デジモンアドベンチャー: LAST EVOLUTION 絆
Where to buy this book: Amazon.JP
An ebook version of this final translation is available on Google Drive.
Long fingers typed on a keyboard.
We aren’t so elderly yet that we simply accept a future that has been decided by someone else. In order to reach a higher stage, we are willing to do anything.
This isn’t a memoir. It’s a new story.
One day, there was a massive sun flare. The flames gushed out as if to reach the surface of the stars, and whatever flames danced up into space were swallowed up into the darkness of the universe, vanishing.
A couple, on a date in Odaiba, was the first to notice that something unusual was going on. They pointed up at the summer night sky, attracting other passersby around them to look at where they were pointing. All were struck dumb by what they saw.
Spread across the entire Tokyo sky was a beautiful, breathtaking aurora. Underneath the aurora, building lights and streetlights flickered like Christmas illuminations.
Various emotions swam through the people who viewed the sudden aurora. Some people merely found its whimsical glow beautiful, while others found its unnaturalness creepy. And among them were those who remembered the abnormal weather that took place worldwide over a decade ago.
The next morning, people walked on the crosswalk in front of Nakano Station as the light changed from red to green. It was a bit early for rush hour, so there weren’t that many people out. There weren’t many cars out either, so they could hear the voice of a news announcer coming from some speaker.
“Good morning and welcome to the news. Extreme weather, in the form of a mysterious aurora that originated from the West Coast of the United States, has now spread to Japan. This peculiar aurora was first observed on the United States West Coast three months ago, and has been spotted around various parts of the world since. The government has announced this aurora to be safe, having minimal effect on the peoples’ lifestyles.”
Two high school girls were listening to the news, and one of them turned to her friend.
“Did you see that aurora yesterday?”
“I sure did!”
“It was so pretty!”
“It was my first time seeing one!”
As the two chatted excitedly, a salaryman passed by them holding his smartphone to his ear.
A spark of electricity suddenly ran through the power cables, interrupting that peaceful morning. The pigeons roosting on the cables flapped away in a panic, but none of the people walking on the streets below noticed.
Sparks flew through the traffic lights as well, and they began to flicker at random.
“I’ll be coming home late— Huh? Hello?”
The line had been suddenly disconnected. The salaryman looked at his phone in confusion. Like a ripple effect, the cell phones and music players of people waiting at the intersection began to tweak as well.
Immediately afterwards, a dull collision sound that was out of place for that morning resounded through the air. Everyone jerked at the sound and looked around to find out where it had come from.
Their gazes fell on two cars, one that had been going straight while the other had made a right turn into it. It was a car crash. The traffic lights were blinking at random, no doubt the cause of the accident.
The two drivers got out and began heatedly arguing.
“Oh my god,” one high school girl who had seen the accident whispered, whipping out her phone to record a video.
Even more sparks passed through the telephone lines. The electric currents gathered between two buildings that were not far from the car accident, and a threatening hole appeared.
It was a digital gate, connecting this world to the Digital World.
The people looked up at it in blank amazement when, out of nowhere, the gate shrunk. They thought it had disappeared, but what appeared in its place was a giant parrot Digimon, Parrotmon.
He alighted on the ground in a free-fall with a thick and heavy crunch as the asphalt broke to pieces beneath him.
Parrotmon stood up on his feet, giving an intimidating shriek. He flapped his immense wings, rising up off the ground. The flapping got stronger, creating wind gusts. People, who had sensed the danger and were trying to run, were blown away by the enormous wind pressure, along with cars and signboards.
One of the signboards slammed into the pole of a traffic light hard enough to bend it. The wind pressure kept pushing it down where, beneath it, stood a woman holding her baby tightly to her chest. Fear and the wind blast kept the woman frozen in place, but she cowered with her back to the pole in order to at least keep her baby safe. Her eyes were squeezed shut, imagining the cruel future for herself that was only seconds away.
But the pole never fell on top of her. The woman nervously turned around to look and saw an angel with six brilliant white wings holding back the pole with a gold staff.
“Are you okay?”
Takeru Takaishi ran up to the woman and Angemon. He bent down to meet the woman’s eyes. “Get somewhere safe, hurry!”
Even though she was still in shock, the woman nodded.
“Takeru-kun! Sorry, I just got here!”
Hikari’s voice spoke through the microphone headset in his left ear. Takeru laid a finger on it. At that exact moment, Parrotmon took off, stirring up wind gusts in his wake.
“Hikari-chan, he’s heading your way!”
“Roger!” Hikari said, running out from the south exit of Nakano Station. She immediately saw the approaching Parrotmon in front of her. Stopping in her tracks, she called her partner’s name.
At her call, Angewomon flew out from the viaduct, arrow already poised and ready on her bow.
Parrotmon scrambled to a stop, just barely managing to dodge the Holy Arrow. He changed direction by flying up higher to charge Angewomon.
Angewomon did not avoid him; rather, she took his headbutt on directly from the front. Then, grabbing the antenna-like feathers on Parrotmon’s head, she hoisted them forward with all her might, letting out a yell of “Haaah!”
The two Digimon, off balance, plummeted to the ground. Angewomon flipped their positions around so that she would be on top, and Parrotmon collided back-first into the pavement.
Even though he hit ground, Parrotmon did not appear weakened. He scuffled with Angewomon, fighting wildly as they plunged beneath the viaduct.
Hikari started running for safety as she kept pensive eyes on the oncoming giant Digimon.
Electricity fizzled between the two antenna-like feathers on his head. With the resulting spark, Parrotmon tore Angewomon off of him.
Hikari tumbled from the wind pressure of Parrotmon taking flight. But immediately she sat up and yelled.
Taichi Yagami was standing on a connecting bridge that was some distance away from Hikari. Hearing his sister’s voice through the headset, he knew that Parrotmon would be coming in his direction soon.
With his goggles on, Taichi looked up and gazed ahead of him.
He could see Parrotmon through the goggles. Parrotmon was heading right to him, turning sharp corners between buildings.
“Here he comes, Taichi!” Agumon said beside him.
“Let’s go, Agumon.”
Without any sign of panic at the approaching Parrotmon, Taichi calmly held up his smartphone digivice. That composure reflected his state of mind.
This new digivice was developed by Koushiro Izumi. The old digivice’s functions were embedded into their smartphones by linking the two together.
Taichi’s goggles displayed four predicted routes that Parrotmon would take. These A.R. goggles that predicted the target Digimon’s moves were another of Koushiro’s inventions. With it, handling Digimon ought to be a lot easier.
But just as he thought that, the number of predicted routes suddenly increased to fill up the entire screen. Subdivisions of the routes had sprung up as the target drew in closer.
“Ehh?!” Taichi cried out pathetically, his former composed attitude all evaporated.
Unmindful of Taichi’s confusion, Parrotmon kept coming straight at him. Taichi and Agumon had to scramble out of his way at the last minute.
Agumon let out a moan at their fumble, while Taichi next to him said “Damn it!” under his breath and stood up.
“These aren’t helpful at all! Koushiro!” Taichi shouted into his headset as he angrily pulled the A.R. goggles off his head.
“I told you, they’re still a work in progress!” Koushiro, in his office, protested as he typed on his keyboard. “Anyway, he’s circling around to attack!”
“I know that,” Taichi said, standing up. Parrotmon had made a tight turn and was heading for him again.
Agumon leaped towards Parrotmon.
A light shone from Taichi’s digivice at his voice. Bathed in that light, Agumon changed shape. His larger orange body took on blue stripes, with a splendid powerful-looking horn. His carnivorous teeth and claws looked fearfully sharp and hooked.
Agumon, evolve! Greymon!
Greymon intercepted Parrotmon, grabbing his forearms with his own. The two of them ended up in an arm-wrestling position.
“It’s just as your intel said,” Hikari said from her position a bit of a distance away as she looked up at Greymon and Parrotmon.
“How did you know that the Digimon would appear in front of Nakano Station?”
“There’s a lot of energy put into opening a digital gate. It’s possible to infer in advance where it will happen when you follow the energy current,” Koushiro answered Takeru’s question, just as the situation changed. Parrotmon was beginning to get a slight upper hand on Greymon.
“You know what to do, right? Apprehend him as quick as possible and—“
“Avoid damaging the surroundings as best as can be, right? …Greymon!”
Hearing Taichi call his name, Greymon put more power into both arms. The ground cracked beneath his weight and he lifted Parrotmon up into the air with all his might. Then he slammed him bodily to the ground and held him down.
A smile on his lips, Taichi watched over Greymon’s battle with trust shining in his eyes.
His smartphone chirped. When he looked at it, he saw a map with a pin on the location “Shikinomori Park.”
“The digital gate will appear at those coordinates in ninety seconds. Lead Parrotmon there and we’ll send him back to the Digital World.”
Taichi and the others replied “Roger!” at Koushiro’s instructions.
Greymon raised his fist in order to knock Parrotmon out cold. But in that moment, electricity shot out from the feathers on Parrotmon’s head again. It grazed Greymon’s face, causing him to stagger. His body swerved, slamming onto the stairs of the connecting bridge. The stairs collapsed in falling rubble.
Taking advantage of that opening, Parrotmon opened his wings wide and shot up into the skies.
“Greymon!” Taichi cried, running up to Greymon. He spoke into his headset. “Hikari! Takeru!”
“Going after him!”
Taking his call, Hikari and Takeru ran through the streets. Angemon and Angewomon pursued Parrotmon from the skies.
“Drive him to the retrieval point!”
Hearing Hikari’s order, Angewomon unleashed her Holy Arrow. The arrow of light nicked Parrotmon, throwing him off balance. As she was about to quickly unleash another arrow, Parrotmon straightened up and shot an electric burst at them. Angewomon and Angemon pulled back to avoid the blow. The electric shock ran through the empty air between them and hit the outer wall of the Nakano Sun Plaza, causing rubble to fall to the ground like a rockslide.
People at the bottom of the building screamed. Takeru pushed himself up using the handrail of a connecting bridge and shouted, “Angemon!”
Angemon flew speedily through the air, deflecting the falling rubble towards empty, uninhabited places with his gold staff. But then, a massive piece of debris came down. A man was standing directly beneath it, paralyzed by pure panic. Deciding that he wouldn’t be able to effectively ricochet it away, Angemon scooped up the man in his arms and flew. The sound of the debris crashing to the ground came just behind them. It was a close call.
“Parrotmon normally isn’t the type of Digimon who likes battle. He could have been affected from the aurora last night,” Koushiro said as he perused Parrotmon’s data on his monitor.
“Why now when the aurora is long gone?” Hikari asked out loud in surprise.
Behind her, Taichi and Greymon were moving. Angewomon and Parrotmon continued to battle each other in the skies, but both sides were nimble so neither of them got a proper hit in.
“Sixty seconds until the gate opens!”
“Never mind, let’s first get him to the retrieval point,” Takeru said a bit impatiently.
“A second is all we need. Stop him from moving!” Taichi said into his headset as he ran alongside Greymon.
At Takeru’s call, Angemon approached Parrotmon with his staff ready. He aimed a full-body blow at Parrotmon’s head, knocking him to the ground.
Taichi shouted, “Greymon!”
Greymon made a giant leap off the ground. He landed on the roof of a nearby building, then jumped off that to grab the falling Parrotmon’s throat with his teeth. The two large Digimon crashed to the ground, rolling around in a scuffle. They broke through a glass building in front of them which finally slowed them down. Greymon attempted to pin Parrotmon down just then, but Parrotmon gave a mighty struggle.
The short-range electric shock that he shot out made Greymon wince and Parrotmon used that moment to slip out of the building and flee to the skies.
“Damn it! You okay?”
Greymon nodded at Taichi’s call.
“Hold him down!”
Angewomon flew gallantly through the air, unleashing three arrows consecutively in her chase. Parrotmon swiveled sharply to avoid them, shooting back with his lightning attack.
Angewomon swiftly moved in mid-air to dodge it. Immediately afterwards, while Parrotmon’s attention was focused on the enemy in front of him, a fireball from the ground struck Parrotmon directly. With a roar, the flames engulfed Parrotmon.
Taichi raised his arms in triumph as Greymon stood beside him with smoke billowing from his mouth. That Mega Flame had made its mark. It definitely should have brought damage to Parrotmon.
As the explosion cleared, they saw Parrotmon wobbling in mid-air, just as they had expected. It was working.
But what happened next was unexpected. Parrotmon, who appeared to have lost consciousness, was beginning to free-fall. There was a building directly beneath him, and people could be seen on the roof.
“He’s going to hit that building!”
Hikari and Takeru cried out in horror as they converged with Taichi.
Angemon and Angewomon did their best to catch up to him, but they were too far.
Taichi’s eyes widened. He could hear screams coming from the people on the roof and he felt himself go cold.
No good. They wouldn’t make it in time.
Just when he was about to turn his eyes away, a heroic-looking wolf Digimon bodyslammed into Parrotmon, blowing him backwards. The two Digimon fell straight into Shikinomori Park.
Taichi watched what happened, stupefied.
“Garurumon…” He whispered.
The loud sound of an engine came from behind them, and a motorcycle raced towards them. Taichi and the others shrank back.
The motorcycle parked in front of Taichi, a bit up ahead.
“Don’t be careless, Taichi!” Yamato Ishida shouted in anger as he took off his helmet.
Taichi gaped when he saw Yamato’s face, but immediately retorted back in annoyance, “Says you! Get here earlier!”
“Unlike you, I’m busy!”
“Koushiro-san. We’ve successfully led him to the retrieval point,” Takeru reported calmly into his headset as the two kept arguing beside him.
“Yes, I saw. Ten more seconds until the gate opens. Make sure he stays there!”
Hearing Koushiro’s command, Yamato turned to look at Shikinomori Park, all of his attention redirected to the problem before him. “We’ll talk about this later.”
“Yeah. Let’s finish this.”
Taichi stood next to Yamato, both holding out their smartphone digivices. The light from their digivices shone on their two Digimon.
Greymon’s left arm formed into a machine, and his head and chest were covered with armor. Six purple wings appeared on his back.
Greymon, super-evolve! MetalGreymon!
Garurumon stood up on his hind legs with a howl, changing into a bipedal form. A leather guard attached to his left shoulder and knee, and spiky brass knuckles were equipped on his left fist.
Garurumon, super-evolve! WereGarurumon!
Parrotmon had regained consciousness and was trying to take off from Shikinomori Park. MetalGreymon glared at him pointedly. He wasn’t getting away anymore.
MetalGreymon bent back his upper body and the hatches on his chest opened. It was his finishing attack, Giga Destroyer. Two missiles launched, flying low on the ground.
The missiles ascended up into the air just before they rained down on Parrotmon directly. The huge explosion that resulted shook the air.
Parrotmon, with his tattered wings, flew out of the explosion. As if anticipating that, WereGarurumon jumped up high. His whole body spun before he kicked Parrotmon to the ground. The impetus slammed Parrotmon’s body down and into a building. The sound of the impact rippled up everyone’s legs to their stomachs. Smoke and broken glass soared from the damaged building wall.
Parrotmon lay stretched out on the ground, unable to stand up. He was conscious but obviously weakened.
“Ten!” Koushiro’s voice said through the headset. He was counting down to when the digital gate opened.
Angewomon was in the skies, poised with her arrow ready, and Parrotmon shot lightning at her in a last act of defiance. But Angemon covered Angewomon, deflecting it with his staff. The lightning bolt hit the ground instead, stirring up clouds of dust.
Angewomon shot multiple arrows at Parrotmon, piercing his wings, shoulders, and legs. Parrotmon’s body was fixed completely to the ground.
“Three, two, one, zero!”
At the exact time as Koushiro’s countdown, a hole opened up beneath Parrotmon and the digital gate appeared.
Parrotmon gave a wild cry as he sank into it. When his entire body was in, the gate closed with a snap.
Koushiro, who watched it all on a monitor in his office, gave a sigh of relief and leaned back in his chair.
“The digital gate is closed. Parrotmon’s transfer has been completed.”
The others at the scene also sighed in relief when they heard the report.
Taichi and Yamato looked at one another and gave a high-five to show their appreciation for the other’s efforts. Several buildings had been destroyed, but they had defended lives.
Their Digimon, back in their smaller forms, returned to them.
“We did it, Taichi,” Agumon said.
Gabumon and Tailmon rushed back to Yamato and Hikari, while Patamon landed on top of Takeru’s head as though it was his own personal seat.
“Still, only the four of us came? What happened to the others?”
“Everyone has their own business to take care of. We have no right to complain,” Yamato pointed out calmly at Taichi’s disgruntled squawk.
“Did you guys eat breakfast? Do you want to eat together if you haven’t yet?” Takeru suggested, looking around at the group.
“I’ll go!” Patamon said, raising his short arm adorably.
“Me too! Me too!”
Gabumon and Agumon jumped up and down for joy.
“What about you, Hikari?” Tailmon asked.
“Of course I’ll go. What about you, Brother?”
Taichi looked at his phone and smiled up at them apologetically.
“Sorry. I gotta get to class.”
Waving goodbye, Taichi hurriedly rushed off.
“Mom said to show your face at home once in awhile!” Hikari shouted at her brother’s retreating back.
Yamato turned to Takeru. “Sorry, I’ve got stuff to take care of too. Takeru, will you take Gabumon?”
Yamato got on his motorcycle and made a U-turn, driving off.
Agumon and Gabumon watched as their partners busily retreated and said in unison, “…They’re gone.”
The university cafeteria was bustling with students. The sunlight shone pleasantly through the large windows, creating a lively, invigorating atmosphere.
But Taichi’s heart felt gloomy. He was looking down with his brows scrunched at a form labeled “Summary of Bachelor Thesis” on the table.
“Why are you acting so quiet? You’re not even eating.”
Taichi looked up at that voice. At some point, without him noticing, his school friends Morikawa and Nemoto had sat down across from him.
The fashionable Morikawa was wearing a stylish outfit as usual. Nemoto was a girl who attended the same seminar as Taichi, and acted as the older sister of their group.
“You still haven’t decided on the theme of your graduation thesis?” Nemoto asked.
Taichi quickly turned the form over.
“It’s not that I haven’t decided. I just can’t decide,” Taichi answered. He split his wooden chopsticks and began eating his udon.
“That’s the same thing,” Nemoto said in exasperation.
“Do you even want to graduate?”
“Of course. And that’s a fact,” Taichi said, pointing his chopsticks at Morikawa.
“What about job applications?” Nemoto asked.
“Of course I’ll do that too,” he said, this time pointing his chopsticks at her.
“Don’t point at people with chopsticks.”
Morikawa held up three fingers, smiling triumphantly. “I’ve gotten job offers from three places so far. What about you?”
“Urk,” Taichi grimaced, unable to find a response.
“You haven’t even begun applying yet, have you? Are you sure you’ll be okay?” Nemoto asked worriedly.
“I’ll be fine… Now just isn’t the right time,” Taichi said, trying to sound tough, and he continued to eat.
“Who said that?” Yamato asked his friend Abe, who was walking in front of him. They were climbing up the entrance stairway of their university.
“It’s everyone, man. Everyone! The word is that Ishida is gonna be welcomed as an executive officer for the S.D.F.!”
“Who would believe a stupid story like that?” Yamato said in exasperation.
“What, so it’s not true? But you guys are famous, it’s no wonder there are rumors about you. Comes with being a ‘chosen one,’ right?”
Abe tapped on his smartphone and showed the screen to Yamato. It had online news articles on the Parrotmon that had appeared that morning.
“It was you guys who took care of the incident in Nakano today, right?”
Yamato gazed at the smartphone screen without answering.
“The only thing ordinary guys like me have going for them is working for society starting in April.”
“You got a job?”
“My first choice,” Abe said proudly.
“I see… Congratulations.”
Yamato’s words were congratulatory, but there was an awkward smile on his face. He couldn’t help but feel somehow that his friend had gotten the jump on him.
Abe gave him an easy laugh and a thumbs-up before turning around and heading up the stairs.
As Yamato watched his friend’s retreating back, a shadowy sensation crossed his mind that he was being left behind.
It was only when his friend was no longer visible that Yamato looked down.
As he wandered Shibuya, a light musical tune reached his ears. Yamato looked up to his left to see where the music was coming from.
A small boy was playing the harmonica inside a musical instrument store.
Feelings of both nostalgia and desolation welled up in his heart. His band had broken up years ago, but he still enjoyed music as a hobby. Yet, why did it make him feel so alone?
Yamato turned his face back to look ahead and continued to walk.
Taichi walked alone on the dark streets at night. After his classes today, he had gone straight to his part-time job at a pachinko parlor and was now heading home.
When he opened the front door of his apartment, he switched on the light. This was his fourth year living on his own, which he had begun once he’d entered university. He was used to coming to an empty home with no one to greet him by now.
He dropped a convenience store bag on the table. In it was the katsudon that would be his dinner. He opened his fridge to take out a can of beer.
As he sat at the table, he suddenly remembered his conversation with Morikawa and Nemoto earlier that afternoon. The gloomy, uncertain feelings came flickering through his head once more.
Without much thought, he went to the TV rack and opened its topmost drawer, looking inside. His original digivice and goggles were kept there.
As he gazed at them, he easily remembered the days when he had gone on that adventure with his friends. Sometimes he had doubts and sometimes he and his friends had clashed, but it was because of those days that he was the person he was now.
After a few moments of gazing, Taichi slowly took a hold of his smartphone.
Taichi and Yamato sat facing each other in an offal meat restaurant in Asagaya. Yamato came all the way from Shibuya to meet Taichi after receiving his call.
“I see. In other words, your classmates criticized you and now you’re feeling troubled,” Yamato said as he held his glass full of beer.
“I’m not troubled,” Taichi responded, chugging his own beer. “I just want to do what I really want to do.”
It was how he truly felt, but somehow it also made him feel awkward and embarrassed. Taichi looked away.
“If you have such a positive outlook on it already, then why did you call me?”
That hit a nerve.
“Ugh,” Taichi responded, quickly changing the subject. “Yamato, you’re heading to graduate school, right? Why aren’t you applying to jobs?”
It was Yamato’s turn to look away. “No idea.”
“I don’t know if going to graduate school is really even the right choice for me. I’m doing it to find out what I really want to do with my life… But maybe all I want is a grace period.”
Saying that quietly, Yamato drained his beer glass. He sighed and looked at Taichi, continuing. “We know a lot of people around us with goals, though, so maybe it’s just more of a sensitive topic than usual for us.”
“You have a point,” Taichi said, remembering their friends. “Jou is steadily becoming a doctor, Mimi put up an online shop selling general goods, and Koushiro is a CEO. Even Hikari, Daisuke, and the others look like they’re working towards a goal…”
Taichi grabbed the offal meat with his chopsticks. “By the way, what about Takeru?”
“He told me he’s writing a novel. He hasn’t let me read it yet, though,” Yamato answered, eating a piece of offal meat.
“A novel, huh?” Taichi murmured in admiration.
“Sora has been putting all of her time into studying flower arrangement recently.”
“Hmm,” Taichi answered halfheartedly as he played with his piece of offal meat in the sauce dish.
Yamato’s gaze dropped to the table, his expression forlorn. “Things can’t stay the same like they used to. Choosing your own path can sometimes mean being alienated from friends.”
Taichi was already well aware of that. But pain still shot through his chest hearing it put into words again. He sighed dramatically in order to alleviate the heavy atmosphere.
“The only things that never change are our Digimon.”
“A lot’s happened and now we can open the gate whenever we want, but those guys really do stay the same.”
“You should take Gabumon with you to your classes,” Taichi said jokingly.
Yamato smiled wryly. “Don’t be stupid. Why don’t you take Agumon to your classes?”
“It’s not that simple. I have my own life to live.”
There, the conversation dropped and the two hung their heads awkwardly. That’s right. People each had their own lives to live, and there was nothing else that could be done about it.
In the silence, they could hear the conversations of the other restaurant patrons.
“If that’s the case, I’d rather not grow up at all,” a woman’s voice was saying. They felt as if she was voicing their thoughts out loud.
“Hey, Yamato. We…”
Taichi was about to break the uncomfortable silence when there was a loud thump behind him. He turned around in surprise to see that the girl sitting behind him had collapsed to the ground. Her arm was drooped to the floor, telling them instantly that she was unconscious.
A woman that appeared to be her friend rushed to the fallen woman and crouched down. “Hey, wake up!”
“Is she okay?” Taichi said, standing up.
“I don’t know!” the woman said in bewilderment.
“Yamato, call the ambulance!”
Taichi rushed to the woman as well, bending down on his knees. “Did you drink?”
“No!” The woman cried with grief. Taichi looked at their table.
There was a smartphone on the table, its screen wet from spilled oolong tea. A light glimmered from it.
Cumulonimbus clouds were forming across the sky.
As the students sat in the lecture hall, listening attentively to the professor’s lesson, Taichi secretly browsed the news with his smartphone on the desk.
“As of early morning on the 20th, there have been reports of several people falling into a coma throughout Tokyo and being transported to the hospital. Eight of them are men, while five are woman. The cause of their collapse is still unknown, and none appear to have regained consciousness yet.”
As he slowly perused the articles, he received an e-mail notification. The sender was “Koushiro Izumi.”
Taichi, Yamato, Koushiro, Takeru, and their Digimon partners gathered in the conference room at Koushiro’s office in Odaiba. The room was tidy and simple, but gave off a chic atmosphere. There was a decorative plant placed by the windows, and on his desk were his computer and multiple monitors.
“Tentomon,” Agumon said in greeting.
“Have you been well?” Tentomon said in his usual friendly manner.
“Thank you all for coming when you’re so busy,” Koushiro said formally.
“It’s an emergency, right? Don’t worry about it,” Taichi assured.
“Indeed. Take a look at this first.”
Koushiro shifted his weight on his swivel chair to face the monitors and double-clicked an icon with his mouse. A portrait-oriented video that looked like it was filmed by smartphone opened up. The video was in an apartment room. Exotic-looking non-Japanese buildings could be seen behind the windows, and there was a woman wearing glasses standing before it. She was someone they were all familiar with.
“Hola! Long time no see, everyone! It’s Miyako from her study abroad! Paella is amazing, let me tell you!” Miyako Inoue said excitedly with both thumbs up. She came closer to the camera.
“Wai— Miyako-san, you’ll look blurry if you move around like that!”
“What, no! You’re just bad at this, Hawkmon. Give it here.”
Her hand covered the screen before it switched to selfie mode. Hawkmon was standing dazedly under Miyako’s arm.
“I may be in another country right now, but I’m still pretty active in the online Digimon community and people come to me asking for advice and stuff. Which is how I received this e-mail.”
“Here it is,” Hawkmon said.
The camera moved in a blur, showing her computer screen. There was a window tab of the e-mail opened, but the blur made it a bit hard to read.
“I wasn’t sure what to do, so I figured dump… I mean, consulting with you guys would be the best choice. So I’ve forwarded the e-mail to Izumi-senpai.”
The screen shook violently again, returning to selfie mode.
Miyako saluted into the camera and continued cheerfully, “I leave the rest to you then! Adios!”
“Adios!” Hawkmon added as he came into camera view, and the video ended as blurry as it had begun.
“…You guys also heard her say she was dumping this on us, right?” Taichi mumbled. He couldn’t help himself.
“What’s the e-mail about?” Yamato asked Koushiro.
“It’s better to hear it directly from the sender rather than from myself.”
“What? The sender is here?” Takeru asked.
“Please come in,” Koushiro called out. The door opened and a man and a woman entered the room.
The woman was young, wearing a blouse and skirt. Her long braided hair sloped over her right shoulder. There was a cute butterfly hairpiece pinned at the end of it. Her eyes were a beautiful green and she had a soft smile.
The taller male appeared Japanese, with a stiff look on his face that could be interpreted as either serious or surly. His good physique was apparent even through his suit.
The woman introduced herself in a lively voice. “Good morning, everyone! Pleased to meet you all. I’m Menoa Bellucci, an associate professor at Liberica University in New York City.”
Her cheerful, daring personality was clear from her brisk tone.
The man spoke up next, his face still as stiff as a board. “I’m Kyoutaro Imura, her assistant. Pleased to meet you.”
His voice, in contrast, was curt. He seemed like the type that preferred keeping his distance from strangers.
“Pleased to meet you!” the Digimon greeted back cheerfully.
“Pleased to meet you. You’re very good at Japanese, Menoa-san,” Takeru said, impressed.
“Thanks,” Menoa said lightly.
“Just so we’re all clear on this, our specialty isn’t on physics or chemistry but Digimon research,” Imura continued indifferently.
Taichi and Yamato both immediately looked nervous.
“Don’t worry. We’re not planning on using you guys as lab rats.”
“We wanted your help on solving a certain investigation,” Menoa said, grinning as she looked around at them. “Since you’re the heroes who have saved the world again and again, your help is necessary.”
“So you’ve done your research.”
Menoa shrugged at Yamato’s words. “Research is my specialty.”
“The investigation we’re working on has to do with the mass coma incidents that have been occurring throughout the world recently.”
At Imura’s words, Taichi and Yamato looked at one another.
Koushiro double-clicked something on his desk computer and everyone peered to look at the screen. It showed an opened photo of someone collapsed on the side of a road. There were other photos that were similar to it, even photos of patients lying in hospital beds. He also had a distribution list of where the victims were located on the world map.
“A large number of otherwise healthy people worldwide have fallen into a comatose state. Probably three hundred of them have been reported to date,” Menoa said as she peered at the monitor. “The victims appeared random at first, but they all have a connection. It’s—”
“All of them are Chosen Children?”
“As expected, you’re sharp, Koushiro Izumi,” Imura said monotonously.
“There wouldn’t be a reason for you to come here otherwise. Also, I have noticed that several Chosen Children on the database have dropped contact out of nowhere recently.”
From the three computer monitors on Koushiro’s desk, the far left displayed the list of the Chosen Children. A few names on that list were marked with “Unable to communicate” next to them.
Menoa, watching Koushiro explain with a sidelong look, returned her gaze to the center monitor. “So far, none of them have regained consciousness. All of their Digimon partners are missing as well.”
“No way,” Takeru said, his eyes wide with shock.
“Their Digimon too?” Patamon said worriedly.
“From the four places that we’ve investigated, we’ve found minuscule amounts of digital static and traces of a Digimon,” Imura said in his businesslike tone.
Koushiro frowned as he put a hand up to his chin. “So you’re saying that the criminal is a Digimon.”
“Yes. We’re certain of it. We created a pattern out of the traces of digital static and went in pursuit. We’ve located that Digimon’s hiding place. What’s more, this Digimon’s data is made up of patterns that are unlike that of Digimon in the Digital World.”
“Then it’s…!” Koushiro’s eyes widened.
Even Taichi and Yamato gulped in surprise.
“Yes. We call it Eosmon.”
“Eosmon,” Yamato repeated.
“That’s the name I’ve given it. Since I found it one early morning, I took the name of Eos, the Greek god of dawn.”
“This goes without saying, but we can’t tolerate any more damages,” said Imura.
“A Digimon that steals the Chosen Children’s awareness…” Koushiro whispered, as if reaffirming the threat.
“But there is a way to save them.”
“Huh?” They all said at Menoa’s words.
“Eosmon is stealing their consciousness by changing it into data, in some way,” Imura said.
“And it seems to be saving that data temporarily in an area of cyberspace that’s under its control.”
“Then that means…” Takeru said.
Patamon on top of his head tilted his own head in thought. “In other words?”
Koushiro’s eyes lowered as he deliberated. “If we defeat Eosmon and salvage that awareness data from cyberspace—”
“Everyone will be saved,” Taichi finished the sentence.
Menoa turned towards them. “We want your help. That’s why we’ve come here.”
“Then we’ll just have to do it! Right, guys?” Taichi cried out determinedly, turning to Yamato and the others.
Yamato felt a wave of nostalgia seeing Taichi like that, but immediately put on a stern face. “Yeah. But as I’m sure you already know, Taichi, there are people’s lives on the line.”
“We should form our plan with caution.”
“Urk…” Taichi drooped a bit under Yamato and Koushiro’s warnings.
“But we also have no time to be taking things slow,” Menoa said.
“That’s why we’ve already devised a plan.” Imura placed a USB memory stick on Koushiro’s desk.
“If there’s anything at all that we can help with, just say so,” Menoa added. “We’ll do everything we can.”
A ceiling projector was turned on, projecting onto a wall.
“Now, let’s begin the briefing,” Koushiro said, standing before the wall. “This plan has been made based on Menoa-san’s suggestions. Our target is Eosmon.”
A 3-D figure of Eosmon made with wireframing appeared on the screen. They could tell that it had antennae and wings, but the structure of its whole body overall was unclear.
Gabumon’s face turned dark as he looked at the image. “So this is Eosmon.”
“Hey, Taichi. We just have to beat this Digimon, right?” Agumon said, sounding motivated.
“Yeah, that’s right.” Taichi gave a big nod. Seeing the images made him finally feel that this was really happening.
“Its level is unknown, but I believe the four Digimon that we have here will be enough to handle it.”
The 3-D wireframe figures of Agumon, Gabumon, Patamon, and Tentomon appeared on screen.
“Hey, it’s us.”
“Why do we look like webs?” Patamon asked innocently.
Letting the Digimon’s words go in one ear and out the other, Koushiro continued with a serious look. “The thing we need to worry about most is…”
“Not letting it escape,” Menoa said, resting her chin in her hands. “That’s right.”
The projector displayed the area map where Eosmon was hidden.
“Therefore, we’ll first use Kabuterimon and Angemon to block off the entire area where the target is.”
The lines on the map that surrounded the target turned into a square.
“This looks like drive fishing,” Tentomon remarked.
“The website’s domain is linked to an aquarium, so I guess that thought works?” Takeru said.
“For the blockade, we will use the newly programmed ‘wide area siege net.’ It’s strong enough to defend against Perfect level attacks.”
Koushiro fiddled with the switch and Greymon and Garurumon appeared on screen.
“Once we’ve finished locking the area down, Taichi-san and Yamato-san will eliminate the target with their partners.”
Koushiro turned to Menoa, sitting on the sofa. “We’ll leave Menoa-san to handle the backup for this strategy.”
“Of course!” Menoa said confidently, sitting up straight.
“The goal of this plan is to recover the awareness data that Eosmon has stolen. Defeating Eosmon, therefore, is essential. Let’s keep our guards up, everyone, and make every action count!”
Taking in Koushiro’s words, Taichi slapped a palm on his knee to psyche himself up. “All right, guys! Let’s go!”
Taichi and the others flew with their Digimon partners through the tunnel-like passages of the cyberspace.
“Do you all know the plan?” Koushiro asked.
“We’re fine. Don’t worry about it,” Taichi answered.
“Well, I guess it’s not that difficult,” Koushiro agreed, fixing his necktie.
A buzzer rang and they looked up. A browser window opened in the direction of their travel, showing Menoa.
“Hello. Can you hear me, everyone?”
Menoa and Imura were using the computer in Koushiro’s office to backup their strategy.
“Menoa-san, are you ready to salvage the awareness data?” Koushiro asked.
Menoa winked and the screen flipped to Imura.
“If you capture all of the data in that area of cyberspace, then theoretically it will be possible to recover their consciousness.”
“You guys are almost there. Are you ready?”
“Yeah. We’ll end this fast.”
“Taichi, don’t let your guard down,” Yamato rebuked.
Menoa gave a small smirk, said “Good luck,” and the window closed.
As they advanced through the winding cyberspace tubes, they saw a large sphere up ahead. It was the domain of the aquarium, which was their destination, as well as the cyberspace where Eosmon resided.
Taichi and the group plunged into the sphere. In preparation for battle, their Digimon partners evolved to Adult level just before they entered.
“Transfer complete,” said Menoa.
The interior of the sphere was curved walls, with a thick pillar extending vertically at the center. Perhaps because it was the aquarium’s domain, schools of fish swam through the icons and blocks of various sizes floating in space.
Taichi looked around. He found their target at once.
Eosmon was floating in mid-air in front of the central pillar. It wasn’t even bothering to hide.
Its crystal wings were folded over itself so that it looked like a round ball. They couldn’t tell what its body looked like, only that it was quite small.
In Koushiro’s office, Menoa’s fingers were typing on the keyboard at lightning speed as she worked on the backup.
“Moving onto phase two of the mission. Backup of the area’s data commencing.”
“I see it. I’m sending you the wide area siege net.”
As Imura typed on the keyboard, cylindrical objects that looked like a bazooka appeared before Kabuterimon and Angemon.
At Koushiro’s urging, Kabuterimon and Angemon separated to the left and the right. They moved around the cyberspace in a circle, shooting out black spheres from the bazookas.
The black spheres flew to the center of the area, stopping in mid-air.
Kabuterimon and Angemon continued to shoot the bazookas, working silently. It wasn’t long before Eosmon’s antennae began to unfurl like licks of flame out from its curled up head. But Eosmon didn’t move. All it did was look out from behind its wings and observe the two Digimon.
After confirming that there were enough floating black spheres to cover the cyberspace area, Imura made his move.
“Wide area siege net at deployment rate of one hundred percent. Active.”
When Imura pressed the key, the black spheres popped, creating rays of light that flew in all directions. The rays connected together as they expanded through the area in the blink of an eye.
As if finally sensing that something was wrong, Eosmon opened its wings, revealing its entire form.
It had long arms and short legs. Its wings looked like hexagonal panels put together. It was probably an insect Digimon. Its size was so small that it was smaller than Taichi.
Eosmon flew off and tried to escape outside, but the net of light stretched out in front of it blocked its path. It turned and tried to find a different route, but there was already no place to run.
“The enclosure is complete. Now it’s your turn to salvage. Do your best,” Imura reported matter-of-factly.
“Well, that’s a haughty way to put it,” Yamato grumbled as he climbed off Garurumon’s back.
“We just have to beat that guy, right?” said Taichi.
At Taichi’s “Let go!” as the signal, Greymon and Garurumon leaped towards Eosmon.
Noticing their presence, Eosmon’s eyes moved from the net to the incoming Digimon.
A fireball was already built up in Greymon’s mouth and he attacked with his Mega Flame. The flame hit Eosmon squarely. When Eosmon flew out of the explosion, he kept shooting more fireballs which also hit it. However, the opponent didn’t appear to be fazed.
As Eosmon kept running even while receiving attacks, Garurumon chased after it. He spat blue-white flame at Eosmon, but it dodged nimbly. Garurumon kept attacking, but Eosmon kept evading the blows with quick moves.
All of a sudden, one panel of Eosmon’s wings broke off and aimed for Garurumon. The hexagonal object flew straight for its mark.
Garurumon twisted himself, managing to avoid it. The flying panel gradually lost speed and stopped in mid-air.
“Ghh. It’s fast,” Garurumon said in annoyance.
“But not so fast that we can’t catch it,” Yamato said encouragingly.
“We can do this!” Taichi said.
Greymon pursued Eosmon, shooting out fireballs. But the distance between him and Eosmon, who was flying at a lower altitude, wasn’t shortening.
Angemon, supporting Greymon from higher up, threw his staff at Eosmon. Eosmon braked suddenly when the staff came down, blocking its path. It changed direction, ascending vertically along the central pillar. Kabuterimon was waiting for that and aimed for Eosmon with his Mega Blaster. He unleashed the energy he had stored up before him in one blow.
Eosmon tried hurriedly to dodge it, but the shot hit its left arm. It lost its balance and flew backwards, spinning.
Garurumon chased after it with his claws outstretched. Eosmon was sent flying with tremendous speed into blocks that floated like bubbles through the digital cyberspace.
Seeing Eosmon buried beneath the blocks, Takeru cried out, “We got it!”
“Now’s the time!” said Koushiro.
“Let’s do this!” Taichi said fiercely.
Just as their Digimon were about to attack in unison, Eosmon raised its head. Its body flashed with intense light.
“Guh!” Their Digimon shielded their eyes.
“What’s that?” said Kabuterimon.
“This is…!” Angemon said in a tight voice.
On the monitor in Koushiro’s office, Eosmon’s icon filled with “0”s and “1”s running through it. The data that made up Eosmon was rapidly being rewritten.
When she saw that, Menoa’s eyes widened in astonishment and she whispered, “…Evolution.”
As the flash died down, Taichi and Yamato lowered their arms covering their faces and slowly looked ahead. Standing before them was Eosmon, now with an even bigger, hardened-looking body.
As if to demonstrate its newfound power, Eosmon slowly spread a raised hand in front of its face.
Apart from slender arms extending from its shoulders, it also had larger arms made up of hexagonal panels coming out from both sides of its abdomen. The feelers on its head rippled like flames, and its crystal-like wings were beautiful to look at. Its body parts were angular all over, making it look more mechanical than biological.
Takeru muttered in shock, “Eosmon just…”
“Evolved…” Even Koushiro looked upset.
Greymon gazed undauntedly at Eosmon. No matter what shape their opponent took on, it didn’t change what they needed to do.
“Yeah. Let’s do it!” Garurumon agreed.
Greymon and Garurumon lunged towards Eosmon. To meet them head-to-head, Eosmon used its large hands to push itself against a block and shot forward from the recoil.
Its speed was so great that Greymon didn’t have time to step out of Eosmon’s way. Greymon’s body was easily lifted and slammed into the siege net, held down.
“Greymon!” Taichi cried.
At Yamato’s orders, Garurumon opened his mouth and let loose a stream of fire. But just before it reached Eosmon, the fire dispersed as if blocked by an invisible wall.
Yamato’s jaw tightened. “It deflected it!”
Shining particles of light floated around Eosmon. Seeing that made Koushiro realize what was happening.
“Its scales! Eosmon is shedding scales that deflect attacks!”
“In that case…” Takeru said, giving Angemon a look.
Angemon immediately headed towards Eosmon to attack. Eosmon was just about to plunge its antennae that sharpened like a lance at Greymon, when Angemon drove it away with swipes of his golden staff.
Retreating from Greymon, Eosmon landed on top of the panel that it had discharged earlier. Angemon chased it, swinging his arm to shoot his Heaven’s Knuckle at close range.
They all thought that Angemon’s attack had hit its mark, but all it destroyed was the panel that Eosmon was standing on.
While confused, Angemon sensed a presence above him and looked up. Eosmon, who should have been standing in front of him a moment ago, was standing on a panel that was far above.
Before Angemon could understand what was going on, Eosmon pushed off against the panel with its limbs. The oncoming rush was too fast for Angemon to react, and the feathers of his wings scattered painfully.
“Angemon!” Takeru shouted, appalled.
Eosmon used the panels to move at high speed through the air in all directions. It looked like both a threat and a display showing off its power.
“It’s fast!” Taichi said in surprise, following Eosmon as hard as he could with his eyes.
“The panel that it first ejected…” Koushiro said.
“Was meant to be used for high-speed travel,” Angemon said, the pain from the damage he had endured seeping into his voice.
“I’ll stop them!”
Kabuterimon took flight to try and release his Mega Blaster, but Eosmon passed by him at high speed as if ridiculing him.
Unable to catch the target in his sights, Kabuterimon murmured, “Oh crap.”
While moving at high speed, Eosmon extended its antennae like a beam. The antennae hit Kabuterimon in the shoulder, throwing him backwards.
Koushiro looked fretful. “Menoa-san, what’s the status on the area’s data backup?”
“Sixty two percent. It still needs more time!” Menoa answered, her eyes running across the screen.
Yamato raised his voice. “Taichi! No holding back!”
“Yeah. Let’s do it!”
In response to their humans’ will to finish this at once, Greymon and Garurumon became spheres of light, rising up in a spiral like upside down meteors. When the lights crossed together, WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon’s heads appeared and the light particles spewing out from them took shape. Even Eosmon stared at the glow of the beautiful light.
Unable to help herself as she looked at the monitor, Menoa whispered, “This is…”
Even Imura’s voice held a faint tinge of astonishment.
The intense light that illuminated the cyberspace area gradually faded. When the light disappeared, Omegamon appeared in his brave knightly form, spreading both his arms as his cloak fluttered behind him. His round blue eyes shone beneath his white helmet and armor. Taichi’s Crest of Courage and Yamato’s Crest of Friendship were combined to form the emblem on his chest. Just him standing there gave the impression of a dignified and much experienced warrior.
“Go!” Taichi and Yamato screamed as one, and Omegamon stuck out his right arm that had the head of MetalGarurumon. It opened its mouth and a cannon emerged from inside.
Using his right arm to prop it up, Omegamon fired with the Garuru Cannon. A ball of light that contained enormous energy headed straight for Eosmon.
Eosmon used the panels once more as footholds to move at high speed. The ball of light smashed a panel behind Eosmon, exploding with a deafening sound.
Omegamon continued to shoot his Garuru Cannon a second and third time, which Eosmon continued to dodge by traveling between panels as if teleporting.
“It’s fast,” Takeru said.
“No. Omegamon is aiming for the panels.”
Just as Koushiro said, Omegamon was using his Garuru Cannon to destroy the panels in the area. With every shot, a panel easily crumbled. Omegamon mercilessly destroyed all of the panels in his sight.
Eosmon looked around its surroundings as if searching for something. But there were no more panels left to be seen.
In response to Yamato’s voice, Omegamon unleashed a full-body Garuru Cannon. His cape fluttered back against the impact of the discharge. The giant ball of light flew in a straight line.
The bombardment finally hit Eosmon. A great explosion swelled up with a tremendous sound loud enough to hurt the eardrums.
Eosmon’s left arm was blown off, worn from the damage.
Shaking a fist, Taichi cried. “Finish it off! Omegamon!”
Omegamon flew through the air posing with his Grey Sword high in the air. His distance with Eosmon shortened.
“Yes!” Takeru said, holding up his fists. He was certain that they had won.
Koushiro was also smiling and nodded.
“Go!” Yamato said, leaning forward.
“You’re finished!” Taichi cried.
The change took place in Taichi’s room.
In that quiet room, empty of anyone, a ring of light suddenly appeared on the original digivice that was in his drawers.
“What’s going on?”
Taichi froze as he watched the unusual event take place in front of him.
Just as the point of the sword was about to reach Eosmon, Omegamon stopped moving all of a sudden. He didn’t appear to have been attacked. But every part of his body began to move irregularly, as if he had suddenly lost control.
“Omegamon!” Yamato cried, confused.
Omegamon’s body moved jerkily, like a puppet that was being roughly played with. He couldn’t even move his eyes in the direction that he wanted. Before long, his body lit up and split into Agumon and Gabumon, who were sent flying.
Agumon banged into an icon that was floating in the area, and degenerated to Koromon.
Gabumon was struck by a block, and he returned to Tsunomon.
“What’s going on?! Why did Omegamon’s fusion separate?!” Taichi cried out shakily over this unexpected outcome.
“Koushiro! Explain!” Yamato asked wildly, also losing his composure.
“How should I know?!”
“If they’re back to Baby levels, then this won’t…” Takeru said.
As she listened to the jumble of confused voices while monitoring, Menoa’s eyes widened with astonishment. “It can’t be…”
Eosmon had used their moment of agitation to cling itself to the siege net. From there, it plunged an arm into the net, trying to rip it open.
“It’s trying to get away!” Takeru cried in panic.
“I won’t allow it!” Angemon said, heading to stop it.
Eosmon’s antennae shot forward to attack the approaching Angemon. Because his wings were damaged, Angemon didn’t have extra strength to avoid the blow. He took the blow head-on, tragically shot down.
“Koushiro-han, I’ll go!”
Kabuterimon moved forward to stop Eosmon, but its lightning-quick antennae beat him to the punch. He was blown backwards.
Koushiro turned around. He saw the floating remains of Eosmon’s left arm in the direction where Kabuterimon went flying.
Having eliminated the threat in front of it, Eosmon’s antennae restored back in their rightful position. The hole where it inserted its arm gradually got wider.
“No good, it’s getting away!” Taichi said as he held the limp Koromon.
Applying strength into its arm, Eosmon ripped apart the siege net.
“Kuh!” Yamato grit his teeth in frustration.
A gate opened up on the outer wall, and Eosmon jumped in.
On the computer monitor that Menoa was working from, a message appeared that stated they had not only lost their target, but that the awareness data in the area had disappeared as well.
Dumbfounded, Menoa leaned back into her chair.
The room was filled with a heavy atmosphere. They had returned to Koushiro’s office after the plan had failed.
Taichi slammed both hands against the desk in frustration. “What’s going on?! Why did Omegamon’s fusion suddenly come apart?”
“I don’t know. It’s hard to think that Omegamon received damage. Yet, for some reason, they returned to Baby level,” Koushiro said thoughtfully, with a hand to his mouth.
On the sofa, they were hurriedly feeding hamburgers and french fries to Koromon, Tsunomon, Tentomon, and Patamon to help them recover their energy.
“At any rate, we need to reform our strategy,” Yamato said.
“I know, but…” Taichi turned to look at Koromon. “What do we do in this state?”
No one could answer Taichi’s question.
Before the heavy silence overpowered them, Koushiro spoke up.
“For now, let’s concentrate on finding Eosmon and the awareness data. I’ll also look into why Omegamon became that way. Maybe there’s something in that cyberspace that prevents Digimon from evolving.”
Koushiro’s words died at Menoa’s voice.
Everyone’s eyes turned to Menoa. Agumon and Gabumon had returned back to their Child levels at some point, and were looking at her blankly as well.
“What do you mean he’s wrong?”
“This is most likely your problem,” Menoa said quietly, standing up to face Taichi.
“Our problem?” Yamato said dubiously.
“What do you mean?” Koushiro asked with knitted brows.
“Do all of you know why it’s children who are chosen to be partners with Digimon?”
As she spoke, Menoa moved towards the window. Huge cloud columns towered outside.
She continued as she watched the clouds. “It’s because children are full of possibilities.”
“Possibilities?” Taichi repeated.
Menoa lifted a hand up against the glass window as if tracing the faraway clouds with her fingers. Lightning sparked disturbingly within the clouds.
“The future is rife with limitless choices. You grow as a person by making those choices. ‘Growth’ and ‘possibilities’ together produce vast energy.”
Saying this, Menoa made a fist.
“As I’m sure you guys are already aware, the evolutions of your Digimon partners are triggered by your growth.”
Taichi and the others listened to Menoa’s explanation with uneasy faces.
“In our daily lives, we make tons of choices and grow. But in those choices, the power that exists between you and your Digimon gradually decreases. When that power is gone…”
Menoa trailed off, and looked back at them sadly.
“Your partnership with your Digimon ends.”
Taichi and the others swallowed in stricken silence at Menoa’s cruel declaration.
“What do you mean?” Agumon said.
“We have to separate?” Gabumon asked as confirmation.
“What? No!” Patamon cried like a small child.
“I don’t understand,” said Tentomon.
Menoa spoke plainly as the Digimon began to make a fuss. “It’s exactly as I say.”
“This is my first time hearing about this,” Koushiro objected. There was the possibility that it was a lie or a mistake. In fact, he wanted it to be those.
But Menoa’s expression didn’t change. “There are some things that even you guys don’t know.”
“Then how do you know?” Yamato asked provocatively
“It’s the theme of my research. Being unable to maintain an evolution is the first sign.”
Taichi abruptly turned around as though to toss Menoa’s explanation out of his mind. “Agumon!”
“Let’s go. We’ll find Eosmon and take it down.”
“Don’t do it! If you push your partner to evolve and fight, you’ll be separated faster,” Menoa stepped in to stop the rash Taichi.
“I don’t believe you! Let’s go, Agumon,” Taichi yelled. He took his smartphone digivice out of his pocket and bent down to meet eye-to-eye with Agumon.
But it was there that Taichi noticed what was wrong and his expression hardened. Light in the shape of flower petals surrounded his Crest of Courage at the center of his digivice, forming a ring.
“What… is this?”
“That’s the proof,” Menoa admonished quietly. “That ring is the last light connecting you to your Digimon partner. When that ring of light disappears, you will separate.”
The other three boys hurriedly checked their smartphones.
Takeru let out a sigh of relief when he saw that the ring wasn’t there. Koushiro also breathed easier when he saw nothing out of the ordinary.
“I won’t accept this…”
Koushiro looked at Yamato, who had spoken in a low voice, and grew speechless. The ring of light shone brightly on Yamato’s smartphone.
“I will never accept this!” Yamato cried out indignantly, pushing Koushiro out of the way to leave the room.
“Yamato~” Gabumon worriedly chased after him.
Taichi, who could only watch his upset friends walk off, looked back down at the ring again.
“So… What? You’re saying that when we grow up, all of us have to separate from our Digimon?”
Just as he said that, one petal of light vanished. A chill ran down Taichi’s spine. The shadow of unfamiliar anxiety spread through him.
“I won’t accept this either,” Koushiro stated bluntly. “Even if what you say is true, I won’t give up. I will find a way to solve this.”
“I understand how you feel,” Menoa said, looking down. “But this is the reality.”
Yamato and Gabumon left Koushiro’s company office from the rear entrance. The ring was still floating on his smartphone, and Yamato clenched his teeth bitterly.
Gabumon was looking up at Yamato worriedly when he noticed a figure.
“Yamato, look,” he said, pointing in front of them.
Gabumon was pointing at Imura, who was standing behind a pillar as if hiding from view.
Come to think of it, Yamato remembered, he had been concentrating so hard on Menoa’s story that he hadn’t noticed before now. That man had suddenly disappeared from the room at some point.
Imura had his smartphone to his ear, apparently in the middle of a phone call.
“Yeah, I’ll go to you,” Imura said, ending the call and walking off.
Sensing that something was off, Yamato pulled in his chin and watched Imura’s back.
“Let’s go, Gabumon.”
Yamato and Gabumon ran to keep Imura in their sights.
On a coastal street with a view of Rainbow Bridge, Taichi was walking along with his back hunched. His surroundings were filled with the loud competing cries of seagulls and cicadas. Normally he would have found the noise annoying, but now he paid them no attention at all.
No, he couldn’t pay attention to them. After leaving Koushiro’s office, questions without answers kept repeating themselves in his head.
Agumon, walking behind him, spoke to Taichi in his unchanging, usual tone.
“Taichi~ Hey, Taichi~ What happens to the three hundred people who are captured?”
“We have to find and help them,” Taichi replied absentmindedly. Even though he knew they had to do it, he just couldn’t put his heart into it.
“Yeah. I’ll do my best.”
The summer sunlight burnt the asphalt. The clouds in the sky and even the ocean nearby looked so peaceful that it felt like an insult.
As he looked up at Taichi’s back, Agumon spoke.
“…Hey, Taichi. When you become an adult, are we not able to be together anymore?”
A dull pain ran through his chest and Taichi stopped in his tracks. He felt that if he lowered his guard for even a little bit, he’d be swallowed up by the tumultuous anxiety and fear that he was holding back. He didn’t want to imagine a future where Agumon wasn’t with him. But at the same time, he knew that this was a problem that he couldn’t look away from.
How was he supposed to answer?
What was he supposed to do?
Wasn’t there something he could do?
Was it all even true to begin with?
Unable to form his thoughts, he couldn’t respond.
Agumon’s stomach growled loudly, cutting through their stuffy silence.
“Ah, sorry,” Agumon said, holding his stomach.
Taichi let out a huff, put on a smile to wipe the worry away, and turned around.
“Agumon. Let’s go eat.”
Three males were sitting at a counter in a ramen restaurant in New York City. The suspicious-looking one in the middle wearing round sunglasses and informal summer clothes folded his hands together and looked happily at the ramen and dumplings placed before him.
He split his wooden chopsticks and slurped the noodles with gusto. “So good!”
Satisfied with the flavor, Daisuke Motomiya raised the sunglasses on his face with a smile.
“Thank you for this meal,” both Ken Ichijouji and Iori Hida sitting on either side of Daisuke said politely with their hands folded.
On each of their laps were Chibimon, Minomon, and Upamon, hiding from public view.
“But why ramen?” Ken asked Daisuke.
“I’m planning to open a ramen shop here in the future. So, I need to gather info on my competitors.”
As Daisuke was explaining, Ken picked up a fried dumpling with his chopsticks and fed it to Minomon.
“It’s so good, Ken-chan. Thank you,” Minomon said happily.
“It’s good, but the flavor is no different from the ones in Tokyo. Also, the price—”
“Be quiet, Iori,” Daisuke said with pursed lips.
“Daisuke, I want some too!” Chibimon pleaded. Next to him, Iori was feeding noodles to Upamon.
“I like Yamatoya’s ramen better dagya,” Upamon said honestly.
“Here,” Daisuke said, feeding Chibimon his ramen.
Chibimon’s eyes shone after he chewed and swallowed. “So good!”
“Keep it down!” Daisuke hissed, clamping his hand over Chibimon’s mouth.
Just then, Daisuke’s smartphone rang.
Daisuke took his smartphone from his chest pocket and looked suspiciously at the caller I.D. It was coming from a public telephone.
“Hello? Oh, it’s you, Yamato-senpai. Yeah, long time no see. Eh, now?”
Daisuke’s face took on a proud smile.
“We’re in New York City eating ramen right now!” he answered excitedly.
“Yeah. I heard from Takeru that you were there. That’s why I called.”
In contrast to Daisuke, Yamato’s voice was calm and composed.
“The digital gate sure is convenient, isn’t it? No airplane fees! We get to travel the world for free!”
The smartphone digivice that Koushiro developed enabled them to open a digital gate from anywhere. With it, they could travel to any place on Earth via the Digital World.
“Is there any change going on with your D-3s?”
“Huh? No, haven’t seen anything,” Daisuke said, confused.
“I see. Never mind then.”
“Is something wrong?”
After some hesitation, Yamato spoke.
“…To tell you the truth, there’s something I want you guys to do.”
“Background check?” Ken and Iori said at the same time.
The three of them were traveling down the streets after paying their bill.
“Menoa Bellucci and Kyoutaro Imura. He wants us to investigate those two,” Daisuke explained as they ran.
“But why dagya?”
“Hmm, something smells fishy,” Chibimon said from atop Daisuke’s head.
“Daisuke. I know that person,” Ken said.
“From what I recall, she entered university by skipping grades and earned her PhD and license. I bet she made the news as a child prodigy.”
“All right then! Let’s wrap this up quickly and catch a major league game!”
With an energetic full turn, Daisuke raised his arms up into the air.
Taichi sat at the window seat of a hamburger shop, smiling as he watched Agumon hungrily eat a hamburger beside him. Watching his partner happily chew on his food made him happy too.
But then he’d be struck by the sudden thought that moments like these weren’t going to last forever. Eternity didn’t exist. One day, they would have to separate. He knew that moment was coming. But no matter how often he was told that this approaching moment could come at any time, his heart had yet to accept it.
After they finished eating, Taichi and Agumon left the shop and headed to the park.
Taichi absentmindedly watched Agumon as he joyfully slid down the slide. Agumon had never changed, ever since he first met him.
But what about himself? How much had he changed compared to when he was a child? Even as he asked himself, he couldn’t find a clear answer.
When the sky turned to dusk, Taichi took Agumon to his apartment.
“Pardon the intrusion.”
Agumon looked around with interest at the room as he stepped inside. Taichi pulled open the curtain, letting the sunlight shine into the room.
“Leave me alone. Agumon, this is your first time coming here, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. My first time here,” Agumon said somewhat happily, then sniffed around the room.
“The walls are thin, so don’t make any loud noises,” Taichi lazily warned his partner as Agumon moved around. He opened the fridge. “Would you like a drink—”
When he turned around, he saw Agumon holding up the adult DVDs that he’d hidden under his bed.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” Taichi screamed, his eyes round. He hurriedly snatched the DVDs out of Agumon’s grip, rolled towards his bed, and stuck his secret collection into his blankets. He held the blankets down with his hands behind his back, trying to bodily hide what he’d done.
“My friend gave these to me! NEVER MIND!” Taichi explained in a voice loud enough to be heard from the next room.
“Hey, show me!” Agumon said innocently.
“You need to be an adult to see th—”
Taichi’s voice faltered at the word “adult.”
“Hm? What’s wrong?” Agumon asked curiously.
Taichi stood up and walked to the TV rack. He opened the top drawer and looked inside. His brow furrowed.
Just as he had been expecting, there was a ring of light on his original digivice. Whether Menoa’s explanation was real or not, there was no mistake that something was going on.
Taichi looked straight into Agumon’s eyes and held out his right hand.
“We’ll always be together.”
The words were both a promise and a prayer.
Agumon gazed back at Taichi. Although Taichi had grown up, Agumon could still see traces of the child he’d first met in Taichi’s earnest face. He nodded and gripped the outstretched hand.
Just then, the screen of Taichi’s open laptop on the table flashed abruptly. Taichi and Agumon looked at it in surprise. Light stretched out from the screen like stretchy dough and landed on the floor.
The light took on the shape of a person. It was a young man with a long ponytail.
“Hey. Long time no see.”
Their hands still in a handshake, Taichi and Agumon’s eyes widened upon seeing the man greeting them with a smile.
Koushiro typed furiously on his keyboard while facing his computer. He was trying to analyze the fragment of Eosmon that he had retrieved.
“How is it going?” Tentomon asked, standing next to him.
“Nothing to speak of yet,” Koushiro answered, looking away from the monitor briefly to rest his eyes. With his mind off work, he recalled the words that Menoa had spoken to them earlier that afternoon. His face clouded as he remembered the rings on Taichi and Yamato’s digivices.
“Tentomon, have you ever heard of ‘the candle of life’?”
“What’s that?” Tentomon asked, tilting his head.
“It’s a rakugo performance about the grim reaper. The reaper has a cave where they overlook the candle of life for many people. The protagonist learns from the grim reaper that the length of that candle represents that person’s length of life.”
“Huh. The candle represents the person’s length of life…” Tentomon repeated doubtfully.
“Yes. When the candle’s light goes out, the owner of that candle dies. The protagonist’s candle was in a precarious situation, so when the protagonist saw that…” Koushiro trailed off.
“What did he do?” Tentomon pressed impatiently.
“What do you think he did, Tentomon?”
“Oh now, don’t be mean! Just tell me!”
Koushiro smiled at Tentomon’s reaction.
“The story actually has various endings. There’s one where the protagonist uses the candle next to his to extend his own life and it turns out to be his wife’s candle, or he puts a fallen candle back up and it turns out to be his sick younger brother’s, or there’s one where the flame goes out while he’s mulling over what to do.”
“Uh-huh… Sounds like getting a happy ending is quite the high hurdle,” Tentomon said, shaking his head.
“I can’t help but think of that ring of light as the candle of life.”
Would his own digivice bear the same ring of light that was on Taichi and Yamato’s digivices, one day? Just imagining that he would eventually be facing that problem made him feel bleak.
Koushiro gazed at Tentomon. “What kind of ending would you like, Tentomon?”
“Let me see…”
Tentomon paused in thought, then looked up. “Instead of taking things from people against their will, I’d much rather give what I have to them before my end.”
Koushiro and Tentomon looked at one another and broke into smiles.
Koushiro faced his monitor once more and went back to work. This time, with the belief that it would be the first step in breaking down this current state.
Standing next to a magnificent stone statue of a goddess sitting in a chair with her arms outstretched, Daisuke heaved a heavy sigh. He, along with Ken and Iori, had split up to run interrogations at Liberica University where Menoa was employed, but all three of them came back without any results.
“We found that this Menoa person is pretty famous…” Iori said.
“But we didn’t get the information that Yamato-senpai wanted,” Ken said.
“Even though the internet’s getting popular, there are just some things you never know.”
In contrast to the three depressed boys, V-mon was having fun riding on Armadimon’s back. As Armadimon ran around, Wormmon crawled after them saying “Wait!”
All of them turned around at that cheerful voice. At the top of the stairs stood Miyako, with the same bright smile that she’d always had as a kid, and Hawkmon.
“How have you guys been?” she asked.
“It has been awhile,” Hawkmon said, bowing his head respectfully.
“Hey there, Miyako-san. That was fast,” Ken said.
“Hawkmon!” V-mon cried.
“Have you been well?” Wormmon asked.
“Yes,” Hawkmon nodded.
Miyako jumped down the stairs. “Flew right here from Spain through the digital gate!”
“It’s so convenient to be able to arrive in New York in just a few minutes,” Hawkmon said in an impressed tone.
“Well, since you two are here, you’d better be useful,” Daisuke said with a grin.
“Of course! That’s the plan. So what’s the situation?”
“We’ve done some interrogations, but…” Ken started saying uncomfortably.
Daisuke raised both hands up in defeat and finished the sentence. “We’re at a dead end.”
After a moment of thought, Iori spoke up.
“In that case, why don’t we try using a different approach?”
Daisuke’s group was standing at the door of a research room. The door plate on top had Menoa Bellucci’s name engraved in it.
“I see. We investigate the target’s own research room,” Miyako said as she peered at the door.
Daisuke and V-mon checked the hallways surreptitiously to make sure they were empty.
“But how do we get in? The door’s locked.”
Just as Daisuke had pointed out, the door was locked with a key card security system. None of them here, of course, had the key card.
Armadimon, who was being held up by Iori, raised up his hand.
Armadimon slashed his claws through the slot of the card reader. The light on it changed from red to green.
The door clicked open.
“Bingo!” Miyako said happily, snapping her fingers.
“That’s all it took to open it,” Ken said in half-amazement. Iori remained poker-faced.
Miyako slowly opened the door.
“Hellooo,” Daisuke called out politely, but the room was empty.
Menoa’s research room was a mess. There were large bookshelves lining the walls, and two chairs surrounding a round table loaded with stacks of papers. A painting hung on the wall, with millions of sticky notes posted around the painting.
“Found it,” Iori said out loud when he found the computer desk.
Miyako approached the desk, straightening her shoulders.
Daisuke, showing zero interest in the computer, looked around the room instead. “Wow, there’s so many books.”
“Guess this is where I get to work,” said Miyako.
Putting her hands on the desk, Miyako looked triumphantly into the computer screen. However, there was something more interesting than the computer decorating the desk, making her inadvertently stare at it. It was a decorative object that used raw amethyst. The insides of the purple crystals looked like they contained small universes.
Wow, she has such good taste, Miyako thought silently to herself.
“What a beautiful painting dagya…” Armadimon said in admiration, and Miyako turned in his direction.
A painting of a beautiful goddess hung there.
In a hotel room in Shinbashi, there was an open travel bag on the bed, and a water bottle and wine bottle brought by room service on the table. The room was dim because no lights were on.
Menoa let down her hair and sat on the bay window in a tank top and underwear. The laptop in her lap displayed an image of Eosmon, a map of Tokyo with several blinking red dots, and a list with Taichi and his group’s names on it.
The raindrops on her window formed a line. Before she even realized that it was raining, the summer rain fell down even harder.
A bolt of lightning briefly lit up the room for a moment.
The loud sound of thunder echoed sometimes, cutting through the sound of heavy rain.
As the rain soaked him, Yamato looked down from the emergency staircase outside a multi-tenant building at a large military car parked in a narrow T-junction.
“What is he doing?”
Yamato was watching Imura, who was sitting in the passenger seat. Sensing trouble, Yamato had tailed him all the way to Roppongi.
Imura looked like he was talking to the driver. Then, the driver handed Imura an uncommon and violent tool.
Yamato and Gabumon’s eyebrows raised at what they saw.
“Yamato! Isn’t that a gun?”
Imura’s face remained composed as he held the gun in his hand. It was obvious that he was used to handling guns on a normal basis.
A feeling of foreboding coming over him, Yamato’s mouth drew into a tight line.
Rain pounded against the window. The atmosphere of the room inside was dark and heavy.
“So, it’s true?” Taichi asked Gennai in a depressed voice.
“Unfortunately, you are experiencing the case where your partnership is dissolving.”
“How come you’ve never told us this before?”
“Well, talking about life expectancy is not a natural topic of conversation with humans,” Gennai answered.
Taichi lowered his head. That’s right. That was pretty much the gist of what this was about. He held up his smartphone and gazed at the ring. “So, this ring…”
“Yes. It’s the time you have left together,” Gennai said plainly.
Agumon simply looked at Taichi’s face, his expression unchanging.
Taichi gritted his teeth. The hand holding his smartphone shook. Even so, he brought out his courage and asked the question he was dreading.
“When the partnership ends, what happens to us… To Agumon?”
“The Digimon will disappear.”
Taichi was appalled by his brutal response.
Gennai continued to speak slowly while Taichi was at a loss for words. “But if you guys still have infinite possibility… Then it’s possible…”
Taichi was no longer responsive to Gennai’s words.
No one spoke after that. Only the sound of the rain continued to echo within the room.
Mimi Tachikawa hummed happily as she stepped into her company’s warehouse with Palmon. The warehouse was lined with tall shelves filled with cardboard boxes that contained the items that Mimi sold on her online store.
Mimi lowered the tote bag she was holding onto the floor.
“Palmon. Let’s do a quick inventory check today.”
Mimi reached out to the box closest to her. Her smartphone peeked out from her tote bag, the camera aimed at her direction.
Palmon opened a box closer to the ground and counted the number of items in it. “Five, six, seven, eight, nine…”
The smartphone rang.
“Mimi, phone call!”
“Okay, I hear it!”
As she spoke, Mimi took her smartphone out of her bag. Her hand covered the camera.
Hikari was sitting in a moving subway car with Tailmon on her lap. The two of them were looking up popular restaurants on her smartphone to pass the time, gazing at photos of their dishes.
“This one looks tasty, Hikari.”
“Yeah. Let’s try it out next time.”
Neither Hikari nor Tailmon paid any attention to the front lens camera of the smartphone.
Takeru was walking through the pouring rain with Patamon in one arm and an open umbrella in the other.
No one paid attention to the fact that they were being watched by security cameras mounted on buildings they passed by. Not the swarm of cars driving through nearby, not the pedestrians walking slowly along the sidewalk, and certainly not Takeru.
Yamato was at the National Diet Library, looking with intense concentration at the microfilm screen. He had bags under his eyes.
He was looking through past newspaper articles for information on Menoa and Imura. As he pored through them, he found a single photo. Menoa, still with some child-like features, was shown holding up her admissions letter for university.
Yamato looked closer at the photo. Something was at Menoa’s feet. When he enlarged it, he saw a small and cute Digimon standing nestled close to Menoa’s legs. Beautifully patterned wings were on its head.
After staring at the photo in silence for a bit, Yamato shifted the machine to the next article.
He found Imura in an article that took place several years after the first one. In every photo of every article after that, Imura could always be seen near Menoa.
Yamato glared suspiciously at the Imura in the photo, but rubbed his eyes as he felt a wave of fatigue suddenly wash over him.
“Are you okay, Yamato?” Gabumon asked worriedly.
“You haven’t been sleeping at all. You should take a break.”
“This is nothing. We’re in an emergency right now.”
Saying this, Yamato was about to continue working when his smartphone rang. Their eyes turned to it.
Yamato swiftly opened the hospital door.
Taichi and Koushiro, along with Jou in white medical scrubs, were standing inside. Agumon, Tentomon, and Gomamon were with them.
And in the single hospital bed, Mimi was lying in it with her eyes closed. Palmon was nowhere to be seen.
Yamato, having rushed here from the library after receiving the call, looked to the older man for an explanation.
“The police received a report of a loud noise, and when they arrived at the scene, they found Mimi all by herself lying on the floor in the middle of a warehouse.”
“What’s her condition?” Taichi asked.
“Nothing yet,” Jou said, his eyes downcast.
Gabumon approached Gomamon. “Gomamon, have you been well?”
“Yeah, I’m doing great.”
“I’m doing great, too,” Agumon said, pointing at himself.
Jou continued to explain as he watched their Digimon rejoice over their reunion. “On the other hand, besides being unconsciousness, there’s nothing else wrong with her.”
“Eosmon… This is their doing,” Koushiro whispered.
After a brief silence, Yamato opened his mouth.
“Taichi, Koushiro. Got a minute?”
“What are we doing in here?” Koushiro asked.
“We won’t be spotted by any cameras here.”
Only Yamato, Taichi, and Koushiro were in the men’s bathroom at the hospital.
“You’re saying that we’re being watched?” Taichi said with his brows furrowed.
“It’s just a precaution.”
Yamato took off the backpack he was carrying and rummaged through it, taking out two cellphones. “These are prepaid cellphones. Don’t use your smartphones anymore.”
“Prepaid… Are we in a spy movie?” Taichi joked as he took the phone.
“Why don’t we update each other here on our current situations?” Koushiro suggested.
“Good call. I want to know what you two are up to also.”
“…I met Gennai-san.”
The other two looked at Taichi in surprise.
“What did he say?”
“Does he know how to stop or avoid the progression of our partners’ separation?”
Taichi shook his head at their eager questions.
Koushiro looked down sadly. Yamato’s face also clouded, but he closed his eyes to close off his sadness.
“We don’t have time to wallow in despair,” Yamato said. He took a file out of his backpack and handed it to Taichi.
“Look at the bottom right photo.”
What Yamato gave him were printouts of the newspaper articles on Menoa and Imura that Yamato had looked up in the library.
“Is that a Digimon?” Koushiro asked beside him, peering at the photo.
“Yeah, I’m sure of it.”
“Does this mean that Menoa is also a Chosen Child?” Taichi asked, looking at Yamato.
“Since her Digimon partner hasn’t shown themself…” Koushiro put a hand to his mouth in thought.
“I don’t know. But I find her assistant to be more suspicious.”
“Assistant?” Taichi said.
“Look at the second photo.”
Taichi and Koushiro looked down at the next document.
“Imura became Menoa’s assistant at around the same time that Menoa published her research results.”
“You’re right…” Taichi said with a tight jaw.
“Also, he’s been acting strange. I don’t know who he is, but I’m gonna find out,” Yamato said with quiet determination.
“We’ll leave that to you. I’ve been analyzing Eosmon’s arm that I’ve collected, as well as determining its location at the same time.”
“Have you found anything?” Yamato asked.
“Not yet,” Koushiro said looking away in shame. “But I’ve sent a warning to all of the Chosen Children in our database, just in case.”
“Good idea. Koushiro, you be careful too. Try not to log online outside the building as much as possible.”
“Yes, I know.”
As Taichi listened to their conversation, he quietly looked down to check his smartphone. Half of the ring of light was gone.
Forcing down the gloom that rose in his chest, Taichi looked up decisively.
“Koushiro, Yamato. Let’s put an end to this incident once and for all.”
His grip on his smartphone tightened unconsciously.
While the boys were talking privately in the bathroom, Agumon and Gabumon wandered the hospital corridors.
Agumon peered intently as he stood on top of a wire-mesh fence that kept people from falling off. He was looking through the hospital windows, trying to find Taichi and the others, but couldn’t find them.
“That’s dangerous. You shouldn’t be up there,” Gabumon warned at the bottom of the fence.
“Hmmm. I don’t see Taichi and the others anywhere.”
Agumon walked carefully across the top of the fence as if he was on a tightrope. Although he was skillfully balanced, he didn’t realize that his footing was wet and he slipped.
He floated in the air for a brief moment before falling towards the corridor. He reflexively grabbed the fence, but it only made the situation worse. Unable to carry Agumon’s weight, the fence broke with a crash.
Gabumon had closed his eyes at the fall, and he now opened them cautiously. Agumon had fallen on his back and the fence had a huge hole.
“I told you it was dangerous,” Gabumon said, looking down at Agumon.
Agumon sat up and looked wide-eyed at the broken fence.
“Oh, what do I do? Maybe I’ll get yelled at…”
“Agumon, you really don’t change,” Gabumon said in exasperation. Agumon looked annoyed.
“Well, neither do you, Gabumon. You always stay the same shape.”
“I’m not talking about physical change,” Gabumon said, smiling.
Giving up on finding their humans, Agumon and Gabumon sat down on a bench in the corridor.
As they watched the rain fall, Agumon spoke. “Taichi and Yamato both grew big.”
“Yeah. They have.”
“Taichi is living by himself. He even has alcohol in his fridge. That means he’s an adult now, right?”
Agumon spoke happily, but there was also a hint of loneliness in his voice.
“Yeah. He’s an adult now,” Gabumon nodded, still looking ahead.
“They aren’t children anymore.”
“…I guess… We’ll have to say goodbye,” Gabumon murmured solemnly.
“Is that so?” Agumon asked.
“Lately, Yamato has been spending more time with me and it makes me happy. It makes me happy, but when I’m with him, I remember all the fun times we had together. Because the time I spent with Yamato, all of it, is my most valuable treasure.”
Agumon, who had been gazing at Gabumon’s profile, quietly turned his face ahead.
“I want to stay with him forever,” Gabumon admitted softly, and silence fell. Agumon felt the same way.
Agumon and Gabumon sat without saying a word in the bittersweet silence that followed.
Then Agumon’s stomach growled loud enough to drown out the sound of the rain.
Agumon and Gabumon tried to keep staring silently ahead, but they gave in quickly and chuckled. The corridor filled with their laughter.
“Honestly, Agumon.” Gabumon smiled at his friend’s unchanging manner.
“It always happens.”
“…Gabumon. Thank you.”
“It’s not something that I should be thanked for either.”
Agumon broke into a smile as he looked ahead.
“Hey, Gabumon. I’m just as happy to have met everyone as much as having met Taichi. Hikari and Tailmon. Takeru and Patamon. Jou and Gomamon. Mimi and Palmon. Koushiro and Tentomon. Sora and Piyomon. Yamato and Gabumon.”
“And Taichi and Agumon,” Gabumon added.
“It’s thanks to Taichi that I met everyone.”
“Yeah. It’s thanks to Yamato.”
Agumon raised his chin a bit. “The time that we spent together won’t disappear.”
“I’ll never forget it,” Agumon stated clearly.
Gabumon clenched his fists.
“You’re right. I’ve troubled over things with Yamato before, and fought with him. This is just the same as those times.”
“Yeah. We stay by their side, and when there are worries, we think about them together. Taichi is sure to find an answer that way.”
Agumon jumped down from the bench as if shaking off his worries.
“Yeah. As their partner, we’ll walk on the path that our dearest person has chosen, together.”
“Yeah. That’s right,” Agumon nodded. Then he seemed to realize something. “Until then, we need to make even more memories. Like eating meat, and eating ramen. I want to eat parfait, too.”
Gabumon gave a little laugh seeing Agumon act the same as usual. He held out his hand.
Agumon looked blankly at the outstretched hand. Then, realizing what he meant, Agumon smiled.
“Hehe. We’re like adults.”
Agumon also held out his hand, grabbing it into a firm handshake.
“This is embarrassing,” Agumon said after a moment.
“Yeah,” Gabumon said, blushing a little.
“Ah! Agumon, Gabumon! Here you are!”
They turned around to see Jou at the door to the inner hallway.
“Taichi and Yamato are looking for you.”
Agumon and Gabumon looked at one another and nodded.
Letting go of their handshake, the two ran to Jou.
“Hey, Jou?” Agumon asked, poking Jou in the leg.
“I made a hole,” Agumon said, pointing to the large hole in the fence.
Jou’s eyes went wide. “Aaah! What did you do?!”
Sora Takenouchi traced a raindrop falling down her window from inside her room. The drop joined with another water drop, getting bigger and accelerating downward.
The heavy rain gave no sign of stopping.
“Hey, Sora. Are you sure you don’t want to go to the others?” Piyomon asked from within Sora’s arms.
“I’ve already made up my mind. I’m not going to fight.”
Sora held Piyomon to her in a loving embrace.
“I’ll be with you, Piyomon.”
As she watched the falling rain, Sora remembered what happened that day.
Sora was scrolling on her phone, looking through the group chat. A few hours earlier, Koushiro had sent a message saying “The sign of a digital gate has been detected near Shibuya.” As she kept scrolling, she saw a message from Taichi saying “Mission accomplished!” and congratulatory messages from others. When Sora had read that, she breathed a sigh of relief.
“Thank goodness. Everyone’s okay.”
Just as she was about to put her smartphone down, she got a call. It was from Mimi.
“Ah, Sora-san. Long time no see! How have you been?”
A video of Mimi showed up on her smartphone screen. She was currently in Paris, so the large building in the window behind her must be the Eiffel Tower. Sora felt a bit jealous that she got to travel over the world.
“I’m doing fine. What’s up, out of the blue?”
“You haven’t been responding in our group chat these days, so I was wondering how you were,” Mimi said with a smile. Sora knew that her intent was out of pure kindness and not sarcasm. Mimi was always so kind and straightforward that sometimes Sora found it dazzling.
“I’m sorry. I know I should be rushing to the scene, but I’m not able to, so I feel bad.”
“Look at me! I never make it since I’m always overseas, so don’t worry about it!”
“But I’m always nearby…”
By keeping away from the Digimon-related issues that Taichi and the others were addressing, she felt that she wasn’t satisfying her role as a Chosen Child and felt guilty.
“Are you busy?”
“A bit. I’m going to have my piece displayed at my mom’s exhibit soon.”
“What?! That’s amazing!”
Sora smiled wryly at Mimi’s over-the-top reaction.
“It’s not. It’s only because I’m the Grand Master’s daughter. But I can’t put out anything embarrassing, so…”
Even today, she had been practicing on her flower arranging until a few moments ago. But she couldn’t make a piece that she was satisfied with. Truth be told, her own worthlessness was making her feel discouraged every day.
Come to think of it, where had Piyomon gone?
Maybe she was still feeling down from earlier.
When Piyomon had come to inform her that Koushiro had sent a message, Sora had said to her angrily, “Don’t bother me!”
The distress and irritation of her practice not going well had caused Sora to take it out on her. But even when lashed out by that irrational anger, Piyomon had been the one who apologized.
When she saw Piyomon hanging her head apologetically, Sora had felt a surge of regret but no room in her heart to apologize as well.
“I need to focus on this right now…” She had said as her excuse, and looked away.
“I see! You’re fighting your own battle, Sora-san,” Mimi said earnestly.
Sora turned back to the screen. “What have you been up to, Mimi-chan?”
“I’m opening up an online shopping site for general goods soon.”
As Sora repeated the words, Palmon came into view wearing a fancy hat and scarf around her neck. Were those what they were selling?
Mimi gave Palmon a peace sign as her approval and responded, “I’m spreading Cute across the globe. Although I did have Koushiro-kun help me with it.”
Mimi smiled wryly at the camera and continued speaking happily.
“Speaking of Koushiro-kun, isn’t he just incredible? He’s a company CEO and he manages the community network for people with Digimon. According to him, there’s 30,000 people worldwide with Digimon partners!”
“There’s that many now?” Sora murmured. “Well, it has been over a decade since then.”
“Right? We’re getting old. Takeru-kun and Hikari-chan are turning twenty next year.”
“Those two are going to be able to drink legally…”
Sora felt almost dizzy by how fast time passed.
“Jou-senpai is struggling in medical school, and even Yamato-san said he’s finally deciding what he wants to do.”
After some thought, Mimi added, “As for Taichi-san, I don’t really know.”
Sora smiled at that. “It’s true. Everyone’s starting to walk down their own paths.”
Mimi spoke up, still smiling on the other side of the screen.
“Hey, Sora-san. I think it was destiny that we became Chosen Children. But I don’t think it was fate.”
Sora listened silently to her friend.
“I’m going to be myself and do things freely. That’s why you should spread your wings freely too. We’ll stand by you no matter what, Sora-san.”
“Mimi-chan… Thank you.”
Sora smiled gently, grateful for Mimi’s feelings.
The sound of a doorbell went off.
“Oh, that’s right, I forgot,” Mimi’s brow furrowed. “Sorry, I have to attend a meeting now. I’ll see you later. Bye bye!”
Mimi waved energetically and the call ended.
Sora gazed at her smartphone screen for a bit, thinking back on Mimi’s words. She needed to apologize to Piyomon later.
Just as she thought that, she felt someone enter the room. Sora turned around in her chair.
Piyomon was standing there with small flowers in her hands. She held them out as Sora looked on blankly.
“This is for you, Sora. Since you’ve been looking blue… Flowers are something to express your feelings, right? I hope you cheer up, Sora!”
Sora’s eyes opened wide, and her face crumpled. Despite being shouted at unreasonably, Piyomon was more concerned about Sora than her own self. That pure kindness gently permeated through her heart.
Sora rose vigorously and hugged Piyomon.
“I want to be a normal girl! Not as a Chosen Child or the daughter of a Grand Master. I just want to live as Sora Takenouchi!”
Those were her real feelings that she had always kept hidden deep inside her heart.
Piyomon gently embraced Sora back with her small wings and said softly, “Hey… The reason why the sky is so vast must be because it was made to fly freely there. If you’re ever worried to fly on your own, I’ll be there to fly with you together.”
Because I’m your partner, Sora.
At those words, Sora’s expression softened. She had no more hesitations.
It was on that day that Sora decided that she would no longer join the battles.
Instead, she would take her own path.
That was how Sora Takenouchi would live.
Agumon watched the nonstop rain.
Taichi had the drawer opened and was looking down at his goggles and original digivice. There was only half of the ring on this digivice as well.
Obeying Yamato’s warning, he took his smartphone in hand and powered it off. After watching the screen go dark, he left his smartphone on the floor and picked up his goggles.
He hung the goggles around his neck, and took his original digivice. The light of the ring shone upon Taichi’s face.
Taichi stared down at his digivice as he questioned his resolve.
Menoa was in the hotel pool, not swimming, but floating in it.
As she watched the rain outside hitting the glass ceiling, she remembered her past. The sunsets at her hometown in Colorado, the handmade swing hanging from a tree in the garden of her childhood home, and her partner who was always with her.
Menoa’s mind came back to the present when she heard someone approaching. Looking over as she continued to float in the water, she saw Taichi and Agumon standing by the poolside.
Menoa sat down at a chair by the pool and took a sip of mineral water from a plastic bottle. “So, what do you want?”
“I heard from Koushiro that you’re staying here.”
“You have a Digimon partner, too. Right?” Taichi asked point-blank.
She didn’t even bother to hide it.
“Yes,” she assented. Then, lowering her eyes, she began to speak.
“She was called Morphomon. I met her when I was nine, and we’d been together ever since. I took her with me to school, even when we went traveling. No matter where I went or what I did, we were always together.”
Menoa smiled nostalgically and added, “They’re good memories.”
“What about now?”
The smile still on her lips, Menoa turned her face up to the sky.
“My partnership broke off eight years ago, when I was fourteen. Like you, I had no idea of what was happening, so I was pretty upset when we separated.”
Since she spoke with her eyes closed, she looked both as if she had overcome something and that she was purposefully putting up a cold front.
Taichi looked upon her with sympathy. Agumon, too, lowered his eyes in sadness.
“I don’t want others to have a sad parting like I did. Don’t you think it’s unreasonable that you can’t be together just because you grew up?”
Menoa’s voice grew increasingly sad. It sounded like maybe she hadn’t completely accepted the loneliness of leaving her partner.
As if realizing that her tone had dropped, Menoa continued to speak in a more cheerful voice, “That’s why I’ve been researching on Digimon.”
“Then would you happen to know how to stay with your partner?” Taichi asked her, almost imploringly. Agumon looked at Taichi without changing expression.
Menoa slowly shook her head. “Sorry. If I knew, I would have already told you.”
Taichi took a small breath. He was anticipating that answer, but it was still a shock.
“…Why did you approach us?”
“You guys are the strongest team to exist.”
And, Menoa said as she slowly lifted her head to meet Taichi’s gaze.
“You guys might be able to change this tough reality. That’s what I thought.”
The shadow of raindrops running down the glass overlapped with her face, making it look like she was crying.
Imura left a multi-tenant building tucked within a dim alley. Yamato watched, hidden from view, as Imura looked around as if cautious of his surroundings.
After making sure Imura was gone, Yamato and Gabumon approached the building that he had just left. The entrance of the building was narrow, and there were stairs immediately upon entering. There was only one door at the top, so there was no doubt that Imura, earlier, was in whatever room this door led to.
Yamato carefully opened the door.
“Yamato, look!” Gabumon, who entered the room first, cried out in surprise.
Yamato looked in astonishment at the board in front of him. There were tons of photos, documents, and even a world map posted on the wall board.
The markings on the map looked familiar. It was the same as the one Koushiro showed in his office, where it recorded the places where Chosen Children had lost consciousness. Photos of Menoa that looked like they were taken from her research room, and data images of Eosmon were lined up along the board, but what really sent a chill down Yamato’s spine were the other photos. Photos of not only him, but Taichi and his friends, were posted in a row. The photos were clearly taken in secret.
Even if it was, let’s say, for research purposes, there was no need for him to go this far. Imura was definitely working towards another goal.
“Y–Yamato! We have to tell the others!” Gabumon said uneasily.
Just then, the prepaid cellphone in his pocket went off.
“Helloooooo! Is this Yamato-senpai?”
“Daisuke. You sure this call is safe?” Yamato asked instantly.
“It’s fine. I’m calling from a public phone, just as you instructed.”
“All right. Have you found anything?”
“Hehe, absolutely! Which one would you like to hear about first?” Daisuke said proudly.
“Let’s start with the assistant.”
“Well, if you want my opinion, he’s totally suspicious. Does that person Imura even exist?” Daisuke said imperiously.
There was a rattling noise over the phone. Apparently, someone had taken the receiver from Daisuke.
“This is Miyako. Menoa-san’s laptop was filled with files on her research and dissertation, but her assistant’s laptop was abnormally empty. However, I did find traces of data concerning Eosmon that had been collected before it was manually erased.”
“What?” Yamato repeated, stiffening.
“We found that suspicious and looked up his personal information. There’s no record of anyone named Kyoutaro Imura. It’s an alias,” Ken added.
“So, no such person exists.”
“There’s no mistake about it,” said Iori.
Yamato gazed at a photo of Menoa in a white lab coat on the board, and whispered half to himself, “Then is Menoa… being used?”
“That, I don’t know… But Menoa-san is apparently very smart. Would a person like that allow herself to be manipulated?” Miyako asked.
V-mon’s voice piped up. “She had a reputation for being very pretty.”
Then Armadimon’s voice. “Speaking of pretty, that Aurora painting in her room was really pretty dagya.”
“Aurora?” Yamato asked with furrowed brow, to which Hawkmon answered.
“The Roman goddess of dawn. Armadimon took quite a liking to that painting. I ended up telling him a lot about it.”
“The goddess of dawn… Aurora.”
Yamato observed the board again. There were many newspaper clippings on the aurora that was observed throughout the world.
“Oh, don’t worry about it. It was just a painting in the room,” Miyako said.
“…I see. Is there anything else I should know?”
“Yes! Treat us to okonomiyaki when we’re back in Japan!”
At Daisuke’s request, Chibimon added, “And make it all-you-can-eat!”
He could tell through the phone that the whole group was grinning. Yamato also smiled.
“Done. Thanks, guys,” he said, and ended the call. “Let’s go, Gabumon.”
Shoving the prepaid phone in his pocket, the two left the building.
In his office, Koushiro was gazing steadily at his computer monitor. Empty plastic bottles and energy drinks were cluttered on his desk to indicate just how long he had been working there.
Beside him, Tentomon was separating the garbage like a fussy house-husband.
The monitor displayed the analysis data of Eosmon’s left arm. He had recovered it in their previous battle after Omegamon had blown it off. Koushiro’s expression tightened as he read through the analysis result.
“This can’t be. If this analysis of Eosmon’s data is true, then… this entire string of incidents…”
“Koushiro-han, don’t leave your empty bottles sitting around,” Tentomon complained, when Koushiro received an e-mail notification on his screen. The sender was “Hikari Yagami.”
“Hikari-san? I wonder what’s wrong.”
Koushiro put his hand on the mouse and opened the e-mail. All it contained were the words “Which one this time?” and a URL.
“‘Which one this time?'” Koushiro read out loud.
With a feeling of foreboding, he clicked on the attached URL.
What he saw on the screen made Koushiro’s eyes widen in shock.
Tentomon turned around to look at him quizzically. “What’s wrong?”
“This is bad…”
What he had clicked open to was a video site. The video, indicating that it was a live broadcast, was split in the middle, and a man and woman were shown being tied down to chairs in different locations.
Hikari and Takeru were sitting with their heads down, motionless.
“Koushiro! Where do I go?” Taichi barked into his prepaid cellphone at the back of a taxi. His heart wouldn’t stop hammering ever since he received the news. Just thinking about what had happened to Hikari made him feel as if he was breathless underwater.
“Hikari…” Agumon whispered worriedly.
“To Hiroo! Hikari-san is captured there!” Koushiro responded.
“Yamato-san is heading to Nerima as we speak! Taichi-san. I’m unable to reach Jou-san. Please be careful.”
Taichi grit his teeth as the situation just kept getting worse.
Yamato accelerated on his motorcycle as he swerved between cars on Loop Route 7. He paid no mind to the raindrops running down on him through his jacket. The only thing on his mind was his brother, Takeru.
His hands on the handle tightened. He had to rescue him quickly.
“Yamato!” Gabumon shouted loudly from the backseat so that he could be heard over the rain and engine.
Yamato shouted back at him, “What?”
“No matter what happens, we’ll be together!”
It was the best Gabumon could do to express his feelings right now.
Yamato looked up in surprise, then lowered his chin.
“I know that!” Yamato responded forcefully, and increased speed on his motorcycle.
The warehouse that he was heading to gradually came into view. If Koushiro’s information was correct, this was where Takeru was being held captive.
He rode up to the warehouse and cut the engine. One of the warehouse shutters was open, as if inviting its prey to enter.
Yamato gazed at the open shutter and took off his helmet.
“Let’s go, Gabumon.”
Koushiro was watching the computer screen with his hands folded on his desk in prayer. There was no change in Hikari and Takeru’s situations.
“Everyone, please hurry,” Koushiro muttered to himself, when an alarm suddenly went off.
When he checked his right-side monitor in surprise, he found a red marker and gauge displayed on the map of the Digital World. A huge mass had been observed there.
“What is this?” Koushiro said, doubting what he was seeing and drawing his face closer to the screen. But there was no mistake what he was seeing.
“Maybe you found Eosmon?” Tentomon said as he too peered into the monitor.
“I have. But this… Its mass is too big.”
Koushiro stared at the monitor, puzzled.
“Have you found Eosmon?”
At the sudden female voice, Koushiro and Tentomon looked at the room’s entrance.
Yamato and Gabumon slipped through the warehouse shutter. In front of them was a staircase leading to the second floor, where a man sat.
“You’re late, Yamato Ishida,” Imura said in a low voice. He held the gun in his right hand.
“T–That guy…” Gabumon said.
“What are you doing here?”
Imura looked straight back at Yamato, his expression unchanged. “I saw you snooping on me with your poor tailing technique, but…”
Yamato frowned. When had he been found out?
Imura spoke coldly, “Unfortunately, you’re too late.”
At the warehouse in Hiroo, Taichi held up Hikari in his arms, aghast. Agumon’s mouth was also open as if in shock. Tailmon was nowhere to be found.
Even as he called her name, Hikari showed no signs of waking up. Her consciousness had already been stolen.
“Yeah, that’s right. Your brother, Takeru Takaishi, has just had his consciousness taken by Eosmon.”
Imura pointed with his gun up to the second floor.
“Yamato. This guy really is…”
“Yeah. He’s the culprit!”
Yamato glared at Imura with hostility. “Give us back Takeru right now! If you don’t…”
Gabumon’s mouth opened slightly to show the blue flames collected there.
Imura’s brows furrowed in confusion. “Wait, Yamato Ishida. What are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb! You’re the one controlling Eosmon and stealing the Chosen Children’s consciousness!”
Imura looked downward and closed his eyes. Then, with a snort, he smiled.
Imura put his hand in the inner pocket of his jacket.
Menoa placed a hand on the desk and looked with glittering eyes at the monitor.
“I knew you could do it, Koushiro! If we find Eosmon, the awareness data should be there as well. Now we can defeat Eosmon and save the three hundred people in a coma!”
Koushiro looked at Menoa’s profile as she jabbered on excitedly, and took a step back. And then, making sure that she didn’t see what he was doing, he hid his prepaid cellphone behind his back.
At Koushiro’s voice, Menoa straightened up from looking at the monitor. “What?”
“Why are you here today?”
“Oh, that’s right! I’ve figured out a way to save everyone!” Menoa said happily. “For that, I need the list of Chosen Children that you carry. Work with me, Koushiro.”
Menoa held out her hand to him. Koushiro looked down at it, then back up at her face.
“Menoa-san. When we fought Eosmon earlier in cyberspace, I collected its remains.”
Menoa’s smile dropped at Koushiro’s words. As she slowly brought her hand back, she said, “And?”
Koushiro continued, the tension evident on his face. “From analyzing its arm, I saw from its tissue composition that it clearly contained a number of mathematical formulas that were man-made. Looking up those formulas led me to a paper.”
Koushiro’s words cut off there. Menoa had her head down, so he couldn’t gauge what expression she had on her face right now.
“Menoa Bellucci… Eosmon is an artificial Digimon made by you.”
Silence fell upon them. Menoa let out a quiet sigh.
When she turned to him, brushing her hair up to expose her face, there was no longer even a hint of friendliness to her.
“You really are a genius boy,” Menoa said, gazing at Koushiro in annoyance.
Yamato cried out in surprise at the ID card that Imura held out.
“Agent, yes. My name is Kyoutaro Yamada,” Imura said calmly.
“As the world calls it, I’m an ally of justice.”
“Yamato. Does this mean this guy isn’t a bad guy?” Gabumon asked.
“No… Probably not,” Yamato said, studying the ID card. It looked real.
“I’m just a shy adult who can’t be honest with himself,” Imura said in a serious voice as he returned his ID to his pocket.
“Then what’s the shy adult doing here?” Yamato asked.
“This is the reason.”
Imura showed the screen of his smartphone. On it was the same footage of Takeru tied to a chair that Koushiro had sent to Yamato.
The minute Yamato saw that, he pushed Imura to the side and ran up the stairs to the second floor. Takeru was asleep on the floor with a blanket over him.
“He was already unconscious when I got here,” Imura said.
Yamato gently touched Takeru’s cheek, but his brother did not awake.
“We at the F.B.I. have been marking Menoa for years, but she’s been really good at covering her tracks… I wanted to arrest her myself.”
Imura closed his eyes in chagrin as his hands balled into fists. “But she got us good this time. Her real goal is…”
Hearing that much, Yamato suddenly understood. Takeru and Hikari had been captured in order to lure him and Taichi to them. And since he hadn’t been attacked here…
Yamato’s eyes widened in surprise and he gulped.
“In other words, the person who has been taking everyone’s consciousness is…” Tentomon said slowly.
“Her using Eosmon. She is the criminal.” Koushiro responded. “Menoa-san… Why are you doing this?”
“I’m doing it for you guys,” Menoa said coldly.
“For… us?” Koushiro repeated, trying to comprehend the meaning of those words.
Menoa touched her butterfly hairpin and didn’t answer.
“Is that why you took everyone’s consciousness away?” Koushiro asked sharply.
“Menoa-han, no one wants this,” Tentomon admonished.
Koushiro gaped at Menoa’s cold response. The computer monitor glared brightly and Eosmon with a missing left arm appeared out of it.
“All of us do.”
Yamato slammed open the door to Koushiro’s office.
Yamato stopped in his tracks at the sight he saw in the room. Koushiro was lying on the floor.
“We were too late.”
Imura, who had ran with Yamato to the office, went to look at the computer.
“Damn it…” Yamato murmured in frustration.
“Tentomon’s gone, too,” Gabumon said, looking around the room.
“It’s no good. There’s traces of the list having been removed.”
“What exactly does Menoa plan to do with it?”
“I don’t know… But she would often say that she wanted to save the Chosen Children.”
“This is what’s going to save us?” Yamato snapped as he looked down at Koushiro. “Do you have any ideas where she could have gone?”
Imura regretfully shook his head no at Yamato’s question.
“So we’ve come this far and there’s nothing to be done,” Yamato said resignedly.
Upon hearing that voice, Yamato raised his head and turned around. Taichi and Agumon were standing at the entrance.
“What do you mean, ‘not yet’?” Imura asked, turning in Taichi’s direction as well.
“This,” Taichi said, pulling his prepaid cellphone out of his pocket. “Koushiro sent me this e-mail.”
The e-mail was full of rows and rows of numbers.
“What’s with these numbers?”
“This citation…” Yamato said.
Taichi said with certainty, “It’s coordinates to the Digital World.”
Imura brought up the map of the Digital World on the computer and displayed the location with the coordinates that Koushiro had sent.
“There’s nothing there.”
“Yep, nothing,” Imura echoed Agumon’s murmur.
Taichi gazed steadily at the monitor. “Koushiro gave us these coordinates, so Menoa has to be here.”
Beside him, Yamato was looking down gloomily at the floor with his arms crossed. Gabumon was the only one to notice.
At Gabumon’s voice, the others also turned to look at Yamato.
“…What’s the matter?”
“Taichi, are you okay with just going to Menoa like this?”
Yamato’s hands clenched as he gripped his folded arms. Taichi waited silently for his next words.
“If we go to Menoa, we’ll have to fight.”
“Yamato…” Gabumon looked up at him worriedly.
“If we fight, we’ll have to force them to evolve… Our separation will come sooner!” Yamato bellowed, leaning forward.
Taichi gazed back at him quietly.
“…Even so, we can’t just leave everyone who’ve gone into a coma and do nothing,” Taichi answered, dropping his gaze.
“You’re… okay with this…?” Yamato pressed further in response to Taichi’s words.
Agumon and Gabumon looked up wordlessly at Taichi. Imura looked down at the ground, feeling sorry.
A raindrop that had hit the window slid down the glass, splitting into two different paths.
“Of course… not.”
Yamato looked up in surprise.
“But someone has to do it…!” Taichi shouted, his face stricken by grief. Even he wasn’t fully convinced. He was merely doing all he could to do the right thing.
Seeing Taichi like that helped Yamato to calm down. He could painfully feel Taichi’s conflict and suffering. He wasn’t the only one who was sad. Taichi was feeling the same way, and yet he was forcing himself to keep going in order to save everyone.
Yamato gave a deep sigh and took his digivice out of his pocket. Half of the ring was gone.
“So… This is our destiny, huh?” Yamato muttered to himself.
Imura typed on the keyboard. “I’m opening the digital gate.”
Taichi and Yamato gripped their digivices to tell themselves that there was no turning back.
“Come back safely, boys.”
The two of them nodded firmly at Imura’s words.
When they passed through the gate, all they found was a pitch-black area. They could see each other standing beside them, but nothing else beyond that. There was no light or sound. It was pure darkness.
“What is this place…?”
“Is it the Digital World?”
Agumon and Gabumon were also there, next to a stunned Taichi and Yamato.
Something shone faintly in the depths of the darkness.
“What’s that?” Yamato murmured suspiciously.
“Let’s go check it out,” Taichi urged, and the four walked towards the light. As they got closer, the identity of the illuminating light grew apparent.
Taichi and Yamato’s eyes widened at the strong sense of deja vu that came over them. They were looking at a familiar trolley, except there was one distinct difference from how they remembered it. While the shape of it was the same, it was see-through as though it was made of crystal.
Astonished, Taichi touched the side of the trolley. “What is this?”
Yamato also reached out to identify the material. “It’s… crystal?”
Gabumon and Agumon had climbed up to the top of the trolley and were peering down at them.
“Yamato, this train car…” Gabumon said.
“It’s the one on File Island, isn’t it?” Agumon said.
“Probably,” Yamato crossed his arms and thought.
“But the material is completely different,” Taichi said.
“What’s going on?”
A butterfly suddenly flew past, flying between Agumon and Gabumon. The butterfly, glowing with an ethereal blue light, flew deeper and deeper ahead of them. From the light it gave off, they could see that they were surrounded by water.
The butterfly fluttered nimbly, gradually lowering in altitude. Before long, it touched the water surface and the butterfly scattered as if it had popped.
There, Menoa emerged to the surface.
Taichi and the group let out brief expletives when they noticed Menoa’s presence.
“I’m surprised you found this place,” Menoa said flatly. The water surface at her feet shone as if there was a spotlight on it.
“Where did you put everyone’s consciousness?”
Taichi glared at Menoa, and Yamato uncrossed his arms.
“We’re taking them back.”
“Let’s see…” Menoa whispered. She looked away, seemed to think for a bit, then looked back at the two coldly.
“Why don’t we ask them?”
Thousands of blue butterflies took off behind her.
The butterflies flew over the group’s surprised heads, ascending as they covered the whole sky.
Up in the air, the butterflies popped like fireworks and huge crystal-like rocks appeared immediately after. No, they could see buildings on top of the rocks, so it might be more accurate to call them islands rather than rocks. Crystal islands appeared, floating in the sky.
The butterflies popped in every direction over their heads, forming the islands. The light that built up from these hundreds of floating islands brought dim light to the dark area, revealing that Taichi’s group themselves was also standing on a giant crystal island.
“What is this place?” Yamato was overwhelmed by this incredible sight.
Taichi turned to look at what Agumon was pointing at.
On one of the floating islands was Hikari, looking as young as she had when she’d first come to the Digital World, with Tailmon. The two of them were holding hands, laughing happily.
“Hikari…?” Taichi whispered in amazement.
Yamato looked at the other floating islands. As he had suspected, one of them had a younger Takeru and Patamon frolicking around joyfully with each other.
The other islands were all the same. The children were playing harmoniously with their Digimon.
They even saw Meiko Mochizuki and Meicoomon, who they had known in high school. All of their friends’ faces on the floating islands were shining with happiness.
“They’re all kids again!” Agumon said in surprise.
Gabumon cried out, “And their Digimon are here, too!”
The Chosen Children of the world, who were in a coma in the real world, were all gathered here with their Digimon partners on these floating islands.
The landscape of each island was different, but the islands that their friends inhabited were familiar to them. They were the places that they had adventured with together as children.
Realizing what it meant, Taichi was appalled. “The Chosen Children…”
“You trapped them in their own memories…”
Yamato, who had also come to the same conclusion, turned pale. Those floating islands were made from the children’s memories.
Spreading her arms theatrically, Menoa exclaimed, “Welcome to Neverland! Our utopia!”
“You call this a utopia?!”
“You dragged everyone here against their will!’
Taichi and Yamato cried out indignantly.
Menoa accepted their anger quietly. “Yes. Perhaps it was me who brought them here… But, it was their desire to come here.”
At those words, Taichi and Yamato looked shaken. Menoa kept talking, indifferent.
“I don’t want to grow up.”
With a start, Taichi looked up at the floating memory islands.
“I want to be a child forever.”
Yamato looked with dismay at the children. All of them were back to looking like children, playing happily with their Digimon partners.
“Those desires are what drew Eosmon to them.”
Taichi and Yamato looked at Menoa at the same time. They realized that they couldn’t deny her words completely, and felt discomposed. Their purpose for coming here lost its focus, and now they couldn’t remember what it was for.
“This is the only way for us Chosen Children to be happy,” Menoa told them persuasively. “No one can stop the countdown ring on the digivice. Separating from your partner is your fate. It can’t be changed.”
Taichi and Yamato shrank back. A butterfly landed on the water next to Menoa and popped.
“But if we all go back to being children, we won’t have to lose our partners. No one will have to go through that pain.”
At some point without them noticing, Eosmon stood behind Menoa. But neither Taichi nor Yamato moved. Their consciousness was already under the control of Menoa’s words.
“Taichi. Yamato. I will save you both. So come to me. To our Neverland.”
Menoa slowly held out a hand to them as she spoke gently. In that moment, it looked like the answer to all of their problems.
The two jumped upon hearing their names called. They looked down to see Agumon and Gabumon standing there, facing them.
“We’re doing this, right?”
“Let’s save everyone!” Agumon said in a determined voice.
At their partners’ encouragement, Taichi and Yamato regained their composure. Nodding vigorously, they held out their digivices.
Seeing them get ready for battle, Menoa involuntarily cursed.
Agumon, evolve! Greymon!
Gabumon, evolve! Garurumon!
The two evolved, and another petal disappeared from the rings on Taichi and Yamato’s digivices.
Eosmon barred Greymon and Garurumon each with one arm when they leaped at it, taking on an arm-wrestling position.
“Why would you fight when all it does is shorten the time you have with your partners?” Menoa asked calmly.
“Someone has to stop you!” Yamato replied.
“And by doing so, we’ll save everyone! Greymon!”
At Taichi’s words, Greymon who had been comparing arm strength, opened his mouth wide and shot out a Mega Flame. The flames hit Eosmon’s wings, destroying them. Its body bent, and Eosmon released its hands to get away, but Garurumon immediately pounced. Water splashed under their weight.
Eosmon plunged its antennae at Garurumon, who was holding it down, blowing him away. But Greymon instantly rushed to it, holding it back down.
“We have greater numbers!” Taichi raised the hand holding his digivice triumphantly.
“And more experience. Garurumon!”
At Yamato’s cry, Garurumon jumped high and spat Fox Fire from mid-air.
Just before the attack hit, Greymon got off of Eosmon and pulled to the side. The blue flames poured down relentlessly on Eosmon.
Eosmon tried desperately to take flight, but Greymon knocked it back down with his tail. Eosmon slammed into the water surface sideways, spraying water everywhere.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Garurumon’s fangs were around Eosmon’s neck as it lay on the water. He bit down, his eyes like that of a wild carnivore who had caught his prey and was never letting go.
The light in Eosmon’s eyes vanished, and its arms drooped.
“Yes!” Yamato cried, clenching his fist.
“It’s over, Menoa. Give us back the others,” Taichi said firmly.
But even though Eosmon was defeated, Menoa was unmoved.
“As expected of you… Is what I’d like to say, but…”
Menoa slowly lifted up a hand and snapped her fingers. A circle of light spread out on the water surface around her feet. It wasn’t just one either. Rings of light kept appearing on the water surface as if they were mobilizing each other.
Garurumon’s eyes went wide at this unexpected event. “The water surface!”
“What is that light?” Greymon asked warily.
The lights continued to expand until finally the entire water surface began glowing.
“What have you done?”
Without answering Yamato’s question, Menoa whispered a name.
A blue angular object appeared through the water surface. As it slowly rose up, they could see that it was a wing.
Taichi and Yamato looked with disbelief at the wings that gradually emerged. They could predict who those wings belonged to, but their brains refused to understand.
Eventually the head appeared, and both Taichi and Yamato gasped.
It wasn’t just one. At Menoa’s call, a swarm of Eosmon appeared through the water surface.
“How is this possible…?”
“There’s so many of them…”
Garurumon and Greymon were wide-eyed at this extraordinary sight.
Taichi and Yamato both murmured in shock as they looked up at the endless swarm of Eosmon.
“This is my Digimon. She is the goddess that I have created, who will save everyone.”
Menoa gazed at the despairing Taichi and Yamato as she motioned to the countless number of Eosmon behind her. Her eyes were cold, as if she was possessed by something.
“That thing isn’t a Digimon!” Yamato denied strongly.
“You had a real partner once, remember that?!” Taichi cried.
Menoa gently touched her hairpin.
“That’s right. She was my best friend… That’s why I’ve been trying all this time to get her back. For years and years, I spent all of my time on it. But there was simply no way to kindle digital data with the light of life.”
As she spoke, Menoa remembered the days of her research. No matter how hard she tried, she never got any results. Every time her monitor returned with errors, she could feel her heart wearing down. Even so, she kept up her research without giving up, only to fail again. That was how her days repeated.
Over and over again. For years and years. She saw the “Error” word so much that it was burnt on the back of her eyelids.
“But on that day… That day when the aurora appeared. What was once mere digital data was brought to life.”
Menoa vividly remembered the aurora at that time. It was a majestic aurora that was beyond description, taking on the shape of a butterfly.
“What’s more, when Eosmon was born, she came with a special ability.”
“And that was her ability to turn human consciousness into data,” Yamato guessed correctly.
“Exactly. When I found that out, I knew. I am meant to use this power to save the Chosen Children… I felt as if Morphomon was telling me that.”
Menoa clutched the butterfly hairpin.
“That’s why I have to save all of the Chosen Children throughout the world.”
“Don’t tell me…”
Imagining the upcoming terror, Taichi and Yamato grew speechless.
Menoa took her smartphone out of her pocket. “This contains the list of all Chosen Children in the world.”
“Don’t do this… Menoa,” Taichi said, practically begging.
“I’m bringing all of them to Neverland.”
Yamato shook his head at Menoa’s monotonous voice. “This is wrong.”
“You can be here together forever. With your best friend and your best memories.”
Taichi and Yamato leaned forward in their desperation.
“Stop!” They shouted.
Greymon rushed towards Menoa, but an electric shock struck his cheek to stop him.
“Tailmon, Gomamon, Palmon…”
No emotion could be seen from the Digimon’s eyes.
“What’s wrong with you guys?” Taichi asked.
“Are they being controlled?” Yamato guessed.
“No,” Menoa quietly refuted. Taichi and Yamato looked at her.
“This is their will.”
The younger, child forms of Koushiro, Mimi, Jou, Hikari, and Takeru were standing in a line behind Menoa.
“This is their desire. It is everyone’s wish.”
The three hundred Chosen Children and their Digimon had also lined up behind Menoa.
“This is where we all belong.”
All of the children were staring straight ahead with emotionless, red glowing eyes.
“Since you want to destroy this place… You are the enemy.”
Taichi and Yamato’s faces twisted at Menoa’s words.
“This proves that I am right,” Menoa said as the children stood behind her.
All of the children simply stared at Taichi and Yamato. The two felt like those empty eyes were blaming them.
“No. This isn’t right,” Garurumon said in shock.
Taichi and Yamato, caught in the gaze of hundreds, were unable to move.
“This is my salvation for you,” Menoa declared, and tapped the screen of her smartphone.
Light rushed out from her screen into the air and popped instantly. Digital gates opened in all directions.
The Eosmon who had been on standby in the air, all looked up as one and flew to the digital gates. The gates immediately closed as soon as they passed through.
“Now all of the Chosen Children throughout the world will be saved.”
There were still several Eosmon remaining around Menoa as she spoke.
Taichi and Yamato’s faces darkened with despair. There was no way to beat her. Would they have to fight their own friends? Was fighting really the right thing to do?
“Now. What will you guys do?”
While the two were unable to reply to Menoa’s question, Greymon was the only one who had remained calm. Deciding that they should withdraw from here for the time being, he made a surprise attack by aiming his Mega Flame at the water surface.
The fireball hit, spraying water everywhere.
Menoa turned, raising her arm to ward off the splash. When she looked again, Taichi and the others were gone.
At an apartment in England, one of the Chosen Children, a young boy, was working on his laptop in the middle of the night. An Elecmon was next to him, leaning against the desk and snoring.
All of a sudden, a digital gate appeared on his computer screen.
Light flew out from the screen and the boy gave a shout of surprise, falling back off his chair. Elecmon woke up, startled by the noise.
When they turned around, Eosmon had appeared within the room.
At the coast of Palau, the Yunnan province of China, at Paris and Dotonbori, Eosmon were appearing before the Chosen Children all over the world.
Eosmon blocked the path of a young girl walking the streets of New York City. The girl took a step back in fear as she cradled a snowy white Yukimibotamon in her arms. It was obvious to her that this was not an opponent that she could shake off by running.
Eosmon opened her large mouth, which at first looked like a scarf wrapped around the neck, and approached the girl.
But Eosmon’s mouth never reached her. XV-mon suddenly appeared and violently punched Eosmon, slamming her against a building. The wall shattered and smoke flew up in the air.
Eosmon didn’t appear to have much stamina, because XV-mon’s single full-body hit was enough to extinguish the light in her eyes. Her antennae drooped. She stopped moving completely.
“Good one, XV-mon!”
Daisuke ran up and laid a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” The girl replied, albeit still nervous.
“Hurry and get out of—”
A thunderous roar came from across the street, cutting off Daisuke’s words. He and the girl flinched.
When Daisuke turned around, two cars flew from the corner of the crossroads. Miyako, with laptop in hand, and Hawkmon were running towards them from that direction with Eosmon hot on their trail.
“I told you we shouldn’t go online, remember?!”
“Hey, don’t snap at me! Chosen Children around the world are being targeted! We need information!” Miyako countered her partner’s complaint as they ran.
Daisuke’s eyes turned from the arguing pair to the incoming threat. “Those must be Eosmon, huh?”
Eosmon, with her mouth open, slowly approached them.
“Here they come, Daisuke!” XV-mon warned.
Ken’s voice immediately spoke up from the other side of the street: “Stingmon!”
Stingmon lunged with his sharp extending claws, then kicked Eosmon with both legs in rapid succession, causing her to topple sideways. With Ankylomon’s Megaton Press crushing her on top of that, Eosmon was sunk into the ground and rendered immobile.
“Does this mean that something has happened to Yamato-senpai and the others?”
As Miyako spoke, Iori and Ken ran up to her.
“Miyako-san, are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Miyako said, waving a hand to ease the worried Ken.
“Wah!” A boy screamed from the other side of the street. When they turned to look, they saw a light had jumped out from the boy’s smartphone, changing into Eosmon.
“We’ll have to defend this place,” Ken said, encouraging his friends.
“Yeah. Let’s go, guys!” Daisuke cried.
“Yeah!” His friends responded.
The large island at the center of Neverland had giant crystals adjacent to it as if to emulate wings. Taichi and the others were hiding on top of the crystals. Agumon and Gabumon looked down at the center of the island.
“We ought to be okay here,” Gabumon said.
Agumon and Gabumon turned at Taichi’s voice. Taichi was hanging his head, sitting on the ground, while Yamato was looking discouraged with his hands against the wall.
“What do we do now… Did we just not have enough resolve?” Taichi muttered weakly.
The ring on his digivice was already significantly reduced. Taichi gritted his teeth as he looked at it. He punched the ground as helplessness washed over him. “Damn it!”
As he watched Taichi, Yamato said, “You’re not the only one…” and painfully looked away.
They had both lost sight of where to go next.
“Let’s fight,” Agumon and Gabumon said in unison.
Taichi and Yamato looked up.
“Come one, Taichi. Let’s go.”
“Let’s fight and save everyone.”
Taichi and Yamato’s faces clouded at their partners’ reprimands.
“But you guys…”
“Do you know what that means?”
Neither Taichi nor Yamato could keep up with Agumon and Gabumon’s resolve.
“Of course I know,” Agumon said, looking straight at the boys.
“But there’s no other way to save everyone,” Gabumon said decisively.
Taichi and Yamato looked at their partners in silence.
All of a sudden, Agumon’s face broke into a soft smile. “Watching you guys grow up into adults makes me feel so happy.”
“Watching everyone change gives me so much excitement,” Gabumon smiled warmly.
“You guys…” Taichi said.
“Besides, I get the feeling that we’ll always be with you guys,” Agumon said, laughing cheerfully.
The shadows lifted from Taichi and Yamato’s faces. Those honest words and innocent smiles had melted inside their hearts, filling them up with love.
They had always been able to fight because their partners had been there. It was because of them that they didn’t give up.
“Let’s go, Yamato.”
Yamato paused for a moment to take in their partners’ feelings.
“Yeah,” he whispered, then said louder, “Let’s go save them! Gabumon!”
Taichi stood up and brought the googles hanging around his neck up to his forehead where they belonged. Just as how it had back then, when they had overcome every obstacle.
“Let’s show her our bond. Let’s do this!”
Smiles appeared on Agumon and Gabumon’s faces, and Taichi and Yamato also responded with grins of their own.
The partners reached out to one another and fist-bumped.
A flock of Eosmon were keeping watch of the surroundings around the central island. Menoa was also surveying the skies as she was carried in one of their arms. She was searching for Taichi and his group, but couldn’t find them.
Giving up, Menoa landed back down on the island and spoke gently to the children playing with their Digimon.
“Come, everyone. Return to your places. Other Chosen Children will be arriving here soon, from all over the world.”
The children looked up at Menoa with deep affection. She may have appeared to them like a holy mother, or a goddess.
Menoa bent down to meet the children’s eyes.
“When that happens, this place will be even more fun. You will never stop smiling here.”
As she spoke, Menoa’s mind filled with memories of her and Morphomon.
“Here, you can be with your best friend…”
When she and Morphomon had played together.
“Without ever having to leave them.”
When they had slept on the sofa together.
When she had given Morphomon a butterfly hairpin as a present.
When she had disappeared, leaving only the butterfly hairpin behind.
“Let’s all stay here together, forever…” Menoa said to them with a smile.
Hearing footsteps behind her, Menoa slowly turned around. Taichi, Yamato, and their Digimon were standing in front of the crystal trolley.
“You came here of your own accord. Does that mean you’ve changed your minds?” Menoa said, standing up.
“No,” Taichi said.
“We’re going to save everyone.”
Menoa snorted, her face immediately darkening. “Nonsense. This place is everyone’s utopia!”
She stretched out her arm as if to protect the children, and the swarm of flying Eosmon stopped and turned in Taichi and Yamato’s direction.
“Let’s go, Agumon!”
“Let’s go, Gabumon!”
Their digivices glowed and Agumon and Gabumon became spheres of light that spiraled up into the air. WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon’s heads appeared in the sky, and the emitting light particles formed the body. Omegamon emerged from within a scattering of light with both arms spread.
The ring on their digivices vanished drastically. There was only a bit of it left, but neither Taichi nor Yamato felt hesitant anymore.
The two yelled, and Omegamon turned to face the Eosmon swarm. Using the momentum of his turn, he sliced through one nearby with the Grey Sword of his left hand, and aimed with the Garuru Cannon on the other, firing. The ball of light hit Eosmon, creating a massive explosion.
Omegamon continued to fire at the Eosmon as he flew through the air at high speed. The shots hit their mark, and their opponent’s numbers decreased tremendously.
Menoa spoke at the boys, stunned, as the sky ignited behind her. “Why do you try to stop me?”
“Because this is a fake paradise,” Taichi said immediately.
Omegamon pierced Eosmon with the Grey Sword, plunging straight into a memory island. The crystal island shattered under the impact, and glittering shards flew up into the air.
In a lonely voice, Menoa said quietly, “Why are you trying to destroy this place?”
“As long as we’re in this place, none of us can move forward,” Yamato said promptly.
Omegamon spun upwards, looking down at the enemy as he aimed at them with the Garuru Cannon.
With the rumbling of the cannon, a ball of light shot out. He continued to fire more without a moment’s pause. The dizzying beams of light destroyed the Eosmon, along with the memory islands.
Menoa’s face distorted into sorrow.
“All I want to do is save everyone…”
Omegamon swung the Grey Sword widely, twisting his body to bring his left arm down. As if the slash had manifested through the air, the Eosmon and memory islands that were ahead of where the Grey Sword came down were sliced in two.
Menoa gripped her hairpin and her voice shook.
“As long as you’re here, you won’t have to feel as if you’ve lost a part of yourself…”
Shots from the Garuru Cannon destroyed several more Eosmon and memory islands.
Unable to bear it any longer, Menoa screamed.
Omegamon swooped down towards the last Eosmon. He plunged his sword into her abdomen and she hit the water, generating a huge spray.
Within the large waves, Taichi and Yamato gazed at Menoa. She didn’t look up even as the water sprinkled over her.
“…I can’t take it,” Menoa whispered as she took off the butterfly hairpin. It fell from her fingers and sank slowly into the water.
“Losing something that’s so precious to you…”
Looking down, she covered her face in both hands.
“I can’t take any more of it.”
Through the spaces of her fingers, Menoa’s eyes glowed red.
All of a sudden, the Eosmon that had been pierced with the Grey Sword scattered into particles.
“What?” Omegamon cried out in surprise.
The remnants of Eosmon floating in the sky also turned into particles that flowed in one direction.
“That’s…” Yamato whispered as he looked up at the flowing particles above him.
All of the particles of light gathered at the central island where they were standing. It formed a single pillar of light around Menoa.
“Only I know what this pain feels like,” Menoa whispered in an angry, shaking voice from within the light. “I will save everyone… I will become your goddess!”
As she shouted, Menoa disappeared into the light.
The pillar of light spread like a wall dividing the central island in two.
Taichi and Yamato turned their faces away from the brightness.
The water disappeared as if it was being sucked down into the light. The water flowed, falling into the breaks of the wall of light.
As the water drew back, the wall of light opened up. Looking at it, Taichi and Yamato could feel themselves turning pale.
“It can’t be…” Taichi choked.
It was Eosmon in a new form.
Her golden body was hundreds of times bigger than Omegamon, and her beautiful wings glittered like an aurora. Along with her usual slender limbs, there were an additional two, short arms crossed over the crystal on her chest. The tail part that extended out between her legs looked like a hornet’s abdomen. Her golden shine made her appear beautiful.
Yamato looked up at Eosmon in amazement. “She evolved… No, she absorbed her!”
There was a shadowy figure within the crystal on her chest.
“Menoa…” Taichi whispered as he stared at the crystal. What on earth was driving her this hard?
As he was contemplating that, the crystal on Eosmon’s forehead flashed without warning. The light beam it emitted crossed in the space between Taichi and Yamato, and the trolley behind them instantly melted. A large explosion erupted, and the two were caught up in the blast.
Omegamon inadvertently turned his eyes and Eosmon shot her beam again without giving away any motion. Omegamon knew the attack was coming, but couldn’t avoid it. The beam hit him directly, causing another explosion.
Taichi had fallen to the ground from the blast. He managed to push himself back up and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. It felt unpleasantly sticky and wet. When he looked, he saw that he was pouring bright red blood. Among all of the fights they’d had, this was a first.
Biting down to bear with the pain, he wiped at the blood on his forehead again.
“…Yeah.” Yamato responded to his call, getting up. He was also bleeding from his forehead. “I’m okay! How’s Omegamon?”
Omegamon appeared from within the smoke. Looking as though he were undamaged, he floated just above the ground and approached Eosmon as if he was skating on ice. His cape flapped as he zigzagged as a feint while closing the distance. Eosmon nimbly fended him off.
But Omegamon’s body slowed into a curve before turning sharply. He flew, closing in the distance, and lunged with his Grey Sword regardless of whether he was in reach or not.
But his Grey Sword did not reach the target. Plank-shaped shields suddenly sprang up between Eosmon and Omegamon, blocking his attack. He pushed harder to pierce through them, but they wouldn’t budge.
Deciding that it would be impossible to break through with his Grey Sword, Omegamon readied his Garuru Cannon. At close range, the ball of light flashed and exploded.
Eosmon appeared within the explosion. Her body did not have a single scratch.
The third beam that she shot from her forehead pierced through Omegamon’s right shoulder. His armor was destroyed and it gouged out a hole in the central island. The explosion that ruptured the ground caused the island to shake.
Omegamon flew off into the skies after receiving the attack, and Eosmon followed him.
Omegamon shot his Garuru Cannon at the oncoming Eosmon. Two shots flew straight and landed where he’d aimed, but there was no reaction. As expected, his attack was once again blocked by shields that she had extended to cover her front.
Eosmon called off the shields and shot the beam again. The ray of light immediately split into eight like an unwinding thread.
Omegamon bent his upper body to avoid the beams and tried to escape by flying. The eight beams relentlessly pursued Omegamon, destroying the remaining memory islands in their paths while still giving chase.
Unable to break free of them, Omegamon whirled his body around and struck the beams with his Grey Sword. But he only managed to hit two. The rest of the beams caught Omegamon and exploded. The wounded Omegamon fell facing upwards.
“Omegamon!” Taichi and Yamato cried.
The falling Omegamon tried to turn his body over somehow and regain his posture.
Daisuke and the gang’s struggle on the streets of New York City continued.
The wave of energy that radiated out of XV-mon’s chest exploded, destroying Eosmon.
Another Eosmon was waiting for her chance right after his attack and jumped down at XV-mon from the skies.
As he glided through the sky with his large wings, Aquilamon released a ring-shaped beam from his mouth. The Eosmon that had been lunging for XV-mon was sent flying backwards.
“Nice one, Aquilamon!” Miyako said cheerfully, waving a hand.
A wave of Ankylomon’s heavy tail whammed into another Eosmon’s face. The dull clunk reverberated through the air and the target sank into the pavement.
“There’s too many of them,” Iori said as he stood in front of the pedestrians to protect them.
“We keep taking them down and they still keep coming dagya.”
“Even so, we can’t give up!”
“Ken-chan is right!” Stingmon agreed at Ken’s words.
“Of course!” Daisuke said with a wide grin.
The Eosmon were appearing all over the world. But the other Chosen Children weren’t going to let themselves be helplessly captured. Surely they were still desperately resisting even now.
To raise their spirits, Daisuke proclaimed, “We’re not the only ones fighting!”
Eosmon’s attack sent Omegamon flying backwards. Several more attack beams came for him. Omegamon’s body, which had slammed against a giant crystal floating in the area, was pushed down with a thunderous roar by the impact of several beams hitting him. Smoke rose.
Nevertheless, Omegamon didn’t falter. He readied his Garuru Cannon and charged her, trying to fight back.
Suddenly, Eosmon raised a long arm.
Omegamon jerked back in surprise when a shield suddenly appeared in front of him. The crystalline shield that blocked his vision overlapped the barrel of the Garuru Cannon on Omegamon’s right arm. The tip of the Garuru Cannon fell off as if the part had come loose. It had been sliced off by the shield that had been generated instantly.
His back to the floating crystal, Omegamon’s eyes widened in astonishment.
Eosmon’s long arms moved even faster. Several more shields were generated, matching her movements, and Omegamon’s whole body was cut into the crystal. The shields that she had previously been using as a defense were now being used on Omegamon as a terrifying weapon.
“Ahh…” All Taichi and Yamato could do was watch, stunned.
As if passing judgment, Eosmon lowered down her arm. A giant shield appeared then, cutting the floating crystal in half.
All of the shields disappeared and the giant crystal ruptured to pieces in all directions. Various sizes of the broken crystal shards floated in mid-air, slicing his right arm and left leg.
Omegamon, tattered to pieces, floated in space.
“Omegamon!” Taichi and Yamato yelled grievously upon seeing Omegamon’s pitiful state.
“I’m not… done yet…”
Hearing Taichi and Yamato’s voices, Omegamon brought out the last remnants of his strength to raise the Grey Sword on his left arm.
He raised the sword up high and rushed at Eosmon with a battle cry.
The sword thrust was blocked by a shield. Regardless, Omegamon, with strained cries, desperately kept trying to pierce through the shield to get to Eosmon.
As if mocking him, Eosmon quietly raised her long left arm. The newly generated shield severed Omegamon’s left arm.
Without even a pause, Eosmon called off the shields and shot out a ray from her forehead. The beam hit Omegamon as he was bent backwards. An explosion occurred, and the wounded Omegamon slid without resistance to the ground.
With a loud thump, Omegamon hit the floor and his fusion came undone. Agumon and Gabumon lay limply on their sides within the cloud of dust.
Taichi anxiously tried to run to him, but someone grabbed his left hand. When he turned to look, he saw his sister with red eyes holding firmly onto his arm.
His right arm was pulled this time, and he turned in surprise to see Koushiro grabbing onto it, his eyes emotionless.
“Let go, Takeru!”
Yamato was also being held back by the child forms of Takeru, Mimi, and Jou.
“Let go, Hikari! And Koushiro! I have to go save Agumon!”
“Takeru, you have to let me go! I promise we’ll save you guys!”
They appealed to them desperately, but the children didn’t change expression.
“Hikari, you know this is wrong! You know you can’t just escape to this world, only living in your memories!”
“We have to keep going! Guh!”
Patamon flew at Yamato as if to cover his mouth, and Yamato fell on his back.
Taichi fell back under Tentomon’s body blow.
He straightened back up, but gulped at what he saw before him. The large crowd of children and Digimon was looking down at them coldly.
“Guys…” Taichi whispered in a shaky voice.
As one, the children’s Digimon partners fell upon Taichi and Yamato.
The Digimon dog-piled on each other, swarming over the two and squashing them. Eosmon watched this triumphantly.
A gate opened in mid-air and the Eosmon army returned. They landed on the floating crystal shards and each spat out a child’s digitized awareness data and their Digimon partners from their mouths.
This caused the crystals to radiate, forming new memory islands lined with chimneyed houses and windmills.
As the giant Eosmon stood regally like a queen, memory islands flourished all around her. Neverland was reviving.
Just then, Taichi’s arm stretched out from within the pile of Digimon. Eosmon noticed this and turned to look.
“Have to… keep going.”
Taichi stretched his arm out laboriously towards the expressionless Hikari and his friends standing stock still before him. It was true that this place was like a dream. But because it was a dream, they needed to wake up one day.
“We have to… keep going.”
Taichi took on the cold stares of the children without any trepidation. They’d had this dream for long enough.
He pushed himself back up with all his might, brushing the Digimon aside.
“Towards the future!”
Taichi bent himself forward and grabbed the whistle hanging around Hikari’s neck. He blew into it as hard as he could. Just like that time when, as a kid, he had first met Agumon.
The trill of the whistle echoed throughout Neverland, and the faces of his friends started contorting. The sound that shook their eardrums matched the same tune that they had heard as children, the one that was carved into a corner of their memories.
Agumon and Gabumon, who were lying on the floor in a worn-out, exhausted state, weakly opened their eyes.
Alone in a hushed and silent room, Sora looked up as if she had felt something. She gazed at the nonstop rain and placed her hand on the window.
The sound of the whistle echoed through Neverland.
Taichi let go of the whistle after blowing all of the air in his lungs into it, and painfully took a deep breath.
Taichi looked up in surprise. Hikari, Koushiro, Mimi, Jou, and Takeru were all standing before him, back in their older forms.
Patamon tilted his head in confusion, while Gomamon whispered confusedly, “What are we doing here?”
The Digimon partners were also back to their old selves.
Yamato looked at his friends and smiled. None of them were willing to cling to the past anymore. “That’s what makes us us.”
“Taichi-san, where’s Eosmon?” Koushiro asked.
Taichi stood up and looked behind him at the giant Eosmon with countless smaller Eosmon floating around her. It was an intimidating sight, but he no longer felt any fear. His friends were here. As long as they were with him, he was convinced that they could overcome any adversity.
Jou shook his fists. “Let’s go, Gomamon! We’ll protect everyone!”
“Yeah! You got it, Jou!”
“Palmon! Let’s go!” Mimi said, joining hands with Palmon.
“Yes. It’s been a long time since I’ve given them a taste of my thorns!”
“Let’s go, Patamon.”
In answer to Takeru’s call, Patamon flew up and sat on his head.
“We’ve gotta help my brother and everyone!”
“Takeru. I’ve got this!”
Hikari and Tailmon stared fixedly at Eosmon.
“Let’s go, Tailmon.”
“Don’t let your guard down, Hikari.”
Koushiro murmured with interest as he put a hand on his chin, “So that’s Eosmon’s evolved form…”
“Koushiro-han,” Tentomon warned him with some slight exasperation. “This is no time for analyzing.”
“You’re right. Let’s go, Tentomon.”
Sora’s grip tightened around her petrified digivice that had lost its color.
Right now, her friends were fighting somewhere. Even though they were apart, she could tell.
“Guys,” she whispered. She held her digivice to her chest and looked up. “I believe in you…!”
Togemon, Ikkakumon, Angemon, Angewomon, and Kabuterimon faced down the enormous Eosmon.
A beam shot out from Eosmon’s forehead, splitting the ground between Ikkakumon and Togemon.
Angemon, Angewomon, and Kabuterimon tried to attack from the skies, but the Eosmon army surrounded them, blocking their path.
“Prickly Bang Bang!”
Ikkakumon shot the horn on his head, while Togemon spun to unleash multiple thorns.
Taichi and Yamato watched their friends fight from a distance. The ring of light on their digivices was almost gone. Their minds were made up.
Upon hearing their partners’ voices, Taichi and Yamato looked down. Agumon and Gabumon were standing closely by their side.
“Agumon. I want to save everyone.”
Agumon gently placed his hand on Taichi’s right hand gripping his digivice. Just that alone brought courage.
“I know, Taichi.”
“Gabumon. Even if this is the end, please fight with me.”
Gabumon gently placed his hand on Yamato’s left hand gripping his digivice. Their faith in each other needed no words.
“Let’s go, Yamato.”
Their hearts united, they cried out together.
“This is our last evolution!”
Their digivices changed to gold, cracking as if unable to sustain the force of it. A pillar of light stretched from the digivices to the skies, disappearing in the distance before blooming into a large flower of light.
As the light rained down upon them, Taichi and Agumon, Yamato and Gabumon floated upwards.
“That light…” Hikari murmured in awe.
“It’s so pretty…” Mimi said.
Taichi and Yamato each took their partner by the hand and drifted into the light. There was no worry, no fear, no doubt. They were slowly absorbed into the light in the skies.
The dazzling light gradually subsided, and two humanoid shapes appeared from within it.
One of them was a muscular Digimon who wore a warrior’s helmet that reminded them of Greymon. His orange body had bluish-white stripes, and he wore a belt around his waist with a red crystal at the center. The claws extending from his hands and feet looked sharp, and he had a long narrow tail with a red sword blade at the tip.
The other Digimon wore a helmet that called to mind Garurumon, and he had a mechanical dark blue body. Long hair trailed out from the back of the helmet, and he had a thick fat tail at his waist. His forearms were Vulcan cannons, and on his back were airplane wings with circular tips.
Both of them were about five meters in length. Taichi and Yamato were riding on their shoulders.
Overwhelmed by the majestic radiance, Koushiro murmured. “A new evolution…”
Jou’s eyes were also wide. “This is…”
“Incredible…” Takeru said.
The newly evolved forms of Agumon and Gabumon raised their heads to look upon their target. The swarm of Eosmon headed for them like soldiers protecting their queen.
The space between Gabumon’s wings was equipped with an attack bit shaped like a thorn. The single bit separated into four and fired, quickly closing the distance to their targets. Beams were released from their tips. The Eosmon army was shot down in the twinkling of an eye.
Against the Eosmon who had managed to escape the bits and were closing in on the two, Agumon raised both arms in front of him. Tremendous laser beams shot from the red nails on the back of his hands. The beams sliced through the Eosmon easily and they disappeared into dust.
Seeing her countless allies flattened almost instantly, the Eosmon that carried Menoa began to move. Agumon and Gabumon saw that and jumped into the air, flying towards her. The shields that were generated, aiming for the two, cut vainly through empty space.
Agumon and Gabumon approached so fast that they couldn’t even be caught by the naked eye, and their upraised fists bashed into Eosmon’s face. Her giant body bent backwards, and she dropped into the central island with a rumbling of earth. Still in the sky, the two Digimon went into offense mode, thrusting their arms forward.
Eosmon was attacked with concentrated fire from both the lasers and the Vulcan cannons. The incessant attack that rained down mercilessly upon her was so overwhelming that Eosmon couldn’t even sit up.
Still on her back, Eosmon shot the beam from her forehead that spread in all directions. But the beam that she had half-desperately discharged flew through the air without hitting its target.
Neither Agumon nor Gabumon let up on their attacks. Eosmon, on the other hand, resisted this time with a flurry of long limbs. These movements caused numerous shields to be casually generated in mid-air.
Among the shields that were being indiscriminately generated, one appeared close by to Agumon and Gabumon, causing them to involuntarily stop their attacks and keep their distance.
But even though the attacks stopped, Eosmon’s limbs kept floundering as though she was having a panic attack. Shields of various sizes appeared all over the central island, and one part of the island crumbled down as though it had been scraped off. Her rampaging attack was destroying the Neverland that she herself had created.
Hikari and the others barely avoided the wild blows.
Taichi and Yamato rode out the attack on their partners’ shoulders.
“Let’s go, Yamato!”
As the two looked at one another, Agumon and Gabumon raised their fists and rushed at Eosmon.
Eosmon crossed her giant hands, forming many layers of shields in front of her.
Taichi and Agumon, Yamato and Gabumon hit the shields with their whole body. The impact was transmitted through the shields, pushing Eosmon into the central island and cracking its ground surface. The entire island vibrated violently with a terrific sound that was like a terrifying roar.
Taichi and the others kept pushing Eosmon so that their single blow would reach its target.
Unable to withstand the pressure, the cracks on the ground spread further until finally, the central island fractured at its core. The hunk of giant crystal shattered with a rumbling roar, its glittering pieces reflecting off light as they flew. The sight was so spectacular that it made everyone gulp.
Having lost their foothold, Hikari and the others were flung into the air, but their partners gathered their human into their arms and escaped safely.
Crystal shards, the last remnants of the central island, fell down everywhere in the sky.
Just then, one of the shards reflected a young girl happily embracing a Digimon.
“Ahaha! Morphomon, we’ll always be together.”
Another shard reflected the girl, this time slightly older.
“Morphomon… Everyone keeps avoiding me.”
“I want to become an adult soon. That way, everyone will stop looking at me strangely!”
“Morphomon, I’ve decided! I’m going to New York!”
Seeing the young Menoa reflected in the crystals, Taichi and Yamato spoke.
In the shattered crystal shards that came flowing down, they saw Menoa sitting on a swing.
“I’m going to live on my own from now on.”
Menoa, standing at her home entrance with her hair down, looking a little older.
“I’ll be fine on my own.”
“I can hear her voice,” Agumon said. What he was hearing wasn’t the voice from her memories, but her current voice.
“She’s looking for help,” Gabumon said.
“She’s been crying this whole time.”
Neverland caved in, and Eosmon dropped downwards.
Fourteen year old Menoa banged the front door open in her excitement. She couldn’t wait to tell her best friend the good news.
“I did it! I’ve got special honors to go straight to university!”
Morphomon was sitting on the backyard swing under the tree where they always played together. Her back was turned.
“From now on, I’ll make my own life! I’ll do research that I love to help the world!”
She was talking excitedly, but Morphomon still wouldn’t turn around.
“Morphomon?” Menoa called out uncertainly once more, stopping in her tracks.
When Morphomon turned around, she saw that her arms and wings were disintegrating into particles of light.
“Ah!” Menoa cried, and ran to Morphomon. Her digivice dropped out and fell to the ground as she ran. The last bit of the ring on it vanished.
Menoa clung to Morphomon, grabbing her by the shoulders.
“Morphomon! Why…? I don’t know anything about this…”
Menoa panicked, unable to understand what was happening. Her mind blank, she could only call out her partner’s name.
“Morphomon… Morphomon… Morphomon!”
Morphomon gently took Menoa’s hands and smiled at her. Morphomon’s mouth moved as if she was telling her something, but the words were drowned out by Menoa’s own voice. She couldn’t hear what was being said.
Morphomon’s body turned to light and vanished.
Her outstretched arms hugged empty air. The hairpin that Menoa had given as a present dropped to the ground.
Menoa hung her head, covering her face with shaking hands.
Is it because I…
Because I made that choice?
Because I wanted to grow up?
What else should I have done?
I don’t know anymore.
I know nothing.
Please help me…
Menoa looked up at the deafening roar.
Agumon and Gabumon were pushing their fists through the last shield trying to shatter it. Bits and pieces of the shield flew and sparks fell.
“Menoa! We’re coming to save you now!” Taichi called, and Yamato also raised his voice.
“What you’ve chosen wasn’t a mistake!”
“But no matter what waits for us after making that choice…!”
“We have to live with the decisions that we make!”
Menoa’s eyes glistened as the two desperately tried to get through to her. They had also made their choice. Even while knowing what would happen to them by doing so.
From his position on Agumon’s shoulder, Taichi leaned forward.
“We might not be able to change our fate. But!”
“We can change our destiny!”
Menoa’s eyes widened at those words.
There was a crack and the last shield shattered. Taichi and Yamato jumped forward, raising their digivices into the air.
“That’s why we won’t give up!”
Their digivices touched Eosmon’s crystal chest. A tremendous light exploded out of the digivices, blowing the darkness away.
Menoa’s view was blinded by light.
In that pure white world, the butterfly hairpin floated in front of her.
When Menoa looked up to watch, the hairpin suddenly changed into the shape of Eosmon.
The moment when Morphomon left her came up in Menoa’s mind. Just before Morphomon had disappeared into particles of light, she had taken Menoa’s hand. With a happy smile, Morphomon had spoken to her.
The words that she hadn’t heard back then could be heard clearly now.
“We’ll always be together.”
With those gentle words, Morphomon’s afterimage vanished and Eosmon smiled quietly. As if she was happy to have finally been able to convey how she felt.
Tears fell down Menoa’s face.
Even her tears were embraced gently by the light.
The Eosmon that Daisuke and his group were fighting disintegrated into particles of light and flew up into the sky.
Eosmon all over the world were disappearing at the same time.
“Is it over?”
V-mon and Wormmon looked up in a daze at the sky.
“I think it is,” Ken said.
“Me too,” Hawkmon responded.
The tension drained from Miyako’s face. “Oh, thank god!”
“Yes! I knew Taichi-san and the others would succeed!” Daisuke cried out in a pleased voice as he pumped a fist into the air.
Iori held up Armadimon in his arms. “We did it.”
The dawn rose, and the rain that had been falling incessantly came to an end. Sunlight peeked through the rain clouds.
In Koushiro’s office, Imura handcuffed Menoa. Taichi and the others looked on beside them.
Menoa met Imura’s gaze for a few seconds, then smiled gently as though a great weight had fallen off her shoulders.
Sunlight pierced through the windows, lighting up the room.
Jou woke up from the hospital bed, looked up at the ceiling and whispered in confusion, “Huh?”
“What was I doing?” Gomamon asked half-sleepily, poking his head out from beneath the bed.
On this day, all of the Chosen Children worldwide who had been in a coma woke up.
Mimi, who had also been sleeping on her hospital bed, woke with a start. She sat up and looked out the window to see vapor trails streaked across the clear sky.
“I had such a strange dream,” Palmon said, rising up from the floor.
Mimi raised both of her arms up into the air and stretched.
“Mm, today looks like such a good day!”
Her cheerful voice, which seemed to reach even the skies, echoed throughout the hospital room.
Even though giant columns of clouds hid the sun, the blue sky was still bright and beautiful. Taichi and Agumon were sitting on the shore of Odaiba, looking out at the sea. The loud sounds of cicadas filled the air.
In Taichi’s hand was his digivice where, like a single petal, the last remaining bit of the ring was trembling uncertainly.
He remembered the first time that he and Agumon had to separate. Back then, they could afford to laugh at each other. That had perhaps been because of the unfounded confidence, born from child-like thinking, that they would one day meet again.
Their separation now was approaching with finality. But even so, he wasn’t going to panic anymore. Right now, all he wanted to do was spend time with Agumon in the same way that he’d always had.
“It’s hot,” Agumon said.
“Well, it’s summer.”
“Taichi, do you remember the first time we met?”
Taichi smiled. “How could I ever forget?”
Yamato and Gabumon overlooked the city at an observation deck in Yokohama’s Harbor View Park.
“Wow, what a great view!” Gabumon said excitedly.
“This is nice once in awhile,” Yamato said as naturally as he could, realizing that this may be the last moment they would be together. They mutually understood, without having to say it, that they both wanted to act the same as usual.
Yamato stared out blankly at the view from the observation deck, and took a harmonica out of his pocket.
“Ah, your harmonica!”
“I refurbished it because I wanted to try playing it again.”
Watching Yamato look down gently at his harmonica, Gabumon lowered his eyes to the landscape.
“Let me hear it.”
The ocean waves crested and hit the sandy beach, then pulled back, repeatedly. Just looking at it made him sweat buckets.
“Hey, Taichi…” Agumon called for Taichi in his usual drawled tone.
“What?” Taichi asked, turning to Agumon.
“I wanna eat shaved ice.”
Taichi leaned forward in disbelief.
“Fine, all right.”
Taichi stood up. Agumon simply watched him.
“You like melon-flavor, right?”
He knew what Agumon liked better than anyone.
When Taichi stood up, his back was higher and bigger than Agumon was expecting. Agumon looked up at him in wide-eyed wonder. His heart felt full.
“Taichi. You’ve grown big.” Agumon said, looking pleased.
“…You don’t change,” Taichi responded back with a quiet smile.
Gabumon closed his eyes as he listened to the familiar, gentle tune of the harmonica. The wind blew and the sun filtered through the trees.
He opened his eyes again to the scenery spread out so wide before him.
“…Yamato, I’m proud to have you as my partner.”
Quietly taking in Gabumon’s words, Yamato brought his hands down.
“Hey, Taichi.” “Hey, Yamato.”
At the same time, at different places, their partners asked the same question.
“What do you want to do tomorrow?”
“Well, let’s see…”
They who were once boys turned their gazes to look up at the sky and think for a bit.
“I don’t know my plans for tomorrow.”
Two butterflies flew past, flying towards the sun beyond the clouds.
“I got it.”
A smile came upon the faces of they who were once boys, and they opened their mouths as if struck by an idea.
“Tomorrow, why don’t we—”
Turning around, they found that their partners were no longer there. The only thing that could be heard were the cicadas.
Both boys stared at the spot for a while, as if searching for leftover traces of their partners. Before long, they faced forward.
The digivice in their hands petrified from the inside out, losing its color. They clutched their digivices, their hands shaking. The drops of water that fell to the ground didn’t come from the sky. No matter how much they tried to hold it down, the tears wouldn’t stop.
On that day, the day that they became adults, giant tears leaked from their eyes as they sobbed quietly.
The blue sky and the magnificent sunset peering through the clouds in the background looked both so out of place and so beautiful.
This is how we arrived at the entrance to adulthood.
And then, the story evolved into new territory.
The hands typing on the keyboard stopped.
Some time after the incident, the Chosen Children were back in the rhythm of their everyday lives.
In the cafeteria where Taichi was chatting with his school friends, he was holding a single sheet of paper in one hand. It was the outline for his bachelor’s thesis, which had been previously blank but was now filled up with a detailed theme in mind.
He had found what he really wanted to do and accomplish. No matter how steep that road was going to be, he would not hesitate to reach that goal. With strong determination in his heart, Taichi resolutely wrote the title on the paper.
The title read, “How mankind and Digimon can co-exist.”
Taichi ran under a row of cherry blossom trees in full bloom.
Yamato, a bit of a distance away from Taichi, parked his motorcycle at the shoulder of the road, and took off his helmet to look up at the cherry blossoms. The tree branches swayed in the wind and pink-white petals danced gracefully in the air.
As he felt the beauty of the cherry blossoms wash over him, Yamato smiled daringly. There was no fear or hesitation in his face.
Within the petals dancing down upon him, Taichi’s smile widened. His running speed increased as though he was hurrying towards the oncoming future that he must face.
The two, who were now adults, declared resolutely:
“Wait for me! I promise to come for you!”
Silver award winner of the JUMP Novel Theme Category Contest for New Writers of 2018. This book is his debut.
Screenplay writer, lyricist, and general writer. He has worked as a screenplay writer on such series as the “Gintama” anime, and “Super Sentai Series.”
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