Chapter 7: Menoa’s Secret
A girl was watching the rain pour outside her room. She had an expression that didn’t fit her usual lively personality, and let out a sigh.
“Hey, Sora…” a pink Digimon that looked like a small bird called out to her. “Are you sure you don’t wanna meet up with the others?”
The girl named Sora hugged Piyomon tightly as she answered.
“…I’ve already made up my mind, I’m not going to fight. I’m going to stay with you, Piyomon…”
Sora stroked Piyomon’s face gently, through her fluffy feathers.
Sora had chosen not to fight, and to spend time with her partner.
But even though she was no longer fighting, Sora’s heart was still with Taichi and the others.
Even if she wasn’t there with them, even though she was away from them, Sora was thinking of Taichi and the others.
“Don’t push yourselves too hard…Taichi, Yamato, everyone…”
The lights were off, so thanks to the rain, the room was dark.
In that room, Taichi pulled the drawer open again.
Taichi took out the goggles, and put them around his neck.
Back during their adventure in the Digtial World, he’d never taken them off. It felt a little like he’d returned to those times.
And then, Taichi stared at the Digivice he’d always been using.
Around half of the ring’s light was left, lighting up Taichi’s face in the dark room.
“…Let’s go, Agumon.”
Taichi slowly stood up.
An indoor pool, at a certain high-class hotel. Menoa was lightly floating on the water, drifting down it.
Menoa caught sight of Taichi and Agumon, who had arrived at the poolside.
“Do you need something?”
“Koushirou told me you were staying here.”
Menoa sat down and rested near the pool, and Taichi went straight to the point.
“You have a Digimon partner too, don’t you?”
Menoa didn’t even bother denying it.
“Her name’s Morphomon. I met her when I was nine, and we were always together since then. I even took her to school with me, and we were never apart, not even when I went traveling. Really, wherever I went and whatever I did, we were always together…So many good memories.”
“So where is she now?”
Menoa looked up at the ceiling of the pool as she answered Taichi’s question.
“Our partnership ended eight years ago.”
Menoa closed her eyes, as if she were looking through her memories, and continued.
“I was fourteen years old. Just like you guys, I didn’t know anything about it at all. So when it happened, I was shocked and confused…”
“Is that what happened…”
Taichi turned away from Menoa, and saw her butterfly hairpin that she’d left on the table.
Menoa’s eyes were cast downward, and her eyes were hidden behind her bangs.
“I don’t want other people to experience the same painful farewell I did. Don’t you think it’s unfair that we don’t get to be with our partners anymore once we become adults?”
Taichi couldn’t respond, and Menoa raised her head.
“That’s why I’m continuing with my Digimon research,” she said to him, with a bright smile on her face.
Taichi took a single step closer to Menoa.
“So then, wouldn’t you know anything about a way to stop the partner separation?!”
Menoa, staring straight at Taichi, shook her head.
“Sorry. If I knew, I’d have told you right away.”
To Taichi, who hadn’t wanted to give up on it, the fact that he’d truly have to face this after all had been thrust at him, and he slumped his shoulders.
“…Why did you approach us?” Taichi said, next to the perfectly still pool.
“You guys are the strongest team, after all. And besides…”
Menoa gently smiled at Taichi.
“You guys might be able to change the painful reality we’re in. That’s what I thought.”
Meanwhile, Yamato and Gabumon were standing under an umbrella in the rain, hiding in the shadow of a building.
Within their range of view was Imura, who had come out of a building while looking around.
Gabumon nodded firmly, and they infiltrated the building Imura had just come from.
The building had an ominous atmosphere as they walked through it, and they reached a room that Imura had presumably been using.
They opened the door, and Gabumon gasped.
“Yamato! Over there!”
An unbelievable scene unfolded in front of Yamato and Gabumon’s eyes.
There was a desk and chair sitting by itself against the wall, and world maps with red marks all over it. There were tons of photos on it there as well, depicting not only Menoa or Eosmon, but also Yamato and Taichi and the others, all taken secretly.
“Y-Yamato! We’ve gotta tell the others about this!”
At almost the exact same time Gabumon had said this, Yamato’s ringtone went off.
The call was from Daisuke in New York. Gabumon looked like he wanted to say that this wasn’t the time to be having this kind of chat.
“Daisuke, is this call safe?” asked Yamato.
“It’s fine! I did what you said and found a public phone to use!”
“Good job. So did you find anything?”
Daisuke sounded very proud of himself as he laughed in response to Yamato.
“Right on the mark! Where should I start?”
“We’ll start with the assistant.”
“In short, he is completely shady. To the point it’s like that Imura guy doesn’t even exist in the first place!”
Daisuke’s words were brimming with confidence, but they were beyond anything Yamato could believe.
“What did you say?!”
He heard Miyako’s voice after that.
“When I looked through Menoa’s computer, it was full of her research and papers, but when I looked through her assistant’s computer, it was wiped clean, to the point it was suspicious. Ah, but what I did find were traces of data about Eosmon that got left behind!”
“We thought this was suspicious, so we looked into his personal information, and we couldn’t find any records about anyone named Kyoutarou Imura. It’s probably an alias,” continued Ken.
Hearing this, Yamato stared at the photos of Taichi and his friends and Menoa.
“So in other words, he doesn’t technically exist…”
“That is for certain.” This time, it was Iori speaking clearly over the phone.
Yamato was muttering to himself, his hand to his mouth.
“So Menoa…is actually the one being used by Imura?”
“We can’t say that for certain yet…But would someone as brilliant as her let herself be used like that?”
V-mon and Armadimon interjected over Miyako’s response, making a huge, cheerful fuss.
“Everyone kept talking about Menoa being a real pretty lady!”
“But the Aurora painting in her room was real pretty, dagya!”
As Yamato recalled the rainbow-colored lights in the night sky, Hawkmon started to explain the point.
“He’s talking about Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn. Armadimon was quite unusually interested in a painting of her.”
“The goddess of the dawn…Aurora?”
“Ah, but please don’t worry about that. It was just a painting hanging in her room!”
But despite what Miyako had just said, the information Yamato had just gotten kept pulling at his mind.
Daisuke’s voice reminded Yamato that he was still on the phone.
“Right, okay…Is there anything else you need to tell me?”
“Yep!” Daisuke said, in the loud voice he always used during the most important moments. “When we get back to Japan, please treat us to okonomiyaki1!”
“And make it all-you-can-eat!” added Daisuke’s partner, V-mon, in a cheeky manner.
Hearing Daisuke and the others laughing on the other side of the phone, Yamato let out a small chuckle.
“You got it. Thanks.”
The call ended, and Yamato turned back towards Gabumon.
“Let’s go, Gabumon!”
While Taichi and Yamato were continuing their own investigations, Koushirou was at the IZUMI Corporation office, still working on his computer through the late night.
“But if my analysis of Eosmon’s data is correct, then…? Then this series of incidents is actually…”
Koushirou had a bad habit of losing sight of his surroundings whenever he got absorbed in something.
“Koushirou-han, don’t be leavin’ all these empty plastic bottles around.”
Tentomon was pacing back and forth around the desk, but it was like Koushirou wasn’t paying attention to him at all. However, he was making huge progress on his investigation as a result.
He eventually let out a small sigh, only for an email to arrive on his computer.
The sender was “Hikari Yagami”.
“Hikari-san…? Did something happen?”
Tilting his head, Koushirou opened the mail.
[WHICH ONE NEXT?]
“Which one next…?”
The only things written in the email were that sentence and a URL, written in Roman characters, written under it.
Cautiously, Koushirou clicked on the URL.
Koushirou’s eyes widened upon seeing the video that was now on his screen.
Takeru and Hikari were on the screen. The two of them were in different locations, and had been captured and tied to chairs.
Takeru and Hikari were completely limp, and it was hard to tell whether they still had their consciousness.
“This is bad…!”
Koushirou immediately grabbed his cell phone and made a call.
Taichi was on a taxi speeding down the road.
“Koushirou! Where should I go?”
“Hiroo! Hikari-san should be held there right now!”
“And what about Takeru?”
“He’s in Nerima! Yamato-san is already heading that way!”2
The taxi couldn’t possibly go as fast as Taichi needed it to. He listened intently to Koushirou’s voice.
“Taichi-san, I can’t get in contact with Jou-san, either. Please don’t let your guard down.”
On top of Mimi, it was possible Eosmon could have gotten to Jou, too.
And, perhaps, Takeru and Hikari, too…
Eosmon was running off with all of their friends and family.
Taichi’s heart was slowly being taken over by panic and fear.
Yamato drove his motorcycle past dozens of cars.
Gabumon was sitting behind Yamato, and the two of them were heading for Takeru as quickly as they could.
“Please make it in time, please make it in time…”
With his eyes fixated straight ahead, Yamato was driving his motorcycle at a recklessly fast speed.
Gabumon, who was clinging onto Yamato’s waist, was shouting so he could be heard over the pouring rain and the sound of the motorcycle.
“We’ll always be together, no matter what happens!”
Gabumon said those words firmly, in a reflection of his current feelings.
Yamato was terrified of losing Takeru, more than anything else.
No matter what happened with the world, that fact would never change.
Yamato, lost in those thoughts, felt his body getting lighter.
Responding to Gabumon’s words, Yamato forced his strength into turning the handle so that he could go faster.
Koushirou, who was staying behind in the office, was staring intently at the video with Takeru and Hikari on the monitor.
“Please hurry, everyone…!
“Koushirou and Tentomon were praying that Taichi and Yamato could get there even a second earlier.
Just then, the piercing sound of an alarm rang out.
Koushirou looked at the map of the Digital World that he had on his monitor.
On the map, one of the locations had suddenly started to turn red.
It was a dark color that indicated that a Digimon was doing something major at that location.
“Did ya find where Eosmon’s gone?”
Tentomon had climbed onto the desk, and was looking up at Koushirou.
“I’ve found it, but…its mass is far too big.”
The red mark on the screen was getting darker and darker.
Even if it were indeed Eosmon, it was hard to believe that it was indicating only one Digimon there…
“It’s almost as if…”
As Koushirou was starting to develop a very terrifying hunch, a voice could be heard from the entrance to the office.
“Did you find Eosmon?”
Standing at the entrance to the office, out of breath, was Menoa.
- Okonomiyaki = Japanese savory pancakes made with batter and “whatever you like” (the literal meaning of the okonomi part of the name). It’s street food, so Daisuke and the others aren’t asking for anything particularly expensive.
- Hiroo is a district in Shibuya, in the main urban area of Tokyo, and very far from Nerima, which is all the way in the north. While Hiroo is reasonably close to where Koushirou’s office is in Odaiba, Nerima is effectively on the other side of the city. Incidentally, Adventure fans may be interested to know that Nerima also happens to be where a certain town called Hikarigaoka is located…