Chapter 9: The Children’s Utopia, Neverland
Taichi and Yamato were in a pitch-dark space.
“What’s with this place…”
Taichi looked up and down around the area, but there was nothing but darkness swallowing up everything, and it was impossible to see anything.
“Is this the Digital World?”
As Yamato strained his eyes, he could suddenly see a light in the distance.
Next to the more doubtful Yamato, Taichi saw the light and plainly said, “Let’s go check it out.”
The two of them walked together, side by side, until they reached the light.
Glowing in the midst of the darkness was a trolley made of transparent crystal.
Taichi touched the transparent trolley, and its shape and size began to bring back memories.
Agumon climbed on top of the trolley with Gabumon, plopped down next to him, and looked downwards at Taichi.
“This trolley…It’s the one from File Island, isn’t it?”
Back when they’d gone to the Digital World in grade school, File Island was where Taichi and his friends had first met their Digimon partners and started their adventure.
It was also where Taichi and his friends had finished their adventure, and parted from their Digimon for the first time.
The crystal trolley in front of them was exactly the same as the one Taichi and his friends had taken back to the Real World.
But the place where they were at now was not File Island.
Koushirou had sent them to Menoa’s place, where the memories of Taichi and his friends were taking form.
“What on earth is going on…” said Yamato, who was getting an ominous feeling. He folded his arms.
Agumon and Gabumon had fallen silent. A glowing blue butterfly flew over their heads.
Hearing Gabumon’s voice, Taichi and Yamato followed the fluttering butterfly with their eyes.
The shining butterfly slowly approached the ground, and landed on the surface of water within the darkness…and burst apart, as if it were like glass.
Only a light was left where the butterfly had landed, and the silhouette of a woman emerged.
“…Good job on finding this place.”
Taichi and Yamato could now see her in full. In front of them was Menoa, the one behind this entire incident.
“Where are you keeping all the people you took?” said Taichi, glaring at Menoa.
“We’re taking them back.” Yamato, next to Taichi, also glaring sharply at Menoa.
Menoa accepted both of their glares with a dignified demeanor, and slowly opened her mouth.
“Well, I wonder…Wouldn’t it be better to try asking them instead?”
A whole swarm of glowing blue butterflies emerged behind Menoa.
Looking up at the countless numbers of butterflies, Taichi blurted out, “What’s going on?!”
The butterflies burst like fireworks, lighting up the air around them.
From the light they’d left behind emerged numerous floating islands.
The floating islands, made of crystal, reflected their own shining light.
And thanks to that, Taichi and the others were able to see what the place truly looked like.
“What’s with this place?”
The ground beneath Yamato’s feet was a shining surface of crystal, floating above a lake.
Taichi and Yamato had been sent to a giant island surrounded by many other floating islands. The entire place was made up of transparent crystal floating all around the air. If you were to look at all of the islands at once from midair, it would look like a giant butterfly spreading out its wings.
“Taichi, look over there!”
Agumon was pointing at a single island floating in the air.
Taichi looked at the island, and couldn’t believe his eyes.
It was Hikari, looking exactly as she did as a second-grader going on an adventure in the Digital World, holding hands with Tailmon and laughing.
“Yamato, over there!”
Gabumon pointed at another island, and once Yamato saw it, he couldn’t take his eyes off of it.
Yamato had seen Takeru, looking much younger, and holding hands with Patamon.
Looking at the world around him…his friends and their partners were all there, turned into their younger selves, and wearing brilliant smiles.
“They’ve all turned back into kids!”
“And their Digimon are there, too!”
As Agumon and Gabumon said this, Taichi realized the truth behind the crystal islands.
“You’ve trapped the ‘Chosen Children’…within their own memories!”
The islands, all laid out before Taichi, were “islands of memory”…where the fun memories of the “Chosen Children” and their Digimon took form.
The crystal that made up the islands had created as many islands as there were children.
In their special place with their partners, no one would ever get between them, and the time of parting would never come for them.
As Taichi and Yamato watched this in shock, Menoa spread her arms, and yelled in a loud voice.
“Welcome to Neverland! This is our utopia!”
As Menoa declared her words confidently, Taichi didn’t hesitate to shout at her.
“You call this a utopia?!”
“Aren’t you the one who dragged them here against their will?”
As Yamato leaned forward, Menoa lightly shrugged.
“…Well, I wonder. I certainly did bring them here. But…they came because of their own wishes.”
The sound of laughter could be heard, as if agreeing with Menoa’s words. The “Chosen Children”, still within their own memories, were laughing happily.
Taichi and Yamato continued to look around at all of them, while Menoa continued.
“‘I don’t want to become an adult.’ ‘I wish I could be a kid forever.’ Those wishes and desires drew Eosmon to them.”
Taichi and Yamato simultaneously turned around to face the front.
Menoa stared directly back at the two of them.
It was like she was staring into both of their hearts.
“This is the only way for ‘Chosen Children’ like us to be happy…”
Menoa was speaking, one sentence at a time.
“Nobody can stop the countdown ring on the Digivice. It is our fate to be separated from our partners…A fate that cannot be changed.”
A single butterfly flew back towards Menoa. It slowly descended towards Menoa’s feet, and burst in a flash as the surface of the water brilliantly glowed.
“But if we all return to being children, we’ll never have to separate from our partners. We’ll never have to experience that pain.”
Light spread out below Menoa’s feet…and from it emerged none other than Eosmon.
As Taichi and Yamato recoiled, Menoa held out a hand towards them.
“Taichi. Yamato. I can save you, too. So come with me! To our Neverland!”
The two of them were lost for words.
If they took Menoa’s hands, they wouldn’t have to separate from their partners. They could go back to being kids, and live forever within their fun memories.
Taichi and Yamato looked down at their Digivices. Not even half of the ring of light was left.
They could still make it. If Menoa was right…
Hearing their names called them back to their senses in a snap.
Agumon and Gabumon were staring straight at Taichi and Yamato.
“We’re ready!” said Agumon, firmly. It was almost as if he were the old Taichi, back when he had stood up to lead his friends.
“We’re gonna do this, right?”
Gabumon was completely calm, just like the old, cool-headed Yamato whenever he’d gathered his friends together.
Agumon took a step towards the frozen Taichi and Yamato.
“Let’s save everyone!”
Hearing their partners’ words, Taichi and Yamato nodded in unison.
Shaking off the conflicted feelings, Taichi and Yamato held up their Digivices.
As their partners leapt towards Eosmon, they were enveloped in light.
The ring on Taichi and Yamato’s Digivices was disappearing even further.
Menoa let out an exasperated sigh.
“I really don’t understand you.”
The huge Greymon and Garurumon held Eosmon down, and started to attack it fiercely.
A spray of water emerged from the lake.
“Why are you fighting when you know it’s going to reduce the time you have with your partner?”
Yamato answered Menoa as if he were scolding her.
“Because someone’s gotta stop you!”
Next to Yamato, Taichi was clenching his fist tightly.
“And we’re gonna save everyone! Greymon!”
Responding to Taichi’s voice, Greymon spit out a ball of fire.
Boom! Greymon’s attack smashed into one of Eosmon’s wings.
Eosmon stumbled upwards, but Garurumon knocked him back down. He lunged fiercely at Eosmon.
Eosmon, writhing in pain, used its antennae to drive Garurumon away.
Greymon took advantage of the opportunity and immediately charged forward at Eosmon, pressing it down into the water’s surface.
“We’ve got it…!”
Taichi had a huge grin on his face.
Yamato looked up above him and called to his partner.
“We’ve got greater numbers and more experience! Garurumon!”
Garurumon, who had leapt into the air, breathed out blue fire. He aimed it directly at Greymon’s back as he held Eosmon down.
Right before the attack hit, Greymon leapt to the side.
Boom! Garurumon’s flames caused an explosion, with Eosmon caught up in it.
Eosmon tried to escape by flying away from the explosion.
Greymon and Garurumon were fighting together in sync!
Greymon threw his long tail around like a whip and tossed Eosmon into the air.
Eosmon collapsed into the water with a splash, and Garurumon lunged at it.
Garurumon bared its fangs at it, and, hoping to finish it off, bit firmly onto Eosmon’s throat.
Eosmon struggled for a moment, and the lights in its eyes flickered…and finally blinked off.
That moment, Eosmon’s body also lost its strength.
Eosmon had completely stopped moving.
“…It’s the end, Menoa! Give everyone back!”
Taichi, now confident in their victory, stared directly at Menoa.
But Menoa still seemed to be completely unfazed.
Menoa slowly raised her hand and snapped her fingers.
Greymon looked down at his feet and said, “What’s this light…?!”
A circle of light was spreading on the water’s surface, with Menoa at the center. The light passed Taichi and Yamato’s own feet, and covered the entire lake.
“What on earth is going on?!”
Instead of answering the confused Yamato, Menoa, in a low voice, simply muttered “…Eosmon.”
Bluish-white wings rose up from within the shining lake.
Taichi’s mouth was wide open at the sight, and he was at a complete loss for words.
An Eosmon, just like the one Garurumon had defeated, had emerged from the lake.
And there were now hundreds, thousands…tens of thousands of Eosmon flying through the air, surrounding Taichi and the others.
“So many…” said Greymon looked up at the air around him.
There were so many of them that it was impossible to count, and Taichi and Yamato could do nothing but watch.
“This is my Digimon. She’s a goddess, one whom I created to save everyone.”
Entranced by her own creation, Menoa stared at them with cold, glowing eyes, as Taichi and Yamato felt their spines turn stiff.
“That thing’s not a Digimon!” yelled Yamato, trying to shake off his fear as he glared at Menoa.
“You had a real partner, didn’t you?” pressed Taichi.
Menoa looked down, brought her hand to her butterfly hairpin, and spoke her words lightly.
“I did. She was my most important friend…And that’s why I’ve been trying to get her back this whole time. For years and years, I didn’t spare a single moment. This whole time…”
Menoa closed her eyes, and her memories flowed through her mind.
She’d put in all of her knowledge and abilities to get Morphomon back.
“…But there was no way for me to spark the light of life within her digital data.”
No matter how many times she’d tried, the results had always ended in “error”.
Whenever it felt like her heart would completely break, Menoa would retreat into her memories of Morphomon, and get back up again.
I want to see my partner again.
That single thought was what opened Menoa’s eyes as she continued her attempts.
“But on that day…the day the aurora appeared and spread over the world. It managed to spark the light of life into what had once been simple digital data!”
Hearing this, Yamato gasped. The aurora had appeared as a strong electromagnetic field.
Such a so-called abnormal phenomenon…had been a miracle for Menoa.
Within Menoa’s research lab was a single painting. The dawn — the goddess of daybreak.
To Menoa, who had gone through great pains to create a Digimon, Eosmon had appeared to her like a goddess.
Menoa gave a single glance back at the Eosmon behind her.
“And on top of that, the Eosmon that came to life had a special ability.”
“You mean its ability to convert human consciousness into data.”
Menoa nodded lightly in response to Yamato.
“Exactly. Once I realized this, it came to me. I had to use this power to save the ‘Chosen Children’. That was what Morphomon was telling me to do…!”
Still touching the hairpin she was wearing, Menoa gripped it even harder.
“So I have to save them. I have to save the ‘Chosen Children’ around the world…”
“Around the world…You mean…!”
Taichi had finally put together what Menoa had been planning up until now.
Menoa pulled out a smartphone, and spoke quietly.
“I have the list of all of the ‘Chosen Children’ around the world right here. I’m going to bring all of them here, to Neverland.”
“Stop it, Menoa…” Taichi appealed to Menoa.
“You can’t do that!” said Yamato, shaking his head slightly.
But neither of their words reached Menoa.
“We’ll always be here, together. With your best friend, within your best memories…”
Menoa’s thumb approached the smartphone’s screen.
Taichi and Yamato started to yell.
Brought to action by their voices, Greymon charged at Menoa.
But Greymon was suddenly attacked by a beam of electricity.
“Tentomon! What are you doing?!”
Garurumon turned to look at Greymon, but was suddenly hit by a ball of wind.
Pushed back by the attack, Garurumon found himself being glared at by Takeru’s partner, Patamon.
As Garurumon was thrown into panic, three Digimon emerged from the water in front of him.
“Tailmon! Gomamon! Patamon…!”
It was like their Digimon friends were there to protect Menoa, and to fight against Greymon and Garurumon.
“What’s wrong with you guys?!”
Taichi couldn’t hold back his shock and horror at seeing their friends attacking them. Yamato was looking around as an unbelievable scene unfolded before his eyes.
“Does this mean…Are they being controlled?”
“They’re not,” Menoa responded, as if directly trying to shut down Yamato’s words. “This is everyone’s will. This is everyone’s desire. This is everyone’s wish.”
From behind Menoa, the younger forms of Hikari and Takeru, Jou and Mimi, and Koushirou walked towards her.
The other ‘Chosen Children’ who’d had their consciousness stolen gathered together with them, and they all glared at Taichi and Yamato.
“This is everyone’s true home. And if you try to destroy it…then you are our enemy.”
To all of the children in the area, Taichi and the others were unwanted presences.
Menoa fixated her gaze on Taichi and Yamato, who were paralyzed with despair, and said, with clarity, “This is proof that my way is right. And this…is my offer of salvation.”
Menoa used her smartphone, and a single line of light emerged from the screen.
The light reached all the way into the sky, and burst in all directions like a firework.
It broke into countless circles of light. Menoa had forcibly opened gates between the Digital World and the real world.
The endless swarm of Eosmon all unanimously looked up, and took off.
The Eosmon all flew into their own gates, which closed behind them as if to prevent anyone from pursuing them.
“And this is how I can save all of the ‘Chosen Children’ around the world.”
Left behind were more than three hundred children and a large number of Eosmon, all staring at Taichi and Yamato.
“Well, what are you going to do now?”
Menoa addressed Taichi and Yamato, whose thoughts were full of despair.
After yelling out to him, Greymon breathed out a ball of flame.
The flames hit the surface of the water, and the resulting splash hit Menoa.
By the time Menoa had raised her head, Taichi and Yamato were no longer in front of the trolley.
Menoa glared at the remaining empty space.