Episode 21: Shell Shocked

“We were in the Digital World for about five days, but we were only gone for four hours?” Trask enquired.

“How is that possible?” Duke asked.

Matt and Takeshi were astounded by the new Digimon; the blue penguin Tulamon, the purple griffin Griffmon, and the impish Vedamon. After introductions, and a quick order-in of Chinese food, Phoebe and Trask relayed to Matt and Takeshi the adventures they had in the Digital World; the vast amount of Digimon in different shapes and sizes. They were amazed to hear that Digimon had developed towns and villages and even different cultures.

“We never planned for any of that.” Matt said. “The Digimon really have evolved and taken on lives of their own.” He stood up and paced the floor, marveling at the thought. “They’ve developed their own civilizations, their own cultures and societies. It’s incredible!”

Whilst Matt carried on to himself, Takeshi spoke, “Getting back to the issue about time, seems like time passes differently in the Digital World. If one hour here is a day there, well, that is quite the difference actually…”

“Did I forget to mention that we ran into Lilithmon?” Max said. Matt immediately stopped and faced him. “What? You…You saw her? For real?” Max nodded.
“She transported Max and Maya to the other side of the Digital World.” Phoebe said.
“She said that she had orders from some Kronosmon saying that she can’t destroy us just yet.” Trask continued. Takeshi felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise.
“She’s been sending her lackeys to test our strength.” Duke said.
“Kronosmon?” Matt sat back down on the sofa.
“He must be the head honcho of the Shadow Lords, right?” Phoebe asked.
“It would seem so. But what of the other Shadow Lords?”
“Haven’t bumped into them.”
“..Yet” Trask added. “Ophanimon told us that the Shadow Lords wish to travel to our world and take it over. But to do that they’ll need the Origins.”

“They’ve been sending their minions to make your Digimon grow stronger. The Shadow Lords are essentially helping your Digimon evolve to Mega in order to get the Origins.” Matt put a hand on his chin.
“And yet we need the Origins to defeat them…” Viola said.

Maya had noticed Alex standing with his back leaning against the far wall, his arms crossed. He hadn’t said a word since they had returned. Vulpemon sat on the carpet with the other rookies as they listened in on the conversation. Maya had thought of walking over to him, but instead turned away and decided to add to the talk, “Rockymon’s only a step away from reaching Mega level.”

“He evolved to Ultimate?” Takeshi asked with intrigue.
“He was awesome.” Max said. “A huge, black lion with wings and an invisible tail.”
“Fascinating!” Takeshi looked down at Rockymon, who pushed his chest out in a proud, boasting manner.

“Yes, yes, it’s all great and that.” Selina stood up. She spoke with a distinctive Russian accent, “Anyone else forgot that not all of us were transported to the Digital World from this country?”
“Yea, how are we supposed to explain this back home?” Yasmin said.
Maya and Phoebe exchanged looks. “Yea I see how that’s a problem…” Phoebe said.
“My kids’ parents must be infuriated…” Yasmin lowered her head in shame.
“Hey, I bet Griffmon can fly you back to Egypt with no problem!” Phoebe said after a silent moment.

Just then there was a beeping sound from Yasmin, Selena and Davis’ D-Arks. Selena raised hers to find a view of the library she was in when she was transported to the Digital World. Yasmin’s D-Ark showed her kindergarten class. It was already nightfall in Cairo and Moscow. Davis’ device showed his unkempt apartment in downtown Aurora, Colorado, which was three states away. “Er…Is it gonna transport us home?” he asked.
“Wait, can we actually transport not only to the Digital World but also anywhere on the planet?” Trask held his device up and examined it.
“If they can, I should have gotten myself one of these years ago!” Duke held his D-Ark up proudly.
“Guess there’s only one way to find out if it works.” Matt said.

Selena, Yasmin and Davis simultaneously pressed the center button that served as the ‘Enter’ key. All at once their devices began to emit light in their corresponding colors. Ophanimon’s familiar voice was heard then, “Digital Transportation Activated!”

“Well guys, keep in touch.” Max and the others stood up and bid the three farewell for the moment. The three Digimon waved as they and their tamers were engulfed in blue, purple and orange light before disappearing.

“My, wasn’t that convenient?” Max said sarcastically. “Guys, it’s been a blast. But I gotta head back to the hotel before my band thinks about abandoning me.” Max stretched his arms.
“It’s not even that late and yet I’m starting to feel real drained.” Phoebe yawned.

“So what happens now?” Duke asked.
“Now that we know the Shadow Lords won’t kill us, not just yet anyway, I guess we carry on with our everyday lives.” Trask shrugged his shoulders.
“I guess so.” Viola folded her arms and walked towards the front door. After saying their goodbyes the other tamers and Matt and Takeshi left Viola’s apartment and headed their separate ways. Maya, holding Rockymon in her arms, ran up behind Alex as he strode down the darkening street, “Alex, wait up!”
Not turning around, Alex slowed to a stop. Vulpemon, who was keeping pace from the rooftops, stopped as well. As he heard Maya approach him Alex finally turned around. “Alright, what is it?” Maya demanded.
“What?”
“Spill it! You haven’t said one word since Max and I rejoined the group in the Digital World. Alex said nothing. The hood of his jacket was over his head, concealing his face from the light of the streetlamps. “Well?” Maya began tapping her foot with impatience.

Alex turned to one side and said finally, “I was really worried about you, alright? For a long while we all thought the worst had happened when you had disappeared.” Alex gave a slight chuckle as he looked down and continued, “But what could be worse than being stuck alone with him.”
Maya looked at him. She was surprised at Alex’s insulting tone. She’d never known him to speak that way. She also noticed that he didn’t look her in the eye as he did.
After a long moment Alex gave a sigh, “I’m glad you’re alright…” He lifted his head. “I’ve gotta go.” And with that he continued down the road.

Maya watched him walk and round the corner at the end of the street. “What’s gotten into him?” Rockymon shrugged his shoulders.

—————————

“I’m telling you, Phoebs, something’s not right. He didn’t seem like himself. What could’ve happened while Max and I were missing?” Maya, concerned about Alex’s odd behaviour, confided in Phoebe the next morning at the deli. Phoebe was relieved that all the time they had spent in the Digital World was a mere few hours in reality. She was grateful to still have her job.
“I don’t know, Maya. He was really worried about you. He led us all in a search party. He seemed pretty hell-bent on finding you.”
Maya had told Phoebe about her past relationship with Max and the confrontation with him in the Digital World. Phoebe understood now the tension between the two of them in the beginning, as well as the unrelenting tension that developed between Max and Alex.

Phoebe sat two fresh mochaccino’s down on a table and the two girls sat down. “Do you think I should tell Alex about the whole thing with Max?” Maya stared at the beverage in her hands as she leaned her elbows on the table. “I mean, I don’t want there to be any more tension in the group. It could be distracting for all of us.”
Phoebe leaned in, “You like him, don’t you?”
Maya looked at her. “I know you Maya. You’ve been avoiding getting into a relationship because you’re scared the guy will leave you high and dry just like Max did. It makes sense now why you pretended not to be interested in Alex.”

Maya gazed at her mochaccino once more, admitting to herself that everything Phoebe was saying was true. Now, at least she had some closure to the whole Max thing. She could finally close that door, she had to now that Max was and would always be a tamer like her and that they’d always have to be in contact. Phoebe let Maya gather her thoughts for a few moments before placing a hand on Maya’s, “Maya, Alex is a great guy. We all know it. Hell, if I thought you weren’t interested I’d jump right on that.”
Maya smiled slightly.
“He really likes you, that much is obvious. And I mean really obvious.”

“I do care about him. I…I…” Maya stumbled with her thoughts. Eventually she took a deep breath and sighed, “I kept on pretending not to be interested because he’s such a nice guy, who seems too good to be true.”
“I know, right?” Phoebe leaned on her elbows and looked down at her own beverage.

The two girls sat for the longest moment in silence before Maya began again, “I’m just really worried. This sudden change in Alex’s behavior it’s disconcerting-“ Maya’s eyes widened a bit as she looked at Phoebe with a worried expression, “What if it’s too late? What if…”
“What if?” Phoebe took Maya’s other hand in hers, “Maya, life is full of ‘What if’s. You don’t stop living because of it. You deny yourself that little bit of a chance at happiness if you keep thinking ‘What if’; ‘What if this and this happens?’ or ‘What if someone does this’”. You can’t think like that. You can’t be afraid. Or you’ll end up regretting it. Forever. Whatever is happening with Alex, we’ll hopefully find out real soon.”

Maya looked at her, a tear sliding down her cheek. She sniffed, “You’re right, Phoebe.”
The pink haired girl smiled, “Of course I am.” The two tamers stood up. Maya hugged Phoebe tightly, “Thanks, Phoebs.”

—————————

“Alex, please. Something’s wrong, I know it. Please tell me.” Vulpemon pleaded as she watched Alex swing blows on the punching bag back at the dojo. In all the times Vulpemon watched him he was never this quiet, this distracted. It was as if his mind was somewhere else.
Since Lilithmon had showed up and made Max and Maya disappear, something in Alex changed somehow. Whatever the case, since then Vulpemon had felt her energy weaken. A Digimon is only as powerful as it’s tamer’s will, and Vulpemon could feel a change in Alex that was somehow disconnecting him from her and everyone else.

When she couldn’t get a word out of him Vulpemon made her way out onto the curved Chinese-style roof of the dojo. She sighed to herself, thinking about how in tune she used to be with Alex’s thoughts and emotions. Something wasn’t right, and she was beating herself up for not knowing what it was. Then suddenly she picked up a scent. She stood up and gazed at the darkening street below. There were a few street walkers, nothing out of the ordinary; a few teenagers skating down one side of the road whilst a woman wearing a trench coat strode down the sidewalk in front of the dojo. Vulpemon was alert, but the scent had quickly faded. After a few moments she relaxed herself and decided to head back down into the dojo.

Alex had packed up his gear and made his way to the front gate. Vulpemon followed him silently from rooftop to rooftop as he walked back to his apartment.

—————————

“There’s no religion that can save me, No matter how long my knees are on the floor.

So keep in mind all the sacrifices I’m making, To keep you by my side and keep you from walking out the door…”

Maya slowly stirred under the covers as she was awakened by the clock radio the next morning. The radio automatically switched on to her favorite station. She stretched her arm out from under the sheets and reached for the radio on the end table. Her fingers searched in frustration for the snooze button as the chorus to Bruno Mars’ ‘It Will Rain’ seemed to echo through Maya’s bedroom. She showed distaste for most things that were even remotely associated with a particular supernatural movie franchise.

After managing to hit the button a relieved Maya enjoyed the peace and quiet once more as she began to slowly drift off again. The moment was short lived as beeping sounds were heard from outside. It got louder and louder, followed by the sounds of diesel trucks pulling up outside the apartment building. Then what sounded like a few men shouting over the crescendo of machinery, once such sound Maya recognized as a jackhammer. She groaned in agitation as her peaceful morning was now ruined. Slipping the sheets off, she sat up and stretched her arms before wearily standing up. Rockymon laid on his back on the edge of the bed. He looked at the ceiling with droopy eyes as the noises prevented him from falling asleep again.

A faint aroma entered Maya’s room. As soon as it had passed Rockymon’s nose his eyes widened and he instantly sat up erect and licked his lips. Maya slipped on a light robe and made her way out of her room to find Sasha cooking up a storm in the kitchen. “Morning!” Sasha greeted whilst scrambling fried eggs in one pan and flipping pancakes in another.
“Morning.” Maya rubbed her eyes as she took in the brightness of the apartment when the curtains were opened. “Do you need some help?”

“Nah, I’ve got this! I promised I’d make up for forgetting that it was my turn to make breakfast last weekend. You just have a seat!” Sasha smiled. Maya sat down on one of the stools and leaned her elbows on the counter.
“What a commotion, huh?” Sasha said.
“Huh? Oh. Yeah. They’re finally getting around to fixing that burst pipe.” Maya yawned.
“Takes a month to get anything done around here since those strange creatures started showing up.” Sasha sat some plates on the counter before Maya.
“What do you think those things are? They look like mutated animals or something.”
Maya sat up. She had thought for months about telling Sasha all about the Digimon. And now might be a better time as ever to introduce Rockymon as one of those creatures rather than her pet cat. “Well, uh. I think they’re from a different world.”
“A different world?” Sasha looked at her in amusement. “That’s a good one. I think they’re all genetically mutated animals from some secret government facility or something.”
From the corner of her eye, Maya could see Rockymon standing impatiently in the doorway to her bedroom, out of Sasha’s sight. “Maybe, but did you ever stop to think that there might actually be other worlds out there?”

“You know I don’t believe in that kind of stuff, Maya. And I’ve had to hear about it my entire life. Other worlds…” Sasha laid down a plate of fresh pancakes on the counter along with a bowl of scrambled eggs, more than enough for the two girls. “My grandmother used to tell me all kinds of stories and legends and stuff.”
“I know, she used to tell me all about Jamaican folklore.” Maya smiled at the thought. Sasha’s grandmother, Maria, was a staunch old woman from Montego Bay, Jamaica. She had visited Sasha a few times during her year long stay in the States with Sasha’s parents. Due to her illness Sasha’s parents had her brought over from Jamaica in order to get proper medical treatment. Maria was against it, but agreed once Sasha begged her. She became fond of Maya due to her knowledge of Caribbean folklore and the two would sit for hours relaying stories and legends to each other. A year after Maria was brought to the States her health took a turn for the worst and she passed away. Sasha began visiting her parents more frequently as a result.
“I miss her storytelling.” Sasha smiled slightly.

After a silent moment of dishing out the two girls ate and chatted away. Maya set down a bowl of food for Rockymon on the floor. In a very feline fashion he strutted over and ate gratefully.
“I don’t understand why he doesn’t like cat food. I mean look at him, if we keep feeding him our own food he’ll just get fatter.” Sasha had noticed Maya feed Rockymon regular food many times, insisting that he refuses to eat normal pet food.
Once done Sasha placed her dirty dishes in the sink. “I’ll take care of the dishes.” Maya got up once she was done eating and walked over to the sink with her dishes. “Going out?”

“Yep, I’ve been naggin’ Brandon to take me to see that new James Franco movie all week.”
“The one where he becomes the wizard of Oz?”
“That one, yeah. You’re welcome to come with if you like. Maybe you could ask that cutie friend of yours along too and it’ll be like a double date.” Sasha gave a sly smile.
“Thanks but I’m just gonna stay in and watch some reruns and stuff. Besides that guy, Alex, he’s been acting weird lately.”
“How so?” Sasha leaned in and crossed arms, intrigued.
Maya open the faucet and let water run over the dirty dishes as a casual distraction, “Uh, I’ll tell you about it later. You guys go and have fun. And enjoy the movie.” Maya turned to her flat mate and smiled.

“Alright, alright. I can take a hint. But I’m not gonna let you off the hook. Wednesday, we’re going shopping and you’re gonna tell me everything.”
“Shopping?” Maya looked at her.
“You’re an athlete, I know that. Your wardrobe definitely knows that. That’s why we’re gonna buy a few things that are gonna show off that physique. Girl, if I had a body like yours I wouldn’t bother wearing clothes.” And with that Sasha picked up her handbag and headed out the front door.

“What is it with humans and clothing?” Rockymon waited for the door to close behind Sasha before speaking his thoughts, “I mean, how much clothing is enough?”
Maya began scouring the dishes, lost in thought and completely ignoring Rockymon. Her thoughts were on Alex and how sudden his behavior had changed. In all the months they’d known each other, she liked to think that she knew him pretty well. They had talked and hung out many times before. But something wasn’t right. Something in her gut told Maya that something had happened to Alex.

“Maya?!” Rockymon yelled out, finally getting Maya’s attention.
“Oh, sorry Rockymon. I was just, thinking.” She turned to her feline Digimon and smiled slightly.
“Nevermind.” Rockymon huffed. He handed Maya his empty bowl, made his way over to the sofa and proceeded to clean the food bits off of his face and whiskers.

Maya could hardly hear the faint knocking on the front door over the sounds of the machinery outside. She opened the door, surprised to find Viola of all people standing in the hallway, with Heraldimon of course.

“Viola? What a surprise! What are you doing here?”
“Well hello to you too.” Viola didn’t wait for an invitation and stepped into the apartment with her Digimon.
Maya closed the door, “I’m sorry. It’s just that- Well, you don’t come by…often…at all actually unless it’s a group meeting.”
“I know. I’m attempting to change that.” Viola casually inspected her nails as she spoke. After a moment she crossed her arms and cleared her throat. “You see, I’ve never had much… friends growing up. So, since we’re all part of a team now, I might as well make the best of it and get to know everyone a little bit more.”
“Really? It’s been like, over a year since we met and- “
“I know, I know. But I’m here now, making an effort and all. Besides with everyone else around and all the tension, we never get a chance to talk., just the two of us.” Viola’s eyes wandered around the apartment. “I’ve never really took notice before, but this place is quite…quaint.”
“Uh, well thanks. Please, make yourselves at home. Can I fix you up some tea?”
“Would you happen to have green tea?” Viola sat up on a stool by the counter and sat her brand name handbag on the countertop.
Maya smiled, “Certainly.”

Heraldimon made her way over to the sofa where Rockymon had made himself comfortable. She waved a greeting to the feline before carefully sitting herself down on the sofa a little bit from him, very careful not to pierce the fabric with any of the vast number of thorns on her body.
“So…” Viola sipped at the tea Maya had sat down for her, not quite sure what to say.
“So…?” Maya sipped at her own tea.
“I guess we should talk about…boys?”
“You really haven’t had that many friends, have you?”
“Not real ones. The occasional banter with another snooty celebrity heiress isn’t what I call a decent conversation.”
Maya giggled a bit, “I guess not.”
“Right, boys then. I’ve heard you haven’t made your move with Alex.”
Maya almost spat out the tea she had just sipped up. “Hmm?”
“Phoebe tells me that he’s been acting strange ever since we arrived back here.”
“Phoebe told you?” Maya wiped her mouth with a napkin.
“Just a quick chat over the phone.”
“I don’t know, something tells me something happened back in the Digital World, when Max and I were separated from you guys. Can you think of anything that could’ve happened to him? Anything at all?”
Viola thought for a long moment, recalling everything that happened in the groups search for Max and Maya. “I can’t think of anything that could’ve happened. Alex led us on a search. He just took charge and no one objected because we were all pretty upset, and traumatized at seeing Lilithmon. We passed all kinds of Digimon before we reached Primary Village. None of them tried to attack us though, they were mostly little and jumped out of the way.”

Maya sighed, “Maybe I should just go and talk to him. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe nothing happened to him. He’s probably just upset about something. Yeah, that’s it. He’s upset. About me being stuck with Max back in the Digital World. I’m sure that’s it. I need to talk to him.” Maya stood up in a haste. Rockymon sat upright at her urgency.
“Need a ride?” Viola asked.
Maya smiled.

—————————

They had reached Alex’s dojo, to find a group of children in karate suits standing impatiently outside the locked gate, each with a parent.
“It’s just about time for Alex’s first class. He’s usually here hours before, cleaning up the dojo.” Maya checked her watch.
“Wait!” Rockymon cracked the window open slightly and sniffed in the air. “A strange Digimon was here!”
“I smell it too!” Heraldimon said.
“I knew it, something’s not right. I just knew it!” Maya grabbed her head.
“Don’t worry. We’ll get to the bottom of this.” Viola reassured Maya.

As they drove around the city Maya had called Phoebe and Trask, who were now alerted to the possible disappearance of Alex. Trask sent Max a text message after he wouldn’t answer his phone.

Maya held out her D-Ark device and accessed the radar function in an effort to locate Alex’s device. The only other device within the parameter was Viola’s. Viola saw the look of despair on Maya’s face and tried to comfort her, “We’ll find him, Maya. I’m sure of it.”
“I can’t pick up any scent like before.” Rockymon said. He had tried to catch the same scent as the one at the dojo.

As nightfall came there was still no sign of Alex or Vulpemon. By this time the team had almost lost all hope. Viola and Maya joined Phoebe and Trask at the deli just before closing time.
“How is it we can’t even find a single trace of either of them?” Trask looked at his device. “I left him a dozen messages. Nothing!”
“Has anyone tried to contact Ophanimon?” Phoebe asked.
“We tried. There was no answer.” Viola replied. “Where’s Max?”
“Hasn’t answered his phone the entire day. He did send me a text letting me know he was alive though.” Trask said, “Duke will catch up with us later.”

“This is not right. It’s not like Vulpemon to just disappear without letting one of us know.” Maaumon said.
“I know I smelled something back at the dojo. But I just couldn’t follow it. It was a dead end.” Rockymon thought.
“What are we going to do?” Equimon lowered his head.
“We can’t give up! We mustn’t!” Heraldimon said. “We must find them!”

Just then Viola felt her mobile phone vibrate in her handbag. She reached her hand in and plucked it out.
“Hey, Viola!” a slurring voice spoke as Viola answered.
“Dublin?” Viola could barely hear over the distorted music heard in the background.
“Where are you? You should…really be here partying with us…”
“Dublin, where are you?” Viola almost yelled over her phone.
“…What? Oh hey Bursa…V! Bursa and Berlin are here!…They look sooo hot and…”
“Dublin! How much have you had to drink?”

Rockymon’s ears twitched. He stood up and looked around. He began feeling a slight vibration coursing through his veins, like an electric current of signals. “Anyone else feel that?”
Equimon twitched his ears back and forth, “I feel it.”
“What is it?” Maaumon looked around.
“I’m not sure.” Rockymon replied. He looked from Maya to Trask, Phoebe and finally Viola, noticing the signal he was feeling was coming from her cell phone. “There!” He jumped up onto Maya’s lap.
“Rockymon! What the-“
“Maya, we have to go there!” He pointed at Viola’s cell phone.
“What? Why?”
“We have to go there! I don’t know why, we just do!”

“Wait, what club? Dublin? Dublin?” the call cut off, “Oh great. A bunch of drunken heirs and heiresses partying it up at some club.”
“Which club?” Trask asked.
“I’m not sure, they’re at a different one every week.”
“Think Viola!?” Heraldimon said.
“Wait. What? What’s going on here?” Viola looked at her Digimon.
“They all felt something while you were on the phone.” Phoebe explained.
“What, through the phone?”
“A signal. Phones transmit signals. The Digimon felt it.” Trask said.
“Come on, Viola, think. Which club were your friends at?” Phoebe asked.
“Alright alright. Um, last week they were at…A La Mode…Where were they going to this week?” Viola thought hard.
“Meridian!” she said finally. “Dublin was talking about it all month. The grand opening is tonight.”

—————————

The four made their way to the newest nightclub in the city. Meridian had just been converted from a storage warehouse down by the docks. Viola was able to get Maya and the others in without any problems. The four tamers shoved through the throngs of clubbers, no one had noticed the Digimon sneaking in with them. The interior of the club was painted blue with an ocean theme; statues of mermaids were carved into the Greek-style pillars that supported the ceiling and roof. Purple and green disco lights danced and twirled all over.

“Alright! We’re here, Rockymon. Now what?” Maya shouted to be heard over the loud music.
“Wait!” Heraldimon said. “I can smell it again! It’s the same scent we picked up on at the dojo!”
“Heraldimon’s right! I smell it too! Along with…” Rockymon sniffed the air once more, recognizing the second scent, “Vulpemon!”
“Vulpemon? Are you sure?” Phoebe asked.
“He’s right!” Trask checked his D-Ark, finding the yellow spot of Alex’s device near their location. “Alex is here!”
“Let’s go get him!” Viola said.

The four tamers and their Digimon pushed past the clubbers, each one getting separated in the crowd and converging at the point of Alex’s D-Ark. Maya spotted Alex sitting on a leather sofa. He was staring into space ahead of him and not moving. A woman sat next to him, stroking his hair.
Maya was about to run up to him before she felt a tug on her jeans. “Maya, wait!”
She turned to her feline Digimon, “That’s not a human! That’s a Digimon! The Digimon whose scent I caught at the dojo!”
“What has she done to him? He’s just sitting there. It’s like he’s a…” Maya began.
“Zombie.” Phoebe said.
“There are too many people here. We have to get Alex away from her somehow.” Trask looked around, examining the situation.
“We’re gonna have to lure her outside, or evacuate the place.” Phoebe added.

“She’ll see us coming, if she doesn’t already know we’re here.” Viola said. “Especially dressed like this. Come on!” Viola grabbed Maya’s wrist and pulled her along back through the crowd. “Wha- Viola, where are we going?”
“Trust me!”
Surprised by Viola’s sudden plan, Phoebe and Trask followed suit, along with their Digimon. Viola led Maya to the ladies bathroom, shooing out the occupants. Phoebe followed and closed the door behind her. Trask stood outside waiting, Equimon and Rockymon confused as to what just happened.

“I had a feeling these would come in handy.” Viola pulled out a folded piece of clothing and a pair of red leather heels from her handbag as she laid down various make up instruments on the marble counter. She unfolded the piece of clothing, revealing it to be a short, black dress. “What’s all this for?” Maya said, confused.
“What do you think? You’re going out there to get Alex while we distract whatever that thing is.” Viola explained.
“I get that but what’s the dress f…Oh no no no no no no! I’m not wearing that!”
“You have another plan?”
“Ye-ye-“
“No you don’t. Maya, this is the only way. We need to get Alex away from her without arousing suspicion. Dressed the way we are, she’ll know who we are for sure.”
“I can’t. There’s no way I’m wearing that!” Maya’s arms flailed in the air as she walked towards the door.
“Maya, do you want to save Alex?” Phoebe asked.
Maya paused just as she held the door handle. She looked back at Viola, holding the dress in one hand, the other hand on her hip.
After a long moment she sighed, “This is for Alex and Vulpemon.”

Trask and Equimon made there way towards the main entrance. They stood against the wall close to the door, ready to make sure all the people would leave when necessary. Phoebe, Maaumon and Rockymon were up on the balcony to oversee everything and figure out where Vulpemon was whilst Viola and Heraldimon stood guard at the bar behind the rows of couches where Alex and the strange human-like Digimon were.

“Come now, my sweet. Why don’t you go and have some fun while we’re here, hmm?” a soft, seductive voice whispered in Alex’s ear. The human-like Digimon stroked the back of his head, the tips of her fingers were blue in color, “Now go, and bring me the most beautiful girl you see.”
As if controlled by a puppet Alex stood up. He blinked a few times and shook his head. He was in a daze, under the spell of the Digimon. He looked around, scanning the crowed of people, the drunk falling over themselves, others making out shamelessly with each other. He searched for a beautiful girl as the Digimon had ordered, examining the dancing and drinking woman around him. Then his eyes caught sight of one such girl; she wore a little black dress with striking red heels. Her brunette hair, along with the effects of the lights hid her face. “That one!” The Digimon yelled. Alex turned to her, noticing that she was pointing to the same girl. “Bring me that one!”
He walked towards the girl, his movements slightly mechanical. The Digimon smiled widely while sipping at a blue drink in a martini glass.

Alex reached the girl, who looked up at him. He paused, recognizing her instantly, “Ma- Ma-“
Maya grabbed his jacket and pulled him into the throng. Phoebe signaled to Trask and Viola after spotting Maya with Alex. Viola and Heraldimon hastily made their way towards them and led them to a back door.

Once outside Alex took a deep breathe of fresh air and shook his head, “Wha…What’s… happening?”
“Alex?” Maya held his face in her hands, “Do you know who I am?”
Alex looked at her, and tried to fight off the spell, “Ma..Ma..ya?”
Maya nodded, then pointed to Viola, “What about her? Do you recognize her?”
“Vi..ola…”
Maya then pointed to the plant Digimon at Viola’s side.
For a long moment Alex was confused, debating with himself internally, “Her…Heraldimon…”
“That’s right. You’re alright. You’re gonna be okay.” Maya smiled for a brief moment to reassure him. “Now Alex, concentrate. Where’s Vulpemon?”
“Vulp…mon… I don’t…” he shook his head again.
“That spell’s really got him.” Viola told Heraldimon.

The creature tapped the tiled floor impatiently with her feet. Finally she stood up and stretched her arms. She then headed into the crowd where she had last seen Alex and asked after him and the mysterious girl he was with. Some who could remember pointed her in the direction of the back door. Phoebe hastily picked up her phone and called Viola whilst signaling to Trask.
“Phoebe?”
“Trouble! We’ve got trouble! She’s heading towards the back door.”
Rockymon leapt up onto on of the steel frames that supported the lights and speakers. He made his way across the beam to the other side of the club, where the back door was. He managed to find a small window and leapt through it, landing a little away from Viola and Heraldimon.

“Come now my sweet, where have you go-“ the sweet voice came through the doorway, followed by the creature, she paused as she saw Alex, Maya and Viola. Then she became shocked at seeing Rockymon and Heraldimon. She began laughing a sickening cackle, “So, this is where you’ve disappeared to?”
Rockymon hissed and bared his fangs. Heraldimon stood, the tips of her vines curling up and ready to strike.
“More beauty to devour!” her seductive voice cracked and became almost childlike as she began changing. She grew shorter and her skin took on a pale green color. Her ears morphed into fin-like structures that were replicated on her hips. She wore a blue body suit of sorts along with a large, blue headdress in which big, circular rubies were embedded. Her eyes enlarged and took on a bright red color.

Viola checked her device, “Ranamon, a fairy Digimon. A legendary Warrior of Water.”

“Alex, snap out of it!” Maya shook him by his jacket, “Where’s Vulpemon?”
“That little nuisance? Let’s just say she’s a little tied up!” Ranamon began her sinister chuckle once more.

“Heraldimon, you ready?” Viola looked at her Digimon with device in hand. Heraldimon nodded.

“Activate Evolution!”

“Evolution!”

“Rockymon evolve to…Manxmon!”

“Heraldimon evolve to…Rosaemon!”

“My my my, this certainly is interesting. Draining Rain!”
With a wave of her hand Ranamon summoned a dark cloud over the two champions. The cloud began to blast a powerful stream of water down onto them. Manxmon tried his best to shield himself and the smaller Rosaemon from the torrent.
Once the clouds dissipated Rosaemon jumped forward.

“Needle Dance!”
She span in place, sending needle thin thorns towards Ranamon, who yelped as she tried to jump out of the way. A few thorns struck her buttocks, causing her to squeal. She removed each one carefully, then turned to the two champions with a face red full of anger.

“Whipping Waves!”
Boats and yachts by the docks began to stir. Water rose up in a pillar-like form and at Ranamon’s will blasted towards the champions. Manxmon grabbed Rosaemon and leapt clean out of the way, but the pillar of water powered through the thick, concrete wall of the nightclub. People stormed out of the front entrance, drunk or not. The music stopped as all the speakers were killed. Trask made sure no one was left behind before sending out Equimon.

“Evolution!”

“Equimon evolve to…Kentauromon!”

“Maaumon evolve to…Mikemon!”
Phoebe and Trask soon joined the other tamers as their Digimon faced off against the little Ranamon.
“Well, four against one? That’s just not fair now, is it?”

“I think she’s got Vulpemon tied up somewhere inside!” Maya told Phoebe, who nodded and called out to her feline Digimon. Mikemon ducked out and made her way back into the building with Phoebe in tow.

“Now you’re not all gonna gang up on lil’ ol’ me, are ya?” Ranamon twirled in place playfully. She placed a finger on her chin, “I think I’ll even the odds a bit, though.” She began her laugh once more, sinister and screeching, almost unbearable as her body began to glow in a pale blue light.

“DANGER!!!” all the D-Arks sounded.

“Uh-oh…” Kentauromon looked on. The sparks in his mangled right arm began to develop at his will, charging for his attack.

Ranamon’s body began to expand. The top half of her waist developed more feminine curves, the bottom half grew phenominally to resemble an enormous upside-down squid. She had feline like eyes and red lipstick under which was an eerie smile that revealed sharp fangs. As soon as her evolution was complete she heaved her bulk off the dock and into the ocean.

“Now she’s Calmaramon, Hybrid Class B type Digimon.” Trask checked his D-Ark.

“Better not waste any time!” Kentauromon galloped towards the edge of the dock. “Blue Lightning Burst!” The blue electric spark danced around him and leapt into the ocean, momentarily stunning Calmaramon as the currents reached her.

“Needle Dance!”
Rosaemon release another barrage of thorns. Calmaramon saw them coming and summoned a wall of water before her, rendering the plant Digimon’s attack futile.

“Titanic Tempest!”
Calmaramon’s human-like half withdrew into the large squid-like half that began to spin in the water. The tentacles began to stretch out as she began spinning faster and faster as she headed towards the dock.
“Guys, get back!” Trask yelled out at the champions. At the last minute Calmaramon swung her bulk at speed, affording the three champions no time to retreat. The tentacles hit each of them hard, sending them flying back into the debris of the nightclubs damaged wall.
Manxmon pushed to his feet and dusted himself off. Kentauromon heaved the large blocks of concrete off of his body and limbs. Manxmon noticed the smaller plant type Digimon was nowhere to be seen. He began pushing through the debris, piles of concrete and brick until he found her and helped her up. “You okay?”
“It’ll take more than that to keep me down!” Rosaemon dusted herself off, her cheeks red with anger.

Calmaramon was milling about a little distance from the dock now, seemingly humming to herself. “Now what?” Manxmon kicked a nearby empty oil drum out of frustration. “How do we fight her if she’s out there?”

“I might be able to help!” Enumamon soared through the air just in time. Duke came running up to the tamers. “Sorry we’re late! Everyone alright?”
“Just about.” Viola replied.
“What do we got?” Duke asked.
“Giant squid.” Trask pointed to where Calmaramon was playing about in the water.

“Hmm…” Kentauromon looked at the drum Manxmon had kicked over. “Aren’t those things usually filled with flammable liquid?”
Manxmon looked back at the drum, “Yeah. Why?”
“Now that Enumamon’s joined us, I think I have a plan…”

Calmaramon noticed the dragon newcomer of the group, and that they were all up to something back at the docks. She submerged into the water. Manxmon and Kentauromon lined up a few oil barrels near the edge of the wooden dock. Each of them was half full with the black liquid. Calmaramon appeared, raising herself up from the depths, bringing a tidal wave with her that slammed into the wooden structure of the dock, knocking the champions and the oil barrels in all directions. Enumamon flew up into the air to avoid being washed away by the wave. The tamers scurried around the corner of the building, where the wave had dissipated.

Once again Manxmon and Kentauromon pushed to their feet. They were both soaked to the bone. Manxmon shook his fur off the excess water. “So much for that plan!”
He coughed and looked around. “Where’s Rosaemon?”
“There!” Enumamon pointed towards the ocean. Rosaemon was holding on to one of the oil barrels as it drifted off further out to sea.

“Rosaemon!” Viola shouted.

Mikemon sniffed and sniffed the air every few seconds, trying to pick up Vulpemon’s scent. “It’s very faint. But she’s here, I know it.” The feline and her tamer searched almost the entire building. Then Mikemon’s ears twitched. She heard a slight shuffle coming from the balcony level. She ran up to the wall and jumped nimbly up onto the balcony and froze. She held her breath in order to pick up on any more sounds. Again a shuffle. It came from directly above her, from the large ventilation pipe. “Phoebe! Over here!”
Phoebe raced up the stair to meet the feline, who pointed up at the origin of the sound.

“Neko Claw!”
Jumping at an angle Mikemon sliced through the metal pipe, severing its supporting bolts in that section of the building. The shaft moaned before the section fell diagonally on the balcony floor before Phoebe and Mikemon. A dazed Vulpemon rolled out onto the floor. Her arms and legs were bound with wire and duct tape and she was also gagged. Mikemon used her hardened claws to cut through the wire and tape.

“I’ll get her!” Enumamon swooped down towards Rosaemon. From beneath the surface of the water a tentacle shot out and grabbed her tail. Enumamon flinched and tried to pull herself free. Then another tentacle shot up and wrapped around her back legs. More tentacles wrapped around Enumamon until she was unable to fly. The tentacles were threatening to pull her underwater.
“Enumamon!” Rosaemon called out.

“Screw this!” Manxmon leapt into the water and began swimming out towards the fray. Kentauromon followed suit. His equine body kept him afloat as he kicked his way forwards, the sparks in his arm dancing with anticipation.

“Have they gone mad? She’ll drown them all!” Viola shouted.

Enumamon had managed to pull one of her forearms and tail free. She paddled wildly, trying to keep her head above the water’s surface, lashing her tail as well.
“Enumamon!” Rosaemon released her grip on the barrel and swam out to the dragon Digimon. “Rosaemon, get to safety!” Enumamon told her.
Rosaemon took a deep breath and went under. She grabbed hold of one of the tentacles and bit into it as hard as she could. The tentacles twitched and writhed, releasing Enumamon and disappearing underwater.

Enumamon kept herself afloat as she searched frantically for the plant Digimon. Kentauromon and Manxmon reached her just then. Rosaemon was pulled under by Calmaramon’s tentacles. She gripped the Rosaemon and held her before her, smiling widely as they both sank deeper into the ocean. Rosaemon tried to wriggle free, but with every effort she became weaker and weaker.

“ROSAEMON!!!” Viola shouted in panic after her Digimon, still seeing no sign of her above the waters surface. Tears formed in Viola’s eyes and she ran towards the water, only to be held back by Trask. Viola fell to her knees as tears streamed down her cheeks. She held her D-Ark before her, sobbing as an increment of Rosaemon’s health gauge decreased as each moment passed.
Then suddenly, the device began to glow and beep. Viola saw that the health gauge was filling up, faster and faster until finally, it had filled up completely. The device emitted a bright green light. Out of the light purple roses began to materialize and were scattered everywhere.

“Hmm?” Manxmon, Kentauromon and Enumamon all held on to each other as the water beneath them began to glow green. Calmaramon was suddenly shot out of the water and fell through the roof of the club. Rosaemon ascended out of the water and into the air, her form glowing in the same bright green as Viola’s device.

“Matrix Evolution!”

“Rosaemon Matrix evolve to…”
Rosaemon’s petit silhouette elongated into that of a woman. The roses on the sides of her head melted away as her hair grew longer, sections of it looped behind her head whilst another two sections were held up in place over her head with a single bell gently chiming as it hung from it.
As the light faded, Rosaemon’s form was revealed; she had green skin that glowed slightly. Her body was adorned with vines and leaves with purple rose petals that formed a kind of skirt. Her right arm was wrapped in vines and she held a dagger in her left hand.
“Rosatimon!”

Rosatimon extended her vines that gently wrapped around the trio of champions. Gliding back towards the dock, Rosatimon pulled them along with her. Viola smiled as she wiped her tears with her hand. Rosatimon landed in front of her and Viola wrapped her arms around her new ultimate.

Phoebe and Mikemon ran back out and rejoined the others. “Next time, make sure a building is empty before destroying it with oversized seafoo-“ Phoebe stopped mid-rant when she saw Rosatimon. Rosatimon smiled before leaping up into the air and onto the roof of the club.
“What happened?” Alex groaned as he held his head.
“Ranamon had you under some kind of spell.” Maya explained.
Alex had regained his senses and noticed Maya’s attire, “Maya, you’re…wearing a dress?”
Maya blushed slightly before clearing her throat and stepping to one side as Phoebe walked over, carrying an unconscious Vulpemon.
“Vulpemon!” Alex took Vulpemon in his arms, as soon as he did she began to stir.
“I think she just needs to rest.” Phoebe said.

Manxmon, Kentauromon and Enumamon climbed out of the water and shook themselves off before heading into the building to help the new ultimate. “Maya, now would be a good time to have me evolve as well.” Manxmon said.
“My D-Ark doesn’t give me that option.” Maya checked her device.

“How DARE you!” Calmaramon composed herself before facing Rosatimon, who stood nimbly on the edge of the roof above looking down on her.
“Acid Ink!” Black liquid shot forth from Calmaramon’s mouth. Rosatimon gracefull dodged it before leaping down into the attack.

“Flora Dagger!”
Rosatimon slashed quickly and precisely, cutting through the skin of Calmaramon’s arms and some of the tentacles in her path. The cuts began to ooze a similar black liquid as Calmaramon yelped.

Rosatimon caught sight of the champions and called out, “Kentauromon, what do you say we try that plan of yours again?” She winked at them. Kentauromon nodded and ushered the others back out. Confused and full of suspicion Calmaramon screamed in anger and spewed out more black liquid from her mouth. Rosatimon barely dodged it this time. She jumped back up onto the roof with ease. The small bell in her hair began to glow slightly.

“Flower Song!”
The bell began to sway, chiming a melody that grew louder and louder, echoing through the building. Calmaramon clenched her fists, frustrated at not being in her element and not able to move down to the water. She was even more frustrated at the incessant chime of Rosatimon’s bell. She failed to notice the glowing purple light that had begun to creep up on her from the ground. Once she had noticed, it was too late; the light had almost completely engulfed her. Once it had the melody stopped instantly. A second later the light caused an explosion, sending Calmaramon flying into the air once more.
Purple petals rained down all over the building as a result of Rosatimon’s attack.

Calmaramon hit the water far from the docks. She splashed wildly in frustration. She then noticed the oil drums that flew in her direction. Kentauromon and Manxmon were flinging the barrels out to sea, seemingly trying to hit her with them, but their throws were too short. Calmaramon smiled slyly and slowly made her way towards the champions. She passed the oil barrels and stopped, noticing at once that one of the champions was missing. She sneered and looked around in suspicion. She waved her hands, causing the water around her to stir, ready to leap up and absorb any attacks aimed at her.

“Dragon’s Breath!”
Enumamon swooped down and passed her, releasing a ball of molten rock from her mouth. The wall of water rose, but the attack wasn’t aimed at Calmaramon directly. With the wall of water obscuring her view the squid Digimon didn’t notice Enumamon’s attack hitting one of the floating oil drums, it burst into flames immediately. Enumamon circled around and set fire to all the other drums that surrounded Calmaramon. Enumamon flew in again, this time carrying an open barrel of oil that she poured onto the squid Digimon before flying away. In a panic Calmaramon began to conjure up her water walls, but it was too late. One of the flaming barrels reached her and soon she was engulfed in flames.
She screamed loud and eerie as she dove into the water.

She reemerged a few moments later, after the water had put out the fires. By now her skin was charred grey and the cuts she sustained from Rosatimon’s dagger began to ooze her black blood once more.

“Flower Song!”
From where she stood on the dock the bell in Rosatimon’s hair began to chime yet again. Calmaramon’s eyes widened and she tried to dove down into the depths once more, but felt the slight warmth of the purple light creep upon her. A moment later she was engulfed. The gentle melody ceased and Calmaramon’s form exploded.
Data fragments and rose petals rained down over the water and the docks. The data then began to flow towards Rosatimon and were absorbed into her.

—————————

“I don’t know how I could’ve let myself be manipulated by that thing!” Alex paced the floor at his apartment that night. He had laid Vulpemon in his bed to recover. Maya, Rockymon, Duke and Elishamon walked them home, Trask and Kentauromon saw them halfway before heading back to his apartment. Maya was more than glad to have changed back to her more comfortable clothing.
“Can you remember when she could’ve gotten hold of you? Was it in the Digital World?” Maya asked.
Alex held his head, “I…I can’t remember. I don’t even remember how we got back from the Digital World.” He sighed.
There was a moment of silence before Duke casually looked at his watch. “Well, the important thing is your safe. And so is Vulpemon. I mean if something had happened to her, she’d be floating data by now, right?”
“You’re right.” Alex nodded.
Duke clapped him on the shoulder, “We’re all in this together. You’ll be alright?”
“Yeah.” Alex managed a smile. “Thanks you guys.”

Duke and Elishamon said their greetings and left, Maya and Rockymon followed. As they walked down the hallway Alex called out to Maya, “Hey Maya, was I still under a spell when I saw you in that dress?”
Maya blushed and turned around. She smiled, “Saved you didn’t it?”
She took a few more steps before turning around again, “Hey. You wanne catch a movie sometime?”
Alex’s eyes narrowed slightly, “You mean, like a date?”
Maya rolled her eyes around the hallway, “Uh, yea.”
He smiled, “I’d like that.”

To be continued….

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1 thought on “Episode 21: Shell Shocked

  1. Pingback: Episode 21 Up! | DigimonOrigins

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