Episode 9: Wayside Heroes

The entire team ate like ravenous wolves the second they had food (which was, unsurprisingly, overwhelmingly fish) put in front of them. Neither humans nor digimon had eaten since their gorging on terrafruit the morning before, and after such an... ... intensive... past couple days, it was understandable. There was no time for conversation in between shoving food into their mouths. Wisemon was a bit taken aback, but seemed, at the very least, amused. They were seated on the floor, around a low table seemingly carved out of the crystal that everything else was.

"Are you better?" the robed digimon asked after the consumption of food began to slow.

"Quite," Egakumon said, stretching his arms out wide and patting his stomach. He had eaten far and away the most, with Simon at a close second. The others seemed prepared to comment... but there was a sudden beeping from each of the kids' D-GEAR units.

"Not again," Andrea groaned, until...

"Hey! This thing workin'?" Deekamon's voice crackled out of all six of the devices.

"Even worse," Rajamon said, with a bit of a smirk. Andrea smiled and rolled her eyes.

"Yes, Deekamon," Lammon was the first to say, as Toby pulled his D-GEAR out. The lamb put her nose up quite close to it.

"Great, so you haven't been killed! More than I was hoping for!" Deekamon replied cheerfully; the kids exchanged horrified looks, while the digimon seeemed adjusted to such things. "You guys are are with Wisemon?"

"Yes," Wisemon said before anyone else could, taking a little bow as though instinctively. He... probably knew, of course, that Deekamon couldn't see him.

"Fantastic," Deekamon chirruped. "I hope you've been faring well..."

"That's one word for it," Rajamon said with a roll of his eyes, but Egakumon began to speak over him.

"We've all digivolved to adult!" the rabbit said excitedly, hopping up on Simon's back to talk over his shoulder at the device in the boy's hand.

"It's pretty sweet, yeom," Delfinimon chimed in, her big tail-fin almost wagging as though she were a dog instead of a dolphin, but then she paused. "But it didn't quite..."

"We kind of ran into a problem," Faris picked up, chuckling nervously.

"That's one word for it," Andrea said, echoing her partner's words from a moment before.

"We got attacked," Julian said simply, folding his arms and looking off to the side.

"And it didn't go well," Toby added gently.

"Thoroughly creamed?" Deekamon said, almost disturbingly nonchalant. He didn't wait for a response, but he sighed. "I'm afraid that may be a regular thing. ... ... I mean, getting attacked, not having your rears handed to you!" he ammended quickly, chuckling nervously.

Simon raised an eyebrow, and looked at Egakumon, who sat next to him. "He's really bad at motivational speeches, isn't he?" the boy said, resting his head on one hand. Egakumon chuckled, a bit sheepishly, and nodded; Simon rolled his eyes with a smile.

"I simply wanted to, ahhh, check up on you!" Deekamon continued now. "You kind of got... cut off before I finished talking to you earlier, when you had reached Seaside City." The kids minds drifted back to the incidence-- that was right, they had cut Deekamon off when Starmon approached, hadn't they...

"Sorry about that," Kamomon piped up.

"Ahhh, it's fine. I was just going to give you a bit of direction, but I take it you managed on your own," the be-hoodied monster's voice dismissed; they could almost imagine him waving a hand as though to clear the discussion out of the air. "Tell me more about the digimon that attacked you?"

The kids and digimon alike blanched a bit, and were glad that Deekamon couldn't see them. The digimon particularly looked at themselves-- they felt far better, now, being fed, but they looked like they had taken quite the beating. Feathers and fur were in disarray; their bodies splotched with dirt and scrapes.

"We didn't stand a chance," Iguamon provided. "The D-GEAR units said he was a Perfect-level."

"Is that, uh, something important?" Toby was the first to ask, cutting into the conversation.

Deekamon paused, and then gave a little 'mmhm'. "It's the level above Adult."

"Wait, wait, wait, there's a level above--" Andrea began, but got cut off.

"Yes," Deekamon said shortly; the way he said it, they could almost see him nod. "Above Adult is Perfect, and above Perfect is Ultimate. ... I doubt you'll have to worry about the latter any time soon, though. Almost no digimon get that powerful."

Julian's brows furrowed. "So, then, he completely throttled us-- these guys didn't stand a chance. What are we supposed to do?"

Deekamon's answer came with a sort of inflection as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. "Get stronger."

"Thanks for that," Andrea said with a little roll of her eyes. "And how do we do that?"

There was a pause.

"Excellent question!" Deekamon said, cheerfully. "I'll have to look into that. I'll get back to you!"
All of a sudden, there was a little click and a vwip noise. On the screens of the D-GEAR units, the words 'communication ended' flashed. There was a moment of stunned silence.

"That guy is out of his mind," Rajamon remarked flatly.

"No he's not!" Egakumon snapped back, narrowing his eyes a bit.

"Oh, don't delude yourself," the little tiger replied, flicking his tail dismissively.

Wisemon, sensing an impending disaster, suddenly cleared his throat-- or seemed to, as his strange voice made it hard to tell. Either way, he made a noise that was clearly meant to interrupt.
"Before any of you try to kill one another," he said, with endless subtlety, "I suggest you rest."

The concept did seem appealing. The twelve stood up from their seats on the floor; some stretched, others simply stood without incident. Faris picked Delfinimon up with a bit of effort and a muttered "you need to not eat so much". Delfinimon simply grinned.

Wisemon motioned for them to follow, and follow they did-- down a series of halls, until they reached a trio of doors at the end of a hall. They weren't even quite sure of where they were in relation to the outside, anymore, but they were pointedly not-caring.
They took a peek inside; the rooms were small; they were equipped with two beds big enough for one person, and a plush chair by each. The glow of the crystal was weaker than it otherwise was, but they were otherwise unremarkable.

There was a bit of debate until it was solved as to who would go to each room; eventually, they sectioned off, two kids and their digimon to each of the three rooms. Faris and Julian, along with Delfinimon and Iguamon, took one room; Andrea, Rajamon, Emily, and Kamomon took the second; this, of course, left Simon, Toby, and their partners to the third. (It was a setup, of course, to minimize the risk of anyone injuring eachother in the night.)


It was some time in the night when Toby stirred to wakefulness; he looked over to see Lammon dozing peacefully in one of the chairs, and Egakumon snoring (loudly) in the other chair, but Simon was sitting up, back to the wall and arms behind his head, looking somewhat disgruntled. He looked very much as though he were lost in thought-- and not happy ones, at that.

The shorter boy's eyebrows furrowed a little bit, but he didn't say anything. Simon didn't seem to notice him, and he quickly drifted back to sleep.


The next morning, Wisemon showed them out and bid them luck. Once they were in the water, almost immediately, Delfinimon took the opportunity to digivolve to Shayumon; she and Faris took off ahead, as they had before, much to the exasperation of the group at large. They followed what they could only guess was roughly the direction from which they had come. Up and up through the dark water they went. The pressure began to ease as less water pressed down on top of them; it grew lighter.
With almost no incident at all the kids surfaced; the skyline of the city was visible. They were quite a ways down the beach from it, however; what lay straight ahead of them was a simple expanse of beach and dunes, leading into a greenish blob that was probably some sort of forested area.

"It's been too long since we've seen the sun," Lammon said serenely as the group tread water for a moment, savoring the feeling of no longer being so deep underwater. Lammon was was right-- the last they had seen the sun, unobscured by clouds, was before they had entered the Proxy Cave. That had surely been no help to them; as such, they chose to bask for a moment, sopping-wet as they were. Not only that, but there was something about breathing the air above water, compared to in Wisemon's castle; it was fresher, for one. Felt brighter, almost.

It was perhaps fifteen seconds later when Toby, then, spoke up. "Can we get to the shore? I'd kind of rather enjoy this more on land."

"Huh?" Simon said, having been entirely distracted with laying his head back, with a goofy smile plastered across his features. "... oh, sure. Yeah, good idea."

The group picked up where they had left off swimming; a scant couple minutes later, they laid foot on the sand again. Indeed, the green blobby things they had seen was a thicket of trees; they were a mile or two down the shore from the city, and to the other direction was nothing they could see but an expanse of sand and water.
Shayumon reverted back down to Delfinimon once the water had gotten shallower. She hung back in the water for a second, while the others walked onto the beach; she popped out of the water with a splash, like a breeching whale, and landed on her back next to Faris. "Hi, yeom," she said in an incredibly tone of voice, holding her fins out wide and smiling.

"Glad someone's enjoying this," Rajamon remarked; almost as one, he, Egakumon and Lammon shook themselves like dogs to get the water out of their fur. Kamomon shielded his face from the spray with one wing, before he began to preen his feathers. Iguamon, meanwhile, seemed content to soak in the sun rays.

"I kinda forget they're animals, sorta," Faris remarked, hands in his pockets.

"Yeah, but we're way cooler," Egakumon said offhandedly, grinning as he leapt, suddenly, onto Simon's back.

"Oh, geeze, wet rabbit!" Simon groaned good-naturedly, bucking his shoulders back to dislodge the digimon. With a whumph, Egakumon fell backwards into the sand and began to laugh, waving his arms. Toby and Lammon shared a smile, while Delfinimon and Faris began to laugh along. Emily covered her mouth and began to giggle, while Kamomon stopped short of a laugh-- but still covered his mouth as he smiled.

Andrea, meanwhile, interrupted. "Where do we go from here?" she asked, looking up and down the beach.

"Heads up," Faris said impassively in response. Andrea looked confused for a second, before she turned-- and immediately ducked her head. Shooting like a feathery bullet out of the trees was what seemed to be a bird digimon... and with plumage of bright green, yellow, and red, it was hard to miss.
Andrea stood up straight and looked. It was about the size of Kamomon; along with its colourful plumage, it had a big black beak and black feet, with a number of feathery protrusions on its face. Unlike Kamomon, its arms looked like actual wings. Around its left ankle there was a silver ring, and big blue eyes looked curiously at the group.

The humans tensed. They took cautious looks at their D-GEARs; they didn't light up, and they relaxed some.

"What was that?" Kamomon said, shaking a bit more water off of his body and stepping up, past the humans, closer to his fellow avian.

The green bird squawked and scrambled to his feet, and bowed to one knee as he swept one wing in front of himself, in an awkward bow.

"Uhhh," Emily said, blinking slowly. "... I don't think that's necessary?" Even as she said so, her partner shrugged and returned the gesture.

"Nothing wrong with good manners," the seagull said off-handedly as he stood back up-- and the other bird was still deep in his bow.

"Yyyou okay there?" Faris said, poking his head a bit forward.

The bird, then, hopped up with a flutter of his wings, and landed on his feet. "Oh, yes," he said with a sort of waver in his voice, but a chipper look in his eye. "Thank you. I'm sorry for, err, almost hitting you," he said, looking up at Andrea.

"It's nothing," the girl said, waving her hand dismissively, though she sounded the slightest bit irate.

"Not to be rude," Rajamon began (he ignored it when Egakumon coughed pointedly), "but who are you?"

The green bird blinked a couple times, and then he did the same little hop he did a moment before. "Oh! Yes!" he said; he took another bow, then looked up. "My name is Loromon!"

"Kind of a featherbrain, ain't he, yeom?" Delfinimon remarked quietly.

"Too obvious a joke," Lammon replied, though she smiled despite herself.

Loromon didn't seem to have heard it; he smiled, and looked around at the gathered. "You are the Digidestined?" he asked, shuffling.

"If that's that the same thing as-- what was it?" Julian said, rubbing the back of his head. "Virtue Holders? Then..."

"Yep!" Egakumon cut in, waving his hand as though to indicate the six kids. "They're them."

"Lot of terms for it," Julian remarked to nobody, putting his hands in his pockets.

"Excellent!" Loromon said, hopping about a foot into the air and flapping his wings to keep aloft, kicking up a cloud of sand. He quickly realized this, however, once the children and partner digimon began to cough and cover their eyes; he landed and looked sheepish. "S-sorry about that."

"Why do you ask, though?" Toby inquired, putting his hands behind his back.

"I had heard you've been near here," the parrot-like digimon began, spreading his wings out as though splaying his hands out. "But, um... well... I have a bit of a problem. I thought perhaps you could help me with it."

"Sure!" Simon said quickly; he didn't notice Andrea folding her arms.

"What is it?" Egakumon picked up.

Loromon looked up and down the beach, and shuffled a bit again. "Um... well, y'see, we're very visible out here." They looked around-- it was true; on the otherwise featureless beach, they stuck out like sore thumbs-- especially on such a clear day. They could almost see where they had entered the Area from here-- almost. If you could follow me back into the trees..." the bird said, indicating the thicket with one wing. He hopped and began to walk for it, beckoning for the others to follow.

Follow they did. Andrea, Simon, and their respective partners were the last ones to leave-- but Andrea held out a hand and stopped the younger boy. As she did, Rajamon stepped in Egakumon's path.

"What's the deal, yo?" Simon asked, raising an eyebrow at the girl.

"I'm simply wondering why you decided you get to be the leader," Andrea replied, one eye closed and the other looking up and to the right instead of at Simon. She took her arm away and put it akimbo. "We have a mission to do, in case you've already forgotten. We can't go helping everyone that wants it. It might lead us into danger someday."

Simon was a bit taken aback, and he frowned. "Why do you always think everything's a trap?" he said. "Unless I heard wrong, you were the one who ran at that-- Vegiemon, right? So where do you get off with--"

"That's different," Andrea cut him off, waving her hand, "and totally beside the point. You just decided we're going to help. It may not be a problem now, but I don't want to be on a team with you if you're going to be doing that all the time."

"We can't just leave someone behind!" Egakumon piped up, waving his hand.

"For all we know," Rajamon said back, cooly, "he may not need us at all, just that it's convenient. I don't know about you but I don't feel like being everyone's little errand-mon."

There was a sort of bitter glare shared between both the humans and their respective partners. Simon broke it, turning to Egakumon. "C'mon, Egakumon," he said, taking off after the group.

About ten seconds later, Rajamon turned to Andrea. He silently tilted his head in the direction of the others; Andrea nodded her head 'yes' and, belatedly, they, too, followed.


The thicket of trees was a fairly typical little place; the ground was still sandy, and broad-leaved trees created a canopy that made the light filter through as green. There was a makeshift path of sorts, about wide enough for a person and a digimon to walk side-by-side, but one got the impression that the path didn't really matter too terribly much. It was pleasantly cool, and the crash of the waves behind them was still plenty audible.

"What took you?" Emily asked as Simon, followed directly after by Andrea, re-joined the group.

"Just got a bit distracted," the boy replied nonchalantly, smiling. He looked around; they were in a little area devoid of trees, just a circle perhaps ten feet in diameter. Loromon sat on a stump on one side. The digimon were seated on the ground; Julian was leaning against a tree, Emily was kneeling on the ground, Faris sat tailor-style next to Delfinimon, while Toby sat on a smaller stump. Simon took a seat on the ground, and Egakumon plopped down alongside. Rajamon settled on the ground, while Andrea remained in a standing position.

"So what's the story?" Lammon asked gently of the stump-seated bird.

Loromon nodded. "Well... you notice that we're not far from Seaside City," he said, indicating the direction that the city was in. "It's expanding, too. So Agents come out here all the time. There's one in particular, named Kokatorimon... she comes through here all the time." He looked down, now, and his eyelids drooped.
"Kokatorimon's turned all of the rest of of my family and most of my friends here... she turned them back into Digitama, and taken them back to Seaside."

He looked up. "I know I can't stay here anymore... the city's moving outwards, and I don't want to side with Era!" he squawked, and despite the funny sound, the conviction in his voice was strong. "I'm not meant for cities," he said, going back to his normal volume. "I was just... wondering if you could at least help me get rid of Kokatorimon. Avenge them, y'know?"

Simon cast a sideways glance at Andrea as he stood up. He said, "'Course!" Loromon smiled, and Simon clenched his fist determinedly. "What does she look like?"

Simon got an answer pretty directly, as they heard the sound of what seemed to be tree trunks being plowed straight through.

They looked around quickly; ahead of them, further into the trees, they saw her. A tremendous bird-like digimon, looking almost like a chicken; a wide splay of red-tipped tailfeathers trailed behind, and a ridge of dark feathers on her head were the only coloured feathers on an otherwise all-white body. Its mouth was open; inside of its big beak were lines of teeth, and its peach-coloured feet were ended with large black claws.

"Does that answer your question?" Loromon asked, shaking visibly as he hopped up and began to flap his wings, taking perch in the nearest tree.

Their D-GEAR units began to glow, and it was confirmed.

Kokatorimon. Adult-level giant bird digimon. With a sharp beak, large body, and strong legs, it is impressive... even without its ability to turn enemies to stone with its Stun Flame Shot.

"Stone?" Kamomon spluttered, frowning.

"Oh, it's on," Simon said, before taking off at a launch into the trees with Egakumon immediately behind (and Simon was soon surpassed by the rabbit). His D-GEAR, almost as soon as the light from the D-GEAR reading shut off, began to glow again.

"Egakumon, Kickstart digivolve to... Shokumimon!"

Simon and Shokunimon approached Kokatrimon from behind and to the left. It was razing its way a new path through the trees, head swivelling back and forth to look for digimon.
Shokunimon gave it one.

"Paint Blast!" the rabbit yelled, leaping at Kokatorimon; a blast of paint shot from his brush, getting the giant chicken in the back of the head, before Shokunimon up and landed on the bird's back.

"Get off!" Kokatorimon squawked, flapping her wings to try and dislodge the bunny-rabbit.

"Sweet," Simon said, smiling.

"Don't be an idiot!" Andrea's voice said from behind him; Simon whipped around, and there she was, with Rajamon at her feet. "One wrong move and that thing is going to petrify your stupid rabbit!"

"He's not stupid!" Simon snapped back, in a bit louder voice than he meant to. It caught Kokatorimon's attention. The giant chicken turned to the boy and girl, not noticing the tiger. She grinned.

"Oh, it's you!" she said in a nasty tone, stepping closer and temporarily forgetting about the digimon on her back. Her eyes began to glow. "Stun Flame--!"

"Fire Dash!"

A little fiery cat ran head-first into Kokatorimon's legs, causing her to stumble and lose her focus. She snarled, and looked around for who had done it. Rajamon darted under her, between her legs. "Prince Fire!" he yelled, shooting a fireball out of his mouth and into Kokatorimon's tailfeathers.

"Yeack! Watch it!" Shokunimon yelped as the feathers behind him started to ignite; however, he paused, and got an idea. He quickly hopped up, and quickly did a somersault with his hands, so his feet would come closer to the chicken's head. "Tumble Kick!" he yelled, smashing one foot into the bird's skull.

Sadly, however, Shokunimon couldn't keep a grip on the bird after doing that; he quickly toppled down to earth with a whumph. Though dazed, Kokatorimon seemed not quite ready to go down just yet; she lifted one claw, and the rabbit rolled out of the way with a little 'eep!' at the last moment. When he was still on the ground, he heard from behind him:

"Rajamon Kickstart digivolve to... Baghamon!"

"Should I make some sort of quip about 'pick on someone your own size'?" the now-larger tiger snarled, rearing down. He leapt, then, at the chicken, smashing his shoulderblade into the bird's wing.

"Nah, I think I'd want one about fried chicken," Shokunimon drawled, pushing himself to his feet and tensing, bouncing on the balls of his feet, ready to leap in any direction.

Baghamon rolled his eyes, rearing his head back. "Tiger Gem!" he yelled, gathering and releasing light from the jewel on his necklace; the bird snarled.

"Feather Sword!" she yelled, bringing one wing down right near the big cat; the edges of her feathers glowed white, and it cut into Baghamon's side. The cat stumbled. "Stun Flame Sh--!"

For the second time, Kokatorimon's attack was cut short-- this time by a splash of paint to the face.

"Paint Blast!" Shokunimon yelled, leaping up over Baghamon and blasting the paint straight in Kokatorimon's face before falling straight to the ground. The chicken wobbled, now, and then fell to the ground with a thud.

A flash of data later, and an egg was all that remained.

Breathing heavily, Shokunimon looked at Baghamon. The rabbit grinned; the tiger's expression was inscrutiable. With a bit of effort, Baghamon stood up and walked back towards the children, who had backed into the trees a bit; Shokunimon took hold of the digitama before he followed.

"This wouldn't have happened, you know, if that parrot didn't decide he needed vengeance," Andrea remarked, shaking her head. She placed a hand on Baghamon's forehead. He gave a deep noise that could possibly be taken as purring, and a soft white glow encased him as he de-digivolved back to Rajamon.

"So? Nobody got too hurt," Simon replied unusually coolly, before he gave a thumbs-up to the rabbit holding the egg.

"Thank you!" came Loromon's voice from behind and above; the two looked up. There was the little green bird, smiling wide. Simon didn't notice it, as he was fixated on the bird, but the corner of Andrea's mouth curled up just a little bit.

"What should we do with this?" Shokunimon asked, holding up the digitama.

"Oh!" Loromon said, and he hopped down to the ground. Almost on cue, the other members of the team arrived through the trees; they surely had seen most of the occurances, had certainly heard it. The parrot thought for a moment. "... I know of a couple digimon... if you leave it here, I can see if they can help."

Emily smiled. "Let me guess, they're a dog and a cat?"

Loromon was a bit taken aback. "Yes! How did you--"

"We've met them," Toby said, chuckling a little.

Loromon smiled, and nodded. "I will... see to that. I don't think I can stay here much longer, though..." the parrot said, looking up through the leaves to the sky. "I'll find somewhere new, I suppose."

Lammon nodded. "It's regretable... but I hope you have luck with that," the sheep said.

The parrot nodded in return. "... I cannot thank you enough," he said, looking around at the children and their partners. "Perhaps I can help you a bit. Is there anywhere you need to go? Perhaps I can help you."

The kids exchanged looks. Where did they need to go? They needed to find the seventh child and his partner, but they had no clue of where to start. "I don't suppose you've seen any other humans -- like us -- recently?" Faris said, jokingly but hopeful. To nobody's surprise, Loromon shook his head.

"I haven't," he confirmed, but an idea struck him. "But I know where you could maybe find out!"

The kids and digimon alike blinked, and looked curiously at the parrot.

"There's a little village-- it's not far!" he pointed off in what was presumably the direction of said village. "I could help you find the way!"

Well, it was better than nothing.

"That sounds great, Loromon," Emily chirruped, smiling. "Lead the way!"

[Chapter 9: End]