(◠-◠)/ Hello people~ Here we are again~

I wish I had more time to type, but unfortunately I have school and work on a shared computer. I really need a laptop or something. /crais

Anyways, this chapter is once again betaed by the lovely Hayasaka Shion-san, so the grammar isn't horrible elementary school stuff 8D

Disclaimer: I'm getting too lazy to do this, but Kuroko no Basuke isn't mine~


Chapter 15: Group & Spells


Saturday: April 26, 2038. 8:31 A.M.

"Please select the weapon you would like to use".

{Dagger}*

{Throwing Knives}

{Knuckle}

{Random}

.

{Dagger}*

{Throwing Knives}

{Knuckle}

{Random}

.

{Kiiro has obtained a Dagger!}

Kise opened up his inventory and equipped the weapon he'd just received.

It was a very average weapon; the brown-eyed man was sure he could buy a better one from the shops in town, though he didn't want to spend the ladomi on it as he didn't have much to start with.

He did, however, buy a very nice neck bandana that matched his gear from the shop. It wasn't only for fashionable purposes–he was also using it to cover his mouth and perhaps be a bit more inconspicuous towards other players. But still, he couldn't totally deny that he just really liked the thin piece of cloth equipment.

The Rogue took quick steps towards the town exit, past the sign, and into the first monster map he could find–all while carefully avoiding any and everyone that he came across.

He located one of the map's monsters, one that slightly resembled a wild pig of some sort, and started to approach it.

The black-haired man broke into a dash, enjoying the AGT boosts being a Rogue gave to a player.

The beast couldn't react quick enough to dodge the blade pointed towards it, resulting in a shallow gash forming across the majority of its right side. Kise would've liked to cut deeper, but he was still getting used to this weapon and learning how much strength to use.

[-114 HP, Porruca: {86/200}]

Like many other monsters of this level, this one had no other attacks other than biting or tackling, the latter of which it attempted on Kise.

The low-level monster started out in a run which, when compared to a Rogue player like Kise, was pretty impossible not to dodge.

As it ran towards him, he took a step back to let it run past and then stabbed it from behind.

{+48 Experience}
{Kiiro has obtained: Porruca Snout, 53 ladomi}

The raven continued to progress his experience like this, getting up to level 13 before the world around him suddenly disappeared. In an instant, the pig creatures in the field disappeared, and were instead replaced by the sight of Kise's very angry manager.

"I've been waiting in the lobby for half an hour. I told you to be ready by nine!" she roared, taking her finger off the "Safe-eject" button underneath the VR helmet. "Hurry up, idiot! The shoot starts in twenty minutes!"

The blonde flinched at her angry tone and meekly apologized, taking off the helmet and hastily readying his bag of personal items: sunglasses? Check. Cell phone? Check. Keys? Check.

He followed her out the door and down the large glass elevator to her car. Kise cursed himself for not keeping track of the time; things like this had happened before, and he was not looking forward to the session of lunatic, demented method of "driving" that his manager would soon demonstrate.

The woman loudly revved up the engine of her car, even though it was electric and the feature seemed to serve no actual purpose but to scare Kise shitless.

"Saaaaave meeee…."

Sadly, both his thoughts and his cries of terror were left unheard by all except for those within the boundaries of the soundproof glass.


Saturday: April 28, 2038. 3:04 P.M.

"Akashi-kun… I think I'm dying…"

"I'll assume you only mean figuratively; we wouldn't want you putting this training to waste. Perhaps my expectations for this exercise were too much for you, even if you aren't fighting in the front lines. I'll make a gate back to town for everyone, but at the very least-"

Akashi put his hand out behind him.

"-Help finish with this wave."

Without even sparing a glance, he sent out several manifestations of magic energy from his hand and obliterated the monsters at his rear, leaving only burnt bodies that quickly dispersed a second later.

How does he do that?

"I'll do… my best."

Teetering on unstable legs, Kuroko just barely managed to dodge what looked to be a piece of a flying tree trunk. He stumbled, but managed to keep himself upright and moving in order to assist his fellow party members.

At the current moment, he and the rest of the GoM were fighting three level 40 bosses, each of a different element. Together, they had already managed to kill one of them and were steadily lowering the HP of the remaining trio.

Kuroko chanted a healing spell towards Murasakibara, who, assisted by Midorima, was fending off one of the beasts. The purple-haired man was certainly the best choice for it though, seeing as the monster–a very offensive-based electric boss–had the highest ATK of the three.

In the previous weeks, he had obtained a rare item after winning a Fighter's tournament in Verran, a defensive piece of equipment dubbed the "Shield of Aegis". Though it wasn't a unique item, it was probably one of the closest things to it.

Momoi had studied all their equipment and told them what to buy or get next in order to optimize their full fighting capabilities, and, during a run-through of the forums, had found that two other safeguards just like the one Murasakibara possessed had existed in Japan. One of them, however, had been transferred to the English server of Kiseki World, and the other was encountered by a female Gunslinger who'd sold it to the NPCs; she immensely regretted it later after finding out how rare of an item it was.

The Shield of Aegis was extremely heavy, and was generally only equippable by Warrior class players due to the insane amount of STR needed to carry it (items had a certain "weight" in this game and stats were needed to be able to equip them).

The shield was rather impressive though; it tripled Murasakibara's guard just by having it equipped, but when an attack hit the shield itself, the block rate would raise to about double of that. As the Berserker already had a formidable amount of DEF, both monsters and people could barely affect him unless they were extremely powerful.

Besides this, another function of the item was a small blowback rate. It wasn't much, but because the monster in front of him had high ATK power and low defense, it was doing quite a number to it.

At the beginning of their training session, Kuroko had been curious about why the purple-haired man was barely using his sword. His answer was simply, "Aka-chin told me not to."

Later on, the Cleric realized it was because the major level and strength differences between the guild members.

Out of the seven, the person was the lowest level was Momoi at 32, mostly because she had trained with the rest of the guild just like Kuroko had. With the exception of Haizaki since most of the time he spent near her was used on flirting.

After the pinkette, the second lowest was Kuroko–level 33 and close to 34. The rest of the Generation of Miracles were a few levels above him due to their overwhelming capabilities.

When ordered from lowest to highest, the hierarchy was: Midorima along with Haizaki at 36, Murasakibara at 38, Aomine who was 39, and then Akashi who had just reached level 40.

Though these numbers don't seem too far apart, even going up one level made a huge difference in the amount of EXP one had to earn in order to do it again. By the time one reached the thirties, it was exponentially greater than what it was at, for example, fifteen.

It made sense that their Archer, Beserker, and Sorcerer were such high levels, seeing as though they'd started the game about three weeks before the rest of them (though they spent a lot of it unsuccessfully looking for recruits). Haizaki had started about two weeks after they did though, and Aomine only a few days ago.

Kuroko mused about how much the tan Warrior must love this game. Then again, he too was infatuated with just about everything in the game–except for, well, the experience of throwing up from over-training.

But anyways, going back to the reason Akashi didn't want Murasakibara to use his sword: he wanted their lower level members (particularly Kuroko and Momoi) to be able to get more experience and level up faster.

The red-haired Elf himself was holding back, only attacking when needed. A handicap had also been placed upon Aomine, who was mostly blocking attacks and distracting one of the Boss monsters so that it wouldn't go after Momoi or one of their other members.

Kuroko spent a lot of his time casting offensive spells rather than doing what Clerics usually did, which is to say, support. The time he actually spent healing his teammates wasn't very much, so he could concentrate very well on chanting the worlds to his strongest spells with very little interruption.

After raising Murasakibara's HP to full capacity, he went to heal Aomine, who was taking considerably more damage than the Beserker seeing as though he had to dodge and block Magic attacks without the use of a powerful shield. Even if the Paladin was strong and agile, it was still nearly impossible for him to dodge the wide-ranged AOE's that the monster he was fighting could initiate without warning. In addition to this, he was a Fighter type, meaning his Magic DEF was, like most Warriors, very low.

Momoi, on the other hand, could dodge the spells the majority of the time due to the fact she had studied its patterns and knew generally when and where to withdraw. Even if she wasn't too strong, she had the advantage of being able to think critically and could act on it with precision. Also, because she wasn't fighting it head on, the monster couldn't target her or the area in which she stood.

Kuroko started casting one of his highest leveled spells, even though he was out of breath and the words could only be whispered out breathily. After this, the monster he'd targeted would probably die, seeing as though it had already been weakened by his team mates.

"-ifice. The unholy incarnations fall upon this cursed world, and black shades will be unleashed upon thy adversaries. What is left behind after persecution is merely the cries of the forgotten and damned."

After an entire three minutes or so of phrases like this, the spell was released towards the monster Haizaki had been sparring with (along with occasional assistance by their heterochromatic-eyed leader). Upon seeing the dark shapes form above the monster, the grey-haired man backed away from the area–though not before one more stab to its leg and knife in its throat.

The monster, a plant type Boss, was the weakest of the three from what they'd seen. Not to say that it wasn't strong–it was.

The next moment, Kuroko's spell took occurrence. Several Magic circles appeared from the shadowy clouds, one large one hovering above it and four smaller ones at its side. An invisible cage trapped the monster in, leaving it roaring and trying to break free from its confines.

From the circles appeared an indefinite amount of obscure wisps, surrounding and circling it, taking its HP lower and lower as they made contact with the monster's skin.

At the end of its time in the intangible prison of which it had been subjected, the rest of the 16k of HP the monster had left vanished. Kuroko's spell could have done a bit more, but that was all the creature had. It was especially weak against Magic spells as it was a STR based monster with only an average amount of DEF towards those kinds of attacks, at least for a level 40 Boss.

The Cleric, now unable to hold himself up, collapsed onto the rocked covered ground. He pushed off the ground with his hands, willing himself to get back up and continue fighting even though he had exhausted himself beyond even the training he'd done the day before. Eventually, by pushing off it with his staff, he raised himself once more.

The monster that he'd killed with his spell didn't disappear into an image of pixels like most did. This spell was, among others, one of the new types that the bluenette had consulted Akashi about; there were still several he hadn't tried yet though. Earlier, when he had asked about whether or not to place points into it (it was more than one since this spell was special), the redhead had smiled a seemingly-knowing smirk and told Kuroko it was up to him.

The first time he had tested it out, he was surprised by how long the cast time for it was (since he was getting used to the words, it was around five minutes). The damage was very high though, and brought the HP of a boss he was fighting down about halfway (though that was earlier with a weaker Boss).

All-in-all, it didn't seem too worth it to use the attack because of the long cast time since he could do more damage with his other spells. After that boss was defeated though, Akashi had studied his skill and told him to use it again, though only when it cooled down (this spell could currently only be cast once every hour-and-a-half) and when the monster had lower HP.

Kuroko had complied, and the outcome surprised not only him, but his party as well. Except for Akashi and, possibly Murasakibara, though he couldn't tell with the snack-loving giant since he had an apathetic nature towards nearly everything besides a few obvious articles of interest.

What had happened then was happening now to the creature he'd just killed. Its body, which lay limp on the ground, started to become to a dark shade of grayish-green from its previous lime theme.

It twitched.

Then it twitched again.

Like a baby deer on unsteady legs or Kuroko in the state he was in now, the monster slowly got back up. When Kuroko checked, its status indicator located above it changed from a monster's color, red, to that of an adventurer's familiar, blue.

"Pandora's Box."

That was the name of this spell.

If it is the killing blow, the spell's caster would be able to use the aforementioned monster as their familiar, though it becomes weaker than before. It only worked on monsters and was good for cases such as this where there were multiple bosses fighting. Sadly, the controlled monster couldn't be used permanently; it would disappear when its master left the map, a certain amount of time elapsed, or if it died–it couldn't be healed.

The possessed plant monster charged toward the beast Murasakibara had been defending against and rammed into it, knocking the other onto its back. It took a leap onto the Electric creature and the two grappled, clawing and biting each other at every chance they got.

Kuroko supposed he probably should've done the spell to one of the other two monsters as they were stronger, but he didn't want to wait for their HP to go down. The monster he controlled was now weaker than it was in its original state; it had only about three fourths of its stats from before death. In the battle the two beasts fought, the plant Boss was now clearly starting to lose out.

Kuroko watched for a second before deciding to just leave it. Murasakibara and Midorima could've handled the beast by themselves, but the bluenette decided he might as well have to help them take a breather –something he desperately needed now.

His mind was a bit muddled, and he was sure he wouldn't be able to cast anything other than an instant spell if his scratchy throat was anything to come by. The monster he had previously been watching was now left to AI; before, he could use mental commands to maneuver it if needed be, thanks to the sensory detectors in the VR gear.

A few more buffs towards his guild members and he was done, completely. Luckily for him, his legs gave way at just the right moment to avoid an oncoming tackle by a minion monster one of the bosses had summoned.

A fireball burned through it right after.

"My apologies, Tetsuya. I seemed to have left one slip by."

Kuroko could only give a dry cough as a response.

The Sorcerer sent a few flares towards the direction of the monster Aomine and Momoi had been fighting earlier, catching their attention.

"Daiki, would you mind carrying Tetsuya back into town? We'll finish up here" The red-haired man asked and said before chanting out the words to a dimensional spell.

The taller blue-haired man left the Boss to Momoi and Haizaki and walked over to where the two Magic users were.

Kuroko tried to prop himself up once more, but all the strength had really left his body after that last session of casting.

Aomine, seeing that the blue-haired Elf was too tired to move, bent down and slung the Cleric over his shoulder. He waited a few seconds for the gate back to the main town to open and walked through, all while Kuroko felt as if he were a bag of potatoes.

"You're really light, Tetsu. Maybe it's 'cause you're so short."

Though Kuroko was tired, he still somehow found the energy to elbow the other's back.

Hard.

"Oww. That hurt. I'm tired too, you know?"

"But still lively enough to insult my height."

"I'll try to remember not to from now on," the Fighter chuckled at the other's sensitivity to stature. But still, even if Kuroko had low STR, that jab really hurt.

The two walked into the pitch black void and waited for the central town to come into their sights. When it did, Aomine flipped Kuroko over and placed him on a bench beneath some trees.

"Thank you," the smaller bluenette said after regaining some air in his lungs.

"Hmm? Oh, no problem."

The Paladin whistled to himself. "Why've there been so many chicks lately? Ah, she has big boobs."

"..."

"What? Boobs are made of dreams. Admit it, even you'd like to shove your face int-"

"I'd appreciate if you did not finish that sentence."


I'm sorry for slow progress~ There's just some details I don't wanna skip and have to cram in later~

On another note, it's time for some shameless advertising. I recently started what will become a collection of AU stories called, "Hey, You". There's one chapter so far and it's KiKuro, so if anyone likes that ship then I'd appreciate if you gave it a chance. And no, not all the stories will be written with my OTPs from here (though some of them will). The pairing are unset and I was thinking of taking requests after I got done with the ones I wanted to write.

Don't worry though, updates for that won't get in the way of this. This takes precedence so the updates will be as always (once or twice a week).

Thanks again for reading~

GPS, out.