The branches lash at their bodies, Wizardmon leading the way as the group of Tamers run through the woods. Taylor and Justin are close behind the wizard digimon, Justin carrying his skates. Taylor grabs Miyuki’s arm, helping her back up from a fall.
“Come on, lose the shoes or something,” Taylor suggests.
“I’m tripping over roots, not my shoes!” Miyuki yells at her, fear written all over her face.
“Keep running!” Justin yells back at them.
“We’re almost to the edge of the forest. If we continue, we’ll come out into the desert near a cave system,” Wizardmon alerts them. “If we can get across the stretch of desert, I can guide us through to the Flower Forest.”
“Sounds fucking lovely, let’s fucking go!” Taylor responds in short order, glancing back behind them. Through the trees, the original building is half gone, destroyed by the two monsters fighting. Flashes of blue and black spray high into the air, the ground trembling with the force of the two fighting. “This must be what it’s like for the people in the movies when Godzilla fights something.”
“Shut up about my home country!” Miyuki shouts.
“I’m not saying shit about Japan!” Taylor snaps back. “If anything, I’m saying the fucking film industry is amazing because that’s the first thing I thought of was two giant fucking monsters fighting.”
“How did you get a job in Japan?!” Justin calls back to her.
“Don’t fucking start with me right now!” Taylor glares at him, the edge of the forest coming up quickly in front of them.
Instead of clear sky however, it turns black, a large creature shooting by overhead before coming to a stop in the desert nearby. Wizardmon stops the group, starting to pull them back into the woods with small panic. However, Seline jumps from the Devidramon’s back, aiming to run towards the castle again. Mega grabs her again, growling.
“Stop that. You can’t do anything.” She looks like she’s howling and yelling, pacing back and forth and back and forth at being stopped. She stomps her foot a few times as if to make a point that can’t be heard. “Use the keyboard, we can’t understand you.”
“She’s angry, you can understand that.” Taylor shoves past Wizardmon, pulling Miyuki along with her, running across the small patch of sand towards the rock wall ahead. “Now fucking help us get the hell away.” Seline looks startled at seeing them.
“We need to leave. There’s no way any of us could handle that thing back there.” Jason pauses, one hand on Seline’s shoulder. She puts a hand to her throat, glancing towards the castle again. Large streaks of darkness and what look like blue flames are in the air now, much of the castle destroyed around the two figures fighting. She grimaces before giving a nod. “Good, let’s go.”
Mega glows a bit, starting to shrink back down, Seline’s digivice glowing as they take off towards the rock wall. He turns into a much smaller, dragon-like creature. Giga, on the other hand, seems to pull energy from him, changing into the same small creature, each still carrying their colored markings. One looks to the other, greeting the other as a Monodramon.
“Where is it?” Taylor glances back at Wizardmon.
“Along the rock wall, it should be easy to find.” Wizardmon’s response is a little breathy.
“Should be? Should be? What the fuck does that mean?” Taylor snaps back.
“Calm down!” Ken suddenly snaps into the conversation. “We’re all trying to get away from that, you can have time to freak out and curse and scream later!” He gestures over his shoulder, an explosion emphasizing his statement. Taylor pauses for a second.
“All right, fearless leader.” Taylor turns back away, starting to scan the wall as quick as she can. “Where’s the door?” Wizardmon steps forward, seeming to summon a magic spell that runs along some of the rock wall, sparking off of a spot.
“There!” A howling noise comes from behind them. Miyuki turns around, staring at the black energy overtaking the blue flames. She puts a hand to her mouth in horror, a squeak of a scream coming from her. Taylor grabs her by the shoulders, dragging her towards the cave entrance revealing itself.
“Come on, shove it open!” Ken throws his shoulder at it, Jason joining him along with the two Monodramon. It gives way under their strength, revealing a passageway. Wizardmon summons an orb of light, sending into the hallway ahead of them, summoning a second immediately afterward. He seems to pull it from the sunlight beaming down on them. Taylor grabs Seline, pulling her along with Miyuki.
“In, in, in!” She shouts as Wizardmon heads in first, holding another orb of light. Taylor drags Seline and Miyuki in behind her. An orb of light hovers above Aaron’s head as he runs in, having been staring at the giant blast of darkness starting to overtake the sky over the forest. Jason and Ken head in next to last, the Monodramon twins pulling the hidden door closed behind the group, the last light orb hovering above them.
The group is silent as they hurry along the hidden pathway, Wizardmon leading the way. The orbs of light float along with them, seeming to mimic daylight, just not as bright. They reach a larger cavern inside the tunnel, Wizardmon starting to push them forward to the next tunnel.
“Look, hold up.” Ken stops him short. Miyuki is leaning on a stalagmite, Taylor beside her. Everyone is breathing a little heavily, save for Seline, who’s reached up and is touching a hand to the collar around her throat. “We need to talk, just—just what the hell is going on?” Wizardmon lingers for a second towards the exit, glancing around at the group of humans.
“We really need to keep—”
“No. No, we go nowhere until someone explains this to us. The Chosen thing, the—the creatures, if you’ll excuse me, the weird devices, everything.” Ken shakes his head, holding up a device he’s apparently found in his things. It looks just like Miyuki’s, save for being blue and teal. “We all need to catch our breath anyways.” Aaron is leaning on his legs, looking nervously back down the hallway.
“You are in the Digital World.” Ken blinks over at the Monodramon brothers to see that they’re reading from Seline’s screen, Mega speaking. “Everything you see is data, we’re technically in a computer system.”
“You’ve been here. The clothing and the dust…” Seline nods to Ken, typing something out quickly.
“It’s been about a month, maybe a little longer.” Giga reads out for her. “I was shocked like you, but after a week, I had to get used to it.”
“Why can’t you speak? And what’s with this thing?” Aaron gestures to the metal collar around Seline’s neck. Seline moves to type, but Mega beats her to speaking.
“We used to work for Sytrimon.” Some of the group draw away. “Used to being the key term. He attempted to kill us and take Seline. She saved us, but he attempted to kill her, thinking that she’s a Chosen.”
“Energy whip tore into her throat.” Giga explains, gesturing to his neck about where the collar is on Seline’s body. “Almost died due to… what was it, blood loss?” Giga looks to Mega, getting a nod.
“He—He tried to take her head off?” Taylor’s voice is a little shaky. She’s staring at Seline in horror, watching the girl grimace as Seline puts a hand to her neck, feeling the collar out. “That—That explains the blood on the shirt.”
“She’s not incorrect.” Wizardmon chimes in. “This is not Earth, it’s the Digital World. The ‘creatures’ you refer to are called digimon, they inhabit the Digital World. The devices that I’m sure that you all have are digivices.” There’s rustling as the group dig through their things, looking for their digivices. Each of them pulls a device out of some pocket, Aaron’s red with black accents, Taylor has a silver and black digivice, the others retrieving theirs.
“So what do these do?” Taylor questions, starting to look at it like she’d enjoy taking it apart, turning it over to eye the screws on the back.
“They indicate a connection to a digimon.” Mega speaks again. “A partner it’s called and you’re referred to as a Tamer. Chosen usually have abilities beyond normal Tamers, able to do some things with their digimon partner that others may not be able to.” The Monodramon takes a seat beside Seline.
“What’s this Chosen thing?” Miyuki questions, voice quiet as she looks over her digivice.
“You are the Chosen Tamers, the ones that will save the Digital World.” Wizardmon sounds as if he’s attempting to convince more than just them. Justin has a grimace on his face, looking at the digivice in his hands.
“There was a group many years ago who saved the Digital World,” Mega reads from Seline’s screen. “Sorcermon told me about them. They were kids who received digivices and partners and used their strength to stop darkness and evil from overtaking the Digital World.” Mega looks to Seline with mild surprise. “He told you all of that?” Seline nods, typing a little more. Mega and Giga stay silent however.
“What’d she say?” Aaron looks curious. Both Monodramon look mildly abashed.
“She said, ‘He thought I was one,’ but I’m sure she is. She wouldn’t be here otherwise,” Giga finally answers. There’s a very long silence, the group of Tamers-to-be looking at each other.
“So if she’s not a Chosen, she’s just a Tamer?” Justin questions.
“No digivice, this is borrowed technically. It belonged to one of the original Chosen.” Mega explains about Seline’s old-looking digivice.
“Well, she can help you two out, so that’s good enough.” Ken turns his attention back to Wizardmon. “So, we’re here to save this place from some big bad evil darkness in some clichéd fight of good versus evil?” Ken raises an eyebrow. Taylor laughs at the statement.
“That was just what I was going to say.” She shakes her head, looking at Wizardmon.
“Well I wouldn’t put it like that…” Wizardmon mutters, eyes darting away.
“You realize this sounds crazy, right?” Ken crosses his arms. “What did the last lot think of this whole thing?” Ken looks to Seline. Seline shrugs, a small smile on her face.
“If you don’t do it, the effects will be seen in your world.” Wizardmon shakes his head. “It might start in spurts, the Internet going, viruses going rampant. Odd things happening with your electronic devices.” There’s a short pause. “It’ll slowly become worse, weather in your world going out of control with floods and bizarre events. And then digimon will start appearing in your world, a few small ones at first, but then larger and larger, until Sytrimon has control over both worlds.”
“So this isn’t just a fight for you, it’s a fight for us too and we’re just heading it off at the pass then.” Taylor’s voice is quiet, not so amused anymore. Wizardmon gives a nod.
“You’ve seen what they can do. They will be just as kind on Earth.” Wizardmon shakes his head. “There are some like myself and Azulongmon that would treat humans kindly, but many digimon would attack and kill humans.”
“Then what’s the plan?” Justin speaks, sitting on a rock with his hands tented under his head.
“Find and re-release the Sovereigns.” Wizardmon looks from Justin to look across the group. “Finding your partners is top priority however.”
“Will we get any signs when we get close?” Aaron questions as he looks over the digivice, the screen dark and not responding at all.
“You digivice will beep, arrows will appear on-screen to direct you to them.” Wizardmon’s response is quick.
“Then we need to get going before he finishes whatever it is that he’s doing.” Ken nods, looking around the group. Seline gets to her feet, carrying her keyboard array with her. Taylor frowns a little when she looks at it.
“So these digivices are pretty technological?” Taylor eyes Seline’s digivice.
“Yes.” Wizardmon looks rather confused at her.
“Lovely, I have my computer bag.” Taylor smiles sweetly at Seline who holds her digivice a little tighter to her body. “Wanna go hands-free with that array? Not have to carry that mess of a keyboard and stuff around?” Seline slowly blinks before giving a small nod. “Okay, when we stop next, I’ll do it for you.” The maniacal look on Taylor’s face makes Seline draw a couple steps away, looking rather nervous.
“Taylor, you’ve got that look on your face. Don’t freak the girl out.” Justin chuckles softly. Taylor pouts, glaring in his direction.
“I can’t help it, this is the most fascinating thing I’ve ever run into.” Taylor looks over her own digivice, a smile on her face. “I want to take it apart.”
“You should come home with us. We’re from the Machine Empire. You’d like it there.” Giga speaks as he looks down the hallway. “All machines and parts and stuff.” Taylor’s expression can only be described as ‘starry-eyed’ as her mind whirls with the possibilities.
“That sounds lovely. When can we go?”
“It’s pretty far away from the Flower Forest.” Wizardmon speaks, calling the orbs after himself as he leads the way down the next hallway. The group files in behind him, Jason at the head, Ken close behind him. The Monodramon brothers are at the rear with Seline close behind them. After a long silence of them walking along the hallway, the glowing orbs still keeping the hallway lit.
“We really didn’t introduce ourselves to each other, have we? At least to those we don’t know.” Justin speaks, glancing back over his shoulder at the group.
“I think Taylor’s the lynchpin for the group. Most of us know her.” Aaron speaks, looking a little more curiously over Miyuki’s head. Taylor snorts in laughter, glancing back at Aaron.
“I don’t know two people.” She pauses at the statement. “Huh. I might be?” She tilts her head a little, seeming to be thinking. “I suppose I should go first then?”
“Go ahead. Sounds right to do.” Ken speaks, glancing back at her.
“I’m Taylor, a computer ‘geek’ going to a University in Japan currently, classmates with Miyuki. Formerly of Justin’s University since I’m trying to keep a job there permanently and I talk to Aaron’s sister on a nightly basis.” A look appears on her face. “I’m not going to be able to talk to her today.” She sounds rather disappointed.
“I’ll go next.” Miyuki’s voice has a smile in it, the girl walking along the carved hallway with her eyes fixed on the orbs floating above their heads. “Ishikawa Miyuki, I attend Taylor’s university. I like fashion and pretty things.”
“I’m Ken.” He brushes at a couple of the cobwebs as he speaks. “I met Miyuki when she bought the jacket for me. We couldn’t communicate well. I’m currently a business student in New York.”
“Justin, from Taylor’s original university that I had no idea that she wasn’t coming back from until just this minute.” Justin glares back at Taylor who looks rather embarrassed. “I head the gamer’s union on the campus, I’m doing a degree that focuses on computers and business.”
“It’s not final yet,” Taylor mutters.
“Aaron, little brother to Aryanna, who Taylor talks to all the time. I play soccer and I’m not yet out of high school.” There’s a very length silence. Ken counts on his fingers all the people, pausing at five before speaking.
“Seline, how do you know one of us? I know I don’t know you. Do you know Taylor as well?”
“I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen her before.” Taylor speaks up, looking back at the girl. She raises an eyebrow at seeing Seline looking down at the ground. She’s not typing on the keyboard. “Someone else?”
“I don’t know her.” Miyuki shakes her head after looking Seline over again.
“Me either.” Justin speaks up, squinting back to look at the girl before looking ahead again.
“Sorry.” Aaron turns around to face Seline while they walk, walking backwards. “Seline, say something about yourself.” A smile is on Aaron’s face, Seline looking up and giving a wry smile in response. “Oh—Oh crap. I meant, um, type something.” There’s a very long pause, Seline looking between the keyboard and the path ahead a couple time. “Hunt and peck? We’ll wait.”
“Come on, Seline.” Mega nuzzles her. Seline grimaces slightly but starts to work on typing something out. The sound of the typing echoes up to the front of the group.
“I’m going to set that damn keyboard up differently as soon as we stop.” Taylor glances back at Seline struggling to type. “It’ll be so much easier for her. Either that or I’ll figure out a way to put it around her wrist.”
“Is that really possible?” Ken looks back to Taylor in curiosity.
“We’ve run into a giant dragon, a wizard, and a pair of small dinosaurs, all of which speak perfect English.” Taylor raises an eyebrow. “I’m pretty sure I can rig up some crazy functional keyboard for someone to type their thoughts out on.”
“Actually, the Digital World translates for you.” Wizardmon speaks for the first time in a long time, startling some of the group.
“It does what now?”
“Yeah, you’re not speaking English, Taylor.” Miyuki states, head tilting slightly. Taylor gives her an odd expression.
“No, I’m speaking English. Actually,” Taylor pauses, “you’re speaking perfect English.” She looks back to Wizardmon. “You’re telling me this place seriously translates for everyone? Like if I started speaking Japanese, it’d translate?”
“Indeed.” Wizardmon nods, glancing back at her for a second.
“Hell.” Taylor seems lost in thought, a look of wonder on her face.
“I’m Seline.” Giga starts to read Seline’s typing, drawing the group’s attention. “I’m still in high school. I don’t know any of you. I like drawing and art, I used to draw stuff for the small digimon in the village.” There’s a very long pause.
“Are you a Junior or a Senior or something else?” Aaron smiles, still walking backwards.
“I like drawings, can I see some?” Miyuki looks back at her with a bright smile. “I don’t have my fashion drawings with me, but I don’t know if you’re interested in that anyways.”
“Do you like tattoos? I’ve got a ton of those.” Taylor also looks back at Seline with some measure of curiosity. Seline’s face flushes with all the attention put on her, seeming at a bit of a loss of who to reply to first. A small distraught look appears on her face at the idea of how long it’ll take her to type up replies.
“We’re almost out, everyone prepare yourselves.” Wizardmon breaks into the conversation. Aaron frowns slightly, giving a sigh.
“I guess we’ll have to wait to talk more. Maybe Taylor can get that thing hooked up for you so that you can chat easier.” Seline nods to him, a small smile appearing on her lips.