A Clue of the Broken Past
Zero stood shocked. He remembered this voice that projected outwards in the large secluded room. It was the same voice that haunted his nightmares. It was the man in the skull mask. How this man was here was a question he did not fully understand.
Was he still in the game world, dream world, or was he out in the real world? This thought crossed his mind many times.
He gulped. Even in his years in the Academy of Danketsu Ryu, there was always someone better than him. Grandmaster Demon Fox, Blue Phoenix, and Black Dragon were considered the best of the best. He could say that they were truly a force to be reckoned with.
Especially the legendary leader Black Dragon that took the name Black Dragon Ninjitsu as his own. He only heard rumors about him. They say they don’t compare to Demon Fox or Blue Phoenix’s skills.
Even though he had never seen Black Dragon, he had seen many fights with Demon Fox. One could say that he was inhuman. Things normal people can not do, Demon Fox broke those rules and set new heights and boundaries. To him, the man in the skull masked seemed to be on equal footing as his Grandmaster.
Sitting in a chair, the man in the white suit with a skull mask covering his face was talking to someone he could not see. Rubbing his silver cross on the table, the man in the mask spoke to the group. One was a female wearing a rabbit’s mask. The other two were hiding in the shadows. “How is the plan moving forward? Have I made any progress?”
“That is a matter of opinion. Everything is going too slow.” A sweet seductive voice replied. “You know you could speed up the process by helping me out.”
“I’ll pass for today, WhiteRose. I’m already at my limits with what I have to do. Why don’t you ask BlackStar to help you out for now?”
“He doesn’t want to help. He said I’ll just get in the way.”
The masked man sighed. “I heard he’s had a possible breakthrough in his Seed Search. We’ll leave him alone for now.”
“The Seed. That damn Seed. That’s all he ever talks about.” Rose retorted peevishly. “If he keeps talking about it, he will suddenly be one himself.” She was disgruntled with the thought that BlackStar was now paying less attention to her.
“That’s not the problem here. The Seed was just a side project. Angel here has lost the soul stone.” The man in the shadows stepped out with his arms crossed. He was well built, lean, and had long silver hair in his teens. A smiley face mask was covering his face. “Our plans have been delayed by a couple of years because of him. So why did we give the stone to him to collect the souls? It would have been better left with me. I would have done a better job than him.”
“Sweetheart. Don’t kid yourself. You are twenty years too young to compete with Angel here. He had shortened the time needed to collect the souls in half. He had also begun the sixth hundredth phase of the plan. Don’t you see, he had a splendid job of riling up the crowds. But, Angel, that last piece of art was truly first class. I couldn’t help but shiver with pleasure at the statement you painted on the school floor. It’s a very memorable piece, don’t you think?”
“What kind of psychopathic idiot would say that is a piece of art. That’s just a complete waste of time.” Red kicked an empty can that was lying on the floor. “Massive death, destruction, and chaos is art. That is like child’s play. Use a bit of C4 and see the tower collapsing. Bingo, we got fireworks for the world to see. Just like that time when the twin towers came crashing down. Wouldn’t you say that was spectacular?”
“You dynamite head. Is that the only way you can express yourself?” WhiteRose pouted. She folded her arms and leaned back on the wall. Her scarlet clothes stuck onto her body, showing off her curves. “I don’t believe a thing you say.”
“What are you saying? I could blow up a building and bring you hundreds of different souls all in one,” replied Red arrogantly.
“You’re kidding, right? You bring crappy souls. Angel here brings the best qualities. That’s the difference between you and Angel.” Rose replied, scoffing at Red’s comment.
“How are a few thousand people dying trivial? It doesn’t even put a dent in the world’s population. A few thousand go missing, and what? The world is going to cry over them? Hardly. The next day the world moves on. Helping cut down the population is a wonderful job to do.”
“This airhead is talking about population again. Someone stop him.” Rose said with uncaring words towards Red. “He thinks he’s some god of death again.”
“Stupid bitch. I’m not a whore like you. Your stupid S&M reenactments are overrated, and my cause is more just than yours.” Red retaliated with venomous words. “What are you going to do, frolic around naked, hoping the world will change one partner at a time?”
Rose burst out laughing, kneeling over, trying to contain her outburst. “Is that the best you can do? You must never have been laid by a genuine woman. Oh, wait, you don’t swing that way, do you. So what is it?” she tapped her fingers on her lips, “I forgot you like little girls, you pedophile.”
“Excuse me?” Red was about to go towards her and throttle her.
“Calm down, Red. You know she is trying to bait you like last time.” A young female’s voice called out towards him. Her pure white hand stopped him from moving forward. It was a little girl with a bird mask. She was wearing a black gothic lolita dress and beside her a black umbrella. “You fell for it and ended up playing with her fingers. Rose, I would appreciate it if you would leave my brother out of your little ploy.”
“Awww is little Sirius afraid I’ll steal her precious little twin brother away.” Rose jabbed her with her comments. “It’s okay, little girly. I haven’t had a taste of your sweetheart yet. I don’t want to taint myself with the incestual behavior I see going around. So don’t be bashful; it’s true, isn’t it?”
“Rose. That’s enough.” Angel slammed his silver cross onto the table hard. All three of them became quiet and turned towards him. “Sirius, tell the higher-ups I’ll go ahead and remake the soul stone while I’m working on the other missions they have sent out.”
“You sure? You’re not going to lose the soul stone?” Sirius skeptically asked.
“I’m sure. I’m not worried about losing it.”
“Fine. By the way, you set up quite a stir with that killing at the college. It made the headlines calling your work murder art.”
“You saw? I’m surprised coming from you. You hardly like listening in on the news channel.”
“I heard it from Red.”
“That would make sense. He does like to watch the news waiting for his deeds to make the spotlight. So was your last mission a success, Red?”
Red went silent.
“Oh? What is this? Red is quiet. You failed, didn’t you.” Rose spoke out towards Red.
“I did not fail. I’ve just been hindered.”
“Hindered my ass. You failed in blowing up the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia. You’re all talk, Red.”
“There’s always another chance. Tokyo Dome doesn’t sound too bad for the next target. I wouldn’t be too sure that it’s the end. I have other ways to get things moving.”
“Sure you do.”
“There is no point in talking to a slut. Let’s go, Sirus. I don’t want to defile our presence near a tramp.”
Red pulled forward past Angel. Sirius followed closely beside him like two lovers walking through the park arm in arm.
Zero couldn’t help but slink back into the cover of darkness even though he was listening in on them near the broken window and door.
“Stop.” Angel’s voice called out. Both Red and Sirius stopped moving and turned towards Angel’s voice.
“What?” Red asked. He was not happy to be stopped from leaving the room.
“I sense someone is nearby.”
“Where?” Red asked in alarm. He pulled out his dagger from his waist while Sirius’ umbrella sounded off with a click and a sharp metal piece came out of the end.
“How close?” Rose asked; she glanced around, trying to find where this intruder was.
“I don’t know.” Angel pushed back his chair and got up. “Someone is listening in on us. Find whoever it is.”
Zero looked around, looking for a way out. He didn’t have much time, especially when he just heard something dangerous that could be life-threatening. All he could think of was one thing. Run away.
In a mad dash, he ran for his life. Running through doors, jumping through broken interior windows. Even hopping over broken furniture. He finally made his way to the front of the broken-down door. Reaching for the door, an electric spark shot outwards, harming Zero. He couldn’t help but pull back his hands and stare at the door, stunned. It was more than a light static shock.
If he had touched the doorknob, he would have gotten a full-blown electric shock. So he was lucky it only felt like a small static shock.
“What the hell?” Zero gasped out in shock. Again, he rubbed his hands together, wondering what was happening before him. This time instead of reaching toward the doorknob, he tried to put his hands against the door. Instead, he was stopped short by the same sudden electrical shock that started to buzz with life. He pulled away just as quickly as before.
“How am I supposed to get out of this now?” Zero wondered, “Maybe there is another exit.”
This time Zero ran towards the nearest room where open windows were present. Unfortunately, they were all tattered and broken, with a couple of them actually being barred. Zero wondered even more where he truly was, especially in a run-down building that had broken barred windows. Only the dim summer light passed through the windows casting an unsuspecting warm glow.
He couldn’t help but run towards the open window, hoping he would not get caught. But, running towards the window at full speed, he had an unusual urge that screamed for him to stop. Then, with a sudden break before just about jumping out the window, a heavy static-like shock burst, almost hitting Zero.
Zero couldn’t believe what was happening before him. Even the window had some electric force field that did not allow him to escape. Was the only way out to defeat the four assassins? Such a deadly thought chilled him to his bones. It was not an impossible feat, but he did not know anything about each killer. Four professional killers against one were considered suicide.
“I think I saw him going through this way!” Red’s voice echoed inside the building. The building was not considered huge. By Zero’s calculation, it was possibly the size of a small factory.
“Oh, man. I can’t wait to use my firecrackers on him.” Red said in glee while running through the hallways and rooms.
“He just ran through this way!” Sirius called out towards her group. Zero heard the thundering footsteps of the girls wearing high heels. “He’s here!” She called out in glee.
Zero froze like a deer and turned slowly towards the door. He was finally caught in this decrepit run-down building. He gulped and, for the first time, prayed for his life.
“Put your hands up in the air and turn around slowly,” Sirius said sweetly. He could hear the venom in her tone.
Zero did what she asked and slowly turned around. Already he could feel his heart beating wildly in his throat. His eyes darted, looking for an escape route or anything he could use to possibly get away. Nothing. He was finally out of options.
“Who sent you here. How did you find us?” Sirius asked.
“I was-” Zero stopped. Instead, he was interrupted by another voice.
“I was just playing with some friends. We were only going to tag the walls.” A scared young male voice spoke.
Huh? Confused, Zero turned around to see that there was nobody there behind him. Instead, he thought he heard the voice not too far away from him, but in the other room next to the room, he was in.
Carefully walking over to the edge of the door, he peeked out. Right now, he needed to find a way out before he, too, got caught. He was no superhero who could save the person who was caught. The success rate of both of them leaving the building was even slimmer.
Turning left, he bolted towards the opposite direction of the room. With a sudden stop, he saw Rose with the bunny mask and a long whip in her hands. Each snap of her whip hits the concrete floor, followed by the sound of gum bubbles popping.
Zero almost swore out loud but stopped himself short. He was lucky to not step out of the shadows before turning around so quickly that he tripped. Then, catching himself before he hit the ground, he ran back the other way. His heart was pumping, and he was sweating from the oppression he felt.
As he bolted towards the opposite side, he skidded to another sudden halt. This time he felt overwhelming oppression more than before. His instinct screamed at the top of its lungs, telling him that fighting the girl had a better chance of surviving.
It was the same oppressive air that Zero had felt the day he had a split-second fight with the man in a skull mask. It was a fight he would never forget nor ever want to remember. Even though he could not hear the soft steps of a professional assassin, he could still feel each step coming closer and closer.
Taking a couple steps back, Zero scanned around him. He could not go backward, or he would have to face the voluptuous lady. If he went forward, he would have to face death himself. He turned towards the only exit he could and slipped towards the door leading to the room.
Zero froze. He was cornered on all sides, and he had no escape.
“Look, we have company,” Red replied with a laugh. He had a small fire crackle-like bomb in one of his hands; on the other hand, he had a lighter.
“Aw, is it true we have a new kitty on our hands?” Rose came up behind him.
Zero jumped up in surprise. He quickly moved towards the side, moving out of her reach. She walked right past him as if he was not there.
“Who is our intruder?” Angel walked in the door and stopped not too far away from him.
“Just a street rat,” said Sirus. She had the tip of the blade of her umbrella pointed towards a young man’s neck. His hand was up in the air trembling with worry. Angel came in. Next, Zero stepped further back. His right foot hit the broken stone that was on the floor.
The sound of stone against stone moved while he stumbled backward. He had to catch himself before he fell. Angel stopped at the entrance. He slowly turned around towards Zero’s direction. At that moment, their eyes met. Zero froze.
“It seems there is something else here,” Angel called out to his group. They stopped what they were doing and glanced toward Angel, confused. Eyeing him, wondering what he meant.
“What are you talking about? I don’t see anything. Have you gone nuts?” Red laughed. “I knew that he would snap sooner or later.”
“I don’t see anything,” Sirius replied. She was staring at him, strangely lost for words. “Are you okay?”
Angel walked towards Zero; with each step he took, he took another step back. Zero couldn’t help but squirm uncomfortably. Then, slowly with a flick of his wrist, both daggers appeared before him. He gulped, sweat dripping, and he slowly leaned forward. This was his life and only chance to survive. He wanted to live.’
Slowly reaching toward Zero, he couldn’t help but freeze in sweat. He felt like hours went by. At that moment, Zero struck Angel’s hand. At that moment, something different happened that he had never expected. His hands passed through Angel like a ghost.
“What the?” Zero spoke out loud. Lost with words, he didn’t know what to do. Zero passed through Angel completely unharmed. He walked forward, lost for words. He stared at his hands, wondering how he went through like a ghost. Maybe this was all a dream and another nightmare that Zero had been having these past days.
Angel blew out a cold breath. “It seems that we have a different presence here. Kill the boy and get out.
“That’s all well done, but what are you talking about? Another presence?” Sirius wondered; her umbrella dropped down towards the boy’s chest.
“He’s just going crazy. Ignore him, Sirius. We should just get this over with.” Red shrugged with uninterest. “Just ignore the crazy man.”
A message appeared before Zero at that moment.
Final Real World Quest: Alpha Division individual quest.
Distract the assassins for a moment allowing the youth to escape.
Special note: Has connection to Danketsu Ryu academy.
Total Individual quest that needs to be completed 3333 worldwide. 3332/3333 completed at this time.
Quest Level: B
Failure: Blockage of ability for a month. Loss of all three senses for three months.
Reward: A message from Kyle.
“This is a quest? A real-world quest?” Zero couldn’t believe he was given the last quest. He didn’t understand how he could be getting a Real World Quest in a game world.
Right now, he could go through people like a ghost, and now he was given a Real World Quest. The quest was a simple directive. To be a distraction for the youth to escape. For what purpose, though, he did not know.
The only strange thing about the quest was its failure. Zero was unsure if he would lose his ability in the game or in the real world. Even if he did lose his abilities in the game world, it would make leveling and travel a lot more complicated, but the thought of his abilities being blocked in the real world and losing all three of his senses would be detrimental. Touch, sound, taste, smell, and the ability to see are all unique in the human race. Losing even one was difficult, but losing three out of the five could become a major hindrance.
Such a thought worried him, but at the same time, he wondered how it was even possible to lose his senses. Even though he was curious, he was not curious enough to find out.
His fear had vanished, but his worry was still in place. He didn’t know what other trap or if the illusion would break anytime soon. Then, staring at his hand, he noticed that his body was actually translucent but still solid. He was no coward, but he knew when to fight or flee.
The time when he fought the man with the skull mask was the time he had to flee to survive. Now two things came up that were different than before. Nothing made sense at this moment. What was more surprising was what was written on the special note. An ally of the Danketsu Ryu.
An ally. He didn’t know what the young man was doing there, but the chances were that he could be a spy. This thought crossed his mind like lightning.
Zero noticed the second portion of the quest that caught his attention. The reward section. It was a message left by his Twin brother Kyle. His curiosity spurred, and his resolve fortified. He knew what he had to do. The answer was simple. To distract and help his ally and get his reward to find Kyle.
“Kill him now!” Angel orders his group.
Sirius pulled back her arms and struck the young man’s heart. A loud sound of metal against metal could be heard. Zero whipped around and saw the young man barely dodging the umbrella. Instead, the sharp knife skidded across the young man’s dragon mail. He was covered well with light metal armor that could easily protect against swords.
“Tch, I thought I could have pretended a little longer here.” The young man hit the sword aside and did a roundhouse kick. Raising her umbrella to block the kick, she was pushed back towards the wall. She kneeled with a loud slam against the wall, catching herself with her umbrella. “That worm!” She screamed.
“Sirius!” Red bolted forward towards Sirius. He flipped his lighter ready to light up a small bomb.
“Red! Don’t light it!” Rose yelled out. She whipped her whip towards Red’s arm and pulled his arms with the bomb. “You idiot!”
“Bitch let go! I know what I’m doing!” Red furiously cursed at Rose. “I got this!”
“Are you fucken nuts! Are you trying to kill all of us as well?”
“Damn, Sow.” Red pulled backward and pulled off the whip from his hands. “Making everything so difficult as always.”
Zero quickly scanned the room for something he could distract them with. He was literally a ghost at this moment, and nothing he knew of could help the spy. His desperation rose, and he looked for answers. He saw broken chairs, tables, furniture, and a wooden bookshelf in the room. As of right now, there was no answer that he could think of. He was just a spectator to the whole scene that happened before him.
“Damn it!” Zero swore. He did not like to be a helpless bystander at the moment. He needed to do something, running towards the wooden bookshelf. He tried to grab on, but his hands passed through it like water. “Come on!”
But just as he was about to give up on grabbing onto the wooden bookshelf, his hands slowly turned solid. In that instant, he felt the hard wooden texture of the bookshelf underneath his fingers. He was surprised that he was able to even touch the bookshelf at all. Without a second thought, he pulled the bookshelf onto the ground where Rose and Red were located.
With a loud thud, everyone either scattered like roaches or turned their heads toward the sudden unexpected fall of the bookshelf in shock.
“What just happened?” Rose said with disbelief. She couldn’t believe that the bookshelf fell on its own. “Did the bookshelf just fall?”
“Move!” Angel yelled. He, too, was distracted for that split second that cost him a bad injury to his arms. The young man had retaliated in that moment of confusion and had thrown a smoke screen around him. “What are you doing?! Get him!” Angel yelled, holding his bleeding arm. Red, Sirius, and Rose snapped out of stupor from the sudden fall of the bookshelf and bolted after the young man.
Zero, too was surprised that he was able to affect the surroundings, and it confused him how he could do it. Then, a sudden surge of exhaustion hit him hard as if the life energy was just suddenly sucked out of his body. “Why am I so tired?” He stumbled and leaned on the wall.
Final Real World Quest: Alpha Division has been completed.
All 3333/3333 Individual quests have been completed. With the completion of the quest, you have saved a life. Your reward will be sent shortly.
“I succeeded.” Zero couldn’t help but grin. “That quest wasn’t as hard as I thought.” He felt at ease waiting for something to happen or a way to go back wherever he needed.
At 22:22:22 Eastern Time, the Final Real World Quest: Alpha Division was completed. At midnight all players will be allowed to log on. New updates have been incorporated. The Seed has taken root and has begun to sprout. Enjoy the full immersion of the game and have fun.
“What the hell is this? I failed?” Zero heard the gruff man’s voice that he momentarily forgot. The man in the skull mask named Angel pushed himself off the wall. He had already bandaged himself tightly. “How did this happen?”
Stepping backward and slowly slinking towards the door, Zero did not want to stay in the same room as the man in the skull mask. Even though he could not be seen now, he did not want to take a chance. He was able to pull down the wooden bookshelf, and he worried that his body would become solid.
“Does this Alive gear play me for a fool?” Angel retorted angrily; he pulled off the skull mask. Zero stopped and glanced back, curious at Angel’s outburst.
At that moment, Zero saw the face of the assassin. He remembered seeing this similar face at the grocery store with Agnis. There he also met a lovely lady with a voluptuous body that was named Roseland. Was this coincidence, or was it fate that he would meet the same gentleman here in the game world, but the more he stuck around, the more it felt like a dream?
The only problem was that this was not a dream at all. To play the game of Growth, one must be awake. If one fell asleep, the player would be forcefully logged out to give the player’s mind a rest. So the question came up: Was he still in the game in the first place?
As Angel was about to take off the Alive gear and throw it onto the ground, he halted. Zero could see that Angel was thinking about something.
“So I was right,” Angel spoke out, peeved. “It seems there was more than just one person present in this room a while ago.”
Angel walked a couple of steps forward towards Zero. Each step Angel took getting closer to him, Zero took twice as many steps back. Like a homing missile that found its target, Angel followed Zero. He wasn’t sure if Angel was following him out of pure coincidence or if it was something more.
“I know you are there.” Angel broke the silence. Zero couldn’t help but sprint off in a mad dash. He did not want to stay any longer than he needed to, especially now that his quest was complete. He had no purpose in staying.
Running through the hallway, skidding through corners, trying to get as far away as possible, he stumbled across Red. Red was lighting small bombs the size of a thumb. He grinned evilly as he watched, mesmerized by the dancing fire that lit the bomb. Zero was just about to pass him when Red threw dozen of small bombs around him.
“Kahahahahah! I love playing with fire! I want to see the building crumble. I want to see it fall!” Red manically laughed.
Small firecracker-like explosives went off around him like the fourth of July. Instinctively Zero ducked and covered, forgetting that they would not harm him. “This psycho maniac.” Zero cursed under his breath while he had his arms over his head. The burst of the bomb did not affect him.
Zero got up and continued to run; he climbed up the stairs and went towards the second floor. Seeing an opened door, he rushed through and got up towards the ceiling. He breathed heavily from the burst of speed and stopped to catch a breather.
“At this rate, I might be stuck here forever.” Zero worriedly replied. He glanced up and noticed where he was. Stunned, he became silent. “No way. I’m in my world?”
Laid out before him were modern buildings surrounding his abandoned building. Tall skyscraper-like buildings dwarfed them in comparison, making him feel small. He now understood why there was nobody except the four assassins in the building; the whole building was fenced off with danger and a private property sign on the fence.
Off in the distance, he saw buildings that he remembered. Then, finally, he was in Atlanta, Georgia.
“How?” Zero was confused. He looked down on himself and noticed that he was still in his game avatar form of a thirteen-year-old kid. The sky was red, with partial sun peeking through the sky. The sound of heavy traffic roared to life not too far away. Nothing made sense; he still did not understand how he got here in the first place.
“Hey, dragon, are you listening to me!” Zero called out towards the Silver dragon that dropped him off in the middle of Atlanta. He wanted to make sure that he was still in the game world.
Zero waited a couple of minutes more for the Silver dragon’s voice, but to no avail was he able to get a response. Then, finally, the door behind him opened and out stepped Angel. Quickly turning around, he faced the assassin that was walking toward him. Gulping, Zero stood his ground. If it was a fight for survival, he would take any chance he could take, even though he was scared.
“It seems I was right.” Angel’s deep voice spoke. “There seems to be an unwanted young guest in my presence.”
Zero stood still, waiting for a chance to either bolt or strike. But, just like he expected, he did not see a single opening. Although he was unsure what kept him from bolting forward, something else was nagging him at the back of his mind telling him not to move.
“My eyes are still not adjusted to these otherworldly things. You’re kind of small, aren’t you? From my guess of your black silhouette, it seems you just barely hit around ten. I’m guessing you are a kid?”
“Who are you?” Zero spoke, startling Angel. He recomposed himself just as quickly and brushed it off.
“Ah, I see. Well, what an interesting predicament. The dead helping out the living.” There was no fear in Angel’s voice, but instead curiosity.
“The dead? I’m not dead.”
“Speak louder; I can’t hear you well, boy. Even though now that I can see through the other dimension doesn’t mean I can easily hear you.” Angel clicked his tongue in annoyance. As Zero continued to watch, he noticed that Angel’s eyes had a small tinge of red glow outlining his eyes. It got brighter as Angel walked closer to Zero.
“Who are you, boy?”
“That is none of your concern.”
Angel smirked, “It seems I have a cheeky kid. Even in the afterlife, your spirits seem as cocky as ever.”
Zero was getting more confused about what Angel was saying. He was not dead, but he was now being called a spirit.
“Child, are you that young spy’s brother or possibly family?”
“I see. Interesting. Then why did you help him out?”
Zero thought for a moment. He did not want to spill out he was doing it because of the game or finding for his brother; such possible information could possibly give Angel a lead to him. “Because I believe what you were doing was wrong. To kill another human being. Have you no shame?”
Angel burst out laughing; his head was pulled back with his hands on his hair. Tears streamed down his face from laughing so hard. “Shame? No. My talents are god’s gift to me. What I do with it is my choice. Why not put my talent to good use on a spy?”
Zero did not reply, and Angel kept on talking. He was rubbing his silver cross even more than before.
“Hmmm. I assumed you would understand; you give off the same scent as me.”
“I’m no murderer nor a psychopath.”
“PFT. Hahahaha.” Angel wiped off his tears. “Denial is the first step to acceptance. You are only a step away. Why don’t you work for me? I see so much potential in your growth. All it takes is a small push, and you would become one of the finest in the world.”
“Oh? Once again, I am denied. I like you even more. Maybe one day, you will change your mind and become my apprentice in the spirit world. I need eyes and ears in the world that is difficult to transcend.”
“Eternal servitude to you sounds like hell.” Zero boldly stated. He was surprised that he was becoming more courageous in speaking out to Angel.
Once again, Angel laughed, “If you only knew where you are. Those so-called religious fanatics call it hell, but it’s just another plane of existence. So how do you like your time in hell.”
“I don’t know what you mean. I’ve only been here a moment.” Zero was goading for more answers trying to clarify what was happening before him.
“Ah. I see. You’re just recently deceased. No matter, that is even better. Come child, it doesn’t take long to convert.” Angel sweetly replied as if conning a child with candy. The power that Zero had never felt before erupted from Angel’s body. A pitch-black aura that swayed and raged like fire blazed around him. Oppressive energy that was hidden was shown as bright as daylight.
An ominous air of death and evil permeated Angel’s body. Zero felt like he would be consumed in one fell swoop if he got closer to Angel.
“What is your name, boy?” Angel’s voice rang out around him like a hypnotizing echo. Zero head spun from the power of his voice. “What is your name?”
A red static-like message appeared before Zero.
A battle for your soul has begun.
Caution! Caution! Caution!
“Just listen to my voice. I only want to know your name. I won’t hurt you.” Angel continued to coax Zero.
Zero’s mind quickly became foggy, making the world around him spin. Yet, the strange power of Angel’s voice continued to chant in his ears, whispering to him to give in.
“You will gain power and fame. The world will know who you are, and will not have to owe anyone. People and demons will bow down and fear you.”
Unconsciously Zero’s foot moves forward towards Angel.
“To gain all this, all I need is your name.”
“K-K,” Zero stuttered, trying to hold back his real name. His mind pushed him one way to tell Angel his true name while the other screamed to not tell Angel anything.
“What is it that you want to tell me? Don’t you want to find your loved ones? Then, I can relay your final message that you will not be able to say.”
Suddenly, a blazing white light shot from the sky in front of Angel. Like a sudden flashbang, the blinding light made both of them daze, and their ear rang at a high pitch. Zero stumbled around blinded. He felt a sudden pull from his back as he was dragged away.
“Kiyro. Don’t let him trick you,” said a male’s voice. That voice struck Zero. He heard it many times and knew who it was.
“Kyle? Kyle? Is that you?”
“Keep living, Kiyro. Don’t let him take your soul.” The voice slowly faded away. Zero scrambled, trying to pull himself free from being dragged away.
“Kyle!” Zero reaches out towards the blinding light. The world spun out of control. All he could see was white.
“Wake up, young dragon!” The silver dragon’s voice boomed. Zero was startled by the loud sound. Then, his eyes focused, and he noticed that he was on the back of a silver dragon flying in the sky.
“You had almost lost your life, young dragon.”
“I did? Where am I?”
“We are back in Noriene on the Fire Continent.”
“Huh?” Zero finally came back to his sense. “Wait, did you say we are back in Noriene? Did we leave this world?”
The silver dragon was quiet and instead did not answer.
“Answer me, dragon. You still have not given me your name, and now you don’t want to give me an explanation?” Zero was furious at the fickle dragon. He was this close to finding his brother, but it all seemed like a dream he had conjured up.
The silver dragon sighed. “I am sorry young dragon, for you to go through such hardships, but a lesson must be learned. Enemies must be faced. Everything happens for a reason. You will understand one day.”
“Stop with the stupid cryptic bullshit. You just said I almost lost my life. Tell me what that meant. It didn’t sound like just any game over.”
“If you had taken that man’s offer, you would have died. No more would you be walking in the plane of life; instead, you would walk in the path of death. Your line would have been cut, and you would not have been able to return to your body.”
“Wait. Hold up. I would have died in-game?”
“Young dragon, do you still think this is just a game?”
“This is my advice to you. Keep your ears and eyes open. Patiently observe, and the world will be revealed through unexpected outcomes. You are not ready for such a heavy burden nor anybody else.”
The silver dragon pumped his wings and landed perfectly on the edge of a cliff. Zero slipped off the dragon and fell to the ground. His legs were having a difficult time holding up his weight.
“Then where did I go?”
“That you should already know the question without me telling you. Every experience that you have undergone today was not a dream. You must remember everything you have experienced because it might be useful to you one day.”
“The real world,” Kiyro quietly muttered, stunned. “How did I even get there in the first place? Did you take me there?”
“No. You were pulled there. Sometimes one’s spiritual body drifts and gets pulled into a certain space, either it is one’s fate or will.”
Zero sighed. He disliked talking to the silver dragon that was giving him roundabout answers. So instead, he pulled up his inventory and noticed his reward from the quest. Pulling it up, a message appeared on his screen.
Come and find me in Growth. Don’t give your name to that skull-masked man again, you idiot brother. I’ll come and beat the crap out of you if you ever do.
Forget-me-not flower designs were at the corner of the left side.
In alarm, Zero stood up. “H-how? So it was him.” He read it over and over again to make sure. No one but Kyle would write such a simple but idiotic message. The one that pulled him out at the last second and saved him was Kyle himself. He now had three clues from the message he was given. The first one was that Kyle was playing in the game of Growth. The second he was using their code name ‘One.’ The final was that Kyle might know something about the dangerous skull-masked man, which was why he was hiding. For what purpose, he was not sure.
Zero let out a grateful sigh knowing that his brother was okay. With renewed dedication and spirit, he clenched his fist. He was going to find his brother and find out everything. The depressed emotions he had harbored in his heart for so long had finally been lifted. The world around him seemed to brighten, and even the sunset seemed more beautiful than before.
“Young dragon, it seems you have found your resolution.” The silver dragon spoke and turned his head towards Zero.
“I am glad.” The silver dragon smiled.
Another message popped up on his screen. It was a world announcement for both Alive and Sense gear.
Special World News.
In blaring red, his screen was filled with an important message. Zero did not have to click on it to see what it said. The announcement actually opened up by itself, showing the messages.
Since the opening of the new lands in the game of Growth and the first-ever Virtual Reality game to have successfully created an immersive world, small and large countries around the
the real world has agreed to hold and host world tournament battles in the game of Growth. Since the completion of the Real World Quest: Alpha Division. New lands, New environments, New races, and New skills will open for the world to play and compete for. Happy hunting, and let the Song of Infinity ring again!
Zero was stunned to read the message that appeared before him. This was truly unforgettable news. It had become a historical event. It was almost impossible for the world to agree to have battles in-game, but somehow the success of the Real World Quest has initiated a world tournament. He knew that now in the virtual world, the battle would become more fierce with the immersion of new players flooding into the game world. Lands will be fought over, large-scale wars will be waged, and history could be changed from a single event.
Zero, at that time, felt uneasy about the game of Growth. He wondered what the Yami Hikari company was even doing to achieve such world-renowned achievements, but all he could do was continue forward and play the game. His brother was calling him to find him in the game of Growth. Why there? He did not know, but he knew what he had to do.
“My name is Tylon,” said the Silver dragon. “I’ll be seeing you again.”
Suddenly, the world around him spun out of control, Zero was booted off the game, and he returned to reality. He pulled the Sense Gear off his face and got up. He sighed as he stared off into the distance with many thoughts in his mind.
To be continued.
To be continued.
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