Episode 18: Fracture

In a fraction of a second, the strange black digimon was rushing at the group. Black smoke trailing off its body, it hissed:
"Dark Area..."

The black shape and the one vivid-yellow eye on Nimon's chest was the last thing the kids and digimon alike saw before everything went black.


It was far too bright.

That was the first thought to cross Julian's mind as his eye cracked open, staring straight up into the sun. It was also too warm, too humid...
Too quiet.

There was noise-- the noise one heard when one was stuck out in the middle of nowhere. A droning buzz, a nearby stream... but there was no milling around, no chatter, no talking.

"You're okay?" Iguamon's voice said from beside him, and the boy turned his head -- still lying on the ground. The dinosaur was seated on a rock, almost entirely immobile. Only one of his red eyes was open, peering at his partner. A totally blank face and even, clipped tone of voice was betrayed by the slightest glint in the digimon's eye.

"Oh, thank goodness," said another voice, this one feminine, from behind Julian. He didn't have to look to know it was Lammon. There was a waver in her gentle voice.
Julian found that his body felt a bit heavy, but with a bit of effort, he pushed himself up to sit. He looked to the sheep, prepared to speak, but before he said a word, his eyebrows shot up. Right alongside Lammon lay Toby-- from the looks of him, unconscious. The younger boy had one hand clutched to his stomach reflexively.

Julian furrowed his brow. "What happened?"

"What's the last thing you remember?" Iguamon said, standing up and walking around to be in front of Julian.

The boy paused for a second. Of course, the last thing he could recall was that strange digimon attacking, and then the feeling of being hit with a pillow with a concrete core. He furrowed his brow, and slowly, he began to speak.
"Humans probably don't take Digimon attacks very well," he reasoned, looking at Lammon; she shook her head.

"It teleported us," Iguamon said. "Lammon and I got out okay. You and Toby less so."

"That explains why shorty's looks so out of sorts," Julian mumbled; Iguamon and Lammon exchanged looks.

"Uhm... actually," the sheep said slowly, and shook her head, "that was... well... you two have been..."

"Unconscious for about two days," Iguamon cut in, in his usual ridiculously-blunt manner, folding his arms. Lammon gave him a sort of concerned look; he either didn't notice, or ignored it if he did Julian visibily blanched, but he did his best to keep an even expression, looking around as Lammon began to explain again.

"We're in the Deep Jungle. As far as I know, this is one of the areas that's free of Era control-- we haven't been attacked by a single Agent," she said. "... but, uhm, not all non-Agent digimon are nice." She cast a look at her partner, frowning.

"Fantastic," Julian muttered. After a second, he pushed himself to his feet, and walked over to Toby. Carefully, he moved the hand of Toby's that was placed on his stomach-- he furrowed his brow further when it and his hoodie were damp and stained a sticky red-brown.
Lammon and Iguamon watched, curious as to what the boy was doing. Taking only a moment to consider the fact that this would probably stain the back of his vest, Julian picked up the younger boy as gently as he could manage. Maneuvering so as to have Toby's arms draped around his shoulders, he supported the younger boy's legs until Toby was being carried in an unconscious piggy-back ride of sorts.

When Julian noted the digimon looking at him, he would have shrugged if not for his passenger. "We can't just sit around and wait. If the others aren't around, we have to find them."
The sheep and dinosaur looked at him; a look passed between Iguamon and Julian, no words said, but once again, something silent passing between them. Without another word, Julian turned his back and walked into the trees. Lammon went along with no delay; Iguamon hesitated just a second, before he followed suit.


Holding his D-GEAR in front of him, staring at the screen almost more than he was looking where he was going, Julian spoke very little as they walked. Iguamon, in his usual way, remained similarly laconic, and Lammon found herself rather discomforted by the whole matter. She found herself continually looking to her partner on Julian's back.

"Julian?" the sheep said, after perhaps a half-hour of wandering through the thick foliage.


Lammon paused-- not as they walked, as she kept the same brisk pace that the boy was setting, but merely in her speech -- for a moment. "I'm, um, not trying to criticize, but why don't you want to wait for Toby to wake up before we do this?"

Julian paused-- this time, in walking. He cast a look at Lammon, and his expression was perfectly even. "If we waited around when we could be searching, we'd be sitting ducks. The longer we're separated from the others, the less of a chance we stand."

That was all he had to say about it; Julian fell remarkably quiet again after. Lammon's eyelids drooped a mite, and she struck up a quiet conversation with Iguamon. The dinosaur, for his part, actually did put himself to speak with her, albeit in low tones.

The three walked for over an hour, making unsurprisingly little progress, eventually passing into a small clearing in the trees; a small blobby digimon sitting near a fallen log quickly ducked inside of it as the small group entered.
"Lammon," Julian said after a second, "you said that this place wasn't under Era control yet?"

"Uhm... yes?"

"Fantastic." Julian gingerly set Toby down on the ground -- Lammon rushed in to support him and gently lay him down -- and padded over to the log, Iguamon in close pursuit. He merely stood, waiting. Perhaps five seconds later, a big red eye peered out from a hole in the log, looking up at the waiting boy.
A small, bouncy pink blob slowly edged its way out of the log. It had a mouth full of crooked, protruding teeth, and two long antennae-like extensions on its head (body?), and two big red eyes; but again, as many small digimon they had encountered, it was largely unremarkable.

"Hello," Iguamon said, nodding his head once in acknowledgement. "Koromon, I presume?"

"... Yeah. Hey," the little digimon said warily, cocking a brow. She looked rather suspicious, and had one side of her mouth curled up into a sort of grimace.

"We'll not bother you long," Julian said plainly, putting up one hand with palm out as though to physically stop any remarks. "We just want to know if you've seen anyone odd come through here recently. Or anyone in the area."

The little pink Koromon looked up between the two, then cast a look over at Lammon and Toby. "Why?" she asked, still looking suspicious.

"We're looking for friends," Iguamon replied. "We are..." the dinosaur paused, and looked between his partner, and the boy and sheep behind. "A fraction of the Virtue Warriors."
At that, Koromon's brow shot up in surprise.

"Really, now?"
Julian (holding back an exasperated sigh) held up his D-GEAR, flourishing it a little bit with a flick of his wrist as he did.

"Kid back there is the same, but he's in poor sorts." Julian jerked his thumb at Toby. "We got separated from our teammates. Have you seen anyone that looks like us?"

Koromon looked between them, and then thought for a moment. "Nope. Same thing I told the weirdo who came through here earlier," she said decisively, puffing out her cheeks.

"Weirdo?" Lammon piped up, blinking.

Koromon tilted her entire body to look at the sheep, and then nodded -- a sort of bobbing motion. "Yeah. Tall. Arms didn't match. Looked really weird. Kept muttering stuff about Era."

"Sounds familiar," Iguamon all but drawled, folding his arms. "When was this?"

"Yesterday," the pink digimon responded without a second of hesitation. Julian looked at his partner, and raised an eyebrow.

"Forbidramon was that close, then," the boy said, and the dinosaur nodded once. Julian proceeded to hiss something uncouth, shaking his head. "We're lucky, then. Great."

Iguamon nodded, then looked at Koromon. "And then so are you," he pointed out, extending one claw at her, "if he didn't delete you." Julian nodded, putting a hand to his chin in thought.

"Might be that he doesn't get a lot out of absorbing little digimon like that," he proposed idly; Iguamon nodded his assent. From behind them, Toby made a faint groaning noise, and the two whipped around. (Koromon herself tilted herself to look, again.) Julian said after a moment, "is he waking up?"

The sheep gently nudged her partner with her nose; when he didn't respond, she shook her head. "I don't think so. You both did that on and off the entire time..."

Julian grimaced, but nodded. "Thanks anyway," he said, giving a look down to Koromon.

"Yeah, yeah. You're welcome."
With that, she retreated into her log again.

"Well, what'd we get from that," the boy muttered, sighing as he knelt down to pick Toby up again.

"We learned that Forbidramon's in the area," Lammon pointed out gently. "That's not good news, but it's good to know."

"So we've learned that we've got to find the others soon or we're screwed," Julian surmised, pulling the younger boy full onto his back. "So let's get a move on it."


They wandered until the sun had begun to go down several hours later, sinking below the trees and casting the entire area in a dusky red-gold hue. It would have been very pretty if Julian had been looking up at all, his eyes still solidly glued to his D-GEAR.

"No signal," he said as they walked into another small clearing, the first thing he had said in quite some time, as the last of the light began to dim. He looked at the two digimon trailing behind him. "We could keep looking into the night, but I don't really think you two would want to."

"We've been awake far longer than you have," Lammon said; Iguamon nodded once.

"Mm. Well. ... shorty's getting kind of heavy, anyway," Julian said with just a hint of jest in his voice. He knelt down and set Toby down, propping him up near a tree; Lammon was quick to trot up to his side, laying herself down on his lap.
Iguamon settled down into the dirt, nestled between the wide roots of the tree next to that; Julian remained standing. He watched as the two digimon quickly fell asleepa s the light rapidly faded.

Only now, in the last vestiges did he realize how harried the partners looked.

He pulled one lip back into a sort of grimace, and taking a seat opposite them, he leaned against the trunk of the tree and put his hands behind his head.

Almost nothing happened for quite a while. There was a deep buzzing noise in the distance, but he chose to disregard it -- if it wasn't harming him yet, it wasn't harming him yet.
Several more hours passed in complete tranquility; even Julian was beginning to drift off simply for lack of stimulus. His eyes were beginning to droop closed when there was a sudden noise.

"Hn?"Julian cracked one of his eyes open, looking across the small clearing to see Toby slowly rousing himself, stretching out his arms and making little noises as he gently tried to dislodge Lammon.
"Hey, shorty," Julian said dryly, keeping one eye closed. Toby jumped, quite on-edge until his blurry vision cleared and he saw the elder boy sitting there.

"O-oh. Hi, Julian," Toby said tentatively, wincing as he sat up, and instinctively placing a hand on his abdomen.

"Good to know you're not dead," the older of the two remarked -- ever the sympathetic one -- and then yawned.

"What... happened?" Toby said slowly, quietly, frowning.

Julian sighed. "We got separated from the others. Probably by that freak digimon's attack... partners said I was out for two days, and you were just out another half of one. I've been carrying you."

"Oh!" Toby responded, taking all of this in one point at a time. "Oh. Well... ... thank you!"

Julian all but snorted. "It's no big deal. Boy-scout would have done it if you had ended up with him, I bet, or either of the girls... Faris would've, too."
It took the younger a moment to realize who it was that Julian was referring to when he had said 'Boy-scout', but process of elimination ruled that it was Simon; regardless.

"But it was still a nice thing to do," Toby pointed out, rubbing the back of his head. "So thanks!" Julian raised an eyebrow, then shook his head and closed his eye, saying nothing. Sensing this, Toby made another remark, as innocently as was his wont.
"You know, you don't need to do the whole 'cool older brother' thing all the time."

Almost instantly, both of Julian's eyes sprung open; Toby almost recoiled. "No comments from the peanut gallery, kid," the older said, his face even and his tone cold.

Toby spoke gently, then, choosing his words carefully. "I just mean, I have an older brother. Older than you, even. And he always tries to do that thing where he tries to act really cool and, like... distant, around me." He drooped slightly, in tone and in posture, as he spoke. "But when he's around his friends, he doesn't act like that."

Julian kept an eye on Toby, but said nothing. The younger of the two kept talking, again. "So, I mean, we're... teammates, right? So you don't have to do that. At least maybe not when your brother isn't around," he added with a little hopeful smile.

"I don't need you to give me advice, sorry," Julian replied, shaking his head. "It's not some act to look cool. I just don't really care."

Toby frowned again. "That's... kind of a sad way to look at things, isn't it?"

The older of the two paused for just an instant, before he heaved a sigh and shook his head. "Wait until we're alone to unleash the Saturday morning cartoon morals, why don't you?"

"Well, you've barely said a word to me, 'cept as to the group, since we got here," Toby replied with sudden zeal, sounding a little indignant, putting an arm out as though to signify the entire digital world. "Probably wouldn't get a chance otherwise."

Julian's eyes narrowed just a bit, for just a second. "Look. Kid. Toby. I don't dislike you or anything, I just don't need some sort of lecture. Okay?"

"But that doesn't explain why you've been so... uhm, detatched? ... even before you knew anything about any of us!"

There was a slight pause before Julian responded.

"I have reasons, and I don't need to share them with the world."

Toby frowned deeply. "I'm not the world, y'know."

Julian didn't say anything and pushed himself to his feet. He put his hands in his pockets, turned his back, and said over his shoulder: "Keep watch. I'll be back in a bit."
Toby could only watch as Julian stepped away and into the trees, until Lammon stirred.

"You're awake," Toby said quietly, looking down at the sheep on his lap.

"So are you," she pointed out, smiling tiredly, until she caught sight of the retreating boy. "... what happened?" Lammon said, looking up at her partner with large purple eyes.

Both boy and sheep almost jumped out of their skin as Iguamon spoke from beside: "You may have hit a sore spot," he said quietly, watching his partner. "... follow if you want." With that, the dinosaur stood, stretched, and made to follow his partner at a leisurely pace.


Julian didn't notice his partner coming up behind him; he continued treading quietly through the jungle foliage, hands in his pockets, eyes straight ahead, in all but a straight line. He remained looking ahead, totally steady, as Iguamon spoke up.

"What was that about?"

The boy paused, and turned around to look at his partner. "Figures you were awake," he remarked, tossing a just-so-slightly wry look over his shoulder.

"You're avoiding the question, Julian," Iguamon pointed out, gesturing with one claw. For a moment, the human was taken aback, before he chuckled.

"You're really like a carbon copy of me, aren't you?"

The dinosaur smiled wryly, and shrugged as he folded his arms. "Not quite, but we're partners for a reason."

The boy paused for a moment, rubbed the back of his head, and searched for the words.
"The kid reminds me of my brother," he said after a great delay, and he looked to the side to avoid looking Iguamon in the eye.

"Faris?" Iguamon said, cocking a brow-- he wasn't seeing it. Almost before he finished saying the name, Julian shook his head, and leaned his back against the nearest tree.

"No, not Far'. Shorty'd have to be about ten times louder and full of bad jokes to remind me of him."
Iguamon looked up at his partner, face impassive, but learly waiting for an answer. Julian continued.
"... you know why Faris and I don't have the same last name, right? I went with our mom, and he went with our dad. And our mom remarried less than a year after Faris and dad moved away." He stuffed his hands into his pockets again, and breathed out. "... Kid's name's Seth. He's six. Looks a lot like Shorty, except... even shorter. Same attitude, though."


"I don't like the kid -- Seth, I mean -- very much. Y'know. I guess it's still just me being bitter."

Iguamon gave his partner a long, hard look. "Is Faris aware of this?"

Julian hesitated, and rubbed the back of his head. "Y'mean does he know about Seth?" The dinosaur nodded. "... yeah, no. Far as I know, Far' has no idea the kid exists. Whenever we go to visit, the kid stays at home with his dad."

Iguamon looked at Julian long and hard, and then, after a pause, said:
"And you're distancing yourself from Toby because he reminds you of Seth, in turn reminding you of--"

"Things," Julian cut him off, and shrugged his shoulders. "What can I say? I'm not as great as the whole objectivity thing as I'd like to be, y'know?" He breathed out heavily, and then chuckled just a bit as he looked at his D-GEAR, turning the device over in his hand.
"I'm starting to think these whole virtue things are meant to be some sort of... saturday-morning cartoon moral, yeah?"

"They say Yggdrasil works in mysterious ways," Iguamon said, his voice solemn but with a just the barest glint of jest in his eye. Julian smirked. "But that said, we should return to the others before--"


Iguamon was cut off by Toby's voice, and quick footsteps crunching on leaves and twigs.

"Timing is impeccable," Julian remarked dryly before Toby stumbled into sight, almost doubled over and breathing heavy, and the older boy's eyebrows shot up. "What's going on, shorty?"

Toby may or may not have said something about 'stop calling me that', but he caught his breath and stood up somewhat straighter, wrapping a hand around his injured abdomen.
"Back at the-- camp thing," he huffed, indicating the direction with his free hand. "We got, attacked, and-- whoa!"
Toby didn't have time to finish his sentence as Julian immediately strode forward, unceremoniously picking Toby up onto his back. He cast a look at Iguamon, who nodded once, and both boy-toting-boy and dinosaur took off like bolts.

Though Julian didn't notice it, Toby gave him a sort of bewildered look.


They didn't have to get too close again to realize what the problem was. A number of trees were felled and lying on the ground, seemingly crushed as by a giant foot.
Crushed by a giant foot, indeed.

An entire meandering path was carved out through the foliage, and its creator was plain to see. Being assailed by glowing white orbs of light and roaring loud enough to shake the leave was what seemed to be a tremendous dragon-like creature, made entirely of bone, with a sole pulsating organ in its ribcage; quickly, Julian (carrying Toby still) and Iguamon backed into the trees, staying to the sidelines to watch.
Both Toby and Julian's D-GEAR units began to glow, and that electronic voice chimed as though it were the most casual thing in the world:

SkullGreymon. Perfect-level skeleton digimon. Putting too much focus on fighting in life, its battle instinct continues to animate its bones, its very existence -- and its devastating Dark Shot -- a threat to the safety around it.

Once it was done speaking, they saw another digimon. Darting around the beast was, in fact, Nimbimon. She leapt into the air and was caught by her cloud, narrowly dodging unleashed a barrage of explosive attacks, the skeletal creature releasing missile after missile from a cavity mounted on its spine.

"Orb Bomb!" the sheep's voice cried, the spheres around her neck glowing brilliantly as they released another round of attack; the giant monster merely batted its hand and snarled, even as it stumbled backwards. Nimbimon's pink eyes fell on the half-hidden two boys and the dinosaur.
She furrowed her brow, and muttered low to SkullGreymon, all but sarcastic:
"Don't go anywhere, now."

With that, she abandoned her cloud entirely. The sheep gallopped right at the other three, breathing heavily as she came to a stop.

"Thank goodness," she panted, shaking her head and looking forlorn.

"What's going on?" Iguamon said slowly, his body tensed and ready to strike the moment the chance arose. His tail twitched even as Toby's perfect-level partner spoke.

"We were attacked," the hooved digimon said succinctly, looking out of the corner of her eye; her cloud had seemed to gain a mind of its own, or was being controlled remotely by her, as it was darting around to distract SkullGreymon.
"I had Toby let me digivolve and then go to find you. He just... came out of nowhere."

Julian furrowed his brow. "It attacks with that bomb thing on its back?"
Nimbimon nodded once. Julian cast a look over at the skeletal creature, and he knelt to let Toby off of his back.

"Stay hidden," he instructed the younger boy, and immediately turned to Iguamon.
A nod, and then a brilliant flash of light.

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

The now far larger dinosaur stooped down, and Julian neatly hoisted himself onto his partner's back, carefully placing himself quite near the dino's shoulders, above his spikes.

Nimbimon nudged Toby with her nose. "You seem dismayed," she remarked; Toby said nothing. The sheep frowned, and turned to look at Julian and Velocimon-- but the two had already taken off, rushing at SkullGreymon.

"You have a plan, I presume?" Velocimon said, taking a sharp turn into the trees as SkullGreymon began to turn to look in their direction. They kept moving, small trees and huge flowers having no choice but to make way.

"For a given value of plan," Julian admitted, holding fast and all but lying belly-down on his partner's back. "More like an idea." The dinosaur digimon said nothing, but made a small noise to indicate for Julian to continue.
"That thing in its chest is probably a weak spot. All you need to do is get to it."

With a rustle, they burst out of the trees, Velocimon's long stride carrying them towards SkullGreymon at worrying speeds, coming in from a blind spot.

"Hold tight," Velocimon muttered. "Fast Strike!"
Julian had to dig his hands into Velocimon's hair to stay on-board, so to speak. Different from usual, the dinosaur kicked off the ground. His powerful legs carried him right towards SkullGreymon's ribcage; his head (or, his skull mask) collided with bone, and the pair began to fall down to earth, almost completely stopped.

"Nimbus Crash!" a voice from behind called out, and before they could hit the ground, Velocimon and passenger found themselves landing on Nimbimon's cloud and travelling away from SkullGreymon very quickly-- just in time, as one of the missiles on its back launched with a low, indeterminite growl that could only be assumed to be its calling its attack. Obviously, not one of the more verbal digimon.
Nimbimon herself ran up alongside the cloud as it began to get sufficiently far away, trotting to a stop alongside it. She waited quietly while dinosaur and boy realigned themselves.

Julian, righting himself, looked at the sheep, and sighed. "Thanks, I gue--"
His sentence was cut off by the sight of Toby riding on Nimbimon's back, clinging tight. Julian froze for a second, then massaged his temples, sighing deeply.

"We appreciate your help," Velocimon said, bowing his head, but looking up immediately after with a sort of coldness in his eyes, as Julian said:

"But it's not required."

What happened next was... unexpected, from any of the other three teammates.

"Oh, knock it off!" Toby all but yelled, sitting up, looking quite put out. "We're teammates, we're s'posed to help you! And more than that, Nimbimon's a perfect-level, like that thing, and Velocimon's only adult.
Julian was taken aback for a moment.

And then he turned to Velocimon as though nothing had happened.
"Same plan as before. You just had a bit of bad aim, there, because of the angle, and maybe my weight. Try it again."

Velocimon looked at Nimbimon and Toby. He said nothing; he looked at Julian, nodded, and ran off at SkullGreymon once more.

Julian looked at Toby, and turned away to watch his partner's attack. Nimbimon and the younger boy both remained quiet, watching as well.
Velocimon rushed at the skeleton digimon, and once again threw his entire being into a headbutt, this time colliding with the pulsating thing in his target's chest. Without so much as a second thought -- if it had thoughts at all, really -- SkullGreymon batted him away with a roar, lifting up a foot.

Before Julian had a second yell or, really, so much as think, he found himself scooped up as Nimbimon ran straight into him, nearly somersaulting him over her head and onto her back, landing in front of Toby. Forgoing her cloud -- though it trailed behind like a faithful dog -- she, with both humans on her back, bolted straight in.
Orb Bomb!"

Shining brilliantly, the light bombs shot from around her neck, crashing straight into SkullGreymon's foot-- and giving Velocimon the second he needed to roll (a bit unceremoniously) out of the way.

"You know," Toby said quietly from behind Julian, looking to the side, even though Julian had his back to him, "I heard what you two were saying before I interrupted to bring you guys back."

Julian froze.

"I donno, I'm not gonna, uhm... give you a... 'Saturday morning cartoon moral'?" the younger continued, as Nimbimon came to a slow stop, still a fair distance from SkullGreymon. "But I think it's not fair to take it out on me. We're a team-- or, uhm, part of one -- and you..."

"... need to get used to that," Julian finished. He furrowed his brow, then, and looked over his shoulder. Slowly, an idea came to him.
"Velocimon!" he yelled; the dinosaur seemed more than happy to split from SkullGreymon, rushed to join them.

Julian scrambled off of Nimbimon's back, to look the sheep in the eye.
"Can you distract SkullGreymon?"

She paused, before nodding once. "Of course."

"If you can keep attacking it-- I mean, distract it or do whatever damage you can. Give us a clear shot," Julian said, casting a look towards Skullgreymon-- he was advancing on them.
A quick round of nods from all around.


It was at this point that Julian's D-GEAR quietly lit up, and began to shake as though an entire earthquake were being centralized in the small plastic device, and Velocimon found himself bathed in light. A shining symbol, like a crescent moon with three triangles lining its inside curve, burned on the screen, vivid forest-green, of the D-GEAR before sinking into the dinosaur's chest.

Virtuous Digivolution, begin.

The dinosaur bathed in light changed dramatically. He well more than doubled his size, though still smaller than the gargantuan SkullGreymon; his arms grew, changing from the small raptor arms to full-fledged appendages, and black cuffs snapped around each wrist. His tail, now far bulkier, lost its tuft of hair near the end, replaced with spikes, and a mass of black fur appeared around his neck. ... necks. Most striking of all was that where Velocimon had one neck, it split into two, each ended in a head with a shaggy mane of hair -- red on his right and blue on his left- - and a skull mask that covered each face fully.
Both heads roared, his tail thrashing behind him, and he stomped on the ground so hard it shook.


Julian stopped. "Hoh-lee crap."

He then broke into a grin. "Shoosh yeah, Saturday morning cartoon morals." He stood in awe for a moment, but quickly shook his head. "Okay. Plan is still on. Short--" Momentary pause. "Toby, get off of Nimbimon's back, first," he said, a bit of authority creeping into his voice.

Toby smiled and lowered himself from his partner's back; almost immediately, she took off, leaping onto her cloud and taking off to attack in their enemy's head area.
"Veloci-- ... Triassimon!" Julian called up, cupping his hands; the closer of the two heads, the blue-haired one, turned to look. "Attack it! You may not have to hurt your head...s this time!"

If he could have seen it, he would have seen both heads smirking and nodding, as Triassimon began to trudge forward.
Clearly, what he lost in speed, he was making up in being imposing-- the earth shook with almost every step. SkullGreymon took note, and while it swatted away at Nimbimon, it gave a low snarling roar, and a missile was shot out of its back.

"Twin Flare!" Both of Triassimon's heads declared, and spread their mouths open wide. The red-haired head began to spew a plume of red fire, and the blue-haired head a stream of blue flames; the two flames met in the air. The moment they touched, they flashed and joined together, turning white-- and incinerating SkullGreymon's missile mid-flight.

SkullGreymon roared, and began to completely ignore Nimbimon-- instead, he chose to charge at Jurassimon, hands outstretched and bony tail thrashing, taking branches off trees and crushing logs with its feet.
Triassimon held his ground, growling, until SkullGreymon was entirely too close, and then...

"Double Helix!"
With a curious sound, bright and high, that could only be described as a flash sound effect of sorts, where Triassimon stood a moment ago, there now stood two exact copies of him-- though both only one-headed, and perhaps two-thirds the size of the original, and both were nigh-transluscent, one pure red and the other pure blue.

With a speed hard to predict, the two copies of the dinosaur rushed to the sides. SkullGreymon snarled, trying to decide which to attack-- until both smashed straight into its ribcage, crashing their skull-covered heads into the fleshy organ.

Almost immediately, it began to shine brightly, encased in data.

Julian smirked, as Nimbimon leapt from her cloud to the ground and trotted her way over to the humans, and with a flash of light returned to Lammon mid-trot.
Triassimon did the same, a burst of light returning him to his child-level form, but he didn't quite return to the group; instead, he remained where SkullGreymon's remains fell to the ground in an egg.

"What're you doing?" Toby asked, looking over at Iguamon; the dinosaur picked the egg up and turned around, holding it out for the others to see.
... well, it would have been an egg, did it not have a face and antennae, and were it not squishy and pink and very familiar looking.

Koromon, limp in Iguamon's claws, was breathing but entirely unconscious.

"... well that does explain where it-- she came from," Julian said dryly; Toby looked at him, confused. "... I'll explain it in a minute."

After finding a place to rest that was considerably less destroyed, Lammon, Iguamon, and Julian quickly explained to Toby the few things that had transpired after they began to walk while he had been unconscious earlier in the day-- particularly, the brush they had with Koromon.

It still didn't explain very much-- the little pink thing was a Baby II level, and what they had fought was perfect-level.
Call him cynical, but even as he drifted to sleep against a tree-trunk (it was the middle of the night, and had been a long day, after all), Julian's mind instantly went to Era.


Entirely too early in the morning, the four were awoken by a heavy, droning buzz and the flapping of wings. Roused to rude awakening, the two boys, the dino, and the sheep looked up to be looking straight at a gargantuan bird and an unholy mass of insect digimon. Koromon remained unconscious, asleep on Julian's lap.
Those awake were tensed and aware, until a familiar voice reached their ears:

"Hey! Where have you guys been?" Emily's chipper voice cried as he head popped up over the head of the tremendous bird, a grin plastered on her face. With a thud and a flutter, the giant bird landed, and Faris all but tumbled off of the bird's back into the dirt and grinned.

"Thought you were gonna kill us," Julian murmured, rubbing the back of his head, one eye closed-- now that it was no threat, his awareness faded away. "Good to see you guys."

"No kiddin'," Faris said, grinning like a fool. "You wouldn't believe what we just did."

"Us either," Toby said with a little smile, slumping down against a tree.

One of the bugs, humanoid and of impressive stature, turned to Emily. "we have found your friends, yes?" The girl smiled and nodded; the bug bowed. "The Hive is proud to be of assistance to the Virtue Warriors. May your endeavors go well."

Faris, the giant bird, and Emily waved goodbye; a little look would reveal Delfinimon sprawled out and asleep on the bird's back, even as a tremendous thrumming buzz kicked up again and the insects took to the sky.
"I can only assume that is Kamomon?" Lammon said with a nod of her head towards the bird.

"Aye!" the bird in question churred, beaming happily and bowing his head. "... aye, lad," he said, looking to Faris, "could ye get yer partner off my back? I'd like to return to normal."

"Oh! Yeah!" Faris said, scooping the sleeping dolphin into his arms; a flash of light later, and Kamomon remained. Faris chuckled, and looked to his brother. "... looks like you've got a new friend, broski," he pointed out, indicating the pink blob of Koromon.

Julian rolled his eyes, and heaved a dramatic sigh. "Long story. Not to be short, but, you kinda ruined my attempts at sleeping. S'too early for this."

Emily and Faris looked at eachother, and heaved a sigh of relief. Toby blinked a couple times, but then Emily said:
"Sorry 'bout that. Sleep sounds great right now, actually..."

No more words were exchanged-- in the slowly gathering morning light, four humans and their partners slid down to the ground and were fast asleep.


Some hours later, well before any of them were awake, a purple-skinned, winged figure stood near the edge of the small clearing, mismatched arms crossed.
Forbidramon said nothing, merely turned his back and walked away. From the shadows materialized a black, yellow-eyed figure; it just as quickly faded away, following.

[Chapter 18: End]