Taichi surveys the surrounding desert of the Server Continent, the sand stretching on as far as his eyes can see. Where had the portal dropped him? Can it be that he is now same place he had been thrown from after he and MetalGreymon had blown up Etemon? Anxiously, Taichi tries to spot the sphinx statue or the inverted pyramid where from he had rescued Sora. Then he remembers what had happened: both the pyramid and the sphinx had been obliterated by Etemon. From his standpoint, there are no familiar landmarks and no way of knowing where he is.
"Taichi!" a voice calls to him. Taichi immediately recognizes it.
"Agumon?" Taichi calls back, cupping his hands about his mouth and scanning the sands for his friends. He wipes a beads of sweat from his head as he does so. The sun shines brightly overhead, and Taichi is forced to squint his eyes tightly. Eventually, he spots Agumon in the distance. The orange reptile blends somewhat with the surrounding sand, making him easy to miss at a glance.
"Taichi!" Agumon calls out again, running as fast as his little legs can carry him. In turn, Taichi runs to meet his partner and gives him a great bear hug when they meet.
"Agumon, you're okay!" Taichi remarks.
"Taichi!" says Agumon happily, "I was so worried! You were gone for a long time and I thought you were going to stay behind."
"A long time?" says Taichi, puzzled. Then, he remembers: "Oh, that's right! Time works differently here." He thinks back to the calendar on his refrigerator and realizes that his brief goodbye to Hikari may not have been as brief within the Digital World. Thinking back on this, Taichi realizes that any traces of the obliterated pyramid or sphinx statue would have long been buried by the sand. But, there again, how long had that been?
Once again, Taichi looks towards the expanse of the surrounding desert, contemplating the next course of action he and Agumon are to take. Agumon takes his place beside Taichi and peers in the same direction.
"We're back..." Agumon comments.
"Yeah," replies Taichi.
"Was this really for the best?" Agumon asks.
"We'll definitely go back home one day," Taichi replies, "after we've done what we're meant to do."
Taichi thinks back on everything he'd seen. Digimon were appearing in the real world. There was also that fight with Ogremon right before the portal opened. Taichi wonders why else but he could see them. Then again, Hikari also mentioned that she was able to see them too. What could that mean? Taichi shakes his head and begins to walk forward, followed closely by Agumon.
As they walk, Taichi ponders the purpose he and the others are left to fulfill. Leomon told him and the others that the Chosen Children had a purpose to fulfill here. He had gotten his Crest to activate and summarily destroyed Etemon. So, what now? Who or what was next in line? More presently, however, Taichi is concerned about the whereabouts of his friends. Is he simply to wander the desert aimlessly until he finds them? Taichi stops for a moment and looks at Agumon curiously, remembering how the reptile scouted out the Koromon village near the shore.
"Agumon," Taichi asks him.
"What is it Taichi?"
"Do you...smell anything nearby?"
Agumon perks up his nose, sniffing the air like a bloodhound. He walks around a bit, continually testing the particles about them.
"Anything?" Taichi asks after a few moments. Agumon shakes his head after a while.
"Nope. Sorry, but I don't—"
All of a sudden, Agumon's nostrils flare. He's caught onto something!
"What?" Taichi asks.
"I'm not sure," Agumon says, "But it's…something…"
Then, Agumon takes off with Taichi following close behind him. The two of them travel across the desert for a time until they arrive at what appears to be a massive sinkhole. The surrounding sand has caved in about it like the center of an hourglass. Tentatively, Taichi approaches the edge of the hole and peers into it.
"Any idea what this is, Agumon?" Taichi asks.
"I think…" Agumon says, "…I think this is where I blasted Etemon!"
"Oh?" Taichi says, peering about the crater. "Then this must be where the pyramid was!"
Indeed, the size of the crater seems to Taichi to be about as large as the pyramid had been. Taichi then congratulates his partner, giving Agumon a high five—or, perhaps a "three" given the number of fingers on Agumon's claws.
"Still, we don't know where the others went." Taichi remarks, his face becoming more serious.
"Maybe there are some tracks nearby?" Agumon suggests.
"They'd have disappeared," Taichi tells him, "Remember, time moves far more slowly in the Digital World."
"Oh yeah," Agumon says, bashfully.
No doubt the others are far away. There's no way they would have spent months sitting in the desert waiting for him.
"The others are probably long gone, Agumon," Taichi tells his partner. "Let's go-"
Taichi is interrupted by a large tremor and the sounds of copious amounts of moving sand.
"W-What's going on?!" Taichi says, trying to keep his balance.
"Look!" Agumon shouts, pointing into the crater. Taichi looks. Somewhat off the center of the crater, an object is rising from the sand, although hat it is cannot not be determined. Taichi and Agumon are made to watch in anticipation as the ground beneath them continues to rumble. Then, something appears: a giant reptilian head rises from the sand followed by its neck, its shoulders, and finally its arms. Sand is thrown in every direction, even as far as Taichi and Agumon. The par of them brushing themselves off before taking a good look upon this risen creature-a red dinosaur, with green stripes about its back.
"Tyranomon!" Agumon says.
He is, of course, correct. The upper half of a Tyranomon can be seen protruding from within the sandy pit. The Digimon has sickly look about it and several cables wrapped about it and a few others directly attached to various parts of its body.
"It's one of Etemon's guys," Agumon growls.
"Yeah," replies Taichi, "Somehow…he must have survived."
The pair watch the Tyranomon intensely as the Digimon struggles to free itself from the sand. Unfortunately, to no avail, the poor Digimon is thoroughly trapped.
"I think he's stuck," Agumon says. "Maybe we should just leave him behind."
Taichi nods, but nonetheless holds his ground, watching the poor creature as it struggles amidst the sand.
Then, Taichi shouts: "Hey! Tyranomon!"
The Tyranomon ceases its struggling for a moment and looks up at Taichi and Agumon. Having become familiar with Agumon's features, Taichi recognizes the helpless look on Tyranomon's reptilian face. Weakly, the Tyranomon opens its mouth, as if to speak, but the only sound its wheezing breath.
"He needs our help," Taichi says.
"Are you sure?" Agumon asks. "What about the cables? He's one of Etemon's."
"I know," Taichi says, "But we destroyed Etemon, so…"
Tyranomon's pleading look doesn't falter and Taichi can only return that gaze for so long. Then, knowing what he must do, Taichi takes action.
"Agumon," he says, grasping his Digivice, "evolve."
At once, Agumon nods and a bright light surrounds him, increasing in size and assuming a much larger shape. The next moment, Greymon is standing in front of Taichi.
"What now?" Greymon asks.
Lifting himself upon his Greymon's shoulder, Taichi points in the Tyranomon's direction:
"Do you think you can reach him, Greymon?"
Greymon grunts in response. Then, with mild trepidation, begins to ascend down the sloping sand. At first, all seems well, the sand shifts slightly but barely under Greymon's weight. Yet as the pair draw closer to center, the shifting increases, burying Greymon's feet below the ankles. Taichi wavers for a moment, and Greymon brings his claw up to steady his balance.
"Taichi! You should get to safety!" says Greymon.
"Idiot!" Taichi says, leveling face with Greymon's eye. "I'm not letting you do this alone. Now keep moving!"
Greymon growls in confirm and continues making his way towards the lone Tyranomon. Taichi tightens his grip on Greymon as best he can. Even as Greymon closes the distance between them, the entire crater begins to shift about him, the sand pooling towards the center, threatening to overwhelm the Tyranomon.
"Quickly, Greymon!" Taichi yells. Then, Greymon is upon Tyranomon, managing to grab hold of it before the sand causes it to become submerged again. Grasping the sinking Digimon underneath its arms, Greymon pulls with all his might. For a moment, it seems to be working: the Tyranomon is lifted from its entrap in small measure. However, the surrounding sand continues to whirl about them, causing Greymon to sink once again. The sand threatens to swallow all of them, even as Greymon attempts to keep Tyranomon afloat with all his might. Taichi cries out in vain as the sand builds up about them; before long all three of them become buried bneath the sand.
But there, Taichi's Digivce vibrates wildly and another bright light surrounds Greymon. Next, the sand about them gives way and suddenly bursts as MetalGreymon rockets skyward. Safe carried within the palm of MetalGreymon's right-hand claw, Taichi cheers. Meanwhile, MetalGreymon's cybernetic claw has entangled itself about the cables attached to the fallen Tyranomon, ripping it free from the confines of the sand trap. They're safe!
"Well done, MetalGreymon!" Taichi shouts up to his partner. MetalGreymon smiles in appreciation.
Soon, the Tyranomon is upon level sand, far from the crater. MetalGreymon lands and Taichi hops down to ground. Flanked by his Digimon partner, Taichi anxiously approaches the Tyranomon, noting how emaciated its scaly flesh is. With great effort the Tyranomon lifts its head to look at Taichi and MetalGreymon.
"Ch-Chosen…?" the Tyranomon begins, but its voice is cut off by a wheezy cough as an inky black liquid leaks from its mouth. MetalGreymon scans the severed cables injected into Tyranomon's backside, noticing the same substance leaking from them.
"Taichi," MetalGreymon says. "He doesn't have long to live. I think the cables were keeping him alive."
"What?" asks Taichi. "How do you know that?"
"This isn't just for show," MetalGreymon explains, tapping the cybernetic plating about his head.
Taichi's nods and turns back to the dying reptile. "Don't worry, Tyranomon," he says. "We…we'll find some way to save you!"
"…Too…late…" the Tyranomon begins to say, but is cut off by more coughing.
The surrounding cables sputter and spill as Tyranomon's life ebbs away.
"Tyranomon…" Taichi says, pleadingly. But he knows there's no way he'd be able to get help before Tyranomon life gave out.
"Th-thank…you…" the Tyranomon says. Then, with great effort, the dying Digimon lifts its head ever-so-slightly, causing Taichi to take a step back. Then, turning it in a particular direction, Tyranomon collapses once again. "Th-there…" It manages to reply, before falling silent and closing its eyes.
"What?" Taichi remarks looking in that direction. "Are you saying that's where we should go?"
The Tyranomon doesn't answer. Breathing its last, the beast falls into a heap, its body disintegrating into a mass of particles as it dies.
"Tyranomon!" Taichi walks into the indentation within the bed of sand where the fallen creature once was, falling to his knees in anguish. He picks up a handful of sand where Tyranomon once was, squeezing it until the particles sift between the gaps of his fingers.
"Taichi…" comes a small voice says from behind him. Taichi turns to see a familiar pink creature shaped like a ball.
"Koromon?" says Taichi, taking the baby Digimon in his arms. He'd been so caught up in that moment, he hadn't even seen that MetalGreymon's energy had run out.
"Taichi…" Koromon pleads, "Let's go."
"Right," Taichi replies, wiping his face. "Time to go."
On and on Taichi goes, the sun continually beating down upon him and Koromon. He wishes he had brought a hat with him before he'd been pulled back into the Digital World, in addition to a bottle water, some sunscreen and maybe some sandals. He feels the sand slowly filling his shoes as he walked, but that's nothing compared to how thirsty he is. The heat is becoming more and more unbearable, rising even hotter than he remembers it had been when he and the others were on the run from Etemon. Taichi wonders how long he'd been walking for.
Taichi stops for a moment and looks ahead. Then, he looks back at his tracks.
"Koromon?" he asks, his voice becoming raspy.
"Yes?" the little Digimon replies. His voice is also very hoarse.
"Do you think we strayed too far from the path?'
"How should I know?" Koromon asks.
Taichi notes the location of the sun as best he can. Even though he's without a watch, one can usually get a feel for the time of day based on where the sun was. This was odd and it seemed to Taichi that the sun was hanging in place for peculiarly long period. What exactly did that mean? Nonetheless he keeps moving as best he can, spiting the heat. All the while, Taichi checks at Koromon every few minutes. Koromon's once-pink body has become as pale as a ghost. Taichi even notes his own dehydration; his shirt is crusted with dried perspiration.
"T-Taichi…" Koromon manages to say, right before he passes out.
"Koromom?" Taichi asks, shaking his friend, "Koromon?!"
Koromon doesn't stir. Gritting his teeth, Taichi presses forward.
The day goes on, but Taichi's journey doesn't get any easier. He sees the sun has finally begun to set. Why did that seem to take such a long time? The entire day's walking has taken its toll on Taichi; he's parched and heavily fatigued. Looking back at his tracks, he wonders again if he fell from the path. He yearns to have Koushiro at his side, figuring out where to go with his computer. Taichi's body aches to drop, but he looks at Koromon in dismay, wondering if his little partner would last through the night.
Taichi peers at the sun again—an dimly-lit orange ball peaking halfway above the horizon. But…how long it had been sitting there? Again, Taichi wished he had some way of keeping track of the time. He stares at sun for a while and even starts to count the seconds. Before long, he figures it out: The sun really had stopped moving! But how? And Why?
Delirious, Taichi very nearly collapses right then and there, but strives to keep himself awake. He imagines that if he had collapsed in the desert, that, somehow there would at least be the hope that someone—human or Digimon, would find him and Koromon. However, just then, a heavy wind picks up and the sand pelts his face furiously. The surprise and pain stirs him fully awake once more, kick-starting whatever adrenaline he had left within his system. Taking off through the sandstorm, he desperately looks this way and that for any signs of shelter. Sadly, he sees nothing, blinded by whipping sand. If he hadn't strayed from the path earlier, Taichi thinks he's surely off course by now.
Just as Taichi feels as if his legs wouldn't carry him anymore, his feet hit a very hard metal surface. The next thing he knows, he has stumbled across a long ramp sloping downwards. He trips, falling forwards and eventually hitting his back against a flat surface. He gasps, having had the wind out of him. Luckily, Koromon is still there, having been cradled like a football during the fall. Getting up, Taichi looks up to see that he had run into a giant pair of steel doors withthe number 009 is painted on them. Taichi can only guess that this is some kind of undergound bunker. Thanking his lucky stars, he pounds on doors with all his might.
"Open up!" He yells. "We need help! Open up!"
Taichi waits, but there's no response; the doors remain shut. Looking around, he sees no handle, no knob, and no apparent method of getting the doors open. Unwilling to give up, Taichi continues pounding and yelling until his voice gives out complete. Still, there is no answer. As the final reserves of his strength fade, Taichi resigns himself to sitting with his back against crease between the two doors, huddling down as the wind continues to whirl about them. He looks at the poor Digimon, its mouth hanging open and barely breathing.
"I'm sorry, Koromon…" He says, making every effort to keep his eyes open. Moments pass and begins to fade, along with Taichi's consciousness. However, he feels a rumble! Suddenly, the doors behind vibrate and open, causing him to fall backwards. Try as he might, he can't lift his body from the ground, having completely succumbed to exhaustion. As his vision fades, he barely perceives two figures coming towards him from within the bunker, silhouetted by bright light.
"It was a human child! Just like I said," says one.
"Okay, bring them in, quickly! I'll get some water!" says the other.
Taichi can't help but wonder at the second voice of his two saviors. The first voice he didn't recognize at all, but the second voice was all too familiar to him.
"S-Sora…?" Taichi manages to say.
Taichi feels two furry paws lift him from the ground and then pair of hands slip Koromon out from under his arms.
"Do you know this guy?" the first voice asks. "He said your name."
"I…I'm not sure," answers the second voice. "But let's worry about that later, okay?"
"Roger that," the first voice replies.
That beat of hesitation from the first voice made Taichi's heart feel like it could have exploded. It is Sora! Taichi is sure of it! Desperately he wants to shout out to her and tell her about all that had happened to him. Unfortunately, he drifts into fully into unconsciousness.