Shohei Nishizawa - Newt
Shohei Nishizawa - Newt
Shohei stood and rolled his shoulders, glancing about the darkened beach. Sweat glistened on his cheekbones but the air was surprisingly crisp. It crackled about Shohei and Newt. Clumps of stray data floated about in assorted blends of ones and zeroes. Golden browns and ripe greens of data swirling like dust in the open air. Shohei rubbed his thumb over an open palm. The friction was smooth but distinctly distant as if he were wearing gloves. His body felt lighter, but that may have been a side-effect from the toll that becoming data had on him. He didn’t know what he expected in coming to Iliad, what that would entail, but he was in one piece and for that he was grateful.
Shohei was quickly fascinated by the landscape, scanning the strange horizon intently. The black-blue gradient sky was particularly otherworldly. The yellow sun hung, static, just above the violent, whirling ocean that curved on the horizon. It was chaotic. A terrifying beauty, unlike anything Shohei had seen before. He caught himself gawking at the alien landscape and glanced over at Newt who was doing the same.
“This is gorgeous…” Shohei said. He would have regretted how lame that sounded if he even registered saying it.
Newt nodded. “Yeah...” His red eyes sparkled at the sight of the yellowing purple sky. Both Shohei and Newt were entranced by the view for different reasons. For Shohei, it was the chaos of the water that hooked his attention. He thought of the roiling Japanese coasts and of his uncle, a fisherman who always warned him about the power of the ocean, the visceral nature of its ebbs and flows. He loved his grandparent's idyllic country home, but he admired the fear that the water, and nature as a whole, instilled in him. Newt, however, felt the beach was familiar. He felt that this world was surely where he came from.
Shohei didn’t break his admiration for the view. “You don’t happen to have some inherent knowledge about this place, do you?”
“Ah… figures,” Shohei sat on the charcoal-blue sand and tossed his bag to his side. He crossed his arms, resting elbows on knees. “Let’s sit for a sec.” The journey was much shorter than Shohei thought. Maybe he romanticized the notion of traveling to Server Iliad based on the servers’ name alone. It was foolish, but he wanted to go on a sprawling Homer-esque epic to make it to Iliad. Foolish because he knew he didn’t have the patience to be an epic hero. However, his journey was only beginning and he had yet to properly recognize that. “We have a ton of time to find M, so we should just chill.”
“You chill a lot, Sho,” Newt said, taking a seat next to Shohei.
Shohei laid back looking up at the sky. “I think chilling is important. We all need a break now and then - it’s important. I mean, maybe I rest too often, but there’s no use in giving one-hundred and ten percent all the time, right? Why... do you think I’m lazy?”
Newt held his breath. “I- Nah. I like chilling.”
Shohei chuckled. “I’m only jokin’. I am kind of tired now, though.”
Shohei turned to Newt. “Yeah, did it not hurt for you? It feels like I’ve been put through a meat grinder.”
“I actually feel amazing!” Newt also leaned back and stretched his stubby, icy limbs. “Never felt better.”
“Weird.” Shohei peered over at Newt. “I can barely remember what happened to us. I think we were pulled into the D-Loader or something and all of a sudden we’re here and now my body is sore as hell.”
“If you’re sore, I might be able to help,” Newt said. His hands steamed up from the warm ocean air meeting his chilled palms.
Shohei flinched but quickly lowered his guard. “Well... I guess you could work some of your, uh, coldness into my shoulders. Not too cold though!”
“Sure.” Shohei rolled over onto his stomach. Newt put his three-fingered hands on Shohei’s shoulder blades. A chilling sensation flooded every fiber in Shohei’s body, relaxing his tensed muscles. It wasn’t overwhelmingly cold. “How’s that?”
“Unreal.” Shohei breathed heavily as Newt chilled his shoulders. He pondered the bizarreness of his current situation: a small bipedal lizard was acting as a cooling pad for his back. I shouldn’t really complain-, I mean... I’m alive, so things could be worse, but why is this happening to me? I’m not bored with my life - in fact, I might just be the most motivated I’ve ever been. Maybe this is a test for some crazy VR tech. Or maybe my life really is boring... Shohei let his thoughts ramble on, but he wasn’t as worried anymore, now that he and Newt arrived safely. If he had any anxiety it was from the excitement of being thrust into an entirely new world. Despite how much he valued relaxing, Shohei also enjoyed new experiences. He patted his pant pockets and pulled out the rectangular Digi.vice. He grunted as he tried to pull the device towards his face. He powered it on. There was a new message from M:
Welcome to Server Iliad, the digital world. You’re in the Tropics Province, currently on the shoreline of the Net Ocean. I do not recommend entering the water. Four others are coming to Iliad soon. Try to find them and head north.
Best of luck,
Shohei curled his bottom lip and let out a thoughtful ‘hm,’ quickly wondering which direction was north. As if on queue, a crackle of thunder rumbled from one of the colossal nimbus clouds above the water and couple fractals shot toward the treeline behind Shohei and Newt.
Shohei fired a glance at the meteors. He tucked his chin in and tightened his eyebrows. “Are those… the other people?”
Newt squinted, watching the meteors flare toward land. They hit the trees. “I think so…”
Shohei watched the treeline in the distance. “Think we should check it out?”
Before Newt could reply, another rumble sounded off, this time behind him and Shohei. From the trees, a green and orange feathered bird the size of a small jet plane careened towards the waters. At was clad in silvery armor on the tops of its wings, neck, and head. The beating of its wings fired swirls of dark sand into the air like a trail of black smoke. The creature swooped to the left and circled back to Shohei and Newt. A wall of sand hit the duo. They hesitated but scrabbled to their feet as the beast soared toward them. As they ran, Shohei noticed the D-Loader was beeping and there was text on-screen that said:
New Entity Detected
Diatry.mon - Ancient Bird Digi.mon
Shohei and Newt started to run toward where, presumably, the other people landed, but he quickly noticed a couple more meteors shooting from the clouds. In between quick breaths, Shohei shouted, “Newt, do you have any way to deal with this thing!” Diatry.mon roared as it trailed behind the duo. The duo was hit by the sharp sonic waves of the bird’s roar. It hit them like a dense wind and filled their ears with white noise. It sent the two of them into the air.
Newt let out a squeal and as he was in the air he roared back: “Baby Hail!” Dozens and dozens of tiny, rigid icicles formed in Newts's mouth. He shot them out in a torrent toward Diatry.mon, soaring like bullets to their target. The bird monster tried to shield itself from the crystal shards with one wing but started to flutter to the sand, its left wing starting to frost over. Newt landed on his side but quickly leaped to his feet while Shohei hit the ground in a tumble. Shohei winced and rolled over on his stomach. His ears were ringing. Newt seemed to fair the hit better, his body built for better endurance. Diatry.mon landed on its feet. It squawked again, slightly quieter this time, and started charging at Newt who lay just in front of Shohei.
Newt realized the gravity of the situation, acting solely on instinct before, and quickly became terrified at the sight of the prehistoric monstrosity charging at him. With a wail, Newt shot out more ice crystals at Diatry.mon, unintentionally aiming at its eyes. The bird skidded to a halt and tumbled down in front of Newt, the sand an ominous cloud. He watched the sheet of dust intently, holding his breath. His heart beating fast and hard. Countless thoughts ran through Newt's head as he waited, building pressure with the ringing in his ears. His tail whipped about, anxiously waiting for a caw in response to being blinded. In this moment of respite, Newt grew worried that he wouldn't be able to protect himself or Shohei. He never considered the power or size that other Digi.mon would have. He felt weak and powerless, tearing up once again.
Newt flinched when he felt and heard feet pounding sand. When the dust settled, Diatry.mon was flailing about, its eyes covered in water, ice, and sand. It took flight shakily and flew over the jungle, squawking as it flew. It went as quickly as it came, passing like a quick tempest.
Shohei, now on his knees, let out an exasperated breath. "That was crazy," he roared, pointing at Newt. He hugged Newt tight in his arms, Newt's cold skin his own through his clothes. Newt started to sniffle and cry. "Hey, hey! You did great. Next time I'll have to save your skin." He looked at Newt's watery eyes. He only hoped he'd be able to save Newt sometime down the road, but after seeing the size pf that bird, Shohei was feeling doubtful. However, he also saw Newt's victory as a good sign for the future. Seeing such a fierce creature and the display of strength that Newt showed reinvigorated Shohei's Oddyseus-like fantasy. He embraced Newt long and hard. "You did great," he said softly through Newt's sniffling. "We better go, though. Before that thing comes back for revenge."