Disclaimer: Digimon is copyrighted by Akiyoshi Hongo and produced by Disney, Toei Animation, and Bandai. Only the story and O.C.s are mine, and I don't seek profit with this story or in my other fanfiction projects.

Author's Note: Well, it took a while, but I'm finally updating this story. There's such great potential that I can't let this idea die!

There's also an O.C. in this chapter, and I plan on making her a very important character in this story. How? You'll have to find out.


Clear as Crystal

Along the Way

"Mimi? Palmon?"

The two perked their heads up. The voice… Something about it was familiar. The sweet and curious tone from a possible close one.

But where?

They looked ahead.

"Izanami!"

Mimi called out and ran to a bus stop a hundred yards away; a young girl of about sixteen years old stood by the pole. At about the same height as Mimi, she showed a gorgeous and nicely developed physique: nice curves, slender legs and arms, and a mature face. Waist-length, silky brown hair blew in the zephyr and draped across her white sleeveless dress, and a bang covered her right eye. Finally, over her eyes were black-colored glasses with a wire frame that matched its color.

Mimi caught up with Izanami and gave her a tight hug that was returned.

"Hi, Izanami," said Mimi when they broke their hug.

"Hi, Mimi," said Izanami in a mature voice and looked down. "Hi, Palmon."

Palmon waved back.

"So, how are you two doing today?" asked Izanami.

"Doing good," replied Mimi. "What are you doing here?"

"I should be asking you that," quipped Izanami. "Don't you live on the other side of the island?"

"We slept over at Sora's house," replied Mimi.

"Ah, Sora. I remember her," said Izanami. "How's she doing?"

"She's running the family flower shop today," said Palmon and grimaced. "Ow."

"Are you okay, Palmon?" Izanami asked, looking down.

"Fine." Palmon bent over, attempting to touch her toes with her ivy fingers. "My back hurts from carrying the vases."

"Ouch," said Izanami.

"Tell me about it," replied Palmon as she continued stretching.

Izanami turned to Mimi. "I think Palmon needs a back message."

"Me, too," said Mimi. "Maybe we'll find one in Aqua City."

"Aqua City? You're going there today?"

"Yeah," answered Mimi. "We're traveling to the mall today to shop."

"For what?"

Mimi opened her shopping bag, exposing her embroidery hoop.

"I need more colors to complete this."

"Oh." Izanami looked at it with interest. "What do you plan with it?"

"Can't tell ya," said Mimi. "It's a secret."

"Shoot, I wanted to know."

"Can't, sorry," said Mimi and shook her head.

"Pleeeaase?"

Mimi laughed and toyed with one of Izanami's strands of hair. "Sorry, not this time."

Izanami snapped her fingers and then wagged her finger playfully at her friend. "Next time, I'll know, I swear."

Palmon laughed at the funny exchange. "Well, Izanami, that's Mimi to ya."

"Totally," agreed Izanami.

"So, Izanami, where are you going?" asked Palmon.

Izanami held up a white bag in her left hand. "I'm going to a painting studio and continue working on a big project."

"What kind of project?" asked Mimi.

"Don't remember the term, but the painting's sketchy and flat, similar to one of Monet's masterpieces."

"Impressionism?" Mimi said.

"Yeah, that's it. Impressionism."

"So, what's in your bag?" asked Palmon.

"Not much," answered Izanami and widened the opening. "Some painting brushes, oil paint, palette knives, and old rags. I have more of this in the studio."

"How long do these paintings take to finish?" asked Palmon curiously.

"Depends on the pace, research, canvas, and paint, really," Izanami said. "If I had t'put in a number, about three to six months. And that doesn't include the drying-off period."

Palmon gasped. "Wow, that's a long time."

"People've done longer than that," said Izanami. "Don't remember who, though."

Mimi cut in. "So when's your bus gonna arrive?"

Izanami checked her watch. "About five minutes…if it doesn't arrive late like it usually does."

Mimi looked at the tall green bus pole and focused her brown eyes on the schedule plate located at eye-level. According to the plate, three routes were scheduled to stop here: the 100, 57, and 88.

"Izanami, which route are you taking?" asked the DigiDestined.

"The 57."

Mimi grinned devilishly.

"It passes Aqua City, doesn't it?"

"Mm-hmm."

The DigiDestined of Sincerity's grin widened.

"Can I join you?"

"Why'd you ask that question?" quipped Izanami. "Of course!"

Mimi turned to Palmon, her smile a stain on her face.


The low-floor bus glided down the avenues of Odaiba, turning on corners and picking up passengers along its route. Inside, the bus was half-empty, with most of the occupants sitting in the front. Due to it being low-floor, the bus had little standing room, the pathway narrow from the big seats and the wheel covers in both the front and back. Big windows towered the sides, its bottom frame at eye-level of those sitting and the top near the curved ceiling. On the right were single seats, and pairs were opposite. A gray wall curved over the yellow line, blocking the passengers' view of the operator. Twin rear retractable doors were located in the middle, dividing the front and half ends.

The back end had a small ascending staircase. Instead of facing forward, the rows of seats faced each other, displaying a change of design, like some of those other hybrids around the gigantic city.

Izanami, Mimi, and Palmon decided to sit in the near-empty back, but not much conversation occurred on Mimi's side. As Palmon and Izanami talked about things like Digimon and painting, the DigiDestined of Sincerity focused her thoughts elsewhere.

Focus…

Bah! Not this case. Little focus when riding on a bus that hopped and lunged constantly. A growl from her tummy— Not comfortable at all.

Bump…

Thank goodness she didn't eat a big breakfast…

But…

C'mon, Mimi. Think.

How, though?

A tingle on the chest…

Mimi looked down at herself, reached inside her shirt, and took out a replica of the old Crest of Sincerity that hung around her neck. Rather than a replaceable string, a gold chain attached to the matching pendant. In the middle of her pendent, the Digimon's symbol of "Sincerity" was etched inside a light green gemstone.

How quaint for her to be holding this again…and possibly reminding herself again of the symbol that stapled her life since her adventures in the Digital World. How much she loved it and hated it.

A guide… Some way to help her, maybe?

She caressed the carving, carefully eyeing the details of the pendant and her precious gem. Each move of her finger touched each special stamp and carve of her pendant, and her brown eyes dazzled by her jewel. Precious. Lovely. Care to the touch. There was nothing like it.

"Precious" and "lovely." Fitting words to describe herself and those who she cared. And it felt so light around her neck, too…

Light. Kari.

She fondled with the redesigned Crest even more gingerly.

That crush…for Kari.

Steadily remaining like calm waters. Not going away, but not ravaging.

But where could she be?

Hopefully Aqua City.

That would be determined once Mimi got there…

That is if Kari and Gatomon decided to go there today.


The bus screeched to a halt; its doors opened.

"Good luck with your painting, Izanami," said Mimi.

"See you soon," said Izanami.

A round of "good-byes" later, Mimi and Palmon walked out the back door and onto the sidewalk.

The area was an absolute mess!

Due to construction work, only two lanes were open: the bus lane and the general one beside it. Long sections of sidewalks were boarded off with tall blue slabs of wooden panels. Almost each one had "No Billboards Please" written in Japanese kanji, but nonetheless, various posters were slapped onto them, indicating a quick, haphazard sense. These vandals never ceased to amaze themselves with stains on top of these construction panels, didn't they? And many of the panels were enclosed underneath construction scaffolds, the ceiling supported by bars and wooden stumps underneath the poles. Small incandescent light bulbs hung in columns and in the center of the ceiling.

Palmon shivered. Little light, little air aside from the past dust that settled during the construction process. The walking plant turned her head as many ways as possible, green eyes glittering from the lightbulbs. Her wide mouth remained agape as she and Mimi journeyed their way through the nasty site.

…The little light. No daylight. Just wasteful bulbs that dangled on the ceiling… Palmon continued to look about; perspiration dripped down from her flower leaves on top and down the sides of her head. Toes touched the ground quietly, not wanting to disturb the peace.

Gulp…

But the peace she did not yearn for. Not here. Anywhere but here. Especially with the major God she couldn't see hovering above her.

No more…

They turned left and walked down another corridor. The ground sloped downward, and the whole area was enclosed; the only light from outside came from a netted opening in front.

Palmon gulped. The more she walked, the more she disliked this place. She wanted to get out of here and fast.

Mimi looked back slightly, noticing Palmon's sense of urgency. Something was wrong, but she did not know what. Yet, she did not want to find out, so she quickened her pace. Palmon noticed the changed and swiftly followed. Then, like a jolt of lightning, they turned right and walked down another boarded corridor.

Suddenly, a light appeared at the other end.

Sunlight.

Sighing in relief, they walked out of the corridor and out from underneath the scaffolding.

Despite not running, Palmon lightly panted. Construction corridors… Enclosed, dark, and spooky. A complete bane of her existence.

Quickly shifting her plant-like head around, the Digimon gawked at the structure towering her. A tall crane—approximately six stories high—rested in the area of the "U" corridor, its cab turning here and there to get all the metal into place. The rest of the building was covered up with black and white mesh and construction levels.

Unbeknowst to her, Mimi kept walking along, thinking, this time calmly after being under the spooky corridor. But when she stopped hearing the familiar soft plodding of her Digimon walking, her eyes widened slightly.

"Palmon?" Her brown locks whipped softly in the breeze; the DigiDestined's head turned here and there to find her partner.

At last, she looked back.

Palmon stood there, frozen, head looking up.

Mimi followed her gaze and watched the menacing God-like crane work hard on rebuilding the TV station.

"After so many years," she heard the Digimon murmur.

Mimi nodded in agreement and replied softly, "So much destruction. Hard to remember it was only five years ago."

She walked back to Palmon and bent down.

"Mimi…you remember…?"

The girl nodded. "Everyday."

A warm summer, but a cold and deadly battle.

Mimi shuddered; her unused left hand wandered to the outline of her remodeled Crest inside of her sleeveless white v-neck.

Five years…

And still not done.

She turned back and noticed another building being constructed, courtesy of the nasty battle against Myotismon and his Mega-Digivolution.

Pain entered Mimi's heart. "So much destruction."

And only happened five years ago.

Time flies. Too quick.

She closed her eyes. The sounds of crashing metal, concrete, and yells swirled in her head. Sympathy and compassion entered her conscience. The hell everyone had to endure during that war between the evil Digimon and DigiDestined. One she hoped to never experience again.

"The memories still linger, don't they?"

They gasped and turned around.

Gatomon.

"Hey, Gatomon!" responded Palmon. "Yeah, me, too. I remember everything."

"I know," said Gatomon, eyes furrowed. "And I was right in the middle."

She flexed her right claws and curled it into a tight fist.

"Myotismon, you son of a BITCH!"

Mimi and Palmon cringed at the unusual menacing language.

Gatomon, though, couldn't bear to say anymore and instead growled and softly cried.

Mimi and Palmon looked at each other, solemn looks on their faces.

The girl never let go of her Crest… If Kari heard her, hopefully, she didn't let go of her replica, either.

She looked at Gatomon with a remorseful expression on her gentle face. The cat softly cried, growled, and cursed out Myotismon's name. The pain he caused was unbearable, and she did not want to see that, especially in Gatomon and the strong will she usually carried. She had to do something.

At last, she let go of her Crest.

And then she lunged and hugged Gatomon.

"It's okay, Gatomon," reassured Mimi and caressed the cat's head. "Myotismon's gone. You won't see him again."

"He better not," choked Gatomon, tears clogged in her brilliant blue eyes.

Palmon put her palm on her fist in reassurance.

"Don't worry, Gatomon," she soothed.

Gatomon breathed a couple of times and closed her eyes, allowing the tears to flow down her cheeks. The scars that scum of a Digimon caused throughout Odaiba still lingered in her, Mimi, Palmon, and most definitely everyone.

Mimi let go of her embrace, and she looked up at the crane. "We should go."

The Digimon nodded and walked away, leaving the sacred battlefield alone for the cranes to destroy over.


"So where's Kari, Gatomon?" asked Mimi as they continued to walk around the detour. The area to go straight to Aqua City was still boarded off, but they were along the other side of the street out of respect.

"Kari's in Aqua City now," the cat replied, calm again.

The Tachikawa child beamed lowly.

My luck…

"But why isn't she with you?" asked Palmon.

"The security kicked me out," said Gatomon. "They told me 'No cats allowed, real or Digimon.'"

Mimi hummed softly. "So is Palmon allowed in?"

"I don't know, Mimi," was her reply. "But Kari told me to stay in the area until she left Aqua City. She'll call me through her whistle once she's left."

"Whistle?" queried Palmon.

"Yeah, one of those special whistles, similar to one of those dog whistles," answered Gatomon. "But it was designed specifically for feline Digimon like myself. Don't ask me how we got that. It's a tougher concept to understand than sharing Miko's litter box."

"I'd rather not know that," retorted Palmon.

Gatomon rubbed her left ear with a claw and grimaced, "If only that sound can stay out of my ears…"

A light turned green; the trio crossed at a corner. Passing the construction site, they continued walking and conversing, their minds staying away from the chaos caused from the Digimon Massacre, as dubbed by reporters and politicians. As they temporarily ignored their surroundings, cars whizzed and honked by, leaving a trail of sound pollution. Lights changed, people walked. All familiar sightings of the Aqua City area that was near by—

"So which section is she going to, Gatomon?" asked Mimi.

"Not sure. The sports section and supermarket, perhaps," replied Gatomon. "Miko needs cat food."

"So how long will Kari be in Aqua City?" wondered Mimi.

"Until about 12:30."

They kept on walking, ignoring the passersby.

At last, they arrived.

The Aqua City mall stretched four avenues down, about as long as the old adjacent Fuji TV station. Instead of being very tall, though, it was only six stories high, and it was divided into several sections according to cement color: red on one end, green on another, and many other areas white, orange, or yellow. The rooftop hosted a parking lot that they could not view, thanks to the high wall surrounding the edges of the mall. Rows of black windows surrounded the structure, displaying the sense of available floors. A gate before them arched up and displayed a big "AQUA CITY ODAIBA" sign with a light blue color and in the Futura typeface.

"Hold up, you three," a policeman said once the three showed up at the gate.

"What's going on, officer?" asked Mimi.

"Your pets are not allowed in the mall," he replied gruffly.

"PETS!?" Gatomon shouted, wanting to jump at the officer; Mimi held her back by standing in front of her.

"We are not pets," agreed Palmon crossly. "We're Digimon."

"Sorry, but rules are rules," said the officer with a shake of his head. "Your 'Digimon' pets are forbidden to enter here. Now, you two, go."

"Only once you stop calling us 'pets,'" seethed Palmon, claws on her green hips. "We deserve respect, too."

"Tell that to the government," replied the officer in a warning voice. "Now get. You're all blocking the entrance."

The Digimon sighed in defeat. There was nothing to be done.

Mimi looked on sadly, and they walked to the side to allow more people to enter.

"Don't worry about us, Mimi," said Palmon. "We'll wait outside. You get your stuff."

"You'll be fine alone?" asked Mimi. "I can't contact you."

"Mimi," said Palmon, "we've known each other for five years. Of course, we'll be fine."

"And I'll be right with her," promised Gatomon.

Mimi puffed up her cheeks, uncertain.

A loud exhale followed.

"Okay," she said and checked her watch. "It's 10:30. I'll be gone for about two to four hours. Palmon, if you don't see me after at least couple of hours, meet me by the ice cream shop."

She took off her metal watch and put it on Palmon's left wrist.

"Or I could just digivolve to Togemon," quipped Palmon with a wink.

"Makes sense," laughed Mimi and took out her wallet. "Here's some money in case either of you get hungry."

She handed a few yen banknotes to the Digimon. A couple of goodbyes later, the Digimon disappeared into the horde, laughing loudly.

Once the trace of Digimon vanished, Mimi took out her Digivice that was inside her purse and read the time to check if it was accurate. Once more, it read 10:30 AM.

Two hours from now. That wasn't a lot of time for her to shop. Four, though… For a place as big as Aqua City, that might not be a lot of time, either. But of course, she made no guarantee. Thankfully, Togemon or their rendezvous could take care of the job.

She eyed the embroidery hoop inside her bag. The design and sewing string were still attached and so were the crown of flowers. So far, so good. And Kari was there—that was even better.

She checked her wallet. Good, I've got enough, she thought.

"Looks like I'm prepared."

Packing everything up, she walked back to the gate and allowed the officer to carefully inspect her bag.

"Good," he said. "Follow that way to get further inspected." He pointed at a guard with a metal detector on the right about fifty feet away.

She walked to the officer and got her body checked out. There were only two beeps, but came only from the Crest and Digivice.

"All clear," nodded the officer.

Yes! cheered Mimi in thought and walked to one of the spinning doors that led to Aqua City's entrance.

Once she entered the mall, her journey to find Kari truly began.


Author's Note: After four years, I finally updated this story. I actually wrote a chapter of this out a while back, but I thought it spilled too much detail in the beginning, and I didn't like the way I wrote the characters and their voices, especially Izanami Hiyabani (my O.C.). Hopefully, this improves them and Izanami a little.

I also had to reread my previous stories and ones from other users (like my friends, BenignUser and The Analyzer, or Lord Archive) just to get a bit more of an understanding with Japanese culture again. For I haven't written something from this story for about four years, I forgot some details. But I also didn't want to look silly by importing American culture blindly into a setting where people see and do things differently than myself, so I reread and researched a bit more off-site, too, to back things up better. Now I think I'm back on track and am getting ideas again.

It's no three-chapter story now. There will be more chapters…once I stop procrastinating and have more time.

Dang you, my advertising major…!