§4: Marshlands & Upturned Fields
The air was unbearable. It was thick and damp in the marshlands, and the treetops blocked any circulation; Fumiya barely managed to find his way into the area, and he was starting to regret it. Each breath was weighing down on him, and he could feel his lungs becoming heavier with each second. Worst of all, the sound of water drops, constantly falling as the sky rained above the leafy roof made the atmosphere much more irritating.
Fumiya would have preferred all the water to get in, and for the noise to distract him; but he had no luck. He started cursing the captain for sending him to this place.
‘He’s a petty criminal,’ the captain had said. ‘But they all start out that way. Take care of him.’
Fumiya groaned as he remembered those words. He opened his mouth to speak to his partner, and the obnoxious taste of the air attacked him. Why was nothing in the digital world moderate? The trees were wide enough to fit three people in them, and the mountains had to be so steep that their peaks were thicker than their base.
Fumiya Mori was over twenty years of age, but he had the appearance of a high school boy, and the attitude of an old man. His hair was dark, and the wetness of the air made it fall and stick to his screwed face. His eyes were as dark, but they were shielded behind a pair of goggles; he couldn’t even stand to open them fully in such a place. He grabbed a handkerchief from his uniform, and covered his mouth before attempting to speak again.
‘R, can you do this on your own?’ Said Fumiya. ‘I need to get out of here.’
‘You know very well that you can’t bail on me,’ said R. ‘You need to write a report after this mission, and I can’t.’
R, Fumiya’s partner, was a Ryudamon. A short, yellow dragon covered in traditional armour. More correctly, he insisted that he was a dragon, but he looked more like a dinosaur, with thick hind legs and short arms. His eyes were green, and a red jewel rested at the top of his head. The black and purple armour extended to his tail, and covered all his body against aerial attacks, but left him exposed to any other form of attack.
For that particular mission, the protection was more than enough; their enemy had fled to the treetops, and he could do nothing to harm R. The only thing he could do was attack Fumiya, but R was confident in his reflexes and his ability to protect his partner.
‘Just give up, and we won’t kill you,’ said R. ‘If you come to the human world with us, you’ll get help, and you won’t have to be an outlaw anymore.’
‘Domesticated idiot!’ A voice boomed from the treetops; it was groggy and very high-pitched. ‘I’m not an outlaw! There are no laws in here! If I want something, I steal it! Simple!’
‘So I guess you’re not coming to the human world,’ said R. ‘I have to kill you now.’
‘Idiot! You’ll never kill me!’ Said the voice. ‘You can’t even see me! You’re just a Child!’
‘Stop talking to him,’ said Fumiya. ‘Just get this over with. I don’t care if you level the place.’
‘If you say so,’ said R. ‘Sorry, Frogmon, I hope your next life is luckier than this one.’
‘So you’re the human looking over Dorimon,’ said Owlmon. ‘Or Dee, as you call him.’
‘Yes, I am,’ said Alexander. ‘And I promise to take care of him.’
After Friedrich had dismissed Alexander, he was shown the way to the hospital wing by Guidemon, where Mireille and Liollmon were catching up with Owlmon. He had received extensive care for his wing, yet was still unable to fly; the wound was too serious to heal overnight.
Owlmon was wrapped in bandages, and if he wasn’t holding in his laughter, Alexander was sure his first impression would have gone horribly wrong. Owlmon was covered in so many bandages that only his goggles were visible; even his voice was muffled.
‘You see, Dee is a very curious Digimon,’ said Owlmon. ‘When any Digimon dies, their data gets transformed into another purpose; transforming to a new egg, getting absorbed by another Digimon, by the digital world, or even roam and merge with other data. Sometimes, strong Digimon leave behind two eggs. Of course, in the human world, we would just die.
‘I found Dee in a battlefield, which means that he died in the battle. Not necessarily, but it is the most likely outcome. Based on how aggressive he was in the digital world, and how calm he is in the human world, I can only assume that he left some data behind.
‘You see, sometimes when Digimon become eggs, or DigiTama as we sometimes call them, they leave a portion of their data behind, and when that happens, the Digimon becomes slightly more aggressive. It wants to be whole again, and constantly feels like something is missing. They can sense their data in the digital world, and they want to reunite with it. That has been happening more and more.’
‘Owlmon and I have this theory,’ said Mireille. ‘The battles and conflicts happening in the digital world is because a lot of data is still missing. If Dee’s excess data had formed into a sapling, or a flower, or anything, he wouldn’t be as aggressive.’
‘Something is causing this,’ said Owlmon. ‘And I tell you this because I want you to help Mireille when I can’t, such as now.’
‘Is that why Liollmon is pissed off most of the time?’ Said Alexander.
‘That’s just my personality,’ said Liollmon. ‘I’m not incomplete.’
‘Again, we can’t know for certain,’ said Owlmon. ‘But that is most likely true. Liollmon’s personality remains the same in the digital world and human world. But Dee is different in there. I’m being honest with you because Dee will not be an easy Digimon to handle, and I want you to be up to the task.’
‘I am,’ said Alexander. ‘Don’t worry.’
‘But do remember,’ said Mireille. ‘This is all a theory, and a pretty recent one at that; it can all be wrong.’
‘You guys should go now,’ said Owlmon. ‘Mireille, take Alexander to the digital world, and help him understand; I’m sure he’s heard a lot about it now.’
‘I agreed with Michael,’ said Mireille. ‘He’ll take him.’
‘And you go with them,’ said Owlmon. ‘You know how I feel about the boy and his sister.’
‘That’s harsh,’ said Alexander. ‘What does his sister have to do with it?’
‘His partner,’ said Mireille. ‘He considers Credu to be his sister.’
As if on cure, Michael and Credu burst into the room, looked Alexander and Dee over, and started talking.
‘You must be him!’
‘He’s our ticket to the digital world!’
‘It’s so nice to meet you!’
Their words overlapped, and it was hard to tell which voice was which. Again, Alexander tried to maintain a stoic smile, but a short boy and a green monkey had just appeared in front of him. He saw Owlmon’s eyes roll behind his goggles, and heard Liollmon scoff. The green monkey, Credu, immediately turned her eyes to him, and sliced at her neck with her thump.
‘First of all, do you have your Digivice?’ Said Michael.
‘I’ve never heard of it before now,’ said Alexander. ‘What is it?’
‘It’s a device that help you in the digital world,’ said Owlmon. ‘End of story. Now shoo. Out. I need to rest.’
With a smile, Mireille was the first to leave the room. Credu said some words of goodbye to Owlmon, only for him to roll his eyes even more. One by one, they left Owlmon’s room, and the last to leave was Liollmon, who walked out strutting.
‘I’ll tell you what a Digivice is later,’ said Michael. ‘But right now, I have to prepare our portal to the digital world. Let’s go, Credu!’
And the pair had bolted. Alexander turned to Mireille for consolation.
‘Ok, fine, I’ll come,’ said Mireille. ‘But Michael and Credu really are great at what they do; don’t write them off as hyperactive and annoying.’
‘What’s a Digivice, though?’ Said Alexander with a grin. ‘I didn’t have time to form ideas about them anyway.’
‘Oh, yes, you have,’ said Mireille. ‘But anyway, a Digivice is what Owlmon said it is: something to help you in the digital world. It can communicate with our world, and it works as an encyclopedia. Here’s mine.’
And she produced a circular device from her jacket. It was completely white, and about the size of her hand; her fingers barely grabbed it into place. There was a front camera above the screen, and as Mireille flipped it, Alexander noted that there was another camera at the back.
‘It also used to house evolutions,’ said Mireille. ‘Well, the old model did. And you could even store your actual partner in it. But it was seen as forcing the Digimon to evolve, and a tiring experience for them, and housing a Digimon was seen as abuse. Both methods have since stopped.’
‘That’s good,’ said Alexander. ‘But it is pretty thick for something with such little capabilities.’
‘It takes a lot to communicate between the digital world and ours,’ said Mireille. ‘Anyway, we should go to Michael and Credu; the preparations are complete now, probably.’
‘What is it like?’ Said Alexander as the pair started walking. ‘Is the digital world very different from ours? Something I won’t comprehend at first?’
‘It’s a lot like our world,’ said Mireille. ‘Sometimes, their trees have green trunks and brown leaves, some of their islands are floating, but on the whole, it’s nothing the human imagination can’t think up; it’s one of the reasons the theory that the digital world was created by all of us is popular.’
‘But that’s not completely true,’ said Liollmon, walking just paces behind Mireille. ‘The digital world is much more chaotic and versatile than this world. I’ve seen what you call heavy rain, and I’ve witnessed storms that left you locked inside your houses; these are nothing.’
‘An explanation would be helpful,’ said Alexander. ‘You’re just saying that it’s different.’
‘You’ll see by yourself.’ Said Liollmon, shooting a short, but condescending glare towards Alexander.
Where the marsh had once been, there was a crater. Fumiya stood a little off the centre, and next to him was R. The rain fell heavily on the grass around the crater, upturning the land, but there was a circular hole in the middle of the giant cloud that used to cover the area. In the exact centre of the crater was a lone egg.
‘I guess that’s it for this mission then,’ said Fumiya. ‘It was too much trouble.’
But R gave no response; he was staring at the DigiTama with hollow eyes. It was a sickly shade of yellow, and some visible squares of light were still being absorbed into it.
‘You okay, R?’
‘I can’t help but feel that we might have went overboard with this one,’ said R. ‘I mean, Tekkoujin could have easily taken care of Frogmon. We needn’t have destroyed the entire marshlands.’
‘You’re probably right,’ said Fumiya. ‘I’m sorry for forcing it upon you.’
‘You didn’t force me to do anything,’ said R. ‘It was my own will.’
‘Do you need some time for yourself?’
‘That’s for the best.’
With a few clicks on his circular Digivice, a portal had opened before Fumiya, and the human disappeared from the digital world when he stepped into it. The portal promptly closed after him.
R stared at where his partner had been, and then back at the egg. Was he becoming detached to the digital world? Only evil would destroy an entire natural habitat. He wanted to maintain peace in the digital world; bring stability to a hectic world, but that wasn’t the way to do it.
The proof was right next to him, the DigiTama…
‘Who are you?’
Where the DigiTama once lay now stood a tall figure dressed in green. It looked awfully human, but the red eyes were unmistakably that of a Digimon. A brown cloth covered all of its face but the eyes, and blonde hair flowered with the wind. Brown boots were tightly fitted over its legs, and green trousers extended to its knife holster. It wore a green jacket over a white shirt, and a red feather jutted from its hat.
‘I was hoping you wouldn’t notice me,’ said the Digimon. ‘I’m a Petermon. My name is Peter.’
He was holding the egg in his left hand, and a knife in his right hand.
‘You’re a Child Digimon, right?’ Said Peter, lowing himself to R’s eye level.
‘Yes,’ said R, stepping back from Peter. ‘Why do you have a knife with you?’
‘It’s just for protection,’ said Peter, pulling the cloth down to show his face, sheathing his knife as he did. ‘Do you know what happened here?’
Had he not seen Fumiya leaving? He arrived here too quickly to have missed it all. His smile was soft, as were the rest of his features. His skin was as white as snow, and only then did R register the fact that rings and piercings covered his pointy ears.
‘Yeah, I just came here,’ said R, trying to draw as much information out of Peter as he could. ‘So I have no idea what happened here.’
‘Tsk, children should not lie,’ said Peter, getting up and covering his face. ‘You evolved and killed this misguided soul instead of helping him. You then evolved back, and your human left. You’re as bad as they come; betraying the digital world for them.’
And slowly, but with no hesitation at all, Peter withdrew his knife.
‘Right then, you said something,’ said Peter. ‘What was it? “I hope your next life is luckier than this one”.’
And without warning, Peter plunged his knife towards R, who barely had time to react. R jumped to the left, but the blade cut some of his leg, and blood started gathering around the shallow wound. Peter swiped his right arm, lashing out at R again, and instinct took over.
With a painful bound, R leapt into the air, his injured leg not allowing a straight ascend, but he was still in the air. Peter remained on the ground.
‘It’s useless to try to run,’ said Peter. ‘And unnecessary. I am trying to free you, not harm you.’
Peter threw his knife into the air, and it flew after R. He had nowhere to run now that he was in the sky; his only option was defence. R opened his mouth and shot an iron blade from it; it clashed with the knife and was knocked aside, but Peter’s blade didn’t lose any speed.
Evolving was not an option; R was still too tired from the brief battle with Frogmon. He shouldn’t have used the most powerful attack of the most powerful of his evolutions. As the knife drew nearer, R curled himself into a tight ball, and his sturdy armor covered his entire body.
In darkness, and falling through the air, R could only depend on his feelings. The wind and his injured foot had caused him to fly into the rain, and he felt hard drops of water colliding with his armour. The knife had reached him, and was slashing at him as though Peter was wielding it, but R couldn’t risk showing any part his skin to confirm whether it was Peter or not.
Any second now. R braced himself; as he knew the ground was coming, moreover, the rain had changed the terrain, and was still changing it. The knife was still slashing at R as he hit the ground and rolled away; there was no way for Peter to still be wielding it, and just as that thought crossed R’s mind, the slashing stopped.
There was no time to think about his actions; his window, if there was one, was small. He didn’t gather enough energy to evolve, and he had to rely on adrenaline to maintain his Adult form.
R popped out of the ball he was in, but his limps didn’t stop. His hands and feet grew taller, as did the rest of his body. The armour expanded and covered him, his neck shot out, and an arrogant face overtook his youthful appearance. He had evolved into Ginryumon.
‘The knife is just for protection, huh,’ said R. ‘Who’s the liar now, Peter.’
‘Don’t call me a liar!’ Said Peter; he was still standing in the crater, and the knife was flying back towards him. ‘You do not tell the whole truth to children!’
‘Well, from your attacks, I assume you’re an Adult Digimon,’ said R. ‘And now, so am I. You don’t stand a chance against me; so tell me what is your agenda, and I might not kill you. You saw how I handled the Frogmon, and you know I can evolve further.’
‘I won’t explain myself to you,’ said Peter. ‘And your new form doesn’t scare me. I’m glad it happened, actually; now your legs are exposed, and you’re too big to cower again. Besides, I think you’re bluffing; there is no way you still have any strength left to fight.’
The knife had circled around Peter before it flew back towards R, and he was right; R had no more strength to fight. As the knife flew towards his left leg, R fell to that side, and his armour blocked the attack. As if it had a mind of its own, the knife attacked R’s right foot, the injury that would have went away with evolution was still there. R fell on it to cover it, and a rush of pain overtook him as the grass on his right started turning red, and the gushing blood started seeping into the ground.
R’s consciousness started fading.