Act 3: Depths of the Earth
Also Known As
"How am I supposed to make you look substandard if you keep on making astonishing feats?"
“Is this it?”
Tiwaz’s voice rebounded against stone walls, echoing down the dirt and stone path where he and his companions would soon go down to rescue the three trapped children before another earthquake would hit. The path was poorly lit, lightened only by the oil lamps that dotted the walls every few meters. Debris of stone and wood littered the floor, but fortunately, none were too large that it obstructed their path.
Beside him, Pavamana nodded, glancing at the two paths that lay before them. Jay had apparently broken down a wall that belonged to one of the mine’s main pathways.
“Where do you think they went?” Tiwaz wondered as he went in. “The kid forgot to tell us which way to go,” he muttered, looking down one path that seemed endless.
Behind him, Cogwej looked down at the ground before them. “It seems that we can’t follow any footsteps,” the Wisemon observed. Too many Digimon had passed through, creating too many trails that cross other trails. It was nearly impossible to follow one trail without getting lost in the others.
“We need to hurry,” Pavamana told them, a strong sense of urgency in his voice.
The three looked to their last companion. Fenrir was facing down one path, his eyes closed and his nose in the air. He may not have been a Garurumon, but he had senses that rivaled one. “It’s faint, but fresh,” he told them, opening his eyes and turning to them.
Tiwaz grinned at him. “Looks like you’re more of a mutt than I thought,” he said as he jogged past the Beowolfmon, causing the white knight to scowl at the dragon man. “Let’s go!”
Fenrir sighed and kept his temper in check as Pavamana and Cogwej followed the EmperorGreymon. He raised an eyebrow when he spotted the Wisemon taking out one of his Space-Time Stones, and then a familiar runic bag from it. He quickly caught up with them, turning to the cloaked Digimon with a questioning look.
“Would it not be serendipitous were we to find the Spirit of Earth during out search?” Cogwej asked with his carefree expression.
“We prioritize the children,” Pavamana said before Fenrir could reply. His gaze was ever forward, searching for the children of his friends. Glancing at him, the Beowolfmon nodded in agreement.
“Of course,” Cogwej said, suddenly sounding indignant. It was strange; Fenrir thought he would care more about the ancient relics. “What uses will my discoveries and breakthroughs be if I just let my future clientele expire?” he asked. Fenrir had to roll his eyes, but he decided that, at the very least, the Wisemon wouldn’t let innocent lives go to waste.
“Dammit!” Tiwaz’s suddenly said, his curse rebounding off the walls in an echo.
Fenrir furrowed his eyes; the EmperorGreymon had turned to a corner to part of the pathway where they couldn’t see. He was about to ask what was wrong, but the moment they turned, he didn’t need an answer from the dragon man; it was right in front of him.
Fenrir gritted his teeth, looking at the wall of fallen boulders right in front of them. It was difficult to tell how thick it was from one side to the other, but it would take them hours to get through it by manual labor.
“Hm…should we take the alternate route?” Cogwej suggested, turning back behind them.
“We don’t know if it leads back to this path,” Fenrir told him, looking around.
“And it may take too long,” Pavamana added, walking to the point where the boulders met the wall, looking for a crevice that he could use to look through.
“I could probably blast through it,” Tiwaz suggested, putting a hand against one of the boulders that blocked their path.
“Too dangerous,” Fenrir told him.
Cogwej nodded. “Your haphazard attacks may very well cause the ceiling to fall upon us and the children; why, you’d be doing the aftershock’s job for it!” he said, looking at Tiwaz as if he were the most ignorant Digimon in the world. Said Digimon glared at him.
“Just because I don’t hold back my blows doesn’t mean I can’t control my attacks,” Tiwaz said, growling.
“Then it denotes a lack of discipline!” Cog told him, folding his arms.
“No, it does not. Not holding back means I’m respecting my opponent’s ability!” the dragon defended himself, folding his own arms.
“Not holding back means you’re aiming to annihilate your opponent, leaving nothing but ashes behind.”
“I’m teaching them a lesson!”
Fenrir growled, annoyed that their argument seems to be getting magnified by the echoes in the cavern. Between them and the tapping sound, he could barely think.
‘…tapping sound?’ Fenrir thought, blinking. He looked around, trying to detect it.
Pavamana seemed to notice his sudden movement. “What is it?”
“I can hear…something,” he replied with a focused expression. After a few seconds, he frowned and turned to the arguing Wisemon and EmperorGreymon. “Shut up already!” he ordered, snarling.
At his sudden outburst, the duo stopped their argument. Cogwej blinked, while Tiwaz frowned at him. “What’s the big deal?” Tiwaz grumbled at him.
“He’s hearing something,” Pavamana answered for the Beowolfmon.
Cogwej tilted his head curiously. “Hearing…something?” he repeated before a captivated look encompassed his face. “You mean you’re hearing spirits of the dead!?” he asked in sudden glee. “You have to tell me what they’re saying! Are they here to help us? Or maybe they’re here to shower me with praises for my pie!” he rambled on, walking quickly towards the Beowolfmon.
Tiwaz raised an eyebrow. “So what they say about dogs seeing spirits is true?” he asked, his hands on his hips.
Cogwej turned to him. “Not seeing, hearing! There is an obvious difference, my ignorant friend.”
“I am not ignorant!”
Fenrir ignored them and walked closer to the boulders, placing a hand on them.
“Well?” Pavamana asked him, walking beside him. It seemed that little could stop the two behind from arguing until the world ended.
“Someone’s…behind this,” Fenrir told him, pressing his forehead against the cold stone. The vibrations were giving him a better idea of what was happening behind the boulders, but it was still generally vague.
“Is it them?” the PileVolcamon asked with a concerned tone.
“I’m not sure…but there’s definitely someone there,” Fenrir replied, stepping back.
The PileVolcamon seemed to regard his words with a troubled silence, causing the Beowolfmon to turn to him with a curious gaze.
“Stand back,” Pav then ordered calmly as he stepped backwards. Fenrir raised an eyebrow but did so.
“Eh?” Tiwaz suddenly said as he noticed the PileVolcamon suddenly crouching on one knee. “What are you doing, Pav?” he asked, distracted from his argument with the Wisemon.
“He’s crouching on the ground, of course,” Cogwej answered. “Tweezers, I thought you were sharper than that,” he said with a disappointed shake of his head.
“What is it with you and getting on my case!?”
“Shush,” Fenrir told them as smoke started to pour out of the PileVolcamon’s shoulder-mounted mini-volcanoes. Reluctantly, Tiwaz did so, but not before grabbing the old man beside him and covering his mouth with a metal hand to force him to stay quiet. At least he knew one way to shut the Wisemon up.
As the drills on his shoulder-pads suddenly began to spin rapidly, the blacksmith then shouted, “Cammie! If you can hear me, get away from the wall!”
He then pressed his arms against his chest and ducked his head, yelling, “Volcanic Driver!”
In one quick and fluid motion, he jumped forward and curled into a ball. Like a giant, spinning wrecking ball, he crashed into the boulder wall, digging right into it, causing stones and dust to get blasted behind him where the trio of Digimon waited. Both Tiwaz and Fenrir had been quick enough to raise their defenses just in time to stop from getting hit too badly by the pieces of stones that were being thrown at them. Cogwej, meanwhile, had hidden behind Tiwaz, who was closest to him at the time.
Despite the cloud of dirt, sand and stone that floated in the air, Fenrir’s eyes were glued on Pavamana’s rolling form. He was particularly amazed. The PileVolcamon was spinning at just the right rate and exerting the right amount of pressure to drill a perfectly straight and smooth path forward, enough power to get through while keeping the ceiling from falling on him due to the force of his act. He wondered…was there more than meets the eye to Pavaman Suchi?
In had only taken a minute or so for Pav to bore a hole right through the boulders. The loud sound of the PileVolcamon’s spinning form and drills ceased…followed by sudden cheerful squealing of the PileVolcamon’s name.
“Is that them?” Tiwaz asked as he walked towards the path Pav created.
“One way to find out,” Fenrir told him as she entered the hole and exited the other way, followed by Tiwaz and Cog.
The trio found themselves looking at a rather heartwarming scene of a relieved Pavamana hugging a Tapirmon, who looked she was so relieved that she could cry.
“Pav! It’s you! It’s you! I’m so glad it’s you!” the Tapirmon cried as the PileVolcamon spun her around.
“And I’m glad you’re safe, Yaya,” Pav replied, pulling her away from him with a smile.
“Ah! It’s the dream eater!” Cogwej suddenly announced happily! “Quickly, give her to me!” he said as he approached the Pav and Yaya. The Tapirmon froze at the sound of his voice before slowly turning her head at the Wisemon. Then she screamed.
“Get away!” she yelled, rushing behind the large blacksmith, turning him into a wall that kept the crazy old geezer from capturing her.
Tiwaz slapped his forehead, and Fenrir rolled his eyes. From a uplifting familial moment, the situation had turned into an ironically strange and comedic one that involved one freaked-out Tapirmon being chased by a science-driven maniac of a scientist around a confused blacksmith who was wondering if he missed something.
“Okay, let’s stop this comedy skit,” Tiwaz said, going over and stepping on the Wisemon’s cloak, causing the brown-clothed Digimon to trip and fall on his face with a large thump. “Weren’t there supposed to be three kids in here?” he asked the Tapirmon hiding behind Pavamana.
Yaya glanced at Pav real quick. The blacksmith gave her a tiny smile and nodded for her to answer. “Camille’s down that way,” the dream-eater Digimon said, pointing down a lit path. “She’s kind of, um…stuck,” she said with a sheepish smile.
“Stuck?” Pavamana replied with a raised eyebrow.
“Yeah…well, she kind of- um…you’ll see.” The Tapirmon then floated away with a worried expression. “I don’t know where Jay went, though,” she said, rubbing her hooves together nervously.
“What about this path?” Fenrir’s voice interrupted. They turned to him to see that he was standing in front of an entrance that seemed to lead to a rather darkened path. There were no lights or posts. That meant one thing: it was a natural cave that had went undiscovered in the mines. Pavamana frowned; it must’ve been formed in the recent quakes.
“Well, it’s very probable that the child went entered that path. If he hadn’t been crushed by falling debris,” Cogwej noted, folding his arms and causing Tiwaz to glare at his tactlessness.
“He’s not dead,” Pavamana said with certainty. He just…knew it. Jay was alive.
“Well then, we have only one option,” Tiwaz said, turning to the rest. “We split up. Two of us go with the Tapimon and get Cammie unstuck, while the me and the someone else go find the other kid,” he said. “The place is dark as hell, and I can light the way with my fire,” he said, conjuring a fireball in his hand and causing Yaya to cringe in surprise.
Yaya was staring at the dragon man wide eyed. Pavamana himself was looking at him curiously, though he kept silent. And then he stepped forward. “I’m going with you,” he stated.
“What? But Pav-“
The PileVolcamon interrupted her with a look. “Jay doesn’t know them. He knows me. He trusts me. I have to find him,” he told her softly, patting her head gently.
“Oh, I’m certain she’ll recognize us,” Cogwej said with a carefree expression. “She had seen us the day before, I believe.”
The Tapirmon looked at him in mild despair. She did not want to be in the Wisemon’s presence. She looked to her side when a hand was placed on her head…Fenrir’s.
He gave her a reassuring look and a nod. “I’ll keep them safe,” he said, turning to Pavamana. The blacksmith gave him a tiny grateful smile.
“It’s decided then?” Tiwaz said, looking at each them. “Then let’s go! We’re wasting time standing around here.”
“C’mon, hurry!” Yaya called out to the Cogwej and Fenrir behind her, feeling not at all comfortable that the Wisemone was one of the two. She could have lived her life quite happily if she were never to see him again, but if he could help her get her friends out of the mines safely, then she could endure his presence for a little longer…as long as he didn’t bring out the giant glass jar again.
“Are we close?” Fenrir asked, running and jumping over pieces of debris with the ease of an experienced warrior.
“Shouldn’t be that much farther. I think I can hear Cammie singing,” the Tapirmonmon told him, tilting her head as she floated over that which Fenrir and Cogwej had to dodge.
“I simply cannot fathom why your Armazillamon friend would sing in such a portentous situation,” Cogwej said out loud as he kept up with the two.
“She’s an Armadillomon!” Yaya told him with a frown. She had already noticed that the Wisemon had an unusual knack or butchering names. Well, it was a good thing to her; that meant he’d never find her using her name. She shuddered at the possibility.
“And she’s singing because she’s bored,” she answered him, turning back to where it was coming from. “She…she does it to calm herself down. You know, like when someone counts from one to ten while taking deep breaths,” she added a bit hesitantly.
Fenrir had already found that out a few minutes ago the moment he detected the young Digimon’s singing voice.
“There would have been no need to calm herself down had she been a good little girl and stayed home in the benign domicile of her home,” Cogwej noted with a nod of his head. “Why, if I were in her place, I would never leave home!” Fenrir kept his thoughts to himself when those words were said. He could honestly believe that if the Wisemon were, it would have only been because of the food that seemed endless.
“Ugh, I wouldn’t expect a perverted old man to understand,” Yaya said, pouting.
“Perverted old man!?” the perverted old man said, not making any effort to disguise his indignation.
Fenrir rolled his eyes as the Wisemon started to rant, using words far too long and too complex for both he and the child beside him to understand. If Cogwej took offense to everyone that insulted or upset him, then they would spend too much time in too many towns…and would probably gain unwanted attention that would delay them even longer. The Beowolfmon sighed and shook his head.
He slowed his pace down as soon as the singing voice grew louder. He turned at one last corner before finding himself face to face with a tired looking front half of an Armadillomon. She was definitely stuck between the stones and boulders; the same one that Jay and Ratchet must have gone through, though it seemed to have gotten smaller if it couldn’t fit the Armadillomon anymore.
“Ah…someone’s here,” the quadruped Digimon noted as she flailed her front legs at them with a sheepish expression.
“Camille! Are you doing okay?” Yaya asked in concern as she floated over to press a hoof against one of Cammie’s front feet.
“Nah…you know me…I’m peachy keen…no matter what situation I’m in,” she replied in a not-so-convincing voice. In fact, by the suppressed strained tone, Fenrir suspected that she was slowly getting crushed by the boulder on top of her…which meant her life was in bigger danger than they previously thought.
“Camille,” he called out to her in a calm voice as he approached her.
“Ah…you’re Uncle Pav’s friend,” she noted, turning to him. The closer that Fenrir got, the more he could hear her slightly labored breathing. Despite that, he kept himself cool and placed a hand against the boulder on top of her.
“He was there too,” Yaya told her, rubbing her hooves together. “But he went with another guy to go find Jay. He didn’t make it out with Ratchet,” she said with a worried grimace.
“…That’s bad.” The armadillo Digimon frowned, concerned for her friend and feeling guilty for having put him in the situation in the first place.
“Fret not, young lady!” Cog’s voice called out from the side where he was meticulously picking at small rocks and loose stones that caused some of the larger boulders to fall away to the side, away from where she was.
“Our dear friend Waraz and your uncle Lavamagma will indubitably find your companion safe and sound!” he told her in a confident voice. “Now if you please, Fallwear, I require you to detach this rather heavy piece of fallen earth so as to liberate the young Cameron,” he told the Beowolfmon, patting a large rock.
The trio looked at him strangely. Yaya because she didn’t expect something like that to come from his mouth. Cammie because she was surprised to hear that from a complete stranger. And Fenrir for the reason that Cogwej was somehow able to lessen the pressure that was on Camille through analysis of the placing of the boulders; he could hear it in her less strained voice.
Seeing as Cog seemed to have the right idea, he did so, walking over and giving Cogwej a quick glance, who pointed to more boulders that needed to be pulled out in a specific order.
“I hope you’ve learned a valuable lesson today, young lady,” the old man then said, turning to the two children. “Playing around in a dark and dreary grotto such as this is very dangerous. You have caused your parents quite a sizable amount of anxiety,” he said, folding his arms and nodding. Fenrir kept himself from rolling his eyes; he suspected that it would have been quite like Cogwej to ‘play’ in such a place were it something he needed or wanted to do.
Camille couldn’t help but wince and look down at the ground. “Sorry…”
“It’s not her fault!” Yaya said, coming between them. “Cammie- no, all of us just wanted to help!”
Cogwej blinked. “Help?”
Camille looked at her friend in surprise. “Yaya…”
“We only wanted the earthquakes to stop! We didn’t want anyone else to get hurt anymore! Or- or- or worse!” the Tapirmon told him with a serious expression.
Cogwej tilted his head. Fenrir, however, spoke up. “You heard what we were talking about yesterday,” he said, glancing at Camille, who nodded a bit contritely.
“It’s not like you were talking about anything secret. I mean, you all were just talking right in front of me,” she said slowly. “I just…didn’t want my dad to feel so bad anymore…”
“Your father?” Cogwej asked.
“…Momma died in an earthquake. Every time one happens, daddy gets so…so agitated…and so sad,” Cammie revealed, rubbing her paws together. “Uncle Pav, too…he was really close with her and daddy…”
“Oooooh, I see,” Cogwej said, nodding. As he did so, the boulders beside Cammie suddenly started rumbling before harmlessly falling over to one side, none hitting her or crushing her at all.
“I-I’m free!” the Armadillomon exclaimed in relief, although not standing.
“You would have caused them much more pain if you got hurt here,” Fenrir’s voice called out, having taken out the last boulder. “Would you have wanted that?” he asked, turning to her with a serious expression.
Cammie bit her lips nervously. “No, but…”
“Whether you have a reason or otherwise, you still put yourself in danger,” the Beowolfmon said, taking her under his arm.
“…I’m sorry,” the Armadillomon muttered.
“Me too,” Yaya voiced out, floating close to them. “I should have tried to stop them harder.”
“It’s not me you should be apologizing,” Fenrir told them as he started to walk back.
“I know,” Cammie said, thinking about her father. “But…at least let me say thank you,” she said, turning up at him. “I don’t know how long I would have been stuck down there if you and him didn’t come around.”
“Personally, I could have dealt without the crazy person,” Yaya whispered, making sure to look behind her to where Cogwej was so as to confirm that he wasn’t trying to capture her now that her friend was safe and sound.
“Perhaps, but this would not gone so smoothly had he not been here,” Fenrir told them.
“…I’m sorry, but I can’t take you seriously when the person you’re talking about is walking so strangely while carrying a glowing sack,” the Tapirmon said, sighing.
“He’s…what?” Fenrir asked, turning over his shoulder to confirm what she said. And just as she stated, the Wisemon was wagging in a zigzag pattern, carrying the runic bag that carried the spirits in front of him with the opening slightly gaping. “Cogwej…”
The Wisemon turned to him, his eyes gleaming in excitement. “It’s close! The Spirit of Earth is close!” he said eagerly. “Perhaps within a mile!”
“A…mile?” Fenrir repeated, wondering what Cogwej considered far.
“This is /the/ closest I have ever been to the Spirit of Earth in three months! It is simply exhilarating!”
The Beowolfmon blinked. At the very least, a thousand meters wasn’t that long. They could probably find it within a few hours, but they needed to bring the children to safety first. “The children come first, Cogwej.”
“I am aware. Just give me a few seconds to take note of out-“
“Cogwej!” Fenrir suddenly cut him off, turning his head around. There was a slight shaking.
“W-what’s up?” Cammie asked, turning to him and pouting when he shushed her. She didn’t notice the pebbles underneath begin to tremble.
“Do you feel that…?” Fenrir asked, glancing at Cogwej. The Wisemon tilted his head and closed his eyes, making an audible humming sound. His humming was soon getting drowned out by the sound of shaking earth.
“O-oh no!” Yaya commented, fluttering about nervously. “This is bad!” she exclaimed just as the shaking reached great intensity. “Another earthquake!”
Fenrir’s eyes darted for a place to cover. Grimacing when he could find none, he quickly crouched, protecting Camille with his armored body from the pieces of stone that began to fall on their heads. He gritted his teeth and raised his head, calling out the Tapirmon’s name.
“O-over here!” her voice called out.
The wolf warrior looked behind him, and to his surprise, she saw her hovering beside Cogwej, who had taken out his book and expanded it to the size of an umbrella. He suspended the book over them, effectively protecting them from falling debris, although it didn’t seem like it could defend them from anything bigger than the grimoire.
“Rerfen!” Cogwej called out. “This is not usual seismic activity!” he called out as pieces of rock disappeared inside his book.
Fenrir frowned. “Then what is it!?”
“Something may be-“
His voice was cut off by the sudden breaking of the stone wall behind him, followed by a large, black foot that thundered and caused the ground to shake. The four turned behind them to see what it was before Cogwej turned back, seemingly unperturbed.
“As I was saying, something gargantuan and formidable may have been digging a hole through the granite rock, such as the creature behind me,” he finished, nodding to himself.
“No kidding!” Yaya interrupted him as she stared at the large, black body and arms that followed the leg. She proceeded to scream when the three-clawed, two-horned, iron-helmeted, red-winged and one-eyed Ghoulmon turned to her.
“I…found…you…!” the beastly Digimon bellowed monstrously, pointing an open palm at Cogwej and Yaya, letting them see the yellow eye embedded in its palm.
“Gross!” the Tapirmon exclaimed, cringing back and unaware of the malevolent red light that began to gather in front of the eye.
“Death Arrow!” On command, the bright red light was absorbed into the eye before it was shot towards them, turning into a red arrow that sparked and pulsed with raw power.
“Cogwej!” Fenrir called out, unable to get in front of it in time with Cammie still in his arms.
To his surprise, however, Cogwej summoned his Time-Space Stones in front of him, the red sphere intercepting the arrow. Instead of an explosion was bright, white light that lit up the whole cavern for one second. “Pandora Dialogue,” Cogwej’s voice said through the light as it died down.
Then the orange Time-Space Stone flashed, albeit not as bright as the first one, and the red arrow shot out of it…right between the heads of Cogwej and Yaya, embedding itself in the ground behind them before creating a small explosion that caused dust to fly in all directions.
The Tapirmon trembled before turning to the Wisemon. “You almost killed us, you crazily old man!”
Cogwej, however, simply took out his notebook. “It seems that the entry and exit points of the Time-Space Stones have shifted in the last three months. Between a hundred fifty and two hundred degrees in direction, distance has lengthened by-“
“Cog! Get out of there!”
The Wisemon blinked and turned to the Beowolfmon, noticing that the Tapirmon that had been beside him was now beside the wolf man.
The cloaked Digimon needed no more coaxing; he immediately started to run in their direction just as the red arrow stabbed the ground a few feet away, subsequently exploding. The Wisemon was close enough for the resulting shockwave to blow him forward before getting skidding to a stop in front of Fenrir’s feet. “We should flee, yes?” he then said, glancing up at him.
“Yes.” Fenrir grabbed him the back of his hood and pulled him to his feet before proceeding to do just that, grabbing Yaya with his other arm to have both children with him.
“Get…back…here…Wisemon!” the Ghoulmon commanded as he stomped over them, impeded by the small cavern. He pointed his palm at them again, shooting a rain of his death arrows at their trail. Whether it was pure luck or by skill, the four continued to evade getting seriously struck by the arrows or their explosions.
As they got closer and closer to the point where he and Cog split up with Tiwaz and Pav, it was getting much clearer to Fenrir that the Ghoulmon was aiming only at Wisemon, which meant it was a Digimon that either wanted to capture him for the Spirits or wanted him dead. Neither options were good, but he couldn’t protect Cogwej and the children at the same time, especially in such a cramped space.
“We’re getting close to the town!” Yaya noted, happiness and relief in her voice.
“No!” Cammie then said, her own voice filled with worry and fear. “We can’t let it into the town! It’ll destroy everything!” The Tapirmon turned to her with realization, her facial expression turning into one of great fear. She didn’t want her home to be destroyed. “Wh-what can we do?”
“Elementary. I lead this monstrous brute away whilst our dear Viowolfmon friend brings both of you back to safety. After all, it does not take someone of high intellect such as I to comprehend what this Ghastmon is after,” Cogwej told them in a voice that spoke as if he were telling them he was going out to go buy milk in a nearby convenience store.
“What!?” Fenrir turned to him in shock.
“The children come first, correct?” the Wisemon told him with an innocent expression. “Then I shall locate Tipaz and Wavamana. I should hope that you return momentarily. Til’ we meet again!” Cogwej exclaimed before taking a sharp turn at the corner and scuttling to where their EmperorGreymon and PileVolcamon companions went.
Then the Ghoulmon behind them roared in anger. “Where…are you…going!?” it bellowed, turning to follow the Wisemon.
Fenrir turned back to them, gritting his teeth. “Damn,” he cursed once more before retreating to the town.
After a moment of silence, Tiwaz gave an audible sound of annoyance, a sphere of fire in his hand flaring slightly in sync with his irritation. “I’m starting to think the kid didn’t go down this way,” he said as he led them deeper into the newly uncovered path, lighting up the way with his fire.
“He’s here,” Pavaman told him resolutely. “He has to be.”
“Just how deep does this trail go?” Tiwaz muttered, glancing at the walls every now and then to see if there were any more new paths to inspect.
The blacksmith sighed and shook his head. Tiwaz wasn’t the only one who was getting affected by the seemingly endless path before them. He turned the dragon man, glancing at the fireball over his palm. “You’re…not an ordinary Digimon, are you?” he asked.
“Huh? Me?” Tiwaz repeated, blinking. “I guess you could say that,” he replied, looking back at his front.
“…I couldn’t smith your sword,” Pavamana revealed, following him.
“…What?” The EmperorGreymon stopped in his tracks to look at the PileVolcamon. “What do you mean you couldn’t smith my sword? And what does me being not being ordinary have to do with it.”
“My…my furnace isn’t enough. Your weapon was engulfed in incredible heat,” he explained. “Too hot for normal beings. That too,” he added, glancing at the flame in his hand.
“…Oh,” Tiwaz replied, scratching the back of his head with his free hand. “Well, it’s not like I’m keeping it a secret. Do you know about gods, Pav?” he asked.
Pavamana regarded him with short silence. “A little bit. Digimon with inconceivable power.”
“Would you believe I’m one of them?” Tiwaz asked, looking at him closely.
For a moment, Pavamana stayed silent. “Of fire,” Pavamana clarified.
“I guess that was obvious, eh?” the dragon man said, flaring up the sphere for a few seconds, causing the shadows of stones and crags to dance around them. “Hope this doesn’t mean you’ll start looking at me like I’m some freak.”
The PileVolcamon shook his head and gave him a slight smile. “No. It’s…reassuring to know I have a god on my side,” he told his current companion. “And I will need your help to fix your sword.”
“That’s great! Well then, now that that’s settled, let’s get going,” Tiwaz said, turning back to their path and walking forward, a lighter spring in his step and a grin. Pavamana gave him a slightly wider smile and followed him.
“So, this Jay kid,” Tiwaz then said. “What is he to you?” he asked.
“My…apprentices,” Pav answered.
“Oh, right. You said you had a couple of them. Who are the rest?”
The blacksmith nodded. “Jay’s older brother. Kayle.”
“I’m guessing he’s the capable one. Does he know that his brother’s in here?”
A shake of the head. “Not in town.”
“Where is he?”
“Another town. I needed new materials. And a new hammer.”
“What’s wrong with that one?” Tiwaz asked, looking at at the blacksmith’s hammer suspended by a wire around his waist. It didn’t look like it was any worse for wear. In fact, to him, it looked many times better than the usual that he’s seen.
Tiwaz furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. “Then why do you need a new hammer?”
Pavamana smiled. “It’s not for me.”
“Oh, I see. Making your apprentice choose the hammer that he thinks for you, and then tell him it’s actually his,” Tiwaz said, grinning. “Clever.”
Pavamana returned the grin with a soft smile. “And just in time, as well.”
“Just in time for wha-“
Tiwaz stopped what he was about to say the moment he turned at the corner where the path was suddenly filled with light. “What in the-“
“Jameson!” Pavamana called out, rushing past the EmperorGreymon towards a short, humanoid figure many meters in front of them.
The figure turned and looked back at them. “Chief…?” he asked, recognizing the familiar voice. He had barely said the word before he was suddenly swept into the arms of his mentor.
“You’re all right…thank goodness,” Pavamana muttered, holding the Gotsumon close.
“Chief…you’re here,” Jay noted after being put back down.
“We were worried,” Pav told him, putting a warm hand on top of the rock Digimon’s head.
Tiwaz walked over to them. “And now that we found you, that means all the children have been found,” he said, a large grin painted on his face.
“Cammie and Yaya?” Jay asked with a small tilt of the head. Pavamana nodded with a small smile, prompting the Gotsumon to give his own tiny smile. Tiwaz looked between them.
“He really is your apprentice. Both of you are so quiet,” Tiwaz noted, folding his arms. “So how about we go back and bring the kid home?”
Pavamana nodded, but then both he and Tiwaz heard a rather loud, “No!” They turned to the Gotsumon.
“Jay?” Pavamana asked with a small frown.
“Something…is here,” he told them with a rather reluctant expression. “It’s…calling me… I need to…find it,” he said, looking to where the light was coming from, prompting the other two to look as well. Now that Tiwaz had a better and closer look, the light was coming from another part of the cavern at the end of the path. It looked like it had a lot more space than a pathway.
“That light,” Pav muttered, his eyebrows furrowing.
“What about it?” Tiwaz asked, turning to him.
“It’s not sunlight…we’re too deep,” the blacksmith said, folding his arms and feeling a bit unnerved. Tiwaz, however, had his curiosity piqued.
“Then let’s go check it out!” the dragon man said a bit excitedly, walking over to the entrance and quickly followed by Jay. Pavamana frowned; he wondered if it was only him feeling the strange pit in his stomach. He sighed and hoped that it was only him, and then he followed the two into the bigger chamber.
Tiwaz stopped the moment he stepped out of the path and into the new room. His eyes went wide as feeling shock enter his system. Jay, meanwhile, let out an unrestrained woah sound.
The EmperorGreymon didn’t have to be an expert in caves to know that the room he was in was abnormal. The chamber was definitely spacious, about the size of the plaza in Bakhu Town. The stone floor was even and level without any sign of a mound of stone, fallen debris or stalagmites. They stretched out towards the sides of the chamber, curving to form eerily smooth, concave walls, the only forms of disproportion being the large orifices that provided entrance and exit to the chamber, just like the one that he and the other two came from. The ceiling itself formed a dome over their heads. The clincher was the cylinder platform that curved upwards at the center of the room, evening out to a parallel surface to the floor. On it was a figurine that Tiwaz was certain he was looking for.
“Well, by Buri, what are the chances?” he muttered, a grin slowly forming on his face. He was feeling pretty lucky that moment.
The dragon man turned to look behind him, his grin reaching its full-blown state. “Got good news for ya, Pav. It looks like me, the dog and the old man won’t have to freeload any longer. We just found your problem.”
The PileVolcamon blinked and turned to what had previously held his attention. “It’s here…”
Tiwaz nodded, folding his arms. “The Spirit of Earth,” he said, turning back to it just in time to see that Jay had walked over and was reaching for it. The EmperorGreymon’s eyes widened, and he shouted, “Kid! Don’t touch it!”
Jay turned his head just as his fingers wrapped themselves around the artifact. He gave a blink just as Tiwaz ran for him and shouted a resounding, “No!”
The EmperorGreymon slowed down as he got closer, his expression turning from one of desperation turning into one of confusion. “You…you’re not…”
“Not…what?” Jay asked, tilting his head in confusion.
“Not…bursting into flames? Or getting attacked by floating rocks? Or something?” Tiwaz tried, frowning and folding his arms, a bit put off. Maybe he wasn’t so lucky after all.
Pavamana grimaced. “What?” he asked, beside Tiwaz.
“These things are supposed to have a defense mechanism or something. The last time I tried holding one of those, I was almost burnt to a crisp, which is saying something considering what I am,” he said, causing Pavamana to turn to Jay. “Couldn’t even let it go.”
“Jay! Put that down now!” he ordered, his eyebrows furrowed in worry. Jay, however, frowned.
“I’m fine,” he told them. He even let go of the relic and showed them his hands in emphasis. “See?” Despite that, his blacksmith mentor still pulled him close
“Hm. Guess this one doesn’t have one,” Tiwaz noted as he turned back to the relic, getting a better look at it.
It had eight sided platform looked like rough concrete, complete with the occasional embedded multi-colored gem on the visible surface. The gems could be seen glowing faintly, one occasionally flashing a bit brighter than the rest. Situated on the platform’s center and taking up most of the space was a brick-red spherical comet-like object that had craters all around it. On the top of it was a cone shaped protrusion with a crater on its highest point. Each crater had a glowing rim, accompanied by glowing, erratic lines that connected each crater to each other, giving the impression of an active volcano that was about to erupt any minute. On each side of the comet were bulky arms bend forwards as if to fold them. Each arm had a number of ash-colored bands around them, and they ended with large, stony fists. Finally, at the front of a comet was a spherical projection with two gold gems for eyes and a pair of amber horns akin to those of a bull.
“In any case, it definitely looks like one,” the dragon man noted, debating whether to reach out and grab it so that he didn’t have to bring Cogwej all the way back in. Or…
“Hey, Jay, right?” he asked, turning to the young child that seemed to be immune to the relic’s dangerous defense mechanism. “Think you can hold onto that thing until we find a fr- er, acquaintance of mine?” he asked, rubbing the back of his neck.
The Gotsumon answered with a grin and a nod of his head. Pavamana, however, frowned. If it was as dangerous as he thought, he didn’t want his apprentice holding it. Before he could voice out his worries, however, there was a sudden tremble that struck the room.
“What the?” Tiwaz wondered, looking around.
“That…does not sound good,” Pavamana muttered, the pit in his stomach growing deeper. “Stay close, Jay.”
The Gotsumon didn’t hesitate to follow orders, holding onto a handful of the PileVolcamon’s pants as another tremble shook the room.