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Sword Art Online: Past of Ashes
Written by: FedeTkd
Chapter 23

SAO:PoA - Chapter Twenty Four »

Floor 1st, July 17th, 2024

Doctore: “Galant! Craxus! Take Position!”

Both players are given weapons by the guards. Galant received Blamung and Guren while Craxus a middle big circular shield and a one straight one handed sword. After this they face each other in position, ready to start.

Ducard: “Last contest of the test. This will determine if you’re worthy of becoming a gladiator. Stand ready!”

Craxus places his shield just below his eyes and tabs his sword. Galant takes a fighting stance points at him with Guren and places Balmung near his chest.

Ducard: “Begin!”

Craxus screams and starts his attack. He drives his blade in a vicious frenzy rush against the champion, who quickly walks backwards and eludes the assault. Craxus thrusts his blade strongly, but Galant blocks with his dagger and swings other blade to attack. Craxus raises his shield, blocking the attack. Galant swings his other blade diagonally, but the trainee blocks again, this time with his blade. He pushes forward with the shield, but Galant spins and deflects the shield with both blades. The attack is enough strong to make Craxus lose his balance and fall to the ground.

Galant walks round Craxus on the ground.

Galant: “Antinomy has trained you well…”

While still in the ground, Craxus thrusts, but Galant deflected the move with Balmung. He attacks with Guren, on which Craxus parried with his shield. He swings both blades against the shield before kicking him. The recruit lands flat on his back again.

Galant places his feet on the fuller of Craxus’ sword and places Balmung near his neck.

“…but you’re just imitating his moves.”

Craxus rolls on the ground and deflects the blade with his shield. He swings his blade and forces Galant to retreat. This gives him enough time to get back up and continue his vicious frenzy from moments ago. However, the champion again rams both blades at him. He barely blocks with his shield and spins in the air before landing hardly on the ground.

Once Craxus gets up, Galant attacks first, kicking him back, then swings both swords towards his shield and other powerful frontal kick, pushing him to the ground for a third time. But this time Craxus rolls backwards and gets up in a matter of seconds. Galant advances quickly and attacks again, using diagonal sword slash, but the recruit parries it with his sword. He attempts to stab him but Craxus places his sword between his shield and his own sword and rotates. The exact same move he learned from Antinomy. This move makes Guren slip off his fingers. Craxus uses the momentum to hit a surprised Galant right in the face with his shield. Still confused, the champion is barely able to deflect the two upcoming attacks of Craxus, who then hits him with the face with the pommel of his blade and kicks his right leg.

Galant plummets down to the ground.

Craxus swings his sword with a vicious smile. The Slayer of Cerdic is barely able to roll on the ground to avoid the blow. He manages to get up, but Craxus again attack him. Galant advances as well, but diagonally. He clashes his blade against his opponents shield and rolls in the ground. He grabs Guren and gets back up. Craxus rushes at him, but Galant walks forward and swings both blades at the same time, hitting Craxus in the shield and defeating him.

He steps on his right arm and placed both swords on his neck.

“Nice try...”

Galant raises Guren ready to kill and looks to Ducard.

Ducard: “Since Craxus could give a good fight to the Champion of Aincrad himself, I’ll be merciful. He’s gained his place the brotherhood of gladiators. But, he’ll face his final test in the Arena, very soon.”

Galant removed Balmung from his neck and help him up.

Galant: “Well fought.”

Ducard: “Then, Craxus, Naggeron and Dangrenn will remain in the Ludus. The others will return to the prison, joining suitable company.”

The two recruits that’d failed the test are grabbed by two guards and forced down, back to the prison.

“The other rest! You’ll enter the arena soon on two weeks.”

Ducard leaves the balcony.

Craxus: “I’m going to fight in the Arena? I haven’t earned such honor.”

Galant: “No you have not.”

Craxus: “I long to be a member of the brotherhood, to become a gladiator. But to be awarded position, is an honor I haven’t earned!”

Galant: “There’re many things given to us the wrong way for wrong purposes. What we do with those curses or blessings is the true test of a man.”

Antinomy walked a bit and sat down on the floor with his arms placed on his knees and looking towards the ground. In a couple of minutes, Galant appeared next to him and threw him a bag of coins to his hands. He sits down next to him.

“What’s this?” Antinomy asks.

“The coin lost in the bets, you lost it to me.”


“You weren’t the only one who bet for the recruits.”

“Who did you bet for?”

“Craxus. I knew he’d do it, because I trust the trainer, who’s a close friend of mine.”

Antinomy tossed the bag to back Galant.

“You’re a better man than I am.”

He got up but Galant grabbed his hand.

“Don’t forget why you are here Antinomy…”


“For all this bets, you’re doing stupid thing…”

“Fuck that!” He screams loudly.

They remain staring down for a couple of seconds until Galant sits down and so does Antinomy.

“I had a good friend in Real Life. His name was Miya Kiryuuin. He was the very first friend I ever had. He’d have been the tenth Royal Knight, but…” He pauses for a couple of seconds. “You could say that there were some troubles back in Real Life. It was my fault. I could’ve helped him, but I couldn’t. The worst thing I’ve ever done. I…had to sacrifice him for my own good...”

“He’s dead?”

“No. He’s not. But I know nothing about him. But I miss him…If I could ever see him again, I’d not ask for his friendship, because I’m unworthy of it. I’d ask him for forgiveness. But I swore something after that. When somebody close me was down, I’d try to help him to get back up.”

Galant gets up and places the bag of col in his hands and left.

“Thanks.” Antinomy tell him.

Galant walks out of the room.

“Galant!” Antinomy says.

Galant looks back at him.

“I hope you find Miya one day.”


Floor 1st, August 4th, 2024

Antinomy swings his blade towards his opponent’s neck beheading him with a single stroke.

The crowd roared in joy as he finished his enemy.

Ducard: “Once again Antinomy proves himself a great fighter!”

Solcius: “Just sheer luck…”

Kibaou: “True...”

Thinker: “Now, what’s next?”

Ducard: “One of my new gladiators again Uctas.”

Solcius: “One of your new recruits against one of the best wielders of spear?”

Ducard: “Yes. Yet don’t underestimate the man. He is more capable than what you think.”


Galant walks inside he Arena and sees Craxus near the entrance with the equipment of a Saber. He walking side to side, tabbing his sword, nervous.

“You’re facing Uctas?” Galant asks.


“Now I see why you’re like that. He’s one of the best spear fighters I ‘ve seen.”

“I have faced him in the training field. Every time we fought, he could easily defeat me.”

“Then you should be quite a scholar now.” Galant tells him before walking away.


He thrust the point of his sword to the walls of the arena. The champion turns back.


Galant approached him and deflected the sword from the wall with his Aegis forearms.

“…You fought well against my two swords. Get rid from the spear of a Lancer and he’s left only with his dagger and shield.”

Galant walks away backwards.

“I owed you one. Now we’re even. Good luck. You’ll need it.”


Ducard: “I’m to present the final offerings from the Ludus of the Prison. A virgin of the sands of the Arena entering from the left gate. I give you Craxus, Saber!”

The crowd begins mocking and cursing as the Craxus entered the sands. He briefly looked back at the gate, and saw Galant who nods to him. “Have you set him to purpose?”

As he walked towards the center of the arena, Ducard continued his speech.

“From the right gate, his opponent, a warrior unmatched, in skill and honor. I give you Uctas! Lancer!”

The gates opened and Uctas came out of them, with a Greek-like helmet. A manica, his shield and dagger on his left, and a dagger, and a pair of leg protectors, graves, in his legs.

Uctas: “Capua!!!”

He walks to the center and pointed his spear to Ducard in a sign of determination and will.

Thinker: “Begin!”

Uctas steps back and starts walking in circles around Craxus, trying to find a weak spot. Craxus places his rectangular shield just below his eyes and follows every movement he does.

Suddenly, the Lancer rushes and thrust his spear diagonally downwards and Craxus parried it with his sword. He then uses the side of the spear as a club, but Craxus again blocks, this time, with his shield. Uctas twirls on his knees and swings his lance as a club a second time. His opponent is barely able to elude the attack raising both legs, yet Craxus eluded it by raising his left leg and jumping backwards. The blade of the spear passes centimeters of his foot. After this, Uctas attacks again thrusting forward for a second time, but Craxus jumps forward and rolls on the ground, eluding the attack.

Uctas turns around and begins to walk again, as Craxus follows him with his shield close to him.

After some steps he begins his second assault, attacking with his spear, which was blocked by the shield. Uctas attacks again and it has the exact same result. However, blocking the attack leaves Craxus wide open in the chest. The Lancer sees this and slashes diagonally with his dagger in his left hand.

Craxus starts his own attack, clashing with the lance, yet he quickly was forced to fall back and slashed on his chest a second time with the dagger on his chest. Uctas continues his move trying to hit him with the back of his spear, yet the recruit covered with shield. He twirls quickly and slashes the Lancer’s right leg.

They separate and get ready to continue.

Craxus attacks again. He swings his blade and it clashes against the spear. He slashes a second time, but Uctas blocks with his shield. He counters thrusting his spear to Craxus, but he manages to grab it. They struggle, but the Lancer kicks his back and regains control of his weapon. The Saber doesn’t regain his balance and Uctas manages to place the non-bladed extreme of the weapon between the back of his helmet and the back of his neck. He forces Craxus to walk around him before throwing him near the wall of the Arena.

Uctas rushes forward and jumps. He moves for the kill, swinging his spear forward. Craxus barely had time to place his shied in front of him.

The spear pierces through the shield, and stops right in front of his eyes.

He pushes the weapon forward, but it doesn’t move a millimeter. It was stuck.


Craxus makes a powerful downwards slash on Uctas spear, breaking it.

He releases his shield and attacks his opponent, who parries with his shield and grabs the blade from his left hand.

The gladiator thrusts the dagger forward, but Craxus rolls backwards, avoiding the move, and then goes back to his enemy, forcing him to release his second weapon. Uctas rolls above Craxus and both get up at the same time. The recruit Gladiator starts an onslaught, attacking viciously and constantly with his blade. With no weapon in hand, Uctas hides behind his small shield until he’s kicked back and clashes against the wall of the Arena before falling to the ground. Craxus grabbed his helm and slashes him, yet the Lancer blocks it with his shield. He jumps forward, rolls on the ground and takes hold of his dagger. Craxus makes a horizontal slash, which is blocked by the lancers shield; he countered by kneeling him and then lunges forward. Craxus covered with the helmet at his hand, they clash swords once again. Uctas thrust his blade, but Craxus span and parries his move and hit him with the helmet in the face. But then, Uctas span and slashed, but the recruit ducked under the attack and gets close to his opponent. The fight stopped for a second with both players face to face, with absolute silence in the arena.

“You… have been well schooled…” Uctas says.

Craxus pushed him out of the sword. His body falls to the ground and shattered into polygons.

The crowd roars and they begin chanting the name of the new gladiator.

Craxus widens his arms and yells out in happiness. He spins the center of the arena and as crowd chanted his name.

Craxus! Craxus! Craxus! Craxus! Craxus! Craxus!

Craxus looks at Galant who nodded to him. The new Gladiator points his sword to him.


Craxus: “…I swear to be burned, chained, beaten or die by the sword, in pursuit of honor in the arena.”

Ducard: “Welcome to the Brotherhood.”

All the gladiators came to embrace their new brother. At last Uctas got near him. They briefly looked at each other, when finally the lancer wielder opened his hand towards the new Gladiator.

Auctus: “Well fought brother.”

They share a hand shake.

Craxus: “The same I say to you.”

From afar, Galant looks with his arms crossed.

Antinomy: “Craxus proves himself as you said. Perhaps one day, to match you.”

Galant: “One day we may have rematch.”


Floor 1st, August 16th, 2024

Galant wakes up form sleep in his cell breathing heavily.

He spends a few minutes trying to calm down.

After he finally manages to breathe slower, he stretches his body for a second and gets off bed. He proceeds to put on the forearms of Aegis and his boots. After finishing, he realizes the ribbon of Guinevere wasn’t very strong tied to his right wrist. He tied it as strong as he could with help of his teeth, and briefly gazed to the piece of cloth.

He gets out of the cell. He saw the sun shining in a cloudless sky. The sands of the Ludus where already quite hot. From distance, he saw Antinomy having breakfast and Doctore testing his whip.

He went to get his food before getting near his friend.

“Good morning.” He says.


He sits down.

“How was your sleep?”


“Why?” Antinomy raises his sight from the plate of food and looked his friend.

“My girlfriend often saw fate, in her dreams.” He makes a short pause. “The last time she had one, it was before the battle against Belphegor, the boss of the fourth floor. She saw me on my knees, before a large black beast with red eyes. She thought that it was a warning, that if I went to the boss battle I’d die.”

“I heard that Belphegor was a beast with dark brown skin and red eyes.”

“Yeah. But I defeated it.”

“Then what’s the big deal?”

“During my execution, while I was kneeling on the ground, I saw that the shield of one of the gladiators had the image of a large black beast.”

“But after that, you killed each gladiator, proving this premonition false once again.”

Galant was still quite shaken about this.

“Why that face?”

“What if she was wrong? Maybe Belphegor and the beast in the shield weren’t the things she saw?”

“Isn’t that a bit complicated?”

“I know! I know! But…”

“But what?”

“I never believed in fate…until they died. Now, I’ve accepted it. A man must accept his fate or be destroyed by it.”

“What then? How do you take this dream?”

“I think…I think I’ll meet the black beast soon.”

“And what then?”

“I don’t know. I guess I’ll figure it out when the time comes.”

“Well.” Antinomy says finishing his breakfast. “I should get to work, soon others will wake up and we’ll have to train.”

“Sure. Go.”

Antinomy gets up from the table and goes back to his smithy, carrying some papers with him.

“Hey, it is that the newspaper?” Galant asks him.

“Yeah… why?” Asking with a doubtful voice.

“I’d like read it. Can you give it to me?”

“I was going to read it…”

“Reading while working should be a bit difficult, right?”

“I usually do it this way.”

“Yeah sure… Just give it.”

“I don’t think you should read it, Galant.” Antinomy said.

“Give it here.”

He tossed the paper to him. Galant grabbed it and starts reading it.

“The clearers have reached Floor 70th. 30 floors left. It’s still very slow. We cleared more levels last year- And what’s thi…”

Galant eyes widened, as he lowered his sight. He shook his head and, as he once again looked to his wife’s piece of cloths.

“Laughing Coffin…They’re here…”

The newspaper fell to the ground. The note he was reading said: “Crusade of high-level players defeat Laughing Coffin. Most members captured.”

He closed his eyes, and his hands became fist, as he sight came more serious, as his appearance. Antinomy briefly looks his eyes, which began to turn red, as if he wasn’t the same person. A huge change in his persona just for the color of his eyes, appearing as a player controlled by the darkness within his heart.

He gets up from the table and runs to the place where the wooden weapons were. He grabs a sword and dagger and run to the entrance of the Ludus.


Galant rushes down the stairs and continues to the dining room of the lower floor. He there searches for the player killers. He couldn’t find them, but when he turned back to the entrance, there they were: Xaxa and Johnny Black, alongside other nine form their cursed red guild.


He rushes to them with both wooden weapons ready to kill each one of them.

Galant used the surprise factor to smash a hard kick directly to Xaxa’s face, throwing him to the floor and leaving him almost out of combat.

He hits Black with both sword right on the face, taking a good bunch of his HP, yet for this moment, most of the members of Laughing Coffin had begun rushing towards Galant. He manages to hit the first one in the belly and deal a strong blow his head with the back of his sword but other came and punches the Champion away. Yet this didn’t stop Galant who gets up in less than a second with his eyes glowing red crimson even deeper than blood.

Xaxa gets up and looks at him.

Xaxa: “I didn’t expect to find you here, Mongrel.”

Galant rushes at him.


Galant rushes towards Xaxa, and attacks right sword, but the player evaded it easily and kicks Galant in his stomach and the punches him hard. Galant falls to the ground for the second time as the other Killers get near him and begin beating him up. This didn’t stop the determination of Galant. All the pain, all the suffering, all the memories of his friends passed through his head.

He wouldn’t fall on that fight.

Even if he was left without HP, he’d kill every single one of them with his bare hands.

He managed to get around and used a new technique with his sword.


The new sword skill sent three large Stardust Slashers directly upwards Galant, taking a good bunch of the HP of all the players.

He then jumped up faced one of the members of Laughing Coffin. He quickly smashes his face with his left sword, with such strength that the practice sword broke in half, but the attack left a large wound in the player’s face. He falls to the ground and dies. Other two came, with his empty hand Galant used Grey Fist and pierced the chest of the player, while shielding from the seconds attack with his body. He kicks the player out of his hand and the body clashes against the other, sending both players to the ground. A player grabs Galant from behind, placing both hands on his neck A blonde girl player got near Galant and began delivering rapid blows of him, taking his HP piece by piece.

He rapidly recognized them.

“Whipper! Annie!”

Galant manages to kick the girl back. After this, he breaks free from Whipper’s hold and kick his face hard.

“This is for Taichi and Kana!”

He was about to smash his skull with his weapon, other two attack him. Galant hit the face of one with his weapon, and kicks him to the ground as the other appeared and breaks Galant’s weapon with a powerful strike to it and then kicks him back. Galant falls on his back, but uses the momentum given to roll backwards and get back up. He then attacks with the handle of the broken blade. He catches the player’s neck and raises him up before slamming him into the ground. At last, he charges Garuru Fist and pierces his chest. The other one kicks. Galant catches his leg and then elbows his knee, severely wounding his leg. He grabs the throat of the PK and rips it out, killing him.

He raises his sight and looks to Annie.

“You’re next!”

The girl takes a fighting stance as Galant proceed to chain several spinning kicks towards her. Yet she managed to avoid all of them to Galant left and approach in the right time to deliver a hard punch to Galant’s chest and send him to the ground. However, he still manages to connect a kick to her ribs, taking a third of what was left of her HP. The girl raises her leg and performs an axe kick downwards, but Galant places his forearms in an X position, blocking easily with his Aegis forearm protectors. He then manages to grab her leg while getting back up. She tried to punch him, but Galant was quicker. He got up, grabbed her head and span, smashing her face against a wall, killing her.

“Remember the name of the player you killed on your way to hell: Yamato Ratoya!”

He herded applause near to him, Xaxa, Black and others from their guild that hadn’t yet engaged combat with him.

Xaxa: “You’re quite good at fighting now? You’ve leveled up quite a lot, Champion of Aincrad.”

Galant: “Xaxa, where’s Nightshroud?!”

Xaxa: “I don’t know…”

Galant: “Don’t fucking lie to me!”

Xaxa: “I’m not. He escaped along PoH and a few others.”

He looks around, and sees that the guards were already running towards them to stop the fight.

Galant rushed towards them, as Laughing Coffin did the same-

He first engages Xaxa kicking him back, but Black appeared with a small knife he’d hidden in his clothes. He sliced Galant’s left cheek and then partly his right arm, but the former guild leader grabs his arm and then axe kicked his arm in the elbow, breaking in half his arm.

He looks around, but the other Player Killers had left. He raises his arm and prepares to finish Black off.

The guards appear.

Galant was grabbed by several of them. He tried to fight back but he barely had any strength left and his HP was at 7%. If he was wounded, he’d probably die. Even knowing this, he still didn’t wish to stop. He starts to scream and yell out in madness. Five guards were necessary to stop him.

The other guards were helping up the members of Laughing Coffin left alive after the fight.

Galant tries to reach his enemies, but still he couldn’t, he was left out of power.


He was hit by the pommel of a sword and lost consciousness.


Galant wakes up with a strong headache.

He quickly realizes where he was. The dungeon of the Ludus, where the Gladiators that didn’t followed Doctere’s or Ducard’s command were placed as punishment. He sees chains around his wrists instead of his forearm protectors; the only thing left was the purple ribbon.

A notably angry Ducard enters the cell, gazinh at Galant still on the ground, who proceeds to get up.

“This morning, I boosted that you were one of the most loyal and obedient gladiator in all of Aincrad. And now, I’m the master of nothing but a rabid animal!!!”

“My apologies…” He said reluctantly.

“FUCK YOU AND YOUR APOLOGIES! If you weren’t to the arena in two days, I’d have you lashed, until the flesh pilled from your back!”

“As you see fit, Master.”

“All this for what?! Your friends, your wife, that girl who reminded you wife?! Answer!!!!!”

“What do you expect!? That’s why I’m doing this! They were humans, all their lives had worth!”

“They are DEAD! And you’ll follow if you don’t follow my command ever again.”

“Laughing Coffin members don’t deserve to live!”

Ducard punches Galant strongly on the left side of his forehead, forcing him to sit on the ground.


He stopped for a brief second.

“My generosity with you has been unlimited. And you defy me still. You will never get out of the Ludus again unless I say the contrary. The remaining Laughing Coffin members will be sent to the dungeon, far from you grasp.”

“You told me that you would help me to kill them…”


He went to the door and opened it.

“You’ll remain here until tomorrow. And be thankful, is not worse.”



Antinomy face appeared in the window with bars in the door.

“You’re alright there?”

“I've been better…”

“Take this.” He tossed a piece of bread to him. “You haven’t eaten since breakfast.”

“Thank you. Why you hided that for me, the newspaper? You knew they were captured by the crusade. You knew they’re my enemies.”

“Yes, and that was exactly why I did it. You once helped me to find my path. So I wish to help you, brother. I knew you’d end here if you saw that.”

“Thanks. But don’t ever do it again…I’ll have my vengeance no matter what.”

“Alright…” Antinomy says reluctantly. “A guard is coming. Bye.”


Galant grabs the bread and clutch his teeth to eat, taking a big bunch of it.

He begins chewing it and noticed something strange. A piece of paper inside of it. He spits that thing out, and indeed it was a paper folded. He opened it; it was a message from antinomy.

“Happy birthday.” it said.

The sound of bell of the church near the castle was herd. Indeed. It was 17th of August already His birthday. He smiles slightly and looks to the purple ribbon on his wrist. A tear came out of his right eye.

“My only wish is that you’re all well. Wherever you are…”

He sighed and looked to the ceiling.

“Worst fucking birthday ever…”

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