By Niki "NeeP" Paradis

Chapter Four: The House that Igorimon Kept

    It was an odd procession that meandered through the forest.  Sixteen Digimon, almost half of them humanoid were making their weary way down an almost invisible path.  One of their numbers was wounded and was pulled along in a wooden sled device being pulled along by one of the biggest of their group.
    Understandably, all of the faces were solemn and barely anyone spoke.  They have been walking for more than four hours.
    But the silence didn't last for much longer...

    "I'm hot, thirsty, tired, and my feet hurt," grumbled Jyoumon as he pulled along the travois.  "All four of them."
    Taimon looked sideways at the Digimon who spoke.  Until now, he was still having trouble believing that this large, strong, four-footed white and blue Digimon was once Joe Kido.  But the voice and the complaints...
    "You know something, Jyoumon?" commented Taimon.  "I admit that at first I was having doubts about your identity, but now you have completely removed them."
    On the other side of Jyoumon, Gomamon, who was still wearing Joe's digivice on a shoelace around his neck, laughed.
    Jyoumon glared at the leader.  "You want a turn at this?" he asked icily.
    "Nope," replied Taimon cheerfully.  "You said that you would have no problem.  Besides, the rest of us can't pull that thing anyway."
    Jyoumon sighed.  "Yeah, I know.  But can we stop for a moment so I can get something to drink?  Itís not something that I can do while weíre moving."
    Palmon, who was walking next to the travois with Meimimon, chimed up.  "A drink would be a good idea, wonít it, Meimi?"
    "A drink would be wonderful," agreed the flower-girl Digimon.
    "So?" asked Jyoumon.
    Taimon nodded.  "I guess so, five minutes wonít hurt."
    "But what about Gabumon?" protested Matimon.  "We don't have time to stop!"
    "I need a drink of water, Matimon," insisted Jyoumon.  "Otherwise, I will pass out, then who will pull the travois?"
    "Fine," growled the wolf-boy Digimon.  "But no longer than five minutes."
    So, the group stopped and the water bottle was passed around.  Jyoumon needed someone to hold the bottle for him as he had two problems.  One of them was the restriction of movement that the travois created and the other was the simple fact that he had no hands.  But soon enough, everyone had enough to drink and then it was time to move on.
    "It's not farther," said Izimon from his scouting position in the air.  "I think it will take us another half-hour at the most."
    "Good," grunted Matimon.  "The sooner we can get Gabumon comfortable, the better."
    They continued on. As they went, they speculated on what kind of welcome they might expect once they reached the place that Tiikeimon discovered.
    "With our luck, it's probably like that phoney hotel that Devimon tricked us in," muttered Matimon.  He was walking next to the travois, with one of his huge hands resting on his partner's shoulder.
    "I dunno," said Taimon.  "I still find it hard to believe that everyone is out to get us."
    "We might have a warm reception," said Soramon.
    "With a huge dinner waiting for us," added Gomamon.
    "You and your stomach," chuckled Jyoumon.  "You're the first walking appetite that I have ever met."
    Gomamon snorted.  "I wouldn't talk if I as you, Jyou.  Weren't you the one complaining about being hungry just a little bit ago?"
    Jyoumon's face went red under its white fur.
    "I hope they have ice-cream," murmured Gabumon from his sickbed.
    "Shhh.  Don't talk," said Matimon sternly.  "We'll get you some.  Just concentrate on getting better."
    "Okay, Mati..."

    A little later...
    "We're almost there!" called out Tiikeimon from the sky.  "Just a little further."
    "Do you think we made it in time for dinner?" asked Agumon.
    "I hope so."  Taimon rubbed his grumbling stomach.  "I feel that I could eat a whole mountain of food."
    "Hamburgers and pizza would be great!" suggested Matimon.
    "Strawberry ice-cream!" chimed in Gabumon quietly.
    "Chocolate cake!" called out Tiikeimon.
    "Mashed potatoes and gravy!" added Jyoumon.
    "Green beans and broccoli in cheese sauce!" giggled Soramon.
    "Large saucers of milk!" exclaimed Gatomon.
    The litany of edible foodstuffs dwindled off as their destination came into view.  A huge mansion with whitewashed walls and a white picket fence invited them all to come closer.
    "That place is huge!" exclaimed Izimon.
    "Is it me, or does anyone else have the sensation of Deja vu?" asked Matimon.
    "It does feel kinda like a trap, doesn't it?" asked Jyoumon.
    "You're too suspicious!" exclaimed Meimimon.  "Not everything is a trap."
    "We'll see," said Taimon.

    They drew closer to the huge building.  The group could now see flowers growing in flowerbeds.  Birds chirped in nearby trees.  Everything looked rather peaceful.
    A lone figure knelt by the flowerbed, with a trowel in one hand.  She turned as she heard the commotion behind her.
    "Oh!  Company!" she exclaimed as she got up.  "Welcome!" she called out in greeting.  "Come in!"
    "Seems too friendly to be a trap," commented Soramon.
    "She seems rather nice," added Biyomon.
    The group of Digimon looked over the unusual individual.  She was fairly tall --almost the size of a full-grown human woman.  She had pale green skin and fairly short sandy-brown hair that was tied up in a pair of ponytails at the sides of her head.  Her eyes were large and friendly even though one was blue and the other was golden.  She wore low shoes and stripped leggings on one leg and bandages on the other.  The sleeves of her patched dress were of different length and she wore more bandages on one arm.  She was rather pretty despite her mismatched appearance.
    "Can you help us?" asked Taimon.  "One of our group needs medical attention."
    "Really?"  The tall Digimon overlooked the group and saw Gabumon on the travois.  "Oh my!  Let's get him inside, quickly."
    Everyone complied.  Jyoumon pulled the travois through the front doors of the mansion.  The others helped get the large device up the front steps and into a huge receiving hall.
    The tall Digimon disappeared for a moment and came back with a gurney.  "Let's get him into the examination room," she said.
    It took everyone's help.  Gabumon stirred as he was lifted from the sled to the wheeled device.  "What is going on?" he asked in a weak voice.
    "Relax," said the tall Digimon.  "You're in a safe place now."
    "Who are you?" asked the fur-covered Digimon.
    "I am 'Igorimon'.  I will help you."
    She wheeled her patient down the hall.  All of the rookie Digimon followed her, except for one.
    "Hey!" called out Jyoumon.  "Can somebody untie me, please?"  But no one heard him.  "It figures," muttered the lonely Digimon as he struggled to loosen the vine straps that secured him to the travois.

    Inside the infirmary, Igorimon looked her patient over.  He was lying on the examination table on his stomach, and keeping perfectly still.  She saw and made note of the bloodstain coming through the back of the fur coat that he was wearing.
    "Will he be all right?" asked Patamon with worry.
    "He'll be just fine," said the tall Digimon as she reached over to remove the blue fur coat.  She stopped as she noticed that her patient was trembling and grabbing hold of the fur to prevent her from taking it off.  The she noticed that his wide-eyed gaze went towards the large crowd that was gathering around.
    Igorimon nodded in understanding, then gestured to the door of the infirmary.  "I'm sorry, but I have to ask you all to leave the room," she said in her sweet voice.
    Everyone slowly filed out of the door.  Except for Matimon.  "Would it be okay if I stayed?" he asked.  "He's my friend."
    The pretty Digimon looked thoughtful for a moment.  "I don't know..." she started.
    "Excuse me," said Gabumon's voice from the direction of the padded examination table.  "If it's okay, I'd like Matimon to stay."
    Igorimon listened to the nervousness in her patient's voice then nodded.  "Alright," she said to Matimon.  "You can stay.  But you have to do as I tell you, okay?"
    The wolf-boy Digimon nodded.  "I will," he promised.
    "Good.  Grab the blanket from the shelf over there," she commanded, "and bring it over here."
    Matimon did what he was told and brought the blanket over to the table.
    "Just hold onto it for a minute," said the kind Digimon.  "All right sweetie," she said to Gabumon," I have to remove you coat so I can help you.  But we'll keep you covered."
    "I won't look if you don't want me to..." said Matimon softly.
    Gabumon swallowed. If I can't let my best friend know what I look like, what kind of friend am I? he asked himself.  "I don't mind you looking, Matimon..." he said finally.
    Matimon nodded once.  He was both startled and honoured by the chance to actually see his friend.
    Igorimon carefully pulled up the blue fur-coat away from the Digimon's back.  She removed one sleeve, then the other.  Matimon got the blanket ready.
    "Cover his back," said the tall Digimon.  Matimon complied.  The warm grey wool blanket covered the bare yellow back.  But the shy Digimon was still shaking.
    "It's all right, sweetie," said Igorimon as she removed the hood of the fur coat.  And Matimon got to look at the face of his best friend for the very first time.
    He couldn't understand why his friend felt the need to cover himself.
    Gabumon was relieved that his friend wasn't laughing at him.  But he couldn't understand the small smile that Matimon was making.  It wasn't mocking --just quietly happy.
    Igorimon placed the stained coat onto the bench behind her.  She used the opportunity of her patient's distraction to examine the wound.  It was located between the shoulder blades.  It looked particularly nasty, but not more so than some of the other things that she has seen...  She cleaned it out with alcohol, then applied a poultice of herbs to it.  She could feel Gabumon wince, but he didn't cry out.  She covered the wound with gauze then wrapped bandages around it.
    "All done, sweetie," she said as she drew the blanket over to cover her patient's head.  She took the stained fur-coat off of the bench that it was sitting on.  "I'll be back soon with something to eat for the both of you," she said.  "You two just make yourselves comfortable."
    "Um," interrupted Matimon as Igorimon was just about to leave.  "I promised Gabumon ice-cream.  You wouldn't happen to have..?"  His voice trailed off.
    The tall Digimon giggled.  "Sure, I got ice-cream.  I'll bring some over.  Okay?"
    Both Matimon and Gabumon nodded.  "Thanks," they both said in unison.

    The others made it back to the main hall where they found Jyoumon glaring at them.  He was wearing the remains of the vine halter.  The wreckage of the travois lay behind him.
    "Oh my goodness!" exclaimed Soramon.  "We're sorry, Jyou.  We didn't mean to forget you..."
    "It's all right," snorted the large Digimon.  "I'm used to being forgotten."
    "No, really, Jyoumon.  We're sorry," said Taimon.  "We were just so wrapped up with Gabumon, that we..."
    "Forgot that I was there.  I noticed."
    "Stuff it, Jyou.  They said that they were sorry."  Gomamon leaped up into the air to give him a smack in the back of his head.  But his partner intercepted it easily.
    Meimimon walked up to Jyoumon and started remove the rest of the vines from around his chest.  "We just forgot that you can't untie yourself.  Will you forgive us?"
    Jyoumon looked steamed for a few moments more, then relented.  Mimi --Meimimon had an honest sweetness about her that was kind of hard to fight against.  He sighed.  "It's okay guys.  I'm just hungry I guess."
    "That would go for all of us," said Izimon.  "We should inquire about food when our hostess comes back."
    "I won't argue with that," agreed Tentomon.
    Soon, the lady Digimon returned.  She was carrying Gabumon's fur-coat with her.  She smiled at the whole group.  Everyone looked to her expectantly.
    "Your friend will be all right," she said.  "He's patched up and all he needs now is rest and plenty of food.  So why don't you all tell me who you are?  I mean, I know pretty much all of the Digimon there is to know, but eight of you guys are new."
    "Um, we weren't always Digimon," said Taimon hesitantly.  "We used to be human."
    "Oh!" exclaimed Igorimon.  "You're the Digi-kids!  So, you DID turn into Digimon."
    "Uh, yeah."
    Everyone else was confused.
    "You all look so adorable!!!"
    Everyone face-faulted.
    "Let's see if I can remember your names..."  She took Taimon's orange tinted face in her hands and kissed him lightly on the nose.  "You're 'Taimon', right?"
    The leader of the group blushed a deep red.  "Um, yeah," he said.  The others snickered.
    "And I'm Agumon," exclaimed the little dinosaur Digimon.
    "I know that, silly," said Igorimon as she scratched him on the head.  Then she went on to name all of the others and give them greetings in her own special way --much to the amusement and embarrassment of everyone.
    She gave the flower-girl Digimon a hug.  "You must be 'Meimimon'.  Am I right?"
    "Why, yes," exclaimed Meimimon.
    "Then who am I?" demanded Meimimon's partner.
    "You're 'Palmon', the sweetest plant Digimon around!"  Igorimon went to her and ruffled and fluffed Palmon's petals.
    Palmon blushed furiously.  "Um... I don't know what to say..."
    The tall Digimon turned to face the little pink bird Digimon.  "You're 'Biyomon'," she said as she bent to stroke the feathers on pink head.  "You're one of the kindest Digimon out there."
    Biyomon blushed, flattered that a stranger would describe her so.  "But, how do you know us?" she asked.
    "Everyone knows about the Digi-Destined and their partners!"  Igorimon's eyes were bright with excitement.  "You're all the talk of the Digital World."
    Igorimon turned to face another of the new Digimon.  The object of her gaze blushed before the tall Digimon could open her mouth, but that didn't stop her.  "Your name is 'Izimon', and you're the computer whiz of the group."  She got down on her knees to hug him.
    Izimon stiffened in the overly familiar embrace.  The others laughed at his discomfort.  "But why is it that everyone is interested in us?"
    Igorimon laughed.  Her voice was merry.  "It's because of the prophecy.  Every Digimon knows that the Digi-Destined will free the Digital World from the forces of darkness.  Isn't that right, 'Tentomon'?"  She went over to him and kissed him on the top of his head, between the antennas.
    The little bug-Digimon's blush was hidden under his bright red shell.  But the embarrassment was evident in his voice.  "Um, right," he said.
    "But how did you know that we've become Digimon?" asked Taimon's little sister.
    Igorimon turned to face her.  "You're 'Karimon', right?" she asked.
    "Yes, I am."
    "Well, Karimon, there are a lot of Digimon hiding in the forest who saw you all pass through.  They just came and told me afterwards."  She reached to scratch the little cat-girl behind the ears.  Karimon's eyes closed for a moment as if she was enjoying the attention.  Then she shook herself.
    Igorimon didn't notice, as she turned to face the other feline of the group.  "You're 'Gatomon', a little cat who is wiser than her years should allow."
    "Uh huh." Gatomon as she put her head forward to receive an ear-scratch of her own.  Afterwards, she glared at the others as if daring them to make a comment.  None did, so the little-cat Digimon nodded to herself and turned back to their hostess.  "Who are these Digimon?" she asked.
    Igorimon sighed.  "To be honest, I can't tell you.  They want to remain in hiding."
    "Really?" asked Tiikeimon.  "They must be very small if we didn't see them."
    Igorimon brightened quickly.  She giggled, then ran to Matimon's little brother.  She picked him up and spun him in the air, then kissed him on the cheek.  "You're a sweet one, 'Tiikeimon'," she said as she set him down.
    "But they are small, aren't they?" asked Tiikeimon's partner.
    The tall Digimon picked him up and kissed him on the cheek before replying.  "Well, 'Patamon', some of them are smaller than you and Tiikeimon, and some of them are much bigger.  But they can all hide very well."
    Patamon blushed and Tiikeimon giggled.
    "So, basically, what you are saying is that everyone knows who we are?" asked Biyomon's partner.
    Igorimon went around and gave her a hug from behind.  "Pretty much, 'Soramon'.  There's not a lot that the Digimon around here don't know."
    "Then does that mean that everyone knows where we are heading too?" asked Jyoumon.
    "Nope.  Not everyone knows.  I think I do, but I'm not planning on telling."  Igorimon turned around to face him.  She stopped talking and stared at him.  "Oh my..." she said in a hushed voice.  "You're 'Jyoumon', aren't you?"
    "Uh, yeah."
    "Aren't you just perfect!" she cooed as she went to him.  She got down on her hands and knees and started to scratch his chest.  "You're complete!" she said to him in a whisper.  Then she started to scratch him under the chin.
    At first Jyoumon squirmed under the attention, then he relaxed.
    "But how do you know where we are heading?" asked Izimon.
    Igorimon wasn't listening as she was concentrating on giving Jyoumon more attention than he would ever need.
    "Hey!" cried out Taimon.  "He isn't a dog.  Don't treat him like one!"
    "It's all right, Taimon," countered Jyoumon.  "I don't mind at all."  He was looking at everyone through half closed eyes and there was an odd-looking smile on his face.
    "What's wrong with him?" asked Soramon.
    Gatomon shook her head.  "I bet that if Jyoumon was a cat, he'd be purring."
    Gomamon went up to them.  "Don't you think that I'm cute too?" he asked in an impish voice.
    "Of course you are, 'Gomamon'," replied Igorimon as she turned her attention away from Jyoumon to scratch the little Digimon behind the ears.
    Jyoumon shook his head, regretting that the attention was no longer on him.  "Now that we know that Gabumon's gonna be okay, maybe we can concentrate on getting ourselves fed."
    "Don't you worry about it none, sweethearts.  Dinner will be here soon."  Igorimon stood up.  "I better get this coat down to the laundry," she said.  She left the other Digimon in the main hall.

    The group watched her go.
    "I don't trust her," said Karimon.
    "No?" asked Meimimon.  "Why not?"
    "She seems like a very nice Digimon to me," commented Soramon.
    "Any one who offers food is considered nice in my book," said Gomamon.
    "Did she have Gabumon's fur coat with her?" asked Taimon.
    "Yup," replied Tentomon.  "That is what she said."
    "So that means that Gabumon is sittin' around without anything on, right?"
    "Yeah, so?" asked Karimon.
    "Haven't you ever wondered what Gabumon looks like without his fur?" asked the leader in a mischievous wheedling voice.
    "Maybe," replied Soramon, grabbing one of Taimon's pointed ears.  "But that is for him to show us when he is ready.  Not before."  She gave the ear a slight twist.
    "But, Soramon..."
    "Leave him be," commanded the pink Digimon as she twisted his ear hard.
    "OW!!!  Okay!  Fine!  You win!"

    Igorimon returned shortly after.  "Dinner's almost ready, sweethearts, but I am going to need a hand bringing it into the dining room.
    The group followed her into the kitchen.  Plates and dishes of food sat on the counters.
    "This all looks and smells incredible," exclaimed Meimimon with her eyes closed.
    "How did you cook all this so quickly?" asked Karimon.
    Their hostess gestured to a collection of odd-looking machinery that was sitting on the counters.  "As you can see, this little kitchen of mine has all of the latest and greatest in cooking appliances.  With these, it doesn't take long at all to whip up a meal or two."
    Izimon studied a device that appeared to be a combination of a microwave and a blender.  "Very interesting," he murmured to himself.  "I wonder how it works." He reached over to finger a switch with one of his talons.
    "Please don't touch, dear," exclaimed Igorimon.  "Most of these things are very sensitive and may go off at the wrong moment.  I don't want you to hurt yourself."
    "Oh, please," grumbled the bug-boy Digimon, but he did take his hand away.  "She makes me sound like Taimon."
    "Will you please stop that?!?" growled Taimon into his ear --or where Izimon's ear should be, under its protective covering.
    "Stop what?" asked Izimon innocently.
    "Knock it off, you two and grab something," growled Soramon.  "Everyone's waiting to eat."
    Both Taimon and Izimon went red in the face and went quiet.  They each picked up a plate of food and headed out of the kitchen.

    The dinning room table was set with a white linen cloth, with fine china, crystal and silverware.  The Digimon were almost overwhelmed by the fanciness of the settings.
    "This is all for us..?" asked Soramon in a hushed voice.
    "Seems to be a little too much for the likes of us," agreed Biyomon.
    "Nonsense!" exclaimed Igorimon.  "You're my guests and I don't get too many guests here, so it's a perfect occasion to bring out the good stuff."
    Carefully, the Digimon set down the food that they helped bring into the dining room on the table.
    There was an amazing assortment of food.  There was roast beastie with gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, corn and carrots.  There was rice and sweet and sour meatballs.  There was roasted chicken --or something very like it, and fresh made buns that were still steaming.  There was green salad, Caesar salad, potato salad and macaroni salad.  No one has ever seen so much food since that time they stayed at the fake hotel that Devimon created --and that didn't count since the food wasn't real.
    Jyoumon carefully eased the basket of buns that he was carrying onto the table.  It was the first time he tried to carry anything in his mouth. He was both grateful that the basket had a handle and proud that he didn't drop any of the buns.  "I don't know about you guys, but does anyone else feel a little weird about sitting at a fancy table like this after everything that has happened to us?" he asked.
    "Weird?" asked Gomamon confused.
    Taimon looked up from the platter of roast beastie that he had just set down.  "Maybe, but let's face it Jyoumon, what are the chances of us ever getting another meal like this any time soon?"
    "Good point," agreed Gomamon.
    "Let's eat," called out Agumon.
    The majority of the Digimon took their places at the table and started to help themselves to the food.  However, some of them took a little longer than the others.
    Jyoumon just sat on the floor, looking at the chair in front of him.  It was supposed to be his chair, but he felt a bit odd about that.  How was he supposed to eat in a formal setting?  Does he even have the right to sit at the table, when he couldn't handle the proper cups or utensils?  He sighed.
    "Aren't you hungry, sweetie?" asked Igorimon as she stopped by his chair to place a bowl of peas on the table.
    "Um, yeah, but..."  He didn't know how to tell her what his problem was.
    "Then get in the chair and eat, silly.  The food isn't going to come down to you."
    Jyoumon still didn't move.  Then he hesitantly placed one paw on the seat.
    Igorimon looked at him quizzically.   "What's wrong?"
    "I'm not sure how to eat," he started.  Man, he knew that sounded lame.  But the tall Digimon caught on quickly.
    "I've forgotten!" she exclaimed.  "Sorry, sweetie.  I've should have realised that you have just reached your completed form.  Don't worry about it though --you'll figure it out.  Just get into your seat."
    He shrugged and jumped into the chair.  He watched as Igorimon dished out potatoes, peas and roast beastie.  She cut up the meat into small pieces for him and covered everything with gravy.
    "There you go.  Enjoy."  She went on to server the others.
    Jyoumon looked at the plate of food before him.  A fork sat on one side, and a spoon sat on the other.  Not that either one would do him any good.  He sighed.  How am I gonna eat this?  The food looked so good, and he knew that his Digimon body didn't have the allergies that his human one did.  But there was no way that his paws can even grasp a spoon or fork.  He looked towards Gomamon.  The little white and purple Digimon supported himself on the table with his paws and had his muzzle stuffed into a bowl.  He was wolfing down the rice within.  There was nothing dignified in the way that his partner was eating, as Meimimon started to point out.
    He leaned over the table and had lowered his head until his muzzle just touched his mashed potatoes.  He started to nibble a bit from the top.  Then he stopped and looked at his plate in wonder.  It was delicious.  He started to take bigger and bigger bites, careful not to eat too fast or too messily.  Eating was easy!
    Izimon was having a similar problem.  He couldn't hold the fork properly in his talons and he wasn't sure how to go about eating his dinner.  He could grip the spoon --barely, but there was only so much that he could pick up with it.  He looked towards his partner.  Tentomon was using his front talons to spear the meat and his back hands to hold more food.  The bug Digimon was cramming the food into his mouth as fast as he can.
    Not the best role model for table manners, mused Izimon.  But Tentomon did manage to show him one useful thing.  Reaching for his plate, Izimon managed to spear a slice of roasted beastie with a talon and lifted it to his mouth.  He chewed happily and used his spoon for the potatoes and peas.  He avoided the odd looks of the girls as he continued his eating.
    "Your manners are simply disgraceful!" exclaimed Meimimon.
    "Who are you talking to this time, Meimimon?" asked Taimon dryly.
    Meimimon looked steamed.  But she pointed to Izimon.
    Izimon gave an impish smile as he used his talon to pop another piece of meat into his mouth.  "Sometimes, you have to improvise," he said to them after he swallowed.  "Either that or starve, and I am a bit averse to starving."  He turned to Igorimon.  "This is really excellent, my compliments to the chef."
    The other Digimon cheered in agreement.
    Igorimon blushed.  "I'm glad that you all like it," she said.  She turned to a small table behind her and picked up a pitcher.  "Now, who wants lemonade?" she asked.
    A show of hands and paws was evident.  So Igorimon went ahead and poured glasses and saucers for everyone.
    The taste of lemonade was a new experience for some of the Digimon.  They all liked it well enough though.
    "It's nice," commented Gatomon, "but it's nothing like a saucer of milk..."
    "Sweet and sour at the same time," said Biyomon.  "But it's good."
    "And I'm not allergic to it!" exclaimed Jyoumon in surprise, then went back to his saucer.
    Igorimon smiled at them all.  She seems extremely happy that her guests were enjoying themselves.  Then she turned to leave.
    "I'll be right back," she told them.  "I have to make sure that the other two have enough to eat."
    The other Digimon watched her go.
    "I like her," said Palmon.
    "Me too," agreed Patamon. "She's extremely nice."
    "She's a pretty good cook too," said Agumon.
    Taimon leaned back and rubbed his stomach.  "You can say that again," he said to his partner.
    Agumon grinned.  "She's a pretty good cook too."
    "That's for sure," said Gomamon as he licked the remaining rice off of his muzzle.
    Taimon sat up again.  "Is there anything left?" he asked.
    "Don't you think that you had enough?" asked Soramon.
    "Not as long as there is food on the table."
    There was still plenty of food left.  A half-bowl full of rice, as well as other food remained on the table.
    Taimon reached for the bowl of rice.  He dug into it with his huge hand and shoved it into his mouth.  Everyone just stared at him.
    "What?!?" he demanded of them.
    "Your manners are simply atrocious!" exclaimed Meimimon.
    "What do you mean?"
    Agumon grabbed the bowl away from his partner.
    The flower-girl Digimon glared at the leader of the pack. "You can use a spoon, right?"
    "Sure.  Of course I can."
    "Then why don't you?"
    Taimon gestured to his partner who was finishing off what was left of the rice.  "Agumon isn't," he said.
    Meimimon threw her arms up is disgust. "You're impossible!" she exclaimed.
    Taimon gave an evil chuckle. "You ain't seen nothing yet!"  He reached over and picked up a bun.

    "How do you feel?" asked Matimon to his partner.
    Gabumon shrugged under his blanket.  "A little bit sore still, but not too bad.  Thanks for staying, Matimon."
    "No problem."
    The two sat in silence for a bit.  Between them, nothing more needed to be said.
    But the silence didn't last for too long...
    "I wonder when the food will arrive?" asked the naked-lizard Digimon.
    "Good question.  Maybe I should take a look outside..."
    Igorimon then entered as Matimon was just getting up.
    "Sorry for taking so long, sweethearts," she said as she pushed a food cart into the room.  "I had to get the others settled first.  And I had to retrieve 'Gabumon's' coat from the cleaner."  She set the fur coat down on the bench beside them.
    "That was fast," said Gabumon in surprise.
    "I'll say."  Matimon nodded in agreement.
    "Well, I hope that this is enough for you two.  I know that Gabumon will need a lot of food and rest in the next couple of days."
    "How do you know my name?" asked Gabumon as he retrieved his coat from the tall Digimon.
    "Everyone around here knows who you and 'Matimon' are, not to mention the others..."
    "So, you're saying that you're not alone here in this big house?" asked the wolf-boy Digimon.
    Igorimon sighed.  "Actually, for most of the time, I am the only one here.  My friends live outside, in the forest."
    "Who else lives here, then?" asked Matimon.
    Igorimon turned away.  "I better leave you two to your dinner before it gets cold," she said.
    "But..." Matimon was about to repeat his question, before he was interrupted again by the tall Digimon.
    "You boys just relax, and I will check on you later," she said and left the infirmary.
    The other two Digimon watched the door close.
    "What do you think?" asked Matimon to his partner.
    "She seems very nice, if a little bit nervous about something..."
    "That's what I was thinking.  I wonder what she has to hide?"
    "Maybe she's just embarrassed."
    "Who knows?"  Matimon shrugged.  "Let's see what she left us."  He lifted the covers off of the dishes and inhaled the aromas from the food within.  "I think we're in for a treat."
    Gabumon pointed to two other dishes that were on the lower shelf of the cart.  "She even brought ice-cream," he said happily.
    Matimon grinned at his partner.  "Cool.  Tell you what.  Get dressed, then we'll eat.  Okay?"  He picked up the fur coat and threw it at him.
    Gabumon caught the fur, but dropped the blanket.  But it didn't bother him as much as it used to.  "Okay, Matimon.  Sounds good to me."

    "What are you doing, Taimon?" asked Meimimon nervously as she watched him casually toss the dinner bun up and down in the air.
    "Why, Meimi...  What are you implying?  What makes you think I'm up to something?"
    "Well..."  Meimimon didn't want to falsely accuse anyone.  But she had a gut feeling that Taimon meant trouble.  "I just have a feeling that you are a little bit angry at me..."
    "Really?" asked Taimon.  "Just because you have been nit-picking on the table manners of me and everyone else is no reason for me to get angry and seek revenge..."
    "It isn't?" Meimimon breathed a sigh of relief.
    "Nah," he replied cheerfully.  "I'll just throw this bun at you for the joy of it!"  Taimon took aim and let fly.  The dinner roll nailed the flower-girl Digimon smack in the middle of her forehead.
    "Taimon!" exclaimed Soramon.  "Grow up, will you?!?"
    Meimimon sat stunned for a moment.  Palmon looked to her in concern.
    "Meimi?  Are you all right?"
    If Meimimon had eyebrows, one of them would have been twitching.  As it was, a blood-vein appeared on her temple --if only for a moment.  Then it disappeared and she smiled brightly at her partner.
    "I'm just fine, Palmon," she said sweetly.
    "You're not mad?" asked Taimon from across the table.
    "No.  Of course not.  Why should I be mad?" The little vein appeared again.  "Just because I was trying to teach you how to act in a formal setting and all you want to do is play games and make fun of me..." she picked up the bun that had rebounded off of her forehead and stood up.
    "Uh, Meimimon?" Soramon tried to interrupt.
"WHY SHOULD I BE MAD WHEN IT IS BETTER JUST TO GET EVEN!!!" Meimimon shrieked.  She then hurled the bun across the table where it nailed Taimon in the nose.  The sheer force of the throw was enough to tip the leader and his chair backwards.  He hit the floor with a thud.
    "Meimimon!" exclaimed Palmon.
    "What has gotten into you?!?" demanded Soramon.  "This is no way to be acting at the table!  You know it!  You even said it!"
    "Don't worry about it, Soramon!" shouted Taimon joyfully.  "She isn't going to hit anyone else.  Everyone knows that girls can't throw! She just got lucky the first time!"
    "Yeah!" agreed Agumon.
    "Oh, really?" asked Biyomon coldly as she managed to pick up a bowl of corn and lob it at the other Digimon.
    "I'll show you," growled Soramon as she started to gather various foodstuffs and throw it back at Taimon.
    "Yay!" shouted Tiikeimon joyfully.  "Food Fight!"  He gleefully started to throw food at everyone.
    "Tiikei?  Are you sure that this is right?" asked Patamon in concern.
    "Who knows?" replied the smallest of the new Digimon.  "But it sure is fun.  Try it!"
    "Well, okay..."  The small winged Digimon jumped into a bowl of sliced carrots and started to scatter them everywhere with his small legs.  Orange vegetable matter rained down on everyone.
    "Hey!  Watch it!" yelled Jyoumon as he ducked as much of the flying food as he could before taking refuge under the table.
    "Hey, Jyou!" shouted Gomamon.  "Wait up!"  The small white and purple Digimon joined his partner.
    "I really don't think that this type of behaviour is appropriate for a setting such as this," began Izimon.  "Further more, it is a complete waste of..."  The Bug-boy Digimon was nailed in the mouth with another dinner bun.
    "Just join in the fun, Izi!" shouted Taimon.  "You can rationalise this later!"
    "Well," said Izimon with a shrug.  "If that's the way you want it..."  He looked around his dinner plate for suitable ammunition.

    Gabumon and Matimon were still eating in the infirmary.  Igorimon had briefly appeared again and left the two with a portable television with a documentary on the various specimens of Digimon.  The boys watched the video as they ate.
    "So let me get this straight.  You were once a little red drain-plug?" asked Matimon in a confused voice.
    "Not a drain-plug," replied Gabumon.  "'Punimon'.  A baby Digimon.  Then I digivolved into 'Tsunomon', then 'Gabumon'."  The fur covered Digimon shrugged.  "It's not that difficult, Mati."
    "I find it confusing.  I mean, on Earth, I was born as a baby, then I got older, and bigger.  But I was always Matimon... I mean, Matt."
    "That sounds rather peculiar to me."
    Matimon thought about it for a moment.  "I guess it would," he said.

    Another chicken leg went flying through the air.
    "Hey!" shouted Tentomon at everyone.  "That's food that you're throwing!  Izimon!  Make them stop, please?"
    "Huh?" asked Izimon as he lobbed a spoonful of peas at Taimon.  "Did you say something, Tento?"
    The bug Digimon swallowed.  "Et tu, Izi?  I feel so betrayed."
    "Sorry about that," replied Izimon as he ducked a flying meatball.  "But you have to understand the benefits of stress-relief that will result of this."
    "You're certain about this?" asked Tentomon dubiously.
    "Of course," replied his partner, as he avoided being hit by flying mashed potatoes.  "See how relaxed, everyone is now?"
    Tentomon looked around.  Everyone was shouting and  throwing food.  A huge sweat-drop formed on the back of his head.  "I suppose..."  Actually, he wasn't convinced.
    "You missed me!" Izimon shouted at his attackers.

    Gomamon followed his partner under the table.
    "Why aren't you joining in on the fun, Jyou?" he asked.  "You being a party-pooper again?"
    Jyoumon shook his head.  "Nope," he said.  "It's just that I don't have a chance.  I would be creamed before I even figure out how to pick anything up to throw."
    "Besides," the large Digimon winked.  "A 'Mon's gotta know when he's over his head."
    "...And to know where his other strengths lie.  Don't worry, Goma.  I haven't given up."
    Gomamon laughed.  "Well, that's a relief...  I think."

    Igorimon entered the dining room in time to see her guests testing the aerodynamics of her meal.  She took another step forward and suddenly found herself plastered with mashed potatoes.
    Everything suddenly went still.  The Digimon surrounding the table all looked to her abashed.  They all looked guiltily at the remains of the dinner that was now scattered all over the dining room, the table and each other.
    "Um," started Taimon as he rubbed the back of his neck.  "I suppose you're kinda wondering what we're doingÖ"  His face was red and there were peas in his hair.
    Igorimon slowly wiped the potatoes off of her face with her hand.  The group watched her with apprehension.  There was a soft sound that started to come from the tall Digimon.  She bent over and shook.  It took a few moments before the others realised that she was laughing.  Her giggles became louder as she stood up again.
"I'm so glad that you're all enjoying my cooking," she said with a huge smile.  The others laughed in an embarrassed way.
    "Your dinner was delicious," said Meimimon as she casually used her napkin to wipe off mashed potato off of her petal-poncho.
    "You really did enjoy it?" Igorimon asked again.
    "You bet!" said Jyoumon from under the table.  He then stepped out from under the table, reached up and shoved Taimon's head into the bowl with what little mashed potatoes that were left with his paw.
    The others were staring at the large Digimon.  Gomamon's laughter was heard from under the table.
    "Gotcha!" said Jyoumon.  The others laughed.
    Igorimon gave the Digimon a mischievous grin.  "I knew that you would all like it," she said.  "I am also positive that you all will enjoy helping clean up."
    Everyone around the table went quiet again, but no one argued.

    The two following hours involved soap, water and scrub brushes.
    "See where your bad manners have gotten us?" asked Meimimon primly to Taimon.

    Shortly after the last of the mess was tidied, Igorimon showed everyone to the bath.  There was only one large tub, so the Digimon took turns.

    The girls went first.
    Soramon carefully removed her tank-top, easing it away from her shoulder feathers.  She set the shirt next to her blue jeans.  She found, to her dismay, the gold collar and bracelets could not be removed.  The bracelets were too small to slide up over her large hands and her collar was one simple piece and wouldn't fit over her head.  She then figured that it didn't matter if her jewellery got wet, as long as her clothes didn't.  She slid into the tub beside Meimimon.
    "This is nice," she said.
    "It's dreamy," agreed Meimimon.
    "Igorimon is one of the nicest Digimon that I've ever met," commented Biyomon.
    "She is, isn't she?" asked Palmon.
    Soramon looked up at Taimon's little sister who was sitting at the edge of the tub.  "Aren't you gonna join us, Karimon?" she asked.
    Karimon looked at her toes that were dangling in the water.  She was wearing nothing save for her whistle.  "I don't know," she said.  "I guess that I don't want to get into the water all that much."
    "Maybe it's a cat thing?" suggested Meimimon.
    "That's a possibility," remarked Gatomon, who sat a little bit away from the tub, enjoying the warmth of the steamy room.  "I never have a real desire to get close to water.  Besides, everyone knows that cats and cat-like Digimon are very clean people."  Her tail twitched in contemplation.
    "Well, I think that I need a bath," said Karimon as she slid into the water.
    "Why are you wearing your whistle into the water?" asked Soramon.
    "I just don't feel right taking everything off.  It makes me feel..."  The little cat-girl paused, looking for the right word.
    "Vulnerable?" asked Biyomon.
    "Yes, that's it."
    "But why would you feel vulnerable?" asked Palmon.
    "I don't know.  I just feel like I would."
    The others in the bath sighed.
    "Hey!  You girls done yet?" asked Gomamon as he stuck his head through the partially opened doorway into the bathroom.
    "NO!" shouted the girls and they started to throw soap and towels at him.  The little Digimon retreated.
    "And stay out until it is your turn!" shouted Palmon.

    The boys had their turn next.
    "Cannonball!" shouted Taimon as he jumped into the bath.  The water splashed all over.
    "Hey!" shouted Izimon.  "Watch it!"
    "What?" asked Gomamon.  "Afraid that you're gonna get wet?"
    "Well..."  Izimon just realised that what he said sounded a bit, well, silly.
    "This water feels great," sighed Jyoumon.  "All I need now is soap."
    "Soap?" asked Agumon.  He tried to pass it over. But before Jyoumon could figure out how to grab it from him with his paw, the bar shot out of Agumon's grip.  It ricocheted off of Tentomon's head and landed in the water.  The bug Digimon stood still for a moment then slowly sank into the water.  Izimon dived under the surface to grab his partner and bring him back up.
    "Oops.  Sorry 'bout that..." said Agumon apologetically.
    "Ooog..." was all that Tentomon said in reply.
    "You dropped the soap!" exclaimed Tiikeimon as he dived under the surface of the water to fish it out.  He brought it back up and held it triumphantly over his head, but the slippery bar of soap squirted out of his hand and into the air.
    "I got it!" shouted Gomamon as he leaped out of the water and snatched it in his mouth.  He spat it back out immediately.  "Yuk!"
    Taimon caught it before it went into the water again.  "Here Jyou...  Uh, how are you gonna grab it?"
    Jyoumon looked at the bar of soap that the other Digimon was holding.  "Maybe if I am careful..."  He reached over and cautiously grasped the soap with the toes of his front paw.  He found that he had a bit of a grip.  He managed to soap his shoulder before he dropped the bar.  "Um, I guess that's enough..." he said as he watched the bar of soap float away.
    "I wonder how Gabumon and Matimon are doing..." said Patamon with a sigh.
    "Igorimon said that Gabu's just doing fine," said Taimon.  "Matimon is just staying with him for the night."
    "Well, that's good to hear," replied the little winged Digimon with a sigh of relief.
    "Yeah," agreed Tiikeimon.
    "Hey, Goma?" asked Jyoumon.
    "Where's the digivice?"
    "Relax, Jyou.  It's put away in that bag of yours.  I'm not gonna lose something like that."
    Jyoumon smiled and a sweat -drop formed on the back of his head.  "I know that.  I was just wondering."
    "Oh.  Okay."  Gomamon was still suspicious though.
    Izimon was examining his shell.  He ran his talons over the edges of his shoulder armour where the tough substance appeared to be cracked and flaking.
    "What's wrong, Izimon?" asked Tentomon.
    "I'm not sure," murmured the bug-boy Digimon.
    The bug Digimon examined his partner's shell.
    "It looks to me like you're about to shed," he said.
    "Shed?" asked Izimon confused.
    "Don't worry about it.  I do it all the time.  The old layer comes off, leaving the new one behind."
    "Oh," said Izimon as he slid a talon under the old layer of shell.
"Not in the bath!!!" shouted everyone else.  Izimon looked up.  There were completely grossed out looks on everyone's faces, except for his partner.
    "Oops.  Sorry about that."  Both Izimon and Tentomon climbed out of the bath and went into a smaller adjoining room.
    "Now that's just plain weird," muttered Taimon as he started to scrub his tail.

    The room that they were to sleep in was huge.  Eight beds were lined up against two of the walls.  The Digimon clambered into them, two to a bed.  The boys took one side and the girls took the other.
    Tiikeimon looked across to the empty bed, and sighed.
    "Don't worry about it, Tiikeimon," said Soramon with a smile.  "Your brother and Gabumon will be joining us tomorrow.  Igorimon said so."
    "Yeah, that's right, Tiikei," cheered Patamon.
    "Yeah...  You're right Patamon."  Tiikeimon settled under the covers.  "Thanks Soramon."
    The others climbed into their beds.  Some were having an easier time than the others were.
    Izimon was trying to be careful not to tear the sheets with his talons.  Tentomon was telling him not to worry about it.
    Jyoumon was wiggling his way under the covers.  He managed to get under but mussed up the blanket and sheets as he turned around to face the right way.  Gomamon laughed as he crawled under.
    Meimimon and Palmon were already asleep.
    Biyomon was sleeping, but Soramon was sniffling.  She was trying to be as quiet as she could though.
    Tiikeimon and Patamon were discussing what they were hoping for breakfast in the morning.  Tiikei wanted waffles, and Pata wanted pancakes.  Both agreed that having jam with their breakfast would be nice.
    Karimon was having trouble sleeping.  She sighed and sat up.
    Gatomon sat up with her.  "What's wrong Kari?" she asked.
    "Be right back."  Karimon slid out of her bed and tipped toed towards her brother in her borrowed pyjamas.  "Taimon?" she asked softly.  "Tai?"
    Taimon stirred.  "What is it Kari?" he asked sleepily.
    "Donít you think that someone should be standing watch?" she asked.
    The lizard-boy Digimon sat up.  "Why?  We're all safe here."
    "Um, do you really think so?" asked the little cat-girl Digimon.
    "Sure.  We're fine.  Don't worry about it.  We're safe here.  Okay?"
    "If you really think we're all right..."  Karimon turned around and headed back to bed.  She climbed back under the covers but it took a while before she was able to fall asleep.

    The sun was shining through huge windows when Igorimon opened the door to the big room.
    "Breakfast will be ready in ten minutes, sweethearts" she said in a cheerful voice. "Time to get up!"
    Everyone started to open his or her eyes.
    "Huh?" asked Agumon.  "It's morning already?"
    "Just ten more minutes, Mama..." mumbled Meimimon as she pulled the covers over her head.
    "Come on, Meimi," chided Palmon.  "Don't keep everyone waiting."
    The flower-girl Digimon just groaned.
    "Food!" exclaimed Gomamon eagerly.  "C'mon Jyou!  It's food!"  The little Digimon wiggled his way out from under the covers.
    "Coming..."  Jyoumon got out of the bed but managed to pull all of the covers off of the bed onto the floor with him.  He sighed as he struggled with getting the blankets back onto the bed.
    Soramon got up quickly, stretched and made her bed with the help of Biyomon.  Then she grabbed her clothes from the bench in front of the bed and went to the washroom to change.
    The others got up and got dressed, then they all headed towards the dining room.

    Breakfast was sitting on the table, waiting for them.  Like the dinner they had the night before, there was a huge variety of food on the table and plenty of it.  There were pancakes, waffles, fresh fruit, toast, eggs, oatmeal, jam, orange juice and milk.
    "Wow," said Taimon.  "I think I just might want to stay here and forget about going home.  Mom never cooks like this!"
    "Don't just stand there and admire it, Taimon.  Dig in!"
    Taimon looked away from the food at Matimon.  The wolf-boy Digimon and his partner were already seated and helping themselves.  The lizard-boy Digimon didn't need another invitation.  He sat down and dug in.
    Everyone else joined in.
    "How are you feeling, Gabumon?" asked Agumon.
    "A lot better, thanks," replied Matimon's partner.  "But a little tired."
    "You still need another day of rest, sweetie," said Igorimon as she came into the dining room with another plate of eggs.  "Then you should be just fine."
    "Really?" asked Gabumon.
    "As long as you don't over exert yourself, that is..."

    Breakfast was conducted in a more orderly fashion, unlike the dinner the night before.  The Digimon consumed all of the food without incident.  It didn't take long before all of the food was gone.  They complimented Igorimon on the quality of their meal.  The tall Digimon smiled and thanked them.
    "Are you here all by yourself?" asked Palmon as she pushed back from the table.
    "Yes. Well, most of the time anyway. So I really appreciate company coming by."
    "You're a most gracious host," said Meimimon.
    "Thank you."
    "So, I don't understand why no one else would come and visit you here," commented Soramon.
    "Are they scared of something?" asked Biyomon.
    Igorimon sighed.  "I'm sure that they got their reasons."
    "Like what?" asked Patamon.
    Igorimon just sighed.  Then she smiled at everyone.  "Don't worry about it," she said.  "I'm sure that they will all come around someday."

    The former kids and their partners all helped clear that table in gratitude, and took the dishes to the kitchen. However, Igorimon realised to allow them help her wash them and shooed them all outside. She insisted that Gabumon went outside too, but not to overexert himself. Everyone thanked her again and complied with her wishes.
    Jyoumon was the last one to leave the kitchen. Igorimon called him back. "I have something for you," she said.
    "Oh? I don't really need anything." The large Digimon was curious though.
    The tall Digimon got down on her hands and knees and fastened something around his neck. "It's nothing fancy, but with all that you have been through, I thought that you could use something to cheer you up."
    "What is it?" asked Jyoumon.
    "It's a collar. Just something unique for you to wear, Jyoumon." She scratched him behind the ear. "Just something that belongs to 'Jyoumon' exclusively."
    The white and blue Digimon blushed. "Thank you," he said.

    Behind the large mansion was a huge backyard, complete with a stream running through it. There were flower gardens all over. There was also a small clear stream that pooled into a pond with small fish in it, a large apple tree with ripe apples, large boulders all around that were perfect for sitting or lying on.
    This is where all the Digimon were hanging out.
    Soramon and Biyomon were sitting up in the tree, looking over the garden. Or at least Biyomon was. Then she looked to her friend and realised that Soramon seemed distracted.
    "What's wrong, Soramon? Are you okay?"
    "Um, yeah, I'm fine Biyo... It's just..." Soramon sighed.
    "What is it?" insisted her partner.
    "I know you better than that, Soramon.  Please tell me what is wrong."  Biyomon was very concerned.
    "It's just... just... I wanted to fly like you do, and I can't!" The young Digimon-girl clenched her hands and sobbed. "It's just not fair!" she cried. "I was looking forward to flying."
    "Sora..." Biyomon didn't know what to say.
    "It's always been a dream of mine, ever since I was a little girl. So when I realised that I was changing into a Digimon, I thought that my dream would finally come true. When I realised that I wasn't going to have wings, I told myself that it didn't really matter, I never flew before, so there was no way that I was gonna miss it. But I was wrong, Biyomon!" Soramon started sobbing again. "I miss flying. I really wanted to fly..."
    "It's just not fair!  Izimon can fly and he never once said he wanted to.  Tentomon had to drag him up into the sky before Izi knew what he was missing.  And Tiikeimon can fly too, and he's just a little kid..."
    Biyomon tried to soothe her partner.  She used her clawed wing to rub Soramon's back.
    "I'm really sorry, Sora..." she said.
    But the sobbing continued, then the pink bird Digimon got an idea.
    "Maybe you'll be able to fly when you Digivolve," she suggested.
    The sobbing stopped.  "Do you think so?" asked Soramon hopefully.
    "Yes, I do."
    Soramon smiled through her tears.  "Thanks, Biyomon.  I hope you're right."
    Nothing more needed to be said.

    "You know something?" began Matimon. "I've been meaning to ask you this, Jyou --ever since the change... What's it like not having hands?"
    Jyoumon was lying stretched out on one of the boulders surrounding the pond, sunning himself. One of his paws dangled lazily in the water. At Matimon's question, he opened one large violet eye and looked at him. "What do you mean?" he asked.
    "Well, you're a full Digimon now. How's it different from being human or from being what you were a couple of days ago."
    "Yes," chimed in Izimon. "I've been meaning to ask that myself, but I didn't know how to pose the question."
    "Meaning that with the way that I have been acting, you didn't know if you would set me off, right?" Jyoumon gave them an embarrassed smile.
    "Well, yeah." Matimon shrugged.
    "I don't blame you," said the large Digimon with a sigh as he sat up. "I was pretty bad, wasn't I?"
    There was no comment.
    "As to how this body's different, you can pretty much see for yourselves. I mean, aside from the fact that I have trouble picking up anything with hands that I don't have, this body's pretty nice. It's rather comfortable."
    "Actually, I'm a little surprised with how much you didn't change," said Izimon.
    "Huh?"  Jyoumon looked startled.
    "Izimon!  Get serious.  I mean, look at him," said Taimon as he sat up.  "There's nothing human about Jyoumon!"
    "I beg to differ," protested Izimon.  "It's just not obvious."
    "What do you mean?" asked Matimon.
    "Yeah, what DO you mean?" asked Jyoumon.
    "Stand him up on his hind feet for a minute," said Izimon.  Matimon and Taimon got up and complied as they dragged their friend off of his rock and stood him up.
    "Hey!" shouted Jyou as his body was propped in a position that it was no longer familiar with.  His front paws dangled by his back legs.  "What are you doing?!?"
    "Yeah, what is the point of this?" asked Matimon.
    "Look!" exclaimed Izi.  "He's the same height that he was when he was human!"
    "He is?" asked Taimon.
    "I am?"  Jyoumon had trouble believing it.
    "And the proportions are pretty much all the same.  His back legs are pretty much the same length as they were before and front legs are approximately the same length as his arms."  Izimon looked a bit smug upon delivering that bit of information.
    "Wow," said Taimon.
    "Weird" said Matimon.
    Jyoumon shrugged.  "Except now I have paws instead of hands.  And my centre of balance is completely different."
    Meimimon had her head in her hands.  "How can you stand walking on all fours?" she asked. "I don't think I ever could."
    Jyoumon twisted out of the hold that his friends had him in.  He landed on his feet and looked thoughtful for a moment. "Actually, I find it kinda hard to remember what its like walking on two feet. I mean, I'm already accustomed to this form that I sorta find it hard to believe that just a couple days ago, I didn't have four feet."
    "Shouldn't that worry you?" asked Karimon from her perch from another boulder.
    "I don't know. Something in the back of my mind says that I should be worried. But right about now, I'm too busy with other things to worry about it."
    "Oh," replied the kitten-girl.
    "What kind of things?" asked Gatomon.
    "Like learning to pick things up without out having hands.  Not to mention catching fish with my mouth."
    "What to live fish taste like anyway?" asked Taimon.
    "Like fish.  Why would they taste like anything else?"
    "Well, that's one dumb question down," commented Matimon.
    Jyoumon stretched as he prepared to re-settle himself on the boulder. His partner came swimming up.
    "What's that you're wearing, Jyou?" asked Gomamon curiously. He gestured to the odd object that Jyoumon was wearing around his neck.
    "It's a collar. Igorimon gave it to me."
    "Why did she give you a collar?"
    "I don't know. She said she wanted to give me something that was meant just for me."
    Izimon walked over. "Would it be alright if I examined it?"
    "I guess so," said Jyoumon in mild surprise. "But I don't think she would mean me any harm."
     Izimon carefully unbuckled the collar from around Jyoumon's neck. He turned it over carefully in his talons. "It's a simple leather collar. No electronics, strange symbols or anything."
    "Told you. There's no reason to be suspicious."
    "Huhn," muttered Gomamon.  "She didn't offer me a collar."
    Jyoumon smiled at his partner.  "If you want something to wear, you can have the Digivice, okay?"
    "I'll think about it."
    "Can I have my collar back now, Izi?" asked Jyoumon.
    "Huh?  Oh!  Sorry.  Of course."

    Meimimon and Palmon left the guys behind to follow the garden path. "Aren't these flowers beautiful, Palmon?" asked the flower-girl Digimon.
    "They certainly are, Meimi. There are all sorts of flowers that I have never seen before. And they look all well cared for. Igorimon must be a terrific gardener."
    "I'll say." The two plant Digimon went through the garden, taking time to smell the roses as they went. Not to mention the other flowers as well.
    Meimimon stopped to feel the sunshine on her skin. It was warm and she just knew that it was doing more to her than just keeping her warm. Why, sunshine was the stuff of life for a flower or a flower Digimon for that matter. If she didn't get sun, then her flowers would wilt and her skin would turn brown. She remembered this from a seed experiment that she did in school a few years ago. The soil beneath her bare toes was warm and inviting. Meimimon had trouble believing that a week ago she couldn't bear to get her feet dirty. She was lost in her thoughts until she felt a tug on the hem of her dress.
    "Meimimon?" interrupted Palmon. "Are you okay?"
    "You were lost in your own little world for a moment," commented the little flower Digimon.
    "Oh!  Sorry.  I was thinking about how nice the sun feels today."
    "I know just what you mean."
    They went on their way down the garden path. In the bushes behind them, eyes glowed in the shadows.  There was a rustle of leaves.
    Palmon turned around at the sound.  "Did you hear that?" she asked.
    "Hear what?" asked Meimimon.
    "There's something in the bushes."
    "Are you sure?"
    "Uh, huh."
    "Maybe we should get back to the others," suggested Meimimon.
    "I think you're right," agreed Palmon.  Both turned around to return to their friends.  They picked up their pace as they went.
    They heard more rustling and felt a breeze as something dashed by right behind them.
The girls screamed and ran.  They made it into the clearing where the others looked towards them.
    "What's wrong, Meimimon?" asked Taimon.
    "There's something in the bushes!" gasped Meimimon as she collapsed on the ground in front of him.  Everyone looked towards the spot where the two plant Digimon just dashed out of.
    "Uh, Meimimon?" asked Taimon.  "You were running from a rag-doll?" he asked.  The flower-girl Digimon turned around to see what he was talking about.  A small Digimon had walked out into the opening.
    "Oh!  He's so cute!"
    The new Digimon stood approximately the height of Agumon.  It had a brown cloth body that was covered with colourful patches.  The mouth looked sewn on and it had buttons for eyes and dark brown yarn hair.  No one could see how a soft looking Digimon could possibly be such a threat.
    Evil laughter resounded through out the garden.
    "Not her again," growled Matimon.
    "What?" asked a sultry sounding voice.  "Didn't you miss me?"  A dark shadow flew over their heads and landed on the ground beside the new Digimon.
    "What do you want now, Lady Devimon?!?" demanded Taimon.
    "My, my...  Is this what passes for manners these days?" chuckled the tall evil Digimon.  "I just wanted to introduce you to my new friend here."  She gestured to the doll like Digimon.  "His name is 'Patchmon', and he would like to play with you all."
    "I don't like the sound of that," commented Jyoumon.
    "Have fun kiddies," she said with a casual wave of her hand and took off.
    The new Digimon squared off to face them.
    "Now what?" asked Agumon.
    "I guess we fight," commented Gabumon.
    "No, Gabumon," interjected Matimon.  "You're still too weak to fight.  Take cover instead."
    "I wonít."
    Matimon spun around to face his friend.  "You heard me!  I don't want you hurt again!"
    "I won't leave you to fight by yourself.  You're my friend, Matimon!"
    "Stuff it guys.  Pay attention!" commanded Soramon from the top of the tree that she was still sitting in.
    "Hi," said the odd little Digimon.  "Will you play with me?"  A couple of patches lifted up from his body.  "Patch Surprise!"  Small missiles shot towards the group.
    "This is your idea of 'play'?!?" yelped Taimon as he jumped out of the way of the barrage.
    "What the heck?!?" exclaimed Matimon.  The others scattered.  Trees and foliage exploded as the missiles hit them.
    The stuffed Digimon attacked again.  More colourful patches lifted and laser beams shot out at the group.  The blasts shattered rocks as the others again managed to dodge out of the way.
    "It appears that Patchmon keeps his attacks under his patches," said Izimon thoughtfully.
    "Glad that you figured that out!  So figure out a way to counter it!!!" Taimon screamed.
    "Yeah, Izimon.  You can figure out a way, right?" asked Tentomon.
    "I'm trying."
    "Petite Fire!" shouted Taimon as he spat out a ball of flame.
    "Pepper Breath!"  Agumon did the same.
    The two balls of fire headed towards Patchmon.  The little Digimon jumped straight up in the air and managed to avoid them.  He landed on the ground only to be hit with a pressurised stream of water.
    "Fountain Blast!" shouted Jyoumon as he spat water at the cloth Digimon.  The force of the water smashed Patchmon into the trunk of the apple tree where Soramon and Biyomon were still sitting.  The tree shook.
    "Watch it!" shouted Soramon from above.
    "We need your help Sora!" shouted Karimon.
    "Come on down!" agreed Tiikeimon.
    "I'm coming!" called out Soramon as she began to climb down.  Biyomon kept pace with her, flying by her side.
    "I'm going ahead to help the others!" said the bird Digimon.  She then flew towards the battle.
    "Be careful!" shouted her partner after her.
    Patchmon was still attacking.  Each patch on his body covered a different attack.  The other Digimon were still managing to avoid most of the attacks, but they were starting to wear down.
    "Blue Blaster!" shouted Gabumon as he spat out blue flame at something.
    Matimon was angry.  "Why'd you do that?!?" he demanded as he turned around.  "You're still hurt!"  Then he saw the remains of spears lying just behind him.
    "I just had to," said Gabumon simply.
    "Just donít over do it..." Matimon sighed.  "And thanks."  He spat out an attack of his own at some spinning darts that were coming towards them.  "Glowing Blaze!"  The attack also singed the little doll Digimon, but that did not stop him.
    "Spiral Twister!" shouted Biyomon as she let loose with her wind attack.
    Gomamon fought from the pond.  "Marching Fishes!" he shouted as he threw fish at the bad guy from behind.
    "Shocker Spray!" shouted Izimon.
    "Super Shocker!" shouted Tentomon.  The two quickly discovered that electricity had no affect on their opponent.
    "This is nuts!" shouted Taimon.  "There has to be a way to stop him."
    But Patchmon seemed indestructible.  He was too quick for most of the attacks and he seemed able to shrug off the ones that do get him.  "Are we playing tag?" he asked.  "You all had your chance to 'tag' me, now it's my turn to 'tag' you.  Patch Surprise!"  Even more variety of projectiles and missiles went towards the group.  The others got out of the way, but Meimimon seemed stunned, unable to move.  Palmon did what she could to help her partner.
    "Poison Ivy!"  Strong vines wrapped around Meimimon and pulled her out of harms way.  Once her partner was safe, Palmon decided that it was a good time to get serious.  "Palmon digivolve into...  Togemon!"  A huge walking cactus replaced the small plant Digimon.  She stomped over to the rag doll.  "If you want to play rough, let me play too.  Needle Spray!"  Cactus needles sprayed all over.  They stuck into the soft body of Patchmon.  But the little toy didnít seem to notice much.  To him it seemed that the needles were more of an inconvenience.
    "Huhn," muttered the small Digimon as he used his attack again and one of the missiles managed to clip Biyomon.  The little pink bird was flung back into one of the boulders that was surrounding the pond.
    "Biyomon!!!" shouted Soramon.  She leaped out of the tree that she was trying to climb out of.  She fell towards the small toy Digimon.
    "Soramon!" cried out Biyomon weakly.
    "Soramon digivolve into... Soranamon!"  Suddenly the small feathered girl was replaced with a feathered woman-like Digimon.  She landed feet first on top of Patchmon.  "Don't you ever hurt my partner!" she hissed.
    The others stood in awe at this new Digimon.  Soranamon was as tall as a full grown human woman with red and white feathers.  She had red wings with white tips springing from her back and she had claw-like hands with gold bracelets.  Her hair was wild, with feathers sticking out of it.  Her ears sort of  resembled wings, and were adorned with golden earrings.  Of her original clothing, she wore nothing but her tank-top, which was tight against her chest.  Clawed toes dug into the soft body of her opponent, and she glared at him with angry golden eyes.
    "Don't hurt me!" shrieked Patchmon.  In surprise and pity, Soranamon quickly got off him and backed away a little bit.
    "Are you gonna play nice?" she asked.
    "No!" said the little Digimon nastily.  "Patch Surprise!" he shouted and let loose another barrage of laser beams.  Most of these were directed at Soranamon.
    "Why, you little..." snarled the feathered champion Digimon as she flew out of the way of the attack.
    Meimimon, who was hiding behind another boulder, tending to Biyomon, started to get mad.  "How dare he?!?" she demanded.  "Soramon's one of the nicest people I know, and he attacks her with a dirty trick like that?!?  I DON'T THINK SO!!!"
    "What are you going to do about it, Meimi?" asked Biyomon.
    "I don't know, but I am not going to let that little pipsqueak get away with this!  Meimimon digivolve to... Entomimon!"
    What stepped out from behind the boulders was a tall slender Digimon that sort of resembled Lilymon in shape, but she didn't have wings.  Her skin was the colour of new wood and she had large dark green seed-like eyes.  Her hair was composed of what appeared to be weeping-willow branches and it was topped off with Mimi's pink hat.  She was dressed in a tight fitting outfit of bark and leaves and also wore Mimi's white and brown boots.
    "Hey!" cried out the small bird Digimon. "Wait for me! There's no way that I'm going to let my best friend fight by herself!  Biyomon digivolve into... Birdramon!"  The huge red bird Digimon replaced the smaller pink one.  She took off into the sky to assist her friend.
    Entomimon faced the little toy Digimon.  "How dare you?!?" she demanded of him.  "She let you go because she thought you were hurting, then you attack her.  Haven't you ever heard of fair play?!?"
    Patchmon could only stare stupidly at the beautiful tree-sprite Digimon in front of him.
    "Uh..." he said.
    Togemon was coming up behind him.  "I got him!" she shouted.  But Patchmon spun around to face her.
    "Patch Surprise!" he shouted and released a bunch of fireballs at her.  Her needles caught on fire and she shrieked in surprise and pain.
    "Togemon!" cried out Entomimon.
    Birdramon flew down to help her fellow Champion Digimon.  "Let's see how well you can take it...  Meteor Wing!" she shouted as she released a shower of flaming globes at her opponent.  The large balls of flames fell towards Patchmon.
    "Patched Shield!" he cried out as he whipped out a huge patch out of nowhere and held it up to deflect the attack.  The large piece of cloth got scorched, but did not burn.  But Birdramon wasn't upset, her attack was only a distraction as Soranamon made her move.
    Birdramon's partner began a fast spiral above the deadly little Digimon.  She flew faster and faster and managed to stir up a twister.  The resulting winds lifted Patchmon off of his feet.
    "Comet Blast!" cried out Soranamon as she let a huge blast of cosmic energy loose.  Patchmon managed to dodge out of the way of the attack.  But he was caught in the aftershock as it tore up the ground and surrounding landmarks.
    "Pine Bullets!" shouted Entomimon as she released a barrage of pine cones at him.  The cones pounded into the soft body of the toy Digimon, then detonated.
    The small toy Digimon laid on the ground almost motionless.  The four female Digimon were wary though, they knew that he could attack them again.  But as they came closer, he didnít move --not until they were almost upon him.
    Patchmon rolled over and was about to attack again.
    "Oh no, you don't!" shouted Taimon.  "Petite Fire!"  The relatively small fireball hit the small Digimon and knocked him senseless --at least for the moment.
    "STOP!!!" cried out a voice from the house.
    Everyone turned to see Igorimon come out.  She looked in dismay at the wreckage that used to be her garden.  Everyone, including Patchmon hung their heads in shame.
    "What are you doing?!?" shrieked Igorimon.
    "He started it!" said Taimon.
    "Why are you attacking my guests, Patchmon?" demanded the tall Digimon.
    "There was a lady Digimon that said that these guys were holding you prisoner!"
    Everyone just stood stunned for a moment.
    "A lady Digimon?" asked Igorimon.
    "Believe me when I say that Lady Devimon is no lady," retorted Izimon.
    "Oh, my..."  Igorimon seemed upset.  "Patchmon, you know what I've said about talking to strangers.  Right?"
    "I'm sorry, Igorimon.  But she said that you were in trouble and you know how I feel about you..."
    The tall Digimon sighed.  "I know, and I appreciate that you would go through all that trouble for me, but half of these Digimon are like us.  And you know we shouldn't be attacking our own kind."
    "You're right," replied the little stuffed Digimon.  He turned to face the others.  "I'm really sorry," he said and bowed low in apology.
    "It's all right," said Tiikeimon.
    "You thought you were helping Igorimon," said Gabumon.  "We can understand that."
    "Let's get you cleaned up dear," said Igorimon as she picked up Patchmon and took him inside.
    "You know something?" said Matimon.  "I'm really starting to hate this Lady Devimon."
    "Me too," grumbled Gomamon.  "It's easier to make friends when you don't have people going around telling nasty stories about you."
    "Yeah," agreed Tiikeimon.
    Birdramon devolved back into Biyomon, Togemon devolved back into Palmon, but Entomimon changed into a Digimon that was much smaller.  Soranamon remained as she was.
    "Hey!" cried out Taimon.  "Aren't you supposed to changed back now?" he asked.
    Soranamon shook her head.  "Not yet."  She took off to the skies again.  "I'm gonna go flying first," she said as she flapped her wings.  "I'll be back in a while."
    "Wait up, Soranamon!" shouted Biyomon as she followed.
    "Wow!" said the little Digimon that used to be Mimi.  "I can't believe that I just did that!"
    "You did real good... um, what do I call you now?" asked Palmon to her partner.
    "My name is 'Mikomon'," said the tiny Digimon.
    Mikomon was a small Digimon of a delicate pink colouring.  She had four dainty feet with tiny red claws.  A large flower red grew on top of her head, and she looked at everyone with large green seed-like eyes.  Her crest of sincerity was secured underneath the petals with a pink ribbon.
    "Oh!" she exclaimed as she took a few small steps forward.  "So that's what it's like to walk on four feet.  It's not too awkward at all."
    "Nope," agreed Jyoumon.
    "But I think that I prefer walking on two..."
    "I wonder what Igorimon meant by us being one of them," mused Karimon.
    "A good Digimon, perhaps?" suggested Gatomon.
    The Digimon looked around what remained of the once beautiful yard.
    "Perhaps we should tidy up a bit," suggested Tiikeimon.  "I mean, we left such a mess..."
    Taimon sighed.  "I guess you're right."
    The group went on to clean up the wreckage.

    Mikomon and Palmon went to clean up the flower beds.  The worked to remove all of the small pieces of rock and dead plants.  The relined the garden stones and replanted the surviving flowers.  For once in her life, Mikomon didn't complain about having to do such hard work, partially because she had a hand in making the mess and partially because she was having fun digging in the garden.
    Palmon smiled to herself as she watched her partner discretely.  She didn't see the need to point out that the little In-Training Digimon was taking pleasure doing something that other times she would go out of her way to avoid.
    Unfortunately, not everyone was as considerate.
    "It's rather unusual to see you enjoy working," commented Izimon as he walked by, pushing a small cart filled with stones.
    "What do you mean?" asked Mikomon.
    "I mean, it has been my observation that you usually try to avoid work and dirt like most kids try to avoid cafeteria food."
    The little Digimon sniffed.  "Well, today is different," she said.
    "Oh?" asked Izi.
    "I just think that it is poor manners to destroy a host's garden after she has done so much for us."
    "I do."
    Izimon smiled.  "Well," he said, "that's good to hear."  The bug-boy Digimon walked off with his load.
    "I'm glad to hear you say that, Mikomon," commented Palmon.
    Mikomon spun around to face her partner.  "You are?" she asked.
    "Yes."  The plant Digimon nodded.  "You sound really responsible."
    "I do?"
    "Uh huh."
    Mikomon's red flower fluffed up.  Her round pink face flushed to a deeper hue.  "Thank you..."

    Taimon, Agumon, Matimon and Gabumon worked to clean up the rubble.
    "What are we gonna do with all this rock?" asked Matimon as he looked over the remains of the large boulders that once sat by the pond.
    "I really don't know," commented Taimon as he scratched his head.  "Any suggestions?" he asked the other two Digimon with them.
    "We could break up the rock into smaller pieces," suggested Agumon.  "Y'know, like gravel..."
    "Then what would we do with so much gravel?" asked Matimon.
    "We could use the gravel for the garden pathway," mused Gabumon.
    Taimon and Matimon looked at each other.
    "You two are geniuses!" cheered Taimon.
    "Well, I dunno about being a genius..." said Agumon.
    "We're nowhere in Izimon's league," agreed Gabumon.
    "But you're pretty darn close," said Matimon.  "So, let's get to work already."

    "What are you thinking about, Izi?" asked Tentomon.  He was busy pulling weeds out of another section of the garden.
    "I was just wondering why we new Digimon have names based on our human ones.  And I was wondering what my name will be when I digivolve."  He was busy lifting stones from out of the same garden patch and putting them into the push-cart.
    "I guess there is no way to make another name from 'Izzy', is there?"
    "Um, actually, I was thinking that when I digivolve, my new name will be taken from my human given name."
    "Your name is not Izzy?" asked Tentomon confused.
    Izimon blushed.  "Actually, my given name is 'Koushiro'.  I just prefer to be called 'Izzy'."
    "Sounds weird.  Humans are certainly an odd lot."  Tentomon looked thoughtful for a moment.  "So when you digivolve, your name is going to be 'Koushiro-mon'?" he asked.
    "It's a possibility."  Izimon shrugged and hefted another large stone into the cart.

    Jyoumon and Gomamon were removing debris from the pond.  At this point, they have practically removed all of the broken branches that were floating in the water.
    "Blah!" exclaimed Jyoumon as he spat out a medium size piece of wood.  "That branch tastes horrible!"
    "But that's about the last of the wood," commented Gomamon.  "All that's left is the junk on the bottom."
    "Yeah, but we've been down there.  It's all stones.  Most of them are way too big for either of us to carry."
    "That's true."
    "Hands would definitely help here..."  Jyoumon looked thoughtful.  Then he grinned.
    Gomamon must have followed his partner's thoughts, because he grinned too.  "Well, go ahead, Jyou.  Digivolve."
    Well, why not?   "Jyoumon digivolve to...  Joaiomon!"  The two-footed, blue Digimon replaced the four-footed white one.  He held up his clawed four-fingered hands to his face for a moment while he tread water.  Then he dived below the surface to start picking up the rocks.  Gomamon swam to the edge of the pond and climbed out.  There wasn't much more that he could do in there.  So he went to help out in the garden.

    Tiikeimon struggled to remove another broken branch that was lodged in the bushes.
    "Um, can I have a little help here?" he asked.
    "Hold on," said Gatomon.   She went around behind him, grabbed hold of his green shirt and pulled.  Nothing happened.  The branch was stuck as firmly as before.  "Hunh.  Not quite," she muttered.  "Hey, Karimon!  Patamon!  We need a little more help."
    The other two Digimon went to help.  Karimon grabbed hold of her partner's waist and Patamon grabbed hold of Kari's tail, gently, with his teeth.
    "On the count of three!" commanded Karimon.
    "And three!"  They all pulled at once.  With the snap of breaking twigs, the large branch came flying out of the bushes.  They all fell backwards then scrambled out of the way of the huge piece of wood.
    "Well," commented Patamon.  "That's another one."
    "Yup," agreed Tiikeimon cheerfully.  "We're almost done!"
    Karimon looked to her partner to find her thinking about something.  "What's wrong?" she asked.
    "Nothing's wrong, Kari...  It's just that I'm not very used to working as part of a team.  When I worked for Myotismon, I always worked by myself."
    "Hmmm...  So, how do you find it, working with a team?"
    Gatomon smiled.  "I like it.  Work is easier when you share it."
    "It is, isn't it?"  Karimon smiled back.

    Soranamon and Biyomon returned to the garden.
    "We're baa--aaack!" called out Biyomon.
    Everyone looked up from what they were doing to watch the two feathered Digimon come down.
    The bird-woman Digimon shimmered as she touched down and shrunk into a small white feathered ball with two tiny wings and two tiny clawed feet. She had a little beak and large blue eyes blinked from under Sora's blue hat.
    "Perfect timing!" called out Joaiomon from the pond.  "The work's almost all done!"
    "Hush up, Joe!" cried out the new In-Training Digimon as she turned to face the pond.  Her voice was higher pitched than it was before.
    Taimon looked at her.  "So, what do we call you now?" he asked.
    The Digimon, who once was Sora, spun back around to face him.  "Call me 'Kosoramon'."
    "Glad to see you back, you two.  We still got tonnes of work to do."
    "He right, Kosoramon," commented Biyomon.  "This place is a real mess.
    "So, we better get started, huh?"  The feathered In-Training Digimon smiled at her partner.

    The rest of the day was uneventful.  Cleaning up the garden took the group the rest of the afternoon, and nothing more eventful occurred.  Even dinner went off without a hitch.  It was pasta night and a variety of different kinds of pasta adorn the table.  There was spaghetti with meatballs, ravioli, fettuccini with white sauce, tortaline, perogies, rigatoni with salad and garlic toast.
    Tiikeimon was glad to see that Matimon and Gabumon was joining them that night.  He sat beside his brother throughout dinner and tried to steal his meatballs.
     Then it was time for bed.  Everyone climbed into their beds and crawled under the covers.  And unlike the night before, every bed was filled with two Digimon.  And because of the hard labour performed earlier that day and the large supper, everyone fell asleep almost immediately.
    Well, almost.
    Karimon couldn't sleep again.  She was certain that someone should keep watch.  She sat up and looked around her.  Taimon was snoring in the bed that he and Agumon were sharing.  She thought briefly about waking him up then decided against it.  He would dismiss her worries the same way that he did the night before.
    She sighed.  Everyone felt that everything was just fine.  They all liked Igorimon, and Karimon had to agree, she did seem to be a nice Digimon, but she was positive that there was something more going on than met the eye.
    She looked around the room again.  There had to be someone who would see the practicality of her fears.
    Her gaze fell on Jyoumon.  He was sleeping on a nest of mussed up blankets tonight, with Gomamon sleeping against his back.  He became Jyoumon again when he changed from Joaiomon. He didn't devolved into Jojimon this time.  And he quit complaining about not being human anymore.  Karimon wondered if that was a good or bad thing.
    She shrugged.  She'll worry about that later.  However, Joe was always the most practical of the bunch, and being turned into a Digimon hadn't affected that.  He'll listen to her.
    She climbed out of bed.
    "Where are you going now, Kari?" asked Gatomon in a sleepy voice.
    "I'm gonna look around.  You can stay in bed if you want."
    "Okay, Kari.  Just be careful..."  The little cat Digimon fell back asleep.
    Karimon carefully padded her way over to where Jyoumon was sleeping.  "Jyoumon?" she said in a whisper.
    Jyoumon stirred for a moment.
    "Jyoumon, wake up," said Karimon again.
    "Hmmm...?"  The large Digimon stirred again.  "What is it?" he asked sleepily.
    "Please wake up."
    "Kari..?  What is it?"  Jyoumon's eyes opened.
    "I think there is something weird about this place and Taimon wonít take me seriously."
    Jyou lifted his head.  "Oh?"
    "Yeah.  He insisted last night that there's nothing to worry about.  But I'm not so sure...  So, can you come with me to look around?"
    "Yeah, sure.  It would be a good idea to see if there is an escape in case anything goes wrong anyhow."  Jyoumon climbed out of bed.  Gomamon rolled over to take the warm spot left behind.  The little Digimon never woke up.
    Jyou stretched and went to follow Karimon.
    They left the bedroom and went into the hall.  It was dark, but Karimon could see well enough --she had the night-sight of a cat after all, and Jyoumon could see vague shapes, so they were all right.
    "What are we looking for?" asked Jyoumon quietly.
    "I really don't know," replied Karimon.  "But I will know it when I see it."
    They continued down another dark hallway.
    "Did you hear that?" asked the little cat-girl suddenly, her ears twitching.
    Jyoumon strained to listen.  His ears pricked up.  "Um...  Like a conversation?"
    "Yeah.  It came from this direction."  They both made another turn into yet another hall.  The voices were clearer now.  They came from a door that was slightly opened.
    "That's Igorimon's voice," commented Karimon.  "But who's the other?"
    Jyoumon winced as he recognised the voice in question.  There was no way that he could possibly forget that individual.
    "That's Frankenmon," he growled softly.
    They went closer to the door.  The conversation kept getting clearer and clearer, until they could understand the words.
    "So, all of my Digimon-Destined are with you, Igorimon?" asked Frankenmon's voice.
    "Yes, Master," replied Igorimon.
    Jyoumon and Karimon crept up to the opening and peered inside.  Igorimon was talking to Frankenmon's image that was displayed on what looked like a cross between a huge television screen and a jelly-fish.  Neither one of the conversationalists noticed the intruders.
    "How are they doing?" asked the mad-doctor Digimon.
    "They're all doing fine, master.  The Gabumon that was with them was hurt, but he's much better now..."
    "Never mind him...  How is my Jyoumon?  Is he finished his reconfiguration?"
    "Oh, Master!  He's beautiful..."  Igorimon clasped her hands together.  "He's both graceful and clumsy, like any Rookie, yet there's nothing like him..."
    "That's good to hear.  I'm glad that one of my experiments is a success."
    "Of course, Master."
    Jyoumon swallowed.  He didn't like the way Frankenmon showed interest in him like that.
    "Unfortunately, Lord Piedmon has given the order to deliver them all to him."
    Jyoumon and Karimon froze at the comment.
    "No!" exclaimed Igorimon.  "They're all Rookies!  We can't give them to him!  He will destroy them!"
    "I know..."  Frankenmon actually sighed.  "It's a shame really.  I wanted a chance to reconfigure them all.  But orders are orders..."
    "But Master..!" wailed the woman-like Digimon.
    "Maybe Lord Piedmon will let me keep the Jyoumon.  He's no longer a threat."  Frankenmon chuckled in his rusty sounding voice.  "The lad doesn't know it yet, but he's mine now..."  The evil Digimon suddenly looked to his servant in interest.  "Did you do give the lad anything?" he asked.
    "Who?  Jyoumon?" asked Igorimon, suddenly afraid.  "Just a plain collar, Master.  Did I do something wrong?"
    "No, lass.  You did nothing wrong.  Now, I want you to keep all of those Digimon there until I return, tomorrow.  And don't turn them loose into the woods like you did with all of my other experiments."
    "Master!  What do you mean?"
    "You can't lie to me, Igorimon.  I know that you've been letting the others go when I've told you to dispose of them.  I let you do that because I know that they are relatively harmless.  But don't you dare let these ones go,  or else I will have to discipline you.  Do you understand me?"
    "Yes, Master."  Igorimon was shaking.
    "I will see you in the morning.  Until then."  The image of the evil Digimon disappeared and the screen went dark.
    Igorimon sniffled as she turned away from the screen.  Then she saw the two Digimon peering in the doorway.  She froze.
    Jyoumon was in shock.  Karimon was angry.
    "What do you have to say for yourself?!?" demanded the cat-girl Digimon.
    Igorimon wiped her tears with her long sleeve.
    "You have to leave," she said.  "Now."

Chapter Five

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