Episode 5: World; Wide; Waterlogged
"Ooo, this one's pink. It looks nice, but I wonder if it's a little too feminine. Oh, and this blue one has gold trim. It looks nice, too, but I feel like I'd get tired of looking at it after a while. What do you think Kurohi-kun?"
Kurohi stared at the back of the bleach-blond girl's head. "They're all exactly the same, Yumie-san." It had taken him four venomous stares and an actual konk to the forehead before he remembered to address her with honorifics. "They all do exactly the same thing. No matter what color you pick, you're probably still gonna end up with a Numemon."
She continued to sort through the different colors. "What's a Numemon?"
"It's the poop-throwing green slug people get when they're too mean to their Digimon."
She seemed insulted. "I'm not going to be mean to it."
"My forehead begs to differ."
The two of them were at a big electronics store. Amazingly, after explaining all the practical perks of owning a Digimon, Yumie(-san) had actually decided to get one. And so here he was, on his day off, bending to the every whim of the most nitpicky girl he had the misfortune of being friends with. She had just spent the last hour comparing all the colors they had in stock.
"If I'm going to be carrying this around with me everywhere, then I want to get it in a color that I like. I'm not like you; choosing a boring color like black."
"What's wrong with black?" He pulled out his own DP. "It's functional, doesn't show dirt or scuffs easily, and matches almost everything. Plus Linkmon is black. I always like getting a new casing that matches my Digimon's color scheme."
"Casing? You mean you can change out the casing?"
"Well, Yea..." Kurohi froze in place as he realized his folly. "We could've saved an hour if I'd just said that from the beginning, couldn't we?"
After another hour of Yumie choosing the ten colors she liked the most, they proceeded to the checkout.
As the cashier rang up her purchases, Kurohi noticed he kept shooting fervent glances at him. After he had handed her the receipt, he finally spoke up. "Um, would you happen to be Furijin Kurohi-san?"
Kurohi turned away as Yumie kept looking between him and the cashier. "Do you know each other Kurohi-kun?"
"I knew it was you!" He seemed very excited. "I'm a big fan. During the 2011 finals, Dukemon Crimson Mode versus Beelzebumon X; it was a match to die for."
"Th-thanks. I appreciate the support." Yumie was looking really confused at this point.
"Hey, you haven't entered any tournaments lately, right? When are you gonna start dominating the circuit again?"
Kurohi gritted his teeth. "I'm sorry, but my Digimon's data was...corrupted. It's gonna take me a while before I can train up a Digimon that can compete..."
"Oh, that's too bad." After a few more brief exchanges, Kurohi and Yumie left.
Yumie was heavily silent for a while. "So...are you famous Kurohi-kun?"
The question was a little embarrassing. "A little. Back before Link was my partner, I used to be a pretty big contender in competitive Digimon battles."
"I see." She seemed to understand the Kurohi didn't want to talk about it,and appreciated it when she changed the subject. "We're going over to Riko-chan's place now, right?"
"Yea. You know Endo Nobu? He's gonna be there, too. Apparently Riko got a cursed Blu-Ray or something and wants us to watch it together." The thought dumbfounded him a bit. "Seriously, who's ever heard of a cursed Blu-Ray?"
"Are you sure it's ok for me to come along? Riko-chan and I aren't really close."
"What's the matter? Afraid of scary movies?"
Her composure dropped in a instant. "But what if something jumps out of the screen at us!?"
Kurohi couldn't stop himself from laughing.
Kurohi's forehead was sore again as he helped Yumie and Riko open up her new DP.
"Hey, Kurohi." Riko was fiddling with some tape that got stuck to her fingers. "Explain the whole level thing again. I wasn't paying attention the first time."
"That's because you fall asleep whenever I say the word Digimon."
Riko fell backwards onto the couch. Her fake snoring filled the room.
"Hey, Nobu, I think you were wrong about that whole narcolepsy thing." After a light punch to the shoulder, Riko was back up-right and listening. "Alright, alright, it goes like this: When a Digitama hatches, it becomes a Baby I. Are you following so far?" He gave Riko a smug look.
"I'm still awake, aren't I?"
Yumie was now fiddling with her DP in her hand. "So after I turn it on, how long will it take before it hatches?"
"Eh~, on average it normally takes about five minutes. I've hatched three Digitama, and the longest one took around seven minutes. Longest seven minutes of my life."
Yumie giggled. "Is the suspense that bad?"
"Hey, it was egg number three. I was hoping my good luck streak would hold out. I got some pretty awesome Baby I Digis before that."
"Alright, alright." Riko was trying to wave him down. "Enough reminiscing, what comes after Baby I?"
"Baby II. It takes about an hour for a Baby I to evolve into a Baby II. That evolution's pretty straight forward, so most Baby I's will always evolve into the same Baby II."
Yumie had turned on her DP and was now staring down at her Digitama. "Um, what level is a Numemon?"
Kurohi smiled. It seemed his words had sunk in. "It's an adult level, and don't worry too much about that just yet. We've got one stage in between Baby II and Adult, and it's the one you'll be spending the most time as. Your Child level." He made a grand gesture along with his last line. As dramatic as he tried to make this statement seem, everyone was just staring at him like the nutter he knew he was. "What? It's a big deal."
"I'm not quite sure I understand." Nobu had entered the conversation. "Why is being a child more important than being an adult? And what do you mean about it being a child most of the time?"
"Well, this is actually where it starts getting a little more confusing."
"Uhg." Riko laid back on the couch. "This is so stupid."
"They're not stupid." For once, it wasn't Kurohi defending his digital disposition, but Yumie. "Kurohi-kun says that having a Digimon is really practical. They can check your e-mail for you, send texts in your stead, look up information, record shows; it's like you always have an extra set of hands while on the computer."
"She's right, Riko." Nobu's support was also a surprise. "I may not want a Digimon myself, but my dad's company bought Digimon for all its employees, and it's helped raise the companies efficiency rates."
"Eh! You, too, Nobu? You're supposed to be on my side." Riko was now quickly becoming pouty. "Being ganged up on in my own house..."
"Hey, you were the one who asked me to talk about this in the first place."
"Yea, and I'm already regretting it."
"Ah!" Yumie was suddenly jumping up and down. "It's hatching! It's hatching!" Both the boys crowded around either side of her to see. Even Riko perked up a bit. The little red and white egg on the screen kept shaking, cracks appearing across the middle. Once they had surrounded the entire egg, it popped open to reveal what looked like the head of a white teddy bear. "It's...it's so cute!" Yumie could not stand still.
"Bo?" The little ball looked up at her with happy curiosity.
She moved her finger over the touch screen, petting it. "And what's your name little guy?"
"Yumie-san, Baby I Digimon normally can't talk, they just use the syllables in their names to make noise."
"Well, what is he? You're the expert here." She gave him a look like she was daring him to answer.
Kurohi had never bothered learning the names of all 20 something Baby I Digimon, but this was one of the few he actually could remember. "It's a YukimiBotamon. It generally evolves into ice or mammal themed Digimon."
Chilling music filled the room, quieting the three hovering over Yumie's DP. Riko had quietly booted up the movie while everybody had had their attentions elsewhere. The metallic font on the screen read "Rottweiler" in English, with subtitles below for those in the room who didn't know the language as well as Kurohi did. "It's scary movie time, people! So sit back, and don't piss on my couch."
It was a poorly dubbed movie about a possessed robotic dog, hunting down an escaped convict and killing everyone in its path. The only exciting things that happened were a scene where the main character had his penis hanging out (which caused Riko to wolf whistle and Yumie to cover both her and her Digimon's eyes), Yumie's white puff ball turning into a green puff ball with a tail (Which had nothing to do with the movie), and a rather cool climax where the robot dog, with all its skin melting off, and the convict charge at each other while surrounded by fire.
"It was 'meh'." Kurohi wiggled his left hand as he said this. He couldn't use his right because Yumie was clutching it very tightly to her chest with her face buried into his shoulder. He could feel her breasts through his long-sleeve shirt. "Hey, Yumie-san?"
"Could you please let go? I can guess your bra size right now."
"M mmm'm mmmm mmm."
Riko's eyes were jumping back and forth between the two of them with a malevolent grin on her face. "She says she doesn't want to."
"I understand muffled just fine, thank you very much." Kurohi could think of a dozen and a half ways to instantly get her off, but he had a theory, and this was the perfect opportunity to test it. He leaned in close to her ear and whispered. "You can hold onto me as long as you want...Yumi." She sat bolt upright, her face tomato red, and her eyes averted 100 degrees from his face. Bingo.
Riko had to put her hands over her mouth to keep herself from laughing. "Hey, lady killer? After that hour-and-a-half, not-worth-the-1200-yen distraction, I'm in the mood for you finish up your little teaching session you were givin' earlier. Ain't that right, Nobu?" Nobu had apparently fallen asleep during the movie. "Oy, honor student, it isn't like you to sleep through lectures." She slapped him on the shoulder, which woke him with a start.
He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes with his wrist. "Where am I?"
"In class. Furijin-sensei was just about to resume his lecture."
He blinked drearily a few times before looking around the room. He looked like he was still half asleep.
Kurohi decided he might as well get started, while Riko kept poking at the dazed Nobu. "So...we were on...Child levels, right?"
"Yyyyyup." Riko was still poking at the delirious Nobu, apparently amazed by his lack of a reaction.
"Ok. A Baby II will normally evolve into a Child after about 3 hours, and there's normally around two to five things a given Baby II will evolve into. Once it evolves into a Child, that'll be its permanent form for the time being, with a few exceptions." He turned his attention to Yumie who was craning her neck enough so that she could just barely look at him. "That Numemon you're so worried about it one of them. There are a couple really bad Adult levels that become permanent after evolving into them once." he started counting them on his fingers. "There's also all of Numemon's various recolors and redecos, Skumon and his like, and Tyumon. If you own one of those, you will be the butt of many a joke because, quite frankly, your Digimon looks like it came out of someone's butt." He let this last sentence hang in the air. Yumie looked horrified at the thought of having a poop themed Digimon. "In their defense, thou, PlatinumNumemon does look pretty cool, all things considered."
"I don't care what it's made of; I don't want some fecal Digimon that people are gonna make fun of me for." She clutched her DP close to her chest, making Kurohi think that, if it was a real Digimon, she'd be choking it between her cleavage if she did that.
He gave a short cough to clear his thoughts before continuing. "After about a day, you'll be given a notification that you can evolve to Adult. You can stay in that form for a while before your Digimon will time out and revert back to being a Child."
"Hmm, sooooo it's Babies I and II, Child, then Adult. Seems simple enough." Riko had given up poking Nobu, who was now back asleep, and resting on her shoulder. "Is there any way to stay as an Adult, besides getting a gross one?"
"Yea. After a year you'll be given the choice to have your Digimon perform a permanent evolution. It basically means that the evolution will never time out, and you have to forcefully revert. I always take that option when prompted." He mulled his hand around in the air a bit, like he was moving the words around in his head, looking for the right one. "It's sort of like a status symbol." He nodded a couple times before concluding. "And that's your basic levels. There are a few others, but you either have to train up your Digimon, or win event items to get them."
"Wow." Riko seemed shocked.
"Impressed and amazed?"
"No, I'm just surprised I didn't zone out during all that."
Kurohi and Yumie didn't stay long after that. With Nobu crashed on the couch, Riko waved them goodbye at the door as the two began walking in the direction of Yumie's house. She kept playfully petting her Nyaromon. "Hey, Kurohi-kun, you said there were other levels. What are those called?"
"Why? Thinking of taking up battling?"
"No, I'm just curious. If I'm going to raise a Digimon, then I think I should know more about them." She kept shooting him shy looks, like she was asking him something really personal.
"The others are...Perfect, Ultimate, Super Ultimate...Armor, Hybrid...and...Xros."
"And how high can Linkmon evolve? You've had him for six months, right?" She giggled a little, as if she could guess the answer. "I'm sure you can already evolve to the highes-"
Yumie stopped, looking a little puzzled. "I'm sorry?"
"He can evolve to Adult, and that's it."
She looked even more confused now. "But...You're you."
"That's a brilliant observation."
"No, I mean, you're a super famous Digimon battler, right? You've been training Digimon for years? And he can only evolve to Adult level? Is it that hard to get to the next level?"
Kurohi shrugged. "It's not that hard. It took me three days to evolve my Greymon into a MetalGreymon." Which was true. Whenever he had trained a Digimon before, he would always manage to get them to Ultimate by the end of their second week together or sooner. Which, now that he thought about it, was incredibly fast. "It took me even less time for WereGarurumon and MegaloGrowmon, too." He tried to recall how it was explained to him. "The ability to evolve to Adult is automatically programmed into every Digimon when it's created, since the branches of evolution are rather narrow up to that point. Once a Digimon has determined its evolutionary path, it deletes all non-essential data regarding that form."
Yumie was staring slack jawed.
"Did you get any of that?"
"You lost me somewhere around 'Metal'."
Kurohi massaged his temples. "Basically," he continued, "once a Digimon evolves to Child, it deletes all its data on the other Child Digimon it could have turned into. The same is true for every other form." He paused for a moment to confirm that she understood. "Perfect and Ultimate are different. They aren't built into a Digimon, but instead are downloaded from the system when certain criteria are met. The higher up a Digimon goes in its evolution, the more its path will branch. I'm actually surprised a DP can hold as much data as it can." He scratched his chin. "Thou it only has to for about a day, I guess."
Yumie stared at him intensely. So much so, in fact, that it was a little unnerving. "So why can't you two evolve then?"
"Because we're not connected to the system." His response was very nonchalant. Sure, it did bug him a bit at first, but he'd gotten over the fact that they couldn't evolve a long time ago. Jackmon was strong enough to fight off any Perfect level and most Ultimates, so there really wasn't any need to try and go higher.
"Why aren't you connected to the system?"
"We just aren't. It's how it's always been for us." He stopped. Yumie, who was now lost in her own thoughts, kept walking without noticing. Kurohi had to call out to her to get her to turn around. "We're here." The two of them were standing in front of a traditional Japanese home. The front gates were unlocked, most likely expecting their mistress' return.
"Oh." She looked rather embarrassed that she overlooked her own house. "Thank you for escorting me home." She gave him a small bow, pushed the gates open, and walked in, but turned around before closing them. "Um, it's rather late. If you'd like, you could...sleep here tonight..."
There was a loud splash as the young man jumped into the canal. That was an easily pocketed 5 euros. As he sunk down, enjoying the refreshing chill of the water after running around town, he spotted something glimmering at the bottom, slightly buried by the tide. He swam down and picked it up.
It was a piece of electronic equipment. It kind of looked like a touch screen cellphone. The English letters 'DP' were tampoed on the top margin above the screen.
He surfaced and pulled himself out of the water. As he sat there sun drying, he took a closer look at his find.
From behind him, he could hear his friend running up. "Man, I didn't think you'd actually do it. You've got bigger balls then me, I'll tell you that." He stopped, seeing that his friend was obviously more interested in whatever he was holding in his hand. "What'cha got there, Ricker?"
Ricker was still looking it over. "I think it's one of those Digimon things. 'Digimon Pad' or some weird, bad name like that." He hit the power button on the side.
Kurohi hated sleeping on a mat. They reminded him of when he visited his grandparents and had to sleep on one in his Oji-sama's study...with all those taxidermied animal heads. He shivered at the thought.
He was staying in Yumie's guest room. Unlike what his imagination led him to believe, she really was just worried about him walking home at night. He probably wouldn't have accepted if he'd known his head would be filled with marble-eyed deer.
"Hey, Link, you up?" He wanted to distract himself, so talking to his silent partner seemed like as good an idea as any.
"I do not require sleep. You know that very well."
"Yea, I do, but it's still polite to ask." He stared up at the ceiling. "Sorry you didn't get much screen time today."
Linkmon scoffed. "This isn't some television show trying to appeal to its audience, Kurohi. I understand that you have a life that I am not a part of. We spend plenty of time together, and trying to fit me into your real life, your life amongst your friends and family, isn't possible for me from behind this screen. So don't worry about it." He was trying very hard to be both aloof about the whole thing and reassuring at the same time.
"Even if we talked a lot about Digimon today?"
"The only times you did you were surrounded by humans or Digimon who'd recognize what I was. Even a child like your friend's would have known."
"Yea, I guess you're right." Kurohi felt somewhat depressed. Most of his conversations today had had some sad undertones. It was starting to get annoying how sad he got whenever he reminisced about his past with Digimon. "So, wha'do'ya think, Link?"
"Think about what?"
"She's totally into me."
"Not that you'll do anything about it, thou." He yawned and curled up in a ball, even thou Kurohi couldn't see him. Even if he didn't need sleep, it never hurt to do so.
"That's cold, bro."
Kurohi could faintly see stars outside the window. They were a very familiar shade of blue.