Episode 10: Together in Harmony

Down the beach the group went, following the flying-above-and-ahead Loromon. Loromon himself was quite chatty, and Kamomon was entirely happy to fly up alongside his fellow avian and converse. Delfinimon had elected to follow along in the water; it was assuredly easier for her than walking. Faris decided he wanted to (quote) get the water out of his socks before he puts more in, but walked in and out of the surf and the wet sand. The rest kept to the group-huddle, for the most part, though they occasionally found themselves irritated by the difficulties of walking long distance in sand.

The group realized something as they followed the parrot: it was getting dark. Whether they had woken up late (a distinct possibility), or had taken a long time to reach the surface again (also possible), or a combination of both, before too long, the sun had started to sink towards the water to their left. The sky started to turn orange and pink, splattered with the beginnings of clouds.

They continued on, as the sky changed from pink and orange into violet and indigo, the sun sliding out of sight and the moon rising up over the dunes to the group's right. For a short time, the sky ran almost ran the gamut of colours from pinkish-red to violet, while the sung hung low and the moon began to rise. The word that came to mind would be surreal (and then picturesque). It looked more like a water-colour painting than any sort of reality.

"This place is way too weird," Emily remarked off-handedly, looking around at the expansive sky above them.

"We've been running around for three days with a bunch of talking monsters, fighting giant ones, and breathing water... and that's what you think is weird?" Andrea remarked, raising her eyebrow with a smirk.

"It's the little things," the first girl replied with a lilt in her voice, smiling brightly.

"How much further is it?" Rajamon inquired, looking up at the birds flying ahead.

"Not far at all," Loromon replied; as he had said that twice thus far, despite it not being too long a walk, some of the party were inclined to disbelieve him. However, they looked-- he was pointing with one finger-like feather forward and just slightly to the right-- there was a sort of faint glow, like a halo of light. "It's right there, in fact!"

They finished the last leg of the (thankfully, not too long) journey at a run. Perhaps it was eagerness to get off of their feet, or perhaps it was simply a profound desire to not be attacked again. Loromon himself actually landed and joined them at movement on foot, while Kamomon remained in flight (though he backed up to stay with the group).
The kids and digimon were barely within the halo of light, led by Simon and Egakumon, with Loromon directly beside, when they were stopped in their tracks.

"Halt!" barked a high-pitched, but surprisingly ccommanding voice.
Out of nowhere had popped a digimon. It was small, and pink, and barely more than a puffball with limbs. It had wings, like a dragonfly's, that kept it aloft-- and holding the business end of a spear right in Simon's face. Its eyes were big and black, but its brows were furrowed and a little fang or two poked over its lip.

"Uhhh," Simon said, blinking and almost going cross-eyed to look at the pointy object in his face.

"What do you want?" the pink digimon demanded, hovering in place resolutely.

"Piximon!" Loromon cried out, doing his awkward little hop-skip and flapping his arms. "It's me! Loromon!"

The little pink digimon looked at the parrot, and his eyes narrowed further. "Why would you lead anyone here? We're in enough danger as it is since Era--"

"They're the Virtue Warriors!" Loromon squawked desperately, and the pink digimon looked at the kids and their partners again.

This entire exchange took place far too fast for the kids or partenr digimon to make much sense of it. There was a pointed silence as the little pink puffball scrutinized the group. He didn't walk, but instead flitted around, looking at everyone carefully-- he even jabbed the blunt end of his spear, quite unceremoniously, into Iguamon's side, and then into Julian's rib. He flew right up and snatched Toby's D-GEAR unit, and pulled out the virtue. One eye closed, he inspected the shining talisman for a moment.

Looking grudgingly satisfied, the small digimon -- Piximon, Loromon had said? -- flew back over the group and landed next to the parrot. "Leading anyone here is dangerous," he said admonishingly, seeming like he would have shook his head if his entire body wasn't head. "We have trouble enough with Agents, without..." he gestured his spear in the kids' general direction, very nearly hitting Egakumon.

"Watch where you're pointing that!" the bunny yelped, doing a skip-jump backwards into Toby. He was soundly ignored.

"But," Piximon continued, sighing. "I suppose we should."
With that, he looked at the group again, and his expression was significantly softer. "My apologies," he said, but no more; he turned about, gestured for them to follow, and flitted towards the village.

"... what is it with weirdos and this place," Faris said after a beat of rest, shaking his head. "Every other digimon we meet is, like..." He paused, looking for the word.

"Loonie?" Delfinimon provided helpfully.

"I don't think you need to call him that," Lammon remarked quietly, shaking her head. "I'm sure he has his reasons."

Loromon chuckled slightly as he nodded, shrugging apologetically. "Piximon is... very protective of his village," he tried. "They get attacked by agents often, you see..."

"And he's afraid that our being here will just attract more. Or that they'll come after them if they harbor us," Julian provided, folding his arms (and covertly rubbing his side where he had been jabbed).

"Makes sense," Iguamon concurred, folding his arms as well.

Delfinimon shook her head, chuckling. "Still didn't need to be so rude, yeom."

Loromon shrugged again, smiling sheepishly. "Um. Shall we?" the bird asked, pointing. With a shuffle and a few mutterings, the group proceeded after the little pink flying puffball.


It was far from impressive, they noted as they gingerly walked closer; their destination was, as Loromon had said, a small village. It consisted of perhaps fifteen or twenty huts, more or less the size of Deekamon's, placed in clusters. One got the distinct impression that the houses were built, and the dusty path leading between them like a spiderweb was an afterthought. The huts were built of reeds and straw and sticks, with thatched roofs; fire pits, surrounded by rocks, flickered here and there, between groups of houses. One larger fire crackled in a large clearing in the center of the village, and dark shapes -- mostly small -- sat around it, milling and socializing.

It was hard not to feel awkward, as an unruly mob of six humans and foreign digimon, standing around just outside of the light and looking in. Piximon had made them stop there, and he flew up over the central fire.

"Attention!" the pink digimon yelled, holding up his spear; the chatter died down instantly. Some of the digimon around the fire had already noticed the odd arrivals waiting just outside of the light, but the majority were focused on Piximon. Once he was satisfied with the attention he had grabbed, he lowered his spear, and continued.
"We have some very important guests with us tonight." At the announcement, more and more digimon looked over to the group of children and digimon; but their attention snapped to piximon when he continued speaking. Admittedly, while his voice was high, even squeaky at times, he had a certain air of him that demanded respect. "If an Agent comes while they are here, we will help protect them. If an Agent comes after they leave, we never saw them. Do I make myself clear?"

The gathered nodded, and Piximon smiled as he looked around. "Excellent," he said. He turned to the group and beckoned with his spear. All eyes turned to them as they moved forward, into clearer vision. They looked a mess, to be honest-- they were dirty, still slightly soggy, and looked incredibly harried.

"Awkward," Emily said airily, chuckling nervously.

"I present," Piximon said, and despite his stature he managed to bow mid-air, "the Virtue Holders and Recievers."

"Uh, hi?" Simon tried, lifting one hand in a sort of half-hearted wave.
Almost immediately, the group was swarmed by digimon. They were poking at the kids and trying to get a look at the digimon from every angle, trying to look at the humans from every angle and poking at the digimon. Loromon shuffled back and took off into the air, perching on top of one of the huts, to avoid the clamor-- after all, he wasn't a part of this.

"Are you really them?"
"So you're real, not Era spies?"
"Ohmigosh does that mean you can digivolve!?"
"But why are you here of all places?"
"I thought it was just some sorta folk-tale..."

Soon, the swarm of digimon dragged the kids back to the fire, quite enthusiastically. They clamored and chattered; they asked questions non-stop, until Piximon held up his spear again.

"For the way you lot are acting, you'd think you just met a Sovereign," he chided, but was smiling wryly nonetheless. "You could try asking one at a time." He looked at the digimon, first, and then the humans, as he said, "if you're not above answering some questions for the villagers?"

"Of course not," Rajamon said back defensively, laying down closer to the fire than any other digimon did. "Shoot," he said, with a smile of his own.

A digimon that looked like a hawk, with a feather stuck in his black headband, spoke up first. "My name is Hawkmon," he introduced himself, with a sort of obligatory little bow. "... You're actually the Virtue Warriors, then?" he asked, sounding skeptical. "You should be able to digivolve on command, so do it."

It looked like Simon was prepared to speak up, but Julian cut in before he could. "No." Simon looked at the older boy, looking bewildered; his gaze was met. Julian looked at Hawkmon, and answered both Simon's unspoken 'why' and the bird's question. "It's not a parlor trick." Hawkmon huffed and folded his arms, but a sidelong look from another member of the village silenced him.

"Have you had any fights?" inquired a small digimon-- a furry little limbless creature, one of the bouncing heads, with a black blade-like horn on its head. She paused, then added: "I'm Tsunomon, by the way."

"Numerous," Rajamon answered, nodding.

"How many?" Tsunomon asked, hopping up and down with excitement.

Egakumon paused to count it up on his claws; after a second, he answered her. "Almost ten, I think?"

"Nine," Lammon confirmed with a nod, and she took a deep breath. Then, she quickly counted off: "Grizzlymon, Gargoylemon, Vegiemon, Drimogemon, Ankylomon, Deputymon, Dolphmon for a little bit, Gesomon, and Kokatorimon." Several of the villager digimon seemed quite impressed-- there weren't many, if any, adult-levels among them (the kids assumed), and the idea was almost staggering.

There was a milling and muttering; the digimon talked to eachother, and there was a lull in questions, until another digimon stood up.

He had been sitting next to Piximon, and that enough seemed to make the others fall silent as he did. He was small, and looked like a rabbit-- or maybe a very long-eared dog. He was covered in brown fur, with pink accents; his ears were long enough to touch the ground, and his limbs were small. There were three small horns on the top of his head, and his eyes were black and shiny.
He took a bow, using one of his ears as a hand instead of his actual hands."Lopmon," he stated his name, then looked at the Digidestined and the digimon partnered with them. "How did you get here?" he asked in a soft, polite voice. "The humans, I mean. I know how the digimon did." He punctuated this with a wry little smile.

"Uh," Faris was the first to say, rubbing the back of his head. "... I don't really know," he admitted, and looked at the others. "I mean... I just got a text message, my phone started to glow, and..."

"And here we were," Julian finished flatly.

There was a pause. "Thank you," Lopmon said, bowed his head, and sat back down next to piximon.

Delfinimon looked up at Faris, and he at her; neither said a thing, but both seemed just a mite confused.

"Any other questions?" Kamomon asked quickly, to avoid another silence.

Another mumbling and muttering later; the digimon, while excited, there was a lull in questions. After a few seconds, though, and yet another digimon spoke up, this one another bouncing head-- pale pink, with sharp teeth, red eyes, and long, antennae-esque appendages on its head (body?). "Um... my name's Koromon... but... what's the real world like?" he asked, and would have tilted his head if he could.

The partner digimon themselves looked at their human partners at this; they had never thought to ask, it seemed.

"Crowded," Faris said with a smile, but that quip began something else entirely. The kids traded off speaking, each giving their own piece of insight; they talked about all sorts of things. Food, pop culture, music (the digimon liked that, especially; Andrea produced an mp3 player out of her jacket, surprisingly unharmed by their ocean trip, and allowed Tsunomon to take a listen; apparently, the kids mused, song files weren't part of what got transfered to the digital world), technology, society, other people.
The digimon -- both villagers and partners -- listened raptly. Some asked questions; others merely sat back and let it sink in. This line of conversation went on for almost an hour; the fire started to burn lower.


Eventually, the sun now fully down, Piximon arose again and shooed off the villagers to their huts. Only he and Lopmon, and the partners, remained.

"Why do they go in so early?" Simon asked the pink digimon, toying with his goggles. "I mean... it's dark, but it's not that late, is it?"

Piximon looked at the boy, and flitted up to eye-level with him. "Night is when Agents come the most," he explained, putting his arms akimbo. "Anywhere that wants not to be destroyed does it."

"But what about--" Faris began, but stopped. He thought for a moment.

"You've never actually been out in the open night," Iguamon provided for his partner's brother, folding his arms and closing his eyes. "Deekamon told us that we should never be out of the hut after dark. That's when Agents patrol."

"Makes sense," Andrea said with a shrug of her shoulders, then looked at Piximon. "... so where do we go?"

Lopmon, instead, answered, instead of the pink digimon. "We have a couple of empty huts," he said, then sighed. "They belonged to members of ours who... are no longer part of our village."

"Were they defeated?" Toby inquired gently, frowning; he frowned more when Lopmon shook his head.

"Defected to Era."

There was another slightly awkward silence, but Piximon picked up here. "I don't think we'll be able to fit you all in them..." he cast a look towards what was presumably said huts.

"I'll stay up and keep watch for now," Julian said instantly, standing up. Iguamon did so as well, without a word.

"Hey, hey, hey, you can't just stay up all night," Faris said back, quickly. He gestured to himself and Delfinimon, who looked at Faris, and nodded. "We'll take over when you get tired."

"That works," Piximon said with a shrug. "Don't get killed," he said almost disturbingly non-chalantly. He paused, now, and looked over in the direction the kids had entered the circle from.

"Loromon, you're welcome to stay. Hawkmon will be sure to welcome you."

That's right-- Loromon was still there. They had almost forgotten him. The parrot hopped down from his perch on top of one of the huts. "Thank you!" he chirrupped, and trotted off-- into the hut he had been sitting on.

Piximon chuckled, before he gestured to Lopmon. The brown rabbit then nodded, and led the non-on-watch children and digimon to the couple of huts.


Julian and Iguamon sat on the logs; Piximon had been kind enough to light a smaller fire for them again before he flitted off to inspect the huts of his vilagers, and the boy was gently poking at it with a stick as a make-shift fire poker.

They sat in silence for over an hour with very few occurances. Eventually, Iguamon spoke up.

"Why did you volunteer, Julian?" the dinosaur asked, not looking at his partner but instead into the fire. There was no judgment in his voice; mere curiosity.

Julian, in contrast, looked at his partner. "I don't know," he said after a second, and shrugged. Iguamon looked at his partner, meeting his gaze. There were no words exchanged, but something unstated seemed to pass between the two.

Piximon, sitting quietly on top of a nearby hut -- undetected by the children, leaned back where he sat and looked down at the two. He nodded.


It was later on in the night when Faris, holding a half-asleep Delfinimon in his arms, cautiously stepped out of the hut-- sharing it with Simon, Egakumon, Toby, and Lammon, he had had to be careful to step over all of his roommates to not awaken them.

When boy and dolphin approached the fire, it had died down to embers. Iguamon seemed to have drifted off, and Julian -- with his back to the huts -- didn't notice. "Hey," Faris said quietly; Julian craned his neck to look, and nodded once.

"So y'haven't been eaten by monsters yet," Faris said as he took a seat and set his partner down. Julian nodded again; Faris sighed and breathed out heavily through his nose. There was a brief silence, before the boy with green bangs spoke up again.
"Look, Julian, I know you're still upset about--"

"I'm not," Julian cut his brother off instantaneously. He paused, and seemed to realize how acidic it had come out. "Sorry," he said in a mutter, and gently nudged Iguamon's shoulder. Julian stood up as the dinosaur shook his head and woke up, following suit in standing up. "Thanks for relieving me of guard duty, Fare."

Delfinimon looked between the two humans, and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. She yawned, and flopped her tail in the dust. "No probl-yeom," she murmured sleepily.

Julian and Iguamon were just walking away, and Faris and Delfinimon just getting comfortable, when the inevitable happened. The boys' D-GEAR units started to glow, and Faris sprung up.

"Crap," Julian hissed, looking around quickly.

The newcomers were actually hard to see at first-- they were human-sized, walking up from the beach. Both wore pointed wizard-hats, one blue and one red; the one in blue, wore a yellow and red jumpsuit of sorts, covered in zippers; his cloak, also blue in colour, covered the lower half of his face. Brown boots and gloves left almost no skin showing, and one hand held a short, golden staff.
The other, the one in red, apparently female, wore a full red robe or dress,with a black cloak over. Whether it was because of her gloves or natural causes, her hands were large and clawed; she carried in one hand a broom. A little black cat, made of smoke, pranced around her head.

The D-GEARs began their usual diatribe.

Wizardmon. Adult-level demon man digimon. Said to hail from another dimension, it has mastered the elements of fire and earth through advanced magic. Its Electro Squall attack summons lightning, but its Magical Game attack is completely unpredictable.

Witchmon. Adult-level demon man digimon. It followed Wizardmon, said to be its rival, from the alternate dimension in order to train against it. It hates to follow rules, and can be cruel. It's Baluluna Gale attacks with sharp wind, and its Aquary Pressure attack can pierce even steel.

"Well, at least you weren't alone?" Faris tried with a little smile as the digimon drew closer, both humans taking a step closer to the oncoming digimon. Julian nodded once; Iguamon, shaking his head to wake up further, readied himself. Delfinimon was lethargic, but dragged herself alongside.

It didn't take long before the two hostile digimon came close.

"Good evening!" the Witchmon said, spreading her arms wide with a deceptive smile. She got no response, and she put one hand on her hip, and as she jerked her other hand's thumb at the boys, she turned to Wizardmon. "D'ya think they're deaf or something?"

"Rude, definitely," Wizardmon replied airily, gesturing aimlessly with his staff.

"Now," Iguamon muttered; as though at his command, the two boys' D-GEAR units kicked up again. Delfinimon nodded.

"Iguamon, kickstart digivolve to... Velocimon!"

"Delfinimon, kickstart digivolve to... Shayumon!"

"Oh, look! They can hear!" Witchmon said with a truly nasty tone in her voice, smirking. "Then let's get on with it."

"Let's," Wizardmon said, nodding once at her. He turned, and spoke seemingly to the digimon and humans as much as Witchmon: "You ready?"

Pandemonium broke out immediately.

"Electro Squall!" Wizardmon called, extending his staff-holding arm; a crackling mass of electricity shot out of the head of the staff, and crackled its way into Shayumon's chest.

The shark digimon roared, growling; before she could act, though, Velocimon quite literally rushed in. "Fast Strike!" With a growl, the dinosaur rushed between the two humanesque digimon, though the two leaped out of the way quickly, and he remarkably failed to strike either.

"Aquary Pressure!" Witchmon yelled, blasting from her hands a powerful jet of water at Velocimon as he rushed past them. With a grunt and a growl, Velocimon went tumbling head over heels into the dirt.

"You're not very good at this, are you?" Wizardmon said tauntingly, waving his staff. "C'mon, at least put up a--"

"Wavebreak Crash!" Shayumon bellowed; with a rush of water, she rushed headlong at Wizardmon, cutting him off mid-sentence with a 'whoof'.

Quickly, though, Witchmon struck back; "Baluluna Gale!" she yelled, slashing her hands through the air and firing a gust of blade-like wind at the fish. She, too, tumbled headlong into the dirt.

"Get up!" Faris yelled, almost as a reflex; he almost ran towards the shark, when suddenly, something else entered.

"Bit Bomb!" yelled the high squeaky voice of Piximon; a pink blur flew past the boys' heads, sending a glowing, pulsing ball of energy into the fray. It smashed straight into Witchmon-- and almost instantly, the red-robed digimon exploded into a flurry of data, leaving an egg behind her.

"How--" Julian muttered, raising his eyebrow at the little pink digimon.

"Size doesn't mean anything," Piximon answered immediately, gripping his spear tightly. "I'm a Perfect level," he explained just as quickly, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Below the kids' field of view, a little brown blur rushed in and snatched the egg left behind; Lopmon, grabbing the egg with both hands and ears, snatched it and backed away quickly.

Or, he would have, if Wizardmon wasn't at all perturbed by the defeat of his partner. "Magical Game!" he bellowed, waving his staff. A burst of glowing energy shot from his staff, shooting at Lopmon. Almost instantly, Piximon shot into its path.
The pink little digimon gave a yell, and... froze.

"... unpredictable," Julian muttered, echoing the words of the D-GEAR's reading; shaking his head. "Would have made it too easy," he groaned, looking at Velocimon. "Velocimon!" he barked suddely, and the dinosaur pushed himself to his feet. Again, something unstated passed between them, even at a distance.

Suddenly, the dinosaur rushed straight at Wizardmon again. Wizardmon growled and lunged after Velocimon, yelling repeatedly. "Electro Squall! Electro Squall! Electro Squall!"

Faris, meanwhile, was a bit distracted; he was looking at the frozen Piximon, with Lopmon behind him. He shook his head after a good ten seconds, and looked at Shayumon-- and rushed to her.
"Velocimon's distracting him," he whispered hurredly to the injured shark, who pushed herself up and nodded. "You can get him from behind. Don't let him see it, 'less you want to go the way of the puffball." He jerked his thumb over his shoulder to piximon.

Shayumon growled, and she lumbered at Wizardmon as he chased after Velocimon. She drew close, whipped her body around, and yelled:
"Tail Saw!"

Her tail glowing, she slashed her tail straight through Wizardmon. As the glow of her attack faded, Wizardmon began to glow, himself. His eyes grew wide, and away his data shot into the sky.

The brothers watched the data go off, and the shark and dinosaur lumbered alongside them; what they didn't know was that as the magician digimon faded away, Piximon began to move again.

"Are you okay?" Lopmon asked quietly; the boys turned to look at the small digimon.

"Great," Piximon responded, groaning as he looked at the kids and their partners. "I take it you're okay, then?" he added, looking at them.

"Fantastic," Julian drawled, but nodded, and looked at his brother. "Thanks, Fare."

Faris grinned.

"Iddn't that cute, yeom, they're actually acting like brothrs," Shayumon chuckled; Velocimon smirked, but Julian and Faris looked at her with less amusement. Shayumon grinned and shrugged, and the two de-digivolved back to their child forms.


Back around the embers that were once the fire, yet still before going to sleep, Julian, Faris, Delfinimon, and Iguamon sat on one log, with Piximon and Lopmon on the opposing one.

"What is it with you two?" Faris asked, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his legs.

"We've been friends a very long time," Lopmon said.

"We've led the village for years," Piximon continued, before he pointed his spear at the fire; almost instantly, it roared to life. "We've seen quite a lot of betrayals... so, when someone comes back... we feel it's in all of our best interests to bring them back."
He looked pointedly at the twin eggs of Wizardmon and Witchmon.

"... were those the defectors you mentioned?" Julian asked, blinking a couple times.

Lopmon nodded. "Two of them. They're not unique in that."

"Sorry if we, err, lured them to you or anything, yeom," Delfinimon said, chuckling.

"I expected it would happen if we ever met the Virtue Warriors," Piximon said offhandedly, smirking. "I suppose you are good for something."

The kids and partner digimon looked at the pink digimon skeptically. However, after a second, Iguamon thought of something.

"We actually came here at all to ask you something," the dinosaur remarked-- to see if there was any information about the seventh child.

"I'm sure we can talk about that in the morning," Lopmon said, and it was true-- at the very words, the kids heads seemed much heavier.

"Uhm," Delfinimon remarked, "good idea."

"We've got watch, now," Piximon said, and gestured towards the huts with his spear. "You can work out a way to fit yourselves, yes?"
They needed no second bidding; the two humans and two digimon trudged off towards the huts.


Perhaps a mile down the beach, familiar figures stood in the sand. They had watched the beams of shining data shoot into the sky-- it could mean only one thing.

"Two more of them gone."

"Yes, Forbidramon."

"Well, it's progress. Maybe I'll have to give them a checkup soon..."


"... yes. We should report to Lord Era first. Thank you."

[Chapter 10: End]