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In the Dark Area, this was quite the sight to behold. By nature, this place was a barren and violent wasteland, the ground either covered with dry peat moss or uninhabitable crags of rock, drawing only the most hardy or foolish to find its hidden resources. But this effort exceeded all of their expectations.
Yes, it was just a start. As Luke stepped off of his bike, Iko appearing from the convenient V-Pet, they were greeted with a rather interesting sight - one that would have been extraordinarily plain near Terminus or Whitewater. Paved roads? Established foundations? The skeletons of buildings rising up from the ground? Heck, the material here actually seemed of quality, compared to the rags of Fragment Village.
"Gotta say, this is nice to see." Iko hunched down, letting his fingers drag briefly over the pavement. "I never really minded the Dark Area - there was just nothing for it here. But this? I could see this gathering some attention."
"The more civilized it gets, the wider it'll be safe around here. We might get something like a bit of Network Plains..." Luke stepped up to a torch, with a small sigh. "Guess it was a bit much to think they'd have electrical... come to think of it, how would they even source the power?"
It all had begun with the simplest of requests; "swing by my place at some point!", or at least words that amounted to that proposal. After all, Iko and Luke had been a reliable pair of friends thus far, and they've kindly offered to help on what they could to make this little project function.
To be completely honest, the selflessness of those words were a bit... suspect. Or maybe Amelie had just gotten way too used to the Dark Area's usual modus operandi; over this place, if anyone offered anything, it was because they wanted something in return.
Changing from that mindset to the one of normal living beings was something that had proven increasingly hard to do, or at least, it did when she remained for a prolonged period of this in these grounds. Maybe, that would change someday? That'd be nice.
In any case... that wasn't important at the moment! Tough philosophical and/or ideological questions weren't the point of this small meeting. As far as the brunette was aware, it was something a lot simpler.
The duo would hear clearly the sound of a car's engine at the distance, and its sudden stop at a relatively safe distance from them. It took her a moment to get off the car, but once she did, Amy smiled and waved at the two.
"Hey, guys!" She then proceeded to walk towards them. "How have you been? Hope the trip here hasn't been too rough!"
Maybe it was the Dark Area that helped Iko put on a good front?
Honestly, those sorts of thoughts were quite distant from Luke and Iko's mind at the moment. After meeting at the desert dealership, he'd considered her a friend, and that incident in the desert only further cemented that fact. If he was invited - and something else didn't come up - of course he'd try and make time for it. And besides, a city in the Dark Area?
The idea was so absurd and grand that Iko couldn't help but make the trip! "Hm?" Hearing the sound of an engine cut in from the distance, the wolf turned his head towards that direction. "Huh, guess we ended up here a bit early?"
"Well, we did kinda come at the last minute." Luke gave a shrug, and gave a wave back as Amy walked up to meet them. "Hey, yourself!" Returning that smile, he gave a nod. "Not at all. Especially around here, it seems things are pretty quiet."
"Oh, like anything would be able to catch up with your monster of a bike..." The Ankomon shook his head. He was having a much better time of it than the last time, the V-Pet making all the difference.
"So... you wanna show us around? From what I'm seeing so far its coming along nicely!"
Iko and Luke's disposition was always very refreshing, that much could be said! Among the many acquaintances that Amelie had made in her ventures through the Digital World, these two were probably among the group she was the fondest of.
"I know, right? Most of the time, the Dark Area is kinda silent and lugubrious, but I gotta say that the hum of work being done chases that feeling away really easily! Who knows, maybe at some point it'll change for the better. Or that's what I'd like to believe, anyway."
The teenager was a little bit too cheery today, wasn't she? Well, what could she say; thus far, the construction had been moving pretty quickly, and the number of problems had decreased proportionally. Plenty of reason to be happy about!
His request was met by the brunette storing her car within her digivice, and making a gesture with her hand, so the duo followed her. "There's not a lot to show, since most of the things are still under construction, but let's give everything a small peek!"
Walking towards an extremely large opening in the ground, Amy pointed at a reinforced tunnel that led down below. "After you." She muttered with a small smile. "By the way. What happened to Isaac in the end? I'm a bit curious about how that issue ended."
She might have been cheery, but considering the circumstances the last time the two ran into each-other, this was simply a breath of fresh air! And yes, it wasn't entirely silent, as the sound of a few shovels, a pick, and the general murmuring of construction work in the background made this place feel more alive than a barren wasteland. "Heh. If it weren't for the sky and the 'perpetual twilight' this city's going to have, you might almost think it'll be normal around here."
"Oh, be nice." Luke butted his elbow against the side of that smirking wolf, and soon enough, the two followed behind Amy. There might have not been much to show for now, but Luke didn't seem to mind: "It'll be nice to see what you have in mind. Ah, and don't mind me too much if I go off on a tangent or two, my head can get a bit too wrapped around 'engineering' projects like this."
Hm... but the first place was a tunnel? Luke took a step forward, pausing as Amelie asked her question. "Well, fortunately, he didn't experience any long-term damage. Honestly, the whole thing wiped him out mentally. He mentioned something about meeting someone, so we ended up escorting him back to Terminus."
"Yeah, I'm glad that all shook out," Iko gave a sigh, scratching the back of his head. "Apparently I took a hit or something for him, but that whole day's blacked out of my memory... probably for the better, really."
Normal. That was a pretty nice word, wasn't it? Amy managed to smile when it was mentioned. "The Dark Area is definitely... something, I have to say. But that doesn't mean it can't feel a bit homey, doesn't it? I'm sure a good deal of people and digimon will appreciate this place as soon as it comes to be. I guess that's a rather big when and a rather big if, but I think we'll get there, eventually!"
At the very least, it was nice to see that both Luke and Iko —in their own way— showed interest in this project; that meant that everyone seemed to be more or less on board to the small trip. Once by the tunnel, the brunette began her descent underground; it was a bit roughly-built and the inclination was mildly uncomfortable, but it wasn't anything that a healthy human or digimon couldn't handle with a bit of care.
In the end, what had ultimately happened to Isaac was mostly shrouded in mystery, but it wasn't like the guy couldn't handle himself; he'd be fine... right? "I just hope he doesn't get himself killed. His track record isn't the best, considering the trick he tried to pull at the desert, but I think that won't happen again."
The benefits from such a risky move had been nil, the brunette thinking that would be seen as a lesson at the very least. What about the tunnel? It seemed to have solidly built foundations. Who knew, maybe it would be able to even take moderately strong attacks from Adult levels? Not like the brunette was in a hurry to find out.
"That was a bit shortsighted of my part." Amy finally conceded. She had asked so quickly about Isaac that the obvious question had been ignored. "How did you manage to reunite? I had forgotten about it for a sec, but the last time we saw each other, you kinda had to... separate. Hope everything went well."
"If you have this much of a foundation already, I'm sure it'll at least be a 'when'! Weird compliment, but it fit the setting well enough!
Following Amelie through the tunnel, Luke gave a nod to Amelie's comment about Isaac, as Iko carefully ran a hand over the side of the wall. "He does try to put himself in the center of everything, so I'll agree that he does need to mellow out. Sort of an interesting thing to say to a spirit wielder who managed to turn into their spirit, but at this point I just don't want him to break down or something."
"Eh, this time, I think it might be a while before he tries something. He was really out of it." Catching back up to the group, Iko gave a short nod to Amelie. "It wasn't that bad... um, Luke, I think you'd have a better handle explaining this one?"
"I got it - but it really wasn't much. Once his signal popped up on my Digivice, I just found him put up in a hotel in Terminus. If I had to guess," Luke mulled it over, "whatever that 'USB' group was didn't want to give away their location or risk any misunderstandings."
So it remained a mystery to him, though Iko filled in a few gaps: "I do remember some middle-age doctor and a cat looking after me at some point, but its all spotty. In any case, 'well enough'."
That aside, Luke gave a chuckle back! "Well, that was our grand adventure last month. How about you, anything unique crop up since we last met?"
Honestly, Amelie couldn't but feel a bit flattered at Luke's words. With any luck, those would be true and the city's construction would advance smoothly. Falling into the hubris pitfall is something that was making a very conscious effort to avoid. Still, a small smirk managed to make its way towards the brunette's face. "We'll see; for now, I'm not going to take anything for granted. Especially in a place like the Dark Area; things could very well go to hell from one moment to the next, as far as I'm concerned. And I think you know that's a possibility as well."
Topics managed to change rather swiftly. Isaac always proved to be a somewhat cryptic, yet mildly interesting matter. "Being at the center of everything can backfire really badly if you don't know what you're doing. Hope everything goes well for him, wherever he is. Maybe I'll get to see him again someday; he was a really helpful guy back in the day."
Iko's whereabouts didn't have anything to envy Isaac's adventures, however! The whole deal seemed awfully suspicious, but as long as the digimon was alive and well, that was good enough. Considering that he took an attack from a digimon that could probably level an entire city if it tried, that much was an accomplishment!
"I'm glad you're fine." She concluded, her countenance becoming calm again. What about her adventures, huh? Well... "Besides, this small project, there's not much else I can say about what I've been doing. Some news articles here and there, but most of my energy has been focused on getting this city off the ground as quickly as possible."
Eventually, the tunnel would end in a large expanse. One of the many entrances of the city. From how the walls looked, the far end seemed ready to host a massive set of hinges.
"No reason to slow down when there's so much to do, right?" Her demeanor was placid, even though the spark of an entrepreneur shone in the girl's eyes.
"Its not like Isaac's going to be out of touch with us. Heck, maybe I'll bring him around to see the city... if he's not bringing more harbingers of the apocalypse along with him."
Oof. Luke cleared his throat, Iko giving a dry chuckle as the topic turned to a better note. Iko was fine, and Amelie, well, it made sense that most of her energy was being poured into this place. "I can imagine that. For it to crop up this quickly, you must have been working around the clock. Though I don't know exactly what's... down... here?"
The tamer's tone petered off, as they were brought to the end of the tunnel - practically overlooking a subterranean suburb! Iko couldn't help but give an impressed whistle. "Well, I'll be. I was going to say that assuming the top would stay that calm was a pipe dream, but this solves that quite nicely."
"Still, you're building the city underground?" Luke hadn't even considered that, but in retrospect: "Keeps it out of sight of the monsters... and its not like the surface really has a difference between night and day..."
"... And its actually built to be underground so it doesn't stink to high hell like Old Terminus." Sheesh, he still had a grin on his face! "How long did this take to clear out?"
Had Amelie been a tad too dramatic? The possibility was very likely, even when in truth... one never really knew when it came to the enigma that was Isaac. "Hope he can become human again, at least." That much had seemed to be an immediate concern in the brunette's mind. A spirit user getting stuck in their spirit form seemed like an awful fate, and one that she could vaguely relate too. Being completely honest with herself, it was quite likely that she would lose her mind if she were to carry such a heavy load.
Even if not by choice, having the fortitude to bear something like that was commendable. "But, you're right. I'd love for him to visit at some point! I'm sure we'll have fun, just like the first time we met, except that without the unpleasant bits!" That much, she didn't want to experience again. "And hopefully, without any harbingers of the apocalypse. Those are usually bad news."
She couldn't help but chuckle at Iko's comment. The wolf's sense of humor was definitely interesting! A small nod was then directed in Luke's way; call her single-minded or tunnel-visioned, but Amelie knew what she wanted, and she wasn't going to stop until the project was completed.
The brunette didn't need to respond to Luke's question regarding why they were going underground. He'd find the answer to that soon enough; none other than the city itself was designed to be built there. A tough challenge, from an architectural standpoint, but ultimately what she had deemed as the best shot at building this one up.
Ultimately, the brunette nodded at the various affirmations coming her way. "Figured this would be the safest way to build a settlement in here. Being underground offers a good deal of protection, both from the Dark Area's environment and from anybody who might want to mess up the city. We're taking our fair bit of precautions to ensure everything goes smoothly."
Unable to avoid laughing at Iko's remark, Amy just pointed at the far end of the chamber. "I'll make sure it won't smell more than what it should, don't worry. For now, do you guys want to check the main chamber? It's still a huge work-in-progress, but I'm sure you'll like it!"
Without more to say, she began to walk there. "By the way, how have the Knights been? I haven't heard of K in a while. How is she doing?"
"You know, with all the weird stuff this world has thrown at us, I'd be more surprised if it wasn't possible." Between the desert weirdness and the things, good and bad, he saw that Digimon were capable of, he wasn't going to write off anything, bleak as it might have seemed.
The thought of Isaac visiting brought a smile to Luke's face, returning a smile and a nod to the spirit wielder. As they were led into the city, Iko gave a small smirk as Amelie returned that chuckle, Luke more-or-less in awe of this place's structure. "Can't wreck what you can't find, I suppose. Was this a natural cavern or did this all have to be cut out?"
"Probably a bit of both," Iko guessed, nodding as the pair would follow Amelie down towards the main chamber. When Amelie spoke of the Knights, Luke gave a small nod. "The Knights have been going well. Aside from the whole 'leadership' aspect, K and Iko are pretty good bouncing ideas off of each-other, as well as sparring partners. For as grand as it all sounds, the wolf's treating it pretty casually."
"Hey, I didn't sign up to be called a 'Knight' or anything. If its a group to clock the bigger evil 'heads', then I'm all for it." He gave a laugh, wrapping an arm around Luke's shoulders!
It was a good thing that Amelie didn't hesitate on giving Luke the benefit of doubt. The number of things that this world was able to propitiate was definitely not a joke. Maybe it would take something along the lines of a miracle, but she was pretty confident that if there was any way for Isaac to return to his human body, that way would be found.
Thinking about that wasn't very conductive, however. Instead, the brunette decided to focus on Iko's question regarding the founding's origin. "It was a natural cavern that had been occupied by a pack of DexDorugamons... at least until some time ago. We've been tirelessly remodeling and expanding this place ever since."
Even if it had been an impressive work, that didn't mean the construction crews didn't have quite a bit of a head start; for that much, she was pretty thankful. Similarly, Amy couldn't avoid smiling at Iko's mindset regarding the knights. Overall, the digimon seemed like he was having a blast.
"I mean, even if the whole medieval aspect can be a bit corny, having fun is what matters, isn't it? I'm glad the knights are working out well and growing; that's always something good to see." Not daunted by the display of friendship, she advanced into the main chamber, and what would be the center of the city.
In here, a strange phenomenon had begun to develop; for some reason, the place's physics were greatly altered, and while that didn't affect any of the buildings currently under construction, it made the place look like... quite the sight, in all honesty. Especially since now, it looked like the pair of trekkers were literally walking upside down, even if their center of gravity wasn't affected in the slightest.
"This wasn't... something I expected would happen, to be honest." She mentioned, almost apologetically. "Place's been like that since two weeks ago or so. It's not affecting the building's integrity in any way, but the construction has gone noticeably slower, considering that the workers kinda... have to get used to this, if that makes any sense."
Just walking was fairly easy, but doing fairly arduous work or flight-based mobility could get really dicey.
Sheesh, DexDorugamon? Iko gave a blink as Amelie said that, knowing full well how ferocious such a pack could be. "Makes me wonder what pushed them all out of here. I mean, its not like they come back if they eat out a place, but..."
Yeah, that was at least a little unsettling to the Ankomon. Taking a moment to shake that thought out of his head, Iko gave a nod back to her comment about the Knights. "Fun's definitely a good part of it. Even if its something serious, there's no point sticking around with it if its not something you like to do!"
"Seconded," Luke agreed, with a shrug. As they moved into the next cavern, well: "... Huh." The laws of physics just seemed to be abandoned, their feet and weight drawn more to the walls than the logical bottom of the cave. Seeing the construction below was enough to hurt the sense of perspective.
Iko, however, just gave a chuckle! "Oh, wow, you don't see a lot of places like this anymore! Though, the ones I've seen are more with 'breathable water' than something like this. The DexDorugamon probably used this to extend their nesting area. To build, though, I think it would be just a matter to see where the gravity changes..."
The wolf picked up a small rock to test, letting it drop. Would it fall to the 'logical bottom', or would it land right by their feet?
A grin was the only possible response to Iko's queries. She gestured at her own person with a finger in an obvious and exaggerated gesture. "What pushed them out of the cave? Well... it was me, of course! And a small group of people who agreed to help; they're important as well."
Wasn't that the obvious answer to the question posed? "After all, why would a group of DexDorugamons leave a perfectly habitable cave on their own? The good side is that they still inhabit this place every now and then. Logically, they're the main members of our working crews after we managed to subjugate them. And the reason why this place is gonna smell like robo-zombie-dragon unless we're really careful with how we employ them. Don't you think?"
At least being knight was a hobby that both enjoyed. That was something good! "I think that enjoying what you do is important. Life would be pretty boring otherwise. Or joining something that's obviously voluntary would feel like a chore. Nobody wants to be there."
Thus far, the three beings managed to agree on most topics. The conversation would've followed the same path, if it weren't for the fact that the main chamber's physics were a bit... strange. And that was to say the least, considering they were now walking upside down.
"I didn't expect to stumble into this kind of place, in all honesty. Not that I mind it, delays on work notwithstanding; moving the entire complex elsewhere would be slower, anyway. Studying this place's phenomena is very interesting."
Iko's rock would meet an interesting fate; seemingly, every static surface had a gravitational field of its own, which ended with the logical conclusion of the rock dropping in the same direction they were standing if it wasn't given any impulse. But, if somebody were to give it enough force to break away from the current surface's pull, the rock would slowly drift into biggest static surface near it.
"Huh. Okay, remind me never to get on your bad side, here." Iko managed a nervous chuckle, unsure of his own level of 'joking' as Amelie spoke about subjugating an honestly dangerous swarm of robotic, flying dinosaurs. Luke, meanwhile, more had the question of 'how' in his head, but: "Well, if it works it works? Usable space like this is probably premium in the Dark Area."
Regarding the Knights, Iko gave a nod. "Well, its still somewhat of a job. K's got it pretty right - it doesn't matter the 'how' or 'why' these recent attacks on the world are happening, someone's gotta take a stand against it. 'Sides, what better way then to just punch the bad stuff in the face?"
"There's way more to it than you're laying on, Iko." Luke sighed, as Iko rolled his eyes - the conversation soon shifting to just how the physics of this place worked.
Because, well, it was weird! Iko's experiment was followed up by Luke's own, the man quickly finding that a rock tossed to the side would 'magnetize' to an unexpected part of the wall. "Assuming the buildings aren't tied to the same effect..."
Luke blinked, something clicking in his head. "If there's no common sense of down... I think you could suspend some sort of metal ring or ball in the middle, and tie cables off of it. The math's probably a bit more tricky than I'm thinking it is, but you could cut transport costs down by swinging a rope or something off the center."
"What, like a swing?"
"Well, no, think about it. If you set up a swing in here, and push it, the swing would never come back to its resting position. And with the lower sense of 'friction', it would take much less energy to move something from Point A to Point B."
"I'll... take your word for it?" Iko raised an eyebrow, finding himself somewhat confused just thinking about it. Ah, there was Luke's engineer brain.