Floor 61th, November 4th, 2024
Galant looks at her with a vicious smile drawn on his face.
He charges Stardust Slasher and raised his sword…
Wrath Galant is about to drive his sword downwards and slash her neck when Diana gets up faster than his slash, and hugs him. Galant drops his weapons, which bounce in the ground with a clanking sound until they stop. They remain like that for a few seconds until Galant pushes her. He grabs his face with his left hand and closes his eyes.
“Disappear!” Galant says. “Get out…I don’t need you, don’t interfere!”
Diana was about to says something, but she is interrupted when Galant shouts nonsense loudly and starts groaning. He moves like a wild beast until his knees surrender and he falls to the ground his knees with both hands in his face.
“Diana…” He says.
He raises his head and opens his eyes, revealing his normal blue eyes.
“Galant…” She says smiling.
“I’m sorry.” He says. “Are you alright? I hope I didn’t…”
She stops him by threw herself at him. She hugs him, this time, stronger than before. She begins to cry.
“I am…much better now.” She says between sobs.
“I’m sorry. I’d been having a lot of problems these last months. I’m very happy you two are okay after all this tim…”
“GET THE HELL AWAY FROM HIM, SIS!”
Kana appeared with both daggers draw, and her HP full re-healed, ready to continue battle. Diana steps in front of Galant with her arms opened, shielding him from her sister.
Diana: “No Kana wait…”
Kana: “Move Diana, he’s dangerous!”
Diana: “That was not him.”
Kana: “You don’t have eyes to see?! It was!!!”
Galant: “Diana, move aside.”
Galant: “Your sister wants answers; I have to give them to her. For Gawn.”
She moves aside, leaving her sister and the player she loved in front of each other.
“For starters: What happened in the fight?!What is wrong with your eyes?!”
“I’ll explain everything to you. Before we start, I have to give you this.”
Galant enter his menu and searches for something.
A red bandana materialized in front of Kana, Galant give it to her. She opened it, and it was there, the symbol of the Royal Knights. It was Gawn’s bandana. She looked up to him, noticing that she was wrong about him all the time, she lowered her head.
“Now, sit down. This is a long story.”
Galant finishes his story.
Both sisters look down to the ground for a moment. A perfect silence appears and stays for a while until Diana breaks it.
Diana: “We didn’t want to believe what had happened to you true.”
Kana: “I…am sorry. We are. For all what we’ve done.”
Galant: “Don’t sorry. I would’ve done the same in your position. I’m happy both of you remained alive.”
He gets up.
Galant: “I should go now sisters.”
Diana: “Go? Where?”
Galant: “Nightshroud’s still alive and free. I will not rest while he remains alive.”
Kana: “It’s madness! You alone against one of the leader of Laughing Coffin. He’s probably one of the most deadly PKs in Aincrad.”
Galant: “I’m not the same player I was.”
Diana: “Even still. You should joy a guild, like Pendragon Court or KoB.”
Galant: “There’s no place for me there. I’m considered a player killer and a criminal in all of Aincrad. There’s no place in this world for me.”
Kana: “Galant no. I don’t want to see anybody else dying. Many good friends have died already. You have to stay.”
Galant: “This is my path. I will not let Guinevere’s memory be forgotten.”
As Kana responds to Galant, Diana take a looks to his right arm and sees a purple ribbon tied to his wrist; the one that Guinevere always carried, tied on her head. She looks back at Galant and quickly realizes: he was still in love with her. Even when she was death. He wouldn’t stop. No matter what they did to him or tell to him. His strength and his will would drive him.
Kana: “Do you really think this is what your friends would’ve wished for you? Do you really think that? Do you think Guinevere…?”
Diana: “Kana…Let him go.”
Diana: “Let him go.”
Kana: “You above all others should want him to stay with us.”
Diana: “I do…But I can’t stop him…”
Diana: “Tell me something. If Nightshroud would’ve killed Gawn, what’d you do?”
Kana lowered her head looking to the ground.
Kana: “I’d fight.”
Galant: “Yes. Then you can understand me.”
Diana: “Even still, I’m going with you Galant.”
Galant: “What the hell?”
Diana: “You may need back up. I’m going with you.”
Galant: “You’re not.”
Diana: I’m going with you whether you like it or not.”
Galant: “You won’t!!!”
Diana: “I am!” She pauses for a brief moment, looking at him seriously. “I’ve withstood the fall of many of my friends…You’re one of the last living…I won’t tolerate another death-”
Galant looks her, and her tearful eyes full of desire for help. She was mirror image of Sakura when they parted ways with their army before the battle of Camlann. She could see it, her desire for helping.
Galant: “Alright…But you’ll do what I order If I tell you to run and leave me behind, you run and leave me behind.”
Diana: “Thank you.”
Kana: “I’ll stay with you.”
Diana: “You’re needed in the Guild. Trinity and the others will need you. Go.”
Kana: “Damnit! Alright…Kazu, take care, would you? Please.”
Diana: “I will. You also Akira.”
They hug for some seconds, in a very loving way to each other. After a while, they separate and Kana hands over the bandana to Galant.
Galant: “No. It’s yours. You need it more than me.”
She places the bandana over her head, but since it was too big, it couldn’t stay hold. She quickly decides she leave it around her neck, as if it were a collar.
Kana: “Thank you. Take care of her, please.”
Galant: “With my life.”
Kana : “Come back to Pendragon Court. Both of you. ”
Diana: “We will!”
Kana: “Teleport: Luciad!”
Kana banishes in sky blue light, leaving her sister and the former leader of the Royal Knight’s together, together and alone.
“What now?” She asks.
“We’re heading back to Algade. The base of my guild is still there, it’s my base for the moment.”
“Home, sweet home.” Galant says, opening the door to his former home.
He’s followed by Diana across the building, which was full of dust and dirt. It had been a long time since he’d last been there, that was why. Spider webs covered the place, and it was full of darkness and broken windows. With that condition, it seemed like if it had been abandoned decades ago. However, it’d been just nine long months since one of the Royal Knights was inside.
Galant: “We’re going to my room. It’s the only place I’m using right now.”
Diana: “Please. I’d die if I had to sleep here.”
They rushed the two stairs fast and arrived to Galant and Guinevere’s room. It had still a martial bed. A circular table with two wooden chairs. There was another room leading to a bathroom.
“I hope you like it.”
“It’s nice, clean unlike the rest of the house…Did you have to…”
“Clean this all up alone? Yeah. It’s not like I had somebody else to help.”
Galant sits down in the chair and removed his gear. Diana does the same. For a moment, a brief silence covered the atmosphere of the room.
“I need to have a shower.” She says
“Ok. You can take some towels from the closet.”
“I need to…get undressed…”
“I’ll leave the room then. Shout when you’re ready. There’s also a housecoat in the closet.”
Galant gets up and leave the room.
Diana removes all her clothes, puts on the housecoat and grabs the towel. She touches her heart, and feels it was beating faster than usual. She enters the bathroom, and shouts to Galant, allowing him to come back in. Afterwards she enters the bathroom and begin showering.
Galant enters to the room and removes Avalon’s coat alongside the belt slung on his chest, the forearms of Aegis and finally his gloves. He was just wearing with his boots, t-shirt, pants and the purple ribbon in his right hand.
He takes out his weapons and looked at the blade of each of them placing them on the bed. He had Blamung Blade, Laevatein and Carnwennan as principal weapons. As side weapons, his kunai, a total of 20. Five on each carrier on his belt. Afterwards, he had Aegis, which had just been hardened by Hephaestus, and finally Avalon’s Coat, with its re-healing ability.
Could all of this be enough to face Nightshroud? He didn’t know at what level he was right now. But even still, he leveled up fast and became the Champion of Aincrad. And besides, he had other trick PoH did not know: his Wrath Mode, if he learned to control it, it’d become his best and strongest ability. It was a great risk, but it was his best weapon for an emergency.
The door of the bathroom opened, and Diana came out with her hair tied and a towel covering from her breast to her thighs. Galant turns around as soon as she appeared. She does the same, and blushing.
“Diana! I’m sorry. I thought you’d tell me to go out before.”
“No, forget it.”
“I’ll go out….”
“No! Stay. Promise you won’t watch.”
Galant continued watching thought the window, as she searched in her inventory for something to wear.
“I’m ready. You can turn.”
Galant turns around; she was wearing a violet nightgown that matched her eyes and the ribbon she now used on her head.
A nostalgia smile drew on Galant’s face.
“You look that her. Sakura. With the ribbon on your head.”
“Yes. Guinevere’s real name. Sakuya, Sakura.”
She walked round the bed, as Galant removed the weapons from it.
“What of yours?”
“Your real name.”
“That name…was from a man who no longer exists.”
“He’s dead. He died. Alongside the rest of the Royal Knights in that cavern months ago. The one standing before you is Galant, the Champion of Aincrad.”
“But Galant, why? Leaving your name behind.”
“Because I must embrace the path I have been set upon by Fate.”
“Fate? You didn’t believe in that.”
“I changed my mind about that. I changed my mind about so many things.”
“Let me guess…for her…”
“For what I must do.”
“Why?” She asks.” Why do you love her so much even after death?”
“I ask myself that same question every day. I don’t know. But you never know why. Feelings are a strange thing and they are impossible to describe. But still we have them.”
“And what of my feelings? What I fell for you? Galant, I love you. I’ve always done”
Galant doesn’t respond. He didn’t know what to say. He looks away.
Diana grabs his face and presses her lips against his. Galant eyes widen at first, but he closes them after a short time. They remain kissing that for a few seconds more.
They separated, staying at few inches to each other face in silence, felling the heavy breath and the fast beating of both of their hearts.
“Stop…” Galant says. “I can’t…”
“Diana…I do like you. But I’m not in love with you. I’m sorry. I can’t do this with you, I just can’t.”
“Why…You don’t find comfort in my arms?”
“Do you find comfort in mine?”
“Yes. You’d find if you’d give me more of your heart...”
Galant sits down on the bed and grabs her left hand with both of his own.
“I’m ash. I have nothing left to give you...There can be no us.” He looks down.
They hug strongly and remain silent for a long while.
“We’re both extremely tired.” Galant says. “We should sleep.”
Floor 50th, November 7th, 2024
Diana wakes up. She turns around and sees that Galant was no longer on the bed. She gets up, puts on her gear as fast as she can and rushes out of the room, running down the stairs. He was in the kitchen, preparing the breakfast.
“Hi!” She says.
“Morning. Want your breakfast?”
He gives her coffee, two toasts and marmalade. She quickly sits down; she spreads the jam on the bread and starts eating. She seemed quite hungry. After finishing the first toast, she looks up.
“You don’t eat?”
“I already have, while I was looking at the map of the last 5 floors cleared.”
“We already searched though most of the floors. The only one we didn’t is floor 75th. Any luck finding a base there?”
“Where’s the last base?”
“Here. Bellow the Great Coliseum of Aincrad, in the city of Collina.”
“We are lucky.
The players are gather to the 75th floor boss raid party today. The place will be almost abandoned.”
“It won’t be an easy fight for them. Happened with the bosses of floors 25th and 50th. I hope I could offer them a hand.”
“Then we should join them.” Diana suggests.
“No. I won’t be welcomed near KoB. And even if I was, I won’t stop until Nightshroud is dead. Until that moment, I’m not going to join any guilds or parties. I’ll fight alone.”
He gets up.
“I’ll prepare my gear. Once you finish eating, get ready. We’ll go there as soon as the Raid Party leaves the city.”
Floor 75th, November 7th, 2024
“We’re here.” Diana says, looking to the large arena in front of her.
“I never imagined I’d step into the sands again.”
“Are you ready?”
“I’ve been ready for a long time.”
Diana walks a single step inside.
“Diana, no. This is my fight.”
“I want you to go back to your guild’s HQ. I’ll meet you there.”
“No, Galant. I faced many things with you these last days. Don’t ask me now to go away and leave you to your luck.”
“I don’t want to lose you...”
“And I don’t want to lose you! Please! You need me! What if you died now?! I’d never forgive myself for leaving you alone!”
Galant briefly stares to her.
“Alright… I know that feeling better than anyone. Are you ready?”
“I am. Let’s go!”
Diana makes few steps inside the arena. Galant followed and opens his hand, preparing a Martial Arts Sword Skill. He uses a quick and swift karate chop directly to her neck. Diana falls numb to the ground. Galant catches her body in midair and entered the Arena. He rapidly found a dungeon with empty cells and lays her on a bed.
“I’m sorry Kazuha. But if you lost your life on this fight, I’d never forgive myself for bringing you with me. I’m sorry for not replying your feelings. If I die here, do not cry. Live, and finish this cursed world for me.”
He walked out of the cell. He looks to Diana for a brief moment before closing the door.
He draws his sword and starts walking through the Coliseum. He couldn’t find anyone with his Detection Skill. It was possible that Nightshroud had a high level Hiding Skill. This enabled any player to avoid being detected by other players with a lower level Detection Skill. It was also likely that the PK had paralysis potion, with him. Fortunately, Galant already drank a bottle of antidote, so he didn’t have to worry about that. The only thing in his head would be their still.
He continues walking through the long circular corridor without finding anything. When he’d finished inspecting half of the dungeon bellow the arena he saw something…a cloaked player.
He rushes forward, and so did the shadowed player. In few seconds, the shade had disappeared in a corridor of cells.
Galant tabs his weapons, thinking. He couldn’t feel the presence of the player, so he decided to enter the cells one by one. Unless he’d teleported away, the player had to be there.
He entered the first cell, nothing…The second cell…nothing…The third cell…nothing…The forth cell… nothing.
“Where the hell are you?!” He screams.
The player falls behind Galant and thrust his sword though his body. Galant reacts faster and jumps forward, rolling on the ground and dodging the attack. He quickly gets up and kicks backwards, landing the blow in the player’s chest. He lands in the ground, but he gets up as fast as Galant did before running away, swiftly followed by Galant. The player runs up some stars before jumping inside the Arena. He doesn’t stop until he is in the middle.
“That’s enough Nightshroud!” Galant shouts. “You got nowhere to run. Now turn around and face me!”
“I will, Slayer of Cerdic, right here, on the sands of the arena. The place where you were reborn…” He bends down and grabs sand. He lets it fall down to the ground slowly. “The roar of the crowd, the fighting, the amazingness of such a spectacle. You should be happy I sent you here.”
Nightshroud turns around, facing Galant. He drops his cloak. He wore a black hooded coat, with red symbols on the chest and both arms. Under it, he was using a grey shirt, a necklace with a skull. He also spotted dark grey pants, and boots matching the colors of his coat.
His face was still shadowed by a hood. There is a brief moment of silence.
“Why…?” Galant asks.
“What? Why? What do you mean?” He asks whith a slight grin in his face. He was obviously intending to make him angrier.
“Why did you do it?! You fought for Cerdic, until we defeated him. Later you joined Laughing Coffin and plotted to kill the rest of us, and succeeded if it weren’t for me. Why did you kill them!? That’s the only thing I don’t understand! Why?!”
“Isn’t that obvious?” He says, opening his arms. “What drives me is the same thing that drives you now. Vengeance.”
“Vengeance? Why? Why’d you want vengeance on me?!”
Nightshroud laughs slightly. Before long, he puts his hand on his face and begins laughing louder for a couple of seconds.
“You really haven’t figured it out yet? Who I am? Who’s behind this hood?”
“If I had, we wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place.”
“Hmm…Alright. You win. I’ll show you who I am, it’s the least you deserve after all you’ve been through. Besides…”
He removed the hood from his face, revealing shining gold hair styled to his back with a single lock in his forehead. He had red crimson eyes. A vicious wide smile was drawn in his face. He had a gruesome purple scar covering the right side of his face, crossing through his eyelash, cutting it in half, and over his eye. It continued on his cheek until his chin.
Galant’s eyes widen and his pupil shrinks as soon as he sees him. He’d never felt that aghast and shocked in his life. His blade falls from his hands. He falls to his knees.
“…No…” Galant whispers.
“...you and I are old friend after all, aren’t we, brother?” Nightshroud says, ending his
“You’re…Miya…Kiryuuin.” Galant looks at him and doesn’t say a word for a short time. “No, this is impossible! What’re you doing here!? You were dead!”
“I was never dead…you left abandoned me, for the sake of your friends. You sacrificed me for you own good.”
“I had no choice!!!”
“You did have a choice. You choose to abandon me. You choose Shun and Sakura over me and left me to die back there.”
“I was lucky enough to survive. But when I saw you happy with your friends here in SAO…I couldn’t help but to feel the need for revenge. Paying you with the same coin you gave to me. I’d make you lose everything you ever cared for. Akihiko trapping us in this death-game was just the perfect help. Later, by helping Cerdic and becoming a member of LC, I became the player responsible for the deaths of all the Royal Knights.”
“I’m the one responsible for their deaths.”
“Miya…Kiryuuin…” Galant’s face starts to change, he was showing notable anger.
“Miya died back when you abandoned me. I lost everything in my life. My name is Mordread. And now you....You now share my same fate…Brother.”
Galant eyes turn crimson red; he rushes at him and makes a powerful vertical slash towards him. Mordread draws three long knives out of the sleeve of his jacket. He places them between his fingers and blocks Galant slash easily. They start struggling.
“KILL, KILL KILL”
“Marvelous!!! I see Red-eyes. Darkness was born in you, same as me.”
Galan draws Carnwennan as Mordread draws other three daggers in his right hand. They clash for a second time.
“Now you’re the same as me. You have lost everything in the world, except me.”
Galant groans nonsense.
“Still Darkness won’t be enough to defeat me, brother…”
Mordread spreads his arms, making Galant’s swords do the same. He head-butted him before kicking him back. The Champion of Aincrad rolls backwards on the ground. Mordread attacks him, but Galant blocks while he was getting up. He counters by jumping and kicking with Meteor Impact, though Mordread blocks the move with his forearm, and jumps back.
“KILL, KILL, KILL!”
Galant rushes towards him and begins a fast display of Sword Skills and strong sword slashes, but Mordread laughed and laughed, dodging some and parrying a few. Now angrier, Galant uses Crescent Stardust Slasher on him, and he avoids his rage attack with ease. Galant continues his vicious frenzy, as Mordread continues to avoid him without receiving a single scratch. After a failed sword swing, Mordread gets near Galant and delivers a hard kick to his face, sending him fling several meters before landing hardly on his back. Mordread rushes towards him. Galant gets up quickly and uses Shimmer Spike, trying to stop him. It’s useless. Mordread, without weapons in his hand, jumps diagonally, dodging his sword by millimeters. He grabs Galant’s hand and hitting his elbow, making Galant lighting his grip on Balmung. The blade falls from his hands. Galant thrusts with his dagger, but Mordread catches his arm and uses the same move he used on his right arm. The blade falls from his grasp. He kicks Galant’s leg, making him lose his balance and fall to the ground. Mordread kicks the weapons away.
“I expected you to give a more decent fight…”
Galant’s eyes still shined crimson, as he was full of hate and wrath in that moment. He gets up rapidly and punches him with Garuru Fist in the face and then with Gray Fist. He jumps and uses Meteor Impact, spinning and hitting him on the chest, making him fall back several meters.
“Hm…Bors taught you well…” Mordread adds smiling.
Galant rushes forward quickly and attacks with frontal kick, which was grabbed easily by Mordread. Galant jumps with his other leg kicked the hands of Mordread, releasing his Leg. The PK smiles. As Galant was in the air, he grabs his neck and throws him to the center of the arena. The Champion of Aincrad rolls on the sands, and finally stops near his weapons.
Galant grabs his weapons and gets up slowly. His crimson red eyes had returned to normal after Mordread’s last attack. He was notably hurt.
“For some reason, your HP decreases slower than other players. Well, it won’t be a problem…I’ll make you join Sakura and the others soon enough …”
Mordread prepares a Sword Skill, when a white explosive arrow nails in his chest. It made a sound two times and exploded.
Galant looks to the place where the arrow came from. It was Diana.
She was standing near the wall of the Arena. She shoots two more arrows to the smoke.
“Are you ok?!”
“Diana, get the hell out of here!”
“What are you talking about? He is dead…”
Six long knives spin on the air, directly towards her.
Galant rushes as fast as he can. He arrives faster, and uses his own body to shield Diana from the blades. He closed his eyes, and fell the deep stab of all of them. Four of the blades pierce his back came out from his bet and stomach.
He looks up, and sees she had been stabbed in the chest and the neck. She falls to the ground.
Galant falls to his knees. He manages to remove the knives incrusted in his body and in the body of Diana with his hands.
Mordread begins laughing.
“ALWAYS THE SAME! ALL WOMEN WHO NEAR YOUR DICK DIE,”
As Mordread continues his laugh, Galant grabs Diana’s neck.
“Diana! Diana! Talk to me please!”
“Embrace the pain, I’ll end it!”
Galant removes his coat and puts it on to her, to make sure she healed. He jumps to the grades of the Arena, and lays her down on the ground to rest.
“Why you entered here?! You should have gone…”
“I couldn’t let…let you fight alone...”
“You’ll be okay here.”
“Win and finish this once and for all…”
She loses consciousness.
Galant gets up and enters the arena again and walking towards Mordread continued laughing.
“Seriously, your luck sucks, brother…” He stops laughing. “After I defeat you, I’ll tie your hands up, and rape her before your eyes. Then I’ll kill her and finish you. You’ll die knowing that you once again can’t protect anything you love.”
Galant closes his eyes and reopened them, this time, with crimson shining eyes.
“You entered by personal will to Wrath state… good.” Mordread says. “But it’s still not enough to beat me.”
He draws his blades and puts them in front of him in an x-like position. He rushes forward, towards Galant. He attacks with a singular Crescent Stardust Slasher, but the knives, shield him from the Sword Skill, and shatter before his eyes. He continued his high speed rush while drawing other six knives. At the same time, Galant draws Carnwennan. The exchange a flurry of attacks and defenses in mere second, but none of them land a clear blow. Both were evenly matched in all aspects. Speed, stamina, strength, dexterity and ability.
Galant dodges one of his strikes, but Mordread spins on the ground and kick him, but Galant avoids the attack as well by putting his hand on the ground and jumping back. He lands firmly on the ground and starts a flurry of Stardust Slasher. Mordread jumps back while twirling, avoiding some Sword Skills. He lands on his feet and, by moving his knives at incredible speed, deflects all attacks.
The long and thin blades knives of Mordread shattered. He throws the hits to the ground to the ground where they shattered as well. He moved his hands some martial arts moves, before assuming a battle stance.
They briefly stared to each other.
Galant begins to move Balmung Blade diagonally upwards, preparing to attack with Crescent Stardust Slasher. In a second, Mordread jumps forward getting fast near him as he prepares to attack. Galant has to time to block or avoid. The blow was so powerful that Galant bends his body forward; the air is blown out of his lungs and was sent flying away until he crashes in side of the arena, creating a small crater on it.
He turns around and begins walking towards the place were Diana was. He hears a sound and turned back. At that instant, a knife slashes his left forehead.
Galant throws four more at him but the PK shields behind his forearms.
The Champion of Aincrad gets up and draws Laevatein from his belt as his opponent advances near to him. Galant prepares and attacks with Crescent Stardust Slasher diagonally.
Mordread doesn’t have time to draw a weapon and deflect or to dodge. Instead he used his left arm. With all his strength he deflects the Sword Skill, which is sent diagonally towards the side of the arena and leaves a mark on the wall. His arm had been ripped to shreds, but he was alive, grasping for breath. His arm was badly wounded. Same as him, Galant breathes heavily. Both of them were left with 20 % of their HP.
Galant rushes forward him raising his blade. Mordread quickly blocks with his wounded left arm. Galant attacks again with Carnwennan. Mordread draws his sword from his back and parries the blows. They start another flurry of attacks and defenses at high speed, matching each other again, head to head on their final battle. After one missed attack from Galant, Mordread kicks his leg. Galant starts falling to the ground and the PK readies his sword to stab him. The blue knight used his forearm guard to parry away the sword. He spins and kicks Mordread with Meteor Impact, sending both of them flying in opposite directions. Galant throws his dagger towards him in midair, stabbing his right leg. Both of them land on their feet. Galant prepares Laevatein in the air, preparing a Crescent Stardust Slasher. Mordread draws his six remaining knives with a single hand and throws them; he draws his sword again and rushes at max speed towards Galant.
Time seemed to stop, as Galant swings his blade and Mordread gets ready to stab him through the chest, while his six knifes were about to also stab him…