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“I hate you Michael,” Terminus cried within his lair,” If you only knew how many times I’ve contemplated suicide, just to see if the death of my heart would kill yours.”

“Stop whining Terminus,” Barbamon said as he emerged from the Corridors,” It’s time.”

With a dark look and cold smile, Terminus cried,” Finally!”

”Screw!” Michael yelled as he sat hunched over on the train’s floor.

They’d been riding this Trailmon for over a week trying to cross the massive ice sheet. But now they were ascending the high mountains, crossing large gaps and screeching higher than ever. But as everyone watched, Michael was busy repairing the laptop Terminus destroyed. Or so they thought. It turned out Tommy’s ax hit right in the middle of the computer where the hinges were. Although split in half, only the joints and wires were truly damaged. Once he put in a new screen, it was simple.

“How’re you doing?” Zoe asked as he said,” Just a little more.”

He crossed two more wires as Tommy asked,” How do you know this much?”

“I was a bit of a computer geek before I came here,” he said, snapping the hinges back on as he continued,” I’d fix old computers to pay for a new car.”

“Wow,” Beth said, lying down on the seats as she watched Michael,” I bet you made a lot.”

“Yep, all ‘cause I did good jobs,” he said as Dorumon continued,” Michael’s the best. I bet there’s nothing he can’t do.”

Mei scoffed as she said rudely,” Can you say ‘fan-boy’?”

“Done,” Michael said as he held it up to the light. He clicked the on button and with a sigh of relief, everyone watched the “Password:” sign pop up. Michael then handed it to Koji as he said,” You should call your parents again. I’m sure they’re worried.”

They crowded around again as Michael heard the indistinguishable squeals from happy mothers. He watched Christine, still hiding in her book with Renamon sleeping beside her. As the excitement continued on the other side of the train, Michael took Christine as he said,” C’mon.”

“Where are we-?”

“You’ll see,” he said happily.

He took her to the back of the train where it was empty and secluded. As she was about to as him what was going on, he took out a tiny, glass charm in the shape of a dove. Christine took in in awe as he said,” I carved it myself.”

“It’s beautiful,” she said with a sad sigh. He noticed quickly and with a disappointed smile asked,” You hate it?”

“No,” she said, putting it in her pocket as she asked,” Remember our first date, and all you gave me was a tiny flower?””

“Yeah?” he said happily as she replied,” Well I don’t need fancy presents like this. I know you’re trying to keep the romance alive, show me you love me, but if you’re trying to prove you love me, just love me.”

“Alright,” he said half-heartedly as she said,” Believe me, it’s absolutely stunning. But I’m not the kind of girl who needs lots of presents. I’m simple.”

“Simple,” he repeated to himself as she said,” Let’s go. I’m sure everyone’s missing us.”

Christine unlocked the door only to dodge an avalanche of friends. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was listening to their conversation as Michael shook his head.

“Sorry Michael,” Dorumon said sadly as Takuya said,” Can you blame us?”

“You too Renamon?” Christine asked as she replied defensively,” I was here to keep them in line.”

“Well you failed,” Michael said as he climbed over everyone angrily.

The next few hours were spent doing absolutely nothing. Everyone just lounged around or slept as Christine read her book and Mei browsed the internet. But the higher they went, the harder the snow fell ands the rougher the wind was. Soon it was shaking the Trailmon and everyone feared they’d fall off the tracks into one of the chasms. But once they breached the cloud bank, it was calm and relatively clear. They were dumped onto an empty, tiny terminal with no village. Trailmon then left as tiny flakes of snow floated down.

“Alright,” Michael said as he took his backpack,” We’re walking from here.”

“Ugh!” Beth moaned as he said,” It’s barely a mile away. So close even you can’t complain Elizabeth.”

“If only,” Mei said as Tommy asked,” Where is this place?”

“Just over those peaks, in the mountains crater.”

He led them along the paths, over old rope bridges, and through narrow caves as the gently snow continued to fade as they kept walking. Soon there wasn’t any of the fluff at all and the wind had disappeared. But as close as the Station was, Beth was still lying down as Gaogamon carried her through the mountain. Nobody said anything though. They just wanted to find the Station and keep Epsilon away. Everyone was stern until Michael led them through the final cave and said,” We’re here.”

They stared in awe as lush green trees and flowing rivers spread over the crater. Above were empty blue skies, devoid of clouds. Michael took them down an elegant, Japanese style staircase into the forest as the calm bubbling of the creeks gave a sense of serenity. Everyone took their coats off while Emma stared at the most obvious feature in this digital Shangri La: the Southern Station. A giant, white and blue castle built in Japanese architecture, it towered over everything. While the castle itself was several times larger than anything built in Japan, the courtyard dwarfed it as it extended into the forest.

Michael took them over crimson, wood bridges and cobblestone paths. Lilies floated over the water as flower pollen clung to their clothes. He aimed his D-Tector at a massive stone door. It released a burst of light as he took them inside the placid courtyard.

“It’s so pretty,” Emma said as she pranced inside. The ancient fountains, glowing lanterns and red pillars reminded them of festivals in the country. The ponds, the Weeping Willows, the simple pleasure of nature reminded them of why they were fighting for both worlds. Michael walked past all the flora, however, and headed right inside where he spotted the second computer. While not as large as the first, it was the size of a garage door and glowed with that strange symbol from before.

“Please activate D-Tector identification,” the computer asked as he placed the digi-vice in the hard-drive. It asked for a second password as he typed in,” Melody.”

The glowing burst forward again, producing the wall of light that crossed two continents and even further weakened Epsilon. Michael took his digi-vice back and headed back out to share the good news.

“Is it done?” Renamon asked as he shook his head yes.

“Where next?” Emma asked as he replied,” The Western Station in the Dark Continent.”

“Just tell me now,” Beth said sluggishly,” Are we walking?”

Michael tried to answer to answer, but a sharp, sudden pain came over him. He could see in everyone’s eyes they’d been hurt too. They fell to the ground, one by one, as Michael struggled to stay awake. As the darkness set over his eyes he saw to only two left were Emma and Christine. They stood scared and innocent as the six Demon Lords and Terminus appeared before them.

“Evening ladies,” Terminus said coldly as Emma cried,” What’re you up to?”

“Revenge,” Daemon cried as Lilithmon laughed and said,” You insects are far too kind for your own good.”

“But first a test,” Barbamon said as Beelzemon fired a blast at Emma. It was dead center on her forehead, yet floated mere inches from the skin. It dropped down onto the ground as Belphemon yelled,” Impossible!”

“Proven,” Terminus said proudly,” You are the Flower of Fate and we can not kill you.”

“What a shame,” Lilithmon said with a foul grin,” I wanted to see if her code was pink too.”

“Leave Emma alone,” Christine said, blocking Emma as Beelzemon said,” We don’t wont the little one. We want you.”

“Me?” she said with fear as Terminus cried,” You’re so much more beautiful in life, Epsilon will be pleased. A prestigious heritage ensures pure blood and the sadness you carry in your heart is like a sponge for darkness.”

“No,” she said, wide eyed and tearing up,” No I won’t go!”

“It’s not your choice,” Leviamon said as he came closer. She backed up, but Terminus flashed behind her and with a slap of his wrist, she was out.

“No, Christine!“ Emma shouted as Belphemon fired an attack to shut her up. It failed, of course, and Lilithmon had to pull him into the Corridors. Terminus took her puppet-like body and took her into the Corridors as Michael said faintly,” Ch-Christine…”

When they woke up, Michael and everyone else was on a beach with black sands. The waves brushed against his shoes as the sunset gleamed his eyes. After him, everybody else came to, including the digimon.

“Thank God,” Emma said as she hugged Tommy and Liollmon,” You’re finally awake!”

Michael clenched his head as an awful pounding spread over him. Somehow while he was watching the ground, he noticed Emma had two shadows, one from the sunset and another from someplace else. He followed to the source, someplace in the ocean, and saw Lucemon standing in the water. Their savior was just staring at the sea as his wings glowed and the waved slid over his bare feet.

“Lucemon?” Koji wondered as Michael asked,” There was no saving her?”

“No,” he said sadly,” All I could do was take you here.”

“Who…are you…?” Mei asked as Takuya shouted,” Where’s Christine!?”

“Gone,” Emma said just as sadly,” I couldn’t do anything. They just toyed with me and I couldn’t do anything!”

“Toyed with you?” Lucemon asked as she said,” They made it look like their attacks couldn’t touch me. But why do that?”

“Maybe you’re special,” Tommy said as Lucemon whispered to himself,” More than you know.”

“But what would they want with Christine?” Zoe asked as he answered,” Christine was a sad girl. Sadness drawn in darkness and keeps it locked in. She was also wealthy and was probably considered worthy because of this wealth.”

Sarah gasped, something inside her causing her to hurt even more as she muttered,” It should’ve been me.”

“Maybe,” Beth asked,” but what does that have to do with anything?”

“It’s excruciatingly obvious,” Renamon said as they all gathered to hear her answer,” They’re going to revive Epsilon using Christine as a vessel.”

“And it‘s all my fault!” Michael yelled, pounding the sand as J.P. asked,” But we can still save her, right?”

“Absolutely,” Lucemon said,” but the sands in Christine’s hourglass are almost up. Every second is precious.”

“Then I won’t stop ‘til she’s safe again!” Michael yelled, gripping his D-Tector as he watched the Dark Continent before him. Dorumon ran up to him and said enthusiastically,” I’m with ya’ all the way Michael!”

“Same here!” Beth cried,” I may not like walking, but I can stop being lazy for Christine.”

“We’re going to save her together,” Tommy said, watching too as Sarah said,” You’re not doing this alone.”

“I made a promise to protect Christine,” Renamon said,” I haven’t failed yet.”

“The odds are against us,” Takuya finally said as theyt all followed him,” but as long as there’s that one chance we can save her, there’s no way we’re giving up.”

Lucemon smiled with pride and said,” Then you’ll need this…”

He took out one of Christine’s blue ribbons and finished,”…to remember what you’re fighting for.”

“Thank you,” Michael said as he took it. He rolled it up and gently placed it in his pocket as he said,” Let’s go.”

“Yes sir,” Gaomon added as they walked into the dark. The trees were dead, the earth black, and no light escaped through the clouds. Black clouds circled above as Lucemon watched them walk away. Tommy looked back just for a moment and yelled,” Goodbye Lucemon!”

“Thanks for everything! And we forgive you,” Emma shouted as he smiled back. Lucemon began fading into light as he whispered,” Thank you kids.”

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