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SAO:PoA - Chapter Fourteen

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« SAO:PoA - Chapter Thirteen

Sword Art Online: Past of Ashes
Written by: FedeTkd
Published:
Chapter 14

SAO:PoA - Chapter Fifteen »



Floor 49, December 20, 2023

The sun falls on the horizon with an orange and crimson sky, which at distance turns to dark blue, until it becomes black.

A large fortress at the deeps of the Norwood Forest. Inside of it monsters: humanoid like, 1,70cms average height, a silver helmet on their heads, while their clothes were designed for cold weather. The mostly have long bear and hair, and carried as weapons crossbows and spears. Some of them have sheathed at their waist a sword or a short one handed axe. All of them carried a middle-big circular shield.

Most of them, standing guard at the walls of the stronghold, while others inside, on the floor. On the middle of the large square, a reliably small castle.

One of them got down the stairs and got near the castle, entering inside. Two larger monsters siting on a long table discussing, they look much more savage and blood thirsty than the ones out. They just wear a fury loincloth, and less bear, mostly hair coming from the back of their heads.

The smaller monster got down to his knees.

“My commanders, there's no sign of the enemy.”

“Understood. Go back to work.”

“Yes, my commander.”

The monster got up, turned and left the building.

“It's impossible, as I told you.” The other large monster spoke. “How can a hand full of humans bother our King?”

“Their numbers shouldn't be underestimated. They've swollen lots of members since Zerzogh’s defeat at the battle of Ayres.”

“They're as simple humans, mortals in this world. We just have to swing our blade once, and that's it. Though we, monsters, can lose our intelligence once we, we can't lose our existence.”

“Have you heard about their leader?”

“Just that he has fought once against Cerdic himself, and lost.”

“That was several months ago. Many things have changed. It's said, that he unleashes the wrath of the humans.”

The monster began laughing loudly, once he finished, spoke.

“And which if the name of this human?”

“His name's…”

The sound of a large explosion was heard an all the facility and several kilometers away. The two commander rush out of the building, they look directly in front of the door, which was gone. The large explosion blew it up, nothing but dust covering the air.

“What the hell did just happened?!”

A small group of the smaller monsters got near the two commanders.

“We don't know.”

“Shit. Block the door with what you can. Be quick.”

“Yes, my…”

A neigh of a horse was herd from the dust left by the explosion. Seconds later a figure with a blue coat appeared out of the dust, riding a horse with a silver sword in hand.

He was riding directly to the leaders.

“Shit!”

“What?”

“That’s him, the human commander! Galant!”

“Defense formation! NOW.”

The monsters formed with their shields and spears pointing to Galant, as two of them went to attack him. The Royal Knight used Crescent Stardust Slasher on them, dividing in half their bodies with a single blow. He continued and clashes with the monster formation, most of them falt as Galant rams his sword towards them clashing with the blade, but suddenly, when Galant gets the horse up on the back legs, it's speared, killing the animal instantly and falls to the floor.

He's quickly surrounded by the monsters. Galant drops his sword to the floor, and his arms to his neck in sign of surrender. The monsters grabbed his weapons and force him to his knees.

The two commanders got near the defeated knight.

“Arrogance's a common quality among humans, but you express it better than anyone. But, there's a limit even for you, Galant.”

“So you two Bersekers, herd about me. What an honor!” he says sarcastically.

The other spoke.

“I can't believe this one is the commander of their army. Tell me simple human, what makes you so special?”

Galant grins.

“Special? Nothing. I'm just a kid from Japan.”

The monster rammed a fist to Galant’s face, then once again with his left hand.

“ENOUGH!” the other said.

Galant looks to the groundm noticing a father on the muddy floor. Looking up, there was a hawk flying at the sky, making circular moves where he was.

The Royal Knight smiles ones again.

“Imagine what the great Cerdic will give to us, once we to bring him his biggest enemy, and the only reason he hasn't conquer Aincrad.”

“Still, we have just to give him an alive boy; we can play with him a bit. Teach him a lesson. If you excuse us, human, I'm having an appointed schedule.”

The monster got near Galant and closed his fists.

“Oh, trust me. So do I.”

An explosive-tip arrow stocked to the Berserker’s chest.

The Royal Knight gets up from the floor with a jump, he spins in the air. A sky-blue energy enveloped Galant’s foot kicking him and smashed the monsters face with martial arts skill, Meteor Impact, throwing it to the other berserkers them two fell to the dirt with several monsters.

“Tick, tick, boom!”

The arrows maka the same noice Galant made with his mouth. An explotion follows, killing both commanders alongside other monsters.

“KILL HIM!” one the monster shouted, but from the gate, six more horses appeared, accompanied by several more player rune entering the battle: the Royal Knights United Player Army had arrived.

Lance: “Gawn, Guinevere, help Galant! Percival, Elicia liberate the players at the castle! The others, take care of the Saxons!”

Lance rushes with his horse and rams against the monsters. Some of them were killed by the clashing horse, as other felt to Lance's blade. Bors follows, as he commanded the players next to Lance and smashed the monsters wielding Great Mjolnir. Kana followed them as monster of the players were standing right beside her. She walks up the wall.

The door of the castle was destroyed.

Elicia: “You're good for this!”

Percival: “Thanks, but we got to do this quickly.”

They both enter the castle and went down to the dungeon and free the players. On the stairs, they encountered several Saxons inside. Percival draws Gungir from his back an blocking the downwards slash, he extended his spear enough to be stuck between the walls, he grabbed it with his two hands and let go his feet, kicking the monster down. He lets go his hands as well, and grabs his knife, and stabing both monsters at once once he falls.

Down there he could see a long corridor with several cells of full of players, and more Saxons rushing towards them.

"I'll take care of them. Free the players”

Elicia tossed Gungir to him.

“A spear's in disadvantage on this small place.”

He extended the length of the spear to 1,50mts.

“Just watch me.”

He swings the spear to the monsters, as Elicia prepared to the break the lock of the door.

Galant rushed to them monster holding Balmung and delivered a strong burning punch to its face while grabbing his sword’s handle then stabs the monster killing it. He looks back to the one holding his shield who managed to strike him down with it but suddenly it was divided in half. It was Guinevere up her horse, she offered her hand to Galant, who grabbed it and got up the animal.

“I didn't want you to do this suicide mission. alone.”

“It's already been done. We'll finish this conversation later. There's a battle to be won and players to be freed.”

Kana stabs a monster on the neck and then slices its face. She spins on the ground as other tries to attack her with an axe. She once again spins, waiting until the last moment and eludes the move and slashes several times the body of the Saxon. Kana then kicks it on the face, sending him down. Turning around, she sees one pointing a crossbow right ho her, but it was stuck by one arrow. Kana looks and notices her sister’s arrows. She looks to her and nods with a smile. She then continued to fight at the wall.

Galant jumps from the horse and rams his foot at the face of a monster falling on it. One thrusts a spear to him, but he blocks with his shield. The monster draws its sword but Galant pushed it, sending him to the ground as Gawn double rams his weapons to the body of a monster. Galant sees to one going to the back of Gawn, he throws his shield, impaling it. Gawn smashes his axe to the face of the monster. Guinevere turns around with the horse and kills one on Galant’s back.

Percival throws Gungir and stabs two monsters comming to him. As he begins to ran towards them and draws his other weapons. The monsters manage to remove the spear and throw it to the Royal Knight but Percival eludes it. He spins on the ground. He gets near them and stabs the first on the neck, killing him. The remaining thrusts his sword, but Percival parried with his shield. He then slashes the monster several times on the shield, but doesn't darmage him. The monster pushes Percival, but he respondes jumping on the shield and meanwhile throwing his knife to the monster. When he felt near Gungir and grabbed it with both hands. He rushes towards the Saxon, which tries to slice him, but Percival trusts his spear through the body, killing it

“You're done?” Elicia asks

“Yeah!”

“We should join battle the l player are free.”

“Run!”

Lance blocks a spear and then a sword. He turns and slashes the Saxon using a sword, while the other tries to hit him. He uses the monster's body as shield, and ended stabbing both of them with his katana killing both of them.

That was all. The army from the fortress had been wipped out. The players had been saved. There was a huge roar in sign of the battles end.

The players start to celebrate, as the leaders reunite.

Elicia: “We've won the day!”

Galant: “That isn't enough. None of the five commanders or Nightshoud were here.”

Gawn: “Think it again. We've freed the players here and destroyed another fortress.”

Lance: “And that itself is a victory.”

Galant: “We've to march northeast to our base.”

---

Floor 49, December 21, 2023

The fortress of Camelot.

A large circular fortress where the entire Royal Knight United Player Army has its base. By financial support of their allies, it was constructed for the cause of defeating Cerdic and gathering all the players on a single place, ready for battle whenever the time.

Galant was inside his tent on a small hill on the middle of the large fortress, looking at the map placed at a desk, thinking. Guinevere was right at his back.

“You're alright?”

“Yes, I'm just, tired.”

“You need to rest. It isn't easy to be a commander of an army.”

“I can deal with it.”

“What's happening to you? You have too much weight on your shoulders, and on yours alone. Let Lance take command...”

“I told you, I don't need it!” Galant says stopping her and angered.

She walked to the entrance.

“All your friends stand with and for you. You do not have to do this.”

Guinevere was impressed and angered by his words and left the tent, leaving his husband to think alone. She walked a few steps seriously walking with her sight to the ground.

She clashed with someone and both fall to the ground. It was Lance.

Lance: “Sorry.”

He gets back up.

Klein: “Let me help you.”

Guinevere: “Thank you.”

Lance: “What happened, you seem angry.”

Guinevere: “Your best friend is supporting the weight of the entire world us on his shoulders.”

Lance: “That' him. You know him beter than anyone. I'll talk with him.”

Guinevere: “Thank you, again.”

Lance: “Go with Elicia, she's seeing the potential of the freed players at the south of the camp.”

Guinevere: “Okey!”

She runs on her way,

The three players enter to the tent, while Galant was still looking towards the map.

"Report?" he asks without taking his eyes out of the map.

Lance: “All the players left free have joined us have joined us.”

Percival: “There's not much too been seen on the plains of Cronwall.”

Galant: “Where's Gawn? I would have his report as well.”

Lance: “You well know hi; he favors relax and drinking after a victory. Sometimes for many days.”

Galant: “It'd be something approve, once Cerdic is defeated.”

Lance: “H's proven himself no fool. We'll certantly face him soon on field of battle.”

Galant: “Percival, double our sentries on surrounding hills and on the walls. I won't let Cerdic catch us unaware.”

Klein: “You give that shit credit he owes you!”

Galant: “Klein, you've proved a useful captain while taking command of the remaining army when we weren't here. But underestimating you opponent is a stupid trait. Don't do it again.”

Klein: “Cerdic comes to the end of his days. With each day, more players join our cause.”

Percival: “Tomato-hair guy's telling the truth. There're already hundreds on our command. Soon we'll have advantage.”

Galant: “Lance, check the skill of those who've joined us and get them ready for battle. I'll attack again as soon as we can.”

Lance: “Elicia's already doing that. I want to talk to you, in private.”

Galant: “Alright.”

Percival and Klein leave to their respective works.

“Guinevere seemed to have had a discussion with you.”

“You know her well...”

“Actually, she told me when I was coming here with Klein and Percival.”

“What did she tell you?”

“That you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.”

“I need to.”

“Why?”

“Because of the players who have died for us. Dagonet died after saving us. Galahad saved my safe for paying a never-existing debt.”

“For them. It's noble. But, you can't carry that weight just yourself.”

“Then what of those on our army? What of those that depend on us to defeat Cerdic and his hordes. What of those that have died for this?! WHAT OF THOSE…”

“THAT'S ENOUGH!”

Lance placed his hand right on Galant’s right shoulder.

“Remember something, brother: we stand with you, in this life and the next. Our retribution shall come soon. So stop with this, live with her. You never know when you can die here. Enjoy your time with her."

They shook hands.

“I'd give Balmung to Liz. It was damaged on our last battle."

“Give it to me. I was about to do the same with Ryuurin and OuRyu.”

Galant grabs his sword from his back alongside the scabbard. Lance began to get out of the tent.

“Lance!”

“What?”

“Thanks.”

Galant sits on the chair near the table and opened the map one last time.

“Where can you be?” He thought. Camelot's on the northwest of the Floor. Their army attacked several fortresses on that floor. Most of them where at the north. He'd sent an expedition to search for their true base. But nothing was ever found.

"But where was it?" he asks himself again

---

Dale: “I saw it with my own eyes! In the middle of the battle, Gawn totally strips of cloths, bellowing to the Saxons to kneel before him and receive golden tribute!”

The group of Fuurinkazan laughs at the joke of Dale for Gawn who was plaing the guitar just next to him.

Gawn: “In my defense I had taken much wine that day, and didn't expect Galant to turn and attack another fortress!”

Kana appears from the door accompanied by Diana which made all the half dunk members of Fuurinkazan turn to them.

Kunimittz: “Do you two appear as gift for us?”

Kana: “That may kill you! now get the hell out of our tent!”

Dynamm: “Gawn, we shall catch you later.”

Gawn: “No I'm going with you.”

Kana: “No..." Kana places her hand on his chest. "You stay!”

The members of Fuurinkazan left.

Gawn: “You seemed pissed.”

Kana: “I? Pissed? Why? Ah, yeah I remember now: because you're always drinking inside my tent.”

Gawn: “OUR tent.”

Kana: “Still I don't wish to see other five guys here with you. But still that's the only thing you do! Drinking!”

Gawn grabs a steel jar left by the Fuurinkazan members.

Gawn: “wine?”

Kana: “I will…”

“…tear the wine right out of his soul?”

All of them turn to the one that had just entered the tent.

Diana: “Galant!”

Kana: “What are you doing here?”

Galant: “Searching for your boyfriend. I was going to get back my sword from Liz and Bors' forge when I thought about finding you. “

Gawn: “All of you guys just searching for me.”

Galant: “I would've had to if you had done reported with Lance, Percival and Klein. Hours ago.”

Gawn: “My attention was by pressing matters.”

Kana: “Of drink?”

Galant: “You can't end battle, without giving report.”

Gawn placed the jar once again at the floor.

Gawn: “We fought. We won. Does that cover all what you need?”

Galant: “Whatever now...I sorry for interrupting the discussion. But the training team might need your aid, one you've finished. I'll see you there.”

Galant leaves the tent and continued on his way to the smithy.

Diana: “Galant! Wait!”

Galant: “What?”

Diana: “I also left my dager, Virbius, at the smithy. May I go with you?”

Galant: “Why not? come.”

They continue on their way. Diana thinks what to say. She can't believed she had fallen in love with a boy that was younger than her. Yet he was not as other kids he had met on her school. For her Galant was much of assort of prince to her, a warrior of a tale that appears to rescue the princess.

And though her belief, she even didn't know his name.

“Hey, may I ask you something?”

“Yeah sure. What's it?”

“Your name, your real name.”

“It's the first time somebody asked it to me inside the game...”

“Really?”

“You know, it’s against the regalement to reveal my name...”

“But you know mine. That’s not fair at all!”

Galant recalls that time some months ago, when her sister had accidentally revealed her name: Tsukira, Kazuha. At the same time, Diana revealed her Kana’s real name: Akira.

But going back to his matters, he'd never revealed his name to anyone.

They arrive to appointed place.

“Alright then, my name is H…”

“Galant!” Bors says interrupting

Galant: “Bors!”

Diana was disappointed to the arrival of the blacksmith and the interruption.

“Is my sword ready?” Galant asks.

Bors: “Straight to business, you never change.”

Bors turned to the inside of the small building they had built for forging.

“Liz! Is Balmung ready?”

Liz: “Yeah. I'm going up!”

The fluffy ping hair girl comes up, and was surprised to see the leader of the army at the blacksmith.

“Royal Knight’s leader! "What are you doing here?! I should've prepared myself!” She teased as he got her hair styled with her hands, much for Diana’s anger.

Galant: “For business. Lance brought up my sword alongside his. Are they ready?”

“I left them down. Give me a second. Silica! Claire! The swords!”

Silica enters running with Blamung, shortly accompanied by a blonde little girl even younger than her that carried a bag of swords. by her appearance she had a low level, as he had low level clothes.

The girl handed to Lizbeth the swords. She gave to Galant, Balmung.

Liz: “Here it is. It's been just finished.”

Galant took it out from its sheath and tested it. He tried basic swords skills, Vertical, Horizontal, Diagonal. After it he tested two blows of Stardust Slasher, and finally Shimmer Spike.

Galant: “It feels, heavier.”

Liz: “Since you so much like that sword a don't advance to other weapon, I reinforced and strengthened the metal, making it even heavier and it's more durable that way.”

Galant: “I like it.”

Liz: Tthat way the sword won't be broken by anyone! I did the same for all the weapons.”

Galant: “Thank you. How can I repay all what you have made for us, Liz.”

Liz. “Defeating Cerdic! But more Col shall be enoght!”

Silica: “Lizbeth!!! LOOK WHAT ARE YOU ASKING.”

Liz: “Sh. Actually, before I came here, I was planning to make my own smith shop. But until Cerdic is defeated, I'll remain here.”

Galant: “Thought an impolite, rude girl, a great blacksmith...even for a girl.

Liz: “Hey.”

Galant: “I forgive you...”

Diana: “Liz, is my dagger ready?!” She says interrupting Galant.

Liz: “Sorry, but I've just finished the guys swords. I'll do your's now.”

Diana: “Okey...”

Galant grans the sack of weapons.

Galant: “I'll give them the weapons to them personally. Bors, a moment.”

Bors: “Yeah, sure.”

They get outside the shop.

“Who's the little girl?”

“Clarie, an eleven year old girl. She is helping us alongside Silica. She seems very sad, I do not know why...”

“Sometimes it's better not to ask. I'll give the weapons the guys. See you later!”

Diana walks out of the shop, following Galant.

They rapidly arrive to the place where Guinevere, Elicia, Gawn and Lance were watching the new recruits. They players made a line, and one by one passed and faced Kana. In the meantime, Lance gave instruction to how to fight them.

Lance: “Watch your left! Watch your swing! Raise your fucking guard!”

Kana defeated another.

“Next man!”

Guinevere: “She is fearsome by each day.”

Gawn: “Soon even I shall fear to call her “little girl".”

Kana: “One day you'll know who's the little!”

Galant arrives from the left, as all the players were surprised to gaze upon the leader of the army. His name was becoming growing tale among the players. He stops next to Elicia to watch the battle.

Lance: “Begin!”

The player attacks the sword diagonally downwards. Kana eludes it. He once again attacks in the opposite direction, but Kana also eludes and delivers a hard punch to the to his face.

Galant: “How do you find them?”

Elicia: “Enthusiastic.”

The player once again slashes his sword, but Kana manages to parry it, kicked him on his right leg, making him fall and placed her left knife at his neck.

Lance: “But with few skill.”

Galant: “They'll prove worthy. I've brought the weapons.”

Galant started giving weapons. First OuRyu and Seiryujin to Elicia, then Ryuurin to Lance, the axe and the mace to Gawn.

Galant approaches to Guinevere who stood with arms crossed looking to the horizon. She was just avoiding Galant.

Galant: “Leavatein.”

Guinevere grabs her swords and put it on her belt without looking to her husband.

“Look, I am sor…”

Galant stops because something arrived to his message box. He enters his menu and looks. He was totally surprised to see it, he received a message from the most unexpected person.

“The council, now.”

Lance: “what happened?”

Galant: “A message.”

Gawn: “From?”

Galant: “The Sub-commander of the Knights of Blood.”

Guinevere: “Asuna? What does she want now?”

Galant: “I don't know. But, if it's a message from her, it must be important. The message said she wanted to talk with us now.”

Galant and his generals rapidly arrived to his tent. There, Galant took out his Hologram Communicator, and placed it on the table. He pushed the button, and an hologram of Asuna appeared out of it.

Asuna: “Hi, Royal Knights.”

Galant: “The Flash. What's happening?”

Asuna: “Bad news. One of our recognition teams found Cerdic and his army.”

Lance: “Impossible. For Months, we've searched for their base at the north.”

Asuna: “That is why you didn’t find it. The base is on the south of Camelot.”

Gawn: “So the strongholds at the nouth…”

Galant: “Were meant as distraction...”

Guinevere: “No.”

Lance: "Fucking monster..."

Galant: “Yes. Cerdic knew we'd attack them, and so we'd think his base would be up north.”

There was a brief moment of disappointment for Galant. He took out his mirage sphere of the floor.

“Where're they moving to?”

Asuna: “Southeast.”

Gawn: “East? Towards the Frozen Mountains?”

Galant: “I don't believe it so. Near the end of the Frozen Mountains, there is the city of Camlann. The place where most clearers are right now. Cerdic wants to attack them.”

Asuna: “Also. Camlann is nearest town to Myujen, the main settlement of the floor, and entrance to the dungeon. If Cerdic destroys this town, he'll surely attack Myujen and block the entrance to the next level, leaving us trapped on this floor. After this, he just to go downwards and kill all the players left on the castle one by one.”

Gawn: “Shit.”

Galant: “How many time we got?”

Asuna: “Two days and a half for them to arrive.”

Lance: “We could ambush them here." Shun says pointing to the map."When they are near to the south part of the Medraut Volcanic Chain. Catch them by surprise and holding the higher ground before they are at the city.

Galant shakes his head.

Galant: “That would mean moving the entire army south in less than a day. It's not possible. I can think of just one way to arrive faster than them.”

Lance: “What?”

Galant: “Straight to the city, crossing the Volcanic Mountains of Mederaut.”

Lance: “That's insane!”

Galant: “ If we go north, we shall be to late. If we travel south the same. It's our only chance.”

Asuna: “Galant, if you manage to cross them I shall be waiting here for you. We need you, now more than ever.”

Galant: “I…We shall be there.”

Asuna: “Good luck.”

Galant: “Thank you. We need it.”

Galant pushed the button and the conversation was over.

“Tell everyone to ready up. At dawn's break, we travel east. To the final battle.”

Lance: “This is the most insane thing you have chosen! Why don't just follow them and attack their rear once we aproach?!”

Galant: “That wouldn't work. They'll arrive faster than by all routes, except this one.”

Lance: “You have taken into account the river of lava flowing out of the mountains? The risk we are taking has no measure! WE CAN ALL DIE ON THIS.”

Galant: “There is no other way.”

Lance: “if we would travel south…”

Galant: “The city would be lost before we can kill one of Cerdic’s Saxons!”

Gawn: “Enough!”

Gawn interrupted placing himself between them two.

“Remember this is the only way we can fight against them.”

Lance: “No it is not…”

Lance left angered the tent.

Gawn: “There's no other way. Is it?”

Galant: “No there is not...”

Guinevere: “I believe in you.”

Gawn: “As do I. I shall talk to the others spread the message.”

Gawn leaves the tent, Guinevere approaches Galant. She was about to say something to him as both of them stared to one another, but she finally decided to leave.

Galant felt to his bed, removed his boots and cape and fell asleep.

---

Floor 49, December 22, 2023

Dawns brake.

An army of 500 players begins journey through the 49 floor ready to face the legions of Cerdic on the last final battle. The leaders on horseback, and scattered across the lines of players ready for facing anything.

Lance: “Where0s Klein and his Guild.”

Galant: “I've sent them to the south. They'll inform us of how the army of Cerdic advances.”

Lance: “I hope you plan works.”

Galant: “Don't hope. Pray for it.”

At distance from a tree, a being was watching the large army travelling to the east. He takes out a Hologram Communicator, and pressed the button. An hologram of Cerdic appeared.

“My King, they move as you said they would.”

“Good news Velron. Everything is going according to plan. Follow them.”

“Yes, my king.”

He touchs the button and the hologram was gone.

Cerdic: “you know your orders?”

Boewolt: “Yes.”

Cynric: “Yes.”

Nightshroud: "We'll kill them all, my King."

Cerdic: “Well. Make their travel a nightmare that will never be forgotten.”

“As you command, my King.” The three of them say.

Cerdic then directed himself to the army of Saxons and Berserkers standing in front of him.

Cerdic: “We advance on Camlann and all the humans that there live. Our shadow will fall on them. Every one of them shall be struck from this world, FOR OUR MIGHT AND GLORY!”

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