NeeP Productions Presents:


By Niki (NeeP) Paradis

Chapter One: Hey There, Digimon!

    On top of a twisted mountain peak called Spiral Mountain, a lone figure looked through his telescope at a group of children walking through a field.  He chuckled maniacally as he watched them search for food and shelter.  The sun was as blazing as he willed it to be and he knew that the children were suffering.  Then he sighed and turned away.  Simply watching suffering children was boring.  There had to be a way to make things interesting.
    Piedmon put away his telescope, musing over the role that the children were supposedly play in his destruction.  A very unlikely event, he thought.  They seem to have trouble keeping their spirits up as it is.  Maybe a little diversion would make things interesting for everyone.
    There was the sound of heavy footsteps behind him.
    "You sent for me, my Lord Piedmon?" asked a rusty sounding voice with a heavy accent.
    "Ah!  Frankenmon!" exclaimed the evil Digimon.  "So glad to see you.  Tell me about your little project..."

    "Is it just me or is this the largest field that we've ever walked across?" asked Tai in a quiet subdued voice.
    His little sister, Kari panted beside him.  "I don't think it's just you," she said glumly.
    "I'm positive that I'm getting heat-stroke," moaned Joe.  He looked behind to his companion Digimon.  "Do you think that you can try walking now?" he asked Gomamon.
    "Sure Joe!" agreed Gomamon as he jumped off of his human friend's back.  "And thanks.  I wouldn't have so much trouble if there was a river near-by."
    "Maybe there's one in the forest," said T.K. hopefully.
    "We can only wait and see," commented Matt.
    "A river would be nice," sighed Palmon.  "Wouldn't it, Mimi?"
    "Yes, it would," agreed Mimi.  "I'd love to soak my tired feet."
    "I would like to soak my tired wings," chimed in Tentomon.
    "And I would like to soak my..." began Patamon, "my tired everything."
    "Hang in there, guys," encouraged Tai as he pulled out his mini binoculars.  "We're almost there."
    "A rest break would be most welcomed right about now," said Izzy.
    "Yeah, Tai," Agumon agreed.  "We're all getting tired.  A break would be great."
    Tai threw up his hinds in surrender.  "All right, fine!  Just for a few minutes.  Take five!"
    The children and Digimon all collapsed to the ground in a heap.
    "Finally," sighed Sora.  "How are you feeling, Biyomon?" she asked her companion.
    "Don't worry about me, Sora.  I'll be fine in a few minutes," replied the avian Digimon.
    "You know something?" Matt sat up with a worried look on his face.
    "What is it, Matt?" asked Tai.
    "Someone should watch out for Piedmon or his cronies."
    "Yeah, you're right."  The leader of the group paused.  "I just wish that I had the energy to do something about it."
    "Why don't we have some of the food that is left in Joe's bag?" suggested Gomamon.
    "Good idea," nodded Izzy.  "That way the Digimon would be ready to Digi-volve in case something unexpected happens."
    "You always have to think of the worse things, don't you?" moaned Joe.  "But here's the bag."
    They quickly divided up the food from the bag and consumed it.  They sat around for a few minutes more.
    Gabumon stood up.  "I think that I'm ready to scout around for a bit."
    "Are you sure?" asked Matt.  "I don't think that I can move if my life depended on it..."
    "It's all right, Matt.  I'm fine.  You rest for a while."
    "Hang on, Gabumon!" called out Agumon.  "I'll join you."
    Each of the Digimon were clamouring to join the scouting mission.  The kids reluctantly agreed; they were still too exhausted to do much protesting.
    "I envy your recuperative abilities," said Izzy to his partner.
    "Well, we can't all be perfect," replied Tentomon.

    From a tear in reality, a lone figure stood watching as the Digi-Destined were left behind.  He waited until the children's Digimon partners were far enough away.  He checked his equipment.  The sonic scrambler and the new programs were all ready.
    This will be my greatest achievement, he thought to himself.  A final check, a final look and feeling confident that all was ready, Frankenmon stepped out.

    "Hey!" exclaimed Sora.
    Tai opened his eyes.  "What is it?" he asked.  He saw a tear opening in what appeared to be out of thin air.  All the kids sat up as dark fog rolled out of the opening.  They watched as a sinister figure stepped out to face them.
    "Some people just have to make the most dramatic entrances," commented Mimi to no one particular.
    "This is exactly the reason why I didn't want to stop for a break," muttered Tai.
    "As if the forest would keep this kind of thing out," growled Matt.
    "Let's break for the forest!" shouted Joe!
    All of the kids took off at a run.  The figure watched for a moment, then disappeared back into the rift.
He reappeared in front of the running children.
    "Greetings children," he said in a heavily accented voice.  "I'm afraid that I can't let you continue."
    Tai stopped suddenly.  The Digi-Destined all crashed in behind him.
    The new Digimon was tall and sinister in appearance.  He was humanoid in shape with sickly green skin.  He wore lab coat and heavy dark goggles over his eyes.  He was someone that no one has ever seen before.
    "Who the heck are you?!?" demanded Matt.
    "You may call me Frankenmon.  And you, dear children, are going to be my experiments."
    "What do you mean by 'experiments'?" asked Tai.
    "Well, we can't have Digi-Destined running around, messing up with my Lord Piedmon's plans."  The strange Digimon pulled out a wand from his lab coat pocket.  The children stood in confusion.
    "Don't worry children," he said with an odd chuckle.  "This won't hurt --much."
    The kids turned to run again, but they didn't get far.
    A brilliant white light flashed from the device, encompassing the children.  They screamed in pain as they felt something strange and alien enter their bodies, changing the core of their very being.  Tai was upset, thinking that after what everyone has gone through, this was a very lame way to die.

    Except, they didn't die.

    A circle of light appeared over the children's heads.  Brilliant beams shot down striking each of the Digi-Destined.  The air all around them grew brighter.  The Digimon standing on the far side of the field stood in shock.
    "We're too late!" cried out Gabumon.
    "Oh no!" wailed Palmon.  "Mimi!"
    "We have to save them!" shouted Agumaon.
    They all charged towards their partners.  But the bright light was an actual physical force too, and it created a type of force field that kept them all out.  None of the Digimon was able to get to their friends.  They could only wait and watch.

    Soon, the brilliant light faded, revealing the children huddled up on the ground.  The Digimon walked carefully up to their friends.  All signs of Frankenmon were gone.
    Tai was sitting up, his knees drawn up to his head.  He was trembling.  Worried, Agumon ran up to his partner.  He realised that something was different...  Something was wrong...
    "Tai?" he asked.  "Tai?  Are you all right?"
    The trembling stopped.
    "No.  It's not 'Tai' anymore..." Agumon's partner was saying in a hushed, yet curiously surprised voice.  He raised his head and looked the lizard-Digimon in the eyes.  "I am 'Taimon' now."
    Agumon took a step back in surprise.  Tai's, or rather Taimon's eyes weren't human anymore.  They were larger, heavily lashed and a brilliant green.
    "What has happened to you, Izzy?" asked Tentomon to his partner.
    "Its 'Izimon' now, Tentomon.  And I suspect that Frankenmon had imputed new code into the existing data that makes up our bodies."  Huge blue eyes, with no whites or pupils showing, looked into the bug Digimon's eyes.  "I can do an analysis on ourselves, but I am positive that my conclusions will hold true."
    "You really think so?" asked a feminine voice.
    Palmon ran to her partner.
    "Are you okay, Mi...  Um, I guess it's not Mimi anymore, is it?" she asked.
    "Sorry, no.  I'm 'Meimimon'."  Large seed-brown eyes looked around the others.  "Oh dear, I just know that I am going to clash with my dress come tomorrow."
    "What do you mean, Mimi --I mean Meimimon?"  Palmon was helping her friend up.
    The new Digimon looked thoughtful.  "I really don't know how I know.  I just do."
    "That makes no sense!" called out Taimon.  "What do you know?"
    "We're not finished changing yet," said another familiar voice.  "Can't you tell, Taimon?"
    Taimon shuddered at the new name.  To him it was proof that of the unfamiliar --of the not 'rightness' of his body.  And the fact that he wasn't going to be human anymore.  He looked at the Digimon that used to be Matt.  "What do you mean, Matt?  --Or whatever you call yourself now."
    "'Matimon'."  Long lashes framed large yellow eyes.  "And I mean, you can feel it.  Can't you?  The changes?"
    "I guess so."  Taimon shrugged, then rubbed the head of Agumon.  "It's just too weird."
    "I know," Matimon agreed.
    Gabumon came up to his partner's side.  "Human or Digimon, you're still my friend, Matimon."
    "Thanks, Gabumon."  Matimon smiled tentatively at the other Digimon.
    The youngest of the new Digimon looked towards his partner.  "We'll still be friends, right Patamon?" he asked.  Huge blue eyes blinked questionably.
    The smallest of the original Digimon nodded.  "You bet!  Uh, what do I call you now?"
    Matimon's little brother beamed.  "I'm 'Tiikeimon'!  And I just bet that I'm gonna have wings like you!"
    Patamon laughed.  "I bet you will too, Tiikeimon!"
    Matimon rubbed his little brother's hair.  "We'll have to see," he said.
    Biyomon helped her partner up.  "What's you're new name, Sora?"
    "'Soramon'."  Sky blue eyes were bright with excitement.  "I think that this is kinda neat!  I mean, what better way to come to a better understanding of our friends?"
    "It's fun, Soramon, you'll see!" agreed Biyomon.  "It's great that you're so positive about this!"
    "It is different though, isn't it?" asked another new Digimon.  Taimon's little sister walked over to him and sat down beside him.  Huge green cat's eyes looked into those of her brother's.  "But it's not really a bad thing, is it?"
    Taimon looked at his little sister.  "It's 'Karimon' now, right?" he asked.
    There was a commotion as Gomamon tried to calm his partner down.
    "Joe? Joe!  Calm down!  Please?!?"
    "But I can't see properly!  I'm cursed!  Something's wrong with my eyes!"
    Matimon walked up to his panic-stricken friend.  "Hold still, will you?" he asked exasperatedly as he reached over to remove the pair of glasses from the excited individual.
    "You can open your eyes now," he suggested to the Digimon who was once Joe.
    Huge violet eyes blinked owlishly.  "I can see..." he said in amazement.  He looked around.  "What 's wrong with everyone's eyes?" he asked.
    "Same thing as yours," replied Soramon.
    "We're turning into Digimon!" said Tiikeimon excitedly.
    "What's your new name, Joe?" asked Gomamon.
    "This can't be happening!  It's just not possible!"
    "Actually, reconfiguring the human body into data is technically impossible too," commented Izimon.  "But it happened."
    "What do I tell my mother?!?"
    Matimon crossed his arms and started to look impatient.  "IF you happen to see her, you just tell her that you have become a Digimon and THEN you give her your new name --which by the way, you haven't given us yet."
    "'Jyoumon'."  The answer was sullen.  Gomamon came closer to comfort his friend.
    "It won't be so bad, Jyoumon, you'll see.  Besides, you're not the only one that it is happening to."
    Meimimon stood up.  "I don't know if its just me or what, but I am getting kinda nervous just standing out here in the middle of nowhere after just being zapped."
    "Yeah," agreed Matimon.  "We really should be getting outta here."
    "No arguments from me," commented Taimon.  "Let's head into the forest.  That's where we were heading anyway --before we were attacked."
    "That seems to be the most logical course of action," agreed Izimon.
    "Yes, let's go!" cheered Tentomon.
    "I hope that we find a nice stream or lake," commented Palmon.
    "I agree with you, Palmon," said Meimimon.  "I still think it would be nice to soak my tired feet."
    "We should look for food," commented Soramon.
    "And we should watch out for enemies," suggested Biyomon.
    "Let's just get going before it gets dark, sighed Taimon.  "I don't want to be caught out in the open again."
    The group started to head out towards the forest.  Matimon handed Jyoumon the now useless pair of glasses.
    "Here you go," he said.
    "I have a VERY bad feeling about this," muttered Jyoumon, as he took the glasses and put them into his bag.

    It was dark when the group finally stopped for the night.  It didn't take long for everyone to fall asleep.  Taimon offered to take first watch.  For once, Matimon didn't protest and he fell asleep almost as soon as he settled down.  He had Gabumon on one side and Tiikeimon on the other.  He looked too comfortable to wake up, even though Taimon was having trouble keeping his eyes open.  Besides, Taimon had another reason not to fall asleep.
    "You appear to be nervous about something, Taimon," suggested Agumon.  "Do you want to talk about it?"
    The former human boy sighed.  "It's just it makes me nervous not knowing what I'm gonna be when I wake up tomorrow morning."
    "A Digimon. You know that."
    "I know, but changing like that for no reason just makes me edgy.  It's not natural."
    "According to what Izzy --Izimon and Tentomon have figured out, nothing's really 'natural' in Digi-World, Taimon.  In a way, it's just like when we Digimon digi-volve.  When we digi-volve, we become something else, it's nothing new to us.  Although," he conceded, "the way he put it confused me some."
    "I know.  But..." Taimon yawned, not finishing his sentence.
    "I'll always be your friend, Taimon, no matter what you look like."
    "Thanks Agumon.  It's great that you can say that."
    "Why don't you get some sleep with the others?  You and the other new Digimon had a rough day today.  I can keep watch and the others can help me."
    "You sure about that?" asked Taimon.
    "Of course.  You need sleep."
    "Thanks Agumon.  For everything.  See you tomorrow."
    "Good night, Taimon."

    Morning came and Taimon woke to the sound of a shriek.
"Oh my goodness!  I'm green!"
    "But it's a nice shade of green, Meimimon..." started Palmon.
    "But it clashes with my dress, just like I knew it would!  I look like a watermelon!"
    "I think you look more like a rose," commented Tentomon.
    Taimon sat up, rubbed his eyes and looked towards the commotion.
    He saw a strange new Digimon that looked kind of like Mimi.  She had pale green skin and large brown eyes that reminded Taimon of apple seeds.  She was dressed in the same pink dress, but instead of her normal poncho, she was wearing one made of flower petals.  Her big pink hat was gone and she wore two large red and yellow flowers, one tucked behind each slightly pointed ear, and they helped to keep her still brown hair away from her face. There were four fingers on each hand and four toes on each foot, and her eyebrows had completely disappeared.  Her boots and gloves were also gone, replaced by bracelets and anklets of leafy vines, each complimenting delicate dark green claws on the ends of fingers and toes.
    "Do you really think so, Tentomon?" asked Meimimon tentatively.
    "I do," commented the bug-like Digimon.
    "Yeah!" agreed Palmon.  "I think he's right.  You look awful pretty."
    "Um, thank you."
    Taimon grunted, satisfied that the situation had calmed down by itself.  He looked to the sky and was pleased to find that it was a beautiful warm and sunny day.  He raised his hand to shade his eyes as he looked around for the rest of his companions.  Most of them have apparently left the campsite, most likely trying to discover breakfast.  A slight breeze picked up and Taimon thought that it felt good against his bare arms and legs.  He grinned to himself.  It wasn't often that any of them woke up to such a morning ever since they all entered the Digi-World, and for the first time, he actually felt like he was part of it... Wait-a-Minute!!!  Bare legs?!?
    He looked down at himself, and was shocked.
    "Hey!" he cried out.  "Where are my pants?!?"  And my socks, my shoes, my underwear?!? he wanted to add.  He looked again at a pair of large three toed feet, complete with sharp ivory claws.  They were thick at the ankles and connected to long legs that were pale orange.  Kinda like Agumon's, he thought to himself.  He looked to his hands and discovered that his gloves were now part of him, and that they were brown, four fingered and also tipped with ivory claws.  The only other clothes that he was wearing, were his tee shirt and goggles.  He decided to get up and walk to the stream to see the other changes.  He carefully got to his knees, then stood up.  Then as soon as he tried to take a step, he fell down on his backside, with a thump.
    "Taimon?  Are you all right?" asked Meimimon as she came over and helped him to his feet.
    "Yeah," he replied.  "Dunno why I fell over like that though..."
    "It might be because of your tail," suggested Tentomon.
    "Tail?" asked Taimon as he carefully twisted around to see.  He had a tail that was about the same length as his arm.  "This is too weird," he muttered.  He tried again to head for the stream.  It took a couple of steps before he realised that he had to lean slightly forward to compensate for the weight of the tail. After that, he realised that he was comfortable in his new body.  He stumbled over to the stream and looked at his reflection.  Large emerald green eyes looked out from an orange tinted face.  His hair was still brown and as big as it always was, but pointed ears and fangs changed his appearance from average human boy to cute and slightly fiendish.  He chuckled.  "Now that's different."  He straightened up as he heard the voices of others.
    Agumon ran up to him.
    "How are you feeling, Taimon?" the little dinosaur asked.
    "Different, but not bad.  This isn't as awful as I thought it would be."
    "I told you," grinned Agumon.
    "You might not think this is bad," called out another voice, "but you have to admit that it is weird."
    Jyoumon climbed out of the stream and onto the bank.  He shook himself dry and tried not to look nervous as he let the others look him over.
    Jyoumon was almost unrecognisable.  He was covered with short fine white fur with blue stripes. Thin stripes were under and over each large violet eye.  His arms and legs also bore the markings.  His ears were longer and they seemed to want to fold over themselves.  He had a short tail, similar to the one that Gomamon had.  Like Taimon, he wore no pants, shoes or socks.  His feet were wide with three toes on each they looked like they were meant for paddling in the water.  His hands were broader and his wrists were thicker.  His hair was longer in the back and it seemed more unruly than usual.  He only wore his sweater-vest, and his now useless glasses were hung on the v-neck of it.
    "You have to admit that you were having fun, Jyoumon," laughed Gomamon as he joined his partner on the bank.
    "But this is supposed to be a curse," Jyoumon sighed. "I don't think that we're supposed to have fun."
    "I won't tell," said Gomamon slyly.
    Jyoumon laughed.
    Taimon thought that it was great that the normally tense individual could loosen up like he had.
    "We better get the others together, then figure out what we want to do," he suggested.
    "I wonder where the others are?" asked Meimimon.

    Gabumon watched as Matimon wandered through the bushes, testing his new abilities.  He was a little startled when Matimon woke him up early that morning, asking him for help in adjusting to his new body.  It was a bit of a surprise for the usually reserved Digimon that he was asked to help by his equally reserved friend.  Matt was a person who liked to do things on his own.  But Matimon was willing (sorta) to ask for help --or at least until he got a handle on the situation.
    So Gabumon simply watched and offered the occasional tid-bit of advice in regards to his friend's tracking.  He was amazed at what kind of Digimon that Matimon had become.  Soft white fur, with beige stripes, covered the new Digimon's body.  He had large four-fingered hands, and large three toed feet, all with dangerous sharp looking claws.  Matimon's gloves and boots were gone, but he had acquired two large heavy golden bracelets that he wore over his thick wrists, and he still had his shirt and jeans to wear as well.  Large golden eyes with long lashes overlooked the terrain and a small black nose tested the air for a particular scent.  Furry pointed ears twitched with impatience.
    "I know that he's here somewhere," muttered the new Digimon.  "But why can't I find him?"
    "You're trying to scent too much at once, Matimon," said Gabumon helpfully.
    "What do you mean?"
    "You know what the forest smells like, right?"
    "Yeah, it's pretty distinct."  Matimon ruefully rubbed his nose.
    "So, now that you know it, you can ignore it."  Gabumon waved a paw in the air.  "Now you can concentrate on finding the scent that isn't part of the forest."
    "Like T.K.," Matimon concluded.
    "Tiikeimon!!!" came a voice from above.
    Gabumon chuckled.  "Or you can use your ears."
    Matimon looked up.
    Tiikeimon and Patamon were flying above his head.  When they realised that they were discovered, they were both quite angry.
    "You cheated!" cried out Patamon.
    "That wasn't very fair, Matimon!" yelled Tiikeimon.
    Matimon grinned, revealing his new fangs.  "You can't blame me, guys!  You made it all to easy on your own!"
    "You tricked us!" muttered the youngest of the new Digimon.  "You called me by my old name on purpose!"
    "Well, it isn't my fault that you fell for it," replied Matimon amiably.
    "Well, we won't fall for it the next time," sniffed Patamon.
    "If you say so."
    Both Tiikeimon and Patamon came down and landed on the grass in front of Matimon.
    Tiikeimon grinned at the others.  "I told ya that I would have wings!"
    "So you did!" exclaimed Matimon in surprise.
    Tiikeimon slowly turned around so that his brother and Gabumon could see him. He was a study in fuzzy cinnamon and cream. His hands and feet were still small, but his hands were down to four fingers and his feet were down to three toes, and those were tipped with tiny yet very sharp claws.  Fur covered bat-like wings protruded from his back, and the wingspan was almost twice as long as Tiikeimon was tall.  Most of the fur covering his body was the colour of cinnamon.  His belly, the inside of his ears and wings were cream coloured.  His hat was gone and so were his shoes and shorts, but he still had his shirt.  His large blue eyes stared at Matimon unblinkingly as if he was expecting Matimon to say something big brotherly.
    It took a moment.  Then Matimon looked at his little brother and realised just how happy he was.
    "You look cool, Tiikeimon," he finally replied.
    "Yay!  Thanks Matt!!!" replied the young Digimon.
    "Matimon," the older one corrected.
    "But you called me T.K.!"
    "Yeah, you did!" confirmed Patamon.
    "They're right, Matimon," Gabumon agreed.  Matimon sighed.
    "All right, you win.  I'm sorry."
    "It's okay."  The little Digimon beamed at his brother.
    "Now we better go look for some breakfast."
    "Right!" chorused the others.

    Izimon, Soramon and Biyomon were all standing high up in a tall tree.
    "What have you figured out, Izimon?" asked Soramon.
    "It's just as I figured.  We have been imputed with new code, and that is affecting our change."
    "Really?  Do you think that we're done digi-volving yet?"
    "I believe so."
    "I'm sorry that you won't be getting wings, Soramon," commented Biyomon.
    "That's all right."  Soramon shrugged.
    Biyomon looked her partner over.  Soramon was covered almost from head to toe in fine pale pink feathers.  She had slightly pointed ears with a few bright feathers tucked behind them and her sky-blue eyes were large and bright.  Her hat was gone and her light brown hair was drawn into a curl on the back of her head.  Foot-long feathers with purple tips sprung from her shoulders.  She still wore her vest and jeans, but her boots and gloves were gone.  She had large four-fingered hands and large three-toed feet, all with purple claws on the end of fingers and toes.  A gold collar encircled her neck and she wore a gold bracelet on one thick wrist.
    "I have to concur with Biyomon," agreed Izimon.  "I admit that I find it quite exhilarating to fly."  He looked down at his laptop that he was holding.  "But I must confess that I am at a loss on how to carry my computer."
    Biyomon and Soramon looked their friend over.  Izimon looked like a kid in insect armour, except for his large solid blue eyes with no discernible pupils.  His 'armour' was mostly red with black accents, and it only covered his torso, shoulders and back.  His upper arms were bare, but his hands and forearms were covered in a red armoured 'glove' that ended in three sharp black digits.  His feet and shins were encased in a red armoured 'boot' that ended in two sharp toes in the front and one at the back of each foot.  He had a black armoured headband that encircled his head with red round coverings where his ears were supposed to be.  A red diamond accent was at the front of the headband and Izimon's antennae snaked up behind the band among his reddish-brown hair.  He had no eyebrows, but his skin tone was the same as it was before, except for a black stripe on each cheek.  The finishing touch was a set of insect's wings that sprouted from his shoulders in a shade of translucent beige.  The only item of clothing left to Izimon was his shorts.
    "Maybe you can sling the strap over your shoulders," suggested Soramon.  "Between your wings, so that your computer can hang at your side."
    "That's worth considering."
    "You might want to consider giving it to someone else to carry," suggested another voice.  Izimon turned around to look at Gatomon, who had just managed to climb up the tree.  He probably glared at her for suggesting such a thing, but both Soramon and Biyomon couldn't tell because of his eyes...
    "And what if it falls into the hands of Taimon?  My poor computer would never be the same..."
    "Yeah, maybe it's not a good idea to give it to my brother," said another voice just below Gatomon.  Karimon clambered onto the same branch as the others.  Long steel coloured claws dug into the branch as she pulled herself up.
    "I think you need practice, Karimon," commented Gatomon.
    "I'll get the hang of it," replied Taimon's sister.  "I just have never used claws to climb a tree before."
    Karimon was covered in soft yellow fur.  She had large cat ears that stuck out at the sides of her head, and a long tail behind her.  A tiny black nose wrinkled in the effort.  Large steal claws tipped her four fingered hands and her three toed feet.  She still had her short brown hair, but her eyebrows were gone.  She wore only her shirt, scarf and her whistle.  Her shorts and shoes were gone.  Her large green eyes blinked as she studied her companions as they studied her.
    "I think that Taimon is looking for us," she said.
    "He is?" asked Biyomon.
    "He must want to know what we are doing for breakfast," suggested Izimon.
    Soramon rubbed her grumbling stomach.  "Yeah, I guess that food does sound like a good idea right about now."
    "I'll meet you on the ground."  Izimon jumped off of the branch and flew to the ground.  With her large ears, Karimon almost swore that she heard him say something else.  But she shook her head.  Izzy wouldn't say anything like that --she knew it.  But then again, who else could have said such a thing?
    "Fantastic!  What a rush!"

    Soon all of the Digimon were gathered back in the clearing that they had slept in.  They laughed and marvelled at each other's appearance.
    "Hey!  Izimon!" called out Taimon.  "Are those wings for real?"
    "Certainly.  Why wouldn't they be?"  The new insectoid Digimon looked confused.
    "Ignore him, Izimon," said Tentomon.  "He's just jealous!"
    "Am not!"
    "Oh my, Soramon, those feathers of yours are really pretty," commented Meimimon.
    "You really think so?" asked the pink Digimon.
    "Definitely," agreed Palmon.
    "So, Taimon?" asked Agumon.  "What happened to your pants?"
    "I wish I knew..."
    "I swear," shouted Jyoumon, "that if one more person tried to touch my ears, I'm gonna punch them!"
    Every stopped and stared at him.  Meimimon paused in the act of scratching Jyoumon's blue and white ear.
    "I'm sorry," she said.  "I didn't know that you would be so sensitive to it."
    Gomamon rushed to his friend's side.  "Relax, Jyoumon.  You would think that it would be nice to be popular with the ladies..."
    Jyoumon blushed.  "Sorry," he said to Meimimon.  "It's just that it tickles..." he finished lamely.
    "But it's just that they look so soft..." she murmured.
    Taimon cleared his throat.  "Now that we are all together, what do you think we should do for breakfast?"
    "We could hunt it down," suggested Matimon.  "I mean, now that we are able to do it..."
    "Yuk!" countered Meimimon as she gave a final scratch to Jyoumon's ear.  "I don't think that I could eat anything that was once living..."
    "But you have no problems with eating a cheeseburger, right?" asked Izimon.
    "What is your point?"
    "We could forage for edible plants," suggested Soramon.  "Those of us with a good sense of smell should be able to tell what is good and what isn't."
    Matimon rubbed his nose.  "Yeah..." he said.
    "We could catch some fish!" shouted Tiikeimon.
    Gomamon looked steamed.  Jyoumon looked uncomfortable.
    Taimon looked thoughtful.  "They're all good ideas," he said.  "Let's try this.  Matimon, Gabumon, Agumon and me will go hunting.  Izimon, Tentomon, Soramon and Biyomon can go fishing.  Meimimon, Palmon, Jyoumon and Gomamon can go foraging for nuts and berries and stuff..."
    "What about me and Gatomon?" asked Karimon.
    "And me and Patamon?" asked Tiikeimon.
    "You four can gather up firewood so that we can cook this stuff.  Everyone okay with that?"
    Everyone nodded.

    "We're supposed to be looking for edible plants?" asked Jyoumon.  "With the changes that the Digital World has experienced since we came back, I wouldn't doubt that there isn't anything left that would be edible."
    "Will you hush up and help me look?!?" asked Meimimon exasperated.
    "Yeah, Jyoumon.  Quit being such a downer, okay?" grumbled Gomamon.
    "And this 'Jyoumon' thing.  I'm Joe.  You got that?  'Joe'."
    "We know that," said Palmon.
    "Yeah," sighed Gomamon.  "I know that, Joe.  It's just while you are a Digimon, why not be 'Jyoumon'?  If I was a human, I would more than be willing to be called 'Goma'."
    Jyoumon was silent.
    "And when you become human again, then you can be 'Joe'.
    More silence.
    "Hey everyone!" cried out Palmon.  "I found something."
    The others caught up with her.
    "What did you find, Palmon?" asked Meimimon.
    "Mushrooms!"  She pointed to a spot under a tree.  Tonnes of small white mushrooms grew in the shade.
    "All right!" cheered Meimimon.
    Jyoumon sniffed the air.  "I smell something..." he said.  He followed his nose to a spot where there were odd green plants growing.  "Is it me or are those wild onions?"
    Palmon looked at the plants.  "Yes they are!"
    "Good job, Jyoumon!" complimented Gomamon.

    "Hey!" began Taimon.  "Can I ask a weird question?"
    "Go ahead," said Gabumon.
    "What DO Digimon hunt?"
    That brought the fur wearing Digimon up short.  "Uh..."
    "You do hunt, right?" asked Matimon.
    Agumon looked offended.  "Sure we do!"
    "What do you hunt?" asked Taimon again.
    "Well," said Gabumon thoughtfully.  "There's small animals of all sorts.  Birds...  The occasional elephant..."
    "Say what?!?" said Matimon in disbelief.  "Elephants?!?"
    "Just joking, Matimon," chuckled Gabumon.  "It's just a word that I've heard from you..."
    "I actually have no idea what an elephant is..."
    "I get the picture..."
    "Hey look!" hissed Taimon in a quiet voice.  He pointed to some small animals grazing in the meadow.  "Are those Digimon?"  They sort of resembled rabbits, but not quite.
    "Nope," replied Agumon in a quiet yet cheerful voice.  "But they're edible.  They taste kinda like chicken."
    "Let's go get them," growled Matimon in a soft voice.
    "Wait, Matimon," cautioned Gabumon.  "First you have to be downwind from them...  Taimon!  Wait!"
The warning came too late.  Taimon was already charging after the strange animals.  The animals wasted no time in trying to get away.  He charged madly after them, occasionally tripping over his big feet until he got the hang of the rhythm of running.
    "Should we go after him?" asked Agumon.
    "I suppose so," sighed Matimon, "or else we might lose him."
    The other three Digimon charged after their friend.
    Taimon was getting tired.  His potential breakfast was getting away.  He couldn't allow that.
    "Oh no, you don't..." he muttered.  "Petite Fire!"
    He spat out a small ball of flame at the hapless beasties.  Most of them managed to escape except for a couple that were to slow to dodge out of the way.  Those two died instantly, going up in flames.  Taimon reached the remains just as the flames started to die out.  At first he was elated at the ability of a special attack, then he sighed as he realised what his attack has done.
    The others finally managed to catch up to him.  Matimon shook his head at the charred mess.
    "Those ones are yours," he said.
    "Thanks, Matimon..." Taimon said sarcastically.
    Both Agumon and Gabumon chuckled.
    Soramon, Biyomon, Izimon and Tentomon were all sitting on the bank, poles held in their respective appendages.  A pile of fish sat behind them.
    Izimon sighed.  "There must be an easier way to entice the fish to take the hook."
    "It could be worse," chirped Biyomon.
    "Yeah," replied Soramon.  "Gomamon could be in the water, warning all of the fish away."
    "Good point."
    "But at least we caught a couple," said Tentomon.  "We just need about twenty or so more."
    "By my calculations, it would take about thirty-eight more fish of medium size to compensate all of you Digimon."
    "But you're forgetting that you're a Digimon too," said Biyomon.  "You will need to eat more too."
    Izimon blinked.  "That did not occur to me.  That is a very good point."
    "I'm sure that the other will compensate for what we can't catch," said Soramon.  "So we'll just stay a little longer and catch a few more.  Okay?"
    "Sounds good to me," agreed Tentomon.  Izimon and Biyomon just nodded.

    "So, Karimon, how much more firewood do you think we need?" asked Tiikeimon as he continued picking up branches.
    "I think that we're almost done," replied Karimon.
    "I feel a little bit insulted that we are stuck doing the menial stuff," grumbled Gatomon.  "We could have helped getting the food."
    "This is just as important," commented Karimon.  "We need to cook the food too."
    "Yeah!" exclaimed Patamon.  "Besides, can you imagine how much later breakfast would be if we all had to look for firewood after?"
    "I suppose," sighed Gatomon.
    "Things will look better after breakfast," said Tiikeimon.  "You'll see."  He took his load of twigs and branches and flew back to camp.
    "He's such a little kid," murmured Gatomon.
    "You make sound like it's a bad thing," replied Karimon.  "So am I, but you don't seem to look at me the same way."
    There was no comment.
    "Do you?"
    "No.  I don't.  But you do seem different from the others.  Not just T.K. --I mean Tiikeimon.
    "But I'm a little kid too.  You should give him and everyone else a chance."
    "Okay, Karimon.  Because you ask me to."
    When the two returned to the campsite, they found that the fire was laid out and that the others were starting to return.

    Breakfast went without a hitch.  At first Taimon was concerned about wasting any of the food for it seemed that there was way more food than any of them could possibly eat.  But he was surprised when he realised that he was up for a fifth helping of fish and mushrooms.  He even managed to eat his scorched breakfast without any trouble.  Our appetites are bigger, he thought in surprise.  We are definitely not human any more.
    The last of the food was quickly consumed.  The refuse was being buried, and last minute breaking up of the camp was in process.  While digging a hole to dump the fishbones into, Gabumon found an odd metal device.  Agumon, who was at the top, ready to throw the bones in, blinked at the thing.
    "It looks familiar," he said to his companion.
    "Maybe we should let the others look at it," suggested Gabumon.
    "Look at what?" asked Izimon as he brought over some more refuse.
    "That," replied Agumon, pointing.
    "Hey!" commented Soramon.  "Isn't that one of Gennai's communication devices?"
    "Let's bring it out," suggested Tentomon.
    "Just don't let Taimon handle it," commented Izimon.
    Ever so carefully, the metal device was brought out of the hole.  As soon as it was placed on the ground, it activated.  The wizened image of Gennai appeared over the device.  The Digimon all gathered around to hear everything that the wise elder provided.
    The old man's opened wide for the first time in the Digimon's memories as he looked over all of the Digimon that used to be human children.
    "Oh my," he chuckled.  "What have we got here?" he asked.  "Was there a costume party that I didn't know about?"
    "No costumes, I'm afraid," replied Izimon.  "We really are Digimon."
    "You don't say?  Look at you!"  He sounded a little upset.
    "Pretty neat, huh?" asked Taimon.
    "You better start at the beginning," suggested the old man.  With each voice tumbling over the other, the Digimon told the story of Frankenmon and his device.  When they were done, Gennai looked thoughtful and nodded his head a few times.  "I have heard of Frankenmon.  He's a research scientist who's interested in the theories of Digi-volution.  I wonder what made him decide to do this type of field research."
    Izimon looked thoughtful.  "We know that he is working for Piedmon," he said.
    "You do, do you?  I wonder why Piedmon would try such a thing..." mused the old man.  "Unless...  Oh dear..."
    "What?!?" exclaimed all of the Digimon at once.
    "I'm afraid that he has effectively eliminated all of you from the prophecy?"
    "How?" asked Matimon.  "He hasn't killed us off yet."
    "Well, you know about the Digi-Destined are supposed to be eight human children, right?"
    "Yeah, so?" Taimon was confused.
    "And we came," continued Meimimon.
    "But we're not human anymore," concluded Jyoumon in a hushed voice.
    "We're Digimon..." finished Matimon.
    "So because we're Digimon, we can't be the Digi-Destined anymore...  Is that it?" asked Soramon.
    "That about sums it up," agreed Gennai.
    "I'm surprised that has never occurred to me," mused Izimon.  "But I fail to understand how us being Digimon would affect the prophecy as opposed to us being human."
    "Neither do I," confessed the old man.  "But there must be a reason for Piedmon to try this tactic."
    "Is there a way for us to change back?" asked Jyoumon.
    "I'm not quite sure."  The old man sighed.  "I will have to look into it.  You all stay here until I get back to you."
    "But what are we supposed to do in the meantime?" Taimon asked, but the communication device had shut down and the image of the old man was gone.

    Piedmon looked at the scene through his telescope from his position on Spiral Mountain.  He chuckled with maniacal delight.  "Just look at them," he said to his companion.  "They're still not aware of the seriousness of the situation.  Like the unwitting fools of a play!"
    "So helpless indeed," said a voice from the shadows.  "May I go finish them off, Lord Piedmon?" asked the companion in a low sultry voice.
    The evil Digimon held the dark figure back.
    "No, not yet, my dear Lady Devimon.  How could we kill all of our actors before our play has even begun?  I rather that you assist Frankenmon with his role in this little drama."
    There was a sigh of disappointment.
    "If you insist, my Lord Piedmon," she said at last.  But even you realise that accidents can happen, she thought to herself as she left Spiral Mountain.

Chapter Two

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