|Side Story: Twisted Fates
Author: Flailing Orchid PM
Volume 1-The Dragoon(Complete): A young man visiting Japan is tangled up in SAO's incidents. Using somewhat shady tactics, he stays at the forefront of the leveling curve. After stumbling onto a Unique Skill, he catches the eye of a certain guild leader. Volume 2-Chasing Shadows: The world of ALO is plagued by a notoriously ruthless player known only as Tiamat.Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 12 - Words: 63,444 - Reviews: 141 - Favs: 158 - Follows: 163 - Updated: 11-18-12 - Published: 09-12-12 - id: 8520866
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
((Author's Notes: Just as a head's up, I rewrote a good portion of Heathcliff's scene in chapter 2. I really wasn't happy with the shallow portrayal that I gave of him. I went back and really elaborated on that scene. While the outcome hasn't changed, I feel that it didn't deserve to be such a weak scene in that chapter.)
Chapter 3: Snowblind
Roaring winds caressed my cheeks while my hair blew back rapidly as I descended. I had found a new love in this game as I soared through the skies. It was a feeling of freedom that I had never experienced before. Surely, if this were the real world, my eyes would be sealed tightly shut from the intensity of the air pressing building up against my face and my exposed facial skin would be greatly windburnt. My spear firmly found its way into the back of the yeti like Tusksnarl that was minding its own business next a large glacial formation. The snow exploded into a large cloud as the air pressure from my landing pushed it outward in a perfect radius from the epicenter at the point of my impact. At first, I was terrified of the fall. It took quite a few jumps before I got use that vertigo of falling and the fear of striking the ground. But each time, as my feet landed, it was as if my whole body became lined with incredibly powerful shocks which absorbed the impact.
The yeti cried out as its HP greatly decreased. Even with all the damage multiplying bonuses I could achieve with this jump, past the 40th floor I wasn't able to kill some of the larger ones in a single hit as I could previously. I quickly pulled my spear out of the Tusksnarl's back before ducking as it spiraled around swinging its large fist in a backhand towards my midsection. While still mid spiral, I used its own momentum as I shoulder bunted its rib cage, causing the large beast to tumble to the ground. I lifted my spear high into the air with the intention of bringing down the spear into the center of its chest. However, before I could deal the final blow, another much larger yeti rose from the snow, blindsiding me with his massive fist.
I rolled across the snow top as I tumbled out of control. This was a perfect example of one of the weaknesses of Sky Siege mode being active. I had no stability whatsoever due to the innate featherlight status that came with the whole package. Unless I was in the "Dive" portion of the Jump skill, I was very close to being weightless. Guarding an attack could lead to me being thrown backwards a good distance just from the force of the blow. While I could instantly drop Sky Siege Mode, it took ten second to re-engage. In exchange, armor weight was nullified completely(not weapons) while this featherlight aspect was active. Even when Sky Siege mode was not active, there seemed to be some sort of passive 70% armor weight reduction. Due to this fact, I bid goodbye to my lovely scale armor and started collecting rare pieces of plate equipment, which had a much higher armor and durability rating.
Digging my spear through the snow and dirt, I caught myself and planted my feet firmly onto the ground. The smaller Tusksnarl was off in the distance, kneeling down, crippled by his low HP. Though, the larger one was already in a full charge, sprinting in my direction. Aiming low, I activated Gale Thrust and struck the large yeti's knee, knocking its legs out from under it. The beast careened downward face first as I ran past it. I took small leap and flew through the air, landing on the smaller yeti. This was not a "Jump" skill however. While the featherlight aspect of Sky Siege mode rendered me near weightless, allowing me to jump great distances. Though it was nothing compared to height and damage the system assisted skill "Jump" could attain. Originally, on the first day I acquired this Skill, there was a five minute reuse period on Jump before I could activate the skill again. After gaining a few levels, this recharge period is down to three minutes twenty five seconds. It seems to scale down with higher levels.
The larger yeti's footsteps felt like they were right behind me, I turned and activated Hexagram Heartseeker as quickly as possible. As my rapid attacks began to pierce into its chest, the beast began to breathe down a powerful frost breath. It was unavoidable; I was still in the middle of a skill. My HP began to plummet, and I received the "chilled" status affect. My body grew cold and it was difficult to move. As the final strike of my skill finished, he still had half of his HP remaining. My HP had become dangerously low. Taking a deep breath, I calmed myself down before I succumbed to panic. Tightly, I clenched a teleportation crystal I had resting right under my chest plate and prepared to use it. Suddenly, the beast froze in place. I wasn't sure if it was a glitch in the system or if my attacks had some unintended secondary effect. But then a player walked out from behind the yeti. The cloaked man pulled out one of the many small needles, and gingerly stabbed it into the beast's side. The monster's body tensed up to an even greater degree.
"Paralysis Poison." I murmured quietly to myself.
Where did this guy come from? My detection skill was top notch and I am still not registering him. Does that cloak have some crazy bonus to the Sneak skill that I just can't overcome at my level? A strong sense of worry came over me as a grin came to his face. The hood was pulled down so far that all I could see were his lips and chin. Finally, as he came even closer, my detection skill finally picked him up. My eyes weakened heavily when the cursor appeared over his head. He was a red player, a full PK. My body could barely move now, and this player was looming over me with a sinister smirk. He had no idea that I had a crystal clutched to my chest; it most likely looked like I was grasping myself trying to breath, unable to move from the chilled effect. This was a valuable chance for information; I just had to be prepared to use the crystal before he could use one of those needles.
"You really put a hurting on ole Johnny back on the 33rd floor." He spoke finally spoke up in perfect english, "I saw it, you know."
Johnny? I kept quiet.
"Half of his armor was irreparable after that wicked attack you planted in his chest." The cloaked man knelt down next to me, "You were fully intending on killing him weren't you?'
I gave a single weak laugh as I began to put on my act again, "I almost had him too."
"That's what I like about you." He nodded before standing up, "You were a PKer before you came to this game weren't you?"
"You would be the type to know wouldn't you?" I feigned arrogance while clutching the teleport crystal tighter.
Suddenly, the large Tusksnarl began to move slightly, causing the cloaked man to make a "Tsk" sound with his tongue in annoyance.
"It's show time." He sneered as he stood up.
That phrase, I knew it from somewhere, but I couldn't place my finger on it. My mind quickly dismissed this déjà vu as I witnessed his sleight of hand, which was incredibly impressive. All I could see was his hand extending forward towards the beast, but suddenly, a large dagger was planted into its forehead. Then countless smaller daggers flowed from his sleeve and perforated the large beast's body. It shattered instantly, but this player's gaze remained locked on me the entire time.
"You know I was thinking." He began again, "Resourceful players such as yourself and I who have no desire to risk their necks on the front line need a place for ourselves. I have a few followers now, but it's not enough. Eventually, we will have enough players and funds to start our own guild with full functionality."
So, I am being scouted again. This time though, by a much more dangerous sect of players. How do I handle this? Should I just teleport out now? When was I on everyone's radar? I wanted to blame this new skill set I was gifted with, but the truth was... hell who knows. In the midst of quietly bemoaning my new found popularity, the cloaked man's face contorted slightly. Perhaps my expressions gave me away or perhaps this entire time he was just lost in monologue because he is a self centered sadistic bastard, but he suddenly decided to raise his knife.
"But..." His raised arm remained looming above me, "I don't think you have it in you to kill unless you are threatened in some way. Which is a shame if you really think abo-"
CLANK! The hooded man was suddenly ejected from my view as I heard what could only be described as a hollow metal baseball bat striking a home run ball. My ears were still ringing from the resonating sound. My eyes widened as I watched him bounce across the snow before slamming into the side of a nearby glacier protruding from the ground. Looking up, I saw raven black hair flowing aloft the thick snowfall along with a pair of piercing crystalline blue eyes that held a wild glare locked onto the hooded man.
"You still breathin'?" She spoke English.
"I should be okay." I nodded hesitantly as I glanced at her incredibly heavy looking full metal bo staff with weighted ends. In fact, the only part of the staff that was not weighted was it's center grip. It was incredibly odd seeing such a petite girl wielding such an unruly weapon. I popped an expensive Refresher Crystal which removed the chilled status before cracking an equally costly Healing Crystal. The girl's glare turned down on me with mild irritation.
"Whaaat?" She spoke Japanese this time, sounding annoyed before switching back to English, "You were just fakin' it?"
What a peculiar girl. It was hard to judge her age from her size versus her facial features and skinny body type. If I had to guess, she was a mixed Japanese blood. The English she was speaking sounded influenced from either England or Australia, but it was so watered down with an American tinge, that I couldn't tell. To be honest, I was never good with accents.
"Well, get off your rear and help out, we don't want this one to get away do we?" She grinned toothily down at me, offering me a hand.
A smile just couldn't help but to find its way across my face as I reached up and took her surprisingly warm hand, "No, no we don't."
As soon as she pulled me up, she kicked off the snow and propelled herself towards him. It wasn't that she was fast, but her strength was so ridiculously high, that the force alone was enough to give her speed and momentum as she launched herself. The hooded player didn't hesitate. With an elegant hand gesture, he fired a volley of daggers in a wide spread in her path way.
"Uuuraaaa~!" She cried out as she spun in a tight 360, bringing that massive metal bo staff in a wide arc.
The force of her swing was so great, that the wind it was generating blew back all of the daggers that were traveling through the air. Before he could launch another volley, the girl suddenly slammed her bo staff onto the ground, causing a huge cloud of snow to explode around her, obscuring the hooded man's view. Conveniently, the cloud of snow was situated between myself and the hooded man. Using this opportunity, I activated Jump.
As the girl launched from the snow cloud towards the hooded man, surprisingly, the hooded man rushed her head on. After closing into a distance where it would be difficult for her to react, he flung a tiny needle coated in paralytic poison. As it stabbed into her arm, she tensed up and her eyes grew wide. A twisted grin came to the hooded man's face as he rushed in close run to her, brandishing an overly large dagger that seemed to be his main weapon.
Suddenly, the girl's facial expression shifted from a tense paralyzed scowl to a playfully sinister grin, "Jus' kidding!"
CLANK! Once more the hooded man was knocked silly and propelled through the air. Just how high was this girl's VIT stat for the poison to have its duration reduced to just a few seconds? What kind of a monstrous build is she using?
"Now where did he-" The girl began as she turned to see where I was.
The girl swiftly turned as she heard the hooded man gasp, just in time to see me plummeting from the sky towards him, gleaming with the light of an active Skill. He tucked and rolled out of the way, but the Dive portion of the skill auto corrected and my course remained true onto him. This was a lock on ability after all. I'm assuming he realized this fact, but it was too late. In an incredible display of focus, the hooded man used the massive dagger to parry my spear the moment before impact. Instead of striking his chest directly, the spear plunged through both the dagger and his shoulder, taking his arm off at the joint. At that very moment, he released several wide spread smoke bombs that exploded, covering the whole field. By the time it cleared, he was nowhere to be seen.
"Che~!" The girl made a frustrated sound, "I can't believe he got away!"
"It can't be helped." I sighed.
"But still..." She whimpered.
It was all I could do to stifle the chuckled that was trying to well up within me. When she spoke Japanese, she was overly cute. It was a huge contrast to the harsh tomboyish tone she took when she spoke English. I just shook my head as I approached her. A toothy smile jumped across her cat like face as I approached.
She boldly held her hand out, "I'm Chelsea!"
"Reis." I replied as I took her hand.
"It makes sense!" She replied, "Wasn't Reis part of the whole Dragoon theme in those old console RPG games?"
"Yeah, that's where I got the idea originally." I smirked.
"Wait, wasn't Reis a girl in that one game where she actually made an appearance?" Chelsea questioned.
"Yeah, this character was originally a girl." I laughed, scratching the back of my head.
An awkward look crossed her face in response.
"Ehhh..." She looked at me suspiciously, "So you are one of those."
"Not really, I was just curious if it would actually let me make a female character. I was intending on deleting the character and starting over as a male." I grinned in a less than incriminating way, "I wasn't expecting to not be able to log out."
Chelsea moved in close to me and started elbowing me teasingly, "Are you sure you didn't have any perverted ideas?"
Poking her forehead in an equally playful response, pushing her back lightly, "Just what are you suggesting, hmmm? You couldn't possibly think that I was doing something that I was most obviously probably not wouldn't be taking part in would you?"
Her face contorted slightly with a smirk at my suggestive double talk.
"Well..." Chelsea did a half twist as she hopped back away from me, "I'm just as guilty, this character was originally a male."
"Ehhh..." I mimicked her earlier response, "But you named him Chelsea?"
"He was a really cute male!" She spoke full of justification as if that made sense.
Chelsea. That named suddenly rang a bell. I heard about her from a few information brokers. Her nickname was "The Tiny Behemoth" or "The Little Leviathan", a berserker type player that had an ungodly amount of VIT and STR stat, forsaking all AGI and DEX. The force of her blows were so heavy that even if she didn't land a direct hit, the collateral was enough to do the job. She was an expert boss slayer on the frontlines and was known for her high detention rate when it came to criminal players. The weapon she used was "The Gigas Rod", a rare boss drop she got from clearing the 30th floor. I heard it had an incredibly high knock back effect associated with it.
"So, that jumping skill you used, is that something that Long Spear users learn eventually? If that was known, there would be a lot more of them..." She questioned.
"I'm not sure to be honest." I chuckled wearily, scratching the back of my head.
"Either way, if you ever want to party up, feel free to message me." She grinned as she brought up her drop down menu.
A friend request lit up on my screen, "Chelsea is requesting to add you to her friends list."
With a quick button press, my friends list appeared.
(Friends Online 1/1)
Chelsea (42nd Floor, The Glacial Tundra)
Acting as if it was perfectly natural, Chelsea approached me before taking my face into her hands and peering into my eyes as if studying me. Her hands felt the contours of my face for a few seconds. Before I could shake the minor shock that I felt from her forward actions, she backed away from me and placed her hands on her hips.
"I was right, you're a good person!" She spoke cheerfully.
"Is that so?" I smirked helplessly.
After idling around for a moment and kicking the snow, she looked up and smiled again, "It's getting late, I'm going to turn in for the night."
"Sweet dreams." I returned her smile.
"And..." Her smile became a dark glare as she switched to English, "If you see any PK players, send me a message immediately."
She smiled sweetly again then gave me the peace sign as she teleported out.
Putting my hands on my hips I shook my head lightly, "There are all kinds of people here aren't there?"
Something did bug me however. She asked if all Long Spear users were capable of learning these Dragoon-like abilities. I was curious about this myself. It has been a while since I've killed that dragon. Does he respawn? I brought my fist up to my chin mimicking Agil for a moment as I pondered. There was only one way to find out.
A small chime I had never heard before suddenly rang out while my HUD appeared on my screen with a message, "You have a new message! (1)"
Upon opening it up, I received a friend message from Chelsea complete with emoticons, "There's nothing like a warm shower and a bed after fighting in the snow! XD Sleep well, I'm coming to find you tomorrow! 3"
"Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?" I lamented with a smile, but I couldn't say that I was bothered. Lowering my shoulders in yet another helpless motion, I pulled out a teleportation crystal and held it to the sky, vanishing.
It was a few hours later that I found myself standing on the bridge that extended out to the island where the Tidal Caves use to be on the 33rd floor. But now, there was only ocean. The edge of the bridge was broken away and mangled as if a tidal wave ripped it asunder. Sitting at the edge of the bridge under the stars, I let out a deep sigh, "This game certainly is full of mysteries."
"It certainly is." A slithering voice crept up behind me.
Turning around quickly, I was met by yet another man in black, dressed similarly to the PK players I met earlier. A large wicked black scythe hung from his back. I quickly spun my spear around my elbow in an elegant gesture, lining it up in my hands, pointing it towards him. A full Cheshire grin came to his face as his fox like eyes opened slightly.
"It really is you isn't it?" He laughed.
My eyes narrowed curiously.
"The way you handled yourself during our raid on that Flash girl earlier, how you led on PoH as he went about showing off..." He continued, "Then you introduced yourself to that girl as Reis."
He was watching me, but wait, what did he say?
"PoH?" The name sent chills down my spine, "Then you..."
"I knew you did you damnedest to get into OUR games, but who would have thought I'd find you here in SAO." He let out an exasperated laugh, "Do you plan on ruining our fun in this place too?"
"That scythe... you're Geshoku!" My eyes widened.
"I knew it was you. I knew it!" He rolled around laughing before sitting straight up with a murderous face , "I knew I smelled American trash."
Geshoku was part of one of the few Japanese PK guilds on the last MMO that I played, which was a Japanese local game that I downloaded. His guild was notorious for griefing and harassing players on a daily basis. They were widely hated, but "PoH" the leader of that guild was wickedly strong and thanks to his abusive tactics, he had quite the load of powerful gear. Few players could stop his assaults. While I couldn't do anything about PoH, I enjoyed hunting the other members of his guild and "spoiling their fun." One in particular went out of his way to try and hunt me down. His name was Geshoku. He has an intense hatred for Americans and petitioned to the GMs multiple times to get my IP banned. But his pleas fell on deaf ears. He had too many strikes against his account already. His hate for Americans was so intense, he would PK people for the simple reason of not having black hair or having brightly colored eyes. Because only American's have hair and eye colors other than black? Am I right? I never did try to understand his moronic logic. But there was something I did to him that infuriated him greatly beyond simply being American, but I couldn't remember just what it was...
"When I first realized who you were, I felt as if this beautiful world had been dirtied..." He started to monologue, "But now I realize this is a blessing. I get to kill you for real this time. But not yet, I want you to live in fear as my comrades stalk you and hunt you down."
This is definitely a monologue.
Geshoku turned his back to me revealing the rare scythe in his possession. Trying to act like a badass, he started to walk away but he was still speaking, "Wait for me Reis, I will be the one who will deal the final blow when you draw your last breath in this-"
My fist came down loudly in my palm, "Oh yeah! You were the guy I use to teabag all the time!"
Geshoku tripped and fell flat on his face while mid sentence.
End Chapter 3