Chapter 8: The True Culprit
Taichi was holding Hikari, who lay completely still.
She had been in the corner of a warehouse, with a spotlight on her that had been used to film the video with.
But by the time Taichi and Agumon had gotten there, Hikari had already lost consciousness.
Taichi called out to Hikari, thinking that she might open her eyes if he tried, again, and again…
But Taichi received no response, nothing like the “Taichi!” he was so used to hearing from her.
“…You’re late, Yamato Ishida.”
Having gone through the shutters of a warehouse, Yamato and Gabumon found Imura waiting for them. He was sitting down, and Yamato and Gabumon could see a gun in his hands.
Yamato’s jaw was dropped as he scowled at Imura.
“Why are you here?”
Despite Yamato glaring at him with a menacing look, Imura did not move at all.
“Seems like you’ve been on my trail. Doing a very sloppy job of it, too,” said Imura, nonchalantly, while Yamato grit his teeth irritably. “But unfortunately, you’re too late.”
“Yes, you are.”
Imura pointed his gun towards the second floor of the warehouse.
“Your younger brother, Takeru Takaishi, has just had his consciousness stolen by Eosmon.”
The shock hit Yamato so hard that it threw him in a daze.
“Yamato! So it really was him!” declared Gabumon, next to him.
“Yeah…! He’s the culprit of this case!”
Yamato immediately snapped out of his shock, and stared down Imura.
“Wait, Yamato Ishida. What are you getting at…?”
Yamato raised his voice. “Don’t play dumb! You’re controlling Eosmon and taking away the consciousness of the ‘Chosen Children’!”
As Yamato stared Imura down, he let out an ill-fitting laugh.
“…Hah. I see what’s going on.”
It was the first time Yamato had ever seen Imura change his expression. Yamato stiffened.
Imura reached into the chest pocket of his suit.
Back in Koushirou’s office, Menoa, in a tense mood, looked at the monitor.
“I knew you could do it, Koushirou! Now that we’ve found Eosmon, the consciousness data should be there, too!”
Since they’d finally tracked down Eosmon, Menoa was talking at a rapid pace.
“And if we defeat Eosmon, we’ll be able to save the three hundred people who lost consciousness!”
She was cheerful and in high spirits, but Koushirou was keeping a bit of distance from her.
“Why have you come here today?”
Menoa’s face brightened at Koushirou’s question.
“Oh, right! I figured out a way to save everyone!”
“Nobody will have to feel the pain of separating from their partners anymore!”
She smiled at Koushirou with what seemed to be an excited smile, and held out a hand to him.
“All I need is your list of ‘Chosen Children’. Can you help me, Koushirou?”
Koushirou did not respond to the hand she’d held out, and spoke with her in a calm and composed tone.
“Back when we had our battle in that cyberspace, I collected some of Eosmon’s fragments.”
Menoa slowly lowered her hand.
“I analyzed those fragments, and the results were that its organizational structure had a number of mathematical formulas that were clearly manmade. When I looked up those formulas…I was led to a certain paper.”
Koushirou had his gaze fixated straight on Menoa. Menoa turned her face away and hung her head.
Koushirou took a deep breath, and spoke.
“Menoa Bellucci. You are the one who created the artificial Digimon, Eosmon, aren’t you…?!”
Still looking down, Menoa raised a hand to her head.
She slowly pulled up her bangs away from her face and raised her head, and said, “You really are a genius boy, aren’t you?”
Koushirou watched as Menoa’s eyes gained a cold glow.
Imura had pulled out an ID card from his suit pocket.
“I’m what the world calls an ‘ally of justice’,” said Imura (it seemed like his real name was actually Kyoutarou Yamada), bluntly, to the flabbergasted Yamato.
The flames in Gabumon’s mouth died down, and he looked up at Yamato.
“He’s not a bad guy, right?”
“I’m just a shy adult who can’t be straightforward about things,” Imura joked, in his usual expressionless and soft-spoken manner. Yamato and Gabumon were not amused.
“So what’s a ‘shy adult’ like you doing here?”
Seeing Yamato’s anxious expression, Imura pulled out his smartphone. “Because of this.”
On it was the video of Takeru and Hikari that had been sent to Koushirou earlier.
A tattered blanket was laid out on the sleeping Takeru.
“He’d already lost consciousness by the time I’d gotten here.”
As he listened to what Imura was saying, Yamato was crouching down next to Takeru.
Yamato gently touched his brother’s cheek. It was still warm, but there was no sign of Takeru possibly waking up.
“We at the FBI have been tracking Menoa for years now, but she’s been all too good at covering up her trail…”
Imura looked at his own hands, his eyes downcast and resigned.
“I wanted to arrest her with my own hands. But in the end, she played me for a fool…This whole time, her real goal was…”
Yamato realized the truth in a flash.
Back at the office, Menoa was staring straight at Koushirou.
“So you’re the one who stole everyone’s consciousness, too…!” said Tentomon.
Koushirou picked up the conversation, calmly pressing Menoa. “She’s the criminal who’s using Eosmon. Menoa-san, why are you doing this…?”
Menoa interrupted him. “It’s for your sake.”
Koushirou continued to press onto Menoa’s line of thought, but he simply couldn’t understand.
“You’re saying that this is the reason you stole people’s consciousness?!”
Koushirou was leaning forward as he raised his voice.
“Menoa-han, nobody’d want that,” Tentomon said to Menoa, as if to admonish her, but his feelings didn’t reach her at all.
“Yes, you do…We all do,” said Menoa, listlessly.
Behind her was a bluish-white light.
A light was coming out of Koushirou’s computer screen.
Wings made out of panels. The left arm that Omegamon had blown off with his attack. The Eosmon that Taichi and his friends had fought had appeared next to Menoa.
By the time he’d started getting on his cell phone, his field of vision was blinded by a light.
Yamato and Imura arrived at Koushirou’s office.
The office was empty, except for Koushirou’s body on the floor.
“We were too late…” muttered Imura, agitated.
Yamato rushed up to Koushirou, who, like Mimi and Takeru, was unresponsive.
“Tentomon’s gone, too!”
Gabumon’s observation confirmed Yamato’s suspicions.
Koushirou’s consciousness had been taken by Eosmon.
“No dice. There’s traces of her having extracted the list.”
Imura, who had started examining Koushirou’s computer, slammed his hands on the desk.
Yamato looked at Imura from behind, and said, “What on earth is Menoa trying to do?”
“I don’t know. But she was always saying that she wanted to save the ‘Chosen Children’.”
“How is doing this supposed to be our ‘salvation’…?” said Yamato, kneeling down next to Koushirou as his voice trembled.
Still flustered, he addressed Imura. “Any ideas on where she might have gone?”
Imura closed his eyes and shook his head. “None…”
There was nothing they could do. Yamato was starting to truly fall into despair.
“We’ve come this far, and now we can’t do anything…”
Yamato and Imura suddenly heard a voice, and snapped up in response.
Taichi and Agumon were standing at the entrance.
“What do you mean by that?” Yamato asked.
Taichi showed him the cell phone that Yamato had given him earlier.
On the screen was a sequence of numbers.
“Koushirou sent me this message.”
“What are these numbers?” asked Imura.
Taichi’s response was confident. “They’re Digital World coordinates.”
Imura took the cell phone from Taichi, and looked at the map of the Digital World on Koushirou’s computer. The coordinates from the message pointed to a location. But…
“There’s nothing there.”
“Nothing at all.”
Agumon and Imura spoke in unison. But Taichi continued to stare intently at the screen.
“If Koushirou’s left us these coordinates, Menoa’s got to be there.”
Taichi was ready to go to the Digital World right then and there.
But when he turned to look at Yamato, all he did was look down, saying nothing.
“What’s wrong, Yamato?”
“Taichi. Are you okay with this? If we go ahead and approach Menoa…” said Yamato to Taichi, still with his head hanging. He clutched his hands tightly. “If we approach Menoa, we’ll have to fight her.”
Gabumon looked up at Yamato, with a nervous expression on his face. Feeling Gabumon’s gaze on him, Yamato’s voice became more forceful.
“And if that happens, we’ll be forcing the Digimon to evolve! We’ll have to part with them even sooner! You know that, right?”
Yamato took a single step towards Taichi as he yelled.
The normally cool-headed Yamato was now shouting at him, but Taichi looked back at him calmly.
“…But we can’t just abandon everyone who’s lost consciousness.”
As Taichi spoke, with downcast eyes and a light voice, Yamato looked at him with a feeble gaze.
“So…you’re okay with this?”
Both Taichi and Yamato were staring at their own feet.
Agumon and Gabumon were looking up at their own partners.
“As if I’d be okay with this.”
Taichi’s true feelings were spilling from his mouth.
It was only natural. In truth, Taichi felt exactly the same way as Yamato.
He didn’t want to fight when his separation from his partner was lurking on the horizon.
“But…! Someone’s gotta do it!” said Taichi, desperately, looking directly at Yamato.
Right now, Taichi and Yamato were the only ones who could save Mimi, and Jou, and Takeru, and Hikari, and Koushirou, and all of the other three hundred people from Eosmon.
Seeing Taichi declare his resolve in spite of his own wavering heart, Yamato calmed down.
He took the Digivice he’d always been using out of his pocket. Only half of the ring of light was left.
“Gh…So this is my destiny, then…” Yamato said, in a low voice.
Click-click-click-click…The sound of Imura typing on the keyboard rang out cleanly through the air.
“I’m opening the Digital Gate.”
Taichi and Yamato held out their Digivices in front of them.
The two of them were ready. Imura turned towards them.
“…Come back safely, boys.”
Imura’s blunt statement was his way of genuinely cheering them on.
Taichi and Yamato gave him a huge nod, and jumped into the Digital World…