Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Digimon: Six Corners

  1. #1
    Beginning Trainer
    Beginning Trainer
    Duellist Royal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Shoeburyness, U.K.

    Default Digimon: Six Corners


    Written by Scott D. Harris & Hikari

    Chapter 1: “Another Time, Another Space”

    In 2003, the world was plunged into darkness. The veil between dimensions was torn asunder by the Dark Lord Malo-Myotismon, who was met with resistance from a global network of chosen ones called Digi-Destined. With the aid of the monster’s avatar, Yukio Oikawa, he was destroyed and the veil was removed completely, allowing the Human and Digital Worlds to become one and the same, with denizens from each finding partners to live and grow with…

    At least, that’s one version of the tale.

    What if it was not an army, only a select few, young warriors from Japan who met the Dark Lord in the final conflict? What if, when Yukio Oikawa sacrificed himself, the barrier between the realms was sealed, restoring the nature of both and removing the events from the minds of all but those chosen Digi-Destined?

    It is the year 2010, it is a world where events transpired as such, and now a new force of evil is at work in the Digital World and once more, a group of children will be selected to lend us their power.

    It began one fateful Saturday in the Human World…


    Shanghai, China. 7p.m.

    The Shan family were fairly wealthy as far as pencil pushers go. Mr and Mrs Shan both worked in well-paid office positions and their son, Tu Shan, was likely on his way to a similar standing. Always dressed smartly and with his hair neatly cropped, he was a pillar of his fine school and highly regarded by his teachers. Even his bedroom, a 13-year-old’s sanctuary, was a perfect paragon of order and intelligence. Numerous timetables, by which he lived his scheduled life, covered the walls, accompanied by maps, charts and essays by popular geniuses from around the planet. A game of Risk was set up across a wooden table in the middle. The master of the room was seated at his computer, revising for a history test coming on Tuesday. As he jotted down notes about Fu Xi, the first Emperor of China, a rhythmic beep-beep-beep sounded from the computer terminal. Annoyed that his concentration had been broken, Tu Shan attempted to block it out, but it seemed that the more he ignored it, the louder it droned. He eventually cast his eyes down to the source of the sound. There in the taskbar was a glowing blue box.

    “What on…?” he muttered as the box suddenly expanded to fill the entire screen. There was nothing to give away its purpose, only two grey squares inside marked with the words, ‘Yes,’ and, ‘No.’ It struck him to simply shut down the system but he had not yet found the chance to save his work so that was out of the question, and when clicking out of the boxes proved futile he did the only thing he could. The moment the cursor struck the first grey button, everything around him became a brilliant sea of white, pink and gold. Then he was flying, rushing, crashing, twirling through the Technicolor abyss.

    Somewhere just outside El Paso, Texas. 6a.m.

    As the rays of early morning crept slowly over the Wind’s Haven Ranch, a young girl returned from her morning ride on the back of a graceful strawberry-haired horse. The soft breeze played with the creature’s mane and the rider’s long hair, rippling the fine follicles like pebbles on water. Liberty Wind climbed down from the horse, gave it a thorough grooming and led it into its stall before going about a few quick chores so the rest of the ranch animals would wake up to their breakfast (as expected, a particularly feisty hen named Henrietta attempted to gorge herself and had to be restrained for the sake of the rest). At quarter-past-six, she had plonked down in front of her computer, taken the digital camera out of the rucksack in her lap and was hooking it up to the hard drive. Despite what others would call a rustic, country-bred appearance, the girl was a keen photographer with a particular fondness for nature. She hoped that her newest acquisitions would come out well once she uploaded them onto the ‘net. As she rifled through snaps of the desert wildlife, her computer started to sound out: beep-beep-beep…

    Tema New Town, the Republic of Ghana. 12p.m.

    The courageous night elf’s rapier clashed with the troll shaman’s deadly staff. Magical fire singed the eldritch atmosphere, threatening to shred their very essences to ribbons. Everything depended on his victory over
    the forces of evil. His friends, his family, his home-


    No! Since when did his hated enemy have the power to blind him? The valiant elf uttered a strangled death cry as the maniacal shaman blasted him into a million pieces.

    Jomo Asante was usually an easy-going sort who took life’s obstacles in his stride but as he watched his health bar sink to nothing, he was almost pounding the keyboard in desperation. “No!” he exclaimed. “I was so close!” If only he had been able to power up his Sword of Never-ending Might he could have sliced his opponent like sandwich cheese.

    “Jomo!” called a voice from the adjacent room. “It’s a beautiful day out there, stop playing those computer games and go outside!”

    “Wait, wait, wait!” he responded quickly. “I need to revive!” As he swiftly attempted to guide the pile of ash that was his character to the nearest restoration point, the computer droned out an electronic sound and the virtual landscape was replaced by two grey buttons.

    Oslo, Norway. 12.45p.m.

    It was difficult to tell Thora Falkenberg’s bedroom from a fashion designer’s studio. Every surface was overlaid by posters and newspaper clippings of models, and each one had been scrawled on with notes from the pen of an avid learner. Sketches of original ensemble designs also fought for the precious little space their artist afforded them. Two mannequins (which the mistress of the room had bought cheap from a local pawn shop) stood in the cooling sunlight beaming down through the wide window, dressed in a muddle of half-finished outfits. Much like Tu Shan, who at this point was unknown to her, Thora was intensely dedicated to her interests, so much so that even now as she sat watching an online video of a catwalk show and taking mental notes, her hands were sewing together a hat of her own design.

    “Owch!” she put her pricked fingertip to her lips, having been surprised by the erratic dinging of the monitor in front of her. She had been meaning to trade her old P.C. in for something more recent but her projects had eaten up so much of her free time that she just plain forgot. “Not again. What is this, a virus?” The catwalk video had frozen, obscured by two flashing options; ‘Ja,’ and, ‘Nei,’ or translated for purists, ‘Yes,’ and, ‘No.’

    Hesitantly, she pressed, ‘Yes,’ for fear that the other option would rouse an explosion of vulgar pop-ups. It seemed like today was the day the old machine would finally roll over and die.

    Shoeburyness, England. 12p.m.

    The bedroom of our next subject was once a spacious basement but since the Shepherd family had moved in it had become a veritable techno-dungeon. A precarious hodgepodge of gizmos, gadgets and gubbins smothered the computer desk and the floor was barely visible beneath a blanket of magazines, books and leaflets which had been carelessly strewn to-and-fro. Russell, eldest child of the Shepherds, sat at his computer with one hand typing with almost inhuman speed and the other holding an ultra-trendy mobile phone with all kinds of useless functions to his ear, chattering away in a self-invited language of gibberish and broken slang. Loud music thumped out of the hi-fi system so it was a wonder he could hear the person on the other end at all. Suddenly, the computer rang out a beeping that drowned out the electro-pop cacophony which almost knocked the whiz-kid out of his chair.

    “Hold up, Skiggsy,” he said and set the mobile down beside a piece of silver Heaven-knew-what as two boxes faded into existence on the liquid plasma-screen. In a flash of light he was pulled out of his position and it was beginning to look like Skiggsy would have to ‘hold up,’ for quite some time.

    Corfu, the Greek Islands. 4p.m.

    It was a strange thing to just leave lying there on the edge of the shore touching the expansive Bay of Garitsa; a rose-coloured beach towel was spread over a flat rock and sitting on that was a laptop computer, the screen flashing away frantically for attention. A seagull came to investigate but a burst of colour dispatched the terrified creature. The owner of the laptop broke the surface of the water and brushed the matted hair out of her face before slipping her goggles up onto her forehead. The erratic display caught her attention and she swam back to the shore. As she dried herself off, she bent down to inspect the situation. She mumbled to herself quizzically as she moved the cursor around on the screen until finding something clickable. She saw no viable reason to ignore what she realised was an unavoidable message and motioned her acknowledgement.


    When the girl opened her eyes, she was standing on a beach. Not the beach she had been standing on a mere moment ago, but a different one. One with sand that was impossibly white and stood stretched between a frothy ocean and a colossal forest. Above her was a sky of soft pink festooned with yellow, orange and pearly alabaster. The sun was invisible but she could feel its radiant warmth all the same, flirting with the tropical chill of the water around her bare feet. A little way up the beach she heard voices and went to see who else had joined her on this alien world. There were four other people around her age; two of whom stood at the edge of the sand and not saying much and two who were actively conversing.

    There was an African boy with short hair, dressed in a simple lime-coloured shirt with short sleeves and a paisley pattern, red shorts and sandals. Next to him was a girl who strawberry blonde hair in a braid and big, beautiful blue-grey eyes, whose elaborate outfit consisted mainly of denim over a white shirt decorated with images of horses, accentuated by beige hiking boots and a grey cowboy hat. She could not see the other two so well, but one was a boy wearing glasses and smart clothes and his companion was a very tall girl dressed in the height of fashion. The swimmer girl wanted to break the silence but someone else did it for her.

    “I HATE NATURE!” a scratchy voice with an Estuary accent squawked as its possessor came charging down out of forest. At first she thought it was a tumble of foliage, but then she realised that it was a short, stocky figure wearing wide, eye-shield sunglasses and camo togs. He charged past the African boy and the Texan girl and almost slammed right into her. “The nature’s all over me! Get it off!” He skidded to a halt, kicking up a small cloud of grit just inches in front of her. After all, he had come face-to-face with a slender, olive-skinned figure with wavy, chocolate-coloured locks, deep brown eyes beneath the blue goggles perched on her brow and wearing only a rosy one-piece swimsuit. Rendered to a point of word-stock that was barely above spluttering, he raised a shaky hand to point at her and, not quite sure what else to say, spoke these words: “You’re all wet.”

    “Nice deduction, city-boy,” scoffed the cowgirl in a fashion begetting her appearance. Ignoring the glare the short boy was giving her, she slipped off her jacket and handed it to the swimmer. “Here, don’t wantcha catchin’ cold, hon.”

    “Well! Isn’t this nice?” said the African boy, clapping a long arm around both girls’ shoulders and so hard was this embrace that their knees came close to buckling. Like the others he had a thick, distinctive accent but was otherwise perfectly coherent. “Now! While I’m all for trips to the beach, does anybody know where the Heckle-n’-Jekyll we are?”

    “Heckle-n’-Jekyll?” the swimmer asked, confused.

    “Congratulations, your ears work,” the African grinned.

    “I’ll tell you where we are,” snorted the boy in the camo jacket. “A nasty, horrible, sandy spit of land and I want to get out of here as soon as possible.”

    “As much as I hate to agree with slick,” said the cowgirl, “I got chores to be getting’ on with ‘fore I get in a heapa trouble.” She then added quietly to herself. “Wherever we are, it sure ain’t El Paso.”

    “You know what I find strangest?” remarked the bespectacled girl on the shoreline, who up until now had been silent. They could all see now that he was of Asian descent. He gestured to the tall girl, who was a true thing of beauty if ever there was one. “Ms Falkenberg here tells me that she has never learned another language, and neither have I, yet we understand each other perfectly.” He paused to wipe his glasses with his handkerchief.

    “I have a feeling we will be together for a while, so we should introduce ourselves. I am Tu Shan, from Shanghai.”

    The one he had referred to as ‘Ms Falkenberg,’ took a hairbrush from her pocket and preened her platinum hair before introducing herself in a pleasant and collected manner, “I am Thora. I come from Oslo. That’s in Norway, if you weren’t sure.”

    The African boy took his arms from around the two girls and spread them for emphasis, declaring loudly, “Well it’s a great day for making friends, ain’t it? They call me Jomo, Jomo Asante, but Jomo for short of course! Oh, and I’m from Ghana, that’s in Africa but you guys knew that! Am I right?”

    “Oh, great, a chatterer,” the camo-wearing boy groaned and started to shamble away from them. The swimmer stood in front of him before he could get too far and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.

    “Hey, don’t go so soon,” she said. “It’ll be better if we stick together. My name’s Cascadia, but you can call me Cassie. I’m from Corfu. What about you? I didn’t catch your name.”

    “I didn’t give it,” the short boy grunted and shrugged her off. “Whatever. My friends call me Russ, but to you lot I’m Russell, awright? Why don’t you make Doris Day over there join in this little name game you’ve got going?”

    “Well, hope the rest of ya’ll ain’t so rude,” the cowgirl huffed, stuffing her hands in the pockets of her jeans while scuffing a booted foot against the sandy ground. “Name’s Liberty.” That elicited a loud snort and a round of laughter from Russell, who dropped to his knees as if he heard the world’s funniest joke. “What’s so funny?!”

    “A fla…!” Russell had to clutch his sides and force himself to speak again. “A flaming Yank called ‘Liberty’?” More laughter, and the rest could see steam issuing from the butt of the jape’s ears. “I hope to goodness your surname’s not ‘Bell’!” With a furious cry, Liberty pounced on her quarry and started beating him mercilessly with her hat.

    “It ain’t like I got a choice in the matter, shrimp!” she spat.

    “AWK! Mad woman! Someone get her off me!” he protested. Cassie superimposed herself between them, holding each of the brawlers back with one hand, which proved to be a tougher task than she imagined. Whatever chores they did in El Paso had given the cowgirl muscles like a horse! They were growling at one another like baited dogs and it took all of Cassie’s (and then Jomo’s, who believed the odds required evenings) strength to keep them from slugging it out to a second round.

    “Knock it off you newlyweds,” said the dark-skinned boy.

    “For the sake of argument, why don’t we just call you ‘Libby’?” Cassie suggested once they had achieved a degree of calm.

    “Fine. Do what ya’ll want,” Libby huffed, dusting off her hat and jamming it back on her head.

    “Look what I just found in my pocket,” said Thora, holding out a small, square device that was very much like a wristwatch. It was a glistening cyan colour, with three green buttons around its digital screen, which was currently glowing lightly but was not displaying anything. The other five quickly checked their pockets and found similar devices; silver for Cassie, maroon for Jomo, brown for Russell, orange for Tu Shan and gold for Libby. All of them were glowing but not doing anything particularly helpful. When the lights died, Tu Shan turned his over in his hand in a futile attempt to find the battery compartment while Libby opted for the much less subtle method of shaking hers violently.

    “Ya’ll think these doo-hickies are dead?” she asked.

    “What a bloody waste of time!” Russell growled and chucked his own device into the ocean.

    “Why don’t we go look for any landmarks that’ll give us a clue to where on Earth we are?” suggested Cassie. Tu Shan contended that it was doubtful they were even on Earth anymore and proceeded to point out the unusual colours everything had taken on, not missing a single one, even taking time to point out the sea green clouds and patches of bronze in the ivory sand. They noticed for the first time that even though it felt like daytime, the horizon was dotted with stars. All in all, their surroundings had become a bizarre exhibition of polychromasia. Once the six children were finished marvelling at this, they set off into the woods because it seemed to be the only way forward. Liberty and Jomo were scouting ahead and bringing up the rear respectively, the latter of which became more important as night eventually fell and strange growls echoed through the trees.

    “Better watch your back, Sundance,” Russell sneered, giving Liberty a sharp nudge in the side with his elbow. “Wild animals like the taste of meat and correct me if I’m mistaken, but isn’t that about 90% of a Texan’s daily diet?”

    “Go stick yer head in a beehive, small-fry,” his companion growled. They would have started arguing if not for a loud and very hungry-sounding roar that shook leaves from their branches.

    “P-p-please tell me that was one of you guys,” Thora stuttered. All of them shook their heads in unison and ran screaming into the shadows. A heavy sniffing and snorting was heard and a multitude of burning eyes surrounded by orange smoke from the belly of the underworld opened in the ebon. The creature roared again and thundered towards them, growling and howling all the way. There were times when it seemed to be mere inches behind them, when they could smell its foul breath on the backs of their legs. Thora actually jumped when she was certain it was about to bite her. The children ran until their pursuer apparently veered off and they were too tired to go on, and once they had slowed to an exhausted trudge, they were of good enough fortune to locate a cave. They quickly gathered some dry wood and with the aid of a lighter Libby carried in her rucksack, started a fire. Outside their new shelter, the warmth had been utterly drained from the world, replaced by a bitingly cold wind that felt like chilled knives against their skin. Jomo stared out into the forest, hugging himself.

    “I’ve never heard an animal like that,” he said, “and to think, there are loads more nasties hiding out there.”

    “We should be safe in here, for now at least,” replied Tu Shan. “I think we should take turns on guard duty, though. Two awake while the other four sleep, changing over every couple of hours. What do you all reckon?”

    “Not much choice, mate,” responded Russell with a subtle shake of his head. He was doing his best to hide it from the others, to maintain some vestige of dignity, but there was no disguising the fact he was just as scared of this hostile land as they were. He pulled the hood of his jacket up over his head and curled up as tightly as he could, watching the dancing flames through half-open eyes. I hate this place, he thought to himself. I want to go home.

    “I’ll take first shift,” said Jomo.

    “Me too,” added Libby. “Whatever it is out there, I doubt it’ll attack a fire. The animals back home don’t…usually anyway.”

    Tu Shan nodded. “Then the rest of us should try to get some sleep,” he said. With that, he slipped his glasses into his shirt pocket and made himself comfortable against a smooth portion of the cave wall. What you must understand, dear reader, is that were it not for how weary they all were after running from the monster, the sounds of the wilderness would have kept them awake all night and while it was a brave effort on their part, Jomo and Libby joined their friends in slumber, so none of them knew that early the next morning, six more creatures – all of whom were significantly smaller and less threatening than the ferocious fiend of the forest – decided to join them.

    “Look, there they are,” whispered one.

    “I think this one’s mine,” chirped a second.

    “Keep your voice down,” hushed a third, “that’s mine right next to yours.”

    “We almost lost them back there,” mumbled a fourth.

    “Good thing we found their footprints,” noted a fifth.

    “They’re waking up,” a sixth indicated. Cassie was the first to be roused from her sleep and found herself staring into two luminescent green circles. It took her a moment to realise that they were in fact huge compound eyes and sprung to full alertness with a gasp, scampering back up against the wall. There, standing in front of her, was something very much like a large, blue beetle. It stood on two legs like a human and probably reached her chest in height. It wore a faded yellow scarf around its neck and the large clawed fingers on its four arms clicked rhythmically.

    “What is this thing?” cried Thora, who had apparently encountered a monster of her own; a pale seal cub with a flash of orange hair on its round head. The girl’s cries dragged the other children back to consciousness.

    “What are you screaming ab…?” Russell’s voice faltered when he saw two black marbles above him, staring down from beneath the wide cap of a violet mushroom wearing plum-coloured gloves and boots.

    “You dropped this,” said the mushroom, holding out the brown wristwatch he had previously thrown into the bubbling alien sea. Russell squeaked and almost fainted. Across the cave, Tu Shan and what looked like a floppy-eared Labrador puppy were sizing each other up, both deep in concentration. Standing in front of Jomo with its paws clasped behind its back was a smiling lion cub wearing an iron headband. When he had touched its wavy brow and ensured it was real, he shook Libby, and her gaze fell upon the flickering flame of a living candle. What went through her mind was this: I must be dreaming. What came out of her mouth was this: “You’re not gonna sing at me, are ya?”

    The blue beetle offered its hand to Cassie, who understood that it was a gesture of friendship and accepted. As if on cue, the six creatures chorused, “Welcome to the Digital World!”

    “That sounded very rehearsed,” remarked Tu Shan after a pause.

    “Well, you’re weird,” the lion cub tittered.

    “Don’t be rude,” Libby scolded. “So, are you six rascals the welcomin’ committee?”

    “You could say that,” said the living candle, “but you could also say we’re like your combined tour guides and life insurance, too.”

    “Totally free, of course. That’s how generous we are,” added the mushroom. “Come on, chummy, up you get.” He pulled Russell into a sitting position. The boy’s face was glazed over in dumb astonishment. Completely and utterly unresponsive. “Well, aren’t you just the great conversationalist?”


    Just outside the mouth of the cave, in the first ring of trees, two mismatched eyes – one red and one green – watched the scene unfolding with great interest. The little spy lifted a dark green box to his mouth and pressed down on the button on the top.

    “Boss,” he said into it, trying to keep as quiet as possible so he would not give himself away, “you won’t believe this, but those Digimon you wanted me to keep an eye on? They just ran into a buncha humans. You want I should deal with ‘em?”

    “No, Dracmon. Just keep following them and maintain regular contact,” growled the throaty hiss from the communicator. “If they prove to be a hindrance, we will dispose of them accordingly. Is that understood?”

    “Uh, right, Boss,” said Dracmon. He lowered the communicator and focussed not two, but four malicious eyes on the twelve strangers.
    Last edited by Duellist Royal; 17th January 2010 at 09:05 AM.

    Golden Pen Awards 2009
    Most Original Fiction - Yu-Gi-Oh!: Queen of Games
    Best New Fiction - Pokémon: Empire of the Sun
    Best Newcomer to the Boards

  2. #2
    Beginning Trainer
    Beginning Trainer
    Duellist Royal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Shoeburyness, U.K.

    Default Re: Digimon: Six Corners

    Chapter 2: “The Necropolis”

    With the terror of the night long behind them, the six displaced children and their strange new friends set out to find civilisation. These friends, who claimed to be organisms known as, ‘Digimon,’ introduced themselves in order and as thus; the blue beetle was called Ko-Kabuterimon, the cream-furred puppy was Labramon, the violet fungus was Mushroomon, the white seal cub was Gomamon, the red lion cub was Coronamon and the talking candle, the youngest of them all, was appropriately called Candlemon.

    The forest seemed to stretch on forever, but at least with the return of the sunlight it did not feel quite so oppressive. The travellers heard the occasional twitter of a bird or the scuffling of a small animal but nothing nearly as nightmarish as the dæmon that had chased them before. Upon questioning, none of the Digimon could rightly say what it had been and Russell was content to call it the, ‘Barghest,’ which was as good a name as any. A little while later, Tu Shan asked about the purpose of the strange wristwatches they had received upon their arrival in this Digital World.

    “I don’t know what a wristwatch is,” replied Labramon, “but those are Digivices, they’re like status symbols for your kind, but each set is a little different.”

    “Our kind?” asked Cassie. “Then other humans have been here?”

    “So we’ve been told,” Ko-Kabuterimon answered, “but we’ve never seen one for ourselves.”

    “The real question is, how do we get home?” Libby put in. “I can think of half a dozen things I woulda packed if I knew I was goin’ on a trek.”

    “Only half a dozen?” asked Thora. “Does that include a good detergent? I mean, look at my skirt! If I ever get these stains out it’ll be a miracle!” She swore, the intention being that she do so in Norwegian but whatever enchantment allowed the children to understand each other made it clear what she meant and they all fell into an awkward silence for a bit.

    “Libby’s right, though,” said Cassie eventually. “We don’t have many supplies on us.” This was particularly true for her, since the only clothes she wore aside from her goggles and swimsuit was the cowgirl’s jacket.

    “Could’ve brought food,” Jomo reminisced. “I’m already missing my mum’s home cooking.” The other children sighed in agreement.

    “Well, we Digimon are good at foraging,” said Coronamon. “Can’t promise it’ll be to your tastes but we can still try, right?”

    “Forget that!” Mushroomon scoffed. “The nearest village can’t be too far. They’ll have real food, and maybe these clowns can get a bath. They’re getting a bit ripe, is all I’m saying.” He would have gone on if Russell had not planted his fist firmly into the little agaric’s cap. Still, the chance to cleanse themselves was a very inviting prospect.

    “I know the village you mean,” Labramon nodded, “but we must be wary, they don’t take kindly to strangers and there may be thieves about.”


    When the travellers finally emerged from the forest, they stood atop a grassy slope and just a short distance away was a village of thatched houses. It did not look like the hive of scum and villainy that Labramon warned them about. From below they could smell cooking, which was enough to send Jomo and Coronamon racing happily ahead of the rest. Cassie called after him but her cries fell on deaf ears. He was too far off already.

    “He won’t get far,” Tu Shan assured the Greek girl. As they approached the little haven, they saw all kinds of strange creatures inhabiting it, walking around the cottages and going about their daily business. At the sight of the humans, however, all of them became alert. Those with fur arched their shoulders and all of them grasped work tools like the angry mob from an old Frankenstein film. Jomo and Coronamon skidded to a halt inches from getting pitchforks to their guts.

    “Easy now, ya’ll!” Libby said quickly, joining the African boy. “Forgive my buddy here, he’s just a li’l overzealous.” Russell glared at the villagers icily.

    “You got a problem?” he demanded.

    “Behave yourself,” Labramon scolded.

    “Labramon,” a scratchy voice snarled. Its owner was a bipedal rabbit with black markings around his eyes.

    “Gazimon,” the puppy greeted, lowering his head respectfully. The rabbit, a highly regarded member of the community, returned the gesture begrudgingly.

    “Why did you bring these things here?” he asked sternly. “You know the stories. Every time humans have appeared in the Digital World they’ve brought nothing but trouble with them. He tapped the butt of his weapon, a muck-rake, against the soil in a challenging way.

    “Maybe we should be movin’ on,” Libby muttered to Cassie.

    “My sentiments exactly,” Gazimon snapped. “We don’t want you or your kind ‘round here.”

    “That does it!” Mushroomon spat. He barrelled into the rabbit and knocked him to the ground. With one hand around Gazimon’s neck and the other balled into a fist, he went on, “You wanna start something, Long Ears? Well?!”

    “Mushroomon, that’s enough,” Coronamon pleaded.

    “He’s right,” Gomamon nodded. “We’ll find somewhere more hospitable.”

    “He’s not worth losing your temper over,” Ko-Kabuterimon put in. Together, the three of them attempted to gently prise their short-tempered friend off of Gazimon but he shrugged them off.

    “Nuh-uh!” he retorted. “If this flea-bitten fur-ball wants a fight when we ain’t done squat, then by fungus I’ll give him a fight!” The tumultuous toadstool may very well have torn Gazimon apart if Ko-Kabuterimon had not lifted him up in his large fore-hands. Gazimon stood up and dusted himself off. To his credit, he had not cried out or recoiled in the face of opposition. He was hard. The protector of the village. He had to appear strong to his people no matter what. He considered taking a swipe at the intruders when a wooden walking stick blocked his path. The village elder - who held the appearance of a calico-coloured cat with large, yellow eyes and strands of wiry fur at the tips of his ears – had appeared almost from nowhere.

    “Stay your hand, Gazimon,” he said, lowering his stick to support himself.

    “Elder Mikemon,” the guardian croaked. He wanted to justify his stance but the village leader raised his gloved paw for silence. He spoke in a way that was always calm and collected, but those glistening amber globes gave away how disappointed he was with his charge’s etiquette.

    “Have you mislaid your senses, boy?” he asked with a frown. “Whether human, Digimon or something else entirely, we must always give aid to weary visitors. A good protector of the people should be able to tell lost wanderers from enemies.”

    “Yes, Elder,” Gazimon mumbled, ears drooping. The public berating was a tad harsh, but nobody would question old and wise Mikemon.

    “I’m going to put you down now, and you’re going to stay cool and not do anything stupid,” Ko-Kabuterimon whispered and lowered a much more docile Mushroomon to his feet. Mikemon, who had taken an interest in the humans, now turned his attention to them.

    “Please, accept my apologies for my people’s rudeness,” he said with a quick bow. “We are – how do I put this? – a touch ignorant, but they have good cores, all of them. I hope you’ll forgive us for suspecting you of wrongdoing.”

    “Only if you’ll forgive us for coming unannounced and causing all this hubbub,” Cassie smiled. “We’re not used to being out in the wild.”

    “Then all is forgotten,” chuckled Mikemon. “Come, let’s get you all settled in.”


    The travellers sat around a wooden table in the local inn, enjoying perhaps the most filling meal they had ever supped; the starter was a swirl of coloured liquids with the thickness of custard, which their Digimon explained to be a common but much favoured fruit brew. It was unbelievably flavourful and by the time the generous main course was brought to them they were already feeling much better. The pudding was a chocolate cake swimming in beige cream, which was by far the most conventional part and still exceeded their expectations. When they were finished, the group were all quite sure they would never need to eat again and even Thora, despite earlier reservations about her weight, was so contented she began to doze off right there in her seat. A fellowship had been established between the majority of them, but Jomo noticed that Russell had opted to sit on his own in the corner with Mushroomon. The African boy stood up and walked over, placing a hand on the outsider.

    “You know,” he said, “it’s much warmer over there, and the others aren’t so bad if you give them a chance. How come you’re sitting here by yourself?”

    “Because I’m positive this is some kind of bad dream,” Russell replied, not even looking at him, “and the more I talk to you, the more I’m going to be stuck in it. See my point?”

    “Only the one on your head, chum,” Mushroomon teased and took a swig from whatever drink was in the wooden cup he held.

    “Well, if you think this is a dream,” Jomo reasoned, “why don’t you let loose and have a little fun? Heck, I’ve thought the same thing, that maybe I fell asleep playing Realm of Battlecraft. Do you play Battlecraft? My avatar’s a night elf, with this really cool lion for a pet, so maybe that’s why Coronamon looks kinda-”

    “My idea of a dream,” Russell interrupted sharply, “would be to test-drive a custom-designed super-computer, not to walk around this daft, smelly world full of weird talking animals!”

    “And fungi,” Mushroomon chimed in.

    “And fungi,” Russell nodded, then realised he was being corrected mid-rant. “Stop helping!” Jomo plucked a pen and a scrap of paper from the pockets of his shirts and scribbled something down. He handed the scrap to Russell. There were just two words:

    Ardat Lilom

    “That’s my Battlecraft username,” he explained. “If we ever get back to Earth, look me up, okay? Then you’ll know this is real.” With that, he returned to the rest of the group.

    “He’ll be fine,” he told them.

    “Personally I think his reaction is understandable,” said Tu Sham. “I’m surprised the rest of us are taking this situation so well and not…”

    “Freaking out?” Cassie suggested.

    “Sounds about right,” Tu Shan nodded, “and I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d like to learn more about this world.”

    “Too bad I don’t have my materials,” Thora mused. She had been provided with a pad and pencil by the innkeeper who was presently conversing to Mikemon and she was sketching them both. “This place is great for inspiration.”

    “Wish I had my camera,” Libby sighed.

    “Well, until we do get home, we should try not to let ourselves get bored,” said Tu Shan. He took a sip from his drink and turned to Cassie. “Don’t you agree, Cascadia?”

    “Call me Cass,” the Greek girl answered, “but yeah, you’re right. This is a whole new world for us and no great explorer ever sat on their buns while adventure was waiting.”

    “Did you just say ‘buns,’ hon?” Libby cocked an eyebrow. “Where are ya livin’, in the ‘90s?” Cassie blushed and lifted her cup up to obscure her face. Soon, they were all sound asleep in the rooms Mikemon had paid for, safe in the shelter of the village, except for Russell who felt neither safe nor happy. He lay curled in a foetal position on his bed, eyes squeezed shut, rolling five words over and over in his mind: I want to go home. He drew out every detail on the canvas of his mind until the picture was so perfect it hurt. The glowing tubes on the ceiling that provided illumination, the books and magazines that littered the concrete floor, the huge abundance of gizmos, gadgets and gubbins, the hi-fi system sitting in the corner, even the funky smell that sometimes percolated the air. He even missed his irritating little sister, for goodness’ sake.


    A high-pitched squeal bombarded him like a rocket up the rear end, catapulting him along the bed until he almost rolled off completely. He scrambled around to face who had shouted, and there before him stood a tiny girl no more than five or six years of age. Her hair, the same chestnut colour as his, was pulled into two lopsided pigtails and she wore a plaid jumper over a white shirt and shorts. Without realising what he was doing, Russell clamped his arms around Little Mo (as she was known) and hugged her as tightly as he could, to prove it was real, that he had really just been caught in a nightmare.

    “Are you a mental?” the girl protested, squirming out his embrace.

    “Uh, sorry,” Russell grinned sheepishly for a moment before clearing his throat and composing himself. “What do you want?” From out of nowhere, Mo revealed a large, pink storybook patterned with queerly hued rabbits. He remembered it well because it was her favourite, Pilgrim the Brave Rabbit by Wanda Wilkins.

    “Will you read this to me?” she pleaded, shoving the book in his face.

    “You can read yourself, can’t you?” Russell frowned.

    “Yeah, but you do the voices,” the girl grinned, then quickly followed up with the biggest, saddest, most pleading expression her childish features could muster.

    “The eyes don’t work on me, I’m desensitised,” her brother smirked. When she started to make a whimpering noise in the back of her throat he gave a roll of his eyes. “All right, just one, but if you tell anybody I’ll hang you up by your pigtails.”

    “Okay! See you upstairs!” Mo cheered and dashed out of the bedroom with surprising speed. In her place, Russell saw an odd lump of purple-and-yellow with two black eyes peering out of it.

    “What the…?” Russell blinked and shook his head. “Must be one of Little Mo’s…and when did I start talking to myself?”

    “Is she always like that?” the lump asked. This time Russell’s amazement was powerful enough to send him hurtling off the edge of the bed and left him in a crumpled heap on the floor.

    “What’s your problem?” asked the lump.

    “What’s my problem?!” Russell demanded as he righted himself. “What’s your problem?! Oh, God, am I still dreaming? No, my sister wouldn’t be here if I was. Am I just losing my mind?”

    “Probably,” the lump nodded.

    “Stop helping!” Russell snapped, getting to his feet and pacing around the room in circles. He muttered to himself under his breath until he caught sight of the brown-and-black Digivice attached to his wrist. Its square, liquid screen was glowing lightly. “This can’t be real.” He quickly tore the watch off his wrist and threw it onto the bed. He pointed a finger at the purple lump while marching towards the door.

    “I’m going to read to Little Mo. When I get back, you’re going to not be here.” Once he was gone, the miniscule Digimon shook its head - or rather its whole body since it was little more than a ball with a sharp point atop its head – and decided to familiarise himself with his new surroundings.


    Libby awoke shortly before dawn and immediately noticed that two of their party had vanished. The short kid with the limey accent – what was his name? Russell? – and Mushroomon were both gone. She did not know them well, or she would have realised that despite her own guess, neither of them were early risers. As it was, that was the first thing that came to her mind and she was inclined to follow him as her personal routine dictated, strange new world or not. Lifting the still sleeping Candlemon in her arms, she went off for her morning hike. It would be another hour before the rest of the travellers awoke as well, starting with Cassie, who did a quick head count and shook Tu Shan awoke.

    “It’s probably nothing,” she said, “but Libby and Russell have both gone, so are their partners.”

    “Gone?” the Chinese boy half spoke-half yawned and slipped his glasses on over his face.

    “I heard Liberty muttering to herself earlier,” said Labramon. “She went for a walk and took Candlemon, but Russell and Mushroomon were still here when I went to sleep and had left by the time I woke up.”

    “Can’t you guys keep it down?” Thora mumbled. “It’s too early.” She cuddled Gomamon closer, using the seal cub as a pillow, but the noise around him had already roused Jomo. Once the situation was quickly explained to him, it was decided they would go out in search of their missing companions, led by Labramon who claimed to possess, “the best sense of smell in the entire Digital World.” Unfortunately, no matter how true this claim was, he could only detect two of the four scents, which took them all just past the edge of the woods. There was a lake there, and next to it was a large, flat boulder where Liberty now sat as Candlemon carefully re-braided her hair.

    “Howdy!” the cowgirl greeted when she saw them. “Can we help ya’ll?”

    “We’ve got a special on perms today,” Candlemon added jovially, “but between you and me, I do a mean pompadour. How about it?”

    “I’ll let you know when I’ve got the follicles for it,” replied Jomo, pointing to his own closely shaven barnet. The other children asked if either of them had seen their missing friends but of course, they had not. Labramon’s ears went limp, displaying the shame he felt for not finding them.

    Tu Shan bent down to stroke his partner’s head, assuring him, “You did your best.” The rustling of foliage put all of them immediately on alert, but at the sight of Mikemon’s diminutive form emerging from the bushes put them at ease. For a moment they had all been scared that they would be assailed by the Dread Barghest. The frizzled old cat was clutching a stack of pale lavender envelopes in his free hand and breathing heavily. The uphill climb to the woods had taken its toll on him and his exhaustion was clear enough that Ko-Kabuterimon actually took his load from him and led him over to another boulder so he could sit down.

    “Thank you,” Mikemon wheezed. “I…I am sorry to bother you youngsters, I was on my way to deliver these to town…but…well, my old bones just can’t take it. When you’ve been around a few hundred years, you do tend to get a bit creaky.” He tried to laugh but instead broke into a fit of coughing.

    “Easy there, easy,” said Cassie, kneeling down to rub the village elder’s back. “You should rest up, we’ll deliver these letters for you. Won’t we, guys?” The rest of the travellers nodded in agreement.

    “How far’s this town?” asked Libby.

    “Not far from here, for strong younglings like you anyway,” replied Mikemon. “It’s just through this part of the woods. Don’t worry, the dangerous Digimon never hunt around the edges, too much risk of exposure. Shouldn’t take you more than, say, an hour if you walk without stopping.”

    “Sounds all right to me,” said Jomo.

    “We’d best get started then,” Cassie agreed. She took the letters from Ko-Kabuterimon. They appeared to be made of a faint, glittering material that was most definitely not paper, and felt thin, even fragile to the touch, so she slipped them into the pocket of her borrowed jacket as carefully as possible.


    They were locked in an intense staring match. Russell sat, cross-legged, on the end of his bed and the purple blob was on his pillows, gazing back at him. They were stuck like that for what felt like an age, as if they were attempting to fathom the depths of each other’s minds. In actuality, neither one was sure how to start a conversation in any way but one.

    “Who are you?” Russell asked, reaching over to prod the conical point on the blob’s head.

    “I’m Mushroomon!” it replied.

    “Uh, no, no you’re not,” said Russell.

    “Yes, I am!”

    “No, you’re not.”

    “I will be!”

    “What do you mean ‘will be’?” Russell lifted the creature and set it down on his lap so he could get a closer look. “Mushroomon’s…well, he’s a giant mushroom, then again I say ‘giant,’ but he was more like three feet tall.”

    “Hmmph!” the blob snorted. “This is a power-conserving form, Hopmon, but once I digivolve I’ll turn back into Mushroomon. Anyway, Russell? We should go back to the Digital World, the others might need us.”

    “Maybe, Mush- I mean, Hopmon,” Russell sighed and looked off to one side with a look of reminiscence on his face, “but I don’t know, I don’t do well in groups.” He shook his head to break his current train of thought. “Anyway, how would we get back? I don’t even know how I got home.”

    “No idea,” Hopmon admitted, “but since we’re here, maybe we can get a snack?”


    Surveying the town was like stepping into a different world altogether. Crumbling buildings of greyed stone stood in neat rows ascending the edge of a grassy slope like the ruins of a once grand European castle. The moss and climbing ivy was fit to choke the life from it. There was an oppressive atmosphere that sucked away all the warmth and light even though it was still morning. The town was like a vast, leeching entity and none of the children or their partners were the least bit willing to walk amongst the broken teeth of its architecture.

    “We have to keep going,” said Cassie, “and deliver Mikemon’s letters. They might be really important.”

    “Cass, there’s nobody there,” said Tu Shan.

    “But he’s counting on us,” Cassie insisted.

    “I’d feel better if I didn’t think I was steppin’ into the O.K. Corral,” Libby sighed as the ten of them continued on, despite the apprehension in their hearts and the feeling that something was waiting for them, sitting there in the dark, scarlet eyes tracing their every move. Something was wrong with the town and they all knew it. It was calling for help.

    No. No, something really was calling for help. A tiny, weak voice chirped from between two of the run-down houses. Thora, trailing behind the rest with Gomamon, was the first to hear it. She stopped and looked in the direction of the voice.

    “Help me.”

    “Where are you?” she asked quietly.

    “Help me,” it repeated.

    “Hang on, I’m coming,” she told it, walking towards the shadow-filled gap. Gomamon tilted her head curiously and then followed. The voice called again and the two passed into the ebon.

    WHIP! SNAP! They were gone in a flash!

    “Thora?” Jomo turned, having heard scuffling feet a short distance behind them.

    “Gomamon?” Coronamon piped up.

    “Guys!” Jomo called the attention of the rest. “We’ve lost Thora and Gomamon.

    “Their footprints are leading that way,” Ko-Kabuterimon observed. Jomo ran into the alley before any of the others could stop him and after a moment he silence, he returned with a solemn expression on his face and Thora’s cyan-coloured Digivice in his hand. Candlemon slid over, his brass stick gliding across the grass like a boat on a calm sea, and the animated flame on top of his waxy head illuminated the darkness. Nobody. Not a sign of life, just more rubble and wreckage.

    “We should split up,” said Cassie, “we’ll have a better chance of finding them if we cover more ground.”

    “That’s strategically sound,” Tu Shan nodded, “but the groups may be more vulnerable.”

    “Well, it works all the time for Scooby Doo, right?” Jomo attempted a joke, but his features betrayed his true emotions. He was incredibly worried. Cassie put a comforting hand on the African boy’s broad shoulder.

    “Don’t worry,” she said, “we’ll find them.”


    Thora and Gomamon squirmed and struggled uselessly as they were dragged along the cement floor, wrapped tightly in the coil of their captor’s long, prehensile tail. The thing had caught them by surprise and after a sickening charge through the back-alleys of the deserted town they came to a stop in the confines of a cold, wide, empty room with scant light. Thora thought it might be a warehouse with the windows blacked out. They heard the sound of metal shifting as their captor lifted something heavy, before it lifted them both up into the air with only its tail and dropped them into a pit, where they landed with a thick, ‘thump!’

    “What’s the big idea?” Gomamon snarled when she recovered.

    “Let us go!” Thora demanded. A low hiss emanated from the monster above them and the snorting Barghest came to mind. Its eyes, ruddy and slit like a serpent’s, glowed malevolently and its voice came out in a hoarse whisper, each syllable pronounced clearly and carefully.

    “Pretty eyes,” it said, “you’ve both got pretty eyes. If you’re not quiet, I’ll suck them out of their sockets. Bite your heads off. Chew slowly. Will you be quiet?” Wide-eyed and trembling, the two captives nodded their heads and clung together.

    “Good,” the voice hissed. “Sit back. Enjoy the show.”


    Nearly half an hour had passed since the groups split up to investigate the town. Libby, Tu Shan, Candlemon and Labramon had opted to search the western sector to no

    “Another dead end!” the cowgirl groaned, throwing her hat to the ground in a fit of anger. “We’ve been here five times already, Tu, and found absolute zippo!”

    “But I can smell them,” Labramon protested. “They came this way, there’s no mistaking Thora’s perfume.”

    “Whoever took them is leading us around in circles,” the Chinese boy noted thoughtfully.

    “Wait,” said Labramon, “I’ve picked up another one…it’s not Thora or Gomamon, but it’s with them…I don’t recognise it…it smells evil, like sickness…”

    “One zombie shows up and we’re out of here,” said Candlemon. There was a low murmur of laughter amongst them. Labramon paused to sniff the air.

    “What is it, boy?” asked Tu Shan.

    “Look out!” the dog Digimon cried as a thick tendril flew out of nowhere and wrapped around his human partner’s waist and wrenched him into the air. Labramon barked in outrage as the assailant swooped down on leathery wings and snatched him up as well. Their friends calling for help, Libby and Candlemon gave chase, but their quarry moved like lightning and was gone in moments. Tu Shan and Labramon’s voices could be heard faintly in the distance before disappearing altogether. Libby’s nerves crackled with electricity as the air grew thick and muggy.

    “Bring ‘em back ya stinkin’ son-of-a-lame coyote!” she yelled in challenge to the monster.

    “Libby!” Candlemon threw himself into the air as a ball of black iron rushed towards them. He spat out a glob of bubbling wax that knocked the ball off its course and sent it ploughing into the ground. A guttural hiss echoed out and within seconds – SWOOSH! – the both of them were also seized by the monster.

    With no other noises to neutralise it, Libby’s scream was heard all the way over in the eastern sector.

    “It got the others!” Coronamon exclaimed. “Let’s go!”

    “Wait, Coronamon,” said Ko-Kabuterimon, catching the lion cub by the wrist. “We’ve got to be careful or we’ll end up the same way.”


    With Little Mo still sufficiently sedated from the adventures of Pilgrim the Brave Rabbit, Russell had found plenty of time to fiddle with his Digivice. There were only three buttons on its face, and none of them seemed to be reacting despite the glistening screen. His train of thought was disrupted when Hopmon piped up, “I know you’re busy, but would you mind untying me from this bag?”

    Russell looked up at his partner, who was indeed fixed to the side of his rucksack, which was almost filled to bursting point.

    “After seeing you clear out half the fridge,” he explained, “I want to guarantee those supplies will last. Comprendé?”

    “I comprendé everything except, ‘comprendé’,” Hopmon responded with a compliant wriggle that was probably the equivalent of a nod. “Have you worked out how to get back yet?”

    “Look, I handle circuits better than I handle people,” Russell huffed. “Just give me a second.” Truthfully he was not all that thrilled about the idea. He was still convinced there was something unreal about it even with Hopmon there with him and he had been over the moon to be home. Now he was waving his farewells to it by choice! Preposterous contradictions! Suddenly, the screen went from dim to a great flash and was filled with the image of Jomo and Coronamon struggling on a dusty patch of dry grass.

    “Jomo!” Russell gasped. “Coronamon!” The image went black and then returned to the previous view, except now the two friends had disappeared with whatever was attacking them. He started desperately punching the screen and the image flashed like C.C.T.V. footage to different parts of a town straight out of an old Wild West film, only John Wayne was nowhere in sight, not even a single tumbleweed. Finally, the image showed the interior of a denim pocket and Russell remembered that Cassie had borrowed Libby’s jacket.

    “Cassie!” he called into it. There was a squeak of surprise from the Digivice before the girl’s olive-skinned face filled the screen.

    “Russell?” she spoke, confusion in her tone. “Where are you?”

    “No time to explain,” he replied, “but listen, something just nabbed Jomo and Coronamon and nobody else is answering their Digivices.”

    “Ko-Kabuterimon’s gone to scout ahead,” said Cassie. “Are you and Mushroomon safe? We’ve all been really worried.”

    “It doesn’t matter,” Russell felt his grip harden, “because I’m coming back to you all.” Cassie smiled softly and was about to speak, but all that came out was a scream as she was caught and pulled forcefully away. The Digivice’s display shook violently as it was swung this way and that until it went blank with a, ‘beep!’

    “Cassie!” cried Russell. “No! Now she’s gone too!” He clenched fist around the little brown wristwatch and put his knuckles against his temples, wishing he had not been so stupid and cowardly, that he stayed so he could help. What a fool he was! He pleaded to whatever higher power would listen, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I want to save them! I want to save my friends!

    “TAKE ME BACK!” he cried aloud. The Digivice whistled raucously and his senses were flooded with the same overwhelming, liquid-smooth light that carried him to the foreboding forest the last time. When his sight and hearing reasserted itself, he was standing at a crossroads. In front of him was a wooden pole with two signs jutting out in different directions; ‘Rigor Mortis Road,’ and, ‘Cadaver Avenue.’

    “We’re…we’re back in the Digital World,” he muttered.

    “Russell!” exclaimed Mushroomon (now back in his more familiar shape). “Look!” Untying himself from the rucksack, he bent down in front of his partner and picked up a silver Digivice, spotted with dark red blood.

    “It’s Cassie’s,” Russell confirmed, carefully taking it from his partner and bringing it up to eye level. He gripped it tightly as his face contorted in righteous indignation. Stuffing it into his pocket, he lifted the rucksack onto his back and headed off down Rigor Mortis Road. Even the bloody signs are evil in this place, he thought morosely.


    Deep in its hideout, the monster counted and recounted its victims. Five humans. Five Digimon. Mikemon had assured it that this was all, but it could sense something was amiss. It had threatened and taunted and almost beaten its vows into the old cat that if he was lying there would be dire consequences for him and for that entire filthy little village. Presently, it stood facing a dilapidated old tele-screen hanging on the wall of its dwelling. Its cables were exposed and its display was cracked but the machine worked well enough all the same.

    “You had better be sure, old one,” it hissed at Mikemon’s nervous countenance. “You wouldn’t double-cross me, would you?”

    “Of course not,” Mikemon stammered, “but don’t forget your promise.”

    “I always keep my promises,” the monster snarled, licking its grizzled lips. “I promised to savour it when I ate your friend, didn’t I? Took me ages to reach his feet.” It enjoyed watching Digimon squirm at the bitter memories. “Now, think about this very carefully. Dracmon told me there were six of them.”

    “The last one is already dead,” Mikemon answered. “He vanished in the middle of the night, him and his partner, and their bodies were never found. I had search parties scout the deepest parts of the woods and they found no traces of either of them.”

    “A shame,” the monster sighed. “I heard he was a little one, I wanted to make him my appetiser. Oh, well, I will carry out my end of our bargain when I’m done. Goodbye, old one.” He reached out and pressed a button on the keyboard dangling beneath the screen and Mikemon vanished from the tele-screen. Hissing and salivating, he rose from his room to the wide chamber where the pit was and sat completely still, listening to the voices from below. One of them was crying. Delicious.

    “Ko-Kabuterimon’s still out there,” he heard one say, “and Russell promised to come back.”

    “That whining little creep ran out on us,” another one responded sharply. “Him and that dumb fungus.”

    “Don’t talk about them like that,” the first growled, “or you’ll have me to deal with.”

    “What are ya? His girlfriend?” the second demanded. The exchange continued like this for a while, and the monster enjoyed every minute of it. Anger and despair made fine condiments. With a sweep of his tail along the cement floor, it lurched away.


    They had to stop. Falling back into low spirits, Russell thought that perhaps he had packed just a little too much. The rucksack was starting to weigh down on him. In front of him, Mushroomon was sitting down as Ko-Kabuterimon, whom they found inside one of the forsaken houses in a spluttering state of anxiety. The beetle was sweating profusely and gratefully accepted a bottle of water from Russell’s generous stock of supplies.

    “It…it came out of nowhere,” he panted. “I was able to get away just in time, but…but it got her…it got Cassie and the rest…tr…tried everywhere…”

    “Easy, Little Boy Blue,” said Russell, patting the insect Digimon on the head just beside his prodigious horn. “If you’ve really been looking that hard there can’t be any places left for them to be, right?”

    “Yeah but whoever nabbed them was smart enough to separate them from their Digivices,” Mushroomon reminded them, holding out the five wristwatches, all of which had been scattered about on the streets. “So we can’t use their tracking systems.”

    “I think I can help you with,” a rough voice came from a nearby house. The trio turned in time to see a short, grey-blue Digimon with long ears. Gazimon approached them with a stern expression on his leporid features.

    “What are you doing here, Flopsy?” Mushroomon scowled.

    “Don’t lose your spores,” said Gazimon with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I’m on your side. Your friends were sent here into a trap. This has been going on for a lot longer than you think and quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of it.”

    “Wait ‘til I get my hands on that lousy sack of fleas,” Russell grumbled. “No offence, Gazimon.”

    “None taken,” the rabbit shrugged, picking a little bloodsucker out of his fur and popping it between his claws.

    “Why should we trust you?” Ko-Kabuterimon asked though not rudely. “You hate humans.”

    “I hate cowards and sneaks even more,” Gazimon replied, “and I know where they’re being kept. Besides, do you lot even have a choice?” The boy, the mushroom and the beetle looked at each other and shook their heads in unison. For all his faults, he was right. There was no alternative. “Come,” he said. “Chances are your friends are still alive. The enemy’s obsessive not to mention paranoid. He’ll know you three are still out here and he won’t do anything nasty until he’s got all of you. Now let’s go. I know where they are.”

    “Lead the way,” Russell nodded. Gazimon turned on his heels and darted off down the nearest alleyway, which was so thin that they had to walk in single file with their arms tucked in. He warned them that they would be facing a lot of these and the journey would take a while but their stalker would be unable to follow them due to his size. For each second that passed, Russell felt himself growing more scared. Each new twist and turn through the labyrinth, with the stench of death on his skin and the icicles piercing his heart and mind, chipped away bit by bit at his confidence. This was madness. They were fighting a creature of pure shadow, one that feasted on fear and flesh. More than once he envisioned himself trapped in its metallic teeth. Ripping. Tearing. Dripping juice and blood.

    “Russ, you’re shivering,” said Mushroomon. “What’s wrong, chum?”

    “N-nothing,” Russell shook his head. “Nothing’s wrong. Gazimon, how far?”

    “Just through this next one,” the rabbit replied as they squeezed through. They had reached the highest point of the hill now, where the houses grew thinner. Sticking out of the ground, half-buried from a long before earthquake, was perfectly rectangular, obsidian structure. Its upper row was lined with blacked out windows. No light could be seen inside. Just pitch darkness. Russell stood there in the doorway, staring into the gulping throat of atrocity.

    “That’s his hideout,” Gazimon confirmed.

    “I…I can’t,” Russell squeaked.

    “You can’t?” Mushroomon put his gloved palm against his partner’s forearm. “Russ, what’s wrong? You can tell us.”

    “I just can’t,” Russell shut his eyes. “I’m scared.”

    “Russell?” someone called from inside. “Is that you?” It was Thora. He did not know her well, but he recognised her and for all the horror coursing through his veins it was sweet relief. He quickly ran inside, following the sound. The sunlight allowed in by the open door cast a thin strip of illumination across the floor to a grate covering a perfectly round pit, and a delicate, long-fingered hand was reaching out of it. The short boy knelt down and clasped it warmly.

    “You came back,” Thora choked through her tears.

    “Way to go, Russ,” Cassie joined in.

    “Nice of you to crash the party, slick,” added Libby.

    “I told you I would,” Russell whispered. Behind him, Gazimon instructed Mushroomon to follow the human while he and Ko-Kabuterimon stayed on sentry duty. He turned to Mushroomon, “Can we move this grate?”

    “Not on our own,” Mushroomon shook his head. “It’s too heavy to lift and it’s made from Chrome-Digizoid, strongest metal in the Digital World so our offensive powers won’t work either.”

    “Hmmph! I won’t be beaten by this hunk of iron,” Russell muttered, rifling around in his jacket. “First, we need some more light in here.” He retrieved a small lighter he had pinched from the kitchen cupboard at home and flicked open the top, casting the light of its flame from left to right until finding something of use. Hanging off the wall was an iron cycle that reminded him of an antique telephone. Spanning the centre were seven black squares and rimming it was a series of twenty smaller, white buttons marked in black pen.

    3, 10, 106, 2, 62
    54, 16, 6, 34, 18
    4, 448, 17, 5, 22
    13, 8, 11, 7, 50

    “Oh, great,” Russell huffed. It was easy to see that they required a seven number code to open the pit but how on Earth was he meant to work it out? How many variations could there be? Too many. Or none. He had cracked codes like this when mucking about with widgets and programmes in his after-school I.C.T. classes. A thunderous roar echoed outside.

    “He’s coming!” Ko-Kabuterimon called over. “We’ll hold him off for as long as we can!”

    “Yeah, that makes me feel better,” Russell muttered as he tried to puzzle out the enigma set in front of him.

    “Going to chop you up and eat you,” hissed the monster. “Make prime cuts out of you.”

    “Prime!” Russell gasped. “That’s it! Thanks, Mr Big-Bad-and-Oogly.”

    “I don’t get it!” Mushroomon had to yell over the sounds of the fight.

    “There are seven spaces,” Russell explained, concentrating too hard to care if his partner could hear him or not, “and seven prime numbers on the pad. Numbers that can only be divided by 1 or by themselves. 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 19.” They heard a heavy scraping noise as the grate swung away. Cassie was the first to leap out, since she was perched on Tu Shan’s shoulders, who in turn was supported by Jomo and Libby. Mushroomon raced to join Gazimon and Ko-Kabuterimon while Russell aided his fellow children and their Digimon partners up to the surface. There was a loud boom and a hellish bellow and the three defenders were slung across the room, landing in a pile in front of the youngsters.

    “We have to get out of here,” Cassie clenched her fists. “Candlemon, Coronamon, set a blaze to stall him.”

    “You…you humans go on,” Gazimon grunted as he staggered to his feet. “There’s…something I have to…” Candlemon puffed out his cheeks and spat a glob of molten paraffin and Coronamon followed up with a stream of fire. The liquid caught light and the flames danced over the monster’s misshapen form, a grotesque mish-mash of dark blue fur and heavy steel. Mushroomon revealed an explosive toadstool from a personal pocket of sub-space and chucked it into the nearest wall, blowing a gaping hole in the stone. While their enemy thrashed and roared behind the wall of heat, the group raced out to freedom. After spending as long as they did in the darkness of the lair, the sunlight washing over them, despite its surreal hues, was a welcome change.

    “Where’s Gazimon?” asked Cassie once they had stopped, for the rabbit was nowhere in sight.

    “You don’t think he’s still inside?” Thora put her hand over her mouth in horror as the flames inside spewed out of the door and the hole in the wall. The windows shattered and great columns of crimson burst up through the roof.

    “Tarnation! How strong is that paraffin?!” Libby cried.

    “I, uh, put a few extra coats down while we were running,” Candlemon admitted timidly. “To make sure.”

    “Look!” Jomo was pointing towards the building. They could see a small shape emerging from the burning ruins. Gazimon was stumbling towards them, dragging a large burlap sack behind him. Tu Shan, Labramon, Thora and Gomamon went to his aid but before they could question the nature of his prize, the entire side of the stone building exploded outwards, the shockwaves tossing the travellers in every direction. The silhouette of their enemy appeared in the flames as it emerged slowly, smoke rising from its scorched fur and reddened shell. The whipping cables protruding from the end of its tail fizzled.

    “Who is that?” asked Russell.

    “His name is Dex-Dorugamon,” replied Gazimon, followed by a fit of coughing, “and I think we’ve made him mad.”

    “That wasn’t nice. I was going to eat you one at a time,” their enemy snarled. “Let you appreciate your last hours, but now I’ll just have to slaughter all of you.” It swung its heavy tail towards the group, the cables flying out like thin, electrical tentacles. The children dove to one side and the Digimon to the other to avoid it.

    “That all you got?” Mushroomon sneered. “I’ve met blind guys with better aim!” He released a yelp as Labramon shoved him out of the path of an oncoming ball of black iron from deep within Dex-Dorugamon’s gullet. The projectile flew past with a screech and impacted in the grass with enough destructive force to open up a crater.

    “Next time,” the dog Digimon warned, “don’t provoke the big, scary-looking one, all right? Next time I might not save your carcass from getting grilled.” Coronamon and Candlemon bombarded the beast with fireballs, eliciting a cry of pain and burning its body further, Gomamon, Ko-Kabuterimon and Gazimon struck out with their long claws, Labramon unleashed a thunderous bark that caused the air around them to ripple violently and Mushroomon tossed a volley of explosive toadstools. Dex-Dorugamon howled and began to beat its wings at great speed, invoking a small but powerful whirlwind that floored its opponents. It turned on the humans and hastened in their direction, only to fall over. They could all see why. The organic components of its body were cut deeply where the physical attacks had landed, exposing a mass of circuits and wires over what looked like a black-and-green computer grid. Globs of its metal armour were dripping off and landing in the grass, blackening the greenery with a pained, constant hiss.

    “Quick, before he recovers!” Coronamon yelled. Dex-Dorugamon lifted his head, which was now too heavy for his damaged body to support. The travellers had managed to deal him a terrible blow and his systems were starting to jam, but he was able to open his mouth and launch another iron ball. The children scattered, but it grazed Russell’s shoulder and left a severe burn on the backs of Cassie’s legs. Seeing their human masters in peril, the Digimon closed in for the killing blows; Ko-Kabuterimon’s scarf took on a glistening, rubbery sheen and extended like extra arms, binding Dex-Dorugamon. Coronamon and Candlemon unleashed streams of fire from their mouths while Mushroomon and Labramon battered him with their respective battle-powers. Finally, Gomamon and Gazimon brought down their knife-keen claws.

    “No,” Dex-Dorugamon slurred as he fell onto his side, “not…finished…!” Only the ghost of his last defiant groan remained as his body cracked and then shattered like glass into a shower of coloured particles, which spiralled up and away into the air, and something else went with it. It was just barely visible, a moving form beneath a curtain, a black number, ‘8,’ or a double-helix. None of them could follow it for long because it was gone as soon as it had appeared, however the same shape had been scarred into the ground where the monster had lain just seconds before.

    “What happened to him?” asked Cassie.

    “His data’s being sent back to start all over again,” Ko-Kabuterimon explained. “Let’s hope this time he’ll be reconfigured as someone good.” This meant more questions than answers to the children but they were so tired, sweaty and dirty from their ordeal that they chose not to pursue their line of inquiry any further. All they wanted was to recuperate.


    “I suppose I owe you an explanation.”

    They had returned to the village to find all the inhabitants thoroughly surprised. Apparently, Mikemon was not the only one catering to Dex-Dorugamon’s wishes with oblivious sacrifices. The fire crackled in the hearth as Mikemon’s ebony-furred mate cradled a brilliantly coloured egg in her paws, which had been amongst many others Gazimon rescued from the lair of the demon. The rabbit was outside, handing out more of the, ‘Digi-Eggs,’ to their weeping parents.

    “Bloody right you do!” Russell spat. “Because of you, we were almost killed!”

    “Russell, please,” Cassie placed a hand on his shoulder in an attempt to restrain him. “Chill out.”

    “Oh, I’m sorry!” the short boy wheeled on her with his arms spread for emphasis. “I didn’t realise what this little sneak did to us was totally excusable!”

    “For once I agree with him,” said Libby. “What’s the deal, Mikemon?” The old cat sighed and rubbed his temples before requesting his mate to leave the room with the egg so they could speak in private. As an understanding female who recognised when the ‘mon she shared her life with needed his space, she agreed and took her egg with her, humming softly to it all the way.

    “Dex-Dorugamon was not always the hideous brute you all saw,” said the village elder after a pause to steel his nerves. “You see, we once lived in that town, under the protection of Dorugamon, a courageous young Digimon who defeated any who threatened us. Then, one day, it all went wrong. Something took hold of him, got inside him, and Dorugamon was taken from us. With nobody to stop him, the thing wearing his face rampaged through the town and deleted many of our people.

    “We few survivors were able to flee and establish our village, but Dex-Dorugamon found us in almost no time at all. He came in the night, invaded our hidden rookery and took the entire clutch of Digi-Eggs, holding them to ransom. If we sent him six human children and their Digimon companions, he would bring them back to us.”

    “And you believed him?” Tu Shan asked with a cocked brow.

    “Honestly? No,” Mikemon replied, ears drooping sadly, “but what choice did we have? My people are not warriors, young one, and I’m just a useless old feline.” Russell wanted to tell him he was right but he could see that the calico cat was suffering enough already.

    “I’m not asking you to forgive me, or any of us,” said Mikemon, “but please understand that in our core of cores, we thought we had a chance to save our children.”

    “You didn’t have a choice, Mikemon,” said Cassie, giving him a reassuring pat on the shoulder. “All’s forgiven.”

    “I know it’s much to ask of you,” Mikemon croaked, putting his paw on her hand, “but please, I’m sure that whatever stole our Dorugamon has corrupted others as well. You must save them.” Cassie felt all their eyes on her as the words sunk in. It seemed to click. The reason they had been brought to this strange land. Was it to cure it of sickness? To erase the evil? She was not sure, but if she could stop the agony and the hurting, she would do so to the best of her abilities. She just prayed that the others agreed.
    Last edited by Duellist Royal; 17th January 2010 at 09:08 AM.

    Golden Pen Awards 2009
    Most Original Fiction - Yu-Gi-Oh!: Queen of Games
    Best New Fiction - Pokémon: Empire of the Sun
    Best Newcomer to the Boards

  3. #3
    Usertitle ftw Master Trainer
    Master Trainer
    MeLoVeGhOsTs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Default Re: Digimon: Six Corners

    Again, I love it.

    I did look up some of the digimon, but it made me visualise them some more, so it's good.

    They each have their own digimon, the plot is starting, now it's only a matter of time before we see the first digivolved partner.

    Can't wait, keep up the good work!

  4. #4
    Beginning Trainer
    Beginning Trainer
    Duellist Royal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Shoeburyness, U.K.

    Default Re: Digimon: Six Corners

    Chapter 3: “Tu Shan Takes a Risk”

    The village elder’s request was a staggering one. Who knew how much corruption existed in the Digital World? Even so, the children and their partners knew that they had been united for a reason, and to cleanse the land of evil was as good a noble quest as any. After sharing a brief goodbye with Mikemon, Gazimon and the inhabitants, who for now were living under a yolk of shame and self-pity, they set off westward, which at least had a clear dirt path for them to follow. High above them the sky had shifted from random splotches of paint to inter-crossing lines of colour which reminded them of the grid they had seen in Dex-Dorugamon’s wound. They had been walking for a while and stopped to recuperate. Russell was starting to get tired now that every one of his companions had asked him the exact same question.

    “I’ve told you before,” he said impatiently, “all I did was wish I was home and poof, there I was.”

    “We noticed,” Libby replied, “but that don’t make no sense, slick.”

    “Maybe you haven’t noticed, Butch Cassidy,” Russell retorted, “but nothing makes any sense in this world!”

    “So the way to get home is to…” Tu Shan began.

    “Want to not be here?” Jomo finished.

    “Very well put, Jomo,” Tu Shan deadpanned. The six Digimon looked at each other with panic in their eyes. Candlemon glided over to Libby and tugged on the leg of her jeans.

    “Don’t you want to be here?” he asked meekly. Labramon made a gentle whining noise in the back of his throat and put a paw in Tu Shan’s lap while Gomamon, who had been in Thora’s arms, hugged her human partner as if to keep her from slipping away.

    “Now hang on, everyone, before you depress yourselves,” said Cassie, patting Ko-Kabuterimon’s smooth head, “when Russell left, Mushroomon went with him.”

    “She’s right,” Tu Shan nodded, holding Labramon’s paw.

    “Although he got a lot smaller and more blobby,” Russell reminded them.

    “I told you I was conserving energy!” Mushroomon huffed.

    “Yeah, and you ate three times your own weight,” Russell sneered, wrapping one arm around the violet fungus and planting a playful Dutch Rub on his cap. Cassie smiled. It was good to see the little fellow opening up like that, considering how dishevelled and unsociable he was just a short time ago. Even when he was taking pot shots there was an increased, albeit weird friendliness about it. Nothing like defeating an evil psychopath to deepen the bonds of unity.

    “So we can take our Digimon home with us?” Thora was not really asking, but the idea was a relief both to her and Gomamon. The two of them squeaked happily. “Let’s give it a go!”

    “I don’t see why not,” said Cassie. “You’re going to love Corfu, Big Blue.” Ko-Kabuterimon said nothing but clicked his claws and mandibles in anticipation. “Golden beaches, the beautiful bay, great food, and the best part is the local wildlife won’t try to eat you.” The twelve of them stood up in a circle and held out the wrists bearing the Digivice wristwatches. None of them thought this would enhance the process at all but it felt appropriate. The liquid screens glowed as light oozed from the grooves and curves, but all but one of these lights dissipated as a mechanical voice echoed in their collective heads.

    “We at Digital Enterprises apologise but maximum bandwidth at this time has been exceeded. Please try again later.”

    “What?!” Tu Shan glared at his watch. “Please tell me these things aren’t pre-broadband!”

    “Wait, Cassie’s gone,” said Thora. Indeed, the Greek girl and her partner had vanished from sight, leaving only a faint circle carved into the dirt.

    “What a swiz!” Russell exclaimed. “That half-naked beach-bum gets to go home and we don’t?!”

    “If you just said what I think you just said,” Libby warned, “you can prepare yourself for a whackin’.”

    “Oh, don’t come the moral highness with me, Doc Holliday,” the short boy countered. “She’s still got your jacket.”

    “Ah, yeah,” Libby put a finger to her cheek and looked up at the sky, “she’d better bring it back.” They resolved to attempt the feat of returning home a second time but again nothing happened. Realising it would be useless to sit there all day and night trying to force their way across the expanse of continuity to the Human World, Tu Shan took de facto command of the travellers and they set off once more.


    The first thing she noticed was the heat of the sun beaming down on her. It was a different heat to that of the Digital World, but familiar all the same. The next sensation was the feel of the rose-coloured beach towel beneath her. Last of all was the crashing of water. Slowly she opened her eyes and sat up to find herself looking out across the brilliant blue ocean of the Bay of Garitsa. Directly next to her was another strange creature; a small, green, ball-shaped little animal with pink mandibles, black dots for eyes and a copper-coloured strand extending from the top of its head. Its lower body came down to a point which it was somehow able to balance itself on. It reminded Cassie of a pinecone. Slowly, Cassie stretched out her hand and brushed her fingertips along the green head. There was a faint layer of fuzz like a peach rather than the smooth carapace she was accustomed to.

    “Everything’s so blue,” it observed, wriggling a little under her caress.

    “Ko-Kabuterimon?” Cassie asked. “Is that you?”

    “Mm-hmm,” her partner confirmed, “but in this shape I’m called Minomon. So, is this your home?” All Cassie did was nod in response.


    The throne room was blinding in its radiance. From top to bottom, everything in the domed chamber was built from huge, golden bricks engraved with Digital World hieroglyphs. The floor was covered by a blood-coloured carpet trimmed in silver and the throne, constructed from polished marble, stood on a stepped square platform. Little Dracmon knelt down before the king and the royal consort, who curved her perfect frame neatly against his musculature.

    “Those children,” he reported, voice shaking, “those children have defeated Dex-Dorugamon.”

    “As if I did not already know that, Dracmon,” the king scowled, “and I see that like always you come crawling to the strongest. I suppose I should take it as a compliment.” He released a long sigh before continuing, “Dex-Dorugamon was nothing but a brainless beast anyway. Do you have any other news or is your presence here a complete waste of my time?”

    “Just one more thing, Boss,” said Dracmon, “I know I’m just a lowly worm and should be beneath your attention but this really is important. I saw the leader of those sprogs disappear before my eyes. All four of ‘em!” He held out his palms and the bloodshot orbs embedded in them blinked for emphasis.

    “Continue your mission, Dracmon,” growled the king. “Find out where that scrawny female went and where the rest are going. Once you have, alert our nearest agent. Understood?”

    “Oh, of course, Boss!” Dracmon nodded as he crawled backwards out of the room on his knees. “Yes, Your Royal Heinous - I mean Highness! I won’t let ya down, no-sir-ee-bob!” He went on to jabber in this fashion until he was long gone from their presence. The king’s grip around his consort’s slender shoulder tightened a bit.

    “I’m sorry you had to see that, my dear,” he murmured.

    “Oh, it’s no trouble at all,” she purred in response, tracing a long nail down the front of his firm chest. “I don’t get enough entertainment these days. Why don’t I give you a massage to help alleviate some of that tension, hmm?” She slipped, liquid-smooth, from his grasp before he could respond and began to dig her palms into his back, and the king voiced his satisfaction.


    The Demopoulos house was perched in full view of the bay, so it did not take more than a few minutes for Cassie to go charging headlong back, dodging the light traffic and citizens with practised ease. “There goes little Cascadia Demopoulos,” some were known to say, “like a bolt of greased lightning,” or at least some Greek approximation of the phrase. With her laptop held firmly under one arm and Minomon tucked beneath the other, wrapped in her towel, she skidded through the open door and into the hallway. Oh, how good it was to be home after spending so much time in another dimension! She expected her family to be waiting to grab her up in warm embraces, stating how worried they were, but as she almost slipped on the tiled floor of the hallway she realised that things were as tranquil and cooling as per usual.

    “I’m home!” she called. Her father, a trimmed man with his shirt hanging open, emerged from the kitchen with a glass of cold drink in his hand, the chilled glass perspiring over his dark skin.

    “Didn’t you just leave?” asked Kostas Demopoulos in confusion. He shook it off. “Well, since you’re back, your mama left you some rice pudding in the fridge, and could you keep the noise down please? I’ve got some last minute changes to make before meeting the editor on Friday.” When Cassie nodded, he reached out and ruffled her hair. “That’s my little Cascitsa.” He turned away and headed back to his office. She could hear him switch on the hi-fi system, which was banging out golden oldies. They were soon accentuated by the rhythmic tap-tap-tap of his Word programme.

    Just left? That made no sense. Still, the clock on the wall was in agreement, and as strange as it sounded even to her, it occurred to Cassie that perhaps time did run differently between the worlds.

    “Cassie,” Minomon protested, “you’re squeezing me like a grape.” She gasped and released her hold. With a quick apology and a nervous laugh she dashed upstairs though not before snatching the tub of creamy rice pudding. She almost tripped over a pile of copies of her father’s last book (a best-seller if he did say so himself) which were cluttering up her bedroom door. Kostas had a habit of littering the place with his numerous publications, for you see the poor man suffered from an obscure disease that kept him from tidying up his dusty old junk.

    “At least we know we can definitely come and go now,” she said, setting Minomon down on her bed, “but I have a feeling that the others are still in the Digital World and we should think about heading back to help them.”

    “Go home? Get back?” Minomon shook his head. “Will you please make up your mind?”


    The gates of the city swung apart to greet the travellers, after a quick round of bartering with the guards of course, and the first thing to hit them was the scent of the salt in the air. The city of Flashport had been erected against the coast of the island, and stretched out along in rows of wooden buildings criss-crossed by perfectly straight roads, many of which led to the wide plaza between the metropolis and the harbour. If one were to look at it from above, its shape would be comparable to a crossword puzzle.

    “Mornin’!” greeted three passing Digimon carrying lumber.

    “I wonder if they’re all as friendly here,” Jomo mused.

    “I lived in Flashport for a while,” said Gomamon, “apart from that grouchy guardsmon, it’s a nice place.”

    “File Island isn’t part of the empire but it’s the trading centre of this part of the Digital World,” added Labramon matter-of-factly, “so it has a successful seafaring economy.”

    “And it has the best seafood in the world,” Coronamon piped up.

    “Well, I’m convinced,” said Jomo.

    “Do you always think with your stomach?” asked Thora incredulously.

    “Yeah, it’s a lot smarter than my brain,” Jomo grinned. “Now enough prattle! I’m starved!”

    “Make a joke about fish and chips and you’ll eat that hat,” Russell warned Libby, who feigned innocence with a whistle. Mushroomon and Candlemon snickered amongst themselves; watching their human partners picking on each other had become their favourite comedy.

    “While Jomo and Coronamon feed their faces, we’ll go find a cheap hotel,” said Tu Shan. When they left the village, Mikemon was able to spare them a scant few Digi-Dollar notes to keep them sustained, which they all agreed would be used only for essentials. If need be, they could find work here in the city to raise their funds.

    “Not too cheap,” Thora reminded him. “I’d hate to shack up somewhere without washing facilities.”

    “I said cheap, not sleazy,” Tu Shan assured her. “Don’t fret, I know what I’m doing. Let’s go Labramon.”

    “And what are we supposed to do?” Russell frowned. “Sit here and look pretty?”

    “Just…amuse yourselves,” Tu Shan shrugged as he and his partner strolled off in a different direction. As the Chinese boy and his canine cohort turned a corner and disappeared behind a building, the remaining children looked at one another.

    “Do you ever get the feeling Tu Shan’s not very fond of us?” asked Thora.

    “Yeah, I used to think slick was bad but at least he’s funny,” said Libby. “Shanghai Charlie over there’s just got a big ol’ stick up his butt.”

    “You think I’m funny?” asked Russell, caught quite off his guard by the remark.

    “Yeah, funny-lookin’,” the cowgirl teased. They quickly descended into another heated debate until Thora put their heads together to shut them up. The eight of them reunited at a modest establishment just a little way from the seafront. They sat together in the bar room, an old tune warbling out of the dated jukebox in the corner as green-skinned waitresses in rusty red caps served out orders. The landlord, a large speckled egg with two reptilian legs growing out of the bottom, was yelling at a nondescript cheque-dodger in a nasally Mexican voice.

    “Aside from the noise, it’s not so bad in here,” said Thora offhandedly.

    “Food’s decent,” said Jomo.

    “Our money’s almost completely drained,” said Tu Shan, “but I spoke to a few people who are willing to take on part-time employees, just in case.”

    “You think of everything, Tu,” Labramon observed.

    “Of course I do,” Tu Shan gave a nod. “I’m the smart one.”

    “Self-assured much?” asked Libby icily.

    “I’m just stating a fact,” Tu Shan shrugged.

    “My lunch just winked at me,” Russell muttered, poking the plate of fish in front of him, only for it to spring up and make a swift retreat while complaining about how it was impossible to find a place to sleep with noisy humans around. “I…just lost my appetite.”

    “Excuse me!” someone squeaked. A squat, pale blue Digimon covered in light yellow armour and a bee’s abdomen trailing behind him flapped into the room and stopped in front of the children and their partners, whom he asked for each by name (the only ones not to answer were of course Cassie and Ko-Kabuterimon) before introducing himself as, “Honeybeemon of the Royal Postal Service.” He reached into the red satchel hanging about his waist, pulled out an envelope and handed it to Tu Shan. It was made of the same half-real material as the letters from Mikemon and fixed together with a white wax seal resembling a decorative crown surrounded by Digital hieroglyphics.

    “That’s the seal of the royal family,” said Labramon.

    “Seriously?” Coronamon leaned in closer. “About time.” Jomo wanted to question his partner as to his meaning but Tu Shan had already opened the envelope and unfolded the letter inside, which was printed on an emerald-coloured sheet of paper.

    To whom it may concern,

    We hope this letter finds you all well. Many apologies for your ordeals as of late, we had hoped your arrival in our world would be smoother than it transpired. Still, we must request that you come to our castle in the imperial capital, where we shall explain why you were brought here in the first place. We understand if you refuse but would be most appreciative if you would honour our request.

    Yours sincerely,

    The Queen of the Digital World

    “Wow!” Gomamon exclaimed. “The Queen wants to meet us in person?”

    “Just think of it,” Thora sighed blissfully, “meeting real royalty. We’ll be waited on hand-and-foot by a legion of servants and stay in a beautiful palace and…”

    “Thanks for setting our gender back by about 500 years, Princess,” Libby scoffed.

    “Oh, shut your face,” Thora deadpanned. “Just because you dress like Clint Eastwood-”

    (“Thank you! Someone else noticed!” Russell cheered.)

    “-Doesn’t mean I can’t be a bit feminine once in a while.”

    “Preach, sister, preach,” Gomamon giggled. Libby, who was too polite to swat a fellow girl with so many witnesses to see it, resolved to just tip her hat over her face to hide the pink blush of outrage flooding her cheeks. Tu Shan folded the letter back into its envelope and tucked that away into the back pocket of his jeans.

    “Does this mean we’re dropping the whole ‘purify the land,’ thing that Mikemon asked for?” asked Jomo.

    “Certainly not,” replied Tu Shan, “we’ll deal with that when we come to it, but this is our chance to find out our purpose in this world. I say we take it.” The others motioned their agreement. “If we head down to the docks we can ask around for a ship heading for the imperial capital. If we’re lucky, at least one of us will find someone willing to carry us along with them.”

    “If that means you’ll come I’ll go pass it along to the Queen. Cheerio.” Honeybeemon flew out of the bar room. The children finished their meal in relative silence but none could deny the excitement building in them. They already knew other humans had come to the Digital World in the past for a multitude of reasons, not that they were told what exactly, but an invitation from who they assumed was amongst the most important figures in the land was nothing to sniff at. The moment their plates and glasses were cleared and their bill paid with the last of their Digi-Dollars, they went about their new mission of finding transport.


    The manager of Flashport Shipping Co. had little love for time-wasters, even less when said time-wasters were flunkies who got too big for their breeches. He was trying to concentrate on a game of Virtual Digi-Chess when that booted buffoon barged in through his office window and kicked the holographic pieces off the table.

    “Why you wretched little…!” the manager started.

    “Don’t get your frills in a twist, Vademon,” Dracmon interrupted. “I’ve brought word from the Big P, you know, your lord an’ master?”

    “This had better be good, you flying rat,” Vademon scowled, straightening the lapels of his black suit jacket. “I’m a busy ‘mon.”

    “Those human kids are in the city,” Dracmon explained sharply, “and you’re the lucky glob of grey-matter who gets to wipe them out.” Vademon’s dark lips curled into a smile. He had been preparing for this for some time now in collaboration with a noted renegade scientist who was presently hiding somewhere in far-off Modem. There was a sudden knock at the door and a faint voice spoke from the other side, “Hello? Is someone in?”

    “That’s one of ‘em now,” said Dracmon. “Don’t mess this up, poindexter.” He leapt back out of the window as Vademon stood up and opened the door.

    “Ah, welcome to Flashport Shipping Co., valued customer,” he greeted, leading the newcomer to the chair opposite his at the table. The boy’s Digimon partner hunkered down beside him as Vademon made himself comfortable in his padded swivel-chair, habitually adjusting his lapels again. “Tell me, my friend, what’s your name and how may I serve you?”

    “I’m Tu Shan,” the boy replied with a polite bow of his head, “and this is Labramon. We and some friends of ours need to travel to the capital on some rather urgent business.”

    “Well, that is a problem,” Vademon said, puffing out his cheeks. “All of my boats are on a very strict schedule. It takes a lot of trading and fishing to keep our citizens content, you know.” He saw the child’s face fall. “But, since I consider myself something of a risk-taker – you can’t get ahead just playing it safe, you know – and I like your face, I’ll make you a deal. Do you play games?”

    “Games?” Tu Shan had an idea of where this was going and was not very comfortable about it. Still, it would be rude to say nothing. “Occasionally, yes.”

    “Excellent!” Vademon clapped his wiry hands together and as if on silent command, the top of the desk whooshed open, to be replaced by a perfectly square image of a map. “This is my favourite game of all. Risk. If you can beat me in a friendly one-on-one game, I’ll happily let all of you travel on the next boat scheduled to leave. Are we in agreement?”

    Tu Shan considered his options. He had no Digi-Dollars left, and the Queen’s request was rather urgent. He wanted to just tell this unusual creature about that but feared he would be called a liar or that the shipping schedule really was as jam-packed as Vademon claimed. With no other straightforward option, he nodded. “All right, but I must say this is a weird way to do business, not that I’ll look a gift horse in the mouth.”

    “It keeps me from getting too bored,” Vademon shrugged. The players and Labramon looked over the game-board. It was much like any normal game of Risk in the Human World with exactly the same rules and principals, though the continents were a lot different.


    Minomon was only half-paying attention to Cassie as she zipped this way and that around the house, throwing all manner of items into an already bulging rucksack. The In-Training Digimon was mainly helping himself to the rice pudding she had left vulnerable on the bedside cabinet. It was only when he barely dodged a flying pair of sandals that he spoke up, “Cassie, are we ready to go yet?”

    “Not quite,” the girl replied from down the hallway, “I’m trying to decide if I should take fruity or chocolate cereal.”

    “There’s such a thing as over-packing,” said the Digimon, “and that bag’s already got too much.”

    “We’re in Greece now, my friend, and if it’s not too much it’s just not enough. Ooh, I forgot about these liquid yoghurts.”

    Minomon sighed and manoeuvred himself over to the cabinet where Cassie’s Digivice lay. The screen was projecting thin strands of light that shaped itself into the landscape of a city much like Corfu, rows of houses bordering a vast expanse of water. Five coloured dots – orange, maroon, brown, cyan and gold – were visible within the buildings, and some kind of disk-shaped construct like a saucer was floating above the rooftops, which shot out yellow strands of its own towards the last four coloured dots. I have a bad feeling about this, Minomon thought to himself, something’s got a line on the others.


    It would be kind to say Tu Shan was off to a bad start. Not only was the Digital World constructed so much differently, but there were home rules and extra perils for him to face. Worst of all was Vademon’s apparent case of absent-mindedness that kept him from telling the boy all the rules at once. Labramon did all he could to keep his partner updated, to avoid their opponent’s trickery, but he was not an avid player so his knowledge was limited. The dog Digimon could actually smell the deceit oozing from every pore on Vademon’s repulsive body, even through his suit.

    “Anything else you ‘forgot,’ to tell me?” Tu Shan asked bitterly.

    “Yes, actually,” Vademon grinned. “The stakes.” There was the, ‘click,’ of a button being pressed beneath the desk and a series of five tele-screens appeared in a star formation on the wall behind him. The central screen displayed a bird’s-eye-view of the city while the other four followed the rest of the Digi-Destined and their partners. Tu Shan was about to ask what was going on when Vademon interrupted, “Positioned directly above the city centre is a satellite weapon designed for assassination missions. It was once used by a rival power from the north-western regions until the royal family annexed them into the empire and decommissioned its mass construction. Very brutal. Still, with the right contacts, getting this was easier than I anticipated.”

    “So how come nobody’s noticed that contraption?” Tu Shan demanded.

    “Custom stealth-tech,” Vademon replied proudly, “and if you fall too far behind, I will trigger the weapon and one of your friends will go bye-bye.”

    “You monster!” Tu Shan stood up and slammed both hands palm-down on the desk.

    “What was your first clue?” Vademon sneered. “Now, sit down and we’ll continue, or else my fingers might slip and…bang-bang. Please don’t take it personally, orders from the top you know.” Tu Shan chewed his bottom lip as he stared across the board. He was already losing. How on either world could he win against someone who could use the rules of play themselves as psychological weapons? He reached for the nearest of his pieces only to hesitate.

    Vademon narrowed his eyes. This was taking too long. He had other, more important errands to carry out that day and this child was starting to test his patience. As a reminder, he clicked one of the secret switches.


    Thora and Gomamon found themselves in the city park. A class of what her partner referred to as, ‘In-Training Digimon,’ were chattering loudly beside a large, ornate water fountain while their teacher chatted with the local ranger. Thora knelt down amongst them as they swarmed her with interest. She patted one on its furry head and smiled.

    “Bless ‘em, they’re so cute,” she said softly. Gomamon, who was taking a dip in the fountain, caught sight of something in the sky above, moving quickly downwards. Her ribbon ears twitched.

    “Thora! Get down!” she yelled as she propelled herself from the water and tackled her human into the grass. The little ones bounced and rolled out of the way as a barely visible burst of light struck the ground where they had been seconds ago, leaving a black scorch mark. As the teacher gathered her pupils and the ranger called in the security team to investigate, Thora rubbed her head and got up on her knees.


    “Thora!” Tu Shan gasped as he saw her just narrowly avoid getting blasted apart by the beam. He turned on Vademon and growled, “You son of a…!”

    “Consider that a warning shot,” Vademon interrupted. “Memo to self, recalibrate the death rays for a wider beam. Terrible for something so advanced to still have bugs, don’t you find?”

    Tu Shan’s shock soon gave way to anger.

    “Fine, if you want to play dirty,” he scowled, “then I’ll just have to grind you into the dust myself.”

    “Good to see you’re finally putting on your game face,” replied Vademon, “but you’re already a continent behind so there’s no way for you to win. This big brain of mine isn’t for decoration.”

    “I could’ve told you that,” Labramon piped up, “now shut up and let Tu Shan take his turn.” The game renewed, and much to Vademon’s surprise he was down to a mere three continents within half an hour, but shifting the tele-screens to centralise the footage of Libby and Candlemon exploring a clothes shop was enough to momentarily throw his opponent off and allow him to regain the advantage. Soon enough they were equalised.

    “They both look so happy trying on silly hats,” Vademon cooed. “It would be such a shame to spoil that.”

    “If you even think about it,” Tu Shan began.

    “I’ll crunch that big brain right off your skull,” Labramon finished.

    “Such tempers you both have,” Vademon sneered. “If you did something that frightful, my fingers might slip and press all the buttons at once, and all your friends will wind up as puddles of data.”

    The game continued and Tu Shan’s luck was no longer with him. He gained two continents only to lose one, dropping him to five. The main screen was now focussed on Jomo and Coronamon, who were engaged in a round of cards with some locals.

    “Are you mad?!” Labramon spluttered. “If you fire on them you’ll hit those civilians!”

    “They can be easily replaced,” said Vademon. On the display, a laser bolt fired and Jomo was only saved with a melodramatic swing of his arms in the midst of some grand impression of someone. The bolt burnt the ground between the players and the African boy rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.

    “I guess if the big guy upstairs doesn’t like my jokes, I’m in trouble,” he chuckled. Tu Shan and Labramon breathed a united sigh of relief. That was so typical of Jomo, saved by some ridiculous jape. Both of them noticed Vademon’s frustration with the faulty death-machine and took this phasing of concentration as a chance to strike back.


    Now in a more comfortable ensemble but still with her swimming goggles clamped against her brow, Cassie looked at the map projected by the Digivice with a stern expression on her normally soft features. She was certain that Tu Shan was embroiled in something, being the only one not targeted by whatever was hovering above the city. She started pressing buttons until a distorted sound-byte of his protesting voice could be heard, overlaid with a computerised countdown. Minomon was already popping open the laptop on the bed and in some sort of bizarre reaction, the screen displayed a swirl of colours while the wristwatch started to glow.

    “Ready to head back, Minomon?” she asked, to which the Digimon nodded his head in response.

    “Then let’s do it,” Cassie held the Digivice towards the laptop. “Digi-Port, open!”

    “Digi-Port?” Minomon asked.

    “First thing that came to mind,” she told him as they were both sucked up in a burst of light, well on their way back to the Digital World. “Here we go!”


    A local four-piece band were playing in the city square just a short distance from the park. Not usually Russell’s cup of tea but he had to admit they had rhythm. He and Mushroomon were rocking back and forth on their heels, blissfully unaware of the unseen threat priming its sights on them. They were just seconds from destruction when a bright flash filled their eyes and Russell was pinned to the ground with Cassie kneeling over him. An explosion went up a few yards away and threw the small gathered crowd into chaos.

    “C-C-C…” Russell stammered, taken aback and unsure what to think. There he was, on his back, in public, with an olive-skinned beauty on top of him, breathing heavily as if she had been running for miles. All in all he was kind of flattered but extremely nonplussed. Was the Earth moving? No, that was just the explosion and the stampeding Digimon around them. “Could you…get off me?” he asked meekly. Cassie realised their position and rolled off, her cheeks blushing brightly, and spoke loudly into her Digivice.

    “Tu Shan! Whatever you’re planning to do, do it now!” She turned to Russell. “Let’s get the others together and head to Tu Shan’s location. He’s gotten himself in serious trouble.”


    Tu Shan’s face twisted into a malicious grin and Vademon sucked in his cheeks as if he were biting a lemon. With thickly forged intent, the human boy’s mind shut out everything else. The game was all that existed. Winning it was all that mattered. Vademon could be heard gurgling in his throat as his territories rapidly started shrinking. Without distractions it was like facing some kind of finely oiled machine just built for mopping the floor with his strategies. As Tu Shan set his triumphant piece and declared, “I win,” the door of the room exploded open, smashed by Coronamon and Candlemon’s fireballs.

    “You ruffians!” Vademon was more irritated by the intrusion than his loss. “You scoundrels! You rowdy, filthy, misbehaving little animals! Why couldn’t you just be good and stand still so I could shoot you, instead of leaping about like demented grasshoppers?” Thora was the first to pounce, cat-like, at the wiry creature, grabbing him by the lapels of his jacket and shaking him violently.

    “You! Do! Not! Shoot! People!” she yelled. “You know what Shaken Baby Syndrome is? It’s a bit like what you’re feeling now!”

    “Whoa,” Russell gawked.

    “She is so hot when she’s mad,” Cassie murmured, earning a strange look from Jomo and Libby and instead opted to feign innocence. “Who said that? I’ll go outside and look.” Vademon let out a frankly feminine cry and slapped Thora’s hands away.

    “Get your revolting – if highly fashionable, I must find out who does your nails – mitts off of me!” he said, switching between anger to admiration then back again. Without another word he put two fingers to his lips, blew them a kiss and raised his hand as the wall was ripped apart from a barrage of comets. For the children and their partners, everything seemed to go into slow motion as this unexpected assault shrieked towards them. The Digimon shattered the comets with their respective special powers. Russell grabbed Libby by the wrist and pulled her aside just in time to avoid a shard of ice that would have split her in two. Jomo knocked Thora and Cassie back out through the front door in a jumble of limbs. Tu Shan, however, was still in his ultra-concentrated stage. Perhaps that’s why time had slowed to a crawl. His incredible brain was processing every nano-second, ever atomic moment. His spatial awareness felt sharper than ever, all that mattered was getting to Vademon, to wring his scrawny neck until he sang. He pinned the retreating Digimon to the floor, planting both knees against his shoulders as the continuum reasserted itself. The comet storm had passed, leaving large craters in the floor and walls and a bruised but otherwise unharmed group of pilgrims.

    “I’m usually not the violent type,” said Tu Shan, glaring into Vademon’s yellow eyes, “that’s usually left to my companions, but you’ve well and truly pushed my buttons…stop squirming!” Vademon ceased immediately, despite his advanced level and devastating energy-bending abilities, his body was physically weak and feeble, leaving him at the mercy of his aggressors.

    “All day,” Tu Shan continued, “you’ve made me play your twisted game and threatened the lives of my friends. Now either you honour or agreement and give us a boat free of charge, or I forget I’m supposed to be the good guy. Your choice.”

    “Easy, easy, boy,” Vademon whimpered, “I’ll keep to our agreement. You won, fair and square, and I’m really not all that nasty. It was all for the sake of my client.”

    “And who is that?” asked Cassie.

    “I can’t tell you that,” Vademon told him. “I’m not hiding anything, it’s just confidentiality and all. I am a businessmon after all. Look, I don’t have any boats that go directly to the capital, but there’s a good boat getting ready to sail to the shore of Modem in twenty minutes.” Tu Shan stood up and pulled Vademon to his feet, or rather, his tentacles. Still with one hand wrapped firmly around the proprietor’s tie, he dragged him out to the docks.

    “Which one?” he asked sternly.

    “Th-that one at the end,” said Vademon. “The Jolly Big, captained by a ‘mon of substance and quality, I assure you. I just need five or ten minutes to make all the arrangements, all right?”

    “Fine,” said Tu Shan as he released the tie. “Make it quick. I’m not playing around.”

    Needless to say, Vademon was more than happy to see those loathsome children and their partners disappearing over the horizon onboard the boat. As he entered his spare office at the opposite end of the docks, he found himself staring into a pulsating ball of luminescent light.

    “Bad show,” said the imp who was holding the magical sting. “With all that grey-matter, I really thought you’d fare better than that. Not only did you fail to stop the Digi-Destined, but you had the gall to provide them with a means of escape. That makes you a liability.”

    “Now, see here, Dracmon-” Vademon began to protest, but it was all for nought, before the sentence even finished forming, he was atomised.
    Last edited by Duellist Royal; 24th January 2010 at 01:11 PM.

    Golden Pen Awards 2009
    Most Original Fiction - Yu-Gi-Oh!: Queen of Games
    Best New Fiction - Pokémon: Empire of the Sun
    Best Newcomer to the Boards

  5. #5
    Beginning Trainer
    Beginning Trainer
    Duellist Royal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Shoeburyness, U.K.

    Default Re: Digimon: Six Corners

    Chapter 4: “Buccaneer Island”

    The Jolly Big, as its name indeed suggested, was certainly a considerable vessel. Its design was reminiscent of an 18TH century East Indiaman and flew green sails, which Cassie, having spent plenty of time swimming in the bay back home, had never seen before. Its wooden body was finely polished and its figurehead, a golden woman with wings and a symbolically crossed mask hiding her eyes and nose, was crafted to perfection. Its captain, a seasoned sailor by the name of Crocomon, was more than happy to carry the travellers to their destination, so long as they did not mend lending aid to the crew of course. He was not running a cruise liner, but anyone willing to pull their weight was welcome in his books. Most of the group were aboard, but Libby and Candlemon stood at the edge of the dock, not quite ready to go up the wobbly gangplank.

    “Excuse me,” a voice said behind them, though the smell of its owner reached them first. He was a repulsive thing who moved about on a round, legless bottom. In place of arms and hands were two wavy vines wrapped around the handle of a wooden crate. Atop his head was a crown of colourful leaves. He wore a sailor suit to signify his membership of the crew. Libby and Candlemon hopped aside, more to get some distance between themselves and his odour than anything, each taking a big gulp of clean oxygen once it had passed.

    “Looking a bit pale down there, Lee Van Cleef!” Russell called down from the deck. “Don’t tell me that after everything waiting for us in Modem, you’re scared of a little water!”

    “Keep laughin’ city-boy!” Libby shot back. “I ain’t scared!”

    “Come up here and tell me that!” Russell challenged, followed by a round of sniggering between himself and Mushroomon and a cacophonic rendition of, ‘Whale of a Tale.’ When a few of the sailors joined in, Libby released an indignant growl and stormed up the gangplank, her only focus being to pound Russell and Mushroomon into the wood. It was only when she realised her feet touched the deck and her targets were smiling in a smug, but almost proud fashion that she calmed down. “There,” he asked, “all better?”

    “Ooh, he’s good,” said Candlemon. Not quite sure what else to say, Libby just patted Russell on the shoulder and wandered off.

    “Yeah, I’m that brilliant,” Russell smirked.

    Across the way, a group of sailors were carrying crates down to the hold. Aiding them were Cassie, Ko-Kabuterimon, Tu Shan and Labramon, under the supervision of the captain. Crocomon was a firmly built if stocky creature of a reptilian appearance, clad in neat white trousers and a matching waistcoat lined with gold and open to expose his tough musculature. The epaulets on his shoulders displayed his rank to the world. Hanging about his neck was a gold fob-watch on a chain.

    “Be careful wi’ that cargo, lads!” he barked in a rough Irish accent. “Customers don’t buy battered fish unless it’s the kind made o’ flour an’ eggs!”

    “Hey, Lizard-Lips!” Cassie protested. “I’m a lady, not a lad!”

    “Well, you are kind of buff,” Ko-Kabuterimon noted.

    “Honestly I’d say you were more of a lad-ette,” said Tu Shan.

    “Is that even a word?” asked Labramon.

    “Must be,” said Tu Shan, “I just said it, right?”

    “Boys, no tact at all,” Cassie mumbled, tucking her chin against her chest.

    Thora was utterly transfixed on her own task at hand; that being to sew a tear in one of the sails as Gomamon looked on.

    “Wish I had delicate fingers like that,” said the seal cub, flexing her thick black claws for emphasis. “Uh…” Something thin and wiry tapped Thora’s shoulder, breaking her train of thought, accompanied by the olfactory equivalent of a dropkick in the face. Standing behind her was the sailor who had been blocked by Libby just minutes before, a rather revolting little wretch called Vegiemon.

    “Oh!” Thora held her breath despite being in mid-inhalation. “May I help you?”

    “Well, I was jus’…noticin’ ya and…” the Digimon steeled himself and held out a glistening seashell with a pearl embedded within it, “please take this token o’ my appreciation!” He shoved it into Thora’s hands and then ran away, or perhaps he slid away, it was not certain which. Thora stared at the shell, not quite sure what to think, then stowed it in her pocket. She had to admit it was pretty, but the one who gave it to her? No. Just, no. That was too awkward even for words, so she returned to her task.

    “Don’t worry, shipmate,” Gomamon heard one of Vegiemon’s friends tell him, “she’ll come ‘round.” She could not help but think, Good luck with that, which despite the truthfulness of it made her feel like a swine.

    Eventually, the ship was ready to cast off, and aside from Candlemon and Libby, everyone gathered to watch with excitement as the Jolly Big set off from the port. When they had sailed a short distance, Jomo noticed that there was smoke issuing from somewhere behind Vademon’s office building.

    “Do any of you guys see that?” he asked while pointing.

    “Maybe he got himself while fixing those death rays,” said Thora. It made her shiver to think how close she had come to being killed. If not for Gomamon, well, she did not want to consider what may have happened.

    “Perhaps,” said Tu Shan with a shake of his head, “since Vademon told me about the satellite’s stealth technology, there’s no way of knowing if it’s still up there, but I’ve got this feeling something else is going on.”

    “Well, that’s his problem,” said Coronamon a little more coldly than he intended. “We’re on the open sea now, let’s enjoy the cruise until we get to where we’re going.” Tu Shan stifled a groan. Why was it that nobody except him, including the natives, understood that this was a world rife with danger? There were no safe places, no way for them to just, ‘enjoy,’ their situation.

    “I’m gonna go lie down in my cabin,” he sighed, stroking Labramon’s head. “Coming, boy?” The canine Digimon nodded and followed his partner below decks. The moment Tu Shan’s head met the pillow he was asleep, even if the mattress was lumpy and the wooden floorboards creaked, any real bed was welcome. He had expected hammocks, like in old Treasure Island films. He dared not voice his surprise; the idea of him, who treasured his cultivated intellect, showing ignorance beyond the unavoidable was disgusting. He made allowances. After all, pretending he understood the Digital World would be an act of utter transparency, would it not? The last thing he felt before he drifted into oblivion was Labramon’s cold, wet nose as it brushed his fingers in an assuring manner.


    In the next cabin over, Russell sat toying with his Digivice. Mushroomon was staring out the porthole, watching the sun setting and the colourful sky of the Digital World giving way to a calm nocturnal blue, with three glowing moons high in the sky; azure, yellow and red. He blinked. He could have sworn something was out there, just barely visible between the waves. Russell noticed his furrowed brow.

    “You all right, Mush?” he asked.

    “Yeah, fab,” Mushroomon grumbled as he rubbed his obsidian marble eyes. “Eyes are playing tricks on me, probably saw a mirage.”

    “Mirages happen in the desert, not the sea,” said Russell. “Probably a fish.” He was not being dense on purpose. He just felt like arguing to let off some steam. If it was not one thing it was another in the Digital World. Mushroomon puffed out his cheeks and exhaled loudly.

    “Mirages happen at sea,” the little Digimon muttered in a weak sort of protest.

    “If they did they’d be searages,” Russell replied matter-of-factly. “Mirage. Searage. Get me?”

    “I think so,” said Mushroomon although he really did not. He knew he saw something. As he made to hop down off the bed, the whole ship jarred violently, sending Mushroomon and Russell tumbling against the wall with a heavy, ‘thud!’ Scrambling to their feet despite the throbbing in their heads, they reached the door of the cabin just in time to see Tu Shan, Labramon and several sailors race past. They could hear Crocomon on deck as well.

    He was barking orders to his men, “I need harpoons and cannons at the ready! All hands to dispel invaders or I’ll ‘ave yer guts for garters! Hop to it, lads! Now! Now! Now!”

    A scream.

    “Libby!” Russell recognised it and took off at a stumbling full-tilt pace, almost losing his balance three times. He and Mushroomon burst up onto the deck with a full view of the carnage. Every member of the crew was ready to fight as huge, scarlet tentacles wrapped themselves around the Jolly Big, threatening to rip it into splinters. Two of the tentacles were tipped with cruel black claws lined with teeth, one of which was chewing through the mast. To Russell’s horror, Libby was in the crow’s nest, clutching the rail with one hand and Candlemon under her arm.

    “Russell! Mushroomon!” they both heard Jomo cry out, and for good reason. A tentacle was sweeping its way along the deck straight towards them and the two jumped just in time to avoid getting smashed by it. At that moment the mast snapped like a twig and Libby and Candlemon fell out. Russell was not sure what struck him more – the sight of the girl falling to her demise, or her rear end when she landed hard on top of him.

    “Uh…thanks, slick,” the cowgirl breathed a sigh of relief. “You know you’re kinda comfortable.”

    “Ouch,” was the only response Russell could muster. Neither of them had time to blush awkwardly because they heard two more screams high above. Thora and Gomamon were both held tight in the coils of one of the tentacles.

    “Damsel in distress? Great. That’s another 500 years,” Libby groaned, getting off of Russell. “Hold on, Thora, we’ll get ya down!”

    “Remind me when it was you grew some wings,” said Russell.

    “She’s too high up to reach,” Mushroomon agreed.

    “Then we bring her down,” Libby retorted. “Right, Candlemon?” Her little partner was already ahead of her, puffing out his cheeks before spitting out a glob of hot paraffin wax. Mushroomon shrugged and conjured up his exploding toadstools, which lit the paraffin and caused the tentacle to start writhing. A loud roar erupted from the ocean, followed by a giant head. It was covered in a brown shell, with three long horns breaking out of the sides and bloodshot eyes peering through a crack in the front. Bits of seaweed and plundered jewellery were looped over the horns and a golden crown rested on top.

    “Surrender!” the monster bellowed, splashing seawater over its wound. “Before I squeeze these two into digi-dust!” To emphasise its point, it tightened its grip around Thora and Gomamon, eliciting more screams of pain.

    Crocomon looked torn between decisions, but all the same he had to put the safety of the crew and passengers first, so he responded thus, “All right, Octomon, you win. Just let the girl and her friend go.” The monster kept hold of Thora and Gomamon, but he slackened his grip on them and was content to just take hold of the Jolly Big.

    “You’ll throw down your weapons,” it commanded, “and return to your cabins.”


    Crocomon sat at the desk in his personal quarters while Tu Shan, Labramon, Cassie and Ko-Kabuterimon perched themselves on his bed (which Tu Shan noticed was a lot softer than the one afforded to him). The captain was habitually opening and closing his fob watch.

    “I always knew I’d run into ‘em someday,” the captain lamented, “but I expected somethin’ better, not sneaky underhanded tricks like that. There was a time when me ol’ nemesis had a sense of honour.”

    “You mean Octomon?” asked Cassie.

    “No, no, his master,” said Crocomon.

    “What are they going to do to us?”

    “Probably take us back t’ Buccaneer Island, then storm the ship. Ooh, my lovely ship…” he clenched his fists and snarled, his teeth jangling like coins in a money box, “when I get me claws on that blowhard sea-dog I’ll rip out his core an’ have it for lunch.”

    “If they don’t make examples of us first,” said Tu Shan dourly.

    “Our only chance is t’ fight ‘em off ‘til high-tide rolls in,” said Crocomon, “it’ll be long an’ arduous, I reckon, but I’d rather take a few o’ these bilge-rats wi’ me.” The ship rumbled again and there was the sound of scraping outside. “Looks like we’re here, maties. Let’s go.” He grabbed a cutlass from a wooden hook on the wall and performed a series of swift movements before expertly sheathing it. He burst into the hall shouting, “All hands t’ battle, lads!” The grand charge moved out onto the decks where the hoard of pirate invaders waited on the shore of their island.

    “There’s a lot of them,” Ko-Kabuterimon noted.

    “We’re supposed to fight all these?” Cassie asked with disbelief.

    “Octomon’s still got Thora and Gomamon,” said Labramon.

    “We need to focus on getting them down,” said Tu Shan. “Methinks Crocomon utterly failed to take them into account during all that blood-and-guts blustering.” As the two forces raced to their imminent clash, three great, green beasts flew up from somewhere behind the rock formation that took up the majority of the island. They released a loud sonic burst from their beaks, flattening everyone present. The sailors, pirates and travellers alike writhed on the ground, clutching their ringing ears in pain. Their brains rattled in their skulls. Their nerves went numb. Everything became a swirl of sickness and colour. All the while they heard a refined, rich voice speaking:

    “Cease your squawking, Parrotmon. Get up you shameful dogs, clap them in irons and take them to the cages…ex…”

    They faded like the end of a film. Go to credits. The last thing Cassie remembered was thinking, Did Crocomon take this into account too…?


    Hookmon contemplated the situation. His mutinous old partner, Crocomon, was finally in his clutches. Yet it felt like an empty victory. There was a time when he would gladly duel with his rival in hand-to-hook combat, but something in him had grown bored of that dream. Now he just wanted to get everything out of the way. Nice and simple. Maybe he was tired of living like this. Rob. Fight. Delete. Hoard. Enslave. Recruit. Six words that made up his entire existence, and it was all so…done. He stared around his quarters, deep within the caverns of Buccaneer Island. A lush carpet from a trading ship, mountains of gold coins and commodities surrounded him, from the rarest ancient statue to the latest model of gold-plated toaster. He was reclining in the middle of it all on a fabulous chaise longue. Even with all this wealth, he was unhappy, unsatisfied. What was missing in his life?

    “Bring in the humans,” he called. At least this would give him something to do. One-by-one, the six humans were marched in, clapped in chains along with their partners.

    “Throw the males in the cages,” he said immediately. With only the briefest protest they were moved along. He looked at what remained. The three females. He considered them all. What if this was what was missing? He ruled alone, without somebody to enjoy it with. Climbing off his seat and walking over to where his men held the girls, he inspected them one-by-one. The first was the one in the hat, with coppery hair pulled back in a crude braid and freckles dotting her cheeks. With his good hand, he squeezed her bicep and immediately recoiled.

    “By jingle!” he exclaimed. “She’s got muscles like a horse!” The girl was offended by that and growled at Hookmon, who gave a quick wave of his hook and the girl, along with her Candlemon, were escorted from the room. The next girl, the one with the Ko-Kabuterimon, was a more welcome sight. She was still far from feminine, but there was something graceful in her build.

    “You’re an exotic one,” he mused, running his hand through her hair. This made her shudder and her partner hunch himself for a fight. The moment the captain’s eyes fell on the third girl, however, he knew which one he wanted. She was tall, elegant, all the beauty of a queen of the sea. She was, in his good eye, perfect. “Get rid of this one too,” he said, and they were gone. He bowed before the last girl, who looked scared out of her wits, took her hand in his and kissed it.

    “You’re absolutely captivating,” he told her. She thanked him, he was unaware that what she really thought was closer to, Why do monsters keep hitting on me?

    “I’m sure you are reluctant to accept my request, given your ordeal,” said Hookmon, “but I humbly ask you to be my Pirate Queen. Yes, I am hardly Prince Charming, I know this, in fact it’s been said I’m closer to Prince Charmless, but take a good look around this room. You could have anything you want, and you strike me as a lady,” – he stopped himself from using the term, ‘wench,’ as his men preferred – “who knows what she wants. Am I correct?”

    “Well, you’re certainly not the ugliest Digimon to try and win my favour,” she said, her voice shaking (unaware that the Vegiemon being held outside had heard her and was looking very crestfallen).

    “Your expression tells me you are not so sure,” said Hookmon with surprising calm, “so I’ll give you time to think about it. The culminated treasure of a thousand ships, with a thousand more waiting to contribute, will be waiting for you. Mr Mate, take the lady…”

    “Thora,” she finished for him.

    “Thank you, take the Lady Thora and her Gomamon to one of the guest rooms.”

    “What about her friends?” asked the First Mate.

    “What else?” Hookmon shrugged. “Put them to work.”


    The cells, like everything else on Buccaneer Island, were naturally formed hollows in the rock formation, each sealed with traditional metal bars. The children and their partners all huddled together, hands raw and backs aching from working in the kitchens all day. Tu Shan, charged with labelling and filling spice jars, had only just recovered from a violent sneezing fit.

    “So,” he said after a while, “what’s the plan for getting out of this hell-hole.”

    “I’m thinking,” Cassie replied. “These manacles somehow restrict our partners’ powers, but the bars just seem to be ordinary metal, not like the ones Dex-Dorugamon used on us.”

    “Do you really have to bring that up?” asked Jomo.

    “That place was like the Edinburgh Vaults,” Russell croaked. They noticed that with those words he had started shaking all over. “Dex-Dorugamon…I was so scared…it was like…like all the worst ghosts the Vaults had to offer…all rolled…rolled into one…”

    “Russell?” Libby’s voice was soft. “Are you saying you believe in ghosts?”

    “What if I am?” he snapped. He lowered his head in shame at the bad memories. He felt Libby’s arm go around his shoulders. For once she was genuinely warm, comforting.

    “There’s nothin’ wrong with that,” she said. When Tu Shan snorted in disagreement she gave him the filthiest look he had ever seen and he wisely retreated.

    “I’m sorry,” Russell sniffed. “It’s this cell, it’s so dark and clammy and…”

    “Maybe it’ll make you feel better to talk about it,” said Candlemon, “instead of bottling it all up?”

    “Yeah, you’re among friends here,” Cassie agreed.

    “It’s not like we’re gonna laugh at you for it,” Mushroomon put in. “Go on, mate, tell us. If anything, it’s a lot better than sitting in silence, you know?” Russell did not respond for some time. He spent it trying to steel himself against it. There were times when he felt so weak and pathetic in comparison to the others. Even when he had freed his companions from their imprisonment in the necropolis, it had been under the influence of fear, more about wanting to escape himself whilst not wanting to be left on his own.

    “It was the blackest night of my life,” he mumbled, “we were in Edinburgh, visiting family…my stupid aunt insisted on taking us to tour the Vaults. The moment I was down in those tunnels, I felt something was wrong. The air was muggy, and apart from the tour guide’s lamp, everything was pitch black. It was cold too, like ice in your veins.”

    A pause.

    “We’d been down there about an hour, and I heard this voice, whispering right behind me, right in my ear, telling me to get out. Suddenly I was on my own, the rest of the tour had gone ahead of me, and it was so dark and cold…I froze, and…”

    “That’s enough,” Libby interrupted. “You’re okay now, kid, nobody’s going to hurt you now.” She felt a shiver run up her spine, and she could tell Jomo, Cassie and the others felt it as well, all except for one.

    “Ghosts don’t exist,” said Tu Shan sternly. “Never have. Never will.”

    “Is that right?!” Russell screeched, breaking free of Libby’s hold to wheel on the Chinese boy. “You think I’m lying?!” He lunged and pinned Tu Shan to the floor. “You want proof?!” he demanded. “Is that it?! Take a look at this you then, smart-arse!” He pulled up his shirt, revealing three long scratches going diagonally from his left shoulder to the right side of his stomach. He glared with nothing but hatred into Tu Shan’s terrified face, suddenly enjoying the domination. He knew the truth all this time. This lanky, self-righteous sack of scum thought he was so clever and right all the time. Even the tears running down his cheeks were hot, brimming with a sudden outburst of spite. Without realising what he was doing, he started bouncing Tu Shan’s head up and down off the floor.

    “Stop it!” Labramon barked, tackling Russell to the floor and then going to his stunned partner. “Tu Shan!”

    “Russell,” Mushroomon could not think of anything to say as he tried to comfort his sobbing friend.

    “Go away!” Russell curled up tightly in the corner of the cell. “Leave me alone! All of you! Just go away and die!”

    Nobody said anything after that. They had seen sides to both boys that they found scary. One was capable of such thoughtless callousness, and the other had a deep, burning rage fuelled by fear. It was too much and too soon. The only sound was the soft slip of Labramon licking Tu Shan’s cheek. Libby looked at each of the others in turn. Cassie was fiddling with her Digivice, but her expression gave away her own fright. Ko-Kabuterimon was standing by her protectively. Jomo had his head bowed and was stroking the fur on Coronamon’s head. Tu Shan was rubbing the back of his head but not raising his eyes as Labramon made sure he was all right. Mushroomon and Candlemon stood staring at Russell’s quivering shape. She sighed and made her way over to him to embrace him, to let him know he was safe with them, no matter what happened. He felt her breath on the back of his neck and eventually stopped shuddering, content to just sobbing softly until his tears dried up. Candlemon edged away and sat in the middle of the floor, putting all his strength into increasing his flame, hoping to warm the group while Mushroomon sat down with Russell and Libby.

    “I’ve got a connection,” said Cassie. “Thora, Thora can you hear me? It’s Cassie? Where are you?”

    “I’m not sure,” Thora’s voice beeped out of the wristwatch. “I think I’m some kind of guest room. I went looking for you guys but I couldn’t find you anywhere, what’s happened?”

    “We’re down in the dungeon,” Cassie said, “look, I’m not sure how much time we have, so do whatever you can to convince Hookmon to let us free. Just warm up to him a little, I know you can do it.”


    “I’ll do my best,” Thora sighed as the channel closed on the Digivice. She looked about the room and decided it was more appropriate for a harem than one lady. Gomamon was reclining on a pile of cushions and Thora stroked the seal cub’s line of fiery hair as she thought about what to do to help the others.

    “My sweet girl,” she heard Hookmon say as he entered the chamber, “I hope your lodgings are to your liking.”

    As much as she hated to think of it, now was the time to act. Truthfully, Thora was not a stupid girl. Perhaps a little air-headed, but nobody without intellect could create such beautiful designs as she had back in the Human World. She forced a little smile.

    “I love this place, Captain Hookmon,” she said and followed up with her best faked sadness, “but I’d enjoy it more if my friends were here to share it with me. If they were in some horrible, damp cage somewhere while I was living the life of luxury, I think the guilt would just kill me.”

    Hookmon scowled.

    “You’re not the first woman to sweet-talk me like this,” he said dryly, “so if you want them free, you have to agree to be my queen. If not, I won’t hesitate to take a finger from each one of them, and then you.”

    Thora gulped. She had provoked the captain’s ire, and from what little she knew of pirates, that was an extremely bad thing to do. She decided to change the subject.

    “I’m not your first love?” she asked. She was also a consummate actress when she wanted to be, and sounded authentically hurt. Gomamon caught on to this and put a paw on her friend’s lap.

    “Don’t cry,” she said softly, then to Hookmon. “Now look what you’ve done, you bully. You’ve hurt her feelings.” Hookmon groaned and wiped his brow with his good hand. He knelt down in front of the girl and removed his hat politely, revealing a perfectly bald scalp covered by criss-crossing scars.

    “My girl, you are my first human one, if that is any consolation,” he said softly, “and far more beautiful than any others who happened to tug at my core, far more than your friends too. Why let yourself be dragged down by such riff-raff? You’re destined for greater things.”

    “Yes, I can be silly at times,” she sighed, shifting into a submissive, bubble-brained persona that came perhaps a little too naturally, “and I’d surely be dead if not for the others. I’m not as sensible as Libby, or sincere as Cassie, smart as Tu Shan, resourceful as Russell or fearless as Jomo. I bet any of them could make the right decision, but me, I’m just so…so overwhelmed by your generosity!”

    Gomamon wanted to point out she was laying it on a bit thick but Hookmon seemed to be buying it.

    “And you’re certainly the most handsome Digimon to proposition me.”

    Not that he’s had much competition, Gomamon thought.

    “Bah! They’re just weights about your swan’s neck,” Hookmon replied, gently tracing the edge of his hook along the base of Thora’s throat, which quite honestly shivered her timbers. “My terms still stand. Be mine, or you’ll all get a taste of what happened to me.” He twirled the hook to emphasise his point.

    “Will you give me back my friends if I do?”

    “I promise that the moment we’re wed, they’ll all be released from bondage.”

    “You didn’t exactly answer my question-”

    “Smarter girls than you have tried to trick me,” Hookmon’s voice grew dangerous. “None of them left this room in one piece. You’ll remember whose island this, and you’ll give me your answer.” Thora broke out in a cold sweat as she felt the hook running along her chin, then her jaw, her cheek, across her nose and arcing up to her forehead.

    “I’ll do it,” she said, “but please, do the honourable thing…” She needed to seal this. “…My love.”

    “Wonderful,” Hookmon said quietly, smiling behind his oversized coat collar, “you’ve made me a very happy ‘mon.”


    There was a great hooting and hollering within the cave as the pirates celebrated their captain’s wedding. He stood on the shore, clad in his best black suit and a polished, ornately carved silver hook to go with it, and Thora as wearing an elegant white gown taken from one of the crew’s many successful campaigns. She held Gomamon in her arms and wrapped around her waist was a rope, the end of which was clasped in her groom’s good hand. The other humans, their partners and Crocomon’s men, still chained, sat in one row along the edge of the beach while the pirates swung wooden tankards of mead and sang riotously.

    Don’t try to run, it’s all said and done,
    There’s a treasure in sight, yo-ho-ha-ha!
    We are robbin’ ya blind, we hope you don’t mind,
    We’re takin’ it all tonight!
    Jus’ walk away, we will conquer it all,
    Pirates will stand an’ the losers will fall!

    Crocomon glared at Hookmon and the pirate captain sneered in response. He turned to look at the human’s leader, the girl with the goggles on her forehead, and said, “Remove their chains.”

    Thora breathed in relief.

    “Put them on a raft and let them drift.”


    Thora turned to look at him in dismay. “You can’t be serious!” she exclaimed.

    “As I said, they have been removed from bondage,” said the cruel sea-wolf, “but I never said I’d take them back to the mainland. Doing this much is a test of my kindness as it is. Now, my end of the bargain has been upheld.”

    A number of pirates circled around the children and grabbed at them, pulling at their hair and clothes as they forced towards a shoddy-looking wooden raft waiting on the shoreline.

    “Hookmon!” Crocomon growled. “Fight me, ya coward!” Hookmon responded with a wave of his hand and a particularly large pirate back-handed Crocomon to the sandy ground. Not one to take such abuse from lower creatures lying down, the reptilian sailor swung out his tail, knocking his assailant’s feet out from beneath him. The pirate yelped as he fell, and whether it was by luck or the will of a supreme deity, the cutlass on his belt sliced through Ko-Kabuterimon’s chains. Now free of his bindings, the blue beetle willed his scarf to lash out as two tendrils, slapping away the tightening circle of pirates. He worked quickly to slice and pull apart the chains restricting his friends, and soon Coronamon and Candlemon were spitting balls of fire into the crowd. Everything erupted into chaos.

    Hookmon, enraged, grabbed Thora by the wrist before she could escape, and pulled her closely to her.

    “This is just a minor setback,” he snarled, “I’m the captain and I say we’re married whether you and your friends like it or not.”

    “Let her go!” Gomamon yelled and bit down on the pirate’s hand. Hookmon howled and swung his hand towards the sea, sending Gomamon into the water with a, ‘splash!’ Thora tried to run to her partner but Hookmon was on her again in an instant, hook raised to punish her. Thora felt a lump in her throat, her eyes focussed on the glistening sharp point. Oh, God, she thought, oh, God, help me, he’s going to cut me! He’s going to scar me and make me like him! Someone help me! Hookmon’s blade came down, but Thora felt something heavy slam into her before the sharp instrument could pierce her skin.

    All the same, something warm and wet did hit her. She looked up from where she now lay on the sand, the salty waves licking her hair, and found herself staring into two chocolate-coloured eyes.

    “C…Cassie…” she whispered.

    “That’s my name, don’t wear it out,” the Greek girl smiled, “and other clichés.” She collapsed, her head on the other girl’s chest, and Thora gasped in horror at the long red cut on her back. Hookmon stood over them, breathing heavily at the sensation, as if it were a tongue, not just a lethal weapon on the end of his wrist. It was like he was tasting, savouring the red, red kroovy. The monster tilted his head back and released a long roar of satisfaction.

    Thora hugged Cassie tightly as tears rolled down her cheeks. They had come this far and she was already about to lose a friend. Ko-Kabuterimon had since stopped moving completely. Everything around him was blotted out. The fighting on all sides, the data-shed and confusion, all gone. The only thing that existed was Cassie’s body, and the pool of scarlet blooming over her like a flower of carnage. He lurched over and dropped to his knees, resting a hand on his human partner’s head. He was a ‘mon of very few words but right now he wanted to scream. He wanted to take her and make her better, wipe away the hurt, the blood, fix her, then he wanted something else. His compound eyes drifted to Hookmon.


    He wanted to rip him apart, make him suffer, make him squirm and squeak and beg for mercy. A whistling sound permeated the air and Ko-Kabuterimon felt himself become like light. A call echoed in his brain, something primal and courageous and challenging. Something strong. Something confident.

    “Ko-Kabuterimon, digivolve to…”

    All around the blue beetle, everyone stared in awe. Cassie looked up at him with her eyes half open and a smile on her face, not quite one of understanding but certainly of acknowledgement. This was good. Hookmon growled and raised his hook, a silver blunderbuss pistol materialised in his good hand. Ko-Kabuterimon’s particles, broken down to a swirl of colour shielding a glowing silver Digi-Core, flew this and that as they rearranged themselves into something else, drawing mass and energy from the very atmosphere around it. The new beast was of great height and musculature, with four hands each with three vicious digits and two hefty mandibles that snapped in front of slathering fangs.


    “What?” Russell gawked. “What just happened?”

    “He digivolved,” said Mushroomon, equally astounded, “he’s reached the Champion level. Hookmon’s really got a fight on his hands now.”

    “We need to get to Cassie now,” said Libby, “she’s bleeding badly!” The children raced to their fallen companion and the sailors and pirates continued to clash. Crocomon wanted to face his mortal foe one more time, but he had greater concerns. In a bid to keep their captives from escaping whether they won or not, Octomon was preparing to wrench the Jolly Big in half, which was far more important.

    “Leave me ship alone ya big sushi-brained bilge-rat!” the sea captain cried. With an amazing spring, he propelled himself into the air and clasped both hands together above his head, bringing them down with heavy force on Octomon’s shell-covered cranium. Octomon toppled back into the sea and the wave he kicked up washed the half-dazed Gomamon up onto the shore where Thora still held Cassie. Jomo had since taken off his vest and it was being wrapped around the fallen girl to stop her losing any more precious blood. The scent of what was already spilt still lay heavy in the air, driving Kuwagamon mad for battle. It was no longer about avenging Cassie, it was about killing Hookmon.

    The captain pulled the trigger on his blunderbuss, launching a spinning ball of iron, but the flight-worthy Kuwagamon dodged with ease. Reaching out two arms, he lifted Hookmon by the waist and swerved up into the air, wings beating at such a rate that they were invisible. The captain swung at his assailant’s crimson carapace, though his hook barely scratched the surface, for the most part bouncing off harmlessly, though his blunderbuss proved somewhat more effective, eliciting cries of pain and rage from the great insectoid. They pulled at one another with nothing but venom in their cores, spiralling around and around in the air. No threats. Just bloodlust. Higher, higher, and higher they went. The sailors and the pirates and the children and their partners could not even see it as Kuwagamon drove his mandibles deep into Hookmon’s chest and flung him towards the ocean, where the pirate exploded into a multitude of particles, the ghost of his last curse still in the air.


    Under the command of Crocomon, the pirates made a quick job of repairing the Jolly Big. A small few, no longer under Hookmon’s thrall and finding themselves without direction, joined the reptilian trader as lowly swabs, while those who were of a less agreeable position were dealt with by a quick summons to the nearest outpost of the Deep Savers, the Digital World’s peacekeepers of the ocean. As the boat continued on its route to the kingdom ahead, the travellers rested together in one of the cabins. Cassie’s wounds had been cleaned and dressed, and while she was weak she was at least awake. Ko-Kabuterimon, also in a state of recovery from his incredible display, had his head on her lap and she was stroking it gently.

    “You did great today, Ko,” Cassie spoke quietly.

    “Thora got us out of the cages,” the blue beetle mumbled.

    “Oh, it was nothing,” the tall girl tittered, “just doing my bit, you know. Oh!” A sudden realisation hit her and she reached into her pocket, retrieving the seashell Vegiemon had given her before. “I should return this to him.”

    “You sure about that?” asked Gomamon. Thora considered it, then shrugged.

    “Maybe I will keep it,” she mused, “after all, he was just being sincere.”

    “You can tell him that to his face,” said Gomamon, pinching the spot on her face where her nose probably was, “I can smell him coming now.”

    Golden Pen Awards 2009
    Most Original Fiction - Yu-Gi-Oh!: Queen of Games
    Best New Fiction - Pokémon: Empire of the Sun
    Best Newcomer to the Boards

  6. #6
    Beginning Trainer
    Beginning Trainer
    Duellist Royal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Shoeburyness, U.K.

    Default Re: Digimon: Six Corners

    Chapter 5: “Battle of the Bathhouse”

    The moment the gangplank of the Jolly Big met the cobbled edge of the waterfront, Libby and Candlemon raced down, happy to be on land, and woe betide anyone who told them they had made port in the wrong place, even as a joke. Cassie, who was still weak from blood loss but looking better than she had, was being supported by Ko-Kabuterimon. The beetle was well and truly recovered from the exhaustion caused by his first, ‘digivolution,’ as they called it and gladly aided his human partner until her strength returned. The twelve travellers looked upon their new surroundings with wonder. This was Realm’s End, a shipping port like Flashport, only the architecture was more recent and refined. Off to the right, Thora watched as Gomamon played in the water of a nearby fountain, while to the left, Jomo and Tu Shan were muttering to each other. It seemed that during the otherwise uneventful trip they had both experienced the same displacement as Russell and Cassie but were still sceptical as to why.

    “First thing’s first,” Labramon piped up, “we should probably find a hotel to stay in while we’re here.”

    “Mm, yeah, it’d be nice to sleep on a real bed,” Libby agreed, stretching out until the vertebrae in her spine popped. “I reckon Thora’s the only one just slightly comfortable on our last adventure.”

    “If you call almost getting married to Blackbeard’s bigger, meaner brother comfortable,” replied Thora, “if it weren’t for Kuwagamon…”

    “It’s over now, Thora,” said Gomamon, putting her paw on her partner’s hand.

    “Am I the only one who feels a touch guilty about the things we’ve done?” Thora asked, shifting the subject. “I mean…killing evil Digimon and all.”

    “Oh, don’t you worry about that,” said Coronamon with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I kinda thought you guys knew, Digimon can’t die. Hookmon and Dex-Dorugamon’s data will just get reconfigured and purified, so you can think of it more as doing a service.”

    “The more we learn about this world, the more wonderful it seems,” Libby sighed quietly, bending down to pick up Candlemon in her arms. Tu Shan, however, was not so thrilled. He disliked the idea of being ignorant, but whereas his travelling companions embraced the abnormal nature that surrounded them, he was growing more fearful and more unnerved. It was like his sense of logic was being intentionally challenged. More than once he had looked at Labramon and pondered, What are you?

    Talking animals, hideous mutants, even homicidal aliens! What else was this contradictory place going to throw at him?

    “Why are you staring into the abyss like some kind of gimboid?” Mushroomon’s voice broke his train of thought. “The others are like, miles away already.” Tu Shan looked up as Mushroomon trotted off to catch up with Russell and the others, who had indeed set off without him and Labramon. He glimpsed Cassie waving to him encouragingly, stuffed his hands in the pockets of his trousers and followed with his head hanging slightly. Labramon looked up at him in concern. Since their arrival in the Digital World, he had noticed his partner’s strange behaviour, the way his glassy eyes darted around as if he were scared, how he refrained from touching most things. It was all very upsetting.


    The most amazing thing about the hotel to which they were directed, was not that it held the appearance of a traditional Japanese mansion, all white and bronzed wood and decorated in beautiful reds and golds, nor was it the beautiful staff of Digimon calling themselves, ‘Geishamon,’ and it was not even the delicious range of perfume-like scents pouring through the doors. It was when the staff refused any sort of payment whatsoever, even the Digi-Dollars given to them by Crocomon and trinkets from Hookmon’s treasure trove were turned down. The manager of the hotel was a tall, shapely creature called Harpymon. She had long wings in place of arms, which were composed like the long sleeves of her employees, with three opposable white digits on the ends, and sapphire blue eyes that peered out from beneath her silver headdress. With a gesture, she beckoned the Geishamon to whisk the travellers inside, and it was not long before the six humans and six Digimon were seated around a low, polished table and wearing silken kimonos – pale blue for the men, Venetian red for the women – whilst hot food and warm sake and tea were served to them. In short, they were spoilt rotten.

    According to Harpymon, human beings were such a rarity, and it had been so long since one was seen, they were considered a sign of good luck (none of them argued despite what they knew, they would be risking the luxuries afforded to them), and on a personal note she added, “You’re all simply precious.”


    When evening fell, Gomamon decided to take it upon herself to go on a stroll around the halls of the hotel. She soon passed by Harpymon’s office, where she heard low voices. Now, Gomamon knew it was wrong to eavesdrop on other peoples’ conversations, but there was something in the sternness of it that compelled her, and she pressed one ribbon-like ear to the door.

    “…Just arrived,” said a voice she recognised as Harpymon, “three, very sublime. I’ve given them more than my usual treatment. They’re very rare, after all. Why are you so interested?”

    “I’m covering my gambits,” replied a second voice with a sultry, exotic accent. “I’ll pay you whatever you want, just have them ready at the usual time and place…you know the master doesn’t like delays, Harpymon.”

    “I understand,” Harpymon’s voice faltered for a second at the subtle threat. “The human females are as good as yours.” Warning signs went off in Gomamon’s head. She had to warn Thora and the others! As she spun about on her stomach to slide off back to her partner, however, she found herself caught in the arms of two awaiting Geishamon, their plain, doll-like smiles suddenly threatening and rimmed with knife-sharp teeth. As if answering a mental call, Harpymon emerged from her office with a fierce scowl on her features because someone had interrupted her oh-so-important meeting.

    “Dispose of her,” she commanded. “We’ll make our excuses and keep her friends from suspecting.” With a synchronised nod, the two Geishamon drifted down the hallway with their struggling quarry. Harpymon turned her attention in the opposite direction with a sinister smirk on her face. She had just two hours to ensure those girls were good and docile.


    The recreational room was circular, with one wall taken up by cushioned seats layered like the benches in a Roman coliseum, with smooth wooden tables interspersed between them. The six children and the remaining five Digimon reclined, each dressed in a pale blue yukata and with their skin and hair cleaned and groomed to the point of absolute purification. Thora had inquired towards Gomamon’s location and the explanation given was that she had retired early for the night. She wanted to believe there was more to it than that for there was a niggling suspicion at the back of her mind, but in the extreme state of repose induced by the day’s pampering she was not in a position or mind to argue. If she so much as tried to stand up to go searching, the Geishamon would push her back into place and serve more of their wine and food, sauced in relaxants, so by the time they were all helped to their rooms, Thora felt like her body had become a boneless bag of rubber. The girls were taken somewhere deeper within the building while the boys and male Digimon were escorted to the waiting bedrooms.

    “Where…where’re we goin’?” Libby slurred.

    “Oh, the mistress has arranged some entertainment just for you three,” a Geishamon explained. “I’m sure you will enjoy it. It’s a house specialty.” They were spirited off to yet another room in the hotel, this one built and decorated in the style of a traditional Japanese theatre. Cassie was starting to wonder if somehow the hotel was bigger on the inside because of the sheer size of its chambers, as well as noting the somewhat disorganised, labyrinthine hallways leading to them. If not for the Geishamon, they would have easily become lost, and was that not what made them utterly helpless to the approaching danger? The girls were sat down at the very front of the theatre, directly in front of the stage. Somewhere taiko drums started playing and the curtain over the wooden stage rose up. There was a painted backdrop of a flourishing feudal-era Japanese garden with a palace in the background and a red gate laced with silver bells to one side. Kneeling down in the middle of the stage was a fragrant smelling Digimon built of thorny vines and pink petals. She wore a yellow and red outfit and her face was like a decorative porcelain mask. Cassie, Thora and Libby all leaned forward in their seats to see what she would do.

    The Digimon – Kabukimon was her name – straightened up slowly, her petals and clothes rustling gently, and as the drums picked up again, she started to dance. Slowly at first, then quicker, gathering in intensity while maintaining a fluid motion that seemed to leave quivering after-images - shadows in the air around her - and though it was not logically possible as many things were in the Digital World, the shadows went about their own dances to compliment the original, until the stage was filled with swirling, spinning, dancing Kabukimon. The act grew more enchanting and the girls grew more tired, caught in the hex of the dance until blackness shrouded them.


    Harpymon smiled with grim satisfaction as the girls were laid out lengthways along the floor of her office. She perched, appropriately bird-like, on her low wooden desk as her two buyers watched with interest. The dominant one brought to mind an Arabian harem girl with her scarlet and leopard-spotted [ibedlah outfit, collections of gold bangles and jewellery, and dark red hair worn in a low, braided ponytail accompanied by the golden tiara adorning her forehead. What warped this image were her great, emerald eyes with slit-thin pupils, magenta claws, large pointed ears emerging from amidst the sea of her locks and two long tails. Her fine, soft fur was the colour of fine chocolate and her perfume was like intoxicating spices. Seated on her shoulder was her accomplice, a diminutive demon of light azure hue, with two eyes in his palms as well as those in the black, helmet-like roof of his head which bore the texture of tattoos.

    “If you can wait until the morning, Persiamon,” said Harpymon, “I can have them prettied up.”

    “I’m afraid I’m on a tight schedule,” replied the cat-woman. “Are the males disposed of?”

    “Drugged up past the eyeballs,” Harpymon assured her, then she quickly added, “ah, there was one other thing. The Gomamon who was with them proved to be a potential threat to our operation.”

    “Bring her too,” Persiamon ordered calmly with a dismissive wave of her long-fingered hand. “I’ve been waiting for a new plaything.” She extended her claws to their full and deadly length for emphasis, running her rough cat’s tongue along the edge of the middle one. Harpymon gulped nervously as her dominatrix brushed those terrible blades across her cheek, momentarily tingling against her lips. Persiamon grinned behind her veil. Oh, how she loved to watch them squirm. Harpymon regained her composure and clapped her pseudo-hands once. On cue, a Geishamon entered with the bound and gagged seal cub in her arms. Gomamon’s thrashing grew more frantic when she saw Thora – her Thora! – at the mercy at these fiends. The gag over her mouth slipped and she took the opportunity to bite the Geishamon’s delicate hand. Gomamon impacted on the wooden floor with an audible, ‘thump!’ but in her bound state she could not get away in time before Persiamon picked her up, holding her mere inches apart from the veil.

    “Feisty little brat, aren’t you?” the cat-woman purred. “We’ll soon beat that wilfulness out of you.” She turned her gaze on Harpymon. “Take the human girls outside and load them onto my sajjāda. We’ll leave under cover of darkness.”

    Harpymon’s servants did as they were bid and carried the three young girls outside to the expansive back garden behind the bathhouse. Hovering less than half an inch off the pin-prick tips of the grass was a green carpet with gold weaving, its surface rippling like water. One-by-one Libby, Cassie and Thora were placed upon it and the carpet held their weight as if they were nothing. Just as Persiamon was about to take her sight on the carpet, Gomamon managed to squirm free, slapping the cat-woman with the end of her tail, eliciting an outraged screech. The little Digimon gathered up all her willpower as two Geishamon lunged for her, calling on the elemental energy that existed deep inside her core. The ancient dwellers of the deep answered her silent calls and with a thunderous sound like an explosion, a column of water burst through the bathhouse wall and ploughed the assailants into the soil. Struggling against the exhaustive mental effort, Gomamon formed a ball of water from what splashed over the ground and dropped it over Thora’s face. The Nordic girl awoke in a fit of spluttering and coughing but before Gomamon could explain what was going on, Harpymon swooped in, grabbed her up in the talons of her feet and took off into the air.

    “Smash her into the ground!” Persiamon ordered, and then to the Geishamon, “restrain the girl!” Thora tried to leap from the carpet but was soon buried beneath an ocean of kimonos and rich perfume. She screamed for her partner and Persiamon and Dracmon, who had appeared from the shadows, watched with wide-eyed amazement as the screen of the Digivice on her wrist surged with power; power that coiled its way around Gomamon and pulled her apart, atom-by-atom, and reassembled her in less than a second.

    “Gomamon, digivolve to…”

    A perfectly straight column of water erupted through the roof of the bathhouse to catch the shape-shifting Digimon, lending mass to her as well as stopping her descent. From the storm of particles grew two slender arms, two elegant feet and a round head encircled by a helmet shaped like a curling tidal wave.


    Persiamon hissed like the felines she resembled as the awkward little pinniped was replaced by a beautiful, green-skinned girl in lightweight blue armour. She screeched up at Harpymon, “The deal is off!” and hopped on her carpet, which had also dropped the rest of its load in the chaos.

    “And I’ve got an optician’s appointment!” Dracmon chimed in, clutching the tassels of the magical rug as it soared away into the night. This ending of their business association was enough to drive Harpymon into a frenzy and she clamped her talons around Ranamon’s petite waist, carrying her higher and higher and higher still, until their silhouettes blotted out the face of the closest moon.

    “I’ll smash you to fractals,” the bird-woman hissed, squeezing Ranamon until she squeaked in pain. The green-skinned girl forced herself to focus on her right arm and in response to her will, water swirled up from below and took a solid form – a short, sharp blade – around her hand and wrist. With this weapon she slashed Harpymon across the stomach, forcing the bird-woman to let her go, but she was able to grab hold of her by the neck with her free hand and swing around onto her back. Ranamon wrapped her arm around her opponent’s wing to restrict its movement while pressing the edge of the water-dagger against her neck. Harpymon squawked as they spiralled out of control towards the ground.

    “Mercy preserve us!” she screamed, trying fruitlessly to shake off Ranamon.

    “Only if you let my friends go!” Ranamon ordered. “Your days as a slaver are over, you feathered witch!”

    “You can’t let us keep falling like this,” Harpymon protested. “If you don’t jump to safety we’ll both die!”

    “Are you really willing to call me on that?” Ranamon sneered. They continued to fall until they reached an altitude where Harpymon would never be able to regain control before splattering gore and feathers in every direction. She promised to free the children, and with a satisfied if snide smile on her pretty face, Ranamon conjured up another serpent of water to carry them to safety. Once they were back on the ground, Ranamon pressed her bare foot down on Harpymon’s neck to pin her in place before turning her attention to the Geishamon.

    “Hear this!” she declared. “You’re going to undo what you did to my friends and then turn yourselves over to the authorities. If you behave yourselves, they might be lenient.”

    The Geishamon looked at each other nervously, but bowed their humbled heads when their leader gave them what sufficed as a nod. Once they had backed away enough, Thora ran over to her partner and hugged her tightly, tears flowing down her cheeks.

    “Goma- I mean, Ranamon, I’m sorry!” she wailed. “I’ll never let you out of my sight like that ever again!”

    “It’s all right, Thora,” the green girl replied, patting her human on the back. “You weren’t to know. Now, let’s bring the girls around and go find the boys, eh?”


    The sun beat down on twelve backs the next day as the travellers picked up their journey. The gates of Realm’s End were gradually shrinking into the distance behind them and the sounds of civilisation slowly but surely fading to nothingness, replaced by the occasional dull chirp of a wild creature. Up ahead of the rest, Thora held Gomamon in her arms and was nattering away about accessorising, much to her partner’s bogglement. The three boys and their own partners were dragging along mournfully.

    “Good food,” Russell and Mushroomon whined.

    “Warm beds,” Jomo and Coronamon groaned.

    “And we could have stayed as long as wanted,” Tu Shan and Labramon griped.

    “Fat chance!” all six of them chorused.

    “Aw, buck up, ya cry-babies,” Libby scoffed meanly at them. “I don’t know if ya’ll noticed at all, bein’ dopier than normal, but that place was run by a buncha bush-whackin’ criminals.”

    “If it weren’t for Thora and Gomamon, we’d all be slaves right now,” said Cassie, casting her usual soft, dark smile at their tall companion, who was miles away in her own little world.

    “Good thing too,” said Libby, “I’m too pretty for slave-work.”

    “Don’t flatter yourself, She-Ra,” Russell sneered. The cowgirl dutifully swatted him with her hat.


    Persiamon raked her long claws down the wall of her chamber, hidden away deep the winding guts of her Dark Lord’s hidden prepotency. How dare they? How dare those wretched aliens of the Human World interfere with her plans; except they were not just humans, they are Digi-Destined. Oh! How that word burned in her core and made her hiss and twitch! A perfectly profitable slave-trading business had been destroyed in the span of a single night! The interloping beasts and their mutant-freak Digimon guardians would have to be disposed of accordingly or everything else would come crumbling down; their secret work in the Kingdom of Modem, and that infernal abomination of a machine being built in the far-off Mount Ethernet.

    The only comforting thought was that if they wished to continue onward to the capital as she suspected, they would first have to pass through the Valley of Nightmares, and that was to be an ordeal they would not soon forget…

    Golden Pen Awards 2009
    Most Original Fiction - Yu-Gi-Oh!: Queen of Games
    Best New Fiction - Pokémon: Empire of the Sun
    Best Newcomer to the Boards

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts