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"Quit struggling Zurumon!" Littorio was running as fast as her legs could cary her, grateful for the first time in her life that her parents had always pressed her into running track. She may not have been the fastest person in the world but she was fast enough to keep distance between herself and the gang of Demidevimon behind her. Of course, just because the office worker was keeping a decent amount of distance between herself and the aggressive bat digimon that did not mean she was safe! A series of darts whirled through the air behind her and Littorio reflexively dived to the ground.
Dirt filled the office worker’s mouth as she crashed into the mud. Littorio wasted no time lying idle and jumped back up to her feet then kept running. However, she soon found herself coming up to the edge of a cliff. She stopped running suddenly and changed direction, sprinting along the length of the cliff only to find one of the Demidevimon blocking her path. Littorio would then attempt to run the opposite direction only to find every direction blocked by the digimon.
“Heeeey guys….how about we all just calm down and go our separate ways eh?” The Demidevimon trio hovered towards the human and her partner.
“After you ruined our food? Hell no!” It was at that moment the yellow blob that was Lavina jumped from Littorio’s arms, putting herself between the human and the Demidevimons.
“You’ll have to go through me first!” They were bold words indeed, especially for a digimon that was the lowest ranking of digimon.
That battle against Arlecchimon had been brutal and also emotionally wracking for a number of reasons. It had taken a full day of resting for Yuko’s partner to recharge his batteries and evolve back into his preferred form of Jokermon. Now the duo were on their way to leave this blood-red mountain for good and go to the Village of Beginnings to look for Arlecchimon’s remains. However, as fate would have it, there was more trouble to be found in this treacherous part of the Digital World…
Hearing a ruckus nearby, Yuko rushed forward to see a beautiful woman and a tiny slime Digimon being harassed by a gang of wild DemiDevimon. “Hey! You jerks!” The Japanese delinquent shouted to get the attackers’ attention. “Knock it off! Pick on someone your own size!” “Silly Yuko… Picking on someone weaker is the honorable thing to do here in the Dark Area!” Jokermon casually said, while leisurely catching up to his human partner. “Allow me to demonstrate. Bring your Digivice out, if you would so kindly.” “You wanna Digivolve?!” The delinquent girl asked with a bewildered expression. “But, that’s overkill! They’re just Rookies, you can shoo them off with ease.” “Come now, don’t hesitate.” The demonic jester insisted. “Who knows what could happen to that poor woman if we don’t intervene.” “Ugh! Fine!” The teenage Tamer groaned, pulling out her purple and red D-Arc, whose screen shined with blinding brilliance.
“Jokermon, Warp Digivolve to… Piedmon!” A tall clown clad in a garish, colorful outfit suddenly appeared between Littorio and the DemiDevimon, with four swords sheathed behind his back and a monochromatic mask covering part of his smiling face. “How do you do, gentlemen? Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Jokah-sama, the Demon King of the Digital World and Clown Prince of the Dark Area. You little bats would make fine additions to my army of Nightmare Soldiers… although, now that I get a better look, you would fit even better in my keychain collection~” The Mega-level Digimon casually threatened them, willing a menacing white cloth to appear in his hands.
Littorio’s brain ran through options of how she could talk her way out of this. Perhaps if she offered to replace the food her partner had ruined that would sort things out? Hmmm…. However, it was at that moment that a new player showed up on the field. A human girl and her jester like partner. Littorio was rather glad to see another face, especially when they assumed that she was the innocent victim in all this. Time to play up the vulnerable maiden act!
“Oh thank god you showed up. These digimon just showed up and started attacking us out of nowhere!” It was a total lie. In truth, Littorio and her partner had been walking through the area then tripped down a hill landing on the food these Demidevimon were hoping to eat. Long story short the food ended up inedible and Littorio’s clothing ended up with a nasty amount of grease staining the front of it.
“Oi. You wanna go?! Back off!” The trio of Demidevimon turned their focused to the Jestermon, unafraid of him or at least that was until he warp digivolved into a Piedmon. The three bat Digimon decided to take this chance to run away, fleeing back the way they came as fast as their little wings could carry them. Beating up a human and her low levelled partner was one thing but fighting a mega level was another thing!
“...Pffffffft. Ahahahahahaha.” Littorio burst out laughing as the trio of Demidevimon ran away, fleeing out of fear or common sense. Either way this was very funny. The office worker bent down and picked up her small partner, placing the yellow blob of a Digimon on her shoulder.
“Thanks..hehehehehe. That’s a neat trick you did there. How’d you do it?” Littorio turned her focus to the Piedmon and their partner, hips cocked confidently as she grinned widely.=
The adult woman burst out laughing at the sight of the wild DemiDevimon fleeing for their puny lives, causing Piedmon to laugh in turn. “I’ve made you laugh, how wonderful! Bahahahahaha!” With a wide grin permeating his red lips, the Hellish Clown gracefully turned on his heel, benting his spine forward to meet that woman’s eye level. “Indeed, how did I do it? How did I do this trick… this Clown Trick!” He exclaimed, pulling his white sheet away, and in its place a red rose was now in his hand, which he offered to her. “A gift from your very own Prince Charming. Better yet, call me Prince Charmed~”
Their little chit-chat was interrupted by the sound of Yuko taking pictures with her phone. “What exactly are you doing?” Piedmon asked with a frown. “Mmm, nothing. Just collecting evidence to tell Mom that you were hitting on another woman.” The multicolor-haired teenager cheekily replied. “Oh no! Don’t tell Hana about this, please!” The jester pleaded dramatically.
“Anyway, are you two alright?” The young hooligan turned towards Littorio and Zurumon. “Name’s Yuko, by the way, and you’ve already gotten to know Jokah. And you… aren’t you a bit old to be a Digimon Tamer?” Yuko asked, staring at the other woman as if she was a fossil.
“Oh and you’re a gentlemen too. How very quaint.” Littorio humoured this comedic digimon, her eyes momentarily dancing away to make sure the Devidemimon weren’t trying any naughty sneak attacks. It was fortunate for their sake that they were not or else Littorio would have to see to it that they were punished accordingly. Of course that’s when the Piedmon rolled one of his sleeves up to reveal a rose that Littorio found was being promptly offered to her.
“Ah….a rose hmmm? Allow me to offer you a friendly tip….learn about your target’s tastes before offering gifts~” Littorio casually deflected the offered rose, choosing not to accept it in return for some helpful advice. Roses were not a thing. They were a generic flower of love and died way too easily for Littorio to ever appreciate them. Still, it was fortunate the human partner of this jester interjected at this moment.
“Hohohoho? Hana? Oh dear oh dear…..if you had continued to flirt with me you...hmmmm ahahahaha~ Nevermind that.” Littorio’s gaze turned from the jester to their human partner, smiling softly.
“Yes I’m fine. My name is Littorio and this is…”
“Lavinia.” The yellow blob atop Littorio’s shoulder piped in, introducing themselves.
“There’s an age limit to being a tamer? My my...it’s a little rude to comment on your elder’s age you know?” A knowing smirk flashed across the Italian's lips for a moment.
“Ohohohoho! We have a giggler in our midst! Hahahahahaha!” The self-proclaimed Demon King laughed along with Littorio, devolving from his Mega form of Piedmon back into his Champion form of Jokermon now that the enemies were surely gone. He was still taller than the two women, but he was much leaner and slicker as Jokermon, and could put on the moves to prove it, holding the red rose with his teeth while doing a wacky little interpretive dance.
Yuko, on the other hand, wasn’t really in a dancing mood. In fact, she was kinda weirded out by the Italian’s behavior. “It wasn’t that funny, you can both stop laughing now. And I wasn’t being rude. I was just pointing out how all Tamers we’ve met so far have been teenagers or in their early twenties at most. You look a bit older than that, but I wouldn’t exactly call you an ‘elder’. Unless you’re a really good-looking forty year-old woman… Are you?” Darn it, now she was actually curious what Littorio’s actual age was, but not as curious as she was about her partner’s nickname. “So, you’re Lavinia, huh? Who gave you that name?” She asked the yellow blob.
“You do have an entertaining partner young lady.” Just like that Littorio was the pinnacle of politeness again. A soft smile present on her face, a respectful distance kept between herself and these two. Littorio swore she’d seen this strange digimon’s dance somewhere before; perhaps in a movie somewhere? She devoted but a few moments thought to the matter before deciding that it simply was not worth the effort.
“Now now. Don’t you know, all women are eternally twenty four~” The matter of one’s age was a sensitive matter for a female of any age or that was the facade Littorio liked to play up for humour. One day she might have ended up genuinely caring about her age being pointed out but that day was not today. Lavinia sighed softly to herself, watching the exchange between her tamer and this other duo dreading how it was going to end.
“I named myself. I found a human book once. Lavinia was one of the character’s names….Now I must ask, how are you able to seemingly digivolve between levels at will?” Littorio could always trust her studious partner to ask the questions she herself was dying to know the answer to.
“Eternally twenty four… my Mom says that all the time too. So you really are forty, huh?” Yuko said with a totally straight face, having decided right then and there that Littorio was deliberately hiding her real age. She had to, if she was speaking just like the girl’s mother. Beyond the trivial matter of her age, something about Littorio seemed slightly off, but the young delinquent just couldn’t put her finger on it. She wasn’t that great at reading people.
Jokermon also eyed Littorio’s partner suspiciously, but for an entirely different reason. “A human book, you say? Tell me, have you ever read the works of William Shakespeare and H. P. Lovecraft? If you had, you would know that nothing good ever happens to women named Lavinia!” “Why? What happens in those books?” Yuko asked curiously, only for the jester to whisper the answer in her ear, causing her to cringe visibly. “Yikes! That’s beyond messed up…”
“Anywho, to answer your question, it’s thanks to my bond with my Tamer here that I’m able to Digivolve to any form I wish as easily as changing hats. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?” The self-proclaimed Demon King explained, puffing his chest with pride.
“It seems your partner is not the only comedian here but...no. I’m not that old yet. Try a lot closer to twenty eight.” The office worker’s expression did not falter or miss a beat, remaining perfectly polite on the surface despite how it did sting just a little she was called forty. Despite Littorio’s best efforts to humorously deflect the question and make it clear you really should not be pushing to know someone’s age, especially if they were female, this young girl just did not seem to get it.
“Me…? No. How about you Lavinia?” Littorio turned her eyes towards her small blob of a partner, one eyebrow quirked up in curiosity. Shakespear she had heard of in secondary school, even if she found his writing so utterly droll, but Lovecraft? Now that was a new name.
“I have. Regardless of what happened to her it is still a name I like.” Still, the matter of names aside Littorio and Lavinia were both a great deal more interested in digivolution.
“...Elaborate on the nature of this bond. How does it work? Does it have anything to do with one of these things?” The elderly female pulled her digivice out of one of her jean’s pockets and shook it ever so slightly. She’d gotten it weeks ago with little idea of what it actually did.
Twenty eight, huh? Yuko stared at Littorio with squinted eyes, as if she still had her doubts. Whatever, they had much more important things to worry about than this woman’s age. It’s not like she was gonna ask to see her ID… not yet anyway. She was, however, shown a black and red Digivice, and nodded, holding up her own purple and red model. “Yup, it’s usually our Digivices that trigger Digivolution, but it doesn’t always work. Digivolving for the first time into a new level is usually the hardest part, then it gets much easier from the second time on.”
“Think of it like this. Your Digivice isn’t what bonds you to a Digimon, it’s the proof that such a bond exists in the first place.” Jokermon explained further, wearing a pair of lecturer glasses that he willed to appear seemingly out of nowhere. As a comedian, he naturally had a prop for nearly every occasion. “In order to reach the next level of Digivolution, you need to strengthen the bond with your partner first. Otherwise, anyone could just Digivolve their partners at the click of a button!” “Which WOULD be pretty helpful, I might add.” Yuko added with a nervous smile.
“...You really do have some very deep pockets don’t you jester?” The Italian had to admit she wondered just how much stuff this comedian kept stuffed in his pockets. Being well prepared was admirable and all but...actually no. There was nothing wrong with it. A comedian’s craft was humour, their canvas people’s faces. One would be a poor artist without the proper tools at their disposal, especially when their craft was so reliant on timing as comedy was.
“...So if the digivice is the means but not the key….then how does one unlock digivolution to start with? What does the system around digivolution class as “strengthening bonds”?” There was a lot of questions to ask and a lot of details that Littorio desired to know. After all, “closer bonds” was a highly vague thing that meant little to Littorio. She wanted something more...concrete to work on.
“Hohohoho, what can I say~ I always keep an ace or two up my sleeve, as well as a King, a Queen, a Jack and every other card for that matter!” The fiendish pierrot chuckled at the woman’s comment, removing his lecturer glasses and stuffing them back in those bottomless pockets of his.
The Italian Tamer wanted to know more about the Digivolution process, and who could blame her? Having a strong and reliable partner was essential in surviving in the Digital World. “Honestly, I’ve seen plenty of Digimon evolving and even I’m not sure how exactly it works…” Yuko admitted with a soft sigh. “All I know is that it happens when it’s meant to happen. Every time Jokah Digivolved was so that he could save my life or fight a really strong opponent. Beyond that, I guess you just have to… get to know Lavinia and trust one another.”
Hopefully her explanation would be at least somewhat helpful. That aside, the question now was what to do with this 28 year-old woman they had just saved? The pierce-faced teenager ponderously stroked her chin. “Say, Littorio-san, how did you end up here? Do you know your way back? Do you want us to take you back home or something?” She asked the older Tamer.
“Well, I hear it’s always helpful to have an ace up one’s sleeve.” The Italian’s lips curled into an amused grin, a subtle smirk in response to her own quip. Littorio wondered what else the jester had in his pockets, as she offhandedly listened to his attempt at humour.
“So it’s triggered to save one’s life or when facing stronger foes huh?... Hmmm I can work with that. Although, indulge me with an answer to this: How does one get stronger outside of this Digivolution? I doubt you’d simply work out and exercise like a human would.” Digimon were an entirely different species who resided in an entirely different world with its own set of funky rules.
“How’d I end up in this part of the digital world? Simple really. I walked~” In truth, walking was only one part of it. She’d taken a Trailmon as close to the Dark Area as she could before hopping onto a boat and then walked the rest of it. It would have been a great deal more helpful if she had some form of car or vehicle but short of that, one’s legs were always an option.
Did the woman seriously expect them to believe that she had ended all the way up there simply by walking? Yuko knew for a fact that one did not simply walk to the Dark Area. She knew that all too well, actually. “You walked, huh? You took a creepy ass train with red, glowy eyes, didn’t you?” The young hooligan questioned the Italian further. She didn’t know why that was the case, but she found it amusing how it was only the creepiest kind of Trailmon that went to the creepiest area in the Digital World.
“For your information, Ms. Littorio, I do go to the gym frequently. How else do you think I’m able to preserve this slick, hourglass figure?” Jokermon haughtily said, making a gesture to indicate his entire body. He was not an idiot, however, and understood perfectly well what Littorio had actually meant with the question. “In some seriousness, it’s all a matter of experience, darling. A Digimon that has Digivolved into a certain form several times before will have an easier time handling their body than a Digimon that has Digivolved only once.”
“Yeah, pretty much, I guess.” Yuko confirmed, nodding. “Anyway, what are you gonna do now? It’s still dangerous to walk around here with only a baby Digimon to protect you.”
“Of course I did. They made for some rather charming company really.” Littorio had never once in her life expected herself to be engaging in active conversation with a moving train, while in fact riding on that train, but that had been before she arrived in the Digital World with all its oddities.
“Sorry Jester. You’re not my type~” Well it being a matter of experience at least gave Littorio a clear understanding. A digimon needed to increase their strength and would then digivolve under do or die circumstances. The Italian was not so confident on the catalyst being putting herself in danger but putting her partner through an exercise regime was something she could do.
“Hmmmmm...probably return to a less...hazardous region. Of course...my safety is at no real risk. Is that not why you’re here dearest Jester and company?”
“Littorio you...really should not rope people into being your personal security…” The yellow blob sighed, having slowly come to accept that their tamer’s mind was impossible to change once she set her sights on something.