Lost in Neon-lit Confusion

((Jack in, from => Electown))

Compared to its real-world mirror, the pathways of the Electown Net were, if anything, brighter, faster, busier and louder. Every surface seemed taken up by bright adds or signboards, each screaming to be seen, and each more insistent than the last that its deal was far better than the others. In between, information lanes zipped with bright lights that flashed by with almost untraceable speed.

Amidst the hum and buzz, a slight sense of static tingled around a particular spot, before a shaky beam of light formed, dropping down from far overhead. The pulse of light that fell down through it arced and tumbled, sometimes slowing down in its decent, before speeding up again a moment later in a burst. When it finally reached ground, the column of light immediately flickered and was gone, leaving Lyntael to tumble away from it roughly, staggering and falling until she fetched up against the wall of the side alley she'd arrived in. She curled up, arms clutched about her own shoulders as she trembled for a few moments, focused simply on breathing. The pain that wracked her from the unstable and patchy emulated connection only began to subside as her other senses were assaulted and overpowered by the feel of so much electrical energy flashing about around her.

She'd heard that other electric navis claimed to be comforted by it, but this was a din that overwhelmed her from all sides. Unsteady, she staggered up, then stumbled out of the alleyway, barely able to focus on where she was going. As she crossed one brilliantly lit pathway, small cry escaped her and she threw herself forward further, out of the way of an oncoming light that zipped past her without slowing. The small navi was shaking by the time she made it to the other side, where there was a more visible walkway, and stopped to lean over on the railing, hands over her ears and her eyes squeezed shut. Gradually, she began to adapt to the roar of the busy city and the feeling of so much hectic data all about her, and managed to slowly push it down in her awareness until she could maintain a semblance of calm. Her senses recovered enough in time to hear the hushed voices of a small group of navis not far from her.

"—stumbling across the highway like that. To much to drink, I bet."
"Hah, probably. Looks like she's going to pass out."
"...yeah, but check it out, man, you can even see her—"
"Trying not to look here, dude, she looks fourteen."
"Ah, I'd say sixteen at least... and you know she could be older than any of us."
"Dude, don't go there."
"Hey, I'm just saying... comes down here, dressed like that, gives us a view like that, right across from us... you can't tell me she's not clearly wanting it, right?"
"Whatever dude, but if you get a whole pile of glitches from her, don't come crying to me."

It took Lyntael several seconds to sort out what her senses were telling her and put the hushed whispers she was hearing together into something that made sense, but once she did, she let out a startled yelp and stood up again, brushing one hand over the back of her skirt and walking along briskly with as much composure as she could manage. It wasn't a lot, it turned out. When she glanced back out the corner of her eye and saw three of the cluster of five navis break away to follow after her, her heart jumped up to a hammering pace and her steps quickened. After a moment she gave in and broke into a run, racing away and turning down the first well-lit pathway she found, then the next. She kept running, oblivious of glances from others that she passed, until she was sure she'd outdistanced her pursuers.

She stopped at last, panting, in a small parkway. Small crackles of electricity danced between the spikes of her hair and over her eyebrows as her chest heaved, trying to regain her calm. The noise wasn't so bad here, at least. She sank down on one of the benches at the edge of the small park, a part of her mind noting how strange it seemed to her, to find a little spot like this tucked away amidst the rest of the bustle and madness. She pulled her knees up and wrapped her arms around them. Maybe this had really just been a bad idea after all. She was sure there were other ways for a navi to make money besides fighting, but she just felt so helpless and lost on her own. She found herself wishing for Rogan's voice to come through and tell her to stop being foolish and wasting time. He'd chastise her, probably, but he'd still look after her. After a moment her head dropped onto her arms and she took deeper breaths, trying not to break into tears from her own helplessness and frustration.

((Thread for Omega))
[From [url=http://z10.invisionfree.com/RockmanChaosNetwork/index.php?showtopic=9041&st=0&]PET House[/url]]

In the midst of the ever bustling roadways of Electown Net, DiDiver walked. He had been walking for some time, steered by his partner to "go check that out!" and "get closer to that sign!" for the past few hours. It was amazing how Akua still kept the same amount of excitement since they first entered Electown, and it was starting to grate on the Navi's nerves. It was one thing when Akua wandered the streets on his own, but now that he was sitting comfortably behind a computer monitor, it only reminded Di how childish his partner could be. After another command to make another unespected stop, Di finally protested.

"Akua, we can't keep walking around forever. If there's something we need to do, then let's do it. I'm tired of wasting my time feeding your curiosity, especially since I disagree about you being here at all. Let's just go home, okay?"

The static filled voice of Akua echoed in Di's helmet. It sounded like he was talking through a radio, one that only his partner could hear. "We've been over this. I'm not going back home, not for awhile. You know that I don't want to become a fisherman like Dad, so you might as well give up on it. There's so much more out there, and I know there's a place for me somewhere. Now turn a little bit to your right so I can see that store."

"How can you even see what's around me?"

"There's a program on this computer that lets me see what you're seeing. It's pretty cool. Now hurry up and turn!"

Di sighed. He turned to look at the ornate neon sign of a flower shop, which hardly made sense in a world lacking nature, but Akua seemed fascinated by the paradox. Di wouldn't get much of a chance to look before a girl ran passed them, clad in yellow and a small amount of clothing. The Navi's eyes followed the girl, more concerned than interested in her appearance. People didn't run like that for fun. Something was wrong.

"Who was that girl?" Akua was the first to speak.

"I don't know, but she looks like she's in trouble. Should I follow her and find out?"

"Hah! You're offering to do something? You must have liked what you saw."

"It's not like that! I'd rather make myself useful instead of being on your leash any longer. If she's in trouble, it's our duty to help if we can."

"Suuuuure it is. Just make sure you get a good look at her. I want to see what she's got!"

Di picked up his pace as he followed the girl, although it was only a brisk walk. Running after her would only cause her to panic more, so his best bet was to blend into the crowd. He tried to keep his eyes on her, but the crowded streets made it difficult. Lucky for Di, she had reached the end of her run, breaking through the crowds into a pleasant park area. There was still a considerable distance between the two, but at least she had stopped. As he walked, Di took in the scenery around him. It wasn't a very big area, but the grassy ground and lack of neon made it a gem in the middle of an otherwise robotic town. By the time Di was in the park, the girl had curled up on one of the benches as if she was trying to escape the city. Di gave a gentle response, trying not to alarm the girl.

"Are you okay? Is someone after you?"
Despite her efforts, she could feel her shoulders shaking slightly and the quaver in her chest wouldn't still. She sniffed and swallowed, trying to regain her resolve. Rogan would not put up with her behaving like this, she told herself. Those other navis hadn't followed her this far, surely. They wouldn't have, would they?

The voice a moment later made her jump, her face snapping up as she scuttled quickly to the far end of the bench she cowered on. Her heart jolted back to its full, fearful race and she held up one arm in surprise while her other seemed to make a concerted effort to push push her skirt down and make sure the too-short garment was covering her properly as her eyes darted over the other navi that had inadvertently surprised her.

"S-stay back..." The plea came out as an unsteady gasp, uttered even before she'd stopped moving backwards. The small sparks dancing in her hair were overpowered for a few seconds by a trace-work of electricity passing over her skin, covering her body an underneath her clothing. Clearly it wasn't' a deliberate action, so much as a natural response, and the energy sunk back into her skin a moment later. Her eyes finished their quick scan of the newcomer and her huddled, defensive pose lowered a bit. Her gaze passed over the other navi once more before resting on his face and she stammered for words.

"Sorry, I'm sorry... I, I was just. I don't think I should be here..." Unfortunately, as she began to talk, the act of trying to do so seemed to rob her of the stoic face she'd been attempting to hold and her voice grew ever closer to a trembling collapse.
"There were some other navis... They were talking, and I heard... I, they... I think they wanted to... I just ran and I, I've never been here before. I just wanted to find... It's so loud, and busy, and I... I shouldn't be here, I'm sorry..." the further she went, the more her voice degraded until finally, breathless, the tears won out and she trailed off into an unintelligible mumble. Her head dropped down as she fretted, trying to catch a proper breath, and her normally spiky hair had gone lank and flat, hanging down over her ears and face now.

Fortunately, despite the young girl's fears, it seemed as though her earlier pursuers had indeed either lost her, or simply not been interested enough to pursue, as there was no sign of them now; only the hum and rush of the town around and the quiet sniffles of the small navi as she fought to get herself under control.
A spark from the girl's body found its way to DiDiver's arm, giving the Navi a good jolt. It wasn't a serious injury, but his aquatic nature didn't help soften the pain. He could feel the electricity pass through his body, his arm burning from the spark. A hand went to grip his injury as he let out a soft grunt. It was clear that it was a defensive reaction caused by the girl's panicked state, so Di didn't think too much of it. It sure hurt like hell, though.

"It's okay," Di managed. "I'm just a concerned Navi is all. This is a big place filled with Navis who think they can do whatever they want because they're made of data. Apparently being made of 0's and 1's gives you the right to do as you please, which isn't true. I can understand why a girl like you would be worried." Di motioned to the the opposite end of the bench where the girl sat, rubbing his arm as he asked to take a seat. His voice was almost fatherly as he tried to comfort her. "Would you mind if I sit?"

"Hey!" Akua's voice rang in Di's head. "Don't forget to get a good look! I know you're just as curious too!" Di rolled his eyes as he took a seat, if the girl allowed. He wouldn't look at her, though. It was obvious she didn't want people staring at her right now, plus he couldn't feed Akua's curiosity. Instead, he watched the street, looking at the faces of passing Navis. He offered a few more words to try and ease her. "I would think that an electric Navi would love it in a place called Electown, but I know how you feel. This is a whole new place for me, and frankly I hate it. I prefer quiet networks away from others. You know, the general stereotype you can expect from a water Navi. More room to move about, less Navis to deal with."

"Come on, Di! Turn and look already! You don't have to keep flirting with her, just look!"

"My name's DiDiver," he said with a sigh. Di didn't want to push the girl too much, especially since she was a sniveling mess at the moment. To be safe, Di kept an eye towards the street, watching for anyone who might try something that was less than honorable. He rubbed the black spot from the spark, the pain slowly beginning to ease off.
She nodded mutely, still sniffling and taking long, deep breaths, as she gave as much invitation to the other other navi as she was likely going to. It was another moment or two before she answered properly.

"I'm Lyntael." It was only a small murmur, but at least this time her voice seemed to have eased back from the fearful tears of before. She sniffed again, then scrubbed at her face, beginning to calm again now that the immediate source of her fear seemed to have passed. She glanced up towards him, seemingly about to speak again when her eyes fell on the way he held the small, fresh hurt. Her eyes widened as her mind supplied the memory of the pained sound he'd made moments ago, missed in her own panic.

"Oh! Oh no, I've... Ah, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you! I lose control of it when I'm scared and I thought you might have been-" Her words came in a rush of sudden anxiousness and she reached out for a moment, looking like she wanted to help somehow, before catching herself and stopping short. Her skin was still charged, even if it wasn't visible, and she could feel tiny jolts running through her hair even now, if anything spurred on by the moment of anxiety. Instead she swallowed and ducked her head, then backed off a little more for safety, turning to sit up on the far arm of the bench, her bare feet on the seat now. The concern seemed to work a small wonder for shoving the fear and panic out of her mind, though and she tried to smile, biting her lip at Di a moment later.

"I'm sorry." Her words we less frantic now, slightly calmer and slowed down. "I'm still getting used to how my body reacts to my emotions. I- I promise I'll try not to shock you again." She glanced about now, looking about the small park properly for the first time. The rush of the city was only slightly dulled here, and even the edges of the area were little more than the darkened backs of buildings whose overly bright fronts faced outward to other streets and thoroughfares.

"I probably should feel comfortable here, I suppose. But... I've never been here, and I can hear... I can feel so much of the city all around me, for so far. Every line and spark and current, all around, it there, in my mind, and it's just so, so..." she put her hands to her head, seeming to clutch it for a moment, then raked both sets of fingers back through her hair. "So everything, and all at once, and I feel like I can barely think."

She sighed softly and folded her arms, hugging herself. If the small navi had had any sort of notable bust, this would probably have emphasised it wonderfully, but for Lyntael all the action did was bunch up the fabric of her tiny vest and illustrate just how little of anything at all she had in that department.

"I'm new here too, but, I'm new to everywhere, really. You're the first other navi I've ever met properly, outside of Caminus and Servare, at Eric's home, and they don't really count. I thought I could be useful while Rogan was asleep, but now I feel like I've just gotten myself lost and scared..." She leaned forward, as she spoke, arms resting on her knees and her head sinking down to join them, oblivious to the fact that her new friend wouldn't know who or what she was even talking about. Oblivious too, apparently, that her changed position on the arm of the bench had pulled the front of her skirt tight across her thighs, while the back, no longer held up by her hands, had submitted to gravity again. If she had been a little higher, or her companion's perspective a hair lower, the view might be entirely indecent, but not quite.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't ramble like this. Rogan always tells me off for babbling. I should be more polite and ask what brings you here; I hope I've not pulled you away from anything more important." She seemed to have relaxed a bit more, the slightly quieter place letting her gradually grow used to the roar of the city, and the more she calmed the less her skin seemed to spark and tingle.
Di backed away as Lyntael reached out to touch him, not wanting another shock. The girl meant well, but her emotions and abilities were out of control. "It's fine, really," he reassured. "You're scared. I'm a stranger. Your body is just trying to protect you. Be glad you have an ability like that instead of nothing." He let go of the burn mark to show it to Lyntael, even though it still stung. The burn wasn't that bad, but the mark looked rather large on the light blue armor of his forearm. "See? You just nicked my armor. It'll take a lot more than that to do any real harm to me, I promise you." It might not have been true, but he didn't want her to worry about it.

For the most part, Di followed what Lyntael was talking about. Rogan sounded like her Operator, and Eric sounded like one of his friends or something. He wasn't sure about the two Navis, but it hardly mattered. Di felt a little bit of pride swell up in his chest for being one of the first Navis she met, even if it didn't mean anything. If it meant that he was helping her, he was okay with that. In the silence that followed, Di took a glance at Lyntael, finally getting his first good look at the young girl. He knew she barely had any clothes on, but he didn't think they covered so little. Her yellow skirt offered little protection, and although she didn't have much to offer up top, the vest wasn't much better. At least she had good legs and nice eyes, even if her hair was in a mess. Overall, she was pretty cute.

"That's more I like it." Akua finally had his chance. "She doesn't look too bad. Lower your head a little more so I can see what's underneath."

Di quickly looked away, blushing as he looked down and twiddled his thumbs. He had forgotten his partner was still watching, and looking at Lyntael too long meant Akua got what he wanted. Without thinking about it, Di had fed his partner's immaturity. He gripped his hands together as frustration flood his being for a moment. Who's brilliant idea was it to let Operators see what their Navis see? Di had no interest in the girl, not caring for physical attraction or the choice in clothing Navis were given, but with Akua watching everything he did, Di had to be self aware of what he did. It was embarrassing to say the least.

"It's not a problem," he replied. "I was just wandering around the town and checking out the sights for my partner. Apparently the real Electown isn't enough for him, so I'm forced to be his trolley." Di bit his lip. He had said too much about his partner, and now Lyntael might know Akua was watching too. For being the responsible one of the pair, Di was certainly dropping the ball. He cleared his throat before changing subjects. "So your partner isn't with you? I'm sure he'd appreciate you doing things on your own, but he would probably hate it if something happened to you. This is a dangerous place, especially at night. How were you trying to help, anyway?"
It was fortunate that Lyntael couldn't hear the voice, or feel the second pair of eyes on her; at this stage it would almost certainly have brought about a poor reaction. Just the same though, she remained equally unaware of how close she was to an uncomfortable level of indecent exposure. Oblivious to anything more than the tell-tale signs of Navi-opperator interaction taking place between Di and Akua, she dropped her hands to her lap again, fingers clutching lightly at the pleated edge of her skirt for want of anything else to distract them.

"Partner..." Lyntael's eyes flicked down as she repeated the word quietly to herself, looking at her own hands. It was all she said for a second or two, before looking up again.

"I... Rogan is my operator, a-and I am his navigator. I don't think he'd miss me if I was gone again. We've only been together a short while, really. By his standards, anyway." She swallowed and looked across to Di, the bright green of her eyes made more intense by the unfortunate reddening caused by her earlier tears. She wondered what her new friend's operator was like; Di spoke with the barest hint of scorn in his voice, but she could tell there was more than that... it made her wonder how his operator felt.

Her fingers clutched more tightly, happy to talk, even if she could feel herself getting worked up again just by putting her feelings to words.
"I- I know I've only been with him for a little while, but..." she bit her lip, hesitating and rocking slightly on the arm of the bench, clutching fingers unconsciously balling into little fists in the fabric. "But I love him..." the phrase was uttered in a small burst, not loud, but quietly forceful. She continued in a rush of words, as though tyring to move past her exclamation as fast as she could. "I've known him almost my whole life, and I do, and I know he needs me, and I want to help him, I need to, I have to! But I just don't know how, or what I can do." Her breathing had become overwrought again as she drew long, harsh breaths in between her sentences. "I don't know how to help, so, I'm just trying to do everything he tells me to, be everything he wants me to be, and maybe one day I'll work it out!" She sniffled again and, clearly without thinking at all, bent her head and raised her hands to wipe her fresh tears away quickly on the fabric of her skirt. Her hands dropped back to her lap a moment later before she continued, in more of a rush now than ever.

"So, I crept out, tonight... because... because he's asleep now, and he'd never give me the time to check on my own when he needs me, but he doesn't always make enough to get by on, and I thought I could help, but I can't fight, I'm not made for it, and I thought there must be some other way to make money, and this is a city, so if there was anything it would be here, but it's all just loud and busy, and I don't know where anything is, or what I'm even looking for, and I feel like I've just been really stupid now!" Sparks crackled in her hair and across her skin as her stream of thought reached its peak and she fell silent, panting slightly. After looking to him for a few moments more, she hung her head again.

"Sorry, I shouldn't say all of that, it's just... you're the first person I've had to talk to about any of this since I left Eric. Rogan is always so busy, and when I'm with him, it's usually all serious and business." She rocked slightly on the arm of the bench again, seemingly lost in her own train of thought for a moment, them murmured again. "It's hard to be sunshine, when the one you shine for prefers the cover of night." The phrase seemed odd to Lyntael as much as anything else and she looked up again, a slightly puzzled look on her face as she thought about what she'd just said.
Di could sympathize with Lythael. Maybe not on the same level as her, but he knew what it was like to be responsible for yourself and someone else, yet be completely alone. Akua was hardly worried for himself, which left Di to be the parent of the duo. We need a place to stay, Akua. We need money to live off of, Akua. You need food to survive, Akua. Even back home, it was always like that. Sure, his parents helped, but Di was responsible for the details. He was built for this kind of thing, so it didn't bother him that he was essentially a one man team. That's just the kind of Navi he was.

"Personally, I think it's harder to be the Navi. Our Operators have it easy compared to the things we've got to do. Fight viruses, deliver emails, schedule appointments, fetch information. We're essentially their messengers. If you think about, without us, they'd essentially be crippled in their society. I'm not sure Akua, my partner, would last more than a few days if he didn't have me around."

"Hah! Yeah! Whatever!" Akua gave a snide reply. "I bet YOU couldn't last a day without me. Maybe I should leave you in this network and see who can last the longest." It might have sounded like a threat, but Di knew his partner was only joking. "My point is," Di continued, "don't be so hard on yourself. Maybe you should do something to relax instead of worrying about Rogan all the time. Whenever Akua doesn't need me, I like to get in an isolated network and just relax. I prefer my solitude to rejuvenate, but you might like something else. Maybe you could relax and help your Op by finding a job you like. In a city like this, there's bound to be some place that could use a little extra processing power."
The young girl tilted her head slightly as she listened. A part of her knew that all of those functions were the sorts of things a lot of navis did, but the way Di spoke made it seem like it was the norm for every navi who had an operator. Here eyes dropped to her hands again, uncertain. Rogan seemed unconcerned most of the time, yes, and spoke to her as a tool with a function when they were working, but her friend's words brought a new thought in alongside that.

"I guess... I guess I'm lucky, really. I shouldn't complain. I've never had to do any of those things. Rogan didn't own a proper PET before Eric gave me to him, so, he's always done all of that by himself. He still does..." She trailed off, thinking to herself again, breathing deeply. "All the time I've known him he's been solitary, and takes care of himself. We move around all the time, and he doesn't seem to have a home that I know of. We stay in hotels, or with one of his contacts, usually, and he monitors his own emails and jobs without me, like he always has, I guess." She shook her head, the stood up, brushing herself down a bit, not minding that she was now standing on a bench intended for sitting. Upright and still, it was clear her skirt only really came down to the tops of her thighs. As she moved it seemed to shift and twitch in small ways that didn't quite agree with physics, managing to keep her decent most of the time, but Di had already seen that it didn't take too much to overcome the simplistic modesty coding. She folded her arms at her midriff now, just below the end of her vest and looked about the small park.

"To be honest, I'm not sure I'm really any use to him at all. He doesn't seem to need me for anything day to day, or his life in general... but I know, deep in my core, that he does, somehow. I just wish he'd stop tyring to save money by neglecting his body, and stop getting caught up in contracts that are so illegal." She caught herself a moment too late and bit her lip, blushing again, and turned quickly back to Di, her eyes pleading.

"Please don't repeat that. It's not his fault, I'm sure, it's just that, well, he takes contract work, no questions, usually, and sometimes it's not entirely... well..." She stopped, anxious that she might have said too much, but after a moment quickly changed the subject.

"But I guess it means I do have time to myself, more than some. When Rogan is working, I'm there to assist him, though lately that's led to viruses, and I'm really not cut out for fighting... but, the rest of the time, he doesn't have any use for me, so, I guess I'm on my own.... I..." A small, shy smile managed to creep not her lips for a moment.

"I guess, to relax... I like to watch him sleep," the admission was followed by more confident, less bashful words as she moved on quickly. "And to look at all the places we go, and see the things he sees. He talks to a lot of people, and a lot of it seems very shady, I suppose... but nervous as it makes me, I get to see a lot of interesting places, so long as I'm silent." She shook her head again, smiling softly, and it finally seemed as though the combination of Di's calm patience and her rambling train of thought had dispelled the last of her panic.

"But, I thought I might be more useful if I actually achieved something while he was resting. I can use his PET to simulate my own forced links just about anywhere, even if the transit is rough, so I thought I might be able to find something profitable to do in between, and maybe make sure he has enough to at least eat properly between jobs."

She shrugged and ran fingers through her hair again, looking skyward for a moment.
"But I don't even know what I can do, or where I can go, to try anything like that. How do non-combat navi's even earn zenny in the first place? I just jumped in here, I don't know, guessing it would be all signposted or something. I didn't really think it through." Her somewhat obvious admission was followed by another small smile as she ducked her head.

"Sorry, I'm talking your ears off now. Thankyou. I'm really glad you followed me and are here now, I'm not sure what I'd have done if you hadn't come by." She bit her lip for a moment, thinking.

"I shouldn't' distract you from what you're doing, but, I think I'd be glad of some company while I'm here. You were showing your operator around the town, right? Would you mind if I came with you? We could explore together, and maybe I'll even see something that I can do." She stretched and jumped down from the bench, skirt flashing up for only the barest hint of a moment before settling down again as she landed, then turned to face him again, a small smile quirking one corner of her lips.
"It's alright." Di finally had a chance to get a word in. Lynael's mood was starting to lighten up, and Di was beginning to see just how talkative the perky girl's personality was. It didn't bother him one bit. "I'm used to listening to people. Anyway, I'd be happy to help you around town. To be honest, I still don't know this place all that well, or even where we are in relation to the rest of the city. I can at least give you company, and you'll be better company than my partner is." Di caught himself, raising his hand defensively at his remark. "Don't get me wrong. Akua isn't a bad guy, and I certainly don't hate him. I know I haven't said much good about him, but we do get along just fine. I've spent entirely too long with him, so I don't want you thinking he's abusive or that I'm a lousy Navi."

Di stood to his feet, shooting Lyntael a glance that he was ready to go. He didn't want to look for too long, because the prying eyes of Akua weren't something that should be given opportunity. Rubbing his scorch mark one last time, he nodded in the direction of the park they had entered. "Shall we?"
Lyntael nodded with a quick enthusiasm as her new friend accepted her offer, grinning and clapping her hands without any sort of conscious thought going into the action. A proper smile this time it finally showed off a perfect set of neat, white teeth, small and uniform except for the slightest hint of pointing at her canines. As she turned with him to face the entrance of the small park, her hair had perked up again as well, standing in short, somewhat dishevelled, rough-ended spikes.

She looked up at Di, then shrugged her shoulders softly.
"It sounds like you and your operator are friends. I know that Eric and Rogan snip at each other a lot like that, but they each do really care about one another. I'm sure you get on fine." Grinning at him she held out a hand, then paused and withdrew it for a moment, staring carefully at her fingers. She seemed to concentrate for a few moments, examining herself, then nodded and reached out again.
"Should be safe now, I think. Let's go!"
Electown is a funny place in the current day. Once, a few handfuls of years ago, it was the hustling, bustling place to be; most major net traffic in Electopia routed through it in some way or another. It contained the network for the urban center of Electopia, the country-- and, more particularly, the Den City downtown. Then came the Netsquares, which took over as a hyper-convenient way to meet up or route traffic, which took a good chunk of Electown's traffic. Then came Internet City, which was everything Electown had been-- and then some.

So what had Electown done to survive as a relevant network?

It changed. It became a city that resembled a giant shopping mall more than it did a functional, multi-purposed downtown, and as such the entire area had turned (mostly) into one big commercial district, like a cross between a bazaar and every Bartrucks cafe you'd ever seen. Big brands mingling with little unknowns, shops that were crowded next to shops that were empty and overlooked, and a place to find everything you could ever want online.

That was how Electown had thrived.

And so, as Lyn and Dee strutted around the town, there was quite a lot to see; everything from GMO-styling parlors, to battlechip "refinement" studios, to clothes vendors that specialized in custom designs that matched your navi, "Gaurenteed!" ...Yeah, some of these places seemed kind of worthless.

Finally, as the two stood on one of Electown's many automatic sidewalks, a couple of things managed to catch the pair's eyes; The first was a place that called itself "Adventuring Hour!". From the sign, it was a game show of sorts-- they would give participants a number of chips to use to try to get through an obstacle course.

The second thing that caught the pair's eye was a "Mystery Capsule!" machine parked outside of a store. It advertised a "Variety of prizes!", but seemed empty...

Lastly, there was a navi with a deck of cards and a table standing at a street corner, calling out for big prizes for anyone who could best him in a game of "Pixie".

Of course, if the two of them didn't care for any of this, they could always continue on...
As they stepped back out into the brightly lit city-scape, Lyntael winced again, but the persistent hum and buzz of the city's energy seemed less overwhelming that it had before. It wasn't any less invasive, certainly, but at least her senses seemed to be gradually growing used to it.

She grinned up at Di as they walked, in between looking all about herself at the different advertisements and bright displays. The more her own discomfort faded away, the more her natural curiosity and eagerness were given a free hand to steal her focus. She tried to stay on track, really she did, but before too long had passed she had abandoned simply looking around with her eyes, and let go of her friend's hand, darting about him now as they walked, staying close but always zipping back and forth from one thing that grabbed her eye to another.

She paused for a moment in front of one of the many shop-fronts displaying a sale on outfits, staring wistfully for a few seconds at the things she knew to be far out of reach, before her attention was pulled away by something else again. This time her gaze lingered on what was apparently a game-show of some sort, standing still for a moment as she stared up at the building, and the advertisements displayed on it. After another few moments staring, she darted back towards Di again, but paused as she passed a seemingly empty capsule machine. Something about it caught her eye and she couldn't put her finger on what, but she hesitated long enough to look at the sorry machine.

"Aww, poor thing..." She murmured, looking at the device trying to sell itself so hard, despite looking like it had no stock at all. She tapped once on the glass with a rueful smile, then turned her back, retuning to Di properly this time. She bounced on her toes, springing up and down lightly in between walking backwards in front of him.

"See anything you want to look at yet? Or your operator? There's so much stuff here! I've never seen anything like it!" Her excited tone was mirrored by small trailer sparks of electrical energy running up the spikes of her hair, but at least this time they seemed quite well contained and not likely to jump or arc.
Di took Lyn's hand, reluctant at first but decided to give it a go anyway. Now that the Electric Navi was in control of her emotions, there wasn't anything to worry about. Akua snickered at the consensual gesture since Di really wasn't the touchy-feely type, but Di ignored his partner's jeers and followed along with Lyn. It's not like holding hands meant anything especially to Navis.

The rush of the city wasn't Di's ideal scenario. The lights were as annoying as ever, and the passing stares of other Navis wasn't welcomed, but it was certainly more tolerable going through the city with someone else. Di didn't really care to look around, but he did it anyway to keep his partner's curiosity happy. It was more of the same: shopping centers, flashing neon lights, busy streets. A few games in particular caught Akua's eye, making Di stop as he looked at the battling game show.

"That seems pretty cool. You should give that a shot, Di. You could certainly use some combat practice, plus winning free stuff sounds good to me."

"Out of the question," Di said under his breath. The game show didn't bother him, but he knew Lyn didn't exactly like fighting, so it wouldn't have done her much good. To offer another suggestion, Di pointed to the street corner Navi inviting people to play a card game. He gave a glance at the now energetic Lyn, offering a grin at her newly improved attitude. "Why don't we try that out? It seems simple enough, and I bet you could win something from it. It wouldn't hurt to give it a shot."
As she followed his gesture to the navi on the street corner, she tilted her head, curiosity piqued. there had been decks of cards at Eric's house, and she recognised that he was probably a card-sharp of some sort, but, well, there was no harm in asking, at least.

She nodded to Di, offering him a grin, and beckoned for him to come with her at least, then approached the card table cautiously. When she was close enough, she gave a small wave, shy, and caught his eye. It wasn't too hard, and a part of her was quite sure that, as an enterprising street performer, he had probably marked her approach long before.

"Hi... I, um... how does the game work?" She asked him, once she was standing in front of his table, green eyes watching his face rather than where probably ought to have already been, on the cards.
"Well, Miss! Interested in a game, hm?" The navi, a man in a black suit with a white undershirt, gives a jovial, yet strange laugh. He shuffles the deck in his hands, shifting the cards around far faster than the eye can see, and then deals two sets of five out onto the table in a flash. "The rules are on the sign next to me." He says, nodding towards his right.

Sure enough, there's a sign there.

"It's a bit like speed Poker." The navi explains, setting the rest of the deck down. "Since you can lie, or 'bluff' about what you've actually got. If you've got any questions, I'll be happy to answer 'em. Otherwise-- the buy-in is 100z. Lose, I keep your bet. Win, I give you this."

The navi flips a small box out from under the table, juggling it in one hand, then holds it up. The lid of the box is clear, showing the chip data inside, but just in case the box itself has a label. "Zapring1" is printed just beneath the window, in big, easily-readable letters.

"Of course, if your friend there wants to play instead..." He flips a second box up with his other hand, this one holding a MistConvergence1.

"Best two out of three in either case. Of course, you two could also go double-dutch on me... that'd make it best 3 out of 5, and I'd be playing two matches at once." He hauls a second deck up from underneath the table-- how much stuff does he have under there?-- and sets it down on the top. "You in?"
Di was apathetic about playing, although his curiosity was peaked by the game. He wasn't that great at card games, but he was certainly better than Akua was. Eyeing the sign and pondering the opportunity, Di gave a small nod as he made up his mind. "Sure, I'll play, but only if my friend has enough zenny." He turned to Lyn, a strange feeling rising in his chest as he offered a polite gesture. "I'll pay for it if you want to play. I only have enough for one game though, so you'll be on your own. Don't worry about me, though. I'm terrible at these sorts of games, so you'll probably do much better than I could."

"Hey!" Akua spoke as the reasonable one this time. "We don't have a lot of zenny, and you're blowing it on her? Sheesh, you're practically drooling over this girl, and you act like you don't even care!"

Di gave a small chuckle and a slight shake of his head. Akua just didn't understand.
The rule board looked complicated, and Lyntael took a few extra moments reading over it quickly while she debated. The money she had was Rogan's after all, and he certainly hadn't given her any permission to risk or spend it. He'd be very annoyed at her wasting it on games, too, she knew. The rules seems straight forward, more or less, though, and a small part of her felt daring enough to want to try.

As she looked up at her friend, Lyntael's eyes widened slightly and she took a small step back from the table, shaking her head suddenly.

"Oh! Oh, I can't let you do that for me, we- we only just met, that's too generous! I—" She bit one lip, rocking on her toes uncertainly, trying to reach a conclusion in her own thoughts. "Oh, I really shouldn't, but, he said that this money was set aside anyway, for me to use to get stronger... and I guess that getting more chips could be taken as getting stronger, in a way, right?" She was looking up to Di with eyes that seemed to plead for reassurance while she convinced herself to go ahead, but in the need the return gaze was all she really seemed to need. She swallowed, then nodded, more to herself than anyone else.

"Alright, let's both play a round them, if you want to. One game, just one. Sound alright?" She managed a small grin, now that she'd made up her mind and tapped the corner of the card table nearest her with the base buy-in. She turned a nervous smile back towards their dealer. "I'm in," She nodded, then glanced back up to Di.
((OOC note: For fairness, convenience, and sanity, I will be using an actual deck of cards for this. That's ONE deck of cards, as one deck of 52 playing cards contains more than enough sets to make two Pixie (21-card) decks.))

Before Lyntael could so much as think the words "Maybe this isn't such a good idea", the dealer's hands whipped out, snatched the zenny, and dropped it into his pocket. A moment later he dealt two hands from the deck, five cards each, and laid them out next to each other. "Pick your hand." He set the remaining cards-- the deck-- on the table between her and him.

"How about you then?" he turned to Dee. "You in? Or are you going to make your date play by herself?"
Lyntael's eyes flickered with his movements, blinking as he dealt out the cards with an unnerving smoothness. Her own naivety prevented anything more than a look of slight concentration from crossing her features, however, and she tentatively reached out to take up the hand on her left.

She looked up to Di briefly before examining her cards, but was quickly lost in a deeper focus of concentration as her eyes shifted back and forth frequently between her own hand and the rules board as she waited for her companion to make his own decision. While she focused, her right hand, unoccupied, drifted up to her chest, beginning to trail one finger in a gentle circle over her emblem in a distracted, unconscious action.