Disclaimer: No ownie, no richie, don't sue~
A/N: Here comes the second chapter. My USB died on me again and I have to type this chapter twice, so I apologized if this chapter is a little too fast. I was crabby when I typed this..
Beta-ed by my lovely neesan, a1y_puff. Um… she did it real fast when she went sleepover at my house, so yeah, she's awesome. XD
Enjoy and drop a comment, ne..
Will, a Tennis no Oujisama fanfiction
Chapter II: Mammocalypso
In the world of Pangea, a huge rumour was spreading rapidly.
"Oniisan! Have you heard? They say that the moderators of Pangea are releasing a new episode, and it includes letting loose a dangerous NPC.."
"…to see which clan would be able to detroy it first. Yes, Rika, I know."
"Do you think Fuji might be.."
"Fuji appeared three months before the rumor started."
"So you don't think he's the NPC?"
"No. But I have a feeling that he's important. Just call it…"
"Mou, Oniisan, don't you say 'boys' intuition' again!"
"I'm logging in."
"You never listen to me, do you? What should our clan do, then? Id' rather we calm down and wait for how this would turn out. There's no point on hunting an NPC we don't even know what it looks like and…"
"Say that in the meeting tonight."
"Oh, alright. Geez… Oniisan…"
Yukimura's suggestion for their clan to calm down and wait was vastly agreed. There was no point on hunting something they didn't have the slightest clue about. From the information they had gathered, it seemed that the NPC attacked on wherever a gathering occurred, so they were quite sure the NPC would come up to them first. The best strategy was to defend themselves, to attack blindly.
In order to protect each and every member of his clan, Tezuka's user had divided them into three parties. None of them were allowed to go alone—either to hunt or simply shop—and their base camp was not to be empty at all. At least one party must stay on guard in the camp, while the other two parties hunt or do whatever they wanted. If one of the parties was attacked by the NPC, the rest of the clan was to immediately teleport to the attacked party's location.
In his own party—Tezuka was the leader, of course—was Shiraishi, Echizen, Kaidoh, and of course, Fuji, because the exceptional Mage had insisted, and not even Tezuka's user could do anything about it. Tezuka had to suppress a smile at the gleeful look on Fuji's face when he was put into the party.
He did realize that his user had warmed up to the powerful Mage. Before, it seemed like his user was a bit wary of Fuji—causing Tezuka to stay away a little from the Mage when his user was online. Maybe, Tezuka thought, his user had warmed up because of Fuji's powerful magic and high skill. Maybe it was because Fuji often gave important information—for the Mage claimed that he was slightly connected to the main server and he could 'spy' a little on the moderators because of that—that often useful. Or maybe because Fuji had been a great help to the clan—they had been able to collect another three of the God's Items since Fuji arrived, not to mention that his information and skill were a huge help to the clan.
Or maybe, it was because Fuji was Fuji, who could easily sneak into someone's life without even the person noticing it. Fuji, who could easily fall into any rhythm there was. So subtle, so flexible, alluring in his own ways. Playful and sharp, drawing people around him, and yet warning them not to play too far with him.
It was after the gathering that night that Fuji approached Tezuka and told him he had a bit of information he'd just found about the dangerous NPC.
"Somehow, some of my programs connected with its programs," Fuji explained quietly. "This enables me to know what kind of NPC it is, and what are his abilities. Although it's not even close to enough for me to predict its movement…"
"What kind of NPC is it?" Tezuka cut him off almost automatically.
Fuji threw him an understanding smile. "Well, have you ever heard of a Mammocalypso?"
Tezuka said nothing—a sign that he knew none whatsoever about what Fuji was talking about.
The Mage chuckled. "Well, basically it shaped like a mammoth. You'd want to be very careful of his tusks, though. It spreads virus that could delete your program in a mere twenty-four hours if you got even the tiniest touch of them."
Tezuka frowned. He didn't like how it sounded.
"Anyway, we'd better anticipate things. We have to be ready. I suggest we start collecting potions, elixirs—any healing items that would help the Clerics would come in handy." Fuji added grimly. "I—we have no idea when it's going to attack us."
If only, if only Fuji was able to predict when exactly the Mammocalypso would attack them, they'd be more than ready.
Even though precaution steps had been taken, and every member was not to be careless, and a sense of anticipation was hanging thickly on the air, they were surprised nonetheless when Chitose spotted a gigantic elephant-looking beast charged blindly towards their camp.
Emitting a loud roar, it rushed head-on into the camp.
"Stay out of its way!" Tezuka bellowed from where he stood—fighting stance—in front of a tent. Close by, Fuji stood, alerted, blue eyes narrowed in anticipation.
"Everyone, make a loose circle and close him in! Pay attention to its tusks! Clerics, stay away and keep alert!" again, Tezuka commanded. Deep down, he was thankful his user was a fine tactician.
The Mammocalypso wildly struck a tree and swung around, its tusks cutting dozens of tree down, throwing around big branches and logs. The members of the clan scattered around, ducking away from the wildly flying objects thrown towards them.
"We can't even get close!" Gakuto shrieked as he did a marvelous flip and demonstrated a cool acrobatic move to deflect a huge branch thrown at him. "How are we supposed to close him in?"
Tezuka's eyes narrowed. Taking in his surrounding, considering their camp's location… he did a quick calculation. Yes, maybe they'd be able to do that.
"Fuji!" he yelled. "You and the other Mages... can you restrain its movement?"
Fuji flashed his gaze at Tezuka—eyes momentarily met, and realization dawned on Fuji. That was right! The meadow next to the campsite… he quickly nodded. "I can't do it alone, but if Yukimura, Inui and Oishi joined me, we might be able to make the Holy Cage magic circle and restrain that creature."
"That is possible," Inui murmured thoughtfully. "If only the rest of the members could steer it away from our camp and into the meadow, the Mages could set a trap there.."
"Alright, everybody heard that? Send a hint of what to do to our users!" Yukimura shouted a command immediately. He closed his eyes, and as soon as he sent the hint to his user, he let his legs automatically brought him away from the camp, towards the meadow. Close by, Fuji, Inui and Oishi followed suit.
"There's an 85% chance of this succeeding, and there is 75% chance this challenge would lead us closer to the 'Legendary'." Inui calculated, glasses glinting in nearly mad excitement.
Fuji smiled. "Let's split up then," he said, "Four Mages should be enough. As we all know, the Holy Cage magic circle consists of eight different points. Each of us would have to draw and activate two points at the same time. At the rate of your skill, I think it would be no problem at all."
They split up. The Holy Cage magic needed a magic circle that required eight different points drawn in it. Each point was a small magic circle that differed one from another. Those eight points must be activated together. With their skill, Fuji calculated that each one of them should be able to handle at most three points, so he was quite optimistic they could pull this off.
A roar reverberated into the meadow, and Fuji's head snapped up.
Sure enough, from afar, their clan's members scattered everywhere, running into the meadow while luring the beast in, too. The creature roared, blindly trying to strike everything within its reach.
"Stay away from its tusks!" Tezuka's voicethundered as he attacked the creature to catch his attention. He jumped back a little further to avoid its madly swinging tusks. Landing close by Inui, he commended, "Yukimura!" as the creature stepped into the trap…
"Activate!" Yukimura shouted, and simultaneously, the four Mages activated the eight points of Holy Cage circle. A blinding light flashed, and the creature stopped dead on it tracks, as if numerous invisible chains were restraining it.
Emitting a loud roar, it tried to break free. Feeling the pressure of maintaining the cage increased, Fuji gritted his teeth.
"Finish it!" Oishi yelled.
Everything happened in a blur.
Tezuka was just about to charge forward when suddenly Yukimura yelped in surprise as the Mammocalypso's left hind foot stomped. It caused the ground to shake wildly, and Tezuka's concentration broke as he tried to steady himself—No! Activate the circle back, now!" and "It's breaking away!" drifted around him—and when his head snapped up, his eyes widened in horror.
The creature was charging straight to where Fuji stood.
"Fuji!" he wanted to move—wanted to move so badly—but he couldn't because his user wasn't ordering him to, and he could only watch, wide-eyed, voice stuck in his throat, and Fuji's ever-smiling face contorted into shock and fear and panic as the creature's tusks closed their distance…
Something—or someone—struck Fuji from his side, out of the creature's way.
"Sanada!" Oishi exclaimed in relief.
The NPC Knight lay on the ground, his arms gripping Fuji's shoulder to support the seemingly shaken Mage. The Mammocalypso turned around and once again rushed forward, but by then, the rest or the Mage was ready as Yukimura commanded, "Activate!"
Another deafening roar echoed, and Tezuka found himself charging forward, aiming for the kill. He aimed straight to where the creature's weak point was, feeling the power building up inside him—dimly, he registered the sight of his friends closing in together to attack the beast, and—
Double slash, a deep thrust on its head—
And the foul beast gave an earsplitting growl before vanishing into pretty little sparks.
Closing his eyes automatically, Tezuka's body absorbed the little crystals and items scattered around him. A new stream of information surged into him.
Exp. Point: +999
Items Acquired: -Sword of God
-Armor of Dream
"Good job, everyone!" Tezuka found himself saying once he opened his eyes. "We acquired another God's Items; The Sword of God!"
"We're getting closer to the 'Legendary'!" he heard Gakuto exclaimed. "Let's all celebrate!"
Tezuka wanted nothing of that sort, though. He looked around, trying to find a glimpse of a certain honey-haired Mage, but he failed. Not a single trace of Fuji—
--or Sanada, he realized in surprise. That was right. Sanada saved Fuji, so Fuji must be with him now. And the only person who knew where Sanada was must be…
"Oniisan! Great job!" hearing the familiar voice, he whirled around to see Yukimura striding towards him in firm steps. His grim expression betrayed the cheerful words his user had typed. He stared at Tezuka for a moment as Tezuka's user gave a reply.
"Sanada's with him." Yukimura said, referring to Fuji. "Apparently that beast's tusk grazed Fuji's upper arm."
Tezuka's eyes widened by a fraction. "Where are they?"
Yukimura shook his head. "Not now. Sanada said he'd send me a message once our users are off. I think he brought Fuji back to the camp."
If he wasn't programmed to be a stoic character, Tezuka was sure he'd have been biting his lips since Yukimura started explaining.
Yukimura's brows furrowed in concentration. His hands hovered above a white tunic-clad chest, glowing green with healing energy as the silver crystal on his neck glowed brightly. Slowly, the light dimmed, and the green glow vanished from the blue-haired Mage.
He tilted his head slightly upwards to see Sanada standing next to him. Their eyes met, and Sanada nodded. Turning around, he went out of the tent they were in, leaving Yukimura alone with the figure lying on the blankets before him.
Once again, the Mage concentrated, and at once, his hands glowed bright green again. The Healing Crystal hanging on his neck also shone. For several moments, Yukimura concentrated, but again, the light dimmed and the vanished.
"How is he?"
Yukimura turned, a little surprised from the disturbance, but a knowing smile settled on his face when he saw the intruder. Standing close by was the leader of the clan—expression stoic as usual.
"I'm not sure," Yukimura replied, shifting so Tezuka could have a look on the unconscious figure in front of them. "I think I've already healed some of his programs that were contaminated by the Mammocalypso's virus, but I can't reach most of his programs. There's something weird about his programs—like they were locked and protected, so I can't reach them."
Tezuka's eyes narrowed. "And?"
Yukimura was about to answer when Sanada came in Oshitari and Kaidoh trailing behind him with curiosity etched in their faces. Smiling, Yukimura nodded to them.
Oshitari's eyes took in the frail figure lying on the blankets. "Is he okay?"
"Why don't you try your best to heal him yourself?" the blue-haired Mage scooted away to make room for Oshitari.
The bespectacled Cleric sat down next to Yukimura, putting his hands on Fuji's chest and closed his eyes. A moment later, his hands glowed golden, and the light enveloped Fuji's whole figure. After several moments, though, it dimmed and went out.
Oshitari opened his eyes, and raised one fine eyebrow. "How interesting," he murmured. "Kaidoh, would you like to try?"
Hissing a reply, Kaidoh took Oshitari's place and did the exact thing the blue-haired Cleric had done a moment ago. A warm, bright yellow light enveloped Fuji for several seconds, before shimmering and vanished altogether.
Looking puzzled, Kaidou muttered, "His programs deny us."
"And my programs couldn't identify some of his programs." Oshitari added. "It's strange. Gakuto found an infected NPC dog just yesterday, and I was able to clear all the virus away easily."
"Is it because he's a special-programmed NPC?" Sanada suggested.
"That's probably the case," Oshitari agreed. "Although we could heal some of his data, but Fuji's most important data are denying our intervention. And for some reason, he'd gone into sleep-mode. We can't reach most of his programs, so we can't wake him up."
"My theory is that Fuji protected his most important data andprograms from the virus by going into sleep-mode." Yukimura said thoughtfully. "After all, he's an NPC. He must have been designated to have a special self-defense. Maybe as we speak..." the Mage gestured to the unconscious Mage. "He's fighting the virus by himself."
"There's nothing we can do about it," Oshitari nodded.
Tezuka let his eyes fixed to the sleeping Mage. He gazed at his friend somewhat fondly, restraining the urge to call his friend. He looked so peaceful, Tezuka thought. The closed-eyes, the loose expression, the slightly parted lips—Fuji looked like a perfect angel that for a second, Tezuka needed to remind himself that his friend was a powerful Mage.
"Tezuka," Yukimura's voice roused him from his thought, and he looked up to see the rest of them had stood, about to leave the tent. "We'll be outside."
Tezuka didn't bother to reply—merely gave a slight nod. He turned back to Fuji. Closing his eyes, he let the earlier scene rushed into his mind—watching it again and again.
If only he could move that time—if only he weren't controlled by his damn user that time—the foul creature would've been destroyed before it could even try to escape the Holy Cage. If only he weren't controlled, Tezuka would've leapt forward to attack the beast before it could reach where Fuji was and drove his attention somewhere else—somewhere else that wasn't Fuji.
If only he weren't controlled…
If only he were an NPC…
Fuji wouldn't be injured.
Letting out a soft sigh, Tezuka bowed his head. His hands tentatively reached for Fuji's pale one, and clasped it tightly. Suddenly feeling unbelievably tired, he closed his eyes. This way, even if he was asleep, he would feel it if Fuji started to disappear.
A feeling of dread settled in his stomach suddenly, and Tezuka inwardly prayed that whoever designed Fuji's programs was smart enough, so Fuji would survive and wake up… to once again gazed at him warmly with his captivating blue orbs and smiled that real smile of his.
With that, Tezuka slipped into his own sleep-mode.
A/N: That was…bad.. ne? Gomen.. TT-TT
Note to neesan: The word 'vastly' was suggested by my Creative Writing Class teacher I chat with—does it still sound awkward? (cuz I think it does…TT-TT)