Hello loyal and traitorous followers! This is Lann Majra here with another story. I know what your thinking. "He can't even handle two! Why is he going for three!" Well, it's rather simple. Bleach has died in my mind. Bleach was an awesome story that held many people to it. However, the only part I really liked was the Soul Society arc. I'm not going to lie. I watched every episode of the series because of that arc alone. THAT is how damn epic that arc and story was. And I know I'm not the only person who has done this. Soul Society's arc was amazing because you never knew what was around the corner, and they were introducing new characters that had, for the most part, awesome potential. However, after that arc, the story got repetitive and plot holes began to swarm like termites.
However, that is neither here nor there. It is depressing for me to write about Avalon Squad right now because every time I do, all I can think of is the latest arcs and chapters which is making me feel like I should just stop reading the chapters before I come across something that kills Bleach forever in my mind. I tried to write my Naruto chapters but it's taking longer than usual because I still haven't gotten over the whole Tobi is Obito thing. It made me feel like Bleach was happening all over again! D: So, I'm taking the time off to start an entirely different story in a different world and setting. Hopefully, this will allow my creative thoughts to wear brighter clothing than the damn random plot bunnies having an orgy in my head.
I will have a priority list. 1: Naruto: Nothing Stops Me Now. I shall try to write at least twice or thrice a week. Updating should be once a month hopefully. And 2: Sword Art Online: Guardians of the Heart. I hope to write for this story at least three times every two weeks. No clue on updating though. And finally, 3: Bleach: Infinity Avalon Squad. I shall only write for this in my free time, because of my previous explanation.
Anyway, it is time for me to explain the many things to expect in this story, and why I decided to put it in.
-Self OC Inserts. My friends and I need to make an appearance in a story not Bleach. What better one than Sword Art Online? :3 Expect six characters. These six are pretty much the main forces of my best friends and will slightly explain themselves over time. If you have questions about them, ask me in a review and I might answer. If you have an embarrassing question about them, ask me in a review and I will almost definitely answer! :D
-Kirito. I want him to be pretty canon, but not so... Hero. He will have some pride so hopefully he won't get completely bossed around by all the girls. I need him to remain slightly antisocial, because I can relate to that. However, because of the appearance of my friends and I he shall come across a strange event that will shape his very existence in SAO. Secret for now ;3
-Guildmaster Kirito. I am not going to tell you much about this. It's a secret for now, but expect the guild to be large and skilled. It's acts will be determined by it's leader. Despite the group's almost constant use of democracy.
-Sword Skills. I'm probably going to have to make up a few of them. Some swords don't give much in terms of sword skills, like the Katana.
-Pairings. This is probably what's going to shape how many of you read this. Despite my liking of the canon pairing of Kirito/Asuna, I am not going to be using that completely here. Asuna will have a major part in the story both emotionally and physically. She is going to have romantic feelings towards Kirito, however he will not return them. He will be the best of friends with Asuna, but he will not view her as anything but that. Despite his eventual knowledge of her affection. The pairing for this story will be, a shocking revelation to even myself, Kazuto/Yuuki. The reason? Truthfully, I didn't even know about Yuuki until I read the story, Sword Art Online: Prince of Darkness by KaiserBlak. After that, I advanced in my point of the light novel and found many key traits about what I would view as relating to my own relationship. Because of this, I felt naturally inclined to do 'some' Kazuto/Yuuki... But my brain just screwed me over and said, why not the whole thing! XD The emotion in this story will be something phenomenal, I hope.
-Yuuki's sickness. The current time is when Yuuki just moved from her old home due to be ostracized. Just before her immune system weakened and she was put in the situation called "Opportunistic Infection". So technically, if her immune system were to improve now before she came into contact with Pneumocystis Pneumonia. Let us remember that this is a fanfiction and should be discussed as such. This is also far into the future where medical science has increased by folds. While people have not given up on finding a cure for HIV or AIDS, it has been put behind due to other infections and diseases. The world is unfair this way. And I am not just talking about the world of Sword Art Online, as this is the way it works for our world as well. If the government truly cared about stopping all this sickness immediately over other things which are, rightfully sometimes more important, we would have more than likely found a cure for many diseases however, we probably would be in a state of warfare as well. So, this reality is preferred. Sorry if I ranted a bit there... I told you that Yuuki's situation made me relate it to my own relationship, although not nearly as dire.
-Sense? Sorry we ran out. ;3
I have nothing to really talk about right now.
Disclaimer: I do not own Sword Art Online, Starbucks, or any characters mentioned in this chapter. Lance is Fione's and vice versa. Clyde and Morgan are the devil's. And I pretty much belong to Lex. Despite how much I would try to claim her as 'mine' :3 I wouldn't believe it myself until I can put a damn ring on her finger in a few years... Only a few more...
Chapter One: And thus, It Begins.
Location: Reno, Nevada.
A sigh slipped through someone's lips.
Brown eyes revealed themselves behind dark lids, obviously deprived of much-needed sleep. The brown orbs glanced at the screen in an attempt at what could be called reading. But really, the man was just too damn tired to focus on what words were going through his head. The eyes blinked back frustration, trying very hard to not go to sleep until he was done.
"Why" you might ask. Why was Clyde Johnson, also known as Buttercup on drunken benders for reasons better left unsaid, sitting in the desk of his friend trying to read and process the damn Japanese characters coming up on the screen. Specifically, when said friend was out of the room and sleeping in a taxi downstairs. His taxi to be precise.
Clyde had many days like this. Where he would drug someone and knock them out, just for the fun of having such knowledge or because he needed them out of the way for a few hours. Although, he always tried to avoid knocking his friends out, he seemed to always have to when he was trying to do something fun. He couldn't let his friend annoy him and figure out what he was doing when on the computer.
Lightly shaking his head and dragging his hand across his rough brown hair, Clyde groaned tiredly. The world was changing fast and he hated getting used to new customs. Almost every person in the world knew at least two languages in the year 2021. And of course, with the advancement in knowledge so did the area of technology improve. His friend, Lann Majra, also known as 'that one guy with black hair' on Clyde's drunken benders, knew Japanese due to the school he joined. Apparently, it was the class with the fewest people, hence why he joined.
Clyde, not being one to enjoy walking around in a giant place that could probably be used as a prison with enough chains, never entered schools. And the police knew little to nothing about his existence. A few officers knew him, ones he trusted would never say a word about him. Although most of those people were just zipping their mouths shut because of his extraordinary skill in the art of blackmail. Who knew so many police officers were drug abusers, cheaters, and just plain bored enough to trust a random teen?
He looked back at the screen. The characters that was in another language, one which he clearly did not know, were practically taunting him. The semi-insane teen turned off the computer before getting up and leaving. He was going to have to get Lann to translate for him after all.
His feet stopped once they reached the door. He glared at the door knob as if it was hiding all the knowledge he wanted to know, before shoving his hand inside his pocket and fishing out a thick rubber glove. He put it on hastily and opened the door, trying to ignore the slight, almost magnetic pull that was on the doorknob.
The door shut and Clyde put his glove back in his pocket before walking off into the elevator.
"Why does he put those traps there anyway?... It's not like he puts anything here or actually lives here..." the teen muttered while absently pushing the first floor button and noting with annoyance that his hand still felt a bit strange.
Location: Reno, Nevada. Grand Sierra Resort.
Lann groaned as he realized he was in the wrong room of the place he was staying at. He was certain that this was not one of the rooms that he booked. Actually, as his vision cleared, he was certain this wasn't even the same floor that he booked. He wasn't even in a room!
With narrowed eyes, the confused teen slowly turned to the left to see a familiar smirk.
"Clyde..." Lann practically hissed the name. Although, it was mostly the hangover.
"Happy to see you awake, good old friend! But don't you think that's a terrible way to say good morning? Even after I was kind enough to give you a ride back to the HQ, too..." Clyde said, trying not to let his smirk grow. The greatest part about owning a taxi was without a doubt, watching people wake up and not realize they were in one.
And there it went, a subtle glance of the sapphire eyes from him to the window. Almost enough to miss, if he wasn't studying the man in front of him. Lann grimaced, despite his anger at the massive headache and the cause of it, he knew that Clyde would have left anyone else on the street. Heck, he had done it before to many people.
He grunted and straightened himself. Searching the pockets in his trench coat for something useful was a good way to distract himself from his ire.
"Why do you insist on calling it that? I just rented out a floor and you call the building a head quarters..." Lann said, annoyance tingeing his voice. How many times is this going to happen? This had to be their 47th 'HQ', why continue calling it that!?
Clyde just opened a small compartment below the drivers seat and pulled out some sunglasses. Holding them in an almost taunting way, he spoke.
"Well, don't forget that Stiles and Alexis also calls it that."
Snatching the glasses before Clyde could pull them away, Lann ignored him as he took his fedora from the seat behind him and opened the car door. He shut the door and pulled out his wallet.
Lann tried really, really hard to ignore the annoying remarks he heard his friend make by his side as he followed him into the hotel, only stopping to show the attendant his ID and continuing up to the 5th floor.
He should have been rewarded a medal for trying.
A subtle sound was heard in the room as a dark-haired teen looked at the door. Almost as if in response to her glance.
The door opened to reveal a teen with shut eyes and a fedora, looking nothing more than a bit annoyed but was really quaking with rage. And the unspoken source of said rage, a brown-haired teen who was completely aware of his friends anger and seemed to want to push it more.
The annoyed male simply took small steps into the room and before he could turn around, the other teen spoke.
"I know, I know. Out of the room while your dear Alexis calms you down. Wouldn't want a genocide occurring in such a grand resort. I just wanted to let you know that I need to speak to you about something important soon. Meet me at this place at 3:00 PM."
And without another minute for the confused pair to reply, he slipped a paper card into Lann's hand and walked out.
The pair did nothing as the door shut gently.
. . .
"I'll order from Starbucks." And with that, the girl dropped back down onto the bed and began using the phone provided by the hotel to get some coffee.
Lann instantly felt sane again.
Location: Reno, Nevada. Grand Sierra Resort, Mustangs.
Lance Viren had done many things in his life. He had fought scum and broken many bones. Not many of them were his. He could boast about humiliating police officers in none-parkour cities. And he could make a poker champion cry in rage with a simple conversation.
But he could honestly say, without a doubt, the greatest thing he had ever done was getting drunk in a very fine bar, called Mustangs.
He woke up with a slight hangover but also with a credit card with his name on it, and a note in his wallet.
Your birthday + Stile's birthday - Clyde's birthday!
His handwriting, while slightly slurred, was still recognizable to him. He quickly deduced that this new credit card must have some info about what happened the previous night, and calmly made his way to the nearest ATM.
Mentally calculating what he believed was the pin, he accessed the account.
And almost fell over.
He had no idea how he came to possess such an amount, but would make sure not to waste it. Quickly logging off, he took the card and left.
Lance all but ran to the elevator and hit the fifth floor button. The man had no idea what he could do with the money honestly. He wasn't normally the moneymaker of the little group he associated himself with. Heck, he was the muscle mostly, and the tactics when the brain was busy.
"This has to be at least three times as much as Clyde makes on his annual payment..." he muttered, while blessing whatever deity existed that made the amazing elevator. Damn stairs are deadly.
The elevator door opened and he received a strange look from the uniformed boy next to him. Lance paid him no mind and walked to the end of the hallway to knock on a door that had a sign on it.
He immediately stopped himself when he saw that the sign had a strange, but accurate drawing of the Starbucks business symbol.
"Lann, it's me. Can I come in?" he spoke quietly to the door, hoping that whatever headache his friend was in wasn't making his sensitive hearing flare up.
A few seconds later the door opened and he was greeted by a dark-haired girl hugging him briefly before stepping inside, motioning him to follow.
He did and closed the door behind him. Lance was far used to Alexis's behavior by now. She may seem spontaneous but for someone who has known her personally for so long, she was easier to understand. Not completely understandable though.
Lance walked into the room that his friend was in, noticing that the lights were dimmed by the switch, but not completely off. Lann was in a chair sipping some coffee and reading some type of magazine. Lance had little trouble sitting down in the chair across, but suddenly found himself confused on what he should say. How do you tell someone that you suddenly got a bunch of money because you got drunk?
Seemingly sensing his friend's confusion, but taking it for the wrong reason, Lann decided to open up the conversation.
"It's an article about the latest improvements by a scientist who is working on virtual reality." he said with a slight smirk.
Lance understood that his friend was referring to his magazine and was almost distracted from his original goal. He simply nodded and cleared his throat.
His raven-haired associate raised an eyebrow before putting the magazine down and paying more attention. While he didn't show it, he was a bit annoyed at guessing his friend's intent incorrectly.
"I was out last night exorcising when I got a headache from some sirens. I went to the bar downstairs to get a few drinks, clear my head. I just woke up with a hangover and credit card that I did not have before." Lance said with a slight monotone, showing the card in his hand.
Lann had to try hard not to face palm. The irony of both him and his friend getting drunk and hangovers on the same night separately was a bit annoying. Even more so when his friend appeared to be fine with his hangover and even got some type of credit card, somehow.
"Skipping the fact that you somehow got a credit card with your name on it in a single night, how much is on it?" said a soft voice from beside them, making Lance look towards his other listener.
"At least three times what Clyde get's on his annual." he said, making both listeners heads shoot up.
Alexis seemed to be wondering where on earth he could have gotten that, while Lann was busy taking out his phone and calculating how much money they had, with an impromptu estimate of how much Lance had obtained.
"Well, it's official. We now have enough money to go anywhere in the world and live peacefully until we die." Lann said, making Lance slightly glare at him.
"You can't be serious. We weren't supposed to reach our goal for another five years. At the most this should put us up a year or two." Lance spoke, trying not to sound hopeful.
Alexis, who had stopped trying to think of whatever Lance did, finally spoke again. "No, our average got a major boost from a trade deal between us and that RECTO Progress Inc. from Japan. Clyde's... dealings have increased in this area because of that coverup he found. And Fione's art has been selling even more than usual combined with her sudden inspiration. Add this up and we should be clear. Although a bit extra never hurts."
Lance's eyes widened at this. Their 'company' never allied themselves with anyone. Especially since all they really did was sell Fione's art and some of the random technology that Lann made. Heck, they had people who did all of there paperwork for them, including Michael and Morgan who were the highest in the 'food-chain' beside them.
"Don't you think that's a bit... Lucky?" Lance managed to say, hoping that his friends would understand what he was getting at.
They both nodded. Although this time, Lann spoke. "Yeah, but I checked it all at least four times. It's all legit, except for your... experience."
Alexis nodded again, speaking softly. "I'll go ask Clyde to check with his contact here to see if he can get some video footage on that..."
Their bemused friend sighed in relief. He may actually be able to learn what he did.
"That reminds me, I need to go meet up with Clyde soon. You two feel like coming?" Lann said, pulling out some sunglasses.
Alexis smiled and started getting ready, not even making a confirmation. Lance on the other hand actually spoke.
"No. I've had enough excitement for now. I think I am just going to go lie down or see what Fione's painting."
Just as Lance was about to leave, he heard his friends comment.
"Just because were done with making money actively, doesn't mean you can 'have fun' and disrupt her painting!"
Lann's eyes widened as he swore he saw Lance almost trip at his girl's comment.
"Did you have to tease him? Now he's going to think we disapprove of a relationship between him and her." he said once Lance shut the door a tad bit too loudly for his hangover.
"Oh you know that wouldn't stop him. Or at least her!" Alexis retorted with a stifled giggle.
Lann rolled his eyes as he got his shoes back on. Sometimes he wondered if she was also as crazy as him.
Location: Reno, Nevada. A random pizza place.
Clyde was sitting back at a table eating some pizza and bread sticks. He was waiting for his friend who had yet to even call to say he was on his way. So rude!
He shrugged. At least he chose a good place to meet. This pizza was much better than the last place he went that had such a thing. After sipping some Pepsi, he sighed contently.
He wished he could just do this everyday. Eat, hang out, exorcise, and then some random hobby. Unfortunately, he gets to spend half his days and nights finding seemingly random people and drugging them, and most of the other halves are spent getting messages from other contacts and maintaining relations for his 'company'.
A groan is released unintentionally. Sometimes, he wonders if he should have ever made those fake IDs that allowed him and his friends to masquerade as adults, when they are sixteen or fifteen years old.
Clyde shakes his head angrily. Thinking like that would only give him a headache.
'Besides... If I didn't make those IDs, I wouldn't be having nearly as much fun as I am now.' he thought to himself. If he did do nothing everyday, he knew he would probably kill himself from boredom.
The sound of someone sitting down shook away his thoughts far better than shaking his head did. He looked up to see his friend who had finally gotten here take a slice of pizza.
"You know, Lann... Taking a man's pizza is considered a crime in most countries." Clyde said with a neutral face.
Lann rolled his eyes before saying, "As if I would let you eat an entire box of pizza. You would fall asleep right as we would be talking."
"And you know as well as I do, that Lann doesn't have enough manners to ask." said another voice that he only half expected to hear. Clyde looked to the right to see Alexis coming over and sitting next to Lann, who looked a bit annoyed at her comment.
His friend seemed to grunt at that comment, although that might just have been because he was busy chewing on some pizza.
"Anyway, I believe it's time to discuss what we met up here for." Clyde began, absently noting that his listeners glanced at eachother in their strange silent language type of way. He stopped trying to understand it a long time ago, focusing instead on trying to detect when it happened.
"A contact of mine left a message a few days ago, which because of the Granada Incident, I wasn't able to read it. I was just able to read what it said yesterday before I started investigating it's subject. Let's just say that a lot of yellow tape and green paper is going to Japan right now. I couldn't get that much further into it because of... Communication problems." Clyde explained.
"You couldn't read Japanese?" Alexis quipped, maintaining what appeared as a deadpan face.
Clyde tried not to glare at her. He was able to nod his head slightly, hoping his friend wouldn't refuse helping with finding the info.
"Alright, show me." Lann said, keeping his face clear. Although inside he was wondering why his friend seemed a bit nervous.
The brown-haired teen nodded and took out some papers that he printed before he left his friend's computer last night.
Lann started going through the papers and seemed intrigued in what he was reading. However, somewhere along the middle of the papers he was reading, he seemed to just start skimming through. Satisfied with what he read, he put the papers back next to Clyde and simply thought about it.
"Your info there is just about what I read in a magazine this morning-" Lann paused to smirk at his friends surprised expression ", and it is interesting. Nothing that I can see that involves crime, but potential for a new generation of technology. Which means potential for a new generation of warfare. That's nothing that concerns us though."
Clyde regained his senses as he processed that and nodded.
"What is it about anyway? I was only able to decipher a few words." Clyde asked, slightly disappointed.
"A scientist, Kayaba Akihiko, is pretty much making a virtual reality machine and turning it into a children's video game." Lann said after a bite of pizza.
Alexis gasped while Clyde tried to process how that could be possible and how it was possible to turn it into upgrades for warfare.
"Your wondering what's so special about it, aren't you Clyde?" Lann asked, pausing for his friend to nod.
"We had machines that work on human thought since around five years ago. But this is completely different. This man, Kayaba, is making a completely virtual world where the children are players and they literally become part of that world. By transmitting all the signals our brain sends to make our body feel, move, smell, see and all that, to an avatar in a virtual world, technically counts as a true virtual reality. In truth, it's probably the best description of it so far." Lann explained further.
Clyde's eyes widened as he understood the hidden message in that. To be able to understand the brain on that level would mean you were able to make an entire new class of weapon focusing on the weaknesses of the brain to kill, or the opposite to make super soldiers.
"You understand yet?" Lann said in a grave tone.
Both Clyde and Alexis nod at the question, trying to put that in the back of their minds.
After a quick glance at the time, Lann decided to bring up the next topic.
"Clyde there has also been a massive run of good luck our way right now. And honestly, it might be enough to make you freak out. You wanna hear it now or at the hotel?" Lann asked, trying to ignore the hushed whisper of 'HQ' that the girl next to him used.
"Just... Just say it..." Clyde stated, trying to distract himself.
"The total boosts of Fione's sales and production speed, our newest partnership deal, your money from selling the case to the cops, and Lance's newest event has landed us just about at our goal." Lann said bluntly, trying not to laugh at Clyde's stupefied face.
Several minutes passed before Clyde was able to do anything but try to process all that information. He finally asked, "W-what was Lance's... 'event'?"
"He got drunk last night accidentally and woke up with a credit card that had over 3 times your annual and his name on it." Alexis deadpanned, wanting to hit the boy next to her for messing with their friend so much.
"Oh yeah, could you somehow get the tape of what happened last night in the Mustangs downstairs? That would help us learn what he did." Lann said, knowing he was reaching his limit on how much he could tease Clyde before he got punched.
Clyde just stared blankly at his two friends for a few seconds before his mind rebooted and he was back to normal.
"I'll get started on handing the company's name over to Michael and naming us CEOs. Should I send a message to Morgan or do we sack him?" Clyde asked.
"We are not 'sacking' a perfectly loyal person Clyde!" Alexis said in a scolding tone.
Clyde put his hands up in a defensive gesture while saying, "Alright alright, sorry just got a bit greedy again."
Lann rolled his eyes at that. He knew Clyde better than most. Clyde never got 'greedy', he got bored or cautious. That was him being cautious, since he didn't know Morgan much. Although people who didn't know him would easily fall for his lies.
Unfortunately, Lann was the only person in their entire group who knew him that well.
Later that day...
All of the newest CEOs of 'Misfit's Inc'(1) had just assembled in the middle of Lann's room, along with a phone on speaker that Morgan was listening and speaking through.
"So... It's time for us to pick a place to live happily ever after!" Fione said cheerfully, trying not to cry tears of joy.
It seemed to lighten up the atmosphere as everyone chuckled or smiled, even Lann and Lance shared a smirk.
"All this time, and we just slammed through to the end by pure luck." Clyde said, almost wistfully. Everyone nodded. They could all agree that since they each met eachother through what could be called fate or luck, that this was an opportunity that they were waiting for. To put all their memories of this country behind.
Fione bolted up and immediately said her piece, "I propose France."
This caused a bit more mirth to be spread around the room.
Morgan seemed ready to speak and called his vote, "I always wanted to see how it is in Australia!"
Lann raised an eyebrow at that and just shrugged like the rest of the group. "I suggest somewhere in Japan."
Everyone else in the room, and even Morgan rolled their eyes at that. Predictable, they all thought.
For some reason, Lann smirked.
Clyde thought about it and then said, "Raising some hell in Canada sounds fun. They have been pretty peaceful for as long as I can remember..."
Morgan seemed to be surprised at such a bold statement about his home country and Fione was glaring at the teen for sounding so evil.
Lance simply shrugged and said, "I'll wait till the reasons."
Alexis agreed with him. "Same!"
Fione adjusted her hat and explained why she picked France, "Great art, beautiful places to explore, romantic nights, and amazing sights."
Morgan decided to ask a question about her reasoning, "What about the great food?"
Clyde smirked as he answered this one, "We're too used to Lann or Alexis cooking. It'd take us a lot to try anything else besides fast food or that."
A pause was heard as everyone knew that Morgan loved food and was no doubt wondering just how good their cooking was. "Anyways, I just think that Australia would have a bunch of cool animals to see, nice weather, certain areas on the sides where we would be able to see penguins, and nice foreign ingredients."
Everyone seemed to be looking at Lann now, since he was the only one left without an explanation.
He smirked again before talking.
"The reason I suggested somewhere in Japan is because there is no doubt some city that has most of the good trade ingredients, technology, and great places to sight see. The houses are beautiful and the scenery is very intoxicating. And the greatest reason isn't even done yet." he stated, causing many to look at him in confusion. They were expecting a rather similar explanation to their own, since nobody has had time to think about this decision.
They should have known that Lann would have a good explanation in minutes, yet they give him hours and expect him to use something easy? Now that they thought of it, bad idea.
"Alright Lann, we get it. Your a born politician, just tell us already!" Clyde teased, making Lann twitch a bit. He hated hypocrites and to him, politicians were just another synonym for the word, hypocrites.
"Kayaba Akihiko. I'm assuming you have all heard of him?" Lann said, taking great pleasure in watching how three of the people in the room froze and listening to Morgan gasp.
He knew that Clyde and Alexis had heard, since he had explained it to them. And he took a gamble, guessing that Lance would be interesting in that little mistake he talked about before and would research it. Morgan was always online when he wasn't dealing with paperwork, so it wasn't surprising hearing him gasp. Now all that was left was Fione, who was just sitting there with a confused expression.
"Uh... No. Who is this Akihiko guy?" she asked with a bit of caution, noticing everyone's reactions.
"Kayaba Akihiko is a scientist who has perfected the study of the brain to a level where he can transmit our senses from our brains to an avatar in a virtual world, effectively making a virtual reality. Apparently, he has already completed his research and is now working on a game where he intends to implement this system. A closed Beta shall be held in Japan where 1000 players will be randomly selected. Well, with Clyde here, I doubt it could be very random." Lann stated, making everyone understand. Clyde had to smirk. He knew that Lann was going to bring something interesting to the table, retiring or not.
Morgan automatically agreed. The chance to try out such a video game was already amazing enough to make him go there, but to actually have a chance to be in it's Beta? There was no way he could stop himself.
Fione had become entranced in the possibilities of places to explore and the beautiful sights she could see in an entirely different world. You could practically hear Lann think the words, Hook, Line and Sinker.
Lance had liked the idea of checking into this new technology and he also liked the possibility of going into a small remote area in Japan that he would never have to be bothered by this country again.
Alexis saw that everyone was for the idea of Japan and knew that even she wanted to go now. Chances are she would have gone with the most voted option, but even she had no idea it would be so unanimous.
"It normally takes years to create a video game, however that's because of the matrices and video of the world it's in. Kayaba already has 50% of that in his research so he should be good on that. The longest I can see this Beta taking before it starts is around a year. That gives you guys a year to learn Japanese." Lann said with his smirk in full force.
Location: Kawagoe City, Japan. Airport.
The group of teenaged CEOs were just getting out of the airport. Once outside, they marveled at the beauty of the city after dark. Lights were on but not too many. The entire city seemed to radiate a cozy feeling, or maybe that was just them naturally loving their new home. Their final home.
They met up with Morgan outside, who was upset about having to sit next to complete strangers during his ride. Poor guy also hated the airplane food.
"So what made us decide this city, anyway?" Fione asked, not complaining but genuinely curious.
"Several reasons. Clyde preferred a smaller area to use his methods of getting into the Beta. Lance wanted a small remote area as well for personal reasons. Me and Alexis agreed on that point. And mostly because Michael told us that we could increase the relations between us and RECTO from here." Lann said.
Fione was a bit confused on that last reason. "Wait, how is that going to happen? And why should we care about that?"
Alexis smiled and answered, "We don't personally care about it. But we decided that helping Michael out couldn't be that bad if it coincided with our goals. And the president of RECTO, a Shouzou Yuuki, lives around here personally. He is going to enter a semi-retirement state just like us sometime later in his career and would like to have some practice managing relations personally. So when he goes overseas for his super vacation slash retirement, he can maintain relations for his company."
Fione made a sound of understanding before looking back at their city, no their home.
"So... How are we getting to our new house?" Clyde asked, looking at Lann. Said person seemed to go rigid for a second before answering calmly.
"I believe that it would be best to walk home. We can get used to the city and there's no chance of us being mugged with all of us here." he said, noting that Fione and Morgan fell for that on the dot solution, while the others rolled their eyes but agreed.
'Damnit... I should have thought of a solution before hand... I'm not used to going to new countries!'
Later the next day
The group made it to their house unimpeded. No attempted muggings happened, much to Clyde's dismay. And everyone explored the new house thoroughly. It was a two story building that had a nice front and back yard. And some type of wooden patio in the backyard. Fione kept going on and on about how beautiful it was that Lance had to distract her a few times to keep everyone from getting sidetracked.
Lann and Alexis chose to sleep in a medium sized room near the middle of the second floor. It had it's own bathroom but only one bed. They were fine with that truthfully.
Morgan chose a room next to them, which was a small size. But it would fit him. It wasn't like he would spend his entire life in there for once. He also liked the view he had of the city when he looked out the window.
Clyde chose the basement, which no one even noticed. Quite honestly, only him and Lann liked the dark so it was a rather natural choice for him.
Lance took a room on the first floor. It was smaller than the other rooms, but it was still a decent size. It had a bathroom right next door to it, and a walk-in closet that was under the stairs. Thankfully, he couldn't hear the footsteps of someone unless they were stomping or he was in the closet trying to hear something. Something about that made him happy, which Lann just guessed was the possibility to catch a robber.
And Fione took a room on the second floor. It was smaller than the couple's room but bigger than Lance's. And across from it was a bathroom. She enjoyed the closet size the most.
Other than that, there was a kitchen and a dining room that were connected via a bar-like table. Lann called it a 'breakfast table' for some reason. But everyone agreed that it looked like a good place to eat breakfast in the morning, when the sun came up.
There were a only two rooms left. They decided that when they had enough time, they would set up a computer and bookcases in one, and set the other one up as a little meeting room. Clyde seemed insistent on having a couch that was sleep compatible.
After ordering pizza for breakfast, Lann set up his laptop and prepared some Japanese online lessons that he downloaded for his friends- no his family.
He smiled a bit at that thought. He couldn't remember much of his old family, none of them could. Except Morgan and Lance. Lance disliked his family with a good reason and Morgan just never talked about his.
Everyone was up and eating pizza at the breakfast table, as Lann had dubbed it. Clyde finished early and decided to check the front yard.
He was a bit surprised to see a tennis ball on the porch with a note. Picking up the note, he read what could only be deciphered as "Welcome to the neighborhood." He smirked.
Throwing the tennis ball at a trashcan in front of the house, he walked back inside. Not noticing that the ball bounced off the side of the can and continued down the street.
This one action would have a very big effect.
Location: Kawagoe City, Japan. Saitama Prefecture.
Kirigaya Kazuto could not be called a worried person. Normally very laid-back or even nonchalant.
However, right now he was a bundle of nerves just waiting to explode. You see, it all started this morning. His mother, no his aunt, Kirigaya Midori had asked him to get the newspaper. He was a bit more sleepy than usual due to staying up late at night reading about the newest improvements on the Sword Art Online project by Argus.
When he went outside to get the newspaper, he noticed that instead of being thrown on his doorstep like usual, the paperboy decided to just put it near the front of the home's gate.
While grumbling about 'lazy newspaper deliverers' he walked over to the front of the gate and calmly opened it and closed it, his sleep addled mind not paying attention to the fact that he is going to need to open it again. As he began walking towards to newspaper, maybe he should have tried waking up a bit more.
Because he didn't pay enough attention to the tennis ball he tripped on. Next thing he knows, he's in the hospital being scolded by his sister- No! his cousin, Suguha for not being careful. Oh yeah, he also had a broken leg and pinky finger somehow.
His internal arguments over what he should call his family members combined with the tears in Midori's and Suguha's eyes had really taken a toll on his subconscious at that moment. And he hasn't been able to talk to anybody about it due to his antisocial nature. He never had anybody else come by his room except those two. And even then, they usually cried. It was not helping his guilt since he was pretty sure he had a guilt complex by that point.
Finally allowed to use a wheelchair to move around the hospital by now, Kazuto began trying to exorcise(his arms) to get his mind off of things. By the end of the day, Kazuto was sure he would recognize almost the entire hospital for a year. Cursing himself about his good memory and trying to find activities to do the next day, he fell asleep.
The next morning, Kazuto ate breakfast and proceeded trying to exorcise by re-exploring the hospital in places he couldn't memorize completely. It was around 3:00 PM that he realized that there was no place that he was allowed to go to that he hadn't memorized. He directed himself towards the cafeteria trying not to be disappointed in his evident boredom.
After eating a light lunch due to depression, he wheeled himself around the hallways of the first floor trying to play an 'I-spy' game with himself using other people. He almost smacked himself for his depression of boredom. Before he could he noticed that a man with a top hat came in. A top hat!
Kazuto couldn't remember the last time he tried so hard not to laugh. After playing his little mental game for a bit longer he noticed that a girl with dark, almost midnight purple hair was sitting with her head down near one of the benches. During his game he noticed that whenever she was around her supposed family, she would smile and it didn't seem fake, even to him. But seeing her looking depressed the second her family couldn't see her was a bit saddening. Not to mention suspicious.
Now, Kirigaya Kazuto was never a person to try to pry into into another person's personal life. Hell, he told himself and his family that he was fine staying out of other people's lives. But when your bored, slightly riddled with guilt, have a broken leg and an aching pinky, you can't really help but use any distraction available to get yourself away from complete depression. He wheeled himself over to the girl.
"Hey?" he said in a hushed tone. Noticing that nobody minded him being there despite being the only person in a wheelchair in the entire lobby.
The girl looked up and tried to put on a smile. But this time, it looked fake to Kazuto. "You shouldn't be around me. People say that they could die around me." she said in a voice that could be mixed with cheerfulness and confusion. To Kazuto, it was a voice that he had only heard a few times. All of which were times when he was questioning himself about his family.
"They shouldn't lie then. If you were deadly, the doctors wouldn't allow you to stay here. So stop believing those lies." Kazuto said with a smile. Inside he was a bit angered that somebody would tell anybody such a thing, let alone a little girl who was probably only a year or two younger than him.
The girl's eyes widened as she processed this. She knew it already, but she was trying to get the boy away from her because she believed that it was still a possibility.
"Aren't you worried that the doctors could be wrong? That you could die?" she asked, genuine curiosity in her voice. Kazuto tried not to smile at the innocent question. The little girl who is in a hospital is asking a question like that? Irony never had such a better place.
"If I'm going to die because I talked to a cute girl, then may I die with a smile please?" Kazuto said with a smirk, teasing the girl slightly.
A light blush stained the girl's pale face as she giggled. It was hard to take the concept of life and death seriously at that point. Everything just seemed... lighter.
"Kazuto... Kirigaya Kazuto." the boy in the wheelchair said after a bit of mirth, holding his right hand out.
The girl stared at the hand with mixed emotions. If you asked her, years from now what she felt exactly at that moment, she would still say that she hadn't the slightest clue. Slowly, almost gently Kazuto thought, the girl placed her hand in his and shook it up and down.
"Konno Yuuki... Nice to meet you, Kazuto-kun!" the girl said in a higher tone, making Kazuto's smirk turn into a smile.
"Nice to meet you as well, Konno-san." Kazuto said with a smile. But he quickly raised an eyebrow when he saw the girl frown.
"Don't call me that!" she protested with what Kazuto would from then on dub, puppy dog eyes.
Said eyes would be his greatest enemy in all worlds or realities.
Kazuto talked to Yuuki a lot during his stay in the hospital. She had only come in for a checkup but came back during visiting hours almost every other day. Her doctor, a Doctor Kurahashi, had noticed her visits and decided to visit as well. He seemed happy that Yuuki was making a friend.
Eventually, the talk that Yuuki had dreaded had finally arrived, but Kazuto had not decided it. She did.
"Uhh...Kazuto-kun..." she started, trying to steel her nerves. She had to let him know. She had to let him decide whether he should be near her true self.
"Yes Yuuki?" Kazuto asked, having long since surrendered to 'those eyes'.
The girl seemed to calm slightly before looking all around the room avoiding his nonchalant gaze. Yuuki took a breath to calm herself and looked directly into Kazuto's eyes, making him raise an eyebrow at the complexity of the emotions working their way around her own eyes. It would take him hours to discover what she was thinking.
Not that he would try to stare into her eyes for hours. Nope... Okay it wasn't like he had anything better to do.
Thankfully, she started talking, or stuttering if you wanted to be precise.
"I-I think I s-should tell y-you about w-why I was... h-here two week ago..." she said, pausing to let herself realize that she had been around the guy pretty often.
Kazuto nodded, already knowing and thankful for her visits. He sometimes felt he was going insane here!
Carefully placing his hand on her shoulder, he watched as she relaxed and leaned into his touch slightly.
"You don't have to if you don't want to. But if you feel like you need to, go ahead." he said. Those words could have been contradictory but she understood. He knew that she was having trouble with her guilt of not letting him know. And he was letting her know that he was fine with how they were, but if she wanted to, truly wanted to she could continue.
She smiled. How could he do that? Acting like what she had to say wouldn't make him pause in the slightest.
"I was diagnosed with AIDS since birth." She said bluntly, taking him by surprise. He quickly shook off his surprise and nodded.
Yuuki narrowed her eyes. She finally worked up the courage to say what she wanted to say and he is simply a bit surprised and then nods?
"Is that the only reaction you have?" Yuuki asked in a low tone.
Kazuto smirked. It was a little smaller than his usual 'I am having fun at your expense' smirk. But somehow there was a big difference in it.
"I know about HIV due to a required health class. I was bored that day so I read up on it a bit more. It interested me that there's a disease that old that can do something that amazing. No offense." he said, with a bit of a sheepish look.
Yuuki had to repress the urge to smack him. He actually did take what she had to say as nothing more than a little bit of new information on her and perhaps what he knew about the disease in the first place. It didn't seem to bother him and him going on about how it intrigued him just made her flustered.
She might have been able to repress her first urge to smack him. But the second urge was too much.
Kazuto was waiting for the bangs of dark hair to lift so he could see Yuuki's face. He had expected her to run from him for being insensitive. Kazuto knew he was bad in social situations and him practically calling a disease 'amazing', when it was no doubt considered her worst enemy, just proved it. She had every right in his mind to just leave and never talk to him again...
He couldn't help but feel shocked that the pain he felt about that thought hurt more than breaking his leg.
Kazuto, so entranced in his 'Hating myself' party, didn't notice the soft, small arms that belonged to the object of his thoughts. And he continued not noticing them until he felt them slink around his waist and pull him against Yuuki.
This was the first, and he hoped the last time, he saw Yuuki cry.
Location: Kawagoe City, Japan. Saitama Prefecture.
Kazuto had just gotten back home from the hospital and was happy he gave Yuuki his address. Now if she had the time, she could visit him. After being attacked by his cousin with what he had to call a tackle hug. He got up and said hello to his family, before being dragged back down to the floor by his aunt who spent at least 5 minutes crying on him.
Then after finally getting up again and noticing that his aunt had ran out the gate yelling something about being back to make dinner. He assumed that she would be home to make dinner for once and that meant a normal family dinner. He was not looking forward to it.
After a bit of thought, he wondered if he should tell Suguha about their true relationship. And then immediately slapped himself when thinking about her tear-stained face as a reaction.
Suguha had gone to Kendo practice after a bit of talking with Kazuto. And he was left alone for most of the day.
He spent his time trying to follow the latest news that he no doubt missed on Sword Art Online. Apparently, not much happened in his absence. So he couldn't be sure whether he should be disappointed or grateful. Turns out that Yuuki had come over to check if the address she got was right.
Of course Kazuto decided that she should stay for a bit. Since he had nothing better to do and he was pretty sure she didn't either. That comment made her glare at him a bit.
"Am I wrong?" He asked with his normal smirk back. He knew that was asking for a taste of her fist.
Instead of attacking the rude teen, she practically deflated. He was absolutely right, she had nothing to do for the entire week except go get a checkup in a couple of days.
"No... Anyway, what have you done since you got back?" she asked with her normal bright smile back into place. He had no idea why, but her smiles seem to get brighter and brighter each time. He often compared it to the sun.
'No... The sun's not bright enough anymore...' he idly thought.
And after a second of pause and reevaluation on that thought, he shrugged as he figured that could be considered flirting but didn't care because it was also considered the truth.
"I was just checking up on some news about a game." Kazuto said, trying to think about whether he should actually talk to her about it. She was the only person he felt like he could talk to. He hadn't talked to Suguha or Midori about SAO before.
"Hmm. I never played many games... What's it about?" Yuuki asked, curious about what could have attracted the attention of her best and only friend.
Kazuto smiled, albeit slightly helplessly. He couldn't decline such a simple thing when he saw her eyes like that. It was like having the possibility of kicking a puppy by accident. You just don't do it.
"Ever heard of a VRMMORPG?" Kazuto said, unknowingly starting off a chain reaction.
"No...?" the amethyst-eyed girl said trying to pronounce the initials in her head. She could tell that it was a tongue twister.
"It stands for Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. You can see why it has initials huh?" Kazuto said, chuckling at the girl's deadpan stare.
After a quick explanation of the VRMMORPG and of the latest project Sword Art Online, Yuuki was enthralled by it. The possibility of actually being able to run around and fight things with her disease made the idea similar to a miracle to her.
That night, Konno Yuuki went home and explained a bit of what she learned from her friend to her family. Her sister was happy that Yuuki was finally smiling on her own and supported whatever Yuuki did. Her mother was wary of the idea since she was Christian and the thought of making an entirely different world was very egotistic to her. But overall, they said that if she got an invitation to join the Closed Beta, she would be allowed to use it. Mostly because her father was fine with his princess smiling.
After registering at the site that Kazuto suggested would up her chances for being on the list of 'random' winners. She slept soundly with dreams of running and being active.
It was August 1st. Kazuto and Yuuki both got invitations to join the Closed Beta. Suguha was a bit confused to see her 'older brother' hugging a girl about her age but quickly wrote it off as growing up. Although she still felt a tiny bit of jealousy in her heart for the girl.
The pair quickly walked to a store that had saved their Nerve Gears from Argus. Anyone who bought a Nerve Gear was on the list for a possible invitation to join the Closed Beta. Kazuto had officially bought two Nerve Gears the second he heard about that. But he still asked the attendant to hold it for him until the Beta was announced.
Although, Yuuki was quite embarrassed that he bought her a Nerve Gear. She accepted it when she realized there wasn't a way to decline without sounding rude. Although he did get a hug that left both of them slightly blushing.
They were happy that they had the option to pre-order the game so they didn't wait in line for when the official server launched. This time, Yuuki pre-ordered two games while glaring at Kazuto. He simply smiled with a sheepish look. He had at least wanted to buy his own game.
Although, his teasing was definitely worth the blow to his pride.
"Can I hug you this time?" he asked with his smirk on at full force.
He was worried for a short time if it was healthy for an HIV carrier to have so much blood in their face to cause a literal red face.
Konno Yuuki didn't understood why Kazuto was trembling when he randomly reached out and hugged her.
Location: Kawagoe City, Japan. Misfit's CEOs Retirement Pad.
Lann had been impressed with the speed that his friends had learned the language. He could tell that they were a bit rough in it still. But they were good enough to actually converse with neighbors now. And they only seemed to be improving.
Morgan had somehow perfected the art of asking for certain types of pizza on the phone. Which was amazing considering they mostly ate what Lann or Alexis cooked, so they only called in for delivery a few times.
Clyde managed to get them all Nerve Gears and they all got invitations to the Closed Beta.
They all shared a laugh at Clyde's expense when he said something about how much hell he had to make and go through to get those invitations.
Seeing Clyde Johnson actually pout was an event that they all had remembered clearly. Much to his chagrin.
Fione had eventually warmed up to Clyde... As in, not wanting to kill him at every corner. But just settling for ignoring him or glaring at him whenever he said something wrong.
He often compared the feeling he got from being watched by Fione to being put on a microscope by a falcon. Not pleasant.
Speaking of which, he had also made some contacts in the police force. And for once they weren't crooks. Just normal police officers who knew him as an okay guy. Although he had hidden in his basement for a week after one of the police officer's daughters seemed to take up a crush on him.
They all agreed that Clyde was good comedic relief in retirement. Although Fione still seemed adamant in placing him as low as she could.
"Today's the day eh fool?" she remarked, making the 'fool' roll his eyes. He had only worn that outfit once! And it was because certain officers decided he needed a drink! The name Buttercup found it's way into Japan, striking it's dictionaries with the reference Clyde Johnson.
"Yes, rude woman. Today is the day that the Closed Beta for Sword Art Online takes place. Apparently, Nezumi-chan also got an invitation. So I will be setting up a little information network online the second I get on. Especially since Nezumi-chan will be helping me officially!" Clyde said, trying not to voice his true opinions on the woman before him.
"You mean the girl who had a crush on you? What's her username going to be?" Lann asked, genuinely curious about the obviously insane girl.
"Argo. But enough about that. Let us hope nothing goes wrong with how we play." Clyde replied.
Everyone went to their rooms and set up their Nerve Gears. Although they could hear someone giggle from upstairs, they just assumed it was Alexis laughing at Lann as he calibrated his Nerve Gear. That assumption would be on the dot.
As everyone sit in there beds they all said two words as a countdown began.
Info List (1):Misfits Inc is the name of a book and group I read about a long time ago. It seemed to fit, in my mind.
And that is a wrap! I'm sorry if I made it too focused on the OCs but I felt the need to explain their situation! Future chapters will constantly switch camera views of the OCs and Kirito.
If anyone can give me suggestions, please do.
Once again, if you have questions about the characters or events just ask, I will most likely answer. If you have an embarrassing question about them, I will almost definitely answer.
And if you just feel the need to review because you know it's helpful, please do.
My own personal message to you guys would be to check out certain stories that inspired me to use Sword Art Online as my next fic.
1-An Empty Life: Hollow Desires by WhizkidHV
2-Side Stories: Twisted Fates by Flailing Orchid.
3-Sword Art Online: Prince of Darkness by KaiserBlak
And 4-The Prince of Swords by ToumaFF
These are all SAO stories that inspired me the most. They are not in any specific order though.
Have a good day, comment, review, and have an open mind.
This is Lann Majra, signing off!