“Rough Waters Ahead”
* * *
~~~ Emily's P.O.V. ~~~
After walking for sevral hours, we decided that it was time to call it a night. Jenn found a cave where we all slept, and of corse we took turns standing gaurd. Durring my shift, I got kinda bord and haveing earlier descoverd that I still had my portable CD player, I listend to it for a little while to pass the time, and wouldn't you know it? My blasted batteries died on me! I decided to go off and find some, but Huntermon and I weren't about to go and wander the Digiworld by ourselves, so I made Alex and Nerimon come along. Because there was no one looking after my friends, Sonomi took advantage of the opportunity and sent her Digi goons in for the kill. Meanwhile, Alex and I were having our own problems with a hungry Seadramon. Huntermon digivolved into Agurimon and saved us both. We managed to get back to the others in the nick of time. I feel really bad about what happened. And to make matters worse, Seadramon is still out there waiting for us. Another thing, just before the battle with Seadramon, Huntermon and I came across a strange presents in the woods. Whoever it was, I hope they come back. Something tells me they'll have all the answers to our questions.
* * *
The sun rose over the rushing waves, making the water glisten and sparkle as the Digidestined watched, savoring their moment of accomplishment. Of course, they realized that there was still much to accomplish.
"Okay, so we’re here," Jenn began. "Now what?"
"Yeah, I mean do we just wait here and like, wait for the palace to just magically rise out of the water or something?" Dani shrugged.
"Um, well. . . ." Jenn's gaze wondered back to the ocean, as she became hypnotized by the blissful sound of the tides hitting the shore.
"Hello! Earth to Jenn!" Kristina snapped her fingers. "Come in!"
"Guys, I don't think we're gonna find what we’re looking for just standing around here," Jenn responded, eyes never leaving the ocean.
"Oh geez, not another psychotic Jenn plan," Kristina complained, rolling her eyes.
"You mean, we gotta go . . . out there?" Erica hunched over in exhaustion.
"Well, what do you suggest we do? Huh?!" the red head raised her voice. "Come on you guys, we can’t just give up! We've come so far. We're almost there! I can feel it!" She paused and took a deep breath.
"Jenn, relax! We're just tired okay?" Foximon sighed, slumping down next to Erica and Kristina.
"Fine! You guys stay here and be quitters! I'm gonna start building a raft!" And with that, she ran off into the woods.
"Oi, I'd better go with her." Lexxy ran off after Jenn.
"Hey, wait for me!" Lina called out, following her.
* * *
The others eventually decided to join them. They scavenged the nearby forest for wood, food and other useful things.
"Hey Lexxy?" Lina began. "I'm getting kinda worried about Jenn. Do you think, maybe this whole leader thing might be I dunno . . . going to her head?"
"And you’re just now noticing that?" Lexxy smirked playfully.
"You know that's not what I meant." Lina giggled at Lexxy's humor. "But I am worried that she may be way in over her head here . . . I’ve read her fics. If this is true and she really has become her character-I mean not only in appearance but subconsciously . . . well, you know how stubborn she can be."
"True." Lexxy sighed. "But, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I may be Lexxy Ishidori now, but underneath the black hair and purple vest, I'm still Shelli Pelletier . . . same with the rest of us, including Jenn."
"You’re probably right." Lina smiled, setting down the pile of wood she had cradled in her arms.
"This should be more then enough wood to build a raft," Lexxy announced, suddenly changing the subject.
They returned to the group just as a familiar figure emerged from behind a nearby tree. "Hey guys!" Meramon waved. He was much friendlier this time, thank goodness, although his sudden appearance was a bit startling. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you. I just came to see if I can offer my assistance."
"It's no problem at all Meramon, and sure. The more help the better!" Jenn nodded.
"Then you can count us in too!" came more familiar voices. It was a pack of Numemon. The same Numemon they had met earlier. "Please, tell us what we can do."
Lina smiled. "Well, you can start by helping us gather some food."
"Were on it!" The head Numemon bowed and led the others back into the woods.
Meanwhile, Meramon put his fiery hands to good use and carefully crafted the pieces of wood into long and sturdy logs, which were then tied together with vines that the Numemon had helped gather. The boys-Alex, Pandamon, Diratimon, Cunomon and Yazumon-lifted the mast, and palm tree leaves were tied on as the sail.
The hour passed, and slowly but surely their raft was completed. It was definitely big enough to hold ten kids and ten Rookies, and durability was rest assured.
They were all set to go. The food was gathered and sat in a neat pile in the middle of the raft, and some extra leaves and herbs were set aside for first aide.
"Heh. This reminds me of that movie, the one with Tom Hanks. All that's missing is that stupid volleyball," grinned Tania.
"Hee hee, yeah! Wilson!" Skye laughed.
"Who's Tom Hanks?" Foximon tilted her head in a puzzled yet cute way.
"What's a volleyball?" Pandamon added.
"Forget it!" Jenn sighed. "We should get going while the tide is still calm."
"Right." Lexxy nodded in agreement then turned to Meramon and the Numemon, smiling. "See ya, guys."
"Yeah, thanks again for the help!" added Lina gratefully.
"It was our pleasure." Meramon bowed. The Numamon did the same.
And with that, the Digidestend waved one last goodbye to their friends as they were pushed out into the current, floating further and further into the vast and endless sea.
* * *
Although on land the summer’s heat did not seem bad, after a few hours the heat soon became unbearable, and one by one the Digidestend and their Digimon gave into sleep, until only a few remained awake. Just their luck, it was at this point that a large school of fish approached the raft.
“Oh wow! Look at that one!” said Dani, pointing to one of the bigger of the bunch. “Oh and that one! And that one! And that big on over there!”
“Slow down, Dani!” said a frustrated Pandamon. “We can’t catch them all at once, you know.”
“Hurry it up, Pandamon!” said Foximon, watching the water with one paw raised. “If we don’t hurry they’ll swim right by us!” She made a grab for it, not realizing the fish was actually in the water-SPLASH!
“Going for a swim, Foximon?” said Pandamon with a grin.
“Very funny, Pandamon,” the wet fox Digimon growled. “Now would somebody please help me out of here?!”
“You think you would’ve learned by now,” said Magimon, grabbing one of her paws. Pandamon grabbed the other. “Foximon just aren't meant for fish-wait a minute!” Magimon let go of an aggravated Foximon’s paw.
“What’s that?” Magimon asked, pointing down into the ocean.
Sticking up one finger, Skye crawled over to them. “Can I be the first one to say: ‘It had better not be another evil Digimon’?”
“Ditto that,” agreed Dani as she approached them. “Wow! What is it?”
Deep down on what could only be the ocean floor there was a twinkling of bright lights. The lights fizzled and zapped, as if they were lights from a fireworks display. Dani, entranced by the glowing lights, leaned closer to get a better look.
“Do you think . . . Do you think that’s it?” she asked. “Is that the Digi Palace?”
“It’s awfully small to be a palace,” commented Jennifer skeptically.
“Well,” said Skye, pulling off her shoes. “Let’s go find out.”
“What? Don’t tell me you’re thinking of going down there!” Dani’s eyes were wide in shock and fear.
“Why not?” replied the blue haired girl, not even bothering to look up.
“Skye,” said Jenn slowly, trying to remain calm. “Dani’s concern is. . . .” She gave up all attempts at being calm and, waving her arms in the air, said, “There might be evil Digimon down there!”
“And there isn’t everywhere else we go?” Skye raised her hand to remove her locket, and to their shock, it began to glow. “See? Even the freaky Powers That Be want me to go and take a look.”
“Skye, it’s not a wise decision to go down by yourself,” said Magimon sagely.
“It’s not like any of you can stop me. Jenn might be stubborn but I’m rock solid in my choices,” Skye insisted. “Besides, I’ve been thinking about this. If everyone is becoming more and more like their characters, that means I’m gonna be becoming more like Skye.” She paused. “In my story Skye was genetically engineered to be the perfect ruler. She could do things normal humans couldn’t.”
Dani and Jenn both stood, slack-jawed with their eyes and mouths open wide. “So,” said Skye, putting the glowing, star-shaped locket into Jennifer’s hand. “Let’s test my theory!” With that she dived down into the water with a splash.
“Skye!” Dani called loudly after her, to no avail.
“What’s going on?” Lina asked vaguely, still half asleep. The others began to awake as well.
“We saw glowing lights down in the water!” cried Dani, waving her arms about. “And then Skye’s locket started glowing! And then she, being the lunatic she is, jumped in!”
Several of the children and Digimon all started speaking at once. Only Jennifer held her tongue. She stared at the brightly glowing locket and felt an enormous wave of fatigue pass through her, as if her body were shutting down. Black spots appeared in her vision until they clouded out all normal view and she fell to the ground with a small sigh.
“Jenn!” Foximon cried, and rushed to her Digidestined’s side.
“I’m okay, Foxi,” said Jennifer, now feeling perfectly content. She looked at the locket on the raft’s logs, which she had dropped.
“Jenn, are you okay?”
“Did you slip?”
“I’m fine,” said Jennifer, slowly rising to her feet. She looked at the locket curiously. “I guess I’m just more tired than I thought I was.”
Suddenly there was a splash, and Skye’s head appeared out of the water. “You guys are never gonna believe what I found!”
After placing a small wooden chest on the side of the raft, she climbed out of the water. It was a medium-sized box, with gold trim around it. The lock was in a star shape, which reminded Jennifer of the locket that lay next to her.
“It’s like the celebration of lights,” commented Lexxy.
“What do you think is inside it?” asked Erica in a quiet voice.
“I don’t know,” muttered Alex in the same tone. “Maybe a map? Or a hidden treasure?”
“A box full of digi-dollars sure would be nice,” said Cheekomon dreamily.
Skye picked up her locket, dropping it back around her neck casually, then sat down in front of the chest. Jennifer watched curiously. The locket seemed to have no effect on the younger girl whatsoever. Skye leaned forward to inspect the box when all of a sudden the chest lid popped up!
“I don’t believe it!” said Kristina, staring in awe. Inside were, unmistakably, ten tags.
"Cool! I was wondering when we'd find these!" said Emily.
"There ya go, The Digi Palace MUST be near by!" Jenn announced eagerly.
"What makes you so sure?" Lina asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Well. . . ." Jenn began, but was cut off by a sudden blow to the side of the raft. "Hey, what the. . . ."
A ship as big as a Whamon (and judging from the damage that it had done, twice as strong) had plowed right into their little raft. Jenn held one hand over her eyes and looked up to see what she thought was a flag waving high above. "Uh oh, you guys. We’ve got company."
"Good, I hope?"
"I don't think so." The suns glare shifted to reveal the scull and crossbones symbol on what was indeed a torn black flag.
"Digi-pirates!" cried Diratimon.
"Great, that's all we need right now!"
"Well well well! Lookie what the Seadramon dragged in," came a gruff and unwelcoming voice. It was hard to get a good look at the creature, standing on the wall of the ship, but it was undoubtedly not a friendly voice. "I be Piramon, and ye be tresspassing in forbidden territory." He gestured to his crew. "Bring them to me, and destroy what’s left of their little raft!"
The kids and Digimon were captured and brought onto the ship, where they were bound to the giant mast.
Piramon was a surprisingly short Digimon. He was round, like an orange. He walked on one peg leg and wore a patch on his right eye. His pirate hat was almost bigger then his head, and fell over his eyes occasionally.
He circled the group of Digidestined, eyeing them with obvious suspicion. "I've been watching ye ever since ye floated into my personal territory." He stopped in front of Jenn, raising his sword to her face. "And ye has something that belongs to me!"
"We didn't steal anything. That box was meant for the Digidestined, and that would be us!"
"Arrrr! I don't care if yer the Digimon Queen! It was on my property, which makes it rightfully mine!"
"You mean, you don't work for Queen Sonomi?" asked Foximon.
"We work for no one but ourselves!" one of the crewmembers replied.
"Mushroomon, take this box below deck and put it with the rest of our booty," ordered Piramon.
"Aye aye, sir!" The Mushroommon saluted and did as he was told.
"As for ye. . . ." The captain turned to the Digidestined with an evil glare in his eye. "Welcome to yer new home, slaves!"
* * *
~~~ Jennifer's P.O.V. ~~~
There you have it. Just as things were coming together! The next two days brought nothing but endless misery, starvation and torture. . . .
* * *
"Hey, slave!" a Roachmon snarled, spilling his root beer all over the deck. Erica stood holding a mop and staring down at the mess, exhausted.
"Don't just sit there and stare at it! Clean it up!" the Digimon continued. "And when you’re done, be a doll and give be a foot rub." He held his slimy foot in her face. Erica looked away in disgust.
"Me too!" the Roachmon's twin brother demanded.
"I asked first!" The other hollered, grabbing the girl's arm and pulling her into a head lock, while the second Roachmon grabbed her other arm and began to pull. "My feet hurt more!"
"You haven't done anything all day but sit on your butt!"
"So have you!"
Erica screamed as she was being pulled back and forth between the two Roachmon.
"Hey! Let her go!" Cheekomon roared. "Hang on Erica!" She dropped her broom and tried to run to her partner, but the chains bounding her feet slowed the cheetah down. She tripped, just as an unhappy RedVegimon passed by.
"Laying down on the job, eh?" He held up his giant vine and brought it down harshly upon the helpless Digimon. "Get back to work!"
"No!" Cheekomon screamed. Erica watched helplessly as her best friend was punished against her will. When the beating was done, Cheekomon lay there battered and bruised.
"That's it, Piramon!" Jennifer, who had been within hearing distance as she washed the deck on her hands and knees, cried. "You've gone too far! I refuse to let you harm my friends any longer! Foximon! Digivolve into Glorymon and teach these creeps a lesson!"
The ragged Rookie Digimon sighed. "I can't Jenn. I've tried, but I'm just too tired."
"And hungry," Yazumon added. He could barely raise his head from the heavy chain around his neck.
"Looks like yer the one who be needing a lesson, missy. Maybe some time on the rack will teach ye some respect!" Piramon snapped his fingers and ordered two crewmen to take Jenn down to the lower decks. The redhead kicked and screamed as she was dragged away.
The rest of the Digidestined on deck, afraid of their own fate, looked the other way and continued with their chores.
Pandamon noticed Dani was starting to look pale. "Dani, are you gonna be okay?"
Dani looked down at her friend and smiled weakly. "Sure buddy, I'll be fine." She coughed. Pandamon wasn't convinced. He looked over to Cheekomon, who was having some trouble lifting herself off the floor, and ran to her aid.
"I'm fine, really."
"We have to get out of here. I'm afraid Dani might not make it."
"I agree. But first we need to find our tags."
"Right." Pandamon nodded in agreement and the two quietly and carefully made their way around the ship, thankfully without getting caught.
"Oof. These chains aren’t helping!" Cheekomon used what little energy she had to slice them loose with her claws.
"Oh, and you couldn’t have done that before?"
"It wouldn’t have been good to do it in front of all those evil digi-pirates, now would it? Now be quiet, and follow me!"
Peering cautiously into the gloom, Cheekomon led the way until they finally found the box of tags, sitting on top of a table in a small room. "Alright," said Cheekomon, "let's get out of-Whoa!"
The boat began to shake violently. Stumbling to get back on to his feet, Pandamon looked around. "What in the Digiworld was that?"
"Beats me, but-" Another rumble interrupted Cheekomon, tossing her to the other side of the room. "We’d better get out of here!"
But before Cheekomon could say another word there was another crash from the deck above. They looked up, only to see the ceiling coming down on them! Cheekomon dodged a large rafter, nearly being hit by a board in the process. When she looked around Pandamon was gone.
"Pandamon!" she hissed. "This is no time to be playing hide and go seek!"
But no reply. "Pandamon?" she called, now searching the room worriedly. She stopped as she spotted his unconscious body on the ground, trapped beneath a rafter. "Pandamon! Get up! We have to find the others!" She looked around desperately, then grabbed the small chest and began to pull him towards the door.
Meanwhile Jenn managed to escape from Mushroomon and Gazimon, who were distracted by the attack on the ship, and successfully made it back on deck. The first thing she saw was Cheekomon free of chains, struggling to pull both the chest of tags and an unconscious Pandamon. Jenn went to help. She took Pandamon as his eyes slowly fluttered open. “Are you okay?” the human girl asked.
“Ugh. I think so.” Pandamon rubbed his head gingerly. “What happened?”
“I’m not sure. . . .”
Cheekomon gasped, and they both turned to see her gazing off down the ship. It was soon obvious what was causing all the commotion!
"Seadramon!" Jenn murmured.
The beast had its entire body wrapped around the ship, rocking it back and forth violently. The waves crashed on deck, pulling a few of the pirates with them. Piramon attempted to slash the base of Seadramon's mighty tail with his sword, but he was thrown over board with the rest of his crew. That was the last time the Digidestined ever saw them again. Of course, that wasn’t what was on the front of their minds at the moment.
They were actually lucky for the chains. They were heavy enough to keep them on board when the pirates were all washed away. Cheekomon and Pandamon clung to Jenn as heavy waves of water washed over them. Then the chest of tags was wrenched from Cheekomon’s grip!
“No!” yelled Jenn. She lunged for the chest sliding along the deck, but it was just out of reach. Foximon stretched out her tail and caught it just in time. “Thanks, Foxi,” Jenn smiled. She tried to stand and tripped over her chains. With a frustrated growl she kicked them. “If we don’t get these off we’ll drown when Seadramon’s finishes destroying the ship!”
“Allow me, Jenn. Fighting Rage!” The chains parted into pieces.
Jenn’s green eyes widened. “That’s great, Cheeko! Can you get Foximon and the others too?”
The little cheetah nodded and freed Foximon. “I’ll see if the other Digimon can help too. Come on, Pandamon!” Together the two ran off across the deck, where the rest of the Digidestined and their Digimon were dodging Seadramon’s blows and trying to keep their footing.
Jenn opened up the chest, gazing down at the tags. “We can’t lose these,” she told Foximon. “We’ll need them before this adventure is over, I know it.”
Her partner nodded in agreement. “Where can we put them?” the Digimon asked.
Jenn thought for a moment, then smiled. “We’ll put them on!” She yanked one over her head, then passed four to Foximon. “Get these to the others!”
“You got it!” Foximon grabbed them in her mouth and trotted off. Jenn, holding the other five, followed her. The next ten minutes were a nightmare. Seadramon continued to attack the ship, lashing out at them whenever he could. His attacks caused the ship to buck and sway dangerously. But between Jenn and the Digimon with their strength left, everyone was freed of their chains and had their tags hanging around their necks. Well, almost everyone.
Jenn held the last tag in her hand, looking around the deck frantically and doing a head count. Who wasn’t she seeing?
"Alex!" Nerimon cried from behind her. She twirled around and found him at the edge of the deck. Alex had been thrown off deck, and was now hanging on for dear life! His legs dangled over the roaring waves.
The brown-haired boy was just about to slip when Jenn grabbed his hand. Alex’s tag was wrapped around her wrist to leave her hands free to hold his. "Gotcha!" she cried. Together she and Nerimon began to pull him upward.
"Aaahh! I don't think I can hold on much longer!" gasped Alex, his face a mask if pain.
"You have to!" Jenn cringed.
At the moment the ship tilted completely to one side. Alex’s brown eyes widened in horror as his hands slipped from the gasps of his friends. He went plummeting beneath the waves in an instant. Jennifer didn’t hesitate. She jumped right in after him, followed by Nerimon and Foximon, who wouldn’t leave her Digidestined behind.
Jennifer managed to grab Alex's shirt collar and was about to head back when she
realized that something was pulling them backwards. The redhead struggled to keep her head above water, never letting go of her friend. Meanwhile, Foximon and Nerimon swam as fast as they could, reaching for their humans.
"Jenn!" Foximon coughed out some water.
"Hang in there, buddy!" Nerimon called to his partner, just before they disappeared beneath the waves.
"Oh no." Lexxy, still on the pitching deck, felt a sickly pit in her stomach as she watched the four swallowed up by a giant whirlpool.
"Oh god, this isn't happening!" Tania screamed. All humor and sarcasm had vanished from her expression as if they had never been there.
The remaining humans and Digimon were frozen in shock. They didn't even notice the giant tail of the mighty sea dragon coming down upon them.
In a few short seconds there was a massive explosion as the tail impacted on the deck, breaking it cleanly in half. Digimon and kids were flung like rag dolls into the waves. Then everything went black.