Galen woke up, after a long night of sleep. It was early, and so he decided to get some breakfast. It was strange. He hadn't heard from the rest of the group since the Christmas party. It had been a few days of rest and relaxation, and Galen was hoping to finally get back to clearing the next floor. He had even been doing some training in the combat zone on his own to help catch himself back up with the rest of the group. Galen was the newest member of the front lines, and everyone could tell. He was only level 13 now(and that was after some extensive training). The rest of the group was at least at level 14, some even higher. *sigh* I guess it's time to go do some training again.
As Galen finished his coffee, he got a message. It was from Wolf and Amon. Apparently they had found a "haunted mansion" quest. Really? Shouldn't we have done this over Halloween? Its already after Christmas. Oh well, it looks like I'm going to need a partner. Galen wanted to work with Asuna, but he hadn't heard from her since that night at the Christmas party. I hope she meant what she said and wasn't just trying to be nice and hurt my feelings, he thought. I will send her a message and hopefully she joins me at the quest location. Galen checked over the message to make sure it sounded correct before he clicked "send":
Did you get Wolf and Amon's message? They want the gang to meet up at this quest location for some kinda haunted house quest. Not sure what that's about, but they said we need to split up into partners again. There isn't anyone else I'd rather have watching my back but you. Hopefully I will see you at the quest location soon. I will wait for you there.
Well, time to grab my gear and get going then. I'm sure Asuna will meet me there. As Galen began making his way to the quest location, he realized that it would be best to change his current gear before he arrived. If this really is a haunted house type quest, that means I am going to be fighting in tight, close quarters combat. That means unless I'm out on some courtyard within the level, my spear will be all but useless. I would end up hitting more walls then ghouls in such a small fighting space. Galen then placed his dragon spear in his inventory, and equipped his scorpion cutlass he had obtained on the previous floor. Hmm, and I might need to change my armor too. My dragon armor helps out in the open, or in large spaces where I may not need to move as fast. But....in such a small space, and especially against "undead" style enemies, my armor would do nothing but slow me down. If Asuna and I ever get swarmed, we would need to move fast and escape to safety. I didn't think I would need to use this alternate equipment so soon, but...here goes nothing. Galen then searched through his inventory until he found the "nightwatcher" set of armor. It was a set of light armor that focused on stealth, evasion, and speed. It also had some partial resistance to paralysis, poison, and sleep. Galen had found the armor off a grave site in the jungle from the 5th floor. It had looked like an NPC grave, from what Galen could tell, so he didn't feel bad for robbing it. Still, he always wondered why it was out there, in the middle of the combat zone, on a hill. Could it have been a real player's grave? And if so, how did the player die? Or more importantly, who placed the grave marker in the first place? Especially since player's bodies shatter into light after they die.
Either way Galen didn't have time to worry about it as he arrived with the rest of the group. He equipped the armor set with the scorpion cutlass. Galen noticed the rest of the party looking at him with confusion. as they were normally used to seeing him look like a dragoon. Now, however, he looked like a blonde Van Helsing. He even had the hat. Galen continued to look around and noticed Asuna wasn't there yet. Could she have forgotten? he thought. Then, it all hit him. Ah, what the hell? Why didn't I remember that? Galen began beating himself up for forgetting a very important fact: Asuna was scared to death of ghosts, haunted houses, and the like. Oh, damn. That would explain why I haven't heard from her yet. Well, I hope she at least arrives here. I know she is frightened of the idea of going into a haunted house, but hopefully if she remembers that I will be with her, she will feel more comfortable. I would go in, but I wouldn't want her to arrive and see that I'm not here.
|Galen Rigatos, riding out!|
Asuna woke up and yawned. She recalled how last night was when the Christmas party happened and how she actually had fun. It was probably the most fun she had in Aincrad. She was thankful that she did not spend the holiday season moping around or alone, she was with the company of her fellow front liners. After Asuna switched into her combat clothing, she saw a message from Wolf and Amon. The message stated that there was this interesting quest that would take place at a haunted house. Asuna's heart nearly froze when she read the words haunted. Her biggest fear was anything that involved scary things such as haunted houses or ghosts. She always did her best to avoid horror themed activity such as watching scary movies. Ever since Asuna entered Aincrad, she hoped there would be no floor that had a horror theme to it. The idea of ghosts or cackling ghouls sent chills down her spine.
Before she could send a message back declining the quest, she got another message from Galen. In his message, he expressed his desire to partner up with her. The two of them did after all did agree to be party up together for future quests and floor clearing. Even though she trusted the boy, she was not sure if she should still partake in the quest. Her fear of the haunted house would probably hinder the quest completion. If any sudden movement happened while she was inside, she would probably be screaming the entire time. However the best way to overcome one's fear is to face it. Perhaps this was an opportunity for her to try and take on her fear head on. After all, the monsters inside the haunted house should be like any monster within Aincrad. They were all just pieces of data created by a program. Right now she was having inner turmoil.
Asuna did not want to let Galen down so she decided to head to the designated location. It took her a while before she arrived. Most of them looked like they already chose their partners. The first thing she noticed about him was how he was in a completely different outfit. He was not in his usual dragon gear, but looked like the vampire hunter Van Helsing. A slight grin appeared on her face once she saw he even had the trademark hat as well.
"I'm sorry if I made you wait." She said as she approached Galen. "I didn't think you were one to like to wear hats."
Right now she did not want to let Galen know about how she was actually really scared of entering into the haunted house. She did not want to feel like the girl figure that desperately needed attention from the guy. If he was focused on trying to protect her, he would not be focused on completing the quest. Considering that Asuna faced against floor bosses before, she should not be afraid of monsters that are haunted horror themed. However that logic was overwhelmed with the irrationality of fear.
Galen saw Asuna arrive after some time. He smiled as she approached. She seemed a little shy, and nervous. At first he was worried it was his new outfit that was making her nervous, but then he realized it was because she was still worried about going inside the haunted house.
"I'm sorry if I made you wait." She said as she approached Galen. "I didn't think you were one to like to wear hats."
Galen smiled at the comment. He didn't normally like to wear hats, even in the real world. However, the "nightwatcher hat" gave him a good bonus in sneak ability, as well as evasiveness. It also gave him a set bonus when all the pieces were equipped together.
"It's okay" smiled Galen. " I normally don't like hats. But the hat gives me some good bonuses, and I get even more when I wear all the pieces as a set. I just figured I change my equipment this time around. My old equipment wasn't really great for close quarter's combat. And since we will be inside of a haunted mansion, I figured it would be best to focus on speed and evasiveness. You know, just in case we get into some trouble. But don't worry, I won't let anything happen to you." Galen smiled, hoping it would give Asuna some confidence.
Asuna seemed to be more sure of herself, as the two opened the door to the mansion and began to walk inside. The door creaked as it was slowly opened wide. Figures, thought Galen. Couldn't be a haunted mansion without squeaky doors. The door quickly closed behind the couple, slamming hard like a book.
Asuna jumped, staying close behind Galen.
"It's ok." said Galen. "I've got ya. Just expect most of the things in this house to move around or close like that. It's just a game, remember? But of course, keep your guard up. Although nothing in here is real, we can still get hurt." Galen then gave Asuna a reassuring smile. "Just stay close, ok? Don't want to lose you behind some trap door or something."
|Galen Rigatos, riding out!|
Asuna had her golden wrist band in her inventory but did not think this was the occasion to use it. She understood why Galen had to change into a new outfit, so that he would be better suited for close combat fighting. Asuna was in her usual light armor which would not hinder her speed or agility. The others split up into their partnerships and already headed off into the haunted house. Asuna gulped nervously when she saw the house. She kept reminding herself that there was no such things as ghosts or supernatural spirits in the world of Aincrad. Everything in this world is after all comprised of data.
When Galen said "I won't let anything happen to you." Asuna simply nodded nervously. She did not want him to be burdened because of her irrational fear. She did not want to be the damsel in distress that would simply do nothing while her partner would be fighting for his life. She had to swallow her fear and face through the haunted house with Galen. At least she had a trusting and reliable partner by her side. Shortly after the two of them open the door and walk inside the house. As expected the door gave off a loud eerie creaking noise. THUD! The door quickly closed as soon as they entered in. The sudden loud noise startled Asuna. She couldn't help but jump up a bit. She found herself staying close to Galen.
Please don't let there be any ghosts popping out
She frantically thought while her eyes examined every aspect of the room they were in. Unlike the haunted houses back in the real world, the monsters appearing out here would be intent on attacking any players. Galen noticed her apprehensive nature and tried to reassure her with comforting words. She did not say anything to him and just kept walking with him.
Asuna was still scared, but Galen could tell she was trying to remain calm. Well, I guess we will have to take it slow, thought Galen. He then looked around the first floor of the mansion. He didn't see anything out of place. Well, for a haunted mansion that is. There were the typical knocked over chairs, swinging cabinets that seemed to keep blowing open by some non-existent wind, and floors/doors that creaked at the slightest touch. Galen also looked around to see if any of the other players were anywhere nearby.
"Hey!" Galen yelled. "Any of you guys still around?"
The couple waited for a response, but none came. Those fools must have just rushed off. I did hear them talking about it like it was a race. Galen began shaking his head in disbelief. Well, as long as they don't get themselves killed, that's fine by me. Problem is I'm still not sure what we are supposed to be looking for. Galen then opened up his mission log to see that the group was looking for the NPC's mother, or at least for signs of what might have happened to her. Typical search and rescue mission. Although I'm not liking the context of it. We haven't encountered any undead or ghost-like monsters yet...and I'd like to keep it that way. Besides, how would we even hurt a ghost monster? Most games make them invulnerable to physical attacks but weak to magic. Problem is there isn't any magic in SAO.
Galen looked back at Asuna, trying to see if she had any ideas where to start. Asuna didn't seem to notice him. She just had one hand on his back, the other on her rapier. She seemed to be frantically looking around for anything that might jump out at them. Hmm, well we should probably at least search this main floor first. Those rash teammates of ours probably just rushed through this area thinking that the woman must be deeper in the mansion. I mean, yeah, that's probably true...but there might be some clues to her exact whereabouts hidden in plain sight.
"Hey Asuna" said Galen softly. "It's ok, you don't have to be on guard all the time. Just stay close, ok? It looks like the rest of the group just left the main floor in a hurry to find clues, but we should check this floor out first before moving on. I doubt they even skimmed this place. They probably ran upstairs or something. " Galen then reached out his left hand to Asuna. She seemed confused, so Galen clarified.
"Hold my hand" Galen smiled. "I know this is just a game, but we don't know what kind of traps or weird portals might exist in this place. I have no idea what might have been going on in this mansion developer's mind when they made it. And I don't want to take any chance of getting separated. Plus it will make you feel better. You can squeeze my hand as tight as you want if you get scared. I can take it." Galen then smiled at Asuna, hoping she would take his offer because he had watched too many movies or shows where people would just disappear behind trap doors or fall through a trap floor and wouldn't be found again.
|Galen Rigatos, riding out!|
The haunted house fortunately did not have anything too frightening pop out yet. Asuna thanked her luck that nothing happened yet. Her eyes were focused on everything around her, as if she was anticipating a ghoul to jump out and scare her. At least this wasn't like the haunted houses in real life, because then there would have been mist or cackling sounds. Right now she had to get her head in the game, she had to focus on the quest. There were no clues on how to find this NPC mother, so that meant they would have to check through every door way. Most likely there would be monsters hiding behind those doors or traps awaiting them. Asuna had to fight the urge to turn back and call it quits. In the world of Aincrad, she had to face her fears by going out to the front lines. If she gave up now, then she would be betraying herself.
Galen called out for the others. There was no reply back which made Asuna slightly worried. Most likely the others were far in already or were in parts of the house that did not allow noise to travel through. She was wondering what kind of monsters would pop out at them. This did not seem like a place where zombie type monsters would appear. At least zombies were generally slow, meaning she would have a fighting advantage against them. The reason why she was so afraid of anything horror themed was because of a scary event during her childhood. Her older brother was really into scary things and one time he asked her to accompany him to a haunted house during Halloween. Since she was a little girl, anything that popped out at her was extremely frightening. She kept crying the entire time and had nightmares for the next few days.
Present day she is no longer that helpless little girl. Asuna now had the ability to defend herself and was with somebody willing to protect her. Her hand was unconsciously near her rapier in case anything came to surprise her out of nowhere.
"Hey Asuna." Galen whispered softly to her. She turned her attention to him. He then suggested that the two of them go find clues, which she agreed sounded like a good idea. Then Galen held his hand out to her, and she looked at him confused. "Hold my hand." He told her. Asuna hesitated at first, it must have been pretty obvious how scared and paranoid she was if he was offering to comfort her. She took a deep breath and then held onto his hand.
"Sorry, I am just unreasonably scared of anything that is haunted or spooky."
2541 cr points
22 / M / North Carolina
"Well." Amon said scratching the back of his neck. "I guess left." Amon started to walk, Noiki clenching his hand, and they started to hear odd sounds from all around them. About after forty feet of walking they heard a soft sound, kind of like a piano, and Noiki immediately turned bright white. Amon slowly continued and they found where the sound was coming from. Off the the left of the hallway was a small room that looked like a parlor. In the far corner of the room was a grand piano faced away from them and they could still here the sound from it. As soon as Amon stepped his foot into the door, a loud banging could be heard from the piano and Amon immediately took a step back. Then the music became normal again. Amon tried this out three or four times before he figured out that nobody could enter the room without the piano freaking out. Amon decided for Noiki's sake that they should close the door and keep going.
They kept walking for what seemed like an eternity, then they heard soft piano music again. The saw a door again on the left side. Amon opened the door and it was the same parlor from before. Except the piano was turned around and they saw what looked like an elderly looking man playing the piano. Amon again tried to step on the door and once again the man began to slam his hands on the piano. Amon walked back into the hall. "Well, what do we do now?"
|Old times are good times|
Wolf waited on an answer from Yuuki but she took her sweet time in responding so he just decided himself. Wolf continued up the stairs dragging the fragile girl up with him. The path ahead seemed to be a big one. From where they were stepping, it looked as if the ceiling was very high up, almost like the entrance hall. Wolf stepped on the new floor, which should have been marked as floor number 3 but there was one thing that bugged him. This place looked exactly like the entrance!
"What just happened? How did we get back here?" Wolf said looking around. "It seems we have hit a major dead end." That statement was spoken only because of the new enemy that appeared before the two. It spawned upon the failure of their path selection. The polygons appeared from thin air and moved together, the opposite motion of when they are killed. Eventually, a giant Wild Daer appeared in mid air upon the top of the staircase before them.
This was one giant room with many paths leading to and from it. If you were to keep walking straight, upon this red carpet, there would be a staircase that stopped halfway up and split into staircases going left and right. In the center of the ceiling was a giant chandelier. The monster then came to life and landed heavily on the platform where the stairs split. It shook the ground wildly and Wolf was sure everyone would've heard and felt it. And almost as if it WANTED more opponents, the giant Wild Daer roared tremendously.
All around that place, normal sized Wild Daer spawned. "One wrong move, huh?"
|With my blade by my side, I'm never alone.|
"Its alright" said Galen. "Let's just check this floor out".
Galen and Asuna walked forward through the haunted mansion, every board beneath their feet creaking. They came up to a corner when Galen saw something that looked like a black shadow fly past. What the? Asuna saw the shadow as well and began squeezing Galen's hand tightly. I guess Asuna saw the shade as well. I hope she is alright.
"We should see where it went" said Galen. "Stay close and hug the wall."
Asuna nodded and the couple began creeping around the corner. Galen looked down the corridor, only to see an empty hallway, with random vases on nightstands and a few doorways on the right near the end of the hall.
"It looks clear" whispered Galen. "Let's go."
As the couple began to walk down the hall, Galen stepped down when the board below him snapped. Apparently it was already raised, so the floor remained intact. However, the sound echoed down the hall. At once, a large mass of fluttering shadows began chirping like birds and began flying at Galen and Asuna. They quickly got back behind the corner as the mass of creatures flew by. Asuna buried her head in Galen's chest as she covered herself from the attacking swarm of creatures. Galen held onto Asuna with both arms while looking more closely at the swarm. They're bats! realized Galen. But can they be killed? With his right arm, he pulled out his scorpion cutlass and swung at the hoard. Nothing happened, and an <<Immovable Object>> screen appeared. Hmm, seems they are just a part of the level design. Maybe to discourage players from going further. Galen looked down at Asuna, who was still holding on to him.
"Well, it looked clear. Sorry about that Asuna." said Galen as he sheathed his sword and placed his right hand on her head. She looked up at him with concern.
"Are they gone?" she asked.
"Yeah, but don't worry. They seem to be a part of the level, and not actual monsters. But that means they must be here to try and scare us away from searching that room at the end of the hall. They flew away, so we should be able to walk down the hall with no problem now" smiled Galen.
|Galen Rigatos, riding out!|
With every step they took, the floor board groaned eerily. Every single sound within the house made Asuna's insides jump a bit more. She did her best to remain calm and not scream at every strange noise. As the two of them kept walking, Asuna saw some strange shadow fly by and unconsciously squeezed Galen's hand tighter. She then realized that she was probably constricting his hand from blood flow and loosened her grip.
"S-sorry." She apologized in a low voice.
Galen suggested that they follow the shadow. In normal situations she would have done everything to avoid the suspicious looking shadow, but in this case they were looking for clues for the missing NPC mother. When Galen made the floor board beneath him snap, a lot of fluttering creatures came their way. At this moment her fighting instincts were shut down. She was right now back to being a scared little girl, so she instinctively buried her face into Galen's chest. She did whatever she could to block on the scariness of the haunted house. Seconds later the fluttering creatures went past them. Asuna then felt a warm hand on her head. She looked up at him and realized that they were not in any immediate danger.
Galen explained to her how the bats were not actual monsters they had to fight against. He gave a kind smile, which made her feel a bit more relieved. Asuna quickly let go of Galen and took a deep breath.
"I can't let myself be scared of harmless bats, especially since we are going to face against scarier monsters."
Her right hand hovered close to her rapier. However she was trying her best to stop herself from shaking.
Noiki almost laughed. Such a cliche haunted house, with the creepy piano guy and the long hallways. Plus, that guy really didn't know how to play the piano. What he was doing sounded like something she'd do when she was younger: try to tap out a melody by pressing random keys and hoping it sounded good. Well, it was a little better than that... but still. He had absolutely NO SKILL.
Noiki shot a smirk at Amon, and began to inch towards the doorway. She peeked around the corner, and found that the piano and the piano-playing old guy were just ten feet away. Very slowly, very cautiously, she stepped a foot inside the room. The man began playing louder, and even worse than before. She put a finger to her lips and stared straight at him with harsh eyes. "SHHHHH," she said in a demanding tone, and surprisingly the playing got a bit quieter, but not quite to what it was before. She suspected this would happen; AI never prepared for anyone as stupid as her. She guessed that she was probably the only person who would attempt to shh a monster in a haunted house, much less sit beside one and play the piano herself.
The man still did not look up, but his expression darkened and he continued playing. She took a few more steps, and the playing suddenly got unbearably loud. Noiki squeezed her eyes shut and gritted her teeth. After a few seconds of getting used to the sound, she sshhed him again. It worked better than before, probably because of the much more drastic change in volume. Yet it was still loud and awful. She continued on, slowly but surely making progress towards the piano.
At last, when she was close enough to touch the piano, she leapt over it and sat at the far end of the bench. The old man whipped his head around to her like a robot would, but she only gave him a maliciously sweet smile and set her fingers lightly on the keys. The man had never ceased playing, even now with his head turned towards her and a blank but somewhat creepy expression on his face. He looked as if he was blind, but Noiki was sure that that wasn't the case.
She took a deep breath, and the tense muscles in her face relaxed. Very aware of the man who was still blankly faced towards her, she started playing Rolling Girl by Hatsune Miku. She'd grown up listening to Vocaloid and knew that she wanted to learn how to play the piano piece for Rolling Girl the moment she heard it first.n She didn't have much other skill in playing piano, besides knowing how to play various Vocaloid pieces. She liked them because of how fast-paced they were, and how every time she heard them she wanted to get up and dance, or at least spin around in circles until she became dizzy.
Rolling Girl was her favorite piece to play, because the piano was the main instrument in that song. She watched her fingers moving swiftly across the keys, a small smile on her face, as she remembered how it used to be like in the real world. She remembered playing piano for Nyami once in a while, and even trying to teach her once. She was so caught up in the song that she didn't notice that the old man had stopped playing, and was just sitting there, staring at her unemotionally. His expression darkened as her became lighter, and as her song progressed. It looked as if he was about to spring upon her, yet he stayed still as if he were glued to the bench. Noiki was right in the middle of her song, and it seemed as if the man were at his breaking point.
(ROLLING GIRL IS A REAL SONG BTW)
|Hallo. I'm coming out of my dark cave to be here. :) <3|
Players, welcome to the first multi-stage triathlon race. Here, Wolf and crew set up a 3 stage race that he would like everyone to attend to. Starting from the lake on floor 4, moving from a mysterious teleporter, bringing you to the 7th floor jungle, to find another teleporter leading to a frozen straight away on the 6th floor.
Each player shall ride a unique animal during the first and last event, in which the player may decide on what they ride (Read up on floor monsters for ideas. Any monster will do. 1st and 3rd section only). The water event will contain monsters in the water. For water obstacles there are rocks, whirlpools, crates, buoys, and whatever else you can come up with, keep it creative and entertaining. Players are allowed to fight during the race, although may slow them down. The jungle clear contains a swamp floor with random docks and flooded houses from time to time. There will be monsters in the trees and vines everywhere for transportation. Flying monsters and fast swimming ones will come by but will knock you off asap if you ride them. Finally, the jungle leads to a straight away. The straight away is a frozen solid, downhill, ice mountain. Maneuvering on here will be beyond difficult. Stalagmites of ice, the occasional frozen tree, and slopes obstruct your path. And last but not least, item boxes (or chests that give you a random item when you smash it open) were set exuberantly on the map to add spice to the races. Of course, the boxes respawn and the further behind you are, the better items you will get.
Prize? Oh yeah, the winner will be announced by a judge. This race will end in a neck to neck, everyone almost making it at the same time, close call, race. But a judge will be the deciding factor, writing the last post and deciding the winner off three factors: Creativity, whoever used the environment and situation to their most creative abilities. Modesty, whoever allowed for the most realistic possible outcomes that them and the people around them, reacted to. And last but not least, fun. Whoever made this race the most fun for everyone. Considering the minimal amount of people we have, there will only be one winner. And the prize. A weapon skin given by Wolf. And without further ado, let the race BEGIN!
|With my blade by my side, I'm never alone.|
A giant figure of a man stood atop a small cliff which shadowed over the lake below it. With a bright yellow hawaiian shirt, green shorts, sun glasses, and to top it off, a pink lei around his neck, he conjured up an idea. He messaged the party about a race. A triathlon from floor 4 to 7 to 6. He smiled, unequipped the lei and shades, and took a dip into the lake.
Several hours passed before anyone showed up. Good thing Wolf stocked up on supplies so while he waited, he trained. When all of the participants have arrived, Wolf hopped on his Hylek Frog and readied up. It was blue with dark blue spots and had a green tongue which could stretch out pretty far.
"Alright, let's do this, everyone," Wolf shouted to the lined up and ready participants.
"3," Wolf lowered his head a bit.
"2," He scanned the enemies on both sides of him.
"1," The frog, that was strong enough the hold Wolf jumped high into the air.
Let the race begin.
|With my blade by my side, I'm never alone.|
36599 cr points
26 / M / belgium
while farming on the 7th floor nick recieved a message from wolf.
Seems like he had the idea for some sort of race.
Nick smiled and muttered "Hope we leave the swan boats out this time."
A couple of hours later nick had captured a fire drake from the lower floor as his race-beast, thought it might be a good choice.
When he arived he saw wolf in a bright yellow shirt green shorts and sun glasses.
Nick had chosen bright blue shorts and a white shirt with sunglasses, mix things up a little from his normal black clothes.
The race would begin in a matter of moments after the others had arived,
his fire red drake was flapping it's short wings when nick jumped on it.
He spat fire to object but nick ignored it and patted it's head, somehow it calmed down.
"3" Nick looked left and right to his friends.
"2" "Good luck, and may the best player with the drake win!" Nick said smiling.
"1" nick held the rope he bound around the drakes neck to keep himself on it's back.
When he heard the sound that the race began he and the drake charged ahead.
|from the dark we can always see the light|