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It was an adventure. It was a discovery. But most importantly, it was a job.
These were the thoughts which wordlessly took hold in Alan and Levi's minds as they ventured through the mysterious door, keeping very close to the others until they were on the other side, for fear that the door might close or disappear when only a few had gone through. It was merely a precaution, and their fears were fortunately not realized. Though they laughed and joked amongst themselves in the caverns, their faces turned stern before they so much as saw what was on the other side, as they were now entering unknown territory, in that nobody knew what it contained, and therefore nobody knew how dangerous it was. As media tropes were his only precedent, Alan kept his finger on the switch to activate his hardlight baton, though he did not draw it. If the area was inhabited, the last thing he wanted to do was approach with a weapon drawn, even if it was a rather weak one.
"It is a nice place," said the young man, "but it'd be much nicer if we knew it was safe." His face lightened a bit as he examined the newspaper, noting just how much detail went in to making this place look like somewhere on Earth. "Or at least, if we knew it was Mostly Harmless." He chuckled softly, though his chest was still heavy with anxiety.
"Should I digivolve to Flamedramon, or should we wait to see if there will actually be trouble or not?" asked Levi, no doubt feeling the same anxiety as his partner.
It seemed that the consensus was that this place was unsettling. The unnatural stillness, the stale air, as if this was a place frozen in time. Ayumi, too, shivered, while Solomon went on alert. He patted Eris, and then picked her up, putting her on his head so she would have a better vantage point for watching from. Ayumi, once she had gotten over the initial shock, quickly shook her head. "Ah, it's ok, Eleonora! And Levi, don't, not yet! We do not know the properties of this place, Digivolution could have unforeseen effects! Let's go in deeper a bit, see what this place is like!" She then took off her backpack, opened it, and pulled out her Infinistorage. From that, she pulled a large touch screen, and a large, grey dome. She placed the dome onto the sidewalk, before the house they had just come out, and pressed the top. A red ring lit up, and the touch screen showed multiple dots. "This device is an Anchor, this cartographical gadget will try to make a map as we explore, but even if it cannot, it can still locate the Anchor, allowing us to always find the way back! Come on, let's have deeper look!" Having overcome the initial shock, Ayumi was right back in science mode, quickly hurrying down the road towards the left. When the street turned, it opened in the distance towards a wider street, with more open spaces, and more shops. There was a distant droning sound, as if cars passed by, yet the street appeared empty.
Behind the group, at the anchor, a cat emerged from a nearby bush, and sniffed the Anchor. The cat's eyes glowed blue briefly, and then decided to tail the group at a safe distance.
Eris jerked a little in surprise at Solomon's touch, but did not fight the Monodramon allowing him to scoop her up and settle her helpfully on his head. The little Gigimon's nose twitching as she scented the air taking in her view from her now much taller vantage point. Though the low growl still rumbled from her throat high pitched like an upset kitten rather then truly threatening.
"I guess investigating is what you came here for." The Gigimon grudgingly admitted though she seemed no less on edge. Though slowly some of the wariness was chipped away by curiosity as they eye their surroundings.
"Do you suppose there are waves down at the beach since we can smell the ocean or do you think it's flat like the air?" Eris questioned thinking on it for a long quiet moment. "Probably flat water or else we'd feel a breeze." She added swiveling her head this way and that as she tried to keep their surroundings and the group as a whole in her peripheral view.
Leo smiled as Ayumi accepted her apology, you can't be careful enough on this weird places something that she learn the bad way, in any case the science club field day continue as the leader took a gray dome and a touch screen, after some seconds the top of the dome shined with a red light and Ayumi explain that this was some kind of an anchor, a way point of sorts so they can return to this place no problem, so no fear of getting lost which really relaxed Eleonora and the gears.
Following Ayumi closely the group took a turn to the left and was receive with a wider street filled with shops and houses, Leo took a quick glance through the windows of the open stores but she wasn't able to see anything or anyone, this looked like a ghost town in every sense of the word
"We are able to hear the waves so it can be assume that there are" "Then again, now we are hearing car engines but not a single car on the view"
Both gears answer to Eris who was on Solomon's head a sight that Eleonora found kinda cute, but yeah there should be waves but as Lagann point out it wouldn't be a surprise if it's just the sound like the engines right now.
"This places gives me the creeps... Next thing we're gonna hear is voices" Saying that out loud Kamina got a small idea of what could be all the sounds they hear "What if this is just a trick pulled by a group of Bakemon? They kinda enjoy go invisible and make noises and talk to scare their victims, never heard them make the sound of engines and waves tho"
"I wouldn't discard that possibility, well if it's work of Bakemon they're on for a ride as we have a good number of digimon a fight should be easy even if we avoid evolving" Leo comented
The blonde was showing a lot of confidence on herself but that confidence can be sweep away rather easy thanks to the eerie feeling this place gives hopefully is just Eleonora being a little paranoid and nothing too bad will happen
"Ah, that's true..." said Levi, putting away his idea to digivolve for now. In a way, knowing that he had a good reason not to digivolve yet was comforting. It meant that he was taking every precaution he could for the moment.
Additionally, the presence of the anchor was reassuring. Getting completely lost seemed like something that was incredibly likely to happen in a place like this. Hopefully, this area wouldn't suddenly change shape while they were inside it, unless that was precisely the precaution Ayumi was taking when she mentioned they would always be able to find their way back to the Anchor.
Alan agreed with the others that the place was unsettling. However, he admitted to himself that it was unsettling in a cool way. Judging by Ayumi's behavior up to this point, he couldn't help but imagine that she agreed. Just as long as the scenery didn't end up having some sort of "slow descent into madness" motif. That was always the scariest kind of descent into madness. Or even worse: what if the area caused a slow descent into madness in its visitors? Alan liked to think he'd be able to resist it.
He looked over his shoulder every so often as he walked, sometimes even doing a little spin to look behind him while still moving his legs so that he looked behind him, just to make sure nothing was following them. He did that even under normal circumstances, hoping it didn't make him seem shifty. He didn't see anyone. It occurred to him that this doesn't necessarily mean they weren't being followed.
Who was he kidding? He was too paranoid. He'd probably be the first to go insane.
"I'm going to start talking, too," he announced. "My imagination is going wild with worst-case scenarios, and it's really distracting and upsetting. Did I miss any important instruction while I was zoning out?"
Indeed, there was the drone of distant cars in the air as the group entered the main street. Occasionally, a colourful spectre would rush past, passing through the Digimon and humans as if they weren't there. The skyline in the distance seemed to be mostly small houses...safe for one, towering structure in the distance, a tower made of houses, creating a gnarled structure towering over the area. The drone of the sea was louder here, suggesting that they were not too far from it.
Solomon nodded at Eris' assertion. "Indeed, the sea is likely flat, too. And who knows what could lurk in a stagnant ocean?" Ayumi, meanwhile, tried to calm herself, and the others. This place was undeniably creepy, but it was also so fascinating that her eyes sparkled. "Alright, guys, I get your worries, this place gives me the creeps, too, but look at how much we got to see here! Even in the very basic makeup!" She touched the ground. "This feels cold for example, even though the sun is standing right above us! This place clearly doesn't operate on normal Digital World rules! What Nora's army folk say is one potential explanation. However, if this was a Bakemon illusion, wouldn't they want to entice us? Bakemon usually create illusions to trap prey..." She scratched her chin, and looked around. "Ok, from here, I see three places we can go. The spire in the distance seems enticing, but it is clearly important, plus it kind of stands out, so we can go there last. Right now, we can go down to the sea, or we could look into these buildings..." She pointed at a convenience store, and a restaurant, both of which had their doors wide open, and inside architecture could be seen through them. "We're all in this together, so tell me your preferences!"
Eris shuddered. Her little scales shifting as she shivered at the figures that would occasionally pass through them moving too quickly for any of them to get a good look at them. Making the tiny digimon even more on edge as her growling turned to a low almost threatening sounding guttural snarl that might have been scary if it wasn't coming from such a tiny bean. That didn't stop her however, from baring her rows of needle sharp fangs at anything and everything around them her gaze sharp and suspicious as if some random rock or an umbrella left leaning casually it a holder by a door might suddenly leap out and try to kill them.
"Ocean." Eris quipped quick to make her choice. She didn't like Solomon's implications of what might lurk in the depths of a stagnant ocean, but she'd take open air and mobility to move any day over the the claustrophobic nature of the buildings where the little group could be jammed in like sardines and picked off just as easily as they were by bigger fish. Though the abomination mishmash of houses and land that loomed over them in the distance in a spire like tower was perhaps the most disturbing of all. Leaving Eris with a deep seated urge to burn the place down till the wrongness of it's existence had been reduced to nothing more than ashes.
And that was when it hit her why this place set her so on edge. It was like an untouched tomb, a piece of history frozen outside of time to preserve or impede something...or worse keep something in. It was like a cage or a neatly done display at a zoo and this time they weren't on the other side of the glass.
There was something oddly charming at how Ayumi look at the birght side of things, sure this place is creepy but look at how much we have to explore! It shouldn't surprise Leo after all the girl was a researcher this was like a huge new playground for her, the German girl nodded to what Ayumi said about the Bakemon, sure it's not their usual modus operandi but of course there was some kind of hope that was something small like them that can be handle easier than bigger and badder digimon that could delete them just with one sight.
"Nora? Who's No─" The blonde stop herself realizing it was her and blush a little, "Right, Bakemon don't sound so possible right now... Still the best would be to keep alert"
Listening to the three options Leo and her army thought which should be the best path to take, something about that huge towering structure got her attention and something was telling her that if they want to find something on this place it'll be best go there first.... Yet at the same time everytime she saw it a cold feeling crawled up her back, the gears would go where Leo decides so no opinion on their part, Kamina on the other hand was eager to go to that tower, it looked like the base of some kind of evil digimon and as a hero of justice the Mamemon wouldn't just sit and wait to reach that part.
"Yeah I agree, let's go to the ocean" Leo said before Kamina could say his choice.
"Wait what? Are we seriously going to ignore the big enemy base to go and have a beach day?!?" The little ball of metal was clearly shock by the choice "What kind of heroes are we? Let's go there and kick whatever is there ass!"
"Ayumi said that we were going to go there last so nothing to do about it, Eris already pick the ocean I feel it'll be the best course of action" The German girl shrugged "Aren't you gonna tell me you're scared of a little water?"
"THAT'S A COMPLETE BLASPHEMY!" Kamina raised his voice "I the great hero of Justice Kamina doesn't know what fear is... Although I do have to admit that.... I'm useless on water you could say is my Kaminyte, my only one weakness..."
"I'm sure Ayumi has a floater or something for you on her bag" Leo chuckled and wait for the answer of Alan, although it looked obvious that their destiny was the ocean
The ocean felt like the natural place to start. Alan would attempt to begin to speak his mind, but his meek attempt at being forward was quickly drowned out by the more outspoken members of the group. Not that he could blame them; they'd have to actually hear him speak to know he was speaking. Nevertheless, he kept trying to say the word "ocean" when he thought there might have been a break in the others speaking. When it was finally his turn to speak, he had finally wised up and waited to make sure no one else was talking, making for an awkward silence. "Ocean," he said, painfully aware that what he said at that point didn't matter, even if he did agree with the others. The least he could do was try to say something to the one person he knew was against the idea.
"A-and Kami, er, Great Hero of Justice Kamina, how are you so sure that's an enemy base? It may be unsettling, but charging in there to tear it up with no regard for whether it actually needs to be attacked doesn't sound very just to me. So let's gather intel first, okay?"
"The way I see it, that's the most heroic option!" chimed Levi.
Well, the consensus was clear. Her group wanted to see the seaside. So, the sea it was! "Alright, off to the sea! Maybe if we can't see the tower for a while we can regather our bearings and calm down a bit!" This was said with a worried look towards Eris. Ayumi was worried about the little Digimon's anger and fear. Solomon tried to calm her by patting her. "Worry not. If anything bad comes from the tower, we got each other's back." Ayumi smiled, then turned to Kamina. "Yeah, Nora and Alan are both right. I do have an inflatable raft and some lifevests for the seaside. And we indeed do not know if the tower is evil, let's first look around, and see what we can find!" With that, she led her group down the cold street. The group passed through a narrow alley, the walls closing in as they walked through it, only to then open dramatically to a seaside promenade. The promenade was lined with empty stalls, some still having a few items on the bar. Odorless snacks, trinkets, plushies with flat, drab fur. And beyond the promenade, down the stairs, was it: the Sea.
The sea itself was flat, and of a grey-ish blue colour. That is to say, it was not completely flat, as some bumps and waves frozen in time gave it structure, but the whole surface appeared to be solid, unmoving, with only the colour looking animated. The sand was a light cream colour, and did not yield under the feet of the group. The footprints they left behind were static, like those left on the Moon after the first landing in 1969. As they approached the sea itself, the drone of the ocean became louder. It was not a clear, usual sound one would expect at the sea, but rather a drone invoking the image of the sea in their minds. No birds flew overhead, the air was stagnant and smelled of seaweed. As they stood on the sea, Solomon took Eris, gently put her down, and wandered towards the sea. "I can fly, let me test this out.", he said, before Ayumi could speak. Slowly but surely, he walked out...and walked on the surface of the sea, leaving more footprints. Standing on the water, he reached down, and grabbed a handful. Brilliant, shining particles rained down from his palm, as he left a small dent in the sea. Squeezing his fist, the sand-like substance turned to water and re-filled the hole, which then diappeared as if nothing had disturbed the water. In the distance, along the beach, the group could see someone fishing. They actually noticed the group...and waved at them. The seaside was, all in all, just as bizarre as the main street had been.
"This is just so weird." Eris mumbled her hackles still up even as Mono set her down on the sand. The tiny Gigimon wandering up to the edge of the water to poke it lightly with one little foot. Only to watch the indent slowly begin to fill in with a muted shudder.
Though the site of the fisherman was what really got her attention as she blinked at the thing that looked to be a human her little mouth agape in surprise. "There are people here?" She questioned blinking as she squinted at said 'person' as if trying to assess if they were a threat to the group or not. They didn't look like they were inclined to attack, but the little in-training Digimon puffed herself up all the same and tried her best to look threatening. Just in case the human looking thing got any ideas and thought to try to take a piece out of the party.
Well it seemed that the choice was set and the group was going to the ocean much to Kamina's dismay, all was good in the end until Alan decide to address the little ball of metal about how it didn't looked so just to assume that was an enemy base nor it was fair to just go there and attack it without any kind of reason, Eleonora try to warn the guy raising her left hand and making a quick cut movement across her neck, signalizing to stop it and don't do it but it was too late as the Mamemon X slowly turned to Alan
"YOU!" He raised his voice, he had pretty strong vocal cords for a little thing "You dare to question my sense of justice? He pointed at Alan "You said it! I AM The Great Hero of Justice! I've been roaming the digital world helping the weak and innocent since I had the ability to fight, who're you? or even better, What are you? Because I'm sure as dark area I am not seeing a hero and more importantly I─"
Before the angry rant could keep going Leo step on Kamina and force him to be face down, Mamemon struggling to move and still mumbling nonsense, the German girl sighed and politely ask Alan to forgive her army member
"He just takes his ideals of justice and heroism to seriously, don't pay him too much attention, I think it'll be best if he stays on the Xros Loader until we need him again"
With that said the blonde brought her digivice and pointed at the Mamemon X who quikcly turn into a light that was absorbed by the Xros loader, on the scren of the divice the 8 bit image of Kamina would appear.
After a long walk the group got to the ocean and as Leo thought the beach was just as weird as the rest of this place in general, the sand and the water seemed to have the same properties soft yet solid to walk without much problem, the sight of a human waving his hand at them was weird as the German assumed they where the only ones here.
"Yeah... I'm starting to think that this is not a trick of Bakemon anymore... He looks a little too relax think he knows about digimons?" Eleonora asked
Alan had no idea what emotion to show as he was told off by the small metal ball. He definitely didn't want to show that he was somewhat amused at Kamina's reaction. In all honesty, he really did feel a bit bad for ticking him off, even if he knew they had no right to react the way they did. The tamer had an admiration of sorts for the absolute commitment to the pursuit of justice. The only reason Alan had tried to question him is that he wanted to address the one person who didn't agree with their decision to go to the ocean so that they didn't feel ignored. Well, it was clear how that had turned out. He wanted to tell Eleonora to stop stepping on him, but he wasn't sure how that would be taken. Regardless, he told the German girl it was fine; Kamina wasn't bothering him, and he shouldn't have spoken to him like he did.
Alan and Levi were getting somewhat used to the place's eeriness already by the time they saw the sea. They felt somewhat inclined to sit down and relax but they preferred to continue exploring and observing. "The job description said 'bodyguards,' remember?" reminded Levi. They both admitted that if they were here alone, they'd both be scared out of their minds, but they weren't, so they were able to marvel a bit at things like the ocean made up of more sand. Alan saw the fisherman waving in the distance, and gave a small wave back. "Yume Nikki, anyone?"
"As safe as it seems, I'm not about to go walking on that ocean," said Levi, though he at least walked up to it and scooped some "water" from the frozen tides, watching it slip through his hands.
The sea did nothing to ease the unsettling atmosphere of the place, especially once they were down one Digimon after Kamina got put into Timeout. Ayumi scratched her head, and then squatted by the sea, taking some of the ocean substance and rubbing it between her fingers. It turned to water once it was put under pressure, and dripped back down. "This is most unusual, I wonder what happened to allow water to achieve this state?" Ayumi was so engrossed by the water, she didn't even notice the fisherman in the distance. Solomon, however, did. He left the water surface, and joined Eris' side, both to help the Gigimon look intimidating and to make sure that this fisherman could not approach the group easily. For approach they did. Without leaving their chair. The while strip of beach they were on seemed to move towards the group, as if it was on a conveyor belt. And they were soon met with a large smile and empty green eyes, for the person's face arrived a split second before they did. They appeared to be a Japanese man with tanned skin, about 40 years of age, wearing a simple t-shirt and jeans. His whole look and colour was washed out and fuzzy, as if he'd jumped right from an old photo. In the bucket next to his chair was sea"water"...and something black and pixellated was squirming inside of it. Most unusual, however, was that when one of the group blinked, the man was replaced by a Digimon. An orange Betamon, with green eyes, blue stripes, and the dinosaurian feet of an Agumon. It had no backfin, and its eyes were empty, too. Man and Digimon seemed to change place every time someone blinked, but only to that person. Still, their smile seemed geniune. "Hello, And Welcome To Suzu! Can I Help You?" His voice was scratchy, tinny, and monotone, like from an old text-to-speak toy.
In the far distance, at the promenade, the cat was sitting, its eyes glowing blue, as it transmitted what it saw into a far-away room. Two pair of eyes observed the feed. "It would appear they have reached the seaside. Are you still sure I should not just intercept them?", asked one. "No, not yet. I still wish to believe they are harmless. Leave them be. If they get too close, we will have Hachiko take care of them.", said the other. So, they continued their observation through the cat's eyes.
Eris yelped, the sound high pitched and surprised as suddenly there was a face in front of them followed shortly by a man and then the man kept switching back and forth with a digimon and it was quite frankly all a little much for the tiny Mon. If it were possible to puff herself up more the Gigimon probably would have done so. Her growling kicking up a notch as she circled the human/digimon man thing her little fangs bared as she decided to leave the others to do the talking. Instead the curious Gigimon settled for nosing the 'fisherman's bucket prodding it lightly as she peered inside.
"That sure is a funny looking fish." She muttered trying to see what the dark shape inside the 'water' was exactly. Her blue gaze flickering back and forth between the bucket and the 'man' as she watched warily for any sign of threat.