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"Fragment was programmed and designed by Harald Hoerwick, who based it off of the epic poem Epitaph of Twilight by Emma Wielant. After finishing the game, which he did completely on his own, he sold it to CC Corporation for practically nothing. CC Corp beta tested the game using a mixture of their own employees and testers brought in from outside the company. Though the test was considered a success, the beta was ended early for unknown reasons and the game was upgraded to the retail version The World."

The World R:1

"The World is the first massively multi-player online RPG since Pluto's Kiss. Developed for the ALTIMIT OS, The World had a lot of media hype, resulting in over 100,000 preorders being taken in November of 2007. The World was sold online for download, and in the first day alone it sold 4,576,623 copies."

"In the game the world has been under attack by monsters, which has forced the forces of good to retreat into fiercly defended cities and forts. Only adventurers (represented by the players) are allowed to penetrate the magical shields around these safe havens and battle with the monsters that lurk outside. These adventurers draw their power through their mastery of waves, symbols that are inscribed onto their bodies and equipment that allow them to channel the power of the elements into their bodies in the form of magical skills and abilities."

The World R:2

"In 2015, a fire destroyed most of The World's game data, so CC Corp quickly began work on a replacement. By splicing together the remaining data from The World with another game they were working on, they created R:2. It was released on Christmas Eve, 2015. However, fans of The World disliked the change as they were unable to transfer their character data to The World R:2, and many referred to the launch as "Goddess's Death". Despite this fact, the game goes on to sell 12 million copies, though it still falls short of its predecessor's 20 million."

"R:2 has a much more in-depth background story for the players, which takes place about a hundred years after the background story of The World. Much of the world of R:2 uses steam as a form of power, creating a steampunk fantasy setting. Many more races are present within the game, including humans and beasts, who are divided into three different Factions."

"Welcome to The World"

"A place of excitement and adventure", The scene rises in a dark cave. Three players suddenly run across the cave halls, seeming to be running from something... or toward it. "Where players can fight together to gain prizes they can only dream of". They stumble to a stop and the camera changes view in front of them, showing them in amazement as it zooms out quickly. The sight of a giant floating statue; The Beast Statue. The three approach a chest and nod to each other. They open the chest and a light shines-- the camera passed into the chest into darkness.

"Or embark on quests..." The camera emerges upon an open desert field, following after a single player. They ride a single wheeled bike that exhausts steam behind it. The bike tears fast across the desert as a goblin jumps out of the desert. The goblin began running, the player on the bike falling behind him. "... That test their ability to adapt.." The player held onto the bike with one hand while his other hand drew a rifle with a bayonet from his back. He aimed the gun and fired-- blackness.

"A place where players can test their steel, not only against monsters..." The camera drops from the sky and spirals, falling toward the center of the arena. The camera zooms in on three players; Three Edge Punishers. "... but against each other..." It pans left to see three more players; A Twin Blade, A Shadow Warlock, and a Lord Partizan. The two teams rush at each other and begin combat. The players move at each other with a flury of strikes and magic, dodging and blocking when the opportunity arises. "Will you rise to the challenge..." The scene changes to a pile of bodies and a single player, a female Twin Blade, stands in the center of the arena with her back turned to the camera. Only a silouette of her can be made out. The camera zoomed in on the girl and faded to black.

The camera backs away, changing the scene to the Guild @Home of Mac Anu. New Players are seen, following players clearly very Advanced. The scene changes again with the camera zooming out from the hands of a woman. She passed a weapon to a male player, he took it and looked it over then nodded with a smile. The camera panned right to two short Beasts who chatted and seemed to get excited. They started running toward the bridge. The camera followed them across the bridge to the tower on the other side. As the large doors open, the camera approached the Chaos Gate and passed through it.

The scene quickly changed. The two small Beasts from before ran across another bridge toward a large Cathedral. As they entered the Cathedral, a crowd was formed. The camera zooms past the crowd to two players, a girl and a boy. The girl swung down a Scythe toward the boy, who defended with two swords. As the sound of their clash is heard. The camera pans up and fades into darkness. "This... is where our story begins."


At the Hulle Granz Cathedral...

CHING! TSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSSSS The sounds of the two players weapons clashing echo'd loudly in the cathedral. Scythe floated off the ground with her weapon held tight. She looked Arsenic in the eyes and a look of intense anger flared in her. With a strong impact, Scythe's foot struck Arsenic's chest and the Flick Reaper went flying back. She landed onto the ground and took a few steps back to get distanced from him. Scythe took her stance to prepare another rush on Arsenic.

"What are you doing here!? Why did you follow me again!?" Scythe cried out at Arsenic.

She didn't wait for his response, Scythe charged the Twin Blade again with a vicious look in her eyes. She brought her weapon up over her head and swung it down, clashing against his Dual Swords. She lets her weapon clash off of his blades and be brought back up, only to be swung down again. Scythe clashed with Arsenic's weapons successfully multiple times, pushing him back toward the pillar.

At the same time...

From the sidelines along with the crowd of other players stood the Tribal Grappler, Raven. His arms were crossed while he watched his partner. It seemed to bring both interest and curiosity about in him. Raven was Scythe's Teammate for a while, but he didn't often get the chance to see her in conflict with her previous lover.

"Hmhm," Raven snickered as he watched the fight. "Watch this..." He whispered to a nearby Edge-Punisher.

Arsenic continually blocked Scythe's assaults, looking for an opening in which he could retaliate. He found himself growing more irritable by the moment as he stood his ground, a very rare thing for him. He had grown a reputation within the world as being one of the most laid-back individuals in the game, however when in conflict with Scythe, that reputation had grown to mean nothing.

Spotting an opening, he swept his feet across the ground, tripping Scythe as she readied another swing, then leapt across the way, catching his breath for a moment.

"Who are they, Scythe? Tell me that much and I'll let you leave!"

He spun his blades once, a sign that his guildmates had come to know as a trademark of his. It never meant well for whatever he was fighting... However, they had never before seen Arsenic in conflict with another player, especially not one of Scythe's caliber.

Knowing he had only one chance to come out on top, he charged the blades, rushing forth as she managed to recover, his voice echoing throughout the landscape.

"Sword Dance!!"

He leapt into the air, spinning as he did so and assaulting Scythe with a barrage of power from his blades, though to his chagrin, every strike bounced off of her scythe.

Badum-- Badum-- Badum. The sounds of heartbeats shook the area. The scared little boy, appearing only in early pre-teen years looked around, scared. He was crouched down, in the bushes. The sounds of others, yelling, screaming are heard.

"Where is he?!" A male voice yelled.

"He hid somewhere, find him!" A female voice yelled. More bustling filled the brim of the would-be silent night at the park. The location-- unknown.

"Shhh.. it is fine," an older, but quiet voice re-assured the boy. A larger figured was kneeling beside him, peering out through the openings in the leaves. A white beard graced his face, down toward the ground, his head filled with white hair-- the top covered with a black bowl hat. The man wore a matching business suite with other great attire.

"B-But.." The young boy pleaded-- but was soon silenced by the old man with a hand to the mouth. The man only said, "Do not worry, I will always protect you, no matter where you go."

In the world, the sounds of fighting are heard. True Blade, stood in the sidelines at the Cathedral. His eyes shook as he heard a whisper-- from a nearby Tribal Grappler, whispering to an Edge-Punisher to his left. "Watch this..." He heard.

True Blade blinked as he turned to watch the fight. It was obvious to him that these two had something before, but he could not put his finger on it. He looked over his character's profile.

"Level 10 Adept Rogue. Level 3 Edge Punisher Job."

He sighed with disappointment. Perhaps he chose the wrong job to get? Perhaps he should have gone for something that could aid him better.

Regardless, with his idol thinking he knew that he couldn't turn back. He had to go with what he had chosen in the beginning.

His thoughts began to drift elsewhere though, the kind sweet face of a certain girl-- was abruptly cut off by a loud-- hard clang from the two contenders. His eyes focused back on the fight, unsure if he wanted to be there anymore.

Rhyme happened to be near the cathedral when she heard the familiar sounds of battle. The adept rogue moved through the crowed to see the battle and was surprised to see Arsenic fighting the scythe wielder, she had met him in real life after a run in at a club she was playing at A few months back, he said that he and a girl friend were on vacation from Japan but his girl had stood him up that night and they had exchanged info.

Rhy watched the battle and it would seem they were evenly matched, for the most part. Rhyme crossed her arms and watched the fight.

A beep could be heard in the real world and it seemed to grabbed Joanna's attention she quickly took off her visor and spun around her chair and bolted to the kitchen. Jo then ripped open the Microwave and pulled out a hot pocket, she juggled her food in her hands avoiding being burnt. The gamer grabbed a plate and was on her way back to her room but she was stopped by her room mate and was trapped by idol conversation.

Scarlet Fox
AppleJuice, an odd Harvest Cleric with a Broadsword upon her back and a staff in her hand, pushed through the crowd to get a look at the fight with wide eyes. Oh Wow! She exclaimed, excited to see such a battle. She raised her hand up into the air. Go! Ya! Go Girl! She obviously had no clue what was going on but seemed to be rooting for Scythe. Soon she had at least a foot of spade around her clear of people who knew of her. The Healing Blunder. A healer who, despite her words, tends to blow up a player rather then heal them. She threw her hand with her staff up and the tip of her staff sparked, a random healing spell going over herself. The spell made her stop and blink, looking up to her staff. The people around her stepped back further not wanting to be randomly blown up.

Kaylan wiped a lock of black hair from his face and lowered the virtual reality visor over his head, sitting in his comfy computer desk chair. The rooms curtains had been drawn, so whichever colour the walls of the room were, they were now a darkened; slightly charred-wood sort-of colour.

As the visor covered his eyes there was an almost blinding flash as it tuned to his vision, before adjusting the brightness to more comfortable levels. His grip on the controller tightened, and a grim determined look creeped onto his face as the log-in screen appeared before his eyes. This was the third day he had logged into the World, and this time he wasn't there to just play a game.

KnightReaper, and KnightSlayer they had called themselves, two Sword Master rogues. Only this time the Slayer had already been slain, and the Reaper would have to scour the world to get revenge for his fallen brother. Kaylans friends game had been hacked, and his friend had been somehow deleted from the game world by a group of players. Kay was determined to find out who they were, and stop them. His friend had been found in a coma, and he was going to find out how.

* * *

The wind swept KnightReapers light-reddish brown hair, as he was loaded into the game world. The starter town for low-level players. There were shops and social areas, and players hopping about. There seemed to be an event on up ahead, where there was cheering and the sounds of fighting. He crunched some dust under his boots, and started forwards. "Thats as good a place to start as any." He said, mostly to himself, as he walked towards the event, swords sheathed on his back, his black outfit outlined with red, flicking behind him.

Scythe brought her weapon back harshly and her body seemed to buckle a moment. After a hint of hesitation, she launched herself toward Arsenic. Her eyes widened in a rage that almost reflected insanity, as if in the center of her heart she had such a hatred of him that it could not be held within her. She cried out in a furious, almost terrifying anger, "Whoever you're talking about can go to hell, ALONG WITH YOU!!!!"

A dark reflection of herself appeared from Scythe, acting as almost a guardian that followed her movements. It was massive in size and had an HP Rating of ∞. Scythe brought her weapon toward Arsenic's Skill Attack. The two player's weapons clashed and from the result, a massive shockwave that shook the Cathedrals ground. A strange occurrence, as Scythe clearly over-powered Arsenic by using her illegal modifications. Arsenic's PC was sent skidding backward until it was slammed into the nearby wall of the inner Cathedral. Scythe assumingly took damage from Arsenic's strike but hers left him pinned to the wall. Her strike tore out, like a flaring wave that caused intense cosmetic damage over the walls and ground around Arsenic. Something that would most likely call for the attention of an Admin. It left tears in the image texture, a look familiar to corrupted areas in the past. After the darkness faded, Scythe was no longer there and it was assumed that she gated out.


Yui dropped her headset and walked to the wall. Her hands rose from the wall, grabbing at it and tearing down slowly. The sound of her nails scratching over the wall screeched in the apartment. Damn him, DAMN HIM!!! She cried out in her mind. Her teeth were grinding. Yui swung her knee up into the wall and broke a hole in it-- the wall, before she stepped back and left the room with her game still on. It could be assumed she was coming back.

Raven remained in the Cathedral, even after Scythe left. His hands remained in his pockets. He began looking around with a bit of curiosity. Usually, a place like this wasn't very popular for lots of players to gather around at once. After all, it was relatively small and as a sort of field itself, anyone who came here became a target for PKers. Raven smirked and tilted his head down. It was almost like he was waiting-- expecting-- praying, for a dagger in the back. He stopped smirking and rose his head, enough for his sharp eyes to glare at Arsenic. Scythe.. He thought to himself. So this is him.

Raven raised his right hand and tightened a fist, though his eyes weren't once taken off of Arsenic. He thought of the result, should he decide to attack the player. He'd be defeated without question. Oh well, a nice thought.

5 Minutes Earlier

"Broadswords!" a gentle feminine voice called out loudly. "Get your broadswords! Longswords, Bayonets, anything you need right over here!" The source of the voice, a cut blonde female Twin Blade. She hopped back and forth, side to side, spun with a few of her steps. She called as much attention as she could to her store, hoping to gain at least a few sales. After a few minutes though, she lowered her hands and placed them together. The girl looked around with a sense of concern. She knew why nobody was around today, it's because they were fighting again. TESMEI really did want to go and speak to them, to calm down her friend and his ex-lover, but she knew that getting involved would only be trouble.

"Rare items!" She shouted again, hoping to gain someones attention. It was hopeless though, she'd get no sales while they were fighting.

Somewhere in the SIGMA//Server. A field with vast desert like fields...

"Please, no--" SHIIIISSSH!!! The body of a Harvest Cleric dropped to the ground on her knees, then onto her front. Above her stood a Female Steam Gunner. She tilted her head back, as if to crack her neck -- then she tilted it to the right.

"Yuna!" someone called. The Steam Gunner turned to look at the one who called her. It was a Shadow Warlock. She nodded and approached him. The Shadow Warlock stood with two other players, an Edge Punisher and a Blade Brandier. When the Steam Gunner reached them, the Shadow Warlock began to speak again. "That was the last one, servers are slow today."

The Steam Gunner held up a hand quickly and leaned forward. "It doesn't matter, I still get my pay." The Shadow Warlock cringed. Working with someone like Yuna wasn't all that enjoyable. She charged a fortune and of course, there was always concern. Regardless, the PKers agreed to it and transferred her a sum of gp. Yuna smiled as she received it, then she turned, calling upon a Steam Bike. Yuna swung a leg over the bike and mounted it before looking back. "Nice working with you" Yuna said sarcastically. The PKers laughed at the comment and turned, preparing to head back to the Warp Gate to Gate out themselves.

However... On their way back, the sound of an engine roared. The Edge Punisher looked at the Blade Brandier. "What's that?" The three PKers turned to see a terror inducing sight. A Steam Bike charging on them-- before they could react, the Steam Bike crashed head on into the Shadow Warlock. It sent him flying and hit him with such force, his HP went spiraling out of him. The rider-- Yuna, flipped off the bike and fired two shots. It took out the Edge Punisher quickly and immobilized the Blade Brandier.

"ASTA!" the Blade Brandier shouted. His eyes widened as a sudden blade was before his sight. The bayonet held by the blue haired girl was pressed to the Blade Brandiers head. It turned and aimed down his eye-- his pupil dilated. Suddenly, he screamed loudly as the sound of a piercing stab echoed out. "AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"

Arsenic fell to his knees after a moment, the attack having stunned him and dramatically lowered his HP to almost nothing. He took a moment to use some healing items, then stood slowly, his blades sheathed. He never once looked to the crowd, instead passing his gaze over toward where she had been moments before. A moment or two passed, then he lowered his head, and his PC seemed to go blank momentarily.

Kiryu tore the visor from his face, standing and pacing slowly in circles, taking deep breaths as he did so. I don't need it... It's not going to help... Don't do it, Kiryu... You're making such good... He stopped, slamming his fist into the wall before walking back to his desk. He opened the drawer and pulled out a near-empty pack of cigarettes, the remains of his ration before he quit. He removed one, lighting it and slowly taking a draw before throwing the pack against the wall. Yui... You've gotten powerful with your modding, I see... It's not going to help you, though... I'm coming back for that information... And this time, i intend to get it... He pulled the visor back on, putting out the cigarette as he continued the game.

Back in The World, Arsenic's PC seemingly returned to life, still not acknowledging the crowd, but rather surveying the damage. He finally sat in the center of the room, staring at what remained of the beauty of Hulle Granz as thoughts raced through his mind, a silent rage remaining on his face.


Back in Mac Anu, a Blade Brandier walked along the streets, looking around at how empty they were and smiling a bit, shaking his head. So, they're at it again, eh? Arsenic... When will you learn? He laughed lightly aloud as he made his way around the corner, stopping at TESMEI's shop. "Miss TESMEI, you seem rather down today." He sat down, his back against the wall. "I take it business is not going well because of the big ordeal at Hulle Granz?" He stood after a moment, then removed a few items from his inventory, gifting them to TESMEI for her shop. "Cheer up, Miss TESMEI. Today's wares, as promised."

During the fight, his eyes remained on the one who had whispered 'Watch this..' Though afterwards, he watched as new people gathered.

He saw many new faces and was quite excited. He wanted to meet them all, but first thing's first-- the man next to him.

He turned toward the man, who would be known as 'Raven' and began to speak, 'Hi! What was that spat all about? I haven't been here for a while but that was the most intense fight I've seen yet!'

Scarlet Fox
AppleJuice looked wide eyed at the event and when the woman disappeared she frowned. Aww! Poopie! She kicked at the ground and turned, moving out of the crowd. Her lips twisted up as she set her staff to her shoulder in thought. Maybe she will just go out into The World and try her luck, though she tended to get killed from time to time and have to start over. She had a full log of failed mission attempts but she didnt seem to mind.. Unless others said she couldnt join their party because of her history.

Joanna finally gets back to her room after being attacked by her room mate and hoped she wasn't dead, it was probably a bad idea to go afk where she could be killed. Rhyme seem to come back to life as Jo took control, she came back in time to see Arsenic get stomped by Scythe. The crowd went crazy rooting for the female, Rhyme just stayed quiet and wonder how she'd fair against Scythe...

Rhyme's shadow cast over Arsenic and she gently kicked his boot, "you okay there buddy?" She said resisting the urge to yell You got knocked the f*** out!

KnightReaper watched as the Blade Bandier appreached one of the shops, and started exchanging in conversation, and trade. He knew there was an event at the Cathedral area, but he might go there later. First he needed t ask around town about the hackers that some-how deleted his friend which put him in a coma. As he strode through the street, passing various players and nearing Tesmei, and Arsenic. Hikaru knew he'd seen the player before, or at least someone similar to him.

KnightBlade stopped five meters away, and turned around. He could see the Zone-Gate somewhat behind where he had loaded into the world. Hikaru couldn't remember what they were actually called, but the name he had appointed them seemed apt. He half turned towards the two at the stall, the flaps of his clothing shifting slightly in the in-game breeze.

"You wouldn't know anything about the hacker attacks from the other day, would you?" He asked.

Raven's eyes opened and he raised his head to look at the Adept Rogue who questioned him. Before he even opened his mind to the question he was being asked, he thought to himself. The World is a game full of different classes. Sure, all of them are fun and sure, you might want to explore them all. But that's why making another character would be preferable. So many people now choosing the Adept Rogue class is a strange thing. It was the weakest class in the game, it had versatility but in the later levels they would easily find themselves overwhelmed without question. Unless of course they intended to become PKers, in which case they need only switch to a weapon-type that has an advantage over the class they're fighting. Upon investigating him, Raven quickly found the Rogue to use an Edge-Punisher Style. This meant he had 3 more points to spend, but what did he spend them on. Edge-Punisher is a slow class type, Broadswords wouldn't work well against someone like Raven who could easily deliver a steady stream of blows and knock them into critical state before even a single swing could be completed. Broadswords were only useful for power attacks, so this Rogue must have intended for power to boost him up to a point. Based on that knowledge, it was doubtful that he was a PK and thus it made it more safe for Raven to be near him. Still, why is he talking to me? Raven asked himself. The best thing to do would be to ask the person at the center of the conflict. As Scythe left, that meant speaking to Arsenic. Arsenic though, was still injured from battle, and no doubt seeing a battle take place could have shaken a few people. Still, there was little doubt toward what this meant for the Rogue. He was the type to ask others about others, rather than try to find the answer directly. He skirted around the problem. It was a good trick to stay out of the spotlight, but it makes the ones doing it look suspicious.

"The girl Flick Reaper was named Scythe," Raven began saying. "She's a Legendary Hacker in The World. Check the BBS and you'll see a few threads that mention her." He turned to take a glance at Arsenic. "That's Arsenic, a Twin Blade, he doesn't hack." Raven turned his attention off of the Twin Blade completely, only glancing toward the Rogue as he prepared to make his way for the doors. He felt something strange, the data shifted. Hackers? No. This was too clean to be the work of illegal tech, this was by the book, moderated, consent stuff. "Crap..." Raven quickly became defensive and stepped backward to rejoin the crowd.

The Gate deactivated-- it locked, keeping players from entering or exiting. A text appeared in the air that read the words; Lockdown. A few players attempted to gate out, but it was met with failure. They tried to turn off the game in an attempt to log out-- but that too failed. Even disconnecting failed, keeping their characters logged in. The area was officially locked off from The World to all except for Administrators.

The players began to panic from this sudden outcome. What's going on? Some of them whispered. Their answer came to them in the form of angels.

The sound soon echoes in the air with PC's entering the area. The PC's are Admin Permitted Players, it is clear they are the ones responsible for locking down the area. Most of them look the same -- steel armor with golden trim, broadswords, a helmet with angelic wings. The one who leads them dawns the same armor, minus the helmet. Another Rogue with dark skin and white hair. Her wave-sign was unique on her forehead. Her design work was very unique and appeared to have originated with her. The others, weren't classified as Administrator's but rather regular Players with Administrator Permission, with some exceptions of course. The Angelic woman approached the players inside of the Cathedral with the blade being clenched. She appeared angelic in physical form, but with a hint of anger and corruption -- or possibly extreme purity, meant to follow after the ideal that even Angels weren't Perfection but rather extremists in their own perspectives.

As the woman approached the crowd, the others that traveled with her blocked off the exit. This may have been unnecessary as the area was locked down, but it helped to keep others from trying to start a riot. The woman s wings folded. She looked over the players once, giving each one of them a careful glance to try and memorize them. There was a look of disgust in her eyes, even when she looked at those who would otherwise be claimed as 'innocent'. She was steady and quiet at first. "Tsk, tsk, tsk" The girl whispered to herself. She went ahead and passed by the players toward the front of the Cathedral, where the graphic damage was made. When she reached it, she came to a stop. Her fists began to tighten -- clenching. "Hackers, illegal modifications, tampering with the games design." She turned harshly and looked directly at Arsenic. "I told you to stay out of this one," she said with both a sense of irritation and familiarity. It was clear the two of them knew each other, but not in what way. The Administrator turned from the Twin Blade and turned her attention onto the rest of the players.

"Attention Players," she spoke with a strong voice -- a powerful sense of authority rung from her throat. "One of the players here has been found guilty of Illegally Modifying their Player Character. Such a thing is against the code of the game and thus unforgivable." Though at first, she may sound even slightly reasonable, suddenly, her words turn to a growl. "But that's not all, is it? You all came to watch the show, because you found it interesting. Maybe because you wanted to see a player get killed... or maybe because you wanted to learn something to help yourself. So here's what is going to happen." A few of the Admin Permitted Players approach the crowd, commanding them to move into groups. Almost as if they are being herded. "All of your PC will undergo a scan -- if you are found to possess any illegal modifications, you will be terminated on the spot without exception. This is non-negotiable."

The players quickly found themselves split up. Each in a group of five. None of the notable characters seem to remain together, except for AppleJuice and Rhyme who are grouped together with three other players to be scanned. With the players all split up and dragged to separate parts of the Cathedral, the scanning began. As they were being scanned, their virtual interface began revealing details about their character data. This gave them a glimpse of all of what went into their character. While their character data was being scanned, the woman turned toward Arsenic.

"I did tell you not to come." She said with a hint of annoyance. "She was here then, no doubt."

Jasper took off his interface with annoyance and dropped it onto the table in front of him. "Dammit!" He shouted, as he kicked the table to slide himself back in his chair. Good thing Scythe got out when she did, this could have been bad. The boy stood up from his seat and started walking around the room. It would take a moment for them to scan their characters. Luckily, he never used any mods or hacks with Raven. He kept that restricted to another PC in another location -- and even those were small time. Still, he can't help but be irritated by this. The admins are taking a stronger interest in The World than they did before. It's almost like it was seven years ago, from what Scythe told him. It didn't spell good things for them, they'd have to be careful should they choose to press on.

_______ At roughly the same time, in Mac Anu.... _________

TESMEI turned her attention to the Blade Brandier who approached. "Aaah, Arigatou, Jester-sama! (Thank you, Master Jester/Powerful)" The Twin Blade showed great appreciation for the items that she was graced with. Since their first meeting, Jester had done quite a bit to help TESMEI. She hadn't forgotten this-- as she also intended to keep her promise for when his young friend joined the game. The Twin Blade bowed to be courteous before she began to discuss the aspects of the unofficial event going on in Hulle Granz Cathedral-- then discuss the event soon to come, which was official. Before she could continue though, she was suddenly interrupted by an approaching Rogue. He was a low level and seemed to favor the longsword style to start. TESMEI turned to her stock to prepare a set of items to offer him but stopped as she heard mention of the 'Hacker Attacks'. Her ears rung with a sense of indecision.

The Twin Blade was in the Buying/Selling/Trading business, but she tried to keep this mostly restricted to items or aid. Not only that, but most of those that tried to investigate news of 'The Hackers' who were showing up on the BBS disappeared in a bad way. Clearly, TESMEI had no intentions of disappearing like they did -- her eyes went blank for a moment with her back turned toward the Rogue.

--------- Real World --------

Makoto Kasisaka, a teenage girl in her late teen years, nearly old enough to drink, yet preferring to stay home and read. At least on the outside. Makoto slid her headset from her eyes and slid on her glasses. She grabbed a notebook and a stack of books, pulling them onto the table aside her to look them over. She read at an impressive pace, quickly finding her information. She slid her glasses back off and once more dawned her visor.

---------- The World -----------

TESMEI's PC blinked twice before she turned back toward the Rogue with a big smile. "What you seek is not here!" she said aloud with a strangely obvious lying smile. She seemed sincere in how she spoke and yet the manner in which she did it was suspicious.

Arsenic lowered his head, not even turning to face the woman. "Hitomi... She has the information. We can't just let her get deleted... If the guilds get deleted... If MY guild gets deleted..." He gritted his teeth, dropping one of his blades to the ground and punching the wall he stood beside. "I'm not letting it happen. My guild depends on me too damn much for me to let them down. I'm going to be the one to take Scythe down. I have to be. It's the only way this can end favorably for all involved parties." He turned, a an apologetic look crossing his face. "I'm sorry that I went against your request. But you must admit, a small part of you knew I would as soon as you told me what was going on." The PC flashed a smirk, one that any of his player's friends would recognize as one Kiryu was infamous for. He leaned down, picking up his blade, and sat in place, awaiting the reprimanding he assumed was coming. His gaze wandered across the area, surveying the number of players who had watched the fight, as well as the amount of damage Scythe's final assault had caused. He shook his head, unable to keep himself from smiling a bit. Scythe... Looks like our fights have become something of a crowd-gathering affair... The next one will not be. Next time... I'll be ready. And you'd best be... Because next time... I'm pulling all the stops.


Jester turned, facing the new player, surprised at TESMEI's sudden outburst. He hadn't seen this Adept Rogue before, though something about him was strangely familiar. He smiled a bit, tilting his head. "Hackers? Why in the world would you be searching for them? I can assure you, kid, they're beyond your level of expertise. Even some of the higher ranked Guild Leaders won't take them on." His words came in a polite, yet stern tone. Jester had never been one to push his information on anyone, but rather to simply inform. He had been told, however, that at times he could sound a bit... Reprimanding. He leaned against the stall, glancing back at TESMEI to see what the Twin Blade had gotten into, but noticed she stood in the same spot she had been in. "I'm going AFK for just a second, and I'll return, Miss TESMEI. If you need any assistance between now and then, you need only shout, and I'll be right back." And with that, his eyes went blank.

--------------------Back in the Real World------------------------

Kisaragi removed his visor, taking a moment to relax his eyes from the exposure to the in-game graphics. He had long heard it was bad for your eyes to stare at such marvelous designs for extended periods of time. He never had discovered whether or not there was truth behind those claims, however he knew that with his need for glasses already, he would be better off not to tempt fate. He sat back, rubbing his eyes, and then rose, walking to the next room and pulling a bottle of water from the mini fridge before returning to his seat, turning up the volume on his monitor, just in case he needed to jump back in-game to assist TESMEI.

The Adept Rogue blinked, bewildered and curious. He cooperated willingly and moved as they directed him. "What is going on?" He thought to himself, "Illegal modifications? Such is possible here?" He could not help but wonder, just what type of world this truly was.
He thought over what the man had told him, about Scythe and Arsenic. A Flick Reaper? A Twin Blade? One a hacker? Another..
He would have to study more as he knew little about the other classes, only that the Flick Reaper is a class talored to fighting multiple opponents, and the Twin Blade a fast-footed class who wields two swords. Two classes tailored to two different features.

These idol thoughts helped him pass the time while the others would be scanned. He knew at that moment how truly insignificant he was, and intended to keep it that way. He never liked the spotlight, he only wanted to do what needed to be done and have fun doing it.

In the real-world Kazujin sits on his computer with the visor still on. A tall, semi-muscular figure steps behind him. The figure places a strong hand on the boy's back, which causes Kazujin to shoot into the air and slam his head into the ceiling. His visor is seen dropping and landing onto the ground. Kazujin quickly follows with a drop onto his back.

"H-Hey!" Kazujn quickly protests as he looks up at the figure. Kazujin wears a white t-shirt with black shorts. His body is well-rounded, not too thick, not too thin. His brown hair covers his eyes before he brushes it toward the right with his right hand. He can now identify the tall, now laughing, figure as his older brother, Taiju.

"Whoa buddy." The gruff man says as he steps forward, looking toward the screen.

"H-Hey! What're ya doing?" The boy speaks in protest.

The man puts on the visor and peers around. He then chuckles loudly before beginning to speak, "So this is the new world they've come out with?"

"Y-Yeah.. wait, do YOU know about the world?" The boy says in curiousity, taking his time to sit up.

The older male, wearing his white tattered muscle shirt that seems to conform on his seemingly sculpted body's most prominate features with black sweat pants surround his bottoms and his bare feet gripping the ground, lowers his head. The younger sibling tilts his head as Taiju takes the visor off. "It was.. a while back. I was there during the world's first inception. I've seen it all up to the opening of R:2."

Kazujin's eyes widened with a gasp, "Well why didn't you tell me!" He said with an excited voice, "We could have been playing and leveling together!"

Taiju extends his right palm with the visor within its grasp, handing it to Kazujin. "No, my days with that are long gone. However, I will do you a solid and tell you, if it is anything like the old world-- then it will be a very harsh, and unforgiving world if you're not prepared for it. You will make friends who share the same, or different interests than you. You will make enemies that will want nothing more than to see you suffer. So what are you in the world?"

"An Adept Rogue! It's a bit new, it lets you choice two or three classes! But I can only use one right now-- I think I need to unlock the other class somehow.." The young man said excitedly.

"Hmm.. I meant occupation, what do you do?" Taiju looked over at his brother with a raised right eyebrow.

"Well, I wanted to be an adventurer! Get into events, grind, and help out whoever I can! I want to level as quickly as possible! But leveling as Adept Rogue is.. a bit hard." Kazujin looks down sadly.

Taiju chuckles and puts a hand over his brother's head, "Look, you'll be fine. Just keep at it, and you'll be able to take on the world, and all of its issues! I know it!"

Kazujin smiles and nods, "Thank you brother!"

Taiju shakes his head, turning to walk toward the door. He stops at the door before looking back at him, "..So I'm heading to the store, want anything?"

Kazujin jumps up, putting on his visor, "The usual!"

Taiju sighs, "If you call beandip with soy sauce and potato chips the 'Usual' I'd hate to see what you call 'special'." Taiju says as he walks out of the room, waving. The door is heard shutting afterwords. Kazujin smiles, thinking to himself "Wow.. my brother played the world before I did, I really hope he changes his mind and starts playing!"

"Oh great, the Admins are here to save the day," she grumbled to herself. The area was sealed and there was no way to leave the lost ground, it was bothersome to be held up like this because of a damn hacker but what was she going to do. Rhyme complied with the admin so things could go faster, she was lead to a group of mostly newbies, she sat down next to a young harvest cleric and waited to be scanned, she knew she was safe cause she never messed with illegal mods. Rhyme looks at the harvest cleric profile and it was obvious that she hadn't played the game for for to long, "hope you don't have any illegal mods" Rhyme says playfully.

Joanna leans back in her chair and takes off her visor but is still able to hear the game, she turns to her laptop.that was next to her computer she used to play the game. Jo scrolls through the forums to see if there were any pkers baiting people to the field, it wasn't hard to spot them, if you knew what to look for. Jo scrolled down and found only the usual rumors and other bs that circled around but she found a thread saying with big bold words, "STAY AWAY FROM THE HARVEST CLERIC APPLE JUICE!" They were saying she was most likely to kill you then heal you, Joanna could only wonder how a harvest cleric could fail so badly, even for a newbie.

The Rogue waited turned as some commotion was starting at the zone-gate. Seemed that players were trying to go to the cathedral and were in-fact not able to. "Huh?" He turned back to the two he had approached. "I'm KnightReaper by the way, and yeah I understand I am far below their level, but I will become stronger."

Scarlet Fox
AppleJuice blinked in wonder as she was rounded up with a few others. Why do they need to check us for? I don't have any Mods or anything.. she seemed to be pouting as if it was just a big waste of time. She looked to Rhyme and shrugged a bit as their group was being scanned.

Katherine took off her visor and let out a sign. What a pain.. She pushed from her desk and stood up, wearing nothing but a pair of boxers. She was only a 12 year old girl and not very developed so she didnt really care yet. Katherine made her way to her bed and grabbed another smaller controler before sitting back at her desk. The Visor was turned up so she could hear what was going on as she turned on a Console game.

The Admin Permitted PC's walk around the individual groups while scanning their PC Data. For the most part, it is a quiet and calm process. The only real sound in the area is the music playing for the Lost Ground which is somewhat of a dramatic yet gentle tune. While the PC scan the groups, the leader of them -- Hitomi, turned back to Arsenic. She held out a hand and a light panel appeared. As the Admin began to press upon it, character data for Arsenic became viewable.

"You shouldn't have come." Hitomi spoke with a somewhat annoyed tone. "I won't bail you out of these situations. That's why I try to tell you not to get into them in the first place." The process of being scanned is a simple one. Once the scan begins, virtual lines appear over the scanned player character. This begins at their feet and slowly works its way up toward their head. As it rises, it shows more data on the character such as the original format used, the class, the weapons, combat history, chat logs, and even private messages. Every bit of data that becomes revealed is meant to uncover if the PC has had any modifications -- changes in the original design or even messages from others indicating such things.

A few cases occur. Two in the group with True Blade, three in the group with Raven, and one in the group with AppleJuice and Rhyme. The cases are not spoken up about and do not turn on an alarm though it can be seen in the reactions of the Admin PC. Afterward, the PC instruct the other players to continue standing still and cooperating as they return to consult their leader on what action to take.

Hitomi completes her scan of Arsenic. She nodded, "You're clean, but that was expected." The Admin turned to face her subordinates. "Show them to me." She said, as if knowing that there were cheaters there, even without seeing them. As the A.P. PC's informed Hitomi, something was stirring in the crowds.

"We need to get out of here." One of the PC whispered to another. "That's the Light of Judgment! She's merciless, she doesn't care if we're hackers or not, she'll delete us all!" Another one said in a frightful excitement. The PC throw messages between each other, as if trying to gather for a plan. The plan translates to everyone as...

"Hey, this woman is crazy! She's a mad Cheat Slayer! If we don't get out of here, she'll delete us all-- even the ones of us who aren't cheaters! We're going to fight back, are you in?"

The message is passed to everyone, save the Admin or her lackeys.

Kisaragi donned his visor again, returning to The World. As he did so, Jester lit back up, that calm grin crossing his face again. He turned to the Adept Rogue they'd been speaking with, nodding his acknowledgement. "Well, if you plan on taking them on, I'd hope so. And certainly, I wish you the best of luck with it. In the meantime, if you're ever in need of gear, Miss TESMEI here has the best selection in Mac Anu. I can personally vouch for it." He extended a hand to the Rogue, stepping only slightly forward, as though he almost preferred to remain leaned against the stall, but could not bring himself to do so, due to formality. "I'm Jester, by the way. Item... Purveyor, as it were."


Arsenic nodded to Hitomi's words as she completed her scan, sitting back down when she had finished. "I don't expect you to bail me out, Hitomi. I wouldn't ask you to put your job as an admin in danger simply to help me. I'll be alright." He smiled a bit, looking about the room as he began noticing whispers in the crowd. Unable to make out what they were saying just yet, he shook his head, turning back to Hitomi. "And I'd hope I'm clean. If not, I was going to have to do more than hunt--- Hang on, got a message. Let me check that, and I'll finish that thought." As the message appeared on his screen, he immediately opened it, half wondering if it was a lead as to Scythe's whereabouts. He couldn't have been more wrong.

He scrolled through the text quickly, a look crossed between concern and irritation crossing his face as the PC rose to his feet yet again, instantly closing the message screen. "Hitomi... I need you to do something for me... And I need you not to question me on this." He closed his eyes for a moment, turning to face away from the crowd so that they could not see his reaction, nor hear his newfound idea.

"Hitomi... I need you to wrap this up as quickly as possible, take your admins, and get the Hell out of here. And I do mean quickly. We're about to have a riot on our hands, and as much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news... You seem to be the central focal point of the confusion that these kids are brewing into their own personal little revolution." He raised his head, his eyes opening once more to view the upper part of the cathedral itself. His rage grew, becoming more and more apparent, and he drew his blades, spinning each intermittently. Anyone who had seen him in a fight more than just once knew that it was a sign that he was about to let loose, barring no holds and distinguishing no difference between enemy nor friend. He restrained himself for the moment, knowing that he couldn't very well go on the assault without being provoked beforehand. His entire reputation within The World had been based upon his being a somewhat controlled player. The Most Chill Player in The World, if he was to be quoted on his own demeanor. However at this very moment, he felt as though the entire room had a giant target painted in the center...

--------------------Real World-----------------------

Perhaps the most irritating thing to Kiryu was the fact that he could not distinguish where the rage came from. Was it because Hitomi was about to be attacked? He knew she could handle a crowd of players easily, so that didn't make sense to him. The fight with Scythe? Sure, they'd had their scraps before, but she'd never directed a stream of hacking toward him, though. Perhaps it was some combination of the two, along with the fact he'd been in a somewhat sour mood for most of the morning, anyway. He shook his head, removing his hand from the controller to grasp a cigarette from within his desk. He had no intention of smoking it, nor did he know why he even had the damnable thing around. Rather, he simply wanted to feel the damn thing, knowing that it would be there, should things hit too damn close to home and he ended up breaking. He replaced it after a moment, taking a deep breath after doing so to attempt to calm himself, then returned his attention to the game.

--------------------The World--------------------

Arsenic stood for a moment in silence, then finally sheathed his blades again. He took a moment to return his gaze toward Hitomi, smirking a bit. "Or not. It's your call either way. But should you need to make an exit, I can control the crowd. It may not be pretty... But it can be done."

-------The World------------------
True Blade blinked as he looked upward. He noticed the message and read it. His eyes widened as he stepped back, he appeared frightened. He had just joined the world, he didn't want to be apart of a riot. He just wanted to play, but he knew that he couldn't just stand there. He had to make a choice.

He collectively ponders on the situation, he didn't know what to do, other than wait. He would wait for the riot to break out, and stand down, or at least that was his first plan. He knew he couldn't, what if he got caught in the crossfire? He had to think of something fast.

Finally, he began to shuffle through the crowd and attempt to step forward. He knew this was foolish, but he had to do something to calm the crowd. He would then turn, once out, and raise his hands up. He then speaks in a loud voice that could be heard across the area.

"People! Relax! This is just standard procedure I am sure! This nice lady will let the lot of us go as soon as they're done with things!" He then paused for a moment, looking around, making sure everyone was paying attention before he would continue. "Now I don't know about you, but I'd like to get on with my business as quickly as possible!"

-----------------In the Real World-------------------------------
True Blade's player would slap himself in the forehead, he couldn't believe he actually did this, but the only thoughts that were going through his head was "I am so.. dead.."

Joanna was pulling her visor back down when his got the message, she quickly read it and bursts into laughter s he had never heard such silly nonsense. The Admins were in place to keep the players in line and were given tools to deal with a bunch of scrubs trying to rise against the "man", they were like legal hackers.

////The World////

Rhyme moved again after being afk for a few minutes, she came back in time to hear the random kids speech, it most likely would make the others want to attack even more then they did before. Rhyme just faded into back, if fighting started breaking out she didn't want to be part of it getting your service suspended didn't sound like fun.

Scarlet Fox
A tone went off as she got a message. She raised a brow, paused her game, and picked up her visor, slipping it back on and taking hold of The World controler. They have to be kidding!


AppleJuice snapped out of her AFK daze. She had already been scanned and there were a few whispers floating about. She looked to where Rhyme was and backed up with her. This is silly.. They arent going to actually.... She flinched and looked to Rhyme. Deleted us right? We didnt do anything wrong.

Hitomi walked toward the players. As the guard with her moved to aid, her arm lashed out to call him back. The others that came with stood back and watched. Hitomi then smirked and raised her right arm. A surge of power washed through it before a booming chill went down through the PC's backs. A feeling of utter terror or shock. All the PC were locked down, but one was pulled forward -- at random. The PC was a Twin Blade and a hacker.

"What is this!?" The Twin Blade questioned. Hitomi raised her sword arm and watched the PC.

"Despite popular belief, I am not an unfair person." Hitomi said with a look of calmness about her. While she spoke and readied herself, the other PC in the group watched on. Try as they might, none of them could move. Their characters were frozen. "So here's your chance. You believe that you can overtake me, so go ahead and try. If you succeed, you're free to play your games. However... If you fail then you forfeit your right to play The World."

The Twin Blade needed no other words then that. His hands shot back behind his waist and with a tearing light, he pulled forth two modded swords that shredded in the air. He launched forward with a loud cry, preparing to strike Hitomi. In comparison of level, he had the advantage. His weapons were also mods, which should also give him the advantage. The Twin Blade brought his arm up and swung down upon Hitomi -- he missed. Hitomi moved into rotation and passed by the blade, without a second thought. Her blade ran the Twin Blade through, but she did not swing it after, she kept him mounted upon her blade. Before them, they could see his PC Data being torn apart and deleted. The words Terminated appeared upon the players headset. Steams of data run down to the floor of the Cathedral until nothing is left. Hitomi swings her blade to the side, as if she were meant to clean it off. She stepped forward and brought her blade behind her back whilst her left hand reached out, palm up. She beckoned for the next challenger, as another was freed. An Edge Punisher this time. He pulled a Broadsword from his back and launched forward-- a battle commenced.


Raven stood in place, not bothering to watch the battle. There was conflict in this whole thing. The others were right, Hitomi was not known for being merciful. She would delete them all, hackers or not. But they were also idiots to plan against the administrators. Their only choice was escape. He took to the crowds, looking over them quickly. Seven, he thought.


Jasper raised his headset as he pulled out his phone. He opened it and began texting. After sending the message, he slid the cellphone back onto his desktop and waited. Before even a few seconds passed, a response was given in the form of a file.

Hitomi came to a stop, two other players deleted at her sides. Her eyes quickly took to the crowd. "Someone just received an illegal file! Step forward or face severe consequences!"

Raven's body began to emit a sequence of complex codes that overwrote the system freezing. His arms spread as he broke free, then his arm swung as if to throw the item -- though no physical object appeared to be thrown, several of the players were cut free; including Rhyme, AppleJuice, and True Blade. Immediately after, the center of the Hulle Granz Cathedral opens into a tear in the data stream. Raven ran toward it quickly and slid next to it, calling out to the unfrozen players.

"You are all innocent, but it is true, Hitomi will delete you if you remain! Come or go, but I suggest you decide quickly!"

The full weight of the admin comes down upon Raven as the Guard with Hitomi turn their attention toward the Tribal Grappler. Hitomi steps forth as well, "Fool! You cannot escape the judgment of the system!"

Scarlet Fox
AppleJuice stood there, free from the freeze code. Should she run and risk being Deleted? Or stay... and risk being Deleted? Her eyes shifted to the sword upon her back. The weapon she wasnt able to use but still ment something to her. Aww Poopie! She turned and ran with a few others towards the Tear.

Rhyme watched as the players were destroyed and deleted one by one and to be honest she was excitedly waiting for her turn, if she was going to be deleted she wanted to go out with one hell of battle. Suddenly code ran through her freeing her and allowing her to move, she stood still thinking it over for a moment, if she ran there was a good chance that the admins would hunt her down and delete her anyways, on the other hand she could stay and fight Hitomi and get deleted after a fight which kinda excited her.

"Shit," she says agreeing with AJ then ran after the harvest cleric.

True Blade shook his head, free of the code now. He then sighed-- knowing his words would not have any effect-- he didn't know what he just became apart of, but he knew if he stayed, he would surely be deleted. He slipped forward and rushed toward the tear before sliding into it, fading in the process.
-----In the real world------
True Blade's player shook from side to side. The sound of the door opening and closing is heard as his elder brother walked in.
"Food." He said casually, but he stopped and peered at his little brother for a moment. He peered toward his right before he stepped in the room slowly. He dropped a bag on the boy's desk but got no response from him.

-Overzealous Edit-
True Blade shook his head, free of the code now. Many thoughts ran through his head. ("What is going on? Why is this happening?"wink he thought frantically. He peered around from side to side. A memory quickly lapsed through his mind-- what seemed like minutes in his mind, only occurred within a split second---
The boy and the elder sat in the bush. Things had quieted down, and both stood up. The elder's long beard ran down toward his waist, as his business attire blended into the dark brush. He urged the young boy to continue moving as they quietly moved through.

"Why are they after us?" The young boy asked, a quiver in his voice.

"They aren't after you, they are after me dear boy." The elder responded in a raspy, wise tone. He raised his head as they exited the park, but remained in the brush and heavily forested areas.

"They come, from a desperate time in my life, where I had to make, foolish and risky decisions. The stories that I told you, do you remember them?"

The young boy nodded, but his eyes opened widely as he came to a realization. "Those actually happened?" he quietly exclaimed.

"Yes, to me." The old man replied. "I was a gun for higher. I used the skills passed to me by our ancestors just to earn a quick buck-- and I quickly, quickly learned that they had consequences. But.."

The Old man stopped in his place, and the young boy stumbled at the elder's abrupt halt. The boy tilted his head curiously.

"I never, regretted, a single day of it. Because of what I did, my descendants can now live a good life, even if I cannot. You will be met with decisions that will go against all you know. You may not understand now, but you will when the time comes. You will know what to do, for you are, after-all, my grandson." The Old man smiled, from cheek to cheek before placing his left palm on the boy's head. Radiance fills the scene.
-------------The World---------------------------------
He then sighed-- knowing his words would not have any effect-- he didn't know what he just became apart of, but he knew if he stayed, he would surely be deleted. He clenched his fist a radiant light appearing behind him, a broadsword appearing on his back. He gripped it in his right hand and pulled it off as he slipped forward and rushed toward the tear before sliding into it, fading in the process.
-----In the real world------
True Blade's player shook from side to side. The sound of the door opening and closing is heard as his elder brother walked in.
"Food." He said casually, but he stopped and peered at his little brother for a moment. He peered toward his right before he stepped in the room slowly. He dropped a bag on the boy's desk but got no response from him.

"Weird. Hmm." The elder brother stepped out of the room, and began to ponder. ("From what I saw, he was in the lost grounds, but it has changed a bit. Those beings, weren't normal players. Just what was going on..? Was there a lock down due to hacking? I surely hope he is not in trouble, not like I was. Heh, those days."wink

The brother then sighed and shook his head before stepping down the hallway. ("Maybe it would pay for me to take a swing at this new version of... 'The World'?"wink

Hitomi... Her name rang through Arsenic's head as he stood, watching the onslaught. He had forgotten how much raw power was carried by the one PC, although he never seemed to think of her as an admin, in-game. It was hard to picture it. As more and more PC's fell to her fury, he finally shook off the shock, turning to see if he could get any of the innocent ones out. He took a moment, though was having trouble spotting anyone for sure, considering his lack of scanning capability. He instead ran to Hitomi, trying to reason with her.

"Hitomi! Not everyone here is a guilty party! We have to let some of them go!" He grabbed her arm, staying her blade momentarily as he tried to calm her. "Let me gather the ones that didn't rebel, at the least. There's no reason for them to be punished for the others' actions, and you know it. 'Guilt by association' was never one of your favorite things, as I recall."

He released her arm, stepping back to see what her decision was, although he wasn't sure even he would get out alive. Not entirely, anyway.

"They're all guilty!" Hitomi shouted as she began to run toward the tear that was made in the area. She raised her sword and begun swinging, slicing through the PC that still remained as she made her way for those escaping. "Hackers, Aiding Hackers, Associating with Hackers, I will not let the system fail for being too soft! There are no exceptions!" Hitomi shouted when suddenly sheeeek! "..." Hitomi paused, her blade inches from the Tribal Grappler who was leading this 'escape'. But something stopped her, something physical. Her eyes looked down in anger to see the PC she came tracking -- Scythe. The Hacker's Weapon was lodged into Hitomi's gut and her HP was dropping quickly. The admin struck Scythe with a fist to knock her back and then stumbled away, her HP in the single digits. She fell to the ground with her blade pressed to it. Both Scythe and Raven backed away. Scythe let out a chilled smile toward Arsenic, having enjoyed stabbing his new main squeeze, before her and Raven stepped back through the tear. The gate began to pulsate and tremble with unstable balance in data before it finally split apart and disappeared, leaving no trace or code to follow by. Those who ran had successfully escaped -- though to where to, the pursuers did not know. "Damn it!!!!" Hitomi said with such vile anger. She remained crouched with her blade to the floor, only the other Administrative PC and Arsenic remain standing-- the rest are either deleted or ran. This is the second time today, that Scythe beat the system.

"Damn it, Damn it, Damn it!" Hitomi shouted with a vile anger. She stood and began swinging her blade around. Her health was low, due to that fatal blow delivered by the hacker. She did not strike anyone -- but it was still very clear how lustful her rage was.

Net Slum

The quiet yet erratic nature of Net Slum was a curious one. A place that was like a server, but nothing of the sort. A paradise for the hackers of The World. It had everything it needed to be qualified as a server. A Chaos Gate, an @Home for Guilds, a Market -- sure it was an illegal one run by a hacked (N)PC? but it was a shop none-the-less. The place appeared quite shady, not only that, it was moving. Net Slum was a Hacked Server on the back of a giant monster. One of the great many reasons nobody ever was able to find it, aside from hackers, and even then only some of the best.

Soon, the Chaos Gate lit up as several PC warped in. Scythe, Raven, True Blade, Rhyme, AppleJuice, random PC who nobody cared about. As they appeared, their eyes would open to both a familiar and strange sight. The giant doors, as existed in all Servers. To the left, a shop for miscellaneous items. To the right, an NPC who manged Data. Behind them was the Chaos Gate that as all others floated just a little off the ground. This one however-- was different. Unlike most Chaos Gates, which connect to that servers areas. This Chaos Gate connected to ALL Servers areas -- allowing the PC using it to never have to leave Net Slum. No doubt this feature was useful for those avoiding encounters with the administrators.

Scythe and Raven walked away from the Chaos Gate and toward the doors as they began to chat, leaving the others to do as they wish. They could leave, stay, log out, or just sit there and be trolls. They were saved from the wrath of the Light of Judgment, what they did now... neither Raven nor Scythe cared much for.

Scarlet Fox
AppleJuice fell through the gate, falling onto her face and making a few PCS fall over her. Sorry! Sorry! She scrambled to her feet and looked around the area. This was new! She looked around a bit until she saw Raven and Scythe start walking away. She let out a gasp and ran over to them. Hey! You! Thanks a bunch! I'm AppleJuice!She held out her hand, a big goofy childish smile upon her lips.

Rhyme wrapped in to the Net Slum and she could easily tell that they were somewhere they weren't meant to be. The World wad an interesting place and filled with things that were never meant to be, for example the lost grounds, no one knows how they came to be and admins had no control over them meaning that they can not be deleted.

Rhyme looked as the infamous hacker Scythe walked off with the one who rescued them, she had to admit she was a bit impressed but more ticked off that she got mixed up with the hackers, it was a classic case of wrong place at the wrong time. Rhyme kept her anger to herself and started to explore the slums, it was kinda awesome that there was an unknown city filled with ne'er-do-wells.

Arsenic stood, shaking in rage. He had only barely caught Scythe's taunt, but it remained burned into his vision for a moment as he began to regain his composure. Silent rage filled him as he walked past Hitomi, making his way toward the Chaos Gate. "Release the lockdown. I'm going after her."

He didn't know where it came from. He'd always been one to just let Hitomi do her own thing, as an admin, but now... Something told him that he was the only one that could put an end to Scythe's rampage. He sheathed his blades as he continued to walk toward the Chaos Gate, never once turning back to survey the damage that had been wrought. He no longer cared to see Hulle Granz... Only his old partner brought to justice.

True Blade fell through the Chaos Gate, stumbling with his arms flailing, his broadsword still unsheathed. He finally fell on his front, his eyes swirling as he groaned at the pain of his descent. After a good 10 seconds, he stood to his feet and peered around, observing his scenery.

He didn't feel comfortable in this place at all. He looked around, attempting to grasp onto a familiar face, but could only latch onto that of Scythe and Raven.

He wanted answers, but for some reason, he couldn't bring himself to steady himself to ask. Before he knew it, he was following behind Scythe, Raven, and AppleJuice.

He was unsure of what to do next, he was scared, confused, angry, yet... happy at the same time. Perhaps he had found some interesting people to adventure with? Perhaps this is another facet of The World that he would have to learn about and grow accustomed to. He didn't know, but he surely wanted to find out.

His blade faded in light as he followed them, but at a distance. His head was lowered.. lowered at how truly insignificant the whole experience made him feel. Lowered at how cruel both sides of The World could be. Lowered at the bad feeling he had in his gut.. that this wasn't over, and if so, that he could do nothing if anything remotely strong should pursue him. He was, after-all, just an unmodded Adept Rogue. Nothing special about him but the custom weapons he made in the forge with help from other low-level adventurers.

What could he do? What other option did he have?

Scythe and Raven walked together around the entrance to Net Slum. They stopped to discuss something, though they spoke too quiet for anyone to catch.

"They're not firing off at random." Scythe said to Raven. He quickly countered her statement.

"If they're not firing off at random, how do they decide on their targets. And for that matter, how are they inducing comas?" Raven crossed her arms while speaking to Scythe. This gave him a more stoic appearance. He nodded his head once, "If what I remember that you told me, the event from years ago caused comatose due to neural shock. How is that possible?"

"It's better not to question how it happens and more to target how to stop it." Scythe ended the conversation as she turned to the approaching AppleJuice. She raised a hand to Raven to silence him before they both turned their attention toward her and off their conversation.

"It's no problem," The two players responded almost simultaneously before shooting each other a glared look. They both then smirked and turned back to her. Scythe began talking to the young PC. "You shouldn't stay here. This is a place for Hackers. You can jump servers like usual to return to Mac Anu."

Scarlet Fox
AJ's brow furrows and she gives a mock pout. But it looks neat here. Cant I just stay a bit longer? She then smiled widely and twisted side to the side, her hair flipping with the motion and uncovering the hilt of the sword upon her bacl before her hair covers it again in back motion. I'll be good! I wont touch anything!

The sound of deep breaths, running feet, quickly followed by tumbling rocks. Two girls ran from a massive monster which was high on their tail. The two parted ways and jumped from each other, letting the monster pass them by before turning on the offensive. The first girl, a blonde with azure armor and an Edge-Punisher class, rushed on toward the beast. "AAAAHH!!!" she cried loudly as she charged in. She shot into the air with a fierce cry, before falling toward the beast with her broadsword. Her sword struck and like a thousand blades clashing against each other, tore into the beasts shell. Her blade continued to rotate, tearing at the monster and its protective layer.
The other girl, a black haired Shadow Warlock with blue robes as if to make her look like a wizard, ran further to get a more advantageous position on the creature. "Zan Rom!" she cried as a tornado tore up from the ground beneath the beast.
With a loud roar, the two girls are thrown back from the monster, skipping backward across the ground to gain distance from it and regroup as the monster fell and its hit points hit 0.


The two girls materialize into the city Mac Anu. The two run in different directions, one toward the item shop and the other toward the memory center. After a few minutes, the two rejoin back at the Chaos Gate but do not go anywhere yet.
"Restocked?" The Edge Punisher questioned.
"I'm down a few on spells, but I got some items to compensate." The Shadow Warlock nodded and they prepared to venture out, but paused as a ring came up on both of their screens. An Instant Message.
"Huh?" They both said as they looked at each other. The two girls looked around with a bit of curiosity, trying to find anyone who might stand out by watching them or in some way be suspicious. They found nobody and decided to shrug and check the message.

"Hey Kat." The Shadow Warlock contacted the Punisher via private messaging.
"Delta Lost Timekeepers Old World" The Punisher smiled and nodded, then the two agreed and turned to the Chaos Gate. They accessed it and brought up the keywords. Typing it in.

Delta / Lost / Timekeepers / Old World

The two girls begin to warp as in the background near the door, the sight of a girls feet come into view. The girl at the door smirked...

A few minutes ago...

TESMEI smiled at Jester as they spoke of gear traded that day and the event coming up. She leaned back as if to sit on her stand and looked at him, but her sight seemed to shift a little. Something had caught her eye. A girl, more specifically a Steam Gunner, one who's picture was all over the forums. "Is that..?" The girl stood up and took a few steps forward, walking past Jester. "Jester, is that the Elite PK S.G. that those people on the forums are talking about?" TESMEI moved to raise a hand to point at the girl, but by the time she does, the girl seems to have vanished. "Hm? I-I guess not.."

Later, on Delta Lost Timekeepers Old World...

The two players warped onto the field, though something was strange about it. The signal was disrupted and glitches in the coding were obvious. There were pockets of data that appeared to be deteriorating. The two girls looked around as they armed themselves.

"This place is corrupted", the Warlock commented. The two turned and prepared to gate out. As the warp gate scrolled over them, their pc bodies did not warp with them. They blinked as they looked at each other. "Again." They tried to gate out, but the system seemed to fail.
"What the hell?" The Punisher turned as the sound of a creature coming up on them quickly approached. "Look out!" The two players split up and jumped away from each other, just in time to avoid the Reaper creatures scythe. It struck the ground and it seemed to disrupt the area even more. The two turned their attention onto it as they ran at the creature. "ARRGGGH!!!" The Punisher cried as she tore her broadsword toward the reaper monster. Her sword struck and like a thousand blades clashing, it would tear against the creature. At the same time, the mage cried out--
"Vak Don!" A fireball dropped from the sky and landed onto the reaper. Both of the girls were sent flying through the air, landing side by side as they skipped off the ground to gain distance. The sound of the reaper tore into the air again as it's scythe was swung up.
"It's still alive!" Cried out the Warlock.
"It's life... I-It's infinite!" The two backed away and took a shocked look, the reaper approached. Both of the players shouted, "RUN!" The Punisher and Warlock turned, running from the creature. They didn't get far-- the Reaper's scythe was swung and struck the Punisher, sending her to the ground in a spiral. "AAHHHHHHHH!!!" she cried as she hit.
"Kat!" cried the Warlock as she ran to her friend. She took a knee and raised her Grimoire. She used a strong healing item to try and resurrect and heal her friend, but to no avail. The Punishers eyes were wide as data tore bit from bit from the girls PC Body.

In the real world, a girl laid before her computer with her visor covering her eyes. Her head laid against the keyboard with drool on the desk. The girls desktop read Kitten. The sound, "Kat!" came from her headset, from the Shadow Warlock's voice.

The body of the Edge-Punisher disappeared completely as its data fragments floated into the air. The Warlock slowly took a stand to look back at the reaper. It approached her slowly. The warlock shook her head twice and closed her eyes. She did not move, but rather seemed to await her end. Her hand moved, as if holding something.

In the real world, an older dark haired woman sat at her table, unable to stand. Her lips were parted and she appeared to be gasping, as if trying to gain breath. Suddenly, something fell to the floor as she let out a loud scream. A cellphone fell to the floor with the words Message Sent upon it. The girl herself, now laid in the same condition as the last.

Scarlet Fox
AppleJuice sighed and turned to go to the Gate. Hm? Her avatar went blank..

Katherine pulled her visor off and pulled her cellphone out from her the little pocket on her tight short shorts. She flipped it open. What the...She sent a text back to her friend and waited... Nothing. Oh come on.. She dialed a number and put it to her ear. Pick up your darn phone!

Jester turned as TESMEI spoke, looking for the person she had seen, although it appeared no one was there. He shrugged, turning back to her. "Miss TESMEI... I'm afraid I don't know. But if it was her, then I should say we might want to keep our eyes peeled. She's supposedly quite dangerous."

He pushed himself off of the stall, regaining his balance as he turned to walk back toward the Chaos Gate. "Shall we investigate?"

TESMEI continued to stare off in the direction of the bridge. She took a moment to think it over, then turned back toward her stand. After closing the shop, the Twin Blade nodded to her comrade and they would both run off toward the bridge.

On the forums, a commotion is being made over a new event. The thread speaks of a Steam Bike Race between players in an event that supposedly rivals those of the late R:2 generation.

Steam Pro Grand-Prix & Battle Royale?
New event is here! ~ SoranStar
Can't wait for the event, I'll win for sure! ~ EdgeBlade
What are the rules for the event? ~ Doug
^ Please answer someone who knows. ~ Tomix
1. All participants must have a Steam Bike either their own or access to one by someone else.
2. All participants must be partnered with another player.
3. Any player knocked off the Steam Bike is disqualified.
4. Although players must sign up and ride with another player, they can win even if on their own.

Hope that helped! ~ TESMEI
What's the prize for winning? ~ EdgeBlade
Hasn't been announced yet. ~ TESMEI
Cool, anyone want to partner up? ~ Doug

The rest of the thread seems to go on about people looking for teams.

Raven and Scythe seem to have ignored the young Harvest Cleric. They instead continue their discussion. It seems to be both a mix of info about a group of 'hackers' and the upcoming Steam Bike event.

"What do you mean, you have to enter." Raven said, some what irritated at Scythe. The girl responded.
"It's too hot right now, The L.o.J. will be there without a doubt." Scythe turned and walked further into Net Slum. The further that they went, the further the truth of Net Slum became apparent. Raven gave quick pursuit after his teammate.
"We need to be there, in case the hackers strike." He was cut off before he quite finished saying the word strike.
"No, just one of us has to be there." Scythe continues, crossing her arms as she thought it over carefully. "If you participate, I can better watch for any hacker sabotage."
"So I'm the bait |:<..." Raven said with a greater sense of irritation. Scythe said nothing but simply nodded with a teasing smile. Raven let out a sigh.

The Adept Rogue had stopped. The moment he heard that this was a place he wasn't supposed to be he turned to walk toward a chaos gate. After locating one, he exited, moving back into his novice server, 'Delta'. He appears at the root town, 'Mac Anu'.

True Blade looked around for a moment-- he questioned if he even wanted to play anymore. He then took in a deep breath and went back to the Chaos Gate. He felt like doing something a little different this time. Instead of grinding, he would go to a dungeon and attempt to finish it.

He enters into the Chaos Gate and vanishes. Moments later he reappears within a forest. He swiftly unsheathes his sword to dodge fire from a Goblin Mage as he stumbles to regain his stance. He grits his teeth as he lets out a loud yell before rushing in, his blade ripping upward as multiple blades appear out of its edges, ripping into the goblin multiple times-- hitting it multiple times before tossing it into the air. He saw an opening before pushing off of the ground into the air with it, glowing brightly. Then, using the momentum from the last strike he lifts his blade upward, slicing across the Goblin Mage's chest, dealing multiple hits with a blue crescent wake before he brings his blade above his head and back down with another crescent wake, knocking the Goblin Mage down with multiple hits still striking it-- one of then knocking its HP down to 10% before the final hits knocks it down to Zero. True Blade lands down before pushing off of the ground with a rush.

He steps around the corner, stopping as he peers around. He spots a Goblin Guard, but it seems unaware of his presence. He sees this opportunity and rushes in for the kill. His stance lowers before he rushes in. His blade slams into the Goblin Guard's back and lifts it into the air--- multiple hits ripping into its back-- one of them causing its HP to drop to 10%-- only for True Blade to catch a Fire Ball from a Goblin Mage. He is knocked backward and stumbles, though he stabs his blade behind him to quickly regain his balance. The Goblin Guard falls to the ground, and attempts to get up, but True Blade groans and pushes off the ground, ripping his blade from the ground. He rushes along the ground; just as the Goblin Guard stands-- his blade rips upward, ripping into him multiple time, only to be caught by another Fire Ball-- but at this point, the Goblin Guard is dead. True Blade stumbles and circles around before he pushes off of his feet again-- his body is damaged, and would be more so if it wasn't for his item's special ability-- in which restores health to him whenever hit. He rushes to the side, dodging yet another fireball before the image of a tiger appears over his body, "TIGER BLITS!". The Tiger raises its claw and then lowers it with his blade as he strikes down into the Goblin Mage, his blades ripping into it repeatedly, dropping its HP to 10% repeatedly before the final hit drops it to 0. He breathes slowly, his health slowly restoring as he regains his stance and continues through the forest.

Shadow watched the other Adept Rogue's fight from atop a tree, finding himself somewhat impressed with the display. He waited, watching. He had decided that this could be a player worth observing for a moment, even if only to distract himself until something else came along. He shook off his daze, finding that the Adept Rogue had already stood, making his way deeper into the forest. Shadow raced silently along the treetops, watching the other's progress. He waited a moment, pondering, then dropped from a tree slightly behind the Adept Rogue.

"You're quite handy with those blades, aren't you? Quite good, indeed. But will it be good enough, I wonder? When the time comes, and fate calls you to action, will you prevail, or fall?"

Beneath the shadows of his hood, Shadow felt the edge of his lips curl into a smirk, cocking his head slightly to the side as he continued.

"Of course, the real question is: Do you even recognize your own potential, or are you relying strictly upon instinct? I wonder, given different cicumstances, if that little scuffle could have ended differently?"

Arsenic stopped short of the Chaos Gate, his eyes going blank as Kiryu removed his visor, the computer flashing and beeping incessantly that a new event had been announced. He smiled a bit, opening the BBS and clicking the link to the new post, his eyes lighting up as he saw the content.

A steam bike race? Sounds like something I could definitely use after the day I've just had... And I'm betting I'll run into just the people I'm looking for once I'm there...

He made a note of the event on his phone, setting an alarm to remind him 30 minutes beforehand so that he would have ample time to prepare. As he moved to minimize the window, he remembered the one rule that had previously held him up from entering these events in the past: The Partner Rule. He smirked, minimizing the BBS and returning the visor to its previous position over his eyes.

--------------------The World--------------------

Arsenic's eyes lit up yet again, as the PC turned, a newfound look of excitement crossing his face as he faced Hitomi again, walking back toward her. "Hitomi... How do you feel about a steam bike race...?"

He sat back in the center of the cathedral, awaiting her response as he surveyed the damage one last time, now certain that this could be just the distraction that they both needed to take their minds off of Scythe and the hackers, even if only for a bit.

The Adept Rogue seemed to effortlessly cut through the oncoming goblins. He was unaware that he was being watched-- he seemed to be experiencing 'tunnel vision', as he focused on one target at a time-- his Health and SP recovering naturally, and artificially through his equipment's special abilities.

("Why.. what is going on?"wink He questioned himself as he sliced his blade down-- only to be blocked by a goblin shield-- but he pushes off the shield as his blades whirled around his edge like a chain-saw. He skidded before pushing toward the goblin-guard, hopping to the right as he dodges a twin pair of fireballs from the Goblin Mages to his right-- before rushing in on them, using the wide arc from his blade at such a close distance to cut into them both-- his blades hitting them multiple times within that first stroke, their HP instantly dropping to 10% within the first four hits, then down to Zero as his slash completes its circle. The Goblin Guard rushes in and bashes him with its shield, knocking him forward. He stumbles, and growls before whirling his blade in a circle, slicing into the Goblin Guard from the right side. The blades worked into it with its whirring blades, cutting its HP down to size before the rest of the slash could be finished to deliver the final blow. He then stops for a moment, his body glowing as his HP and SP is shown, recovered-- though not to its fullest.

("There's only one way to find out-- KEEP PUSHING FORWARD!) He continues to run forward, though a widened area begins to come into view. He blinks for a moment, confused as he stops. There is a single boulder with three goblin mages around it. The boulder shakes before it puts out two webbed feet-- then two more as a massive head bursts from the ground-- appearing to be a giant lizard. It lets out a bellowing roar as the ground is shaken.

"..OH COME ON!!" He stomps his right foot angrily as he lowers his stance, getting ready for battle. Beads of sweat lowered down the sides of his face as he looked at the boss. He had read about these, it was a Gigamouth. From his scans, it was level 15. 5 levels above him. The goblin mages were between level 11-13. He was alone, and he had to take on this thing by himself. Great.

Net Slum
Rhyme seen about enough of this city, she was not a hacker and felt she didn't belong which was fine because she didn't want to be grouped with a bunch of scrubs that had to cheat to be on equal ground with everyone else. The adept rouge made her way back to the chaos gate but passed Scythe and Raven, she glanced at the two with scowl but it was subtle, some how she felt that this would not be the last time she seen the two.

Rhyme stood on a bridge that went over the channel that ran through the city, she looked into the water and thought about what happened. "Maybe I should take a break..." she says to no one.

Real World
Joanna stood up and stretched and began walking around her room, it wasn't that big and it was pretty clean other then her desk which was littered with empty water bottles and monster cans. Jo jumped on her bed and stared up at the ceiling and drifts to sleep.

"Joanna... Joanna... Joanna..." A young girl whispers.

Joanna sits up quickly breathing hard and wipes the cold sweat from her brow, "Another nightmare...," she says softly. She rolls off her bed and sits back at her desk and slips on the visor the gets back in the game.

On the field
Rhyme warps in beside the chaos gate then runs off looking for her next victim. It doesn't take long to find a group of PKs surrounding another group of newbies, one by one they are cut down.

"Man this is just too easy," An edge punisher says to the other PKers making them all laugh. The harvest cleric on the ground was the only one still alive in the group of newbie friends. "Please this is the second time you guys PK'd us today just leave us alone we just started playing a couple days ago," she pleads. The PKers just laugh again, "sorry kid this world is just as harsh as the real one," the edge punisher says then raises his large sword over his head ready to strike down the harvest cleric. Just before the PKer could slice through the newbies health bar Rhyme falls upon the edge punisher with her own broad sword and the sound of a chain saw could be heard the she swings her large sword to the side of the other pk that was standing nearest dropping her hp to zero before she even noticed Rhyme.


The remaining two, a harvest cleric and a twin blade, look at each other confused then the twin blade steps forward. "Hey what the hell's problem!" He yells. Rhyme doesn't say anything but laughs, the twin blade responds with a growl, "you stupid *****, I'll kill you!" He yells before running toward the adept rouge. Rhyme's weapon disappeared in light then reaches behind her back, "you'll be daisy if you do," she says quoting her favorite movie. The twin blade swings his weapon at Rhyme but easily dodges, he then unleashes a flurry of attacks but again she dodges and it becomes apparent that she is toying with him.

"Well this is getting boring..."Rhyme says with a mock yawn. The rouge finally pulls out her duel blades and with her own flurry of strikes the twin blade drops with his hp nar. The harvest cleric tries to help his fellow pker but is far too late and he begins to run. Rhyme smiles and dashes after him and quickly catches up then slams her twin blades in his back and the lifeless pc falls to the ground. Rhyme looks down at the dead harvest cleric, "tell your friends to leave this area I'll be here all week," she says then walks back to the group of dead newbies and uses multiple revival potions and brought the newbies back. "You guys should be safe to level up now, I doubt those guys will be back anytime soon," she says then leaves after the group of newbies thank her.

Rhyme sits under a tree and looks out across the field and even though this was just a game it was pretty to look at.

Scarlet Fox
AppleJuice got the message on the forums and she raised a brow. A bike race? bleh! OH! Maybe someone will blow up! She jumped up in excitment and made her way over to the area.

Scarlet Fox
((Ignore that last post. I am just kind of lost at the moment q.q))

Across the globe, screens suddenly become filled with static, wavering back and forth until the entirety of The World's player-populace is staring solely at static and fading graphics. After a moment or two, the screens cut very abruptly to solid black.

Kiryu tosses his visor across the room, a look of irritation now steadily growing into frustrated rage across his face. He takes a deep breath and attempts to log in again, though the servers seem to be down altogether.

"Guess I'd better check the boards?" He turns to his computer, furiously searching for a means of defining the cause and nature of the servers going down, although he can find nothing. After a moment or two, he resigns from his search, turning from the computer and grabbing a sketchpad and a few of his pens and pencils. "I suppose I should be working on that new project, anyway. Deadline is only two days away, and I still have a few pages to go... Kurosaki won't be happy if I'm late again..."

A moment or two pass, and he shakes his head, standing and walking to the kitchen to grab a bottle of rum, bringing it back into the media room with him. He didn't consider himself a heavy drinker, however he did tend to find it helped his focus when under the pressure of a deadline. He poured himself a glass, sitting back to enjoy it as he picked up his phone, checking his messages for the day.

I wonder if Mariko is going to be busy with the servers down...... Well, never hurts to check, I suppose. No doubt she's going to want a chance to debrief me on what happened with Scythe, anyway... He hesitated a moment as his thumb hovered over the contact entry, then shrugged, sending her a message to come by after work. As the message cleared through, he sat his phone down, taking another sip of the rum before returning to the manga he'd been working on. He shook his head, looking at the concept art for the main characters, and realizing that they all favored people he knew and their in-game counterparts. He smirked a bit, relocating the scrap to the back of his sketchpad, then starting a fresh set of art for the new storyline.

He scrawled a single title: "The Losers: Waiting for Daylight" across the top, then began writing out his characters, a brief summary of each accompanying the sketches so that he could easily separate them without confusion.

Scarlet Fox
Katherine blinked as she was suddenly looking at black. Her lips twisted up slowly and she leaned back in her chair. She lifted her visor onto the top of her head, turned her right and typed in a few search words on the forums. Seems people were asking the same question she wanted to ask and yet no answers. Aww Poopie.. She pulled her visor off completly and set it on the desk. She spun around in her chair hard, pushing off her desk with her feet and rolling towards another desk and tv. she picks up the controller and turns the tv to watch the news. Nothing. Must not be anything major. Good to know the servers didnt just spontaneously explode. She pushed back to her desk and goes onto her computer, waiting for when someone posts the servers are up again.

Kisaragi leaned back in his chair, slightly perturbed at the servers for completely crashing. It was a rare thing for The World to crash, but he found that it was one of the few things that truly tried his patience. He sighed a bit, then stood from his chair, walking to his personal library and withdrawing an old binder from the shelf, its contents nearly pouring from the opening due to years of wear and tear. He smiled inwardly as he walked to his kitchen table, setting the binder on the table and donning his glasses before pulling out a glass and pouring himself some scotch and seating himself, beginning to read over his years' worth of research for what seemed like the hundredth time.

Rika will be joining the game soon, if what he's told me is accurate. I should be sure that I'm not too rusty on subject matter when I sit her down and run her through the basics...

He opened the binder, starting back at the top, an involuntary smile crossing his visage as a chill ran up his spine, upon reading the scrawling notes he had started taking over six years prior. "It all began with the Epitaph, and because of that, we have Emma Wielant to thank for The World..."

As her screen goes blank, her fist strikes the wall with a mighty yell that seems to shake the souls of those around her. How dare they!? Cried Yui. After a few moments of 'raging', the girl slid her visor off her head and laid it down on the desk before her. She was irritated of course, who wouldn't be after such a happening. She turned from her monitor and headed into the other room, the bathroom perhaps? The door was only partially open and a sink could be seen from the outside. Yui turned on the water and washed her hands beneath the cleansing stream. Aah... the feeling with nice and calming. She cupped her hands to take the water into it and shovel it to her face. The moist drops of liquid dripped from her skin, leaving a soft glimmer. She dried herself off with the towel beside her-- she used very gentle strokes of the towel, almost like dabbing it off. It spoke volumes of her personality. She turned from the bathroom with the towel over her shoulders, nearly around her neck like a scarf. Yui grabbed her cellphone and headed for the staircase that lead to the roof.

A big, big mistake, really huge, didn't anyone ever tell you? There's one thing you never put in a trap if you're smart, if you value your continued existence, if you have any plans about seeing tomorrow there's one thing you never ever put in a trap..... Me.

Jasper leaned back in his chair, his headset was off and he even turned off his hard-drive. He was watching the television, one of his favorite programs, while he was waiting for news about the online black out over his cell.

Makoto sat up from her chair, watching the screen having gone blank. After it shuts down completely, Makoto closed The World's running system so that she could have faster access to the online apps that she has saved onto her desktop. The girls desktop isn't too different from most peoples. It contains several apps on an almost cycling pin wheel where as she moves to choose one, the wheel turns to allow for it to show. A 3D showcase that makes for a much more enjoyable sight then the default setting for internet applications ten years ago. Without a word, she activates the forums link that she has on her desktop to bring up information.

The first thing that appears are ten new posted topics on the forums. Each dealing with different things and several being connected. Makoto notes one post as being about the Steam Bike Event and it's set date. Tomorrow. She waits to dive into discussion for that topic and instead looks at others. There are three directly discussing the black outs in The World, one in the unofficial forum page and another two in the rumors section. The one in the official details CC Corps apology for the problem and how it is nothing to be concerned about-- instructions state to simply wait until the client is back up and then log back in. On the rumors section however, there are two from players telling of something going on in The World. One speaks of how they believe the occurrence is thanks to the happenings of the Demon Palace Tournament and the 'Special Skill' witnessed by the current Palace Emperor. The other is wrapped around the idea of the hackers and it's the one that seems to be getting the more attention. Makoto begins to read through some of the posts...

The hackers are coming, the end is nigh, repent. It sounds like someone's trying to put a scare in people. Oh, here's another one. I saw a guy with gear I didn't recognize in Mac Anu, was he a hacker. Someone responded... I saw a girl like that too, they must be those hackers that we've been hearing about. This is getting bad, something needs to be done... Huh?

Makoto raised her head and looked at a new post that suddenly popped up. Help. "Help with what?" Makoto asked aloud. She clicked the topic and something came up. An image attached to it.

"Someone please help me! My friend Ash got attacked by some weird player who was commanding monsters! Look, I have a screen pic here! After they got killed, they went completely quiet and when I went to their house to check on them they were laying on the floor in a coma! Please someone help me!"

Almost the second Makoto completes reading the message, she hits a button on her computer and a screen pic of the entire post including the picture is captured. Half a second later, the post suddenly disappeared. Her eyes widened. "It's gone?" She turned quickly from the forums, moving to her mail system. She brought up the character, Jester, and attached the screen pic of the post she caught. Her eyes were trembling, she was either very scared or insanely excited. After makoto's message to jester was typed out, she hit the button. send. The message is sent.. Makoto drops back from her chair and falls onto her back on the ground, staring up at the ceiling.

"What's happening to My World...."

Mariko took it upon herself to handle the details for this. The event had several factors that combined both player personal events that players made and direct game events. The setting was a field created specifically for this event, or rather a combination of fields. This was where CyberConnect came in. They created the field for the event while the details of the event were taken care of by players. It was a joint operation that marked the beginning of a new age for The World. Mariko began working out the details. So long as she held the reins, she didn't care if a player was making the choices as she was the one who could choke them out. All the information for the event began to appear on the forums, a cut version of the full thing.

The map was a combination of several,
It begins in the desert field setting with all contestants. Each contestant must have a steam bike and no more or no less then two people. One person would drive the bike, the other would fight from it. When the race begins, all riders will take off through the desert field which leads with an almost direct path through several obstacles that should take no less then seven minutes to clear. While they ride, other players could work to attack and knock them from their bike or destroy them with PK Tactics. Once the player is off the bike, they're done however a player could continue if only one person is on the bike still. After exiting the desert fields, they would make their way into a forest field, one with trees and of course, traps. There would be obstacles here as well that require a bit of quick thinking, those who couldn't think fast enough would fail to clear the obstacle and either be killed by it or the players following behind them. This is a bit less straight forward as the trees are so close together that some fancy and quick maneuvering would have to take place, else they would meet their end from a high speed crash. After the forest area is cleared, they would enter a new frozen zone. This place would be covered in virtual ice and a path. This would make steering difficult for the driver and would most likely decrease the accuracy of the fighter on back. It would be the perfect place to either gain a lot of ground or take out the ground beneath them. The race completes in a dungeon like area. This is similar to the temples in which beast statues are found. Mariko found it to be an entertaining notion, that the prize for the race would be found in the same way that the prize for a dungeon would be found. This area however has few tricks other then it's narrow corridors, meaning that if any bulk of players made it here, they would quickly be taken out by the sheer quantity of others around them. The prize itself remains a mystery, with just one promise. A rare, never before seen, exclusive in-game item that no other player can or ever will have again... unless it is taken from them. The item thus goes up in value tremendously even before the information of what it is, is known. Players across the forums post offers for teams, trades, and other information to try and get the upperhand. With her job on this topic complete, Mariko hit send and let the players ignite in their hopes of winning.

Mariko herself backed away from her desk in her chair, taking a glass of liquor and taking a drink before looking out the window. I suppose I could try teaming up with Kiryu, she thought to herself. She turned back to the desk to continue her work, a bit irritated at the situation from that day.

Discovering the servers were down, he realized one thing. He was tired. Kazujin moved from his computer desk and flopped down on his bed, passing out, not even bothering with the food left for him.

Kiryu decided it best to work on his project another night, finding it hard to stop focusing on the blackout. He knew it was something that was common in online gaming, however he was having trouble shaking the thought that it might be something more serious than that. He loaded the forums, looking over some of the threads relating to it, though he found none of them helpful. In stead, he wandered over to the Event page to research a bit before he signed up for the race the next morning.
Kisaragi had nearly zoned entirely into his research when the computer buzzed in the other room, alerting him to a new message. He shook his head, standing and looking up at the clock as he wandered back to the other room. It was late. He would have to head to bed shortly, but he wanted to check out the message first. Sitting at his computer, he noticed that it was from TESMEI, and opened it to see what she had sent to him. As the image loaded, he raised an eyebrow, not entirely certain how this all came to happen. Coincidence? He hardly thought so. Several years back, he remembered something similar being reported, and The World being completely revamped after it was all sorted out. Could this be happening again? He silenced his theories within the back of his mind for the time being, and replied to TESMEI's message. We should keep an eye out for more like this, Miss TESMEI. And do be careful if you should ever deal with any of the hackers. Just in case they're somehow involved. Once it had sent, he shut off his computer for the evening, wandering off to his bed and lying down for the evening.

"Make sure that you sign in before you go to bed", Yui said over her cellphone to the recipient.
"Don't treat me like a kid, I know Yui.." Jasper replied.
Although the two were so far apart, they talked as if they were standing in front of each other. A habit grown from spending so much time together as allies on the fields of The World. Yui herself was outside of an apartment complex, sitting on a bench with a laptop on her legs. Her legs were crossed. She remembered thinking how childish Kiryu claimed she looked when she did stuff like that. Jasper on the other hand was in his room with the lights out, his computer having but two windows up. One was the update page for The World, informing players of how their services were temporarily offline. The other was the official and unofficial forums, which continued to gather more posts as time went on. Jasper's hand scrolled his cursor to the sign up list for the event. It listed him as Raven. He closed down the window and stood from his laptop.
"Yui-sama, what will you be doing while I'm riding?" At first his tone sounded casual, like one that an employee might make. The next minute however, it felt a hint of concern.
"Stop making fun of me," Yui seemed irritated. She knew that the way he said her name could be implied as a joke. He enjoyed teasing her about her nationality. She didn't take it as such however, she had other things on her mind. "I'll be doing what needs to be done of course." Her reply was not gentle. The moment it ended, she had hung up. Jasper had pulled his phone back to look at the disconnected number. He sighed, discarded his phone onto his desk, and then fell into the bed nearby. Idiot..

In front of her apartment, Yui continued to sit alone without giving much thought to her current feeling of exhaustion. She could fall asleep at any minute out here in the cold, vulnerable to the horrors of the waking world. Her eyes were weary. She looked at her laptop. She began skipping through videos and posts concerning the rumors of hackers and the attacks on players that sent them into a comatose state. She took hold of the top of her laptop and slowly closed it. Her eyes closed with it. Yui fell back on the bench and seemed to drift off into a dream like state...

"Where are you going?" The setting of an old version of Mac Anu, from the World R:1. Yui stood there, quite different looking from the real her or her new avatar. She wore light blue armor and cloth that came down in strips, hanging off her body. Her hair was green and in several long tails. She looked at a renegade fighter. The man was in leather gear. His blades were concealed at his waist. He gave a look back at her with a smile.
"I'm going to log out for the day." He replied to her.
"What are you, stupid?" Yui replied with a look of irritation. She walked up and poked his cheek. "If you don't spend more time on the game, you'll fall behind. I've already got 10 levels up on you."
"Yui..." The male looked at her. His staring drew a red flush from her cheeks. She began shaking her head with tightly closed eyes before stepping forward and shouting at him."
"Fine! But tomorrow... You take me out!" She pointed at him, declaring. "Nothing cheap and.. I expect you to make up for the level difference!" After a few seconds of thought, the man stepped forward and took her by the shoulders, kissing her on the cheek. He left her hazed and embarrassed.
"I'll pick you up tomorrow then after school, Yu-i-chan." The man logged out before her and she closed her eyes, shaking her head more and holding onto her cheeks. He clearly got to her.

Yui's eyes opened and looked up at the sky. She felt her hot cheeks. "B.. Baka.." She stood up from the bench and grabbed her laptop. Yui walked into the complex, tired. She was a little afraid to go to sleep. The longer she slept, the more levels she lost. What if the servers came back online before she was awake? "Ehh!" She knew she couldn't think about things like that. "When I wake up... I'll make up for it by power leveling, before the event starts."

Real world
Joanna's computer goes black suddenly leaving the gamer a bit confused and ticked off. She slams her fingers on the keys the picks up her keyboard and and pretends to slam it into her monitor. "Ah well, I guess I'll just start a bit early," she says calmly placing the keyboard down.

Joanna changes into a jogging suit and began stretch and worm up preparing for a light jog before heading out to the club, "looking this awesome takes work," she says with a wink at her mirror.

After about an hour Joanna returns to her room in a hurry, she was longer then expected so she would have to get ready fast. The girl quickly throws on her club'n outfit and is out the door with her equipment.

After a long night of "work" Joanna stumbles into her room ready to collapse, however, she had a case of energy drinks and was ready to play the games. As a Ex med student she knew this was a bit self-destructive but as a young adult living on her own with an addiction to The World, she says...meh. Joanna sets the case on her desk and notices a letter from her father, she picks it and examines it before opening it and found a very short note and a very large check.


Writing to say happy birthday and I miss you, anyways hope you find something you really like.

-Sincerely yours,


Dictated but not read.

"Well at least he's closer to my birthday then last year," she looks at the check and wiggles her eye brows before adding, "Japan here I come."

Kiryu yawned, the screen starting to fade and his vision doubling. He closed his eyes a moment, a frustrated frown crossing his face as he reached for a pair of glasses in the corner. He rarely wore them, although they had been prescribed to him years ago. In his view, they were more an irritant than a help. However, as of late his late-night sessions at the iluminated screen had come to strain his vision a bit more, leading him to rely moreso on them. As he slid the frames into place, he took a deep breath and opened his eyes, returning to his research. He was hoping he could convince Mariko to participate in the event, as he peered over the details again. It looked like the sort of thing that might take her mind off of hunting Scythe. As much as he wanted the girl caught and questioed, a small part of him wanted Mariko not to find her. He knew Yui's whole life was the World, and that she knew more about what happened within its bounds than anyone else, even CC Corp. No, if anyone would be interrogating her, he would be the one to do so. He wanted answers... And he wanted this group of hackers brought down. Even if it meant he would have to swalow his pride and interrogate her for information, rather than figure it out himself. Alright... I need to sleep. There's nothing more I can do today. One more drink and I'll lay down for the night. He stood, wandering to the kitchen for a glass and a bottle of whiskey, pouring himself a drink and succumbing to the urge to smoke a cigarette along with it. He'd done well slowing down and damn near quitting... But today had strained him to the point of breaking his own willpower and having thi one. He decided to take it out to the back deck, rather than smoke in the house, knowing wel what would happen if Mariko made it over and smelled the lingering scent before he could eliminate it.

With a new day starting for most of the world, things begin calm, for most.

In the real world, the skies are clear over most parts. Europe seems to be suffering from some storms but that doesn't keep many players of The World from risking their lives by logging into the 'The World'. The servers appear to be well stabilized now after an all-nighter by CC Corp and several volunteers. With the game back up and running, people begin to make their way to their designated zones for merchandizing, pking, training, quests, or the event. The event won't be starting until later that day in a few hours, but the participants won't be able to stay away for too long. The area words; "(Delta) Graceful Swift Fast-Horse". The area is a mixture of other areas, one that moves in a course. The players would begin to awaken and prepare for their day.

Yui walked around her room with cellphone in hand. She glanced over at her visor, her computer, then she went back to paying attention to the call. "Rika-chan, you at the house yet?" After a pause and a voice coming from her cellphone, she looked out the window and gave a smile. "Good. Make sure you wake Kiryu up. If he misses the event, hell will be paid." She nodded and turned, walking back through the room. "I'll be over soon. Love you, little sis." After saying her goodbyes, Yui closed her cellphone and grabbed her gear, securing it in her backpack before heading out the door. Today's gotta be a good day, Yui thought to herself before she got to her car. Her car wasn't very advanced, but it was reliable for her. She got into the car, started it up, and after checking her windows she took off. It had been a while since she saw Rika. She couldn't wait to see her again and help her with The World.

Rika looked up at Kiryu's house as she got out of the cab, her bluetooth headset lit up, signifying a call in progress. She nodded as a voice came over the other side. "I just got here, Yui-san. Looks like all the lights are out, so I'm glad you told me where the spare key is." She paused, waiting for a response as she walked up to the flower pot beside the door, lifting it to grab the key and opening the door. As she walked in, she continued her conversation. "I'll make sure to wake him in just a minute. I'm sure it won't be too hard with the Event today. He usually doesn't miss them." She dropped her bag in the room she had always used when she came over for the weekends, placing her backpack beside it, and then wandered into the kitchen and started some coffee before making her way to Kiryu's room. "See you soon, Onee-san! Love you, too!" She pressed the button on her headset, ending the call as she entered the room, throwing a book at Kiryu from his bookshelf. "Wake up, you lazy bum!" She smiled, remembering when she had adopted the saying from Kingdom Hearts back in the day. "Kiryu, you need to wake up! The Event is today, and you don't want to miss it!" She stood in the doorway, propping herself against the door frame with a hand on her hip, waiting to make sure he actually got up.

Kiryu groaned as the book hit him, finally raising up after a moment, and looking over at the doorway to see his sister. Oh right... I forgot she was supposed to arrive today. He smiled sleepily, getting out of bed and grabbing a shirt from the chair by his desk as he walked across the room, not even bothering to button it after he pulled it on. "Rika." He walked over and hugged his sister, then gave her a skeptical look as her words sunk in. "Wait, you don't even play The World... How do you know about the steambike race?" He placed the book back on the shelf as he spoke, grateful she had chosen a paperback to throw at him, rather than one of the many thick hardcovers he had collected over the years.

Rika turned, making her way to the kitchen. "I have my ways. So would you be horribly offended if I have plans for the day, rather than staying around here?" She poured herself a cup of coffee before sitting at the kitchen table, smiling back at her brother. She knew he'd be busy most of the day, and she was looking forward to seeing Yui. In the truth of things, she had always considered Yui to be the best of Kiryu's dating adventures, although she was a bit biased, considering Yui was the only one that had ever treated her as more than just a child. She shook her head, letting the thoughts clear. "Also, I've been thinking... And I may finally take you on your advice and start playing The World. I think it'd give us something fun to do, kinda like when we were kids." She smiled, taking a sip of her coffee.

Kiryu walked over to the counter, fixing himself a cup of coffee. "Yeah, it's good that you're getting out and doing things. I don't want you to sit around here bored all the time." He took a sip of his coffee, leaning against the counter as he did so for fear he'd go back to sleep if he sat down. "I'll be in The World most of the day running the race. I'm not particularly sure, but I think Mariko is going to team with me. Anyway, have fun today when you do get out running around, but try and leave a day free within the next couple of days so we can hang out, okay? I mean, we haven't seen each other in a few months, and I would like to have some time to catch up with my little sister."

Rika nodded, though a notable look of disgust crossed her face as he mentioned her. Rika had never been fond of Mariko, and on countless occasions, she had made this fact very apparent to Kiryu. "I still think you made a bad call, letting Yui-san go and then getting with that detestable devil woman." She drank a bit more of her coffee, then continued her rant. "I just don't understand what you see in her. She acts all stuck up just because she works for CC Corp. I don't get it." She stopped, realizing she'd said a bit too much, although she didn't feel too upset about it. She had done nothing more than spoken her mind, and she had no intention of apologizing for that. She finished her coffee, then poured herself a half cup, guessing that it was probably close to time for Yui to pick her up.

Mariko appeared at the front door and knocked on it. After being told she could enter, she walked inside and peaked around the corner, noticing that Rika was here. Oh joy, she thought at the sight of the girl. She had no problem personally with Rika, but she knew the girl disliked her. After fully announcing herself and entering the kitchen, she pulled a large silver metal suitcase up and placed it on the table away from the girl before turning a glance at Kiryu. "How is everything this morning?"

Rika drained the rest of her coffee, then stood from the table. "I'll have to excuse myself, brother. I'm going to go finish getting ready. I should be home this evening sometime." She placed her cup in the sink, then turned and made her way to her room, changing quickly and grabbing her backpack, making sure that everything was inside, then calling Yui as she walked out the front door to wait for her to arrive. As a response came from the other line, she smiled, then began to speak. "Yui-san, how long will you be? I'm going to be waiting outside for you when you get here. That evil devil lady is here, and I don't particularly care to sit inside with her." She heard a response on the other end, then sat on a chair out on the front porch, waiting for her friend to arrive. "Okay, I'll see you in a minute, then." The call ended, and she removed the headset, switching over to her iPod as she waited.

Kiryu refreshed his coffee, then turned to Mariko as she entered. "Quite well, I suppose. Coffee?" He turned as Rika made her exit. "Be safe and have fun, lil sis. I'll catch up with you later." He drank a bit of his coffee, then proceeded to give it a bit of an odd look. He reached into the cabinet, pulling out a bottle of Irish Creme and pouring a bit into the coffee, then testing the taste again, looking much more satisfied with the results. He pours a second cup, minus the liquor, and turns to sit across from Mariko, sliding her the second cup. "So the big race is today." He yawned, still in the process of waking up. "And you... never did answer me about teaming up for it." He smirked a bit, quite certain she would be his partner in the Event. The two had made a habit over the last few months of tag-teaming any events that had allowed parties.

Mariko nodded and took the coffee. She brought it up with her right hand and began sipping it, before taking a bored look. After glancing back and ensuring Rika was gone, Mariko reachedo ut and grabbed her suitcase, unclicking the latches and opening it up. She opened it up fully and began to pull out her gear. Her laptop, her visor, her controller. After setting everything up, she glanced back to him, her visor situationed just above her head. Mariko's fingertips began to slide the visor down before smirking. "Come and find out", she said before putting her visor down over her eyes. She logged in, entering her username and password before entering The World.

Kiryu stood, downing the remaining coffee, then making his way to his game room to procure all of his equipment. Taking a quick look around, he reached into the mini-fridge in the corner, grabbing a handful of energy drinks before he made his way back to the kitchen, sitting back across from Mariko. He pulled on his visor, logging back into The World.

Kazejin sat up in his bed and looked around. A grimace on his face at the time, he jumped out of bed to grab a shower.

During this, Kazejin's brother appears to be on the phone in the back room of the 5 bedroom, 2 story house. Taiju walks around with his cellular device in his right ear, his left hand holds it as his right hand directs his mouse. He appears to be watching videos. "So this is the world.. the new version. Mhmm.. yeah. Yeah. Oh I'll definately be coming back. Just give me some.. 'targets' to... practice on."

After a few minutes, Kazejin comes out of the shower with fresh clothes on. He walks over onto his room and sits down at his computer, beginning to look over his emails. He saw none. He sighs as he sits back, thinking.

Kazejin is usually called in daily to work at his Dojo, but recently there has been a shortage of students, and thus a lesser need for instructors and helpers-- like himself. He was a bit concerned that he maybe let go. He liked having a job, he loved the power he felt every time he would get off of work. Even if he was aching.

Regardless, he knew that he wouldn't be called back into work. Partially, this is due in part to the release of the new version of the world. Everyone's playing. Or at least that's how it seems like.

He closes his eyes, putting back on his visor after these thoughts have passed, before logging into-- the world.

The World

True Blade appears in the Delta Server back in root town. He turns around and immediately moves toward the Chaos Gate. His eyes narrow as he moves back through it after entering a code.

He reappears in a cave-like setting. He unsheathes his blade as he continues forward.

Joanna sat at her desk with her laptop open playing music, she was blending songs so and researching new songs that were playing on the radio DJing was a science and she did her best to master it. As a DJ she could control the flow in the club, either getting the the dance floor filled or the bar, the power of a DJ was vast!

To the right of Jo was her faithful desktop that was used to play the world, she had updated her baby over and over refusing to get rid of the old computer. On the screen was her character, Rhyme, she was currently standing in the middle of a bridge in DELTA//MacAnu. The event wouldn't be starting a couple hours, which was why she was afk, however, lots of interesting things tended to happen with events were schedule.

Arsenic wandered throughout MacAnu, knowing he had time to spare before he met up with Hitomi for the event. He'd decided to spend the day wandering, meeting other players, rather than power leveling, as he normally would. As he made his way throughout the town, he looked upward, noticing a somewhat familiar face up on the bridge. Is that... Rhyme? He smirked a bit, shaking his head. He had only met her player once, back at a night club when he and Yui were still together. The two had barely spoken, but he vaguely remembered passing off his member address to her before leaving, though aside from adding one another as friends, the two had rarely interacted since. He roamed over to the bridge and climbed over the railing, landing in a seated position on the rail next to her.

"How ya been, Rhyme? Long time no see."

Joanna just happened to come back in game when she heard a familiar voice, Rhyme turned to see Arsenic, she had met the man behind the screen a while ago in the club and they had happened to talk and exchanged PC names. "Hey there, pretty crazy stuff at the cathedral huh?" She remembers the events of yesterday, the fight between Scythe and Arsenic, then Hitomi threatening to ban her account, and finally the net slums where Scythe took her and the others after rescuing them. Joanna let out a sigh out side the game, she had been so close to losing her account.

Hitomi was walking around Mac Anu with a bit of boredom on her face. Today was her day off, she took it exclusively so that she could spend time with Arsenic during the Event. But it wasn't yet time for the event, and until then-- she had to find a way to amuse herself. She was investigating the shops around the root town, picking up weapons and staring at them with curiosity. Those who would notice her might take note that her face wasn't as cynical as usual but rather studious. She investigated the item, its worth, its artwork, and even the means it was acqui-- she wasn't shopping, this soon became apparent. Even on her day off, it seemed Hitomi was at work investigating hackers and modders. Luckily, Arsenic was not around at that moment to call her on it.

Arsenic lowered his head, smirking a bit. "Scythe has some information that I need. I didn't want it to go into violence, but... Well, if you know her reputation, you know Scythe doesn't get along well with me, so it got a bit... Out of hand." He laughed lightly, then slid off the rail, standing on the bridge, and leaned back against the rail. "So, are you going to participate in the race later? Looks like some stiff competition out there."

Rhythm gave a slight laugh, Scythe and Arsenic's relationship problems were all over the forums. It was ridiculous what people would gossip about on the forums,she was personally on team Scythe, mostly cause Hitomi rubbed her the wrong way.

"Yeah, I wasn't but stomping some noobs while riding sounds pretty fun." Rhythm jest sticking out her tongue playfully.

As the day of the event arrived, Raven was already up and moving in the field, getting some training in. Fighting against goblins, living weapons, giant floating mushrooms. The thought of which all made him want to laugh due to Scythe's general comments about how large floating mushrooms made for an amusing enemy as no matter who you were you always had a snide comment to make about the fact that you're fighting such an opponent. Raven's felt at home as a Tribal Grappler due to use of pure hand-to-hand combat. Jabs, Uppercuts, Hooks, pure fist combat seemed much more relatable than fighting with weapons like say; Wands and Scythes. Though thinking about this also gave him unease. He was good with his hands and as Scythe said, a good grappler. However, in the case of being on a steam bike like he would be today... his fists gave him no advantage. In fact, he would be at a much greater disadvantage while riding due to his lack of reach. It was for this reason that his teammate that he chose to ride as his fighter was a steam gunner. This allowed them variable range and--
"Oof!" Raven coughed as he was thrown onto his back on the ground by the large behemoths wild swinging arms. After turning onto his side, Raven looked at his torso which was where he took the strike, then his health which took a big hit at the same time. With the gritting of his teeth, he pushed off the ground and slammed his fist as hard as he could muster into the belly of the beast. The behemoth was thrown back and shattered against the walls of the temple as the way to the treasure room was opened. With a moment of reflection, trying to clear himself of doubts and stick with his understanding, Raven marched on into the treasure room. He thought to himself, in that moment.

"Yeah... It'll go just like this."

The World

"VaK Don!"

Flames erupted between two creatures wiping their remaining health, Soul had been at this for hours and it was paying off, he was climbing levels quickly and soon he would have to switch to a higher level area. Soul collected some money and some miscellaneous stuff that he could probably sell later, he quickly looked around for more creatures to slay for EXP when he saw them. There had been a group of PKers out on the field all day and he was able to avoid them, until now. Soul looked around trying to assess his surroundings, "Nowhere to hide, no escape..." he said with a sigh.

The PK group had already surrounded Soul so he wouldn't have a chance to run, it was typical group PK tactics. The group stopped when they got close enough to Soul and looked pleased with themselves. "Sorry kid, wrong place wrong time," A steam gunner said making the others laugh. Soul looked at them nonchalantly, "Why don't you all grow a pair and PK people your own level?" his voice was calm but there was a hint of annoyance. The steam gunner smirked at Souls commit, "I like to see the panic in an newbies eyes, however, you seemed to have robbed me of that so why don't you just die." The gunner raised his gun and fired wiping out Soul's HP in one move, as Soul fell back he yells, "C**ts!" then falls silent.

The steam gunner crouches down over Soul's body, "I like the way you die, Names Yellow Star, look me up when you're higher level," he says then rises up and walks away leading his team to another victim.


Masae slips off her visor and sighs as she places it down on her desk, she had been playing the game for a couple weeks now and this was the fourth time she was PKed. "Maybe I should find a guild..." she says softly to herself. Knocks came from her open door and a pleasant voice follows, "Hey Masae, I'm home from school. Have you ate anything yet?" Aiko says gracefully walking into the room. Aiko was Masae's younger sister by one two years but she seemed more mature then that, she had stepped in to help her older sister even though they had a live in nurse. "Yeah, the nurse made me some breakfast this morning," Masae replies and points lazily at the untouched food. Aiko shakes her head making her silky red hair bounce, "What the hell do we even pay her for...I'll make you some lunch and you're going to eat it even if I have to feed it to you." Aiko says only half joking. Masae gives her a lazy smile and says, "Don't forget who's older little sister." Aiko picks up the uneaten food and starts to walk away, "Yeah Yeah, just focus on staying healthy."

When Aiko is gone Masae's weak smile turns to a frown and tears escaped from her eyes, she was a burden to her little sister and did so much for her and never asked for anything in return, Masae allowed herself to slip in the darkest parts of her mind as she silently sobbed.

Arsenic laughed a bit, then turned as a reminder he'd set on his computer went off in his headset. Fifteen minutes remained until the race, and he still had to find Hitomi.

"Well, then, the best of luck to you, Rhyme." He turned back to the girl, smiling as he did so. "Just remember you've got Hitomi and I to contend with out there." He added the last part jokingly, then flipped backward over the railing of the bridge, making his way toward the Chaos Gate. As he reached it, he sent a quick message to Hitomi to meet him at the coordinates for the race, then he turned, looking at the gate and closing his eyes. "Endless, Blazing, Fast Horse!!" And with that, he was warped through the Chaos Gate.

Kisaragi woke to the sound of birds outside his window and groaned a bit, wondering how long he'd been unconscious. He shook off the sleep and stood, walking to the kitchen counter and making himself some coffee, then gathering everything he would need for the day into a bag while the coffee brewed.

"So, I believe I'm going to need my gear, naturally... It'd be best if I took the notes I've kept over the years. I'm certain that Rika's not going to be too worried about it, but I do love a chance to share the Epitaph with someone who is unfamiliar."

He laughed a bit to himself, pouring himself some coffee and grabbing his bag, heading out the door. He'd been preparing to get Rika into the World for weeks now, and was still unsure if Kiryu knew anything about it or not, though he couldn't fathom that she wouldn't have told her brother by now.

As he started the car, he reached over, pressing a button on his radio and smiling a bit as a recording of his notes started to play through the speakers.

---about an hour later---

Kisaragi arrived at the restaurant, stopping the car only after he'd allowed the recording to finish the sentence that it was on, then smiling somewhat nervously to himself as he thought of what others would think, had they been party to the events of his ride. Pulling his bag from the passenger's seat, he made his way to the front, arranging a table for three outside, then ordering himself a drink as he sat to await the others, opening his notes and glancing quickly over them one last time to see what would be most useful, and what would not.

Rika removed her headphones as she saw Yui's car pull up, running eagerly to it and taking a seat in the passenger side, hugging her old friend before they took off. She smiled, placing her backpack in the back seat of the car as they began to move, and pulling a notepad from the front pocket of it, going over a list.

"So, Onee-chan, I got the headset and controller that you recommended me, rather than the ones like Kiryu has, and I've got my computer and a copy of the game that I picked up for next to nothing. I think I'm all set." She watched Yui nod, and then turned her attention to the road, looking out the window beside her as she thought back over the time she'd known the older girl. The two had been close from almost the instant they'd met, becoming great friends, almost like sisters. Rika had been distraught when she'd found out that Yui and Kiryu had split, worried that she wouldn't be able to see her "big sister" anymore.

To her surprise, she'd gotten a call almost every week from Yui since, and the two had stayed in touch, despite the distance in living between them. Rika smiled, shaking her head to clear her mind a bit as she looked up, taking notice that the car had stopped, and that they had arrived at a restaurant. Is this... Where we're meeting that guy?

She reached into the back seat, pulling out her backpack with all of her gear, watching Yui do the same, then following her over to a table, where a man sat, a visor beside his laptop, a binder on top of it that he seemed to be looking through studiously. She couldn't help but laugh a bit, and threw up her hand, yelling out to him.

"Kisaragi-kun! Yui-chan didn't tell me you'd be here, too!"

Kisaragi looked up as he heard the voice, pushing his glasses back up his nose, cursing them under his breath for constantly sliding as he researched. He smiled as he saw Rika and Yui making their way to him, closing his notes and clearing the table to make room for the two of them.

"I was beginning to wonder if the two of you were going to make it or not." He laughed a bit, standing and lightly bowing to them before returning to his seat. "So, where shall we begin?"

Meanwhile, at the Event Area

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's the day of the big race!!! Everyone's gathered to see the competitors give it their all, but only one team will make it out on top!

The announcer's voice rang out across the area, echoing across the track as he spoke.

Attention all racers, there are 15 minutes until race time! I repeat, fifteen minutes until race time!!! Gather your partners, make any last minute adjustments that are necessary to your bikes, and meet at the starting line! Any who are not present when the starting countdown begins will be disqualified from the Event!

"Endless, blazing, fasthorse..." The chaos gate reacted and a blue light enveloped Rhyme transport her to the desert area where the event was starting. There was still time left till the race started so she decided to read the post about the event, she skimmed it over again but this time she would find a ruling she over looked when she first read, "No more or no less then two people per team!" Joanna quickly slams down her visor and takes to the forums to quickly find a a partner. Jo hadn't any friends since her arena partner betrayed her and no real life friends played.


The thread was quickly filling with trolls and toxic post accusing her of being a noob and poking fun at her for being kicked off her arena team. Joanna let out a deep sigh and rested her head on her keyboard, it sucked being so known sometimes. She slipped her visor over her eyes and waited hoping someone serious would approach her, however, at this point she would take anyone.

Kazujin bowed to his master, after a hard day at work with his Dojo, and had ran back home to log back in. His foot steps were fast and his breathes were heavy.

After forty minutes or so he had arrived, ran into his room and had shut his dooor with the sound of his lock clicking. He stumbled over his books, dropping his bags on the floor and jumped from side to side before sitting into his computer chair in front of his desktop.

He slipped on his visor and began to explore the web. He began by looking through his messages, checking to see if there was any. None.

He continued to look through the news. Nothing interesting that he hadn't seen before hand.

He then looked onto the forum, looking for anything interesting-- when he found news about the race. Even more interesting, someone requesting a partner.

"Character name: Rhyme.." he mumbled to himself. He thought to himself, thinking of how he had never been apart of a race before this point. He didn't know what he'd be doing-- but, he did want to help. After scrolling through the toxic posts of trolls and idiots, he posted his reply.

"I'm not that experienced myself, but I suppose I can help." He had replied with a sincere gesture.

"Good luck, Raven." Yui thought to herself while entering the cafe. Even though not logged in, Yui's mind was back in The World, exploring the importance of all things digital. She wondered about how her new character format would be accepted by the net society. Scythe would be considered K.I.A. Most likely deleted, at the thought of other players. It wasn't strange, what with the reports of so many players going comatose while playing The World now a days. This would help her re-evaluate the worth of the enemy hackers. It would let her get closer to people who would otherwise distrust her. As Yui approached the table that Kisaragi sat, she raised her bag onto it in a casual swing.
"Don't be so impatient," Yui said before taking her seat to the left of the man. She aided Rika in finding a seat. "Did you order us anything?" She questioned Kisaragi while opening her bag and pulling from it her gear. Her laptop, headset, controller and a few... extra accessories. Yui got it all set up while waiting for Kisaragi's answer. They would have to get Rika set up into the game eventually and when the did, she wanted to make sure everything was ready. According to the information she got, Kisaragi had been gathering equipment for Rika, awaiting the time she logged into the game. At the same time, Yui herself had been thinking of locations and tactics to teach the girl. They were here to help her now, but if the girl didn't become self sufficient, it would be a problem. The hacker did have quite a bit on her place. While she loved Rika like her own little sister, she couldn't let it interfere with her online tasks. Especially with the enemy hackers about.

-----------------"(Delta) Endless Blazing Fast Horse"-------------------

Raven sat aboard his steam bike with his partner just behind. The steam bike was in a locked position, keeping the players from getting any sort of cheap head start. "If Scythe were here, she'd disable this lock." The grappler smiled at the thought before his fists tightened around the handlebars.
Raven glanced back at his teammate to see the PC chosen for this task. He was a Flick Reaper - It was recommended by Scythe herself. After accessing the many tactics behind a high speed on bike race, the girl had settled on the idea that their classes together would make a well balanced team. With Raven behind the controls, able to coordinate close range swift melee strikes with his fists should an enemy get too close - And a Flick Reaper behind, using their scythe to strike at ranges and in AoE Motions. Scythe was confident in Raven, and Raven was confident in Scythe's strategy, however...
"Ehehehe~" The flick reaper with his feet to the ground, partially sitting on the back of Raven's steam bike, was balancing his scythe on one hand while jesting with himself, watching the shifting pole arm.
"He's an idiot..." The Grappler sighed and went on with thought while waiting for the race to begin. Everyone was at the starting line, so the race could begin any minute. He fully intended on winning, no matter what.
Hitomi sat on the back of Arsenic's steam bike with her left arm wrapped around him. Her body was pressed against his in a way that, in the past, the Hacker would have no doubt killed her for. There was a slight smile that showed over her lips. "Easy win," She whispered to Arsenic as her hand rested upon her sword. The Admin was getting anxious as she awaited the countdown.
Hitomi, the Admin, was a lot like a PKer in many ways. Administrators weren't supposed to exist in The World R:2. This was due to CC Corp. wanting to stay as uninvolved in the game as possible for purposes that were discussed to considerable length on the forums. While they still watched from behind their screens, not many of them bothered to enter the game itself. Hitomi was one of the only ones that decided to take a more aggressive stance in protecting the game from cheaters. Even more so - at the sight of a cheater, the admin has the ability to remove them harmlessly from the game and ban them. Hitomi however took a combat stance toward this, insisting that she would not delete them if they could best her. She made it a painful process. This admin truly had a craving - a lust - for watching the look on peoples faces as she eliminated them. She hid this the best she could for professional reasons. "Almost time..."

-----------------------------Delta Server, Mac Anu-----------------------

The race was just about to begin. In the skies around all of the servers, a screen appeared that showed varied camera views of the starter lines. Some watched all the contestants, others watched one in particular - either at a distance or a close-up. As one of the images showed Arsenic upon it, TESMEI's hands pressed to her chest, her eyes winced in a bit of concern mixed with jealousy. It had naught to do with Arsenic, but rather the sight of someone she knew competing in the event. She turned from the screens to walk back to her shop. The twin blade wanted oh so badly to be part of the race, but she only wanted one teammate. That teammate hadn't been logged into The World for a few days and so she missed her chance to ask the person or sign up herself.
As TESMEI reached her shop, she turned and threw her arms outward as she fell back into the bags of items. "Mmm!!!" Her hands shook through her hair, a great deal of frustration. She could just imagine the bounty she could get from whatever the reward in the race was. With nothing left to do and nobody coming up to the shop today, she sighed and watched the skies to keep a close eye on the race and her friends competing in it. "Good luck, I guess..."

Kisaragi shook his head, pressing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose and opening his notes. "I didn't know what the two of you would want, so I didn't even attempt to order for you." He turned to Rika, folding his hands over his notes and leaning forward against the table. "So, Rika... You're going to join The World today. That's an amazing step into the gaming realm, considering I'm certain that you don't have any prior experience in an MMO, as far as I know."

He flipped a few pages, stopping on one that looked older than the others, tattered and frayed along the edges, and discolored an almost yellowish hue from age. The page itself was covered in stains and marks, and he took special care to remove it as gently as possible from the notebook, placing it on the table and opening it to reveal it was actually three pages, all stuck together from the wear and tear of the years.

"You see, Rika... The World has a history that I'd like to share with you first, so that you can better understand the world that you're about to join." He turned back to Yui, a light smirk betraying the fact that he intended to use this as an opportunity to teach Rika a history lesson, as well. "Yui... Have you mentioned anything to her about... The Epitaph of Twilight?"

----------------------------------At the Races----------------------------

Arsenic leaned back against the bike, an arm wrapped around Hitomi as he stared up at the screens in the skies, watching them pass over all the entrants, stopping for a moment to look at one in particular. He heard Hitomi whisper the phrase "Easy win" and snapped back to the here and now, rather than searching the screens, realizing that he, himself, was becoming guilty of the very thing he so often called Hitomi out on. A part of him wondered if it was just from being around her so much as he turned to her, smirking a bit. "Yeah, definitely an easy win."

"Yui... Have you mentioned anything to her about... The Epitaph of Twilight?"

"No, I thought I'd leave the history stuff to you." After giving the old wrinkled pages of what Yui could only assume was the Epitaph of Twilight a glance, Yui went back to looking at her own computer. She paid little attention to the old mans obsession with the old stories. Yui herself had an interest in The World, but while Kisaragi's fascination dealt with texts and stories, hers dealt with legacies and internal securities.
When Yui thought back about the origin of The World, where Kisaragi might think about The Epitaph, Yui thought about Fragment. Where it all began. No game designed around the concept had ever gone without some sort of black ink. It was her favorite subject - things that she shouldn't be looking into. Instead of trying to teach Rika about where it all started, Yui prepared to teach Rika about where she'd be going. She brought up several files with multiple firewalls over them. Her left hand rose to her cheek and just over her ear where a device like a bluetooth was located. After clicking on it and scrolling it back, she began to enter a code onto the screen of the laptop. The file she had designated opened. As it did, she could see information detailing the customization and the information of multiple in-game things - not just from The World R:2 but from its previous installments. The first thing that she opened was her character data. As she began loading it, animations detailing the functionality and design of this file appeared. Her character file only appeared simple, with many complex compressed files loaded into it. Small hacks that would give her character an edge in the smallest of ways. Increased reaction time, increased general speed, increased durability. So many things to make her better then average but installed in such a small way that they would seem unnoticable. It was only to the well trained eye that a player could see the importance of a half second faster reaction time. While looking over this, Yui had considered giving Rika's character her own enhancements - but ultimately decided against it in fear of what the admins would do should she be caught. She moved on to another file. All of them were covered by hundreds of intense layers of protection, ensuring that even should anyone manage to get their hands on her computer or files, they would not be able to access them.
After a few seconds of pondering over the concept of her character and her other black files, Yui looked up from her computer to stare Kisaragi in the eyes. "I showed her the technicals, like gameplay." Gameplay... She almost laughed at the thought of it. Yui showed Rika average gameplay in the most un-average way. She showed Rika her character traversing areas single-handedly taking on hordes of monsters that should be far too strong for her. She showed Rika the dangers of wandering into player killer zones before turning it back around and annihilating them. She showed Rika items that could not hurt a fly, then shifted them into weapons so powerful they could bring down legendary events with a single swing. It would have been more appropriate to say that she showed Rika what she was missing out on - what Yui herself considers gameplay. Still, she was hesitant to reveal it all to Kisaragi due to his fascination with many rules of the game. He knew she was a hacker, sure. But if he knew how far she had fallen into the reality that is hacking... How would he respond? She sat quiet in wait for Kisaragi's no doubt long and boring history lesson to Rika. She promised that she would help, no matter how boring it might be to do so.

Kisaragi swept a hand through his hair, pushing it back out of his face in a futile effort, as it fell right back into place when his hand returned to the notes. "Alright, then. I suppose it's best to start at the beginning." He turned to Rika, leaning back in his seat as he began to summarize over the notes for her, the tattered pages being his only reference point. "Rika, we're going to get into the World, but first I have to tell you a story. First... I want to tell you about a woman of amazing talent. A woman by the name of Emma Wielant." He took a notable moment in thought, a smile crossing his face as he continued. "She was born in 1972 to a rich West German family that ran an old winery near the Rhine. Her mother died when she was very young, and her father passed when she was but 18. Emma was a clever girl, Rika. Her father's will named her uncle as her new guardian, and set her up for a trust fund, which she could only access once she had turned 20. But her uncle was a greed-filled man, and in an attempt to steal the inheritance all for himself, he offered to legally adopt her. This is where Emma being clever comes into play. She saw right through her uncle, and refused his offer. Emma would, soon after, enroll in a nursing school, as a means of supporting herself in the meantime. However, on the eve of her 20th birthday, Emma was under so much pressure and stress that she fell ill, the overworked young lady coughing up blood in a case of hemoptysis. This was a minor case, and Emma was able to return to better health, though she would take a retreat at her physician's request, and thus she went on to check herself into a health resort in South France. While staying there, Emma had some type of supernatural experience which led her to pursue studies in spiritual consciousness and existence, a field known as anthroposophy, and the works of Rudolf Steiner. It was then that she began work on the Epitaph." He paused for a moment, taking a sip of his drink, then took a deep breath, continuing.

"In 1996, Emma met a talented young programmer by the name of Harald Hoerwick. Harald was also interested in anthroposophy and was using it to further uncover and develop a relationship between computers and humans. It was their common interest in this field that gave them a chance to meet and upon doing so, Emma developed an interest in Harald's talents while Harald developed an interest in Emma. However, Emma was already involved with a gentleman over 20 years older than herself, and thus any feelings poor Harald may have had for her would never be returned. Emma's greatest project, known as the Epitaph of Twilight, would soon be posted online and formatted in a means that no computer could ever directly copy, thanks to a line in the website's coding. However, it was never to be finished. Sadly, Emma died shortly after this in an automobile accident, on her way to a meeting with Harald. Sadly, Emma's work was lost to us all, as well. Her website was shut down soon after this, and then there was the Pluto's Kiss incident..." He lowered his head, a single visible tear rolling down his cheek as he continued to smile, looking down at the notes again, then returning to his story once more.

"Harald, affected deeply by losing Emma, began work on a new project. He called it Fragment, making it in an attempt to not let Emma's death truly be the end. Fragment, Rika, was the Beta program that became The World, as we know it today. Born of love and loss, of heartbreak and tragedy, The World stands true as a shining tribute to Emma Wielant and her Epitaph of Twilight, or so the rumors state."

He removed his glasses, placing them at the side of the table as he carefully, almost ritualistically, began folding the pages together. "So, Rika. Do you understand the importance of Emma Wielant to The World, and why I brought you her story before we could continue?"

Rhyme sat on her steam bike partner less and mare moments from being disqualified from the event, she was about to call it quits when she got a reply.

"I'm not that experienced myself, but I suppose I can help."

It was all Rhyme needed to see, she didn't care if she had to ride with a newbie as long as she got ride. She quickly wrote a reply. It's fine, just get to the race asap, I'll be the only one without a partner on a bike.

Rhyme looked out to the other contestants and was confident that her gameplay mechanics were above most the people here, however, this wasn't a fight in the arena and there was the power house team of Hitomi and Arsenic. Not to mention she would have to play carefully not to abuse the systems glitches with Hitomi's watchful eyes present. Although Rhyme hated moders, she saw nothing wrong in using mechanics set in the game whether it was widely known or not.

-------- Soul-------

Dark Soul had made his way to the event, even though he was not participating in the race he figured it would be a great learning experience. The spellcaster had been alone in the game most the time, only partying when he had no choice. He thought most the newbies like him would just slow him down, instead he played the game as a lone wolf and it seemed to work, he was already a lot farther then most people were when they started the game.

Soul got to a closer position and scanned the players on their steam bikes, he had recognized a couple of them from vids but only three players stood out. Hitomi, the ruthless admin. that would delete your ass for even thinking about breaking game rules and her partner Arsenic, he was pretty well known for his guild and choice in woman from what the forums day. The there was Rhyme, the exile who had been dropped from her arena team, she was high skilled and had a few pvp videos that he had watched to get a feel of the game play.

"If nothing else, this will be very interesting to watch," Soul ponders out loud.

Kazujin looked about for a reply, when he saw an instant response. After reading her gracious reply, he pushed back his visor, making sure it had a tight grip on his eyes and logged into the world.

----True Blade (Delta Server, Mac Anu)----

After much haste, True Blade made his way to the race. His eyes frantic, he looked about at the riders and ran through. He would then move upon a lone rider, one with a.. curious look about her. He stopped ahead of her, and spoke with a sincere voice, "Hi, were you the person in need of assistance? I'm the one who responded to your reply."

Rika had listened quietly throughout Kisaragi's lesson about Emma Wielant, making sure she gathered everything. She thought she had noticed Yui playing with her computer a bit on and off as he'd told the story, but she couldn't be too certain. After he'd finished, and began folding the papers, she nodded, acknowledging the question he'd asked.

"I think so. If I'm reading into what you're telling me... Emma Wielant is indirectly responsible for the creation of The World... Right?" She smiled nervously, taking a sip of her drink, then setting it back on the table, her eyes still glancing at the old notes Kisaragi had held throughout the lesson, though it had seemed as though it was out of habit. He had glanced down once, maybe twice... Did he really know all of this from memory? And if Emma's story was only the beginning, what else could there be to learn?

She pulled her notebook and pen out, writing down the little pieces she'd remembered the clearest and writing them down, in case they had some kind of bearing on the game itself, wanting to make sure she fully understood what was happening at all times once she began playing. After a moment, her head lifted, and she turned to Yui, who had been silent for some time.

"You've been awfully quiet over there, Yui-chan." She smiled at the older girl, tilting her head slightly.

The crowds began to roar. All over The World, people were watching the twenty players gathered at the starting line of the event. The intensity was growing each second and it could easily be seen on the faces of the participants. The screens zoomed out from the individuals to display all ten teams lined up. Some of the teams were pretty typical; like the team of Raven & Reske. They were both players of different classes, determined to win. Others were a bit less common; like the team of Rhyme and Kazujin. A high level well-known player riding along with a newbie. Indeed, even with so few of teams, it seemed they were in fact still widely diverse. Some racers even went so far as to sporting a "Team Color" or their "Guild Flag".
"Racers, ready yourselves!" came over the speakers as the announcer spoke. The announcer was a player in robes not unlike that of a scribes. He stood to the side of the track, activating a speaker icon. The sound, not only on the track but across the world itself, was coming in perfectly. The coordinators of the event clearly put a lot of time and effort into it.
The teams mounted their respective bikes and readied themselves for the race to begin. VRRRMMMM!!! The overwhelming sound of all ten bikes being started at once filled the world. The sound of the engines roaring at once was a bit freightening to some players who didn't know what was going on, suddenly jumping at the sound of it. After a few moments of preparing, a set of lights appeared on the side of the screens and on top of the track before the players. One, the red light on the top/left lit. *BEEP*. Two, the yellow light in the middle lit up. *BEEP*. This was it. All or nothing, it was time to give it their all. The announcer swung his hand into the air, casting a spell. The second the spell unleashed-- Three! The light changed to green and the sky lit up with a bright explosion. "GO!!!"

Three. Two. One. "GO!"
The engines rev'd again, foot stomping on the gas. He was off. Raven's steam bike quickly tore off from the crowd with a terrifying screech to take the lead. Reske, his partner brought his arms up and through the air to swing his scythe full circle in a wide range to keep everyone else back. Any who would have come up close before the big start was finished would meet the Flick Reaper's scythe through their bike. Reske smirked, sitting in reverse on the back of Raven's bike. He waved before they took off to lead the pack.

Three. Two. One. "GO!"
"Arsenic," Hitomi shouted anxiously. "Now!"

Jason Moore leafed through the last few pages of the manual that came with rather odd looking equipment set up at his desktop. Everything seemed to be in order from there, and he'd taken a cursory glance at everything else. Jason was the kind of guy who preferred the hands-on experience, though. He'd learn about everything else as it came around. So without hesitation, he slipped the visor over his head and ran the login sequence. He was brought to a character creation screen, which made him purse his lips in slight annoyance. "Whatever man," he muttered as he threw things together on the sprite model, "let's just go." He paused briefly to throw on a bit of flair, but then he was ready.

A few blinks brought things into focus, and he turned his head to look around as sounds began to filter through. It looked like he was in some sort of town, he remembered reading a name vaguely...something MAC or whatever...before starting up. "Looking go so far," he says to himself, "let's see how she handles." He took his first few steps around The World with a slowly widening grin.

Three. Two. One. "GO!"

"Arsenic, now!"

Arsenic revved the engine once more, releasing the brake as he did so to kick the bike into gear and launch it forward onto the track. He ducked, swerving to the side as the Flick Reaper's scythe cut overhead, causing him to drop back a place as the race began. He gritted his teeth, a look of irritation crossing his face as he kicked the throttle into a higher gear, the bike rushing ahead to gain on the team ahead of them.

Rhyme looked at the noobie and noded, "yeah thanks for coming on such short notice, I'll pay you after the race. Hop on I think it's starting soon." True Blade noded then got on the bike with Rhyme and readied himself.

Three. Two. One. "Go!"

Rhyme's bike roared forwarded and sure enough players already tried to take each other out, she was able to dodge an attack that killed another player and took them out of the race. If they could survive this part of the race they could make it to the finish line, however, the rest would be challenging still.

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