The world spun as it came into focus, like watching paint swirl down a drain in reverse, and Ally groaned as a headache swelled behind her eyes.
Where am I?
Something shifted over her legs, and the blonde let out a breath as a worried prod came through the Bond.
“I’m alright, Pal…” She assured, struggling to sit up and leaning heavily on one arm. “Oh, my head hurts…”
Rolling onto her feet, Palmon stood up with a long stretch, sighing as her muscles loosened.
As the teenager stood, shaking loose grass from her hair and rubbing new aches, her partner looked around in genuine confusion.
“Where are we?”
Blinking once to clear away the headache, Ally lifted her head to take in their surroundings.
They must have been in some sort of park or forest, judging by the trees and gravel paths, but there was no snow on the ground like back in Orias or even Burgess.
Were they further south, where winters were shorter, or hardly existed at all?
“I…I don’t know.” She admitted, panic welling up in her chest.
Oh my God, I don’t know where I am or where anyone else is what if they’re hurt what if they can’t find me oh what do I do what do I do-
Taking in a deep breath at the sudden break in her distressed thoughts, Ally looked down into Palmon’s worried green eyes, trying to stop herself from trembling.
“I…I’m alright.” She promised, swallowing past the lump in her throat.
I’m not alone I’m not I’ve got Pal and Sandy’s coming he always comes when I need him…
As her nerves settled, Ally managed to smile.
“Really, I‘m okay! I just zoned out for a second there, that’s all!”
Palmon frowned, still feeling the aftershocks of blinding terror through the Bond, but chose not to argue.
What was the point, if it was already over?
“What do we do now? We can’t stay here.”
This was a fact, one that even Ally could not push aside.
Separation had been Devimon and Akuma’s plan to get rid of them, permanently, and staying where they had been deposited by the enemy was not something she wanted to do.
But where could they go?
Ally had no idea where they were, and she doubted walking off in some random direction would end well for anyone.
Light flashed in the corner of her eye, drawing the blonde’s attention down to the Digivice clipped on her jean skirt.
The screen was no longer blank, glowing faintly, with two colored dots amid the lines of what must have been a map of the landscape.
Excited, she ripped the device from her waistband, pushing down the rumpled hem of her green t-shirt and brown vest with one hand while taking in the details.
The green dot in the center must be her, and this one in the corner…
Practically leaping to her feet, Ally grinned, her entire body thrumming with excitement.
“It’s Bee! She’s close!”
Energized by the flood of delight through the Bond, Palmon hopped to her side, grinning.
“Then let’s go find her!”
“Right!” The green-eyed teenager agreed, beaming. “This way! No, wait, this way! Or maybe this way…This might be harder than I thought…”
Bee woke up in an instant, as if her brain had been jumpstarted by a shock of electricity and was immediately running at full capacity.
Jackknifing off the grass, her air intake increased at the realization of what had happened and she had no idea where she was and Casey was hurt everyone was scattered they were all in danger-
Pressing into her side, Tentomon held his girl tight, as if trying to squeeze all the anxiety out.
Equilibrium returning, Bee closed her eyes, leaning into her Digimon as she calmed her mind with a familiar sequence.
Three point one four one five nine two six five three five eight nine seven nine three two three…
The further along she went, the easier each breath came, until the panic attack faded and Bee was able to think clearly once more.
Sensing that the fit had passed, Tentomon nudged her chin, wings buzzing softly.
“I-I’m okay…” She assured, still trembling faintly.
Now that she could fully absorb the situation, Bee surmised that they had landed in the southern half of the United States-more West than East, considering the lack of humidity and foliage-, and seemed to have acquired no injuries from the landing.
Unfortunately, as she moved to stand, that last assessment proved false.
Agony jolted up her leg like white-hot lightning, and Bee fell back with a cry, tears bubbling up at the unexpected pain.
Tentomon jumped to stabilize her damaged right leg, buzzing worriedly at the swelling growing around her ankle.
“I-It must h-have been sp-sprained when w-we l-l-landed…” Bee realized, wiping away the wetness on her lashes. “I-I can’t w-walk on it…”
Looking over the damage, Tentomon knew this to be true.
But what choice did they have?
Staying here, out in the open, was suicide.
Bee went still, like a wounded animal that had unexpectedly been cornered, and Tentomon jerked around, wings crackling as he scanned the nearby trees for danger.
The second, softer call clicked in the brunette’s frantic mind.
Placing a hand on Tentomon’s opening carapace, she soothed his frazzled nerves just as a young girl stepped around the nearest tree and froze like a deer caught in headlights.
Though a bit frail-looking, the girl seemed no older than nine or ten years old, with chin-length dark hair and nervous brown eyes like a skittish horse.
Swallowing down her own shyness, Bee shrunk a bit into herself as her voice finally reengaged.
Snapping out of her stupor, the young girl stepped forward, curiosity growing beneath her uncertainty.
Recognition flashed through her dark eyes, followed swiftly by excitement and wonder.
“You are! I can’t believe it!”
The words came out in such a rush that there was no time for stutters, and Tentomon paused, watching this girl that was so like his own in peculiar fascination.
“I saw your battle in New York! Well, not personally, but I watched all the videos put online, and you were amazing!”
Flushing at the praise, Bee ducked her head as Tentomon buzzed happily, practically smiling.
The girl paused, as if the situation was just beginning to set in, and a worried frown took shape on her face.
“But…What are you doing here?”
“W-We…W-We w-were s-separated fr-from th-the o-others…” Bee managed, voice shaking from both nerves and pain. “I-I…I-I tw-twisted m-m-my a-ankle wh-when w-we l-landed…”
Eyes widening in surprise, the girl rushed forward, fluttering about like a distressed butterfly as she tried to figure out what to do.
“I-I have a f-first aid kit at home, b-but it’s a bit far…”
Taking a deep breath, Bee shared a look with her Digimon, grip tightening on her shin in reminder of the pain as Tentomon nodded.
“I-If y-you a-and T-Tento h-h-help…I-I c-could m-make i-it…”
Nodding quickly, the girl almost stumbled in her haste to help, blushing at her obvious nerves.
“R-Right! J-Just give me y-your arm…”
The day had started off pretty normal, in Dana’s opinion.
After a night of good dreams-flowers and trees and a sense of honest joy, like there was not a single lie in the world-, and breakfast, she had gone outside under strict orders by her mother.
Dani, her twin sister, was already on the park’s old swing set, reddish-gold hair swinging around her shoulders as she lazily pumped her legs.
“Morning!” She greeted, stopping herself with one foot as Dana approached.
“Morning. Have you heard anything?”
“None of the others know what happened.” The technically-younger twin admitted.
Dana sighed, plopping down on the other swing.
“So everything just went dark? Do we know who won?”
Dani bit her lip, a nervous habit, tapping her fingers against the rusting chain.
“Everyone thinks…the bad guys won.”
Running a hand through her own curly hair, Dana let out a gusty sigh, heart sinking.
Had those girls really lost? They had seemed so strong, with their own monsters and powers…
“I’m sure they’re alright.” She assured, seeing the worry in her sibling’s eyes. “Good always wins, right? Even if evil gets a good hit in every now and again.”
Nodding slightly, the other girl opened her mouth to reply-
An explosion shook the nearby trees, and a short scream echoed off the rattled trunks.
Startled by the sudden commotion, the twins whipped around, eyes wide.
Something green flew out of the sparse forest, hitting the ground in a tumble that revealed an unfamiliar green creature, a ruffled pink flower sprouting from it’s head.
An older girl, a blonde with eyes just as green, ran out after, ducking as something swung and took out a tree trunk beside her.
Stumbling forward a few more steps, she fell on one knee as a giant centaur followed her, hooves stomping the grass.
Dana jerked back, grabbing her sister’s arm, and the movement drew the large monster’s attention.
It also drew the girl’s attention, and her eyes widened in alarm as her enemy raised his hand.
Purple vines wrapped around the thick wrist, pulling it off-course-
The twins screamed as the nearby jungle gym was destroyed, huddling down to become smaller targets.
“Leave them alone!”
Blinding light came from the device clenched in her fist, and all Dani heard was a pained shout before the thundering sound of hooves as the enemy fled.
Dana was just trying to catch her breath, ears still ringing from the short battle, when a gentle hand touched her shoulder.
Jerking around, the reddish-blonde felt her breath hitch on instinct before realizing who it was.
“Are you alright?” The teenager worried, nature-green eyes looking over both of them as her own monster jogged to her side.
“Y-Yeah…” She replied, shaky from adrenaline.
Dani straightened in her twin’s protective embrace, amazed.
The blonde smiled, almost sheepish, and it clicked in both girls’ minds that this was something from a dream, a dream of flowers and trees and no lies, never any lies, I never tell lies.
“I’m Ally, and this is my Digimon, Palmon. And you are?”
Clenching her jaw against the pain, Bee slowly wrapped her injured ankle in an elastic bandage, fingertips brushing the cooled skin.
Tentomon buzzed around her, holding the used cold pack in his claws, as their host went about starting up the computer equipment that had been requested.
Young Francine-or Frankie, as she had shyly suggested to be called-lived with her mother and father in a small suburban home as a single child, only one floor, though all they had seen of it was the kitchen and living room.
Making sure the joint was properly compressed, the brunette let out a tired breath.
“Everything will be fine.” Her Digimon assured, carefully replacing the cold pack on her elevated ankle. “You’ll be better in no time, and we’ll find the others.”
Bee could only manage a slight nod, purple eyes dark as night with concern.
Oh, she really hoped things would turn out well…
“I’ve got my dad’s desktop up and running for you!” Frankie informed them, bouncing on the ball’s of her feet. “I could roll the desk over here, if you want.”
“Th-Thank y-you, th-that w-would b-be n-nice…” Bee replied, glad for the distraction.
Shifting around to keep her leg elevated, and still be able to reach the keyboard comfortably, she smiled softly in gratitude as the small, wheeled desk was rolled into the room.
The feel of computer keys under her fingertips was familiar and comforting, draining tension from the brunette’s shoulders as she took a deep breath.
Here, she was in her element.
Here, she was in control.
Tentomon settled beside her on the couch, letting out a relieved breath at the calm that was coming through the Bond, as Frankie went behind the couch to see the screen.
Brown eyes widened at the sudden rush of coding, in awe of the ease this girl had in navigating this strange new world behind the screen of a computer.
It was a matter of minutes to get into her own system back at the North Pole-having designed the entire thing herself-, and Bee went about getting exact coordinates of her location.
Once she had the exact latitude and longitude-southern California, near the ocean-, Bee sent the information to the two beings she knew would get it immediately.
After all, they were the only ones in the world right now that were part computer.
“You two should go home.” Ally warned, concern furrowing her brow.
“When Centarumon comes back, we might not be able to scare him off.” Palmon agreed, hands on her hips.
The eight-year-old twins stood firm, only slightly ruffled from the earlier skirmish, unwilling to back down.
“We know the neighborhood a lot better than you do.” Dana argued, frowning. “Without us, it’ll take you hours to figure out where your friend is.”
“And wandering around with Palmon will only call attention to you.” Dani agreed, arms crossed. “Since we know all the back ways, we can slip around the adults and most of the neighborhood kids.”
The blonde paused, biting her lower lip in thought, green eyes meeting green.
She knew they were right, but…
“Alright, you can come.” Ally relented, tipping her cowgirl hat up with a sigh. “Just be careful, okay?”
The young girls brightened, nodding eagerly, and Palmon giggled at the little burst of laughter through the Bond.
“Well, come on! The map says she’s this way!”
Tentomon buzzed sharply in surprise at the sudden beeping and flashing from his Warrior’s Digivice, feeling tingles through his carapace at the residual energy.
Startled, Bee took the device in hand, studying the screen as it settled into a map.
Two dots pulsed near the center, one purple and one green, and she paused in thought.
A knock came from the front door, and Frankie straightened up, a frown taking shape on her face.
“Wh-Who could th-that be…?”
As she went to answer, the brunette lifted her head, eyes brightening to a more violet shade with curiosity and hope.
Could it be…?
The door opened, and purple met green in surprise.
“Bee!” Ally shrieked in joy, a whirlwind of blonde hair and green clothes as she ran inside, Palmon on her heels.
“A-Ally?” She replied, a bit dumbfounded.
“I knew I’d find you eventually! Oh my God, are you alright? What happened to your ankle? Is it broken? Can you walk?” The older teenager sped on, her delight turning to worry at the sight of her friend’s injured leg.
“I-I’m o-okay, r-really…” Bee assured, holding her hands up as if to ward off any further concern. “I-I j-just sp-sprained m-my a-ankle i-in th-the l-landing…”
Frowning at the thought, Ally suddenly brightened, whipping around to her own identical guides with a smile.
“That’s Dana, and that’s Dani. They helped me find you!”
Shrinking into herself, Bee nodded in greeting, unable to even introduce herself at the realization of new people.
“And thanks so much for helping Bee!” She continued, turning that smile on Frankie with enthusiasm. “That was really nice of you!”
Frankie visibly floundered, blushing and looking down, words caught uselessly in her throat.
Seeing this, Tentomon hovered in-between them, wings buzzing louder than necessary.
“How did you find us? Did you see us land?”
Blinking in thought, Ally shook her head and held up her Digivice.
“This just decided to show me a map, and I figured the purple dot was you guys.”
“It also made that giant centaur-guy run away!” Dani reminded them, bouncing to Ally’s side as Dana looked around in interest.
“C-Centaur g-guy?” Bee wondered, mind already processing all this new information.
“Oh, right!” Ally realized, turning to her friend with a rare serious expression. “A Digimon called Centarumon attacked me and Pal earlier. When my Digivice started getting all glowy, he took off!”
The brunette jerked up, purple eyes wide.
“About an hour ago? Maybe more, I don’t know how long we walked around the neighborhood before Dana suggested this place.”
“It’s what the map said.” The older twin explained, shrugging.
Palmon felt the electricity coming off Tentomon’s wings as Bee’s panic flooded the Bond in a rush of connections.
“W-We h-have t-to g-go!” She insisted, struggling up on one good leg.
“Wait, what?” Ally responded, moving to help her friend. “Why?”
The younger three girls screamed as a tremor went through the house, hiding behind the now-tense Digimon.
Bee shrunk into a crouch, balancing precariously on one leg, and green shot back to purple.
“B-Because h-he’s c-coming a-after u-us…”
“Come out, Chosen!” The Digimon’s voice boomed, powerful even through the brick walls. “Or I will take the whole building down and destroy your new charges as well!”
Ally felt her whole heart squeeze, her gaze turning to the twins that she had only just met but had already helped her so much.
They had put themselves in danger to help her, knew they were, and now…
Now, it was her turn to do the same.
Thoughts crackling like lightning through her mind, Bee knew there was nothing else to do.
Staying inside would only cause irreparable damage, and likely grave injuries, even if going outside would not end much better.
But at least then…
Frankie looked towards her, frightened, and it strengthened Bee’s resolve.
At least then, they could protect them.
There was no need for either Chosen to say a word, to each other or their Digimon, as they went straight for the front door.
“We’ll be right back.” Ally promised, smile tight as Palmon stepped to her side.
“Stay in here.” Bee added softly, Tentomon buzzing around her shoulders.
One last shared glance, and the two Chosen stepped outside to face Centarumon.
The massive centaur-like Digimon straightened as his prey exited their hiding place, single red eye trained on them through the T-shaped opening of his helmet.
“So, you’ve chosen a noble death.” He noted, forelegs stamping impatiently on the asphalt.
“We’re not going to die!” Ally shot back, resolute.
“We’re going to protect them.” Bee agreed, voice firm and low.
Straightening, Centarumon aimed his palm at the two girls, which began to open and reveal his signature attack.
“We’ll see how you protect them as smears on the ground! Solar Ray-!”
The three young girls peering through one of the front windows watched in fascination as light flooded the yard.
“Palmon, Digivolve to…Togemon!”
“Tentomon, Digivolve to…Kabuterimon!”
With a battle-cry, the boxing-gloved cactus Digimon tackled Centarumon, driving him back and throwing off his aim.
The blast shot off harmlessly into the sky, and Centarumon reared back as plant roots shot from the ground to wrap around his hooves.
Kabuterimon took to the air as their enemy broke free, shoving Togemon off and backing away with flailing hooves to regain some breathing room.
He cried out as his rear hooves left the pavement, Bee’s eyes glowing as she turned the Digimon around to reveal the Black Gear imbedded in his back.
Spotting it, Ally knew exactly what they needed to do.
Both Digimon reared back-
The Black Gear shifted violently under the assault before coming loose, shattering on the grass as Centarumon fell unconscious from the strain.
Gently setting the Digimon down, Bee lifted herself telekinetically and floated over, concern shining through her hard mask.
“A-Are you alright? C-Centarumon?”
“We didn’t hit him that hard, right?” Ally fretted, rising up on the swell of a tree root to get a better look.
Togemon turned as the front door opened, smiling as much as she could at the three little girls peering out through the gap.
“It’s safe now.” She assured, using one gloved hand to usher them out as Kabuterimon landed.
“Oh, what happened…?” Centarumon groaned, disoriented and struggling onto his hooves.
“Y-You were being c-controlled by a Bl-Black Gear…” Bee explained, helping hold the Digimon steady as his balance returned.
“But we got it out, so you’re better now, right?” Ally wondered, watching him straighten up.
“Yes, I’m feeling alright…You…have Digivices?”
The two teenagers blinked in surprise, and Ally nodded.
“Yeah, we do. I used mine last time, and you ran off.”
“So you…are Chosen?” He realized, astounded. “You are Chosen Children?”
“W-Well, yes…” Bee admitted shyly.
“So you are to save our worlds. It is only fitting, then, that you have the Digivices.” Centarumon noted, tail flicking out in pride. “They are holy devices that bring light to the Digital World, and now yours as well.”
As the children approached, the change faded, and Ally moved to support her friend now that she had to stand.
“S-So the D-Digivices…are a s-sign we are Chosen? A-And they can dr-drive away Bl-Black Gears?” Bee mumbled, eyes flicking from side to side as she quickly absorbed this new information and put it to use in multiple internal scenarios.
“Is that what made him all evil?”
Palmon nodded at the twins’ deduction, the petals of her flower fluffing up in pride.
“A bad Digimon is using Black Gears to turn good Digimon evil.”
“But if you destroy the Black Gear, as we did, they return to normal.” Tentomon added. “Or, I suspect, you use the light of a Digivice to drive it out.”
Bee nodded in agreement, coming back from her thoughts.
“I-It’s a th-theory. C-Casey did it, b-but that w-wasn’t a Black Gear…I-It was D-Devimon’s influence…”
But what if that was the same thing?
Ally yelped as a heavy form landed behind the large half-horse Digimon, immediately moving to shield her injured friend as she realized who it was.
“Must destroy.” The possessed Digimon growled. “Must destroy them all.”
Tentomon jerked forward, buzzing menacingly, as Palmon whirled around.
Frankie squeaked as purple vines wrapped around her hips and yanked her back towards the house along with Dana and Dani.
Centarumon stood between the teenagers and Leomon, taking in the blank white eyes with concern.
“Leomon, what are you doing? These are Chosen!”
“If you get in my way, I will destroy you.” The lion-man warned, baring his fangs.
The centaur-like Digimon straightened to his full height, only just surpassing his opponent’s own.
“You may try.”
“Fist of the Beast King!”
The children screamed as the attack hit asphalt, sending up a spray of dust as the target used the exhaust ports on his back to speed out of the way.
Leomon roared as the attack knocked him back, and Ally took the opening to pull the brunette back to moderate safety, Bee wincing at the awkward hop she was forced to do.
Shaking off the attack, much to Centarumon’s shock, the bipedal Digimon roared.
“Fist of the Beast King!”
The attack connected, and he was sent tumbling down the street, ending in a groaning pile a few yards away.
“Oh, what do we do, what do we do?” Ally muttered, heart pounding against her ribs in growing panic as Leomon turned back to them. “What do we do?”
When his fist rose up, Bee jerked them both back, eyes wide-
The teenagers yelped as their assailant was suddenly sent flying, shocked, before turning to see…
“A-Andromon? T-Tokage?” The brunette voiced, confused.
Ally’s eyes lit up, and she leapt to embrace the small figure next to them, deaf to Bee’s surprised squeak just as Tokage caught her.
The dream-giver smiled, relieved to see she was alright, and happily allowed himself to be crushed to her bosom in a hug.
Yeah, he had missed this…
Unfortunately, the moment was cut short as Leomon rose once more, shaking off the last attack and advancing once more.
“What is he, a zombie?” Ally whined, moving as if to shield the Guardian. “How do we make him stop?!”
Bee took a deep breath, mind racing along, before grabbing her Digivice and hopping forward on her good leg, expression stern.
The screen burst to life at Leomon’s next step, and he cried out as if in pain.
Reminded of her earlier encounter with Centarumon-and Casey’s own losing fight-, Ally took out her own Digivice with a mumbled prayer.
There was no need to worry, as it’s light soon joined Bee’s, blinding Leomon and forcing him to stagger back with a roar.
Before the combined effort could drive out Devimon’s influence-which had been Bee’s intention-, he took off, soon disappearing over the horizon in a burst of speed no human could manage.
Taking deep breaths, Bee slowly lowered her device, smiling faintly as Tentomon buzzed to her side with a concerned little chirp.
“W-We did it…”
“We did it…” Ally grinned, picking up Palmon and spinning around with both the Digimon and Sandy in her arms. “We did it! Did you see that?”
The former wishing star nodded, taking another moment to enjoy his girl’s embrace before pulling back, symbols appearing in dream-sand around his head.
Ally paused to take them in, smile dropping into an anxious frown, and Palmon’s flower bristled.
“So…We have to go now?”
Sandy nodded, sure.
Letting out a sad little breath, the blonde turned to see the twins and Frankie still watching everything, eyes wide in surprise and awe.
What were they supposed to say?
Hope you never have to see us again?
A hand on her shoulder pulled Ally’s attention away, and Bee smiled gently in support.
“Th-They’ll be safe, b-but we have t-to go…”
There was no denying it, no bargaining, and Ally nodded once.
It was for the best.
“You have to go now, don’t you?”
Dana’s voice brought everyone’s attention to the children as Monzaemon helped Centarumon to his feet.
“We understand.” Dani assured, managing a smile.
“Y-You n-need t-to f-find y-your fr-friends…” Frankie agreed, twiddling her thumbs nervously. “W-We’ll b-be c-careful…”
“You’d better.” Ally warned, heart warming. “Or we won’t be happy when we come back.”
The implication was enough, and all three girls nodded rapidly in agreement as Sandy created a cloud of dream-sand for the two Chosen and their partners to sit on.
Farewells were shouted between the groups as they parted, ebbing away once out of sight, and the tired blonde turned to her friend with a sad smile.
“Are you ready?”
There was a little sparkle in Bee’s eyes, like pride, as she looked back.
Ally could not help but agree.