“The Ancient Warriors,” Sarah thought out loud as they flew over the Wind Continent.
“That’ll be so cool,” Beth thought excitedly, trying to imagine how cool Koichi would look.
The forest had turned to a field of wheat, a field they’d been over for several hours now. It was mid-afternoon and the sun was high. A cool breeze followed them and everything was peaceful. The hills of tan stretched over the horizon, clashing with the clear blue sky above. As they sailed through the atmosphere, they couldn’t stop thinking about how cool Koji was right now.
“I wonder who’ll be next,” Emma thought, hoping it’d be Tommy.
“It doesn’t matter who,” Michael said,” It matters when. Look down there.”
They leaned over MachGaogamon to see patches of sand in the wheat. Then they watched the horizon and slowly noticed it wasn’t wheat rolling over those hills. Dunes of sand, white and tan rolled with the wind. Just like Michael said, the next stage of their quest would take place in the arid Desert of Silence.
“We’re almost in the desert,” he continued,” Which means…”
“Outrageously hot and dry,” Beth whined with her head hung down.
“Watch out for sunburns,” Lunamon joked.
“Which means we’ll stop at the next town,” Michael said, annoyed as he took out a map,” We need supplies.”
“Yeah like ice and shade,” Zoe said unhappily, concerned about the intense heat.
“Relax,” Takuya said, laid back as always,” How hot can it be.”
“Takuya, do you have any idea how hot a desert can be?” Koji asked sarcastically.
He thought, and thought, then he finally said,” Not really.”
“It gets up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit on a good day,” Michael said,” And how long are you going to depend on Tommy for ice?”
The town was a small one. It was cuddled around a lush oasis filled with palm trees and reeds. The buildings were white and occasionally domed. Several species of digimon inhabited the town, all wearing little cloths over their heads. Just like Koji said, they’d come on a good day, but in town it was 80 degrees and paradise.
“What’s with this place?” Koji asked, studying colorful lanterns and decorations all over the place.
“It’s a festival,” Michael answered, walking with them as he explained,” Both worlds spin in unison, which means they’re not far from the winter solstice. They’re celebrating the cooler months.”
“That makes sense,” Sarah said with her hands behind her head.
“I’m gonna play in the pond!” Emma said excitedly,” I’ll see you later!”
“Me too,” Tommy said while running after her.
“Here’s the plan,” Michael said, taking out a wallet as he told them,” Here’s fifty digi-dollars each. Meet here in two hours after you’ve got your stuff.”
Sarah had dragged Takuya into shopping for useless things she didn’t need. She was amazed at all the colors and things for her to buy. The only thing stopping her was the fifty dollar limit. As they stood under a colorful stall, Sarah examined beautiful trinkets as Takuya was bored out of his mind. Struggling to make up her mind, Sarah decided to just choose one and leave before she started contradicting herself.
“I like this one,” she said as she took a pretty blue parasol,” What do you think Takuya?”
“Whatever,” he said exhaustedly and with a bored tone, can we just go already?”
She glared at him, but changed her attitude suddenly and said joyfully,” Sure, do whatever you want. Just let me make sure this thing works.”
She smacked him in the back of the head with the umbrella as hard as she could. Takuya fell into the sand as she turned to the counter and said,” It’s perfect! I’ll take it.”
Meanwhile, Mei was winning at a shooting game. She was fighting beside Koji, but he wasn’t doing as well. While she’d doubled her money, he was down by thirty. They were both focused on the targets, trying their best as the casings clattered on the ground.
“Better shape up Koji,” she said confidently,” I thought you were the Warrior of Light. It’ll look pretty embarrassing if everyone the great AncientGarurumon was beaten by little old me.”
He took her words to heart and aimed carefully. The owner released the sliding targets and they each started shooting. The guns flared and the shots were lodged in the wooden boards. It was close, but Koji finally beat Mei. The owner gave him his ten digi-dollars, but Mei couldn’t let it go.
“C’mon, best two out of three!”
When Koichi arrived, back from getting a drink, Beth was watching some fighting tournament. She herself was arguing with a Leomon who oversaw the matches. He looked annoyed while she kept yelling at him. Although he really didn’t want to, Koichi went over and asked what was going on.
“That’s totally unfair!” she yelled angrily at the owner.
“I told you miss, no digimon lower than champion are allowed to fight,” Leomon said sternly.
“But Gaomon survived the Demon Lords for crying out loud!”
“I said no young lady.”
“What’s going on?” Koichi asked, but Elizabeth took him and said,” Fine! Then I dare you to beat my friend Lowemon.”
“Fine, if it’ll get you off my back,” the Leomon said, annoyed as Beth put on a big smile.
“What’re you doing?” Koichi asked nervously. Then he saw Gaomon shaking his head disappointedly and started to really feel afraid.
“I lost all my money, but your gonna win me the prize!”
As he tried escaping, she pushed him into the square and yelled,” Go get him, champ!”
“Elizabeth!” he yelled angrily. But then he saw the look on Leomon’s face and knew there was no going back. Leomon got ready as Koichi Spirit Evolved. He turned to Beth, who just gave him a thumbs up and started cheering.
“Here’re the rules: No elemental attacks. You fight with your fists. Last one standing wins. Ready?”
Zoe and J.P. were getting their fortunes told when they heard a loud crash come from the center of town. A cloud of smoke floated up from the square as they realized something bad happened, and it was probably one of theirs’ fault. They immediately ran for it, but stopped briefly so the teller could warn them,” Tell your red-haired friend to stay clear of pyramids.”
“Sure thing,” J.P. said quickly, running with Zoe to the square. They pushed past the crowd, struggling to se what had just happened. But when they got there, Lowemon stood victorious as Leomon had slid into a nearby building.
“Good job sir,” Gaomon said.
Elizabeth was counting her winnings and while jumping for joy said,” Awesome. We can buy that tent now!”
“A tent?” Koichi asked, but he wasn’t surprised she wanted to spend the money on something like that. He just sounded surprised.
“What’s going on?” Zoe asked worriedly.
“Koichi won! With the tent I’m buying we won’t have to worry about freezing at night.”
“That’s right,” Michael said as he emerged from the crowd with Renamon and Dorumon,” I knew one of you’d end up doing something stupid.”
“Sorry,” she apologized as she stuffed the money in her pocket.
“But you had good reason,” Michael said proudly, though still upset about the damage,” You may have taken a risk, but it was well worth our while. The desert becomes freezing cold at night and I thought we’d just deal with it. But now you’ve got a tent and we don’t have to worry anymore.”
He walked away with Dorumon and Renamon before he alerted them,” You’ve got an hour left, enjoy it.”
Emma soaked her feet while Tommy swam in the water. She listened and sang along to a melody from the new music box she‘d brought with her. As it’s sweet song filled her with warmth, Tommy splashed as he swam from one end of the pong to another. The ripples he made the water glisten, sparkling in her eye as Emma gazed at the light in wonder.
“Come on Emma!” he yelled, floating on the water as he told her,” The water’s great.”
“No thanks,” she said kindly, pulling her feet through the water as she assured him,” I’m fine.”
In reality, she was thinking about her parents, and the diamond, and how it made her so important again. She’d never really enjoyed the pendant before realizing it‘s importance. It was so much more beautiful than she gave credit for. Intricate curls and details lined the ring around the triangular gem, but her favorite was the phrase around it that said,” Born of Angels.”
She never knew what it meant until she learned of it’s connection to the light. To think, this was just a simple antivirus. To her, there was nothing but her ands the crystal, drifting as the song sent her into a daydream. Then, the music stopped and she returned to reality.
“Hey Emma,” Liollmon said kindly,” that’s a nice song.”
“It’s my favorite actually,” she said, smiling that he appreciated her little trinket,” My aunt had it made especially for my tenth birthday. I’m so thankful to have her.”
Liollmon looked into town, listening to Emma as she hummed along to the tune. Her singing voice was as gentle as her normal one. She could yell and lash out at you, yet still sound like an angel. Then, she suddenly stopped and asked,” Is that Sarah?”
He looked out and asked,” Where?”
“In the blue stall.”
He looked even closer, but still couldn’t see her. Then, he finally saw her standing among the crowd. He laughed a little and said,” Oh yeah, I think so.”
Emma laughed to and said,” She fits right in here.”
That night was calm and uneventful, just like the last few day had been. Because she took the risk and almost lost her money, Elizabeth had to put up their tent outside of town. It didn’t quiet down until much later that night. Sarah was drawing again while Mei fought Koji. Emma was making a crown from the flowers Beth won from the competition as Takuya and J.P. were playing soccer outside in the sand.
“Goal!” Zoe said as she acted as referee.
“No way,” J.P. said,” he was out!”
“That’s a lie,” Takuya said angrily.
“Maybe I shouldn’t count the point,” Zoe said shyly as they started butting heads. Then Michael came, taking out more food until he noticed their fight. He decided to go over, determined to end another fight.
“Zoe, it’s a simple fix,” Michael said. He walked over to the ball, took out a small measuring tape, then knelt down and pointed it into the dunes.
“What’re you doing?” Tommy asked.
“If I align the streak from the last kick relative to the ball, I can tell it was…in!”
“Sweet,” Takuya said happily,” I hate to say it, but I told you J.P.’
“So immature,” Zoe said,” Gloating’s just childish.”
“And boring,” Sarah said with a sigh, putting her sketchbook away as she said leisurely,” I’m going into town. Anyone want anything?’
“Why?” Michael asked, as the tape rolled back into it’s little case.
“I need some real food,” she said as she walked into the city.
“I know what you mean,” Mei said, clenching her stomach as though she were queasy,” That meat cabbage stuff was undercooked.”
In town the streets were illuminated by the glow of innumerable lanterns of every color. All the digimon were happy and celebrating under a starry night and three full moons. So many aromas from so many different foods filled Sarah’s nostrils she didn’t know what to choose. Then a familiar odor overcame her. It was so alluring it almost made her push the digimon in her way aside.
Then on a corner, in a wooden booth with blue flags raised from it, Sarah asked the WereGarurumon in charge,” Is this…Butter Chicken?”
“Sure is miss,” he said kindly,” Just like they make in the human world. Care for a taste?”
“Would I!” she said joyfully,” I haven’t had this since I was in India.”
She took a tiny bite, small but very appreciated. As the flavor sank in she let out a deep breath and said thankfully,” It’s better than ever. I’ll take three for my friends.”
When she tried to return it was much more crowded than she remembered. Digimon of every level ad type pushed her in every direction until she couldn’t tell where they were taking her. She was like a drifting log forced to go with the flow of her river. They crowded her and caused her to feel claustrophobic. Then she dropped the bag with their food on the back of a passing Seasarmon.
“Oh no,” she cried, chasing aster him as she yelled,” Please come back!”
She had to chase him into a run-down area of the town. Peeling paint and a dark atmosphere sent shivers up her spine. The noise of the crowd disappeared with the background and everything else grew silent. Nevertheless she kept chasing him for that little taste of home she desired so much.
“Please stop!” she asked as she caught up with the digimon.
“Can I help you?”
“Yes. You’ve been carrying my food for awhile now. I just wanted to get it back. I hope that’s okay.’
“It’s no trouble,” he said with a smile.
She took the bag and said kindly before departing,” Thank you.”
She’d gotten the food, but now she was lost. Her spirit sank like a ship once she noticed how creepy this place was. Every shadow felt like a ghost following her. Sarah knew she had to escape, escape to her friends and their warmth. It wasn’t to hard though. All Sarah needed to do was follow the lights, but a presence of darkness kept following her. It made her shudder even in the desert heat. Soon she found herself running to the light, until.
“Sarah!” he yelled as he heard her from the tent. Everyone rushed into town. Michael followed her signal on the D-Tector until he saw a crowd of digimon in the slums of the town. When they broke through the crowd, they saw Sarah, lying on the ground. She looked lifeless but in reality was just in a sleep of sorts.
“What happened?” Emma asked desperately.
“Sarah!” Takuya yelled as he tried to wake her up,” Sarah get up!”
“It’s no use,” Michael said disappointedly,” Sarah’s Fractal Code was broken. When that happens you loose the will to go on in the Digital World.”
“How’s that even possible?” Dorumon asked, in as much shock as the rest.
“Only one being can actually destroy Fractal Code,” he said, taking the bag next to her. Michael got up and said ominously,” This was the work of Terminus. Only a creature created from the Digital World can do more than scan the code. Not even Epsilon can do this.”
“Then what can we do?” Liollmon asked, ready to help.
“Find Terminus. It’s impossible to destroy Fractal Code, so he’s probably keeping it with him.”
Renamon walked up to the mourning Takuya and said,” It’s alright we’ll save her