“I didn’t catch this guy in a ring by the way.” As Michael handed over the Honey Badger, Dusty pulled out a small red rubber vial. There was a little lid on the end, which he took off, and an eyedropper nipple was revealed. Inserting it into the tiny critter’s mouth, he slowly squeezed out the entire contents.
“Don’t worry about that. There’s no rule against taking care of wild Cachimon, right? My friends are always bringing in sick or injured Demons… Anyway, my name’s Dusty, what’s yours?” Once he finished feeding the potion to the unconscious critter, the middle aged man smiled and grabbed a spray-bottle from one of the tables. This time, he simply spritzed the wounded cheek a few times and the wound healed within seconds.
“Wow, that’s pretty fucking amazing… Ah, and I’m Michael. Thanks, seriously, you really helped me out.” Michael snickered and sat down onto a metal stool. Without even making a sound, the ‘Maid-san’ appeared behind him with a bucket of cold water and poured it directly onto his head.
“Holy fuck!” After he screamed in shock, the giggling ghostly woman started using freezing-cold soapy water and a sponge to vigorously clean his body off. Fortunately, the Maid-san’s magical abilities were able to clean his body off in less than twenty seconds. After that, she handed him a clean, warm towel that seemingly appeared out of nowhere.
Michael dried off his hair, then wrapped the towel around his waist, before sitting back down onto the wet stool. In the meantime, Dusty was completely focused on the little baby that was placed on the nearby countertop. It was as if the whole ridiculous scene to his left had never even occurred.
It only took a few minutes before the badger opened its eyes and clucked angrily, then it glared at Michael and tried to attack him once more. However, this time, Michael simply caught the Demon in his hands and asked: “Now what do I do?”
“Well, that depends on the two of you.” Dusty smiled wryly and asked the clucking badger, “Do you want to return to the wild, or would you rather accompany Michael on his journey?”
Unsurprisingly, the Honey Badger shook its head back and forth, before escaping from Michael’s hands. After that, it made some more noise as it scurried out of the lab. Its answer was pretty self-explanatory.
The grey-haired man raised an eyebrow and lifted his hat a bit with his left index finger, “You don’t seem upset… Most kids your age would be fighting tooth and nail to capture their first Demon and become official Tamers. Then again, I’ve also never seen a twelve year old boy who looked so umm… ‘mature’ before.”
Michael snickered, then asked: “Wait a second… If you think I look so old, then why are you so sure I’m a kid?”
The faceless pale-skinned ghost giggled as she vanished into thin air. Then Dusty explained, “It’s one of Maid-san’s special skills. And when you form a strong enough bond with your Demons, you can start to ‘feel’ what they do, and communicate telepathically. It’s much easier if the Cachimon is already psychic though.”
After a few seconds of awkward silence, Michael asked: “Ummm… Do you have like, an actual shower? No offense to ghosty-girl, but I don’t feel particularly ‘clean’ right now. And I don’t want my feet to get infected.”
“Ah, didn’t even notice those injuries! I’m really sorry…” Dusty quickly grabbed the spray bottle and squirted a bit of the clear fluid onto the soles of Michael’s bloodied feet. It smelled like alcohol and bleach mixed together, which made the boy gag a bit. Once the wounds healed, Dusty pointed towards a door at the end of the basement and said, “There’s a bathroom over there. Or you could use one of the few upstairs. They all have showers and tubs, but uh… I can’t promise that they won’t be occupied. Some of the Demons living here aren’t much different from humans after all.”
Without asking anymore questions, Michael hurried over to the back of the lab and opened the big white, metal door. Inside was a pristine and enormous bathroom. There was a jacuzzi-tub in one corner, a ‘normal’ toilet bowl, a Japanse-styled toilet that was practically just a porcelain hole in the tile floor, and a fancy giant shower in another corner. There were also several sinks, mirrors et cetera.
Michael left the bathroom feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. He also had a large red beach-towel wrapped across his waist and most of his legs. Technically, it wasn’t considered clothing, but at least he wasn’t completely naked anymore.
“So Dusty… You’re obviously an expert on Demons and stuff, so I was wondering if you could tell me how to take this damn rusty ring off?” Michael walked over to the recently cleaned metal stool and sat down. That middle-aged man was over by a shelf and rummaging through some large plastic containers.
“Found it!” He shouted, holding up an old black backpack. There was a golden ring symbol on the back of it, and a few pockets on the sides that were already filled with various items. As he brought that over to the counter next to Michael, he looked at the ring and explained: “That’s a Starter Ring… Kinda weird that you don’t even know that. It represents your commitment to becoming an Official Tamer, so you can’t remove it until you use it. Usually though, most kids would get one after graduating from Primary School, if they chose to become a Tamer. Then they’d be given the choice between a few baby Demons that the school raised and bred. Where did you go to school?”
“Uh, umm…” Michael snickered, “I can’t really remember to be totally honest. I lived down in Pasadena… Let’s just say we didn’t have any Cachimon there, hahaha~!”
“That sounds like a really strange place…” Dusty chuckled, then pulled a device out of a backpack pocket. It had an appearance close to an old flip-phone from the early 2000’s of Earth. Similar to the backpack, it was mostly black, with a golden ring icon built into the back.
“This might look old-fashioned, but I guarantee it’s still as good as new. Since it was never actually used, hehe~!” Dusty opened it up and pressed his thumb on the central button of the control pad. As the screen lit up, he explained: “You’ve probably never seen an Akumatech Demonica-Phone before, right? Well, even when I was a kid, these things were pretty old-fashioned. Now they’re probably considered ancient relics, haha~! It’s pretty simple to operate. You just point the camera at a Demon, and it’ll show the relevant statistics, explain the type and some basic info… Actually, it even works on humans.”
After aiming the camera at Michael, Dusty pressed a button and then handed over the device.
[#0: Human. Name: Michael Cinagra. Age: 12. Sex: Male. Condition: Healthy. Status: Trainee Tamer. Talent: Breeding. Element: Arcane. Demons Captured: 0.]
How the device could possibly figure all of that out within a few seconds was far beyond Michael’s understanding. However, he did understand what Talent and Element meant, since he had to choose them at the beginning of any Cachimon game. Even the fan-made nightmare he last played.
Talent was fairly self-explanatory. The most commonly chosen was usually Battle, since combat was the main feature of the game series. It would give a +50% boost to experience gained from battle. Although it should be an obvious choice, the max level was 100. So it was useless in the endgame, aside from power-leveling other Demons.
Breeding was a lot less popular. In order to keep the ‘Everyone’ rating, the Player didn’t actually have much to do with the breeding aspects of the game. They simply dropped their 2 to 10 Demons off at a Sanctuary for a while and would get back some extra ‘Babies’ when they went to pick them up.
Of course, just because it was unpopular, didn’t mean it was useless. In the game, the Breeding Talent would give a 25% chance for a random Demon Baby to appear. This was significant, since it was possible to get extremely rare or challenging Demons by simply saving and resetting the game repeatedly. Or if the person didn’t want to cheat, they could just keep doing it the ‘right’ way and might end up with something they needed, eventually.
In reality though, Breeding was apparently much more complicated.
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