Episode 8: Chasing Wonderland

It was a quiet Sunday in Square City, a couple of months since Blackout Sunday. Spring break was just around the corner. Maya decided to take it easy; she had just about completed her assignment on the Archaic Period of Ancient Greece. After the previous day’s incident with Kuwagamon, the tamers weren’t too worried about people seeing their Digimon. But after seeing the hype over the giant insect all over the news, they had become careful about taking their Digimon out in public.

Maya, with Rockymon of course, took a stroll down Main Street, stopping by Mimi’s Deli for a cup of her favorite Chocaccino. She knew Phoebe wasn’t working that day as she was behind on her own assignments. Just as Maya was about to walk on into the deli she spotted something move in the planted shrub outside. She stopped in front of the potted plant. Rockymon, in Maya’s arms, sniffed at it.
“Oh, it’s Vulpemon.” he whispered.

“Oh, really?” Maya bent forward a bit and made out Vulpemon’s bright yellow eyes through the green. Vulpemon gave a bit of a smile, embarrassed at being discovered. Maya giggled and carried on into the deli. Alex had been waiting at the counter for his beverage.

“Hey,” he greeted Maya and Rockymon, smiling widely.

“Hi,” Maya smiled back.

“Thought you were all crammed up with assignments like everyone else.”

“I’m all done, actually.”

“Heh, really?”

“Yep.”

Maya made her order at the counter. As she reached into her shoulder bag for her wallet Alex leaned over the counter a little.
“Uh, it’s on me.”

Maya paused and saw Alex place the money on the counter, paying for both beverages.

“Oh, no, Alex, come on…” Maya’s hand was still in her bag, scratching around for her wallet.

“Nah it’s OK, really.”

“No, no…If I can…just…” she was having some trouble finding her wallet.

Alex held her arm, “Maya, it’s OK…”

She looked up at Alex and, temporarily distracted by his different colored eyes, gave up, “OK…Thanks.” She smiled widely.

They grabbed their beverages and walked out of the deli, stopping by the planted shrub Vulpemon was hiding in. Maya peered through the branches of the plant, trying to spot Vulpemon’s pale, purple fur. She was confused at not seeing her, “She’s not in here…”

“Oh she’s around. She can appear…”

“…and disappear when she wants to, yea I remember.”

They stood there, outside the deli for a while. Maya, holding Rockymon in one arm, blew on the hot Chocaccino in an effort to cool it down a bit. Alex took a sip of his drink whilst looking up at the sky, lost in thought for a moment. Finally he turned to Maya, “Hey, wanne take a walk?”

Maya paused just before taking a sip of her own drink and looked up at him, Uh, sure.”

The two tamers made their way down the street.

“So…uh you don’t teach on Sundays?” Maya asked

“Nah, I needed a break too.” Alex giggled.

Rockymon tried to keep a still face every time they walked pass someone, but he couldn’t help but smile to himself while listening to the tamers conversation. Occasionally he caught a glimpse of Vulpemon’s tail swing over the rooftops. He could hear the faint patter of her paws as well.

Around the corner was Central Park. A gentle breeze blew through the trees, bringing with it small petals of soft pink. Maya stopped to analyze them as they were carried passed her.

“The cherry blossoms are blooming!” she said excitedly.

Alex was a bit surprised at Mayas excitement, “You wanne check it out?”

“Yeah!” Maya was like a child again. Her family had spent the first three years of Maya’s life in Tokyo. The annual Cherry Blossom Viewing Festival was one of her first and fondest memories.

After a few minutes they’d reached the centre of the park. They were surrounded by the soft pink haze of the cherry blossoms on the trees. Maya set Rockymon down as soon as Vulpemon appeared. Rockymon raised his paw, catching a falling petal and bringing it closer to examine it. The grass was lush and bright green, a contrast to the almost white petals flying all over the place.
Whilst the others were enthralled buy the flurry of falling petals something caught Maya’s eye behind one of the trees. She walked slowly over, the others not noticing, and as she peered behind one of the trees she saw a small brown rabbit feeding on the grass.
Her smile widened and she took a step forward. Noticing her, the little creature froze, its big bright eyes staring at her. Maya stood still, moving only very slowly so as not to alarm it.

“It’s OK, I’m not gonna hurt you.” Maya took a small, slow step forward.

“Hey Maya.” Alex called out, finally noticing her disappearance.

“Shhh! Over here.” She tried to whisper out loud.

Alex walked over and saw the small rabbit, frozen still, its gaze slightly shifted from Maya to him.

Maya knelt down, Alex stood a few steps from her. She slowly pulled the strap of her bag over her shoulder and set it down on the grass next to her. The little creature jerked a bit but did not move, its whiskers twitching constantly.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen a rabbit in Central Park.” Alex looked around, hoping to see more of them.

Maya ignored him completely, shifting ever closer to the little animal. Vulpemon’s ears twitched and she turned her head, noticing the two tamers had vanished. She heard Maya’s whispers and headed in that direction, relieved that they had not gone far. Rockymon was still engulfed in watching the petals fall and, being the playful little feline, jumped and pawed at them.
Vulpemon walked over to Alex, examining the surroundings. The tamers hadn’t noticed, but the patch of grass in this area was somehow dull in color. The color of the leaves on the trees were also a lesser green, the bark seemed a tad more ‘reddish’ than usual. Vulpemon blinked and turned her attention towards the little creature with which Maya was so enthralled. The rabbit glanced at Vulpemon and hopped into a nearby bush.

“Vulpemon, you frightened it away.” said Alex.

Vulpemon was skeptical about their surroundings, “Alex, something’s not right here.”

“What do you mean?” he turned to her. Just then a field of purple light exploded out of the bush the rabbit had hidden in, engulfing the tamers and Vulpemon.

Maya’s bag was shot clear from the area, landing a distance behind where Rockymon was. He turned instantly, alarmed by the sound of the blast. He saw Maya’s bag hit the ground and he dashed for the direction it came from. But there was nothing but a smoking patch of grass. Rockymon, his heat beating wildly, sniffed around the area.
“Maya! Maya!” he called out madly.

“Alex! Vulpemon, where are you?”
There was no sign of them. He made his way back to Maya’s bag. Her D-Ark beeped wildly, but nothing showed on the screen as Rockymon pulled it out. He ran around the park, frantically searching for his tamer and comrades, but their scent could not be found anywhere else but by the smoky patch of grass. By now his pupils had grown so much that they’d almost covered his golden colored irises, a sign that he was terrified, terrified that something had happened to Alex, Vulpemon and most importantly, Maya.

He reached into the bag and found Maya’s mobile phone. He had played around with it on numerous occasions, when Maya wasn’t looking, so he sort of knew how it worked. He had also answered a few of Maya’s calls, but only those from the other tamers.
He searched the contact list and dialed out.

————————————————————–

“What happened?” Alex asked, looking around.

They hadn’t moved their positions at all, Alex stood, Vulpemon next to him, with Maya still kneeling a couple of steps ahead of them. She looked down and saw a huge black hole. She jumped up. It felt like they were standing on solid ground, yet somehow the black hole swirled a distance beneath their feet.

The fur on Vulpemon’s neck began to rise and she gave a soft growl.

“Where are we?” asked Maya. She turned around, but didn’t see Rockymon, “Wh..Where’s Rockymon?”

Alex turned too to try to spot the little feline, but they were the only ones in this spiral of confusion. Rockymon was nowhere to be found.

“Rockymon!” Maya called out. Instinctively she reached for her D-Ark in her bag that was usually at her side, but quickly realized that she had set her bag down.
Alex’s D-Ark began to beep wildly. Vulpemon’s growl became louder as her fur rose even more.

“What is it, Vulpemon?” Alex asked.

“Stay close, there’s something nearby. And it’s not friendly…”

Maya moved in next to Alex as they stared in the same direction as the fox Digimon. A gust of purple energy blew across and swept the two tamers off their feet. Alex grabbed Maya in an attempt to break her fall, but instead of falling, they floated.
“What the hell?” he said.
Vulpemon was still firmly rooted to transparent ground. She was unscathed by the blast, her eyes fixated on the direction it came from.

“I don’t like this…” said Maya, clutching onto Alex’s arm as they floated.

They could hear a soft laugh, an eerie sound getting louder and louder until it became recognizable as female. A wave of purple light shot forth again. This time Vulpemon leapt over it and towards the source. Suddenly she shot backwards, countered by the invisible source of the crescendo of laughter. Suddenly, it appeared;
A tall, almost disproportionate-like creature with the head and ears of a rabbit. She had long, slender arms that thickened considerably after the elbow all the way to her hand-like paws. She had red armor covering her torso and long, almost clown-like legs and feet covered in lilac pants. Her skin was brown and her eyes eerily red.
Alex raised his D-Ark, “Antylamon, a Holy Beast type Digimon, Ultimate level.”

“Did you say Ultimate?” Maya’s gazed was fixed on the tall, rabbit-like Digimon.

She was still laughing, a sound that at this point infuriated Vulpemon to her core, “You won’t be laughing for long!”

Alex D-Ark gave the option they had waited for; “Activate Evolution”

He wasted no time and pressed the button;

“Evolution!”

Vulpemon leapt forward once more and became covered in bright yellow light.
“Vulpemon evolve to…”
In place of Vulpemon appeared the bigger fox type Digimon.
“Youkomon!”

Anylamon’s laughing subsided and she examined her enemy.

————————————————————

“Hello? Hellooo?” Viola was frustrated at someone calling her while she was getting a back massage at her apartment.

“Maya’s in trouble!”

“Wha…Rockymon? Is that you?”

“Viola! Please help!”

Viola shooed the masseuse out of the room and sat up, “Rockymon, calm down. What happened?”

Heraldimon, who was sitting patiently on the balcony admiring the blossoms, heard Viola call out Rockymon’s name. She peeped through the window to see if the masseuse had gone. Once she was sure she ran inside and stood at the edge of the fold up massage table the Viola was sitting on.

Rockymon began frantically explaining what had happened in the park.

“We’ll be right there! Hang on!” Viola hung up and, clutching to a towel around her, ran upstairs to her room and put on the first thing she saw. She grabbed her D-Ark from the end-table and ran downstairs.

“Viola, what’s going on?” Heraldimon asked, nervously.

“I’ll explain on the way. Quick, get the car keys!” Viola grabbed a jacket and hastily put it on whilst Heraldimon shot out a vine from her arm, whipping up Viola’s car keys from the kitchen counter.

——————————————–

“Flaming Dragons!”

The fiery tips of Youkomon’s tails flickered and leapt towards Antylamon. Using her long legs she jumped out of shot and, like a graceful acrobat landed on one of her arms right next to Youkomon. After a second of steadying herself Antylamon stretched out her legs and swung her hips, spinning her body on her hand like a top. She struck Youkomon’s side, forcing her backwards. Youkomon flinched.

Alex and Maya continued to float in this bizarre vortex they were trapped in. Antylamon stood up straight. She waited patiently for her opponent to gain her composure and attack again. Youkomon readied for another attempt.

“Flaming Dragons!”
This time she rolled her body forward, catapulting the flames of her tails towards Antylamon. While the rabbit Digimon dodged it once more, she didn’t notice Youkomon leaping straight above her, launching another wave of flames. The second wave struck home and Antylamon fell backwards.

Furious at being struck down by a feeble Champion level Digimon, Antylamon quickly stood up, “No more games…”she said softly.

“Bunny Blades!”

Antylamon’s hands began to morph into axe-like forms and, like a graceful ballerina began to spin herself on one foot, with her arms outstretched.

“Oh no! Youkomon, dodge em!” Alex cried out.
Youkomon jumped nimbly out of the reach of Antylamon’s axes the first time, then the second. Until Antylamon began to gain momentum. Her form became like a merciless blade, and Youkomon was beginning to tire from dodging her attacks.

——————————————————–

“What the hell is going on?!” Trask and Equimon ran up to the centre of the park, where he found Rockymon, Viola, Heraldimon, Phoebe and Maaumon.

“Something happened to Maya and Alex…they’re nowhere to be found.” Viola explained.

Rockymon lead the Digimon to where he last caught the tamers scent. He carried Maya’s D-Ark. Heraldimon stood for a moment. As Rockymon explained what he thought had happened, Heraldimon closed her eyes. The vines on her legs reached towards the ground, burrowing themselves beneath the soils surface.
“Wait!” she said. The others turned to her.

“Don’t you feel that?”

“Feel what, Heraldimon?” said Maaumon.

“The vibrations, in the ground.”

“In the ground?” Equimon shifted his hooves a little bit in the grass. He suddenly felt the feint vibrations.
“I feel it!”

“What?!” Rockymon tried to calm himself and ‘listen’ to the ground. Maaumon confirmed Heraldimon’s discovery. Rockymon could feel a slight shift in ground movements.

“But it could be anything,” said Maaumon.

The D-Ark in Rockymon’s paw began to beep yet again, as wildly as it did before. As Rockymon raised it up the image of Antylamon appeared. The device read out the stats of the rabbit Digimon as it did with Alex and Maya.

“Antylamon!” Equimon’s brows lowered, “We’ve got to get to them, and fast. Youkomon wouldn’t be able to defeat her alone!”

The other tamers made their way to where their Digimon stood and, one by one, their D-Arks reacted the same way Maya’s did. The tamers and their Digimon discussed their theories of how to try and get to Alex, Maya and Vulpemon. Rockymon listened for a moment, until something caught his eye. The breeze had picked up again and tossed the fallen cherry blossom petals back into the air. The petals were blown higher and higher above the group until they seemed to have stuck in mid air. Rockymon squinted his eyes to see that the petals had hit something invisible and were blown around it.
“Guys…” he said, without taking his eyes off it.

The others turned to him, then up and saw what had caught his attention.

“How…What… is that?” Phoebe asked finally.

Trask picked up a rock and flung it upwards. It hit the invisible wall and bounced back, creating a ripple on the wall. For an instant they could make out Youkomon’s faint silhouette.

“Youkomon!” Maaumon yelled out.

“We’ve gotta get up there!” Equimon turned to Trask just as his and Phoebe’s D-Arks gave the option, ‘Activate Evolution’. Turquoise and Pink light surrounded Equimon and Maaumon respectively.

“Evolution!”

“Equimon evolve to…”
The tall centaur like form appeared in Equimon’s place.
“Kentauromon!”

“Maaumon evolve to…”
Maaumon grew slightly into a bipedal calico colored feline.
“Mikemon!”

“Blue Lightning Burst!”
Kentauromon’s disfigured right arm began to spark with tiny blue static charges that expanded more and more until he raised his arm and, with a crash of thunder a large bolt of blue lightning sprung forth towards the invisible wall.

———————————————————-

Youkomon panted heavily. She was almost completely out of energy. Maya and Alex were still afloat, praying that somehow Youkomon would have the strength to be able to defeat Antylamon, but in the back of their minds they were doubtful. Youkomon had taken blow after blow from the acrobatic Antylamon, but pulled herself back up each time, knowing that she might be the tamer duo’s only hope.
Alex and Maya had noticed that her body had distorted whenever she forced herself up, like a glitch on a computer screen that lasted for a fraction of a second.
Just as Antylamon lunged forward for another assault on Youkomon there was a flash of blue light. Alex and Maya instinctively shielded their eyes, as did Antylamon who caught her step and jumped backwards. The light faded but a bolt of blue electricity jumped around the bizarre little world they were seemingly trapped in. The bolt bounced off the rounded walls, missing the two tamers and Youkomon, as if it were alive and aiming straight for the large rabbit. Antylamon tried to jump out of the way but the lightning simply bounced off the wall and struck her from behind. She yelped as she tumbled to the transparent floor.

From the source of the bolt Maya turned to see small blue sparks coming through the wall. Then slowly, metal rods appeared, followed by a disfigured grey arm adorned by the familiar turquoise orbs.

“Kentauromon!” Maya nudged Alex into looking in the same direction. They smiled a sigh of relief as they saw the centaur Digimon make his way through. On his equine-like back he carried Trask, Phoebe and Viola, holding Heraldimon. Mikemon had held on to Kentauromon’s purple tail and jumped forwards and towards Youkomon. Maya smiled widely to see Phoebe holding Rockymon.

“No!” Antylamon regained her form and lunged at Kentauromon with her axe-like arms outstretched.

“Get to the others, now!” Kentauromon readied to parry her attack as the tamers jumped off his back and headed towards Alex and Maya. Rockymon jumped from Phoebe’s arms into Maya’s, who clutched onto him in a tight hug. The others pulled her and Alex down to the solid floor as Maya shouted out the voice activated order, “Activate Evolution!”

“Evolution!”

“Rockymon evolve to…”
The tall, black, bipedal panther-like being appeared out of the bright red light that had engulfed Rockymon. His bandaged arms, covered in bright red boxing gloves swung in windmill motions as he readied his own assault on his enemy.
“Manxmon!”

Kentauromon met Antylamon with another Blue Lightning Burst and she swung backwards, knocked off balance by the bolt. Alex ran up to Youkomon, who still panted heavily and eventually knelt down on all fours, the tips of her flaming tails losing their flames. Alex held her large, purple fox-like head in his arms, placing his head on hers, “It’s OK now, Youkomon…”

In a flash of yellow light Alex was holding a sleeping Vulpemon in his arms, all the while Mikemon stood close, incase Antylamon decided to attack Youkomon again. As soon as Alex left to join the other tamers Mikemon jumped into the fight.

“Paw Punch!”

Mikemon’s paws hardened as she dealt a blow to Antylamon’s head. Antylamon only head to swing on of her arms to knock Mikemon down, but she rose again, and continued to rain blows on the enemy.
Finally Antylamon grabbed the small Mikemon with her large hands, “Enough of this!”
In one smooth motion Antylamon flung Mikemon into the air. Manxmon readied himself and jumped, catching her in his arms. The walls of the mysterious room began to warp and gradually the park came back into view, but they were all suspended ten feet in the air. The rippling vortex descended to the grassy floor and eventually disappeared. They were all back in the park again, at exactly the same place Alex, Maya and Vulpemon had disappeared.
Heraldimon had stood with the other tamers the entire time, knowing she wasn’t strong enough to help them at this level.

The breeze had become a strong wind. There was a flurry of leaves and petals from the cherry blossom trees that surrounded them. Antylamon swung here hands as if to swat the leaves away from her, momentarily distracted from the champions in front of her. Heraldimon took notice of this.

“Panthera Punch!”

Manxmon met Antylamon with a deadly uppercut from his left fist, knocking her clear off the ground. She quickly regained her balance in mid air and landed gracefully. As she did she was met but a flurry of thorns.
“Aaah!” Antylamon fell back onto one knee.

“What’s this?” she turned her head to see Heraldimon launch another wave of sharp thorns.

“Dart Thorns!”

Another wave of thorns headed for Antylamon, this time she jumped high and out of the line of the attack.

“Bunny Blades!”

Antylamon’s hands became axes once more and as she let herself fall back down to earth, brought both arms forwards and slammed them onto the ground, in line with Heraldimon. The axes created a crack in the ground that ran all the way to where Heraldimon stood, knocking her off balance. Viola beckoned for her to run back but Heraldimon would not listen. From the corner of her eye Antylamon caught Manxmon charging forward. Instinctively she turned and swung her arms like a deadly tornado and struck him down.

Anger began to fill up in Heraldimon, she became charged with energy as she saw her comrades struck down one by one. Antylamon dealt blows to Mikemon and Kentauromon, knocking them off. A moment later the thorns riddling her body lit up in a bright green hue. Viola’s D-Ark began to beep as Heraldimon’s entire body became covered in green light.

“Evolution!”

“Heraldimon evolve to…”
Her body grew slightly taller, the thorns and vines disappeared. The leaves covering he head morphed into long, pink hair, sprouting a second lilac rose on the other side of her head. The light faded and Heraldimon’s new form was almost doll-like. Her skin was a pale green and she wore a darker green dress. She wore vines of thorns as bracelets and on her neck that crossed around her body till her waist. She had blushing pink cheeks.
“Rosaemon!”

Viola’s jaw dropped. She looked upon her new champion. It seemed as if the roses on Rosaemon’s head were giving off a glittery substance, shining blindly as particles caught sunlight.
“This shouldn’t take long.” she turned to Viola, who was still dumbstruck.

“Twisted Thorns!”

Rosaemon raised her arms, aiming at Antylamon. The ground began to shake slightly. Suddenly four vines of thorns sprung from the ground beneath Antylamon’s feet. They gripped her arms and legs tightly, preventing any escape.
Manxmon pulled himself up and saw Antylamon trapped by Rosaemon’s vines.

“Kentauromon! Mikemon! Get up!” He called out to his fellow fallen champions.
“We’ve got to attack her together!”
Kentauromon and Mikemon pulled themselves up and on to their feet.

“Paw Punch!”

“Blue Lightning Burst!”

Mikemon struck again with her iron fists before Kentauromon launched another bolt of blue electricity onto the trapped Antylamon.

“Shadow Punch!”

Manxmon disappeared in a poof of black smoke. A second later invisible blows rained on Antylamon, knocking her from side to side. The tight grip of the vines prevented her from falling backwards or forwards. Eventually they were keeping her body up straight, her head handing on her chest. Finally Manxmon appeared above her and delivered his final blow.

“Panthera Punch!”

With one swift punch of his right fist, Antylamon instantaneously exploded into data fragments.
The wind died down into a breeze once more. The fallen petals of the cherry blossom trees were once again picked up and drifted along, swirling occasionally in mid air and gently landing a distance away from their original place…

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