gave a subtle nod. “…Once it’s detained, Raka, send Astamon in to blow the bastard away.” The pinstriped demon-man looked delighted as a giant Thompson-like machine gun materialized in his hands. “If all goes well, Yatakaramon will swoop in and finish the job… Now… places… Any minute now…”

Footstep after footstep, the flame-covered lizard continued to move closer to the door… then it finally came to a halt. Turning around, it began its pace back to the other end of the room, Knox holding a hand up, waiting for just the right moment, when it would just pass their hidden vicinity. Closer… closer…

A creak at the door…

The monstrous entity paused.

Mere inches away…

It turned back around, its focus entirely drawn to those who had called such attention to their entrance.

Knox cursed under their breath. What nosy little critter was being so idiotic? Some foolish Digimon using a Candlemon for a light source? And wearing ratty clothes like that… with... Wait…

Knox’s eyes widened. Beside them, Raka looked about ready to pass out, holding their breath to keep from shouting. From an indecipherable corner of the room a faint gasp echoed, no doubt the one they called ‘Viteri.’ The Darklizardmon paid no heed though, its eyes were squarely focused on the human and Candlemon that were right in its line of sight, letting out another hideous roar, causing the entire ballroom to rattle.

“Raka… You’re seeing this, right? That’s... that’s a human right there?” Knox asked in a near-breathless whisper. They didn’t expect an actual response, and Raka was still too thrown off to give one.

“Heh… now this… This is interestin’…” Astamon quipped.


He’d opened the door, and immediately Art regretted doing so, as a giant Digimon, awash in deep red fire, was right there to greet them with another roar, now entirely audible, nearly knocking the human right onto the floor from the sheer force of it emanating directly at him.

“Art… RUN!” Candlemon anxiously shouted.

“Where?!” Art heard himself ask, though the fear that had stricken him made it feel like he’d only half-consciously said it.

“Anywhere! Just get out of the way!” Candlemon replied, slapping Art across the head a couple of times to get the point across.

Fortunately, Art was able to get his legs moving in time to narrowly avoid a blast of what appeared to be, contradictory as it seemed, dark fire, shot from the creature’s mouth, hitting the spot where he’d just stood and quickly spreading from impact. Art stumbled but kept his footing, scrambling to a nearby pillar and hiding behind it.

“Darklizardmon… of all the beasts we had to deal with…” Candlemon said, immensely dissatisfied by this revelation. Art moved him just enough to peer around to see what it was doing next. “…Get down!”

Art ducked down just in time to avoid the Darklizardmon’s jaws bursting through the pillar, gnashing at what it had hoped would be the human’s head. Art made sure to scramble further away as the fiery Digimon struggled to pull itself back out, causing much of the room to shake, plaster from the ceiling beginning to shower down.

Art let out a steady stream of terror-filled expletives as he ran to the far end of the ballroom, knocking aside tables and chairs, though finding no sign of another entrance or exit at the far end.

“Oh god… What do we do here?!” he asked in a panic as he saw their foe finally pull away from its brief structural hinderance and resume its pursuit.

“Good chance it’s got one of those orbs in it… We’re just going to have to get it out. It’s the only option we’ve got right now!” Candlemon said.

Art fished through his pockets for his digivice.

Darklizardmon was halfway across the room by then.

He felt the digivice in his hands, but in his panic, it slipped from his grasp.

The creature was getting closer by the second.

Art pressed his back against the wall. Finally, he had a grip on the digivice. He aimed… but…

“Shit… Where do I shoot?!” He couldn’t spot any glaring irregularity… No, too late, he needed to get out of the way again, but it was already lunging at him… Reflexively all he could do was flinch and cover his face. Candlemon helplessly aimed to strike what would almost certainly be a futile glancing blow of an attack on the beast, not expecting much to come out of it, but having little more he could do to help his cornered tamer.

They both braced for oblivion… only for another party to make their move at that exact moment.

Suddenly the Darklizardmon was stuck in a strange sort of haze, wandering about in a sort of confusion as if it no longer had any idea where it was.

“…Candlemon… What just happened?” Art asked as he shuffled further away from the Digimon now aimlessly wandering about.

“Some kind of barrier must have been placed…” Candlemon answered, eyeing the situation contemplatively. “Must be messing with our foe’s mind in a way. Could be any number of illusionary or mind-controlling abilities frankly… but more importantly, it appears we’re not quite so alone in this skirmish…”

They didn’t have to wait to see the truth in this observation, as a Digimon wielding a machine gun leapt his way onto the scene and opened fire on the Darklizardmon, causing it to howl in pain, and leaving Candlemon to notice something most definitely out of the ordinary as the dark fire dragon opened its mouth.

“Art, look… its mouth is a complete abyss… No tongue, no back teeth, just a void. That must be where the orb is!”

Art managed to see what Candlemon was talking about before the Darklizardmon clamped its mouth back shut, and though he was understandably still quite shaken up, he nodded his understanding of what he had to do, preparing to aim his digivice once more. Whoever was assisting them, he figured, would surely continue their assault. He was, of course, correct in this assumption, as an eldritch, raven-like Digimon with three legs suddenly swooped from above, blasting its target with beams coming from the gold-covered weapons attached to its wings. The blasted section of the helpless creature seemed to break down into nothingness as if its very cells were being disassembled. It let out another anguished scream and Art took the shot, the beam hitting the Darklizardmon squarely in its mouth.

The now-familiar-looking shadowy orb was ejected from the draconic creature’s jaw, vanishing in an instant as the others had. Their foe collapsed to the floor with a great thud. The dark flames around them died down, and the storm outside seemed to be calming significantly as well.

“Quite an oddity… It’s as if these orbs can be so influential as to affect the very environment of those afflicted long enough…” Candlemon commented with intrigue. “…Though that’s something we can likely ponder later… Presently, there’s the matter of our unexpected rescuers.”

Three Digimon of fairly towering proportions stood nearby, the poor lighting draping them all in slight obscurity. Art quickly pointed his digivice at them, letting the ID application do its job:

‘Doumon, Ultimate Level, Wizard Type, Data Attribute’

‘Astamon, Ultimate Level, Demon Man Type, Virus Attribute’

‘Yatakaramon, Ultimate Level, Bewitching Bird Type, Vaccine Attribute’

“Three Ultimates in one place… Are we to be so privileged?” Candlemon stated with awe. “Surely they must be here on a matter of great importance. Perhaps their goals align with ours, if we’re fortunate.”

Art nodded and went to see if he could get their attention, but before he could get a word out, he saw the three all looking as if they were about to prepare another attack on the still-unresponsive Darklizardmon. Just as abruptly as he noticed this, they were suddenly opening fire on the creature en masse.

“Good lord, they’re annihilating the thing!” Art exclaimed as they both watched the fallen Digimon suddenly explode into little more than what Art could only assume were digital fragments, code that had once been a living creature… and it was now splitting off towards the three Digimon that had done the deed.

“Absorbing its data…” Candlemon said, his initial awe now starting to shift back into terror. “Art… perhaps we should leave them be… Let’s… just be on our way,” he advised, pointing a wax-finger toward the door, which Art seemed more than willing to try inconspicuously moving toward…

“Human… Stay put…” The Doumon suddenly spoke, and Art immediately froze in place. “Our associates wish to speak with you. We must insist you give them the chance to do so.”

“Wouldn’t be so fun for you if you try to make a break for it by the way. Trust me, I’d rather not waste the ammo,” Astamon quipped.

“Out of the frying pan and into the fire then… Just dandy…” Art muttered as three masked humanoids emerged. Upon closer inspection, both Art and Candlemon could see they each had what could only be digivices of their own, strapped to their sides.

“…Oh no… By Yggdrasil, it’s them…” Candlemon gasped in dismay.

“You… you know them? Who the hell are they?” Art asked between clenched teeth.

“…You know what I’ve been saying about rumors and stories of your kind… We’re looking at the source right here…”

The three figures surrounded the duo, their Digimon similarly moving to stand closely behind them.

“All these years… all this time… and suddenly we’ve got ourselves another human in the Digital World,” one of them spoke. It was hard to say if they sounded delighted, angered, or unsettled by this, perhaps some peculiar mixture of the three. “Who sent you?”

“Sent? N-no, I… There was a portal…”

“Goddammit… The portal story again…” another growled in annoyance.

“Quiet.” The first ordered sternly before looking back to Art. “We can’t tell for sure if you’re telling us the whole truth of the matter, but we have ways of finding out. You and the wax stick are coming with us. We’ve got a lot to discuss.”