The Friends of the Stones:
Part Fifteen: Four, Four, and Two.
By Debbie (Dai-chan) and Chicobo, too!
Blaze, Ghost, and Sleet charged themselves into the clearing with the grove of willow trees as the boundary of the protected area of the Friends of the Stones. They then arranged themselves in an aggressive line, their legs spread, their fangs bared, growling in their throats. Blaze's red eyes were like wildfire, hungry to attack. Ghost's wolfish eyes were narrowed, alert for any ambush. Sleet's long ears were cautiously pulled back, listening for any betrayal of sounds.
Amayamon was just stepping back as her brother tumbled to the ground, limping against a tree. Akemimon was holding his side, the side his sister has wounded back in the temple. His face was deathly pale, his eyes tensely shut. Amayamon turned around at the growls behind her and took a disbelieved gaze on the boys. Then she smirked.
"Well, what're you waiting for? Go ahead and attack."
As one, three pairs of fists targeted for the Female, each pair glowing with fiery orange, night blue, and snow white.
"No!" a feminine voice broke through their concentration. A small butterfly-winged, petal-clad Digimon appeared in front, bravely facing the boys.
"Do not attack here with your powers!" she shouted. "This's a protected place! If you use violence here with your powers, may the Digi help us, you will destroy our worlds!"
Ghost saw the truth tensing in her body, and he quickly cast down the other boys' fists, holding back the attacks. He turned to the female fairy. "Dasalmon! Are you all right?"
Dasalmon was beaten, blue-black bruises on her limbs, and one of her white wings was slightly charred. She looked like she wanted to break down in tears. She went to wrap her tiny arms around his neck, tears streaming from beneath her white-tinted mask. "Oh, Guardian, I'm so sorry! I was attacked from behind near here. I was powerless to stop Amayamon. I failed as a Guardian."
As the other Digidestined appeared behind the boys, a tear-eyed Dasalmon drifted for Sky, seeking comfort in her arms. When she saw how terrible the Digimon looked, Sky scowled and glared up to Amayamon, as the others did.
Amayamon took a leering gaze at the ten children, then turned away. "You are too late. I already set the Digistones here." She pointed downward. Behind her, a circle of crude-looking knee-level columns was settled on the snow-covered ground, seven around one. The children immediately recognized it as the Circle of the Crests, but surely, something about it was wrong.
The Female chuckled amusingly. "The prophecy says it takes only eight stones to activate the circle." She the opened her fists, which were in front of her. In one, there was the diamond-shaped stone, and in the other, the cone-shaped stone rested. "Your Digistones are worthless, Keeper, Saint."
Sleet and Dawn frowned, inwardly wincing as the Female carelessly dropped the stones to the ground.
Akemimon was stirring, creaking his eyelids open. "Sister . . . Don't do it. It's wrong, and you know it."
"Silence," Amayamon hissed at him, then faced the stones. She raised her arms. "Behold the power of the Stones!"
The children watched in helpless silence as, one by one, the eight Digistones set in the columns began to glow. Fiery orange, blood red, pale green, misty grey-blue, vivid violet, night blue, pearly silver, then at last, golden yellow in the center. Eight vertical beacons of the colors blast from the stones, reaching for the heavens. The very moment they touched the sky, the children knew there was something wrong.
The sky seemed to grow darker, sky blue, night blue, indigo, then now a disturbing blackish-grey shade. No clouds stirred, staying in place, but now pitch black. The calm air shifted into powerful gusts, lurching the branches wildly. Leaves whirled around like cyclones, stinging the children's skin. Cloaks thrashed berserkly around them as the Digidestined clustered together, some daring to watch. Dasalmon huddled in Sky's protective arms. Colorful lights illuminated the tense, anguished features, breathtaking but deadly. Akemimon was curled up in to a secure ball, an arm up to shield his face.
Amidst, Amayamon was unmoving in her place, arms raised, her skirt and red-streaked lavender hair swaying, stinging. Her emerald eyes were full with ravenous ambition, reflecting the colors.
The beacons seemed to shift for a moment, then suddenly entwined themselves into a single beam of rainbow colors, in the center. Unexpectedly, it lashed for Amayamon. She couldn't even give out a scream as she was enveloped in the aura of the rainbow. It seemed that the Digistones were enraged for being used disgracefully and send the forceful beam to demolish her.
"Do something!" Akemimon bellowed, his voice crying out for his sister.
The children hesitated, but eight of them felt mercy twinging in their chests. They will not be again tainted by death. Taking breaths, Blaze, Sky, Petal, Dew, Spark, Ghost, Moon, and Angel blared at the same time, "STOP!!"
Swiftly, obediently, the beam released Amayamon from its death hold, she collapsing to the ground, then it untwined into single beacons of the colors. They lowered into the Digistones and stopped illuminating. Abruptly, the weather calmed down, the sky now back to its state of darkening blue of the night. Leaves floated downward around the children, who stood in dazed silence.
All at once, the Digistones elevated up in the air, plus the two tossed Digistones, and glided over to the children. They came to rest in their open hands, cool and innocent. Akemimon crawled over to his sister and gingerly embraced her in his brotherly arms. Amayamon was deep in a stupor, her body slackened, her face pale. Strangely, her body wasn't injured in any way. Perhaps, the Digistones sought to harm her in their own way.
"What just happened here?" Sleet demanded as he and his friends moved closer to them.
Akemimon answered, his face anguished. "Something is wrong. It must be something with the Friends of the Stones."
"The circle must be right," Sky said, stepping closer to the stone circle. "It's the Circle of the Crests . . ." She blinked, beholding the eight emblazoned symbols. "Of course! That's the Circle of the Crests, not the Friends of the Stones! The Circle doesn't have the symbols of Soul and Light. That's what's wrong. It means to fool us!"
"You finally sought it!" Dasalmon grinned, hugging Sky's neck with joy.
"The Digistones must have attacked Amayamon because she used them wrong," Dew said.
"So, what should we do to find the real Friends of the Stones?" Sleet asked.
All the children gazed over at Akemimon for support. The Male tightened his lips, then sighed. "Think, Digidestined. What made everything changed since that moment?"
"The discovery of Sleet's power," Blaze said.
"The disappearance of our Digimon," Sky replied.
"The Medawmon's attack," Petal remembered.
When Akemimon shook his head, some children frowned, puzzled, as the others kept on recalling. One did - Dawn. Her ivory eyes just glowed brighter, and she tugged on her brother's shirt. "Blaze, I think what made everything changed was when Moon, Spark, and Dew spoke the riddle."
"The riddle!" Blaze recalled. Turning to Sleet, he said, "Get out your journal."
"Don't bother," Dew's voice halted them. "We were the ones who said it. We remember it still."
"But it could be a trick sent by Amayamon," Ghost said. "Besides, I thought you didn't remember it."
Moon shook her head, smiling. "It was our warning to you. We were trying to warn you about the dangers, your last chance to stop everything before it happened."
"But it already did," Spark also smiled, this time remorseful.
"Perhaps, it meant to happen," Dasalmon soothed the three penitent children.
"Would you recite it for us?" Petal asked.
Dew began, "'By the Stones that exist for ages, We shall digiunite with our selves.'"
"'Ten they are, different for purposes that bring peace and peril to us,'" Moon continued.
Then, "'Four stones that connect with the Outside, Four stones that connect with the Inside, and Two that connect them all,'" Spark added.
"'Set them in a circle, Eight of them, The two will join when the time is right,'" the trio finished together.
The other children were silent, worried puzzlement on their faces. "I don't understand any of this," Angel spoke quietly.
Dew sighed, nodding. "We don't understand this, either. We only spoke it out, but never knew the meaning of this."
"Then I will help you understand it," Dasalmon spoke from Sky's arms.
"No, Dasalmon," Akemimon voiced back, settling his sister down. He then stood and shook his head. "The children must do it on their own."
Dasalmon scowled, hovering out of Sky's arms. She faced him, glaring hotly. "That's the problem. They had to suffer, had to experience those horrible incidents! They are just children! They shouldn't have to see what they're not supposed to encounter!"
"They must!" Akemimon snapped, his own features scowling. "They have to learn!"
The fairy Digimon's body stiffened, her voice soft. "You're right. They have to learn." Then her voice grew hot. "But not this way!" Turning away, she then hovered down to the children's eye level. "I will help you understand about this riddle. Do you understand the meaning of the Outer Powers, Inner Powers, and United Powers?"
The children' faces were bewildered at this, even insightful Spark. Dasalmon bit on her lower lip. They were only children, but they do have deep understanding inside. Only if she could help them find it. Then the worlds would be saved. "Let me explain. The Outer Powers are what you touch in Nature. Something you can touch, feel. There's four of them."
"Something you can touch?" Blaze mused. When the Digimon nodded, he shrugged, "Fire, you mean?"
Dasalmon forced herself to bite on her lower lip. They weren't still understanding it. "Yes, you are right."
"Fire, Water, Earth, and Air are the Outer Powers, something you can touch and feel. Is that right?" Spark questioned to Dasalmon. The Digimon grinned, again nodded.
"Then what are the Inner Powers?" Ghost asked.
"The Inner Powers are what you have inside yourself, making you who you are," Dasalmon said.
"Shadow, Lightning, Ice, and Spirit?" Moon said.
"But you can touch Ice, and you can see Lightning and Shadow," Petal objected, perplexed.
"There's more to being seen and touched," Akemimon said, stepping in. "The Inner Powers are mental, different from the Outer Powers."
"Now, you're helping?" Dasalmon glared at him with a smirk.
"It's the best I can do," Akemimon mumbled back.
"Will you explain the whole thing?" Blaze asked, his face tense and determined. "No riddles, understand? We have enough of this."
Akemimon made a half-smile. "Understood." He knelt down, continuing, "The Outer Power are physical, the Inner Powers are mental, and the United Powers are what you need to made you complete."
"Complete?" Moon questioned.
"Like Nature, you need all ten powers to be complete. Fire is like energy that you possess. If you don't have it, nothing will never be accomplished. Energy is found in every entity, some so powerful that it is feared, others faint and passive. The Master has the most determined energy of the Digidestined, and that's why he is chosen as the leader of the Digidestined.
"Earth is like a mortal body to live in. If you don't have a body, life is tragic because you would be disembodied. The Guide is the one who keeps the Digidestined together in hidden purposes that not even she knows about. She reminds them about honesty, and she has such strength to face the truth.
"Water is balance, focus that you learn to equalize yourself with the others. Even though you have energy, you wouldn't fulfill purposes without balance. Being the oldest, the Reconciler knows the responsibility he has to watch over his younger companions. He also, in return, reminds them about how important teamwork is.
"Air is merely breaths you need to survive, yet there's more to it. What is more beautiful about them is that winds are faithful and devoted. They constantly fly, refusing to surrender. The Seeker is like that. She continues to bestow love and heart to her companions, helping them to keep trust in their hearts. That are the Outer Powers.
"You need Inner Powers to be 'personified'. Without them, you would be nothing, even though you have the Outer Powers. Shadow is sight. Without light, you couldn't even originate something. You use light to see what is there, but sometimes, you don't need light to see everything. You must see the truth behind illusions, only then you will see the reality. The Seer has the talent to see with both light and shadow. She can encounter hidden emotions and feelings and shares her understanding to them.
"Lightning connects with your mind. Lightning remembers, protects the memories. Knowledge doesn't only mean information and facts. It means wisdom and instincts that you learn to rely on. They are the only things you have to entrust. The Warder has devotion to defend knowledge for his companions and offers to assist them to succeed. He always remembers.
"Spirit is an unique soul you possess inside."
"Wait a second," Sleet interrupted in. "I'm puzzled. How come my crest represents Soul when Ghost has the Power of Spirit? I mean, Spirit is Soul, right?"
Akemimon nodded in agreement. "Yes, Spirit is Soul, but Soul itself is Self. Having a soul makes you who you are. The Guardian has a special spirit that reflects in the others, but only he has the friendship to personify. You need self to be complete. You are the Last Digidestined, arrived here to make the Digidestined complete."
Sleet crossed his arms, smirking. "Interesting. How can you explain how my Crest of Soul is connected to Ice? Ice seems cold, lifeless to me."
The Male smiled back. "Not even I can explain it. You might have to figure it out on your own, Keeper."
As the Keeper grew silent, Dawn asked, "Are Life and Death the United Powers?"
"Yes, little Saint. They are balanced. They are actually the completion of the Outer and Inner Powers. Life is the Positive Face, and Death is the Negative Face, but even so, they do have two sides to themselves. I believe I don't have to explain why the Savior and the Saint are connected to them. It's always being that way for the eternity. Even though we Digimon are made of computer data, and the Digital World is a shadow world to yours, still, there are always bits of nature in the digital data. Always."
Dasalmon added, "You are the first, and, perhaps, the only Digidestined who are able to draw in Nature's Powers through digital data."
The children absorbed the precious knowledge, overwhelmed and drawn by this. Who knows how the Digital World works? Angel was the first to break the awed silence. "What should we do now?"
"Put your Digistones in the Friends of the Stones to stop the curse," Dasalmon answered.
"But this's not the Friends of the Stones," Petal said, gazing over to the stones. All of a sudden, she found two completely different set of ten stones, instead of one circle of seven around one. "Oh! What happened?"
Spark replied, "As we understand the rightful meaning of our purposes and powers, the Friends of the Stones must appeared to reveal their correct positions."
"Well spoken, Spark," Sleet grinned.
The children went to take a good look at the real Friends of the Stones. It looked like two rings of stones around two flat stones. The outside circle was four tall grey pillars, reaching for the sky, each facing the four main direction - North, East, South, and West. The pillars were emblazoned with the symbols of the crests in each direction - Reliability facing North, Love facing East, Courage facing South, and Sincerity facing West.
Similar to the outside circle, the inside ring was four waist-length columns, inward and between the pillars. Each also faced the inner directions, and they were also stamped with the crests symbols - Soul facing Southeast, Friendship facing Southwest, Knowledge facing Northwest, and Empathy facing Northeast. And in the center, two flat stones set in the ground, one having the symbol of Hope and the other was symbolized with Light, both laying side by side.
Each kid went to his/her own stone. Blaze saw his crest symbol of an eight-pointed star on the inside side of his pillar at his head level. Below it, there was a star-shaped cavity marked on the surface, apparently that Blaze could fit his four-pointed star stone in. He thought it over, then placed it in the cavity.
Unexpectedly, the pillar glowed with a fiery orange light, even for an instant. There was a sound, like the sound of firewood suddenly crackling. It seemed to fill the air, most likely vibrate the very air, the crackle rippling through the nearby bodies, and startled the children. Dawn even cried out in alarm. As the glow vanished from the pillar, the crackle fading, Blaze turned to grin sheepishly at the alarmed friends.
"Blaze! You would have warned us," Sky said from her pillar, shakily.
"It just happened. It will be fine," Blaze soothed his mate.
Sky went ahead and set her stone of a fossilized feather in the cavity below her crest symbol of a hollowed heart on the pillar. The pillar glowed with a blood red light, softly radiating, and Blaze heard the sound of a spring breeze whistling though budding leaves. Then the whistle and glow faded.
One by one, Blaze listened to various sounds activated by the rest of the pillars and columns as the children set their Digistones in the shaped cavities. The pale green-glowing pillar made the odd sound of vines crawling up a tree, and the grey blue-glowing pillar had the sound of gentle waves billowing against smooth rocks. At first, he thought light never made any sound, but as strange as it was, the pearly silver-glowing column did cause a peculiar sound, much like a small silver bell jingling. The night blue-glowing column seemed to howl, much like a sorrowful wolf calling for the moon. The vivid violet-glowing column gave out the sound of thunder crashing at a stormy night. There was the sound of ice snapping in the spring thaw from the snow white-glowing column.
To Blaze's surprise, the golden yellow and pale pink-glowing stones didn't make any sound, but he could feel the air ripple from them, sensing strong feelings of Life and soothing touches of Death passing through his body.
Each kid stood by their own stones, waiting. When nothing happened, they became bewildered, gazing over to each other for any comprehension. "Akemimon," Blaze called, turning to him, "What next?"
"Face the Savior and Saint, and give your power. Think, Master, about how you feel when you first defeated yourself."
Blaze grimaced, but went to stand with the pillar behind his back, facing the waiting Angel and Dawn. The rest went to do the same. Sky, Petal, and Dew stood in front of the pillars. Moon, Ghost, Spark, and Sleet stood behind the columns, placing their hands upon the top. All faced inward to Angel and Dawn, who stood on their flat stones.
Musing about Akemimon's words, Blaze closed his red eyes. What did he feel when he first defend himself? At first, he was afraid, afraid of face himself. He never experienced such fear, but then . . . He found courage. He used courage to defeat himself. After that, he felt . . . complete.
Dasalmon gasped as a simple glare of fiery orange encircling the silent Blaze. He was peaceful, his red-streaked dusky hair and cloak softly rustling, although there was no wind present. The other kids reacted in astonishment. Then she heard Blaze speaking the words not in his own voice, but one of a passionate, dauntless psyche with a fiery voice.
"By the Power of Fire, I, the Master of Myself, command you, Flames of Hearts, to roar with me."
Then his eyes opened, now aglow with the same fiery orange aura he possessed. He stared past the alarmed Angel and Dawn, staring into somewhere else only he knew. He was completely soundless, his cloak continuously swishing, continuously staring, as if he was simply waiting.
"Do what the Master did," Akemimon's calm voice broke through the terrified silence. "Find yourself inside."
Wings fluttering anxiously, Dasalmon watched as the children did as told, their eyes closed, their faces concentrated. The Savior and Saint were not doing anything, watching with worry at the older kids. She understood. They were just children. They shouldn't do anything like that.
"By the Power of Earth, I, the Guide of Truth, command you, Heart-Flowers of Mine, to blossom," murmured Petal in a comely, pure voice as she was now surrounded in a fair green light, a light smile on her lips. Her hair and cloak also swayed in a hidden breeze. She opened her eyes, which were now a pale green glow, now staring into a hidden scene.
"By the Power of Water, I, the Reconciler of Harmony, command you, Waves of Peace, to sing along with me," Dew's voice seemed to trill softly, his body covered by a misty grey-blue aura. As his cloak and blue-streaked black hair began to wave, his eyes opened up and stared at nowhere with the same light of mist radiating.
Now surrounded by a bold blood-red light, Sky chirped out with all her heart, "By the Power of Air, I, the Seeker of Love, command you, Breaths of All, to heed my call." As her eyes opened, now blazing red, she again spoke, "Let the Outer Powers link."
Dasalmon saw something astonishing. The entranced children's auras just glowed brighter as they raised their arms toward two children at their sides as if they were linking themselves to them. It happened at the exact same time. Blaze fired beams of fiery orange at Ghost at his right and at Sleet at his left; Petal emitted rays of pale green for Ghost at her left and for Spark at her right; Dew aimed slivers of misty grey-blue toward Spark at his left, and toward Moon at his right; and at last, streaks of blood red shot from Sky's outreached hands for Moon at her left, and for Sleet at her right.
The four children winced at the force of the light beams. Ghost grabbed on his column to brace himself from the power, his face growing pale. Sleet slightly groaned, jerking his head to one side. Spark stifled a tortured gasp, lowering his head to steady himself. Moon gave out a whimper, but bit it, using her column for support. Their eyes were still closed, still concentrating. Then, as one, they straightened their bodies up, finally found themselves.
The glows of orange and green that surrounded Ghost now shifted into a starless blue aura as his cloak and hair swayed by a mysterious breeze. Ghost voiced out, his voice ethereal and gossamer-like, "By the Power of Spirit, I, the Guardian of the Digidestined, command you, Ghosts of the Digital World, to stand beside me." Then his eyes opened to glow with the color of an empty night sky.
As the glows of green and grey-blue mingled into an aura of vivid violet, surrounding Spark, he spoke out, his voice powerful and thunderously, "By the Power of Lightning, I, the Warder of Memories, command you, Psyches of the Hidden, to remember the Forgotten." His fiery red hair swayed as he opened his eyes. They were glowing dark, dark, violet.
"By the Power of Light, I, the Seer of Time, command you, Shadows of Humanity, to help me see the Reality," Moon murmured with a voice that tinkled like a metallic chime. The glows of grey-blue and night blue merged into a pearly silver aura, lining her cloaked body, and her eyes now ignited with the silver light.
"By the Power of Ice, I, the Keeper of the Chosen, command you, All Souls of Mine, to see the True Self," Sleet drawled with a solid and glazed voice as the glows of red and orange stirred around him into a snow white light. His eyes opened, now radiating white, and he spoke out, "Let the Inner Powers link."
The four pairs of glowing eyes were staring past Angel and Dawn, who already entwined their hands together, facing each other, both for support and sanctuary. Their eyes of azure and ivory locked on each other, exchanging as much as comfort as they could give. Dasalmon's heart clenched. They looked so frightened, but so brave for such small and young children.
The inner four children raised their hands in one smooth motion, the hands together this time, aiming for the youngsters. Ghost emitted a beam of the night blue toward them; Spark charged a sliver of dark violet to them; Moon shot a pale silver ray at them; and at last, Sleet aimed a white streak of the snow for them. The glows of blue, violet, silver, and white encircled the youngest Digidestined as they smothered back moans of agony. Their eyes shut tight, their bodies stiffened to steady themselves from the force.
Dasalmon was so engrossed by the mystical presentation that she almost didn't hear an upset, enraged grunt from her. She jerked her head up. She forgot all about Amayamon! Whirling around along with Akemimon, she then saw the female Digimon, escaped from her trance, just now leaping up in the air. She looked ferocious, her emerald eyes flashing with venom.
"No!" Dasalmon's given heart just throbbed rapidly, and she prepared to go after the Female in hopes to stop her from destroying everything, only to being held back by Akemimon's large hand around her diminutive leg. She distressfully shook off his hold and glared downward. "What're you doing?! She's going to destroy the children!!"
Akemimon calmly shook his head. "The children know what to do. They are the Digidestined."
Troubled, not understanding, Dasalmon confronted the scene. Already, Angel and Dawn were surrounded with their auras of gold yellow and bright pink, their bodies standing firm and ready, their eyes now glowing gold and pink, staring at each other. The glows of the colors illuminated everything in sight, and Dasalmon could feel the warmth from the glow, given by the Digidestined's strength and faith. Looking up, she now saw Amayamon hovering high above the children. Her hands were entwined, then opened to reveal a small orb of the black light, growing in size. She was going to call on her attack! Dasalmon yearned to stop her, but looking at Akemimon's tight, but calm face, she had to trust his belief and waited, her hidden eyes furiously gazing at both the Digimon and children.
Then something happened.
"By the Power of Life, I, the Savior of Hope, guide you to keep the Faith!"
"By the Power of Death, I, the Saint of Light, guide you to the Eternal Light!"
Dasalmon had her arms to shield her hidden eyes to brace herself from the incredible display. At the same time, two beams - one yellow and one pink vertically blast from the youngsters' bodies, so bright that, even with her protective mask, she had to shield her eyes from the flare. And at the same time, the beams struck Amayamon in her chest, destroying the incoming attack. Amayamon gave out a holler of untold agony as her body violently winced in the amidst of the beams.
Amayamon seemed to separate into two replicas of herself. The beams, somehow, attempted to strain her apart. Amayamon's black and blue clothing indicated to lighten in color into now pure white with pale blue stars scattering among her shoulders and the top of her skirt. Somehow, to Dasalmon's realization, the corruption that clutched her in control was getting yanked free by the Death Beam as the Life Beam guarded the now unconscious Amayamon. Now the beams were apart from each other, the yellow one containing the Female, and the pink one taking a firm harness on the shapeless corruption.
The yellow beam lowered Amayamon down to Akemimon, who took her gingerly in his arms. He appeared heavily relieved, settling his sister on the ground. Dasalmon gazed upward and saw that the corruption was struggling to pull free from the pink beam. Dawn tensed up, her inner strength combating with it. Angel continued giving his own strength to her, now supporting her body. The eight older children's faces tightened, pushing their power for her.
The corruption was too strong. It pulled free, hovering in the air, as the weakened pink beam languished into thin air. Her strength lost, Dawn slackened in Angel's arms, he appearing anguished. The corruption appeared angry, shifting in place above. The eight children now gazed up with glowing eyes of the rainbow, their eyes outraged. The corruption abruptly lunged downward for the kids. It aimed its deformed claws for Moon, Dew, and Spark! The three stiffened, but did nothing. Dasalmon tensed, wishing to halt it from harming them, but someone else did. Seven of them.
Collectively, Blaze, Ghost, Sleet, Sky, Petal, Angel, and Dawn thrust out rays of the rainbow colors toward the corruption. Powerful in wrath and sense of protection for their companions, the rays pounced upon the shapeless darkness, striking it out of the way, forcing it out of sight.
A soft chorus of moans caught Dasalmon's attention to the children. Their strengths gone, the children collapsed to the ground, the rainbow glows gone, their consciousness gone.
A whimpering sound, soft and worried, came from his side, and a warm muzzle nudged at his chest. It snuggled against him, then rubbed troublesomely on his cheek. Strangely, he no longer sensed body warmth, but he could sense that someone was near. Someone familiar. Someone once lost.
"Tai? Can you hear me? Please, Tai, wake up."
Groaning, he stirred a bit. He struggled to reach for the consciousness. Slowly, he realized that he was laying on his stomach, his cheek on the cool ground. Something - oh, he remembered - his cloak was partially covering his body, slightly rustling around his limbs. He felt coldness that he hadn't experienced for days. Instinctively, he huddled for warmth, then cracked his eyelids open. A blurred vision of yellow welcomed him. He shut tight his eyes to clear up the vision, then took a careful gaze at the yellow image. As the image sharpened, it looked familiar with the rows of small fangs pecking out a closed muzzle and bright emerald eyes.
"Are you all right, Tai?" the yellow image spoke, like growling, low and worried.
Searching for the familiarity in his beclouded memories, Taichi sat up, leaning back against a cool boulder, whatever it was, holding his groggy head. He remembered what was the yellow image - no, it was a small dinosaur. He stared at it for a moment.
The dino grinned. "You still remember!" He reached to embrace around Taichi's neck closely.
Stunned, the boy then hugged his long-missed Digimon guardian, his own tan eyes misted with new tears. He now cherished the friendly hug from the dino and the warmth radiating from him. "Of course," he spoke, his voice nearly breaking. "I wouldn't be much of a friend if I don't."
Agumon gazed up at him. "You are all right now. The world is finally safe."
Taichi took a gaze around his surroundings. He remembered he was at the Friends of the Stones. He saw his friends finally united with their missing Digimon, all of them thrilled and tear-eyed. Sora firmly held Biyomon in her welcoming arms as Palmon and Mimi were in a sincere embrace. Jyou joyfully joked with Gomamon as Yamato shared a friendly grin with Gabumon. Koushiro laughed, tear-eyed, with Tentomon as Kimika hoisted her Iyumon in her arms in delight. Takeru buried his smile in Patamon's orange fur as Gatomon purred thankfully in Hikari's arms. Elecmon simply placed his paw in Frankie's hand, both smiling.
But how? Taichi wondered. Why did the Digimon choose to wait until this to appear?
"You can be at ease, Master. You both will never be separated."
Taichi turned to the voice and gasped, hasting to his feet. Amayamon was standing near, smiling down at him. He quickly summoned his Fire Power and found it gone. He no longer felt the building heat in his chest, waiting for the order to be released. It was gone, completely gone. He felt almost empty, bewildered.
Agumon steadied him by a claw on his arm. "It's all right, Tai. Amayamon isn't corrupted anymore."
Taichi carefully studied the Digimon and found it true. Amayamon had a compassionate smile on her lips. Her clothing was no longer pitch-black and night blue, but now star-streaked snow-white. He then turned to Agumon. "But my power . . ."
"Reserved within for the future," answered a male voice. Akemimon appeared at Amayamon's side, also grinning widely, looking blessed to have his sister back. Dasalmon hovered nearby, relaxed.
"We don't have our powers anymore?" Taichi questioned as his friends gathered around him and his Digimon.
Akemimon nodded. "The Powers aren't needed now, so you are back to yourself."
"Did we destroy the curse?" Mimi asked.
"Well, you freed Amayamon from the curse, and also, your friends are free, too."
Kimika, Jyou, and Koushiro blinked, then reached to touch their right shoulders. The skin beneath their shirts was smooth, no longer scarred. Relieved grins appeared on their faces. "It's gone. Finally gone!" Kimika said, embracing her Iyumon in her arms.
"So, it's finally over," Takeru grinned blithely, his Patamon usually perched on his green-blue hat.
"Yes, Savior. It's finally over. The Digital World and your home world are at peace at last," Akemimon spoke.
"Not so fast," came the voice of Frankie. He stepped in front with his Elecmon at his side. "I'm pretty sure that we would like to know why. Why must this happen? We want to know what were the Digistones. They're gone."
Amayamon made a soft smile and said, "I believe your Digimon guardians can answer this."
The kids surprisingly gazed down to their Digimon, who shared secret smirks. "All right," Hikari murmured, staring suspiciously at her Gatomon's witty sapphire eyes. "What were the Digistones?"
"We are the Digistones," Gatomon replied casually, although there was a mischievous grin on her cat lips.
Tentomon spoke out, "I know it's puzzling, but let us explain. Akemimon called to us to leave you so you would learn to survive on our own. We didn't want to, but it was necessary."
"So that was you singing I heard," Yamato said, turning to Akemimon, recalling the night when he heard a male voice trilling to his Digimon and the others.
"Yes, it was he," Gabumon spoke from his usual side by the blond. "He transformed us into Digistones so we could digiunite with you guys by burning the crest marks on your palms."
Jyou peeked down to his exposed palms and saw that the burn marks were still there. He almost couldn't see them, vague scars of his crest symbol imprinted on the skin. "What do you mean, exactly? Digiunite?"
"Joe, you dimwit," Gomamon joked cheerfully. "You know about the transformations you have been through? Well, that happened when I digiunited with you."
"But how?" Jyou was incredible.
"Such things like this are best to remained unanswered, Reconciler," Akemimon said composedly. "Perhaps, someday, you could figure the answers on your own."
"So, what will we do now?" Frankie wondered. Suddenly, he received a strange warmth on his chest skin beneath his tan shirt as a soft white light glowed through the fabric. He drew something out - his Crest of Soul, which was now glistening in a white gleam, bathing the light on the surrounding faces, banishing the darkness around them. "Hey, what's happening?"
Amayamon appeared saddened. "I'm grieved to say this, but when his crest glows, it's time to go home."
"You mean, after all this, we can go home?" Hikari murmured, her eyes misted for the remembrance of her family.
"But what do you mean by when his crest glows, we must go home?" Koushiro pondered.
It was Frankie who answered, his eyes lowered. "Because I'm the only one who can get you home."
"Frankie, are you certain?" Sora questioned from near.
"You told me you wandered around here for a month because you couldn't find a way home. I'm the only one who can. I'm the Last Digidestined."
"But-" Mimi voiced out. "But, surely, we can get home with our crests."
"Your crests are dead," Akemimon simply said.
"Brother!" Amayamon glared at him as the kids paled at the answer. She then grew rueful, facing them. "He's right, children, in a way. Your crests are dead because you already have the power inside you. You no longer need the crests at all. The crests you have now are the ruins of your late crests, the remembrance of what you have done to save our worlds. Only the Crest of Soul is alive, and that - not even we know why."
"Do we have to go now?" Kimika whispered, tightening her hold on Iyumon. "I mean, I know we want to go home, but can we stay here for a while with our Digimon? Can we, Frankie?" Her brown eyes hopefully went to him.
"I'm sorry, Seer," Amayamon said. "But now that the worlds are at peace, you must go home. It's the last chance to go home or you will be utterly deleted. No full-blood human can live here."
The kids protested and pleaded, but the sorrowful face of Amayamon, the sympathetic features of Dasalmon, and the stony yet understanding visage of Akemimon didn't waver.
"Tai, should we not go now?" Hikari begged, her tan eyes misted.
Taichi was the one who remained silent through the conversation. When his friends turned gazes at him, their leader, awaiting his decision, he sighed, his tan eyes lowered. He then knelt and embraced his Digimon close to himself. His voice was hushed, full of distress. "Goman nasai, but it's time to say good-bye."
(A/N: hey, don't get all tearful here! You know they will meet each other in Digimon 02! I know that the last episode is tearful, *sniffles* but nothing can keep friends apart. That's what is so wonderful about being friends! You know that. Now, in this part, everyone have a chance to say good-bye. Even Mimi did. ^-^ Here are the farewells of Kim and Frankie.)
Kimika gazed upward, sighing sorrowfully as she saw her Digimon roosted upon a high branch above. Since after Taichi made his final compromise, Iyumon vanished without any word. However, knowing her well, Kimika easily found her. She knew Iyumon allowed herself to be found. If she chose to be hidden, she could be anywhere. Iyumon rested her head on her crossed paws, her ruby eyes staring.
"Iyumon?" Kimika knew quite what was the matter, but she needed to hear the words.
Iyumon stirred, and now, her eyes gazed downward, clouded with emotions. "What can I do now, digi-sister? I had a goal to protect you with my life. I never feel alone with you. Now that you have to go home, I will be all alone again."
"Stripes, you have your Digimon friends to be with," the girl soothed.
"Still . . ." The Digimon closed her eyes, turning away.
"Iyumon, before I leave, I want you to have something as a gift of thanks."
Looking down, Iyumon watched as Kimika dug in her red backbag she took back from Yamato, then saw something shiny in her child's open hand, something metallic. Now curious, Iyumon left her roost lightly to the ground. She went to sniff at the strange object. It looked like a metal necklace with an oval disk dangling from it. "What's it?"
Kimika knelt down and unshut the locket on its hinges. Iyumon saw a picture of some kind inside - a perfect replica of herself and her digichild in a friendly embrace. "See, it holds our photograph of us. I'm really glad I've got the chance to develop the pictures I took back home." She then fastened the necklace around Iyumon's neck. "You just open it and remember me. I just thought it would be nice to give you a gift."
The purple-furred lizard's throat clenched with advancing emotions. Usually, she was stoic, impassive, but the very thought of leaving her own digi-sister was more than enough to break her heart. "It's a cherished gift, but I have nothing to give."
"Hai, you did," Kimika said, her voice breaking. She took her in her empathetic arms. "You gave me everything."
Iyumon buried her face in the crook of the girl's arms, silver tears dampening the violet fur. "I love you, digi-sister."
Gingerly unwrapping the bandages from his healing head, Frankie was unusually quiet. It was over. All over. And he had the best, incredible adventure he ever had. Surely, he would never forget it. In fact, he recorded the whole adventure in his journal. But now that it was over, would he want to go back? Where can he go? He had no home to go to in the real world. He wished he could stay here with these awesome Digimon.
"Hey, Frankie," he heard his Digimon speaking. Elecmon arrived to his side from where he was waiting in the nearby bushes. The teal eyes were sparkling with friendly comfort. Frankie gave him a rather lame grin and made a disgusted look at his blood-stained bandages, then left them aside.
"So, Elecmon, what will you do now?" he asked, resting his chin on his hand.
Elecmon's gaze flickered toward westward. "Well, I think I will come back to my digibabies. I neglected them too long. How about you?"
Frankie kept silent, wondering about the answer. "I don't know. You know I am an orphan, so where can I go? I have no family."
"Oh, come on, Slick," Elecmon shook his head, grinning. "You have your friends. You have me. What better family you can ask for?"
Frankie made a half-grin. "I hate to leave you. I barely know you, but already, I have this special bond with you. Would we ever see each other, Elecmon?"
"What do you think?" Elecmon questioned. He had this grin like he knew something secret.
Frankie then chuckled, nodding. "Perhaps, we will. Then we will catch up with our stories, right? Oh, one thing." He reached for his black backpack and dug out his old blue Yankee cap that he hadn't wore since. "I was thinking, why don't you have it?"
Elecmon made a suspicious gaze at the cap, leaning forward to smell it. "What is this NY thing?"
"Ho-Ho!" Frankie then laughed. "You don't know what are the Yankees? Man! The Yankees are the best baseball team in the whole world! Well, in America, but still, they play awesome. The NY stands for New York; that's the Yankees' home state."
"What is baseball?"
Frankie sweatdropped, then sighed. "Why won't I tell you all about it when I get back, and while you wait, keep the cap for me, all right?" He placed the cap on Elecmon's head. His long ears were forced to bend over to have the cap fit on. The fox Digimon appeared pleased at the new gift.
"Thanks, Slick. I won't forget about you."
Grinning, the boy embraced his Digimon. "No worries, Fox Ears. I won't, either."
The russet-haired boy looked up as Kimika walked from the bushes with her Iyumon close by. She then smiled, her eyes clouded. "It's time to go home."
Running his fingers gingerly through his russet hair, Frankie nodded and stood. He couldn't help it but scowled lightly, staring into nowhere. He didn't want to go home. He had nowhere to go. He was an orphan. He had no family to go. They only family he ever had was his now imitated friends and Elecmon. He didn't want to leave.
"Frankie, are you all right?" he heard Kimika murmuring, concerned.
Blinking his eyes, Frankie then grinned down to her. "Yeah, it's nothing, really. Now to get you guys home as I promised."
The group arrived to the Friends of the Stones, where the friends were waiting. They have been scattered nearby to exchange private farewells to their Digimon, and now they were ready to go home. Home. The word seemed nothing to him if he had nothing to go to.
Already, his Crest of Soul glowed with the soft white light. All he had to do, told by Amayamon, was think home. Sighing, Frankie turned his mind on the home world. he wasn't sure where, but he recalled about the monsters that attacked a section of Tokyo, where the kids used to live. He was there before, was there when he saw a rainbow beam shooting in the air, where the wakeful people waited in groups. He never knew that the rainbow beam was formed by the Digidestined to leave for the Digiworld. He never knew that he was one of them at that time. But he was there.
The white light emitted a streak in the middle of the air and formed a small portal, just large for the Digidestined to pass through. On the outside, he could see crowds of people along many ruins of collapsed buildings. The sky was rather dark, overcast. He saw several bunches of people turning to the portal in alarmed surprise, but made no move toward it.
"As you might know, the time after you defeated Apoycalmon had sped up like the ancient times," Akemimon was speaking. "But, somehow, your linked powers must have slowed the Digital World's time down to synchronize with your home world's time, so you don't have much time left."
Frankie nodded in silence, watching the portal.
He heard Taichi stopping by. He turned to see him grinning convincingly, holding out a hand. "I have to admit it, you came in handy here. Arigatou, Frankie."
Frankie grinned back. "Anytime." He shook his hand and then knelt to embrace Hikari.
"Will I see you again, Hiso-kun?" she questioned.
"Of course, you will. I'm not that easy to get rid of. Keep smiling, Kari Girl."
Hikari took her brother's hand, and both leaped through the portal. Frankie watched as they ran to embrace a honored man and a tearful-eyed woman. Their parents?
As Yamato advanced the portal, Frankie halted him. "Hey, man. Maybe someday, would teach me how to play a harmonica?" He had only heard it once, and he was impressive.
Yamato blinked, then made a rare smile. "Sure, man. See you around." He then entered the portal and turned to wait for his brother.
Takeru hugged Frankie firmly. "I surely hope I will see you again."
Frankie chuckled. "That's the spirit, Angel."
Takeru nodded, grinning blithely. He then joined his brother at the other side.
Frankie didn't have a chance to watch because arms just embraced around his neck. "Hey, Sora. What's with the hug?"
Sora let go of the hug, shrugging. "Just feeling like giving one." She then smiled prettily, her amber eyes sparkling. "Indeed, we will see each other, right?"
"Of course, Sky," Frankie winked mischievously. "Catch you later."
Sora leaped through the portal and ran to greet her tear-eyed mother.
Koushiro silently watched him, seeming to try to say something. Frankie leaned over to whisper in his ear, "Kou-kun, I understand exactly what you are thinking. Be grateful you have a family. Treasure them."
Koushiro smiled understandingly and nodded. He stepped in the portal and was welcomed by his adoptive parents.
Frankie was then astonished as Mimi quickly gave him a light peck on his cheek and dashed into the portal. He chuckled quietly at Kimika and Jyou. "No wonder you like her, Joe. She's perky."
Kimika tittered behind her hands as the black-haired boy blushed lightly. She then gave him a thankful hug. "Frankie, thanks for coming. I can see that we aren't complete without you. We owe you."
Frankie shook his head, returning the hug. "It's nothing. I'm glad I met you guys. You owe me nothing." Kimika just smiled knowingly and entered the home world. She was jovially hoisted by her old brother, who was waiting by Jyou's brother.
Frankie's eyes lowered for a brief moment, and already, he felt Jyou's hand resting on his shoulder. "Otouto, what's the matter?"
"I don't know." He then watched the kids and their families through the portal. "Unlike them, I have no family to go. Why should I go there? There's no home for me."
He turned to eye Jyou, who had a wistful smile. "You do have a family. Me, them," he gestured over to the kids. "Ever since we have learned to rely on each other and survive, it seemed that nothing can ever get us apart. Nothing. Who knows, Frankie? Maybe we are destined to be together, to be a family."
Frankie chuckled amusingly. "What are you, a digi-prophet?"
Jyou gave him a mock glare, then grinned good-naturedly. "I never like good-byes, so I will say I will see you later, little Otouto."
"You will see me every time, big Oniichan," Frankie called out as Jyou went for the home world.
As Jyou was congratulated by Jim's brotherly praise, Frankie turned to the ten Digimon. They have watched their Digidestined they vowed to protect departing for their home in tears. Now ten pairs of multicolored eyes were on him, waiting. Elecmon, the Last Digimon, gazed with the teal eyes of farewell.
Frankie, the Last Digidestined, smiled and turned to entered the portal.
Behind him, the portal closed forever.
Perching on her favorite branch, Dasalmon observed the Friends of the Stones. For a while, she had been studying them, curious about the two rings - one outer and one inner - around two flat stones, curious about the symbols on the stones pillars. She was worried; What if the Friends of the Stones's purpose was not fulfilled?
She had eavesdropped on the Twins sometime ago, after the Digimon Guardians departed for their own reasons, had heard the words she hoped never to be heard. She was hidden by the thick leaves, spying the two humanoids.
"Brother, what will happen?" Amayamon had asked, usually curious and concerned for the Digimon of the Digital World.
"You know very well what will happen, Sister," Akemimon had answered neutrally. Often, he had no emotions for anybody except for his sister, but Dasalmon had heard the slightest tone of sadness in his voice.
Amayamon's eyes went upward, studying the already darkened sky. "I know that the Digital World and the Real World will not be at peace soon. But what about the children? It will not be their time to battle."
"Who knows?" Akemimon had sighed, shaking his head. "The vision will come true. Their darkness will attempt to destroy the worlds."
"And we will have no place to help them?" Amayamon had scowled, disliking the idea.
"Sister, do not be so upset. You know that the Digital World and the Real World will never be at complete peace. They are destined that way. For now, we should enjoy the peace here, for it will be gone. And when that happens, may the Digi helps us."
"And them," Amayamon had added gravely as she left the area with her brother.
Dasalmon graimced as she spread her butterfly wings to drift downward, hovering above the stones. What did Akemimon mean that their darkness will destroy the worlds? What darkness? She thought that her home was finally safe, but apparently, it never was and never will be. Her wings slackened, flapping sullenly.
Will the children return? She hoped so; it appeared that the worlds will need them soon, but why them? They were just children. What made them so special that their help was greatly needed over and over again? Their powers? Their belief in each other and themselves? Perhaps their linked destiny? Still, Dasalmon knew one thing for certain.
They will return.
She never noticed the abnormal blackness hovering above the Friends of the Stones. Then it vanished into the night sky, gone.
Never the End! *^_^*
No, it's not the end. ^_^ There will never be an end in my sagas! All the sagas are connected, so there is no final end. I'm the Lady of Neverendings!! Yep, I'm! ^_^ Any comments? Any questions? Any favorite scenes? What do you want to ask? ^_^ Thanks for being honest and kewl buddies! I appreciate the reviews and emails about the Friends of the Stones, but mind you, like I say in Powers of Crests, IT'S NOT OVER. Too catching, ne? *^_^* Until next time, Keep Writing, Digifans!!