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Sword Art Online: Recurrence



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Lone

The Lone Wolf
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Sword Art Online

Recurrence



The roar of voices could be heard over the lower sound of water as it rushed through the center of the city. The bustling sounds of Edenport were almost deafening. Who would have thought so many people would still play the game, but not actually be a part of the tournament. Edenport sat as the epicenter to floor 19, a floor that primarily focused on large rivers and almost ocean like lakes that held smaller towns and dungeons scattered all around. It's lush land masses held a variety of higher leveled monsters and anyone who wasn't a high enough level wouldn't dare going into the forest type jungles alone. But despite all of these faults and beauties, it was still a very bustling floor. Edenport was the main trading and shipping port for the 16-20th floors. If there was a main side quest that needed completing, you would find it at Edenport. As a matter of fact, there was a specific weapons shop that sat nestled in the main shopping district. Anyone who was walking past the shop would be able to hear the bickering that was coming from inside and most would move swiftly past in a hurry they didn't know they were in.

"What do you mean it's only worth 10,000 Col, I went and busted my ass in the temples of the 17th floor for this quest item and you are telling me it's worth this much." A tall man said as he bent over the counter of a the weapons shop. A shorter portly man sat on the other side of the counter, he wasn't at all intimidated by the much taller man, but that was simply cause he wasn't able to see his level. "I'm sorry if you feel cheated, but I can set any price I want on an item, it is my shop after all." The tall man straightened up and picked the orb up off the counter, it fit in the palm of his hand, a lustrous purple color that shown with a dim light, smoke like patterns swirled around on just under the surface of the glass. "It took me hours to get this, do you know how many monsters I had to fight in that temple. Hell I got nearly 10,000 Col just from the Kollings themselves.

[Kollings: A race of ape type monsters that stand about 6 feet high, they have very broad upper bodies and strong legs to stand on, they don't have much armor or clothes to speak of, but they do wear a tunic on their torsos that provide protection from striking vital points. They move in a group and attack as such. Their main weapon is a large mallet like hammer and is able to deal large hits if allowed to hit in succession.]

"I would think at least 25,000 Col would be more reasonable." The tall man leaned back over the counter. Even though there was not a breeze in the shop, the man's scarf still moved a bit in his wake as he moved. "But I am not giving you that much for the item. I don't care how much you want that blade." The blade in question was a Scimitar that hung to the tall man's right. The blade was large and hefty, the curves of the blade were formed more predominantly and sharper a blade than his dulling sword that he had since floor 1. "Listen dude, I need that sword. I need a stronger sword than what I have, you are the only place in town that sells Scimitar's and that one has a high enough level that I can use." The man thought to himself, 'Man, I just had to pick the odder of blades, one that's rarer in the game for mob drops and shop sales.'

Of all the different weapons of SAO, there was a few that made an even less likely appearance in the game. Although Scimitar's were a regular part of the game, they were however more rare. The Scimitar, Maces and Rapiers were among the more rarer drops of the game, plus they were hard for smiths to craft as well. "Listen to me, I am the Lone Soldier. I used to play on this game before the tournament. Perhaps you have heard of me?" He smiled under the scarf, but the shop keeper couldn't see. As a matter of fact the shop keeper looked even less like he cared than before. "I don't care if you're the Lone Ranger, you aren't getting any more than 10,000 for the orb and if you want the blade, you will have to pay out of pocket." That was the problem actually, Lone only have a few more 1000 Col, if the shop keep would just give him the 25,000 he asked he would have the 30,000 for the sword.

Lone had a special ability that was hard to obtain unless you were a player that had high speed and stealth. He quietly pulled up the interface screen that appeared as a white box and displayed what was needed to the player on one side, but did not appear to the other player on the other. His Information Gathering was a pretty higher level than his actual in game level. Lots of time perfecting it. He looked into the inventory of the shop keeper and his jaw nearly dropped. How the hell was the shop keeper able to sleep at night. He had nearly 345,000 Col in his stash of money, 25,000 Col would be nothing. He nearly reached over the counter and throttled the man. "Listen here you cheap skate, I know for a fact you have enough Col to spare giving me 25,000. Just give it too me and I will be out of your hair even faster, I wont even come back." Lone said, hoping maybe a persuasion was needed.

The man smirked a little and look as if he was thinking it over. "Fine, i'll give you 25,000 Col, but I had better not see you in this town again." Like that was going to be hard. "Fine, you might as well keep the 25,000 Col, here is 5,000 more, just fork over the sword. That was when he lost the persuasion act. "I agreed to give you the 25,000 Col, but you are not getting that sword. Now get out of my shop." Lone stood up to his full height and turned to walk out the door. It was not going to be hard for him to leave this place behind and never look back, he was heading for the top and that's all that mattered to him. He walked through town quickly as he could, the warp gates just ahead of him in the town center. A plaza made of white stones and large arches, most warp areas looked like this, with the rare occasion of a themed warp area. The warp gates had no particular forms, just a round distortion of space in the center of a small pedestal. All one had to do was walk up to it and say the floor they wanted to go to. Upon reaching the gates Lone turned to give one last look at the city. "Good riddance. Warp, Floor 21." With that Lone left floor 19 behind, not planning on going back there any time soon...
 
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Shinra

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Mireille and Raelyn watched from a distance as "The lone ranger" argued with the merchant... "I hear he's actually pretty good we could use him in our party for the tourney." They watched as he stormed off and warped away... They both heard where he warped...

"Awww it's a bit sad that Lone couldn't that sword he wanted... I also heard he's a pretty good player we could use him in our party don't you think so Rae-chan?"

"Seriously? Must you call me that just because I'm using my older sister's avatar?"

"Why not? if people knew why you were doing it I bet it would make a bit more sense... When they hear your voice it seems you're a pervert who gets off playing as a girl!"

"You already know that's not true... fine I'll change my vocal output..."

"Done... does it sound any better?"

"Much better Rae-chan :3"

Raelyn sighed as he walked up to the vendor and pointed up to the Scimitar that Lone had his eyes on. "hello I'd like to buy that scimitar there."

"Uh why? you don't look like you use swords very much..."

"Well my friend and I here are looking for a third party member and one person we thought would be suitable looked at the sword earlier today..."

"OH?" he said with a smirk. "You intend to bribe him. I sell this sword for a heavy 30,000 col but I'll knock it to half price if you uh... peck me on the cheek." He was blushing but he had a sinister look in his eye. "Fine, but any more and you'll have to deal with her... " Raelyn pointed to Mireille. "ok." Raelyn leaned in to give him what he wanted but he decided to shift his head to the side pecking him on the lips instead. A blush crept across both their faces and Raelyn screamed. "YOU SICKO!!!!!! MIREI-CHAN!" "initializing PVP challenge!" "Wait what?" she slammed the hammer of her seraphic wing BowBlade into his back. "ouch! fine I'll forfeit and you can have it for five grand!" He forfeited the match and brought the sword down and Raelyn handed him the money. soon after they both said: "Warp! Floor 21!" and they left... they soon spotted "The lone Ranger" and caught up to him.

Mireille tapped on his shoulder before he could get into a fight. "Hey Cutie!"
 
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Cassette-Disk

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It's warm out. That's a great change compared to what I'm used to. Summer dresses were something that was never really an option for me until recently, and I jumped at the chance. They were great. So...flowy and smooth. A renegade breeze might cause me some trouble, but even then it sure beats the hell out of layers and layers of heavy coats. I was making my way back home early. Recently my Strings group has been performing expertly at the class gatherings, so the professors don't see a need to keep us as long. Some of my classmates complain that it's a waste of money, but we largely enjoy the new freedom. That's more than I can say for my roommate's piano group. She's the only one there who seems to know a G chord from a D minor chord. But this isn't about her, is it?

I rounded the corner of a quiet street and breezily made my way to the apartment complex. I never thought I would move away from home, but here I am. I reached into my bag and pulled out a key ring with more trouble than I expected. As I entered I ignored the growing mess my roommate left behind and headed towards my room. Closing the door behind me, I carefully set my violin's case against my bedpost and dropped my bag next to it with much less finesse. Sitting on my bed, I looked at the clock. I still had a few hours before I would normally return home from class. To be honest, I should probably practice the violin some more. I feel like I'm starting to slip a bit, but at the same time it's probably nothing. Besides, I can practice later. I reached into a corner between my bed and nightstand and pulled out a visor. It was cheap and it worked for what I needed, so why wouldn't I use it? Besides, I'm pretty sure the old school Nerve Gear ruined your hairstyle, and mine was already terrible as it was. Laying on my back, I slid the visor over my eyes and turned it on.


---

Viola opened her eyes and smiled. If only she had known a world like this existed all those years ago. How amazing it would have been to be able to escape the cold winters into a more warmer environment, if only for an hour or so. She wasn't entirely sure what floor she was on, but that didn't matter to her at the moment. What did matter was that she somehow thought it was a good idea to log out in the middle of a wide open field away from the nearest town. She had found a small abandoned building during her last playthrough that reminded her of an old fisherman's house. The nearby brook that no doubt housed small fish only furthered that train of thought. She had used this house as a safe zone to log out, and now that she had logged back in she realized she would need to get back to town at some point in order to sell the loot and weapons she didn't need. Maybe she could find some people and join a party or something. As fun as it was to play solo, it was most likely better to have people around her instead of pretending to be a hermit.

Viola sighed as she exited the small cot. She wasn't the most skilled player, but she was definitely beginning to make her way through this world. Though rare, she had somehow managed to find not only a viola (RNG is hilarious sometimes) that can increase the stats of party members, but also a morning star that was vastly superior to her old mace. Her shield could probably do with some upgrading, but for now things were okay. The pink haired girl walked in the opposite direction of the small stream. She could make out the town off in the distance, and it probably wouldn't take long for her to make it there. Theoretically, anyway. In practice, things had a way of changing for the worse.

It was surprising quiet, a sharp contrast to yesterday's hunting. She remembered fighting waves of wolves the day prior, but today the plains seemed deserted. It was down right eerie, but the town wasn't too far away by this point. A sudden loud roar from behind caught her attention and caused her to turn around in anticipation of a monster. The only thing she saw was the old cot she had just exited, and deciding it wasn't best to linger, Viola faced the town again. She stopped suddenly. Was that bear always there?

[Den: Large brown bears that eat anything and everything they can. Though they usually keep to themselves, they will occasionally venture away from their caves in search of food. Surprisingly intelligent, these animals are know to speak the word of man when necessary.]

Viola took a step back in shock.
"This is new." She told herself. She had not seen a single bear the day before, and this one looked very pissed off. Without warning, the bear began charging at her. It was obvious that there was no way to avoid this fight, and the mace user pulled out her weapons. She had a stupid idea, and decided to act on it. Placing her shield in front of herself, Viola felt her skill surge through her before she charged directly at the bear, leaving behind small dust clouds where her steps heavily trampled the floor. Her shield was quickly glowing hot red, and her mace began crackling with stored power. The two forces were quickly approaching each other and it vaguely reminded the girl of a math problem. 'If two trains leave opposing stations heading towards each other at 56 MPH...' Viola shook her head quickly as the bear drew closer. Her shield collided with the large animal as it swung at her. Her defense held as she rammed past its arm and bashed into its stomach with a loud noise that resembled a ringing bell. Knowing she didn't have a lot of time, she brought her mace towards the bear's side with as much force as she could, causing it to skid across the grasslands a few feet.

That was, of course, not enough to bring the beast down and it was quickly walking back towards the girl. Knowing that her charge's cooldown was still not over, she would have no choice but to fight without it.
"Die." The bear growled at her as it swung its mighty claws at her. She rose her shield to meet it, but even then the force was enough to push her back and she saw her HP trickle slightly. I definitely need to upgrade this. She told herself. Another swing of the claws, another shielded impact, another loss of health. She wouldn't be able to hold on like this forever. It was time to move on to the attack again. She waited until the Den raised its claws again and ran towards it, placing her shield above her head in a quick attempt to reduce anymore incoming damage. When she got close enough, she crouched down low as her mace glowed in a red fury as light flames engulfed it. She swung her weapon in an upwards motion, just barely knocking the large beast into the air.

She smiled. It was helpless at this point until it hit the ground. Though she wasn't as agile as other players, she still managed to jump high enough to meet the monster midair and began pummeling it with quick heavy strikes, switching between mace slashes and shield bashes. After a few hits, Viola raised her mace above her head as it glowed blue and became cold to the touch. Swinging down with the remainder of her strength, the bear plummeted back down to the ground and exploded into bright sprinkle-like bits of data. She landed near it as the victory screen hover in front of her.
"Booyah!" She yelled as she rose both hands into the air. "What's up, bear? Didn't think I could that, did you?" She dropped her arms and began to do a quick dance that ended in a spin, completely unaware of whether or not there were any other players around the vicinity.
 

Eva

~ ♥~ Grand Summoner~ ♥~
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November 7th, 2024​
The air was somewhat crisp, waiting for winter, and the sky was bleak. In the Sherman Manor, things were similar. Several butler and maids, even a bodyguard had gathered around the dining table. A beautifully decorated cake lit up with candles sat in front of a young girl. Her expression was blank, the same as it had been for nearly two years. The flames of the candles danced in her empty eyes, and a very forced smile was on her lips. She should be grateful so many people looked after her. But she couldn't smile no matter what. Not even for that day, her birthday.

One maid, and someone who had worked for her mother for many years named Angela approached her, gently placing her arms around her and gave her an affectionate hug. "Go on, make a wish, young mistress." She urged her, looking around. "These candles are special. They grant wishes, you see. If you can blow them all out, your wish will come true."

Her eyes lit up, if only for a moment, but that was all she needed. Would they really grant her wish? Was it possible? She didn't want to think Angela was lying, but looking around everyone had the same kind expression she did. She nodded, standing up and making sure she towered over the cake. Taking in a deep breath, she blew as hard as she could, every candle's flame wisped away. A round of applause followed, some genuinely impressed that she did it in one breath. She closed her eyes, wishing as hard as she could. It wasn't a lie. Her wish would come true. It had to. It just had to.

A door burst open, alarming everyone. "Goodness!" One butler exclaimed, going as if to check, but another man ran in instead. "Kevin, you startled everyone! And look at the time, we had told you we would be having a cake for the young mistress--"

"I was on my way here when I received a phone call!" He replied, his voice a bit raspy as he tried to catch his breath, but was much too excited to calm down. "I had to go and confirm it with my own eyes!"

"What in the world are you speaking of?" One maid asked somewhat nervously.

He smiled, one smile so genuine and heartwarming, the kind you see when a father holds his child for the first time. But his smile was not the only thing that brightened the room. The news he delivered was what really got to them, so much that some burst into happy tears, others yelled for joy, some even jumping and forgetting all professionalism. The young girl herself was in shock, so much she actually sat back down. She couldn't believe it. Did her wish really come true? She asked him with a shaky voice to repeat himself. Everyone calmed down, and he stooped down on one knee, grasping both arms of her chair as he said it once more:

"They're awake! Mistress Ashley and Master Kyle are awake!"

Present Day​
"Once more, Mistress Charlotte-Marie." The tutor instructed her, pacing back and forth and flailing rather dramatically. "You must summon your voice from within, down from within your abdomen! You have the tone, but you lack power! Passion! Song is a gift given to us all that we must work for, do you understand?"

The young girl was all grown up, now at the age of twenty. She was taller, prettier, older, and of course more easily irritated. Still, she knew that the singing lessons were just so the family could play music together. Her father didn't have the time to play an instrument, and two people playing piano was 'no fun', so of course she needed some singing lessons. She could sing a little, but apparently lacked volume. Which maybe was a little true, but this guy was too much.

Drawing in a breath, she let out a low hum, and then skipped straight to the highest note she could muster as loudly as possible. It came out as a screech, and she burst with laughter as her tutor turned red with frustration. "Was that strong enough?" She snickered.

"MISTRESS! I will NOT have you take me for a fool!" He bellowed in response.

"Ah, that's what you mean by power, I get it now!" She grinned deviously. The two were interrupted by a bird coming out of the clock, signaling her freedom. "We can work on that tomorrow, so long Johnson~" She sang as she skipped out of the room twirling as she closed the door.

Homework was done, lessons were over, now was the time to play. Charlotte quickly hopped two steps at a time up the stairs, slipping slightly as she rushed to her bedroom. Closing the door behind her, she grabbed her father's old NerveGear and practically flew onto her bed, placing it over her head and turning it on. No more tutors, no more unneeded lessons, just the wild terrain and kicking butt.

Charlotte logged in and awoke as Cheria.

The bustling of people always struck some kind of excitement in Cheria. She immediately grinned, looking like a fool amongst most people as she looked around. Things looked busy, people arguing with shopkeepers and making trades. She brought up her friends list, reaching some slight disappointment to see the head of the guild she was apart of to be offline. But another friend was on, and it should be her first stop anyway, her rapier needed some repairing. Cheria began her way to The Black Dragon.

.-.​

Tapping her index finger on her lips, the white haired girl was deep in thought. She had the metal, the skill level, even did a little research to make sure she got the armor she wanted. Yet she stood before yet another failure. What was she doing wrong? Maybe the metal wasn't at a high enough quality. Discarding the armor, she placed her smithing hammer onto her table and let out a long yawn, interrupted only by the jingle of the bell hanging above her door.

"I'll be right there." Kaidaa spoke out loud, taking off her smithing clothing and getting into her usual garb. She climbed the stairs to her shop and saw two girls browsing about. "Welcome to the Black Dragon, is there anything I can get help you with?" She asked as she took her position behind the counter, only to see a familiar face.

"So cordial, you're just like an NPC." Cheria giggled, sliding towards the counter and resting her elbows on top of it. "What's up?"

"Politeness is a must when handling customers. If you're good to them, they'll continue to come back to you." She replied, waving her hand. "What do you want? I thought you'd be out with Riku, you said you wanted to cram some levels in."

"He's not on yet." Cheria replied, sticking her tongue out. "No point in going alone, MMO's are all about cooperation and teamwork. And speaking of teamwork..." The pink haired girl unsheathed her rapier, placing it before her Kaidaa. "I need this repaired if you'd be so kind."

Kaidaa was in complete disbelief, grabbing the rapier and examining it. "I just repaired this two days ago. Two days ago. How in the world did you end up wearing it down so quickly?" She peered at Cheria. "What exactly have you been up to?"

Cheria smiled nerviously, pressing her fingers together as she let out a small, nervous giggle. "Um, well after I had you repair it, me and Riku dueled, then after that we went partying, then I was out doing some PvP, and then some solo leveling--"

"No point in going alone, MMO's are all about cooperation and teamwork." Kaidaa mocked her, slamming the rapier onto the counter. "Let me guess, you blew all your money on some stuff so you want me to do the repair for free."

The pinkette grinned from ear to ear, moving her hips so that her frilly pink dress would sway with her. "So glad you noticed! But just look at it! It's so cute! It also goes around with me, not to mention it was a boost in defense, and I look so hot in it!" She defended her shopping decision, flipping her hair. "I needed the defensive capabilities of this dress and it helps when I need to last in battle. Besides, it wasn't even that expensive at first, I just made some modifications is all!"

She hadn't noticed. The girl changed her clothing so often you'd think she was a different player everytime you saw her. Rubbing her forehead, Kaidaa tried to understand Cheria. The girl may not be very ladylike, but boy, if the dictionary had pictures Cheria would be right next to shopaholic. Everytime she turned around she was boasting a new outfit, new armor, another sword, another pair of boots, and if nothing cosmetic had changed you'd be sure she would have some new furniture. Not only did the girl manage to nab one of the most expensive homes in the game so far, she also completely decorated it, supplied Kaidaa with money for the shop, often paid for Riku's repairs and what he needed, and got her own materials from trading ridiculous amounts of money. And then when she actually needed some, she would end up broke!

Kaidaa let out a long sigh, giving Cheria a look. "You're my best friend. You've done a lot for me--heck, I wouldn't be here right now if you hadn't bought the shop for me. But for the love of all that is good in this game, you can't keep blowing your money like this. Besides, you don't even look like a fighter! You look like some anime character!"

Cheria blinked a few times. "...a cute anime character?" She asked sheepishly, her face gaining the slightest blush as she twirled a bit of her hair between her fingers as she stared off into the distance. "If so, maybe he'll like it..."

She didn't say cute. There was no salvation for this girl. Kaidaa shook her head, summoned her hammer, and began working on the repair. "Is your armor alright? Does that need a repair, too?"

"Uh, no, you're looking at the Speedster here!" Cheria boasted proudly. "I'm just too fast! I'll hit ya before you can lay a scratch on me!"

"In other words, there is enough durability to last you for another few days before you get in over your head again. Excellent." Kaidaa rolled her eyes. "100 col. If any of my customers knew I was charging so little for your repairs they'd have a fit."

Cheria winked as she paid. "Thanks so much, bestie~ And don't worry, I'll make it up to you, I promise. How about I cook you dinner tonight? I have a new recipe for some strawberry cheesecake."

"Yeah, yeah...be done soon. Just hang around."
 

Noel

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Latonia. - 18th floor.

I always this enjoyed this very medieval...ish town. It wasn't actually at all from the age uve' chivalry or anything but the vibe just met me as we're just a simple town. Many wooden log houses, steam coming out uve' the chimneys. Walking along the road uve' the town always made me forget that this wasn't a real world. Every time time I looked around, I always saw people. I couldn't even consider them NPC's or anything. Some reason, I just thought I was just conversing with real people. Haha. Maybe it was just the graphics something. Nvidia, you did an amazing job.


I started walking to a building near the center uve' the town by their version uve' a park. There wasn't any slides, monkey bars or anything, but it was just an area where all the orphans could be noisy as they want. As I walked by some uve' the orphans, they noticed me and with a gleam in their eyes. They started jumping up and down and waving. It was adorkable, and made me smile, waving my hand back. One uve' them even said "Welcome back fox!" I gladly hollered back "Thanks!" Before continuing on to the orphanage building.

I totes forgot that somehow my nickname in SAO was now 'The Two Tailed Fox'. Was my headband really that long that it looked like I had tails? I started feeling the lengths uve' the so called "tails" As I made my way back in to the main orphanage building. I had just recently came back from a quest to take care some ligers. When I mean some, I really meant 50. Grinding, at its finest.

[Ligers: The name implies that they are some sort uve' cross breed uve' a tiger and a lion. They didn't really look like it though. It rather looked like it was a spotted Leopard with a lion's mane. It's fur is brown and it uses its saber tooth like jaws to rip anything to shreds.]

I knocked on the orphanage door before entering. I really didn't had to wait for a come in or anything. The folks here who take care uve' the kids know that I usually do any quest for them as long as they ask too. As I walked through the door, one uve' the folks was home. It was the elderly man. His wife must be out somewhere. "Ayyye Nowl! How was the hunting?" "Oh you know. Pretty good, but you do know that I can hunt other things then Ligers. Right?"

Then elderly man's face brightened up with joy, and smiled. "Oh! That means you didn't have trouble with the quest didn't you?" I place my arm on the back of my head, you know being modest. "They didn't give me the nickname for nothing you know." Then elderly man stood up lookin out the window to see the children play. He smiled once more before handing me a loaf uve' flakey bread. "How much you do we need to pay you?"

I happily took the bread he gave me and bit off a piece.

"The bread was more than enough!"
 
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Max

"It's not a lake. It's an ocean."
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"How long is this damn thing going to keep running?!" I asked out loud as I continued to chase my prey. This was getting old, and fast.

Work at the coffee shop absolutely sucked today by the way. We're still short on help since deadbeats Barry and Candice recently got fired for smoking pot on the job, leaving me covering multiple positions over longer shifts to pick up the slack. All I wanted when I got off work today was to kick off my shoes, complete a couple quests online to maybe grab some quick experience, and then catch some z's. But no, instead I got to chase this freaking monster through a field and waste valuable time I could've spent doing something else. Why didn't I stop then? Well I couldn't just give up.

This thing just kept running and running, and I don't even think it was running from me. I stalked it out at the cave; I was waiting until just the right moment to get the jump on it. And just when I was ready to pounce... It up and ran! Battle wasn't even initiated, so it couldn't have been running from me.

Luckily I have what some may call an "overused" sprint skill. It's like my favorite skill, it basically enhances your speed in every area. And due to my constantly using it, even in town areas, it's a high enough level that I can sprint for quite the distance before cool down. That combined with my decent detection level makes hunting monsters no problem at all (or avoiding them for that matter). But just because it makes hunt quests easier, doesn't make it any less annoying when I CAN'T EVEN FIGHT A MONSTER BECAUSE IT WON'T STOP RUNNING!

And then- it was time for my sprint to cool down. It's awesome, but it isn't infinite sadly. I continued on at a normal pace running alongside the stream. My target was getting a small distance between us, but it wouldn't be out of my detection range by the time my sprint's cool down was up, so I wasn't too worried about it. That was until... It stopped running. Not only that, but it's HP was dropping. Someone must have been fighting it.

I drew my katana, ready to take it out as soon as I got close enough. My sprint still wasn't ready yet, I hoped to God I got there soon. I just did not want to face the idea of someone else getting the kill and then all of this being for nothing. I needed it's claw, and the claw wasn't a random drop either. It only dropped if you were on this specific quest, meaning I couldn't bribe it's other attacker for the item after the battle even if I wanted to.

It's HP had dropped very low, but my sprint finally recharged, so maybe I could make it! I started moving like lightning again, quickly approaching the beast. Almost... Almost!" I was almost within range to target it for a strike when- she killed it. She killed the Den, and she threw her arms up in the air excited about her victory as that damn bear turned into little pink pieces of confetti, raining down on her like a little parade was being held for her feat.


"Booyah! What's up, bear? Didn't think I could do that, did you?" I fell to my knees and watched as this girl with messy pink hair did her little victory dance. Did she do this every time she killed a monster? Would she perform this dance if she knew that I had a not so stellar day in real life, and now everything I've done tonight in the game has been a complete and utter waste of time? She ended her little dance with a spin and her back to me. I then stood up and sheathed my katana as I approached her from behind.

"I have been chasing that Den for 40 minutes," I said to her as I began to circle my way around her. "Why it ran, I do not know. But I do know that I am more than disappointed that I did not get to obtain my quest item from it because you killed it."

Now facing the girl, I looked her up and down real good. "I'm sorry, a true samurai shouldn't give such a beautiful woman a hard time about trivial matters. What in the world are you doing out here alone? Please allow me to accompany you to your destination, it can be dangerous for a fragile flower such as yourself!" A smile grew across my face as I knelt on one knee and looked up into her eyes. "Oh, I'm Musashi by the way. What is your name?"

It was my duty as a samurai to protect all of the beautiful women of this world, and I would start with this one.
 
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LatinoHeat90

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By the the time I get home it is starting to get dark. I don't know what time it is and I really don't care. My job hunting hasn't gone so well, but I have some idea of the places I'm going to hit tomorrow. I can't live off of my parents my whole life. Not only that but their support warrants that I have to speak with them more often, and that means more lectures about why I should apply to college. It has already been five years since high school, I would think they would have given. I open the door to my apartment and a rush of warm air hits me. I go to the window and open it about half way. I sit on my bed as the cool air envelopes me. Soon I won't need to fiddle with the thermostat. I prefer the natural climate to an artificial one, well, in some cases.

I pull out the NerveGear from out under my bed. It is sad. I know this is going to be the highlight of my day, everyday, unless something changes. But that means I will have to change something. Perhaps I will find a job that will make me happy. I think I will be happy doing just about anything at this point. Well, I know what I am doing in Aincrad today. At least there is some certainty in my life, some sense of direction. A lay down, sliding the NerveGear over my eyes.



I step back, dodging the Forest Imp's slash. I plant me feet firmly as charge my Bull's Rush attack. The Imp slashes again and I take the hit so I can finish the job. I dash at the Imp, slamming my shoulder into it mid section. It is flung off the ground for a second, I throw all my weight into the axe swing, hitting the creature in mid air. It bursts into data confetti with one last ear shattering moan. I stood there for a second. "That was too close" I said to myself. "I really need to upgrade my equipment." I hold my axe in one hand, examining it. I couldn't even lift this thing in the real world. I feel the cool breeze move through the forest. I turn so it hits my face. There are more enemies ahead of me. I look for a healing item in my inventory. "Looks like I need to make another supply run." I use a healing crystal and make my way towards the threats. "I wish this was my life."
 

Lone

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The 21st floor appeared in front of his eyes almost as fast as the 19th disappeared. What an asshole that guy had been, either take the money or leave. Well he wasn't about to back track to that level ever again, even if he had to miss a good side quest. He didn't even notice he was standing there in the middle of the warp zone talking to himself. He broke out of his funk and began to walk towards the main part of the town. He wasn't even to the warp zone gate when he got the feeling of someone tapping on his shoulder. He sighed softly and turned. "What is it you want..." He began to say just before cutting himself off at the sight before him. He had hit the jackpot, two really cute girls were standing behind him, not only that but the one who had tapped him on the shoulder called him a cutie.

His instinct to look them both up and down kicked in and he surveyed their player forms both. One of them was tall and slender, hair dirty blonde and the look like she might not have been totally up to the idea of being near him. The second was way cuter than the other and she looked interested in being there. "Well hello ladies, what can I do for you." It wasn't till he did a slight double take on the first that he thought she looked familiar to him. He had heard a rumor of a girl like her who was actually a guy. It was then that he decided he would be careful what he said to her in case she turned out to be the one that people had been talking about.
 

Cassette-Disk

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"I have been chasing that Den for 40 minutes,"
Viola froze on the spot. Having just finished her amazingly sweet spin ending to her equally amazingly sweet victory dance, a sudden intrusion was not at all what she was expecting, much less one who didn't seem happy to see her. "Why it ran, I do not know." The man went on as he circled around to face her. "But I do know that I am more than disappointed that I did not get to obtain my quest item from it because you killed it."
"Um." The girl said timidly as he finished. What else could she say? He was obviously bummed out about the whole bear thing, but he also didn't look like a person who got 'bummed.' Instead he looked more like someone who got 'stabby.' "Um!" Viola said again as she eyed his sword. So far she had only had to fight monsters that the game constructed. PVP was not something she was used to, so she wasn't sure what to expect. Then the would-be samurai...checked her out?

"UM?" She repeated, taking a step back as she covered the top of her torso by crossing her arms. Having not yet put away her weapons, this also allowed her shield to...well, shield her. Probably not in the same way that the developers intended, but it worked. Wait, what was that about a fragile flower?
"Hey, what?" Viola pouted at Musashi as she put her hands on her hips. "I'm here for fighting and junk. I just punched a bear in the god damn face." That last part was mostly a lie, but the samurai didn't need to know that. "Besides, I'm just going to town to sell all this wolf fur and stuff. Maybe pick up a new shield or something." As the violinist was about to excuse herself, the man in front of her dropped to one knee which caused a quick flush to cross her face. Jesus Christ. No one's done something that over the top to her since high school. She felt a quick pang of guilt at turning that person down as the samurai spoke up.

"Oh, I'm Musashi by the way. What is your name?"
"I'm not going to get rid of you, am I?" she asked, not unkindly. "I go by Viola. And if you really really reaaally want, you can take me into town. I'll let you deal with any renegade bears or whatever. I don't think it'll be a long walk though."
 

Max

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"I'm not going to get rid of you, am I? I go by Viola. And if you really really reaaally want, you can take me into town. I'll let you deal with any renegade bears or whatever. I don't think it'll be a long walk though."

And there you have it. She was only going to sell some stuff and grab a new shield? It didn't matter what her plan was, because she was going to do it with me! My foot was in the door, usually I would just get called a weirdo, or a PvP match would be requested. But this kind, adventurous, wild-haired soul actually decided to humor me and let me tag along.

I stood up and shot her my best smile. "Don't worry my lady, for no longer am I a mere lonely Ronin travelling in this world. I am Musashi, Romantic Samurai here to do your bidding! Whether we face bears or bandits, my life is on the line for you. If you want a new shield, then I will make sure it is nothing but the god damn best for Viola!" As my speech went on, I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and pointed off in a random direction, hoping to make myself look cool. "If ever you find that I bring dishonor to your name my lady, then just say the word and I shall perform... Harikiri! While I never hope it comes to that, I am prepared to go the distance!"

As my over-the-top speech raged on, I could only hope that my samurai passion didn't come off a creepy samurai passion. It was time to cap the speech off and hope that I was still permitted to be in the party rather than reported for harrassment. "I know this seems sudden, and you may have a hard time accepting all of these emotions at once, but trust me when I say that our meeting today could be nothing more than fate's wheels spinning round and round!" Okay, so I was coming off like a total creep. I whispered the next part, as if not wanting the rest of the world to hear me go out of character. "(So, I sent you a friend request and invited you to the party, just accept and we're good to go)."

I never realized how much I took advantage of this game, of the pure and simple fact that in a game, you can be anybody you want to be. Romantic Samurai? Harikiri?! Yeah, one look at me in the real world and Viola would realize that I'm just an average man working an average job with no ambition, nothing like Musashi. How lame am I.
 

Shinra

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Mireille smiled and said: "Well listen we watched your little argument with the merchant back there on floor 19 we felt pretty bad for you that you couldn't get that sword you wanted... We want you to join our party because we need a decent tank so we can maximize damage and I won't have to waste precious Mana healing the rest of us."

Raelyn walked up behind her and opened up his inventory. He brought out the scimitar they just bought and gifted it to Lone. Raelyn's eyes were focused on Lone because He spotted the double take. He sent a Private message to Lone saying: " Before you start wondering yes I am a dude. But it's not because I'm a sick pervert... it's in memory of someone who meant lot to me and my friend here... If you spill the beans Mirei-chan here will make you wish you never started playing VRMMO's she may appear nice now but she's the Demon of Akihabara. Oh and don't even try telling anyone through PM either or outside either I'm friends with the other moderators and programmers and I can get your sign-up info."

Raelyn knew he put himself at risk telling him the truth but Raelyn knew he was sharp and would figure it out eventually. "So... you wanna join Lone?" Mireille soon followed up by sending him a party request.
 

LatinoHeat90

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I breathed a sign of relief. My grind had left me with a good bit of Col but it depleted me healing items. "I don't think this is how I'm supposed to do it." I replied to myself. "I did gain a level though so there was an upside." I made my way through the forest. My guard was up but I didn't feel any impending danger. It was my chance to take in the scenery as I made my way to town. "I need to have my armor and axe worked on, need to get more healing items, sell all of these drops from monsters..." I realized that I wasn't the only one talking. I quickly looked around to see if anyone was near me. My detection skill only works on NPC's and monsters so I knew it was a player talking. I honed in on my listening ability and cautiously made my way towards the player...or players.

I found an angle were I could see the two players. It was a man and a woman, with the man movingly eccentrically around the woman. The man had long, shaggy hair and was wearing a samurai get up and the woman had short, pink hair and was very beautiful. The look on the woman's face seemed distressed but not in the way that meant she was in danger, just a little creeped out. What should I do? Should I step in to help her? What if they know each other? Maybe they are in a party. Maybe they are a couple! I felt my face get red and I turned away from the couple. I shouldn't be spying on a couple, especially when the man is pouring his heart out to the woman. I quickly walk away being sure to stay quiet not to interrupt them.

As I made my way around them, out of site, I started to think about my past. I had a girlfriend once, Lisa. She was one of the only people that I cared about in high school. It was funny, she was the one that asked me out. I think she knew that I didn't have the courage to do it myself. Everything was great in high school but as school drew to an end and the idea of college came around, things changed. Things changed for me, not her. She was happy, planning what college she wanted to attend, talking about where I could go, and how to keep in contact. Did she really want to stay with me? Why? She was a smart girl and I wasn't anything special. She could meet someone more like her in college and have a great life. I would only hold her back. She had the courage to start the relationship, but I was the one who ended it. Funny, right.


 

Lone

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He listened to what was said by the cuter girl and looked at the taller. Soon he had three things going for him, a pm, the sword he was wanting and a party request. First he opened the pm, obviously learning that the girls name was Raelyn. He read through the message without a flinch or a motion that he was at all threatened by it. In fact he was intrigued by it. So he had the Demon of Akihabara standing in front of him, he was impressed and he had the Tribute character in his midst as well. It was shaping up to be an interesting session to say the least. Then he could accept the sword which he did in a heart beat. This sword was one of the few in game he had actually obtained on his initial play through that ended up getting him to the 56th floor before he caught sight of the Crystal Moon which he had hunted till the tournament came on.

He went into his inventory and equipped his new sword. It appeared in his hand and he swung it skillfully around a few times. "Thanks for this, I couldn't get that damned cheapskate to give it up." then there was only one problem left, joining a party. It's true he might have been in the top ten tanks of the game, but he wasn't much up to being in a group. "Sorry to break it to you two, but I don't much join parties. I'm not called The Lone Soldier for nothing you know." He was about to walk away when a notification and a booming voice came from somewhere far above them.


["Dear Players of our 10 Year Tribute Tournament. We as the council would like to inform all remaining participants that the 30th floor boss is a special boss battle. Although we have allowed for the two previous bosses to be fought how you saw fit, this boss is to be fought in a group of some sort. You are not allowed to go at this boss alone. Anyone who tries to enter the boss room alone and not in a game rights party will not be able to enter. Have fun and be safe Players."]

Lone's mouth had to have hit the floor at that point. Not only was he pissed off he absolutely had to join a party, but he was sort of glad these two had asked him to join one in the first place. He sighed and picked his mouth up off the floor. "Looks like I don't have a choice in the matter now. I guess I can join you two." He clicked yes on the invitation and the two's names popped up on the screen next to his. He wasn't sure he liked this, but if it was required he would put up with it.
 

Shinra

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Mireille smiled as Lone's name joined Raelyn's on the side of her screen. She saw the announcement coming because Raelyn or rather Renn had been recently notified by his connections prior to the announcement earlier today.

"So we wanna round out at a decent level before we tackle the boss... Raelyn knows that the best grinding spot for our levels is currently on floor 27...We're headed there if you wanna stick with us unless you wanna go off and grind on your own."



Raelyn then said: "I'm gonna go to get some munchies... I'll set my AI expansion to keep close to you Mirei-chan and support you in any fight you get into, just mind you keep me healed."

"You got it Rae-chan!"

Raelyn then opened up the menu and as he selected a normally blocked option. "Please state AI settings." "Offensive support, follow Party member Mireille, Warp authorized if necessary, Logout Unauthorized." "Settings confirmed. You are free to enter sleep mode." Raelyn's eyes lost their gleam symbolizing going into sleep mode. He lifted the custom Nerve gear off his head and shook his head from side to side as he put on his glasses... The dark colors of his room providing contrast to the vibrant landscapes of SAO and it gave a challenge to his adjusting eyesight.

"Ok... need to get supper..." He said as he rubbed his stomach and got out of bed.
 

Cassette-Disk

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This wasn't what she was expecting. Though Musashi had shown a flash of his true colors earlier, Viola was still half expecting him to bring back the whole "you killed my bear" thing. But this was something else entirely. She watched as he happily hopped to his feet and pranced around. The words "lonely" and "romantic" stuck out to her during his little soliloquy, but were quickly forgotten when he wrapped an arm around her. He pointed off in the distance and, following his finger, she was confused as to why he would decide to point at a chubby wild cow chewing grass. As if on cue, the cow stared back at the pair, though the samurai didn't seem to notice. Viola brought her attention back in time to catch him saying he would be willing to perform harai...hariki...dammit, what was that word? Doing a quick internal search only brought back "see: seppuku" which only confused the violinist even more. What did Japanese crossword puzzles have to do with anything?

He seems alright, anyway. Viola told herself as Musashi mentioned the wheels of fate. Kind of weird, but whatever. He suddenly dropped his voice to a low whisper, and she had to tilt her head slightly to make it out his friend and party request. Sure enough, a small indicator on the upper right of her screen began to flash. She tapped on it to reveal two separate boxes for her to confirm.
"You're so weird." She told him with a smile as she nudged his arm off of herself. She quickly tapped on the two blue circles to accept. Next to her health bar on her screen, Mursashi's own health bar came into view. "Neat." She said, tapping at it even though only she could see it before grabbing the samurai by his sleeve. "Anyway, come on. I have a bag full of junk to sell." Viola began walking in the direction of the town, tugging Murashi along. "And you need to do crossword puzzles for me."

The announcement went off as the pair began to walk, which caused Viola to slow down.
"What's that about, again?" She asked. "I joined and kinda just skipped all of the reading. We're going up a tower or something, right?"
 

LatinoHeat90

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["Dear Players of our 10 Year Tribute Tournament. We as the council would like to inform all remaining participants that the 30th floor boss is a special boss battle. Although we have allowed for the two previous bosses to be fought how you saw fit, this boss is to be fought in a group of some sort. You are not allowed to go at this boss alone. Anyone who tries to enter the boss room alone and not in a game rights party will not be able to enter. Have fun and be safe Players."]

Ugh. Usually I am all about changing things up when it comes to this game, but this stipulation was not something I welcomed. When it comes to boss fights I never go them alone. I usually wait till another group comes along and ask if I could join them for it. After the battle I part ways with the group. This announcement just makes me feel lonely. Now I have to actively seek out people to partner up with. Seems like a waste of time.

I began walking towards town. "I still need to pick up some items and get my equipment mended." Then I stop and look back the way I came. I thought about the couple that I had past awhile back. "Three is a crowd though." I look down trying to figure out what I want to do. "But I can leave after the fight and they can go on being lovey dovey on each other." I grab my head and start scratching my scalp in frustration. "Ok, so this is what you are going to do. See if you can run into them again. If you don't go on your way back to town. If you do, ask if they are planning to fight the boss anytime soon. Ask if you can tag along. Try not to be weird. If they start getting all touchy and feelly on each other just ignore it, you only have to be with them until the boss fight." I agreed with myself as if somebody else had told me the plan. "And one last, don't talk to yourself out loud. Got it? Got it." I began looking for the couple in the forest.
 

Kiba

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Sweat. Why was there sweat? The fact that the developers had gone through the trouble to make sure that there was sweat was irksome. And the heat. My goodness that incessant burning on the back of ones neck. Wait. Samantha’s head snapped up and she stared at the sky for a moment. “This isn’t Aincrad,” She reminded herself. This was Earth. Real life. College—her running class to be more specific. If it were up to Sam, she would have never bothered to take the class. In fact, if it were up to her she wouldn’t take any class. Unfortunately for her, and every other student in the class, it was a must to receive ones diploma. (As was every other class she enrolled in and would enroll in) Even if that diploma had nothing to do with any physical activities.

The small LED screen of her cell phone read 11:50 pm signaling the end of the class. After changing out of her work out clothes, Sam's feet drag as she made her way to her dorm room. Along the way, she stopped to admire several flowers. She mentally commented about their unusual tint, what would be the consequence of picking one, and if it matched her shirt. It didn’t. She picked it anyways and placed it in her hair. After that she stopped at several other places but made it to her room. She threw her stuff on the floor, making a mental note to pick them up later. And to walk the dog. Wait, no dog. Scratch that. Laundry. That’s what she meant. Do laundry.

“Also, shower. You smell.” She said out loud as she grabbed the NerveGear and placed it on her head. The system went through it’s usual start up before she opened her eyes as Kali.

“Good Morning, Aincrad.” She announced, sitting up in the full-sized bed. Bringing up the player window, Kali checked if anyone she knew was online. There was one boy she’d met while trying to get past the 20th floor boss. She closed the window and walked through the small room and out the door. The artificial sunlight made her wince as her eyes adjusted. Her attention was on the tall crops that were growing in the plot of field to the left of her small one-room cabin. The plot of land was her main focus. She had purchased the cabin just so that she could have the adjacent plot of land to grow.

She began to pick the crops. After and hour of picking, she materialized her scythe and with one swoop cut every crop down. Only those with a high enough level in farming had received the scythe. It helped with the crops as it could clear an entire plot of land without breaking or ruining the crops. It was also Kali’s weapon of choice.

Gathering up the readied crops, Kali locked up her cabin and made her way to the nearest town. On her way, she heard the announcement. An unexpected twist in the tournament. A thickening of the plot. Something she had been doing for the past 30 levels. All players had to join a party to fight the boss on the 30th floor. Kali had joined a party for every single level, knowing she was no where near good enough to take the bosses down on her own.

It didn’t bring her any shame. She had admitted this fact to every clan she’d joined. Most of them didn’t care. The tournament wasn’t her number one priority. In fact, it had been several days since she’d given any thought to the contest. The announcement reminded her that she was a part of that competition. That there were other people who made it their number one goal in-game.

“Time to find a new clan to join.” She sighed and picked up her pace so that she’d reach the town before the fake sun set.
 
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Eva

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["Dear Players of our 10 Year Tribute Tournament. We as the council would like to inform all remaining participants that the 30th floor boss is a special boss battle. Although we have allowed for the two previous bosses to be fought how you saw fit, this boss is to be fought in a group of some sort. You are not allowed to go at this boss alone. Anyone who tries to enter the boss room alone and not in a game rights party will not be able to enter. Have fun and be safe Players."]

Hm, it was time to rumble already. Cheria looked at the time, then at a still-working Kaidaa. Should she wait for Riku, or drag Kaidaa along with her to go ahead? Well, she was planning on pulling Kaidaa along anyway so there was no choice there. She stretched a little bit, looking outside at the passing people. After the announcement, many began to group up and began discussing tactics and the like. Cheria didn't really like thinking too much; she preferred just going in and reacting to whatever was thrown at her. She knew Kaidaa would disagree, but everyone had their own thing, right? She should've done one more PvP before repairing her weapon. She was starting to get a bit antsy and excited. What would the boss be like?

"Almost done." Kaidaa announced, sensing Cheria's impatience. Damn, she knew her a little too well. Cheria relaxed against the counter and sighed. Waiting wasn't so bad. At least it was for something worthwhile...if only repairing didn't take so long. Then again, Kaidaa had specifically designed her rapier for its durability, and seeing as it was nearly about to break, it only made sense to take a bit longer then usual.

So she'd just wait.
 

Lone

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He nodded his head a bit, listening to Mireille. Although he would have liked to join them on the 27th floor, he was actually needing to visit the other floors below that for a very specific reason. In his mind he knew what level they needed to be at to beat the 30th floor boss and it was a few more levels than he already had. He looked to Raelyn as he said he was going off to get some food for a short bit. Turning back to Mireille. "We need to be at least between lvl 40 and 45 to beat the 30th floor. I'm at lvl 37 already so I don't have much more to go honestly. But I do have some business on the floors before 27 so if you two want to head on up there without me that would be just fine. I actually need to get going." He said as he turned and began to walk away. "Tell Raelyn that I will meet you two up there in a few days. till then I hope you guys level up enough."

With that he swiftly made his way into town and left the two standing there. He wasn't about to bring the two of them onto his little side mission, this was for him to know and no one else to find out about. He wasn't the only scimitar player on the server and others would be searching as well. He needed to get clues on it's whereabouts. He knew it only appeared between the 60th and 70th floors in the regular game, but since it was a special game there was rumors that it had been appearing around random floors but in a pattern and he needed to have it. He swiftly headed in the direction of the weapons section of the shop district, he was looking for a specific shop and he was determined to find it. He rounded a corner and nearly ran smack into a door. Here it was, he opened the door and peaked his head in.

there were no weapons on the walls, no merchandise to speak of just a counter and a chubby girl standing behind it. He stepped in and she looked up, not surprised to see him. "Sorry to tell you Lone, Kami isn't at this branch today. She's actually on the 25th floor, off doing a bit of business." She smiled at him. He sighed a bit. "Do you know when she will be back or do I need to go find her?" The chubby girl shook her head. "She said she was going to be gone most of the day and into tomorrow, so I guess you had better go find her." She snickered to herself. He nodded and turned for the door. "Thanks a lot Sami, looks like i'm off to find your sister. The bane of my life on here." And with that he stepped back out onto the street and off back towards the warp gates.
 

Shinra

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Renn pulled around the corner back towards his apartment, a plastic bag in his hands with a sandwich and a dr pepper inside... with his work as a former developer and his efforts in school were worthy of mention because he applied for 3 scholarships and got them all, paying for his proper tuition and he had offers lined up already for when he finished university. He wanted to take it easy for a bit... his goal was for him and Mireille to at least reach floor 90 that way they could say that they moved on from Raelyn's passing because she died on the 88th floor. He recollected the events that led up to her death and a tear fell down his cheek... Raelyn meant so much to him, Edward, and Miku-chan.

As he entered the doorway to his home he could hear the distant whirring of Miku's computer as he sat down at the table... Miku needed a roommate to pay the rent and Renn was more than happy to oblige because she was a good student but she still had to pay her tuition. Renn smiled as he removed the wrapping around the submarine sandwich and took a bite... He loved food that was healthy but was also delicious... that's why he liked submarines that much...

Mireille smiled as she continued to support the AI at the helm of Raelyn's avatar. But when the AI switched it was wonderful because it meant that Mireille could start hammering away at enemies herself... her pixelated bloodlust has died down somewhat since the original SAO but she could still kick decent butt in VRMMO's on her own. Lone had left to do his own thing and said they would meet up in a few days... She was level 32 and Raelyn was at 31 but they managed to keep a steady flow of EXP going... Both for their skill levels and their base level. Renn was already home in their apartment she suspected, chowing down on a sub or something. Renn was always straightforward with what he liked but she was soon pushed back by a rare enemy and a cruel smirk tore across her face.

 
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