Chapter 2 : First dungeon third death
After this little misadventure, the other carried me back to the Basilicom, contrary to the other I was still hurting everywhere, the quest have been a lot tougher for me, the girl deposed me on a bed and left me after some time I was finally able to walk again, once I left the room I overheard the other discussing about the next mission.
" We need to dissuade him from accompanying us. "
" But Iffy he want to help, it is mean to treat him like this plus it's against the goddess rules. " Contrary to what Compa said I don't really want to help them, I just want to survive.
"At the moment I don't think they can enforce any rules, I'm only thinking about his well-being, it's a dangerous journey and like the last quest showed us he isn't really skilled in fight, even for us it's risky if he come he'll surely get himself killed, he just have to find another way to help us. " Finally I think I'm beginning to like IF.
" It isn't polite to eavesdrop you know. " Turning quickly, I got on my knees apologizing deeply. " Come on, you don't have to be so frightened all the time no one will harm you here. " I doubt it, raising my head I identified the person talking as Histoire.
" What are they talking about ? " Making like I didn't hear a thing is a wise idea.
" I've located the mascot character's they arguing about you coming or not. IF is against while the other are for. "
" I wonder why two of them want me to come. " After the brilliant demonstration of my skill during the last quest.
" Because you're forming a party, you've got through hardship together, it creates bonds. "
" I still don't understand them. I don't have any kind of superpower like being able to transform into a dragon, I'm normal and just in case the knife mislead you, I'm not some sort of trained killer with a dual personality, finally it was my first time fighting monsters, I'm a novice."
" But despite all those handicaps you fought ASIC and helped us rescue Nepgear, experience and strength are irreverent, with your courage and your actions you showed us your true valor." I felt silent mouth open as I was shot by a sudden realization, it sucks, that huge monster saw me and he seem to be spiteful, I'm officially an enemy of ASIC I'm in danger everywhere now! There is huge chance that I encounter monster randomly send after me. If I'm left alone I'm dead...again
" ...I'm tagging along. " I need to stay with them so they'll protect me, I've to convince them, I'm safer with the girls between me and ASIC .
" Uhm ? "
" I'm tagging along ! I want to save Gamindustri too ! No one should have to suffer like they or the Goddesses do, if I can relive them of some of their burden I gladly do it. " You can give me my actor aware at the end of the story.
" Guess it can't be helped..." I turned and saw the three girls looking at me, Nepgear and Compa touched with teary eyes and IF smiling after sighing she pursued "...Let's go everyone, let's find this mascot character. " Like this we departed for another risky quest, me being forced by the turn of event to join the party officially and for the entire duration of the story, just because a girl killed me.
" I was thinking about something ? "
" What Gear ? "
"What level exactly are you Arch?" Why is she even bothering?
"Two." It's a little hard to get EXP when the monsters that procure you with it don't exist anymore.
" Then it would be a good idea to buy you a better weapon, at least we could raise your stats a little... "
" You'll only wast money I'm bad at fighting with every weapons, it's better for me to keep my knife. " And I'm sentimentally attached to it.
"Then what about an armor?"She's persistent, I don't want to talk to you.
" So it'll get broken at the first hit with me ending only wearing my boxer? No thank you."
"..." Ah, she's at lost for word now good, she'll stop harassing me...wait! What did I just said?
" Then stay out of the fight we'll handle them, normally you'll still get EXP from it, once your strong enough, it should not be a problem anymore. " Everyone nodded to IF suggestion, well it was my intention since the beginning, I just don't plan to take part in any fight even after level upping but after what happened I get the feeling that it won't be that easy.
We were now in a strange forest, a little above the grounds, we were walking on floating platforms preventing us from getting lost. The girl were ahead with Compa and Nepgear as the lead.
" Whoa, wait you two ! That monster's acting funny ! "
" A monster !? " Nepgear was the first to react, suddenly looking more nervous, she readied her sword, now that I look at it closer this sword isn't the same that she used to kill me, I'm so dumb, of course it isn't when she killed me she already had finished the story, it must have been a super powered sword.
" Monsters are very susceptible to power of people's faith in Arfoire... " Basically if I understand correctly what IF said every enemies we're gonna meet will be very strong until we save the goddesses because they're infected by some virus thing, I'm officially in a survival horror now, yeepi yeah dammit. The monster attacking were 4 little Tulip... I know but it's more scary than it sound. Like last time everyone took one enemy expect for IF who had to deal with two of them, the only trouble was that they were using long distance attacks but it got quickly settled, everyone charged before the flower could react, IF delivering a low kick to one, she then jumped over it attacked the other hiding behind and mad short work of it using some skillful combo and finished the stunned one the same way.
Compa using her syringe easily destroyed the Tulipe by injecting something into it. Nepgear using her clumsy blow managed to make short work of the last, she got hit but it's not important.
" Ge-Ge ! You're hurt, let me see, don't worry I'm gonna heal you. "Compa rushed to Nepgear side and using her skill as a nurse healed her.
This party is interesting, yeah they're all good friends happy and courageous, who never let anyone behind... I don't really fit, do I? After that we didn't meet too much trouble just the girls beating flower who should live in pipe and some giant mushrooms, on afterthought I don't want to eat mushrooms anymore for some reason. We soon reached a sort of altar .
" That's it, right ? It's kind of how Histoire described it. " So we've found the Mascot?
" Yes. Oh wait. I think someone's there. " My instinct is telling me it's not good.
" It looks like she's trying to destroy something. No stop ! That doesn't belong to you ! "
" What ? Don't bug me. Who the hell do you think you are ? " It was a girl holding a knife, as tall as her, with one hand, green hairs, her skin is purple, an alien ? Well it isn't very strange compared to a giant green mecha like monster and a time traveler, a hood looking like a mouse is covering most of her head, I don't know if it's to look harmless and cute but I don't buy it she is very scary and I wonder how she do to not catch cold with the way she dress, seriously her grey coat is open and she only has some bra, it's not even eye-candy tell me the pros. Finally she has two-pieced belly button ring...she's a delinquent...someone who shatter the glass of their school, beat people, steal, theirs money and talk while having theirs mouth full of food...dangerous people.
" Right back at you, mysterious vandal ! What're you doing to that poor mascot ? " Impressive Nepgear, the way you talk back to her...you've become so courageous or crazy and stupid yeah, those two fit better.
" Killing it. What does it look like, idiot ? This thing is a pain in ASIC's ass,y'know ? " First we're pretty unlucky if the bad guys know about our plan and the location of the mascot, and two with this way of speaking there's no doubt she's a true Yankee, I pity her parents.
" You're... a member of ASIC ? "Or maybe she's a freelance bad guy fan of ASIC either work and it doesn't change a thing.
" Pfft, not like I'm obligated to show you my ID but fine listen carefully, dork. " I don't really care, if she could drop dead right now, I would be happy. For some reason I find her irritating . " I am the most ass-kickingest solider in the Arfoire Syndicate of International Crime...Linda ! "
" Solider ? So like, a fodder character. A peon. An underling. " I don't think it's a good idea, she'll get angry, become paranoid and will kill me because since I don't say anything it means I think a lot more...Maybe I'm the paranoid one.
"Underling sounds about right. " Nepgear, not you too, I should have expected it coming from you but still.
" Nice to meet you, Miss Underling. "
" Stop it you're crazy or what ? It's not because she is an underling that we must point it out or call her that ! You can't begin to imagine how she feel being so useless and worthless. "
" What did you just say ? Who are you calling an underling !? " She really is pissed, I hope she understands that I don't think like the other...I just want her to die it's more respectful.
" Shut up. Get some perspective Underling. Go back to your base or shed and stay out of our way. You stand out. " While saying that IF was playing with her phone, it pretty much show that she don't consider the bad guy a threat and is pretty confident in herself. Nothing to worry then.
" Miss Underling, it would be very nice if you didn't try to sabotage us. " Aaah, Compa is so skilled, asking politely and at the same time mocking the enemies while sounding menacing.
" If our opponent is just an underling, maybe we can handle her. " I don't count of course at least I hope so.
" Tsk, you're saying that word too much. " I can relate, I didn't like being called NPC at first, I know I can try to sympathise and... no I really can't stand her.
" I can't take this. I'm pissed off now ! You'll regret calling me that ! " Please don't include me, without warning she attacked us.
She directed her hostility to Nepgear, disarming her with a quick slash of her blade before anyone could react, she followed with a kick to her stomach sending the helpless divinity fly away, IF attacked by behind using her incredible speed while jumping she launched her attack but the underling parried it with ease and an incredible reaction time, Compa was about to fire at her but using only brute strength the delinquent managed to get rid of IF and now free deflected every of Compa bullets before slashing a confused IF, while she parried she was sent away quite a distance by the sheer force of the impact .
" This is unreal. How did a low-level peon get so strong ? "
" Do you think it has to do with Arfoire's shares ? " Seriously! You were only talks? That's it I've lost faith in all of you.
" Not the time ! We gotta get out of here, we can't beat her for now. " I need to get them out...I can't flee alone.
" But the mascot... "
" Our lives are more precious... "
"...Okay I'll wast you brats one at a time. First up is..." Please not me, please not me, please not me... "...You the little kid!" Yeah! It's not me! So lucky...Oh wait a sec...
" Watch out ! "
" IF !? "
Underling was about finish Nepgear, however IF got between the two and took the blow instead. Who would do something like this ? She is insane! Compa was about to rush to her side but I stopped her grabbing her by the arm.
" Let me go they need me ! "
" Before you reach them you'll be dead, it's too dangerous we gotta escape. "
" No ! " She was furiously struggling and I was doing my best to contain her.
" I'm serious ! " Dammit at least her, I don't want to see everyone dying so at least her and Nepgear will not die so...
" No, let me go ! "She broke my hold by hitting me with the back of her syringes, before any of us could react I heard the scream of Nepgear, IF was in her arms motionless. " That's not true... " Compa felt on her knees, crying, all of her strength gone, it's my fault if only I was strong... she would not...
" See that's what happen when you trust a useless coward with such important task! I shouldn't have come! I'm sorry! " I was about to run to the exit when...
" I'm not letting anyone escapes. " I' don't know what happened, a familiar pain, then the darkness...DEAD END.
I opened my eyes in a very familiar space, a white space with a giant slot, I'm death again ?... I glanced toward the slot... I don't know what's going on but... I'm out of this. I began to walk in the opposite direction maybe there is another exit, whatever I don't want to go on ...I stopped, anyway it's not like I can change anything...I...I-I...
"What do I want!?" My scream died in the silence of this space out of time... I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, calming myself... I then remembered Histoire pleading face the first time, Compa worried look, IF voice from when I died the second time... the goddesses bound...no, not that one...it's motivating but in another way...but still for some reason, I don't even understand I want to save them... I ran toward the slot. Yeah, danger forge bonds, I'll go back, this time one my own free will, how can I give up? I haven't even tried maybe I can do something, beside fleeing, beside complaining, even me when I was a kid I wanted to be a hero...but my time didn't need a hero nor anything ...it didn't even had a future...and maybe I can grant it now.
Even if I can't fight...I can try to make a difference, at least this time, to reach... I finally entered the slot..."...A happy end!"
I was expecting my butt to hurt again but strangely, I was standing facing Histoire, it's like I awakened while sleep-walking.
" Guess it can't be helped..." I turned and saw the three girls looking at me, Nepgear and Compa touched with teary eyes and IF smiling after sighing she pursued "...Let's go everyone, let's find this mascot character. " I don't know how it worked but it looks like I passed a checkpoint...well speak about a convenient plot device, like this I don't have to do the beginning again and the story won't be too heavy, but I guess it doesn't matter I'll just hope it'll go better this time.
Same dungeon, same monsters, same fear. This time rather than letting Underling being angered, I'll try something, with some luck we'll be able to handle her.
" I am the most ass-kickingest solider in the Arfoire Syndicate of International Crime...Linda ! " Her is the time for my great strategies n°5, holding IF mouth with one hand I shouted :
" Whaaaa, that's amazing, you must be super strong and ASIC must be so proud of counting someone like you in their organization. " Everyone looked at me like you would at you're goldfish if he suddenly began to insult you. IF wanted to protest once I released her but I told her with my hand to let me handle it. It was working great strategies n°5 : sucking up was working. The solider looked quite pleased, she wasn't about to kill us immediately at least.
" Ahahahahah, yeah you understand my greatness, that's right, that's right, come one, I'll let you go unharmed if you don't try bothering me. " Perfect, she is in a good mood, people like her a very susceptible to flattery, now we can land a surprise attack or even negotiate before backstabbing her...
"Sorry Miss underling but we can't let you destroy this poor mascot. " I turned toward Compa, eyes wide open, if they could they would even ripe my forehead.
" That's right, we've come this fare for the mascot we won't back off now not while facing a mere underling so you're the one who should stand out of our way Underling. " IF I told you to let me handle it!
" Yeah if our opponent is an underling maybe we can handle her. " Oh my goddesses ! Nooooo ! It's a joke right, a bad joke, we're doomed! Why is everyone so blind, oh right I'm the only one who know about what'll happen next, all my hard work reduced to nothing. The event played th same, Nepgear beaten, IF wounded in her arms. I have to do something... buy times until Compa heal them or a miracle happen...it's the worst idea I've ever had. I told Compa to stay out of the troubles and go heal the other two when she sees the opportunity
" If you prefer to die together I'd be happy to grant your request. "
" Hyaaaaa! " I tried to attack Linda by behind with Nepgear sword, I remembered where it had landed last time. Without even looking she blocked this clumsy assault, it maybe would have worked had I not screamed like some hot-blooded hero... but normally it should make me stonger...it work for them.
" So you too want to die? Don't worry your turn will come soon enough. "
" No, thanks you, I love way too much living, I won't die because I'll beat you! I'm the greatest swordsman of Leanbox after all, who only appear once a century. Gahahahaha! "Great strategies n°3 : bluffing.
" Oh really let's see that." Fail.
" Heu...ah...mascot help us. " I pointed behind her.
" What !? " She turned, I attempted another sneak attack.
" Finishing move: Sneak Arch Attack!"
Or not... once I raised my arms something hard hit me right in the face, I felt on the ground holding my face in pain and rolling, maybe shouting the name of your attacks when it's a normal move isn't a good idea.
" I really hate when we'll make fun of me, stay here while I finish the two pest. "What can I? What can I do?...There is nothing I can do..Apparently she hit me with the guard of her weapon while it wasn't lethal the shock was so strong I can't even speak, suddenly a white light flashed...
" The hell!? you're a damned CPU!?" A miracle, I wouldn't have betted on that, Neptune was floating above the ground harboring the form she had in the graveyard. Holding what look like a cross between a sword and a rifle, a rifleblade or something like that. Looking finally a little more intimidating.
"I hope you have mad your peace. You shall fall-right here, right now." She looks so strong, so confident, seriously what happened while I was suffering? Couldn't she have transformed to begin with?!
Linda took out a gun and fired aiming at Nepgear, she blocked the bullet and charged with an incredible speed toward her enemy, the ASIC solider welcomed her with a vertical slash and Nepgear answered with a horizontal slash the latter was the fastest and the green haired girl was throw back.
"Mirage dance!" Nepgear charged and delivered a powerful horizontal slash, quickly followed by two vertical slashes, she then turned slightly pulling her blade close to her legs then passed right through her enemy with a fast and powerful slash, after that she turned and delivered on last attack sending Linda fly fare away finishing this fight, why did it work for her? Not faire. The ASIC solider was barely standing on her feet. Good now Nepgear kill her.
"Graaaaah, dammit! This is so unfair! Why'd you go magical girl on me?" More like cyber...something, it doesn't matter anymore since you'll die.
"Please give up and fall back. If you do , I'll forgive your treachery just this once."... Don't do that idiot! she would have killed us because we insulted her! she's dangerous and annoying! Get rid of her! Crap I'm too much hurt, I can't talk anymore my lunge hurt so much.
"W-Why yes ma'am. I understand yes... You expect me to blabber all that crap? I'll just do as originally planned!" Oh, no I didn't saw it but she had landed dangerously close to the mascot character.
"No, stop!" Yeah screaming help a lot, shout her dammit, you killed me without blinking! Even if you can't reach her, you have a gun attached to your sword!
"Didn't you hear me? I said screw your request ! Hiyah!" With on swing of her giant blade she blew the disc into pieces and she escaped. Crap, crap , crap! It was all for nothing what I did was all for nothing we failed...had Nepgear killed...
"Do not worry miss CPU Candidate." A woman voice, resounded from multiple direction at once...conclusion we'er attacked by ghost! Gwaaaah!
"Huh? Whose voice is this?"
"I'm Planeptune's mascot character. What a pitiable situation, destroyed in my sleep." I won't contradict you on this point...so a ghost is really speaking to us... Gwaaaah!
"W-Well are you okay? I mean can you really talk after you've been destroyed?" I don't remember it having a mouth to begins with.
"While I can't say I'm okay I was able to funnel of my power elsewhere before being destroyed. I would like to entrust the power that remain to you." So it wasn't for nothing, good. Nepgear got a power up, tadadada...just a little music to be motivated, We can call it a day.
"The voice...is gone. Whew. Seem like we made it through"
"Yes all thanks to your quick thinking." And me being beaten up but it's nothing, really.
"Hah. I'm kind of embarrassed over what I had to do."
"By the way what did you do IF?"
"You didn't saw?"
"Being busy staying alive, you know." But I'm really curious to know how she unlocked Nepgear super-mode
"Nepgear he doesn't need to know." She was speaking calmly, without raising her voice, well it must not have been a big deal. Hum...Compa was looking at the two with puppy eyes.
"This is really unfair. Only Iffy got to be all lovey-dovey with Ge-Ge."W-w-what?
"Ugh, it wasn't lovey-dovey, it was... A-Anyway, let's go report to Histoire. Let's move out everyone." She looked flustered and was blushing to her ears... lovey-dovey? Could it be:
"IF I'm so sorry I'm so useless". With a face radiating with love IF came closer to the poor teary goddess, gently caressing her wet cheek, before saying in the most caring voice Nepgear ever heard in her life.
"Don't worry I'm giving you my strength." and their lips lock into tender kiss, the strength of the human girl flowed inside the goddess reaching deep inside ...(note this is Arch delusion but it's rather close to the reality)
...no,no,no! I shouldn't think about that around people... but it's pretty nice, not the level of the first CG but still... gotta keep it for latter. I hope I'm not drooling
"Here, Arch hangs in." After Compa gave me some first aid, Nepgear tried to help me walk, by carrying me by the side, but when she touched me I jumped in the air like I was shocked, lost my balance and felt from the platform.
Again the same white place... it's unfair it doesn't count... why is this happening to me? It's all Nepgear fault! My journey of suffering wasn't over, I even have the feeling it's only the beginning and it's not gonna be easy.