CHAPTER 5: A Tangled Web: Lunamon Digivolves!
Jun woke up to the sun shinning in her eyes. She blinked several times and brought a hand up to shield her eyes. The sunlight was glittering off the clear blue lake like crystals. It would have been beautiful if it wasn't glaring into her tired eyes. "Oh, you're awake." Jun looked up to see Sora smiling at her.
"I hope I'm not the last one," Jun knew that she wasn't the last one because Daisuke was still sleeping on her lap, but she hoped she wasn't one of the last to get up.
"One of the first actually. Jou-sempai's also up but that's it," Sora replied.
"I'm awake too, Sora!" Piyomon exclaimed as she rubbed her head against Sora's leg. Daisuke's face scrunched up, he mumbled something unintelligible, and shifted in his sleep.
"Keep your voice down. We had a late night. We should let the others sleep," Sora scolded. "A few of the digimon are up too, uh, Tentomon and Palmon."
"Do you know what time it is?" Jun asked. She looked up at the sky, but all she could determine from the position of the sun was that it was morning.
"Seven, eight, I'm not really sure, Sempai," Sora answered. Jun looked around and spotted Jou sitting down by the lake skipping stones.
"Ask Kido-kun he always wears a watch," Jun rolled her stiff neck and shoulders as she spoke. Sleeping sitting against a tree was in no ways comfortable.
"Already did. It's not working," Sora stated as she sat down across from the older girl.
"Bet this isn't how you planned on spending your summer," Jun commented lightly.
"Didn't even cross my mind," Sora chuckled.
There was a heavier conversation lurking just below the surface about where they were, how they would get home, if they could get home. Jun thought of her mother who had been so reluctant to let her and Daisuke go to camp and how terrified she would be when she learned they were missing. Her thoughts settled like a physical weight on her chest. She took note of Jou's dour expression as he sat by the lake and the worried pinch at the corners of Sora's eyes and knew that they were having similar thoughts. Jun started running her hand through her little brother's thick air. The action helped settle her worries. Daisuke was okay, she was okay, despite multiple monsters trying to make it otherwise they were all okay, and that was the most important thing.
"I feel like I've fallen down the rabbit's hole and woken up in Wonderland." Jun smiled. She did not appreciate being attack by monsters and the possibility that she would never see her mother again was one too devastating to dwell on but there was no denying that there was something magical about this strange world they had found themselves in.
"The last day has been like something out of a fairy tale," Sora just hoped it was one with a happy ending.
The others soon started to wake up as well. "Good morning," Jun said to Lunamon when the rabbit digimon roused from her sleep.
"It certainly is a great morning even!" Lunamon beamed.
"And what makes it so great?" the twelve year old giggled.
"You're with me," Lunamon stated without a hint of hesitation. Jun gaped at the digimon, surprised but touched by the declaration.
"I'm happy you're here too," and she meant it. She had grown rather fond of Lunamon since their meeting the day before.
"Jun!" Lunamon launched herself into Jun's arms. The twelve year old laughed as she hugged the digimon back.
"No, don't wanna get up," Daisuke mumbled. Jun looked down at her little brother and started poking his cheek. His face scrunched up in protest and he buried it against V-mon. The dragon digimon groggily blinked his eyes open.
"Come on, Daisuke, get up," Jun prodded.
"Never," he hugged V-mon closer.
"Daishuke?" the dragon digimon muttered. He was still half asleep, but he hugged the little boy back.
"You're speaking to me. You're pretty much awake already," Jun stated.
"Am not!" Daisuke sat up, mouth set into a scowl and burgundy hair sticking up like crazy.
"You are to, Dai-chan," Jun grinned smugly – and though her brother could not see it she was sure her tone carried the expression – and ruffled his hair trying to tame his wild locks but really only making it worse. The little boy pouted but did not protest as she tried in earnest to fix his hair into something that didn't look like he just walked through a tornado.
Taichi was the last one to get up. The other had started talking about what to do for breakfast. "I think we should only eat the emergency rations if we have no other options for food," Jou stated as he cleaned his glasses with the hem of his sweater vest.
"It would be best to save them for when we really need them," Yamato nodded. His hands were buried in the pockets of his jeans as he leaned against the trunk of a tree.
"Not like they would be my first choice anyways. Those crackers are drier than the desert," Sora commented.
"I don't want to have fish again," Mimi stated. She was sitting primly on a large rock as she brushed her hair.
"We don't have to," Jun shrugged. "With the digimon's help we can gather fruits, mushrooms, and other edible plants from the forest."
"Hear that, Mimi? We get to go mushroom picking again," Palmon beamed as she twirled in a circle.
"I've never had to do so much work for my meals before," the ten year old sighed. She placed her brush back in her bag and put on her pink cowgirl hat.
"I think it's fun!" Takeru declared.
"Yeah, I liked fishing," Daisuke grinned clasping his hands together.
Jun glanced over to see that Taichi was still sprawled in the grass snoring. While she and the others started putting together breakfast she sent Daisuke with V-mon to go wake him up, so Taichi got to wake up to an eight year old sitting on his chest and patting his face not so gently. "Ugh, what's...hm?" Taichi mumbled blinking his eyes open.
"You gotta wake up, Taichi-nii!" the little boy's voice was full of sunshine as he bounced on Taichi's chest and came dangerously close to hitting him in the eye.
"Daisuke...why?" Taichi groaned. His voice slightly muffled because Daisuke's hand hit his mouth while he was trying to speak.
"Were getting ready to have breakfast, and Jun-neechan says that if you don't get up you don't get any," Daisuke told him. Yeah, that sounded like Jun.
"Okay, I'm up, I'm up. You can stop hitting me now," Taichi stated. The little boy sat back on his chest and grinned.
"Good morning, Taichi-nii," he chirped innocently.
The nine children and nine digimon soon sat down to have breakfast talking amongst themselves as they ate. Jun noticed that Jou was hanging back from the conversation, and he was gloomily rolling around the berries in front of him instead of eating them. "We'll find a way back home, Kido-kun," Jun smiled. Jou looked up at her and blew out a slow breath before speaking.
"I dreamed I was at home getting ready for school. It felt so real, but then I woke up to find we're still here."
"Sounds more like a nightmare to me," Taichi snorted.
"Some of us like going to school, Taichi-san," Koushiro stated.
"Sora, Sora," Piyomon sang. "What's school?" she asked when the girl looked at her.
"Well..." the eleven year old went on to explain school to the digimon.
"There was talking ice cream in my dream," Daisuke told them.
"What did it say?" Mimi asked.
"'Please don't eat me. I'm alive.' It was really hot, but no way was I going to eat living ice cream. Instead we became friends and went on an adventure to the Arctic so he wouldn't melt." They all stared at the little boy for several moments.
"Couldn't you of just found a freezer?" Yamato suggested.
"Huh? I didn't even consider that. Guess that probably would have been easier. I wouldn't of had to fight that giant snowman," Daisuke replied, completely serious. Jou snorted and smiled ever so slightly.
"Did you beat the snowman?" Takeru wanted to know. He leaned forward so that he could see the other eight year old better.
"With the help of the sun," he grinned.
"Can you see in your dreams?" Koushiro questioned.
"I dream as I live," Daisuke shook his head.
"I see," Koushiro mused. His dark eyes widened a moment latter when what he said registered to him. "Oh, I'm sorry. That was a poor choice of words."
"No it wasn't. You don't have to be scared of words like 'see.' They don't bite," the little boy giggled.
Once everyone was finished eating Taichi stood up. "Alright, let's get going!"
"Going where?" Yamato rested his forearms on the knees of his crossed legs.
"We're not going to find a way home sitting around here," Taichi replied.
"We don't know what we'll find in that forest–"
"Probably more monsters," Yamato snorted.
"We have a good campsite here with fresh water and food," Jou finished.
"What about Seadramon?" Takeru asked.
"Seadramon only attacked because Taichi and Agumon burned his tail," Tentomon answered.
"It was an accident!" the two chorused.
"He shouldn't attack again unless you do something else to upset him."
"Then I suggest we stay here. It'll make it easier for the search party to find us," Jou stood up griping the strap of his bag in both hands.
"What search party?" Sora asked.
"The one that the camp counselors have surely organized by now!"
"I doubt they'll find us," Jun pressed the lid down on her plastic container. It was now empty of strawberries but filled with round, red berries. She wasn't one for denial. She accepted things for what they were, and if they were bad she did her best to make them better. She looked up at Jou and spoke gently, "I'm not even sure we're on Earth."
"Wh...what are you saying, Jun-chan? We're on another planet? Like, like what...Mars! That's insane!" Jou ran both his hands through his hair.
"Mars," Koushiro snorted. "That's preposterous! Mars is incapable of supporting human life. We're more likely to be on a terrestrial exoplanet that resides within the circumstellar habitable zone and has an Earth-like atmosphere than we are to be on Mars."
"Plain speak, Izumi," Taichi requested.
"A planet outside our solar system that could potentially support life as we know it."
"Oh, so now we're not even in our solar system!" Jou was on the verge of a full blown freak out.
"Chill out, Jou, just breath," Gomamon patted his leg.
"This doesn't mean we can't go home it just means that we're probably going to have to find the way ourselves," Jun stood up and laid a hand on his shoulder.
"How can you be certain?" he asked.
"We ended up here somehow so there must be a way to go back and I won't stop looking till I find it," Jun grinned.
"Do you really think we could be on a, uh, alien planet?" Sora turned towards Koushiro.
"It's a reasonable hypothesis, but I can't say for certain. The flora and fauna isn't, to my considerable knowledge, anything that's found on Earth, but the phone booths, the trolley car, and language are a different story."
"So we could still be on Earth, maybe not Japan, but Earth?" Jou demanded.
"I suppose it is possible. I just don't know," Koushiro frowned and shook his head. "Right now all I can do is speculate. If we want definitive answers we're going to have to gather more information about this place. I'm in agreement with Taichi-san. We should continue to explore this land."
"I am too. What about the rest of you?" Jun asked.
"I'm up for it," Sora nodded.
"I don't want to walk anymore," Mimi whined.
"You want to be stuck here forever?" Yamato crossed his arms over his chest.
"I don't want that either," the ten year old sighed.
"Jou-sempai?" Sora looked at the twelve year old.
"If we keep looking maybe we'll find some real people," Jou suggested.
"Jou..." Gomamon trailed.
"In fact, I'm sure of it!" he declared. Jun sighed shifting her weight to her right leg and placing her hand on her hip.
"Okay, let's go!" Taichi pumped his fist in the air as he spun on his heels.
"Daishuke," V-mon bumped his arm against Daisuke's. The little boy nodded with a large smile and linked their arms together.
"Which way will we go?" Sora asked.
"The same way we were going."
They had been walking through the forest for around an hour. V-mon was paying close attention to their surroundings, making sure that he led Daisuke around all obstacles in the little boy's path. V-mon was also trying to pay attention to what his partner was saying and be an active part of the conversation. He had found it challenging at first to divide his attention, but he was getting the hang of it. "Buildings that touch the clouds?" the dragon repeated as he led Daisuke around a thorn bush.
"That's why they're called skyscrapers," the eight year old smiled. V-mon glanced in front of them. They were coming up on a large tree with shallow roots that poked out of the ground in multiple places but at that moment their immediate path was clear. V-mon looked up and watched a fluffy white cloud as it floated across the bright blue sky. It seemed so far away. He found the idea of a building that tall fantastical.
"Are there a lot of skyscrapers where you come from?" V-mon looked in front of them. "Step high, there's a root."
"Okay," Daisuke did as V-mon instructed. "Yeah, I live in a city so there are lots of skyscrapers like a whole forest of them."
"Wow," the dragon breathed as he tried to imagine that. "Do you live in a skyscraper?"
"My apartment building isn't that tall," Daisuke shook his head.
Taichi pushed his way through some bushes then stopped. He looked left and right before turning to face the others. "What is it, Taichi?" Jun asked.
"It's a path," he answered. The magenta haired girl slipped past the bushes and sure enough Taichi was standing in the middle of a dirt footpath that intersected with the way they had been going.
"Where do you think it leads?" Sora wondered as looked down the path to the right.
"Maybe a town," Yamato shrugged.
"Oh, I hope wherever it leads has beds and showers," Mimi commented.
"Do we follow it? It doesn't lead in the direction we were going," Koushiro pointed out.
"Of course we follow it. A path will lead us to civilization much quicker than aimlessly wandering through this forest," Jou stated.
"True, but which way should we go, left or right?" Sora asked.
"As long as I'm with you, Sora, I don't care where I am," Piyomon latched onto one of Sora's hands. The eleven year old looked at the digimon and sighed.
"Do you know where it goes, Patamon?" Takeru looked up at the digimon that was perched on top of his green hat.
"I don't," he shook his head. None of the digimon did.
"As far as I can see the paths look pretty much the same in both directions," Jun commented.
"Then let's look further," Taichi tossed his monocular into the air and caught it before bringing it to his right eye. "Huh, a large deadfall blocks the way," he looked right first then turned around. "This way's clear. Left it is then," he pocketed his monocular and started walking.
"Sounds good to me," Jun shrugged as she and the others followed him.
Jun uncapped her water bottle and took a sip. They had been walking for quite some time, but there had been little change to the path or the surrounding forest. She held the bottle out to Lunamon. "Thank you," the digimon took it. She had a drink then handed it back.
"Daisuke, you thirsty?" Jun turned towards her brother and V-mon since the dragon had pretty much attached himself to the little boy's side. Daisuke nodded and she handed him the bottle. He held it with both his hands as he drank.
"What about you, V-mon?" he asked.
"I'm good," the digimon shook his head.
"Nee-chan," Daisuke held the water bottle away from himself. Jun took it and screwed the lid on before putting it back in her backpack.
"Oh my poor feet. I can't go much further," Mimi pressed one of the water bottles from the emergency supplies to her forehead. It was not that cold, but it still felt good.
"You can do it, Mimi," Palmon smiled.
"I don't think I can," the ten year old cried. "Ah!" she shrieked a moment latter.
"Mimi-chan!" the others all jerked to a halt and looked at her.
"What's wrong, Mimi-san?" Koushiro asked.
"Spider web! In my hair! Get it off! Get it off!" she screamed frantically waving her hands in the air.
"Ah, h-hold still," he walked towards her. Mimi gripped the skirt of her dress, bottom lip quivering, and eyes glassy as she dipped her head a bit so that Koushiro could more easily reach the spider web caught in the lock of her hair that fell over her left shoulder. He quickly pulled the pieces of web from her hair.
"There," he took a step back once he was finished.
"Are you sure you got it all?" she demanded.
"I am," he nodded. Mimi let out a relieved breath and ran her hands through her hair.
"Thank you, Koushiro-kun."
Agumon looked at the two ten year olds then turned his gaze to the forest behind them. He noted several spider webs built into the branches of the trees. "Huh?" Jun looked up when a shadow fell over them. She was surprised to see that the sky was no longer a deep blue but instead blanketed in dark gray clouds.
"It smells like rain," Gabumon sniffed the air.
"Looks like it too," Yamato turned his gaze to the sky.
"They gathered awfully fast. The sky was clear just a moment ago," Sora commented. A chilly wind picked up and Jun grabbed her skirt to stop it from billowing up.
"The temperature's dropped rather quickly as well," Koushiro frowned, brow creased as he looked up at the overcast sky.
"It's cold," Daisuke leaned closer to V-mon.
"Well this is just terrible! It's about to storm and we're stuck in the middle of nowhere with no shelter," Jou exclaimed.
"Maybe it'll be a refreshing summer shower," Taichi grinned. He started – they all did – a moment latter when lightening streaked across the sky followed by the booming of thunder.
"You were saying?" Jou asked dryly.
"So we're going to get a little rained on. What's the big deal?" Taichi shrugged lacing his fingers behind his head.
"What's...what's the big deal? Well for one we could all get sick, and for another it could be more than just rain. What happens if it starts hailing or a lightening strike causes a forest fire?" Jou shouted, gesturing wildly with his hands as he spoke.
"You know something, Jou-san: you worry too much," the eleven year old stated.
"Why, ugh, you...guah!" Jou tried to reply but it just came out as angry gibberish.
"Stop it you two," Jun planted her fists on her hips and sent pointed looks at the two boys.
"But he...ah!" Jou gestured towards Taichi.
"Is an idiot-"
"Hey!" Taichi protested.
"You learn to live with it," Jun stated.
"Well you're bossy and you've got it backwards, Jun. I had to learn to live with you," he huffed crossing his arms over his chest. Jun snorted a laugh.
"You'd be lost without me!" she tilted her chin up confidently with a large smile.
"I...I would not!" Taichi's cheeks flushed. Jun opened her mouth to reply, but what she was going to say was forgotten as it started to rain.
"We really should look for shelter," Koushiro shouted over the rumble of thunder.
"We should," Jun nodded, a bit embarrassed. That was the point she had intended to make when she interrupted Taichi and Jou's argument but instead she had gotten caught up in bickering with Taichi.
"Taichi, look," Agumon pointed into the forest to the right of them.
"Hm, what is it, Agumon?" Taichi used his hand to shield his eyes from the rain as he looked towards where the dinosaur was gesturing. The trees grew thick and with the rain coming down it was hard to see anything. "I don't-"
"Yellow! A yellow blanket!" Takeru exclaimed. Taichi spotted the bright yellow fabric a moment latter. It was caught on a branch of a tree roughly fifteen yards from the path. Behind and to the right of the fluttering piece of fabric Taichi could make out what he was sure even through the sheet of rain was the corner of a building.
"There's a house!"
"Seriously?" Sora's cherry red eyes widened.
"Are you sure it's a house?" Yamato peered into the trees.
"Well maybe not a house but it's definitely a building of some sort," Taichi shrugged.
"I don't care what it is as long as it has a roof," Mimi stated using the back of her left hand to lift the wide brim of her hat which had been pushed down by the rain. She stepped off the path and started making her way towards the building.
"Wait up, Mimi!" Palmon hurried after the girl.
"Daisuke," Jun's voice was drowned out by a particularly loud roll of thunder. She placed her hand on his back in time to feel her little brother start at the booming sound.
"Let's go," V-mon gave a light tug on Daisuke's arm and the two walked into the forest. Jun walked behind them keeping a hold on the back of Daisuke's short sleeved hoodie.
Lunamon lifted a low hanging branch that was in Jun's way. "Thanks," the twelve year old smiled.
"Whoa!" Daisuke slipped on a rock made slick by the rain. Jun tightened her grip on his hoodie and grabbed onto a nearby tree branch with her free hand.
"Daishuke," V-mon tried to steady the little boy. Daisuke grabbed onto the dragon and after a moment he had regained his balance.
"You okay, Daisuke?" Jun asked.
"I'm good," the eight year old nodded.
Jun relaxed her grip on Daisuke's hoodie and let go of the tree branch. She grimaced when something sticky stuck to her hand. She looked to see a spider web wrapped around it. She waved her hand in the air to try and knock the web off. "Nasty things aren't they?" she glanced over to see Yamato brushing a web off his shoulder. Jou yelped and they both looked to see him taking off his glasses and trying to wipe off the spider web that he had walked into.
"Definitely," Jun snorted giving her hand one last shake to make sure the web was completely gone.
"What's nasty?" Daisuke asked.
"Spider webs, they're all over this forest," Jun explained.
"Are there spiders? If so it's a good thing Kaa-chan's not here." their mother was terrified of spiders because when she was a child there had been a couple boys at her school who would harass her by throwing daddy long-leg spiders at her.
"Not that I've seen," Jun replied.
She arrived at the fluttering piece of yellow fabric and started to push it out of her way but stopped when her fingers felt the material. She looked over and studied the yellow fabric. It was lustrous and smooth to the touch. It was a bright, sun yellow with a woven floral design in a lighter yellow. It was rectangular in shape but too small to be a blanket unless it was meant for a baby. There were tassels along the bottom edge in the same color as the design and a loop along the top that made Jun think it was most likely a curtain.
"Nee-chan?" Daisuke became aware that Jun had stopped when he felt a tug on his hoodie.
"Just a moment," Jun let go of his hoodie and started working on getting the fabric free from the tree branch it was caught on.
"What is it, Jun?" Lunamon asked as she helped the twelve year old get the fabric free.
"This is..." once the fabric was free Jun struggled with the wind to get it folded. "This is well made. It shouldn't be left in the rain."
"I wanna feel," Daisuke held out his free hand. Jun took it and placed it on the curtain she was holding. Her little brother ran his hand over the smooth material. "Silk?"
"Yeah, I'd need to look at it closer and out of this rain to know for sure, but I think it's real."
Taichi arrived at the building he had spotted from the path. He was pretty sure it was a house. It was a single story, wooden building with a steep shingled roof that had long, slightly curved eaves and a number of windows. He stepped onto the porch and out of the rain. The others were quick to follow. Taichi looked around while Jou knocked on the sliding front door. The house was set in a small clearing in the forest, there was a well tended garden out front, and a narrow stone path leading deeper into the forest. Then there was Jun, Daisuke, and their digimon still standing at the tree line having a conversation in the pouring rain. "Jun, Daisuke! What are you guys doing?" he called. The magenta haired girl looked towards him and her face was illuminated as lightening flashed across the sky followed closely by the boom of thunder. She placed her hand on Daisuke's back, and the four of them rushed towards the house.
"No one's answering," Jou stated despairingly
"I guess no one's home," Daisuke commented.
"The windows are dark," Yamato nodded.
"I'm still getting rained on," Mimi cried. The porch roof did give them shelter from the worst of the onslaught but because of the wind a lot of raindrops were being blown under the roof.
"Is the door locked?" Taichi walked towards the front door and reached for the handle.
"We are not breaking in," Jou grabbed his wrist.
"Relax, we won't break anything," Taichi shook Jou off and tried the door. It opened without resistance revealing a small entryway with linoleum floors. The walls were of the same wood as the exterior and a red curtain blocked the rest of the inside of the house from view.
"We still shouldn't enter. We haven't been invited," Jou protested.
"Onii-chan, I'm cold," Takeru tugged on the hem of Yamato's shirt.
"We really could get sick if we stay out here," Jun pointed out.
"When the owners return we'll explain our situation to them. I'm sure they'll understand," Koushiro said. He was happy that his laptop case was water proof, but that did not mean he wanted to continue standing in the rain.
"This is an emergency," Sora nodded. They all yelped when a strong gust of wind splattered them with freezing rain water.
"Fine," Jou relented. "But we must be careful not to do any damage to this home."
Taichi entered the house and pushed back the red curtain. He slipped his shoes off before stepping up onto the raised wooden floor of the rest of the house. The others filed in behind him. "These boots really aren't meant to get wet. They're probably going to be damaged now," Mimi pouted as she set her shoes down next to the others.
"How could water be bad for something?" Palmon gasped. "Water brings life."
"Well water ruins my shoes," Mimi replied.
"My socks are wet too," Daisuke sat on the edge of the raised floor sock clad feet hovering over the floor of the entryway. He drew his feet closer to him and pulled his socks off. He started to stuff them into his shoes but Jun stopped him.
"Don't wad them up. They won't dry well like that," she knelt beside her brother and tapped his hand. "Lay your socks on top of your shoes." Daisuke nodded and did as she said.
Koushiro looked around the dark interior of the house. With the help of several flashes of lightening he was able to gather that they were standing in a sitting room that had a large window along the back wall whose curtains were pushed half way open. There were no chairs but several large pillows sitting on a rug around a low table. There were several long draperies that hung from the roof to the floor where one would expect walls to be. He pushed aside the closest curtain – made of a silky material in a rich purple color – and found another room walled off in the same fashion. His eyes darted to the left when he thought he saw movement. A curtain was swaying slightly. A draft. He dismissed it. "Curious, it appears curtains have been used to separate the house into rooms," he turned back to the others.
"The choice of interior design is a little odd, but the outside looks like a Japanese house. We must still be on Earth. I bet there are even humans living here," Jou stated.
"Well if there are they aren't here now," Yamato snorted.
"Sora, Sora," Piyomon singsonged. "Do you live in a place like this?"
"No, I live in an apartment," she answered absently as she walked around the sitting room looking at the differently colored and designed draperies. In some places they were doubled up with elaborate pictorial tapestries hanging over more simple curtains.
"Hey, hey, what's an apartment?" the bird digimon tugged on her hand. Sora sighed, tearing her gaze away from a tapestry depicting a cheery festival scene to look at Piyomon.
"I wish it wasn't so dark. It's spooky," Mimi cried. "Isn't there a light switch?"
"I didn't see one," Yamato replied. He and many of the others started looking around for one. While they were doing that Daisuke walked deeper into the house with V-mon. His arm brushed against one of the curtains and he stopped to feel the material.
"It's silk too," he stated.
"This is probably where the curtain in the forest came from," V-mon felt the curtain as well.
"I'll tell Jun-neechan. I'm sure the owners will be happy to have it returned," Daisuke grinned.
"And less likely to be mad at us for entering their home," the dragon nudged the little boy and the two of them giggled.
"There is!" Takeru pointed to a light switch on one of the walls of the entryway. It was lower than Jun would of expected, being around chest height on her, and that must of been why none of them had spotted it in their rush to get inside and out of the rain. Yamato reached over and flicked it on, and the house was illuminated by several strands of white Christmas lights that were draped between the network of curtain rods that kept the fabric walls up.
"Wow! It's so pretty," Mimi clasped her hands together.
"Makes me feel like it's Christmas time," Takeru smiled.
"What does?" Daisuke tilted his head to the side.
"The house is lite using Christmas lights. They make me think of fireflies and give the house a mystical feel," Jun explained.
"And these pillows are divine," Mimi sat down on a large, pink cushion in front of the low table and hugged a cylindrical throw pillow to her chest. "Such a lovely home! I can't wait to meet the owners. They have fine tastes."
"Ah, Nee-chan, I need to tell you before I forget," Daisuke said.
"Tell me what?" Jun asked.
"The curtain you picked up. Me and V-mon think it came from here."
"That makes sense. I'll be sure to return it," Jun nodded draping the yellow curtain over her right arm.
Koushiro sat down across from Mimi. He pulled his laptop out of its case and placed it on the low table. He tried starting it up again. It wouldn't turn on. Tentomon landed beside him and Gomamon was sprawled on one of the throw pillows. Koushiro pulled out his cell phone and digital camera and gave them a try as well. "No luck," he sighed. Palmon and Takeru were both standing with their hands on the sill of the large window along the back wall as they watched the storm rage outside. Patamon was still perched on top of Takeru's hat. Yamato was standing nearby talking to Sora and Jou. Gabumon, Agumon, and Piyomon were having their own conversation.
Jun was studying a tapestry picturing a sheer, white cliff by the sea. There were a handful of fluffy clouds in the sky, a sailboat floating on the water, and a couple having a picnic under a tree on the top of the cliff. "It's beautiful," Lunamon floated next to the twelve year old.
"It's stunning," Jun breathed. "The work of a master," she gently ran her fingers over the silky, red threads that made up the picnic blanket the couple was sitting on. "All of this is," she looked around the sitting room.
"To bad your Kaa-san's not here to see it," Taichi looked up from where he was sitting on the floor with Daisuke and V-mon. Akemi was the owner of Spring's Blossoms Boutique a specialty shop where she sold the textile arts she made including but not limited to clothing, quilts, amigurumi, and tapestries.
"Huh?" V-mon looked over when movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention. A blue curtain was swaying slightly.
"She'd love it," Jun smiled. She looked up when a particularly loud roll of thunder sounded and the lights flickered.
"You entered this house without being invited," what emerged from behind one of the draperies was neither woman nor spider but something monstrous in between. The digimon regarded her cautiously as the children all drew back from the horrific figure. Except for Daisuke who only heard the creature's melodious voice. The little boy fiddled with the sleeves of his hoodie pulling them down over his hands as he smiled bashfully.
"Sorry, the storm was getting so bad and this was-" The spider woman turned her sharp gaze to the little boy as he spoke. She did not look to be in a forgiving mood.
"Daisuke, get back," Taichi stood up pulling Daisuke with him. He pushed the eight year old behind him, V-mon moved in front of them defensively, and Jun rushed to her brother's side dropping the yellow curtain in the process.
"What's wrong?" Daisuke asked.
"It's Jorogumon. She's a-" Tentomon began.
"Spider!" Mimi shrieked.
Jorogumon had the general shape of a giant spider, but many of her features were that of a human woman. She had the thorax of a woman clad in a red kimono with gold borders. It had been altered to fit her form – cutting off just below her rib cage and giving way to her round, spider abdomen and having eight sleeves for her four pairs of spindly, unnaturally long arms which she walked on with her elbows pointed out and her hands pointed in. She had silky, pure white hair and a partially human face. She had four sets of eyes. One set looked like human eyes with red irises. The other three were completely red. Two sets were stacked on her forehead and the third sat at her temples. Her chin split apart into a pair of hooked fangs and above them a row of small, pearly white teeth could be seen.
"You've wandered where you do not belong, and you won't be leaving alive," Jorogumon's voice was deceptively calm soothing even. "Spider bite!" she fired two black colored fangs from her mouth.
"Mimi!" Palmon pushed the girl out of the way gasping when one of the fangs hit her in the side. Gabumon darted out of the way of the second fang and it imbedded in the wood flooring.
"Palmon!" Mimi caught the plant digimon as she collapsed.
"Magical fire," Piyomon flew into the air and fired the attack. Jorogumon darted out of the way of the green flames and one of the curtains caught fire.
"Spider bite." Piyomon dodged the first fang but the second one caught her in the left wing. She took a sharp breath as her whole body seized and she fell towards the ground. She crashed into Jou and the twelve year old yelped as he fell to the floor with the bird digimon on his back.
"Fire!" Jun pointed at the burning curtain.
"I've got it, tear shot!" the water attack hit the flames putting them out.
"Baby flame," Agumon called. Jorogumon flattened herself to the ground and the ball of fire soared over her head hitting the red curtain that blocked off the entryway.
"Are you trying to burn this whole place down?" Taichi gestured towards the now burning curtain.
"Tear shot," Lunamon put out the fire leaving a wet curtain with a giant hole in the middle that was blackened at the edges.
"Boom bubble!" Jorogumon darted forward the attack missing her.
"So fast!" Jun pulled Daisuke closer to her.
"Binding web," using her front pair of arms Jorogumon grabbed her hair and pulled the silky strands lengthening. She flicked her wrists and the strands whipped forward wrapping around Agumon and Patamon.
"Petit thu-" Jorogumon pulled her right hand down yanking Patamon through the air and smashing him into Tentomon. She released the strands she was holding in that hand and the two digimon collided with Yamato and Takeru when they crashed into the ground.
Yamato tried to move but found himself stuck. "So sticky. I can't move," Takeru exclaimed.
"Ah, this doesn't make sense," Tentomon stated.
"Yamato," Gabumon started to run towards them. Jorogumon yanked on the threads she was holding in her left hand sending Agumon stumbling into Gabumon the two fell into where Sora was knelt beside Jou with an unconscious Piyomon on her lap.
"What about this doesn't make sense?" Koushiro shouted over a crack of thunder. He stood up from where he was knelt beside the low table with Mimi who was holding Palmon on her lap.
"V-mon head," the blue dragon rammed into Jorogumon side. She gasped and stumbled.
"Jorogumon is a well mannered if reclusive digimon-"
"Tear shot!" Lunamon called the attack smacking into Jorogumon's back.
"It's not in her nature to attack strangers. She'd more likely hide from us!"
"Away from me," the spider woman hissed as she drew back and pushed V-mon away from her with three of her hands.
"Well something set her off," the dragon grunted as he stumbled back.
"Spider bite!" Lunamon yelped as she flew closer to the ceiling so that the fang soared under her. V-mon rolled out of the path of the second.
"Get down!" Gomamon pushed Koushiro out of the way of the second fang. The seal digimon cried out when the fang hit him in the side. Koushiro hit the ground on his knees next to Mimi. He grabbed the girl's shoulders to steady himself.
"Gomamon," Jou called from where he was stuck to Gabumon, Agumon, Sora, and Piyomon. Koushiro turned around and checked on Gomamon. The digimon was unresponsive but breathing.
"Why won't Palmon wake up," Mimi cried as she hugged the plant digimon.
V-mon charged at Jorogumon, "V-mon-"
"Spider bite!" V-mon dodged the first fang. His scarlet eyes widened when he spotted the second a moment before it hit him in the shoulder. He cried out and collapsed to the ground.
"V-mon?" Daisuke shouted. "Is V-mon okay?"
"Tear shot!" Jorogumon darted out of the way of the attack.
"He's been knocked out," Jun answered.
"Binding web," the spider woman flicked her wrists catching Lunamon in the sticky, silky strands. She pulled her hands down. Lunamon gave a short shout as she was yanked out of the air and sent crashing towards Jun, Daisuke, and Taichi.
"Will he-" the little boy began.
"Daisuke!" Jun wrapped her arms around her brother and dove out of the way. Lunamon smacked into Taichi's chest sending the eleven year old falling back.
Daisuke winced as the back of his head bounced against the floor. "You alright?" Jun pushed herself up onto her elbows. Daisuke touched the tender spot on the back of his head. Not bleeding.
"'m fine," he scooted back and sat up. Jun tried to pull her legs towards her to sit up on her knees but found that she couldn't. She looked over her shoulder to see that her legs were pinned under Taichi and Lunamon.
"Taichi, get off me," Jun tried to yank her legs free to no avail.
"I can't! I'm stuck!" Taichi tried to move but just ended up wiggling like a fish out of water.
"Idiot," Jun muttered. She pushed off the ground sitting back with her rear next to her legs and her torso twisted awkwardly so that she was facing Taichi and Lunamon. It was an uncomfortable position but bearable. Taichi had tried to catch Lunamon and now she and his arms were bound in the sticky web. Several of the silky threads had billowed out wrapping around Taichi's back and Jun's legs below the knees.
"I'm sorry, Jun," tears pooled in Lunamon's rosy eyes.
"You did your best," Jun shook her head.
Jorogumon looked around the room at all the trapped digimon and children. They would need to be disposed of. Her gaze rested on the little boy with burgundy hair. "You did not draw back from me in fear and disgust," she moved towards him. Outside the thunderstorm continued to rage.
"Daisuke!" Jun and the others shouted. She pulled out her pocket knife and started working on cutting the web.
"Nee-chan," he got to his feet and took a step in his sister's direction. A hand grabbed him. Spindly fingers closing around his arm. "Jun-nee!" he tried to pull away but Jorogumon's grip was strong.
"Let him go!" Jun struggled to cut away the strong, sticky strands.
Jorogumon yanked Daisuke closer and grabbed his jaw. His face was now pointed towards hers, but he was not seeing her. "But that's because your eyes are dead," with a third hand she gently traced around the outside of one of his never focusing eyes. He was afraid. His eyes did not say it but the rest of him did.
"We only wanted shelter from the rain. We meant no harm," he tried to pull away. It did not take much of her strength to keep him in place. Yet he still fought. He was so small so young. Perhaps...no! They entered her home without permission. Then had the audacity to look at her like she was a monster. They defiled her sanctuary. Daisuke cried out as her hold on him tightened to painful levels. Instead of horrifying her the sound fanned the anger burning in her chest. She would kill them all.
Jun tore out of the web and pushed herself to her feet. There were still threads sticking to her, but she could move so it didn't matter. She ran towards Daisuke and Jorogumon. With each step the strands of the web still wrapped around her right boot tried to stick to the floor but never with enough strength to stop her. Jun's pocket knife was now bound to her hand. She didn't care. She wasn't done with it anyways. "I said: Let. Him. Go!" Jun stabbed Jorogumon in the side between her first and second arm on the left side. The blade cut through flesh and grated against something hard.
Jorogumon hissed lashing out at Jun with two of her arms. "Jun!" Lunamon cried, struggling against the web that trapped her. Jun stumbled back a couple steps till her back thumped against the tapestry with the beach scene. She glanced briefly at Lunamon, fear and determination shinning in her eyes, before focusing on Jorogumon and her brother. The spider woman released Daisuke and pushed him away from her.
"Daisuke, come here," Jun grabbed her little brother's arm and pulled him behind her.
"You..." Jorogumon seethed as she pressed one of her hands to the bleeding wound. She bled green. "You're going to regret that."
"Run, Sempai!" Sora shouted. Jun shook her head. Jorogumon was too fast. She would be caught in no time.
"Nee-chan," Daisuke held onto the back of her shirt. At least like this she was between her little brother and the spider woman. Jorogumon would have to go through her first to get to Daisuke.
"I don't think I am," she clenched her hands into fists – the handle of her pocket knife biting into her palm – to hide their shaking. "Heh, I'm pretty proud actually," she grinned.
"Don't taunt her, Jun-chan! Are you crazy?" Jou exclaimed.
"Insolent child!" Jorogumon spat. "You'll find yourself mistaken."
"Don't hurt Jun! Don't you dare hurt her!" Lunamon shouted.
"Lunamon," Jun whispered closing her eyes. The mysterious device clipped to the strap of her backpack lite up. Lunamon was covered in a white light and the web binding her and Taichi evaporated.
"Lunamon digivolve to...Lekismon!" She darted forward grabbing Daisuke and Jun and carrying them out of the path of the attack. Behind them the two black fangs hit the tapestry.
"Lunamon...I mean Lekismon," Jun looked up at the digimon with wide eyes.
"Are you alright, Jun, Daisuke?" Lekismon nodded and set the Motomiya siblings down.
"You digivolved? What do you look like now?" the little boy asked.
Lekismon looked like a rabbit but one much larger than Lunamon – about the size of an adult woman. She wore a sleek, blue breastplate from the back of which extended six flexible tubes with rounded ends. She had on black gloves with golden crescent moons on them and around her neck was a metal belt buckled in front of her chest with the same moon pin she had as Lunamon. She had a round face the upper half of which was covered by a metal mask kept in place by a pink ribbon. There were holes for her eyes which were still pink and the antenna that still extended from her forehead. She had two more completely white antenna that sat at the outside of a pair of blue stripped rabbit ears that stuck up. She had four more smaller rabbit ears that were stripped yellow and stuck out from the sides of her head – two on each side – where human ears would be located.
"She looks great," Jun grinned.
"You celebrate too soon. You think this changes anything? I won't be defeated by the likes of you!" Jorogumon's voice started off relatively calm but got more and more angry as she spoke.
"We'll see," Lekismon turned to face the spider woman.
"Spider bite!" Jorogumon shouted. Lekismon moved her hands as if she was drawing back the string on a bow. One did materialize in her hands along with an arrow. The bow and arrow were made of ice with delicate designs carved into them. The light caught on them and reflected off in a myriad of colors.
"Tear arrow!" Lekismon released the bow string. The arrow destroyed the two black fangs as it flew towards Jorogumon. The spider woman ducked and the arrow just barely missed her. It caught on the fabric of her kimono at the edge of the hole caused earlier by Jun's knife and tore it even further. There was something black protruding from the wound.
"Nee-chan," Daisuke tugged on Jun's shirt. "Where's V-mon? Can we make it to him?"
"Moon night kick!" Lekismon bent her knees and leapt. Jorogumon darted to the side and Lekismon hit the ground where she had been standing a moment before with a solid thud.
"Come on," Jun wrapped her arm around her brother's shoulders and ran across the room with him pressed to her side keeping as wide a berth as she could from the fighting.
"Binding web!" Jorogumon shouted. Lekismon jumped to the left and the sticky strands missed her hitting the beach tapestry instead. Jun knelt beside V-mon with Daisuke.
"Here he is," she held one of her brother's hands and placed it on V-mon's side.
"V-mon?" he shook the dragon. No response. The little boy kept his hand pressed to V-mon's side feeling the slow rise and fall of his breath. It was like he was just sleeping, and he had to wake up eventually. He had to.
"Tear arrow," Lekismon aimed for the black object stuck in Jorogumon's wound and fired. The spider woman gasped as the object was knocked from her injury and rolled across the ground.
"A gear?" Jun said a moment before the black gear disintegrated.
"Wh...what?" Jorogumon shook her head. She looked around taking note of the chaos that was her sitting room and the several strangers inhabiting it. The last couple hours were a red tinted blur of anger and pain. The strangers were all watching her cautiously. Lekismon was bouncing slightly on her feet ready to attack at the barest hint of hostility. "What have I done?" she recognized the lasting remnants of her attacks – the unconscious digimon and the webs. She blinked her many eyes pushing away the remaining fog that clouded her mind as well as the wetness pricking at the back of her eyes.
"You don't remember?" Lekismon questioned.
"S...some," Jorogumon pressed a hand to the side of her head. "I was weaving when that black gear crashed through my window and hit me. After that it becomes blurry. I remember being angry...so angry. I've never felt such rage before," her voice was troubled carrying notes of confusion and shame. Daisuke's heart thrummed with sympathy.
"But you're better now right? You won't attack us anymore," he questioned.
"Of course, I offer you all my sincerest apologies though I do not expect you to forgive me," Jorogumon replied.
"Nothing's unforgivable," Daisuke shook his head with a smile. Jorogumon genuinely regretted attacking them. That was enough for him.
"I knew you wouldn't attack us under normal circumstances. Clearly that gear made you act in a way you usually would not," Tentomon declared, a hint of pride in his voice. "I'll happily forgive you if you get this web off me."
"Yes, please," Patamon tried to flap his wings but had little success moving them from where he was stuck to the insect digimon, Takeru, and Yamato.
"You're too kind," Jorogumon nervously wrung together her front pair of hands as she walked towards them. She was aware that nearly all eyes in the room were on her. She had never liked being center of attention and disliked being suspect to suspicion even more, but she acknowledged that the group's suspicion of her was well justified and that made it all the worse. She had done a terrible thing.
Jorogumon started unwinding the silk web from around the four – the thread listened to her, losing its stickiness at her touch – and spooling the silk around one of her hands. She kept her gaze focused intently on the silk to avoid having to look at any of the many strangers. Lekismon watched the spider woman for some time before deciding that she was indeed no longer a threat. She relaxed her stance and was covered in light as she shrunk back into Lunamon.
"Lunamon!" Jun ran towards her and embraced the digimon. "You were amazing! I don't know what we would of done with out you."
"I dare not think of it. I'm just happy you, Daisuke, and everyone are okay," Lunamon held onto Jun tightly.
"What about Palmon? She still hasn't woken up," Mimi cried.
"Do...do you have an anti-venom?" Jou's gaze moved between Gomamon and Jorogumon. He wanted to adjust his glasses, which were sliding down his nose, but with one hand stuck to Sora's shoulder and the other trapped between Agumon and Gabumon he was not exactly in the position to do so.
"One isn't necessary," Jorogumon moved to free Jou and the others. "There are no lasting affects. They'll awaken on their own in around half an hour as healthy as they were before."
"That's a relief," Sora smiled softly.
"You may leave whenever it suits you. Now, when the affects of my venom wear off," thunder rolled outside, "or when this storm passes," she did not really want a large group of strangers – there were over a dozen of them! – spending an extended period of time in her home, but offering them shelter seemed the least she could do after the danger she had put them in while under the black gear's thrall.
"Getting out of the storm is why we came in here in the first place," Yamato pointed out.
"We can move on when the weather clears," Taichi nodded.
"There's a dirt footpath near your home. Do you know where it leads?" Koushiro asked Jorogumon.
"Nowhere," she finished freeing the last of the children and digimon. She moved back putting distance between herself and them. "Both directions lead to dead ends. No one uses that path."
"It's awfully well kept for a path that's never used," Sora commented.
"The plants refuse to grow on it."
Jorogumon walked towards the tapestry of the beach scene and started removing the web that had gotten stuck to it. She gently touched the hole that had been punched through the couple having a picnic. Tears welled in her eyes and she closed them. She took several deep breaths as she tried to gain control of her emotions. "Excuse me?" Jun walked towards Jorogumon with Lunamon floating at her side. The spider woman's gaze darted to her for a moment before focusing back on the tapestry. She cleared her throat before speaking.
"Y-yes?" she tried to make her voice sound normal but did not succeed. She hoped they would not comment.
"I believe this is yours," Jorogumon looked over to see Jun holding the yellow curtain in her arms.
"We found it stuck on a tree close to your home," Lunamon explained.
"It is mine. It's meant to hang in my weaving room," she replied. Jun held the curtain out to her and Jorogumon gratefully took it. "Thank you for returning it," she reverently ran her hands over the smooth material.
"You made it. You made everything in here," Jun stated.
"I did," Jorogumon confirmed even though it had not been a question.
"They're incredible," the girl smiled as she looked around the sitting room.
"Th-thank you," she ducked her head partially hiding it behind the folded curtain she was holding.
"I'm sorry some of your work was damaged during the fight," Jun turned her gaze back to Jorogumon. Jorogumon kept her's fixed on the ground.
"It's my own fault," she shook her head.
"It's the fault of that black gear," Lunamon corrected. Jorogumon tightened her grip on the curtain..
"Would you like me to bandage your side?" Jun asked.
"That isn't necessary," the spider woman pressed one of her hands to the wound. It didn't really hurt that much and she healed pretty quickly. She found the damage to her kimono more upsetting. She could salvage some of the fabric, maybe make a pillow out of it, but the tear couldn't be mended.
"I know. I don't make the offer because I feel I must. I make it because I want to," Jun replied.
"Al-alright," Jorogumon nodded.
"Great," Jun beamed. "My first-aid kit is in my backpack," she gestured to the bag she had left sitting on the ground next to Daisuke and V-mon.
Jun walked towards her bag glancing back to make sure Jorogumon was following. She was. The twelve year old sat down and pulled her backpack towards her. She took out her first-aid kit and set to work. She cleaned the wound with an antiseptic wipe, put some antibiotic ointment on it, then covered it with a bandage. As Jun did this she made conversation with Jorogumon by asking her about her weaving. "How do you get colors? You produce your own silk using your hair, which is white, but your works are most certainly not all white. Do you buy dyes or make your own?" Jun asked as she put away her first-aid kit.
"With magic," Daisuke chimed in.
"I make dyes though not with magic," her tone was warm with amusement. "I use plants. Mostly those I grow in my garden, but I also gather them from the forest."
"Is that hard? I've only ever used pre-made dyes," Jun asked.
"I've been making dyes for many decades the process is second nature, but it is time consuming."
They talked about how to make dyes for awhile before their conversation turned to other similar topics. Jun told Jorogumon about crocheting which the spider woman had no experience with. She got her crochet hook and worked with yarn out of her backpack. The twelve year old picked up where she had left off working on the bunny amigurumi and was showing Jorogumon how to do single crochet stitches when the digimon that had been knocked out started to wake up. First Palmon, then Piyomon, then Gomamon. "Get behind me, Daishuke! I won't let her hurt you!" and finally V-mon.
"You don't have to worry about that. Jorogumon's our friend now," Daisuke stated.
"She is?" the dragon blinked.
"A lot happened while you were knocked out," Lunamon nodded.
"You picked a very bad time to take a nap," the little boy teased.
"It wasn't exactly voluntary," V-mon huffed.
"But you're alright now?" Daisuke asked the concern clear in his voice.
"'Course I am," V-mon bumped his shoulder against Daisuke's.
"Look! It's stopped raining," Takeru called from where he was looking out the window. Jun turned her gaze to the window and saw that it had indeed stopped raining and the dark clouds were quickly clearing to reveal a bright blue sky.
"The storm rolled out just as quickly as it rolled in," Koushiro commented.
"Let's get going we've spent enough time sitting around here," Taichi stated. Jorogumon was surprised to find that the proclamation felt like a weight settling on her chest instead of one being lifted.
The group gathered all their belongings and put their shoes on. They stepped out of the house and stood on the porch along with Jorogumon. "Which way do we need to go to get out of this forest?" Jun asked.
"If you head in that direction you should reach the edge in a few hours. Any other direction you're looking at at least a day's travel," Jorogumon gestured slightly to the left.
"Thanks," Jun smiled.
"Thank you," the spider woman shook her head slightly. "I've rather enjoyed your company. It's been good talking to you."
"It has," Jun grinned. "Maybe we'll meet again someday." Jorogumon watched from her porch as the children and digimon walked away.
"Bye bye," Daisuke called as Jun waved. Jorogumon waved back.
Jorogumon: She's a digimon of my creation that's loosely based on the Japanese youkai Jorogumo and Arachne from classical mythology. She's a very shy and emotionally sensitive digimon that lives mostly in solitude. Despite her frightening appearance she is not a violent digimon in fact she hates fighting.
I want to once again say thank you to everyone who has been reading this story and a special thanks to everyone who has reviewed, favorited, and/or followed. I really do appreciate it and hope you enjoyed this chapter :).