Disclaimer: Digimon is copyrighted by Akiyoshi Hongo and produced by Toei Animation, Bandai, and Disney. The plot and fancharacters are all I own here, and no profit is made in any way through these monologues.

Author's Note: After nearly a two-year hiatus, "Thoughts of the Children" is FINALLY back with a new monologue. This time, one of the more obscure DigiDestined is showcased, this one being more obscure than some others.

Thoughts of the Children

When Gifts Become Consequences: Maria

Was it the right thing to do? Was it correct to do something because they want to be happy? If it was, then what about me? I wanted to be happy, too, but I could not, because I was not capable of liking it anymore.

Being who I was then, I always wanted to make someone proud of any kind of work I do for him or her. Whatever they wanted me to do, I was usually up to the task. Whenever I noticed their happy faces afterwards, I became grateful of their responses and would try to make everyone happy. And that meant everyone, from my friends to my parents. I always wanted to make them happy. It was a part of me that, according to my parents, was something really special. Of course, there were those who disagreed with my mother and father about their statement, but those were their views, not my parents'.

However, as I approached ten years old, the tectonic plates within me suddenly shifted. Those who were keen enough might have noticed that the happiness within and around me was becoming a mere façade. The part that my parents considered me "special" was becoming as blank as an unused sheet of paper.

Everything I did to help them made me very unhappy. Whenever I tried to aid someone, I became sadder and sadder. I saw their faces whenever I started and finished anything they asked me, and chills jetted through my bones. It was like they were treating me as nothing more than their slave, someone who could be used to do other people's work instead of having them take care of the situation themselves. Why would they force me to do their work, especially when almost everything was so simple? Was it because they were lazy, or something more villainous?

I then desired something, but only for myself and no one else. As selfish as it was, I no longer cared. So, on my eleventh birthday, I finally made my wish: What would it be like to actually be happy? What would it feel if I never actually had to force myself to help others? And what would it be like if they had to do the work themselves?

One week following my birthday, I was walking around the streets of Downtown Brooklyn when I noticed a crowd of people surrounding something near the main entrance of one of my former schools, and I soon joined in the crowd out of curiosity. When I first saw the commotion, I first thought it was an injured person, but it turned out to be a DigiEgg with horizontal brown and gold stripes.

The moment I dove my head within the crowd, a boy in oversized clothing asked me to pick it up, for no one else could do so themselves. At first, feeling I was going to be used, I was about to refuse when my conscience told me to listen to him. Sighing in defeat, I bent down and grasped it as firmly as I could. On that moment, a vibe raced through me, like I had become one with it. It felt very warm and comfortable, like I was in everlasting peace. But it all ended the second I lifted it off the ground. Although I never bothered to look up, I could sense bewilderment and shock from the crowd, making me believe that their claims were genuine… for once.

I returned to Manhattan Beach with it and thoroughly examined it upon putting it down on my bed, when I first noticed the Digivice dangling on a black cord connected to the DigiEgg. At the time, it looked very strange, one for something literally attached to an egg, and the other for how oddly shaped the Digivice was.

Curiosity racing in my mind, I pushed a random button, and the DigiEgg suddenly glowed bright gold. When the sudden luminosity vanished, the Digivice laid flat on my bed, its cord missing, and replacing the DigiEgg was a device called a D-Terminal and a small horse-like Digimon called Foalmon.

Seeing him baffled me, and after he said the following words, "I'm Foalmon, and I'm your friend and Digimon partner," questions swirled in my head. I had accepted the fact that he would become a friend, but why "partner"? Was there anything unique that tied us together? Furthermore, why me? What was so special about him being with me that it created this tight, permanent bond? I had to figure them out, without the possibility of being used as a possession.

The questions only started.

I decided to stay home the following day for three reasons, one of them being guarding and contemplating about Foalmon and our purpose as "partners" together. Why were we together? Was there some purpose for us to be like this – a "forced" unity?

And then, while sitting on my chair nourishing Foalmon, there was some faint whoosh, one that sounded a lot like a gust, coming from the computer. Yet, when I stared at it, nothing was there.

Feeling like it was nothing, I returned to aiding Foalmon, when the gust briefly came back, only more fiercely and physical, but not harsh enough to throw me out of my chair. I soon felt scared. Why were there a huge brush of wind, especially when all the windows were closed? It made no sense.

Then, an additional piece— It was a voice, one of calm, but sternness, too. She was talking to me through my mind, saying some intriguing pieces of information, like her knowing my personality and whole name, despite neither of us seeing each other.

However, what she later said made me feel like a dream was coming true. She told me that she heard that I was unhappy that I believed they only asked me to help them simply because they wanted to take advantage of me. She knew that I wanted to be in a place where I never had to be treated like I was some sort of tool, a place where I never had to obligate myself into helping anyone.

No longer. No more. It was refreshing despite thinking about it for such a long time.

The next words I heard were these:

"I can bring you into a dimension where you'll be free from your shackles, from your holdbacks. You, Maria, are the one who holds the keys, the one who holds your future.

"It is your freedom."

"Freedom" – it was finally mine. No way would I be able to be bound by anything anymore. I was finally free, forever.

"But," said she, "all needed now were two things."

I grew confused. What were there two more things needed to complete my dream?

"A memory and a Digivice."

More wonderment. Why a Digivice, whatever that was (back then)?

Its screen began glowing, answering my question. Now, all I needed was a memory, but of what? What kind of memory was needed for me to dive into his gold and take it?

Soon, one came out. It was strong, poignant. I could remember it very vividly. Cold, evil, yet fun that memory was. I loved every minute of it and sometimes reminded me of my goal. It was something that made me very, very proud.

She later asked me if I had that memory, and I nodded in reply.

"Now, aim your Digivice towards the computer and say, 'DigiPort: open!'"

I thought this was simple, too simple, and I felt giddier and giddier. The moment I pointed my Digivice and entered the computer, all I could think about was that I was about to enter happiness, one that only I could have, not even Foalmon, although I felt (somewhat) sorry for leaving him behind.

But where I arrived was no paradise.

Around me was like a furnace, but out of control. The environment sweltered with fire, from the buildings to the cars. Everywhere I looked, fire was burning, including atop of the asphalt and within thick billows of smoke high in the sky. And it was not only orange and yellow fire, either. Afar, bursts of green and blue flame exploded into the sky, and mass panic followed. I could tell people were dying, as ear-piercing screams erupted then suddenly quieted, like time expired for everyone and everything.

They were not the only ones panicking. I was, too, as my knees buckled from fright. What I wanted to be in was one similar to Heaven, where I could live without anything to hold me back. It was there whenever I needed it, whenever I wanted it. Only this "freedom" was not it. I was abound by the shackles, but one completely surrounding me rather than around my ankle.

"But this is your freedom. Do you want it?"

Her voice rang my head again, only more softly, like it was sweet. No way did I want it! No way did I want to live in a place that only Venus could match!

Then, what was underneath me was being pulled away. I screamed, I panicked, for my body was hoisted off the ground and hurled high in the sky. This living nightmare was becoming worse and worse, and I just wanted to wish I never listened to this voice and remained at home.

But before I could have a glimpse of a chance to think during my fall, I landed hard, and pain immediately surged down my spine. It hurt even worse as I tried to straighten, but when I did, I wished I could stay on the ground.

People and Digimon similar to Foalmon lay on the ground. Many bodies were twisted, as legs, arms, and heads bended in ways the human body was not designed for. The sight sparked even more panic from me, and I was starting to feel very, very sick.

Then, I felt something heavy slide down my hand. I had never experienced anything like it… And for some reason, I was really disliking it.

But when I looked at my hand, for the first time in my life, I felt helpless.

It was blood. Fresh, rich blood settled on my palm and occasionally dripped onto the ground!

My body screamed as loudly as possible, but my voice was lost. There was no way to scream after touching this blood, especially since this was the only place it was found! Everywhere else was merely corpses. Why was this the only place where blood was found, and the fact that I had to land there, of all places? Why did this have to happen to me? Why? Why?!

"Because your subconscious wanted it to happen."

There went her voice, only more sharply this time. I thought of nothing but anger at that point. Why had she really sent me there? And not because my "subconscious" wanted me to be here, too! I wanted a thorough, logical answer from her! And I wanted it now!!

"No, I won't, other than one more piece I want to give you."

So, she wanted to give me one more thing? What did she want with me, anyway? What was her cause for sending me into a place that only Satan itself would be comfortable of living in?

Alas, she would not give me anything else, other than to look behind, and by how stern her voice was, she did not expect me to do anything less. So I turned around, expecting the worst (if anything was worse).

It was I, lying facedown on the ground. My entire front, including my face, was implanted on the ground, like it was a self-made grave for me. And beside it— beside it… Beside it…

It was a small pool of blood. Rich and thick, it had settled itself around my lifeless right hand, like alligators silently examining its kill from below.

The next thing I knew, I shot up. Cold sweat perspired down my face, and my heart pulsated for oxygen. I looked around, particularly out the window, and noticed everything was normal. No red sky, no fire, and no smoke. And Foalmon was sleeping on my old pet condominium nearby. Then, I looked down and saw I was on my bed, and no trace of blood was on me at all.

A sigh escaped me. I was finally back home and was no longer in that inferno. I was no longer in that nasty, cruel place anymore, and I was going to make sure of that: From now on, I was going to remain here and only here. I was never going back.

Yet, I just could help but cry. The helplessness that first settled in me back in that dimension returned. I felt vulnerable in there. I could not defend myself, nor did I have the thought of doing so. Witnessing the inferno weakened me, made me paralyzed from fear. There was nothing I could do. I could not do something, nothing. I could not help them—

There was that phrase again: "I could not help them." Of all I wanted for so long, I no longer wanted to help anyone. I wanted to be one who was finally free from being a slave to everyone; I wanted to be my own person again, and I had it. Or I thought I had it.

So why did I want to help them?

"All will be answered in due time."

That was the last time I heard from her, and afterwards, I became this shy girl at Manhattan Beach. I rarely talked to anyone, except Foalmon, who had since digivolved past his In-Training form and into the Rookie, Coltmon. Even then, he had no verbal idea about my secret, although from his occasional glances, I hunched that he knew about my thoughts.

During that time, I continued wondering why I was sent there in the first place. What was the reason for her sending me there? What was her purpose for forcing me to temporarily witness that catastrophe? What did it mean, especially for me? And why did I want to aid others despite setting my goal of not doing any of this? What caused me to even think of such raw, silly emotions anymore? It was foolishness, foolishness, I had said.

Then, a part of me was completely ripped away.

It occurred in June 2002, a little more than a year following my date with Armageddon. After finishing school for the week, I decided to walk home rather than take transportation. Despite keeping firm into my goal, it was nice not thinking about it too much, and I preferred taking my time home rather than rush back.

On the other hand, there was some doubt in me. For some reason, I was not happy, and not because I believed I was being used as a slave. It was something else…but I did not know what. As a result, I did not enjoy my walk; my face contorted to confusion rather than merry.

"Is something wrong?"

A kind, sweet voice echoed in the brownstone neighborhood. I was not certain if she was talking to me or not, but I turned my head nevertheless. What I saw was a teenage Oriental girl with pink-dyed hair sitting on a bench in a bus shelter.

From how she looked at me, I knew that she was talking to me and not herself, and I was not happy about it. We had not known each other, we had not seen each other before, but she wanted to strike a conversation with me? We were strangers, and I was not supposed to talk to them. Ignoring her was my best option now—

"Are you okay, because you look very confused?"

—But I could not drive myself to do so. It was like I was being dragged into it. Something coming from her made me consider the opposite of what I was supposed to follow.

Influenced, I sat next to her. We introduced ourselves, with her name being Mimi Tachikawa. We were about to begin talking—

"You have the device as I."

—When I noticed the Digivice similar to my own hanging on her skirt strap.

Mimi looked down and grasped her device.

"You have one, too, Maria?"

I nodded in reply.

"Then you're one of us."

Confusion etched on my face. What did she mean by "us"?

"This means that you're a DigiDestined."

More bewilderment built up within me. What was a DigiDestined?

From how Mimi gazed at me, it seemed like she knew my thoughts. She then explained to me what a DigiDestined was and what a DigiDestined contained: a Digimon and a Digivice.

That was when I realized why I had Coltmon. I was a DigiDestined. But I had no idea where the Digimon lived, until Mimi mentioned that they lived in the Digital World, a dimension where everything resembled a computer: from the structure to their attributes (Data, Virus, and Vaccine). She said Digimon had the ability to digivolve, a process where one Digimon could progress from one stage to another. The Digital World, according to her, was a world a lot like ours, but the only way to access it was via a computer, and that a D-3 Digivice – an egg-shaped Digivice with colored accesses on its side – was needed to freely open a gate to the Digital World.

What she said made me think. She told me that the Digital World was a dimension where Digimon roamed freely. The world contained Digimon just like Coltmon, and it had a very rich, clean habitat, one that was certainly better than New York City (or Los Angeles, the last time I heard).

And I now realized what Coltmon did when he progressed. He was digivolving. He went from Baby to In-Training and now to Rookie. From how Mimi defined it, he was maturing, both mentally and physically. Now, everything made sense to me.

Skepticism crept within me, though. If what she claimed was the Digital World, then why did I land in a place that was not so pleasant?

"I can see that you're not completely believing anything I said."

Mimi was right about this… but there seemed to be something more coming from her.

"I can tell that you're internally conflicting with yourself."

I eyed her, astonished. How did she know that?

"Apparently, you're feeling troubled by something. It's like you're thinking one way, when you really want to do something else. And it has been like that for a very long time, hasn't it?"

Her words floored me. What she said – more like how she said it – rendered me speechless. It was like we were friends since I was around three years old, only that it was not. How did she know this, anyway?

"Y-Yes, it's been this way for a while," I stammered.

Mimi eyed me concernedly and asked me why.

Acknowledging that I did not know her (and despite my conscience "telling" me that it was not her business knowing this), I surrendered my defenses and revealed why I acted this way. From my unhappiness when it came to helping others, to wishing for a place that only I could be control of my own life instead of others, to hearing that woman voice telling me that I could real my goal easily, to watching Earth nearly obliterate itself in that dimension, to staring at myself dead – I was telling her everything. I told her my whole life story, for heaven's sake!

No longer could I hold in my emotions after that; my whole body took a toll bottling it all. As a result, I began to crumple, I began to weaken, and I began to shut down. Shut down physically… shut down mentally… shut down emotionally—

I had enough!!

The next thing I knew, I hung my head and started crying. All this time, I kept all this frustration, all this anger, inside me for so long, I just could not bare the inner-torment anymore. And this torment… It was driving me insane. Why did I have to do this? Why did I have to put myself into all this torture?!

"It's okay, Maria. It's okay."

Mimi's voice rang in my head, and I felt a pair of soft, slender arms wrap around my head and she whispered sweet, gentle words into my ear.

Her voice… It was kind and soft, like a mother whenever comforting her hurt child. It was helping me soothe the pain I was in.

Her arms… They were so tender. Like a cocoon, they protected me against my inner demons. Her hug gave me protection, gave me warmth for my own cold mind.

And her tone… It was so forgiving. I had just told her why I had been the girl I was. I clouded my mind with this evil! And, yet… nowhere in her persona did she sound angry. Nowhere. Not even a tiny sense. She sounded so sweet, so kind… It was like she was an angel who swooped from the sky and attempted to heal my heart, my body, and my soul.

And this was what she doing. I was healing. No longer was I someone seeking a vendetta anymore… and I could not help but feel relieved as a result.

I felt I had to thank her, and I gave her a tight hug around her neck in response. From her jolt, it was apparent that she was surprised by my actions, and for the first time in a long time, my laugh did not hint any malice.

Perhaps, that was why that voice had sent me to that dimension. Because she had noticed my mind and what I cruelly desired, and she wanted to teach me a lesson. Life did not mean always getting my way, whether I liked it or not, and that never got into my head. She was telling me that this goal was out of reach; it was impossible to achieve, no matter how much I desired it.

And I felt one more thing: remorse. That was why I wanted to help them back when I saw the inferno. I felt remorseful for all those who were dying. Now that I thought of it, the answer was in front of me, but because of my vendetta, I never realized it!

On the other hand, my gut told me there was more to it. Why did I notice Digimon other than Coltmon lying dead on the ground in that dimension? Was where I went part of the Digital World, too? I was going to have to find out eventually.

Since my encounter with Mimi, I decided to dedicate my time to helping my family and Coltmon, who I also told my story and thoughts to. As surprising as it was, he, too, was very understanding, saying that Digimon themselves sometimes felt such confusion within their own minds and hearts. Because I realized I was not the only one in potentially both worlds who had had their judgments clouded, I no longer had to worry about being the only one with such a problem.

My classmates' reactions when I arrived in school for the rest of the semester and the beginning of the next raised my spirits even more. It was like they were seeing a new person, which was true. I was no longer that quiet, uncommunicative girl with this senseless grudge. I was happy and dedicating… which I was before I broke character.

Then, Christmas 2002 came along. Albeit being supposedly peaceful, when Coltmon sharply eyed the window, I had a hunch what was truly happening. Suddenly, my D-Terminal buzzed, and there was a message from a DigiDestined name Phil. Seeing the urgency in the text, I decided to do what was best: help him.

The moment Coltmon and I stepped out the door, I told myself that unless we hitchhiked, there was no way to arrive in Rockefeller Center on time. I wanted to get there as fast as I could. I really wanted to help Phil, and I wanted to perform at my best.

The next thing I knew, my Digivice's screen glowed brightly. For the first since Coltmon was born, my Digivice activated. And this time, Coltmon glowed with it. He was digivolving again, but to what?

I looked back and noticed that he became Centarumon, a Champion-level Digimon. And, boy, did I at once believe he was the perfect Digimon to help me reach Rockefeller Center.

It turned out that I was right, as I had to hold onto his strong neck in order to remain on his back. He was fast, but I did not expect him to be this fast.

Phil was not the only one there. There were actually many more DigiDestined at the scene, from Steve to Michael to Mimi to Davis. They were all DigiDestined, and they were trying to subdue a rogue Cherrymon from inflicting anymore damage. I was very surprised that there were so many in the city, and that I was one of them, one of the DigiDestined. And the fact that I helped them really made me feel really proud.

A day following the battle, I bumped into Mimi while trekking along the Avenue of the Americas, and I told her what had happened to me since our conversation. From her kind smile, I knew she felt very pleased, and my heart soared. Never had I experienced this before, and never did I want to forget it.

A few days later, however, a nightmare returned.

As I inspected the damage Cherrymon inflicted at Rockefeller Center, everything suddenly was consumed with darkness. The stars and moon had vanished, replaced with a very black sky. If there was any light now, it came from electricity. And then, I heard laughter, one of menace and cold. It sounded like some sick maniac, and he swore to conquer both the Digital and Real Worlds and destroy all the DigiDestined. MaloMyotismon's words made my blood boil; there was no way I was going to allow it.

But when I aimed my Digivice up towards the sky, nothing happened. I and all the other DigiDestined here were trapped in the Real World.

I tried pointing at it again, but it was all for naught. My cursed Digivice would not allow me to penetrate the darkness. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I hoped, there was no way to open the gate. And his menacing cackles echoed throughout the city, and they seemed to become more and more deranged. For the first time since watching the whole world slowly destroy itself, I grew hopeless.


A voice rang, only within my head, and my eyes widened tremendously.

"Maria, I know you can succeed. Please do not give up."

It was that voice again. The shakiness in her vocality indicated terror and fragility. But from how she said it at the end, she was still confident in me. She believed that I could still help break through MaloMyotismon's barrier of darkness.

If there was one thing I did not want to do now, it was disappointing my parents, Centarumon, Mimi, and that voice. I wanted to not only make them proud, but myself proud, too. Quitting when I was so close to completely reverting to my old, sweet self would do nothing except make the transformation moot. I had to help the other DigiDestined fight MaloMyotismon and help Centarumon, so that not only my world would be saved, but the Digital World, as well.

Suddenly, the Digivice glowed bright, and I pointed it towards the sky, calling out Centarumon's name. Whatever darkness above me slowly vanished, and like a magnet, I was pulled into the Digital World, where the scene resembled a ghost town.

After we defeated that devil, we all walked down the hills and watched Cody huddle with a dying Yukio Oikawa. Witnessing Oikawa pass made me feel sorry for him, since he gave up his hopes and dreams just so he could protect the Digital World and return it to normal.

His death especially made me pity Cody, who looked very down. Therefore, feeling like it was the right thing, I slowly walked towards him, embraced him gently, and continuously told him, "It's all right. Everything will be fine." I swore I heard a relieved sigh from him after he stopped crying. Then I looked back and witnessed a depressed Datirimon, and I hugged him so I could give him a shoulder to cry on, too. Datirimon soon stopped sobbing, saying that Oikawa was in a better place now, something that I agreed with.

As everyone slowly left the Digital World, Cody including, I looked at the dimension in front of me. It was pink and yellow, way different than the now subsequently mended Digital World. But as I squinted to block out some of the brightness, what was in there slowly turned white and in its place was the inferno that I was tricked into traveling a few years ago.

Realization soon hit me; the Digital World was not where I traveled, after all, and what that voice said was right. My subconscious really did want me to go there; it was truly what my inner self yearned for, and I was not even aware of it. That was then, though. This was now. I changed, and I was not going back into being a selfish fool again. Nevertheless, I wanted to retain this memory of being in that illusion, because if I never went there in the first place, then I would not have had all those questions that could help me return to who I previously was.

But being there made me realize one more thing.

"What is that you're seeing?"

Upon hearing Mimi's curious query, I looked back at her with a smile.

"What my destiny would've been if my dream really did come true," was my response.

Before traveling through the DigiPort back home, I could have sworn I saw the spirit of a female phoenix fly by and seal the illusion by zooming into it.

Apparently, she was proud of me, too.

Author's Note: What do you think? Read and review to tell me your thoughts.