The Ring of Despair- Part 2
“Izzy!” T.K. shouted, calling towards the woods, “Hey, Izzy, come out, come out, wherever you are!”
“Izzy!” Matt shouted beside him, “Yo! Izzy, where are you?”
The two brothers had been searching for almost an hour now, with no sign of Izzy at all. Slightly depressed, they trudged back to the group to see if anyone else had had any luck.
On their way back, T.K. looked up and cocked his head, “Did you hear that Patamon?”
“Yeah,” Patamon said, worried, “I wonder what it is....”
Matt gasped, seeing what they had heard, “It's....it's a....a Digimon!” he shouted, noticing the Digimon. The creature had five hard horns on his head, and was colored a murky brown. The way it walked made it seem like a rhinocerous, but it wasn't any rhinocerous they had heard of.
“It's a Felixarmon!” Gabumon said, worried.
“Oh no, we should run!” Patamon agreed.
“Ya think?” Matt said sarcastically, and then grabbed T.K.'s hand and took off towards the campsite. Unfortunately, the Digimon followed and attacked.
“Gabumon digivolve to..... GARURUMON!” Garurumon jumped in front of Felixarmon and swiped at him with a large claw.
“Howling Blaster!” Garurumon shouted, blasting a bolt of ice at the other Digimon. Felixarmon flinched but struck back.
“Rolling Strike!” the evil Digimon hissed, his five horns blasting at Garurumon. Garurumon dodged, but one of the horns had hit Matt slightly, pinning him to a tree by his shirt.
“Matt!” T.K. shouted. Matt struggled to get free, but the horn held tight. Garurumon jerked in surprise, and ran towards Matt, but Felixarmon jumped in and blocked the path.
“Howling Blaster!” Garurumon shouted again, and this time it struck clear. Felixarmon blasted away, and Garurumon digivolved back to Gabumon.
“Matt!” Gabumon said, running towards a struggleing Matt. Knocking the horn away, Gabumon looked at Matt's shoulder, which was starting to bleed profusely.
“We had better get back to camp,” Patamon said, “That looks bad.”
“It feels bad.” Matt agreed, pressing his hand as hard as he could on his shoulder, trying to stop the bleeing.
“Are you okay, Matt?” T.K. said.
“Yeah, I'm fine.” Matt said quickly, screwing his face into an `indifferent' mode.
“Boy, was that exciting when Garurumon clobbered Felixarmon, you were great Garurumon!” T.K. bubbled happily. (~A/N~ T.K. is a freak.... *cough* Never mind. *is attacked by T.K. fans*)
The two brothers made their way slowly towards camp. When they arrived, Sora bandaged Matt's shoulder, Matt winceing, but he was to proud to cry out.
“That had to hurt.” Tai said simply.
“Yes, are you all right?” Tentomon agreed.
“Yeah, yeah, I'm fine.” Matt replied, blushing, “Did anyone find anything?”
“Nothing.” Sora said.
“Zilch.” Tai agreed.
“Not one single clue.” Joe put in.
“Well, that went well.” Matt said sarcastically, “All that we acheived is me getting a hurt arm. We are no more closer to finding Izzy than we were an hour ago.”
“Hey, look Matt! At least we know that he isn't anywhere around here!” Tai shouted back, shoving Matt. Matt fell backwards a bit, ran into Joe and cried out in pain.
“Ahh!” Joe shouted, the first aid bag from camp flying from his grip. It's contents spilled everywhere.
“Tai, Matt was hurt! Why did you push him like that?” T.K. said, glaring at Tai.
“Hey, Matt was being mean!” Kari said, standing beside Tai.
They entire group took sides and glared daggers at eachother. Tai, Kari, and Sora on one side, and T.K., Matt, Joe, and Mimi on the other. It appeared that each group had decided their own way of doing things. Most of the Digimon sat beside each of their partners, sighing a bit.
But not Gatomon. Rolling her eyes at the children, she went over to where the contents of Joe's bag had been spilled. Mainly it was first aid stuff, Joe's Digivice, a blanket, and ----
And a HandStone!
Gatomon gasped and picked the stone up. She quickly moved between the two groups of kids, “STOP!” she shouted, drawing their undivided attention. Gatomon then turned to Joe, “Where did you get this?” she asked, holding out the HandStone.
“What?” Joe asked, “Oh, that, Gomamon found it by where we found Izzy's laptop.”
“Why'd you put it in here, Gomamon?” Gatomon asked, turning towards Gomamon, suspicion alive in her cat face.
Gomamon was taken aback by the abruptness of Gatomon. “I...I just thought it might be a good idea...I didn't know what it was and.... um...”
“YOU PUT A HANDSTONE IN HIS BAG? YOU IDIOT!” Gatomon screeched.
“What's a HandStone?” Tai asked.
“Um...well...” Gomamon said, “Now that I know what it is....”
“A HandStone is also called a Transportation Stone.” Gatomon replied priskly, “When someone places their hand in the engravment here, they are transported to the acclaimed area.”
“Are you saying...?” Mimi asked.
“My guess is that Izzy is at Myotismon's castle.” Gatomon replied, “I saw one of these there.”
The Digidestined stared at each other. Slowly, Tai coughed and spoke up.
“Well,” he said, “I guess Matt was right.”
Myotismon smiled at his accomplishment. The Crest of Knowlege was being held captive by him, and the Crest of Courage would soon be destroyed. One of his many accomplices, Herikimon, was in charge of that expedition.
Myotismon walked over the the unconcious boy. His arms and legs were bound to the stone table, just like in a primitive legend. His crest had long since been taken, as well as his Digivice, so if the Digidestined somehow did manage to get here without being killed or getting captured themselves, they would still have to search for the items.
Too bad they would be destroyed before they ever found them. If his plan went well, the rest of the Digidestined would be destroyed by none other than the young keeper of the Crest of Knowlege.
Tai sat up slowly, willing his eyes to open. It had been a long night, walking up towards Myotismon's castle until about midnight, until T.K., Joe, and Mimi said that they could walked no further. Then Tai had kept guard until about one a.m., when Sora took over.
“You look beat, Tai.” Sora said, yawning as well.
“Yeah.” Tai said, “I hope we don't get attacked, because I doubt that I'd have enough energy to help Agumon digivolve.”
“I know what you mean.” Joe said, having taken the last watch, after Matt. Tai's watch was from midnight to one, Sora's from one to two-thirty, Matt's from two-thirty to four, and then Joe took over for the rest of the night. Each of the four were completely tired out, and only T.K., Mimi, and Kari had gotten a semi-good night's sleep.
“Well, Myotismon's castle is up ahead, we should get going soon.” Matt said, blinking repeatedly. He then glanced at a sleeping Mimi. “Honestly, you'd think that she'd be up, not us.”
Mimi stirred at this, and gradually forced her eyes open. “Is it time to go already?” she asked.
“Yeah.” Tai said. “Grab your stuff and let's get kicking.”
“Get kicking?” Matt asked, raising an eyebrow.
Tai sighed. “I'm too tired to argue with you,” he said to this sarcastic remark.
The group trudged along in silence. Tai sank deeper and deeper into his own thoughts. It was his fault that Izzy had been kidnapped or whatever. If he and Matt hadn't fought, the group would have never split up, and then Izzy would have never found that stupid stone. Now Izzy was probably hurt or even dead because of Tai's foolishness, and Tai just couldn't let that thought rest.
Not to mention the fact that he may just be leading the group into a trap. Who knew if Myotismon had Izzy at his castle, or somewhere else. If this was all a trap, Tai could wind up killing them all, and he just couldn't have that. Izzy disappearing was already his fault, he didn't want to add any more on that list.
Sora saw Tai concentrating, and she walked over to him. “What are you thinking about Tai?”
Tai looked over at Sora. “It's my fault.” he said simply.
“No, it isn't.” Sora said, placing her hand on Tai's shoulder, “You may have thought that, but none of this is our fault. None of it. It's the evil Digimon's fault.”
“Yeah, but if Matt and I hadn't been fighting, Izzy wouldn't have even found that stupid stone.”
Sora sighed. “Tai, I don't care about the `what ifs?” What if we hadn't fought? What if we had never landed in the Digiworld? What if, what if, what if!” Sora shook her head, “You can't worry about the `what ifs?' Tai. Just worry about what we're going to do next.”
“That's another thing I'm worried about, though.” Tai said, “What if I'm leading us into a trap?”
“What if you're not?” Sora asked, “Look Tai, either way, we have to get Izzy, and Myotismon's castle is our best guess. So stop wondering if you're making a mistake, you're doing fine.”
Tai looked at Sora, who was grinning supportivly. “Thanks Sora. I guess I was just worried about... well, everything.”
Tai walked along some more, now listening to Matt and Mimi fighting. He supposed that if Matt didn't fight with him, he'd fight with someone else. Matt was just one kid who could not stop fighting!
Suddenly, Tai felt himself getting lifted from the ground! “Agghhh!” he shouted as a gigantic claw squeezed tight around him. Stealing a glance upwards, Tai saw a large Digimon with scales all over like a fish, and purple swirling hair all around his squat face.
“Hello Digidestined.” the Digimon said in a low, graveling voice, “I am Herikimon.”
“Let Tai go!” Sora said, clenching her fists.
“Oh, you mean this child?” Herikimon said, gesturing towards Tai, “I don't think so. But maybe you could come up as well...” With that, Herikimon reached for Sora. Sora tried to dodge out of the way, but the giant Digimon's claw caught her and lifted her up too.
“Agumon digivolve to... GREYMON!”
“Biyomon digivolve to... BIRDRAMON!”
Greymon head butted Herikimon, making him jump back. Glowering, Herikimon launched an attack at the lizard Digimon. “Petros Fire!” Herikimon shouted, and a wall of bright purple flame shot towards Greymon.
“Meteor Wing!” Birdramon shouted, blasting a wave of mistles at Herikimon, careful not to hit Tai or Sora.
Herikimon dodged them, and said, “You want your friends? Go and get them!” With that, he threw Tai into a tree, and was about to throw Sora when Greymon attacked again.
“Nova Blast!” he shouted, sending Herikimon flying. Herikimon had dropped Sora, who quickly got up and ran to where Tai was.
“Tai, are you all right?” Sora shouted as she arrived.
Tai blinked as she arrived. “I... no...” he said as he fell into darkness.
Izzy blinked his eyes. As they opened, he took in the structure of some kind of dark building. Turning his head, he thought he saw a figure standing by equipment of some kind, but his vision was blurry, so he couldn't make out any more than that.
Izzy tried to sit up, but he found his arms and legs tied down. Struggleing a bit, he realized that they were tied tight and ready. There was no way for him to get free by himself. Unluckily, his struggleing drew the attention of the figure, who, as his vision returned, was the worst person that could have captured Izzy. It was Myotismon.
“Ah, so the little Digidestined is awake.” Myotismon said, his voice full of snearing. Izzy's eyes widened in fear as Myotismon drew closer, and he struggled with the restraints on his hands and legs even more.
“Don't bother.” Myotismon said. “You won't get anywhere.”
Getting his voice back, Izzy said, “What do you want?”
“Many things.” Myotismon said. “But the reason that you will be of help to me is because I have a little experiment that I wanted to try out.”
“An... experiment?” Izzy said, his voice weak. Izzy knew that any `experiment' that Myotismon did would probably end up in him being dead. “What kind of expiriment?”
“Oh, nothing for you to strain your mind over.” Myotyismon said, and he turned towards the equipment again. It was then that Izzy noticed a small band around his wrist. It wasn't the thing that tied him down, but it was something else.
“What's this?” Izzy asked, hoping that he would find out. Myotismon seemed pretty proud of something, but Izzy still didn't fully understand what it was.
“That is the little experiment. The Ring of Despair.”
“The... the what?” Izzy asked, trembleing as he saw Myotismon fiddling with the controls. “But...”
“Be quiet, bratty little child. The experiment is now under way.” Myotismon slammed his hand down on the controls, and Izzy saw a bright flash of light. The world was swirling again, and Izzy couldn't seem to comprehend what was going on.
Suddenly, Izzy felt himself losing the feeling of his body. He couldn't feel the table anymore. Or even the restraint on his hands. It was as if Myotismon had somehow found a way to separate the mind and body.
That could be it... Izzy realized. But... no, why would he do that? There was really nothing to gain from separating those things. As Izzy felt himself retreting to a dark place, he understood nothing of what was going on.
Izzy stood there in the darkness, in a completely different place. There he heard a hissing voice. It wasn't Myotismon, but something more terrifying, especially in his position.
“I am Serphramon...” the voice said, “Welcome to my Nightmare...”
Sora choked back tears. Tai was unconcious with a head injury and Matt was slashed in the arm. It was as if Myotismon was determined to destroy them before they could get to Izzy.
But... why? Sora wondered. She meant, if he wanted to destroy them, it would be all to easy, wouldn't it? And now that they were getting closer to the castle, Joe had picked up Izzy's digivice signal. That wouldn't work if Izzy was dead, would it? Sora didn't think so.
Sora looked over and saw T.K. and Kari crying. She felt a pang of guilt for crying as well, and not comforting them. They must feel so sad, knowing that their brothers were hurt. Matt's arm had broke open in the battle, and all of the bleeding caused him to become unconcious like Tai. They had laid the two injured boys in a nearby cave, but Sora wasn't sure just how long that solution would last.
Sora walked over to T.K. and Kari. “It's okay guys. I'm sure that Tai and Matt will be fine.” Sora wasn't exactly sure of her assumption, but she tried to sound certain.
“I... I want my brother!” Kari whimpered, rubbing her eyes. “Why does Myotismon have to be so mean?”
“I don't know Kari.” Sora said, “I really don't know.”
“But do you mean that Matt will wake up soon? And he'll be okay?” T.K. said, his eyes hopeful.
“I'm sure of it.” Sora said, smiling.
T.K.'s eyes lit up, and he jumped to his feet. “I'm gonna go tell Patamon!” he said cheerfully. Patamon and the other Digimon had gone searching for food, still in their own emotional pain.
T.K. walked over by the cave to wait for Patamon, and sat down. Sora said that Matt would be okay, and T.K. knew that Sora would never lie to him. He walked over by Matt and knelt down beside the older boy.
“Hey, Matt, Sora said that you and Tai would be okay.” T.K. told his brother. “Isn't that great?” T.K. grinned and said, “I was a bit doubtful at first, but now I know that you'll be okay. You're too tough to die, right Matt?”
T.K.'s Crest suddenly began to glow. The light shone brightly, almost blinding T.K. as he back up against the cave wall. The light separated into two bright beams of light, descending on Matt and Tai. The two boys simutaneously jerked as the light washed over them. Groaning, Tai blinked his eyes open as Matt struggled to sit up.
“You're awake!” T.K. shouted, throwing his arms around his brother. “Oh, I knew it, Sora said you'd be okay, and you are! Your arm's better and everything!”
Sora and Kari ran into the cave, drawn by the light. Seeing Matt and Tai sitting up, and completely healed, they gasped.
“But... how?” Sora asked.
“Oh, Tai, you're all right!” Kari shouted, throwing her arms around her brother as T.K. had done. “Agumon and I were so worried! And so was everyone else!”
“What.... what happened?” Tai asked.
“Yeah, why is my arm okay now?” Matt continued.
“I don't know.” Sora said. Then she came upon an inspiration. “T.K., what happened in here?”
T.K. grinned. “I told Matt that you said he'd be okay, and that I knew he would, and my Crest started glowing.”
“You mean...” Sora said, beginning to understand.
“My Crest power healed them!” T.K. shouted, and turned to his brother again, “aren't you proud of me Matt?”
Matt smiled as he tried to hide tears that were forming in his eyes. T.K. had saved him. Matt gave his brother a big hug and said, “I'm proud of you whether you save me or not.”
T.K. hugged Matt back. “Thanks Matt.”
Sora, Kari, and a newly healed Tai left quietly. They knew that Matt wasn't usually this emotional, and that he would like to be alone with his brother for awhile. Sora smiled, hiding the tears in her own eyes, and thanked whatever God there was for helping them.
Quietly standing in the shadows, a figure watched the children rejoice. A grin spread on her face, happy for them, and yet... displeased. It was odd that the children hadn't made the deduction of the real Crest's power yet, but, she supposed, maybe the deductor of the group was the one that was held hostege.
Thinking of the small child in Myotismon's castle made her scowl. She hated Myotismon for all he was worth, but she had no reason to help the Digidestined child. If she just burst in there to help, it was likely that she would die. Not to mention the fact that it was too late to simply free the child, she would have to reverse the `Ring of Despair' process, and that would take way too long for her to do it by herself.
Instead, she continued to look at the other group of children. They were so happy, rejoicing in the fact that two of them survived an attack, contrasting horribly with the desolation and horror that she knew filled the captive child's mind. She sighed, knowing that once this ordeal was over, the memories of it would haunt them all.
“Where am I?” Izzy asked the voice. Although he was stuck in this odd realm of some sort, he could at least find out where and why.
“You are still where you were before...” Serphramon answered, hissing.
“Then why can't I feel my body?” Izzy asked simply. It seemed reasonable enough to ask that, considering he felt like a ghost in the darkness.
“Because you are no longer in control of your body.” Serphramon said.
“Listen child. You are nothing. Nothing at all.” Serphramon hissed, and two yellow eyes appeared in the darkness. “Look at what I know...”
Izzy was washed over by a memory of something... something he had seen not long ago...
His parents were sitting in the room, talking. Although he knew that he shouldn't, Izzy peeked in to listen.
“Shouldn't we tell him?” his mother's voice asked.
“He is still a little boy...” his father's replied.
“But he is so smart... sometimes I think he already know that he's adopted... that he's not really our son.”
Tears came to Izzy's eyes. No... no...
“NO!” Izzy shouted, breaking away from the memory. “My parents explained what happened. That won't hurt me!”
“Ah, but it will, small child, it will.” Serphramon answered. “Why do you think that the device that I used to come here was called the Ring of Despair?”
Before Izzy could answer, he continued. “Because we Digimon who come through there know how to make you despair. We know what your troubles are...”
Instantly, a hurtle of memories slashed in Izzy's mind, blasting Izzy's current thoughts back.
“How can you be so insensitive?!” Palmon yelled.
“You little computer geek pipsqueak! Pay attention to me!” Mimi yelled.
“You're pathetic! Get up and work!” a gym instucter ordered.
“Hey, why don't you go play with your computers, geek boy? We're playing soccer!” a boy sneered at him. Izzy had glanced up and seen Tai, watching silently. Not helping him, or even trying. Izzy ran...
“You're just a little brat.” a girl said, pushing past him.
“No...” Izzy said softly. Serphramon's eyes disappeared, leaving him alone with the memory of them. “No...” Izzy then began to do something that he didn't do much of.
In the silence, Izzy cried.
“Woohoo!” Tai shouted, sliding down a hill. It was wet and muddy, and he had taken a diving leap. It was like a water slide!
“Yeah!” Matt said, copying Tai and sliding down. Sora, T.K., Kari, and their Digimon followed suite, and they all landed on the bottom in a heap.
“Ew!” Mimi shouted. “How can you guys slide down that icky hill?”
“Yeah, aren't we suppose to be looking for Izzy?” Joe said, resisting the urge to slide down too.
“C'mon guys, slide down.” Tai said. “It'll be much quicker than walking.”
Gomamon looked up at his partner. “Whadaya say Joe?”
“Sure, whatever.” Joe said, and he and Gomamon slid down as well, yelling.
“There is no way I am!” Mimi said, and crossed her arms in front of her. “You can just wait while I walk down.”
“Aw, c'mon Mimi.” Palmon said, “It'll be fun.”
“Fun? You call sliding down a messy, icky hill and getting all dirty is fun?” Mimi shouted. “And we're suppose to be looking for Izzy!”
“He's at Myotismon's castle.” Sora explained, getting up and rubbing some mud from her face. “At least, that's where we think he is.”
“Well, what if he-- Hey, what's that?” Mimi said, looking at something that she had seen in the distance. “Oh! It looks like a... it's a storm!”
“What?” Palmon said, and she looked the same way Mimi had. “It is! We had better get to shelter! Come on Mimi!” Palmon sprung out her poisen ivy arms, and grabbed Mimi, pulling both of them down the hill.
“Ick, I'm all muddy!” Mimi shouted.
“That doesn't matter!” Palmon shouted back, and then she turned to the others. “You guys, there a huge storm coming! If we don't get shelter, we could be killed.”
The Digidestined and Digimon glanced at each other, and then began running in the opposite direction of the storm. Tentomon, Patamon, and Biyomon flew down low as the children and the other Digimon ran beneath them. Suddenly, it started to rain.
“Oh no!” T.K. shouted, “It's starting to rain!”
“Aghh!” Kari shriked as lightning flashed. The entire group jumped at the clap of thunder, and then the rain turned into sheets and sheets of it, drenching the Digidestined instantly. Tentomon, Patamon, and Biyomon landed, unable to fly anymore.
Kari looked around. She could barely see anyone in the gallons of rain and the sudden darkness, not even Tai, although she knew he was there because she was holding his hand. Shivering, she gripped her brother's hand even tighter, afraid that he might disappear in the pouring rain.
“Guys!” Tai's voice shouted. “We still have to find shelter.”
“Yeah, but where?” Matt's voice answered, even softer than Tai's. Kari thought she heard T.K. ask where Matt was, and then she heard T.K. begin to cry.
“I want my mommy!” he shouted.
Kari felt the tears coming to her eyes too. “Me too.” she said, the words barely coming out as she too began to cry.
“C'mon guys, this is no time to cry!” Joe's voice shouted, coming through strong. “We have to find shelter.” Just then, another flash of lightning hit a tree nearby, and it burst into flames. Everyone shriked, and Tai began to pull Kari in the other direction.
“Hurry up!” he shouted at the other kids, who followed him quickly away from the flaming tree. They continued to run, even after they couldn't see the tree.
“We must find shelter!” Gabumon said. “In a storm like this, we could either get lost or blown away.”
“Or,” a new voice said, “You could stand there like idiots until you freeze.”
Everyone gasped and turned toward the new voice. In a flash of lightning, they all saw a group of three Digimon that looked like human girls, except with wings. That was all each of them could see before the light died out.
“Who... who are you guys?” Mimi stuttered, her teeth chattering in the cold.
“Introductions will be made later.” a second girl said. “Until then, Moramon's castle is this way. Hurry!”
Kari felt one of them come by her and Tai. She grabbed Tai's arm and led both of them in a direction. In another flash of lightning, she saw Matt, T.K., and Joe being led by another, and Sora and Mimi by yet another.
They walked in the freezing rain at a quick pace until they reached the shelter. It was a grand castle, or at least, that's what the Digidestined saw of it. As they entered the main room, Kari suddenly felt fatigue.
“Tai...” she whispered. Tai looked down at her. “I'm cold and tired.”
“Yeah, me too.” Tai answered. Now that they were inside, they could see the Digimon that saved them more clearly.
One girl had curly black hair and a white dress on. She also had a necklace around her neck, and her feet had white slipper-like shoes on them. Her wings were a pale purple color, and her eye were a beautiful purple as well.
Another girl was getting some blanlets, this one with straight blond hair that fell in her face. She was wearing a long skirt and a dark blue t-shirt. Her wings were a light blue, as well as her eyes. She wore a braclet instead of a necklace.
The third girl had shoulder length light brown hair, with green wings and eyes. Her outfit was a yellow tank-top and black wind pants, and she wore a sparkling ring. She retrived a bunch of pillows for the children and Digimon.
“You should rest.” the black haired one said, pointing towards the blankets and pillows. “Those things were made especially by Moramon to help warm people up, and they'll help dry you off as well. It wouldn't be wise of you eat or dry off now, seeing as how you're all so tired.”
“But wait.” Tai said. “Who are you?”
The black haired girl answered, “I am Avimon.”
“I am Aleahmon.” the blond one answered.
“And I am Alisiamon.” the brown haired girl finished. “Now go to sleep.”
Kari gratefully grabbed a pillow and blanket and curled up in it. She felt warmed up almost instantly, but before she fell asleep, she heard the new Digimon talking.
“Are these the Digidestined?” Avimon asked.
“Moramon has been watching them, hasn't she?” Aleahmon agreed.
Alisiamon sighed. “I don't know.”
Kari closed her eyes in confusion, and then drifted off into a deep sleep.
A/N = Well, there we are ppls. The second part. And, um, about Myo-san being dead and all? Let us just say that a Fox Kids executive came, and by means that we really cannot explain, brought that cute little evil guy back to, true to evil villain nature, torture and take revenge on our poor, poor little Digidestined friends. *fingers twitch* And if he hurts Izzy even more, I'll swear I'll... hey!
I'm writing this fic! I can! I have the power! BWHAHAHAH! *glances around at people aiming rotting veggies and other assortments at her* Eek! *dodges grapefruit* Fine! Fine, I'm leaving! *rolls eyes* Seesh, you just can't find an appreciative audience these days, can you? *dodges chicken leg* I'm going! Cut it out! *runs to nearest exit*