This is the second part/chapter to SAO: SB Snow Bells Arc
"Snow, shut the hell up."
2MNSTRM, or Brandon, was shaking his head in slight annoyance.
"You do know that stealth missions are meant to be quiet."
We were on a quest that might give us info on how to beat the next boss on this level. If we complete it, the NPCs will most likely give us that info. Pretty much, all we have to do is infiltrate a monster camp and take back whatever they stole. Except, these monsters are a bit strong, hence why we're being stealthy rather than going in guns blazing....er...swords blazing. And on top of all that, my sweet Claire tagged along.
Potentially dangerous, yeah.
But dangerous aside, we were nearing our waypoint. However...
"Hey", I quote to Brandon,"why hasn't anything spawned yet?"
That's when I realized that somebody has been here recently. Before I can even unsheathe my weapons, a spear was hurled at me. Of course, I dodged it by tumbling to the side, but someone butted me with a sword hilt and I fell on my knees.
I saw Brandon getting incapacitated. Same with Claire. Around me, I saw around 9 or so players around me. Red players. PKs. And hoodies.
"Well, well. What a turn of events", the person who butted me said as he but a knife to my throat. That's when I saw it. On his arm was a coffin with a face. It was the murder guild, Laughing Coffin. And by this man's way of doing things, their party leader must be:
"Oooh....you guessed me on the first try! What gave it away? My voice? Blade?"
He just laughed, then nodded to the guy who held Claire. He kicked her in the jaw and she yelped. Then he picked Claire up by her hair.
Johnny Black, knife still to my neck, spoke again.
"If I'm not mistaken, you're that fellow...I think it was the Winter Fox...who adopted a fragile child. What a shame. She's gonna die first."
Brandon held back a laugh.
"Eh? What was that? A laugh? Or your mentality breaking?"
"Nah. It's...someone else's."
I laugh insanely. Before Johnny Black could respond, I rip off his arm with my bare hands and kicked him hard in the chest. I swung around and unsheathed Providence, which I launched at the man who held Claire. It impaled him in his wrist, and he let go. Once he did, I pull him to me and I smashed him into the ground mid-air. Brandon had also escaped from his captor and was also fighting. As for Claire, I beckoned her to hide.
Now, it's time for the real fun to begin and I unsheathe Noir with a smile.
The fight was fairly easy. A couple ripped limbs, borderline death HP, bodies impaled into walls. The usual. Brandon just PMed the front lines to come pick these bastards up and Claire was just kicking stones out of boredome.
Johnny Black ran away from the fight when it started. After his arm was ripped off. A pity. Would've been nice to turn him in. Woulda solved lots of problems.
Well, at least we got the other guys.
However, there was one Laughing Coffin member left. I deliberately ignored this one because it was peculiar how he was still a green player. I felt him staring at me for the longest time and when I finally glanced over, he attempted to run.
I don't know why he tried because I just pulled Providence out the wall, swung it, and anchored him back to me. He was still wearing his hood, so I pulled it back and unexpectedly, long platinum blonde hair flowed out.
"A....girl. Well, not gonna lie, wasn't expecting that one."
"Snow, shut the hell up." Brandon scolded me.
Then, the girl turned her head and faced me. Her skin was silky and perfect. Her eyelashes long and elegant.
Unaware of who it was, I looked into her eyes and I saw relief, fear, and tears in her eyes. Then, she said:
"Chris...? Is...is it really you?"
Shocked to notice this beautiful, slender girl say my name, I say something intelligent like:
I check this beauty out, starting from the bottom. Long, beautiful legs that even I would drool over, a nice, slender body, a large rack, and….distracting platinum blonde hair drooping over her shoulders, down at the level of her stomach.
Wait, platinum blonde hair? And beautiful long legs? I raise my eyebrow and look at her face. An intimidatingly sexy gaze back at me.
Another smart remark:
Now she raises her eyebrow at me, as if she’s trying to understand a language she doesn’t know. Then it finally hits me.
The girl begins to sniffle, then her eyes began to water, and she rushes towards me and hugs me. Then starts bawling, although in a unique way.
“I...I thought you wouldn’t remember me...cry, cry, sniffle, sniffle.”
“I thought I told you to stop using the actual words for your actions.”
“Sniffle, I’m so happy.”
Facepalming myself for her lack of common sense, I hug her back tightly. Behind her shoulder, I see Brandon making a sly smile, which he makes when he’s off PMing gossip to everybody at home about me. Then he gestures that he’s going to take Claire home. I see him beckoning Claire, they share a few words, then she glances over at me, giggles, then leaves with Brandon.
I sigh, knowing that I won’t hear the end of it when I get back home.
Reverting my attention to Luna, who’s still bawling “cry, sniffle”, I finally get her to stop and with big eyes, asks me questions. About SAO, and my personal life.
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
But I want one.
“Is there anyone you like?”
“You know me, I don’t like saying anything about my love life.”
But as far as I can tell, you’re still my crush.
“How has SAO been to you?”
“Eh...here and there.”
Right, speaking of SAO, I’m the one that gave her beta access to the game. Yeah. I feel pretty guilty, but I don’t feel like telling anyone right now. Especially her. She’s pretty sensitive.
“Alright,”I start the conversation up again,”my turn to ask questions. What are you doing with Laughing Coffin?”
In a sad tone, she goes,”Ehehe...because I’m a beta tester….and they kinda kept me the whole time. Although, I never had anything useful to tell them, per say….”
“You’re not mad...at me are you, sniffle?”
“No, I kinda understand your situation. I’ve seen these things multiple of times before. Yours isn’t too much more dangerous than what I’ve seen.”
To be honest, when I partied with Brandon, before the guild was formed, I’ve seen and heard about multiple different players getting to some deep crap. And some pretty antagonistic players as well. Galant, Yamato, the so-called Black Swordsman(who I’ve fought), etc.
“Well, let’s get going shall we?”
“The Snow Bells!”
We returned to the HQ of the Snow Bells, or our money-making store and home, and as soon a Luna and I entered, I feel everyone’s gaze.
“This feeling I know oh-too-well.”
Eli, closing up shop, sassily remarks,”Oh, who’s your new girlfriend, Chris?”
Sparking my dirty-minded reflex, I reply,”I thought I told you to call me master.”
“Master, my ass!” and she throws a large, mixing spoon at my face.
Luna, next to me, laughs in her unique way:
ReK, or her real name initials that we call her by, RK, goes blanked eye.
I raise my eyebrow.
and she runs and snuggles with Luna.
Good thing I don’t get nosebleeds. Because they’re looking rather sexy with RK getting tangled up with Luna.
Claire, coming downstairs from what I’d guess is her shower, stares at the whole scene of chaos.
Luna, who finally managed to get away from RK, looks towards Claire.
“Oh, you were with Chris earlier weren’t you?”
“It’s because he’s my Daddy.”
Misunderstanding the situation, Luna goes pale.
“Are...are you secretly a pedo, Chris?”
“I’m sorry, what now?”
“Pedophile...are you a pedolphile?”
After explaining to her what Claire is to me, I also gave the members of the Snow Bells an explanation of who Luna is. She’s my friend that I met a couple years ago, which is what I told them, in a nutshell. Just that. Nothing more.
“So,”Brandon begins,”you’re going to join the Snow Bells, right?”
“Um...will you really let me? Even though I was formerly known as a Laughing Coffi member?”
“Well, if Chris welcomes you, then we do, too. I mean, he is our leader. Besides, we can’t have only Chris, Claire, and I to have front-line duty. I’m sure you can fight.”
“Fight? I can do a bit more than that.”
Drawing a throwing pick, she flicks her wrist. One second she had it, I blink, then it’s long gone. Penetrating me with her sexy gaze, I realize that she pinned the sleeve of my coat to the wall.
“Well, that’s useful.”
And I laugh nervously.
The Devil Has Secrets, As Well As The Fox
Here I am, accompanying Luna as she goes to buy new clothes out in the city that our shop is on the 61st Floor, Salemburg, to replace the shady clothes that Laughing Coffin had provided her. She had also removed the creepy tattoo that they wore.
We stopped by a nearby clothing store and she began trying out new clothes. Eventually, she came to buy a complete, blue and white outfit of a vest. She had a vest with matching sleeves, and large bow to top it off. She also bought a nice skirt and a….garter belt that snaps on with her stockings.
It’s seriously making me drool, but luckily I had enough self-control to prevent myself from doing anything.
I see Luna trying to bargain with the manager of the store. I don’t know why, but I gave her more than enough to buy her clothes. As I begin to walk in on the bargain to tell her it’s not necessary, I stop.
It’s because Luna bit her lip out of frustration from bargaining. Her lips….those pink, soft lips….I want them badly. What was I saying about self-control…? I really don’t wanna hold back anymore. Why does she have to be my type?
At that point, Luna notices that I was standing in the middle of nowhere, looking at her, and raised an eyebrow. Damn it, that gaze! It’s just naturally how she looks at people! Why are my hormones racing so much?
Luna looks back at the manager and she gives her money and walks back to me.
“All done?” My voice sounding as little as nervous about her asking what I was doing.
“Yeah. How about we go eat back home?”
“I’m not really hungry.” Except for those lips of yours.
“Oh…?” She says in a matter-in-fact way. She gives me a cunning stare as if she knows something.
“You don’t happen to want any….strawberry danishes?”
“EH!? Your recipe still exists even in this world!?” Luna bakes absolutely the best danishes I’ve ever had. In fact, she’s the one that got me into it. How did she do it? Baking anything requires a Cooking skill, especially if you want something good.
“It wasn’t easy, but it was a good way to pass time.”
I don’t have any self-control left. She’s just too irresistible for me. I hug her and she yelps, causing a small scene among everybody. I’ve done it now.
I can feel Luna trembling. Was it nervousness? Or was it fear? I am a guy after all. I just can’t believe that strawberry danishes were my breaking point. If I could facepalm myself, I would.
“...uh….Chris..? I know you’re excited about the strawberry danishes, but, you’re going too far.” Luna says in an awkward way. Noticing that it’s been a good 30 seconds, I let go of her. She was blushing on a whole different level. When I tried to meet her eyes, she looked away. She was obviously not enjoying that we were causing a scene. Yeah, that’s probably it. Don’t wanna get my hopes up.
Awkwardly, I say,”Shall we, uh, go home?”
And I walk back home in shame.
Thankfully, Luna isn’t the type to stay awkward for more than 5 minutes, so once we got home, she began making her perfect strawberry danishes. I watched as her hands moved with expertise, even though cooking in SAO isn’t all that tough. No mixing, no chopping, no hard work involved. Just a window of options and methods to choose the way you want to cook or bake. As I watched from afar, Nikolas, whom I haven’t really spoke to very much these last couple of days, nudges me on the shoulder.
“You like her, don’t you?”
Nikolas tries to hold back a laugh.
“I haven’t seen you so interested in a person. In fact, it’s always like you always make acquaintances, then leave them forever. After you pick a fight with them.”
“Well, you know why I do it.”
“No, actually I don-”
“So, please don’t tell Luna anything.” “Why?”
“What do you mean why? She’s gonna laugh at me.”
“Haha, man, you have a lot to learn about women.”
I raise an eyebrow.
“I don’t know what you mean by that.
And then someone walks into the shop. Well, more like three. Hooded figures with the ugliest coffin tattoo. Laughing Coffin members.
I look at Nikolas and tell him to message all the members of the Snow Bells to stay in Safe Zones. We don’t want any killing or hostage situations. Quickly, he does as he’s told. Luna is still in the kitchen, probably thinking it’s just random customers in the shop.
One of the Laughing Coffin members steps up. He takes off his hood, revealing no face, but a mask. It was a laughing drama mask that was crying blood. How pleasant.
“You,” he begins,”must be Snow.”
“Yeah, did you figure that out just now?” I say dryly. I don’t know why, but this guy felt rather intimidating.
“My name is Lucifer, and I’m here to peacefully take our property back,” he says, completely ignoring my remark.
“And by that, you mean Luna?”
He cocks his head sideways, thinking for a bit.
“Luna..? Oh, is that what Selene’s real name is? Interesting.”
Huh. So that’s what Luna’s in-game name is. I guess that makes sense, both names relate to the moon.
“Well, I take it that you already know we aren’t going to hand her over.”
“Yes. Which makes this a fun job.”
“I’m only in Laughing Coffin because they pay me to.”
Lucifer….who is this man? If Laughing Coffin pays him to kill for them, then he’s really dangerous.
“Chris! Your strawberry danishes are done!” Lucifer and I turn our heads towards Luna direction, and Luna comes from the kitchen with a tray. When she sees Lucifer, she yelps and drops the tray, and much to my demise, the fresh, crispy, danishes shatter into polygons.
I drop my jaw, for the world has ended. Then I fall to my knees, clawing at what I know is gone forever.
“....shuko”,Lucifer laughs from within the mask. He was obviously amused at how pathetic I looked.
I look down in defeat and clench my fists. All of those danishes….should’ve been consumed by me by now. But because of the rude interruption from this...this monster, I was denied. I was denied of heaven, and the devil himself made sure of it himself.
Lucifer cocks his head to one side. “Excuse me?”
“YOU’RE DEAD! We duel! Right here, right now! Half-Loss!”
Lucifer once again does his “shuko” laugh.
“If you wish, but remember, this is what you’ll be faced with if you don’t hand over Selene.”
“Bud, I’m gonna make you wish you were dead.”
“Hmph, we’ll see.”
Before I knew it, I was standing a couple meters away from the masked, pastry cock-blocker. Many people had gathered around, even KoB members had found their way to watch. Including Miss Bossy Flash herself. Ugh. She’s going to attract even more attention.
The Flash comes up to me and whispers,”It would be nice to know where their base is, so if you can, Search for him. Got it?”
“...don’t tell me what to do.” I snap at her immediately.
The KoB vice commander just glares, then makes her way back into the crowd.
Meanwhile, I hear the comments of other players spectating:
“Our neighbor is fighting some guy in a mask.”
“Is that the guy who ripped off your leg a couple months back?”
“They both look like they’ll tear this town apart.”
Eventually, I sigh and send a Half-Loss duel invitation to Lucifer, which he accepts. The countdown begins. I withdraw my primary weapon, Noir. An extremely long sword of jet black, decorated with emerald jewels.
In front of me, Lucifer withdraws his own: a curved, single-edged sword with a large handguard, a sabre. Both of us ready ourselves. It’s really hard to make eye contact with a mask.
The counter hits 5 seconds. I can see people tense. Especially Luna. I can tell she knows the strength of this guy. People shift uncomfortably when they feel unsure of something. And right now, she’s unsure if I can win right now.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath as the counter hits 1, then open my eyes at 0.
I take a giant leap at the masked bastard. I slash my sword which he obviously sidesteps. Obviously, I had underestimated this guy’s level of intelligence. It’s frustrating, really. I take another go at him. Like a maniac, I grab him with one hand to keep him in place and thrust my sword. He parries, then kicks me away.
Okay. Now I’m mad. I spawn my chain whip and grapple Lucifer’s legs. He falls and I’m pleased with myself. I grab Noir. I’m gonna impale the bastard into the ground, and rip him in half. This guy’s pissed me off so much.
“Ehthththth….” I couldn’t help but stifle a laugh. I lean over him and swing down.
Nothing. He’s not there.
Appearing behind me, Lucifer shukos. He kicks the back of my leg and I fall to my knees from the impact. Angry, confused, and shocked, I take a desperate swing of my sword around at him and I see. He disappears into the shadow of a nearby spectator. The crowd gasps.
“That’s….that’s the project I worked on...the project I scrapped….it’s Shadow Travel,” I whisper to myself, bewildered. Lucifer reappears. He ascends from my shadow.
“Yes...think you’re the only one with secrets, Chris?” he sneers.
“I….I don’t understand. Who are you..?” He says my name so casually. I can’t make anything out. Does he know me? And….secrets?
In my ear, he whispers.
“You think you’re the only one Kayaba trapped inside this hellhole?”
He steps back, and tosses his sabre back and forth between his hands….then strikes me.
After that battle with Lucifer, I locked myself in my room for about a week. Miss Flash scolded me for failing the assignment she gave me. The one I didn't care much for. How annoying.
But really, I was pretty much sitting in my room thinking about what Lucifer had told me after the fight.
“Are you finished, Snow?”
“Finished what?” I snap at him.
“The assignment that Kayaba gave you?”
This man never ceases to amaze me. Nor scare me. How did he attain a REALITY skill?
“How do you know about that….?”
“Like I said, you’re not the only one with secrets.”
“Tell me. Tell me everything, Lucifer. Tell me why you have a REALITY skill, or how you know about these secrets.”
“Hm….” he thinks behind his mask. “Alright. I’ll PM you where we can meet. It’ll make my task from Kayaba easier.”
“If I told you, my task wouldn’t be easy.”
I think for a while. This man is very dangerous. But I need to know. I need to know what Kayaba has planned for this hell.
And so, here I am, still thinking and working out a plan. I sigh and sit up. I open up my window and check my inbox. Still nothing. I sigh. This guy….what is he doing?
I hear a knock on the door to my room and I hear a tiny voice.
“Um...Luna wants to talk to you? Can we come in…?”
I sigh once more and reply,”Sure.”
I unlock my door and beckon them inside. Luna and Claire creep inside and find a seat on my bed. Luna looks from left to right and she takes a deep breath. “Are you...mad at me, Chris?” she asks, looking down. She plays with her hands as if trying to avoid any awkwardness.
I raise my eyebrow.
“What? No. Why should I?”
“Well, I thought you were angry you lost, and that you might’ve blamed me because I kinda knew how strong he was. And I didn’t tell you. Or that maybe I might’ve caused you trouble by having Laughing Coffin search for me.”
I stroll on over to my bed, where they were sitting. Claire is blushing really hard. She wants to say something, but refuses. Then I look back at Luna.
“No, I’m not mad at you.”
“So...why lock yourself in your room?”
“It hurt my pride to lose to trash like that,” I lie.
I trail my eyes over to Claire.
“Is there something you want to say, Claire?”
She squirms as I asked the question.
“U-um….do you like Luna?”
“H-huh?” Luna and I both say at the same time.
“Well, there was this one moment when I saw Luna sneak into your room and she was smelling your bed sheets.”
Then I hear a sniffle. It came from Luna. Her eyes were watering, but before I even got to say anything, she ran out of my room, out of Snow Bells HQ.
I look at Claire. She stares back at me, wide-eyed.
“Don’t worry, Claire. It’s not your fault. She’s always been sensitive.”
The pony-tailed girl nods. RK and Eli appeared in my room the next second. They looked at me in worry and rage. Uh oh. Here it comes.
Enraged, Eli scolds me.
“What did you do, Chris!?”
“I didn’t do anything!” I argue back.
“So why did Luna just run off outside? She was crying her eyes out!”
I stare back at the girls in a surprised glance.
“I...I don’t even know myself.”
“Well? You’re not going to look for her?”
“I’ll look for her when I think she’s cooled off…”
“Are you fucking stupid, Chris!? You’re going to let her run around with Lucifer hunting her!?”
“Oh shit!” I burst out of my room, run down the stairs, and outside. During that time, I took the time to equip my weapons and coat.
I activate my Tracking skill. I look back and forth, left and right to try and get a trace from her. No luck. I run around the city, Sprinting down the roads, hopping onto buildings to get a vantage point. I have no idea how long time passed, but I still could no trace her.
I punch the wall, which pops up the “Immortal Object” warning. Why am I so stupid!?
Quickly, I swipe my window open. I check the inbox and there it was: the Lucifer message.
[You wanted to know what I know, yes? Well, that comes with a price. I have Selene with me. Don’t worry. She’s safe and unharmed. Come alone. If you want you and this girl to live, we will fight holding nothing back. I am located in the Arctic Wasteland. I’m sure you’re familiar with this place, yes?]
Oh no. Oh no no no. This is the worst possible outcome. Lucifer was waiting for the right moment to strike. The right moment to pin me in a corner. I can’t fight him.
But...I have to try. This world isn’t so different from the real world. Same, corrupted figures. Mess with the wrong people, and you end up in this situation. I’ve been in this situation before. It’s how my eyes are now naturally red. I’ll do it. Chances are that I’ll lose, but it’s not like I have a choice anyways.
“Teleport! Arctic Wasteland!”
And I’m wrapped in a flash of light.
I find myself breathing hard. I feel the icy wind of this tundra. I giggle...then it turns to cackle.
I love this feeling! Adrenaline flooding throughout my body. Any signs of anxiety gone. I long for this feeling. I live for this feeling.
I activate my coat’s bonus, The Hunt. It allows me to be completely invisible to anyone, no matter what their Search or Tracking skill level is.
This is the place I happened to gain my coat from. A near-death experience that I hope I can live long enough to tell another day.
What a nostalgic feeling, returning to this place. Very hard to navigate through, and fatigue is greatly heightened from the weather.
Now, to find Luna. I switch Tracking on. I look around and find footsteps heading towards west and immediately Sprinted off until I find a Laughing Coffin camp. I border around it, careful to not get into view. Luna is tied to a pole. How typical.
This is dangerous, yes. There’s about six or seven of these guys, however, I have a hidden playing card that may be my only chance of at least getting Luna to safety.
I open up my inventory and find what I need, stuffed deep. Bait. Yes, monster bait. It’s a rare item that I was planning to sell eventually. Fortunately, I didn’t. My plan is to bait out a few Arctic Lions. And those things don’t play.
I toss that thing as close as I can to them without them noticing and I waited. There was Lucifer, looking at his window. I wonder who he was. Did I know him? He didn’t seem like anybody I know. It angers me that he has Shadow Travel, the REALITY I had created. This just doesn’t make any sense.
Then, I hear a roar. I watch as the several Laughing Coffin members look toward the direction from which it came. Lucifer beckons one of his minions to take a look. I snickered slightly as the minion, looking scared, creeps deeply into the blizzard-like condition. Like an eerie, suspenseful movie, there was silence. It was getting hard to see the Laughing Coffin minion.
Then, a scream. A huge muzzle came into view and opened up. Large, carnivorous teeth appeared and sank into the Laughing Coffin member. The guy was ripped in half immediately, then, he disappears into a rain of polygons. Dead.
I glance back over to the camp and all of them watch, startled. Luna stared, wide-eyed in fear as well and tried to shake loose. Lucifer cocked his head to the side, annoyed, but curious.
Finally, an Arctic Lion became visible, then another, and another. There had to be around four. And it wasn’t just Arctic Lions. Some low level wolves, boars, and skeleton warriors came. Lucifer draws a sword and motions the other members, getting ready to fight back.
I take this as my chance, in all the confusion and I make my way to Luna. I turn on the Hunt, just in case. I appear behind Luna, and withdraw Noir to cut the chains that held her. Instantly, after she fell, she withdrew a couple Throwing Picks. She stops her attack when she sees me.
“C-Chris!?” she notices, surprised and puzzled.
“Run!” I yell at her. Then,”Hey, masked ugly! Over here!”
Lucifer looks on over to me, then looks back at the crowd of monsters. He’s looking at what he should do. He chooses me, thankfully.
“W-What are you doing, Chris!?” Luna cries out.
“I need answers from him, Luna. It’s quite personal. I need you to run now.”
“Do it, Luna!”
Luna looks at me, and bites her lip. Fuck.
I put my hands on her and kiss her. I can’t hold back anymore. She grabs my coat and I can tell she’s debating whether to pull me in closer, or push me away. Not like she has any choice.
I finally let go. Luna looks at me with a flustered gaze. Then a worried one.
“Don’t worry, Luna. I’ll be back. So I can take you across my knee and spank the shit out of you for being reckless.Then, I’m going to make love to you. Hard.”
She blushes again. Then, hesitantly, she nods and runs.
Lucifer appears before me and grips his sabre.
“I want to say that was romantic, but the truth is, if I were the girl, I’d be terrified of you.”
I smile. Did he just crack a joke? I ready to fight him, gripping Noir in my hand.
“So, Lucifer, what do you want to do? Tell me everything first? Or fight me then tell me everything before you kill me?”
He cocks his head to the side.
“Shuko….I’ll do both, to save time.”
END OF CHAPTER 2
|Chapter 1||Chapter 3|