Episode 2: Fools Rush In

All eyes were fixed on Deekamon, who (in turn) was looking around at the gathered. The digimon, now entirely too big to sit on their partners' laps, now took seats alongside and in front of them, perfectly content to lie on the hard ground.

It was only now that the bizarreness of this situation was starting to sink in; they had been plucked out of their lives, dropped in the middle of a forest, greeted by bouncing heads, and attacked by a giant bear. This was... not normal, to say the least."You said you would... explain?" Emily said with a little lilt in her voice, about a minute passed in relative silence aside from the crackling of the fire. She was rocking back and forth a bit in her seat.

Deekamon let out a deep sigh and rubbed the back of his head. "It's a bit of a long story," he said.

"I'm sure it's not that bad," Andrea said dryly, rolling her eyes. When her fellow human beings looked at her quizically, she shrugged her shoulders and continued, her voice still dripping with sarcasm: "we only got teleported by our phones into who-knows-where and fought a giant talking bear, that's pretty normal if you ask me. Kind of a step down from the giant robot dinosaurs I usually beat up after school." A sort of chuckle rippled throughout the circle; Simon noted that even Faris cracked a bit of a smile.

"Then they chose well, yes?" Deekamon said, and once again all eyes fell on him. He let out a deep breath, and began.

"This is the Digital World," he began, "made up of data. All the data in your world's computers passes through here-- think, say, of an email. It's sent, and it's delivered, and it serves its purpose for you, but afterwards, it reformats itself and becomes a couple flowers here." He spread his arms wide around at the forest around him-- if it took one email to create a few flowers, he seemed to be implying, imagine what it's taken to build this up.
"At the heart of the digital world, there lies the core of the Digital World, Yggdrasil--"

"Isn't that the world tree from Norse mythology?" Julian interrupted him, here, with an eyebrow quirked.

Deekamon looked like he was raising an eyebrow at Julian in confusion; he didn't so much as respond to the boy's question before he continued. "... and around Yggdrasil are the Sovereigns." Deekamon procured a stick from the ground, and traced in the dirt at his feet right next to the fire. He drew a crude tree of life and a few forms therearound.

Deekamon's ever-artistic diagram

"The Sovereigns are Zhuqiaomon to the south, Ebonwumon to the north, Azulongmon to the east, Baihumon to the west, and Huanglongmon in the middle." He indicated each of these on his diagram with a point of a claw. "Everything that happens is the decision of the five Sovereigns, and is set into motion by Yggdrasil. For instance," and he paused for dramatic effect, "summoning people from other worlds." He looked up now; the Digimon looked as though they had heard this story a hundred times before (and it was likely, in fact, that they had). The children, meanwhile, exchanged glances and shrugs and murmurs, with varying levels of confusion and worry.. Deekamon wasted no time in continuing.

"A hundred years ago," he said, waving one hand as though he were wiping away the previous topic to make room for a new one, "something invaded. Called himself Era." His face (or, what could be seen of his face) fell a bit. "He's taken over most of the digital world. Only about a fourth of it is still under its original order. That's where Grizzlymon came from, he was one of Era's agents, I think, in this area."
Deekamon seemed unable to sit still; he got up and walked over to the egg that had been dropped when Grizzlymon had been defeated. He picked it up, and brought it back to his seat. "I don't think he'll remember anything of it when he hatches again," he added thoughtfully, tilting his head a bit, before he shook said head and returned to the subject. "They're patrolling around, almost all the time."

"When we were still looking for you," Rajamon cut in, a bit snidely, "Deekamon kept sending us places to see if you'd appear. We kept thinking we'd get pinned by agents."

"But we didn't!" Egakumon snapped back, putting his hands on his hips.

Before a fight could erupt, Deekamon kept talking. "The point is that Era has tight surveillance over anywhere he controls. Like here, for instance."

Faris looked around, and then piped up: "... why do you make your base here, then?" he said, blinking a couple times. Delfinimon looked up at him.

"Because he says there's enough resistance where he still doesn't control, yeom?" She waved her tailfin a bit, and smiled. "Like, fight from inside? Sucker-punch 'em when you're sitting in their trachea~!"

Deekamon nodded at the dolphin-like monster. "What she said. We have plenty of fighters on the continents and areas he doesn't control yet, enough that it wouldn't make a difference-- at least," he said, looking around, "not yet."
He folded his arms, and looked around expectantly.

"... so you mean to tell us," Julian said, speaking slow as though to carefully pick his words, "that we got dragged into another world inside our computers, in order to run around beating things up."

Though it may have been meant as a joke, Deekamon shrugged. "I suppose you could put it that way, if you wanted to." he said.

Toby looked as though he were deliberating something, looking down at Lammon, before he looked back at the hoodied creature at the head of the circle. "So... um... why us, then?" he said, looking around. He shook his head. "I mean, most of us don't know eachother, I don't think. I don't think we have much in common, either."
The digimon looked at eachother-- Deekamon and partners all. After a second, each digimon turned to their partner.

"Um, we... don't exactly know. Yet!" Kamomon said, adding the last word as though he were flustered.

"We're sure the Sovereigns know what they're doing," Lammon said rather quickly, as though to dispel any doubt. She looked up at Toby, then around at the others.

"Their decisions are foreign to us." Iguamon spoke very simply, standing up next to where Julian sat.

"Deekamon doesn't even know!" Egakumon continued, waving his paintbrush in the air.

"Not that that says much..." Rajamon grumbled, but shrugged as best a four-legged creature could. "We'll find out with time, I'm sure."

"We just know we were born to meet you-- so you're special, yeom!" Delfinimon beamed after she finished speaking, chirruping her little vocal tic.

Deekamon chuckled, but stood up. "Now," he said, looking around. "Do you remember those things I gave your digimon? The things that made them grow bigger, I mean..." He waited until he got a few nods of affirmation, before he continued. "That was their Potential," he said, spreading his arms. A digimon usually only grows so much over its life. They're still quite young, but when partnered with a child..." Deekamon indicated the gathered individuals. "A lot more can happen, once you know how to utilize it."

"Digivolution!" Kamomon exclaimed, striking a dramatic pose.

"We can keep changing," Iguamon elaborated, and a smile tugged at his mouth. "Usually, we get bigger. Change form, become stronger. And with a partner, we don't have to wait until we change naturally."

"But it's only temporary," Deekamon took care to point out, but nodded his head once. "If you'll look at your D-GEAR units..."

"D-GEARs, huh?" Faris said, pulling the little electronic device out of his pocket, poking at it. "Hey, look, Delfinimon, it matches you!" And he was right-- its top colour, at least, was a sort of rich teal, much the same colour as Delfinimon's skin. (The underside was silver, but Faris only noted the first colour.)

"D-GEAR units," the purple monster chided, putting his arms akimbo. "Digitally-Generated Electronic Area Reader unit. They have powers that let them... break a few rules now and then." Deekamon strolled over to Toby and held his hand out; Toby, on cue, placed his own D-GEAR -- this one black and white -- into the digimon's hand. As soon as it was in his grasp, the human-shaped digimon gave a solid tug to the small hook-like tab on the bottom left; it slid out of the device and held it up.
What he held was something like a small bit of plastic -- roughly the size of a dog-tag, and looking like a square plastic "loop". In the empty space, however, it was shining-- brilliant white and blue, looking like a microns-thick layer of glowing binary rushing by in every direction.

"This is a Virtue," he said. "It's what's going to allow your partners to digivolve as fast as they'll need to."

Deekamon held it aloft long enough for those gathered to get a good look at it, and then slid it back into the boy's D-GEAR and handed it back.

"Yours is Trust, Toby," Lammon said as she looked up at her partner, a serene smile crossing her face. Toby, for his part, was turning the device over in his hand, inspecting it carefully.

Andrea paused, and looked around at the others. "... so then what's everyone else's?" she asked, almost as one, the digimon began answer her question.

"Bravery," Rajamon said, nodding once at Andrea.

"Adaptability," Iguamon said to Julian; Julian merely nodded, looking thoughtful.

"Dedication!" Kamomon all but leapt to his feet to make another dramatic pose, pointing at the sky; Emily laughed.

"Humor, yeom!" Delfinimon clapped her front fins together as though she were a seal, grinning.

"And you?" Simon said with a wry smile, looking at the rabbit-like creature in front of him. Egakumon grinned and gave him a big thumbs-up.

"Honor!"

Deekamon took his place sitting down again. "I think I've told you all I can," he admitted, closing his yellow eyes slowly. "I assume you've got questions, still?"
From the resounding chatter he recieved in return, he could assume he was right. "Aah, ahh!" he half-yelled, waving his arms to try and get attention back. "I told you, I've told you all I can. But I have a suggestion!" With bated breath, the digimon and humans alike waited for his answer. He seemed to be waiting just for the sake of dramatics, as he let a short while pass before he spoke further.

"You could try to go see Wisemon," Deekamon said after he figured that he had waited long enough.

Even Egakumon seemed a bit uneasy at the suggeston.

"... who the heck is Wisemon?" Faris asked after a second, blinking a couple times.

"A sage digimon," Lammon said, looking over at the boy. "But... he's kind of strange."

"Kind of?" Rajamon said, raising an eyebrow. "The guy's loonier than Deeka."

Deekamon took the remark in stride. He looked around, but suddenly he paused. "... wait a second."
Suddenly, in his hand, there appeared another glowing ball of light like had appeared when he caused their partners to grow.
He threw it into the air; it shot up, like a tiny bolt of lightning. All eyes were on it as it flew up. It came to rest in the sky for a moment, before it suddenly shot off like a dart in the night, leaving a vivid trail behind it.

"The last one is that way, then," Deekamon said, pointing after it. "A ways off, it seems..." He seemed to furrow his brow. "I don't know why he didn't appear with you..."

"The last one?" Julian asked evenl

"There are supposed to be seven of you," he said with a sigh. "But the last one didn't appear with you... I suppose it's because Plumon is gone."

"Plumon," Kamomon hopped in to explain, was one of us. She went missing one day, though... we don't know what happened to her, but we'd know if Era had caught her-- she'd be destroyed. That's why Grizzlymon appeared."

"But I still had her Potential-- until now," Deekamon elaborated, still looking up. "If she had been deleted, it would have faded... but wherever she is, it went to her --it wouldn't do that if her partner wasn't here -- and I think she needs it more than I do ... you need to look for her, and her partner." He turned to the children.

"What about their D-GEAR units?" Egakumon said, hopping to his feet.

Deekamon nodded. "You have a map on them-- they should be able to home in on other D-GEAR units, when you're within a reasonable distance. It's on the map."

With a clamor, all six children looked at their D-GEAR units and slid them open; indeed, one of the buttons on the lower panel read 'map' in blocky letters. It found itself clicked, and all around, there sprung to life three-dimensional projections of a planet around the D-GEARs.
It looked like earth, to a degree-- but the continents were completely rearranged. Huge, vast spans of ocean existed, as did unreasonably huge continents and land-masses. The poles were frozen, and one could almost imagine that someone had cut and paste a number of environments-- mountain ranges were smacked next to huge planes, a barren sandy deserted shared a border with a vast forest.
"Whoa," Faris exclaimed.

Indeed, in the heart of the huge forest, there blinked a point. When Emily reached out to touch hers, it magnified the area; the others noted and did the same. Eventually, they could make out five little dots flashing in one tiny corner of the forest.

"Sweet," Simon said, looking at it. However, he frowned; he noted, as did the others it seemed, that there was no seventh dot.

"Plumon and her partner may not even be on this continent," Deekamon said, sounding a bit dejected. "I can't follow you."
Even Rajamon looked a little dejected, though with the air of someone who knew this was coming.

"What? Why?" Emily asked, looking over at the strange digimon.

"I have to hold down the fort here, such as it is. But..." Even as he spoke, Deekamon stood up and walked into his hut. For a second, there was nothing but the sound of crickets -- the kids almost assumed they were something like cricketmon -- before Deekamon walked back out. In his hand, he held a handful of what appeared to be memory cards for a digital camera.
"You act like I'd leave you alone," he said, mirth showing in his eyes.

"Where on earth do you get all of this stuff, Deekamon?" Egakumon asked, blinking slowly. "... and what are those?"

"I have my places, and communicator chips," the hoodie-wearing monster said. "Give me your D-GEAR units." The children did as they were told; Deekamon flipped open on each a tiny port, and popped one chip into each of their devices. "If you need me -- or if I need you, for that matter..." he paused, and seemed to think for a moment. However, he shook his head and returned to reality.
"You should find a communicate option on your units. They'll hook to me, first and foremost, I believe... but who knows, see if you can find anyone else that accept it."
As Deekamon distributed the devices back out, he handed a seventh chip to Simon. "Give it to the seventh when you find them, yes?"

Simon blinked and nodded; he stowed both D-GEAR and the communicator chip in his pocket. "So... do we go, now? To look for whats-his-guts?"

"No," Emily said before anyone could say anything else. When everyone turned to look at her, she said: "Well, it's late, isn't it?"

A slow murmur of 'oh, yeah...' rose, as they looked up at the sky; the sky had gone dark, and a considerable number of moons in varying shades were rising over various parts of the sky.

"... is it safe to sleep out here?" Toby asked, frowning a bit. "If we get attacked again, we'll all be asleep, I mean."

"You've got us!" Egakumon blurted, grinning as he brandished his paintbrush like a sword.

"Aw, yeah!" Simon said right after, pumping his fist into the air. "We've got these little monster things, don't we? They thrashed that bear-thing, they got it covered!"

Despite their somewhat over-enthusiastic approach, the kids didn't want to disagree-- they were tired, and they had gone through entirely too much in the past few hours. It was enough to border on ridiculous, really.

***

A number of hours later, the kids and their partners were strewn throughout the area right around Deekamon's hut, sleeping; Andrea was sleeping against a tree, arms behind her head, with Rajamon curled up next to her. Emily and Kamomon sat up against the hut itself; Toby was using Lammon as a pillow not far from where he had sat in the circle around the fire. Faris and Delfinimon slept on the ground, and Julian slept leaned back on a stump with Iguamon close by, while Deekamon slept inside of his hut.
This, of course, meant that Simon and Egakumon had foregone sleep.

Sitting in a tree, Simon rested, but did not sleep. One leg hung over the side of the bough; Egakumon was on a branch on the tree opposite him, in much the same posture, but with his eyes closed, and reclining with his hands behind his head.

"So is this really happening?" Simon asked, looking at the rabbit.

"Best I know," Egakumon said, before he cracked one eye open, smiling. "Man, we're so glad you guys are finally here."

Simon smirked. "Man, hard to think that just a few hours ago I was being yelled at by my sister." He looked up at the sky-- the many moons between the sparkling stars and the ripples of binary code just looked too surreal.

Ekagumon sat up, grinning. "I know, innit cool?"

"I still don't get why it has to be a paintbrush, though."

At that, the rabbit puffed up. "Hey, just wait until I digivolve," he said, making a grandiose gesture with the hand that didn't hold the brush. "Just wait!"

Simon smiled and rolled his eyes. He totally got the best partner. Regardless, he cast a sideways look to the others in the little clearing, and then up to the sky. The fading stream of light was still there, faint "Hey, Egakumon."

"Yeah?"

"What direction is that? The one that the light went off in, I mean."

Egakumon heaved himself to a sitting-upright position, and thought for a moment. He followed the line, and put a hand to his chin in contemplation. "It's going west, I think. It's headed towards the Great Ocean, if I remember right."

Simon nodded, putting his hands in his pockets. "... there's so much stuff, here," he said, and without a word, he suddely stood up on the tree branch. With a little "Hup!", he jumped down to the ground.

"Si, what are you doing?" Egakumon asked in a sort of whisper-yell, blinking. He didn't sound admonishing-- really, more curious.

"I wanna take a look around, y'know? This place seems wicked. And you know the place better than I do... wanna show me around a bit?"

Egakumon didn't even listen for the request-- he hopped down out of the tree and landed next to his parnter, grinning. "It's great havin' someone who doesn't worry about it all the time," he said.

***

And so they went; Egakumon went about, pointing out things-- little landmarks, where things happened in the past. "And over there is where we all hatched," he pointed out around a cracked boulder, once. It got darker and darker as they walked. Perhaps they took a turn or two wrong; regardless, eventually...

"And now... ... I have no idea where we are!"

"I thought you said this thing had a map?" Simon asked, poking aimlessly at the little device in his hand, to no avail.

"Just admit it, Si, we're lost."

"We're not lost," Simon protested, frowning as he fiddled with the buttons on his D-GEAR. However, he was stopped dead in his clicking when a third voice chimed in:

"Oh, but I think you are."

Simon and Egakumon whipped around to look; stalking out of the trees behind them was a great white creature, with sprawling angel wings and gangly arms. Metal bands and silver belts were lashed all around it; an X-shaped metal mask covered its eyes. Its body seemed entirely too thin, and its arms far too long. A bent blue tail accented claws of a similar hue, and its crooked mouth was dragged back in an awful smile.

Simon's D-Gear sprung to life, creating a holographic image of the thing before them as it began to speak.

Gargoylemon. Adult-level demon beast digimon. A Devidramon whose restraints have tamed the raging demon inside. The X and O on its arms represent right and wrong. It creates statues with its Black Wing and White Wing attacks, and throws them at its enemies.

"Crap," Simon said, staring at the beast at it lumbered forward, hooking the D-GEAR onto his pocket.

"I got this!" Egakumon said, much in the way he had said against the Grizzlymon. He narrowed his eyes at the dragon-like creature. "What do you want?"

"I heard that Grizzlymon got defeated," Gargoylemon sneered, flapping its feathered wings once. "I don't suppose you'd know anything about that?" His voice dripped with sarcasm, and Egakumon's lip curled.

"You're one of Era's agents, aren't you!?"

Gargoylemon let out a hearty laugh, rearing back. "Aren't you a bright one?" he asked, snickering. "Grizzlymon was a fool, he tried to attack you all at once. One at a time should be far easier, no?"

Egakumon frowned, and wielded his brush as though it were a sword. "Not a chance!" For a second, Gargoylemon seemed confused, but began to laugh again.

"Oh, and the first one I find fights with a paintbrush! Too easy!" Once Gargoylemon got over his giggles, he looked (he assumed, as his eyes weren't visible) at Simon. "How about this: once I delete the little Picassomon, you just show me the way back, and I won't delete you, too!"

Egakumon furrowed his brown deeply, and yelled out before the enemy finished his proposition:

"Magic Brush!" The tip of his brush began to glow white, and with it, he painted a symbol in the air as though the empty space was a canvas. With a few quick strokes, he painted a curious symbol. For a moment, it hung in the air, shining with every colour of the spectrum, before it flew at Gargoylemon.

He faltered back a few steps, but it only seemed to anger him once he re-gained his footing. One lip curled, before he extended his arms above his head and spread his wings wide:

"White Wing!"
In the air above his hands, a number of statues-- seemingly of human angels -- appeared, glowing in a mass of energy. There was no time to admire, however, as before he even finished calling his attack, they were thrown straight at Egakumon.

"Yaghk!" the little rabbit exclaimed as he was knocked backwards, tumbling into Simon and nearly knocking the boy's knees out from under him.

"Heck, man! You guys could only take on Grizzlymon when there were six of you, why are you--" Simon was interrupted when the clearly-dazed Egakumon picked himself to his feet. He didn't listen to a word Simon said, but instead rushed in with his non-brush-holding hand glowing bright.

"Pummel Claw!" With a great leap, Egakumon managed to land a hit on Gargoylemon, who once more stumbled back-- and this time, didn't even resort to attacks as he simply smacked the smaller digimon away with his hand, once more sending him towards Simon.

"Fah! I'm not going to be taken down by a child-level," Gargoylemon sneered, his hands beginning to glow. Simon grabbed a hold of Egakumon before he could leap again.

"Don't be stupid, bro!" he said, grabbing the rabbit's arm tightly.

"Hey!" Egakumon said, twisting his neck around to look at his partner. "I'm not gonna give in now! Only the second real battle I've ever got to be in, y'know!"

Simon frowned, and opened his mouth to speak...
But all of a sudden was struck by a memory-- his sister yelling at him for getting involved in a fight with a couple of older children. He had gotten absolutely creamed, of course, and it was a lost cause to fight... but that feeling came flooding back.

"Simon, you're going to get yourself killed like that! You need to learn to--"

"Sarah, no! I'm not gonna let them think I'm afraid of them!"

"So you're going to let them beat your face in? Way to go there, Si."

"It's not like that! You-- you just don't get it!"

"Ugh, fine. I'm telling mom and she'll tell you the same thing, but whatever, if you want a broken nose..."

And fight back he did-- a little whirlwind, backed into a corner. Sure, he may have had to just about kick their kneecaps out to do it, and had still gotten absolutely clobbered the next day...

But it was the principle of the thing!

From its place hooked on his pocket, Simon's D-GEAR began to glow for the who-knows-how-manyth time that day.

Kickstart Digivolution, begin.

Once more, the light spilled out of the screen and right into Egakumon.

"..." Simon was dumbstruck, staring as his partner changed yet again.

"Egakumon, kick-start digivolve to..." Bathed in white light, Egakumon grew to about four-feet-tall; his body grew less pear-shaped. His arms slendered down but became covered with long fur, and his ears became thinner and stood up instead of flopping. Clawed boots formed over his feet, and his tail grew to be far-longer and tipped with more fur. A bandanna appeared around his neck, his belt moved to around his waist, and his snout tapered more.
And he still wielded a paintbrush.

"Shokunimon!"

Gargoylemon seemed unimpressed. "So you're a bit taller and look less like a teddy-bear," he said, shrugging. "You're still a rabbit with a paintbrush! White Wing!"

This time, Egakum-- Shokunimon leapt into the air, leaping up over the canopy of leaves, neatly avoiding the attack. On the return trip down, he suddenly did a forward-somersault in mid-air, and yelled out a new attack name:
"Tumble Kick!"
He spun around just in time for his clawed-boot-adorned foot to smash straight into Gargoylemon's head. The monster snarled and crumbled to the ground, but did not lose consciousness; he hit the ground and did a somersault of his own, smashing into (and taking out) a tree in the process.

"You think that's enough!?" he roared, and kicked himself off the ground, ripping up through the leaves and taking flight.

"Stay here," Shokunimon said quickly to Simon, and leapt up after his opponent.

"Was planning on it," Simon said in a small voice as he watched. Shokunimon seemed to know what he was doing... Gargoylemon was swooping back down through the leaves to attack, and Shokunimon met him half-way in the air with a battle cry. Simon gave a yell of alarm as Gargoylemon grabbed on to the rabbit and held him close, digging his claws in as his wings flapped.

"You even came to me, you stupid thing!" Gargoylemon snarled, clawing viciously into the rabbit's sides.

"You'd like to think that," Shokunimon growled, maneuvering his brush to be into his enemy's stomach. "Paint Blast!"

From the paintbrush's tip there spewed a huge amount of fluorescently-coloured paint; Gargoylemon let loose a howl and dropped Shokunimon to the ground. The rabbit landed with a bit of a thud, but he tumbled and seemed to be unharmed.
Both Simon and Shokunimon watched after Gargoylemon as he flew away as fast as he could, snarling and growling all the way. Simon was so busy watching that he didn't notice that Shokunimon was bathed in white light again; it started to gather into orbs, and dissipated from the Shokunimon form, leaving Egakumon in his smaller form once more.

"That..." Simon said, looking to his side (and taking a double take as he saw his partner having shrunk again), "was so hardcore."

They couldn't celebrate, though-- from behind them, there was a rustling of leaves. The two whipped around, battle-ready, to see, emerging from the trees--

Deekamon.

"What's going on?" the hoodied creature asked, blinking a couple times. He seemed to have been woken up from his sleep, but didn't seem angry.

"It was so cool, Deeka!" Egakumon cheered, grinning as he threw his hands up in celebration. "This big brute showed up, and he was like 'grrr'..."

Deekamon chuckled and turned around, motioning for Simon and Egakumon to follow him-- the pair wasted no time in doing so. It was a bit of a hike back to the hut, but Ekagumon was sure to narrate the battle blow-for-blow to keep things lively.

"Deekamon," Simon said as Egakumon was re-telling the story the third time.

"Mmm?"

"Why didn't that thing turn into an egg, like Grizzlymon did?" Simon said, thinking back.

"Well, Grizzlymon was very weak to begin with, I think," Deekamon theorized, stopping to talk to the boy for a moment. "Era's agents don't always get along so well," he elaborated, shrugging his shoulders, "but I can't be sure. Or perhaps it was the fact that we had seven digimon versus one!" He beamed from behind his hoodie.

Well, it sounded sound enough to Simon, after he remembered that Deekamon had taken part in the fight as well. He nodded. "Yeah."

Egakumon, meanwhile, tapped his foot. "So can we get back to the camp, now?" he said with no small bit of impatience in his voice, grinning wide still. "I gotta tell the others about this."

[Chapter 2: End]