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Before the Fire
Written by: FedeTkd
Published:
Part I: Forgoten Memories

BtF - Part II »



Floor 33, November 2nd, 2024

The players draw their blades to attack me.

I reach to my back to draw Balmung Blade and Carnwennan from my belt and prepare. The first one strikes, but I parry the blade,and elude, getting to his back. The second one does the same, attacking me with a heavy slash to my chest, but I parry the blade and manage to hit him with the cross-guard of my sword, throwing him to the ground. The third one, gets near my back, trying to stab me by the back. But, I just spin, eluding the move and getting to his back and kicking him as well, throwing him above the one already on the ground.

I look back.

Though all of them Laughing Coffin former members, they weren't even near the level of any that I had faced.

I tab my sword, waiting for the first attacker. He advances on me with a vertical slash but I elude and with a single powerful and swift strike of Crescent Stardust Slasher, cutting both legs.

One of them gets up and attacks me, but I parry the blade spin and stab him though the neck. The player falls to his knees and shatters. The last one ran away after seeing me doing this. I remain still, on the same place and grab Guren by the blade, taking aim. As the player continues to run, I throw Guren at him, impaling the back of his head, killing him as well.

I turn around, looking to the one on the ground crawling to escape from me. With no legs...no, even with legs, that's impossible. Get next to him and turn him around by force and step on his head.

“This was unnecessary!” He said.

“Yeah, it was. You forced me. I just asked what you know of PoH.  You drew your blades, bad decision. Now will you tell me?”

“I don't know!”

I step stronger on his head.

“I SWEAR IT IS THE TRUTH! I BUT KNOW TYRANT IS ON FLOOR 61! THEN ANOTHER PLAYER NAMED MORDREAD IS OUT OF THE PRISON ALSO! I DON'T KNOW WHERE HE IS!”

“Mordread…? I never heard about him. Speak more!”

“He's one of the best killers. Even rivaling PoH himself, perhaps even better. I don't know where he is!”

“Alright…”I remove my boot from his face.

“I answered your questions, please be merciful!”

“I'm sorry. I've already lost that!”

“WAIT N-!”

I finish his scream introducing my blade through his head, killing him.

“Coward shit...”

I walk by and grab Guren in the ground, sheathing both blades back . I realize that several other players were looking at me, but ignore them.

I was on the village of Ravening, in the 33rd floor. A place founded by Player Killers. Full of piss and shit. The place was in the deep parts of the Blackwood Forest, and also serving as the home of PKs and orange players, as they didn't have other place to go, probably. It was one of the most dangerous players in Aincrad.

Now the important part: why I was there? I wasn't welcome as I could consider myself as Player Killers Killer. A player who hunts down and kills PK. I'm here, because it's the best place to find information and track about these Laughing Coffin former members: PoH, Tyrant or this new guy, Mordread. 

Laughing Coffin had been destroyed months ago. In August, I think. The guild had already killed hundreds of players, thus they were the number one threat against the Clearers. So the Clearers formed a high-level crusade party to wipe the entire guild out. They went to attack them, however, just before they reached the designated location, the Laughing Coffin members so they decided to ambushed the crusaders instead. Though some of the crusaders were unable to kill the red players, as the guild wouldn't surrender, some of the crusaders finally took the initiative of killing the Laughing Coffin members as well.

At the end of the battle, twenty-one Laughing Coffin members and eleven crusaders had died, with most of the remaining Laughing Coffin members were arrested by the clearers and sent to the Black Iron Palace prison, alongside me, the other gladiators and prisoners.

However, PoH, Tyrant and few other players somehow managed to escape. Seems that this guy, named Mordread, was one of them.

“Mordread…who can he be?” I ask myself as I walk towards a small tavern.

I enter. Immediately, all eyes inside lay on me.

I didn't care, neither i was surprised me. My deeds as the "Slayer of Cerdic" and the “Champion of Aincrad” is what probably caused this. Most of the players left on Aincrad have been to the Arena at least once, and seen me facing opponents, either in a duel, or an execution. It's possible that I'd killed one of the friends of any player sitting there. But, of course, I didn't care.

I continue to walk to the stroll and take a seat there, while everyone's eyes still laying at me.

The tavern owner appeared in front of me, dressed in Scotland fashion, with orange hair and green eyes.

“So…what's the Champion of Aincrad himself doing here?”

I easily recognize his the way of he speaking. His accent. He was indeed from Scotland.

“I'm searching for information about Laughing Coffin. Three specific members: PoH, Tyrant and Mordread.”

“PoH stacks are left unknown, my friend. Every single PK eliminating guild is still searching for him, but there's no clue where he is. Tyrant's on the 61 floor, I think in Semlburg."

“And Mordread?”

“He's the second in command of the Guild. He has blonde hair, a violet scar on his face. And strangely, red eyes…”

Red eyes...he had darkness. Same as me.

“Want a drink?” the bartender asks me.

“Yeah. One”

I remain looking down on the table, when I hear someone behind me.

“This isn't the place for someone like you…”

I remain still and calmed, looking to my front. By the mirror on the wall in front of me, I could see the player at my right.

“You're very famous. Right Galant? “ He laughs. “Well you know what? I'm also famous. True?” he says raising his voice, asking to the players nearby who nod back at him, approving what he said.

I see in the meantime that he tabbed a small knife on his left hand.

“Maybe I give you an autograph. You'd like that, don't you?”

He moves his body to attack me and makes a deep thrust. But I turn around faster than him, grab this hand and elbow directly on his face then grab my knife, cut his hand off. I grab his knife spin and stab him on his other arm. Using the momentum, I continue to spin and use a strong kick with Meteor Impact, throwing him out of the place by the door and he rolls on the ground.

“ANYBODY ELSE WHAT TO END LIKE HIM, A STEP FORWARD!!!” I shout out loud to all the players in the room tavern.

The ones that were standing sit down and return to their stuff.

I turn around and see the bartender smiling at me. He give me a chop of beer.

“The rumors are true. Here, all yours.”

I give him some Col.

“Thanks.” I say in English.

I'd studied English all my life. It was basically my second language. Besides, my mother's american. I have family there. I even went there once with my parents when I was a kid. I met my uncles and my older cousin, Lily Evans. I don't know what she's doing currently, but I heard he was in couple with some guy with the surname "Duncan".

I grab the drink and I walked to a table and sit down. I place my feet up the table and place my drink o my belly, grabbing it with my right hand. I sib. It was good. I try another, but I see first the Purple ribbon in my wrist was a bit loosen. I tie it up with my mouth and left hand. And briefly stare at it afterwards. Recalling old memories, that moment when I gave it to Sakura here, on Aincrad.

When I did the same on real life, and way beyond.

I had, a glimpse into the past...

---

Tokyo, April 7th, 2013

“But Mum! Why I have to go?!?!”

“Because you must…”

“But!”

“No more complaining…Do what your mother says…” his father says.

“Yes…”

The small kid of six years with blue eyes and dark blonde hair, crosses his arms and looks through the window.

Today it was his first day of Primary School. He didn't wished to go, much like any other kid. But still, he had to, much to his anger and fear.

His father and mother accompanied him there. A Japanese man named Kiritsugu and his mother, Norah Evans. They're shareholders of a company named Ymir, which was dedicated to create virtual games from children, PS4, Wii, X-Box…etc. They were also working…in a thing that according to them, would change the world.

They rapidly arrived to the school: Tokyo Primary Schoo said a large sign on just above the entrance. 

The kid briefly looks outside. There were already people going inside, lots of kids, few of his age. Some kids, playing. Most of them, with black or brown hair, and dark eyes. 

He gets down the car, disappointedly, and looks down to the ground.

"You should see where you're going, son." his father tells him.

He raises his head and look to both sides of the street. A girl's crossing the street. She had short golden blonde hair and shining blue eyes, same as him. The only difference was her hair, which was shining golden, like the yellow sun. He blushes a little. The girl looks to where he was. They briefly gazed each other. She was very pretty for a girl of her age. She smiled to him, and he turns his sight.

Norah: “What happened son? You look like a tomato.”

“NOTING! I'm just hot!”

Kiritsugu: “We should cross now.”

They cross the street, getting in front of the entrance. The kid gazes to the name of the place, and then looks around. She was gone…

Norah: “We can accompany until here. Of you go.”

“I want to stay with both of you.”

Norah: “You have to go…other way you would be an ignorant all your life.”

“If I'll stay with you, want to be it. I never liked other kids.”

Kiritsugu lowered his leg, getting in front of him.

“Son…I know what you're felling. it is difficult to take this step, but it isn't impossible. You shall make many friends there. ”

“The ones on the other school just called me "half-breed".”

Kiritsugu and Norah share a gaze between them two.

“Remember something. You're capable of doing this I know it. You're capable of making people together and leading them to the future.”

“Gathering people? Lead them to the future?”

“Yes…that's your role?”

“Does it exist? The future?” he looked up

That's an answer…I can't give you. To answer it, you must take your own path, without us...”

The kid looks own for a brief moment, and thinks. He was afraid indeed. But still…he wanted that answer and many other things…

“I…I will go.”

“That's my son. Go!”

The boy walks to the entrance. He looks back for a brief moment, but then turns around and runs to the school without looking back. Kiritsugu gets up.

“You really believe that Kiritsugu?”

“I know that he can do it. Making friends…”

“No…I mean…making people together. Gathering people. Leading them…”

“He can do it. I'm sure he can. He has something special on his soul and and on his heart that makes that possible. I don't know what it is. But I'm certain that with that, those bonds he'll create with his classmates, he can overcome any obstacle. Our son will be strong. I guarantee it.”

---

The boy gets out to the break, and walks on the playground. He searching for someone or something. Though he wasn't truly sure what or who he was look for…

To his left, two boys of his class. He recognizes them, Kazeriya Shun and Suzaku Taichi.

“Hey!”

Shun looks at him, with anger. But still replies, reluctantly.

“Hi...”

“Hi...” Taichi says the same.

“Tou mind if I play?”

“You?! No! I don't play with half-breed kids. Be gone, mongrel.” Shun says. “Let’s go Tai!”

Taichi doesn't says a single word and follows his friend.

The kid is left there, upset and sad. He places his back against the wall, and sit down on the ground.

He was already used to be called that. But still it hurt every single time the same. Mongrel: a typical curse from Japanese people to a half-Japanese boy like him. A half-Japanese, half-American, on his case. They called "mongrel" every single Japanese that held characteristics that were not typical of a Japanese boy.

He was half-Japanese by blood, and his nationality was Japanese. And even still, he was treated as a monster. Someone who according to many old-fashioned Japanese philosophy, was horrible. An abomination. The mix of races.

He looks to the ground sadly.

“Hey! You seem mad down there…”

He looks up. A blond haired kid with golden eyes in front of him, standing up. He realizes that kid was the same as him. Half blood Japanese. 

“Don't feel bad...That racist idiot calls mongrel everyone he meets.”

“You're…”

“From your same class, yes. Kiryuuin Miya. Nice to meet you, new kid.”

Miya offers his hand. He grabbed it and Miya helped him up.

“Kids like us, half Japanese boys, have to support each other.”

“Thanks.”

“Hey! Miya!” A girl says.

Both of them look to the left. to the voice of a girl.

He turns around, and saw the same blonde girl from the morning. He blushed a bit, but tried to hide his excitment and other feelings.

The girl arrived.

“Miya! How's it doing!?” she asks.

“Hi. A long time since I last saw you! You changed classroom?”

“Yes. The one next to yours.” She looked to the new kid, as they briefly stared. “You're new? Am I right?”

“Yes!” he answers.

She smiles. She was very cute, and cuter still, smiling.

“Shun and Taichi were bothering him, I thought the best to cheer him up.”

“Always the same Miya, fighting others?”

“I didn't fight. I just spoke to him. Tell her kid.”

“He did what he said.”

She looks to his eyes, and noticed something special on him. She doesn't know what what that was, but she can feel it. 

“You seem  cool, new kid. What’s your name?”

“Um…” he doubts.

“Well, if you don't want to tell me your's right now, it doesn't matter. But I'll tell you mine! My name's Sakura. Sakuya Sakura…”

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