Digimon Adventure and Guardian Belief

Chapter 12

The night sky was clear of clouds, stars shining like diamonds without pollution to dim their light and making the tundra sparkle.

But it was the moon that held center-stage that night, round and full as it hovered over the ground like a watchful protector.

Santoff Claussen was silent, most of it’s occupants-from the hardworking yeti to the hyperactive elves-fast asleep in their beds so late at night.

The only one awake, in fact, was Evie.

Sitting on the window ledge of her bedroom, blonde curls loose about her shoulders and given a silver sheen from the moonlight, she softly stroked down Salamon’s back as the puppy-like Digimon lay sprawled on her lap.

Humming softly, she peered up at the celestial orb with big blue eyes.

“Thank you.” She voiced, keeping quiet so as not to wake Casey, who was sleeping a few feet away with Agumon.

The moon’s glow brightened and dimmed, like some sort of ancient Morse Code, and Evie smiled.

“Of course I need to. You’ve done so much…”

Salamon growled lowly in contentment, one ear twitching before her own pair of blue eyes went towards the moon hanging overhead.

“I never would have found her without you.” The Digimon admitted, nuzzling into her partner’s stomach. “I don’t know what I would’ve done without her…”

A moonbeam shone through the glass, soft as a butterfly’s wings against Evie’s cheeks, eliciting a giggle from the young girl.

“Alright, I’ll go to bed.” The young blonde promised, scooping Salamon up carefully as she stood. “Goodnight, moon.”

One could almost imagine a smile across the pockmarked surface as the girl crawled into the large king-sized bed, cuddling up to her sister with a sigh.

Mumbling sleepily under her breath, Casey shifted, turning over onto her side and pulling the younger girl close with one arm.

Head tucked under her sister’s chin and a heartbeat thrumming through her ears, Evie relaxed fully, the glow of dream-sand blurring as her eyes fluttered shut.

Here, everything was safe and warm.

Here, there was nothing to fear.

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“Hey.” Casey greeted softly, peeking into the bedroom around the half-opened door. “How are you feeling?”

Slowly uncurling from around Salamon, Evie blinked away the effects of her medicated slumber to turn over, vision still blurring.

“I’m okay…”

Stepping up to her bedside, the redhead pressed a hand to the younger girl’s forehead as Agumon scrambled onto the bed.

“Well, your fever has gone down…Do you have a cough? A stuffy nose?”

Yawning, Evie wrapped her arms around the small dinosaur-Digimon in a hug as Salamon curled against her side.

“No…”

Casey chuckled, fingers tickling under her sister’s jaw so the little blonde giggled uncontrollably, squirming in a futile attempt at escape.

“Time to get up, then.” She noted, turning her attention to the nightstand as Evie started to rise on her own. “Breakfast will be ready soon, and if we don’t get there in time, Faye will eat it all.”

Nodding distractedly, Evie pushed the comforter and sheets off with one hand, hugging Agumon close like a small child would a teddy bear as Salamon stretched out her back with a POP.

A fond smile crossed Casey’s face as she sat on the bed, two pink ribbons on her lap as she carefully started to comb through the sleep-tangled curls with a brush.

Humming softly at the familiar soothing gesture, blue eyes fell to half-mast as she pet down Salamon’s back.

With the ease of someone who had done this many times before, Casey twisted her hair up into pigtails, tying them in place with the ribbons and making little bows.

“Get dressed, and I’ll make you some oatmeal.” She promised, lifting Agumon onto her hip like one would carry a toddler. “Maple syrup and cinnamon?”

“Yes, please…” Evie yawned, swinging her legs off the bed and rubbing her eyes. “Thank you, mama bunny…”

Pausing at the door, Casey could not help the flood of maternal affection she felt at that moment.

Agumon purred at the feelings coming through the Bond, glad for the fire-bright smile on his Warrior’s face.

“No problem, baby bunny.”

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Carefully maneuvering the crochet needles around each other in swift motions, Evie hummed as the yarn take shape under her guidance.

Salamon, sitting on a nearby table, watched in amazement as the ball of green yarn slowly transformed into cloth and pooled on itself in layers.

An elf, trying to take advantage of the Digimon’s distraction, reached up on his tip-toes to grab a cookie-

With a short warning growl, Salamon kicked the elf away, not once taking her eyes off the project her partner was working on.

The elf flailed wildly on his back, like a downed turtle, and Evie set aside her work, helping the mischievous little creature up.

“Here you go.”

The elf stared, dumbfounded, as a cookie was placed in his hands.

“You could have just asked.” She teased gently, smile warm.

Once he regained his senses, the elf grinned back, nodding furiously and hugging her leg before taking off.

Giggling at his enthusiasm, Evie grabbed another cookie, breaking it in half and offering one piece to her Digimon while nibbling on the other.

Happily digging her sharp little teeth into the sweet, Salamon rubbed against her partner’s fingers with a happy little growl.

“You don’t have to be so rough with them.” The blonde child noted, scratching behind a floppy ear. “I don’t mind sharing the cookies. There are plenty.”

The Digimon was silent for a long moment, mulling over her partner‘s words as she set the cookie down.

“It’s just…food is precious.” She explained, frowning. “You need your strength.”

Evie smiled so sweetly that Salamon practically melted, almost purring as a kiss was placed on her forehead.

“Thank you for worrying.” The blonde soothed, blue eyes big and warm with affection. “But you don’t need to. I’m alright.”

Peering up at her, Salamon took in the bags under those eyes and the constant illness that reddened her cheeks, frowning.

“It doesn’t matter.” The puppy-Digimon asserted, firm. “I’ll always worry and protect you.”

And that was a promise she would keep.

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Evie is fine with being in the background most of the time, staying out of the spotlight whenever possible.

She knew how Faye craved it, how Bee needed it, how Ally smiled when she had it, and left the spotlight to them for the most part.

This did not mean, of course, that Evie was ever forgotten.

Putting down a plate of fresh apple and orange slices, Ma frowned at the empty ones that still held crumbs from the less-than-healthy snack from earlier.

“Can’t have you gorging on cookies all day.” She fussed, picking them up with one hand and ruffling Evie’s bangs in a motherly fashion.

“Oh, they’re so bad for your teeth!” Tooth fretted, buzzing around to check inside the young girl’s mouth as if she could see the chocolate eat away at the teeth within.

“Her teeth will be fine.” Kim pointed out, frowning as she smacked Jack’s hand away from her sketchbook.

“Is there any caramel?” Rocky wondered, looking away from the teddy she was making-one that was starting to look suspiciously like a certain winter spirit.

“Oh, caramel!” Jack lamented, grinning. “Just think of what that’ll do to your teeth!”

“Exactly!” Tooth voiced, completely oblivious to the frost-boy’s sarcasm.

Sandy looked up from his eggnog, a series of symbols appearing over his head, and Ally smiled in agreement.

“He’s right, Tooth. A little sugar can’t hurt!”

“But a lot of sugar can get you high!” Faye piped up, grinning from her spot next to Bee on one of the couches. “Gotta tell you, it‘s awesome! You get to see sounds!”

The three spirits paused, expressions both disbelieving and awed by the sheer amount of sugar that would take, and Kim rolled her eyes.

“You’re no longer allowed to do that.”

Aw, why not?” The older teen complained, pouting.

“You almost molested Bee last time.” The black-haired Warrior pointed out, and Bee’s face became as red as the apple slices Ma had brought.

“K-K-Kim!”

“Oh, shush!” Faye voiced, pulling the embarrassed brunette into an enthusiastic hug. “It’s not my fault Bumblebee is so adorably sexy!”

Bee was sputtering now, so very embarrassed, and trying to pull out of the older girl’s grip.

“F-F-F-Faye! L-Let g-g-go!”

“Why would I wanna do that?” Faye teased, happily getting a squeeze on the poor girl’s rear so she squeaked. “I like you just where you are!”

Before things could escalate-or Tooth fainted from shock-, Ma nailed the multi-colored teen in the face with a cushion.

You stop that right now!” She thundered. “There are children in the room!”

Blinking innocently, Faye turned her head to see that, not only was Sandy shielding Ally’s eyes and Tooth blocking Jack’s view, but Kim was glaring death at her from where she stood by Rocky and Evie.

“Oh…I forgot.” She noted, smiling. “You see, kids, this here is called a brea-”

Unlike Ma, Kim did not find something soft to chuck at Faye’s face.

Evie and Rocky could not help giggling at the chaos that followed, all false upset and laughs, sharing a smile between them.

There were many times Evie was glad to not be the center of attention.

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Leaping from the icy snow of the Arctic to the pleasant warmth of Santoff Claussen, Bunny shivered violently.

“Bloody freezing…” He grumbled, shaking the white fluff off his fur as he kicked the door closed.

“Bunny!”

Ears perking up at the sudden call of his nickname, the Pooka turned around to see who had done so.

“Hey there, ya little anklebiter.” He greeted, picking up Evie in a hug. “What’s got ya all excited?”

The blonde smiled, big blue eyes shining with joy as she held up a tissue-wrapped bundle.

“I made you a present!”

“Really now?” Bunny voiced, adjusting his grip so he held the girl in the crook of one arm. “Ya didn’t have ta go an’ do that.”

“I wanted to.” She insisted, handing it over as Salamon skidded to a halt below her, tail wagging in residual excitement.

“Well, how can I say no ta that face?” Bunny admitted, setting her down gently.

Sliding a claw in the ribbon’s knot, he undid the wrapping and-

The Pooka went still, slowly pulling out a thick scarf and modified gloves made out of the softest green yarn he had ever seen, with bright orange and white asters lovingly crocheted amid the green.

“Do you like them?” Evie wondered, growing slightly nervous at his silence. “You always say how cold it is, so I just thought…”

Before she could start to ramble, Bunny crouched and pulled her into a hug, purring softly as he nuzzled her hair.

“I love ‘em, ya little anklebiter.”

Evie smiled, shy and sweet.

“You really like it?”

“’Course I do.” The Australian assured, straightening slightly.

Without prompting, the Pooka unraveled the scarf and expertly looped it around his neck.

The yarn was warm against his shoulders, the ends hanging loose on both sides of his shoulders and just waiting for a good burst of speed.

“Now, ya wouldn’t happen ta know where yer sister is, would ya?”

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Evie may have been young, and perhaps a bit naïve, but she was most certainly not blind.

Sipping on the herbal tea Ma had insisted on, the blonde sat quietly by the fire with the Digimon, watching her sister and the Pooka on a couch against the far wall.

Angling the paintbrush in her hands, Casey tried to paint a straight line across the egg’s shell and pouted when it came out at an angle instead.

Smiling at the adorable expression, Bunny reached around to hold both her hands steady, practically encompassing the teenager in an embrace.

“There ya go, bluey.” He rumbled, amused. “Just gotta keep yer hand from shiftin’, that’s all.”

Cheeks faintly pink, the redhead nodded, a silly little smile on her lips as Bunny guided her through another stroke.

There was something about the spark in Casey’s eyes, the quirk in Bunny’s smile…

Evie smiled secretly into her tea, Agumon’s purr vibrating up her leg as Salamon giggled softly, butting heads gently with the happy dinosaur-Digimon.

They were happy, and that was all she needed to know.

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Nursing her cup of tea, Evie took a deep breath as the sleeping aid started to kick in.

Salamon relaxed fully as the dozy feeling came through the Bond, cuddling further into the blankets as the cup was set aside.

Yawning widely, the blonde shut off the bedside lamp, leaving only a strip of artificial light coming in from the half-opened doorway.

Casey would not be going to sleep for another hour at least, but with the moon shining on her back, Evie felt safe enough to settle down.

As the medicine did it’s work, the blonde turned and pulled her Digimon close, vision blurring as dream-sand filtered in to finish the job.

As a little girl and a kitten scampered over her head, Salamon yawned, all sharp little teeth, as the wonderful dream filtered through and dragged her into slumber not long after.

Time passed, quiet and peaceful…

The moon’s light brightened sharply in alarm as the shadows grew, and Salamon frowned, as if sensing a disturbance.

Circling the bed like a lion would it’s prey, Pitch smiled his shark’s-smile with satisfaction.

“Oh, so very sweet…” He cooed maliciously, turning his smile onto the silent watcher outside. “Your little favorite, isn’t she?”

The moonlight turned harsh, cutting through the dark, and Pitch chuckled.

“Don’t be like that, old friend.”

Shadows rose up around the bed like dark sentries, closing in...

You should have known better.”

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Sandy was the first to notice something was wrong.

The dream-sand he had sent to soothe Evie to sleep was suddenly gone, cut off from the collective consciousness and no longer responding to his subtle control.

Noticing the sudden shift in his attention, Ally paused, concerned.

“Sandy?”

Frowning, the dream-giver sent out another strand, wondering…

Ally yelped when the former wishing star shot straight up into the air, exclamation points popping into existence over his head in alarm.

Fumbling the egg in her hands, Casey winced at the feeling of wet paint as Sandy grabbed her shoulders and pulled.

“What the hell-?”

Not giving her a chance to argue, Sandy dragged her off the couch and towards the residential wing, images appearing over his head in rapid-fire succession.

For a moment, she had no idea what he was saying-

Until the image of Pitch formed, and her heart dropped like a stone.

“No…”

Bolting down the hallway, skidding around corners in her haste, Casey tried to breathe past the heavy lump in her throat.

No no no no no no no no

Her shoulder struck the door first, and the barrier slammed against a wall as the redhead stumbled, panicked gold eyes immediately locked on the bed.

The empty bed.

Running up to throw the sheets away, she ignored the toppled tea cup on the floor and displaced mattress in her haste.

“Evie? Evie, where are you? Evie!”

A hand on her shoulder gave her pause, gold meeting blue as Kim slowly shook her head.

There was no need for her to say it.

Casey felt her heart break as she realized, truly realized, it was true.

Evie was gone.

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The lair was dark and dank, with only enough light to make shadows across the stalactites and cages overhead, twisting a person’s perspective like one might remove the cap of a bottle.

It felt like every dark corner had a set of eyes, always watching and waiting, ready to strike at the slightest provocation…

On-edge, Salamon growled at every shadow, fur damp and bristling along her back.

She would not allow anyone here to harm her partner, not while she had anything to say about it.

Curled up in a feeble attempt to stay warm, Evie reached out to smooth a hand down her Digimon’s back, humming softly to soothe her.

She had woken up more than an hour ago in this cage, fever-hot and tired from lack of rest, with no idea what had happened to bring her there.

Casey must be so worried

Sensing the girl’s thoughts, Salamon growled softly in comfort, nuzzling against her palm and licking the dark-chilled fingers.

A smile unfurled across Evie’s face, soft and brilliant like starlight.

“Don‘t worry.” She whispered, curling her fingers to scratch gently behind a floppy ear. “I’m okay.”

“You won’t be for long, I’m afraid.”

Evie jolted in surprise, wide blue eyes meeting sickly amber as the Nightmare King smirked, rather pleased with himself.

“I have so many plans for you two…I had begun to wonder if it was possible to turn a Warrior and their Digimon into Fearlings.”

Salamon stood between her partner and this familiar threat, sharp little fangs bared in warning.

“If you hurt her, I’ll…”

“You’ll what?” Pitch mocked, unimpressed. “Bark at me?”

Bristling in outrage, the puppy-like Digimon lunged, hitting the bars with a CLANG as her claws caught on the shade’s cloak in an attempt to slice flesh.

Evie winced as if her own forehead had struck the metal, a headache throbbing into being.

“Salamon!” She cried out, gathering the furious Digimon into her arms and hugging her close.

Physical touch amplified the Bond, and she quieted with a growl, not wanting to upset her Warrior further.

Chuckling, Pitch circled the cage, not at all threatened by the violent outburst.

“Really now, is that any way to treat your captor?” He chided, amused.

Frowning, Evie lifted her head to stare back, not a speck of fear in her bright blue eyes or the matching pair that still glared at him.

“You should let us go now, before you get hurt.”

The warning was said with such firm confidence that Pitch stopped his casual circling to stare back, incredulous.

“Oh? And how exactly do you imagine I will get hurt by keeping you here?”

“Casey.”

Pitch stopped to consider that possibility, and could admit to himself that her arrival would likely cause quite a bit of pain.

“She won’t stop until she finds me, and when she does, she’s going to kick your butt.” Evie explained, not a single doubt or fear in her mind that this might not be the case.

“What makes you think any of them will even realize you’re gone?” The Nightmare King bit out, annoyed.

“Casey always knows.”

It was said with the certainty that one would point out that the sky is blue and the grass is green.

Casey always knows.

Scowling, the Nightmare King turned, summoning his latest Digimon minion with a wave of his hand.

“Wizardmon.”

Like a magician might appear on stage before a performance, smoke rose up in a funnel, dissipating quickly to reveal a humanoid Digimon, sun-topped staff in hand and nearly hidden beneath a thick purple cape and hat.

“You called?” He voiced, a hint of sarcasm tinting his tone.

“Watch them.” Pitch ordered, too caught up in his frustration to notice. “And don’t let anyone in.”

Wizardmon nodded his understanding, turning to study his new charges as the dark spirit disappeared into the shadows.

The girl was small for a human, and fragile, as if the slightest rough touch would bruise her pale skin, but…

Even in the darkness, her eyes were shining, practically stars in the eternal darkness of the Nightmare King’s lair.

Wizardmon didn’t feel it was right, keeping someone so bright caged up in this place.

But that was none of his business; it was his job to make sure she stayed put, no matter how much the thought bothered him.

As the silence dragged on, Wizardmon settled into a cross-legged position next to the rusty cage, trying to ignore his turbulent emotions.

There was no reason to care if this foolish endeavor killed him-there was no reason to keep going, anyway-, but did he really want to take away that right from everyone else?

“He didn’t put a Black Gear in you.” Evie noted softly, Salamon relaxing in her arms and no longer bristling. “Why?”

The humanoid Digimon was silent for a moment, wondering if he should answer…

“I have no reason to fight, or live.” He replied, the glimmer of sad green eyes shining beneath the brim of his hat. “So, there was no reason to refuse.”

Evie frowned in concern, shifting closer.

“Everyone has a reason to live…”

“I did.” Wizardmon admitted, the tense line of his shoulders loosening. “Every Digimon has a reason for living…Until they are taken away.”

Salamon whined softly, resting her forepaws on the bars as sympathy filled her eyes.

“Your Warrior…”

“Made the sacrifice anyone in our position would have.” Wizardmon finished, closing his eyes against the old pain. “I loved her as much as any Digimon loves their Warrior. To not feel the Bond…It is a constant reminder that I am alone.”

The blonde-haired girl was silent, taking in the slumped shoulders and bent head…

Wizardmon went still as a hand took hold of his, warm and solid through the thick leather gloves.

It was the first time since her death that he had been touched.

Green eyes met blue, and the Digimon could almost believe he saw a bit of his partner in those depths.

“You’re not alone anymore.”

It was almost like her voice echoed underneath, assuring him that everything was alright…

And suddenly, Wizardmon had another reason to live.

Everything changed, priorities rearranging themselves lightning-quick in his mind like a dealer shuffling a deck of cards.

There was no doubt in his mind that Pitch wanted to harm this girl and her Digimon, to taint her light and turn her into a weapon, and that could not be allowed.

Even if she was not a Chosen, he would not have allowed it.

There were not nearly enough good things in the world as it was.

As if sensing something had changed, Evie tightened her grip on his hand, cheeks fever-red but eyes clear.

“Wizardmon?”

Mind made up, the Champion-level Digimon squeezed before pulling away, determined.

“Step back.”

Curious, the young girl agreed, shuffling to the far side of the cage as Salamon crouched by her side in preparation.

Aiming his staff at the lock, Wizardmon focused his intent and-

“Magical Game!”

The lock rattled violently under the influence of his magic before exploding in a shower of metal debris, falling to the ground in a ball of twisted gears.

Salamon wasted no time in shoving the door open, hopping over the broken lock with ease as Evie carefully stepped out, steadying herself on the curved bars.

“You two need to get out of here.” Wizardmon urged, scanning the room for any prying eyes. “There is no telling when he will return, or if he has others in his employ.”

Straightening despite the weakness in her legs, the blonde girl frowned in concern as Salamon sniffed the air.

“What about you? Aren’t you coming with us?”

Purposely ignoring her questions, Wizardmon turned away to point with his staff.

“Take that tunnel to the surface. It will open to a lake near the town of Burgess.”

“Wizardmon.”

The larger Digimon stopped, unwilling to make eye contact with the smaller one staring holes into his back.

“We are not leaving without you.”

“Actually, none of you will be leaving.”

With a sharp gasp, Evie whipped around, tripping over her own feet like a newborn fawn as Pitch materialized a short distance away.

“I’m rather disappointed in you, Wizardmon.” The shade admitted, slowly circling the trio. “To think I had such high hopes for you…”

Staff pointed unerringly at the dark spirit, the humanoid Digimon frowned behind the high collar of his cape.

“If you thought I would allow you to harm a child, then you do not know me very well at all.”

Pitch rolled his eyes with a gusty sigh, like one would with a foolish child.

“You didn’t seem to mind when we first approached you. Why the sudden change of heart?”

His gaze was piercing, calculating and deducing like a predator might before striking down prey.

“Or do you need a reminder of why you agreed in the first place?”

Evie yelped in fright as nightmare-sand rose up from the ground around her, jerking back and nearly stumbling as Salamon jumped to her defense with a snarl.

The tendrils snapped out like striking snakes, grabbing the small puppy-Digimon and holding her aloft as she struggled, securely muzzled.

Raising his staff, Wizardmon moved to free her-

A massive scythe arced down, prepared to slice him in half, and he was forced to block the blow instead.

“It’s amazing how weak your kind becomes without a partner.”

Pitch smirked, bearing down and forcing the Digimon back despite his solid stance.

“You’re hardly a challenge.”

With a twist, the scythe hooked under the crooked wood, yanking it from Wizardmon’s hands to skitter across the floor.

Evie knew in a moment what was about to happen, heart twisting in worry and panic and no, please don’t hurt him, he was just trying to help-!

Just as Pitch raised his weapon, ready to bring it down in a fatal strike, Salamon felt her heart wail in time with her Warrior’s.

NO!

For the first time in human history, light touched the lair of the Nightmare King.

“Salamon, Digivolve to…Gatomon!”

Blinded by the unexpected brightness in his dark lair, Pitch reared back, blinking stars out of his eyes as a glowing dome deflected the blade of his scythe from Wizardmon’s head.

“Lightning Paw!”

A white blur struck him full in the face in a burst of blood and agony, Pitch stumbling as one hand came up to stem the flood.

Once his vision cleared, the shade could only stare at the bristling feline Digimon before him, large black claws digging furrows into the stone floor and whip-like tail lashing the air.

Evie collapsed onto her knees in surprise, sparks of light dancing around her fingertips as the dome that surrounded Wizardmon dissolved.

Did she just…?

Were they…?

“Take one more step. I dare you.” Gatomon threatened, admittedly more intimidating despite the fact she had not become much bigger with her transformation.

Cursing to himself, Pitch retreated a few more steps, furious with his seventh failure in a row.

He would not allow this fact to leave his domain.

“Deltamon!”

The floor cracked, opening a chasm where the giant dinosaur-like Digimon rose up, a skull-head as one hand and a metallic serpent’s as the other, twin tails snapping against the ground so hard it trembled.

The two smaller Digimon tensed, Wizardmon’s gaze flickering to his staff.

If he could just get his hands on it

“Devour them.”

With a triple-headed roar, Deltamon charged, mouths open in preparation to do just that-

Sharp fangs skittered off the bright domes in a shower of sparks, rearing back with screeches at the unexpected pain.

Evie flinched at the power that was exerted on her forcefields, and they flickered out of existence as her focus wavered with a rush of fever-pain.

Sensing this, Gatomon hissed, attacking the source of her Warrior’s distress.

“Lightning Paw!”

Deltamon’s main head snapped back from the blow, and Wizardmon took the distraction to leap for his staff.

Shoving herself up, Evie forced herself to concentrate as the large dinosaur-like Digimon lashed out at the humanoid Wizardmon with it’s tails.

The blows hit the glowing shields with teeth-rattling force, enough that Wizardmon stumbled before getting a good grip on his staff, and Gatomon leapt between them with a glare.

“Cat’s Eye Hypnotism!”

Deltamon went still for a moment, as if frozen solid, before the three heads suddenly turned on each other.

Taking advantage of the opening, Wizardmon raised his staff, and stormy clouds formed among the stalactites overhead.

Pitch, unwilling to be outdone again, lashed out with his nightmare-sand at the current bane of his existence.

The girl yelped as the whip-like constructs wrapped around her legs, jerking back in surprise and terror.

Gatomon!”

Breaking her focus on Deltamon, the cat-Digimon turned towards her partner with wide eyes.

Evie!”

Free from her influence, Deltamon lunged forward-

“Electro Squall!”

A bolt of lightning flew down from the unnatural cloud-cover, striking the massive Digimon square in the shoulder-blades with a blinding flash.

Gatomon ignored it as she rushed to her Warrior’s aid, the ring on her tail gathering energy until-

“Cat Tail!”

With a forward flip, the jewelry cut through the tainted sand like a hot knife through butter, freeing Evie and allowing her to land in-between the girl and their enemy with ease.

“Magical Game!”

Incapacitated by the powerful shock, Deltamon growled weakly as magical bindings held him down, pinning all three mouths closed like muzzles.

Almost wild with rage, Pitch glared at the girl that had foiled his carefully-laid plans so easily.

He had taken such great care to choose the weakest link, to capture her at her most vulnerable, to not threaten her directly so as not to trigger a reaction…

And yet

An explosion rocked the walls, and a familiar roar echoed through the tunnels like a death knell.

It was time to go.

“This isn’t over.” Pitch warned, disappearing into the shadows and vacating his lair in moments.

Ignoring the ruckus heading their way, Evie ran to Deltamon’s center head, worry obvious in her eyes.

“Are you alright?”

The dark Digimon growled, flinching back from her raised hand, as if expecting to be struck.

Gatomon bristled, but said nothing as her partner’s palm hovered inches from the scaled snout.

“I just want to help.”

Deltamon continued to growl, but it softened enough that Evie smiled as light sparked between her fingers.

At the first touch, Deltamon jerked as if shocked.

Wizardmon watched in amazement as a glow came off the girl’s skin and spread over the large Digimon’s flesh, seeping in…

Until a Black Gear shot out of the heavily-scaled back, disintegrating on contact with the air, and Deltamon went still with a tired purr.

“Evie!”

All three turned at the shout, and Evie smiled in relief.

“Casey…”

Tears in her eyes, the redhead charged across the space and gathered her sister up in a hug.

“Oh, my baby bunny, you’re okay…”

Agumon stopped by his partner’s side, slightly out of breath, as the other Chosen and the Guardians stopped a respectful distance away.

“I’m okay…” Evie assured, a yawn slurring her words as she leaned into the older girl for support. “Gatomon and Wizardmon took care of me…”

The older girl raised her head, realizing what this meant.

“You mean Salamon…? And you…?”

“That’s right.” Gatomon replied, smile proud. “We couldn’t have done it without Wizardmon.”

The humanoid Digimon fidgeted under the sudden attention, hiding behind the brim of his hat shyly.

Evie tugged on her sister’s shirt, adrenaline waning and exhaustion setting in.

“Can they come with us?”

Casey took a moment to look between Wizardmon and Deltamon, gold eyes turning back to the others with a shrug.

“Yeah…Yeah, they can come with us.”

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The Man in the Moon smiled down on the young Warrior, moonbeams singing with joy at her new strength.

He was so very proud of her…

She had stood up for someone else, and had not wavered in her belief for even a moment.

Fear could not possibly comprehend Light’s strength.

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