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Prologue — In a Remote Cabin
He could hear the faint creaking of the weather vane on top of the roof. Heavy clouds covered the sky outside the window, but the sunshine filtering through looked a lot stronger than he had expected.
“It looks just like the day when I first came to this world.”
He reminisced as he mended the seams of the worn cloth bag he’d used to carry the Book during his long travels.
After fleeing from his original world, it was half due to banishment that he arrived into this one. The only things he had with him at the time were this book and staff.
Whoever owned or read from the forbidden Book was punished in his world. Although he knew this, he couldn’t hold back the urge to learn of its secret knowledge. As a result, he was exiled to this world. The composition of his body was changed so that he now looked like a life-sized doll.
Wandering this world for what seemed like ages, and not consuming much as he didn’t know what was edible or not, he managed to finally arrive at a village when he sank to the floor, his energy spent. The villagers seemed afraid to address this unknown wanderer who had collapsed on their streets because none of them dared to get close.
He should have died then. But then a small shadow approached him and called out to him. And now, although he only used it in the short periods when he had leave, he had even been given his own personal cabin.
The door opened and the bright light from outside fell upon him. A small shadow stood at the door frame, silhouetted against the large setting sun. The golden ring at the end of her tail flashed in the sunset.
“Sorry to assign you again so immediately after your return,” the small white shadow said to him, “but you have your next orders.”
Anyone who didn’t know her would find it hard to believe that this small creature, who only reached up to his waist, could destroy opponents even bigger than this cabin.
He stood up. “But sir, I haven’t finished searching for the Crests yet. There are two more—”
“The situation has changed. Preparations for the invasion are to be made immediately and it is our job to assemble the troops.”
“So we forget about the Crests?”
“This is more important,” the small white shadow said, her voice tight. “Your work pleases Lord Vamdemon greatly, but these next orders require great haste.”
“Let’s go, Wizarmon.”
When he answered, the small shadow, Tailmon, had already turned and run towards the castle.
I will follow you anywhere.
He — Wizarmon, hid the Book into the folds of his clothes and went after her.
Until the moment that same light I had seen in your eyes when you’d first saved me returns.
Until the day you remember your true self.
A fierce wind made his cape flutter madly behind him. As he eyed the sun sinking over the horizon, he could also see the dark clouds that never parted, eternally swirling over the thorny mountains protruding around Vamdemon’s castle.
Chapter 4; The Lake of Separation
① Temp Lake
The Digital World had many things that made humans think “Hey, I’ve seen that somewhere…” when they looked. Maybe it was because data from the real world had flowed into it when it was first created. But of course, the result was a very mismatched combination of objects. Take, for instance, the trees with electrical outlets in their trunks, or cork tops confined in the insides of rock. But the entire landscape surrounding this particular lake looked as though it had come directly out of a picture book of the Alps.
The blue sky could be seen unobstructed around it for miles. The lake surface reflected the sky, making small waves that sparkled. The winds here were always gentle, never to be felt roaring violently or even going over five miles per hour.
At the west of the lake was a mountain range with the “Mountain of Analogical Reasoning” spread majestically amidst. At the northern coast was a castle, whose architectural style was an impossible blend of real castles built in Europe and Japan. Seeing such an unusual phenomenon only strengthened the impression that this was the Digital World.
The lake spread long and narrow towards both north and south, so although impossible to see from the castle, there was an amusement park at the southern coast, complete with a Ferris wheel and roller coasters. Complementing the amusement park theme were a few swan-shaped pedal boats tied at the harbor of the lake shore.
At the east coast was a restaurant made of white walls, with a forest spread picturesquely behind it. At the harbor in front of it, too, was tied a single swan-shaped pedal boat.
Two shadows stood within the forest. It was Sora Takenouchi and her partner, Piyomon.
Sora stared at the back door of the restaurant where the kitchen was, as still as stone. The sound of crashing dishes could be heard from within the restaurant, immediately followed by an angry yelling voice. From outside, they couldn’t hear what the voice was saying but it clearly belonged to Yamato Ishida.
The back door of the restaurant opened and Gabumon came out holding a dustpan.
Sora scrambled behind a tree and hid, followed closely by Piyomon.
Gabumon poured the broken dishes into the garbage dump. While the door lay open, they could hear the smaller sounds of another voice apologizing underneath the angry tirade. It belonged to Jou Kido.
Sora took out a Crest from within the pouch tied around her waist. The symbol carved in it was different from Taichi’s Crest and it flickered weakly.
It was now three months since both Taichi and the large evolved form of Agumon, MetalGreymon, had disappeared.
Soundlessly, Sora approached the warehouse and put the weakly glowing Crest on the highest shelf before returning to the forest. Unless someone purposely reached towards that shelf, no one would be able to come upon it up there.
“Hey, Sora. Why aren’t you going back to the others?” Piyomon asked.
Sora didn’t answer. The forest blocked much of the sun, so her face was masked in shadow at just that moment. Piyomon couldn’t tell what sort of expression she had.
② The Amusement Park of Goodbyes
The delicate water surface with barely much humidity around it reflected the blue sky, the whiteness of the clouds, the green trees, and even the hard rays of the sun with brilliance. It had a beauty to it, but on the other hand it also appeared somewhat cold and distant.
A single, small rock was thrown into the lake.
But the force of it was so weak that even the water slapping up sounded as if it did so almost apologetically. Only the rings expanded heartily from where the rock had met the water.
Takeru Takaishi sat at the very end of the wharf where the swanboats were tied into place, his legs dangling above the water. He looked at the ripples his rock had made without really seeing them. From behind him, Tokomon cried out, “Takeru!”
“I’m sure PicoDevimon will find Yamato soon. Don’t worry so much!” He smiled.
There was no hidden thought in his smile. He truly and pure-heartedly meant what he said.
But at this current moment, Takeru must have thought that his encouragement was faked because he muttered reproachfully, “I don’t think he will.”
Tokomon tilted his head, looking up at his friend blankly. That had to be the very last thing that Takeru wanted, and yet why would he say that? The child Tokomon could hardly understand.
Just then, the sound of flapping wings could be heard approaching.
“Sorry to keep you waiting!” came the voice of PicoDevimon, a small bat-like Digimon that they had gotten acquainted with only yesterday.
Takeru hurriedly stood up and asked, “How was it? Did you find my brother?”
PicoDevimon landed on top of the swanboat’s roof and settled his wings. “Yeah, I found him. He was with the others.”
“T–The others…?” Takeru asked, looking astonished.
“Let me see, what were their names again…? One of them was named Jou and another was Sora… I forget the others’ names, but they were all there.”
Hesitantly, Takeru asked, “What… What were they doing together?”
“Playing. They invited me to play too, but I turned them down saying that Takeru had been waiting for a very long time.”
“And? What did my brother say? You told him I was waiting for him, right? What did he say?”
PicoDevimon gave him a pitying look. “‘Oh, okay.’ That was it.”
“No way…” Takeru’s mouth hung half-open, stunned.
Unable to bear the sight, Tokomon screamed at PicoDevimon, baring a mouthful of pointed teeth that no one would have guessed from his sweet appearance. “Yamato would never say that! Don’t lie!”
PicoDevimon looked back at him, cool and unruffled. “I don’t care if you think that way or not, but he really did say it. And that’s not all. He even said this. ‘I hate Takeru.'”
“H–Hate me…” Takeru repeated, dumbfounded. Large tears welled up in his eyes and they looked as though they could fall at any moment.
As if to deliver the final blow, PicoDevimon continued. “So I asked him ‘Why?’ and Yamato said, “Because he’s such a crybaby.'”
As if a fire had been lit, Takeru began to wail. He was so shocked by what he’d heard that he even forgot to bring his hands up against his eyes. Standing there and raising his head up to the sky, he wailed until he ran out of tears.
Tokomon cried up to him in distress, “Takeru, Takeru,” but Takeru didn’t seem to hear him.
When Takeru finally responded to Tokomon’s voice and turned to him, he had a faintly icy look in his eyes. Tokomon had never seen him look that way before.
“Yamato would never say that!” Tokomon beseeched him again.
“Oh?” Takeru said sarcastically. The edges of his mouth twisted almost into a sneer. “But it doesn’t matter. I always hated my brother too.”
“Wh–What are you talking about, Takeru?” Tokomon asked in surprise. What Takeru said could only be a lie. But why would he lie like that?
And then he spotted PicoDevimon behind Takeru stifling down laughter. When he saw that Tokomon had seen him, PicoDevimon stuck his tongue out.
This is his fault, Tokomon thought. I don’t know why he’s doing it, but PicoDevimon is lying.
“Uuuhh!” Tokomon spit out bubbles from his mouth, aiming them at PicoDevimon. He should have been able to avoid them if he wanted to, but PicoDevimon let the bubbles hit him and screamed out, “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!” in exaggerated pain. “Help me, Takeru!”
“What do you think you’re doing, Tokomon?!” Takeru yelled angrily. “Apologize to PicoDevimon!”
Behind Takeru, PicoDevimon was snidely wiggling his butt at Tokomon and slapping it.
“No,” Tokomon said flatly, turning his head.
Flapping his wings, PicoDevimon cut in between the glaring pair. “Takeru, don’t blame Tokomon. I’m sure he’s just feeling jealous about how you and I get along so well together.” Turning his face to Tokomon, he said, “Right?”
While the question was posed amiably, there was a mocking sneer spread across his face.
Tokomon lunged at him and tried to grab PicoDevimon with his teeth. But Takeru cried out, “Cut it out, Tokomon!”
He hugged PicoDevimon safely towards him. “I didn’t know you were such a violent Digimon!” he said with strong disapproval in his voice.
“But PicoDevimon was—”
“Don’t make excuses!”
“It’s not an excu—”
Tokomon tried to make himself heard, but Takeru seemed to think that he was just being stubborn because he gave him a menacing glare.
That vicious tone made Tokomon close his mouth for an instant.
“Please, listen to me…” he pleaded, trying again, but Takeru had had enough.
“No. I see what sort of person you are now.”
And taking his Digivice which he always carried with him from the belt of his rucksack, Takeru drew himself back as if to fling it into the lake.
But even he seemed to think that was a harsh thing to do, because he changed direction and tossed his Digivice with an underhanded throw towards the muddy shore instead.
In a panic, Tokomon ran to pick it up. The Digivice had landed face-up, its bottom half buried in the mud.
“What are you doing?!” Tokomon cried out to Takeru, his black eyes filling with tears.
Takeru didn’t look away from him.
“If you won’t apologize to PicoDevimon, then we’re not friends anymore,” he said flatly. “That means I don’t need that anymore.” His eyes had the firmness of someone intent at upholding what he truly thought was just.
And turning to his right, he said to his new partner PicoDevimon, “Let’s go.”
Looking joyful, PicoDevimon settled on top of Takeru’s green hat. The very seat that had once been reserved only for Tokomon.
Carrying the Digivice in his mouth, Tokomon wandered aimlessly, trudging along the lake shore.
How had it all come to this? He was at a complete loss on what to do.
Maybe none of it would have happened if he had apologized and said “I’m sorry” to PicoDevimon back then, even if he didn’t mean it. But he hadn’t been able to do that.
In any event, he had to find Yamato. Even if Takeru no longer listened to him, surely he would listen to Yamato.
But where did Yamato, and where did Gabumon, go off to?
Without the faintest idea to go on, all he could do was keep walking.
The inside of his head was blank from fever and his vision was blurry. Yesterday he’d kept walking even though he had been drenched by rain.
Walking unsteadily on his feet, Tokomon collapsed without warning.
He was only dimly aware of his condition. Was he awake now, or dreaming?
In that state, he kept repeating deliriously, “Yamato… Yamato…”
That was when it happened.
“You’ll find Yamato-kun in a restaurant just a bit further up ahead. He’s with Jou-senpai.”
It was a familiar voice.
Raising his heavy eyelids and squinting beyond the white haze of his vision, he saw the faces of Sora and Piyomon peering at him worriedly.
I’m dreaming, Tokomon thought.
He had seen the exact same sight as this not very long ago.
After Taichi and MetalGreymon had disappeared, some time had passed. For two straight weeks, they had searched the desert with Piccolomon for clues that would lead them to Taichi and MetalGreymon, with no success.
Then one day, a sound that was similar to thunder erupted from the south and the bright skies of the south had immediately, without warning, turned into pitch-black night.
Since they also looked like black clouds, Jou had whispered worriedly, “That wasn’t a nuclear explosion, was it…?”
“It’s Mugen Cannon, pi,” Piccolomon whispered, almost as if to himself.
“What’s Mugen Cannon?” Gomamon had asked, but without answering Piccolomon said, “I will have to part ways with you here, pi. Something’s come up, pi. If you go west, you’ll find a lake called Temp Lake. I suggest you go there, pi.”
And with those last words, he had flown off towards the south.
It was with painful reluctance that the group did as Piccolomon had said, heading towards the west.
On their last night of camping out in the desert, before they reached Temp Lake, Tokomon was certain that he had been shaken awake by someone from a sound sleep.
“Nhmmhhmm… Who’s there?”
It was Sora and Piyomon. The two of them peered at Tokomon from above and said, “We’re going to go look for Taichi. Let the others know, okay?”
And they slid out of his vision, leaving everybody.
Tokomon thought that maybe he was seeing the continuation of that dream. That’s why he asked, “Am I dreaming?”
“Y–Yes…” Sora nodded, looking taken aback. She turned to Piyomon, her face turning grave. “Go find some healing herbs.”
As they waited for Piyomon, Tokomon voiced to Sora the complaints he’d kept inside. “It got so hard after you left, Sora. First Jou and Gomamon left, saying they’d go look for you.”
“Yes, yes,” Sora nodded, looking for all the world as if she didn’t want to hear any of it.
“Then when we arrived at the lake, Koushiro and Tentomon left.”
Piyomon came back with the herbs. Sora took them from her, crushing them into a handkerchief until the juices ran, before carefully folding it into a wrap that she placed on Tokomon’s head.
Tokomon continued to talk, not noticing.
“After that, Yamato and Mimi got into a fight, and Mimi and Palmon left for who-knows-where. Then we came to the amusement park and Yamato and Gabumon left on a boat saying they’d check out the surroundings. Takeru and I waited for Yamato to come back. Then that PicoDevimon came—”
His vision blurred again as fresh tears sprouted from his eyes, mixing with his fever.
Maybe he was hearing things, but he heard the sound of running footsteps, and then quiet.
Tokomon kept talking anyway.
“That PicoDevimon, he said he’d find Yamato for us, but when he came back all he told us was lies about Yamato hating Takeru. Then Takeru took his Digivice and…”
His story in jumbled bits, he broke off into sobs as he remembered what had happened next.
That’s when he heard a voice he hadn’t heard in a long time.
“Taichi, it’s Tokomon!”
“I was wondering who this Digivice was reacting to…”
Tokomon’s eyes blinked open. He thought he’d been talking to Sora and Piyomon, but at some point unawares, the two of them had vanished and both Taichi and Koromon stood in their place.
I definitely must be dreaming, Tokomon thought.
“What do you think I should do now?” he asked. “How do I get Takeru to understand?”
Taichi and Koromon looked at each other. Then Taichi raised a hand up to his head, scratching it.
“Uh, hey, do you mind telling me what’s happened from the top? I have no idea what’s going on here…”
③ PicoDevimon’s Trap
On top of a rock, deep within some bushes, sprouted a single buttercup whose petals took on the silhouette of a bat with its wings spread open. It was a wire telegraph that connected him directly to the castle.
“Ehm, this is PicoDevimon reporting. Scouting for recruits is taking some time for now, sir. Ehm, I do have in mind some who will add greatly to our fighting potential, but they’re not agreeing to join that easily. If they continue to be difficult, I will give up and look for others. Over and out.”
Without giving the other person a chance to speak, PicoDevimon hurriedly disconnected the line.
Lord Vamdemon rarely talked, but when Lord Vamdemon talked, there was trouble.
Still, he’d reported scouting activity when he hadn’t done any of it in the slightest. If he was unable to gather any recruits, what would he do? Tailmon would get the lead on him again.
“That damn rat Digimon who only looks like a cat!” PicoDevimon spat, flinging a stream of curses.
I’ll recruit some volunteer scouts when I’m back at the castle, he decided. He doubted he would find anyone impressive, but as long as he had the numbers it should be fine. What was more important at the moment was the children.
That damn human girl called Sora had stolen the Crests that were kept stored inside the castle. The Crest of Love, the Crest of Purity, and the Crest of Friendship — among the five in total, she’d managed to steal three.
If Lord Vamdemon ever learned of this, he was dead.
In that case, he decided, he would lay traps for the children so that their Crests never activated. They would be ingenious traps that made the resonant power of the Crests weaken.
PicoDevimon was aware of his own lack in strength and thought that going head-to-head with the children’s Digimon partner was not a good idea. In fact, he had challenged Sora’s Digimon partner in order to take back the Crests and was easily beaten.
On the other hand, he had great confidence in his cunning and ability to think up evil schemes.
At the moment, PicoDevimon’s plan was going perfectly. The one bearing the Crest of Love was doubting her own love and wandering alone, while the child bearing the Crest of Friendship was losing his sense of friendship. The child bearing the Crest of Purity didn’t even need PicoDevimon’s help to sink into selfishness and malice.
That wasn’t all. Among the remaining two whose Crests hadn’t been found yet, the child with the Crest of Knowledge had gotten rid of knowledge of his own accord, while the child Takeru, destined for the Crest of Hope was losing his hope, thanks to PicoDevimon’s eloquent words.
PicoDevimon knew that it was Takeru and his Digimon who had beaten Devimon. This was only PicoDevimon’s personal opinion but — Hope was the most dangerous of all. It had the strange power of turning the tables on you and gaining victory at the very last moment. That was how Devimon had been beaten. That was why he had to make Takeru lose hope completely.
And PicoDevimon had the perfect plan.
He was going to make Takeru eat the Mushrooms of Forgetfulness. As their name implied, once someone ate these mushrooms, all of their memories were wiped blank. If Takeru ate that, Tokomon would be completely erased from his memory.
The basket next to PicoDevimon was filled to the top with Mushrooms of Forgetfulness that he had just picked earlier. Grabbing the basket handles with both feet, PicoDevimon flew out of the bushes.
The amusement park must have been full of vivid colors long ago, but as if those colors had been eroded by the monotonous forest green that surrounded it, bits of paint had come off from it here and there, while other parts of it were rusted due to the dampness of the lake.
As PicoDevimon flew, the evil little demon grin vanished off his face to be replaced by the carefully constructed smile of a lovable pet, one that was appropriate of Takeru’s partner.
He loved lying, so it wasn’t at all hard to do. With this fake smile, he was going to strip Takeru of every drop of hope that he possessed.
He spotted Takeru at the merry-go-round. He was about to call out the boy’s name when he stopped, seeing that Takeru was not alone. Next to him was another boy and a baby level Digimon who must be his partner. And there also, he spotted Tokomon who he thought he’d chased out.
Who was that boy? He’d never seen him before. But there was no mistaking that it was a human boy. Could the boy with the Crest of Courage, who’d been sucked into the black hole with Etemon, have returned?
PicoDevimon was about to turn back and find a place where he could be alone and reorganize his thoughts, but unfortunately, Tokomon saw him.
His eyes firmly on PicoDevimon, Tokomon said something to the boy who wasn’t Takeru.
Leaving at this point would be a bad idea.
Carefully putting on a friendly face so they wouldn’t see his agitation, he descended towards Takeru.
“Hey, Tokomon is back. That’s great, I was getting worried about you,” he said easily when such a thought had never occurred to him once. PicoDevimon relaxed. His lies were still in perfect form as ever today.
“Are you PicoDevimon?”
Seeing the goggles wrapped around the head of the boy who asked the question, PicoDevimon confirmed that his reasoning earlier had been correct. He wanted to ask the boy how he’d returned from the black hole, but doing so would only put him at risk of probing questions on how he knew.
At this point, PicoDevimon had made up his mind to make all of them eat the Mushrooms of Forgetfulness, so he felt a tiny bit regretful that he wouldn’t be able to hear the tale.
“Yes, that’s right. You must be Takeru’s friend.”
“Taichi. And I’m Koromon,” said the Koromon at Taichi’s feet.
“Welcome, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Oh, by the way, I was just getting ready to cook up a meal. Would you all like to join us?”
“Food?” Taichi unconsciously brought a hand up to his stomach. “Now that you mention it, we are hungry. Sure, we’ll have some.”
PicoDevimon smiled gleefully within. “Then please take these.”
He placed the basket stuffed with Mushrooms of Forgetfulness on the ground.
“Are these edible?” Taichi asked.
“Why yes, of course. They don’t appear that good by appearance, but don’t let that fool you. They melt in your mouth and are as fluffy as cake.”
Taichi and Takeru both swallowed noticeably.
“But still, eating them raw… Do you have something we can roast them on?”
“Let me bring you a charcoal stove then.”
Saying this, PicoDevimon flew to the ruins of the oden vendor stand underneath the Ferris wheel. When he returned with the charcoal stove, a small handful of charcoal, a fan to keep the flames alive, and bamboo skewers, Koromon was nowhere to be seen.
“Oh? Where did Koromon-san go?”
“To the bathroom,” Taichi answered.
“I see. Then let’s get cooking in the meantime.”
As Taichi gently wafted the live pieces of charcoal with the fan, the sweet smell of the mushrooms enticed Takeru’s already growling stomach even further, making Takeru’s eyes gleam.
Tokomon, standing directly opposite of him, kept peeking at Takeru’s face from time to time, but Takeru stubbornly refused to look in his direction. He was ignoring Tokomon.
Which means they haven’t made peace with each other yet, PicoDevimon thought with a sigh of relief.
“All right, they’re done,” Taichi said, spearing one of the Mushrooms of Forgetfulness with a skewer and handing it to Takeru.
“Yay!” Takeru said happily, getting ready to take a big bite. Just then, his eyes met Tokomon’s. Tokomon looked as if he wanted to say something, but Takeru ignored him and said, “Time to eat!”
He put the Mushroom of Forgetfulness into his mouth.
PicoDevimon was convinced that his plan had worked when right after that,
Takeru pulled the mushroom out of his mouth, holding out his tongue with a grimace.
“That’s what you get for biting into it without cooling it first,” Taichi said, laughing at Takeru’s eagerness. He blew on a different mushroom and gave it to Takeru.
“I’m sorry,” Takeru said dutifully and popped the second mushroom into his mouth.
“Don’t eat those mushrooms!”
Koromon was jumping towards them, looking frantic.
“Relax, I made sure to keep your share, Koromon!” Taichi said with a wry grin, but Koromon continued screaming.
“No, no, no! Those mushrooms are poisonous!”
Taichi lunged at Takeru and forcefully pulled his mouth apart, making him spit out a masticated lump of mushroom that he had just been ready to swallow.
“Hey, you! What are you trying to pull?” Taichi demanded, rounding on PicoDevimon.
“I–I’m not trying to pull anything… Do you have proof that they’re poisonous?”
“Proof? If it’s proof you want…” Taichi skewered one of the cooked mushrooms and poked the end of it in front of PicoDevimon’s nose. “You eat it.”
PicoDevimon took a step back.
Seeing that, Taichi grinned in triumph. “If you won’t eat it, what more proof do we need?”
PicoDevimon’s defeat was more than mortifying to him. He had such confidence in his ability to lie, but those lies were seen right through.
“Then… Then…” Takeru said, looking aghast. “All this time… All of it, were they all lies?”
If it’s come to this, then I’ve just about had it.
“Yeah, that’s right. They were all lies. You’re a moron for falling for them so easy.”
Tears fell like drops from Takeru’s eyes. Turning to Tokomon next to him, he cried as he apologized. “I’m so sorry, Tokomon.”
Tokomon smiled. “It’s okay, Takeru. As long as everything’s all cleared up now.”
Seeing them, Taichi said, “Here,” and took out Takeru’s Digivice from his pocket, handing it to the boy. “Don’t throw it away again.”
“Okay,” Takeru said, nodding as he heaved with sobs.
Tch. What a damn annoying bunch of brats.
Seeing Takeru and Tokomon cling to each other as they cried made PicoDevimon feel like vomiting.
But at the same time, he was only up against two Baby levels. Anticipating that there was no way he could lose this one, he attacked.
“Look out, Takeru!”
Tokomon jumped in front of Takeru, covering him. PicoDevimon’s syringes didn’t pierce him but they scratched Tokomon’s skin, leaving red cuts.
“Tokomon!” Takeru screamed. The gauge of the Digivice in Takeru’s hand shot up.
“Tokomon, evolve! Patamon!”
It was the first time he’d evolved into his Child self, after his deadlock against Devimon on File Island.
A ball of air shot out like a bullet from Patamon’s mouth, hitting PicoDevimon full in the face.
A continuous chain of Air Shots followed, so much that PicoDevimon immediately chose to flee. He couldn’t even leave behind any parting threats.
How did that damn Koromon know about the Mushrooms of Forgetfulness anyway?
④ The Restaurant by the Lake Shore
A loud crashing of dishes could be heard coming from inside the kitchen.
Yamato, who had been playing his harmonica in the kitchen’s backyard to take his mind off his worries, heard the noise and stopped.
He looked extremely fed up.
Getting to his feet laboriously, as if it was a chore, he stuck his harmonica into the back pocket of his jeans and began walking at a snail’s pace to the kitchen door.
Gabumon obediently walked along after him.
“I wonder how long it’ll take this time,” he said conversationally.
“Who cares,” Yamato spat out in disgust, looking very put upon. Gabumon didn’t say anything after that.
He couldn’t blame Yamato’s sulkiness in the least. When they had left Takeru and Patamon, Yamato had promised that they would be back immediately. But by being unable to leave here, it only made sense that his human would be running out of patience. In fact, it was pretty admirable how he did not show this attitude openly whenever Jou was around.
Even so, who knew how long that would last… Even Gabumon could tell that with each passing day, Yamato’s heart grew harder and bitter.
It was two months ago when Gabumon and Yamato arrived at this restaurant. Leaving Takeru and Patamon at the amusement park, they took a swan boat to check that their surroundings were safe. While keeping the coast on their left, they peddled on and on until, just when they were thinking about heading back, they spotted a building shaped like a “diner” (according to Yamato) atop a hill facing the lake.
Landing their swan boat on the beach, the two of them cautiously made their way up the gentle slope as they kept watch for enemies.
When they reached the front of the building they heard, “Welcome one, welcome all! It’s the most delicious restaurant in the world!”
It was a familiar voice… and no wonder, because the voice belonged to Gomamon.
“G–Gomamon! What are you doing here?”
Gomamon’s mouth dropped open.
He blinked rapidly as if he thought he was daydreaming, but when Gabumon reached out and shook his hand, he realized that it wasn’t a dream and flew at Gabumon with tears streaming down his face.
They stood there, letting Gomamon cling tightly to Gabumon as he sobbed.
“Is Jou here too?” Yamato asked after Gomamon had calmed down. Gomamon nodded once and at last explained all that had happened to them.
“We kept looking for Sora, but no matter where we went we couldn’t find her. When we came upon this restaurant, we went in wanting to eat something because we were so hungry. The food was okay. Then, when we went up to pay, Jou held out these pieces of paper. He said they were currency but the owner of the restaurant, Digitamamon, said that we couldn’t use those and we’d have to work here to pay back what we ate. So we did that, since we didn’t have any other choice. But the food that Jou cooked tasted so bad that we started losing customers and then we had to reimburse for that too. Also, for broken dishes. At first we only had to work for three days but then it kept getting extended and now we’ve been working for almost two weeks…”
Yamato’s expression changed to one of faint exasperation upon hearing Gomamon’s story.
“Well, Jou is a pretty clumsy guy. It was wrong of him in the first place to think that he could use money from our world here. Hey, Gomamon, take me to that Digitamamon so I can talk to him. I’ll see if we can come to some kind of agreement.”
Yamato had a direct talk with Digitamamon. First, the sum total of debt that Jou had cumulated, as well as his hourly pay, were written out clearly. Together they calculated the number of days it would take to pay it all off.
In doing so, they found that it would take four days, and so Yamato made a deal with Digitamamon that if he and Gabumon worked as well, he would cut it down to two days.
“That’s a promise,” Digitamamon said.
Of course, it was already established that if dishes or cups were broken by accident, it would be docked off their pay, so in these circumstances they made an agreement in advance on how much a single dish or a single cup would cost.
When he entered the kitchen where Jou was working and explained everything to him, Jou lowered his head apologetically.
“I’m really sorry that you had to do all of that,” Jou said contritely. “But if I break more dishes…”
“Hey, don’t worry about it. One or two plates, the most we’ll get from that is one more day,” Yamato answered back with a smile, as he wet a sponge with dishwashing liquid and began scrubbing.
But it didn’t end up being just one or two.
It would be a few each day. Sometimes even stacks of dishes, all at once.
Ever since Jou came to this restaurant, it was very possible that he’d replaced every single dish and cup that it had previously owned.
When the two returned to the kitchen, Jou was sweeping up the broken pieces with a broom and a dustpan. He looked about ready to cry. Since Gomamon was in charge of attracting customers at the entrance, Jou was by himself.
Noticing Yamato come in, Jou’s expression became very humbled.
“I’m sorry… It happened again…” he apologized.
A week ago, Yamato would have replied back that it was okay, but now he didn’t even bother to look Jou in the face. Heedlessly he stepped on the porcelain pieces still scattered on the floor, crunching them under his feet. Standing in front of the gas stove, he looked at the order slips pinned to the wall and said, “Now then.”
Yamato turned on the stove, looking like a cat whose fur had been rubbed the wrong way.
Chagrined, Jou bowed his head deeply at Yamato’s back before returning to clean up the mess. He looked so pitiful that Gabumon quietly stepped in to help him. Jou looked at him as if to say something but Gabumon shook his head.
He wasn’t helping out of charity for Jou, but because he wanted to avoid provoking Yamato any further.
Seeming to understand, Jou contained himself and gave one silent, grateful nod to Gabumon.
It grew dark.
The boys were furnished with the boiler room as their sleeping quarters. The low rumbling of the machines reverberated throughout the room discordantly, and because it was windowless, the room was stuffy from barely any ventilation.
Yamato and Jou took up opposite corners of the room so that they each had a diagonal space to call their own. A wash line with dirty bed sheets hanging from it ran between them, acting as a room divider.
It was Yamato who suggested this idea. When Jou offered to help him, he cordially refused and did it all himself.
They didn’t come to any verbal agreement but neither pair ever crossed the sheets to enter into the other’s domain.
When Gabumon asked Yamato why he did that, he replied coldly, “To keep my privacy.”
Gabumon had heard the word ‘privacy’ from him before. Back when Taichi was still with everyone, Yamato would watch Taichi tell Jou or Koushiro to do this or that and made a comment about it to Gabumon.
“Can’t Taichi do something about that personality of his? He stamps into other people’s hearts without any reserve and leaves behind his muddy feet. He doesn’t understand that people have their own privacy that he should respect.”
It was a constructively-made criticism, but faintly, Gabumon somehow felt that maybe Yamato was resentful of Taichi.
Normally, Yamato would collapse onto the bed the moment he entered the room and immediately pass out from the fatigue of working without pause from morning to night, but sleep eluded him tonight. He appeared to have something on his mind because he sat with his knees folded up, staring into space deep in thought.
He stayed in that position for little more than an hour when he suddenly stood up and made a look signaling Gabumon to follow him.
Once they were outside, Gabumon slightly lifted up the head part of the fur pelt he was wearing. The sweat that had been gathering under it from inside the sweltering boiler room ran down his skin as the cool night air drifted in. It felt very good.
“So, what is it, Yamato?” Gabumon asked.
“Shh.” Yamato said, putting a finger to his lips. Gabumon knew that was a signal that meant for him to be quiet.
Yamato bent down and said in a low voice next to Gabumon’s ear, “We’re getting out of here.”
“Getting out? But what about Jou and—”
Gabumon tried to mimic Yamato’s whisper but he couldn’t do so very well. He trailed off at that point to try again but Yamato understood what Gabumon wanted to say and whispered back, “We’re leaving Jou and Gomamon.
“Digitamamon doesn’t seem that bad of a guy anyway. He keeps us fed and if you think about him giving employment in his restaurant… Well.”
Gabumon couldn’t say anything. To him, it didn’t seem like Yamato really thought that what he was saying was true.
Yamato seemed to take Gabumon’s silence as wordless disapproval because he uncomfortably averted his eyes.
He looked down at his feet for awhile but then seemed to have thought of something because he suddenly kicked at the dirt and said desperately, rapidly, “Yeah, that’s right. I’m abandoning them. I mean, what else can I do? If I stay with him, I’ll never get back to Takeru for the rest of my life. If I had to choose between a friend and my own brother, it’s natural for me to choose my brother!”
Gabumon understood that by “brother” he meant Takeru, and by “friend,” he meant Jou. But because Digimon didn’t have a family system, he couldn’t understand what the difference was between them. Weren’t they both important?
Gabumon was confused but it didn’t seem that way to Yamato because he said sharply, “Anyway, I’m going. Whatever you do is up to you.”
And he walked away.
Unable to decide on what to do, Gabumon stood there helplessly as he watched Yamato’s retreating back. But when the sight of Yamato’s head disappeared over the slope, he was immediately overcome with loneliness.
Breaking up with Yamato meant relapsing back to that time on File Island when he’d waited impatiently for Yamato to arrive, not knowing if it would be that very day or tomorrow.
He didn’t want to go back to that ever again.
Succumbing to his feelings of loneliness, Gabumon ran after Yamato.
He couldn’t be gone. He had to be nearby still. He must be waiting for me at the boat.
As Gabumon descended the hill, he saw Yamato waiting in the middle of the road.
He wasn’t alone. Taichi, Takeru, Koromon, and Patamon were also with him.
“Hey, Jou,” Gomamon said quietly, looking across the room at the bed sheets. “Yamato sure is taking a long time at the bathroom.”
Jou nodded, but silently he thought that Yamato would not be coming back.
It wasn’t a new thought. Whenever Yamato went out for his break, whenever Jou went to the storehouse to get potatoes, even when Jou was in the bathroom — Jou was endlessly fearful that Yamato would take that chance to leave.
But even so, Jou was ready to accept that. He felt terrible about making Yamato go along with the mistakes that he made.
When they’d first met, Jou admittedly didn’t like Yamato. Even though he was younger, he didn’t address Jou respectfully, and he put on airs.
But strangely enough, the more they were together, the more he felt a closeness with Yamato. At some point within their little group, the two had taken up the role of reining in the foolhardy Taichi.
But if it came to opening himself up and talking to him, they weren’t that close.
Somehow, he felt a wall around Yamato. An invisible wall, something that kept others at a distance. Jou had a feeling that it was put up unconsciously. Takeru was the only person that Yamato actively tried to interact with, but from Jou’s viewpoint, he was so awkward and unnatural about it that it was hard to believe that they were brothers.
He’d heard that their parents had divorced — maybe that had something to do with it?
But even so, Jou understood that Yamato, from his point of view, must be so extremely worried about Takeru right now after leaving him in the amusement park.
And yet despite that, even though they weren’t long-term (or even now) good friends, even though he wouldn’t gain anything by keeping Jou company — Yamato chose to work together with him in this restaurant to rescue him.
It had made Jou happy. So happy that it brought tears to his eyes.
Until now, Jou never had a friend who would do something like that for him. He had friends in after-school cram lessons, but when it came right down to it they were rivals vying for the same seats at the top, distinguished schools. He also didn’t really consider his family as something beyond people living in the same house as he was.
That’s why — He had to do his best. For Yamato’s sake.
At least that’s what he wanted to do. But it only strung him up more, making him serve dishes at the wrong tables, taking down the wrong orders, and breaking dishes and glasses. Instead of helping to shorten their stay here, all he had done was extend it.
He could tell that Yamato was irritated. He expected to be cursed at or punched and he was ready to accept it, but Yamato never did any of that. He put up with it, and put up with it, again and again.
It made Jou feel ashamed about his own uselessness, but also extremely happy.
That was why Jou thought that if Yamato never came back tonight, he was going to accept it. Yamato shouldn’t have to sacrifice himself just for him.
But if he was going to leave, then Jou wished that he would say so. Not so Jou could plead for him to stay, but so that he could say his thanks. So that he could have the chance to say, “Thank you for all that you’ve done for me.”
Just at that moment, they heard footsteps approaching from outside. Several footsteps, in fact, on tiptoe.
Quietly, the door opened and Gabumon poked his head in.
“Um… Jou, Gomamon? I have something to tell you, but I want you to do your best not to be surprised, okay?”
“Huh?” Gomamon blinked at him. “What are you talking about? What do you mean, don’t be surprised?”
“I mean, I don’t want you to let out any noises of surprise, no matter what happens.”
Jou and Gomamon exchanged looks. Jou swallowed hard. He wasn’t going to cry, he told himself. He was going to smile and say his thanks to Yamato.
“Okay. Whatever you have to say, we won’t be surprised,” Jou answered.
“In that case…”
Gabumon disappeared behind the door and Taichi’s head poked in.
“T–Taichi! Wh–What are you doing here?!” Jou squeaked in loud surprise.
He had been so certain that what Gabumon meant was that Yamato was going to say his goodbyes so he shouldn’t make a fuss. This unexpected development took him back on his promise without meaning to.
“Shh, idiot!” Taichi whispered hurriedly. Realizing what he’d done, Jou covered his mouth with his hands.
Digitamamon didn’t hear that, did he? Why am I always like this?
But he wasn’t given time to reflect on his mistake.
“Let’s get out of here,” Taichi said, pulling forcefully on Jou’s arm.
He wanted to ask Taichi then and there where he had disappeared to and what he had been doing, but Taichi waved him off. “I’ll tell you later. We’ve gotta leave here first.”
Yamato was there, as well as Takeru. Takeru looked up at Jou with a beatific smile, but Yamato didn’t meet his gaze. It was the same attitude that he’d shown to Jou for the past couple of weeks, except something was different. Something like guilt seemed to be mingled in it.
Gomamon was simply pleased to be reunited with their friends again, but Jou had mixed feelings.
It was his own fault for eating at that restaurant without paying, and no one else but he was to blame for all of the slip-ups that happened after that.
In that case, was it okay for him to run like this?
No. It wasn’t.
He had to fulfill his responsibilities.
Just as he thought that, a voice spoke.
“Don’t tell me you’re getting ready to run away.”
An egg-shape like Humpty-Dumpty, or rather, no, an egg itself, Digitamamon was standing at the exit, backlit by the full moon. “You’ve got guts, skivving off without paying your debt.”
“What are you talking about?! That debt should already be–” Yamato shouted angrily at Digitamamon, but Jou stepped in between them with his back to Yamato.
“I’m sorry. I’ll stay,” he said, looking at Digitamamon. “But please, let Yamato go. It’s my debt to begin with, I’ll pay for it myself. Okay?”
It was an honest and straightforward appeal.
But Digitamamon’s eyes, from within the darkness of the crack in his shell, gleamed ominously.
“Not a chance. You have to keep your promises,” he said in a muffled voice.
“Please!” Jou implored once more.
But when the same answer came back, Jou said, “Ugh!” and reluctantly jumped towards Digitamamon as if to shake him.
His hands slid across Digitamamon’s smooth shell and he fell on his face to the ground.
Digitamamon brought a leg up to tread on Jou’s back.
“Unless you want me to end this guy’s life, all of you will work too,” he said menacingly to the rest of the boys, who had been staring dumbfoundedly at the exchange. “I can’t have you running off. I spent hours applying oil to the edges of the plates to make them easier to slip from your hands, and stacking them up dangerously to make them easier to fall over. If you run now, all of that hard work would be for nothing.”
“So that’s what’s been happening! Damn it!” Gomamon said, grinding his teeth in dismay. And,
“Gomamon, evolve! Ikkakumon!”
he evolved to Ikkakumon and leapt at Digitamamon. But because Jou was held hostage, he couldn’t attack with his Harpoon Vulcan.
Just when the larger white-furred creature was about to take the drastic step of ramming into Digitamamon with a body blow, Digitamamon’s eyes flashed with a ray of light that sent him somersaulting backwards.
“Ikkakumon!” Having shared Gomamon’s troubles throughout the ordeal, Gabumon could not stand back and watch.
“Gabumon, evolve! Garurumon!”
He evolved into Garurumon and went to help. Digitamamon’s weak spot, Garurumon reasoned, were the eyes peeking out from the crack in his shell. He lunged for them with his claws, but Digitamamon would close the crack before they reached and Garurumon’s claws would hit against the tough shell instead. He ended up receiving damage rather than inflicting it.
During this fight, Jou was yelling from beneath Digitamamon’s foot. “Forget about me! All of you, run!”
“We’re not leaving you behind!” Taichi cried, but Jou shook his head.
“Forget about me,” he repeated. “Take care of everyone. Also, Yamato…”
Turning to Yamato, Jou said, “Thanks for everything. I’ll never forget your help.”
He buried his forehead into the dirt, giving a low, low bow.
“S–Stop it. I…” Yamato’s pale lips trembled. “I tried to leave you behind and escape all on my own!”
But Jou only nodded silently. “What you did was natural. But still, you came back.”
“That’s because I met Taichi on the way and he told me—”
“But you could have told him that I wasn’t here. Isn’t that right?”
Tears fell from Yamato’s eyes.
They were tears mixed with remorse for his actions to Jou, disgust at himself for his cold-heartedness, and gratitude of having found such an irreplaceable friend in Jou.
When Yamato screamed with all of his might, something came zooming out from within the dark warehouse. It jumped into Yamato’s hand and glowed brightly.
It was a Crest.
Not Taichi’s Crest, but Yamato’s.
“Garurumon, super-evolve! WereGarurumon!”
The giant wolf released a flash of light and disappeared for a moment. Within the white afterimage stood a man (?) on two legs. He looked like a long-legged man wearing blue jeans, except his head was the head of a wolf. A werewolf?
WereGarurumon kicked with his feet, springing high up in the air. He became a black silhouette against the full, yellow moon, and he drew a large semi-circle with his leg. Then he descended towards Digitamamon.
The intense power of his kick sent Digitamamon flying.
Landing lightly on the ground, WereGarurumon did not pause as he kicked at the ground again, charging at Digitamamon who was lying within the bushes unable to get back up. His sharp, pointed fingernails glinted in the moonlight like razors.
His nails left rutted scratch marks on Digitamamon’s shell.
Digitamamon’s egg shell cracked open in two. The pieces dropped to the ground, instantly falling away from something black with a vague shape inside Digitamamon’s shell body. Giving a high-pitched, enraged shriek, it circled through the night sky like a balloon losing air and disappeared somewhere.
“What was that?” Takeru asked uncomfortably, “A ghost?”
“I’m not sure,” Taichi answered, “but I think it may have been Digitamamon’s real form.”
WereGarurumon’s energy exhausted, he returned to his baby form Tsunomon. Yamato moved as if to run towards Tsunomon, but changed his mind mid-way and went to Jou instead.
“Jou, are you okay?” Yamato called out to the fallen Jou.
“Y–Yeah. I’m fine.”
Yamato held out his hand towards Jou, who grabbed it.
There was no need for words. The warmth that they felt as they grasped at the other’s hand said more than words ever could.
⑤ The Town of People
“You’re right,” Yamato said, peering at his Digivice.
Unlike its usual blank screen, it was displaying flashing dots of light. Four were grouped together, while three others were at a distance.
“It’s a map of some kind,” Taichi said. “From what I can tell, these blinking dots you see here show the location of everyone else’s Digivices.”
In other words, the four points grouped together were Taichi, Yamato, Jou, and Takeru’s Digivices, while the other three were Sora’s, Koushiro’s, and Mimi’s.
As understanding dawned on him, Yamato took another look at his screen. The three weakly blinking dots appeared to him as if they were calling for help.
A single button on the Digivice allowed him to switch screens between this one and the normal one, but its function appeared to only work with those who had gained the Crest’s power and made their Digimon partners evolve to Perfect level. So while this screen appeared on Taichi’s and Yamato’s Digivices, Jou’s and Takeru’s Digivices still did not have this capability.
In any case, they held a group discussion about using this new-found function to find the rest of their members.
But if they all went searching together, it wouldn’t be very efficient.
“So I’ll go with Jou,” Yamato said.
Taichi immediately asked, “Takeru? Wanna come with me?”
Takeru squirmed before replying, “No. I want to go with my brother.”
As Taichi had rightly guessed, Takeru wanted to apologize to Yamato directly for even slightly doubting him and believing in PicoDevimon’s lies at the amusement park.
Yamato looked troubled, but since Jou standing beside him said kindly, “Let’s do that,” he gave an embarrassed nod of thanks.
Since it was already late at night, they decided to camp out nearby the restaurant (since Digitamamon’s real body might come back at any time, no one wanted to stay in the restaurant) and leave bright and early the next morning.
“So anyway, what happened to you two after all that?” Jou asked anew.
“I can explain!” Koromon exclaimed, bouncing up and down in place of raising a hand.
“You?” Taichi asked with raised eyebrows, but Koromon responded back seriously, “Well, it was the first time in my life going to that world.”
“That world?” Gomamon asked, his eyes wide.
“Taichi’s world. The human world!”
Koromon’s story began after the two of them had been dragged into the black hole.
“I can’t explain it very well,” he began by way of introduction, and it certainly was the case.
“There was this doooooom doooom dooom sound like the sound of metal burping, and this distorting waaaaaang waaaaaang waaaaaang sound overlapping it. Those sounds echoed against each other and we ‘saw’ it.”
They “saw” the sound — at first, Yamato and the others thought that Koromon had described it that way by mistake.
But Taichi agreed that there was no other way to explain it.
It wasn’t just that. Koromon and Taichi said they both “heard” a burnt smell of oil that stung their noses and “smelled” the grease of black that had been painted numerous times over more black.
Apparently the methods of perception got a lot more complicated inside the black hole.
In any case, the two of them fell down and down inside of it.
“We couldn’t see anything below us at all, so it was scary not knowing how far we had to fall. But since Taichi was right next to me, it wasn’t too bad,” Koromon spoke happily from his seat on Taichi’s lap.
And then all of a sudden, they came out into a bright place. It was at that moment that Koromon, despite having been MetalGreymon before he was engulfed into the black hole, found out that he had returned at some point back to Koromon.
They were in a garden blooming with radiant flowers, while all around they were surrounded by multiple tall buildings and an unbelievably large wheel to their left.
“That was the Odaiba where Taichi lives. Taichi said it’s a great place, but I didn’t think so. It looked like the whole place was constructed, like it wasn’t natural. Sorry, Taichi.”
At this, Yamato and Jou both grinned ruefully. Koromon continued.
“There were lots and lots of humans around, even some bigger than Taichi! They’re called ‘ah-dolts’. Taichi says it’s like when I evolve into Greymon.”
After that, Taichi and Koromon headed to Taichi’s house. At this point, Koromon said, Taichi warned him not to speak no matter who they met.
“He said if I talk, there’d be a lot of trouble.”
Taichi’s residence was one of the large, stacked square buildings lined up next to each other.
“I said, ‘Taichi, you sure have a big house’ and Taichi said, ‘I don’t. The place I live in has many houses in one building and I just live in one of them.’ What did he call them? Oh right, he said they’re called ‘mansons.'”
“It’s mansions, not mansons,” Takeru commented.
Along the way, Taichi and Koromon passed by some people that Taichi said were his “ney-burs.” Taichi was nervous, praying that no one would notice Koromon, but in truth, no one ‘realized’ them.
“I don’t mean that they realized I was a Digimon. I mean that no one realized that we existed. At first, Taichi got mad at them and said, ‘What gives, I greeted them and they flat-out ignored me.’ But it wasn’t like that at all. It was like no one seemed to see that we were there. This ‘ney-bur’ didn’t see us.”
The moment Taichi realized that, he seemed to lose his cool a little. What was there to disprove that, when he was sucked into the black hole, he hadn’t died and become a ghost that had come back to haunt his own world?
In any case, the two of them reached Taichi’s house.
“Taichi’s little ‘sister’ was there. She’s called Hikari-chan. Their ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ were out, so Hikari-chan was sleeping on the bottom bunk bed. So, Taichi fearfully called out to Hikari-chan. And then—”
Hikari opened her eyes and looked at Taichi, surprise written all over her face.
She looked as if she’d seen a ghost.
Taichi’s heart thumped at her expression, but seemed relieved upon hearing Hikari’s next words.
“Brother… Shouldn’t you be at camp?”
Later on, he checked the date of the newspaper and on TV, but that day was the day that Taichi had left for camp — On August 1st, 1999.
“Taichi was surprised too. He talked about how we spent a really long time traveling through File Island and Server Continent, but in his world only a few hours had passed.”
There was something else even more surprising.
Not only did Hikari see Taichi and Koromon when other people couldn’t, but she had also looked at Koromon without the faintest trace of astonishment. Instead she had greeted him calmly with, “Hi, Koromon”…
…even though they had only just met and neither had told her his name yet.
Not only that, but she asked Koromon if he remembered her.
“I was in a fix. She said we met each other three years ago, but I don’t remember that at all. So when I said I didn’t know, Hikari-chan looked so sad and all she said was ‘Oh….’ I guess it was better for me to have said that I remembered her, even if it was a lie.”
But Taichi seemed bothered about what she had said and asked Hikari what had happened three years ago. He was also interested because Hikari had whispered the word “Digimon” while watching TV, before he had left for camp.
Hikari asked Taichi if he remembered too.
But when Taichi replied that he didn’t, she said, “Then you wouldn’t understand if I told you,” and closed her mouth after that.
It was just then that Taichi glanced out the window and froze.
“Taichi told me to look, so I did, and there were tons of Numemon sliding along the wall of the ‘manson’ across from us. You couldn’t see even a spot of the wall between them, they were so packed together. Then Hikari-chan said, ‘So you can see those slug-looking Digimon too, Brother.’ I think it was my imagination, but she looked really relieved then.”
She revealed that, at some point early in her life, Hikari grew able to see the Digimon not always but at most times. However, because no one would believe her, she stopped talking about them to others long ago.
“Taichi said, ‘It must have been so hard on you…’ and Hikari-chan nodded once before flying into Taichi’s arms, suddenly crying her eyes out. I didn’t know what to do and I wanted to do something to help her, but Taichi looked at me and shook his head. I knew he was telling me to let him handle it, so I didn’t do anything. So, we let that go on for a few minutes… until something happened to us.”
Static suddenly raced through both Taichi’s and Koromon’s bodies.
Much later on, Taichi realized that, just maybe, it had been that way for them all along. That was because, until the moment they met Hikari, who was not only able to see them but touch them as well, they had been invisible to the rest of the world.
In that moment he hadn’t thought anything strange about it, but as he dwelled on it more and more, he realized that something about it was very strange indeed.
“Maybe only people who want to see and touch can see and touch,” Koromon said, but no one knew whether he was right or not.
In any case, both Taichi and Koromon’s bodies gradually grew fainter. Taichi panicked but Koromon said he didn’t.
“I knew that we were going back to the Digital World. I don’t know how I knew, I just did.”
And he was perfectly correct about it. Perhaps his Digimon instincts had told him so.
Just when Taichi and Koromon said their goodbyes to the human world, Hikari spoke up with these mysterious words:
“I’m sure we’ll meet again.”
“I wonder if Hikari-chan knows about the Digital World…”
FOOTNOTES  マンソンじゃなくマンションだよ Unlike the English definition of "mansion" meaning manor, Japanese "mansions" are condominiums. The word "apartment" (apaato) was already used in Japan to refer to apartment complexes only for rent; they are smaller buildings that go no higher than two floors and not made of concrete like condos are. That is why real estate agents used the word "mansion" in their sales of condos, a term that rapidly became popular after the 1960s and grew to be widely accepted.