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Digimon: A Seraphic Tale, Chapter 22 (part one)

Chapter 22 part 1!

Title: Digimon: A Seraphic Tale
Chapter #: 22
Rating: G
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Family/Friendship

EPISODE 22: An Unlikely Friend

It happened all too fast. Once he was mollifying an Otamamon and making sure it got into the ocean safely, a minute later he's trapped in the yucky, repulsive arms of a disgusting and noisome Roachmon, who obviously smelled horrid and putrid. He could see it all too clearly. Seeing all the world getting smaller before him, the kids looking like little stick figures on a child's first drawings, his feet not touching the ground, the childrens' shocked and angry faces, his own life hanging in the balance, and falling into a world of nothing but vast blue backgrounds, white square grid lines, ones and zeroes. Of course, he knew where he was going. The Digital World. He didn't understand why Roachmon suddenly gained interest in him. He remembered that Roachmon screamed upon seeing that he's, as Roachmon said, alive, should be dead, and that his master destroyed him. He couldn't understand what Roachmon meant. But then again, he didn't remember anything before meeting Yun, and he didn't want to consider the possibility that he, in fact, HAD met Roachmon and his supposed master before. But right now, all he wanted was to go back to the human world, reunite with Yun, and practice learning self-defense skills since his fighting skills are a bit lacking.

Even though he's surfing through the grid-like world, he should be scared or silent or cowering in fear. But no. He wasn't scared at all. In fact, Lucero didn't have time to be scared at all! Why? Because he's too busy duking it out with Roachmon! Upon entering the bridge between the two worlds, Lucero decided he wouldn't let himself be trapped by this ugly, disgusting, repulsive roach and decided to fight back and free himself from Roachmon's clutches. Lucero and Roachmon got into a big brouhaha, in which they kicked and punched and slapped and hit, all the while Roachmon was making sure Lucero remained in his arms and Lucero tried to get away. They floated through the grid, struggling and fighting each other. Neither of them had any plans on giving up.

"Let me go!" Lucero kicked Roachmon in the leg and tried to escape, but Roachmon managed to grab Lucero by the arm.

"You ain't gettin' away from me! My Master's gonna be spittin' mad once he sees you alive!" Roachmon tried to wrap Lucero under his other arm, but Lucero flailed his limbs around and struggled so much that even Roachmon had a hard time with him.

"Thou hast no right to kidnap me!" Lucero kicked him again, this time in the stomach, but not enough to make Roachmon stop breathing.

"At least your weird flowery talk hasn't changed much! Quit bein' a brat, yo!" Roachmon tried to tie Lucero down with a rope. This was the absolute last straw for Lucero.

"RELEASE ME NOW!!" Lucero screamed wildly and punched Roachmon in the face so hard that Roachmon actually let go of Lucero. Roachmon screamed as Lucero punched him square in the face. Now the both of them were floating apart and away from each other. To Lucero, this was his opportunity to escape as he faced another part of the grid-like world and floated there. To Roachmon, this was a potential calamity. Lucero was getting away, and he needed to get him back.

"Come back here, yo! I ain't done wit' you yeeeeeet!!" Unfortunately for Roachmon, Lucero was sucked into the current and he was not able to catch him. Lucero found an entrance and fell into it. As did Roachmon, but he fell aimlessly into it.

As for Lucero, the entrance to a part of the Digital World was a few feet above the ground, and he fell on some grass, which broke his fall. He did feel a jolt of pain stream through his back and it hurt. But once he opened his blue eyes and looked around, he saw that he was no longer on the board walk by the beach anymore. Before him is a very vast and halcyon meadow, full of green grasses and a few flowers popping up here and there. The sky above him is perfectly creamy white, with some splotches of mango orange, chrysophrase green, and poppy pink. No, there are no clouds. The sky itself is all white, no clouds. Lucero could feel a nice, gentle breeze caressing him and making his blonde locks sway a little bit. Once he regained his composure, he stood up and looked around. He saw a brook with a river running merrily through it, along with some rocks around it, big and small. He saw some small pink Digimon with yellow beaks flying around. One of them happened to catch notice of Lucero and flew up to him curiously, with big blue eyes. The little Digimon is soft and furry, covered with pink hair, and a red feather tipped with yellow is protruding from its head. The little bird Digimon smiled sweetly at the confused Lucero.

"Hello!" The bird Digimon said in a cute voice, which made Lucero smile a bit.

"Hello. Who art thou?" Lucero asked.

"I'm Poromon!" The bird Digimon, Poromon, exclaimed cutely. Lucero couldn't help but stroke his fur a little bit.

"I'm honored to meet thee," Lucero said.

"You talk funny."

"I know. I'm told that a lot."

"You look...familiar. Do I know you?"

Lucero cocked his head to one side in confusion. "Uhh...I'm afraid I have no prior knowledge of thee. I'm sorry."

Despite Lucero's answer, Poromon smiled. "Okay! Bye-bye!" After that, he flew back to his group.

Lucero looked around and saw some more Digimon. One is a green worm trying to climb a rock. One is a peacock-esque thing with a blue head, a lighter blue body, a crown on its head, red eyes, a red bow tie, red and white shoes, and a back side consisting of nothing but a big green bushel of flowers. It flew to a small tree and picked some fruit out of it. Two of them are beige stump-like things with blue eyes that are arguing with each other. Another is a little thing with a pumpkin on its head. The final Digimon he saw is a little green apple thing with big rosy cheeks and a cute demeanor. The little apple-like Digimon caught sight of Lucero and found him interesting, and decided to approach him with its big beady black eyes.

"Pipi!" The little green Digimon squeaked happily, which caught Lucero's attention. Lucero, charmed by the cute little Digimon's presence, smiled at it and kneeled in front of it.

"Who art thou, little one?" Lucero asked.

"Pipi!" The Digimon replied. From what Lucero saw, the Digimon is probably a baby whose speech hasn't quite developed yet. He smiled, stroke the little thing's head, and walked away.

After a while, Lucero stood in the middle of the meadow and looked up at the sky, right at the blue green and malachite sphere with pink lines of light protruding from it.

'I'm in...The Digital World...' Lucero thought wistfully.

In the human world...

A day had passed since the Gesomon fiasco last night. Bucchiemon had already gone back home (The Digital World). The night before, Yun made sure to pack some small packs food and other essentials into a green butterfly-themed bag that Minako got for her long ago. Yun wanted more than anything to get Lucero back at all costs. She didn't care what would happen, but her mind is plagued with all kinds of questions. Where is Lucero? Is he alright? Has he really been kidnapped and thrown into Roachmon's master's inner sanctum? Is he scared? Yun couldn't help but wonder, and she continued to wonder even at school, though she made sure to pay attention to the lessons. Also the night before, she texted every member of the Digimon Brigade, telling them to meet at the park with their Digimon right after school along with their Digimon. Yun was absolutely dreading her schedule right now (Her schedule goes like this: 1st period homeroom, second period art, third period health, fourth period math, fifth period lunch, sixth period recess, seventh period English, eighth gym, and ninth science). Despite her efforts in making sure she paid attention and took notes, all she wanted to do was go to the Digital World and save Lucero.

However, despite her dragging herself through the schedule like a sloth, she did notice something else, which she found during math class. Mrs. Takahashi made an important announcement.

"Alright kids! Listen up! Just so you know, our math test is this Friday, so you better study real hard and real good, because this test counts for 20% of your grade! I don't want to see any F's on those papers! Got it?" Mrs. Takahashi edicted sternly.

After her announcement, the kids had to go into groups for a class assignment. It's then that one girl approached her.

"Wakamiya-san?" A girl asked when she approached Yun. She has long light brown hair covered by a purple hat and matching light brown eyes. She is wearing a short sleeved light blue shirt with white cuffs, beige jean shorts, red and white shoes, and has an orange bag slung over her shoulder with purple flowers on it. Yun recognized her.

"Oh! Harima-san?" Yun said.

"Yeah! I was wondering if maybe I could--" She couldn't finish her question because Seiko suddenly appeared and grabbed her by the arm.

"Shione-chan! I'm so glad I found you! We need a final member of our group!" Seiko dragged Shione away from Yun, but not before giving her a rather wicked smile and glance. Yun simply scoffed at Seiko and joined Otoya, Riku, and another classmate so the assignment can be done.

As the day went on, Yun began noticing that Shione is acting strange. They were more classmates than friends, but Yun knew her enough to know that something about her is off today. They weren't on bad terms, that's for sure. But today, Yun had been approached by Shione more than five times in five classes. They shared five classes together so Yun knew she was there. Yun also noticed that whenever Shione tried to finish her question, Seiko or members of her clique always dragged her away by force. Yun did know that Shione was often approached by Seiko's clique and had been repeatedly given the opportunity to be part of them, but she ALWAYS declined. However, despite Shione's ardent and straightforward denials, Seiko always persisted and kept going after Shione, trying to bring her into her clique. Yun didn't find Seiko's going after Shione strange anymore, but she found Shione approaching her five times rather strange.

She had no idea that Shione approached her for a very personal reason, and she was going to find out what it was at the end of the day.

Once science class was halfway done, Yun finished her assignment early and requested to go to the bathroom. Right as she was about to turn a corner, she heard yelling coming from the bathroom.

"Quit bothering me, Shimizu!! What part of I don't want to be part of your stupid, prissy little clique DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?!?" That was Shione's angry voice. Yun stopped where she was. She didn't want to eavesdrop, but she really wanted to go inside. To do her business. But if Seiko and her clique were really in there, they would notice her immediately and do anything to mess with her. Yun stayed where she was and listened (unintentionally) to their conversation.

"You're the one who doesn't understand. I'm trying to save you. Save you from that retard, Wakamiya," Seiko said condescendingly and maliciously.

"Save me? Yeah right! You don't want to save anyone but yourself, and Wakamiya's NOT a retard!"

"Shione-chan--"

"Don't call me by my name, Shimizu!!"

"You'd be much better off if you were with me and my friends. We're actually better than Wakamiya and her little loser league!"

"Oh yeah, says the girl who thinks the area of a circle is 2 pi r! If anything, you're the one who's retarded!"

"You take that back!"

"No! And for your information, I'd MUCH rather be friends with Wakamiya than someone like you anyway! All you and your friends do are talk about nail polish and gossip and bully people who you think aren't fit to be in your presence! You suck!! Wakamiya's actually nice compared to a nasty little witch like you! She helped me with my English assignment when I didn't understand parts of it! She doesn't act all conceited and egotistical when she does well on tests and stuff! She actually works hard and does whatever she can to get good grades honorably! I've been trying to be friends with her all year yet you keep dragging me away! I'm sick and tired of it! I'm not gonna sit by and let you step all over me!!"

"If you be friends with her, your life will be miserable!"

"My life's already miserable! I have enough to deal with at home, and being friends with Wakamiya will actually help me get away from it for a while! You'll never understand how important this is to me! I'm done dealing with you! For the last and final time, I AM NOT GOING TO JOIN YOUR CLIQUE!! And don't EVER try to coerce me or drag me into it either! Quit following me like you're some stalker or something! That's it! I'm done with you! For good! I HATE YOU!!"

After that eloquent piece of rhetoric, Shione burst out from the bathroom door and dashed away from the scene. Shione didn't notice a very surprised Yun standing there, and Yun didn't try to approach her or go into the bathroom. Seiko came out afterward, and Yun made sure she hid from her sight. Thankfully, Seiko didn't catch sight of her, which gave Yun the opportunity to go in.

Seeing that scene really shook Yun up. Not in a bad and traumatizing way. It made Yun realize something. All the times Shione approached her, not just today, but all year, it was all because Shione wants to be friends with Yun. Yun couldn't believe it. She couldn't believe someone as outgoing and exuberant as Shione would want to be friends with someone as timid and easily frightened as Yun. But then again, Yun was paired up with Shione for projects a few times, and Shione turned out to be quite the nice girl. Bright, headstrong, and optimistic, she was. However, Yun never heard Shione mention anything about liking anime or manga, so Yun didn't really bother telling her about her likes and dislikes. But after that scene, Yun couldn't help but wonder. Perhaps...maybe she can be friends with Shione after all.

'Alright. I've decided. After school, I'll find Shione-chan and be friends with her. It's what she wants, isn't it? Who knows. Maybe she'll turn out to be better than I thought,' Yun thought as she went back into her science class. Yun drew pictures the rest of the period. Then, the final bell rang.

riiiiiiing

Everyone left the school building once the bell rang. Strangely enough, it seemed fate was on Yun's side. Kosuke couldn't come to the park until later because he needs to take care of his mother for a while, Otoya has to help prepare for the church's next Sunday school and stay with the members of the choir for practice, Aria needs permission from her stepmother, and the Nobara twins needed to get some chores done before they went anywhere (much to Riku's dismay). Yun decided to take this time to find Shione. But she couldn't find her.

That was because Shione was already walking home.

With her purple book bag and orange purse on her back, Shione walked on the sidewalk with a not so joyous look on her face. She sighed as she walked further along.

"Seriously, Shimizu is so stubborn it's unbelievable! She's not as bad as my big sister, but still! Me, into her posse? No sir! I don't want anything to do with her! No way am I hanging out with people like her! I'm gonna grow up, go to high school, make some nice friends, go to college, receive training on how to take care of disabled kids, and be a special ed teacher! Nothing will stop me, no matter what. Mom always says to calm down and carry on, and I'll do just that," Shione muttered to herself.

Once she arrived in front of a dark brown house, she noticed a young girl sitting on the porch crying. She looked shorter than Shione by about half a foot, with shorter hair the same color as Shione's. But this girl has nice blue eyes, like sapphires. She looks to be about nine years old in age, and has her bangs part down the middle, mixing with the rest of her hair. She is wearing a short sleeved orange shirt under a pair of deep blue overalls, red and white shoes, and light green socks. Shione became alert upon seeing the crying girl and ran to her.

"Mikuni! What's wrong?" Shione asked, while making hand gestures. Sign language. Mikuni pulled out a dark grey cell phone, punched in some letters, and showed it to Shione.

"Daddy and Himari-Neechan are yelling again," Mikuni typed.

Shione felt her heart sink again, but for a totally different reason all along. Shione grimaced, because she can actually hear yelling coming from inside her house. Mikuni calmed herself down while Shione hopped onto the porch.

"Stay here," Shione signed. She opened the door a crack, and already her ears were assaulted by the vociferous voices of her dad and her older sister, apparently engaging in an epic yelling brouhaha.

"Do you realize what you've done, Himari!?" A man in his mid-40's with glasses screamed angrily at another girl, banging his fist against the wall and not showing any clemency at all.

"What's it to you, old man!?" The taller girl, Himari, yelled back. She seems to be about sixteen with Shione's light brown hair and dark brown eyes, but she seems to be in the plump department as her stomach is protruding slightly.

"As if we weren't in a bad enough situation already, you had to go and get pregnant!!"

"I didn't know, Dad! I didn't find out until two weeks ago!!"

"We don't have the means to raise another child, Himari, nor do you have any experience in parenting! And you're in your junior year of high school for crying out loud!! Couldn't you have waited until you got much older!?"

"I didn't even know, Dad! I'll get an abortion! I just need the money!"

"You can't!! Do you seriously expect us to just have 100,000 yen magically appear in thin air and heap it onto you!? Money doesn't come from trees, Himari! Especially in this stupid economy! And besides, you're too far along! It's too late to get one anyhow!"

"How was I supposed to know how far along I was!?"

"You could've gone to a hospital and gotten checked, but NOOOOO!! You had to laze around and wait for the worst to happen!"

"If I went to a hospital they would've told you about it, and I knew you'd freak out!"

"Did you seriously expect us to be happy with this screw up of the century!?"

"No! And besides, once I give birth I'll put it up for adoption! Happy!?"

"It's not as simple as that, Himari!"

"Then have Mikuni take care of it! She's deaf and can't hear a thing, so she won't hear the thing crying! That'll--"

SLAP! Absolutely overcome with anger, Himari's father slapped Himari square in the face, causing Himari to fall to the ground. She didn't even bother to clutch her stomach and protect her developing baby. Both of them became absolutely incensed.

"Don't EVER try to heap your problems onto Mikuni!! This is the problem, Himari!! You never want to take responsibility for your own actions and instead choose to put them on other people just for your own self-satisfaction!! You always believe that putting your own problems onto someone else's shoulders will make everything better!! Get it in your head, Himari!! The world doesn't revolve around you! Stop being so selfish and irresponsible!!"

"Why do you care more about that stupid deaf retard than me!? I do EVERYTHING for you yet you don't even care! You spend all your time and money on Mikuni and don't give a rat's hat about me!! You're the one who's selfish!!"

Not wanting to stick around and have her ears pounded on, Shione closed the door, took Mikuni by the hand, and walked into the woods. Shione and Mikuni had been doing this a lot since Himari and their dad had suddenly started screaming at each other. They didn't go too far so they didn't get lost. They went far enough to not hear their yelling. This was their means of escape, even though their parents didn't exactly approve of it. Shione always had her cell phone on her so she could call them and let them know where she was, so there wasn't any problem with it as far as she knew. They sat on a fallen log and watched the birds go by. Mikuni shed some more tears and continued clutching her big sister's hand, not wanting to let go. Shione, feeling guilty about what happened, smiled sadly at Mikuni.

"Sorry you had to go through that," Shione said and signed. Mikuni grabbed her cell phone again and typed in another sentence.

"I'm sorry for being so stupid, dumb, and deaf. I wish I was normal and I want to hear!" Mikuni typed. This saddened Shione.

"What are you saying? It's not your fault! You didn't wish for all this. Stuff just happens. Mom says it's a part of life so we have to deal with what we have. Don't call yourself stupid and dumb. That's not true!" Shione explained while making hand gestures at the same time.

"But Himari-Neechan's right. Mommy and Daddy always spend money on my hearing aids and special classes at school. They don't do much for her anymore. I feel bad for her. I wish I could make her happy," Mikuni typed. Shione hugged her little sister for a bit, then looked her in the eye solemnly.

"I'm glad you care about Himari-Neechan, even though she's always mean to you. Like I said, it's not your fault. Stuff happens. How about this? After I finish homework, how about we walk to the ice cream place and grab some ice cream? That'll make you better, right?" Shione told her while signing. Mikuni finally smiled and typed something into her cell phone.

"Yes! Can I have chocolate with the brown sprinkles?" Mikuni typed with a smile on her face.

"Yep! Anything you want!" Shione exclaimed happily. Mikuni was about to rejoice happily when something caught her attention. Shione could tell because of Mikuni's body language and the way she's trying to stand on her toes.

"See something interesting?" Shione asked while making a sign.

All Mikuni did was point deeper into the forest.

Shione looked and found herself frozen in place with awe and surprise. There's a big white deer with blue hair, horns, and markings eating leaves off of a tree! Both Shione and Mikuni were entranced by the majesty and beauty of this strange creature and everything about it. She couldn't believe such a thing existed. They were both silent and watched as the tall, slender white deer delicately ate leaves off of a tree and enjoyed every minute of it. Just the sight of this tall, mysterious looking deer placated the hearts of these two girls and gave them a sense of tranquility. The deer plodded away from the tree and was about to munch on some more leaves protruding from another tree until its pretty red eyes locked onto the two girls.

Both the deer and the two girls were silent and frozen in place. The girls were taken aback by the deer's slender neck and legs, its big, strong blue horns, its cherry red eyes, and its majestic beauty, while the deer was taken aback by the girls' presence and new knowledge of its existence. Neither of them moved even a single inch. Not one bit. They were about to remain that way for a while...if it hadn't been for Witchmon suddenly appearing out of a digital portal that popped out in between them. Witchmon fell onto the ground, getting dirt on her face and dress. She got up, looking very irritated.

"AAAARRRGH!! What the heck is LadyDevimon thinking!? Shoving me into the human world like this! Why I oughta--huh!?" Witchmon wailed like a very spoiled and self-centered sixteen year old girl (Himari, anyone?) but stopped when she noticed both Shione, Mikuni, and the white deer looking at them with confused faces. Witchmon screamed upon laying eyes on the deer.

"YEEEEK!! You're that Moosemon who I branded long ago!" Witchmon exclaimed.

"So we meet again, Witchmon! You're a wicked thing, indeed!" Moosemon snapped, preparing himself for a battle. Witchmon was about to fly away when she saw Shione and Mikuni, clinging to each other. Shione decided to speak.

"Who the heck are you!?" Shione asked courageously.

"Ugh! Another human!"

"You're not from around here, are you? Care to explain yourself, witch?"

"It's Witchmon to you! I'm a Digimon! You know what? Screw it! I'm angry and I wanna take it out on somebody! I know! You're perfect! Time to unleash my wrath!"

Shione stepped in front of Mikuni with fire in her eyes. "I'll take your wrath any day! But lay a hand on my sister and you're mincemeat!"

"Says you! Baluluna Gale!" Witchmon got her broom out and unleashed a swirling tornado of air. Shione knew she was being reckless, but she couldn't help but want to protect Mikuni from this strange person.

Thankfully enough, Moosemon decided to step in.

"Hanging Twister!" Moosemon unleashed his own tornado at Witchmon's attack, and the two gusts of wind collided and dissipated. Witchmon decided to use this opportunity to brand Moosemon again.

"Eat this!" Witchmon got the stone out and pressed it onto Moosemon's head.

But strangely enough...nothing happened. Witchmon noticed and became confused. Even Moosemon, Shione, and Mikuni were confused as to what was currently happening.

"Eh?" Witchmon pressed the stone onto Moosemon's head again. Nothing.

"What? What!? WHAT!? What the freak!? Why won't you get branded!?" Witchmon banged Moosemon on the head repeatedly, but a Dark Emblem wasn't appearing. Moosemon got irritated.

"Horn Blade!" He smacked Witchmon with his horns and sent her flying against a tree. Witchmon popped out of it with leaves in her hair.

"Waaaaagh!! I totally forgot! Dark Emblems don't work on the same Digimon twice!!" Witchmon wailed, which left all three of them confused.

"Are you done being a whiny little brat yet?" Shione asked. This made Witchmon choleric.

"HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A BRAT!!" Witchmon got her broom out and flew towards them so she could attack them. In a flash, Moosemon caught Witchmon's broom with his horns.

"I don't think so!" Moosemon tried to push Witchmon away. As he did, he looked back at the two girls.

"Girls! I'll hold her off! Run away! Go somewhere safe!" Moosemon commanded.

"But...what about you!?" Shione asked.

"I'll be fine! I'll deal with her! Go on! Run!" Moosemon replied again. Suddenly, Witchmon got out of Moosemon's horns and raised her hand up in the air.

"You ain't seen nothing yet! Aqua Pressure!" Once Witchmon snapped her fingers, a huge wave of water popped out and streamed toward them.

"Mikuni!!" Shione quickly wrapped her arms around Mikuni's head, enough to cover both of her hearing aids, and pulled her into her chest as she was hit by the wall of water. It didn't hurt her as much as she thought because Moosemon stepped in front of them and held off most of it, so they didn't drown. Once the water disappeared, Moosemon and Shione both looked up at Witchmon with angry faces.

"You're terrible!!" Shione yelled as Mikuni squirmed out of her arms.

"I second that! Leave these girls alone, you knave! They have nothing to do with you, so I suggest you leave them out of whatever evil schemes you're planning! Go back to the Digital World this instant!" Moosemon yelled. Witchmon sighed.

"Fine! I only wanted to kill some time and release some of my anger anyhow! Bye!" Witchmon opened a digital portal and zipped into it, leaving Moosemon, Shione, and Mikuni all alone. Shione and Mikuni both didn't mind that their clothes were a tad wet. Moosemon took a look at the two girls with concern in his eyes.

"Why didn't you run as I told you to? Witchmon is a powerful Digimon! She could've drowned you both! She--" Moosemon scolded them briefly, but stopped when he saw the sparkly looks in both Shione and Mikuni's eyes.

"WOW!! You're soooo cool!! You were awesome back there! Are you seriously a Digimon?" Shione asked happily as she gazed at Moosemon with her bright brown eyes, shining merrily. Moosemon couldn't help but blush a bit.

"Y-Yes. I am a Digimon," Moosemon replied.

"A Digimon! I can't believe it! One of my favorite childhood cartoons is actually real! Awesome! And you're the prettiest Digimon I've seen!" Shione squealed like a happy fangirl at an Elvis concert. Moosemon smiled.

"Thank you for the complement. I'm glad you're alright," Moosemon said.

"Oh! Hi! I'm Harima Shione, and this is my sister, Harima Mikuni!" Shione introduced herself and Mikuni to Moosemon. Mikuni typed into her cell phone and showed it to Moosemon.

"Nice to meet you!" It said. Moosemon looked at it with a confused face and cocked his head to one side.

"I...can't read that," Moosemon muttered.

Shione sighed. "You can't? Oh, I see. You Digimon must have your own language or something. Sorry. Mikuni can't hear so she communicates by either sign language or typing into her cell phone," Shione explained.

"She can't...hear? Or talk?"

"She talks a little, but it's usually really simple words that even little kids can understand. Oh! Enough about us, how about you?" Shione explained.

Moosemon, Shione, and Mikuni grew to really like being in each other's presence. After a while, Moosemon laid on the ground while Shione and Mikuni were sitting on him. Mikuni is ruffling his neck hair while Shione had her head in between his antlers.

"So you two girls live over there?" Moosemon asked.

"Yeah. We're actually not allowed to come out here, but my dad and my big sister are having a yelling brouhaha and we don't like it, so we come here so we don't have to hear it," Shione explained.

"Ah, I see. Too loud for you? I know how that feels."

"I know, right? They're always yelling, and we hate it!"

"Exactly...what are they yelling about?"

"Well...our big sister Himari's been hanging out with her new boyfriend a bit too much. About two months ago she disappeared for nearly a whole day and nobody knew where she was. She came back, but our parents were pretty ticked off. They grounded her good, but it didn't work."

"What had she been doing?"

"I don't know the details, but she's been with her boyfriend a lot. That's about all I know. But about a week ago...we found out that Himari's having a baby."

"A baby? A human baby?"

Shione nodded silently.

"Oh! How wonderful! A new life is always welcome in my book, be it human or Digimon! Your family must be so happy!"

Shione became a little silent and dejected.

"What's...wrong? Did I say something bad?"

"No. See...our family's been hit pretty hard by the bad economy. Dad lost his job and is looking for a new one with no luck, and Mom's been working more hours just to make ends meet. We don't have the money to raise a baby, let alone buy stuff for it. But Dad's angry at Himari just for getting pregnant. It's really thrown our family into upheaval."

"How can the birth of a new life throw a family into upheaval? New lives are to be celebrated and welcomed!"

"Yeah, but the timing is bad. See, Himari's only 16. She's still a kid and is just starting her junior year in high school. She's too young and inexperienced to have a kid, let alone take care of it. It also doesn't help that she's selfish, irresponsible, disrespectful, and is always causing trouble. She always wants to throw her problems onto other people and not solve them herself. A few minutes ago, she was yelling at Dad and suggesting that Mikuni take care of the baby since she's deaf. Now don't get me wrong, I'd be thrilled to have a niece or nephew and teach them stuff. But now's not the time to have a kid. For Himari, I mean. She could've waited until she was much older, got married, got a nice job, and gained experience with taking care of herself, as Dad said, but she just up and got pregnant too early. Plus there's Mikuni to worry about. She's in special ed classes at her school and Mom and Dad have to work real hard just to pay for her hearing aids and medical bills. It's really tough on us Harimas altogether."

Moosemon sighed. "Now I see why it can be a problem. I'm sorry your family's in a tight spot. I wish I could help in some way."

"It's not your fault! Why would it be?" Shione said. "Besides, Himari's not the only one. Lots of kids are having babies too early for their own good. It's kinda an epidemic."

"Hmmm...I suppose humans can be rather brash and reckless sometimes."

"You're telling me! Oh! Sorry! I didn't mean to heap all my problems on you. It's just--"

"I know, and I'm happy you told me, Shione. Lots of people want someone to confide to about our problems. Even we Digimon want a little solace once in a while. Shione...you and Mikuni are nice girls. I like you two a lot."

Shione blushed a bit, but she didn't let it stop her from smiling. "I sure never expected Digimon to be real!"

"I've heard that a couple times."

"Anyway, now onto a happier subject...see, there's this girl I really want to be friends with."

"Really?"

"Yeah. She's really nice, sweet, and innocent, like Mikuni. She does well in school, loves anime and manga, and is just plain awesome. I've tried approaching her a few times, but these other girls keep taking me away from her. They don't want me being friends with her. They think she's stupid and retarded and a loser, but I don't think that's true."

"Now who might this girl be?"

"Her name's Wakamiya Yun."

Moosemon's ears perked up. "Huh? Did you just say Wakamiya Yun?"

"Yeah. Why?"

"Oh! Oh! I actually know her!"

"Whoa! Seriously!?"

"Yes! In fact, not too long ago she and her Digimon saved me!"

"She has Digimon too!?"

"Yes! Oh! I'm sorry to surprise you, Shione. Truly, I don't mean to."

"It's alright!"

"Oh! How about I take you to her? I've recently developed the ability to smell familiar scents coming from both humans and Digimon. I know Yun's scent by now, so how about I take you to her?"

Shione beamed. "That'd be awesome!"

Moosemon stood up. "Alright! Here we go! Hold on tight, girls!"

Shione and Mikuni clung to Moosemon's neck as Moosemon slowly and delicately plodded away.

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