Digimon :: Core





 

It had been some time since the attack of Turuiemon, Weimon's evolution, and Jett's subsequent leave of the other kids. The blonde-haired boy in question continued to walk along through the forest. At his side was a very tired Weimon, seemingly struggling to keep up, though he seemed to be quite good at hiding it. Finally, after several hours of walking, the pair came to the edge of the forest. Ahead of them was a small stretch of grassy land that lead off into a sandbar, which seemed to stretch for several miles, either way.

Jett glanced at the map on his D-Hub, seeing nothing of interest on either side, though, he could see something ahead of him. Water. Lots of it. The water had a strange, greenish tint to it, far more than surprisingly clean river water. Though, Jett did recognize the smell, as it was quite similar to that of ocean-scented body soap. The river seemed quite expansive, however, and stretched further than he could see. “The White River.”

“Do you recognize where we are?” Jett asked, looking at the wolf digimon.

“Not exactly,” Weimon replied, his voice tired and somewhat hoarse. “But I recognize this body of water. I've heard about it, once. It flows into the Zelena Sea, which resides East of the Popula Continent, which is one that I do know quite well.” Jett nodded understandingly, folding his arms.

“Then I guess we'll have to cross this water in order to get there.”

“...Unfortunately,” Weimon spoke under his breath, almost in a grudging tone, earning a quirked eyebrow from Jett. “Er... Yes, I suppose we will.” The wolf quickly corrected himself, before moving forward. “Perhaps we can piece together a raft?” He stumbled a bit.

“Take a rest first,” Jett spoke, releasing his folded arms. He moved over to the trees behind them. “Are there fish in these waters?”

“...” Weimon glanced at the boy, feeling a small twinge of gratitude. He had offered to let him rest, thankfully, and even seemed to be hinting at providing food for them. “Yes,” the wolf spoke after a moment. “Several. None that are detrimental, as far as I am aware.” Jett nodded, breaking off a stick. He glanced around the area.

Now he just had to find some sort of string. His eyes fixated on his coat, and thoughts seemed to run through his head. Weimon, meanwhile, moved over to a small patch of shade, just at the edge of the sandbar, beneath a small curvature of land above. He curled himself up, much like a cat, before laying down, making himself comfortable.

Jett began to attempt to tear his coat. It was a warm enough atmosphere to be without one, even if this one was rather expensive. He needed it for more useable things. Though, it was quite sturdy. He spotted a patch of rocks nearby, and moved over, picking out the sharpest one. He began to hit it against the jacket, tearing at it slowly.

He paused, before going through the pockets. He'd better make sure there was nothing of importance within them. His hand brushed against a familiar object, which he promptly pulled out. It was a small, pocket-sized photo of himself, and a twin girl.

Jade. Jett thought matter-of-factly. He glanced it over, noting just how much the two looked alike, even if that was a bit to his dismay. Her hair, like his own, was the exact shade of blonde, albeit longer, as well as their eyes. Though, she lacked the glasses that he wore, one could easily see their incredible resemblance. I wonder what you're up to right now. Probably being a royal smart ass, I bet.

Jett frowned at his thoughts, before stuffing the picture in his pocket.

*** *** ***

Maia walked along, trailing just behind the other three boys she was accompanied by. Spread among their little group were the four digimon that had called themselves their 'partners'. Finnmon, Bazamon, and Rakumon were all walking along, Misumon riding atop Finnmon's metal-plated head. The group, once again, had adopted a silence among them. Brian, who was mostly leading the group, had a cigarette between his teeth, once again. Huey was walking along-side Tyson, and seemed quite interested in something.

Maia perked up at the thought, attempting to see what the brunette boy was doing. He was huddled over something, which he was holding. Maia figured it out... she felt a vein pop in the back of her head, and she stormed forward.

“Are you playing video games?” she demanded in a short, unamused tone. Tyson froze up, glancing over at her with an innocent expression.

“Heh, yeah, all this walking is pretty boring,” he said with a chuckle. Maia grumbled under her breath.

“Are you seriously playing right now? When we're lost in some other world, trying to think of ways to get home?”

“What else should I be doing?” Tyson asked, going back and forth between his game and Maia. “We already asked the Digimon, and they said we can't go back until we get to Digica, or something,” he didn't seem particularly interested.

“Yeah, Maia, let him be,” Huey added with a pouty expression. Maia didn't seem to take heed of what the boy had said.

“Oh yeah, we should probably tell you what's going on sometime soon too,” Rakumon spoke up, scratching his nose with his claw. “Y'know, why you're here and stuff.”

“Exactly,” Maia spoke, signaling towards the dragon. “There's plenty more constructive things you could be doing right now.”

“Pfffft,” Tyson scoffed, looking over at the girl with a frown. “Like you wouldn't be all over your cellphone,” the boy argued back. Maia huffed, folding her arms.

“If only I remembered to bring it. We might have been able to call for help.”

“Exactly~” Tyson spoke with a chime in his voice, before turning back to his game.

“You're impossible,” Maia muttered, having half a mind to take the game from him.

“Bam! Victory!” Tyson cheered with a goofy grin. Huey shared equal enthusiasm with his older friend. Tyson suddenly blinked as a swift hand snatched the device away. He glanced at Maia, but saw her hands empty. That meant...

“What is this... Last Existence?” Brian asked, raising an eyebrow. “Sounds boring,” he muttered, the cigarette in his mouth inhibiting his words just a small amount. “So you're a nerd, huh?” he asked Tyson with a smug expression. Tyson huffed, reaching his hand out.

“Give it back,” he demanded. Brian chuckled, tossing it up and down, catching it, with his right hand.

“Maybe Maia's right, and I should just trash it.” Maia glanced over at Brian unamused by his thoughts. She didn't necessarily like the fact Tyson was playing it, but that certainly didn't mean that Brian should break it.

“Give it!” Tyson snapped, reaching forward suddenly. Brian drew back his arm suddenly, just barely avoiding Tyson's grasp.

“Too slow!” Brian taunted. Tyson nearly growled in annoyance, before reaching out again. Brian had a couple of inches of height on him, and apparently was a bit faster. Tyson swung out again, in attempts to snatch the video game. Brian laughed at his failed attempts, and continued to taunt him—

Until he felt a fierce pain strike his shin. “Owe!” Brian snapped, wincing, losing his footing. He nearly fell over, before glancing down to see that Huey had delivered a fierce kick to his leg.

“Hey, runt, back off,” Brian snapped.

“Hey! Don't talk to him like that!” Maia shot from the sidelines, feeling her temper slip ever slightly more as they continued.

Brian felt Tyson's hand grab at the device in his hand, and it turned into a match of tug-of-war, while Huey joined in, attempting to help Tyson take back the device. Brian held the smaller boy back with his outstretched, free hand.

“Get him, Huey!” Tyson declared, trying to force all his strength into his pulling. Maia felt another vein pop.

“Knock it off, you guys! This is no time to screw around!” Maia snapped, inching closer to the quickly-forming wrestling match. She was not at all pleased with Brian at the moment, nor Tyson, or even Huey. The girl grumbled, before stepping in. “Give me that stupid game!” she demanded, wanting to put a stop to all of this. Her hand grasped onto the device as well.

The four of them spent several minutes like this.

“How long do you think they're gunna keep that up?” Rakumon asked, watching the fighting curiously, carrying a Lom he'd found earlier. Misumon seemed a bit amused by this, grinning.

“My bets are on Maia winning. I think she's the most hard-headed of them all,” the beaver's claws drummed against Finnmon's metal head.

“Huey looks pretty dead-set on it, I think... he's trying to bite Brian's knee, now,” Finnmon said, observing along with the others.

“This childishness must come to a stop,” Bazamon sighed, holding a wing partially over his face in shame.

“I wonder what kind of special attacks they have,” Rakumon mused aloud, seemingly going deep into his own thoughts, while unconsciously eating the fruit. He imagined Tyson and Maia shooting fireballs at one another, from their mouth. It seemed legitimate to him—all digimon had some sort of powers, so humans probably did too, right?

“I dunno,” Misumon replied. “I mean, if they did, don't you think they would've used them by now? And I don't recall the gods telling us anything like that, either.” The beaver had moved from a laying position to a seated one, folding her little arms.

“And these are the children that are supposed to save the Digital World?” Bazamon spoke up this time, frowning. “Apollomon help us all, we are doomed.” The bird looked at his fellow digimon for a moment, before going into a light hover off the ground, flapping his wings. “I am going to observe the area, and hopefully find us a place to rest.” With that, he took to the skies.

Hah!” Brian declared, now having hold of the device. He held it high above his head in triumph. “I win.”

“No way!” Tyson declared.

The next moment, the boy had tackled him.

“Go, Tyson! Use that Boy-Slam attack!” Rakumon called from the sidelines.

“Brian, let's see some Ultra-Headbutt action, c'mon!” Finnmon joined in, pumping a fist in the air. The two boys had broken out into a full on wrestling match while Huey and Maia stood back a few feet. Huey pulled something from his mouth, tossing it aside. It was a small piece of Brian's red coat.

“Ew,” the boy spat, wiping his mouth. Maia glanced at him, before Huey pumped a fist. “DOGPILE!” he ran forward, before throwing himself on top of the two boys, earning loud groans from both of them. Maia shook her head.

*** *** ***

Some time had passed since the initial fighting. Brian and Tyson both looked rather dirty from rolling around in the dirt, and had a few tears to their clothing, and Tyson wore a particularly sour expression. There was a red, knuckle-mark aside his upper-cheek, evidence of a fierce punch Brian had delivered to him. After that, the fighting had finally come to a stop.

Huey, however, seemed quite well off. His hair was a bit ruffled, but his white beanie did a pretty good job at keeping it well enough. Brian had succeeded in claiming the game, but Maia had claimed it instead, insisting that Tyson could have it back when he learned to behave.

Bazamon was still high above the trees, surveying the area. The trees themselves had started to tapir off, becoming less and less as they continued. It would be dark in a couple of hours, but at least they would finally be out of the forest by then. Hopefully.

“Bazamon!” Huey called from far below, which nearly went unheard by the bird. “Did you find anything?!” The feathered digimon's blue eyes fixated on something in the distance, and he squinted to get a better view. It was smoke. Not just one trail, either, a handful of it could be seen. Looking down to its origins, Bazamon could make out some shapes that seemed to be huts of some sort.

He grinned in accomplishment, before flying back down to the others. They had all come to a stop, taking a moment to rest. “I did, in fact,” the bird answered his partner's question, finally. His wing gestured ahead, “A couple of miles from here seems to be a village. Perhaps the D-Hubs will have some information about it?”

Brian scratched his chin, now chewing on a small stick He had the D-Hub in his hand, and pressed a button on it. “Hm, this map's got nothing.”

“Maybe we aren't close enough?” Huey suggested.

“Let's keep moving,” Finnmon spoke, walking past the others, who promptly followed.

“I hope its not full of more murderous digimon,” Maia spoke in a small bit of annoyance. The group seemed to be in silent agreement. Except for maybe Tyson.

“I hope it has food,” Rakumon added, bearing a defeated expression.

“Yeah,” Tyson said, holding a hand to his growling stomach. “I'm about to die without my nutrition.” the teen whined, slouching a bit as he walked. No one necessarily agreed fully with Tyson, but they expressed a similar hunger. They hadn't had anything to eat since the night before, and even then, it wasn't much.

A short time had passed since the group set out, and soon, they were at the very edge of the forest. Below, down a small incline, plumes of smoke rose high into the air. There were a number of small huts laid out, seemingly composed of wood, and leaves made up the rooftops. The village wasn't very grand, by any means, but it didn't seem outwardly dangerous.

“Should we go check it out?” Maia asked, almost hesitantly. Tyson walked up next to the girl, placing a hand over top his eyes, in attempts to get a better view of the village below. The sun was in the process of setting, but still left a glare. The teen squinted his amber eyes, releasing a hum.

“I say we go for it,” he suggested.

“I must agree,” Bazamon added, perking up next to Huey, who glanced at him curiously.

“But what if it's dangerous?” the younger boy asked.

“Wild digimon don't usually reside in villages,” Misumon added this time, readjusting herself atop Finnmon's head. “It isn't anything fancy down there, but it doesn't look dangerous. You know, outwardly.”

“Let's just go,” Finnmon spoke, stepping forward. He continued, only to see that Rakumon and Bazamon were the only two to follow him. “Well?”

“I dunno.” Brian added this time. “This place doesn't seem like it has anything safe,” the teen added, now twiddling the stick between his fingers.

“But it smells really good,” Tyson spoke up, taking in a deep breath. He smacked his lips, resisting the urge to bolt downward. “Let's go, c'mon, there could be food—and maybe we can relax! We've been walking all day, I'm beat, I'm hungry, and I want to kick back for a change.” the teen insisted, looking specifically at Maia, knowing she would be the hardest to break.

“Yeah, it does smell really good,” Huey added with a bright grin. “Bazamon thinks it's a good idea, and I believe him,” the sandy haired boy added with a small smile directed at his partner. Bazamon returned it, giving a simple nod.

“Let's go!” Tyson declared, turning around, to run downward, right past the digimon. They followed, and so did Huey, leaving Maia and Brian slowly trailing behind.

“Might as well,” Brian shrugged, pocketing his hands, starting down the hill. “Maybe we can get a room, you know, to—“

“Don't finish that, please,” Maia spoke, closing her eyes in annoyance. “I'd like to keep my appetite, if possible,” she walked coldly past the brunette boy, who was grinning.

“No death glare,” Brian mused, snapping the stick in his fingers. “I think she's warming up to me.”

*** *** *** ***

“What are they?”

“Digimon?”

“Pretty funny-looking digimon, if you ask me!”

“Well, the littler ones are digimon, that's obvious!”

“What about those fleshy, lanky, ugly things?”

“Ugly?” Maia repeated, unamused. There was a large mix of chatter as the group had entered the village. The group of eight had been poised at the entrance, which was little more than a simplistic fence. Before them were a large number of strange, green creatures which could only be digimon. They were comparable to plants, though they walked, and had arms and legs. They also had large flowers atop their heads, some pink, and some a light-indigo color.

“Are they dangerous?”

Another voice broke from the chatter. The village inhabitants, which looked to be around 40-50 of these strange plant digimon, had continued to chatter. There was no sign of any sort of leader, though. Tyson scratched his nose a bit, deciding to remain silent as they talked.

Brian, however, had less concern. He had removed his D-Hub from his pocket, and aimed it at the digimon. “Pink-flowered ones are Palmon. Only Rookie levels, er, Jungle Troopers... Special Attack is Poison Ivy.” He allowed the 3-D model of the digimon on screen to evaporate, before an image of the blue-flowered ones appeared. “Alraumon, also Rookie Level. Same shit, different colors,” he shrugged.

The digimon looked at them with wide eyes and gaping jaws. One Alraumon pointed his long, green finger forward. “They're spies! They know all about us!” More chatter erupted, this time, having the sound of nervousness and agitation behind it.

“Good job, Brian, way to piss 'em off,” Tyson sighed, placing his hands on his hips. He took a step forward, waving a hand. “Hey, look, we don't want any trouble,” he spoke. “We're, uh, travelers.” He had no idea just what they were, exactly, and decided to go with what sounded best.

“Calm yourselves!” a far more stern voice could be heard. Tyson blinked, looking as the short crowd of flower-digmon began to pull apart from each other. He watched as a... walking tree approached them. He looked old, and somehow, had wrinkles around his mouth. To make it even more strange, it carried a cane. It was possibly the strangest tree he'd ever seen in his life.

Maia, Huey, Brian, and the digimon all watched cautiously as the being approached. The crowd of anxious Alraumon and Palmon had become deathly quiet, and not a word could be heard throughout the village. The wooden digimon came to a stop before the kids, eying them all in silence.

“I am the elder of this place: Aura Village. My name is Woodmon.” The digimon's voice was that of an old man's, but had a certain commanding power behind it, as if he were once strong. “Who are you?”

“Uh,” Tyson started up, hesitantly. “Well, you see...”

“We're humans,” Brian said flatly, stepping forward. “We're all hungry, we're tired, and we've been walking all day. We don't know where we are, or why we're here, and we've been stranded without any sort of supplies, including food and places to sleep. We've been out in those woods, attacked by wild digimon, and really, we just want a place to catch our breaths.” Something about the way he spoke was quite charismatic.

Tyson blinked. “Well, that's the quick summary,” he added with a shrug.

“We do not wish you any harm, sir,” Bazamon added, stepping next to Brian and Tyson. “We are simply weary travelers at the moment, seeking refuge and a roof to sleep under.” The elder Woodmon eyed them carefully. His eyes fluttered over to the quiet pair in the back, then to the digimon.

“Hmm,” the digimon hummed, closing his eyes for a moment. He released a breath. “You seem as though you do not wish us harm,” spoke the elder. “You may stay, and we will do what we can to supply you with any resources you may need.” The group lit up, specifically Tyson, who glanced back at Maia and Huey with a wide, goofy grin. “Let us finish preparing our evening meals, everyone,” the Woodmon spoke.

Chatter erupted from the group of Alraumon and Palmon once again, and the elder Woodmon turned his back to the kids for a moment. “Feel free to look around. It will take some time to prepare our food. We do not have very fancy delicacies, but they should do well to fill your stomachs.”

“Thanks, Mr. Woodmon,” Huey said, grinning brightly. The older tree gave a small nod, a brief smile flashing upon his face.

“Thank Goodness,” Bazamon spoke as the residents began to clear. “I was worried they would deny us.”

“Nice work, Brian,” spoke Finnmon, slapping his partner against the back slightly.

“Haha, well, what's the sense in beating around the bush, right?” he suggested with a shrug. “Well, I'm gunna look around,” he added, waving slightly to the group.

“Come on, Hue, let's go check this place out,” Tyson spoke, earning a grin from the younger boy. He turned back to Maia quickly, to cut her off before she could utter a reply. “Don't worry, we'll be fine,” he assured.

Maia huffed, blowing a stray strand of hair from her face. The two boys, along with their digimon, started off. Misumon made her way over to Maia, tapping a claw to her chin. “Where to first?”

“I don't know,” Maia replied, shortly. “I'm going to go make sure those two don't get into trouble,” she followed after the boys, leading the little beaver to release a small sigh.

Jeez, does she ever chill out? The digimon thought, before following after.

*** *** ***

“So, what do you do for fun around here?” Huey asked one of the Alraumon curiously, leaning slightly to match his height. The flower-headed digimon beamed, before clapping his... hands?... together. Tyson was at Huey's side, with their digimon not far behind. They watched the Alraumon closely, as he turned, motioning to an area behind him. Maia came up not far behind them, observing as well.

The boys all lit up.

“We have many things to offer,” the digimon spoke. “Our most fun past-time is a little fair, it's open every day, and there's a number of exciting games you can partake in.” Tyson pressed his hands together excitedly. It looked a lot like a typical human carnival, though mostly with just the little games. There was some kind of bizarre bottle-toss, as well as a strong-man competition, as well as a large number of other, recognizable games with a strange twist to them.

“We also have more relaxing activities,” spoke a Palmon, that stepped up to the group. “There's a bathing area, filled with warm, naturally-scented waters. We have a museum, full of an assortment of strange artifacts we've found outside our village, as well as a play we do every week, which that would be tomorrow night.”

“Hear that?” Misumon asked, tugging on Maia's pant leg. “A bath. I bet you could do with one of those.” Maia folded her arms, glancing down at the beaver with a bit of an offended expression.

“What's that supposed to mean?” She felt a bit nervous, the next moment.

“Pft, who doesn't need a long, warm, hot bath every now and again? It's relaxing, not even you can deny that.” Misumon did have a point. A relaxing bath would be a welcome comfort, after the rough, could of days they'd had here already.

The blonde's gaze moved over to Tyson, Huey, Rakumon, and Bazamon. She watched as they ran off to partake in the carnival games. “They'll be fine,” Misumon assured.

“I don't know... what if something happens? I mean, this place isn't exactly secur—” Maia was cut off by a sudden, strong tug against her leg. This was accompanied by a light shove to her back. The girl nearly stumbled. “Wha-?”

“Oh, come on, you know you want to!” Misumon insisted, her voice strained, as she tugged at the girl's pant leg. It seemed a Palmon had joined in, attempting to steer her in the right direction. Maia didn't have much choice before she was whisked off to the bath house.

*** *** ***

“Wow, she's actually leaving us alone,” Huey blinked in surprise, holding a ball in his hand. He and Tyson were standing at the ball toss game. Tyson glanced down at the younger boy.

“That's not very nice,” Tyson said in a mock-scolding manner.

“Well, it's true,” the boy huffed. “She even took your game away, just so she could torture you. Can you believe that?” the boy had a grumbling tone to his voice as he spoke. He hiked the ball forward, striking a bottle out of place. It fell with a clatter, before shattering in a sparkle of color. “She's such a buzz kill.”

“Yeah, I guess she can be,” Tyson said, taking his turn towards a separate stack of bottles. The Alraumon behind the counter stood aside, allowing Tyson his toss. “But she's worried, you know? Though, I dunno why, this place is awesome.” With that, he struck the ball forward. It bounced on the table which the bottles were stacked, before striking the wall behind it. It bounced back, knocking the trio over, shattering them in an array of colors.

“I wish you were my brother, instead of her, you know,” Huey said, earning a glance from Tyson. This wasn't the first time he'd heard this. The brunette released a small sigh, scratching his head.

“Maybe I'm more fun,” Tyson admitted with a shrug. “But she's, er, smarter,” he patted the boy on his back. “You know the saying, 'all fun and no work, makes Jack a big dork,” he chuckled.

“Isn't that said the other way around?” Huey replied, arching an eyebrow. “It's 'all work, and no play, makes Jack a pain in the butt'.”

“Er, well, then I guess that proves my point,” he laughed, and Huey joined in with him. “...Wait a second,” Tyson mused a few moments after, now even more confused. Didn't that saying rhyme?

“You're way funnier than her too,” the blonde boy added. Tyson mentally sighed at the fact his approach went right out the window. He felt bad about it, sometimes, getting in the way of the two of them. He cared for both of them, even if they both had their issues. He scratched his nose as Huey was still chuckling.

Rakumon and Bazamon rejoined their side, the former carrying a rather large stuffed flower. It was nearly as big as he was, but he somehow managed to hike it over his head with ease. “Win anything, yet?” Rakumon asked, beaming.

“Nice!” Tyson cheered, sizing up the prize the dragon had won. “What'd you win it on?”

 

“The Hardest Head Competition,” Bazamon answered in a matter-of-fact tone, pointing behind them. Tyson and Huey watched as a number of Alraumon were lined up, before ramming their skulls against some sort of wood. Little dents were left, at best, though one had a gaping indent in it. That must have been Rakumon's.

“That's a cool toy-flower-thing,” Huey observed, earning a grin from Rakumon.

“Wanna see it?” he offered.

“Yeah!” Rakumon handed it over to the boy, who was just a few inches taller than himself. Huey grabbed hold, only to fall under its weight and size. The boy yelped as the flower-toy trapped him to the ground. The remaining three let out sounds of surprise, before moving to help him out.

*** *** ***

“Hmmm,” Brian mused, arms folded as he stood in the museum that an over-energetic Palmon had pointed him to. Finnmon stood at his side, mimicking his posture. The pair looked at the number of mundane objects laid out before them, each on their own pedestal, along with a plaque that contained a bit of information about them. The museum didn't stand very tall, and was maybe 10-feet in height, surrounded by a finely-kept wooden interior. There were a number of small windows around the complex, three on either side, layered over only by sticks. All-in-all, it was quite primitive.

“Why are we here, again?” Finnmon asked, bearing a bored expression. Brian only shrugged.

“Bored?” he suggested, walking forward. He moved his hand to his jacket, removing himself a cigarette, which he promptly lit up. “So,” he said after several moments of silence, stopping before a pedestal displaying some sort of brown-colored, shiny device that looked quite similar to a Flash Drive, back on Earth. Brian inspected it for a brief moment, picking it up. “You guys got music around here?”

“Of course,” Finnmon said, joining his partner's side, inspecting the object Brian held. He seemed to lapse into thought for a moment.

“I see,” Brian muttered, before taking out his D-Hub. He looked between the flash drive and his digivice, several times. “How come I never hear any? Don't you guys have mp3 players, or something?” Finnmon glanced at him with a bit of confusion. Brian shrugged, before deciding to try something.

“What are you doing?” Finnmon asked.

“It kinda looks like it might fit,” Brian said, sizing up the two objects. “Same shape, and same plug.” He pointed to the one on the opening within his green digivice. “What do you think?”

Finnmon turned to the plaque laid out before the display, and began to read it off. “Strange Object. Found two weeks ago, on the outskirts of Anfang Forest.” Anfang Forest must have been where they landed in, then. But 'strange object' didn't really help in identifying it.

Brian pressed the drive into his D-Hub, and a click resounded, followed by a single, long beep. The words 'KEY DOWNLOAD' typed across the screen. Finnmon's eyes widened in realization.

“That's a Key!”

“USB Key, yeah, I'm surprised it fits,” Brian mused, glancing around the device. It fit perfectly, like a puzzle piece. A series of 0s and 1s began appearing on the screen, and a bar began to fill up. “It looks like it's supposed to go in the digivice too, I guess, huh?” He turned to Finnmon, who was still staring blankly. He shook himself from his surprise.

“That's one of the Keys that the Gods told us about,” Finnmon said. “He didn't really explain what they were about, but we were told you guys were supposed to use them somehow.”

“Well, that's vague.” Brian responded. Finnmon nodded.

“Some crap about us figuring it out for ourselves,” the digimon shrugged. “But they did say they were scattered around random parts of the Digital World, and that we'd find them as we continued along.”

“I see,” Brian mused. “I guess we're in luck, huh?”

“Hey!” sounded a voice, gathering the attention of the pair. They looked over to see a rather annoyed-looking Alraumon approach them. “Please, don't touch the displays,” he spoke harshly. Brian sighed, before removing the device with a click.

“Mind if we borrow this? It's really important,” Brian spoke, displaying how the two fit together. His voice carried a negotiating tone to it, as if he were willing to bargain.

The digimon seemed to pause for a moment. “Absolutely not.” Alraumon replied shortly. “That object is valuable to us.”

“If it's so valuable, why is it just gathering dust in a museum?” Brian asked, arching an eyebrow. The Alraumon snatched the object from his hand, before placing it back on the pedestal.

“Please, leave this place,” he ordered, shooing the pair out of the building. They stepped out onto the grass, followed by the Alraumon, who promptly locked the door. “Dinner is soon, please don't cause any disruptions.” With that, he walked away from the pair.

“We need that Key,” Finnmon muttered, when he was out of ear shot. “The one in the museum, not that rusty, old trinket around his neck.”

“I think we can manage,” Brian spoke, before glancing back at the museum.

*** *** ***

Maia released a deep sigh as she submerged herself in the large bath area. It was fairly simple, laid out with hard-wood flooring, which lead into a large, open bath area. There were several of these rooms, each blocked off by doors. The steam was thick in the room, and offered quite a calming atmosphere.

“See? I told you this was a good idea,” Misumon chimed, floating somewhere further out, while Maia stuck close to the edge.

“I guess,” the girl admitted. She couldn't deny just how soothing it was to take a hot bath like this, after the ridiculous amount of walking they had done since they got here. She leaned her head back slightly, resting it against the surprisingly soft outer ring of the bath.

“So, why are you so wound up all the time? The other humans aren't like that,” Misumon questioned, breaking the forming silence. Maia's eyes opened as she stared at the ceiling above.

“Huey's my little brother, I have to look out for him,” she responded flatly.

“Well, Tyson seems to look out for him too, but he isn't nearly as stressed as you are,” Misumon glanced over at the girl, awaiting her response.

“Tyson doesn't take things seriously enough. This place is dangerous, and he thinks its a game.”

“You ever think you take things too seriously?” the Beaver asked, leading to another moment of silence. It was a few moments before Maia broke it again.

“If I don't look out for everyone, who will?”

“Oh, I dunno, the digimon? Me?” she suggested. “Isn't it a team-effort?”

Maia stiffened a bit at those words, before looking directly at the beaver. “No. It's my job as Huey's sister to keep an eye on him.” she said sternly. She could swear she heard something.

“Wow, I wish you kept an eye on me like that,” another voice broke through their chatter, leading Maia to yelp, and duck back into the water up to her chin. At the edge of the bath, there stood Brian, poised in a squatted position. He had that stupid, smug grin on his face.

“W-What are you doing in here?!” Maia demanded.

“Oh I heard you guys talking outside, and I got bored. Can I join you?” he asked, playfully.

“N-No!” Maia stammered, feeling heat rise to her cheeks. “Get out of here!”

“Awe, come on,” Brian whined, standing up. He started to lift his shirt slightly. “You wouldn't be so mad once—“ He was cut off by a strong blast of water to his face, which nearly threw him off his feet. He laughed, catching himself before he fell. “Relax, I was just kidding around, jeez.”

“Out!” Maia repeated.

“Kay, well if you get lonely, you know where to find me,” Brian gave a small wave as he turned his back. He was still laughing. Maia released a grumble as the door closed behind him.

“He's such a pig!” she snapped, still embarrassed by the whole situations. Misumon's chuckling cut her off, leading her to glare in the direction of the beaver. “What?!”

“You're redder than a Boarmon!” The beaver gasped through her laughter. Maia felt herself become even more red, despite not being entirely sure what a Boarmon was. If it was what it sounded like.. Did that mean Misumon was comparing her to a pig?

*** *** ***

Sometime later, the group had all been gathered in the village square. They weren't the only ones, as the entire village had shown up to dinner-time. There were a couple of long lines, leading to a massively sized black pot, held over an open fire. In it was some sort of whitish soup, completely with floating, gray-colored chunks of something.

The humans didn't look too excited to eat it, whatever it was, but at least it smelled good. They were among the long lines on either side, but they were moving quite quickly. One Alraumon and one Palmon served up the food. Laid out around the fire pit was a number of wooden benches. Everyone in the village held a brown, shoddy-looking bowl.

Tyson was up next, along with Rakumon. Their bowls were filled, before they moved onward, leaving the others to join them. They took a seat at a pair of benches that sat quite close to one-another. Chatter was resounding among the masses as they took their seats. Rakumon sat himself atop his large, stuffed flower. It made a lovely seat.

“So, what do you think this is?” Brian asked, swishing the substance in his bowl.

Tyson sniffed the food, before releasing a shrug. He took a gulp of it. “Tyson, remember what happened last time you acted like a glutton?” Maia asked, arching an eyebrow. The boy didn't seem to hear her, and he continued gulping, making a number of slurping sounds. He was acting quite like the digimon, who had all seemed to love the food.

“It's potato soup!” Tyson declared, smacking his lips. A thin outline of the grayish soup surrounded his wide-grinning mouth.

“Tohpado, actually,” Rakumon corrected, letting out a low burp. “it's one of the best soups around,” he declared, before jumping out of his benched seat. “I'm going to get more!” he declared, before shooting off. Tyson wasn't far behind.

Brian shrugged, before taking a sip of the soup. He paused a moment, before grinning. “The dork's right,” the brunette spoke. “It really is pretty good.” Though Huey didn't like the fact Brian just called his friend a 'dork', he couldn't argue with the words, and decided to try it himself.

Seeing everyone else apparently enjoy the food, Maia opted to try it as well. “Man, this stuff never gets old,” Finnmon said, patting his stomach. He set his empty bowl beside him, glancing at Misumon and Bazamon, both of which seemed to be taking their sweet time.

“I must agree,” Bazamon spoke. “They do not make it quite as good in Cirro City, however.”

“Cirro City?” Huey asked, looking at the bird curiously. The digimon removed his beak from his bowl, glancing at the boy with a nod.

“It's where I'm from,” he spoke, before looking into the starry, night sky above. He seemed to be homesick. Then again, who wasn't? Huey glanced down into his half-empty bowl of soup, feeling something similar. Maia caught note of this.

“Didn't you guys have something to tell us?” Maia asked, trying to change the subject to something less depressing.

“Oh yeah,” Tyson said, returning at almost that exact moment, with Rakumon in tow, who was already gulping down his seconds. “Something about why we're here?”

“Ah yes,” Bazamon spoke, silently thankful for the change in topic. “It wasn't us that called you. It was the Gods.”

“The Gods?” Brian asked, thinking back for a moment. “Like the ones you mentioned earlier?” he turned to Finnmon, who nodded.

“Yeah. They basically picked five digimon from around the Digtial World, and five humans to pair with them. They called the humans 'Keepers', and that they would be able to access the power of the Keys.” Brian nodded, knowing what sort of keys he was referring too.

“Keys? What kind of keys?” Tyson asked this time.

“To be honest,” Misumon answered, “We're not even really sure ourselves. They told us to go meet with you, and return to Digica. They'd meet with us in their tower, just outside the city, and tell us more then.”

“Where's Digica?” Huey questioned.

“Not the faintest,” Bazamon chimed in. “It would help if we had a better vantage point of our current location. We need to travel further to find a better view point. All I can see when I fly is a mountain in the far distance. That may be our best bet.”

“Hey!” Tyson called to one of the Alraumon walking by. The blue-headed plant turned towards the boy, pointing at himself. Tyson nodded, before continuing. “Know any mountains around here?”

“Sure,” the Alraumon nodded, pointing off to the western-area, far ahead. “You can get to Infinity Mountain by taking the West path. It's got the best view on the island. Though, you have to cross the White River, and go through the Pin Forest, to get there,” Tyson thanked him, before the digimon wandered off to indulge in more of the Tohpado soup.

“Well, I guess we know where we're going,” Finnmon added in.

“But that still doesn't answer a lot of questions,” Maia spoke up this time. “If we were meant to go to this 'Digica' place, why did they drop us way off in some backwater island?” The girl seemed to have more. “Also, why us? And they didn't tell you what you were supposed to do exactly?”

“Not really,” Rakumon started. “They kinda just called us a few days ago, and told us we had to go to Earth, 'cause we were chosen as the Keepers' Guardians... And that we had to protect you guys, until we got back to Digica.”

“I can only guess they dropped us off here for two reasons,” Misumon began. “Either they wanted us to dive right in, and try to figure out what was going on ourselves, which is most likely,” the digimon crossed her little arms, sitting upright. “Or their coordinates were off. My money's on the former.”

“Is there a point to all this?” Brian asked.

“Oh, yes,” Bazamon raised a single feather-tip from his wing. “They said we had to protect the Digital World.”

“Protect it?” Tyson spoke up again. “From what, exactly?”

The digimon shrugged.

“Yeah, that makes a lot of sense,” Brian sighed. “They called us to help, but they won't even tell us what they need help with.” There was a silent agreement all around.

“They did say we had a lot to learn for ourselves,” Rakumon spoke up. “Maybe it's some kinda test, you know, if we can make it there, we can make it anywhere, sorta thing?” There was no arguing with that, for the majority of the group.

“This is stupid,” Maia said suddenly, earning glances from everyone. “Why us? Some of us didn't even want to come here, some of us shouldn't be here,” her hints were fairly obvious. Huey frowned at her words. “And now, we have to protect some world that we had no idea even existed until now? Why? What point does it serve?”

“Well, digimon are living creatures, you know.” Misumon said, matter-of-factly.

“What do humans have to do with all of this? We're not even from this world, we have no business saving it.” The four digimon seemed relatively insulted by her words—it was as if she didn't even care what happened to them.

“What if it was Earth?” Tyson asked, looking at Maia directly, with a rare, serious glance. There was a tense silence between them.

After a moment, Maia broke the gaze, before turning her back to them. Brian leaned forward, resting his knees at his elbows. “I can see her point, you know,” he started. “This is a lot more than we can handle alone.”

“You're not alone, though,” Finnmon reminded. “You got us,” he sounded pretty confident in that notion.

“Humans aren't used to fighting giant monsters, at least in real life.” Brian reminded. “It can be scary...” his voice sounded oddly low.

“What a wimp,” Tyson retorted. “I, for one, think it's awesome.”

“You're an idiot,” Brian shot back. “This isn't some kinda game.”

“I'm not scared, as long as Rakumon's around to look out for me. Unlike you,” he shot accusingly. Brian stood up quickly at that, a glare forming on his face. “Yeah, Finnmon said you chickened out when you heard the fighting, earlier!” Brian shot a glance at the green digimon, who looked away, avoiding his eyes with a whistle of innocence. “You act all tough, but you're ea big pansy, really,” Tyson's tone was short, and even a bit arrogant.

Brian's hand shot out, wrapping around Tyson's shirt collar. He hiked him out of his seat, and just a few inches from his face, bearing a cold glare. “Because I've got enough sense to know to avoid trouble, unlike you.”

“No, you're just a coward,” Tyson replied, equally low, retaining a rather cold tone in his voice.

 

Maia, Huey, and the digimon looked on in tense silence at the two boys. “You think you're so tough, because you can make Rakumon evolve. You know, you're completely helpless by yourself,” Brian reminded.

“I'm not, you are,” Tyson responded. “I act cocky, but at least I can back it up; too bad you can't.” Brian felt a rush of anger, before he forcefully released Tyson. The boy stumbled a bit, but caught himself. “Bullies like you are always cowards, deep down, when it really counts. I've seen it before. You just act all tough, so you can feel better about your pathetic selves.”

Brian spun on his heel, striking Tyson in the jaw with his knuckles. The boy fell back into the bench, knocking it over. “Stop it!” Maia said, finally.

Brian took a step back, still glaring coldly at Tyson. Huey was quick to his friend's side, as Tyson was rubbing his jaw. Brian scoffed, before shoving his hands in his pockets. “C'mon, Finnmon, let's get the hell out of here,” he said, coldly brushing past the group. That tense silence remained.

Maia glanced as he walked off. She felt a mixture of both anger and pity toward the boy. Yes, he did punch Tyson, but Tyson's arrogance warranted it, in some way. She didn't condone a violent response to anything, really, but she understood. And now, he was leaving their group.

The girl glanced back at Tyson, who had picked himself up. “For a wimp, he sure does punch hard,” Tyson muttered, massaging his jaw.

“Don't even,” Maia started, earning surprised glances from both Huey and Tyson himself. “You had no reason to start a fight like that.”

“You're taking his side?” Tyson was more than surprised.

“No,” the blonde responded, folding her arms. “I just think that he's got a point. You are way too cocky for your own good.” Tyson scoffed.

“I don't see anyone else with an evolved partner,” he retorted. “Rakumon and I are an unbeatable team,” he grinned at the dragon, who returned a grin of his own. “Besides, Brian's just some punk. What does it matter, anyway?”

“He's not just a punk,” Maia retorted, glancing back in the direction the aforementioned teen had left in. “As much as I hate to admit it, he is a person, just like us.” The group went silent again, as a gentle wind blew over the area. The chatter of the Alraumon and Palmon was drowned out around them.

“If you like him so much, go follow him,” Huey said, almost coldly. “Don't be such a bring-down,” he added.

There Huey went again, making Maia look like she had a solid point. Every time he acted negatively like that, Tyson always seemed to get a bit more understanding about his female friend. Tyson scratched his head a bit, before placing the hand atop Huey's beanie-covered head. “Just let it be, alright?” Maia was about to return to the bath-house, to gather her coat, but paused at that.

“...Maybe we should get some rest,” Misumon suggested. No one seemed to object, and the residents of the villages had already begun cleaning up.

There was a very light shake, the next moment. It almost went unheard, if not for the clattering bowls against the benches. There was a small silence, before it happened again, the light vibrations a bit stronger this time.

“What was that?” Huey asked, looking around. It happened again, stronger still, this time.

“...Trouble,” Rakumon spoke, his voice low. The digimon seemed to go on guard, not only their partners, but the entire village. The vibration echoed again, causing a small tremor in the ground. There was a tense silence that laid over the entire village for a brief moment.

Then, heavier still, a rapid amount of vibrations rang out. It sounded like footsteps. Tearing through the trees, at the far-end of the village, a blur of tan and gray burst through. It tore up the ground with its large feet and fists, dragging along its side. It charged, ripping through anything in its way, be it houses, or even the residents. The creature seemed to be made of rocks, bearing a gathering of white wiring wrapped around portions of its body, and a metal-plated head, held in place by a belt.

There was a mass panic in seconds as the large, rocky creature came to a stop, just a short ways from the kids. “A digimon!” Huey shouted, taking several steps back, ducking behind Bazamon. The three digimon moved forward, all taking defensive positions.

“A rogue digimon!” shouted an Alraumon from the scattering crowd.

“I knew it! Those humans only brought us trouble!”

Tyson was quick to react, drawing his D-Hub, aiming it towards the towering rock monster. “Golemon, Champion level,” he began reading off the information on the blue-hued, projected screen. “He's a Mineral type digimon, Metal Empire Field... It says his rocky body is as hard as diamonds.”

Rakumon moved forward, growling slightly. “Rakumon! Go get him!” Tyson declared. The dragon nodded, boosting forward. Misumon and Bazamon were quick to follow.

“Blaze Blast!” A trio of fireballs burst from the dragon's mouth.

“Sprinkler Jet!” Misumon released a strong jet of water from her jaw.

“Tropical Gust!” With a flap of his wings, a burst of hot energy soared forward. The tree attacks connected at once, only to sizzle uselessly against his hard body. “Well, that could have gone better,” the bird muttered. Before the trio had a chance to react, the rocky digimon swung out a large, powerful arm, slapping them away, into the ground.

Misumon's smaller body managed to dodge the first blow, and she attempted to strike once again. The Golemon caught onto this, however, swinging out his other hand. It backhanded her, sending the little beaver soaring across the field, before breaking through one of the benches, scattered across the ground. It broke upon impact, causing the little digimon to yelp in pain.

“Rakumon!” Tyson called, taking a step forward. His digivice released a glow, sparking in his hand. Rakumon's eye cracked open, as he laid upon the now torn ground. He felt a powerful energy burst through him.

010101010101010101010101010101010101

“Rakumon... digivolve too...!”

Rakumon's body began to break apart, revealing a red-graph interior. In a flash of light, his body changed shape and size.

“Drakemon!”

010101010101010101010101010101010101

The dragon emerged from the red glow, ferociously roaring at his opponent. The Golemon returned an equally menacing snarl, beating his large fists together, as if to welcome the new challenge. “Crush him, Drakemon!” Tyson called from the sidelines, to which, the dragon released a low grunt.

He shot froward, his sharp, boned claws at the ready. “Wyvern Rush!” his body released a soft glow, and he collided with the rocky enemy. Golemon's massive arms wrapped around the dragon's torso, showing an incredible amount of strength. Drakemon tried to resist, attempting to drive his claws through the sturdy digimon, but his body didn't even shiver. Golemon suddenly flung the dragon back, with an immense force. He tore up the grassy land, and the benches before him, sliding several meters, before stopping a few feet from Tyson, who had risen his arms in defense.

“Drakemon! You alright?” Tyson asked, moving to his partner's side. Drakemon's orange eye cracked open, meeting with Tyson's own.

“He really is tough as diamonds,” the dragon muttered, pushing himself up, off the ground. “There's no way I can break through that armor...” he grumbled lowly.

“Everything's got a weak point, we just gotta find it!” Tyson insisted, heatedly. “Hit him with that fire attack,” the teen suggested. Drakemon nodded, but didn't have much confidence in that idea. He ran forward, none the less, preparing his attack.

Maia, Huey, and Bazamon watched from the sidelines. “Bazamon, can you evolve?”

“One does not simply evolve, dear boy,” the bird responded. “I do not believe you and I are ready.” Huey breathed lowly, clutching his yellow-colored D-Hub.

“There's gotta be something we can do. Stupid Brian, running away like that.” Maia glanced at Huey. That was not something she was happy to hear—Huey wasn't just taking on Tyson's positive traits. The girl glanced at Misumon as she returned to their side, injured from the nasty attack. She would have asked, but she didn't think it would happen—she wasn't sure it ever would.

*** *** ***

“What are you lookin' at?” Brian asked, as he and Finnmon had left the village a short while ago. Finnmon had stopped, only a few moments ago, staring back in the direction they had come from. “I don't intend to go back,” he reminded.

There was a tremor that shook the ground. “There's a fight going on back there, they're going to need our help.”

“Fuck them,” Brian spat angrily. “Fuck Tyson, and his arrogant idiocy. Fuck Huey, and his bratty little suck-up attitude. Fuck Maia, and that stick up her ass,” Brian was showing an anger that Finnmon had not yet seen from him before. “Fuck all of them!” he snapped, coldly.

“Chill out,” Finnmon retorted.

“No, I don't want to,” Brian's fists clenched. “They don't want us there, anyway, didn't you hear?”

“Of course I did,” Finnmon retorted. “...But Tyson's right.” This warranted a shocked, yet cold glare from Brian. “You aren't just avoiding them 'cause you're mad. I know damn well you're a coward.”

Brian felt mad at that word. Coward. He hated it. The teen's balled fist drove into a near by tree the next moment, with lack of a better response. “So what if I'm scared?” Brian asked, his back to Finnmon, and his voice much less angry now. “Only an idiot wouldn't be...”

Finnmon watched him in silence. “Back home, I'm not scared. Back home, everyone's afraid of me. I could punch any moron that got in my way, and no one would even think of calling me scared... but here,” Brian trailed off, letting his eyes close, before a mad expression crossed his face again. “But here, I can't do anything for myself!”

“Being brave isn't about whether you're scared, or not,” Finnmon replied, coolly, glancing back in the direction of the village. The distant sight of smoke made him realize a big battle must have been occurring. “Being brave is about being able to face your fears, and not run away from them.” Brian glanced over at the digimon.

“I can't,” Brian admitted, lowly. “As much as I hate that little asshole, he's right,” he muttered.

“So prove him wrong,” Finnmon returned. “Don't run away, any more.” Brian's mouth curved into a stern frown. There was a tense silence as Brian seemed to be in thought. His eyes clenched, as did his teeth. He hit the tree again, with the butt of his hand.

“Heh, maybe if I'm lucky, Maia'll give me a kiss, huh?” Brian suggested with a small chuckle, turning back to Finnmon. He slipped a cigarette into his mouth, before lighting it up.

“Doubt it,” Finnmon returned.

“Yeah, you're probably right,” he spoke, inhaling. “But at least I can show that little shit up,” the teen said, smirking a bit.

“You're scared stiff, aren't you?” the digimon sounded amused.

“Of course I am,” he replied, before starting forward. “But you know what? Fuck it. What else do we got to do, anyway?” Finnmon grinned at that statement. “We got called here for a reason, right? Well, I really wanna find out just what that is. Even if I have to face idiots, or monsters along the way, whatever. Bring it on!” he shouted, suddenly, breaking forward in a run.

Maybe he was going just to prove Tyson wrong... Or maybe he was going because he actually did have some bravery buried deep down. Finnmon knew he was uncomfortable with all of this—pretty much all the humans were... but he was glad to see that his partner was willing to take a step forward down the right path, even if it wasn't for the exactly right reasons.

Finnmon followed him in a run.

*** *** ***

A large, tan-colored fist grabbed onto Drakemon's jaw, before driving him back into the ground with a fierce strength. Tyson visibly cringed at the attack, knowing it must have hurt tremendously. The ground cracked around Drakemon's body, before Golemon released him, drawing his fist back.

“Drakemon, come on! We gotta find his weak point!” The teen called, tightly clutching the D-Hub in his hand. He turned to it, pressing at the buttons. There had to be something in here that would give him an idea. He looked up suddenly. “Hold on, buddy!” he ran forward.

“Tyson!” Maia snapped. Huey attempted to follow, but Maia grabbed onto his shoulders firmly. That idiot was running out into the battle.

“Hey! Rock-head!” Tyson snapped, hiking one of the scattered chunks of wood at the digimon. It struck his arm, uselessly, but it did gain his attention. The Golemon's brown eyes locked onto Tyson's puny form, and he growled lowly. “Come and get me!”

He'd play the distraction, the Drakemon could get a good hit on him!

“Tyson! Get out of there!” Drakemon called, attempting to pull himself up. Another punch from Golemon kept him down, and the rocky digimon stormed past the injured dragon, setting sights on the human boy. He pointed a lone, very large finger at him.

“You Keeper?” he demanded.

“Yeah! What of it?” Tyson snapped back, refusing to show fear to the towering beast.

“My kill Keepers!” he bellowed, drawing back a fist.

Tyson stared back, refusing to show fear. He knew Drakemon had his back, and he'd come in at just the right time. His fists clenched, and he felt his nerves tense up a bit. Anytime now... I know he'll show up, any time. Come on... Drakemon... where are you? His mind went wild.

“Rock Head!”

A force blew over the top of him, leading the boy to duck, close his eyes, and fling his arms up in his defense. There was a clanging sound that rang out, leading him to crack an eye open. A green, blurred figure was forcing back on the massive fist with such strength, it actually left a crack forming in the golem's knuckles.

“Get outta the way,” spoke another voice, before Tyson felt a strong tug against the back of his jacket. He stumbled as it pulled him, before shoving him aside. He recovered himself, looking over to see someone that thoroughly surprised him.

“Brian?” the brunette asked. Brian was smirking, holding an almost-gone cigarette between his lips. “I thought you took off.”

“I should've,” Brian responded, removing the cigarette from his mouth, before stomping it out. As he did, Finnmon finally broke through, sending the golem's arm off kilter, and the green digimon landed at his partner's side. “But I had to come back and save your ass, didn't I?”

This time, Brian was the one being cocky, and did it ever annoy Tyson. “Whatever,” the boy retorted, for lack of anything better to say.

“That's what I thought,” Brian replied, smugly. “Now step aside. Finn's got this.” Brian glanced at his partner, who glanced back at him. The both of them shared a small grin, and Brian's confidence in his partner was visible now. Brian was scared, yes, and he masked that with his smug attitude.

However, he also knew he was facing his fears, and he knew that Finnmon had his back. He was the one that brought him back, after all. The two had finally earned the name partners. Keeper and Guardian, side-by-side. “What do you think, Finnmon?” Brian asked.

“He's a tough bastard,” the digimon responded. “But I think I can handle him.”

“I know you can, and I got your back, buddy,” Brian grinned, drawing his D-Hub. “Now let's kick some ass!” he declared, holding the digivice forward. A green spark emitted from the screen, trailing around Brian's hand. A glow erupted from it, engulfing Finnmon. The digimon's yellow eye widened as he felt an intense power flow through him.

010101010101010101010101010101010101

“Finnmon... digivolve too!”

Finnmon's body began to break apart in several sections, around his finned hands, his feet, his tail, and his metal-plated head. A stream of bright-colored code began to surround what remained of his body: a green grid. As the data burst into a flurry of light, his form was no taller, more slender, and slightly more humanoid. His hands reformed, retaining the same green color, finned with orange. His stomach reformed, as did his legs. His upper arms, now visibly more toned, bore bronze-colored bracers, and his chest bore a metal plate, complete with shoulder guards. His mask reformed, becoming visibly sturdier. His yellow eyes lit up atop their black membrane, and the feathers on the back of his head multiplied.

“Najimon!”

010101010101010101010101010101010101

The light cleared, revealing the newly evolved digimon. His height was midway between seven and eight feet, and his stance was much more threatening. “Oh yeah, baby,” the digimon muttered, sharp teeth showing in a wide grin. Brian stared on in awe. It was a satisfied awe, but still, surprised none the less. Finnmon had evolved, and now, was visibly much stronger.

“Nice,” Brian complimented, his expression shifting into a grin. “Now, go show this sack of pebbles what you can do!”

“My pleasure,” the amphibious digimon replied, taking a stance. Golemon stared back, growling, as he sized up his new opponent. He swung a large arm out, ready to crush him. Najimon, showing an incredible swiftness in his new form, easily shot to the side. The large fist crushed the ground where he once stood. The slow, bulky digimon continually swung his fists after the green digimon, who dodged the attack with ease.

 

It was clear he was having fun.

“Najimon, Champion level, Mythical Beast Type digimon,” Huey read off from his D-Hub. “His metal-plated head is made of pure, Chrome Digizoid, one of the strongest metals in the digital world, able to break through even diamond. His special attacks are Shatter Skull and Rock Fist.” He looked up at Najimon, clearly impressed. “Cool.”

“Tch, cool enough, I guess,” Tyson muttered, hands shoved in his pockets. His lip was out a bit, and he had quite a scowl on his face.

“Tyson, you're pouting,” Maia reprimanded, leading Tyson to huff. Brian casually rejoined the sides of his allies, still grinning quite smugly. “Welcome back,” Maia responded, to which, Brian beamed.

“Does this mean I get a kiss for rescuing you guys?” he asked, hopefully.

“Oh Brian,” Maia responded, leaning forward slightly. The teen felt his heart jump with excitement. She neared his face, “you wish.” His expression fell, and Tyson chuckled. His glare softened, and he felt his anger slip away. He turned towards the battle once again. Even Maia seemed at ease—and when she was at ease, and Tyson wasn't, there was clearly a problem.

“C'mon, Najimon!” Misumon called, along side Bazamon.

Najimon avoided another, sloppy swing from the golem. “Awe, but I was having fun,” the digimon called back, before landing right before the larger digimon, looking up at him. “But alright, I can't play around all day,” his arms swung to the side., and he ducked forward. His cranium glowed with a light, orange-colored energy.

“Shatter Skull!” he shouted, rocketing forward at a fast speed. His slim body shot past Golemon's attempted swing, striking him directly in the chest. The digimon howled, bucked back by the much more powerful headbutt. His massive form actually stumbled back as Najimon's force overtook him.

A second, wave of energy burst around the contact point, and Najimon shot further still. Golemon choked as his chest began to break. In an instant, Najimon shot clear through him, rocks flying all around. There was now a gaping hole in the center of the digimon's chest.

Golemon fell to his knees, before his body became static. It burst into a mass of data, which lingered before the kids. Brian moved his D-Hub, readying to absorb it. The green digivice drew in the data, before displaying 'DATA LOADED' across the screen.

“Nice job, Najimon,” Drakemon complimented, having recovered from his previous beating a bit. At least he was able to walk again. “You should've tried that 'Hardest Head' Competition,” he digimon snickered. Najimon grinned, having no idea what he was talking about.

“So, now that you're not yelling, or otherwise complaining,” Brian spoke at Maia. “Does that mean you finally calmed down a bit?” he grinned. “Taking my advice?”

“Maybe,” Maia retorted, folding her arms. Brian took that as a compliment, and seemed pretty satisfied for now. Overall, the group had adopted a good mood. They defeated a tough enemy, and were now actually starting to become a full-fledged team. Even Maia had noticeably calmed down, which was a welcome change for everyone. It seemed like nothing could break the happy mood, now.

“Leave this village, immediately.”

And there came the nothing.

Everyone looked in the direction of the voice. It was the elder Woodmon, standing poised before the group. His expression was anything but happy. “Hey, we got him, you should be happy,” Tyson retorted.

“I knew letting you into this village was a mistake,” the wood digimon scowled. “We gave you food, even offered you beds... And all you gave us in return was destruction and theft.”

“We didn't make the digimon come here,” Najimon retorted.

“What do you mean, theft?” Maia asked.

“It doesn't matter,” the Woodmon scowled. “You may have saved our village, but we would not have been attacked if it was not for your arrival. That digimon was after you, and you lead it here. Now leave!” he demanded, his voice growing frighteningly deep and commanding. “And never come back!”

A thick silence set over the group. Throwing glances at one another, they decided that they probably should leave, and find some place to rest for the night. The residents of Aura Village watched with disdain as the children and their digimon partners had left.

They all made a note to not allow visitors into the village, ever again.

To Be Continued...