VERY IMPORTANT THING: As of February 2013, I have been writing this fic for over a year... and I'm hating how the first bunch of chapters were. So I'm re-writing them! This first chapter is, well, the first, so it's first, and I'm doing this in order. There will be no plot changes, merely better writing and characterization. Be warned that the writing on this version will vary as chapters that have been rewritten come before ones that haven't, so if you don't see a "THIS HAS BEEN REWRITTEN" notice like this at the top, until I signal that I'm going to stop rewriting and just start tweaking without rewriting, then it's the old version! (This may help to give a better impression- the writing is shaky at the start, but it reaches a somewhat higher standard later.)
Now, on with the show~
Welcome to another FDD (Fictional Digimon and Digidestined) fic. That is, the cast is made entirely of OCs, a new (if not original) iteration of the Digital World, all that. This is your warning, so back out now if you're afraid of this.
I seriously recomend bringing up the Digimon re:GENESIS Homepage (linked on my profile) for art, profiles, and the like. This isn't so much of simply a fic as it is a sort of multimedia project, so there's lots of explanations for things I couldn't hamhand into the fic, profile images, soundtracks, art, and so much more. It really will enhance your understanding of the fic (though it should be totally comprehensible without it, I think). As I said above, as of this update (February 25 2013) I've been working on this thing for over a year. It is my baby, and a lot of work has gone into it that you won't get to see if you leave the experience at this!
Reviews are amazing- like, please please please review! I can't force you to do anything, and the show will go on whether I get reviews or not, but... hrargh.
"And you're absolutely sure that this is where he said?"
"One hundred per-cent."
"... and... you... believed him."
"Yep!" Pause. "Hey! Deekamon is really smart!"
"Ugh. I don't know why we keep following you around. This is the billionth time this week."
"Oh, come on!"
On a cliffside overlooking a dense forest, six little creatures sat and waited. The wind blew around them, ruffling the fur of those who had it (and, in one case, feathers). They were a motley bunch, a collection of little things that, for the most part, looked like heads with vestigal limbs and vague animal features. One had the feathers and beak of a bird; another, the ears and tail of a tiger; one was like a small sheep, most of her body fluffy white wool aside from small stubbly legs and a bare black face; and yet another had dolphin-like fins as her decoration.
"I'm just sayin'," the tiger-like one said, "if I don't see anything interesting, and soon, I'm going back. I'm tired of being dragged through the dirt and the sticks a hundred times a week just 'cos you believe anything Deekamon says."
"Well, to be fair," the more avian one remarked, "it's only been ten times in the past week. He said they'd be coming soon."
"That's still way too much!" the little cat-like furball replied, raising an eyebrow. "The Agents are gonna find us soon, if we keep bouncing around like this with no clue what we're doing."
Efudemon (whose animalistic traits were vague at best) folded his little clawed arms. "You just need to learn to trust me- and Deekamon, too."
And so they waited; they waited until the sun was starting to go down beyond the cliffs that obstructed the horizon, casting the forest in a creamy orange hue.
"I'm going back," Cindemon (the little tiger-puff) said decisively, and a murmur of assent rippled throughout the other four that were not Efudemon. Efudemon looked at his companions with a hurt expression, frowning.
"But-" he started, but sighed, defeated. "I guess it's not here, or today. I guess we'll go back." He led his friends, though with a bit in the way of dramatics, in a half-march, half-bounce back down the hill and into the trees.
It wasn't far, thankfully; it was getting dark, and none of the little creatures particularly wanted to linger around after the sun had sunk down. Ahead of them, nestled in the trees and barely visible if one didn't know where it was (not helped at all by the vines and greenery growing around and on it), was a little hut. It was circular and small, made of chipped cobblestones and roofed by thatched straw; totally unremarkable, in other words.
And yet, it was what they called home.
"Deekamon!" Efudemon cried through the thick wooden door, rapping his claws on it. For a moment, there was no reaction, only the sound of various locks sliding undone. Efudemon bounced back as the door suddenly swung open a few inches - only a few inches, mind, before it was stopped by a chain on the inside. Peeking suspiciously with one glowing yellow eye through the open space was their mentor, their friend, their protector.
He was a bizarre sort of creature, tall and humanoid, most of his body covered by cloth, aside from bright yellow eyes that shone from within the darkness under his hood.
"Ahahah," Deekamon said, unlatching the door and opening it just wide enough for his charges to slip inside. "Come inside, and make a quick job of it, if you please." And so the little creatures filed in, and Deekamon took careful tally as they entered.
First was little white-furred Efudemon, with frills of fluff on either side of his head and a short little tail, a splotch of blue around one of his big coal-black eyes, and disproportionally large claws for his size;
Next was Cindemon, the one most like a cat, eyes blue and fur burnt-red and cream, with darker stripes on his face and tufted tail;
Paleomon followed, pale green with one steogosaurus spike on his tail and head each, his eyes red and his short, stub-like arms each capped in one claw;
Then Finmon, teal with big purple eyes, who bounced along using her dolphin-like tailfin to propel her, for her short fin-like arms were not made for on-land locomotion;
Mismon was next, a little ball of white feathers with a grey and yellow beak, the long feather on his forehead and his barely-functional wings edged in blue;
And last, of course, was Fuwamon, the little lamb, who was very small and light- and also the one of the six with the most defined shape and limbs.
Deekamon nodded to himself with satisfaction, closing the solid wooden door and replacing the chain - and several other locks - the moment the last of the bunch was inside. "I take it I was incorrect, if you've not returned with them?"
"Everyone else wanted to come back, instead of wait longer," Efudemon explained, indignant. "So I guess we'll never know."
Paleomon quirked a brow at the little mammal-like puff, but remained close-mouthed. He was going to speak, but he was cut off.
"We're just tired of being dragged hither and yon on wild Cygnetmon chases," Cindemon complained.
"With more in the way of risk than results," Paleomon said after a momentary pause, making sure that the cat-puff wouldn't speak further.
"We're all a bit on edge," Fuwamon conceded, bowing her head.
"Yeah, I just think Efudemon is so far on-edge he's fallen off, yeom!" Finmon remarked. "He's flying over the edge!" And here the little dolphin-like blob mimed the action by flapping her little fin-like arms, before slapping them over her mouth to stifle her giggles.
"It will be soon," Deekamon assured them, folding his arms and bowing his head.
"Yes, but when?" Mismon said, a bit squawkier than he meant for the words to come out.
"Soon," Deekamon gestured with one hand, and he clearly meant for it to be a statement, but it came off as more of a vague suggestion.
"You said that today," Fuwamon said, a little dejected sounding.
"And the day before that," Cindemon added.
"And every day for the past, oh, ten days," Finmon finished.
Deekamon tapped one claw to his head. "Trust me," he said, and he barely had time to get those two simple words out before the very world around them began to shake. The six little beasts jumped, looking around. Deekamon, for his part, was absolutely calm and seemed unsurprised.
A moment after the rumble began, a blinding burst of light shone in through every opening of the little hut; every crack, every gap in the straw, the tiny spaces between the door and its frame, spilling in through the lone barred window that sat high in the hut's wall.
The third act to this cacophony was a literal cacophony- a deafening roar of noise, the sound of a million oceans crashing down at once, the rushing of every bit of matter, the death of a star-
And as soon as it came, it was all gone. The little creatures looked up at Deekamon, curious to the point of being awe-struck and silent. The humanoid one stepped closer to the window, lifting himself up with his long arms to look outside with narrowed eyes. He scanned his surroundings, into the darkness of the trees.
He perked up visibly a moment later, and dropped back down to the floor among the bouncing blobs. A giggle escaped him, and he spread his arms wide.
"It's showtime, kids!"
Thirteen-year-old Simon Bell grunted every step of the way as he heaved a loaded bag of garbage into the can, slapdashedly putting the lid on and dragged it out to the curb. He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand, leaning on the can as he slid it into place alongside identical recepticles, where the garbage truck would come to pick it up in the morning.
"One down," he said to himself, pulling a pen from his pocket and clicking the bottom end, "and fifty bazillion to go." He retrieved a crumpled sheet of paper from his other pocket, unfolding it and striking off an item.
Simon's parents were out of town for varying periods of time every so often; some sort of business relating to... business. This theoretically left him and Sarah, his sister, to manage the house; what it meant in reality was that Simon would do the bulk of the work, while Sarah claimed "big sister privelege" made her exempt.
In short: chores. So many chores. He didn't really mind doing them, not really, but it was still a little annoying that Sarah only rarely helped.
He looked around, taking a momentary break. It was a warm summer evening, the hum of cars further into the city a constant. However, he seemed to be the only person out on his street. There were no cars passing by on this suburban street, no people walking, not even any dogs or cats running loose. It was a bit surreal, honestly.
He was knocked out of his reverie when, from behind him, a shrill yell sounded out. "Yo, Simon!"
Simon turned to look; in the door, Sarah stood. She looked much like him; a mop of plum-coloured hair on her head and bright green eyes, though she was taller and... well, a girl. Leaning against the door frame, she held a cellphone in one hand, and was holding it up.
"I finished the garbage, you don't need to yell," Simon said, nodding his head in the direction of the three full garbage cans. "It's a mystery to me, Sar', how you can eat all this and not be the size of a whale. ... or, well, more like a whale than usual."
Simon grinned while Sarah - exactly as predicted - turned roughly the shade of a boiled beet. Why, one could almost see the vein in her forehead begin to throb erratically.
"Simon, you brat!" she hissed, and almost threw the phone in her hand to the ground, but she reigned her temper in. Instead, she merely massaged her temple with her free hand. "I was just going to tell you your phone went off."
He took a step or two closer before she threw it underhand to him, and the little device sailed in a smooth arc until it thumped into its owner's chest.
"Oh," he said, blinking. "Thanks."
"Yeah, yeah," Sarah said, turning to go back inside. "I'm gonna find something to heat up for dinner."
Simon watched after her, rolling his eyes, before he stepped into the door-frame, leaning up on it as he flipped his phone open. Indeed, there was a new alert- a new text message. It was a mite on the odd site, though; the 'new text message' screen bore no name from the sender- not even a number. He cocked an eyebrow, but despite his better instincts he clicked his thumb down on the button to open it up.
It opened up, and was a completely blank message; no text. Both of his eyebrows raised, then, and he absentmindedly began to adjust the aviator goggles he wore over his blue beanie-cap. "Huh. Do they make viruses for cell phones now?" He supposed they did, but this was just a run of the mill phone, not even one of those fancy smart phones.
He shrugged a shoulder and went through the motions to delete it, but furrowed his brow. 'Would you like to delete this message?' popped up, but when he confirmed it, the message (or rather, non-message) merely popped right back up. There wasn't even a time stamp. He sighed, sliding the little device into his pocket.
If he had kept an eye on his phone, however, he would have noticed that rather than the screen turning off, the light of the screen began to pulsate rhythmically, going from its default light to incredibly bright and fading once more. It was slow to start, only once every couple seconds, but it quickly gained steam, until the screen was simply shining brilliantly, a vivid white light.
It seemed that it could no longer contain the energy of the flashing light, as his cellphone then began to vibrate, and this definitely caught Simon's attention. It escalated from a simple vibration to shaking far harder than any phone had the right - or even the logical capacity - to. Simon pulled the phone out of his pocket, and very nearly dropped it once he did. The light had spread from the screen to the entire phone, as though he were holding a solid block of light.
And then the light spread from the phone to his hand and up through his arm.
"Oh, this can't be good."
The light spread faster, engulfing the boy's entire body; he was simply too dumbstruck to move, to cry out, to do anything.
And then there was the sound of a beep, the alert sound of any average text message arrival, and that was it- Simon Bell vanished into thin air, and to him, it all went black.
What Simon did not know - could not know - was that this experience of his was not unique.
"Ah, crap, I think I got hit by that truck..."
"That's it, I'm dead, call the morgue."
"What on earth?"
When Simon opened his eyes, he found himself lying in the dirt and staring up at an unfamiliar sky and surrounded by voices. He couldn't place his finger on it, but something felt... incredibly off. Something felt strange about the sky he looked up at, even though it was a relatively normal blue, fading through orange to soon become the inky shade of nighttime.
Maybe it was the fact that he swore that, in places, portions of the sky began to shimmer with what looked like binary code.
He heaved himself into an upright sitting position, and then felt a rush of blood to his head and a sharp pain in the same, making him dizzy. He slammed his eyes shut and placed a hand on his head, before he gingerly opened one eye to look around. Behind him, there was a hill leading up to a cliff; in front of him, an expanse of trees and foliage threading into a curtain of green.
All around him, each slowly sitting up as he did, was a group of five other people, all looking more or less to be his age: they numbered two girls and three boys, obviously not counting Simon himself.
He looked to the hand not holding his head, where he gripped his phone. ... what had once been his phone. It was now a device, much the same size, its colours now red and black. It fit comfortably into the palm of his hand, the grip rubber, and it was adorned with a small array of yellow buttons and a screen that occupied perhaps a third of the face of the device.
"Hey, uh, what's going on?" a voice from beside asked; it was one of the girls. Her hair was brown for the most part, and tied into a high ponytail in the back, but her bangs were bleached. Her denim overalls looked a bit dirty and worse for the wear for whatever had brought them here.
"That," said another voice, this being one of the boys, "is an excellent question." Simon did not manage to get a good look at him, though, because when he turned to look at the speaker, he saw something that caught his attention far more.
In the trees, there was something moving.
"Yaugh!" Simon blurted, leaping backwards and propping himself up on his hands in a sort of awkward backwards crab-walk.
"Watch it, bucko!" yelped a boy who was nearly crashed into by this motion- and then, when he looked up to see what Simon saw, he did much the same, for out of the trees was coming a small pack of bouncing heads, each a vague ball of vague animal features, being lead by a four-foot-tall purple... something. It was humanoid to some degree, but draped in a purple hoodie whose sleeves encased his hands and were adorned with big claws. Cat ear-like extensions rose from the top of the hoodie, and a sort of half-mask was spread across the bottom half of the open face, fashioned to look like a mad cheshire-cat grin. Inside the hoodie, what face they could see was nothing but black- aside from round, yellow eyes.
Cliche as it was to say: they weren't in Kansas anymore, Toto.
And boy, did that get the confused kids to their feet in a hurry. They were in various states of defensive and frozen with what's going on, but they were at least on their feet.
Without warning, the six bouncing heads stopped- the thing in the purple hoodie, however, kept walking forward, in fact quite quickly. His arms were flung back, his yellow eyes glowing, he seemed ready to attack...
The purple hoodie monster (as Simon was now calling him, in his head) was blindsided by one of the children; a darker-complexioned girl in tall boots and a cropped black jacket, her hair very long, and a tree branch gripped tightly in one hand like it was a club. She had lunged in from the side, smashing her knee into the thing's side, and knocking it entirely off-course. ... and into a tree.
The purple thing crumpled at the blow, tumbling over himself and folding as though he had no bones- in fact, almost like he had no body underneath his clothes at all.
Taking advantage of this temporary lull, the other five childrens grabbed anything that was close at hand- rocks and branches, mostly, as this was not a high-tech operation - that could be used as makeshift weapons of self-defense. Simon, gripping a branch whose loose bark flaked off under his hands, was trying to determine whether to focus his attentions on the little bouncing heads, or on the purple mass of cloth crumpled to the ground.
The thing in the hoodie, however, began to laugh- not a threatening noise, but a jovial laugh, a happy laugh, as he got to his feet. ... sort of. It was more that his head was rising back to where it was, and empty clothes were simply following suit and getting back into position for a vaguely humanoid shape. Understandably, this immediately caused the six children to snap their attention onto him.
And then the kids were the ones who were surprised, as the bouncing heads, who were yelling and cheering like a child on Christmas morning.
And, well, if having their names yelled by weird little gumballs leaping at them wouldn't get their attention, what would?
Was it possible to be hugged by things without much in the way of arms beyond stubs? Whether or not it was, it was the best way to describe what was going on.
One, who had wings, was flapping excitedly to keep afloat (really, more on waist-level) next to the girl in overalls, who was trying in vain to calm it down. One, a green blob with spikes, was pulling at the legs of one of the boys, who was tall, with spiky dark hair and a bemused expression. A hopping fish-like thing was bouncing erratically around the feet of a dumbstruck boy next to this one, who bore a striking resemblance to the other, except he was shorter and had a somewhat rounder face (and, not to mention, a few shocks of hair, falling over the broad headband he wore, that were dyed green). A small sheep was nuzzling against a very short boy whose face was almost getting lost in the hood of the sweatshirt he wore while he looked like he was trying to disappear; a little cat-like puff was batting, with its tail, the girl who had kneed the hoodie monster, who had an eyebrow quirked and her arms akimbo.
Simon was so busy looking at all of these that he did not notice that a furry white blob with disproportionately big claws currently had its broad arms wrapped tightly around Simon's leg.
In a tremendous show of dignity, once he noticed this, Simon yelped and began to hop around on one leg, waving the other leg like mad in attempts to dislodge the little furry... thing. It was to absolutely no avail; it clung like a barnacle, humming contently and refusing to let go.
"What," the tall boy said, inching away from the little slimy dinosaur-esque blob at his feet, "is going on."
"We've waited so long, yeom~!" the little fish-like ball said, while the boy with green hair picked her up suspiciously and held her up, inspecting her. The boy looked her in the eye, brow furrowed; she licked him in the face. He was dumbstruck, she beamed... and then both of them burst into laughter.
"I'd be more than happy to explain," the purple hoodie monster said, spreading his palms wide and cocking his head to one side. "If you can promise not to try and tackle me again," he added, with a pointed look towards the girl who had tackled him.
"Find a new way to explain, then," she said dismissively, picking up the little furball rubbing up against her leg like a cat; it grinned toothily.
"Deekamon's alright," the furball said, "he's just a bit on the loony side. ... a lot on the loony side. He wouldn't hurt a Poyomon."
The girl blinked a couple times and quirked her eyebrow further, mouthing 'mon?' incredulously. Was this some kind of ridiculous verbal tic?
"But what do you mean you've been waiting?" the girl in overalls said, putting a thumb to her chin and making a thoughtful, confused expression; the bird-like puff landed on her shoulder and balanced himself carefully, cuddling up to her cheek, and she couldn't help but laugh a bit (it tickled!).
"Just what we said!" the bird-puff said. "We've been waiting forever, ever since we were born, and now you're finally here!"
"If we're going to explain this," said the purple thing (Deekamon?), "and there is a lot to explain- I would prefer to do it somewhere less... in the open. Prone to attack."
"Because that's not suspicious at all," the long-haired girl said, her voice a-drip with cynicism.
It was at that moment that they heard a rumbling growl somewhere far in the distance, almost right on cue; Deekamon's head snapped up, looking in the direction of it. "... as I was saying," he said, looking expectantly to the six little blob-like creatures.
They seemed much more receptive to the thing's requests and commands than the kids were, and so began tugging and nodding and indicating to get going. There wasn't really much to do for it; they had no idea where they were, for one. Moreover, they did not like the sound of... whatever it was, in the distance. What better course of action was there?
And so the kids - with little excitable blobs in tow, and a bit reluctantly on all parts, followed as Deekamon began to lead them onto a roughly-tread path through the trees from whence he had come.
The entire way, Simon resumed trying to detach the little thing from his leg, and still absolutely failed at it.
It was not a long walk; they very quickly emerged from the trees into a little clearing, along one edge of which was Deekamon's hut. Along the way, most of them kept to themselves; the two boys who shared a resemblance had mumbled conversation with eachother, but for the most part, the only sound was the little creatures being incredibly excited.
Once the reached the clearing, it would have been a tight fit, if not outright impossible, to try and cram all six kids, all six little bouncing heads, and Deekamon himself into the small hut, and so they didn't bother. Instead, Deekamon cleared a bit of ground, very quickly, and built a small fire. He spread his arms wide, inviting the kids to sit down; and so they did, with some trepidation, settling down into the dust. The little bouncing heads insisted on sitting on the laps of the humans they clung to, and trying to dislodge them was an effort in futility, so it was allowed.
"I'm thinking that we should, ah, introduce ourselves," Deekamon said, a bit airily. "So I don't have to refer to you by such dignified names as kicks-me-McGee and mister goggles." He took a bow, a very overdramatic one, here. "I'm Deekamon, as my charges have told you. Now you," he said, looking expectantly to the nearest child to him in the circle they had formed around the fire.
This was the long-haired girl, and she shrugged, sitting back. She introduced herself as Andrea ("Michaels, if you care about last names, for some reason"), her tone a bit clipped, like she wasn't into playing this game. On her lap, the little fluffball introduced himself as Cindemon.
Next in the circle was the tall boy, who went by Julian LeBlanc; it seemed like he took Andrea's clipped tone as nothing short of a challenge, and was even more laconic. The dinosaur-like thing, now much calmed from the initial meeting, referred to himself by Paleomon.
Sitting astride Julian was the boy with the bits of his hair dyed green, and he quite cheerfully introduced himself as Faris Beckett. "We're brothers," he said, gesturing towards Julian, "if you couldn't tell. We don't live together- he lives with our mom, and she got remarried, so, yeah, last name wonkiness." He wiggled his fingers to imply the wonkiness. He was a downright chatterbox when compared to the previous two. The little fish-like thing called herself Finmon, and finished her sentence with a little cheerful 'yeom', inexplicably.
Halfway done, halfway to go; the girl with the two-toned hair and overalls was cheerful, as well, though a bit on the nervous, flustered side. Her name, she said, was Emily Hariss; the little bird puff was Mismon, and if he could have bowed with his total lack of real body, he would have.
The pentultimate kid was far and away the shortest of the bunch, and he looked significantly younger than the others simply by virtue of this; he seemed like he wanted to disappear into his overlarge hoodie, and tugged nervously at his sleeves as he introduced himself as Tobias - "but, uhm, I don't like being called that, call me Toby" - Moore. The little sheep-puff nuzzled against him in a comforting sort of motion, and he wasn't sure how to react; regardless, the sheep said she went by the name Fuwamon.
And this, of course, left only Simon Bell, who had no shyness and no reservations. He was keeping the little furball that was so enamored with him at bay with a short stick, but to no lasting avail; this fuball went by the moniker Efudemon, he said.
Whoof- that was a lot of names to take in.
Deekamon seemed pleased by all of this, but regardless, he took a quick head-count. "One, two, threefourfive siiix... hmm, so then I suppose plumon was right..." he mused, but shook his head and was back on-form in a moment's notice. "Welcome," he said, arms spread wide once more, "to my little corner of the Wide Forest! That's where we are."
Julian, face even, remarked: "And this doesn't explain a word of where we really are, or what's going on." Paleomon would have nodded if he had a neck.
"They're not from here, Deekamon," he said, simply and matter-of-fact. "Hmm," Deekamon said, and suddenly his tone of voice was very cheerful. "Well, you're not from here; you're from there, after all. But now you're here, and not there, because you got the messages to there, to bring you here. Making sense?" He said, clapping his hands together and looking around at the group of children.
All six were fixing him with absolutely blank stares.
He seemed to have been completely expecting this.
"You got messages, yes?" Deekamon said, looking around.
"You mean the weird blank thing on my phone?" Emily said, blinking.
"I would have figured something was wonky with that, if only because, you know, of the whole... engulfing light thing," Faris said, faux-thoughtfully.
A momentary pause ensued, before Simon said: "... okay, so, wait- you all got the weird blank text message thing, too?" He looked around, and he saw five heads nodding in mildly confused agreement.
"Great!" Deekamon said. "Then that was the message. The call to adventure, if you will. It's why you're here."
"So where is here,," Julian said, stressing the words and getting more than a little exasperated.
"The digital world, of course," Cindemon piped up, flicking his tail. This was yet another one of those answers that managed to clear up all of nothing for the kids; they shrugged, mouthed 'what?', or merely blinked in confusion.
"Uhm... what?" Toby said, looking down at the little sheep on his lap and frowning.
"Digital World!" Efudemon chirped from Simon's lap, cheerful as anything. "And you're from the Real World. Not that our world is any less real, of course, but more that it's made up of... well, I'm no good at explaining it, I bet Paleomon could..." he trailed off, thoughtful, and bore no mind to the fact that all of this was making the confusion for these six poor kids worse, not better.
"This is absolutely insane," Faris remarked, rolling his eyes. "I'm goin' with the theory that I hit my head, or somethin'. Or a fever dream, even though I didn't have a fever- you know what I mean..."
This was a lot to take in, and none of the words being thrown at them made much sense at all. Digital world? Real world? What on earth?
But any explanation or questions found themselves being cut off from a sound in the trees behind Deekamon's hut- the same rumbling noise they had heard before.
"Whaaat on earth?" Simon mumbled, frowning, as the sound of beeping from his pocket accented the odd noise. He dug into the pocket of his shorts and pulled out the device that he could only guess had once been his cell phone. In fact, it seemed that, indeed, all six kids had similar devices, presumably of the same origin- physically identical, but adorned with different colours.
All of this was taking backseat to the fact that they were beeping, and their screens were starting to light up.
"The D-GEAR units! It really is them!" Efudemon squeaked excitedly.
Before anyone could ask or tell any more, the rumbling was mixed with broken branches and rustling leaves, and into the little clearing bounded a tremendous creature, far larger than the bouncing heads or Deekamon himself.
It was large, it was purple, and it looked like a particularly foul-tempered bear. Huge, clawed gloves on its forepaws could probably have uprooted a tree; pauldrons covered the shoulders of its forelegs. A crescent shape adorned its forehead, and teeth poked up from its lower jaw. It was spare on markings; it had lighter fur on its face and dark markings around its eyes, and slightly ligher fur on its underside, but really, aside from the gloves, shoulder armor, and colour, it could have been mistaken for a relatively normal bear. ... a relatively normal, huge bear, but still.
The kids were frozen with surprise, but the little devices suddenly projected - about an inch above their screens - tiny, three-dimensional holograms of the monster that stood so close. From some unknown speaker, the little devices began to speak in an electronic, androgynous voice:
Grizzlymon. Adult-level beast digimon. Despite its great size, it is very agile. When on its hind legs, it uses its Kuma Tsume attack, but its Maul Attack uses its enemy's strength against its attacker.
"What on earth is going on!?" Andrea growled, gripping the device so hard it might have broken were it less solidly constructed. Her teeth were clenched and her eyes were narrowed, but her face was surprisingly cool-expressioned.
The big bear gave a rumbling laugh, its teeth bared in a smile. It suddenly lunged forward, very quick and agile for its size - as the little electronic gizmoes had predicted - and landed on the fire, putting it out with a fizzle, placing himself between the kids and Deekamon. The kids, understandably, stood and shifted themselves to be closer to one another instead of in a circle; the little bouncing heads, in the kids' arms, had determined expressions.
"He'll be glad to hear of this, then, won't he? Look at me, finding them before they even get a start!" the bear rumbled.
"Why am I not surprised it can talk," Julian said flatly, but his body was tense.
The bear snickered and shook its body in a flurry of fur; he tapped at the ground with one large paw. "I'd like to savor this moment. Give me a moment."
"Not a chance." Cindemon was the one who spoke, as he wrenched his way out of Andrea's grip; all of the others followed suit, and each head in turn plopped down into the dust, and stood totally fearless against the bear that so dwarfed them.
"You can't tell me they're going to fight," Simon said to the person nearest him in this little cluster- Emily. Efudemon, however, heard, and turned (as best he could, while still keeping an eye on the bear). He gave the boy a snaggle-toothed smile.
"Don't worry- we got this!"
Grizzlymon laughed low, seeing the ridiculousness in this as well as the kids did; he reared on to his hind feet, but he did not notice that, behind him, a shape rose into the air- glowing a blindingly bright yellow and purple, jumping high before it smashed into the bear with a yell of:
Grizzlymon roared, and fell back to all fours. The light faded from the figure that attacked him, and once it cleared it was clearly Deekamon, with fistfuls of the bear's fur gripped tight, even as the bear began to thrash and flap Deekamon's flimsy body around like a flag in the wind. The odd humanoid creature's gaze turned to the kids and the smaller creatures, and there was a curious flash in his yellow eyes.
"Now!" he yelled, and with that he released one hand, from the bear. With this free hand, he suddenly procured six shining somethings from thin air, and threw them upwards. Now, one hand was not enough to keep a solid grip on the bear, and so he was thrown off unceremoniously into the woods some yards away.
The things he had thrown shot into the sky like rockets. They were made of pure light, it seemed; they streaked up into the darkened sky before they turned around. Burning like comets, like shooting stars, they smashed into the little electronic devices the kids held. Like they had as phones, they began to glow all over.
"Oh no, not this again," Toby lamented, but even as he said this, it was clear it wasn't quite the same. The light gathered in the device, and pulsated for a moment, before shooting out, and... into the little monsters.
The moment the light hit them, the little bouncing heads were engulfed by the light, and... they began to change form, quite radically. It was almost blinding to watch, and even Grizzlymon seemed taken aback enough not to act.
"Efudemon, kickstart digivolve to..." Efudemon grew substantially in size. He grew limbs, and long floppy ears almost like a rabbit's. His tail lengthened; a mane of bushy fur sprouted from around his newly-formed neck as he took on a bipedial form. A belt was slung around one shoulder like a bandolier, and in his hand, he gripped... a paintbrush? As the light faded, and his new form stood proud, he announced: "Egakumon!"
"Cindemon, kickstart digivolve to..." Cindemon grew quadrupedially, instead. Long fur grew on his head and all of his limbs, while his face changed form; no longer a ball of fur, he was a small tiger. Stripes adorned his back and tail. With a clink, a golden necklace fell into place around his neck, and golden earrings fastened, one to an ear. "Rajamon!"
"Paleomon, kickstart digivolve to..." Paleomon was a dramatic change; he, too, took on a bipedial form, this one of a truly full-fledged dinosaur. A hard bone plate covered his forehead, and spikes ran down his back, while two bony protrusions adorned each cheek. On his hands and feet alike, there were black leather accessories - gloves and boots, lashed on with belts - and adorned with vicious claws. "Iguamon!"
"Mismon, kickstart digivolve to..." the little puffball of feathers, from his half-functional wings, grew clawed wing-hands; the long feather on his head split and became more akin to shaggy hair, while still being feathers, as he took on a larger, bipedal form. His tailfeathers grew, became long and vivid blue; legs and feet, not feathered but with feet covered with toeless black boots, sprouted. "Kamomon!"
"Finmon, kickstart digivolve to..." Finmon enlongated significantly; a second fin sprouted on her head while a dolphin-like body formed, also adorned with a dorsal fin. Her muzzle enlongated as well, much like her body. She grew no hind legs, but her front flippers became more opposable and limb-like instead of simple flippers. Her tail was broad and appropriately sea-mammal-esque; to seal the deal, goggles appeared on her forehead. "Delfinimon!"
"Fuwamon, kickstart digivolve to..." last but certainly not least was Fuwamon. Already having four limbs, she did not grow any more (thankfully); she took a far more refined sheep-like form. Long wool- longer even than her new body- grew on her head, and as it got longer it faded into smoke, pinkish and purplish and blueish all at once. A pink hairtie fastened her hair, and a matching collar settled around her neck while silver rings adorned her forelegs. "Lammon!"
Regardless of how long it took to describe these proceedings, they all happened simultaneously and in the space of seconds; the light began to fade as quickly as it had come, and then it was gone. Where not moments before were six bouncing heads, now stood six more developed creatures, each a different sort of animal and far more tough looking- even though Grizzlymon eclipsed them totally in size, it felt less lopsided.
"... you guys saw that, too, right?" Emily said, blinking a few times to make sure she wasn't imagining things.
"Kick that bear thing's face in!" Simon yelled; it was remarkable, his turnaround time on the little white fuzzy thing; if he heard Emily, he was declining to respond.
"That might be a bit much to expect," Julian remarked, but did not look away from the little group of beasties.
As though they were deaf to what the children behind them were saying, the little creatures dove forward, towards the bear, and reared back- ready for a fight.
"Pummel Claw!" Egakumon yelled, feinting to the side. One of his claws was encircled by a glowing light, and he sprung at Grizzlymon to strike out and stab into the bear's side. The tremendous bear, in retaliation, turned to try and get a swipe at the bunny-like creature, but he was quick, and he bounced backwards and away.
"Ocean Blast!" Kamomon cried, then, opening his beak wide and then, fired out a stream of water in a pressurized blast, aiming for one leg.
Simultaneously, Rajamon opened his maw with a yell of "Prince Fire!" Instead of water, it was a fireball that the cat spat, and it was lobbed from his mouth at the bear's other leg. With a roar, Grizzlymon reared up onto his hind legs.
Delfinimon took her chance; she quickly flopped forward, speed surprising considering she had to drag herself along on her arms, and she threw herself at one of the bear's hind legs. "Blast Bite!" she called, her mouth filling with crackling white light; she, appropriately enough, bit down on Grizzlymon's leg. A small explosion occurred, then, and Grizzlymon roared, while Delfinimon was thrown back - unharmed - by the force of her own attack. Grizzlymon, meanwhile, was stumbling.
Lammon was up to bat, and she ran in, striking out at his other supporting leg with her own two hind legs. "Lamb Kick!" she cried, a bright flash of light of light breaking out as she impacted his leg; he backed down, bowing his head and growling. He drew back one massive paw, preparing to strike...
Iguamon, having stayed back, was the last to act. "Rock Strike!" he announced the attack, ripping up a baseball-sized rock from the ground under his feet. He chucked it into the air, then twisted his body around to hit it with his tail. It hit its target, smashing in Grizzlymon's face.
Attack after attack struck the bear; even with a total mismatch in terms of size and power, the old cliche rung true: there's power in numbers.
But suddenly, a glowing light arose in the trees, and the six little creatures backed away, careful, bodies tense.
The light was - once again - Deekamon. Or, rather, Deekamon's arms, as it only encompassed them as he leapt out of the trees. "Extend Arm!" the purple creature cried, and his arms stretched like rubber, clawed hands shooting out like bullets. They struck the bear, and Grizzlymon let loose a mighty roar as he flopped off of his feet and belly-down into the dirt.
When Grizzlymon hit the ground, his body began to go up in blueish-white light.
All six children peered, and possibly would have drawn closer, but Deekamon quickly barked:
"Don't touch it!"
They assumed what happened next was why. When Grizzlymon's body was entirely engulfed in the light, the light gathered and shot into the sky, bits of zeroes and ones interspersed in the light. It shone like a beacon, but was quickly gone. Left in its wake, where the bear was a moment before, dropped a giant egg. It was perhaps the size of a basketball, and was in fact adorned with the colours of the beast that had attacked; purple, with a white top and a flipped crescent.
The kids were... rather understandably, quite taken aback.
Faris broke the silence as he threw himself forward, sliding on his knees into the dust to scoop Delfinimon into his arms. "That was hardcore!" the boy yelled, getting a better look at her now that she was much more... defined than she was as Finmon.
That broke the ice nicely; soon, Toby was warming up to Lammon, and she nuzzled up against him where he sat on the ground; Emily wandered around Kamomon to get a better look at him, and the bird puffed his chest out proudly as she did. Rajamon took quite the part of the cat, rubbing his sides up against her legs as he weaved around them, and she looked quite satisfied with him; Julian and Iguamon said nothing, but with a simple nod on the part of both it felt to them like words had been exchanged.
Simon, for his part, was looking at Egakumon, who was beaming up at him with a grin on his furry face. And, well, Simon could only think to say one thing:
"Why on earth is it a paintbrush?"
And so a few minutes passed; the kids and the creatures settled down after the wind-up of the battle while Deekamon started a new fire ("after my last one was so rudely put out"). Each kid was generally keeping to themself and whichever of the multicoloured beasties had chosen to hang off of them; even Faris and Julian mostly kept on their own. Once the excitement had died down, there were still a million questions bouncing around all of their heads- not least of which being the existence of said multicoloured beasts with, apparently, magical powers.
"I think we have much to discuss before the night is through," Deekamon said, clapping his hands together from the head of the reformed circle.