Simon's leg of the story is not here started at the beginning; rather, it starts on the second day; while Luke met Ichimon, while Andrea and Emily awoke from their illusions, while Julian, Faris, and Toby fought SkullSatamon... Simon and Egakumon were asleep.
And for some time after-- well into what might have been afternoon, had they any light to tell by.
That afternoon, Simon and Egakumon, like their friends, awoke to look up at the same dark, inky sky that their friends had seen both yesterday and today.
"This place is weird," Egakumon said as he awoke, stretching his arms out. He and Simon were nestled in the branches of a large tree, but their safety precaution had been for nothing.
"How do you mean?" Simon said, turning his head to look over at his rabbit companion.
"I mean," Egakumon paused, putting a claw to his face in thought. "It's too quiet. I mean I'm not, like, annoyed that no digimon is making attempts on our lives, you know?"
Simon paused and nodded, putting his hands behind his head and leaning against the trunk of the tree. "It just feels like there's nobody here. And considering how many digimon we've run into, it's kinda weird-- yeah?"
"Yeah, that!" Egakumon sat up, looking over at Simon. "This place has been under Era control for a really long time, Deekamon told us once... he said that before Era came, he lived here. He said this place was lively enough that you wouldn't even notice that the sun never shone. And now..." The rabbit gestured around with one hand.
Simon frowned, and absent-mindedly adjusted his goggles as he thought. Was this what happened when Era controlled an area for too long, then? Stamping out dissent for long enough-- he didn't even need to have Agents patrolling the area.
"Yeesh, I get what you mean," the boy said after a moment, frowning. "That's ten kinds of messed up, man."
Egakumon twirled his paintbrush around his claws, lost in thought for a moment. "... okay, maybe I'm a bit upset that nobody's come to try and kill us. I'm bored!"
"You need to re-examine your priorities," Simon said, but he was grinning widely. The rabbit grinned right back. "Come on," the boy said after a minute, shifting where he sat. "I gotta get out of this tree." What he meant was we have to find the others, but he figured that much could be left unsaid.
The two shambled down out of the tree, small clouds of dark soil kicking up as their feet impacted the ground.
Almost out of instinct, Simon checked his D-GEAR; no signals. Unsurprising at best. He twirled the device in his hand, much like how Egakumon twirled his paintbrush, before pocketing it.
"You've got better instincts -- and eyesight, for that matter -- than I do, bunny-boy," Simon said, smiling. "You lead the way."
"Yessir!" Egakumon said cheerfully and with a cheeky grin, throwing a salute to his human partner. He turned. In one direction: ... darkness and trees. In the other: ... darkness and trees. Ahead? Behind? All the same. Egakumon's smile did not falter, but he looked up at Simon.
"... yeah, I got nothing, bro."
"You kidding?" Simon groaned, putting his arms akimbo. "Fine. Let's gooo..." he twirled his hand around, before pointing in a random direction-- off to their left. "That-a-way."
They began to walk; there was a sort of makeshift path tromped down among the foliage, meaning there was a reduced risk of them accidentally tripping and falling on their faces. However, it didn't escape either of them that it seemed that the broken branches and bushes looked like they had been broken... quite recently.
"Bet you ten bucks that we're gonna run into something at the end of the path," Simon remarked; Egakumon tossed him a confused look, one eyebrow cocked.
"Remind me to ask you later what 'bucks' are," the rabbit said, but then his face broke into a cheeky grin. "Race you."
Simon raised his eyebrows in turn, and almost looked offended. "As if you have to ask." He grinned. "You're on."
That was all they needed to take off like twin shots down the rough path; they kicked up dark, loamy earth with their feet and snapped twigs that fell beneath them. A few digimon peered out of the dark to see what was going on; seeing the backs of the boy and the rabbit as they continued along their way, the digimon found themselves rather uninterested and summarily returned to their holes and dens.
It was actually quite a ways-- some time had passed before the ending was in sight. (Little did they knew they were actually running away from the direction their allies would be gathering in-- oops.)
It took a long while, but the end did come. Perhaps unsurprisingly -- he was a rabbit (... sort of), after all --Egakumon reached the end first. At the least, it was the end of the path they could discern, as it opened up from trees into an open area near the base of the mountains; it was the same sight that, tomorrow, their friends would stumble upon.
Egakumon was about to gloat about his victory, but before so much as beat you got past his lips, the words died in his throat. He tilted his head up, looking to the sky as though searching for something.
"What's up?" Simon said, more than a little out of breath, once he caught up (and leaned against one of the straggler trees for support as he tried to catch his breath as well).
"I feel something," the rabbit replied; his tail was twitching, his ears perked-- even the little frills of fur on his cheeks were pricking up. His pupils constricted, and he all but dove into Simon, sending the boy stumbling backwards into the trees. "Get back!"
"What's gotten into you?" Simon mumbled, but he got his answer very quickly.
It was only a few seconds later; the sound was almost imperceptible, but in the otherwise stillness of the area, it was just barely audible. The soft flapping of wings, followed by a small, dark, and familiar shape dropping to the ground.
PicoDaemon dug his claws into the loam, flexing his fingers as he looked around. If he saw Simon and Egakumon, he made no indication of it -- not that they let that comfort them. The small Mega was joined very quickly by a tall, lean shape, with rusty wing-frames and a long beak-like face; Epidemon.
"You have fun, Pickles?"
"Do not call me that," PicoDaemon replied cooly, folding his wings around himself.
"Come on," Epidemon said, and they could hear the smirk that his face could not betray. "We're co-workers. Equals-- more or less, since we're both kind of dog-toys if Cujo gets mad, but you know..."
He was cut off by a snarl; Javermon himself leapt off a small shelf low on the mountain, landing on the ground in front of Epidemon. "You need to learn respect," the dog rumbled, and Epidemon merely laughed in his face.
"After we're done with our errands, definitely. But after all, we can't upset your precious lord Era's mission for us. We're as good as stray data the second we're done. He won't care."
"Silence!" Javermon snarled, getting very close to the plague doctor's face, burying a clawed hand in his co-worker's coat; after a moment, though, he released Epidemon, growling low. "We have more important things to attend to."
"As I was saying," Epidemon said airily.
Javermon snarled. "Get going-- wait for me before you cross Areas. I'll finish things up here."
PicoDaemon paused, looking at the dog quizically. After a moment, however, he nodded and kicked off of the ground; his wings once again beat nearly silently in the still air. He glanced sidelong at Epidemon; Epidemon snorted and turned without a further word, walking for the mountain path ahead of them. The smaller Mega followed, similarly silent.
"We could just go ahead and do it ourselves," Epidemon grumbled, under his breath.
Javermon folded his arms and watched them go, barking: "If you're not waiting for me, I'll feed what's left of your body to the Seadramon!" He had quite apparently heard his cohort's remark.
Simon was about to comment, in low tones, to Egakumon, but when he turned to where the rabbit had stood he saw only air. He looked up, and saw his partner rushing for the Mega.
"Pummel Claw!" the rabbit cried, rearing his hand back as it swirled with data. It crashed straight into Javermon's leg. To say it had no effect was an understatement; if it were possible, it would have had negative effect. As such, the canid man didn't even turn to look, merely began to laugh.
"I hope you didn't think you were well-hidden there," Javermon said, not turning around, "or you're even emptier-headed than I thought."
Simon stumbled out alongside his partner, who had taken a few steps back. The rabbit's eyes were narrow, and Simon could feel his hands unconsciously curl into fists.
Javermon turned, then, his cape swishing dramatically around him. A nasty smirk was spread across his face, a glint in his eyes underneath the metal mask. "You realize, don't you, that you're entirely too late?"
"Yeah, care to explain that?" Simon said, standing up straighter, his lips tugging into a frown. There was no way he was going to back down or lose face-- not to a digimon that amounted to a bully with too much power. Not now.
"That's hardly my place, don't you think?" Javermon taunted, the smirk widening into a grin. "But I'll try to make it simple. You and your friends can't stop us-- can't stop Lord Era. And once we kill the final Sovereign, Yggdrasil is ours to take-- and once we take Yggdrasil, so are your lives."
Simon's fists tightened even more; Egakumon began to glow bright.
"Egakumon, kickstart digivolve to... Shokunimon!"
The newly-grown rabbit wasted no time. "Paint Blast!" he cried, sending a burst of caustic paint at the larger Digimon.
Once more, the canine shrugged it off as though it were nothing. "We're heading towards Zhuqiaomon, now," he said, airily, gesturing over his shoulder. "Once we reach him, he will fall to us; Baihumon dies after that, and then the great dragon itself." There was an unsettling sort of glee in his voice, the idea clearly far too pleasing to him.
"Not over my dead body," Shokunimon snapped, standing his ground even as Javermon took an intimidating step closer. "Nor over the bodies of my comrades, or any of those who still fight Era."
"Soon to be fewer," Javermon replied, conversational as ever; the nasty grin never left his face. "Look around you, rabbit; this is what happens when an area stands up. It becomes nothing, barren. Good only to distract a bunch of would-be heroes who want to pretend they can make a difference."
"You really, really have issues, man," Simon said, closing his eyes and massaging his temples. When the red-headed boy opened his eyes, there was a fierceness in his gaze that wasn't there before.
"We're not going to lie down just because you're giving us these half-baked speeches about how hopeless it is."
"You may be able to strike fear into the hearts of weaker digimon, bro," Shokunimon picked up, nodding his head, "but not us. We're Warriors, in case you forgot. You know, the whole 'legendary heroes' thing? If that can bring digimon to your side, then we can bring them back."
"You are a tool of the Sovereigns," Javermon snapped back, trying to seem ike he wasn't losing his cool. "A pawn, a bargaining chip."
"Better than one to a megalomaniac. Just saying," Simon said, shrugging his shoulders; he smiled lopsidedly.
Javermon snorted, turning his back. "I've no time to argue with children," he said, his tail thrashing.
"You try to intimidate us, and then you run away with your tail between your legs when it doesn't work!" Shokunimon said, boldness growing in his voice. Javermon looked over his shoulder, impassive.
"You have no idea what you're asking for, fuzzy," the dog said smoothly, shrugging his shoulders and not facing the rabbit.
A narrowing of eyes and a burst of light later, and StarShokunimon stood there in place of his previous form, brandishing his paintbrush-sword and holding it out, tip touching Javermon's back. "Stand and fight," he said, his voice cool and even. "Even if I can't defeat you, I can hold you back."
"But you see, you're missing a vital point, here! You can do neither, and I don't have the time to waste on you," Javermon mused, sounding quite entertained. He began to walk towards the path, after his comrades, taking leisurely steps.
"Don't let him," Simon said quietly; StarShokunimon nodded. He didn't need the instruction.
With one smooth movement, the black rabbit leapt clear over Javermon's head, landing between him and the mouth of the path. He turned on his heel, sword still brandished. "Stand and fight!" he repeated; even behind his metal visor, his eyes were narrowed.
"Doing what's 'right' over doing what's smart, I see," the dog remarked, shrugging his shoulders. "If you insist."
A nasty smile spread across his face, and he reared one hand back, claws glowing red. "Blood Oath!" He lunged forward to smash his hand into StarShokunimon, dragging his claws across the rabbit's torso.
Needless to say, it did not go well for the partner digimon.
StarShokunimon let out what could only be described as a wail, thrown backwards and halfway crumpling. He didn't lose his form, however; he slowly got to his feet, lip curled back.
"Screeching Howl!" the rabbit yelled, and then allowed an unearthly scream to escape his maw, followed by barely-visibly concentric circles. Javermon growled low in his throat; though the attack itself barely did damage, it did hurt his ears.
"Impudent," the canine rumbled. "Get out of my way."
"Not a chance, bro," StarShokunimon replied, shaking a bit on his feet but smirking. He lurched forward, drawing his blade as the metal began to glow bright as a star. "Starlight Blade!"
Javermon's eyes narrowed, but his face was even as he retaliated, rearing his hand back once more.
It was like a crescent of red meeting the white blade, and the former won. A lot.
The metal blade was cut cleanly in half, the tip with the point falling to the ground as StarShokunimon himself was thrown backwards.
When the rabbit didn't lift himself after a couple of seconds, Simon threw himself forward, darting around Javermon and rushing to his partner's side.
"Crap! You okay?" Simon said, nudging the black rabbit.
"Never better," StarShokunimon replied, though to say he sounded strained would be to say an ocean was a bit damp. Suddenly, he went up in white light-- not that of a defeat, but of his shrinking and returning to his Child form. (The broken half of his blade that had clattered to the ground had dissipated with the rest of StarShokunimon.)
"I hope the point is getting through your skulls," Javermon taunted, sneering and snide.
There was a moment of silence, before Simon himself looked up at the canine digimon. He felt small, kneeling on the ground next to a child-level partner, before one of the strongest Digimon under Era's command.
And he did not let it deter him.
"If you think it has, you've really been failing to pay attention."
Javermon was taken aback at that-- just for a moment, but clearly so regardless.
When nothing happened, Simon got to his feet, helping to pull Egakumon up to his feet. (The rabbit had to lean against the boy's legs to stand upright.)
"I think you're underestimating us, you know?" Simon said, not looking at the dog, but rather at the ground before him. "Bunnyboy and I, we're blockheads." He smiled; Egakumon smirked up at him. "We're gonna do what's right, even in the face of-- well, for lack of a better word..."
He looked up at Javermon, and smiled again. "Bullies. Because that's all you are. You're throwing around the power that Era gave you because it makes you feel big, right?"
"Get out of the way," Javermon growled, his claws glowing red.
"You said that our lives are only yours to take once you take Yggdrasil, right?" Simon said, putting his hands in his pockets. "So... I'm thinking that means you can't kill us yet. What can you do?"
What happened next shocked Egakumon.
Simon reached up and pulled his hat off. He goggles snapped back into place, as the hat was pulled from under them; he adjusted them with one hand. His hair was, to put it gently, a complete mess. (It gave a bit of insight into why he never took his hat off.)
He clenched his beanie hat in one hand, taking his digivice out of his pocket with the other. "If you can't do something smart, then do something that's right."
Javermon took a step forward, his own fists clenched and teeth bared; he was fed up, and it was plain on his face. He was done playing with children.
Simon merely closed his eyes.
"Simon!" Egakumon said, looking down at his own claws as he tugged at Simon's hand. His hands were being bathed in a white light, tinged at its edges with red.
The only difference?
So were Simon's.
Egakumon looked up at his partner; his human partner's eyes were still closed, his breathing slow, seeming like he was away in mind.
"Simon!" he cried again, closing his eyes as he yelled.
True warrior of the Virtue of Honor; this is your genesis.
At the same time, Simon and Egakumon both opened their eyes; in place of Simon's green eyes or Egakumon's blue, they glowed entirely red, shining out light like fire. The light from their hands covered their bodies faster and faster, until they were both completely engulfed by it. It burst into a sphere of light, its edges still tinted red; it was impossible to see within, while faint red forms blurred across the surface.
"Egakumon, genesis digivolve to..."
They were surrounded by a rush of data within the sphere-- the same rushing noise they had heard in Azulongmon's chambers, growing louder and louder until it was almost unbearable.
Everything was warm as data fused together-- two forms melding together to form one.
Together, they grew taller; the form they took was humanoid, lean. Metal armor snapped around the new body's arms, legs, and chest. Thin black fabric, skin-tight, covered most of the skin not covered by armor; upper legs, most of the upper arms (all save the new body's shoulders), abdomen.
Gems settled into the backs of the new form's hands, as claws grew out of the armored boots. Hair grew long, deep blue in shade, and the bulk of it tied into a bushy ponytail. A metal visor settled around the new form's eyes, a black facemask covering the bottom half of the face. Rabbit-like ears, black with red markings, grew from under the hair, as a long tail -- much like Egakumon's normal one -- curled around the waist. It held in place a simple garment, a length of fabric almost like a banner -- burnt red, emblazoned in blue with the Virtue of Honor. A long red scarf, its tail ends blowing around him, settled around his neck.
Two swords crossed over eachother, attached to the back; they were held in paintbrush-like scabbards. From one blade's ring-like scabbard, a white talisman hung; from the other, a similar talisman in black. Both were drawn and slashed through the white orb; the light dissipated and the new body stepped forward.
It was bizarre-- it was more than bizarre. Simon could feel his mind, still separate from his partner's, but linked therewith. The body was not entirely his-- nor was it entirely Egakumon's. It was simply theirs, a joint form.
He had never felt stronger-- and it was pure, true strength that coursed through the body, through both his and the rabbit's very souls and essences.
They saw the same things; the same sensations crossed their minds. Any motion made was not just the action of one, but the action of both.
Words passed between them, unsaid in a physical sense. Therefore, they were not truly audible from the outside; however, they were clear as day to the two components of the digimon.
"Are you okay?" Simon asked of Egaku-- pardon, Kisekimon; he got a laugh in return.
You kidding? I've never been better! The voice was foreign, deeper, more mature-- but still recognizable as that of his partner.
"Then let's light this sucker up," Simon said, grinning.
Kisekimon's mouth fell into a lopsided smile underneath his fabric face mask.
You got it, bro.
Simon was noticing so much more of the world around him -- not just because the visor over Kisekimon's eyes granted him better sight in the darkness, but the rest of his senses seemed so much sharper. He thought, faintly, that he was able to feel, somewhere within him, what he could only describe as a pulse of power, of data, beating warmly like a heart.
He realized after a moment that it was, in fact Kisekimon's heart-- or rather, his digicore.
Little did he know that Kisekimon himself was feeling a similar, distinct sensation-- the feeling of his human partner's heart.
Javermon snarled, but smiled. "Cute party trick," he mocked, before he snarled. "Blood Oath!"
Immediately, Kisekimon held up one of his blades, and it began to glow brightly. "Nova Blade!" he cried, and Javermon's red claws once more met with a shining sword.
This time, however, the red glow faded from Javermon's claws as it faded from the blade; though there was now a small scratch on the metal, Kisekimon's sword stayed intact. The dog took a step back, growling low in his throat.
Kisekimon raised one hand, that same sword gripped tight; the point was almost touching Javermon's nose. "You try to intimidate us; you attempt to strike fear into the heart of the digital world. You serve a tyrant because he gives you power. You fight without heart and without dignity. These are truths, and they are unforgivable."
Though the words came out of Kisekimon, in Kisekimon's voice, Simon could feel himself (did he even still have a physical form, he wondered) saying them as well; it was impossible to tell whether they came from Kisekimon himself, from Simon, or from both.
"You can stand and fight me on equal terms, or you can run now that I pose a threat to you. I suggest you not run; should you flee, I cannot promise mercy when my comrades and I next engage you."
Javermon did not speak in reply. He merely reared his head back and let loose an unearthly howl, blood-curdling and haunting. The sound echoed off the mountains and trees before being devoured by the darkness, fading away as suddenly as it was made.
When Javermon's head came down, it began to change-- become more bestial. Seconds later, the canine was substantially less humanoid; long arms, huge legs, and thin body, long muzzle drooling caustic spit. His yellow eyes glared at the rabbit samurai with nothing more than animal rage; Javermon snickered.
He said nothing; instead, he reared back onto his haunches and launched himself over Kisekimon's head. Like a shot, he carried himself up the mountain on all four legs, moving terrifyingly fast.
Kisekimon began to move to follow, but he turned his head over his shoulder at the sound of a noise behind him.
Whether or not Egakumon always heard with this much clarity was all Simon could wonder in the back of his mind.
However, such thoughts were chased out of his head presently. The being that had caused the foliage to be crushed down, creating the path that the pair had followed to this point, was clear to see, as it forged a further path out of the trees and towards Kisekimon.
Be prepared, Kisekimon's voice said cautiously.
"Come on, you say that like I need to be reminded!" As Simon replied as such, he could feel Kisekimon's mouth curl into a smile again.
Well, come on, I've been in a lot more battles than you. Respect your elders, or something like that.
"Cram it, bunnyboy."
Regardless of their banter, Kisekimon tensed as the digimon broke out of the trees and into view.
It was tall; it looked to be made of metal, plated in silver and gold. Skull-shaped caps over its knees accentuated and matched its actual head, a gold skull with long curved horns. Behind its head was a fixture that bore a striking resemblance to a dark hood.
It was adorned with entirely too many pointy instruments; spikes on one shoulder, long claws on its feet, curved claws on one hand, and its opposite hand replaced entirely with a long golden sickle. Above its normal hand, near the elbow, was perched an odd sort of firearm.
Simon -- if he had more of a physical presence than he did -- would have jumped a mile when, even now, he heard the voice characteristic of his D-GEAR go off. (From whence was unclear-- as Simon had no separate physical body at the moment, it was outside of his understanding.)
Reapermon. Mega-level cyborg digimon. Despite the bounty on its own head, it hunts down criminals and executes them ruthlessly-- a criminal attacking criminals. It uses the Guilty Chain fired from its left arm to draw enemies close and the Judgment sickle on its right to perform its Grim Slasher attack.
"Javermon can't even fight us himself, so he sends a lackey to do his dirty work for him," Kisekimon said; Reapermon gave no word of reply.
Except for a cry of, "Grim Slasher...!"
It raised the hand adorned with the odd gun, and from it was fired a length of chain-- it moved faster than Kisekimon could tumble out of the way, and it immediately wrapped itself around the rabbit samurai's body.
Just as quickly as it was shot out, it began to retract; though Kisekimon dug his feet and claws into the ground to try and impede it, it had no effect.
"Ah, nuts," he mumbled, as Reapermon lifted his scythe-like arm; with a bit of a struggle, Kisekimon lifted his hands -- as best he could, confined by the chain.
Shots of energy escaped his hands, shooting straight into Reapermon's body; the other Mega let out a hollow moan, releasing Kisekimon as it stumbled backwards.
Nice one, Kisekimon's voice reached Simon; the boy smirked.
"I have no idea what I'm doing!" the human boy admitted freely. "But darn if I don't like it."
Reapermon rumbled low, before lunging forward, rearing his scythe arm up again; it was without a formal attack calling, was nothing more than a simple action.
It was surprisingly fast, considering Reapermon's considerable metal bulk; Kisekimon cried out as he tumbled backwards, forcing himself to his feet again.
He wanted to play that way? Great.
Kisekimon threw his body forward, lunging so quickly out of his half-crouched position that he all but faded from sight. Fist glowing white, he stopped long enough to smash one hand into Reapermon's chest, denting the metal. As quickly as he closed in, he backed away. The cyborg digimon raised his blade, only to notice that by the time he had his target had feinted out of his range.
"Grim Slasher...!" Reapermon repeated, his voice sounding ghostly, ethereal. Once more, the chain shot out; this time, Kisekimon was ready for it.
"Double Blader!" Kisekimon called, twirling both swords in his hands before he lifted them in front of himself, crossing them; they began to glow. Reapermon's chain clattered against the swords, wrapping around them instead their wielder. The warrior then pulled his twin swords outwards, their shining blades cutting effortlessly through the metal chain.
Reapermon's glowing eyes narrowed. "Bone Duster...!"
He closed the distance between himself and Kisekimon before dragging his scythe-arm upwards through the air, leaving a pillar of fire in its wake.
It did not strike true; Kisekimon, following the movement of his opponent's blade, merely leapt into the air. He was suspended, lighter than air, for a moment.
"Not today. Nova Blade!" he cried, one sword glowing bright as he smashed to earth, holding the blade tip-down-- and straight into Reapermon.
Kisekimon was met with another long, ethereal moan, before Reapermon went up in a flash of white data, swirling around him and shooting into the sky like a sigil as an egg dropped to the ground.
If only any of their friends were awake to see it, it could have led them straight to them.
Kisekimon stood in silence, silently sheathing his swords in their crossed scabbards on his back.
What do we do now? Kisekimon asked of Simon.
"We need to follow them," Simon said, and he turned Kisekimon's head to look up the mountain path. "But... we can't leave without the others."
So we wait?
"We wait until the morning, at the least. We'll look for them if they don't find us by then. I donno about you -- actually, no, yes I do. We're kind of sharing a body." He grinned, even as he heard Kisekimon's voice groan good-naturedly. "We're tired."
The last thing that Kisekimon did was leap up onto a shelf of stone, a small platform perhaps six or seven feet off the ground. The rabbit-eared samurai bowed his head as he landed, before a tingling, numb sensation came over him.
The next thing either of them knew, Simon was kneeling on the ground next to not Egakumon-- but Efudemon, his Baby II form.
"Guess that takes a lot out of me," the little digimon remarked, smiling exhaustedly.
"No kidding," Simon replied, picking the furry little head up. "... that was freakin' rad, though," he added thoughtfully, smirking.
"Rad isn't even the word," Efudemon said, holding up his (three-clawed) hand for a fascimilie of a high five; Simon shifted the little digimon into one arm before he obligingly slapped his palm against his partner's. "We got one heck of a story to tell the others."
He felt like his body was lead; as soon as he leaned back against the rock and closed his eyes, he was out.
The pair slept on their little shelf until the next day, when the sound of people about reached their ears. Simon cracked an eye open; he couldn't see them over the lip of the rock, but he could hear the familiar voices, unmistakable.
Efudemon, still nestled in his partner's arms, remained fast asleep; Simon thus moved very gingerly scooted forward, still sitting down, until he could more clearly see the other humans and their digimon.
"Hey, guys," he said, and his voice sounded more tired than he thought it would. The twelve -- six humans, six digimon -- turned to look at him, taken aback and surprised.
"Well, call us lucky," Andrea remarked dryly, putting one hand on her hip; however, she couldn't quite conceal a smile, mostly of relief at the team's total reunion, tugging one side of her mouth up. "What have you and bunnyboy been up to?"
Simon couldn't help but grin. "Kind of a funny story, that."
A great distance away, Era was -- as he usually was -- lounging in his throne-like seat, hand flicking through the air to bring forward and cast away holographic projections.
One virtue, two cores-- it was coming together. Slower, perhaps, than he would have liked, but it was of no matter.
The man cast a sideways glance, adjusting his glasses impassively. Atop the pedestal -- newly instated -- next to his chair, a mass of data swirled, condensed into a form very nearly the size and shape of a Digitama, pulsing slow and steady like a heart. It was simply data, not physical at all; not even Era himself dared to touch it directly. Not yet.
It was only a matter of time.
He had waited long enough; the time he'd have to wait for this was nothing in comparison-- mere weeks at the worst, and then it would be his.
A smile crept across his face, slow and liquid.