Heya everybody. Sorry again for the delay to this chapter but the second term of uni started this week and it decided to rear its head and slam a very large amount of workload on me which I had to get done and I was a bit swamped with that for a bit, but now that that's over it should peter off and become much more steady, so I can continue working on this story. And now I won't bore you any further and I hope you like this chapter.
To Be a King
Chapter 22:- Fairy Ensnared
February 28th finally dawned after a long and restless night, especially for the majority of the Digimon that had landed in this strange new world. Most of them had hardly dared sleep, still unsure where they were or what might be lurking out there waiting to stumble across them or pounce when they let their guard down.
For some of them, like Spadamon or ChibiKamemon and his two companions, the darkness had seemed to close in around them, making them feel isolated and more alone than ever as their mind conjured feelings of being watched, though perhaps they were in fact, not imaginary at all.
Dorulumon stood guard over the villagers that he had saved the day before as they made some kind of makeshift camp – most of them not daring to sleep either or just couldn't considering they had nothing to sleep on but bare ground.
Ballistamon continued wandering around aimlessly, not really needing a great deal of sleep and probably getting more lost than before in the night if that was possible.
Mervamon didn't sleep at all, continuing to run and run almost non-stop through the night with her new companions, who were just as impressed with her stamina as she was with their's, though Cutemon managed to catch some sleep in the crook of her arm like a newborn child.
Greymon continued searching through the night for Bastemon, who had managed to drag her limp, cold and wet body up the bank where it had washed up and curled up miserably in a bush.
Several of the others made camp or found shelter. Shoutmon, Beelzemon, Wisemon, Sparrowmon and MailBirdramon, who had all found themselves among friends, actually managed to get decent sleeps. The Bombmons, still in the pits of Isengard, got a brief rest for a couple of hours but the noises around them kept waking them up as the orcs continued their labour unabated – in fact it increased in quantity as the Sun went down.
Suffice to say, when dawn finally broke, for most of them it was quite the relief.
But for one member in particular, it made absolutely no difference.
There was almost nothing but darkness around her, regardless of what time of day or night it was. No matter which part of this giant forest she was in, it was always dark. Always foreboding. Always terrifying, even as the Sun began to rise even higher through the air the amount of light that pierced in was minimal and the gloom only lifted very slightly.
Lillymon longed for proper daylight – to feel the Sun on her petals, to get out of this darkness and to be able to fly freely through the sky. But more than anything, she longed for some kind of salvation or sign that things would soon be better. The Sun had always been one of those signs – a reminder that every day was a new day.
But here, it barely made a difference.
She whimpered into the silk clogging her mouth and wrapped around her lower face, her eyes threatening to water again as she prayed for something, anything, to help her. But there seemed to be nothing forthcoming. Yesterday, she had gone through the single most terrifying experience of her life in her mad bid to escape from the Giant Spiders that had suddenly swarmed her, while also having an injured wing.
But she had failed, and the Spiders had managed to capture her.
And now, over eighteen hours later, she was still stringently cocooned in their horrible sticky silk, exactly as she had been when they had first trapped her and wrapped her up, except now she was also dangling by her bare feet, upside-down from the branch of a tree, swinging slightly whenever she moved. Her legs were tightly trapped together across their entire length, her arms folded behind her back and over her wings, each wrist trapped against the opposite elbow and her arms bound forearm to forearm, and finally a disgusting ball of surprisingly tough silk had been lodged in her mouth and trapped in there with another wrapping layer.
She'd been like this for almost an entire day now and she was hating it. She felt so trapped – she had no control over anything anymore and she was only really able to wriggle her body around, but was unable to do anything else. Her hands were trapped in fists, meaning the she couldn't even flex her fingers, and her wings were solidly pinned against her back, unable to even twitch. She was terrified beyond all imagining.
But considering who her captors were, she could not really be blamed for this.
As she saw what available sunlight there was filtering through the thick canopy she once again redoubled her efforts to try and escape this cocoon. She like a Chrysalimon trapped inside its own shell. She wriggled and squirmed and bucked her body, wrenching and twisting herself around as much as she could, but the only thing that she managed to accomplish was turning herself into some kind of squirming pendulum. The silk held strong and did not budge an inch. She could find no slack anywhere. She was a complete parcel.
"Hhmmmm mmmmm!" she whimpered into the gag. "Smmmbddd prmmm hhmmm mmmmm!" she sobbed quietly. "Shnntmmmm. Mnnnymmnnn! Prmmmmm!"
A clicking noise above her made her freeze instantly, and she looked up to see one of the biggest of the Spiders standing on the branch directly above her, attaching another piece of silk to the branch via the spinnerets in its back end, before dropping off the branch until it was hanging right in front of her.
Lillymon froze as she stared at it, wide-eyed with terror as the Spider reached out all eight legs and grasped her body with the clawed tips of its feet, bringing her swinging and squirming to a stop and holding her in place through a combination of its own strength and Lillymon freezing up at its touch, feeling as if she was in some kind of horrible Spider embrace. A strangled whimper escaped from her mouth – one of the few sounds that she was still able to make under the circumstances.
"I have told you before, my pretty little fly," the Spider hissed, in a voice that made it impossible for Lillymon to tell if it was male or female. "To keep quiet and do not bother trying to escape. You are becoming increasingly annoying with your whining moans and feeble struggles. Do I make myself clear?"
Lillymon flinched backwards as the clawed palps and large fangs of the Spider were moved forwards, the sharp points hovering threateningly before her face. Lillymon's gaze locked onto the eight, dark, emotionless eyes of the Spider and she knew that it wasn't joking. She fought the urge to vomit - thankful that she hadn't eaten anything for a while otherwise she wouldn't have been able to help herself, which would have been bad considering her mouth was already packed.
"I said, are we clear?" the Spider susurrated.
Lillymon flinched and nodded her head, trying not to cry again.
"Good," the Spider replied tersely, turning around as it released her and clambering back up its thread with ease, its stinger on its back end flexing prominently as a final warning as it did so. As it reached the branch it paused and then reached down with one leg to pluck the silk that was attaching Renamon's feet to the branch with a violent twang, sending Lillymon spinning around and swinging, unable to stop herself.
"Although," the Spider chuckled. "It is amusing to see you wriggle when you have no choice in the matter. Perhaps I should pinch all of your toes and see how hard I have to do it to get you to scream."
"Nmmm pmmm!" Lillymon snivelled through the gag. "Lllllt mmm gmmmm!"
The Spider chuckled again. "I've heard enough of our victims make that sound to know what it means even when you have a mouth full of our silk. We won't be letting you go anytime soon, pretty one. Your future will be decided upon by the Queen herself."
"Quit talking to it," another Spider, even larger than the first, scuttled up the side of a tree-trunk nearby. "She isn't ever going to be freed. The Queen's not going to let this one go for any reason. More than likely she'll be devoured as soon as she's softened up enough.
"DMMMM!" Lillymon squealed, knowing that would have been most likely what the Spiders intended to do anyway, but panicking when she heard it out loud.
"Well then it's a good thing that we decided to hang her up for the night, isn't it?" the first Spider chuckled. "The Queen likes leaving her victims up for a few days so that they can taste nicer, but with this one she might be able to scoff her up straight away."
"Aww look at it struggle," the second Spider snickered, reaching out with a leg and hooking the silk around Lillymon's torso, spinning her around a few times and then letting go, cackling as the silk unwound and Lillymon was sent spinning like a top for about fifteen rotations before she slowed and began to the spin the other way instead. "Isn't it adorable?"
"Sickeningly sweet," the first Spider cackled back. "Just the way I like them to taste."
"Nmmm. Prmm dnnn eeem mmm!" Lillymon shook her head wildly, staring into the unforgiving eyes of the Spiders. And they were not the only ones around. There were at least twenty of them around her, and several of them were always watching her in case by some miracle she actually managed to get loose. There was clicking sounds from the lot of them, which seemed to be their way of laughing at her struggles.
"I bet she'd be very juicy indeed," the Spider above her agreed. "It's a shame that we're not going to get the pleasure of eating her ourselves. This is a morsel for the Queen as soon as we determine exactly what she's supposed to be."
"I'm getting pretty hungry myself," the other Spider said. "Though you're right that we have to show her to the Queen. Shame really. She's looks so succulent. But as the Queen ordered, anything new or unfamiliar is to be taken to her so that she can inform her darker allies."
"Do you think there are any more like her around here?" one of the Spiders asked. "Some of the others were saying that there were three smaller creatures with her when we first started trying to catch her."
"Who knows?" another Spider hissed as it stepped menacingly closer. "But perhaps we can find out. Let's ask this one a few questions ourselves instead of just waiting for the Queen to do it. Perhaps if we unstuffed its mouth it might start feeling quite talkative."
"Well, why not?" Another one of the Spiders agreed. "What have we got to lose, huh?" It moved across to another nearby tree trunk and reached out with its long legs, homing in on Lillymon's face. Lillymon froze in fear as the horrible appendages approached her, waving in front of her eyes hypnotically before the claw at the end caught in the silk wrapped around her mouth and pulled a portion of it aside, exposing the silk trapped behind her teeth, which was then speared by a claw and pulled out, discarded like a piece of litter on the forest floor. Lillymon hacked and coughed as she swung around, trying to clear her mouth of the aftertaste and working her jaw after it had been wedged open for almost a full day. Much of her face was still plastered with silk but she could now open her mouth and could use it to speak.
"Please…" she coughed. "Let me go. I'm no threat to you, I promise. Or to your Queen. I just want to get out of here."
"Let you go?" one of the Spiders snickered. "Well, perhaps we will if you feel up to a little chat. Tell us… what exactly are you? You killed several of our brood during your mad bid for freedom and we want answers."
"I…" Lillymon swallowed. Despite her pounding heart and the ever-mounting fear inside her there was still a spark of resistance inside her. She was terrified out of her mind, wondering what her fate would be and conjuring up various images of what the Spiders might do to her, all enough to give her nightmares for weeks on end.
But despite everything, members of Xros Heart never surrendered to the enemy and never gave up hope despite all the odds thrown at them. It had seemed many times over the course of the war against the Bagra Army that the bad guys would win, but they had always pulled through and triumphed somehow, despite the losses that occurred on the way.
Shoutmon, her secret love, was the most prime example of that. Even when he had stood alone against DarknessBagramon, unable to DigiXros or Digivolve, he had never backed down and never given up no matter what the cost.
Right now these Spiders wanted to know what she was and more about her kind, as well as where she had come from and probably any information she could give about the other Digimon of Xros Heart if they assumed that there were more of them in this world.
No matter how scared Lillymon got, she couldn't do that. She couldn't tell them anything about her friends. If she did, she could put them all at risk. She could send an enemy out looking for them, or have them be prepared for the others if they ever stumbled across them. There was no way that Lillymon's consciousness could ever rest if she went and betrayed them like that.
Even if it meant she would be eaten, she would do the right thing. She would hold her ground. If she didn't, then she couldn't call herself a Xros Heart member. No way she was going to tell some Dark force of Spiders anything that they wanted to know.
"I will tell you nothing," she said, with some certainty, trying for a defiant look that she just managed to pull off on her cute little pixie face.
"Oh but you would make it so much easier on yourself if you did," the Spider next to her chuckled. "Come now. Perhaps if you tell us what we want to know, we will let you go."
"You would never do that," Lillymon bit her lip. "You are evil creatures. You have orders to take me to your Queen and even if you didn't you would just eat me. I will tell you nothing."
"She's braver than she looks," another Spider commended her. "Quite foolish of her really though."
"Where do you come from?" another Spider pressed. "Who were your friends and where are they now? What were they?"
"You can't make me tell you anything," Lillymon gritted her teeth defiantly. "I will never help evil, even if it's just giving them information. You are ugly, disgusting creatures and there's no cure for that."
"Got more spirit than you did when you were whimpering and squirming during the night, haven't you?" the Spider above her asked, the stinger on its tail flexing near its rear. Lillymon flinched but shook her head, refusing to say more.
"Well then," the Spider says. "Looks like this was a wasted endeavour." And it seized the silken string holding her upside-down to the branch and yanked it upwards, hauling Lillymon up and onto the branch right next to it. Lillymon screamed as it clambered over her and turned her around onto her back, but it deftly turned around on the branch and hooking her lower teeth with one of its back legs, wrenching her mouth open and squirting another line of silk into it. Lillymon forced herself not to retch as the Spider created a fresh ball of silk and wrapped more silk around her face to recreate the gag.
"You may regret not simply telling us what we want to know," the Spider nearest her head told her. "After all, we're taking you to see the Queen. And when she wants to know something, Queen Saenathra will find out what it is. It's quite fascinating really – how much she can make a person scream. We know. We've heard. She can inject a carefully portioned amount of venom into the body of her victims so that it won't kill them but it will cause them agonising pain for hours on end. And once she does that, she can't make it stop. You might want to consider that when you are in her presence."
Lillymon's eyes widened in horror at the thought and she continued her thrashing anew, desperately trying to escape – to free any body part, to fight back. To do something. And she was rather surprised when she actually succeeded in kicking the Spider that was over the top of her in the stomach and almost knocking it from its perch completely, though it managed to grip on with three legs and quickly hauled itself back up.
The Digimon flinched as the Spider surged over her and glared down at her angrily. "If you were scheduled for an audience with the Queen I would kill you where you lie for that," it hissed. "I hope you don't talk at first. It will be most amusing to watch the Queen trying to break you."
Lillymon whimpered again as the Spider brought up its abdomen and pulled out a roll of extra silk from its spinnerets and proceeded to wrap it around her upper head and eyes, blindfolding her and leaving her utterly in the dark. Being able to see nothing was ten times worse than actually seeing what was going on and her skin crawled as it took her up in its legs and tossed her through the air.
She squealed as she sailed across the gap towards the ground, but she landed in a thick Spider web which arrest her fall and clung to her already webbed body. She could hear the sounds of scurrying around her and moment later she was swinging through the air a fair distance with no knowledge of how close the ground was or whether she was close to hitting anything, before she was reeled up and flung through the air again by another Spider.
This was how they had been transporting her for most of yesterday. They would throw her into a web and carefully snip away certain threads that would get her to go swinging in the direction she wanted before they hauled her up and repeated the process.
And now, Lillymon could only whine and stare sightlessly into the silk over her eyes, listening to sounds of scuttling feet around her and wriggling as she was thrown again and again and again.
Someone, she thought to herself. Shoutmon. Anyone. Help me.
As the Spiders pushed on towards the darker parts of the woods, they were unaware that they were being watched by one individual screen. The three Elite Monitamon, after escaping from the Spiders with their quick speed and their lightweight stealth, had been keeping an eye on things ever since. As they tried to find Lillymon again and reunite with her, they had been horrified when they found that she was now in the clutches of the terrible, horrible creatures.
They now watched helplessly as Lillymon was transported haphazardly across the woodland from the shadows, as they had been doing for the past day.
They knew they needed to rescue her, especially since they had overheard a lot of what the Spiders had been saying.
But there were two problems with that.
Problem one, the web that bound Lillymon was incredibly strong and they knew it. The forest around them was practically draped in shawls of the stuff and in order to follow the Spiders they were having to be extra careful when leaping around to ensure that they didn't plunge through the stuff, hindering their progress more than they would like. They had more than once already put a foot into a piece of webbing and it had taken a considerable amount of effort on their part to pull it loose. Lillymon, on the other hand, was coated with the stuff. How were they supposed to get it off her? They had nothing sharp to cut it with.
They sometimes wished they could produce shuriken like other ninja Digimon. But they couldn't. They could produce fire, wind, water and lightning in small amounts, but of those only the fire might be potentially useful and that could harm Lillymon too.
Second, of course, were the Spiders themselves. There were over a score of them transporting their captive friend and at least half of them had always been watching Lillymon even through the night. There was no way that they could rescue her without them noticing and there was no way that the three of them could fight them all off. They were among the best of the best when it came to being a Monitamon, but Monitamon were not very powerful even then. Their skills lay in creeping around, not in open combat.
If Taiki or Nene had been there, they could have DigiXrossed the three of them together to form a Hi-VisionMonitamon, which was quite good at fighting. But when separated, they were not strong. They might have been able to take out one or two of the Spiders between them but twenty? Not a chance.
Now, long after Lillymon's capture, E-Monitamon-2 was still watching her, keeping track of where the Spiders were going and trying to stay hidden as he did so. The Monitamon was holding both of Lillymon's discarded boots, which had been pulled off in her fight against the Spiders and been recovered later by the three ninjas. He hoped that he would be able to give those boots back to the taller Digimon soon.
And where were the other two?
Well, they had currently split up, using the relays on the top of their headsets to keep in touch with one another, and were searching around the forest for anyone who could help them. Thus far they had come up empty, as their range was limited to only a couple of miles before they lost contact with one another in this forest and they were determined to stay in contact through that time. The last thing they needed was to get separated at this stage.
"Anything?" E-Monitamon-2 asked into the silent com channel that they shared between them.
"No," came the reply from E-Monitamon-3. "Nothing from me."
"I got nothing either," confirmed their final member. "How's it looking over there?"
"The Spiders are on the move again," E-Monitamon-2 whined, broadcasting the image over the link. "They've got her blindfolded now too, and they're definitely taking her somewhere. I overheard them talking about their Queen. That's where they're taking her."
"At least she's still alright," E-Monitamon-1 said.
"Yeah, but for how much longer," fretted E-Monitamon-3. "We don't know anything about what they want. We don't know how far away their destination is or what will happen when they get there… We have to do something."
"There's nothing we can do now," wailed E-Monitamon-2. "I wish we were more powerful. But rescuing her now would be a suicide mission and we should try and find a way of doing it where we might not get killed before we try something like that. But still… we've got to try something. And soon, I think."
"We are Xros Heart members too," E-Monitamon-1 agreed. "We won't turn our backs on her for our own safety. If we can't find any help soon…"
He let the rest of the statement hang. The others knew what he meant. If they had to go charged to their deaths they would but they would have to try something. Preferably before this mysterious Queen arrived on the scene.
"Curse them," a voice muttered in the darkness of the woods. "Curse them all."
Booted feet stepped nimbly onto the top of a fallen log and walked across it deftly, coming to a stop at the base of another tree, the trunk of which was plastered in a lot of webbing. A hand with elegant fingers reached up and lightly tapped the webbing, which immediately clung to the tips of the fingers as they pulled slowly back, thought they were rather thin and old threads so it didn't take very long for them to break.
Still a few strands of them clung to the fingers, the owner of which lifted them up before its eyes and rubbed them slightly before kneeling down and wiping it off on the bark of the moss-covered log she was standing on.
"They're getting bolder," the voice said – a female voice. And the figure stepped out into an ever-so slightly brighter patch of woodland, revealing the pointed ears, sharp face and long brown hair of an Elf Maiden. Her name was Tauriel, head of the Elven Guard of Mirkwood. A pair of daggers were strapped to either side of her hips and a quiver of arrows rested on her back, the bow clutched in one hand at her side. "Curse those Spiders, encroaching on our domain like this. They haven't been this bold in about six decades."
She leapt off the fallen log and proceeded quietly through the trees, at quite a steady clip, each foot treading with utmost lightness and barely making any sound, and yet the Elf maiden never even once looked at where she was putting them. It was as if she knew all the best places of the forest to step on in order to remain silent. There are some things about the Elves and their knowledge of nature and the woodlands that would forever remain unfathomable to the likes of mortal Men.
Tauriel was out right now with an Elvish scouting party, but quite often she liked to make her own way through the woodlands. The other Elves were not far away somewhere and she would be able to find them again without any problem once she wanted to double back, but out of personal choice and habit she liked being alone. It raised her own awareness of her surroundings when there were not others watching her back.
She stepped closer towards another large patch of webs that clung to the branches of a clump of trees like a massive net or drape. She sniffed the air and her ears twitched, listening for any signs of company, but there was nothing. There seemed to be no sign of any Spiders nearby but there was no doubt that they had been here. Recently too. The patrol that they had undergone just last week and shown no webbing in this part of the wood whatsoever.
The Spiders were leaving their webs everywhere and hoping to catch something in them. And they were succeeding. Tauriel had already stopped three times in the last hour to rescue a fox or a badger that had been caught in the folds of sticky stuff, and about six times to free a small bird.
"They're like a plague," she muttered to herself as she stepped past the webbed grove. "Spreading outwards and outwards, further and further as the days pass. How much longer will it be before they reach the northern parts of our Kingdom. Curse that Sauron. Sending such monsters against us yet again."
She frowned and added, "Perhaps we should try and head down towards Dol Guldur. None of us have been there for a while. It's almost certain that it's been taken over again by the forces of evil."
As she spoke to herself, her ears suddenly twitched again, picking up a very faint and almost indistinguishable sound in the air – the ever so slight creak of a branch that had been landed on, followed by a swift, whooshing noise. No Man would have been able to hear it, but Elf ears, eyes and noses were all much sharper than theirs could ever be.
Tauriel retreated into the shadows a little, listening intently. There it was again, and again – the noise of something moving very quickly and landing lightly on branches. It couldn't be a squirrel – they didn't make that kind of noise when they moved, but she also knew that it was not a Spider. When they moved, they did so with regular tapping footsteps. Nothing like the noise whatever this thing was making.
But Tauriel still couldn't be sure of what it was.
Then she saw something out of the corner of her eye; a quick movement so fast that it might have been missed by even most Elves, especially considering the darkness of the woods. And there it was again, and again – like something quite small but very fast, too fast for even Tauriel to make out, was flitting through the trees and around the webs not far away from her.
Tauriel grimaced. She'd never come across anything that did that before, but it certainly wasn't a Spider. Perhaps it was a new kind of servant of darkness that had some strange abilities that she had never seen before. Nevertheless, she knew that she couldn't jump to conclusions, but she could not let this pass either. She would have to investigate.
And she knew just how.
Like most Elves, Tauriel was a spectacular wielder of the bow and arrow. They were frighteningly accurate and their long, unaging lives gave them plenty of time to practice it. Silent as breath, Tauriel unhooked the bow from her body and in a single, fluid motion she drew an arrow from her quiver, notched it to the string and pulled it back into firing position without even looking at what she was doing, carefully looking down the shaft as she aimed it in the direction of the blur, calculating the speed that it was moving at and trying to get a read on where it was going to move next.
It was difficult even for her. The thing seemed to be moving in an almost random pattern and it was getting closer to her by the second. But, after a couple of seconds of consideration, Tauriel's fingers pulled back off the bowstring which sprang back to its original position and bolted the arrow out to slam into the trunk of a tree in the creature's path. She had deliberately fired it so that it would miss but that it would also stop the things advance.
It worked better than she had assumed. The little blur drew to a halt and tried to backpedal so fast that it completely lost its balance and tipped backwards off the branch that it had landed on with a yell of surprised. Tauriel moved swiftly out of the undergrowth as it dropped towards the ground like a stone, readying another arrow just in case it tried to run off again.
Though she needn't have bothered. The strange, green thing plunged through a couple of strands of webbing, which stretched like elastic down towards the floor, jerking to a halt just before the creature hit the floor, dangling it there a couple of feet from the ground, where it kicked and flailed wildly and only succeeded in further enwrapping itself.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Tauriel advised it, causing it to freeze up as she stepped closer, the notched arrow half pulled back and aimed warningly at the creature. "You'll only get yourself in a further mess."
"Who are you?" the creature asked.
"Ah, so you can speak," Tauriel nodded. "Good. That means that you can answer questions, of which I have a fair few. However, I shall be the one to be asking most of them here. You are on our land, after all."
Tauriel stared at the thing in bewilderment for a couple of extra moment. She'd heard of Halflings, which were about the size of a young Elf child around thirteen years of age, most of them over three feet tall but most of them not reaching four feet. In fact, she had met a Halfling once. But this thing was far smaller than a Halfling – it would have only reached up to her knee, if that, if it was standing on its feet. Other than that it seemed to have a basic shape of two arms, legs and torso but she could not fathom for the life of her what was up with its head.
"Take off your helmet," she instructed.
"Helmet?" the creature said. "I don't have a helmet."
"Then what is that on your head?" she asked.
"What this?" the creature tried to point to the strange object sticking out of the top of its head.
"That too, but I was referring to that thing obscuring your face."
"There nothing covering my face. This thing is my face, see." And Tauriel was startled when the flat screen that served as the front of his head suddenly displayed a picture that looked vaguely like a smiling face drawn in white lines. Tauriel was not usually startled by anything but that had been unexpected.
"That is… your face?" she blinked. Then she frowned and said, "What are you then? And no lies. Are you a minion of the Dark Lord, Sauron?"
"Who? No, I am not a minion," the creature objected. "I'm a Digimon. A Monitamon to be exact. Are you a human?"
"Human? I do not know of these humans you speak of, but I am an Elf. But I believe that I said that I was asking the questions here. Where did you come from? What is your business in this part of the world? I have never heard of your kind before? Digimon, or Monitamon, or whatever you may be."
"We're lost," the Monitamon, which happened to be E-Monitamon-3, explained. "We found ourselves stranded in this place a couple of nights ago and we were wondering around ever since, trying to find someone."
"We?" Tauriel asked, sharply. "There are more of you?"
"Yes, there are three other Digimon here in this wood that I know of, and two of them are Monitamon like me. But the other one is a Lillymon and she's been captured by those big, horrible Spider thingies. I've been looking around for someone to help but…"
"…Captured?" Tauriel interrupted. "You mean the Giant Spiders around here have ensnared a comrade of yours in their foul webs?"
"Yes, exactly that," the Monitamon nodded emphatically. "We're really worried about her but we can't help her – we're too weak to fight them off and rescue her, and they are taking her away somewhere?"
"Taking her?" Tauriel asked. "They are transporting a captive across the forest? That is not ordinary Spider behaviour. Normally they will string up something they catch for a few hours, while still alive, and then they will stab them with their stingers to paralyze them and then devour them."
"They're going to eat her?" the Monitamon wailed, in real distress. "Oh no, that's what we thought they were going to do, but first we think they're taking her to their Queen or something like that. That's what we overheard them saying anyway."
Tauriel nodded. The strange creature's story did add up in some sense. If there were strange creatures stranded in this place then the Spiders might indeed want to know what they were dealing with for the future, though she had never heard of them taking someone to their Queen before. The Spider Queen had remained elusive even to the Elves, but they had overheard that her name was Saenathra or something like that, though they still had yet to find out her location.
And the creature's distress and panic seemed to be real enough.
"Please," the Monitamon pleaded. "Can you do anything to help her, like call some friends or something? Lillymon's been trapped all night and we've only been able to stand by and watch. We have to help her. She's an innocent Digimon and we can't let those things eat her. Please. Will you help us?"
Tauriel regarded the creature with a degree of suspicion. There was every possibility that everything it had said to her during the course of this conversation had been a lie; a clever story to conceal its true intentions or lead her into a trap. How could she ensure that if this was some kind of evil plot, it wouldn't work?"
There was a chirping noise from a nearby branch, and Tauriel looked up to see a small bird with a black face and bib, red chest, white underbelly and crown and grey back – a redstart – sitting there and looking at her. Tauriel smirked and held up a hand, which the redstart flitted onto with any hesitation at all. Tauriel held it close to her face and whispered quietly to it. So quietly that the Monitamon could barely work out that she was talking at all, but the redstart chirped in understanding as soon as she'd finished. Then she flicked her hand and the redstart sprang off and flitted away through the trees at a fast clip.
Tauriel then turned back to the dangling Monitamon and drew her dagger. The Monitamon yelped and cringed as she slashed deftly through the webbing mere half a centimetre from its sides in a single arcing motion, so it dropped to the ground with a slight bump.
"Alright then," she said, twirling an arrow between her fingers. "Take me to your friend. I'll see what I can do."
The Monitamon and the Elf proceeded quickly through the woodlands, moving swiftly around the webs as they hurried on into the darkness. E-Monitamon-3 had called E-Monitamon-1 back and the two of them met up before they reached their other companion, drawing Tauriel's attention as the latter came in from the sight and wordlessly continued running with them. How it had known where to go or what was happening she did not know, but it asked no questions and just kept pace with them.
It wasn't long before she heard the sounds of scuttling up ahead, which could only be the multitude of Spider legs hitting the ground and clambering over the trunks time and time again. Tauriel slowed slightly and continued her stealthy approach, following the two Monitamon as they ascended slightly higher above, her eyes piercing through the gloom as she saw the mass of moving Spiders in the trees before her.
And she heard another sound too, the sound of a slight squeal now and again, and she quickly pinpointed its location to the bundle of silk that was being flung across a gap and caught up in a web nearby. She focused on it and analysed it carefully – it appeared to be humanoid in shape, around five feet, four inches tall, making it slightly taller than most Dwarves but not as tall as a grown Man or Elf. But it certainly was not a Dwarf – the build was all wrong. It was far too slender and it also appeared to have a pink flower on top of its head, which no Dwarf had.
There was no doubt that the Spiders had a captive and they were taking it somewhere just as the Monitamon had said. She couldn't see much of the creature due to the silk wrappings around it and she couldn't tell if the flower was a part of its body or ornamental only, so she couldn't be sure that this was a new creature she had never before seen, or perhaps a young Elf that had not yet grown to its full height and had gotten lost.
But whatever the case, it was clear someone was in trouble.
A third Monitamon met up with the others above Tauriel's head as she watched the Spiders snip away part of their web to swing their captive away and then haul it back up onto their branch before making ready to throw it again. For some reason this Monitamon was holding a pair of green boots adorned with yellow flowers on its heels and a yellow flower pattern on their toe sections.
"It's so horrible to watch," muttered E-Monitamon-2. "We have to do something now?"
"Please, Miss Elf," E-Monitamon-3 said, hopping down towards Tauriel and putting its hands together like it was praying. "Is there anything that you can do for our friend? We don't want her to get eaten or tortured or whatever will happen to her when they get where they're going."
Tauriel nodded her head, now totally sure that this was not a trap. Deftly, she drew one dagger from her sheath and held it out to E-Monitamon-3, who started and slowly took it from her hand, bemused.
"Spider silk is a tough substance," she said. "But Elvish blades are capable of cutting through it. When you think things are clear, then use that to cut your friend loose."
"But… what…?" another of the Monitamon protested.
"No time for further questions," Tauriel said, stringing an arrow to her bowstring. "Just make sure that you wait until the right moment to act and make sure that they don't see you doing it." And then she darted forwards into the shadow of a nearby tree and released her arrow in a furious beeline up into the trees.
Lillymon had no idea what was going on around her anymore, beyond the process of her travel but she continued thrashing as another Spider lifted her up in its feet, pulling her up and out of its horrible, hairy embrace and prepared to throw her again, but before it did, she heard a heavy thunk and a squeal from her captor before suddenly she was released and fell with a thump back onto the branch she had been on before, all the wind knocked out of her and wondering what had happened as she gasped to get it back.
But the Spiders had all seen what had happened and screeched in rage as the Spider tipped backwards off the branch, an arrow embedded in the back of its head. It crashed to the ground and writhed about, its legs flailing randomly in all directions before it still and died.
"Attack!" one of them yelled. "It's Elves!"
"Perhaps you'd like to try and obtain a fresh morsel while you're here," a female voice rang out through the woods before another arrow shot out of the shadows below and thudded into another Spider's face, followed by another before the first had even hit, which lanced into the underside of another Spider right in the belly. Both the culprits screamed and thrashed, the former dying as it fell to the forest floor and the latter convulsing in pain as the arrow snapped but remained lodged inside it.
Lillymon whimpered a questioning, "Mmph?" into her gag, but the Spiders were no longer paying attention to her and were trying to root out the source of their attacker as a fourth arrow lashed out from beneath them and slam into another Spider's abdomen. Then, their attacker rolled out of the shadow and came to a crouching halt with arrow already of the string, loosing it upwards and right into another Spider's bulbous eye.
"There!" yelled one of the Spiders. "It's just one Elf! Get it!"
"Never underestimate our kind," Tauriel half-smirked, half-grimaced as the Spiders surged towards her with furious clicks and thumps of their many legs. She shot off another arrow that went through the nearest Spider's open mouthparts and then hurried backwards as the rest swarmed through the trees towards her, never pausing in her stride as she fired another arrow that punctured the abdomen of yet another.
But the Spiders were incredibly fast on their many feet and very quickly they gained ground on her, several of them falling or clambering to the ground and running through the undergrowth at her while others scuttled over the tree branches. Tauriel relaxed her bow string and turned around, taking off into the forest with swift strides, pursued by the onrushing cluster of giant arachnids.
"You've made a mistake wandering from your territory, Elf!" one of them cried.
"This is our territory," Tauriel called back, pulling another arrow from her quiver as she ran. A Spider in a tree above her sprang forwards with a colossal leap and sailing at her with stinger ready and legs spread but Tauriel threw herself into a forward rolling, pulling the bowstring back even as she rolled onto her back and firing the arrow up into its underbelly mid-roll. The Spider squealed and crashed to the floor, twitching as Tauriel finished the roll back onto her feet and darted to the side, more of the Spiders closing in on her and dashing around their fallen comrade.
Two more Spiders closed in from the side, motoring their legs to catch up with the running Elf. Tauriel drew her remaining dagger as one Spider reared up and leapt at her, swinging her bow upwards like a staff to meet its fangs and block their strike, plunging her dagger twice into its underbelly in rapid succession and shoving it backwards.
The other Spider ran in from the side swiped at her with its legs but Tauriel jumped upwards and landed on the Spider's back. The Spider immediately reared upwards and Tauriel sprang off at the same moment, thrown upwards where she grabbed a tree branch and nimbly swung up and onto it, whirling deftly around and firing another arrow into the Spider's back before it realised where she had gone.
"We've got you now," other Spiders called excitedly as they thundered towards her from many directions through the trees, some of the others closing in from beneath to cut off her escape down. Undaunted, Tauriel ran across the branch with a Spider close behind her, fangs waving wildly at her feet. Moments before it caught up, Tauriel leapt into the air and whipped around to fire another arrow into her pursuer as she did so, throwing it off the branch as the arrow struck its side as she landed backwards on another nearby branch.
A hissing from above her alerted her to the presence of another Spider, which lashed down at her from the branch it was holding onto with its stinger. Tauriel lashed up with her dagger and parried the strike, falling into a backwards roll across the branch moments later and flinging her dagger up at it the moment she was back on her feet. The Spider, which had been about to jump on her, met cold steel that lashed into its neck, causing it to tip off the branch and land with a thud onto its back, another Spider on the ground having to dodge it to avoid being trapped beneath it.
That Spider suddenly had an Elf on its back moments later as Tauriel leapt from the branch and crashed down on it, flattening its legs against the ground before she sprang off, yanked her dagger out of the fallen Spider and took off again.
She saw Spiders coming in from the front of her and turned to the side, but saw more Spiders coming from that direction. Whirling around she saw that she was surrounded by them now and they were closing in rapidly from all directions. Despite her efforts so far, valiant as they had been, there were still over a dozen of them dashing in from around her and the one she had flattened to the ground was getting back up, groggy but eager to keep up the charge.
Tauriel whipped around and her eyes focused of a large pile of boulders close by. She hurtled towards it, sheathing her dagger as she did so, as the Spiders she was running towards piled on more speed. One surged around the boulder pile and lashed at her with its palps as she reached its base and dashed up it, narrowly avoiding that lashing appendages that scrabbled at the rocks behind her.
She reached the top of the pile and bounded off, sailing through the air as she put all her effort into the jump and flying over another two Spiders which pulled to a halt underneath her. One of them reared upwards and tried vainly to grab her but she was out of reach and she seized a branch and swung from it, catapulting herself forwards and landing a distance outside the circle of Spiders.
The arachnids turned around and motored for her again, but she fired off two arrows into the lead Spider before it could get three paces and then hared off once more, the remaining dozen or so infuriated and hungry for Elvish flesh.
One of the Giant Spiders was not chasing the Elf around. Without needing to be instructed, while the others had gone off in pursuit of their attacker, this one had stayed behind to guard their captive. Now, it was standing over the entangled Lillymon like a hairy sentinel, straining to see what was going on in the distance with the chase, but the Elf and the other Spiders were already out of sight.
Its emotionless black eyes looked down at the squirming Lillymon was gently rubbing her face against the branch she was lying on, trying vainly to pull the blindfold from over her eyes, though it remained firmly in place. The Spider hissed and reached forward with a leg, placing it on the small of Lillymon's back warningly and almost snickering as Lillymon froze up at its touch and whimpered.
"You should have learned by now to stop struggling," the Spider told it. "It won't do you any good. Perhaps I should inject a little venom into you right now to paralyse you. That would stop your squirming."
Lillymon made no sound but shook her head wildly, signalling her thoughts on the matter.
"You don't want to," the Spider asked. "Then stop trying to resist. Who knows? You might have some company soon in the form of an Elf. Wouldn't that be lovely?"
"Mm whmm?" Lillymon asked.
"And that includes not speaking," the Spider hissed, reaching forwards and placing a foot on Lillymon's covered mouth. The Digimon froze up again instantly and if the Spider could have grinned, it would have. This was one of the benefits of not eating your prey straight away. You got to scare them half to death first before-hand.
"That's better," it said.
"Huh?" the Spider said.
"Mmf?" Lillymon agreed.
Before the Spider knew what was happening, it was struck full in the side by a small tornado of fire with a miniature lightning bolt flashing through the middle of it. The three Monitamon had leapt from hiding at the Spider guardian and thrown their attacks at him simultaneously. Individually the attacks were weak, but together they combined into a reasonable sized attack that slammed the Spider and charred and fried its side, flinging it from its perch and send it hurtling to the ground, blackened.
But it was still alive even as it landed on its back, and while it squirmed and flailed wildly, albeit in agony, the Monitamon with the dagger jumped down after it and stabbed the dagger into its underbelly. The Spider let loose a shrill noise of pain, but then slumped, dead.
The other two Monitamon landed on the branch either side of Lillymon. "Lillymon," one of them said, running up to her webbed head. "It's us, the Monitamon. We've come to rescue you."
"Momimamm?" Lillymon attempted to gasp. "Mou mame? Wasm appemmin?"
"Wait, just hold still," E-Monitamon-1 said, as E-Monitamon-3 hurried upwards from below and easily climbed up to the branch. "Let us free you. You need to be still."
Lillymon quickly froze as E-Monitamon-3 carefully moved up to her, avoiding the webbing that was draped over the branch. Once he reached her head, the other Monitamon moved out of the way and watched as he carefully pulled at the webbing around Lillymon's eyes and cut through it with the little dagger, which sliced through the webbing relatively easily. Lillymon held still and the Monitamon carefully avoided cutting her face accidentally, while E-Monitamon-1 stepped up and peeled the webbing away from her face, leaving her able to see again.
The Monitamon quickly repeated the process with the wrappings on her lower face, cutting and pulling it aside. They were rather surprised to see the ball of wadded up silk in Lillymon's mouth but they quickly pulled the sticky mess out too, leaving Lillymon spitting and coughing briefly as they moved down to her shoulders to keep cutting her loose.
"You guys… you came for me," she breathed, a smile of gratitude on her face. "Oh, thank you all. You have no idea how terrifying that was, to be… constantly… in those foul creature's grasps and hearing them talk about what they were going to do…"
"We couldn't leave you behind," E-Monitamon-2 said from by her feet. "And I brought your boots. I thought you might want them back."
"You brought…" Lillymon blinked as her shoulders were freed from the constraints. "Oh, thank you. Thank you so much for coming. But… where did all the Spiders go?"
"We found some help. Something called an Elf, which looks like a human but isn't. She's lured the Spiders away so that we can rescue her. But we need to get you out of here before they come back so we can help her."
Lillymon nodded. "Then, free my arms," she said, rolling with some difficulty on the wide branch onto her front and straining against the cocoon that still pinned her arms together and balled her hands into fists. "Quick."
The Monitamon worked quickly and efficiently, but carefully, pulling and stretching as much of the stuff as they could before cutting it to avoid nicking Lillymon's arms, as well of the rest of her and pretty soon, Lillymon's arms were out of their casings. She groaned in relief as she was finally able to flex her fingers again – they had been clenched together for so long now that they had been cramping up.
The Monitamon quickly moved down to free her legs and Lillymon rolled back over and sat up, reaching forwards as best she could to help them with the job of unwrapping her bare legs. With their combined efforts they quickly got them out of the webbing, and Lillymon could finally pull them apart, with another audible groan, but there was still a large amount of webbing plastered all over her in various places and coating her pink dress. But she could move. And that was what mattered.
"Are you okay, Lillymon?" the Monitamon asked simultaneously as she pushed herself to her feet, stretching her arms and pulling great lumps of sticky web from her front and back and trying to wipe it off against the branch beneath her.
"Yes… yeah… I'm okay now," she said. "Thanks to you guys. Seriously I … I can't thank you enough."
"No, we were glad to do it," the Monitamon said, smiley faces appearing on their screens. "We're part of Xros Heart," E-Monitamon-2 added, displaying the symbol that resembled Shoutmon's face on his own. "We'd never leave you behind."
"Thank you," Lillymon said, staring briefly at the symbol that Shoutmon had created that resembled himself, and wishing that he was here with her, before going back to unplastering herself. Eventually she managed to get most of the thicker parts of the webbing off her body, though there were still a multitude of sticky strands across her here and there.
"Here are your boots," E-Monitamon-2 said, offering them to her.
"Thank you," repeated Lillymon, taking them and pulling one back on. "But we have to get out of here now and quickly. You say there's someone that drew the Spiders off then we have to help her too. If they catch her then they'll eat her and we can't let that happen. No matter what."
"What do we do?" E-Monitamon-1 asked.
Lillymon blinked. The three of them were looking to her for guidance. Why? Why would they do something like that? She was the one that had gotten herself captured and into this mess in the first place. Yet they had displayed hopeful looking faces on their screens and were waiting for her to decide their next move.
She voiced those concerns moments later. "Why are you asking me? I'm not a leader. I got captured. I failed. You're the ones that rescued me."
"Yeah, but you're the one that gave us our chance to escape," E-Monitamon-3 said. "You're the one that was leading us through the forest before the Spiders came across us and you freed one of us from that web. You tried to distract the Spiders from us so that they would not look for us. What do you think we should do now?"
Lillymon felt quite flustered and really didn't know how to proceed – they were putting far too much faith in her for their liking. But considering they appeared to be waiting on her word and she didn't want to disappoint them she pushed herself unsteadily to her feet, her legs stiff after so long being mostly immobile.
"Well, uh…" she stuttered. "I guess we… have to help that other person and then get the heck out of here."
"And how do we do that?" E-Monitamon-1 asked.
"One second," Lillymon said, reaching around behind her and pulling a few more strands of silk from her back, before slowly and carefully unfolding her four wings. The Spiders had pinned them down underneath her arms when wrapping her up to maximise the chances of her being able to unfold them and escape. And thankfully they didn't appear to be showing any signs of further damage despite her prolonged captivity.
Lillymon looked up at her injured wing, which had considerably worsened during her wild escape attempt from the Spiders before. But now, after a long time of her wing literally being held straight underneath the silk wrappings it had actually almost completely healed again. It was still a little raw and not totally straightened out yet but it was actually quite close.
"Well, I suppose some good came out of me being trapped in those webs for so long," she murmured. Then she turned towards the Monitamon and said, "Which way did the Spiders go then?"
"That way," E-Monitamon-1 pointed northwards.
"Alright," Lillymon said. "Then… I guess that we head over that way and see what we can do."
Tauriel had managed to kill another three Spiders as she madly darted through the trees with some of the others on her trail, but there were still at least ten of them after her and all angrier than ever. Though to be honest, Tauriel wasn't counting them. She was just keeping ahead of them as best she could, but they were getting closer to her.
Still, she was holding her own. She was the Captain of the Guard of Mirkwood for a reason after all.
She fled from one Spider that was flailing at her with its palps and fangs and ran towards the base of a tree, planting a foot on it and flinging herself upwards and into a backflip without breaking her pace, as the Spider crashed into the tree face-first. Tauriel landed next to it and plunged her dagger into its side to finish it off, but was forced to running again as two more thundered towards her.
As she slid underneath a half-fallen log and whirled around to fire an arrow over the top of it that took down another of the Spiders she turned around and blanched slightly at what she saw, her face twisting into a grimace moments later. There were yet more Spiders hurtling towards her from the recesses of the woods. Apparently her battle with these ones had been detected by another group from nearby, this one even larger than the last, and they all wanted a piece of that action.
Perhaps this had not been such a good idea after all.
Another Spider cut off her thinking as it rounded the log and leapt at her. Tauriel moved without thinking and cartwheeled onto the log as it landed where she had been, shooting it at close range with another angle before she ran up the diagonal trunk, seeking to make another leap over the group of Spiders and continue heading North. But as she sprang into a forwards flip off the edge of the log and over the heads of the Spiders yet again, something shot through the trees at high speed and seized her by the ankles while she was in mid-flip, jerking her out of her trajectory and yanking her through the air in a northerly direction.
"What?!" Tauriel gasped, seizing her dagger and thinking a Spider had managed to hit her out of nowhere, until she looked up. She was shocked to see that the being holding her ankle was a humanoid with a pink dress decorated with yellow leaf-patterns on the top half, long green arm gloves adorned with petal-like decorations at the wrists and no hand covers, blurring wings and a pink flower on her head over her ivy-like hair.
It could only be the creature that had been held captive by the Spiders before. For one thing it was wearing the boots the Monitamon had been holding before. For another the Monitamon themselves where holding onto her legs and arms as best they could.
"Sorry for the rough entrance!" Lillymon called down.
"You must be Lillymon," Tauriel stated.
"Yes, I must," nodded Lillymon. "Thank you for distracting the Spiders away from me so my friends could rescue me."
"My pleasure, but right now we still have to escape from them," Tauriel relaxed so she was being carried upside down and could look back at the oncoming Spider horde which had increased significantly in number, while Lillymon dodged and shot around the trees. The Spiders were catching up with her, weighed down as she was with the Elf she was carrying upside-down.
Tauriel pulled another arrow from her quiver – many Elves had lodestones built into the bottom of their quivers to keep their arrows from falling out at inconvenient times so all the ones she had not loosed where still in there even at this angle – and fired into the ranks, felling a Spider and causing a small pile up behind it as others ran into it, but others quickly recovered and scampered or around the fallen ones. The Elf quickly began to let fly with arrow after arrow, her aim true even despite the unusual angle and Lillymon's ducking and whirring and attempt to keep Tauriel from hitting the branches and avoiding more webs in the process.
"Any ideas?" Lillymon called down to her.
"Keep heading north!" Tauriel called. "Things will work out!"
Lillymon frowned in bemusement but did as instructed, trying to increase her pace as the Spiders surged along after them. But Tauriel reached down to her side and pulled a small horn from her waist, fitting it into her mouth and blowing into it, producing a loud and slightly reedy sounding blaring noise.
"Now put me down!" she said. "We don't want them to think that you're trying to abduct me."
Lillymon was about to question who, but decided to hold the questions for the consequences of what Tauriel was saying sounded serious. She swooped low to the ground and gave Tauriel the flip she needed to land on her feet and continue running with pause, and the two of them hurried along, side by side, neither knowing anything much about the other but allied through their mutual dislike of and pursuit by the Spiders.
"They freed the creature!" one of the Spiders yelled. "Don't let them get away!"
"Well, they really want you, don't they?" Tauriel said as she ran.
"I'd prefer that I stay out of their reach, thank you," Lillymon stated.
"You and me both," Tauriel agreed.
"They're getting closer!" one of the Monitamon cried as the Spiders hurtled along towards them.
But at that moment there was another loud and nearly identical blaring sound from directly up ahead – another horn being blown. Lillymon blinked and then started as a volley of arrows lanced seemingly out of nowhere through the trees and swept towards them, lashing right by them on all sides to fall upon the front ranks of the Spiders like weaponised hailstones. The front score or so of Spiders were felled instantly and piled up in front of the others, which pulled to a halt and let loose screeches and clicks by the dozen.
And though Lillymon could hardly claim to speak Spider, she thought that they sounded not only angry, but also fearful. The Spiders were scared.
And apparently they had good reason to be, for Tauriel turned around and unleashed another arrow from her bow. And appearing out of the trees all around her, some from behind trunks, some from the undergrowth and some in the branches, came more Elves. Around thirty of them, male and female alike but all with long, flowing hair and pointed ears and each one with bows in their hands and arrows at the ready, unleashing another volley into the Spider horde. It was the rest of Tauriel's scouting party that she had left to strike out on her own for a while before.
The redstart that Tauriel had sent off into the woodlands landed on a branch besides Tauriel and chirped, puffing out its chest and looking pleased with itself.
"Thanks my friend," Tauriel nodded to it, and unleashed another arrow along with the multitude of other Elves around them.
Despite the fact that the Spiders held the superior number now, they had no hope of gaining any further ground underneath the near avalanche of arrows that fell amongst them, riddling their bodies with wounds and felling them where they stood by the score. The Elves were quick, efficient and deadly and they took no prisoners. Certainly not any Spider prisoners. And though each one of them were wondering what the heck Lillymon and the Monitamon were supposed to be they were all putting the question aside for now. If they were with Tauriel then they were not the enemy – they were sure of that.
"Whoa, these guys are good," E-Monitamon-3 said, as Lillymon landed and they hopped off her.
"No kidding," E-Monitamon-1 agreed.
Lillymon turned back to look at the Spiders, which where shrieking, flailing and scuttling about as the arrow hordes rained down upon them. Her eyes narrowed slightly and she murmured, "Well, as long as we're not running away anymore… I do have to pay them back a little for earlier." And she clapped her hands together.
Tauriel, watching out of the corner of her eye, faltered in surprise when she saw the petals on her arm-gloves grow around her hands and then peel back to reveal something like a metal tube that had not previously been there, which Lillymon pointed at the Spiders.
"FLOWER CANNON!" she yelled.
All of the Elves were startled by the blast of green energy blast that burst from the tip of the cannon and bolted across the woods to crash into the Spider ranks and obliterate two of them where they stood. The Spiders squealed in agitation but another bolt of energy from the same source that vaporised another two convinced them that this wasn't worth it anymore. Their prey had escaped them and now they were dying by the dozen. They had been taken off guard and now they had little option but to turn and run, or die.
The Elves were not know for long lapses and despite their initial shock at the blasts they quickly recovered and continued their arrow barrage, felling several more of the backrunning Spiders as they scuttled away back into the trees. Lillymon sent off one final Flower Cannon as a goodbye, which hit the ground right behind the backmost Spider's abdomen and exploded, catapulting it into the air and sending it flailing about fifteen feet before landing with a thud on its back. It didn't kill the Spider but it was quite satisfying to see it happen. But the Spider, with effort, flipped back on to its front and moved off after the others.
The Elves did not pursue. They knew the enemy well, and if they followed they knew they could find themselves in a trap instead if they walked right into a Spider lair and got surrounded. Better to call this a victory and make sure they all got out alive than do something stupid and reckless like that.
But now they were all staring at Lillymon warily. None of them pointed their arrows at her, but each one of them had one notched to the string of their bows and their arms tensed just in case they needed to pull back and let fly.
"Captain Tauriel," one of the Elves, a tall male, stepped forwards. "You found yourself in trouble again, I see."
"This time it was deliberate," Tauriel chuckled, without taking her eyes off Lillymon as the Digimon lowered her hands and dispelled her Flower Cannon.
"And you have company," the Elf stated needlessly, scanning Lillymon with his eyes. "Of… an unusual sort."
"Indeed, Fion," Tauriel agreed. "A very unusual sort if I do say so myself. You needn't ask me what they are, for I only know a little more than you at this stage. However, I believe I can assure you all that they are friendly. They helped me to get out of range of those Spiders after all. The small ones asked me to rescue the other one, for she had been caught by those self-same Spiders."
Her words caused the other Elves around her to relax a little more, but they were still wary.
Lillymon pulled another strand of Spider silk from her shoulder. "I… I want to thank you for what you did for me back there. Without your help, I would still be back there in the clutches of those… monsters. But thanks to you, I'm okay and I'm free."
"It was my pleasure," Tauriel nodded. "I owed those Spiders a good battle for encroaching on our lands anyway."
"What… exactly where they?" Lillymon asked.
"We have no name for their kind other than that of the Giant Spider," Tauriel replied. "Dreaded spawn of the ancient monster Ungoliant, trying to spread their evil across the forest lands. Wretched beasts. They're starting to become bolder with the rise of the Shadow to the South. But right now they are not the question here. The question here is you. Your Monitamon friends tell me that you're lost, Lillymon."
"Yes. Very lost," Lillymon nodded. "So lost that we're not even sure which world we are in."
"How can you possibly not know that?" Fion asked in bemusement. "Is this not the same world that you have always lived in? Where do you beings come from and what are you so called?"
"Um… well, we come from the Digital World. Is this it?" Lillymon asked hopefully.
Tauriel shook her head. "We do not know of such a place. This world is known as Eä and has been ever since the Ainur first gave it form. We do not know of any other. And this land in particular is Mirkwood, in Middle Earth."
"So it's not the Human World either," Lillymon sighed. "Oh no. Now what are we supposed to do? How can we possibly get back home?"
"Are we going to be lost forever?" E-Monitamon-2 asked.
"What happened to all the others?" E-Monitamon-3 questioned.
"I really don't know," Lillymon replied sadly.
"You are saying that you are not from Eä itself?" Tauriel asked, eyes wide.
"I've never heard of it so I assume we must be," Lillymon nodded. "And we are Digimon. We come from the Digital World. We have never heard of your kind before. Elves did you say it was?"
"I did," Tauriel nodded. "I am Tauriel, Captain of the Guard of Mirkwood and the Court of King Thranduil."
"I'm Lillymon. And you've already met the Monitamon here."
"Hello," all three of them chorused, displaying their happy face symbols and bemusing a lot of the Elves around them.
Tauriel shook her head. "I really… don't know how to react to this news. I am now positive that you are not servants of evil but all the same… your story and claims are wild beyond imagining. And yet never have we seen anything like before. Now two-legged being of your stature in Middle Earth that we know of has wings. And thought you seem to be akin to a plant, you are clearly not an Ent."
"I don't know what that is either," Lillymon said.
"Wait one second," Fion voiced. "Are you saying that all four of you are Digimon? Is that some sort of team name or are you saying that is the name of your species?"
"Species, yes," Lillymon nodded. "We might look different but we are the same species. We just come in many different types. I am a Lillymon and they're Monitamon. But you are all Elves, yes. And yet you all look quite similar except for a few differences like hair colour. You're like humans in that respect. They live in another universe opposite ours but this is apparently not that word either."
"You are hard to fathom, Lillymon," Tauriel said, with a chuckle. "But whatever the case if you are lost then it would be our pleasure to offer you sanctuary as long as you have no ill will towards our people, which I do not believe you do."
"Really?" Lillymon's face lit up and the Monitamon's screens did the same. "You would do that?"
"Oh yes," nodded Tauriel. "What else could we do? Leave you to wander around in the woods and potentially run into more Spiders. They are growing in number and spreading across the length of the forest, but in the Kingdom you would be safe from them."
"Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!" Lillymon cried, buzzing into the air and grabbing the surprised Tauriel in a hug around her neck. "We're in your debt and we won't forget this, I promise."
"No worries," Tauriel laughed. "And besides, I feel King Thranduil will be most interested to meet you. You can tell me all about yourselves and your race as we go. We were about the return anyway now that our scouting mission is done. It make take us a day to get there at a fast pace but you're welcome to stay with us."
"Thank you again," Lillymon beamed as she backed away. "But, there could be other Digimon somewhere around here. I'm not sure if we were the only Digimon that was transported into this world or not but I don't think we were. If you see anything strange, can you please not shoot it until you're sure it's not a Digimon. Our friends come in all kinds of shapes and sizes."
"Agreed," Tauriel nodded. "And I look forward to hearing more about you and your friends. As well as what exactly you just did to those Spiders with your hands. Come Elves. We depart for the Kingdom immediately."
The Elves nodded wordlessly and stowed their arrows, heading over to the Spider corpses nearby to retrieve what arrows they could reuse at a later date. Lillymon sighed. It had not exactly been the best introduction to this new world but now it seemed that things were looking up.
Still, she wished Shoutmon was here.
But at the same time, her capture by the Spiders and her intense fear and terror while during their clutches had assured her of one thing inside her own mind. She was no more positive than ever that she was not worthy of being Shoutmon's mate. She was more sure than ever that she was not worthy of being the Digimon Queen.
Okay, well many of you may know that I am taking a slight risk with this chapter. Tauriel the Elf is not an invention of mine. She is an OC Elf that has been created for the Hobbit films by Peter Jackson. Since she did not appear in the books we do not know what her story or her fate will be in those films, so she may actually die sixty years before the events of this story come to pass. If that happens in the later Hobbit films I will double back to this chapter and replace her name with that of an Elf that will be of my own making. But for now, she is here and unless she dies in the films, she is here to stay.
Still, I hope that you enjoyed this chapter and you can all rest easy now in the knowledge that Lillymon will be fine and definitely not eaten by the Spiders. I enjoyed writing the scenes against the Spiders immensely, and I look forward to writing more LOTR fight scenes in the future.
Dracomon and Cyberdramon have been roaming the snow-filled mountains of the North since they arrived, finding nothing but more snow-filled mountains as they went. But now they're about to stumble across what they were looking for. Here be dragons.
Coming up:- Chapter 23 : The Withered Heath