First of all, allow me to thank you for coming to see my vision of The World. It is an honor to be writing this story, as the .hack series was one my favorites. Now, to all of those who know of and are obsessed with version R:1, you may like this. If you're one of those people who fell in love with R:2, you may want to back out now, as I have taken a separate direction from that canon. The story begins in the year of Mia's demise, 2015, right before CC corp. is about to create R:2. I am not going to be putting in R:2, as I did not like it. That is one of the reasons I quit the Project .hack department in CyberConnect 2 Co. I am now in the Naruto department, helping to make those silly games.

I will be writing from the first-person POV, or "point-of-view" for most of the story. However, I like going into the omnipotent role and trailing off to other scenes and writing in other POV. It may get confusing, but you'll just have to keep up.

The story is about a young man named Shiro Nayamura, who plays as a Wavemaster of the Earth Wave called Navel. He has many friends in The World, some you will meet that you may know from the series, Gardenia being the most frequent in the beginning. There is trouble once more in The World, and Navel will soon find that wishing to be a part of something so big like the Twilight Incident is foolish, and that you should be careful of what you wish for.

Also, please forgive me if some things in this story are written poorly. This is the first draft and I did not go back and edit yet. It will be better, I promise you, in weeks to come…hopefully. That is, if I edit it. I'm not one to edit while I write. But I assure you that I am a much better author than this makes me look. Egh…Whatever.

Again, thank you all kindly and please, enjoy the story. For questions, comments and concerns, please do not hesitate to message me. You can also reach me better through email at: .

Chapter I: Player Killer

: Raging, Law's, Great Seal

I sat quietly, surveying my surroundings. I ducked out behind a large, twisted rock formation, hiding from my opponent. It was a mammoth crab-like beast with a skeleton's head. At my current level, I was no match for the monster, so I had to run. I noticed that the blinking red [Danger!!!] icon above my screen slowly began to die down, and peered around the rock to see if the crab was leaving.

I stepped up the moment I was sure I was out of range of any attack and quickly gated out. When I arrived back in the Aerial City, Fort Ouph, on the Sigma server, I turned back to the Chaos Gate, a golden ring that spun around on an axis. I opened up the gate window and selected the Delta Server root town, Mac Anu, and made my way there.

Δ Server Root Town, Mac Anu

I arrived to an eruption of chatter. People were running here and there, from shop to shop, circle to circle, buying and feeding off the gossip that was available. I sheathed my character's staff and headed into the town, unarmed. Crossing the bridge over the canal, I ran to the gathering place in the alleyways around the backside of town, behind the Apothecary, where my friends and I met up. I came to a halt and stood by quietly, so as to not disturb their heated conversation.

"That's also what I heard," said Lawk, a Wavemaster like me and also my best friend. Unlike my green and brown robes, he wore white and blue. His eyes were gold, and mine were blue. We shared the same immaculate blonde hair, but that was the extent of our similarities. "But I wouldn't go on just a rumor, seeing as it's just a rumor."

A Pole Arm removed herself from the ground and took to leaning against the side of a building. "Very true, Lawk, but I am one of those people who like to investigate. You know that. If it is something unknown, you can bet I'll be there. But I digress, you're right. I really do not want to go alone on this one. It sounded dangerous."

Lawk stared at the woman, and he smiled. "Maybe Navel will go with you, when he comes back?" I cleared my throat at the sound of my name, and he cocked his head in my direction. "Navel! Hey!" His avatar leapt from the ground and nearly trampled mine. "Welcome back! How was the event?"

"Not good. It took me all of my healing potions. When I returned from the dungeon, I was attacked by another monster, and my health was way below the green bar. I hid for a bit and then made an escape."

The woman perked up, and tilted her head. "So, does that mean you won?" I nodded. "What did you get as a prize? Anything good?"

I pulled out from my inventory a magnificently-crafted, jewel-encrusted broadsword and showed it to them. I peered at Lawk and Gardenia, grinning. "Extremely rare, but useless to a Wavemaster."

Gardenia smirked, and waved her hand nonchalantly. "To a Pole Arm, too." Lawk grabbed the blade and started polishing it, examining it enthusiastically. "I'll bet you can get a lot for this from some Heavy Blade, Navel. Oh! Maybe Niva'd like it?" I shook my head.

"Niva can not have this sword. He's a Blademaster, not Heavy Blade. And besides, he doesn't have nearly enough GP to pay for something this valuable. No, I think I'll sell it at the Weapon shop."

And so we sat there for a while, just talking about anything that came to mind. After some time Lawk took his leave because he had to log off. Gardenia left afterward, as she had to meet someone offline, and it was important. So I stayed there for a little while, taking a closer look at the sword I had won. It was a beautiful blade, crafted completely in gold and silver.

I waited in line at the Weapon shop until it was my turn. When I showed the merchant my item, he scratched his head in confusion.

"This thing is extremely powerful!" he exclaimed leaning forward. I noticed that the merchant was another player and not an NPC, or non-player character, and sighed. I wouldn't have had to speak to them if they were NPCs. "How much do you want for it?" asked the merchant, very eager to possess the sword. "I'll pay whatever you wish."

I reviewed the stats for it and looked at the sell price. "Eight thousand, five hundred GP." The merchant gawked. "That's what it says I sell it for."

"Only when selling to an NPC. That's an outrageous price! Can't you knock it down a bit?" I shook my head, removing the sword from the counter and put it away. "C'mon! Can't we bargain, or something?"

"I'm just going to come back when there's an NPC available." With that I walked away, rolling my eyes. I stopped at the Apothecary and bought a few resurrection and healing potions to replenish my supplies. When I had finished, I slid off my FMD—Face-Mount Display—to see what time it was. Outside it was growing dark. I had plenty of time left. I returned and headed for the Chaos Gate. I entered the coordinates of a field on the  server, and gated over.

: Cursed, Pagan, Melody

The field was a barren wasteland of fire, shrouded in billowing smoke. The only glimmer of light was at a Spring of Mist nearby. I ran over and gazed into the pond. The glistening blue water held a magical aura about it, and I grinned. Opening my inventory, I removed a pair of gloves I had found in a dungeon and tossed them in. In an instant the water began bubbling, and soon I was face-to-face with a large tear-drop creature. It began wriggling in the air like magic jell-o.

"Hey, did anyone drop this Golden Axe?" the creature's voice made me believe someone had struck it with a bat. "Or was it this Silver Axe?" I entered the [Neither] command and waited for my prize. "Oh! Neither, you say? Are you sure? Well, then. Here, take this!" And the beast was gone, just like that. A window popped up indicating that my gloves had been transfigured into magic ones. I equipped them and ran off, heading to the dungeon.

The cavern was devoid of smoke, and that made me happy. I could now see what was in front of me. I rummaged through each individual room the chamber had, from floor to floor, until I reached the lowest level. I passed through the entryway into the Gott Statue room and tapped the treasure chest with my staff. It opened to reveal Fire Armor. I took it and compared it to the armor I had equipped. The Fire Armor was phenomenally superior. I outfitted myself properly and turned to leave. I liked to trek back the way I came, instead of using the Sprite Ocarina, which would teleport you to the entrance. I rarely used this, unless I absolutely had to, or was too lazy to walk.

When I passed through the door, however, I was met by three unsuspecting intruders. One of them was the merchant I spoke to earlier; the other two I did not recognize. I waved and tried to pass them, but they blocked my way with swords. I backed up and held my staff protectively before me.

"Stand aside," I called. The merchant grinned and lifted his sword to face me. "I am not your enemy," I tried, hoping that they would move.

"Give me the sword," said the merchant. His cronies readied their blades too and prepared to attack. "If you do not give me the sword, I'm going to have to take it by force." He inched closer, while I inched back.

"You'd kill me even if I did give it to you. I know your kind." I stepped around the treasure chest, still in a defensive position. "Besides, I sold it already," I lied.

"No you didn't. We followed you directly from the Weapon shop. You had no time to get rid of it."

"Fine. I have it, but you're not getting it. I told you, eight thousand five hundred GP and it's yours. But since you're unwilling to pay, and you've threatened me, I shall not sell it to you. You are unworthy."

The two Blademasters circled around my position, flanking me. "You'd do well to just give up the item, you know. That way you'd be able to keep that experience you earned. You save your game recently?" I hadn't. I had forgotten to do so before coming down here.

Thinking quickly, I turned on the Blademaster to my left, cried out "GiGan Don!" and watched as a pillar of earth and vines set about attacking him. The man on my right came in and swung hard, hitting home. My hit points dropped down a quarter. He was quite weak, I noticed. The one I had attacked before, however, was blinking red. Nearly dead, eh?

"Damn! I need a healing potion, quick!"

"Heal yourself," the merchant chided. "I'm not wasting my items on you."

I cast another spell in the Blademaster's direction and he toppled to the ground, a gray shadow, and disappeared. "I would leave now, if I were you," I warned. I turned to the second Blademaster and grinned. "Before you suffer the fate of your compatriot." He ignored me, naturally, as all PK—Player Killers—did. He dodged one of my spells and brought his sword down on my shoulder, knocking off another quarter of my hit points. "Yarthkins Pha!" I cried, summoning the beast of Earth. It clawed and raged against my foe, destroying him completely.

I was left with two down, and one to go. The merchant pulled out and enormous sword; a Heavy Blade. He crowed at me and raised his weapon. I shielded myself with the staff, but fell to the ground. I was impaled and had more than half of my hit points taken from me. I quickly drank up a healing potion and jumped back to my feet and cast another spell. The merchant ignored the damage done and continued attacking me with a flurry of blows.

This continued for a very long time. Both of us had used the last of our healing potions by the end of battle, and I was losing. He grinned one last time and brought his sword down fast. I closed my eyes, a reflexive move on my part. I waited for the final blow, but it never happened. I heard the splattering noise of being impaled, but it was not my avatar. I opened my eyes and could not believe what I saw.

A large creature the shape of a dumbbell appeared out of a rippling void in the air. It had gel-like features and a golden ring in the central bar, surrounded by a smaller bubble. A tendril stuck out from one of the monster's bulbs, and had the merchant in its grip. His eyes were wide, and I could hear heavy breathing from his speakers.

"Is that…a dumbbell?"

I staggered backwards on the ground and rested behind the chest. The merchant was raised in the air with the dumbbells' tendril, and I could see light glowing now from the ring. An instant later the flash of light raced down its length and enveloped the merchant. He began to glow and I could see numbers and symbols circling him. He let out a wretched cry of horror and I winced. When the monster released him, he fell hard to the ground and faded away.

I stood up and tried to run away, but the beast turned on me. More tendrils shot out from its body, and wrapped around my avatar. I was entangled. It held on to me for a few moments, as if studying me, and then let go. It made an echoing roar and disappeared into a rift.

I shuddered, and pulled out a Sprite Ocarina and played it. I was returned to the dungeon's entrance instantly. I gated back over to Mac Anu and saved my game.

Δ Server Root Town, Mac Anu

What was that? I thought. I have never seen a being like this before. Then it struck me. I recalled hearing of a beast very similar to this one some years ago, before the Twilight Incident. A Wavemaster had been causing trouble in The World while toting around a dumbbell monster.

I wonder if that Wavemaster has returned to The World. Did he save me? I replenished my healing items once more, this time to the maximum, and sent a message to Lawk and Gardenia:

Subject: Hey

So I was venturing in this dungeon, right? Well when I was done, I was attacked by some player killers. I got rid of two of them, but then something strange happened. This weird monster came out of nowhere and killed the last of them. It looked like a dumbbell! Anyway, I'll see you tomorrow.


After I looked it over, I sent the message and logged out.