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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 4:42 pm 
Exalted Player

Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 289
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.

(There was something of an irony in Canti's actions as of late. It seemed as though he was in the habit of saying one thing, and doing another, conforming to no set state of being. Not even his own. For example, a while ago, he had followed the Long Arm, Senna, to Mac Anu on the reasoning that it was extremely dangerous to be walking around unattended so shortly after the battle between the Admins and the Elites. With the Freedom Fighters caught between that and the fact that Canti, Dien, and Zhao had all been thrown headfirst into the game because of it, one would think that the Twin Blade would learn from his own mistakes, or even the mistakes of others. Of course, if you knew Canti, you'd probably think otherwise. This particular Twin Blade was not too keen on worrying about the details, at times. It was a fair point to try and keep others out of harm's way, but he himself valued his existence on a somewhat lesser term sometimes. Or, in other words, he was reckless and headstrong. Given that, one can understand, therefore, why it is that he was now out of the hideout, leaving Carmina Gadelica for Mac Anu...AGAIN!)

Canti: Just call me a slow learner...

And you're not a very good listener.

Canti: Hmmm?

(There was a sort of brown-red haze showing up now, casting The World in an illusionary fashion that made it look like a different land entirely. Mac Anu now looked more like a scene from hell than anything else, though Canti noticed...a greater stability in the imagery. His perceptions must've been becoming clearer now. No more confusing head-trips. From now on, he might just see the truth, and it would not fail him. The image of what he thought was a product of his own mind, his 'guardian', was still in the shape of a fox. Chances are, this Reyome would only be able to talk to him more than anything else. Still, with that in mind, it beat running the gauntlet alone, and he was actually glad for the company.)

Canti: Oh, hey there, Rey. What's up?

You didn't answer when I tried to get your attention earlier. I was worried.

Canti: Right... Sorry about that. I was under alot of stress.

I guessed that, but what were you doing? I couldn't even get an image.

Canti: I was fighting Suraisu.

The hacker? How did you manage that?

Canti: It was a training session. They're just...very life-like.

I missed something, didn't I?

Canti: Yeah, but I'll fill you in. There's somewhere I've gotta go...

(The Delta Server was still under the order of marshall law, but Canti was well-aware of this. So, with the fact that there were regular patrols of Cobalt Knights in the area, the Twin Blade decided that a little stealth was in order. Thus, while recapping his problem of trying to determine whether Suraisu the lightning-hacker was dead or alive, he moved quickly into the city proper. He ducked behind people with deft leaps, jumped and kicked off of walls to get over heads, and dashed across the river silently in a wing-assisted sort of way. This got him as far as the alleys, which was good enough. He began to wander down the alleyways, looking for one particular stretch that he would recognize.)

Canti: Hmmm... Wonder what it takes to get a room here in Mac Anu...

(Finally, he found it, took a while to recognize the place, since the boxes weren't all in a circle anymore. Someone had stacked them... Don't understand? Alright then... Let's flash back in Canti's memory for a moment. This was how it all started. Waiting for him and every other prospective joiner of the 'new clan' before was him, the lightning-dude, Suraisu. This was where he told them about the dark tower and the legendary demon. This was the beginning of...the Trek Through Tenebrous Tower. In the beginning, the hacker-man had not seemed so impressed by any of the people that showed up that day, and rightly so since a number of them dropped out about halfway through. It was down to him, Dien, and Zhao by the time lightning-boy got a good idea as to who the real men were. They had guts, brains, and a shitload of tenacity. And even then, they tended to fall short. But still, despite that...)

Canti: I wonder what you'd think of us now, ya bastard.

This was the place?

Canti: You didn't know?

The investigation started when I was assigned to look into an area with bizarre data codes. That was how I tapped in the way I did, and why you thought you were seeing ghosts.

Canti: Listen... If you're writing a report on all this, do me a favor. Don't be hard on the guy.

On Suraisu? Why?

Canti: Talking to him, and talking to his double, I just don't get the impression of an enemy. I think there was more to him than just a double-crosser. The guy took a nasty hit for me when that squid-demon exploded. He didn't have to, and it probably wouldn't have mattered any more than any other monster. But he did do it, and it probably DID hurt like hell at the time, since he too is trapped in this game.

You think I might've helped you so you'd return the favor?

Canti: Could be. My best guess is that Suraisu had no real choice, that he played out the hand given to him because he was trapped or something like that. I don't know, and that's why I gotta find him. See, what I'm thinking is that he wants what I want, which is out of here. When I get out of this game, I might never come back, or maybe I will and I'll be more careful.

I see... So then, he's not going to show up here. What's your next move?

Canti: The tower, natch.

(With a smirk, the Twin Blade took off...literally. This time, rather than taking to the grounds, he shot up into the sky at a high altitude to get where he wanted to be. There was an age-old saying that stated, "Nobody ever looks up.", and it was usually right. In this case, Canti was really moving too fast for anyone to notice in the first place. He was something of an aerodynamic person, so it wasn't like there'd be any trouble getting back to a simple Chaos Gate. Besides, even if someone did, those lousy Stormtrooper security guys were no match for him. Even if they had a higher level, he was just plain better than them. Thus, Canti landed in front of the gateway and spoke aloud the three words that would open the way to the dark world.)

Canti: ..........

Something wrong?

Canti: Yeah, there is... I FORGOT THE WORDS!!!

(Shouting and cursing, Canti grasped his head in sudden aggravation at simply forgetting where it was that he wanted to go. Then, at about the 3-minute-mark on his tirade, he realized...wait a minute...the history folder! The Twin Blade called up the menu and checked the list of areas that he'd visited before. Aha! Yes, it was there! The last place in Mac Anu that he had visited was...)

Canti: Screaming Betrayed Deadlands!

(There was an annoying buzzer noise, one that did not strike confidence in his endeavours. What the hell was going on? They were the right words, dammit. He remembered them now, as their guide had shouted them out. Just a little jog of the memory and...what's this now? A message appeared on a small screen in front of him.)


(Canti facepalmed. This was intolerable... Can it be that hard to fix a place up? Don't they just have a reset button for this? He was about to turn away when he noticed something below the sign. There was a little time-counter cycling its way towards zero at the bottom of the screen, right next to a blurb saying "Estimated Time Until Completion". Say... This was a stroke of luck. The counter was almost through. In a couple minutes, it would be open again. Now, with the CC Corp working on it, that meant there might not be much of a trace to pick up there, but knowing hackers...they always leave something behind, something the Admins wouldn't see at all. So, as Canti waited, the timer reached zero and the area opened up. Letting off a "heh", he recited the words again and was rewarded with a sound signifying that his words were now processing properly, and then transported him...)


( the wrong place.)

Canti: What...the hell?

(This was not Screaming Betrayed Deadlands. There had to be an error or something. Canti checked the information, but it couldn't be... This wasn't the place. There was no lightning, no clouds, no graveyard full of undead, and certainly no friggin' giant tower of doom! Instead, what this place appeared to be...was a water field - which already pissed the dark-and-fiery Twin Blade off regardless - consisting of many junky-looking contrivances, plus a number of huge tundra stones. This place was an icy wasteland. Granted, it looked even more dead than a graveyard, but still...this wasn't right, not at all! What was going on here?)

This isn't the place.

Canti: No shit! You know anything about this?

Not a chance. Best way in I could have is to hack inside the way I did before, but I doubt I'd get a stable connection.

Canti: You think the Admins tore it down?

I doubt it. CC Corp never even knew about the place.

Canti: Then the hackers?

Couldn't say.

(The whole situation made no sense. How do you hide an entire form of existence and replace it with another when the same words were used for both places on the same server? Explain that one, huh? Well, there really was only one possible answer to it, and Canti felt like kicking himself for not realizing it. Why he didn't think of it before, he didn't know, but now he felt like hitting his head on something hard.)

Canti: Nobody tore it down. It's still around, but not here. The reason I'm here instead of there is the same reason why whole bunches of normal players don't find themselves at that place. Suraisu is a hacker with the key to the dark tower. Why did I ever think I could go back there when I don't even know shit about hacking in the first place? That tower must've been a patch or something. So, when they don't need it, it's switched off and you get sent here, to the regular Deadlands.

That's very clever. No wonder it was so hard to find it before...

Canti: Yeah, but that means there's nothing for me here. I'm back to square one. All I can do is-

"Get the hell away from me!"

Canti: Eh?

(There was a sound from over the next hill. A number of sounds, actually. There was the clanking sound of battle, the squealing sound of something inhuman, the crash of machinery, and the shout of a player who was decidedly not comfortable with the situation. According to the information, this was a Level-9 field, which meant that even beginners with a die-hard sense of The World and of battle would have some trouble. So, Canti decided to investigate. Once he reached the top and looked over, the dark Twin Blade beheld...a sight which he couldn't recall ever seeing before in his life. You had to hand it to the designers of this game. They came up with some weird ones at times. There was a Heavy Blade being acosted by soem kind of metal creature on four wheels. It looked like a mechanical scorpion, and was the source of the clanks, the squeals, and the machinery sounds. Information had it labeled as a Scorpion Tank. The Heavy Blade looked fairly versatile, but he must've been a lower level than this thing to be worried by it, or low on HP. He was a sleek one, though. An outdoorsman-type wearing brown leather and fur, as if decked out for the winter. The look in his silver eyes, as well as the cut of his brown hair and the point of his ears, also suggested a subtle hint at animalistic viciousness. And considering that the name appearing over this guy's head was "Rabid", it seemed likely. For the moment, Canti watched as he battled the strange mechanoid, but then he noticed that the Heavy Blade was about to have the form of two more of those guys.)

Canti: Okay, that's just taking it way too far.

(In seconds, he was surrounded, trying desperately to dodge the tails and wheels that were striking down at him. Canti hated cold places, so therefore, he hated everything in them, especially the monsters. Hence, he slid down the snowy hill and leapt into the fray, catching one of the mechanical monsters off guard. Geez... They looked even uglier up close. Lashing out against the first of the Scorpion Tanks, he very easily reduced its HP to zero, being twice its level.)

Canti: Rust and die, motherfuckah!

(The Heavy Blade was able to take out the one that had been following him, so long as Canti kept the third and final creature off of his back. And considering that these monsters were actually rather discoordinated, it wasn't as hard a feat as it seemed initially. The creatures soon faded away into nothingness, leaving the two players alone for the time being. Rabid immediately began to heal himself.)

Rabid: Thanks for the help. It would've been a real problem, since I was low on SP and HP.

Canti: We've all been there before. You new?

Rabid: Sort of. I've been playing on and off for a few weeks, just trying it out, but I lately started getting in more hours, training for an event. That's what I was doing here. I heard that the monsters here were mostly big and tough for my level, and I just broke Level-10 if that's any indication.

Canti: That tells me you were alot lower before. Like maybe five? It's nothing I haven't heard before. I do that shit all the time.

Rabid: Right, and I wanted to be stronger so I could qualify for the event. There's a strict Level-10 minimum rule, so I had to be able to qualify within the next hour, otherwise I'd never get the chance to fight the Thunder Warrior.

Canti: What did you say?!

(Call it a bizarre coincidence or perhaps dumb luck, but suddenly this random encounter was starting to sound like divine providence was guiding him towards a proper end to his search. Could he be so fortunate? Common sense told him otherwise, but could he possibly let this slide without investigating into it? Canti pressed Rabid for more information and got the long and the short of it. Apparently, this mysterious player had, on his own, constructed a secret event to challenge many up-and-coming players. Groups of three would be pitted against powerful foes, and then sent to traverse the dungeon where he, the final challenge for the players, waited for them. It was situated inside a normal area, but the monsters had been replaced to better suit the occasion. The name of the event was simply called, "To The Best...", and was in no way endorsed by the Administration of The World. Rumor had it that their host for the even was a hacker, with a character model like no other, and was Thunder-based. Rabid didn't know anything beyond that, though.)

Canti: You know, I think I'd better jump in on this. D'you mind?

Rabid: Depends. What level are you?

Canti: Level-18. Why?

Rabid: That's perfect! The place is set to be a Level-19 field with increasing difficulties. I was just gonna join up with whoever needed a third man, but I think I can call in a friend of mine to fill in the third seat for us instead.

Canti: Alright then... Where's it gonna be?

Rabid: Stalking Darkside Messanger, in an hour.

Canti: Ah... How fricken' poetic...

OOC: Note - The Screaming Betrayed Deadlands that I placed here instead of the tower is the actual form from the game, meaning that I was given access to nothing more than what was originally suppose to be there, and not the hacker field. Thus, the tower exists and I didn't go there, but it sets the stage for this little story of mine.

I'll have a doozy of a sig later, I swear. It'll reflect ".hack//CODE" an' everything.

Hey look! A profile! It's got items and stats and things! Cool! If it isn't fully up to date, it will be, so don't worry 'bout it.

Last edited by Lord Canti on Tue May 08, 2007 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 10:04 pm 
Exalted Player

Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 289
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.

Canti: Dammit...

(This was taking far too long, even for delays to be in the works. What was going on here, huh? Here he was, waiting inside of Mac Anu's Stalking Darkside Messanger, a Level-19 fire-field where the ground looked like molten lava and everything looked dead and melting from a distance. The reason he was even here, instead of...say...anywhere else, was because of a simple invite. One hour ago, he'd met a Heavy Blade called Rabid, who was feverishly training his ass off to raise his level in an area that Canti had thought contained the dark tower that Suraisu had taken him and everyone else to. Since it wasn't there, that left the Twin Blade with very few options on his quest...until Rabid told him about the purpose of his training. There was a warrior, one of Thunder element, who was organizing some kind of event where parties would meet in this stage for an event like no other. Level-10 players were the minimum allowed inside, and Rabid had just made the mark. Canti had left Screaming Betrayed Deadlands to return to the Aqua Capital and try to think carefully about all this. Would Suraisu do something like this so soon after the issue with the tower? It didn't seem likely, though it was confidential enough. A post on the message board apparently started it all, made by a perfectly ordinary user who claimed to know the Thunder Warrior. So now, an hour later, several groups of players had gathered at this secret-and-possibly-unauthorized event. Rumor had it that the guy was a hacker, and that's why Canti was really here. If there was any chance that this was Suraisu, he had to get through to the end. The only problem was...he was waiting for Rabid to get here with this friend of his and there was a fricken' delay from whoever was in charge!)

Canti: Why the hell doesn't anything ever work right?!

(Several players glanced at him, but nobody said anything. People were...a bit hesitant to go near him, or even talk to him. He'd been grumbling for the past fifteen minutes and anytime somebody looked as though they were gonna say something, Canti flashed 'em a look that would turn blood into stone. That made them back if really quickly...)

Lighten up. They're only players, and this delay couldn't possibly last that long.

Canti: Then YOU come down here and wait. This is the part where I get up to go to the bathroom or something.

Well, I can't help you there, but how about some music? I heard you wanted that and you couldn't get any in your present state.

(A grin formed on the Twin Blade's face.)

Canti: Rey, you didn't...

I did.

(Unable to suppress himself, he checked his options and found his old playlist available to him once again. The list manifested before him as a window that only he could see, and he began to scroll down the selection until he found something upbeat to brighten the mood. After that, he was cutting some moves to the voice of Will Smith going on about Men In Black. This definitely made him feel a whole helluva lot better. So good, in fact, that he didn't see Rabid gate in with his companion. Once he stopped dancing, though, he was the target of applause.)

Rabid: Heh. Bravo! Encore!

Canti: Wise ass...

Rabid: Couldn't help it. Anyway, this is my friend, Toshiro.

(What Rabid was introducing him to was a Long Arm in white. We're talking...lots of white. He looked to be in a flowing garb, like that of wisemen or ronins, carrying a Relief Lance as his weapon. He had light hair as well, like silver-gray, and a funny-looking kanji-symbol on his forehead. Automated subtitles programmed into the game identified it as the symbol for "Doubt". What he was doubting, though, Canti would never know. Toshiro was alright in levels, somewhere between Rabid and the fiery Twin Blade himself. The odd thing was that, instead of saying anything in the neighborhood of pleasantries, the Long Arm took it upon himself to notice and make mention of an oddity on Canti's arm.)

Toshiro: Where did you get that strange scar?

(Namely, the glowing vein-like scar on his left arm that was a physical manifestation of Twilight's grasp on his character, something that blatently set himself apart from other normal player...though people rarely noticed or cared.)

Canti: It's just a custom job done on my character, like the black eyes and the wings.

(Neither of them were aware that his wings were totally functional, like Balmung of the Azure Sky, but Canti wagered that that would change at some point.)

Toshiro: You mean they allowed something like that?

Canti: No different than the sign on your forehead. I had a bit of an argument about the wings, though.

Toshiro: I can see why.

"Hey! HEEEEEYYY!!! We're getting started, so SHADDAP ALREADY!!"

(And this was how the challenge began... All eyes suddenly came to rest upon a short player, one who sounded like he was twelve at the oldest. This was a wood-element Twin Blade, one with a reptilian skin and a good piece of armor on him. Rabid said that this was the guy who claimed to know the Thunder Warrior, and that his name was Rakkatat. His character didn't look natural to The World at all. Small cosmetic changes were allowed, but not a whole skin-graft to look like a monster. Regardless, Canti decided that he and the kid would have to talk. Any friend of the Thunder Warrior was a target for him.)

Rakkatat: Alright, big shots! Here's the deal! The rules of the event are as follows... "To The Best..." is a battle of horror against a ton of enemies from beyond. You must start with a full party and end...with at least on person still alive. No one under Level-10 is allowed to participate. The goal is not to win, but to make it to the end alive. Anyone who does will be giving their full HP and SP back, plus a five-minute break to take care know.

(There was a loud succession of laughter in response to this. What the kid was suggesting was that this event would be so full of danger that you had to watch your back the whole time, without fail. That meant that you didn't have time to get up and take care of business, get a sandwich, or anything like that. The break was so after you were finally able to get up, you didn't have to fight the Thunder Warrior immediately. That was very humane of them.)

Rakkatat: All the monsters are custom-made and hella-tough, even for this field. Also, the dungeon entrance is moving on its own and the map is disabled. Your job is to find it and get down to the bottom of the dungeon, where a large room to be used as an arena awaits. Oh, and one other thing...

(The reptilian Twin Blade smirked, pulling out his weapons and taking a stance.)

Rakkatat: We'll know if any of you are cheating, so don't try it. The only way to get to the dungeon easy is to follow me, 'cause I'm going there now. And on that note...BEGIN!!

(The short player casted Ap Do on himself before anyone could even move, and ran off. He was followed, shortly thereafter, by a multitude of other players. For some reason, Canti didn't move... He felt that something was up about that guy, more so than just the fact that he had a player skin that didn't fit The World. True, this game didn't have reptilian characters, but more than looked as though he were doing what he was doing...on purpose. Canti held fast, his gaze shifting around as Rabid went on the move. He stopped the Heavy Blade.)

Rabid: What is it?

Canti: Something's wrong... Don't follow him.

Toshiro: You suspect it's a trap?

Canti: I know it's a trap. C'mon! Let's find that dungeon ourselves!

(They were on the move, but in a different direction. Choosing South, the Twin Blade, Heavy Blade, and Long arm came upon the event's first monsters...and HOLY HELL but they were monsters! Giants, for starters. Giant greenish monsters with flabby scale-skin that smelled of the ocean's salty depths to Canti. They were huge, at least 20 feet tall, with clawed hands and and feet. The weird part about them were the strange squid-like heads and the bat-wings perched upon their backs. Canti marveled at them for a second with wide black eyes, not even knowing what the hell they were. He'd made a Cthulhu joke back at the dark tower, but these were more than one! What the hell?)

Toshiro: This explains what the kid meant. It's the Lovecraft Mythos, Star-Spawn of the Great Old One, Cthulhu.

Canti: Star-Spawn? I never heard of 'em...

Toshiro: You don't read enough.

Canti: Guilty. many of these does Great Cthulhu have?

Toshiro: Too many.

Canti: Great...

(The Twin Blade immediately went on the offensive. Someone with a sick sense of humor was doing this to him, he could swear. In fact, he'd be really pissed of this WAS Suraisu's doing and the guy just lured him into a squid-fest to remind him of the tower's penultimate boss creature. In any case, these were water-element creatures, so Canti immediately used Blazing Wheel on one of them and found damaged them, but...there was no elemental critical! Leaping back for a moment, Canti looked confused. Why hadn't it done as it was suppose to. Then, Toshiro casted Rai Don on it, and there WAS a more painful reaction.)

Rabid: How'd you know that?

Toshiro: As I said, you two just don't read enough. Fire did moderate damage to Cthulhu's kind, but lightning did worse. It fried their innards.

Rabid: I see...

Canti: Right. Gotcha'. Let's do this, then...

(Switching to his Fuse Blades, Canti began to inflict harsher damage as he and his comrades worked at it. The monsters WERE tough, but these ones were kind of slow, so they weren't too bad if you learned to dodge alot. Needless to say, Toshiro and Rabid needed to heal more than Canti. Speaking of which, the Twin Blade noticed - as they were moving along - a number of other players that were healing nearby, while also not heading in the direction as Rakkatat. They'd just killed some very ugly things that Toshiro explained to be Dark Young and Gugs. Towering tree-like beasts, the Dark Young were disgusting wretches that Canti could barely look at. The Gugs were only comparatively better, with their vertical jaws and double-handed arms. Both races were around twenty feet in height as well.)

Rabid: Are they gonna hit us with this Mythos stuff the whole way through?

Toshiro: They might. There are a significant amount of terrifying monsters in that collection, thanks to the work of many writers. These are just some of the bigger, scarier ones.

(A fair few moments later, the trio came across an area with...very many spiders. Larger-than-normal ones whose bodies looked as though they were brains... They were gathered around a tall structure that seemed, at first, to be a plateau, but then they noticed it was moving... They'd found the dungeon entrance! Now...that just left the huge amount of giant spiders. The Spiders of Leng, as Toshiro put it. Rabid and Canti both leapt into combat, blades a'flying into the legs and bodies of creatures not born into the normal sun but a universe unlike any other. Very soon, through a number of bits, it became known...these things were poisonous.)

Rabid: Fight through it! We're almost there!

Canti: Hey, uhhh...guys? You see what I say?

Rabid: Huh? What now?

(Canti pointed, briefly, at the entrance to the dungeon. Rakkatat was sitting there, waiting patiently.)

Rabid: Is that little guy just watching us struggle?

Canti: It takes all kinds... Besides, he's a judge. Why should he battle?

(It was moments later when the fighting was all through. Canti was healing himself with magic and Toshiro was using a resurrect on Rabid, who had just been killed by a trio of Leng Spiders before the other two finished them off. Silently, they approached the dungeon's entrance, Rabid healing himself as Rakkatat stood up, excited.)

Rakkatat: Hey, you're the first ones here!

Canti: It that good or bad?

Rakkatat: Could be both.

Canti: What happened to the guys that were following you?

Rakkatat: They died, naturally. We'd rigged it so anyone dumb enough to try and follow ME would be attacked by Dholes, and MAN were they nasty!

(Toshiro shuddered at this, obviously knowing what the short Twin Blade was talking about. He gave Rabid and Canti the short-version of it and the two reacted in disgust accordingly. Dholes were like giant worm-things, humongous even, that spat goo at prey to entrap and then devour them. The players that fell for that trap were out of the event, period. When the taller Twin Blade asked of Rakkatat why all the Mythos stuff, he just shrugged. The kid didn't know any more than the rest of 'em. Go figure. In any case, for using their brains and fighting the good fight against the hordes, they were allowed to proceed down into the dungeon, where eeven more horror and devilry awaited them.)

Canti: Oh, lovely. What do you do for an encore?

Rakkatat: You get to fight the Thunder Warrior. That's what.

Canti: Oh yeah...

(They proceeded inside, as it was told that if they lingered, more opposition would appear.)

I'll have a doozy of a sig later, I swear. It'll reflect ".hack//CODE" an' everything.

Hey look! A profile! It's got items and stats and things! Cool! If it isn't fully up to date, it will be, so don't worry 'bout it.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 6:54 pm 
Exalted Player

Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 289
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.

Canti: So...Toshiro. This stuff is all familiar to ya?

Toshiro: I have read of it. Sorry to hear you're not as well-versed.

Canti: Gimme a break. I haven't exactly had the time to handle a lifetime obsession.

Toshiro: Obsession? It's just a series of short stories I enjoy.

(The dungeon was quiet for the moment. A subterrainian layer of dirt and rock, they had been randomly attacked by creatures that were horrendous in appearance, hideous forms that only a dark god could love. Toshiro had been knowledgeable of all of them, as he was indeed a reader of the novels. Sort of a good luck charm in that case, as they dealt with a number of creatures, such as the black Formless Spawns or the menacing Shoggoth who waited in a gas-filled giant room, poisoning them and tearing them apart. Regardless of what they were facing, he knew something about it, though he clearly denied being some kind of obsessive to detail.)

Canti: But you know everything about this stuff. And I mean everything.

Toshiro: That is not true! There are a number of things of which I wouldn't know where to begin.

Rabid: Like maybe those?

(The sleek wolf-like Heavy Blade pointed ahead with his sword, indicating the end of the hallway where the stairs to the next level down were. He was talking about a trio of strange forms that were roughly spherical and made of red flesh. They appeared to be floating there, with malformed and grotesque faces looking in all directions, as well as having nearly as many tentacles made of pure muscle squiming around. A larger, more monstrous face than all the others on these things glared at the trio. They were labelled as Macabre.)

Toshiro: No. Never seen those before.

(There was an origin here, no doubt, but none of them knew of it. In any case, the Macabre creatures decided to attack then, having let out a multi-voiced roar from all mouths at once and flying at them! Canti didn't think. All he did was act. He leapt right at the middle oneand stabbed down at it with his knives, hitting muscular tendrils first as he was forced to hack and slash away. The Macabres grew claws, teeth, drills, hands, and buzzsaws from the ends of their appendages, flailing them around maddeningly to try and bring them down. The dark Twin Blade cursed, kicking off of his beastie as Toshiro kept his out of arm's length and Rabid slashed into it with a special attack. Using a Speed Charm, Canti began to bring back the offense with his Bloody Twin. This was an endurance battle, because these things regeenerated! So, while they tried to earn their health back, he began to steal it away! Canti killed his off after a moment or two, but then Toshiro died before he could kill HIS!)

Toshiro: They seem to be weaker against fire.

Rabid: Oh yeah? Good! Vak Kruz!

(The Long Arm's ghost had been observing things as he'd tried very spell items on the beasts. Fire seered their flesh, so Rabid tried it and got an elemental critical on his own monster, killing it. Canti finished off Toshiro's one with Blazing Wheel from Dante's Blades. Then, he used a Resurrect on him while Rabid got down to healing. It was then that Rabid casted ANOTHER fire spell, because even the blood of these beasts appeared to be alive. Killing off even their spirits, the team seemed to be okay. They were getting down closer to the goal, now descenting to the fifth level after all this trouble. However, there was just one problem...)

Rabid: Ah, crap in a hat! I'm out of healing items, and these guys won't even leave us alone long enough for SP to regenerate!

Canti: It's alright. I've still got SP, and I've got items. We're still good. Though...I'll need to restock later...

Toshiro: Canti, I just Fairy Orbed this place. It doesn't look good...

(The dungeon map had not been disabled, so those who had brought in Fairy Orbs could actually see what was up ahead of them. For the most part, the whole dungeon had been normal, save for the monsters involved, but now...things were different. Canti glanced at the map...and blinked. This couldn't be right. They must've changed the dungeon layout to do this. It was a straight shot of a long hallway, with several locking rooms of a fairly-large design stationed within it. Three rooms, no waiting. This looked like trouble, and it seemed deliberate in design... Still, they had no choice but to go through it. Therefore, with Canti suddenly leading...without even realizing it...they headed for the first room. The hallway was clear one moment, but was suddenly littered with serpents!)

Canti: "Snakes... Why did it have to be snakes...?"

Rabid: "Asps. Very deadly. You go first.

Canti: Me?! Why me?!

Rabid: Because you start the Indiana Jones reference.

Canti: Dammit...

(They started into the hallway, running as fast as possible. They were minor enemies, designed to wear them down. Because there were so many, Canti elected they ignore them for the time being, and thus...they got to the first room. The doors shut behind and in front of them...and then a funny thing happened. The room grew to an enormous size...)

Rabid: Is that the room doing that?

Toshiro: We might be shrinking...

Canti: Does it really matter?

Toshiro: Not really.

(Just then, something large and heavy was dropped into the room. Actually, the best word for it was GIGANTIC, because it was a giant soldier made entirely of metal, holding a sword and wearing a particular garb - also in metal - that seemed rather familiar... The dark Twin Blade paused when he saw this, 'cause something had clicked, but what was it?)

Rabid: Great... A 300-ton Spartan, come to kill us...

Toshiro: No, I think it's a Roman Centurian.

(What it WAS...was attacking! The giant drew its sword and stabbed down at Toshiro, just missing as it stomped around. The colossal warrior slashed and stabbed at them, its attacks very likely to kill in one hit if it got in a good one. Canti jumped to a wall and kicked off to avoid being kicked by the thing, all while trying to place it somewhere... He knew he'd seen it before, but where? That was when the information came up. The creature was labeled as an Iron Talos. The Twin Blade brightened up, then, racing to its backside.)

Canti: I got it! I saw it on Jason and the Argonauts! He's got a heel we can use against...him....

(There was a problem with that. The real Talos was the servant of the gods, and had a heel that could be opened to allow his lava-like blood to blow from his body. This one...had no such weakness. Canti sweatdropped at this. So much for that plan... The Iron Talos then tried to stomp him flat, and there was only one way he was getting out of there in one piece. Canti spread his wings and took flight...much to the amazement of his comrades. The monster wasn't sure what to make of this either, and tried to swat him before confusion set in. Missing, Canti flew straight for the eyes and stabbed his strongest blades into them. They stuck there...and the monster bellowed mechanically, trying to cover its eyes.)

Canti: No weakness? Fine! I just made one!

(The monster flailed around with its arms, sword dropped for the time being, unable to see a target. Canti began to goad it as Toshiro and Rabid attacked its feet, reducing HP. Then, the unlucky beast ran into a wall, lost balance, and fell over with some very loud clanging noises. This was it... Taking out his other daggers, Canti proceeded to riddle its face with stinging pieces of metal, noticing that the head began to rumble...)

Rabid: Canti, get back! I think he's gonna blow!

Canti: His head a'splode?! Dammit!

(Flying back, the Twin Blade watched as the rumbling head cracked and exploded with a fiery mass in the middle of it all. The Iron Talos' HP was reduced to zero, and Canti's knives were scattered throughout the room. He would've had a helluva time gathering them up again...but fortunately, the room returned to its normal size. This place...was very strange. Well, in any case, his team had questions...)

Toshiro: Interesting. How do you fly? I understood that only Balmung of the Azure Sky could do that.

Rabid: Yeah, tell us!

Canti: *Sigh* Don't ask, you guys... It's a long story and I DON'T wanna go into it. Let's just get going, alright?

Toshiro: Very well, but we still would like to know, if you would trust us.

Canti: We'll see.

(The next corridor had a completely different sort of hazard set into it. Not snakes, but electrified floors, walls, and ceiling. It was an otherwise normal path...but with wild arcs of electricity running across every surface at random. Even a damn video game shouldn't have things like this in it. Canti looked at the bolts flying everywhere and instinctively backed away. This was not a very healthy hallway, especially not for him. Rabid caught his attention then, thankfully diverting his attention from the killer corridor.)

Rabid: Canti, is there any way you can fly us through that? I mean, we'd probably still take damage, but at least it'd be reduced.

Canti: I really don't think so. I'm an F-15, not a cargo jet. If I try to take on too much weight, I'm gonna take a nosedive. Trust me, you're better running.

Toshiro: Not through that, I think. There's a good chance that one of us could die and our item cache is severely limited now.

Canti: I've still got Speed Charms, and plenty of them.

Toshiro: That should help.

(And a couple Ap Do-type spells later, they were on their way through it, their bodies sizzling from being fried here and there. Canti took the least damage, but only because he DID fly through it, and as quickly as possible. Rabid and Toshiro managed to survive, with Rabid the lowest on health. This event had put him up a couple levels, but he was still trailing a bit.)

Rabid: At least I'm here...

Toshiro: Wherever here is.

Rabid: Say uhhh, Canti? You look a bit pale. Something wrong?

(Since the Twin Blade was tan of skin in The World, paleness would be very noticable upon him, and MAN did he look that way.)

Canti: You could say that I've developed a fear and respect for the power of lightning, especially since my main elements are darkness and fire.

Rabid: So...wait. You came here to fight this guy...knowing that you were facing someone who could possibly defeat you easily?

Canti: Look, I don't need to go into it. Let's just say I might know him and I may have to fight him, and if I WILL get ugly.

Toshiro: More to the point, he would suffer from your element as well.

Canti: Yeah, that's also true, and... Uhhh, guys? What's that?

(It was only now that they paid attention to their surroundings. It was a large room, of course, but the style of it was...unique. It was not like any dungeon room thus far, but more like the study of a well-known professor. As the doors shut themselves, they looked to be in a place filled with book on bookshelves, along with a desk, a few chairs, and ample lighting for reading. It looked to be from somewhere in the 1920s. At first, one might suspect that this was to be a puzzle room. This was not the case. They had been assured a heart-pounding adventure of terrifying proportions, and they were getting one. The thing that Canti pointed to was a strange mass of distortion forming in one corner of the room, solidifying into a throughly feral form. It was something with eyes, a head, legs, and a body - a quadrapedal animal of some sort. A creature that leapt from the corner and tried to take a chunk out of all of them, though their Speed Charm-aided bodies prevented this right off. The beast disappeared, leaving a trail of something like ectoplasm that burned like acid.)

Toshiro: I know what that is!

Canti: Of course you do! So, spill it!

Toshiro: Hound of Tindalos!

Canti: Hound of what-whozzit?

Rabid: Tindalos! Oh shit...

(Canti looked from the Heavy Blade to the Long Arm and back, then cursed.)

Canti: Has everybody read this stuff besides me?!

Toshiro: Oh, of course not. I've only heard of them.

Rabid: Yeah, but I know because I like dogs and wolves and stuff. My dad bought me that book for Christmas and all.

Canti: Okay, so what do we do?

Rabid: We die.

Canti: WHAT?!

Rabid: Hounds of Tindalos are time-travelers, creatures that vaguely resemble hunting dogs that enter the world at funny angles. They can spend eternity in an instant for say...stalking a prey, healing wounds, and so on. They don't die, they only get diverted.

Canti: So, that's it then. We're going to die.

Toshiro: Thank you, Mr. Dent.

Canti: Well, I don't see YOU coming up with anything!

(And truth be told, neither was the Twin Blade himself. This one was a puzzler, alright, but not in the way they expected...)

I'll have a doozy of a sig later, I swear. It'll reflect ".hack//CODE" an' everything.

Hey look! A profile! It's got items and stats and things! Cool! If it isn't fully up to date, it will be, so don't worry 'bout it.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 5:37 pm 
Exalted Player

Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 289
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.

(To be honest...)


(...this whole Lovecraft thing...)


(...was getting on his nerves.)


(Canti, Rabid, Toshiro - all of them severely damaged by the quick materializations of this beast, this supposed Hound of Tindalos, a time-travelling creature that only vaguely-resembled some kind of dog-like thing. In reality, there were lizards that it seemed to bear a certain hideous kinship towards, looking more like a flayed reptile covered in acid. Regardless, that was its name and it was a serious problem-hound. It leapt from the of corners of the room, always in full health despite any damages it took from previous assaults. Rabid's explanation was that it had all eternity in the blink of an eye to heal, and was thus nearly impossible to kill. Canti didn't like that very much, and decided privately that if he died here and now, he was going to hell so he could punt H.P. Lovecraft one for this, even if he wasn't the writer who came up with the hounds in the first place. The Twin Blade was getting a little worried, though. If they didn't beat this thing...)

Rabid: We can't. Let's just face it. They had the better hand, here. We'll just have to log in again once we're dead.

Canti: I can't let that happen...

Toshiro: What's the big deal, Canti? We lost. It happens. Deal with it.

(That was it. There was something that the Twin Blade could not take, certainly not from people who didn't know a thing about it. His hackles were already up andhe was pissed off as is. And then, the Long Arm had to go and say those god-damn words... Deal with it? DEAL WITH IT?! Canti looked over at Toshiro with a stare that should've reduced the player to molten cinders. Smoke and fire orse off of his shoulders and wings as his scowl deepened. A growl that was far from human escaped his throat as his black eyes rooted the Long Arm where he stood and his voice shattered his calm.)

Canti: Don't you EVER tell me what to fucking do, you lousy piece of SHIT!!!

(The Hound of Tindalos had chosen to leapt at Canti next, from behind. It had no understanding of what was going on, so it did not know that this was a bad time to strike. The Twin Blade's anger was at a sudden height, and that was when Canti did things in a more vicious sort of way, such as...cramming his arm down the beast's throat as it came upon him, knife and all, and then slamming it down onto the ground, his other hand making sure it couldn't clamp down on his arm. Canti had the hound, and now it was scrabbling to remove itself from his strange grasp...only it couldn't because the knife in its belly kept it from doing anything of the sort. Acid began to sizzle, but the Twin Blade ignored it as he slammed the creature around against furnature, the walls, the floor - anything that would deliver damage. Then...)

Canti: You think this is hurting me? Well, it's gonna really SUCK to be you! Blazing Wheel!

(What transpired next was a flurry of motion as Canti enacted the fire-based technique with a deadly hound hanging off of his arm. Fire exploded off of his daggers as he caught the beast, both inside and outside, until it finally fell off...just in time for Rabid and Toshiro to finish it off. The Twin Blade let out a scream of pain in afterthought, from the effects of the acid on his arm and body. He was hurt badly, for the moment. His teammates obliged in using Repth spells on him.)

Toshiro: Canti...I apologize. I didn't mean to-

Canti: No, forget it, man. It's not worth it. Some things just...set me off.

Rabid: Well, still...we beat it, right?

Canti:'s dead. Let's get the fuck out of here.

(Back to his original self, Canti moved without even thinking. His right arm still hurt, and would for a while. These guys didn't know it, but he was feeling every inch of this hellhole. Every cut, every shot, every spit, and every razor-tongue lick. He had to bear it, somehow...but that was no easy task. Opening the doors, the three of them saw an ordinary stone hallway, long and ancient in appearance. There were no visible hazards, and no funny holes for things to shoot/crawl/seep out of. Considering it was the last corridor before meeting their mysterious benefactor, it might make sense to have a hallway without traps in it. On the other hand, such an idea could be a terrible mistake. As the three of them headed down the long stretch, the hallway's configuration changed all of a sudden. With a very abrupt shift in the stone-work, they were now on a gradual incline, going down.)

Rabid: Does anyone else think that this is another trap?

Canti: Damn right.

Toshiro: No doubt.

Rabid: Should we run?


Canti: Yes.

(Something had dropped down from behind, and Canti already knew what it was before he even dared to look. You see, his music track had been interrupted by the sound of another melody, and it pained him to realize that it was the Indiana Jones theme. Therefore, stealing only a glimpse of what lay behind, he ran full-tilt down the corridor with his teammates, away from the giant boulder that now pursued them through it! Several loud curses filled the tilted hallway as Canti ran as hard as he could. The thought of flying didn't even occur to him, because he wasn't sure he could trust his air-speed any more than his ground-speed right now. In any case, he found himself leaping through a doorway that was slightly narrower than the hallway and the boulder. Hitting the smooth marble floor, he cursed even more.)

Canti: Dammit, I always hated that part of the movie! Rabid?

Rabid: *Cough!* I'm here. Just made it too.

Canti: Uhhh...Toshiro?

(He looked around. There was no Long Arm here. Well, not until his spirit walked straight through the boulder, not seeming all that pleased with the turn of events.)

Toshiro: Didn't quite make it, I'm afraid, but I'm still a sense.

Canti: Well, unfortunately, we're all out of Resurrects, so you'll have to wait it out.

"Nah, don't worry yourself over that. I'll give 'im one. It's only fair, right?"

Canti: Eh?

(They were in a large room with a smooth marble floor and several oddly-shaped pillars arranged at random. In it, the voice of a twelve year-old emanated from out of nowhere...until its owner came out of hiding. The short, young Twin Blade, Rakkatat, leapt down from one of the pillars and regarded Toshiro for a moment...shortly before reviving him with the appropriate item. This kid seemed to get around alot. In fact, nothing in this entire event appeared to stop him. Just how in the hell was he getting around, anyway? Rabid had a theory on this.)

Rabid: By any chance...are you the Thunder Warrior?

Rakkatat: Pffft... ME?! No way! I'm just helping him out.

Canti: I kinda' figured, since you don't even use thunder element attacks. So, where is he?

"Right here."

(Canti had been prepared to hear a familiar voice in all of this, but...sadly...he was to be disappointed. It was not. The voice he heard was of a calm, controlled male...with a subtle point of amusement in the way he spoke. This was the voice of someone who enjoyed his handywork. And while Canti did smell the peculiar scent of ions burning, this was not the man he was searching for. It was not Suraisu. Turning around, the dark Twin Blade found himself looking at an oddity...of sorts. There WAS something familiar about the guy, but not because he was anyone he knew. What he saw was a warrior in dark blue, dressed like a Ronin, who had fox-like attributes. Light-gray hair...with ears poking up of the same color, as well as a tail to fit the whole fox-spirit motif. He reminded him of Futune, one of the players who had attempted to ascend the dark tower with him, but quit after a while. It was with him, the Blue Fox, that Canti had shared his first beliefs that he'd been seeing ghosts...though it turned out to be Reyome in the end. This one here was a samurai, carrying a long and subtle blade, a slicing sword by the name of Yamato Spirit. Canti immediately didn't like the looks of this for some reason. There was something odd about this guy, more than just his appearance. He... Wait a minute... He wasn't even looking at him! His eyes were shut and there was some kind of scar over them!)

Canti: Who are you?

"My name is Michelo the Blind Sword. I'm not really blind. I just fight better without actually looking. Something I learned in here."

Canti: What's all this Thunder Warrior crap, huh?

Michelo: Are you not going to take a break? I did say you could have one.

Canti: Not interested.

(He let his teammates go instead. Canti didn't even know if he had to go anymore, or how to do that here in The World even if he could. It was sort of an awkward thing that he didn't like to think about very often. In any case, he was fishing for answers now, and there would either be a bite...or he would jump in and catch fish on his own.)

Michelo: Alright, I'll explain. The fact is, we weren't expecting any normal players to get through at all. It was all designed to be hard enough so that only those who could cheat would make their way in.

Canti: You only wanted the cheaters? Why? We didn't cheat at all and we're through here just the same.

Michelo: Well, I did say that no ordinary player could make it through,'re not a normal user, are you?

Canti: I'll ask you again. What are you after?

Michelo: Certain players...who have abilities like you.

Rakkatat: Real special ones.

Michelo: We want to kill them, so we put our own talents to good use.

Canti: Kill them? Wait a minute...

(Canti took a defensive stance, his eyes widening as he began to grasp the whole of this event. It was a trap! They were looking to eliminate anyone who could get through their challenge by making them run through hoops 'till they're pooped! And Canti had to admit...he was a little tired. Damn, but they got him, only...there was something that didn't wash, something he was missing. And when he got it, it hit him like a ton of bricks.)

Canti: You guys are hackers yourselves!

Rakkatat: He's good.

Michelo: Of course we're hackers. You think we could do all this without a little code-wrangling? But you guys... We've heard rumors about your kind. That mess in Mac Anu? Do you think we'd stand for it? We'll lure you in and kill you all until there's nothing left.

Canti: I see... So that's what you think of me, huh? One question... Where's Suraisu?

Michelo: Haven't seen him.

Canti: Then why are you the god-damn Thunder Warrior?!

Michelo: Because I needed something that'd catch your eyes, all of you.

Canti: Well, no offense, fox-boy, but now I have to kill you.

(The samurai, obviously a sort of kitsune by design, unsheathed and twirled his sword in a flash, faster than any movement Canti had ever even seen... Whatever sort of hacker this guy was, he had skills at the very least, and it had to be a high-level custom-item he was carrying, something illegal perhaps. In any case, he seemed ready to fight, and the shorter Twin Blade was backing off. That could only mean one thing...)

Michelo: Your five minutes are up.

OOC: Tune in next time for the battle of the...uhhh...moment! Yes!

I'll have a doozy of a sig later, I swear. It'll reflect ".hack//CODE" an' everything.

Hey look! A profile! It's got items and stats and things! Cool! If it isn't fully up to date, it will be, so don't worry 'bout it.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:13 pm 
Exalted Player

Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 289
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.

(How was it that he always managed to get himself into these situations? Was it just the circumstances that surrounded his life? Or was he just too much of a dumbass to see his way through them? Probably some of his headlong rushing into things had something to do with it. He'd come here of his own free will, yet not thinking for a moment that it could've ended up this way. A rumor about a Thunder Warrior in a devastatingly-tough event led him on this crusade in his attempts to find Suraisu. After failing to locate the dark tower itself, he'd thought that finding Rabid, the Heavy Blade, was a stroke of luck. But it turned out all for naught. A monstrous event filled with creatures so powerful that they were meant to destroy all competition without which the only ones who could survive were those whose abilities extended beyond the norm and into the illegal. In other words, the authors of this quest were specifically targeting people like him. Now...there was this samurai, a Thunder Kitsune apparently, who was using the idea of the recently-vanished Suraisu to lure out people like Canti for the kill. Michelo the Blind Sword, a Heavy Blade with a quick and fierce samurai sword... The dark Twin Blade now faced him for two reasons: For his anger, which was searing, and for his life, which precariously hung in the balance of The World's design. The event had been labeled, "To The Best...", and now...they would have to find out who that was...)

Canti: Hey, what do I get if I win?

Michelo: Your life.

Canti: Heh... Not worth it!

(The Twin Blade immediately strode forward with a flurry of strikes from the pair of dark Dante's Blades, one slice after another in a wild and crazy manner that was unprediectable. It was Canti's way not to fight according to a pattern, something that a skilled fighter could learn and use against him. However, for some reason, Michelo's quick sword-swings clashed against his attacks smoothly and effectively, as if he were reading his mind or knowing instinctively how he was going to fight. Yeah right... Like that was even possible... How could he ever pull that one off if Canti himself didn't know where he was going? The answer actually came to him quicker than he thought, while Michelo's sword twirled and sliced, high and low alternatively. He'd said so himself. He fought better just by listening. His characters eyes didn't open because they were designed not to, so how could he even tell when that little trick was being used? Fact is, he could've been doing it the entire time just to stay focused. Meanwhile, Canti himself definitely preferred to see things with his own black eyes. So do you fool the blind?)

Canti: YAAAH!!

(You don't. Canti had just avoided being stabbed through with a lightning-embued sword-jab, though his hip was still grazed by that and it was still painful. The fact was that Michelo could hear every movement, every swish and whoosh his knives could make, and just about anything else that made a sound. Ah, but there was one thing he'd missed, and Canti went for it as soon as Michelo made his next move.)


Michelo What the...?

Canti: Surprise!

(He'd landed his sword right in the gap of the dagger's blade, as per design of the weapon. Fighting blind, even if you were good at it, was not always the best idea. Canti stabbed at Michelo's diaphragm, but only got his hip as he shifted aside. sliding his blade out, he and Canti struck out at each other several times, making no headway at all, and then the Twin Blade unleashed Twin Darkness to hard-hit his elemental background. Unfortunately, the fox had a few maneuvers of his own, such as a whole volley of lightning strikes that blazed at Canti when this guy stabbed with his sword. That blew the Twin Blade across the arena. Michelo was already in front of him, slicing away mercilessly, when he got up.)

Rapid: Hey, Canti! Why'd you start without us?

Canti: Oh, you guy are back? Great...

(It was of no real comfort that Rabid and Toshiro had returned from...wherever. Not when he was busy getting his ass kicked. He had to have been on a higher level, whether it was done so legitimately or hacked that way. In either case, Canti wasn't about to give in, but he needed a plan, dammit!)

Canti: I guess you guys weren't here when he said this whole event was bullshit?

Toshiro: No, that's pretty much news to our ears.

Rabid: So, he's just a hacker, then?

Canti: Basically...

Rabid: come you're playing fair if they won't?

Canti: Uhhh...

(The Twin Blade suddenly pulled back and aside so Michelo could trip and hit the floor. Canti now appeared to be musing that question with deliberate thought, mostly because...he hadn't thought of it that way...)

Canti: *Sigh* What am I thinking? This is my damn life on the line...

(Jumping straight up, Canti spread his wings and took flight, swooping down at the fox-fighter at a high-velocity, striking him hard with every pass. Even the defended strikes at least knocked him back. This did well to reduce the kitsune's HP, but Canti forgot that his own health was diminished somewhat. An explosion of lightning threw him back all of a sudden, rebounding him hard off of a wall and onto the floor. He was pretty dazed, having hit solid stone with his face at a high speed. Michelo stepped towards him, taking a Health Drink for himself and downing it.)

Michelo: You think that this is fighting dirty? A few edited moves from a hacked character? I'm nowhere near your kind sick, twisted ability. The power to kill people or comatose them in a game... Must be nice, right? Too bad it can backfire. Soon as I heard that little secret, I knew I could beat you and everyone like you. People like you have got to be stopped so The World can just become a game again.

Rakkatat: Hey, what about these two?

Michelo: They're not hackers. They don't have what he's got.

Rabid: What're you talking about?

Toshiro: It's actually pretty obvious what they're saying. They think Canti is responsible for putting people into comas. And judging by the looks of things, it appears that he could, in fact, be guilty.

Rabid: What? Gimme a break! He helped me out, remember?

Toshiro: Well, any normal character wouldn't be dazed and confused, would he?

Rabid: Unless someone were about to comatose him with the power he claimed the other guy to have.

Michelo: Don't be ridiculous. The only person we can really harm is this Twin Blade. Here, I'll prove it. Rakkatat? Kill him.

Rabid: What?!

(And before you could even blink, Rabid died of seventeen stab-wounds in the back, of which there is no cure for in this era...or any other. His body fell, his ghost appeared, and the only thing keeping them here was the fact that their third party member wasn't dead. Rakkatat sniggered.)

Rakkatat: Told ya so! My bro knows what he's doing!

Rabid: Your bro? You mean, you and him are related?

Michelo: What better way to stay coordinated?

Canti: I work alone, personally.

(You'd think that he'd have passed out from that last attack, but it was a matter of fact that he didn't. He'd been in a deranged state, but now he was on his feet, staring at...the ground? Wait a minute... There was something wrong here... A shadow seemed to have fallen over Canti, casting him in a somewhat darker shade of light. His own shadow appeared to have a life of its own, or rather that it flickered out of control with no definite shape. A game glitch or an ominous message? Yours to guess, but never behold. Michelo swung the Yamato Spirit at head-height and Canti stopped it with his hand, black blood seeping from the wound created. He hadn't even been looking at it. And now, was it just the fox's imagination, or was this dark Twin Blade's ears pointier and teeth sharper as he began to grin? Canti suddenly gripped and pulled the sword, forcing Michelo into a punch to the chest that could've competed with Bruce Lee in raw strength. Michelo went tumbling as Canti spread his wings and flew after him immediately. Rolling to his feet, the samurai let loose with lightning-blade attacks that the Twin Blade parried with a sudden ease as he let slip from a pointed tongue...)

Canti: Twin Darkness...

(Dark explosive slashes came from the Twin Blade's knives, and then he kicked the sword right out of Michelo's hand before shoulder-ramming him into a wall. On the rebound, Canti punched and kicked rapidly, forgetting his weapons for the time being. He clawed at the Thunder Kitsune with his special gloves, slamming him into the wall here and there while laughing in a manner most sinister and filled to the brim with lunacy... The other Twin Blade interfered, but Canti kicked him away without a single trouble. His teammates were watching in horror as this monster they thought was their ally brought Michelo closer and closer to zero HP. Before it could reach it, though...)

"Rue Revolver!"

(...icy-cold pain shot through Canti as his back was sliced by something with the water element, throwing him aside with sudden pain. he rolled away, the darkness that seemed to come over him now fading away. That voice he'd heard just then... It didn't belong to anyone already present. It was female... He got up to find someone new on the battlefield, checking on Michelo, who was still alive by only a small sliver. The Thunder Kitsune was sitting up, but clearly in no shape to fight. The one who had struck Canti from behind was, of all things, a catgirl.)

Canti: Go figure... I'm a regular raven crow-boy, so naturally a cat would trump me somehow.

(A Blademaster, clad in light-blue mercenary armor over casual clothing that appeared to be darker blue jeans and a white T-shirt. She had long brown hair that was tied off at the end and eyes that appeared to match. The body-style suggested a teenager, maybe around his own age or a little older. The sword she held looked as though it were made of ice, and was called Crystalis. The Blademaster's own name was Kalina, and she did not look very pleased. She was on their side, naturally. However, she didn't attack. At least, not immediately. Canti stood up, groggily. His whole body hurt right now, so he really wasn't in the mood to keep fighting either.)

Canti: So, there was three of you the whole time? Why didn't you just ambush me? Or is this how you Elite bastards get off, by striking one at a time, just so I can suffer?

(This brought up confusion in all of them, leading up to Kalina voicing it in a soft British accent. Clearly, she wasn't from anywhere near wherever Michelo and Rakkatat called home.)

Kalina: 'Fraid I don't understand. What's an Elite?

Canti: You don't know? What the hell? You've been hunting them all this time! That's why you're trying to kill me!

Kalina: Oh, so that's what you lot call yourselves, then?

Canti: NO!!

(This was gonna take some explaining, and Canti wasn't even in the mood to TRY.)

Canti: Look, you've been getting this all wrong. I'm not one of the fucking hackers that have been putting people in comas. I'm a freakin' mechanic, not a computer wizard!

Michelo: Oh, come on... Whatever you do in real life doesn't matter. We know that the power you use doesn't come from writing code on a computer. That's what we do.

Rakkatat: Yeah, and if it does, who cares? You could be lying!

Kalina: Hang on a minute, you two. Let's hear him out. I don't think he is one of them. He only flipped out like that 'cause you pushed 'im hard enough.

Michelo: .....

Kalina: Right then. You know our story. We're just trying to put your Elite blokes out of commission. What's that make you, then? You a hacker like us?

Canti: Nah. I'm not a hacker and I'm no Elite. I'm just...a victim.

(This left alot of them speechless, particularly the two ghosts that had come in here with him. With that little matter of fact out in the open, the three player that had conspired this whole mess put away their weapons.)

Kalina: We didn't know...

Canti: What? That you could've killed me? I'm in a coma somewhere, dammit! The next time I see "Game Over" could be a sign saying "Welcome to Hell". You people are insane... You lure me down here just because I happen to be looking for Suraisu and try to kill me for it!

Kalina: I don't get it. Why were you looking for him if you weren't one of his own kind?

Canti: Nevermind... It's none of your business. God damn it... Now, there's not even a trail.

Kalina: Sorry. Fact is, we chose to use him because he'd off and vanished. None of us knew that someone other than the Elite hackers with his kind of power would come by.

Canti: Well, I suggest you pick up shop and leave. They'd never fall for this anyway. This is a game that nobody wins. I'm out of here...

(And that was how it ended. The battle between him and the so-called Thunder Warrior was interrupted, and it was never intended to be a proper fight in the first place, or part of any event that would properly yield a prize. Canti used a Sprite Ocarina to escape this bogus dungeon and return to Mac Anu, a place that never changed and never tried to trick him. What did he gain from this campaign at all? Did he get any proper experience, gold, or items? And what was with all this demonizes that he kept doing? That was only suppose to be part of his own character identity. Was he manifesting it somehow now? And if so, to what end? What, in fact, had he gained here at all, especially now that the trail of Suraisu was cold? He wssn't giving up, but it was gonna be alot harder from now on. Best to return to base now, anyway...)


Canti: Huh?

(There was a flashmail in his inbox...)

TO: Canti
FROM: Kalina
SUBJECT: Apologies.

I know you can't forgive us. Whatever it is you're's something beyond us. It was just that we didn't want to sit by and do nothing when people we know fall into comas. It isn't right... If there's anything that any of us can do to help, just say so. I got the feeling that this Suraisu was the one that put you under in the first place. I'd be willing to join your search, personally. The others are a little miffed, though. Give me a call when something comes up.

Canti: Hmmm...

(Perhaps he'd gained something, after all... Canti logged the member address and switched off his personal music, silently thanking Rey again as he headed back to Carmina Gadelica, and then on to the Freedom Fighter HQ.)

I'll have a doozy of a sig later, I swear. It'll reflect ".hack//CODE" an' everything.

Hey look! A profile! It's got items and stats and things! Cool! If it isn't fully up to date, it will be, so don't worry 'bout it.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:37 am 
Master of Games
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:23 pm
Posts: 1260
Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
Canti -> +3 Levels, + Magatsu
-------> Golden Orb Glows Reasonably Red

Rewards should take effect after the current quest (since we're already on the boss fight.)

My items and such
Wishlist: Any Armor or Weapons under level 50, Any Scrolls (prefer level 2+)

EXP 500/1000

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