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Antiva Chronus Online

Chapter 2 - How they survived

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a part of Antiva Chronus Online, by Ageha.

How exactly did players survive this death game filled with deadly monsters, diseases and danger on every step?

RolePlayGateway holds sovereignty over Chapter 2 - How they survived, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

563 readers have been here.

Setting

Players tell what happened during four months of being trapped in game. How they managed to avoid death and become stronger and more confident in their abilities.
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Chapter 2 - How they survived

How exactly did players survive this death game filled with deadly monsters, diseases and danger on every step?

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Chapter 2 - How they survived is a part of Antiva Chronus Online.


2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Asher Damons (a.k.a. The Voice of Treason) Character Portrait: Canon
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(Here's part 1 of the collab. Since I ended up going way overboard again, we're dividing it up based on whose PoV it's from.)

Steel clashed against steel as the vermillion-clad warrior darted aside at the last moment, the black giant's sword sweeping downward like the hammer of an angry god, but striking only the air where Canon had just been as, at the same time, she swept up her blade in a diagonal cut, executing a three-hit sword skill. The boss raised its cross shield, batting her sword upward, but, undeterred, Canon gave a mighty roar and twisted into a horizontal strike, only for this to be deflected as well. Twisting this into a one-handed stab, her blade struck against the enemy's shield yet again, sending her stumbling back as the boss executed a bash with its formidable ward, using Canon's blade as leverage to hurl her backward. She flipped head-over heels, but came down standing, skidding to a stop and immediately leaping forward again. The boss only had just enough time to raise its shield as she began another shower of attacks, forcing it once more onto the defensive. And yet, no matter how much she accelerated, with only one arm, she didn't have the speed or the precision to carve past its defenses. Slashing at its chest, she used the momentum of her attack's deflection to duck and spin beneath the enemy's sword, trying to get around behind it only to be met unexpectedly with a reverse-roundhouse kick from the black knight's armored foot, which intercepted her blade and cut her off before she could even execute her trademark <<Whirlwind Piercer,>> once more sending her skidding backwards as the giant braced itself, leaping towards her and cutting upward with its mighty blade. Canon darted in close, moving fast and low as she cocked her head to the side to avoid decapitation, at the same time using the enemy's overextension to stab in beneath its shield, dealing a light cut across its side, then using the force of this blow to spin about on the ball of her foot, rotating and raising her Sword of Elinsore just in time to parry a follow-up slash from the <<Fallen King Acheron>> as it gave an angry roar. Its first health bar crawled down slightly as Canon once more darted in below its guard, executing a <<Triple Stab>> from the side, beyond the reach of the enemy's shield. With its sword turned aside, it once more failed to block. And yet, the damage from these four hits was almost entirely insignificant. Canon grimaced as the enemy brought down its blade once more, forcing her to leap backward, the very tip of the enemy's sword grazing past her just inches from her face. The boss roared incoherently and rushed after her, its blade already raised to attack once again, but Canon once more evaded it by inches, rolling to the side at the last instant. The enemy staggered past her, only to impact with the cavern wall, stunning it for a moment. Taking her newfound opportunity, Canon let loose with a five-hit combo of single-handed slashes across the enemy's back, giving her just enough time to raise her sword a final time after the last stroke as the boss whirled about, crying out angrily as its first health bar was reduced by half, and sweeping its shield upward like a bludgeon. Blocking this attack directly, Canon found herself literally picked up off of her feet and sent flying several yards by the force of the impact, her own HP dropping clear past the halfway point and hovering just above the red zone as she landed in a crouch, her feet gaining no purchase on the smooth ground as she slid backwards.

Bracing herself against the ground, Canon yet refused to stop for an instant. If she didn't keep attacking the boss, its aggro might instead fall upon Asher. If it attacked him while he was unconscious, she would almost surely be unable to block the attack completely, and his life would be in danger. That was something she absolutely, positively, could not allow. And so, she wasted no time. From the moment she landed, she was already struggling to launch herself right back at the enemy. And her enemy, the <<Fallen King Acheron,>> wasted no time in, at the same instant, leaping after her.

Cutting upward in the hopes of circumventing the enemy's defenses by eschewing pre-programmed Sword Skills, which the NPC would doubtless be programmed to react to, Canon found her blade once more intercepted by the enemy's shield as it forced her weapon aside and hacked downward with a strike of its own. Bringing back her blade, she spun, stabbing downward and running the enemy's sword off of her own, before cutting upward in a backhanded <<Reverse-Vertical.>> And yet, the enemy's ever-present guard turned aside this counterattack as well, as, moving with the force of her own parry, the beast hacked upward at Canon, forcing her to flip high overhead to evade a blow that otherwise would have bisected her. Dealing a backhanded cut downward from where she flew, head-over-heels over her target, she aimed to slash across the boss's armored visor, yet even this was thwarted as the enemy twisted yet again with the force of its own slash, causing the blow to graze nigh-harmlessly across its armored shoulder as it spun around, bringing up its sword to hack at the young warrior once again as she landed behind it, momentarily turned away from her enemy. But Canon was a skilled combatant - at least, in the virtual world - and had been expecting just such a counter. In an instant, she'd brought back her own sword, pivoting about on the ball of her foot. Twisting the incoming slash away from her, Canon gave a roar of exertion as she locked blades with the boss, then, using the counterattack skill <<Guillotine,>> slid her own weapon along the edge of the falchion of her enemy, carving upward along its arm as its own attack arced out wide, missing her completely. The boss howled as its first HP bar vanished completely, and lunged upward with the end of its shield, aiming to strike Canon's right side, forcing her to rotate as she completed her cut, spinning around behind her stumbling enemy and chaining her <<Guillotine>> attack straight into a <<Whirlwhind Piercer,>> following up her attack to the front with a horizontal slash across Acheron's back, then leaping over its head yet again as it spun to attack her and carving three gleaming rifts of scarlet pixels into its upper body as it screamed in pain, its second health bar dropping into the yellow. Canon landed just in time to have her next attack, an upward cut from a crouch, deflected by the enemy's sweeping shield, sending her skidding backward once more. Her health bar was depleted yet again, but this decrease was minor enough. As it was, she could still manage to block at least one more attack directly before she died. So long as she didn't take any direct hits, she could still keep fighting. And, difficult though this enemy was to fight, she was beginning to grasp its attack pattern. Maybe, if things kept going as they were now, she might actually manage to do the impossible and save both herself and Asher!

And yet, these hopeful thoughts were abruptly cut off by an audible crack as a small warning flashed up in her vision. She grimaced, glancing down at a status screen for her sword as it opened for a moment. The Sword of Elinsore's durability was rapidly decreasing. If she kept having to block attacks on the level of the boss' furious slashes, or kept having her own attacks blocked with such frequency, then the weapon would surely break. In short, if she didn't end this soon, she'd be both dismembered and disarmed. The boss still had two and a half health bars left, and still had some sort of trick up its sleeve. After all, the party that had sold her the quest information had said it used a "style change" which took them by surprise, killing two of their members. That meant she'd need to be on the lookout for unexpected attacks in addition to worrying about both her own lack of an arm and the fact that her weapon was beginning to break down. And yet, despite the fact that she should have been terrified, should have been afraid of the almost certain death she was staring in the face, Canon felt nothing but an eerie calm, and a determination to keep fighting, even if it meant she'd be killed. It was a feeling she'd known well during the days before the announcement of the survival game, a desire to win even in situations where she knew it was likely impossible. When faced with an enemy she knew she couldn't beat back in those days, she would just keep on fighting until she somehow won anyway. Even if she died, it was only a minor inconvenience back when she could respawn. And yet, now that death here would mean a permanent end to her life, somehow, she couldn't bring herself to realize exactly how scared she was. Actually, in a sort of sick way, this sort of battle was actually kind of fun! In this situation, there was only one thing she could do: fight.

The boss was growing predictable. It always seemed to open with a cut from its sword, which it would then chain into a second slash. At the same time, it kept its shield firmly over its vitals, moving it ever-so-slightly to intercept any incoming attacks, then using a bash attack to force her back once she got in close. Yet, if she could just lure it into overextending itself with its first slash, she could cut beneath its upraised blade, circumventing its shield entirely. Once she hit it once, it slowed down somewhat, beginning to flail about in a futile attempt to catch her. In short, if she hit it once, she could continue chaining more and more attacks, keeping it too busy trying in vain to stop her rain of blows to actually counterattack! Its defense was powerful, but its offense was clumsy, and one slip-up on the enemy's part was all she'd need to start turning the battle in her favor.

As the boss leaped toward her once again, Canon did something that, she realized, she'd never expected to do in a situation like this - she smiled. Raising her sword, she, too, rushed towards the enemy, twisting to the side to avoid a stab at her head, then parrying the enemy's sword with her own as the boss aimed to turn its initial attack into a slash downward. Grinding her weapon off that of the enemy, she spun about, aiming a whirling cut right for the <<Fallen King Acheron's>> throat. The boss stepped backward, raising its shield to defend from the attack. But this time, Canon was ready. Accelerating her slash mid-stroke, she brought her blade in partially around the enemy's defenses, striking the side of the boss' shield and forcing it aside. As her blade was knocked back by this, she reversed her momentum, spinning about yet again for added power as she cut upward through the newly opened gap in the black knight's defenses, forcing it to raise its sword to block, only to have this, too, turned away. This time, a small cut was dealt across the beast's chest, and it actually began to backpedal. But it was too slow, far, far too slow. Canon's sword let out a tremendous flare of vermillion, and her smirk broadened. Its shield and sword had been knocked completely aside, and, now that it had been dealt a blow, it would momentarily slow down, staggering backward from the impact. With its movements slowed and no means of defending itself, this was her chance, if ever she had one. The beast roared impotently as she began her attack, but she merely smirked and activated a Sword Skill, <<Gale Waltz.>>

"I'm not scared of you!" She roared, giving voice to the determination she felt boiling up inside as her blade plunged forward, dealing an X of cuts across the enemy's torso from each shoulder to the opposite hip. The beast howled with pain, cutting at her face, but she tilted her head aside, causing the weapon to only graze nigh-harmlessly across her cheek. The giant staggered, carried forward by the force of its failed blow, only to be met by the Sword of Elinsore impaling its shoulder before rotating clean out through its arm as Canon came about with the force of her cut, slashing yet again across the boss's waist, releasing a gust of wind from the sheer speed of her blade's movement that actually picked the hulking black knight up and sent it skidding backward. Canon gave a mighty cry and, raising her blade high overhead, charged forward. The boss screamed, trying to raise its shield to defend itself, only to be sent staggering back yet again as a fifth strike connected, carving clean through its visored helmet and then down into its other shoulder. Yet again it slashed, this time an overhead stroke aimed straight downward at its nimble enemy, but again, Canon evaded it, twisting her slash outward as she spun, flicking her sword backhanded as she drove it clean through the enemy's chest yet again with the force of her rotation, then cut upward. The Sword of Elinsore carved straight through the boss' shoulder, then flew from Canon's grasp and up into the air. The enemy twisted its first attack into an upward strike, but this, too, was dodged as Canon leaped high, the blade passing harmlessly beneath her as she caught her sword fronthanded. As gravity took her, she gave a mighty battle cry, and then plummeted downward, her sword raised to split her enemy from its head to its waist.

The eight-hit Sword Skill had done massive damage. Almost every stroke had connected with the boss' vitals, reducing its second health bar completely and carving a good chunk out of its third. With this last stroke, she'd get an almost certain critical, which would be enough to eliminate the creature's third HP bar entirely. She could then use another skill to knock out the last of its health while it recovered from the impact. In short, from the moment this attack connected, she'd be assured of victory. And yet, she realized, there was something yet to be accounted for: the boss' style change. Most bosses would change the weapon they used after sustaining a certain amount of damage, usually half of their health. So... wait. Didn't that mean-

Her thoughts were cut off by a piercing screech from below as the boss rose, and, drawing back its shield arm with the momentum of Canon's own attacks, it braced itself and, with speed far beyond its earlier, lumbering movements, hurled the thick metal ward upward at her. Or, more specifically, at her sword. She was cut off before she could even finish her coup de grace as the projectile impacted her blade, breaking off her last attack and sending her flying clear across the room. She crashed down to the ground in a crouch, and her health bar was reduced to a tiny red sliver, while her sword's integrity dropped by several dozen levels, nearly reaching the breaking point. Her violet eyes widened with surprise as the boss gave a second roar, reaching over its back and, with a groan of metal on metal, drawing a second falchion.

Dual Blades?! Canon thought with disbelief. But that's a high-end ability at least ten levels beyond this area! Even with Unique Skills, it's almost impossible to get that ability at this point in time! This boss' attack stat must be on the level of a level 35 enemy, at the very least! But she had no more time to analyze the situation, for, to her surprise, the boss hurled itself forward, crossing the distance between them with a speed that was at least on par with her own. Canon gave a cry of shock and darted backward as fast as she could, the enemy's blades nearly bisecting her despite her hasty retreat. The boss halted for a moment, giving Canon just enough time to hastily plant her sword in the ground, then to use a healing crystal before it lunged again. Taking up her sword, Canon was suddenly forced onto the defensive, leaping, rolling, and backpedaling frantically beneath the boss' sudden tempest of attacks. The <<Fallen King Acheron's>> swords glowed bright red as it began a furious combo attack, cutting upward and forcing Canon to dodge to the side, only to bring itself back around in a reverse spinning cut at her throat, forcing her to parry, then to duck as its first sword carved over her. Forced into a crouch, she raised her blade over her head as the enemy then brought down both swords at once, reducing her only just regenerated health bar to the red zone with this dual attack despite the fact that she'd blocked it. Her sword, meanwhile, began to crack, its durability all but exhausted as, giving a triumphant howl, the boss leaped into the air, flipping head over heels as Canon fell backward from the powerful impact of its last attack. Doing a complete aerial somersault, the boss brought down both blades yet again. Canon's eyes went wide as she realized that she could dodge nor raise her sword to block in time. This impact would absolutely, without a doubt, connect flawlessly, dealing not just one, but two direct hits, more than enough to have killed her twice over. She gave a cry of horror, trying to scramble backward, but found this impossible. The boss' blades cut down, down, down...

"CRITICAL HEARTBREAK!" The vengeful roar from Canon's left was punctuated by a sudden torrent of scarlet energy in the shape of a massive javelin collided with the boss from the side, sending it flying away from her in the instant before its attack would have connected. It rolled across the ground, landing several yards away, but then slowly rose, preparing to attack again. And yet, at the same time, a black clad form stepped in front of the fallen warrior, its sword already raised as it prepared for battle.

"A...sher?"

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Asher Damons (a.k.a. The Voice of Treason) Character Portrait: Canon
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The Voice of Treason’s health bar started to turn from gray back into the red. Asher started to stir during this process, and found himself completely open and against a wall. His vision was still blurry, and any sound heard still sounded distant.

Asher shook his head a few times, then looked at the scene that unfolded before him. Canon, or Kanna, was currently fighting not the multitude of minotaurs, but the boss. It looked like Kanna had the advantage of speed, forcing the boss to block all her attacks. But for some reason, she can’t hit the thing and do massive amounts of damage.

Asher glanced up to the boss’s and Kanna’s health bars. The boss had four levels of health. It still was a little under half-way drained. Kanna, however, wasn’t doing so hot. Her health bar is extremely low, and he saw Kanna being cautious with her attacks. This was the main sign that a weapon is about to break. Shit… Asher thought. I need to get up and fight…

However, none of his spells in his arsenal didn’t have a knockback effect, nor were they THAT strong. Any attack would seem useless until…

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!


Asher looked down to his side to see a blinking icon. Asher touched it, and saw a menu of his stats. This menu gave him hope. The level number, which used to be 24, had turned to 25. The level up points appeared above the few main stats that made up his battle performance- at least, coming from the game.

5 points remaining. It said. Asher tapped the main stats that he would use against this boss. Strength. Dexterity. Speed. Endurance. Strength. That was the order Asher tapped the stats, and they rose by one. The Voice of Treason felt himself get stronger, and yet another window opened up before he fully stood.

-NEW SKILLS LEARNED-
Assault Slash
Tempest Reversal
Somersault Kick
Critical Heart Break


Asher smiled. Every one of these skills would provide more options to combo enemies and cause even more devastating damage. However, that last skill, Critical Heart Break would be extremely be of use right now. Asher closed the window, and looked on to what was happening right now. Kanna was on the ground. Her health bar was only a sliver of what it was before when it was at maximum. The Sword of Elinsore was cracked as well. The boss itself was high in the air, carrying dual blades in contrast to the lone sword before, and slashed down in a manner similar to Assault Slash.

Something snapped inside Asher. Suddenly, he chanted his newly discovered spell. ”Feel your heart beat for the last time… “ Lightning started to crackle in the Voice of Treason’s right hand. It slowly took the form of a large spear, and the spear turned into a scarlet red. Asher brought up his spear in hand and spun it. It stopped spinning, pointed at the boss. ”Critical Heart Break!”

The spear flew through the air in a flash, and it struck the boss in its side. Not only did it cancel its attack, but the attack knocked the boss away from the fallen Canon. For a few moments, it was in a daze, trying to figure out what had just happened. It slowly got up, and faced Canon… behind the blade of The Voice of Treason.

“A….sher?” The confused Kanna asked.

Asher smirked. “I told you… It’s foolish to go up against a pack of monsters on your own...” He said. Asher swung his sword in various ways and pointed it at the boss, The Fallen King Archeron. “However, I guess it couldn’t be helped. Sorry I let myself be knocked out…” He said. His face was full of confidence, confidence that this boss will be defeated.


2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Asher Damons (a.k.a. The Voice of Treason) Character Portrait: Canon
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Canon's heart sank as the first words out of her partner's mouth merely picked up where he'd left off before, telling her how foolish it was to have kept on fighting on her own. But what was she supposed to do? She couldn't have just run away and left Asher to die. And yet, it seemed that, despite how it had seemed at the time, in her partner's more accurate opinion, her choice to protect him had been the wrong one. She gazed guiltily down. Canon had tried her best, and yet, despite that, she'd still failed in the end, forcing Asher to risk himself to save her. And, judging by his next comment, he was even taking responsibility for the situation again! So nothing had changed. If he really believed that he was just being a good friend, that he wasn't making himself a martyr for her sake, then why was he still insisting on taking all of the duties, burdens, and pains that should have fallen upon her shoulders onto his own?!

"Sorry," She mumbled quietly, her expression crestfallen. "Should I just stay back and use some crystals, then...?" Idly, she noticed something. Her mantle had fallen closed across her body when she'd been knocked backward, and Asher, as he didn't comment on the painfully visible wound she'd sustained, must not have noticed it at all. It was for the best, though, she supposed. She didn't want him worrying over her when he was about to go into battle with such a dangerous opponent. And so, not wanting to be a further nuisance to him, she remained silent, a decision she'd perhaps later come to regret...

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Asher Damons (a.k.a. The Voice of Treason) Character Portrait: Canon
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“Yeah… I suggest you stay back, considering your health bar… Join in once you’ve healed.” Asher responded. “I’d heal you, but then the boss will catch us both by surprise.”

Suddenly, the boss made a battle roar and charge at The Voice of Treason. Its swords were high in the air, prepared for a downward X-slash. However, the swordsman armored in black stepped to the side, and thrust his sword into the boss’s side. The boss, using the momentum from the charge, narrowly escaped the full damage, but had been scraped by the blade, as well as its health bar. However, Asher wouldn’t let it escape with barely an injury, and side stepped to his right to make another slash. The hit was successful, and the boss’s health bar decreased once again.

The boss jumped up and flipped. Then, it tried to do another Assault Slash mimic. Asher jumped and did a blackflip, using his new skill Tempest Reversal (not to be confused with Kanna’s Reverse Tempest). Asher successfully caught the boss, and made a few slashes before slashing it downwards. Then, Asher brought his sword down and used the force of gravity to power his skill, Assault Slash. The boss didn’t even have the chance to roll out of the way, and Asher’s sword slammed into its chest. Because the move was especially effective on downed enemies, the hit registered as a critical, and the boss’s health bar showed itself as 2 bars left.

However, the boss roared, and got up while simultaneously grabbing Asher’s hand and sword. The brute then threw Asher across the room. Asher flipped midair and planted his feet on the wall. Had Asher not recovered in time, he would’ve been in shock from the impact on the wall and the boss would’ve followed up with a devastating attack. However, the boss still followed up with astonishing speed and slashed at Asher, who jumped from the wall and used Dropkick, landing both his feet on the boss’s face. The boss fell down on his back, his health dropping to 9/10 of its health bar. “Rain frigid wrath upon thy enemy!” Asher chanted Icicle Rain, and a small white orb appeared just over the boss. It rained down a multitude of icicles on the downed enemy. Because Asher made it appear so close to the boss, the orb’s icicles all hit their mark. The boss, after being sprayed point-blank by a bunch of icicles, was then slammed down by another Assault Slash.

Asher jumped off before the boss could grab him again, and followed up with three flaming kicks from his Somersault Kick skill. The boss was knocked back again, but still on its feet. Asher followed the combo with Tempest, Ghost Wolf, and ending the combo with Heavenly Tempest. The boss’s health was reduced to 1 and a half bars. It still stood strong, and, while Asher had just landed on the ground, charged at Asher. Because the boss attacked while Asher was in an open position, his hands and sword down, the boss’s slash connected, and Asher was knocked back. The hit registered in as a critical, leaving Asher with 2/3 of his health. “Damn…” Asher cursed.

The Fallen Kick Archeron tries to follow up again, this time using the downward X-slash. Asher responded by throwing his sword into the air and doing a spin back-kick on it, sending the sword straight into the center of the boss. The boss stumbled back, and Asher used the opportunity again. This time, Asher used Windmill, kicking his sword deeper into the boss and eventually sending it out its back. Then, Asher activated Ghost Wolf, using it's firt part to rush behind the enemy and grabbing his sword, then turning around to slash it from behind. However, the boss, even though it got hit, turned around quickly and slashed using the momentum from the spin. Asher jumped back, only to see the boss following it up with a stab using the other sword.

Asher's response was to bring his sword up in front of him in a vertical position. He leapt left even though there was no time to dodge and tilted the sword so the boss's stab with slide off the blade and to the side of Asher. The tactic worked, but the sword ended up stabbing Asher in the far right side of Asher's abdomen. Because of Asher's momentum from the leap, the sword also found itself unintentionally slashing Asher and coming out of his right side. The mark it left was shone with a large line of red. Asher's health bar was decreased to just under 50%, bringing him into Endangered Threat mode.

The two opponents made a standoff just then. Neither of them moved... Until Asher charged at the boss. The boss, in return, charged at Asher, preparing for a side slash. However, Asher ducked the slash and got in close, chanting "Burn by my hand!" and slamming a Fireball into the boss's upper abdomen. To continue his combo, Asher jumped up and used Dropkick and sent the boss away. Then, Asher chanted for another Critical Heart Break and threw it at the flying target, followed by Asher's Devil Lance skill. The boss's health bar was reduced to 1/10 of each bar's maximum. Asher started to run to the boss, only to be stunned by the sheer force of its roar's soundwaves. Asher quickly chanted his Wind Blade skill and sent it at the boss. It hit the boss in its neck, making a critical hit once again. Furthermore, the second bar broke away into pixels, leaving the final health bar left.

This didn't come without consquence, however. The boss suddebnly roared its loudest, causing the ground to rumble and small debris to fall. Asher's sword, which used to be impaled in the boss's abdomen, flew away from the boss when it roared. The sword spun midair and caught Asher's left arm. It was a major scratch, which also caused a Bleeding Effect that slightly outmatched Asher's Rejuvenate skill, and stuck itself on the wall near where Kanna rested.

Before Asher could go into the menu and equip his spare Fluted Short Sword, the boss charged at Asher and football-rammed him. Asher flew across the room and also landed near where Kanna was rejuvenating. He was under the Dazed State, meaning Asher had blurred vision and difficulty to move. "Crap..." Asher managed to let out a curse. His health bar was at 33%, and dropped by one percent every few minutes. His health bar also turned completely gray. Asher's situation wasn't serious, fortunately.

"Sorry Kanna..." Asher apologized. "You're gonna have to handle this bastard from here..."

BGM: SW3 OST- Life or Death
Alternate BGM: SW3 OST Battle of Honnoji

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Asher Damons (a.k.a. The Voice of Treason) Character Portrait: Canon
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Roars and the clashing of steel filled the young warrior's ears as, planting her sword in the ground to free up her arm, she swiftly opened her inventory and began withdrawing several crystals from it. Using two health crystals, she swiftly brought her HP bar back up to full, and then withdrew a mana crystal and used it as well. However, with only one arm, it took her a bit longer than it otherwise would have, as she had to stop operating the inventory screen every time a crystal was withdrawn. Still, she managed to finish recovering, and then closed her inventory screen, preparing to draw her sword and assist Asher...

...only to see her partner come crashing down a few feet to the side of her, slamming into a nearby wall and dropping his sword. His health bar once more turned to gray, but it was a slightly lighter hue than that of <<Unconscious.>> This distinction hardly mattered, however. In a fight against such a powerful, nimble enemy, <<Dazed>> condition was just as much of a death sentence as was being knocked out. The boss gave another terrible roar, and came lunging toward the both of them, swords raised to finish off both of its tired enemies. Canon grimaced, knowing all too well what was about to unfold. The boss had most recently been attacked by Asher, who had dealt more than enough damage for the enemy's aggro to change over. The first person it would try to kill was him. Disarmed and barely able to move, he'd have no way to defend himself. And, with only one arm, she wouldn't be able to move him out of the way in time, which meant that the only option she had left was one that she had already realized the futility of. None of her spells had sufficient knockback to stop something moving that fast, and, furthermore, her Sword Skills wouldn't be quick enough to interrupt its skill animation before its finishing attack had already connected. Which meant that the only thing she could do was... to try to block the beast's attack directly, with only one arm and a swiftly weakening sword. Remembering Asher's previous lecture to her, she wondered if he'd be angry if she did something so foolhardy. Most probably, it would just mean that she would die along with him. It was a disheartening thought, realizing that both she and perhaps the only person she'd ever called her friend were very likely about to die, and that he would die hating her for getting killed meaninglessly along with himself. And yet, Canon realized, this was the only option available to her. So long as there was even the slightest chance that she might save him, then how could she, in good conscience, stand and do nothing, then live the rest of her life knowing that he had only died because she was too cowardly to try to protect him?

And so, with a mighty cry, Canon reached down, clasping the hilt of her slowly breaking sword and wrenching it forth from the ground as she leaped forward. The black knight came on, its blades raised high overhead as it prepared to bring them down upon the fallen form of Asher. Giving a crow of victory, it cut down upon its target. And yet, its triumphant howl was cut abruptly short as a vermillion blur flashed between it and its target at the very last instant, a flashing white blade already rising to meet its twin black swords. A tremendous shockwave burst across the air as the swords met, a flash of light and sparks spreading in all directions. Canon grimaced as her health bar instantly dropped by more than half from the sheer impact, which, although taken largely by her sword, was still enough to force her to her knees almost instantly. The black knight gave an angry roar and began to press down harder, as, at the same time, cracks began to spread across the blade of the Sword of Elinsore as a warning screen appeared.

Durability: 10/300

Her blade began to be forced back towards her as her strength gave way.

Durability: 8/300

Cracks spread across the surface of her weapon. Within another few seconds, it would break, and the boss' swords would cut clean through her, then her partner.

Durability: 5/300

It was hopeless. There was just no way to force the enemy back! She was, without a doubt, going to die.

Durability: 3/300

No. No. No! It couldn't end this way! There had to be something she could do! She had to at least save Asher! She couldn't let him down, not after all of the mistakes she'd made already!

Durability: 2/300

Canon's eyes flashed with determination, and her sword abruptly stopped giving way before the enemy's blades. The boss, nonplussed, simply began to force down upon her defenses harder. In another instant, it would have killed her for sure, but Canon never gave it the chance.

"I told you," She hissed. "I'm not... afraid of you!" Forcing upward with all her might, she watched as the Sword of Elinsore was reduced to its last point of durability. But it had to last, just a few seconds more. She'd make it last!

"Sever and Transcend... Sylphae... Blade!" Roaring out this spell, Canon used up every last bit of the mana she possessed, and cast her final magic. The sword flashed brilliantly with light, and once more, a powerful shockwave expanded outward. This time, however, it was the boss that was knocked back, its swords forced up over its head as it staggered backward. Before it could even recover, Canon had already made her move. Giving a roar of exertion, she rose to her feet, drew her cracking sword back with all her might, and hurled it forward, impaling the enemy boss through the torso with the gleaming weapon. The <<Fallen King Acheron>> screamed, but its voice was cut off in the next instant as, sweeping back her mantle, Canon reached down, taking up the sword planted in the ground beside her. The Infernal Blade flared to life with a tremendous surge of flames as, rising to her feet, Canon leaped forward, putting every last ounce of her strength into one last attack. Lunging forward, the gleaming blade flashed briefly with a scarlet light as the <<Linear>> connected, plunging directly into the boss' chest, reducing it down to a sliver of its last health bar. For a moment, it seemed as though Canon had failed to finish her enemy. But, no. She'd struck exactly what she'd been aiming for. The boss gave a final roar, raising its blades to attack, only to be cut off by a sudden flash of blue light from within its own body as the Sword Skill connected with the blade lodged in the creature's abdomen. The Sword of Elinsore shattered into countless pieces, exploding out of the boss' back in a mixed storm of crimson and azure pixels, and, its angry roar turned into a pathetic death wail, the boss dissipated into light.

Canon smiled weakly as the quest completion and spoils windows opened. Accepting the rewards of both, she staggered slightly backward, her strength all but gone. Giving a dull thud as it slipped from her grasp and fell point-first into the ground, the Infernal Blade once more lay beside its owner. Canon turned slowly around, giving a feeble grin to her fallen partner.

"We... did it," She murmured, her expression becoming somewhat distant. "It's... over." Reaching out with her remaining arm to help her partner up, Canon's vision suddenly became blurry. Her legs felt weak, a sudden wave of fatigue rushing over all of her senses as her mind suddenly realized exactly how tired she was. Her helping hand didn't even reach Asher before she lost the ability to stand, and toppled forward, collapsing to the ground next to her companion.

"S-sorry..."

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Character Portrait: Asher Damons (a.k.a. The Voice of Treason) Character Portrait: Canon
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The battle raged on as Asher tried to force himself to get through his condition. After a few moments of silence, Asher's health bar turned back to red, and the Voice of Treason returned to normal. "God... Damnit... Fucking... Daze..." Asher cursed under his breath as he stood up slowly. His Bleeding Condition had also dispersed.

Asher looked around. The Fallen King Archeron was no where to be seen. She did it... Asher thought. We're now one step closer to getting out... He smiled, and looked for a smiling Kanna. However, horror struck him as he found her on the floor, unconscious in front of him. That wasn't the worst of it; Canon's arm had been dismembered and disappeared. "Oh shit!" Asher exclaimed. He picked up Kanna, and examined the arm that was cut off. It was sliced clean off, most likely from a sword. Then Asher remembered the boss's strength, and the Voice of Treason felt tears welling up.

"Kanna...? Kanna!!!" Asher shook his only friend in this world, hoping that she would wake up. This happened while Asher started to run out of the cave, ignoring any passing enemies. She looked weak... How is she still alive...? Asher thought. Anyone... Anyone would die unless they have a firm hold onto their life. Then again, Asher did notice the strong will Kanna had when angered. Kanna.... Hang in there! After a few hours, the Voice of Treason arrived at a village, yelling for help. There was tears all over him.

Fortunately, a stranger helped Asher carry Kanna to an inn. The man paid for their room, and Asher went there to lay Kanna on the bed. For a while, Asher waited, dispite his exhaustion. then, he slept on the bed-side table.