“Now boarding Autumn Leaf Fair!” an intercom shouted as the group boarded their Trailmon.
Everyone took their backpacks as the train doors slid open. Christine took her seat as Koichi carried both his and Beth’s packs. Renamon sat beside her as Michael took his seat on her other side. After a few minutes all the passengers were on and the Trailmon slid away from the Terminal.
As they went by, Christine and Emma and the rest of them watched a perfect day over the sea. Crystal waves rolled over a blue sea as big, white clouds soared overhead. Inside, Beth was rocking to her songs as Sarah drew in a sketchbook she’d brought along. Takuya and Michael were locked in a game of Old Maid while Liollmon and Emma counted how many islands they’d passed on their side. Really everyone else was either sitting or standing without a sound.
But as Christine sat, she thought about home and how awful it was for her there.
“No, no, NO, NO!” an angry woman shouted in an old French home. She was an intimidating lady, dressed in stiff clothes, sharp glasses, and hair in a tight ponytail.
“I’m sorry,” Christine said sadly as she sat at an old oak piano. She was clearly afraid of this person, but what was strange was who this person was. She was Christine’s harsh mother, angry and disappointed that Christine missed the same, unnoticeable piano note again.
“Try it again!”
This was Christine’s life before Michael came. Endless, late nights of learning etiquette and good manners. Each morning she woke at sunrise to sew. In the late mornings, dancing and writing. No breakfast. For lunch she had to display the correct way to dine in public. Next were the piano lessons. Only then was she allowed to go to private school, the closest to a relief she’d feel all day. But then once she got home it turned to more lessons. Until dinner she had to practice walking with books on her head along with other stupid and pointless motions even royalty doesn’t use today. Then until midnight she’d have to practice vocabulary, writing and calligraphy. Finally she’d go to bed, sometimes crying herself into submission before it all started again.
But back in the present, she woke, unaware she’d ever fallen asleep. She got up and stretched a bit before going out with everyone else. Christine took her pack and followed Michael out onto a tiny, scarcely populated island.
“Where are we?” she asked as Renamon said,” Apparently we’re only allowed this far before another Trailmon picks us up.”
“ In what world does that make any sense?” Mei said angrily as Dorumon told her,” This one.”
“Don’t worry,” Zoe said excitedly,” We’re on the most beautiful island on the most perfect day! So lets take a break before we go off again.”
“I’m with that,” Beth said as she fell back on the sand.
“But ma’am, all you’ve done is sit for the past four hours,” Gaomon said, embarrassed by his lazy tamer.
“Well, there’s not much else to do,” J.P. said as he asked,” What about you Christine?”
“Oh! Umm, I…guess…yes?”
But before any of them could get excited, a giant splash came from the sea as the others took out their D-Tectors. They scanned the code as fast as the digimon appeared while Michael and the other digimon pulled the girls away.
Before long, Christine’s friends were fighting a Cyberdramon, as it tore down huts and flung each of her friends. As she cowered next to Michael, she saw the blue eye on his forehead. It startled her as he somehow smelled her fear and started coming for her. J.P. and Zoe tried combining attacks to keep him away, but these were useless and he tossed them aside. Takuya and Tommy came in with Koichi and Koji, but none of them stood a chance. Finally Renamon was the last defense, but he just pushed her as he now stood over Christine.
“No, please no!”
He pulled her away as Michael tried gripping her hand. She tried to hold on as his feet here pulled along the sand, but Cyberdramon just took her away. But even after he’d let go, Michael kept running after her. It wasn’t until he couldn’t swim anymore that he stopped chasing after her. As she screamed into the horizon, Michael headed back to shore, determined to find his girlfriend.
“Who was that?” Koji asked as Michael said,” Not a Guardian. He was too strong, even with the eye.”
“So he’s a free digimon?” Beth asked until Renamon said,” Unlikely. Digimon have feared Epsilon since before the Beast-Man War. No digimon would follow him willingly.”
“Which means he’s controlled, but not corrupted,” he said, tasking out the D-Tector as he proclaimed,” But that doesn’t matter. We’ve gotta save Christine by all means.”
“Right behind ya,” Dorumon said as Koji stopped him, glaring as he said,” Now wait a minute. If Cyberdramon was too strong for us what makes you think you’ll be able to beat him?”
“Easy. I’ve got you guys to back me up. You weren’t fighting as a team ‘cause he caught you by surprise. But this time, we’ll be ready.”
“I’ll see what the locals know,” Renamon said, walking away as they scattered to find out too.
But in a dark, cold cave, Christine awoke with a throbbing headache. She struggled to stand as she wiped the dirt off her face. Yet as she got up, she felt shackles around her ankles. Everything was dark and black, so she realized she needed some sort of light. But as she felt around the cave for a lighter or anything, a wooden door slammed open as Cyberdramon burst through. He grabbed her wrist as she cowered, wincing as he growled at her,” This way.”
Outside it was just as dirty and rocky, but it was brighter with torches and natural sunlight. As she tripped on her own feet, Cyberdramon just kept walking like she wasn’t even there. Christine got her footing and watched the blue Eye melded into his forehead. She knew it was his source of power, but wasn’t brave or bold enough to try anything. So she just watched the eye until it watched her back.
Soon after that she found herself in a natural cove, sparkling with water as the blue rocks hung from above. But from the placid waters, a cold digimon emerged. He was wrapped in blue with wings the same color as a stormy sea sprouting from his back. His head was elongated with a fin and he wore strange old scuba gear. It was MarineDevimon. It grinned as Cyberdramon bowed. All three eyes opened at once, revealing the Blue Eye that sent chills through her hair. She immediately knew this was the Guardian, corrupted by Epsilon.
“Welcome, Ms. Adelaide,” he said, raising his hand as a signal for Cyberdramon to back off,” It’s so, so nice to meet you.”
“Why am I here?”
He sighed, smiling as he said,” I’ve been searching for a very long time for an offering to appease me. I’ve had treasure, money, and even other digimon. But you are such a beautiful sight, you make the perfect offering.”
She was dumbfounded. All her life she thought she was worthless, unworthy and hardly beautiful. Yet here she was, the perfect offering. But she shied away, playing with her hair as she said,” But I need to get back to my friends.”
“I don’t think you understand,” he said, coming closer as she stood still,” I will never find a lady like you. If you leave, I’ll continue destroying the towns until I find another even better than you.”
Her eyes sank as she realized there was no other choice. She just stepped forward and bowed, on the verge of crying as she asked,” Then how may I serve you master?”
In town, everyone was surrounded by digimon citizens, each in protest. They stood as the tallest beings in a crowd of rioting citizens arguing amongst themselves as Christine was in trouble. The vein on Mei’s head was bigger than ever as Renamon too was becoming annoyed. Michael then put two fingers in his mouth, whistled a New Yorker whistle, and shouted in the silence,” Who’s in charge here!?”
“I am,” a sad Hawkmon said as Renamon asked,” Why was that Cyberdramon here? Has he been here before?”
“I’m afraid something’s happened to or old friend Cyberdramon.”
“Friend?” Tommy asked as Lunamon replied,” Some friend.”
“He wasn’t always that way. Cyberdramon used to protect this village, a calm and peaceful digimon. But then that boy came.”
“Yes. A human like you dressed in black clothes and golden armor-”
“Terminus!” Michael said angrily as he continued,” That boy stopped by and asked for a drink. We gave it to him and he drank, but when he got up the cup began smoking. It left a scar on the table and we immediately knew he was a demon digimon. Then Cyberdramon tried fighting him. It wasn’t pretty, and in the end that Terminus fellow shot darkness into our friends’ forehead. Cyberdramon was sent into a rampage as the boy just disappeared into darkness.”
“And now he’s got Christine,” J.P. said as Dorumon asked,” Is there a cave or anywhere he could be hiding?”
“There is the Coral Inlet, but it’s far too dangerous. He could seriously hurt you.”
Michael just smiled, giving him a thumbs up as he said,” We’re the Digi-destined! Someone’s always trying to hurt us.”
“Please, which way’s the Inlet?” Kudamon asked as he said,” About twenty minutes South. But please be careful.”
Michael then scanned his Fractal Code, digivolving Dorugamon and flying off as the others trailed behind. The wind was with him as he rushed to find Christine. Everyone was racing just like the day before. But Renamon couldn’t help thinking about her tamer. Christine looked frail, but Renamon knew she was strong inside.
Back in the caves, Christine handed a barrel of clean apples to MarineDevimon as he ate them one by one. She sadly watched him scarf them down as he called Cyberdramon to take him to her cell.
It was a torturous walk, each step leading closer to her death. The door groaned and creaked as it was forced open. She willingly walked in as many crowded digimon came to greet her. The door slammed behind her as she jumped at the booming sound. Alone again, she collapsed to the ground, crying as the digimon gathered closer around her.
“Please don’t cry,” a tiny Yokomon asked as she offered a leaf to cry her tears. Christine wiped her eyes as she asked,’ Who…Who are you?”
“We were offerings,” an unfortunate Palmon explained,” We lived at the village, but were given up to appease MarineDevimon.”
“How awful,” she said, putting Yokomon down as she asked,” But, there’re so many of you. Why haven’t you tried to escape?”
“We just don’t think we can,” a Candlemon in the background said,” Us digimon tried before, but always failed with Cyberdramon guarding the gate. There just doesn’t seem to be any hope.”
Christine thought about how hopeless she felt at home when Michael was gone. She remembered sitting in an old wooden chair, staring out as a thunderstorm raged outside her window. The lights were out as the lightning illuminated her endless tears. It was a few months after Michael vanished and everything hurt inside. On one side was a half-empty glass of water with untouched food while on the other was the last flower Michael gave her. The lightning tried it’s hardest to shock her, but even as it shook the rafters she wouldn’t move. And to top it off, all her parents could do was watch their comatose daughter.
But that was long ago. She had a duty to protect these digimon as a digi-destined. Even without Renamon or Michael, she gathered the digimon and began hatching a plan for escape.
At the same time, Michael was just landing on the island. It was a rocky patch of land with no life on it. There was no green, no sand, and definitely no digimon. But it was a big island, full of caves and rocks, anyone of which Christine could’ve been trapped inside. They floated over the coral reefs, which acted as a barrier for ships, and landed on the piercing surface, like astronauts on a strange new world.
“Where should we look?” Sarah asked as Michael said,” Everywhere. Look for any sign of digimon or Christine.”
They stayed together, exploring each crack and rift. No cave or stone was safe from their search. But it wasn’t until Renamon suddenly stopped by the beach, frozen with that startled look in her eyes. Everyone ran towards her, asking,” What is it?”
“I can feel Christine. She’s definitely here.”
“Well were?” Michael demanded as she answered,” In this cave. I can feel other digimon too.”
They followed her to an empty cove. It was small and peaceful with a tiny beach, But there was no Christine in sight. No other caves, no passages, they even searched for a switch but there was nothing. Then Michael noticed a flickering, orange light from under the surface of the pool. He dived in, leaving everyone behind as he swam under a half foot thick wall into MarineDevimon’s lair.
As he emerged, he watched to see Christine in shackles, serving the monster a barrel of apples. He hid behind a stalagmite, watching her bow as he sent her away. She silently walked away with Cyberdramon looming behind her. Michael realized he had to do something, so he dove back down an regrouped with the others.
“Michael!” Dorumon said excitedly as Mei said,” Finally. We thought you were dead.”
“I saw Christine,” he said, gasping for breath as he said,” They’ve got her prisoner, but I think I can save her.”
“Really? How?” Koichi asked as he said,” All I need is to get to her. I’m pretty sure these pools extend all through this cave. So I need you guys to wait for my signal. This wall’s only about half a foot thick, so when I give the signal, you blast through. She’s being held by MarineDevimon, so get ready for a fight. And remember, aim for the Eye.”
He went back under as they waited and watched. The cool flow went with him as the sound of dripping water echoed through the lair. Only when Cyberdramon passed by did he go back under. It appeared as though he knew Michael was there, but the evil digimon just shrugged it off and went on.
It was then that Michael found Christine’s prison, the only prison in the cave, and slipped a tiny note through it. She heard it fall and went to get it right away. Only after she read Michael’s name on it did she look out her door and see the tiny glimpse of his white hair going down. She wanted to scream for him, But Cyberdramon came back to watch her.
Once he was gone, she opened the note and quietly read aloud from it’s smudged letters,” Christine, I know by now you’ve probably formed a pan and figured a way to escape. But I realize you’ll need help, so once you put that plan into action, we’re on the other side of the wall opposite where MarineDevimon sits. Get rid of this letter immediately after you finish reading it. Michael.”
“What’s it say” Palmon asked as she said,” We’re getting out of here. Tonight. But you’ll need to stay here until we get you out.”
“Then we’ll wait,” Candlemon said as she burned the message over his flame. As the smoke filled the room, she sat in waiting for when Cyberdramon would come again.
Several hours past before she was summoned again. As Cyberdramon’s footsteps pounded, she slipped the pill she’d gotten from Aquarius Terminal under her tongue just as the door slipped open. He took her wrist as she walked by calmly and naturally, like nothing was wrong.
It was then that she took the bucket of apples. As Cyberdramon looked away, she used the pool as a mirror to see when she could begin. He looked away for a moment and she spat the pill into the barrel.
“How’s my little treasure doing?” he asked malignantly as she gave him the barrel. He scarfed down every last one as she watched happily. But she hid her smile, and walked away as he began to doze off. Because he was still asleep, there was nobody to tell her to go back to her cell. But this was part of her plan. Because Cyberdramon was just a puppet, he wouldn’t take her back until MarineDevimon told her so.
She walked up to him as he snarled at her. It was frightening, but Christine walked up to him shyly and asked,” You know, I bet you’d be a really great partner.”
He began blushing as she got in closer, almost whispering,” You’re dark, strong, a great fighter. Only a REALLY good digimon could defeat all the Digi-Destined.”
But what he didn’t notice was that while she picked up the bucket earlier, she’d also snuck in a large stone, which was now hidden in her back pocket. So she leaned in even closer, grasping the stone as she said,” You don’t really need MarineDevimon do you? You wouldn’t be just another slave. You’d fight fierce battles, see the world…”
And as she clenched the rock one last time, she whispered right into his ear,”…and you’d always be my best friend.”
She smashed the rock into his eye, breaking it into billions of shattered fragments as she waited to swim under. But just then, MarineDevimon awoke, clawing towards her as she was cornered. But then while she screamed, everyone burst through the walls to save her.
“What’s wrong my little flower? Aren’t you happy he-!”
Michael punched him in the face, kicking him away and pounding him into the ground as he yelled,” SHE’S NOT YOUR FLOWER!”
“Michael,” she said, hugging him as the others fought MarineDevimon. They all aimed for the Eye, but he kept pounding them away. Agunimon fell flat in the water as KendoGarurumon slid into Kazemon. Beetlemon struck Korikakumon as JagerLowemon was pounded into Christine. If it wasn’t for Renamon, Christine might’ve been crushed. But instead Renamon battled perfectly, avoiding each swipe and attack but failing to reach the Eye.
“Renamon,” Christine said sadly. She had no choice but to watch as her partner made a false step and was sent flying to her feet. As she knelt down beside her digimon, she tried waking her with shocked eyes.
“I’m sorry Christine.”
“Don’t be. You did all you could.”
Renamon chuckled a bit, staring off into the distance as she said,” That’s exactly what we’re talking about Christine.”
“You keep apologizing when there’s nothing to feel sorry for. You need to be confident, or you’ll spend the rest of your life apologizing for mistakes that weren’t your fault. And I don’t think either of us want that.”
Her eyes closed as Christine’s tears started hitting her fur. She cried for a second until MarineDevimon came closer to her, glaring as he said,” Now that that’s over, how about an apple?”
She glared, shutting her eyes as tightly as she could as she let out her rage. Christine let out a scream, a real scream, as she punched her “master” away. He snarled at her as she took in deep breaths, her D-Tector shining as she yelled at him,” No more! I’m never getting you another apple! I’m never getting in that cell again! And I’m never letting you treat me like trash again! Renamon was my best friend, and you just kicked her aside! Well even if you kill me, I’ll die happily knowing I wasn’t a coward anymore!”
Christine opened her eyes, watching the glow of her digi-vice as she wiped the tears from her eyes. She grasped it’s light as MarineDevimon shirked in terror. It’s light covered her as she took the digi-vice sand yelled,” It ends now!”
Renamon’s eyes gasped open as Christine took her Fractal Code and screamed,” Execute Evolution! Renamon Digivolve to Kyubimon!”
Kyubimon was a beautiful fox-like digimon roughly the size of Liamon. She retained Renamon’s coloring and face, yet stood on all four legs and had seven tails, each with a blue flame glowing at the tip. As Christine mounted herself, she tightly held the ringing bells and colorful ribbons around her neck.
Kyubimon easily glided past every attack, getting in closer as she readied the flames on her tails. They each hit right on target as the eye was crushed into tiny pieces. Just like with Azulongmon, MarineDevimon exploded into millions of black pixels to reveal the true Guardian: Tylomon. He jumped into the cove and swam back into the water. As Christine watched him disappear back into the depths, she smiled and said,” C’mon. We’ve still got digimon that need saving!”
After they freed each prisoner, they took a large boat, docked on the side of the island they hadn’t searched, and took it back to the Terminal. There they reunited each digimon with their friends in the village before leaving again for the Autumn Leaf Fair.
Christine slept on Michael’s lap, clutching her D-Tector as she breathed lightly. He gently pushed her up, setting her down as he returned the digi-vice back to her pocket. Renamon put a blanket over her as they both returned to their seats. Michael smiled as he watched her, telling Renamon,” Thanks.”
“Giving her back her confidence. It’s not quite what I’d like it to be, but it’s back to the way it was before I fell into the Void. But she’ll get stronger. I know it.”
“Is there really any doubt? It’s a long journey and we’ve barely begun. I’m sure by the time this is over, she’ll be strong again.”
“She already is.”