Tailmon came back to us that day with an expression I had never seen before. When she faces challenges, they only ever serve to focus her, but that day she came back to us like she had seen the other side of eternity and it had undone some fundamental truth she required to make sense of the world.
It was terrible to look at, but it did brace us for just how bad the news was when she finally got around to telling it.
Just thinking about it brings back how queasy the whole thing made me...
But I don't want to dwell on that day. I'd rather talk about what happened afterward.
Naturally, Tailmon recovered from her shell shock, and did exactly what she said she would. She's not the type to let her wounds get in the way of her promises. She found both Piyomon and Palmon's eggs in Primary Village, and had us keep watch over them while she went home to be with Hikari and recuperate.
Taichi was angry with Tailmon, but none of us digimon said anything to her. If she had ever killed a good digimon, it was before she was one of us, and she had certainly never killed a friend. We were on her side, and felt deeply for the pain it must have caused her to have to put Palmon down like an animal. She was going to need Hikari if she had any hope of recovering.
She didn't return to the digital world for several years.
The reason she came back was because Taichi had died, and Agumon had erected a memorial in the Koromon village, where they found the crest of Courage. Hikari was with her, and they made the journey from the nearest gate on Nefertimon's wings.
By the time they arrived, Taichi's digivice was gone. Oikawa had already taken it away, or absorbed it. (We're still not very clear on what exactly happens to the physical device.) As I heard it, the red D3 that belonged to Daisuke was there instead, resting against Taichi's last pair of goggles, and V-mon's footprints were still fresh in the sand.
Hikari and Tailmon, having been in the real world, were aware that Daisuke had died a year before Taichi, but it was news to us when they got back. Hawkmon was the only one of us in the life after that knew V-mon was in the digital world. As you could imagine, when he finally showed his face at Primary Village some time later, Wormmon was furious and there were lots of tears shed on both sides.
Tailmon saw Hikari home, but to our alarm, she showed up several days later. As it turned out, Hikari had insisted she stay there to keep an eye on the digi-eggs, and Tailmon had agreed, so long as her son's Plotmon kept in touch.
The relief was short-lived. Only three months later, Plotmon said rather casually that Hikari was mentioning dreams about Wizarmon. He didn't think anything of it, but Tailmon fled the digital world in haste, and three weeks later, she returned with Hikari's D3 around her neck.
The last time I saw her, she still had it, even though it's been so many years since then...Maybe I'll ask her this year...
Ah, I'm getting ahead of myself again. I haven't said anything about what happened to Piyomon and Palmon.
Piyomon hatched about ten years after her death, as a Nyokimon of course. Me and Wormmon and Tailmon were all there to welcome her back, and the first act of her new life was to cry herself to sleep in sweet relief. For some nights after, Tailmon slept in the basket with her. I'm still unsure who was comforted by whom...
Nyokimon quickly matured into Pyocomon, and made a point of traveling to all the places she'd been in her last life. When you don't have a human partner, digivolving is largely a matter of temperament and environment; she thought if she was in all the places she'd been as Piyomon, she would be Piyomon again. Perhaps she was onto something, because she ended up getting exactly what she wanted.
And true to her word, as soon as she was Piyomon, she left for the human world, to atone for what she had done in the past. Her sentence, in light of the time that passed, the events surrounding her actions, and the fact she was one death removed from the event, was lighter than expected. She's been back in the digital world for decades now.
Well, that and the method for punishing digimon in the human world is still a very flawed practice even now. While we've been busy coming to terms with how big death is for humans, they still haven't wrapped their minds around how little death can mean under the right circumstances for us. A life sentence is nothing short of a blip on the radar if you can live forever wiith proper maintenance. I suppose they could've sentenced her to death in the real world, where she wouldn't be able to come back, but... They couldn't kill a digimon who essentially helped save the world; not over a crime of passion, and especially not when the death of the human partner was the trigger.
Palmon's case was...less pleasant. She hatched while Piyomon was away in the real world.
She didn't do any crying, but the moment her memory came back, her eyes seemed too turn inward, as though she was staring at some unspeakable horror inside her own head.
Her first and last words were 'I wish I had died in the desert before she came back.'
She never even made it to the first digivolution.
Some eighty years back she hatched again. We know who she is, but we asked Elecmon to be the one to watch over her when she hatched. We made good friends with her before she left as Tanemon. The last I heard, she was living out in the Forest of Perplexity. I wonder if she'll be there today...I keep hoping so every year, but she never comes. She doesn't have a reason to.
Oh, today is special. We're all going to gather at Primary Village for a reunion.
It's August 1. The 200th anniversary of the day we met our partners.
-HolyAngemon, Director of the File Island Library.
Primary Village was not far removed from its original form. Eggs still littered pastel patchwork hills that rose and fell like waves. KoDokugumon still nested in the trees, ready to swarm at a moments notice. The Growlmon brothers were still playing with the freshly born digimon. Not much had changed in 200 years, but 'not much' didn't mean 'nothing'.
There were things that weren't eggs all over the place; sometimes flowers, sometimes instruments, every class and category of object dotted the hills in miniature, or blew about in the breeze. Memories inexplicably drawn to the inevitable recycling grounds of their partners' data.
Wormmon was fussing energetically with a small herd of Botamon that insisted on trying to play with him despite his attempts to set up a good picnic area. Aquilamon shooed them with a gentle swish of his pinions. Poromon left behind by Miyako and Ken's deceased children and grandchildren emerged from behind his giant talons and led them off to play.
Garurumon arrived quietly, and laid himself down beneath a tree. He had come from the far north, out at the edge of Freezeland. Everyone expected his next evolution would deviate away from the Garurumon line. Perhaps that was why he remained so solitary, in hopes that a quiet life would yield him no digivolution. On the other hand, it was well known that Freezeland was a haven for SnowGoburimon, who could get up to quite a bit of trouble if given the opportunity. He was the one who kept them in line, and unless he forfeited that self-imposed duty, he was going to undergo a perfect evolution sooner or later.
AeroV-dramon was doing complicated aerial maneuvers with Garudamon. Both were very happy to fly the skies again. As adult digimon, V-dramon had been without wings, and Garudamon had taken the form of Saberdramon a second time and was ashamed to be seen; she took it as a sign that she had not atoned properly. Both of them had trained unceasingly to push through to their ultimate forms. AeroV-dramon was rewarded with flight, and Garudamon was rewarded with a shape suitable for her heart. Both had become very mature digimon...when they weren't trying to out-fly one another.
WarGreymon touched down with HeraklesKabuterimon at his side and Gomamon in hand. Like Wormmon, the child digimon had lived a settled, pleasant life after at Dragon Eye Lake, so he hadn't digivolved. WarGreymon on the other hand, had traveled the digital world following a dream of BlackWarGreymon that had come to him night after night for many years. The journey, which led him far out into unexplored realms of the digital world, had made an ultimate digimon of him. HeraclesKabuterimon had joined him on the journey, in hopes of continuing Koushiro's unending research on the digital world, and had become similarly powerful. However, he did not appear to be a normal member of his species. Somewhere, far beyond the Server and Folder continents, he had picked up something called an X-Antibody.
Ankylomon had come to the reunion with HolyAngemon. The two had maintained a fond partnership for many years that resulted in them staying in touch. As soon as Armadimon's digivolution to adult had occurred, Ankylomon became a key part of expanding the File Island Library. The days of such work had long since passed, and he spent much of his time digging and demolishing and doing exploration with the Drimogemon in the area. Apparently their current project involved the discovery of a rather efficient looking tunnel system that actually went beneath the Net Ocean and out to other continents.
He waddled off to go discuss it with WarGreymon and HerklesKabuterimon, who would certainly want to know.
"You're looking as priestly as always," a familiar voice said.
HolyAngemon smiled fondly. She greeted him like that every year since he had first taken this form. He hadn't figured out if it was a running gag she was enjoying, or if she was still bearing the weight of Palmon's death and liked the idea of always having a little ritual be there to break the tension of seeing everyone.
"There's no battle to go to," he recited. "So why be in battle mode?"
Tailmon gave a relaxed chuckle, and sat down beside him to watch their friends catch up with one another after a year of them each having their own business to attend to.
HolyAngemon looked down. Just like last year, the cat digimon was carrying Hikari's digivice around her neck. He fidgeted, and mustered up his courage. "Why do you keep that?"
She squinted in confusion before finally understand what 'that' he was referencing. A coy smirk tilted her mouth. "Why wouldn't I?"
"Well...Everything that happened... You know the data is supposed to go to the Digital World."
"I know." The smirk faded, and her eyes clouded with nostalgia. "I told Hikari everything... About Palmon and the Piyomon and all the partners that got involved, and the 'her' that lived in the digivice. I even told her...how split I was over it. How sad that there was a tiny Hikari somewhere that would never have all the rich experiences from in-between like the real Hikari. And you know how she is about such lonely entities...but what could we do?"
HolyAngemon remained quiet. She was going somewhere with this; he knew it.
"When Taichi died, and she came to the digital world... She didn't have to bear the stress of having me fly her there. But she did." She touched the pink D3 resting against her chest. "She did it so that she could all the most wonderful moments in her life in her heart...for just a second. Just long enough for me to digivolve. And then she made me promise that I would guard it until a day when the digiworld was in danger of forgetting."
Tailmon shrugged. "Those bonds, virtues, and memories chronicled in Takeru's book, I suppose." She leaned into his robe. "She expected that I would live long enough to see dark days come again... So she wanted to give me a way to fight back. That was her last gift to me."
HolyAngemon closed his eyes. He remembered Takeru's beliefs about the nature of darkness and light very clearly. He understood their truth, especially after so long as a Holy digimon. There was no such thing as a light that was absolute. The stronger the light, the deeper the darkness.
"Whatever comes, we'll fight together. All of us." He squeezed her paw reassuringly. "That's how we do things in the life after."
She grinned widely, and set her eyes on the hills of Primary Village and the skies above.
There was something in the Digital World's air that had never been there before. A kind of unceasing flow, like distant singing carried far on a breeze. Their world was filled with echoes waiting to take shape; something none of them were especially familiar with. It remained to be seen exactly what would happen, but there were whispers of strange, new continents and sudden lushness on the generally barren, arid Server continent.
If one was careful to go to listen to even the smallest whispers, they might be able to see all the tiny miracles passing in and out of the world like any number of fireflies.
Like the scent of tiger lilies that caused a certain Blossomon deep in the Forest of Perplexity to pause, momentarily overwhelmed by a sensation that she had forgotten something. And though every year around this time she encountered the same sensation; and though every year she searched, unsure of why she suddenly felt that someone was waiting for her... There wasn't a soul, or a tiger lily, to be found.