Episode 3: light at dusk

  dark                      light

When the weather changed drastically, allowing some small respite from the blazing heat everyone had been experiencing, James enjoyed it. Work was easier since he wasn’t sweating so much, and he didn’t get as tired so quickly. The overall work environment, both at the restaurant and the building site, was more affable. Heat made people snappy and irritable; this cooler weather, still with the bright clear sky, meant everyone was an ideal temperature, and therefore cheerful and accommodating. He was also able to sleep better because of the lower temperature. It also meant his siblings were sleeping better, an additional bonus.

This particular day James was working on the building site. The house was coming along quickly thanks to the endless supply of good weather. The first glass floor of the house was completed, and work was starting on the second floor. The garden was being organized and designed by some flashy horticulturist who seemed to flounce where ever he walked, and was obsessed with water features and crazy paving.

It was two thirty – James’ lunch break. He was sitting a short distance away from the building site, shaded underneath a large sycamore tree. He had his lunchbox settled in his lap, and the newspaper on a knee. The grass here was long, so Odocomon, who sat beside him enjoying his silent company, was perfectly hidden, like a fawn hiding from prey. She munched happily on half of James’ sandwich, a ritual they had started when she was still Fallomon. When James had been in high school he would always share lunch with her.

Since her transformation from Fallomon to Odocomon, they had both adapted well to the change, so had James’ family, though his brothers and dad had been a bit surprised to see him come home with a small deer in tow. Every morning, James would drive to work and have Odocomon in the front seat of the truck. He would park away from the building site and let them both out. Odocomon would dash into thick cover – be it a bush, grass or hedgerow – and James would head to work. He always knew she was close by because his D-Touch would bleep intermittently. It did this constantly, which he assumed meant all was fine. Odocomon could easily hide herself, and was almost impossible to see once she had found somewhere to settle and was stationary. Still, she kept her attention on James all the time, alert for any danger. As Fallomon she had not been able to watch James work much, always hidden away in his hood or the pockets of his jacket. Now, though, she was able to observe more closely, and was beginning to gain a new found respect for him.

“You’re awfully quiet,” Odocomon said around a mouthful of peanut butter sandwich. James glanced at her, stopping as he went to bite into his own sandwich.

“Just reading the paper. There’s a big report here about the Atlas Corp,” James explained. “The Company is buying up a lot of other well known stores and chains. It’s like they’re taking over.”

Odocomon’s ears flickered, startling a fly that buzzed around her head like she was a landing spot. “And that’s a bad thing?”

“Could be.” James shrugged. He glanced again at Odocomon, who was watching him with interest. He sighed and laid the paper down. Even in this form she had intense curiosity. Odocomon laid her head on James’ knee, and he placed his free hand on her head between her tiny horns. “If the majority of chains and companies are all bought out by the same one, then people with shares in those companies are in danger.”

“How so?”

“Well, if Atlas Corp lost money, or were found out to be making fraudulent claims, then they would go bust or bankrupt. Consequently the businesses they owned would too, and the people who had investment in the businesses would feel the brunt. Kind of like a domino effect.”

“I… see,” Odocomon said slowly.

James sighed. “The thing with Atlas Corp is that they’re everywhere now. This building was commissioned by them for one of their top dogs. The mill we get the steel from is owned by Atlas Corp, our pay checks come from them, the cement mixer company and the skip company: all owned by Atlas Corp, or they at least have shares in them.” He leaned back against the tree, peering through the dapples of the leaves at the sky. “It’s like a very subtle takeover.”

“That’s bad?” asked Odocomon.

James looked down at her. Big green eyes with long ash-colored eyelashes blinked slowly, and he smiled weakly. “Probably not. I’m just thinking the worst.”

“You worry too much,” Odocomon stated. James was reading his paper again, but his eyes were not following the lines of print. “You work two jobs… you come home and look after the others, including your dad. Frankie, Tom, and Eva… they’re older than you, and they don’t seem to have this much responsibility. Do you ever think you take on too much?”

“I don’t have a choice,” James said stiffly. “Dad’s not much the way he is, with the bi-polar and stuff. Besides, I don’t mind. Not like I have any other commitments other than work.”

“Me?”

“You’re not a commitment,” James replied. He smiled and stroked Odocomon’s head. Her expression was still troubled, though before she could say anything else, a tune began to chime from James’ pocket. It was the Pink Panther theme, his ringtone. He withdrew his D-Touch from his pocket and checked caller ID before answering. “Hey Frankie.”

“Hiiiiiii~” Frankie’s cheerful voice came through loud and clear. “What’re you up to this evening? You workin’?”

“No. Night off.”

“Word! Eva, Tom, and me were thinking of heading to the local football field in the evening, take a picnic, and let the Digimon run loose. Wanna join us?”


James looked quickly at Odocomon, who was watching him on the phone. Her ears were straight forward and her expression serious, she was picking up every word Frankie said. “Sure – that’d be fun. I can pick up some stuff from the restaurant, I doubt they’ll mind.”

“Great! Seven thirty and the North Holt playing field, got that?”

“Sure. Bye.”

“Toodles!” Frankie hung up and James replaced the D-Touch in his pocket after quickly checking the time. His break was over by five minutes; Mr. Winch would have a hernia if James wasn’t back soon.

“Okay, got to get back to work. You stay here.” He gave Odocomon a departing pat as he rose to his feet and brushed the crumbs off his work overalls. He crossed the grass and paving, entering the building site through the fence keeping it separate from the street.

“There you are.” James was greeted by a laid back tone. He turned and saw a colleague, Reyez, walking towards him. Reyez was a few years older than James, and they had worked on most of the same building projects together, though they had rarely interacted. Reyez didn’t give off an air that he was a social creature, and James didn’t tend to make casual chat with colleagues. Still – he seemed nice enough, just quiet, and he always seemed tired – to James at least. Reyez was shorter than him, with tan skin and dark hair, cut close to his scalp. He had tattoos, one on his neck, and a black tear drop beneath his right eye. James wasn’t sure if he had any others. His lower lip was pierced.

James always found it odd that he appeared to keep on his person, constantly, a plush teddy bear in the form of a panda. He would sometimes be carrying it in his arms, but mostly he somehow kept it supported on his shoulder. When questioned he said it was lucky, and didn’t go into further explanations. And while some of the older workers made fun of Reyez for the cuddly toy, it didn’t seem to faze him.

“Yeah, I know I’m late back. I got a phone call,” James explained. He carried on walking past Reyez to the scaffolding he needed to climb up to get back to where he had been working before his break.

Reyez shrugged and followed after him. “I’m not chasing you up for Winch,” he said lazily, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “George was askin’ about you, is all.”

“George?” James stopped and looked at Reyez over his shoulder. He was momentarily distracted by the panda bear; he could have sworn it had moved. In his pocket, his D-Touch bleeped twice, high pitched. A different tone to the one used to tell him Odocomon was fine. He gripped the device in his pocket.

“Yeah – something about needing you to fix a door or something; I wasn’t paying that much attention,” explained Reyez. “…Also, uh…who were you talking to?” Reyez went straight to the point.

“On the phone?”

“Yeah,” a pause, “and while you were sitting over there.” He indicated to the trees and field from where James had just come. “Saw you talking, couldn’t see who to. Looked pretty…uhm, intense? I guess I should say.”

“Hands free,” James replied. He quietly hoped that Reyez had not gotten close enough to see Odocomon. He did worry about keeping her out in the open like this; she hid well, but anyone getting too close could easily spot or spook her.

Reyez cocked an eyebrow. “Right,” he said finally. James released a breath he had been unconsciously holding. He gave Reyez and the panda a departing glance before he started to clamber up the scaffolding.

-----------------------------

Work finished for Reyez at half past four. He had started early, which meant he was able to finish his day early. It suited him. He left the building site in his typical leisurely pace. He bid goodbye to a few of his colleagues and was out of the gates. He wondered what to do with the rest of his day. He could go home, to the apartment he shared with his sister and her husband, but it would be stuffy and stifling – he only ever liked being there to sleep. It wasn’t really a place to hang out unless they were both out, which was rarely.
He considered simply wandering the city. He did, on occasion, but not recently. It had been too hot, and it had been uncomfortable to walk long distances. But today it was a good temperature. He could walk until the sun was down and then some. Though, there was only so much a city could offer, and once you had seen it once, you’d seen it all before.

He was walking as he thought, and the panda plush earlier attached to his neck, he now held in his arms, crossed in front of him. The plush he carried wriggled in his arms in an attempt to get comfortable, though to anyone passing by, the movements were too subtle to notice. Reyez paused his walking to take a cigarette from the pack in his pocket and light it, before continuing.

“Stop fidgeting,” Reyez muttered, glancing down at the white head and black ears of the panda. It, in turn, looked up at him for a moment, before it begrudgingly settled in its place. “Good.” Reyez patted its head with a large hand and they carried on their way.

After some time, the panda moved again. “Where are we going?” Its voice was female. She had her tiny arms leaning on the forearm that held her in place, and Reyez could feel her tiny feet kicking. “Rey? Where we goin’?”

“Nowhere,” Reyez replied.

“Then why not go home?”

“Because going nowhere is better than home,” Reyez replied. “You know what it’s like, Tohuimon.” The small panda was silent for a few minutes as Reyez continued on his way. He looked in the windows of various video game shops he passed. Some independent stores and some chains, there had been some new releases he had his eye on lately, and independent stores often had rare games for sale that he could add to his vast collection.

He had been walking for some time, nearly an hour and a half, when he decided to sit down to eat something. He had bought a meatball sub from Subway and sat on a bench to eat it. Tohuimon sat beside him, and ate the pieces he passed her quietly.

As they sat side by side, watching the world go by, Tohuimon stopped eating, sitting up alert and smelling the air. Reyez noticed immediately, and put the sandwich aside for a moment, focused on the tiny panda.

“I smell…” Tohuimon muttered. She twisted this way and that, straining herself, eventually getting to her feet and wandering a few paces down the bench. “I smell…” she paused again, and was still, completely silent, facing north. Reyez followed her gaze and saw what she saw. The black hair with the bleached streak was unmistakable, as was the sense of style: an orange mini dress with dark tights and black high-heeled boots. It was Frankie. Though Tohuimon seemed more focused on what she had beside her. Walking at her side was a cat, standing on two legs, grey in color with black stripes and sharp yellow eyes. “Digimon,” Tohuimon said eventually.

“….Uh,” Reyez said, shaking his head. “Can’t be.”

“You’re doubting me?” Tohuimon retorted gruffly, staring at Reyez over her shoulder. Reyez quirked an eyebrow, skeptical. “I know a Digimon when I smell one. And that is one!” She was pointing at Frankie’s departing back. She and the cat were walking away now. He knew this area, and there were no clubs nearby, so he guessed she was heading to the local playing fields. Why was her business, but he was intrigued none-the-less. “Let’s follow her!” Tohuimon said. She was tugging on the sleeve of Reyez’s t-shirt with her tiny paws. “Come on! Before they get too far away!”


Reyez sighed. It had been a while since he’d seen Frankie, and they hadn’t exactly parted on the best terms, but if she had a Digimon… He looked at Tohuimon, thinking over the options. Finally he threw what was left of the sandwich in the trash, stood up, and placed Tohuimon on his shoulder.

“Okay, but we’re keeping our distance.” Reyez walked on, following the route he assumed Frankie would be taking to the North Holt field. He hoped, somewhat, that Tohuimon was wrong.

-----------------------------

“Think fast!” Irbimon shouted, leaping out of a tree branch, down to the ground and pouncing on Poemon, who squawked in surprise.

Eva and Tom had set up a picnic rug and large basket in the corner of the playing field, near some trees and a small playground. The field was relatively deserted for the evening; only a few people were walking their dogs or cycling through to get home. And none of them were coming near the play area. It was good to see the Digimon out and about, stretching their legs and having fun. Transporting them in D-Touches was all well and good, but it didn’t seem right to Eva or Tom to keep their two now larger Digimon indoors all the time, so taking a trip to the playing field had been their idea, to let all the Digimon work off their energy.

Plus is gave the four humans a chance to sit and hang out. As it was clear that with their Digimon around, they would be spending a lot of time together.

“Can’t catch me!” Poemon was chirping, flying above Irbimon as he pursued her on the ground.

“No fair! I can’t fly!” Irbimon complained. He jumped from the ground several times, but Poemon was able to easily dodge his attempts at catching her. She hovered in the air, giggling.

Tom laid back on the rug, arms behind his head. The sun was beginning to set; the sky was drifting in different colors: yellow, orange, blue and pink, with the occasional white cloud sitting in the sky, blown along by the breeze.

He exhaled. “This was a really good idea.” He patted Eva’s hand. “Nice job.”

Eva smiled gratefully; she was setting out bottles of chilled water and plastic tumblers for when the others arrived. She had also packed bowls for the Digimon without hands to drink from.

There was a trill laugh a few feet away as Poemon was pinned down by Irbimon and he stood on her tail, posing proudly. “Ha-ha! That’ll teach you cheating!” He stuck his tongue out.

“I’ll teach you for pinning a lady.” Irbimon turned suddenly, in time to see his brother launching himself at him and knocking him flying off Poemon, who hopped to her feet. The two feline Digimon began to playfully wrestle in the grass, and continue the game of tag they had started a few days ago in Eva and Tom’s apartment. Out here they couldn’t break anything.

Poemon flapped into the playground and perched on the climbing frame, observing the tussle. Irbimon led the play fight into the play area and started to run away from his brother through the objects the park had to offer, using the different toys to his advantage. He trotted along a see-saw that Siberimon followed him onto. They both stopped at different ends, and the see-saw teetered in the middle, equaling out.

“Hey,” Eva greeted Frankie as she sat down on the rug.

“Hey-hey,” Frankie returned. “Hi Tom.” Tom waved at her lazily. He had his eyes closed. “I told James where to meet us.”

Eva gave a thumbs up. “Nice.”

Frankie was eyeing the picnic box with a cocked eyebrow. “Uh, you sure you have enough food?” She didn’t think the box was big enough to fit food and water for four people and four Digimon.

“More than enough. It’s a lot bigger inside than it looks,” Eva confirmed. “There’s plenty there. I took some bread from the bakery, and some cakes and stuff. Tom was cooking all day, so we’ve got plenty of food, plenty of choices. You’ll see.”

Frankie nodded and sat back, a quick glance at the park confirmed the Digimon were fine and she could relax. She shuffled on the blanket where it scratched her legs a little, and adjusted her position. “It’s been nice having a break from Digimon attacks,” she stated, releasing a relaxed sigh.

It had been about three days since Poemon had evolved, and there had been no other run-ins with Digimon during that time. Though they had only battled three Digimon, the meetings with them had been fearsome, and had most definitely changed all their opinions of Digimon, forcing them to look at their companions in different ways. All their lives, they had been used to having a partner in a small form – a constant friend and guardian. Now they all faced the fact that they were bigger, and that they were built and made to fight, really. Fighting to defend them, but born to fight none-the-less. This unsettled Frankie more than she liked to admit.

Seeing Siberimon turn to stone had hit home that he could in fact die. She didn’t like that idea. She knew the others didn’t either.

“It has been nice – I wouldn’t get used to it though,” Eva replied. She checked the time on her D-Touch, glanced up as she did, and spotted James and Odocomon making their way over the grass. “Yo!” She waved.

Tom sat up, greeting James with a wave, Frankie the same. James was still in his work overalls, but had the top unbuttoned, and the sleeves off his arms and down around his waist. He had a plain red t-shirt on instead. He sat with the others while Odocomon went across to the park to investigate the game the other Digimon were involved in; a new game where they were pretending the ground was hot lava and they couldn’t touch it, but they couldn’t stay in one place for too long, otherwise that became lava too.

“They sound like they’re having fun,” James stated.

Tom nodded. “They’ve been playing since we got here. I bet they’ll still be full of energy when we get home.” He grinned at Eva, who nodded firmly.

“Probably.” She pulled the basket around in front of her and pushed the lid off. “Who’s hungry?” There was a chorus of ‘me’ from the Digimon as the group of four were set upon by their partners.

Reyez watched the group from a distance. He had tailed Frankie since he had seen her – at a fairly large gap so she didn’t get the feeling she was being followed. He was settled on the grass with Tohuimon in front of him, looking eager to go over. Reyez was debating whether this would be a good idea or not.


They did look like Digimon; they were bigger than Tohuimon, but did not look like normal animals. For one thing, the two cats were walking on their hind legs. And the bird was bigger than any bird Reyez had ever seen, and the other was a deer. When did you see a deer in the city?

He sighed and got to his feet, tossing the last of his cigarette. No, he wouldn’t interrupt. If only to avoid any unwanted awkwardness with Frankie. If he wanted to, he knew where she lived, and was sure he could ask her directly. But in front of friends, he didn’t want to risk a scene.

“Come on.” He beckoned Tohuimon with his hand. She looked at him and then glanced back at the group. A few seconds passed and she hadn’t moved. “Tohuimon,” Reyez said more firmly.

She seemed to have different ideas, and started to move across the grass quickly in the direction of the eight. Reyez rolled his eyes.

“Get back here… I’m not chasing you!”

No response from the scurrying panda forced Reyez to start after her. Moving swiftly, but not running, he caught up with her in a few strides and went to scoop her up in his hands. She turned swiftly.

“Whack!” From nowhere, she pulled out a bamboo stick and hit his hand away with some force.

“Shit!” Reyez shook his now throbbing hand. Tohuimon was moving even faster over the ground away from him. He scowled. Damnit – she just had to be a determined Digimon. He thought for a moment. He wouldn’t leave her, but he didn’t want her to get too close in case the other Digimon weren’t as friendly. “God damnit,” he crudely huffed. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and started over, tromping slowly over the ground.

-----------------------------

Irbimon was distracted from his second plateful of food first, and tapped Siberimon when his keen eyesight spotted what it was that had disturbed him. Coming from up wind, so its scent was coming at them full force, he and Siberimon could see a small shape hurrying through the grass.

Poemon noticed their distraction next, and finally Odocomon, who was up on her hooves a few moments later. Tohuimon dashed through the spindly limbs and arrived on the picnic rug out of breath. Odocomon stared at her through her legs.

Eva, Tom, Frankie, and James – who had been discussing the most recent film releases – stopped mid-conversation, all staring at the panting panda.

“Uhhh…” Frankie set aside her sandwich. “Guys?” She pulled her D-Touch from her purse and pointed it at the panda. A holographic image appeared above the screen, the panda was rotating in it. “Tohuimon, In-Training stage panda Digimon.”

“Stating the obvious, much,” James muttered. Tohuimon was ignoring them, eyeing Frankie’s discarded sandwich with interest.

“Her attack is to pull a bamboo stick out and hit people with it,” Frankie concluded. She smirked. “I like the sound of that.”

Siberimon approached Tohuimon curiously. “And you belong to whom?”

“Reyez,” Tohuimon said quickly. Eva cast a quick glance at Frankie, who dropped her D-Touch. “But enough, you’re Digimon! I knew I smelled Digimon and I did and you’re here, and there are four of you!” Tohuimon babbled excitedly. “I knew it, I knew I was right!” She turned on the spot and bounced, waving to Reyez who was about twenty paces away. “They’re Digimon! I told you!!”

“Easy there small stuff,” Tom said, nervously eyeing the park. Though there was no one in especially close vicinity, the shouting of the small Digimon could easily attract attention.

“That’s enough.” Reyez’s voice was gruff and he was extremely pissed. He avoided looking at Frankie, instead he focused on James. “Small world.”

“That it is,” James replied.

“You two know each other?” Eva questioned.

James nodded. “Vaguely. We work for the same building company.”

Siberimon growled. “Not the only person he knows here.” As Tigrimon, he had not liked Reyez much when he and Frankie had dated. And as Siberimon, his opinion had not changed at all.

“Enough, Siberimon,” Frankie said sharply.

“Kept him quiet,” Reyez said off-handedly.

James and Tom looked at Eva who mouthed ‘exes’ at them. They both decided to keep out of what could easily turn into a very awkward spat.

“Need to know basis. And you, didn’t need to know,” Frankie retorted, with an eye-roll and glance at her nails. “Well you’ve come and disturbed a perfectly nice evening, you can leave now.”


“No way,” Tohuimon interjected. “We’re part of the team now.”

“Only if you have one of these,” Siberimon picked up Frankie’s discarded D-Touch and showed it to both Tohuimon and Reyez. “Unless you have one, I suggest you scoot.”

“No one asked yo-”

“Quiet!” Odocomon’s voice snapped, stopping the argument mid-flow. Her eyes were directed upwards to where the street lights were flickering wildly. Across the street, in apartments and office buildings, the inside lights were flickering, and channels switched uncontrollably.

“Oh no,” Eva muttered. She was up on her feet, Irbimon at her side a moment later. Tom, Frankie, and James all joined her, on their feet with their Digimon at their sides. Reyez looked confused.

“What?”

“Just stay close,” Tom instructed. The ten of them looked around wildly for a sign of the impending Digimon attack. There was a sharp wind, which sent them all shivering and made their breath turn to steam in the air.

“Icy Shower!” The call came from above them, and they were bombarded by sharp icicle shards, cutting into clothing and skin. The group scattered, though they still kept their eyes on the sky.

“Whack!” Tohuimon pulled out her giant bamboo stick again and began swatting the shards of ice away from Reyez as they ran. She hit one shard straight back the way it came as if it were a baseball pitch. There was a cry of anguish and the ice stopped. The sky cleared and the attacker was visible.

“Holy…”

“Shit,” Tom finished Eva’s sentence.

Descending from the sky was a Digimon in a humanoid shape, though the proportions were all wrong. The torso was small and robust, while the legs were impossibly long and stick-like. The arms were the same: impossibly skinny, and the hands reached down to its ankles. Its fingers were like spikes. It was white in color and protruding from its back were huge, ripped, badly kept wings. Emblazoned on its chest there was a purple bat symbol, and from a white hood, red glowing eyes were visible.

Eva’s hands were shaking while she retrieved her D-Touch. The Digimon came up on hologram. “IceDevimon, Champion level. Virus Digimon. Part of the Nightmare Soldiers family. His attacks are ice based, and he is known for delighting in the pain he deals others.”

A moment passed where the Digimon and humans stared at their new foe and he stared straight back. Then, without warning and without a sound, his wings opened and he was swooping down to the ground towards Frankie, Siberimon, James, and Odocomon. “Frost Claw!”

“Duck!” Siberimon ordered, shoving Frankie out of the way of the clawed fingers that cut too close to her arm and shoulder. James dodged out of the way, pulling Odocomon with him. IceDevimon turned his attention to Tom, Eva, and Reyez all huddled together – their Digimon, including the small Tohuimon, guarding them.

Irbimon hissed savagely, his claws fully flexed from his paws. Poemon nervously followed his lead, trying to look intimidating while hovering in front of Tom.

“Biting Ice!” Irbimon called, his claws glowing and shooting a cloud of arrow-like ice shards at IceDevimon.

“Nevermore!” Poemon followed. She flew a few feet and disappeared in a puff of smoke, she appeared again, inches in front of the white Digimon’s face and she slashed with her claws.

IceDevimon released a guttural laugh, swatting Poemon away with a huge hand and blocking Irbimon’s arrowheads with his other. “My turn to play,” he taunted. “Zero Freeze!” The glow of his red eyes increased and from them beams of ice appeared, aiming for Eva and Tom.

“No!”

“Tom!” Poemon pushed the blond out of the way with her wings, her tail and feet being caught by the beam of ice. She yelled out in pain. Irbimon was able to drag Eva onto the floor away from the dangerous beams before she was hit. Tohuimon had her bamboo stick out from her back and was reflecting the glow with it, though the strain of doing so showed on her face, and she was losing her grip.

“What are you doing?!” Reyez shouted. “Let it go, he’s going to kill you.”

“It’s my job to protect you! Don’t you get that?!” Tohuimon shouted back. “Nnn…. get away from here with the others!”

“Not without you!”

“Frost Claw!” IceDevimon swooped again, his claws aiming for Reyez. Tohuimon leapt up from the floor with her stick, but was knocked aside by his wings. Reyez stumbled, frozen by fear.

“Reyez!”

Both Reyez and Tohuimon were engulfed with a blue light. Reyez felt for his phone in his pocket as it vibrated. He could see it transforming in front of his eyes, becoming a D-Touch like Frankie’s, only blue.

“Tohuimon, over-clock evolve to…” The small panda’s voice came from within the blue glow. IceDevimon’s attack had come to a premature end as he was blinded by the light. Tohuimon grew in height, her limbs becoming longer. Her ears became more pronounced, and gold hoop earrings sprouted from them. Around her waist she gained a belt, and on her right wrist a gold bangle. Her chest became fluffier. Her eyes opened, displaying an alarmingly bright blue color, embedded in typical black panda face circles. “Ailurmon!”

IceDevimon smirked at the newly evolved Digimon and flew towards her.


“Borealis Stream!” Pink beams came from behind him, hitting him in the head.

“Hurricane Slasher!” And Siberimon’s attack followed, hitting the same place as Odocomon’s attack. Ailurmon inhaled and clenched her fists.

“Claw…. Tremor!” she bellowed. She leapt up from the ground onto IceDevimon’s shoulders. Quicker than could be seen, she raced around his head, landing hard punches and kicks into his face and skull. She grabbed hold of the long horns sticking out of his head and started spinning at a high speed, rising up into the sky until she turned around and started to fall down to the ground, dragging IceDevimon through the air.

Mere feet from the ground IceDevimon opened his wings to prevent himself from hitting the ground. Ailurmon lost her grip and fell to the grass below. She growled, getting to her feet.

Odocomon was charging a ball of pink energy in her mouth as IceDevimon examined both James and Frankie, separate from the other three. Easier to pick off.

“Zero Freeze!” More icicles shot out of his wings, blinding Odocomon and Siberimon into being unable to attack.

“Stay together, he’ll try to drive us apart!” Siberimon commanded. James grabbed Frankie’s hand in his own tightly.

“Borealis Stream!” There was a misty pink light in among the icicles that impacted IceDevimon’s shoulder. He yelped. He was flying towards the four quickly, arms outstretched. He knocked the Digimon aside and easily split Frankie and James apart as he yelled: “Frozen Claw!”

Frankie was knocked to the left, hitting her head on a stone on the ground. Siberimon raced to her side. Odocomon stood in front of James, standing her ground as IceDevimon sized them both up as easy prey.
“You will not touch him,” Odocomon stated defiantly.

IceDevimon laughed low in his belly. “Your feeble attacks are nothing against my power! Zero Freeze!” Again the red of his eyes glowed brighter, and from them two beams of freezing strength shot down at James. Odocomon reared, her body was engulfed in a purple haze, deflecting the attack.

“Odocomon, over-clock evolve to…” Her form grew massively, her legs and body stretched. Her small tail became a larger tuft. The spots on her back moved around to her thighs. Four silver rings formed around her front legs, and tufts of purple fur grew from the knees of her back legs. Her antlers became formidable. Dozens of prongs, each decorated with an orb of purple, adorned her head. “Rusdramon!” The light faded.

IceDevimon sized up his new opponent, who had her head low and was pawing the ground. They flew at each other with speed, Rusdramon’s antlers down, ready to pierce IceDevimon’s body, while his hands were outstretched holding her back. She snorted.

“Amethyst Chains!” The orbs on her antlers appeared to glow a rich purple color, and from them sprang chains of light, which shot forward and wrapped around IceDevimon. One around his neck, two more around his arms and legs, and another around his waist. She reared onto her back legs as the chains tightened around the white form in front of her. He was yelling out, the light beginning to burn his skin. She thrust her head down and IceDevimon crashed into the ground.

Ailurmon raced forward. “Terra Shaker!” She punched the ground where she stood with her paw, and reached down through it. With incredible strength she lifted the ground up from where IceDevimon crashed, and tossed it skywards. Rusdramon’s chains dissipated, but the orbs on her antlers glowed again, this time joined by the three spheres lining each ear.

“Grand Cross!” She moved her head in the crucifix symbol, shown by the trail of mauve light it left, and sent it flying at the plummeting earth. It engulfed the ground and IceDevimon with it, who released an agonized scream.

From the sky, soil fell, and a trail of data came down, floating into James’ D-Touch. The screen flashed with ‘Data Saved’ and James fell back onto his behind.

Poemon struggled as the ice encasing her tail and legs melted from her. She was visibly relieved by it. Tom carried her with him over to James, who was having his hair nuzzled affectionately by the huge deer. Eva ran across to Frankie who, was slowly beginning to wake up.

“Oh… man.”

“Are you okay?” Siberimon asked, his expression extremely worried, and his voice a quivering mass of concern.

Frankie smiled a little. “Yeah… I think.” She looked around for their attacker. “We got him?”

“We got him,” Eva confirmed. She helped Frankie to her feet. Siberimon stood at her side, looking at her worriedly.

Reyez kept his distance slightly from the group as they all reconvened. He stared at D-Touch in his hand, and at Ailurmon who stood at his side, leaning on one hip.

“So… Ailurmon, huh?”

“Yep.” She turned to look up at him, replying with a grin. “Wanna go join the others?”

Reyez was hesitant. “Uh…”

“Come on.” Ailurmon grabbed his pant leg and started walking; obviously her determination did not leave with this form. Reyez followed, and shoved the D-Touch into his pocket. Once they were nearer to the group, Ailurmon cleared her throat. “I told you, we’re part of the team now.”

“I guess,” Reyez added with a shrug, pulling out a cigarette from his pocket.

Frankie, now preoccupied with her aching head, said nothing. She simply looked from Eva to Siberimon.

Tom sighed and looked around the playing field. There was a huge hole where Ailurmon had thrown IceDevimon in the air, and a lot of grass had been upturned by his attacks, and where Rusdramon had pawed the ground. “I guess that means football season is off.”

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