.Hack/ Trilogy Three

.Hack/SIGN: New Friends

Mimiru swept forward, the redheaded Heavy Blade swinging her large sword to parry a Crimson Knight's attack. "You'd better give up now," the scantily clad warrior said to her firmly, "or I won't be responsible for the consequences."

"Never," the red armored figure growled.

"So be it," Mimiru answered calmly, attacking swiftly and scoring a critical hit. The defeated Knight dropped, stunned, then she seemed to fade out into a phantom like version of herself.

Mimiru turned to sweep the battle field with her eyes, smiling in satisfaction as she saw that the tide was turning against the Crimson Knights. The Knights had always relied on sheer numbers rather than individual power, and now that was costing them badly as Subaru's more experienced force cut through them with surprising ease.

"Look out!" a woman's voice called in warning from right behind her and Mimiru jumped in alarm, whipping around to see an unfamiliar Long Arm parrying a Knight's attack.

"Thanks," Mimiru moved up to help while silently cursing her moment of distraction. Together they easily dealt with the Knight, then stood back to back as more of the enemy rushed to attack them. She realized that this Long Arm wasn't a high level character, but she made up for it with both cunning and determination.

Finally both of them lowered their weapons as the battle gradually ran down, the last bands of Crimson Knights throwing down their weapons. The Long Arm smiled slightly as she looked towards Mimiru, "Well, that was a good fight."

Mimiru chuckled softly, noticing that the woman had two different colored eyes. She wore a chainmail vest and simple garb, looking like a fallen knight or a wandering warrior maybe. "That it was," she hesitated then smiled, "my name's Mimiru."

"Kamui," the Long Arm nodded, leaning against her spear. She was about to say more, when they both saw that Subaru was confronting the current leader of the Crimson Knights.

Subaru looked surprisingly regal as the blue haired Heavy Axe gazed at the man, the two standing in the middle of the rebel army. "Your forces have been beaten," she said with surprising gentleness, "do you yield?"

"Yes, Lady Subaru," he sighed, his helm hiding much of his face.

"I'm not here to disband the Crimson Knights," Subaru pitched her voice so that it carried across the field, "nor do I intend to take over." There was a murmur of surprise from the Knights as she continued, "What we've done, is give you a warning."

"What do you mean?" the leader frowned.

Quietly Subaru explained to him, "The Crimson Knights have angered many in the past few months and this is your wake up call." She flashed a smile, "I personally have no objection to your maintaining the peace and trying to keep order in the World, but harming bystanders and innocents will not be tolerated."

"In other words you beat us once," the lead Knight said wryly, "and you'll do it again if we give you cause."

"Something like that," Subaru agreed calmly.

"Wow," Kamui murmured as they listened. She looked over at Mimiru and softly asked, "Do you think she's doing the right thing, letting them go?"

"I think she's doing the only thing that she can do and stay true to herself," Mimiru answered her promptly. She stretched gracefully as she stowed her sword across her back, "You joining in the victory celebration?"

Kamui hesitated, "Is it for long time players only, or...?"

Mimiru gave her a smile, "You were brave enough to fight beside us, you have every right to party with us too." The massive band of warriors moved off from the territory of the Crimson Knights then headed to the town and to one of many simulated pubs.

They collected drinks then studied the place, the crowds packed around many tables. A familiar figure waved them over to a table, Bear smiling in welcome. The big man looked at Mimiru curiously, "Made a new friend?"

"Something like that," Mimiru agreed. She introduced them, adding, "Bear's an old friend of mine, as well as someone I've always counted on."

"It's an honor," Kamui shook his hand, sitting comfortably.

Mimiru tried to keep up with the conversation but she was distracted a bit by two figures in a corner. Tsukasa and Subaru talked together softly, the slim boy and young woman, both laughing and chatting intimately despite being surrounded by people, off in their own world. She looked away as an uncomfortable flash of jealousy flared within her only to meet Kamui's sympathetic eyes.

"What?" Mimiru asked crossly.

"Don't mid her," Bear said with a slight smile, "she's a barbarian a heart."

"Hey!" Mimiru protested, "If anyone here is a barbarian, it's you."

Bear snickered as Kamui gave them a lopsided smile, "Should I leave you two alone?"

"No thanks," Bear said calmly.

"Sorry I got distracted," Mimiru said softly, "he and I just have a history."

"I know how that feels," Kamui agreed, nodding towards where Albireo and Hokuto talked cheerfully, the resemblance Kamui shared with Albireo remarkably obvious.

"Ah," Mimiru murmured, having wondered at their connection when she saw they were so similar looking.

"Where you two..." Bear asked delicately.

"No," Kamui shook her head, "tho I suppose I thought about it a time or two." She smiled wryly, "You could say he was my mentor."

"From what I've heard he's a good man, not to mention a legendary player," Bear noted. He smiled, "He is one of the Descendants of Fianna, you know."

"Really?" Mimiru squeaked out while Kamui looked blank. Seeing her companion's confusion Mimiru explained, "The Descendants of Fianna fought in the battle against the One Sin and defeated it. and Albireo was there to witness it."

"I never knew Albireo was famous," Kamui admitted.

"The web poet W.B. Yates has mentioned him a few times," Bear noted.

Mimiru drank a bit, looking at Kamui thoughtfully before asking, "Are you adventuring alone or in a group?"

"Mostly alone," Kamui admitted after a moment, "or in pairs. Why?"

"I haven't been in a group for awhile," Mimiru admitted, silently adding, 'not since Tsukasa, anyway.' Briskly she continued, "If you want to trade member addresses, we could form a party."

Kamui looked over at her in surprise and asked, "We've just met.. isn't it soon for you to be doing that?"

Mimiru smiled, "We fought side by side... that gives me a feel for what you're like. Besides, I think you've got potential."

Kamui hesitated.. then decided to use the talk command to send her address over. "I hope I don't regret this..." she muttered.

"Don't worry," Bear laughed as he got up to go, "even if she gets you into trouble, it'll be interesting trouble."

"Gee, thanks," Mimiru rolled her eyes. She grinned at Kamui, "We can get together a mixed party, that way we'll all work together better."

"Already planning?" Kamui asked, wondering a moment who Mimiru might be in real life. She was in her twenties but this girl was already bowling her over...

"Someone's got to," Mimiru grinned.

Kamui chuckled, faintly surprised at how comfortable she felt with her. "Guess so," she said as they put their heads together, planing out campaigns with an infectious eagerness.

End.

Notes: This story was written in an odd order, Part Two coming first. My idea was at first based on a one shot on Kamui, a character from the .Hack/ novels, but I realized it wouldn't work well on it's own. Therefore I added the .Hack/SIGN chapter, as well as a final story to wrap it all up. This story also ties in with my earlier fic, Hack Sign: Afterwards. These stories refer heavily to details in the .Hack novels, but hopefully are understandable without reading them.