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A normal day on the normal housing district, with normal weather and normal events unfolding. Well, not really. Ever since Ryouta had moved in with Yuu, while their relationship had... just a little friction, they still managed to get by just like before.
Well, maybe that'd change today. It had happened after some time searching, but, that day, let's just say that it probably was among Yuu's happiest ones. And probably the happiest one since she had blonde hair. There was still some stuff to be done about that, but in all honesty... it was probably as good as it got.
Stickied in the front of the floor's door, there was a note, evidently for Ryouta to read when he came back.
I'm out to buy some groceries, fam. Take care of the house while I'm out; make sure to not to burn it down, kay?
Oh, and there's also a small surprise for you inside. Guess we'll begin to have space problems but, I guess we'll be able to manage. Now, take into account just one thing. She looks a little different than before and her memory is hazy, meaning she doesn't remember either you or me, so take it easy.
If you do so much as to make her feel uncomfortable, however... well, guess I don't have to say what'll happen to you, musclehead.
Ryouta came home that day after a particularly tiring day from Digital World courier service. Job are fine, most of the work is done by Ilbert anyway... then again, Ryouta was the one who need to do the talking and such. It was tiring, but to see those Digimons smiles when they receive the package and letters was worth his time. Then again, lot of asses made it doesn't worth it either. He was particularly sweating after trying to catch up a train for a sale in supermarket. Since he doesn't work in this world, he need to adjust his budget accordingly. There are time where Yuu's taste doesn't fit his afterall... for example, bacons. He's not too fond of it.
It ended up that Yuu was out and they... they double-bought groceries. Maaan. Talk about some sort of information overlap. However... the last part... made his jaw drops.
Mana is here. He... he's already really elated, but... the mention about that her memory is shaky made him a bit... a bit afraid that she actually forgotten about him. How would she considered me now that I'm literally just like that teacher who kidnapped her? How would she react when she saw me now, someone unstable that would snap if he got too headache-y? ...This is sucks.
But regardless, he opened the door and muttered "I'm back."
He goes to the kitchen and put down the grocery in front of the fridge and start putting it in. Should he tell Yuu? Oh right, he should...
He tried to reach for his phone, but...
Crap, I left it in the station. Ryu came out of his bag soon, then bounces toward the sofa where he finally rested. Oh right, it's been a tiring day for him too.
Regarding the girl who was currently napping peacefully on one of the beds of the adjacent room, she was immediately startled awake as soon as soon as she heard the "I'm back."
That didn't seem to be the voice of the kind girl who had brought her here, maybe it was another part of her family? Just like the blondie had claimed that she was older sister, even though they weren't really alike. Still, she had been generous thus far and seemed to be really knowledgeable of her, so she guessed that at least she had known her from the past.
The question was why they were so different.
"Are you going to welcome him or what, human." Seemingly, she was taking her sweet time. Otherwise, Suzuran wouldn't have spoken up.
"I was just collecting my thoughts. You comin'?"
"Of course I am. I have to make sure nobody harms you and that partner nonsense. Now, let us go."
Both the Kodamon and the human went out of the room, facing directly towards their new acquaintance. Whilst Mana was overall relaxed towards the big muscly guy in front of her, Suzuran seemed to be alert. Well, she was always alert, but that's besides the point.
"Heya." The redhead waved amicably towards him. "Are you one of this house's occupants? Yuu-san hadn't told me anything about more people living in there, but you don't like you forced the door, so I guess you are one."
Hmmm, the fridge was a bit too full, but he guessed he can make several new things with the items available. He start by taking out some salmon that they bought about five days ago, then some eggs... ah, right, maybe he can make some sort of donburi with these... but just then, he heard sound of someone approaching. He stopped himself from his current activity and looked to that direction and found...
....the girl. She does indeed looks really different... however, what made him really curious was not that, but the fact that there stood a Kodamon that looked different from the one before...
"...Aya...?" accidentally slipped from his mouth, but he quickly rectified it.
"Hello to you too, I guess..." he smiled back, probably his happiness accidentally radiated itself too much. It's hard to not run to hug her, but he knew that it'd be way too much even for the girl. "Yeah, mmm, how to say this? Nice to meet you again and glad to see you're home, name's Noguchi Ryouta. I'm your cousin, see. Well, very far cousin, I guess. I mean, our grandmothers are cousin, so that made us... cousins, but very far cousins? So we're like third cousins I guess! Anyway, are you hungry? I'm about to cook because... apparently me and Yuu overlapped in our grocery duty and forgot to tell one another directly..."
Then, she looked at the unfamiliar Kodamon. "Sorry for the suddenness, may I somehow have your name, miss?"
Aya, huh. Well, this guy seemed to know her sister too, just like the other blonde human. That meant that he was familiar with her partner, whether for good or not. Interesting.
Lest to say, Suzuran quietly snerked at the commend while Mana did her thing.
"Nice to meet you, then." She waved at him with some wariness. Too much information too fast. "So, I guess we were... friends? That sounds really nice. Also, that you were involved in that Digital World thing too? Can you tell me a bit about that? Or about when we met each other? That'd help."
She made a pause before adding.
"Slowly, though. I'm still in a bit of daze. Thank you."
She probably would be even more confused if another bomb of information was thrown at her. Nodding at his offer of food, this time took her time to speak up.
"Well, you already mistook me for my sister, so you might as well?" The tone of her voice was calm, yet ever so slightly taunting. "Name is Suzuran; make sure to remember it. Both me and my younger sister do not appreciate to be mistaken with each other, especially since we are so diferent."
She then stared right into Ryu's form, her piercing gaze regarding him with a... strange kind of curiosity.
"And who are you supposed to be? I have yet to hear your voice as of yet."
We were lovers, so what his heart wanted to say. In fact, he probably stopped for a second while seasoning the tuna. He looked up to her to smile once again, swallowing his inner desire to tell that to her. He cleaned up his hand first and pulled two chairs, one shorter and another taller and put it near Mana.
"Why don't you sit first? Because the story will be looooong I guess."
He goes back to the kitchen and works on other ingredients. "Noted. Then I assume you're Isana's daughter?" he asked back, wondering if that was the truth. Isana... her egg is still missing somehow, yet he knew that the plant lady doesn't exactly have any sort of disagreement with him. More like, she was like his mother and grandmother both in term of how she acted... so he guessed that she'll eventually find her way to him again.
Ryu who was dozing suddenly woke up at the unfamiliar voice. At first she thought it was Ayaka, but... that voice was different.
"I'm Ryu, aniki's partner! Are you Ayaka's sister?" he asked happily.
Ryouta coated the salmon on batter and began cooking the sauce. Nice smell of ponzu sauce wafts from one of the cooking utensil.
"Well, then, let's begin... we met about a year ago near an apartment complex. You used to live near there and... well, you was if I have to say, rather cheeky. I was surprised that you're Yuu's sister considering how different two of you were. I was with Ryu--back then he was a Babydmon. I was jogging and I met you... you're with Ayaka and... well, how to say, I guess it was an interesting first meeting. Ayaka cannot absorb normal food back then, so I helped you to dig her a hole and plant her on the ground, then give her some water... plant stuff, you know." he tried to omit the fact that she was PANICKING at his action. "...Well, you can say that was the beginning our our friendship."
Sure, she could sit and listen to the tale, preparing for some otherworldly tales; or at least for something that wouldn't be easy to swallow.
All while Suzuran met a small digimon, even though those were just his appearances right now. He probably was way ,ore powerful than what she looked right now, even thought that maybe was due the connection he had with the human.
"Seems like that much is obvious; pleased to make your acquaintance. Were you good friends with her? You look like somebody she would like." even though you would not make for good conversation, but that was something she would omit. "She has always been interested in winged reptiles, even though I cannot really understand why."
Ryouta's tale was... well, not as bad as she had expected; in fact, the way they had met seemed to be... pretty normal, in fact. Well, except for the fact that she had planted her digimon, something that prompted her to give a look to Suzuran, who made a disgusted face at the recount.
"Intriguing." Even though the mere notion of asking a human's help already made her sick. But if Ayaka had requested for that, it was probably because she couldn't do it by herself and her evolution was already delayed for enough time. Or she didn't want to get to the Digital World and do it by herself there. In any case. "Hopefully you two took good care of her while she was on her growth stage. It would have been a pity for it to be permanently stunted due to negligence."
While cold, those words had no inherent intent to injure, as she was more than conscious that one of the parties didn't remember, and the other did that mostly out of good will. In any case, she couldn't but comment about it.
"Mana... was..." his eyes darted from Ryouta to Mana, then to Ryouta again who shook his head calmly. He looked at Suzuran who asked a harmless question. "Un, Mana is my friend... well, I guess so far I know, anyway. She loves scalies and exotic animals, I guess? I mean, Ayaka ever turned into a big Salamander... I think she was ecstatic back then."
Ryouta merely chuckled and start frying the salmon, then turned around to face Suzuran. "You two really are sisters in some way. Luckily not. She's fine as far as I can remember... Maybe, in fact, she grows VERY QUICKLY, quick enough to leave most of us in the dust? She was a great fighter for sure... but do you mind if I asked what's going on with her? I mean, I didn't saw her here somehow."
He flipped the salmon, listening to Mana's urging to continue, but... he only made a sad smile.
"...mmmm... I dunno, are you ready for something out of ordinary, then? There are lot of painful memories that I'm sure that would only weigh you down. Would you rather know it... or would you rather know it immediately? I don't want to somehow force my view to you, but... I think this will be opening some old wound, especially because... your life isn't really all butterflies and rainbow. In fact, it's nearing something that would make a young, thirteen years old girl say 'I quit!'. How you have such willpower, it made me really... really amazed, I guess."
He sat aside the salmon now, then pours the ponzu sauce, and scooped some rice.
"What about you, Suzuran? What would you like to eat?"
Suzuran made didn't show any signs of exasperation at the baby getting her question wrongly. Figures, a baby wouldn't make a good conversationalist.
"I was... referring to my late sister, actually. Figured I would ask the person who can speak if I were looking for some information about her. Anyhow..." She quirked an eyebrow in reponse to Ryouta's question, thinking it as something a little ludicrous. "Do you think we are alike? I mean, while our physical aspects might be, I think we could not be more different. For one, I am the smarter of the two."
She gave the small dragon a crooked grin, both due to her words because, apparently, her sister already had some exploits, both growth wise and battle-wise, even though those were somewhat to be expected. While Aya wasn't a fighter, she was a terrifying sight when she decided to go all-out. So, she grew fast, huh? Probably that'd be the same case with them again.
"What with her?" What an interesting question. "Well, she has not hatched yet, that much is obvious. Maybe she is just waiting for the right moment to do so, or maybe that event is related in some way with the human and her apparent loss of memory. Maybe everything I just said is baseless and she is just lazy. One never knows with Ayaka."
Mana, on her stead, just nodded to Ryouta's words, not entirely sure of them. If that was the case, she guessed she could only shrug at his words.
"I'll leave it to you, then." Not like she'd force anybody to do anything, that is. "Anything else you might want to tell me, then? I'd be interested in hearing anything you're willing to tell. Not forcing you or anything tho."
There was some disappointment there, but that was to be expected, right? Not like she could do anything 'bout that.
"Eating? Hm... Sure, I guess I can try what you are preparing. Go ahead."
"Hmm, well if you referred to your sister, I think it was a looooong story... There was something related to broken relationship... but Ayaka sure pulled lot of Dragon to her friendship circle somehow..." Ryu muttered, seem to be a bit pensive about it. "Penny for example, are dragon, and there's... uh, Notfoxy-san... Blake was it? He was a Dorumon... so yeah, lot of thing happened, but she somehow pulled lot of dragons... Oh yeah, there's also Ryusei the Agumon."
Ryouta merely chuckled and nodded. "Sorry, you two are just too similar. At least to me. Well, I bet both of you would try to deny it, but it's amusing regardless... also you two really similar to isana too. Also, knowing Ayaka, I guess she's waiting for the right time. Calling her lazy... I think it's bit uncalled for. I mean, she's probably one of the Digimon I respects most for both her wisdom and her patience... Although she's really scary when angered."
He looked at Mana and sighed. He put the meal for four on the table and tried to think about it again. "Well, I guess I'm going to be kicked by Yuu or something but... I guess eventually we need to talk about it."
He approached her, opened his wallet and took out a picture.
It's somewhere in Whitewater, but there's Ryu in Slayerdramon form, a Lord Knightmon, an Alphamon, and Ayaka. Posing with them is a blond haired girl with eared hoodie that covers her swimsuit. She looks very snappy kind. Beside her is a boy with athletic build, bandanna on his head and a bandaid on his cheek. Then, there's a babyfaced yet very muscular teenager that posed with a victory pose while hugging Mana... Mana that was back then. The boy's very cheerful looking face is different than the mature Ryouta right now.
"...This girl is you," he said, while pointing at the photo. "It was a double date in whitewater..."
Then he looked up at her. "Tsumura Mana, you were my girlfriend," she smiled sadly. "At least until we're suddenly separated."
Just as she had thought. Dragons it was; while Suzuran didn't get her sister's fascination with those winged reptiles and thought that as a show of poor taste, she just managed a shrug at those words.
"That sounds just like her, right. And knowing her, I am also sure that most of her acquaintances were also very hard to deal with, but that is just how most dragons are, I guess. Never knew why most your kind seems to be so prideful about pretty much anything, but I digress."
The autumn-colored Kodamon quirked an eyebrow at that comment. What?
"Excuse me? Did you just say... Isana?" She didn't pay any heed about the rest of the teenager's words, finding only that bit interesting. "How come you know about her? I find hard to believe that that old fogey's still around, but I guess that's just in the genes. Looks like we just do not want to give up on living. Wonder why..."
As they sat, Ryouta told them more facts about her, even though what he said was... surprising, to say the least. Still, the way he had presented was probably not the right one, given that Mana didn't look like she was all too interested on it. In fact, her expression was a bit... vacant, if anything.
So, we were a couple, huh." She mentioned that fact offhandedly, almost as if she wasn't interested in it. "Then...? What happened? Why we were separated and... why do we look so differently compared to that picture? And, who are them?"
At least, according to her, she didn't know anybody in that picture. Those four images were of people she hadn't seen ever before, and, while one of the guys was vaguely reminiscent to Ryouta, the girl he has hugging didn't look like her. At all.
"...Well," Ryu looked aside, seem to thinking that 'yes, they're very hard to deal with'. "...I dunno if I'm hard to deal with or I got big ego, but they sure... do... and I think lot of her acquaintance are... like that. There was this bird who seem to be hellbend in trying to make her his wife or something. It was creepy if you have to ask me," the Petitmon shuddered as he said that. "Well, I don't know what happened to him though."
Ryouta merely smiled. "I said it few minutes ago, though. You must've missed it. I asked if you're Isana's child. She was... very helpful toward me. We got separated for unknown reason, but she was... yes, around. I have no idea how come it happened exactly, but Ayaka was very hellbend on collecting her data back... and well... she came back, I guess! I guess it's nature of plants. You might think they're frail, but they always spring back to life once the time is right. Such tenacity is needed when growing in suboptimum place, I guess!"
Still, Mana's reaction probably expected, so Ryouta doesn't feel anything that much about it either.
"...Let's say, as of why you're like this, I have no idea. Mine came from absurd use of biomerge I heard. I theorized that you're like that because the same thing happened to your sister... or your brother, I should say. Digital world is funny like that. It can even change a person's gender. Your sister... was a he, you know? A complete man, and it's not like she suddenly decide to change her gender. I don't have any photo for that, but... well, I know it sounds too farfetched anyway in logical mind..."
He pointed at the girl first. "This one is Takamiya Karin, she was like your sister figure. A bit snappy and overall unfriendly, but she's like jawbreaker I guess. Over here is her boyfriend Itou Yuuki... he's like me and Karin's leader. A bit killjoy, but overall a fun guy to tease. These two are their partner."
Suzuran chuckled at Ryu's words. Well, being correct was natural for her, so it wasn't really surprising.
"Huh, making her his wife?" For a second, she seemed like she was about to explode with laughter, but she contained herself just in the nick of time. "The funniest part about that is that she would have probably played along until that guy did something she disliked. Then everything would've just crumbled into dust. If my sister had anything to do with that bird's disappearance, however, you can be sure that it was for good. That is how Ayaka usually is."
Ryouta's words, however, aggravated her just a bit. Well, yeah, seemingly it was obvious that she had missed them the first time. And she blamed the typer of that post for that.
"I apologize. I tend to ignore humans for the most part, so your first mention of her name probably slipped away from my hearing. Now, at least I am able to say that the way you describe it at least resembles her personality somewhat, just like my sister's wishes about bringing her back. Those two got along really well."
Maybe due to the fact that her younger sister was accepting towards a mother's love, while she... found those emotions to be pointless. Edgy? Probably so, but she didn't care about that kind of human-invented silliness.
Well, just like the girl had expected, Ryouta had a lot of information, but pretty much zero explanations. It was frustrating, in a way.
"I see." She said, her tone neutral, only managing to quirk an eyebrow at the mention of her 'sister' not being one before, then feeling pretty grossed out about that. "Wait, wait. Too much information, man. We're having lunch for you to say those kinds of things lightly."
Still, she had to admit that she was a bit interested on that.
"Were you there when that happened, however? I'd be interested on the story. Or when you realized that you were going through a muscly phase. What with the others? Where are they?"
Of course Ryu tried his best to advert his eyes from that remark. That remark was honestly almost hit on spot.. actually, it hits 99% on spot. "That bird man's name is Ankh. He was... crazy. Crazed with power, crazed with desire to reform Digital World. For some strange reason, Isana-san hated his guts more than anything. In fact, I think she nearly hatched from her egg out of fury toward that Digimon. He... how to say this? He wanted a world where the strong protected the weak and the weak doesn't have to suffer... but it was too much of an ideal world for me."
"The fact that the world was too ideal and his action was way too strange also is an... unbearable thing, so to say. He seem to want to go to a dictator route and enforces his own world view toward everyone. In the end, I think it's something that sides too much to the weak. I'm not saying the sentiment is bad, but... there won't be anything good coming from sheltering the weak unnecessarily. In the end, it's like promoting laziness. Everyone would feel there's no need to be strong or improve. In that sort of condition, eternal peace will come, but at the same time, it's also ruin, I guess," Ryouta said.
Though Suzuran's words made Ryouta smiles ever so slightly. "Isana would probably say... 'Human might bores you out, and they talk thing that might bring no interest to you, but you never know when it'll be useful, so lend your ears to them even if you need to clean up your ears afterward.'"
Though, the comment about Yuu's gender apparently made Mana think it's TMI. Ryouta apologized quickly, but took out a paper and several colored pens.
"...You said you wanted some explanation, right? Well, I wasn't there, nor I actually remembered what happened since a year ago, but... I have theory about what happened."
He draws two circle that barely intersects. "Just say the left circle is Digital World and the right one is ours. Apparently it intersects at Shibuya Station and only there. I haven't heard that there is any other gateway... I guess other than the river... But anyway, Japan is the only place where it intersected... now, when we goes to Digital World, apparently our body doesn't turned into Data, it still keep its physical form. But... if there's parallel world, what stopping there's another parallel worlds? Maybe you entered to one of those wormholes and ended up how you are at the moment. It's just a theory, but I think it's a possibility.
...Muscly phase, I'm not even sure how to say about that, but you used to like these, so I think I just built them naturally to please you? As for the other four, I have no idea. I'm still looking for them, but no dice so far."
Suzuran nodded to Ryu's words. Just like she had predicted, her sister's suitor was an undesirable partner... at the very least. Had she been alive by then, she'd have probably gutted him like a fish to save her sister the trouble of having to deal with such a disgrace, but that hadn't been the case.
"By the way you say it, he just sounds delusional." She said casually. "People who want to change the status quo due to some stupid reason probably will find just disappointment. Things are the way they are for a reason."
And that reason was that the strong did mostly whatever they pleased while in non civilized areas, just because they could. If you're going to do something, might as well have the strength to stand up for it, right?
Like her being too concerned about human affairs. Were she on her own, she wouldn't be in this place at all, in all honesty. So, like she had done thus far, she dismissed Ryouta's comments. She wasn't really interested in fabricated sayings, even though those were claimed to be Isana's.
Mana, on her stead. Just looked at him with decision. This wasn't going well, at least in her mind.
"Food's very good, I got to admit." But at least that one fact remained. "How what you just said counts as an explanation, however? If anything, those are just even more questions, and I think I have just enough of them right now."
The fact that he had purposefully avoided the actual answering even aggravated her slightly. This would probably be a large evening...
"So... is there anything conclusive you want to tell? Thus far, the only fact you've told me is that we used to be a couple and that we went on a double date with other two people that are currently missing. Everything else just sounds like theories and speculation."