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Join Date: Aug 2010
WEB 8 Pt26 (1st half) summary
Alice finished a letterof farewell to her sister (Selka) and prepared to leave their current location the next day. After being found by her student she can’t stay here anymore, since if Berculi comes personally she wouldn’t be able to put off returning to the Synthesis Knights. She put Kirito to bed, and then slept beside him. After a few minutes Kirito’s breathing slowed down, indicating he’s asleep, then Alic shifted herself so she’s sleeping with his chest as her pillow. Alice could hear Kirito’s heartbeat next to her head, and she couldn’t shake the thought these heartbeats are just echoes, Kirito’s heart is no longer with him. Even though she had thought that all these months together, she also felt there’s something left deep inside him. Alice’s mind wandered and thought if Kirito just could not express himself but is actually aware of everything, how would she explain sleeping on top of him right now? She smiled, snuggled closer onto him, and then went to sleep as well.
sensed a disturbance in the Force and
suddenly woke up in the middle of the night a few hours later. Alice woke up as well from Kirito struggling to get up and reaching for his sword. Alice immediately used system commands to make a ball of light, thinking Kirito had returned to his senses and wanted to see for herself if that’s true. Unfortunately, it wasn’t, as Kirito’s eyes were as dull and empty as before.
Alice’s dragon than began to screech in alarm. Alice went outside and found the smell of burning flesh reaching her. The sky to the west is burning, and the smoke is beginning to obscure the heavens. The wind also brought to her faint sounds of metal clashing against metal and shrieks. Alice realised it’s a enemy attack from the Dark Territory, and they invaded her sister’s village. Alice wanted to immediately fly to her aid, but hesitated; she doesn’t have the will to fight any more, and that had a negative impact on her sword and magic skills. Alice was jolted out of her thoughts as Kirito collapsed onto the ground and tried to crawl to his sword. Alice was moved to tears that though even like this Kirito wanted to fight and help. She went and picked him up in a hug, told him she’ll go help the villagers so he should stay here and wait for her. She could feel without doubt there’re pieces of his willpower inside his chest, like a weak spark of flame. Alice kissed Kirito on the cheek, and without hesitation grabbed her sword, went outside and rode on her dragon to fly to battle.
In the air Alice saw it was indeed a Dark Territory attack. The flames were at the north of the village, and the flames were black fire from the enemies’ spells. Two days ago when her student visited her the enemies he told her they were still on the other side of the walls, so they must have removed all the rubble within the last two days. She saw the village guards have piled up furniture as part of the defensive line and held off the goblin vanguards, but once the large beastmen reserves get to the village the guards would be overwhelmed instantly. To the east and west of the village there are massive amounts of forces gathered, while the south is still somewhat safe with only ten goblins there at the moment. Alice had thought the villagers have evacuated already, but she was shocked to find they were gathered up in the village square. The main force of the enemy have already started to approach the village south from the east end, even if they started running now they won’t make it. Alice impulsively jumped down and told her dragon to standby from the air, don’t come down until she told it to.
Alice landed down a few metres away from the two leaders, village chief Jasper (Alice’s father) and chief of farmers Barbosa (Flere note: I’m bad with names, this might not be a accurate translation), and everyone was stunned by her entrance. Not just that her body was sturdy enough to survive a drop from dozens of metres above, but also her stunning looks. Alice commanded them all to start escape to the south as the village cannot hold off much longer. Barbosa exclaimed was she blind, there’re enemies there too, while Alice shot back that was only a few goblins and was nothing compared to the main forces approaching from east and west. Barbosa couldn’t argue with that, while Jasper told Alice in times of war the guard captain holds authority over the village chief, and the guard captain ordered everyone to stay in the village and prepare for battle. The current guard captain however was a youngster who inherited the position from his father, and wasn’t thinking straight under pressure. Alice pondered whether she can afford to grab him back from the front lines then Selka jumped out and asked Jasper, their father, to listen to Alice. Alice has never been wrong before, and even Selka can see if they stay here they will all be killed. Jasper was still hesitating, and Barbosa yelled at the kid to shut up, does she expect them to just abandon their homes? Alice saw he glanced at his home, though probably more accurately at the wheat and gold inside it. Barbosa accused Alice of being a witch, and Alice was shocked at his audacity; all these months she helped him with breaking down trees and boulders but when it came to his possessions he would unhesitatingly say something like this. People can be so ugly and foolish. Alice clenched her teeth and closed her eyes, briefly considered just taking Selka and old man Karita away and leave the village to their fate, before reasoning the villagers became this way because of the Church and the Synthesis Knights’ influence, it’s not totally their fault; their ability to think and reason have been instead given to the 50 Synthesis Knights, they only were supposed to follow orders.
Alice exhaled, and opened her eyes. Barbosa paled and shrunk back, and Alice felt like she was burning with power like bright blue flames inside of her. Alice gave the command to ignore the guard captain’s orders, the men with weapons are to take the front and fight a way through the south and evacuate the village. Both Jasper and Barbosa instinctively felt like they should obey, but Barbosa in his somewhat admirable courage argued on whose authority Alice can command them. Alice declared with the authority of a Synthesis Knight she can do so: She is Alice, ranked third among the Synthesis Knights, Alice Synthesis Fifty!
She took off her cloak, and what used to be cotton pyjamas underneath began to transform into her golden armour. Even her sword that didn’t transform seem to quiver with happiness it’s finally back with its master. (Flere note: This is a repeat of what happened in the previous chapter, using Incarnation ability to bring forth a persona/side of yourself. Kirito transformed into “The Black Swordsman” and “Dual-wielding Hero of Aincrad” back when he fought Administarator)
The villagers went silent at her transformation, and the first one to respond was Selka, and Alice apologized for hiding this from her; this was her punishment, and her true duty/job. Selka said with tears she had never believed Alice to be a criminal, and Alice looks beautiful like this. Jasper was the next to come out of his astonishment, obeying Alice’s commands and ordered everyone to move out. There was only a moment’s unease from the villagers before they complied, you don’t get much higher than a Synthesis Knight’s authority after all. As they began to leave Alice told Jasper to take care of the villagers and Selka. Jasper with some hesitation replied the Lady Knight should be careful as well. Alice noted her father would never be able to treat her as his daughter again, thus was the price of power. Selka gave her farewells to Alice in tears, and asked her to not push herself.
The villagers left, except for Barbosa who was still yelling about his house in flames. Alice thought he have some courage to be able to defy a Synthesis Knight’s orders to be able to put his possessions on the same scales. She decided to let him live or die by his own choice, and ignored him. From the north the guard captain gave the order to retreat, and upon hearing that Barbosa exclaimed the villagers should have stood and fought, everyone will be killed now since they’re fleeing. Alice merely shrugged and told him she’ll use a area attack and protect this place, while Barbosa claimed this was all Bullshit, a brat like her can’t possibly be a Synthesis Knight and this was all witchcraft. Alice ignored the rest of his words as she looked upon the invading goblins and beastmen from east and west. She then ordered her dragon to burn them all, and with a fire breath dozens of invaders was disintegrated. Alice told the remaining villagers to continue to leave, and they did. The guards came by in their retreat, and after a moment’s confusion of where is everyone and why was Alice dressed like that, Alice told them to continue south and bring Barbosa with them. The enemies entered the plaza and Alice made short work of four of them with her sword. After that, she Released Recollection of her sword and used
her sword’s metal flower petals to wipe out the remaining invading forces.
One week later, the villagers started to rebuild. Dozens of people died. After their funeral Alice went north to scout. From the amount of preparation there she understood this time the Dark Territory is invading “for real”. Alice collapsed the caves once more, and additionally she made the nearby river flowed into the cave, and froze the water. Now unless there’s a mage with the same skill level as her no-one will be able to pass.
As Alice tied the sacks onto her dragon’s saddle and prepared to leave, Selka told Alice their father deep down wanted to come and say farewell as well. Alice hugged Selka and told her the next time she returns to the village it will be as the old Alice, once her duties are over. Then she would be able to say “I’m back, father”. Alice brought Kirito and his two swords up onto the saddle with her, unwilling to leave him behind. While Kirito could be left with Selka and avoid being unable to look after Kirito herself while fighting on the front lines, Alice decided to bring Kirito anyway. Kirito showed willingness to fight when the village was invaded; fighting for someone is something intrinsic to him deep down. Alice believed the only way for Kirito to regain his mind would be on the battlefield. She’ll keep him safe, even if she has to tie him onto her back while fighting. Alice and Selka had a tearful farewell, and then Alice left.
Scene change, back to Gabriel. The ten leaders are kneeling before him once again in the throne room. Within two days they had finished all preparations, and Gabriel was impressed with their performance. Near-perfect skills to follow his orders and loyal to boot, they might as well be finished products for combat AIs. Then Gabriel reminded himself their loyalty programming wasn’t perfect, if they don’t think of him as the strongest they could rebel at any moment. And from the assassination attempt earlier, the man behind it could backstab him when on the battlefield at any time. The last thing to do before going to war is to expose who it was that tried that stunt, and in the process brand into the rest of the Fluctlights who is truly the strongest. Gabriel never thought for a moment the Fluctlights being beyond artificial creations, or that UW was anything more than just another VR world… (foreshadowing for later parts, will expand on this in future summaries)
As Zast knelt down in front of their Emperor, he thought back to his sword teacher. 4 generation ago the master at that time died by being beheaded. 3 generations ago the master of the time died from a chest wound on the way back to base. Zast’s own master had lost an arm, but he managed to live to that day and he was proud of that. This means, bit by bit, the Dark Territory sword skills are catching up to that of Berculi Synthesis One. For a normal human with limited lifespans of maybe 70 years, they can’t catch up to Berculi who lived for over 200 years – or that was what Zast’s master thought before they fought, the skills of every generation laid the groundwork to eventually catch up to the Synthesis Knights.
The strongest sword skill of the Dark Territory was to erase all distractions from your mind and become one with the sword; finish everything with one strike. After fighting with Berculi the master found a different method to strength, felt it being slashed into his body. The other side of clearing your mind, the power of unfailing belief in one particular thing. The master’s sword was repelled and crushed under Berculi’s 200 year old willpower. The master told Zast to kill him, and in the process learn the secrets to this willpower technique. After his loss the master was no longer the strongest in his eyes so Zast can draw his sword against him, and if they don’t do this Zast will never reach Berculi’s level.
Zast learned the secrets after slaying his master. His master died wielding a telekinetic blade formed with the Incarnation ability, and left a scar on Zast’s face that could never be healed. Zast moved beyond what Dark Territory had ever created with their sword skills. Time skip from then to five years ago, when Zast (age 37 at the time) fought Berculi on the battlefield. Zast didn’t teach the secrets of Incarnation to a student of his, resolving to end the chain of students killing masters on his generation. Zast’s strongest attack didn’t get blown away by Berculi’s strike, but Zast felt he couldn’t beat Berculi or can he surpass himself in that one battle. Berculi complimented Zast for having more than just killing intent in his sword, and told him to come back 5 years later for a rematch. After returning Zast realized you need more than killing intent for Incarnation, you need a resolve even heavier than just that. Zast decided to shoulder the fate of all his previous masters and the lives of his knights to fuel this, so upon hearing the death of the Administrator he felt peace talks are needed. If Zast can unify the Dark Territory then Berculi will probably accept his proposal for peace. For that same reason the Emperor who suddenly showed up and called for war must die. In Zast’s eyes though Vector wasn’t physically impressive, Vector’s eyes showed the God was anything but weak. Those eyes showed a void that let no light escape, a bottomless abyss; those eyes hid an insatiable hunger. If Zast’s willpower was swallowed by Vector’s void then he won’t be able to harm the God. Zast was confident there will be another that will inherit his dreams and Incarnation, though he had a regret of not managed to find Lippia yesterday and telling her of his resolve. Zast felt maybe this is for the best anyway, this way Lippia won’t stubbornly try to kill the Emperor with him.
The second before Zast prepared to launch his strike, Vector spoke. He told them someone tried to assassinate him last night with a short sword. Each leader reacted differently, and Zast wondered if there was another leader than had motive to kill the emperor. He ruled out the 5 leaders that wasn’t human, they aren’t stealthy enough. The use of short sword suggests it wasn’t the assassin’s guild leader’s doing, the assassins focused on creating poisons that can kill anyone regardless of their priority levels. D, the dark mage guild leader, had tricks more deadly than any sword, so it doesn’t seem she’s the one responsible. This then suggests that Zast himself was the most likely send that assassin, but he himself had decided to do the killing himself and never suggested this to any of his underlings…
Zast then froze, his willpower behind his blow became fear, unease, and terror, finally settling down to cold belief that the worst had happened.
Vector then spoke, he doesn’t care who sent the assassin. Being willing to kill for power is an admirable trait, and if any of them wants to they’re welcome to attack him when his back is turned. However, they better have the resolve to pay the price if their gambit fails. For the first time Vector showed emotions, a slight smile, and gestured to his maids to bring in the example of the price. The maids brought in a cuboid of some sort covered with cloth on a silver platter, placed it down in front of Vector, then left after bowing to Vector and the ten leaders. Vector kicked off the coverings, and it showed Lippia, his most prized student, lover, and now fiancée, now dead and frozen inside the crystal that was clearer than any ice. Zast lost his willpower and it was replaced by darkness and emptiness in his heart. Zast knew Lippia had started up a orphanage in secret, and thought that was the way for the future for the Dark Territory; it’s one of the reasons why he told her of his dream for peace. That same reason drove Lippia to attempt the assassination, so even though the Emperor was the one that killed her the fault undeniably lies with himself for bringing her into this. Unrivalled regret and self-hatred brewed up a storm in his heart, and became a even darker emotion: The Emperor on his throne must die, even if the price for that was his life and the future of the Dark Territory.
Gabriel sat with amusement on his throne, sure what was going to play out next because of the experiences he felt from the assassin’s soul; showing whoever the master and lover of the assassin was her corpse, execute that person, and drive fear into the other 9’s hearts. Just like his machinations in Real Life, people are such amusing and pitiable things. With the same souls as humans but limited wisdom, and they could be replicated endlessly, Gabriel was sure the Fluctlights can eventually sate his thirst.
The other leaders are 20m away from him, enough to bring his own sword to parry the attack. Even if his sword, one of the most powerful items in the game, is not enough the account Vector also had ridiculously high HP, and a “hax” personal trait that makes all system commands (spells) useless against him. He is utterly sure he has nothing to worry about.
The Dark Knight leader kneeling down brought his hand to his sword in a lightning-fast move, his eyes glowing a inhuman red. Gabriel wasn’t aware of this, but his assault on Ocean Turtle burned out all safety measures so if they die in UW they will die in RL, and Zast is sending his death-filled Incarnation thoughts through to Gabriel’s STL.
Zast drew his sword, wreathed in a twister of energy. The theory behind this phenomenon was the same as the Synthesis Knights’ “Release Recollection” was unknown to him, even if he was in any condition to think such thoughts.
With a roar of “
”, Zast raised his blade that was filled with his anger, hatred and sorrow.
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