“I’m so TIRED!” Beth yelled as loud as she possibly could,” Where are we going anyway!?”
“I’ll tell you when we get there,” Michael assured her, going forward as she kept whining along the trail.
Michael led them through the forest, mostly following the shore as he led them forward. The last Station was a few days behind them now as their next destination was…well even they hadn’t asked. As Beth forced herself to keep walking everyone else felt fine. The forest was alive and the digimon were playing in the trees above them. At least, digimon would be playing and happy if Elizabeth’s complaining, annoying whines weren’t keeping them away.
“I can’t keep going,” she said, falling face-down as they gathered around her. As they watched, her muffled voice escaped the ground, saying,” Just go without me. I’ll just be road kill while you save the world.”
“Whatever,” Mei said, walking forward as she finally asked,” Actually, she’s right. Where are we going, Michael?”
He looked her in the eye, smiling smugly as he offered,” I’ll tell you where we’re going if Beth gets out of the mud.”
“Deal,” she said, taking her friend’s red ponytail as she yelled,” Ow, ow, ow!”
“Okay,” he said sarcastically,” you win Mei. We’re going just over that mountain.”
“Oh come on!” she yelled, slumping down as he said,” There’s a village at the top. Once we reach it we’ll get more supplies, then leave.”
“Then what’re we waiting for,” Takuya said, as irritating and annoying to them as ever,” The digital world won’t save itself. So our first priority should be getting to…to…Where is this place anyway?”
“It’s the Windmill Village deep in the mountain crater. From there, we’ll purchase a few gliders and make our way to the Aquarius Terminal. Then we’ll hop a Trailmon and head for the Ice Continent.”
“But that mountain’s HUGE!” she yelled as he walked up to her. Michael tapped her on the head, smiling as he said,” You’ve gotta look at the big picture. It’s just one mountain. There’ll probably be more. Heck, they’ll probably be bigger.”
“That doesn’t make me feel better,” she said as he walked away. Everyone brushed past her as he led them away. Koichi pulled her with him, yanking her along the trail as they made the journey up the mountain.
As they made their way, climbing the even slope, the forest began to change. The trees bent as long, flowing streams crossed their path. Rough stones lined a now rocky path as they encountered several cliffs, tunnels and caves. Pieces of sunlight phased through the trees, creating tiny patches of light on the leafy ground. They quickly made their way to the top, admiring the white clouds and mighty plains. Michael watched in the distance, staring at the village that lay on the edge of the crater. He took Christine’s hand, helping her down as they ran down the hill into town.
“It’s so cute,” Emma said, admiring the quaint town she’d stumbled upon.
The tiny village looked like something out of Medieval Britain. Wooden houses with high chimneys and cobblestone roads lay before them. Dozens of windmills jutted from the city as digimon rushed by them. At the edge of the crater, massive bridges hung from the edge, connected to platforms for airships to land. From there, more houses were nailed into the side of the cliff, each connected by stable walkways and bridges. A giant clock tower dominated, however, built with a huge windmill on top. It’d massive ring told the entire town it was three as more aircraft flew in and out.
“Here’s what I want you guys to do,” Michael said,” Explore, enjoy yourselves. I’ve gotta find some gliders, but meet me at the Tower by six. And try not to fall over the cliff.”
He took Dorumon and Renamon with him as Christine followed diligently. Through the street, they divided themselves, the girls slowly disappearing as their guards followed. Emma disappeared first. She ran into the forest, exploring as Tommy did his best to keep up with her.
Sarah and Takuya found their way into some sort of weapons shop. Giant swords and shields bigger than truck hung along the walls as Sarah inspected tight bows with sharp, intricate arrows. But Takuya went for the best part, a shooting range. He gave the owner a few yen and aimed his crossbow carefully. They watched closely as each barely hit the target. She laughed at him, trying to keep quiet as he said,” I’d like to see you do better.”
She took the bow, dropped in the yen, and said confidently,’ Watch and learn.”
With Kudamon on her head, she placed the bow under her arm, gently held the trigger and readied the arrow. The sights lined up. “Mountain in the Valley” she thought to herself as it lined perfectly with the red bull’s-eye. Finally she squeezed, yelling “PULL!” each time it launched. A new arrow dropped in, flying just like the last. In rapid succession, a bundle of arrows held tightly together were dug into the wood. They perfectly covered the red as she said,” That’s how it’s done.”
Zoe followed a group of digimon into the forest, crossing creeks as J.P. trailed behind. She quickly made her way past the trees to find an open field in front of a shrine. It was carved into the mountain to reach the sky. Happy digimon played on the ruins as Zoe and J.P. made their way to the top.
“What do you think it is?” he asked as she climbed, replying,” I don’t know.”
At the top, a simple, flat altar was free for them to walk upon. It was shaped like a triangle, facing the sky as they stood hundreds of feet above the clouds. The wind twisted her hair as she studied the ground below her. A circle lay inside the triangle with a mighty dragon portrayed in the middle. She studied it as the digimon played around them.
“Excuse me?” she asked politely, allowing curiosity to take over,” What is this place?”
“It’s the shrine,” one of them said as another told her,” To the guardian Azulongmon.”
“He’s the Guardian of the Sky,” a Cutemon said,” Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can see him from this platform.”
“Really?” she said, thinking,” I bet I could try spotting him. Maybe I could get the others too!”
She grabbed J.P., taking him back down the shrine as the digimon yelled goodbye. But back in town, Koji had to follow Mei as she painted her nails by the edge of the cliff. He lay, relaxed on the grass as he watched the clouds go by.
Meanwhile, at the top of the cliff, Beth was watching the incredible view. Gaomon stood with her, sipping a cup of tea as Koichi watched. She sat on the railing, smiling as she said,” How ‘bout a picture for the road?”
“I could if we had a camera,” he said as she took one out of her backpack. He readied the flash as she began to yawn, throwing off her natural balance as she fell off the cliff. She screamed as he rushed for her, yelling,” Elizabeth!” “Did you hear something?” Mei asked just before Beth fell on her, seemingly crushing her as Gaomon yelled off the ledge,” Are you alright ma’am?!”
“Ay okay!” she said, flashing a peace sign as sweat poured down Koji’s face. She suddenly noticed him, asking,” Hey Koji. What brings you here?”
“Mei?” she asked, getting up and looking around as she asked,” Where’d she go?”
Soon, Mei emerged from a hole in the ground. She looked like a red gofer, covered in mud and grass. Beth jumped as she saw Mei. With nervous laughter she asked,” H-Hey Mei. How you doing?”
“I was just crushed by a falling imbecile! How do you think I’m doing?!”
“Calm down Mei,” Koji said, still relaxed as he said,” It was an accident.”
She took his hand as he pulled her out, the crumbs of dirt falling off as she brushed herself. By now, Beth had made sure she was close enough to the farthest exit, inching her way to the trail as Mei said,” Whatever. I need some tea.”
In the forest, Emma and Tommy were training. The sun was bright, bird digimon sand their eternal chorus, and gentle streams flowed past the tall trunks. But it was all but peaceful as Emma hid behind a large boulder, listening to Tommy and Liamon duke it out behind her. When she emerged, the forest was in ruins. Sheets of ice blanketed fallen trunks as black smoke billowed from craters in the ground.
“How is this even possible?” she asked, pointing to a bare rock that was still on fire.
They turned to her, struck by her as she donned strange new clothes. She wore a pink sweater over a collared shirt, with black pants over pink boots. Her hair was in a ponytail, sticking over a black cap as she held in her hand, a whip? Tommy backed off as he asked,” Did I do something wrong?”
“No,” she said, giggling as she said,” I’ve got my own training to do.”
“Like what?” Liamon asked as she got on him, replying,” Trick riding. I did it all the time back home.”
“Cool!” Tommy said excitedly,” Can I watch?”
He sat beneath the trees, with a crowd of digimon around him as Emma bowel to them all. They all clapped as she got on Liamon, trying to focus as she whipped her partner, yelling,” Giddy up!”
As he raced in circles around the field, her first trick was balancing on her hands as her legs formed a split. She them put her body in a Y position, standing on her hands as she fell back down. Next she stood upright on Liamon, forming a swan shape on one leg as she turned and landed backwards. As Tommy and them clapped, Emma slid to the side, only her legs holding her to her partner. Then, like a human spider, she climbed under Liamon, heading back to his back as she yelled for him to stop.
“That was great Emma,” he said as she hoped down.
“You think so?” she asked with a wide grin on her face,” I race too.”
“I’d love to see that sometime,” he said in awe,” Maybe when we get home.”
“That sounds great.”
Tommy took her back to the village just as the clock struck six. When then ran through the now empty streets, cool air rushed past their faces. It was fun, this day, but when they saw the others, it was anything but enjoyable. Everyone was arguing as they walked towards them.
“What’s wrong?” Tommy asked as Zoe asked,” Tommy, would you want to leave at midnight and spend the whole night flying?”
“It’s the only way!” Michael yelled as Beth fought back,” There’s always another way!”
“Do you want the destruction of the digital world on your conscience?”
“P-Please stop,” Christine mumbled over their fighting as Koji argued,” I don’t see why we can’t just wait ‘til morning.”
“The world might not be here by morning.”
“Stop it,” Christine repeated as Takuya said,” This isn’t fair.”
“He’s absolutely right,” Mei cried, glaring as she said,” If this is the sort of leader you’re going to be then I’d much rather have a D+ leader like Takuya.”
“This is pointless.”
“You’re pointless!” Sarah yelled as she replied,” I care about this world but we need rest to fight off the enemy. Besides, if we don’t get a say in the GROUP decisions, then I’m out.”
“You’re starting your own group? Heh, good luck with that!”
“ENOUGH!” Christine finally screamed while they all grew silent. As they stared at her, the sight of Emma crying ended the fight. She quickly escaped, running past them into the tower as Tommy and Liollmon chased her. Christine took both Zoe and Michael as she explained,” I’m sorry. I just..I just hate seeing people fight.”
As she peered into Michael’s eyes, she begged one last time,” Please don’t fight.”
Zoe crossed her arms, challenging Michael as she said,” Michael if you don’t start thinking about your friends more than the mission, all your power as leader will just disappear.”
Everyone watched as Michael towered over her, whispering less than two inches from her face,” Tough talk from a bodyguard.”
The wind grew silent as she whispered back to him,” No, this is tough talk. I quit.”
She stormed off, heading to comfort Emma as everyone else followed her leadership. One by one, they entered the windmill until even Dorumon left him. In the end it was just him and Christine. With her insecure face and sad eyes, she turned her back on him, leaving him as he stared in disbelief. As the loneliness set in he walked into town in an attempt to clear his thoughts.
He’d headed to the docks where he readied a glider for himself. As the wind howled and the night began to set in he was fastening bolts and checking systems. But in the darkness, Zoe watched him with regret. She felt bad about what she’d said before and wanted to make it better, but wasn’t sure if Michael was wiling to listen to her.
“Michael?” she asked quietly as she approached him.
“Oh, you’re here?” he asked as he wiped his hands on an old rag,” What’re you doing?”
“I came to make sure you weren’t doing anything stupid,” she said sadly as she continued,” I also wanted to say I’m sorry.”
“Sorry?” he asked, surmised and happy at the same time,” Why say sorry? You were right.”
“Absolutely,” he said, still checking the gliders as he said,” I’ve been focusing too much on the mission and forgot you kids aren’t as…driven as I am.”
“I am not a kid!” she said angrily, replying,” I’m thirteen years old. That makes me a teenager, Mr.”
“Fair enough,” he said, slamming the hatch shut as he said,” But I still need to know you understand why I said those things.”
“Yeah,” she said kindly,” It’s because you were thinking about the Digital World.”
“Exactly, and that’s why I feel I still have to go.”
“But…you can’t go Michael,” she said before she was interrupted by two dark figures of the rooftops. Their elaborate clothes and flowing hair went with the wind as the crescent moons shined behind them. It was Terminus and Lilithmon, glaring down at the with sick grins as he said,” Yes Michael, you can’t leave. I mean, who else will save this village.”
“Who’s that, your girlfriend?” Zoe asked mockingly.
“It’s Lilithmon,” she said zealously as they began burning the village,” I thought you said there’d be someone fighting us? All I see are two frail little humans.”
“In time,” he said, smiling as much as she was,” we just have to make ourselves known.”
They went off to the clock tower where everyone slept. Michael ran as Terminus walked, destroying as much of the town as he could. As he burnt and slashed everything in sight, Lilithmon simply scratched her nail against the houses, corroding them as she marched.
Michael burst through the doors as he carried Dorumon and Christine out first. It was so sudden, the two didn’t even have time to start struggling. As he tried to get the others out, Zoe stood with confusion as the others figured he must still want them to leave with him.
“What do you think you’re doing!?” Mei yelled as Zoe said,” Guys, we’ve gotta get out of here. It’s Terminus.”
“Again?” they all asked together as Beth asked at the same exact time,” This late?!”
“Let’s go!” Takuya shouted as he drew his digi-vice.
When they got outside, Terminus and Lilithmon were waiting in the fire, menacing no matter how still they were. He glared at Michael as she laughed, asking confidently,” These are the Legendary Warriors? These are the children who ‘saved’ both worlds? These are the children who were able to defeat Lucemon?! How disappointing.”
“That’s what you think,” Takuya yelled as Michael stepped forward, asking Terminus,” Got another crazy scheme Terminus?”
“More like… confirmation through confrontation.”
Before they could react, Lilithmon stormed at the kids, throwing them like trash and blowing their attacks away. Renamon jumped away as she carried Christine. As she set her down, she fired her Diamond Storm at Lilithmon, distracting her as J.P. came from behind. Yet all she did was put her finger on her chin as she disappeared before them. When he landed, she took his hand from behind, throwing him away as Koichi came from the side. Amidst the flurry of strikes, she easily blocked his swings. Soon everyone threw attacks from each direction as she became enveloped in a cocoon of their six elements. But the whole time she was laughing, absorbing the attacks until she created a shockwave to knock them all away. This was when Terminus went to capture Emma.
He tried to get her from behind, but as sweat poured down his face he stood still, almost struggling to force his hand towards her. But he quickly pulled away in defeat. Emma didn’t have time to wonder what just happened, given Tommy just laded in front of her and the rest of the battle was raging.
Soon Zoe returned to her human form as BurningGreymon started shooting a Pyro Barrage at her. She absorbed them as the flames melted from her cloak. Soon He rammed at her as she rushed to him. She confidently smiled at her tried to stab her with the shields on his wrists, but instead she disappeared to the side again, like a ghost. As the bells from above began ringing again, she suddenly grabbed his hand, but it was different this time. Suddenly the armor was being eaten away where she touched. He tried pulling away, but it was pointless as only she would let him free.
With one last laugh, she let go, proclaiming,” Would you just give up already? Filthy human. You clearly don’t know what this is, so I’ll tell you. While my left hand is almost powerless, the armor on my right hand is a special relic known as the Nazaar Nail. Anything it touches is instantly corroded. I’d get that arm checked if I were you.”
Takuya watched his arm as it was nothing but a fragment of what it once was. The corrosion had stopped, but now Lilithmon was smiling at them as she said,” I could destroy you right now, but Epsilon won’t let me. Besides, my turn’s over. Time for Terminus to play.”
“Get off of me!” Zoe screamed as Terminus threw her over his shoulder. While they watched in horror, he held his hand to the sky as a might dragon came to make his escape. It was a Chinese dragon, black and red with a golden mask over a snarling face. It’s glaring green eyes and dark aura perfectly matched Terminus’ style. But it’s worst and most terrifying features were the two gems it held in either hand. They say, if touched, unleash his full, god-like wrath. The digimon was Hisyarumon, the demon dragon of the skies.
As Terminus flew away, Michael ran off to the gliders, closely following both Terminus and Zoe. Dorumon followed him as the two jumped over fire and climbed the rubble that was once Windmill Village. Michael didn’t bother stopping once he’d gotten to the glider and simply jumped on to start flying. Dorumon held on tightly as they went in for Zoe, but unfortunately for them they had no idea Terminus wasn’t after Zoe. So once they got close enough, Hisyarumon simply touched the gems, destroying Michael’s glider in a black explosion as he dived into the clouds.
Zoe quickly digivolved to Zephyrmon, diving to reach Michael as he spread himself out to slow his fall. They met so quickly Michael couldn’t believe it. Once she got close enough, he held his hand out, desperately trying to catch her as they fell. But the more he struggled, the more he lost the position keeping him alive. Eventually they drew farther apart until he couldn’t hold her.
Zoe grew smaller as Michael relaxed himself, accepting his fate as his D-Tector started glowing with light. He didn’t scan the code, or do anything really, but something inside him turned his feelings into power as he suddenly hit ground, but was still alive for some reason.
“Wha? What happened?”
“Are you okay Michael?” something asked him from behind.
When Michael sat up, he heard a loud buffeting from either side. Under his fingers was dark blue fur and behind him, a swinging tail? Then a head, just like Dorumon’s only bigger and darker turned to him. Michael jumped back a little, but then crawled forward, feeling the old interface infused to his data.
“Doru…Dorugamon? You digivolved? How’d that happen?”
“I’m pretty sure it had to do with you, Michael,” he said, still flying in place,” It was your will to help everyone that gave me the strength to digivolve.”
“Then let’s put that power to use!” he said enthusiastically, digging his heels into Dorugamon’s fur as he held his ears. Michael took the goggles on his neck, put them over his and said,” We’ll show Terminus what true power really is.”
Michael flew Dorugamon back to Hisyarumon. As he flew, he saw something strange and frightening at the same time. It was a third eye of Hisyarumon’s head. Blue and cold, it was just like the one Takuya saw in his dream. He immediately realized that was the source of Terminus’ control and yelled out,” Zoe, distract him. I’ll take care of the rest.”
“Got it,” she said as she blew a gust of wind as strong as a hurricane around him. The feathers pierced into Hisyarumon as they merely fell off Terminus. He laughed at their attempt as Dorugamon launched a giant cannonball, dead set on the eye. It broke like a piece of glass, freeing Hisyarumon as his true form was revealed. The dark form disappeared as pixels as Azulongmon emerged. He flew away into the clouds as Michael watched Terminus float on darkness. The villain was still laughing as he said,” How do you expect to alter destiny? Destiny is a force none can change. And your destiny, Michael, is to die at the tip of my blade.”
“You see Terminus,” Michael said with a determined smile,” it’s stuff like that that only makes me wanna try harder! The human spirit naturally wants to change it’s destiny. So you tell me Terminus, is the flow of destiny stronger than my will?”
Michael and Terminus locked eyes as he scoffed, turning his head as he said,” How childish. I am done with you.”
He summoned a gate, a massive, red crack in reality that took him back to his base. Terminus then whistled, calling Lilithmon as she was sucked in as a flash of light. As Michael watched Terminus flee, he walked through the gate as it closed again.
In their lair, Lilithmon was brushing her hair before a large mirror, playing with her makeup as Terminus stared into the distance. His eyes were wide and frightened. No matter how much she tried, Lilithmon couldn’t stop watching him, wondering what happened to make him like this.
“What is it Terminus?” Lilithmon finally asked with a foul grin,” Didn’t you enjoy messing with those kids?”
“That…that pink girl…”
“I know. Just looking at her made me sick.”
“I-I think she is the Flower of Fate.”
Lilithmon stared at him, like he’d broken some sort of taboo. As he clenched his fists and gritted his teeth, she asked,” Are you sure?!”
“Indeed,” he said, full of rage and hatred,” I tried to touch her, yet I felt my hand burning as I got closer. Only the Flower can keep us away like that.”
“And if we don’t act…” Lilithmon said breathlessly,”…she will spread her petals and scatter her seeds.”
“I need to make sure!”
“And how do you plan on doing that?”
He looked to the distance, grinning as he thought to himself,” How long would it take to assemble everyone at the Southern Station?”