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.Hack//New Dawn (A R:2 Fanfiction) Ch. 4 Complete!

Discussion in 'Role-Play' started by DawnOwl, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. DawnOwl

    DawnOwl Delta User

    NOTICE: If any user reading the story wishes to comment, please feel free to do so on this thread. Also, I will be updating the short story in parts. Thank you and happy reading!

    Prologue:

    [The World: R2] is a massive and mysterious place. Every day it is accessed by a large volume of players world-wide. In order to maintain stable functionality the game is composed of several servers within each region, and is monitored by CC-Corp staff at all hours of the day - everyday. With the sharp rise of sophisticated and illegal cyber activities in recent years the company has had to establish and implement strict policies and regulations to maximize the security of the users as well as to protect the virtual reality experience. While the company's efforts to curb online criminal behavior have effectively suppressed activities commonly associated with hackers, rumors have begun spreading which have users questioning whether the game is as secure and safe as CC-Corp would have them believe. After all, the company's previous version of [The World] was riddled with seemingly unexplainable technical issues which placed CC-Corp at the center of real world controversy.

    Chapter One: Hazy Beginnings

    It must have been an hour. Maybe two. Koto couldn't be immediately sure. But he knew he had fallen asleep while deep in the bowels of a green and quiet forest. "Oh no..." he muttered to himself as he slowly stood up. The scenery which surrounded his avatar at that very moment was meant to elicit thoughts of relaxation and calmness. And the background music was deliberately composed to be soothing to the ears. Perhaps it was no surprise then that he should succumb to a slumber while roaming his favorite type of field. This wasn't just any random forest though. Koto often came to this one in particular, because the rate of enemy spawns was so low it was unusual to see any creatures roaming the field. This provided him with the rare opportunity to get away from the more congested places, in order to enjoy the beautifully rendered virtual environment and be by himself.

    In the real world Koto's user suffered from a mild case of social anxiety. He didn't consider himself to be a loner and wasn't even awkward in public, but he did find it difficult to communicate with other people and make friends. Perhaps that is why he always preferred coming back to that lonely and quiet forest. He didn't have to confront the fact that he wasn't very good at socializing with other people, and he didn't have to worry about too many encounters with strong and ferocious monsters either. But an uncomfortable thought began to creep into his mind; he couldn't go on playing the game in such a way for much longer. Koto was now a level ten Flick Reaper and leveling up any further would be almost impossible on his own. He didn't want to confront the realization that he would soon need to come out from his shell and seek other, more seasoned, players to form parties with. He did think about quitting the game altogether in order to avoid feeling uneasy with others but he knew deep down that this game also offered him a good opportunity to face his fears and grow as a person. That, and he'd have to inevitably face people in the real world too.

    Koto sighed heavily and straightened his posture. "Well...I guess it's time to leave this place again." He began to walk away from the small patch of grass he had fallen asleep on just a moment ago, and he made his way through the shadows of tall trees which surrounded his avatar. From a distance the sight of Koto's avatar walking through a seemingly deserted forest must have appeared eerie to anyone else. His avatar resembled that of a young boy carrying a relatively large and blue scythe on his back. He wore a simple white Japanese-inspired outfit over his body, which extended from his arms all the way to his feet. His avatar also had caramel-brown skin, soft blue eyes, and short grey hair. Koto didn't seem very intimidating but that was partly because he wasn't a high level user just yet. And so he didn't possess the more larger and powerful equipment that experienced players were often seen wearing.

    He didn't much care for looking like some body-builder or monstrous titan though. In fact, he liked his simple appearance. He figured if he looked inviting enough then the challenge of making friends would be a little easier.

    As Koto neared the entrance to the forest he thought he heard a noise behind him, suddenly. It may have been his own avatar brushing through the leaves of smaller plants but he wasn't quite sure. It could just as easily have been the sound of a forest creature lurking near by - maybe sneaking its way towards him for an ambush. Or, Koto thought worriedly, it could also have been the sound of foot steps made by a another user - - perhaps even a 'Player Killer'.

    Just then he heard the same noise again. This time, stirred by his anxiety, Koto quickly took hold of his scythe and stood in battle position.

    "Who's there?" He asked nervously.

    It may have been his imagination, but he couldn't hear the pleasant and calming sounds of the background music playing in the background anymore. The only sound he could clearly hear was that of his own rapidly beating heart. It's just a game, he reminded himself.

    "S-sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you..." A soft voice came from behind a visibly alarmed Koto.

    He turned around as fast he could and maintained himself in battle position all through out, until he saw another relatively small figure standing just a few feet away from him. It was a girl. He slowly lowered his scythe and breathed a sigh of relief.

    "Where did you come from?" Koto asked, wondering why he hadn't seen her avatar while he was desperately looking around his surroundings.

    The girl stood quietly in front of him for a moment, as if finding the right words to say. Koto stared at the player and saw that she was holding an unusual-looking rose colored staff, with a violet rod connected to it. She also had a fair skin tone and blonde puffy hair. Her outfit was black with white stripes on the collar and on the tip of the sleeves. It stretched all the way down to her legs, too. But perhaps her most captivating feature was the color of her eyes. Koto had not been a user in The World for a long time but he could recall never having seen bright pink eyes on another player before. He didn't remember seeing them as an option in the character creation process either. He suspected she must have acquired her unique eye color as a reward for some kind of event in the game. But now that he thought about it, her staff didn't appear to be a beginner's item either. But what would a high level Harvest Cleric be doing in a low leveled forest field like this one, he wondered.

    "I apologize for startling you." The mysterious girl answered. She appeared genuinely concerned about Koto's emotional state of mind. "I was looking for a Lucky Animal." She continued. "I heard one specific type of Lucky Animal appears in this field, and so I came here to find it."

    That made more sense, Koto thought. He closed his eyes for a moment and replied to the girl. "It's alright. I wasn't startled..." he had lied, and he knew it was not a very convincing lie. "I am afraid whoever told you about the Lucky Animal was mistaken. I come here often and I've never seen one before."

    The bright-eyed girl didn't seem to be too disappointed by Koto's answer. Instead she gave him a warm smile and slowly walked closer to him. "I guess I was misinformed. Well, it's no problem." There was a gentle tone to her voice, one that filled Koto with a sense of calmness. Every word she spoke made him feel more comfortable. It was odd. Usually he didn't feel this level of comfort engaging with other users but for some strange reason Koto felt relaxed around this girl.

    [​IMG]

    "Sorry...I should introduce myself." She said suddenly. "My name is Elenna."

    Koto didn't know what to make of this new-found peace, but he felt comfortable enough to tell her his name too. "I'm Koto. Nice to meet you." He replied calmly.

    At that moment, he noticed something strange. Now that his senses weren't clouded by anxiety Koto was able to confirm that the background music wasn't playing. He had never experienced something like this before. A glitch? He wondered.

    "Hey, Elenna...?" He began. "This may sound like an odd question but can you hear the background music to this field playing on your headset?"

    Elenna seemed confused by his question initially but then her eyes looked upwards for a moment, and then her gaze returned to Koto. "Actually...I am not hearing any music playing right now."

    "Weird. I thought I was the only one but I now I can't help but wonder why it has stopped." He replied. "I suppose it isn't anything. Probably just a glitch in the game."

    "Probably." Elenna replied, almost in a whisper. She closed her eyes and smiled warmly, lifting her hand up into the air, gently waving at Koto. "Well, I'm afraid I must be going now Koto. Sorry if I interrupted you while you journeyed through the forest."

    "Don't worry about it..." He said, as she slowly began to walk away from where he stood. He didn't want to say anything at the moment but he thought it was strange that the girl was walking deeper into the forest. Koto had already told her that there were no Lucky Animals in the field, that he knew of anyway. In any case he had to leave now. It would be late soon and he needed to log out and study for an exam before calling it a day.

    As he began to walk towards the beginning of the forest, he could see the outline of the Chaos Gate in the distance. He paused for only a brief instant to look back into the forest. Elenna, the strange Harvest Cleric was no longer in sight. Koto turned his head towards the entrance and continued walking until his avatar was standing in front of the towering portal. He inhaled and exhaled before disappearing behind bright rings that had enveloped his character.

    -----

    Having returned to the Delta server, Mac Anu - a small steam-punk city surrounded by a dazzling and seemingly perpetual sunset - Koto recalled his chance encounter with the Harvest Cleric. It was a strange meeting indeed. He had never felt so comfortable and relaxed with any other user in the game before her. He didn't think she was interesting, honestly. But she made him feel good. And he began to wonder if he would ever experience such a sensation again. He also wondered if perhaps he would ever see the mysterious girl too.

    One thing was for certain, if he wished to continue playing the game and becoming stronger, then he would need the help of other users and form a party. It was the most practical method of leveling up in The World and he didn't want to remain weak and vulnerable forever. Despite the relative safety of the virtual world he had become a part of, there were many users out there who relished the thought of exploiting the system and causing havoc for other players. This of course, included the infamous Player Killers, who ran rampant within The World and placed many low level players at great risk of loosing their well earned loot and experience points.

    Koto may be petrified by his social anxiety in the real world but he held that this virtual realm was the key to overcoming his problem. Even though there were moments where he would rather escape even the digital world, he couldn't stand the thought of being back in the real world - where his anxiety ruled supreme. He was determined to form a dependable party and level up.

    "I don't know how I'll pull it off, but I have to try..." He said to himself.

    -End of Chapter One
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
    Zaren, AzureZhen, Jetstream and 2 others like this.
  2. AzureZhen

    AzureZhen Administrator R:Craft Staff

    I suck at rping but I love this story so far, can't wait to see more.
    DawnOwl likes this.
  3. DawnOwl

    DawnOwl Delta User

    I'm happy you liked the first chapter. I will be introducing the second chapter tomorrow. :)
  4. DawnOwl

    DawnOwl Delta User

    Chapter Two: 'Party' Time

    A message on the official forums quickly caught Koto's interest. The subject read: Help! Need 1 more user 4 Party. It seemed as though the universe was actively pushing the aspiring Flick Reaper towards reaching his goals. However, he knew it was uncommon to see such cries for help on the message boards. In either case, the opportunity was there for Koto to seize.

    On his previous adventure in [The World] Koto decided that he would place a greater effort in joining a Party in hopes that it would both strengthen his avatar, and also aid in developing his social skills. The thought was still one that caused him great hesitation and anxiety but he was determined to become better. It was then that he clicked on the message and read through it entirely. A small group of low level users were planning to raid a prairie field in order to acquire a Rare item but also to gain experience points. The message requested that interested users find the group at the marketplace in the Delta Server, Mac Anu. The market was an area of the Root Town where large crowds of players gathered to purchase and sell items. Users would also gather in that place to converse with one another and create or establish plans for dungeon and field adventures. Once again, Koto could feel the creeping sensation of hesitation. He did not find the idea of being in a crowded place pleasant but he figured the group would only be there until they find their last member. Then they would be on their way. He sighed and clicked on the 'Reply' icon of the message, and alerted the group that he was interested in participating and would be there shortly.

    Once the message was sent Koto exited the thread and once again found himself starring at the forums. In that moment he read another subject for a different message on the boards which seemed unusual. The topic read: Strange Black Dots Spotted. Glitch?. He didn't have enough time to click on the message itself and read through its contents however the topic did remind him of yesterday's experience in his favorite forest field. He thought about the pink-eyed Harvest Cleric he had encountered, and about the sudden disappearance of the background music. He then wondered if perhaps he'd encounter the girl in that place again. Catching himself before he spent anymore unnecessary time on the official forums Koto quickly left the message boards and continued onto the actual game. The phrase 'Welcome to [the World]' appeared, as it always does when a user is about to access the virtual world, in white and bold font across the loading screen.

    ----

    He saw his avatar appear behind a flurry of bright rings and in front of a large and wide portal. Koto was now in the Root Town starting point. He then began running out of the dome and into the bright and bustling city that was Mac Anu. The meeting place was just up ahead. As his small child-like avatar entered the marketplace, and he was bombarded by loud noises and several users, he suddenly felt uneasy. The sort of anxiety that flooded through Koto was similar to the anxiety that those diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder experienced when being in a loud and public place. Koto's real life counterpart had never been to war but the symptoms of such a condition had plagued him for some time now. It seemed as though it never got any easier to manage but at the same time he felt that being inside the virtual world was a step in the right direction.

    Slowly, he inhaled and exhaled.

    He noticed the name of the user who posted the message on the forums floating above a beast-type avatar a few feet away. He was surrounded by other beast-type characters too. Koto gulped, feeling more out of place than usual, but he walked towards the user and introduced himself eitherway.

    "Hi. I'm Koto - the user who sent you a reply through the Forums, just a moment ago...Do you still need a member for your Party?" He asked, in a slow and nervous voice.

    The beast user's avatar resembled a red fox with exotic markings on its face, which stretched all the way to the creature's belly. The fox looked down with a confused expression and starred at the little Flick Reaper below him. "Well, uh,...yeah. We're still looking for another member. Would you like to join our Party?" He seemed unsure about letting Koto in but he didn't want to decline his invitation out-right either. Koto, still filled with anxiety, did not catch on to the Fox's tone of voice and hesitation. He simply sent a request to join the Party and after a short moment of thinking, the Fox accepted. "Okay uh, I guess we're all set now. Guys. Let's head on over to the destination."

    It was hard to believe that he was now a part of a Party in the online game [The World]. Having only been playing for less than two weeks this was the first time that Koto had ever mustered the courage to seek out and join an actual Party. Parties in the virtual game consisted of three users and allowed for the healing of those within the Party, as well as the ability to use support magic and items. In the group there were three Parties. Koto seemed to have been placed alongside two other beast-type avatars. One was the red Fox who accepted Koto's request and the other, second Party member was a Panda with shiny brown gauntlets fitted on both of its large paws. Koto guessed that the Panda was a Tribal Grappler. Grapplers used punching gloves or other weapons strapped on their fists when engaging in combat. They were largely known for their agility and attack attributes, and most of them had a decent amount of Hit Points. However, their low defensive stats made them vulnerable to both Physical and Magical attacks. As far as Koto could tell, the Panda did not seem even slightly concerned about the risk. Perhaps it was because being part of a group meant that users could work together and protect each other. As they reached the gate inside the dome at the center of the city, Koto had begun to feel less nervous and more comfortable with the idea of being in a Party. The fact that he was no longer by himself made him feel safer, too.

    The red Fox avatar approached the Chaos Gate and a short moment later all three Parties were whisked away from the Root Town, and transported onto a green prairie field surrounded by a slight mist. Koto opened his soft blue eyes and looked around. It was difficult to see too far ahead because of the mist. He instinctively looked up and saw grey clouds circling above the area. It appeared that a storm was approaching.

    "Not exactly the most favorable conditions for a successful raid." One of the beast avatars from another Party said. His companions let out a light laughter.

    "Doesn't matter. This is a fairly low level area. Rain or shine we will get what we came for..." Another member replied.

    "Alright then, men. Let's proceed with caution. This field is notorious for Rookie Goblin ambushes. Best be on your guard." The red Fox commanded.

    The three groups began to walk slowly, carefully scanning the area around them for any creatures or Goblins. Goblins were weak monsters but often they would be found in packs and when they are together they can quickly become troublesome to even the most confident player. Besides, the weather conditions operating in the field currently meant that any monster encounters carried the element of surprise.

    "Don't look so frightened, there." A deep but kind whisper came from behind. Koto turned around to see one of his team members. It was the giant panda bear, with a grin on his face. He stepped closer. "I use to be a lot like you not too long ago." Koto looked up at the beast and wondered if he really did look nervous. "One of the things you will learn as you play through the game is that joining Parties and going on Quests are very important. It's what makes playing an incredibly deep experience."

    "I'll...I'll do my best." Koto replied, smiling gently at the thoughtful Panda.

    In that moment, a scream could be heard not far from the Flick Reaper and his Party members. Seconds later another scream was heard. Now the group of beast-type avatars had began to frantically look around their surroundings, desperately searching for the source of the screaming.

    "They're heeeere!" A third, loud shout was heard. It was one of the beasts from the second group.

    Koto looked ahead and focused his eyes but all he could see was the mist. And then, suddenly, two bright red circles became visible through the mist. Koto gulped. Instantly, the silhouette of a creature with long pointy ears and nose manifested in front of him. It was a goblin. The terrible-looking creature jumped into the air and straight towards a visibly panic-stricken Koto. But right before he would be could be attacked by the Rookie Goblin that had appeared, the giant Panda set foot in front of Koto and blocked the hit.

    "These jerks aren't a problem. Don't be so scared, little guy. Haha!" The Panda shouted to Koto as he punched the Goblin with his large fists. A short moment later Koto could see the grey and lifeless body of the creature hit the floor.

    With his determination renewed, Koto initiated battle position and thanked the Panda.

    "Hey! There's a whole bunch of 'em coming our way!" The red Fox shouted. "Try to take 'em out as fast as possible."

    "Roger that, Boss!" The Panda answered.

    A downpour unleashed itself onto the battle ground just then. With all the rain falling around them, and with the thickness of the mist, it was even more difficult to accurately locate the enemies and attack them successfully. All three groups by this point were engaged in three separate battles with numerous Rookie Goblins. Koto, doing his best to keep the annoying creatures from inflicting too much damage to his avatar and his companions, swung his large scythe around - sending multiple enemies flying away.

    "Way to go, little guy!" The Panda shouted.

    "Tioko, stop babbling and concentrate on the battle!" The red Fox retaliated suddenly.

    Koto could see that the Panda was disturbed by his team leader's attitude but ignored him and resumed his flurry of powerful blows to the enemy Goblins in front of him. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity the barrier that had surrounded them at the start of battle faded away and their fight with the ugly little creatures had come to an end. At the same time the other groups were finishing their battles as well.

    "Recover!" The Fox demanded and emptied an entire potion into his mouth right after. Everyone else began to use healing items to replenish their strength.

    "Hey, you did great." The Panda said, as he caught his breath. Koto remained silent but smiled once more.

    "The first of perhaps many waves is over, but we cannot let our guard down. We must still get to the third location of this field's map. That is where the treasure chest lies."

    The Fox walked towards the Panda and Koto. "You two need to focus. There will be plenty of time to chat AFTER we complete our objective here."

    "What is with you, buddy." The Panda responded. He was obviously annoyed by the Fox's behavior. "This is just a game, no need to be such a dictator."

    The Fox's eyes grew red in that moment. And soon everyone's eyes were on him. He starred back hard at the Panda and the boy and slowly walked closer. "Listen - if we don't concentrate on our mission then we won't complete it. We do not have time to be chatting, unless it is relevant to our goal. Got it?"

    The Panda grew upset. "Why don't YOU listen, bud. This is suppose to be an adventure Quest. It's just a game. Got it?"

    The Fox, feeling the other players' eyes on him, withdrew his large and metallic sword from his back. "Do not give me attitude, snow ball. Or I will teach you a lesson."

    The Panda got into battle position. Koto could tell that he was ready to engage his Team Leader in that instant. But a rumble from the ground froze both beast avatars in place. All grew quiet again. And then, there was another rumble. The second one was much stronger. "What's that noise?" "Where is it coming from?" "I don't know but there's definitely something coming..." The group began to look around again. The rumbles grew louder and stronger.

    Then, a bright ray of energy shot through the mist in the direction of the teams and exploded - sending everyone in the area flying a few feet away. The attack was so powerful most players were already half way on Hit Points.

    "It's a BOSS!" Someone shouted.

    Koto looked up to see a large monster with metallic weapons strapped where it's hands should be. It wore an iron helmet and had large horns. It was obviously much stronger than any Rookie Goblin. The Fox, startled by the massive creature's sudden appearance, got up from the ground quickly and turned to Koto and the Panda. "Enough of your nonsense. Focus on the battle!"

    In that moment every member of the group of players got up from the ground and rushed towards the Boss monster, shouting as they neared it. Koto stood up and was about to rush as well but he noticed Panda was standing - looking at the Fox.

    "You know what? I'm outta here..." He said.

    The Panda deserted the Party and vanished right in front of the Fox, who looked as if he were about to explode. Koto, not sure what to do, took a step back.

    "I see..so you wanna run too, huh? I knew bringing a little wimp like you was a bad idea. But guess what - I'm not gonna let you go so easily.." He said as he began to make his way towards Koto. "If I'm going to loose in this mission, I'm bringing you down with me!" Now running, and inching closer, the red Fox jumped into the air with his large sword lifted up and ready to strike. Koto, paralyzed by fear and confusion, did not move or speak. He simply stood still and stared. And then, in an instant, complete darkness.

    -----

    "What in the heck just happened?" Koto asked himself, still unable to process what had just occurred. In the middle of an adventure Quest and then just like that, it was over. The words 'GAME OVER' flashed repeatedly in bold red font on the loading screen. He took a deep breath and then clicked on the 'Main Menu' option of the screen. A short moment later the Flick Reaper had transported himself back into the Root Town of Mac Anu.

    ------

    Koto was making his way back from the Item Shop, when he spotted a familiar beast walking in the distance. It was the giant Panda from before. He looked depressed. Koto decided it would be best to walk towards him and try to cheer him up. It was the least he could do after the player had been kind to him.

    "Hey, wait up..." Koto said. The beast turned around and looked down. When he saw who he had called him, he grinned widely.

    "Well, well. Fancy meeting you here too. Let me guess...you were defeated by the Boss monster."

    "No. That's not quite what happened." Koto replied. "The leader of our Party attacked me after you left, and before I knew it I was back on the loading screen of [the World]."

    "...oh. I'm sorry about that, heh. " The Panda scratched his head in embarrassment. "Listen, what happened back there...I hope it doesn't change your mind about how this game works. Sometimes you meet jerks. It's a lot like real life, I guess. Haha!"

    "Don't worry. I'm fine." Koto answered gently. "I want to thank you for encouraging me. That was really nice of you."

    "Heeey, no need to thank me. Hehe. I was just doing what I would have liked someone else to do for me too."

    "I see..."

    "By the way, my name is Tioko. You may have heard the Fox call me that. Please feel free to call me by that name too. And before I forget - here's my member address! Hit me up whenever you'd like to go on another adventure. I promise the next one won't be such a bummer."

    [​IMG]

    ----

    My very first friend in [the World], Koto thought. He felt a certain happiness build up inside of him as he thought about Tioko as his first friend. It had only been one day since he resolved to join a Party and become a better player and he felt the mission was a great success. Granted, the actual adventure Quest may not have been a success itself but at least Koto was able to go and achieve what he set out to do - to join a Party. And now he had a new friend because of it.

    Koto saw Tioko wander off into a crowd and disappear. As for Koto, he still had some time available before he had to log out. He wondered where he should go next and decided that a trip to his favorite field was appropriate. Besides, maybe he could encounter the girl once more.

    End of the Chapter Two
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  5. AzureZhen

    AzureZhen Administrator R:Craft Staff

    [​IMG]
    Just makes me want R:2 even faster now.
    DawnOwl and Zaren like this.
  6. DawnOwl

    DawnOwl Delta User

    Chapter Three: Lumina Cloth Briefing

    The forest was as quiet and eerie as the last time Koto was there. He looked around but could see no sign of any other user in the area. He wondered if perhaps his encounter with the mysterious Elenna was to be a one-time occurrence. After all, [the World] was accessed and played by millions of users world-wide. The chances of meeting the same user without a member address, even within the same server, was extraordinarily slim. Still, he couldn't shake off the feeling that he'd meet the Harvest Cleric once more.

    Koto recalled the soothing sound of her voice, and how it enveloped his senses in a calmness that he rarely ever experienced in social situations. The soft and round puffiness of her light blond hair, and how her black outfit made her bright pink eyes more obvious. It was as if every aspect of her avatar's appearance had been carefully selected to make her appear highly approachable. And yet, the Flick Reaper did not know anything about her other than her name and her apparent interest in Lucky Animals.

    The boy began his trek towards the forest field. Although he was glad to have befriended Tioko, the giant Panda, he never the less felt his social enthusiasm diminished. Considering the intense and confusing moments he experienced earlier a quiet walk in a peaceful area didn't seem like such a bad idea. As he walked he could hear the familiar sounds of the leaves crushing beneath his feet, the plants rustling as he passed them by, and suddenly he realized just how much he had craved to be alone again.

    ------

    The girl had warped herself into the bright and elegant city of Lumina Cloth, also known as the Warring City in the Omega server. In this massive metropolis she was to participate in a private chat meeting with a number of other users. She thought it unusual, that in the place where most players of [the World] gathered to trade and participate in the tournaments held at the Palace, she had been ordered to take part in a highly sensitive and secretive conference. Then again, perhaps that was the point. Although it may be a great risk to engage in such activities in a populated area none of the virtual game's system administrator's or other regular users would suspect an illegal gathering to take place here. Therefore security would most likely be lax.

    Her instructions were to climb to the highest level of a certain sky scrapper. Once there, she would access an encrypted channel where the chat would take place. She began to make her way towards the destination. As she walked past several users, she couldn't help but notice how happy and excited most of them seemed. She wondered about how nice it would be to be playing freely, and for a moment, she felt envy towards the oblivious players. The only reason she existed at that very moment as a digitally rendered avatar in the game was because she was 'on assignment'.

    Within a few minutes the mysterious girl, clad in black, had reached the ceiling of a building. Only a few players were present, walking about and socializing with one another, entirely unaware of the highly illegal action that she was about to engage in. Slowly she walked towards the edge of the sky scrapper and looked towards the direction of the city. For a moment she marveled at how incredibly wonderful the sight seemed. And then she began to hear a beeping sound coming from the real world. It was her alarm. The meeting was to begin at once...

    A screen appeared in front of her avatar just then. Data began to flow through it in a rapid fashion, and then another, smaller, screen appeared on the top right corner of the original screen. That one was themed differently than the other. A moment later, the stream of data stopped and a message appeared on the main screen. It read, "Cyber Room: Secured. User 'Julien' typing..." The briefing had begun.

    [​IMG]

    Julien: Encrypted chat successful. This brief will be only a few minutes long, so as to avoid possible interference. Eavesdroppers are possible. At first detection warning the server will terminate. Okay, Elenna present. Julien present. And Bernard present. Topic is 'Search and Attain'. This concerns the increasing reports of possible data anomalies within the System. CC-Corp has labeled these events as mere glitches but rumors indicate they may be connected to the Artificial Intelligence...or lack thereof. Elenna, how goes the Search...

    Elenna: Reports of 'Black Spots' have surfaced at an alarming rate based on the Official Forums connected to this particular region. I have tracked every user linked to encounters and investigated all known event sites but have so far achieved no success. I will continue to research and seek out possible areas and persons of interest in this server.

    Julien: Place your best efforts on this assignment, Elenna. It is crucial that our objective be achieved as soon as possible. The longer we linger in these foreign servers the higher the risk of being detected by the region's cyber hounds. We aren't the only ones interested in these manifestations either. So we must be swift.

    Elenna: Understood, Sir.

    Julien: Bernard, status report.

    Bernard: A few interesting developments on my assigned server. First, rumors are that possible casualties of the manifestations have occurred. These have not been substantiated. The affected users have been labled "Lost Ones". Second, a person of interest has been detected - a loner Adept Rogue avatar by the name of 'Haseo'. I am investigating this lead. But it seems he may have some connection to the anomaly. Third, reports have surfaced that CC-Corp has established facilities specialized in studying the phenomenon and its impact on 'Lost Ones'.

    Julien: We have investigated the third point and can confirm that such facilities are in fact genuine. We will be sending an asset to infiltrate one of the centers and attain research data. As for your person of interest, continue to observe but remain vigilant. Your region has the most activity at the moment so CC-Corp Sys Admins are on high alert. Now, important information: Do not be reckless when engaging the anomaly. If there is even some truth to these rumors then the 'Black Spots' can affect the physical condition of the user. Additionally, we must all exercise extreme caution when attempting to acquire the anomaly. Should our physical and or digital presences be compromised we will be forced to terminate our objective.

    Bernard and Elenna: Understood.

    Julien: Right then. I am shutting this chat server down now. All logs produced through this conversation will be deleted and all traces of this briefing will be eliminated. When you have more information contact me through standard protocol.

    Julien, Bernard, and Elenna were immediately signed out from the secure chat room and seconds later the entire connection was terminated. The two screens which had opened up in front of her avatar at the start of the briefing, invisible to everyone else, closed afterwards. The Harvest Cleric breathed a heavy sigh and slowly turned around. Players of all types still walked around but nobody seemed suspicious of her presence nor did they suspect she had engaged in an illegal activity while playing [the World]. The strong and brilliant rays of light blasting from the surface of the metropolis could be seen behind her - typical of the setting for the Omega server.

    Elenna kept thinking about the information 'Bernard' had given to 'Julien'. It seemed that Bernard had lucked out by being assigned to investigate the server with the most activity linked to the anomaly. It seemed unfair that she should have to prove her worth in a place where she was at an disadvantage. The only evidence that the data anomaly was also present in the server she was currently operating in were the various reports on the Official Forums of the game world. However, it had now been close to a month since she first arrived in the server in search of the mysterious black spots, and she had not yet even encountered one. She felt a slight sense of urgency build up within her. She knew that she had to complete the mission. It was absolutely a necessity for her. Not only would completion of her mission mean she had the skills sufficient to succeed in her line of work but it would also mean that she could still continue to learn more about the sudden emergence of artificial intelligence.

    The Harvest Cleric was determined to find what she was looking for. She began her descent from the sky scrapper with her mind set on looking for her clues within the forums.

    "There has to be something new by now. A piece of information that will lead me in right direction." She muttered to herself.

    --------

    Back at the quiet forest, Koto had reached the farthest level of the field. By now he was certain that there were no other players in the area, and more to the point, that the mysterious girl was not there either. He felt discouraged by the girl's absence. It was very strange, he thought. He hadn't gotten anything more from her than a brief and seemingly insignificant conversation. But he craved the sound of her gentle voice and the comfort of her un-intimidating appearance. She seemed like the kind of friend Koto wouldn't mind having by his side while he played [the World]. However, it was pointless for him to stay in the field any longer. He figured it was getting late now and that he should return to the real world.

    And so, as he began to turn he heard a familiar sound coming from an unknown direction. He stopped in his tracks in order to concentrate and understand what was happening but there was nothing but silence. Thinking he may have just imagined it, he began to walk towards the initial levels of the forest. And then he heard the sound once more. This time it lasted long enough for him to really hear it. Yet he couldn't quite describe it to himself. It just sounded like an erratic and unpleasant static coming from nowhere in particular. Koto stayed still for what seemed like a long time, trying to figure where the sound was coming from. A short moment later he heard another sound, but this one was more normal. It was the sound of the leaves in a near by busy rustling.

    Now he was certain that a creature was lurking within the shadows of the bushes. In preparation for a confrontation, the Flick Reaper released his large Scythe and stood in battle position. To his surprise, it was no monster that lay hiding on the other side of the leaves. When the source of the second sounds leaped out from the bushes and landed on the dry leaves on the ground the boy realized that it was only a Chim Chim.

    "...oh?"

    The little creature stood innocently enough, starring at the small boy.

    "H-hello there, little guy." Koto said.

    The creature continued to stare until Koto stepped closer and saw something unusual. Something was coming out from the Chim Chim's back - they looked like bubbles, dark purple with a luminescent outline. The sight was so strange that it startled the boy. Still, he saw no cause for alarm. That is, until the black spots emerging from the little creature began to move in an erratic, almost violent, fashion. The boy suddenly felt uneasy and instinctively he took a step back. Then the odd substance emerging from the Chim Chim began to flow from its little body rapidly, forming larger and more menacing-looking orbs above it. Koto began to feel his anxiety sky rocket to the point where he could feel sweat on the controller in his hands. Then he could hear his heart beat race and pound heavily on his chest. Never had he felt such a powerful and unpleasant reaction from the game. But there was something alarming about what he was witnessing. Suddenly he felt compelled to run away.

    He quickly retreated his weapon and began to run towards the first levels of the forest field. He felt he could not reach the starting point fast enough. He looked back for only a brief moment and saw that the large black orbs had swallowed the little Chim Chim completely into their gooey-like bodies.

    "What the heck was that...?" he asked as he continued to run. "Why do I feel so frightened? This is just a game!"

    End of Chapter Three
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016
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  7. Zaren

    Zaren Administrator Staff Member R:1 Veteran

    I've been meaning to get around to reading this and finally got a chance to read the first chapter. I love it, it's very well written, I can't wait to get a chance to get to the second and third chapters! Anyways, I hope you continue writing this, It always makes good inspiration to continue working on R:2 when the community is actively engaging in something like this.
    DawnOwl likes this.
  8. DawnOwl

    DawnOwl Delta User

    I am glad you enjoy reading it. I enjoy writing and sketching the images that supplement the story myself. :)
    I will continue to write the story since it gives me something creative to do on my spare time.
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  9. DawnOwl

    DawnOwl Delta User

    Chapter Four: Private Exchanges

    Bright rings had warped the frightened Flick Reaper back into the Delta Server, Mac-Anu. Breathing heavily and eyes wide opened, Koto stood in front of the Chaos Gate struggling to regain his composure. All around him, within the dark shadows of the Dome, users had taken notice of the visibly alarmed boy and had began to whisper to one another. Realizing that strangers were uttering words about him, he quickly selected the option to log out from the game and return to the main menu. But his anxiety had yet to be relieved. Driven by the unpleasant sensations that had mysteriously plagued his physical body during the unusual event back in the silent forest, Koto accessed the Official Forums section of the site and clicked on the "Create New Thread" option. As he typed he felt his sweaty and shaking fingers began to relax once more.

    The topic of the post read: Strange Chim-Chim. On the dialogue box Koto had written about his encounter with the creature and how suddenly the black orbs had emerged from its small body. Furthermore he described the immediate growth of the strange objects and how their mere presence had induced several uncomfortable physical sensations, though he attributed that last part to his anxiety problem. Still, he thought, never had his anxiety felt so powerful than when he saw those strange bubbles tower over his avatar. It's as if his problem had grown worse instead of better. Was the joining of a party and the making of a friend nothing more than pointless achievements? He didn't want to disregard those moments because he knew they were a step in the right direction. Yet his anxiety seemed stronger and more powerful when faced with the digitally rendered effect of a virtual game. It didn't quite make sense.

    He clicked on the "Post" button and within seconds he saw his experience recorded on the Forums. He wasn't quite certain why he felt compelled to post his unusual account in the first place. He knew that his anxiety always made things appear and feel more traumatic than they really were, and so he was sure that the real problem wasn't the orbs or the creature but how his body responded to those things. Yet perhaps by receiving some sort of explanation would make him feel more comfortable about confronting such an event again. He could also submit a formal complaint to CC-Corp administrators and wait for them to deliver an explanation. However, the process to do so was too time-consuming and frustrating. It was much easier and more faster for someone else to answer his questions through the Officials Forums.

    Koto inhaled and exhaled slowly as he closed his eyes. He made up his mind and decided that he would be logging off now.

    ------------

    Around the same moment that Koto was logging out, after having posted his account on the Official Forums, Elenna had accessed the message boards and had began to look for more leads on the strange black spots that were appearing around the virtual game world. It didn't take too long before she noticed Koto's new and intriguing message on the forums. She read through it and felt a surge excitement flow through her.

    "This boy...I've met him before." She said to herself. "He was there when I entered the forest field. I knew there something in that area but I just couldn't locate it myself. However, it seems that data anomaly had hidden itself and waited until the boy returned to the area." She paused for a moment to think about why that was. "Could it be...the data anomaly has an interest in that boy?"

    She was surprised that the Flick Reaper was able to successfully escape his encounter with the strange black orbs. Then again, in most cases, players who had encountered these things were able to escape before having their character data potentially compromised by the anomaly. And what. Not only did he escape harm but he posted his experience on the boards mere moments before she accessed them herself. Elenna was not one to believe in the concept of destiny or fate, but it was massive coincidence that she should discover Koto's post almost immediately. She was not about to let the chance to investigate a lead go to waste. She clicked on the author's name and several options appeared. One of them was to send a private message to the author of the tread. Elenna began to type.

    Perhaps this was the opportunity she needed to contribute significantly to her objective, and to prove herself to her superiors.

    ------------

    The word 'unusual' couldn't begin to describe the place.

    Under the blanket of a night sky and partially illuminated by a bright and luminescent moon, tall and decrepit old skyscrapers stood erected as far as the eye could see. Several bright signs shining in neon hung from these dilapidated buildings. Most of them were placed closer to the streets, where the radiating light revealed a city littered with trash and webbed in electrical wires, and occupied by strange-looking inhabitants. They walked slowly and silently through the messy streets without so much as a care in their minds.

    The location of the massive city in ruins was unknown to most of its citizens. About as many of them knew just what that place even was. The only truth that its inhabitants somehow shared among themselves was this: the area was somewhere in the sea of data that existed within [the World], but it wasn't exactly a direct part of the game system either. It was as if its existence resided in some kind of virtual purgatory. The strange place was simply referred to as the 'NetSlum' - a place where remnants of data, originating from the game and elsewhere in the net, ended up. Everything in it was therefore, to some extent, an exact reflection of the real world. Only it wasn't real at all.

    In the darkness of such a place, cut off to most other inhabitants, were two mysterious figures. They stood on the roof of one of the battered establishments. One of them was a tall, white haired man who wore a mask in the likeness of a bull. It reflected strongly the brilliance of the moon. The man was clad in black armor with yellow stripes. He was leaning on a wall opposite to where his companion stood. The second figure was in an area that was mostly covered under darkness. The only trait of her appearance that could be seen was a white mask with dark small openings where the eyes should be. Small red spots painted below the openings were reminiscent of a young lady's "blush". The mask also had two devilish-looking horns. The user was covered in a dark red Kimono, adorned with pink cherry blossoms. She held a large fan in front of her avatar - a feature that warned others she was a Dance Macabre. Although she was mostly obscured by shadow, she seemed like a female child. But there was something unsettling about her.

    [​IMG]

    "There are rumors that something big is about to go down in the Japanese guild 'Moon Tree'." Said the mysterious man. "Some believe that a user by the name of 'Sakaki' is at the brink of declaring a coup against the current leader Zelkova. After all there are many who believe Zelkova's methods of establishing peace within [the World] have caused the guild's rank to diminish. It would not surprise me if they were secretly hoping for another leader with a stronger presence to take over command of the group."

    "Zelkova..."She whispered gently, as began waving her fan. "Zelkova is one of the most powerful and influential identities of [the World] at the moment. It would be inappropriate for us to doubt his abilities and his intelligence even in the face of an imminent take-over. I believe that if Sakaki attempts to do such a thing, he will be confronted with a disappointing outcome."

    "....I would agree, Kagura." The man replied. "But there is also the issue of the data anomaly known to us as 'AIDA'. Some of my contacts believe that Sakaki has plans to somehow acquire the destructive potential of these bugs. If he is successful then even Zelkova may not be able to protect his loyal companions. Nor, possibly, himself. Which is why I believe we must interfere."

    "We can not interfere. There are already too many interested parties involved. If we gather the 'Demon Army' to lend Zelkova a helping hand - or even send a few members to protect him, it will be too great a risk. As such I'm afraid we must remain neutral in this matter."

    The man let out a sigh.

    "Do not worry yourself." Kagura responded. "Whatever happens in Moon Tree, we must trust that Zelkova will prevail."

    "...And what of the anomaly?"

    "'AIDA' is a relatively new emergence within the world. There isn't sufficient information available so as to accurately predict if and how it may complicate the current situation in the Japanese server. Yet, we at least understand that it is a hostile and potentially dangerous entity which may cause instabilities within the system. Therefore we must remain cautious. And, equally important, we must continue to observe.

    "Okay. I will continue to keep you updated on the events unfolding in Japan."

    "Thank you....and, Hachiman...please becareful." The girl said.

    Hachiman, the warrior clad in black armor, bowed his head and moments later, vanished within the darkness of the night. Kagura remained in the same area, wondering about the possible coup in Moon Tree when her concentration was interrupted by a notification. She had received a message. It was Tioko.

    Sender: Tioko
    Subject: Guess who made a new friend today!

    Chapter Four Complete.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
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  10. AzureZhen

    AzureZhen Administrator R:Craft Staff

    want.gif
  11. Zaren

    Zaren Administrator Staff Member R:1 Veteran

    Just finished reading through chapter 4! We need chapter 5!

    I've never really been into fanfics before but this one is very well done, if it were a book I'd totally buy it.
  12. DawnOwl

    DawnOwl Delta User

    Thank you for the encouragment, Zaren. I will continue the story as soon as finals are done with at the university. There are only a few more chapters left in this story.
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