Shugo swung his new twin blades around in the treasure room Mireille had shown the group when she first joined them. He had finally been able to purchase the set of blades that he wanted from the weapons shop. They were called "Dante's Blades". There were many added effects during battle and Shugo had always liked them because of the way they looked.
Shugo stopped and started jumping up and down. "Yes, I finally got Dante's Blades! Yeah!"
Rena sighed. "What's so special about Dante's Blades anyway?"
Shugo stopped jumping up and down and faced Rena. "What's so special about Stone Crusher?"
Rena was containing her anger as much as she could. "Don't insult me! I was just wondering why you wanted a level six item so badly." "Stone Crusher" was the sword Rena recently purchased and she loved it, it gave her an extra power boost during battle.
Mireille stepped in at this moment. "Though it is a level six item, Dante's Blades are extremely rare."
"And extremely expensive." Ohka added in.
Shugo started swinging "Dante's Blades" around again, very happy that he had been able to buy them in the first place.
"Hey, I found this suspicious area in the Theta sever the other day." Mireille said, leaning against a wall. "I had been meaning to tell you about it, but I just got on again today."
"What area?" Rena asked, her attention away from her accident-prone brother.
"Cursed, Despaired, Paradise." Mireille said, smiling.
"What was the area like?" Ohka asked. "A lot strong monsters?"
Mireille nodded. "I had to use a speed charm and gate out. That area was too advanced for me alone. The area in itself…it's…hard to explain."
Shugo fell down face first and everyone's eyes darted to him.
Sanjuro walked in and saw Shugo face down on the ground. "Will no one help him?"
Shugo stood up slowly. "I'm fine."
Rena sighed. "I can't take my eyes off him for five minutes and he hurts himself!"
Sanjuro sighed and sat down. "Balmung wanted me to convey a message since he can't come here anymore."
"Why can't Balmung come here anymore?" Shugo asked, sitting down next to Sanjuro and Mireille.
"He's part of CC Corp again, and they're hunting you." Sanjuro said. "Which means that they can track Balmung again and if he comes here, you'll be found out."
"I see." Shugo said, disappointed. "Oh, Sanjuro! I got Dante's Blades! I finally was able to buy them!"
"Hmm? Aren't those, at least, ninety-thousand gold?" Sanjuro asked, not in the least interested.
"Yeah, but I saved and sold some useless junk and was able to afford them." Shugo said, smiling.
Rena cleared her throat. "So, what did Balmung want to say?"
"He said that there's a few 'curious' areas in the Delta and Theta servers that you should check out." Sanjuro said.
"What are they?" Mireille asked.
"In both servers; Hidden, Forbidden, Holy Ground." Sanjuro paused. "In the Delta server; Expansive, Haunted, Sea of Sand. In the Theta server; Buried, Pagan, Fiery Sands and Cursed, Despaired, Paradise."
"We were talking about Cursed, Despaired, Paradise a little bit ago." Ohka said. "Something big must be up with that area for Balmung to want us to check it out."
Sanjuro looked at the ground. "I see…it's pretty much the same in all the servers I just mentioned except for Delta Hidden, Forbidden, Holy Ground." He looked up. "I assume you've all seen that area…?"
"How wouldn't somebody see that area? I go there all the time just to relax because there are no monsters." Rena said. "Plus I like the atmosphere the area puts out. A solemn church kinda place. It's just different."
"Lately, there have been reports of the statue there moving or calling out for something called the Epitaph of Twilight. Other reports say that the statue calls out for someone named Kirei." Sanjuro said, looking at the ground again.
Mireille walked over to her stack of scrolls and event logs that she had collected since beginning "The World".
"So the area's been deemed unsafe?" Ohka asked.
Sanjuro nodded. "Balmung said that he doesn't think it's a big concern, but that you should check it out anyway."
"So, what's Epitaph of Twilight?" Rena asked.
Sanjuro shrugged. "Balmung didn't say. He didn't say who this Kirei person is either. I find that strange."
"Maybe he doesn't know about the two. Maybe he doesn't think it's serious enough for him to know." Shugo suggested.
"Usually Balmung makes sure he knows what you guys are going up against or at least seeing what certain things that you're going to track down are." Sanjuro said, looking up again.
"Found it!" Mireille said, popping out of the middle of the pile with a scroll in her hand.
"Found what?" They all asked.
"Heh-heh!" Mireille laughed as she plopped down again. "I knew I had a scroll or event log that had some of the Epitaph of Twilight in it."
Sanjuro looked surprised. "How did you manage to obtain it?"
"An event. I was the only one to finish it, so I got an extremely rare item." Mireille said, smiling. She opened the scroll. "The end and part of middle is faded out, but the rest is pretty much readable."
"Read it then, Mireille." Ohka said, laying down.
"Shunning the field broken by Wave, the shadowed girl whispers, 'Surely, I will return.'. Alas, the truth unbeknownst, awaiting her at journey's end; Eternal mourning for her land. Then part of it's faded out. And we shall call her Aura. Our shining girl: Aura. We entrust her with our will. She is our… The rest is faded out; I can't read it. But it's signed by someone, I just can't read the name." Mireille said, finishing up.
Ohka sat up and took the scroll. "It's looks faded, but I don't think that's the case Mireille."
"What?!" Mireille shouted. "How can that be?!"
"Was this ever opened before you received it?" Ohka asked, shutting the scroll.
Mireille shook her head. "The people who gave it to me said that it was a reward from CC Corp that was gathering dust."
"Maybe it's dust then." Shugo said.
"It's not, I tried dusting it off with every wind spell I know." Mireille said.
Sanjuro took the scroll from Ohka and opened it, reading what Mireille had told them; then tried to interpret the faded out portions. "This scroll has a portion of the Epitaph of Twilight, a powerful and illegal weapon in 'The World'."
"But that doesn't make sense, Sanjuro." Rena said.
Sanjuro shut the scroll. "The CC Corp wouldn't just give this away unless they thought whoever received it could lead them to the Epitaph of Twilight. The CC Corp wants to destroy it because of its' immense power."
"But the Epitaph belongs to Aura, doesn't it…?" Ohka said.
Sanjuro nodded. "It does, but that just gives them more of a reason to search for it…They want to kill Aura as well." Sanjuro paused and looked at the shocked expressions of the characters around him. "Aura protects the game, which they think is suitable, but also the Epitaph, which they find her as a traitor by protecting it."
The others exchanged looks and stood up.
"Lets go to Hidden, Forbidden, Holy Ground." Shugo said.
Everyone nodded and they walked out the door to leave Sanjuro to his thoughts.
The group arrived at Hidden, Forbidden, Holy Ground and saw that it was the same as always. So they walked into the church.
The statue, which they believed to be Aura, was also the same as ever. Bound by chains around both ankles, both wrists, her neck, and her waist.
Ohka walked up to the statue and noticed something, like water, running down the face of the statue. "She's…crying."
Mireille walked up to join Ohka. "You're right. I don't think that there's leak anywhere, but this seems almost impossible."
Rena walked up next. "How does a statue cry?"
Shugo was sitting down on a bench, thinking of the small portion of the Epitaph that had been read to them and what Sanjuro said about the rumors.
Then a voice came from the computer. "Kirei." The voice echoed, but it was clear and fragile.
Everyone looked at the statue and saw the chains around her wrists and ankles move ever so slightly.
"Is Aura trying to warn us of something?" Rena asked, almost at the statue itself.
Then the statue's mouth opened, and started moving, trying to speak, but couldn't. It moved it's right arm as much as it could and pointed at a door to the right. "Kirei." The voice said again. This time the mouth moved with the word.
Shugo walked over to the door and opened it. There was a small girl with long turquoise hair and a white dress on sitting there. Her knees were pulled up to her chest and she was hugging them.
Shugo looked at the girls. "There's a girl in here!"
Rena and Mireille ran over to where Shugo stood. Ohka looked up at the statue again, there were more 'tears' rolling down its' cheeks. The statue lipped "Don't remove" and became still once again.
Mireille walked into the room and shook the girl a little. "Are you okay?"
The girl fell over on Mireille, she was unconscious. They could see her face now; her skin was just as pale as Aura's.
"Shugo, carry her back to the room." Mireille said.
Shugo nodded and put the girl on his back. When him and Mireille left the room with the girl, an ear-shattering scream echoed across the church. It sounded like the voice that had said 'Kirei'. Shugo almost dropped the girl and the controller.
A picture flashed before his eyes, the girl was holding a sword and standing over a characters body. He couldn't tell who it was because the image was slightly blurred, but the girl said something faintly and Shugo didn't pick it up.
The image left the screen and the scream stopped.
Ohka approached the others. "The statue lipped 'Don't remove' and you removed the girl. When you did, that scream and that image… Why do you think that girl was there in the first place?!"
"Ohka, she's a little girl!" Mireille shouted, her voice echoed across the church like bells.
Ohka sighed and lead the way out of the church and back to root town; Mac*Anu.
The girl still was unconscious and it didn't look like she was going to wake up anytime soon.
"I wonder why that girl was in there." Mireille said.
Shugo shrugged. "I thought there was always something weird about that place. Keeping a young girl captive is just plain sick!"
"Shugo, it's just a game." Ohka said.
"But regardless, Shugo is right, nobody should do that to another person, even in 'The World'." Rena said, looking over at the girl. "Besides, she's still young."
Ohka sighed. "Can't you tell just by looking at her that she's an NPC?!"
"Whether she's a non-player character or a player character, it's just plain cruel!" Mireille said.
"Well, you may think that, but if it's just part of the game then it means that it's either someone who sells items or is something that will eventually be destroyed." Ohka said, leaning against the wall.
The girl opened her eyes and her body rose a half-an-inch off the ground. Her piercing light purple eyes were gazing at the ceiling.
Ohka saw this and gawked, she had never seen any kind of character, NPC or player character, float without using some form of high level magic.
The girl stood up and she was standing on air, her turquoise hair floated ever so slightly around her face. "Who are you all?" She asked, her voice was like fragile crystal, something that would be expected of a very young innocent child. Her lips didn't even move as she spoke.
Everyone turned in her direction and gawked when they saw her standing on air.
"Um, I'm Mireille." Mireille said, still gawking.
"Are you a Wavemaster, Mireille?" The girl asked, walking over to the group.
"I-I'm Rena." Rena said, in shock.
"Heavy Blade? Like BlackRose?" The girl asked.
"Exactly like BlackRose! In fact, I technically am BlackRose…her character at least." Rena said, impressed that this child would know.
"Yes, you look like her." She said, her attention directed away from Rena.
"The divine fist, Ohka." Ohka said, leaning back against the wall.
"I've heard of you. Are you as strong as they say?" She asked, interested.
Ohka smiled. "Stronger!"
"So you're half-wolf, right?"
"I-I'm Shugo." Shugo said, he must've been the most impressed.
The girl gasped in relief when she saw Shugo. "Kite! You've…You've come back, just as you promised!"
"What? But…I'm not –"
The girl ran up to Shugo gave him a big hug. "Kite, I'm so glad that you've returned."
"Um, listen, I'm sorry but," Shugo pulled the girl off of him and stood up to meet her face. "I'm not Kite. I just won his character in a contest, I'm Shugo."
"Not Kite?" The girl asked, saddened.
"So what promise did Kite make to you…um…what's your name?" Rena said, embarrassed that she didn't know the girl's name.
The girl smiled a little. "My name is Kirei. I'm the second daughter of Aura."