Author's Note (A/N): This is my first Digimon related Fanfic...Also I would like to mention that this Fic has indeed been aspired for the kawaii (coupling of) Takuya and Izumi...I hope they end up together...I hope ^-^; ...I hate being wrong!!! Anyways...enjoy my Fanfic...I only watched a couple Digimon shows so...I hope I didn't mess anything up...R&R please!

*Jap. Names vs. English Names*: (I will not be using the acknowledgement of - i.e.-Izumi-chan...Takuya-kun...etc.) Izumi-Zoe/ Junpei- JP/ Tomoki-Tommy/ Kouichi- Kouji/ Kouji-Koji/ Takuya-Takuya/

(Digimon names will stay in English version) also D-Scanner - D-Tector

Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon, Digimon Characters or any other related subjects that are directly copyrighted towards Toei Animation.

**NOTE: It's been so long since I updated. So, I assume many of you don't remember what my story is about or have no idea (because you've never read it before!! ^_^;;;) Feel free to drop me a line and ask what the detailed plot is about. ^_^ GOMEN NASAI!!! SORRY! It's been ery long since I've updated....(Many of you probably don't miss me, anyway -_-;;;) But Anways....enjoy the story if you please....

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The Pure of Heart: Netherworld Journey {I}

The Old Destiny, The New Battle -Chapter 1-

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In the distance ahead the dawning sky shone brilliantly across the horizon. It was unlike any other notice of morning that one could ever witness. The sun could have never emitted this many colours into the sky, in the normal way at least, on Earth. It was unnatural. Though, then again everything about the Digital World seemed this foreign and strange. And while mingling within this odd world there came a feeling in which a subtle touch of twilight surrounded the present ethereal atmosphere. In that moment of knowing this, it brought a sudden soothing feeling--almost beautiful--just watching its morning sunrise.

It had been too early to be awake, too early to be traveling, and certainly too early to have been roused from sleep by the beaming sun creeping upwards into the sky. But what had been sitting atop of rather grassy mound by the makeshift campsite was a boy--a mere twelve year old boy--who had been surely awake since dawn. He had apparently been thinking, and thinking deeply at that.

It had been a long time since he had actually taken in all the events that had occurred over the past month. A new challenge was ahead of him and his friends. The Rose Morning Star had proved to be the beginning of their journey towards more troublesome struggles ahead. After Cherubimon's transition from good to evil the real threat had soon been revealed. Lucemon. They had battled him for what would have been the most crucial and important moment in saving the Digital World. They had failed. He had escaped from their battle--merely wounding him as he had fled. The children had tried to gather as much data as they could--during their battle with Lucemon--to restore the Digital World but had not rendered enough to save the entire world. And as to how Lucemon had escaped, the boy couldn't strain his mind enough to understand how. The only thing he knew certain was what Ophanimon--Salamon had transformed in their desperate time of need- -had bade them to do. To find their way through the wilderness that stretched far beyond the lands they had already seen and traveled through... to a forbidden and well-hidden realm...

There--the boy recalled from her directions--the Tengu Fortress would lie in wait for them...

Though the directions and cryptic messages from Ophanimon were cut short and too murky--Ophanimon abruptly transformed back to Salamon's form-- to make out into sensible inspirations into defeating Lucemon, this boy knew what had to be done. After all, the weight he had to bear unto his shoulders was of being the leader. The one leader who knew right from wrong...the one leader who would lead them to triumph. Though thinking of his mistakes before only put him into a more grave and painful pensive of memories...

He had faced the uncertainty of his faith (the faith in his own courage) before. Owing up to it, from the past, where he had to find the true strength in himself as he returned to the Earth finding out that he had transformed into a strange and awkward beast. He had learned his lesson then. But this new challenge would test him to his very limits....Was he up for the task? Lost within his worrisome and almost wistful pondering, he almost couldn't here the gentle voice that had surfaced from underneath his thoughts.

"T-Takuya...?" said the voice from behind, Takuya knew this voice to be of Izumi's. "What are you doing up...and so early?"

"You're awake too." he pointedly answered back.

She nodded in response and made her way to his side, kneeling to sit down.

"I guess we both couldn't sleep as easily as we hoped...what with all that's happened...no one has..." she replied gloomily and glanced to her back where the others lay sleeping rather restlessly.

"It'll be a long ways ahead...to find the Tengu Fortress..." Takuya determinedly stared into the distance.

"You think it'll finally be over after we find this --er-- Fortress?" asked Izumi, her tone seemed distant and detached, yet somehow hopeful in an innocent way.

Takuya fixedly stared at the sun's ascending form slowly carrying into the now visible billowing clouds above. He had taken in Izumi's speculation seriously and debated within his own mind for what seemed like a very long hesitation. Briskly pulling his gloves to his hands and firmly fastening the goggles to his head, Takuya finally chose to meet her eyes.

A long pause followed again--searching each others faces in hopes of finding something to comfort their worries--he eventually broke his sullen expression into a smile. It had been a very long time since he had done as much as smile. It felt quite pleasant, indeed.

"It won't be over until we say it is...until we rise against Lucemon...find Tomoki...and win....and we are going to win. Trust me..." he said, his voice put up a strong front at first but seemingly softened to stop himself from sounding too over confident.

Somewhere within all the sadness and exhaustion that Izumi had been feeling inside lately, there came an elated tremor that had somehow wove in and out of her mind by Takuya's words. The worries seemed to have dissolved altogether and her gloomy state felt wholly changed.

Izumi had grown to know this ill-tempered boy since their beginning days of entering the Digital World aboard the Trailmon. She simply knew him, at first glance, to be overly determined to win. A boy who could care less if he had put the others in danger with his extravagant plans of attack, a boy who's confidence overpowered his modesty and common sense, and needless to say, a boy who--through it all--managed to keep the Digi- Destined, his friends, alive. She adored him for it. She came to be accustomed to his own take on leadership and felt proud for his maturity through all they had been through in such a short time. Inside, laid her heart which seemed to lift tremendously to a sudden feeling of warmth. Her face adorned a sweet smile as she returned the mutual comfort to Takuya.

"We have to wake them up now, you know." said Takuya, breaking through the thick silence.

"Er--Oh, right." she answered and tore her gaze away to the others. The group had been later stirred from their sleep by Takuya and Izumi.

The results were deafening, each face plastered with the same expression--stunned silence. Takuya had just finished explaining his plan for the group's journey ahead, the wilderness of unknown dark Digimon lurking within. The Fortress seemed like another world away as Takuya went through the directions with Bokomon.

"So, how long is this going to take? If we plan on rescuing Tomoki from Lucemon's ransom their had better be a short cut." Junpei spoke out for the first time, his voice worriedly trembled over each word.

"A week, at the very least, if we don't act now." said Takuya doggedly.
"I'm with Takuya." Izumi said and now appeared at his side, "Time isn't a luxury we have at the moment. If we waste anymore time on resting then... it's only a matter of time before Tomoki..."

Izumi trailed off, her eyes misted over, tempting tears were kept away strictly with her control.

"Then it's settled, we're off. The woods aren't that far from the path we're already on." Takuya said and motioned over to the blurry image of a fairly wooded area in the distance.

"Sounds fine to me. Let's not waste anymore time with idle talk. Come on." Kouji followed suit as Izumi earlier did and stood beside Takyua. "Kouichi?"

Kouichi took no time in deciding or hesitating, he too stood by their side. Junpei hesitantly followed, his face unclear of what he really wanted and surely intended to say.

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The silent-stricken walk towards the woods lasted for a time well over two hours. Each child stealing glances at each other, hoping without conflict that they might rest for a while. No one spoke up. Neemon and Bokomon followed closely behind, both wondering how the group had come to be so deeply depressed. The escape of Lucemon, of course, was devastating, the kidnapping of Tomoki, far worse. They had been through many battles and dreadful days before but this seemed quite a hopeless cause waiting to be ended in failure.

Bokomon shook his head dejectedly, he was certain that they had lost all hope, that they had been tired. Possibly tired of fighting and tired of saving the Digital World altogether. Yes, it was quite certain that the source of all the misery, exhaustion, and constant occurrence of awkward silences had been deeply rooted from the group's failed attempts in defeating Lucemon and now the absence of Tomoki's presence. They had indeed lost the lasting hope that was kept close to the Chosen Children's hearts--the Pure of Heart.

Days had passed, since Tomoki's disappearance, and the more time that each of them thought to speak of the recent events faltered to come across in any discussion. Their faith in their inner strength dwindled down to nothing more than an empty void of sadness. Though this time--Takuya bitterly came to realize-- no train ride back to Earth would lead them to answers, no hints of potential wisdom, and no path to at least any true sense of guidance.

Izumi walked alongside Takuya, her eyes ever so often fell upon his sombre face. She hated seeing him like this. Like he had been, by fate deemed into becoming a serious, stoic warrior. He was forcibly changed for the good of the group, as was required of being the leader, she supposed. What had happened to the energetic, hot-headed boy she had met just months before? He was constantly arguing with her, true, but she knew all this simply to be just harmless bickering. She had missed this boy, too. The laughter that always seemed to make her feel so subtly content even when the situation had become drastic or serious. Takuya hardly even smiled now, let alone carry out a feeble struggle of laughter. And she couldn't help but notice-- considering how hopeless their fate had come to look--how much she wished that the Takuya she had grown to adore would soon return.

"Something wrong?" Takuya asked, he found Izumi staring worriedly at him.

"No. Nothing's wrong." She replied, quickly faking a smile.

"Look! Up ahead." Kouji suddenly called from behind.

Kouji pointed to the woodland surroundings just minutes away. The group's anticipation was wearing thin, they had already begun sprinting towards the forest when Bokomon desperately called for their attention.

"WAIT!" the small, white-furred Digimon began panting and shrilly shouting. "You must all first understand the risks we are taking by entering these woods. These are the Gakido Woods, they are known for dangerously enchanting those not wary of following the main route exiting through these woods."

Bokomon continued to firmly plant his tiny feet to the ground in front of them, his paws grasping a large book. He continued in reading the following information:

"Danger lurks at every wrong path you might take, for the many Digimon that roam these lands will surely trap you within these woods forever. These Digimon take many forms, but you may also be deceived by the several Digimon inhabitants who are shape-shifters. Know this, the main route is the only way out of the forest, if you are lost...you are lost for- "

"Eternity...and blah, blah, blah...Yeah we know, that's always the story with these mysterious forests of certain doom. Now let's get a move on!" Junpei irritably spoke.

Bokomon angrily clenched his paw into a fist and jumped towards Junpei and pounded the book over his head.

"Shut it and listen. This is crucial information for your own good and for your survival. These woods aren't a joke!" hollered Bokomon now pacing back to the front of the grouped children. "Now we must stay together--AT--ALL--TIMES! If we are separated the chances of finding our way back to each other...are very slim."

"L-Lost f-forever." Izumi nervously stammered, peering behind Bokomon where the woods now looked more menacing than before.

"We're not going to get lost...or separated." said Takuya, now facing all of them in front with Bokomon.

"Takuya's right, we aren't going to get lost. Now let's hurry, Lucemon is still out there somewhere and we're wasting time again." Kouichi said suddenly, gathering enough voice to startle the group abruptly after the silence from Takuya's statement.

With this, the group had continued to march their way towards the forest. Bokomon had been quite right about this place. The surrounding trees branched out towards the sky to create a tunnel, dome-like effect, engulfing almost all the light above. And the light that could be seen through the branches above was startling. The dawning morning that had been seemingly beautiful became a daunting blood-red backdrop of sky. The very ground they now started to traverse across gradually became a darker black as they progressed into the shadowed woods. This barren land successfully carried out a ominous feel of fear. Although the potential danger of dark Digimon ambushing them quickly eluded from their thoughts as not one creature seemed to be heard or seen.

At some point in time, Junpei caught himself staring into the darkness at an unusual sight. Dismissing it rather quickly and then taking a double glimpse to ensure his delusion; a pair of yellow, bulging eyes gleamed in his direction. He took a closer look, chancing the sight to be just his imagination, if not for the fact that he now wondered off from the group Junpei could have been left here alone.

"Wait up, guys!" he choked out frightfully and hurried back to the group's side.

As they gradually made their way down the narrow path in the woods they were--like Junpei--quick to dismiss the rustling noises in the shadowed areas from behind the bare trees and the occasional glint of haunting eyes. This was quite a place to have stumbled upon, no sign of living creatures (beside themselves) were to be found. Not a single visible lurking Digimon seemed present. No Cheerymon, no Floramon, no Mushroomon, not even a Woodmon appeared along the way; these creatures were expected of a typical Digital World forest. What was this place that they had entered? And where were the dangers that Bokomon so attentively warned them of? This forest seemed surely empty...

Though, perhaps they had spoken too soon of safety and eluded warnings of dark Digimon when suddenly an enormous eruption of deep azure mist rose from underneath the ground surrounding the group.

"What the--" a scattered succession of yells came from each of them. The brilliantly blue luminance of mist rapidly surrounded them into a spherical imprisonment.

"What's happening?!" Izumi cried, she quickly began backing up towards the others. They soon all followed her attempt in fear.

The ground below began to tremble uncontrollably, each of them stumbled downwards. Izumi gave a frightful yelp and grabbed hold of Takuya next to her. The screams would only last until a few moments after the sphere-like mist had swallowed them whole.

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"W-Wha--What's going on..." Takuya mumbled, his vision partially clear and partially still blurred as his eyes kept straining to see who was awakening him at the moment.

"Takuya! You're alive! Oh, you're alive!" the voice sounded distant but echoed painfully into his ears.

"Ow!" he squinted again, trying to make sense of the figure in front of him as he clamped his hands to his ears.

"Takuya, what's wrong...are you alright?" the voice whispered now understanding his pain.

Takuya finally focused his eyes to see the distressed face of Izumi, she held his face in her hands.

"Izumi...where are we?" he groaned to now also feel the pain of his throbbing head.

"I-I don't know. This place...it's not where we're supposed to be. And the main route...it's gone...everyone is..." she trembled as she spoke, her hands now lay in her lap shakily.

Takuya sat up, scratching his head in confusion. His vision now in use and to finally see the present surroundings. If not for his sudden state of fear, confusion and shock, this place they were now in would have appeared to be quite lovely and welcoming. But they had not been feeling recently pleasant or welcomed at all, they had just been sucked by an unknown dark magic portal and completely separated from their friends. They couldn't have noticed the sky of harmonious blending of blues, purples and yellows. They didn't care for the glistening willow trees bearing succulent fruits of pears, berries and apples. They wouldn't have bothered to feel the soft, long green grass underneath them. And they simply and surely ignored the fact that the feeling of complete bliss had replaced the previous worry of confusion and fright.

"This place is--" Takuya began but was interrupted.

"Takuya...do you feel that?" Izumi said, her brows furrowed perplexed in wait as if she were expecting for something to happen.

"Feel what?" he replied, equally as anxious in wait as she was.

"I don't know...it's strange...it's as if I can't feel sad or frightened anymore." she explained.

"Right...like there's nothing to worry about-" he said but was curtly cut off by her sudden reply.

"It's was Bokomon warned us of...the enchantment that the forest creatures...erm...dark Digimon cast on the people who cross their path...they transported us to this place." she said, her eyes wide with shock.

"How do we find the others?" asked Takuya sighing exasperatedly.

The previous place had proved to be a frightening situation and place to be, indeed. They were lost now...Lost in the world, within the woods...

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