State: Chapter 07: The Fate of the frail
Concerned Characters: Tsukasa, Sora, Orca, (?)...
Pairing: non pairing(?)
A/N: ...At this point, I don't think I can really say something interesting.
Exept for tanking HieiWanabe for beta-reading my first chapters and Veldrin; LanHikari2000x; Frostbite the 5 tailed wolf Sightbent; Blue Bragon; Arcon1; Marada; Shadow Rave; xiia For their helpful reviews, and basicaly reviewing.
Chapter 07: The Fate of the frail
This was going well. This was how it was supposed to be.
There was nothing to be worried about. After all, soon, he would come back. Soon, he would come back to her.
And there would be nothing to hope for anymore.
They would be all three together, and there would be no need for the boy anymore.
She would live on.
Curse that old god! Curse that old man! Curse Harald!
For what purpose did 'she' disposed of a life if it was for having no purpose at all?
Once she was born...
...there would be no need for her...
But it would be all right. Soon, the child' s growth would be stopped. Soon, she would not be threatened anymore.
Why was there something which bothered her?
Something which shouldn't be...
It couldn't be...
Was it the boy?
No, it would be alright.
Macha was with him after all.
Tsukasa walked on the field. The sun was high and it looked like some desert. He prefered when it was night, it was going better with his mood. He had tried. He had showed what he could do to the Blademaster, but all the other did was scolding him like some child, telling him it was not something which made him special or anything. Adults, they are always like this. They keep talking but they are all so selfish. He knew that. He felt some pain comming from his stomach, those dark thoughts were hurting him.
He looked up. His Guardian was here, protecting him as always. This is what the woman said. It would protect him. He stepped before a portal and activated it. The monsters who came from it were ugly and threatening, but he wasn't afraid like the first time he did it. Because he knew now. Before the monsters could attack, his Guardian had placed itself protectively before the boy, defeating the monsters in one blow. Tsukasa felt himself leveling up.
He did not want to come back to the sleeping girl for now, he was not sure what it would do. What if he dyed her? He did not understand the woman's words. Why did he have to dye her? Would it do something special? He regreted having missed Mimiru. She did not come when he called her. It angered him, she had been the one pestering him in the first place, it had been for her he trained his monster so hard. And now, he could control it so it was not too bad. But why? Why didn't she come...she was still angered at him...
He saw another portal gleaming slightly at the horison. All this could wait for a while.
Textures and forms were something which modeled The World. Every field had its own texture and its own effect on players: relaxing, calming, scrary, creepy...Field without texture existed however, a simple blank world. An infinite white room. It was used on extrem necessities by the administrators. Private field which imprisoned the player who warped into it, the colorless font gaving them intense sense of uneasyness.
It was in such field a green-haired player suddenly warped in. Surprised, the red-eyed Twin Blade checked around. He had definitly not expected this. Sora had thought it was the Crimson Kinghts who had contacted him, but he had serious doubts now. Looking around the limitless void, a slight strain of worry was starting to grow in him. Was it a bug or...
"Hum, excuse me, you..."
He turned sharply and met the closed eyes of a very disturbed pink female Twin Blade. She fidgeted nervouly, apparently impressed by his appearance, before speaking again:
"I dont really know why I'm here, do you know where we are?"
The PK looked at her with dull eyes. He had supected for a while he had been called here because of some lunatics who reported his Pking activities, but observing her, he doubted it. She had a single golden blade on her belt which looked like a level one. Not a PK weapon for sure. Nobody on his right mind would put a newbie and a PK in the same room.
"And how would I know that?" he answered, "I just recieved a flashmail telling me to come here."
"Really?" she brightened a little, "me too!" Sora groaned.
"Humpf! I'm not really sure what this mean, but if there is nothing here I'll just gate out."
"I'm afraid this isn't possible, Mr Sora." a voice suddenly spoke.
Surprised, The Twin Blades looked around. In a matter of second, a dozen of character suddenly appeared from thin air. They were heavily armored and all had a steel hat and a visor, all of them were Long Arm. Both of the players were stupified. One of them approached.
"We'd like a word with you, Miss A-20 and Mr Sora." the authority in his voice made him uneasy. He made no comment about the 'Mister' appelation this time.
"Hey, what is it?" asked A-20, seemly curious, "Is this some kind or event or what?"
The man turned his armored head to the girl and Sora had the serious impression he could see strands of his irritation coming out of his helmet for being interupted.
"The 'event' would be your association with a wanted figure of The World." he clarified. He seemt to eye them through his blind helmet..
Sora's eyes narowed. How did the admins discovered about his connection? Unless...He took a quick glance at the pink-haired girl. Was it something else? Who could have both links to himself and such a newbie?
"Association?" wondered the girl aloud, "I'm a solo player. I dont have associations, people just think I'm too weird for that." she said frankly.
"Would've never guessed..." mutered the PK as he shelted his weapons. He really felt like Pking her now, but knew this would be stupid to do so. If he had a chance later maybe...
Although, her presence might help him a little, he realised as he noticed the Long Arm was starting to lose patience at her retort. At least she was a distraction. He still wondered though... what aquitance did he have who could share such an idiotic companion? What aquitance with enough troubles to have the System administrators on his back? They were Stystem admins, weren't they? with the white field and all...
"We were informed however," the admin said, impatience building in his voice, "that you were having a contact with the suspect fourty-six hours from now on the Lambda server. And you," he turned to Sora, "people on the Delta server said they saw you with a red-clad Twin Blade in Mac Anu a while ago."
Sora felt a weight on his stomach. So, that's what it was... 'Of course', he realised with dark irony 'only a light head like this guy can tolerate the annoing pink weirdo!' He probably hadn't realised however, how much trouble he could bring to her. Not only that, did this mean he had been right about him being banned before? He heard it was possible for outlaw players to be. But he never would have guessed the 'all goody, no Pking' red guy was one of them. And now, he was in deep water because of his relation with the boy.
" Oh! You mean that red guy?" the pink-haired girl smiled."He is cool, had been the first and only to stay in a party with me!" nobody in the field seemed to wonder why he was the only one. "That's too bad though..." her grin fadded. " When that creepy half-guy and the monsters came, I had to disband 'cause I was gonna die! Well, it's only after I learned there were resurrecting thingies in the game..." she blushed.
"What 'half-guy' are you refering to?" the Long Arm asked sharply, "Explain!"
"Huh? Well, you see," she answered causualy, " I decided to ask him to form a party 'cause I thought his name was cool like mine! I wondered why he chose it... Anyway," she continued quickly as she saw the man glaring at her, " we were both in the field when there was some scream. We went to see and this all patched up guy was here."
"Patched up?" Sora asked. He was starting to wonder if this red-clad boy didn't kept some important things to him.
"Yeah" A-20 acquiesced, "that's the only way I can describ it. I was seriously freaked out." she confessed, "But this "K" guy wasn't!" there was a gleam in her closed eyes. " He just talked to the other like it was normal."
"What did they talk about?" the admin questioned.
"I'm not sure I got everything," she admited, "they were talking about "should" and "shouldn't" or things like that..."
"What?" the admin looked perplexed. Sora felt all his thoughts messed up. This guy was a weirdo, alright.
"Yeah, and then, they talked about what he knew and what "she" didn't knew or something."
"She? what "she"?" the admin was loosing patience.
"Heck if I know!"
As both of them were talking, Sora kept silent. It was starting to come to him again...what this 'Kite' said to him as he woke up. He was talking about a "she" then. And it seemed like he was expecting Sora himself to know about it... What could this mean?
"That's enough!" the man' s voice interrupted his thoughts. "Are you stating this is your only contact with the outlaw?"
"He is an outlaw?" the female Twin Blade asked.
The admin was fuming, but decided to ignore her question completly and focused on the male Twin Blade. He felt sweats under his headset. This was bad, the way he looked at him reminded him of his mother' s when he angered her.
"I need your testimony now, Mr Sora." he felt an icy cold feeling at his world. " What is your relationship with the outlaw?"
"I'd like some enlightment first please Mr the administrator," he just wasn't going to be used by those can-heads, no matter who they were. "you are clearly stating that this red-claded player is an outlaw character, however you never told us how this was the case. Care to explain?"
For a moment, the man looked so taken aback by his attitude that Sora wondered if he would even answer. But then, he smirked almost as nastily as him as he started speaking.
"Oh, but when did I ever said we looked for an outlaw player, Mr Sora?"
'Huh? what?' Now, this was new. What was this tone about? he didn't liked it at all. In the back ground, he heard one of the Long Arm, a woman, say in a low voice: "Dont!" The smirk of the man grew wider, but something changed in his attitude when he talked again.
"All you need to know," he stared at both player, "is that this PC is a threat to the proper operating of The World and that we would like a word with him."
"...And how exactly is he a threat to the proper operating of The World?" the green-haired Twin Blade asked cautiously.
"That, Mr Sora, is none of your concern." he stated. "All we can confirm you is that his character' s Datas is violating all player's agreements" he made a snobbish face. " You probably violated some yourself. However, considering the help you can provide us, we agree to clear your previous case on the condition that you cooperate with us."
The Sora character standed still for a while, the time for his young player to remove the accumulated sweat from his front head. This was bad for sure. Out of every assocations who came after him, it had to be the admins who caught him! His acount would be deleted for sure if he did not do something about it! But...what about the 'Kite' old man? It's not like he had anything against betraying him, but what about the Key? And the weird dungeon? If Kite' s acount was deleted, he would lose a precious lead.
"We are waiting for your answer Mr Sora." the man said. "All you have to do is contact him for us and ask him to come here."
This made Sora's curiousity perk. "Are you telling me you can't do it yourself?"
He could see his mouth frown. "As we already stated, he is violating a large number of user's agreement."
"Then, what make you think I'll be able to contact him?"
"Stop playing with us!" he ordered, " we know you have his member address. Send him a message!"
Sora was ready to answer when he was interrupted. "Then I can try to contact him myself, right?"
Every faces turned to the pink haired girl, she grinned with her foxy eyes.
"You are willing to do it?" asked the admin, apparently not very convinced.
"Of course!" she smiled. "I dont want him to have troubles, but if he is violating the law, then it can't be helped."
"Fine then." the man looked more relaxed. "Just send him a message with the Keywords of the field in it. Be sure he arrives here."
"O.K.!" at this, her character stood still as she was tipping to him.
Everyone went silent in the field. Sora felt some dark tensions building around him. He really did not want to let the red-claded teen get caught by the knights, but what else could he do now? All he coud try was managing to get out of trouble himself. It was bothersome for the old guy, but he sure would not risk his freedom and acount for him. He looked darkly at the girl. The least he could do was avenging his partner later by Pking her. He was starting to hate her, though he was actualy glad he didn't have to sell Kite himself.
After a while, A-20 started to move again, but a beeping sound interrupted her as she started to speak.
"What is it?" asked the admin. "Is he comming?"
"That's weird..." the girl mutered, "it looks like he didn't get it."
"Exactly what I said." asserted the girl, "I sent him the flashmail, but it bounced back. It seems he didn't get it."
"Quit mocking me girl." the man looked really annoyed.
"But I'm not joking!"
For a moment, the girl and the man were arguing again. Sora went still to look at his options and send Kite a flashmail himself, his heart pounding. He had been right to consider the red-claded boy strange, but this was getting out of league even for him. Who was this 'she' he was refering? What was he doing in this dungeon the time he first met him? And what was he seeking for? And what about his unreadable name? And about the flashmail which couldn't be...
He klicked O.K. and the message was sent safely.
He waited a moment for some anomaly to happen, but there was nothing for about thirty second, before a beeping sound reached his ears. He quickly opened the menu and saw an all corrupted message from "K+#2". It was an answer to his own...
He had answered.
Ryou jumped behind his computer and made his character look at the armored man.
"You tipped a flashmail, didn't you? So, did you managed to sent it?"
His heart beats were more prononced. This was now the chance to get his partner out of their range. He was not sure how he could contact the red-clad Twin Blade when the other girl could not but he did not really care about some bug. Unless...He peeked at the pink haired girl and saw a slight smile going up on her face. Could it be that...?
"Well?" the man was holding his weapon slighly higher than before. "Answer!"
He stared at him, his face unreadable, before a smirk started to come up to his lips. "Well," he switched to his usual dark tone," it seems our dear newbie friend wasn't wrong after all."
For a moment, everything was silent again. The man was trembling, as if to contain some interior rage before turning to the female Twin Blade.
"Do it again!" he ordered.
Without any protest, A-20 went to type, but she shook her head just after.
"Nope, nothing new, sorry."
"If you are really a newbie, then do you really know how to send a mail?
"Of course! I did read the manual!"
"Enough of this!" a female Long Arm on the background interrupted. "You can clearly see those two have no idea about the... suspect's location and no mean of contacting him."
The raging man turned to her. "But you can clearly see those two are lying!"
"I understand that you dont trust the Player Killer, but there is no reason for you to suspect the girl," the woman continued, "She did what you say and she barely started the game. They didn't even knew each other yet. Your were with me when they arrived, you should know that."
The man gritted his teeth, but said nothing. Sora felt victorious.
"You see Mr the administrator, there is nothing else to do now, nobody can contact him. Not even you."
At seeing his fumming face, he wondered if he hadn't done too much of this. But then, the man just sighed and faced the two of them.
"Very well. I consent in saying that your knowledge is far inferior to our own, and that you're not hidding anything suspicious. However," his tone lowered," you must be aware that this particular player, known by the nickname of "K" is now a confirmed wanted character. If we discover that one of you helped him in any ways, your account will be deleted on the spot. Is this clear?"
Both of them nodded but Sora had a frown on his face. What could the strange Twin Blade have done in the past to be looked for and so intensively by the admins? He had never heard of such measures before.
"Alright then," the other Long Arm approached. "Since you proved yourself to be helpful, we wont hold any charge against you," she looked at Sora, "and, as was conclued, no "previous" charges either. But this doesn't mean any of you are safe for future ones, unterstood?"
"Of course!" the girl answered.
"This is cristal clear." the smiling PK added.
"Then, you can go now," she smiled slighly, "the barrier is up, go back to town."
Both Twin Blades nodded and warped, leaving behind them the angry man and the other knights.
Three circles of light revealed a single character appearing in the root town. He looked around and noticed the strong green-tatooed warrior waving to him up on the highest staires of the big and deserted place of Lia Fail. His rare spear on his hand, Albireo proceeded toward the legendary "Orca of the Azure Sea" who beared a large grin on his face.
"Hey!" called the joyous player.
The other nodded and looked around before asking:
"Balmung isn't here?"
"Couldn't come," explained Orca, "had some stuff to do."
"So," the Blademaster started, "how come you're so late? Why did you call us? You said it was something about the recent events, right?"
"Indeed," again, the Long Arm observed the town, but they were alone. " I appologise for making you wait, but I had some interesting encounter in the way."
"Interesting?" the warrior was curious now, "like who?"
For a moment, it looked like Albireo was hesitating, but he sighed and spoke:
"It has something to do with the recent events."
"Uh? What with the change of subject?"
"I didn't changed the subject." the tanned man answered, "I'm just starting at the begining."
"Oh," Orca was disturbed by his manner, "all right..."
"You're probably wondering what made me call you both," he now didn't seemed as assured as he normaly was. "the truth is... I'm not very sure myself." before the other could ask anything, Albireo spoke again. " All I know is that there have been some strange things happening since five days ago. The system admins... I was told they investigated..."
Orca said nothing. He had the feeling Albireo wasn't an average player for a while now. He was most likely affinitated with the admins in a way or another, though he wasn't going to question him. The other continued:
"The searches proved themself to be futile, however there have been some strange characters sighted from that time. Before the glitches, there even was some strange cat...player... The administrators think he may be the cause of it all."
"A cat?" Orca wondered, "A hacker? you think he's the cause of this?"
"There is no proof of this yet." he admited, "But most likely."
"Was he the "interesting encounter" you had?"
"No, he wasn't, but he is definitely linked."
"Who?" Orca had a feeling this story was getting slightly complicated.
"I'm not sure how to call him," he lifted slighly his spear in discomfort "I actualy first heard of him two days ago, a player in the Lambda server, a Wavemaster, told me he he heard a red-clad Twin Blade say some strange things. It ticked me a little."
"A Twin Blade? What did he say?"
"Strange things," Albireo answered, avoiding the question, "All that matter is that I saw him in Dun Loreag as I was going to look for you and there is no doubt about it, his character's datas is hacked."
"How could you tell?"
"His color's paterns were unusual for a boy Twin Blade," explained the man," he was wearing red-orange cloths and his pants had yellow desing I had never seen before."
"I see," Orca thought back to the red player he saw not to long ago. Was it a Twin Blade? He didn't saw...
"There is something else," added the Long Arm, "his name was hacked too, it was unreadable, only the first letter was."
"Really? A hacked name?" Orca looked at the other man in surprise, "Why would a hacker do that to their name? I can understand somewhat the hacked skin patern, as it can be passed for some rare update, but a hacked name is a dead give away the player is a hacker!"
"That was why it intrigued me." admited Albireo, "however, what I witnessed afterward made me wonder if I did have real reasons to suspect that..." he stopped suddenly, as if realising he said too much.
"What was that?" Orca asked. "Why did you stop? What suspiscion?"
The Long Arm stared at him for a while before finaly speaking, much more seriously than before.
"Orca, have you met that boy before?"
"Wha..?" he was taken aback for a moment, "how would I know a Hacker? What is this question?"
He felt as if he was talking for nothing. The man just did not seem to listen. He had this far-away look players had when they were doing something else while playing. A minute later, he heard a beeping sound signaling the arrival of a new message. Surprised, it took him a while to realise Albireo was back in the game and had started talking.
"Five days ago, this is what I recieved, on the exact time the glitches happened."
"What is this?"
"I can see that," noted Orca, "from who?"
"I don't know."
"An anonymous mail?" Orca pondered.
"No, it's not."
"Eh?" the Blademaster looked at the Long Arm strangely.
"There is a name," clarified Albireo, "only it's unreadable."
"Unreadable...like the Twin Blade' s name?" Orca finaly understood now, " You think this Hacker was part of those who caused the glitches." he reasonned.
"I dont think he is the one who wrote the mail, since the corrupted characters are different," Albireo continued, "however, he might be part of some plan... by who, I don't know..."
"What makes you think that? "The warrior asked, but the Long Arm kept silent. Talking with Albireo was really tiresome, it seemed as if he knew much more than him and refused to spill out anything. It was probably the case actually, Orca had realised. He started looking through the message. Most of the characters did not seemed to make any sense... unless it was some code...
As he was trying to read the strange corrupted text, Albireo talked again:"So then, how is your investigation progressing?"
Orca sighed at the switch of toppic, but answered nonetheless. "Scarcely, barely any field we looked in contained anything worth our troubles."
"Is that so..." the Long Arm drifted off again.
"But I still don't get it," Orca continued, his eyes still on the message, "It didn't look like anything I've seen before... when the Admins asked us to cover those bugs, I thought this was just a small matter, but now, " it looked like the characters were replacing letters, if he could just find which ones..." some of those glitched dungeons lasted with weird rooms... nothing like I saw before."
"Were there PCs in those rooms?"
"Uh, what?" forgetting the mail a moment, he turned his charater' head to look directly at Alibero, "what kind of strange question is that?"
"Nothing important" he replied curtly as he turned away, "I'm sorry but I have to part with you for now, I might have to call you back later."
As he started to walk away, Orca called him: "What is that all about? Why are you suddenly so interested in our investigation? Why are you letting me have one of your personal mail? This isn't like you to involve people like that!"
Albireo shot a look at Orca."I believed that you were already involved." At the suprised look the warrior gave him, he asked: "Have you looked throught the hole mail?"
Surprised, the player looked scrupulously at the whole mail. As he did so, he holded his breath as he saw the characters from the third line starting to the bottom. At that line, he could clearly see one of the few uncorrupted words. And it was "Orca". His screen name.
"Balmung is also mentioned", stated the tanned man as he noticed the green-tatooed man expression, "only his own name is corrupted. I'm still looking for others that might be into this."
Again, Albireo turned to leave, but he was not stopped this time. The other was still entirely focused on the text, his player's hand were shacking and he had bitten into his lips. Having his screen name written in this was something, but what he saw now...
He did not have to look intensly into the message to notice a very disturbing detail, right next to his screen name, he could see it. It was a single uncorrupted character from a word. One that he could perfectly read as "yasu".
It was the first character from his name.
His real name.
Unaware of the shock he caused to the strong looking player, the Long Arm proceeded to the gate. He had work to do.
As this conversation had barely started, two very relieved Twin Blade were warping back to the root town Dun Loareg. Though he had been shacken by his encounter with the admins, Sora could not help but feel victorious at how it turned out. He had managed to completely fool the guys, it was something to be proud of. He glanced at the petite girl at his right. Well, he may not have been alone into the deception.
"Finaly we're out! she exclaimed, "I could barely hold it back then!"
Sora smirked at her. "Well, you sure seemt fine to me."
"Really? You think so?" The girl smiled hopefully.
"Nope!" he snorted, "your play was horrible! but I guess it was enough to convince those dumbasses." he eyed her, mocking her crestfallen look. She had merits for a newbie, he would not forget that.
"I hope I helped him at least," she muttered, "I know I was no good, but I just wanted to do everything I could."
"You could have been banned from the game, had I denounced you." he playfully sang her in his usual dark tone.
"Oh, I don't really care about the game." she assured.
"You don't?" he quiered.
"No, really," she explained, "I only came here for a personal challenge and this game has been pretty boring for me over all." she smiled again, "I only found it entertaining the one time when I was with this "K" guy, so it wouldn't really be interesting for me if the only guy which had acknowleged my play was banned."
"...I see." Sora was not very sure what to make of this way of thinking, but he guessed it did not really matter.
"Well, I guess I'll just log out if nothing else interesting happens," she eyed him, "unless you're willing to play with me?"
"Do not count on it." he answered plainly. He was not even interested into having her member address, "you saw how those guys were? It's even better if you forget completely about your encounter with the red guy and my own. You'll just be brought into tons of problems in which you'll never get out." He owed her at least a tranquility time in the game, and she was a newbie. Useless."Forget about this other guy's weird flashmail too."
"Uh? weird flashmail?" she asked, "what are you talking about?"
"...You did sent him a flashmail, right?"
"Well, I did send flashmails."
"... And didn't he answer you?"
"Ahem, that is... " she scratched the back of her head in embarassment.
Sora looked at her dully for a while before he finally spoke: " Don't tell me you really don't know how to send flashmails."
"Ah, no! I do know how to do that, it's just," Se looked at him and smiled widely, "I just have yet to figure out how to send them to other people than myself!"
Before he could do anything more than staring at her, she had already logged out. After a moment, he shook his head. He didn't know himself how someone could be dumb enough to not manage to send mails to others, but could still send mails to themself. He looked around the Theta server, but the old guy could not be found. Too bad. He might have to send another mail. As he tipped and sent it though, he frowned at the lack of answer. Was the red-clad guy busy or something? He tried again, but there were no answers. After a dozen of minute had passed, he started to wonder if the Twin Blade had not just logged out. It was too bad if it was the case. He really wanted to ask him some interesting things.
Feeling quite annoyed, the PK turned to the Chaos Gate and selected random keywords. This discussion would have to wait after all.
He purposedly ignored the chilly feeling he felt which screamed to him that something was seriously wrong in all this.
Kamui doesn't make sense here, a that time, considering she was a grunt...
I don't want to let this story unfinished, so I'll try to recal all I need to finish this.
Thanks for reading and review as you wish.