Episode 37: Lady Luck

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Rose stirred slowly, shifting her fingers at first. She was lying flat on something hard; the feeling of grass under her fingertips made her aware she was on the ground and on her back. She had a weight on her chest, but it was not so heavy that it was uncomfortable. Her head ached, and she groaned as she moved it from side-to-side, testing her movements. Being able to move her head meant she hadn’t damaged anything important. And she could wiggle her toes in her shoes, so that was a good sign. She felt groggy, like she was waking up from an overactive sleep where she hadn’t really rested.

At least she didn’t feel sick. That was a bonus.

Gradually, she began to move her limbs more, regaining feelings and checking slowly for any injuries she had sustained. She knew she wasn’t where she had been. She remembered everything clearly. How Mukademon had been at the old house and seemed to have killed Hatimon and Skollmon. How they had revived, rejuvenated, and evolved onto their Mega forms. And how the battle had raged until the twins’ attack and Mukademon’s impacted together.

It was something of a blur after that. She could recall bright lights, and then darkness. A feeling of being dragged somewhere unwillingly, a feeling like she was being pulled and yanked every which way. Like there were unseen entities at work, trying to tear her limbs from their sockets, until it had all stopped so suddenly, and she found herself no longer falling, and no longer feeling.

There was a sound of a flock of birds over head, scattering with a flourish of wings and feathers like they had been spooked. Automatically, Rose sat up quickly, alert and aware. The weight on her chest fell and bounced into her lap. She looked down to see a small grey and blue ball in her lap, moving and looking dazed and confused - Yinmon.

Rose mimicked the small Digimon, who was looking at their surroundings with careful consideration. They were in an area of deep jungle, with trees towering over them, as tall as buildings. Some seemed to be evergreen trees, like fir. While others had vast canopies, with huge orange and turquoise leaves. The ground was covered in short grass, which was prickly to the touch, now that Rose thought about it. And around them, dotted about wherever they could fit, were bushes and plants with brightly colored flowers. From branches of trees, exotic fruits hung enticingly, and Rose was reminded of how hungry she was.

Through their reading of Russell’s journals, neither Rose nor Hunter had eaten.

Her mind clicked.

“Hunter!” Rose began to look around frantically for a sign of her older brother, who she assumed had been swallowed up in the blast with her. She got to her feet, holding Yinmon protectively under one arm, while holding her D-Touch in her hand, staring at the screen for a sign of Hunter nearby.

“Maybe we should wait here, before we run off into the wilds of an unknown forest,” Yinmon suggested. “We don’t even know where we are.”

Rose sighed softly, “I suppose.” She glanced at her D-Touch screen for a moment, noticing several dots had appeared. All were fairly close to her location, so without obviously agreeing with Yinmon’s suggestion, Rose decided to remain in place. The others, whomever else was close (and she hoped one of them was Hunter) would see her on their screens too, and come find her.

Pocketing the device, Rose leaned on one hip, before scooping Yinmon up in her hands and holding the small canine out in front of her. Yinmon looked at her with curious orange eyes. “Are you okay?”

Yinmon almost looked surprised at Rose’s question. Her concern was not something Yinmon was used to, but she schooled her momentary surprise and simply smiled, her small tail wagging behind her. “I’m okay. Worn out though.”

“What happened?”

Yinmon thought for a moment, silently, her brows furrowing in concentration. “I don’t know,” she admitted finally. Rose wilted a little, her expectation had been that Yinmon would have all the answers. “I know that when our attacks impacted with Mukademon’s… it must have created a protective shield or barrier, and brought us here.”

“Where is here?” Rose queried, not expecting an answer.

Yinmon glanced around, as Rose tucked her beneath her arm again. “It kind of looks like Europe.”

Rose laughed softly. “I don’t think anywhere in Europe has a jungle like this.”

“Rose!” She spun on her heel, turning into the direction the voice had come from. Through the trees she saw Hunter’s form appear, pushing through heavy leaves, with Yanmon leading the way, leaping over roots. “Are you okay?”

“Fine,” Rose replied. Hunter reached her, and without warning, she threw her free arm around him, hugging him like she hadn’t seen him for months. She rarely showed affection, to anyone, so the fact that Hunter did not reciprocate didn’t surprise her. She had been worried for him, worried that he hadn’t been transported either, or that something awful had happened to him, that he had been one of the further away dots and was lying in a ditch somewhere. She tightened her grip at the thought.

“Ow! Ow! Ow!” Hunter winced and hissed, prompting Rose to release him, while he recoiled from her. She looked concerned while he clutched his left side, below his ribcage. Yanmon whined with worry. Rose noticed he had put his glasses on, he took them with him everywhere, and she reasoned in the fighting he had lost a contact somewhere. He still had the backpack from the house on his back, and Rose glanced behind her at where she had been laying, feeling relieved to see the journals she had taken still with her too. Hunter breathed in deeply. “I’m okay.”

Are you okay?” Rose asked. Yinmon struggled in Rose’s arm, hopping to the ground when Rose released her. She bumped heads with Yanmon, checking on him as he did to her.

“Sure,” Hunter confirmed, half-grinning and half-grimacing. “I mean, I’m alive. So it can’t be that bad.”

“He’s just putting on a brave face,” Yanmon quarreled, ignoring how Hunter nudged him with the tip of his shoe as a signal to be quiet. “He’s not okay. He’s been bleeding since we got here.”

“Bleeding!?” Rose’s voice heightened with alarm.

Hunter waved it off and walked past her. “It’s nothing.” He just wanted to get moving, or something. Get the attention off of him. He’d be fine. Yanmon was making a fuss over what was basically a small cut that had started bleeding again because Hunter had moved too quickly. It wasn’t serious, and he didn’t want to deal with his sister freaking out. He’d had enough of that for one day. He bent at the knees and gathered up the journals Rose had left lying on the floor. “Let’s not lose these – considering we almost died for them.”

Rose smiled weakly, walking towards her brother and helping him relieve himself of the backpack, which she unzipped, and slotted the remaining journals into its already tightly packed confines. Hunter held his hand out expectantly for it while Rose closed it again, but she slung it over one shoulder and placed her hands on her hips. “I’m guessing you don’t remember much about what happened, either?”

“Nothing exact,” Hunter confirmed.

“How did you find me?” Rose asked.

Hunter glanced at her. “It wasn’t intentional.” Rose frowned, and he continued. “I mean, I didn’t know who I’d find. My D-Touch just showed some dots on screen, so I went towards the closest one, which happened to be you.”

“Sorry to be a disappointment,” Rose grumbled, folding her arms. Yinmon sat by Rose’s foot, while Yanmon wandered around on the grass, sniffing. “Any idea where we are? Yinmon’s guess is Europe.” Hunter surveyed the small Digimon at Rose’s feet and smirked.


“I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t want to venture a guess,” Hunter explained, exhaling deeply. “I checked my Digivice though, there were two more blips on it, so I don’t think we’re alone, wherever we are.”

“Heeyy…” Yanmon said slowly, his nose up in the air. Yinmon joined him sniffing, catching the same scent on the wind her brother did. “I can smell Tom.”

“Hm?” Rose turned towards the Digimon.

Yinmon nodded in agreement (though it looked more like she shook her whole body up and down). “Yeah, their scent is coming from downwind, they must be close by!”

“Their?” Hunter repeated. “I thought you said you could just smell Tom.”

“Nah, Eva’s with him,” Yanmon explained. Hunter’s shoulders sagged a little, Rose could tell he had been hoping Piper was somehow with Tom instead of Eva. But she said nothing about it. “Let’s go meet ‘em!” Yanmon suggested, and was running off moments later, with Yinmon following after she cast an unsure glance back at Rose and Hunter.

It took barely any time at all to navigate through the forest, following their noses into more open ground, an area still littered with trees but more thinly spread, with more space between them, and the perfectly clear blue sky could be seen through the canopy of the trees. The In-Training Digimon kept relatively close to their partners, never venturing more than a few feet away at a time. Both Rose and Hunter kept an eye on their D-Touches, watching as the only other two blips on their screens became closer and closer. They noticed, as they travelled, the changes from the forest to the open ground. How the grass became longer, and the consistency of the bark on the trees changed too. Some of them had smaller leaves now, though still in wild and unusual colors. Occasionally there appeared to be crystals that had sprouted from the ground, but had become overgrown with moss and ivy, so it was almost impossible to see the full crystal beneath.

By the time Yinmon and Yanmon stopped for good, the two blips – Tom and Eva – were right on top of Hunter and Rose’s own signals on each other’s screens. The twins stood on the spot, staring in the direction their Digimon looked, waiting expectantly. Within minutes, Eva and Tom appeared over the top of a hill, their own Digimon in their In-Training forms in tow.

Hunter raised one arm and waved at them both, while Rose stood back a few feet from him.

Tom noticed Hunter first, then he turned to Eva to point them out. Eva’s head rose and she paused on the spot for a moment, before bowing her head and marching towards the pair of them with determination etched on her face.

What did you two do?!” she demanded, jabbing her index finger into Hunter’s chest when she reached him, her expression contorted with anger. “What did you do to bring us here?!”

“Wait! What? Us?! What makes you think it has anything to do with us?” Hunter asked, raising his hands defensively and stepping back from the irritated plum-haired girl, who’s glare was enough to put a man in the ground.

Eva growled something incomprehensible at them both, which Tom translated, far calmer than Eva obviously was. “Because the last time we were transported to the Digital World, it was something to do with the two of you,” he explained. Sitting on his shoulder, Corvimon nodded. Uncimon was sitting by Eva’s foot, looking between Hunter and Rose accusingly.

Rose and Hunter exchanged looks with each other and their Digimon. “The… Digital World?” Rose repeated, looking at Tom, puzzled. “We’re… in the Digital World?”

Tom tilted his head to one side, an eyebrow rising. “Yes. This is the Digital World.”

“How do you know?” Rose asked briskly. “How can you know this is the Digital World for sure? I mean, there are no signs!” She felt herself becoming excited with the prospect of being here. That their Digimon had transported them here. Probably for a reason. She wanted to be sure before she allowed herself to become really enthused by this.

“We spent long enough here,” Eva explained. “We know the Digital World when we see it. Plus, it kind of integrated with the real world recently when we faced off against Anubismon.”

“Back track?” Yanmon asked, as Hunter scooped him up into his arm.

“Me and Corvimon evolved to our Mega levels!” Uncimon told him, bouncing up and down, until Eva caught him and held him still, at Yanmon’s eye level. “We kicked that ancient dog into the dust!”

“N-no offense,” Corvimon murmured from Tom’s shoulder.

Yinmon glanced at the small black ball of feathers. “None taken. We evolved recently too.”

Tom looked at the smaller canine Digimon and then at Yanmon. He noticed Hunter holding his side, and the disheveled appearances of the twins. “What happened to the two of you?” he asked, folding his arms.

Hunter and Rose exchanged looks, holding one another’s gaze for a few moments, before Hunter gestured for Rose to tell them the whole story. She sighed softly and then began recounting what had happened that day. How they had gone to their old family home on Rose’s hunch there might be information there they could find useful. How there had been, and how they now had it in their possession. She then went on to explain that Mukademon had been there also, and attacked as they were trying to leave, that his attack had prompted Hatimon and Skollmon to evolve to their Mega forms and in the battle that had raged they had somehow been transported.

“We still have everything we found.” Rose held up the backpack to Eva and Tom. Tom took it from her and unzipped it on the floor, taking out one of the journals and flipping through the pages. “It was just an idea. I know no one had any idea where to start looking for a clue to the Parasite and where it had come from.” She rubbed her wrist awkwardly, feeling like an intruder. She wasn’t really part of the group, and had been more interested in finding a solution more for herself than for anyone else. But now they had everything, there was no point keeping it all to herself.

“Did you read it?” Corvimon asked, peering over Tom’s shoulder to get a better look at the scrawl on the pages. She flapped her tiny ear-wings rapidly as she wavered and started to lose balance. Tom lifted a hand to steady her and brought the journal closer.

Hunter tugged his ponytail. “Yeah.”

“And?” Eva asked.

“It’s a long story,” Hunter told her. “I’d be happy to go into it, but somewhere… not so open.”

“I agree,” Yinmon spoke up. “You may have been to the Digital World before, but we have not. And I for one would like to find a way home, or at least somewhere safe for now.”

“She makes a point,” Uncimon said, peering up at Eva.

Eva scrutinized the twins with narrowed eyes, disliking how they skirted around the questions and the subject. They had obviously read them, or some of them. There was probably information in them that neither of them wanted to disclose. If the journals had been found at their old family home, then there was obviously a connection to their family. However, she also agreed that getting somewhere safe was a wise idea – she doubted they could get home for the moment. After all, the last time they had been here, Ryudamon had been the one to send them home.

Tom zipped up the backpack again and handed it back to Rose as he got to his feet. “We’ll go through it in detail later.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out his D-Touch, looking at the different spots that had appeared. “Looks like James and the others are here too.” He showed the screen to Eva, indicating to different color spots all pulsating at the very edges of the D-Touch screen.

“None of them are very close to our location though,” Corvimon explained, sounding a little disheartened.

“We’ll just have to arrange a place to meet up,” Tom explained logically.

Rose tilted an eyebrow, showing skepticism. “Where? I doubt there are any landmarks here.”

Before Tom or Eva could muster a reply, the ground began to shake violently beneath them. Despite their best efforts to stay upright, in turn they all lost their balance and were forced onto their knees by the shaking.

“IS IT AN EARTHQUAKE?!” Yanmon yelped, while Hunter clung to him.

“I don’t think so!” Tom replied. He could hear a high pitched whirring, like that of a dentist’s drill, and in truth it hurt his teeth to hear the noise. A few feet from them, the ground was beginning to crumble as something – a grey spinning something – broke the surface of the earth and something continued to follow. The grey something turned out to be a large drill-nose attached to a large purple and white mole-like creature that stopped and surveyed the group before it.

Rose’s D-Touch showed some information and the Digimon’s name: Drimogemon.

Without warning Drimogemon lunged at them, forcing everyone onto their feet and running in the opposite direction. “Iron Drill Spin!” Drimogemon bellowed, swinging its spinning drill nose down, barely missing Eva and Hunter as they both ducked out of the way.

Their Digimon all turned back to face the larger Champion.

“Uncimon, over-clock evolve to…” He waited for the surge of power he normally felt when evolving: the flashes of light, the growth, the increase in power and strength. It never came, and he remained in his form. Each of the other In-Trainings followed his lead and found they too were unable to evolve.

Drimogemon swiped at them all with the drill-like claws on his front paws. “Mole’s Claw!” he yelled, knocking the smaller Digimon back, sending them flying through the air and then impacting onto the ground, bouncing.

“Why can’t we evolve?!” Corvimon queried, almost whining.


Tom scooped her up in his arm, making sure that everyone else was ahead of him now as Drimogemon continued to charge at them. Eva had been ahead of him to start with, and Rose too. He was surprised to see Hunter trailing behind, clutching at his side like he had a stitch. Yanmon, a few feet ahead of Hunter, kept looking back and firing small balls of flame at Drimogemon’s face and eyes.

He made a quick decision and doubled back on himself.

“TOM!!” Eva’s voice was practically drowned by the screaming from Drimogemon’s horn nose, but he couldn’t ignore Hunter about to get flattened. He grabbed Hunter’s arm, wrenching the other man to his feet and dragging him to the side, darting through several bushes and trees and then ducking behind a larger tree trunk.

Unable to follow the two that had disappeared into the trees, Drimogemon carried on after the two he could see, who ran ahead of him in a blind panic. They were too far from him to catch up now, they could run much faster than he could, and didn’t have to contend with knocking down trees to get anywhere. Instead, Drimogemon dove his nose down into the ground, cracking through the earth’s surface while his drill nose spun at a faster rate. The earth crumbled and split, cracking like glass as tremors went this way and that, splitting the ground in all directions.

Eva remembered the ground breaking underneath her, and then screams from herself and Rose as they had both instinctively grabbed one another while the earth gave way underneath their feet. No matter how fast they had run, they couldn’t outrun the cracks as they spread. They had only managed to escape with some quick thinking on Yinmon’s part, leading them down a sloping hill to safety.

She heard her the ringtone of her D-Touch penetrate her senses, a tone that was a song she had only recently uploaded on to it. Someone was calling her. She hadn’t been out cold for long, but her head thundered, and she gingerly felt a bump on the back of it as she sat up. Uncimon was beside her, nudging at the pocket of her jacket where her D-Touch sang. She was aware of Rose a few feet away, checking herself over for injuries and also dusting the dirt off her.

Eva answered her phone to Tom’s worried voice. “Are you guys okay?!”

“Yeah,” Eva answered. She remembered Tom going back for Hunter. “What about you? Where are you? We went down a hill to get away from Drimogemon’s cracks in the ground!”

Tom replied, “I’m fine. Hunter is… bleeding, but okay. That’s why I went back. He looked like he was struggling.” Eva heard Hunter grumble at Tom’s words, but Tom ignored him. “As for where we are, I don’t have a clue. Check your D-Touch map.”

“Kay.” Eva looked at the screen of her D-Touch, putting Tom onto speaker phone and then tapping through options to the map screen. Rose beat her to it, as Eva’s phone began to chime again with Frankie coming though. “Hang on… Frankie is calling me.” Another few buttons, And Eva managed to get Frankie and Tom in the same call. Also James, and Reyez; it seemed Frankie was already on a call with them both.

“So. Who would like to explain why we’re all back in the Digital World?” Frankie huffed down the phone.

“No can do, Frank,” Eva replied, smiling and pleased to hear Frankie’s voice. She sounded irritated, but unhurt. “Everyone okay?”

“I’m fine,” James spoke up.

“Yeah.” Reyez this time.

“Anyone heard from Piper?” Hunter’s voice came through loud and clear from Tom’s phone, having probably taken it from him for a moment.

Frankie spoke again. “She’s with me. We wound up getting transported to pretty much the same place.”

“Which is where?” Eva wondered aloud. Rose showed the map to Eva again, indicating to the spaces between each of the flashing spots. “Wow, we’re all really far apart,” Eva explained. “Rose’s D-Touch is showing at least a few miles between all of us. James, you and Reyez are almost in the same vicinity, why don’t you guys try finding each other for safety?”

“Yeah, sure,” James’ unenthusiastic tone came back through.

“We need to meet up, somewhere soon,” Tom stated firmly, leaving no room for argument. “Anyone got any ideas?”

Uncimon spoke up, “How about Ryudamon’s house?” Eva looked at him, puzzled. “Didn’t he input the location of his house into the D-Touches? It’s a safe place, and we’ll all be able to get there.”

“Everyone hear that?” Eva asked loudly.

“Ryudamon’s, got it,” Reyez confirmed and hung up.

Frankie laughed softly. “Have fun with Reyez, hon.” She was speaking to James, who grunted a response and then also left the combined call. Eva hoped that he was agreeing on meeting at Ryudamon’s home. Frankie cleared her throat. “Me and Piper are going to make a move now, we’ll get there soon as we can, going to ride on Hurakamon for speed.”

“Good idea,” Tom agreed.

“Keep in touch!” Frankie hung up, leaving Tom and Eva in the call with each other again. Eva turned her phone back to normal hearing, rather than speaker, to put it to her ear.

“Are you going to be okay with Rose?” Tom asked.

The corner of Eva’s mouth curved down a little, glancing at the lilac haired girl a few feet away, waiting patiently. “I think so. I hope so.” She paused. “What about you and Hunter?”

“We’ll be fine, I think,” Tom confirmed. “Keep in regular touch, okay?”

“Sure.” Eva sighed and smiled a little. “Tom?”

“Yeah?”

“I love you.”

Tom laughed down the phone. “I love you too.” He hung up, and Eva began to check through the information stored on her D-Touch for information on Ryudamon’s home. It didn’t take her much time, to find the co-ordinates and to load them up, giving her a steady black dot on her screen indicating Ryudamon’s home, and then black dashes indicating the easiest route from her current position to get there.

Eva rose to her feet, and turned to Rose. “We better get going. It’s going to be a long walk.”

“Can’t your Digimon evolve and take us there?”

“No,” Eva replied, watching as Rose slung the back pack onto her shoulder, treating her to a begrudging look. “Let’s move.”

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

They walked in relative silence for a few hours, Eva always several steps ahead of Rose, keeping an eye on her D-Touch and the direction they should be taking. Uncimon and Yinmon both Digivolved back to Hatimon and Irbimon after a short encounter with an annoying pair of Sukamon and Chuumon they were forced to chase off, and with being back in their Rookie forms, it made avoiding Digimon far easier with their sensitive hearing and noses picking up all manner of things, threatening or otherwise.

Eva noticed that Rose seemed to be fascinated by the Digital World and everything in it. She was sure, had other Digimon not been automatically hostile, Rose probably would have wanted to investigate every single one Hatimon smelled and warned them about. Rose’s interest in the Digital World confused Eva; from what she knew, Rose was never very interested in anything, and the only times she had expressed interest in something it had been in trying to kill herself and the others. So to see this almost innocent curiosity made Eva more unnerved than she had felt initially at the thought of being around Rose for any length of time.

Hatimon though, was a God-send. Rose listened to Hatimon. Rose took what Hatimon said into consideration. If Eva mentioned that Rose needed to keep up, Rose ignored her. If Hatimon said it, Rose agreed and would speed up a little bit so that Eva didn’t have to keep looking back over her shoulder. In a weird way, Eva felt a sense of responsibility towards Rose in this odd circumstance. Eva had experience of the Digital World and of the real world that Rose did not. There was no doubt in Eva’s mind that Rose was smarter than her, as far as book smarts went. But when concerned with common sense, Eva had it in spades where Rose lacked it.

Eva didn’t think Rose realized the dangers they would face here. How much worse they were going to be here than at home. At home, if one of them was injured a hospital could patch them up straight away. Here there was no such thing, and Eva only knew the most basic of first aid.

Visibly shaking her head, Eva rid herself of thoughts to do with injuries or getting hurt. It wouldn’t do well for her to think of those kinds of things. She just had to focus on getting to Ryudamon’s home safely, and waiting there to meet with the others when they all arrived.

She hoped Ryudamon wouldn’t mind them dropping in so suddenly, and that he would be able to explain why they were there, and send them home. Not knowing exactly why she thought it, but Eva felt that she and the others had been pulled back to the Digital World for a reason. That the fight between the Parasite and the twin wolf Digimon had simply been a fluke, a coincidence and that they all would have been summoned back eventually for one reason or another.

“It’s weird…” Irbimon said, startling Eva from her contemplative state. Irbimon walked beside her, and she checked over her shoulder to see Rose and Hatimon only a couple of paces behind them. She checked her D-Touch map to make sure they were still going the right way.

“What is?” Eva asked.

Irbimon regarded her. “You and Rose. I mean. Not weird, but… you two haven’t really ever talked, and now you’re travelling together. It’s a weird happenstance.”

“Just one of those things,” Eva explained, wanting to move off the subject. She didn’t really want Rose to overhear that Irbimon was talking about her, but knowing Hatimon, she had probably heard already and would relay it back to Rose in moments.

“I guess it’s better than her travelling with Piper though, right?” Irbimon grinned toothily. “I mean, could you imagine that!”

“Enough, Irbimon.” Eva’s tone was firm and irritated. Bringing up Piper probably wasn’t the best idea right now, Eva didn’t know if Rose still felt any animosity towards the blonde girl – but she knew that the two of them hadn’t exchanged words personally, since.

Irbimon tossed his Tamer a disgruntled look. “What, I was just saying! There’s no need to get all pouty,” he complained loudly, folding his arms and walking on a few steps further to show his annoyance. “I just think it’s a funny state of affairs, how the two of you have kind of been thrust together. It’s funny.”

“Irbimon…” Eva groaned.

“I bet Tom and Hunter are finding it funny,” Irbimon retorted. “Why don’t you two talk to each other?” He looked ruefully at Eva, who returned the look for a short few seconds, before looking straight ahead again. Luckily the area they found themselves in was a thinly spread forest, so navigating through bushes and trees wasn’t much of an issue, just the occasional upturned root and well hidden rock that Eva tripped on.

“I have to agree with Irbimon.” Hatimon’s voice surprised both Eva and the snow leopard Digimon. They both turned to look back, noticing Hatimon approaching with Rose at her side. “I find it odd how the two of you, who have interacted so very little, are now in a situation where you should interact.”

“Why should we?” Rose queried.

Hatimon looked at her. “Well, Eva has been to the Digital World before, and knows more about it than we do. She could be a good source of knowledge on all the things you’re curious about – but too stubborn to ask.”

Rose arched a fine eyebrow, treating Hatimon to an unimpressed gaze, before turning her green eyes up to Eva. They had stopped walking now, and both women looked uneasy in each other’s presence. The Digimon were rather oblivious to the awkwardness their Tamers felt – more interested in getting the women talking, and breaking the silence that had surrounded them for the last few hours.

“There’s no rule written anywhere that says we’re obligated to speak to one another,” Rose explained, speaking to Hatimon. “In fact, I’m almost certain Eva would prefer not to converse with me. After all, we’re not exactly friends.”

“Maybe the fact you’ve never spoken has contributed to that?” Irbimon suggested, his arms folded with a smug look marring his feline face. Eva had never wanted to wipe an expression off of someone’s face so much as she did right then. She didn’t want to force Rose to speak to her, and didn’t think it was fair that Irbimon and Hatimon were basically trying to make them talk for whatever reason – because they had observed something. But if Rose didn’t want to talk, Eva wasn’t about to make her, and what would they talk about anyway?

Rose’s past with Eva and her friends? The attempts on their lives? The kidnapping of Piper? The Generals? Her mother? Those were the first subjects that sprang rather bitterly to Eva’s mind.

“I can understand Eva not wanting to talk to me… I can understand anyone not wanting to associate with me after all I’ve done and put them through,” Rose explained, she seemed to be speaking to Hatimon and Irbimon, but had her eyes fixed on Eva. “It wouldn’t seem fair.”

Eva sighed loudly, rubbing the space between the eyebrows with her thumb and forefinger. She wanted to curse Irbimon, they were doing fine not speaking. If he hadn’t said anything… but he had, and there was no way putting the lid on the box he had opened. Rose might as well have asked Eva outright what she felt about her – that’s what she wanted to know.

“I don’t outright hate you,” Eva explained slowly. “I mean – I don’t think you’re a bad person. Misguided, and you’ve been used, yes. But not an innately bad person.”

“But…?” Rose prompted, waiting the younger girl’s evaluation which she expected to be harsh.

“I still don’t trust you,” Eva said with a small shrug of her shoulder. “I don’t know if you sticking around will change that – but after taking Piper and doing what you did you her, and attacking us at gun point – however possessed you might have been – it makes me nervous and uneasy to be around you. We always described you as a loose cannon.”

If Rose was offended, her face didn’t show it. In fact, her face was expressionless and showed nothing. Her arms were folded though, and that was enough for Eva to know the older girl was as uncomfortable as Eva felt, spilling her guts with abrupt honesty.

“You put me on edge,” Eva concluded with another weak shrug of her shoulders. “Not a lot more to be said on the matter.” And even if there was, Eva wasn’t about to add anything else now. She saw Rose’s mouth open, but something entirely different now held her attention. Walking behind Rose, a creature had appeared from somewhere, apparently unaware of their own presence. It was feline in appearance with a small round body and purple front paws, a long tail and tall ears. It walked on two legs, not unlike Irbimon. But that was not what cause Eva to stare.

What held her attention was it was black.

“Oh no,” Eva murmured. Rose, Hatimon, and Irbimon all looked in the same direction, the black cat was continuing to walk, ignoring them or still unaware of them. Irbimon immediately rubbed his forehead, while Hatimon and Rose exchanged confused looks.

“What’s the matter?” Rose queried.

Eva laughed. “’What’s the matter’ she says,” Eva said to herself, running her fingers back through her hair. “Did you not see!?”


“Yes,” Rose replied, “a black cat.”

“Exactly!”

Rose’s puzzled expression became even more so, confused with her eyebrows furrowed together. She glanced at Hatimon, who looked just as bewildered, and then Irbimon who had his face in one paw. “A black cat?” Rose repeated. “You’re kidding.”

“No!” Eva retorted. “They’re bad luck when they cross your path! Ohhh…” Eva groaned, “now I know something bad is going to happen.”

“You’re that superstitious?” the lilac-haired woman queried. “You realize things like that are unproven, ungrounded, and all in your head.”

“They are not!” Eva protested. “Once, I walked under a ladder on the street, and ten minutes later, I sat down on a wet bench, ruining a pair of jeans.”

Rose almost laughed, but settled for smiling. “That’s not bad luck, that’s just plain blindness and not seeing a ‘wet paint’ sign.” She began walking, and Eva walked in tandem at her side, the Digimon flanking them both as the black cat had wandered off, leaving them unnoticed. Unnoticed by Eva or Rose, Hatimon and Irbimon exchanged conspiratorial smiles – their secret plan to get them talking had worked.

“And there was another time that Tom bought a new umbrella and he opened it in the apartment. The next day, our TV just like BLEW UP while we were watching it! Blew up, no warning!” Eva said. “How do you explain that?”

Rose tossed her hair over one shoulder. “Um, faulty wiring and an old television?”

Eva continued, “Then on Friday the thirteenth about three years ago, I was forced to leave the apartment because we had no milk and, anyway, that’s beside the point, I left the apartment, trundled down to the store and walked back, only to find I had left my keys in the apartment and locked myself out. Tom was away at his parents’, so I had to crash at Frankie’s for the weekend.”

“That’s just plain stupidity,” Rose responded, amused. She was finding the more Eva talked, even if it was about silly superstition, the more relaxed she felt, and also the more she found herself liking the plum-haired girl and her company. Not that Eva ever needed to know that, and Rose was certain she wouldn’t make a friend of Eva – but her company was bearable, and she had achieved something rare: making Rose laugh. “Are you one of those people who stays locked in the house on Friday the thirteenth?”

Eva mumbled a response.

“Every year,” Irbimon answered for her, “she gets a new calendar, finds out which months have a Friday the thirteenth, and books the day off work. It’s become a more regular thing now, ‘cause she lost her job before the bakery on Friday the thirteenth.”

Rose looked at Eva incredulously. “Really?”

“SHUT UP!” Eva whined, stomping a few steps ahead. Rose followed her. “There was also another time, where I spilled salt all over the table and in my rush to tidy it up, I forgot to throw any over my shoulder. Know what happened?”

Rose shook her head.

“My grandfather passed away the next day!”

“Well, I’m sorry about that your grandfather dying, of course. But that probably has nothing to do with you forgetting to throw salt over your shoulder,” Rose explained softly. “Had he been sick for a while beforehand?”

Eva sighed. “Yeah.”

“Do you only believe in the bad superstitions?” Hatimon asked, peering up at Eva.

“No. Good ones too,” Eva began. “I once found a four leaf clover. I was so happy, I had a great week. I got my job at the bakery, got on the course I wanted at college, and Tom and I went to buy some furniture we’d been after for ages, only to find it had gone on sale the day we went to buy it! I was so pleased, I was going to get the clover put in a key ring.”

“But you didn’t?” Hatimon prompted.

“Well… no.” Eva pouted, recalling the memory and the disappointment, she wrung her hands together as she spoke. “I took it with me, I’d been keeping it really safe in my wallet the whole week until I had time to go and get it done. When I got to the place where you can have custom key rings made Downtown, I went to get it out and… well… it blew out of my fingers as I was rifling through my wallet.”

“Then there was that period a couple of years ago in the autumn where a spider that had been hiding in the apartment had baby ones, Eva kept finding them everywhere and killing them, then about a hour later it would be pouring with rain,” Irbimon explained, grinning widely.

Rose giggled. “That’s hardly your fault. If it’s autumn, it’s going to rain.”

Eva glanced at the older girl, smiling a little at her own expense. She hadn’t really heard Rose laugh before, even if it was just a giggle. The times she had it had been a manic cackle, but this was genuine. “I’m amazed you’re okay travelling with me and haven’t run off screaming,” Eva said. “Considering around me bad things seem to happen, and with that black cat, something is bound to go wrong!”

“Oh, I’m sure I’ll be fine,” Rose replied, eyeing Eva warily as she noticed the girl suddenly had tensed up. “What?”

“I need to knock on some wood! Now! Cause I just jinxed us, and knocking on wood will reverse the jinx!” Eva proclaimed, looking around wildly for a tree. In their walking, they had left the thinly spread forest and were now in open ground, wading through waist high grasses. “Find me a tree!” she yelped, grabbing Rose by the shoulders.

Irbimon immediately began laughing, holding his stomach while Eva started charging through the grass, pausing every now and then to see if she could find a branch or a twig or even a sapling. Rose was just watching with confusion plastered onto her face, trying vainly to stop herself laughing. Hatimon – more serious than Irbimon and wanting nothing more than to continue walking – went to help Eva, shuffling through the grass, looking for something wooden she could touch, and then allow them to continue moving.
Her search took her through the high grass and around several large and interesting smelling plants that caused her to recoil her sensitive nose from the stench.

“Hey! Don’t you know how to knock!” Hatimon’s ears pricked up at the sound of a new voice, and came face-to-face with a green and purple Numemon glaring at her angrily, holding what appeared to be pink sludge in one of its make-shift hands.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Hatimon apologized, backing up a few paces. “My-” Hatimon leaped back as the Numemon threw the pink sludge in its hand at her, her reactions were quick, but not quick enough, as it landed smack-dab in the middle of her face on her muzzle and between her eyes. Numemon readied another sludge bomb, poised to throw. Hatimon dashed away, straight into Rose’s legs. “Getitoff! Getitoff! Getitoff!!” Hatimon barked, rubbing her paws across her nose and face trying to remove the pink goo.

Eva had returned, stick in hand and appeared much calmer. Rose kneeled to Hatimon’s level and began to wipe off the offending substance. Irbimon unhelpfully continued laughing raucously, slamming the ground with his paws, while Hatimon snarled at him.

“This is because of the black cat,” Eva commented, kneeling as well to help Hatimon.

Hatimon growled, “Oh shut up.”

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

After Hatimon had been cleaned off, and had suitably chased Irbimon around, threatening to freeze him to the ground and Irbimon narrowly escaping her wrath with just a small chunk of fur missing from his tail, the group began walking again. Eva was still on edge, despite finding a branch and knocking on it several times, she continued to carry it with her, and disclosed that now she had gone through a few of the things her bad luck had done in the past, she and Rose were going to be plagued by it until they found something to counter it.

Whatever something to counter bad luck was.

Rose still found Eva’s attitude towards her own superstitions interesting, if a little perplexing. Rose, herself, had never put much stock in bad or good luck. She had never believed it influenced anyone, or the acts of people or what happened to them. That it was just random coincidence for the most part, and that it could not always be explained rationally. She also didn’t believe in things like karma or fate, but she worried that if she told Eva this, it would open up another new bag of worms.

Eva had a call from Tom while they were talking, letting her know that he and Hunter had been caught in a sudden downpour not long ago, which had moved off in their general direction and to watch out for it. No sooner had their conversation ended, had Rose and Eva been set upon by the rain, hitting down on them like bullets. It wasn’t just rain, it came with a full blown thunderstorm, where the forks of lightning impacted on the ground.

“Lie down,” Eva instructed Rose, lying flat in the grass without a moment’s hesitation.

“No! I’m not getting dirty.”

Eva yanked the other girl’s arm, forcing her down. “Lightning is attracted to the tallest thing around, which is why it’s a bad idea to stand under a tree in a thunderstorm.”

“But its muddy and wet!” Rose complained, she was not yet lying down. Just sitting on her knees with her arms folded and an irritated look. Hatimon was lying as flat as she could, as was Irbimon.

“Muddy and wet, or barbequed?” Eva asked crossly. Rose considered this for a moment, and then joined Eva on the ground, making several unhappy squeaking sounds as the ground squelched under her hands as she lay flat. Pleased with her small victory, Eva turned her head towards Rose, grinning. Rose arched a fine eyebrow, folding her arms beneath her chin to prevent getting dirt on her face. “Comfy?”

“I think I’d  prefer to be cooked by the lightning,” Rose replied dryly.

“It won’t last long Rose, it’s just a freak shower,” Hatimon said from Rose’s left side. “And we’ll be dry in no time when the sun comes back out.”

“This better not stain my skirt,” Rose mumbled.

“You sound like Frankie,” Eva told her with a smile. Rose rolled her eyes and they waited for the rain to pass, getting more and more drenched as the time went on.

As Tom told them, it was a short storm, moving on quickly, and soon enough the rain had moved off into another area and the sun blasted down brightly. The thunder still rumbled overhead. Irbimon stretched as he stood up and shook his fur out.

“Let’s keep going then,” Irbimon said, raising his paws up to the sky.

“Irbimon, I’d stay down until all the clouds have gone,” Eva suggested, raising her head a little.

Irbimon shrugged. “It’ll be fine. The clouds are gone, I’m ready to dry off.” He shook his fur out, covering Rose and Eva in droplets of water as they shielded themselves from the spray. Rose cast him an unimpressed look, beginning to rise up, pushing herself up with her arms.

There was a deafening roll of thunder above them, and then Rose screamed, dropping back down onto her front as a shock of lightning zapped the ground. Irbimon yelped in sudden pain, and Eva uncovered her head, panic rushing through her veins, fearing she would be faced with a pile of ash for a Digimon.

Instead, she found herself face-to-face with Irbimon, but Irbimon three times his normal size. Juddering with static electricity, his fur standing on end and puffed out, making him look like a cotton ball. Eva forced herself not to laugh as Irbimon glared at her, and then at Rose and Hatimon who made no attempt to hide their own amusement at his new fluffy shape. He turned back to Eva. “Say nothing.”

Eva shook her head, biting down hard on her bottom lip as she physically quivered from the laughter she tried to suppress.

“Eva!” Irbimon complained loudly as she let out a small spurt of laughter. “Help me!”


“How?!” Eva countered, grinning broadly, running her hands down Irbimon’s sides, trying – in vain – to smooth out his fur. Any attempt she made was futile, as the fur just sprang back into place. “I think it’s going to have to go back to normal on its own.”

Irbimon was aghast. “What? I can’t go around the Digital World looking like this! I’ll be a laughing-stock!”

“Maybe we won’t get attacked because they’ll be so distracted with your…” Hatimon paused, “…fluffiness.”

“It’s not funny!!”

“I beg to differ,” Hatimon replied, smiling wryly. Hatimon shook her fur out a few feet away from Rose and Eva, while both the girls got to their feet and Irbimon continued to struggle with his fur. Rose was pleased to see she wasn’t too dirty, just a few splotches here or there that would come off as they walked. “Oh… hey look,” Hatimon said suddenly, catching the attention of her companions. Her ears were perked up, and her body rigid as she faced away from them staring into the distance.

Her gaze and nose had picked up the form of the black cat from before, it too had obviously taken cover from the rain, and now that the rain was over, it was walking, continuing its journey.

Eva groaned. “Not again, haven’t we had enough bad luck today?”

“You know, I think it’s all in your head,” Rose said, casting Eva a sly look. Eva pointed at Irbimon, who had taken to rolling around on the ground to get his fur down to its usual length. “That was his own fault, and a freak thunderstorm. Random happenstance which has nothing to do with you.”

“Hm.” Eva shrugged. “Maybe you’re right. Bad things just seem to happen when it’s me though.”

“Probably because you’re expecting them to happen,” Hatimon explained. “So maybe, inadvertently, you make them happen?”

“Maybe.”

Hatimon’s gaze returned to the black cat, who had stopped and was looking skyward, then it looked right, left and again back up at the sky. “I think it’s looking for something.”

“What makes you say that?” Rose inquired.

“Just a feeling. Normally, when you know where something is, you go straight to it. But this one… we’ve seen it twice now. The first time it was going in the opposite direction. Obviously it went the wrong way and had to double back on itself,” Hatimon explained, her eyes never leaving the form of the feline, “and now it’s here again, and seems to be checking around for maybe a landmark?”

“Are you sure you’re not reading into things?” Irbimon said, now back to his normal size.

“I’m certain,” Hatimon retorted. “We should follow it.”

Eva clarified, her voice rising a few notches with worry, “follow the black cat?”

“Yes,” Hatimon replied firmly.

“But-”

Rose patted Eva on the shoulder. “It’s all in your head, remember?” She gave the other girl a gentle shove. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Eva smiled weakly. “Heh, you don’t want to know.”

They followed at a distance, always keeping the cat in view, or at least following Hatimon following it’s scent. Eva kept trying to turn back, as they were going in the opposite direction to the route she had to Ryudamon’s home, but Rose was adamant to keep following and so was Hatimon. Even Irbimon became caught up in the intrigue eventually.

Each time the cat stopped, it stopped for at least two minutes, checking its surroundings and staring at the sky before it would continue on. Once, Hatimon was able to get close enough with Rose’s D-Touch to get a reading on it, revealing it was a BlackGatomon, a Champion level Digimon.. The more they followed, the more their surroundings changed. The long grasses gave way to trees all tightly packed together and dead leaves decomposing on the ground. The smell from the ground, and from several of the flowers they passed, was acrid, like a chemical that made their eyes water if they breathed in too hard.

The BlackGatomon’s scent was being disguised, and Hatimon was beginning to wonder if it was aware it was being followed, which put her on edge, her hackles up and ready to attack at any moment. Eventually, she lost the scent, despite her best efforts to find it again.

“Dammit,” Hatimon cursed, “it’s gone.”

“Who are you, and why are you following me?!” The four jumped at the demanding female voice behind them, and turned on the spot quickly. Standing on a log, large purple and orange-striped paws on her hips, was the BlackGatomon they had been following, her big yellow eyes staring at each of them accusingly. They stood in silence, Eva and Rose exchanged looks, while Hatimon and Irbimon were standing poised to attack if need be. “Answer me!”

Hatimon growled, though Irbimon waved a paw at her, stepping forward. “I’m Irbimon, and this is Hatimon.” He indicated to himself and to the wolf Digimon opposite him. “I have a feeling we’re going in the same direction. You look like you’re searching for something – so are we. Maybe it’s the same thing?”

Eva nudged Irbimon with the tip of her shoe, as if trying to tell him to just stop and attack. Irbimon ignored her, while Rose and Hatimon watched the exchange curiously.

“Who are they?” BlackGatomon demanded, pointing at Rose and Eva. “They don’t look like any Digimon I’ve ever seen!”

Irbimon smirked. “This is Evamon,” he indicated to Eva, “and Rosemon.”

BlackGatomon surveyed them both. Eva smiled awkwardly, while Rose folded her arms, glaring at the small cat, whose eyes remained on her. “She looks nothing like Rosemon – I should know. I’ve met her.”

Eva jumped in, “she’s not fully evolved; she doesn’t like it being pointed out. It’s a bit of a touchy subject for her.” Rose scoffed and tightened her arms across her chest. Again, silence as BlackGatomon considered them each in turn slowly, though her eyes stuck on Rose and Eva longer than Irbimon or Hatimon.

She seemed appeased, though still tense and wary of them as she spoke again. “You’re looking for the altar too?”

“Yes…” Hatimon agreed, trying to make her voice assertive and less like a question.

Folding her arms, BlackGatomon looked skyward. “It’s been  a while since I’ve been in this part of the Digital World. Everything has changed and looks different, but I’m pretty sure it was near here.” She paused. “What are you hoping to achieve at the altar?” she asked, her eyes narrowed again.

Eva made a feeble attempt to answer, before Irbimon took over, using his best accusing tone. “You tell us what you hope to achieve at the altar, and then we’ll tell you.”

For a moment it seemed as if BlackGatomon had grown tired of them, and had no desire to continue speaking. Especially as her body tensed, and she looked as if she was about to pounce on Irbimon for his insolence, but she relaxed, seeming to find his demand fair. “It’s now an altar, a shrine to Lord Mukademon – who has returned after his long absence. If you go there, and pledge your support to him, his return and his cause, it’s said you gain incredible power.” She paused. “Now you?”

“Oh yeah, same,” Irbimon explained with a nonchalant look at his claws. “Power, pledge ourselves. Followers of Lord Mukademon… y’know, be all evil and …grr.” Eva slapped her hand to her forehead.

“And Rosemon here,” Hatimon added, “is hoping the power will help her to complete her evolution, isn’t that right?” Rose nodded, forcing a smile.

Irbimon continued. “So uh… whereabouts is this altar, anyway?”

“Will Lord Mukademon be there, do you think?” Hatimon inquired – she was quite ready for a second round with the parasitic Digimon and was just looking for an excuse. “I would so love to admire his face again.”

BlackGatomon snorted. “Not likely. He hasn’t been seen in the Digital World for…” she paused, her eyes dragging away from a hanging vine which had been above Eva, to Hatimon. Hatimon stared back darkly, while it seemed BlackGatomon considered something for a few long seconds that dragged by. The change in the atmosphere was unmistakable, BlackGatomon’s defenses were back up, and she looked as if she were trying to glare daggers into the wolf.

“Again?” BlackGatomon repeated. “How could you have seen him already, if he hasn’t been seen in the Digital World for centuries?”

Hatimon snarled, her mouth curving up into a grim smile. “We’ve met.” BlackGatomon leapt immediately, realizing that the four she had been speaking to, were not who they had said they were. She was quick, but Irbimon was quicker, leaping from the ground and snatching her tail, practically throwing the small black cat onto the leaves. Hatimon pinned her arms down with her paws, snapping her jaws together while BlackGatomon attempted to vainly swipe at her head.

“Where’s this altar?!” Irbimon demanded, one of his paws igniting in ice.

“Kill me, I don’t care!” BlackGatomon retorted, kicking her unhindered lower legs. “I’ll never tell you. I’m a servant of the true lord of the Digital World!”

“He destroyed this place!” Irbimon snarled, though his voice seemed to take on a deeper tone, one that Eva recognized as Ymirmon’s voice. “He’s responsible for its current state. He is not the true Lord of this land!”

“He freed us!”

“You are blind to his influence. His power is nothing but a lie! Your freedom is nothing but a lie!” Irbimon bellowed. He swiped his ice clad claw down, though before it could impact on BlackGatomon, Irbimon was yanked back by Eva, holding him under his arms.

“No one has to die here,” Eva said firmly. “No one has to fight or get hurt.” Irbimon looked up at her, appearing dazed for a moment. “Just tell us everything you know and we’ll let you go, unharmed.”

BlackGatomon released a feral hiss and yowl that echoed around the trees, which was soon swallowed up by the leaves and the canopy above them. There was a dull and uneasy quiet as the last echoes of it dispersed through the air; then the ground was shaking, and there was the noise of a high pitched whining.

“Drimogemon!” Hatimon yelled, “RUN!!”

The ground was already beginning to split beneath the five of them. Hatimon released BlackGatomon, butting Rose in the leg, forcing her to move, while Eva ran and Irbimon struggled out of her grip in time to see BlackGatomon disappearing into the trees. The purple and white bulk of Drimogemon clambered out of the ground, roaring.

Irbimon leaped up into the air, slashing his claws in front of him. “Biting Ice!” he yelled, sending tiny arrowheads of ice raining down onto Drimogemon.

Hatimon stepped forward on the shaking ground, illuminating a circle of runes a short distance away from her, but where Drimogemon was placing his feet. “Crystal Ring.” Her voice was barely above a whisper, and not at all audible over the sounds of the ground cracking. Drimogemon’s feet broke the glyph and one of his paws was immediately impaled with shards of ice sticking upward.

Drimogemon bellowed indignantly, sending his drill nose spinning wildly, thrashing his head back and forth, trying to land a hit on the two Rookie Digimon that dodged and maneuvered, narrowly missing each swing.

“Bone Crusher!” Drimogemon cried, as bones – seemingly appearing from nowhere – began to fire unrelentingly at Hatimon and Irbimon. Rose and Eva had ducked into the safety of the trees not far away, but far enough from where Drimogemon had emerged. Bones flew close to their hiding places, breaking branches and almost tearing down the very tops of trees.

Irbimon had clambered up into the high branches of one tree, and threw himself down, landing on Drimogemon’s back. “Frost Strike!” He stabbed his claws, both now covered in ice, down into Drimogemon’s head. They pierced the skin, forcing Drimogemon to shriek, swinging his head back and forth and trying to unhinge Irbimon from his place.

“Frost Fang!” Hatimon’s jaws clamped around Drimogemon’s foreleg, ice spreading from her maw and across the expanse of the limb. She was flung wildly, Drimogemon thrashing as both Rookies kept their grip.

Until Hatimon was slammed into a fallen log and was forced to release his paw. And then Irbimon finally lost his grip, and was flung from Drimogemon’s head down to the ground, where he quickly rolled out of the way from Drimogemon’s foot, coming down to squash him.

“Iron Drill Spin!” The high pitched whining of the drill began again, as Drimogemon charged forward, carving a niche in the ground with his horn as he closed in on Hatimon, who was still winded and struggling to get to her feet.

“Biting Ice!” Irbimon called from behind, and more little arrowheads impacted on the back of Drimogemon’s skull. The giant mole Digimon turned sharply, his spinning horn slicing through a group of trees and bushes. Irbimon stood back and checked on Hatimon, who was up, snarling and ready for a second round. “Why don’t you pick on some Digimon your own size?!” he demanded, suddenly engulfed in a bright pink glow.

Hatimon replicated him, though she was shrouded all in black as they cried out in unison:

“Irbimon, over-clock evolve to… Skadimon!”

“Hatimon, over-clock evolve to… Remamon!”

The two Champions stood proudly in their places for a moment, relishing the feeling of power that rushed through them as it always did at an evolution. The moment over, they sprang into action, Remamon leaping nimbly into the air, pile driving her fists down into Drimogemon’s back.

Drimogemon flailed, his nose erring back and forth as he tried to hit the speedy were-Digimon above him, who moved much faster. The wild swinging of the drill nose, and the flailing of the mole Digimon’s paws, meant Skadimon could not get close without risking being hurt, so he was forced to attack from afar.

“Hungering Cold!” he bellowed, his muzzle becoming encased in frost as he shot a blast of snow and ice at the opposing Digimon.

“Bone Crusher!” Drimogemon tried to retaliate, but the aims of the bones that flew through the air were misjudged and messy, many of them landing in the tree canopy or in branches without enough momentum to carry them through the air.

Remamon let up on her unrelenting assault, landing gracefully on the ground as Skadimon also relinquished the hail of cold and ice from his maw. Without a moment’s hesitation, Remamon placed a paw on the ground, sending out a sheet of ice across the forest floor, capturing Drimogemon in its grasp. The giant rodent Digimon struggled against the unyielding ice, as Skadimon circled, growling and snarling.

He dashed forward, his claws covered in a swirling mass of ice and snow. He leapt over Remamon, raking his claws outwards, causing Drimogemon to be hit dead-on with a strong claw-shaped blast of cold. Drimogemon’s roar echoed up from his body as the attack impacted, and within moments, nothing remained.

As Eva and Rose came out of hiding, their Digimon moving toward them in their Champion forms, Drimogemon’s data floated towards them both, absorbed by their D-Touches. Eva rubbed Skadimon’s head and he rumbled happily to her touch, while Rose gave Remamon an appreciative look, which was more than Remamon had ever had from her before.

“I guess we lost our informant,” Eva stated. “It’s a shame we couldn’t get more out of her.”

“We found out enough,” Remamon said softly. “Perhaps it’ll be information useful to your… Ryudamon?”

“We’ll have to see,” Eva stated. She scrolled through the screens of her D-Touch to the map, they had veered wildly off their allocated directions, and the screen was flashing with an angry: ‘turn around at the most convenient opportunity’. She sighed. “Might as well get walking again. It’ll take us a while to get back to where we were.”

Remamon and Rose exchanged puzzled looks with each other, and then with Skadimon who took the opportunity to butt Eva in the back. “I can carry two passengers,” he said, cocking his head to one side.

Realization spread onto Eva’s face, before she grinned sheepishly, climbing up onto Skadimon’s back with a lift from his paw. Remamon lifted Rose onto his back also, content to run alongside Skadimon.

Eva checked the map on her D-Touch again, before pointing in the direction they were to travel. “Onward!”

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