Chapter 14

The voices whispered softly, "Ken… Ken…"

The ocean itself was talking, and yet, above the whispers was another harsh voice that was strangely familiar. It yelled and cackled maniacally.

Atop the cliff, Ken stared at the Dark Ocean, trembling, but his eyes were drawn to the water. He couldn't seem to look away. The ocean was rather wild, with waves constantly crashing down on its sands. It was then- looking out at the ocean- that a thought came to Ken's mind:

"Perhaps," he said to himself, "if I were to face my fear, the Dark Ocean could give me the answers that I've been looking for."

He considered this for a moment. He bit his bottom lip nervously, but decided he had suffered through amnesia long enough. If the Dark Ocean was the key to his recovery, then he was going to face it.

He turned around and headed back the trail for a while, and eventually walked down a hill that led him to the beach. It was strange; as soon as he set foot on the beach, the ocean calmed and the whispers stopped, as well as the evil yelling and laughter.

Everything was still. It left Ken puzzled. For a minute, he looked around, clueless. Why everything had suddenly come to a stop, he didn't know, but it was as though time itself had frozen.

Slowly and cautiously, he approached the ocean, his heart racing with every little step he took. Finally, he found himself at the edge of the water. He closed his eyes for a moment, took a deep breath, and waded into the water.

The water started to move a little and the whispers returned, although they were almost inaudible. Ken looked down at the drab water and beheld a strange sight: What should have been his reflection staring back at him was instead the face of a different boy. His navy blue hair was spiked and he wore purple tinted glasses, but behind those glasses one could clearly see a tormented soul and eyes that burned with anger.

Ken recognized this face as the harsh boy he'd seen in his dream. He reached his hand into the water and stirred up the image so that he could no longer see it. When he pulled out his hand, it was adorned with a familiar glove…

A giant wave was suddenly formed, seeming to have come from no where. It rolled at him with great speed, and Ken merely stood there, lacking any emotion whatsoever. He allowed the water to crash down upon him. He allowed the Dark Ocean to consume him…

"Ken!" the digidestined called. "Ken!"

"He's got to be at the Dark Ocean," Kari said, her voice shaky.

"I agree that there's a good chance of that," Tai said, "but you never know. It's worth searching around here too."

"No it's not," Kari said gloomily. "The ocean has him, I just know it. The only thing we need to be searching for is a way to get ourselves there."

"Kari," Yolei began thoughtfully, "you've been to the Dark Ocean more than once. Don't you know how to get there?"

"I've never known how to get there," Kari answered. "I was just brought there. There's always been something about me and Ken- some darkness inside us- that we share, and the ocean feeds off of that… or something. I don't really know. The Dark Ocean is a thing of its own that can't be explained."

"Ok, so if the Dark Ocean has a liking for you and Ken, then that still should make you a key to getting us there," Yolei pointed out.

"I don't know," Kari replied, unsure of the situation. "None of us brought our D-3s and we don't have our digimon with us."

"So? That didn't stop Ken from getting to the ocean," Yolei argued.

"Yeah," TK agreed, "and it didn't stop the ocean from taking you that one day at school two years ago..." his voice trailed off as the memory came back to him very vividly. He forced himself to shake the thought away.

Kari's only reply was a little whimper.

"We've just got to put our heads together, that's all," Davis said optimistically. "We can come up with a way to get to the Dark Ocean."

"I don't think it's that simple, Davis," Kari told him.

"Aw, c'mon, Kari! Stop being so negative! We can do this!"

"Maybe we can," Kari said, throwing a quick glare at him and raising her voice, "but when we finally do, will we be in time! You've never been to the Dark Ocean, Davis! It's one of the most frightening things I've ever seen! For all we know, Ken could be…" She suddenly quieted, hanging her head as tears become pouring from her eyes.

TK put an arm around her and comforted softly, "It's gonna be ok, Kari. We'll find Ken, and we won't be too late. He'll be alright; everything will be alright."

Sniffling, the girl looked up at him with wide, teary eyes.

The digidestined spent the rest of the day searching the park unsuccessfully. They also tried to find a way to get to the Dark Ocean, but nothing seemed to work. Night came upon them before they knew it, and they were forced to retire to their campsite.

While her friends slept, young Kari Kamiya was still awake. She sat in front of the fire, pondering many things.

"Why?" she asked herself, "After two years, why would the Dark Ocean come back now? We saved the digital world. All our troubles should be over, but I guess even that couldn't destroy the Dark Ocean… Right. Saving one world wouldn't just get rid of another. The Dark Ocean is always going to be there. Still, that doesn't explain WHY it's striking."

She sighed heavily then spoke to herself softly, "No matter what I do, I can't find the answers, and Ken's been in the Dark Ocean for hours. …It's hopeless. It's all hopeless. The ocean's gotten him by now, so there's no point in even trying anymore. He's gone."

Tears filled her eyes as she muttered the words, "It's over…"

She hung her head and began to sob uncontrollably; her tears only seemed to fall harder as the minutes went by. Suddenly, a terrible feeling gripped her. The world around her felt so cold, so still. Her mind emptied of all thought, she sat up stiffly, and the faint sound of waves rippled in her ears.

She simply sat there in shock for a moment, but then she grew frantic. She looked about, yet found nothing out of the norm. The oceanic noises in her head disappeared, and the warmth and feeling of nature around her returned.

The Dark Ocean's presence had left just as suddenly as it had come.