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It’d been three days since Michael and DoruGreymon defeated Leviamon. While everyone else was overjoyed, Michael was suspicious. The riddles Terminus gave the for the past three days were far too easy. It put Michael on edge, but it did make him happy seeing everyone else relaxed and cheerful.
“I’ll bet…” Takuya said with a determined and worried look on his face,”…four Gummy Bears!”
Mei let out a laugh, watching everyone else fold as she said,” Takuya, that’s a pathetic play even for you. I bet three chocolate bars!”
They were playing poker, and no one was doing very well. The only three that hadn’t folded were Takuya, Mei, and Emma. She put on her innocent, worried look as she said,” I guess I’ll put up a soda.”
She pushed the can into the pile as Mei laughed again, trying to look confident as Takuya glared and said,” You’re bluffing. But you’ll never get me to fold!”
He yelled as he slammed two queens on the table. Mei grinned and yelled,” I got you now!”
She slammed down her full hand as she yelled,” Full…house! Sorry Takuya, but you loose!”
“No way,” he said as Tommy told her,” But Emma hasn’t gone yet.”
“Alright,” she said, just dropping the hand as they all gasped. Mei’s jaw dropped to the floor as she yelled,” WHAT!”
Emma held in her hand, all four aces. She blushed, smiling as she said,” That’s okay. You guys can have your stuff back. I’m just in it for the fun.”
“Bull crap!” Mei yelled, pointing to Emma as she yelled,” You must’ve cheated! There’s no way you got all four aces!”
“Believe it,” Michael said smugly. Emma yawned as everyone shrank away from a furious Mei. She left the winnings and said,” I’m getting sleepy. I’ll see you tomorrow guys.”
“That’s right, you’d better run!” Mei shouted as Emma opened her tent. As she kicked off her shoes, she thought about how strange it was having so much power. Although it’d been awhile, she still woke up thinking her power was just a dream. As the warmth of her sleeping bag took over, Emma shut her eyes and went into sleep.
In her dream, Emma was walking through a field of wheat. The sky above her was a rich blue as purple mountains appeared like fog in the distance. All her friends were there, Tommy, Liollmon, and Christine, all running and laughing. She ran too, following them through this peaceful place.
But outside, it was anything but peaceful. It was late at night, and Terminus watched as Emma rose from the tent. Her eyes were dead, a clear sign she was still asleep. Terminus chuckled as Barbamon appeared behind him, controlling Emma with his staff. As they walked into the dark forest, everyone else slept as though nothing happened.
“EMMA!” Beth shouted as they walked along the path. They’d been searching all morning, watching for any sign of her. Tommy was the most worried, checking behind every tree until Liollmon shouted,” Over here!”
They all crowded around, only to see several footprints walking on the path. They were from a barefoot person, definitely Emma. But there was a second set, made from a pair of boots. Michael saw these and said,” Renamon, follow the path before these prints disappear.”
“Right,” she said, vanishing in a flash of yellow as Koichi asked,” Why are her footprints so deep?”
“It probably rained here last night,” he said, following the prints as he said,” The soil here’s loose, so the wet mud just kept her imprint.”
“Then what’re we waiting for!” Tommy said angrily,” We’ve gotta find her!”
“Tommy,” Zoe said worriedly as Michael chased him and asked,” Was I like this with Christine?”
“Worse,” Mei said,” You actually walked out on us, remember?”
“Keep up!” Tommy shouted again as they ran across the trail.
But as they searched, Emma awoke in a strange place, getting up as though she were still in here tent. But she quickly saw the strange building she was in, a dark chapel ruined by age. The walls were a faded white with tall pillars reaching for the vaulted ceiling. There were several stained-glass windows, most of them blown out. The fragments of glass were scattered along the floor as well as broken pieces of tile and roof. Above, she saw a giant hole, gaping above her as dust fell down like snowflakes. She sneezed before she saw the overturned and broken pews, lined up at the back, but bending and breaking before being reduced to splinters at the front. But at the front, she saw the massive stained glass altar with Daemon watching her attentively. Emma fell back as he said,” How was your sleep Emma?”
“Y-You…? Where am I?” she demanded as he said,” Safe, as always.”
“I don’t feel very safe,” she said angrily,” Why am I here?”
“Terminus has a very unexpected play,” he said wrathfully, walking towards Emma as he said,” One that might destroy Christine forever.”
As Daemon laughed, Emma just glared and said,” No matter what Terminus or you do, as long as we’re together we can make a miracle happen!”
“Then on to my next question,’ he said, continuing this dark game of Q and A,” Do you understand the ‘miracle’ you created each time you defeated my comrades?”
She looked away with anger as he explained,” You as a person are disposable and of no importance! But with the crystal…”
Emma gasped, taking out the triangular diamond as Daemon smiled and said,” The Discovering War. The Lost Women. The Digital Research Squad. You don’t understand any of these terms, do you?”
She shook her head as Daemon raised his hands and said proudly,” It began with the Lost Women. Three young girls fell into the digital world thirty years ago, disappearing without a trace. The Digital Research Squad, a group of scientists and researchers, were chosen to find them. Eventually they discovered the Digital World and asked to explore it. But with each government contract and permit, it took almost two years before they were told yes. One can only imagine how long that was in the Digital World.”
“What does this have to do with my pendant?” she asked as he went on,” The Digital Research Squad created Epsilon. At first he was a mere computer program, designed to stop Digimon from crossing into your world. But he developed a conscience, and a mind, and became out lord! He performed many acts, including saving the other Demon Lords and myself as loyal servants.”
His mood turned from proud to disappointed as he explained,” But those researchers challenged him, and with digimon partners almost destroyed Epsilon. The battle went on for days before Epsilon escaped to the Void Between. This is the story of the Discovering War.”
Emma turned to him again and said,” But what about my crystal?”
“That crystal is a piece of Epsilon himself!” he said, the sound echoing through the room as Emma held her hand over her mouth. Her eye4s were wide and she was out of breath as Daemon went,” To use the power of Darkness, Epsilon had to eliminate his light. He realized this right in the middle of his battle. But to tear the light from himself took too much power, and he was almost slain by the scientists. That crystal, is the embodiment of Epsilon’s light, in it’s purest form.”
“Pure light?” she asked as she gazed into the necklace. Daemon then walked closer to her, proclaiming,” Those scientists went on to build the Stations, a network that delved into the very mainframe of the Digital World. This allowed certain cods to be used to strengthen the planets natural resistance to viruses, such as Epsilon. But once they were finished, they went back to Earth.”
He pointed at Emma as she looked at him with terror. Daemon then shouted at the top of his lungs, thundering through the room,” And two of those awful researchers had you!”
Emma was shocked, and fell on her knees. She took the crystal and thought,” My parents? No! That’s a lie! My parents were businessmen in Louisville! They weren’t researchers!”
“They kept that life a secret until they died in the car accident!” Daemon countered as he went on,” They gave you the crystal specifically because they knew Epsilon would come back!”
He grinned as she took a prayer like stance, on her knees, and said,” And now that that day has come, we cannot touch that sacred light.”
But just when it seemed Emma was broken, destroyed by her parents lie, she smiled and said,” Mt parents thought I was the only one that could destroy Epsilon. If they trusted me enough to give me that big of a responsibility, I don’t care what kind of lies they told. They’re still my parents, and I’ll keep walking to save this world.”
Daemon scoffed as he flew through the hole in the roof, leaving Emma alone to pray for Tommy.
As the others went on, Renamon appeared to them suddenly. They walked along with her as the breeze shook the grass below them. Michael walked up to Renamon and asked solemnly,” Did you find her?”
“Yes, she’s in an abandoned church,” she explained as Tommy said,” Then we’ve gotta fly to her. C’mon guys!”
They took the D-Tectors, all flying over the plains and into a much more barren landscape. There was no more grass, only rock. Vast canyons sand high mountains made it look like another planet. Only tiny rays of light reached past the yellow clouds onto the black surface. But as they landed, they saw Terminus standing in front of them, ready for their test.
“The eleventh Daybreak,” he said with a sinister voice,” The riddle today’s going to be a little different.”
“Forget your riddle,” Tommy said angrily,” Why’d you take Emma?”
“Probably so we couldn’t beat whatever Demon Lord he has waiting for us,” Michael said before Terminus corrected him,” Actually, my riddle explains it all.”
They stood silent as he said,” There is a fork in the road. One leads to Emma, the other leads to Christine. If you take the day long road to Christine, you have no way of purifying her. If you go after Emma, you get the ability to purify Christine. But if you go after Emma, you’ll be too late and Christine will be possessed and Epsilon will return, alive in glory!”
“You slime,” Michael yelled as he said,” We’ll just split up!”
“Can only half of you defeat the god Epsilon, or Daemon, who watched over Emma?”
“No way,” Takuya said as Koji admitted,” There is no way, is there?”
“Exactly!” Terminus cried,” Which will it be? Emma or Christine? Christine or Emma? Either way, Christine is doomed!”
Tommy ran up and punched Terminus in the face. As the blood rushed around the wound, Terminus fell back. He watched Tommy loom over him, yelling,” No matter what you say, no matter what Epsilon says, Emma is my friend! So I’ll say this once and you better remember: Emma Wheatherby is my best friend and I’ll do anything to save her!”
“Friends? Trust?” Terminus said doubtfully,” I don’t need such trivial things. I have the power of Epsilon! I don’t need useless friends that aren’t there when you need them. Friends during the unimportant fun times, yet gone at the darkest moments.”
“This whole journey’s been a hard time,” Beth said energetically,” And we’ve stayed together through it all!”
“That’s why we’re going for Emma,” Michael said reluctantly,” we can only purify Christine with Emma. So we’ve still got time! We’ll track Down Epsilon until he gives her back. Then she’ll go back and laugh and smile again, just like she used to but more!”
“Heh. Is that you’re final answer?” he asked as they walked past him, ignoring Epsilon’s pitiful errand boy. As they disappeared over the hills, he disappeared in the Corridor, returning to his master.
They reached Emma several hours later, finding her church on a large island. Only there wasn’t any water. The church stood on once of several pillar-like rocks sprouting from a deep chasm, perhaps once filled with water. The only way to reach her was a narrow bridge extending to where they were. But it was clearly unstable and they feared it could collapse at ant moment. Michael put his hand on Tommy’s shoulder and like a big brother said,” We can’t all go at once. The combined weight would destroy the bridge. Tommy, do what you said. Do whatever you have to save Emma. Prove Terminus wrong.”
He nodded as he grasped his D-Tector and said,” Right. C’mon Liollmon.”
They both walked steadily over the canyon, following the stones to Emma. When they finally reached solid ground, the massive doors to the church creaked open. Towering over them and moving at a snail’s pace, the doors slowly revealed Emma, still praying under the light. That glow made her look like an angel. As she got up, she walked to Tommy. Soon he walked too as the walks became sprints. He didn’t know what to say or do. All he did was put out his arms, ready to give her a hug.
But then, she ran past him. Tommy was shocked and upset, but then he turned to see her. Emma crashed on closed doors, pounding on them as she turned around and yelled,” Tommy. Look out!”
He turned only to see Daemon fire a burst of hellish flames. The attack landed right in front of Tommy, sending him back as Emma yelled,” Leave Tommy out of this!”
“He was foolish enough to confront me! It’s only fair he feel my wrath!”
Just as Tommy got up, Emma stepped in front of him, holding the crystal out to Daemon as she said,” Hurry up and digivolve! I’ll hold him off. Liollmon, try figuring a way out through that door!”
Daemon glared at her before firing another burst of flames. But the crystal easily shielded her as Tommy digivolved to Korikakumon. He used the axes to block as Emma ran over to Liollmon, searching frantically for a latch or way out. Both attacks intensified until the fire dispersed in a giant explosion. It sent both Tommy and Daemon back, scattering pews and raining roof tiles as they ran for another attack. Frozen Arrowheads collided with another Evil Inferno, both colder and hotter than before. Emma started punching the door, almost begging it to open as she cried,” Why won’t you open!?”
She took her D-Tector, crying as she yelled,” Please, give me some sort of power to break free! Everyone needs me! My friends need me, Earth needs me! I can’t let humanity down. Please, give me power!”
It glowed radiantly as she immediately scanned it, proclaiming,” Execute Warp Digivolution! Liollmon Warp Digivolve to LoaderLiomon!”
With golden armor, sharp claws and a drill-like mane, LoaderLiomon was exactly what Emma prayed for. He destroyed the door, clawing, drilling, and breaking until nothing but splinters were left. Outside, everyone watched as the doors pounded open. Emma called out to Tommy, and in a last burst of energy, he forced Daemon back as he reverted to a human. He took Emma’s hand as LoaderLiomon trailed behind them. But now the hard part.
As Daemon got back up, he created a bigger hellfire, enough that it destroyed the bridge below them. Soon they were running on cracks and falling stones, trying to get away from the intense fires. But they couldn’t outrun them. Instead, LoaderLiomon put Emma and Tommy on his back as Emma said,” Hold on!”
Her crystal glowed brighter than ever, shielding them as the orange flames closed in around them. Soon they were running blind, the fire blocking their vision. As everyone else called for them, LoaderLiomon leaped from the fire as the last of the bridge fell into the chasm. Emma and Tommy jumped down as they jumped for joy.
“I’m so glad you’re okay,” Zoe said happily as Renamon added,” Though it was Tommy that missed you the most.”
“It’s okay,” Emma said cheerfully,” Believe me, nothing they do can hurt me.”
“What do you mean?” Kudamon asked as Emma explained it to them. She told them everything, from the Discovering War to the Lost Women, as they flew to Christine. They were glad to have someone like Emma helping them, but she felt bad that Michael had to leave Christine for her.
“It’s okay,” Michael told her once she admitted this,” It didn’t make sense saving Christine if she’d become possessed anyway. Besides, I’ve got a feeling there’s plenty of time to save her. As long as you carry that crystal, there’s a chance Christine can be saved.”
And with renewed hope, they flew back to the Third Station, ready with new power to battle Epsilon. But they couldn’t help but ask, would the face of Epsilon be that of an enemy, or a friend?