LEVEL 1 – Anomalies
Masaru continued down the district street. Leaves fell around him as the wind blew through his dark hair; it was the first day of autumn, and it certainly showed.
Despite the relative beauty of the day, there was considerably less commotion out on the street, leaving it quite empty and atmospheric. Masaru relished in this tranquility. He had longed for some silence in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, and was glad his wish finally came true.
To enjoy the moment longer, Masaru slowed his pace and took in the fresh air. In such a modernized city, the sudden prevalence of nature was a refreshing change. Sure, it was a school day that brought about homework needing to be completed for the following day, but responsibilities slipped Masaru's mind as he was lost in a seemingly endless path of natural beauty.
Enraptured in the sights, Masaru hardly noticed a small spark in the distance. Eventually, he saw a faint light, glowing rapidly, from an alleyway. Snapped out of his fantasy, Masaru ran toward the light out of curiosity. He wasn't sure why, but he felt a force bringing him toward the radiance, as if his footsteps weren't entirely of his own volition.
The alley was dark, shielded from the sun by the apartments surrounding it. At least, it would be dark without the addition of the strange glow. This only served to make it more out place, prompting Masaru to walk up to it after reaching his destination.
"This light... What is it?" Indeed, it was a bizarre entity. Appearing as a glowing ball hovering in the air, its radiance looking both natural and artificial.
Masaru was still curious. "Should I... touch it?" He thought the idea over. Here he was, walking home from school, discovering an abnormal glow in an alleyway. There was no way of telling just what the light was; if it was harmful, if it was a sensor of some sort, or if it was light at all. Reaching out and attempting to touch it could potentially be dangerous.
Come, child. A faint but powerful voice brought Masaru out of his analysis. The words rang loud and clear through his mind, as if it were telepathy from a science fiction film. Masaru was sure of one thing: it had definitely come from the light before him.
Why do you stay your hand? There it was again. It sounded somewhat clearer, as if their psychic connection had become more stable. The light awaits your power.
After hesitating, Masaru slowly brought his hand up towards the glow. Like the way he had walked over to it, he wasn't entirely sure if his movements were voluntary. The mysterious force from before seemed to be coordinating him again.
Looking past his blue sleeve and open hand, Masaru could see the light brightening. Soon, it had become so bright that Masaru was forced to cover his eyes with his free arm. The light seemed to slowly envelope his surroundings as well, until Masaru appeared to be standing in a white space. All the while, the voice echoed through his mind again, in a more ominous manner.
It has been fulfilled...!
Masaru suddenly felt disoriented. In fact, the waves of adrenaline rushing through his body told him he was falling. Falling, through an endless white void. All the while, odd images flashed through Masaru's mind, appearing and disappearing so fast they didn't leave a lasting impression on his memory.
Masaru Seishuku, you have been chosen.
"Chosen for what?" Masaru's voice echoed far off into the distance, hoping whatever was beyond the sea of white would answer.
You shall become a legend, a hero between both the material and immaterial. Though, you will experience many days of pain and suffering, where not even He who governs the Sun will aid you. Do you still wish to accept this offer, knowing what you will go through?
This information further confused Masaru. He would become a hero, but be subject to suffering in order to achieve the title. He had no idea what he was getting involved in, what pain he would experience, or even who "He who governs over the Sun" was. Still, Masaru didn't feel frightened. Perhaps it was the voice influencing his psyche, but Masaru felt as if accepting would be the right thing to do.
And so, the young teen let out two words: "I do." He said it with utter confidence, his voice loud and clear in the void of white.
Ten seconds. For ten long seconds, no one responded. Nothing happened, nothing moved. Masaru stood earnestly, wondering how the voice would react to his acceptance.
Without warning, a heavily digitized voice rang through the blank space, completely different from the voice from earlier. MODULE ACCESSED. INITIALIZING PROGRAM.
Walls of code rained down in droves around Masaru, who was disoriented again. Once more, he felt the familiar sensation of falling, though he didn't seem to be falling in this odd reality. More images flashed through Masaru's mind. This time, however, they "filled" his head, putting much strain on his psyche. Quickly, he clutched his head, grimacing in pain as the imagery worked its way to the very core of his mind.
Everything was black. Masaru could see nothing. He couldn't feel his breath. He couldn't hear the downpour of digital code that had surrounded him earlier. Even the flashing images and pain they had wrought subsided.
And then, only a split second later, Masaru's focus was brought back to the dark alleyway. He was in the exact same stance he had before he entered the void, as if his consciousness had been taken away and then brought back to reality just as soundly.
After several seconds of recollecting his thoughts, Masaru closed his outstretched hand to find that he was now holding a device.
The device was shaped very much like the letter, "D". Contained within it were a screen and two buttons, as well as a strap on then underside. Other than its shape, it looked like any other handheld device and certainly didn't stand out in the urban setting. Despite that, Masaru could very much feel something... A power, or energy of some kind, resonating from it.
"What is this?" Masaru tried pressing the buttons and tapping the screen, but the handheld would not boot up. That voice... he thought. It gave me this thing for a reason. There's no way it'd hand it to me without checking if it were busted...
Without warning, the device's screen immediately lit up. In shock, Masaru nearly dropped it, but managed to grab it before it hit the ground. After doing so, he felt a small shock course through his body. Masaru's mind went blank for a moment, but was brought back to reality just as quickly.
When he came to, Masaru didn't feel any different. He expected the shock to at least disorient him, but it left no lasting pain on his person. His thoughts, however, were interrupted by a quiet, otherworldly voice.
The voice came from below, prompting Masaru to look down at his feet. Standing in front of him was a creature of some sort. He'd mistaken it for a rabbit initially, before taking into account its upright stance; odd belts around its body; and, of course, its ability to speak. Perhaps Masaru was simply hearing things, and the dark was messing with his eyesight, but there was no doubting the piercing pink eyes, and soft voice as its spoke once more.
"Who are you?"
Masaru stepped back. He wasn't sure if he should respond or not, to this rabbit-like creature suddenly standing there before him.
"Why are you scared? I-I just wanted to know your name..."
With the initial shock now wearing off, Masaru wondered why he was so frightened. Though it was otherworldly and alien in some ways, he couldn't detect any malice, from either its cute looks or childish voice. Now, its unusually large ears were bent down, like a puppy being scolded by its master. Fear was replaced with guilt as Masaru looked into begging eyes.
"I... I'm Masaru." He said it hesitantly, still cautious of how the creature would react.
"That's a nice name." Immediately, the creature's ears beamed back up, eyes glistening in the sun's radiance. "My name is Lunamon!"
Odd name... Masaru thought, But it doesn't look harmful. Maybe I'm worrying too much again...
Masaru gasped as he was brought out of his monologue.
"And by the way, I'm a girl, not an 'it.'"
"Wait!" Masaru yelled. "You-you're reading my mind, aren't you?"
Lunamon giggled. "Yes. You're my partner, so of course I should be able to read your thoughts through our mind link." She paused as Masaru gasped again. "And... judging by that thought, you don't know what I'm talking about."
Masaru nodded slowly.
"Hm, I guess you weren't told a whole lot about this..." Lunamon sighed after saying this.
"Hold on!" Masaru looked agitated again. "What's going on here? You're definitely not a regular animal, you can read my mind, and we're supposed to be partners?" The whole idea was sounding very farfetched to him.
"Oh..." Lunamon looked directly into Masaru's eyes. "I'm not completely sure why I was partnered up with you. But there must be some reason! Something really important."
"Is that so..." Lunamon was only a little less confused than Masaru. Still, one question was at the forefront of his mind. "Um, just what are you, anyway?"
The little white creature pointed to herself. "Me? I'm a digital monster. Digimon for short!" She looked back at her partner, to see him in a state of shock. "What's wrong now?"
"A digital... monster?" The revelation was unnerving. All this time, Masaru was talking to a mass of data, who was a self-proclaimed "monster," no less.
"But um, I'm not actually monstrous. Do I look the type to take a bite of you or something? You look scared all of a sudden."
Masaru took a step back. Maybe I can make a run for it. A monster, a beast... Who knows what horrible things it could do to me... He started to run out of the alleyway, but stopped after hearing a soft sound from the other end.
Lunamon was crying. Her eyes were drenched with tears, and she let out soft sobs. Masaru turned around, slowly walking back toward the Digimon after seeing such a sight.
"Hey, what's wrong?"
After a small sniffle, Lunamon spoke up in a somber voice. "You really think I'm a monster? I-I'm just a Digimon, and we're not all bad! We're supposed to be partners and, and... you can't leave me. I'd be all alone in this world..."
Masaru understood. She really wasn't just a creature out to get him. She could feel joy and sadness, just like he could. She was stuck in a world that wasn't her own, seemingly to aid Masaru in some way. He prejudiced Lunamon, and nearly left her alone in a dark Tokyo alleyway...
"You're feeling sorry for me?" Lunamon brought Masaru back to reality again. She wiped away some of the tears drowning her eyes. "We're partners. And partners don't walk out on each other, right?"
Masaru looked back into Lunamon's eyes. Their really wasn't anything about her that looked frightening, making his swift judgement all the more wrong. "Right."
After hearing that word, Lunamon smiled. "I knew you were a good person. Masaru." He blushed at the mention of his name. "Does that mean I can stay with you?"
Masaru pondered for a moment. He wasn't sure how he would be able to bring home a bipedal rabbit-alien hybrid, much less hide her away from his parents. However, he couldn't abandon Lunamon again. He was reluctant, but finally managed to answer. "I guess I can take you home with me for now."
"Hooray!" The Digimon looked absolutely overjoyed. What was I thinking? Masaru questioned his actions just a moment ago. She, Lunamon, is just as much as 'person' as I am. Even if she is a "Digimon." He put his hands behind his head. I can be such a wimp sometimes...
A small tug on his sweater had Masaru look down at Lunamon. "Are we going now? This place is kind of scary."
Indeed, the sun was beginning to set, casting larger shadows on the alley. A great deal of time had passed since school ended, and no doubt Masaru's parents were beginning to get worried.
The young teen looked out into the cool autumn air, past the alleyway and out onto the Tokyo street. "We'll go now." He wasn't sure what he was getting himself into, but he knew one thing. Masaru would protect Lunamon.