“Under Protective Wings”
* * *
~~~ Kristina's P.O.V. ~~~
Last time we were still recovering from the battle of the amusement park. We were hungry and out of ideas, so we decided to ask the Digi Princess (I hope we didn’t bother her!). She was nice enough to point us toward Secondary Village, which we set out to look for. But on the way, Duodramon showed up once again! Thankfully Altormon, Nerimon’s Ultimate form, was able to appear because Alex thought to use Magimon’s tail ring! Now that’s smart thinking from our digi-boy. ^_~
* * *
"According to my map, Secondary Village should be just over this hill," Lexxy stated, pointing outward. The group continued to move forward and up a gentle slope.
"Ow! My legs are killing me as it is, I don't think I can walk up anymore hills," Cunomon complained.
"Oh stop wining, you big baby! It's not even that steep!" Lexxy replied, as she nudged her Digimon forward. "Maybe if you'd lay off the fried fish for a while, you wouldn't have such a hard time."
Cunomon responded with a sarcastic laugh. "Heh heh, funny!"
Jennifer made it to the top first. She squinted ahead, only to see a tiny village in the distance. "There it is!" she exclaimed.
They all charged down the hill without delay. "I wonder what it's going to look like?" asked Erica.
"Well, if it's something Lexxy created, then you know it'll be awesome!" Dani replied with a warm smile. Of course, all of the Digi-Destined had gone to Lexxy’s website back when they had just been simple fans of a cartoon show, and they had seen Lexxy’s Secondary Village. So when the Digi Princess had mentioned it before, everyone knew immediately what she was talking about. Still, even Lexxy didn’t know exactly what it would be like.
The black-haired girl blushed when she heard Dani’s comment. Dani had really come around since their encounter with ShogunGekomon and it felt even better to know that Dani was no longer threatened by her. Every one of the Digi-Destined had changed in their own way, and they recognized those changes more and more, with every battle and every new quest. They knew that when they would eventually leave this world and return to their own, their outlook on life and all that encompassed it would have changed dramatically and for the better.
They finally made it to the Secondary Village boarder. The green grass suddenly became a soft, squishy, colorful fabric. They continuied down the path, passing many trees. Each tree and bush was covered with digi-eggs, in all different patterns and colors. This new scenery was a delightful and soothing change.
"Oooh, pretty colors!" Jaymon grinned, flapping around excitedly.
"Yeah!" Kristina giggled.
"Hey, look over there!" Cheekomon pointed to a row of cradles in the distance. As they got closer, they saw that it wasn’t just one row, but several.
"Sweet! Maybe we'll see some baby Digimon!" Lina squeeled. Sure enough there they were, all nestled in their cribs and fast asleep. Of course the real surprise came when they got a closer look.
"Is that. . . ? Leetomon!" Jennifer gasped. "Lexxy get over here!" Jenn called. Lexxy rushed right over, with Cunomon running behind her.
"Look!" Jenn pointed to the sleeping Leetomon. Lexxy's eyes shimmered at the sight.
"I don't believe it. That’s Leetomon, Cunomon’s Baby form!"
"Oh man!" Tania suddenly cried, "there's Zuumon too . . . and Ditomon!"
"Buyuyumon too!" said Skye. "Dumamon, Topamon, Terimon!"
"All of these Digimon are FDD’s!" Samee gestured excitedly. "Look, Sunemon, there's a baby Kimon!" Samee lifted her Digimon over the cradle for a better look.
Jenn and Foximon looked all around, hoping against hope that they would spot some Bobamon, which was Foximon’s Baby form. But much to their disappointment, their search turned up empty. "I'm sorry, Foximon." Jenn lowered her head, feeling guilty. She was the one who had invented the story that made Foximon the last of her kind.
"Me too." The little fox drooped to the ground. She looked around at all the other Digimon looking at their Baby forms, talking about how cute and strong and healthy they looked.
“Hey! It’s you!”
This voice was female, and completely new to the group of Digi-Destined. They turned in all directions, looking for owner of the new voice. Pandamon spotted a figure standing off to the side, away from the cradles. “Cunomon, what are you doing over there?”
“Um, I’m over here,” Cunomon said, almost right behind the other Rookie. He looked past Pandamon’s shoulder and gasped. There was a Digimon standing there, looking at them all. And it looked just like Cunomon!
“Oh, yeah.” Lexxy chuckled sheepishly. “I forgot another Cunomon guards Secondary Village. . . .” She stood up straight as the other Cunomon trotted over to them, wondering what this new Digimon was going to act like.
“Um, we’re not going to hurt the Babies,” Jaymon said hesitantly, wondering if the guardian was going to be mad at them.
As the female Cunomon walked up to them, everyone could see the only difference between her and Lexxy’s Cunomon (besides their voices, of course) was that she had bright pink eyes, while his were yellow. “Of course you’re not!” she said with a friendly smile. “You’re the Digi-Destined!”
The group looked surprised. “You’ve heard of us?” asked Jenn.
“Yes! Everyone’s heard of you. You’ve defeated so many of the evil Digimon in this land, making everything so much safer! Any time a traveler here comes they have stories about more evil creatures being defeated. I used to have to fight off evil Digimon at least once a day, but it’s been weeks since we’ve been bothered here in Secondary Village!”
The group cheered up considerably, hearing the female Cunomon talking about them like that. It was quite a change from some of the other places they had been to, which always were great to begin with, but turned out to be a trap in the end. Secondary Village, on the other hand, seemed like a perfect haven. There was a sense of calm peace surrounding this place. The female Cunomon, amongst all the tiny and defenseless babies looking up to her, seemed like an eternal mother figure.
After checking briefly on the small figures in the cradles, she turned to the Digi-Destined and invited them all to lunch. “It’s the least I can do for such brave adventurers!” she said, casting a glance at the other Cunomon just as she said it.
Cunomon gulped, wondering if he was imagining the pink eyes turned in his direction, but Diratimon leaned over and elbowed him in the stomach with a chuckle. “Way to go,” said the splotched Digimon in a whisper.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said the male Cunomon to his friend, blushing faintly.
Huntermon and Jaymon saw this exchange and immediately they got annoyed. “I can’t believe she’s so obvious,” said the pink parrot, crossing her wings in front of her chest.
“Yeah. The nerve of her,” snorted Huntermon, looking at Jaymon as a sudden ally. “We’d better keep an eye on her.”
Jaymon nodded in agreement, both girl Digimon stalking after the female Cunomon to watch her.
* * *
After preparing a large meal of fried fish and berries from her supplies (with the help of a couple Digi-Destined who knew how to cook), the girl Cunomon and some of the other Rookies set the table—which was actually two tree stumps with a large flat rock laying across them.
Soon after the table had been set, it was time to eat. The Digi-Destined and Digimon found their places and waited eagerly for some much-needed nourishment. As hot steamy bowls of noodles and rice were passed around the table, their mouths watered. It wasn't a large meal, but it was quite filling, plus it was a nice change from fish and fruit.
Jennifer picked a chunk of meat out of her teeth, happily savoring the flavor. "Thank you again," she said to female Cunomon.
"No, thank you!" the rosy-eyed dragon replied. "I only wish I could offer you more."
"It's quite alright," Magimon smiled warmly, helping herself to more rice.
"We are looking for a place to hold a base, a shelter in which we can stay protected from our enemies and plan out attacks," Sunemon began. "Do you know where we can find such a place?"
The dragon looked up for a moment and scratched her chin in thought. "Hmmm, well there is a place just outside Secondary Village. It's well hidden and out of harm’s way. It would be perfect to build your base."
"Build?" Pandamon gulped. "I'm tired of building stuff," he muttered quietly.
Dani nudged her Digimon harshly. "Hey, at least it's better then climbing hills all day."
"True." Pandamon sighed, rubbing the sore spot on his arm where Dani had nudged.
"I'll be happy to lead you there, first thing in the morning. For tonight, you are welcome to stay here."
"While we appreciate your hospitality," Jennifer stood up, addressing the lady Cunomon, "we have some very dangerous enemies after us. I mean, for your safety and the safety of all these baby Digimon, it's probably best if we continue on our way."
"Oh, don't be silly. As long as I'm caretaker of this village you have nothing to be concerned about," she said, with a proud toothy grin. It seemed more than one Cunomon had the arrogance of their little blue friend. "I'm sure these enemies of yours are no more dangerous than any of the Digimon that I've had to warn away from here before.”
"Well, at least let us give you a hand around here, it's the least we could do," said Foximon.
The lady Cunomon welcomed the idea with great appreciation. "As long as you are up to the challenge."
"Hey, we're the Digi-Destined, we fight evil Digimon every single day and haven't lost a battle yet! I think we can handle a few dozen babies!" Cunomon said smugly.
* * *
"AHH LEXXY! A LITTLE HELP HERE!" Cunomon cried, as he struggled to bathe a tub full of Leetomon. They refused to stay in one place. While one was playfully attacking the bath bubbles, another gripped onto Cunomon's head, fearfully avoiding the water at all cost. Cuno could relate.
Lexxy picked up a soapy, wandering Leetomon. "Cuno, don't be so rough with them!" She nuzzled the baby Digimon. "Leetomon are just born explorers," she said, gently placing it back in the tub.
Meanwhile, nearby Emily, Huntermon, Erica, and Cheekomon assisted the female Cunomon with feeding time, which proved to be much easier.
The rest of the humans and Digimon were off, harvesting digi-eggs that were nearly ready for hatching. As Jennifer handed Foximon one of the colorful and vibrant eggs, a bright pink twinkle caught the corner of her eye. When she got a closer look, she couldn't help but rub her eyes in disbelief. There, hanging right in front of her face was a pink digi-egg with a familiar purple flower design. There was no other in Secondary Village like it. She called down to the lady Cunomon, who had just come by to check on their progress. "Is this what I think it is?"
The blue dragon looked up at what the red head had been pointing to, her expression suddenly becoming one of despair. "Yes . . . that is a Bobamon egg."
Jennifer and Foximon climbed down from the ladder, joining the others on the ground. They were all gathering to listen to the girl Cunomon's explanation. Her eyes watered as she continued to speak. "It's been there for so many years. Ever since the horrible massacre of the Junumon village, I haven't seen a single Bobumon egg appear here, except for this one. I believe it is the last of its kind." She paused and looked at Foximon, who looked up at her questionably. "I'm not sure if it will ever hatch, but like all my eggs I will continue to keep watch over it."
* * *
Meanwhile, Duodramon stalked the scent of the Digi-Destined from close by. He licked his chops as the sudden scent of baby Digimon filling his nostrils. "Appetizers. . . ." His stomach rumbled, thankfully not loud enough for anyone in the village to hear. "Then for the main course . . . Digi-Desined a la rump roast!" He began to drool. "Then scrambled digi-eggs for breakfast!" He wasn't sure at this point what was more exciting, finally defeating the Digi-Destined, or all the great recipes that were coming to mind.
* * *
Just as the babies were being put down for their naps, the Digi-Destined heard something crashing through the forest surrounding the village. Everyone turned toward the sound as Duodramon jumped from the trees!
The Digi-Destined exclaimed in shock, immediately recognizing their old foe. “No, not here. . . .” whispered Jenn in horror. This had been exactly what she had feared.
While the Digi-Destined were frozen in shock, the female Cunomon leapt into action. “Protect the babies!” she ordered as she ran toward the intruder. “He’s mine!”
“Don’t be crazy!” Jaymon yelled after the Rookie Digimon. “He’s an Ultimate!” But the lady Cunomon didn’t react to the parrot Digimon’s words. She lunged forward and swiped at Duodramon’s torso, but the snake head swung down and knocked her aside easily.
“Come on, guys, she needs help!” Lexxy’s Cunomon cried urgently. He ran toward the Ultimate Digimon, followed by Huntermon, Cheekomon and Jaymon.
Meanwhile, the others started gathering up the baby Digimon as quickly as they could. The cradles where the babies slept were out in the open fields. They would be in danger if they stayed. When it became apparent that they couldn’t carry all the babies and the eggs, Yazumon and Diratimon digi-volved to their Champion forms. The larger Digimon could easily carry many more of the frightened babies and the eggs.
With Jenn and Lexxy (with her trusty laptop map) in the lead, the remaining Digimon and the Digi-Destined carried the babies outside of the village, soon finding a sheltered area with large stones all around it. Privately Jenn thought this must be the area the female Cunomon had been telling them about during lunch. It was the perfect protected area.
After depositing the babies and the digi-eggs in the safe place, the Digi-Destined and their Digimon quickly returned to Secondary Village. They knew it would likely take all of them to drive Duodramon away. As soon as their partners were close enough, they saw the two Cunomon, Huntermon, Cheekomon and Jaymon were getting tired. They held up their digi-vices so that their partners could digi-volve to their Champion forms. The other humans thought that that was a good idea, and quickly followed suit.
The ten Champions and Athenamon surrounded Duodramon, trying to lure him away from the only Rookie left, the tiring caretaker of the village. As they fought, their partner Digi-Destined couldn’t help but look around the village, noticing the damage that had been done. Duodramon’s acid had struck many of the trees and fields of cradles, melting and destroying a lot of the village. Thankfully most of the bushes had been spared, because a few digi-eggs still remained, clinging to the branches.
“Acid Flail!” Duodramon spat globs of acid in every direction. Kombatmon, being one of the targets, nimbly leapt out of the way. Unfortunately the glob was heading straight at one of the digi-egg bushes behind him. Glorymon dived in and grabbed the lone Bobamon egg moments before the disintegrating liquid could hit it. She handed it to Jenn before quickly returning to the battle.
“Look out!” roared Sartomon in warning as the acid continued to fly, but it was too late. The female Cunomon was struck as she tried to slash one of Duodramon’s legs. The force of the strike knocked her to the ground, covered with painful acid. Sartomon swooped down and picked her up, moving her out of range of the fight, near the human Digi-Destined.
“Thank you,” said the female Cunomon, breathing heavily with pain. She looked up at the winged dragon gratefully. Sartomon nodded and swooped upward into the air to rejoin the battle. As the chosen children gathered around the injured Cunomon, Jenn knew they had to take this up a notch.
“Everyone who can should digivolve to Ultimate!” she called to the battlers. “We need to finish this fight!” The goggled-girl held her digivice up into the air, as did the other children.
“Glorymon digivolve to . . . PolarGlorymon”
“Sartomon digivolve to . . . DracoSartomon!”
"Kombatmon digivolve to . . . MetalKombatmon!"
"Dracomon digivolve to . . . MegaDracomon!"
“Djarumon digivolve to . . . PunkDjarumon”
"Cheetormon digivolve to . . . WereCheetormon!"
“Nedikismon digivolve to . . . Altormon!”
Even with the group of Ultimates attacking Duodramon, he was still looking good. He had the speed to avoid many attacks, and the strength to take the attacks that didn’t miss. Still, it was annoying that he had so many Digimon buzzing around him like so many flies. Suddenly he saw something that could help him win this battle quite easily. His heavily clawed hand reached out and snatched a tiny figure from the ground, holding it aloft. “Hold it!” he hissed out in his ugly voice.
Around him the Digi-Destined Digimon froze, seeing a tiny black baby in his clutches. The little Leetomon, who had wandered from the security of the safe area and back to Secondary Village, wailed in fear.
No one moved. Duodramon, sensing victory, smirked around his huge fangs. “Now see here,” he chuckled evilly. “Now you surrender, or this little one gets squashed between my fingers.” Still no one moved, horrified at the scene in front of them. “SURRENDER!” the snake head roared.
Kristina inched up toward Jenn. “What should we do?” she whispered.
Jenn swallowed around the lump in her throat. Of course, no one wanted the baby to be hurt. But if they surrendered, they wouldn’t just be putting themselves in danger. They would be betraying the oath they made to Piximon, and letting evil take over the entire Digiworld. It was the needs of the many versus the needs of one baby. What could she do? Her heart and her mind were telling her different things.
“Time is running out!” Duodramon taunted, giving the little baby a squeeze and making it scream in terror. DracoSartomon growled dangerously. Duodramon didn’t like the threatening noise. He glared at DracoSartomon. “Very well, I’ll just destroy it and you all as well!” His fist started to close, getting ready to crush the tiny Digimon.
The group of powerful Digimon gasped in shock, but again someone leapt into action just in time. A blue and yellow blur leaped over Duodramon’s shoulder, snatching the baby Digimon from Duodramon’s grasp. With a snarl of rage Duodramon shouted “Acid Strike!”
The lady Cunomon curled up around her baby protectively, taking the brunt of the attack once again. This attack proved to be too much for her. Even as she hit the ground her pixels were breaking up.
The Digi-Destined crowded around the female Cunomon as she lay crumpled on the ground. All of them cursed the fact that they hadn’t noticed her returning to the battle in time to help her. But her soft pink eyes weren’t accusing as she looked up at Kristina and handed the shaking Leetomon to the brown-haired girl. “Take care of the babies, please,” she told the group of humans. That was all she could get out before she completely dissolved away.
For a moment the human children couldn’t move, their eyes swarming with unshed tears. Even in the middle of battle they couldn’t help but take a moment to mourn such a completely selfless individual. Sniffling, Kristina handed the Leetomon to Lexxy. “Y-you should take it back to the others,” she whispered.
Lexxy wiped her eyes and nodded wordlessly. The lump lodged in her throat made words impossible. She took off for the safe harbor they had created outside of Secondary Village. There she remained, making sure none of the little ones strayed off again.
Back at Secondary Village, the battle still wasn’t going good for the heroes. Duodramon was a powerful Digimon, and like in their first battle, he had grown to his enormous size once again. Now the Digimon really were buzzing around him like flies.
Discouraged, Skylamon flew down and landed next to Kristina, looking down at her partner with tears in her eyes. “Kristina, this isn’t working,” said the bird Digimon frantically. “I really want to help more! Couldn’t you try to get me to digi-volve again? If we lose, there won’t be anyone to protect the babies!”
Kristina sighed. “It’s not that simple, Skylamon! But, well, I’ll try. . . .” Kristina held her Crest close to her heart. She whispered to herself or any being that was listening, “Please, I need a miracle. . . .”
To the surprise of the girl, the Crest in her hand began to glow! “YES!” shouted Kristina happily, as the light blossomed to include her and her Digimon partner. Skylamon gave a happy cry and spread her wings wide.
“Skylamon digivolve to . . . Saromon!”
The Ultimate level bird Digimon soared into the sky straight at Duodramon, sharp, sword-like feathers in her hands. “Feather Sword!” she called out, shooting the feathers straight into Duodramon’s face.
With a roar of pain, Duodramon fell backward, trampling trees and bushes in the forest. Saromon had the agility to swoop around him like an acrobat. “Feather Sword!” she shouted again and again, until Duodramon looked like a pincushion.
Unable to withstand the attacks, Duodramon shrunk back down to his smaller size, still trying to fend off the attacks with his arms held in front of his face. His snake head looked around, eyes widening as it realized Duodramon was surrounded on all sides by a ring of his enemies.
“Now!” Saromon cried out strongly, hovering above the evil Digimon. “Feather Sword!” She sent her attack straight down in the middle of the circle.
“Blade of the Dragon!”
"Heart of Sword!"
“Electric Tail Spin!”
“NOOO!” howled Duodramon, feeling the attacks knocking his digital data to pieces. He stared down at his hands as the data started to break apart. “No! I can’t be defeated!” he wailed. “We’re so hungry. . . .” hissed the snake head, just as the final pixels drifted into the air.
For a moment silence reigned on the battlefield, and then suddenly all of the Digimon dedigivolved back to their normal forms, collapsing in exhaustion. They could barely believe that the fight was over, and that this time they had not only driven off Duodramon, they had finally destroyed him.
The Digi-Destined were quick to cheer for their partners, finally defeating a very powerful enemy. They gathered around the tired Digimon and congratulated them. After all the hearty pats on the back and hugs were awarded to the diligent fighters, a somber quiet settled on the group.
“What’re we going to do now?” Kristina asked quietly, giving voice to what everyone was thinking. “We can’t just leave . . . the babies. . . .”
Everyone turned to Jenn, hoping she had some idea. Their leader sweatdropped. She was as stumped as everyone else.
Just then Skye’s locket began to glow, catching everyone’s attention. A soft blue light took over her form, and when it faded, the Digi Princess was standing before them once again.
Gratefully Jenn and the others bowed before their princess, knowing she had come to solve their problem. “What should we do?” Jenn beseeched the ruler. “We still have Lordessmon to defeat, but—”
Smiling, the Digi Princess floated up into the air, spreading her arms wide. A gentle breeze picked up, sweeping around Secondary Village. As they watched, awed, the damaged areas of Secondary Village reassembled themselves, until everything shone in the sunlight as if brand new. Floating back to the earth, the blue-haired princess smiled at the Digi-Destined and their Digimon. “I believe the answer to your dilemma lies in your own Digimon of Protection. Who better to serve as the protector of these little ones?” The Princess smiled. “With your own base set up nearby, it won’t be hard for you to watch over them, while still fulfilling your duties to the Digi-Destined.”
Kristina looked down at the Crest of Protection hanging around her neck and blushed. Jaymon, also red in the face, stepped forward and bowed. “Thank you, Princess. I’d be more than happy to watch over the babies of this village.”
Seeing her group of warriors was full of determination once again, the Digi Princess left them, returning Skye to her rightful body. After that the Digi-Destined and Digimon had a lot to do. They had to return to the secluded area, letting Lexxy know what happened and gathering up the babies and the digi-eggs. After bringing them back to Secondary Village, the group spent the rest of the day reassuring the babies and getting them settled back in their home. Jaymon spent the most time with the young ones, feeling the need to comfort all the scared young Digimon.
As the sun was going down, Jenn realized she hadn’t seen Lexxy and Cunomon for a while. After asking around, she heard from Dani that she had seen the two going off to a corner of Secondary Village. Curious, she followed where Dani had points. As she rounded a line of bushes that once held digi-eggs, she saw the dark-haired girl and her dragon partner building a pile of stones. Jenn’s green eyes showed understanding.
“Hey, Lexxy,” she said quietly as she walked up. “You know, we would have helped if you’d asked.”
Lexxy wiped the sweat from her brow and shook her head. “It’s okay. I didn’t want to bother everyone.” Cunomon was putting a wooden cross at the top of the pile, for once nothing smart-mouthed to say.
Jenn put her arm around her friend. “I know how you feel. I’ve never seen anyone that selfless. She helped us and didn’t even know us. . . . We’re never going to forget her.” Jenn was quiet for a moment. “Come on, let’s go back. We’re going to spend the night here with the babies, then early tomorrow we’re going to go start making plans for our home base in that sheltered area. You’re good at designing, so we could really use your help.” She smiled hopefully.
Cunomon trotted away from the stones and rubbed against Lexxy’s leg comfortingly. She reached down and rubbed her partner’s ears. “Yeah, let’s go back,” Lexxy said softly.
* * *
Away in another part of the forest, Lordessmon was watching the battle of Secondary Village take place in her crystal ball. She was far from grieving for her fallen comrade. “And then there was one,” said the last evil Digimon with a smirk.