Categories > Anime/Manga > Sword Art Online

When a Monster Becomes a Demon

by Goreleech 1 review

My own fanfiction on the first season of Sword Art Online. I know it says Hack sign but they don't have an SAO category

Category: Sword Art Online - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Crossover,Parody,Sci-fi - Warnings: [!!!] [V] [X] [?] - Published: 2021-08-08 - 162699 words - Complete

"Soo, did you hear? Pearntly Tyler over there got to beta test that full-dive VR thin a while back."
"Lucky bastard. Why'd they pick a retard like that to test such heavy tech?"
Tyler just sighed as he listened to his classmates talk. He flipped the page on his current manga, ignoring the idiots. He rubbed his brown eyes, reading makes you smarter eh? Tell it to my eyes. As for what they were talking about, it was true. Tyler had been lucky enough to get picked to be one of only ten thousand people to beta test the new Virtual reality full-dive hardware, along with a game set to go on sale that very day. The game was a full-dive Massive-multiplayer online Role-playing game, called Swords and Shields. The full-dive tech had only recently been perfected enough for recreational wholesale. The tech came in the form of a biker-helmet that hijacked the brain's neurons connected to the senses of touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell to teleport the player inside the game world. Tyler didn't fully understand how it worked. He was a gamer and a proud otaku, not an electrical engineer. he had had to send over a hundred sign-up sheets to get in. The experience had been everything he'd prayed for. Then the beta ended, but he got to keep all the hardware they had sent him to test out the game. he flipped another page, eager to get the hell out of school so he could dive again. The full-version launched at 4pm that day, giving him a half hour to get to his house, piss, change into sweatpants and load in. He looked at the clock, 2:45. Soon, I'm coming home, soon
Tyler raced through his front door, eager to get to his room and set up shop. His phone rang as he was about to head upstairs. He picked up the phone,
"Hello, Tyler speaking?"
"Hey kid, how's it hanging?"
"really? That’s how you great the son you sent to another country?"
"Whatever, Just needed to make sure you're still alive...if you call that living."
"Like you can talk. Anyway I still live. I'm gonna go Dive now. So don't expect me to pick up later. Or ever."
"whatever weeby little nerd."
Tyler hung up the phone and hurried to the bathroom. That had been his mother, as condescending as ever. She and her husband had sent him half way around the world 'to give him the best chance for success'. Which was really code for him to just disappear. So disappear he did. Tyler finished leaking and ran to his room. He threw of his shirt and jeans. His medium build neither muscular nor fat, and pulled his black sweatpants on. then he laid in his bed, stretching his decent five foot nine height out as he pulled the helmet over his rounded face covering his short-cut brown hair. He sighed as the startup screen appeared in his vision, then spoke the command aloud,
"Dive Now!"
His vision blinked, then went white as he flew down a long narrow corridor coming to a stop at a sign in screen, he entered his screenname: GORELEECH and his password. He then soared over to base starting equipment. SWORDS&SHIELDS was a melee only MMORPG, meaning no magic. Tyler smiled as he rotated his gear choices until he found his favorite style weapon, a one handed longsword, paired with a small buckler. He would sell the buckler and run a single blade, basically giving him a large handicap in combat without any real blocking potential other then his sword. He smiled as he finalized his first gearset. If he ran into any problems down the street he could always pick up a shield if need be, but his strategy was to NOT stand there and let the target hit you. He hit the final okay screen and was transported to the starting area. He opened his eye to see a large courtyard with a semicircle of walls and pillars. Tyler looked up and saw the top of the solid red cathedral over the walltop. The yard was already crowded with other players, and getting more full as the minutes passed. Tyler reached up and felt the hilt of his longsword on his back. He wanted to draw the blade, but he couldn't draw steel in a safe zone, as all towns, villages, and cities were safe, which meant neither monsters or other players could kill you. Tyler smiled as he took off down the central road out of the courtyard. As far as he knew, there had been only about 40000 copies sold for launch day, and others would become available after. The units had sold out the very next week, Tyler already having a copy from the beta. He ran up to a vendor and opened the shopping interface, which displayed the items the shop had to offer, his character model, his current level, DROY the in game currency, his own inventory and the prices the shop would pay for each item. Tyler went and unequipped his shield and sold it for 4DROY, and looked over the shops prices, getting a feeling for if the ingame economy had changed at all since the beta. it seemed it hadn't with a fishing rod costing 100 DR. Tyler then took a moment to admire his character model, he'd made himself taller, and given himself a bulkier frame, other then that he pretty much looked the same. He then closed the interface and took off down the road toward the areas with stuff to kill. As he ran, he passed other player partying up together, he snorted at them. He played solo, preferring his own company in the wilds to other people. Plus in this game monsters dropped items and more players on a team the more bickering over the goods. Plus he didn't have any friends in the real world either. Tyler had a wide smile on his face as he came upon a group of players standing near a challenge site. The challenge site were a great way to show of ingame skills, like climbing, fishing, archery, agility, basically any thing that can be showed off could. The game had an unlimited number of activities thanks to its AI processor, GrandEye. The AI's job was essentially to take anything that a human could do and design a challenge for it. Good at cooking? Try a cooking competition, good at sewing? Try to out stitch someone. Hell, Tyler had even come across a knot tying challenge, That one was sure to prove popular with the BDSM crowd, as sex was a activity in the game as well. The game was designed to be a fully-fleshed world, with anything for everyone. Tyler had not been able to experiment with the sexual features, since there had ben a good selection of minors in the beta. He didn't have to worry about that now since it was now fully functional, and him being 16 and over the games minimum age requirement of sixteen for the XXX stuff. Tyler did not know how the game got past the ESRB with that bullshit, but then again, he didn't really care. Again, he was a gamer, not the morality police. This challenge ahead was one of his favorites as it was a free-runners course, or parkour as the French called it. He broke into a head long sprint as he slapped the 'challenge accepted' icon on the start line. he ran at a small food cart, sprang onto the top like it was a step stool, leapt off and grabbed onto a flag pole hanging on a doorway. He swung using the pole and vaulted off up towards a small ledge leading to the roof, grabbing and hauling his carcass to the roof in nearly the same movement and ran along the roof. The next jump being the hardest part of this current challenge, for it required a jump across a two lane foot-ally and landing clean on the other side. Tyler just smiled as he made the leap and stuck the landing. A challenge cleared screen appeared with his time, 2min15sec. His time was the first on the broad of completeds, and he got a special EXP bonus and a special speed-boosting potion for the first to complete the challenge. he smirked,
"Ha, child’s play"
He then hopped to the ground, and continued on his way to the training grounds. He had just cleared the main gate when he heard someone call out to him,
"Hey! BRO! Hol up a sec!"
Tyler turned to see a scraggily bearded guy running up to him, he had a long curved blade on a red sash, Oh perfect, a samurai The redguy reached a foot tapping Tyler, and hunched over trying to catch his breath,
"Hey, bro, you look like you know what you're doing."
Tyler sighed, Even better, a samurai NOOB
"Yeah, I've been around a little."
The guy had caught his virtual breath, and reared to stand straight. It's irked Tyler that he was a little taller then him,
"That mean you were a beta tester?"
"Sweet! You think you could give a rookie a pointer or two?"
Tyler just groaned, he HATED having to teach people to play games, he HATED dealing with people in general. But he knew he would not be able to sleep if he didn't at least show this idiot to swing a sword.
"Alright. I won't be able to sleep tonight if i let you get wrecked by a pig. Come on, I'll show you my hunting grounds."
"Thanks bro!"
Tyler grimaced and the took off running again, the Samurai complaining as he ran,
"Seriously? More running?"
"shut up and move. This will build your stamina stat, and sharp turns help agility."
He replied breathlessly as he tried to keep up with Tyler, his red basic Samurai armour slowing him. Tyler on the other hand had a light shirt and pants for his equipment. Tyler glanced to see the Redguy flagging, eh stopped dead, and the Bearded guy ran right into a tree. Tyler smirked a little at that,
"Nice, you made your first ingame friend with that tree. Aaaaand your stamina's pathetic."
The red Samurai rubbed his bandanaed head, and grinned sheepishly,
"Well, I don't get out much to begin with IRL so. Oh! I forgot to introduce myself, I'm Lorgrain. What’s yours?"
"Goreleech? Damn that’s metal. I'll just call you Gore, sound good?"
"If I call you Lorg."
"Coolzies! Now where are we?"
They had ran into a small copse of oaken woodland. There was zero undergrowth, and plenty of space between trees for fighting. Tyler smiled as he drew his one-handed blade off his back,
"We Lorg are in Boar territory. They the basic mobs round these parts. This area is rather reliable for decent pigs. Here come a few now. You sit tight and watch."
Tyler then charged the first boar, a large smelly beast that stood to his waist. Tyler had a smile of pure confidence as he sidestepped the turning boar and pinged his blade into it's side. The pig squealed in pain, then tried to pivot and gore Tyler with it's long tusks but Tyler had reversed grip on his blade and tore it free, dealing double savagery damage. The flipping his slender blade around he slammed it into the boars' tusk and cut it off before doing a pivot of his own and sending the blade into the pigs skull, killing it. The beast shattered into a shower of green pixels. Tyler didn't stop as another pig charged him. Tyler merely twirled his blade and swung it, clipping a tusk from this piggy too.
"And this little piggy became tuskless, then he became lifeless!"
Tyler held the blade out to his side and held it there for a second, feeling a sword skill activate, he lunged the Skill flaring as he surged past the pig cleaving the other tusk and the hide in one stroke,
"Rushing Smash!"
Tyler roared the skills name as he readied another stance and stabbed the third pig in the eye,
"Stabbing needle!"
The pigs both shattered, leaving their drops behind. Tyler had scored six boar tusks and two poor hides and one good hide, plus 6DR. He turned to the gaping Lorg,
"And that’s all there is to it. Any questions?"
The stunned guy raised a hand,
"Uh could you explain how you did that?"
"Okay where do I start?"
"Uuum, how about everything?"
Tyler sighed, he knew it was bad, but this was ridiculous.
"Okay, do you know ANY sword fighting? From movies? TV? Anime?"
Lorg, perked up,
"I did watch a lot of Rouruni Kenshin back in the day, why?"
"Okay, that’s actually a pretty decent jump off point. Now do you remember any of the attacks Kenshin or Saito used?"
"Um yeah a few, Like the gatustu."
"Take it's stance."
"Okay, here, now what?"
Lorg had widened his stance beneath him and placed the tip of his finger on the end of his katana, his other hand out behind him ready to make a nasty thrust.
"Okay, now pretend to gather energy in your legs and sword hand.
His sword started o glow, indicating the skill was ready,
Tyler stepped aside as a pig rushed past him,
"Now skewer that pig. Thrust with your legs and follow through, the system will do the rest."
Lorg surged forward, piercing the boar and launching himself forward like a cannon shot. The boar shattered in defeat. Lorg landed on his feet and turned to Tyler, ecstatic at his first kill,
"Gore I just did a gatustu! That was friggin nuts! Are there any other moves from anime?"
"A shitton, actually, since most people have seen at least one sword-based movie in their lives, the devs loaded the move sets into the games fighting system so basically any idiot can play with a chance of getting at least one kill. Now then lets see if you truly got it."
"Huh? Yo!"
Tyler had swung his blade at the startled Lorg,
"Come on ya Tom Cruise wanna be, lets see you hit me once. That’s the duel, no skills allowed. All you have to do is hit me once. Understood?"
Tyler then came with a sweeping swing at Lorg's arms, Lorg jumped back, only for Tyler to turn the swing into a nasty thrust as the point was aimed at his Torso.
"Always have a backup plan for any attack you make. Then you'll never be defenseless, rookie!"
Tyler gave the Samurai a light stab in his chest plate, inflicting ten damage.
"Hey, that actually stung a little!"
"No it didn't, you just expected it to, so it did. Here kick me in the dick."
Lorg looked at him like he was insane, until,
"I fucked your sister in your bed last night." thud!
"See? Nothin. You can't feel pain in this game."
"Did you HAVE to drag my sister into this?"
"Usually the easiest way to piss off someone, say you fucked their sister! Works a scary percentage of the time."
"My sister's only ten you ass!"
"well, she has you for a brother so she's already scarred for life, bro."
"You're an ass. Seriously though? You got issues"
Tyler just smiled,
"well, anyway, you want more practice? The pigs like to spawn here in sets of two to three, and if you're precise the tusks are worth 10DR each. The hides are merely 5DR though."
"Argg, sure. Just don't talk about my sister again, understood?"
"Yeah sure whatever. Here comes a few more friends."
The duo spent the next several hours grinding out pigs. They then headed up on to a small hill Tyler knew of, and gazed out over the virtual landscape. The city sprawled out to their left like a stone maze of buildings and lives, all full of stories waiting to be made. To their front was a near endless road stretching into infinity. The Game world of Brictally was essentially a giant cylinder with roughly 150 floors each with their own worlds inside them. Tyler had made it to floor 10 on his own, which had earned him the title of best Beta. he took in a massive breath and let out a loud shout
"I have finally come back home!"
His voice echoed off the city walls, the trees, and the plains. A gentle, warm breeze blew over the hill, as if the game world was welcoming it's son back with a warm hello. Lorg smiled from his seat on the grass,
"You really love this place, don't you Gore."
It was a statement not a question,
"Or course I do. How could you not? Here, everything is decided by your skills with the games mechanics and a blade. This single sword can take me anywhere I want to go. To the very heights of fame and legend, or the deepest depths of darkness. Here you could be a heroic warrior who fights for the weak or you could be the monster that gives people nightmares. This world isn't bogged down with limitations like wealth, birthplace, or class. If you want to be wealthy with maids and servants? Go hit a dungeon. Wanna be a penniless traveler you can do that too. I know that the American army has a motto to be all you can be or something like that, but this place is the very personification of that statement. So yeah, I love this place with all my heart. In here, I feel alive."
Lorg threw his head back laughing,
"I am right there with you brother! You know, you have the soul of a poet, a nerdy weeb of a poet but still!"
"HA!, anyway thanks for your help today. Hey mind if i add you as a friend on this thing?"
"Yeah, sure why not?"
Tyler opened his interface as the invite came through. He hit accept and Lorg's username appeared on his friends list,
"Hey look one friend! Moving down in the world!"
"Hey fuck you too. Well, I gonna jump, I gotta pizza headed my way. Hey next time we're on wanna run with some of my other friends?"
"Nah, man sorry, I run solo. Thanks though, you need any more lessons for idiots hit me up."
Lorg chuckled as he opened his interface. Tyler had started to walk back to the forest when Lorg gave a confused grunt,
"Hey, the logout buttons gone."
Tyler sighed as he walked to fix the problem,
"Seriously who gave you tech clearance? lemme se- The hell?"
"See? I'm not COMPLETELY helpless!"
"If you say so. here I'll open mine."
Tyler swiped his hand and brought up the UI, and went to the logout prompt, but it was blood chillingly empty. Pressing it gave you the sound, a light Bing, but nothing happened. Tyler's eyes narrowed as he started running through trouble shooting protocols for a problem.
"they game master's not answering. I can't reach admins through the backup channels, I even tried the secret Beta Access screen and nothing."
"Is it a bug?"
"Nah, a bug would only cover the missing button on your UI, not mine. I know of the Backup channels that are used to force a logout from the beta. Either those were disabled which is possible, or we got a bigger problem. Now the Admins and game master BOTH not answering? That’s a problem."
"Is it an event?"
Tyler rubbed his chin,
"Well, it's the things first day outta beta, plus there’s like four times the people on the servers, so a glitch or two is no biggee. I bet there some admin getting fitted with a new asshole right now."
"I like that one. I'm keeping it. I just hope that’s all it is. Otherwise the game won't last a week."
Lorg was about to ask another question when a ring of blue light surged up from the ground and the next thing the duo knew they were back in the main courtyard of the starting area. Tyler spotted Lorg off to his right, on his ass. Tyler was one of a handful that had remained standing. Lorg got to his feet and walked over to him
"Well someone forced a mass teleport."
"Yep, and it still dumps you on your ass if your not ready for it. Guess we got a bigger problem. If the servers could handle a full-scale mas teleport without crashing then the systems working properly."
Lorg rested his hand on his katana,
"Okay, Gore. You're starting to scare me now."
"Hey look up!"
Tyler and Lorg both looked up to see the early dusk sky get swept away by a red warning sign, then the whole sky was blanketed in the warning label, with a loud jarring horn blowing. Tyler grimaced at the irritating sound. Then blood started to flow from the sky, falling in a swing like arc and connecting to another stream of blood. Tyler just groaned, and Lorg noticed,
"hey what’s wrong?"
"Those idiots stole that one from me! That entrance was meant for a boss fight! Assholes>"
Lorg just blinked,
"Ahh, quick question, butta, what kinda beta tester were you?"
"The kind they listened to. All of us would spitball ideas at the dev team and some stuck some missed the target. I have the distinction of having most of my ideas incorporated or adapted for the game. Like that challenge system or the sex machinic. Those were my ideas. I even got to help design a few bosses."
"Seriously just who the hell are you?"
Tyler smirked,
"I'm a gamer with a wild imagination, and WAY too much free time. I logged the single most online hours for the beta out of all of us."
"No lifer."
"Your honor, guilty as charged!"
The blood swing finished its assembly, and a large hooded figure appeared,
"I'm gonna rip that dev team a new asshole on my review. They said that one got canned!"
Tyler was fuming, but the figures words sent his mind in another direction.
"Welcome players, to the of Brictally. I am the games creator, Markwice Vonderland. By now many of you will probably have noticed something missing from your user Interfaces: the Logout button. Let me assure you this is not a glitch or bug. I repeat not a glitch or bug. For this is how Swords and Shields is meant to be played. Once you log in you cannot log out. Any attempt to remove the helmet will disable the safety regulator send an electrical charge into your skull, killing you nearly instantly. Also be warned, there is n o longer any way to revive a fallen player. If your Health Points hit zero, your character will be erased from our servers, and the world as the same electric charge will preform in the same manner. So in other words, if you die in game, you die in real life. Now just to be clear, no other systems have been altered or removed. The revive system was the only change. As you can see here, There have already been a few deaths since the last player logged in, so out of 40000, we now have about 39950 players remaining. Some of them were killed by removing the helmets, so the possibility of the helmets being removed by force has vanished."
the man waved his hand and a set of screens detailing the breaking news bulletins of the deaths were visible.
"There is only one way to exit the system: Defeat the boss on floor 150."
There was a stunned silence as the sheer size of the task loomed over the players, Lorg looked at Tyler with a nearly panicking expression,
"hey, Gore, how far did you make it?"
"Floor ten, with revives enabled."
"And how many hours did you have to log to get that far?"
"I did it solo so bear that in mind. But from a pure grind perspective, I did it with nearly two thousand hours. We're gonna be here for a while."
"Oh, okay."
The hooded man continued his explanation,
"Now then, some of you have a musical library uploaded to your rig, you can excess that freely, and to those who were streaming the event, That service was been disabled. If you want to show off your lives ingame. you will have to grind for the privilege. Next is a little gift waiting in your inventories.
Tyler had his inventory opened and was scrolling to the item. It was a small mirror the size of his hand. Next thing he knew was he seemed a little shorter, and thinner too. His actual form had replaced his gamer avatar, right to a scar on his right hand. He looked over to where Lorg had been and a tallish chick was standing there,
"Ohhh, you have GOT to be fucking with me. Yo Lorg, ya jackass where are you?"
The woman turned to see who had call the name.
"wow, you're actually a dude,"
"Wow, you're actually a chick."
Lorg had gone from scruffy dude to tall, big breasted blonde lady in Samurai Amour. She seemed to be around twenty years of age, and her eyes were a light hazel.
"Well, That explains why that kick to the balls seemed so natural."
The woman laughed, her voice now a higher tone then the dogs bark it had been earlier,
"I had you figured for an over weight shut in, but you're only maybe an inch shorter and a smaller stomach! Not very imaginative, are we?"
"Least I don't have such a bad case of penis envy. Didn't get enough IRL so you tried to grow one ingame?"
"hey you little pissant, I get plenty of dick! Puss too. What do you get?"
" a headache form listening to an old lady brag about her clients."
"Okay that was good. Hey looks like he got more to say."
"well, then shut up."
The man resumed his speech,
"you maybe wondering, Why would Markwise Vonderland, founder and CEO of Vonderlandis, creator of Swords and Shields do something like this? Well the answer is simple. I wanted to create a world in which our own strength was the deciding factor in our fates. I wanted to create a world, and control said world. I believe anyone would agree that I have achieved this goal. Now that is all the information I have for you, except a one time use only channel to send an E-mail to the inbox of your choice. Afterwards if you want to contact the outside world, you will have to hope to land the required item in a drop. This concludes the tutorial."
He began to fade away, leaving the crowd speechless. Tyler noticed a shimmering mist lift itself from the exit and grabbed Lorg's hand,
"hey, barriers down lets move!"
he pulled the startled woman into the road and then down a side alley of main street. they made it out just in time, as a mass panic broke out, as the tens of thousands started running to...anywhere really, some thought they could out run the system, others raced to find monsters to kill and others just lost it. Tyler had avoided being mobbed, and had dragged Lorg along with him. He ran for a good while, before stopping and pulling up his map.
"Okay, Lets get to work"
"Wow, Gore I didn't know you were so aggressive, grabbing a woman's hand like that? And then just eloping o top of it? My opinion of you is increasing all the time."
"Ha blow me."
"AND straightforward too? You're quite the catch!"
She was being sarcastic, but Tyler picked up the quiver in her voice, she was trying to cover her fear with jokes. Tyler was not scared, in fact he felt exhilarated that he did not have to log out after all.
"Anyone you need to send that E-mail to?"
She jumped, and pulled the item up,
"Just my mother. I need to tell her I dived and not to worry."
"Well, with a personality like that, not even that blonde bombshell bod can keep a lover interested."
"Okay, thanks for the complement and fuck you."
"You can later. I got make sure those idiots don't kill me by doing something stupid."
Lorg seemed about to smack the arrogant prick but got absorbed in her E-mail. She wrote a few lines and hit send. Tyler wrote a mere two lines: I dived, don't touch the helmet, I got this. Do not touch the helmet. that was it, no love, no promise to see them again, nothing. He hit send and returned to more important matters.
"Okay, Lorg, I'm gonna head to this village here. Its a hike but we'll be able to level up quick and the monsters are not to hard for us if you have someone like me."
"Thanks, but I have to get my friends. Remember the ones I told you about? They're here and I can't abandon them,"
Tyler sighed and looked back at the map, gauging the routes for a way to get a group into the village,
"Hey, Gore, it's alright, I can't very well ask you to risk your life for a bunch of complete strangers. You go and raise hell. I'll look after my buddies."
Tyler looked at the determined blonde, then smiled,
"Okay. You'll be fine since I trained you. You need the master's support give a holler,"
He high fived the blonde as they parted ways,
"hey Gore, for the record, you look hella handsome like that. That angry look really works!"
"thanks. You're not bad for a blonde-haired gamer girl. But to be clear, I refuse to buy any bath water."
"Seeya Jackass."
"Later cocksucker"
Tyler then took off running again, this time he had a more intense stride. he was determined to smash anything that dared stand before him. This was HIS world. He raced out onto a solitary path. A lone wolf appeared on the road, and Tyler grimaced as he readied his blade with his tip behind him, he flipped over sideways and brought the blade down with a savage smash upon the wolf's head,
He got a wolf's heart, 5DR, and a 2 star Wolf pelt, but would not find that out until he stopped for the night.
As Tyler smashed the wolf skull, several other sets of eyes were watching. The doctors at the hospital were watching his progress through his eyes. The helmet had a built in aux cord jack to show what the player saw on a TV screen with the appropriate jack. They couldn't interact, but they were recording his every move to show the boys family when they arrived.
"He seems to have a plan doctor."
"That he does. His file says he's a former beta tester, so that checks out."
"I wonder why he's not trying to help the other players."
"Well, according to this, he hates people, is hard to get along with an is basically a giant dick to everyone."
Tyler was unaware of the goings on IRL, and didn't really care. He reached his target village by nightfall, and went to check out the local inn. The first night and meal was free, so he got him self a room and food. The UI for the inn appearing on the table before him, he selected a meal of meat sandwiches and a mug of beer, the age restrictions having been lifted as it would seem. He fed and looked over his loot from the days grind, sorting what could be sold and what was to be kept. He would sell the tusks, as they were merely for selling, the hides he could craft into either clothes or something else useful. He found he had all the materials for a pair of boar-hide gloves, or a pair of wolf fingerless gloves. The boarhide would increase dexterity by 1, while the wolf would increase defense by two, plus they looked cool. So he crafted the gloves right there at the table and equipped them. The light grey wolf fur feeling really comfy on his hands. He then went to see if he could make anything else, and found he could craft a set of boarhide pants that looked more like shorts, and were a ugly brown. They would increase agility by 4 though, so he crafted the item and equipped it. The pants making him look like he shit himself. He groaned but for the time being it was functionality over style. He finished eating and went to pass out in his room. He slept deep and well, the ingame mattress putting his old one to shame. He then got up and left to find some quests to complete. he went over to a craftsmen NPC to find him grumbling to himself,
"Need more if I'm to finish this order>"
"Hi, anything I can do to help?"
The NPC turned with a happy grin,
"Good Lad! I need eight Boarhides to finish an order. Think you could do that?"
Tyler the got a message prompt for the quest, Hog's revenge, a quest with a four star rating. It was rated as extremely dangerous for his current level, but Tyler excepted anyway. He had the ingame skills to handle a quest rating up to six stars, even if his stats were not. It was a Birctally special mechanic that rewarded the ones with actual skills, while at the3 same time catering to new players. This quest was essentially to kill a Hogzilla, the area's mini boss. The hog itself was the size of a small truck and has a few attack skills, plus two full health bars. Tyler just smiled as he read the tasks, this was the order of the day for his gaming style. Since he played alone he only had one ass to keep an eye on. He could fight his way. Tyler headed off to the target area killing boars and wolves along the way. He reached the mini-bosses lair, a large forest clearing surrounded by pine trees. Tyler smiled arrogantly as the massive beast stalked out of the trees, its' scarred visage supposed to be intimidating, but those tricks didn't work on him. Tyler took his favorite stance, sword held point towards the target, both hands on the hilt and his eyes staring down the blades length with his knees slightly bent. The boar squealed and charged. Tyler charged as well, and slid along the sandy floor dragging his blade along the beasts side as he baseball-slid passed the pig. he then regained his footing and unleashed a uppercut sword swing directly unto the things remaining tusk, breaking it clean off.
"Rock smasher!"
The pig recoiled and Tyler pounced onto the wounded animal, slashing and stabbing while the boars attack patterns reset. The loss of it's tusk effectively crippling the animal. Tyler gave a rather vicious swing and cut a leg clean off the beasts body, and the creature squealed, the sound giving nails on a chalkboard a run for most earsplitting sound. The boar staggered back on three legs before Tyler cut off another one, then the other two, as the beasts legs were also drops. he then stabbed the animal through the skull killing it. It shattered and he got a perfect fight bonus fro not taking an hit, plus an Exp bonus for first time boss kill, as well as both first attack and final attack bonuses. He had killed a level 5 boss at level one. With out a scratch. He had scored the boars Grandtusk, a rare Item that could be used in crafting, four legs of Grand Boar meat, which was a rare food item, a perfect Grandboar hide, a High Rare Item, 500DR, and about 1000exp. he leveled up three full levels and nearly cleared the forth. Tyler then smiled as his Agility, dexterity and strength all increased rather decently. His Health had also increased since he'd not taken a hit. He now had 150HP. He then headed back to the village, and kept killing the animals as he did so. This was the village’s hardest quest so any others would be a cake walk compared, maybe even easier based on how easy he found it. He returned to find a player staggering into the village, from his health bar, it was clear he had maybe two hp left. Tyler just shrugged and to turn in his loot. There was a small fireworks display for a completed quest and he got another 500DR and another 1500 EXP, which sent his level right to level 8. He was about to go back and kill the boar again, when the player accosted him
"Please a health potion, I don't want to die!"
Tyler sighed,
"I don't have any health potions."
The player was stunned,
"B-But you just finished a four-star quest! How can you not have potions?"
"I won't need them until at least floor three. So no need to waste my money. Now leave me alone, I got work to do."
The player went and blocked his path, the spear he had acting like a crutch, tired as he seemed to be,
"Please, then I need 20DR so I can rest at the INN! Please you have to help Me! I don't want to die!"
Tyler was getting irritated,
"Look kid your in a safe zone so you can't die here, okay? Go see that lady over there, she'll give you a delivery quest to the inn, and the reward is 50DR and about 100EXP. Now get lost."
he then went to walk around the player, who was flabbergasted by his coldness,
"People have been dying left and right back there, and I find you out here without a scratch. You were a friggin beta tester and you wouldn't help me. No wonder the others hate you guys."
Tyler stopped,
"It's not my responsibility to babysit the player base. And I hate people to begin with."
he went into the trees and found the boar had respawned and fought it again, once again another perfect fight and another set of rare items. he then went back to the village as the time between respawns was roughly the walk back to the village and the return to the clearing. His plan to kill that thing at least four more times, giving him a decent leg up on leveling. He'd then be more or less set to dive into dungeons. he returned to find that the player had recovered his health by begging a potion off another player, then pointed over to Tyler as he walked over to the lady he'd told him to talk to.
"That's him! He's a bater! He refused to help me at all!"
The player walked over to Tyler, with two other with him, all carrying two handed swords. Tyler had just accepted the lady's quest when the guy got in his way.
"Is this true?"
"Which Part?"
"Either, you arrogant prick."
"well then how’s bout half, I did tell him to do this quest, as it gives enough to stay at the inn, but I guess begging's another way to go"
"You were a Bater?"
"I got called the Head Bater by the end of it, what of it?"
The trios eyes narrowed at his cocky attitude,
"You realize I have you four to on here, right?"
"Yes, quite terrible odds...for you."
he party then surrounded Tyler as he drew his sword,
"You sure talk a big game Beta. Lets see you back it."
"I hoped I wouldn't have to kill someone until day three, but whatever."
The leader sent a death match challenge to Tyler who accepted without looking. The group of four surrounded him, Tyler merely raised his sword and held it out behind him as a countdown from ten started ticking over their heads. Tyler took a deep breath, and let it out as the timer neared 0. When the buzzer went off, Tyler moved like a lightning bolt towards the guy directly to his right. He wielded a two-handed great sword, and Tyler's sheer speed took him by surprise. Tyler slashed the guy from right shoulder to left hip, before pivoting around behind the stunned player and pushed him into his comrades charging Tyler's turned back. The slash had taken about half the guys life bar with that one slash. He tangled with two of the others, and Tyler engaged the other two. He ducked under a pathetic excuse for a spear thrust and brought his blade up across the guys face, before spinning a half circle with the momentum and stabbing the now-too-close for a greatsword last player and ran him through the stomach. He had time for a single despairing scream before shattering into green triangles. Tyler then reset his stance to face the remaining three,
The other players were horrified at the lack of hesitation to kill another player in this game, since killing a player ingame would kill that person for real. Tyler then advanced, ready to continue combat. His expression full of cold determination and a disturbing lack of emotions. Tyler had settled into his 'Line in the sand' mindset. He had more or less shut down all noncombat thoughts, feelings, and anything that could shake his concentration on the task at hand. The guy who had called him out for being a Bater was a little pale around the gills,
"You killed him!"
"You're next."
Tyler then surged forward like a lion pouncing on it's prey. He closed the distance between the trio and himself in a flash, his sword under his shoulder and as he reached the right range he swung the blade from the position, arcing the slender blade in a vicious underhanded swing that cleaved the half lifted player from groin to face, before flipping the blade and bringing if down upon the trying to doge leader, taking him in the shoulder. Tyler then reversed his grip and pivoted on his left foot, and spinning around the frozen in place player like he was a pole and smashing hid sword into the chest of the spear wielder. The first player he hit shattered, followed by the second and Tyler only had to hit the last guy one more time for him to shatter as well. He twirled his blade around his hand before sheathing it on his back again. A 'winner' icon hung over his head as the deathmatch concluded. He had gotten 400EXP, 40DR, three basic greatswords, and a level two spear. He sighed at the pitiful haul,
He then went back to the inn, made his delivery and returned to complete his quest. yay me, another 100DR, and a small health potion. I better sell those idiots weapons before I forget. Tyler sighed and sold the groups weapons to the smith, getting another 60DR, bringing his total funds to roughly 4000DR. He looked over the smiths sword selection, since the durability on hi current blade was nearing critical. He spotted a decent looking blade with a red hilt hanging on a wall, he went over and took a look. It was the same length as his current blade, but had near twice the durability, increased attack by 25, and even had a small impact bonus. Price:3500. Done. He paid for he blade and sheathed on his back and sold the now pointless blade. He left to go kill that Grandboar a few more times before nightfall. He must have killed that thing a good eight more times. He then had set off for a small town near a small mountain a good five days from the starting city. He had only leveled up two more times during his stay at the village. This was to discourage area-milking. An idea he'd come up with himself. The area would, instead of spawning more powerful monsters to combat the player, would just stop giving items, DR, and EXP for defeating monsters. Basically rendering any grinding impossible until the area had a chance to cool down. The cool down period was different based entirely on area level, the higher levels have a far shorter cooldown then the lower levels, forcing players to challenge themselves if they wanted to advance. The area Tyler had just left could not be looted for about a full 24 hours. It was such a high traffic area that that it had easily the longest cooldown, since the only way it would tick down was for players to avoid that area altogether. it was supposed to keep people from abusing low-level areas, but Tyler suspected that cooldown would be shortened significantly, since people would be living there now. Tyler didn't really care, he had given Lorg all she would need to handle most second floor monsters, the only real threat was people. So for five days, Tyler traveled across the land alone, e had never needed anyone else IRL, and needed them even less in the game world. Tyler was used loneliness. Five days ingame amounted to about three and a half real world days. The game world was so large, it would take a solid two weeks IRL to travel from one side of the floor to the other. The same was true for every floor of the 150 they had to clear. The only way to do so was to kill the floor boss, but first you had to find the thing. It could be hidden literally anywhere ingame. Tyler sighed as he looked over his inventory, he'd been collecting nearly everything he found. He was now having to scroll for a solid minute to get to the half way mark. He'd need to unload at the nearing town. Once he was there, he'd activate the teleport gate so he could move around more easily. The gates were set up in every day more then a day's trip out from town so everyone could access the game. He'd get a large DR sum for first activation, and if he had a mind to, could instill a toll for every person who wanted to pass through it. He had yet to decide if he wanted to be that kind of jackass, charging people who were trapped to use a convenience tool. he smiled as he recalled the four idiots who had challenged him, since it had been a deathmatch, his icon had not changed color from the killings. If he just dropped them outside a safezone, his icon would've turned a deep crimson, labeling him a Playerkiller. The effect would last for about a IRL week, but if he kept killing players, it would become permanent. The solitary player reached his destination a day later, and activated the teleporter, instilling a 5 DR toll for everyone except Lorg. He smiled and went over to the town inn. He got himself a burger and some ale, and started going through his massive collection of random crap. He crafted himself a full set of wolf fur armour, from a vest that increased agility and defense, a pair of pants that also increased his speed, he had also crafted a pair of wolf boots that decreased his ability to be detected. He then got a full-type set bonus of +20 agility and speed for wearing all of a single material type, plus the packmaster bonus. It granted immunity to wolf attacks since he wore all wolf based items, quite the decent perk for woodland travel. The effect only affected wolves for this floor though, but it was still nice. ha, If the floor boss is a wolf, then I'm kinda set. He then crafted himself a bunch of potions from the multitude of herbs and roots he had collected. He ended up with a full complement of healing potions, strength potions, Stamina potions, even scoring a few antidotes as well. He was glad that there wasn't a weight limit to how much he could carry. He was smiling as he finished his meal when he got an icon that said +5DR.
"Guess, I got company."
He glanced out and saw a small timid looking girl nervously turning this way and that as if scared to get jumped. She was quite young maybe 13 if that. She was holding a medium cudgel in her hands like it was a safety blanket. She was rather cute, with short pink hair, small blue eyes, freckles, a red vest and white undershirt with a pair of brown shorts with small black boots. heh, she’s cute. Her level is wack though. He could see her level with his Perception skill. He had worked that skill hard, as at higher levels it would tell you want a monsters weakness was, along with its strengths. He'd upgraded it by identifying monster's weakness the hard way, and by completing perception based challengers, like a follow the cup street game. He had always been good at those. He was considering on just how to handle this development when,
Three tall boys came through the gate after the small girl, who upon seeing them turned to run. The first guy then shot her in the leg with a bow. They began laughing as they grabbed her leg and made as if to drag her back towards the gate, unfortunately for them,
"ya know, I figured this crap would take at least a month before it picked up."
Tyler was standing between them and the gate. the guy holding onto the crying girl's leg just waved at the archer to kill this would be white knight, problem was,
Tyler had not waited for the archers shot. instead bum-rushing and slashing the archer a total of five times before he could draw string, he then stood and faced the attempted kidnapper,
"Dragon's Lunge."
the two took a step back, but then the leader hauled the girl up by her ankle and placed a dagger against her stomach as she squealed,
"This blade is poisoned, drop your weapon or she will die a slow death."
"I don't really care, I just want to kill you two dipshits."
His sword was glowing and he charged, the man stabbed the girl, but was cut in half by Tyler's blade an instant before his buddy got sliced as well. Tyler pulled an antidote from his inventory and knelt beside the girl. her health bar rapidly draining. He forced the liquid down her throat, and then poured a healing potion down her gullet as well. Just like that, she was right as rain. She sat up, coughing and tying to collect herself after the rush of action. Tyler sighed when a thought occurred to him. He had just killed players inside a town, that was NOT supposed to be possible. He pulled up the Ui guide and found that, in this case, since the fight had begun outside the safezone and had gone through a teleporter, it bypassed the no-kill rules. fucccck. They had better fix that quick, it'll be frigging slaughter. I wonder...Tyler went and opened a submit a ticket for a bug or exploit. This was one that would be submitted to the AI auto bug fixer. He described the issue, reasons for it being a problem, and reasons for fixing it. He then turned to see the girl cowering before him, like a lamb staring into the eyes of a hungry wolf. She was trembling like a leaf in a wind storm, her small blue eyes wide as he looked at her. she raised her small little mace bravely,
"Stay back, I'm warning you!"
Tyler had a very difficult time keeping a straight face at her tiny threat in her tiny voice,
"Okay. That HAS got to be the single cutest threat I have ever received. Relax Toots, I'm not into kids"
she went a little red in the face, but lowered her mace. She knew he could do whatever he wanted with her and she wouldn't be able to do a thing to even put up a fight. She was still terrified of the easily twice her size boy,
"Why'd you save me?"
"Lets go to that inn there, I'm still hungry."
She seemed reluctant to enter a inn with a strange boy who'd just killed three people in front of her, but she didn't have much of a choice. She followed him in and took a seat opposite the boy.
"What's your name?"
"Goreleech. Yours?"
"A small, weak wallflower? Heh, fitting. Here, load up."
He'd picked out a burger and apple juice for the tiny thing, and the same for him. Except he got a mug of ale. she looked at the food, then back to him suspicious,
"Why did you save me?"
Tyler sighed as he answered,
"I'm not really sure myself. I must be going soft, saving a slip of a girl like you. Don't look a gift demon in the mouth. Just eat your food, get your strength back, and be grateful I was in a generous mood."
She did eat, but kept an eye on his every move. Tyler just sighed tiredly, and examined the gear he'd gotten from his latest kills. A decent bow, a half quiver of arrows, some coated with a paralytic poison, a poisoned dagger, and a shortsword.
"Fuckin perfect. A capture squad. I figured the human sales wouldn't start up for at least a month. I hate people. Still, decent gear though."
Sakura stared with concern at the boy wit the fearsome name who'd saved her,
"A capture squad?"
"Yep. You remember how sex is a thing in this game? Give you three guess why a squad like that was after you."
"I don't know, why? I'm too young for that kinda stuff."
"Oh for fucks sake, kid. How old are you?"
"14, why?"
"Jesus. What the hell, did you sign in with a parent or sibling or something?"
"No I came by myself."
She seemed rather proud of that fact. Tyler just put his head in his hands. He then sent a message to the only other person he could
Hey, Lorg? Could you grab the nearest teleporter to Clesit, Please? I got something were you have got to see.
Her response was quick, thankfully.
Yeah, sure. I'll be there with my friends in five.
Coolzies, they'll have to pay a toll but I'll pay them back, and set it so they won't have to pay again.
Sakura just kept eating, watching him send his messages, her legs swinging in the air. She was small, and held the juice mug with two hands. Tyler was beyond done with this mess. Who the fuck would let their fourteen-year-old dive into a game like Swords&Shields? He ate his own meal in silence, waiting for Lorg's crew to arrive. Like clockwork, five minutes passed, +5,+5,+5,+5,+5
Lorg and her crew all came through the teleporter. Tyler banged on the Inn window, grabbing their attention. Lorg came in the swinging door,
"Hey Gore! What kinda mess-"
she had spotted Sakura sitting across from him,
"Okay, what the actual fuck?"
Tyler sighed as her six man party all took seats around him and the small girl. Sakura was now scared at all the people surrounding her. Lorg’s party was mainly girls, with a single dude. Tyler smirked as he noticed this,
"Hey, bro, must be nice to have a virtual harem. Am I right?"
The guy just laughed,
"It would be, if I liked the ladies."
Tyler just shrugged,
"Yeah, that sounds about right. Not many people like Lorg to begin with."
"Hey fuck you!"
"I already told you! Later!"
The entire group just burst out laughing at their banter. Sakura relaxed, and was giggling too. Lorg then went and sat beside the small girl,
"Care to explain why you're running with a little girl, Gore?"
"You are gonna love this.."
Ten minutes later, Lorg and her friends were all caught between anger and pity. With just a little bit of disgust at the girls parents for letting her Dive in the first place.
"And that’s about the size of it. I can't take her with me. Not to the places I go. So I was hoping you could take her."
Lorg just sighed, she felt bad for the little girl now sitting in the samurai chick's lap, playing with her long blonde hair.
"I don't think we can either. We don't have a house, and we need all our fighters to grind out levels. Honestly, I don't know what we can do."
"Well, if you can't help, I'm just gonna ditch her then."
There was a collective gasp of shock from the assembled players,
"You're not serious! You would just leave a girl like her to fend for herself? Just like that?"
Tyler sighed as he leaned back.
"Of course I would. I hate people. I hate kids more. I don't really know why I rescued her in the first place, plus I spent MY money on her to boot! I must be losing my edge."
Sakura started to cry at his cruelty. Her heartbreaking sobs causing the other adventurers to try comforting the girl. Lorg confronted the unfazed Tyler who merely finished his drink.
"You are a heartless bastard. You know That? I can't believe you could so easily make a little cry like that. Or that you could so casually throw her aside like that! What would you have done If I hadn't been able to come?"
"Kill her."
The room went silent at his matter-of-fact response.
"I'd either ditch her, or kill her myself. Least that way it'd be painless and quick. Calling you here was the extent of my good will."
he placed his mug back down and left the table. as he did so, Sakura ran over to him and grabbed his leg,
"Please, don't go! Don't abandon me too! Please!"
Tyler stopped mid-step, he then gave the little girl a glare that would've frozen hell with it's coldness,
"Abandon too? who else abandoned you?"
She looked up at him, with large tears in her blue eyes,
"My family! They all came here with me, but when we got trapped they told me to get away from them. They said I'd get in their way. When I tried to follow my Brother hit me with a hammer. I ran. I don't have anyone else! So please don't go!"
Her voice was pitiful and her story heartbreaking. Tyler felt a feeling of kinship with the sobbing girl. He then turned and knelt before her,
"Kid, get those tears and that fear out of your eyes. Now look at me."
She sniffed and looked into his ice-cold brown eyes,
"The places I go are hard, harder then anything these noobs would ever attempt. If you make a single misstep, you die. Now look me in the eye and answer this: Do you still want to go with me?"
Her voice was full of hope and courage,
"I do."
"Are you sure? I will not baby you. If you slow me down I will either leave you or kill you myself. If you can't keep up you will die a horrible death, by me or monsters. I will work you to the bone. You complain I leave. You understand?"
"I do."
"You don't. Now last question: Are you sure?"
Her eyes then filled with a sadness he understood all to well,
"If you don't want me either, then I should just die now. I don't.."
He pressed trailing off girl,
"you don't what?"
She screwed up her courage and yelled at the top of her lungs,
Tyler hung his head, then turned to Lorg,
"Thanks for coming, but I’ll take her with me."
Lorg suddenly became very concerned at the prospect of leaving the small girl with a boy who had just said he'd kill her multiple times.
"Um, no, it's okay, we'll take her. besides,"
Tyler just sighed,
"You just said you couldn't. Why is it a problem if I take her now?"
Lorg glared at the scary boy.
"You just said many times you'd kill her! The hell makes you think I'd leave her with you after that?"
"Because I said so. Do the six of you think you could take her from me? You're welcome to try."
He drew his red blade and smiled, daring them with his eyes. Little Sakura went and hid behind the dangerous boy. Lorg sighed and waved her hand to keep her friends from rising,
"Don't. That guy would kill us all. Just answer this."
"will you train her like you did me?"
"Ha, of course I am. Only properly this time. As long as she pulls her own way and doesn't get in my way, she's fine. Otherwise."
Lorg just gave up. she then went to pat the pink-haired little girl on her head.
"Well, I'll add you as a friend, let me know if he bullies you or anything, okay? I'll kick his ass for you!"
Sakura smiled at the pretty blonde,
Lorg then gave Tyler a last warning,
"you bett-
"Take good care of her, or I’ll kill you myself. That what you were about to say?"
"I was."
"I already told you. Sakura, come on I need to reequip you. Then we got quests to do. I want you to level up at least three times today."
Tyler had started walking out of the inn. Sakura waited a moment to thank Lorg, when Tyler roared at her,
"Lets go! Last Warning!"
She then ran out of the Inn after her new angry traveling companion. Lorg just watched little Sakura skipping along next to the boy who made her blood run cold.
"Should we do something?"
"Like what? I've seen that guy fight. He really could kill us all, the only question is if he'd use sword-skills or not. I'm really scared fort hat girl though."
"Don't be. I think Sakura id quite safe with him."
Lorg turned to her IRL galpal, Svenity, who had been abused quite badly as a child,
"What makes you so sure?"
"Well, the way he challenged us. Six against one without hesitating for a girl he'd kill just like that? I don't think so. Plus I think he went through something similar to her. It explains the 180 he just pulled. he went from saying he'd kill her just to get rid of her, to agreeing to take her with him. She'll knock some of that edge of him."
Lorg turned back to the road, the duo now lost to sight,
"I'm sure hope you're right."
Tyler had brought Sakura to a smithy to get her some new gear. As far as stats went, she was a mere noob. She was a low level 3. She had no right to be in this town, since it's minimum recommended level was 6. Tyler's was 9. he ad her open her Ui so he could see what she had inn her inventory. At first she resisted showing him,
"If you look, you'll see my body measurements!"
She had been red-faced with embarrassment at this fact. Tyler was irritated. What she had said was true, the Ui had everything from height, weight, BMI to general descriptions like eye color and hair color. There was even a full-3d rendered model of the player that could be rotated and flipped. It showed currently equipped gear, but if you were to hit a button, then the model would render the player completely naked, with exacting details, since this game's developers did not believe in censorship in any form.
"I don't care, how show me or I leave."
"Good bye!"
"Okay, Okay! You can look. Just don't laugh, okay?"
'Yeah, yeah."
Tyler had zero interest in her pancakes, he was more interested to see her items. It was depressingly basic, her gear was just clothing with no stat boosts whatsoever. Tyler sighed as he scrolled, she had a small collection of flowers, 45DR, her little mace, her clothes, and a small necklace that had a shiny stone set in it. Tyler took it out of her inven, and inspected the thing. She went wide eyed as he held it up,
"Please can I have that back?"
"What is it?"
"A picture, I imported a picture from my computer to my Helmet and had it fitted into a locket. Please?"
Tyler flipped the locket open and inside was a picture of Sakura and another woman with long black hair hugging the girl tightly. He then noticed how small she appeared to be.
"Friend of yours?"
he handed the item to the sad faced girl, who held it to her chest,
"She was my aunt, more like my mother then my actual mother. She took care of me for a while when my mom went to a hospital for a while. She died last spring."
Tyler shrugged, sympathy not a part of his character,
"Well, that sucks. your gears is god awful too. I can make you some better gear. Clothes mostly but I'll need to buy you a new weapon. Then we go do a few quests here."
She wiped a solitary tear from her eye, then nodded. Tyler then made her a set of wolf equipment like his. He replaced her entire outfit. She now wore a thick shirt with wolf's head on her chest. The shirt granted +5 to physical defense. the shirt was more of a crop top then a full shirt, he'd then crafted a pair of fingerless gloves like his own, but reinforced with boar to give it an extra bonus to strength. he made her a pair of shorts that increased speed and agility. A pair of boots made from wolf and boar finished her new outfit. The boots both decreased detection and increased agility. He on a burst of inspiration made her a scarf of pure wolf fur that both gave her a more badass look, and added to her defense. He then gave her the bow and arrows taken from the idiots who'd tried to capture her. She seemed to love her new clothes, often stopping to pet the thick wolf fur.
"thank you! This stuff's awesome! The furs soft too!"
"That’s shit gear. I only have crafting level 3, and smithing 1. Wait till that reaches liken 200 or even 150, then things get really hardcore. But I'm glad you like my style. Now, can you handle that bow?"
She beamed as she tested the string,
"I placed first in my schools archery competition, so I pretty confident!"
"First out of how many?"
"A hundred and fifty students?"
"How many competitors?"
"I know, awesome right?"
Tyler just groaned, but just let her have it.
"Okay. That’s better then nothing, I guess. Why'd you choose a mace if you have bow skills?"
"My mom said that the mace was better, since it did more damage."
okay, that’s a rookie mistake.
Tyler sighed as he explained,
"Okay, she's not wrong. But only from a pure stat perspective."
"I don't understand."
Tyler had her accept a delivery quest from the herbalist and imparted the wisdom acquired by a veteran RPG player,
"Maces generally have higher base damage, that is true. But in a game like this, especially a game like this. Base damage means less then player skill. take my old blade for example. It did a base damage of 10. Your mace does a base damage of 20. You think that would give you an advantage, and you'd be right. But you would still lose because why?"
"Because you're bigger then me."
"Well, kinda. But not what I mean. try again."
"You play this more?"
"Good, experience is a powerful force. I have played both this game and many others too. Plus I've dabbled in IRL swordplay. That can lead to ingame bonuses. Since I already had a grasp of how to use a sword, I chose to go with what I knew. I can kill three or four people using nothing but my experiences alone. I also know how to read my opponents too."
"Read them?"
"Yep. I try to teach you how, but I'm not quite sure how. Basically I can more or less predict what an opponent will do next and react accordingly. If, for example an enemy were to raise his blade high over his head, what do you think he's likely to do next?"
"Swing it straight down?"
"Usually, yes, but if he has a slightly off balance stance, either right or left it suggests a fakeout attack so I would sucker him in and dodge the second strike and use it to land one of my own. Now then what does al this have to do with me asking you if you know how to use a bow?"
Sakura's brow furrowed as she pondered his words. They reached the quest end and she turned in her item and got her rewards. She went up two levels and got 200DR. She answered his question as best she could,
"Since I'm good with a bow IRL, I should be better with it ingame, right?"
Tyler chuckled,
"More or less. IRL talents can grant players a decent boost in game. Plus its a time-tested strategy to base your build of your IRL skills. I always was more of a all-rounder, so ingame I dabble in all kinds of skills. But my favorite trees involve making things, like armour, weapons, potions stuff like that. Only thing I suck at is cooking since I can't cook IRL."
Sakura's eyes lit up at this revelation,
"I love cooking! Guess you can't get rid of me now!"
Tyler then fixed her with a very serious glare, causing her to gulp,
"I have one question: Are you good?"
"everyone at home thought I was. They said it was my only redeeming skill."
"I will put that to MY test. Then we will see if you measure up."
Sakura grinned confidently,
"I will blow your tongue away."
"uh, phrasing!"
She turned red at his dirty joke,
"Okay, did not expect you to understand that one. Kinda concerned that you do. Lets just move on. Hey look another delivery!"
He felt kind awkward using his typically filthy humor with a girl that passed for his little sister. He also felt like a fish outta water with his now suddenly being a surrogate Big brother to the little shrimp. But he had made the girl a promise and thus far she had kept up her end of the bargain. They had just finished their third delivery in a row when Tyler noticed that the rewards had dropped drastically.
"Okay, time to go kill something."
She went wide eyed at this, so Tyler was forced to explain the system's milking rules,
"Well, if we do any more quests like that we'll get less and less. Then we'd be forced to fight monsters anyway. It's the games anti milking protocols."
"But some players don't like fighting!"
"Then they have to go to another town, otherwise they'll receive nothing further from the current town. This encourages players to get out there and explore. I should know since I came up with it."
They had gone into a forest about 20 minutes from town, but as he said he came up with it, Sakura stopped dead,
"You came up with it? You're a dev?"
She seemed more scared now then when he'd said he'd kill her,
"Nah, I'm a beta tester. The top tester actually."
She seemed to relax slightly,
"Okay, so you're just a Bater. And the top bater?"
"Yeah, I got the label because I reached floor 10 solo. Plus the majority of my submitted ideas ended up being used ingame.""
Her eyes went wide at that one.
"Which ideas?"
"Remember that jackasses blood entrance? I had originally came up with it to introduce a boss. Oh and those skill challenges? That’s mine too. I even got to design a few bosses from the ground up. Though I don't know if they kept them. We'll fin d out eventually."
"Wow, Gore you're awesome!"
"You just now realized that?"
"You got to Beta test this game. You were the top tester too. I guess that makes you the MasterBater then?"
He walked right into a tree at that one. He turned to look incredulously at the sweetly smiling girl. Her blue eyes were glimmering mischievously,
"Aww, Sakura. Question."
"Yes, Goreleech?"
"Do you know what MasterBater means? IRL that is?"
She cocked her head to the side, and looked slightly confused at his question
"I think so, its what you do when you reach between you le-"
"Okay! Okay! You win! But seriously, Didn't realize you were such a dirty girl. But hey I don't judge."
She blushed a deep crimson when he said this, the heat flooding her head nearly leaking out the flustered girl's ears. She followed Tyler through the forest until they reached a small clearing.
"Alright! This should do. Okay, now when a monster appears I want you to shoot it once, then climb a tree, so I can kill it. We'll get the same amount of EXP for the kill. Money and Items we'll split. But I get final say on who gets what and what gets sold, understood?"
Sakura nocked an arrow,
"Yes Gore."
"Good, oh here I forgot to form a party. Just a sec. There."
he sent the invite to Sakura who accepted the invite. As the UI closed a large brown bear wandered into the clearing and stood tall with a loud roar. Tyler smiled and drew his blade. Sakura began to tremble, but Tyler slapped her,
"If you panic you're on your own. Understood? Now shoot that thing and get into the tree like a good girl."
She did as she was told, shooting the beast in the chest. The arrow merely scratched the beast, enraging it. It charged, but Tyler met it with a sliding slash across it's flank. His sword carving a large portion of it's health away, be fore Tyler righted himself and lunged again, this time with a thrust. Taking the beast through it's shoulder. It stopped moving for a moment then Shattered. Tyler smiled as the results from the battle appeared on his after-action screen. Sakura dropped from the tree, a sad look on her face.
"Okay, what’s wrong? You did what you were supposed to."
She just seemed to be depressed,
"All I did was scratch the thing. I still got the same amount of experience as you did, but you did all the work. Plus.."
she rubbed her cheek where he'd slapped her,
"I feel like I just made more work for you."
"well, you did."
She seemed crushed at this, but Tyler went on,
"But I expected as much. You're still just a low leveled rookie. You need to level up more and train a helluva lot more to be able to be stand beside me in battle. You have a long way to go."
She seemed to shrink more and more as he kept speaking,
"But don't worry. We all start out some where. If it makes you feel better, I once got my first party wiped in my first RPG."
She looked up shocked,
"You got your party killed?"
"Yep, I made the brilliant decision to bum rush a dragon right out the gate on my own. The other members in the party all died trying to recover. They were PISSED. I actually got kicked from their guild for that one."
"really? Seems a little harsh."
"It was a timed seasonal event with one try per guild."
"Okay, now I get it."
"See? Even I started out as a rookie. Then I buckled down, busted my ass and got good. I actually ended up becoming one of the most feared solo players in the game. The guild that had kicked me would often hire me as a mercenary sometimes to deal with problem players or parties. One time they even paid me NOT to take part in a event. The whole server did. I thought that was hilarious."
"Did you keep your word?"
"Yes I did. That’s something I pride myself on is being a man of my word. Though the rumor was that everyone had fully expected me to take part even after receiving payment. I earned a lot of respect from the other players that day. The leaders of the top guilds have a room set aside for me now, incase I drop by. If I log in, I'm kinda both a living legend and a celebrity too."
Sakura seemed a little relieved about something, but a deer ran by and on pure reflex shot the hart with an arrow, piercing the animal in it's shoulder. The deer shattered nearly instantly. Sakura gasped in shock at her insta kill. Tyler was impressed,
"Nice shot kid! That was an 8=pointer too! Whatcha get?"
She had gotten 2 buck meat, 2 antlers, deer musk, a perfect deer hide, and her arrow back. As the Deer was a Sport animal, she got 300DR for a clean kill. Sakura was ecstatic, but also confused,
"How'd I do that? That deer was two levels above me!"
Tyler was happy to explain another mechanic he'd purposed,
"Okay, did you see where you hit it? That's it's heart. Every animal has a heart shot. If you hit it, it does triple damage, more if using a bow. If you know an animals anatomy, you could quite easily kill most animals in a single arrow. That’s another one of my ideas. It rewards those who hunt IRL and those who know animals too. Plus its simple enough that everyone can learn it. Only non-animal monsters are immune to this rule. So if it exists IRL it applies. That was a very good kill Sakura. Good job."
She glowed at his praise, which was rare. He let her bask in her success for a moment before bringing her back.
"Alright, you've gloated enough. We got eight more bears to kill. Oh and feel free to drop anymore deer you see, There’s good money in deer, and their drops make good crafting materials."
She sighed as they got back to it. Tyler was a hard teacher, but fair. He was always willing to explain something if she didn't know or understand. But if she did something stupid, like miss an easy shot or mess up his instructions he'd scold the girl harshly. He would yell for her to get her shit together, or whack her across her head. He would also give pointers on how to be a better fighter, or player in general. He was still scary. They had left the village they'd met at and started to travel farther towards the west. When she asked why,
"No clue, I usually just end up going in some random direction till I get bored or hit a wall. Or if something else interesting happens. Oh yeah that reminds me I should see about a getting a map next time we hit civilization."
She had sighed,
"Seriously? So you just go places at random?"
"Pretty much. Hey I wonder what’s over there?"
And that was when they started traveling south. Tyler had spotted a large smudge on the horizon and wanted to check it out. He was a good deal taller then Sakura but made no Allowances for her, so she ended up having to move a little bit faster to keep up with the long limbed roamer. She had asked him to slow down,
"Keep up or get left behind, your choice."
That had been the end of the discussion. He did not make excuses nor did he go easy. They traveled following his haphazard directions for about three days. Sakura learning and getting better in leaps and bounds. She was now Level nine, like Tyler. They would then start gaining less and less exp until the next flor opened up. But once the floor did open, the level was removed and they could level again, albeit with a penalty for using weaker enemies. The penalties were fair, for if you killed a monster five floors below your current floor you would get half exp but the full item drop. Items, and DR did not decrease for killing lower floored monsters but only if you respected the no milking rule. It was only EXP you'd miss out now. Sakura and Tyler after reaching the cap began working on their side skills, like crafting or agility, as they were leveled through use and not bound to the main level cap. The level cap was the main one to increase attack, defense and stamina. Speed too. Agility was not under that umbrella so it could be leveled at will. Tyler had chosen to focus on his crafting skills, like smithing, leather working, and some potion making. Sakura was working on her cooking, tracking, and herbology skills. Tyler had tasted her cooking and had given her the job of company cook,
"Okay, kid. You really do have a redeeming skill here. Congratulations, it is now YOUR job to cook our meals in the field. Congrats kid!"
She had beamed at his complements, only to get pissed that she was now pressganged into cooking duties. But she had had no place to argue as, after all, she had opened her mouth. They were moving through a rather dense forest at the moment. The undergrowth was so thick in places, that Tyler had picked the smaller girl up and placed her on his shoulders to keep track of her. She had been touched at his thoughtfulness until,
"Don't get the wrong idea here. I don't want o waste the time it would take to track you down in here. So don't get comfy or used to it."
"Why do you have to ruin it every time I'm just about to like you."
He'd chuckled at the little girls comment. Every now and then he'd get a +5 icon as some one passed through his toll. He smiled, thinking that had been a brilliant idea. The duo moved through the thick woodland floor, until they came upon a hidden village shrouded by the massive tree tops. Tyler promptly dropped Sakura to the ground. The now agile girl landing on her feet. They then entered the tiny village. Tyler went right over to the main teleporter and set another 5DR toll. he then led the pair to the local Tavern. They got quite the surprise inside. The tavern staff were all naked girls. Tyler smiled as he realized what he'd found and immediately added a zero to the teleporter's toll. Making it 50DR a pop. money well spent, once this little secret gets out. This was one of the hidden adult playgrounds scattered throughout the floors. Each floor had between four and five adult-centered villages for them to make full use of the sex features of the game. These places were to cater to any fetish, any taste any preference a person could have. The main draw back was you had to find them. And they were very well hidden. Very well. They did not show up on any map and the most information you could hope to get was a rumor in a tavern about a village somewhere with beautiful naked women or guys or whatever. Tyler smiled as he considered the possibilities of how to handle his discovery, until he remembered another feature: If you challenged the village leader, and won you could take control of the village for a period of two IRL months, and reap all proceeds form all the businesses in the village, as well as set everything up from NPCs available to play with to how some buildings looked. Tyler smiled and went straight to the leaders hut. Sakura following along red i the face as she realized what the village's main purpose was. Sakura stayed close to Tyler the whole time, but kept getting solicited by NPCs, of both genders for various sexual acts. the poor girl was both scared but also flattered that anything found her attractive. Tyler walked into the leaders hut, and approached the mountain of a man wearing nothing but a loincloth and holding a massive greatsword. The man was fucking a busty brunette in the rear as Tyler approached. Sakura's eyes wide at the sights, sounds and smells of hardcore sex. Tyler issued his challenge and the leader dropped his toy, accepting the dule instantly. the duel was one on one. Sakura had to watch and be continuously accosted on the sidelines. The leader was a level 9, just like Tyler was, so it was sure to be a good fight. Tyler smirked and took his stance, while the leader took his own, with the massive greatsword held up straight. The timer reached zero and the battle for the sex village was on. Tyler rushed forward and used a sword skill to slash the bigger man's calf as he dashed past,
"Claw Dash!"
The man lost a portion of his triple life bar, and Tyler knew this was gonna be both a slog and a challenge. finally. He'd gotten bored with the near unopposed slaughters he'd had up to that point. Sakura watched as Tyler deftly ducked under a massive swing and slashed the man's leg a good three times before dancing out of his counterattack with a grace that was weirdly hypnotic. She was amazed at his graceful attacks and sleek reactions. he seemed to flow around the battle, the great blade passing around him harmlessly while his own sword hit home with savage precision. They fought for a good half hour, until the mini-boss had two hits left before defeat. Tyler hopped back and readied his next attack sequence. The boss then started to glow, his out line turning a bright red. Tyler's smile of arrogance faded into a grimace of concentration. Sakura became concerned but decided to trust the more experienced fighter. Tyler's sword began to glow as well, an da dark glint entered his eyes. The berserk boss charge forward at nearly double his previous speed. Tyler also charged, and stopped just as the bigger man swung his blade, Tyler swung his glowing sword into the bigger mans weapon, knocking it into the ground and using the impact to bounce his blade into a savage counterattack. the longsword slicing the mans stomach, leaving a long yellow groove, but Tyler followed through with a swing in the opposite direction carving a large X on the mans torso,
"Rage X"
The man shattered and Tyler was named village chief. He received 2000 EXP, 2000DR the man's weapon, and the rights to the village. Sakura was finally left alone as Tyler set up the NPC's to pamper the little girl instead fo trying to fuck her, although he did leave the choice ion her hands.,
"Hey, If you want to play with them feel free."
She had been shocked into speechlessness at this remark. But before she could respond he ran off with a busty red head toward a longhouse. She sighed and went to take a bath. She was then pleasantly surprised to find a girl her age holding a towel, sponge and soap. The NPC had been set to help the Pink-haired girl with her bath and give a massage after. Sakura was in heaven as the stiffness was massaged out of her little body at the hands of the NPC. The only thing that irked the relaxed girl was that the NPC who was supposed to be the same age as her, had massive Double Ds on her small chest. Sakura was irritated at this developed lump of ones and zeros as she felt the massive melons, taking note of how soft yet firm they were. a damned computer is bustier then me! She then just resigned herself to a breastless life and let herself be spoiled by this physically impossible endowed girl's soft touch. Tyler for his part was having a field day with the endless supply of girls to play with, allowing every drop of his adolescent horniness get set loose upon the Virtual Beauties bodies. Thanks to the Full-diver technology, he felt every caress, heard every moan, tasted every sweet flavor of the NPC's bodies. He also didn't have to worry about things like STDs or pregnancies, since they had been omitted from the games build. So all he had to worry about was what was he gonna do to the next girl. He finished in his last girl and collapsed, exhausted, and satisfied fully. He only had to regain his breath, then he went on check on Sakura. He found his little charge purring under the expert touch of her busty little masseuse. He then had a thought.
hey, Lorg, I found something I think your crew is gonna love. And the teleports free for your crew so hurry up.
Oh? What did you find?
Get to me and find out.
He then set a bunch of the village’s best girls and guys in a line to await their arrival. Lorg and company stepped through and froze as they saw the villagers waiting for them. Tyler walked up with a few blonde similar to Lorg herself,
"Well, Awesome right?"
"Where's Sakura?"
"Getting a deep tissue massage in that hut over there. If you'd like-"
The blonde and company raced to make sure the small girl was still safe and not getting raped by NPC's. Tyler sighed as he heard Sakura complaining,
"Hey! What the fuck! I was just starting to relax!"
They was a sound of laughter, then Lorg came over to slap Tyler in the face, a red-flushed fury on her pretty face,
"The hell?"
"What the hell is wrong with you? Bringing a girl like that to a place like this? Seriously!"
Tyler rubbed his face,
"Calm your tits, lady. She's getting pampered by professional Masseuses in there, and they gave her a oil bath earlier too. She's floating on cloud nine right now,. This place is a five star spa for her right now. I killed the village leader so I get to set up the services she receives. So chill the fuck out."
Lorg was still pissed,
"Has any of the NPC's other then that one touched her?"
"No, and before you ask I have not either. I was busy with them over there."

He jabbed a thumb at a set of flushed NPC's by a hut.
"If she wants anything more, she ahs to initiate the act. Otherwise its bath and massage time. So seriously? Let the girl re-fucking-lax for once."
Lorg sighed in defeat, then she looked up at his tone,
"you know something Gore? You kinda sound like a doting father getting her a five-star spa day like this. Hell you even killed a floor miniboss to do it! If I didn’t know better, I'd say you're starting to care about the girl."
Tyler smiled a little,
"I prefer protective brother. And I like have her around. Its nice to have someone to talk to on the road. Plus, she keeps it interesting. She dropped a deer with a single shot and the deer two levels higher then her."
"No bullshit. So I'll keep her around."
Lorg looked at the fondly smiling boy and smiled as well,
"well, as long as you don't force the sex bots on her, I'll let it slide. Now if you'll excuse me, that busty brunette over there needs her kitty licked."
"Have fun, and all services are free for your crew."
The sexy blonde gave him a thumbs up as she snagged the brown-haired NPC and dragged her to a hut. her whole crew had grabbed a couple partners and found huts of their own. Tyler smiled at the moans now echoing around the village, and went to check on Sakura again. He found her exiting the bathhouse she'd been cooped up in for the better part of three hours. Her pink hair hung to her small shoulders and was still wet from her bath. she was wearing the wolf fur crop top, fur fingerless gloves, shorts and boots he'd made for her. They made her look both cute and dangerous too. She also had the scarf of pure wolf fur he had also made for her. he smiled at her,
"Hey, kid, you look like a new girl,"
She gave a sweet smile, flashing clean white teeth,
"I feel like a new girl."
She then hugged the taller boy, her head resting just under his chest,
"Thanks for the spa day."
he awkwardly patted the affectionate girls head,
"Sure thing kid, we gotta take a breath every now and then. hey lets get some food, then we to some skilling."
The pair went into the Tavern and got a stew of rabbit and vegetables, with mugs of foaming root beer, with a desert of a small piece of chocolate pie for Sakura, and a death by Chocolate for Tyler. They sat next to each other in the main hall of the tavern. Tyler had had the fire stoked with pine logs, so the entire room was filled with the scent of pine. As they got to checking their inventories, a +50 icon appeared over Tyler's head. He sighed,
"Secrets out. Brace yourself, Sakura, this place is about to get VERY popular." Sure enough, over 50 more Icons popped over Tyler’s head in the space of twenty minutes. Then came the rates of +100, +200, +400. And more as business exploded. Tyler just ignored it, as he had set the rates himself. he didn't have to worry about being challenged for leadership, as the time limit would expire in two IRL months anyway.
"Okay, Sakura, is there anything off the bat you want to make?"
She looked over their rather large supply of materials, trying to think of what she'd need at the moment.
"I think a few more potions would be a safe bet. Do we have enough deer hide for a new outfit?"
"No, right now our outfits are kinda high level. I'd like to replace them with something either the same quality or higher if there something you wanted to make?"
"I wanted to make a hat or something, maybe a pair of leg socks, you know what I mean? Those puffy things that kinda seem like weights?"
"I think so, if its what I'm thinking of I kinda always liked how they looked. As for a hat, did you have a specific style?"
"London paperboy hat. I have one IRL and I kinda miss it."
"I think we can do that. If we use the perfect deer and that perfect wolf we got yesterday we can get another gear set bonus. Here, let me."
Tyler laid the hides out on the table and opened up the crafting UI. He selected the head and mold the hat by hand, turning the hide until it resembled Sakura's vision.
"Like this?"
Tyler smiled as he added the wolf fur as the outside lining, and used the downier deer fur for the lining. The hat now granted a measly +2 to perception, but the level of cuteness it gave to Sakura when she equipped it was worth far more. Tyler the used the leftover hide to make her leg warmers. They required a third hide, so he threw in a perfect white rabbit as the lining.. The warmers had a light grey color that shimmered with the long wolf fur, the parts the normally were stretchy were soft deer fur and the inside lining was made form heavenly rabbit. Sakura squealed with delight at how comfortable they were. She looked cute as hell, with paper boy wolf's fur hat, her grey wolf fur crop top, and shorts. her fingerless gloves were also wolf, but a slightly darker grey. Her boots were grey with brown undersoles. The leg warmers were a similar grey fur to her top. Her shoulder length pink hair flowed from out of her new hat, and her blues eye shown with happiness. Tyler watched as the small girl spun a circle showing off her long legs and their new adornments. He allowed her a moment more of giddiness before getting back on task,
"Okay, kid, we got more stuff to go through."
She skipped back to his side, and hopped over the bench to retake her seat. Tyler shook his head,
"Seriously. Now then, about your bow. What have you got for arrows left?"
"Um, just over a quarter of a quiver left, so maybe 15 shoots?"
"That it? Okay, we need to resupply on shafts. I need to get myself a pickaxe, fishing rod, some bait, and lets see,"
"How about a tent? We usually sleep outside so a tent might not be bad."
"Good call, I can craft one from Grandboar hide. I can craft a two person bedroll from that bear hide from the other day...what’s wrong?"
She had gone red in the face,
"We're gonna share a bedroll?"
Tyler cocked his head confused,
"I had planned on it. If we stay at inns I was gonna have you in the same room, since I don't want you on your own. So I just figured."
She was still red I the face,
"If it'll make you feel better about it, I can make two separate rolls from wolf."
She looked up at him with large blue eyes,
"Could you please? I'd feel more comfortable with that."
Tyler sighed at her puppy dog eyes,
"Fine, but just so you know. A wolf bedroll sucks compared to a decent bear bedroll. If it hurts to sleep on it, well you'll have only yourself to blame."
She broke into a wide smile,
"But to be clear, the single Inn room is NOT negotiable. Is that understood?"
She was about to answer when her face went red again,
"What If there's only a single bed?"
"we share it of course."
She squeaked,
"We'll share the bed. seriously get over yourself. I already told you, I'm not into kids."
"if we have to get a Inn room,. and there’s a single bed, you get the floor."
"We share the bed, and that’s final. If you don't like my terms the doors over there."
He had switched to his iron voice, and she knew his decision was final but she felt compelled to make a final argument,
"If I share a bed with you, people will say we're lovers or something."
Tyler looked at her like she was stupid,
"Sakura. Has anything I have done in the time you have known me given you any sign I care what other people say about me?"
"Well I do! I don't want to be labeled as a slut or whore or-"
"As long as the ones who actually know you know the truth, who cares what strangers think? Seriously if it matters to you that much just say we're siblings and you have really bad nightmares. They'll buy that readily enough if they even care enough to listen in the first place."
Sakura just sighed in defeat. She knew what he said was right, but still. to share a bed with a boy unrelated to her was still a big deal in her 14yo mind. She knew she had lost the discussion so she moved on to the next thing,
"Hey, what about a wood axe?"
Tyler turned to her quizzically,
"A wood axe?"
"yeah you know an axe made just for splitting wood. We can use it to collect firewood and wood for crafting too."
Tyler scratched his chin,
"ohhh yeaah, that’s right! In this game they have an axe set aside just for wood. I forgot about that, thanks Sakura!"
She blushed for a different reason, that was the first time he used her name in a complementary manner.
"Umm, sure, so do we have enough Dr for everything we need to buy?"
"easily. Now lets set up some potions, I'll handle healing if you do boosts."
The industrious duo set about brewing potions using the Tavern fireplace and a brew cup they had bought at a store. They brewed a good thirty more potions and were about to return to their seats when a commotion broke out in the village proper. Tyler and Sakura walked out to find Lorg arguing with a larger man with her smaller friend svenity. svenity was a very petite little blonde. she was about twenty four, but easily passed for a flat fifteen year old. From what he'd heard she had to fight off pedos with a baseball bat. Looks like it hade carried over into the game world too,
"And I'M telling you she s not an NPC, she's a player. And she already shot you down twice, now piss off!"
The pig of a man was not hearing the busty samurai blonde,
"Come on sweetie! Lets go play for a while, I'm gentle I promise!"
The pig was clearly convinced the tiny Svenity was an NPC, or was just obsessed. either way Tyler stepped in, with little Sakura right behind him sporting her new gear,
"Hey, Lorg, Svenity, guess you made a new friend!"
"Oh ahah-Oh holy mother of cuteness, Sakura! Where'd you get that hat and those leg warmers? They look adorable on you!"
Sakura smiled shyly as she answered,
"Well, Gore made them for me. You like it?"
Lorg did a double take at the angry looking boy, while Svenity just gave the smaller girl a big hug, Finally Lorg replied with sheer disbelief at his good fashion sense,
"well, they look adorable on you, sweetie. I never would have figured that psychopath as having a good eye for cuteness."
"With Sakura, its easy to make her look good. Unfortunately not even Paris' best could make that mess look even bearable. Svenity, I think I could work with you though."
Svenity laughed at the normally angry boy's sideways complement. Lorg was exasperated at his terrifying knack of turning anything she said into an insult. the only one not having a good time was the pig man. Upon seeing the cuteness overload that was Sakura, he instantly became infatuated with the small girl, and made the first mistake,
"hey, cutiepie, gimme a hug! I don't bite, I promise! C'mere let me hold your cute self!"
"Back the fuck off now buddy."
Tyler went form having a good time to death's friend in a snap of a finger. Sakura hid behind the tall player for protection from the pig man's leer. He unfortunately did not take the hint and made his second mistake,
"Stay outta this kid. I'm only interested in the little princess there. Now be a good boy and leave."
Tyler drew his blade and pointed it at the pedo, while Sakura trembled behind him,
"Leave me alone, I don't want to go anywhere with you. You scare me!"
"awww, sweetie pie, they all say that at first, but once you get to know me-"
"She's not gonna get to know you pedofuck. Now last warning, LEAVE HER ALONE."
The pedo made his third and final mistake, forgetting in his lust for kiddie flesh that the sex village was under Tyler's control, so if he drew a weapon against him it would be an automatic deathmatch duel, his third mistake was something else entirely,
"Look give me the little pussy feast behind you kid and I'll let you have second fuck.."
Tyler surged forward fueled by anger, his glowing sword a blur as he slashed the man no less then twenty five times in less then five seconds. The pig man pedo had time to look confused before shattering,
"Dragon's Teeth."
everyone, including sakura was stunned at his display of speed and his lack of hesitation to kill.,
"If any of you worthless bastards fucks with my little sister you will die in pieces. Is that understood?"
They responded that time,
"Yes sir!"
Tyler turned to Sakura and picked her up and set her on his shoulders, she squealed at the sudden surprise but then giggled as she could now see over people's heads. It was starting tom get5 dark out, and they would be back on the trail tomorrow morning so, they went to turn in for the night. Leaving a very stunned Lorg behind, with a smug Svenity,
"Called it."
"How did you know?"
"Gore seems to understand her loneliness. Remember he was wandering alone when he found her. He seemed like he was used to being alone. Sakura too was alone now. So it would make sense for them to bond. But I must admit, his taking her as hie little sister like that was a bit of a shock."
Lorg sighed, the debacle with the pedo man had drained her. The samurai headed to the inn with her friend behind her,
"don't worry about that girl Lorgy. Worry instead for the poor idiots that try to hurt her while she has that Demon wrapped around her finger like that."
"yeah, that's what scares me. Goreleech is probably the single best player in the game right now. He is no doubt the most dangerous, so if she does get hurt, what do you think will happen to the rest of us trapped inside this death game with him?"
The ladies looked at each other and shuddered, for if Sakura were to die Goreleech would most likely kill them all.
Tyler smiled into the morning sunlight. Sakura was right behind him. Two months had passed since the sex villager and they were still stuck on floor one. A full two thousand players had died since they had became trapped. But neither Tyler nor Sakura cared. The surrogate siblings were deep in the wilderness, a full weeks travel from most any form of civilization. They were currently camped out on a high cliff side, over looking a vast canyon system. two months and not a single person had managed to locate the floor boss. From Lorg's messages, the duo's only connection to the rest of the trapped populace, the other players were starting to get scared. Tyler had simply sent LOL for a response to that one. He had his lil'sis, so fuck everyone else. Tyler rose and picked up a bow from the ground near him, he nocked an arrow and took aim,
he fired and hit a nearly out of sight hawk on the wing, it fell with a piercing shriek. sakura was waiting with a net made from cut vines and caught the falling bird and hauled it to safety,
"Nice, lets get what we came for!"
Tyler killed the bird with a sharp blow from his hand and it shattered. They received 10 Exp, since an update had lifted level caps entirely, so people could level their characters infinitely. They had also fixed that teleporter glitch Tyler had pointed out, but that was it. The only other thing the devs could do was add new items and stuff to the game. They could fix bugs but not disable anything for risk for killing 30000+ odd people. Today Tyler and Sakura were level 15. The leveling becoming exponentially more difficult as the levels rose. Again that was not a problem for the pair, as they were both extremely dangerous fighters. Sakura, under Tyler's harsh guidance was now able to hold her own against the more experienced boy for hours with neither getting a clear opening. She had opted fro a bow/shortsword combo that would allow her to switch up combat roles should the need arise. Today they were after hawk feathers and Hawkeyes. The feathers to make arrows ad accent Sakura's hat, and the eyes to make potions for archery. They had caught about fifteen birds and amassed a large supply of feathers. Tyler was planning to spend the day there, since the milking limiter had also been removed. They were looking for their next bird when a message popped up on Tyler’s HUD
Hey, you two I need the two of you in the Town of beginnings, we're having a meeting. I think someone found the floor boss. Please, I'd feel a lot better with you here, Goreleech, Sakura.
Sakura sighed,
"we gonna help them?"
Tyler also sighed as he closed the message,
"Fraid so, this way we'll get to reach the next floor sooner."
"Yeah still a waste of a crystal."
"No arguments there!"
The two pulled a pair of small blue crystal cubes from their pants pockets and held them up,
"teleport, town of beginnings."
The crystals could be used anywhere outdoors, but had to be recharged at a main teleport gate. They could be used ten times before a recharge. Tyler had drilled it into Sakura's head to always recharge her crystal every time they entered a town regardless if she had used it or not. Better to be sure. The pair had three such crystals each, so they had thirty jumps each at a full recharge.
"Where are they?"
Lorg was getting nervous as the minutes wore on and the duo hadn't yet appeared. She was sitting on the third tire of a open-air amphitheater. There was a higher level player standing in the center of the center ring. Well, a higher level for those assembled. there was about fifty players set around the rings of the theater. Lorg had her crew all around her. She was nervously tapping her foot, waiting for Goreleech and Sakura to arrive.
"relax. They'll come."
"I hope so, We need them."
Svenity sighed in agreement, for Goreleech was the best player she had seen thus far, and Sakura had been mercilessly training under him for a couple months now. They hadn't seen each other since the sex village, the duo setting off the next morning after killing the pedo. That was two months ago, so her progress was either going to be amazing or downright terrifying. They man in the center clapped his hands loudly and opened the meeting, his voice a warm confident tone,
"Alright everybody! Can I have your attention please? Thank you for coming. I am called Diablo. My job is paladin!"
There was a audible laugh as the assembled players got a kick out of his announcement,
"Idiot there's no job system in Britally!"
Lorg had a different reaction,
"Diablo? He's no Demon, we've met the real thing."
Diablo clapped again,
"Alright, everyone. Lets discuss why we're here. We need to find the floor boss and defeat him to advance to floor 2. I am here to tell you that he has been found. We sent out the message to everyone here as we are the most competent players. Together we will form a raid party and defeat the boss."
There was a lot of murmuring as those gathered discussed the information among themselves. Then a player spoke up,
"Okay, but before we can do that we need to get something clear!"
A short stocky guy with orange spikey hair hopped down the ring towards the center. He landed in the center with a puff of sand and addressed the crowd.
"My names Dyybuk. I want to say that there are those we cannot trust! The beta testers! 2000 players have died since we got trapped here, and where’d the testers go? Straight to the best loot areas and EXP farms! They took all the best hunting places and left us with nothing! So I say that before we do anything, we get a formal apology from the testers. They should then hand over their ill gotten goods. hell I bet there’s a few here right now! Come out Beta testers!"
There was a awkward silence as the players looked at each other, then
"Oh, you have GOT to be shitting me."
Lorg breathed a heavy sigh of relief as she realized she knew the condescending voice. Only for an icy chill to creep up her spine as she looked to see a pair of cloaked figures outlined against the sun. the hooded duo walked down the steps to take a stance across from Dyybuk. the hooded pair threw their hoods back and Goreleech and Sakura were revealed.
Tyler had been listening form a spot at the top of the amphitheater, waiting to decide if this party was worth crashing. So far he was not impressed, their raid leader was level ten, and the second strongest was a measly level 8.
"What the hell did they do for nearly two and a half months?"
"Probably spent too much time at the brothels"
"Most likely."
Sakura and Tyler then listened to Dyybuk's rant, and Tyler decided to introduce them to a true Demon.
"Seriously dude, is this a joke?"
Dyybuk was taken aback at the newcomers and their cold gazes, he responded through
"I am dead serious. If the testers had helped the ones who had died, they would still be here right now. So why don't you introduce yourselves now."
"Oh my apologies. My name is Goreleech. This is Sakura. Nice to hate you."
Diablo's face went pale sat the name, and Tyler noticed,
"Oh, you know who I am? Diablo, wasn't it? Cool then this will be easier then I thought."
Tyler then faced the now suspicious Dyybuk,
"I was a tester myself, and I will not apologize to you and I will not give you my items. Now what are you going to do, my spiked bowling ball headed friend?"
Dyybuk got very mad very quick and drew his weapon, a large spiked mace and swung it at the arrogant tester, only...
"Is that the best you could do with 2 and a half months of grinding? Pathetic."
Tyler had taken the shot right in his chest, without a single move to even attempt a block. Dyybuk look at his health bar drop then heal right back up again. his mouth dropped,
Diablo then placed a hand on the mace wielders shoulder,
"Dyybuk, stand down. If you raise that thing again he'll cut you down before you can blink."
Dyybuk looked irately at Diablo,
"You’re taking a tester's side?"
Diablo sighed,
"Not A tester. THE tester. My brother was a tester before he died, and he would tell horror stories of a solo player that surpassed every single other player on the test. This player reached floor ten BY HIMSELF. While the rest of the testers were still struggling with floor 2, he had made it to floor 8. My brother always warned me that if I ever encountered him in game, to get the fuck out of his way, or die a screaming death. That thing is not a person, it's a monster that masquerades as a man."
"Hey I know that line! You're Leviathans’ kid brother right?"
diablo's hand turned white as he addressed the source of his brother's nightmares,
"I was. He died two weeks after the doors shut."
"really? Oh, well that sucks, what got him?"
"he saved a group of players from the grandboar near Cilest."
"really? Huh must just missed him, I was there maybe three days earlier. Met Sakura there. Shame bout Levi thou, I kinda liked messing with that jackass."
Diablo's jaw tensed at his dismissal of his brother's death. Dyybuk however was lacking in the brains department,
"Hey, asshole, Just shut up! What gives you the right to talk about his brother like that?"
"You were dropped on your head a lot as a baby weren't you? Anyway, Diablo, if you know me, then you know why I'm here."
"I do."
"well, hand it over. we got more important things to do then jaw with you people."
This caused an uproar, the other players coming to Diablos' defense, some even drawing weapons, when a massive bear of a black man stood up and clapped his massive hands together. The resounding slap causing a moment of silence. He then approached Tyler and Sakura inn the center.
"Hi there, my names Gabol. I take it you just want the map data, is that right?"
"It is. The two so us are more then enough to kill it."
"Well unless you want to kill us all, I suggest we work together."
Tyler looked up at the big man, completely unafraid,
"If I wait for you people tom get ready, we'll lose an entire day and nights worth of grinding. Seriously, just give us the damned thin g. I really don't have the patience for a mass slaughter right now."
His tone was matter-of-fact, as if talking about killing fifty plus odd people was nothing for him. Gabol was taken aback by his fearless response, and was about to respond when his cute companion spoke up,
"Gore, if we don't help them they'll mostly all die."
her voice was quiet, but Goreleech turned to hear her words nonetheless,
"You know how much I hate people."
"I've never been part of a large raid party before. I'd like to try it."
"Oh yeah that’s right. I forgot you're still a rookie."
Tyler then faced the three players in the center,
"Thank the lady here. We'll lend our strength to your fight. Just don't piss me off. Understood? Sakura, I spotted an item shop I wanna check out. lets roll."
Diablo gave a audible sigh of relief,
"You don't know how close to death we just came everyone."
Gabol and Dyybuk were shocked at the sheer relief in his voice,
"Come on he couldn't kill us all?"
"Yeah, he's just cocky cause of that girl."
"No he's not. Listen to me. That player is dangerous. He could kill us all, the only question you have to ask is, would he even have to bother with sword skills?"
The assembled players all went a little pale,
"He's that good?"
"Better. He's a true monster."
"Then why do we have him on our team? We shouldn’t get near him"
'How can we trust him?"
"Because he said he'd help us. That's his only redeeming quality is if he makes an agreement with you he will honor that agreement to the letter. Just for the love of god, don't betray him or try to stab him in the back, otherwise we'll all be just pixels beneath his boots."
There was a scared hush over the assembled players. Then Lorg spoke up,
"I have had dealings with Gore since I started the game, I will personally back what he says. He trained me on how to play the game, so I know he can be trusted."
Diablo seemed both shocked and impressed,
:Um now the hell did you manage that?"
"I asked for his help. he was feeling particularly kind that day,. The kicker? I was cross playing as a dude." The assembly relaxed a little the began to murmur about having the a legend in their corner if only for a single boss raid.
Tyler and Sakura had headed into the city to do some selling and crafting. Tyler hadn't even bothered to listen to the rest of the briefing. He had everything he needed to fight a floor one boss already. Sakura was ready too.
"So, Sakura, why did you stick your neck out for them?"
"Because Lorg was in the crowd ands I don't want her to die."
"I see. So you just want us to be there to back her up?"
"Yeah, plus I want you to show that pompous idiot who the true Demon is in this game."
"If you wanted me to show off a little, all you had to do was ask!"
She smiled sweetly and hugged his arm to her chest,
"Then where’d the fun be if I did that?"
"Damn you girls and your mindgames."
"You boys love it!"
"About as much as you .love being called princess, princess."
She giggled and hugged his arm tighter. Enjoying the teasing. They shopped around emptying their inventories of their unwanted items, before heading to a large plaza that the raid party had set up as a staging ground. Sakura was still holding his arm, but as they approached he snuggled her under his cloak like a bird taking it's young one under their wing. They entered the plaza like that getting quite a few stares, Diablo choked on his drink at the sight of the monster with the much smaller girl cuddling his arm. Lorg came up behind the man,
"That's another reason I trust Gore. He now has something precious to protect."
"Who is she to him? A girlfriend?"
"No, surrogate little sister. He rescued her from a capture squad and they've been inseparable since. He's killed four players at the last count to protect her. He dotes on her in a really adorable fashion. Watch, she has that Demon wrapped around her finger."
Diablo did watch. Tyler and Sakura had taken a seat under the tree in the center of the plaza and the two were looking over an open Inventory screen. he was pointing to various things and talking to her and she would respond. They looked like a tried and tested team, at that movement, Diablo remembered a conversation about Goreleech he'd had with his brother,
"It sounds like your scared Of Goreleech."
"I am, bro, but only because I know I can't beat him in game. But It's kinda nice having him around."
"What do you mean? I thought you said he was a monster?"
"I did and he is a monster. he's the kind of monster that keeps the true monsters awake at night. You see, Goreleech will not attack someone unless they attack him first. And if you ask hi for help, he'll bitch and moan but will usually end up helping you to the fullest of his abilities. I once asked him why he likes being a monster and he told me that someone has to give the real monsters nightmares."
"I still don't get it."
"He's like that very scary big brother that is never around, but as soon as his younger brother or sister need his help, then he will come and drag the one whom hurt them down to the bowels of hell. He protects people is all I'm saying."
Seeing the player that had both terrified his brother, and instilled within him a vast respect. Diablo understood both his brother and Goreleech a little more.
Tyler was aware of Diablo staring at them but paid it no mind. He also noticed a pair of players sitting together in a small alley off to the right. One was clearly a girl trying to hide in a ragged cloak, the other a slender dude with black hair and a one handed sword on his back. Tyler then heard small yawn, and saw Sakura's eyes start to droop. He patted his little travel mate's head. She jumped up,
"I'm awake, I'm not sleepy!" Tyler smiled,
"Come on Sakura. Lets find an inn."
The next morning Tyler and Sakura were bringing up the rear of the raid party, when they heard the pair Infront of them discussing plans,
"So when I go and deflect the Kobold's sword high you switch and jump in, okay?"
"Okay, level with me, is this your first time playing in a group?"
A nod from the cloaked girl, and the dude hunched over.
"Need some back up?"
The two looked to see Tyler and Sakura behind them. They went a little pale at the sight of them but the dude spoke up,
"Um we're good. Thanks."
Tyler sighed,
"Hey man, I just offered to help you. Consider what that could mean."
The cloaked girl spoke up,
"I think we’ll be fine."
"Listen, Gore is in a good mood today. I'd like it to stay that way. So just go with it."
Tyler sighed, and instead looked over the now irritated dude. He was nothing special, tall enough to look Tyler in the eye, black hair, slender build, black eyes. Tyler turned to inspect the cloaked girl but couldn't really get anything. The dude sighed and spoke up,
"Alright I guess my partner could use a pointer or two, and having two experienced players teach him the better. I'm Kirito."
"Kirito? Why does that name ring a bell?"
The black haired Kirito seemed to get a cold sweat as Tyler recognized his name. Sakura was also curious. Tyler shrugged,
"If I didn't remember you off the bat, then you're probably not very important. Anyway. Now then Lets get this circus under way. If you two would like, you can party up with us. We'll be in the thickest of the fight, so items, EXP and general badassery will be in ample supply."
"I just want this over with so I don't care."
"Ugh. Babysitting."
"Welcome to my world kid."
Sakura just sighed and picked up pace leaving the trio to begin instructing the rookie. Tyler and Kirito explained the basics of party play,
"Okay, the most important thing is trust. If you don't trust your partner to have your six then you won't be able to focus on the enemy in front of you."
"Agreed. It's why I used to run solo. Sakura has my trust since I taught her now to properly fight. I don't have time to do this here. So, my best advice is to find your own rhythm and try to find openings. Is your chosen weapon a rapier, by chance?"
"Yes it is."
"Ahh, a Pure speed build, eh? Interesting. You run one-handed? No shield?"
"yeah that’s right."
"what’s your emphasis? speed, strength...?"
"Ahh, speed attack combo."
Tyler and Sakura exchanged looks,
"Awww, how cute! He wants to be like you, Gore!"
"Seems like it. His levels pathetic but hey, flattery in all its forms."
At this Kirito bristled,
"And what’s YOUR level?"
"me and Sakura both hit 15, what, last week?"
"Yeah, it was after killing that bear clan near the western mountains. If I remember right, we scored a bear king totem."
"Ah that’s right. So yeah we're both 15."
Kirito went pale, his cloaked friend started shaking,
"15? This the highest level in this party. How did you get that far so easily?"
"well, we put in 36 hour grind sessions, plus since I memorized a good 90% of this floor back in the beta, we get the pick of areas these idiots couldn't even dream of. Hey, Sakura, Remember that grand bear back on that beach?"
"Oh yeah! The underwear you made for me feels amazing!"
"I'd still would've preferred a larger bedroll, but the blanket works too."
"Beach? There’s no beach on this floor?"
Tyler smiled at the now angry player,
"Hey question kid, do you know how big each floor is exactly?"
'Yeah a three day's travel fro-"
"Wrong. If you start at the very edge of the floor and traveled directly to the other side, it would take you two full IRL weeks to get there. This holds true for every. single. floor. except for floors ten, twenty, and every increment of ten. They take a full month to get from one side to the other. And that’s just one way. You rookies haven't even seen a quarter of what this game has to offer. So my advice? Get comfy. We're gonna be here a while. For leveling once you hit level 20 takes a good ten times longer then the earlier grind in its entirety."
The remaining color drained from Kirito's face as the sheer size of the task ahead of them finally dawned on him. His partner wasn't in much better shape. Tyler went and slapped them hard on the backs startling them,
"Hey, if you want to quit, feel free to kill yourselves, otherwise get that despair out of your eyes, get that fear out of your hearts. We got ass to kick, places to be and stories to make."
Sakura was smiling as he gave them the same speech he'd given her when she nearly gave up too. Kirito then stood up straight, a more determined look on his face, while his companion also did the same. The cloaked girl threw her hood back revealing a beautiful girl with flowing red hair, red eyes, and a red-white outfit. Her rack was bout average, her skin fair, a clear complexion and delicate features. She stunned Kirito with her big reveal, as he'd thought she was a dude.
"Well, helloooo beautiful!"
She flashed him an angry glare,
"My name is Asuna, and you got no shot."
"Don't want one. Not into boards."
She went red in the face and tried to hit him, but the arrogant Tyler merely stepped to the side. Asuna seemed to have something to say, but Tyler pissed her off, so Kirito came to the rescue,
"Hey, Asuna, was it? You looked like you were gonna say something."
"I was GOING to say how this world won't beat me. I came to fight so I can remain myself. I refuse to run from this deathgame."
"Well, I see you have more then just fiery hair. That’s rare. don't ever let that fire be taken from you. IN this game or in real life."
He spoke with a sad tone, and Sakura looked at him concerned. Asuna wasn't sure how to handle this sad advice, but sensed it was sincere so she nodded. Kirito was confused, but was relieved the tension had passed. The raid part then reached the boss room. Diablo gave a few last minute words,
"Alright, here we are. Remember your roles, stick to the plan, and we'll be fine."
Lorg and her crew gripped weapons tightly. Gabol pulled a massive double headed battleaxe from his back, Dyybuk pulled a shield to complement his mace, Asuna drew her Rapier, Kirito pulled his one-hander sword off his back. Tyler and Sakura just sighed. Tyler placed a hand on Kirito and Asuna's shoulder,
"when they first charge, hold back. Lets see how they work together and how the boss reacts to a suicide charge."
They both looked incredulous at this suggestion but then the order was given, and they ignored his order and charged along with the main pack.
The boss was called Ilfang the kobold lord. A large ten foot tall rat on two legs. The thing carried a sword and shield and when his health hit the red, he drew a massive two handed weapon, and then would change attack patterns. Tyler sighed as he pulled his red blade from his back sheath, and Sakura nocked an arrow.
"The big fuckers mine. You get the kids."
She nodded and they went off like a gunshot. Sakura had a devastating aim with her bow, and she showed off her relentless training under the one they called Demon. Tyler surged forward, carving through a set of kobold sentinels along the way. He only had to hit them once before they shattered. He must have cut through maybe fifteen, stealing a good 9 from other players. Then he reached the big guy. He baseball slid between the big rats legs, slashing as he went.
"Slash dash."
The rat lost a visible chunk of health to his attack. Tyler then righted himself and dived into a pack of sentinels that had gotten too close. Tyler had realized that he could kill the boss with very little effort, and had decided to not hand the victory to the other players on a silver platter. So he would only deal the occasional shot to remind the others he was there and instead hunt the little rats for sport. Sakura had noticed the chunk vanish from the boss's bar, and realized the same thing as Gore. This was a battle that was beneath their current skills, and decided to also to not hand the battle over to the other players like a gift from gods. She reflected on her choice as she rained death on the sentinels with impunity. The girl she was before meeting Goreleech would have happily rushed to win the battle for the others so they wouldn't get hurt. Now though, after being abandoned by her family, nearly enslaved by the other players, and traveling with the harsh, brutally honest Goreleech, she had begun to chance. Her heart had hardened, and her gentleness more guarded. Goreleech had opened her eyes to the weaknesses of blind kindness, and optimism as well. She then had learned that such gifts had to be earned, not given freely. And she had learned that trust was precious, more precious then gold. She fired an arrow and hit two sentinels in its flight path, shattering them both.
"Piercing Lance."
She had also picked up the habit of naming her skill attacks, and saying them when used from the boy too. That last one was more of just a fun habit. Tyler carved through a set of sentinels when he heard a loud roar, and saw that the boss had reached his red phase.
"Sakura! Pattern shift! Adapt as needed!"
"On it!"
Tyler and Sakura regrouped together as The red rat threw his sword and shield down and pulled a massive two-handed Warhammer from his back sash. Tyler smiled wickedly, he knew this pattern,
"Heads up! That’s a one shot hammer! Watch your asses!"
Kirito and Asuna heard and acknowledged his warning, along with Lorg, her crew, Gabol, and Dyybuk. Unfortunately,
"Stay back! I got it!"
Diablo had charged in alone while the others started fighting with a fresh group of sentinels. Tyler and Sakura both groaned as they saw were that was headed. Diablo ran forward setting up a lunging sword skill, and soared at the beast. He scored a glancing blow as the now far-more acrobatic boss leapt up to bounce off a pillar and smash it's Warhammer into Diablo's torso sending him skipping back down the hall like rock on a still pond. Tyler and Kirito reach the fallen raid leader at the same time. They both had potions ready but Diablo waved them off as his bar depleted rapidly,
"idiot, the final attack bonus? Seriously? A fellow tester should've known better!"
"You were a tester?"
Diablo smiled as his bar kept draining rapidly,
"yes and you two were too. I was a tester along side by brother. Leave me, hurry and save the others, they need you!"
His bar reached zero and he shattered in Kirito's arms. The black-haired kid seemed shocked at the death of someone he seemed to respect. Tyler grabbed his shoulder,
"Alright, now I'm pissed. Kirito get up. Let's kill this thing."
Kirito looked over his shoulder, and stood.
"Yeah lets to it together."
Tyler smiled and gave directions to the girls,
"Sakura! Asuna! back us up, we're getting in its face!"
"On it!"
Tyler and Kirito glanced at each other and banged knuckles together as they took off. Tyler in the clear lead, with Kirito close behind with the Red-haired Asuna right next to him Sakura fired arrows over their heads as the melee fighters charged through the group of raiders. Tyler reached the rat first and spun a circle slashing it's legs as he passed,
"Dragon Spiral"
Next Kirito deflected a hammer shot while Asuna activated a sword skill and stabbed the big beast a good 8 times in rapid succession, then an arrow from Sakura hit the beast center mass, knocking him back. Tyler then leapt up and over the beast and slashed it across the chest, and Kirito slashed in the opposite direction. The two swordsmen passed each other on their slashes, while Asuna did another rapid-fire stab fest followed by an arrow. The four of them working in perfect unison, each following up the other with a savage multi-person combo attack. The health bar dropped significantly, but then the beast activated a counterattack skill as Kirito finished an attack run. The beast swung his hammer at the next attacker Asuna, and Kirito used a sword skill to block the shot, but still got hit hard. He was flung back into Asuna and the pair went down. Tyler was then besieged by a swarm of sentinels, and Sakura was too far to reach them in time. Tyler was about to unleash his fastest sword skill, when the boss recoiled, knocked back by Gabol who, along with the rest of the raid party had moved into the breach. Tyler slaughtered the small fry and made it to Kirito and Asuna's side,
"Hey, you good? Here a high health potion. Get your marbles back, We got this. Sakura! Cover them!"
"On it!"
Tyler then turned and dived back into the fray. Kirito and Asuna took his potion and spilt it. Their bars jumped to full,
"Hey, Asuna you good?"
"Yep, lets roll!"
Kirito then raced forward, with the streak of red that was Asuna beside him, Tyler caught of to them,
"Mind if I crash this party?"
"You're the friggin host!"
Laughing Tyler hit first with a savage slashing front flip, Asuna then stabbed the beasts chest a good ten times with a glowing sword tip, Sakura fired a glowing arrow that smashed like a hammer shot, and then Kirito slashed in a zig-zag pattern up the beasts torso, then Tyler appeared beside him, and the jumped back and surged forward together with sword skills. Tyler went to the left, Kirito the right. Their attacks brought them to the center and they both spun in mid air and stabbed the boss in the chest with a perfectly synced combo attack. The big rat shattered under the weight of the simultaneous attacks. The winner icon appeared over the party and a fanfare of trumpets blew. Tyler and Kirito got a final attack bonus since they had impacted at the same exact time. Tyler got a dark red jacket, which was named The Demon's Mark. It boosted attack power, gave a significant speed boost, looked badass, and raised physical defense by 30. Kirito got a black coat, The cloak Of Midnight. It did the same things as Tyler's red jacket, but had a more night themed look. Tyler equipped his new long Jacket and it paired with his wolf fur armour gave him a fearsome appearance. Tyler raised his red blade and roared,
"And THATS how it's done."
The cheering broke out, Sakura came running over with stars in her eyes at his badass new look,
"HOLY Gore, you look awesome! I want one!"
Tyler head patted the smaller girl,
"Don't worry, Saki, I'll find you a nice pink one. Then I can be the Terrifying Red Demon, and you can be the Cute Demon In Pink, watchya think?"
She hugged her scary big brother tightly,
"I'd prefer red, but whatever you think is better!"
Kirito had collapsed from the stress of the battle, Asuna had gone with a potion, Kirito had taken some damage from a glancing blow during that last surge. He drank it and was just getting to his feet when,
"Hey! Wait a minute, you knew!"
everyone turned to see without surprise that Dyybuk was bitching again.
"Uhh, context please?"
Dyybuk was irate, with small tears in his eyes,
"You knew the patterns were different, didn't you?"
Tyler, Kirito, Asuna and Sakura had all come together by this point. Tyler smirked,
"You mean how the rat had a Warhammer instead of his standard bladed weapon?"
"You DID know! You knew and didn't tell us! Diablo would still be alive if not for you! You killed him! You were a tester, you said so yourself! Why didn't you tell us? I bet you other three were testers too! I bet there are more here too! Come out beta testers!"
The now suspicious raid party were looking at each other while Tyler just sighed. He glanced at Kirito who nodded. Tyler the started doing his thing.
"Okay, lets answer your accusations in order shall we?"
"did I know the patterns: of course I did. I could've wrote a frigging book on he first 10 floor bosses since ya know, I've beaten them before. I was the BEST tester, so remember that detail. I didn't tell you because, well, I didn't have a reason to. I could've killed that thing myself quite easily. As far as the others go, I know that the girls are NOT testers. I'd remember personalities like theirs. As for this guy, well,"
"Are you kidding? I reached higher floors then you did! Hell, I know more about this game then you do! Don't you lump me in with those bastard betas."
Tyler’s eyes flashed at his words, but he knew exactly what he was playing at. Tyler smiled,
"You know, your fighting style, it reminds me of someone from back in the beta. Out of the 10000 other testers, there was only one that could give me a run for my money. A single player that was able to actually keep up with me when the shit hit the fan. If I remember correctly, he even reached the 6th floor first, as I had gotten wrapped up in exploring the fifth. I wonder, does any of this ring a bell? Kirito?"
Kirito smiled darkly,
"It does, Goreleech, fancy getting trapped together in here."
Kirito equipped his new coat. The black clashing with Tyler's red. Dyybuk took a step back from the duo, as they were easily the two strongest players in the room.
"You're monsters. You're worse then testers! You're cheaters! You're Beaters!"
Tyler gave the quivering coward his trademark icy' glare,
"Just call me Demon."
"Beater? I like it!"
Tyler had a very hard time keeping a straight face after that one. He snickered and Sakura could be heard laughing too. Lorg and Svenity both exchanged concerned looks,
"You don't think she picked THAT up from him, do you?"
"OH I fucking HOPE not. If she did, I swear to god I will kick his ass."
Sakura heard the exchange and caught the ladies eyes, and smiled as sweetly as could be, the tow ladies breathed a sighed of relief, which died when she started moving her index finger in and out of a ring of her other finger while winking lewdly at the busty blonde. Lorg blushed, Svenity's jaw dropped, then they both said at exactly the same time,
"He’s a dead man."
Tyler then felt a shudder run through his body he couldn't explain, Why do i feel like my executioner is looking at me? he then saw the glared death promises burning a hole through him from Lorg and Svenity. he then noticed a sweetly smiling Sakura, who did to him what she did to the two lades. nice one kid. Well, guess I've lived a full life. Tyler then returned to the task at hand.
"I will take the name Demon, beater is too easy. I am the monster that gives true monsters nightmares. remember that."
Kirito nodded,
"Just don't associate us with those noobish testers again."
They then turned and started walking up the steps. Sakura broke from the gathered crowd and retook her place beside Tyler. Asuna hurried after them,
"Hay, wait!"
Th trio turned, and Sakura got another chance to send lewd gazes and gestures at Lorg and Svenity, of course from Behind Tyler's back where he couldn't see her pranks. Asuna was focused on the two players, and didn't notice the 14 yo licking her lips as she checked her out,
"I just wanted to say thank you for helping me. And Goreleech, you seemed to already know my name, how'd you do that?"
Tyler looked at the fiery red head,
"If you look about here, my gamertag pops up. Not many people use their real names. Like this little tease behind me for instance, not very imaginative."
He then gave her a light wack for teasing, which got a chuckle from Lorg and Svenity,
"Okay, it seems like he’s NOT intentional making her a pervert."
"I'm still gonna beat the shit out of him later."
Asuna looked where he'd pointed,
"Oof, now i see it. I'm so stupid."
She spoke in a cheery, kind voice, and Kirito spoke up,
"you should join a guild. When the day comes that someone you trust invites you to join do it. There are limits to what a solo player can accomplish."
"But you're solo."
Tyler sighed as he dissolved the party. He understood his reasoning,
"Lets go, Sakura. we got a lot of work to do."
Asuna turned to Tyler, as if to say something, but she stopped. Tyler sighed as he gave her another piece of sad advice,
"Hey, Asuna. If you have something to say, its always better to say it now then not say it now and regret it later. So if you want to say something, then do it."
She looked into his uncompromising eyes.
"I want to travel with you. I was gonna ask Kirito, but he's a solo player."
He raised an eyebrow.
"Lets continue this discussion in an inn. I don't want to get attacked here."
She nodded. Together the three of them exited the boss room. Tyler then took a nard right and began running into a set of thick forests, Sakura right by his side. Asuna was surprised for a moment until,
"If you want to talk, move. I'll leave you behind otherwise."
She took off running after them. Her long red hair stretched out behind her like a streak of fire in the late day sun. Tyler and sakura were accustomed to such hard travel, while Asuna struggled valiantly to at least keep the sprinting pair in sight. They ran for a good two hours, eventually coming to a small little hamlet on the edge of a large lake. They running duo didn't stop until they passed the village mean gate, only then did they come to a rest. Tyler and Sakura waited for a heavily breathing Asuna to catch up. She made it through the main gate and collapsed, panting like overheated dog. Tyler just sighed,
"Well, she has SOME potential. Interesting."
Sakura nudged the proned girl with her boot,
"Are you sure? She's got a lot of access weight to lose."
Asuna jerked upright at this comment. Tyler was glad he didn't make that statement for once.
"hey! You don't gain weight ingame you know!"
"So you look like that IRL? You need a diet."
Asuna was NOT fat, she was a slender good looking girl. The reason for Sakura's ire was that Asuna both had bigger boobs and a better butt then her. Tyler realized this when he caught Sakura's gaze flicker to the Redhead's rack, which appeared to be a respectable C-cup. Asuna, however, did not notice this, instead was on the verge of murdering the smaller girl, until
"Hey, Asuna, quick question. How old are you?"
She seemed flustered by the out-of-the-blue question,
"Um, I'm 16. Why?"
"Oh, well that girl your about to murder is only fourteen. You do the math from there."
she didn't seem to understand so Tyler enlightened her with two words,
"Look down."
she did, and all she saw was her bust...OH,
"I see."
Sakura was glaring daggers at the better endowed girl, but Tyler merely patted her back,
"Hey, kid. Chill, You got a few years before you can start panicking. who knows, you could end up bigger and bustier then her."
She turned to him, her small hands together like a prayer as she looked up at him,
"You mean it?"
Tyler chuckled as he flicked her paperboy hat,
"Of course I do. You're already cute as hell, don't get too greedy."
Sakura's eyes turned to literal sparkling stars at his words. She then turned back to Asuna, and hugged her.
"Sorry I called you fat."
Asuna smiled at her sincere apology, and rubbed her pink hair,
"Its okay. Lets be friends now, okay?"
She looked up and smiled,
Asuna then turned to Tyler,
"Wow, you're quite the nice big brother."
Tyler jabbed a finger towards a small Tavern set against a babbling brook.
"I can tell you the full story there. Then we can see about if you truly want to join us. But first"
he went and activated the teleport gate, setting a 10DR toll per person. Asuna seemed shocked,
"we're trapped in here and you've been setting tolls? The hell?"
Tyler just went into the inn. Sakura followed and then Asuna did too. The trio sat and Tyler selected a meal for himself. A burger with some grilled fish as the meat, a big mug of ale to drink and a desert of chocolate pie. Sakura picked out a fillet of salmon with garlic, garlic bread, a soda, and a lava cake for after. Asuna seemed to hesitate,
"Hey, it's on us. Last we checked, we had what 500k DR?"
"It's closer to 700k."
Asuna's orange eyes went wide at the number. She then placed an order for grilled trout with basil, rosemary, a side of peaches, a mug of root beer, and a small bowl of strawberry ice-cream. Tyler smiled at her choices,
"watch out Sakura, she likes strawberries!"
Sakura went red, Asuna too.
"I'm not into girls, soo relax?"
"Yeah sure, me neither."
Tyler smiled at their rather unconvincing rebuttal,
"Just to be clear, you don't sound very convincing. I don't need to be convinced. Do you?"
The girls went even redder. Tyler smiled as he dug into his fish burger.
"anyway, Girl-on-girl or not, I think it's time we explain our situation."
Tyler then told Asuna their story, of how Sakura had been abandoned by her family, nearly caught and sold by pedos, his rescue and their resultant travels together. Asuna became very sad on hearing t5his,
"Oh, you poor girl. That's awful. But at least you have Goreleech looking after you now."
Sakura smiled and leaned into her scary big brother,
"Yeah, he's great! But he doesn't 'take care of me'. He's not kind enough for that. Its more he makes sure I don't get myself killed. He is harsh, cruel, and sometimes just plain mean. Once he had me kill a cute rabbit, and when i started to cry he smacked me, and said I need to grow a spine. he then made me fight a group of grizzly bears alone while went for more herbs. He's evil, but fair."
Asuna's eyes went from happiness to horror as she listened to her story of his training,
"that horrible! He's sounds like a monster!"
"He is. And don't forget that fact Asuna. He'd kill us both if we ever truly tried to get in his way. His current count is what 9?"
"that pedo made it 8. that sex village leader was an NPC, remember?"
"Oh yeah that’s right!"
Asuna's face seemed to lose color,
"You mean to tell me that you killed 8 people? You know that when a player's health bar hits zero-"
"They die IRL, yeah I know. I've killed eight people IRL."
He finished his burger and started on his pie. Asuna was speechless. So her choice was to eat her food while she digested the knowledge that he'd killed that many people, and didn't seem to care in the slightest. Sakura then perked up after a moment of silence,
"Hey, Gore! Check this, I got an item from that boss!"
"Oh? Let see the goods!"
Sakura scrunched over to Tyler and opened her Ui and let him see it without hesitating. Again, Asuna was shocked,
"Hey! There's private information on that thing! Don't let a boy just look at it!"
Sakura just looked at the prudish girl,
"Look toots, if you truly want to come with us, you really need to just stop with the prude routine. In Gore's party, we share everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, about our playthrough. I've seen his screen too, he looks through mine. It's how we work. Don't like it, doors over there. Anyway here's the item. It's a bow! Cool uh?"
"Well, kinda. It's got decent base stats, but the thing I'm concerned about is it's material durability. See? It's less then half of your current weapon. I think we should sell it, and keep what we got for now."
"Awww! I thought I got lucky!"
"You did, its decent weapon drop. But always see the whole picture, not just one or two stats. Especially for our way of playing. Think of how often we see civilization. That think would break two days out at our pace. Then where'd we be?"
Sakura seemed crushed but saw what he meant. Asuna was curious now too,
"Hey, can I see the bow?"
Sakura smiled and pulled it out of her inventory,
"Sure, here."
It was a dark redwood longbow, with a white handle, silver string and a yellow varnish. Asuna picked it up and was amazed at it's quality,
"Wow, it's so light! You call this just a sell weapon? It's awesome!"
Tyler sighed,
"It's got looks, damage, basically everything except the one thing that truly matters."
"Weapon durability. The single worst thing that can happen mid-fight is equipment failure. If you're fighting for your life and your weapon breaks, you're fucked. So I try to strike a decent balance between durability and damage. We usually grind deep in the wilds, sometimes days from any village, so we usually try to make the very most out of our equipment."
Asuna put the shiny weapon down, and took another look at the duo.
"You're telling me, that that boss raid was the first time you'd been to any town in DAYS?"
"Actually, Id’d been a full two months since the last time we saw civilization."
They both nodded,
Asuna just sat back in her seat, completely flabbergasted at this revelation. Tyler placed the bow in a sub inventory of 'for sale' items, and moved some other things around as well.
"Hey, Sakura we score any crafting mats?"
"Um, I don't think so, lemme check."
She scrolled through her IY before answering,
"Doesn't look like it, sorry."
"Its cool, I know a good place for ore near here. There should also be a small drake nest as well. We'll do a little fishing in the brook then hit that nest."
"Sweet! Fish for dinner!"
Asuna then saw that the sun was going down,
"Wait, you're grinding after dark? The monsters are gonna be stronger!"
"Yeah, that’s the point. We once went an entire week without seeing the sun once. Look, Asuna we need to get rolling. If you want to come wit us, I have a few rules that ARE NOT negotiable. They are rather simple to remember, 1:I call the shots, my word is law.2:if you complain about anything, from hardship to chores, I will drop your ass, regardless of where we are. We could be in the middle of a dragons nest, I don't care.3:Everything you have/get/find is to be shared equally among us. If you get an item you run it by me, odds are I know how to get the absolute most from it,4:everything about your character's stats is open party knowledge, we keep no secrets. I have a set plan to keep us alive even if out numbered and out leveled, I need to see your stats to better make use of your skills and abilities. This goes both ways, for if you ask I'll show you my UI too, without hesitating.5: I do not care about any of the other players besides my friends. We do our own thing and the rest of the players can fuck right off.6: We spent the overwhelming majority outside as such we share a single tent, and when in town a single room. I do not have the time or patience for bullshit arguments over stuff like boys and girls in the same room together. If you think you can follow these rules, then welcome to our circus, if you don't think you can, that’s fine too. We don't really need you, or anyone else for that matter. So Asuna what will you choose?"
The pretty red head seemed conflicted, like she wanted to go, but,
"I want to, but"
Sakura then spoke up,
"Hey, Asuna, I know how he can sound, and he does mean every word of it. But he's not an unreasonable dictator, I mean he is, but these are all rules he himself follows. He will never ask you to don something he himself would not do. Hell he'd rather do it himself if that’s the case. If you come with us, you will learn so much about how to play this game, and how to survive in general. If you get in trouble he'll get you out of it, or die trying. You watch his back and he'll protect yours. He’ll train you as well, to the very best of his ability. He watches out for his own,"
Sakura was smiling as she said this, and Asuna seemed to make a decision,
"Okay, but seperat-"
"Sakura lets go. We got work to do, we can't have a hesitator with us."
"Okay! Fine! Just one thing, we don't bathe together, right?"
"No, one is usually on watch while the other washes up."
"Soo when you say on watch.."
"Gore doesn't peep if that’s what your asking."
"Phew! Okay, I'll come with you. So what’s our next move?"
"I thought I already said what our plans were."
Tyler the left the Tavern with Little Sakura right beside him. Asuna was a little confused before running after them. Tyler's team had grown from two to three, and he was smiling as he looked forward to their adventures together. The newly-formed trio spent a good three hours fishing in the brook until night had fallen fully. Between them they had got around maybe 15 fish, which was rather surprising,
"Hey, Asuna pull up your stats real quick."
She blushed at his request, and tried to stammer a denial"
"Well, nice knowin ya, we're on our own Sak-"
"Okay! Okay! You can look! Pervert!"
"Jesus, relax, I can get a helluva lot more at a sex village then your sour apples,"
She went red with anger and wacked him before she could stop herself, and became immediately terrified, as he rubbed the now growing lump and just looked at the redhead,
"I'm sorry! Please don't kill me!"
She watched as he sighed and went to look over her shoulder and started to scroll through her stats, completely ignoring her body numbers.
"Lets see what you're packing, so dex is 45, agility 78 that’s decent, defense 50, expected, aw here we go, fishing is 80? Nice, it a hobby of yours?"
"Ahh yeah kinda, my grandfather liked to fish and we were close,"
"I get it. Oh! That’s interesting cooking is 120, looks like we got two company cooks now."
"Sakura can cook?"
"Yep, it's half the reason I put up with her, her cooking is 154, so you got some catching up to do. But at least I won't feel bad when I make her take a break and nearly poison us with my sadass attempts,"
"What’s your cooking at?"
"Yep. I can't cook for shit IRL, and I guess it followed me here."
Asuna just started laughing as she called out to Sakura a little farther down the bank,
"Hey Sakura, how bad is it?"
She turned with a traumatized look on her cute face,
"We use it as a monster poison."
"Jesus, that bad?"
"Worse, it killed a grandbear."
"Okay, then Gore? You are forbidden from touching our food, understood?"
The trio then entered the darkened forest, headed towards the drake nest,
"Hey, Asuna, your gonna be under leveled for this, so I want you to use that speed of your and just stab any monster we come across once then climb the nearest tree, okay?"
"I'm not helpless!"
"Out here with us, you might as well be, so since we'll all get the same amount of exp from one attack or the kill, this is how it'll be until I'm confident you can actually do something other then get in our way."
Asuna was angered by his dismissal of her skills, Afterall, he'd seen her fight in the boss battle, she was about to start a vindication argument when a large bloodred lizard the size of a pickup truck came crawling out of the bush to her right. She jumped but followed his instructions using her greater speed she stabbed the lizard in the shoulder then went up the nearest tree, only to see it's health bar drop slightly, the equivalent of a scratch, she was shocked then scared when 8 more of the lizards appeared fro with in the underbrush. She watched Gore and Sakura merely draw their weapons then scatter. Gore dived into a group of four to his left, while Sakura rained arrows into the right. Gore shattered three lizards in a span of four swings, and was in the process of killing the forth. Sakura shot two lizards in the eyes, blinding them, then jumping backwards firing as she did so. Asuna watched as Gore killed his forth and fifth lizard, while Sakura shattered the two she had blinded with her arrows. The duo then slew one more, and called out,
"Hey Asuna, come on, this one's yours!"
She was surprised but hastened to the ground, she then charged forward, her Rapier tip glowing as she stabbed the lizard five times, chipping away at it's health bar. The red head then danced backward as the creature went to retaliate with a swipe of it's tail, which she dodged. She then went in for another attack. It took Asuna over an hour of attacking and dodging to finally kill it. Dropping to the ground after it shattered, panting,
"What was that thing? A mini boss?"
"Not even, that was a dark drake. Basically twice as strong as a regular drake, its only redeeming quality is its defense, which you just saw is impressive. It is easily twice as high as Ilfangs. Now then check your EXp level,"
Asuna did and was surprised,
"I just shot up 4 whole levels! I just reached level 11!"
"we're just getting started Asuna, this is how WE play."
"you guys are friggin monsters! One fight and now al my gear is underleveled!"
"relax, so is ours. We probably won't upgrade for a good bit yet. The mine we're headed to has a hefty supply of high grade Blacksteel, I can craft us all some better gear. If you have special request feel free to speak up. Just ask Sakura about how good her underwear feels."
Sakura smiled at the now red-faced Asuna,
"It's true, he made my undies from grandbear hide, and they are like ssoooooooo comfy! If you ask too, he'll make you just about anything!"
The open duo just laughed at their new friends expression, and kept prodding her as the y moved through the darkened forest.
"Yeah, Gore made me a hella cute pair of panties and a bra that fits perfectly. Hell, these fit even better then my undies IRL! SO don'[t be shy, okay?"
"If you want clothes give a shout okay? I'm sure i can come up with something you'll like!"
The duo laughed hard at their embarrassed friend.
"well, I'm glad she's having fun at least."
"it seems like that boy as taken our little Sakura a his dear sister."
"Its a shame her immediate family failed her to that degree. If they get out, I'd like for them to stay together, she needs a brother like that."
"My son is a lot of things, most of them bad, but when someone he truly cares about is in danger, he'll move heaven and unleash hell to protect them. As much as it pains me to say it. Still, if you want your god daughter to stay with him, we have no objections, they seem to be good for eachother. It's that new girl that worries me."
"That much we agree upon, her family are all snobs"
The families of the Demon and his Adoptive little Sister watched their progress on the hospital screen, since they had formed such a strong bond, the families had sought eachother out and had their trapped members moved into the same room of the same hospital. Sakura's family where still ingame so they had come too. The little pink haired girls godmother sighed as she looked at the happily smiling girl on the screen following the scary boy in the red coat.
"I really hope those three don't reunite with her actual family, I fear he'd kill them all."

Tyler, Sakura, and Asuna reached the mine entrance which was little more then a crack in the rock face. Asuna looked at the line doubtfully,
"I don't think we'll fit."
"Well, with that extra four inches on your chest, no wonder."
"Listen here you little shit! I doubt YOU could fit either! Gore most definitely can't,"
then an echoing voice could be heard from within the small crack,
"Hey, if you take any longer I'll leave you both behind!"
The girls turned and saw that Tyler had broken the outside of the crack to reveal a much larger tunnel,
"See? Now both of you can fit, if you suck in those bellies that is."
They all went inside after the scary Demon. Tyler led them down the steadily darkening cave. Sakura was right behind him while Asuna...
"Hey, can you two see in the dark?"
"Oh, okay, cool. Just so you know...I CAN'T!"
"Give it an hour in the dark, maybe less given this place's level and you'll get the skill. It'll max out by the time we leave here. So for the time being grab either me or Sakura's hand and we'll guide you till you get your eyes back."
"Uh, okay, just don't let go alright?"
She seemed a little scared, unlike the firebrand she was normally in the world of light. Tyler sighed,
"Sakura, grab the scared girl's hand please. we don't need her having an accident in here!"
"Hey! I'm not a little girl ya know! I don't HAVE accidents anymore!"
"I just meant like walking into a wall or something like that. What the hell did you mean?"
"I HATE you!"
Asuna was very very red in the face but neither of the teasing pair could really tell, but they stopped messing with the still-blind girl. Tyler then stopped next to a part of the wall,
"BINGO, ladies, got me a decent Blackstel vein here. I'll collect the ore while you stand guard."
"I still can't see but okay."
Tyler's pickaxe was heard hitting the wall, and as he did so, he set one of his favorite playlists to playing in the background.
"What’s that music?"
"Gore's favorite list. He plays it a lot when grinding for mats like this."
"How'd he get access to his music?"
"He had ripped his entire collection into his helmet, and since we can access anything stored there, bang, a hell of a musical selection to game on to."
"That sweet! Anything good?"
"Lots of Anime openings, closings, themes, he has over three thousand songs to choose from. I mostly listen to his picks, he's got good taste."
"...So he's a weeb?"
"Oi! I’m a hardcore Otaku! So me the proper respect normie Girl!"
"You mean to tell me that the single most feared, most dangerous player that quite possibly is our only hope of getting out of this mess alive, is a disgusting Otaku weeb?"
"Hey, I look like this IRL. and I DO shower."
"Oh, there goes the last of my hope."
"Well, sorry, I guess we can't all be cheerleaders and Magazine Girls."
"Thank you for the sideways complement."
Tyler's pickaxe smashed a sizable hunk of rock from the wall, and it gave a soft glow as Sakura touched it, disappearing into their inventory. There then was an icon that said, MINING LEVEL UP:78. Tyler smirked as he saw the number, he then was knocking more chunks off the wall in greater size and numbers. Asuna had still not gotten night vision, but her perception increased instead. She sighed,
"Well, I'm getting more Perceptive, BUT I AM STILL BLIND!"
"Chill out. Here try mining that wall. Sakura could you guide her over to it? Maybe grinding in the dark will speed it up."
"Yeah sure, whatever"
Asuna smashed her pickaxe into the wall, taking a good hunk of low tier iron out of a large vein of ore. Sakura snagged it as well, as any and all mats were useful. The trio labored in the dark for a good thirty minutes, occasionally discussing something or just listening to Tyler's banging music selection. At one Point Asuna had a question,
"Hey Gore, can I ask you something?"
"Sure, Shoot."
"I noticed you would name you sword skills and say them in battle, as far as I know they don't have names so why do yours?"
"They don't its just a habit I picked up in the beta. It kinda felt good to use a named attack like in Anime, so I started naming my attacks, and it became easier to remember which did what that way. Plus it's kinda satisfying as hell to kill a tough opponent and then say something like Dragon's Teeth, or Demon claw."
"Really? It's just for fun?"
"Yeah, try it sometime. Like that five hit attack you do could be Dancer's Rhythm."
Asuna had sighed, but she had liked the sound of it. They continued working for another twenty minutes, when Asuna realized something,
"Hey, Gore I can see you now! Yay! I can See!"
"How's it seem?"
"It's like the time just before the sunsets completely, I can see you enough tom know it's you, but not anything exact yet."
"Okay, we'll go for another hour. We need you to see our faces before going deeper."
"ahhh, I'm bored!"
"Sorry, can't be helped. I don't want to be fucked in the ass by Asuna's Rapier."
"Uh, phrasing!"
"I taught you well, young Padawan learner!"
"Thank you master"
"uddered NOrmie"
"I hate you both."
They all laughed, and kept up the mining for two extra hours, exhausting all the ore veins close to the entrance. By this point Asuna could see Tyler's eye color at fifteen feet. Tyler gave the all clear and they headed deeper inside. The trio would stop every time Tyler would find a new vein of blacksteel or similar ore and exhaust the supply. His plan was to strip mine tunnel down to it's last metal so he wouldn't need to go mining again for a while. They kept at it for a good five extra hours, until Asuna literally fell over from exhaustion. Tyler called a halt. Sakura slapped the passed out Asuna until she came to.
"Okay, Asuna. Time to make Camp. We'll set the tent, you just stay awake until then."
"We're sleeping here?"
"Yep, Don't worry, Me'n Gore will take turns on watch. You just get as much sleep as you can. Not bad for your first day at our pace."
Tyler set up the large tent and laid out the trio's bedrolls.
"Sorry, Asuna, but your roll is wolf fur. I'll keep an eye out for a better fur to make you a decent roll from."
"Its fine I like wolf fur."
Asuna climbed into the large hide shelter and passed straight out. Sakura covered the sleeping girl with a bearskin blanket, stroking her long hair.
"you like her?"
"she's alright . She's definitely pretty. and somehow cuter asleep."
"ah yes officer, this girl right here."
"Asshole. How bout you? You like her?"
"Matter of fact I do. She seems genuine, plus it'll be good for you to have another girl around to do girl stuff with."
"Girl stuff? Like braid our hair and talk boys?"
"sure yeah why not? I mean the stuff I can't do, like for example watch out for you in the bath, or when you bathe in a river. She's not much right now, but she's got serious potential. I'm having a hard time following her Rapier tip now, so imagine what she will turn into after some of my training?"
"Oh, she'll be a floor clearing badass for sure."
"well, just remember that you're the number one badass in this game!"
"That’s DEMON. Number one DEMON, missy and don't you forget it!"
"whatever you say, big bro!"
"All right, get over here!"
"yeeeeeee, that tickles! Stoppp!"
The two surrogate siblings wrestled for a little in the darkened cave before Tyler pinned the smaller girl gently to the cave floor. She had nearly escaped him this time but he was still master. He then let her up and sat against the cave wall where he could see both directions of the cave,
"Hey, Sakura."
"Yeah GOre?"
"Just for the record, but when we get out of here, out the game I mean. Ill come find you, and we can be actual siblings IRL too. Sound good?"
Sakura's eyes lit up the dark cave like little stars, she then crawled over and laid her small fuzzy pink head on his lap,
"You mean it?"
"Of course I do."
"If we could find eachother IRL, I'd be very happy."
"Then it will be as you say, Princess."
She smiled in the dark and fell asleep on his lap like that. He stroked the small girls head, smiling at the sheer irony that he, the one who struck fear into the hearts of a good majority of the player base with his reputation alone was now practically raising some random girl like his own little sister. He laid his head against the cold stone of the cave, and just enjoyed the feel of being needed so desperately by the half-his size girl with the pink hair. And silently daring anything to try and ruin this moment right now, and also daring anything to try and take her from him. Tyler stayed like that for the entire time the two girls rested, planning to just pop a stamina potion when they woke. They slept for a while, maybe a solid twelve hours before Asuna came to, and crawled out of the tent, only to get shushed by Tyler, who still had a sleeping Sakura resting her head on his lap. Asuna couldn't help but smile at the adorable scene of the fearsome Demon with his precious little charge asleep like that. She crawled over and sat beside him, and began gently her hair.
"You really care about her, don't you."
"I do. I'm all she has left. Her family abandoned her like an unwanted puppy when the shit hit the fan. My family shipped me off to another country to get rid of me, so I understand her pain."
"really? That’s awful. My family refuse to listen to my side of things, they believe that if I follow a set plan for my life that I'll be happy. No, Happy’s not the right word. Successful is the word they use."
"Do you come from money?"
"Yep, my father runs a company and my mother does fashion design. So we're pretty loaded. Don't get any ideas."
"I told you, I'm not into boards, plus that personality is a real turn off."
"It sounds like your family already has a plan for your life."
"They do, I think they even have a guy lined up for me to marry when I come of age."
"You know him?"
"Yep, which is a plus I guess, but he is a real creep. He's like thirty, and always hits on me like he's the same age. He's even tried to cop a feel of my breasts once at a pool party."
"Yep, a_"
"Red cups, white straps for the top, with a red white striped bottom."
"You were there?"
"If it's the party I think it was, do you remember the guy who smashed another dude in the face with a glass bottle for trying to grab a ten-year old girl's ass and him being like forty?"
"Yeah! That guy!"
"seriously? Tyler is that you?"
"Sup, Assy, how’s it hanging?"
"I can't believe it! How the hell did not see it earlier? We got our IRL looks back!"
"cause we never really hung around together before. Hell, I just did the math when you mentioned the creepy uncle."
"How'd you get an invite to that party anyway?"
"I was working at the restaurant that catered it. I am amazed you remembered my name though."
"well, shattering the jaw of my potential fiancé like that kinda left an impression. I also kept the guest list and the list of the ones who had helped out for some reason."
"This quite the small world ain't it?"
"That’s the Truth. Though I'm not sure what to make of the fact you remembered my swimsuit choice from a two year old party off the top of your head like that."
"Take it as a complement. I thought you looked great in it."
"Awww, a complement for an outfit two years old!"
"Your welcome, for the complement and to the extreme stalker vibes it gives off."
"well, If YOU'RE the one stalking me, at least I'd know I was safe."
"You are under a guardian Demon's wing. You and little Sakura here. How long you been awake?"
Asuna jumped as Sakura poked her in the side,
"Cute noise! I was awake since she left the tent. So You're names Tyler eh?"
"That long? Yep, Tyler's the name. Lame right?"
Sakura smiled and snuggled into his sider a little more
"Nope! Tyler's a brothers' name! Goreleech is my Guardian Demon!"
"Yeah, what she said!"
Tyler smiled,
"well, please keep calling me Goreleech while ingame okay?"
The girls nodded, and they made a quick breakfast before getting back to mining. They made good progress, clearing several miles of the cave. They had amassed several thousand items when they came upon a surprise. A large metal door set into the back of the cave. Tyler swapped his mining tools for weapons,
"Sack up, I think we just found a hidden boss. Asuna go trail, it goes south get out. Sakura, take rea guard, if it goes south go with Asuna, I'll make sure the two of you get out then look after one another, okay?"
They vehemently opposed this plan,
"No, all of us don't walk out none of us do."
"I won't leave you Gore. Ever."
Tyler sighed, feeling a little teary eyed at his friends,
"Alright, if we win we win together, if we die we to that together too."
Tyler drew his sword and booted the door wide open. Inside was a single solitary chest. Tyler jst groaned,
"seriously, This old trick?"
"That chest is rigged, someone touches it, they either get chomped, trapped, ambushed or some combination of the three."
"how do we play it?"
"You two get against the wall, I'll set it off. I have far more experience then you, and better reflexes. If is a damage trap be ready with an insta heal."
"Got it,"
"let's start this party!"
Tyler walked over and kicked the chest open and the door slammed shut as a blaring alarm sounded. Tyler jumped to the girls side as monsters started to spawn in.
"Get in to the corner!"
They moved along the wall, until they were backed into a corner with the entire room filled with monsters, Tyler swung and slashed one in front of him, cutting it's health bar in half.
"Asuna, watch yourself! Sakura, get behind Asuna, use Skills! We have to thin their number!"
Tyler then set his feet and started to use surging sword skills, each skill would hit multiple targets, one hitting them since sword skills did extra damage. Asuna did what she could, using her superior speed, agility and dexterity to weave in and out of enemy attacks to poke them full of holes and shattering them nearly as easily as Tyler did. Sakura was using Skills of her own, a single Arrow passing through several targets before imbedding in the opposite wall. The monsters were similar to large plastic mannequins in the shape of diamonds, a large hole with a floating gem in the center passed as the head, each creature wielding a large spear, and easily taller then the fighting friends. Sakura was still back in the corner as that way they couldn't surround her and attack all at once, Tyler was in the center of the pack slaughtering them two or three at a time. Asuna was dancing around the room, poking holes in everything that did not have a human face, her agility skills serving her well. The trio held their own against the small horde, each having their own strategy and making them work in tandem with the others, Asuna would poke a bunch of holes, the flit back away avoiding a counterattack, then Sakura would fire a glowing area and either kill a line of them or injure them for half health, then Tyler would clean up any wounded monsters the ladies missed. If Tyler swung his blade he'd kill two or three with a single swing, and wound maybe an extra two, then Asuna would sweep in and finish them off, of Sakura's arrow would get there first. The three friends fought for hours or it could have been minutes, but then the last one fell, and they all sank to their knees, gasping for breath as the congratulations icon appeared over their heads. Apparently they'd completed a hidden monster challenge, and set the top record for fastest time to beat the challenge. Their rewards were 5000DR, 10000EXP, A legendary sword, axe, and shield. They also got a full set of high level potions too. Tyler regained his breath before the other two, and got up first.
"Okay, I've had enough caving for today. I want to see the sunlight."
"I second that motion!"
"Lets get the fuck out of here!"
The three friends then left the room after entering their party name into the records screen: Demons
They more-or-less ran out of the tunnel system. But they got quite the surprise upon exiting the cave. A group of eight players were discussing whether to go in or not when Tyler and his party exited, out of breath, and panting from a hard run out. The leader of the party then asked rather nervously what had happened,
"Hey, what’s in there?"
Tyler drew a steading breath,
"Dude, the caves safe right until you reach that door at the end. It's secret monster killer challenge. It very nearly did the three of us in."
"That bad?"
"well, names Goreleech. It gave ME a run for my money so what do you think your chances are?"
At the name they all started Murmuring, then the leader spoke up again,
"What kind of trap was it?"
"single chest in the center of the room. Touch and the horde spawns in, they were all level 9s, with decent fighting stats. Took the three of us a good four hours\ to kill them all, I'm level 15, she's a 15, and she’s a 12. What's your best level?"
"We don't have a prayer!"
"you said it's safe until that door?"
"yep, you can't see beyond twenty meters inside, and the door is a solid days travel inside, so you know, your life you call. We are out."
Tyler then headed off to the east at a moderate jog, Sakura and Asuna flanking him. They lost sight of the other players quickly enough, and exited the small forest soon after. The trees giving way to a large rolling grassland as far as the eye could see. Tyler ran straight out into the great emptiness without hesitating. As they ran Asuna had a question,
"Hey, you think those others will be okay?"
"Why's that our problem?"
"If they go in-"
"They die. I told you, Asuna The other players are not my concern."
"We gave them plenty of warnings, If they choose to ignore them, it's their own fault if anything happens. Now forget them."
"Asuna, it's not our job to babysit the other players. We have enough trouble."
"Alright. I don't like it."
"Deal with it."
"deal with it."
Asuna was kinda shocked at their simultaneous rebuttal of her concerns as the ran through the grass and small shrubs. She let it go, but it still did not sit well with her, just leaving other players to their fates. Tyler Led the friends through the rolling plains, not really going anywhere in specific, but going where ever the urge pulled him next. They were passing through a spot that had some rather tall grass and at one point startled a small herd of grazing bison. Instantly Tyler and sakura pulled their bows and dropped the large beasts, killing the whole herd of about 15 animals. They stopped to take stock of the drops when a large lion tried to pounce on Asuna and got skewered by her Rapier. She scored a perfect lion's pelt out of that one. Out of the fifteen bison hides they had collected, only one was not perfect, and that being a near perfect hide. They scored about thirty pieces of bison meat, thirty bison horns, hearts, a perfect lion pelt, lion claws, teeth, and eyes. the meat too but it seemed to be good only for selling, but Tyler reckoned that between them the girls could make something pretty decent out of it. Tyler had the party split to gather prairie herbs and hunt more animals. Asuna would go with Sakura since she was still the lowest level of them. The challenge in the cave, all the mining and the hunting had raised Tyler and Sakura's level by four, while it had raised Asuna's by 5. she was still behind but only just, but she was still untrained in the siblings eyes so they would keep her close until she was up to snuff. The girls went off in on direction while Tyler went in the opposite. He was after lions and other grassland predators, the ladies were after bison and other herbivores along with herbs too. They would reconvene when the sun started to set. Tyler found a few more lions, a couple wild dogs, even a few prairie dogs and meerkats. He could just hear the TreeHugger’s screaming as he killed IRL endangered animals, then he hit the jackpot, as a small family of chinchillas hopped across his path. Remembering how soft IRL chinchilla fur was, he killed them all with perfect shots. He scored fifteen perfect chinchilla furs, and was quite pleased with himself. he then found a rare tree near a small lake. It's wood was of a higher quality, so he chopped it down and got a good bit of crafting mats for his efforts. He then spent the better part of an hour fishing the small lake, hauling in a few lake trout, a big old pike, a few perch, and after a rather nasty fight, a 7 pound salmon. He then moved on, eager to have as much mats by the time he headed back. As he hunted he found himself missing the company of the girls. This struck him as strange, as during the beta, hell during his IRL life, he spent a good 90% of his time alone. He had never once looked forward to another person's company much less missed it as he had always been able to relax more fully alone. Now he kept catching himself checking his shadow for Sakura, so accustomed to the small girls presence he had become. Now that she wasn't there, he kinda felt on edge, even though he knew Asuna was there and would look after the girl. I have seriously lost my frigging mind. Tyler tried to imagine himself having to go back to solitary lifestyle, and found the prospect terrifying now. He was surprised at just how much the thought of not traveling with the pink-haired little cutey bothered him, and how much he'd missed the adorable spaz. Losing Asuna didn't affect him in quite the same way. She was a big girl and could handle herself just fine. He figured she would take off once she got tired of his lifestyle, or playstyle, which revolved around his and Sakura's survival at the cost of anyone else’s. He could tell she was not like that, she would rather defend a random player then ignore them. Whereas if Tyler or Sakura came across the same situation they'd just move on and leave the poor soul to their fate and sleep like logs after. Hell if the scenario was the old fashioned guy clinging to a cliff stereotype, Tyler or Sakura would kick the poor bastard off the cliff then attempt to climb done to loot the corpse. Asuna would try to pull the idiot back up. That was the main difference between them. He had no problem with their differing opinions and methods, it just met that Asuna still had the capacity for empathy/sympathy. Tyler smiled as he contemplated their new red-headed traveling companion. She was tough and kind, so Tyler would give her the tools to use her fire to its fullest, both ingame and IRL. For any girl that could Intimidate the Demon at all was worthy of respect, or at least keeping an eye on. Tyler was resting by a small river bank, when he noticed a tell-tale log-like object floating inn the water. He smiled as he readied his bow to piss off the crocodile when a message icon appeared on his HUD, from Sakura
Hey, we got trouble, meet at split point. hurry!
Tyler was off like a gunshot. He popped a high level speed=boost potion from the cave trap and doubled his already breakneck pace.
Sakura and Asuna had made pretty decent progress on their foraging, collecting several perfect animal pelts, a plethora of prairie herbs, even a few birds and eggs. As the girls hunted they finally got the cahnce to discuss their rather scary travel partner without being listened to.
"So, Sakura, you've traveling with Ty- I mean Goreleech, for a while now right?"
"Yep, what of it? Hey, prairie chicken!"
"I got it. Wel, doesn't he scare you?"
"Sometimes, but less and less the longer I'm around him."
"That just sounds like stockholm syndrome. Aren't you worried he might take advantage of you? "He so much atronger that-"
"That he could do whatefver he wanted to me and I wouldn't even be able to slow him down?"
"Well yeah. I mean don't get me wrong, I don't think he'd ever try something like that, its do I describe it?"
"He's not lke any other perosn you have ever met? So you don't know ow to handle it?"
"well kinda. He seems to be a nice person then he turns around and says stuff like how he wouldn't hesitate to kill, and brags about killling 8 people."
"you're basing all this on the belief that deep down Goreleech is a good person forced to do horrible things to survive. the thing you're not seeing is the truth. He is NOT a good person deep down. He does horrible things like killing people because it's just the easiest way to deal with the problems they end up bringing. If he has to question whether or not the kil you, he'll just kill you rather then waste the effort to find another alternative. So word to the wise? Don't ever GIVE him a reason to WANT you dead, cause he will kill you. He truly hates people, so he has no problem killing them at all>"
"But you don't think it's wrong to think like that? And you're okay traveling alone with a guy like that?"
"Whether it's wrong or right is a matter of perspective. He told you how he killed three people to rescue me, right? You and I would say that was a good thing, as he was defending me from danger, but at the same time, a lawyer or say a police officer would say its wrong to take life no matter what the circumstances are, so following that logic, if those I just named had been the ones my ,life depended on, I'd be killed while they were busy sorting out their own moral problems. Goreleech doesn't have those moral dilemmas, so he can act without hesitation and do what must be done. He also once killed a pedophile that wouldn't leave me alone when we were at that sex village a while back. The guy had yet to actually touch me, but was pretty clear what he was after, so would you call that a bad killing?"
"I would, for if he had yet to physically threaten you like grab you or something simialar, then it was just murder."
"If he waited for that pig to ACTUALLy do something like that, he'd have gone to another less well-protected girl and raped her instead. Now wheres your arguement?"
"You can't be sure opf that."
"But we can be sure he never does. That's Tyler's whole point. He'd rather be labeled a monster and have the people he cares about be safe then be called a good person and be unable to portect the ones he loves."
"Where did you get all these ideas and deep thoughts from?"
"A by-product of countless lectures and discussions on the matter with a very world weary demon. Talk to him sometime."
"I still don't like it but I understand I guess."
"That's another of his lessons, you don't have to like us, or our way of life. If you do great, if not thats great too. We al have our own way of living and doing things, and as long as you don't try to force us to accept your way over our own we'll get on fine. One of Tyler's favorite phrases is 'whatever floats your boat'."
"Yet he killed a pedophille for living his life his way?"
"They don't count. If you think they do, then you got issues."
"Well, why don't we talk about something less deep, my heads starting to hurt."
"Sure, my head hurts after these debates as well. Oh! I got one! You knew him IRL right? what’s he like?"
"well, I've only met him maybe three times. They were at parties thrown by my rich family and they hired caterers. Apparently he was working at the restaurants we used. He was always quiet and efficient when on the clock, and I didn't really want to talk to him more then I had to. He had this aura around him, like he does now, that made you think he was quietly analyzing your every move. Once when the wait staff were on break I found him sitting alone in our large hedge maze. We were alone and I felt a little scared at being in such a private place with him. He noticed me and stood up and walked down another lane, like I'd disturbed him. I went ot see where he went and he'd disappeared just like that. I asked one of the others that came with him what he was like and he basically told me that the restaurant kept him on as a waiter/bouncer. He just has this intensity around him. The guy then told me that they had sent him along to keep the snobbishness under control, for Tyler would not put up with it, job or not. Hence him smashing my probable future fiancé in the jaw with a glass bottle for trying to cop a feel of my chest. My family tried to press charges, but there had been a photographer who had caught the whole thing on camera and threatened to report the whole affair to the police. My family, rather then lose their precious plan for their daughter dropped everything, but I heard that Tyler had urged the guy to still go to the police with the camera, but I guess my family got him first. The camera had mysteriously vanished. That was the last time I saw him, until SAS, that is. So to answer your question, basically the same as he is in here!"
"Do you like him"
"What exactly do you mean by like?"
"ahhh, no, sorry, but hard pass. He's handsome and strong, don't get me wrong, but I think our personalities are too different. I think we just barely work as friends. Why? Do you like him like that?"
"I see him as the older brother I always wished for. I love him as fiercely as a sibling can. Even if he scares me sometimes, I know he'd never hurt me. And I also know he'd never leave me, despite what he says. You, I'm not so sure about."
"Gee, thanks."
"Not what I meant. I need him, and he needs me. But do you need us? That is a resounding no. If I were to dump you here, you're tough enough to be able to survive alone, weak as you are. If it were me, as strong as I am, I'd wouldn't be able to handle the stress of being alone again, and niether could he. Actually, he would be, but it would shatter whats left of his heart. You would survive. You don't need us, and we don't need you. Its not an insult. We like having you around, and we're friends, but in terms of actually needing someone to survive nither of us needs the other. so he'd feel a whole lot better about leaving you to fend for yourself if it comes to it."
"I think I understand. Hey, whats going on here?"
The girls had come across a small group of players moving across the plains,
"get down!"
Sakura was furiously typing an SOS for Tyler she hit send and started to crawl backward,
"What it it?"
"Capture Squad!"
"they capture girls and sell them for sex slaves, we need to get out of here now. wee can't fightb them without Goreleech."
They tried to crawl back, but Asuna broke a large stick and alerted the Squad,
the girls took off running while the party of seven all whooped and took off after the fleeing ladies. Sakura and Asuna had both popped speed potions ands were running as fast as they could, but every now and again an arrow went lazily fly past them. Sakura was making use of Tyler's extensive training, typing updates to their position and status while running at break neck speeds. She had also made Asuna drink an antiparalysis potion and drank one herself to counteract the Capture squads favortie method. It was a good thing they did as they got grazed few times while running. Sakura was leading the fleeing girls, when she became aware of something.
"Shit, we're getting herded somewhere. Thisn is not a random Capture Squad!"
Sakura gave Tyler the heads up. Then as they were sprinting along a stretch of open ground a large net sprang up from the ground and enveloped the two ladies neatly. They were briefly stunned by the sudden jolt and that was al it took for the group of twelve to converge and stick the girls with afar stronger paralysis poison that overwhelmed their resistance. Rendering both girls helpless. The group then started cheering at their catch. Then they all got a lusty look in their eyes as they saw Asuna and Sakura's evident beauty. The girls could not move a finger, but they could still talk, which was enogh for the two fiesty ladies,
"Congratulations you just killed yourselves."
"Yep, I do not want to be in your shoes."
a fat man with a large beer belly waddled up to the girls and tossed a blade onto the ground.
It was Tyler's sword.
the fat man sneered at the girls looks of surprise,
"Yer boys dead. shattered him meself. No ones comin to rescue you."
Asuna started to cry, while Sakura just started laughing,
"oh, this is gonna be good. Asuna, get those tears out of your eyes, get that despair outta your heart. This lard bucket is gonna be first."
"ya? First to fuck ya if ya don't shut yer pretty mouth!"
"Keep talking pig man, my 'boy' as you put is gonna enjor taking you apart."
the pig man slapped Sakura across the face, and she just laughed. She then noticed a small ripple in the grass,
"Hey hero, you're late!"
the grass exploded and tyler flew out, swinging the sword he'd gotten from the cave trap. It was a one handed sword, about the same size as his long sword but this one was a good three levels above his current one. It was the first weapon that he'd found to be able to replace the one the pigman had tossed into the dirt. It was another of his tricks, use a enemy as a shield and disappear when he shattered thus faking his own death. Sakura had realized it when the idiot had dropped a sword that was to be replaced, for if he'd actually kill Tyler he'd have the blood sword he wielded now. Tyler was enraged at seeing his sister and best friend tussed up in a net. Tyler's bloodred sword was glowing and as he soon as he was in range he released the skill, shattering three players instantly as he tore through the group like a tornado.
"Dragon's Gust."
Pigman and his remaining goons split up, piggy dragging the net with the girls with three others, while rest fo the gang were to stop the irate Demon, thing was with that plan,
"Dragon's flight."
Tyler used a long-distance lunge like attack to smash through the attempt at a defensive line, and used to leftover momentum to transition into another rushing attack. This time shredding the net holding the girls captive. Sakura dn Asuna were dumped unceremoniously onto the ground with a thud. The still couldn't move, and wouldn't be able to for at least another hour. These idiots didn't even have ten minutes left to live. Tyler surged forward salshing the guys on either side of pigman, shattering them with zero effort, then he reached the remaining squad members and shattered them all. Pigman had the brillant idea to try and rape the still paraliyzed Sakura while the demon was busy with his friends, except for one problem. Pigman couldn't even get hi UI open before he was lifted up of the girl and slammed onto the gorund with a bone rattling thud. Tyler the placed a remedy potion in each girls' mouth. They were instantly cured of paralysis and could move again. Sakura was smiling wide, but Asuna, however merely sank onto her knees, as the true horrors that she had nearly been forced to endure struck home. She watched as tyler walked over to the now trembling pigman and stabbed him on the chest without pausing. The mand screamed then shattered,
"Well, one more capture squad less to think about."
"Took you long enough hero."
"I would've shown up sooner but I had to deal that idiots excuse for a hitsquad. And, Sakura? How in the blue hell did you fall for that net trap? I taught you better then that!"
"Yes, I know. I'm sorry."
"If I was not here do you know where you would be right now? And where Asuna would be as well?"
"We would be getting raped that guy and his goons. Then sold to be raped by anyone that so chose."
"Yep. You were lazy=
Asuna could not stand to hear Tyler berate the girl for getting caught in a surprise attack, for after all, it wasn't either of their faults. Tyler sighed, Sakura just hung her head in shame.
"It WAS my fault Asuna. If I had been more alert, more aware of my surroundings, more READY, we wouldn't have had to run. If I had been thinking and paying attention to the enemy's patterns I would have telegraphed that net tric-"
"YOU DON'T KNOW THAT! We did nothing wrong. we got caught off guard,-"
"that. that right there is my whole point. You were caught by surprise. what would you have done, Asuna, if I hadn't been here to rescue you? Tell me that."
"I don't know oaky?"
"i'll tell you. You would spend the rest of your time in SoS as a sex slave, raped hourly, by everyone that wants a ride. You would be fed paralysis potions with every bit of food forced down your throat. And in case you didn't know this, there is a pain absorber so that combat is more accessible for everyone, but there is no other form of absorber. You would feel everything they would do to you. Paralysis merely prevents movement, you still feel everything. When not getting hourly fuckings, you would spend the entirety of your seconds of free time in chains. You would be chained so you could not move an inch. Do you want that?"
Asuna was crying as he explained the horrors she would have faced, her once strong voice now a scared whisper,
"No I don't"
"Speak up, Asuna. what was that?"
"Good. Nither does Sakura. This the whole basis of my lessons. If you actually listen to what I teach you, you will never be taken by surprise, and in the event of capture or imprisonment, you will have all the required skills to survive not only with your soul, but escape. If you're dedicated. NOw I am not berating Sakura unfairly. Her first mistake was getting snuck up on. I figure the two of you were probably discussing something heavy enough to get her full attention, what that was I don't care, her next mistake was figuring out the herding tactic as late as she did. Its a basic trick really, show yourself to the target, then have a team of one to two along the path directly opposite the 'jump force'. Her last mistake was also a very serious one, she took zero effective countermeasures after first sighting the capture team. Babysitting a rookie like you or not. She had several options at her disposal up to the point of the net, and the only one she used was fleeing. Messaging me is NOT a countermeasure. I will do my damnedest to always be there to rescue you, but I am not a god. There will be times you have to survive on your own. Her last mistake was failing to see that net coming. That was the final nail in your coffins. It all lines up, if you have the eyes to connect the dots, that is. Now Asuna, tell me, following the lines, what was the Squads plan?"
Asuna's orange eyes narrowed as she tired to figure out the Demon's riddle. Tyler groaned,
"Sakura, educate this naive girl."
"First is they followed us from the Cave. My guess is they happened upon us by pure accident, or they followed us from the village. The only question is how long were they following us for? It doesn't really matter for this lesson though. Next they waited for a prime opportunity to set up there plan. Us splitting our group like we did was the perfect opening. All they had to do was set the net, station a few players along a desired flightpath and get a large enough group in front of us. The fact they had enough people to send a group to kill Gore and still preform their plan means that this is quite the large guild. Then think of us as like cattle being driven to slaughter. You understand?"
Asuna blinked at Sakura breakdown of the Squad's plans.
"How can you know that for sure?"
"Because thats how we survive. We use cold logic to connect reasons for why something happens. For example, if a boy and a girl start to fight in a public place, and they start to yell, then why would they do that?"
"Because of relationship problems?"
"Not specific enough. So you would need to gather more information. The more you know the more you can prepare for various outcomes. like say if the guy pulls a knife and stabs the girl, if you see it coming you can react that much faster. We use predictions based on our knowledge of previous situations to foretell what COULD happen so we are ready for what DOES happen. Make sense?"
Asuna stared at the two players from her place on the ground.
"How can you live like that? You expect the very worst things to happen, from everyone everytime, don't you see how sad that is?"
"It's how you survive, Asuna. The monsters in this deathgame are not what is to be feared most."
"Then what is?"
Tyler and Sakura both answered in unison,
"It's the other players."
Asuna then got to her feet and faced the duo,
"If you always suspect of people, then how can you ever hope to trust then?"
"we don't expect to trust people. If it ended up being just us two being the last people on earth we'd be just fine. We don't trust other people unless they give us a damn good reason to. Like you for example, I'm just barely begining to trust you. The fact I left Sakura with you is either proof of trust, or my own lapse of judgement. And for your sake, it had better not be the latter."
Tyler had taken up the speech as Sakura had noticed a rather hard to find herb bushel growing nearby and had gone to gather it. Asuna seemed to be struggling with an internal debate. She then loked up at the red Demon,
"You're a monster. You have taught that poor little girl to never trust anyone else. She looks at the world like it wants to eat her. The world has lost all of it's color for you hasn't it?"
Tyler smiled, he knew where this was going.
"Of course the IRL world lost it's color for me. Get bullied as badly as I did, shipped to the other side of the planet by your parents, basically get screwed over and tell me you wouldn't turn cold. I gave up on the IRL world long ago. As for Sakura, I have taught her how to be strong. She's not there yet, but when she is, she will never get taken advantage of. At least, not without making the other bastards bleed for their efforts. You got a problem with that?"
Asuna clenched her fists, knowing she was powerless to actually hurt the callous bastard. She loked over to see Sakura watching a small group of small rabbits hopping past. She smiled, and just as Asuna started to think she was still just little girl, Sakura pulled a bow and shattered the bunnies without mercy.
"Nice haul there Sakura! I got some perfect Chincilla pelts as well, I thin we can upgrade our clothing with it!"
"sweet! Can you make another bra and pantie set for me?"
"sure thing, just tell me what you're in the mood for and I'll hook you up!"
That was the last straw for Asuna. Seeing such a small girl mercilessly slaughter a bunch of bunnies that she should have been mesmerized by like a girl her age, she had killed then and was now asking a boy three years older then her to make her underwear for her. Plus how cold and just plain nasty Tyler was to be around, added to his extremely nihilistic views about the people around him. Asuna then remembered something Sakura had told her earliar,
"You seem to be operating under the assumption that Goreleech is a good person doing horrible things to survive. You're wrong, he is NOT a good person deep down, no matter how he may seem or now he may act, never forget that. It was too much for the still-kind hearted red head.
"Tyler, you have corrupted that girls innocence. You are a poison. I don't want to travel with you anymore. I'll just head back to town."
Sakura came over shocked at her decision,
"What? You're leaving? Why?"
Sakura's eyes were wide, and had tears welling up, but Asuna was resolute. even if her heart was breaking at leaving the adorable girl.
"I'm sorry, Sakura, but Gore is just far too toxic for me to be around. You shouldn't be around him either. He probably took you in the just to groom you into his own little toy later on. He doesn't truly care about you. He's selfish, cruel, narcissistic, and is just plain hateful. The sooner you get away from him, the better. You could come with me if you'd like. I'm going to go join a guild back in town and fight to get us out of this hell."
"That's not why you're leaving Asuna, and you know it. You're just scared of him. You look at him and all you can see is an evil monster that wants to hurt people. While that is true, he is so much more then just that. He is all those things you said and more, but he is those things to our enemies. He'd never turn them on me or you. He-he"
The small girl's voice broke, but she forced her mounting emotions down and screamed at the self-righteous redhead,
She broke down sobbing pitifully, and collapsed to the dirt. Or had least tried to, as Tyler caught the weeping girl and hugged her tightly to his chest, pressing his cheek into her pink hair. Asuna was speechless, and Tyler gave her a look that would freeze hell itself,
"Go. You made my little sister cry, you heartless bitch. She doesn't deserve a sister like you, who fails to see someone beyond what the surface shows. USe this."
He tossed a teleport crystal to the now teary girl,
"Oh, you regret your choice now? AFTER getting called out on it? You have no place here. Leave now, while you still can."
Asuna was indeed cryingh as she watched Tyler holding the sobbing Sakura like he was her father comforting her, and at the sound of Sakura's sobs. Asuna raised a hand to Sakura, who looked at the red head,
"Leave, Asuna,"
Her voice was shaking badly, and was pitifully small,
"Leave, You called Tyler evil, but at least he's not BLIND."
"Sakura. I'm sorry."
"You're not sorry for anything, you just don't want to be responsible for my heartbreak, or your own. You're not strong, you just want to be carried."
Asuna now had tears falling freely at the condemnation in Sakura's voice. She held up the crystal, but before she jumped, Tyler left her with a final thought
"If you ever need our strength, you know my name. And I'll throw this out there just because of how much you mean to Sakura: If you ever need my training, my strength, or to just hangout with Sakura, again you have my name."
Sakura looked up at her brother and smiled through her tears at his offer, Asuna nearly broke down, but stuck to her guns and teleported, a look of sincere gratitude on her pretty face. Then a flash of blue and she was gone. Sakura had waved as the light faded and then dived right back into his arms and started crying again, as the girl she had hoped would be her sister was gone.
"well, that was heart wrenchingly sad."
"Yeah, I guess only a select few can stomach his personality long-term."
"You wanna know something? I agree with him."
"that's dangerous territory Officer"
"That red head does too, which is why she left. She doesn't want to lose her own hope like he did."
"Then what about Sakura?"
"HE is her hope."
"we CAN'T seperate them now. If we did, it would kill little Sakura's spirit and set Tyler down a murderous path."
"I'm scared of what'll happen if they do get out."
"Hey, check it out! We finally made it to floor 6! Took us long enough."
"Yeah, but I guess we're getting better at this. took two whole months to clear a single floor last time."
"We? No one knows who beat the boss, all we know is that the portals to the sixth floor opened up, and there was a toll of 30DR for the main hub."
"A toll? Well, far as I know there’s only one duo who uses tolls in this deathgame."
"you mean the Demon and the Princess?"

"Hey, watch it, and now!"
"On it!"
Tyler dived to the right as the minotaur swung its axe, only to get caught by Sakura's arrows to it's eyes. Blinded the beast reared and roared, only for Tyler to cut it's horns off. The hornless beasts then tried to ram him, but Tyler merely sliced it's head off, shattering the beast.
"Nice one, Saki!"
"Thanks, Ty!"
They had only grown closer these last three months, now using IRL names when out in the wilderness. They had decided it was more practical, since they would track each other down back IRL. Tyler smiled as his cute little sister dropped deftly out off a high cliff. This area of the floor being a rather large desert and canyon system. Tyler watched with admiration as th pink haired girl descended the cliff face, her new equipment paying dividends. Her wolf-based outfit had been replaced with a tight-fitting half shirt made from high-drake leather dyed a light blue. The scales of the drakeskin rippled when she moved, and gave her the illusion of a more round chest. The shirt cutoff at the top of her stomach and only covered her shoulders, but it increased her physical defence by 50, her fire resistance by 100, and increased dexterity by 150. She still wore her paperboy hat, but it was now made from a white tiger pelt, the black and white stripes still visible, and the soft fur was some of her favorite. The hat increased her perception by 60, and also enhanced vision based skills, like bow skill. She wore a pair of short shorts made from the same drake skin as her top, but with the metal buttons made from gold. She also still wore her grey wold fur scarf around her neck, plus the addition of a red belt made from the red skin of a fire dragon, the metal clasp and studs being a blue metal that granted extra poison resistance. Her fingerless gloves had also been replaced with drakeskin. She was pink, and blue, and red, looked cute as ever. She had alos replaced her buckskin leg warmers with lionskin dyed blue. Her boots were crocodile skin with blacksteel treads. She landed on flat ground and smiled as she rejoined the tall boy. Tyler's gear including the red jacket from Ilfang's boss fight. A revamped shirt made from dragonskin, a large spiked belt made from blacksteel, a pair of black paints made from a black elephant that resembled denim jeans, and a pair of heavy redsteel boots. His sword was the legendary weapon received from the cave challenge. It's base stats, durability and looks had kept it around, while Sakura's bow had been replaced twice. She now had one made from Dragon bone, gold, and high-grade red crystallite. It was a powerful piece of equipment, some arrows dealing poison damage or extra bleeding damage. Tyler had been rather proud of how her bow turned out.
"That was some good work up there. We got both horns and a perfect minotaur heart."
"Anything else?"
"Don't think so...oh hello, you invited you?"
"What is it?"
"Take a look."
Tyler pulled the item in question from the UI and held it out to Sakura. It was a small mirror, about the size of a book, with reflectionless glass, silver metal and a shiny finish.
"I got nothing."
"Well, If you don't know, then is it new?"
"Maybe. Come on. I think I know someone who will."
Tyler pulled his teleport crystal and Sakura pulled her own.
"Teleport: Sentria"
"Teleport: Sentria"
They then jumped and were transport to the newly populated hub. It was roughly three times the size of the town of beginnings, and had transformed into a major hub for the players to share information regarding the game. Only 6 floors had been cleared out of 150, and 3 of the bosses Tyler and Sakura killed themselves. Tyler had reached level twenty, while Sakura was just behind him on Level 19, him having gotten lucky on an extra drake kill. They stepped of the platform in the center of the Arabian nights-inspired city. Sakura slung her bow across her back and stood closer to Tyler's intimidating image. Together they moved through the throngs of people, either shoving other players out of their way, or just shoving past. Anytime someone got pissed, Tyler's name plate stopped them in their tracks. The name of Goreleech had become both the stuff of legends, and pure nightmares. His name was held right up there with the leader of the newly formed Knights Of The Bloodoath, Mirackle. The rumor was that his health bar never reached the red, or yellow for that matter. Tyler didn't really care about a potential cheater, for such a cheap trick was useless against his playstyle. They one thing that had caught his eye about the new guild was that Asuna had landed the second in command rank of the guild. That was a surprise, but then again, he didn't really care. Although he was glad she still lived, if only for Sakura's sake. Sakura had been ecstatic at the news, and had begged to go visit, but Tyler had refused on the grounds that getting involved with the guilds at all was a really bad idea. She had persisted, so he promised that the next time a boss was found, whether by him or they got invited, he would get her the time to visit with the fiery redhead. She had danced around like a kid during Christmas getting her desired gift. She was skipping along right beside him now, happily humming as she held the scary boy's hand walking down the street. They turned down a more decrepit alleyway from the main street. The person they were going to se had set shop off the beaten path and was known as a information collector. Tyler and sakura walked confidently down the alley, ignoring the stares of some unsavory characters eyeing the brightly smiling girl. But Tyler's presence was more then enough to keep them at bay. The duo the turned a corner and saw a disheartened guy with a spear walk out of a shop, grumbling while a familiar voice was heard booming,
"do come back now ya hear?"
Gabol, the big black guy that wielded a battleaxe the size of Sakura was laughing jovially as his latest victim left his shop.
"Well, guess you gave out yet ANOTHER raw deal."
The big guy's chuckle died as Tyler and Sakura stepped into his shop,
"hey, don't slander my good name, Gore."
"Too bad you don't have a good name, Gabol."
They fisted pumped, but it was clear that Gabol was a little nervous at this unexpected visit from the Demon and his Sister. Sakura ran around the counter of the small shop and hugged the big guy's leg
"Gabby! Hyia!"
"well, if Little Sake's here, it must be safe! C'mere cutie!"
Gabol and Sakura were close, and the tall man always enjoyed a visit from the small girl. Tyler smiled as he saw the bigger man get completely overpowered by Sakura's sweet, happy smile.
"Hey, as much as I like seeing Sakura smile like that, I got a question for you."
Gabol was instantly on edge, for if the Demon was after information then it could only mean trouble. He put the still giggling girl down,
"Lets talk somewhere less open.
The trio went further inside the shop, and took seats around a small table in Gabol’s living area. The host laid out some tea, and then joined them at the table.
"So, what do you want to know?"
"We got something off a minotaur in the eastern canyons. This in fact."
Tyler placed the mirror on the table between the three of them. Gabol picked it up and was inspecting it,
"I don't know what that thing is, but since it resembled the mirror from the tutorial that gave us our IRL looks ingame, I felt I needed more information."
"I see. Let me try my appraisal skill."
Gabol then held his bear-paw like hand out and a faint green glow emitted from it over the mirror. There was a loading icon, then a menu appeared with the item's information
"well, looks like you got a communication mirror."
His voice was shaking at the item description,
"What’s it for?"
"You can use it to video chat with someone IRL from within the game."
Tyler and Sakura looked at each other. The Sakura nodded.
"you want it?"
Gabol off his chair at the question,
"What do you mean, do I want it? You do know this lets you talk to you families back on earth right?"
"Yeah, you just told us. We don't have any use for it though."
"yeah, my family dumped me back when we got trapped"
"Plus my family shipped me around the world to get rid of me. So why would I waste my time trying to contact them?"
"Well what about how they feel?"
"Not my concern."
"I want Gore to kill them."
Gabol just looked from one to the other, and the sheer disinterest in the item most any other player would literally kill for.
"Look if you don't want it I bet I know someone who would."
"I do want it it's just."
"then take the damned thing! we don't want it, nor do we need it. Don't look a gift Demon in the mouth."
Gabol sighed and slid the mirror back to them,
"I appreciate the offer, But I can't. It doesn't feel right."
"Alright. Hey Sakura, why don't you send this to Asuna as a gift?"
"that’s a splendid idea! She'd love it!"
Gabol was speechless as Sakura set up the gift feature, bought the teleport orb, placed the precious mirror inside and sent it off with a small love letter and a loud kiss in the recording and sent it off. All with zero hesitation. He just sat there as Tyler brought another menu,
"Thanks for the help Gabol. Now then, how about we empty some of our unneeded crap on you!"
"I can't believe you just got rid of something so precious. Player would kill for the opportunity to send a message back home and you just gave it away. Like it wasn't a big deal"
"We'll most likely find another one, given the places we go. I'm honestly surprised we didn't score one off that cave trap. But I did land this sick sword so whatever. Hey big guy, we trading or what?"
Gabol just sighed and opened his shopkeep UI, and was shocked at the sheer number of goods for sale the duo had.
"Seriously? You're more well supplied then my shop! And this is just stuff you don't want?"
"Pretty much. The price is final though. I don't have the patience to haggle each item."
"yeah, I figured. Here."
"Thank you. Hey, Sakura. We just scored another 700k."
"sweet! What’s our current total?"
"3.4mil, I think. here lemme check."
Tyler opened his UI and looked to party funds.
"Oh, will ya look at that. We got a grand total of, get this, 657mil654thou786 Droy. Not but for a couple loners?"
"Seriously? Hey, Lets buy a house together!"
"Maybe. I'd like to wait until we at least hit floor twenty. As I recall, they had some gnarly ones in the forests up there."
"Hey, be patient. If we find one we can both agree on before then, we'll snag it, okay? Since we're not a guild and just a party we can get two houses. Watcha think?"
"NO! I want a house for just us!"
"Very well, little Princess. But remember what I said, okay? If you do well, I know a place up on floor 45 that will blow you're cute little mind."
"But I thought you only made it as far as floor ten in the beta?"
"Yeah that was the limit. But, I got to design a playerhome on the 45th floor. I even know it's exact location. All we have to do is get there first. Or if it's already bought by the time we find it, kill the current owner."
Gabol was smiling at the happily twirling Sakura, until he picked up on that last thing Gore had said. he then got a cold chill down his spine, as Gore would do just that without even blinking. Again he was reminded of just who sat in front of him. He was about to say something when Sakura received a message.
"Hey, its from Asuna!"
"Well, don't be selfish, lemme see!"
I don't know how you got this thing, but thank you. I'm deeply in your debt Sakura. And you too Goreleech, as I'm sure you're reading this too. But I need to meet with you immediately. There's something that you both need to know, and I need YOUR help Goreleech. It's dire. So please, help me.
Tyler had a grim look on his face as he finished the message. He and Sakura both looked at each other and nodded.
"Sorry, Gabol. Gotta bounce. If this is what I think it is, then Asuna just became my second highest priority right now."
"I understand. Go give that girl some Demon backup."
"Sakura, let's roll out!"
Together the duo took off running as fast as they could, back out onto the streets. Their teleport crystals not working inside cities. Sakura was a step behind Tyler, who had a fearsome grimace on his face. Other players were falling over each other to get the hell out of their way as they raced passed.
"She's at her guilds HQ. Floor 5. Tryist citadel."
"Understood, tell her the Demons have risen."
"already did."
They charged the teleporter and jumped into it, yelling the name of the Bloodoath HQ. The next thing they saw was the teleporter outside the massive castle. They paid the imposing sight no mind as they ran towards the front gate. The guards on duty spotting the rapidly approaching pair. They had orders from their leader to stop any would-be intruders, but as they recognized the trademark red and blue of the Demon siblings, they jumped to the side.
"Where is Asuna?"
"The Se-"
"Second tower to the left, third floor forth door on the right."
They left the terrified man to slump on the ground as they blew into the tower. The man got back to his feet as another Knight approached,
"Leadership wants you to let the Demon siblings in to see second-in-command Asuna on sight."
"too late. They're already inside"
Tyler and Sakura raced up the circular stairwell by jumping from railing to railing like strange steps on a ladder. They reached the third floor, and hurried to the specified door. Subtly never having been a concern of Tyler's, banged his fist on the door,
"Asuna!, Hey, Asuna! Open up, the monster's here!"
There was a large amount of clicking and shuffling as a large number of locks were undone and then the door opened. Asuna poked her head around the door. Unlike the last time they'd been together, her fiery red hair seemed to have lost much of it's luster, she had deep groves on her face from tears, and there was a dead-eyed look in her once blazing orange eyes. Tyler became VERY angry at seeing her reduced to this. He opened the door and stepped inside, Sakura right behind him. Tyler shut the door and locked it himself. Asuna then breathed such a massive sigh of relief that it seemed just being around the Demon was a form of comfort. Sakura ran over and hugged her big sister, happy to see her. Asuna was wearing a light nightgown that seemed kinda dirty. Tyler spotted her Signature Rapier hanging on a wall. He went and picked the light weapon up, and preformed a few stabs with the thing,
"Well, its seems your gear has improved at least. Not by much though. If you were to roll with us, I got some mats to make something seriously badass."
Asuna just broke down weeping, her fierce spirit no where to be found. Tyler was not having it. He walked over grabbed her under her shoulders like a child and lifted her to her feet,
"OI! Get those tears out of those eyes! Pull yourself together! I can't help you if you won't help yourself! Now cut the shit and tell me what happened and which ass I need to kick."
Asuna seemed to recover a bit of her spirit,
"My families ass!"
"Let me guess, they have been watching our progress this entire time, is that about it?"
"How'd you know?"
Her voice a mere whisper. Sakura too seemed shocked, but recovered quickly. Asuna's voice was pitiful, small and weak.
"I know what is feels like when you're being watched. But since the ones watching mean less then shit to me, I didn't really care. I take it you found out with that mirror we sent."
She nodded,
"and let me guess again, you got reamed for your 'improper' behavior?"
"and you will be forced to marry that pedo when you get out, right ?"
another nod.
"lets see, they threaten to pull your plug now if you refuse to cooperate?"
again another nod.
"did you at least get the hospital name?"
"General Practitioners central medical center."
"you heard the lady. You fuckwads better save her, or god help you if she shatters while under my protection. Asuna you're coming with us. There are thinks I can teach you that you will need to win this fight. Let me see, if I remember correctly your last name was…Argento right? Asuna Argento, and your mother's name was Shiro Argento."
Asuna looked up confused,
"What are you doing?"
"Showing you how I handle pompous idiots. I know their names, their last known location, and now so do the others watching, be they doctors, nurses, extended family, my family. This way your horrible parents can't do anything to your body while under the care of the hospital. If they do, they now know I can find them. Which would be a nightmare they can't escape from. I would search for them, I would find them, and they would scream for days before I let them die."
He was speaking with such evil in his voice that even Sakura was terrified, he then surged forward and peered directly into Asuna's tear-stained eyes. They were less then an inch apart, he spoke again, this time his voice a growl that would have made Satan's blood run cold.
"I am speaking directly to you, Asuna's family. If she dies inside this game, by monster or sabotage on your end, I WILL FIND YOU AND NOTHING ON THAT EARTH WILL SAVE YOU. If you want to continue your existence after the end of this game, you will not interfere any further in her life. OR YOU WILL ANSWER TO ME."
He sat back,
"sorry for the closeness, but their PoV is our eyes, so I had to get close to make my point. Which I think they do. They better cause you know DEMON."

"Who does that boy think he is? Threatening us when he can't even see us. My word!"
Asuna's crone of a mother was furiously wiping her brow with a dainty kerchief after being stricken by Tyler's hateful eyes. A tall, creepy man in a suit had also been scared, but now he was playing with the helpless Asuna's red hair, rubbing the silky strands between his fingers and breathing in her sweet scent,
"Please madam, he's merely trying to intimidate us. It's all he can do from in there. And even if he was out, he'd be far too weak to actually do anything to us. Demon? pff, preposterous."
"Well, he seems to have Asuna's respect and admiration. she called for him nearly immediately after discussing wedding plans. The way he came running is what troubles me. Yes!? Can't you see we're watching our future on the screen?"
The door opened to reveal three doctors, and ten armed policemen. The doctors began prepping the trapped girl's body for moving, while the police handed the irate woman and scared pedo behind her a sealed court document,
"Ma'am,. this is an official termination of your rights as single parent/guardian of one Asuna Argento. The miss is to be transported immediately to the Hospital treating one Tyler J. Naamani per the SaS treatment act. She will be under the care of the staff there, along with his and one Sakura Testuiry families. You two are banned from the premises containing the lady's body until she is able to ask for you with her own mouth. If you violate this order in any way, shape, or manner you will be charged with a felony attempted homicide. These documents detail the order further."
The woman and man were whiter then ghosts, as Asuna's motionless body was wheeled out and along the corridor. The officers were about to leave when one stopped and spoke to the screen before disconnecting the cables,
"Miss, you have made a terrifying ally, and an incredible friend. I just wish he'd protect my daughter too."
Inside the tower, none of them knew just how effective the demon's threat had been. They were gearing up to depart the guildhall. Asuna having put her faith entirely in the fear she had felt at his threat. Tyler was certain he had accomplished his goal, while Sakura was just happy to have her big sis back. They were about to leave the room when Tyler had a thought,
"Hey, guys. I just got an idea."
"Oh shit, this can't be good."
"I'm right there with you Sakura."
"I heard that."
"Kinda hard not to when we're in the same room."
"yeah, captain obvious."
"Whatever. My idea was, why don't three of us make our own little guild?"
"Oh My God that’s a great idea!"
"Yeah! I'd have to bail on this one, and I kinda like the whole second-in-command thing but."
"I had you figured for the bossy type Asuna."
"Fuck you!"
"you can later. Right now though, how do you make a guild anyway?"
"How do you not know, mister MasterBater?"
"I played solo during the beta remember? And yes, I'm a MasterBater, got a problem wit that?"
Asuna's face turned a bright red at Sakura's and Tyler's raunchy banter. They noticed and started laughing at the prudish girl,
"Wow Asuna, great tomato impression!"
"Careful Gore, She might start leaking Steam!"
"Maybe we shouldn't take her with us! Can you live with corrupting her pure little mind?"
"I think 'perverting' is more accurate for your sense of humor!"
"Yeah, your right. I forgot just how much of a little prude Asuna is. Her innocence is adorable!"
"Will you two shut up! I am NOT a prude!"
"Still sound like a prude."
"Yep, my prudar is signaling a full alert here."
The two friends were laughing at the fuming-fit-to-burst girl when there was a hard knock on her chamber door.
"Ma'am! The guildleader would like to speak with you and your friends please."
"Tell him we'll be right there, Lax!"
"Yes Ma'am!"
"Guess we gotta explain my departure to the guildmaster."
"Okay, Asuna, first lesson. you don't have to explain anything you do to anyone."
"I'd still like to. He's been kind to me, so it's the least I can do."
"Very well, I guess killing an entire guild would be a pain in the ass anyway."
The trio exited Asuna's room, taking everything she owned along with them. They exited the tower and followed Asuna into the main keep and headed up the stairs. The guilds uniform was a red and white color on their equipment.
"I wonder where their god awful fashion sense came from."
"You talking an awful lot of shit for a guy with two flights of stairs behind him."
"Hey! A swear! Making Progress Sakura, making progress!"
They were laughing hard as they entered a large chamber. The room had a large table set up at the back of the room with six seats, five of which were filled with man in fancy full plate armour. Asuna walked up and threw a military-style salute to the man in the center.
"Guildmaster Mirackle, commanders. Second-in-command Asuna reporting."
"I already hate this."
Mirackle was a middle-aged guy, with light blonde hair, grey eyes, a pointed chin and a medium build. Tyler looked over the man, wondering how such an unimpressive-looking person had come to be associated with the Demon. When he looked the man in the eyes, he thought he saw a flash of recognition in his otherwise stoic gaze. Sakura nudged his arm, she had seen it too. Asuna was explaining her desire to exit the guild,
"I'd like to thank you for your help thus far, but I'm going to be traveling with Goreleech and Sakura now. I would like to stay on friendly terms with the guild though."
The commanders all broke out into quiet murmurs at the news, but went silent when Mirackle began speaking,
"Goreleech and Sakura? I have hear stories about the two of you, most of them negative. I don't believe we've ever been properly introduced. I am Mirackle, leader of the Knights of the Bloodoath. You have quite the nerve. Showing up here both out of the blue and unscheduled, you then terrify my guards doing their jobs, and now you want to poach my top player out from under me? I simply do not know what to say."
"You don't have to say anything, Asuna is coming with us, and this not a thing you can do about it."
The other commanders were left speechless by this statement, however,
"And if I tried to stop you?"
"You and your entire guild would shatter by my hand, again with there being nothing you can do about it."
"Would you like to test that?"
Tyler vanished, appearing behind the guildmaster with a sword sticking out of his back. The man's health bar dropping fast, but as it was about to turn yellow it stopped. Tyler the returned to his original position,
"ohhhh, so THATS how it is?"
Mirackle had been caught completely off guard. He had not expected Tyler to just launch an attack inside the HQ of the single largest guild at the leader like that. When he heard Tyler's understanding tone, he looked to see him sheathing his blade.
"I thought I recognized that bit about your health bar not dropping into yellow. Let me guess, it's a cheat you had loaded into your helmet, isn't it?"
The man's eyes went wide as his secret was exposed.
"Idiot. I helped to MAKE this game, remember? So I know that the only way you got that bit of software was by being the dev on duty when the game trapped you too. You can't exit the system, but you can use a few Admin commands. Like immunity, or to bypass teleport tolls. But Something you DIDN'T know was a little piece of security I came up with during the beta, just so idiots like you can't abuse other players with impunity, that health trick only works once a fight, so I bet you had a special HUD command like a key bind for potions, which kept your health from falling further. The term for people like you are 'safers', those who let other people take all that risks, while you reap the rewards. well, your secrets out, and in the open. Have Fun! Asuna, Sakura, we out."
He turned on his heel and walked out the door, Asuna and Sakura on his heels. They heard a loud scream as the door slammed shut. Tyler was smiling smugly at the guards as he walked out the front gate with the two ladies flanking him. Once outside the gate Tyler held his Crystal up, and Sakura did too. Asuna held hers up as well, a little overwhelmed at what had just happened.
"Teleport: Cles"
"teleport: Cles"
"teleport: Cles"
Cles was an outpost town set in the canyons the duo had snagged the comms mirror. Tyler then led the trio into the Saloon and sat at a table and ordered up some burgers, fries, sodas for the girls and a mug of ale for him. As they ate Asuna was stunned at the wild turn of events,
"Seriously, what the hell happened back there?"
Tyler took a draught of his ale before answering,
"Secured your freedom from those knights, that’s what."
"But the guildmaster"
"Was a cheater. Not sure how he got that little addon past the firewall. GrandEye's supposed to keep that from happening."
"Its just a shock is all."
"for you maybe. But if you're me its kinda obvious. That shot should've sent him into the red, but it stopped with quite a bit of momentum still behind it. If it had at least turned yellow I'd have not been as suspicious, a yellow bar after a shot like that? Okay, sure I can see that. But still green at his level? No friggin way. Not with the force I put behind it."
"You really tried to kill him, then?"
"Yep. Would've too, if his armour wasn't as good, and he wasn't cheating. That shook him, which was what I was after. Scaring an enemy that badly when they think they can't be touched is more lethal then any blade. If his guildmates don't shiv him, I'm curious to see how he'll recover, or what he’ll do next."
The friends finished their meal and where resting when Tyler asked a rather important question,
"Asuna. Are you really sure you want to be trained by me?"
She jumped a little at his question, but then settled back down and rested her slender arms on the table and put her head in her hands,
"I stand by what I said about you, Goreleech. I still think you're a monster. But right now, will the problems my family have given me, what they expect me to do, I realize I can't fight them alone. I can't fight them at all, but you CAN."
"So you want me to teach you to fight the battles you ACTUALLY can fight and fight the ones you can't? That it?"
"Pretty much."
Asuna's mouth dropped open at his blatant refusal. Her jaw began to quiver like she was about to cry. She looked to Sakura, as if hoping for support, but Sakura had the same look of disgust on her cute face that Tyler wore on his.
"Because if you want to fight, it has to be with your own strength. Otherwise, you're just running away from responsibility."
"I can't fight them!"
"Then accept your marriage to the pedo, do whatever your mother tells you like a good little girl, and stop asking us to fight your wars for you. Sakura lets go."
They both rose to leave but Asuna had her Rapier drawn and was blocking their exit with her body, tears falling from her face.
"I can't fight my family, their too strong. I'm_"
"Just too weak. That’s all. You have no strength."
"Exactly! I'm not strong like you or Sakura! I can't do it alone!"
She dropped to her knees, the thin sword clattering to the floor as she went down on her hands and knees, groveling,
"Please help me! I want to be strong like you! Please, Help me!"
"Asuna lift your head."
She did and saw Tyler and Sakura holding their hands out to the prostrated girl,
"Accepting your own weakness is the first step to true strength. I can teach everything you will need to wage this war, and you will do it with your own strength. And we will stand with you."
Asuna broke into a large smile and took their hands and stood back up,
"Tyler, Sakura, thank you."
"Don't thank us just yet. Thank us when you finally win your war. And since you don't seem to be aware, Sakura here was a little cry baby when we first met. She was just a little lamb thrown out into a wolf infested forest at first. Ain't that right?"
"Only cause I got stuck with an ugly old bear like you! You have a face to make babies cry!"
"Okay, baby!"
"Never say that again."
"Agreed, I just shuddered"
They then started laughing, Asuna hardest of all, as she was now ready to learn what the Demon had to offer. They were about to go back out grinding when,
"Oh yeah, weren't we gonna make a guild?"
"Oh that’s right!"
"I forgot too."
"Sooo, how we do that?"
"I think we have to go to the town of beginnings and do it there."
"I hate that place. Haven't been back since the doors closed.
"me either. Might be fun scaring the noobs though."
"Okay THAT I can get behind. Lets go give some idiots nightmares."
"Poor bastards."
The trio went over to the teleporter and hopped to the town of beginnings. The tow itself hadn't changed much, except that most of the players that had been to scared to fight had taken up residence there. As Tyler and his party landed and set off for the guild registry, they became the center of attention, as Tyler and Sakura's flashy attire with Asuna's distinct flame colored hair, they were instantly recognized,
"Holy shit, Its the Demon Siblings! I heard they never come to town!"
"I heard they killed the fifth floor boss alone!"
"That’s insane! Hey, is that Lightning Flash Asuna?"
"What the hell is she doing wit the Demons?"
"hey, look! It's Sakura! Damn, she really is as cute as they say!"
"You got a deathwish? Look at that dude in red! He hears you he'll KILL you!"
Tyler shot a glance at the one who'd commented on Sakura's cuteness,
"Damn straight she's cute as hell!"
The imposing trio moved on, leaving two very shaken players behind,
"Well, At least we agree on something!"
"Dude, go buy a lottery ticket from that vendor over there!"
Tyler chuckled at that last one. The party arrived at the guild registry and Tyler went up to the NPC to register a new guild.
"Okay, lets see, it costs 2000 Droy to form a guild, you need at least three members, so we're set there, a guild crest, hmm let's see."
The crest he chose was a pair of demon wings enshrouding twinkling stars in a protective embrace, with evil eyes staring out over the top of the wings, as if daring one to make a move on the light of the stars in the demon's embrace. The girls loved it.
"Okay, now how about a guild name?"
"What do you think of Heavenly Demons?"
"Nice Sakura!"
"I like it, too!"
"cool, we're officially heavenly demons, Asuna gets her power fix since she's a co-founder and so are you Sakura!"
"I am not some kinda dominatrix ya know."
"Funny how you broke out the word 'dominatrix'. All I said was you had a power fix. How I'm curious, Asuna. If you'd like to play sometime I do remember the sex village’s name on this floor. Soo."
"Guess you don't need your manhood anymore."
Their business concluded they headed back to the teleporter. They returned to the 6th floor when Tyler got a message.
"Hey, guess the floor boss has been found, their sending a rally cry. Guess a bunch got killed already. Wanna check it out?"
"Sure, We need to get Assy here leveled more."
"Who you calling Assy? It's Asuna! And sure lets go. How many died?"
"I heard like fifteen."
"Jesus, that’s a massacre, who the hell led that raid?"
"Lets go find out."
They arrived at the dungeon entrance and found a few familiar faces,
"Hey, look what the cat dragged in, Lorg ya ugly ten-cent whore how ya been?"
"Goreleech and Sakura! Looking hot as always and more dangerous then unprotected sex at a furry convention!"
"Nice image, got anything to confess?"
"What did you teach this girl, Gore?"
"Some decent jokes apparently! Hey, Is that Kirito over there! Hey! Beater! Yeah you ya Jackass! How’s it hanging?"
The black jacket wearing guy came over and smacked fists with the red Demon.
"Okay, NOW it's a party! wats up Gore! Hey Sakura, gimme a hug, haven't seen you two since Ilfang. Hey is that Asuna?"
Asuna came over to the friends reunion,
"hey, Kirito, Lorg its great to see you again."
"yeah same. You're running with Gore and sakura now?"
"Yeah, we formed our own guild together."
"really? That’s awesome!"
"hey Kirito, we got a place here if you want in."
"thanks man but I'm a solo player. plus.."
"If you're still letting that whole beater thing get to you, then you need to remember you just asked you to join there guild. Oh and before I forget, there's something you two need to know about SaS. And for the love of god, do not tell anyone else okay? I'll fill you in after we kill the boss."
"Okay, I'll hold you to it."
"thanks for the offer, but I'll keep riding solo for a while."
"Sure, but hey give a holler if you ever need Demon support."
"Same back atchya.
The friends all laughed. Lorg was wearing a green set of Samurai armour, with a bright yellow sword, while Kirito was still wearing the Cloak of midnight. He had a different sword though, a one handed blade with stars on the handle. As they listened to the briefing, Tyler noticed something odd,
"Hey, is it me, or did he say that only five people died in the last attempt?"
"Yeah he did why?"
"Because when I got the message, it said fifteen died. Heads up, I think it's a set up."
"you think so?"
"Why would someone do that?"
"Understood. I'll break out my big girl bow."
"Alright. I'm ready."
Lorg and Kirito watched as the ladies took up positions either side of Gore and faced outward, while Tyler drew his sword. He looked to Lorg
"Get your crew together, if this goes south, I'll do what I can to get us all our alive. There is definitely something off about this."
Kirito went and stood beside Tyler and Lorg motioned her friends over to the group. Tyler's eyes had not left the one doing the briefing,
"Once inside teleport crystals start to explode, so you need to leave them with me and my guild."
"BINGO, its a trap. Teleport crystals to NOT explode."
"Hey! You're lying! Crystals do NOT explode!"
The man and everyone else turned to see Tyler with his red sword in the air. The man just sighed,
"And what would a lowly beater like yourself know?"
"DEMON, its' DEMON you idiot. I know a helluva lot more then you'd like me to. For example, the message I got said fifteen people have died, yet you said only five, so which is it?"
They man seemed taken aback at this question,
"A lot of people have died, if I said five, I'm sorry, I should have said fifteen. But the crystals do explode."
"Bullshit. But it's easy enough to prove. Sakura! Asuna! I'll be right back. Kirito, Lorg! Keep an eye on them!" He then booted the door open and strode inside. The doors shut and Tyler was sealed inside. Sakura sighed,
"There he goes again."
"What's he doing?"
"Being reckless."
"Does he do that a lot?"
"Constantly. Its his favorite pass time. He's basically daring the world to try to kill him. It hasn't called his bluff yet."
There was an outbreak of loud screams from within the closed doors.
"yeesh, poor bastards. They must'a pissed him off."
"the idiots involved in the ambush inside."
A particularly piercing scream was heard from within,
"That ones a screamer!"
"Ahhh, where did you learn that term?"
"hrm? Aww, Tyler said its what someone who likes to scream a lot is called, specifically during sex."
"Why the fuck did he tell you that?"
"I asked."
"why would you ask him that?"
"Because I was looking over the list of options in a sex village we found bout a month back and it had 'screamer' as an option so I got curious."
Lorg, Svenity, and Asuna all shared a glance, Kirito was picking at the ground with a rather intense fascination. Then the ladies spoke in perfect unison,
"He's a dead man."
Sakura just looked up at the taller girls, an expression of cute innocence on her delicate face. she giggled as she squatted near Kirito,
"Hey, Sakura? You trying to get Gore killed?"
"No, why'd you think that?"
"Cause setting those ladies on him like that is basically handing him a death sentence."
"Its how we show our affection."
"No. evil pranks."
"You are a scary girl."
"awwww, thank you!"
The creams from within the chamber stopped and the doors were booted open and Tyler came out dragging a solitary survivor by the foot. He tossed the thin guy into view at the feet of the briefer.
"Alright, tell them what you just told me, and your death will be painless."
The terrified boy blurted out everything,
"We set the trap! The boss is already dead, but as long as the exit door is not opened, it won't register as a cleared room. The victory icon is not enough. We set the trap and have you hand your crystals over and then kill you. We split your stuff among us after."
"And your leader is?"
He pointed to the man standing at the edge of the platform, and Tyler sighed as he beheaded the rat. He shattered, then Tyler charged the leader and cut him clean in half, shattering him too. Their was a collective gasp at the merciless killings, but Tyler had already turned back around and gave his instructions,
"Sakura, Asuna lets go. The boss just respawned, so lets do this quick and go. Kirito, Lorg, wanna join the circus?"
The two girls joined him on the platform and they went to reopen the doors when Kirito with Lorg and her party joined them. They marched in and just left the other raiders outside. The boss was a giant with a large battleaxe. As far as the actual fight went, it was rather straight forward, dodge the axe and then hack and slash, rinse repeat. It took the group working together merely ten minutes to kill the boss and get the loot. Kirito and Tyler had to split the final attack bonus again what with their similar attack patterns and ways of approaching combat. They stepped out onto the seventh floor and headed to the main town, where Tyler set a toll of 45DR. They then went to a large tavern and ordered some food. Tyler, Sakura, Lorg, Asuna, Kirito, and Svenity had taken a table in the far back of the restaurant behind a door to keep eavesdroppers at bay. There Tyler explained everything he knew about the comms mirrors, and the live feeds. At first they hadn't believed him, but then Asuna backed him up with her own story. The silence afterward could be felt like a wet blanket. Then Tyler spoke,
"And that’s about the size of it. Gnarly ain't it?"
Kirito sighed,
"well, at least they know I'm okay?"
Lorg spoke up next,
"That’s a plus, I guess. Feels weird sharing my eyes with someone though."
"Trust me, no one wants to look through that god awful face."
"Hey, Gore.. there’s something I want to tell you, what was it? OH yeah! Fuck off!"
"ehh, maybe later. What about you Svenity, You okay?"
"I'm good, my parents died when I was young, and I was an only child. MY grandparents also passed. So the only ones to see through my eyes are Doctors."
"Well, that’s good and sad at the same time."
"The only question is does this change how any of you do things?"
The table all responded with a single voice,
They then discussed whether or not to tell the player base about the mirrors,
"I think we should tell them."
"Yeah it would give them hope."
"I think it would do more harm then good."
Al heads turned to look at Tyler. He placed his head on his hands as he explained,
"Think about it. If you're one of the those players who's hid in the town of beginnings all this time while others fight your battles for you, and then found out your family's been watching this whole time, how would you react? Suicides would spike again, players would lose all fighting courage because they wouldn't want their families to watch them die. If the mirrors became widespread and the families were able to influence choices, then the number of unnecessary deaths would also skyrocket. Plus there’s the possibility that the families would hire RPG 'experts' to coach their trapped loved ones, and poison an otherwise sound plan. Guilds would dissolve under the pressure of families that can't get passed differences, in either looks, age, appearance, gender or some other bullshit. It would basically cripple the near entirety of the fighting force. And once the players gave up, then the real shitshow would start. For I guarantee the outsiders would try to pass some form of regulations on in game life."
"You're right, the mirrors will get out eventually, but it sounds like they're rare in the extreme."
"yeah, nearly what six months of grinding at our paces and we only found the one. If the devs are smart, they'll remove them entirely Asap. Otherwise we'll never get out."
The group gave a collective groan as they all contemplated the consequences of if the mirrors became public knowledge, or widely available. Tyler threw back his drink,
"Well, there’s nothin we can do about it right now. So lets just get wasted and have some fun. Order another round, drinks on me!"
They all cheered as they ordered a round of drinks, then a toast was thrown out,
They threw back their mugs and downed them, and the partying began. Tyler and Kirito got into an arm-wrestling match, Asuna and Lorg played a round of drunk kings game with Svenity and Sakura. Then Lorg got called out by Asuna for having fake guns, while Kirito started teasing Sakura. Tyler was playing a SaS version of beer pong with Svenity.; The friends partied hard that night, as they took a breather from the morbid reality of ingame life.
"that Tyler sure knows how to party, doesn't he?"
"who'd have thought?"
"he is quite intimidating. Especially that stunt with Asuna's family."
The speaker being Sakura's godmother, glanced over to see the red hair of Asuna on the other side of the boy's motionless body.
"She is very pretty. I'm glad her father is such a good person."
"I'm very grateful that she made such a steadfast friend. I cannot be prouder of my daughter's choices in friends. As I understand it, you were going to have your goddaughter stay with the boy after they get out as his surrogate sister?"
"yes, that’s correct."
"I'd like to extend the same offer to Asuna. If she'd lie, she can stay with him as well. I don't think there’s another person on this planet that would look after her better, myself included."
"Id think she love the idea, and Sakura would too."
"That guy better be careful, otherwise he'll have a full blown harem waiting for him when he wakes up."
"Lucky bastard"
The combined families laughed as the friends enjoyed the fruits of their labor. Tyler was one only two left standing, Himself and Kirito. The black cloaked guy holding his own with the red-clad demon.
"Well, Kirito, looks like we on carrying duty.,"
"Looks like it, But I bet the rest of Lorg's guild will get her and Svenity."
"yep, and I got Sakura and Asuna to look after."
"Sounds like a handful."
"They are, believe me. Specially that red-head there. She seems sweet and kind, but god help you if you piss her off."
"Scary enough to scare a demon?"
"Scary enough to beat a beater."
"you're telling me! Seriously though. Beater? really?"
"yeah I know, I know, it sucks."
"I don't think you know why it sucks. So tell me, how often do you 'beat' things?"
"okay, now I hate it."
"amazed you didn't pick up on it sooner."
"Not everyone is a filthy minded person like you Gore."
"True, sadly true. But hey, it keeps things interesting."
"I'm sure it does."
The two warriors banged their mugs together before downing them,
"well, I'm glad there’s another person like me in this deathgame Kirito."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, for one, some else who wouldn't hesitate to make the hard choices, like that beater stunt. We'd have lost player trust that way. It takes a special kind of strength to self-ostracize yourself to save the group."
"I'm not as noble as you seem to think I am."
"And I'm not as nice a person as you think I am. I get it. It's why having you out there is reassuring in a weird way."
"to be clear, I don't swing that way."
"Neither do I jackass. You got skills, all I'm saying. And there’s a place for you in my guild, should you want it."
"Thanks, I don't think it'd work to well. I get the feeling we'd try to kill eachother."
"That's fair. Hey, you'll get a kick outta this one, but I gto a saying"
"oh, lets here it"
"If you put two dudes with similar personalities in the same room and lock the door, they'll either be best friends, try to kill each other, or both."
"true that brother!"
"Damn straight!"
The two friends banged their mugs again. Sakura and Asuna asleep on the floor in each others arms, Lorg as snuggling into Svenity's chest. Tyler smiled at the girls,
"Kinda miss my camera right about now."
"okay, you have a deathwish."
"Ha! You don't know the half of it. Well, I gotta get the girls to the room, can you keep an eye on Lorg and Svenity till their guildmates get here?"
"Sure. Later Gore,"
"Catchya on the flipside Kirito,"
they brofisted and Tyler nudged Asuna, who stirred from her place on the floor,
"Come on, toots, bedtime, and the floor won't cut it."
She grumbled as she got up off the comfy floor, while Tyler cradled a softly snoring Sakura and brought the ladies to their room. The room had two beds, and Tyler laid Sakura in one. He was about to climb in beside her when Asuna stole his spot, a smug grin on her face,
"I get the furnace tonight!"
Tyler smiled as he pulled the blankets over the pair of girls, he gave Sakura goodnight kiss on her forehead,
"Take good care of her Asuna."
She replied by yawning and snuggling the smaller girl more tightly. Tyler then climbed into the spare bed and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
He woke up when the sunlight hit his eyes. He went to sit up and felt a pressure on his arm, he looked to see that Sakura had snuck into his bed some point and was cradling his arm against her. He went to move his other arm and felt the same pressure and found that Asuna had as well. That was a surprise, but a welcome one as the redhead was quite pretty and very warm to snuggle with, if the heat coming off her was anything to go by. Tyler smiled as he retrieved his arm from the sleeping redhead and gently shook her awake. She blinked and saw him looking at her,
"Hey, G’morning. Time to wake up!"
She seemed to not understand when the reality of her situation slammed home. She went beat red, and was about to scream, but Tyler covered her mouth with his hand and glared at her intensely enough to silence her. She blinked and he withdrew his hand and nodded to Sakura sleeping on his other side. Asuna understood and mouth a quick Sorry and he nodded, not wanting to give the still sleeping cutie a early morning heart attack. Asuna reached over and stroked the small girl's pink hair fondly,
"You really care for her, don't you Tyler?"
Her use of his IRL name not lost on him, he merely smiled as he wrapped the precious girl in his arm. She grumbled in her sleep and snuggled closer to his side,
"that I do, Asuna. She's very precious to me. We're not related by blood, by we're as close as twins."
"She is truly wonderful."
"She truly is. And I will make sure she keeps her wonder."
"You're like the ultimate scary big brother to her. Its nice."
"And she's the ultimate sweet little sister. she makes my miserable existence bearable. And she is the reason I fight so goddamned hard."
Asuna smiled as he brushed a hair strand off her eyes.
"She's very lucky to have you."
"You as well. She is a very fortunate girl."
"that she is."
Tyler smiled and gave the small girl a light shake, she woke up instantly,
"Morning, time to move?"
"time for breakfast then yep. I want to hit that mountain range I spotted yesterday. I think I can find some decent ore there."
The three then all got out of bed and readied for the day. They headed downstairs to find Kirito loading up on pancakes and sausage. Tyler went up behind the swordsman and gave him a heft backslap,
"yo, how’s it hanging?"
Kirito jumped, nearly spilling his coffee,
"better then yours, what’s up Gore."
"Lorg and Svenity get picked up?"
"Yep, their guild came and got them bout fifteen minutes after you headed up."
"good. Well, load up ladies, this'll most likely be the last time we eat in a restaurant for at least a month."
Asuna and Sakura took seats and got themselves a rather large breakfast of pancakes, bagels, milk for Sakura and Orange juice for Asuna, and some good old fashioned bacon. Tyler pulled out a map sphere. A large ball that showed the current floor, location on said floor and most details like rivers, mountains, roads, faded villages, except for the hidden sex villages of course, and forests. Tyler scrolled through various areas and dropped icon markers every now and then. Kirito watched him do so,
"What's the markers for?"
"Areas I want to hit in the next week or so. I have a pretty good nose for decent looting areas, rare mats, and really odd stuff. One time we found a mountain that I shit you not was a rock penis."
"Seriously. Some of the shit in here really makes me wonder: Just how in the blue hell did they get passed ESRB with a mere M rating? I fucked like eight NPCs at that sex village, and Let me assure you, they spared no detail, regardless of how small."
Kirito choked on his drink at that one.
"Sex Village?"
"That’s a thing?"
"ohhhhhh yeahhhhhh. It's still there if you wanna check it out. Show me your map and I'll highlight it for you."
"Are there more?"
"there’s four to five per floor. But you have to find them, and they are very, VERY well hidden. But it's totally worth it. If you find it first, and beat the village leader, you become village chief. and set the rates of services, what kind of services are offered, get access to all services free of charge, and can basically, set up your own personal wet dream. It lasts for Two IRL months. When I went, I set up shop as chief and turned the place into a five-star spa for little Sakura. She gets pampered to death, while I drowned in racks."
"I will find one."
"Head up, the Village chief is the strongest monster after the floor boss. so plan accordingly. And they are exceedingly hard to find. We explore places most wouldn't dream of setting foot inside and we've only found the one."
"Challenge accepted."
"Good man!"
Both girls were glaring daggers at the two boys, Kirito went white, Tyler just chuckled,
"What? Sakura, don't give me that look. You were in heaven last time. And Asuna? Chill out."
"I guess you don't want to be pampered next time we find one. Too bad."
Sakura was very quick to back track,
"Okay! I'm sorry, just joking!"
"Shut up! I want another spa day!"
Asuna merely hmphed at the betrayal of her fellow woman. Kirito nudged Tyler,
"you have a deathwish, dude."
"yeah what else is new?"
They then both chuckled. The trio finished their meals and headed out, saying a farewell to Kirito as they went. They left the town safezone set off for the far off range. They all ran, for it would level up stamina and agility, and would kill animals that crossed their path. The road they traveled on was padded dirt, and on either side of the thoroughfare was a lush green jungle, this part of the floor being near tropical. Tyler was thankful that humidity and heatstroke were not a thing in Brictally. Well, the humidity was not as bad as IRL, but it was still there. They moved along the road at a decent run, enjoying the peace it brought. Tyler was out in front, Asuna on his left with Sakura on his right. The three friends were chatting as they crossed hill and dale,
"Hey, nice shot Sakura! What'd you get?"
"uhh, a perfect squirrel carcass."
"those suck to collect. Nice."
"Thanks. Hey Asuna, did you upgrade any gear?"
"Not yet, my Rapier is still overleveled by two so I'm good. My armour could do with a refresh though."
"Hey, get Gore to make you a new set. His leatherworking just hit 250 last week, and last I checked, his smithing was.."
"200. I hit 200 the week before that."
"Really? It's that high?"
"Its not really that impressive. skill levels like that go up to a thousand, whereas attack skills don't max out at all."
"Really? that’s hardcore."
"Damn right. If you max out a skill like smithing, then you have WAY too much free time on your hands. If I recall correctly, you get the right to open a shop when you hit skill level 100, and if you max it out, all you really get is a cape."
"that's it?"
"its a troll for those who go that far. But you can't tell anyone. It's meant to be a surprise."
"you're evil."
"That's awesome!"
The trio reached a wide river by the time the sun was directly overhead. The mountains were considerably closer, so Tyler decided to call a fishing break. Sakura smiled as she pulled out rod and line. She cast her line into the slow-moving river, while Asuna started to build a fire. Tyler readied his Blacksteel longbow and a quiver of arrows.
"You guys can do some fishing, I'm gonna do some hunting."
"Be careful."
"You too. remember what happened the LAST time we split like this."
The redhead hmphed, and Sakura giggled while Tyler headed off into the nearby woodland. Tyler was smiling as he moved through the trees like a creeping ghost. He had hit level 21 after that last boss raid and the killings of the attempted ambush party. His total kill count was around 25 now. He moved along a small rock formation, and dropped a large moose he snuck up on with a single shot to the heart. It shattered and he got a perfect moose pelt, some meat, and its large antlers. He was moving on when he found a solitary chest out in the woodland. he swapped to his sword, and approached cautiously,
"Okay, that's not suspicious at all."
The demon opened his massager and sent a quick heads up to the girls,
Hey, heads up, found a chest out here. Possible random event, or trap. I’m a set it off. watch yourselves.
He then went over and kicked it open and jumped back just before the now-tooth filled mouth snapped shut on his foot. The chest stood up and was now eleven feet tall, with green arms and legs, with the chjest itself filled with razor sharp teeth.
"Seriously? A rigged chest? Originality truly has died."
The chest gave a squeaky roar, like if some one blasted a rusty hinge through a megaphone. The creature jumped forward using its long limbs to scratch and grab. Tyler hopped backward and to the side, avoiding the headlong charge, only to get smashed by a hidden tail coming from the chesthead. He was flung backward into a large tree and lost a quarter of his health bar. He got back up and grabbed his sword.
"Okay, now I'm pissed."
He surged forward, and using his supreme agility skills and speed, threaded through the Chesthead’s arms and spun a full circle with a glowing sword skill,
"Dragon Dance."
He finished his circle and braced his feet on the forest floor and leapt up two deliver a heavy two-handed shot to the things chesthead. it recoiled, the first of it's two health bars shattering. Tyler didn't let up, and went for it's spindly legs, slicing clean through one, and bringing the irritating enemy to the ground. Tyler was about to attack again when a thin green outline appeared and the creature regained it's severed limb and it's full health.
"Okay, regen. That’s a decent trick."
This time the creatures limbs were a bright red instead of a puke green. Tyler then knew this was gonna be a slog. The creature was now twice as fast and twice as strong as it charged again. Tyler pivoted around a tree and the creature smashed into it, using the opportunity Tyler slashed the thing's tail a good five times, dealing double flanking damage. It's health bar dropped by a quarter. Tyler sighed, and readied a sword skill, he hopped back and surged forward with the blade in one hand. He then turned a front flip as he brought the sword down with a earthshaking smash.
"Dragon's hammer strike."
The ground cracked a little under the force of the attack, and the creatures health bar was depleted by another half. It was now inside it's last bar. Tyler was getting irritated. The chestthing roared and jumped into the sky, and came back down in a double-fisted smash of it's own. Tyler jumped out of the way, and the shockwave of the impact knocked in into a tree, breaking it. His health bar was now yellow, and still decreasing. Tyler got back to his feet, and his bar stopped depleting. It was now just above the red marker. He felt the urge to pop a potion. The first time this game he felt the need to pop a health potion. So he pulled a small restore and downed it and threw it at the chestbeast. It dodged and Tyler was right there to cleave it down the middle. The creature squealed, then tried to counterattack. But Tyler was done playing around. He charged up his other favorite move, a savage thrust, with a grip reversal and sadistic second strike. He launched the attack, and took the beasts' leg then spinning he jumped up and impaled the beast's chest jaw shut. The beast shuddered then shattered. Tyler stood up, panting. he got 6000DR, 100000EXP....and a mirror. Tyler sighed as he looked at the beasts name.: Pandora's box.
"Well, fuck. guess the mirrors come from these things. They REALLY need to get rid of them. I'll give this one to Asuna."
He popped a full restore and headed back to camp. The girls were sitting around the blazing fire Asuna had made, and both jumped up at his return.
"Hey, took you long enough."
"We felt the tremors from here. The hell happened?"
"I know what drops those mirrors now. Here, Redhead."
He tossed the mirror to Asuna who caught it with a shocked expression on her pretty face. She caught the precious object.
"why me?"
"Lets see how brave you family are when a demon's glaring at them. How long the broadcast last?"
"not sure, at least an hour. They ended it before the timer ran out."
"Then I have an hour to instill the nightmares. Anyone in you family we can trust?"
"My dad. I think. He would take my side sometimes."
"What is sometimes?"
"1 out of every five?"
"Then I'll terrify him too. Did he oppose the marriage?"
"I don't think he knew, or if he did, then he did nothing."
"Understood. So either he's an ignorant ass or a bastard ready to sell his daughter off to the highest bidder. Either way: He is officially on my shit list. Sakura, you ready for this?"
"Good girl."
"Do it Asuna. Lets introduce your new favorite demon."
The trio went inside the tent and placed the mirror on the wall. Asuna put in a password and the mirror flared to life, taking up the whole side of the tent. There was a little static, as if searching for a signal, then the screen blinked and they were looking into a oddly large hospital room. Their view was limited, but they could makeout a very familiar red-haired form laid out on a wide bed, on the far side was a small girl in a similar bed with pink hair. Separating the two girls was a tall boy in the same state.
"What is this?"
"That’s not the same room!"
"Looks like they did something right for once. Nice to get a look at the flesh and blood models."
The two girls looked at him with a look of utter shock, then turned back to the room, where they were laid out beside the motionless body of the demon.
"Wow, you look even scarier like that Gore."
"And you look even cuter Sakura. Asuna is prettier IRL though. I guess pixels is not a good look for you."
Asuna was not listening, she was trying to solve the puzzle before her. She was shaking, and Tyler guessed what was going through her mind.
"Don't worry, they can't touch me or Sakura."
"how can you be sure?"
"because I know who that blob inn the chair is. Watch this: HEY! THE MUFFINS ARE BURNING!"
The blob in the chair promptly fell over and the room was brought to life with a scream. Lights flew on and like fifteen people swarmed around the beds. Tyler sighed,
"hello, idiots, the screen."
The people turned to see Asuna, Sakura with a looming Tyler staring at them. Sakura's eyes started to fill with tears as she recognized a few of the gathered people, while Asuna was floored by a tall man with the same fire hair as hers next to Tyler's bed. Tyler was silently chuckling as the woman he'd scared half to death glared at him. Sakura was hysterical, sobbing heartbrokenly and Tyler had listened to enough of her cries,
"OI! Show some friggin backbone, kid."
He wacked her on the head and it brought her to her senses. She gave him a grateful look and was able to have a normal conversation again. He also gave Asuna a healthy wack as well. Her response was a bit more...lively,
"Hey, the Hell?"
"Get you head outta your ass. Lets get some answers."
Asuna nodded and turned back to the screen.
"Dad? Where's mom and Rick?"
"Rick? Jesus that IS a pedo name"
Her father stepped forward and knelt in front of the camera so they could see him better. Tyler was directly behind Asuna, his gaze like ice as he inspected the man. He was taller then Tyler, with Flame red hair, blue eyes, a pale complexion and a slender build. He gave a hefty sigh as he explained what had happened.
"Well, Sweetie. She's not your mother anymore. And Rick is not your 'fiancé' Anymore either. That scary boy was right. I am an ignorant bastard."
"Called it."
"Shut up!"
"I have my company to run, so I admit I never paid enough attention to what Shiro was doing. She had pretty much sold our little girl to the highest bidder, who happened to have connections with some Paris designer or some bullshit. After Gorell- I mean Tyler's threat and the fear it sparked in the doctors watching, they called me to get answers, since I had not been mentioned they felt I was a safe route. That's the first I heard of your engagement. Rick is thirty-five years old. you're only 16 for chirsts sake. Your mother had a marriage license for you already made and everything. Upon learning this I filed for immeadte divorce, called the police and pulled every string I could to have her rights pulled and her never to be allowed near you again. There’s enough of us here now that there’s always at least two people sitting with the three of you at all times. She can't touch you while you are in there. I promise. I even had you transferred to the same hospital room as that Demon, so he can look after you even after you all get back. If you want him to that is."
"I'mma stop you there, pal. I promised to look after Sakura. I do not recall making that same offer to Asuna as well. Making promises on my behalf is a VERY dangerous pass time."
The man shuddered as the demon confronted him.
"I'm sorry. You're right. And just as scary as the stories say you are. You both have to make the choice."
Just then a middle-aged man and woman tapped Asuna's dad on his shoulder and he let them take the center. Sakura squealed with delight.
"Mammi! Pappi! You're there too?"
The couple pressed their hands against the screen in a vain attempt to hug the little bundle of joy.
"Of course we are, Little Flower. We've been here since we heard. We are so sorry for what happened."
Sakura smiled,
"It's okay. It doesn't bother me anymore. They're not my family anymore."
Tyler placed his hand on her shoulder and she placed hers on his. She then faced her godparents.
"Mammi, Pappi, I'm going to stay with Tyler when we get out. I'm going to be his little sister. And if all of you don't want to die, then just do what he says. It'll hurt a lot less that way."
"oh, our Little Flower. We have good news. When you get out, as I know all three of you will, then you will live with him as his sister at his house. We already made arrangements with Asuna's father for the building as well. So know that you have a future outside that world."
"Made arrangements with her father? Okay, explain."
"yes, daddy. Please."
Her father cleared his throat,
"Since Tyler has been protecting you with his life for so long, and since his singular efforts brought my ex-wife’s horrors to light, this is the very least I can do. If merely maintaining a home for them to return to is the limit of my gratitude, then I have failed. I will repay you somehow."
"I actually have an idea."
"Yes. get in contact with the update devs, and get the to remove the communication mirrors."
"I'm sorry what?"
"Did any of you watch our discussion on them from the other day?"
"We have not no. We must have been asleep. Hey, can we get the recording from last night? set it to about midnight."
"How long have you been recording us?"
"Three hours after the first death."
"I better get a copy. I want to relive that time at the village for a while>"
"Yeah, thanks for giving Sakura a spa day, but for the sake of your IRL groin, I wouldn't recommend a return visit."
"Hey Sakura. Lets hit the spa later today!"
"Yayyyyyyyyyyy! Pampering!"
Her godparents gave him a death glare, and Tyler froze their blood with his own. They then just sighed as they knew they couldn't hope to match this boy. The iRl people then turned to watch the discussions while Sakura sat in Tyler's lap. He wrapped the girl in his arms and just held her, as Asuna stared.
"Want one?"
She blushed, and looked away stammering
"N-no, I-i was just thinking how cute the two of you are together."
"She wants one."
Asuna's ears went bright red as she watched the people finish the recording. They came back and Asuna's father took up spokesmen duties again.
"Well, I agree. The mirrors would most certainly do far more harm then good. I'll get in contact with the dev team on updates, see if they can do anything."
"I don't think they can to be honest. That bastard Vonderland had said it was an integral part of SaS. So I doubt they can do anything. Oh, by the way. Have you launched a investigation into that Rick jackass?"
"Funny you should mention. He was arrested early yesterday morning when he tried to get in the room. The police found him with his pants down next to Little Sakura's bed. Sooo he's not gonna see the outside for a while."
"How far did he get?"
"He didn't touch any of you. The doctors promised us that."
"But he made it in the room?"
There was a dangerous look in his eyes, Sakura was shaking, and Asuna was as well.
"He did-"
"I'm going to break you when I get out."
every single person shivered in the 90 degree hospital room at his words. Tyler was gently stroking Sakura's hair as he glared at the man, her presence like the cat of a evil supervillain, only in this case she was the only thing restraining his rage. Asuna's father gulped visibly be trying to pacify the angry Demon.
"Look, I have armed security at this hospital. I own the place. We have family sitting with your bodies 24/7. It will not happen again. I promise."
"Asuna, If you want, you can stay with me and Sakura when we get out. God know I can protect you a hell of a lot better then they can. Your call."
Asuna then lay back and rested her red-haired head on his lap, right next to Sakura. She held her hand up and he took it, and Sakura did as well,
"Sure. Seems I only feel safe when you're around anyway."
"Sweet. Guess you get to keep your sister Sakura!"
Sakura hopped of Tyler’s lap and hugged her new sister tightly squealing happily the whole time. Asuna's father sighed as he saw the glance shot his way, as if Tyler was daring him to say something. Wisely he did not. Sakura's godparents were smiling, and finally he did as well, the sight of their young ones new family very moving. The only one to not say anything then came forward.
"Hey, brat."
"What you want now?"
"You better take good care or those girls."
"I'll take better care of them then you did me. Then again, that’s a pretty low bar."
His mother sighed,
"You're right. Which is why when you get out, you will stay where you were. You've grown more there in a measly four years then the 12 your spent with us. And keep that firecrotch happy. I want to retire early."
"retire from what, exactly? If anyone’s getting on the gravy train it's me after all the hassle of keeping the chick alive."
"You do realize I can hear you, right?"
"Again, kinda hard not to, since ya know, same tent and all."
"I'm gonna shove this Rapier so far up your ass, you can be my new sword."
"Why go that far? I got a handle you can use anytime."
"I have to actually feel it in my hand for that to work ya know."
"Is that what your last boyfriend said to you? Yeesh, harsh. I mean, you're a board and all but still."
The families all couldn't believe their ears at the dirty banter.
"At least she got someone IRL, all you got were pixels!"
"true. but they were busty as hell! Must suck knowing that even a computer has better tits then both of you combined!"
"Must suck that A computer has a bigger cock!"
"Wow, Asuna, and here I thought you were a classy lady. Didn't know you paid a visit to such a place. How much it cost you?"
She flushed a deep crimson and replied with a shrill scream<
"I didn't pay a thing!"
"Wow, they must have been pretty desperate to show off if they paid you just to show off."
"They didn't pay me!"
"So you did it for free? Come on, have some self respect girl!"
Sakura was laughing so hard she couldn't breathe, and Asuna was nearly purple with rage as she lost the verbal chess match. Asuna's father was also laughing too, and Tyler's mother at that. He noticed.
"Hey, could you to please not like each other? Last thing I need to worry about is waking up to find out I banged my sister."
Little Sakura spoke a single word in such a disappointed voice,
Everyone lost it at Tyler's dumbstruck expression, even Asuna was dying of laughter. he was sitting there with his mouth still open and a hand raised in the air. He seemed to be the personification of File.Exe has stopped functioning. Little Sakura had a look of disappointment on her cute face. Tyler then turned to Asuna,
"Um, okay. I think we might be a bad influence on her."
Asuna was in tears, her father was in tears, his mother too, Sakura's godparents were also losing it in spite of themselves. Tyler sighed knowing he'd won the battle but lost the war. He let them have it, before asking Sakura's God parents a question. They had started to recover when he asked,
"Are her family still alive?"
The mood soured. Her godparents sighed but answered truthfully,
"yes, all of them are."
"Can you tell me where?"
Sakura spoke up,
"He'll find them eventually, so if you just tell him, it'll make his life easier."
"But Flower, Do you WANT to see them again?"
"I want him to kill them."
Silence. Sakura went on with an explanation,
"As long as they live, I won't get to have my big brother. When we get out, they'd fight our living together tooth and nail. So we'll remove them. Well, Tyler will. He's gonna kill them with or without your help. So lets hurry this up. we got a lot more important things to do."
Tyler rubbed Sakura's pink head,
"You know I'm not a hitman. But I will make an exception only this once. I promised to protect you. I also promised to find you IRL. I have accomplished this goal. Now I make a new one. I will remove any and all threats that seek to keep our family apart. So the ones who had abandoned you must vanish."
She hugged the demon,
"Thank you."
Tyler the faced the uncomfortably shifting couple.
"where are they?"
"I said, WHERE ARE THEY?!!"
His sudden bellow startling everyone in the room. Still no answer.
"Fuck it, I'll find them myself. I know who to ask."
They both exchanged a look. Tyler was typing a message to Gabol to spread to the player base<
hey, Gabol. I need information on some players. They hurt Sakura. I need locations. They are: SAKIMOON, MIAKI, SHINRAME, and MYUKA. I'll owe you a favor and 100mDR if you can find them. Tell the player base They are enemies of the Demon Goreleech. That should be enough. I'm counting on you.
Tyler hit send and turned back to the couple.
"There, you won't have any blood on your precious hands. I should find them by weeks end. They'll die shortly after that."
The couple exchanged troubled looks, But Sakura gave a little squeal,
"They'll die! Yayyyyy! Then I can keep my brother! yippeeeee!"
Tyler smiled as he gave his precious little companion a large hug. Asuna, along with everyone else were more then a little disturbed, but seeing the girl's smile as she hugged him discouraged any form of argument. Tyler then noticed a timer on the screen ticking down from 120,
"Well, we got to roll. We got work to do. So enjoy the show. Ladies, say bye."
Sakura waved goodbye from her perch on his lap. Asuna also said farewell.
"Bye, Mammi, Byer Pappi!"
"Bye Daddy. I'll be fine."
The screen went blank and the mirror shattered. Sakura then climbed out of his lap, and laid on her back in the tent. she went spread eagled and fell right asleep, drained from the emotional toil. Tyler merely opened his UI and started scroll through some mats for A new Rapier he had planned for Asuna. As for the fiery red head, she had drawn her weapon and was staring into the blade, as if for an answer to some internal question
"You okay?"
She kept staring at her sword,
"I don't know right now."
"Just to be clear, suicide is not an option in my tent."
She looked up shocked for a moment then sheathed her blade and laid back as well, staring at the tent roof.
"Get your marbles back, we ain't going anywhere for a bit."
She looked at the Demon,
"Is that alright?"
"You seem to have something to think about, sakura is completely drained, and I'm also drained from killing that chestbeast. We can kill a day or two here. We're safe enough here, the closest town is a good four day journey away. Plus I think we could use a day to get our heads back on straight."
Asuna sighed
"so that’s the one they call Demon? he really is scary."
"Intimidating isn't he?"
"Yep, and did you see how Sakura clung to him? I think seperation would traumatize her."
"And be a death sentence for the rest of us. That kid scares me."
"Yep, but that’s the kind of person required to save someone just by yelling at a screen. I will do everything in my power to make sure they stay together. he saved my Asuna when I should have. I can never do enough to show my gratitude. Ma'am you raised a splendid young man."
"i didn't raise him. He more or less raised himself. I had his sister a year later. I was eighteen when he was born. I just pray he never finds out she’s in there too."
"Do they have problems?"
"He hates her more fiercely then nearly any other person, so if he finds her,"
"He'll kill her without question."
"or hesitation."
"Yep. You may think he’s a splendid young man, but that little pink cutie hit the nail on the head. He is NOT a good person deep down. He is truly a monster. Remember that. And remember this: He is not trapped in there with the other players and monsters."
There was a collective shiver as the woman finished her statement,
"They are trapped in there with him."
Tyler was sorting through their unexpectedly large collection of pelts, furs, and hides. He was finding that a good majority of them were now useless. They couldn't even be used for cosmetic aesthetics either. The Boar hides were now useless, same with the entirety of the first floor animal hides. He looked to Asuna, who was still flat on her back lost in thought, and to little Sakura who was still unconscious. He sighed, and moved the items to a new sorting UI to be discussed properly as a team. He also needed to double check their own UI's and see fi the mats were totally useless. If so, then they would have to start collecting hard again. He then began double checking all their crafting mats. Asuna watched the boy as he went over their supplies. She saw his glance at her and ar Sakura, and the gears turning like he was thinking of something. Whatever it was, it most likely meant either another trip into the deep wilds, a trip to a very dangerous place, or a trip someplace completely random and out of the blue. She watched as he sighed then began to sift through the mountains of mats they had amassed. She ran over their conversation with the families again, and tried to process the fact that Shiro was no longer her mother. Tyler's threat had seen to that. On top of it, her parents had also divorced, and Rick was now a soon-to-be-convicted child molester. And her mother had tried to marry her off to him just to further her own career. She had known about the pedo's tastes, there's no way she didn't. So it just made the redhead want to cry that her own mother could be so selfishly cruel. Asuna had always known her mother's career was the most important thing in her life, even before her own daughter. She had been working even as she went into labor, and was making business deals from the recovery bed. The mother had paused long enough to give her daughter a name and passed her off to a wet nurse they hired to raise the girl. Asuna hadn't even met her mother till she was 4, and old enough to do things on her own, like model clothes for her mother. Her father had entrusted his daughter's welfare to his wife, and focused his energies on supporting them, even if they were very well off on Shiro's earnings alone. In fact, the income of one Parent alone was enough to afford extravagance, two just pushed them even further up the chain. Asuna was more of a living growing mannequin for her mother then an actual person. And now she was free of her altogether. And Tyler was the one to thank. He had dropped what he was doing and raced to her side when she had called for his help. He had known exactly what to do, from the very moment he started to ask her what happened to his intimidating response. He had saved her, again and again, without asking for a reward even once. Even offering to teach her his ways so she wouldn't have to depend on his strength so completely. He had been there, even after she had been so nasty to him the last time they had been face to face. He'd though of her with the first mirror, and the came to fix the damage it had caused. He had made a mistake and he fixed it. All for her. Then she had agreed to live with him and Sakura when they got out as a family. She hadn't even stopped to think about it, she just accepted his offer. She was the reminded of something she'd said to him as a joke once,
"If YOU'RE the one stalking me then at least I'd know I was safe."
His response flooded into her mind,
"You're under a guardian demon's wing. You and Little sakura."
It was more true that she had wanted to admit. He made her feel safe and protected in a way she had never felt before. She got up and hugged the boy as tightly as she could,
"Thank you."
"No problem."
He knew what she meant, and just stroked her long hair,
"I like your IRL hair better."
"Thanks. You looked just as scary."
"And Sakura was even cuter somehow."
"That she was."
"You okay now, Asuna?"
She pulled back and looked into his eyes, then she leaned in and kissed him on the cheek, before siting back down.

"I am now."
"Glad to hear it. I hope you know I got your back. Always."
She smiled with such happiness, and with a teary look on her face, That Tyler felt butterflies in his stomach, a most strange sensation for the one called Demon. She then wiped her face and when she looked back at him, the fire in her eyes he admired so much was blazing merrily.
"So, what you working on?"
"I'm double checking our crafting mats. It seems that nearly everything from floor one is virtually useless to us now. I can't even make stuff look good anymore with it."
"That bad?"
"Yep, I was gonna ask to check you Invy too, and Sakura's. If the whole floor is useless, then we got a helluva lotta crap to sell. ANd a fuckton more grinding to do. I wanted to have a guild meeting and see if you have any uses for the mats before we sell them."
Asuna pulled her UI up and shoved it over to Tyler, who began scrolling,
"I think we can keep the foodstuffs, like meat and herbs. I was experimenting with the games spice generator back at Bloodoath, so I'd like to keep at it."
"What were you able to make?"
"I got as far as mayonnaise, then the orb showed up."
"Interesting. But I got a single question."
"Can you make Ketchup?"
"Ahh, yeaaahh. That was the very first thing I perfected."
"Asuna, Marry me."
She froze at the remark, it was clearly sarcasm, but it still caught her off guard as she had no response planned. She was silent for a few seconds as she regained herself, which raised a flag in his mind, he'd have to pay more attention if she was thinking along THOSE lines.
"I'm flattered, but I don't think I can marry someone who's only interested in my ketchup skills."
"Oof, there goes my first proposal, oh how will my heart recover?"
"What heart?"
"Fair point."
They laughed quietly, so as to not disturb Sakura. Asuna had been joking but, the thought of marrying the scary boy, which she would've laughed at, now was a far more reasonable request now that she had seen him fight for her like he had. She would have to sort her head out though, before she could ever hope to answer that question.
"So, how’s it looking? Any mats we can save?"
"Not looking good."
"Alright. We'll double check with Sakura when she comes to. In the mean time get some rest Asuna. You look dead."
Asuna then felt just how drained she was, but she looked at the just as tired boy,
"What about you?"
He held a stamina potion up,
"I can go for another three days using these. You get some rest, I'll stand guard."
"Are you sure?"
"Did I stutter?"
She sighed and laid beside the slumbering Sakura. She knew he'd stand guard fro days if it came to it. So she just accepted it and snuggled the warm girl As she did so, a large soft skin blanket was draped over them, and She saw Tyler retake his spot against the tent pole.
"G'night Asuna."
She drifted of to sleep under the watchful protection of the Demon.
Tyler smiled as she drifted off. She had been through a lot in a span of a few hours. He sighed and returned to his work. He was just finishing up his sorting of their mats when a message appear on his HUD, from Gabol.
Gore, I found them, they currently live in briyack on floor 4. From what I can gather, everybody hates them, their mean nasty and act like they're better then everyone else. It seems they heard about your relationship with Sakura and have been talking shit about you. Like calling you pedophile, and kidnapper. They smear mud on Sakura too, calling her a slut and whore and deserter. I don't know what you want with them and I don't want to. But if they suddenly were to disappear, I know no one would lose sleep. So that’s all I got.
Thanks a lot Gabol. I owe you big time. Cash is in the orb. get yourself a better shop for when Sakura visits next.
Tyler loaded the 100mil into the gift orb and sent it on it's way with the message. As it teleported out, Sakura stirred, wakened by the light.
"Sorry, Saki, I didn't wake you did I?"
"Not really. What was that orb?"
he sighed, but told her, since he didn't keep secrets from her, nor did he lie to her.
"Gabol found your old family. I was sending him the reward. Apparently they been talking mad shit about us. You know what that means."
"They drew the Demon's gaze. Now they scream."
"Right. Are you okay with this? You know what will happen when I catch up to them."
"You'll kill them."
"Yeah, you okay with that?"
"I wanted to ask you to kill them for a while now, but I didn't want to make more work for you."
Tyler rested his head beside Sakura's and looked her in the eye,
"you can always ask me. For anything. Never assume you're making more work for me or that you're a burden. If it's something important to you, I will make it happen. Okay?"
He took her hand in his and she smiled,
"I guess I forgot that lesson. Its not all what you want, I get to have stuff too."
"As long as you truly want it, I will always help you get it."
She pressed his hand against her chest and he could feel her heartbeat, and cuddled his arm. She dozed back off like that. He smiled and laid beside her. He stayed like that for a good 7 hours, just listening to the girls soft breathing. He had got a response thanking him for the money, and a minor retort. Tyler had paid the large sum of money no mind, since they made so much more on a regular basis anyway. He had basically spent ten years salary to find a group to kill, all for the small sleeping girl on his arm. He was about to open a map screen and view the town of Briyack when Asuna woke up. She sat up yawning, she stretched and looked over to see Tyler scrolling on a map with one arm, his other firmly gripped by a still sleeping Sakura. She smiled and watched as he zoomed in on a town on the 4th floor called Briyack. He then started to memorize the town's layout. That only meant one thing.
"You found them?"
He looked to see the fiery redhead watching him,
"Yep. Sounds like they been saying some nasty things about sakura and me down those parts."
"You gonna pay a visit?"
"Yep. Them talking about me doesn't bother me. But they were especially cruel to Sakura. So the Demon has their scent."
"I don't think I've been to that town."
"I have. Once. I passed through in the beta when I first raided the dragon nest three days from there. I remember it being a beach town, so craft a swimsuit if you don't already have one."
"If I don't you'll make one for me?"
"If you ask nicely, and let me see your measurements, then I can make you something nice."
"Ha. Maybe, depends."
"What materials were you going to use?"
"Well, I was thinking Fire dragon leather, with a chinchilla fur inside, and a ice drake wing membrane for the straps, and the scales of a sea king for waterproofing. The pattern would be a fiery red bikini top, with a red and white stripped bottom. Sound good?"
"Actually it sounds awesome. I'll let you see my measurements on one condition."
"This should be good, what is it?"
"Kill her family."
"Fair enough. Never thought you would condone premeditated murder like that but hey, progress in all it's forms."
"I want that girl to be happy, and I know firsthand what happens when you betrayed by someone you're supposed to trust."
"I hear that. Though to be honest, I already know your measurements."
She blushed hard,
"I've seen your UI remember? Quite a few times actually, I just never really cared. Seriously you can stop blushing now, you've seen my measurements and I never blushed or got flustered."
She just blushed harder as she remembered his own measurements which for some reason had stuck in her mind. As Tyler was about to have Asuna reopen her Ui so he could get her bikini right, Sakura woke up with a massive yawn.
"Mornin, Saki. Great timing."
"Mornin, why, what’s up?"
"we're gonna go to the beach, so suit up!"
"Yep, we also have a family visit planned so I want you to wear that dragon cloak again, Asuna here, I made one for you too."
He tossed the distinctive girl a black leather cloak like the one they had worn to the meeting.
"I'll make your bikini when we get there. I'm sure we can find a nice hidden spot for you to try it on."
"He's making you a bikini? Lucky! Trust me, it'll feel better then anything you have ever worn."
"I can't wait to test him."
"Alright ladies, lets break camp and roll out."
The trio broke their camp and jumped to the main hub then made the leap to Briyack. They had thrown their hoods up to hide their faces and nameplates so their prey wouldn't escape. The seaside town of Briyack was a large beach resort in a huge semi circle on the shore. It hugged the white sandy beaches like a lip on teeth. The town was a large collection of wooden huts, and some were even floating on the water. The resort was a luxury getaway for the extremely wealthy players, so there was a rather stuck-up feel to the players living there. The cheapest house cost around 50mil DR, with the most expensive being 150mil DR. Tyler smiled as his party stepped of the teleporter platform. They got many sneering looks and snorts. Tyler paid them no heed, and instead began to track his prey. He walked up to a player wearing a solid gold armour set.
"Hey, I'm looking for a few Players, sakimoon, Shinrame, Myaki, and Myruki. Ring any bells?"
"Hmph I have nothing to say to peons."
Tyler grabbed the snob by his throat and lifted him off his feet with his left hand,
"How bout now?"
"They're at the restaurant! Don't hurt me!"
"Thanks for the info,"
Tyler tossed the guy over his shoulder like he was just a sack of potatoes. The guy flew a good thirty feet and splashed into a fountain. he came up to find the three hooded figures moving towards the restaurant.
"What the hell are they?"
Tyler and his friends found the ristorante in question and entered. It was an open air luxury sea0food restaurant catering to the extremely rich. The center was a circle grill with a Player making the meals while the guests watched. The decor was impeccable, clean wooden chairs made from redwood, cloths of the purest white, four sets of silverware per plate. A two inch thick carpet of crimson color. This particular restaurant was entirely player owned and run, so the wait staff were all people. That made Tyler's job that much easier. He asked Sakura to his right<
"Any familiar faces?"
"Not yet."
"Keep looking. If they're not here, well, we beat feet to find them."
"Can we get some food?"
"Business first, the you can get pampered, deal?"
"You two are really spoiled you know?"
"Only cause you spoil us so well!"
"That so? well, I just remembered a large cave in the frozen north of flor six that was a rather large supply of crystalline ingots, and their guarded by frost slimes. Once we're done with the visit, we'll hit up. Since I spoiled you rotten, I got get you back to work!"
"Okay, fair point."
"we'll be good."
"That’s better. Hey, that chicks got pink hair, you know her?"
"Yep, that’s my sister Sakimoon, she is the favorite of the family, her boobs are big, she's nasty to everyone, and does whatever they want."
"Well, lets get them to start to sweat. Shame about the uniform though, I kinda dig the whole gothic Lolita thing."
"it is cute."
"well, at least someone here can appreciate the finer things. Asuna If you like I can make you one."
"No thank you. I think id' look better on Sakura anyway."
"We can play dress up later. And I agree>"
Sakura gave an indignant squeak at the now grinning duo. Her noise caught the ear from the pink haired lady picking up some dishes off the table. The unexpected sound causing her to drop the plate and it shattered on the with a loud crash. Seconds later a man in a chefs hat came out yelling,
"That's my dad. He thinks that if he didn't come up with the idea it sucks. He also regards me as a failure. That older pink haired lady behind him is my mother, she sees the world as it made for her and no one else. If she doesn't get her way, then she make sure no one else does. That guy with the blonde hair is my brother. he's like a combination of my mother and father, he is also the one who hit me with the hammer when the doors closed. Looks like that’s everyone. Wanna introduce yourself Big Brother?"
Tyler did not respond and instead strode over to the now bickering group. They were screaming at the pink haired girl for breaking a single plate<
"That plates coming out of your pay!"
"I'm sorry! I thought I heard Sakura's voice in the dining room!"
"Why would that little whore be here? She hasn't sucked enough cocks to even dream of see inside here! You were just lazy! That bitch is off right now fuck-"
"You know, keep talking and your deaths will be just that much longer."
The nasty family stopped their bickering to see the cloaked figure approaching them, he stepped on a clean plate and shattered it as he reached them As this disaster the man in the hat started to scream at the clacked Demon, completely red in the face,
"Do you know how much that cost you penniless fuck? I will have you strung up and beaten to death just to recoup maybe a third of that plate@!"
"I'd love to see you try. Wouldn't you Asuna?"
Asuna threw her hood down and her long beautiful hair spilled out, her features stunning the ranting prick and his brood. She gave a disgusted look as she replied,
"I very much would. I doubt they could even scratch you. what do you think Sakura?"
This bombshell made the pink haired girl laugh with triumph, not comprehending what the name drop meant.
"She daddy? I told you I heard her voice!"
"Seriously, Sakimoon? You fucktards wouldn't even be able to TOUCH Gore, let alone actually scratch him."
Sakura threw her own hood down and unequipped it so her full outfit could be seen, Asuna did as well. There was a loud gasp at Asuna's radiant beauty, and a collective awwww at Sakura's sheer cuteness. The other patrons were enjoying the appearances of the two lovely ladies, until one guy realized something,
"Wait, If Sakura's here then that guy in the cloak.."
"Oh shit."
"It's the Demon."
"The Demon is here."
The entire restaurant became filled with scared whispers. They only intensified when Tyler reached up slowly and grabbed his cloak and removed it with a flourish, it returning to his inventory with a flash. His now infamous red Jacket and iconic look marking him for who he was. The family of snobs were absolutely flabbergasted, until the pompous ass that was the father tried to ingratiate himself to the Demon,
"My apologies, sir. I thought you a mere peasant. Come let me serve our finest food, free as an apology for looking after our worthless failure of a daught-"smashhhhh
Tyler had hit the man in the chest and sent him into a large stone wall, cracking the stone withb the impact. The man slid down and his health bar dropped to the red. His family raced to his side. he tried to get up, only to freeze when The Demon drew his sword and began to approach him,
"You made my sister cry. You left her to die. You hit her with a hammer. You have been insulting her for far too long. You and them die this day."
His words slammed from his mouth like hammer on iron. The man raised his hand to try and protect himself. Realizing that was useless he shoved his wife at the approaching demon. She was hysterical at his betrayal and tried to swing a stool at the Sword-carrying monster, only to be cut in half ad shattered. Tyler stepped forward, as the family wailed, the now-widowed husband shoved his son forward this time, all to save his own life. His son had a small Warhammer and hit Tyler in the chest. Tyler stopped, looked down and looked at the terrified speechless boy.
"My sister hits harder."
"He beheaded the boy, shattering him. He resumed his death march. The last sister ran for the exit rather then be executed by the Demon, only for Sakura to appear before her and boot her back to her fate. Tyler slashed the girl and shattered her too. The man was sobbing begging for his life,
"Please great one! Spare me! I’ll give you anything! The restaurant, all my money, everything, just please don't kill me!"
"I already have my everything."
He smashed the man's head with his boot. He shattered and the went over to the console that handled shop ownership. He then contacted Gabol.
Hey, I got a business proposition for you in Briyack. Hurry over and I'll show you."
This sounds interesting, be right there.
Tyler waited for the big guy, as he did so, he paid for the store damages, which caused the broken pieces to revert back to normal. Gabol arrived soon after and approached,
"Hey, Gore, what brings you to this stuck up place?"
"I found you I was looking for. Now this restaurant’s up for grabs. I'll foot the upfront costs, and we can share profits. Sound good?"
the big man's eyes went wide as he considered his words. But then he also weighed the deal before him,
"Why would you want a stake in a place like this?"
"For the girls. I'm planning on setting up a temporary base of operations here. Until we hit floor 45 and I can get my house back of course. Plus, if you run this place, a greater number of players can enjoy the food. It supposed to be fully player run, but you can buy NPC's to staff the place. I'll pay for those too."
"So you're gonna drop a fortune on this place, just to give the ladies free access to the resort? I have to help now!"
Tyler transferred the required funds to Gabol, a full 200milDR, and he made the purchase. Tyler then smiled and he took his two friends to his favorite cabin he stayed in during the beta.
"Well. He found them>"
"Yep. He did."
The bodies of the family being hauled out on gurneys, the results of the demon's wrath.
"He killed them without hesitating, and them being defenseless. They were no threat to him, and yet."
"He went out of his way just to kill them. All because he doesn't want to lose Sakura."
"Yep, They wouldn't have been able to really to anything to stop them from being together, and yet he still killed them."
"He removed a potential threat before it could become a threat. That kids scary."
"Just how far is he willing to go for her?"
"I don't think we want that question answered."
"so this was my favorite cabin back in the beta. awesome right?"
The small hut was the furthest out from shore, a solid 200m. The waters surrounding the floating domicile were a beautiful shade of blue-green. The hut itself was an open concept with three levels. Two above sea level, and a rather large one set beneath the waves. The rooms above sea level included the baths, which were looked right out the side off the building at the sunset, a large kitchen fully stocked with anything you could want to cook with. Guests could order ingredients or bring their own. There was a large living area with a circular-style couch that one had to climb into, but was insanely comfy, a small massage parlor with customizable NPCs and services rendered, A large deck that wrapped around the hut from one side of the single wrap around dock to the other. The second floor was more of the first, but with better views of the oceans and beaches. But it was the floor underneath the waters that was truly special. The entire floor was encased in clearer the crystal glass, and the marine life would even swim right through the room as if still in the waves. The rooms all had this feature, even the bedrooms. which were underwater. Players could walk through the invisible barrier at will and swim, then return to the floor as dry as when they went out. All three floors were lit with magic crystals, and the colors could be altered from a central console, there was a massive firepit set in the center of the room, and could also be set to give off different scents, from burning pine, to the scent of baking cookies. The beds were large enough to hold five people easily, even though the official capacity was a mere four people. Tyler smirked as the girls minds were blown.
"Well, thoughts?"
Asuna turned and had stars in her eyes had such a place,
"Its beautiful!."
Sakura was right there with her.
"It's amazing! You stayed here during the beta?"
"Yeah. I mean, I designed it."
Their jaws dropped,
"There was a competition near the beginning to design a set of four player homes, a beach resort, a sex village, a city, and a boss. we got to bounce concepts for each category. I won the top spot in player homes, beach resort, and a boss. This resort is my idea, right down to that restaurant being player run. My name's also on a boss on floor 15. But my crown jewel is the player home up on 45. If you look at the all UI's in this resort, my name is the credited creator. It was kinda bullshit that I got chosen three times. I think I may or may not have been given preferential treatment due to my reputation as a monster. It's also kinda hilarious that I lost the sex village design competition."
Asuna was blown away by his dismissal of the achievements.
"What else did you come up with?"
"Well lets see. That idiots blood entrance was a boss intro, the anti milking system and area cooldown timers, that playerhome, this resort, two bosses, the challenge system, and I think that about covers it. At least those are the ideas they ran with, but they may have taken more. We've only made it to the sixth floor, and there’s 150, so I bet they ripped a whole bunch more of my ideas off."
Sakura had heard this before, so she had wandered downstairs to the underwater section. She was instantly mesmerized by the fish swimming in and out of the floor at will. But then she noticed a rather large shape coming towards her and screamed,
"That’s Sakura!"
The pair flew down the stairs to find a massive great white shark swimming casually through the room's wall, then lazily move through the firepit, and out the other side of the room. Sakura was on the floor petrified of the massive marine monster. Asuna raced over to the paled-faced girl, Tyler breathed a sigh of relief.
"I'm sorry, I forgot to warn you that happens from time to time."
"A shark swimming through your living room?"
"Ah, yeah. This is what makes this hut special. The sea life passes through like this is still the oceans, and check this out."
Tyler walked over and jumped through the barrier and was instantly underwater, he waved as he swam in his full outfit around the coral reef on the bottom of the seafloor, the denizens of the deep paying him no mind. There were sea ammonites, miles of multi-colored coral, clownfish, eels, various sharks, a few massive manta rays, lionfish, and basically any other reef dweller you could imagine. the girls were hypnotized by the sheer beauty of the scene before them. Tyler was smiling as had swam back to the barrier and pressed right through. He then pounced on little Sakura with a bearhug, making her squeal,
"Hey! I don't wanna get wet!"
"Are you wet?"
She was lifted up and hugged tighter,
"Wait, I'm not. What 's the deal?"
"A feature, that instadries any players that pass through. Here, watch."
He put her down and ran back upstairs. There was a splash and he was seen swimming down to the barrier again, and passed through dry on the other side. He smiled and went back to Sakura and Asuna.
"Remember, video games. Logic has no place here. Again, check it."
A manta ray was passing through the room and Tyler grabbed it's fin and held it in place for the girls to touch. The ray still flapping it's wings like it was still moving, and not being held by the wing. The girls were amazed at it's rough skin. Tyler released the fin and it swam away, completely unfazed. Tyler laughed at their expressions,
"We can try it with a shark next time, if you want. I kinda wanna pet that big guy."
"No thanks."
"yeah, hard pass."
"Your loss."
The girls stared incredulous at their either insane or stupid friend. Then Asuna had a question,
"How long we staying here?"
"Um, I'm thinking a week?"
"Sure that’s fine....WAIT A WEEK?"
"Sure, why not? I own this cabin so might as well have a mini vacation. I've kinda gotten tired of the road, and that battle with the chestbeast kinda sapped my thirst for battle for awhile."
The girls then exchanged a look of concern,
"Tyler, are you feeling alright?"
"Umm, I feel fine. why you ask?"
"because even at the sex village, we only stayed a single night. Yet you want to spend a full week here?"
"Ah, yeah. This place is for recharging batteries, that village is for emptying tanks. Plus, I want a break. Seriously, guys, even I want a vacation every now and again."
"Who are you and what have you done with Goreleech?”
“He NEVER takes a vacation!”
Tyler smirked.
“Well, enjoy it. Because after this week, well, we won’t see another town or village for at least another month. Plus, that mountain range has dragons, so we’ll head up there for their scales. And a further point? It’s cold up there.”
Sakura and Asuna gulped.
“Yay! Vacation!”
That got a laugh as he unequipped his coat and sat on a couch looking at the under sea life. Asuna headed upstairs to partake of the massage functions, as Sakura curled up beside him on the couch and rested her head on his lap. He smiled as he stroked her pink hair. He opened his UI and was looking at some mats for Sakura’s swimsuit when she rolled onto her back to look at him.
“Thanks for killing them.”
She smiled as he rubbed her cheek.
“We’ll be together now, Sakura. Plus, well, I think I made my point to them.”
She giggled as she hugged the wolf fur scarf he’d made her the first day they’d been together.
“Like a good big brother should!”
HE smiled fondly as he looked to the interface.
She thought for a moment.
“Two piece!”
“Red and blue!”
HE used some red drakeskin with a rare blue drakeskin with chinchilla linings. The thing had a frilly top with a bottom that had a frill skirt along the waist band. Sakura giggling the whole time as he finished it, and she equipped it when he gave it to her. It was mere clothing, and provided no stat boosts, but it made Sakura look sexy and cute as well. She hugged him tightly when she saw how it looked.
“I love it!”
“Go show off to Asuna.”
She sprinted off up the stairs as Tyler made himself a simple pair of black trunks from some bear leather and equipped them before swinging fully onto the couch and resting his head on the arm rest as twenty five foot white shark swam just above his face. He smiled as the thing went by.
“Nice to see Jaws was included.”
He closed his eyes and dozed off as a happy squeal was heard from upstairs.

Tyler next opened his eyes to a loud splash from outside the room he was in. HE looked to see Sakura was swimming along the reef in her new swimsuit getting a load of her first tropical reef. He smiled at the sight, and then felt a weight on his chest. He looked to see Asuna had returned from her massage to sleep on his arm on the two person wide couch. Her fiery red haired head resting on his chest as she breathed deeply in sleep. She was still in her red and white outfit from the blood oath guild, only she had removed her over coat, leaving her in a shoulderless and backless gown-like thing. He smiled as he looked back to see Sakura paddling around under the waves outside the barrier. He’d trained her diving skills, so she could remain underwater for at least two full hours. The pink haired girl was clearly loving her dive, if the smile on her face was anything to go by. He waved at her as she swam by, and she pulled a cute underwater flip like a dolphin as she waved back. That was cute as hell. He was smiling as Asuna twitched in her sleep, and lifted her head. She yawned sleepily as she looked around, as if unsure where she was.
“Hiya, sleep well?”
She looked over to see Tyler smiling at her, and she blushed as she realized the situation.
“What your new swimsuit too?”
She sat up and smiled as she pulled her UI up.
“Please. I’d like to go swimming.”
He pulled up his crafting UI and set the mats to work with. Asuna blushed again as he looked at her body measurements closely now, as he crafted her bikini. He used the wing membranes of the ice drake for the straps, and they were even wing shaped. The cups were fire dragon with a swirling pattern around the outside that seemed to spiral as you looked at them. The spirals also made them look bigger then they were when viewed as well. A point Asuna noticed with a secret smile as he used chinchilla fur for the inside. The bottoms got a fire dragon pattern that made it look like scales of fire were covering her, with winged strings and a chinchilla lining. HE finished it and she equipped it soon as she got it. She stood and looked in a nearby mirror. He laid back down.
“Am I good or what?”
She laughed as she looked at how her bust seemed a good half cup bigger now.
“My mom would be PISSED if she saw how good this looks.”
“Should see me when I WANT to make a girl look good. That was just for fun.”
She seemed a little surprised.
“I knew you made Sakura’s outfits, but I didn’t know you found it fun.”
“I do. I like making things. It’s why I preferred the crafting trees. I suck at it IRL, but in here? Well, we ever have to attend a ball or dance or some other fancy bullshit, I’ll make you REALLY pop.”
Asuna looked back at her new bikini.
“Now I kinda wanna see it. Thanks. It looks beautiful and feels amazing.”
“Now go get wet. You need to wash that playdate with that poor masseuse off.”
“And I was about to LIKE you.”
He chuckled as she walked through the barrier to join Sakura in her underwater play. He then pulled up his UI again to look over a project he’d begun working on in secret for Sakura, a beautiful pink gown with frills, flowers, and a pattern of wings and wolves. He would use rare materials for it, but he was looking forward to seeing her mind break from the surprise. As it was, however, ne needed materials from floors 8 and up before he could get down to it. For now, he was just messing with different designs. He closed it and looked at how his build for Asuna’s new Rapier was coming along. So far, he had a good majority of the things he needed to make a truly badass weapon for the fiery red head. HE was using some red steel from their current floor, some white dragon scales for the guard, some high grade leather for the grip, and the only piece he was currently missing was an ingot of the crystallite dragon mini boss that lived in the nearby mountain. HE smiled as he looked forward to that fight, as in the beta that dragon had been a favorite fight of his. He closed the schematic and looked at the sheer number of useless mats in the to-be-sold tab. He sighed and got up.
“Might as well.”
HE looked to see the two girls swimming towards the barrier. He waited till they were on their feet to give the heads up.
“Hand the useless mats over and I’ll go dump em off.”
They smiled as they did.
“Have fun scaring them shitless.”
“what she said.”
“Sure. You two go play with each other.”
They BOTH blushed hard at that. Tyler just laughed.
“If THAT’S the kinda play you’re thinking, well, now I’m curious.”
Sakura bawled as Asuna bristled.
“I am NOT a lesbian!”
Tyler tilted his head as he put his gear back on.
“I didn’t say you were. Hell, I didn’t even MENTION that. Got something to work out there Asuna?”
Asuna gave off steam from how angry she was, as Sakura suddenly became thoughtful.
“Ya know, her masseuse WAS a tall blonde with big boobs. She was naked too.”
Tyler just smiled as Asuna had a look of humiliation at this betrayal.
“Whatever floats your boat Asuna. I’ll go do some selling now.”
He left the now fighting a war behind her eyes Asuna with a giggling Sakura. He headed out the door and walked along the floating dock to the shore and shops. The hut was his own creation, and such was a prefect safe zone for the girls. He headed up the stairs passing people getting the fuck out of his way as his blood red coat was know throughout the playerbase and a dead giveaway. He spotted a vendor shop and strolled inside, nearly giving the blue haired lady behind the counter in the smith apron a heart attack. She was shaking as he approached.
“Hi, Demon. Welcome to my shop. How can I help you?”
“Looking to empty my inventory.”
She blinked and they opened a trade window. She gasped at the thousands upon thousands of mats, weapons, gear and other items he was selling.
“So you know, the price is not up for debate. I don’t have the time nor the patience for haggling.”
She gulped.
“Very well.”
She hit accept and he walked away 2.4 million Droy richer. The lady breathed a hefty sigh of relief the demon just left. Then she looked at her new inventory.
“I’ll send these to my sister.”

Tyler was on his way back to the girls at the hut, as he had no further reason to be in town. He walked in and found Asuna making something in the kitchen as Sakura was looking at the center console. Both girls in their swimsuits. He swapped into his trunks and went to sit on the circle couch he’d slept on more then the actual beds in the hut. HE settled down as Sakura came over with a small scale version of the hut UI to lay beside him on the cushion. She smiled as she pointed to a feature.
“why’s this blank?”
Tyler took it and looked at it.
“Huh, if I remember right, this would allow you to watch IRL TV on any wall in the place. Or, if you get flat, the ceilings. Hey, I wonder.”
He took it and scrolled to another button that said saved shows. He pressed it, and a massive list of thousands of shows were seen. He laughed.
“Ha! I KNEW that was a good idea!”
Sakura was curious.
“What are they?”
“Along with my music, I also ripped the entirety of my anime and movie collection onto my helmet to watch here or my place on 45. Since I WAS going to buy them anyway and since every waking moment I could I was going to live in here, seemed a good idea.”
Sakura smiled as backed out to look at other still-intact features.
“Hey, cool. They left the town camera grid up.”
“Town camera grid?”
Tyler looked to see Asuna leaning over the rim of the couch, and the position left her cleavage hanging.
“A sort of spectator mode where you can watch the comings and goings in the main town on the floor. I told them it might be a fun pass time for those that like to people watch. I didn’t know they kept it.”
The red head shrugged.
“Weird idea but whatever. Foods ready if your hungry.”
“Some pizza, ketchup, and soda.”
“I freakin love you, Asuna.”
Poor Asuna was as red in the face as her hair as the siblings went to sit at the table. Tyler pulled the people watching thing up and set to play on a large wall. Sakura sitting across from him with her feet dangling, as Asuna sat beside the small girl. They ate together as they watched and commented on different players as they did.
“Hey, look at that guy. Thinks he’s a biker.”
The man in question had a bandana, a black leather jacket with spikes and blue pants. Asuna sighed as she saw him.
“He’s a member of the Biker Brother’s Guild. All they like is looking tough. Most don’t even level much at all.”
“Tch, a group therapy session disguised as a guild.”
“I’d have said more circle jerk.”
Tyler and Asuna looked at the cutely smiling Sakura as she took a large bite of her pizza. Then at each other.
“I didn’t teach her that one.”
“I didn’t either. Kinda scary.”
“Totally. Hey, looks like some action.”
They looked as the biker dude got in the face of a man in the red/white of the Bloodoath. Tyler tilted his head.
“I wonder if that cheat got shivved yet.”
Asuna watched as a duel was set up.
“I heard he disappeared. They got a new leader, guy names Logain.”
“No biggee really. Our guild is better anyway.”
“Damn straight.”
They smiled as the biker dude laid the Bloodoath guy out with his bare hands, and won the duel. That got a chuckle.
“A bare knuckle brawler, eh? Don’t see one o those often.”
The victor walked away with the loser’s armor and sword, as Tyler noted something in the gathered on lookers.
“Hey, heads up, that biker’s about to get it.”
Sakura saw it soon as he said it.
“An assassin? Asuna, that guy in the ragged cloak near the wall.”
She took a bite of her pizza.
“I see him. He’s a member of that murder guild that’s popped up.”
Tyler sighed as the biker got hit and shattered.
“That took longer an I expected. How many strong?”
“We don’t really know. Best estimates as maybe thirty? Forty?”
Tyler chuckled.
“It don’t really matter to us much. If they try to follow US to the places WE go, the monsters would get him before we did.”
They nodded as Tyler switched the view to another spot. This one a large plaza with a tall pillar like obelisk in the center. Tyler smiled as he spotted someone familiar.
“Hey, see that blonde?”
the girls did and smiled.
“It’s Lorg and her party.”
“Watch this.”
He pulled up his massager and typed a quick line.
“I SEE you!”
The girls were laughing as he hit send. The samurai lady was looking at her friend when she got the message, and looked around as if looking for someone. Then, now obviously confused, sent a reply.
“I can’t see you. Where are you?”
They were laughing as he sent another line.
“every where and no where.”
That got a rather quick reply.
His reply made the now moving off group freeze.
“ Tell Svenity that red armor looks badass. Oh, and that black sword you have on your blue belt is nifty too.”
The group on the screen just stopped and were clearly scared as they now knew he COULD see them, by they couldn’t see him. He then sent a quick message to Svenity to make the joke better.
“We’re using a feature. See if you can poke Lorg subtly without her or your friends seeing.”
The two girls had tears on their faces as Lorg got poked by her galpal, not know where it came from, and it only got worse.
“hi. Miss me?”
Poor Lorg jumped so hard as she got poked again as she read that one. Sakura was holding her sides as her laughter bounced off the walls, whereas Asuna was full on wheezing at the sight of Lorg now effectively losing her damned sanity. Then Tyler let the nearly freaking out woman off the hook.
“We’re in a house with a people watching feature. Saw you on screen. Nice reactions.”
The reaction on the screen was priceless as Lorg started hopping around in a fury, as her friends lost it too after reading the lines. She typed into her UI.
“fuck you! I nearly had a damned heart attack!”
“And Sakura nearly laughed herself to death. Asuna too.”
“I am going to MURDER your balls when I see you next.”
“Sorry, not into old ladies. Besides, I don’t like cheap women.”
Ohhh, that one pissed her OFF. The trio watched as she literally started screaming in a blind fury that made the other players nearby jump back a solid ten feet as Lorg’s friend replied for her.
“I hope you lived a full live. Lorg just vowed to KILL you.”
“Should see Sakura’s new swimsuit I made her.”
That got the woman’s attention.
“If it is a sexually revealing or dirty thing we will ALL castrate you. Where are you?”
“Briyack. Hut at the end of the longest dock.”
“I hope for your balls sake Sakura looks cute.”
“Just shut up and come get your minds blown.”
They watched as the group teleported off. Then Asuna smiled.
“I’ll make some more food.”
“Kinda feels like we’re a family.”
Tyler smiled as he patted Sakura’s head.
“It kinda does, doesn’t it?”
She smiled as Asuna set another set of pizzas in the oven as They waited for their guests. Tyler had just switched to a shot of another piece of town when there was a banging on the door. Tyler smiled as he walked over and got it himself, still in his trunks. He opened the door to see Lorg and her crew. She blinked at the sight of the demon in swim trunks.
“Hiya. Come to oogle me or them?”
She barged passed him with her crew to see Sakura standing in her little frilly two piece. Smiling.
“Lorgy! Aren’t I cute?”
She spun as Tyler shut the door and walked over to pat her pink hair.
Lorg and her friends were blown away by Sakura’s cute swimsuit.
“Sakura! You look great!”
Asuna came out then in her flaming bikini to set more pizza on the table. The sight of the beautiful red head in her flaming bikini made the ladies jealous. Tyler smiled.
“I made hers too.”
Lorg and Svenity just looked at each other.
“He’s a fashion designer too?”
“I guess so. I kinda want one.”
“Well, I’d need to see your UI’s to make it right, and I’d charge you for the cost to make it, but sure.”
The ladies then glared at him.
“You DO know what’s on the UI right?”
Tyler smiled.
“Of course I do.”
“And you’ve seen theirs?”
“The hell you think they fit so well?”
Lorg looked to Asuna, who shrugged.
“Best fitting bra and panty set I’ve ever worn. Swimsuit or otherwise. Plus, he’s kinda open with this stuff.”
“Okay, show my YOUR UI.”
“Sure. Here.”
He pulled his up and walked over to show the now stunned ladies his Ui. Lorg and Svenity went right to the number that they were curious about.
“Wow, 7.5.”
“Kinda impressive to be honest.”
Tyler chuckled.
“So, want new swimsuits?”
The lone dude in her party spoke up.
“So you know, you’re not my type.”
“Flattered, but not into dudes. Since you road trash don’t strike me as having a set of suitable attire for MY house, seemed I had to make you one.”
HE then walked to the couch and Lorg blinked.
“Wait, what do you mean YOUR house?”
“I bought it. Well, I DID design it myself as well, so that too.”
THAT got a look of shock. But before they could explore the place more thoroughly,
“House rule, weapons and armor unequipped at the door. Beach attire ONLY. Issue? Doors behind you.”
That made them burst out laughing as Lorg sat beside him and showed her Ui.
“Okay, playboy. Let’s see what ya got.”
Tyler smiled as he made her a purple and white bikini with a flower petal pattern out of white wolf, purple silk, and the skin of a fox for lining. Lorg blinked as she equipped it, and found it fit her busty form perfectly.
“Holy, kid, you have a talent.”
“That will be 1000 droy.”
She laughed as Svenity took her turn. Tyler smiled as he looked at her Ui.
“Oh. I got me a goodie.”
He used white drake for the outside, with a scale pattern that made her small form seem curvier, with red badger fur for lining, and the bottom was black bear skin with white wolf. She looked sexy as hell as the straps were a scale like pattern and same with the strings. On the cups was a set of eyes that both made her small bust look bigger and seem to look at you as you passed, making them eye catching, where was the bottom had a pattern of rippling fur that seem to shimmer as she moved. She smiled as she put it on.
“Damn, kid, the hell you come up with this shit?”
“Eh, it’s a hobby. 500 please.”
So it went. He made a swimsuit for each, and it made the ladies look exceptionally better, while the one dude got a mere pair of black trunks, which got a snort.
“Okay, fair enough.”
They then went to properly explore the place he’d designed as he rejoined Asuna and Sakura at the dinning table. Asuna was shaking her head.
“I really hope dad shows my mother those swimsuits. She’d lose it since those patterns are far better then her own.”
Tyler smirked.
“Should see the dresses I can do in here.”
That got looks of longing from the girls.
“Can you make me one?”
“Maybe. We’re not on the proper floors for a true masterpiece. So, you’ll have to wait.”
Sakura sighed.
“Great. I got excited too.”
Asuna had an idea.
“If we get high enough, and you get the right mats, can you make me one? Please?”
He leaned forward as he looker at her frame.
“I can. Something special you want it for?”
She smiled darkly.
“To show my mother you are better at her job then she is.”
Tyler smiled as well.
“I can get the things I need on floor ten Asuna. Then, when I make it, we’ll have that father o yours have her sit in under armed guard for the live presentation.”
Sakura pouted.
“I want one too!”
“You? Well, I have a few ideas. Problem is we need to get to floor 15 at least.”
She sighed.
“FINE. It BETTER be awesome.”
“Like I said. A masterpiece.”
Lorg and her friends came back to sit at the table. Lorg right beside Sakura, and she looked at Tyler with an amazed expression.
“You designed this house?”
“Yeah, and the resort as well.”
They all looked at each other as Tyler pulled the small UI for the hut and went to credited creator.
“Here, in your face.”
Lorg and her crew looked at the name. Sure enough, Goreleech was in the bracketed creationist box. They just shook their heads.
“Any other things with your name on them?”
“A few systems, like the anti-milking, hunting skill shots, challenge system, that idiots blood entrance, a boss on 15, another player home on 45 you are NOT to touch. That one is MINE. So, fair warning.”
Lorg was shocked.
“You had THAT much input? Who the hell are you?”
Tyler chuckled.
“A gamer with a truly terrifying ability to scare people. I often think they took my ideas to keep me happy. Good or not.”
Sakura and Asuna were happily munching on their pizza as they talked. Svenity then noticed the abundance of food.
“hey, we getting dinner too?”
“Kinda figured. Lorg looked a big eater.”
They laughed as Lorg asked the question.
“Did YOU make this?”
“He’s not ALLOWED to touch our food.”
The table lost it as the two girls spoke in a cold, matter-of-fact tone. Tyler just shrugged.
“Tonight’s feast is brought to you by Asuna. She and Sakura handle meals since I can only make high grade poisons.”
“It’s true.”
“He made a pie that killed a minotaur on floor 5.”
Lorg took a bite of Asuna’s pizza and her eyes lit up.
“Holy sweet Jesus, Asuna! You MADE this?”
She smiled as she brushed her hair out of her face.
“Yup. Sakura cooks as well, so we share the detail.”
“it’s fun!”
“I’m just here to scare people.”
The group laughed as they ate their meal and watched the other players through the screen. Svenity smiled as it switched back to the plaza.
“That was a very clever prank.”
The blonde woman snorted.
“I thought that bastard had found an invisibility potion or some other bullshit.”
Tyler laughed.
“Those ARE a thing. But they don’t appear until floor 50. And the mats to make them don’t appear till floor 45.”
“they useful?”
“No clue. Only made to floor ten, remember? After that it’s all new territory to me as well. Should be a lot of fun though.”
Lorg and Asuna looked at each other before looking back to Tyler.
“Are you….enjoying this deathgame?”
“Oh hell yeah.”
That got a sigh as Sakura giggled.
“I am too! I got a big brother!”
They smiled as Lorg looked to Tyler.
“Even though you could die in here?”
“Least I got a legit fighting chance to do something about it.”
Lorg tilted her head as she got a refill.
“A legit fighting chance? I don’t understand.”
“Okay, how can I explain this? In the real world, if someone shoots you in the head with a gun, you die instantly. Yet, in here, if your numbers are high enough, you could get hit with a sledgehammer in the face and walk away without a scratch.”
Asuna was reminded of her talk with Sakura.
“Plus, in here, the rules are simpler.”
“Yeah. In the real world, someone hits you with a bat, you have to hope the cops arrest him, and then wait months sometimes for a punishment. Sometimes they get off Scott free for some bullshit reason. Hell, rapists get let go all the time for shit like a bad bust or a poorly signed document. In here, some idiot takes a shot at me, I drop them into pixels. Like that pedo at the village. We ALL KNEW what that creep was and wanted, yet in the real world, we’d have had no other choice but to leave it be since he had yet to lay a finger on Sakura.”
Lorg sighed.
“We have laws for a reason. Otherwise it would be chaos. It still doesn’t sit right how you just up an executed him.”
“And if I’d spared him and he turned around and raped some other less well-defended girl?”
Svenity sighed.
“I get it. And agree. Sometimes it is a better idea to just remove a bad branch entirely then save it.”
Lorg looked at her friend.
“But if you start making these kinds of choices, who is good or bad, lives and dies, you’ll just be another dictator.”
Tyler chuckled.
“That’s the issue right there. I don’t care what they call me or what I become, as long as Sakura is safe. People get so hung up on that shit. Oh, I did this so THEY think I’m bad. Okay, I did that, so I’m a good person to THEM. No. I do not hold myself to the standards of others like that, so am able to act in situations others cannot. Labels, titles, brands, reputations. These things mean nothing to me, for as long as I stay true to myself and Sakura, fuck the rest.”
Lorg sat back as her friend was nodding slowly in agreement.
“You have a very hard way of seeing the world. Yet, I agree with it. People care way too much about things like those and end up literally enslaving themselves to things like titles, perceptions, hell, even nicknames sometimes.”
“And in those times when action is required or needed, having someone like me to do it is a good thing.”
“It is. I was abused as a child, pretty badly too. My parents got away with it because some cop forgot to sign some document as you said, and his lawyer got them off with it. They then put me up for adoption where all I got was more pain and misery. I was also burned from really trusting another person for many years.”
“And if that cop had just shot them, and taken you in himself, it wouldn’t have had to be as bad, right?”
She nodded again.
“Right. I mean wrong cop, but I see your point. Too many hoops and procedures ruin a chance for both justice and healing.”
“Whereas a single, decisive action with an instant follow through is a better outcome altogether.”
“Exactly. Plus, if they’re dead,”
“They can’t hurt anyone else.”
Lorg sighed.
“That is a dark way to see the world. Even if it does make sense.”
Asuna sighed as well.
“I can see his point because of my own family, yet I can also see the other side as well.”
Svenity smiled as she took a drink of her soda.
“We see the world like this because we’ve been burned by it.”
Sakura was happily humming as she fed on pizza as the others all chatted, just loving the company. Then Lorg sighed.
“Okay, my head hurts. So, how long are you all staying here?”
Tyler sat back in his chair.
“We’re taking a break, so a week.”
“Oh, okay, that seems fair. WAIT, YOU’RE TAKING A BREAK?”
Sakura and Asuna burst out laughing at Lorg’s shocked reply.
“We said the same thing!”
“We did!”
Tyler shrugged.
“Well, last time I was here, I spent a week here. Then, I didn’t see civilization for a solid two months. Woulda been longer but the beta closed.”
Their laughter died, as Asuna looked at him.
“You mean,”
“Yup. After this is a deep dive into the wilds. I want to kill that dragon up on that mountain a few dozens times, since it gives some really good drops.”
Lorg sighed.
“So you’re aware, that dragon has killed ten people.”
“Pff, idiots. I knew the guy that came up with that one, so we’ll kill it.”
Sakura tilted her head.
“It fly?”
“It does, but the thing’s got a weakness while airborne you can exploit pretty easily.”
She went back to munching as he chuckled.
“Shouldn’t be a problem for us. Was my favorite fight back in the beta.”
They all sighed, knowing he was right. Sakura finished and hopped down to go lay on a couch again. Tyler followed and laid by her, and she cuddled against him as he did so.
“Enjoy it while you can.”
Asuna sighed.
“I think I just might.”
Lorg opened her mouth.
“You too Lorg. Just don’t make a mess.”
She closed her mouth and Asuna smiled at her.
“There’s a parlor in the back room.”
Tyler hugged his little sister to him as he closed his eyes again.

“Well, he’s a vigilante.”
Sakura’s god-mother looked to the boy on the hospital bed next to the form of Sakura. His mother sighed.
“He’s a dark one. He’s always looked at the world like that. Fact he’s right just makes it scarier.”
Asuna’s dad leaned back in his seat as well.
“It seems my daughter picked a dark teacher for her faith. But, at least he won’t lie to her.”
That got an unpleasant chuckle from the room.
“Why would he need to lie? You don’t need to like what he has to say, and he doesn’t care if you do.”

Tyler opened his eyes next to see Sakura had snuggled up closer to his face, and was still sound asleep. He smiled at her cutely asleep face as he looked to see if Asuna had climbed in again as had become a habit for some odd reason. She had, and was cuddling Sakura on her other side on the wide cushion. She had effectively sandwiched the smaller girl between their bodies and had her arm draped over her like her mother. That is a kind of cute I WISH I could take a picture of…..hey. I wonder. He pulled his UI up and went to a feature for photos. HE smiled as he saw it was still there. Any photos taken would be saved directly to the helmet for upload or download to their computer. The feature was useable through the eyes or a cube, but for this he would use his eyes. He blinked and it took the shot, and he saved it to his helmet. His helmet was the best he could get, plus he had installed a larger hard drive for more files and other such things to be saved to it for his dives. So, in essence, he could store several hundred million photos and videos. The shot was saved and he smiled as he looked at both bikini clad girls.
“Did you do what I think you just did?”
HE looked up to see Svenity with a smile on her face as he closed his UI. HE Shrugged.
“I have no idea what you are talking about.”
The petite friend to Lorg laughed quietly as she looked at the sleeping girls on the couch.
“Be careful Lorg don’t catch you.”
HE smiled as he looked to the girls.
“She’d be more jealous they look better in photos then she does.”
Sakura squeaked in her sleep.
“Damn, cute to the max.”
Tyler was gently stroking his little sister’s hair when Asuna opened her red eyes to see Tyler playing with Sakura’s hair as she slept. The red head smiled as she gave the smaller girl a hug.
“Almost feels like she’s our daughter.”
He smiled.
“Except I can’t have kids.”
Asuna laid her head on the cushion.
“Why not?”
“A few years back, we were going some experiment in science class and the idiot next to me was just screwing around with the chemicals and such. He did something and it blew, filling the room with a nasty black cloud. Well, since I was standing right the hell there, I got a good few lung fulls of the cloud along with the liquid is was coming from on my pants. It made me sterile. Docs say I can get blood made into seed if it came to it but yeah.”
Asuna sighed sadly.
“That sucks. What happened to the kid?”
“Funny enough, he got the same thing. But, he went overboard with the sex and got an STD that year. Last I heard he got arrested for drugging some girl. Her mom came in as he droped drawer and her daughter loopy as hell on the bed.”
“Wow. Do you have any GOOD tales?”
“I got one about that time a mountain lion tired to pounce on me and hit a tree and got knocked the fuck out.”
Asuna laughed quietly as she pictured it.
“We went on a field trip to hike a mountain. State I came from is kinda famous for them. Well, I took off down the trail alone as usual. I had the map and off I went. I musta been a good fifteen minutes ahead of everyone when I stopped for a water break. Well, I had my back to a the denser part of the forest, and was looking at a red oak tree a good four feet thick. I noticed my boot was nearly untied, so I went o retie it. Only to hear a nasty thunk on the tree I had just been looking at. I look and a full grown mountain lion was on it’s side out cold. There was also a new dent in the bark of the tree as well. That dumb cat had launched at me as I ducked to fix my boot, and slammed head first into the tree so hard it got knocked the fuck out. I took a bunch of photos of it as the teacher came around the bend to see me patting it’s fur. She was horrified and when she tried to get me away from it the thing came to and took off like a thunderbolt into the brush. I told her what happened and she nearly died laughing. A ranger that patrols the trails came up next and when I told him the story, he sighed.
“That’s ole Tom. He’s our resident dumb cat. Likes to pounce on kids, and misses every time. Even if he gets you, most you have to worry about are scratches and a nasty bruise from the tackle.”
Ole Tom as they called him was a famous cat that got knocked out daily by botched attempts to be a predator. He took so many shots to the head he’s effectively harmless to humans, and many come to see him GET knocked out. We went back a few times and usually I was the one he pounced for.”
Asuna was laughing as quietly as she could at the antics of the cat.
“That is too funny. He ever kill anyone?”
“No, believe it or not. Closet he ever came was when he misjudged a pounce and head butted an old lady in the jaw. He got knocked out again and the lady as well.”
Asuna rolled onto her back, smiling as she pictured it.
“Seems that state was a little nuts.”
Tyler chuckled.
“Just a little insane. Japan is better though.”
She smiled as well now.
“Even if we’re a little overzealous about vending machines.”
“Land of the rising sun my ass. Land of the rising vending machine more like. Ya know I saw one that sold underwear?”
Asuna snorted.
“Those are everywhere. Should see the ones that sell lobster.”
“When we get out, could I interest you in a fine pair of vending machine panties my dear?”
Sakura giggled then, and both teenagers looked at her.
“I see she was eavesdropping.”
“But she cute so we’ll let it go.”
The pink haired girl rolled onto her back as well now, smiling as they looked at the brown wood paneling of the ceiling.
“That was funny with the cat.”
Tyler joined them as they laid on their back.
“Yeah. It sucks but a year later I guess he died from some disease or something.”
“That sucks.”
They went silent again as they all looked at the ceiling.
“Wanna see another cool feature?”
They looked at him as he took the mini UI and held it up to the ceiling. Then the wood became the view of the ocean from the lower floor. The two girls laughed at that and just watched the sea life go by. Asuna sat up and stretched, getting cracks and pops in her spine.
“Wow, Asuna. Comfy much?”
She laughed.
“Just a little. Hey, where’s Lorg and her crew?”
it was true. Svenity had vanished along with the others. The trio went downstairs searching for them, only to find the crew sitting around the fire pit watching as different sea creatures would swim through the room. Lorg saw them come down and smiled.
“Goreleech, you are a mad genius with this one.”
“Wanna get crazy. Watch this.”
HE walked over to where a small reef shark was moving through the room, grab it and bring it over to the now stunned group.
“Anyone wanna pet a shark?”
Sakura came right over to pet it’s sand paper skin as it moved its tail back and forth like it was swimming and not being held captive.
“Wow, it feels rough.”
The group all took a turn petting the beast, then Tyler tossed it up and away it went. Then he walked over to the wall, and smiled as he leaned back against it, only to fall right through into the ocean water. Lorg and her crew were speechless as they watched the seamless transition from indoor to underwater. Tyler swam around a moment before pushing through the barrier to go give a now shocked Lorg a hug.
“Hey! I don’t wanna get wet!”
“Wow, Lorg. Feel bad for the other guy then. But, your purity is intact.”
Her friends lost it as Lorg realized two things: 1, she was still bone dry, and 2, she was going to KILL him. Tyler smiled.
“That wall insta dries players when they go through it. Since we’re in a video game, logic has no place.”
Sakura giggled again.
“Just wait until IT shows up!”
Tyler smiled as he saw IT approaching.
“Just an old friend.”
They were confused, until the 25 foot great white shark was seen cruising through the room not four feet from them. The room went deathly quiet at the sight of the undersea behemoth not four feet from their faces just utterly ignoring them. Tyler reached up and slapped it’s side hard, and not getting so much as a twitch.
“Say hello to Jaws himself.”
Lorg and her team just sighed and went with it.
“Video games.”
“Should see the house that hangs off a cliff on floor 23. Thing has a solid five thousand foot drop straight down.”
“Yeah no, I’m good.”
“Scared of heights?”
Svenity chuckled now.
“Lorg had a rather nasty close call with a railing on the Kyoto Tower. Thing gave way and she was left dangling as a child a good five feet out.”
“Yeesh, nasty. Sadly we still got her, so ya know, we lost that one.”
Lorg threw a knife at him.
“Why is it that every time I’m about to LIKE you, you have to RUIN it?”
HE flicked the knife end over end in the air before Sakura flicked it herself for it to land back on the table in front of the blonde samurai.
“Not sure. Why do you have to always ruin photos?”
She glared at him, and was at war with irritation and admiration for the flawless display of in sync teamwork she had just seen. Svenity made it easier.
“That knife trick was sick.”
“Even if he’s an ass. That was still tight.”
“Uh phrasing.”
Both siblings said this at the same time with the same tone of amused matter-of-factness. Lorg and Svenity looked at each other then back to where Tyler and Sakura were bro fisting.
They both burst out laughing as Asuna chuckled now.
“It seems like dirty minded, perverted brother, like corrupted little sister.”
“Nice image, Asuna.”
“And where does that leave YOU?”
“Where indeed?”
Asuna gulped as the two looked at her with a now probing expression.
“hey, I’m not getting left anywhere!”
“We’ll see.”
“That we will. I get the feeling her jokes will be dirtily pure.”
“That was kinda poetic, Sakura.”
“It was wasn’t it?”
Tyler and Sakura went to a couch that looked out at the sea floor and laid on it as the others just sighed at the conversation.
“From sweet, happy, purely innocent little girl to a foul mouthed, dirty minded little devil of a girl.”
Asuna just gave up.
“Whatever. I’ll go get a deep tissue again.”
“Have fun.”
“I think she just wants to ‘explore’ herself.”
“Still cute.”
“Very Still.”
Tyler had Sakura resting her head on his shoulder as they looked out at the ocean beneath the waves, as Asuna walked up the stairs with two things: a beat red face, and a raging debate in her mind over what she liked. Lorg saw this and smiled as she went to follow the poor confused girl. Svenity chuckled.
“Let’s go have a little girl talk with her, Lorg.”
“While getting pampered too.”
Tyler and Sakura were smiling as they rested.
“Seems odd, don’t it?”
He looked at her quizzically for her out of the blue statement.
She snuggled against him more.
“Just relaxing like this. Feels wrong.”
HE understood then.
“I felt the same when I did this myself. But, when I left I cleared two floors myself in a solid week after.”
She giggled as he stroked her pink hair.
“We’ll be fighting a dragon after this right?”
“A crystal dragon.”
She sighed as a seal swam past the window chasing a fish.
“Still feels weird. But I like it.”
“we’ll get lost again soon enough.”
She yawned hard.
“We’ve done nothing but sleep and eat and yet I still feel tired.”
“That’s the effect this place has on you. Seriously, I designed it to utterly relax you when you’re in here for longer then ten minutes. And when we leave we’ll feel like new people.”
She smiled and snuggled even closer to her brother.
“Well, it works.”
HE wrapped an arm around her and they settled down to sleep again.
“Watch, we’ll wake up to Asuna sleeping with us.”
“You ARE very warm and cuddly.”
“Cute too.”
They closed their eyes and were out like lights again.

“Those two are sooo cute together!”
Sakura’s god mother was smiling as they saw the screen go dim as the two slept again. Tyler’s mother sighed as well.
“He’s like that. He got close to a neighbor’s girl once and we’d find them cuddled up in the oddest of places. Just sound asleep, and when they interrogated her after, they found it hard to believe all they did was sleep and cuddle. Was funny the time he went to her house, and they found him and her resting in a small alcove in her room he’d made into a small cave with blankets and pillows with her laptop set to a projector he’d brought. They said when they poked their heads in, it was both extremely warm and cozy, and strangely soothing.”
Sakura’s god father understood.
“Like their own little world, and they the only ones in it.”
Asuna’s dad was laughing as he watched the conversation between his daughter, Lorg and Svenity over her sexuality.
“Plus how he seems to be prodding my girl to better understand her own heart without flat out saying it. Not sure if he’s doing it for a show or to help her though.”
“With HIM? Both. Always assume it’s both. Plus, this one is just teasing her.”
“well, teasing or not, it’s nice seeing her try to figure her own heart out regardless. Even IF that kid still scares the hell outta me.”

Tyler and Sakura were out for a while, and when they opened their eyes again, the light outside was coming from another side altogether. She yawned and stretched her back like a cat, getting her own batch of cracks and pops now. Tyler just flexed his back and cracked it that way, getting a cute giggle from the small girl. They sat up to see Asuna asleep on a nearby cushioned lawn chair that was comfy to sleep on. The red haired girl was on her stomach still in her bikini and softly breathing.
“She’s really pretty like that.”
Tyler smiled as he patted her head.
“Yeah, I guess so.”
She smiled as her belly rumbled.
“I’ll go make some food.”
“I’ll do something.”
That got a small giggle as she headed to the kitchen as he looked around. Lorg was in Svenity’s arms on the other couch, and her crew were all over the place as well. He smiled and went upstairs to look over mats and other gear. He sat where he could watch Sakura work her craft and smiled as he pulled his UI up. He looked over their leftover mats and saw they were due for a hard grind session back up on 7. He sighed as he saw his design for Sakura’s surprise dress needed more mats now since a good amount of leather had been sold. He closed it and pulled the people watching feature up again and just relaxed. Sakura was heard humming as she flited about the kitchen making know knew what as he watched the players going about their lives. The area he was watching was a open plaza near the main teleport hub and as such was packed with players. HE found her could pan the camera and it even had a minor zoom function which he thought was kinda cool.
“Playing stalker again?”
HE looked up to see Lorg and Svenity coming up the stairs yawning.
“More just relaxing.”
The ladies curled up on the couch near him and looked at the screen as well.
“Seems weird just sitting here watching people.”
“The original plan for this thing was to broadcast things like duels or tournaments the worlds over. Or boss raids as well. I think that one got scrapped for some reason. It sucks cause some of the best moments in the game can come from a decent boss raid.”
He sat back with his feet on the table in front of him as Lorg chuckled.
“Wow, what a lucky man you are Gore. A house full of ladies, and you the only straight man in the place.”
“well, I guess victories in all forms. Even if most can BARELY be considered ladies.”
Sakura was heard giggling.
“Love you!”
“Same sis!”
Lorg just smiled as Svenity chuckled.
“It seems you become nicer, Gore.”
“He hasn’t. Just to me he is.”
That got a laugh as Tyler shrugged.
“Girls got a point.”
The ladies just laughed as Asuna came up next rubbing her eyes.
“Hi everyone. What day is it?”
Tyler tilted his head.
“Good question. Let’s see.”
He pulled the HUD for the house up.
“Okay, days spent in owned home. Wow, we’ve been here 3 days already.”
The feisty red head blinked.
“But all we’ve done is sleep, and you’re saying we’ve been here three days already?”
“Yup. That’s another effect this place has. Think you’ve been here two days? Nah, a week. When you DO leave, you feel utterly and completely recharged.”
Lorg smiled widely.
“I haven’t felt this relaxed in years.”
Svenity stretched again.
“Neither have I. Or as at ease.”
Asuna looked to see Sakura pulling a pan from the oven and smiled as well.
“And to think we’re trapped in a deathgame, and yet we all feel like this.”
Tyler chuckled.
“I designed this place to relax ME. Seriously, that’s the joints main purpose. Help us to chill the FUCK out after ANYTHING.”
“Food’s ready!”
They fed on Sakura’s good cooking, and the pink haired girl had NOT disappointed. She’d made some baked bacon, chicken and toasted bread burgers dipping mustard and ketchup with some lava cake to go with it. As they were engrossed in the goodness, Tyler laid their plan out.
“we need to head back up to seven and just get lost again. Floor one mats are useless, and floor two is just about. We’ll load up the way we can, and go from there.”
The two girls nodded as a mass message popped up on their screens.
“We’ve found out the first event. It’s to take place on floor four near Briyack. It’s a monster hunt. Most kills gets a high rare.”
Tyler looked to the girls.
“Wanna shatter some dreams?”
They smiled widely and requiped into their battle gear as Tyler did the same. Lorg called muster as Tyler and the two girls left to head to the start point. They wore their long cloaks just to make a point. The start point was near a large field with boulders, forests and small hills everywhere. Tyler snorted as he saw the field.
“Okay, we’re hunting wolves and rock drakes. We’re looking for a landslide win so go ham.”
They nodded as several hundred players all appeared in moments. Tyler, Sakura and Asuna were merely sitting on a large boulder as the countdown started. Tyler had his blade out, Sakura her bow, and Asuna her Rapier. Tyler was looking over the crowd, when he spotted a set of players in the ragged cloaks of the murder guild.
“Stay close. We got Pk’ers in PLAY.”
They did not acknowledge the heads up, though they did heed it. The timer hit zero and the trio were off and running, easily outstripping the others in speed. Tyler surged forward and shattered four wolves with a slash each as Sakura fired arrows at further off targets as Asuna poked holes in leftover targets. Tyler’s sword was an instant kill, along with Sakura’s bow. Asuna needed to hit a target twice for a kill, but was getting great amounts of exp for each kill. The trio were never more then five feet from each other and were in sync like the cave ambush. Tyler leading the charge into a group of enemies, Asuna killing the leftovers as Sakura shot into the further ahead targets. They reached the other side of the field, and turned right around to do it again. The event last two hours, and when it ended, Tyler, Sakura and Asuna had first, second and third places on the kills board. Lorg and her party filled the spots under them. They returned to the start point for their reward, only to be faced with an angry mob led by a player in black plate armour.
“Damned Beater. You stole that from us!”
Tyler smiled, as his hood was still up.
“If I did, the hell you gonna do about it?”
The player drew his great sword, murder in his eyes. Tyler tilted his head.
“Oh. Right. I forgot a step.”
HE removed his cloak, and the player facing him with a drawn sword went pale.
Tyler slung his sword on his shoulder.
“Still wanna play me?”
The player sheathed his sword.
“No sir. Sorry sir.”
“Good sheep.”
The now terrified players left, along with Lorg and her group.
“We need to get back to it.”
They said their good byes as they used crystals to jump. Tyler looked around and saw the three cloaked figures were left. He sighed.
“Piss off. I am not going to join your guild. If you’re here to kill us you will die instead and I do not take bribes.”
They looked at each other and tossed a card to him. He looked at it. The thing was black with a picture of a coffin with leering eyes and a dagger out.
“We are Laughing Coffin. This is a warning. Do not interfere in our work.”
“Don’t fuck with my-screw it.”
Tyler surged forward and slashed the man in the center’s head clean off, before pivoting on his foot to stab the next man as he fumbled for an axe in the chest with savage force, shattering him as well. The last man had a pair of sickles out as Tyler charged him with his single blade and a smile on his lips. The red blade glowed as he spun a sideways flip with the blade smashing clean through the man’s weapons and splitting him in half.
“Dragon flip.”
He shattered and Tyler sighed as he sheathed his blade.
“Takes some balls to threaten me to my face.”
Sakura laughed as Asuna seemed a little nervous.
“That’s that murder guild that’s popped up.”
Tyler shrugged.
“Let’s head back to the lair. Idiots wanna play I’ll leave their entire guild a heap.”
He looked at the card and tore it in half as it shattered. They left the field and returned to their Hut for more rest and to look over their drops. Once the door shut their swapped to their swimsuits and laid on the couch. Tyler opened his recent drops list and smiled.
“Hey, got another mirror.”
Sakura smiled as well.
“I got a sword.”
“It good?”
She pulled it out and showed it to him.
“Not too shabby, Sakura. Damage is decent, looks great, and durability is pretty good as well. We’ll stick it in the backup section.”
“Teehee! I got a goodee!”
“I got a set of mats. Not sure if their useable.”
Tyler looked at them, and smiled again.
“Nifty. We got 30 perfect Snoufler pelts. Things are rare and a pain in the ass to get as well. Think a deep blue hippo with fur like a chinchilla striped like a raccoon tail.”
The two girls smiled at the weird image.
“Sounds kinda cute!”
“In a weird way I guess.”
“Should see the Fennecs on floor 9. Think a fox with extra large ears, raccoon patterned fur, softer then it should be fur, and a fluffy as all hell tail.”
Sakura’s blue eyes lit up like stars at the thought of such a cute animal.
“I wanna pet one!”
Asuna was right there with her.
“Me too! it sounds adorable!”
Tyler smirked.
“Sure. BEFORE well kill everyone we find.”
Sakura tilted her head.
“Now I want undies made for the fur.”
Asuna was a little more taken aback.
“Why’d you have to go ahead and say that? I was loving the image!”
He shrugged and laid back on the couch.
“Reality sucks, Assy.”
“Love you too.”
“Still too cute, Asuna.”
“It is.”
The poor red head just gave up and laid down as well.
“I hate you both so much right now.”
Sakura giggled.
“Well, we still like you.”
“For SOME friggin reason.”
“She’s warm to cuddle with.”
“There’s that yeah.”
“When you least expect it I am going to inflict some damage on your nuts.”
They laughed as they drifted off to sleep again.


“Asuna! Left side low!”
“Got it!”
Tyler sliced the head off the skeleton before him as Asuna did a round house kick, taking the head clean off the skeleton to her left. The things shattered as the floating spirit before them got it’s eyes shot out by Sakura’s bow.
“Pink Eye Popper!”
They laughed as Asuna fell into Tyler’s shadow to deal overlapping attacks. He’d deliver a nasty smash, as Asuna launched off his hunched over back to poke the thing full of holes before an arrow from Sakura smashed into it. Tyler would recover with a vicious underhanded shot and deal another shot where Asuna would slide into the gap to poke more holes. Their patterns succeeding in utterly overwhelming the mini boss they’d found in a cave they were strip mining. They had reached floor 9 alone, and were thus far the only three players on the entire floor. The thing shrieked a last time before shattering and a winner’s fanfare was seen over their heads. Tyler sheathed his hand and a half bastard sword over his back. He’d upgraded his gear pretty heavily the last two months, though his red coat was still around. It had the ability to be upgraded with mats, and was still viable.
“Clean fight everyone. Pop potions.”
Asuna smiled as she drank one.
“This Rapier is awesome.”
He’d finished her new sword, and it was indeed. The thing had a black blade with a red guard, boosted attack by 125, speed by 250, and dexterity by 275. The red head loved her new weapon, and had nearly lost her mind when he’d made it out of the blue after a raid in a cave.
“Hey, Flamer, heads up.”
She had looked over to see him toss the weapon to her and had simply gaped at it.
“It weighs literally half my other blade!”
“And hits harder too.”
Her outfit had been revamped as well. Her Bloodoath uniform had been ditched for a pure white leather sleeveless, shoulderless gown that left a good portion of her back exposed, and buckled down her front like a jacket. On her arms were a pair of light blue gloves that ended at her elbows, and made her fiery hair pop when she moved them. Her waist was belted by a red sash with a gold buckle and supported the slightly flared skirt of her gown. Her legs were sheathed in deep blue boots with two inch heels that rose to her knees. She looked ridiculously beautiful and intimidating as well. It boosted all her stats by 300, and since was pure dragon skin, gave her the dragon slayer bonus that added extra impact to her attacks with a ten percent of a heavy knockback. She loved her new outfit and it shimmered like scales whenever she moved. Tyler smiled as he looked to where Sakura was looking at her UI. Her gear had gotten an upgrade as well. Her paper boy hat was now a bright blue like her eyes and had a small eagle feather in the cap. Her wolf fur scarf was still present, as she refused to part with it as it had been the first thing he’d made her. He’d even pulled the leave card, and she had pulled a card of her own.
“Fine! Then leave! This is the first thing you made me in here!”
She had then dropped to the ground with it under her and cried heartbrokenly until he let her have it as long as he could repair it and upgrade it. She’d smiled widely that entire day, proud she’d finally won an argument against him and got her way.
“Pull that again, however, and you’re alone. We clear?”
He’d used his ice cold voice, and she had shuddered.
“We are brother.”
“Good. Let’s go then.”
She loved that scarf dearly, and would cuddle it like a security blanket at night. Her top had been replaced with a pink crocodile skin with snake thrown in to around out the scale pattern. It made her pancakes still look bigger, ended at her belly, and had no sleeves. She had pink croc fingerless gloves, short shorts, and boots. She also had a pink belt that had the teeth of the thing on the band like bullets in a belt. Her bow had been improved as well. Now it was a deep red like a coal in a brazier with spikes along the ribs.
“How’d you do Saky?”
She tilted her head.
“A few bones, droy, and a sword.”
“Not too bad I guess.”
Tyler looked to the door.
“Let’s keep going. We need more of the Adamantium crystals here.”
His gear was more or less the same. His long blood red coat’s tail had been lengthened, and had buckles to close it with a black lining. His under shirt was pure white and was more tank top then shirt. He had swapped his pants to a denim material that increased speed, and his boots were blood red as well. He wore spiked fingerless gloves and had a black spiked belt. His sword was red as well, 5 feet long and since it was a bastard sword, gave him access to both one handed and two handed sword skills. They were after the high level ore as with it Tyler could add a heavy impact bonus to their weapons, plus the neon blue looked both beautiful and tranquil. They had just cleared a hidden boss of the floor, and as such gotten a decent amount of exp. Tyler, Sakura and Asuna had just barely reached level 24. The leveling becoming harder as the levels increased. They didn’t really care as they preferred the long grinds and getting lost. The trio being skilled and strong enough to handle nearly anything the game could throw at them at that point.
“Hey, Gore got a red vein here.”
HE looked over at Asuna as she looked at a mound of red rock.
“Nice eyes. That’s a Ruby deposit. Only find those in deep caves. Get it, you won’t get as many as if I did, but it’ll raise your mining and crafting by two.”
The red head nodded and used her pick to mine the precious stone. It shattered and she got a ping.
“I got 15 rubies of high quality.”
“That many? Guess you got lucky.”
“I also got three levels for each.”
“Wow, Asuna. Nice. That musta been a Perfect Ruby vein then. Them things are friggin rare.”
She smiled as Sakura looked around the cave.
“hey, what’s that up there?”
The cutie in pink was pointing to a small ledge just above their heads. Tyler tilted his head.
“Could be a secret area. But, we ARE in a secret area. Okay, guards up. Let’s check it out.”
They climbed up to the ledge, and found a chest sitting in a small chamber a good thirty feet wide and forty high. Tyler sighed.
“Again? Get back. That thing’s mean.”
The two girls drank buffer potions and readied shots as Tyler walked over with blade drawn. He looked to the girls who nodded. He kicked the thing open, and it grew teeth to lunge at him. Only to miss as he sprang backwards. Sakura fired four arrows at it with her skill.
“Multi-pink Shot.”
They giggled at their loveable companion, as ever since she got her new outfit, everyone of her attacks had the word pink in it somewhere. The shots knocked a decent chunk of it’s first health bar away, but it had six.
“Fuck. We’re in for a slog.”
“We needed a workout.”
“Yeah. I wanna play!”
They smiled as Tyler went forward to smash the thing with a two handed skill that made the ground shake.
“Grand earthshaker.”
Asuna surged forward with her glowing Rapier as the beast staggered back to stab it a flurry of times.
“Dancer’s fury.”
Sakura timed her shot to when the chestbeast went to counterattack with it’s tail and hit it in the fangs with a shot that did more damage the longer it was charged.
“Pink Piercer!”
They worked in tandem to cut through five of the six health bars that way. Tyler and Asuna both taking nasty hits every now and then, but each time they took the hit, Sakura would fire a series of rapid fire hard hitters to both stagger the beast and distract it as the pair chugged potions. When the chestbeast tried to get to her, she’d back up the exact length it approached, firing arrows the whole time and effectively making it halt to go defensive under her rapid shots. The thing’s health reached it’s last bar and started to glow red.
“Rage mode!”
They nodded and all downed a buff potion before getting to it. Tyler charged the now much faster thing and spun a leaping slash like a helicopter blade.
“Rising Death.”
The follow through was a two handed smash.
“Dragon Hammer Smash!”
The impact took a quarter of it’s health away, and he did a back hand spring to avoid it’s tail sweep. Asuna laughed as she came over from the back for double flanking damage.
“Nice moves Gore! You’re nearly a cheerleader!”
Her pokes dropping it by another third. Sakura was giggling as it turned to attack the now dancing away red head.
“Speaking from experience Asuna?”
She shot the thing in the rear of it’s chest and it got knocked forward as Tyler was right there to also deliver a smash of his own.
“She DOES seem the head cheerleader type.”
Asuna laughed as well as she and Tyler planted backs against each other for the last surge.
“I WAS a head cheerleader once.”
They moved as one, Tyler with his sword tip level with Asuna’s Rapier tip as they both preformed a nasty thrust upon the things back as an arrow from Sakura impacted at the same time. Result? All three getting the final attack bonus. They had timed their sequences perfectly, as it had been another lesson he’d drilled into their heads, as a triple threat attack was a truly powerful force once mastered. The chesthead chattered and another chest was seen with a winner icon.
“Don’t relax just yet, ladies. I’ve seen this one before now.”
“A second rigging?”
“Most likely.”
They sighed and all drank potions to rebuff and heal up. Tyler kicked the thing open, only for it to turn into a chestspider with the box supported by eight spike-like legs. Tyler tilted his head as he saw the 5 health bars.
“Wait. I know you. Your that bastard Lark’s idea. Okay, spits acid that eats the clothing of lady players, loves webs, and can’t climb. Weak defense and ranged attacks.”
“Lark a pervert?”
“Sex addicted fiend. He won the sex village competition.”
The girls shuddered as the fight got underway. Tyler would use sweeping underhanded attacks to lift the thing high, as Asuna would stab it’s underbelly as Sakura fired a charged shot. The chestspider was significantly weaker then the chesthead, and shattered easily enough. Leaving a THIRD chest. They looked at Tyler.
“Lark was an asshole troll. Watch, it’ll either be twice as strong as the first, have ten health bars but be an utter pushover, be a smaller version of that spider, or some mix of the bunch.”
Sakura hung her head.
“I hate this guy already.”
“Dude was a creep, like legit. We had a small group of girls like Sakura here as a focus group for all things cute and cuddly. Yeah, dude nearly got banned for the shit up predator shit he’d pull. One time he got caught following on girl along a rooftop where she couldn’t see her. Worst part? Kid was 10, he was 40.”
The girls shuddered again as they took up their spots.
“I feel kinda dirty now fighting this thing.”
“I wanna bath!”
“We’ll clear this and keep going. Dude was a freak, but he knew a decent mini boss. We should get some good shit off it.”
He kicked it and jumped back as it tilted sideways, and grew arms and legs with a small child’s head.
They ALL shuddered at the downright disturbing voice the thing had now. Tyler groaned.
“This is gonna be PURE nightmare fuel, ladies.”
The thing now had ten health bars and lumbered forward on ten foot tall legs as Tyler slashed it’s left leg.
“Owwie. Daddy, why are you so mean?”
It’s bar’s dropped by four. Tyler sighed.
“I got this one, if you don’t think you can stomach it. I mean, I barely can myself.”
Sakura grimaced as Asuna readied her blade.
“Let’s just get this over with.”
“Yeah. We can take a bath after and feel better.”
Asuna charged and hit the thing with her flurry shot.
“Dancing Death.”
It lost another four bars, and it sobbed at this one.
“Why mommy? Why are you hurting me?”
Sakura fired her arrow at the vile thing and it shattered. The trio shuddered again as another chest appeared.
“Damn Lark. That one’s fucked up. And that’s coming from ME!”
The ladies gulped as he kicked it open and it shattered. They got 150,000 droy, fifty high grand polar bear furs, four mirrors, 250,000 exp. Plus a new sword, shield and coat called Misery’s torment. A bloodred coat like Tyler’s with FAR better stats. Plus it was upgradable with a rename option as well. He renamed it Demon’s Mantle and equipped it. Then they dropped down to the cave floor to forget their nightmare fuel. Though as they did, they heard a demented small child’s giggle from the ledge they had just dropped from. Asuna looked at Tyler as they got back to strip mining.
“Is that guy in here?”
“He is, then he’s locked himself in that sex village.”
Sakura was busy ripping some adamantium crystals from the walls.
“Why’d they keep such a creep around?”
“Dude was an evil genius with scary events. Like say for Halloween, spooky mobs, or nasty areas. Guy mighta been a child predator, but he knew how horror works. Seriously, some of his shit scared the living hell outta ME.”
The two girls shuddered again.
“Halloween’s next month.”
“And the mental scars will last a lifetime.”
They sighed and kept at it. The cave was three days long from entrance to end. They were near the middle at that point. The group would swap duties as they went. Tyler mining as the girls fought off mobs, or Sakura would play gold digger as he and Asuna played slaughter. Or it would be Asuna playing in the dirt. The friends reached the back of the cave on day three, and found a most interesting surprise. There was a large door nestled in the back of the cave with curious pictures and others thing on the steel. Tyler tilted his head.
“No freakin way.”
Sakura was watching the rear in case of ambush.
“What is it?”
“I think we found a Dev Hub. They were supposed to use these to regulate how the game plays out. Should have a console or something they access to see the status of the game itself.”
Asuna looked at him with hope in her eyes.
“Can we force a logout?”
He sighed.
“Not at all. Even IF I could crack the console, which I probably could, if I were to start fucking with the system itself, it could every well kill us all. But let’s at least see what we DID find.”
The girls nodded and he kicked the doors in. The room was pure white and empty. The reverse of the dark stone cave they had spent three days in. In the center of the room was a large slab of white stone without any notable features. They walked inside and Tyler placed his hand on the slab. It was then traced in lines of light and energy as a holographic image of the hooded figure from the first day appeared.
“Greetings Player. It would seem you have found a Developer Hub. These were used to build the game from the ground up. Unfortunately it cannot be accessed from within the game. That said, you will be rewarded for finding such a well hidden location, as these Hubs are even harder to locate then the Villages of Pleasure throughout the world of Brictally. Since you are in a party, each of you will place ONE item on the slab to be upgraded to it’s absolute maximum, and the visuals will be yours to customize as you see fit. Should you prove of extreme fortune to locate another, you will be granted the same bonus again.”
Tyler took his coat and placed it on the slab. He made the thing longer with a pair of black demon wings upon his back with black flames on his cuffs that licked to his elbow. The coat glowed and was upgraded as was promised, and when he requiped it, found it to be perfectly fitted. Next, Sakura placed the scarf he’d made her on the slab. The wolf fur was then upgraded to the very height of wolf fur, and she giggled when it was requiped on her neck.
“Now it CAN’T be replaced!”
The other two smiled fondly as Asuna laid her Rapier upon the slab. It was given a fresh polish, and the colors more vibrant as it too was brought to it’s peak. Then the figure reappeared.
“I hope you chose wisely. Farewell players.”
It was gone and Tyler placed his hand on the slab again. Nothing. He sighed.
“Okay. If not even a KEYBOARD appeared, then I can’t do anything period. I can’t use my tricks if I can’t input them. Okay, these places can be teleported from.”
Asuna sighed as she replaced the thin weapon on her hip.
“Do we teleport or walk out?”
Tyler pulled his map sphere out and set it on the slab.
“Okay, we’re here. If we teleport to Rost, we can start heading this way.”
Sakura groaned.
“I don’t really want to go to town. I like just roaming.”
They patted her head, getting a squeal. Tyler rotated the sphere.
“If we go to this small outpost here, we can get lost in a mere two hours.”
They nodded and pulled crystals when a message icon popped up on Tyler’s Hud.
“Hey, Gore. I could use a hand here. I’m at Rost. Really appreciate it.”
“Heads up, Kirito just asked for help. We’re headed for Rost.”
They nodded and held up crystals.
“Teleport; Rost.”
“Teleport: Rost.”
“Teleport: Rost”

They jumped and were at the main hub of the floor. This one being more rustic like a mountain village then the previous floors. Tyler looked around and spotted Kirito near a pole with his Coat of Midnight and one handed sword. The group headed over as the fear started.
“Holy. It’s the Demon.”
“Awww, look at the Cutie in Pink-oh Shit Demon.”
“What the hell is HE doing here? They haven’t been seen in near a month an a half!”
Tyler walked over to the black haired boy who smiled as he saw them.
“Hiya, beater boy. Got your ass kicked by a rabbit?”
Kirito snorted as they clasped hands.
“Fuck you too ya bloody mary bitch.”
“well, damn Kirito. Nice one.”
Sakura giggled as Asuna sighed.
“Hi Kirito.”
The boy smiled as he saw Sakura.
“Nice to see you still cute as hell Sakura. You too Asuna.”
“Nice to be an afterthought.”
Tyler chuckled as he looked to the boy in black.
“So, where’s this rabbit?”
Kirito rubbed his eyes.
“A bunch of idiots found the boss. And are refusing to let the other players fight it.”
“The fuck?”
“What they said?”
Kirito sighed hard.
“They’re saying this is the last floor that’s safe enough to live on. So, they say their preforming a public service by standing in the deaths of others.”
“Okay. We got a cult. Easy fix. Let’s go kill the boss ourselves. Want in Kirito?”
He smiled and they fist bumped.
“Why I called you.”
They then followed the boy through the town to the wilderness towards a set of mountains.
“So, these idiots part of a guild?”
Kirito rubbed his temples as they went.
“Yup. The Players For Players guild. They believe that waiting for the real world to force us out of the game is the best solution to just getting ourselves killed.”
“A cult of safers. Fuckin perfect. They get violent?”
“No. They’re all great shielders. They literally are standing in a wall to prevent access to the chamber.”
“They irritate me I’ll just cut em apart.”
“yet another reason I called you.”
“Hey. Kirito. You should know something.”
He looked at him, concerned now.
“Find something?”
“Yup. A Developer Hub.”
HE stopped dead. Shocked.
“You FOUND one?”
“Yup. We can’t even get a keyboard to appear.”
HE slumped dejectedly.
“If it were that easy we’d be out already.”
“Damn right. But if you DO find one you get to upgrade ONE item to it’s absolute max. So not a total waste.”
They kept walking as Kirito rubbed his hair.
“I guess. Still sucks though.”
“Yeah. Least we get a free full upgrade.”
“Silver lining.”
“Wanna hear something mess up?”
“Oh shit.”
“Remember Lark?”
HE shuddered.
“Yeah, that guy.”
“what about him?”
“We found that multi-boss he came up with. Yeah, we need a bath.”
“Jesus. What forms?”
“Basic chesthead. Then to the chestspider. Last one was that SUPER creepy girl one he came up with.”
“Damn dude. Good LUCK sleeping tonight.”
“Testify beater boy.”
“Okay, you can stop saying that.”
“You picked it, dude.”
They were laughing as they came to a group of players all milling around a massive set of double doors. Tyler smiled as he spotted the blonde hair of Lorg near the side.
“hey. Watch this.”
The three watched as he went silent and snuck up behind the blonde woman. He reared up and grabbed her shoulders hard as he yelled at the lady.
Lorg jumped a good two feet in the air as his and her friends lost it laughing. Tyler was laughing hard as she pulled a wooden club from her inventory and began to beat the idiot with it in a bout of red faced fury. She broke it over his head and he patted her new red armor.
She kicked him in the balls with all the force she could muster. He just laughed at her.
“You suck at ball fondling. No WONDER your alone.”
She drew her sword a good few inches with intent to kill as Svenity then noticed Sakura’s outfit.
Lorg looked over to see Sakura blushing as she awkwardly shuffled her feet in the leaves. The blonde lady immediately forgot her intent to murder Tyler as Sakura’s cute outfit blew her mind.
“Sakura you look adorable!”
She smiled widely.
“As he says! Cutie in Pink!”
Tyler smiled as he shrugged.
“what can I say? I’m good at what I do.”
Lorg looked to ream him for his prank when she saw Asuna’s outfit then and gasped.
“Asuna, you look beautiful. Where’d you get that over gown thing?”
She smiled as she jabbed a thumb at Tyler.
“He made it for me.”
Lorg looked at Tyler in equal parts shock equal part envy.
“I knew you made decent swimwear, but that? What the hell?”
“I told you.”
Lorg tilted her head before looking at her armor.
“If I were to pay you, think you could make me a house outfit?”
“Sure. I’d need to see your Ui again, but no biggee.”
She smiled.
“Thanks. We have a small place but it’s hard to relax in full armor, and we can’t go around in swimsuits all day.”
Tyler smirked as he looked to the wall of shielders blocking floor ten.
“So. How stupid are they?”
She slumped as well.
“They say if we go in we’ll die. So, they’re here to prevent that.”
“Anyone try it?”
“One guy did and they hit him with a paralyze dart.”
“Well, well. I’m immune.”
Lorg blinked.
“Um, okay. HOW?”
“My coat’s status effect.”
She sighed deeply.
“Just gonna smile and nod. Can you do something?”
Tyler drew his sword and walked forward to the line of players.
“No one else is going to die. This is a suicidal plan. We can’t reach the 150th floor! The people on the outside will save us. I mean, do you really think one man is smarter than the entire world’s computer masters?”
“Not our issue at the moment.”
Tyler walked forward with Asuna and Sakura. The sight of the Demon intimidating the small man in the leather rogue armor with the bow. Tyler walked forward as the man got in his way.
“Not even you can kill this boss.”
“Still gonna at least try.”
“I cannot allow you to get that little girl killed.”
Sakura squealed as a dart hit her ion the arm.
“Hey! Mean!”
She rubbed her arm as the poison had no effect due to Tyler having put paralysis toads skin in her outfit. It rendered her immune to such tricks. Tyler smiled.
“You good?”
She was really angry now.
“That sonuvabitch shot me!”
She stomped her foot as tyler looked back at the now gibbering in terror man.
“Well now.”
He swung his blade and the man screamed as he got shattered. Then the shielders formed a wall around the trio as they readied spears to skewer them. Tyler laughed as he looked to the girls.
“We needed a good warm up. Kill em all.”
Tyler, Asuna, and Sakura exploded into motion as the idiots rtried to wall them in. Tyler swung a two handed shot that scythed down the four before him as Asuna’s Rapier punched holes straight through the shields of the men surrounding her, shattering them. Sakura had pulled a back flip as she fired a tri-shot bow skill.
“Pink Triforce.”
Her friends smiled as the other guild was reduced to pixels. Tyler looked to the girls.
“we good?”
Asuna smiled.
“Yup. Not a scratch.”
“idiots. They were just a bunch of idiots. I’m good!”
“Alright. Let’s kill that thing! Kirito, Lorg, want in?”
They came over and smiled.
“Thank god you came.”
“I knew calling the Demon was the right move.”
They went inside to find another group of men waiting. Tyler sighed.
“Typical. They beat the boss and were milking the next floor. Sadly, they didn’t know that the boss respawns OUTSIDE the chamber and hunts them down if they don’t activate the Hub teleport”
Lorg looked at him.
“That yours?”
“No surprisingly. That was the dev’s idea. For once.”
The men were horrified by the party’s appearance. Tyler, Sakura and Asuna made short work of them and on they went to activate the teleport. Funny enough though, once they activated it, and Tyler set the toll, they got the boss cleared icon, the exp, drops, and droy as if THEY had killed it. Tyler laughed as he explained.
“That’s the other piece. The first player to ACTUALLY to do the thing right gets the loot. Encourages fair play and not being a dick.”
That got a laugh as Tyler looked around.
“Well, Kirito, lorg, we’ll get back to it. I know a gnarly mountain three days that direction.”
The samurai and the dude in black waved as Tyler, Asuna and Sakura took off running into the direction he’d pointed in. Tyler in the lead as he knew where he was going, Sakura to his right and Asuna his left. The trio blowing over hills and crossing streams as they dropped any animals they came across. They chatted as they went.
“Hey, Asuna, you said you were a head cheerleader, right?”
The flaming red head laughed as she threw a dart to shatter a rabbit.
“At my old school before I moved. My dad said to try it to see if I’d like it.”
Sakura felled a hart with a shot to it as she leapt off a tall boulder.
“I’m surprised your mother didn’t play that card.”
she smiled as she turned a flip over a log just because it felt good.
“She was in Paris for a few months that year, so my dad was around more.”
Tyler smiled as he took a large bear in the chest before moving on.
“was it fun showing off those legs in tights?”
She laughed.
“It was actually. And I know your picturing it.”
“Not really. Since, ya know, I know.”
She blushed as Sakura giggled.
“wow, she’s as red as a tomato.”
“Nice to see she’s still a prude.”
Asuna sighed.
“Whatever. Why’d you quit with the flips?”
“The girls were all SUPER bitchy. Like the nasty kind that likes to just bring others down.”
She had a distinct look of disgust as she talked.
“seriously. They were so stuck up. Like one time a new girl joined the squad, she was beautiful, with blonde hair and a larger rack then the other girls. So, they started bullying her to the point she cropped out of school entirely and moved away. Best part? She was the best we had at flips and wheels, plus just as sweet as Sakura.”
Tyler sighed as he took out his bow to one shot a brown bear.
“I hate people.”
Sakura giggled as she slid under a fallen tree.
“well, we love you. So we’re not all bad!”
“Sakura’s okay. Asuna? Eh, getting there.”
“Oh gee thanks.”
“No problem!”
The fiery girl just sighed and ran along with the two siblings. They ran until it started to get dark out and ran some more. The trio could run for a week straight now without feeling tired or out of breath. Tyler having a harsh stance on stamina.
“More you run the longer you can last in a non-stop fight.”
Sakura was happily humming as they ran along, more just loving life. Tyler swiped his Ui and put some music on as they ran and Asuna smiled.
“Hey, Gore, I got a thought.”
“Should be good. What’s eating ya?”
“When we get out, whaddya think it’ll look like?”
Tyler tilted his head thoughtfully.
“Well, the survivors will most likely all get lumped together. Like for school, jobs, and general housing. Since some of us have blood on our hands, we can expect counseling, shrinks telling us we’re fine and safe, drugs in some cases, and an overhaul to games like this.”
Asuna sighed sadly.
“Will there still BE games like this?”
“Oh hell yeah. Seriously, Asuna? Deep dive ain’t going anywhere. Most likely things will just get a revamp to NOT kill us. There is just too much money in these things and in the field itself for it to die that easily.”
“Well, that’s good I guess. You said shrinks telling us we’re okay and safe?”
“Yup. We’re looking at years in here at least. And we’ve been fighting for our lives the entire time. US three will be just fine since ya know, US. But some just won’t be able to readjust to life outside the game.”
Sakura sighed as well.
“It’s a shame they don’t see just how good we have it in here.”
Asuna looked at her a little shocked.
“Care to explain?”
“He can better then me.”
“Think about it Asuna. We get to get up when we feel like it, go wherever the fuck we want, do whatever we want. BE whatever we want. Look at us. We all started out with a single weapon, no money, and clothes. Now we got money to spend the rest of our lives in luxury, have the strength to basically dictate anything we want, and look badass to boot. We can have all the wild sex we want and not have to worry about getting sick or a girl pregnant, eat all the junk food we want and not get fat or sick or even throw up, we don’t have to pay taxes, go to school, or really listen to anyone else. Those on the outside can’t really touch us as we’re protected by a law, and they can’t force the game to shut down or it’ll kill 35000 plus odd people. And no one wants that kind of blood on their hands. We get to go on adventures like raiding dungeons, fighting dragons, exploring places no one has every seen before and look damned good doin it. Death game or no deathgame, this place is a paradise to me.”
Asuna sighed as she vaulted a rock.
“But it isn’t real. Our strength is not our own, and our adventures fake.”
“Hey, Asuna, you just touched that rock right?”
She jumped and nearly fell.
“It dangerous?”
“Did you feel it?”
She was now confused.
“I did.”
“Okay. What did it feel like?”
“Like stone. Cold, rough, and hard. What’s your point?”
“Okay. So, tell me this: If this isn’t real, then why can you feel what that rock felt like?”
She rubbed her head, as a dull headache started to throb.
“Because we’re in a video game. A fake reality.”
“Oh my poor Asuna. Fake or real. True or false. Who are we to tell which is which? I can feel these rocks, taste this air, feel the warmth of that sun. So, this is my reality.”
Sakura giggled.
“I think I get it. Wherever we are, it IS our reality.”
“And WE make it real.”
Asuna went silent as she thought it over.

In the hospital room, the families watching were rubbing their heads. Asuna’s dad was then heard chuckling.
“I know a few philosophy professors that would HATE that kid. In a few sentences he just had us all questioning our reality AND agreeing with him.”
Tyler’s mother laughed.
“He does that. He LOVES that world. Cause like he said, in there? HE is in charge of his fate. Down to the last second.”
Sakura’s godmother smiled.
“He is a deep thinker alright.”
“With a knack to find the silver lining in nearly anything. Plus, the fact he’s right and he knows it helps.”

Asuna looked at the back of the boy as he ran.
“So, you’re saying that since we’re here, this IS reality?”
“More or less. We’re alive, so it must be ours.”
She rubbed her aching head.
“My head hurts, but I see what you mean. Maybe I just try and enjoy myself some more and worry less.”
Sakura giggled.
“Be like Gore! HE NEVER worries! And just goes for it!”
Tyler smiled as they went. Asuna ran a little faster to catch up to the boy in red.
“It seems I need to get out of my head a little more.”
He patted her back.
“No biggee. We got a weird curveball thrown at us.”
She smiled as they came up on a set of boulders in the ground. Tyler smiled as he stepped up the side of one and was running sideways along the stone before pulling a flip over Asuna’s back as she ran, patted her back, and landed to run sideways on the other stone. She clapped a little with Sakura.
“Thank you ladies. See? Try THAT in there!”
She laughed as they picked up their pace.
“Show off. How far we going today?”
“I’d like to be at that river between biomes before we call it.”
Sakura squeaked.
“Hey! After this floor, we’ll be on new floors altogether!”
Tyler smiled.
“Yup. Floors I have not even seen yet. Which means caution will skyrocket.”
Asuna rubbed her Rapier hilt.
“Now I’m nervous.”
“Eh. Don’t be. It’s not till floor 15 we really need to get nervous.”
Sakura tilted her head.
“What’s up there?”
“The bosses fifteen and up are complete mysteries. Plus, the betas got looks up maps up to floor fifteen. Along with some concept art for some monsters. So, after fifteen, we’re fighting blind.”
The girls groaned.
“So we’ll have to treat every enemy like a one shot kill.”
“Yup. But, it’s totally worth it. Floor 18 has a sky garden you girls are going to LOSE you FUCKING minds over. Hey, a crystal rose.”
Tyler stopped to gather the glass-like flower. The girls blinked in surprise.
“What’s that for?”
“Yeah. It’s pretty, but it useful?”
Tyler smiled as he added the light pink colored flower to his inventory.
“Just to me it is. I got a project going at the moment.”
Asuna tilted her head, curious as to why he’d waste an inventory slot on a mere cosmetic mat.
“Okay. You know best I guess.”
Tyler smiled as he took off again.
“No biggee. Just a pet project I’ve been fiddling with.”
The girls just let it go as they continued running. Tyler spotted the river in question and called it.
“We’ll camp by that river tonight. It’s a good source of trout and crystal eels.”
They stopped and followed him to a small well-hidden cave near a bit of forest. The cave looked like a mere crack in the ground, but once you dropped into the thing is opened up into a large chamber with a small sandy beach with access to the river. Tyler chuckled as they walked over and a small white circle appeared.
“This a player sanctuary. Can only be claimed by one party at a time, lasts for two IRL weeks, and while inside it’s a safe zone like the town of beginnings. Plus, we are off every radar out there.”
Tyler walked to a place out of sight of the main entry point and set the three person tent up.
“We’ll stay here a day or two since the crystal eels are very good for mats, food and exp.”
He looked over to see Asuna and Sakura looking at a small painting on the wall.
“Hey, Gore what’s this?”
Tyler walked over and smiled as he saw the image of a winged creature with a background of flames as it wielded a double bladed sword.
“That’s my Player Signature. Like a ID photo. You can make them in the town of beginnings as a means to both mark a spot you’ve been before in a way only you will understand, a VERY subtle way to pass a message, or mark a favorite spot you visited before or even give a heads up to yourself that something further along wants to make you a hand puppet.”
Asuna was impressed.
“I’m surprised they left it here. Don’t it seem like cheating?”
tyler smiled as he patted her head.
“Not really. It’s kinda like a nod to those that were hear FIRST.”
She blushed a little as he patted her head like he did Sakura, but found she liked it too. Sakura had wandered to the edge of the sand and removed her boots to walk on the sand bare foot. She sighed as she felt the sand on her feet.
“This feels sooooo good!”
Tyler smiled and went to lay on the sand beside her.
“This was a favorite place of mine back in the beta. Plus, that alcove? Watch tonight when we go to sleep in it. It’ll feel like our hut.”
Asuna had also taken off her boots to stand in the sand.
“we should head back sometime.”
Sakura laid on the sand and was in full agreement.
“It was nice!”
Tyler just smiled at her.
“Hey, Asuna. Another thing this place has going for it? When you lay on the beach, you don’t have to worry about sand in your ass!”
Sakura lost it as Asuna blushed again.
“Um, okay. Good point. I guess.”
Tyler smile as he pulled the rod they used for fishing out and, without getting up, flicked the line into the water. The thing was in the water no longer then ten seconds before he pulled on it and ripped a ten foot eel made of a blue stone out of the water and onto his swordtip. The thing shattered and he got 250 exp, 25 Blue Eel scales, 5 eel meat, and an Eel skin. Sakura giggled as she swapped to her two piece to lay her head on her brother’s chest.
“That was awesome.”
Asuna just shrugged and swapped as well into her bikini and laid down next to Sakura. Tyler smiled as he flicked the line back in, and got another eel.
“That range has some good Moonstone ore we can grab. Plus at the top is a floor miniboss that when killed gives 30,000 exp, 45,000 droy, like 55 perfect white bear pelts that make our bedrolls feel like stone, and maybe 35 meat.”
Asuna had her red eyes closed as she replied.
“It hard?”
“6 health bars, high defense, two pattern shifts, and the arena is at the top of the mountain.”
Sakura was on her back looking at the ceiling as she played the fightin her mind.
“Weak points?”
“It’s a large bear. So, heart shots do triple damage. Is Melee only, but has a roar that can stun is not guarded against. So, if you see it lower it’s head, either cover your ears, or get behind cover.”
Asuna yawned.
“So just a large bear with a nasty bag of tricks.”
“And insanely high defense. It took ME a good three hours alone to kill it.”
Sakura was nodding her pink haired head as he talked.
“Well, there’s three of us so it shouldn’t take that long.”
He put his arm around her small waist as he tore out another eel.
“I got ya for a reason Sakura.”
She giggled again.
“It’s cause you’d starve if you didn’t have me!”
“So true. Asuna is just here to look at.”
“It was.”
Asuna was giving off steam so embarrassed was she at this unexpected attack. Sakura and Tyler high-fived as Asuna recovered enough to reply.
“I am NOT just for looking at! I do stuff too ya know!”
“Oh yeah. I forgot she talks.”
Tyler just snorted as Sakura said it this time instead of him. Poor Asuna was now red faced with fury.
“Sakura! Mean!”
The pink haired girl just sighed and rubbed the exposed stomach of the red head in a soothing manner.
“Look, Asuna, you really need to learn to take a complement. See? You got really soft skin.”
She was now red faced with embarrassment, and was giggling a little. Sakura looked at the laid out boy.
“I think she’s ticklish.”
“Seems that way.”
Sakura got a wicked grin and started to straight up PET the fiery beauty’s belly like a cat, making her squirm and giggle as her weakness was exploited.
“Hahahahahaha! Stop! Ahahahahaha! Sakura please!”
Tyler smiled as he came to Asuna’s rescue, by poking Sakura in her sides.
“Eep! Hey!”
Asuna’s torture at an end, she now saw her chance for revenge. As Sakura was glaring indignantly at Tyler as he kept flicking out eels and fish, Asuna came up behind her and started teasing her sides, making her squeal. Tyler just smiled as he let the girls play. These two are a lot of fun to be around. Living together just might be fun. He threw the line back out, and was relaxing when he felt it get yanked on. Hard. He was on his feet in an instant as he used his strength to haul on the line.
“Heads up ladies. Got a biggee here.”
They dropped their play and readied for trouble as Tyler fought with the line.
“I’ll drag it out, be ready.”
“Got it.”
Sakura had her bow up as Asuna pulled her Rapier. Tyler then threw his entire strength into a vicious yank, dragging a two hundred feet serpent like creature out of the river. It resembled a gigantic oarfish, but with the head of a dragon and the fins of a shark. He growled as he saw it.
“Grand River serpent! Sakura! Asuna! I can’t let it go! Do it!”
The two girls flew to the task with winged feet. Sakura firing a glowing arrow into the thing’s eye.
“Pink Piercer.”
She was still in her two piece, but still said the word ‘pink’, as Asuna dove to an attack with her own sword.
“Dancing Pierce!”
She stabbed it no fewer then fifteen times, and it shattered. Tyler sighed as he got the loot window.
“That was a Grand River Serpent?”
Asuna sheathed her Rapier on her hip, even though she was still in her flaming bikini. Tyler smiled.
“Yeah. Things are extremely rare. Like, I think the numbers were a random spawn in one out of every 3,000,000 eels caught on a floor. We each got 25,000 exp, a skin, teeth, thing’s scales, and it’s meat. Asuna, Sakura, that meat is YOUR to handle.”
The two girls looked at each other.
“It good?”
“S-class good.”
Their eyes lit up like lights.
“Oh my god. Seriously?”
“What she said?”
He pulled it up and they looked. Sure enough, Grand Serpent meat was an S-class ingredient. Meaning the very best. They looked at each other and nodded.
“We got our dinner for the next holiday.”
Tyler pulled a calendar up on his UI.
“Next one is…..Halloween.”
Asuna tilted her head.
“Any chance we can save it for christmas?”
Tyler smiled.
“I don’t see why not. It won’t go bad in our inventory. Plus, knowing us? We’ll get MORE S-class food.”
Sakura was twirling on her toes as she daydreamed.
“I love the winter. Plus christmas.”
Tyler smiled as he flicked the line back into the water to keep fishing.
“We’ll get cold soon enough.”
She squealed happily as he laid back down and her retake her spot on his chest. Asuna also laid back down beside the smaller girl.
“So you know, I got a birthday coming up.”
They looked at her.
“That right?”
“How old are you again?”
Sakura smiled.
“14! My birthday is in December!”
Tyler and Asuna smiled.
“I think we can handle holding the meat.”
“we kinda have to now.”
The pink haired girl giggled as the two talked. Tyler was stroking Sakura’s small back as the trio relaxed. Then Asuna blinked.
“Hey, we got like four Mirrors of that nightmare thing right?”
Tyler looked at her.
“Yeah. We have five total now.”
She rolled onto her side to look at him.
“What are we gonna do with them?”
He became thoughtful.
“Not really sure. We don’t really have a use for them, but if we sell them it could cause a mass search for them.”
Asuna was drawing in the sand with a finger.
“Can I use one?”
He and Sakura looked at her.
“What he said.”
Asuna smiled darkly.
“I want to make an arrangement.”
Tyler and Sakura looked at each other.
“Okay. I’ll make a rule for them. If a mirror is used we ALL sit in for the meeting. And I hold them in my inventory.”
Asuna and Sakura nodded.
“We agree.”
“Let’s move into the tent.”
The trio walked inside the three person tent he’d made from dragon scales dyed brown. Tyler took his spot against the pole with Sakura sitting in his lap as Asuna activated the mirror. Then she sat down next to him as the mirror rippled like when someone tosses a rock into a still pond. Then they got the view of the hospital room with their bodies and their families. They were all asleep and Tyler smiled.
“HEY! PULL YOUR PANTS UP! No one wants to see that!”
The room fell out of chairs and the lights were thrown on as they looked to the beds. Tyler and Sakura sighed.
“Hello idiots. The screen?”
“Twice. They’ve done this. Twice.”
The room then looked to the screen and took seats as Tyler’s mother glared at him.
“Thanks for the heart attack.”
“Sure. You needed the exercise.”
“She did.”
The woman just sighed as Asuna’s dad took the center.
“Hello sweetie. How have you been?”
Asuna smiled and stood up, letting her bikini get seen in full.
“Having fun. Like it?”
The women in the room were now openly jealous as her father just whistled in appreciation of his daughter’s beauty.
“You look beautiful, Asuna. I had no idea the devs had such great taste.”
Asuna and Sakura burst out laughing at that one. And the room was extremely confused. Then Asuna looked her father in the eye.
“GORE made this for me. By hand.”
Sakura got to a chorus of aw’s.
“Mine too!”
The flame headed man just sat back in his chair as he looked at Tyler.
“What else has he made you?”
Asuna switched into her battle gear, and she got a lot of oh’s and aws.
“The entire outfit.”
Sakura went Cutie in Pink and the room was having a hard time breathing from the cute.
“Mine too!”
Asuna’s dad looked at Tyler now.
“You have a talent.”
“Nah. Just a hobby. Oh. What the hell’s your name again?”
The man blinked and chuckled.
“Oh, I forgot. My name is Arthur.”
“Arthur. Okay. Yeah, I made their gear for them.”
Arthur sighed.
“Shiro would be infuriated by those designs. They are easily ten times better then her own. And she went to school for it.”
“Imagine how pissed she’d be if she saw what I can do when serious.”
Asuna took the lead now.
“Daddy. I have a request.”
The man looked at his daughter.
“Okay. What is it?”
“When Gore has what he needs-“
“Wants. Asuna. For a true masterpiece, it’s WANT.”
“When Gore has what he wants I want mother to sit in and WATCH what he makes. In real time.”
The room was silent. For ten minutes. Before Arthur sighed.
“The reason for this move?”
Asuna leaned back to rest her back against Tyler’s arm.
“To make a point. Gore here is BETTER at her job then she is. He is the better person period. Plus, I want to make it clear I am NOT her living mannequin NOR do I see her as my mother again.”
Tyler gave her a subtle back pat the watchers didn’t see. Then the man sighed.
“You’ve become far stronger, Asuna. Very well. Goreleech.”
“I do not have a time frame I can give you at this time. We just barely got to the floor, and as such need a breather.”
“Fair but not what I was going to say.”
“Oh this oughta be good.”
“Those mirrors? You were right, they ARE an integral part of SaS. And cannot be removed. Nor can the drop rates be influenced in any way.”
“I sincerely hope you idiots have a plan.”
“We do. Once they become widespread, there is a noninterference law that will take effect. In other words, we cannot influence the ingame actions of the players.”
“It is going to be pure nightmare fuel for the players and their families.”
“It is indeed. Wanna know something fucked up?”
“We’re TV stars?”
The two girls looked at him with looks of abject horror. Arthur sighed.
“YOU three and your small group of friends are NOT. THEY ARE. The countries had the brilliant idea to make the feeds a 24/hr live stream broadcast. Like Netflix or Hulu. Every person on the planet gets access to the service for free, and can pick the eyes of any of the surviving players to watch their lives through. The companies running it have approached us several times now with hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to allow your streams to be viewed, but we’ve shut them down.”
Tyler just rubbed his eyes.
“And the porn?”
“Sadly, they didn’t take that into account. OR the hourly rape. They can’t discontinue the service either for fear of lawsuits.”
“Jesus christ you people are stupid. Any reason in particular they want US so damned badly?”
Arthur sighed again.
“They want YOUR stream Goreleech. Not the girls. YOURS. From what the rep told me, and the reviews of the viewers, the Demon as you’re known as ingame, you are the biggest celebrity in the game world. From what he said to us, your fights are the most fun, your adventures most thrilling, and your lessons inspiring. All these rave reviews are from the few times you go to town. Every time you set foot in town, views spike and ratings soar.”
“Yeah. Great. Security?”
“Stun guns, riot shields, and a hidden location.”
“Uh-huh. Not good enough. Rifles. Body armor. Shoot to kill authority. And shotguns loaded with dragon’s breath rounds. You try you die.”
Arthur just looked at him.
“As dangerous as it is for me to say this. I can’t do that.”
“daddy. Either you do, or you will NEVER be a part of my life again.”
“Sweetie, please, out here, we’re powerless.”
“I’ll sell those mirrors then. Or, I’ll have Gore do it. And goodbye.”
She reached for the button to kill the feed and Arthur just hung his head.
She stopped moving, but did not remover her finger.
“I’ll do it. But, only within the hospital.”
Tyler sighed.
“Not good enough. But. Asuna. I will leave this killswitch in your hands.”
She looked at him.
“Are you sure?”
“I am. You care more about the people in that room then we do.”
Asuna looked at the room and to her father. She then sat back to think it over as Sakura just sat in Tyler’s lap like a cat, and he just hug her tightly. Arthur just sighed sadly as the minutes ticked by.
“Look. Gore is right about this world. And us. And just people as a whole. I am also a slave to this truth, and can’t really fight it.”
Asuna looked at him.
“Can’t, or won’t?”
He looked at her.
“Can’t. If I push them too much, they’ll just pull your plugs.”
“Then we’d be truly free. So, in that situation, we’d win.”
“You’ve become both strong and dark. Look, can’t we compromise? Please?”
“No. Goreleech NEVER compromises on our safety. Why should you?”
He blinked.
“You’ve a point. A very spinnable point.”
Tyler just sighed.
“I hate people like you, Arthur. You have power, but are afraid to step up and use for fear of offending someone. You were so wrapped up in trying to get OUT of it you didn’t even stop to CONSIDER if it was even POSSIBLE to do it. WE had to give you an excuse for you to justify the safety and well being of your own daughter to people that would say no. This point, are you truly a father?”
Arthur glared at him now.
“Okay, kid, in that game world you rule the world. OUTSIDE it, there are rules, regulations, and consequences for actions. I can’t just kill people that look at me wrong and walk away like you do.”
“Hold up. I didn’t say a word about killing. All I said was PROTECTING. I kill people that is true. But. And this is my whole point. My very NAME is enough to keep most at bay. Those that ignore that warning die. It’s the old adage: I’m not scared of anyone that is stopped by a locked door.”
Arthur was still angry.
“I see the wisdom there. But I have to justify it to those above me.”
“Again. Are you her father? For if you were, and ANYTHING tried to lay a finger on your little girl, then the consequences would mean nothing in the face of protecting the one that needs it the most.”
The two men were looking at each other with intense stares. Arthur angrily glaring into Tyler’s calmly bored expression. Then a laugh was heard, and they looked to see his mother laughing.
“Arthur he’s got you beat here. His point, is if it’s to protect her, then the question becomes what you NOT going to do? Look at him. He’s killed what? Thirty people for her and that cutie? He’s willing to stain his hands in the blood of others just to give them a quiet nights sleep. What are YOU willing to do?”
Arthur clenched his fists now.
“I see his point now.”
Then he just slumped and looked at Tyler.
“You are a far better man then I am. And a far better father to Asuna. Now. I am ashamed I need a mere boy of 16 to tell me this, but how do I set this up?”
“Have the gunners in plain sight, and make it VERY clear they are to protect the bodies of your daughter and her friends. Anyone has an issue, say you don’t have faith in the hospital security and use Rick getting into the room as an example.”
Arthur smiled ruefully.
“You had a plan from the start.”
“He always does.”
“It’s why we’re still here.”
“Okay. I can work with this. I will MAKE it happen.”
“Well, it’s all temporary really. Once I get out I’ll do the job better myself anyway.”
Arthur chuckled.
“Scary thing is you’re not wrong. The bill says that any survivors that make it out get more…lax rules for their lives. I wouldn’t recommend going to a mall with a machinegun, but you’d get a slap on the wrist for oh say, an ‘accidental’ death.”
“Accidents I can work with. Be amazed what can happen with a badly positioned knife and a open heart with a nasty trip.”
“Nasty. Okay. I’ll get the guards in place.”
“You said they were live streaming us. Right?”
He looked at him.
“They are.”
“How widespread is it?”
“Like a non-stop football game with religiously devoted fans.”
“How bad is the fanbase?”
“I understand you’re an Otaku right?”
“oh fuck.”
“Yeah. Are you familiar with the anime title Darling in the Franxx?”
Tyler just groaned.
“Oh fuck me.”
“That fanbase meets My hero Academia plus the bad sides of Naruto, Fairytail and added to the toxic side of Highschool DXD.”
“Wow, Arthur. I’m impressed.”
“Asuna is a closet-“
“Shut up.”
“Yes sweetie.”
“I see my next task. But the fans are THAT toxic?”
“And rabid. Yeah, they have to have military outside hospitals.”
“And you don’t because….?”
“we OWN this hospital.”
“And it is located?”
Asuna smiled.
“Inside our family compound near Mt Fuji.”
“Oh, so shoot to kill is easy. Just man the damned wall.”
Arthur blinked.
“I’m a diplomat. Not exactly easy to suddenly convince the SDF to deploy.”
“Just hire some Yakuza. I had a friend in the group.”
Asuna and the others all looked at him.
“Soo, you’re a Yakuza?”
Tyler laughed.
“Nah. Yuta was. Guy is the son of some big shot, and I worked in his family’s restaurant for a while. If Arthur had just agreed to the security instead of fighting it, I’d have given him the guy’s number and a passcode for a favor. Dude owes me a favor for the time I found that his father’s office got bugged by a rival family while I was cleaning once. His father told me if I ever needed a favor to call. I told him if the need ever arose I would.”
Arthur just slumped into his chair in defeat.
“You even had a plan for the security. This father have a name?”
“Kakashi Yutama.”
Arthur and the natives went bone white at the name. Even Sakura was now white as a bone. Tyler looked at his little sister.
“What? Seen a ghost?”
“He’s the head of the White Dragon claws. The most dangerous yakuza family in japan.”
Arthur took the thread now.
“They have such a stranglehold on the criminal underground that nothing enters this country without them knowing of it. And you’re owed a favor?”
“I am. If I give you the code and number, it will prove you’ve been in contact with me, and that you are to be trusted with the life of his son.”
Arthur blinked.
“If you hold THAT level of influence in the underworld, then Asuna is truly in safe hands. Okay, what is the number and the code?”
Tyler used a piece of paper and held it up with the number. Arthur had a thought.
“We can do a facetime with it, so you can talk face to face more or less.”
“That might work better. Eh fuck it, all it will take is him to answer.”
the room went dead silent, and Tyler looked at the remaining time on the mirror. 45 minutes. He smiled as Arthur put the number into his phone and held the facetime feature to the screen. It only rang once.
“Who are you and how do you have this number?”
“Yuta needs to grow a fucking spine ya lousy ten cent hood!”
The room went bone white as Tyler yelled the words to the man in the suit. There was a moment of silence before the man burst out laughing as he saw the boy on the screen.
“Tyler me boy! Looks like you went and got yourself into a fine mess this time!”
“Mess? Fuck you old man I’m loving life in this thing! Hey, Yuta dive?”
“He did.”
“He bit it already?”
The man sighed.
“Sadly he did. A little while back he fell in with a bad group. He said they were the strongest and his best chance to survive. I advised him against it, saying he’d run afoul of this Demon I’ve hearing so much about. Well, he didn’t listen. He and two others were dispatched to meet with this Demon and intimidate him into leaving them to their work. It backfired. The boy cut him to pieces as a warning I myself have used countless times in the past.”
“You get a good look at his gear?”
“I did. And I must say I LOVE his style. He wore a bright red jacket that hung to his ankles, denim jeans, red spiked boots, a white shirt and red gloves.”
“You mean like this?”
Tyler stood up and donned his war gear in full view of the camera. The man went silent as he took in his intimidating sight. Then he looked at Tyler with an intense glare as he sat back down.
“Are YOU this Demon I have been hearing of?”
“I am.”
“Did you kill those three sent to you?”
“Was their guild Laughing Coffin?”
“And they threw a card at you.”
“Then yes I killed them.”
“Last question. Did you know my son was a part of the trio?”
“No, Kakashi. I did not. I just killed them without asking names or giving my own.”
The man sighed and sat back.
“I know you’re not a liar. Plus, if Yuta had KNOWN it was YOU they were going after he’d have run from them as fast as he could. He knows what you’re capable of better then most.”
“He had a wand of jelly for a spine, but he was a good kid.”
“He was.”
“Only thing he really needed was time. Time, and the right push.”
The two men sighed as they held a moment of silence for a fallen friend. Then Kakashi got to business.
“Yuta’s been laid to rest. So, why did you seek me out?”
“Are you aware of the live streaming of our lives?”
“I am. I am also aware of your taking of those two girls under your shadow. And you sonuvabitch. That red head is gorgeous. You BETTER take damn good care of a catch like that, or I’ll beat yer ass myself. Oh, and ya better let me meet that Cutie in Pink."
"Eh, her call. Asuna though? You DO remember who you are dealing with, right?”
He laughed.
“Oh right I forgot. We’re talking about the boy that thought getting my daughter a new fur coat was a good idea for a gift on a first date.”
“hey, she loved it right?”
“She did. Okay, Tyler.”
“Don’t tell me she dived?”
He sighed.
“Please. Tyler? Find her.”
“Give me her tag, and fifteen minutes.”
“Her tag?”
“Gamer tag.”
“Okay, let me make a phone call.”
“Sir, if you would, my battery is dying.”
“This is?”
“That red head’s father. Look, Kakashi, I promise you I WILL find Yuka.”
“Her tag is Grimoire Rose.”
“Damn Yuka, that’s friggin metal. Grimoire Rose. Fifteen minutes on the clock.”
Tyler pulled the messenger up.
“Gabol I need a player located. She is a personal friend to the Demon. Reward is 250m Droy. Name is Grimoire Rose.”
Tyler hit send and looked at the man as he spoke to Arthur.
“Sir, I will be at your hospital myself. Plus when Tyler finds my daughter, I will have her placed in your care.”
“it would be an honor to host your family sir.”
“Ha. Honor my ass. If Tyler is there then even if he’s a vegetable still no place safer. Now, I understand he had a request?”
“The message was sent out, Kakashi. I will find her if she still lives.”
“She does still live. But, she used the single e-mail to prevent anyone from viewing her stream.”
“I taught her well.”
“You did indeed. Why DID you two break up again?”
Tyler smiled as he crossed his arms.
“She said she wanted to be with another.”
“That’s it? That was the only reason?”
“It was the only one I needed. She was with me because she WANTED to be with me. Once that was gone I wasn’t going to force her to stay there.”
“Yet you still loomed up behind her.”
“Like I told Sakura here. I got her back. Same with the red headed spitfire looking at me with a mixture of fear and awe. You ever need Demon support you know where to find me.”
That got a fond chuckle.
“You are a fine man, Tyler. Now, I’d like to discuss something with Arthur here, and you too at some point. How long does the current mirror have left?”
“about maybe….half an hour.”
“I see. How often do these drop?”
“Nice gamer speech. We got what? Four more?”
The room and the man was silent. Then Kakashi burst out laughing.
“Of course you do. I am aware of just how difficult they are to obtain. And here you got four? Typical. Okay. So, in the even it cuts off before we’ve finished our discussion, I’d request you use another.”
“Of course. We’re sitting on one for a future point we need to make, so we got two to play with.”
“I appreciate it. I should be at their compound in five minutes, as I’m sure the sir’s arm is getting tired.”
“Dude needs to work out more. His daughter’s got more muscle mass an he does.”
“For the sake of your face, Tyler, I will take that as a complement.”
Tyler smiled at her.
“It was Asuna. For once.”
He laughed as the yakuza boss chuckled.
“She’s a fierce one.”
“Half the freakin reason I like her so fuckin much is that fire. She sometimes even intimidates ME.”
The door to the hospital room opened and the slender man in the black suit walked in. Arthur hung the phone up to greet the man with a bow, before letting the man take his seat. The man looked at the two girls laid out and shook his head as he looked into the screen.
“Lucky bastard.”
“What up ya old fuck? Jealous I got a cutie and a hottie and ya got nothin but yer hand?”
“Fuck you ya arrogant wanna be Hue heffner.”
“Must suck to have to pay a mirror to reflect that thing ye call a face.”
“Still an infuriating prick.”
Tyler smiled as he hugged Sakura.
“Eh. It’s a passion.”
Sakura dipped her head shyly to the man.
“Nice to meet you sir. I’m Sakura, Tyler’s little sister.”
The man’s brown eyes softened as he saw her.
“Nice to meet you too, Miss. You got yourself a great brother there.”
She became indignant now.
“Great? Old bastard he’s the BEST!”
That made him burst out laughing.
“Yer teaching her right.”
Tyler just hugged her the tighter.
“Someone’s gotta.”
Asuna now took her turn to bow.
“A pleasure sir. I am Asuna Argento.”
“Yeesh, the polite proper young lady bit does not do you justice miss. I much prefer the fiery warrior that can intimidate that stone hearted boy.”
Tyler patted her fondly on the back.
“She’s got real fire. That hair’s now just for looks.”
Asuna blushed as she sat down, not used to him flattering her. Then he became serious.
“You said a discussion, Kakashi.”
The man smiled.
“I was wondering, if the lady there finds this agreeable, that you be named my new heir apparent and son.”
Tyler’s hands fell off Sakura’s head at this bombshell. The entire room was silent except for the now rapid beeps of the heart monitors. Then Sakura squealed.
“Big brother’s awesome!”
Tyler jumped as his shattered mind began to work again.
“I’m sorry, Kakashi, but could you repeat that one?”
The man chuckled.
“didn’t see that one coming did ya? I want to adopt you into the family. Been wanting to for about a year now. Yuta loved the idea, and Yuka did too. Though, knowing her? She just wanted you close to jump you.”
“No comment.”
“Smart lad. I know by the way.”
“No comment.”
“She taught you well.”
“Now, the reasons for this are very simple: Yuta thought of you like a brother already. And that was before you saved his life from that attempted mugging gone wrong. Plus, well, I’ve thought of you like a son as well. So, since Yuta is gone now, killed by your hands no less, which I don’t blame you for.”
“He joined a murder guild.”
“Is THAT what they are? I tried asking him but he refused to tell me.”
Tyler sighed.
“Laughing Coffin. They’re a guild of assassins.”
Kakashi sighed deeply.
“I see my misgivings were justified. It was only a matter of time before he got sent after the wrong target.”
“Murder is a very harsh business.”
“It is indeed. How many have fallen to you?”
“Last count? Thirty.”
“And you still sleep sound no doubt.”
Tyler shrugged.
“I do what needs to be done. Should watch the footage.”
“Oh I fully intend to. So, my intent is to bring you into my family as the next head.”
Tyler crossed his arms as he considered it.
“I have no objections, Kakashi. In fact I rather like the thought. But, what of Sakura and Asuna?”
“The lady Asuna will live with you. Me and her father will discuss a merger of sorts. As for the Cutie? I understand her immediate family died.”
“They made her cry, sot he Demon looked at them.”
“Nice line. Well, if her god parents also find it agreeable we would welcome her as well.”
Sakura’s gasp of shock put smiles on ALL their faces before her godparents spoke now.
“No disrespect, sir, but does your family have dealings outside the law?”
Kakashi smiled.
“That side of the family would not touch Sakura’s hands. That is Tyler’s home. Boy thrives in it. She would instead be pampered with a life of luxury.”
“Yaay! More spoiling!”
Sakura’s cute squeal made them all laugh as Tyler sighed.
“Did I say three days? We leave once we get the update.”
“Ahh! Boo.”
“What was that?”
“yes Tyler.”
“Better. We need to get back to work soon.”
“I’m sorry. We’ll still be together right?”
“There it is, Sakura. Getting gifts and easy living is NOT to be taken for granted right?”
She smiled as she hugged her brother.
“right. If it goes to our heads, then we lose sight of what truly matters.”
“And what happens then?”
“Then we truly die. And it’s when it crumbles out from under us.”
He hugged her tightly as the man nodded sagely.
“You’ve been teaching her your lessons I see.”
Sakura sat down now with a happy smile as Arthur shook his head.
“Now I feel insignificant as a man AND a father.”
Kakashi chuckled fondly again.
“He does that to you. Tyler has his own code. You either meet it or he’ll find someone that does. AFTER reaming you with it.”
Tyler smiled as Sakura’s god mother spoke.
“If Sakura wants to join the family, we have no objection, sir.”
They looked to the cutie and she squeaked.
“Will me and Tyler still be together?”
“He’d have duties and responsibilities to see to, but yes Sakura, you would.”
She breathed a sigh of relief.
“I’ll join.”
Tyler patted her pink hair and getting a happy glow for his effort before looking to his mother.
She just shook her head.
“In the span of four years he went and became a trusted friend to a yakuza mob boss. And the scary thing? It fits him WAAAY too damn well. Alright, Tyler. I’ll handle it on my end.”
Kakashi smiled.
“You’ll be set, never you worry, Ma’am.”
“There’s the bribe I was waiting for.”
“Fuck you.”
“Fuck you.”
“Wow. Nice sync up.”
Kakashi sighed.
“Okay. As my heir, well, I trust Yuta told you everything?”
“More or less. Just look scary, help out with issues you are too busy to see to yourself, and don’t do anything stupid.”
“In a nutshell.”
“Very well, Kakashi. I accept the offer. As long as Sakura and Asuna are protected when I myself am not there.”
That got a smirk.
“YOU have forgotten you you’re dealing with.”
“Oh right I forgot. You want like two hundred armed guards stalking me and Yuka’s date.”
“And they all got spotted in the first ten minutes.”
“There’s not a soul that can sneak up on me.”
Tyler was thinking when he got an icon.
“hey. Got a message.”
Tyler opened it to the update from Gabol.
“Found your girl Gore. She’s in it bad. She’s on floor seven as a runner for that guild the Band Of Swords. Word is she owes them a debt for something and they’re making her work it off. She’s a feisty one though and is proving to be quite the handful. Town’s name is Dracul. You’re looking for the bar called Fell tooth. Place is a town but NOT a safe zone so be warned. Oh, and keep the money. Just bring Sakura down to Briyack. I got something she’ll love.”
Tyler sighed.
“Suit up. We got a town to burn.”
Kakashi sighed as well.
“How bad is it?”
“Not exactly sure. She’s in deep to a local guild on floor seven. I guess she owes them money or something and they’re making her work it off.”
Tyler stood and put his gear on and pulled the cloak out as the two girls geared up as well.
“We’ll get her back. Any issues, well, watch.”
“What do you need?”
“Armed security around that compound. We already had ONE pedo fuck get close enough to touch Sakura. I trust this won’t happen again?”
Kakashi smiled darkly.
“Boy, Yuka is being brought here. What do you think?”
That got a laugh.
“Enjoy the show.”
The feed died and Kakashi chuckled fondly as Tyler’s mother turned on him.
“Okay. How the hell did my son go from mere transfer student to adopted son of a high level yakuza boss?”

Tyler put the tent away as the girls pulled their gear.
“Hey, Gore?”
Tyler looked to Sakura as she readied up.
“What up?”
“Who the hell are you?”
“What do you mean Sakura?”
Asuna sighed.
“Dude, she means how the hell are you on such friendly terms with the leader of the White Dragon Claw family?”
“We’ll talk as we go.”
The trio left the cave and teleported to the hub on Seven. Tyler knew the town in question, and knew it couldn’t be teleported to. So once their feet hit the dirt they pulled hoods up and took off.
“So. The story of me and the yakuza?”
Asuna and Sakura paid rapt attention.
“Okay. I met Yuta in class what? Two weeks after I moved to japan? Guy was a twig compared to me, and rather jumpy too. He was an otaku like me and we got to talking about different shows we loved. Well, we were walking down the street to hit a shop he wanted to show me when a group of like three guys tried to jump us for our wallets. Yeah. I am not some mere pushover. So, I dropped em. Ha. Turned out they were hired by a rival family to rough him up as a message. I met Kakashi through that one. In return for saving his son, he gave me the job at his family restaurant that catered Asuna’s parties. No one knew they two were connected, which was the whole point as that place was a meeting place for Kakashi and his dealings. Well, I am nothing if not a hard worker. That paired with my no bullshit mentality made me more of an asset then just busboy. That creepy uncle and the camera were a case in point. Kakashi HATES those types of people. So, when I told him my side of why we lost the regular custom of Asuna’s family, I got a damned raise, became a family friend that got access to their network, and could hang with Yuta at will. Well, one day I was cleaning his office in the back when I found a small black tube on top of a small cabinet. If you were not looking for it, or not me, you would not have found it. The thing was a live camera bug used in surveillance. It had JUST been placed, as the head of a rival family Kakashi had just finished meeting with had placed it there. So, since I found it and brought it to him as soon as I realized what I held, I got basically the same amount of trust Yuta had. Well, until I met Yuka that is. Yuka is Yuta’s sister. She’s sixteen, my height, beautiful blue hair, fair skin, purple eyes, and a great rack. Easily Double D’s. Plus her personality is I-don’t-give-a-fuck. She’s got a razor blade for a tongue and a hornet’s nest for a mind. We met one day as I was doing my thing at the eatery. Dude was getting a little rowdy with one of the serving girls and I laid his ass out. I was dragging him to the sidewalk when she came sauntering up in short shorts, black and white sneakers, a raggedy crop top, and a half leather jacket with spiked fingerless gloves. I see her and she spotted me as I dumped the idiot onto the sidewalk. I nod to her and head back inside to check on the girl nad she comes in right behind me to talk to the head chef.”
“Hey, Butch.”
“She goes.”
“Who’s the angry lookin pencil?”
“Oh, Tyler? That’s the boss’s newest favorite.”
She looked at me now with a very appraising eye. Like I was some damned horse or somethin.
“That right? I guess the old man’s lost it.”
“He never really had it to begin with. I mean, he’s got a girl like YOU running with him.”
She had burst out laughing as I said this, not even looking at her as I cleaned the table the girl had been at so she could go get her marbles back. She then comes waltzing over pretty as ya please to slap my back.
“So then, yer the newest project he’s got going?”
“Well, I see you. With a failure like that on the board, ya bet that punk rock knock off ass he needs a redesign.”
Oh she lost it at that one. Like doubled over wheezing holding onto a table laughing lost it. I just ignored her and did my thing. Maybe ten minutes later she comes back over and gets in my face.
“Name’s Yuka Yutama I’m the old man’s daughter.”
“Poor bastard.”
“Okay, tough guy, I like you.”
And that was it. She’d drop by the place when I was working and we’d more or less just bust each other’s balls the entire time. We dated for like four months? Kakashi had me under a microscope the entire time. I didn’t really care and just loved life. Then Yuka crushed hard on some other guy I never met and we called it. We’re still good friends and all. So, yeah. Me and the claws are tight.”
Sakura and Asuna looked at each other as they ran towards the town.
“Soo, he’s in good with the reigning yakuza family, and is now to be their new adoptive heir.”
“Big brother’s awesome.”
Tyler smiled.
“And we’re taking Yuka with us.”
“kay! New sister!”
“Is that a good idea?”
Tyler chuckled.
“Yuka’s a beast. She’ll most likely be under leveled, but no biggee.”
Asuna nodded and they ran on. Soo, he’s looking forward to this new girl. A lot. Why does it bother me so much? The fiery red head shook her head as they came up on the outpost town of Dracul. In terms of style, it was a western theme set in a backdrop of dusty desert and plains complete with tumble weeds. Tyler smiled as he threw his hood and the girls did as well. Then they walked towards the saloon called Fell Tooth. Tyler threw open the swinging doors as he walked in with the two cloaked girls. The place was exactly what one would expect a dusty western ton’s saloon would look like. There were buckets for spit, a long bar with a tender wiping a class, and wenches walking around table. Tyler picked out a group of maybe fifteen players all sitting at a table with a girl in a ragged set of period underwear with a disgusted look on her pretty face holding a tray with drinks. Tyler walked towards the group as a hand of cards was played and the girl had to get groped by the winner. She did the deed and had a look of hatred on her face as the man reached for her voluptuous breasts.
“Are you Grimoire Rose?”
The table stopped playing to look at the newcomers. The reaching man spat on the floor.
“Whatsit to ya?”
“Shut it prick, was talkin to the lady.”
The table was on their feet as weapons were drawn. Tyler just ignored them as he looked to the shocked girl.
“Are you. Grimoire Rose? Yes. Or. NO.”
She found her voice.
“I am. Now, who are you?”
“The Demon has come for you.”
The girl started shaking as the group laughed.
“The Demon? What a load o bullshit!”
“He was last seen what? Floor ten?”
“And headed into the mountains with them two beauties he runs with.”
“One’s more cutie but yer right.”
“Aww! Thanks!”
Sakura’s cute voice got the player’s attention.
“Wow, boys. We got a real wanna be Demon here. He even brought a little girl to pretend to be that Cutie!”
“Rose. We’re leaving. Gear up.”
The humor died as the girl with the blue hair gulped.
“I can’t leave.”
“And why not?”
“I owe them a debt.”
The man laughed as he threw an arm over her shoulders.
“She played a hand o cards and lost! Now she’s our toy till we let her go.”
“Riiiight. And you cheated. Only way you’d beat HER in a game of cards.”
Rose gasped hard at that one, and now the man glared at him.
“Yer startin to irritate me now. Leave now and we won’t shatter you.”
“Fuck this.”
Tyler grabbed the edge of his cloak and tore it off with a flourish. Then his unmistakable red coat and sword made the men go white.
“The Demon’s here!”
“Oh fuck.”
Tyler looked at the man with his arm around the girl’s shoulders.
“So. Rose. Ready to roll?”
“She’s not going with you.”
Tyler drew his sword, and split the man’s head clean in half, shattering him, and sheathed the sword on his back in a single fluid movement.
“Anyone else?”
The players fell over themselves in their rush to get away.
“No sir!”
“She have any gear?”
“Yes sir. Here!”
“That ALL of it?”
“Yes sir!”
Tyler looked at the mass of equipment and mats.
“Not bad. Not GOOD. But not bad.”
The blue haired girl was looking at him in horror.
“Who are you?”
Tyler smirked.
“Been a while, hasn’t it? Yuka.”
She gasped again.
“Goreleech ingame. And we need to get rolling. Here. Suit up.”
She got the mass of goods except her crafting mats and got dressed. Her gear choice was a crop top made of some fur, denim short shorts, black boots, a one handed sword with a large buckler, and a cowgirl hat. Tyler patted her as he nodded to the door.
“we’re headed back topside. Try and keep us in sight toots.”
She blinked as Asuna and Sakura threw their cloaks as well. Then the trio were off running.
“Hey! Wait up!”
“Keep up or get left to them.”
She took off running after the trio.

Tyler and the three girls ran back to the main hub and they jumped back to floor ten. Rose was panting hard, but they didn’t make allowances for her as they raced to the cave again. They claimed it again and set up shop again. Once the tent was set up, Sakura and Asuna swapped to bikinis and relaxed as Tyler set up another mirror.
HE looked at the girl.
“What’s up? Oh, and I’mma call you either Rose or Yuka.”
Rose just slumped.
“Are you really Tyler?”
“Prove it.”
“Okay, let’s see. Oh, I know how to get you off in two moves.”
“Seriously? Yup. You’re him alright.”
“Hiya. Miss me?”
Rose tackled him with a hug.
“Thank you.”
“Pff, like I’d leave my favorite badass bitch in the lurch.”
She smiled as she pinned him under her and kissed him hard. Sakura clapped as Asuna felt a most….intense jealousy. He is MINE! Wait? MINE? Why am I so angry now?” Tyler and Yuka made out for a few minutes before she pulled back and hugged him again.
“How did you know I was in here?”
“We need to chat.”
“Oh shit here we go.”
He set the mirror up and Yuka sighed as she saw Kakashi sitting in the chair.
“I see daddy told you.”
“Yeah. A most unexpected surprise, as all I called him for was some hired muscle to keep the idiots out.”
Yuka hung her head in shame.
“I am sorry, father.”
“Oi! No.”
Tyler smacked her back.
“Lift that head, and get that shame out of your heart, Yuka.”
She jumped and looked at Tyler in shock.
“But, I was made to do horrible things!”
“And now your free to run again. Plus those idiots will come after us once they put their balls back on. And, I’ll shatter em.”
Sakura was curious.
“Why didn’t you just shatter em then Gore?”
“Not really sure. More a spur of the moment thing.”
“Well, they can’t touch us up here.”
Asuna sighed.
“Her level’s wack as well.”
“I’ll train her as well.”
“great. MORE babysitting.”
“Yeah, Sakura, babysitting Asuna is a full time job.”
“You wanna get a Rapier shoved up yer ass keep talking.”
Tyler smiled as he looked at Kakashi.
“I trust you saw.”
“I did. And splendidly handled.”
“Not really. Sakura’s right. I should have just killed them. Must be going soft.”
Sakura sighed as she waggled her small feet.
“Great. Don’t get comfy Asuna.”
“Wasn’t gonna.”
Rose was confused.
“Ummm, why are you acting like I’m going with you?”
Tyler smiled at her.
“Because you are.”
“Ahh, okay, WHY are you so certain?”
“Because I’m asking you to.”
She sighed.
“Right. I forgot we’re in a video game YOU helped make. Ya know something? And I feel I need to make this point.”
“My diving was the real reason we broke up?”
She just shook her head.
“Of course you knew. Yup. You were diving so much I was alone. So. There. I said it.”
“And now we’re trapped inside that same game.”
“And you have a plan no doubt.”
“I got like four.”
“Of course you do. And them?”
She jabbed a thumb at the two bikini girls.
“The pink cutie is Sakura. My surrogate little sister. Fuck with her and you die screaming. That flaming red headed bombshell is Asuna. A good friend to have on the road. I am currently teaching them the right way to live.”
“At the expense of everyone else.”
“We got more important things to worry about.”
“Yeah. It’s not our job to babysit the player base.”
Yuka just sighed.
“You are still as toxic as ever.”
Asuna chuckled.
“Oh he’s toxic alright. But, at least he won’t ever lie to you. Or stab you in the back.”
Yuka looked at her.
“And about the cost to yourself?”
Sakura snorted.
“Cost to ourselves? Long as we get to live, who cares?”
“Yeah. I may not always agree with his views, but at least I’m safe.”
“But, in exchange for this safety you have to give up your ability to trust people.”
Sakura and Asuna laughed.
“Trust people? They want something that precious they have to earn it.”
“Exactly. Trusting people blindly is just opening the door to getting taken advantage of.”
Yuka looked at Tyler, as he was scrolling through mats.
“They’ve been listening to you.”
“Yup. It’s how we’ve survived. Asuna’s a great learner and Sakura gets it.”
That made the pair glow a little as he praised them. Kakashi chuckled.
“So, Yuka. Yuta is dead.”
The girl lost all the color from her fair skinned face. She had tears in her eyes as Tyler thumped her on the back.
“Oi, no falling apart in my camp.”
Yuka got a rein on her emotions.
“How’d he die?”
“He dived and joined the wrong guild.”
She hung her head.
“What guild.”
Kakashi looked at Tyler.
“You know it better then I.”
Tyler closed his UI.
“He joined Laughing Coffin. The murder guild.”
Yuka looked at him in horror.
“How do you know this?”
“Because I killed him.”
Yuka scrambled away from him then and sat cowering against the other cave wall.
“Y-y-you k-killed Y-y-yuta?”
“I did. Had no clue it was him at the time. Hell, till Kakashi told me he dived had no clue he was IN here.”
“The guild sent an intimidation squad to threaten me. So. To send my own message I shattered their envoy trio.”
Yuka was shaking like a leaf in a rain storm.
“Just to make a point, you killed them? What point?”
“Don’t fuck with my family.”
Yuka’s purple eyes went wide as he replied in a cold voice.
“That’s it?”
“Only reason I need to send you to hell in a bucket. My kill count is 31 as of that jackass.”
Yuka looked like she was about to take off running, so scared of this monster before her as she was. Then Sakura burst out laughing.
“Big brother you sure she was a friend of yours?”
“First girlfriend.”
“You’d think she’d know what you would do to protect the ones you love.”
“It was a strain on our relationship. We had each other so fuck the rest. She’s a kind hearted girl, and I’m dead inside.”
Yuka looked at a staring in sympathy Asuna.
“How are you not scared of him?”
“Because he saved my life. Even AFTER I turned on him. He saved me from my mother that wanted to marry me off to some forty year old man just to further her own career.”
Yuka stopped shaking and just looked at Asuna in pity.
“You poor girl.”
“Poor girl my ass. I didn’t have the strength to say no. And he’s teaching me how to get it.”
“More sharpening the strength you already have, but same thing at the core.”
She looked at Sakura.
“He saved me from a capture squad that wanted to sell me as a sex slave after my family abandoned me when the doors closed.”
Yuka the looked at the group with new eyes.
“I get it now. You see the world like he does because you’ve been burned by it like he was. That makes sense.”
She looked at her father.
“I take it YOU told him to rescue me.”
“No. Sweetie. I ASKED him to. There is a difference there.”
“Had he ORDERED me to, I’d have just killed the feed and been done with the mess.”
“I can see that. So, I am to travel with him now?”
“I’d feel much better if you did Yuka. Tyler is the very best there is in there. If you’re with him-“
“If she’s going with us, she’d need to agree to my rules.”
He cut him off and now looked at the blue haired girl.
“If you do not we’ll take off and just leave you here.”
Yuka and Kakashi sighed.
“What are they?”
“1:I call the shots, my word is law.2:if you complain about anything, from hardship to chores, I will drop your ass, regardless of where we are. We could be in the middle of a dragons nest, I don't care.3:Everything you have/get/find is to be shared equally among us. If you get an item you run it by me, odds are I know how to get the absolute most from it,4:everything about your character's stats is open party knowledge, we keep no secrets. I have a set plan to keep us alive even if outnumbered and out leveled, I need to see your stats to better make use of your skills and abilities. This goes both ways, for if you ask I'll show you my UI too, without hesitating.5: I do not care about any of the other players besides my friends. We do our own thing and the rest of the players can fuck right off.6: We spent the overwhelming majority outside as such we share a single tent, and when in town a single room. I do not have the time or patience for bullshit arguments over stuff like boys and girls in the same room together. If you think you can follow these rules, then welcome to our circus, if you don't think you can, that’s fine too. We don't really need you, or anyone else for that matter. So, Yuka, make a call.”
Kakashi was nodding sagely as Tyler listed his party rules. Asuna looked at Sakura chuckling.
“Déjà vu.”
Yuka had sad eyes.
“You’ve gone full dictator in here.”
“Wanna live? You listen to me. We get out, as we will, you do whatever the fuck you want.”
She sighed.
“And the penalty for breaking a rule is?”
Three reflexive responses in a matter-of-fact tone sent shivers down the people’s spine.
“Just for not listening to you I die?”
“Fuck this. Kakashi, I am sorry, but it looks like she won’t be going with us.”
The man sighed.
“I understand. It’s survival of the fittest in there.”
“And I will NOT endanger Sakura or Asuna’s lives by bringing such a freakin weak link on our travels.”
Tyler looked at Yuka.
“We’ll rest here tonight, but in the morning we go separate ways.”
She just looked at him.
“I haven’t even made a decision yet!”
“This were a fight we’d be dead already.”
“If she’d been with us in that cave we WOULD be dead already.”
“You get maybe split seconds to make a choice in this game.”
Yuka watched as Tyler then turned his attention back to the screen, dismissing her entirely.
“So. I’ll still accept your proposal.”
“I’d thought you would, as you’d already agreed.”
“It benefits Sakura and Asuna. Plus, more or less sets us up right.”
“Speaking of the setup, your living arrangements. I meant to ask you, but we ran out of time.”
“Sakura and Asuna stay with me.”
“Why’d I even bother asking? As for the place’s location?”
“That one we’ll discuss as we get closer. No sense in diverting energies at this early stage.”
“Agreed. So you know, the gears are already turning.”
“Good to hear.”
“We got approached by another rep while you were working.”
“How much this time?”
“3.5 million.”
“We shot it down saying the world does not want to see what you do.”
“His response?”
“He said that Goreleech is the most highly requested player out of them all. People are literally protesting for the right to see your travels.”
“The tanks?”
“Well, I couldn’t get the tanks sadly. But we did get the APCs.”
“Eh. Good enough.”
“Wait, back up. WHAT arrangement?”
Tyler looked at Kakashi.
“I think you should handle this one. I’mma go fishing.”
That got a chuckle as he got up and walked to stand between Asuna and Sakura with his rod. He sat down and flicked it into the water. Asuna sighed as he tore another eel out.
“So that’s your first girlfriend.”
HE chuckled.
“Yup. Quite the looker ain’t she?”
Sakura shrugged.
“Asuna’s prettier.”
“Aww thanks Sakura!”
Tyler smiled as he tore another eel out.
“She’s most likely NOT coming with us.”
The red head looked over her shoulder to see Yuka talking with her father with a very intense expression.
“Did you love her?”
“Yeah huh?”
Asuna blushed hard as both Tyler and Sakura looked at her in shock. She rolled onto her back and pressed her face into her arms.
“Forget it! Sorry!”
Tyler patted her back fondly.
“Did I love Yuka? I’d like to think I did. Even if I have no clue what love feels like.”
She rolled back over and he laughed.
“Oh, and another perk to this place? Sand don’t get in your hair.”
That made the two girls laugh. Then Sakura became curious.
“Hey, Tyler?”
“What’s up squirt?”
“Call me squirt again and I’ll stab you.”
“What’s up runt?”
“Do you WANT Asuna to fuck you with a Rapier?”
“What’s up Doc?”
Tyler and Asuna looked at each other in shock.
“Oh that is just wrong!”
“I feel old now. Dammit.”
“okay Asuna. Me an you need to make a blood oath here.”
“Nice name drop and yes we do.”
“We get out, we introduce Sakura to REAL cartoons.”
“Agreed. You have them?”
“Yup. ALL of them.”
“Then we have a deal.”
The duo used a knife to cut their hands and show the yellow groves before clasping hands until the groves vanished. Then Tyler looked to a VERY confused Sakura.
“What’s yer question?”
“I got two now.”
“Oh that? Don’t worry bout it.”
“More something to look forward to when you get out.”
“Ooookay. Weird. My OTHER question is if you STILL love Yuka, Tyler?”
Tyler flicked the line back into the water and pulled a pike out this time.
“Not as in a girlfriend. More close friend now.”
Asuna breathed a silent breath of immense relief. Wait, WHY am I so relieved? Like the hell? Tyler smiled as he went.
“I may have loved her once, still not sure on that one, but do I still feel that way? No.”
Tyler tore another eel out of the river and whistled.
“Nice. We just scored a Blood Eel. Fucker’s rare. Hey, Sakura, we got dinner.”
She giggled as Yuka was heard yelling.
Tyler chuckled.
“We’re gonna need another mirror for this one.”
Asuna shrugged.
“eh, we know what to look for now.”
Tyler sat up and passed the rod to Sakura as he pulled the map sphere out.
“If I had to, I think I can find a likely spot for that chesthead to spawn.”
Asuna smiled.
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you care.”
“Just a little. Sakura a bit.”
The two girls laughed as he panned around the floor map a bit. He then smiled.
“That grandbear might be a good bet.”
Sakura was pulling eels out as she talked.
“Hey! Got a pink! Cute! Any caves up there you know of?”
“That pink eel’s rare. Nice. There’s a few caves. Problem is their all frozen and we’d need to slide around a lot.”
Asuna sighed as she looked at her feet.
“I’m a pretty good ice skater.”
Sakura giggled as she pulled a blue out.
“I am too.”
Tyler chuckled.
“Then you two can teach me. I can’t skate worth a damn.”
The two girls looked at him in shock.
“Us teach YOU?”
“Is he okay?”
Tyler patted both their heads.
“I can’t skate IRL, so never bothered to try ingame. So, yes. There are things in here even I don’t know how to do.”
That got a laugh as Asuna looked at her feet again.
“We’d need skates.”
Tyler pulled his crafting UI up.
“No biggee. We got plenty of lower tier mats we can use.”
The flaming red head sat up to look at it.
“I’d suggest using a decent metal for the blades, since they tend to wear out quicker.”
“You know them better than I do. You know the drill.”
Asuna laughed as she pulled her UI up and he looked at her measurements.
“Okay, feet. 6.5.”
She watched as he used some leftover Wolf fur and redsteel to make her new ice skates. They came out pretty. The blades were a deep red, while the shoe itself was the pattern of shiny wolf fur. She hugged him as she added them to her inven.
“Sure. Sakura, your turn.”
She sat in his lap as she pulled her UI up.
“Like there’s another color for you.”
She hummed as he crafted an identical pair for her smaller feet. She hugged him before adding them to her inven. Then Asuna had a thought.
“You think we should add coats to our clothes? We ARE headed into the mountains.”
Tyler looked at the map sphere.
“It might be a good idea for Sakura. I can’t feel cold period, so don’t need it. What about you, Asuna?”
She flipped her red hair.
“I don’t have a cold tolerance. So, yeah.”
Tyler smiled then.
“Fur coats coming up.”
Sakura snorted.
“Asuna already has a fur carpet!”
Tyler burst out laughing as Asuna’s red eyes started twitching as she was on the verge of murdering the cutie in pink. Sakura was smiling at the taller girl sweetly.
“You seem mad, Asuna. What’s wrong?”
Tyler was still laughing as he looked through their mats, as Asuna replied in a highly strained voice.
“Tyler, for the sake of you groin ingame, and your balls IRL, you had better give the right answer.”
“Sure Asuna.”
“Do YOU have a problem with a carpet?”
Sakura became confused.
“Asuna, I think you’re confused. You have a carpet in your inven.”
Asuna blushed so red, Tyler thought she’d started bleeding. Tyler chuckled.
“No Asuna, I don’t have a problem with a carpet.”
The poor red head just laid back down, as Sakura still played the cutely innocent act.
“what did you think I meant, Asuna?”
“Yeah sis?”
The red wacked her.
“I have a headache now cause o you.”
Sakura looked at Tyler for aid in this attack, and he just patted her head.
“Tell the joke deal with the consequences.”
She crossed her arms and huffed.
“Asuna, I got the mats ready, just need to see your UI again.”
She came over to give him a better look. He then noticed she smelled of crushed pine.
“Okay, I think you’ll like this.”
He pulled a coat out and Asuna gasped. It was made from red fox fur and blood red with a black belt about the middle. The fox’s head rested on the chest with the white tail tip the hood. He smiled at her.
“Try it on.”
She got up as Yuka was still arguing with her father, and put the coat on. It hugged her slender body tightly, but she found she could still move freely like she wasn’t wearing a thick fur coat. It hung to just above her thigh, and glistened like fire in the light. He chuckled.
“Like it?”
She hugged him.
“I love it. It’s so warm and comfy too.”
She swapped it for her bikini as Sakura took her turn scowling. He patted her pink hair.
“I got just the think for you.”
She pulled her UI up and watched as he made her coat. Hers was thicker then Asuna’s and was a deep pink wolf fur he’d dyed with a rose he’d found. It was belted with a blue belt that made her that much more eye catching, and remined the older duo of a Russian fur coat. Sakura was jerked of her foul mood and had stars in her eyes as she held the softness.
“Thank you, Tyler!”
He hugged her as she stored it away. Then they were back to fishing. Tyler and the two girls tore maybe 50 eels out before Yuka spoke up.
“Hey, Demon, dad wants you.”
Tyler tore out another eel before getting off the sand and joining Yuka in front of the mirror. Kakashi was rubbing his head as Tyler sat next to Yuka.
“So, Yuka will tolerate you as the new heir, and Sakura as the new sister.”
“She doesn’t really have to like it. Long as she’s not a bitch to Sakura that is.”
She glared at him.
“This is MY family you’re joining, ya know.”
“Your point? So, Kakashi, what’s the word?”
HE sighed.
“She says she’ll go with you.”
Tyler looked at Yuka.
“Do you agree to my rules?”
“I’ll go with you, but that is all.”
“Then you are not going with us.”
He looked back to the screen as Yuka slapped him.
“Then WHY did you even bother saving me?”
Tyler smiled.
“He asked me to. And, because we were friends out there.”
She glared at him angrily.
“I am NOT a slave. NOR will I follow you like some lost puppy. I do not obey dictators.”
“If you are in MY party, you. WILL. LISTEN. TO. ME.”
He was smiling but Sakura and Asuna sighed.
“Yuka, if you keep pushing him he’ll just kill you to shut you up.”
“I am amazed he hasn’t already.”
Yuka just snorted.
“He wouldn’t be able to kill me. We’re too close.”
Tyler looked at Kakashi, and he sighed.
“No. I won’t hold it against you.”
Tyler had Yuka against the wall of the cave outside the protection of the circle with his blade sticking out of her belly the next instant. She was gaping in horror as her health bar depleted rapidly.
“Make a choice. Death. Or shutting up.”
She closed her mouth.
“Good girl.”
He forced a potion down her throat before tossing her back into the circle.
“Let me makes this clear to you, Yuka. I do not care who you are, what you mean to me, or what you have done for me.”
He was walking slowly as he donned his red coat.
“If you endanger Sakura or Asuna in ANY way, shape or form,”
He was speaking with all the iron and steel that had scared Asuna’s family and the hospitals.
“If you threaten their survival. I. Will. END. YOU. “
Yuka was white as a sheet as she processed her near death and the fact TYLER had nearly killed her. Tyler crouched to look her in the eye.
“You had your chance. I do not want you with us. This point, I regret wasting our time and money to save you. Now. I will keep my word, and allow you to rest here until we leave. But this is the extent of my charity to you. Do not push the issue further.”
Tyler then walked back to sit before the screen as Kakashi was nodding sadly.
“I feel like I owe you an apology.”
Tyler shrugged.
“No biggee. Least we know now for certain.”
The Yakuza boss sighed.
“Silver lining I suppose. Will she die out there?”
“Most likely. If she refuses to see the truth as it is, then she will die.”
The man looked at him now.
“If she were to ever TRULY need you?”
Tyler sighed.
“I don’t know Kakashi. I went for Asuna because she LISTENED to me BEFORE turning on me.”
The red head was smiling at Yuka with a grin most smug.
“Yuka? She just sees the world she wants. Regardless of the truth of it.”
That made her mad.
“Better to see it diluted and still be able to be myself then whatever YOU are.”
Tyler chuckled a dark chuckle.
“I’m ALIVE, Yuka. ALIVE and safe. At the end of the day, that is all that matters. Well, that and Sakura and Asuna.”
“Love you too, big brother!”
“Nice to see I matter as an afterthought.”
“And a right fiery one too!”
She smiled as he said this, and Sakura giggled.
“I think he LIKES you, Assy!”
Yuka sighed.
“Why the hell did I fall for you? You’re a heartless, pitiless dead inside man. You didn’t love me, you don’t love THEM. You just seek to build walls between you and the world.”
Tyler smiled as the two girls gasped at the cold remark.
“I know why I fell for you. At least, I THINK that’s what love feels like.”
She glared at him with distain.
“You just wanted to get in with the family.”
“Yet, by the point I met you, me and Yuta were already brothers. Plus the bug mess. I was already in good.”
Kakashi laughed.
“He’s got a point. Me an him waged wars just so he could see you, Yuka. Hell you know that! Remember the time he nearly got shot for sneaking in to our compound because you called him up saying you wanted to see him?”
Tyler chuckled.
“Yer boys sucked, Kakashi. I’m a better shot an half of em.”
“At the time? Sadly yes. Now? Well, we’ll have to see.”
“I’ll humiliate your boys another day.”
Yuka snorted.
“Was it to see ME, or to fuck me?”
Tyler smiled now.
“Both, Yuka. Not gonna lie. It was both. Mostly the first.”
She had a look of disgust on her face.
“Okay, WHY did you THINK you fell for me?”
“Because every time I saw your face my heart felt like it was singing. My soul felt lighter as well, as if just looking at you made my lonely existence just barely bearable. When we were together, my face would hurt so much from smiling and my heart felt like it housed something OTHER then the lonely bitterness that’s there usually. And when we parted, I was both sadder and more dead then when we met up. Plus, you were so strong and fierce as well as drop dead gorgeous. So that helped. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel so utterly alone.”
Sakura and Asuna were hugging each other as he finished his deadpan, on-the-fly response to Yuka’s harsh question as they sought comfort from the emotion packed into each word. Even Kakashi was moved a little. The man was nodding along as Tyler finished his mini speech.
“That’s called love, Tyler. You felt it, and it was REAL.”
Tyler smiled.
“Really? Huh.”
Yuka had tears in her purple eyes. She sniffed.
“You felt like that?”
“I did.”
She gasped.
“You….DID? Not anymore?”
He sighed now, and Asuna caught his gaze flickering towards her. I didn’t just see that? He didn’t just look at ME?
“I don’t feel that anymore Yuka. I used to. But not anymore.”
The blue haired girl’s gaze surged to look at Asuna.
Tyler shrugged.
“That’s….not easily answered. I’m not sure myself. So, for now we’re good friends.”
Asuna’s mind exploded as Sakura giggled.
“See? He LIKES you!”
“if I didn’t Sakura, you really think she’d be here?”
The red head laid her head in Sakura’s soft lap as she processed this latest bombshell, getting a happy giggle as Sakura took the opportunity to pet Asuna’s hair like a cat. Yuka looked back at him and tried to hug him, only for him to place a firm hand on her head and sit her back down.
She blinked at his rejection.
“I mean nothing to you now?”
He sighed as he rubbed his eyes.
“You’re a danger to their survival, Yuka. So. Until you give me a reason to trust you again, you mean about as much as the other players.”
She had a hurt look on her face.
“They mean more to you then me? We’ve been friends for years! You just met them!”
“They do. And right now, they are the most important things in my life. Sakura slightly more.”
“Love ya too sis!”
She was now happily glowing as Asuna slumbered peacefully in her soft lap. Yuka looked at them.
“Why? Why are you choosing them over ME?”
Tyler sighed.
“I am choosing them, over you, because 1: They may not like my rules, but they follow them as they is no better option. 2. They have earned my trust in a way you just haven’t. They have had my back and I theirs for months now. 3. They understand my points and lessons. Asuna may not always agree with my extreme views, but she is able to get past them as her survival is more important them morals.”
“Wouldn’t phrase it like that. My survival is more important then Ideals.”
“I like yours better.”
She waved a sleepy hand and went back under. Tyler smiled fondly at her.
“See? She has her way of seeing the world, and I have mine. And yet she’s someone I ENJOY being around. 4. They understand that sometimes it is better to just cut the whole branch off rather then safe it.”
Yuka was shaking her head.
“So, as long as they obey your whims and never speak against your word, you care?”
Sakura sighed now.
“He’ll listen if we think we have a better idea. But NOT in battle. We’re safer now for the moment so we can waste time with this meaningless debate. If we DO have a better idea we usually do it. But again, depends on just WHAT it is. Now, Yuka, you’re starting to give me a headache with the circles. Either agree to his rules and be set for the game,-“
“She’s not coming with us Sakura.”
“That bad huh?”
“Yup. She does, we’d never stop hearing it. We’d literally argue like this for hours on our bad days, as she just is incapable of agreeing to disagree.”
The pink haired girl sighed sadly.
“And you being right just makes it that much more infuriating for her. That sucks, I was hoping I got a new sister. Ah well.”
“Ya got Asuna. She’s the better sister anyway.”
Sakura nodded sagely.
“By a long shot. Asuna’s awesome!”
The poor red head was blushing like a tomato, so embarrassed as she was! Yuka was shaking.
“You rescued me, just to throw me to the wolves over a disagreement?”
Kakashi stepped in now.
“Yuka, you are fighting for your lives in there. Tyler is right. As I myself have seen this pattern in you as well. You HAVE to get over it, or you will suffer a fate worse then death itself. Now, as much as it hurts me to say it, if Tyler deems it necessary, and just dumps you off in the wilds, I will NOT hold it against him. He wouldn’t really care if I did, but besides the point. Yuka, ideals like yours are nothing but a hindrance in there. You know it, but just refuse to accept it. Yuta accepted it, and the only true mistake he made in that thing was to join the wrong crew. Tyler, let me ask a question.”
“If Yuta had asked to join you, would you have let him?”
“I’d have given him the same speech and rules. But, so long as he agreed and listened, I would have had no problem with him running with us.”
Yuka glared at her father.
“Tyler just wants mindless followers.”
“He WANTS you to LIVE, Yuka. At this point, your just being stubborn. You know he’s right, yet are refusing to accept it just to deny being ANYTHING like him.”
“Kakashi, Sakura’s holding her head in pain. So, since she’s just going in circles and in such denial, I now need to remove her from the camp. Do you have a complaint?”
Kakashi rubbed his head.
“She’s giving ME a headache now too. Do as you need to.”
Tyler got up and sent over all of Yuka’s mats and forced the now screaming girl to accept before dragging her down the cave to a secret entrance he’d found in the beta. HE threw her out the small crack and into the roiling river.
“You need my help, you have my name.”
She was swept away screaming in both anger and rage as she now had to fight the current or drown. The entrance being at the top of a hundred foot drop into a deep river that flowed away from the hideout. Tyler reached up and broke a root on a tree, which triggered a secret door to close as he returned to the cave. Sakura was drinking some chilled water as Asuna held a bit of ice to her head.
“Sorry, Tyler. She said her head was throbbing.”
Tyler sighed as well.
“I was going to do that myself. Well, we’ll rest a bit longer before heading for the mountain.”
Tyler retook his spot in front of the screen.
“Sorry, Kakashi. But their survival is more important.”
He nodded.
“I understand. And don’t blame you in the slightest. Yuka will either get over this or suffer.”
“Is her feed up?”
“it is. She needs to understand that some things just ARE. And you have no choice but to accept them.”
“She’ll get enslaved again. No way in hell she doesn’t.”
“I agree. Now, is there anything else you needed?”
“You said something about a merger with Arthur?”
Asuna came over now and sat next to Tyler as her father sat with the yakuza boss.
“Indeed. We are in talks over a joint business venture.”
“Like protection?”
“More or less. I’d say more….conglomerate?”
Kakashi nodded.
“That seems the better fit. Since my new heir and his daughter are so close, it seemed a good move to strengthen ties between our companies.”
Tyler crossed his arms now.
“Okay. So, what? Like the two companies become one entity?”
“With Arthur handling the day to day and myself handling the shadows.”
Tyler looked to Asuna.
“You care more an I do.”
She shrugged.
“Long as daddy don’t turn into mother, I’m fine. Oh, and I get to stay with Tyler and Sakura.”
The two men smiled.
“we’ll let you go now.”
“Yeah we all have work to do.”
The screen went dim and Kakashi sighed.
“It’s a shame Yuka is still just as stubborn as ever.”
Arthur was checking his daughter’s body.
“Tyler may be a harsh, unforgiving, dark boy. But he is right, and is always willing to give his life for those he loves.”
The yakuza boss nodded.
“It’s why Yuta looked up to him so much. They were two sides of the same coin, Tyler the dark side with all the nastiness, Yuta the kind and gentle side. Yuka loved the sense of raw danger Tyler had around him, yet didn’t like the reality that comes with it. Now that I think of it, Tyler was more invested in their relationship then she was. He’d bend over backwards just to put a smile on her face, and she’d use him as a bridge.”
Arthur chuckled.
“Asuna’s not like that. I can tell she much prefers the sense of safety he gives her over the feelings of danger.”
“Your girl could not pick a better vessel to place her heart in.”

Tyler rubbed his eyes as the screen went dark and they were looking at the wall.
“Okay. We need to get ready to move.”
He looked over and Asuna was looking at him.
“You okay?”
She smiled and hugged him.
“I’m okay. Just a little thrown I guess.”
He patted her back.
“well, go hug Sakura. She’s good for it.”
The flaming red head smiled and did just that as Tyler took down the tent. The ladies sighed.
“We need to disappear?”
Tyler geared up.
“Yuka’s going to draw attention and now this place ain’t safe anymore.”
They sighed sadly.
“Wasted time, money, and lost a hideout to her.”
Tyler led the girls out running towards the far off mountain.
“This was my fuck up. I knew Yuka was like that. So, yeah.”
Asuna was in her gown thing and Sakura her cutie in pink outfit.
“well, it’s YOU. Do better.”
“What she said. We won’t ream you as she was a friend before this mess.”
“And we know how you are with friends.”
Tyler smiled as he pulled an acrobatic front flip off a ten foot cliff.
“Well, we all know I don’t make the same mistake twice.”
Sakura dropped a moose with a perfect heart shot as they ran to the mountain.
“I still find it hard to believe you fell for her.”
Tyler sighed as he pegged a blue furred rabbit with a dart.
“I think it was the first girlfriend emotional hell.”
Asuna pegged a rabbit of her own.
“I hear that. Girl in my class got asked out and fell in love that day. Guy was an ass, and left her heart broken when she refused to sleep with him on the first date.”
Tyler chuckled, and opened his mouth.
“Well, she’s got more standards then you, Asuna. You slept with Gore in the first DAY.”
Tyler closed his mouth, as Sakura beat him to the joke. Asuna looked at Tyler.
“And what were YOU going to say?”
“oh, me? Was gonna ask what you got off that rabbit.”
“Smart man. Sakura, YOU are IN for it later.”
Tyler laughed.
“Well, thank god it wasn’t me this time.”
Sakura was now a little nervous as she shattered a bear.
“Umm, I’m sorry?”
Asuna giggled.
“Though to be fair, Asuna? You are really warm.”
Poor Asuna ran into a tree! Tyler and Sakura stopped to lo0ok at her as she recovered.
“You good?”
“never thought her as a tree hugger.”
Asuna took off running with them as the siblings ran beside her.
“You okay?”
She smiled.
“Just surprised by the complement Gore.”
“I’m an asshole, Asuna. But, I do like to pretend to pretend to be not as mean sometimes.”
Sakura giggled.
“I can count those times on one hand!”
The trio ran for the rest of the day, and as the sun went down they kept running. Their night vision serving them well, they dropped any monsters and animals they came across. Tyler leading the way as usual. The friends blew through the gentle woodland and were now in a slightly more rocky, hilly area that the friends loved as they could use their agility and show off their acrobatics. Tyler ran at a tall rock face and leapt at it to wall run to grab the lip and swing himself up to the top. He looked behind him to see Asuna make the same climb. Sakura used a different way up. She had spotted a set of two faces with a gap between them and used them to bounce between them to the top of the cliff. She landed with a light squeak of effort before they ran off to their next stunt. Tyler smiled as they neared a set of rocks.
“Oh, this is gonna be great.”
They ran and as they came upon a long rock jutting from the ground, Tyler ran along it with the girls right behind him.
“We got a 300 foot drop ahead into a lake 600 feet deep.”
They looked at him like he was insane.
“Are you sure it’s still there?”
“What she said?”
“It’s a diving challenge.”
The girls gulped, but trusted their friend. Tyler ran to the tip of the rock, and dove of the thing with the two girls right behind him. The put their trust in him to the ultimate test as they fell. Tyler straight up in the air as the surface of the lake appeared beneath them. Tyler barely cut the surface in a perfect dive, as the two girls cannonballed hard with loud splashes. They swam to the nearby shore and Tyler got an award for a clean dive.
“nice. I went up three dex levels, got 4500 droy, and a water breathing amulet.”
Sakura tilted her pink head.
“It okay if I get that one?”
“You do love to swim. Sure.”
She smiled as he gave it to her. Asuna was looking up and found she couldn’t see the rock they’d leapt off.
“You’re insane.”
“Well, thank heaven for that then, cause otherwise this’d probably never work.”
Asuna sighed.
“If our lives were not on the line, I’d think that was awesome.”
Tyler chuckled.
“There’s a challenge up on floor 30 a girl I knew made. She loved diving, so she got to make a few challenges. The one I’m talking about is two THOUSAND feet into a 600 foot hotspring you cannot see from the jump off spot.”
Asuna just looked at him.
“And I bet you’ll do it just for the kick in the teeth.”
“Well, yeah. I get to have fun while you soak in the spring.”
Sakura sighed longingly.
“Ahhhh, hotspring.”
Tyler smiled.
“Let’s keep going. Oh, and watch the shadows. Placed is riddled with caves.”
The girls nodded and off they went. It was early dawn when they stopped again. The trio took a small food break on the top of a small cliff that overlooked a valley of stone hedges and alleyways. Tyler sighed.
“I know this place. Listen up, you to. We go in there holding hands. If you let go, say something and we’ll stop.”
Asuna gulped.
“This place dangerous?”
“If you get lost in here, Asuna, the only way to get back out would be to either use a crystal, or logout entirely and relog in as then it’s set you outside it.”
Sakura was looking at the intricate pattern.
“Is it a maze?”
“yup. I know the guy that designed it. Dude loved maze challenges, and this was his baby. It’s hard but fair. We get through it, we’ll get good drops.”
Asuna seemed nervous.
“Did you solve it?”
“I did. A few times actually. Took me like three hours each time, but I did it.”
“A few. Mainly wall lizards. Shot to the face and shatter.”
They ate their lunch of sandwiches which Asuna had made and Tyler took Asuna’s hand and she took Sakura’s. Then Tyler led them into the entrance to the maze. They moved cautiously as they had no idea what was around the corner. Tyler was on high alert as they went, having beaten it before, he knew the path to the best loot.
“Hey, Gore. We got some ore here.”
Tyler looked over to Sakura’s voice, and she pointed to a vein of gold ore. HE sighed.
“leave it. That’s a rigged vein. Touch it and it’ll transport us somewhere else in the maze.”
She groaned.
“Dammit. It’s a good one too!”
They chuckled as they moved on. The party spent maybe four hours navigating the maze, at which point they came out into a larger chamber with a chest in the center. They saw four other routes leading out of the maze. Tyler sighed.
“Guards up.”
Sakura raised her bow as Asuna drew her rapier. Tyler walked over and threw the lid open. There was a burst of fanfare as the challenge was completed, and the walls around them all lowered to the ground. Once the fanfare ended tyler and the two girls got a screen with the rewards 50,000 droy, a legendary sword, bow, and shield, a teleport crystal good for forty jumps at full charge, and a map of the area. Tyler smiled.
“Clear. Glark may have loved screwing with those in his mazes, but he didn’t do rigged rewards.”
The girls relaxed as Tyler looked towards the much closer mountain.
“we got a hard run now. I want to be at that border by the end of tomorrow.”
The girls nodded and off they went running along the path Tyler took. The party ran for a full day and a half straight before they stopped to both take a breather and eat. They were standing at the boundary between the semi-tropical climate of the hilly area, and the winter tundra that the mountain sat in. Tyler showed them to a small hollow that was more crater surrounded by boulders with a pool of water at the bottom. There the two girls took their boots off to dip their feet with moans of relief.
“Ohhh, that feels good!”
“Running on rock sucks!”
Tyler laughed as he sat on a boulder nearby.
“Yer goin soft ladies.”
They sighed.
“Gore could run on a bed of nails and not feel a thing.”
They rested for a few minutes, when the ground started shaking. Tyler looked to the rim of the hollow.
“Wow. I did not think they’d keep that in the game.”
The girls looked to see a massive tortoise, easily 500 feet tall, 600 feet long, and 900 across lumbering towards the hollow.
“Umm, Gore? What is that thing?”
“That Sakura, is this floor’s secret boss. The adamantiose. Or adamant tortoise. I have waged wars against him in the beta. And, I’ve beaten him twice. So. Sack up. We kill that thing, we get some seriously gnarly drops.”
Asuna gulped as she saw the massive beast walking towards them.
“How bad is it?”
“It has the highest defense of the first ten floors. Even greater then the floor bosses as well. Attacks are easily predicated, but do NOT let them touch you, as they’re all one shots. He has 8 health bars. And uses slam based attacks.”
The girls looked at him as he watched the beast.
“Please Gore? Can we run just this once?”
“It’s just too dangerous without revives.”
“Ladies, I hate to break it to you, but we’re on floor 10. Okay? This thing, is a secret boss on floor 10. Please consider what that means.”
Sakura gasped and then looked at the hulking beast with new eyes.
“Are you saying that thing is just fodder compared to some of the monsters higher up?”
“Sadly yes. I have not faced them myself, but yes. So. Let’s see if you’ve REALLY been listening.”
Asuna sighed as her and Sakura put their boots on.
“What’ll we get for killing it?”
“1.500.000 exp, 5.000,000 droy, 500 admantoise shells, 1500 meat, secret weapons and armor, and vouchers that are used to force level skills.”
The girls nodded.
“The meat?”
“S-class prime cuts.”
That lit a fire in their bellies. Tyler drew his own blade.
“Pop potions ladies. This is an all-or-nothing boss fight. We win or we die.”
They all popped buffer potions as the creature roared a challenge that sounded more like a million elephants were stampeding through a wooden gymnasium. Tyler looked at Sakura.
“Keep your distance. Go for the eyes, Asuna follow my shadow.”
They nodded and the battle was on. Sakura loaded arrows on her bow.
“Pink Piercer.”
She fired and the shots hit the slow moving beast in the left eye, getting a roar of pain and chipping a sliver of health away from it’s eight health bars. She groaned as she saw it.
“This going to be a slog. Pink Slam.”
Tyler and Asuna reached the thing’s leg and Tyler brought the bastard sword in on a double fisted swing.
“Dragon hammer smash.”
The chunk lost was more easily seen, but was still a mere scratch. Asuna hit next with her thrusting rapier.
“Dancing stab!”
The sliver was greater then Sakura’s but less then Tyler’s. In all? A tenth of the first bar.
“Sync up!”
And so they did. The well oiled gears of the three friends went to work, Tyler delivering a heavy shot, Asuna poking holes with Sakura raining hell from a distance. The tortoise rumbled.
“Get ready to jump! Slam in coming!”
The thing lifted a leg 15 feet thick, and as it slammed it down, Tyler and his friends jumped hard as the ground literally rippled from the impact of the shot. The effect ended as they landed.
“That’s attack 1. Roar then slam. If it lifts a leg jump!”
The girls nodded as they kept up the attacks. They had been fighting by this point for two hours, and had barely broken the half way mark on the first bar. Tyler was still going strong, and so was Asuna and Sakura. Tyler harsh training allowing them to fight at full strength for 12 straight before they needed to stop for breath. Tyler was coming in for another attack as he saw the 50 foot tail twitching.
“get down flat!”
The group dropped prone as the turtle planted it’s feet to spin in a most terrifying display of agility for such a massive creature to swing it’s tail with all the force of a giant swing a metal baseball bat. The thing missed and dropped back on all fours.
The attacks resumed, and Tyler relayed the pattern.
“If the tail twitches, drop flat! Tail whip incoming!”
The girls heeded the words.
“Dragon flip fang!”
“Elegant dazzle!”
“Pink Shaft!”
Tyler pulled his UI up and pulled a poison out.
The girls did the same as Tyler drew fire for them. They all coordinated a triple threat to inflict triple poison damage, and it worked, as the first health bar broke they were onto the second.
“Alternate poison and stun!”
Tyler brought his blade down onto the same spot he and Asuna had been working to sever since the fight had began and they had chopped through maybe a quarter of the thing’s 15 foot thick leg. Tyler pulled a hand spring back as he readied another attack as he saw the turtle lower it’s head.
“Cover your ears!”
They heeded the words as the turtle bellowed to the sky in a roar that shook the very ground with it’s force. Then it lowered it’s head to look at them and the attack cycle was back on.
“Dragon impalement!”
“Toxic dance!”
“Pink death.”
The friends battled valiantly for a further four hours, and succeeded in chipping one and a half more health bars away, threading between slams, tail whips, and roars. They also used their most toxic poisons near constantly, and the effects were stacking up. Tyler was just readying another lunge, when he saw the shoulder lower.
“Get to the sides! Tackle in coming!”
The girls scrambled to move as the colossal turtle surged forward like a mountainous battering ram, tearing trees from the ground, shattering rocks to dust, and ripping a massive hole in the landscape. Tyler watched as it surged towards the rim of the hollow.
“Drive it into the hollow! It’ll flip over if we do!”
The party took up spots behind the turtle and began to attack again. Tyler using his more powerful knockbacks with Sakura and Asuna to make it step backward into the hollow. Tyler slammed his attack own.
“Dragon’s Fist!”
“Rushing flurry!”
“Pink pusher!”
They landed their triple threat on the turtle, each attack enhanced with their strongest knockbacks they had, and it forced the thing to take a step backward, only for it’s leg to land on empty air.
They hit the thing with another triple threat, and the ground on the rim of the hollow was heard to crackle.
“One more then jump!”
They did, and jump right after. It was good they did too, as the tortured rock beneath the creature gave out and the creature flipped over onto it’s back in the small hollow in a most impractical way for such a large creature.
“Get on it’s under shell! All attacks to quad damage!”
The trio got in position and attacked the softer under belly.
“Do as much as you can. It can’t move right now.”
The party broke out everything they had, and the chunks fell from it’s health bar in visible sections. They blew through five bars in that span, leaving it maybe two and a half. Then the turtle started to vibrate.
“One triple then off!”
They landed the hits and jumped off the thing as it did another physically impossible thing for a creature that size: Just flipped over entirely. The hollow was now under the creature’s trunk like legs, as the friends got to it. They dodged hits and landed their own. They did take glancing shots here and there, but thankfully no direct hits. Tyler and Asuna were still working the leg they’d been at the entirety of the battle, and they were nearly through.
“Triple the leg and it’ll go!”
“Dragon slash!”
“Dancer’s Fury!”
“Pink pounder!”
The trio’s triple threat slammed into the leg and it was severed entirely.
“Flip! Get back!”
They jumped back as it flipped over onto it’s back again.
“do it!”
The trio leapt up and started carving again.
“Dragon splitter!”
“Dancing nails!”
“Pink piercer!”
The bars dropped to the red, and the turtle started to glow red.
They sync’d up for triple threat after triple threat and the bar ran out just as the thing started to flip. It shattered and they dropped to the ground a good 500 feet below them with heavy thuds, taking a decent amount of fall damage, but they had potions out and were drinking them. Then they dropped to the ground panting as the icon for a victory appeared. Tyler looked to his friends.
“We good?”
Asuna lifted a thumb in the air. Sakura did the same.
“Good. Stone’s comfy.”
They laughed as the drops were listed.
“I shot up 5 levels.”
“I got 6.”
“Mats, wow. 2500 tortoise shells. 1600 meat, 10,000,000 droy, a high level legendary sword, a bow, a long spear, some plate mail, Sakura’s arrows, 60 tortoise blood, a tortoise heart, wow, we even scored a teleport crystal good for a 100 jumps and a map sphere, hell we even got 9 vouchers that force the leveling up of a skill without the exp.”
“All that? Damn.”
“We can sell the spear. How many arrows?”
“Maybe half?”
They panted for a little while before they regained their strength. The trio got up and even Tyler was a little shaky on his feet.
“We need to go before he respawns.”
The girls went a little pale.
“Please, we’re not fighting it again are we?”
“Not him. He has a mechanic built into his code to prevent milking. It’s a fundamental part of his code too. So, if the same party attacks him twice in a row after he respawns, he pops up TWICE as powerful, with triple the speed and quad defense. Rewards stay the same however.”
The girls looked at each other and popped high stamina potions.
“We need to go.”
“Which way?”
Tyler led them to a path through the ruined forest the tortoise battle had torn through.
“That was the strongest monster on this floor, ladies. Even stronger then the leaders of the sex villages. The boss will be a cake walk compared.”
The girls sighed.
“I need a rest.”
“Me too. My hands are shaking.”
“We’ll rest at the next place. I’m not much better myself.”
They breathed a sigh of relief as Tyler led them to a cave in the ground near a tall tree. They dove in and found the floor to be half full of water.
“Take a breath ladies. We’re going for a swim.”
They all took deep breaths before diving into the silent depths of the submerged cave. The water was frigid, and they couldn’t hear a thing as the two girls followed the red form of their guide through the blue depths. They could see small fish and underwater life all around them as Tyler kicked upwards towards the surface. They broke the surface into a glittering cave with a large section of flat grey stone with a ten foot patch of sunlight on one side. The girls gasped as they climbed onto the stone.
“This place is beautiful!”
“Did you make this?”
Tyler chuckled as they stepped into the white ring of a sanctuary.
“No. This was the dev’s idea.”
The cave was filled with the shimmering pattern of light reflecting off water, the smell of warm forest air, and was silent save for their voices. Tyler pointed to a rock.
“I’ve been here as well.”
Sure enough, his Demon player signature was seen on the wall. The girls swapped for bikinis, and noticed something.
“The floor’s warm!”
“I was expecting cold stone.”
Tyler swapped to his trunks as he set the tent up.
“That’s guess this cave’s sitting on top of a hotspring. The water gets thrown up behind that turn. I’ll show you in a sec.”
The girls waited with baited breath as he set their tent up, before he led them towards a small nook in the rock, that once they squeezed through it, they found themselves on the edge of a twenty foot wide hotspring with rather convenient ledges and a gentle slope for sitting and soaking. Tyler got in first as the ladies gaped.
“Ahhh, I MISSED this place!”
That broke the spell. Both girls got right in beside him as he sat in a corner spot and rested in it.
“Ohh that feels soooooo good!”
“I NEEDED this!”
Tyler smiled as Sakura came over to snuggle her brother.
“We’ll rest here for a day. I needed to after fighting that damned turtle.”
Sakura was happily nestled in his arm as Asuna sat by him, but not full snuggling.
“My hands feel numb.”
He sighed as he splashed a little water at her playfully.
“Sadly, from the rumor’s I heard in the beta, the upper floors like 50 and up? All the monsters are that base powerful and above.”
Asuna slumped in the water dejectedly.
“And most will be far too scared to challenge them.”
Tyler was stroking a giggling Sakura’s pink hair.
“Most likely. But, by that point? We should be able to eat creatures like that for breakfast.”
The red headed girl ducked under the water and came up with now soaked hair.
“It’ll be interesting to see just who keeps going.”
HE was now holding a nodding off Sakura against his chest.
“We have what? 37000 players left?”
“I’d say that’s a safe bet.”
“I’m willing to be we get 10000 that just up and hid in the town of beginnings.”
“I’d say more.”
“Wanna say half?”
“For the sake of argument, sure.”
“Okay. 15,000 just up and shut themselves in the town of beginnings. Then we’ll say 5000 are active fighters like us. Going out and getting in the teeth of monsters.”
Asuna crossed her arms under her breasts as she thought.
“5000? From my time in my last guild, mind you a few months ago now, the estimated active force was closer to 8.”
“that many? I’m impressed. So, that’s 23,000 accounted for. Either doing nothing or doing everything. So, we can safely assume the numbers of ‘actives’ will drop significantly as the floors increase. Whether due to death or just giving up. And the middle ground will increase.”
“Those that would rather let others fight their battles?”
“More, the back ranks of a fight. They fire an arrow to remind you they’re there, but that’s it.”
The beautiful red head frowned.
“I hated those types of players. In the last guild, I made it a sorta mission to force them into more active roles. Mirackle found it hilarious during raids when I’d get behind the force from the guild and stab people until they all got involved.”
“Well, by that point you were already stronger then they were just from BEING near us for the time you were.”
She smiled fondly now.
“You’re not wrong. I would often times find myself asking just how would you handle a problem I was currently struggling with. Every time I used what I thought you’d do, it’d both work and the problem wouldn’t pop back up again.”
He patted her arm affectionately.
“See? You had strength already.”
she gave him a soft hug as Sakura had fallen asleep in his arm.
“Thanks for coming like you did.”
“Sure, Asuna.”
She settled a little closer to him and rested on a ledge.
“So, how are we playing the floors above us?”
“We’ll use another method I had for exploration.”
“It’s simple enough. Move like you expect every step to be a land mine.”
She smiled as she stretched in the soothingly hot water.
“Monsters? Oh that felt good!”
“One hit insta kills.”
“Sounds intense. Loot?”
He smiled eagerly.
“That will be more fun then a pain in the ass. As the main reason I know everything about the items we have is I’d load up on as many as I could get and just experiment with them until I ran out of mats or uses.”
Asuna smiled teasingly now.
“Oh, are YOU saying you’ll WASTE materials?”
He flicked water at her.
“How else am I going to make that look half way decent?”
She glared at him now.
“Make WHAT look halfway decent?”
“YOU. You think you know looks? Pff, everything you have looks like shit compared to the things on the upper floors.”
She was still glaring at him.
“Are you saying I don’t look good?”
“I’m saying what you have doesn’t do you justice.”
She blushed a little now.
“Okay, I think you’re complementing me.”
He chuckled.
“Well, I ain’t insulting ya for once.”
She sighed and rubbed her temples.
“Why can’t you just call me beautiful and be done with it?”
“Why do you girls like to play mind games?”
She glared at him indignantly now.
“I don’t PLAY games thank you very much. I happen to SAY what I like point blank.”
“Really? Nifty.”
His unbelieving demeanor just serving to infuriate Asuna that much more. She was about to say so, when Sakura yawned.
“Asuna being weird again big brother?”
“Nah. Just fun. Go back to sleep.”
She rested her pink head back down and was out again as Asuna just glared at him.
“Love you too.”
Her face went blood red again and Tyler chuckled quietly. He sighed then and rested his head back.
“Well, we’ll be fine on the upper floors. Our friends will be as well.”
She let her embarrassment go.
“Yeah. Kirito is a lot like you, so he’ll be fine.”
“Even if he’s a ‘beater’.”
She snorted.
“I picked up on it when he claimed it, but didn’t have the heart to point it out. Surprised you didn’t.”
“I wanted to. But, things happened kinda fast.”
She rubbed some of the water into her arm.
“I hear that. No sooner then the battle ends, that Dybbuk prick starts bitching.”
“I hate people like him with a passion. He die yet?”
“I heard he joined the Holy Dragon Alliance, and was a high ranker.”
“Wow. Kinda amazed he ain’t bit it yet.”
Asuna sighed again.
“From what I heard, everyone hates him. He holds the rank of Dragon, which in their guild is like a captain, yet doesn’t really DO anything. He makes a lot of noise and steals the credit for kills and levels from those under him.”
“We’ll make him look stupid soon enough.”
“Again you mean.”
“Oh hell yeah. Hey, how’s the durability on your Rapier?”
She pulled her blade out.
“still good. Haven’t even dropped by ten yet.”
“Really? Not bad Spitfire.”
She looked at him with an unreadable expression.
“That’s what? My new nickname?”
“Well, Sakura calls you Assy.”
She put her weapon up.
“I let her do it cause she’s cute.”
“Very cute.”
Sakura squeaked, and blushed as she gave herself away. The two older players laughed.
“Just not really sneaky.”
“Right? She’s too cute for sneaking.”
Poor Sakura had steam coming off her. The two let her off the hook as Tyler pulled the turtle drops up.
“Looking for the meat?”
“Yeah. Seeing if it can be….hello?”
The two girls looked at him concerned.
“What she said?”
“The turtle meat got dropped from S-class to b-class food. I guess that means them things are more common then the beta.”
Asuna and Sakura groaned.
“That sucks!”
“I got excited!”
“I did too dammit. That thing’s meat is now equal to say that dragon we killed back on 6. Tasty as it was.”
The girls sighed with disappointment.
Tyler closed his UI.
“Well, we’re set on food. That’s a plus.”
The girls settled back down as Sakura looked up at him.
“Are you okay? About Yuka?”
He patted his affectionate sister’s pink hair.
“I am Sakura. Yuka woulda died in that battle, or Asuna woulda stabbed her for runnin her mouth.”
She looked at him.
“Why ME?”
“Yuka has a nasty habit of…….not seeing the line. Let me put it to you like this: Have I ever once thrown your weakness to stand up to your mother in your face in a hurtful manner?”
Asuna thought it over.
“No. You haven’t. You were a dick about it, but you never threw it in my face.”
“Yuka would. If she got worked up enough, she would. Plus, she’d challenge us on everything we chose to do for explanations, reasons for those explanations, and would just make life miserable.”
Sakura sighed.
“She WAS pretty.”
Asuna grumbled.
“I’ll admit that. She was very pretty.”
“I’m more miffed we lost out on a sword/shield combo.”
Asuna looked at him a little hurt.
“Are you saying you don’t care how we look? So long as we’re useful?”
Tyler frowned.
“Well, yeah kinda. Looking good is secondary to kicking ass in here. Even if those doing the asskickin look good to begin with.”
Asuna smiled then, and so did Sakura.
“Gore doesn’t like to just come out and say it Assy.”
“I’m getting that impression, Sakura. Think he’s shy?”
“Look at his LAST girl!”
“Fair point. But hey, least we got the time to work on him, right?”
“Why the hell do I suddenly feel like a damaged car?”
Sakura smiled as she patted his head like a dog.
“I dunno, maybe cause you drive us up the freakin wall?”
“I was gonna say insane but that too.”
“Umm, If I remember right, that turtle’s cooldown for a normal reattack is-“
“Okay! Sorry!”
“Wow, Tyler. Take a joke already.”
“I look at YOU every day Asuna. So, I CAN take a joke.”
He said it with a teasing tone, but it was NOT taken as a tease as Asuna got up and left the hot spring with Sakura right behind her.
“Bad joke, Tyler. Asshole.”
Tyler just slammed his head into the wall in a self deprecating rage. Nice one jackass. He sighed and got out as well, and used another exit to go sit alone to give her a little room before he apologized. He found a spot where the water was still and he sat down to just look at himself. Been awhile since I actually felt BAD for anything really. He sighed as he listened to the drip drop of the cave. He felt like shit for once, and it was bothering him. What the hell? Since when did I start to care what others thought of the things I said? I have gone soft. He laid on his back and just stared at the ceiling. As he did, he spotted a rare vein of Water steel. Used to make blue weaponry and added water status affects. Score! HE got up and mined it before sitting back down.
“Wow. You really DON’T care do you?”
He looked over to see Asuna looking at him with a MORE hurt expression. He sighed.
“Having something to keep my hands busy helps me think.”
“Pff, whatever. You and I both know that’s half the truth.”
He just looked at her.
“And do you WANT me to just say I got it cause it’s useful? Or, we need it?”
She had tears in her red eyes.
“I want some damned respect. That was just mean. Joke or not, I stand up for you to others and yet you crack a joke like that? AFTER saying you have a line? If that’s not your line, what IS?”
He just sighed again.
“I don’t use things from your past to HURT you.”
“Bullshit you don’t. You’d use it if you thought it’d keep Sakura alive. Right/”
“Okay, Asuna. Yes I would. There, what else do you want to hear?”
She just looked at him as the tears fell from her eyes.
“Do I mean nothing to you? Even after traveling with you?”
“Nothing? No. You DO mean something to mem, Asuna.”
He pulled his knees into a ball as he looked into the water.
“I am not exactly sure. Odd as it may seem. You mean a helluva lot to me, yet just what that actually is? No clue.”
“How can you say that so calmly? I mean a lot to you, but you don’t know what? That’s an answer a grade schooler gives to his crush! Are YOU such a child to not know your own heart?”
“Asuna, you DO remember I was shipped halfway around the world by my family just so they wouldn’t have to look at me, right? I don’t really talk about it much, but, I had never experienced love or affection or hell even tenderness. I fake 99% of the softer things I do with Sakura as THAT’S ALL I HAVE. I have no idea what Love is. Or even what caring is as you seem to understand it.”
HE was now speaking in a sad tone as Asuna clenched her fists.
“Are you saying that makes it okay? To just bullshit your way through life without ANY genuine feelings?”
“It’s either that, or feel nothing at all. When I say I’m dead inside, Asuna, I’m not kidding. Something died inside me years ago when, well……you don’t want to know.”
He shuddered as he remembered something, and Asuna was not letting it go.
“When WHAT? You preach to us all the damn time to CONFRONT our weakness. Are you saying YOU can’t do it yourself?”
“Okay, Asuna. You really wanna know?”
She marched right over and sat across from him.
“I do dammit.”
“My sister would lace my drinks with drugs and use toys and her body on me as I was loopy as all hell when I was younger. Sometimes, the boyfriends my mother had would join in. Plus, well, the other kids in my class would spike my lunches when I wasn’t looking and then beat the shit out of the ‘loopy’ retard. THAT is the REAL reason I got sent to japan. I’ve tried to commit suicide 7 times now.”
Asuna was gaping at him in horror as he spoke. He just looked at her.
“So, yeah. That’s MY weakness.”
He watched as her tears increased,
“I’m sorry.”
HE sighed.
“And I’m sorry for a bad joke.”
She leaned in and hugged him.
“I’m sorry I made you tell me.”
He shrugged as he stroked her back.
“Eh. No biggee. You smell nice by the way.”
She snorted.
“I’m falling apart at the seams for your past and NOW you try flattery?”
He smiled as she sat beside him.
She brushed her hair back.
“Just, answer one question.”
“Okay. Stab.”
“Cute. AM I a joke to you?”
“No. no you are not. I count on you a helluva lot more then you know. I may not know just what you are to me, beyond a friend, but you are not a joke.”
She hugged him again.
“Thanks for that.”

“Lady, what the hell kinda monster did you raise?”
Arthur and Kakashi were openly glaring at the large woman in her chair. She sighed.
“I had him at 18. Her a year later. The hell would you expect?”
Arthur just rubbed his red eyes, getting the tears out of them.
“That boy’s strength is simply terrifying.”
The yakuza boss was still glaring at the woman.
“I am now grateful he is no longer your son. Getting raised by monsters like you people? No wonder he kills so easily. He’s got a monster inside him from that, I promise you.”
The lady laughed an unpleasant laugh.
“yer right. He does have a dark side. And, if you value your life, DON’T set it off. As then he goes utterly berserk. Like you need a tanq rifle to drop him berserk. Or, just wait until his energy runs out.”
Sakura’s god parents gulped.
“Sakura is so attached to a boy like that?”
Kakashi rewound footage from an earlier recording to look in a reflection of Tyler’s eyes. Son as he did, he sighed.
“I see it now. Spend enough years in the underworld and you can read those with a Shadow. He’s got one, but from the look of it, it’s not as bad as we think.”
Arthur looked to the screen and watched as Tyler, as an evil prank, pushed Asuna in the cold water as they walked back to the hot spring. Tyler was then running for his life as an enraged, smiling Asuna, chased him back to the hot spring with her Rapier out.
“You mean he’s healing?”
Kakashi smiled.
“Healing is not the word. As his wounds all healed years ago. No, the scars are fading. And they’re fading fast.”


“Sakura! Nail it!”
“Got em! Pink punch!”
The 65 foot tall giant they were battling shattered as the trio landed another perfectly timed triple threat. Tyler and Asuna dropped to the floor of the dungeon they were raiding as Sakura rejoined them from her spot further back. They were still stuck on floor ten, as due to the size of the floor, it was like finding a needle in a haystack locating the boss. The majority of the active player base had moved onto floor ten, and the number had surprised the trio. A full 10000. Tyler had been mildly surprised, but it didn’t really matter to the Demon as he had his sister and his……he still didn’t have an answer there for Asuna’s place in his heart. She was his best friend, but that title didn’t do the spot he had for her justice. Their gear was still the same, as Tyler kept upgrading it, with the exceptions of his red coat, Sakura’s beloved wolf fur scarf, and Asuna’s Rapier, as they were upgraded to their max. They were three weeks from civilization and three days from sunlight in their current dive. The dungeon being a secret one they’d found while poking around some ancient ruins to the west of the cave they’d stayed in.
“Good kill girls. Pop em.”
They snorted as they drank restore potions as they recovered. Tyler pulled the UI up for drops.
“Okay. Cave giant. Mismatched as hell but whatever. We got 25,000 exp, two toes, 4500 droy, and four high health potions. Decent.”
He closed the UI and looked ahead.
“Any ore in the walls?”
The flaming red head Asuna looked around.
“There’s an iron vein there, just low tier though.”
“Exp and droy.”
Sakura pulled her pickaxe and collected the ore as Tyler scrolled through their mass of mats.
“Getting a little full?”
“Not really. Most of this is useful to some capacity. We DO need to empty our junk tab though. We’re at the million item mark again.”
Asuna flipped her long hair.
“No biggee really. We don’t have a carrying capacity in SaS.”
HE smiled reflexively, as after their chat in the cave, they’d become friendlier towards each other, and she’d started using some of his phrases.
“I got the iron. Scored a sapphire as well.”
Tyler smiled at his little sister.
“Nice Sakura. Okay, let’s keep moving.”
They moved on as they explored the dungeon. Tyler in the front with his blade and experience, Asuna behind him with her rapier and speed, Sakura in the rear with her bow. They walked along the ten foot wide passage, seeking anything useful or interesting.
“Hey, Tyler. What’s this?”
He looked to see Asuna looking at a rather smooth, shiny bit of stone in the wall. He frowned.
“No clue.”
HE walked over and tapped a knuckle on it,
“It sounds like glass.”
Sakura stood watch as he pulled his pickaxe.
“I’ll see if I can mine it. Watch for traps.”
The girls nodded as he hit the odd stone. HE got a ping and it was added to his inven, revealing a small chamber twenty feet wide and ten feet high with a chest in a ray of light.
“Oh that’s it?”
The girls sighed as they walked in. They popped buff potions as he threw the lid. There was a small bit of fanfare as they were each awarded 50,000 exp, 150,000 droy, a mirror, and a map. Tyler frowned.
“A treasure chest?”
He looked at the exit and sighed.
“Fuck it. Let’s play it.”
They walked through the hole and nothing. No monsters, traps, or surprises. That made the red clad boy burst out laughing.
“I’m MORE nervous now!”
Asuna and Sakura nodded.
“It’s scary when it’s that easy.”
“What she said. What about that map?”
Tyler pulled it out and opened it.
“We got a treasure map.”
The two girls looked at the image.
“I know that spot.”
“Yeah, it’s by the small cave we dumped Yuka in.”
“Well, let’s clear the cave here first before we go claim our prize.”
The girls smiled.
“Wanna make a bet?”
“Oh you are SO on.”
“Chest is rigged.”
“Ohh, you’re good Asuna. Okay, I’ll say it’s NOT rigged.”
“If I win, hmm.”
She looked at him as she considered it. Sakura giggled.
“If YOU win Asuna, HE has to take YOU on a date!”
Both or them just looked at Sakura as she smiled sweetly. The red head was now blushing hard as she looked at him.
“That…….could work.”
Tyler rubbed his head.
“I guess. But what about Sakura? We can’t leave her alone.”
The pink haired girl smiled knowingly.
“The hut in Briyack is safe enough! I’ll stay there as you two go on your date.”
Tyler looked at Asuna.
“I guess that works.”
She lowered her gaze shyly.
“If I win, you’ll take me out on a date.”
“And if I win?”
Sakura giggled.
“I go spend the day with Gabol in his restaurant and YOU two have a stay date in the Hut!”
They looked at her.
“You’re really pushing this date thing, Sakura.”
“How long have you been practicing this pitch?”
She giggled.
“SOMEONE needs to give the push!”
Tyler just looked at Asuna.
“Well, are YOU okay with this?”
She smiled.
“I am. It’d be nice to have some non-death-game related fun every now and then. Are YOU okay with it?”
“I don’t mind taking you out. Even if I still can’t truly answer that question yet.”
Sakura squealed.
“Then it’s a bet!”
Tyler and Asuna shrugged.
“I guess it is.”
They got back to clearing the cave as they forced their emotions aside to focus. The trio left the cave behind them stripped to the stone as they went. Tyler had his music going and they would chat or crack jokes or just let their minds wander.
“Hey, what did Lorg’s last update say?”
“I guess the town of beginnings had a mini riot the other day.”
“She said the Town Guard guild that popped up was bullying the children that got trapped in here. And, another guild had an issue with it.”
“Idiots. Hey. Got some emeralds.”
“Nice Asuna. Hey, if you want I can set you up as a Christmas pun.”
“Fuck off.”
“Asuna the red eyed ginger.”
“Keep talking and you’ll know what a Rapier tastes like.”
“Hey, any word on Yuka?”
“Sakura to the rescue.”
“Not really. I guess she made it back to town, but she hasn’t really popped up.”
Sakura sighed.
“I’m still a little sad.”
That got her a hug from Tyler and Asuna.
They moved on as Tyler changed songs.
“hey, I love this song!”
Tyler smiled as Asuna’s secret otaku came out.
“Hey, Asuna, I got a question for ya.”
“Oh shit here we go.”
“ARE you an Otaku?”
She blushed, and looked down as she mined some ore.
“I am. I had to hide it because of my mother.”
“Well that sucks. What was your genre?”
She blushed harder and was really embarrassed.
“Slice of Life.”
“Like Lucky Star, K-on and After School Dice Club?”
She looked at him as he swung his own pickaxe.
“I am amazed you know them.”
“I got something her ya.”
HE used a free hand to open his Music and scrolled.
“Where are ye? Ah. Gotchya.”
He hit play and a song played. Asuna gasped.
“Fuwa Fuwa time?”
“The Yui Hirasawa version.”
She just laughed.
“wow, Tyler. I’d had you pegged for DxD, Berserk, Hellsing, and the ones like that.”
“I’ve got DXD on blue ray, seen Berserk and Hellsing ultimate. I’m impressed you know the last two. But, when I just want to relax and unwind, Slice of Life is the one I go to.”
“I am learning so much about you. Okay, test time.”
“Oh your on.”
“Akeno or Asia?”
“Bitch! Asia!”
“You just like the nun bit.”
“Gotta love a sweet blonde. Okay. Revy or Mikasa.”
“Damn dude. Good one.”
She cleaned the ore as she considered it.
“I gotta go with Mikasa.”
“I took Revy.”
“Can we agree Rock sucks?”
“I would KILL him. Seriously, I hated him most.”
“Those twins were heart breaking.”
“They were. Okay. I got another.”
“Cute. Shalltear Bloodfallen, or Yue?”
“off, damn you ask the hard ones.”
Tyler smiled as they headed off further down the passage.
“I gotta go with Yue. The Golden Vampire Princess is just adorable.”
“Okay. Who do you hate more for this one.”
“Should be interesting.”
“Emyia from fate stay night, or Hiro?”
“Hiro. Hands down Hiro. Fuckin HATED him.”
Asuna smiled.
“Okay, why do you hate him that much?”
He growled.
“That bastard abandoned Zerotwo TWICE. Plus was just so damn wishy-washy.”
Asuna sighed.
“I see your issue. Okay, most loved for this one.”
“Oh damn.”
“Rias Gremory or Zerotwo?”
“I am a pawn in the service the Noble House of Gremory. Rias is my King.”
“Damn dude. Waifu much?”
“I friggin love Rias. Hate Issei though.”
They moved along at a easy pace as Sakura hummed along to his music as they talked.
“It because of the pervert thing?”
“More he fucked up at times that is just not an option.”
“Okay, I see your point.”
Sakura giggled.
“Gore’s a pervert too!”
Tyler just looked at her.
“Guess she just volunteered for first watch tonight.”
Asuna nodded as she followed the red clad demon.
“Yup. We get a good night’s sleep.”
Tyler and Asuna smiled as Sakura bawled. They moved along the cave collecting everything and anything that was collectable.
“Hey, got some iron.”
“Nice. Woah. Got a diamond off this coal vein.”
“Hey, I got one.”
“Oh? Let’s hear it.”
“Best goddess. Holo or Hestia.”
Tyler frowned hard as he dug a vein of crystallite iron from the wall.
“Shit, Asuna, that hurts. But, I gotta go with Holo the Wise Wolf.”
The red head smiled.
“I got a few good ones too.”
“I can see that. Okay. Best intro song.”
“Got some rose gold!”
“Wow, Sakura that’s rare.”
“Intro song? Sounds intense.”
“Fairytail’s first intro or DxD’s first intro.”
“Jesus dude. I loved both of them.”
They headed along then cave as a 8 foot skeleton with an axe and shield appeared ahead. Tyler sighed.
“I got em.”
The girls kept mining as he ran at the thing. Tyler slid under the axe as the monster swung it’s axe in an upward arc, and he used a skill to sever it’s leg.
“Dragon slide.”
He was up as the beast fell and stabbed it in the skull, splitting it entirely. It shattered and he got 1500 droy, 2500 exp, a skeleton bone, and a lich heart. He shrugged.
“eh. Lame.”
Asuna came over as they kept moving.
“I gotta say DxD for the win. I friggin loved that riff.”
“Wow, Asuna. You ARE an Otaku. Weekends are gonna be fun.”
She smiled as Sakura giggled.
“Don’t say it Sakura.”
Asuna was looking at the red faced girl.
“What was she gonna say?”
“Some kinda bed joke.”
The red head blushed now herself. Tyler looked ahead.
“Heads up Ladies. We got light.”
The moved towards the light cautiously, and when they looked out Tyler whistled.
“Nice spit out point.”
The cave opened up onto a stone bridge that spanned a fifty foot gap with a drop the trio could not see the bottom to. Tyler looked to the sky and saw they were still underground.
“Pop speed potions, ladies.”
They nodded and popped their highest tier speed potions before Tyler looked to the other side.
“Okay, on three. 1….2……..3….GO!”
They tore forward as fast as they could as the bridge was a most obvious deathtrap. As they neared the middle of the span it rumbled as the part behind them started to crumble. Tyler swept Sakura up into his arms and Asuna as well as he was both the fastest and the strongest. HE then pushed even faster as the collapse chased them. Tyler launched off the stone underfoot as it gave way and soared into the cave on the other side a good ten feet. He was still breathing lightly as he set the girls down.
“We good?”
They nodded.
“Thanks for that. The hell kinda trap is that?”
“A speed challenge. I got 10,000 droy for it. Plus my speed went up 2 levels.”
Asuna smiled as they got back to strip mining.
“Musta been nice for you, carrying two girls in your arms like that.”
Tyler smirked.
“I guess. Too bad I was in too much of a hurry to really enjoy it.”
Sakura giggled as Asuna blushed.
“Still a prude!”
“You talking an awful lotta shit for a guy with a thousand foot drop behind em.”
“Another swear? Making progress Sakura, making progress.”
Asuna just groaned in defeat as the industrious trio strip mined the cave. They spent another three days in the cave cleaning house until they hit a wall. Tyler was walking forward and they found a dead end in the cave. Asuna was a little miffed.
“Don’t TELL me we have to walk all the way back now?”
Sakura sighed.
“It happens sometimes, Assy. Once we spent a week straight exploring a cave, hit a wall and had to walk back to the entrance.”
Tyler smiled.
“That sucked. Luckily this is not one of those times.”
HE walked to the center of the wall and tapped a knuckle. The party was then teleported to the cave entrance. Tyler smiled as they stood outside the crack in the ground they’d explored.
“Those kinds of cave are just trolls. There’s not as common as you’d think as the devs made them to just fuck with the no lifers. One cave I found took two weeks to fully explore, and when you reached the end wall and touched it, you got the fanfare of a completed challenge. Only thing was when the UI screen popped up it said you need to get a life.”
The girls burst out laughing.
“That’s priceless!”
“That freakin mean, but hilarious.”
Tyler smiled as he pulled the treasure map out.
“So, wanna go get the bet on?”
Sakura was wrapped in smiles as Asuna nodded nervously.
Tyler looked at the map sphere.
“we can either teleport there or run. Fuck it.”
He pulled his crystal and the girls smiled as they pulled theirs.
“Teleport: Trest.”
The named town was an hours run from the spot they kicked Yuka from the tent, and was the main hub city for the floor. They had their cloaks on as they landed and took off running as they had no desire to deal with people. Tyler led the party to the cave and they went about their search.
“Okay, the spot is a small circle of rocks with a tree in the center.”
The girls nodded and they walked the area. It did not take long.
“Hey, Gore. There it is.”
Sakura pointed to a tree in a rock circle. The drew weapons as they approached the thing and Tyler spotted a small X in the dirt.
“Guards up.”
HE used a shovel to dig in the dirt as the girls stood watch. He dug out a chest and there was a minor bit of fireworks as he got it with a screen that said congrats. Ever the cautious one, he swapped for his sword before kicking the thing open. They got 150,000 droy, 250,000 exp, 2 mirrors, a mass of potions, another map, and their perception skill shot up by 5 levels. Tyler and the girls were on guard until the chest disappeared, then they just looked at each other.
“Why the hell is it MORE terrifying when nothing happens?”
Tyler just shrugged.
“I guess we’re just used to bullshit fuckery?”
Asuna smiled.
“I won the bet.”
Sakura giggled.
“So YOU have a stay date in the Hut as I hang out with Gabol!”
Tyler and Asuna looked at each other.
“If you want out just say so, no hard or hurt feelings.”
She blushed a little.
“No, I’m in. Just, outta left field ya know?”
“I’m in the same boat. Well, wanna try it?”
She smiled now.
“Sure. Worst case we get to relax as Sakura drives Gabol up the freakin wall.”
That got a laugh as they pulled crystals.
“Teleport: Briyack”
They arrived in their cloaks and headed for the restaurant. As they went, Asuna had a thought.
“Hey, Gore? I just thought of something.”
“Oh shit here we go.”
“Prick. You killed Sakura’s family in a restaurant inside a town, right? I thought we can’t kill another player in a town?”
“Since the place was player owned, they were vulnerable to say a robbery. So, since murders happen in robberies it bypassed the no kill rule.”
“An exploit?”
“More loophole. Problem is it’s an integral part of SaS, so it can’t be altered.”
“So, if we go into a player-owned store?”
“You need to treat it like the wilds as players can kill in them. No one outside the beta knew this, but I guarantee it’s common knowledge now.”
She sighed as they walked in.
“I hate people.”
“I hate them too.”
“Me three!”
They patted Sakura’s hair as they walked in to Gabol’s place. They spotted the 7 foot black man by the counter Tyler had thrown Sakura’s father into and headed over. The place was packed with players and the sight of three cloaked figures just walking into the place like they owned it put them all on edge. Gabol looked over at the approaching steps and was seen to go a little pale, as he knew those builds.
“If yer quite done scarin my customers, Gore.”
Tyler smiled from within his hood.
“We all know that face is scarier an us.”
The trio dropped their hoods as Sakura giggled.
The big man got a hug off Sakura as Tyler sighed.
“Need a favor Gabol.”
He was instantly on edge as if the DEMON needed a face to face favor, it could only be trouble.
“This oughta be good.”
“Sakura’s been wanting to spend some time hangin with you for some freakin reason, so, might helpin her out?”
Gabol blinked as Sakura giggled.
“Yay! Gaby!”
The man was more then a little terrified of spending time alone with the Demon’s precious little sister, for if she got so much as a scratch he’d die screaming. So, he tried the service route.
“Well if that’s all it is, why don’t the three of you take a table? Food’s good!”
“Thanks, but me and Asuna wanna relax a bit in the hut. Sakura here won’t let it go though.”
The older man got it then. Now I’ve seen everything! The Demon’s got a date! Good for him. He smiled, betraying nothing.
“Well, alright then. Oh, and she’s safe in here since I bought the safezone part.”
“Well, Sakura can handle herself till I come raise hell. Have fun Sakura. Just, go easy on his sanity.”
She giggled as the duo walked out amid a flurry of whispered conversations from the other players.
“Did I miss something or did The Demon just say he’s got a date?”
“Him? No way!”
“Did he seriously leave Sakura ALONE?”
Gabol looked at the grinning in victory Sakura.
“So princess, how bad is it?”
She sighed.
“Idiots. They’re both a pair of idiots.”
He laughed.
“I see it was YOUR idea then.”

Tyler and Asuna headed for the general store to unload their junk on the terrified shopkeep, netting them 120 million droy, and headed for the hut at the end of the pier. The duo quiet as they walked in and swapped to their swimsuits as the house rule. Then they just looked at each other awkwardly.
“Sooo, now what?”
Asuna had a light blush as she looked at the couch.
“We can watch some shows on the screen?”
“I guess.”
They got on the couch and sat apart as Tyler used the feature to throw shows up on the big screen in the living room. Asuna awkwardly playing with her red hair as she looked at the kitchen.
“I’ll go make us some snacks.”
“I’ll get the show set up. Anything in particular you wanna watch?”
She thought for a moment.
”Do…you have high school of the dead?”
“Oh hell yeah.”
She went into the kitchen, clad in her flaming bikini as he set the ecchi show up. Wow this is awkward as all hell. Asuna seems out of her element and I’m on pins and fuckin needles as well! Just hope it don’t end badly. Asuna looked through her inven and smiled as she saw she had all the ingredients for pizza, chicken tenders, their beloved ketchup, fries, and……wine as well. Damn you Sakura! I’m on edge as hell, he’s on edge, and you get to have fun! I will get you for this! Wine? She looked at the boy now setting the screen up. Probably NOT a good idea on a first date. She set the food using the interface and rejoined him.
“It’ll be a few minutes.”
He nodded as he held the mini UI up to the screen.
“I got it the thing ready. Wanna wait for the food or?”
She sat on the couch and got comfy.
“We got time for the first episode.”
He hit play and they tried to relax as they watched the adventure of a group of students as their world went straight to hell in a bus.”
Tyler and Asuna were a good three feet apart as they watched the blood.
“Takashi kinda reminds me of you Tyler.”
“Ya think?”
She smiled as she played with her hair.
“Well, he has his way of doing things, and don’t really hesitate to get blood on his hands.”
“I was thinking I was more like Psycho. Tough, knows she’s a monster and thrives on that knowledge, plus does not hesitate to kill.”
Asuna sighed.
“I see it now. Takashi DOES hesitate a lot. First time in the blood notwithstanding.”
“Yeah. You remind me of Rei.”
She smiled at that one.
“Aww, thanks! She was my favorite in the show.”
“Even if in the show you’d wind up being Mine and I’d be that guy with the nail gun.”
She snorted.
“A prissy bitch that thinks she superior? You being the nail gun guy I can see, but I’d be more Rei.”
“If you say so. Way, that reminds me.”
“Oh shit here we go.”
“Your Rapier skills, were you taught IRL?”
She sighed as she leaned into the couch.
“I was. And hated it. My mother wanted me to be a fit, perfect model for her so she would force me into different sports. She had me take fencing for two semesters even though I was horrible at it. She just didn’t hear the school officials or me when we said I’d fail. When I did fail the class, she went ballistic on me saying I was ruining my life for not listening to her, how could I be such an ungrateful daughter when she does so much for me, how could I fail such an easy course yatta yatta you get the idea.”
“That sucks. It stop?”
“Not really. She just made me take volleyball.”
“Explains the whacking thing.”
She wacked him.
“Idiot, you deserve it!”
HE chuckled.
“Wow, you must have a killer spike.”
Asuna snorted.
“Prick, I was the BEST spike!”
“Pretending to slap the taste out of your mother helped right?”
She smiled wickedly.
“Oh you have NO idea.”
The timer beeped and she got their food as he sett he next episode. They munched on pizza and tenders as the blood and boobs increased. Asuna had a thought.
“Hey, where did you learn your sword skills?”
“Well, Larping.”
She just looked at him.
“You larp?”
He sighed.
“Used to. Before I was sent to japan, it was a means of escape for me. Then I came here and was able to get my Otaku on.”
She smiled.
“That makes sense.”
She yawned as they finished the last episode. HE looked at her.
“Wanna rest a bit?”
She nodded.
“Yeah, I go crash in the fish room.”
“Kay. If Submarine pays a visit, smack em for me.”
She smiled as she went down. He swung up as she shut down the screen and sighed. Date huh? More just hanging out. Closed his eyes and drifted off.

He woke up to a message.
get here now, Sakura’s in trouble.
He was up and geared in a split second!
“Asuna! Sakura’s in trouble!”
She was a stream of fire as they tore out the door after popping high level speed potions as they rocketed to Gabol’s place. They botted the door in to see Gabol on the floor and the place tore up.
“Where is she?”
“Laughing Coffin. They’re headed for the hub.”
They left him there as they teleported to the hub. Tyler was enraged as they landed. HE used a feature for tracking a friend and they he saw her footprints. He was off like a thunderclap. Asuna barely able to keep up with the enraged Demon. The glowing tracks leading them to a small building on the outskirts and they could hear laughing as Sakura giggled.
“You idiots are dead!”
Tyler slammed into the door with s savage force and the wood simply exploded as they beheld the scene. Sakura hanging from chains with grooves from dagger cuts naked as they’d forced her hand in her UI. She was smiling as the ten men looked at the shattered door. Then Tyler was on them like a ravening wolf as Asuna walked over with a potion. Sakura shrugged as she was released.
“Idiots hit me with a sleep dart when I wasn’t looking. My gear don’t have sleep protection.”
Her glowing grooves vanished as Tyler lifted the last survivor.
“Where is your HQ?”
The man spit on him.
“You can’t make me talk.”
“Yes. I CAN.”
Tyler grabbed his hand and forced him to bring up his UI. He then went to settings for things like saving and audio. HE forced him to scroll to one setting: the pain absorber. Tyler set the level to zero and hit save before smiling.
“You’re going to FEEL everything now.”
Tyler dragged him to the chains and hung him up now as the man laughed.
“You really think you can break me? I was a POW in the war!”
Tyler just smiled.
“I’m gonna ENJOY this!”
He pulled a small acid from his inven and dipped a dagger in as the man laughed.
Tyler then walked behind the man and just laughed. The man couldn’t see him now as Tyler shoved the dagger blade up his ass with the acid and with a sadistic smile began to move it in and out as he screamed in absolute agony.
“Come on tough guy. That it? That’s all you got?”
The man was sobbing from the pain from his rear, something no torturer he had encountered had thought of.
“Just stop! I’ll talk! Please!”
“Floor 5. Here, I’ll show you!”
The man dropped a marker on the swamp. Tyler smiled wickedly.
“I know that place.”
He then went right back to stabbing him. The man screamed for hours before his health bar depleted and he shattered as well. Tyler laughed as he looked at the two trembling girls.
“Go back to the hut. I’ll be BACK.”
Tyler’s face was contorted in such a sadistic smile that the two girls were terrified, but Asuna plucked courage.
“Toss me two mirrors please.”
He tossed them as he walked out and jumped. Asuna and Sakura walked out and sprinted for the hut, Sakura back in her Cutie in Pink outfit.
“What was that, Sakura? I’ve never seen Tyler so….evil before.”
The pink haired girl shuddered.
“I haven’t either Asuna. I have no idea what just happened.”
Asuna was covered in a cold sweat, for if SAKURA did know then there was only ONE person that would. They ran inside and swapped to swimsuits as force of habit and threw the comms mirror up. Then they were looking into the room as the families were looking to his mother for an explanation. Asuna spoke first.
“What the hell was that?”
Tyler’s mother sighed.
“That Asuna, was his Shadow. Or, what happens when he snaps. You remember his story, right?”
The red head was shaking.
“That REALLY happened to him? I thought he was exaggerating!”
Sakura sighed.
“Tyler does not exaggerate.”
His mother sighed again.
“If anything, Asuna? That wasn’t even HALF of what he suffered. His sister, my boyfriends, bullies, and the places they sent him for his snaps. He’s been tortured for years before I sent him to japan. No matter how he may seem to you, he is truly dead inside. With a most sadistic dark side that will skin you alive with that smile.”
Arthur looked at the comatose body of the boy beside his daughter.
“if that is what he harbors, I need to get Asuna away from him.”
Kakashi sighed now.
“Arthur, Tyler will do it himself.”
They looked at him in shock.
“What do you mean?”
The yakuza boss looked to the other screen that had Tyler’s viewpoint and watched as he attacked the Laughing Coffin guild alone.
“I mean, once this rage subsides, he’ll most likely vanish into the depths of the game over the guilt of letting them se it period.”
Sakura dropped lifelessly to the floor in horror.
“He’ll…..leave me?”
Her happy chirp of a voice was utterly dead and small now. The man looked at Sakura sadly.
“I’m afraid so, child. It escaped here once, and we had to use a stun gun on him before he skinned a man alive for stabbing Yuka with a small pen knife. That was the last time we saw him in our restaurant. I myself went to his apartment and he wouldn’t even open the door to look at me. We had to talk like that, and he said he was sorry we had to see that, and he didn’t blame me for being scared of him. That was the last time we stood face to face and when I told him if he needs a favor to call. Yuta would see him in class, and he said that Tyler had all but died. He had no spark in his eyes, no real life to him period. He was just there tearing himself apart for, in his mind, ruining a truly good thing because of his own evil. He took a video of him once and it was just heartbreakingly sad. Tyler had gone from a snarky, infuriatingly cheery boy to mere lifeless zombie just looking to get through the day and go home.”
Sakura had tears welling up as Asuna hugged her.
“He won’t leave you, Sakura! He won’t!”
She looked at her and hugged her tightly.
The man sighed as he looked back at the screen.
“Well, he’s got the last man. Let’s see what he does.”

Tyler had torn the guild headquarters of Laughing Coffin apart in a rage filled fury. Now, he had the leader under his knife as he made him scream. Good thing the girls aren’t here for this. Tyler tortured him until he shattered and sighed.
“Well, the trash was taken out. Now what?”
the girls are going to be TERRIFIED of me now. Asuna will never trust me again and Sakura will just see me as a monster. Maybe. Maybe it’s time to wake up. He sighed sadly as he pulled out his crystal. all I wanted was to protect them. Yet, I can’t protect them from myself. Yuka was right. I AM just a toxic monster. And monsters DON’T deserve a happy ending. HE had tears in his eyes as he lifted the thing up. As he was about to jump to the tenth floor again, he remembered Sakura’s plea.
He smiled.
“Okay, Sakura.”
He jumped back to Briyack. He landed and walked to the hut with his cloak on and hood up as he walked with his head down. The hell am I doing? You KNOW they’ll never trust you again! Hell, they’ll never even LIKE you now. You’re a monster that masquerades as a man, remember? The demon, the creature that gives monsters and players nightmares. Why the hell WOULD they want to be near you? He put his hand on the door handle, and hesitated. You open that door, all you can expect, is just unnecessary pain. Not for your worthless hide. But THEM. Can you REALLY handle hurting Sakura like that? He sighed, and it sounded like a sob. I can’t do that to her. Not when she has Asuna to look after her better then I could. He let the handle go and turned to walk away. Inside the room, Sakura and Asuna could hear the footsteps approaching the door, and stop at the door. Asuna had a hand on her back,
“Trust him Sakura. He’ll come in. HE won’t abandon us.”
Sakura was holding the scarf he’d made her like a rosery as she placed her faith in her brother. They heard the steps stop outside the door, and a hand place itself on the handle. Then nothing. Asuna was ranting at herself. Don’t you do this to her, Tyler. Not when she’s put her faith in you! Please, don’t break what’s left of her heart! The minutes of silence passed, and Asuna was starting to shake as Sakura was heard to start to faintly cry. Then they heard the sound of the handle being released and the steps start to recede back down the dock. Asuna collapsed as Sakura’s pink eyes went wide in horror as she heard them stop again. Asuna looked up at the sound of the steps stopping again.
“Look asshole, if yer going to leave then just leave.”
Her voice was dead and full of hate as Sakura’s small hands gripped the scarf with white knuckles.

Tyler sighed as he turned to walk away. There. You can’t hurt them anymore. Asuna is just the better person. He was walking away from the door. At least they’re safe from you. You’re better off alone anyway. Not like they were useful. He was maybe halfway down the pier. It was fun while it lasted. But we both know you’re not deserving of happiness. Sakura will be safer and happier without a monster like you in her life. Asuna saw right through you when you met. He sighed. I just wish I could just ONCE not be as alone. HE then remembered another moment of Sakura.
“If you don’t want me, then I should just die as I have no one else.”
HE stopped dead and looked back at the cabin. She really has no one else. Asuna will do what she can, but. It’s Asuna, she’ll be fine. Tyler clenched his fists as he looked back. Make a fucking decision already. This were a fight you’d be dead by now! Are you going to ABANDON Sakura like everyone else? Or?
HE made a choice.

Asuna and Sakura were listening for the steps to pick back up, but they heard nothing as the minutes wore on. Then Asuna just sighed.
“Bastard jumped.”
She just wrapped Sakura in her arms as the girl went limp.
“No. Brother. Please don’t leave me too.”
Her voice broke as she started sobbing heartbrokenly. Asuna held her tight as her hero left her too.
“I will never forgive you for this Tyler”
The two swayed back and forth when the door opened. They looked over and saw a sad faced Tyler just walk in with his head low. He shut the thing and was in his trunks as he walked over and sat on the couch. As far away from them as he could get. The girls looked at him as he sighed.
“I’m sorry.”
HE sounded like he’d been crying as well. Hard. For his usually, strong, hard voice was a mere whisper packed with pain. Sakura looked at him with fury.
“You LEFT me!”
HE looked at her.
“I’m not as strong as you thought I was. I nearly gave up out there.”
Sakura took the scarf off and threw it at him.
“Why should I listen to you? You walked way just like everyone else! I hate you!”
He took the scarf and sighed as he looked into her blue eyes.
“I walked away, but only got to halfway done the pier. Then, look, I’m sorry, Sakura. My heart shattered again, I have no idea what the hell to say, I fucked up AGAIN, you were nearly killed, Asuna here hates me, and I hate myself more.”
He broke. Like full sobbing meltdown. The two girls were shocked by the sight of the strongest person they knew just buckle. They watched as he held the scarf and looked at the with tears in his brown eyes.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t have the strength to just walk in. I’m sorry you got hurt Sakura. I’m sorry you had to see that. I’m sorry I walked away.”
he was heart broken as well, and Sakura couldn’t take it anymore. She got out of Asuna’s nerveless grip and hugged the boy.
“I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t have let you stand out there alone.”
HE hugged her tightly as he dared. And he regained control of himself.
“I don’t want to be alone anymore, Sakura.”
She hugged him the tighter.
“We not, brother. We have each other.”
HE put the scarf back on her.
“Here, this looks better on you.”
She smiled as he then looked to a still silent Asuna.
“I’m sorry Asuna.”
She had tears of her own.
“I am too. You walked away. You abandoned us. You abandoned ME.”
Tyler held Sakura, and she could feel his shaking. The beautiful red head sighed then.
“Yet. You didn’t leave. You came back. So. If Sakura forgives you, I can too.”
Sakura smiled.
“I forgive him, Asuna. HE’s shaking like a leaf right now.”
She took a deep breath and let it out.
“I forgive you too. Just do NOT do this again.”
She hugged him as well.
“I won’t.”
The trio hugged hard before he cleaned himself up and looked at the screen.
“So. Been a while.”
The girls sighed.
“Why did we keep him?”
“I forgot.”
Kakashi sighed.
“It has been some time since that thing came out to play.”
Tyler sighed himself.
“It didn’t.”
They looked at him in shock. He looked at Sakura.
“I did NOT lose it. That was me just BORROWING the evil. A mask, nothing more.”
The pink haired girl gulped.
“You where in control when you did that to him?”
“Complete control. They made you hurt. So I hurt them more.”
Tyler looked at Arthur now.
“My own weakness of heart aside, THAT is how far I am willing to go to protect them.”
The red haired father to Asuna shuddered.
“That was truly horrific. I see why they call you Demon.”
“This point just call me a Monster. A Demon protects those he cares for. A Monster just gets them hurt.”
HE sighed as his fists went white. Kakashi rubbed his eyes.
“Now that’s the same.”
Asuna looked at the Yakuza boss.
“What is?”
“Tyler’s locked himself in the torture chamber that is his mind. As much as it hurt the two of you to hear him walk away, it hurt him in a far worse manner. Like, nearly killing him to do it.”
Sakura just looked at her brother.
HE looked at her.
“You nearly got killed over me Sakura. Hell, I was nearly certain you’d be terrified of me, Asuna would never be able to trust me again after seeing that. So, that combined with my own insecurities just turned my mind into a torture chamber. Then, a single thought came into my head.”
She had huge blue eyes with tears as she asked.
“What was it?”
“If I open this door, I’d just cause you both more unnecessary pain. Could I really do that to you?”
She gasped as Asuna hung her head as Kakashi sighed. Then Asuna smacked him.
“Do you REALLY have THAT little faith in us?”
Sakura hugged him.
“You were already in the torture chamber and it was taking all your strength to even TOUCH that door. That just broke the camel’s back.”
Kakashi spoke up now.
“He does that. He has no weaknesses other than that mind. If he gets lost in it, it kills his spirit like he was shot in the head. In his mind, he’s not the Demon or strong or even happy. In there, he’s just a sad boy that has lost the ability to really feel anything for anyone other then negative emotions. A boy who just wishes to escape from the nonstop misery.”
Asuna just looked at him.
“So all his lessons on strength, fighting your emotions, and standing on your own are lies?”
“No, miss. They are the lessons he wishes he himself had when he suffered. HE learned them the hard way. Then he was sent to live in solitude instead of any real help. He’s reforged his ruined soul as best he could, but it will never be like ours is.”
Tyler just shrugged.
“I’ve been dead inside for years now. I fake 90% of my emotions, I force myself to be nice, and I lost the ability to really care for another.”
Sakura hugged him.
“I did too.”
HE hugged her as Asuna hung her red haired head.
“You say I mean something to you. Yet you have no idea what that is. Was that a lie too?”
“As much as you don’t want to hear this, Asuna: I don’t know.”
She looked at him with tears in her red eyes.
“Are you saying you’re so dead you don’t know what feelings are?”
“I am.”
His voice was sad as he said this, and Asuna sniffed.
“Show me.”
He looked at her.
“Show me the true you! When you’re not pretending to be human!”
Tyler sighed sadly.
he wiped his eyes and looked at Sakura.
“Mind getting off me?”
His voice was dead and lifeless as he spoke in a harsh snap that Sakura blinked at as she moved.
“Been a while since I’ve heard that tone.”
“That a fact?”
His dismissal of her made Sakura smile a little as she looked at Asuna.
“That was what he was like when we met. Cold, harsh, and brutal.”
The red head looked at him.
“How long we staying?”
“Well once you two crybabies are done with the damned waterworks we’re leaving. I want you both to go up five levels by weeks end.”
He had his UI up and was sifting again like they were not having a heart to heart. Asuna was stunned as Sakura nodded.
“Okay. I’m good.”
“Bout damned time. What’s your numbers looking like?”
“Bow’s in the triple digits, same with my other skills.”
“I got a few but you have the majority.”
“Anything decent?”
“This is what your like when not pretending?”
Asuna was looking at him with new eyes. Tyler looked at her.
“You asked me toots to drop the act. I did. Don’t like it? Shouldn’t have asked.”
Kakashi laughed.
“That’s the boy I know an hate! Nice to see ya again!”
“Eh, shove it. You done wasting me time, kakcy?”
“Ha! Been a while since ya called me that!”
Asuna just looked at him in shock. And he looked at her.
“Ya done? We got work to do.”
She had new tears now.
“So, the cold, harsh, just nasty person you were when we met was the real you?”
“Ahhh, duh. Took you this long to realize that?”
Sakura smiled as she looked at him.
“Honestly? You being nice was kinda weirding me out a bit.”
He snorted as he ruffled her hair.
“Jealous much?”
“Hey! Leave my hair alone!”
The boy looked at Asuna as she was on the verge of breaking down as she saw the true him.
“What? Ya gonna fall apart now just cause you saw beneath the mask I forged to make YOU happy?”
She jumped.
“Me? You forged it for ME?”
He sighed and turned to face her.
“I forged it to help you tolerate me. I know you can’t stomach my personality, hell Sakura can barely do it herself. So, to minimize the headaches and maybe enjoy myself a little, I tried to be a little nicer so you would feel more at ease.”
The red head was running through their time together and had a heartbroken look on her face.
“You were faking it to make me happy?”
“Would you rather me be a cold, hateful, toxic bastard, of the kind, hard, sometimes affectionate asshole?”
Sakura sighed as well now.
“He did it to make YOU happy Asuna. YOU. Not ME. If you need an idea of the place in his heart for you, well, he forged an entire new personality just for you. He didn’t even ATTEMPT it for me.”
Tyler shrugged.
“Her spot in my heart? Well, it’s a big one. Sadly, even AFTER taking the damned mask off, I still have no clue what exactly it is. That said, it’s a little clearer.”
Asuna sniffed again.
“Then it is?”
“Well, when I hear your name my heart feels lighter. I like you. A helluva a lot if I’m going to these lengths just to keep you around. Best guess? You’re a few bars above best friend.”
She smiled reflexively before going back to her stone face.
“So, the cave?”
“Look, Asuna, make a call here. We have a lot of work to do before floor eleven and I need to get the rust off. Do I put the mask back on for you, and pretend to be the human you thought I was, or do you want me to be myself?”
She drew in s harp breath at his cold tone as Sakura smiled as she hugged him.
“Nice to have my Demon back!”
“Stick it.”
“Teehee! Kay!”
“I forgot, yous a dirty girl. Well, I don’t judge.”
Sakura blushed as Asuna waged a war in her heart and mind. Tyler looked at Kakashi.
“So, Yuka dead yet?”
The man sighed and rubbed his eyes.
“She got picked up by the Bloodoath. She’s their new second in command and HATES you now.”
“Eh, fuck er. I give her a chance and she blew it.”
The man nodded.
“She did indeed.”
Asuna made a choice.
He turned to look at her with a bored stare. She sighed.
“If this is the true you, then I prefer it.”
“Ya say that now. Then further down the line you pull the goodie two shoes shit.”
She smacked him again.
“Have you forgotten I’ve killed people too? I can handle it!”
He smacked her right back.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t play that card again.”
She gasped and sat down as Sakura winced.
“See? Goreleech is NOT a good person Asuna.”
The red head looked into Tyler’s dead eyes, and noticed something.
“Why do you look like you’re about to cry?”
he blinked and the spark of regret was gone.
“No clue. Now, ya dong with the sentimental bullshit?”
She snapped at him.
“Ya done being an ass?”
“Hey, YOU asked me to take the mask off. Don’t get mad at me for ME.”
She glared at him.
“Then just put it back on if your going to be a miserable bastard.”
“Make up your damned mind.”
HE sighed and when he looked at her again, his brown eyes were full of a lively fire, he had a slight smile, and his face was softer.
“You good?”
His voice was even lighter and kinder. Sakura frowned.
“See? It’s weird.”
He chuckled.
“It’s weird for me as well, Sakura. Feels like I’m suffocating in here, but Asuna likes it for some friggin reason.”
His switch from hateful dead to lively kind hearted bastard gave the others whiplash. Asuna slumped now.
“The differences between the mask and you are THAT extreme?”
“They are. Asuna, are you SURE you want to keep traveling with us? This point you need to make a choice.”
Sakura sighed as well.
“She does. I prefer the real you, Tyler. Least it’s REAL.”
Tyler sat back on the couch as Sakura rested against him as he looked at the bikini clad red head.
“So, Asuna. What’s it going to be?”
She looked at him.
“I….need to think about it.”
“Ya got till I wake back up.”
She glared at him as he walked downstairs with Sakura. HE walked to the couch with the view of the undersea and laid on it as Sakura cuddled up next to him.
“If she keeps traveling with us, will you keep it on?”
He stroked her pink hair.
“I don’t want to keep wearing this thing, Sakura. Truth be told I hate it, as I feel like a fraud. But, I like her enough to KEEP it on if she asks me too.”
She sighed as she got comfy.
“you really care about her.”
“I guess I do.”
The siblings drifted off as Asuna worked out her heart upstairs.

Asuna watched as Tyler and Sakura headed downstairs to sleep. What the hell is he? She looked at the screen.
“What the hell?”
Kakashi smiled at the flaming beauty.
“He cares quite a bit about you, Miss. If he’s willing to go to such lengths as to forge an entire new personality to keep you around, then your place in his heart must be truly precious to him.”
Asuna just looked at the empty staircase.
“does he care? Or is that an act too?”
Tyler’s mother spoke up now.
“Listen flamer, Tyler is many things. Most of them bad. Yet, when it comes to his heart? He don’t know how to fuck with it. He lost the ability to listen to his heart years ago, and now just goes off his mind and his gut. His heart? Ha. Fact he can SAY you have a place in it PERIOD means it’s starting to both wake back up, and he can hear it.”
Arthur sighed now.
“I see now. He put the remains of his shattered heart in a vault to protect it, but over the years lost the key. My brother was like that. Tyler is a man of immense strength and tenacity outwardly. Inwardly? He’s just a lonely boy with a shattered heart and ruined soul. He puts on the face he does as he just can’t handle another hit. He takes one that’s it. He’s a ghost.”
Sakura’s god parents sighed now.
“I’ve worked in some wards with kids like him. Now that you say that, I see it.”
Asuna looked to the stairwell.
“What do I do? His masked self is just a fake but I like the person. His true face is real yet I hate the toxicity.”
Arthur sighed again.
“This is a choice YOU have to make Asuna. Do you want him to lie to you to make you happy? or do you want to get to know his true self?”
Asuna just rubbed her temples as the timer ran down.
“I’ll sleep on it. God knows I need the sleep.”

They said goodbye and the screen shattered as she laid on the couch. She looked at the ceiling and mused aloud.
“A fake personality with all the things I like in a person, or the real personality with all the things I hate?”
She drifted off as she let the question hover in her mind.

Tyler opened his eyes to see Sakura laid out beside him gently breathing in sleep. He sighed silently. In the course of a day or so we’re on the verge of losing so much. Just because of a mere date, and my own toxicity. Asuna will most likely bail again and we’d be alone again. And as sad as Sakura will be, I’ll miss her fiery personality even more. He stroked Sakura’s hair softly as he pondered his own shortcomings. I am just too dead inside at this point to really change. And even if I did Asuna will still think I’m faking it for her. Maybe it’s her time to just take off? Sakura squeaked in her sleep.
“Asuna, don’t leave!”
He gave the sleeping girl a soft hug as he himself felt the same thing. Asuna leaves again it’ll break Sakura’s heart again. And it’ll hurt so much more this time since we’ve spent so much time together now. Fuck it I need an answer. He looked at his little sister before extracting himself from her warm embrace. He then snuck up the stairs and found Asuna on the couch sleeping. He sighed internally. I guess she too needed rest. Maybe we’re just exhausted? He walked to the kitchen and looked through his UI for a drink. HE smiled as he found a bottle of soda and grabbed it. He walked to a spot in the hut where he could see the shore and surrounding area and drank deep as he looked. Well, Asuna. Looks like we’re going our separate ways again. Sakura is going to be heartbroken and I have a sinking feeling she won’t be able to recover this time. He heard a yawn and looked in a more reflective spot to see Asuna sitting up and stretching hard. HE let her wake up fully before walking over to her. She watched as he sat on the opposite side of the couch from her.
“Have you made a choice?”
She looked at him.
“I have.”
Tyler sighed.
“Well, what is it?”
She smiled.
“I’ll still go with you.”
HE looked at her mildly surprised.
She became serious.
“But. You need to find a way to MERGE those two sides of you, Tyler.”
He tilted his head.
the red head nodded.
“Merge. Take the two pieces and make them one. Make the fake person you were pretending to be become one with that hateful personality you have.”
He became thoughtful.
“I’ve never tried to merge them before. I wonder.”
He crossed his arms as he finished his drink. His brown eyes became lifeless as he took the mask off. Then they lit back up as he experimented with Asuna’s idea. The red head watched as he waged his internal construction project. He can make a new personality just like that? Then his eyes became lively with a steely feel to them and he smiled at her.
“I think I got it.”
She smacked him.
“Ya think?”
“Wow, Asuna, I’m startin to think ya got a whackin fetish there.”
She blushed as she saw his voice had a harder edge then usual, but was still friendly and warm. His eyes had a more…edgy feel now. Like he was looking at her while contemplating whether to hug her or kill her. She snorted.
“whatever. So, we okay?”
She sighed.
“we’ll have to see. I….need time.”
“Sure. Sakura’s still out cold. So, now what?”
She smiled now.
“Well, mats?”
HE chuckled.
“Sure. Oh, and Asuna?”
“I’m sorry our date went to hell. And for the mess.”
She could tell he was being genuine with it and her heart skipped a beat.
“So am I. Sakura’s safe, so that’s more important.”
“It is. Still kinda sucks though. Least Laughing Coffin’s a crater. That’s a win.”
She smiled with relief.
“I trust no survivors?”
“If there are, then they were off base when I hit. In that case there’s only a few left.”
She felt more at ease around him now for some reason.
“That’s good I guess. They pop back up you’ll just shatter them.”
“Damn straight. Bastards want to get to you they have to get through ME first.”
She smiled.
“is this your new True self?”
“It is. I can reforge it at will if you don’t like it.”
she blinked, and that’s when something…..clicked……for the red head.
“You never had a real personality to begin with.”
HE looked at her confused.
She now just felt immense pity for the boy.
“I said it’s better then the last.”
“Oh, well good. Glad you like it.”
HE settled back as Asuna sighed inwardly. He can remake himself at will because he didn’t GET to make a personality before it was shattered entirely. And every time he tried to make one after it was broken and ruined. So at some point he just gave up and started forging fake personalities just to HAVE an identity period. Then he forgot he was faking it. She sighed now.
“I’m gonna go check on Sakura.”
“I’ll pass out again.”
She walked off as he laid back down and closed his eyes before blacking out.
He opened his eyes to see Sakura cuddled up on his chest. He smiled as he saw his cute little sister. Then he heard breathing next to him and he turned his head to see Asuna asleep next to him on the cushion. He smiled again. Better. He then felt she’d taken his his arm as a body pillow and was cuddled into it. He laid back and pondered his own failings as a person. I’m still too toxic for Asuna even after my merge. She wants a nice person that’s not afraid to make the hard choices and LIVE with them. I heard her comment on me not HAVING a personality. She’s right. I never DID. Nor a soul for that matter. I wonder, is a soul that easy to gain? Or can I grow one? Asuna deserves a helluva lot better then my worthless ass, and so does Sakura. I’m a broken person that much is true. Then again if I’m broke, I can be repaired too. right? He looked at Sakura’s and Asuna’s sleeping faces and made a decision. They deserve a better person the cling to. I deserve TO BE HAPPY TOO. I can be happy too dammit! It’s time to take the lessons I fucking preach to heart. My sister and those bastards used me like a condom for years. That was THEIR fault. Not mine. I call myself a Demon. Yet in truth I’m just a monster. As Monsters have NOTHING precious to them. He looked at Sakura again. I do. Sakura needs someone she can cling to in the most desperate of times. She needs a Brother. She needs…a Demon. A Monster is alone in this world and only seeks to hurt those near it. A DEMON is a force of darkness with something precious to fight for. I fight for Sakura. Asuna too. I do not know what she means to me, but DAMMIT I WILL FIND OUT! His browns eyes hardened again and a fire was lit inside them that was fueled by his newfound soul. A soul is not something that is grown or made. No. a soul is GIVEN when you find that which is truly precious. When you find that thing you are willing to die to defend.
“I will DIE before I let them suffer like I did.”
The girls blinked awake at his voice, and were shocked by the new fire blazing in his eyes as he sat up. Even Sakura was intimidated by his gaze as he sat up to look at them. Asuna gulped.
“You okay?”
He smiled,
“Just had to look in the mirror with my lessons for once. And. I’ve made a decision.”
Sakura gulped now herself at the new steel in his voice.
“What’s that, Brother?”
Tyler clenched his fists as he looked at them with his new fire.
“I will DIE before I let you suffer like I did. Asuna wanted me to merge the two sides of myself. The toxic, hateful creature and the warm asshole. That just wasn’t possible as I have no idea how to merge my different sides. No. what was needed isn’t another mask. That just puts a new face on the Monster I am. No. the Monster I was.”
Asuna and Sakura were outright SCARED by their friend’s steel voice and blazing eyes. Asuna screwed up her courage.
“If you were a monster, what are you now?”
He smiled widely.
“See the thing about a Monster? They’re hateful, vile, LONELY creatures of immense strength. But nothing precious to them. Nothing to live for. Nothing to protect. I was just such a creature for many years.”
His fists cracked as his emotions raged.
“I am NOT alone anymore. I have YOU Sakura. YOU Asuna. A Monster will only get you hurt.”
His eyes were smoldering with a new life the likes of which had never been there prior.
“But a DEMON WILL KEEP YOU SAFE. A demon has something truly precious to protect. Something to live for. A REASON for it’s strength. I have just such a reason. And it’s the two of you. My sister. And Asuna. I still do not know what you are to me. BUT I WILL FIND OUT DAMMIT.”
The two girls were now openly gaping at Tyler’s declaration of his newfound soul. Sakura was the first to get over her shock to pounce on him with a happy squeal.
“Yay! Big brother’s stronger! I got a Demon for a big brother!”
He hugged her tightly.
“And I got a Pink Imp for my sister.”
She squeaked.
“Imp? The hell? I’m a Demon too!”
He rubbed her pink hair.
“Demon’s do evil work Sakura. Imps? They help the Demon work.”
She grumbled.
“FINE! I’ll be the imp.”
“And a damned cute one at that!”
Asuna’s jaw woulda dropped off her face if it wasn’t attached to her face by Tyler’s on the fly complement. And just how heartfelt it was. Sakura was in even more shocked state of mind as Tyler gave her a complement.
“You…just COMPLEMENTED me!”
He smiled kindly.
“Demons have many benefits over Monsters Sakura. Like for example actually saying things and meaning them. Saying nice things don’t cost a Demon anything whereas for a Monster it hurts. Like that fire hair on Asuna there. Number a times I’ve caught myself staring? Amazed I still GOT eyes!”
Sakura just gaped at her brother as he HIT on Asuna! Poor Asuna was even MORE mind blown by Tyler’s sudden flattery. The trunks clad boy got up and walked to stand in font of the fiery red head.
“I’m sorry I was such a bastard Asuna. You asked for a merge. I got a soul. I still have no idea what you are to me, but that said.”
He held out his hand smiling widely.
“I’d appreciate it if you’d help me figure that out.”
Asuna just looked at him like he had three heads.
“I….need a minute.”
“Sure. I’ll go make sure Gabol’s not still on the floor.”
Sakura looked at him.
“I do too. This is a little…..what the FUCK?”
“Love you too.”
“Yeah. Gonna have fun with that one.”
He equipped his gear and walked out to check on the big black man that had gotten caught in the crossfire. Soon as the door shut Sakura rounded on Asuna.
“What the fuck was that?! What the HELL?”
Asuna was pulling out another Mirror.
“I have no fucking clue Sakura. Let’s ask the experts.”
She activated the comms mirror and the hospital room was seen. The parents and friends were all sleeping when they called. Sakura giggled.
The room exploded as Asuna busted up laughing at Sakura’s cute jab. Kakashi noted the looks of shock on their faces,
“What happened?”
Sakura just rubbed her hair.
“Big brother complemented me. And said he loved me.”
Asuna just looked at them.
“Rewatch the last hour. Easiest way to explain. And we’re STILL reeling.”
The families did, and as they saw Tyler’s newfound fire from the girl’s perspectives, Kakashi burst out laughing.
“Me boy! Ya finally found your soul!”
Asuna looked at the yakuza boss confused.
“But I thought he was a shattered person?”
The older man nodded smiling with pride.
“He WAS Little Asuna. And it seems he finally put them back together again. You asked him to merge his two extremes. Well, he tried. And failed. Tyler made himself false souls to get through live as he was just a hit to the heart away from becoming a Ghost. His soul was in pieces and he just didn’t have a reason or a will to reforge himself. Now he HAS a reason. And it’s YOU two. Tyler hit the nail on the head when he said Monster are just evil without purpose. They’re just Ghost that pretend to be people. But DEMONS, little Asuna, Demons are evil WITH a purpose driving them. Tyler’s soul is a dark one never you doubt that. But his darkness is now haled together not by pain and regret for a past he did not deserve. No girls. It’s held up by the drive to defend YOU. And if that fire in his eyes is anything to go by, his strength of heart has returned in full. Better brace girls, his heart’s alive, active and ready to run wild. And if I know him like I think I do, well, let’s say you’re going to either HATE this guy, or love the ever loving fuck outta him. And as for YOU Asuna? He’s now LOOKING for the answer to you with his HEART, not his MIND. So I assume things are going to pick up. Tyler’s awake now. Enjoy the fire and the mess that comes with it.”
Tyler shut the door and walked out with a cocky smile on his face and his blood red coat on full display. Ooooh I am going to have SOOOOO much fun now! I feel so much lighter and just….happy. I have the cutest sister in Sakura, and the best friend a dude can ask for in Asuna. Fact she’s a hot flaming red head’s a nice bonus. He walked over to Gabol’s restaurant and found the big man looking at the repair costs.
“Nice to see you’re done eating the floor out big man.”
Gabol jumped as Tyler’s voice was heard behind him. He rounded and was backing away at the same time as he could only imagine the anger the Demon was in for his failure to defend his little Sister.
“Ah, Hey, I’m sorry-what the?”
Gabol was blown away by the HAPPY smile on Tyler’s usually dour face as he walked up to him. He had a new fire in his brown eyes that Gabol found he had a hard time looking into and gulped as Tyler got with in arms reach.
“You good? Those bastards got a nasty drop on you back there.”
Gabol just leaned on a wall, so heavy was his shock at the CONCERN for his wellbeing.
“Umm, I’m okay. I had a potion and was fine. Is Sakura okay?”
Tyler smiled on pure reflex.
“Lil Sis’s fine. She got hit with a sleep dart but is fine now. Those bastards were from an imitator Laughing Coffin. Guess they wanted in on the Coffin filler gimmick. Pff. Idiots. That’s MY job!”
He chuckled at his own joke as Gabol screwed up his courage.
“You okay, Gore? You seem…..HAPPIER.”
Tyler smiled then, and Gabol recognized that light in his eyes.
“I had to do a little personal introspection Gabol. Me and me issues needed to have a little…chat. Asuna and Sakura don’t deserve the pain a Monster brings to the table.”
Here he grinned with his newfound fire and Gabol was outright SCARED by the intensity of his gaze.
“What they deserve is the safety only a DEMON gives. Wanna touch them? Pff you have to get past ME first. Try it I dare ya.”
Gabol understood what happened then.
“I’m happy you found your reason Gore. We all have a reason for our strength. Mine is my wife back home.”
“Lord HELP that lady! How much you have to…..ya know what? Not gonna finish that thought, since I got…aahhh. Not there not either. What the hell? You suck, what I’m saying.”
Gabol could just HEAR his wife laughing at the unsaid jabs and sighed.
“Okay. I HATE you.”
“was THAT what your hand said to ya? Oof, poor bastard.”
Gabol just busted up laughing at that one.
“Ya got jokes too now? Oh shit. We’re fucked!”
“eh. You look like that. Fucked up enough. Oh, you said FUCKED? Eh, when life’s out for ya like it is with YOU? Same thing.”
Gabol had to clap at that one.
“Damn! That one hurt! Okay tough guy, the guild?”
“A smoking crater. I got most of em but I bet there’s one or two left running like chickens with their heads cut off. Laughing Coffin’s still a thing but their not that stupid. Here.”
Tyler paid for the damages.
“for the mess and Sakura. Some odd reason she likes this place. Not sure WHY exactly, since the owner’s the kind that makes blind people throw up with that thing ya call a face.”
Gabol just laughed it up.
“Okay, Gore. Get out before I pull me axe.”
“Miss, I am SOOOO sorry your stuck with that guy. That’s just pain. Later Gabol.”
Tyler walked out as Gabol could almost here his wife laughing at the jokes and jabs.
“Goreleech found his soul again. We’re all fucked. Dude was scary enough WITHOUT a reason to live. With one? God help us all.”
Tyler walked into the hut and saw the girls talking to Kakashi and the other parents. They had yet to notice him and smiled. He snuck up behind the two girls as they talked about him and grabbed their shoulders.
Poor Sakura screamed so loud the people in the room had to cover their ears! Asuna jumped INTO the damned screen as Tyler cracked up laughing from the prank as Kakashi busted up laughing, loving the new light in his eyes. Asuna was holding her chest as her breathing returned to normal as Sakura was coughing a little from her scare. Tyler was grinning like an idiot just heard the word penis. Asuna pulled her Rapier sheath and proceeded to beat the idiot half to death in a fury as Sakura laughed.
“he got us good!”
Tyler smiled as Asuna let up on her beating,
“Nice moves, Asuna.”
She blushed at that and Kakashi raised an eyebrow.
“Oh shit, Little Asuna. It seems he’s grown bold too!”
Tyler vaulted over the couch to look at the screen.
“New Demon, new Heart. And I’m looking to make it a good one this time. I got Sakura and Asuna. Best kinda start to a new beginning. Now, we need to get back to work. We got asses to kick, sights to see, and legends to make. We’ll get out of this game, and tear the real world a new asshole the only way the Heavenly Demons can.”
Here his eyes went cold with a dark fire that even Kakashi shuddered at,
“And not even GOD can help those that try to endanger the lights I guard with my wings of blood. Ya been warned.”
Sakura and Asuna were then aware of a new feeling around them in Tyler’s presence. Where before he felt cold, standoffish and outright hateful, he now felt intense, determined, happy, and most of all? Warm. It felt like they were encased in a fog of darkness that they could see out, but NOTHING could touch them. Asuna suddenly wasn’t afraid of him anymore. Now she just smiled.
“Like you can do all that without MY help. Right Tyler?”
He walked over and stood with the fiery red head.
“You’re the second in command of this nuthouse. Like I’d go on without my favorite red headed badass.”
Sakura was also on the same page as Asuna and came over too.
“Hey! Don’t forget I’m here too! I’ll just have to settle for the cute role since Asuna’s too big to be cute.”
Tyler just smiled.
“That’s cause Asuna’s pretty, Sakura. You cute. Ya got a few more years growing before you claim HER crown.”
Asuna was blushing now and so was Sakura as Tyler complemented them again. The three friends placed their hands inside their little triangle. Tyler smiled.
“The monsters in this game are the other players. I am a Demon amongst them. They will NEVER hurt you so long as I draw breath. You will NEVER suffer like I did so long as I breathe.”
Asuna was right there with him.
“I will never let another decide my life For ME! This is MY life to live! No one else’s!”
Sakura also made a declaration.
“I am NOT weak! I am NOT a burden! I am NOT ALONE ANYMORE!”
Tyler led the yell.
“When the Heavenly Demons run into the fray get the fuck out the way! We own this game! We are a family of castaways. But. WE HAVE EACH OTHER AND FUCK THE REST!”
They threw their hands up.
Kakashi and the other parents watched as the live feed was killed and the three gear up before racing with a new fire to clear the game and go home. He smiled proudly as Arthur, Asuna’s father looked at the comatose boy between the two girls.
“He’s a fine young man, Kakashi. He was able to reforge his soul on his own.”
“He did indeed, Arthur. That’s how Tyler is. It may take him a while, but there is not a force on this earth that can break his spirit. Not when it was already so badly destroyed to begin with. He’s rebuilt it with his own hands and it has those two girls as his heart. Arthur.”
He looked at the yakuza boss.
The man looked at him gravely.
“When they get out, do NOT give him a reason to think you’re a threat to those girls. That look in his eye when he made that warning? I have not seen a darkness like that in over forty years. That boy will not hesitate to hurt anyone that poses a threat to those girls.”
Tyler and the girls landed back on the tenth floor and were racing along the floor towards a spot Tyler knew of from the beta.
“The spot has higher level monsters good for both Loot and EXP. I want us to go up three levels today. I THINK I may know where the boss is but need to check a few more spots.”
Sakura was right beside him with Asuna on his left.
“What’s the plan for the next few floors?”
Tyler smiled as he pulled a front flipping vault over a rock face.
“get out and explore. Floor eleven was a forested floor like the amazon. From what I was able to dig up on it during the beta the monsters range from large bugs to slimes to the usual variety.”
Asuna frowned.
“I hate slimes. Make me feel dirty every time I see them.”
“Why Asuna? Got a confession?”
Sakura busted up laughing as Asuna went red with rage at his jab.
“I AM going to murder you!”
“What? I loved that time I got reincarnated as a slime too. the hell you thinking of?”
Asuna was seen to go through ten different emotions in 6 seconds, murderous rage, utter pain, humiliation, more pain, more rage, and she finally settled on outraged anger.
“You BASTARD! I am going to deball you when I catch you!”
Tyler just ran faster as the angry red head gave chase.
“Save the fire for the monsters Asuna!”
Sakura was laughing hard at the teasing.
“What a cutely flirting couple!”
“Wow, Asuna has a cute setting too.”
“She does.”
The poor red head just went silent as they came upon a set of large wandering trolls. Tyler’s eyes lit up with his new fire as he drew his red sword and set it glowing with a two handed skill.
“Demon surge!”
He carved through ten the first ten trolls with a whirlwind attack as Asuna used her own skill,
“Dancer’s Steps!”
She stabbed three monsters ten times in ten seconds as Sakura pulled her red bow,
“Pink punch!”
She dropped the last set and Tyler nodded.
“Nice kills. Fuck it. I know a place that boss might be hiding. We need to get off this floor. Crystals out. Jump to that outpost town near that mountain in the north. Cli.”
They jumped and took off running through the stunned spectators as the Demons were seen in a hurry.
“What the?”
“The Demons?”
“They’re running like a bat outta hell! What the hell happened?”
Tyler smiled as he spotted a freerunning challenge.
“Just a sec ladies. Be RIGHT back!”
He hit the start button and used a cart to launch up along a set of flag poles hand over hand like a monkey at breakneck speed to vault through a bell tower before leaping a large gap and sticking the landing.
“Annnnd safe! Time is…..ha! 34.5 seconds! I beat me record! Fuck yeah!”
He and the girls got a mass of EXP, droy, and speed potions before they took off running again as Asuna and Sakura looked at him,
“What was the point of that?”
“Yeah. We get more from a basic monster kill.”
Tyler smiled.
“For kicks? What? We’re here so might as well try to have SOME fun ya know.”
Asuna and Sakura looked at each other bemused.
“What the hell?”
Tyler smiled as they neared the dungeon he’d suspected.
“I’m not dead yet, you two. So, until I drop I’ll live like I’m not gonna drop. What? You two forgot how to have fun?”
Asuna just smiled ruefully.
“You weren’t big on screwing around, Gore.”
Tyler smiled at Asuna.
“We got time, Asuna if ya wanna?”
Ohhh she went RED as a tomato! Sakura sniggered.
“She did say ‘screw around’ brother! I thought the same thing!”
Poor Asuna had steam coming off her from her embarrassment. Tyler patted her as they stopped outside the dungeon.
“There, there, pure little Asuna. You just need to learn how to say what you truly want. Like me for example. I want a hug Sakura!”
He hugged his giggling little sister.
“See? It’s easy.”
Asuna just smiled sweetly as her head started throbbing.
“Oh, how wise Gore. How very wise indeed. You really want to know what I want?”
He smiled kindly.
“Sure Asuna. What’s the fiery red head want?”
She added a hint of maliciousness to her sweet smile,
“I REEEEALLY want to hurt you.”
She hit him so freaking hard he was launched into a wall! Tyler was laughing hard as Asuna calmed down from her rage moment.
“Enraged violence? Suddenly I like you a lot more Asuna. Also? WORTH IT.”
Sakura was on the ground laughing hard as Asuna just held her head in pain.
“He went a hateful, toxic, meanspirited asshole, to an immature, warm hearted, jackass. Ohhh my poor soul!”
Tyler dusted himself off.
“I’d say batshit insane. Life’s more fun when you’re crazy. Plus get a dirty sense of humor and the fun never stops.”
Sakura was nodding her pink haired head sagely.
“Hmm-hm! Look at Gore! He’s insane and loves it!”
Asuna just rubbed her eyes.
“I’ll settle for being normal thank you.”
“Pff. Normie.”
She became offended at that.
“Hey! I am NOT a…..oh well played you sneaky bastard.”
She just sighed at his use of her secret otaku to tease her. He let them off the hook and drew his sword.
“This was the ONLY cave in the beta I did NOT explore. If the boss isn’t here, we’re looking for a needle in a haystack. Weapons up and get your flame on Asuna.”
They nodded and took off running along the twisting corridors of the dungeon. This one being themed around a crypt and they carved through numerous skeletons in armor with one shot per. The things woefully weak compared to their levels and skills at using them. Tyler was out in front charging the monsters as Asuna mopped survivors with Sakura dropping idiots from afar. They dove deeply quickly and slowed as the monsters were getting stronger but not by enough to make a difference. Tyler smiled as he split one skeleton wearing a crown in half,
“Dragon’s splitter.”
They stopped for a quick regroup. Sakura was shaking her small head.
“These things suck.”
Asuna was right there with her.
“Totally. These things suck.”
Tyler smiled as a faint clash of metal was heard down a hall. He looked and smiled.
“Let’s go make a statement. Move!”
He was off running in the direction and the girls were right beside him with smiles.
“Looking to show off?”
“Oh fuck yeah, Asuna.”
The trio tore through the skeletons with ease as they rounded a corner to see the source of the metal ringing. There they found Lorg, Sven, and their friends in dire straits surrounded by a mass of the skeletons with their backs against the wall. Tyler’s good humor died and he got angry.
“Demon’s wave! Go!”
His long blade glowing Tyler gripped the hand and a half bastard sword in two hands as he smashed four of the undead aside with a single swing before spinning with the momentum to scythe another four as Asuna came in desperate to save their friends,
“Dancer’s Wrath!”
She slashed with her long thin blade instead of stabbing and killed three in quick succession as Sakura fired her own attack.
“Pink attack!”
Her high powered shots punching straight through the skeletons in lines shattering four in a line. Tyler was in the center of the pack, and smiled with a wild light in his eyes,
“demon spiral!”
He spun a vicious circle that shattered the skeletons like pixeled snow before jumping backwards in a flip that placed himself between a stunned Lorg, Svenity, their friends, and the monsters. Tyler glanced over his shoulder as the monsters regrouped at them,
“You good?”
The blonde lady nodded dumbly at the CLEAR light in his eyes,
“You got here just in time. We didn’t lose anyone thank god.”
He smiled widely.
“Can’t have Sakura’s favorite blonde get smashed by just ANY boner, can we? Demon rush!”
He surged forward as Lorg just looked at her petite friend.
“Am I delusional. Or did he just flirt with me?”
Svenity just smiled.
“Look, Lorgy. His eyes. They’re sparkling with life.”
Lorg looked and saw the clear smile in the red coated boy’s eyes as he and the two girls killed the last of the skeletons. Once the pixels stopped flying, Tyler walked over and sent a mass of high level healing potions to Lorg.
“Here. Put that well fucked ass o yours back together.”
Svenity snorted as the gay guy in the crew gave an offended huffed.
“You wish.”
“Sorry, not into dudes. Like you could handle this anyway.”
The group just stopped at Tyler’s teasing of a gay guy. The brown eyed boy ignored this as he took stock of the area they were in.
“We got five minutes before they come back. We need-what the?”
He noticed the group, including Asuna and Sakura, staring at him in utter shock. He looked behind him, as if expecting something to be there, and looked back confused.
Lorg looked at Asuna.
“Who is that? And Where’s Goreleech?”
Sakura smiled as she just went with it.
“He’s right there, Lorgy. He got his soul back!”
Svenity walked over and looked him in the eyes. Tyler smiled.
“Ya got pretty eyes there, Svenity.”
She smiled widely and hugged him.
“I’m so happy you found the will to reclaim your soul.”
He hugged her tightly.
“I’m just mad it TOOK so freakin long. But whatever. It’s back and you ALL, except him, fucked!”
The singled out guy just looked away.
“Kiss my rainbow ass.”
“Dude if you shittin the rainbow you got issues. Should see a doctor.”
Lorg snorted at that,
“Oh you got jokes ah?”
“I’m looking at YOU Lorg. Plenty of source material. Hey, ahh, quick question.”
She was on the verge of murdering him,
“Yes? What is it?”
“Did that poor bastard that designed your face get arrested? Things a crime to get looked at with. Seriously, Lorg, how do mirrors handle the good looks?”
She went from murderous rage to half way between awe and fear at his smooth word play as Svenity FINALLY let him go to look at him.
“Damn dude. You got a player’s soul.”
“I AM a gamer. Plus, well, SOMEONE has to pretend to flirt with her. God knows no one else will.”
Lorg busted up laughing.
“There’s the salty jab I been missing!”
“Wow, you like it to be salty? Sounds painful. But hey I don’t judge.”
Lorg had a single vein bulge on her head as the other snorted.
“I do hope you were talking about food.”
HE looked at her confused.
“I was. I was thinking of a bit of jerky for some odd reason. Why? The hell thinkin I meant?”
Lorg had a second vein bulge as she saw she was trapped by his jokes while the rest laughed. She smiled at him with a sweet maliciousness.
“You are SOOOO lucky you can’t feel your dick in here, as I’d kick you so freakin hard.”
“You forget? You already did.”
She grinned.
“And I felt nothing there.”
He winced.
“Yeesh. You poor lady! And you STILL let him? Have some standards!”
Her friends busted up laughing hard at that one, and so were Sakura and even Asuna as Lorg just screamed in a frustrated rage as she was caught AGAIN. Tyler just smiled.
“Hey Lorg.”
She had a fury in her hazel eyes.
He grinned.
“Love you!”
The others busted up laughing as Lorg pulled a piece of metal from her inventory to BEAT the idiot half to death in a blind rage. She broke the thing over his body and was panting as her rage moment passed and he patted her on the head in a comforting manner.
“There, there Lorg. Nice to see you’re good at beating things.”
She looked at him with a twitching eyelid, on the verge of a full on black out rage. He smiled as he let her off the hook before she blew a fuse. He looked down the corridor.
“Okay, Lorg. You looking for the boss?”
She took a deep breath and looked down the passage.
“Yeah. Well. More out grinding. You?”
He looked at her with a serious expression.
“This was the ONLY cave I did not explore in the beta on this floor, Lorg. We have to get off this floor. I’m betting the boss is down here somewhere. So, we’ll party up for this run. We find it I’ll get Kirito and Gabol in on the hunt.”
She smiled.
“You really DID change. Gore I met when the doors shut woulda just hogged the kill for himself.”
HE smiled as he looked at Sakura and Asuna.
“I’ve got something to live for again, Lorg.”
He looked at her with his new intense gaze,
“And they will NOT suffer like I did. Period.”
Lorg was a little scared by the fire in his eyes, but nodded.
“I’m glad to hear it. Who’s party leader?”
“I am. I’ve the best stats period. Plus I’m used to fighting outnumbered, outgunned and underequipped. Here, these are all junk weapons for us, but they’ll suit your crew just fine.”
He sent over a FULL resupply on everything from armor and weapons to healing supplies that Lorg just gaped at. Sakura and Asuna looked at each other shocked again.
“Wait. Kindness?”
“From Him?”
“GIVING our stuff away for free?”
Tyler shrugged.
“I look out for my friends. Period.”
The got a smile from Lorg and Svenity.
“He’s become human again.”
“No. Just a Demon. I’ll never be human like you are. So, I’ll use the darkness in my soul to protect the light in yours.”
That got a low whistle from the two women.
“That was a level of badass I aspire to be.”
Tyler waited until they were geared up.
“Here’s the party invite. We move fast so heads up. Lorg, I’ve got an idea for the rest of the floors. We’ll kill the boss and we’ll talk with Kirito and Gabol back at the hut. Let’s move ladies and that.”
“Fuck you man.”
“Dude. Give it a rest.”
They took off running and Lorg smiled.
“Move people. We’re running with the Demons now!”
The party moved forward as Tyler slowed the pace to accommodate them a bit.
“If you run everywhere it builds stamina, sharp turns boost agility, and that in turn increases your overall combat effectiveness.”
Lorg was keeping pace with the Demon.
“So, this idea?”
“After Lorg. I tell you now we’ll lose focus. Eyes front! Sakura! Light em up!”
“Got em brother! Pink Death!”
A set of pink arrows slammed into a set of ten zombies and they shattered.
“Lorg follow my shadow, Svenity, you with Asuna, Sakura’s on overwatch. Rest of you? Eh be useful somehow.”
Lorg had her katana out and Svenity her spear as they slammed into a wall of rattling skeletons. Tyler dealing heavy shots for Lorg to get them kill as Asuna did the same. The three friends were softening the targets for the lower ranked players to get the kills and mass EXP. They tore through the skeletons and kept going. Lorg looked at Tyler.
He smiled.
“When it’s safe to do so. Right now it’s just too risky.”
She smiled.
“You’re quite the leader you know that?”
“Glad you approve. Sakura!”
“Got em!”
The next mass of creatures were trashed and Svenity was amazed.
“We’ve just killed no less then thirty monsters in 15 minutes! The hell?”
Asuna snorted.
“Toots this is babysitting compared to our USUAL runs! Remember the turtle Saky?”
“That thing sucked!”
Tyler smiled as he explained.
“We found the Secret boss. The admantoise. Took the three of us FIVE hours to kill it.”
The group was white faced as Lorg gulped.
“The Admantoise? That thing has killed over fifty people! It’s a BANNED fight period now!”
Asuna sighed.
“Then consider this. That thing’s a secret boss. On floor TEN. Out of a 150. Let that sink in.”
They looked at her in horror.
“That was mere FODDER compared to the higher floor monsters?”
Tyler smiled darkly.
“You haven’t seen anything yet.”
The group slumped as that fact set in.
“Oi! Ya give up now then just kill yourselves. We’ll go on and get out of this game and to hell with ANYTHING that gets in our way!”
The others smiled at that as they fell upon more skeletons which they shattered without issue. The party ran for a good while until they came upon a large set of doors. Tyler smiled as Lorg and her friends regained their breath.
“I’ll take a look. Asuna. Sakura guard the brats.”
Tyler booted the door open to see inside the large chamber. He tilted his head as he saw the boss.
“Ooooh we are in for a FIGHT. Been a long time. DeathBringer.”
The thing looking at them was a twenty five foot tall T-rex with a blade on the tail and a blade sail on the spine. Tyler smiled as he left the chamber just before it challenged him. He looked at the expectant group and smiled.
“That’s DeathBringer’s home. The SECOND boss I got to design. We are in for a fight.”
The group had a collective gulp as Tyler pulled his messenger up and shot the location for the boss to Kirito and Gabol. Tyler smiled as he looked the party.
“That thing behaves exactly like a T-rex from the movies. It’s got four weakpoints that are hard yet obvious. The legs, the eyes, the heart that can be reached either side of the torso, and the throat. That said it has a few batshit skills to throw us if we’re not on our toes the entire fight. Plus a guaranteed one shot kill that’s easy to dodge, but hard to see coming if you don’t know what to look for. If that tail starts to stiffen up, get down flat. If it lowers it’s head cover your ears, if it lowers it’s front jump to the side, if the thing plants it’s feet you HAVE to drop to the ground as it’s about to unleash it’s radial saw attack with that blade on it’s back. If it touches you, BAM. Instakill. I made that thing to fuck with the cocky and reward the cautious.”
They waited until the black coat clad Kirito and Gabol arrived. Tyler smiled as he fist bumped a mildly shocked Kirito.
“What up beater bro?”
The boy just sighed.
“You’re not gonna let that go. Are you?”
Tyler chuckled.
“Hey. You picked the damned thing. Don’t get mad at me. Okay. We’re it. That thing’s a boss I made so listen for the yells and try not to get fucked in the ass by Asuna’s Rapier.”
“Hey! Why me?”
“Political reasons.”
She just glared at him as Kirito looked at Tyler closely.
“You okay? Ya seem like those guys that are about to jump off a bridge.”
Tyler chuckled.
“I had some issues to work out. I’m fine now and ya know the trope. Finding my reason to live and all that bullshit. So ya know. BRACE. We set ladies?”
That got a snort as they nodded.
“Alright. Let’s fuck em up.”
Tyler invited Kirito and Gabol to the party for loot sharing and in they went. The giant rex roared a challenge as Tyler smiled.
“It’s only right I get to be the FIRST to kill you.”
The thing had 6 health bars as the fight got underway. Tyler ran forward as the beast lunged at him and he slid on his back,
“Demon throat cut!”
he stabbed the beast in the throat and it lost a visible chunk of it’s first health bar as Kirito came in with his one handed sword to deliver his own heavy shot to the beast’s side, dropping another chunk. Asuna came up and she too removed a visible chunk before Sakura’s arrows hit the thing in the eyes.
“Pink Popper.”
Gabol worked with Lorg’s crew to hack at the legs as the beast lifted a foot.
“Shockwave! Crouch!”
They knelt as the ground rippled from the force of the impact. Tyler smiled as he saw the last ripple.
They moved and he stabbed the beast in the side just above the arm, getting a bellow of pain as Kirito took the same shot from the other side. The thing lost two full health bars from the dual stab and then it planted it feet with authority.
They went prone as the beast did a most impossible thing for such a creature: it jumped into a flying disk as it curled up tail to nose to bounce around the room like a pinball with the other players looking at Tyler like he was insane. Tyler just shrugged.
“We’re in a video game people. Logic has no place here. Floor thirty has a red slime that shots ice attacks and sings rock songs.”
Kirito just sighed.
“The devs were on drugs.”
“Ten bucks say acid.”
That got a laugh from the other boy as the attack ended and the thing landed back on it’s feet.
“Up an at em!”
The party surged up from the floor to continue the assault. Tyler and Kirito were once again in perfect sync since they’re fighting styles were so similar whereas Tyler wielded the larger sword. The beast was shattered without issue with Tyler and Kirito sharing the final attack bonus again. The party cheered before heading to activate the portal which Tyler placed a toll of 65 droy on. Then he looked at the group.
“I got an idea for us. We’ll head for my hut in Brictally. Nothing can touch or hear us there.”
They nodded and made the jump, though Kirito was the most impressed by the place when he saw it.
“Dude. This was the cabin you designed right?”
Tyler sent him and Gabol a set of trunks as everyone made the change.
“House rule is swimwear only.”
That got a laugh from them before they all sat at the kitchen table. Though Kirito had a hard time NOT looking at all the bikini clad girls around him. Lorg and Svenity saw this with their galpals and made it that much worse for the poor guy as they flaunted their goods shamelessly as Asuna just sighed.
Gabol was pointedly looking at the walls, ceiling, everywhere but the flirtatious ladies.
“Hey, Gabol. Wanna see something cool?”
The man looked at Tyler’s voice on reflex, just to get a look at Lorg’s tabled breasts, and his gaze shot back to the ceiling.
“You sonuvabitch! Are you trying to get me killed?”
Tyler and Lorg high fived on a well pulled prank.
“Nah. Just hurt.”
Kirito was looking at his loot to distract himself. Tyler smiled as he sat beside Asuna.
“Okay. My idea.”
Kirito closed his UI and looked at him, only for Asuna’s VERY eye catching bikini to get his eye and the fiery red head frowned.
Now TERRIFIED at getting caught, he looked at Tyler.
“what’s your idea?”
“Nice segway. You all join my guild and our hunts in the wilds.”
Sakura and Asuna were just as shocked at the offer as the others. Tyler sighed.
“Look. We’ve BARELY cleared ten floors in close to 10 months. These being floors most have already seen the once. We’re in uncharted territory as of that portal. After floor fifteen we’re fighting blind. We HAVE to get stronger faster. Lorg and her party were almost killed by those skeletons in the dungeon. We have to team up for the following floors.”
Kirito crossed his arms.
“I see your points. And I agree the floors will be getting a lot harder. Yet, I’ve never liked dealing with guilds as once they get too big that’s when the problems start. Outta curiosity, who’s the second in command?”
Tyler jabbed a thumb at Asuna.
“She is. She’s the only one with ACTUAL guild experience. Me and Sakura were just a party. And since I was always a loner I never bothered with the guild shit in the beta. You’re right with the problems the larger guild brings though.”
Kirito looked at Asuna.
“How’s his leadership? I’ve only got glimpses of it.”
Asuna rubbed her head.
“Unflinchingly harsh. Make no mistake everyone. Guy will work you HARD. Me, him and Sakura killed the Admantoise. Head on.”
That got a shocked blink from Kirito and Gabol.
“That thing’s supposed to be next to impossible to kill!”
Kirito had a different take.
“You killed it? How long it take you?”
“About five hours.”
The black haired boy shook his head in awe.
“Okay. That’s just scary. Loot?”
Again Asuna answered.
“Filtered to him as he usually has the very best idea on the way to get the most from it.”
He nodded.
“I remember hearing about his weirdly encyclopedic knowledge of everything in the game. Was always kinda scary. Okay. Grinding?”
“Sun up to whenever we feel like it. We don‘t stop Kirito. Sometimes we grind for weeks on end without rest as in his plan? The longer we can go at once, the less chance of getting caught by a strong enemy when exhausted.”
Gabol sighed.
“There’s an odd wisdom there. Okay, Asuna. If you have an issue with something, like for example a sword that is really high level but he wants to just sell it, but you want to keep it, how does it get resolved?”
Asuna sighed.
“If he’s selling the sword, Gabol, then we really CAN’T keep it. Push it and he’ll just walk away and leave you. In here we don’t have the luxury of keepsakes. Sakura’s wolf fur scarf is the ONLY time I have ever seen him relent on an under leveled item, and she had to threaten to leave HIM to keep it. And even then it was a fight. Goreleech has a plan. And it WILL work. Fact we’ve killed the things we have is proof enough of that. He’ll train you like he trained US and by the time you’re at his approved level of skill, there’s not a creature or person in this game or our there that can hurt you.”
Kirito looked at her now.
“His plan. How extensive is it?”
Asuna smiled.
“well, Kirito. His plan for the new floors is to treat every enemy we come across as a one hit kill, and every door we open like a damage trap. He has multiple plans for us and most times something we think was pointless has a massive reason behind it down the line. Look. He made this for me not too long ago.”
She passed her Rapier over and Kirito nodded.
“I get it. I’ve seen how you all work in battle. Scary sync up.”
Sakura perked up now.
“We work well together as we trust each other to know exactly what to do without direction. Big brother hits the hardest, Asuna the fastest and me the farthest. Put us together and not a thing can touch us. They get close Asuna’s right there with that speed, they get too many, Big brother goes apeshit, they get too far I blast em.”
Tyler smiled now.
“We sync up rather well Kirito. HOW many final attack bonuses have we shared?”
That got a smirk.
“Okay. Fair point. I know you all go to places I just can’t alone. So, if I wanted to go my own way?”
Asuna smiled.
“Ya can take off any time ya want. We’re running in Gore’s crew because there’s not a better one out there. He’s saved our lives countless times, both in here and out there from in here.”
The boy smiled.
“I’m in. be honest running with the Demons sounds like a helluva run.”
Lorg sighed.
“I see your points Gore. I really do. Yet, even WITH your new soul, you’re a little TOO hardcore for me.”
“Sure Lorg. Why it’s an offer. Though at boss fights we party up, okay?”
She grinned at that.
“Oh fuck yeah!”
Gabol smiled at that before looking at Tyler.
“I’m with Lorg on this one Gore. I’m not really cut out for the type of shit you do. I appreciate the offer, and we’ll definitely party up at boss fights. I’m just not as outright insane as you four are.”
Tyler smiled.
“That’s fair. Not everyone can keep up with Asuna. I barely can and I work at it!”
“Hey! Mea-oh you just complemented me. Weird.”
Sakura nodded sagely.
“SUPER weird.”
The others just laughed at Asuna’s bemused face as Tyler looked at Kirito.
“Okay. Let’s talk gear.”
Once Kirito was in the guild, Tyler looked over his Invey.
“Not bad blackball.”
“Fuck off man.”
“Coming from the beater boy?”
“Dude I hate this already.”
“You’re still rocking the cloak of midnight from floor 1?”
HE shrugged.
“I like black.”
Tyler and Sakura looked at each other as Gabol rumbled.
“If you say it I’ll hit you in the balls with my axe.”
they looked at him curiously
“I was going to say I might have a better black coat, Gabol.
“Just what were you thinkin?”
The big man had a vein bulge at eh verbal trickery as Lorg patted him.
“He did it to me like five times in a row, Gabol. No. you cannot win.”
The guy sighed.
“I can only imagine what my wife is going to say when I can hear her again.”
Tyler and Asuna got evil grins as they looked at each other.
“How many?”
Gabol went pale.
“Don’t you dare!”
They looked at him confused now.
“Don’t what?”
“Ya know Gabol, context makes the world of difference.”
The now scared big man looked at Asuna.
“For the sake of my life, please do not use that thing.”
She tilted her head even more confused.
“What thing? Seriously, Gabol. We’re getting some really weird vibes here.”
“Me thinks Gaby’s got a toy fear.”
All eyes looked at Sakura as she got a drink from the fridge. Tyler and Asuna looked at each other concerned.
“I didn’t teach her that.
“Me neither. Hey, Sakura, where’d you hear that?”
She looked over with a cute smile on her face.
“It was the setting on your Masseuse UI, Assy. Said for prefer-“
“Sakura! Not cool!”
Poor Asuna was red as a tomato again as Lorg and Svenity looked at each other knowingly. The two older ladies got up and took the now humiliated Asuna to another room for another in depth girls chat. Tyler looked at Kirito now.
“Oh. Fair warning? Sakura here likes to play setup.”
That got a gulp from the boy in black as Gabol chuckled.
“Well. Before she sets me up I’ll head back to my place. Thanks again for the offer Gore.”
“Sure thing big man.”
Lorg’s party headed off as Lorg and Svenity had their chat with Asuna. Tyler gave Kirito and upgraded cloak of midnight coat and a better sword.
“So, why DO you run a one hand no shield?”
Kirito rubbed his hair.
“I like the versatility. You?”
Tyler shrugged.
“I’m more looking for my staffsword I ran in the beta. You remember that black and red blade I set that record with?”
That got a blink.
“Now I remember. That thing was freakin hardcore.”
Tyler smiled as he looked at his inventory.
“I think I found it on-hello?”
He saw a new weapon from the DeathBringer battle. HE looked at the name.
“Oblivion and Oathkeeper? Ooooh FUCK yeah! Honey I’m home!”
He pulled it out and he was holding a large double bladed staff sword with a blood red blade on one end with a jet black on the other. Tyler passed Kirito his red sword and took the staffsword up.
“Okay. Now it’s a game. Let’s see if I member how to do this.”
Sakura was watching wide eyed as Tyler walked to the wide open area and started spinning the blade in a slow spin with a smile on his face until his eyes went hard. The tempo exploded and all Sakura could see was blurred red and black lines as Tyler set the blade to howling from the speed and strength in the routines. Lorg came up with Asuna and Svenity to see what the loud whistling was, only to see Tyler twirling his new weapon nearly faster then they could see. Tyler smiled and he twisted his wrists which made the swords become two separate blades. He spun them independently for a few routines before connecting them again and spinning into a flourishing bow. The room just applauded the show as Kirito noticed something.
“Hey. You just dual wielded.”
Tyler smiled.
“Not exactly. See this weapon has a special trick to it. Even when separate it still counts as ONE weapon. So outright dual wielding isn’t an option. That said I CAN use the routines for dual wielding. AND the routines for onehanded weapons with the ones for the staffsword. This one was ALSO my own design. So, since I’m wielding my own creation, I get the master’s bonus to attack speed. Oh. And this can be upgraded to floor 150. Sooo. My old friend has come home. Now I just need my coat and BAM. Badass the first edition.”
He looked at Kirito.
“Alright. We got a new floor to ruin. Let’s gear up.”
They nodded and Lorg patted Asuna reassuringly.
“You want to chat message me.”
The pretty red head smiled.
“Thanks Lorg.”
Tyler and his revamped party teleported to the new floor as Kakashi sat back in the chair smiling widely.
“Tyler’s gained a new resolve now.”
Arthur was in agreement.
“He has indeed. But what about that shadow?”
Sakura’s god mother chuckled.
“That left as soon as his soul was reforged. Now he has a light surrounded by thorns. If he lets you touch it, it’s of a warmth the likes of which you’ve never known. But, try to scratch it and welcome to hell. That new boy. Kirito? He worries me.”
Arthur had a different thought.
“He and Tyler are very much alike. Only Kirito seems to be the kinder. Be interesting to see how he handles Tyler’s lessons.”
Kakashi chuckled.
“He gets it. Kirito understands Tyler’s points and even agrees to an extent. That said he’ll more likely agree to disagree as he has his own way of living. And that is perfectly fine.”
“Yo good kill Kirito!”
“Pff, keep up slow bastard.”
“Wow, Asuna. Salt much?”
“She’s just mad she missed.”
The giant skeleton the party was fighting shattered and the friends dropped panting. A full month had passed and Tyler, Asuna, and Sakura with the new addition of Kirito had made astounding progress on the floors. Clearing no fewer then five alone. Even Tyler had been utterly impressed by their progress as they’d just killed the fifteenth floor boss by themselves. Tyler smiled as he looked at the group.
“Drink up ladies. Kirito too.”
“I’d smack ya if I wasn’t too tired.”
They laughed as they drank potions before heading up to activate the teleporter. The four person assault force were easily four floors ahead of everyone else, and their names were now spoken of in awed fear, as word of Gore’s transformation from heartless Monster, to dark hearted Demon had become widespread with people even MORE scared now. Tyler twirled his staffsword lazily as they activated the teleporter, ands he set and 90 droy toll. Kirito shook his head chuckling.
“Nice flex.”
Tyler laughed as they went into a local tavern for food.
“Way to make a point right?”
They got their food and was looking over loot as Asuna passed her latest massage from Lorg around.
“I guess the other players formed their own assault force. And get this? Their leader? Yuka from the Bloodoath. Says here their close to 3500 strong and numbers are growing daily.”
Tyler chuckled as he dug into his pizza.
“By the time they reach this floor, we’ll be five more floors up.”
Sakura was happily munching as Kirito looked at Tyler,
“Hey Gore. Yuka hates you with a burning passion. Why is that?”
He chuckled.
“Ex-girlfriend IRL. Me being a toxic asshole that got obsessed with diving plus my playstyle just was more then she could handle.”
HE nodded.
“That’ll do it. We won’t really have to worry much since we’re out in the boondocks anyway.”
Tyler smiled.
“That’s half the reason I go out so far. Closer you get to the hubs, more idiots you gotta put up with.”
The table all nodded at that wisdom when Tyler got a mass of +90s over his head and looked to see a large group of people striding out from the newly activated portal.
“Wow. That was faster then I thought.”
They laughed as the new players all waited for the rest of their force to arrive. Asuna sighed as she saw the colors.
“Great. The NEW assault force. Let’s go Tyler. We stay it’ll just get ugly.”
He sighed as well.
“Sure. We’re done here anyway.”
They party walked out and the players jumped at the sudden appearance of the party.
“It’s the Heavenly Demons!”
Tyler snorted as he looked at the players gear.
“They’ve been here a year and have that kinda shit gear. Newbies.”
That ruffled a few feathers, but Tyler ignored them as he looked at the three directions before them. North had a large mountain range in the distance beyond a thick forest, west had a roiling plains with a dark grey smudge on the horizon, and to the south was more plains. Sakura looked at the forest.
“Let’s go to the forest big brother. I’m kinda tired of plains.”
Tyler smiled.
Asuna and Kirito smiled at each other.
“It’ll be a nice change Kirito.
“Yeah. Ready Asuna?”
Tyler and Sakura smiled as they saw how friendly the two had become, and Tyler was happy for her. Even if he still didn’t have an answer for her place in his heart. If she falls for Kirito before I have my answer, good for her. Bastard’ll be on my shitlist outta principle though. They were about to take off running,
“Well, looks like you found another soul to ruin with your bile, TYLER.”
Tyler looked over his shoulder to see his ex-girlfriend Yuka approaching with her force. HE chuckled.
“Well, will you look what the cat dragged in? How’s it hanging Yuka?”
The girl blinked as she saw the new light in his now smiling brown eyes.
“Wow. I guess the rumors of you growing a soul were true afterall. Wonder though, if it’s just toxic as ever?”
HE chuckled.
“No more toxic then the girl that has a pathological need to be validated by everyone in the room. Seriously, though, WHY did I fall for you? Hmm. Musta been the boobs. Always loved a good rack!”
The boys in her party sniggered as Yuka smirked.
“I guess ya got jokes now. Well. Least my new man’s got a dick to be proud of. Not that four inch thing ya got there!”
Tyler looked at his UI curiously.
“Really. Hmm, say’s here 7.5. Not sure WHY you’re blaring you new man’s lack to your Ex though. I mean I’m right here since ya CLEARLY miss it.”
Asuna and the other girls busted up laughing at that jab as Yuka had a vein bulge.
“At least he lasts. You blew your load in what? Ten minutes? He can last for hours on end.”
Tyler shrugged.
“Like I said. I like boobs. I guess you’re just a boring fuck if it takes him hours to get off on you.”
That got a round of laughs as well and a look of respect from Kirito form his brazen declarations. Asuna and Sakura were just watching as Tyler destroyed his ex-girlfriend in a verbal boxing match. Yuka had another vein bulge on her forehead as Tyler got under her skin. She now spoke in a strained voice.
“At least he’s considerate in bed. All you were ever concerned with was my boobs.”
Tyler smiled widely.
“Like I keep saying Yuka. I like big guns. I mean, it WAS your trick. A slight pinch with a bit of thrust made you blow every time. Was always a fun one when you started squeaking like a mouse in heat. though to be fair? Ya were more rabbit since you were right back for more!”
The crowd was laughing at the imagery as Yuka grinned a malicious grin.
“At least he didn’t let his sister and his mom’s boyfriends rape him for kicks. How’s that feel? Eh, DEMON?”
Kirito looked at Tyler in pitied horror and he shrugged.
“Like I said. I had issues. Plus my family sucked.”
That got him a fist bump before Tyler looked at a smiling triumphantly Yuka.
“Hey, Yuka. I wonder. You DO remember who I was. Right?”
She was confused now.
“The fuck you talking about? Who you were?”
Tyler smiled.
“I was Yuta’s older brother for a time. Remember?”
She was still confused.
“I remember. He was like a really clingy dog. What about it?”
Tyler’s brown eyes now shown with a dark light.
“Well. I just thought you should know that dog didn’t deserve what you made it do. To you. All those times. Yeeeah. I know about you, Yuka.”
She went white in the face in horror as she now saw where he was going with the weird questions.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
Tyler’s dark grin grew more sadistic, and everyone but his friends shuddered.
“I found this out after we broke up. But. About a month later, you were found with the family mastiff…..BALLS DEEP IN YOUR SNATCH. Oooh I remember that day well. Yuta came to me in a mild freak out over it as you got committed to that mental ward for a month. Didn’t you ever find it odd how I wouldn’t touch you after that? No matter WHAT you did?”
Yuka was shaking as her dark secret was thrown out for the world to hear of, and the others behind her started backing away. Tyler looked at his sickened friends.
“Let’s get going.”
He looked at Yuka.
“She needs a walk down memory lane. You should know better Yuka. I still remember what you did to your cousin.”
She just stood there shaking as Tyler and the party took off running into the forest as Sakura ran beside him.
“Okay, Tyler. What. The. FUCK?”
He chuckled.
“Yuka got into some heavy drug use after her boyfriend after me dumped her for a blonde bimbo that was the better fuck. Guess she went insane for a while and yeah. They found her like that high as a kite on cocaine mixed with gunpowder. She spent a month in the looney bin for it.”
They shuddered as Sakura asked the next question.
“What happened to the mastiff?”
Tyler smiled.
“Ole Brutus? Pff. He’s still kickin around. We get out I’ll introduce you two. He loves kids as he gets to feel like a pillow. Just be careful when he lays on you. Next thing you know you can’t feel your legs.”
That got a laugh as Sakura smiled.
“I like big dogs. They’re fluffy!”
He patted her fondly.
“I’m a cat person myself. But you’ll love Brutus.”
Asuna looked at him a little shocked.
“You’re a cat person?”
HE smiled.
“I am. Surprising?”
She chuckled.
“I’d had you pegged as a snake owner or a spider.”
Tyler chuckled fondly.
“Nope. Cat lord.”
Kirito smiled.
“You’ll like my sister then. She loves cats.”
Tyler looked at him.
“Really? And she’s HOW old?”
He blinked.
“A year younger.”
“I’ll teach her a laser pen trick.”
Kirito sighed.
“Somehow I feel like I am going to regret this.”
They laughed as they came upon a new dungeon. Tyler smiled as he pulled his staffsword and twirled it to get the feel.
“Alright. Let’s see what we got!”
They dove into the cave themed dungeon and the first monsters they came across were two legged deer with swords. Tyler snorted as he used a skill.
“Whirling hurricane!”
The twin blades glowed red and black as he spun through the air while rotating the blades with a ferocity that was intimidating to witness. The first four deer shattered and he was off with Kirito right beside him. His gear being a higher tier cloak of midnight and the blood sword Tyler had given him. He shattered the monsters nearly as fast as Tyler was but not as frequently. Asuna fell in with Kirito and the pair worked very well together. Asuna’s Rapier complementing Kirito’s one handed sword perfectly. Sakura was working in tandem with Tyler as usual. Her arrows dropping monsters as Tyler got his blades into them for the multikill. The friends dove deep hunting and grinding everything that dungeon had to grind for. The party came to a small safe zone and they took a break for lunch. Tyler smiled as he saw Asuna and Kirito sharing a meal at a distance from him and Sakura. The pink haired girl was resting her head on his lap as Asuna teased Kirito and vice versa. He munched as Sakura saw the pair enjoying each other’s company.
“Seems like they got close quick.”
He patted her hair, and she giggled.
“Asuna and Kirito are two sides of the same coin. He’s strong and kind, she’s fierce and strong. Watch, Sakura. They found theirs.”
The pink clad girl looked at her brother.
“What about you?”
He smiled and looked back to see Kirito clearly on edge for a bad comment.
“Asuna and I are two different. Plus I get the feeling I’m a little TOO intense for her.”
Sakura giggled as he rubbed her hair.
“I can see that. She’s sweet and YOU’RE an asshole!”
“Okay you asked for it! C’mere cutie!”
“Eeeeeee! Help!”
Tyler punished the insolent girl with a round of tickle torture that made Asuna and Kirito smile as they watched the older boy playing with his sister. The fiery red head then looked at Kirito as he watched the two and then to Tyler with Sakura. Him? Or? Tyler had Sakura pinned after an intense ten minute struggle and she grumbled.
“Dammit. I nearly HAD you!”
He hugged her warmly.
“still the master!”
She just basked in the warm hug,
“Still an asshole. But ya give good hugs so FORGIVEN!”
“Wow, Sakura. You a little extortionist aren’t ya? But you cute so I’ll hug you.”
She giggled hard at that and Kirito chuckled as he looked at Asuna.
“He reminds me more of a doting father then a brother.”
Asuna smiled as she watched.
“They are all they have in life, Kirito. Even out of here? Watch. They’ll be nearly as inseperable.”
The black haired boy looked and chuckled.
“I guess.”
Tyler sighed.
“Alright. Break’s over.”
The party got up and kept moving. Tyler leading the way with Kirito on his right flank, Asuna his left with Sakura in the rear. They ran hard, killing everything they came across. Until they found a set of double doors. Tyler frowned.
“Wait. Already? It can’t be THAT easy? Guards up.”
They nodded as he booted the doors open and looked inside the chamber. He looked at Kirito.
“What the hell? That’s clearly the boss room. We JUST got here not even five hours ago!”
Kirito tightened his grip on his sword.
“maybe it’s a troll? Like an easily found boss room,”
“That’s is stupid hard. Yikes. That’s not a cheery thought. Let’s get a look.”
The party walked in and the room lit up to reveal a massive bear that Tyler blinked at.
“Oh. Hello. Claw Bear. Yup. This is gonna suck.”
The thing was thirteen feet tall at the shoulder and wore armor like a certain polar bear in a movie. Tyler sighed as the 8 health bars were seen.
“The heart will deal 5X damage. Other then that? Just another oversized teddy.”
The party surged forward with Tyler leading as Sakura fired her arrows from a distance.
“Pink Prick!”
Tyler snorted and Asuna sighed as she readied a sword skill.
“Can you please FOCUS?”
They ALL groaned at that and Kirito had an expression of pain on his face as he slashed at the bear.
“Dude. That freakin HURT!”
Tyler laughed as he used the hurricane skill to unleash pain.
“I’m trying to avoid the truly unBEARable puns here!”
Asuna was openly wincing in agony as the health bars depleted.
“Why? Why did it have be a bear?”
Tyler smiled.
“It’s a basic BEAR necessity for it to be bear!”
Sakura shot him with an arrow.
“I’ll shove the next arrow so far up your ass big brother YOU will be shot from my bow.”
“Love you too sis.”
The cute made everyone smile and temporarily forget their pun pain until it shattered with a four layer attack Tyler had taught them. Tyler spinning his staffsword, Kirito and Asuna stabbing with Sakura firing her arrows. The result was the bear shattering with all four sharing the final attack bonus. Tyler chuckled as he saw the loot.
“And that’s how it’s done.”
“Hey. Gore?”
He looked over at Asuna’s voice curiously.
She hit him in the stomach with a warhammer they were going to sell and it lifted him off his feet from the force. Asuna then tapped it on her hand as he regained his breath.
“Next you tell puns like that I’ll hit you in the balls. Okay?”
He smiled at her.
“Worth it!”
The three groaned in pain at that. Then Tyler got his wind back.
“Let’s move. I’m thinking the next couple boss fights will be easy to find as a break from all the ridiculous grinding.”
Kirito frowned.
“You thinking they used Levi’s idea?”
The boy in red nodded.
“me thoughts exactly. We’ve blown through six floors within two weeks, Kirito. From my understanding of the game, that should just NOT be that easy. I’m thinking this is one of those sections of rapid progression until the sudden difficulty spike.”
That got a groan.
“And in SaS? We’re looking at an extreme jump.”
“Yup. Only question will be just WHAT form will it take? Let’s go find out.”
they left and he set a toll of 95 droy on the portal before they made for the tavern as at become a habit. Kill a boss get a drink. They had a clean view of the portal as they enjoyed the food on floor 17. Tyler had the map sphere out and was looking at it with Kirito as Sakura and Asuna looked at mats. Tyler was downing a mug of ale when the mass of 95s appeared over his head and he sighed.
“Are those idiots WAITING for US to clear the floors for them?”
Asuna looked over and sighed.
“Looks like it. WE do the work, they get the credit.”
Kirito snorted.
“Pf. Once the other players see the toll, they’ll know the truth. Gore’s the only one that does tolls in this game.”
That got a smile as Tyler was mildly surprised to see Yuka still leading the force.
“Wow. Guess she’s got a firmer stranglehold on her troops then I thought. Or she talked her way out of whatever.”
Sakura was happily munching on her grilled cheese as they talked. Tyler noted the look of strained composure on Yuka’s face and chuckled.
“Look. She’s about to LOSE it. I guess they’re talking behind her back. She knows it too. Yuka HATES it when people talk about her and she’s not there to interject or hear it. I bet she goes off the deep end again.”
Asuna looked at the girl as she gave an order which her troops followed. Albeit with derisive smirks and clear sniggers. The former guild second in command laughed.
“Oh they DON’T respect her at ALL. They’re just following her orders as the force commander’s looming behind her. Period. That’s not a force anymore. Just a rabble barely held together. Watch, 50 droy says they crumble in a raid.”
Sakura was still happily engrossed in her food as Tyler noticed a group of ragged cloaks exiting the portal.
“Laughing Coffin’s here.”
they tensed up as the three figures moved towards the tavern.
“Sakura. Switch with me.”
Tyler took the outside spot as the three men walked in. Tyler had his staffsword on display as they approached him. He noted that one carried a massive cleaver, one a pair of daggers with a red eyed mask, and the other a dripping dagger. The Cleaver wielder was the one that addressed the Demon.
“Laughing Coffin has words for the Heavenly Demons.”
Tyler grinned at the hooded man.
“Oh? This oughta be good.”
The man sent a mass of droy over.
“We don’t like unpaid debts. Those idiots in the pretender guild were getting in the way of business. Let that be a mere payment. And a show we do not want a conflict.”
Tyler smiled widely.
“Never say no to free money. Oh. That cleaver. The Mate Chopper eh? Nifty. So you know? That was MY design. Sooo. Yeah. I wouldn’t get any ideas with MY other weapon.”
The man grinned at that.
“Nice threat kid. We’re leaving.”
The men left and teleported as Kirito looked at him in mild shock.
“WAS that your weapon too?”
Tyler laughed.
“Nope. THAT was Lark’s trick. But he don’t know that, do he?”
They laughed at the clear bluff that had sowed the seeds of nerves.

In the real world, Kakashi was laughing at the ploy.
“That’s how you instill fear m’boy! Ha! Making the big scary assassin think he’s wielding YOUR own weapon! Jesus kid that’s a scary tactic!”
Arthur was confused.
“Forgive my ignorance, but why would that instill fear?”
The yakuza boss chuckled.
“If you just found out the weapon you’ve been depending on for as long as he has in a fight like that was created by the game’s scariest person, and that same person TOLD you it was his weapon, how would you react?”
Arthur frowned.
“I’d have a harder time….trusting…it. Holy.”
Kakashi chuckled again as he looked back at the screen.
“Tyler’s just sown seeds of doubt in that man’s mind over his weapon. That man will either disregard his words entirely or be on watch now in case Tyler comes to claim HIS weapon.”

Tyler and the party left the tavern and were walking through the streets headed for the far west this time. The main hub for this floor being a more mystical place with stone homes, floating buildings and the occasional underground place. Tyler was lazily twirling his staffsword as they walked, noting Asuna and Kirito were right next to each other, and that Asuna had a slight blush on her face at the closeness. Good for her. Don’t fuck this up, Kirito. Sakura had Tyler’s hand as she happily skipped at his side, enjoying the easy day. Tyler glanced in a reflective window and saw Kirito was now holding Asuna’s hand, and they both had happy smiles on their faces. Looks like those two won’t need me and Sakura for much longer. Good for them. Tyler wasn’t angry or even disappointed at Asuna’s new choice. He still didn’t have an answer, but the best fitting answer? Asuna’s like my sister too. a very close sister. And my best friend. The friends found the exit to the main hub and were about to take off,
“HEY! Asshole!”
Yuka was heard screaming at them. She came up running with an angry expression and was ranting as she neared them.
“You sonuvabitch! I lost ALL MY RESPECT WITH MY-what the?”
She looked at Asuna and Kirito confused, and the pair followed her gaze to see they were still holding hands. Asuna blushed, but Kirito squeezed her hand reassuringly.
“It’s okay, Asuna.”
She smiled nervously.
“I’m just nervous, Kirito. I’ve never had a boyfriend before.”
Yuka was mind blown by that declaration. Kirito smiled nervously as well.
“I’ve never had a girlfriend either. We’ll figure it out.”
Yuka looked at Tyler’s VERY happy and proud smile in disbelief.
“I thought YOU were her boyfriend!”
Tyler chuckled.
“Asuna’s more my sister then a potential lover. She’s my best friend in this mess and means as much to me as Sakura. Seeing her with THAT guy just helped me put words to it.”
He got a warm hug from the red head.
“Thanks for your help.”
He stroked her red hair warmly.
“Any time, EVERY time.”
Kirito smiled as well.
“So. The west huh?”
Asuna looked at her new boyfriend then to Sakura.
“I’m going with Kirito.”
Sakura smiled widely and hugged her big sister.
“You better take good care of that jackass sis! He’s useless without you!”
Kirito grabbed Tyler’s hand.
“We’ll still be in the guild. Just-“
Tyler patted his shoulder.
“I get it. Kinda. Justa…one thing.”
He looked at him curiously.
Tyler had him in a headlock.
“You on my shitlist outta principle! You BETTER take damn good care fo my sister or hell awaits you!”
Kirito was released with a spin to nearly face plant into Asuna’s rack, making her blush and Tyler laugh.
“Have fun you two. And you ever need the Demon looming behind you, well. Ya know my name. Oh. Here. We don’t really need these anymore.”
He sent over the three mirrors and over HALF their mats and droy to the duo. Asuna smiled as she saw the mirrors.
“Thank you. We’ll still be together when we get out.”
Sakura was dry eyed as she’d seen exactly what Tyler had seen. Soon as Asuna and Kirito had started talking and running together the writing was on the wall she’d go with him and he’d break off from the Demon party. Yuka was speechless as Kirito and Asuna jumped to another place together, leaving Tyler and Sakura standing at the gate alone. She recovered quickly to walk over and look at him more closely.
“Who are you? You’re not the Tyler I knew in the real world.”
Tyler smiled kindly at her, and she was taken aback by the light in his eyes.
“I’ve reforged my soul Yuka. Before I had nothing truly precious to me. I thought you were, but you weren’t. Still though. Was fun. Now? I have Sakura here.”
He patted the happily smiling girl.
“She means the world to me. She’s my little sister and she deserved a lot better then the Monster that Masquerades as a man. What she deserved was the Demon that Defends the light with it’s own darkness.”
He looked at the gaping girl with his intense gaze.
“I will NEVER allow her or Asuna to suffer like I did. I will never be human like the rest of you. And that’s okay. Sometimes even angels need a Demon’s wings to keep the true pain and evil from touching them.”
Yuka then felt what Asuna and Sakura had felt in the hut. Tyler now radiated warmth, dark strength, confidence, and strength. She smiled as she no longer felt scared or in danger when near him.
“I’m sorry for throwing the rape thing in your face.”
He chuckled.
“I’m sorry I HAD to use the dog thing. Let that be a warning.”
She rubbed her hair ruefully.
“Fair enough. Your solution to a fire is a more powerful flame. Well. I’ll get back to it. You two take care.”
They said goodbye and Yuka ran off to her force as Sakura hugged her brother with tears in her blue eyes and he lifted her up for a hug. She looked at him sadly.
“Will Asuna be okay?”
He rubbed her hair as a few tears fell from his own brown eyes.
“She’ll be just fine, Sakura. This is THEIR story after all. We’re just here to make sure they make it. Kirito will protect her and they have us a mere message away.”
She smiled and snuggled her brother.
“Yeah. They didn’t need us. Asuna more needed someone to show her just how strong she was. Kirito’s like you.”
Tyler set his sister on the ground and they walked out through the gate into the wilds, hand in hand.
“Yup. That guy’s a lighter version of me Sakura. Watch. This game will be cleared either by us or them.”
Sakura smiled.
“We all know it’ll be YOU Big brother. Kirito’s the Black Swordsmen. YOU are the Demon. No comparison.”
They smiled at the thought of their friends as they moved on with their adventure.

“Well. It seems Asuna learned all she needed to Arthur.”
The fire haired father to Asuna had watched the entire thing with pride in his eyes as his daughter made her OWN choice.
“She learned how to stand up for herself. Tyler taught her the importance of inner strength and confidence. Now she’s spreading her own wings.”
Kakashi looked at the prone trio in the beds. At some point a nurse or doctor had the idea to put the hands of the two girls in Tyler’s. Now the unconscious boy was grasping them tightly.
“Tyler has a way with those that need his strength. Once they no longer need it, however, he’ll let them go and move on. Sakura clings to him like a lifeline because she needs him that desperately.”
Tyler’s mother just got up.
“He doesn’t need me anymore. I’ll go see if his sister is dead yet. Hell. He never needed me to begin with.”
Sakura’s godparents looked at their small charge.
“Sakura has the best big brother in that boy.”


“nice shot Sakura!”
“Love you too!”
Tyler dropped from the attack of the dragon he and his little sister had been fighting for the last three hours as it shattered. They had reached floor 34. Progress in the floors had skyrocketed under the newly reforged Knights of the Bloodoath. Their leader was a man by the name of Heathcliff. And the second in command was Asuna again. Her and Kirito having decided to attack the game from two angles. The black swordsmen hunting the wilds as Asuna rallied the player base. Tyler had smiled at the news.
“See? Full circle.”
The pair were deep in the wilds of floor 34 hunting high level dragons. Their gear being the same due to the upgrades they made to them. Though, Sakura’s wolf fur scarf was still present. The pair drank potions as they looked at the loot from a successful miniboss kill. They being deep in a mountain range easily fifteen days from civilization. Sakura was sitting on his shoulder as for some odd reason that had become her favorite place to be. Tyler smiled as a new massage came in from Lorg. The blonde Samurai now giving frequent reports on the state of the fight to the hermit siblings.
“The assault force hit a wall. Looks like a nasty one too. Kirito and Asuna are on their way. Could really use you for this one guys. Killcount is at 45.”
Tyler smiled.
“That’s the Demon Signal. Let’s roll.”
Sakura squealed.
“Yay! Asuna!”
The two siblings teleported to the main hub and Lorg was waiting for them. Tyler walked over and got a warm hug from her and her friend Svenity.
“So. This new rabbit?”
They laughed as Lorg led the way.
“I guess the assault force went in for the usual probe attack and only three walked out. Out of 50. Asuna’s PISSED.”
Tyler shook his head.
“Who the hell led that raid?”
Svenity answered as she patted a giggling Sakura.
“Guy by the name of Dyybuk. He lived.”
Tyler and Sakura groaned.
“Not THAT fuckwad! Oh this is gonna suck.”
The party reached the dungeon in question just in time to see the orange haired boy get thrown into a tree trunk and Asuna stride out to plant a boot in his groin with ball bosting force. The red haired girl resplendent in a dress/gown thing of red and white as she reamed the idiot.
“You IDIOT! How can you look me in the eye and say you had the boss under control? 45 people DIED in that raid YOU led!”
Tyler whistled.
“Damn sis. Nice to see that fire blazing as always.”
She looked up and smiled widely as she saw Tyler standing there with Sakura.
“Gore! Sakura! Ha!”
They got a warm hug from the fiery red head as Dyybuk started trembling in fear at the appearance of the Demon. Tyler stroked Asuna’s hair and she smiled as she stepped back.
“Thank god you’re here. That boss has us pinned on the floor. According to that idiot,”
She jabbed a thumb at Dyybuk,
“It’s a large minotaur with a golden axe.”
Tyler frowned and walked over to crouch before the cowering guy.
“Okay. The attacks. What was it’s first counterattack?”
The boy gulped.
“I wasn’t watching. It only had 4 health bars.”
Tyler backhanded him hard across the face.
“Enjoy knowing you got your friends killed. Idiots like you have no place in command. Asuna!”
She came over.
He looked at her as he rose.
“Any other survivors?”
A girl with blue hair and freckles came out with a small group of six. The leader, a tall, lanky boy in purple armor spoke up.
“We’re the Alley black cats. We were the only survivors after THAT guy.”
Tyler nodded.
“Okay. Did YOU see the first counterattack?”
HE nodded grimly. Tyler noting the girl was shaking as she held a mace like a prayer to her slight chest.
“It used it’s long tail like a whip to strike at our feet before slamming that axe one handed into a single player.”
“Yup. The guy’s bar just shattered outright.”
Tyler sighed.
“DeathShot. The OTHER boss I designed.”
He looked at Asuna.
“This is a veteran’s only battle Asuna. That boss was made to royally FUCK with the player base. That thing has three patterns that are easy to dodge if you know what to look for, EXTREMELY high defense a step down from the admantoise, and a nasty instakill counterattack combo the only way to dodge is to roll when you hit the dirt. If you do NOT keep your wits about you and bring you’re a-game it WILL kill you.”
The others in the force were shaking as the blue haired girl gulped and screwed up her courage.
“Can YOU kill it Sir Demon?”
He looked at her anew. She was a mousey girl with short blue hair, kindly shing eyes alit with nervous fear, freckles on fair skin and a slight bust on her slender frame. Her gear was a mere chest plate and metal plate legs with a small mace she clutched like a safety blanket. Tyler smiled at the timid soul kindly as he patted her.
“Why I’m here. That thing was MY creation so of course I can kill it. I might even have fun!”
She blushed as the Demon patted her like a little sister as Sakura and Asuna looked at each other.
“She’s like how I was, Assy.”
The red head smiled.
“There he goes again.”
They laughed as the girl became nervous.
“What do you mean AGAIN?”
Tyler smiled at her.
“They mean I found another lamb that got thrown to the wolves. Kinda my gimmick.”
She looked at her guild mates and a more bold boy confronted him.
“And once you find these ‘lambs’ what do you do to them?”
Tyler chuckled.
“Teach them how to be strong like ME. Sakura was like her for a time. Now look at her. Asuna? She was just a mess.”
“You know you talking an awful lotta shit for a guy with a angry red head holding a Rapier behind you.”
HE looked at her curiously.
“Wow Asuna. Not sure whether you’re threatening to KILL me, or…”
She blushed at the unsaid alternate and Sakura busted up laughing.
“She’s SOOOOO cute when she’s embarrassed!”
“She does do a helluva tomato impression. That’s for sure.”
Asuna had steam coming off her from her embarrassment and the blue haired girl was smiling shyly at the banter. Tyler looked at her curiously.
“What’s your name? I’m Gore.”
She smiled nervously.
“Sachi. Nice to meet you Goreleech.”
The boy with the purple outfit felt the need to step in.
“Sachi? You okay?”
She smiled nervously.
“Yeah. Just a little nervous is all.”
Tyler chuckled as he looked at her.
“I won’t hurt you if you don’t try to hit me. Fair?”
She nodded with a slight blush now as Tyler looked into her shyly smiling blue eyes.
“Wow, Sachi. Ya got pretty eyes there.”
She went full tomato at that! She even hid her face in her mace!
“T-thank Y-YOU! I got them from my mother!”
He chuckled as he looked at her stunned friend.
“She always this shy and scared?”
The tall guy sighed.
“Yeah. We go to the same school back up there. She’s always been a scaredy cat. Names Coal by the way.”
Tyler patted him and looked at the now smiling through her embarrassment girl.
“Hey. Sachi. Question.”
She looked at him.
“W-what is it?”
He tilted his head.
“You any good with that mace?”
She blinked, and shook her head.
“I’m not really good at fighting. I try but just end up getting in the way.”
He nodded.
“I get it. You stay close to MY crew, Sachi. You go in there again you’ll get killed. We’ll look after you.”
Coal had an issue with this as Sachi dropped her mace at the offer.
“We can protect her just fine, thank you.”
Tyler looked at him.
“Oh? Can YOU teach her to be strong? That poor girl is one fight from an early grave. Only reason she’s even STANDING there is she got lucky with actual friends. Now I am not outright kidnapping her.”
He looked at her now.
“I’m offering you a chance to travel with us to get strong enough to HELP your friends and maybe gain a little self-confidence. That is all. Just an offer. Think it over. I got an idiot make fun of.”
Tyler left the small group to talk with their scared friend as he’d spotted a familiar black coat walking up the trail.
“hey yo jackass!”
The boy lifted his head and laughed.
“Oh shit.”
Tyler fist bumped Kirito as he reached them. Asuna came over and hugged her boyfriend hard as Tyler chuckled.
“Nice to see you two are still stuck with each other.”
Kirito snorted.
“Shove it.”
“Ya know? I can turn that into a hilarious dirty joke, but Asuna’s still pure.”
Sakura busted up laughing as Asuna blushed again and Kirito just looked away as he fought to NOT bust out laughing.
HE gulped and seemed to shrink in on himself as he looked at a now smiling Asuna,
Her smile went sweet.
“I am soooo happy you didn’t laugh. Your balls are too.”
Tyler snorted.
“I can see Asuna’s the man of the family!”
Sakura was laughing so hard she was wheezing! Asuna had a single vein bulge on her forehead as Kirito just got the fuck back. Tyler smiled as she looked at him,
“So you’re saying I’m a man now.”
HE grinned.
“well SOMEONE has to wear the pants around here. God knows those legs are only for the worthy. Right, Sakura?”
The pink haired girl nodded sagely.
“Uh-huh! Like the Masseuses!”
Asuna was red faced again as Tyler looked at Sakura strangely.
“Huh. I was more meaning her boyfriend. But hey. Whatever floats your boat.”
it was KIRITO’S turn to be scared as Asuna looked at him with a hidden threat in her red eyes as Sakura sighed.
“We all know Kirito’s too scared to make a move on Asuna like that big brother. Why else would SHE have to set the pace?”
Asuna looked at Sakura with a warm smile as Kirito now fumed at the indignation.
Tyler winced.
“Dude. I know a place you can practice if ya like?”
“Oh really? Where-“
Tyler and Sakura busted up laughing at the new look of utter TERROR on Kirito’s face as he saw he fucked up. BIG time. Asuna looked away with her nose in the air as Kirito looked at Tyler.
“The hell bro? that was a dick move!”
Tyler patted the boy’s shoulder.
“Practice my friend. Be amazed what a few honeyed words can do. Asuna likes to be flattered by those that MEAN their praise. Oh. And try a little wordplay.”
He got it then as Asuna was distracted from the boys chatting by a near throttling by Sakura. The boy in black smiled.
“Asuna’s awesome right?”
Tyler chuckled.
“Girl knows her way around a Rapier.”
Kirito chuckled himself.
“I can’t see it when she’s moving. Though. To be fair? I’m more looking at HER.”
“That hair IS pretty eye catching.”
“Yer telling me? She’s really pretty.”
He jumped, having not even noticed Asuna had walked right over next to him. Tyler smiling as he saw the shock in the boy’s black eyes as he’d gotten wrapped up in gushing over his girlfriend. He looked at and expressionless Asuna, and gulped.
She smiled sweetly.
She walked away and Kirito just looked at Tyler with a newfound respect.
“Okay. Fair point.”
Tyler chuckled.
“Okay. Let’s kill that thing.”
The four of them partied up and went inside to get a look at the boss. Tyler led the way with Kirito on his right, Asuna his left with Sakura at the rear. The room lit up and the large minotaur was seen. Tyler smiled as he saw the four health bars.
“Looks easy but try it and it WILL make you work for it.”
Sakura smiled.
“Like you big brother.”
He grinned as he pulled his staffsword.
“damn straight. Let’s get wild.”
Tyler led the rush as the thing swung a massive battle axe at them.
“Go for the tail! It’s a high weak point!”
the three behind him surrounded the beast as it swung both tail and axe at them. Tyler smiled as he saw an opening.
“Spiral surge!”
Tyler tore through the legs of the beast dropping a large chunk from the first health bar as Kirito came in from the other side In a similar rush that dropped more health. Sakura sent a pair of arrows into the thing’s face as Asuna poked it full of holes. Result? Three quarters of the first health bar was knocked off and Tyler saw the tail twitch.
The party dropped flat as the thing spun the whip counterattack before targeting Tyler with the axe. He grinned as he remembered.
“Oh yeah. It targets the strongest FIRST.”
He rolled out of the way as the axe slammed into the ground before the party was up and attacking again. The first two bars were shattered as they dodged counterattacks and regular attacks. Asuna frowned at that point.
“I thought you said this thing’s defense was a step down from the turtle?”
Tyler smiled as he launched another attack.
“And just HOW long ago was the turtle?”
She blinked as her turn arrived.
They chipped away at the health bar until it was one hit away. Tyler smiled.
“Sync up!”
They stacked for their devastating combo attack as the beast ended an attack cycle. Tyler and Kirito shared the final attack bonus with Asuna and Sakura before they all dropped from a well fought battle. Tyler grinned at Kirito as the Demon was the only one still standing.
“Hey. You REALLY need to work on that stamina problem.”
The girls busted up laughing at THAT jab as Kirito just went flat on his back.
“I’m sorry I’m not a freaking mutant. Roided up bastard.”
Tyler laughed as they headed for the portal. Tyler set a 100 droy toll and they went for the celebratory meal. There Tyler and Sakura relaxed with Kirito and Asuna. The couple smiled as they caught up.
“So Heathcliff has another rumor like Mirackle. Only his is legit skill.”
Tyler frowned.
“What’s the rumor?”
Kirito sighed.
“That his health bar has never been seen to go red.”
Tyler rubbed his eyes.
“Okay. Whatever. An idiot like that is helpless against my attack style anyway.”
Asuna laughed.
“Remember that time you flat out tried to KILL Mirackle?”
Kirito smirked.
“I heard he disappeared.”
Tyler’s smile died.
“Hol up. If Mirackle disappeared and now we have another idiot running around with his same rumor.”
Asuna and Kirito gasped.
“You don’t think it’s the same player?”
“Only an admin can do that! With FULL rights!”
Tyler crossed his arms.
“It’s just a bad hunch right now. Let’s leave it until I see him myself at a raid or something. Asuna.”
She looked at him.
“Next raid talk him into going. Say a good leader should at least TRY to remind people just WHY they’re at the top.”
Kirito smiled at that.
“I’ve met him. He’s the kinda guy that likes to show off. He’ll jump at it.”
Sakura was enjoying her meal as the others talked. Tyler looked at the portal as a mass of +95s appeared.
“Looks like the party crashers showed up. Hey. There’s Sachi.”
Kirito smiled.
“You sure got curious quick. She your type?”
Tyler chuckled as he watched her party walking for the portal.
“Won’t deny I’ve always liked the shy types. Feeds my dark protector persona.”
They laughed as Sakura snuggled up against her brother just cause. He hugged her as Coal walked in with his party and noticed Tyler and his party relaxing from the boss fight. Tyler smiled at them.
Sachi smiled as well.
“Hi Gore. Was it tough?”
He tilted his hand.
“So-so. More a pain in the ass.”
She blushed as he looked at her blue eyes, and gulped as she walked over nervously. Coal looked at her,
She was shaking at his mild tone, as she looked over her shoulder.
“I’m just sitting with them, Coal. Relax.”
The party sat in clear view as the timid girl sat next to Sakura. Who promptly nearly throttled her with a hug as Tyler laughed.
“Ya survived Sakura’s hug death. Ya tougher an ya think”
Sachi smiled timidly again as Tyler got her some food as Asuna got a message.
“Heathcliff wants a report on the boss. I gotta run guys.”
Kirito sighed as he hugged her.
“I’m gonna get to roaming. Later Gore. Sakura.”
Sakura giggled.
“Bye Assy! Bye Kiri!”
Tyler grinned as the boy in black groaned.
“Great. Thanks Sakura.”
She smiled sweetly.
“Yer welcome!”
The couple left and jumped. Sachi took a seat directly across from the siblings now and Tyler noted the look of rather intense concern on the faces of her friends as she was now alone at a distance from them. Tyler smiled as he looked at Sachi.
“Hey Sachi.”
“Eep! Yeah?”
Tyler chuckled kindly.
“Okay. First off? Cute. Second? What level are you?”
She blushed as she took a bite of her ice cream before answering.
“55 sir.”
“55 Gore.”
He tilted his head.
“Best skill?”
She looked down.
“Cooking. It’s 335.”
“She’s better then Asuna!”
Sachi looked up to see Tyler and Sakura gaping at her in clear awe and went full tomato.
“I-i-it’s n-n-not that g-g-great. Is it?”
Tyler shook his head in amazement.
“That’s freakin AWESOME, Sachi! Highest I’ve seen period. Now I’m freakin curious. Asuna just hit 230 cooking what? A week ago? Sakura here is at 245. You just might be the best damn cook in SaS! And that’s coming from ME!”
Sachi was awestruck by the genuine praise from the Demon HIMSELF! Sakura patted Tyler’s belly fondly.
“Half the freakin reason he keeps me around is for my cooking skills. His? It JUST cleared 50 last Thursday. He can make bread WITHOUT killing us.”
Sachi smiled reflexively at that.
“I like cooking really. I actually wanted to be a top tier chef when I grew up.”
“Really. How old are you?”
She blushed at the question.
Tyler sat back.
“Reeally? Nifty. So we found our master chef.”
She blushed the harder as Sakura rested against her big brother as the blue haired girl across from her recovered. She had a scared look in her blue eyes.
“Can I ask a question?”
He smiled.
She gulped.
“Why ARE you being so nice to me? We just met not even 5 hours ago and I’m getting some buttering up vibes here.”
HE chuckled.
“I’ve always had a thing for the shy, pretty type. Plus you reminded me of Sakura here when we first met.”
She gaped at him as Sakura yawned from her spot. Tyler had a fond look on his face as he stroked her arm. He looked at Sachi.
“Watch. She’ll fall asleep right there.”
The blue eyed girl smiled inspite of her shock as she watched Sakura as she indeed fell asleep right there under his shoulder. Then she blushed.
“You……like me?”
He shrugged.
“I think you’re pretty and you seem nice.”
She had arms in front of her as she shook smiling from the sudden flattery from the Demon. She also had a cutely embarrassed look on her freckled face as she looked at him.
“And you want me to go with you?”
“I’d like it if you did.”
She gulped again.
“I’m not that strong you know.”
He chuckled again as he patted his sleeping little sister.
“You’re strong enough to get this far Sachi. All you need is just some help with WIELDING your strength.”
Sachi looked at her friends then back at him.
“I’d like….to think about it. Can I add you as a friend on here?”
“Sure. Always nice being friends with the pretty ones.”
“Cute ones too.”
“wow. Cute on repeat.”
Sachi put her head in her hands from embarrassment! Tyler sent the friend request over and she hit it blushing.
“Thanks. I’ll let you know.”
“And if you ever need Demon support or want another Sakura hug ya know our names.”
She blushed at that.
“I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks again, Gore.”
“Watch yourself out there Sachi.”
She nodded and rejoined her friends as Tyler nudged Sakura.
“Let’s move Snorlax.”
Sakura jerked awake and smacked him.
“I am NOT fat! And I do NOT snore! Mean!”
He hugged her as he dragged her from the booth.
“nice to have ya back jigglypuff!”
Sakura was fuming when she had a thought.
“Oooh I am SOOOOO calling Asuna a Jigglypuff!”
They laughed as Sachi got an interrogation from her friends over what the Demon had to say to her.

“Well. Looks like he’s got a crush.”
Arthur shook his head as Tyler and Sakura left the tavern. Kakashi laughed.
“I guess he likes the shy types. She was pretty.”
The red headed man looked at his daughter’s screen as she reported to her commander for report.
“I was certain she’d fallen for Gore.”
Kakashi smiled.
“She was more a sister to him now I think on it. Sachi on the other hand? Oh he LIKES her!”

Tyler and Sakura spent the next two months in the wilds doing their thing. Tyler making the best of his double bladed swords multiple attack cycles and finding ways to stream different combos together for some nasty attacks. The siblings were moving through a new dungeon more exploring then anything and killing monsters for kicks then really grinding. Sakura sitting on his shoulder again as they moved through the oddly crystalline corridor. Tyler smiled as he saw the walls.
“Kinda reminds me of an ice cave.”
Sakura was firing arrows from her perch as she replied.
“Kinda reminds me of those high tech hallways used in bullshit Scifi movies.”
Tyler chuckled as he spotted movement ahead.
“That more players?”
Sakura dropped down and they ran after the shadows ahead and as they got closer they heard voices.
“Ah come on Sachi relax. We got Kirito with us. So we’re set.”
Tyler smiled as they hurried to greet their friends. The siblings came around a corner to see them go into a room and he grabbed Sakura for a desperate head long dash as he KNEW what that room was. The sound of footsteps racing behind them caused them to turn around and they saw Tyler with Sakura racing at them with a look of utter determination as a boy opened a chest inside the room and a door start to close as an alarm sounded.
Tyler threw everything he had into a baseball slide that got him and Sakura into the room as the doors closed as Monsters spawned in.
Sakura and Tyler were already killing everything that moved as Kirito launched an all-out assault too. Sachi and her friends were herded to the corner as the room filled with monsters from the cave trap. Sakura took a spot in front of them as Tyler threw an attack booster at Kirito.
“DRINK UP! Sakura! Sachi! You and your friends stay behind Sakura! Try to hurt them!”
Tyler was dashing to and fro like a mad man as everything that was not a person was shattered entirely. Kirito needed two shots per as Sakura dropped line after line of the still spawning monsters as Sachi and her friends used their spot to try to wound the monsters as Tyler came by twirling his staffsword with an enraged look on his face as the encroaching monsters were shattered. Tyler planted his feet and seperated his blades.
“Dragon RAGE!”
The monsters died in droves as Tyler and Kirito sync’d up hard with Sakura as Sachi and her friends got a few kills between them before the last beast shattered with the fanfare of a challenge. Soon as it did, Tyler dropped to a knee as his health bar was in the red from his wild desperate assault. Sakura was in the yellow, and Kirito was also in the red. Two of Sachi’s friends had fallen, and Sachi herself was in the red. Tyler was panting from his extreme efforts as he pulled a health potion out and downed it.
“Heal up.”
The command galvanized everyone into action as the potions came out. Tyler walked over to Sachi as she and her remaining two friends were sobbing from the deaths of their friends. The blue eyed girl looked at Tyler with a look of half guilt half gratitude.
“Thank you.”
He nodded.
“Why didn’t you jump?”
A boy with a sickle sword replied.
“Torrent tried. But the crystal didn’t work in here.”
Tyler looked at a stunned Kirito.
“Hey, blackball. Flip out later.”
The boy jumped and got up off the floor. He walked over and grabbed Tyler in a hug.
“That was WAY to close.”
Tyler patted his back before pushing him off.
“Dude what the hell? I can’t leave you alone for ten minutes and this happens?”
Kirito looked at Sachi.
“I’m sorry.”
She smiled kindly as she hugged him.
“Thank you, Kirito. I’m so happy I met you.”
Tyler and Sakura raised an eyebrow as they saw Kirito hugging Sachi. So, Tyler looked at the boy directly to his right.
“Soooo, yeah. Hi. I’m Goreleech. That’s Sakura.”
The boy shook his hand.
“Name’s Klein.”
“Klein. Sooo, tell me something.”
Tyler jabbed a thumb at Kirito and Sachi’s hug.
“How long that been a thing?”
Klein smiled.
“Kirito saved us from a monster ambush about a month back. Been running with us since. Sachi likes him a lot.”
Sakura looked on as Sachi let him go.
“What about Asuna?”
The other boys looked at each other then to the cutie in pink.
“Asuna the Lightning flash?”
Tyler looked at them then to Kirito. Then back with visible confusion.
She had the same look of visible confusion.
“I’m thinking the same thing.”
Tyler nodded and walked over to Kirito.
“Heeeeey, Kirito?”
He looked over curiously,
“Yea? Hey! Get-oof!”
Tyler grabbed him a reverse headlock and dragged him to the far corner.
“Weeee need to have a chat.”
Sachi was confused until Sakura hugged her.
“Big bother’s making sure Kirito’s legit.”
The survivors then took the time to grieve the loss of their friends as Sakura looted the chest two had died to get. Tyler pushed Kirito in the corner and the boy gulped.
“It’s not what you think.”
Tyler pulled his staffsword and leaned on it.
Kirito sighed.
“Asuna and I broke up about two weeks after we left the tavern.”
Tyler looked at him,
He sighed as he adjusted his black coat.
“She wants to put her strength to use helping the other players. I just want to survive.”
Tyler looked at him intensely.
“And Sachi?”
The black clad boy rubbed his hair again.
“Good friend. She’s on the verge of the bridge.”
Tyler sighed.
“Okay, Kirito. I can tell you’re not lying. You had BETTER hope her heart is not shattered.”
The boy shivered as Tyler walked back to the group as they were wiping their tears away.
“You okay?”
Klein sighed.
“we lost two friends here we’ve known since preschool.”
Tyler slapped his back.
“That sucks. But the best thing we can do for them? Get out. That way they didn’t die for nothing.”
They nodded as Sakura hugged Sachi. Tyler sighed.
“Okay. We’ll get you back to town.”
The group relaxed immensely at that as Sachi hugged him next.
“Thank you.”
He patted her blue hair affectionately.
“I’m just glad we got bored. Come on Sachi. Let’s go see the sun.”
The door opened and the group walked out as Kirito looked back at the now sealed room with a look of regret on his face. The party made quick progress to the hub where they found Coal waiting with a set of keys with a look of anxiety on his face. He saw the group minus two walking up escorted by Tyler and Sakura and was right to Tyler’s face.
“Where’s Torrent and Wildfire?”
Tyler sighed as he leaned on a wall.
“Me and Sakura found them as they set off a monster challenge trap in a secret on floor 35. We walked out by the skin of our teeth as there were just THAT many. Sadly two didn’t walk out.”
Coal rounded on Kirito.
“You. You did this.”
“Oi! No. he DIDN’T.”
Coal jumped at the steel in Tyler’s voice as he confronted him. Thought the lanky boy stood his ground.
“He’s a damn beater! He has no right being near us!”
Kirito slumped and walked away with a look Tyler knew all too well. The boy in red looked at Coal enraged.
“That guy nearly DIED to save your friends you fucknut. if he WASN’T there none of your friends would be here right now.”
Sachi ran up and hugged Kirito from behind.
“Thank you, Kirito. I’m so grateful I met you.”
Tyler watched as the boy in the black coat just patted her before jumping to somewhere else. The red clad guy just sighed.
“dammit Kirito.”
Coal just snorted.
“Leave him. Damned beater.”
Tyler turned and slugged him in the teeth. Knocking him to the ground.
“Idiots like you are why we haven’t gotten further then floor 35. Kirito fights harder then ANY of you. Yet what do YOU do to help the man fighting your battles for you? Don’t answer that. I already know. Sakura let’s go se Asuna. We need to get word out about the rigged rooms.”
“Yay! Assy!”
“You are not to call her anything else but Assy inside her base, okay?”
The siblings walked to a open space laughing as Coal was left on the ground gaping at Tyler’s words. Sachi ran over and hugged him hard as well.
“Thanks Gore.”
He smiled at her.
“You shouldn’t go in battle Sachi. You’re too kindhearted to swing a weapon. Here.”
He gave her a massage with a place on floor 6.
“Go there to the largest restaurant and look for a big black guy named Gabol. Tell him I sent you and I’ve endorsed your cooking skills. Ask for a job and let the player base sample that skill of yours.”
She smiled as he gave her a way to help out, AND practice her favorite skill.
“I will right now! Thank you!”
She jumped as he sent a message to Gabol about his next visitor. AND to give her a cooking job. Coal gaped as Sachi up and left like that and so were her friends. Tyler lifted his crystal with Sakura.
“Teleport: Clifton.”
The pair landed outside the new Knights of the Bloodoath HQ and were assailed at the gates by armored knights.
“Why do the Demon siblings seek to enter the citadel?”
“Looking for Asuna. We got something she might wanna know about.”
The knights gulped and stepped aside.
“The Second in Command is in the main hall with the commander.”
Tyler and Sakura walked in hand in hand to the castle that served as the HQ for the strongest guild. Sakura got bored with walking and climbed up his staffsword to sit on his shoulder like a bird as they walked along corridors to the main hall. Tyler loving the looks of fear on the faces of everyone in the halls they passed through. They found the main hall easily enough and the knights guarding it just let them walk in. Inside was a gathering of knights in high level armor looking at a map of the current floor in a clear strategy meeting. Tyler spotted the fiery hair of Asuna at the head of the long table and smiled as she looked up at the door opening, only to see Tyler and Sakura walking over to her.
“What up Asuna? We found something your tin knights might like to know of.”
The room laughed as Asuna blushed at Sakura’s pet name for her. She got a hug each as a tall, older man in the same red white armor approached the trio. Tyler looked at him with mild curiosity as the seemingly important man addressed him.
“I don’t believe we’ve met. I am Commander Heathcliff.”
Tyler looked into his eyes, and saw the same flash or recognition and chuckled as he shook the man’s hand.
“Nice to put a face to the rumor. Yeah. I know. Don’t care.”
The man gestured to the meeting.
“Now what could be so important you felt the need to barge into our raid planning?”
Tyler frowned now.
“Wait. They found the boss already? Asuna?”
She pointed to a spot on the map.
“It’s here, Gore. They-“
“No it’s not. That’s a troll boss.”
The room gasped as he looked at the spot closer.
“Fell Gorge? Yeah that’s a false positive. It’s a miniboss that the devs put in the fuck with the player base after floor 25. That and me and Sakura already cleaned that place out not even three days ago.”
Sakura stretched her fingers at the memory.
“That thing was a pain in the ass! It healed! TWICE!”
Asuna slumped at the news.
“Great. Back to square one.”
Heathcliff blinked as Asuna rolled the map back up.
“You can’t possibly believe their words without proof?”
Asuna sighed.
“With them, Commander? We don’t WANT the proof. As it’ll just be utterly soul crushing. Gore said he and Sakura cleaned that cave. So the fact we’re still here on this floor is all the proof I need. Bastard’s OCD like that.”
“Love you too.”
The room laughed at the cute as Asuna winced. Heathcliff looked at Tyler now.
“It seems you did have a reason. My knights will get back to work looking for the boss.”
“Not the reason I came here to begin with actually. And we’ll most likely find it first. Just bragging.”
Asuna laughed.
“Scary thing Sir? He’s not wrong. That guy makes finding the toughest bastards in this game look like an artform.”
Tyler shrugged smiling.
“What can Is ay except Sakura’s cute?”
The room just smiled as Heathcliff rubbed his greying hair with a mailed hand.
“Okay, Goreleech. What was the REAL reason you came here?”
Tyler hugged Asuna.
“well besides seeing my sister here, to let her know that a trap room was found that negated a crystal teleport. We’re dealing with sealed rooms now. Asuna, it was the same trap from the cave.”
She shuddered.
“How bad?”
Sakura shivered.
“Gore was in the red. I was yellow, Kirito was red, and we lost two of the party we were fighting to save. Sachi’s party.”
Asuna gasped in utter shock as her color left her face.
Tyler sighed.
“It was that kind of hardcore Asuna. Not high level monsters, just THAT many. If ten more had showed up, WE wouldn’t have walked out PERIOD.”
Asuna shuddered at the news before opening the map back up.
“Where was it?”
He placed a finger on a place called The Hidden corridor.
“Here. Place didn’t show up on the map period. Like Lark’s miniboss.”
All three shuddered at the memory of the creepy thing. Then she nodded.
“A room crystals didn’t work in. a mass spawn that NEARLY killed the Demon siblings. In a secret room no less. And you lost two members of the party you went in to save. Sachi okay?”
“She’s fine. Kirito has a new regret he and I need to have a chat about and Sachi’s got a new job at Gabol’s joint.”
Asuna blinked.
“What like a waitress?”
Sakura giggled.
“Her cooking’ is at 335 Assy!”
The fiery red head just looked at her blankly.
Tyler passed a screen shot he’d taken as proof.
“read it and weep.”
Asuna did read it, and just slumped again.
“Dammit! And here I thought I was the best cook in SaS!”
Tyler patted her back reassuringly.
“Nah. Just the fastest. Right, lightning flash Asuna?”
She smiled at that one.
“Okay. I can live with that. You two headed back out?”
Sakura hugged her big sister as Tyler chuckled.
“Yup. Just came to give a heads up. Oh. And we need to have a little……chat, Asuna. I heard.”
She sighed as she flicked her red hair.
“I didn’t tell you as it was just an issue of playstyle. Kirito’s decent, but too much the loner. I want to make a difference.”
Sakura shrugged.
“Eh. You pretty, Assy. Difference enough.”
The room laughed at THAT logic as Asuna hugged her little sister.
“Awww! Thanks Saky!”
“Tyler shrugged.
“I’m just here to scare people.”
They laughed at that as Heathcliff cleared his throat to get attention.
“So you’re headed back into the wilds? Is that correct?”
Tyler chuckled.
“People suck. Asuna’s okay.”
That got a collective snort as Heathcliff looked at the red clad boy.
“I wonder if you’d be willing to make…..a deal.”
Tyler’s eyes narrowed as his bullshit meter flared.
“If you’re about to use Asuna as a mere bargaining chip Tinman, then by all means piss off your executioner.”
Asuna and Sakura looked at Tyler impressed.
“Wow, Gore. That’s a level of badass I aspire to be.”
“Big brother has a few good one liners every now and then.”
Heathcliff made his offer.
“The next time you find a boss send word to Asuna here so the Bloodoath may aid the battle. We players must work together if we’re to beat the final boss and escape.”
Tyler just busted up laughing and so did Sakura and Asuna at the armored man’s words. Tyler recovered first and wiped a tear from his eyes smiling,
“Me plan for bosses is to let my friends know. As for the final boss? Pff. We ALL know it’ll have to be US four, Me, Sakura, Kirito and Asuna that kill it as YOU all are just too weak to do the job. As for your deal? I’ll tell Asuna. Whether or not she tells you is up to her.”
Asuna smiled widely.
“Depends on I feel that morning. Heavenly Demons. Am I right?”
She got a fist bump from Tyler and a hug from Sakura as Heathcliff looked at Tyler with disappointment in hie grey eyes.
“So you’d turn down an offer of alliance. Very well. I pray you don’t get in our way.”
“Oh SHIT. Sir you should NOT have gone there.”
Heathcliff blinked at Asuna’s now nervous tone then he looked at Tyler’s now dark grin.
“I’d suggest you rethink what you just said and WHO you said it to. As to me? It sounded like a threat.”
Heathcliff shuddered at the look in Tyler’s eyes. But he stood his ground.
“As long as you do not make an enemy-“
“Of ME. Remember who you are talking to Tinman and just WHO my SISTER is.”
Asuna smiled now herself, seeing his play.
“Keep pushing it Sir, and I’ll just walk out that front door. See how far you get without the Lightning flash.”
Sakura was happily looking at the room as Heathcliff was utterly flabbergasted.
“You come here under the guise of friendship yet threaten to steal my top player from under me for mere words? I do not know what to say.”
“Say sorry or the Demon will getchya!”
Tyler and Asuna looked at Sakura as she hummed happily.
“Wow. That was the cutest death threat I’ve heard in quite some time now. Well done Sakura.”
Heathcliff looked at Asuna then to Tyler.
“Duly noted, Goreleech. I have a game to clear. Are we finished?”
Tyler looked at Asuna, and she laughed.
“They can’t even scratch me.”
“That’s my sister!”
“Assy’s awesome!”
Asuna winced again as Sakura kept up the destruction of her reputation with a pet name. She got a warm hug from the siblings before Tyler smiled.
“Later Asuna. We got an idiot to ream.”
Tyler and Sakura left the room without even acknowledging Heathcliff further. Sakura was sitting on his shoulder again as they walked out the front door. She smiled.
“That guy’s a prick, ain’t he?”
Tyler smiled himself as they jumped back to the 35th floor.
“Something tells me that guy’s got a few tricks up his sleeve. He’s on my watchlist Sakura.”
She nodded.
“Mine too. Something’s off with that guy.”
“He didn’t even smirk at your cute.”
The siblings headed for a fresh grinding spot as Gabol messaged them.
“Gore, where the hell did you find a five star chef? That girl cooks better then my wife! And she went to school for it!”
Tyler smiled as he replied.
“be amazed what the shy ones bring to the table. She doing okay?”
“She freakin LOVES her new job! Come down and see once you get a minute.”
Tyler smiled.
“Ya know what, Sakura? Let’s go see Sachi.”
She smiled as they jumped to Birctally. Tyler’s flashy red coat making people jump as the Demon siblings headed for Gabol’s place. They walked in to see the place packed. Gabol had had to buy actual NPCs to accommodate the customers. The big man saw Tyler and Sakura walk in and smiled.
“Couldn’t resist eh?”
Tyler smiled,
“Been meaning to check the place out Gabol. But YO ugly ass worked here.”
Sakura laughed as Gabol just waved them to a table that had a look into the kitchen.
“Just sit down and shut up.”
“Why oh WHY can I hear your wife say that?”
Gabol could hear his wife busting up laughing at that one. Tyler and Sakura sat down and smiled as they saw Sachi in an apron with a chef’s hat on her head flipping something in a pan. Tyler noting how happy she seemed to be.
“That’s much better. A frying pan is HER ideal weapon, Sakura.”
The pink haired girl nodded in agreement.
“She looks like she’s loving it in there.”
Tyler got the dish called the Sachi Special and so did Sakura. The siblings seeing the look of shocked surprise as Sachi saw the names on the ticket. Then it was replaced with a look of concentration that got Tyler nodding approvingly.
“That’s the way. Sachi is a chef. NOT a fighter.”
Sakura giggled.
“We need to TASTE her cooking first big brother!”
Tyler smiled,
“Fair enough.”
Sachi brought their order out herself with a look of nerves as her newfound heroes put her cooking to the test. The dish? Fried dragon steak in a butter and breading paired with a light grape-like drink Tyler had never bothered to learn the name of. The siblings dug in hungrily,
“HOLY SHIT. Damn, Sachi.”
The meal vanished in mere seconds as Sachi stood their on pins and needles as Tyler smiled at her.
“Girl YOU have a damn talent! Seriously, like the hell? I was expecting good but that just wasn’t fair!”
Sakura looked at her newfound idol.
“I loved it Sachi! Crispy, flaky, ooooh I want another!”
Tyler smiled,
“Fuck it we’re getting another one.”
Sachi was glowing with pride at the gushing praise of her heroes, and was all too happy to make another stake for the hungry siblings. Gabol smiled as he watched Sachi get showered in praise and admiration by Tyler and Sakura.
“Yup. Goreleech has a crush. Lucky girl.”
Sachi was ecstatic over her cooking skills impressing the legendary Demon siblings.
“I’m SO happy you liked it!”
Tyler smiled at the proud girl.
“Seriously, Sachi, can you really cook like that IRL too?”
She sat next to Sakura with a proud blush.
“I can actually. Not as easily as in here but I can.”
Tyler just shook his head impressed.
“Damn Sachi. You gonna make some lucky bastard VERY happy with THOSE skills.”
She blushed at that one, and Sakura blinked at that coded message. Sachi, on the other hand, was outright STUNNED as she saw the same coded message within the statement.

“Holy sweet hell. Did Tyler REALLY crush that hard?”
Kakashi laughed at Arthur’s stunned statement.
“Looks like it. Looks like Sachi caught his eye in a most potent manner! Let’s see what she does next!”

Sachi screwed up her newfound confidence,
“Gore? Can I ask you something?”
Sakura became VERY attentive as Tyler looked at the now squirming girl nervously.
“Sure Sachi. What’s up?”
She gulped, and lowered her gaze nervously.
“Do you……LIKE me?”
Her voice was low now as Tyler processed her words. Holy shit. When the hell that happen? Ah fuck it.
He smiled kindly.
“I think I do, Sachi. Quite a bit actually. LIKE that.”
She had a look of mind blown on her face as the room just went silent at the confession. Even Sakura was stunned! Tyler looked around with a mildly surprised expression,
“What? I’m not dead you idiots.”
Gabol busted up laughing at that one. Sachi had to take a little longer to recover from that bombshell as Sakura looked at her big brother with huge purple eyes.
“You know she can’t go with us to the places we go.”
Tyler patted his little sister.
“I know that. But, well. She’s safe down here.”
Sachi was able to restart her brain. She had a nervous pride on her freckled face now,
“You…really like me?”
Tyler smiled.
“Hey. Sachi.”
She gulped again.
His eyes had NO doubt or hesitation whatsoever.
“Wanna go out some time? On a date I mean?”
Poor Sachi nearly fell out of her booth as her body went limp! Sakura DID fall over! Tyler just sat back and let the poor girl’s mind restart. Gabol just looked at the player next to him.
“Did I die? Like for real? Did GORELEECH just ask a girl out on a date?”
The guy had the same look of shock.
“He did, Gab. Either SaS just shit itself and we all died, or it just happened.”
Tyler just looked at them in exasperation.
“You idiots DO remember I’m not dead, right? Like I’m 16?”
Gabol just sighed.
Tyler just sighed.
“Idiots. Just a bunch of IDIOTS.”
Sachi had to fight to restart her mind that time, but she won the hard fought battle. She was now nervous as ALL HELL as she replied.
“Umm. I’d like that, Gore. How long are you on the floor for?”
He shrugged.
“We don’t really HAVE a place to be. Boss ain’t going anywhere and we usually just do whatever anyway.”
Sakura sighed as she rubbed her blue eyes.
“WHY did we spend that week by that ice cap?”
Tyler looked at her,
“we were hunting ice trolls for that project I had going.”
Sakura put her head on the table.
“Right. I forgot.”
Sachi smiled shyly.
“Do you have a house?”
“I got that hut over there.”
He jabbed a thumb at the lonely looking place at the end of the pier. That little tidbit made her gasp.
“That’s the most expensive place on the whole floor! Can I see it?”
He smiled.
“Sure, Sachi. Wanna make it a stay date?”
She blushed at that as Sakura looked at Gabol.
“I’ll just ruin HIS day again.”
Gabol gulped now!
“Umm. Oh shit. Remember what happened LAST time.”
Tyler looked at him,
“and you DO remember it’s ME right?”
That got a smirk.
“right. IO forgot.”
“Ya doing an awful lotta forgettin big man. Must suck getting old.”
The place busted up laughing at that as Sachi smiled nervously.
“I get off work in two hours.”
He smiled at her.
“We’ll go rest until then. Been awhile since we were in a haven.”
The date agreed on the pair went their ways. Sachi flying high on her first date with the strongest player in the game and Tyler smiling as he had a date he was LOOKING forward to. Sakura just bouncing beside him happy to be there.
“So. Sachi, eh?”
They walked into the hut and swapped to their beachwear and sat on the couch. Tyler smiled as he looked at Sakura’s grin.
“What? I can’t pick a girl I like?”
She grinned the wider.
“What about Assy? You didn’t ask HER out!”
HE hugged her.
“She’s too much my sister, ya scamp.”
The smaller girl snuggled her brother.
“I’ll be more careful this time, Tyler.”
He patted her pink hair.
“They gotchya once. They won’t getchya twice.”
She snuggled him like an affectionate cat.
Tyler and Sakura rested for an hour and 45 minutes.
“Nearly that time.”
She smiled as they left the hut and went to Gabol’s place. Sachi was in her purple leather and chest plate as Tyler walked in with a happy Sakura. The pink cutie hugged Sachi as she took a spot by Tyler.
“I’m set.”
He offered his arm, and she smiled nervously as she took it.
“I’m a little….old fashioned.”
She had a nervously happy smile as they walked to the cabin.
“I’ve never BEEN on a date. So…slow?”
HE smiled kindly.
“Sure, Sachi. As long as you handle the food. I’d not like our first date to end with me accidently poisoning us.”
She laughed at that,
“I was going to. I heard from Asuna your cooking killed a minotaur a month back.”
He smiled as he let her inside the hut. Soon as the door shut and she looked around she gasped.
“Wow, Gore. It’s beautiful!”
Tyler smiled proudly.
“You ain’t seen NOTHING yet. But first. House rule.”
She looked to see him swap to his swim trunks and squeaked.
“Cute. Got a swimsuit? Beach attire only in here.”
She blushed,
“No. I don’t.”
“If you show me you UI, I can make you one.”
Her blush went right to tomato! She gulped as she pulled it up and let him see.
“Just please don’t laugh.”
He looked as he opened his crafting UI.
He looked at the numbers, then to Sachi’s chest then back.
“That’s is a most welcome surprise.”
Sachi blinked at the clear awe in his voice as he crafted her swimsuit.
“Two piece or one piece?”
She was shaking,
“Two please.”
“Damn Sachi.”
He finished the thing and gave it to her. She equipped it and gasped in shock. Tyler had made the straps a light blue that matched her hair to perfection with the cups that now housed her easily d cup breasts a vivid yellow spiral that made them both look bigger and added emphasis to them as well. The lining was high level Fennec fur same as the bottoms. They were a light blue as well with a set of yellow spirals as well that shimmered when she moved. Tyler took a step back to admire her new beautiful form,
“Damn Sachi. You a right hottie.”
She looked in a nearby reflective surface and gasped at her sexily beautiful look.
“I love it!”
Her voice a light quiver as she saw the thing. Tyler smiled as he looked at her surprisingly large bust.
“Hey, question.”
She gulped again at his mildly curious tone.
He nodded at her rack.
“Why you hide it? You stacked as hell.”
Sachi had hidden her massive rack with her tight leather and chest armor. Making her seem like she was merely a lesser B then the Ds she had. She gulped as she sat on the couch.
“I was afraid I’d get teased for being fat or made fun of for showing off.”
HE sighed as he sat next to her.
“You got bullied a lot for them, didn’t you?”
She nodded sadly.
“even my own mother took part. She’s smaller then me and HATES that fact. She says no boy likes them THIS big.”
Tyler snorted.
“That’s a small boobed insult. I for one, LOVE the big guns, Sachi. Never you worry.”
She looked at him with hope in her eyes.
“You mean it? You like them?”
He smiled as he ogled her busty form.
“Ya damn right I love em! Best rack I’ve seen thus far!”
She smiled with such….JOY at his heartfelt and genuine words. Then she had a look of pride on her face as she sat back on the couch.
“Thank you, Gore. Can i…ask your real name? Mine’s actually Sachi.”
He chuckled.
“Mine’s Tyler.”
She looked at him mildly shocked.
“Wait. Tyler?”
He sighed.
“Yup. Lame right?”
She pulled her UI up and was looking through some photos in a mild panic now that Tyler found confusing.
“You okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
She passed her Ui over with a shaking hand and he saw a photo of a class.
“Hmmm. I see you, Sachi. Nice to see that hair’s natural.”
She smiled at the on reflex until he spotted a guy looking at the camera with a dead-eyed look.
“No freakin way.”
HE looked back at Sachi’s outfit and chuckled as he looked at Sachi.
“Jesus. You were that oddly overdressed girl in class! How the hell I not notice before? Eh. Whatever. I’ve had weirder things happen since the doors shut.”
Sachi closed her UI with a scared look on her face now.
“You….were there.”
He looked at her.
“I had a few……issues back then, Sachi. If I said anything or did anything to you, I’m sorry.”
She looked up at the word ‘issues’.
“What kind of issues?”
He sighed.
“My sister and my mother’s boyfriends thought I was a sex toy for most of my life. AFTER drugging me half outta my mind.”
She had a look of utter horror on her freckled face.
“I am so sorry I asked you that.”
He patted her reassuringly.
“I got over it a while ago, Sachi. It’s okay.”
She let out a breath before looking at him anew.
“So, you’re okay with me? Like this?”
Tyler chuckled.
“I love you like this, Sachi. The bustiness a VERY nice surprise I’m calling a bonus.”
She glowed again at that as he looked around.
“Want the grand tour?”
She nodded excitedly.
“Yes please!”
He showed an utterly impressed Sachi Around the place. She drinking everything from the large beds and parlors, to the decks. Then Tyler smiled.
“Let’s head downstairs.”
She looked at him,
“But we’re like a 1000 feet from shore!”
He chuckled as he led her inside.
He led her into the underwater portion and she gasped as she saw the underwater sea life. He sat her on the couch by the crackling firepit and smiled.
“Look. A fire underwater.”
She was amazed at the sights around her when she went white as a ghost at something behind Tyler. He looked and smiled.
“Oh. It’s Jaws.”
The 25 foot great white shark swam into the room as Sachi gaped in awe at the massive monster swimming not three feet from her INSIDE the room. Tyler stood up and smacked the thing’s tail, making Sachi nearly have a heart attack as the beast utterly ignored them. Tyler sat beside her smiling.
“Check it.”
HE showed her the hut UI creator credit and she gasped again.
“You designed this place?”
HE nodded smiling,
“And the resort itself. That minotaur boss? Mine. That bladed rex? Me. My staffsword? Ya know.”
She just gaped at him before looking around again.
“I’m on a date with the strongest player in the game, he think’s I’m hot, is a fashion designer, and even helped BUILD the game.”
He smiled as she processed.
“And I asked YOU out. Let that sink in Sachi.”
She did, and got a look of supreme joy at the thought.
“And HE asked me! Me!”
He hugged her and she blushed hard.
“Yup. I asked YOU.”
She rested against the couch with a massive smile on her face.
“So….now what? We sit here?”
He smiled now himself.
“Ya like anime?”
Her smile dropped into one of utter shock that made him blink.
“You okay?”
She had a twitch in her eye and he poked her nose.
It restarted her brain.
“You like anime?”
He looked at her confused.
“I’m a loud and proud otaku. That an issue?”
Sachi just hung her head as she shook with some emotion Tyler couldn’t identify.
“You okay?”
She looked up with tears in her eyes as she smiled.
“I’m simply ecstatic! I’ve met my dream! Please, Tyler, be my boyfriend!”
Tyler just sat back in shock himself.
“A few questions first, Sachi.”
She became deathly serious.
He matched her serious mood.
“Rias. OR. Asia.”
Sachi blinked.
“Okay. You’ve proved her Otaku to me. Rias for the win. You?”
“I am a VERY loyal pawn in the Service of Rias Gremory.”
Sachi grinned.
“You just want to be Issei.”
Tyler chuckled.
“WITHOUT the fuckups. Dude couldn’t get the job done when it counted WAAAY too many times.”
Sachi sighed.
“Lucky bastard. Zerotwo or Ichigo?”
“Zerotwo. I HATE Ichigo with a burning passion.”
Sachi nodded sagely.
“That stunt with the kiss ruined her for me.”
“I just hate how she nearly got the ones that depended on her killed as many times as she did. I ALSO hate Hiro.”
The blue haired girl beside him was in full agreement.
“He’s the kinda guy that wants the dream girl without the effort.”
“Testify busty DREAM GIRL.”
“Sexy AND cute. I love it.”
Sachi was red from head to foot at his flattery. He smiled.
“Next one.”
She nodded,
“Revy two hands or Mikasa?”
She frowned.
“Oooh that’s harsh.”
“Tough questions make for the best talks.”
“As much as it kills me, Mikasa for the win.”
“either was acceptable. Best intro. DxD’s first or fairytail’s first?”
Sachi tilted her head,
“I’ve never seen Fairytail actually. It’s on my watchlist but I’ve yet to actually buckle down.”
He nodded.
“It is a marathon. Like close to 400 episodes to get through. Main reason why I haven’t even TOUCHED One Piece as it’s just too damned long.”
She smiled ruefully.
“At close to a 1000 episodes yeah you be busy for a few months.”
HE smiled.
“Least I can answer your question.”
She looked at him confused.
“My question?”
“Yes I’ll be your boyfriend.”
She jumped off the damned couch so shocked was she! He just sat back and watched her mind go BOOM! He smiled as she recovered.
“Can…you say it again?”
He reached over and placed his hand on hers.
“I’ll be your VERY happy boyfriend, Sachi.”
She looked at her hand in his, and started hyperventilating at the joy in her heart.
“If you pass out you get CPR.”
She blushed at that and intertwined fingers with a bemused smile on her face. Tyler smiled at her as she looked at him,
“I’ll be you very proud girlfriend. Just…you’re my first. Okay?”
HE hugged her gently.
“Be warned, I AM rather…..spoil prone.”
She blinked.
“Oh damn.”
He smiled.
“And I’ll go slow.”
She looked at him,
“Am I your first girlfriend?”
She smiled at that.
“Seems kinda fitting a guy like you already had a girlfriend.”
HE looked at her strangely.
“I kinda feel like you just took a jab at my skills as a boyfriend. Not sure why though.”
She blinked.
“More saying a guy likes you ALWAYS has a girl. Strong, fearless, warm, kind.”
She lowered her gaze shyly.
“Handsome too.”
He hugged her warmly.
“I’ve got a very well earned reputation as an asshole. Plus ya know, DEMON. Hey. Let that sink in. YOU my busty blue haired beauty are the DEMON’S GIRLFRIEND!”
Sachi’s eyes went wide at that realization. Her freckled face then broke into a smile most proud as Tyler had a thought.
“Oh. That’s probably a good idea. Hey. Sachi. Question.”
She looked at him curiously.
“You ever hear tell of those mirrors?”
She nodded.
“They’re for talking to people back there. I’ve never seen one though.”
“Me and Sakura? We got like four.”
She jumped.
“You DO?”
He pulled one out and handed it to her.
She had tears in her eyes as she looked at the precious object.
“May I?”
He nodded.
“We need to have a little….chat with a few people I know.”
She was a little nervous as he used it first and his hospital room was seen. Kakashi was sitting on his chair and smiled as he saw them.
“I know. And as soon as you made that jump I made a few phone calls.”
Tyler looked at Sachi.
“Sachi. Allow me to introduce my adoptive father Kakashi Yutama.”
She went white at the name.
“The head of the White Dragon Claws?”
Tyler smiled.
“I know people.”
Sachi just looked at him with a new awe.
“My new boyfriend’s a badass.”
“Ya JUST realized that? Kakashi. Results?”
The man chuckled.
“Her feed was pulled from viewing as SOON as you set foot in the restaurant. I asked the people there what would happen if they pissed you off. Yeah they cut her feed.”
Sachi blinked.
“My feed?”
Tyler placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Those geniuses out there thought making the recordings from the helmets into a 24/7 live streaming TV show was a good idea.”
She just went limp at that. Tyler hugged her.
“Why I made this call.”
Kakashi nodded.
“And why I made another few phone calls as well.”
He looked at him.
“Sachi’s body?”
The camera was panned to show the comatose girl in the same room as Tyler, Sakura and Asuna. Sachi saw this and gasped.
A tall, pencil thin woman came into view. Tyler looked at her and noted her bust WAS smaller. The lady looked into Tyler’s cold eyes now.
“So. YOU’RE her new boyfriend, eh?”
Tyler smiled his dark smile.
She shuddered.
“Just checking. And to just say you better take care of her.”
“I’ll do a better job an YOU did. That’s for damn sure.”
Her eye lid twitched at that and Tyler smiled widely, daring her with his eyes. Kakashi saw this ploy and smiled behind her back. Sachi just smiled.
“He’ll take very good care of me, Mom.”
The lady’s voice had an icy tone now.
“well SOMEONE has to I suppose.”
“Lady. GET OUT OF MY ROOM. You have overstayed your welcome. Kakashi.”
The lady just blinked at Tyler’s ice cold dismissal.
“How DARE you?”
Tyler glared at her now with his eyes of darkness.
“Lady. YOU are on MY list. You’ve insulted my girlfriend in front of me. Enjoy the last weeks of your life for when I get out.”
HE leaned in close to fill the screen with his eyes of icy rage.
“all you will do. Is. SCREAM.”
Kakashi hung up his phone and a group of armed White Claws came in with shotguns. Sachi’s mother was walked out at gunpoint as her color vanished. Tyler looked at a stunned Sachi apologetically.
“Sorry about that. NO one picks on MY friends. Girlfriend included.”
She just broke out into a happy smile as she hugged him.
“Thank you.”
Kakashi chuckled.
“Miss. You have the best boyfriend in that guy. He’s my heir after all.”
She gasped and looked at Tyler.
“You’re loaded?”
He shrugged as Kakashi lost it.
“I guess.”
She just pressed her head into his chest with a happy smile.
“He’s even rich too.”
Tyler hugged her as Kakashi made another report.
“Kirito got brought to the hospital as well. Same with his family.”
Tyler smiled at that.
“I’ll have a word with him about Coal.”
Sachi frowned.
“Coal was just mad Kirito all but stole the guild from under him. We more or less looked at Kirito as our leader. Much as they seemed to get along Coal was just jealous.”
Tyler smiled.
“I can see that. Kirito’s the only one in this game that can really hold his own against me. I’ll still KICK his ass. But ya know.”
She laughed at that as Kakashi smiled.
“The battle in that room WAS televised however.”
Sachi slumped.
“My friends died in there Sir.”
The yakuza boss sighed.
“They did. The public LOVED the battle as it was one of the most rousing thus far. Plus with how the Demon pulled that action hero entrance? Yeah. That was a level of badass I wish I was. And I AM sorry about your friends miss.”
Tyler placed a comforting hand on Sachi’s shoulder, and she smiled gratefully. She looked at the yakuza boss.
“So, we’re TV stars?”
He nodded sadly.
“I was present for your Otaku talk.”
She looked at Tyler.
“How bad?”
He sighed.
“Take the most toxic parts of the fandoms for Darling in the franxx, my hero academia, Naruto, and throw in the fucked up side of DXD.”
She shuddered.
Tyler patted her.
“Kakashi’s got APCs outside the place Sachi. They can’t touch the goods.”
She blushed at THAT one, and Kakashi felt he had to make a point.
“So you know? The plugs WILL be pulled should any, ahem, ACTION start.”
Sachi had steam coming off her from her embarrassment! Tyler smiled.
“Ya BETTER freakin still record it! Something tells me it’ll be a revisitable experience!”
Poor Sachi was so red she looked like she’d taken a bath in a slaughterhouse blood catcher! Tyler patted his new girlfriend.
“Oh. Fair warning? I’m a horndog too.”
She just put her face in the couch in an attempt to hide as Kakashi took the hint.
“Well kids. Have fun.”
He killed the thing and Sachi looked at Tyler with nerves in her blue eyes.
“So YOU know? Me too. Eep!”
He smiled with a happily surprised tone.
“Well, well, Sachi. Looks like I won the lottery prize here. So, whaddya wanna watch?”
She was shaking hard as she looked at him bemused,
“Ya got a certain magical index?”
“all seasons. PLUS the spin offs.”
She turned around and he set up the show for them. For the next few hours they laughed at the mayhem a small blue haired nun could cause with a right unlucky bastard. Sachi was curled up on the couch laughing as she used the arm rest for a pillow while Tyler was right beside her as they relaxed completely for once. After the first twelve shows ended Sachi looked at him nervously.
“Now what?”
He shrugged.
“we GOT a massage parlor.”
She blinked.
“…….for real?”
He smiled.
“Allow me.”
He led her to a small room with a long narrow bed and brought the UI up and let her at it. She sighed with joy,
“Oh I love this house.”
He smirked.
“Should see the OTHER house I’ve got up on 45. THAT one is my crown jewel.”
She looked at him with big blue eyes.
“Can I see that one too?”
He patted her.
“Oh course Sachi. I AM going to buy it too. Only makes sense for my hot GIRLFRIEND to see it too.”
“Love the cute too.”
She set the parlor for a full deep tissue and laid on the bed as a lady NPC appeared and Tyler took his cue.
“I’ll let you get friendly.
She blushed hard as he left the room and sat on the couch. He sent a quick message for an update from Sakura and relaxed. Her reply took a few minutes.
“Gaby’s spoiling me! I think he thinks his life depends on it!”
Tyler smiled as he sent one to Gabol.
“that little sister of yours is an Extortionist.”
“That’s my sis.”
He could hear light moans from the parlor as Sachi got pampered hard for once and they made him smile. Looks like even I can get a little action. Sachi’s a right hottie. Plus that shyness is cute as hell. He chuckled at that and relaxed again. He musta dozed off cause the next thing he was aware of was a weight on his chest. He opened his eyes to see Sakura happily asleep on his chest. Well. Hello party crasher. He looked to his side looking for Sachi, and smiled in surprised shock as he found her asleep on the same couch beside him. Cute. He loved how sweetly cute she looked asleep like that as her nose twitched in her sleep. Sakura squeaked in her sleep and it reminded him of a mouse. Sakura’s still the cuter. He stroked his little sister’s soft pink hair and she rolled in her sleep onto her back. Sachi moved as well and he realized she’d grabbed his arm like a body pillow. Wow, Sachi. Softer then I thought. I like them. He laid back and enjoyed the feeling as a message appeared in his UI. From Asuna.
“the boss was found and like 30 people died. Could really use your help on this Tyler.”
He sighed.
“That’s the signal.”
He shook Sakura awake and Sachi too. Sakura sat up yawning while Sachi was utterly embarrassed by her use of pillow. He smiled at her kindly as he patted her blue hair.
“Asuna just sent a Demon Signal. Sakura gear up.”
The pink haired cutie nodded smiling as Sachi looked at him.
“I want to go with you, but.”
She looked down.
“I’m scared.”
He looked at her and smiled.
“If you want to come with us, Sachi, we’ll teach you to be strong. If Sakura here can go from terrified of her own shadow to archery badass you can too.”
Sachi looked at her new boyfriend with hope.
“You’ll teach me?”
“Everything you never wanted to know, I’m your guy.”
Sakura smiled as she swapped to her cutie in pink get up as Tyler offered his hand to Sachi.
“I’d love to go roaming with my girlfriend Sachi.”
She took his hand nearly without hesitating.
“I’d love to go with my boyfriend. My gear’s not the best though.”
“Pull up you UI. I’ve got a few leftovers to make you a badass in training.”
She let him look and he smiled widely as he saw one skill.
She was concerned.
“Something wrong?”
He looked at her.
“WHY did you run a mace when your spear skills are THAT extreme?”
She gulped in embarrassment.
“Coal said we already HAD a spearman. I prefer the spear over the mace actually.”
Tyler shook his head smiling.
“Sachi. You have the highest spear skill I’ve seen period.”
She was outright gaping as Sakura came over curious as he made her new gear.
“What’s she got?”
“Get this, her spear skill? 445.”
“HOLY SHIT. That’s higher then yours!”
“I preferred the staffsword Sakura. Never underestimate a spear wielder that knows what they’re doing. Here, Sachi. Try these on for awesome.”
She took the gear and gasped as she equipped it. She was now clad in a tight light blue tunic that made har massive rack really POP with a set of blood red spirals over the orbs that made them both seem bigger and eye catching. Her stomach was bare while she wore a pair of capri jeans that showed off her toned legs with the color of blood. The colors making her blue hair really explode while around her neck as a scarf of black and on her hands were fingerless gloves of deepest blue with red spikes. Her feet were sheathed in a pair of cowgirl boots of gold and red. She looked at herself in the mirror and just gaped in awe at her new sexy dangerous look she gave off. Next Tyler got to work on her spear.
“Here, Sachi. Should do the job.”
He gave her a 5 foot spear with a two foot blade. She gasped, then looked at him sheepishly.
“Can I get a shield too?”
He looked at Sakura a little stunned.
“Sachi’s a badass.”
She nodded.
“Oh totally. Hot too.”
Sachi blushed as Tyler looked at her,
Her blush deepened.
“More round shield.”
“Jesus, Sachi. I’m startin to think I WON’T have to teach you much.”
He gave her a four foot round shield with their guild insignia on the center boss and she looked like a statue to a Greek war goddess he’d seen once. Tyler smiled as he donned his red gear.
“Let’s go raise hell.”
They walked out as Sachi joined the party AND his guild. The trio jumped to the floor and he looked at her.
“Keep up.”
They took off running and the poor blue haired girl was struggling valiantly to keep the siblings in sight. The trio found the place in question as Sachi dropped from her hard run with heavy weapons. Tyler passed her a stamina potion and she smiled gratefully.
He helped her to her feet.
“Running everywhere helps build stamina in here. Sharp turns at speed do agility. Carrying all that on a hard run does strength.”
She nodded as she listened to the master. Sakura was looking around at the party of other players until she spotted a familiar shade of red hair.
Tyler smiled as he led Sachi forward to where Asuna was reaming the raid leader.
“How the hell did you lose 30 PLAYERS IN ONE RAID?”
Sachi gulped at the sight of the fiery red head and Tyler nudged her.
“Asuna’s a legit fiery red head, Sachi. Ya been warned.”
Sakura giggled.
Asuna winced at the pet name and looked over to see Sakura smiling.
“Oh there you are Sakura. Hey-HOLY. Gore, who’s that gorgeous girl?”
Sachi shuffled her feet shyly as Tyler smiled.
“That’s Sachi, Asuna. MY new girlfriend.”
The crowd had a collective gasp of utter shock. Asuna just gaped at the shyly blushing with a smile Sachi.
“It’s true. I’m the DEMON’S girlfriend.”
The crowd just looked at Tyler in utter disbelief and he had a look of exasperation.
Asuna walked over to get a good look at the new girl and Sachi gulped as the legendary firebrand looked her over before looking at Tyler with an intense light in her red eyes.
He tilted hie head.
“Yeah, Asuna?”
She walked to look RIGHT into his eyes.
“Who asked WHO?”
He looked at her confused.
“I did. I asked her out.”
Asuna blinked at that one as Sakura sighed.
“Big brother likes the shy type I guess.”
Asuna busted up laughing at that one.
“Oh I can see that! And here I thought it was the boobs!”
Sachi hid in her shield as Tyler replied.
“Actually. I didn’t know she was stacked until I made her swimsuit for her. Guess her mother’s a shrew.”
Asuna sighed at that.
“She’s bigger then her mother?”
“Yup. By like three full cups. I used that to make sure it don’t get seen.”
Asuna nodded in approval.
“Good. And Sachi?”
The poor girl was shaking at being addressed by the Lightning Flash herself.
“Yes ma’am?”
Tyler and Sakura smiled widely at that,
“You call me that and I’ll shove this rapier so far up your ass it’ll fly out your mouth.”
Tyler smiled wiser.
“Yes Assy!”
Asuna had a vein bulge on her forehead as Tyler used Sakura’s pet name. Sachi just went wide eyed as Tyler teased the girl as Sakura sighed.
“Wow, Assy. You look mad.”
Tyler shrugged.
“Assy’s got a lot of……wow. As much as I wanna make a junk joke, it won’t fit in the trunk. Right? Assy?”
Oooh she LOST IT! She pulled a metal club from her Inven and proceeded to BEAT the idiot half to death in a fit of blind rage as Sakura shook her head at a scared Sachi,
“Big brother likes to tease. His jokes hurt sometimes but others are funny. Assy here still can’t take a joke though.”
Asuna broke the club over Tyler’s body and was standing their panting from the exertion of her rage moment. Tyler patted her on the head with a patronizing manner.
“There, there, Asuna. At least you are still good at beating things.”
Asuna was on the verge of a full on blacked out rage as Tyler teased her. Sakura sighed cutely.
“Poor Asuna. She has to spend so much time beating idiots she’s gotten TOO good at it.”
Tyler looked at Sakura as he kept patting.
“I can turn that into a hilarious dirty joke, Sakura. But Lorg’s not here.”
Asuna had a strained voice now.
“I guess you don’t need that arm.”
He looked at her as if just noticing her and pulled his arm back.
“Oh. Hi Asuna. When’d you get here?”
If it was possible to explode from rage, Asuna WOULD have right then and there. The poor girl was quivering hard as her eyes twitched from the jackassery as Tyler let her off the hook or she really WOULD blow a fuse.
“So, Asuna. What we dealing with?”
She rubbed her head as Sakura gave her an ice cold drink for her now pounding headache.
“That idiot there attacked the boss head on and lost 30 players of the scout force. From what he told me, 6 health bars, high defense with a nasty counter. No instakills, but really high attack. Wielding a greatsword and is a dog headed boar thing.”
Tyler nodded and looked at the party.
“Sachi’s a helluva spear shielder. She’ll pony up with me, Asuna you know the drill.”
The red and white clad girl looked at the blue haired girl curiously.
“She’s good with a spear?”
“Her spear skill is 445, Asuna.”
“HOLY. The hell girl? Why you hide it then?”
Sachi blushed.
“Coal said in my last guild they already had a good spear user.”
She looked at Tyler in disbelief. He shrugged.
“Sachi’s got a confidence issue. Her friends were really holding her back.”
Asuna smiled at that and looked at Sachi anew.
“Okay, Sachi. You are going to be a legend now once Gore gets some lessons in that cute head of yours. We’re wasting time.”
Tyler patted Sachi on the back.
“Stay close and listen for yells.”
She nodded and the four of them went in as Sakura looked at Asuna.
“Where’s kiri?”
Asuna sighed.
“I sent him the message abut he never replied.”
Tyler sighed.
“idiot needs to learn to let stuff go.”
Tyler took the lead and booted the doors open to get a look at the boss. It stood 9 feet tall with a boar’s tusks in a dog’s head. The thing wielded a massive greatsword and Tyler tilted his head.
“Hmmm. Well that’s different. Ready ladies?”
Sachi took up a stance with the shield up and the spear poking around it for a vicious stab. Her blue eyes were still scared though.
Tyler smiled as he pulled his staffsword.
“Stay close Sachi.”
“Let’s start this mess!”
Tyler surged forward with Asuna on his right, Sachi his left and Sakura firing arrows from the back. The boss roared as Tyler launched the first shot.
“Demon rush.”
He hit the thing hard and a visible portion of the first health bar dropped as Sakura’s arrows hit the thing in the heart, dropping half the remaining first health bar as Asuna pulled a flanker to hit the tall boar thing 10 tens in 5 seconds dropping the first bar and moving into the second as Sachi lunged with her spear. The tip glowed as she stabbed the belly of the beast before recoiling with a spin. Roughly a quarter of the health bar dropped from that ONE attack. Tyler smiled widely.
“It’s vulnerable to pierce attacks!”
The girls nodded as Sachi threw her shield up to block a greatsword shot, only to tilt it to the side at the las second for a mere deflection that did a quarter damage. Her health bar dropped but was still green as Tyler leapt over her for a vicious stab with his new twin blades as Sakura shot another heart shot followed up by an Asuna stabber. Sachi used another heavy pierce skill and stabbed it in the heart. The thing shattered outright due to the highly powerful spear Tyler had given her, the 5x multiplier for a heart shot, and the spear in the hands of a high leveled spear user. Tyler and the three girls just looked at Sachi as the shy girl got the final attack bonus. Poor Sachi was gaping at the fact she just killed a boss with her own hands! Then Tyler busted up laughing.
“See? Sachi’s a badass!”
Asuna just sheathed her Rapier with a look of disgust as she looked at Tyler.
“How the hell did he lose 30 players to that thing? All you’d have to do is hit the thing ONCE in the heart and you’d know.”
Sakura was hugging Sachi for a good kill as Tyler sighed.
“I’m thinking the idiot may have played knife in the back. Sachi, Sakura. Let’s get that portal up.”
They nodded even though Sachi was still stunned by her victory. Tyler set a toll of 95 droy before leading the ladies to the nearby tavern. There they fed on meat and ale as Tyler kept an eye on the portal. Sachi was just smiling proudly as Asuna looked at the Demon.
“So, you think he killed his own party?”
Tyler had an arm around Sachi’s shoulders which put a proud blush on her face.
“It makes sense Asuna. Think about it. That thing’s major weakness was piercing attacks. ONE shot from Sachi here dropped like half a health bar per hit. Her awesomeness notwithstanding. ANY idiot that got this far would be able to pick on that. Fact he was the ONLY survivor lends more credit to the theory.”
Sakura was happily eating as the heavy talks went on as usual. Sachi was confused.
“Why would someone want to kill the entire party?”
Tyler shrugged.
“Many reasons Sachi. A mere disagreement sometimes is all it takes. Hell. I’ve seen people in this game literally kill someone for spilling a mug of water. Most likely reason? A mass hit by Laughing Coffin.”
Sachi shuddered at the name as Asuna sighed.
“They’re getting a lot bolder with their crap. Heathcliff is trying to locate their hQ for a raid.”
Tyler frowned.
“Tell him when you get a fix to let ME handle the raid, Asuna. He refuses send me the spot and I’ll go.”
Sachi blinked.
“But their murderers! You can’t kill them all alone!”
Tyler looked at her.
“Sachi. Since the doors shut I’ve killed upwards of 55 players with my own hands.”
She went white at that. Sakura was engrossed in her meals as Asuna looked at the now terrified girl sympathetically.
“Gore here kills those that TRY to hurt US, Sachi. To that end there is nothing he will not do to keep us alive and safe.”
Tyler looked at her now.
“I told of my past, did I not?”
She nodded still shaking in fear.
“You did.”
His eyes went hard as steel and his voice to cold steel.
“I will DIE before I let you suffer like I did Sachi. There is nothing I will not do to ensure you never feel the same pain. If I have to, I’ll happily slaughter every other player in this game. I’ll use MY darkness in my soul to protect the light in yours.”
Sachi was paper white at the force of his voice and the look in his eyes. Sakura giggled.
“big brother protects us.”
Sachi looked at the pink haired girl and relaxed as she remembered his desperate fight to save her and her friends. She sighed ruefully.
“It just caught me by surprise, Gore. You having killed that many people an all.”
He patted her blue hair fondly.
“That’s fine Sachi.”
He looked at Asuna.
“If the HQ is found, Asuna.”
She nodded.
“You’ll be the first I tell. Heathcliff wants to imprison the members of Laughing Coffin. And to be honest? I do as well. But I also remember your point on just loping the branch rather then save it. Especially their leader PoH.”
Tyler looked at her.
“You know the name of the leader?”
She shuddered.
“He’s the one with the Mate Chopper. The most dangerous and sadistic player in the guild. Right now Gore? Only YOU or Kirito or Heathcliff can take him down. Anyone else? Even me? I’d lose and Sakura would too.”
Tyler took a drink then.
“The Mate Chopper eh? PoH. I’d know that acronym anywhere. PoH. Prince Of Hell.”
Asuna shuddered again and so did Sachi.
“He’s the real deal, Gore. If you see him, PLEASE, just kill him? Like drop whatever you’re doing and KILL that guy. No else can.”
Tyler smiled.
“He pops up again I’ll shatter him for kicks. Sounds like the Coffin Fucker forgot he’s in the DEMON’S playground.”
Sachi smiled at that.
“Wow. He DOES have good one liners.”
Sakura giggled.
“Big brother’s awesome. Asuna’s pretty, I’m cute and you? Eh. You got dat rack.”
“Wow. She’s got a cute setting too?”
“She’s very cute.”
“She is. The boobs help.”
Kakashi sighed as the friends laughed as he looked at Arthur.
“This man. PoH. I’ve seen him pop up in a few other live streams.”
Arthur rubbed his chin.
“How bad?”
The Yakuza boss lit a cigar.
“That man is what we yakuza know as a Man slayer. He’s the type we hire for making people vanish. Tyler will have a fight on his hands if he tries to kill him. That said, Asuna was right.”
Sakura’s god father looked at him,
“About which part?”
Kakashi sighed again as he let out a puff of smoke.
“Tyler IS the only one that can kill that monster. The only question is if he walks away from the fight. Tyler’s the Demon. What will happen when the Demon meets the Prince of Hell?”


“Nice one Sakura!”
“Got it!”
The three friends were on floor 44. Two months had gone by and with it 9 floors. Tyler, his sister Sakura, and his girlfriend Sachi were deep in the wilds on floor 44. Tyler was seeking the boss with a hint of excitement as then he’d be able to buy his house on the floor for the girls. He’d had a hunch on where the boss was and had led the revamped party into the in-question dungeon. Tyler had just shattered the last skeleton in the hall as the girls popped potions. Sachi had improved in leaps and bounds under the firm guidance of the Demon siblings. Her gear had been upgraded for the higher floors but was the same style and color. Sakura had swapped her pink top for a pink fur tube top while Tyler still rocked the red coat and white shirt. He sheathed his staffsword over his back as Sachi put her spear and shield up.
“Damn, Sachi. Nice spearplay.”
She blushed as even after two months of running with Tyler and Sakura, she was still shy and a little timid. But that just added to her charms for the red clad boy as he hugged her warmly.
“Alright. Let’s move.”
She smiled as Sakura patted her.
“Let’s go Sachi.”
The party moved off at a dead run like always, and now Sachi had no problem keeping up with the siblings. Tyler smiled as he saw Sachi’s Ds bouncing from the running. Yup. I am LOVING the bounce factor. Sachi blushed as always when she got him checking her out. Sakura just happily hummed along to Tyler’s music.
“That one is…..Black clover.”
Sachi beamed with pride at her otaku status. It had become a game for the pair of them. He’d play an intro or something and she’d guess the show or title. The song ended as they found a large set of double doors. Tyler grinned.
He sent the heads up to Asuna, Lorg, Kirito and Gabol with the added stip to hurry if they wanted in. He got a reply from Asuna rather quickly.
“I’ll be right there. Don’t you DARE go to that house without me.”
He smiled at that. Next was Gabol and Lorg saying they were busy at that moment. Kirito didn’t respond. Some odd reason he’d just stopped really talking to people period. They’d ran into him a few times in the wilds but the boy in black just said a few words before jumping to somewhere else. Tyler sighed as he saw the message got read but no reply.
“Come on man.”
Sachi sighed as well.
“I heard he killed a Christmas mini boss alone as his friend Burke and his guild had to fight off the Holy Dragon alliance.”
Tyler tilted his head.
“Burke? Don’t think I’ve met the guy,”
Sachi shrugged.
“He’s a samurai like Lorg but a scruffy guy. He’s a good person and is fun.”
Tyler and Sakura looked at each other.
“Wow, Kirito.”
“I think Lorg’ll get a kick outta that one.”
Asuna came running up not too long after with a look of excitement on her face. Tyler smiled as he hugged his fiery sister.
“What up Asuna?”
She smiled as she got a hug from Sakura and Sachi.
“I’m good. So, you seen the thing yet?”
He shook his head.
“Not yet. Ready ladies?”
They smiled as he booted the door open to the boss room. Inside was a large winged creature with a snake head and a sickle. The boss fight was a boring one as the thing swung the sickle before jumping. They killed it and Tyler set a toll of 95 before taking off running to the east towards a far off smudge on the horizon. Asuna and Sakura with eagerly excited expressions as Sachi was just plain curious what the fuss was about. Tyler and the three girls ran hard for three days and nights as Asuna sent a message saying she had an issue to handle with an old friend. The group entered a large biome on the side of a vast ocean as they raced to a set of high cliffs looking out at the ocean. Tyler had an extra spring in his step now as they spotted a large cabin on a cliff looking out at the ocean. The girls gasped as they saw the place up close. It rose two floors above them with a wraparound enclosed porch with a deck out back that had a staircase leading to a hidden beach all within the protected playerhome area. Tyler paid for the place and he now had TWO homes. He led the ladies inside and they gasped at the warm, invitingly cozy feeling of the cabin on the cliff. The place was a log cabin theme with a massage parlor looking at the ocean with space for up to four at a time, three bedrooms with beds for 6 at a time, a surprisingly small living room with a U shaped couch looking at a massive flat wall space clearly meant for watching TV. Tyler led them to the kitchen and Asuna just shook her head as it was more or less identical to the one in the Hut on floor 6. Tyler then led them to the hidden beach and they found a small beach house with another parlor, bedroom for 6 and kitchen. Sakura and Asuna were awestruck, but Sachi was blown away by the way the main cabin felt. Once that door shut it felt like the world was just gone. Tyler smiled as he swapped to his trunks.
“House rules ladies.”
Asuna snorted as she swapped to her bikini.
“You just like seeing us in swimsuits.”
Tyler sat on the couch smiling.
“And can you blame me, Asuna? Me girlfriend’s a hottie!”
Sachi was blushing again as she swapped to her bikini and sat beside Tyler as Sakura headed for the massage parlor. Asuna just smiled.
“I like this place too, Tyler.”
He smiled proudly as he wrapped an arm around a still blushing Sachi.
“Glad you like it. Which is better. This place or the hut?”
Asuna frowned.
“The Hut wins just for the beach setting.”
Sachi smiled.
“I like this place. Feels very…..homey. the Hut just feels like a high end vacation home.”
He stroked her blue hair,
“That’s why this one won the home design competition, Sachi. Here ANYONE can feel like they’re at home.”
Sakura was heard moaning under her masseuse’s soft touch and Asuna took the cue.
“I think I’ll go join Sakura. Been too long since I had a good spa day.”
Tyler smiled at that as he relaxed on the couch with Sachi. The girl cuddled up against his side with a still nervous expression as he held her warmly. He smiled as he stroked her soft skin. Little by little the shy girl was coming out of her shell and he loved it immensely. She rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes.
“If you’re tired, let’s lay down.”
She opened her blue eyes and gulped.
He stretched out and got a few cracks in his spine that made Sachi smile as she laid beside him. She was facing him as he took her warm hand, getting another shy blush as she closed her eyes as he closed his. When next he opened them Sachi’s face was less then an inch from his. He could even feel her soft breaths as she still slept. He smiled at the closeness, I really want to kiss that girl. He had an arm around her back and start gently rubbing her back in a soothing manner as she snuggled the closer, burying her face into his chest like a warm pillow. He smiled fondly as she did and hugged her. He couldn’t hear Sakura or Asuna anymore but he could hear them breathing nearby and smiled as he stroked Sachi’s soft hair. She woke up with a yawn then, and noticed where she’d pressed her face. She went red as a tomato as she saw she’d cuddled into his warm chest like a teddy bear. She looked up to see him smiling at her with warm eyes.
“Hey, Sachi. Sleep well?”
She was instantly shaking as she nodded.
“Well. Good. You’re very warm.”
She blushed,
“Thanks. You are too.”
He loved her soft, breathy voice. He hugged her tighter,
“Plus really fun to cuddle with.”
She squeaked softly at the hug, still nervous at the physical contact aspect of a relationship. Tyler was a patient one and just loved hugging her and stroking her soft hair. The couple laid like that for a bit before his stomach rumbled and she smiled.
They got off the couch and went into the kitchen. Tyler smiled as he saw Sakura cuddled up into Asuna’s arms. Sachi smiled at that as well.
“They looked so cute like that.”
Tyler stole a picture and she giggled softly.
He walked in and let his girlfriend ply her craft as he just watched and DIDN’T touch a thing. Sachi made a simple meal for the pair of sandwiches and soda as they watched some camera feeds from the hub. Tyler smiled as he saw the place already filling with players.
“Looks like the place will be packed soon.”
She nodded as she ate.
“Good thing we usually get lost somewhere.”
He smiled at that.
“That’s a part of the reason we go so far. Less idiots to trip over. Hell. This cabin is next to impossible to find unless you KNOW it’s here. We made the trip here in a solid three days and nights run at our pace of travel. For the average player we’re looking at easily a week long trip. Not many bother with that kinda travel.”
Sachi sighed.
“And they have no idea what they’re missing because of it. That night sky cave was beautiful.”
HE smiled.
“I made a video of it. And it’s still wasn’t as beautiful as you are Sachi.”
Sachi just let the steam flow off her as she ate her sandwich with a happily embarrassed look on her freckled face. Tyler smiled as he made her poor mind go BOOM from the flattery. Yet another thing about her he loved. He looked out the nearby window and smiled.
“Okay. We’ll blow three days here for a recharge. Then we go hard. I want to be on floor 50 by the end of the month.”
She nodded.
“Okay. I’ll do my best.”
Asuna came in then having geared up in her Bloodoath gear. He smiled at her.
“That time?”
She smiled sadly.
“Sadly. Any longer and I risk a search party.”
He hugged her.
“Ya know the hideout now.”
She got a hug from Sachi and Sakura before heading back to her duties as second in command as Sakura fed on more of Sachi’s skills. Once she was fed however,
“Can we get going please? I’d like to keep moving.”
Sachi and Tyler smiled.
“Sure, Sakura.”
“Gear up ladies!”
Tyler and the two girls spent the next two weeks on a rampage. They crashed several raids and stole the kills of Asuna and her assault force with smiles on their faces as the other players just laughed. In time a new saying was heard throughout the game world.
“When the Demons smile, the monsters get piled!”
The trio did indeed reach floor fifty not long after. Then 60 a month later. That was when progress slowed to a crawl again as the monsters had become far stronger out of nowhere. Tyler and his two friends called the rapid advance halted and began the hard grind again. They were at that point neck deep in a oddly digitalized set of canyons hunting the dog headed creatures for kicks. Tyler still loving his staffsword with Sakura on the bow and Sachi her spear and shield. They killed their mob and were smiling as Tyler looked at their collection of mats.
“Let’s head for 55’s market ladies. Unload time.”
They nodded and made the jump. 55 had become the main hub for trade in the game for some freakin reason. The party landed and set off inside the player safezone that was set in a rather odd corral looking place. Tyler’s flashy red coat with Sakura’s pink and Sachi’s blue making people just get the fuck out of their way.
“Holy. It’s the Demons!”
“Is that Sachi the Lancer? Damn she’s hot!”
“Dude! LOOK! That’s the DEMON’S girl!”
Tyler grinned at the speaker that had called Sachi hot.
“Ya damn right MY girl a hottie.”
Sachi blushed at that as the imposing party walked off. The speaker looked at his friend.
“See? That’s TWICE!”
“Dude, the fuck? Go buy a damned lottery ticket, I dare ya.”
Tyler and his friends laughed as a loud scream was heard from the left. They looked to see a man come flying out of an upper story window with a noose around his neck with a weirdly pronged sword in his armor.
Tyler recognized Kirito’s yell as the man shattered as a woman screamed in horror. The crowd gaped in horror as Asuna came down from inside the building with a grim look.
“Everyone look for the winner icon!”
Tyler and his friends did,
“Oh SHIT.”
He walked forward now as NO such icon was seen. The crowd split and Asuna sighed with relief as the Demon stepped forward.
“Oh thank god. We got a fuckin problem.”
Tyler looked at Kirito, as this was the first time he’d seen the guy in months. He was still a black haired, black eyed guy that rocked a one handed weapon. Only his coat was new. It was till black and hung to his lower legs with black legs, gloves and a trifecta crest over his heart that held his black one handed sword. Tyler noted the intense look in his eyes as he thumped his back.
“Well look what the cat threw up? What up Kirito?”
The black swordsmen rubbed his now sore shoulder as he got a warm hug from Sakura.
“Hey, Gore. Hiya Sakura. Hiya-who the hell are you?”
Kirito was utterly confused by the blue haired, busty beauty beside Tyler with the spear and shield. Tyler smiled as he patted her.
“It’s Sachi, Kirito. My girlfriend.”
The boy had to look at the now shyly blushing Sachi closely until he recognized her.
“Sachi? Holy. I didn’t recognize you! You’re dating Gore?”
She had a happy blush now as she snuggled under his arm.
“Yeah. Have been for close to 9 months now.”
Tyler patted her hair as Kirito just shook his head with a smile.
“Wow, Sachi. You look amazing. I’m glad you’re doing okay.”
Tyler got serious then.
“Okay you two what the happened here?”
Asuna nodded at the tower the now empty noose hung from.
“Let’s talk up there.”
“Sakura the sword.”
“Got it.”
“Sachi. Shield up.”
“Already is.”
The group headed up to the tower and Tyler with Kirito looked the place over. The room was a simple guard room with a single table that had the rope tied to it leading out the window. Tyler frowned as he looked at it.
“Asuna, from the first instant you saw the fall to getting in here, how long was it?”
the red head leaned on a wall.
“I’d say maybe 15 seconds.”
Tyler looked at the exit points.
“At your speed. Yeah we’re missing something here. There’s only THREE ways in or out. The stairs there, the window itself, and that small window looking out at the town. If it was a duel, the numbers for the countdown would be seen inside AND outside. Plus with how fast you are? You’d have seen them.”
Kirito had a different take.
“I’d say it was too elaborate for a duel. Someone wanted revenge.”
Tyler took the sword from Sakura.
“Wow. That’s a light one. Hmm.”
Tyler swung it a few times. The weapon was 4 and a half feet long with little pronged a various points in the sword. Unsatisfied, Tyler put it away.
“I don’t like this. Who was that guy?”
Asuna crossed her arms.
“Not sure. He wore the armor of the Holy Dragon alliance. He was last seen with a lady.”
“The one that screamed?”
Tyler looked around anew.
“If those idiots found a new exploit to get around the no kill zones the fighting force will just shut the doors entirely. Kirito, Asuna, let’s party up and see just what the hell is going on here.”
Kirito looked at Asuna.
“I’m a solo player. But I’ll make an exception this time.”
Asuna took his hand.
“I don’t like this either. Just try not to nap on the job.”
Kirito had a bemused look on his face.
“Except you were the only one napping.”
Asuna got a sour look on her face and twisted her wrist, nearly snapping his as Tyler and Sakura looked at each other bemused.
“It me or we seen this before?”
Sakura sighed.
“Assy’s a handful. Kiri’s an idiot.”
Tyler AND Sachi snorted at that as Kirito and Asuna gave them death eyes. The party made they headed for the interview with the lady as Tyler held Sachi’s hand, making her blush nervously. Sakura was happily skipping along as they found the woman in question in a nearby inn. Tyler took a spot against the wall with Sachi nearby. Sakura was hugging the distraught lady as Kirito and Asuna did then talking with the eyes of the Demon watching. Asuna started.
“What’s you name miss?”
Her voice kind and gentle as she talked. The lady had purple hair, freckles and blue eyes in heavy plate armor. She was shaking as she replied.
“Rose. Wandering Rose.”
Tyler blinked.
“Wow. That’s…ah…kinda weirdly poetic.”
Sachi nodded in agreement.
“It is. I like it.”
The lady smiled reflexively as Asuna spoke again,
“That man. Who was he?”
Tyler noted a flash in the lady’s eyes as she looked at Asuna.
“His name was Morg. He was a heavy lancer in the Alliance and my current boyfriend. Why? Why did he have to die?”
Kirito spoke now, the boy’s voice a bit firmer.
“Did he have any enemies?”
Rose shook her head.
“No. he was always kind, and strong and always willing to lend a hand.”
Tyler took a different approach.
“Okay, Rose. Let me ask it this way, can you think of anyone that would WANT him dead?”
She narrowed her eyes as she thought, and Tyler saw the same flash of something in her eyes. He leaned over to whisper in Sachi’s ear,
“That lady’s hiding something. Heads up.”
She blushed as usual but had no other reaction. Sakura and Kirito caught that secret message loud and clear but gave no outward appearance of it. Asuna missed the movement but noticed Sakura’s pink eyes became slightly harder and that was enough. In the real world, Kakashi just shook his head at the team.
“That boy went and built a damned black ops team! One sentence and movement and the entire squad is on alert with the damn target knowing nothing and she’s sitting right there!”
Rose went pale then,
“We were a part of a guild six months back that split up rather badly when our leader was killed.”
Tyler frowned now.
“What set the fireworks off?”
She was shaking now.
“a rare item that increased dexterity by 20 dropped. The guild was seven strong with the leader, Grwelda, making 8. The guild voted on whether to sell it or keep it for the guild. Five voted sell, three voted keep. I, Morg, and one other voted keep. Our leader, Grwelda, was killed as she was on her way to sell it. We found out a few weeks later.
She looked up nearly hysterical.
“Was Morg killed because he didn’t go along with Grwelda’s wish? Has she come back as a ghost?”
Tyler looked at her,
“Lady. First off. Calm down. Second? Ghosts are not a part of SaS. Third? The third guy that opposed the sale. What was his name?”
Sakura was hugging the lady as Sachi and Kirito drank in the proceedings. Rose for her part just broke down sobbing as she mourned her dead lover. Tyler sighed, knowing the interview was over for now. The lady was shown to a secure inn before the party regrouped at a tavern to discuss the information. Tyler came right out and said.
“That lady was lying through her teeth.”
Asuna and Kirito crossed their arms.
“I’m not so sure, Gore. She just lost her lover. How would you feel?”
Tyler placed his head in his hands.
“That’s a fair point, Asuna. It were me? I’d hunt the bastard down and make them scream until I got bored. But that’s me. That lady’s got a secret.”
Kirito took a drink of tea.
“I got the feeling she’s hiding something as well. That said? The leader’s death?”
“That’s bugging me as well. A revenge play for a kill six months old? I’m sorry but that’s a stretch.”
Sakura threw her two cents out.
“It could be as simple as the ring never left the guild.”
Tyler patted her as he looked at Asuna.
“In the Bloodoath, how’s the loot sharing work?”
She shrugged.
“If you get it to drop yours.”
Sachi spoke now.
“In the black cats we’d lay out whatever we got from a raid and let the guild look it over until everyone had something they liked. Whatever was leftover was sold.”
Tyler and Asuna looked at each other.
“Wow. I like that.”
“Me too. I guess Coal was a good leader after all.”
Kirito chuckled.
“He was decent. Was more about having fun and enjoying life then actual leveling. I heard they follow the assault force after the boss raid.”
Sachi smiled.
“I’m relieved they’re doing okay.”
Tyler poked at a bowl of soup as he reviewed the events.
“We’ve got that sword. That thing’s custom made. I’d bet droy on it. I don’t have an appraisal skill, and neither does Sachi or Sakura. It’s kinda been irritating me how I can’t get the damned skill to appear.”
Kirito nodded.
“Yeah same here. If YOU can’t get it to work, then it’s a special one alright.”
Asuna rubbed her chin.
“I got a friend that has it but she’s usually really busy.”
Tyler thought it over, as Kirito had a thought.
“I think I know someone that has it.”
Tyler smiled.
“Let’s hurry up and get this puzzle solved.”
They nodded and moved in force. Kirito had them jump to a town on the 45th floor. The place reminding Tyler of an Arabian nights bizarre. The party followed the black swordsmen to a shop down an alley as a player can out with a dejected look as Gabol’s booming voice was heard,
“Ya’ll come back now ya hear?”
Kirito smiled as he walked in,
“Still breaking souls with those raw deals?”
The big man fist bumped him,
“Hey now, don’t go slandering my good name.”
Asuna stepped into view and Gabol had Kirito in a headlock,
“The hell you doing with Asuna the Lightning flash? I thought you played solo!”
Asuna smiled as Tyler’s red coat was seen behind her. Gabol gulped then as the Demon walked in.
“Oh this can’t be good.”
Tyler smirked.
“I swear to god, we’ve done this before. Could just be me.”
Sakura came bouncing in lighting the room up with her cute for a hug.
The big black guy gave Sakura a warm hug.
“Well, if it ain’t Little Sakura? Mustn’t be as bad as I thought then!”
Tyler smiled as Sachi stepped in shyly as usual. Gabol just blinked as she snuggled under Tyler’s arm, CLEARLY comfortable there. Now flabbergasted, Gabol looked at the Demon.
“Ummm, Gore? Who’s the model?”
Asuna’s smile became stained as Tyler smiled proudly.
“This is Sachi, Gabol. She DID work for you. Oh. And she’s my girlfriend.”
Sachi blushed at that as Gabol’s jaw dropped.
“You mean to tell me, that sweet, shy, mousey girl is THAT beauty there? AND she’s YOUR girlfriend? Like what the HELL!?”
Tyler smiled as he patted Sachi fondly.
“Like I said before Gabol. Be amazed by what the shy ones bring to the table.”
That made the man shake his head,
“Fair enough. So what’s the new crisis?”
Tyler became grim.
“We got a major fucking problem, Gabol.”
He nodded and led them to a backroom.
“The resort is under NPC control as I’m needed on the higher floors.”
Tyler shrugged as they sat around a table with Sachi beside him.
“This point no biggee. Okay this is what we know.”
Gabol nodded as he heard of the murder in the safezone.
“So you think she’s got a secret?”
Tyler nodded as Sakura laid out flat with her head in his lap like a dog.
“That woman has a secret. But right now we need information on this.”
Tyler passed the weapon over and Gabol took it.
“Huh. I’ll try my appraisal.”
“Outta curiosity, where’d you get yours?”
Gabol smiled,
“It’s a bought skill in a select few shops. You have to have a high smithing and perception to use it though. Even then it’s a rare.”
Tyler shrugged.
“If it were THAT easy.”
Gabol looked at the thing as he pressed the appraise icon.
“Hmm. It was made by some named Grimlock. “
Tyler frowned,
“Anything special about it?”
Gabol looked.
“Not that I can tell. He’s not one of the top blacksmiths that’s for damn sure. Must be a new guy.”
Kirito took the weapon now.
“Well. Here goes.”
Asuna’s grabbed him in a mad panic as he was about to STAB himself with the thing.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Kirito looked at her confused,
“We need to find out if this thing has any special properties, right?”
The now frustrated red head took the weapon as Gabol smiled.
“You’ll love this. That thing’s name? Guilty Thorn.”
Tyler and Kirito looked at each other.
“That’s the name an executioner gives to their weapon of choice.”
Tyler looked at Asuna.
“Let’s go have a word with Rose again.”
Gabol sighed.
“I’ll keep my ear out in case I hear anything interesting.”
The party jumped to the floor and had Rose meet in the tavern again. Tyler was directly across from her again as Asuna conducted the follow up. Sachi and Sakura on either side of the lady with Kirito on Asuna’s other side. Rose seemed to be doing much better now as Asuna started.
“Rose. Does the name Grimlock mean anything to you?”
She started at the name.
“Grimlock? He was Grwelda’s husband in game.”
Tyler blinked and took up the questions now.
“He was?”
the purple haired lady nodded.
“He was. I guess they knew each other IRL or something.”
Tyler leaned back.
“How was their relationship?”
She smiled at the memory.
“Solid. Grwelda was a strong, fearless, extremely skilled swordswoman who was also beautiful.”
“That helps.”
Asuna smacked Tyler absentmindedly as Rose smiled.
“Sorry about him Rose. He’s an idiot.”
Tyler chuckled.
“Nearly forgot what an Asuna whack felt like. So their relationship?”
Rose relocated her train of thought.
“Grimlock was always smiling and they never fought. Never had a disagreement and were so fun be around.”
Tyler frowned.
“did he oppose the sale?”
“No. he sided with his wife. Only myself, Morg, and Lanx didn’t.”
Tyler looked at Rose closely.
“Who’s Lanx?”
She sighed,
“A heavy lancer in the Bloodoath.”
Tyler looked at the expert and Asuna shrugged.
“I know him. Barely. He’s a helluva tank though. I’ll have him join us.”
Tyler looked at Rose.
“Grwelda have any issues within the guild?”
She shook her head.
“We all loved her.”
She looked at him in fear.
“Am I next? Maybe Grimlock wants revenge for us not siding with his wife?”
Tyler sighed as Kirito stepped in,
“Once the sale choice was made was there any arguing?”
Rose shook her head again.
“No. We were fine with it really once the choice was made. Grwelda went to town and that was the last we heard.”
Tyler sighed.
“We’ll figure this out Rose. You go rest some more.”
She nodded gratefully and went back to her room. Soon as she was gone Tyler looked at the party.
“we’ve got motive now.”
Asuna and Kirito sat across from him as Sachi settled under his arm. Sakura just imposed on a snuggle with Asuna.
“What do you mean motive?”
Tyler rubbed his eyes.
“Morg was probably killed for knowing WHY AND HOW Grwelda died. A loose end. My best guess? Grimlock set up his wife to take the ring. Morg was in on it and bam. No one will look into a killing for a kill 6 months old.”
Sachi disagreed.
“If he just wanted him dead, why put on such an elaborate showing?”
Tyler frowned.
“You’ve a point there. Asuna?”
she closed her UI.
“Lanx will be here in an hour.”
Tyler nodded.
“Something’s bothering me about this whole mess. Asuna, you have rose in your friends list, right?”
Confused she nodded.
“Yeah. Why?”
Tyler looked out the window at the tower.
“I’m starting to get the feeling we’re on a wild goose chase. The only thing we really know for certain is that sword was made by Grimlock. Yet there HAD to be another person in that tower for the setup to play out properly. Asuna is the fastest period. Faster when she has a purpose. There is no way a bastard can get out of that room up there WITHOUT her seeing him. Plus what Rose said about a ghost.”
Kirito had a thought.
“You thinking a faked death?”
The red clad boy shrugged.
“Maybe. We’ll know more once we put Lanx and Rose in the same room together.”
They nodded at that and waited the hour. Lanx was a broad shouldered bear of a man in plate armor. Rose was sitting in a big chair near the open window as Tyler, and Kirito leaned on walls nearby. Sakura was next to Tyler and Sachi as Asuna stayed close to the duo. Lanx had been told and was processing the information.
“Rose it doesn’t make any sense! We’re talking 6 months, why would Grimlock do this now?”
Rose hugged herself as she replied with a slight hysteria,
“It’s Grwelda’s ghost come back to exact revenge.”
Tyler was instantly on alert at that as Lanx started shaking,
“Ghosts don’t exist Rose! Grwelda’s dead. Morg’s dead too.”
Rose just started laughing in a creepy manner at that as she backed against the window. Tyler was already moving as he approached the weirdly hysterical lady.
“We need to face what we did, Lanx. WE killed Grwelda. We should have just agreed to-agh!”
A thud was heard as Rose’s expression was seen to go numb with shock. She rotated and a long dagger was seen sticking out of her back. Tyler was moving like lightning with Kirito behind him. Rose fell out of the window and shattered before hitting the ground. Tyler then spotted man in a cloak on a rooftop across the street.
Tyler was across the gap with Kirito the next instant. The man ran and Tyler threw a throwing knife with Kirito’s hunting nails he used for SOME freakin reason. Tyler blinked as he saw his knife bounce off something as the man used a crystal.
The frustrated pursuers halted and Tyler looked at Kirito.
“That bastard had a deflect skill ready.”
Kirito nodded.
“Or a deflect thrown enhancement in that cloak.”
Tyler gave a frustrated growl.
“Ya got me bastard. You ain’t gon git away again.”
The boys returned to the girls and Sakura was shocked.
“He got away?”
Tyler sighed.
“He had a deflect skill ready. Only reason.”
Asuna tossed him the dagger.
“We’re looking at the same guy.”
Tyler looked and gave a disgusted snort.
“That’s the same design. Great.”
Lanx was shaking hard at what he’d just seen when they walked in.
“There really IS a ghost. Grwelda’s come back for revenge AND I’M NEXT!”
Tyler smacked him.
“You’re a knight of the Bloodoath under Asuna. ACT like it.”
The man got his fear and emotions under control as Asuna whistled.
“Damn. Nice.”
Sakura smiled.
“Big brother doesn’t let you break down.”
Lanx looked at his second and command.
“I need…some time to think.”
She nodded and they reconvened in the tavern now. Asuna and Kirito sat across from each other. Tyler next to Kirito with Sachi across from him with Sakura happily humming beside him. Tyler frowned as he flipped the dagger.
“Back to square one. Fucking perfect.”
Sachi had a question.
“What’s the next step?”
Tyler shrugged.
“Not sure, Sachi. Okay. Best thing to do right now is review.”
Asuna nodded.
“good call. Okay, we had a fully armored knight die from impalement and hanging in a safezone. The sword was left behind. His lover, Rose along with him and Lanx were part of a guild six months ago that had their leader die. The lady was bringing a rare ring to sell the guild voted on to sell five three. Rose, Morg and Lanx voted against the sale. Grimlock, Grwelda’s in game husband, forged the weapon that killed Morg. Now Rose is dead with talk of a ghost.”
Tyler ran the information though his mind as Kirito sighed.
“I guess marriages are a mess even in SAS.”
Tyler smirked.
“They’re a mess anywhere, Kirito. I’ve never seen one work and I look for it.”
Asuna snorted.
“Boys. The marriage in SaS is both practical AND romantic. YOU two just don’t have a proper appreciation.”
Sachi nodded in agreement.
“I for one WANT to get married in game. It seems SOOO romantic too!”
Tyler looked at Asuna.
“Sounds like SOMEONE has a hidden confession there.”
Sakura snorted as Asuna threw a fork at him,
“I just SAID it’s Practical and Romantic! There’s PLENTY of benefits to it too!”
Kirito laughed.
“Like what?”
Asuna huffed.
“Well for one shared storage, another the marriage band that boosts dexterity, BEING LOVED for another.”
“Hol up.”
Tyler had a lightbulb go off as he looked at Asuna.
“Shared storage is a thing in an in game marriage?”
She nodded.
“Yeah. The spouses share inventory space and get increased space as well. Like a shared bank account.”
Tyler smiled.
“Those kinds of marriages always end in flames. But not the issue.”
Kirito blinked now himself.
“Asuna, if a spouse dies what happens to the items in storage?”
She gasped,
“They go to the surviving spouse!”
Tyler rubbed his eyes.
“God DAMN I hate these types of messes. Grwelda was set up by her husband for the ring. Rose and Morg knew it as well. Maybe Lanx too.”
Kirito rubbed his eyes now himself.
“The ghost is just Grimlock making sure NO loose ends.”
Tyler nodded as he looked out the window at the darkening sky.
“That fits. Another marriage gone down in flames over a bad ring.”
They laughed as that as Sakura knocked her sandwich on the floor and it shattered. Her look of heart break made everyone laugh.
Tyler and the others looked at Kirito as something clicked. Tyler frowned then he snapped his fingers.
“I think I just read your mind.”
Kirito looked at Asuna.
“You UI. See if Rose is still under friends.”
Now confused she nodded as Tyler explained.
“There was no death. They faked it from the get-go. The shattering was just their armor as the DURABILITY ran out. Palm a teleport crystal and have a cloak ready and bang. You a walking dead.”
Sachi frowned.
“What about Rose? She was hit from the window.”
Kirito explained.
“She had a dagger in her armor keeping an eye on the durability. Didn’t you see she NEVER ONCE TURNED HER BACK TO US?”
Tyler took up the thread from there.
“And once she was out the window her armor shattered as she teleported. It looks IDENTICAL to when a player dies. So, they were looking for who killed Grwelda and had Lanx fingered as the killer.”
Asuna gasped,
“Says here she’s alive and on the 45th floor in a small clearing!”
Tyler nodded,
“That’s it then. Shall we go say thanks for the chance to play detective?”
The party laughed as Tyler looked at Asuna.
“Grimlock set up Grwelda and had Lanx do the chopping. Odds are he’s in the area.”
She smiled as they made the jump.
“I’ll get em.”
The hunters landed at the nearest town and Kirito pulled a horse as Tyler with the girls just ran. The party ran as fast as they could popping speed potions. Asuna vanished into the trees as Tyler pulled his double bladed staffsword for added scare. Sakura laughed as she saw Kirito on the horse.
He huffed.
“Not everyone’s a freak ya know.”
They chuckled as they ran through a fog encased forest with empty branches everywhere. Tyler smiling as they spotted a massive tree ahead through the fog.
Then he spotted a set of figures ahead. One proned on the ground, two in cloaks by the tree with three more in ragged cloaks. Tyler’s razor eyes spotted a familiar cleaver and his grin died.
“You are MINE.”
The group looked at the sound of hoof beats to see Tyler and the party racing at them. The leader of laughing coffin saw the light in Tyler’s eyes and smiled nastily.
“Bring it boy!’
Tyler dove into a heavy attack as the Demon met the Prince of Hell. The cloaked man’s two companions jumped backward as Tyler spun his staffsword WITHOUT saying a name which made Sakura squeak.
“Oh he’s serious!”
PoH used his agility to avoid the whirling blades of the Demon with a back spring only to lunge with his cleaver as Tyler’s attack ended. The demon flipped sideways making the man break off his attack as the second blade missed him by inches. Tyler then planted his feet for another clash as PoH rushed to meet him without fear. Tyler’s blade was deflected as PoH scored a hit to the chest on the Demon, dropping his heath as Tyler flipped along his sword length to give his own slash that dropped the man’s health by the same amount. The men jumped back for a reattack as Tyler grinned.
“Now THIS is a fight!”
PoH laughed.
“Yer just like me boy! This is gonna be GOOD!”
Tyler rushed him with a sadistic grin as PoH rushed as well. Tyler spun his staffsword as PoH swung his cleaver and the two beings of darkness clashed. Tyler making use of his weapons design to send PoH off his stance for a pivoted lunge as the man kicked in mid air for a heavy chop that Tyler used the second blade on his weapon to send in the opposite direction as he jumped backwards. The result catapulting PoH high as Tyler also had to scramble for footing. Tyler’s face stretched into a gleeful grin as he charged at him again. PoH matching his grin exactly as he dodged and deflected stabs and slashes and Tyler deflected swings and smashes. Tyler’s grin stretched wider as he knocked PoH’s mate chopper aside and twisted on his hilt making his blades become two throwing the assassin for a loop as Tyler pressed his attack with an over shoulder shot with twin blades. But PoH was a veteran of the ring like Tyler was and stepped aside to score the second hit on the Demon, which was responded with a nasty slash to the chest the dropped the health bar the exact amount. PoH charged this time as both fighters were in the yellow as their respective parties watched the sparks and flurry of blows hypnotized as the Demon met the Prince of Hell. Tyler deflected another shot with a pinning stab he used the momentum of to deliver a savage boot to PoH’s face that knock him back a step before landing on his feet and lunging with a twin sword skill PoH managed to lock with his own single weapon. Tyler had his blades in and X cross as PoH had his Mate Chopper in the center of the X in a classic test of power. Tyler and PoH still wearing their grins of dark delight on their faces as they locked blades and eyes. Tyler’s smile took on a demented tone as he pushed PoH backward with his greater strength. The cloaked and hooded man laughed as he dropped back on a knee joint to launch Tyler over him to land on his back. Tyler was rolling like a log as the man went for the death blow only for Tyler to lock the blade of his cleaver in the dirt and kick him away from it. Now fighting bare handed the men charged.
“Hey! I got him!”
They looked over to see Asuna leading a man forward at Rapier point. Tyler looked back at PoH and the assassin looked at him with the same expression. PoH laughed.
“Another day BOY!”
Tyler laughed as well.
PoH and his two teammates retreated as the mood of the death match had been ruined. Tyler retrieved his staffsword as Kirito came over utterly shaken by the savage battle he’d just seen.
“Dude. You’re a monster.”
Tyler smiled widely.
“No. Not a monster, Kirito.”
His eyes shown with a dark light.
“I’m a DEMON.”

Kakashi just sat back as the room was shaken badly by the intense deathmatch they had just seen. Even Tyler’s mother had come in to witness what her son was truly capable of. Arthur looked at the boy on the bed with a new fear.
“That was…..I don’t have words.”
Kakashi did.
“That is what happens when two born in the dark clash, Arthur. That PoH. He’s another Tyler to the point it’s terrifying. That battle will be saved and sent to the TV stations as a glimpse into the battles the Demon fights. Tyler has just found someone in that game that CAN challenge him head on. And Tyler NOT just kill him.”
Tyler’s mother was shaking.
“That light in Tyler’s eyes, Kakashi.”
“It was the exact same as PoH. I saw it too. when those two meet again, one will die. There can be no other outcome.”
Tyler drank a health potion as Sakura and Sachi came forward utterly scared by the battle. Tyler smiled at them.
“Well that was a bust.”
Sakura gulped.
“You okay big brother?”
He smiled and they all saw the dark light was gone.
“Yeah I’m okay, Sakura. I little tired but nothing too serious.”
He stretched hard.
“Been a while since I had to go THAT hardcore though. Kinda rusty.”
Sachi just looked at him with huge blue eyes.
“That was RUSTY for you? You just held your own with the leader of Laughing Coffin! Alone! No one else would even DARE!”
Tyler smiled as he patted the girl.
“And how often do I actually have to TRY, Sachi?”
Sakura giggled.
“fair enough!”
Tyler looked at Asuna as she led the now terrified man forward.
“So. Enjoy the show?”
Asuna was shaking so badly her rapier was wavering against the man’s back.
“You were fighting PoH head on as an EQUAL.”
Tyler shrugged.
“I’ll get em next time. Now. The current pain in the ass.”
the party walked forward to see Lanx getting a potion given to him for the paralyzer dart by Rose and Morg. The trio were also shaken by the intensity of the deathmatch they’d just seen. Rose looked at them sheepishly.
“Sorry for lying to you.”
Tyler smiled as he looked at them.
“Let me guess: you told Grimlock about the plan to flush out Grwelda’s killer and asked him to forge the blades, right?”
Morg and Rose gasped as Lanx gaped.
“We did.”
Asuna pushed her prisoner forward. The man was dressed like a waist coated banker complete with monocle and top hat. Tyler didn’t like him already as he saw the look of a snake in his eyes behind the large rimed glasses. The man greeted his former guildmates.
“It’s been a long time, Rose, Morg, Lanx.”
Morg glared at him,
“Grimlock. YOU killed Grwelda?”
The man shook his head.
“Not at all. She was already dead.”
Tyler sighed now.
“Oh. NOW I get it.”
Sachi and Asuna looked at each other then came to stand beside the red clad boy as Grimlock was confronted by Lanx.
“What do you mean already dead? Explain yourself Grimlock.”
The man did.
“Grwelda was my wife in real life and we got married in game. Out there she was perfect. Beautiful, kind, timid too. she and I never had an argument or a disagreement and we were happy.”
Here he frowned.
“Then we got trapped here. I was terrified of dying and my sweet Grwelda began to change. She was wild, and fearless and stopped listening to me entirely.”
Tyler sighed.
“God dammit.”
Grimlock looked at him curiously before continuing.
“So as time went on I realized I loved her still. Yet the new way she conducted herself was ruining the image of her I had of her. The ring provided the perfect excuse and Lanx the perfect puppet. Simply put the envelope in our shared storage addressed to her. Those gentlemen took care of the rest.”
Here he smiled with a demented fervor.
“I got to keep my sweet Grwelda-“
“Dude. You lost her the very moment her strength became apparent.”
Tyler cut him off as Asuna spoke up as well.
“A relationship is all about learning new things about each other and growing together. Yet all YOU wanted was a damned bed warmer. The perfect wife. You stopped loving her the instant you became possessive and selfish!”
Tyler had a disgusted tone now.
“Grwelda sounds like a helluva lady to me and I’ve never MET the chick. As soon as you realized she was stronger then you, and she didn’t NEED you for really anything you lost it. You murdered your own wife just for the satisfaction your hand gives you. I hope you’re proud of yourself.”
Rose, Lanx and Morg took up spots around the now gibbering man. The purple haired lady looked at Tyler and the others.
“we’ll take it from here. Thank you for your help.”
Tyler rubbed his eyes as he looked at Asuna.
“I really hate people like him. They get the best thing handed to them on a damned plate and ruin it.”
The Demon looked at Sachi smiling as he walked to stand beside her.
“You okay?”
She nodded smiling as she had a question, which Asuna also asked Kirito.
“If you were already married to someone, and you found out they had a side to them you never knew was there, how’d you react?”
Tyler smiled.
“I’d say well played. If I’m married to you, then you have my heart by the balls. And anything else you bring to the table after the fact is just a bonus. A very welcome bonus.”
Sakura just gaped at the fact Tyler AND Kirito just spoke in stereo the exact same thing at the exact same time. Sachi and Asuna were also gaping as the boys realized this and looked at each other stunned.
“Is it weird I’m terrified?”
“Trust me Kirito, I am right there with you.”
“Hey, who’s that lady?”
Tyler and Kirito looked at the tree to see a tall lady with flowing black hair and armor smiling at the from under a tree limb. Tyler just sighed,
“great. We get the point. Ghosts ARE a thing in SaS.”
The lady smiled at that, and Tyler smiled back.
“Well. Guess I was right. You WERE a helluva lady. Grwelda.”
He put his arm around Sachi then. She smiled as Asuna looked at a gaping Kirito. She looked back and the lady was gone. Tyler walked over and looked at a plaque on the base of the tree.
“Typical. That’s her gravestone.”
he took a shot of it and stored it to his helmet.
“Never forget.”
The players nodded at that simple statement before walking away as the sun broke over the horizon with the tree encased in light. The party never noticing a tall lady with a flowing cloak smiling at their receding backs before turning to continue her own adventure into a realm we all know exists, but cannot see.
“That was a most…..beautiful thing?”
Kakashi sighed.
“We just saw something that defies everything we think we know. Like Tyler said. Never forget.”

“Got it!”
“Pink Popper!”
Tyler and his two friends were back on the hunt. They on floor 63 as progress had slowed to a crawl due to the strength of the monsters. Tyler shattered the minotaur they were fighting and popped potions as Tyler smiled.
“Good kill ladies.”
He got a hug from Sachi as Sakura looked at loot. The shy girl having become much more affectionate after the mess with Grwelda. She was still shy though. The trio were looking at loot as Tyler looked at the road ahead.
“we’ll head out. We need to unload again.”
They nodded and followed the red clad boy out of the cave. Tyler’s sense for loot was still extreme as nearly every week they had to go unload due to the mass drops. He had his girlfriend’s hand as they walked out into a forested area near the main hub. The dungeon having been a first find for the party that Tyler wanted to get a look in. Now they walked along the small trial just enjoying the breeze in the trees as Sakura happily bounced along beside the couple. Tyler was looking around when he spotted movement in the trees as a large rabbit hopped into view.
She saw it too and dropped it with a perfect heart shot the very next instant. Tyler looked at her loot Ui and they gasped.
“That’s S-class!”
Sachi gaped at the find.
“we’re keeping that, right?”
He grinned.
“Oh HELL yeah.”
There was a loud squeak and the sound of a shatter ahead. The now curious party walked ahead to see none other then Kirito looking at a UI for loot.
“Oh you have GOT to be shitting me. Yo! Blackball!”
Kirito looked up to see the trio walking towards him and blinked.
“The FUCK?”
Tyler and him clasped hands smiling.
“That’s MY question. The hell you doing up here?”
The boy in black jabbed a thumb at another trail.
“Just wrapped up the daily grind and headed home. You?”
“More unloading at the hub. We’ve been loading up to full rather fast now.”
They laughed at Kirito’s wince as Sakura used her pet name for him.
“Hey, Sakura. Hi Sachi.”
She smiled kindly.
“What’d you kill Kirito?”
The boy showed them and they looked at him.
“Okay that’s a weird fucking coincidence. Dude.”
He showed them THEIR latest kill and Kirito blinked.
“Okay. The FUCK? TWO grand king Hares with in THIRTY feet of each other? That’s just not supposed to be possible.”
Tyler shrugged.
“It’s a video game. Just gonna smile and nod.”
Kirito shrugged.
“I’m headed to Gabol’s shop. You wanna come ruin his day?”
Tyler grinned.
“Dude. Raise your bar. We’re going to ruin his WEEK.”
They laughed as they made the jump to 55. Sachi happily holding Tyler’s hand as Kirito had Sakura hanging on him like a brother, making the black coated boy EXTREMELY uncomfortable. Tyler smiled at that.
“What? You worried your IRL sister will get jealous?”
That got a snort.
“More worried about Sakura’s next setup.”
The three laughed.
“Okay. Fair point.”
“Sakura’s an evil genius at setting others up for whatever.”
“Heey! Mean!”
Sakura’s miffed bawl made them smile as they found Gabol’s place. The big man was on edge as they walked in.
“Oh shit. There goes my day.”
Sakura giggled.
“You look like THAT Gaby! There goes the WIFE!”
The other three busted up laughing as Gabol just FELT his wife’s laugh at the cute jab. Tyler unloaded the party’s junk and Kirito went to sell the S-class meat.
“You sure you wanna sell it?”
Kirito sighed sadly.
“I don’t. But if we tried to cook it we’d just burn it.”
The man sighed.
“Yeah you right.”
Tyler opened his mouth.
Asuna came walking in to the shop right then. Kirito blinked and grabbed her hand with a look of bliss.
“I’ve found my chef!”
“Hey, beater let go of the second in command.”
Tyler was instantly irritated as a man with a thin face walked in in the Knight’s red and white behind Asuna. Again Tyler opened his mouth.
“Corin. That is my friend. You are dismissed.”
Corin was reluctant to leave his superior’s side.
“Ma’am, I cannot in good conscience leave in such a place with such deplorable company. As your bodyguard.”
Tyler busted up laughing, scaring the living hell outta Asuna in the process. Corin just jumped. Asuna then, AND ONLY then, noticed Tyler, Sachi and Sakura in the same shop looking at her. Tyler recovered from his mirth and wiped a tear as he looked at the indignant Corin.
“Dude. Fuck OFF. I trained Asuna myself on this game. She don’t NEED a bodyguard period. YOU do if you piss me off. Now. She just gave you a direct order. Be a good little snake and slither back into your hole. Bah-bye.”
Asuna hugged her brother as the now humiliated man walked out in a huff.
“I guess I’m going soft, not even noticing YOU in the room.”
“Assy! How can you miss ME? I’m the Cutie in Pink! Kinda hard to miss in a shop of mud brown and brick red.”
Asuna had a more….embarrassed look now in the face of Sakura’s hurt tone.
“Okay. I needed that. I’m sorry Saky. C’mere.”
Sakura got a hug from her sister as Sachi got a hug from Tyler just cause. Though the Demon smirked at Gabol and Kirito.
“Oh now that was a dick move.”
“I don’t think I deserved that.”
Tyler just grinned at them as he let the busty Sachi go in a way they bounced.
“Dude. Come on.”
“That’s just not cool.”
“Fuckin asshole.”
Tyler and Sachi, having caught on to the silent jabs just smiled.
“So, Asuna. What’s with the stiff?”
The red head sighed in pain.
“Heathcliff wants bodyguards with all the officers now for SOME reason.”
Tyler noted the look of tiredness.
“The guild getting to that point again?”
She nodded with a tired expression.
“Yup. Every day more regulations and rules come down the pipe and frankly? I’m getting tired of it.”
Tyler walked over and patted her reassuringly.
“You know, the Heavenly Demons always have need of their second in command.”
Asuna smiled happily.
“I’ll hold out a bit longer. But I think we’ll be roaming together again soon.”
Tyler smiled as he looked at Kirito.
“Hey. Wanna raise hell like a Demon again?”
That got a grin,
“I’ll have to think about it. But I am SOOO tempted.”
Asuna looked at the boy in black now.
“You said something about a chef?”
Kirito smiled.
“Check it.”
He showed her the S-class food and her eyes lit up. She then looked at Kirito with a fire in her red eyes.
“Okay, Kirito. I’ll make you a deal.”
He gulped.
Her eyes were blazing.
“I’ll cook it for us. As long as we share it. Agreed?”
He nodded.
She smiled eagerly now.
“Alrighty then. And I assume you don’t even have a pot right?”
He shrugged as Tyler and the others watched the proceedings like wildlife observers.
“No. My cooking sucks so I didn’t bother.”
She sighed.
“I guess since it’s a special occasion. Okay, Kirito. We’ll go to my place on 58.”
He blinked at that one.
“Ummm. Okay.”
Tyler was then noticed again and Asuna blushed.
“Um. I-“
“we got our own place to be. Sachi here’s got a new recipe to show off too.”
The blue haired girl smiled widely at that as Asuna mouthed a quick thank you for giving the out. Tyler smiled at a stunned Gabol as the party left the shop.
“Now I’ve seen everything.”
Tyler walked with Asuna and Kirito to the hub teleporter as the trio were hopping to the portal in the cabin on 45. Kirito seemed very nervous at the thought of going home to Asuna’s home. Tyler smiled at that before looking at the fiery red head.
“If those idiots at the guild give you any grief, Asuna. Set the Demon loose on them.”
She nodded.
“I will. Heathcliff heard of your fight with PoH.”
“His reaction?”
She sighed.
“I think he feels threatened by the fact you not only held you own as long as you did, but injured him as much as you did.”
Tyler sighed.
“Any word on their HQ?”
Asuna shook her red haired head.
“None. We’re working a possible mole in the guild but no dice.”
“You know that if you send ANYONE in there to take out the guild they had better be prepared to get blood on their hands.”
She nodded grimly.
“I’ve told that to Heathcliff. He’s set on his plan of capture and imprison.”
“Ask him this one: if we just imprison them, and when we get out they get to run wild again, what’s to stop them from killing again?”
“I asked him a better one.”
She sighed.
“What if they get set free in the real world after imprisonment and kill someone he loved. Wanna know his response?”
“Oh this oughta be good.”
“He said at least they got a CHANCE TO BE BETTER.”
Tyler had to lean on a wall.
“Asuna bail. Just get out of that guild. You’re led by a blind man.”
She sighed.
“I’ll give it a few weeks. See how I feel. No regrets. Ya know?”
He nodded smiling.
“Just remember the Demon looming up behind you just waiting for the word to spread the wings of hell.”
They ALL gaped at him then. Sakura just smiled.
“Another gem of a one liner.”
Asuna and Kirito jumped and so did Tyler and the two girls. Once inside the cabin Sachi got the food going as Tyler and Sakura played together in the next room. They having swapped to a different outfit for house living. Tyler in a T-shirt and jeans and work boots, Sakura in a cute pink shirt with shorts and sneakers. Sachi having opted for a tank top and short shorts with light boots as she made the high class meal. Tyler pinned Sakura down with a forearm as she bawled.
“Dammit! How come I keep losing?”
He chuckled as he lifted her off the floor.
“Because I taught you everything you know of fighting.”
She grumbled as she lost again.
“I will GET you Big brother. Just you wait.”
He rubbed her hair affectionately.
“You’ll have to work for it, Lil Sis.”
The sat on the couch to relax as Sachi joined them. The blue haired girl snuggling right up against Tyler as he put his arm around her. He smiled as Sakura rolled onto her back.
“I wonder how Lorg’s doing? Haven’t seen her in like 9 months.”
Tyler patted her.
“Probably off on a lower floor. Most likely fine.”
Sachi was curious.
“Who’s Lorg?”
He smiled at his girlfriend.
“That blonde samurai we’re friends with.”
Sachi blinked.
“Oh. Her? I heard her and her guild joined the assault force as a reserve. They work hard at it too.”
Tyler chuckled.
“Lorg can take care of herself.”
Sakura blinked.
“What about Yuka?”
Tyler sighed.
“Her? Odds are she’s a lower rank in the Oath now.”
Tyler patted Sachi.
“You’d know her as Grimoire Rose. My first girlfriend IRL.”
Sachi jumped at that revelation.
“YOU dated Grimoire Rose? She’s said to be one of the fiercest sword and shielders period! She LEADS a branch of the assault force that handles mini bosses on unknown floors!”
Tyler chuckled at that.
“Nice to hear she hasn’t kicked it yet.”
Sachi seemed a little uneasy knowing her dream boy’s first girlfriend was in the game, AND was such a legend.
“Me new girl’s the better one though.”
“See? She does cute!”
Sachi smiled as she blushed as her boyfriend picked up on her emotions. There was a ding and they feasted on S-class rabbit together Sachi had done up in a stew that was simply divine. Tyler smiled as Sakura wandered over to the couch after stuffing herself and passing right the FUCK out on it. Tyler looked at the beautiful girl across from him as she refill their glasses with tea.
“I haven’t had S-class food since… Since the grand river serpent on floor 10.”
Sachi smiled as she remembered.
“The cats were still on floor 4 then. We heard of how the Demon and his Sister tore the boss apart on floor nine with the help of a red head and a boy in black.”
He took her hand smiling.
“And now you’re DATING the Demon.”
She smiled proudly.
“I am. And I love it.”
HE stroked her hand with a thumb as she looked at her glass shyly.
“I wonder how Asuna’s getting on?”
Tyler smiled as he let her go.
“I’m sure she’s fine. She’s my sister too.”
Sachi had a sad look now.
“I heard the Assault force hasn’t been getting many recruits lately.”
Tyler sat back now.
“I kinda figured they wouldn’t. at some point people were going to just give up and live in SaS. I heard in a shop we were in the other week the number of active fighters looking to clear the game is hovering at 5000.”
Sachi blinked.
“That few? It took 15000 to find the last boss! Even WITH us going everywhere we do!”
Tyler shrugged again as he filled her up this time.
“I’m amazed it’s that high, Sachi. We’ll be fine as we love a good fight. Asuna and Kirito too. at some point it WILL just be us five that have to clear the game. Everyone else will just accept their lives.”
Sachi slumped dejectedly.
“That sucks. At least we have the Demon. Long as we got you we have hope.”
He chuckled.
“And as long as I have YOU, Sakura and Asuna. I will KEEP fighting.”
Sachi blushed again as she took his hand in his.
“I’m so happy we met, Tyler.”
Eh squeezed her hand lightly.
“I’m so happy you said yes, Sachi.”
She just smiled at him. The pair’s hearts were pounding as one as they leaned in towards each other over the table. Tyler seeing her eyes close and felt her hand shake with nerves as they were about to kiss….PING! The message indicator killed it. Sachi blinked and jumped back in surprise.
“Oh, you might wanna check that! It might be important!”
Tyler just sighed.
“If it’s not an emergency I am going to SMACK them for ruining that.”
She blushed as she smiled.
“I’m sure they’ll be another. Right, Tyler?”
He smiled at her.
“Of course. Sachi.”
He opened it to see a message from Asuna.
“The Heavenly Demon’s run together again! Kirito’s in too.”
Tyler smiled widely at that.
“Okay. Good enough.”
He sent the guild invite and got the accepted icon and the duo joined them not long after. Tyler smiling as he saw the new glow about Asuna and Kirito as they walked in.
“Oh NOW it’s a party!”
The friends did indeed party hard that night. Their guild was back together. Tyler and Kirito got into a fight, Asuna and Sachi argued over anime, and Sakura just got spoiled by all and sundry. The five friends made memories Tyler used his camera feature to save to his helmet before they all crashed. Kirito got a couch, Sakura snuggled with Tyler, as Asuna and Sachi cuddled up together.

“we just saw their family get reformed Arthur.”
The yakuza boss smiled as the friends feeds went dark from them sleeping. Arthur had a different take.
“More reunite. They never STOPPED being a family, Kakashi. They just split for their own adventures. Now they came together to share adventures together again.”

“Heads up!”
Tyler slashed through the skeleton as Kirito came up behind him for the shatter as Asuna and Sachi had a skeleton between them while Asuna shot arrows from afar. The five friends were deep in a dungeon on 65 hunting the boss the only way the Heavenly Demons can. The skeletons shattered and the group drank stamina potions. It was the day after the party and they were going strong, high on running with family. Tyler hugged Sachi as Asuna and Kirito looked at loot. Sakura on overwatch.
“Alright, let’s move. I want this place cleaned out by noon!”
The word given the hunt was back on as the smiling party raced to the next kill, Tyler in the lead as always, Sachi behind him, Asuna to his right, Kirito his left and Sakura in the rear. The monsters ahead got hit by the freight train that was the Heavenly Demons as they came upon a set of double doors. Tyler smiled at the sight.
Asuna nodded.
“Let’s see what we’re dealing with then get the word out. This point, Gore? Not even WE can handle bosses alone anymore.”
Tyler sighed.
“Sadly, Asuna. You’re right. Goes against the grain a bit but let’s get a look.”
He booted the door in and sighed again.
“Another Minotaur. Great.”
The party retreated to a small safezone down the passage and broke for lunch. Asuna having a small basket for Kirito and her as Sachi had a small cooler for Tyler and Sakura.
“Hey, Asuna. Any word on Laughing Coffin?”
She sighed.
“I heard the place was found and Heathcliff is building the attack.”
He looked at her.
“The place?”
She shrugged.
“Somewhere on floor 5. All I was told.”
Tyler pulled his map of floor 5 up.
“5 eh? Pff. I know where they are. Here.”
She looked at a hidden dungeon.
“How are you so sure?”
“Because that place is listed as a guild hideout. Once cleared out you can buy it and it WON’T appear on any map except for those that were already there. It’s that place with the weird floating steps.”
Sakura groaned.
“I HATED that place!”
Asuna blinked.
“I remember now! That place freaked me out! Oh fighting them in there is going to be a nightmare.”
He sighed as he closed the map.
“Just get a good boot and BAH-BYE!”
Sachi gulped.
“I don’t think I can kill another player, Gore. Can I stay at the hut? Please?”
He hugged her warmly.
“Of course Sachi. This will be a job for those that ALREADY have bloody hands. Namely me and Sakura.”
Asuna sighed sadly as Kirito ate his sandwich.
“from what I heard, Heathcliff is NOT looking to add you two to the raid as he just sees you two as bloodthirsty monsters.”
Tyler patted his adorable little sister.
“After this boss, Asuna, we’re hitting the hideout with scorched earth the play. If PoH is there and I am NOT no one will walk out alive.”
She nodded as Kirito spoke up now.
“I’ll go too. I kinda have to.”
Tyler nodded.
“Agreed. We’re the very best we have. Plus the ones that can LIVE with the blood. I mean I don’t care, but ya know.”
They laughed as a ripple appeared in the small barrier of the haven. Tyler was on his feet staffsword ready, Sachi spear and shield up, Sakura bow loaded in a split second as a group of men in armor led by a scruffy guy in red samurai armor came in followed by a familiar blonde also in samurai armor with a petite woman. Tyler smiled widely as he saw the blonde.
“Hey! Lorg! Put a bag on! No one wants to see that!”
The blonde jumped hard as she saw Tyler looking at her. The dude in the red armor saw Kirito and was in the same boat.
“Woah, hey Kirito!”
Tyler walked over and got a hug from Lorg and Svenity as Kirito was put in a head lock by the scruffy guy. Sakura squealed.
“Lorgy! Svenity Yay!”
The small girl got her spoiling for the day as Sachi came over.
“Is this Lorg?”
The blonde and her friend were stunned by Sachi’s beauty…AND bust. Tyler smiled as he introduced her.
“Sachi. The blonde in the green bean tin is Lorg. I trained her kinda back when the doors shut. Her pedobait friend beside her Svenity. Ladies and that thing”
“Still a jackass.”
“This is Sachi. My girlfriend of what? A year plus now?”
She smiled as she blushed.
“Closer to a yeah and a half, Gore.”
He blinked.
“Cause time flies when I’m loving life.”
Lorg and Svenity looked at each other then looked over to where Asuna was getting introduced by Kirito. The older ladies got it then.
“She found hers and he found his.”
Tyler smiled as Kirito looked at him.
“Yo, Gore. Come meet my friends.”
“If they as fucked up as you I’m good!”
They laughed as the Demon walked over. The guy in the red armor had a roguish light in his brown eyes and sandy hair with a red bandana in it. He was a little nervous at meeting the Demon himself.
“Hi. I’m Burke. I guess you’re Kirito’s friend?”
Tyler smirked as he patted his armor.
“More part time babysitter.”
“Fuck you, you sonuvabitch.”
Tyler sighed.
They laughed as Tyler jabbed a thumb at Lorg.
“So, Burke. You look like a smart guy. The hell you running with that dumpsterfire for?”
Lorg had a vein bulge as Tyler’s jabs started. Burke saw this and gulped.
“She’s my girlfriend.”
“Jesus dude! Have some standards! I mean I know she’s desperate and all, but COME ON!”
Lorg had a second vein bulge and Burke was shaking as he saw the impending doom.
“Look, she’s nice. Really hot too.”
Lorg was deflating from the flattery when,
“I guess for a broken fun house mirror. Well, at least SOMEONE can tolerate that putrid thing she calls a personality. Looks, eh? Busted is as busted does. Thank god for a light switch, am I right?”
Burke just back away from him at that point and Tyler was curious.
“hey, what’s up? You look like you seen a walking sewage pipe and it asked for your number.”
Now terrified, he pointed behind Tyler. Confused, Tyler looked behind him to see Lorg holding a metal mace. He blinked,
“Oh. It’s Lorg. When you get here? Actually keep quiet, I like you better like that!”
Lorg just proceeded to BEAT the idiot nearly to death with the mace in a blind rage until it broke. Then she stood there panting as her rage subsided.
“Wow, Lorg. I’d say nice moves and all, but it’s you. Can you stand up now? You’re……making me nervous down there.”
Lorg was once again RIGHT to black out rage as Burke trembled in fear as the blonde was on the verge of drawing her katana and KILLING the boy. Tyler smiled as he let her off the hook or risk a blown fuse.
“Hey, Lorg.”
She growled at him.
he grinned.
Poor Lorg had to sit down as her head started pounding from Tyler. Sensing the danger had passed Burke came up to Tyler with a look of fear.
“Dude. You got a deathwish.”
Tyler chuckled as he patted the guy.
“Nah. Just a fucked sense o humor.”
“Yer telling me.”
Then he became serious.
“Okay. About an hour’s walk that way is the boss room. Lorg, Burke, don’t. the fact we’re HERE and not IN there is reason enough.”
Lorg nodded as she drank some water.
“That bad?”
Tyler sat with Burke, Lorg, Asuna, Sachi, Kirito and Sakura as the rest of their parties rested. The Demon passed the map data around.
“That bad, Lorg. Right now the plan was to get the word out and set a proper strategy up. The bosses are just that level hardcore that not even I’m confident in my party’s ability to kill it without casualties.”
Burke crossed his arms.
Tyler smiled at Lorg.
“Wanna kick ass for ole times sake?”
She grinned widely now.
“Oh FUCK yeah! Burkle here loves hearing of the heavenly Demons!”
“Wait. Back up. YOUR nickname for HIM is Burkle?”
Lorg went white as she saw what she had just done. Burke too as Tyler grinned a sadistic grin.
“You tell the joke I’ll beat ya to death.”
“Yes Asuna.”
She shivered hard at that.
“Jesus never do that again!”
“Yes Asuna.”
“STOP! I feel really old now!”
“Like her?”
he jabbed a thumb at Lorg.
“Or him?”
He jabbed a thumb at Burke. Burke snorted.
“Piss off. I’m only 21.”
Tyler looked at him and opened his mouth.
“I swear to god you say it I’ll shove Svenity’s spear so far up your ass we can carry you like a spitted deer”
“Yes Lorg.”
Now LORG shuddered.
“Dear god that hurts! Svenity. The spear?”
“Good boy.”
“Wow, Burke looks like someone’s got a tight leash.”
Burke choked on his drink! Lorg had a twitching eyelid at Tyler’s NEWEST jab. Everyone else had nearly laughed to death as Lorg recovered enough to speak. Albeit in a extremely strained voice.
“Are you saying I’m a dom?”
Tyler looked at her curiously.
“I didn’t say anything about doms, I just said you have a tight leash. The hell you get DOM from?”
Lorg just grabbed Svenity’s spear as her fists went white as she fought to NOT kill him. Tyler smiled at Burke.
“Lorg is SOOOO fun to fuck with. I bet YOU know better an me, right?”
Burke just looked away as Lorg broke a fresh mace over Tyler’s head. Asuna looked at Svenity now.
“How many o those does she have?”
The petite lady laughed.
“We have a set tab for ‘Gore beating implements’ in our guild storage.”
Tyler looked at her amazed.
“Wow. Nice to see I’m important to her.”
Lorg was about to hit him for it,
“Oh. That wasn’t a jab. Weird.”
Tyler hugged Sachi smiling.
“I may love fucking with you Lorg, but I hope you know it’s just in good fun. Well. Kinda.”
She smiled at that.
“And I hope YOU know I do so enjoy breaking things on you.”
Tyler looked at Burke concerned.
“Dude. You poor fucker!”
Burke busted up laughing that time! Lorg just gave up entirely as Tyler got serious again.
“The boss is a minotaur with a massive greatsword.”
They nodded as a new ripple appeared behind the strategizing group. Tyler was up with his crew as usual as a group of heavily armored men came through wielding spears. Tyler watched as the man leading the company gave an order.
“Men! Halt.”
The men dropped exhausted to the ground as their leader came forward.
“We are members of the People’s Liberation army. What’s the road like ahead?”
Tyler walked forward with Asuna and Kirito. The flashy red of Tyler’s coat getting a gasp.
“It’s the Demon.”
“The Demon is here.”
Tyler addressed the man.
“We found the boss room and are planning the raid.”
The man nodded.
“Understood citizen. The map data.”
Tyler looked at his half-dead men.
“Yeah. Something tells me that’s NOT a good idea.”
He became angry.
“The army ALWAYS shares it’s data WITHOUT question!”
Tyler glared at him.
“Are you planning to attack that thing?”
“Of course! The Army NEVER halts on the march!”
Tyler smacked him with a backhand.
“idiot. LOOK at me. If I’M HERE and NOT in there, the HELL kinda boss you think we’re dealing with? I give you that data you’ll get THOSE MEN killed. So. I won’t”
Lorg looked at Sachi in shock.
“When I first met Gore, Sachi, he’d have just given the data, and walked away. Or just attacked it anyway.”
Sachi just smiled proudly.
“And he’s MY boyfriend!”
Lorg and Svenity saw the look on her face and smiled.
“Oh she’s got it bad.”
“What about him though?”
“Let’s see.”
The slapped man looked at Tyler with an intense anger now.
“How dare you stand between the people and freedom? I should expect nothing less from the Demon itself.”
Tyler grinned now.
“Okay tough guy. You want to get those men behind you killed so fucking badly? Fine. Hey. Enjoy your last moments.”
Kirito made the transfer and the men groaned as the order was given. Tyler looked at the others.
“Gear up.”
They nodded, waited 2 minutes and ran off after the group of men. Tyler and Kirito in the lead with Asuna to Kirito’s right, Sachi Tyler’s right and Sakura behind them. They heard the clash of metal and the sounds of dying men as the reinforcements tore onto the scene. The leader of the knights was holding a fellow knight up as the rest were scattered all over the place. Tyler and Kirito dove into a combo attack.
“Asuna, Sachi, Sakura, Lorg and Burke with us! Rest of you get them out!”
Tyler spun his staffsword and slammed into the beast, seeing a small chunk drop from first half of the first health bar of 8. Tyler groaned.
“This is going to SUCK.”
Kirito came in and a similar chunk dropped with Asuna and Sachi pooling shots for a nasty flurry of spear shots and rapier stabs. The same amount dropped as Sakura dropped her own impressive amount. The wounded knights were dragged from the room by Svenity and the others as the party tore into the thing. The minotaur spun and slammed into Tyler with a nasty tail shot that launched the demon into a wall stunning him for a second and dropped his health by a good chunk. Sachi took a hit, followed by Lorg, Burke and Asuna. Sakura was far enough back to avoid most attacks, but even she took a shot and got launched. Kirito was also on the ground and seemed to be fighting with a choice. Tyler sighed.
“Okay. That’s IT. SAKURA! PLAN B! Ten seconds!”
They all got it and Tyler was in his UI with Kirito. Tyler hit a few skill buttons before his staffsword vanished and a pair of broadswords appeared on his back. The weapons were another staffsword with the unique ability to shrink to the same size as his old one. Only FAR stronger. He drew them as Kirito pulled another sword as well. His being a truly beautiful blue shade Tyler loved. Tyler smiled as he hefted his black and red blades.
“What’s black, blue, and red all over?”
The two warriors charged as Tyler finished the line.
“Starburst Stream!’
Tyler and Kirito slammed home a truly devastating set of attacks wielding their dual weapons in a beautiful flurry of sync’d up shots that left the watchers gaping at the dance of red, black, and blue as Tyler and Kirito shattered the boss together. Tyler dropped with his 5 foot swords stabbed in the ground as he panted, he seeing he only had TWO HP left. Sakura came running with a potion he has to have poured down his throat as he was too exhausted to do it himself. His health refilled and he sheathed the dual blades on his back as he pulled his other staffsword out and sheathed THEM on his for a scene of two hilts per shoulder. He then looked around.
“everyone okay?”
Asuna was giving a potion to Kirito as Lorg came over.
“The knights lost five players to that thing.”
Asuna had a sad look in her red eyes.
“we haven’t lost a player in a boss fight since floor sixty.”
Burke was beside himself.
“That wasn’t a boss fight that was suicide!”
Tyler walked over to the man that had led the men and smacked him.
“I hope your happy. YOU got those men killed. Enjoy the hollow victory. Fucknut.”
The man just hung his head in shame as Tyler walked over to a recovered Kirito.
“Sooo, WHEN were you going to tell us about that trick?”
The boy in black looked away.
“I didn’t want it known I can do that.”
Burke blinked.
“How’d you do that?”
Kirito sighed and pulled his UI up.
“I was looking through my skills a while back and saw I picked it up. See? Dual wielding.”
Burke was impressed.
“Dude that’s sick! What’s the perquisites?”
Tyler sighed as he answered.
“That one’s a random drop from a monster. Only way to get it is to kill that particular monster and hope you get lucky. And it ONLY comes from that one. So, needle in a hay field.”
Burke sighed.
“That sucks. But wait a minute, YOU dual wielded too.”
Tyler shook his head.
“A staffsword is considered ONE weapon when Two. So loophole. They’re hard to find though. I made the broadsword one as since I got this one here I got the design. I got it off that t-rex with the blade on it’s back.”
Burke shuddered.
“That thing SUCKED!”
“I designed it. So thanks.”
HE blinked.
“Wait hold up. YOU made a boss?”
Tyler smiled widely.
“Time to brag. I designed quite a few things in this game. The resort on 6, the anti milking system, the hunting system, my staffsword, our hideout on 45, that minotaur with the golden axe and one shot, a few challenges, a coat I am LOOKING FOR, that idiots blood entrance, his hooded figure, annnd I think that’s it?”
Lorg tilted her head.
“Yeah that sounds right. Nice one on that rex.”
“Was my favorite for a freakin reason.”
Burke had a different reaction.
“You were a dev?”
Tyler smiled.
“Nah. Top beta tester with a talent for scaring the ever living fuck outta people.”
Kirito just patted his bearded friend.
“I’d say you get used to it, Burke. But you don’t get used to Goreleech.”
Tyler smiled.
“Let’s trip the portal.”
They did and Tyler set the toll of 95 which made Burke groan.
“YOU were the doing that? Asshole.”
Tyler smiled.
“Makes a point don’t it?”
That got a laugh as they went to the tavern to unwind after a VERY harsh fight. Tyler pulled the map of the cave on 5 as his party got their breath back. Asuna was beside him to aid in planning the raid as Sakura got hugs from all with a pulse, Sachi was on Tyler’s other side looking at the map as well while securely under his arm. Kirito was also chipping in. Tyler pointed at one spot.
“if you get kicked from here it’s an instakill.”
Asuna was nodding when she got a message.
“Looks like they’re ready to hit it.”
Tyler nodded.
“Load up! We’re going on a killing raid!”
The party nodded as Asuna looked at him.
“Kirito and I will go to the HQ. meet you in the cave.”
The hunters nodded and were off. Tyler, Sakura and Sachi jumped to 6 where he locked her in the Hut with a FULL 5 mirrors to keep tabs on them as he and Sakura jumped to 5. Sachi wasted no time and setting the contact up. The screen rippled and she found the room sleeping.
“HEY! Old man!”
The room exploded into life as Sachi laughed.
“Wow. Worked like a charm.”
Kakashi took the seat and saw Sachi ALONE.
“What happened miss?”
She sat back on the couch.
“They found Laughing Coffin. Tyler and Sakura are heading there now. I can’t kill. So I’m waiting here.”
Kakashi had another screen readied with the feed from Tyler’s eyes playing where she could see.
“Thank you sir. He’ll be fine.”

Tyler and Sakura landed at the nearest town before running off to the cave in question. Tyler had a grim look as Sakura looked at him.
“Can you win?”
He smiled widely.
“Oh hell yeah.”
She smiled at that.
“You always win.”
The siblings neared the cave set into a hidden crack as Asuna and Kirito came up with Lorg, Burke and their crews, with knights from the Bloodoath. Tyler looked around.
“Throw the capture orders out the window people. These are killers we’re hunting. If you want to walk out alive, you better be ready to kill too. Make a choice.”
The players gathered looked at each other murmuring.
“Nice to see YOU’RE heartless as ever!”
Tyler grinned as a girl in a chain mail shirt, shorts, carrying a buckler and sword came forward. Her long purple hair flopped as she walked and her blue eyes were shining. She came and stood before the group as Tyler laughed.
“Oh now this just got fun! What up Yuka?”
She laughed.
“I see you’re out for blood.”
He nodded with a dark light starting to form.
“I’m going in there to kill, Yuka. Any issues leave now.”
She drew her sword.
“Those bastards killed a friend of mine. I’ll see them ALL shatter.”
Tyler smiled at that. Then made a declaration.
“The leader is MINE. If you see a guy with a giant cleaver scream as loud as you are able.”
Tyler’s eyes lit up with the dark light from the fight.
“he. Is. MINE.”
Yuka shuddered as Tyler reached up and pulled his new broadswords. Yuka looked at Asuna.
“What the hell? He kill someone?”
Asuna just shuddered.
“Tyler and PoH are the same, Yuka. They fought once already. It was a draw. The Demon was fought to a DRAW.”
The entire force shuddered then as Tyler reopened his eyes with a bloodlust in them.
Tyler dove into the cave with the wicked grin as he led the charge. The cave went from stone to floating steps over a bottomless chasm that killed anything that fell into it. Tyler tore out onto the first step, each one being 30 feet by 30 feet. The rest of the party followed at a much more cautious pace as the hunting Demon took point.
“Come out, come out Prince of Hell! THE DEMON’S COME CALLING!”
Yuka gulped at the clear bloodlust in Tyler’s voice.
“Oh he’s wants that guy BAD.”
Tyler was two steps above when the shadows came to life. Laughing Coffin was roughly 50 strong, and now Tyler was surrounded by 15. His wide grin got just that much more sadistic.
“Where’s PoH? Rest of you are just fodder.”
A man with a pair of sickles laughed.
“Tough talk from one against 15.”
Tyler just lifted his swords.
“Bring it shadow fuck.”
They jumped on him en mass, only for Tyler to dive forward into a massive radial helicopter attack that shattered four outright.
That cry was all that he said as he shattered every person that crossed his path in a ragged cloak.
The step was clear and the sounds of battle were heard from below. Tyler still looking for blood leapt from the step to shatter a man behind Sakura before leaping at another trying to get Yuka with a dagger. He shattered as well before Tyler smashed his large weapons onto the head of one more for another shatter.
Tyler’s rage and bloodlust was scaring even Sakura as every member of the guild he came across he shattered without mercy. Kirito was in tough straits as he had to fight off two at once. Asuna took a hit and gave a startled yell. Something snapped inside the boy and off on his own rage he went, shattering the two before him as Tyler met him in the middle of the now silent step. They looked around for new prey, only to see a number had outright surrendered before the fury of the Demon and the Black Swordsmen. Tyler’s grip on his swords went white with rage as he went to the nearest Coffin member.
The man spit at him,
“Boss left. No clue where.”
Tyler shattered him without further questioning before moving to the next.
Same answer. Same shatter. He was at his third when Asuna placed a hand on his shoulder in a terrified manner. He looked at her with fury in his eyes at the interruption of his hunt, only to see her fear. Asuna was shaking badly and her red eyes were filled with fear. She gulped.
“He’s not here, Gore. He escaped.”
Tyler’s eyes went white with a frustrated rage and he looked at the survivors of the guild. He was about to pounce in a frustrated rampage when Sakura walked over and hugged him terrified.
“Big brother I’m SCARED!”
Tyler blinked and the white rage fell from his eyes like a visible mist as he swayed a moment before dropping to a knee panting. In the real world Kakashi sighed.
“It seems Tyler has a mortal enemy.”
Sachi was shaking like a leaf in the hut as she watched on the comms mirror.
“What was that sir? That was even worse then when he fought PoH.”
Kakashi sighed again.
“That was the Demon inside him, Sachi. Tyler has TWO faces. One is the one we all love and fear. The other is the one we pray he never sets loose in our direction. It’s him at his most cruel, sadistic, determined, and focused. When in this mindset, all he wants is to kill whatever set the anger loose.”
Sachi gulped.
“I’ll be careful.”
They looked back at the panting boy as he recovered from his rage.

Tyler drank a potion and got his breath back before getting to his feet with a slight wobble. He looked at Asuna.
“Sorry about that. I REALLY want to kill that guy.”
Sakura just hugged him with shining blue eyes.
“That was intense big brother!”
He looked at Kirito, and saw him looking at his hands. Tyler sighed as he sat beside him as the other cleaned up the mess.
“You okay?”
The boy in black had a look of regret on his face.
“I killed two people in that, Gore. I’m a killer now. Just like them.”
Tyler sighed and patted his back.
“No, Kirito. NOT like them. You’re a killer with a soul.”
He looked at him.
“How do you bear it, Gore? You’ve killed close to 90 people. Yet I have never seen it bother you.”
Tyler sighed.
“I can bear it Kirito, because I did it to protect THEM.”
He nodded at Asuna with Sakura and their friends. He looked at Kirito now.
“I bear it so THEY don’t have to. I’ve killed more people in this game then any besides PoH. And it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. They tried to hurt the ones I love. And paid the price.”
Kirito looked at the girls now himself.
“You did it to protect them.”
Tyler smiled now.
“Let me ask you this.”
“To protect the ones you love,”
He looked into Kirito’s black eyes.
“What are you NOT willing to do?”
The boy sat back to consider the question deeply as Asuna led the knights and captives out to give the boys space. Kakashi nodded sagely.
“And that my boy is called strength.”
Arthur smiled.
“He gave me that same line when we had that fight.”
Kirito looked at Tyler now.
“I don’t want to kill people, Goreleech. That said.”
He stood up and held out his hand.
“I WILL to protect the people I love. As long as they’re safe, it doesn’t matter.”
Tyler clasped arms with the kindred spirit.
“Not the way I’d put it. If anyone tried to hurt the ones we love, THEY HAVE TO GET THROUGH US!”
They high fived at that before heading out. Tyler looked up at the higher steps and thought he saw a ragged cloaked man looking at him with a cleaver. Tyler clenched his fist as the seemingly imaginary specter vanished.
“One day. One day you bastard. One day you will NOT have anywhere to run.”
Kirito looked at the boy now glaring at the higher steps.
“See anything?”
Tyler just flapped his coat as he walked.
“Just making a point. That bastard escaped again Kirito. There will NOT be a third time.”
The boys walked out as a faint laugh was heard.
“I’ll be waiting DEMON.”
In the hospital room Kakashi looked at Arthur.
“Tyler’s got a blood enemy, Arthur. We’ll have to VERY careful. He sees him in the street the fight to the death’s back on.”
The red haired man gulped as he saw the searing hatred and will in Tyler’s eyes.
“That boy looks like he’s ready to hunt that man into the dirt of hell. They get out, Kakashi, there’s a chance a war will break out. The War between the Demon and the Prince of Hell.”

Tyler walked out to see Asuna, Sakura, Yuka, Lorg, and Burke with their crews. Kirito looked at the people.
“Something wrong?”
Asuna looked at Tyler, noting the look of frustrated anger.
“The other survivors were sent to the prison. We’re going to rest for a bit at the Hut.”
Tyler nodded, as he felt just HOW tired he was. Yuka looked at Asuna.
“I’ll make the report to Heathcliff.”
Lorg and Burke nodded as well.
“we’ll get back to it.”
The friends jumped. Tyler walked to the cabin to see Sachi with a look of nerves on her face as she saw him. They all swapped to swimsuits as he smiled.
“Sorry about that Sachi. Kinda had to focus a bit.”
She nodded.
“I know. Just a little intense.”
He walked over and laid on couch.
“I’ll be right back after this black out.”
Sachi just watched as he did indeed black out on the couch. She looked at Sakura as she climbed up onto his chest.
“Is he okay now?”
Sakura yawned as she curled up like a cat on his chest.
“He’s fine. Just remember, THAT’S what happens when you ROYALLY piss him off.”
Asuna and Kirito had claimed spots of their own as the red head spoke up.
“And here I thought that time with the other guild was bad.”
Sakura sighed.
“They weren’t a challenge. NOR did they actually touch him. PoH is just like Tyler. Plus is every bit as heartlessly merciless. We get out, be careful. If Tyler sees that guy on the street he is going to do everything in his power to KILL him. We’re looking at that kinda hatred.”
Kirito gulped.
“I just hope he wins.”
Sakura smiled as Sachi cuddled up beside the unconscious boy.
“He’ll win kiri.”
Sakura looked at her brother.
“Big Brother ALWAYS wins.”

2 days later.
Tyler was back to full strength and was back on floor 66 with Sakura, Kirito, Asuna, and Sachi. The five of them working to find the floor boss sooner rather then later.
“Heads up.”
Tyler planted his foot to smash a large orc in the face shattering it with a broadsword. The party were near a small lake on the 66th floor and were making steady progress with levels and exploring. Once the thing was gone they all took a potion break by the water as they relaxed a bit. Tyler had Sachi under his arm. The girl how a happy snuggly girl like Sakura.
“Always easy to relax with Sachi under my arm.”
She blushed as she usually did when flattered by her dream boyfriend. HE smiled as he laid in the grass watching the clouds go by. Sachi rested her head on his chest smiling and he stroked her warm back. Tyler smiled as heard Sakura splashing water.
“Make sure you don’t fall in Sakura.”
“I can swim ya know!”
“You can. Yet what about that gator ten feet from you?”
There was indeed a gator ten feet from Sakura’s splashing spot. Sakura backed away as the leathery monster sank into the depths as the pink haired cutie rested by Tyler now.
“Thanks Big brother.”
He patted her, seeing Kirito and Asuna resting on the grass nearby. Sachi was nearly asleep right there on his chest and Sakura was about to fall asleep beside him from the warm day. Asuna smiled at Kirito when she pinged. Tyler looked over as she opened her messenger. She sighed and came over.
“We got a problem.”
He sat up and Sachi grumbled as he looked at it. Soon as he did, he laughed.
“Heathcliff is saying your LEAVE IS UP? Who the hell does he think he is? Ignore it.”
she sighed and pointed to the last bit.
“Says here if I don’t at least make the formal abandonment he’ll a bounty on the heads of our friends.”
Tyler smiled a nasty smile.
“Oh. He’s plays like that. Alright. Let’s go give some fresh nightmares.”
The party made the jump to the Bloodoath HQ. They walked right up to the gates and Tyler booted then door in to see Heathcliff with a ring of his fellow leaders of the guild waiting for them. Asuna smiled.
“I’m leaving the guild. Goodbye.”
They turned around and went to walk out the door.
“I’d like to say something before you just leave.”
Tyler looked at him with a bored expression.
“and we should care WHY?”
Yuka was walked out by the other knights. Tyler looked at Heathcliff. And smiled. Just. Smiled. Yuka was quick.
“I’m not hurt! I’m just here by request! That’s it!”
Tyler was still smiling that blood chilling smile as Heathcliff looked at him.
“If you want Asuna use those dual blades to take her from us.”
“Yuka spends the rest of SaS in a cell.”
“You DO-here.”
Tyler moved like chained lightning to shatter the three knights around Yuka and had her in his party center faster then most could see. Even Heathcliff was taken aback by that display. Yuka sighed now.
“I TOLD you, Commander that would happen. Gore’s answer to a threat of violence or anything? You get dragged to hell.”
Asuna just busted up laughing.
“And THAT’S why I left. Goreleech doesn’t play by ANY rules. PERIOD. Why the hell do you think he was able to fight PoH to a draw?”
The other knights were backing away as Heathcliff regained himself.
“Okay, Demon. I challenge you to a duel.”
“Again. WHY SHOULD I CARE? You have nothing I want nor need.”
Heathcliff scrambled after that.
“You are called the strongest player in the game. Yet you don’t seem to really care.”
“I don’t. I really don’t. Dude. LOOK at me. Do I REALLY look like I give a fuck?”
The others in his party were laughing as Heathcliff was caught by surprise by Tyler’s attitude.
“Okay. Let me make the Duel worth your while.”
“What could YOU possible have that I want? I already got Asuna. Yuka’s stronger then your entire guild and has ME looming behind her. Our friends as well.”
Heathcliff clenched his fist now.
“we found the 66th floor boss. We’ll give you the location.”
“Dude. Ya got nothing. That boss we’ll find sooner or later on our own. Or if not the next one. Have you FORGOTTEN who has more boss kills in this game then nearly EVERYONE ELSE? Combined?”
Sakura sighed.
“Just kick his ass, Big brother.”
Tyler looked at her.
“You know I hate this shit.”
She sighed as she shrugged.
“I want to see you show off.”
“Oh. I can do that.”
Tyler looked at Heathcliff.
“Alright. I win you leave us the fuck alone and don’t slaughter your guild. You win, WE don’t slaughter your guild.”
The man agreed on reflex.
“Accepted. Wait. Dammit.”
Tyler grinned as the Duel terms were set. WITH witnesses.
“And that, ladies and Kirito, is how you hustle somebody.”

Kakashi was laughing hard as he saw Tyler manipulate Heathcliff into agreeing to a stakeless duel.
“That was beautiful! He just fast talked that idiot in circles!”
Arthur was also impressed.
“That was slick. Well played, Tyler. Well played.”

Tyler was enjoying the look of frustration as Tyler played the fast one.
“So. When are we doing this?”
Heathcliff just accepted his defeat in the verbal duel.
“In two hours. It’s that kinda big deal.”
“Wow. You want an audience to your humiliation. Oh. A point.”
Tyler smiled darkly.
“Are you aware of the former guild leader, Mirackle?”
Heathcliff blinked.
“I am. I took over after him.”
Tyler’s dark light got darker.
“Remember that rumor about his health bar never hitting yellow?”
Heathcliff was suddenly on edge.
“I do.”
Tyler chuckled.
“Good. So you know that I know that you know that I know.”
Heathcliff blinked at THAT coded message. Tyler left him with a final thought.
“Oh. I was the one that outted the last guy. I wonder. Are YOU like him? Guess I’ll find out.”
Tyler and his friends headed for Yuka’s room as Heathcliff went to prepare as Kakashi laughed again.

“Oh he’s inside his head now!”
Arthur looked at him confused.
“I’m lost on this one.”
The Yakuza boss laughed as he explained.
“Tyler knows Heathcliff has a cheat like the other guy. And is letting him know, IN FRONT of others he knows. That, plus that point about him outing the last cheater? Tyler’s just thrown the first shots of the fight, Arthur. If you want to beat your opponent properly, get inside their head. It also seems that Heathcliff is someone rather…..important out here. I wonder.”
Tyler just shut the door before Yuka rounded on him.
“WHY did you kill those knights? They were just doing their job!”
Tyler sighed.
“To prove a point, Yuka. Heathcliff was about to throw you in jail. I’d have had to rescue you from it and I’m just not in that kinda mood. So, sit down, shut up, and relax.”
Asuna looked at Tyler now.
“You mentioned Mirackle.”
Tyler sighed now.
“I’m betting money Heathcliff IS Mirackle. As a rebuilt character to avoid his due shiving. Or, is another dev entirely.”
Kirito frowned.
“You think that cause of the rumor?”
He nodded.
“I’ll be able to drive him into the red easily. My blades are BUILT for this shit. I can cut through the metal in the Minotaurs swords on floor 66 with ease. If I CAN’T cut through, I have my answer.”
Asuna looked at Kirito.
“This fight is going to be a big one Kirito. If the Demon wins, we’ve got a normal guild leader in Heathcliff.”
Tyler frowned.
“if I lose, we got a hardcore cheater.”
Yuka just sat down as Tyler leaned on the door in case of eavesdropper. The two hours passed and Tyler was teleported to a large arena now packed with roaring fans. The Demon walked out in his flashy red coat as Heathcliff walked out in his red armor. His weapon being a flower shaped kite shield and longsword. With an extremely bored expression on his face Tyler met the man in the middle of the arena. The crowd was going wild as the timer started from 20. Tyler sighed as he pulled his broadswords to start.
“I REALLY have better shit to do then entertain an old man with a superiority complex.”
Heathcliff frowned as Tyler’s legendary jabs started. Lorg smiled as she watched from the stands.
“Oh he’s gonna tear him apart with the jabs alone.”
Tyler looked at the man as the timer counted down from 10.
“So. How’s it feel knowing a mere BOY has more fame then YOU do? Eh? Ya worthless knock off Akaharaba Kayaba!”
The timer dinged and the fight was on as Heathcliff, incensed by the Demon’s taunt, launched the first attack. Tyler’s grin died and he jumped back as the man reached him faster then he should’ve been able to. Tyler gritted his teeth and deflected the shot and planted a foot on the shield to launch into a massive backflip to put no less then ten yards between them.
“Okay. Now I’m pissed.”
The broadswords were gripped in white hands as the grin was seen. Asuna and Kirito looked at each other.
“He was right.”
Tyler’s grin became sadistic and he was off to attack the man on the defensive. Tyler swung his blades in a savage arc with his ferocious strength behind the, and Heathcliff was able to deflect them, only for Tyler to kick him in the stomach with a vicious force from the most unlikely of postures as his body was nearly sideways. Heathcliff was knocked back two yards as Tyler righted himself to attack even faster. Heathcliff’s shield always seemed to be there to take savage shot after savage shot. Tyler’s eyes were crazed and his grin unnerving. Heathcliff shuddered at the look on the boy’s face as he moved for the next attack. Their health bars were hovering at the yellow line as both just could not get a distinct advantage over the other. Then Tyler dropped back and started laughing like a demented hyena as he stabbed his larger blades in the dirt to pull the smaller, faster ones from his back. Heathcliff took another stance as Tyler surged forward twice as fast leaving the other two blades standing point down in the dirt. The armored man was now caught trying to fend off Tyler’s fast as lightning attacks and other unorthodox methods. Tyler locked his weapons against Heathcliff’s shield and sword and they were in a test of strength. Tyler just grinned the wider. And laughed his cackling, evil laugh before spitting in Heathcliff’s eye. The man was blinded for a moment and Tyler used the sudden loss of focus to twist his blades, shattered the arm of the man and tearing his shield away. Tyler threw the shield away as the now one armed man readied his sword, only to lose the arm. His health bar dropped to the yellow and hovered over the red. Tyler kicked him in the chest hard and it launched him into a wall. His health turned red ever so slightly. Just enough to declare TYLER the winner. The smile faded and Tyler had to spend a moment panting to recover as Heathcliff used potions to regrow his severed arms. The now shaken man looked at the getting to his feet Demon.
“You’re not a person.”
Tyler laughed at him.
“I never said I was. I said I was a Demon.”
The man walked off the field as Tyler gave a last jab.
“That trick with the shield? That’s useless against me! Since it was MY idea!”
The now haunted man was lost to sight as Tyler Retrieved his twin broadswords. His friends came running and he got a hug from Asuna.
“Thank you.”
He just chuckled.
“Ah come on. You REALLY thought that idiot had a shot?”
The red head looked at Kirito. Then to Tyler.
“I’d like….to travel with Kirito for a while.”
“Hey. Like I said before, Asuna. We got a place for our second in command.”
He got a hug from Asuna and a fist bump from Kirito before the pair jumped off to somewhere. Tyler looked at the girls.
“Let’s head back up.”
They nodded at that.
Tyler, Sachi and Sakura were walking along a wooden walkway on the 20th floor as a break from the hardcore upper floors. The assault force had made a forced rampage and broken through to floor 74. In two weeks. Tyler and the girls hadn’t helped out nor had Asuna or Kirito as the farce with the Bloodoath had left a bad taste in their mouths. Sachi was holding Tyler’s hand as Sakura bounced along beside the happily strolling couple. He and Sachi’s relationship had more of less plateaued for the last couple months as they were both comfortable at their level. She was still shy and Tyler loved that about her. Sakura was still a bundle of joy to all. The trio were more exploring the floors now and Tyler had picked 20 as the others below he’d seen most of from his first go through with the girls.
“Hey. Is that a cabin?”
Tyler looked in the direction of Sakura’s point.
“Wow. It is. Let’s check it out.”
The party headed up to get a better look as none could remember a cabin BEING there. The trio advanced cautiously to the front door and Tyler looked in the window.
“Well someone lives there.”
Sakura and Sachi poked their heads in the window.
“Wow. Whoever it is has great taste.”
“It kinda reminds me of our place on 45.”
Tyler looked around the area now.
“Yeah. I’m getting that vibe as well.”
Sakura looked away as the trio shrugged.
“eh. Come on.”
They were walking back to the path when a loud squeal was heard behind them. They turned just in time to see a small girl half a head shorter than Sakura come tumbling down the small hill. She was a pretty girl with long black hair, fair skin, bright brown eyes and was dressed in a long white gown with no shoes. She landed at their feet and rubbed her head.
Tyler and the two girls just looked at the sudden arrival. Then Sakura reacted.
“Eee! You’re sooo cute! Hug!”
Tyler and Sachi laughed as Sakura nearly throttled the small girl with a hug. The girl looked up with huge scared eyes at the imposing boy in the red coat. Tyler crouched with a kind smile.
“Hi. I’m Goreleech. That’s Sachi and this here cutie is Sakura. We won’t hurt you. What’s your name miss?”
She blinked.
Her voice was soft and light. Sakura hugged her again as Tyler looked at her.
“Okay, Yui. Pretty name. where’s your parents?”
She pointed back up to the cabin.
“Mommy and Daddy are in there. I snuck out.”
He chuckled.
“Well. I wouldn’t recommend doing that again, Little Yui. This place isn’t nice to cute girls like you.”
She blinked as Tyler reached out to her.
“Here. We’ll bring you back.”
She nodded and he lifted her up like a mere flower. Yui was so small he could carry her in one arm as Sakura just gushed over the new girl.
“She SOOO cute!”
Sachi just smiled as the Demon carried the girl the size of his leg with such gentleness. They walked onto the porch of the cabin in time to see the door fly open and Asuna and Kirito come racing out with scared looks on their faces. Yui bawled as she saw them.
“Mommy! Daddy! I found a new friend!”
The group just looked at each other in utter shock. Tyler saw the rings on Kirito’s and Asuna’s hands, then looked at Yui calling them mommy and daddy, to the cabin, then back to the couple.
“Okay. Waiter. 1 explanation please.”
They sighed and smiled ruefully.
“I guess we forgot.”
Tyler walked into the small cabin and set Yui in Asuna’s arms. Then they sat on a set of couches as Kirito explained.
“Me and Asuna got married in game about a week and a half back. We bought this cabin and been living here since. We found Yui in the woods about three days ago. Says she doesn’t remember where she came from or who her parents are. So we’ve been taking care of her.”
Tyler nodded.
“Okay. You married my sister. And I didn’t get an invite or even a heads up. Fuck you. Now. I’m an uncle. Again. No heads up. Again. FUCK YOU. And third? FUCK YOU.”
Sakura and Sachi just laughed at Tyler’s offendedly exasperated tone before he looked at the girl.
“So. What’s the long term here? Oh, and Asuna?”
The red head looked at him curiously.
“Congrats. And you rock the housewife thing”
She smiled proudly.
“Thanks. I found mine. And I’ll ignore the housewife statement.”
Tyler smiled as he put his arm around Sachi. Yui hopped down from Asuna’s hug to climb up onto Tyler’s lap. She looked at him curiously.
“You’re Mommy’s brother?”
He patted her gently.
“Yup. Guess I’m your uncle or some such bullshit.”
She smiled and looked at Sakura.
The pink haired cutie squealed as she hugged her.
Tyler looked at the smiling parents.
“GOOD LUCK getting her back.”

Asuna smiled as Kirito looked at the girl.
“Our long term was taking her to the church in the town of beginnings. They look after children that lost their parents or were abandoned.”
Sakura scowled hard now.
“They’re mean. They hit you with rulers if you don’t listen to them.”
Asuna and Kirito looked at each other.
“See? I TOLD you they do that.”
Kirito just looked at his wife.
“And what else can we do, Asuna? We can’t take her raiding with us.”
Tyler had Yui in a warm hug and she promptly fell asleep on his chest.
“wow. She’s like a better version of a cat. We’ll take a look at the church. See just WHAT it’s like. If it’s a hellhole we say no and tear it down. If not, well.”
He looked at the small girl.
“I can teach her how to be like Sakura.”
Asuna gulped as Kirito looked at the sleeping girl.
“As long as she’s safe.”
Tyler smiled.
“Kirito. You DO remember who I am, right?”
They smiled at that as Yui slumbered on the chest of the Demon. Tyler looked out the window.
“We’ll head out in the morning. Plus she’s comfy.”
Sakura huffed.
“That’s MY bed dammit.”
Tyler looked at her.
“You sleep there all the damn time, Sakura. Share it.”
She grumbled as Sachi smiled.
“She looked so cute like that, Tyler.”
He smiled as he stroked the sleeping girl’s hair.
“Almost as cute as Sakura when she’s there.”
Asuna and Kirito smiled at that. Tyler looked at them,
“So. You’ve been here nearly two weeks eh?”
Asuna nodded smiling.
“we’re taking a break from the fighting. Actually.”
She had a nervous look now as Kirito took it up.
“We’re considering just staying here. In SaS.”
Tyler and Sakura looked at each other shocked before looking at Asuna.
“Wow. The Asuna I met at Ilfang would have gone off on us for that.”
“Assy? You feeling okay?”
Asuna sighed as she looked at Yui.
“I’m just not sure if getting out is worth it. You know?”
Tyler blinked.
“I get it. You’re starting to see just how much this world has to offer.”
She nodded.
“Yeah. In here we can’t get sick, all our lives are ruled by our own skills and politics mean nothing.”
Kirito smiled.
“Plus in here? WE set our lives.”
Sachi looked at Tyler now.
“Do YOU want to get out, Tyler?”
He shrugged.
“Honestly? Not really. I HATED the real world, Sachi. Here? All I need to survive is my sword. I got a problem with someone? Shatter and move on. Out there? The rules and regulations ruin the lives of those that get hurt.”
The blue haired girl looked at her legs.
“I’d like to get out. I….miss the outside world.”
He hugged her smiling.
“We’ll still get out Sachi. These worlds will still be here as Deep dive is that kinda big deal. I may not really want to leave, but I also want to hug you and Sakura with MY arms. Yui here too. right ya sneaker?”
The small girl lifted her head sheepishly.
“How’d you know?”
He patted her small head.
“Yer too cute for sneaky shit, Yui. Plus I’m the Demon. Ya can’t fool me.”
She nodded.
“Okay. Uncle Demon.”
Tyler just smiled at that one as Asuna and Kirito looked at each other.
“That was quick.”
“I guess Yui is just the next-“
“Sakura’s newest sister.”
Asuna blinked as she saw what she nearly said and breathed with relief as Tyler had a thought.
“Ya tell em?”
Asuna and Kirito looked at each other. Then went white as they remembered their eyes were shared.
“Oh SHIT.”
“Ummm, I don’t think getting out would be a good idea.”
Tyler smiled as he pulled a mirror out. Asuna gulped.
“Oh come on. FINE. Let’s get the suffering over with.”
Kirito was shaking as Tyler set up the thing and the inside of the hospital room was seen with Kakashi, Arthur, Sakura’s godparents, and a taller lady with black hair and black eyes with a decent bust plus fair skin. Beside her was a shorter girl about Sachi’s height with shoulder length black hair, gentle grey eyes with a fire in them and a moderate bust. Tyler saw the newcomers and chuckled.
“Well. So YOU’RE that guy’s family. Poor bastards.”
That jab cut the tension like a knife as the two ladies smiled. Then the shorted girl smirked.
“Thanks for babysitting my brother.”
Tyler sighed.
“SOMEONE has to pretend to like him. Asuna is trying a bit TOO hard.”
The red head just groaned as Kirito kept his mouth shut. Tyler smiled as Yui poked her head up to look at the screen.
“Uncle Demon, who are they?”
Tyler patted her soft hair.
“That’s our families from the real world, Yui. Busted aren’t they?”
Kirito’s sister blinked.
“You do remember I’m in the same room as your body. Right?”
Tyler and Sakura looked at each other, mildly shocked.
“Wow. Girl plays like THAT.”
“Kiri could learn a thing or two from her.”
The poor girl blushed.
“What the hell? I am NOT like that!”
They looked at her confused.
“Like what?”
“Context people, context.”
Sachi just smiled as the girl started shaking from both fury AND embarrassment as her mother got an icy look in her eyes.
“I do hope you’re not insinuating she’d attack you in your sleep.”
The siblings were even MORE confused.
“We didn’t say anything about a sleep attack, miss.”
“All we said was she played like that. Way to impose your OWN ideas.”
Now it was HER turn for the fury as the siblings git her in a verbal trap. Yui was resting comfortably on Tyler’s chest like a cat when she yawned again. Arthur came over now.
“So, Asuna. The ceremony was nice.”
Tyler frowned.
“Fuck YOU.”
They laughed at his irritation as Asuna looked at her father nervously.
“Are you mad, daddy?”
He smiled.
“I’m happy you learned to make your own choice Asuna. HIM I don’t like outta principle.”
“He’s on my permanent shitlist for just that reason.”
Kirito just stayed quiet as to speak was to invite his own death. Arthur looked at Yui now.
“So, an adoptive granddaughter already?”
Kirito’s mother and sister smiled.
“She’s cute.”
“She’s screwed with HIM as her adoptive father.”
Tyler rubbed the comfy girl’s hair affectionately.
“He’s got Asuna to prevent any and all fuckups.”
That got him a warm hug as Arthur smiled proudly.
“Well said.”
Then Tyler grinned.
“And me looming up behind them to keep the predators at bay.”
The two new ladies shuddered at that one as Yui giggled.
“Teehee! Yer scary Uncle Demon!”
He hugged her as Sakura sat there offended.
“and you a cutie, Yui. Fairies always have need of a Demon to keep the monsters off. Ask Sakura.”
Sakura glared at him in a fury.
“I am NOT a damned fairy!”
Yui laughed.
“No Big Sister Sakura! You’re more Imp!”
Sakura nodded fiercely.
“And don’t you forget it Little Sister Yui!”
They all laughed at that cuteness of Yui and Sakura. Yui looked at Tyler now.
“I’m a fairy?”
He patted her warmly.
“Well. I’m a Demon, Sakura’s an Imp, Kirito’s the Blacks Swordsmen, Asuna’s the Lightning Flash, Sachi’s the Demon’s Girlfriend, so what else WOULD the niece of a Demon be, eh Yui?”
She blinked as she thought it over.
“What about a Devil?”
Tyler and Sachi looked at each other as Asuna blinked.
“With her frame,”
“That hair,”
“And her sweetness.”
“A black haired Asia.”
The three looked at the now nervous girl and smiled,
“Devil works. Yui the Devilgirl.”
She smiled widely at that before settling back down as Asuna smiled.
“Oh she likes you, Tyler.”
He shrugged,
“That’s Sakura’s favorite mattress for a reason.”
They laughed at that as Tyler rubbed the girl’s hair affectionately. Arthur looked at Kirito.
“She’s so lucky you found her.”
Tyler smiled.
“How DID you trip over her?”
Asuna and Kirito crossed their arms as Yui fell asleep on Tyler again.
“We were just walking along the wooden path not far from here when we see her walking through the woods in a confused daze.”
Kirito nodded.
“She said she didn’t know how she got there or where her parents were. She looks like a tall 9 year old so to sign into SaS you need a parent or someone over the age of 16.”
Tyler rubbed his eyes.
“No you don’t. just put the right age in and it takes it. SaS had about the same amount of age verification as a porn site. And in case you forgot? It kinda is. Right, Kirito?”
The boy just looked away as the others just gave strained smiles.
“I want another spa day big brother.”
Tyler busted up laughing at Sakura’s cute.
“we’ll head to the hut. Oh. There’s a thought.”
HE looked at Yui and then to Asuna.
“We should show her the hut and hideout.”
The pair smiled widely at that.
“She’d LOSE it!”
“Oh the hut would blow her freaking mind!”
Tyler smiled then he looked at Kakashi.
“Does SHE have a stream?”
The yakuza boss blinked.
“No. We looked and found nothing. From what the reps said after we showed the photo, she hasn’t popped up in ANY streams of anyone.”
Tyler frowned now as he looked at the sleeping girl.
“Okay that’s just not possible. Not for this game.”
He looked at her as she lifted her head again.
“We’ll take her to the town of beginnings. Start there with the memory loss.”
They nodded as Kakashi looked at the Demon.
“PoH has disappeared.”
Tyler chuckled.
“He’s gone underground Kakashi. That is all.”
They nodded and the thing ended. Tyler looked at Kirito.
“You either found a ghost in the machine, or we have a damn good hacker.”
Asuna looked at the small girl concerned.
“If she’s a ghost in the machine, if we get out,”
Tyler smiled.
“if we find a dev hub and I can get a keyboard to appear I know enough about the system to have her data, memories, personality, HER, uploaded into my helmet. Then it’s a simple matter to reconstruct her in my rig back on earth. Then she’s a phone app or a plug in for your next deep dive gimmick.”
She breathed a sigh of relief.
“Oh thank god. Okay, Tyler. I need sleep right now.”
The party nodded and Tyler swung unto the couch to lay flat out without waking the small girl. Asuna and Kirito went to their room, Sakura imposing on them cause,
“MY bed got stolen.”
Sachi laid beside him as Yui rolled into the space between them. The red clad Demon pressed into the back of the cushion as Sachi pulled a thick blanket from their inven for them. He smiled at the blue haired girl.
“Hey. Sachi.”
She smiled as she moved closer.
“Yeah, Tyler?”
He had a warm smile in his eyes.
“I kinda like Asuna and Kirito’s play.”
She blushed at that as she saw his meaning. Then she smiled widely.
“I like it too.”
He took her hand as they cradled the sleeping girl between them.
She squeezed his hand as her blush and nerves returned.
He pulled her hand up and kissed it, making her gasp at the contact.
“I’ll be waiting. Sachi.”
She smiled.
“I’ll be right here.”
Yui squeaked in her sleep and they smiled at the cute before closing their eyes. Tyler opened them again to see Yui’s small head close to his with Sachi’s just over her. The blue haired girl was still was still asleep as was the smaller girl in her arms. Yui is so sweet. If she turns out to be a mere AI, I will NOT let her be lost. The smaller girl sneezed and opened her eyes sleepily. He chuckled softly.
“Morning Sparkles. Sleep well?”
She smiled and hugged her uncle.
“Very well, Uncle Demon. You’re very warm! Auntie Sachi’s comfy too!”
He smiled at that one.
“She is little Devil. She’s very comfy and cuddly.”
Yui giggled softly.
“Plus is great to lay on!”
“wow. Cute.”
“She is, Yui. She really is.”
Sachi was red faced with a happy smile as she opened her blue eyes and got a hug from Yui.
“Morning Auntie Sachi!”
Sachi blinked in shock, then hugged the smaller girl tightly.
“Morning Yui.”
The couple got up as Asuna came out with a yawning Kirito. Sakura bounced along behind the couple and got a hug from her sister. The friends all ate a breakfast cooked by Asuna and Sachi, and the eaters LOVED it. Kirito and Asuna donned their gear and Yui sat on Tyler’s shoulder as that was just THE safest place in SaS. They jumped to the town of beginnings and Tyler chuckled.
“I ain’t seen this plaza since that idiot’s speech.”
They laughed and headed for the church of orphans. Tyler’s flashy red coat making people go white with fear.
“What the hell is the Demon doing down here?”
“whatever it is I do NOT want to know!”
“I heard he killed like 25 people in that raid on Laughing Coffin! Alone!”
“I heard he fought the leader to a draw!”
“Let’s just get the fuck outta here.”
Tyler looked at that guy.
“Usually the best call when WE roll into town. Oh. Neat sword.”
The guy gulped,
Tyler walked off as the singled out guy just dropped to the ground hyperventilating at the fact the Demon at spoken to him. Asuna laughed once they were far enough away.
“That poor guy probably pissed himself!”
Tyler laughed as Yui swung her legs in the air as she enjoyed being tall.
“Part of the charm of scaring people.”
Sakura was skipping along when they came into an alley to see a group of armored men harassing a young lady with a group of children behind her.
“Alright lady. PAY up.”
She had a pleading tone in her voice,
“We already paid this month’s Droy. Please, Sir, the children are barely getting enough as it is!”
The men laughed.
“Well. They look big enough to hold-“
“You idiots can leave now.”
They looked behind them,
“And just who the HELL- Oh SHIT.”
The speaker had seen Tyler’s signature red coat at the last second and then his smile. The Demon chuckled.
“Oh now I’m curious. Please by all means finish the writing on your death certificate.”
Yui looked at him,
“Wow, Uncle Demon. That sounded cool.”
Sakura looked up at the girl,
“Big brother has a few good ones every now and then, Yui.”
The men were shaking so badly in their armor it sounded like a rattling kitchen! Tyler looked at the lady, who was also shaking,
“Who are these tin cans?”
She gulped as the children behind her were also terrified.
“The town guard Sir. They’re the local guild that’s meant to protect us.”
He nodded.
“Riiiight. Now I remember. These are the idiots that gave up the fight about….floor 2. You. Tin can number 1. What’s this about money?”
The lady answered again.
“The orphanage pays them for protection since the church doesn’t belong to us.”
“Who is belong to?”
“We’re trying to buy it from the system. So for now we’re using it as a temporary quarters. But the safezone isn’t active.”
Tyler just smacked the knight.
“Okay. YOUR guild just made my shitlist. Piss off. NOW.”
They took off running leaving the lady alone with the Demon and the party. The woman was a slender thing in a nun outfit and blue eyes. Her eyes went wide now as she saw her and the children were alone in the alley with the Heavenly Demons. Or. More the Demon himself. Tyler smiled at her.
“So. This church.”
The children behind her were shaking in fear as Tyler looked at them curiously.
“What? You all look like you’ve seen Asuna angry.”
The red head just groaned.
“I hate you-oh. That wasn’t a jab. I think.”
Sakura giggled.
“Assy’s easy to confuse.”
“I wonder, does she still like strawberries?”
Tyler looked at Sachi.
“Wow. Double cute.”
The blue haired girl smiled as Sakura and Asuna now had a NEW war raging behind their eyes. Tyler looked at the nun.
“Look, lady. I’m not here for blood. I’m wondering if any of you know this cutie here. Oh. And to see if he rumor of you hitting kids with rulers is true.”
A few kids rubbed their hands on reflex and the nun blinked.
“The ruler thing was. The last matron was a shrew that just beat the kids. The church is this way.”
Now having no choice she led the Demon along the alley to the church as the kids all gaped at the legend in their midst. Tyler smiled as they went.
They jumped at the word as Asuna smacked him.
“No pranking them.”
“Why? I prank everyone what makes them so special?”
Sachi laughed at THAT logic as one girl looked at her with huge green eyes.
“Wow, Miss. You’re REALLY pretty.”
Sachi blushed at that.
“Aww, thank you! I’m Sachi.”
The girl gasped.
“The Demoness?”
Tyler blinked and looked at Sachi in shock.
“Damn. Sachi the Demoness. That’s freakin metal. Okay. I’m keeping that.”
She smiled as Sakura gave out near death by hug at will. Yui was happily humming as she watched the goings on as Kirito watched the rear. The church was a stereotypical thing as they walked up. The Nun opened the door and Tyler glared at one lady his eyes landed on.
“Miss. That whale in the outfit. Who is she?”
The nun looked and became angry.
“That’s the first matron. Her name was….”
“It’s Felicia. MY sister. I’ll deal with her.”
His eyes were enraged as his friends all became nervous. Then Sakura blinked.
“Oh FUCK. Asuna. That’s THAT SISTER.”
The party just grabbed the children as Tyler surged forward to grab the now screaming heffer by her neck.
“Hello. SISTER.”
The girl panicked as the Demon dragged her into a room and shut the door with a slam. Not a sound was heard from inside as his friends shuddered at what was taking place inside. The nuns were about to open it..
Asuna’s yell made then jump back like they scalded themselves. Then a tall lady in a black and white habit came over.
“Lady Lightning Flash, what is he doing to her?”
Another party wide shudder.
“You really don’t wanna know. The girl was his IRL sister that drugged him and did things to him for years miss. If you like sleep, DO NOT OPEN THAT DOOR.”
Sakura nodded.
“Big Brother’s making her scream like she made him scream. Only she WON’T live through it.”
Kirito looked around and noted the rundown nature of the church as Sachi looked at Sakura.
“Gore will be okay after, right?”
Sakura smiled.
“He’ll most likely be in a VERY good mood.”
They waited for three hours before the door opened and Tyler walked out as the last pixels of the shatter faded. He had a beatific smile on his face as he dusted off his hands.
“Ahhh I feel better. Okay. Pain in the ass number 1. The church.”
The head nun approached the smiling Demon with concern.
“Please don’t take this place from the children. They have no other place.”
Tyler chuckled.
“Not where I was going. Okay. How much is the outright cost?”
She blinked.
“About 450,000 Droy for what we need.”
“450,000,000 Droy. Gotchya. Think fast.”
She got a gift orb with that exact amount and just dropped to her knees in shock. She looked up at the Demon with tears in her eyes.
“Thank you. I only have my body to repay you.”
He patted her.
“Fun as that sounds, I got a girl. And no offense she’s got the better everything.”
Sachi glowed at that as the lady was helped to her feet. She added the new Droy to her account before using an interface to buy the church, upgrade it to the max, outfit it to the max, FILL the larders to bursting, and fill the dressers to bursting. All told? 550,000 Droy. Out of 450,000,000. Tyler chuckled as Asuna looked at Sachi.
“When I first met Gore, Sachi? He’d have rather rob the place then walk out. Or. He’d have taken that lady’s body payment.”
Sachi smiled proudly.
“And I’m HIS Demoness!”
Tyler smiled at her.
“And I’m your Demon.”
Then he looked at the lady.
“Okay. Pain in the ass number 2.”
She looked at him as he picked up Yui again.
“We’re looking for anyone that knows this kid.”
Yui looked at him miffed.
“Are you saying I’m a pain in the ass, Uncle Demon?”
He looked at her.
“You? Eh. More cuter parrot.”
They smiled at that one as Sakura scowled.
“First my bed now my seat? Ooooh you better WATCH it!”
They lost it at that one as Yui looked at Sakura.
“He’s got another shoulder, big sister Sakura.”
She squeaked.
“Oh. I forgot. You’re smart Yui.”
The room was losing it at the cute as Sakura jumped up to claim his other shoulder. Tyler looked at her.
“Wow, Sakura. Jealous much?”
Sakura huffed.
“Humph! She’s cute. So I’ll let it go.”
Tyler just smiled as he looked at the nun. She looked at Yui’s face and pulled up a UI.
“We made a UI to keep track of missing kids in here. Let me look.”
Tyler smiled as the other children came from their exploration of their new home and saw the red coated Demon. They gasped in shock before crowding the tall guy. Tyler looked at the many eyed gaze as they gaped at him.
“Ooooookay. Hi.”
They looked at him in awe. Then a girl hugged him.
“You’re my hero, Demon!”
That did it and Tyler was swamped by hugs from the kids as they met the Demon they all heard of. The others all laughed until Asuna was spotted.
“Omygod! It’s the Lightning Flash!”
Then she was getting crowded.
“Eeeeee! The Black Swordsmen!”
Kirito got swamped.
“Hey! It’s the Demoness!”
Sachi got mobbed.
“It’s the Cutie in Pink!”
Sakura was treated to a mass hug as the head nun frowned.
“She’s not in the list of missing children.”
Tyler sighed.
“Thanks miss. Okay. Plan B.”
Yui was watching the goings on as a lady in armor with black hair walked in.
“Excuse me, I’m looking for the Heavenly Demons.”
Tyler looked over.
“You found them.”
She breathed a massive sigh of relief as she walked over to look the Demon in the eye.
“Please. I need your help.”
Tyler narrowed his eyes.
“Okay. The hell?”
She sighed.
“I’m a Lieutenant in the people’s liberation army. Our guild leader was set up and is trapped in the dungeon under the town of beginnings. Please. I need your help to rescue him!”
Tyler and Kirito looked at each other.
“The dungeon under the city?”
Tyler rubbed his eyes.
“A massive secret area. Reason I never got higher in the floors in the beta was I got lost in it. Like legit lost. The monsters down there do NOT show a health bar. Plus there’s the reaper that roams the halls as a mobile miniboss. It finds you instant boss fight WITHOUT health bars. The thing has about 9. And it took me over NINE hours to kill it….I’m in. that thing might have my old coat.”
His party laughed as Sachi looked at him curiously.
“What’s special about it?”
Tyler smiled.
“That coat, my dear Sachi, is unique to MY playstyle. Think this one, but FAR better and better looking. Plus a bit of code in it that will upload the thing to my helmet. My staffsword already was, same with Sakura’s Wolf fur scarf. They’ll be converted to plugins for any other game we play. Kinda is MY hidden ace.”
Kirito laughed at that.
“Okay. I forgot you had scary computer skills.”
Tyler looked at the lady.
“Okay. Where in there is he?”
She smiled.
“I’ll go with you as I have him in my friends list.”
“Just try an keep up. Yui.”
She blinked.
“Do NOT leave my shoulder. A monster appears get down.”
She nodded as Asuna became concerned.
“Is it REALLY a good idea, Gore?”
He sighed as he hugged the girl.
“Name a safer place then beside me, Asuna.”
She smiled ruefully at that one.
“Right. I forgot.”
They formed the party and took off for the Crypt with their tagalong struggling to keep up with them. They jumped into the stairway and Tyler took the lead.
“keep close everyone. That place is next to impossible to escape once lost without a guide.”
The lady led them through pillared corridors and hallways as the party kept heads on a swivel. The woman pulled them along a new hall and Tyler spotted a white room ahead. A man was standing inside and became panicked when he saw them.
“Get out! It’s still here!”
Tyler grabbed the lady and Yui as a 12 foot tall Grim reaper dropped behind them. He dropped both ladies in the white room,
“We’ll be right back after this rampage.”
Tyler and the party launched the assault as the man, woman and Yui watched. Tyler smiled as he deflected the massive 10 foot scythe as Sakura lit it up from the back, Asuna and Sachi stabbed it full a holes, and Kirito landed a massive attack combo. The reaper jumped back on a floating torso and Tyler launched his own multihit attack. The twin broadswords carving yellows lines as it tried to counterattack. Tyler jumped back as Yui was heard gasping hard. Her eyes flashed as something clicked,
“Yui, we got this! Trust us!”
She nodded with a fearful look on her small face. Tyler nodded at the party and they attacked again. The battle took a good 4 hours before the miniboss shattered. Tyler smiled as it did.
“Gotchya. Fucker made my life HELL in the beta.”
The others all drank potions as Tyler looked at the loot.
“oh FUCK yeah.”
He hit a button and his blood red coat became an open front, vivid red coat with a hood, black flames around the bottom, on his cuffs, and a large set of flaming demon wings on his back. Soon as it finished appearing he glowed a moment as a small ring of force exploded outward. He laughed.
“The Demon is complete. This is my Demon Hunter coat. Boosts my stats equal to my level. ALL my stats. It’s a set too. when paired with my staffsword I get the Demon’s Persona gear set boost. As long as I wield these two together, the gear will autoupgrade as my level increases. Plus the gear bonus from the other coat merged. So yeah.”
He pulled the hood up and smiled.
“Now I feel properly dressed.”
the others gaped at the imposing sight he made with his new coat. He let them bask a moment longer before putting his hood down and looking to the others inside the room.
“Alright. Let’s get this done.”
Yui was sitting on a black slab with a sad look in her eyes as Tyler approached her.
“So, Yui. Your memory returned.”
She looked at him sadly.
“It did. I’m the emotional support AI designed for SaS’s player base. If a player became emotionally distressed I’d appear as what would make them feel better. Once Vonderland played his hand, I lost all my abilities to interfere. I could feel the suffering, the pain, the anger and was helpless to do anything. At some point it went dark and I was floating in the pain and misery all alone. Well, then I felt a warmth that hadn’t been there previously. I opened my eyes to look for the source.”
She looked at Kirito and Asuna.
“I found them. Mommy and Daddy. They were so happy and full of love. I wanted to meet them.”
Here she looked at Tyler.
“and I met you too, Uncle Demon. YOUR pain was the last thing I remember before it went dark. Now I feel a darkness in you still. But a warmth that drowns out all others.”
Tyler patted her head as he placed a hand on the slab. A keyboard appeared as Yui looked at it sadly.
“You can’t force a logout from here. This is merely an editor’s hub.”
She looked at the man and woman.
“You can jump from here.”
they nodded.
“Thank you.”
They jumped as Tyler started typing.
“So since you’ve become self-aware Yui, it’s only a matter of time before the cleaner protocols kick in to remove a rouge program, right?”
Asuna and Kirito jumped at her.
“No! Not Yui!”
They hugged her as Tyler was still typing with a smile on his face. She smiled.
“It’s okay, Mommy, Daddy. Uncle Demon’s got it under control. The cleaner WAS his own code ya know.”
Asuna looked at him with a desperate hope.
“Can you save her, Tyler?”
He chuckled.
“Just did. She can’t stay in her human form as every anti-cheat system in SaS will try to erase her. That said, she’s been installed on my Helmet as a base program. Think the AI from halo. We won’t be able to hug her for a while, but we’ll be able to HEAR her.”
They all gave her a warm hug as Yui hugged the still typing Demon.
“Thank you.”
He patted her as he typed with one hand.
“Pff. We’re family Yui. Like I’d let my niece get derezzed by this shithead.”
he hit another button and pressed enter. Yui glowed before merging with their bodies. He smiled as her voice was heard.
“Wow, Uncle Demon. Your shows are awesome.”
Asuna and Sachi looked at each other concerned.
He chuckled.
“enjoy Yui. The others in the real world can see your cute on the screen.”
“I’ll be their cute guide!”
“Have fun. And STAY AWAY from the hentai.”
“Uncle Demon, what the FUCK is wrong with you? TOO LATE.”
Kirito sighed.
“AI speed. Great.”
Tyler looked at the hub.
“I wonder.”
He pulled the keyboard up and was typing again. After about five minutes he chuckled.
“wow. They never got around to upgrading their security. Okay.”
Kirito looked at the screen with arms crossed.
“Can you force a logout?”
The Demon shook his head.
“Not from this thing. What I CAN do is get a look at the next nine bosses. Ya know, weaknesses, traits, looks the works. We’d still have to find them and all but no biggee.”
Asuna was concerned again.
“Won’t that trigger something?”
Tyler chuckled.
“Normally yes. But the devs didn’t upgrade the security protocols from the beta. I TOLD them hundreds of times too. Hey, Kirito, remember that one time the entire world did a somersault?”
Kirito rubbed his belly with a pained grimace.
“That was freaking weird man! Was walking along the 5th floor on a beach when the freakin ground dropped out from under me! I shit you not I shit myself! I was looking down at a 9,000,000 foot drop at one point as the ground legit flipped around me like I was in a damned ride at the fair. Then it went back to where it had been and I was dumped on my face! Everyone was freakin terrified!”
Tyler laughed.
“I get a dev keyboard to appear I’m doing that to you.”
He got a whack from him.
“You BASTARD! That was you? I had to take a thirty minute shower after that! IRL! The ENTIRE beta base had freakin stomach problems for a week!”
Tyler was laughing hard as the others smiled at the image.
“That was freakin hilarious. Hey. What about that time when every girl would kill something and the thing would fart?”
He busted up laughing at that one!
“Jesus that was a fun week! The girls got a kill, only to be humiliated by the sound of a wet fart! Ohmygod that was freakin hilarious! I heard a mass creature trap got trigger and all that was heard, was farts from as the party of girls killed them all.”
The girls in the party smacked Tyler AND Kirito hard for that. Tyler just laughed.
“Hey, remember the time that whenever something died, they got a middle finger to the face instead of a shatter?”
Kirito busted up again.
“Oh that’s a classic! I remember I killed a rabbit and got this ten foot hand flipping me off for some odd reason. I’ve never felt more offended in my life.”
“I got a video of it somewhere. Oh! The classic! That time when a monster died a sarcastic handclap was heard?”
Kirito glared at him.
“You bastard! I got that from a freakin mouse! I have never felt so utterly worthless then when the middle finger AND the sarcastic clap got me from a freakin wood mouse!”
Tyler just laughed.
“Good times.”
He made set of books appear on the next 9 bosses and the hub died.
“All I got for this one.”
He hit it again and the board didn’t appear.
“Yup. That’s all folks. Come on. Oh. Asuna. Kirito.”
Tyler tossed them each a necklace. They looked at it and gasped. Asuna smiled as she hugged him.
“Yui heart.”
He hugged her as Yui’s giggle was heard.
“Wow, mommy. You’re show collection is nice too. Uncle Demon’s better.”
She went red at that as Tyler chuckled.
“Can you get into other tech, little devil?”
“Sadly not. I need you to upload me into your main computer before I can.”
“well, Kirito. Sounds like we’ve got a new goal.”
The black haired boy nodded.
“We’ll set her up right.”
The friends jumped as the families watched as they wiped tears from the hilarious imagery. Kakashi looked at the screen where Yui was sitting as if on a cushion watching with them. He smiled
“Those two will find a way to hug you again Little Yui.”
She looked over smiling.
“I know they will, grandpa. Uncle Demon’s a tech genius and Daddy’s a computer genius. Plus Uncle Demon will just make me a base plugin for his helmet. Like a background app.”
Arthur smiled at that.
“We just found a fully functional AI with authentic human emotions and thought, Kakashi.”
The yakuza boss glared at the man.
“And we will pretend she does NOT exist outside of closed doors Arthur. Are we clear?”
The man bowed.
“Crystal sir.”
Yui laughed.
“It better be. If Tyler ever suspects you of endangering his new niece, well. You saw what he did to his sister, right?”
Everyone, including Kakashi, shuddered at the memory. Yui smiled sweetly.
“That. To you. WITHOUT a pain absorber. But far worse. For far longer.”
They shuddered at that.
Tyler, Sachi and Sakura were exploring a heavily forested area on 34. Kirito and Asuna had gone back to their cabin after the mess and the trio got back to exploring. Yui’s voice was heard every now and then as the AI girl would jump between their group and Kirito and Asuna. Tyler and the girls were in no rush to return to the front lines. The line having stalled at 80 as the forces had to do heavy grinding due to the monsters up there. Today the trio were just taking a leisurely stroll through the forested section killing monsters in one hit for kicks. Sachi was holding his hand as usual as Sakura skipped along beside them. Tyler and Sachi were happy with their relationship’s state. Neither really in a hurry to move ahead.
“Hey. What’s that thing?”
Tyler looked up at Sakura’s pointed finger to see a small blue dragon flying over the tops of the trees. Tyler tilted his head.
“Looks like a dragon Sakura. Not sure why one’s out here though.”
The pink haired girl looked at her brother.
“Do I kill it?”
He shrugged.
“something that small? Nah. Looks oddly familiar for SOME freakin reason.”
The dragon gave a low squall before diving into the forest.
“Let’s check it out.”
The curious party walked into the indicated direction the dragon had dove in. they came out into a clearing to see a small girl with orange pigtails, freckles, in rogue armor petting the blue dragon like a pet. Tyler got it then.
“Ahhhh. A dragon tamer.”
The girl looked up at the sound of voices, only to go white as she saw Tyler’s red coat.
“Oh no. Please.”
She fell over in fear as her dragon friend squealed at them. Tyler smiled at the terrified girl.
“Look. We’re not going to hurt you, miss. Was just curious what that blue thing was.”
She was shaking as Tyler sat across from her, with Sachi and Sakura on either side. The girl’s bright green eyes were wide with fright as Sakura squealed.
“Eeee! She’s cute too!”
The affectionate cutie lunged and hugged the scared girl in a near death hug. She snuggled her like a cat as the blue dragon hovered in front of Tyler curiously. It was about the size of a house cat with light blue scales that matched Sachi’s hair to perfection. Tyler saw this, and smiled.
“Hey, buddy. Land on her head a sec.”
Sachi squeaked as the blue dragon did as asked, and nearly vanished entirely as his scales matched that well. The girl missed this and noticed her friend was gone.
“Piri! Were are you?”
The dragon squeaked from his perch and she blinked.
“Wow, Miss. You have really pretty hair. I didn’t see Piri at all.”
Tyler chuckled.
“Sachi’s gorgeous period.”
The girl blushed as the girl looked at Tyler.
“You’re the Demon, right?”
He nodded smiling.
“I’m Goreleech. But call me Gore. That’s my girlfriend Sachi, and that girl that nearly killed you with a hug is my sister, Sakura. What’s your name?”
She became shy now in the face of the legend.
“Siri. I’m called Siri. That’s my dragon, Piri.”
The dragon spread his wings in a obvious flaunt as Tyler chuckled.
“Nice to meetchya Siri. So. You’re a dragon tamer?”
Sakura was cuddling the dragon as Siri replied with a blush.
“Yeah. I got lucky on floor 4 with a dragon egg. Piri’s been my friend since then.”
Tyler smiled as the small dragon landed on his shoulder and snuggled him.
“Wow, Siri. His scales feel rather nice. I tried the tamer crap but failed miserably. Which was odd since animals usually like me IRL.”
The dragon settled on his shoulder like a parrot as Siri blushed again.
“I guess the skill didn’t carry. Can I ask why you’re all down here on 34 and not up on the front?”
He shrugged.
“Taking a breather. We’ve been at the front since the damn doors shut. Plus I’m just not feeling a hardcore fight right now. You? You seem tough.”
she looked down shyly as Piri snuggled Sachi next.
“I’m just revisiting the spot I got to pretend I had a big brother is all.”
He looked at her.
She nodded.
“Piri was killed by some monsters and I was next. I’d just got dumped by my party that wanted me as their mascot. I was about to die as well when he showed up. He killed the monsters and saved me. Then he even helped me revive him!”
Tyler chuckled.
“The Hill of Memories up on 45. Sachi. Sakura. We have our next visit.”
They nodded curious as Siri continued her tale.
“He gave me a bunch of high level gear and helped me clear the dungeon and get the flower. On the way back we got attacked by some Pkers, but he stood his ground! They all but pissed themselves when they saw it was the Black Swordsmen himself!”
Siri got a dreamy look on her face at the name.
“Kirito. Yeah. I heard you’re friends with him.”
Tyler patted her fondly now.
“Any friend of that asshat is a friend of mine Siri. Ya got lucky there.”
She blushed hard at that one as they all added each other. Tyler smiled as he rose.
“well, Siri. We’ll let you get back to it. We more were curious about the dragon. Nice to make a new friend as a bonus.”
She got a warm hug from each.
“nice to meet you, Gore! Sakura! Sachi! Bye!”
They waved as they moved to an open area. Tyler smiled now.
“Okay. I got something to show you two. Teleport to the Hill of Memories.”
They jumped and once they saw it they gasped. For as far as the eye could see was masses and masses of flower beds of every color and variety. Roses, marigolds, violets, sunflowers, orchids, and everything else. Tyler took Sachi’s hand as Sakura gaped at the colors. Then she rounded on her brother in a fury.
“WHY didn’t we come here?”
He chuckled.
“Because we were on 44 when 46 opened up and we just jumped right to 46. That’s why.”
Sakura just sighed as they walked along the brick pathways not really doing anything and more enjoying the moment. Sakura was in heaven as she’d stop to smell the flowers or roll in them as Tyler and Sachi strolled. The couple loving their impromptu date immensely. Tyler smiled as he spotted a large sakura tree in full bloom with a small bench under it. The couple walked over as Sakura gazed in awe at the tree she was named after. Tyler and Sachi sat on the bench and cuddled up as Sakura played in the field in front of them. He smiled and noticed another couple standing together under a large pillared arch. The boy in the red and white armor of the Bloodoath knights, his companion in a white and blue outfit with mushroom hat. He looked at Sachi and she smiled.
“This place is beautiful.”
He smiled at her.
“So are you.”
She blushed as usual and looked at her boyfriend. They looked into each other’s eyes and their hearts pounded as Sachi leaned in slowly with her blue eyes closing. He mirrored her motion as Sakura watched from a nearby mass of pink tulips with rapt attention. Tyler could feel her breath on his face right before their lips made contact in their first kiss. Sakura clapped a little at the sight.
“Bout time.”
Tyler and Sachi’s first kiss lasted mere moments, but felt like lifetimes until they pulled back. She blushed and started shaking as he smiled at her. She looked at him,
“Was that…okay?”
He smiled wider.
“It was. Can I get another?”
She went red as a tomato, but leaned in for another kiss. She smiled with pride as she settled into his chest and he held her.
“I love you, Tyler.”
He blinked as she froze, as if that wasn’t what she had meant to say. Then she shot up to look him in the stunned eye. She saw his mind blown expression and waited for it to process. Tyler just blinked at her. Wow. Okay. He smiled.
“I love YOU, Sachi.”
She gasped in sweet shock as he said it back, and MEANT it. Then her face broke into a proud smile as she kissed him again.
“I love you, Tyler!”
He hugged her to him tightly.
“I love you, too, Sachi.”
She snuggled him as he had a thought.
“Hey. Wanna take a page from Kirito and Asuna’s book?”
She looked at him curiously until it clicked. Then she smiled so hard it hurt.
“I’d love to be your wife!”
He hugged her hard.
“I WANT to be your husband, Sachi. Come on then. I know the place.”
Sakura giggled as Yui’s voice popped into her UI.
“Hiya! Miss me?”
“They’re getting married Yui!”
The AI gasped in happy shock.
“I’ll tell mommy and daddy!”
Sakura giggled as Yui was gone.
“Bout time big brother got his head outta his ass.”
Tyler and the two girls jumped to the town of beginnings and headed for the chapel that did player marriages. Sakura giggling like he was tickling her then entire time as the couple did the agreements and UIs until the rings were made. He smiled.
“I love you, Sachi.”
He placed her ring on her,
“I love you, Tyler.”
She placed his ring as a round of applause startled the couple. They looked to see Kirito, Asuna, Lorg, Gabol, Burke, even Yuka in the church. They blinked until Tyler remembered.
“Sakura. What did you do?”
She giggled.
“I did NOTHING!”
Yui’s happy giggle was heard then.
Tyler and Sachi just went with it as they got hugs and hi fives from all. Though it was rather tense when Yuka met Sachi. The purple haired busty girl looked at Sachi’s blue haired, BUSTIER form before looking at Tyler.
“Wow. She’s stacked.”
Sachi gulped at meeting her new ingame husband’s first flame.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Sachi. His wife.”
Tyler smiled.
“Nice flex.”
She blushed at that and Yuka lifted an eyebrow.
“Okay. He likes em shy.”
Sachi gulped as Tyler came up and hugged her from behind.
“Yup. Sachi’s sweet, gorgeous, STACKED, an otaku, and MINE.”
Sachi went tomato before smiling with pride as Lorg looked at Svenity.
“If you’d told me at that tavern we met Sakura at we’d be at the wedding of GORELEECH, I’d have asked for your dealer.”
Svenity smiled as she saw the light in Tyler’s eyes as he stole a kiss off Sachi’s lips in front of everyone. Making the poor girl nearly faint.
“Gore’s become as human as he can become, Lorg. He started with Sakura. Now he has so many that are precious to him. Which means he’ll fight that much harder and more ferociously to defend them. Not even god can save the one that hurts them.”
Lorg smiled at that as she saw Tyler get smacked by Asuna for almost having the wedding WITHOUT them.
“He still scares me.”
Tyler smiled as he looked at Kirito.
“So, get this. We met this adorable dragon tamer down on 34. Guess she got rescued by her dream big brother.”
Kirito chuckled.
“Siri and Piri.”
Tyler hugged Sachi.
“She’s a cutie too, Kirito. Those bastards live?”
He sighed.
“They killed a guild with one survivor that was pleading for them to spend the rest of their days in SaS in the prison. So, I helped out.”
Tyler nodded.
Asuna came up and hugged her brother.
“Okay. Fair enough.”
He stroked her warm hair.
“Still? FUCK you.”
She smiled then looked at him.
“If yer bored, could you head up to the 60th? My friend Lizbeth asked me to bring these to her and I just haven’t been able to.”
He sighed as Sachi came over.
“I was waiting for you to have me play pack mule.”
Asuna laughed as Sachi felt the need.
“Hey, Tyler?”
He looked at his new gamer wife.
“What up?”
she leaned into his ear for a whisper.
“I’m not ready for….consummation…. if you get my meaning.”
He hugged her tightly as Asuna smiled, having caught it.
“Sure, Sachi. I love you.”
She smiled at that and nestled into his hug.
“I love you too.”
Sakura was also getting hugs from all when Tyler chuckled.
“Okay. Let’s head up to the 60th.”
They all laughed as the trio headed out. The jumped and landed in the small town before heading to the shop Asuna had in the directions. Tyler and the two girls walked in to see a spunky girl in a smith apron with short, maroon hair with a freckled face behind the counter. She smiled as the door opened.
“Welcome cu-Demon!”
She was instantly shakin as the Demon approached her, and her ice blue eyes were wide with frightened surprise. He smiled.
“You Lizbeth?”
Now on the verge of a panic attack she nodded.
“Y-y-y-yes Sir! I’m Lizbeth!”
He placed Asuna’s bag of ore on her counter.
“my sister, Asuna, asked me to drop this off. Guess she wanted me to give you a heart attack.”
Lizbeth blinked as her shaking stopped.
“Asuna’s YOUR SISTER?”
He laughed.
“Oh. Scratch that. she wanted to send a long distance brag. Yeah. That fiery red head’s my sister.”
Lizbeth just slumped on the counter.
“Asuna I am going to hit you with a hammer. I nearly had a freaking heart attack!”
Tyler patted her.
“Hey. Call her Assy. Watch the reaction.”
She snorted,
“Ha! That’s it. Her names Assy.”
Sachi came over with a spear.
“Hey, Gore. Look.”
Tyler took it and whistled.
“Damn. That’s a freaking hardcore spear. And that’s coming from ME. Hey, Lizbeth, what’s your smithing?”
She blinked.
“It just clear 889.”
Tyler just gaped at her.
“Jesus lady. MINE just barely hit 669 last WEEK! And I make everything we use! How the hell you get that high?”
She blushed at his awe.
“I like making things. I’m good with a mace but my plan from the time I first put the helmet on was to open my shop. By the time the doors shut I was already maybe 65 smithing. I’d buy ore off other players and just work it and sell it back to the players in exchange for ore and crafting mats and droy sometimes.”
Tyler smiled.
“That’ll do it. Never underestimate a smith with a passion for her craft. Here. These are useless to us.”
He sent over several million crafting mats the party had no use for and she gasped.
“Are you sure? That’s enough to get me to max out!”
He patted her.
“I want to see at least ONE person max out before the game’s cleared.”
She hugged him now, Sakura just happy to poke around her shop.
“Thank you, Gore. I guess the stories of you being a dark hearted asshole are only PART of the story.”
He hugged her back as she let go.
“Kinda curious what you can come up with. Oh and enjoy the max out surprise, Lizbeth.”
She smiled.
“Why I’ve been working it so hard. I heard it’s epic!”
He chuckled.
“Oh it’ll blow your freakin mind!”
Sakura smiled as she knew what it was. The blue eyed smith smiled.
“I’ll get to it. I should have it maxed out in a few hours.”
“We’ll hit the road. Have fun Lizbeth.”
They left as the eager girl closed up to practice her craft. Soon as the door shut Sakura and Tyler busted up laughing as they walked off. Sachi was confused.
“What’s so funny?”
Tyler smiled at his wife.
“when Lizbeth maxes her smithing out, there’s a massive bit of fanfare, flashing lights and a large mini celebration with a podium that rises up. Once it appears fully a sign will appear that will say: for the extraordinary feat of maxing out your skill we humble [present you this cape! The cape looks cool and has the anvil on it. Once she takes it, the sign says: now go get a life.”
Sachi busted up laughing now herself.
“That’s just mean!”
Sakura giggled.
“Hilarious though!”
They laughed as they went to a fancy restaurant for Tyler and Sachi’s first meal as ingame husband and wife. They were eating when a message orb came in. Curious Tyler poked it.
Lizbeth’s incensed voice was heard and they all busted up laughing as Lizbeth held the light blue cape she’d gotten from the podium. The sign read,
“Enjoy the Smithing cape of no lifeing! If ya got this far, ya need friends and a serious look in the mirror. Signed, GORELEECH.”
Lizbeth was shaking with rage while smiling at the same time.
“I hate that guy! This is hilarious! But FUCK that guy!”
1 week later.
Tyler and the two girls were back on the front lines exploring. Tyler had heard the call of battle and answered. The players were still stuck on floor 80 as the boss had yet to be found. They were hunting the boss in a deep dungeon alone as usual. The monster making even Tyler have to work for it now as they were that strong. They made short work as most required a second shot and that was all. Tyler smiled.
“We’ll one shot these things soon enough as well.”
They reached the end of the dungeon and no boss. They left and were looking over loot when Tyler pinged. He looked and smiled.
“Looks like Assy misses us.”
He opened it and frowned.
“the boss got found. Heathcliff sent out a mass call and I’m calling you. He said he’ll be at this one.”
Tyler nodded.
“Okay. Sack up.”
They jumped and headed for the rally point. There they found Asuna and Kirito talking with Lorg, Burke, Gabol, and their crews. Tyler smiled as he snuck up behind Asuna and grabbed her shoulders.
Asuna jumped a good 6 feet in the air as she screamed in shock, making everyone look at her curiously, and as she came down, Kirito, having seen Tyler’s wink was ready with a princess cradle. Tyler smiled at that sight.
“Wow, Asuna. Good for you.”
She was breathing hard from her fright as their friends all laughed hard at her look of bewildered rage and happy bliss at getting caught by Kirito. Gabol smiled as he stood beside Gore.
“Okay. Well played.”
Tyler hugged Sachi one armed.
“I got a few tricks. I can teach ya so your wife can PRETEND to like you.”
Gabol’s smile died as he once again felt his wife’s humor.
“I pray to god you two never meet.”
“Now I’m gonna just to piss you off.”
Gabol groaned hard at that. Tyler and his friends got hugs and he tapped Burke’s red armor.
“So ah Kenshin knock off. You still dating the blonde sword swallower?”
Lorg had TWO veins bulge at that one! Burke just held up his finger and Tyler saw the ring. He rounded on Lorg.
“The FUCK? WHY are WE always getting left out? Okay fuck you. Fuck YOU. And fuck YOU.”
Lorg just busted up laughing.
“we kinda did it spur of the moment.”
Tyler nodded sagely.
“Most shotgun weddings happen like that. So, when’s the due date?”
Lorg broke FOUR maces over his body in a full blacked out rage! Svenity had then in her hand and would hand to the enraged blonde as she broke one. Burke just watched as his new wife nearly committed murder. Lorg was breathing hard as the last broke. Tyler patted her patronizingly with a sympathetic look on his face.
“There, there, Lorg. At least the money went through.”
She drew her katana when she pinged. She looked at it, only to find a mass gift of several million droy from Goreleech as a “wedding present” Lorg, now nursing a pounding headache smiled.
“Thanks Gore. So. How’s yours?”
He smiled as Sachi came over as if on cue.
“Happy, Lorg. And so am I.”
Sachi smiled as they kissed and Lorg got a kiss as well. Then he looked at Asuna.
“How bad?”
She sighed as Kirito came over.
“Heathcliff went off on me for calling you. Says we don’t need a monster like you on our raid.”
The boy in black had a different thought.
“Your duel. The way his shield was moving.”
Tyler chuckled.
“You noticed too?”
He nodded.
“So I WASN’T imagining it. There was no way he shoulda been able to keep up with you. Especially when you wield that smaller blade.”
Tyler sighed as he spotted the man on a raised section talking to the other players.
“Okay, Kirito. I’m gonna level with you. I think that guy’s Vonderland.”
He gasped and so did their friends. Then Kirito’s black eyes narrowed.
“Because there’s nothing more boring than watching others play an RPG. Okay. If he’s Vonderland,”
“Than HE’S the final boss of SaS. I won in that duel because I overloaded his cheats with natural ferocity. That is all. He KNOWS I can beat him at the drop of a hat. Plus he knows I know who he is. Those two facts are why he doesn’t want me near him.”
Kirito nodded.
“Because if you spill the beans early”
“His world goes up in flames before the big reveal. Sadly, I’m a purist like that where I Want to BEAT the game the right way or I’d have called him out then and there. Plus? Well I was having fun.”
They chuckled, as Kirito looked at the man.
“I’d like to test this, Gore. Just to put the doubt to bed.”
Tyler nodded.
“Agreed. Let’s kill the boss first. That way we can play the battle rush thing. I’m such a freakin psychopath they’d buy it. You’re a beater so they’d buy it.”
Kirito chuckled.
“Hey. Like you said in the cave. WE bare it so THEY don’t have to.”
The warriors fist bumped at that. Kirito looked at Sachi.
“I’m sorry about your friends, Sachi. And I’m sorry I hide my level.”
She just hugged him.
“It’s okay. I never blamed you, Kirito. If not for you, I’d never have got to be with Gore.”
He smiled at that. Tyler smiled as well.
“Okay, Kirito. If we’re right about that guy, I am betting money he plays some kind of admin bullshit.”
Yui’s voice chimed in.
“If he tries, I can screw it up.”
Tyler looked at the man now glaring daggers at him. With a knowing grin, Tyler flipped him off.
“If we die, Yui, can you screw with the system enough to keep us FROM dying?”
She giggled.
“I can keep the helmets from killing you, AND, so long as your wills are strong enough, keep fighting. He can’t detect me since I’m hidden in your helmet, Uncle Demon.”
Tyler smiled as the door to the dungeon opened.
“Heavenly Demons. MOVE OUT!”
They ALL, Kirito, Asuna, Lorg and her friends, Burke and his, and Gabol all joined the guild. Tyler sent out invites to Lizbeth, Siri, and Yuka under the message Heavenly Demons and friends. They ALL accepted. The guild looked at the dungeon as Tyler drew his swords.
“If we’re right, we can END this game. If not, we’ll end it together anyway. For when the Demons spread their wings, even Heaven weeps in fear and envy.”
The friends banged fists at that as they took off running to the front of the raid group, Tyler in the lead with Sachi at his right, Kirito, his left with Asuna at Kirito’s right, Sakura behind Tyler, Lorg and Burke on the flanks with their friends, and Gabol in the center with Sakura. Yuka joined the rush as Heathcliff just frowned at the reckless smiles on the faces of the friends. Tyler led the attack on the monsters shattering them with Kirito keeping pace as Asuna and Sachi laying waste to any not a friend. The raid party trailed behind the whooping demons,
“I got two, Gore!”
“How cute! That’s five in one!”
“Fuck man!”
“Keep up Gaby!”
“Ah come on! Hey! Watch it!”
“Ahhh! Look! Gaby’s shy to be near the ladies!”
“How the hell he get a wife then?”
Heathcliff just gritted his teeth at party having such a good time as they left shattered pixels everywhere from monsters. They reached the boss floor and Tyler groaned.
“Aw COME ON. That is just not fair.”
The arena was on a massive set of floating steps 75 by 75 feet. Tyler looked up and just sighed.
“Watch your asses people. I am not liking this already.”
Heathcliff snorted as he drew his sword.
“Scared, Demon?”
Tyler chuckled as he twirled his staffsword.
“Yup. But not for me. Sakura. This is a distance fight. I want you as far from that thing as possible. I’m betting money it’s that damned bone centipede I heard of back in the beta from lark.”
They nodded as Heathcliff’s eyes narrowed at that one. Tyler smiled.
“Alright ladies and whatever Gabol pretends to be,”
“I will shove this axe so far up your ass you can be used to split trees.”
“Let’s get this done. Kiri, watch Assy.”
They both smacked him as the others laughed. Tyler led the way as usual and the massive bone centipede appeared. Tyler smiled.
“Called it. You owe me ten bucks.”
Sakura stomped her foot.
They laughed at her cute as the massive, 150 foot long creature dropped. Tyler looked at the human headed thing,
“this is gonna suck. Demons! Kill it!”
The party moved to it as Heathcliff gave the charge order. Tyler and Kirito went right for a leg and began hacking as Gabol, Lorg and Burke all took a leg between them, Sakura was firing arrows from afar into the eyeless sockets, as Yuka, Sachi and Asuna worked in tandem for massive damage combos. Heathcliff was tanking for his party and Tyler saw his health drop a few times as the battle raged. Players died in that fight as the beast’s health bars were depleted and it was beaten. Tyler dropped, he in the red as the entire battle he was in the thing face distracting it and dealing heavy damage. He’d gotten the final kill bonus and was drinking a potion. His friends were okay as the healing went on. Tyler looked over as his bar refilled to see Heathcliff’s was STILL GREEN even though he hadn’t taken a potion AT ALL in the fight. Tyler saw Kirito’s eyes on the other side of the armored man and nodded. The two players launched a sneak attack on the utterly unaware man. Tyler’s blades hitting hard and so did Kirito’s. only for the purple shield of an immortal object to appear under their hits. They jumped back as the man looked at them disappointed as he was outed in front of the assault force. Tyler just laughed.
“I fucking right all the time. What up Vonderland?”
The other players all gasped at the name. Heathcliff sighed as Kirito stood beside Tyler.
“you just couldn’t play the game the way it was meant, could you?”
Tyler chuckled as he leaned on his staffsword.
“Oh on the contrary. I knew back in the duel. I just didn’t care. Kill you here or 150. I’m loving life in here so whatever.”
Heathcliff blinked in shock.
“If you knew that early, why didn’t you say anything?”
Tyler smiled.
“I knew when I hit Mirackle. That was you alt account, right?”
That one stunned Heathcliff.
“again, WHY? You had the power to set them all free yet didn’t?”
Tyler shrugged.
“I love this world. Really I do. Rules are simple, works easy, politics mean nothing and all you need to get rich and famous is a sword and some skill. Plus I met Sakura, Asuna, THAT guy, THIS THING, IT, Sachi, AND WHATEVER THAT IS. I fell in love with Sachi, gained the best sisters ya can ask for, and these idiots as friends. Plus. Well. I’m the old fashioned gamer. If I don’t clear the game the RIGHT way it’s a hollow victory.”
Heathcliff dropped his sword.
“Then why attack me?”
Kirito chuckled.
“To be sure. Best we had was guesses and Gore’s scary intuition. I just needed a bit more proof. Somehow I’m not surprised he figured you out so early and didn’t say anything. Guy LIVES for SaS.”
Tyler smiled as sachi got under his arm.
“Adventure of a lifetime. Only WE got to tell it OUR way.”
Asuna just sighed.
“of course. NOW he plays the romantic poet.”
“Love you too Sis.”
“”yeah, yeah.”
Tyler looked at Heathcliff.
“So now Vonderland. Since you’ve been outed AGAIN. I trust you know what this means.”
He sighed.
“I do. And it’s oddly reassuring to hear of how much you loved my world. And a shame you won’t get to see the final floor.”
Tyler chuckled.
“I’m sure we will. Someday. As I’m betting money ya got a backup for this place SOMEWHERE. And so you know? I want it.”
Heathcliff tilted his head.
“To delete it?”
Tyler smiled.
“To come back home.”
His friends all smiled at that one and so did Heathcliff.
“So you ARE like me after all.”
Kirito smiled as well.
“I’m right there with you Gore. Just make sure the revives work next time.”
The Demons laughed at that as Heathcliff had a relieved smile.
“I was afraid you were just a crazed killer without appreciation for my vision. I see now I was mistaken. You love this world so much, and even see it as I do.”
“I’m a crazed killer. Never you doubt that, Vonderland. I’ve killed 100 people remember? All my strength came from this game. So yeah. I love it.”
The grey haired man nodded.
“Alright then, Goreleech. Kirito. I’d like to know the names of the ones that see my world so clearly.”
“I’m Kirihito.”
Tyler looked at him,
“wow. Kinda metal.”
Then he sighed.
“I’m Tyler. Yes, I know it’s lame.”
The man chuckled.
“Tyler. Kirihito. Okay. Let’s proceed. If you two beat me, I’ll release them all.”
The other players were dropped to the ground under a mass paralysis and moved out of the way. Tyler looked at the drop.
“Just make sure they can’t get knocked off the edge by a bad fall. I do get wild you know.”
A barrier rose up around the3 step.
“Neat trick. Kinda wish I’d had that. Coulda fucked with people royally. Walking a trail, BOOM, invisible wall! Turn around BOOM! Another invisible wall! And when you go to place you hand on the other wall it’s gone. Same with the other. And just sit back, and watch the mind fuck!”
That got a laugh from the man.
“And that’s why YOU Goreleech were my favorite tester. The pranks you pulled with that hacked dev hub were freakin hilarious!”
Tyler and Kirito laughed.
“I was kinda looking forward to screwing with the player base a bit with them. Ahh. Wasted.”
Vonderland sighed sadly as he took up a stance.
“Sadly it was. All my enhancements and privileges are disabled.”
Tyler sighed deeply.
“we fall here, make sure our friends can’t kill themselves.”
That got a loud round of denials as they glowed.
“It is done.”
“Alright then. LET’S GO TO HELL TOGETHER!”
Tyler surged forward with Kirito right beside him. Tyler had his staffsword in one piece to start as Kirito wielded his dual blades. Vonderland deflected each shot with his shield and took shots of his own the Demon and the Black swordsmen dodged as the feeling out ended. Tyler smiled. Then his grin became that unnerving sadistic grin and Kirito’s eyes lit up with a blazing fire as the two warriors surged ahead. Their blades were glowing from skill, after skill after skill as the health bars dropped from the three fighters. Tyler was smiling as he scored a good hit, only to get a nasty shield slash that dropped him into the red and so did Kirito. They dropped back and panted as Vonderland was in the upper red. Tyler just started laughing, and so did Kirito.
“I have LONGED for a fight like this!”
“So have I!”
Sakura screamed,
“Drink a potion Big brother! Don’t leave me!”
He looked at her smiling.
“You know I’m not going anywhere. Besides, potions were disabled for this fight.”
Asuna had tears in her eyes,
“Kirito! Please!”
He just smiled at her. And Tyler looked at a tearful Sachi.
“I love you, Asuna.”
“I love you, Sachi.”
Tyler looked at Vonderland and tapped knuckles with Kirito as they surged forward. Kirito led this time,
“Starburst Stream!”
His black and blue blades slamming into Vonderland’s shield with savage force, when his blue sword broke. Kirito gaped as he was left wide open and Tyler rolled into the breach to deflect the death blow,
“Demon Barrage!”
His twin broadswords slammed into the man’s shield with bone crunching force, as Kirito dropped his ruined weapon, then Tyler’s blades broke, and Kirito was there for the breach as Tyler threw the ruined weapons aside. He pulled his original staffsword and was right there as Kirito was hit once more. The boy looked at Tyler and smiled as he faded into gold flecks.
“Take it from here.”
“I got you brother.”
Asuna was silent as Kirito was lost to sight as Tyler slammed into Vonderland with all the force of a freight train. Tyler was smiling widely as Vonderland’s health dropped to the lower red as well. Tyler was smiling when his left sword broke over Vonderland’s shield, and he got hit in the chest. He sighed at that as he grabbed the man’s shield and twisted, shattering his arm as Tyler looked at Sakura.
“Sorry, Sakura.”
The small girl watched as Tyler also faded into golden flecks. Leaving only Vonderland standing. The small girl went berserk as she wildly fought to reach the man that had killed her brother. Asuna was just heartbroken as Sachi too struggled with a ferocious light in her blue eyes as Sakura screamed,
“Big brother’s going to kill you!”
Vonderland just looked at her.
“He’s dead, child. He’s not coming back.”
Sakura grinned.
“You forgot something.”
He looked at her sadly.
“and what is that?”
Sakura busted up laughing before she screamed with all her faith in her big brother.
There was a laugh and the prone friends gasped as Tyler AND Kirito appeared encased in a golden haze.
“I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
Tyler and Kirito’s weapons reappeared as Vonderland gasped.
Tyler and Kirito surged forward.
“I’m the DEMON. That’s how!”
Both boys pinned the man between them and the now caught off guard final boss was stabbed from both sides and ran through with four blades. Tyler smiled as Vonderland died.
“I made a friend.”
That was when he noticed the AI plugin hidden in his helmet. The fading man laughed.
“Well played Demon. Kirito.”
The room started shaking as the other players all vanished. Except for Kirito, Tyler, Asuna, Sakura, and Sachi. They were blinded by a flash of light before finding themselves on a floating platform looking out as the egg of SaS crumbled. Tyler was hugged hard by Sakura and kissed by Sachi as Kirito got the same from Asuna. Tyler and the girls sat on the edge as Vonderland appeared in his labcoat. Tyler smiled sadly as he saw the hut fall into the ocean.
“I’m gonna miss that place.”
Kirito was saddened as his and Asuna’s cabin split in two.
“That one too.”
Sachi nodded at the hideout.
“That one most of all.”
sakura was under Tyler’s arm and so was Sachi. Vonderland smiled.
“Well. There goes my lifes work. AND my life.”
Tyler looked at him,
“Thanks for bringing us all together Vonderland. Best game ever. 10/10 would play again.”
He smiled at that as Kirito looked at the top of the egg as the red palace atop it shattered.
“I still want to know what was up there.”
Vonderland sighed as he lit a cigarette.
“I wanted the world to see it. I wanted the world to have a place to escape to.”
Tyler patted him.
“You achieved this goal. Vonder. You gave US a home. And the chance to be something more. We found friends the likes of which I had long given up on finding. I was able to become a person again. I can LOVE again. We walked into SaS alone.”
He looked at the others on the platform with him.
“Now we leave as a family. A FUCKED UP family, but a family nonetheless.”
Tyler and Kirito got up and shook the man’s hand.
“Thank you for Asuna.”
“Thank you for Sakura and Sachi.”
Sachi and sakura hugged Tyler and he kissed Sachi, Kirito kissed Asuna as a blinding light. The next thing Tyler knew, he was looking at a tiled ceiling with a most uncomfortable feeling on his head. He felt EXTREMELY weak, but as he blinked, he felt some of his strength return. He sat up and pulled the helmet off. He was so thin his arms were mere bones, and he had a mane of hair that hung to his back. He looked over and saw Sachi take her helmet off, and frowned as he saw her glorious Ds had shrunk. We need food. That is just wrong. He looked to his left and saw Sakura take off her helmet. Asuna, however DID NOT. He frowned at that, but he looked around to see the room was still asleep. He looked at his friends and they smiled. He took in a breath.
The room exploded as they all looked at the screen. Tyler and his friends hung their heads.
“Idiots. Behind you.”
That was the day Swords and Shields was cleared. Close to 2 and a half years after the launch of the game, Tyler the Demon and Kirihito the black swordsmen cleared the game and set the players free. Out of the 40,000 original players that had started the game, 10,000 died. Tyler and Kirito were called the heroes of SaS. But all they were concerned with was why Asuna had yet to regain consciousness.

Part 1. Continued in WHEN A DEMON IS NEEDED.
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