Chapter 13: Smashing Blue
Enzan stared up into the sunny sky. It was the third day of the N1 Grand Prix. Many contestants had been knocked out of the tournament already, and the semifinals were coming up soon. However, several people still hadn’t had their first match, including Netto, Meiru, and Tohru. The next two days would determine who would make it into the semifinals and who would not.
“What’s the weather forecast for today, Rockman?” he asked, looking down at his PET.
“It’s supposed to be sunny all day,” Rockman said. “Why?”
“Just remembering something,” Enzan replied. “Can you show me the match line-up for the day?”
Rockman immediately brought the list up. “The first match is Sakurai Meiru’s Roll and Hikawa Tohru’s Iceman,” he said.
“Iceman vs. Roll?” Enzan repeated, surprised. “That’s odd… that match shouldn’t happen today.”
“Why not?” Rockman asked.
“Because Coloredman… oh, right,” Enzan said, realizing the problem. “World Three isn’t here, so neither is Iroaya Madoi.”
He walked toward the main dome, frowning. The chances of him finding someone who knew the same things he did were slim. Hino Ken had made himself scarce, and he seemed to be truly alone. Besides Rockman, no one would believe him if he said he wasn’t Hikari Enzan. What he needed was proof.
Enzan blinked. Proof… He needed proof, especially if he got to the point where he would have to convince someone he wasn’t who they thought he was. But how to get it?
“Rockman, when is the first match?” he asked.
“In fifteen minutes, Enzan-sama,” Rockman replied.
“What would you say,” Enzan began slowly, “If I told you I could predict every move made in that battle?”
Rockman blinked in surprise. “You’re going to predict the netbattle? Why?”
“Just in case,” Enzan replied. “I might need evidence to prove I’m not Hikari Enzan, and predicting a netbattle may be my best chance at getting some. Can you record what I say?”
“Yes, Enzan-sama,” Rockman said. “It should be interesting.”
Enzan raised an eyebrow. “You don’t think I can do it?”
Rockman laughed nervously. “I didn’t say that…”
“You’ll see,” Enzan said confidently. Mentally, he was wondering if he could remember all the details of the netbattle. It had been so long ago, and he hadn’t paid that much attention to it when it was over with. I’ll have to try, he told himself.
-- -- --
The stands were filled with cheering fans. Meiru and Tohru faced each other, each wearing serious looks on their faces.
Enzan leaned against a wall, watching the arena from the safety of the shadows. “Once the battle starts, Roll will use her attack, Roll Flash, and Iceman will use his Snow Crystal attack,” he said to Rockman, who nodded to indicate he had heard. “Both attacks are dodged.”
The battle started, and played out exactly how Enzan had said. He sighed with relief. So far, so good. He continued to predict the battle, saying the attacks and chips used.
“Meiru will slot in a Triple Lance battle chip,” he said. Meiru did that exact thing a split second later.
“Arubaitano!” Roll called, using the Triple Lance attack to cancel out Iceman’s Ice Block.
“The battle will end with a Cyclone battle chip used by Roll,” Enzan said. “It will freeze Iceman will his own attack.”
A second later it happened, and the announcer declared Meiru and Roll the victors.
“Sugoi!” Rockman cried. “Awesome! You predicted that entire battle accurately.”
“I told you I knew what I was doing,” Enzan replied, smirking slightly.
Rockman laughed. “You did. I guess I’ll have to take your word for everything now.”
“Ladies and gentleman, I have an announcement to make!”
Enzan looked up at the booming voice of Midorikawa Kero, the announcer, and frowned. The holo projectors were being reset. So soon after the last battle? Enzan wondered.
“Because of problems with the subdome, we’re hosting the next battle in the main dome!” Midorikawa cried.
“Can’t she say anything without shouting?” Enzan complained, rubbing his head. The woman always gave him a headache.
“The next battle will feature Ijuuin Netto’s Blues and Kuroi Miyuki’s Skullman!” Midorikawa boomed. “Please welcome our netbattlers!”
The stands roared as the two netbattlers approached the terminals. Enzan jerked forward, his legs moving on their own accord, until he reached the bar separating the walkway from the stands below.
“Blues?” he whispered, staring at the holographic battlefield.
“Enzan-sama, are you okay?” Rockman asked worriedly. Enzan didn’t hear him.
On the battlefield, Blues and Skullman appeared. The roar of the crowd got louder, and cheers for both netbattlers merging into one indistinguishable noise.
Skullman leered at Blues. “Prepare for defeat,” he said, sniggering.
“Somehow I doubt that,” Blues replied, moving his sword into a defensive position.
“Go, Netto-kun!” Meiru cheered from the stands. Yaito sucked on her straw next to her friend, her eyes locked on the battlefield.
“This is great!” Tohru declared. Despite his recent defeat, he didn’t seem too upset about it. “We’ve only known this guy for a day, yet it feels like we’ve been friends for ages.”
“Yeah, he’s not that bad for a rich kid,” Dekao commented.
“Hey!” Yaito cried indignantly. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing, Yaito-chan,” Dekao said nervously, waving his hands as if to wipe the remark away. He knew how scary Yaito could get when she was angry.
“Hey, look, there’s Enzan,” Meiru said, pointing.
Yaito made a face. “Don’t mention that jerk now. I want to enjoy the match.”
“This should be a match to remember!” Midorikawa cried from the announcer’s box. “Ijuuin Netto has an impressive record, yet little is known about Miyuki and Skullman. That makes it for an interesting match!”
“Just shut up and start already,” Enzan growled. His eyes were locked on Blues, and it took everything he had to not reach out for the navi. It would have been pointless, his logical reasoning told him, but he could not suppress the desire.
The words Battle Start flashed across the screen.
“All right, Blues,” Netto cheered. “Let’s show him what we’re made of.”
Skullman sniggered again and disappeared from sight. The crowd gasped as one as everyone tried to see the bizarre-looking navi.
“He’s fast,” Blues commented calmly.
“Bonestalker!” Two objects came hurling at Blues, who easily dodged them. The red navi noted with disgust that they seemed to be Skullman’s arms, detached from his body.
“Looks like we need a change of strategy,” Netto said. “Battle chip, Shotgun, slot in!”
Blues’ sword melted into a rapid-fire buster, and he fired it at the brief glimpses of Skullman. Enzan had to restrain himself from yelling at Netto. What was he thinking, taking away Blues’ strength and replacing it with a weapon that couldn’t possibly catch the fast navi?
Relax, he told himself. This is what he did last time, and it worked okay. It’s not a bad strategy.
“But he nearly lost last time,” he muttered out loud. It had been because of Miyuki plugging Skullman out that Netto was the victor. It had been a horrible battle, and Netto had clearly been outmatched. Enzan wouldn’t care if Netto lost or not, if it weren’t for Blues. He gripped the bar with white hands, unable to tear his eyes away from the battle.
“So you can see me now,” Skullman jeered. “Now what are you going to do?”
“Area Steal!” Netto called, slotting in the chip.
“Fool!” Skullman barked, spinning around. “I can predict your every—what?”
Blues was nowhere in sight. Skullman looked around in panic, but he couldn’t see the navi.
“Skullman, look up!” Miyuki cried. “He’s above you!”
Blues had his sword posed for the kill and was heading straight for Skullman. Miyuki’s navi dodged Blues’ slashing attack and managed to stagger away. He glared at the red navi. “Nice try.”
“That was just a warm up,” Netto boasted.
“Now I’ll show you what real speed is!” Blues shot forward, his protective mask sliding over the exposed part of his face.
“Onibi!” Skullman yelled, firing off the chip attack, a purple fire ball. Blues cut it in two and kept coming. He slashed at Skullman, scoring a direct hit. The logout came seconds later.
The crowd erupted in cheers as Enzan stared at Netto in disbelief. “He did it,” Enzan said. “He actually did it.”
“He seems like a tough opponent,” Rockman commented. He looked at his operator with worry. “Are you okay, Enzan-sama?”
“I…” Enzan said. “I didn’t think…” He sighed heavily and turned away from the battlefield. “I’m fine, Rockman. Let’s go.”
Enzan turned around to see two men staring at him. They were wearing dirty, scoffed-up clothes, had dirty, scoffed-up faces, and were looking at him like he was a piece of garbage. One of them was tall and thin, with shoulder-length black hair. The other was shorter and more muscular, and had greasy hair.
“You’re Hikari’s son, ain’t ya?” one of them asked, swaggering toward him.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Enzan said calmly. He began to back away.
“You are his son. I recognize the same, stupid look on your face,” the other sneered. “Get over here.”
“I think not,” Enzan replied.
“Let’s get out of here, Enzan-sama!” Rockman cried.
“I couldn’t agree more,” Enzan said, turning and running down the entranceway.
“Hey, come back here!” one shouted. The men began to chase him. One nearly slammed into Yaito as they passed through the stands.
“Hey!” she cried.
“Did you see that?” Dekao commented. “I wonder what they want with Enzan?”
“I hope he’ll be all right,” Higure said, joining the small group. They had invited him to meet Netto, and he had made it just in time to see the last netbattle. He blinked at the small group. “Do you think we should follow them?”
“Nah,” Yaito said, waving her hand dismissively. “He probably stole some battle chips from them, or something.”
“He’s a chip thief?” Higure cried. “Why didn’t anyone tell me? I let him clean the shop; he could have done anything!” He began to pull on his hair, his yelling getting louder.
“Who’s a chip thief?” Netto asked as he walked up to the group. He stared at Higure. “And what’s his problem?”
-- -- --
“I really wish I would know about the crimes I commit before I’m punished for them,” Enzan complained as he ran.
“I don’t think you know those people, Enzan-sama,” Rockman replied. He stole a glance over Enzan’s shoulder. “They’re gaining!”
“Where is everyone?” Enzan asked, gasping for the breath to say it. It felt like he had been running for hours, yet he hadn’t seen anyone in the halls.
“I don’t know,” Rockman said. His voice was thick with worry. “But there’s got to be an official somewhere!”
Enzan turned a corner and skidded to a stop. A smooth wall greeted him.
“Uh, oh,” he muttered, spinning around. The two men blocked the way. Beyond them, almost taunting Enzan with its closeness, was a door leading outside.
“Looks like you’ve hit a dead end,” one of them commented, folding his arms.
“I don’t know what you want,” Enzan said, raising his voice. “But I won’t be pushed around.”
The two exchanged looks. Enzan got the feeling they weren’t impressed.
“We just want our money back,” the taller one said, stepping closer to Enzan.
“Yeah,” said the greasy-haired one, moving forward too. “Your father owes us some money, but we haven’t seen him in some time. So we think you should pay us.”
“I don’t have any money,” Enzan snapped. “And if you have a problem with Hikari, take it up with him, not me.” He moved to walk passed them, but the greasy one blocked his path.
“That’s really too bad,” the taller one said. He shoved Enzan back. “I guess you’ll have to give us something else. That PET looks nice…”
“Over my dead body,” Enzan hissed. He wrapped both arms around the PET protectively and glared at both of them.
“Enzan-sama!” Rockman cried, his voice muffled.
The taller one cracked his knuckles. “Suit yourself,” he replied. Then he punched Enzan in the face.
Author’s notes: I do not know what “Arubaitano” means, but I do know Roll says it in the show. I’m trying to make the story as close to the show as possible (in background accuracy, if nothing else), so I decided to include that word. “Onibi” was translated as “Giant’s Flame” in the show. As a side note, they’ll be some mild language in the few chapters. Nothing to worry about too much, but I wanted to give some warning because there hasn’t been any language so far.
“Snigger” is a funny word.