Disclaimer: I do not own Accel World or any other works by the author Reki Kawahara. Any relation to actual people, locations or concepts and ideas belonging to similar fiction is purely coincidental. The only thing I do own is this story and its OC characters.
To Misaki 20,001: And thank you once again for your kind and constructive review. Yes I suppose the over-exposition is more of a result of my writing style if anything (though whether its a good or bad thing seems debatable)
Author's Note: The end of another story arc with even more revelations along with some history of the Burst Linker scene in Kanagawa. Next chapter is gonna be another breather chapter before I dive into the action again.
Login 09: Climax
Iron Rapier saw no opening to attack or even escape as she stared down the barrel of Cardinal Derringer's gun. Death did not really matter in the Unlimited Neutral Field, just a sixty minute time out. However, she could not afford a timeout, not at this point. As she prepared herself for her inevitable one hour demise, Cardinal Derringer glanced to her left before leaping backwards. Iron Rapier wondered why she would do something like that when she had the upper hand. Her answer came a split second later as a spiraling spear of energy hurtled through where Cardinal Derringer was, though the wake blew both Iron Rapier and Cardinal Derringer back. As the energy dissipated, Ebon Knight used the intertia of his attack to drive his lance into the ground, sending him into a high speed kick at Cardinal Derringer's arm, changing her trajectory. She was however still able to land on her feet.
"Sorry I took so long Rapier-san."
Iron Rapier smiled, even when she knew no one could see it,"Sempai."
Cardinal Derringer maintained her defensive stance as Ebon Knight turned to face her.
"We meet again Cardinal-san."
Iron Rapier stood up slowly, noticing the trail of 'corpses' as she did, understanding why Ebon Knight was also called Devastation.
"Devastation comes to save his princess?"
"That's a white knight's job, I'm just here to stop your legion's plans."
Cardinal Derringer merely laughed, "You can't do a thing if you've been stopped yourself!"
Cardinal Derringer materialized a grey cylinder which she threw in the direction of the surprised Ebon Knight who only had the time to push Iron Rapier out of the radius of the resulting golden explosion, Iron Rapier having no time to react but to fall. It was several seconds before she could scream out in surprise, "Sempai! Sempai, are you ok..."
As the golden energy dissipated, Iron Rapier desperately searched for any sign that Ebon Knight was alright. She was able to make out Ebon Knight bringing her a sense of relief. However that was when she realized that something was very wrong.
He seemed alright until she noticed that he was not moving at all, she faced Cardinal Derringer prepared to demand an explanation as to her senior's status. This was preempted by Cardinal's own explanation, "You don't have to worry, I've only decelerated him for awhile."
"Its something we created with the Obelisk; the Deceleration Grenade. Basically it decelerates anyone caught in its blast radius a thousand times."
"A thousand times? Won't that return the victims back to their normal speeds?"
"Exactly...you're alot smarter than you seem. However this only lasts for one real world second. Thus he'll be out of the way for slightly less than thirty minutes."
Iron Rapier drew out a sword as Cardinal Derringer took a step forward aiming her handgun, "This time we're ending it here and now."
Iron Rapier dodged to the left as Cardinal Derringer opened fire, having no time to worry about Ebon Knight as she weaved her way towards Cardinal Derringer. Upon entering striking range, Iron Rapier went on the offensive, attempting to thrust her blade through her opponent's armor. This was constantly prevented by Cardinal Derringer parrying the thrusts with her handguns.
"Getting angry Rapier-san? Worried about your sempai?"
"Maybe you should do less taunting and more fighting!"
Iron Rapier found an opening in Cardinal Derringer's defense, thrusting her left sword through Cardinal Derringer's right bicep. Cardinal Derringer staggered backwards clutching her right arm, barely avoiding the second piercing stab. The third pierce grazed her face.
Cardinal Derringer performed a spinning high kick that was blocked by with a forearm block. This gave Iron Rapier the opportunity to grab her leg and flipped Cardinal Derringer over her head, practically tossing her. Cardinal Derringer gasped as she went airborne, giving Iron Rapier the chance to run another sword through Cardinal Derringer's back. Cardinal grunted in pain as she landed, attempting to rise before meeting the tip of Iron Rapier's sword.
"Looks like our roles have switched."
"So it seems... Hidden Barrel: Right Arm!"
Cardinal Derringer's right wrist flipped up to reveal a barrel that extended out before firing a grenade straight at Iron Rapier. The grenade exploded, sending her flying backwards some distance. Cardinal Derringer returned her wrist to its normal position before leaping up to deliver a devastating kick to the still airborne Iron Rapier.
Iron Rapier gasped as the air was forced out of her lungs by the kick, or at least that was the sensation she felt as she landed on her back and skidded before slamming onto a wall.
"I'm definitely feeling that later..."
She soon felt a cold barrel on her head.
"You'll be feeling that and more."
Iron Rapier knew that a shot like that would be a critical hit even though that would not be much different from a normal attack. In fact at that point her health was too low to withstand another attack even with her resistances to Cardinal Derringer's mostly physical attribute ranged attacks. She prepared herself for the inevitable darkness that came with dying in the Unlimited Neutral Field, waiting for the shot that will end it.
"Well, this is goodbye for now..."
She braced herself, however the shot would never come as a tonfa suddenly appeared from thin air to strike Cardinal Derringer's flank, causing her to react in both pain and surprise as a tonfa wielding Lemon Chameleon phased into view.
Before Cardinal Derringer could counterattack Lemon Chameleon's sudden appearance, his chameleon like mouth opened to reveal a barrel with an appendage within.
The appendage was launched out, the back of crown of Lemon Chameleon's head producing a very visible jet of steam as it did. The attack truly lived to its name as the tongue pierced through her chest and embedding itself into the ground, anchoring itself in the process.
"Quick Rapier-san, end it now."
Iron Rapier's blades glowed with a blie light as she delivered two slashes. Her special attack, in addition to Lemon Chameleon's attack, brought Cardinal Derringer's health down to zero. As the column of red light cleared, Iron Rapier staggered into a standing position as Lemon Chameleon rushed over to support her.
"Rapier-san, are you alright?"
"I'll watch over him to make sure no one tries to attack him in that state. Are you fine enough to walk?"
"I can still..."
"Fight? You're definitely in no shape to fight."
"You can't do much after a fight like that. Just watch over Ebon Knight-dono with me and allow Ruby and Brawler to handle the rest."
"Handle the rest?"
"Opening our escape route, though it seems that they need to deal with Amethyst Queen first. I've already prepared everything to destroy the Obelisk as we make our escape."
A wave of missiles flew through the air, leaving a web of smoke trails as they flew towards the seemingly vulnerable Amethyst Queen. The missiles' approach was denied as the orbs on her back fired lasers to destroy them, producing a bouquet of blossoming explosions. Ruby Princess immediately took this opportunity to use her hover jets to dash to the next mound of rubble for cover where Navy Brawler awaited, barely avoiding the cluster of lasers that followed. Amethyst Queen simply laughed.
"Yes. Yes! Keep scurrying around like the filthy rats that you all are!"
Ruby Princess panted as she threw at hard stare at Navy Brawler. He felt it immediatly, "What? Its not my fault that my blade block only lasts five seconds."
"You could have said that before I firing."
"Hey, I didn't expect your loony sister to..."
Before he could finish his sentence, a laser skimmed off the top of the rubble they were hiding behind. Navy Brawler felt the top of his head, relieved that it was still there before facing the still glaring Ruby Princess.
"Fine, I was half-expecting that..."
"We need a better plan than just running and shooting."
"Now that is something we can both agree on..."
Another chunk of cover was shaved off by a laser. Ruby Princess ducked as pieces of rubble rained down. Then, Ruby Princess straightened her back, her hover jets humming.
"I have an idea, follow my lead."
Navy Brawler was about to say something as Ruby Princess emerged from the rubble much to his shock, "Hey Onee-sama! Bet you can't hit my big red butt with those pretty lights!"
"I can hit you anytime I want!"
As Ruby Princess began to dash away from the oncoming lasers, Navy Brawler emerged from behind the rubble and drew out his sword. Realizing that Amethyst Queen looked frantic, attempting to divert lasers to attack him. However she only succeeded in only changing the course of two of her lasers which moved significantly slower than when they were chasing her sister. Navy Brawler aimed the tip of his blade at Amethyst Queen and charged towards her roaring. Amethyst Queen barely sidestepped the thrust in time, causing the blade to graze her shoulder. Although the damage was insignificant, this was enough for her to lose the focus she needed to have to control her lasers. The result was that the lasers dissipated. Ruby Princess laughed.
"Looks like Onee-sama still has problems multi-tasking!"
Navy Brawler appeared stunned before yelling angrily, "You knew her weakness and didn't say anything?"
"Well I wasn't sure if she still had this problem!"
Amethyst Queen chuckled as she staggered backwards rubbing the slight graze, "I can't believe you actually managed to damage me...no one has been able to damage me before. On top of that it was because of a half-assed strategy?! That...is...UNACCEPTABLE!"
The gems and seams on Amethyst Queen's body began to glow with a purple light, the ring on her back dissolving as she unequiped it. This sudden change caused Navy Brawler to step backwards while Ruby Princess simply stood there stunned, "Onee-sama...what ability is that?"
"Something that you're a million years too early to know about!"
Purple energy orbs formed and floated in the palms of her hands, the energy crackled with white lightning as she aimed one of the orbs at the surprised Navy Brawler. Her maniacal laughter rang out as she called out the name of the attack, "Glorious Ray!"
A beam of purple energy shot forth from the orb hurtling straight towards Navy Brawler who rapidly rolled out of its path, believing himself safe.
He could not have been more wrong.
The head of the beam turned to track his movements, surprising Navy Brawler who brought the flat of his blade up as a shield. The beam plowed its way through his sword and his chest behind it before emerging from his back. Navy Brawler still remained surprised as his legs lost their strength, supporting himself on his sword to remain upright.
"What was that?"
She replied with laughter and a second Glorious Ray which incinerated his head. His body erupted into a pillar of blue light as he fell over limply. Ruby Princess froze in both shock and horror. Shock that Navy Brawler was defeated so effortlessly in such a brutal manner and horror that her egomaniacal sister had such a power in the first place. Ruby Princess wept limp with the shock of how devastating the attack was, how quickly Navy Brawler went down.
"It can't be..."
"Upset that your boyfriend was taken down so quickly?"
Ruby Princess did not reply as she went limp, her armor gaining a grey tint. Amethyst Queen laughed again at the sight, "Going into zero-fill already? How pathetic though I guess it makes it easy to deal with you."
She aimed both orbs at Ruby Princess, preparing to fire her attack once again. The beam surged forth to impale the immboile Ruby Princess. However to her surprise, a sphere appeared right on the attack's path and what was even more surprising was what happened next. The spehere split open revealing several mirrors. The beam hit the mirror sphere, scattering the beam in multiple directions. Amethyst Queen felt a presence behind her, she turned to face a familiar four-eyed cloaked avatar.
"Oh its just you."
"You know that Tyrant-sama has explicitly banned us from using Incarnation."
Amethyst Queen clenched her fist, dispersing the orb of energy.
"Shouldn't you be working on producing more items from the Obelisk?"
"I was, however it seems that the Obelisk has been sabotaged rendering this Obelisk useless."
"What? Don't you know what Tyrant-sama will do..."
"There is no need to worry, this Obelisk is merely a prototype so its loss is of no consequence. Also we have what we need."
"The first key?"
"Yes, so the Obelisk is no longer necessary but it is a bonus."
"At least its not a total loss...fine we're withdrawing. Sister, consider yourself lucky that you have not tasted my wrath this day."
The two generals walked away from the still Ruby Princess, leaving her to wallow in her own despair.
The first thing he heard when he regained consciousness was the sound of a roaring waterfall, Alabaster Master opened his eyes to the sight of a stone ceiling. Sitting up he took stock of his surroundings, the room being simply furnished with a bed, a bedside table, a desk and a simple chair. The only other fixtures was a light, door and an opening which he took to be a window. He slowly walks over to the window and beholds a sight which one would consider unbelievable, even in the Unlimited Neutral Field.
Looking out he saw a vast crater, and judging from his view his room and a good part of wherever he was was built right into the crater walls. At four specific intervals were large pipes from which flowed a torrential amount of water into a central area that ringed a circular platform with a prominent symbol, an octogon with a convex on the bottom and a circle above it, that stood right in the centre.
"Still impressed after all these years Alabaster?"
He turned his head to face the source of the female voice, an inky black avatar whose body seemed to be speckled with a random arrangement of dots and patterns. Upon closer inspection however the 'dots' were actually stars while the patterns were galaxies and nebulas. He smiled as he immediatly recongnized the unusual avatar.
"Never expected to see you here, much less still in control if your fortress and legion, Night Void."
"I survived somehow and Nirvana is now just me and Mirror Bishop."
"I knew that ability was familiar..."
"Through the Looking Glass certainly is a useful ability however I am curious about what made Mirror-san use it in the first place. About why you'd meet Tyrant-kun."
"I just wanted to know what he was after. Why he'd resurface after two years leading a new hostile legion whose goals are just as vague as their reasons."
"I might have an idea...but lets have something to eat. Like old times."
With a gesture, a tray with several Italian dishes floated into the room and set itself gently on the bed followed by two goblets filled with water. One of the goblets guided itself into Alabaster Master's hand. Night Void floated a plate into her hand.
"Its amazing what Burst Points can buy. I've heard rumors that you can even buy a Christmas tree with decorations."
"Oh I have that in the Legion storage. Put it up every christmas. Anyway you might know what Tyrant is after?"
"Before I start, have you ever heard of the Halls of Akashic?"
"Bits and pieces. Supposedly its where Brain Burst's source code can be found but no one has even confirmed it exists and thats only the most popular rumor."
"So what does a farfetched rumor have to do with his situation?"
"Think about it Alabaster-kun, Tyrant-kun is honest to a fault and he's so direct its obvious. He won't go after something unless he absolutely knows that what he wants is where he knows it is. Also I believe that you are aware of Predatory Carnival's goal?"
"To accelerate the world?"
"To even have an inkling of how to even start, one would need to understand how Brain Burst functions as a program. Hence Tyrant-kun will definitely need to have some access to the source code..."
"...and the Halls of Akashic are his chance."
"How do you know all this Night-san?"
"Lets say that even though I'm in hiding, I still have eyes and ears in the Accelerated World."
"You always were the best at gathering information out of the four of us..."
"Yes...the Four Cardinals...its a pity Topaz Diva was fell during the Battle Royale."
Alabaster Master stiffened at the mention of the name Topaz Diva. Night Void noticed this and gently sat next to Alabaster Master, resting her hand on his shoulder.
"Alabaster-kun, I know how you felt about Topaz-chan but..."
"Its alright Night-san, I just lost my cool. Seems like thats been happening alot lately also I'm grateful for your insight into this."
"Just helping an old friend. Anyway how is Ebon Knight doing these days? I heard that he's been really active in duels and territory wars."
"That's true but he hasn't used Longinus at all, not since Battle goes for his Incarnation attack skill too."
"Hydra Lance? Well I can understand why anyone would be frightened of that ability. Its horrifying against single targets...those snakes impaling you over and over again..."
Night Void shuddered at the mental image as Alabaster Master merely chuckled at the sight before continuing, "...but he is still overwhelming even without Longinus."
"That is a testament to his own skill...I believe he once won a territory war by himself against a full group."
"That was an exagerration, he had Emerald Bulwark to play defense."
"True but he was the only one actually going on the offence. Also, I still consider that a fiasco."
Night Void laughed at the statement as she stood up and floated over to the window, "However you must admit, if it weren't for Ebon-dono all of us would never have met...you, myself, Topaz-chan. Even Tyrant-kun."
Alabaster Master stood up, returning his dish to the tray.
"Thank you for the food and for your insight."
"No need for thanks. If you're looking for the Leave Point, its still in the same place."
"Thank you for that...oh before I go. What do you think of the situation in Tokyo?"
"You mean with the Black King's return and her renewed declaration against the Kings of Pure Colour?"
"Yes, or more specifically, whether her revolution will finally force the Kings to move."
"Well the current stagnation in Tokyo has brought on an unprecedented era of peace...nothing like what we have here. In the real world, it would be considered utopian but this is the Accelerated World- peace will never last forever. The very birth of a flying avatar after seven years has already caused a shift."
"Yes...Silver Crow certainly has alot of influence."
"You're not thinking of trying to establish a Divine Sanctuary foothold in Tokyo?"
"If the chance and opportunity presents itself."
"Then I wish you all the best when the time comes."