The sun was risen by now, drifting ever-higher in the sky; Luke and Sampamon still sat awake. The boy had his knees pulled to his chest, with Sampamon lazily coiled on the ground beside him.
Luke almost leapt out of his skin, and quite literally did jump about a half foot in the air from his sitting position when he felt a furry weight on his back. The weight vacated before the boy undignifiedly fell backwards.
Sampamon turned her head immediately. The feathers on her head flattened back like a cat's ears, a low hiss escpaing her-- only for a moment though, for standing behind them was the familiar form of Deekamon, his arms folded and glowing yellow eyes crinkled with mirth. "Glad we caught you," Deekamon said as if Luke hadn't just been given the biggest jump of his life.
Standing right behind Luke was a digimon, roughly the same size as the other child-levels; a pale-blue monkey with snow-white skin on his face and feet. His ears were big and round; his eyes were similar, a clear crystal blue in colour. His tail had a length of bandage wrapped around it near the end, as did his upper arms. His forearms, meanwhile, were large and rounded, a constrast to the string-bean upper arms. On the back of each limb, two crescent-shaped markings in red stood out against the coarse blue fur. A red bandana or scarf (cape? the back was quite long, its tattered edges nearly reaching his tail) was wrapped around his neck.
"Good morning. Friend of yours?" Luke said, rubbing his head as he sat up straight, looking at the simian digimon.
"Friend of yours," Deekamon said in return, "as well as mine."
Luke blinked, his confusion clear on his face. Sampamon, for her part, cocked an eyebrow at the cat-hoodied digimon, then looked back at the monkey. Slowly, realization dawned on her, and her pupils constricted in surprise.
"Tumbilimon, at the moment," the monkey said, smirking. "But yes. It's good to see you two again. Maybe I won't be attacked by a bird with an attitude problem this time."
"I didn't think scaring me half to death was really your style," Luke remarked, but he couldn't help but smile a bit. "So what's this about catching us?"
"The little black digimon you've come into contact with," Deekamon explained, gesturing with one hand. "He's a friend, and yesterday was a bit too... ah, hectic, for me to really talk to him. I'd like to ask him to help Tumbilimon and me out with something."
Tumbilimon, for his part, had already galumphed over to where the black dinosaur was sleeping, propped up against a rock with his claws folded over his belly. The monkey promptly began poking him in the cheek.
"He's... changed," Sampamon remarked, tilting her head.
"Some digimon do, when they digivolve or degenerate. At least, when it's permanent. Not so much for you guys," Deekamon said, folding his arms and nodding. "Even if he's been around as long as I have-- it still happens when a digimon is hatched again. Some of our acquired personality flits away with the data that returns to Yggdrasil."
Sampamon frowned, nodding. "I... guess, though I didn't feel much change, though, when I..."
"You're young, though," Deekamon reminded her, nodding his head. He gestured with one hand up to the sky. "The youngest in the digital world. Not like us old-as-dirt digimon."
Slowly, the group a few feet away began to stir-- one by one, the humans and their digimon partners stirred to wakefulness at varying speeds. Some expressed a bit of confusion:
"... why... is a monkey poking BlackAgumon," Toby mumbled, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and blinking to make sure he was seeing what he thought he was. Lammon shook herself out as she stood up, and then gave her partner a resounding shrug in reply.
Others resisted the whole waking up thing at all; Faris mumbled 'five more minutes' while Delfinimon over-dramatically snored in as a fake a manner as possible. Eventually, though, they were all roused, even if some awoke more willingly than others.
"Gooood morning!" Deekamon exclaimed entirely too loudly, spreading his hands wide. "Don't worry, I'm not here to give you a cryptic load of information," (today, on 'Deekamon's curious self-awareness'), "that comes later. I'm just here to talk to BlackAgumon."
BlackAgumon made an undignified squawking noise as Tumbilimon grabbed him by the arm, pulling him to his feet.
"It's been a while," the monkey said, grinning; BlackAgumon paused, and tilted his head, before he grinned right back.
"I am so missing something," Emily said, stretching her arms out above her head.
"Don't worry, we are too-- and we got more of an explanation. ... Kind of," Sampamon said, adding the last two words after a moment of thought.
"I will explain myself further when we meet up again," Deekamon said, clapping his hands together. "We'll meet you in the Metal City. I just have something I need to do, and I'd like it if these two," and he gestured to BlackAgumon and Tumbilimon, "could help me with it. I'd prefer not to, ah, spoil the surprise. ... meaning, I'm not entirely sure this will work," he added, putting his arms akimbo then and looking thoughtful.
"Of course I'll help," BlackAgumon said, nodding. He tapped one claw to his chin. "I... had wanted to find some of the refugees from the Crater Valley, thou--"
"Don't worry about it," Deekamon said, waving one hand. "It will be taken care of."
The kids stared and blinked, looking quizzically at the purple-hoodied digimon. BlackAgumon nodded; he and Tumbilimon walked over alongside Deekamon, and they began to turn to leave.
"Oh, wait a second!" Emily said, suddenly, standing up; the three digimon looked over their shoulders, then turned. She scooped PicoDaemon's egg into her arms, and walked forward to Deekamon. The purple digimon picked it up, and was positively beaming.
"This is what I think it is, yes?"
"PicoDaemon's egg," Iguamon confirmed, nodding his head.
The curious mentor digimon nodded his head slowly, looking intently at the egg. After a pause, he then looked up at the kids and their partners, holding the egg gently in his claws.
"The Sovereigns choose some things wisely, at least. If you can defeat a Reaper..." he said, his voice unexpectedly sincere. "I believe in you. I always have, but now you've given me quite solid proof. Even if the Metal City falls, I have faith that you'll succeed."
"We'll see you there," Tumbilimon said, waving as the trio began to walk away. They walked lengthwise along the mountains, going off the path instead of down it, as the group would soon be doing.
"... I can't be the only one who feels like I'm being pranked every other time that guy talks, can I?" Faris said, putting his hands in his pockets.
"Shush," Efudemon said from his place in his partner's arms, watching as Deekamon, Tumbilimon, and BlackAgumon walked away and, before long, out of sight.
"Shall we get going?" Lammon said with a faint smile, as the group on the whole got up from their sitting positions.
"Down into a totally unknown area. Oh boy," Delfinimon drawled, heaving a sigh. "I'm gonna need to be carried for this one, yeom." She craned her neck backwards to look at Faris, expectant.
"Of course you are," Faris replied sarcastically, his eyelids sliding down into an unimpressed expression, even as he heave-ho'd his partner up into his arms.
"Just think of the muscle tone you're building," Emily joked, smiling; Faris rolled his eyes but smiled right back.
"Onwards and upwards," Kamomon said with a flourish of his wing. He paused, looking ahead at the steeply sloped path they were about to descend. "Or. Er. Onwards and downwards, but that doesn't sound as good."
"At least it's easier than climbing up," Toby surmised, stuffing his hands into the pocket on the front of his hoodie.
Toby was right; as they descended the slope, they tried to imagine scaling it and were grateful that the direction was down. It was a steeper incline than it had been where they had entered the Crater Valley; those four who were carrying their partners in their arms (Simon, Andrea, and Julian with their Baby II-level partners, and Faris with Delfinimon as usual) had to be careful not to lose their footing, unable to use their arms for balance.
The path winded downwards through the mountains; the lower they went, the air became warm and dry (unsurprisingly enough), as opposed to the heavy heat that had been omnipresent in the crater. The tingling feeling returned as they crossed the invisible barrier, between areas
The sun was past its zenith by the time the group reached the bottom.
"The Relic Desert," Iguamon provided as they looked out in front of them. Past the mouth of the mountain path, they saw an expanse of desert. Bits of buildings, long buried by sand, poked up from the beige landscape, the remains of cities. Despite an aged, almost abandoned, appearance, it by all accounts looked like this was how it was supposed to be-- much like the Floating Ruins had been. Ruins, but not ruined.
"Of course it's a desert," Delfinimon remarked, groaning as Faris set her down to walk (drag) herself the rest of the short distance down into the sandy landscape. "If there's one place a dolphin wouldn't want to be, it's a desert, yeom."
"Try having heavy fur before you complain any more, if you will, finny," Cindemon remarked, smirking.
"So... do we just go straight ahead?" Toby said, shielding his eyes. The sun was going down, yes, but it was also going down right in front of them, seeing as how they were facing a westerly direction. (Actually, more of a northwest, but still-- not the point at hand.)
"Something like that!" Simon said with a smirk, shifting Efudemon to one arm so he could adjust his goggles and hat.
Nobody was going to argue-- primarily because nobody had any better ideas. If anyone took any issue, they forced it down as they began to walk straight ahead into the desert.
Their feet sunk a bit into the sand if they stood in place too long. It wasn't really a hazard so much as it was an annoyance-- the kids weren't eager to get sand in their shoes and the digimon just didn't like the feeling of having their feet sink in.
(This was obviously not the case, note, for Sampamon, who very readily adapted to it, leaving smooth slithered grooves in the sand she passed over. She was quite enjoying herself.)
Delfinimon tilted her head back to look up at her partner; the lost-in-thought expression on his face did not go unnoticed by the little cetacean.
"Still not gonna talk, yeom?" she asked in low tones, so as not to be heard by anyone else. Faris looked down at her and quite obviously forced a lopsided smile. He temporarily shifted the bulk of the dolphin's weight to one arm so he could bop her on the head.
"Don't worry about it, o ye merry tuna fish."
Delfinimon stuck her tongue out, but when she put her head back down she drew her mouth back into a contemplative frown.
The sun was sinking behind the horizon, and our heroes?
Were fighting a pair of digimon, designated by the kids' D-GEARs as Lynxmon. Kamomon and Lammon had digivolved up to their Adult forms to take on one apiece, while the others pointedly stayed out of the way.
(Though as if it was a response to danger -- and in all likelihood it was -- the three Baby II levels shot right back up to their Child levels... and promptly found themselves devoid of the energy required to reach Adult. They were simply drained.)
The Lynxmon had come out of nowhere, roving across the sandy landscape and attacking as the kids passed through a cluster of sunken buildings, only their towers and spires still sticking up above the sand.
"I can't believe I'm fighting a giant flaming cat," Kaizokumon mumbled, loading his flintlock pistol. When the Lynxmon leaping backwards into the half-buried remains of a stone tower to ricochet like a feathery bullet, thus enabling him to fire an energy bullet at his target Lynxmon.
The lynxmon merely shook off the shot, the blazing white bullet all but dissipating in the flames on its back.
"Hey, I'm a giant flaming cat at some levels," Rajamon grumped half-jokingly, his tail flicking in annoyance.
The fight had been going on for a short while, now. Neither party was willing to back down, but the partner digimon were reluctant to forcibly end the battle (read: destroy the Lynxmon and revert them to digitama), as they were unsure whether they were agents of Era or not. (Even a hostile digimon not aligned with Era, they reasoned, was just that -- not aligned with Era.)
"Wild Nail Claws!" both of the Lynxmon yelled in sync, rushing at bird and ewe with their forepaw claws outstretched.
"Vanish Strike!" Ariamon cried, fading into smoke seconds before the Lynxmon ran into her, claws-first. A moment later, she reappeared beside it, smashing her head into its side, knocking it into the sand.
At the same time, Kaizokumon smashed his foot into his own target, cutting off its attack by kicking it soundly in the face as it rushed at him, with a cry of "Kaizoku Kick!"
Not the most elegant solution, but a passable one.
That was enough to get the lynxmon running away with their tails, metaphorically, between their legs. They growled, but in a defeated sort of manner, and turned tail and ran. Once they were sufficiently out of sight, Kaizokumon and Ariamon returned to their base forms.
This was also enough to convince the kids that sleeping in the open was not just unfavorable, but an outright stupid move. It wasn't even dark, yet; who'd know what could happen once the light of the sun was below the horizon.
"Do you guys think it's safe to... maybe take up shelter in one of these?" Toby mused, standing on tiptoe to look in the open window of one of the sunken buildings-- the last bits of a stone tower. It was too dark to really see inside, but the room looked large enough to accomodate the group well enough.
"I'd rather take my chances inside rather than out," Andrea said plain as day, putting her hands on her hips. "Inside, we at least have a way of telling which way anyone out for our blood is coming from."
Julian raised an eyebrow. "Optimistic," he said, voice completely even.
"You know it," the elder of the two girls of the team replied, smirking.
"Makes sense," Simon said with a nod, putting his hands behind his head. "It'd be safer. And if nothing else maybe at least a bit warmer, yeah? ... that, and I kind of miss sleeping on an actual floor." He chuckled, rubbing the back of his head a bit sheepishly.
"Word," Faris said immediately, putting his hands in his pockets.
Then it was settled. It was soon going to be too dark to viably continue on; they decided to cut it here and go with a sure thing.
It was a bit of a haphazard entry; the window was arched and large enough for the humans and digimon alike to pass through without issue, but it was a bit of a jump to get up and through it. Julian helped pull Toby through after he, himself, had gotten inside.
Inside, it was indeed dark, but their eyes adjusted without too terribly much trouble, enabling them to at least maneuver around eachother without smashing skulls or anything of the like.
It was a circular room; though the walls were stone, the floor was wooden, though solid. There was just enough room for them all to pack in more or less comfortably, backs to the wall. On the far side of the little room (judging the 'side' with the window as the near side), there seemed to be a small trapdoor-- only big enough for a human to pass through.
They weren't trusting enough not to check it, but it held solid-- as though it hadn't been used in years, if ever. The hinges indicated that it swung upwards; no fear, thus, of it dropping out underneath one of them.
It was as good as they figured they were likely to get, and thus they weren't about to start complaining.
It felt good to be under a roof, on a solid floor, instead of under a tree or huddled in a cave on uneven soil and rocks.
Even to the digimon-- the little circular room rang true to memories of Deekamon's hut. They would, through it all, always call that be-hoodie'd weirdo's little stone hut 'home'.
For the first time in a long time, they sat-- not entirely exhausted, but merely resting. Why, they might almost be relaxing-- perish the thought.
They sat; they talked. They discussed what to do when they ran into Javermon and Epidemon next, for a short period of time, but this produced absolutely no viable plans, and before terribly long it devolved into... why, something that almost seemed like a group of friends.
Faris and Delfinimon had cracks for every other thing anyone else said, which more than once got them a gentle wallop upside the head from whoever was closest; even Julian cracked a smile or two, however. (He'd deny it if asked.) They exchanged anecdotes and general quippery; they playfully antagonized one another.
Toby and Luke sat mostly quiet, with Lammon lying her front half on Toby's lap and Sampamon around Luke's shoulders. However, they spoke in low tones to one another-- nothing terribly secretive, but it was mostly their mutually soft-spoken commentary on the conversations going on around them.
It was... nice. Even though the desert around them was growing dark and -- as it was, in fact, a desert -- cold, the little room they had chosen as shelter had taken on its own kind of a homey quality.
It was later into the night proper when Delfinimon stirred, nudged awake by Lammon's nose in her side and the tap of a hoof on her head. The dolphin cautiously cracked one eye open; the sheep said nothing, and Delfinimon got the distinct impression that she should follow suit and keep quiet.
Wordlessly, Delfinimon tilted her head as though to ask what's up?
In return, Lammon pointedly pointed her snout in the direction of the window; there, Faris stood, looking out with his arms folded on the windowsill. Delfinimon furrowed her brow, but nodded to Lammon and quietly began to drag herself over towards her partner. Lammon settled her head down again; this was, by all accounts, probably a big heaping pile of not her business.
"You can't pull the 'nothing's up' card, yeom," Delfinimon said after a moment of looking up at Faris; he didn't notice her until she spoke up.
He blinked a couple times, before he chuckled weakly, picking the dolphin up into his arms. "You've caught me. O woe, o misery."
Delfinimon smirked and stuck her tongue out, bopping her nose into her partner's. "Come on. You've got something on the noggin, and I'm your partner. Listening to you is why I'm here." Pause. "Okay, actually, why I'm here is to beat up evil digimon and then get bigger and beat up stronger evil digimon, but the listening to you thing? Totally a close second, yeom."
"You don't give up, do you? Thought that was Em and Kamomon's shtick," Faris mused, before Delfinimon made a (quiet, so as not to wake the others) squeak of indignity.
"You're avoiding the question!"
Faris rolled his eyes. "Come on, let's go outside so we don't wake the others up with our incessant chatter."
Of course, the boy had to help the dolphin get up and over the windowsill, and she made a little "oomph" noise as she fell onto the sand. Faris climbed up and hopped down after her.
They circled around the structure just a bit so they wouldn't be completely obnoxious and talking right outside the window-- best at least to put a layer of stone between them.
"So start talkin', buddy boy," Delfinimon said, draping herself across Faris' lap as he sat down on a stone block that stuck a few inches out of the ground. (If he could avoid sitting down in sand, he was going to take that opportunity, thank you very much.)
Faris huffed indignantly, but smiled. "I was just thinking. Yeah, I know-- must have hurt. It totally did. But... yeah. Thinking. I mean, this whole... thing. It can't go on that much longer, right? At least, it can't last forever."
"Thing?" Delfinimon asked, her brow raising.
"This whole adventure thingamabob," Faris said, gesturing with his hand. "Once Era's defeated, what happens then?"
Delfinimon paused, then frowned, her face an expression of contemplation. "Yeah, I guess so, yeom," she said, speaking slow and picking her works carefully.
"And thennn... we go back to the real world. Things go back to normal. And, let's be honest, it kind of sucks," Faris said, smiling. "People don't really like me that much back home. Even if these guys think I'm kind of a doof, they still don't hate me."
"Because you are awesome, yeom," Delfinimon said, as though nothing could be simpler.
"And more than that," Faris continued, though he smiled at the dolphin's assessment of him. "I-- sounds dumb but I kinda missed having my brother around, you know? I mean, true, I never exactly thought that the longest we'd be around each other in seven years is running around with a dolphin and a dinosaur and a whole ragtag band of misfits, but hey, I'll take what I can get."
Delfinimon nodded slowly, thinking but saying nothing.
"All I mean is that I'm gonna miss the whole 'having friends' thing, and I'm definitely going to miss having my brother as, well, my brother, again."
There was an unspoken implication to the last part what he said, a mess of jealous and sadness. It was subtle, but he had emphasized the my in 'my brother', just so slightly.
Stupid in-denial Faris.
Oh well. Progress was progress.
"This isn't like you," Delfinimon remarked -- instead of what she could comment on, what she wanted to comment on. She looked up at him, sticking her tongue out for the billionth time. "Don't worry so much, yeom."
"Easier said than done," Faris replied, resting his chin on one hand.
"Then make fun of the crap that makes you worry," Delfinimon replied matter-of-factly. "Worry doesn't stand up well to a good ol' mocking. Trust me on that, yeom."
Faris smirked, rolling his eyes. "Then you must be the most worry-free creature in all of existence."
"Hey, I'm just speaking from experience. Yeom," the dolphin replied, hopping off of her partner's lap and into the sand. "Let's get back inside. It's cold out here."
"Weenie," Faris remarked airily, but just the statement that it was getting chilled was enough to make him aware of, say, his lack of sleeves. "... yeah, let's."
Moreover, they could see more than one dark shape roaming -- shapes that didn't look particularly friendly, by the way they could see the faint silhouettes of two digimon quite viciously attempting to rip eachother apart quite close-by.
What they did not see -- could not reasonably be expected to see -- the red eyes, shining like gems, settled into a gold face that was watching them from within one of the towers poking above the sand.
Lord Era had given him a mission.
He knew just what to do.
Faris picked Delfinimon up and helped her through the window again, before climbing through himself. As quietly as they could they settled back into more or less the places they had been before Faris had his emo moment (as Delfinimon would surely refer to it).
The rest of the night was mercifully uneventful, though they had no way to know their awakening could charitably be called rude.
The morning came, and the group was awakened more or less simultaneously; it was hard not to be, as the room was shaking violently-- not just the room, actually, but the entire structure the room was attached to.
"I have had enough in the way of earthquakes!" Egakumon yelped, trying to get to his feet and then promptly falling sideways into Simon with a whumph.
It wasn't, however, another earthquake-- a quick look out the window could confirm that. For the little time they had left that they could look out the window, at any rate; the sand outside was creeping higher towards it, threatening to spill in.
Or rather, the stone tower was sinking.
"The trapdoor!" Julian barked quickly, not particularly fancying a death by burial as the sand began to trickle in. "We'll find a way out once we get away." (He hoped.)
"On it," Egakumon said, being nearest to the trapdoor on the floor. Rearing his hand back as it began to glow, he smashed it down into the wood. "Pummel Claw!"
Though the wood began to splinter below his claws, it wasn't enough to break it in one fell swoop; luckily, Kamomon and Iguamon rushed forward to help.
Between the weakning of the wood provided by the rabbit, and then the two-fisted smack from Kamomon and the hard jab from Iguamon, the solid wood cracked and the trapdoor opened.
A low-tech solution, but preferable to the alternative.
Leading down was a somewhat narrow flight of stairs, curling down into the dark. Toby groaned, though Lammon nudged her head against his hand in a comforting gesture. A moment later, it didn't mean much more, because with a jerky rumble, the entire structure dropped a few feet-- and sand covered up the window, the only light in the room being tiny slivers of sun peeking in through tiny gaps in the roof.
So, hey, at least it was dark all around.
They didn't waste much time; with D-GEAR units pulled out to use as light sources, the kids and their digimon moved down very quickly as sand began to rush in the window.
Julian and Iguamon were the last to hurtle down the stairs -- possibly making sure that everybody else got down before them -- but even so, they had moved quickly enough that there wasn't exactly a huge time difference between the first (Toby, in a bit of dark-induced panic) and himself.
The stairs, closed in by tight walls on both sides, were only wide enough to accomodate one kid or one digimon at a time, leading them to spiral downwards in single file. They moved as quickly as they safely could, though shortly after they headed down the stairs the rumbling stopped and the building settled down.
"I'm going to bet that this wasn't just random occurrance, knowing our luck," Emily mumbled, looking around in the dark and tilting her D-GEAR so she could get a better look at the walls.
"If I took you up on that bet, I'd lose," Faris said in reply.
They walked further downwards, spiralling around a central column. It took a short while, but eventually they reached the mouth of the staircase.
What they saw was definitely not what they expected.
The bottom of the tower opened up into open air, not connecting to another part of a building; no, it was open air-- and it was a massive cavern. It was tinted blue-green by tremendous crystals giving off light, nestled in the walls and hanging from the ceiling (the kids thus felt justified in putting their D-GEARs away, as their light was no longer required). Golden sand trickled down from the ceiling in select places, settling into small piles. The ruins of buildings-- towers that still reached up through the high ceiling of the cavern, as well as shorter structures whose tops had no chance of scraping the top -- lay everywhere.
Perhaps most interesting was that all of the solid ground was lifted up on mesa-like structures, while about ten feet below them was an expanse of water, deep and cool and dark. They were on raised islands in a vast underground lake.
The dark shapes of digimon, not sufficiently lit up by the faint crystal glow, moved about on land and in water, paying no heed to the tower that had just dropped through the ceiling.
"One day, I will stop being surprised by the way the Digital World works," Luke said after a moment of stunned silence. "This, however, is not that day."
"I don't think any of us really expected this," Sampamon said, looking around and blinking a few times.
Simon nodded, looking around and walking closer up to the edge of the little island they were on. He hemmed and hawed, looking over to try and judge the distance between them and the nearest other island. (Not too far to jump, though Simon couldn't estimate the distance off the top of his head.)
He looked down, then, into the water, and furrowed his brow, taking a step back. Any movement would have to wait.
"What's up?" Emily asked.
"Uh, I think we're gonna need Faris for this one," the goggle-head remarked.
"Wait, what?" was all Faris could get out, before the little spit of land they were standing on shook just barely. They could hear the sloshing of water below them, and a faint, garbled roar.
"Time to bite something's face, yeom," Delfinimon said cheerfully, while Faris looked a bit more uncomfortable.
"You know, I mean, not to pull the 'you're our only hope' card, but, uh," Egakumon said, chuckling. "Delfinimon's the only one of us that's actually meant to be in water."
They looked down. It wasn't quite in the channel between their vantage point and the nearest fellow "island", but it was close enough. A great white head breeched the water, roaring, before the body attached to said white head smashed into the pillar of rock. It was the size of a freaking semi truck, thrashing down in the water. It looked like the loch ness monster on steroids-- its body was white with blue accents, with orange tipping the frill-like fins that decorated its back and the sides of its face.
Plesiomon. Mega-level plesiosaur digimon. A fearsome sea monster, it fights by inducing that fear in its enemies. In addition to water-based attacks, its Sorrow Blue makes even hardened warriors lose the will to fight.
Delfinimon looked at Faris expectantly; he nodded slowly.
"Delfinimon, kickstart digivolve to... Shayumon!"
"I'm going to suggest you just try getting it away from us," Iguamon said, looking up at the dolphin-turned-shark's face.
The newly-formed Adult-level shark stretched out her limbs, smirking. "I'll just lure it away then climb back up, yeom. Or, more realistically, panic and climb up somewhere else if it tries to eat me. No worries."
Shayumon shot a lopsided grin at Faris, before she hauled herself over to the edge. Using her arms, she heaved herself off, throwing her arms back and hitting the water with startling grace, sinking into it with a splash.
Shayumon propelled herself downwards into the water a ways. It was dark and cold-- and she couldn't be happier about it. (Honestly, she was just happy to have the chance to run water over her gills instead of having them gasping uselessly on land.) She forced down the urge to cavort in the water, knowing she had a job to do.
She looked up; the green light seeped through into the water and made Plesiomon's silhouette plain to see. Target acquired, yeom, she thought to herself (yes, she even thought the yeom'). He was big, he looked grumpy, and he was fairly fixated on smashing the rock underneath the kids-- and doing a not-half-bad job of it.
Now, it was just a matter of getting its attention.
... well, there was always the tried and true method.
"Hey, fishbait!" she called; the words were a bit garbled (as the water was quite different from how it had been in the Great Ocean -- they hadn't been reformatted in the same way), but the message got across well enough for its purpose.
When Plesiomon turned his head to glare, Shayumon was thumbing her nose at him, sticking her tongue out and crossing her eyes before she all but backflipped through the water, away from him.
Truly, a show of a dignified distraction technique.
But it worked, as the plesiosaur growled and began to follow her. Shayumon herself was massively dwarfed in size, compared with her pursuer; this gave her, if nothing else, the advantage of manueverability. Underneath the surface there were arcs of rock and twisted structures, remnants of ruined buildings.
Other digimon fled out of the way, flurries of water and bubbles left behind.
"Shaking Pulse!" the Plesiomon said, opening his mouth and releasing... just that. A pulse, pure energy, compressing and firing the water towards Shayumon.
Her pupils narrowed as she darted behind a thin pillar of stone-- the pillar crumbled under the force of the attack, but she was left unharmed.
"That all you got, 'ya great big bad-tempered walrus," Shayumon mocked, looking over her shoulder; her eyes narrowed as the Plesiomon fired off another attack.
This time, she couldn't dodge out of the way fast enough to completely evade it-- it knocked her into a wall of rock.
From their vantage point, the kids could only see a pair of dark shapes, one vastly larger than the other, and an occasional wave of water surging up for a second-- and then the smaller dark shape smashed into a wall, shaking bits of rock off of one of the islands a short distance away.
Faris was... torn. His first instinct was to jump in and see if there was anything he could do, but another part of his mind was rearing up-- deep water, and you can't breathe in this. That really had been the deciding factor in the Great Ocean-- there hadn't been any risk of drowning.
Here? Ohhh yeah.
However, all other thoughts were chucked out of his head when they could see the larger dark shape bodily slam into the smaller-- Plesiomon smashing into Shayumon. A flash of light that lit up the water, and the small shape was even smaller and trying desperately to swim away.
"Hold these for me," Faris said, kicking his shoes and socks off before he tugged his headband off of his head (and mussed his hair up a bit so as to get it out of 'headband hair' state). He handed the pieces of clothing to Julian, who blinked.
"Tell me you're not," Julian said, voice stern and clearly cautioning his younger brother.
"Of course I am. I'm full of stupid ideas, after all," Faris said, flashing a grin -- it wavered for a minute, when he looked down into the dark water. "This is just the latest in a series."
Before anyone could stop him though -- and indeed, a couple of the kids were moving to stop him -- he breathed in, held that breath, and hurled himself into a dive into the water below.
Though his dive helped ease the transition into water, he still hit the water hard-- and it was cold as sin, seeping into his clothes and chilling him to the bone... and also nearly forcing the breath out of him.
He aimed for the surface, painfully aware that he couldn't risk this; he resurfaced, shaking the water out of his eyes. He looked up and gave a thumbs-up to those watching, the rush of blood in his ears not allowing him to hear what, if anything, they were saying.
"If I'm not back in five minutes, wait longer!" Faris quipped with the age-old line, before he dove back under the water, swallowing down any fear he had left and focusing on the motion.
Before long, he found himself pushed backwards-- not by anything hostile, but by Delfinimon whumphing straight into his chest. He kicked his legs to resurface, holding the dolphin to his chest.
"Hel-loo," he remarked; she looked tired-out, but smiled in return.
"Well, come on-- I couldn't just sit by and watch you get the tuna-fishing treatment," Faris said, though he cautiously looked across Delfinimon's shoulder. "If you're going to get trashed, I want to at least be a part of it."
As if on cue, Plesiomon reared his head above the water, roaring loudly enough to ripple the water around him.
"Run. ... or swim, whatever," Faris said immediately; Delfinimon didn't need to be told twice, and both dolphin and boy began swimming away as fast as they could as a loud roar of:
"Hydro Impact Crusher!"
Escaped Plesiomon's mouth, immediately followed by an incredible rush of water. Faris yelped, taking a deep breath and immediately diving under the water at the first sign of the attack.
This did prevent him from taking the full brunt of it, but the pure power of the water canon did send him sinking, his limbs falling numb from the force of impact as he was pushed deeper.
Well. Crap. Exactly what he had been worrying about? Happening.
Up on the island, Simon and Andrea had to bodily restrain Julian to keep him from diving in after his brother.
He was sinking, face-down, into the depths of the water, desperately holding his breath until he could feel his body again. It was too dark to tell where the bottom was, but he was having trouble craning his neck upwards to see the faint blue-green light still shining across the water-- and that was growing fainter.
Okay, he might have been sinking a bit faster than he thought he had, no doubt mostly in thanks to the incredible force of the jet of water that hit him.
The water pressure grew stronger, pushing down on his chest, until he could not longer hold his breath-- a bubble escaped him as the air escaped him.
And then he was being tugged upwards. Delfinimon clamped her mouth onto her partner's shirt, pulling as powerfully as she could. In the dark water, the pair was beginning to glow.
True warrior of the Virtue of Humor; this is your genesis.
When Faris lifted his head, cracking his eyes open, they were blazing sea-green. Delfinimon's were matching, and the rush of water around them amplified into a mad rush of water, like white rapids. The white glow that consumed their bodies expanded into a swirling sphere of water, lighting up the dark water around them, shadowy forms swimming across its surface.
"Delfinimon, genesis digivolve to..."
When their forms combined, it took on a vastly different from from the three Meas before it. Where Kisekimon, ImperialBaghamon, and WarTriassimon took on humanoid forms, the body that Faris and Delfinimon created?
Delfinimon's body grew to nearly the size of a schoolbus as Faris lent her his energy. Her snout shortened, as it had done for her Adult and Perfect digivolutions, to a shark-like one instead of her dolphin bottlenose. She once more grew proper arms and legs -- these ones non-mechanical -- as her tail shifted to a shark's wicked blade.
Two additional sharp dorsal fins grew out of her back as the extant one grew large and pointed, similar sharp blades forming on her elbows, shoulders, and even her heels. Ear-like fins jutted out of the sides of her head as the fin on her head, like all the others, and frills of three fins per side adorned her cheeks.
Around her forearms, the armor arm-guards that had become characteristic of her higher evolutions snapped on, even in the water crackling with electricity. Dark teal streaks adorned her limbs, tail, and back, and two across her snout as she grinned, baring rows of sharp teeth; each of the pointed fins on her back, including her crescent-shaped tailfin, was tipped in the same colour. Her eyes were all but pure yellow -- thin red pupils set in yellow irises, surrounded by pale yellow sclera.
Black bands lashed themselves around her legs, her feet, her neck, her arms underneath her arm-guards; a single black ring around the base of her tail-fin and around each upper arm.
Her gills flared as she swirled herself around effortlessly, dispersing the shield of light in a flurry of bubbles that faded away as they floated away.
"Holy crap," Faris blurted from within Galeomon's consciousness. "You've put on some weight, haven't you?"
All the better for wallopping a wannabe Loch Ness Monster, the newly-giant-shark digimon replied, flexing her claws.
With a mighty thrash of her tail, Galeomon almost effortlessly propelled herself towards Plesiomon, who was returning to his attempts to smash away parts of the mini-islands the kids were waiting on.
In return, Galeomon -- now nearly matching the sea monster for size -- decided to surge upwards, smashing into his underside and sending him backwards into the rock wall opposite the kids.
"You're trying to swim into a rock, I don't think that's gonna work, yeom," Galeomon growled as she surfaced, glaring at Plesiomon.
"Oh my god, you still say the 'yeom'!" Faris' voice said with a barking laugh, disbelieving.
Plesiomon did not reply, rearing his head back. "Shaking Pulse!" he roared; instead of water, this time it actually visibly sent out waves of energy towards the tremendous shark. She responded by growling and sinking below the water.
Not two seconds later she shot back up, an orb of swirling water surrounding her as she shot out of the water. "Crushing Wave!" she cried before smashing into Plesiomon from above, dragging him down into the water with her.
Propelled by Galeomon's force, they sunk deeper into the water; Plesiomon thrashed and snarled and spat to try and damage the shark, lashing out with his tail and snapping his jaws. Galeomon held fast, sinking her claws into his back and thrashing her own tail to keep them sinking. It got deeper and deeper, the faint glow filtering from above only a mere gleam, sparse rays of light cutting through the dark.
They slowed as they went deeper, Plesiomon ripping from Galeomon's grip only just before they smashed into the rocks at the bottom (though with some wounds on his back bleeding into the water). Garbled through the water, Plesiomon snarled as he tried to close in on Galeomon; she dodged, circling around the plesiosaur. Before long, they were almost engaged in an underwater dance, both trying to find a weak spot.
Finding none, Galeomon settled for the next best thing. "Shark Attack!" she called, and for a second her body was consumed with white energy. She then dove down out of the way, not daring to stay in one place for too long. However, while she moved, the light didn't-- it began taking the form of tiny sharks, glowing white except for red eyes.
The moment they were formed, the small sharp-toothed fish darted forward, snapping their jaws at Plesiomon's body, especially at the gashes on his back; the simplest of thrashes dispersed them into motes of light, only for more to take their place.
Plesiomon roared, a flurry of bubbles escaping his mouth as he called his attack. "Shaking Pulse!"
The waves of energy smashed into Galeomon, sending her back and smashing into a pillar of rock, her bulk enough to shake it substantially. She realized belatedly that it was in fact the same one that Plesiomon had been smashing into, trying to bring down the other members of the group.
"Ah, crap," Faris remarked within Galeomon as she (they) looked upwards.
They'll be fine, yeom. We have bigger problems at the moment.
Growling, the giant shark kicked off of the wall as gently as she could, her many fins gaining a blinding-white edging. "Blade Tornado!" she snarled, suddenly whipping her body around fiercely. From each of her fins was fired a crescent-shaped blade of energy, each of which crashing into Plesiomon and sending him reeling.
Galeomon took the chance she had and threw herself forward, grabbing onto Plesiomon and holding fast. Instead of striking, however, she merely held on as he thrashed and attempted to dispel her.
"Why are you trying to get rid of our friends," Galeomon demanded, even as Plesiomon smashed his body (and the shark holding onto it) into another wall of rock (this one thankfully not the one that she had been smashed into moments prior). "Are you with Era?"
"Never!" Plesiomon snapped, a rumbling roar that Galeomon could feel coursing through the plesiosaur's body, seeming mortally insulted by the insinuation. With one mighty jerk, he whipped around enough to smash his tail into the shark's body. Though it was hard to see underwater, it was surrounded by an aura of churning water, separate from the liquid around it. "Water Tail Blaster!"
The force of the attack forced Galeomon off of him; he began to surge upwards, back towards the surface of the water.
"So be it, then, yeom," the shark said mostly to herself, sending herself rocketing after her target.
When Plesiomon reached the surface and began once more to smash his body against the rock, blasting out waves of energy from his mouth, Galeomon did not confront him directly or attack from underneath.
No, when she surfaced, she leapt out of the water and wasted absolutely no time. She reared her hands back, and the plates of armor on her arms began to spark and crackle with electricity.
"Electro Break!" she roared while still in mid-air, and the electricity from her arm plates suddenly leapt off of her and took the form of an orb of ball lightning, flying at -- and smashing into -- Plesiomon. Galeomon herself used her momentum to smash into the rock face that Paleomon was trying to destroy, and though it shook something awful, it remained intact. She sunk her claws into the solid rock and fixed herself there, pointedly staying out of the water.
In the most unsurprising move ever, this ended poorly for Plesiomon. He reared his head back and roared as the electricity pulsed through him, crackling and sparking and--
A flash of light lit up the entire cavern, blinding and bright, and then all that remained was an egg sinking slowly into the water.
With a heave-ho, Galeomon dropped, backwards and head-first, off of the rock wall (she figured, correctly, there was nowhere close to enough room for a bus-sized shark alongside the bystanders). She sunk almost silently into the water, surprising considering her size.
She re-surfaced after a moment, clawing her way up the small 'island' opposite the one the kids stood on. She took up most of it, and so perched a bit awkwardly, but she grinned as she looked at the others.
"Put on a bit of weight, huh?" Egakumon said, grinning.
"We can't all be pretty-boys like you guys when we digivolve, yeom," she replied, before she bowed her head and was engulfed in white light. A couple moments later, and where the giant shark-monster was sitting a moment before, sat Faris. He was sitting cross-legged on the ground, hands on his knees and a grin on his face, while little Finmon sat in his lap.
"Guess it can't last forever," the little dolphin-head mused, looking up at her partner; he lightly bonked her on the top of his head with one closed fist before standing up. The other six humans and their respective digimon -- one by one, some a bit more apprehensive than others -- jumped from one spit of rock to the next to re-join with Faris.
It was only around this time that the two remaining Reapers reached their destination.
Javermon and Epidemon knelt as soon as they entered the dark room, feeling Era's eyes on them; they could not see his eyes, as the light from the monitors around him was reflecting and glaring off of the man's glasses. The pulsing mass of data on the altar beside him was still throbbing like a heart, giving off a glow of its own.
The dog still held the glowing orb in his hand; even as it felt as it was searing his flesh, he did not flinch.
"I see you're missing one," Era intoned, entirely impassive, as though he couldn't care less (he couldn't). "A defeat?"
"Yes, Lord Era," Javermon said, holding the core in his hand up for Era. A flick of the man's wrist brought it floating out of the canid's hand. The glow lingered, pulsed softly, before it faded out.
"Hmm. Oh, well," Era said, looking the orb over and smiling. "Only two left, after all. You can do it without him, can't you?"
Epidemon looked over at Javermon, just his eyes flicking to the side; Javermon didn't notice, nodding in response to Era. "Of course, Lord."
With one hand, Era 'held' the orb (it really floated a few inches above it; in proximity with the thing near Era, it began to pulse as well); with the other, he began tapping at one of the holographic keyboards.
"You can go," he said, pointedly not looking at the two remaining Reapers.
They wasted no time in vacating.
Era began to smile, tapping one last key with his free hand, before he turned to the thing at his side. He twisted his wrist and Zhuqiaomon's core floated towards the data; the data blob reached out a formless extension of itself to pull the core within itself.
Era grinned as it began to take shape.
Meanwhile, outside his throneroom:
"I told you he wouldn't care, Cujo," Epidemon sneered as soon as the door closed behind them, glaring at the dog. "You're just his special errand-dog. Pickles was just an errand dog to the errand dogs, same as me. The second we collect the last of the cores, and he takes that away from you--"
"Shut up," Javermon snapped, his long legs carrying him forward as he walked back towards his own chambers. He intentionally tossed his small cape so that it hit Epidemon on the beak.
They'd leave again the next morning.