Planning Ahead (Hunt, Solo) Jul 8, 2018 2:23:55 GMT
Post by Leith, Veemon, and Shoutmon on Jul 8, 2018 2:23:55 GMT
Quest for the digimental of friendship!
"Hm," was all Leith had to say as he leaned back in the chair in his room and pondered the newest digimon-related quandry in front of him. "I still don't entirely get it. What's the difference?"
"Lots of things can stop my digivolution: other digimon's abilities, certain-" Leith used a hand to signal Veemon that he should move on from that, for he understood that part. "But with armor digivolution, it can't be stopped!"
"How likely is that, though? Really?" the boy asked skeptically, "I mean, we haven't even see you digivolve beyond Veemon yet. Besides, isn't it always better to avoid a fight? I can't see a good reason why we should think about it."
"You know you can't always avoid a fight, Leith. Not when you're a Tamer." As much as Leith wanted to refute that claim he couldn't, and he knew it. Not given recent history. "Don't know what you're so upset about! I'm the one who does the hard work!" It was a good thing Veemon was grinning ear-to-ear as he pointed that out, else Leith might have mistaken it for a complaint.
"I just can't see a reason for it, though."
"Hmm!" Veemon hopped down off of the bed and crossed his arms. "Why do you need a reason for everything? Why do you eat? Why do you live?"
"In reverse order, to enjoy as much pleasure and as little pain as possible and to prolong that time as far as I can."
"Leith. You're always wondering what the reason for a digimon and Tamer partnering is. Can't you at least see it's not so they can stay cooped up indoors and Netflix?"
"I really hate the way you can just know what I'm thinking and exploit it like that."
"So we'll go?"
Leith leaned forward in his chair and covered his mouth with his hand, struggling to think of an objection. Lucky for him, he succeeded in the end. "We still don't know where to even start. Through no fault of your own, you know the digital world about as well as I do."
"So we'll ask around!" Veemon excitedly declared, "Someone has to know where to start! And if they don't, we can search the entire digital world!" Veemon watched Leith visibly balk at that idea, so he added on, "It's not about the digimental itself, Leith. It's about the adventure! The thrill! The journey!"
Leith's resistance was breaking. Under his hand, his lips pursed uncomfortably, and he took a long, deep breath. "...alright. An adventure on my terms might not be so bad. On spare days, we'll give it a shot. I'm trusting you here, Veemon."
"About time!" Veemon flashed a happy thumbs-up. "Let's start tomorrow!"
"Tomorrow?" Leith echoed, shocked.
"Do you have plans tomorrow?"
The answer was no. Leith shook his head, jostling his long hair, in order to clear his thoughts. "Well... if we leave tomorrow, we should do it early. I don't need Mom and Dad wondering where I am. I'll need an excuse, too, but that's easy enough. Then there's the entry and exit point. Since the train is apparently a way to get in and out right in the heart of the digital world - still weird, by the way - that'll be our best way back. But the river is closer, which matters since we're on limited time before Mom and Dad get worried, so we might as well get in through there."
"The portal could drop us anywhere," Veemon wisely pointed out.
Leith frowned. "Well... I'm gonna trust again, then - trust that between the two of us we can figure it out."
"That's the spirit!"
"And we need to pack tonight. Like, now. Ah, man, Mom won't be happy to see the pantry raided again. She's gonna get suspicious eventually." Again, Leith supposed he'd have to trust, this time trust himself to get out of whatever he would inevitably cause. "Alright... what do we need?"
Leith felt incredibly conspicuous walking down the street with a backpack so full he struggled to stay on his feet. This was also the first time in a long time he'd left his guitars at home, deciding not to risk their condition on what ever may happen in the digital world. Leith felt especially odd walking along the trench that used to be a river looking for a portal to an alternate world. Well, isn't this grand adventure off to a great start? the boy thought to himself. I can't see shit from up here! I guess if it was obvious the whole world would already know about it. I bet it's either invisible to the human eye... or buried under all that crap. Wait a minute- the human eye! Leith held up the digivice Veemon was stored inside of and faced the screen toward the river. "Hey! Veemon! Do you see anything that looks like a portal down there?"
Well, that didn't work. Leith huffed but otherwise continued on. "Worth a shot. Let me know if-" Just then, along the boy's route, an ankle-high rock inserted itself into Leith's path, and because the young man was so focused on the river he never had a chance to see it. "Oh-!" the young man cried as he lost his balance. Actually, he managed to just barely stop himself from falling forward, but that left him teetering uncomfortably on the edge of the river. Oh, boy, Leith thought, just realizing what was about to happen a second before it did: his body teetered sideways as he struggled for his balance, and he ended up falling straight over the ledge into the trash heap below.
"Leith!" It was pointless; Leith descended rapidly, shutting his eyes just before the final impact.
On impact, Leith cried out, "Aah!" as his back slammed straight into the- sand? Indeed, the fall was hard enough for the boy to find himself in a half-inch-deep little sand crater, but otherwise he was surprisingly OK, if a little sore. "Oh, boy... that wasn't fun." Leith first moved his fingers a little, then clenched his fists when he realized sand was passing through his fingers. "Uh- huh?"
"Leith!" Apparently, Veemon had freed himself from the confines of the digivice so that he could kneel by Leith's side. "Leith, are you OK?"
Veemon sounded pretty shaken up, so Leith though it best not to keep the digimon waiting. "Yeah, I'm good. Just- gimme a second." Only then did Leith open his eyes. Wherever he was this was not any river. In fact, by the look of things, no river either running or dry was probably within a hundred miles of his current location. The sky looked about the same, but that was where the resemblance to Shibuya ended. Leith and Veemon were indisputably not at the bottom of a river basin but in the middle of a wide, expansive desert. Surrounding the pair were buildings that were probably built impossibly tall at the time but were also clearly the victims of time, made of a material Leith couldn't identify by sight. "Veemon, this is-"
"-the digital world!" Veemon excitedly finished Leith's thought as he helpfully held out one of his blue hands to his partner. "This is it! Wow! It's... not what I expected."
"Agreed," Leith added as he accepted the help back to his feet. "Crap, I think I got sand in my shoes." Leith almost took them off, but he knew the sand stuck to his socks that would cause would be counterproductive. "Well... that's done. Now what?"
"There!" Veemon pointed at the grandest structure of all the grand structures in this apparent ancient city. This structure, unlike most of the others, still stood so tall that Leith couldn't crane his neck up high enough to follow it all the way to its top. If anything looked like it could hold valuables, it was definitely that. "Whaddya think?"
Leith shrugged but supposed it was the most promising lead available. "This is your crusade, bud, in your world. Why don't you lead us from here?" This suggestion made Veemon's eyes light up like bright stars. Even though a grin was practically Veemon's resting face, Leith didn't think he'd ever seen one as wide as it was right then before.
"Let's go!" Veemon ran off toward the structure, then, and naturally Leith followed.
He could at least walk like a normal person, Leith whined, but only to himself. Chasing Veemon led Leith through a grand archway and into the temple-like structure. From there Veemon stopped and looked down each tunnel, not that it was actually bright enough to see all the way down. Leith was about to ask what to do next, but Veemon scurried off again down one of the passageways. Well... it's not that interesting so far. I mean, if I was an archeologist, sure, bring it on, but I'm-
"Leith!" The call of his name made Leith try to stop on a dime, but the sandiness on the smooth stone floor caused him to slide a little. Thankfully he kept his balance better this time. The room the pair was now in seemed like some kind of atrium. From there, over a dozen corridors branched off down who-knows-how-many paths. "Look!" Veemon pointed at a set of characters that were engraved above each passageway. They weren't letters or words, Leith thought, for the pictures in them seemed oddly specific. Instead he supposed they were symbols for... something.
"Veemon, you're the one programmed to understand every language. What do they mean?"
"Veemon, you're the one programmed to understand every language. What do they mean?"
But Veemon shook his head. "No idea. But..." Veemon seemed to be scrutinizing every symbol above a dimly-lit stone passageway before settling on one. "This way. I got a good feeling about this one!" Why on Earth - or the digital world - Veemon could feel anything about that direction was anyone's guess. The only thing that made it look different from the others was the unique symbol above it. To Leith it resembled a yin-yang symbol, only perpendicular to the line in dividing the circle stuck out two spikes from the edged of the otherwise perfect circle, each one curving slightly in the opposite direction from the other.
"What is-?" Leith didn't get his chance. Once again, Veemon ran ahead of Leith, forcing the Tamer to chase him again. The pair didn't get far, though; it seemed the passage led to a dead end. "Veemon, I think I should mention I was always bottom of the class in PE!" Veemon wasn't listening, though. He was staring at an engravement on the wall. This was no doubt actual language, given the number of symbols and the fact that some seemed to repeat with no apparent pattern. Neither Leith nor Veemon was able to decipher it, but thankfully someone else before them apparently had. These people more crudely scratched an apparent translation into the stone beneath the original inscription. The problem? "Oh, that's helpful. It's Japanese."
"'Two hearts beating in sync may pass any obstacle.'" Leith wisely assumed that was a translation, not just a philosophy lesson. Of course, that wasn't very helpful. Maybe it was a positive message, but that didn't change the fact that the wall in front of the partners was still a stone wall that would let the group proceed no further- unless...
"Hey. Vee. I think I actually have an idea, and it is really freakin' stupid."
"I like it already!"
"We're gonna kick the wall down."
"I like it a bit less now!"
"I don't think that inscription is just a pep talk. I think it's a hint." Veemon paused to consider this. Leith was a bit worried he wouldn't go for it, but he should have known Veemon wouldn't be so worried about small details like a firm stone wall. "One?" Leith asked once he thought Veemon was on board.
"Two!" Veemon confirmed.
"Three!" Both partners then shouted at the same time. That was when Leith struck out with his foot against the wall hard as he could while Veemon declared, "Vee Headbutt!" then lead with his head against the wall.
Is he insane? As it turned out, no. Not only did the stone wall give way, it absolutely flew across the passageway, only hitting the ground a full thirty feet away. To Leith and Veemon, the structure felt as light as a feather as they struck it! "Holy-"
"-That was great!" Veemon interrupted Leith's exclamation.
"I guess that's the digital world for you... but let's not go around kicking every wall we see. That was probably a special case." Finally Veemon saw fit to slow his advance to a walk, partly because the pair had to step over the wall they'd knocked over. "Well, that happened," Leith remarked as he and Veemon stepped down off it and back to the solid floor. A few feet after that was another dead end with another inscription. "Same deal?"
"The hint is different," Veemon declined just before reading another crudely scratched Japanese translation aloud. "Two hearts beating in sync don't need to speak to know the other's thoughts."
"Well... that's different. What does it-" Just then, a wall slammed between the pair of partners from the ceiling, splitting the hallway in two. "Veemon!"
The shouting was pointless; this new barrier had completely soundproofed each individual's area in addition to cutting off their sight of each other. The wall in front of each partner then sank back into the ground, but before either could run forward it was replaced by a new wall. This one was covered top-to-bottom by more of the strange language symbols. There had to be thousands, and each had to be so small that Leith had to lean in and get real close to make out each individual.
He still didn't understand any of the writing, but leaning in close showed him something else: there was an indent in between each symbol cut evenly above, below, and on each side of every character. Are these... buttons? Leith asked himself. Holy, crap, I think they are. I guess we have to guess which one to push, and if it's the right one the way opens. And if it's the wrong one- nope, bad thoughts. Leith thought back to the hint then: two hearts beating in sync don't need to speak to know the other's thoughts. Wait. We don't have to pick the right button; we have to pick the same button!
So Leith scrutinized the wall of symbols from a new mental angle. Veemon's smart enough to get it. I'm not worried about that. Problem is... that's a lotta switches. Again, Leith scanned the entire wall. Alright... I'm Veemon. Which of these switches looks most attractive to me...? The young man tried his best to put himself in Veemon's metaphorical shoes. Hmm... he's shorter than me. He'd choose a button he can easily reach. Leith crouched down to Veemon's height. And from there... I guess I just choose the one that screams out to me. The young man combed the buttons until he'd found one he supposed Veemon might go for, though of course he was at least partially guessing. He almost applied pressure to the spot, but he stopped himself just in time.
Wait! If I know Veemon, he's doing what I'm doing; he's trying to work out which one I would choose. Leith stood back up then, throat tightening. It still has to be low enough for him to reach, but high enough to be natural for me. Leith moved his hand around a little until he thought he'd found the ideal height. And from there... The young man swallowed. Eenie, meenie, miney, this one. The stone began to rumble. The floor began to vibrate.stone began to grind against stone. Nope! I fucked up! Abort! But what ever hidden mechanisms had activated only caused the wall in front of him to fall back into the floor. The path was clear.
However, the dividing wall had not receded. This worried Leith, but he was reassured when from its other side he could hear something knocking on it, signaling. After breathing out a sigh of relief, Leith knocked back, imagining Veemon was probably feeling the same. If we make it out of this alive, I am never leaving my room again.
Leith ventured on, assuming the whole way that Veemon was, too. Occasionally, one of them would knock as a nonverbal way of asking, "Are you still with me?" to which the other reply in kind to signal, "Still here." But Leith knew that changed once the path stopped being straight but began to circle to his right. I bet Veemon's going left, Leith reasoned. So at that point he and Veemon knocked their goodbyes before continuing on their separate paths.
Eventually, Leith came to another inscription which had another conveniently scribbled translation beneath it. Unfortunately, Veemon still hadn't returned, meaning the young man had no chance at all to understand the hint. Luckily, he didn't think he needed it after a little observation; at this point, the path ahead of Leith branched off in three directions. I know a maze when I see one. Along one path, though, Leith caught a faint white marking along one wall that looked like chalk. I wonder... did the person who left those translations mark their path?
It turned out the answer was yes. This person also apparently hit a few dead ends and got trapped in a couple of loops, but Leith was so bad at mazes the last thing he wanted to do was solve it himself. He'd take every detour to wind up in the right spot at the end if he had to. At some places the chalk was too faded to follow, but it always picked back up in enough time for Leith to stay on the trail. Is it cheating? Definitely. Do I care? Yeah, right. There better be a digimental at the end of this crazy ride.
The trail ended entirely, though, in another dead end. Unlike others, though, this dead end was circular, not rectangular. So, Leith curiously stepped into the middle of the circle only to- "Wah!" -have it open up beneath his feet and suck him down into a pit. Fortunately, the drop was short, about ten feet. Even better, it ended in a pool of water. Too bad Leith and his possessions all got soaked, but at least he was uninjured. After crawling out, he noticed, The floor isn't stone anymore. It's all sand. He looked up. I think the lowest floor is right there. I must be on the ground, or under it, and that must be a natural spring. Leith scanned the room, then, but he found something that blew away his natural theory: across from him a second pool of water lay under a second circle-shaped feature in the ceiling. Oh, wait! I get it now!
But just as the young man had figured out the point of this exercise, the other hole opened up, and down came plummeting Veemon. Like a good lifeguard, Leith was quick to run over and help pull his little buddy out of the water. Apparently, Veemon didn't take the fall so well; he was coughing and sputtering even after coming out. "Veemon!" Leith exclaimed, but it turned out that was right when Veemon had cleared all the water.
As he panted, the digimon recited, "Two hearts... beating in sync... may not follow the same path... but always meet in the same place."
"Spare me." Leith chuckled as he helped Veemon to his feet. "That was some nice work with the second obstacle."
"Y-you, too!" Veemon coughed one more before flashing a thumbs-up and a smile.
"Y-you, too!" Veemon coughed one more before flashing a thumbs-up and a smile.
"Next time you wanna go on an adventure, let's try and get me a date. It's just as scary, but a little less claustrophobic."
At this point the path was a straight tunnel again. Leith was almost lulled into believing this was a straight shot to the digimental, but he was just barely skeptical enough not to be surprised when another obstacle blocked the way. Specifically, this was a pit, a pit neither partner could see the bottom of from up top. Someone probably took great care to make sure there were no handholds or footholds to circle the pit, as there were none at all. "Veemon? Inscription?"
The blue digimon scanned the translation on the wall beside the pit. "'Two hearts beating in sync, if they believe in each other, rise above all adversity.'"
"Wait, does that mean-"
"Yep, I think it does."
"That is not gonna happen."
"Leith!" Veemon grabbed his partner's hand in his own, then. He carelessly scratched Leith a little with his claws, but the young man didn't even think about it; he had bigger problems. "You said you wold trust me."
"I trust you. What I don't trust is gravity."
"It's the digital world, Leith! Things are different!"
"When we fall, we still go down!"
"Well, let's settle this!" To Leith's utter, absolute horror, Veemon walked forward and tugged him stronger than the young man thought was possible, successfully pulling Leith forward over the pit. However, this did not go as planned. Leith turned out to be right: gravity sucked Leith down into the pit. Before he got far, though, Veemon's tight grip on Leith stuck fast and halted his fall.
"Wh-what?" It was a truly amazing sight: even though Leith and Veemon had both walked over the pit, only one of them was falling. Veemon, on the other hand, appeared to be standing on some invisible floor; Leith could even see the skin on the bottom of the digimon's feet compressing against the force holding up. "H-how-?"
"Leith! Later!" Veemon screamed, eyes squeezed tight with the effort of holding his partner up. Leith got the message and began groping with his free hand for any of that invisible floor stuff. His hand didn't catch immediately, but it did catch eventually. When it did, Veemon tugged on the arm he had with all his might. Combined with Leith's own strength to pull himself up, this was just barely enough to get Leith up on the invisible floor. By the end of it the boy was panting like a dog after a hard game of fetch but just relieved to be alive.
"Oh, my god! Holy shit! Oh, god, Veemon..." Leith rolled over onto his back, a feeling he quite enjoyed, as he cooled down from his near-death experience. "Alright... you win... I think I get it." Leith swallowed the lump in his throat and reasoned, "It's probably because I didn't believe it... if you didn't grab me..." The young man shook his head. "No offense, but your homeland sucks." Veemon mercifully let that comment go.
At least from the the pair was able to casually walk across the pit to continue down a passage.
"Someone wanted to guard something. This leads somewhere," was how Veemon broke the next silence.
"They also wanted to let someone through, else why the hints? But here's my question: who wrote the Japanese? Veemon, I think whatever we're chasing might have already been claimed." That thought dissipated as soon as the pair met the next obstacle, however. "Or... maybe it's not." The reason Leith changed his mind was that he and Veemon had just run into yet another obstacle: another stone wall with another inscription, much like the first. There were two main differences however: the first was that there were one again buttons all over the wall as in the second obstacle, though not as many this time - just a couple dozen. The other difference was that no translation was available. "Veemon... they didn't make it here."
Veemon didn't say anything, but he looked over his shoulder in the direction of the pit at the same time as Leith. Neither of them had to say the implications out loud. "OK... I guess we're on our own," said Leith both for Veemon's benefit and his own. "What do you see, Vee?"
Veemon turned back around and faced the wall, taking the news much better than Leith was. "We saw these already!" he exclaimed excitedly after a few seconds, "These are the symbols above the passageways in the atrium!"
"What? Really?" Leith scrutinized the set of symbols himself, then. Veemon was right; the young man recognized a few of the symbols. "If that's true, then I bet the switch we need to touch is-"
"-here!" Veemon beat Leith to the punch, seeking out the same symbol of the pathway they'd taken and pushing it in. This time the stone wall ahead did not sink into a crevice but instead quickly crumbled away as if struck by a battering ram. "Oh, that's- Leith!" But what really rattled Veemon was what was behind the wall. The pathway ended here indisputably. There was no reason to continue forward because there, behind a knee-high pile of stone bricks, was a display pedestal on which a strange object rested.
Leith didn't recognize it by sight, but he knew this was the treasure. It was a vaguely egg-shaped item, only clearly made of some metal, colored black and blue in shades almost exactly the same as his digivice. A sharp spike protruded out from the object, but the most recognizable part of it was the blue symbol painted on it: the same symbol as the button Veemon had pushed, the same symbol that adorned the archway at the beginning. "Two hearts in sync never forget their shared purpose." Leith said reverently. Veemon looked to the boy confused, so Leith clarified, "No, I didn't read that. I just feel like that's probably what it said, or something like that." Veemon was about tor each out and take the egg, but Leith held his hand at bay. "Wait! I've seen this movie before. The pedestal could be rigged."
"Why would they put us through all that to set a booby trap with no hint?" Well, Leith didn't have a very good argument for that. So, slowly, he lowered his own hand and let Veemon proceed. Leith flinched as the egg's weight was removed from the pedestal, but it seemed the digimon was right: nothing happened... well, nothing related to a trap anyway. But Veemon didn't have long to cradle the egg, nor Leith long to admire it. It then began to glow a bright white. Leith instinctively knew what this meant and held his digivice to it just in time to watch the egg get sucked into the little machine like Veemon through the V-Pet program. Leith held his wrist out for both digimon and Tamer to see that a picture of the object was displayed along with the words DIGIMENTAL OF FRIENDSHIP. "We did it!"
"About damn time!" Leith plopped right down onto the sandy ground hindquarters-first as he finally got the chance to rest. "Well... that happened." Leith unshouldered his pack, too, to shed the extra weight. "Alright... here's the plan. Let's eat, rest... and figure out how to get out of here. Deal?"
It was a deal. Naturally, Veemon ate far more than Leith, and that was saying something since the boy tried to eat as much as possible to shed as much weight as he could. The pair talked over the probable fate of their helpful translator and what they might do with the new treasure, but the thing that came up most was the second obstacle, the one that first separated the pair, admiring their own synchronicity. Leith even admitted during that part of the conversation that even by trying to think through each other's move, the odds still weren't narrowed nearly enough to give their analytical skills all the credit. The young man struggled a bit more than Veemon did with the fact that some other force had to be at play there, but even Leith knew that was more likely than not true. "I guess that explains it all. Friendship was the underlying theme there. I feel like I just survived a dungeon crawler crossed with a crappy anime."
"Feels good doesn't it?"
"Surprisingly... yeah, actually." After packing all his materials back up, Leith shouldered the pack. His mood soured. "Only now comes the fun part: figuring our way out of here."