Chapter 2

The tunnel seemed to go on forever. Unfortunately, the few lights that were on the train were so dim it was too dark to read. That left reading a book out, even if Kouichi wasn't there. He seemed to think I would like to hear about all his sports accomplishments. Not that I didn't care that he played soccer, it was more of the fact that I wasn't interested in soccer, therefore didn't care for it in general. Also, there wasn't exactly any way to get away from his chattering...That was what annoyed me the most. The best I could do was look out the window and try to tune him out.

"...And then I won the shootout, and we made it into the second round. Too bad we lost the third one. I would have liked to go toe-to-toe with last year's champions. Then again, they lost, the third round, too." Kouichi shrugged. "I heard their best players got hit with injuries that year, so I suppose I should be surprised they made it that fa..."

Kouichi's words were suddenly cut off by the train lurching. The few lights left in the train went out, and we both went flying into the aisle before the train stabilized itself. I glanced over at Kouichi. Was it just me, or was there something surrounding him for one instant?

Then I noticed a bright light coming from my pocket. That was strange, the only thing I had in my pocket was my cell phone. I pulled it out. Sure enough, my cell phone was glowing. Not just the screen, the entire thing was glowing brighter than I had ever seen it. Even as I watched, it disintegrated into an odd-looking black and gray device that vaguely resembled a cell phone, complete with lit-up screen. I saw that symbol I had seen earlier on the screen.

"This is your Digivice," the female voice I had heard earlier came from some unseen speaker on the thing. "Welcome to the digital world."

"What is this?" Kouichi's voice shook from sheer terror as he stared at the blue and white device he now held in his hand. "My phone! My grandmother gave me that phone. How can I call my friends now? My Mom is gonna kill me..."

Come to think of it, Dad and Satomi would probably be upset that I didn't have my phone anymore. Not that I ever used it. I mostly had it for emergencies. In fact, I didn't even turn it on most of the time.

"How do I get this back?" Kouichi was poking at the buttons on the...Digivice, she called it. He was so busy he didn't notice that we had exited the tunnel and were now riding in broad daylight. I got up and moved to the window. There were small jellyfish-like blobs moving through the air. Train tracks hovered in mid-air without any support. I couldn't tell how they did it, but I was glad for it. Below us, I could see a cloudy void surrounded by jagged cliffs. We weren't in Japan anymore...

"Kouichi?"

"C'mon, you stupid thing...Work, dangit!"

"Kouichi..."

"What?" I couldn't take my eyes off the sight, but I heard him walk over to where I was. There was a sharp intake of breath.

"What is this place? Where are we?"

"The Digital World, apparently."

"The what?" I turned to see Kouichi staring at me with an expression of disbelief and horror on his face. "We need to go back. Mom is gonna get back from work soon..."

"Can't do that." A voice boomed from what felt like all around us. "The only place to turn around is the Flame Terminal. We're almost there."

Kouichi stiffened. "Wait a minute, who are you? Where are you?" He frantically glanced all around the train trying to find the speaker.

"You're riding me, and you don't know? Humans...They can't tell the difference between a train and a Trailmon."

Riding him? That train was alive? And talking...

"You've got to be kidding me..." Kouichi's eyes were as big as saucers. "Trailmon? The Digital World..."

"Huh?" Did he know where we were?

"There's this card game called Digimon, where you battle each other using these little pets called 'Digital Monsters,' or 'Digimon' for short. It wasn't very popular...I only know it because one of my friends played it once. I didn't see more than a few cards, but all the pets' names ended in 'Mon.'"

He turned to me. "And it makes sense for 'Digital Monsters' to live in a Digital World...I don't think it's just a game anymore."

I nodded. That voice on my phone had called it a game...This was her idea of a game? I wondered who she was, and what she wanted with us.

We stood there watching the abandoned cliffs go by for what seemed like an eternity. Neither of us said much, I think the fact that we were in some strange new world had unnerved Kouichi. I was...Well, scared wasn't the word I would use. Cautiously fascinated would probably describe it better. After all, it was the kind of adventure I normally read about. And with adventures like those came dangers...

Sometimes even death.

Then something happened outside. A shimmering, white substance flowed out from a point up ahead, possibly the place where the...Trailmon was heading. It spread along the cliffs, engulfing them and settling down, losing the shimmer and turning into more land.

"What...How did that happen?" Kouichi asked.

"Guess someone must have returned the area's Digicode." The Trailmon's voice boomed again.

"Digicode?"

"Everything's made of data here. It can be moved or taken. We call it 'Digicode,'"

"You said someone returned it," I said. "What happened?"

"A Digimon called Cherubimon has taken over. His followers have been stealing Digicode for a long time. I don't know what happened at Flame Terminal, but at a guess I'd say someone scanned the data of one of his followers and returned the data the follower was holding. Now if you don't have any more questions, we'll be arriving at Flame Terminal in a few minutes."

"But..." Kouichi's protest was drowned out by an ear-splitting train whistle, far louder than any I'd ever heard before. I clapped my hands to my ears to drown out the sound. When it finally subsided, I looked for my backpack. Fortunately, it hadn't flown too far when we had arrived. I picked it up and threw it back on my shoulders.

"What are you doing?" Kouichi asked incredulously. "We can't leave the trai...Er, Trailmon. He's our only ticket back home."

"I'm not. I'm just putting my backpack on in case something happens."

"Good. I was afraid you were going to get lost, or something." He crossed his arms. "Mom is gonna kill me when she finds out what happened to my phone..."

Outside, the cliffs going by us turned into an odd-looking city. It looked like it was mostly metal, more specifically giant boilers. It reminded me of those older books I'd read where everything was powered by steam. Was this entire city steam-powered? Probably.

The Trailmon slowed and came to a stop at what looked like a station of some kind. Evidently the Flame Terminal. The doors opened.

"Flame Terminal, final stop. Everybody off," the Trailmon said. I looked out at the metallic platform beyond. It was empty...Nobody there to greet us. I hesitated for a moment, then stepped out the doors.

"Kouji, are you crazy?" Kouichi demanded. "We need to stay here."

"The Trailmon said to get off. Besides, I'm curious about the woman who brought us here." Now that I was off the Trailmon, I could see that its' locomotive looked very facelike. Windows that looked more like eyes than windows. A grill that looked like a mouth. An odd-looking lantern hovered on a stalk just over its' head, suggesting hair. I turned back to look at Kouichi. He was still standing in the door with his fists clenched.

"What do you mean by that? We have to get home!" He shouted.

"I said, everybody off!" There was a sudden burst of steam from behind Kouichi, causing him to yelp and jump away from it, falling off the Trailmon in the process. The doors swiftly closed behind him.

"Looks like we're stuck here for now." I offered Kouichi a hand to his feet.

There was a beeping from the Digivice I was holding in my other hands. It suddenly lit up.

"Search for the Spirits." That female voice again. "We hope that you do not get injured, Kouichi Kimura, Kouji Minamoto."

"How do you know my name?" I glared down at that Digivice, but it only went dark.

"Typical..." Kouichi glared at his own Digivice. "They never answer the questions you want answered. Like how do we get home."

I thought about it. True, we needed to get home. I still had to get Satomi flowers, but the Trailmon was clearly not going to let us get on. I had no idea what the voice meant by "Spirits," but there might be other people who could tell us more about this place...

"I'm going to see if there's anyone else around."

Kouichi turned to stare at me. "What? But, we should stay here. That Trailmon's our only ticket home..."

"Who says it's the only one? There were other trains at that station. They were probably Trailmon, too. And there were other kids there, too. Maybe one of them knows how to get back. Maybe we'll find someone who can fix our phones, too.

I took a few steps away from the Trailmon. "You can stay here, you know. I'm not forcing you to come with me."

"Oh no you don't, little brother. I said I was going with you, and I'm going with you." Kouichi pulled off his hat and ran a hand through his hair. "I still think you're crazy, but I keep my promises."

I shrugged. Personally, I'd have been happier if he'd stayed with the Trailmon. I started walking towards the center of the...Could I call it a town? Kouichi followed me, still talking as he did.

"What kind of place is this, anyways? The trains talk, there's jellyfish hovering in the air, and some weird lady who can turn phones into weird devices..."

I clenched my teeth. Telling him to be quiet seemed like a good idea, but it wasn't worth it. I wasn't very good at confrontations. Besides, he was my brother. If we were going to be brothers, I might as well at least try to stay on his good side.

Until I could get away from him, at least.

We made our way past round buildings, some of which looked like they were built for creatures that were about the same size as the average house cat. As we were going between two of the smaller buildings, I saw two boys, one a bit bigger and probably older than us, the other much younger running by in the direction we had just come from.

"Hey!" Kouichi pushed past me and waved at them. The boys turned, then stopped running. I reluctantly followed my brother out to meet them. I wasn't very good at talking to people, but they seemed to know where they were going. Besides, Kouichi was here to do the talking for me.

"About time we saw other faces here..." Kouichi glanced over at me. "You guys trying to get home, too?"

"We heard there was a Trailmon called Angler at the station," the bigger boy said. "Have you seen him?"

"Angler? We just got here on a Trailmon...I think that might have been it." Kouichi crossed his arms. "We were gonna stay on it until it could bring us home, but it kicked us off and shut the doors behind us."

"You mean we're not gonna get home?" The younger boy asked, his eyes welling up with tears.

"He's still there. I would have talked him into letting us back on, but my brother here decided he wanted to see if there was anyone else here."

"Really?" The boy sniffed and wiped his eyes.

"Hey, would I lie to you? C'mon, let's go. I'm Kouichi, by the way. Kouichi Kimura. This is my twin brother, Kouji."

"Twins?" The bigger boy looked back and forth between the two of us. "That's cool. I never met twins before. I'm Junpei Shibuyama."

"I'm Tomoki Himi." The younger boy said. "Thanks for helping us."

"No problem." Kouichi started walking back towards the Trailmon. "So, did you guys get that weird message, too?"

"Yeah. Well, I did, at least." Junpei glanced at Tomoki, who looked down like it wasn't something he wanted to talk about. "Did your phone change into a...Digivice, too?"

"Sure did." Kouichi held his Digivice up. "And now I can't call anyone because it doesn't have any numbers on it. Any idea what it's supposed to do?"

Junpei and Tomoki looked at each other.

"I think we can use it to turn into Digimon, if we find some sort of weird Spirits." Junpei pulled a blue and yellow Digivice out of his pocket. "We saw another boy do that a few minutes ago."

"Yeah. Takuya was amazing!" Tomoki spread out his arms like he was flying. "He turned into Agnimon and went Pow! Bam! And he scanned that Cerberumon just like that!"

"Really?" Kouichi sounded like he was playing along.

"I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it." Junpei had evidently picked up on my brother's skepticism. "It really happened, Takuya found a Spirit, it went into his Digivice, and he used it to turn into a Digimon."

"Is that what it does?" Kouichi looked at his Digivice. I reached into my pocket and felt mine. If what he said was true and it could make a human into a Digimon, did that mean that I could do that too?

A minute later, we were back at the station where the Trailmon...Angler, he had called it, was still waiting. There were also about a dozen of those jellyfish-like things I had seen floating around when we had first arrived.

"Hey, can you take us back to the human world?" Junpei asked.

"Please?" Tomoki added.

The Trailmon thought about it for a moment. "No."

"But, we have to get home!" Tomoki was starting to get tears in his eyes again.

"Here, let me try." Kouichi stepped up to face the Trailmon. "You wouldn't want to leave a poor, innocent child stranded in a strange world, with no way to get back to his family, would you?"

"Um..."

"He needs his family, right? He needs to get back to his family. You're the only one who can do it. You're his only hope."

"Please?" Tomoki wiped his eyes.

"Maybe this will sweeten the deal." Junpei pulled a bar of chocolate out of his pocket. The Trailmon eyed the chocolate and then opened its mouth and slurped the bar up, causing Junpei to yelp as his hand was covered in saliva in the process.

"That was delicious!" The Trailmon exclaimed. Tomoki and Junpei lit up in anticipation of going home, and Kouichi flashed that sharp grin of his.

"...I'm going to get some more!" The Trailmon suddenly took off. By the time we could react, it was far down the tracks and nearly out of sight.

"He left..." Tomoki said, incredulously.

"What happened to 'you're his only hope?'" Kouichi crossed his arms irritably.

"How are we gonna get home now?" Tomoki was back to having tears in his eyes. Was there a faucet behind those eyes?

"Take it easy. There's train tracks there, right? That can't be the only Trailmon. Remember back at Shibuya there were about a dozen of them." Kouichi threw an arm around Tomoki's shoulders. "We just need to stay put and another one will come soon Right?"

Tomoki looked up at him with shining eyes. That was when I saw a bunch of small, gray, ball-like creatures...Most likely more Digimon, bouncing toward us.

"What are those?" I asked, catching the others' attention.

"I don't know, but one of them's the one who told us about Angler." Junpei moved a bit closer to the rest of us as the Digimon bounced closer.

"Hey, human! We want more of that chocolate!" One of them cried.

"Chocolate?" Kouichi looked curiously at Junpei.

"We got one of them to tell us about Angler by giving him chocolate."

The little white jellyfish creatures suddenly started moving away, almost like they knew something was about to happen, something that wasn't good. I looked at the creatures. They were all smiling a bit too innocently, showing mouthfuls of sharp teeth. If they didn't take 'no' for an answer...

"Do you have any more chocolate?" I asked quietly.

"What? You want me to give the rest of my chocolate to those things?" Junpei looked shocked at the thought.

"I don't think we have any choice."

"Huh?"

"Do those look like completely harmless innocents to you? I have a feeling that if we refuse they'll attack us. I don't want to get bit by one of them, let alone a whole bunch."

Junpei's eyes went wide as he realized that even a creature the size of a soccer ball could do damage. Especially if they traveled in packs...Tomoki shuddered and ducked behind Junpei.

"What's the hold-up? We want that chocolate!" The creatures began bouncing up and down.

"It's coming right up, we just need to get all of it for you." Kouichi said in a louder voice as Junpei began digging through his pockets and took out a couple more bars of chocolate. In a whisper, Kouichi added "The instant you throw those things at them, we run. Got it?"

We all nodded. Junpei opened the chocolate bars. The sight of the chocolate sent the creatures bouncing up and down in eager anticipation. Then Junpei threw the bars at them, and we all ran as an instant feeding frenzy started. Back down the metallic streets and around several buildings before slowing down.

"Do you think we lost them?" Tomoki asked.

"Don't know." Junpei gasped, breathlessly. "We should...Probably find the...Others."

"Others?" Kouichi was hardly even sweating.

"There were two other kids with us. Takuya was the one who Evolved..." Tomoki panted.

"There's also...a girl, I think she said her name was Izumi."

"She's really pretty," Junpei had this odd love-struck look on his face.

Tomoki looked at him for a moment before continuing. "We left them to try and find a way home."

"Why don't we go and find them, then?" Kouichi glanced at the rest of us, realizing that we were all still getting our breath back from that run. "Er...When you're all ready, of course."

After we'd rested a bit from that run, we set off in the direction that Junpei and Tomoki said they'd come from. We kept an eye out for any more of those creatures, but couldn't see anything.

"So, where did you hear about these Spirits, anyway?" Kouichi asked.

"Actually we didn't hear as much as saw it all happen." Junpei glanced about nervously, no doubt making sure there were no more of the creatures around. "There was this little white guy named Bokomon, he seemed to know something about those Spirits. More than I do, anyways."

"Well, that's helpful." Kouichi shrugged. "Guess we're just gonna have to find this Bokomon. He probably knows what we've gotten into."

"Maybe this thing will help." Tomoki pulled a green and white Digivice out of his pocket and began pushing at the buttons on it. Junpei followed his example.

"What the..." Junpei's exclamation several seconds later made all of us look over to where he stood staring at his Digivice, which was projecting some kind of map. Four dots, obviously us, at one end. Not too far away there was another dot.

"What's that?" Tomoki asked, pointing at the single dot.

"No idea," Junpei said. "But it's probably a good thing, right? Maybe it's a Spirit for me!"

"Maybe it's one of your friends," I looked up, then froze. The creatures were back. And it looked like there were more of them.

"K-Kouichi..." I managed to get out. That got the others' attention. Possibly because it was the first word I'd said since we'd run the first time. Either way, the others took one look at the creatures and then we were running again. This time, Kouichi took the lead.

"This way! That dot has to be something to help us!"

We followed him through the streets, but then we ran into an area which was blocked off by a mess of fallen pipes, a dead-end.

"We're trapped!" Tomoki yelled. "What do we do?"

Kouichi was already on it, pushing a pipe to the side of a nearby building.

"Kouji, give me a hand here! We can stack these, then climb on to the roof!"

I hesitated. I tend to freeze up when under pressure, as Kouichi had found out when we had first met, and at that point we were very much under pressure. Luckily Junpei was faster than me and helped Kouichi to pull another pipe over to where the first one was, then they stacked the second one as securely as possible on the first one. They were barely high enough that someone our size could get up if they were careful not to knock the pipe over. Tomoki would have some trouble, though.

"They're coming!" Tomoki scrambled back towards the pipes.

"C'mon, let's move!" Kouichi grabbed Tomoki and gave him a lift on to the roof. Junpei followed him, although he too needed a lift from my brother, then Kouichi beckoned to me.

"You're next, little brother."

I had some trouble hauling myself on to the roof but between Kouichi giving me a boost and Junpei pulling from the roof itself I could get up. Then Kouichi hauled himself up, kicking the pipe below him off the other pipe as he did, and just in time. The creatures were literally nipping at his heels. Luckily he pulled his legs up so they couldn't get him, and then pulled himself up the rest of the way.

"Everybody all right?" He asked. I nodded. There wasn't much room on the roof, but it was better than being eaten alive.

"Slightly traumatized, but otherwise fine." Junpei looked over at Tomoki. "You okay, Tomoki?"

Tomoki wasn't listening to him. He was thumping on his Digivice frantically.

"C'mon, c'mon...Work, work, work, work! Turn me into a Digimon!"

"I think he's okay." Kouichi leaned over to look down at the creatures still bouncing around below. "They don't give up too easily, do they? I think we're stuck here, for now at least."

I took off my backpack long enough to pull a book out of it. If I had to be stuck on a roof with other people, I might as well do what I always did. Avoid any conversation with the others by reading. I could hear Kouichi and Junpei talking to each other, but ignored them. It wasn't any of my business, anyways.

"We got a problem here." The sudden alarm in Junpei's voice and the fact that Kouichi and Tomoki, who had joined him at the edge of the roof, were also exclaiming in alarm was enough to pull me out of my book and to take a look for myself. The creatures were piling up on each other, and the pile was getting higher and higher...

"What do we do?" Junpei yelled. Tomoki backed up to the other side of the roof, shaking in terror. I hoped he wouldn't fall off the edge.

"Calm down." Kouichi scowled down at the growing pile of creatures. "We just need to knock them down."

"And how are we going to knock them down, anyways?" I asked pointedly. That was when I noticed Kouichi staring at my book.

"No. Absolutely not. This is a library book."

"And we're only in mortal danger. C'mon little brother, we need that book." Kouichi advanced on me. I hugged the book to my chest and moved as far away from him as I could.

"Kouji, we need to distract them somehow. Which one would you rather lose, a library book or your life?"

"Even if we could use my book to knock them down...What's to stop them from piling up again?"

Kouichi blinked, like he hadn't thought of that. "Well, if it'll buy us time it's worth it. Now give me that book! They're almost here!"

I reluctantly handed the book over to him. "You get to pay for it, you know."

"Right." Kouichi walked to the edge and aimed my book at the creatures.

"Fire Darts!"

A blast of fire suddenly knocked the pile of creatures down, saving my book. A human-like creature, about the same size as my father, sprinted down the path and into the street below us.

"Agnimon! We're saved!" Tomoki stopped cowering and moved to the closer side to wave at the newcomer. The creature grinned, and waved back. Then he suddenly shimmered and shrank into the boy we had seen earlier in the elevator.

"What? I'm back to me again?" The boy looked down at himself. As he did, one of the defeated creatures started shimmering, too.

"Pagumon Evolve," it yelled. The shimmering shape got bigger and bigger. The creature that popped out of the shimmer was as big as a horse. And it was also a bee. An enormous bee.

"...Flymon!" The creature shrieked. It took off into the air, then turned and and blasted a kind of shock wave from its' wings at us. Kouichi pushed me and Tomoki down. Junpei narrowly missed the blast, which hit the roof behind of the next building behind him, taking out a fair chunk of the building as well as a TV antenna which had been on there. Sparks sputtered and flared from the broken wiring.

A light caught my eyes from over where Junpei was lying. I realized that the light was his Digivice, which had left his grip and was hovering in mid-air. It moved over to where the antenna had been. Through the swirling sparks and smoke the attack had created, I could see something odd. It looked a bit like a statue of some kind of beetle. The statue-thing started to move, too. It hovered towards Junpei's Digivice, then turned into that shimmering stuff and went into it. The Digivice sank slowly to the roof beneath it. Junpei picked it up.

"Is this my Spirit?" He asked, incredulously. The bee turned and was coming back for a second pass. This time it wouldn't miss...

Junpei held up his Digivice. A swirl of the shimmering stuff appeared on one hand, which he brushed against the top of his Digivice.

"Spirit...Evolution!"

The substance swirled around him, completely covering him, and then grew. What came out was a beetle-like creature which looked similar to that statue which had gone into his Digivice.

"...Blitzmon!"

"Is that...Junpei?" Kouichi's voice shook. I couldn't even say anything. Not that it would have been anything useful. Or printable. The bee hesitated, confused by this turn of events.

"I...I did it!" The beetle danced around enthusiastically. "I Spirit Evolved!"

"It sure is," the other boy called from down on the ground. "Um...You guys can get off there now, I think Blitzmon's gonna take care of that thing."

We kept an eye on the fight as we went back down to the ground below us. The two Digimon...I couldn't say insects, since one of them had been a human and the other a blob until a minute before, circled one another warily.

A blonde girl about my age and two more creatures ran around another building. One looked something like a cross between a stuffed toy and a small grayish-white dog dressed in a haramaki, a kind of wrapped outfit, the other looked a bit like a yellow rabbit with red pants.

"What's going on?" The girl demanded. "Tomoki, you're all right! But, where's Junpei? Who are these guys?" She eyed me and Kouichi curiously.

"Junpei's up there." The other boy pointed an outstretched arm at the beetle.

"What? We missed his evolution?" The grayish-white dog creature squeaked as the girl's jaw dropped. He turned to the rabbit-like creature. "You idiot! If you hadn't been so slow, we would have seen it happen!" He pulled the waistband of the rabbit's pants back and let it go, snapping it into the rabbit's midsection causing him to yelp in pain. The dog then pulled a book out of his haramaki and opened it up. I was curious enough to lean over so I could see inside the book, but the text inside wasn't Japanese. It looked like some kind of odd symbols, plus pictures. The creature flipped to a page which had a picture of the beetle.

"Blitzmon. The Legendary Warrior of Thunder! His attacks are Thor Hammer and Mjolnir Thunder."

That was when the bee (Flymon? Was that what it called itself?) attacked, firing stingers at Blitzmon.

"Brown Stingers!"

I held my breath as the stingers hit their target, but they bounced off his armor without any apparent effect.

"That all you got? Guess it's my turn!" Blitzmon held up a fist which started giving off sparks of electricity.

"Thor Hammer!" He plunged his fist into the Flymon's face. It shrieked in agony, then a ring of the shimmery substance I had seen earlier grew out of it. It was at this point when I realized that the stuff must be some form of data. Blitzmon summoned Junpei's Digivice out of wherever he had kept it before.

"Evil soul, let this Digivice purify you! Digicode, scan!"

A thread of...Should I call it Digicode? Ran out of the ring, then started winding into the Digivice. As the ring swirled and faded, the Flymon disintegrated into an egg hovering in the air, which then floated off into the sky. Blitzmon hovered back to the ground, then the...Digicode swirled around him again and Junpei was standing there. He sank into a sitting position, panting in exhaustion.

"Junpei!" Tomoki, the girl, and the boy who'd Evolved earlier all ran up to him.

"How was that?" Junpei asked. "Wasn't I awesome?"

"You sure were," Tomoki told him,

"You were molto awesome!" The girl, I guessed she was the Izumi whom Junpei had mentioned earlier, said. Junpei's triumphant expression turned to confusion at the non-Japanese word.

"Huh?"

Izumi smiled. "It means 'very.' Very awesome."

"Really?" Junpei's eyes lit up.

"That's all good, but who are these other two humans?" The small gray creature asked, causing everyone else to look over at Kouichi and me.

"I'm Kouichi Kimura. This is my twin brother, Kouji. Nice to meet you."

"Eh? Twins?" Turning to look back and forth between the two of us, Izumi's eyes went wide.

"I thought you two looked alike." The other boy said. "I'm Takuya Kanbara."

"I'm Izumi Orimoto. Nice to meet you...You two really do look alike." I was right, the girl was Izumi. And both of them were making me a bit uncomfortable with their staring. Was I going to go through this every time someone saw me with Kouichi?

"I'm Bokomon," the dog-like creature spoke up.

"I'm Neemon." The rabbit-like creature added. "Nice to meet you."

"Yeah, likewise." Kouichi crossed his arms. "Now will someone tell me what we've gotten ourselves into?"

The others all exchanged glances.

"Come to think of it, what are the Spirits, anyways?" Takuya looked at Bokomon. "Bokomon, do you know?"

"A long time ago there was a war between the Human and Beast Digimon." Bokomon flipped through his book. "Then one day a Digimon called Lucemon came down from the sky and created peace between them. He was chosen to rule because of this. For a time everything was peaceful, until Lucemon was corrupted by his own power and went insane."

"Then what happened? I can't remember." Neemon interrupted

"You're such an idiot...Everyone in the Digital World knows what happened. Ten Legendary Warriors, one for every element, worked together and sealed Lucemon off. Then they somehow turned a part of their data into Spirits, in case Lucemon broke free. We were trying to find the Spirits to see if they could possibly help us against Cherubimon, but that Cerberumon found us."

Kouichi spoke up. "Cherubimon? He's the one who's taking all the data, right? That's what the Trailmon we came on said."

"That's right, his followers have been taking the world's Digicode ever since he came to power. The only ones who have the power to stop him are the Legendary Warriors. You're our only hope." Bokomon looked at Takuya and Junpei. "You have the Spirits of Agnimon of Fire and Bliztmon of Thunder. You two are the only ones who can defeat Cherubimon and restore the Digital World..." He glared at Neemon. "Neemon, why aren't you begging them to help us?!"

"Whaaat?" Neemon asked. Neemon evidently wasn't the brightest Digimon out there.

"What about the rest of us?" Izumi asked irritably. "I don't know about Kouichi and Kouji, but Tomoki and I've got those Digivices, too. So, shouldn't there be Spirits out there for us, too?"

She pointedly held up a pink and purple Digivice in Bokomon's face.

"Well, there's no reason why the rest of you can't Evolve, too," Bokomon said. "If you all have Digivices, then you should be able to Evolve if you find the Spirits."

"Oh, no." Kouichi groaned. "We can't just stay here and save your world. We have to get home! Our mother's getting out of work soon."

He was back to trying to get me to meet his mother. Kouichi still didn't understand what I was going through. I wasn't ready to meet her yet, no matter what he thought. I already had a mother, I had Satomi...

"But..." Bokomon's eyes grew huge, a bit like Tomoki's when he was about to cry.

"Look, I'm sorry, but Kouji and I have to get home..."

"'Kouji and I'?" I said softly, catching my brother's attention. "How come I have to do everything you do? Do you think a brother is just your clone? Because I'm not!"

I turned and ran off through the buildings and into what were probably the outskirts of the town, a grassy place with trees which reminded me of a park I liked to go to at home. I staggered, catching my breath, then sat down under a nearby tree. I was running away again, but wasn't that something I was used to? I wrapped my arms around my knees. Kouichi wanted me to meet his mother. While I wanted to meet her, it wasn't something I was ready for. The Digimon wanted me to save their world, like something out of one of the books I loved. It wasn't really a choice.

Either go back and do something I wasn't ready to do, or stay and do something I had always wanted to do.

"Kouji?" Kouichi. I shouldn't have been surprised that he'd followed me. "Look, I know it's your life and I can't tell you what to do, but I don't think staying here and trying to save this place is a good idea. You could get hurt, or worse."

"If I go home, what will happen to this world?" I looked up at him. "Cherubimon will destroy it all, right? What will happen to the Digimon? Besides, when he's done with this world, what's to stop him from going to our world and doing the same thing? If the Trailmon can get to our world from here, who's to say Cherubimon can't do the same thing?"

Kouichi's face paled as he thought about what I had said. I cast my gaze to my knees.

"I'm staying, Kouichi. You can go home if you want to. It might be a good idea, too. I don't want you to get hurt..."

"Oh, I'm staying too, little brother." I looked up at him in surprise.

"Huh?"

"I told you I'm staying with you. I think you're an idiot for going through all this, but I'm going to see this through." Kouichi paused. "But before we start, I want you to promise something. Promise me that when we get home...If we get home, you'll visit our Mom."

I looked back down at my knees.

"I'll visit Mom...If you promise to come meet Dad and Satomi. Dad isn't the demon you think he is, and Satomi's really nice."

There was a long pause, then: "You drive a harsh bargain, little brother. All right, it's a deal. Here."

I looked up again to see him kneeling beside me and extending a pinky finger in my direction.

"What's this?"

"Haven't you heard of a 'pinky promise' before?"

"I've heard of it, but..." I never had any friends to do it with me, I finished mentally. "...But, I thought that was a little kid thing," I finished aloud.

"So? I do it all the time with my friends. Here." Kouichi gently picked up my hand and locked his pinky around mine. "See, it's like that." He smiled that blinding smile of his.

"I guess..." I found myself blushing and quickly looked away. "We should go and tell the others we're both staying."

Author's note: I didn't want the first few fights to go like they did before but with the twins added, so they're all gonna be different. Many thanks to Evide for proofreading it for me!