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Chapter 2; File Island
① Black Gears
The only certain thing he knew was that they were not in an amusement park. It was now almost a week since they had arrived in this strange place and they had traveled for miles without finding an exit. If this expansive area really was a theme park, Koushiro was sure that he would have at least heard about it on the news.
Besides, Koushiro thought, as he looked at Tentomon flying besides him. To think that creatures like this live here…
Feeling Koushiro’s gaze, Tentomon looked back at him curiously with his green stare. “What’s the matter, Koushiro–han? Is there something on my face?”
“Ah, no, it’s nothing.”
A large ladybug that he could wrap his arms around. Not only that, but Tentomon spoke in Kansai dialect and he could change into a larger being just like how Agumon became Greymon. How could these beings do that, and what prompted them to come into existence in the first place?
These past few days, the children had done nothing but wander around in earnest, searching for a way to escape this place and return home. Yet instead of finding other humans besides them, they encountered a large number of diverse beings who were all classified as “Digimon.” There was one who looked like a dragon, another like a robot, another like a stuffed teddy bear that was two–stories high, and then another who looked like a fireball shaped like a man. Each time danger befell the children, the Digimon they had with them would undergo “evolution” and they would all make it through somehow. Even Koushiro’s Tentomon “evolved,” becoming a rhinoceros beetle  the size of a small truck.
However, perhaps because maintaining that form used up a lot of energy, Tentomon returned to his former size after his battles. For reasons that could not be explained, Tentomon would not degenerate further into his smaller form, Motimon. This held true for the rest of their Digimon.
The only ones among the seven Digimon who had yet to show them their evolved forms was the eldest boy Jou’s Digimon, Gomamon, and the youngest boy Takeru’s Digimon, Patamon.
“I wonder why it’s called ‘evolution,'” Koushiro mused, voicing his thoughts to Tentomon this time. “I mean, evolution normally consists of an entire species changing slowly over a long period of time. The changes that you and your friends undergo are more like a transformation. You each transform into something too enormous to be an evolution.”
“Well, I don’t know the answer to that myself,” Tentomon replied. “I can’t give an explanation, but all I’m aware of is that it isn’t a transformation but evolution.”
As they walked, Koushiro asked Tentomon many things about this region and about Digimon. While doing so, he couldn’t help but feel a slight self–derision snorting at him in the back of his mind. Never before had he talked so much to a stranger, even if that stranger wasn’t a human being.
In the days before he had left for camp, he normally avoided taking the initiative to talk to others in school. He didn’t like getting involved with them.
Especially not when he didn’t even know who in the world he was.
As a matter of course, his classmates rarely had a chance to talk with him. Many thought that he was hard to get along with, and Koushiro personally didn’t find that inconvenient so he did nothing to persuade them otherwise.
Taichi Yagami was one of the few exceptions. Because their school curriculum had a physical education requirement, Koushiro was forced to choose a club. It was a mere coincidence that he chose the soccer club. He wouldn’t have to face people one-on-one if he was in a club emphasizing teamwork rather than individual achievement, and the positions in soccer appeared more vague than they were in baseball. He felt that in the soccer club, he wouldn’t have to go out of his way to engage with other people.
Taichi was an upperclassman in that soccer club. It wasn’t that he was extremely talkative, but Taichi treated everyone without discrimination, as equals. That attitude of his didn’t change, even towards Koushiro.
If Taichi hadn’t invited him, Koushiro was sure that he would have never gone to summer camp.
They walked while keeping the steep tower of a mountain the Digimon called “Infinity Mountain” on their right and the ocean on their left. The direction of the sun had changed during their journey, so they knew they had been circling the island: That is, if this place really was an island. If they assumed that the sun rose from the east, than they should be at the northernmost part of the island right now. As if the land wanted to give physical proof, the temperature had dropped greatly and they came to an area covered in snow. They had only walked several days from the beach, which they had believed was on the south coast, to reach a snowfield. Did such an area ever exist on Earth?
Because the children wore summer clothes for camp, they grew easily numb in the cold. The warmer clothes they had meant to wear at night were left in their bookbags back at camp.
Only Mimi and Takeru, because they wore slightly thicker clothes, rejoiced as they played within the snow. The plant Digimon, Palmon (who was as big as a baby and could walk on two legs) as well as Patamon (a hamster the size of a cat, with large ears that flapped like wings but made him move slower than if he was walking) were with them. Palmon was Mimi’s Digimon, while Patamon was Takeru’s, and their personalities with their humans was very similar. In other words, both of them were like children without a thread of apprehension in them about their situation.
“I’m hungry,” Mimi commented a little while after playing, to which Jou replied irritably, “Instead of saying that all the time, why don’t you try looking for food on your own first!”
The emergency food supply that Jou was carrying had been eaten up long ago. Immediately after the incident with Shellmon had occurred, all of the food had been used up to nourish everyone.
For better or for worse, this island (although Jou would not accept that it was just yet) was filled with things that could be eaten. Even though it was hard to believe that they were being supplied with electricity, they found vending machines that actually worked, a storehouse inside an uninhabited cabin that was filled with food, wild plants, and a bunch of other things they didn’t know about but were edible.
The Digimon were very familiar with this kind of food and the children never had trouble having things to eat and drink every day. Of course, if they didn’t have their Digimon’s knowledge, they wouldn’t have learned of this so easily. Jou couldn’t exactly remember what he had gleaned from reading all of those young adult books on island survival, so he was secretly grateful to the Digimon for their help. But now…
“What is wrong with you people, anyway?” he continued. “Don’t you realize the situation that we’re in right now?! We have to find the adults quickly and get them to help us out of this place, we have to find somewhere to sleep for tonight, and since we can’t just lie down in a cold place like this, we have to start a fire before the sun goes down! There are so many things we have to do, yet all you do is complain!”
Oh no, I’ve said too much. Before Jou’s conscience had time to catch up with his mouth and throttle it for being so harsh, Mimi began to cry.
“But, but, but…!” she wailed.
Mimi continued to sob until they heard Sora shout that she had found food. It took the breath out of Sora’s lungs, to raise her voice loud enough to be heard over Mimi’s cries.
The anticipation of food warming their stomachs — or to be more exact, the stuff Sora had found inside a refrigerator that she thought was food — in this cold district pleased everyone greatly. With bright faces, they all gathered around the refrigerator. Jou was the only one who arrived slower than the rest.
Even during dinner, Jou kept silent.
Bright sunlight shone through the opening of the cave they had slept in, showing that a new day had arrived. The snow that was piled up outside made things appear brighter than normal. As the seven children had burrowed deep inside the cave last night to huddle together from the cold, it didn’t take long before they realized that two of their comrades were missing.
Both Jou and Gomamon were gone.
Everyone’s eyes shot open at once. It was Sora who found the letter placed near the opening of the cave. A rock had been placed on top of it so the wind wouldn’t blow it away.
[( I’m climbing up the mountain to see for sure whether or not this place is an island. Please stay here and wait for me. )]
Infinity Mountain towered before their eyes from the snow field they were in now. Because it looked like a steep tower, it had appeared drastically tall, but now that they were closer to it, they could see that it wasn’t as high as they’d originally imagined. Even so, that didn’t mean it was an easy mountain for Jou and his small Digimon, who was yet unable to evolve, to climb successfully.
“He must have felt terrible about what happened last night, all this time,” Sora whispered.
Whether he heard her or not, Taichi said, “Iit’s dangerous to be up there alone. Let’s go help him. With Sora’s Digimon, me and Agumon can get there quick. The rest of you guys can catch up later.”
His decisions came with lightning–speed in times like this. Taichi usually acted without giving a more detailed explanation, but his reasoning was sound.
“Piyomon, evolve! Birdramon!” Sora’s pink–colored bird Digimon, Piyomon, always acted like a pampered child, but now she changed shape into a large and fierce firebird Digimon.
Just as one would expect from the flames wrapped around her body, the temperature there was too high for anyone to climb up on, but Taichi, Agumon, and Sora could dangle from her two clawed feet. This was the only part of Birdramon that was like an ordinary bird.
Hanging, with Agumon, onto one of Birdramon’s legs as if he were riding a ski lift, Taichi looked behind him and yelled, “Well, Yamato, I’m counting on you to take care of them!”
“Got it! Leave it to me!” was how the blond responded, but when Yamato looked behind him, he couldn’t help but let out a little sigh. There was his little brother, the fourth grade boy who hardly talked and was followed by a ladybug that spoke in Kansai dialect, and the boy’s female classmate who spoke aloud everything she was thinking.
Infinity Mountain loomed above their sights.
But in reality, the mountain incorporated a long, well–worn road all the way up to its apex, and it wasn’t impossible for even an elementary school grader to climb it. Gomamon jumped steadily alongside Jou. His white body was exactly like that of a seal, including his flippers, so his form didn’t appear as if it was well–suited for this rocky environment. However, he made no sound of a complaint as he climbed. In fact, he kept up making saucy comments like:
“Jou! I’m leaving you behind if you don’t hurry up!”
“You’re one to talk. I’ll leave you behind if you slow down,” Jou shot back, while silently thinking that he had never spoken so impudently like this towards friends in his classes and in cram school. “Anyway, it’s great that it’s started to get warmer ever since we started climbing this mountain.”
“I’m strong enough to tough this out even with the cold, though.”
The pair kept poking at each other all throughout their climb. Jou didn’t know it at this time, but the one thing that distracted him from feeling discouraged at climbing an unfamiliar mountain all on his own was Gomamon’s constant chatter.
A part of the mountainside split open without a sound.
The inside of it was like a cave but because no light spilled into it, one could not tell how deep it was. The only thing one could see was a darkness that appeared to be saturated with evil intent.
Something black came rushing out from inside, and the split closed silently once more. The seam could not be seen anywhere.
Gomamon noticed them first. “Hey, look.”
“Black gears…” Without a second thought, Jou pulled Gomamon to him and hid. Many of the Digimon who had attacked them in the past few days all had a black gear stuck somewhere within their bodies. The black gears made them lose their sanity and become violent. To remove them from the Digimon’s body, the gears needed to be attacked with a considerable amount of power before they were destroyed.
None of the children knew where the black gears had come from and what their purpose was, but now Jou said, “They flew over from this mountain…”
He looked at Gomamon.
“I’m not stupid enough to wait for one of those things to stick me,” Gomamon said, answering the unspoken worry that Jou felt. He turned. “Well, let’s go, Jou! There’s still a long way ahead of us.”
A gear pierced through clouds as it flew at mid–height of the mountain. With a sharp turn, it punctured the back of a Digimon who was in the middle of descending from the skies — so hard that half of it stuck out from the Digimon’s body.
The black gears may not be made completely from some solid substance. The Digimon’s back gave no indication of a wound or even a spurt of blood. The only thing that changed was that the Digimon’s eyes (although one could only see glass because it was wearing something similar to a welding helmet) glowed with a strange light that looked very evil.
No matter how worn the mountain path was, it was still very steep. However, not even Mimi gave a peep of complaint — there was no mistake that all of them were thinking about Jou. Each of them was aware that they were the ones who had pushed him so far that he felt obliged to make the climb on his own.
Yamato and the others somehow made it halfway up when they spotted Taichi and the others, along with Jou, already engaged in battle.
“Look over there! Birdramon’s about to fall!” Takeru, who was ahead of them, screamed.
“Greymon is there too. Ah, he’s trying to attack that Digimon who looks like a horse!” Koushiro said, pointing to a Digimon flying in the sky.
Among the gaps in the trees, they could see Greymon aim a ball of fire in the air above him. But the narrow mountain path was not wide enough for him to gain a foothold and support his large build.
The Digimon they believed to be the enemy was a flying white horse. Flapping its wings broadly, it rapidly changed course in mid–air and shot out white light from its mouth.
Greymon lost his balance and fell.
“Greymon!” Yamato cried out.
As Greymon scrambled, he landed in a lower place that was much wider than before. It was there that they saw the fiery wings of Birdramon. Glowing, she became smaller and returned to Piyomon. She must have exhausted a colossal amount of energy to reach the mountain.
Taichi chased after Greymon by sliding down the slope. Yamato and the others couldn’t see her, but Sora must have been there as well. The flying horse Digimon began to aim more of its attacks in that direction.
“Gabumon, let’s go!” Yamato called out to his Digimon. When evolved, Gabumon had enormous fighting strength but — at this, Yamato hesitated — he couldn’t fly. It wasn’t certain whether or not they would make it in time, and there wasn’t a chance he could leave Takeru and the others alone.
“We’ll go ahead,” Koushiro said to Tentomon. When Tentomon evolved, he could easily fly there with Koushiro riding on his head.
But there was still one problem. If Takeru was to be taken along with Yamato’s Digimon, Koushiro would have to bring Mimi and Palmon. This addition would greatly reduce Kabuterimon’s offensive ability. After all, that flying horse moved at a very slick speed. Kabuterimon wouldn’t be able to deal with it effectively if too many people were balanced on his head.
Even so, they could not leave Mimi alone: That was obviously quite dangerous. Deliberating over what to do and unable to come up with a decision, Yamato and Koushiro looked at each other.
Mimi, who had been staring in blank amazement above her now raised her voice. “Ah! There’s Jou–senpai!”
Snapping their heads up, both Yamato and Koushiro saw Jou jump off the cliff. He had aimed himself at the back of the flying horse Digimon.
“That’s too reckless!”
Only narrowly did Jou make it. He was grabbing tightly onto something on that Digimon’s back.
“He’s trying to take out the black gear!”
“No! Look out!” Mimi cried. Unable to withstand as the flying horse twisted its body to buck him off, Jou was thrown towards the skies.
Now Gomamon leaped off the cliff. Light shot out from somewhere that the children couldn’t see, and when it reached Gomamon, the light radiated from inside him and he changed into a bigger shape.
“Gomamon, evolve! Ikkakumon!” He became a Digimon that was as big as Greymon, his entire body covered with long white hairs. Ikkakumon braced himself on a ledge that was slightly higher up than where Greymon was. Jou landed with a soft bounce on his back.
“Ah! He shot out a horn!”
Yamato and the others were just as surprised as Takeru. The horn propelled through the air like a rocket, a fizzling fire burning at the end of its tail. The flying horse dodged it, but the horn that looked as if it was about to fall towards the ground, threw off its shell to reveal the real missile inside. This missile was what had been spouting the fire and it changed direction to aim directly at the horse’s back. Advancing swiftly, as if it were being pulled towards its mark, it exploded into the flying horse’s back. From within the beam of light that followed, the silhouette of a black gear floated upwards and was pulverized.
“He did it! Jou–san’s Digimon is so cool!”
As Takeru and the others rejoiced, they turned their gazes back to Jou to find a new horn had regrown on top of Ikkakumon’s head. They couldn’t see Jou’s expression, being so far away, but they were sure that he, too, was wearing a joyous look on his face.
But by the time the children met up again, Jou was looking more depressed than they had ever seen him before. When Yamato’s group had finally rejoined the others at the summit, Jou was on his knees in the dirt.
“This place really was an island! No matter where we walk, we can’t escape from here!”
The mountain peak was as wide as a gymnasium and they could see all of their surroundings from there: What they’d walked through as well as the opposite side of the mountain. No matter where they turned, the sea stretched endlessly towards the horizon. They could not find any continents or other lands out there.
Suddenly they wished they had accepted what the Digimon had said earlier on the spot. It would have made things easier. Would they have to continue living the rest of their lives on this isolated island, or should they continue hoping for help to reach them? And even so, for how long would they have to wait?
“Anyway, we should climb down. There’s no way we can sleep here for the night,” Taichi said as he peered below him with his only possession, a mini–telescope. “Ah! There’s a house! It looks pretty big.”
Jou jerked his head up in surprise, but immediately wondered if Taichi only made that up so he could get everyone moving.
“Oh, you don’t trust me, do you? I’m telling the truth. There, look.” The minute Taichi lifted the mini–telescope from his eye, he couldn’t find where the house was again.
“That’s okay,” Jou said unenthusiastically. “You don’t have to make up something so transparent so it’ll give us useless hope…”
He showed no signs of standing up. Both Takeru and Mimi hadn’t recovered from their climb up the mountain either. Agumon, Gomamon, and Piyomon were eating to refresh themselves after their battle.
If things had kept up that way, it would have taken a long time before they began to make their way down the mountain. Luckily or unluckily for them, they would not be staying there for long.
A green demon appeared from the path that Yamato and the others had used to climb up. His face was twice as large as a Namahage mask , but just as savage. If they hadn’t seen his mouth move and speak viciously at them, the children might have thought that he was an ordinary adult wearing a mask.
“I’ve finally caught up with ya. You’re all dead!”
The entire upper half of the demon’s body was green. His muscular shoulders seemed as big as small hills, while the length of the arms that stretched from them were as big as a human’s. When he made a fist, it looked five times bigger. In his right hand was gripped a large club that looked as if it was made from bone. With one twirl of that club, the stone next to him smashed into sand particles.
The sound it created was like an explosion. Hearing that sound, the children began to move for the first time.
They didn’t know what sort of guy the demon was, but they knew beyond a doubt that he was after them. Heading towards the opposite end of the summit, Sora shouted, “There’s a path over here!”
Under her guidance, they all ran down the road she had pointed out as if they were trying to roll towards the bottom. After making sure that the slowest of the group, Mimi, Takeru and Jou had gone ahead of him, Yamato brought up the rear. The demon was ambling calmly after them, but they couldn’t predict how fast he could be once he began to run.
“Gabumon, you can evolve anytime, right?!”
“Yeah! Whenever you want!”
After running for only a little while, they saw Sora and the others had stopped ahead of them.
Another human–shaped figure was blocking their path. It wasn’t green this time, although it did have a body covered with many scars that looked far sturdier than the green demon. What’s more, it couldn’t have been a human after all, because from the neck up was the head of a lion.
“It’s Leomon!” Seeing Takeru’s worried look beside him, Patamon fluttered his ears as he said comfortingly, “Don’t worry, Leomon is a Digimon of justice!”
“He’s really strong, but he’s a good Digimon,” Piyomon added.
So he wasn’t a human but a Digimon. What’s more, a good Digimon. Sora and the others smiled with relief…
That is, until Leomon laid a hand on the sword wrapped around his waist and said, “Chosen Children…………………… Die.”
The words were spoken in a low, withered voice, but Sora could hear him plainly. Pulling out his sword with an underhand grip, Leomon made a wide stance.
They didn’t know what or who the “Chosen Children” were, but the sole thing they realized was that this Digimon was also planning to kill them just like the green demon.
Speaking of which, the green demon was closing in on them from behind. There was no way to escape from the mountain. The sound of the club hitting rock again and a coarse laugh could be heard behind them, while the Leomon in front began to advance towards them. Leomon’s sword gave off a dull glint. His pace was surprisingly slow.
“Agumon, evolve now!” Spurred by Taichi’s voice, all of the Digimon evolved simultaneously.
“Agumon, evolve! Greymon!”
“Piyomon, evolve! Birdramon!”
“Palmon, evolve! Togemon!”
Before Leomon stood Greymon, while the firebird, Birdramon, hovered in the skies above them. Next to Greymon was a cactus with arms and legs readying herself into a fighting stance. It was the evolved form of Mimi’s Palmon, Togemon.
“Gabumon, evolve! Garurumon!”
“Tentomon, evolve! Kabuterimon!”
“Gomamon, evolve! Ikkakumon!”
Facing the green demon was Ikkakumon, who had just evolved, waving his horn in his opponent’s face. Next to him was an enormous blue wolf that Yamato’s Gabumon evolved into, Garurumon. Buzzing above them was the large rhinoceros beetle that Tentomon evolved into, Kabuterimon.
With the odds of six against two, even Leomon and the green demon stopped walking. Each of the children’s Digimon was larger than the size of a human. Even the smallest of them all, Togemon, was twice as large as Leomon.
Greymon moved first to attack. Just when he was about to open his mouth to blast out a fireball, the sound of an explosion was heard above their heads. The rock near the summit started to crumble. If nothing was done, Taichi and the others would be dragged into the rockslide that they wouldn’t be able to escape from.
Greymon shot out fire, while Garurumon let fly a long spray of pale flames from his mouth. Birdramon spread her wings grandly, shooting out a number of smaller fireballs. Ikkakumon released a consecutive stream of explosive horns, while Kabuterimon formed a ball of strong electricity with his set of three legs before shooting it out. The rocks close to falling on them dissolved into fine pieces. One large piece that had escaped the barrage of attacks and was heading towards the children was deftly blown to bits with one rapid punch by Togemon. She was wearing bright red boxing gloves on her hands.
All of the rocks had turned to sand, which rained incessantly on them. By the time it stopped and the children finally raised their heads, both Leomon and the green demon had disappeared from the mountain trail.
“Are they… gone?” Jou asked as he re-positioned his glasses up his nose.
② The Deceptive Mansion
Night was approaching by the time they reached the foot of the mountain. Everyone thought they were lucky that Taichi had discovered the house within the forest. All of the children were bone–tired and even their Digimon, who never appeared to run out of energy (as long as there was enough food), seemed to be drooping on their feet after their evolutions.
When they arrived at the house, they found that it would be more appropriate to call it a mansion or a small castle: It was a brick, European–styled house that was three–stories high and would not have looked out of place in a movie. From their vantage point below, even the windows on the attic floor looked as though they had rooms.
Opening the heavy front door, they stepped into a large hallway lit brightly by a magnificent chandelier. That much was expected, but what caught them off–guard and made them rush restlessly to the dining hall was the smell of delicious food that floated towards them. After eating half–cooked barbecue and washed fruits day in and day out on the island, the freshly cooked food made their eyes widen. It was filled with platters that certainly “would not have looked out of place in a movie.”
There was even a bathroom that was slightly open–air and filled with gushing, warm bathwater. This public bathhouse was the only place that was so ill–fitted for the surrounding Western architecture that Koushiro’s thoughts returned once more to his theme park theory.
What was most baffling was that, despite all of the preparations that must have gone into this warm reception, not a single human figure was in sight.
However, the children did not have the time to be bothered about that. After filling their stomachs with food that actually looked like the food they were used to, they jumped into the baths to wash out the grime and sand that clung to the roots of their hair.
There were eight beds total in the large room on the third floor. The sheets were soft and clean, as if they had just been washed, and the beds were big enough for even an average adult to fit in them that each child and their respective Digimon climbed in together to sleep.
It was the first time since the seven children had arrived on this island that they had ever felt this comfortably satisfied. For a while after they burrowed under the covers, their cheerful conversations continued.
“I wonder how Mama and Papa are doing.”
On Mimi’s words, everyone’s anxiety returned.
“It’s been a week, hasn’t it? Since we’ve come here,” Taichi whispered.
“I wonder if they really know we’re here,” Sora said, as if wanting reconfirmation for what Koushiro had speculated earlier.
“Well, we can’t be sure of that,” Koushiro said. “After all, this place is…”
Yamato made a loud noise as he dove under his blankets, cutting off Koushiro’s words. “Even if we talk about this now, we won’t solve anything. We can speculate it to exhaustion and we still won’t be able to figure out how our parents are doing, or where we are. Instead of worrying about that, we should sleep so we can be well–rested for tomorrow.”
“Yeah, I agree,” Jou said as he took off his glasses and placed them on his bedside. Not even Gomamon, or the other Digimon who had been laughing joyfully with them only moments before, could break the heavy silence.
Everyone heard Takeru murmur into his pillow. He might even be crying. That one word shut everyone’s mouths and they quietly pulled the covers over them.
Taichi realized something. Yamato knew that Takeru would become sad once they started talking about their parents, so he made everyone put a lid on it before they went any further.
As Taichi looked at the two blonds sleeping in separate beds next to him, he thought back to when they had arrived at the campgrounds. At first, he hadn’t known that these two were brothers. For as long as he’d known him, Taichi had always believed that Yamato was an only child. It was only after they had come to this island that he found out the younger boy unknown to him was Yamato’s brother.
It was even later when he learned that their parents had divorced and separated the two to live in different areas. Right after Yamato had told him that, Takeru had been attacked by a dragon Digimon and Yamato risked his life to save him (acting far more recklessly than anyone would have expected of him normally), ending up being the one in danger instead. That was when Gabumon, sleeping next to Yamato now (when he curled up like that, he looked like Agumon wearing a fur pellet), transformed, I mean, evolved into a large wolf and…
Wait a minute. I think I once asked someone if Yamato had siblings, but they dodged the question. Was it Sora?
As he pondered in his thoughts, Taichi felt his eyelids droop heavily as he felt more and more sleepy. He could feel himself about to fade out when he was jolted awake by a voice.
“Taichi…” Agumon whispered to him. “I have to go to the bathroom.”
They had to walk down the stairs to get to the bathrooms on the second floor.
Taichi waited impatiently for Agumon to finish his business as he stood in the corridor outside connecting to a large hallway. It was strange that the only bathrooms were located here in this grand building, but Taichi was far more concerned about other things at the moment.
“Geez, at least go to the bathroom by yourself,” Taichi grumbled, and he looked down the hallway.
A large moon was glittering outside, its moonlight falling through the windows and landing on a painting that hung on the end of the hallway.
Taichi noticed that something about it was different from when they’d first arrived here in the early evening.
“Isn’t there supposed to be a picture of an angel there?”
Within the large frame that was bathed in pale light, there had been a painting of an angel kneeling before something while offering up a prayer. He remembered Takeru and Patamon, who had spotted it first, exclaiming that it was a pretty picture and gazing at it for a long time. But now that painting was…
Nothing was drawn inside the framed canvas. Although light was gleaming on it, it was the darkest black as if a giant hand had reached in and scooped out a neat, rectangular hole.
He tried leaning over the corridor railing to get a better look but pulled back quickly in alarm. The railing had made a nasty creak under his weight, even though it was made of thick wood and looked stout. Why would it creak as if…?
But no, even now the railing was crumbling as though it were rotten.
His eyes grown accustomed to the dark, Taichi looked around to find that everything in the mansion was decaying. When the orange light of the evening sun had shone on it earlier, everything had seemed to glow… but now the entire place was covered in thick dust. He could even see the footprints they had left behind in the afternoon. It was as if hundreds of years had passed ever since they had entered the bedroom.
They’d seen plenty of weird things ever since they had come to this island, but never something like this.
It was then that a voice echoed from somewhere within the dark mansion.
“It seems you’ve noticed.”
The voice sounded as if it was coming from far away, yet at the same time, Taichi felt it being whispered into his ear. Within its quiet depths, he could feel only evil seeping. If darkness had a voice, it would surely have a voice like this.
“If you had slept quietly, you would have died without knowing a thing.”
“Who’s there?!” Taichi cried out.
The darkness gave no answer. Instead, he heard Agumon’s voice from inside the bathroom.
There was the sound of a heavy blow that echoed in the hallway. Agumon had hit open the thick door with a dull thud, his body flying out into the corridor. From inside, Taichi could see the shadow of a large manshape.
“Gwehehehe!” It was the green demon they had met on Infinity Mountain. Giving his club a light twirl, he smashed the heavy bathroom door to pieces.
“Agumon!” Taichi drew Agumon close. Did his small body get beaten by that club?
“Evolve, Agumon!” He held out his Digivice, but it gave no reaction.
“Taichi, I can’t… I don’t feel any strength.”
The green demon was now standing right before his eyes. Taichi had no idea what was going on, but he made a swift decision: He had to go back to his friends. Carrying Agumon in his arms, he turned to run but immediately stopped. Below the steps to the third floor stood a solid and unflinching shadow. It was Leomon.
“The Chosen Children must die.”
Leomon drew out his sword. Taichi and Agumon were cut off from both sides in the corridor.
“Why can’t you evolve, Agumon?!”
“Nothing came out when I went to the toilet — it’s really strange — like I’d never eaten anything…”
“But you ate so much!”
That voice from within the darkness spoke again. “Everything was an illusion… I’d planned to at least put you to sleep before killing you off.”
It sounded as if it was coming from the opposite end of the other corridor connecting to the hallway. Just as Taichi turned his eyes to take a sharper look inside the depths of the dark hall, the darkness said,
“This dream is over.”
Even as the voice spoke, the roof, the walls, and the floor of the mansion shattered to pieces. Taichi could see the night sky, the forest, and Infinity Mountain all around him. The mansion that had once looked so resplendent now looked as if it had been destroyed more than hundreds of years ago. Not one part of it was left in mint condition. Taichi was standing in the ruins of the corridor.
It wasn’t long before Taichi realized that his stomach was grumbling and his body felt rough with dirt. The food and baths must have been an illusion just like the mansion.
It was no wonder that Agumon couldn’t evolve then. He didn’t have enough energy.
The corridor where the voice of darkness had come from only had most of the railing left hovering at a dangerous balance. With the moonlit forest in the background, a human–shaped shadow stood above that railing.
“Who are you?!” Taichi glared. The shadow looked as if it was turning everything black. What made it clear that the shadow was not a human were the extremely long arms that were folded in front of him and the bat–like wings that sprouted on his back.
His mouth opening from underneath his black mask, he said, “My name is Devimon. One who is entrusted with fulfilling the mission of Darkness.”
Slowly, he unfolded his long arms and spread them upwards. Taichi could hear screams coming from the bedroom. With a gasp, he turned to see beds flying above him in the air.
Yamato and the others woke up to an odd sound that they had never heard before. When they realized that it was the sound of the mansion’s roof and walls disappearing, the starry sky above them was already widening into sight before their very eyes. When they tried to get off the beds, they saw that even the floor was full of holes. A wrong step and they might break through the floor and fall down from three stories high.
As they wondered over what to do, this time, their beds suddenly rose in the air. As they fastened themselves to the bedposts, the beds tilted diagonally and moved at odd angles. It was as if they were riding a jet coaster without seat belts and it took all of their might to prevent themselves from being shaken off.
“Takeru!” Yamato shouted as he tried to identify from the wild dance of beds which one belonged to his brother. Takeru was clinging onto his bed with all his might.
“I’m okay, Brother!”
Even Patamon, with the ability to fly, appeared to be helpless against the bed’s speed: He was also hanging on for dear life.
“Why can’t you evolve?” They heard Sora shout.
Below, they could see the remains of the mansion where they had been sleeping peacefully only minutes before. In one part of the corridor was the green demon, Leomon, and an unknown black demon, all of them surrounding Taichi and Agumon. Leomon was approaching Taichi with his sword held up over his head.
There was nothing the other children could do for them.
Just when it appeared as if Taichi would be cut to pieces, something changed. Yamato saw a dazzling light suddenly pierce the darkness, but he couldn’t tell that it was coming from the blue device in Taichi’s hand.
The next change that occurred was what stirred in Leomon when the light reached him. The hand holding his sword stopping in mid–swing, he began to shake his head back and forth as if he was trying to shake something off. Something black began to rip out of his back.
“It’s a gear! It’s just like I thought, Leomon is being controlled by a black gear!” Gabumon yelled. Yamato still couldn’t believe that something as simple as that had brought Leomon back to normal, but when the light stopped, Leomon faced the black shadow that looked like a demon.
Drawing his right hand, which did not hold the sword, towards him into a fighting posture, Leomon punched the air before him with a loud yell. From his fist flew out a mass of scorching hot air shaped like a lion’s head, which surged towards the demonic shadow with a ferocious roar.
The demon spread his wings and flew into the air to avoid it. The railing he had been standing on disintegrated along with the corridor it had been connected to.
The flying beds abruptly straightened as if someone’s control had been lost over them, and they began to move smoothly through the air. All eight beds separated into different directions. Takeru’s bed flew further and further out of Yamato’s sight.
One of the two empty beds made a sudden nose dive as if it had lost its sense of destination. From the corner of his eye, Yamato saw that it was heading towards Taichi, and just when he thought it was going to pass by him, Leomon grabbed both Taichi and Agumon and threw them roughly onto the bed. Without losing altitude, the bed continued to fall towards water level.
“Leomon saved Taichi…”
That was the last of what Yamato could see. He did not know the result of the fight left between Leomon, the green demon, and that black demon.
The children’s beds continued to fly through the night sky until they dropped into separate areas of land.
③ The Village of Beginnings
The long night finally broke into dawn. Takeru and Patamon kept still in the dark to hide themselves before the light arrived. The bed they had been riding on had fallen into a river and smashed into pieces of driftwood, no longer able to fly through the skies again. That was when they had found there had been a black gear fixed within the bed’s frame.
“I wonder how my brother and everyone else is doing.”
“I’m sure they’re okay,” Patamon replied. “They have my friends with them.”
Among the group of seven Digimon, Patamon was the only one who had yet to evolve into a stronger form like everyone else. Whether Patamon’s words were very persuasive or not, Takeru wasn’t sure, but when the boy thought back, he remembered that he had been in a situation almost like this only a mere week ago: When he had been all alone and had first met Tokomon. At that time, the Digimon had been whiter, plumper, and hadn’t looked very dependable, yet Takeru had not felt the least bit worried.
However, in the first few days when the Digimon with black gears had attacked the group, none had specifically come after these two. That difference could end up having a bigger significance than they’d thought.
When it got lighter, Takeru and Patamon began to walk while keeping very alert to their surroundings. Without a specific destination in mind, they decided in the meantime that they should head towards the distant silhouette of Infinity Mountain. By the afternoon, they had arrived in a village whose ground was as soft as a cushion.
There were very few places on this island that could be called a village. Of course, whenever they did reach a village, none of them housed humans; only Digimon. However, this village was particularly restricted on what kinds of Digimon lived in it.
“The Village of Beginnings? Is that what this place is called?” Takeru asked the only Digimon there that was larger than Patamon. This Digimon was a fur–covered mammal that was as large as a dog, with androgynous features. What made it clear that this creature was not a normal animal but a Digimon was because of his many split–ended tails, and the fact that he could speak in human language.
“Yeah, that’s right. All of the Digimon on this island are born in this village. That’s why it’s called the ‘Village of Beginnings.’ I’m Elecmon. I defend this place.”
Elecmon showed them around the village. The buildings that surrounded it were made of a soft, fluffy material, with round corners that made them look like large, baby–proof toys. All of the Digimon who lived there were small, ranging in size from a rice ball to an average–sized melon.
“The only Digimon here are Baby Levels who have just been born. Once they evolve one level, they leave. But before that, someone has to protect them, feed them, and do all kinds of things to take care of them. I’m the one holding that responsibility right now.”
Within the center of the village was another building made of a different substance. Within the round structure that looked similar to a silo were large, multi–colored eggs the size of an ostrich’s that looked as if they had been painted into Easter eggs.
“This is a Digiegg.  All Digimon are born from this.”
“Who laid this egg? A really big Digimon?”
His ears twitching at Takeru’s question, Elecmon looked perplexed for the first time. “No, I don’t think so. It just appears here before I even notice it. That’s just how things are with Digieggs.”
Right after he said that, one of the Digieggs began to tremble softly.
“Oh, it’s about to hatch,” Elecmon explained as he rushed over to it.
The Digiegg’s shell cracked neatly in two and a small Digimon appeared from inside. The shell disintegrated into small fragments for an instant which fell away and turned into a cradle after the particles gathered underneath the infant Digimon.
“There, there, you’re hungry, aren’t you? I’ll get some food for you right now.” After asking Takeru and Patamon if they could watch over the baby, Elecmon ran off.
Takeru ogled the newborn Digimon. It looked soft and round, like a marshmallow. Although it was shaped differently, Takeru felt his breath taken away, as if he was looking at a human baby or that of a normal animal.
“Were you born here too, Patamon?”
“Hm? Well, I don’t remember what happened when I was a baby. Do you, Takeru?”
Takeru’s earliest memory abruptly came back to him: His older brother gently shaking the rattle and playing with him. But why his brother? The next memory that came to him was when he was in kindergarten. His parents were arguing loudly about something. His brother went into the room they were in and spoke words he couldn’t hear. Both of his parents became quiet.
A little while after that, he began to live alone with his mother. From then on, his brother always had a broody look on his face… even though the brother in his earliest memory was smiling happily…
“No, I guess I don’t remember.” He decided not to tell Patamon about it.
The main dish that was served in this village was the fish that Elecmon caught in a nearby stream. With just one electric shock that he released from his tail feathers, he could gather a large number of them all at once. After the fish was grilled, both Takeru and Patamon ate their fill.
Neither of them realized that they were the most fortunate pair. The other children and Digimon fought for their lives as they were either attacked by Digimon that were controlled by black gears or chased by the green demon.
But by the time the sun began to sink over the horizon, the hand of darkness was already creeping towards the Village of Beginnings.
Atop a cliff that overlooked the village, there stretched a long man–like shadow with the large mane of a lion. The shadow unsheathed his sword with his left hand. The blade glittered as the sunlight reflected on it.
Patamon saw the light sparkling out of the corner of his eye. When he looked, he saw Leomon dashing down the side of the cliff so fast it looked like he was sliding.
Patamon still could not evolve to the next level and there wasn’t a chance that he could win against Leomon as he was now. They also couldn’t endanger the baby Digimon in this village. All they could do, for now, was flee.
Finally understanding the situation, Takeru ran after Patamon. The two of them hurriedly left the village to hide in the forest, but whenever they turned to look, they could still see Leomon chasing after them. He had already leapt down to ground level and was racing towards them. At this rate, he’d catch up to them at any second.
It was at that moment that a long line of blue fire shot out from within the forest. The flames slipped through the trees, past Takeru and Patamon, until they reached all the way to Leomon. Even Leomon had to stop to keep from being burned by the rush of flames.
Yamato’s voice could be heard from the direction where the fire came. A blue wolf — Garurumon — was rushing out of the forest at full speed towards them. Straddled on his back was Takeru’s older brother, Yamato.
Yamato jumped down from Garurumon’s back in front of Takeru and Patamon. “I’m sorry for getting here so late, Takeru!”
Having decelerated only enough for Yamato to get down, Garurumon dug his claws into the earth and shot out towards the edge of the forest, straight for Leomon. Leomon brandished his sword, which Garurumon repelled with his tough fur. Jumping back to gain distance, Leomon got back into position. The two glared at each other, but before either of them could make a move, Taichi’s voice called out this time.
“Yamato!” From his position on Greymon’s shoulder, who was approaching from the Village of Beginnings, Taichi held up the blue device over his head. “Use this light!”
Yamato remembered what he had seen from the top of his flying bed yesterday and immediately understood what Taichi meant. Running forward with his own blue device in hand, he held it out as he approached Leomon. As he drew closer to Leomon, the liquid-crystal display of the device began to glow.
Taichi got down from Greymon’s shoulder and also advanced on Leomon. The lion Digimon tried to avoid the light shining from their devices by closing his eyes and shielding his face with his arm, but the quick movements he had shown previously had become much slower. When Taichi and Yamato finally thrust their devices directly at Leomon, light fell from all over Leomon’s body, extending upwards to the height of a three–story building.
“That light!” Mimi shouted, pointing. Mimi and Koushiro had luckily been able to meet up and were riding on top of a giant beetle — Kabuterimon — that was flying in the skies about three kilometers away from the village.
Leomon’s mane stood on end as he let out a pained roar. The black gear began to rise out from within his back. His screams grew even deeper as the gear came out completely, and he fell to his knees. The gear ascended the skies lazily, trembled within the light and was smashed into little pieces.
The beam of light disappeared at the same moment when Leomon’s eyes returned to normal, but it was enough time for Kabuterimon to pinpoint their location.
④ Chosen Children
“This machine is the holy device. It is often called the ‘Digivice,'” Koushiro spoke as he held out the blue device in his hand.
The group was sitting around Leomon in the grasslands. Their Digimon had also returned to normal size.
“We were lost in an underground maze and discovered that it had wall paintings that spoke of a legend passed down from ancient times. Within its deepest depths was a large relief of this very machine. Apparently, it’s a highly important object on this island. The Digimon that was defending that maze, Centaurmon, told us about it.”
The truth of the matter was, Centaurmon had been controlled by a black gear and it hadn’t been easy bringing him back to normal so they could get this information. But Koushiro did not mention that for now. There was no doubt in his mind that Taichi and the others had experienced the same troubles.
“Centaurmon. Has he been doing well?”
Leomon’s normal voice was deeply calm and composed. It wasn’t that they were similar but, for some reason, Takeru thought of his father when he heard that voice. Yamato, on the other hand, was actually living with their father and even he could not say that that impression was completely wrong. 
Koushiro continued. “Yes. He told us that this Digivice is something that the ‘Chosen Children’ have.”
Those were the exact words that Leomon said when he’d first attacked them.
“This world… Centaurmon called it the ‘Digital World’ and apparently if this world is plunged into danger that the Digimon themselves cannot handle, the ‘Chosen Children’ who have these Digivices will save it for them.”
“Yes… That is how the legend goes,” Leomon said, picking up the story. “The powers of darkness are increasing. Rumors had begun to spread among the Digimon recently, that the powers protecting this world have been weakening and that the ‘Chosen Children’ would finally arrive to save it.
“Seven days ago, a new rumor sprang up that someone had seen something bright falling from the heavens and that it was the Chosen Children. However, at the same time, this was when the black gears began to fly. The gears drove the Digimon mad, ate into the earth, and emitted evil energy. When I discovered that they were coming from Infinity Mountain, I went there to put a stop to them.”
Leomon’s expression hardened. “It was along the way that I met Ogremon. He is the green Digimon.”
The children learned of the green demon’s name for the first time.
“For reasons I am unaware of, he regards me as his mortal enemy. He interrupted my ascent up the mountain and challenged me to a final battle. I would never lose to the likes of him, but at that time, he was already taken in by the powers of darkness. While Ogremon distracted my attention, Devimon appeared unexpectedly.”
That was the name of the Digimon who looked like a demon.
“He buried a black gear inside of me and used me as his puppet. When he ordered me to attack you on Infinity Mountain, it was to test how strong all of your Digimon had become. The rest of this tale you know.”
Devimon used his evil powers to place traps around the ruins of the mansion and waited for the children to fall asleep. If Agumon hadn’t felt an urge to go to the bathroom at that time, they might have fallen into eternal sleep. A collective shiver ran down the children’s spines at that thought.
If Taichi’s Digivice hadn’t released its light on Leomon and driven the black gear out of him, they would have undoubtedly met a similar fate.
His senses returned to him, Leomon’s attack at Devimon made the evil Digimon lose control over the beds. When he became a shield for the children so they could make a safe escape, he ended up with another gear buried into him.
“Thank you, Leomon. We were all saved because of you.”
Taichi felt that he couldn’t let slip by this opportunity to finally express his gratitude. Yamato and the others couldn’t have heard him as they flew through the air, but that time… after throwing Taichi and Agumon onto the bed, Leomon had gazed at them as they fell from that low height and had said,
“If the fates allow it, let us meet again!”
Surely, Leomon had been prepared to die back then.
“You are our hope, Chosen Children,” Leomon continued. “You are the only ones who can defeat the powers of darkness.”
“Chosen Children…” Taichi murmured. He saw that the rest of the children were just as troubled as he was, even after Leomon’s words.
“The Digivices you are holding are more than enough proof that you are the Children. That also goes the same for your Digimon partners.”
Leomon went on to explain that when normal Digimon evolved, they did not return to their previous level. Agumon and the others evolved to protect their partners and returned to their normal size. This was a special trait. “The Chosen Children have the power to make their Digimon evolve.”
“But must we risk ourselves to beat that Devimon?” Mimi asked. “Is there no other option?”
“That is your mission… the mission of the Chosen Children,” Leomon answered, a difficult look flitting through his eyes. “But if you complete it, you may be able to return to your world.”
“That’s right,” Koushiro exclaimed as a memory struck him. “The engravings on the wall when we were in that cave, they mentioned that when the Chosen Children drive away the darkness, they will no longer be necessary in this world.”
“I guess we have no other choice then,” Yamato said, his head bowed in thought. “But we should look for Jou and Sora first. We’ll need everyone if we want to beat that guy, at any rate.”
“I understand that you are worried about your comrades, but it appears we’re running out of time,” Leomon said as he pointed above them. Black gears were whizzing about in the sky that was approaching twilight. It was not one but many, a multitude, all of them heading towards Infinity Mountain. “He must be gathering up the evil powers. Those gears suck dry the energy from the lands and change it into power for the darkness.”
Why was it then, that Devimon had laid so many elaborate traps to kill the children? Why the necessity of using Leomon and Ogremon?
The answer to that must be because he was afraid of the power the children’s six Digimon had when they evolved. Devimon himself may not have a very strong offense; but if he was gathering up the powers of darkness that could only mean that…
“He’s trying to obtain more power.”
If they didn’t beat him now, before he could accomplish that, they may never be able to stop him.
“Let’s do it, guys,” Taichi said as he stood up. He turned resolutely to face Infinity Mountain. “We can’t go back home until we beat him. Even if we stay here out of harm’s way, we’ll only end up being chased down.”
⑤ Light and Dark
With Leomon in the lead, the children headed towards the mountain. Yamato really wished to leave Takeru in the village, but there was the danger that his little brother would be attacked if he was left alone.
“Besides,” Leomon told them, as he thought back on while he was controlled by the black gear, “I remember being persistently ordered to kill the smallest child. I’m not sure of the reason behind that.”
They could see an unfamiliar structure on top of Infinity Mountain. It was a stone building that looked like a Greek temple.
Nothing like that had been there yesterday.
Black gears flying through the air were sucked into that building one after the other. Each time that happened, something evil expanded from within. Even the children could feel it.
Dark clouds had assembled overhead before any of the children were even aware of them. Twenty meters up on the edge of the road from where they had begun climbing at the foot of the mountain, the children tilted their heads back to see something suddenly glint from within the white building that contrasted so deeply against the black clouds.
“L–Look!” Mimi shouted.
The building began to crumble. Something appeared to be swelling from the inside until it blew away the roof of the building.
What came out first were a pair of bat wings. As they stretched out, the body that they were attached to rose from within.
It was Devimon. But his size…
“Why, why is he so big?!” Mimi cried, her voice already risen in a frightened scream.
“He’s absorbed the powers of darkness,” Leomon snarled unhappily. “We’re too late!”
Devimon spread his wings and flapped them once, lazily. As he swiveled in the air, he began to descend in front of Taichi and the others. They could clearly see how big he was as he drew closer. Devimon landed on the ground below them, his full height stretching much farther than the trees and his back towering before the children.
“Th–This can’t be…” The group became speechless.
Devimon turned to face them, his enormous wings generating wind pressure that blew the children backwards until they smacked against the mountain surface.
“Fools. This place will become your graves.”
Devimon raised one of his enormous hands to emit a ray of darkness. It bound the children so painfully that they couldn’t move. None of them could lift a bone in their bodies.
Something shot out from the forest that stretched out behind Devimon. They were Ikkakumon’s horns. The rapid fire of those horns threw off their covering in midair and the organic missiles inside flew towards Devimon. The explosions continued consecutively.
“You did it, Ikkakumon!” They heard Jou cry out from within the forest.
Devimon stopped radiating darkness and turned. This time, fireballs fell down from the sky. They were flung from the wings of Birdramon, Sora’s Digimon.
“You guys! Evolve now while you still can!” Sora came racing up the mountain path. Both she and Jou had sensed where the battle was taking place and had hurried to it, arriving just in time.
“All right, let’s go!” Agumon stood up. The gauge of Taichi’s Digivice jumped up.
“Agumon, evolve! Greymon!”
Gabumon, Tentomon, and Palmon also evolved.
All of them attacked simultaneously. Fire and electricity hit Devimon, and they all thought that their prospects had turned for the better. But their attacks had no effect on Devimon due to his colossal size.
“Clever of you,” Devimon said with a sweep of his arm. All of their Digimon were knocked away as if they were insects that were hit by a rolled up newspaper.
“No way!” Taichi cried out. The children stared on, dumbfounded.
Devimon turned his back on them again and reached into the forest to pick up Ikkakumon with an outstretched hand. Ikkakumon was flung upwards until he hit Birdramon in the skies. Both fell to the ground without the least resistance.
Unsheathing his sword, Leomon leapt at Devimon’s back to attack when, all of a sudden, the upper half of Ogremon’s body appeared from it.
“I’ll be your opponent!” Ogremon sneered. He slammed his club downwards at Leomon, who was unable to change posture in mid–flight to avoid it. The lion Digimon received a direct hit and was struck towards the ground.
“I was changed into black gears and now I’ve become one with Master Devimon! I won’t be losing to you no more!” Laughing loudly in exaltation, Ogremon drew back into Devimon’s body again.
Greymon and the others didn’t give up just yet. Flying at Devimon, at his feet, hands and shoulders, they bit into him with their fangs and held on. But to Devimon, they were the size of mere toys.
“You worthless maggots!”
Releasing darkness from his entire body, Greymon and the other Digimon were blown away. As they fell to the ground, they found they couldn’t move anymore.
“I’m sorry, Taichi,” Greymon groaned in apology.
“I wanted to send Mimi back to her own world, but…” Togemon said, her voice trembling with tears.
The children couldn’t move either. The frequent rays of darkness that had bound their bodies had left them feeling weak. Many of them felt faint, as if they would collapse into unconsciousness at any moment.
They saw Devimon slowly stretch out his hand. His fingers were heading towards the boy in the rear of the group, Takeru.
“The smallest child. With you gone, nothing will stand in my way,” Devimon said with a malicious smirk.
“Run, Takeru!” Yamato shouted. But just like him, Takeru could not move.
A “pompth” “pompth” sound could be heard hitting against the palm of Devimon’s approaching hand. Patamon was still by Takeru’s side, using his sole weapon, “Air Shot.” Inhaling air into his mouth, he shot it out tirelessly at high pressure.
But of course, that alone wouldn’t stop Devimon’s hand from moving.
“This isn’t good enough.” Patamon knew best how powerless he was. “Why? Why am I the only one who can’t evolve?!”
He couldn’t stop the tears that dripped down his cheeks. Nevertheless, he didn’t give up releasing his Air Shot.
“I have to protect Takeru, I have to, Takeru, Takeru…!”
Already he was unable to continue shooting his Air Shot. Devimon’s hand had formed around Takeru, getting ready to crush the boy to death in his grip.
Patamon flew into that hand, just before it squeezed tightly around them.
By using only a mere amount of his strength, both Takeru and Patamon would be pulverized without leaving any identifiable traces. The corners of Devimon’s mouth lifted, his smile reflecting the confidence he felt that he had won.
Some change took place inside that hand.
Scorching pain shot through Devimon’s palm so suddenly that he involuntarily unclenched his fist. Light flooded out from within. Blinded by its brightness, Devimon drew back his hands to shield his eyes.
The light ascended to a high place above Devimon’s head, and as it lessened, one could see the shape of a man lifted by six outstretched wings.
It made everyone think of the angel painting that hung on the wall of Devimon’s mansion.
It was Patamon’s evolved form, Angemon. His headpiece covering over his eyes, they saw his lips speak: “Your powers of darkness have grown too great, Devimon. You must be erased from this world.”
Angemon knew what he had to do. Hoisting up the golden khakkhara he had over his head, he cried, “Come to me, oh holy powers!”
Taichi’s, Yamato’s, and everyone else’s Digivices shot out beams of light. That light extended until they reached Angemon’s upheld staff.
Light also shot out from the immobile bodies of the Digimon on the ground. All of the light was absorbed by the staff. Greymon and the others gave all of their power to Angemon and returned to their Child forms.
“If you do that, it will destroy you too!”
Devimon had finally opened his eyes and seen what was being done. Angemon was amassing energy so explosive that it could obliterate his own body.
“But there is no other way,” Angemon answered coldly.
Devimon was afraid. Even before this evolution, he knew that this Digimon would be his worst enemy. That was why he had attempted to end everything before this Digimon had a chance to evolve.
As if he sensed that fear, Ogremon flew out from Devimon’s body and headed straight for Angemon.
“I’ll whup your ass!” he crowed.
Stretching his upper body, he brandished his club and it looked as if he would hit Angemon. But when he was touched by the light of Angemon’s staff as it swung downward, Ogremon bounced backwards as if he had been hit.
The powers of darkness could not even bear to touch the holy light. The momentum threw Ogremon so far back that he flew out of Devimon’s back and left a gaping hole that was once where his mass was.
Devimon tried to fill that hole to cover it up, but he never made it. Angemon concentrated all of the holy power within his body into his right fist and fired with one strike at the hole.
The golden light ripped through Devimon’s chest and continued to expand, until everything visible in their surroundings was filled with light. Devimon’s body, which had been made up of molecules of darkness, began to cave in from the inside out.
“What was the point in exhausting all of your power here, Angemon?” Half of Devimon’s body had already disintegrated, yet he spoke as he disappeared, “There are more Digimon across the sea who have far greater powers of evil than I do! You guys are finished!”
With a final uproarious laugh, which echoed ominously long after he was gone, Devimon disappeared.
Angemon’s body was also decaying and crumbling into particles. He looked down to gaze at Takeru, who was staring up at him, stunned.
“I’m sorry, Takeru.”
“Angemon…” Takeru could only whisper.
“I’m sure we’ll be able to meet again.” Angemon smiled. “That is, if you wish for it.”
With those last words, he disappeared into sparkling particles.
“ANGEMOOOOON!” Takeru screamed.
After he had begun to live separately from his father and brother, Takeru swore to himself that he never wanted to be separated from anyone ever again. But now, to be forced apart from Angemon… from Patamon like this, he had never… never…
Takeru was unable to understand what he was thinking or what he was feeling anymore, when several white feathers dropped gently before him. They were from Angemon’s wings.
As they gathered into a neat pile, they turned into a round shape and became a large egg.
“It’s a Digiegg.”
In his state, Takeru did not know who had spoken up. Only vaguely did he sense that his brother, Taichi, Agumon, Gabumon, and everyone else were standing around him.
“Patamon is starting over again as a Digiegg.”
“If you raise him up carefully, you’ll surely see each other again.”
Gently, Takeru embraced the egg in his arms.
It was only a little while afterwards that a mysterious hologram appeared in front of the group. Within the cylinder of rainbow–colored light stood an old man. He was the first human they’d seen upon coming to this island.
“I was finally able to override the powers of darkness and contact you! You must listen very carefully to what I say now, Chosen Children.”
The old man called himself “Gennai.”
What he had to say was not very good news. The Chosen Children’s mission did not end upon defeating Devimon. He said they must also cross the ocean to Server Continent, in order to defeat the source of the evil powers that was located there. Agumon and the other Digimon needed to evolve to a higher level. In order to do that, they must search for something called the “Crests.”
At that point, static began to run through the hologram and cut him off. When they got a closer look, all they saw inside the ground was the face of something that looked like a projector.
“Let’s go cross the ocean!”
It was Takeru who spoke up first. He didn’t want to lose to anyone else anymore: That intention was written clearly all over his face.
The group had been hesitant over what to do, but his words firmed their resolve. In any case, even if they remained on this island, they wouldn’t be able to return home.
Leomon and the other Digimon they had met on the island helped them to make a raft that was sturdy enough to cross the waters. They made one that was more than wide enough to carry all seven of the children and then some. Once they secured enough food, the children set sail: Towards the ocean, and towards Server Continent.
On top of that raft, the Digiegg that Takeru held in his arms hatched. The baby Digimon that was born from it immediately cried out, “Takeru.”
In the four corners of the world, four sets of light and darkness stood at odds.
Those on the side of the Light had large, beast-like shapes, while those on the side of Darkness varied. There was one shaped like a large dragon, another like a mechanical dinosaur, another the size of a human adult, while yet another was as small as a child. Although their shapes were different, all of them were Digimon.
News that the Chosen Children had left File Island reached the dark Digimon that was shaped like a human adult. He cursed.
“That wretched Devimon failed!”
Yet he could not make a move. Currently, he needed all of his concentration to seal the Digimon of the Light that was coiled in front of him, its shining dragon–like form trapped as it squirmed unsuccessfully under his power.
It would take some time before its seal was completed.
FOOTNOTES  カブトムシ Kabuto mushi (Kabuterimon) = Rhinoceros beetle  生剥げ A demon mask that is worn during a ritual that cleanses the souls and welcome the New Year. [Wikipedia]  デジタマ Digitama (translated as Digiegg)  「タケルは...父を思い浮かべた」 This is an allusion to the anime, where Leomon and the brothers' father, Hiroaki, were both voiced by Hirata Hiroaki.