Episode 4: Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Beemon

On Saturday mornings Rockymon waited for Sasha to leave the apartment for her usual visit to see her boyfriend. He would stand on the desk in Maya’s room and peer out of the window to watch her get on the bus, making sure she was gone, before quietly creeping out of the room and making himself cozy on the couch of the living room, in front of the television. He’d grown to love Saturday morning cartoons, particularly one of a cat and mouse and their crazy antics. Maya would usually get up and make them both breakfast, a bowl of chocolate flavored rice crispies was his favorite. But because of all the late nights of assignments, Maya relished any time she could to sleep in, so she would wake up at almost noon during the weekends. So Rockymon often resorted to making his own breakfast. He had put extra effort in trying not to pierce the milk carton with his claws. The first few times he attempted to pick the carton up out of the fridge resulted in Maya having to clean not only the floor but the bottom four shelves of the fridge as well. Sasha was peeved at not having milk in the apartment for her afternoon tea and had to resort to asking their strange neighbor for some.

Maya had finally given Rockymon an empty milk carton with which to practice. He had trained the muscles of the tips of his fingers not to dig into the carton with his claws, but rather grip the surface with the padded fingers instead. Maya also had the forethought to put the milk carton and the cereal box on the bottom shelves of the refrigerator and pantry cupboards respectively, as well as leaving an empty bowl and spoon on her own desk, so the Digimon wouldn’t make a noise in getting them himself, and if Sasha had seen it on the kitchen counter, would pack it back up in the crockery cupboard. In any case Sasha had left and Rockymon was enjoying his large bowl of chocolatey cereal while watching his favorite show on T.V.

A while later Maya walked across the living room to the kitchen, rubbing her eyes with the back of her hands. She gave a long yawn as she filled a bowl with Honey Cheerios, her favorite cereal. She made her way over to the couch, sat and blankly stared at the television screen while eating her breakfast. Between shows there was an ad on T.V. A woman with silver lilac hair was reciting a poem with the theme of Valentine’s Day. She was standing in front of a stall with an exquisite array of flowers and roses. The end of the ad read ‘Viola’s Boutique, Main Street, Square City’.

Rockymon turned to Maya, “What’s Valentine’s Day?”
Still looking at the T.V Maya replied, “It’s the one time of the year where card companies, candy stores and florists make the most money.”
“How come?”
“Well, on Valentine’s Day people like to give things to those they love. Things like teddy bears, sentimental greeting cards, jewelry, balloons or red roses. Oh and chocolates are a big hit as well.”
“People only do that once a year?” Rockymon blinked curiously.
Maya turned to him and gave a short giggle, “No, people can give gifts any other day, but….well….I guess because Valentine’s Day is so commercialized and all, it’s more…common to give gifts on that day, to loved ones.”
“Like your parents?”
“Well, it’s more of a day for boyfriend and girlfriend…”
“Oh…I guess you aren’t getting any gifts then.” Rockymon looked back at the T.V.
Maya glared at him for a minute, then turned back to the television and continued with her cereal.

————————————————

“I’m not quite sure I understand.” Vulpemon looked curiously at Alex. “Roses have to be red to be the symbol of affection?”

Because Vulpemon was now too big to fit into any of the pigeon holes of the dojo, she would sit on the large wooden beams of the roof and watch all the martial arts classes Alex had taught. Alex had explained to her what the different colored belts meant when a student wore them over their karate outfit. His explanations were confirmed when Vulpemon had seen for herself the higher level students who wore belts in blue, purple, brown and black were more disciplined, more eager and more confident in their abilities. Alex had quite a few black belts at his apartment, with his name stitched into the end in Japanese katakana. In between classes, and while the other masters were away, Alex would teach Vulpemon some techniques. She was a fast learner and deeply respected Alex’s profession. To her Alex might have been the noblest human she’s ever known.

“Uh, not necessarily, Vulpemon. All colors of roses are acceptable, really. But red is usually thought of as the color that represents love.” Alex was busy tying the laces of his sneakers.
“I see…And what exactly is the purpose of candy, particularly chocolate?”
“Chocolate? Well…chocolate has something in it that makes people happy when they eat it.”
“Really?”
“Yea, it’s called endorphins, yea that’s it. When you eat chocolate, your brain releases endorphins, and endorphins give you a sense of happiness. At least I think so…”

Vulpemon thought for a moment.
“So, are you going to participate in this Valentine’s Day?” she asked.
“Nah. You gotta have someone to give roses to.”
“What about Maya?”
Alex’s face immediately blushed in a bright red. He turned quickly away from Vulpemon so she wouldn’t see it.
“Uh…Maya? Nah…I can’t give roses to her. I mean we…we’re…Well we’re friends. You don’t give roses to friends. And certainly not on Valentine’s Day…”

Vulpemon smiled a little to herself. She was obviously more intelligent than Alex gave her credit for. She didn’t quite understand how he felt about Maya before, as Uromon, but now that he and Maya knew each other his feelings became apparent to her.
He acted slightly different when she was around. He smiled more often and tried to make her laugh, but she was always so attentive to her black cat of a Digimon that she didn’t quite catch on to how he felt. Rockymon, however, could sense something, and every time Alex had joked about with Maya he shot a look at Vulpemon with a raised eyebrow, a look that she took to mean, ‘Is this guy serious?’

———————————————–

So Valentine’s Day was looming and all the stores were decked with pink and red heart decorations and decals. Apparently Valentine’s Day was more popular within Square City than anywhere else in the state. It was thought of as the ‘almost’ perfect day, the only fault with it being that it was still considered a working day and not an official holiday.

Viola’s Bouquet, the popular local florist was chock full of orders even more than usual around this time of year. Viola Swanson, the owner, was famous amongst the Square City residents. She was the only child of Richard and Evelyn Swanson, the CEOs of Bella Tiida, the world famous fashion brand.
Viola was the heiress of the company, but opted instead to open up a flower shop. Although she did have her very own clothing and jewelry line with her parents company, she had always had a liking for flowers, and spent all of her time at the store, assembling breathtaking bouquets that made her store an instant success once it had opened. Her bouquets themselves were considered as ‘designer’ bouquets as Viola had an eye for the different types of flowers whose colors would compliment each other.

One day, a few months ago, Viola had found the remains of what looked like a decorative egg next to a strange electronic device in the store. On the floor in the corner she saw a rather large flower bud with a small blue flower blooming from its head. As she went near it, it began to squirm and turned around. She jumped back as she saw it had two shiny black eyes looking straight at her. Its cheeks were blushing in a bright pink color.
The little plant creature would bounce around the store when it was empty, and would sit still if any customers came in, thinking of it as some sort of game. Viola had learned from the device that its name was Knospmon. Over the next few months Knospmon had grown slightly in size until it evolved into Rilkemon, who was able to explain to establish to Viola that she was a Digimon, and deemed as female. Viola was at first taken aback by the fact that she could speak, but even more so that this little so called ‘Digimon’ could speak quite well.

Once Rilkemon had evolved further, into Heraldimon, Viola was quite accustomed to having her around. By now she would take the plant Digimon from the store to her lavish apartment and back everyday.
Heraldimon stood as tall as Viola’s knees. Her body was pastel green in color and she had thorns on her abdomen and running down her arms. There were vines of thorns wrapped around her legs and sprouting from the back of her neck. She had dark green leaves covering her head with an exquisite lilac rose on one side. She had shiny pitch black eyes and a hint of dark lipstick around her lips.
She was quite elegant in her mannerisms, as she’d learned from watching Viola. Heraldimon had also made herself useful around the store, when there were no customers, of course. She would organize the flowers according to species, and then further according to colors and shades. They both discovered that Heraldimon’s presence in the store somehow kept the flowers fresher for days longer.
Although being a plant type Digimon she hadn’t known much about flowers, but by now Viola had taught her everything she knew about each species of flower in the store, and that the rose on Heraldimon’s head was the most beautiful she had ever seen.

———————————————–

Sunday was February 12th, just two days shy of Valentine’s Day, and stores of all kinds were busy from opening right up till closing time at noon. Mimi’s Deli had produced the finest chocolates only available during this time of the year, and they were selling out fast. Phoebe and the other employees always reserved a handful each.
As part of a business deal between Mimi’s Deli and Viola’s Bouquet, both stores would sell gift sets containing Viola’s specialty red rose Valentine’s bouquets along with the deli’s exquisite heart shaped Valentine’s chocolates.

After noon the hype had begun to die down as stores closed. Viola planned to close the store an hour after everyone else. When there weren’t any customers she continued to chat away with Heraldimon. There was a strange buzzing sound coming from outside the store. Viola had always tried to be patient with bees who would come upon her flowers, collect pollen, and move off, but for the past few hours the incessant buzzing was beginning to annoy her. Not that she could do much, as she was highly allergic.
She peered through the store window, to the rack of bouquets on display just outside the store.

“I can hear buzzing, but I don’t see any bees…” Viola said.

Heraldimon walked over next to her, “Hmm.”

“If not bees, what do you think it is?” Viola turned her head to Heraldimon.

“I can’t say… I don’t know what the buzzing of bees in the real world sound like” the plant Digimon said.

“It is sort of loud for a few bees.” Viola looked back out the window, straining her eyes to try and find the source of the buzzing.

Suddenly something came crashing down into the flower racks outside the window, in front of Viola. She fell back and onto the ground. Heraldimon’s cheeks turned red, a sign of danger. Picking herself up Viola slowly peeped out of the window to see what it was. She saw a large, insect-like form slowly rising. It had semi-transparent wings, its body was a dark mustard color, with large black stripes running across its thorax. Viola stepped back, fear began to instill in her as she realized that it was a large bee.

“We have to get out of here…” Viola whispered loudly to Heraldimon, whose eyes were fixated on every move the large insect was making.
“It’s a Digimon!” Heraldimon said.
Two more insect Digimon appeared above the first.

“Wha-what? There are more?”

————————————————

Trask and Equimon were out and about after noon, when all the stores were closed and the streets of Square City were quiet.

Equimon twitched his ears and stopped walking. Trask looked over his shoulder, “What’s up?”

“I hear something” Equimon turned his head this way and that, and focused on the sound. “Screaming. I hear screaming!” he said.

“Which direction?”

Equimon pointed down the street with his chin and began to gallop in that direction. Trask followed at a run. Nearing the scene Trask’s D-Ark began to beep incessantly. While running he picked it up from out of his pocket and saw a bee-like Digimon appear on the projection, “VirusBeemon, Insect Digimon, Champion level.”

“Champion level? Great.”
Trask looked ahead and saw three VirusBeemon pulling some kind of vine plant out of the local florist doorway.
Getting closer he realized that it wasn’t a vine plant, but a Digimon. A woman was holding onto the plant Digimon’s feet. It seems she was trying to save the plant Digimon from the VirusBeemon. Trask lifted up his D-Ark and saw a green dot appear on the radar grid in front of his turquoise dot.

“She’s one of us! Equimon, help them!”

Breaking into full gallop, Equimon’s body began to glow and ignite.

“Fire Dash!” the flaming pony blazed across the street and straight into the VirusBeemon trio, releasing their grip on the plant Digimon. Heraldimon fell onto Viola and both fell back into the store.

Trask ran up to them, “Are you ok?”

“We’re fine,” said Viola.

Trask looked back at Equimon, who was surrounded by the insect Digimon.

“I have to help him, Viola.” Heraldimon said, looking up at her tamer.

“You can’t. They’ll take you away, Heraldimon!” Viola held on tighter to her Digimon.

“Storm Stinger!” one of the VirusBeemon poised itself and charged Equimon with its stinger.
“Honey Haze!” the other two bees spat out a sticky substance from their mouths that stuck Equimon to the ground. The pony Digimon was unable to move.

“Equimon!” Trask could do nothing but yell out words of encouragement to his Digimon.

Heraldimon tried to pull free from Viola, “Please, Viola let me help him!”

Tears began to well up in Viola’s eyes as she released her grip and her Digimon dashed towards Equimon.

“Dart Thorn!”
Heraldimon took a deep breath. Exhaling she released thorns from all over her body that shot towards the VirusBeemon, striking them on the behinds. While momentarily distracted, Heraldimon aimed her thorns at the now hardened substance that trapped Equimon, “Dart Thorn!”

Equimon’s body was released and he began to dash around the VirusBeemon in readiness for another attack.

“Fire Dash!”
Equimon struck one of the VirusBeemon, causing it to ignite. It yelped and yowled as it beat its wings to try to put out the flames. Instead the flames got bigger and the other two screamed and released the same sticky substance onto their comrade. The flames on the smoking bee were put out, and it unstuck itself from the substance with its mandibles.

The trio turned on the two rookie Digimon. Two attacked simultaneously.

“Storm Stingers!” each bee struck the two Digimon. Equimon fell and was unable to get up. Heraldimon, also suffering the attack, tried to pick herself up, but collapsed into unconsciousness. The VirusBeemon picked her up and flew off.

“Heraldimon!” Viola yelled out and ran after them. Trask ran up behind her and restrained her, “It’s too dangerous!”

Viola pushed him away, “Let me go! I need to save her!”

Trask grabbed her again and pulled her shoulder so she faced him.
“We’ll get her back, I promise.” he said, breathing heavily, “But we’ll need help.”

————————————-

Maya was taking some time to herself, laying on her bed and listening to music on her IPod when her phone began to ring. She couldn’t hear it ring over the music.
Rockymon ran in and picked the mobile phone up off the end table. He saw that it was Trask, so he proceeded to answer.

“Uh, hello?”
“Hello? Maya?” Trask was confused.
“Trask? Can you hear me?” Rockymon wasn’t sure of what to do when answering a phone call, though he’d seen Maya do it all the time.”
“Uh…yea…Rockymon? Is that you?”
Rockymon smiled, “Hehe yea it’s me. Maya didn’t hear the phone ring. She’s playing some music in that small device of hers, but it’s so loud I can hear it too.”
“Oh, Ok. Listen, do you think you can get her away from that device and give her the phone?”
“Sure!” an always enthusiastic Rockymon hopped up onto the bed and pulled the earphones off Maya’s ears. She sat up on her elbows and glared at him, “Hey! What’s the big de-?”
Rockymon stretched out his arm with her phone in his paw. Maya took the phone from Rockymon.

“Hello?”
“Maya its Trask, I’ve found another tamer!”
Maya sat up, “What?! Really?”
“Yea, but we have a problem…”

Trask explained what had happened at Viola’s store. Maya jumped out of bed, grabbed her jacket, picked Rockymon up and bolted out of the front door.

Almost at the store Maya picked up her D-Ark to activate the radar feature. The others were on their way there too, and there was also a new green colored dot next to Trask’s turquoise one.

“Another Digimon?” asked Rockymon.
“Yea, but we’ve got to save her first.”

—————————————————

Maya and Rockymon were the first to arrive at Viola’s store, with Alex, Vulpemon, Phoebe and Maaumon arriving shortly after.
“Viola Swanson? Wow, I didn’t realize…” Phoebe was surprised to know that the city’s wealthiest twenty-five year old was a tamer like her.

“Yea, yea moving on…” Trask interrupted, “Now, we have three champion level Digimon that we have to take down.”

“You guys think you could do it?” Alex looked at all the rookie level Digimon.

“Of course we can!” Rockymon raised his fists. Maaumon swished her tail in agreement. Vulpemon folded her arms and Equimon nodded.

“Now we gotta find out where they took Viola’s Digimon.” said Maya.

“Heraldimon.” said Viola, “Her name. Heraldimon.”

“I might have that figured out.” Alex turned to Viola, “Hand me your D-Ark.”

Viola handed it over, and after Alex pushed some buttons the radar grid appeared on the screen. But instead of showing the locations of the other tamers, the grid showed a beeping green dot a distance away from the central green dot.

“There.” Alex pointed to the beeping dot, “That’s where Heraldimon is.”

Trask examined the direction, “That might be in Central Park.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Viola grabbed the device out of Alex’s hand and headed out the doorway. The others followed.

Viola looked at the radar on her device to find the way to Heraldimon. Trask was right, it led them deep into Central Park. There was a small forest of indigenous trees in the very center of the park. Amongst the trees the team could hear the loud buzzing of the VirusBeemon.

As the forest cleared to an opening Viola saw Heraldimon stuck to the trunk of a tree with the same sticky substance as before. The VirusBeemon weren’t there, but they were close.

“Heraldimon!” Viola was about to run towards her Digimon, but was quickly grabbed and pulled back by Trask.

Just then the VirusBeemon descended upon them.

“Woah!” Phoebe fell back, “You weren’t kidding, they’re huge!”

The rookie Digimon stood their ground in front of their tamers. Rockymon gave a growl and wagged his short tail. Maaumon’s tail swished violently from side to side, as did Equimon’s and Vulpemon’s.

The VirusBeemon wasted no time and attacked the foursome.

“Storm Stingers!”

“Dark Claw!”
Rockymon’s paws became shrouded in a dark energy. He jumped up and met one of the bees with his claws.

“Blazing Claws!”
Vuplemon’s four paws ignited in golden flames and she too leapt and countered the attack from the second VirusBeemon.

Maaumon poised herself, her tail raised with the golden ankh at the tip pointing forward at the oncoming VirusBeemon.

“Light of Ankh!”
The ankh began to glow in bright white. As the last of the VirusBeemon descended upon her she jumped out of the way, whipping the bee with the end of her tail.

Equimon took the opportunity to dash past the bees and try and free Heraldimon. He pawed at the hardened amber-like substance that trapped Heraldimon, but it was futile.

The VirusBeemon readied for another attack on the rookies. The small Digimon took the blows head on, dropping hard to the ground.

“What do we do now?” Phoebe was worried. Maya held her hand.

“It’s gonna be alright. We’ll beat them. I’m sure of it!” Maya hid the fact that she was slightly doubtful. These were champion level Digimon, the first that they’d fought so far. And they were strong, too strong for the rookies.

Alex began to push the buttons on his D-Ark erratically, searching for the Limit Activation feature.
Equimon too was knocked to the ground by the bees whilst still trying to free Heraldimon.

The tamers were beginning to lose all faith, until the playing field had just got a little darker…

All the D-Arks began to beep. On the screens read the words, ‘Warning! Opponent Limit Activated.’

“Does this mean what I think it does?” Alex looked at Trask.

“Maya! Get the others out of here!” Rockymon was close to collapsing.

The VirusBeemon became shrouded in a dark mist. Maya and Phoebe were frozen with fear.

“Venom Nightshade!”
The bees descended onto the Digimon and the forest became shrouded in pitch black darkness.

“Rockymon, where are you?” Maya called out, but there was no answer.

The buzzing of the VirusBeemon was more apparent than before. Phoebe felt two arms grab her sides and screamed. Maya felt Phoebe’s hand being lifted.

“Phoebe!” she held on tighter to Phoebe’s hand.

“What’s going on?” Alex’s voice called out through the darkness.

“They’re trying to take Phoebe!” Maya yelled.

Through the sounds of struggle Alex found Maya and helped pull Phoebe back to the ground. The bee released his grip. The dark mist began to fade.
Suddenly Maya was lifted off the ground by one of the other VirusBeemon. She yelled out. Alex and Phoebe ran after the VirusBeemon carrying Maya.

Rockymon, hearing Maya scream, forced himself up of the ground.
“Maya!” he could barely stand. The remaining VirusBeemon came round him, ready for another attack.

Maya’s D-Ark began to beep once more. The words “Activate Limit” appeared on the screen. Maya pushed the button hastily. “Limit Activated!”

Rockymon suddenly regained his energy and turned to face the two bee Digimon.

“Shadow Calling!”

Rockymon’s shadow lengthened and joined the shadows of the bee Digimon. From beneath the ground shadow claws rose up and grabbed on to the legs of the VirusBeemon. Caught off guard they began to panic and beat their wings to try and fly away. But the shadows tight grip prevented them from moving their legs at all.

Rockymon left his shadow and ran after the VirusBeemon carrying Maya. His body began to glow in a bright red light, as did Maya’s D-Ark.

“Evolution!”

“Rockymon evolve to…”
Leaping into the air Rockymon’s small feline form grew. His snout lengthened, sharp teeth bared. His pointy ears rounded. His tail disappeared and his small feet enlarged with large claws.
The fading light revealed a tall, muscular, bipedal black panther Digimon wearing two bright red boxing gloves over bandaged arms. He also wore a Holy ring on his left bicep.
“Manxmon!”

The others watched in awe as Manxmon leapt high into the air with his strong legs. His fist connected with the VirusBeemon’s head and he released Maya. Manxmon caught Maya and landed softly on his large feet. Setting Maya down he leapt again for the dazed bee Digimon.

“Panthera Punch!”
Manxmon met the Digimon again with a powerful right uppercut to the bottom of the head. The bee fell to the ground, data eradicating instantly.

Manxmon landed and turned towards the other two VirusBeemon still struggling with his previous form’s shadow. Taking a slow walk towards them he swung his arms, stretching the muscles.
Watching in awe, Alex was reminded of a middleweight boxing champion who always paced himself for the final assault on his opponent.

The VirusBeemon were beating their wings frantically as they saw the champion feline Digimon heading slowly towards them. As soon as Manxmon reached the shadow he disappeared. The bee Digimon froze, looking around for the black panther Digimon. They heard a deep voice calling out his attack.

“Shadow Punch!”

The tamers looked on as the VirusBeemon were been punched and hit from all directions. An invisible rain of blows knocked the bee Digimon down, but with the shadow’s grip still strong on their legs, they’d hit the ground and bounce back up to be met by another invisible blow. With the final blow the shadow released its grip and the bees hit the ground hard, bursting into data fragments.

As the other tamers helped their fallen rookies up, Manxmon smashed the hardened chrysalis, freeing Heraldimon. Viola ran over to her Digimon and squeezed her with affection. She turned to the seven foot champion.

“Thank you, Manxmon.” she said.

Manxmon nodded.
He felt his right arm being tugged and turned to see Maya, who proceeded in throwing her arms around his neck.

————————————————

Tuesday was finally Valentine’s Day. All across campus couples wore an item of red clothing. Others were showing off their gifts; giant teddy bears, bouquets of red roses and the lot. Some of the more creative guys went out of their way for their significant other; one such hopeless romantic arranged to have the marching band perform an orchestrated version of his girlfriend’s favorite love song, whilst another had a giant heart sign with the name of his girlfriend hanging over the side of the Law building.

Maya thought it all nice sentiments, but still didn’t see the point of the whole Valentine’s Day thing anyways. If you’re with someone, everyday should be Valentine’s Day, right?

On another note Maya was glad that Manxmon reverted back to Rockymon.

“Like anyone wouldn’t notice that.” she told him on the walk home.

“It was an awesome feeling, Maya!” Rockymon was full of energy even after de-evolving, “I felt powerful, like Wolverine!”
Maya giggled. Rockymon had been watching a wide variety of cartoons.
In a lot of ways he reminded her of her cousin’s five year old son, and if given the chance, would run around the apartment with a towel around his neck pretending to be Batman.

Maya had noticed the level of mental maturity of the five rookies was quite diverse. Though they all showed a similar level of physical strength, their personalities could not have been more different.
Rockymon was enthusiastic, energetic and always curious about the real world. Maaumon too was childlike in her personality, but showed a level of feminine elegance and charm. Equimon was slightly more mature than the felines in personality, but was just as playful. Vulpemon showed her maturity from the beginning, though she too would participate in all the games the others played. Heraldimon was still new to the group. She would sit and watch the others. When they beckoned for her to join in the fun, she gracefully declined, but was later forced into joining their antics. Although she didn’t show it, Heraldimon enjoyed hanging around the others.

When they reached the apartment, there was a small box on the welcome mat.

Maya sighed, “Another one of Sasha’s Valentine’s gifts no doubt.”

She picked it up and took it inside, setting it down on the living room coffee table and proceeded to her bedroom. A curious Rockymon peered over the table and opened the lid of the box. A single pink rose lay within the box. Over it was a small note.

“But Maya, this has your name on it.” he said.

Maya peered out the doorway of her bedroom, “What?”

“It’s for you.” Rockymon picked up the box and brought it over to Maya, who picked up the note.

“It doesn’t say anything else…” she flipped the note over. It was blank.

She set the note down and picked up the pink rose, automatically lifting it to her nose to take in its scent. She smiled.

“Why is it pink? Aren’t red roses supposed to be given on Valentine’s Day?” Rockymon asked.

“Uh…I’m not really sure,” Maya said.

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