“I’m sho shleepy”
Nico protests as she sat back to back with Sakura on a bench of the girl’s locker rooms. They were in shorts and the school’s white top uniform for physical education, both sweating profusely and panting. The school’s instalations were very complete and clean, so taking showers after activities was quite common.
“Nico, we’ll wait for you outside!”
“Ok! Be right there... i just need some rest.”
“Is Sakura coming?!”
Sakura simply nods, gasping for air which Nico feels and decides to answer for her to the other girls outside.
“She says she will!”
Their group of friends in school was a diverse one, participating in various club activities from art, to photography, to softball. Having P.E class at the end of the day simply exausted them, and more since they had been training every day of the week for the upcoming tournament.
It had been only a week, yet results were already visible. Sakura had started playing more seriously again (something she hadn’t done since maxing out her gear) and Nico had taken a very professional stance with the company, the game and the upcoming tournament. She would meet the full Golden Chimera team in a week, and she was not pleased.
The first call she had with them had the team Leader, Coach and Legal Assistant of T+T, while their side had her, Lou, their Uncle and the Legal representant of the company. The talks were smooth except for the brief moment the player Daemon was asked to speak. Nico grinned as his words and opinions were shushed by his own company; mostly because both parties knew that having amicable terms would benefit all parties. The player Daemon was quite... unhappy of having girls lead this new era of competitive gaming, however... his ambition was bigger than his pride. The terms were set: Press conference, an invitational Competitive tournament, Live Broadcasting by Streams and Promotional ads (all medias). Her team was hectic in creating the certified maps for such event... they had less than a month.
“Nico, we need to shower and leave.” called Sakura as she grabbed her towel to cover her body.
“Yes... yes.” The two girls gossiped and laughed a bit as they got to the showers and prepared to leave. She needed a breather. Things in the company were stable, so she could have a normal day. Her group of friends waited for the pair by the school gate, the plan was a simple one: go to the mall, eat and maybe shop. A normal school girl of her age day. It was refreshing as she laughed, tried out new clothes and had a great time with them.
She really felt blessed to be able to still enjoy such things.
“The devs really nailed it.”
“Haven’t seen so many players logged in for the Guild Battlegrounds in a long while.”
“Seems like Chimera will have a hard time today.”
“Hey look, Currsed talked again.”
“Stop teasing me!”
“Fluffy” the group unison scolds their companion with an annoyed tone. He laughs, this time their characters had actual voices as they had agreed to use the voice chat to communicate.
The week had sped through in a blur. The public (in game and real life) announcement of an Invitational Tournament with 8 Pro-teams and the 8 best seeded Guilds in game (Pro-teams not included) had caused an enormous uproar and hype train do to the fantastic promotional video.
This first video only teased a bit at the Pro-teams invited and focused heavily on hyping up the magnitude of the competitive aspect of the game and what the event would be. They had managed to rent a convention center to house the event. Dome shaped, it was perfect as the side line and hallways gave great space for sponsors and companies to place their stalls, while the main stage would be a complete showdown on a 360° view stage. Viewers could choose to use a GA.IM, or watch the screens on the soundproof pods of each player as a first-person view of them, or other screens hanging down with the stream view.
Now, today, end of the week and Nico (with Sakura) had done home work, and homework to not miss any training- while still trying to live a normal high school life. Work had little questions and problems, her team was efficient and she was clear in stating priorities and explaining them to all members and superiors (her sister and Uncle). They rarely interfered either way; this was her world, her domain. Players had flooded the game and its servers over the last few days, joining guilds, bolstering ranks, and... special guests.
“Almost time boys! And girls.”
“We are higher ranked than you HeXXXtia”
“Come on now, focus.” the serious voice of Eldreon (Colin) Made everyone look up at the Countdown in the sky: 30 seconds to begin... and counting down.
The scenery was actually intimidating, just what Nico had envisioned this event to be. Their Guild had grown from their 6 elite members and around 10ish other idling members, to over 30 logged in and active players: making them a medium Guild. Chimera, who stood far in the North had supposedly reported over 40 active players (medium sized)... while other, more popular, guilds had over 100 (large sized) players logged in. Smaller guilds (around 20 or less players) were also around; eager to be part of it all... though, some of these were a surprise. The chats were filled with rumors already, the guild quantity had already grown exponentially this week.
“5...” blared the announcer; Nico could feel her neck going stiff in anticipation.
“4...” people were restless, they’d need to take over their castle again. As expected, Chimera had abandoned it, it was theirs for the taking.
Hell broke loose.
“This is what you envisioned?”
“More or less”
Nico took a short break as her sister made a light dinner (simple udon bowl) for them as the war still raged in the server.
Many guild territories had been crushed already, and defending territories was getting harder. Different guilds, different tactics, but Nico and her guild had opted to defend their main home than expand. As they had been fighting the main gate, their other players (also taking alternating breaks) defended the inside. They had fended off many attacks by now and had even conquered (to their surprise) some estates around their own as guilds who had gone full force against them left their base unattended and some of their players had conquered such fort.
News spread, along with rumors. Chimera not only defended their territory with ease but had began expanding as Guilds surrendered to them or fell to them. But they weren’t the only ones making news. RNG had been praised by fending off various guilds off, even some who were higher ranked and with more ranks than them. Their training had worked.
Then... came news of their guests; people were already meeting them. Enthius Ice, Cloud 7, Astus NOG, Raze Serpent, Sumsun Silver, Specter Hyper, Entel Lead, and Logis Dragons were conquering territories with ease.
Medium and Large guilds were expected to take over and control territories both by their numbers and by the “high skill” players in them- greater pool of players means more than chances of skilled player in their ranks. When small guilds began taking over and even wiping medium sized guilds, the news made a big splash.
Nico and Sakura smiled at each other (Sakura had stayed over this weekened) as they ate and read the game chat. The secret was out.
Over the last days, professional gaming houses had both contacted them and they had contacted them. They wanted to be part of the tournament and the game. With strict privacy rules, the teams were signed into the tournament, given their respective guild kits and their players bumped in gear score. Over the last days, they trained and mastered the game to as much as they could... and the results were showing. The war raged as the competitiveness of the players fired up and guilds faced each other now in actual strategic warfare since neither would risk their territories. Chimera’s expansion came to a halt, or so it seemed.
The gaming room of their home was a master piece of technology and sensical installations. It was simple, efficient and fully equipped. As they finished their meals, Sakura and Nico noted as their chat quickly got spammed with similar messages. They felt their body go cold for a moment as they seated themselves with speed.
“What’s going on?” asked Lou as their projector cast Nico and Sakura’s vision on the wall. Lou barely had time to read all the messages, but they all mentioned the same thing:
“Hey, isn’t that the team we...”
“We hate them.” And with Sakura’s blunt words (rare for such a mousy and quiet girl), they dove back into their GA.IM.
Lou could only watch in surprise and smile warmly as the two girls focused. This was the world her father, her and her sister had been so deeply involved in. A world that may be virtual, but allowed people to escape to different realities, to different worlds. To be who they want, however they truly want.
“What’s going on?”
“Seems they’ve decided to take advantage of this downtime, when everyone is tired, to claim back the lands.”
“What’s our standing?”
“80% from what we started.... more or less.” Fluffy’s serious answer actually surprised them all.
“You are serious.”
“I HAVE MY MOMENTS, THANK YOU!”
They all have a laugh as HeXXXtia reported the situation along with Fluffy.
“So, we’re down Eldreon.”
“His wife called.”
“Our troops are in the outer wall, we guard the inside, should be ok.”
“Who are outside?”
“What fluffy means is that, we don't have as dedicated players in our guild. Most are unranked PVE players, or Gold/Platinum ranked.”
“They’ll slaughter them.”
“Lets hope they can put up a fight...”
The reports in the global chat piled up. No news from the “special guests”, but the well known Au-CH was moving quickly through their lands. Allies and other guilds reported their loses and victories. Few were holding them off, most were slaughtered. Even worse, the expansion was going so quickly for they had made alliances with other guilds. Nico knew this would happen, a tactical strategy do to their prestige. In exchange for a chance to be part of the team, they gave their lands and their soldiers. It was the formation of an empire.
The sound of an explosion in the air was the only warning they had. They watched as 2 figures fell down to the ground. Dragoon and Devout.
Two new classes: Offense and Defense, Sword and Shield. Dragoons, full offense glass-cannon class made to hit fast, hit hard, but very fragile in taking hits. Devout, a full defense support class made to link with its allies and share both strengths and weaknesses while also sharing life.
Devouts were a hard class to manage, despite being the only class blessed with flight. They lacked any real offensive skills, but could empower allies to lengths which made offensive classes virtual powerhouses. And... this duo... was known for it.
As the smoke dissipated, a couple of players could be seen moving up to their castle in the distance, but... before them, stood these two figures donned in red and gold. The strategy was clear, these two were two break a clean path while reinforcements arrived. Sadly... it was a great strategy.
The dragoon launched forward with the devout close to its back. They moved like a single body as a path of destruction was made, reaching the front gate in seconds. Their players, their allies and friends, were sprawled across the hill in dissipating clouds of red data. Even for a game without gore... it was gruesome, and fast.
“Knock knock” came the unison voice as they unisonly knocked on the main gate. Nico, Currsed, Fluffy, HeXXXtia and xXBlaze420Xx felt tense, excited and scared. It was eerie, as if they were twins. No... more than that... it was as if they were a single mind... a player using two characters. But that was impossible... yet... what was scarier? One person using two character so expertly... or two individuals synced to such an extent?
The Gate flung open as they discharged a barrage of attack on it, shattering it into data dust. Everyone inside was shacking.
“The famed RDM.”
The two characters yawn unisonly.
[Dragoon: lvl 20 |PVP RANK: Master | Gear Score: 220 (MAX)]
[Gender: Male |Race: Elf |Guild: Au-CH]
[Devout: lvl 20 |PVP RANK: Master | Gear Score: 220 (MAX)]
[Gender: Female|Race: Elf |Guild: Au-CH]
Legends. The remaining players (since the others hadn't re-spawned) were paralyzed in fear.
"Hey!" screamed Blaze as Currsed and Nico hoped off their platform in the upper stories of the castle. They landed with ease and grace, getting the attention of everything rather immediately.
"Not bad, taking out a bunch of low ranked players. Sorry I'm not impressed."
"The leader of RDM."
The characters bow unisonly. "It's a pleasure"
"Save it" Currsed's harsh voice came out with a sharp ring.
"I find it insulting that your guild would only send two." Her furious typing was audible.
"Shortage in personnel"
They laugh, making both girls simply more angry.
"What do you want?" Nico demands.
"We wont surrender"
The dragoon lunges at them, wings spreading behind him. His speed is amazing, faster than Nico and Currsed, faster than any class... faster than even what the class's features give. The cleave of his great spear lifts her body from the ground, Currsed barely manages to get a glimpse of the hit. It was too fast.
Nico's voice was quite the surprise as the lifted and seemingly impaled body flung itself forward, swinging the scythes in a short yet powerful arc which emanated with energy. In crashes down, sending a vicious slice forward, cutting the terrain. Nico's characters stood up, stretching its back as the leather chest armor below her attire was pierced, but no damage being marked. She had managed to react and stop the blow with her hands, barely.
Came the voice and the two figures stood at a side, dusting their attires off. They were smiling, an intimidating smile as they both... disappeared.
On guard, Currsed and Nico awaited the hit to come, but instead....
Currsed felt her body be lifted up into the air and could only watch as the Dragoon flung his spear in an overhead strike that slammed hard on Nico's Scythes. She later began to fall, the devout was simply pulling her away from Nico.
Currsed turned mid air in surprise as the great spear pierced her abdomen and sped her up in the fall. Nico, was now the one being retained by the devout's control spells- bound by chains of light.
The thundering crash not only made a crater but also lifted a powerful column of air. The guild mates stumbled backwards, Nico held her ground, covering her eyes from the dust lifted. She didn't notice when the spell on her had lifted.
She only managed to watch as a fist slammed hard on her abdomen, twice, bullet speed. White wings spread before her eyes as her body was lifted. Devouts didn't hit that hard; looking down she watched the dragoon shoot the third punch with all of his weight in it. The shock of the hit stuns her as she's shot up into the air, she knew it would be a combo. She shifts her body to defend, only to find herself facing the eyes of the devout over her. She flings her scythe, hitting the bolg... she had prepared before her.
Before her now stood the dragoon, who slams her down with a powerful wide swing. The fall would be hard.
Currsed stood dazed as her head hurt and her body was covered in slashes from the repetitive fast strikes from the dragoon. Now, a pair of wings stood before her, out of the blue. She couldn't keep track of her target. She felt sick, she collapses to the ground and watches as her character's skin begins to crack in red lines.
"You know my skills."
She uses her own skill, one that cleanses all debuffs on her character and flings forward, piercing the devout. Or... should've. She stood with her swords cutting air, an illusion. Her body was flung backward and watched the smiling, monstrous angel as she felt her body break from something hard hitting her down to the ground again. A crater was made again.
The dragoon lands with ease besides the angel and sighs.
"Back-up is here."
"We can let them have fun."
"Take care of the rest?"
The dragoon looks up at the remaining members of the guild, they glare back.
"Or come all at once."
They laugh as Blaze, HeXXXtia and Fluffy hop down. The smile is plastered on their faces again.
"Nah." Blaze responds as he moves past them, followed by the other 2. This leaves the "twins" confused.
"Your opponents aren't done for yet." Blaze smiles.
"Nico, Currsed, be more careful." HeXXXtia replies.
"I bet you guys wont beat them with that much damage" Fluffy teases.
"Like hell we wont!" Comes the unison cry and standing from the crater, tattered and their armor in shambles, stood both characters, stretching and checking how much damage they had sustained. Their character were filled and marked with red lines, cuts and pierces... the damage was plentyful.
"Shit, that was close." Nico's voice a bit joyful.
"I'll make them pay." Currsed was fierce.
The other duo now smiles.
"Oh please... we've been working hard to be on par with you guys."
"Don't look down on us."
Nico's figure burst into a blink of speed reappearing before Mirror's face, flinging her scythes with immense momentum. He smiles and side steps, faster than her as his partner clenched to him, speeding him up, boosting his stats.
The same voice of before...but behind him. He feels a hit on his back and being propelled foward, looking back the warrior had anticipated their movements. Had they taken all that damage just to study them? Impossible.
As he gains his footing, the dragoon smiles as he readies his spear to pierce through the warrior. However, something cleaves his sides, his balance and posture lost as his body is tugged. Nico recieves his body with a solid savate kick to the chest, the armor cracking at such an impact. The dragoon stands dazed, looking at his opponent... the warrior?
The sound of stone breaking bellows behind him as Nico struts from a cloud of smoke. Opposite of her, his partner was having a hard time moving out of the debris that had crushed her and she had created as she had gone through a tower's walls. Tables were turned.
"Now... this is an even playing field."
The devout appeared behind the dragoon, hugging him from behind, boosting his stats. Their smiles were gone, they were serious... fire in their eyes. Nico and Currsed grin... this was what they liked. This, was their motivation. This, was competitive play.