Sunday, August 10, 2014

Chapter 13: "Let's Start the Game"

A room filled with computer screens, accompanied by the constant whirring of the computers, a figure looked into the big screen on display and laughed.

"Is this finally the time where I can witness people fighting for their lives?". Fixing his glasses and rearranging his suit, the figure gave a smile most people will find creepy.

"Let's see what you have then, shall we? Entertain me!"

The square was full of warriors making their final preparation before setting of to fight for their first floor freedom. It was 9.25 in the morning. Everyone was looking at a single podium where stands Havok explaining to his barbarians his battle plan.

3 shady characters was at the roof of a nearby tavern also looking at Havok from their vantage point. All of them were waiting for another member who had seemingly overslept due to a midnight stroll. Not a while later, the final member finally showed up.

"Sorry for the wait"

"I thought you decided to back down for this op", said one of the shadows that was waiting for the last of the four to arrive. He was using a bright red cloak, which seemingly didn't do it's purpose to cover up his upper body. Anyone could guess that it was a huge defender hiding his shiny armour with his cloak. He was holding his huge blade's hilt as it was still holstered at his back. with a smirk on his face which could make almost anyone want to smack his face, it was the one and only Barrios.

"Shut up, Barrios", said the shadow who overslept. He was wearing a full black half torso cloak complete with a matching black muffler which covers his face all the way to his nose from his neck. With his throwing knives neatly placed in it's holster on the backside of his grey pants, his defensive dagger holstered on his left hip, and his lethal Spyker on his right hip. His hideous looking eyes were glaring sharply at the laughing Barrios, seemingly annoyed by his playful colleague. The shadow was no other than the obnoxious Extorsion, the widely known assassin who standed up againts The Chivalry.

"Come on you two... Stop fighting already", the shadow with white sakura patterned hooded trench coat stepped between the two. The shadow was Val, one of the strongest fencers in Blademasters Online, although she was more well known as the best sandwich maker in her restaurant, the Ridgeview Crest. She had prepared her Linnaea on her left hip.

"Alright! Since we have everyone here, let's start our battle planning!", an annoying 'bigger brother' said as he grabbed X and Barrios by their necks. Val laughed at the two's expense from his brother's tight hug choke.

 Thus the last shadow was Oxide, Val's older brother. He was wearing a green short sleeved jacket over his white under shirt and greyish brown long cargo pants. His short sabre was at his back, accompanied by throwing knives fitted in their respective holsters on his right shoulder. He also brings a number of assorted explosives in the little pouch on his backside which he strapped to his belt.

Barrios and X used their eyes and made a plan to payback Oxide for choking them and decided to fall backwards and smack Oxide's head to the ground. As they did, Oxide noticed and let go both of their heads. As a result only two people were holding their respective heads which they smacked to the ground. Oxide laughed at their expense while Val ran over and scolded them for being dumb.

"Alright, that's enough my dear little sister", Oxide lightly pushed his sister back. Val made an annoyed face but decided to follow what his brother said.

"Let's get serious", Oxide said as he changed his face drastically from playful to serious.

"This is what we know so far. Havok divided his force into a certain number of squadrons. It's a bit hard to determine the number of squads, but each squadron will have a number of Chivalry veteran members that seemingly will serve as lieutenants for each squad."

"Do we know what will each squad do?"

"Not yet, but I get the idea of what Havok is trying to do", Oxide opened his map.

"Havok's going to use a very complicated tactic, but most of those tactics are simply bluffs to confuse the opposing faction."

He points at a middle point of the designated war area and said, "This is where the main heat of the battle would take place."

"His main attack force will be overloading the battlefield. He would deploy his sweeper team by the sides of the battle area to pick off retreating opponents, and his backup attack force will be not far behind the main force to do a switch at any time with the main force."

"He's not really using the whole width of the map is he?", Val asked a question as she noted the lack of attack area.

"Good question.",  Oxide said as he pointed at her. "But that's not really the case. Didn't I say most of his plans were only to deceive?", everyone raised their heads from the map and looked at Oxide as he seemed like he knew something.

"Alright then. Barrios, you know what to do." Oxide gave a slight look towards Barrios. Barrios replied with his world-famous smirk and gave a thumbs up before he left the others.

"You're calling over the Alpha Wolves for this?", X asked in disbelief. Oxide gave a nod as an answer.

"Why exactly?"

"I'm getting there. Just hang on a minute", Oxide ruffled X's hair. X pushed of his hand while prompting him to get to the point.

"Right. I told what the Alpha Wolves' mission to Barrios yesterday. The idea is that he will give the three of us a window to operate."

"What is it that we're going to do?"

"We're going to take out those who are calling the shots"

Under the scorching heat of the sun the sounds of war can be heard all around the battlefield. The sound of blades clashing, the sound of someone barking orders, the sound of those calling for reinforcements, the sounds of those in pain. The battle had started about 2 hours ago. Havok's forces made progress slowly, but most of his fighters were getting exhausted. Despite most of the casualties were from the opposing faction, they had lost a number of fighters, two of them high-rankers. With the fact that you are fighting with your very own life in the battle, more and more fighter's morale began to fall.

Havok along with his fellow high-ranking Chivalry members were behind trees for cover, thinking of a way around this battle. They have not heard from one of their five flanker teams, with the rest reporting that they have been held from progress.

One of his main attack force squad leaders called Havok to give a sitrep (situation report), "Havok sir! Something is out of place! We have one or two of our ambush sweepers charging into the battlefield!", accompanied by the sounds of the battlefield on the background.

"What?! Tell them to go back to their positions!"

"They don't seem to be responding at all!", the answer came with background sounds of some people trying to order the black horse squad back to their position.

"Damn it! What about the rest of the attack force?"

"We're all in panic! Suddenly about 50 people jump out and start occupying the battle space! Hey, who threw a smoke bomb?! Damn it! Visibility is also impaired! It's a total mess out here!"

"My my... Isn't this one heck of a mess?", a different sound came from behind Havok. Three people walk in a relaxed pace towards himm. The one in front of him, using a green jacket and gave a deceiving smile at his expense, was Oxide. To his right was a white-hooded fencer hold the hilt of her sheathed rapier giving a curious eye at her dear brother was Valeria. Looking towards his left, Havok saw the horrifying eyes he'd knew anywhere who was making an uninterested face which belongs to Extorsion.

"What do you want?", Havok mustered up the courage to speak at the dangerous looking trio after telling his field leader that he would 'think a way out of it and contact him later'. "Are you the one behind this sudden attack?!"

X scoffed and smiled hideously at his question, Val still retained her angelic smile, and Oxide gave a vague sounding maybe~ while acting innocent. Havok sharpen his eyes and stared straight at Oxide. "What do you want?! I don't have time to mess around!"

"Is that so? Well, do you want to explain to your superior what happened?", Oxide said as he strafed to his left. Behind him was a female assassin, with her white-greyish hair tied up into a single pony tail. She was wearing a light blue sleeveless trench coat, with both her arms from the elbow to her fingers wrapped by white tape. She had her butterfly swords holstered, each on the opposite side of her hips.

"Umm.. M- My name is Mikazuki. I'm from flanker team Haemorrhage", the girl said.

"Haemorrhage? That's the team which lost contact with us. Where are the rest?", Havok inquired. Mikazuki fidgeted for a second before answering "No one else survived". A gust of wind slowly passed by as it disrupted the silence from shock.

"Wh- What happened?"

30 minutes before...

In the middle of a dense forest, 5 people gathered up waiting for the green light to be given for them to start their operation. All of them were running the plan again in their heads. They were given the task to take out the opponent's possible high rankers, fitting their team name, to haemorrhage the opponent's chain of command.

"Alright, we're moving out. Pay attention to your surroundings", the rogue in command told his team members. They all move out of hiding and start moving towards the enemy's position.

Suddenly the rogue beside Mikazuki was hanging upside down on a tree with his foot ensnared by a rope. Amongst the sudden ensnarement, the other assassin got hit by a projectile. The team leader shouted "It's an ambush" before getting stabbed in the back by an enemy, and the last rogue impaled right in the neck. Mikazuki tried running away from the ambush, but she was caught by a thrown rope trap and crashed into a tree.

What Mikazuki could see from her eyes was four grey hooded people walking towards her. One of them caught the dangling rogue, smacked him to the ground and slitted a blade onto his chest. Mikazuki was paralysed by the shock and fear as the four killers walk towards her.

"Tell us where your leader is!", one of the grey hooded killer pointed a sword at her. She tried to speak but her voice was cut off from the fear enveloping her.

"You do realize that you're just going to be killed if you tell him that right?". A gust of wind passed through the area, completing the tense sensation everyone was having.

"Who said that?!!", everyone's eyes scattered to find the source of the sound, including the petrified Mikazuki.

"Don't mess around with us! I will seriously kill this girl!", the guy holding the sword towards Mikazuki's nose hand shook as he said his reply.

"Yeah sure, just do it. None of you are getting out of here alive anyway"

As the person threatening Mikazuki was about to give a reply, he suddenly got stabbed on his stomach by a rapier wielded by Val. As the others were getting ready to charge at Val, two of them suddenly fell and break into pixels. X walked out of a nearby bush toying with his Spyker. The last grey hooded person used an escape mechanism, but nothing happened. While he was still confused, Oxide stabbed his katana form behind him, thus killing him.

Val walked towards Mikazuki and stretches out her hand towards her, "Are you okay?". Mikazuki gave a simple Unn and nodded. She took Val's hand and stood up. After standing up, she looks at her three saviours and seemed to study them.

"H- How did you take them out so easily?"

"Hmm... We were tailing you and found out that you were about to be ambushed", Val answered as she tried to clean Mikazuki's clothes.

"Sorry we couldn't save your friends. We were tailing at quite a distance from you.", Oxide added. He gave a sympathetic look at Mikazuki. Mikazuki slumped down when she realized that she's the only one who survived the attack. She covered her eyes as tears started spilling from her eyes. Val crouched over and pats her back while trying to console her and Oxide went speechless upon seeing the sight.

"Does it even matter? At least it isn't your fault. If your going to blame anyone, you can place your blame at Kiyoshi Hayate for making this game a death trap", X said in a laid back manner as he gave a gaze to Roxanne with his scary looking eyes.

"Say what?!", Mikazuki got angry from X's statement. Her face was flushed red by anger with tears spilling from the sides of her eyes. Her eyes darted sharply at X, but it backfired since X's eyes are probably the scariest looking eyes known to man.

"Either way, no one's going to look out for you. You can only rely on yourself for your own survival", X continued his harsh words. Mikazuki felt fed up and tried to get up but Val stopped her and tried to calm her down. Oxide gave a serious face at X while saying "If you're just gonna make this harder, then don't say a word". X scoffed off but didn't refute Oxide's words and went silent.

"Sorry about him. He's a bit direct most of the time", Val tried explaining to Mikazuki. "But once you get to know him, he can be pretty nice"

"As if", Oxide punched X lightly on his arm. X smacked him on the back of his head and gave an uninterested look. Val and Oxide started laughing, which in a couple of seconds rubbed off to Mikazuki. Instead of saying another thing for Mikazuki to hate him even more, X sighed as he looked away from everyone.

"But seriously, how did you guys defeat them all?", Mikazuki said after she managed to suppress her laugh.

"Did you feel a gust of wind when you were threatened?", Oxide started his explanation by asking back. Mikazuki gave a little nod as if not understanding where this is going.

"Well, that's that idiot's attack", Oxide pointed at X while X stared at him and said "If you ever say that again, I'm gonna violate your human rights".

"His dagger allows him to make the enemy's health bar keep decreasing after being hit by the attack, and he can also dish out some serious amount of damage on one hit", Val took over explaining while the boys were still arguing pointlessly. "Then I attacked the person pining you down with my weapon skill, which allows me to lunge forward twice as far. So basically I lunged from behind you and used the momentum to attack him". Mikazuki nodded as she understood the simple explanation Val gave. "Lastly, you noticed that the last guy was using a skill right? My brother used his weapon skill to render any skill useless", Val said as she pointed at her brother who was waving at her with X's head stuck between his arms and torso.

"You guys sure are strong", Mikazuki said as she stood up. "So what are you guys going to do now?"

"Take out the enemy's chain of command", Oxide said as he let X go from his grasps.

"So that means you guys are also an advance team?", Mikazuki asked.

"What do you mean 'we'? Three of us aren't working with The Chivalry", X replied to her. Mikazuki's face turned into a puzzled look.

"We're working on our own to clear this floor", Oxide explained further. "Our main goal is simply to cause the opposing team fall into anarchy, therefore giving an advantage for you guys"

"Is that so?", Mikazuki finally understood.

"So what are you going to do?", Val asked Mikazuki.

"Err... Umm...", Mikazuki stuttered to answer Val's question.

"You come with us, then we'll accompany you to meet Havok", Oxide offered her. After some seconds of thinking, Mikazuki agreed to follow them.

"Very well! So my name's Oxide", Oxide said as he punched himself on his chest.

"I'm Valeria, but you can simply call me Val", Val followed after her brother and gave a calming smile."The other guy's Extorsion, but you can just call him X", Val continued as X had already went scouting ahead.

"I see. I'm Mikazuki. Pleased to meet all of you", Mikazuki introduced herself.

"Alright then let's go", Oxide said while waving the two girls to come over. Oxide called X from the menu, but he can only hear static from the call.

"It seems like they jammed the communications somehow", Oxide said. "X is somewhere ahead, let's find him first."

After a couple of minutes, the three of them reached what seemed like a clearing in the middle of the forest, packed by quite a number of grey apparelled people with their weapons on their hands. X was waiting at the edge of the clearing, greeting the trio he left with you've been sightseeing in an annoyed manner.

"So... Any ideas?", Oxide asked the others.

"I thought usually you make the calls bro", Val replied. She was surprised that his brother was asking for an idea.

"Well... Why don't we let our new member speak up?", Oxide answered.

"Since when are we adding members?", X asked.

"Isn't the more the merrier X?", Val asked him. X sighed and simply agreed since he knew Oxide would definitely do something like that.

"Ehh? I'm now your member?", Mikazuki suddenly asked. Oxide and Val looked at her with a surprised look.

"Can we just stick with the plan and let her decide later?", X said with an uninterested tone. This time the other three looked at him in disbelief he just said that.

"You can actually make a good idea. Big brother's proud", Oxide threw a sarcasm at X. And yes, Oxide is a self-proclaimed 'everyone's big brother' which only X objected, but went with it in the end. Mikazuki wondered how does X's scary looking eyes can be related to Val and Oxide's kind face, but Val explained to her immediately about her brother's 'everyone's big brother' campaign and laughed it off.

"So, any ideas Mikazuki?", Oxide went back to the main topic.

"Umm... I'm not sure I have one", she said with a sorry look on her face. Oxide laughed it off as he told her it's okay. He looked around and see that X looked like he had a plan in mind.

"Seems like you have a plan X. Can we hear it?"

"Throw a burning gas above the area, cover the sun, I'll use disappear in the shadows of the burning gas cloud and take out the high-rankers.", X said without averting his gaze from the clearing.

"There are quite some of them you know. Mikazuki, I'm tasking you to help him take out the high-rankers, and clear out before the gas hits the ground. Can you do it?"

"One question. What's a burning gas?", Mikazuki looked at Oxide with a confused look.

"It's an explosive that creates a type of gas that burns anything it touches"

"Wahh.... Isn't that dangerous?"

"Why do you think he asked you to get out before it hits the ground?", X asked her in a tone which give a you should already know that vibe. Mikazuki pouted at him, but Val stopped the conflict within a sec.

"Come on, you guys need to stop fighting", Val said to the two of them.

"Fine. I'm taking out 4 of them at the far side, you're taking out the rest", X instructed Mikazuki. Mikazuki seemed annoyed to be ordered around by X, but this time she decided to agree with the orders.

"Val, get their attention at the far side", X instructed Val. She immediately set off without hesitation. X looked at Oxide as if he was about to give him orders, but Oxide gave a look that he understood what he needs to do. The two of them nodded at the same time, with Mikazuki thinking if the two guys are wierdos for the strange action they just did.

"As soon as the smoke pops, we move out", X gave a look at Mikazuki, and she replied with a reassuring nod which caused X to give a slight smile. Mikazuki's eyes widens as she say X smiled, since she thought all X can do is just cause headaches to other people in his poker face and occasional scoffs.

"Make sure to call Barrios after the smoke pops", X said to Oxide. Oxide smiled and said "You read my mind".

Val took out a whole platoon of opponents on the opposing side, which caused everyone at the clearing to look at her and prepare to attack. Just as they touched their weapons in their respective holsters, the area turned dark from the cloud of burning gas Oxide had thrown. Within seconds, several assassinations took place on the battlefield, all of them directed at the high-rankers. As the burning gas reached the ground, the opposing force's numbers had decreased drastically.

"Hold on a second. So you're saying-"

"The enemies are in a whole bigger mess than what you are in", Oxide cut Havok from finishing his sentence and answering his question at the same time. "I advice you to take out the remaining enemies out quickly before another batch of enemies pop up"

Havok's cold sweat dripped down to the ground. He can't believe what just happened was simply caused by three people outside of his well-known guild. Even with the Haemorrhage team, his trump card gone, three people could deal more damage to the enemy that he could ever imagine.

Although there are a lot of things he couldn't believe, the three people had earned his respect. He immediately called his main battle force and asked them to push forward with the team that caused the chaos in the main battlefield, which was no other than Barrios' Alpha Wolves.

Within a couple of minutes, the battle for the first floor was cleared. Everyone was in front of the gate cheering for their success. Many warriors were swinging their swords above their heads, some of them fell and cried joyful tears after a horrifying battle, and a lot of them can finally relax.

"We are gathered here for our success of our first floor battle! We will now keep on pushing forward all the way to the 100th floor and win battles like this and be free of this game!", Havok started a speech in front of the gate.

"Before we open the gate, I would like to say something.", everyone turned quiet after these words. "I would like to say that The Chivalry isn't the best guild that we have in this game". The crowd started murmuring after Havok uttered out those words. "There will be guilds that might be better than us in the future, but I will assure you that I will work hard to lead this guild to our freedom!", Havok said and the crowd start cheering again.

"Well... Well... What a fascinating speech you have there" a voice suddenly said. Everyone's eyes scattered, but no one found the source of the sound. Suddenly a hologram showed up beside Havok. Havok jumped back in panic and prepared to pull out his sword, but the hologram was no other than the creator of the game itself, Kiyoshi Hayate.

"Now that all of you have familiarize yourself with this game, I belief it is time to start the real game.". The crowd went silent after he uttered those words. "Now I shall explain the background of this game. Every single one of you are adventurers who change the tides of battle between humans and monsters. The monsters will have their own factions such as demons, beasts, and other kind of things which you can imagine. To beat a floor, you will need to investigate more deeply to these monsters you will fight, also you will need to help the people in this world to fight these monsters. Each floor will have it's own set of bosses, but it won't be a single boss, you will need to fight for a huge war each time". Everyone was looking at the hologram and no said a single word.

"Anyways, I feel that classes in this game would hinder your true self in fighting, so I decided to drop the idea. You are now free from classes, but you may still call yourself defenders, knights, fencers, rogue, assassins or anything else. I think it will make it easier for you to identify each other, but it's all up to you. Consider this an update in the game. We will also bring you more updates in the following future, so be sure to look forward for the updates! So, LET'S START THE GAME!", the hologram said and disappeared. The gates of the next floor opens automatically, and the notification with the writing "Gates to floor 1" pops up on everyone's HUD.

Havok had snapped out of this strange spin off in the Blademasters Online saga and said a couple of encouragement words to other players and rose their spirits. He allows them to go to the next floor and most people gathered marched forward.

"So", Oxide suddenly said. "Are you going to be with us?"

"Yes!", Mikazuki said without hesitation. Val came over and held her hands.

"I'm so glad!", she said. "Finally there's another girl rather to face these annoying boys"

"So basically you're taking her into a world of annoyance huh?", her brother pouted.

"Hey X. Who's the new girl?", Barrios asked X while the others were busy talking with each other.

"Mikazuki. An assassin. We met her in this battle and Oxide decided to make her join us", X said with a straight face.

"She's hot isn't she? Her clothes also looked like a tight Chinese dress. I won't get tired looking at those curves", Barrios said as he was looking intently at Mikazuki's busts.

"Have you turned into an old geezer?", X asked him back. Barrios shouted in response and got irritated over X for him saying harsh things to him. But well... You know Barrios, he'll be fine in 5 minutes.

"Alright! All of you ready?", Oxide asked as he looked back from taking a step into the gates.

The huge guy in a shiny armour covered by red cloth gave a huge thumbs up at him. The person with the best angelic smile wearing a white hood held on to the hilt of her rapier said "Yes!" at her beloved brother. The new girl in a blue dubbed 'Chinese dress' by Barrios smiled and said "I'm ready". And finally, the guy with hideous eyes wearing all black and occasional dark greys, gave a slight smile.

Thus, begins their campaign to beat Blademasters Online!

Hey guys! Been a while since my last post. I do have a reason for this, I was researching by loads and loads of light novel reading. I realized that my writing skills are rather weak when I read my older posts, and after doing more research I decided to go and change the point of view in my story. I decided to keep using this type of writing as it's easier for me to show the setting and other things. I will update the old chapters into this kind of writing style, but for those who had read it, you won't really need to read it again. Still, be free to read the updated older posts it you want to.

So what do you think of the story so far? Finally the guys are able to get out of what I like to call the "Proving Grounds". To be honest I got kinda caught off on my story direction, but after reading a certain light novel with the chapter's name literally "Turning Point", I think that I can kinda freshen things up a bit. So yes... THIS IS A TURNING POINT.

So thanks for reading, and I would be happy if you would like to give some critics on my story. Till next time!

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