DISCLAIMER

Digimon is the property of Toei Animation Co.

PROLOGUE – Blue Sky.

Looking back, Kari should have realised that it wasn't over. However, as the eight children watched Piedmon and all of his minions disappear into the depths of the Gate of Destiny, it looked like it was. The Four Dark Masters had been defeated and Spiral Mountain was gone. The Digital World would be recreated and everything could return to normal.

Suddenly, there was nothing. The eight DigiDestined all found themselves floating in the middle of a great abyss. The Digital World had collapsed around them, leaving nothing but a void and a… thing. The thing quickly revealed that it was a Digimon, the spawn of all failed Digivolutions, twisted and evil. Its name was Apocalymon and it was the source of all the evil in the Digital World. It had created Etemon, Myotismon and the Four Dark Masters in an attempt to destroy everything. Now, all that stood in its way was a small group of children and their Digimon – or so everyone thought.

The battle started, but within seconds, the giant thing had reduced the Digimon to their Rookie forms and the Crests had been destroyed. The DigiDestined were now powerless and it seemed that Armageddon was at hand. However, one of the eight children, a young girl of seven years, knew what she had to do. Ever since she had first seen the prophecy printed on the stone walls of the ancient temple, she had prayed that it would not to come to pass, but it was not to be. There was only one way to destroy Apocalymon now, but first, Kari had to make sure that the others would be safe.

"Tai," she said, placing her Digivice in her older brother's hand. "You have to go now."

"Huh?" exclaimed Tai. "What…?"

Before Tai could finish, the six eleven-year-olds and one eight-year-old vanished, leaving Kari alone in the void with Apocalymon.

"So," Apocalymon said menacingly. "The Angel of the Light at last reveals herself to be nothing more than a pathetic child." The dark being began to laugh mockingly. "Of all the creatures that exist in both worlds, you are the one who faces me now? A child, who acted as nothing more than a burden since coming to this world and who, even now, cannot bring herself to destroy me…"

As the physical embodiment of darkness continued to taunt her, Kari knew that Apocalymon's words were true. She had been a burden to the others as they had struggled to destroy all of Apocalymon's puppets and now, the purpose of the DigiDestined now fulfilled, she realised that she was afraid. She knew that for everyone to be safe, not only would she have to destroy Apocalymon, but in doing so, she too would die. She already knew how angry everyone would be at her but she also knew that there was no other option.

Apocalymon suddenly realised that the child before him was not listening and stopped talking. It was at this point that the being atop the polyhedral structure noticed that the girl was beginning to glow. A bright light was beginning to fill the darkness of his void, blinding him and almost making him yell out in pain. He tried to launch an attack against the child, but as one of the many tendrils shot out towards her, it was reduced to its component molecules and scattered into infinity. The Digimon tried again, using every attack it could think of but to no avail. Within seconds, Apocalymon could feel himself being torn apart by the sheer power of the light as it intensified. As he felt himself disappearing into total oblivion, Apocalymon only heard two words.

"I'm sorry."

Then there was nothing.

-X-X-X-

For a few seconds, Kari felt nothing.

Then, all of a sudden, she felt a slight breeze.

Then she heard something. A sort of jingling sound, like a wind chime. In fact, it sounded exactly like a wind chime – the one just above her front door to be precise.

Opening her eyes, Kari suppressed a gasp as she found herself looking out over the rest of Odaiba from a balcony corridor. Squinting slightly at the sunlight in her eyes, Kari stood for a few seconds, staring at a view she had seen nearly every day but had never expected to see again, before turning around. Before her was the door to her family's apartment.

Slowly, Kari placed her hand on the handle and opened the door.

Glancing around, she took a few steps through the door. If this was some kind of trick or illusion, it was a very good one. Everything was where it should be – the Television was in the corner, the fruit bowl was on the coffee table and the picture of her and Tai taken when she was four was on the wall next to the telephone. Even the copy of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy that her father had been trying to read for the past six months was still sitting on the armrest of the sofa, bookmark still no doubt marking the first chapter of Return of the King.

"Hello?" she called out cautiously. "Anybody here?"

There was no answer, but even that wasn't unusual. Before going to the Digital World, she had stayed at home on her own while her parents visited her grandmother and Tai was at camp. However, this could still be some kind of illusion, created by her own memories. That was when Kari had an idea. Walking up to the sofa, she grabbed the book on the armrest and opened it. She had never read the book, though she knew the story. This meant that, if this were an illusion, there would be nothing on the pages. However, as Kari began flicking through the pages, she saw that every page had writing – the book was real, and so was the rest of the apartment. From there, Kari could only come to one conclusion.

She was still alive.

But that's impossible, she told herself. I'm supposed to be dead now. Looking around, her eyes passed over the calendar on the wall before returning to them – the picture was different. August's picture had been one of the Tokyo skyline at night, but instead, the calendar now showed a picture of a waterfall.

September the ninth? she read, noting the crosses on the calendar. But… it's still August… right? The time difference between the real world and the digital world should still make this the 9th of August, but if this calendar's right, then I've been away for whole month! Oh no, Mom and Dad're gonna kill me!

Sitting down heavily on the sofa, Kari lay back and closed her eyes, trying to process everything that had just happened. First there was the fact that she was still alive. Most people would have been jumping up and down with joy at the fact that they had just cheated death, but Kari wasn't like that. Already, she was trying to figure out how she could possibly still be alive when everything pointed to her imminent death. It had even been prophesised and yet there she was, home, safe and most notably, still alive.

But what about Apocalymon? Kari asked herself. Could he still be alive too? I mean, that prophecy did say that we would both die, so if I'm alive, then that means he's alive too. But that would mean…

Suddenly, the sound of a door opening drew Kari from her thoughts. Bracing herself for the inevitable reaction, Kari watched as her older brother came through the door.

The reaction, however, never came.

"Hey, Kari," said Tai in a normal voice. "Anything happen while I was out?"

Kari stared in disbelief as Tai opened the fridge and grabbed a can of something, most likely a can of Coke. How can he be so calm? she wondered frantically. Even if I haven't come back from the dead, I've still been 'missing' for the past month, right? So why is he acting like everything's normal?

"Kari?" said Tai, noting his sister's silence. "You okay?"

"Huh?" replied Kari, quickly snapping out of it. "Oh, um… yeah, I'm fine."

Though Tai didn't entirely believe her, he decided to leave it at that. Instead, he took another swig of Coke before sitting down and turning on the TV. Flicking through the channels, he settled on a news broadcast, still focusing on the destruction caused by Myotismon one month previously.

"Man, I can't believe they're still trying to blame all that on terrorists," he sighed, looking up in order to get Kari's opinion on the matter.

Kari, however, was no longer there.

-X-X-X-

Five minutes later, Kari stopped running and leaned against a nearby railing overlooking the water, tears beginning to fill her eyes.

"It's not fair!" Kari began mumbling to herself. "I'm supposed to be dead and he's supposed to be dead too. But I'm not. That means he's not either and if he's not gone, then he's just going to come back and hurt everyone again. Then everything'll've been for nothing! Even though I did everything I was meant to…"

She looked up at the cloudless sky, tears now flowing down her cheeks. "SO WHY AM I STILL HERE!?!?" she suddenly yelled at the top of her voice.

The cloudless blue sky above her, of course, gave her no answer.

"Are you okay?" a voice suddenly asked.

Glancing to her left, Kari saw a young dark-haired boy about her age giving her a very curious look. "Yeah," she sighed. "I'm fine. It's just… never mind."

"Y'know, whatever it is, you shouldn't dwell on it," the boy continued. "There's always some good in every situation. My brother always says you should accentuate the positives rather than the negatives."

"You sound just like my grandmother when you say that," Kari noted with some amusement. "She always used to say that everything happens for a reason and that everything turns out okay in the end."

"She sounds like a pretty smart person," replied the boy.

"So does your brother," said Kari.

"Yeah, Sam always seems to know exactly what to say when something needs to be said," the boy said in an almost admiring voice.

"And always knows how to make a person feel better," finished Kari, thinking of her own brother.

There was a moment of silence before the boy spoke again.

"Are you sure you're okay?"

"Yeah," nodded Kari. "I'm fine. Besides, there's nothing more I can do now anyway. All I can do is wait and hope everything turns out okay."

"Then I suppose I should leave you to it," said the boy. At that, he began to walk away.

"Hey!" Kari called out suddenly. "What's your name?"

The boy paused before answering.

"Ken," was all he said in response before walking away, leaving Kari alone again.

Once the boy named Ken had disappeared from her sight, Kari remained where she was for a few minutes before she too started to walk away. As she walked back home, she couldn't help but marvel at what she had been through in the last 24 hours.

First, the DigiDestined had battled Piedmon in a long and arduous battle in which everyone but herself, TK and Angemon had been turned into keychains. Then, after finally defeating the fourth Dark Master, the 'Embodiment of Darkness' had revealed itself to them. At this point, Kari had used the powers that had made her such a burden earlier on to send everyone back to the real world before, quite literally, facing death. That was supposed to be the end for both her and Apocalymon, but it obviously wasn't to be. Somehow, Hikari Kamiya had cheated fate and had come back from beyond the proverbial grave.

That must be one of those 'accentuated positives' Ken was talking about, mused Kari. Indeed, there were quite a few positives to 'accentuate', even though Kari wasn't entirely certain what the word meant. Firstly, though she would probably be spending the next few days trying to figure out what had 'happened' while she was 'gone' and what everyone remembered, if anything, she was alive.

Secondly, now that it was early September, this meant that her eighth birthday was now only a week away rather than a whole month away.

And best of all, the sun was shining and the sky was blue, with not a cloud in sight.