Floor 26th, February 26th, 2023
Left, right, left, right. Step by step, walking the snowy Forest of the Wanderers. Fatigue and hunger beset upon the players, and nothing could be done. Yet, a beast breathing in their necks was the reason to keep going, and continuing the never-ending journey to the south without ease. The wind gently blew and the sun was near its fall.
Galant walked with Guinevere and the other players near him, seeing how this mission became a suicide and blaming himself for this nonsense.
“Exhaustion and starvation are already upon us, we should stop.”
“We don’t know how far behind Cerdic is.”
“We're doing what we can after the horses died in the storm.”
“Yet, this isn't enough. This is my responsibility, and I've let you down.”
Guinevere hugged his arm strongly to her chest. Her bright eyes opened, as she looked to Galant. There was still hope in her heart and the will to go on.
“We shall find a way, just believe in it and it'll happen.”
The couple was interrupted with bad news.
Gawn: “Galant, Pictons're gathering near the rear position.”
Galant: “Guinevere, lead the way for the people. I'll follow you, Gawn.”
Guinevere: “Be careful!”
She ran to the front of the group. Galant and Gawn went in the opposite direction.
“Percival and Tristan found them during the mission you sent them on. I already told Lance, Galahad, Elicia, Bors and Dagonet. They must be waiting two hundred meters from here.”
“What of Corbatz?”
“I don't know. I commanded a soldier to call him.”
“Let's quicken the race, and see if Pictons die quick enough.”
They continued faster than before.
Lance and the others threw themselves into battle against the pictons. As the two forces clashed, Tristan covered his friends with explosive arrows placed, concealed within the branches and leaves of a tree, and hanging from them with swiftness and agility.
Percival rammed his spear into a Picton, and then flipping it and slaming it on the head. Lance, while running, grabbed a monster by the neck, sending it flying thought the air. Others descended into battle, swinging their swords to his body, though Lance flipped on the ground, turning around to stab them on the ground.
Elicia held 'YokaiOuRyu' tightly, showing to be a fearsome fighter, savage and beautiful at the same time. Another picton came as she grabbed a hold of her knife. She easily blocked the swordstrike, closed in on the picton, and stabbed it right in the jaw, the top of the knife coming out of the monster's head.
Dagonet swung mjonlir like the god of thunder himself.
He rammed his hammer back into the ground, sending several monsters through the air. He then rushed to the others, with Tristan covering him by shooting his arrows, as his brother clearing the way. he rammed his fist into a monster with his martial art skills, 'Grey Fist', incinerating the very soul of his enemies, and freezing it to the bone with 'Garuru Fist'. He then kicks another with Meteor Impact.
Galahad was fighting the blue demons, using Galatine for quick blows, fast and sure. Still, his sword skills weren't impenetrable, and one of the monster's broke his defense, swining his sword at him. Luckily, the monster was shot by Tristan before the blade could do any harm.
Lance: “Galahad, go with the others!”
Galahad fell back, Elicia covering him as she jumped up to an enemy with her knee, throwing it to the air and thrusting her knife into its chest.
Galant and Gawn arrived at the scene, Gawn used a rock to jump up to the monsters, and the leader continued his way to Lance. His jump called the attention of the pictons. He let himself fall back down from the jump, smashing a pictons head mid-air and flipping back on the ground. A spear is hurled to him, moving past his head by a few millimeters, just to be nearly hit on the head. He tossed his tomahawk at the monster, inserting right in the chest.
Galant continued his rush.
He used Rage Spike” on a demons that was about to throw his spear towards his friend. He spins of the floor, and uses “Stardust Slasher”, his sword dividing the Picton in half. Lance approached another, and sliced through the monster. Dagonet pushesd a shielded picton down with his shoulder, the monster falling to the ground. Anther two come at him, and he grabs his hammer and with just two swings he kills them both.
Dagonet: “IS THIS ALL CERDIC HAS TO OFFER THIS DAY?! I HAVE NOT YET HAD MY FILL OF BLOOD.”
Gawn: “This is already the second wave we've faced today.”
Galant: “Cerdic just wants to win time, so his army can close the gap between us. He knows we'll slow down to protect the weak.”
Dagonet looked down, and to his surprise he noticed that the shielded picton was still alive.
Dagonet: “Tell your friends, that Dagonet pisses upon them.”
Galant catches his arm.
Galant: “Dag! I would break word with it while it's still on this world.”
He looked back to the dying monster.
“How many days does Cerdic find himself to our backs?”
“Die, you stupid human!”
Dagonet used the spikes on his hammer to stab it on the arm, and then on the leg, as it screamed, it revealed.
“TWO DAYS! Two days.”
Galant: “Two days.”
He began to leave, but the picton grabbed his leg.
“I gave what was asked, I beg of you, spare my life.”
“A picton once asked the same of me. Dagonet will tell you the answer.”
Galant lifted his hammer into the air, grabbed it tightly once more, a ghastly shout was heard. He rammed it into the monster's face, silencing his screams.
Lance: “What will we do next?”
Galant: “After two days of almost no sleeping, we need rest. Let's continue for a bit more though. We'll rest as soon as we find a good place.”
Percival: “I should go to find food.”
Tristan: “I'll research the place, for signs of the enemy.”
Galant: “We'll go fetch aid. Dag and Bors, accompany them. Make sure to be back in less than an hour. If not, we'll go search for you.”
Bors: “You're sure? if we fall to the Pictons...”
Dagonet: “WE WON'T!”
Galant: “You won't. GO!"
They ran, as Tristan and Bors went back to the path through the mountains, while Dagonet and Percival turned to the east.
Gawn: “Let's hope they'll come back safely.”
Galant: “Pray for it.”
Lance: “We have to go back with the rest.”
Galant: “I would have words with Corbatz.”
Lance: “That shit didn’t lend us aid on the battle. I’m with you brother.”
Gawn: “I’m right behind you three!”
They rushed back with the rest of the players.
Back on the never-ending ridge, the monster commanders held a reunion.
Thollbrad: “The legions of monster that we sent are two days away from them.”
Hagen: “Shall we send another?”
Cerdic: “No, we'll send something bigger: the entire infantry.”
Cynric: “Who shall lead them?”
Cynric: “Finally you trust me, father.”
Cerdic: “I'M NOT YOUR FATHER IN THIS, I'M YOUR KING!”
He was punched on the stomach, falling to the ground. He was left out of breath. The other three laughed at the situation.
Cerdic: “Take the human with you. Hagen, you're going with him.”
Cynric: “Yes… my king.”
He regained himself.
Cerdic: “As for us, we'll turn back the way we came, and go to Londinium. Bring Thinker there. Leave.”
The three sub-bosses left.
“Remain here, Cynric.”
“If I place you in command of the mission, I expect you to capture Thinker. If you don't, you'll lose something much more valuable than your breath. Leave.”
“King of Monsters.”
He left, grabbing his pained stomach. Hagen and Velron followed him to the infantry section of the camp. As he arrivesd he gave command. The hundred pictons formed up just before him, ready to march.
“We advance on Thinker and his soldiers, as our shadow will be cast upon them! Every human shall be struck from this world and the real one! For our great king, Cerdic!”
The three leaders and Elicia arrived with the rest of the players. Guinevere and Galahad smiled at them, though the latter seemed to fake it.
Guinevere: “For a moment I thought you had gone from this world.”
Galant: “We won't fall that easily.”
Thinker and Yulier approached.
Thinker: “What of the rest of your Knights?”
Galant: “I sent them to find food, and research the area for signs of the enemy. They shall be back before the moon rises.”
Lance: “We're resting for the night.”
Galant: “We are. Take shelter, and set up camp there, near those separate woods.”
Gawn: “Also, we would have words with Corbatz.”
Elicia: “The shit didn’t aid us during battle.”
Thinker: “I'll accompany you.”
The other players took shelter, and prepared their tents for the night. They went looking for the lieutenant, and found him preparing one.
Corbatz: “What happened?!”
Gawn: “I gave a soldier command to tell you to help us on a picton attack at our rear position!”
Corbatz: “No one told me that order.”
Gawn: “I gave command to a player with a scar at his left eye.”
Corbatz: “Tetsu. A strong sergeant, but a fool and a coward.”
“Yes I was, and what of it?”
They turned back.
A twenty year old man stood before them, with big eyebrows and uniform of the army, as tall as Bors. The scar on his left cheek gave his name away.
Gawn: “You're the fucking bastard that almost ended your lives!”
Tetsu: “I'd rather see you die than my comrades. That's why I didn’t tell him.”
Lance and Galant enraged instantly.
Lance: “If you ever again risk our lives or any ones from here, I'll make sure you won't do it anymore.”
Galant: “Your rank will be decreased for this!”
Tetsu: “YOU STUPID CHILD!”
He charged his fist to Galant, but Lance interfered by kicking him in the stomach and proceeding to punch him right in the face several times.
Lance stopped, throwing him to the ground.
“You're lowered to soldier, sergeant. Press further and you're out of the guild. Fall from sight!”
Tetsu got up as he could, holding his bleeding face. He looked sorely at Galant and Lance.
Silica appeared, running to Galant. He went to the other tent, walking as fast as he could when he noticed the little girl. He tuned his face and left a cynical smile, while he walked back to the tent.
Silica: “Sir Galant! Where is Sir Dagonet?”
Galant: “He went to search for food with Percival.”
Silica: “He told me that he would teach me some dagger sword skills!”
Galant: “Wait for him, I'm sure he will.”
The dragon tamer smiled as Pina appeared from the sky and seated herself on her head.
Gawn: “We should ready our tents, for when the rest return.”
Galant: “We're doing that now!”
They separated and prepared their tent. Galant held back Lance.
Galant: “Thanks for the help, brother.”
Lance: “Nobody hits you but me!”
They shook hands grinningly before they went to prepare everything.
Elicia went with Lance, and Guinevere did with Galant.
“Do you mind if we share a tent? I think Galant doesn't trust me yet.”
“I don't mind. You're most welcome. And in regards to Galant, he may seem like that, but you'll gain it. His respect and trust.”
"Even though you had the fight, you still care for him. Why?”
“He's my best friend.”
As the hour passed quickly, the recon team of hunters arrived at their camp. They went together to see Galant.
Galant: “You came back!”
Dagonet: “We've hunted some animals and we bring food.”
Guinivere: “Great work guys.”
Galant: “But important things first. Tristan, Bors what did you find.”
Bors: “We researched the area for signs of them, there were none. Since the hour grew late, he sent Horus to research the North.”
Tristan: “He'll be back in thirty minutes.”
Galant: “What of the food?”
Dagonet: “I told you, we've hunted animals.”
Galant: “How many?”
Percival: “Enough to feed all of us for the night, we already set up a fire, Gawn's started cooking. Guinevere, you should help him.”
Ginevere: “I'm on it.”
She left the tent and went searching for Gawn.
Galant: “Good work guys.”
Dagonet: “Why didn't that shit Corbatz lend us aid?”
Galant: “I knew you'd ask that. It wasn’t his fault. Gawn told another soldier to tell him.”
Galant: “He didn’t do it, risking our lives in the process.”
Bors: “What's his name?”
Galant: “Tetsu. He has a scar at the left of his cheek.”
Dagonet: “I'll go and smash his head then!”
He turned to the entrance of the tent, and grabbed his sheathed hammer.
Galant: “WAIT DAG!”
Bors held his brother by his arm and stopped him. He forced a wall between the two of them.
Guinevere: “Lance already did what you intent.”
The raging hammer guy seemed to relax a bit.
Dagonet: “What did he do?”
Galant: “When we confronted the guy, he almost hit me. Lance stopped him and beat the crap out of him. Then Thinker lowered his grade to soldier. ”
A voice was heard from near, it was Silica. She ran to Dagonet, He opened his arms and hugged the little girl. She got red, as he did it. It was incredible to see how Dagonet changed from so angry to happy to see the little dragon beast tamer.
Galant: “For now, relax, eat, and regain your strength. At dawn's brake, we depart for Londinium. Tristan, tell me what you know as soon as your hawk is back.”
Tristan nodded as they all left the tent.
Some minutes later, the meat was ready and everybody got their food. Survival experts say that food and fire fill the heart of a camper, giving them the will to continue and survive. They're right. As food filled everybody’s belly, an atmosphere of hope and joy could be felt, besides the death that had surrounded them the last couple of days, they would survive and get to the south.
Guinevere entered her tent, with food and drinks. Galant was seated near the small sleeping bed they would share.
“What is it?”
Galant took the plate and started eating.
“I didn’t know you were starving.”
“I was, since yesterday’s night. I haven’t eaten something in 24 hours. Luckily I won't die if I don’t eat.”
“Yet, the sensation wouldn't be nice. Have it all, I've already eaten something.”
“Can I pass?”
A know voice was heard from the outside. I was Galahad.
“What happened, brother?”
“I'll get straight to the point.”
He said as he came inside tent.
“First of all, Tristan's bird arrived. He told me it saw a large force of 100 pictons coming here.”
“How much time do we have?”
“A day and a half.”
“We shall rest until tomorrow'ss brake of dawn, then we shall depart to Londinium. Thank you.”
“Besides that, I am tired of being the dead weight of the guild.”
“I'm a good warrior.”
“We don't wish risking your life.”
“The result stands the same”
“We do this for you. If you are bested by the pictons you can't fight. If you do fight, you can die!”
“As all of us.”
“You are the tour best medic and seller, without you we would not be here; we may be dead. Remember who you are!”
He looked down from a brief moment, as tears accumulated in his eyes. Guilty was felt in his words.
“I'M THE CAUSE OF US ALL BEING TRAPPED HERE, RISKING OUR LIVES IN THIS GAME! BECAUSE OF MY FATHER'S WORK YOU GOT THE GAME! IF WASN'T FOR ME, YOU WOULD BE FREE! I SHOULD'VE DIED BEFORE MEETING YOU. NO, I SHOULDN'T EVEN BEEN BORN. IF SO, YOU WOULDN'T BE TRAPPED. YOU WOULDN'T BE RISKING YOUR LIFE IN THIS NONSENCE GAME, AND WE WOULDN'T BE HERE RISKING OUR LIFES FOR THIS!”
Galahad ran out of the tent.
He got up to get his friend but Guinevere stopped him.
“No. He needs time alone.”
Galant sat down, the empty plate falling on the floor. It disappeared into polygons.
“I sometimes take decisions for the greater good. Yet sometimes I ask myself if I'm correct. Should someone more capable be chosen as Leader.”
“Shhh. Relax. We all need rest.”
“I pray that I make the right decisions.”
She placed her hands on his jaw.
“The past can't be altered. The future has to reveal itself. All we can do is embrace every living moment.”
She kissed his hand. As she then moved to his lips and began a passionate kiss. Galant touched her hair, and slowly lowered his hand to her back. She began to take his coat out, but Galant stopped her.
“I'm sorry, But not today. I need my strength back.”
He lowered his head to the pillow.
“Ok. I just thought you would feel better.”
She putted her head on Galant’s strong chest feeling the air coming in and out of it, and the beats coming from his heart.
“I love you.”
“And I you.”
They shared a kiss as the felt into slumber, with their hands holding at side.
Bors took his boots off, and put his feet on the sleeping bag. Since the battle, he had this weird sensation in his ankles, with the exploration being even worse. Dagonet and Silica arrived in the tent with food, and he rapidly covered his ankles with the sleeping bag.
Dagonet: “Take the food.”
He placed Great Mjorllnir on the ground, at the end of his bed.
Dagonet: “Go get some sleep, little girl”
Silica: “Yes. Thanks for letting me stay on this tent, taking care of me and teaching me those Sword Skills.”
Bors: “Your gratitude's unnecessary. Take rest. Tomorrow we're on our way back to the city.”
Dagonet covered the girl with a cloak. Soon enough, she fell sleep.
“You seem to take much care of the little girl.”
“You're never like this.”
“She reminds me of her.”
“Mira. Your girlfriend.”
Bors looked at the little beast tamer.
“She doesn't look the same at all!”
“To me, all girls do. I miss her.”
“She must be missing you too.”
“Dag, we'll get out of this, you shall see her again.”
“I'll protect you, brother.”
Dagonet offered his hand. Bors took it and the shared a great handshake.
“I'm off to dream. We depart early.”
Dagonet enterded his sleeping bag, and put his hands on the back of his head. He was about to close his eyes, when he noticed, 20 meters from their tent, an army player with a scar on his left cheek.
“Tetsu.” He thought.
He was around a fire, with other players of The Army. Nor Thinker, not even Yulier, Corbatz was there. He seemed to be telling them an order to proceed with. Dagonet kept his look fixated on them, through the door of his tent, yet as minutes passed he felt more and more tired, until he finally fell asleep.
“It's said that your katanas have an unknown combined sword skill. Do you know of it?”
"No." answer from the blue haired girl.
“Are you okay there?”
Her voice was saddened.
“You aren't Elicia. You're crying?”
“Leave me be!”
“I'm sorry. I kind…”
Elicia got out of her sleeping bag and hugged Lance strongly. Her eyes were filled with tears, falling from her cheeks to the ground.”
“What's your meaning?”
“I was no solo player. I had a guild, we came here in search of my Katana, but the Pictons ambushed us once we went back here. They killed all my friends, and almost killed me”
Lance stood shocked to her revelation.
“They let me live, it seemed that Cerdic already had plans for me. I was sent here with Silica. And that's how I met you.”
“I don't know what to say.”
“I can only have vengeance now, it's the only thing I can.”
Lance hugged her.
“I understand. I would do the same in your position. But facing them alone, facing off against a entire army, plus Cerdic and his sub bosses would be suicide. Remain with us, we'll help you.”
“You think you can convince Galant?”
Her sight got up, as they were face to face, eye to eye. They two blushed.
“Rest. Tomorrow we'll see what can be done.”
“Lance, you're a great being.”
“HOLD HIM TIGHT!”
Dagonet was grabbed by an arm, and was thrown out of the sleeping back.
The whole tent had been cut down and destroyed. He managed to get up, grabbing the one right in front of him. He was surrounded by two members of the army, and no sight of his brother. He was hit and kneed in both sides. Dagonet raged, and he fisted the one at his right, and elbowed the one at the left.
But suddenly her cries ended.
Dagonet kicked the soldier at his left, other soldier tried to punch him but he avoid him hiting him in the belly and the face, and threw him to the ground. More soldiers gathered around him. He grabbed his hammer.
“I HAVE THE GIRL.”
Dagonet looked to his side; Tetsu had Silica, with his sword at her throat.
Dagonet : “PIECE OF SHIT!”
Tetsu: “Kill him.”
Yuriel interfered and grabbed Tetsu’s arm, but he kicked her easily.
An arrow stuck into his chest. Dagonet turned in to his left. Tristan had shot it, and loaded other. Tetsu let go Silica, who ran to Dagonet.
Dagonet: “Get down!”
He grabbed his hammer with both hand and prepared a skill.
Galant, Lance, Elicia, Guinevere, Gawn and Galahad surrounded them.
Bors arrived to the situation with hammer in hand.
“Are we having any problems, eh?
Galant: “Make your decision. You'll die if you don’t help us.”
Thinker: “Lower your weapons.”
The army corps looked at him.
They all threw their weapons to the ground.
Percival arrived to the scene.
Bors: “How many did you kill?”
Bors: “Then you got bored!”
Percival: “Bad news, pictons are closing in on us. We don’t have much time”
Galant: “Show us the path.”
They prepared for the end of the journey, and once they were ready they began the final path to the south. Still, their march was not fast, the great quantity of players had made them go slower. The few resting hours didn't have much effect it seemed. As time passed, they heard the pictons coming closer and closer.
Tristan arrived from the rear position.
Tristan: “They move faster than us, they'll be here soon.”
Galant: “What can we do?!”
Percival: “More bad news.”
Galant: “What is it?”
Percival: “Follow me.”
All the Royal Knights went to the front position. The way curved to the right. They stopped, and they looked to a small frozen lagoon in their way between the path and the City.
Gawn: “Damnit. We were so close!”
Galant: “There is no other path?”
Percival “Too late to change our minds.”
Galant: “We have to separate from one another. That way, we can cross it.”
They all got separated from one another. Step by step, easy, calmed. With each one, strange sounds coming from the ice. It was breaking.
Galant: “Hold. DON'T MOVE!”
The silence made them realize that the pictons were closer that they thought. Looking back to the path, there was no sign of them, but they were closer with each second that they remained still.
Galant took a step, but then stopped. The Royal Knights looked to each other. Galant turned back.
Bors: “I'm tired of running. The pictons are so near to us, my ass is hurting.”
Tristan: “I don’t like running from an enemy.”
Gawn: “Please, that sound is horrible!”
Galahad: “We shall see the bastards right in front of us.”
Dagonet: “Here. Now!”
Galant: “Get ready.”
They prepared weapons and turned back in the end of the lake.
Galant: “Thinker, you shall lead your people. If you continue through this path you shall arrive in Londinium.”
Thinker: “I know the way. But you are nine against a hundred.”
Elicia: “Ten. You'll need me.”
Thinker: “I want to fight.”
Galant: “I this game, you never stop. GO!”
Thinker: “If you arrive to Londinium, you and your friends are free. Good luck...you'll need it. WE'RE GOING, NOW!”
Silica: “I can fight. I'm ready.
Galant: “NO. Go with the others.”
Dagonet: “You have to go with them. I'll be back I promise.”
Silica hugged Dagonet, and ran, he reacted the same. She turned back for a moment, and Dagonet waved his hand to her as she did the same and followed the others.
They left, leaving nothing but silence in their wake, which was quickly overshadowed by the increasing sound of the upcoming storm of monsters. The winds grew stronger in the knights' backs of their necks. Waiting for the enemy, arriving nearly a minute after they rest had gone. A hundred of them, with two sub bosses and a human with them.
Galant: “Lance, Gawn, Tristan, Percival. Ready throwing weapons. Until I say, don't shoot. The rest, prepare weapons.”
An archer came from the pictons and shot an arrow. Due the wind, it ended nearly halfway up the frozen lagoon.
Hagen: “We're too far off.”
Cynric: “Yes, I already noticed...”
Galant: “Maybe they´re waiting for an invitation. Percival, Tristan.”
Elicia: “We´re too far Galant.”
Tristan shot four arrows, and Percival threw one of his kunais to them with Sword Skill: Long Shot. The projectiles, thanks to the wind, arrived at target and threw several pictons to the ground.
Galant looked to Elicia, she nodded.
Galant: “Shoot to the flanks, if we gather them together the ice will break.”
First volley, four of them fell, they ran to their right. Second volley, five of them, they turned to the left. Third volley, four of them fell, they turned back to the right.
Hagen: “Keep in line!”
Step by step, they gathered enough weight, and cracks began to appear in the ice.
“To the flanks!”
Cynric: “Go to the flanks. To the flanks!”
Fourth volley, four of them fell.
Cynric: “To the flanks, TO THE FLANKS, OR I WILL KILL YOU!”
The ice cracked, stopping the pictons from a brief moment as they were almost in the middle of the lagoon.
Galant: “It won´t brake. IN POSITION, GET READY FOR BATTLE!”
They all drew weapons and got ready for battle. Dagonet looked at the quantity of them, and then at that of his friends: they would not survive that battle.
He took breath, grabbed his hammer and ran to the middle between them.
Galant: “Cover him!”
Cynric: “ARCHERS, ADVANCE!”
Dagonet: “THUNDER PILE!”
He smashed his hammer to the ice.
The Royal Knights shoot at them. Several archers died.
He once more rammed it.
Cynric: “NOW SHOOT!”
More archer fell, yet, arrows were stuck into Dagonet, as he once more thrusted Mjollnir into the ice.
Velron: “THE ICE IS BREAKING!”
Dagonet thrusted Mjollnir to the ice one final time.
Several arrows stuck into his chest , belly and neck, and he felt onto his back.
He rushed to help his brother as an arrow was stuck into his neck.
Dagonet got on his knees and grabbed his hammer with both hands.
Dagonet: “...Great... SMASH!”
The shock of the slam finished what he started. The cracks went to the pictons and they started falling into the water.
Cynric: “FALL BACK! NOW!”
Dagonet smiled, as he let go his hammer to the ice, and he fell to the frozen waters of the lake.
Bors grabbed his brother, and his the hammer, and got him out of the water. Galant ran forward and drew his shield to cover them three, and began dragging him to the rest. They kept recieving cover-fire from the arrows shot by the pictons.
Lance: “WE HAVE TO LEAVE GALANT!!!”
The continuation of shots persisted, even though their own men were dying in frozen water, yet they continued to shot to the Royal Knights.
Bors: “Save us!”
Galahad and Guinevere helped.
The rest of the pictons fell back. After the carnage, just 30 of them were alive, including the sub bosses and the leaders.
The arrows stopped from both sides. Tristan looked at the pictons, he loaded one of his arrows and shot. One next to the leader died.
Bors :“Dagonet, don't die! DAISUKE, DON'T DIE!!!”
Dagonet began to lose his consciousness.