“Determined to Survive”
* * *
~~~ Cunomon's P.O.V. ~~~
This is awful! I thought being a Digi-Destined Digimon was always great, but for the first time we got in real trouble! We made a raft to go search for the underwater Digi Palace, and out in the ocean Skye found our tags! But then we were captured by digi-pirates, led by Piramon! They made us all their slaves. It was horrible because we Digimon weren’t strong enough to protect our partners! I can’t decide if it was a good thing or a bad thing that Seadramon attacked the ship. Those stinkin’ digi-pirates were all washed away, but we fell into the water too! What’s going to happen to us now?
* * *
Jennifer moaned and slowly opened her eyes. As her senses began to kick back into gear she could feel something cold and damp stinging her cheeks. She turned over and looked up at the blue cloudy sky, wondering if she had just woken up from a dream. She then picked up a handful of the ground she was laying on. . . .
Snow? she thought. In the middle of August?
Jenn was no stranger to the snow; she did live in the mountains of California after all. She finally sat up and stared out into the open. Nothing but snow and some trees in the distance. It sure looked like home, but something still didn’t feel right. Then Jenn looked down and noticed that her tag was still safely around her neck.
“Huh? How did I-” She stopped and suddenly realized to her horror that she was still in the digital world. . . . Somewhere in the digital world anyway. She clutched her tag tightly and stood up.
The goggle girl cringed when she felt the icy moisture from the snow seep into her shoes. The stuff covering the ground just barely went past her ankles. “Burr.” She grabbed her bare arms and shivered. “Note to self: next time I plan on visiting the digital world, bring a jacket!” And as if that wasn’t bad enough. “Uh oh . . . the others," Jenn realized. "Foximon!"
She took off running. "Alex!" She went on, calling out their names. "Ohhh, please be here," she muttered, hoping for someone to respond. But all she got was the sound of her own echo.
Jenn stopped for a moment to catch her breath and then tried again. "Foxi-oof!" She began to call, but suddenly tripped over something and landed face first into the snow. "Oh GEEZ! That's COLD!" she shuddered.
After finding her bearings, Jenn quickly turned over to investigate. Familiar pieces of orange, black and cream-colored fur stuck out of a thick white bundle next to where she was lying. "Foxi!" Jenn cried. She furiously began digging around the shivering lump. Even through her gloves the harsh, frostbitten slush felt like knives against her fingertips.
The little fox was clearly unharmed, but remained unconscious for the moment.
Jenn cradled her Digimon tightly, and nuzzled her frozen little cheek. "Oh, Foxi, I'm so sorry." She pulled the bottom of her baggy lavender tank top over Foximon in a poor attempt to keep her warm.
* * *
Queen Sonomi cursed as the image in her dark crystal showed her the leader of the Digi-Destined tenderly holding her frozen Digimon. “I’m beginning to think these children are immortal,” she growled. “Any normal being would have been killed by my minions ages ago!”
“They are certainly nothing compared to you, your highness,” a small voice quivered from the shadows.
The raven-haired queen whirled, her brown eyes alight with rage. “I gave you no permission to speak!” she snarled. “You should be happy I didn’t delete you on the spot for your previous failure, and yet you continue to disobey me!”
In the corner a hunched brown fox hung her head even lower. A heavy iron chain, the sign of her failure, hung around her neck. “My apologies,” she whispered softly. It would be a long time before she could make up the hideous debacle with the Gizamon and Agurimon, Sunemon knew. Perhaps the only way she could do it would be to capture the Digi-Destined all by herself. But she doubted the Queen would allow her the chance, after her failure.
Sonomi would have gladly vented her frustration on the fox Digimon some more, but she knew she had to take advantage of the Digi-Destined’s situation. With a rustle of her black robes she turned back to the crystal. “The Digi-Destined have stood up to me time and again as a team. Together they are too strong. But now, weakened and separated, they will be easy prey. I’ll simply pick them off one by one!” She nodded to herself happily, sure now that she would find success. “And I’ll start with the most annoying one: that detestable leader.” From beneath her clothing she pulled out a string of beads. Soft but intense chanting fell from her lips.
Even from her spot in the corner, Sunemon could see the view the crystal was displaying. She watched as the image of Jenn and Foximon pulled back to include the bleak landscape around them, then further back to show they were on an entire island made of a frosty winter environment. As Queen Sonomi’s chanting reached its highest point, a black light seemed to encompass the island, just for a moment before it vanished. Sonomi fell silent with a little chuckle.
“I will take no chances this time,” said the queen to herself (certainly not speaking to her Digimon partner). “Not one Digimon fell under my spell this time, but every single Digimon on that island! Let’s see the precious leader get out of this alive!” she laughed.
Sunemon sighed. It looked like she wouldn’t get her chance to make anything up to Sonomi after all.
* * *
"Do you see anyone yet?" Nerimon called up to Alex, who was checking out the frozen landscape from the top of a big tree.
"Not yet buddy!" he called back.
Nerimon, who was getting a little antsy, decided to join his partner. He began making his way from limb to limb. "Ya know, you sure heal fast for someone who just survived a ship wreck," he continued, as he reached for another branch.
"That's because I work out!" Alex grinned cutely, flexing his right arm.
"Ha! You call that a muscle?" Nerimon laughed.
"Everyone’s a critic." Alex sighed and turned his attention back to the horizon. Nerimon followed his gaze.
"Not much to look at, is there?"
“Well, this isn’t getting us anywhere. Let’s climb down and start walking again,” Alex told his partner. The little dino agreed, and together they made their way safely down to the ground. At least walking would help them keep warm, the boy reflected. He chafed his arms once or twice, regretting wearing a T-shirt.
Nerimon trotted beside his partner, and didn’t seem to be minding the cold. Maybe it was something about being a fire Digimon. After a while of silence he coughed, then cleared his throat. “Uh . . . Alex?”
“Do ya think . . . everyone else is okay?” Alex looked down into Nerimon’s worried blue eyes. “I mean, I was lucky to grab your shirt just as the whirlpool caught us up. Everyone else could be anywhere. They might not even be on this island. They might still be in the ocean! They might-”
“Neri, cut it out!” The Digimon flinched at Alex’s harsh voice, and he instantly regretted his words. “Sorry buddy, but you’re not helping me here. I k-know we can’t be sure what happened to them . . . but they gotta be okay. We’re the Digi-Destined, darn it! Besides. . . .” He trailed off.
“Besides, what?” Nerimon pushed.
“Well, this happened in the show! The Digi-Destined all get split up, but then they get back together and everything’s fine!”
The Rookie Digimon rolled his eyes. “Oh, the show again.”
“Well at least it’s something-” Suddenly a high scream cut him off. They both stopped in their tracks and stared at each other. “That was Jenn!” Alex yelped.
They both took off in the direction of the sound.
* * *
“Okay, so I don’t speak Frigimon but-c’mon-give me a break guys-hey watch it! You could seriously-hurt someone with that!” Jennifer’s voice: loud, protesting, and by the sound of it not very far away. Alex urged his legs faster through the snow and, after rounding another snow-covered tree, he saw it.
Jennifer stood shin deep in the snow, desperately dodging attacks from a troop of Frigimon! Clutching what seemed to be an unconscious Foximon in her arms, she dodged quickly to the left, nearly being hit by another attack in the process.
“Nerimon!” Alex said urgently, turning to his Digimon. “It looks like Foxi’s hurt. You’ve got to digi-volve to Nedikismon! I don’t think Jenn can last much longer.”
“Right now?” the little red dinosaur asked.
“Yes, right now!”
“Oh, okay! Just making sure!” The dino Digimon marshaled his strength. “Nerimon digi-volve to . . . Nedikismon!”
Alex stood peeking through the trees as Nedikismon barreled through into the group of Frigimon. Getting up close, his Scarring Flames could almost melt the Frigimon whole! Keeping one eye on Nedikismon and the other on Jennifer, Alex trudged his way through the snow. But suddenly, to his horror, he watched Jennifer fall face first into the snow.
“Jenn!” he cried urgently, and with an extra burst of energy he rushed to her side.
“Alex. It’s a good thing you guys got here.” A small smile played on her tired lips and she tried to look around. “Where are the others?”
“I don’t know, Jennifer. I can’t find anyone. We all got separated and I was just lucky to find you.”
"Wow," the goggle girl coughed. "That's a drag." She was obviously about to pass out from exhaustion. "Listen, we need to find shelter . . . like a cave or something." She looked down at the half-frozen fox in her arms. Alex nodded in agreement. "But how do we know where to go?"
"Don't worry." Jenn coughed again. "I'm sure you'll figure . . . something. . . ." Jenn's words faded as she fell limp in Alex's arms.
"Oh god! Jenn! JENN!" Alex pleaded. Meanwhile, a couple of nearby Frigimon were attracted by the situation and took advantage of it. They stomped towards the three huddled in the snow and lunged forward. "Subzero Ice Punch!" the Frigimon hollered together. Alex fell backwards as the punch wave shot towards them, dropping Jenn and Foximon in the process. Foximon slid out of Jenn's grasp and plunged into the snow, while Alex ran to retrieve her.
The boy looked up to see the Frigimon standing triumphantly over a frozen figure lying face down in the snow. "No, Jenn!” he gasped. “It can't be!" he cried, as he ran to his leader.
Alex kneeled down and turned her over, gently lifting her head. He looked down at Jenn's lifeless expression and cried, "Jenn, I'm sorry! Please wake up!" Alex tried shaking her, but nothing was happening. With all the strength he could muster, Alex lifted the frozen body over his shoulder and turned to Nedikismon. "Hey buddy, we're gonna have to pick this up another time. We have to get out of here!"
"Good idea,” rumbled the Champion. “I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this up." Nedikismon growled, giving a Frigimon one last beating with his tail. I don't remember Frigimon ever being this strong, he thought. And with that, the Digimon grabbed hold of Foximon and took off with his partner by his side.
* * *
After a lot of trudging through the snow, their search paid off when they came across a cave. It wasn’t the warmest of places, but it was nothing a little fireball couldn't fix. Alex and Nerimon carried the two girls inside, and laid them gently on a neatly assorted pile of leaves and twigs that they found scattered on the cave floor.
"Fire Ball!" Nerimon made a fire near Foximon’s and Jennifer’s beds. "There, this place is feeling warmer already, eh Alex? . . . .Alex?" Nerimon looked over at his partner, who had taken off his gloves and had his fingers planted on Jenn's wrist.
A sudden smile crossed the boy’s face. "She has a pulse! She's gonna be okay!" He paused and frowned, feeling her icy skin. "I think."
“Think?!” Nerimon yelped. “You THINK?!”
“Well I’m not a doctor!” snapped Alex, more worried about Jenn than angry at his Digimon.
“Oh . . . what’s a doctor?”
The brown-haired boy sighed. “Never mind.”
There was a little silence as they both walked around the cave, doing what they could to make the girls more comfortable. In the cave, where the snow couldn’t fall, the ground was cold stone but covered with pinecones, dry leaves and other forest fodder. Alex heaped more around Jennifer and Foxi, trying to keep them as warm as possible, while Nerimon added pieces to their fire and made a small pile close by for when that fuel was consumed by the flames. Finally Alex sat down by the fire with a long exhale of breath. “Things are really messed up,” he muttered, peeling off his numb gloves so he could hold his hands up to the warmth.
“Don’t feel sad, Alex,” pleaded Nerimon. “I’ll protect you. I’ll protect Jenn and Foximon too, until they’re better.” He laid a clawed hand on Alex’s knee, wishing there were more he could do. Then his blue eyes brightened, seizing on an idea. “I know! I’ll go find food. That fight with the Frigimon really wiped me out, and I know Foxi and Jenn will be hungry when they get up too.” The dinosaur said “when,” not “if,” very firmly.
Alex mustered a smile. “Thanks, Nerimon, that would help. I didn’t mean to make you worry. It’s just. . . .” He looked at the still forms of the two girls and his face fell.
“I know,” nodded Nerimon. “Now you be lookout while I’m out getting food.” With a cheery wave-much more cheery than he actually felt-Neri left the cave and vanished into the white wilderness.
Alex watched his Digimon until he was out of sight. He was so proud. Nerimon was so strong. Not just in battle, but in spirit too. When Alex was depressed and feeling like the situation was hopeless Nerimon thought up a solution to help everyone. He was so lucky to have him for a friend.
A low sound made Alex shoot up straight, thoughts forgotten. Had a Digimon come to attack them while they were helpless? No, it came from inside the cave, and he and Neri checked thoroughly before bringing the girls in. Alex crawled over to check on them. He shuddered when he touched Jenn’s arm. Like when he took her pulse, her skin was cold and hard, like ice. She was still frozen. But when he touched Foximon she took a deep breath and opened one brown eye!
“Foximon!” he grinned ecstatically. “Welcome back! How are you feeling? Are you okay?”
The little fox groaned. “Ow . . . cold . . . Jenn?”
“No, it’s Alex. But Jenn’s here. Don’t worry. Here, get closer to the fire.”
“Jenn. . . .” Foximon struggled to sit up, then shook some snow from her thick coat. “Jenn!” she said, a little more coherently. She looked around, ignoring Alex. When she spotted the long form stretched out on the floor of the cave she gasped. “JENN!”
In a second Foximon was at Jenn’s side, shaking her with wide eyes. “Jenn, Jenn! You’re so cold. Come on Jenn, snap out of it!” the Digimon sniffed. “Oh, this is all my fault!”
“Hey, no it isn’t,” insisted Alex. “You two got attacked by Frigimon and Nerimon digi-volved to help, but one of them hit Jenn. You were knocked out the entire time. It wasn’t your fault.”
“But I’m her partner! I should have been there to protect her!”
“Sometimes we have to protect you guys and not the other way around,” Alex told her. “It happens. You Digimon are great protectors, but nobody’s perfect. Everything will be all right, Foximon. I promise.” The boy Digi-Destined bit his lip. Maybe he shouldn’t make promises he didn’t know he could keep, but Foximon looked so sad. He had to say something. Besides, wouldn’t everything turn out right in the end? It had to!
Foximon didn’t answer anyway. She just curled up on Jenn’s stomach, spreading her thick fluffy tail and her body over as much of her partner as she could. Then she closed her eyes. Alex went back to the fire.
Not long after, Nerimon returned. He didn’t look very happy. In his claws were a small handful of berries. “These were all I could find,” he admitted.
“It’s all right, Neri. I didn’t think you’d find anything in a place like this,” Alex smiled. He looked at where Foximon rested with Jenn. “And right now I think they need the energy more than we do. What do you think?”
Nerimon nodded, smiling toothily. “I was thinking the same thing, partner. Foximon, are you awake?”
“A little,” she mumbled. She opened her eyes. “Are you okay, Nerimon?”
The dinosaur nodded as he handed her half the berries, then set the other half beside Jenn. Maybe she’ll wake up faster now, with food nearby, he thought. It always works for me, anyway!
Alex watched his friends and felt his heart grow stronger. Nerimon was the greatest friend in the world, and with him by his side there wasn’t anything Alex wouldn’t be able to do. He would get Foximon and Jenn back to normal, and then they would all set out and find Lexxy, Dani, and all the rest! He was determined to do it!
A faint glow, almost unnoticed because he was sitting next to the fire, caught his attention. He looked down and there, under his shirt, his tag was glowing. Alex’s eyes lit up. He knew what this meant! His Crest was close!
* * *
Outside the shadows slid closer and the sun was slowly setting. But these shadows had solid forms and menacing glares. The army of Frigimon and Mojyamon as well stalked closer and closer to the cave were the quartet of Digi-Destined was huddled.
* * *
“Foximon, what's wrong?" Alex responded to Foximon's sudden reaction. Her long ears were standing straight up as she stared uneasily at the cave entrance.
"We got company," she growled. Nerimon joined Foximon in listening for the intruder. The sound of crunching snow underneath heavy feet came closer and closer.
Foximon remained planted on Jennifer's stomach, while Nerimon decided to take action. "You guys stay here," the dinosaur ordered, as he took off towards the entrance. Something came over him that made him feel stronger-he was no longer cold, tired and hungry.
"Nerimon, digi-volve to . . . Nedikismon!"
The champion Digimon roared, knocking over a trio of Frigimon with his tail. The Mojyamon joined in the fight, throwing snowballs. This didn't phase Nedikismon one bit. He grabbed one of them and lifted him towards the sky. "So, ya like throwing snowballs huh? Mind if I play too?" He threw the furry Digimon at another group of Frigimon, knocking them down like bowling pins.
* * *
Meanwhile, Alex tried to think up a way to get himself, Jenn and Foximon to safety. I have to protect them. . . . There has to be a way out of here. My friends are counting on me. I am determined to win this battle! he thought, focused on Jenn's frozen body lying in front of him.
The faint red glow illuminating Alex's chest brightened. "Huh?" He pulled out his tag and examined it. "My Crest! It is here. I can feel it." He looked back over to Jenn, whose tag was also glowing a bright purple.
"Jenn, you have to wake up NOW!" Foximon barked, slapping her partner. But she failed to get a response. Her eyes filled with tears of worry. "Please be okay!” The fox closed her eyes and whispered, “I need you.”
Just then a colorful burst of red and purple light bounced off the walls and covered the entire cavern. In the middle of the cold space two symbols appeared. Alex recognized them immediately as the symbols of Loyalty and Determination. The symbol of Loyalty had an abstract design to it. A triangle and a circle linked as one, perhaps symbolizing companionship. The shape floating beside it, the symbol of determination, looked like an eye. It symbolized focus and the ability to stay on target, no matter what the circumstances may be.
The symbols each made their way to their rightful owner. Alex watched in awe as his Crest of Determination appeared inside his tag. The red glow began to fade as the purple went on to guide the Crest of Loyalty into Jennifer's tag.
Alex looked on as the light swallowed her and Foximon whole. Foximon clung to her friend, worried that she was about to float away from her forever. "Jenn!" she cried. "Please don't leave me!" Within moments the purple light faded as well, until the only light that remained were the crackling flames of their campfire. Foximon reappeared, still hanging onto Jenn for a few moments before realizing that she hadn't gone anywhere and that the light that was surrounding them was completely gone.
Alex crawled over to them, cautiously. "Foximon, is she. . . ?" he whispered, his voice shaking with worry.
Foximon frowned and nuzzled Jennifer’s neck. "Foximon, knock it off!" Jennifer moaned groggily.
Foximon's brown eyes lit up. "Jenn!"
"The light from our Crests must have defrosted you," Alex concluded with a nervous laugh.
"Defrosted-okay, what now?" The redhead sat up, rubbing her goggles in confusion.
Foximon ran towards the entrance and peaked outside. "Hey, the battle stopped."
"Oh my god! Nedikismon!" Alex got up and ran outside with Foximon. He had almost forgotten about the fight!
"Er, did I miss something?" Jennifer shook the pine needles from her clothes and joined Alex and Foximon outside.
* * *
Nerimon stood-much to Alex's relief-unharmed and unscratched next to a group of roughed-up Frigimon and Mojyamon. Alex picked a fallen tree branch off the ground and stood in front of his three friends, holding it outward towards the Digimon in a protective manner. "You better not take another step, unless you all want to be one big frozen digi-shish-kabob!" He hollered at the enemy Digimon.
Nerimon chucked. "Relax, buddy."
"Relax? RELAX! After they tried to-"
"Yeah, we're real sorry about that," a Frigimon interrupted.
"Someone put a spell on us," a Mojyamon chimed in.
"The Digimon Queen, no doubt," Jenn responded rather sternly.
"Ah, I should have guessed." Alex bowed and threw his “weapon” aside. “Well then, apology accepted.”
"Whatever happened, I'm just glad we got this whole thing resolved," Jenn smiled.
"And we got our Crests!" Alex replied, proudly showing off his new crest.
Jennifer looked at her tag, noticing that her Crest was also in place. "Wha? When did that happen? ARGH! I can't believe I missed it!"
"Don't worry about it, Jenn," said Foximon. "What matters now is finding our friends."
Jenn sighed. "You’re right, Foxi, but how do we do that? I'm not sure if there's even a way to get off this island."
"Maybe we can help," the Frigimon offered. They explained an idea, and the four Digi-Destined happily agreed. The entire group walked off into the woods. Soon they came to the shoreline. "Ready?” one Frigimon asked the others. “On the count of three! One, two, three! Subzero Ice Punch!" All together they used their attacks to make a decent-sized ice raft. "How's that?" one Frigimon smiled at the group of Digi-Destined.
"That's perfect! Thank you so much!" Jennifer's green eyes lit up. Now they could search the nearby areas for the others! Nerimon, trailing behind, ran after Jenn, Alex and Foximon. "Hey, wait for me!" he called, waving his claws in the air. He managed to jump onto the raft just as it was drifting off the island.
And with a wave goodbye, our heroes began their search. The fact that they were able to find each other gave them hope that they would find their other friends as well. And now that they had their Crests with them, it was a sure sign that things were about to turn around really soon.