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« SAO:PoA - Chapter Eighteen

Sword Art Online: Past of Ashes
Written by: FedeTkd
Published:
Chapter 19

SAO:PoA - Chapter Twenty »



Floor 50th, January 17th, 2024

PoH: “Enough of this. Time for you to die, Slayer of Cerdic.”

Galant grabbed the purple ribbon and tied it to his right wrist. He grabbed Laevatein and put on the belt on his waist. He got up and continues looking down.

Galant: “I just got one question...Why you do this? Why killing players?”

PoH: “Good question. To be certain, you’re the first one to ask. As players would actually be killed by the mechanism of the NerveGear when a player's HP reaches 0, the designer of the mechanism, Kayaba Akihiko, would be the culprit of the murder, thus players have the right to kill other players and enjoy the game.”

Galant: “The one that’s killing inside this game is you, not anyone else. Yet, if you believe so I will enjoy the game…KILLING ALL OF YOU!”

Galant rushed to PoH with Balmung Blade directly to him and his shield on his other hand. He clashed to something, but then was forced back.

Xaxa: “You’ll never touch him. Not while I’m here.”

Galant: “MOVE ASIDE! STARDUST SLASHER!”

Xaxa: “Ignorant shit!”

Xaxa used his sword, and managed to deflect the attack, which clashed against one of the walls of the cavern.

Galant: “As you wish!”

Galant rushed and attacked Xaxa, who clashed sword with him. Galant manages to get behind Xaxa and thrust him his shield to his back. The player killer spins with his blade to behead him, but Galant eluded and slashed his body before kicking his chest. Xaxa falls to the ground, but uses the momentum to get back up, unfazed.

Xaxa: “Poh!”

PoH: “Kill him!”

Black attacks. Galant blocks his kick, with his own leg and then pushes him back with his shield. A player with a drama mask, apparently named Tyrant, attacks Galant from the back, but he managed to see him first. He blocks the attack and spins. With this movement, he manages to get behind Tyrant and slash his back.

Kamui: “There’s not time for me to see this. You better finish him quickly!”

Galant slashed Annie in the chest, but Black came and slashed Galant at the chest.

The giant Jotuhn grabbed Galant from the body, so Whipper started to whip Galant, yet the ex-Royal Knight Leader managed to elbow Jotuhn right on the face, freeing himself. As other whip came towards him, he cut it with Stardust Slasher. Black appears again and tries to slice him with one of his knives. Galant puts forth Brave Shield, blocking the attack, yet the impulse the thrust of the killer had given was more than enough to put Galant of his balance. Jotuhn quickly pushed him back and Black move the shield Galant and slash him with one of his dagger in the ribs area. He came for another but Galant parried the move with his sword. Suddenly he was grabbed and smashed into the ground. Xaxa grabbed from the head, lifted up, ending smashed to the ground. While he was getting up, Xaxa span on the ground with one of his feet, and kicked hard Galant directly on the face. As he tries to get up Annie appeared right in front of him and begins punching his body, which moved as if he would be shot by multiple guns at the same time. Xaxa then elbowed him and ended his attack with a strong thrust with his sword, sending Galant flying. He clashes with one of the walls of the cavern he felt looking at the opposite side where his enemies where.

While still on the ground, Galant looked to his shield. It had just saved him from Xaxa’s attack, probably saving his life; it had a huge crack right in the middle. Second latter, the shield shattered into polygons. That shield was the last memory he had of the shield’s blacksmith, Dagonet. He’d made the shield many months ago. He was now dead and that shield somehow represented their friendship.

He then looked towards the ribbon tied to his other wrist and reminded himself why he was doing all of this.

For her.

For her memory.

So it did not fall into oblivion.

Galant got to he’s knees.

Xaxa: “You’re doing all of this just for her? Why you do not just kill yourself? It’d be faster and with lesser pain than being torn apart by us. Surrender.”

Galant: “You won’t stop just after killing her. You’ll continue. I’m also doing this for the players that remain alive, and those that have sacrificed their lives!”

Galant reaches his back and grabs two kunai knifes and placed them as it would be a double-bladed dagger on his left hand.

“I WILL TAKE YOU ALL ALONE!”

Galant turns around and first faced Jotuhn, and rapidly managed to cut of his right arm with Stardust Slasher. He then approached Black and Tyrant, managing to stab the first one with his Kunai, yet he was stabbed at the shoulder by a poisoned knifed. Still, it did not stop him from kicking Tyrant with his right left and then spin in the air kicking him with his other leg, while Black also span with him, ending on the ground with Galant elbow hitting his stomach. The Slayer of Cerdic once again got up and attacked Jotuhn, who managed to elude his technique. Galant managed to use Jotuhn’s back as a support to spin on it and getting near Annie who tried to attack him, yet Galant countered with a hard hit to her ribs, sending against a wall. Whipper attacks him with his whip. Yet the blue knight threw his kunai away and catches the whip, jumped with the wall and stabbed him right at the chest up to the cross-guard of Balmung, and finally head-butted Whipper removing his sword from his body.

As Xaxa once again got near him, he grabbed other two kunai, exchanged some briefs blows with him, but finally, he sliced off the killer left’s leg. He stabbed Xaxa at the belly, but when he was to kill him, Annie appeared and grabbed his neck, pushing him away from the defeated Xaxa. However, Galant manages to push her away. Black once again approached, trying to stab Galant with one of his poisonous daggers. Galant blocked the move, cut of his right arm. The daggers fell to the ground. He ended with a slash right to the chest with Stardust Slasher.

Galant raises his sight, seeing how Jotuhn was about to reach his sword sheathed at his right side. Galant threw Balmung to him; stabbing the giant right in the chest. Galant run to him and grabbed one of the knives with his right. He stabbed Jotuhn right on the lower part of his neck and then passed his whole body to Jotuhn’s back, while he placed his other dagger at the neck of the player and, as he falls down, he cuts the throat of the player. Once Galant touched the ground, he ended decapitating Jotuhn. The body of the giant fell to the floor and shattered into polygons. Galant grabbed the head and threw it to Kamui, as it shattered into polygons, and grabbed Laevatein.

Galant: “Black death! You are ne-AHHHGG!”

Three long blades pierced in Galant’s back. Galant dropped Laevatein to the ground. He was then lifted to the air as his HP decreased rapidly. He could do nothing but grab the blades weapon, screaming in pain.

PoH: “You’re so weak!”

PoH finally removed the dagger. The former Royal Knight lead couldn’t remain standing and falls as dead weight to the ground, with his consciousness almost lost, while looking towards the place where Sakura had died nearly minutes ago. A tear of sadness and disappointment with himself felt from his left eye to the ground.

PoH was right, he was weak.

He could not protect Guinevere, nor so could he kill the one that had caused her death. He tried to stand up yet he could not. He’s energies were done. He couldn’t do anything.

He looks up, and PoH was looking down on him. After looking for a while, he sees PoH’s face. He was wearing a mask beneath his hooded cloak. Galant’s eyes widen slightly. He knew very well that mask black mask with red eyes. It was the one the player in Cerdic’s army wore in his face.

The player who called himself PoH wasn’t the real PoH.

He was Nightshroud.

To have the members of Laughing Coffin doing his dirty job, Nightshroud assumed the identity of PoH.

Xaxa: “PoH kill him! Once and for all!”

Johnny Black: “Players are incoming through the cavern.”

Xaxa: “Kill him. Now before they come!”

Nightshroud: “We can’t.”

Xaxa: “Why?!”

Nightshroud: “A normal player would’ve already died do the attack I made to his back. But he didn’t. Somehow the damage decreases lower on him, and the Battle Healing skill is faster than it should be.”

Xaxa: “Then I’ll do it!”

Nightshroud: “No! It’s a waste of time. This is an order, we’re going.”

The player of Laughing Coffin gathers behind Galant, just the girl with long silver hair come and gazed nearly to the defeated player still on the floor.

“Selene! We’re going with or without you!”

Selene: “Yes!”

“Teleport: Lindas!”

All the player teleported and disappeared, leaving Galant alone in the muck.

Galant tries to get up, but he was quickly left without strength. He crawled to grab Laevatein from the ground, and thanks to it, he managed to get up. He then grabbed Balmung and placed it on his back.

He looked to the stone, and the sword was still struck on it. Why? Why would Nightshroud leave it? He may’ve come there for getting the weapon. But Galant reads the inscription on the stone where the blade was stuck. "Only the player that values friends and love more than his life can possess this sword.” That was way. None of them was worthy of using the legendary weapon. Nightshroud, neither one of his comrades, valued what the stone asked.

Reminded of the word friends and love, he instantly remembers what he had just lost and fell on to his knees. He once again cried. What class of leader was he? What kind of friend was he??What kind of boyfriend was he???

“I am…I am…in Hell.” Galant told himself grimly.

Footsteps got nearer. He gets up and manages to walk near the cavern’s corridor. Suddenly ten figures dressed with a black armor with gray markings. He instantly knew who they were. Members of Aincrad Liberation Force AKA, the Army.

Suddenly, a more common face showed up. Commanding their troops was Kibaou, his former leader.

“Thought I’d never see you again.”

“So did I, What has happened here?” Kibaou told him.

“What was left of my guild was killed by Laughing Coffin. Guinevere, Gawn, Percival and Bors. They are all dead. I’m the only one left from my guild.”

Kibaou paused a moment and looked at him.

“Seize him!”

All the Army players grabbed Galant from his hands, arm, body and legs, avoiding him to move. Galant tried to get them off him, yet he was still too weak to fight them.

“You lied. That isn’t what your cursor says.”

“What? I could’ve never…”

Galant then looked up, and realized his cursor glowing orange, and never to be back to green.

“What the??? No!” He yells

“This is what happened here. You made your men came here for the sword but it was all a trick. You became crazy, and killed every single one of your guild mates, one by one. At last you turned to your wife, and after you found out she had cheated you with your good friend Lance, you beheaded her. I then found you here and arrested you.”

“No.. .Nooo!”

“You’re sentenced, to execution, in the arena.”

“No. why are you doing this?!?!?!”

“For what you did to me, that punch was out of place and you have sent Tetsu, one of my right hand men to PRISON!”

“You liar!”

“I once told you, that the shadow of the Army was vast. AND YOU ARE HERE TO DIE UNDER IT, TO THE ROAR OF THE CROWD!”

Kibaou hit strongly Galant with the back of his sword making him unconscious. When he was losing it, Kibaou whispered to his ear.

“Now with this story and what you have made, you are nothing but an assassin. A coward. You deserve death. The Reapers, Pendragon Court, KoB, and any other guild eliminating players killers will search to you after. Better to end this fast, right? You’ll now be known as one of Aincrad’s biggest criminals. Consider your death in the arena a kindness.”

---

Floor 45th, January 18th, 2024

Galant opens his eyes.

He looks around and sits against a wall.

He was in a cell, with shackles on both hands. The shackles were also chained to the wall. He also realized that they’d removed most of his equipment, except his pants. The rest was gone. He tried access to his menu but he couldn’t. It was blocked for some reason. He could enter to the menu, but not chose any of them. This was probably because he was imprisoned.

The sound of a crowd could be heard from the cell.

He then figured where he was.

On one of the dungeons bellow the Great Arena, on the 45th floor. The wooden ceiling just above his head moved as the ground roar increased.

The door opened as two soldier appeared from it.

They unchained Galant from the wall and got him up by force.

He was carried somewhere. He tried to fight both soldiers, but it was in vain to fight against them with those chains. After they travelled across a long corridor, they entered a small room. From there, he could see the sands of Arena, and just some thick iron bars avoided that he entered inside. The soldiers unchain the cuffs, give him Balmung Blade and then leave him closing the door at his back.

From that small cell, he could witness a battle.

An orange player dressed just with trousers and without his right arm, fighting a gladiator armed with a large square shield and a straight sword. He had a helmet, a manica armguard covering his right arm, and a pair of greaves, attached to his trousers. The player attacked vertically then horizontally, but his moves where easily parried by the gladiator who then countered by hitting the face with the pommel of his sword.

The Gladiators didn’t kill you fast.

They kept you alive and make the gory spectacle last longer, for the joy of the bloodthirsty crowd.

The orange player looked back to Galant and smiled at him. Galant also smiled. The player faced once again the gladiator using a vertical attack, but the gladiator blocked with his shield, span, and slashed the throat of the player.

The crowd roared.

Galant was shocked. In Gladiator Games, the player to be executed can only be killed, meaning that he was using his HP while fighting. The player turns around, facing Galant, and he felt to his knees. They briefly stared to each other. His body falls to the sands and shattered into multicolored shards the second afterwards.

Galant keeps on looking around and sees Thinker in the Pulvinus, the place where the editor watched the games, generally accompanied by people of note inside of Aincrad or his friends. In this case, Thinker was accompanied by Yuriel and Kibaou. There were other two players with them. Both of them were the wardens of one of the two prisons of the Army. One was sit next to Thinker, the other behind Kibaou his back. The two of them were middle-aged men, a strange thing in SAO.

Yuriel: “The crowd approves your gifts.”

Kibaou: “Thank you Yuriel. I withheld something of note for the end.”

The door opens and Galant enters the arena. The Sun shined in the sky, almost leaving him blind for a short while. Thinker and Yuriel were shocked to see their old friend inside the arena. He looked towards the round as he was amazed by the coliseum’s appearance and size. He got nearer to the gladiator, who pointed him with his sword.

“Ready you killer cunt?”

Galant prepared and was ready for battle, when suddenly, one of the two main gates of the arena opened. From inside, three other gladiators appeared. One with an axe, other with trident and circular shield and the last one with a spear and a shield. All of them heavily armored.

The crowd immediately disapproved by shouting. They didn’t like a massacre, but rather equal fights.

Thinker: “The odds of the crowd aren’t in your favor. Why is he there, on the sands?”

Kibaou: “My squad and I found him yesterday. What was left of the Royal Knights was killed by him. He’s an assassin and a coward.”

Yuriel: “But isn’t his life payment enough…”

Kibaou: “He has to be humiliated, as an example. Solcius was kind enough to offer his services.”

The men next to Thinker nodded.

Thinker reluctantly exhaled.

Thinker: “Give the command…”

Kibaou gets up and raises his hand.

Galant looked at him with anger, and the gladiators took position around him.

Kibaou lowered his fist rapidly, beginning the battle.

The one with the axe attacked Galant, he eluded it, but then the one with the trident attacked him, yet he parried the handle of the weapon with his leg. The spear warrior attacks side of his weapon, yet Galant ducks and eludes the move once again, yet the one with the trident once again came to him and kicks his leg, making Galant fall to the ground.

The first gladiator came again with a slash downwards. Galant stopped him, but while he was spinning on the ground to recover foot, he was slashed in the back.

The one with the Axe appeared and smashed the axe against him. Galant barely eluded it, but he was kicked strongly right in the torso, and fell to the ground once again. The one with spear and shield gets near him and hits with his shield the face of Galant. At last the player with the axe once again came near him and smashed the back of the head with his axe’s handle.

Galant fell to the ground, with his sword next to him as the crowd continued to disapprove. The warden sitting behind Thinker though the battle was a mockery, but he didn’t say anything.

Kibaou nodded to the gladiator, as approbation for killing him

Galant looks up the first gladiator’s shield. On it, there was a huge beast drawn as design, whose aspect reminded him of Belphegor. Galant then recalled that conversation with Guinevere months ago. She had told him not to go to the boss battle, since she had had a dream, in which, and he was bowing in front of a huge black beast.

That was exactly what was happening right in that moment.

Guinevere was right. Galant looked to his right wrist, and saw it, the purple ribbon. For some reason, they didn’t remove it from him. He then recalled what she said after he placed the ribbon and her golden, long, beautiful hair. I sounded as it; she was actually whispering to his ear…

“Kill the boss…”

Suddenly the words began to change more and more until the phrase transform.

“Kill them boss…Kill them all…”

A drop of red data fell from Galant’s face to the arena.

The player prepares to finish him off with a downwards slash.

Galant screams. He grabs the sword, gets up and stabs the player in the belly, much for the crowds’ joy and roar and the impression of the ones in the Pulvinus. He slashed outside the body, tearing of the players left arm.

Galant parries the trident and then the spear; he slashes on the body the one of the trident and grabbed the spear. With it, he hits the player of the axe. The Slayer of Cerdic then was hit by the shield, but he then cuts off the left arm of the player, leaving him without his weapon.

The one with the axe attacked Galant directly to the face, yet Galant grabbed the body of the one with spear and used it as a human shield. The one with the axe accidentally impales his partner, killing him. The one with the trident threw it to Galant, yet he eluded the projectile by rolling on the ground and slashed both legs, cutting off both limbs from his body.

Galant faces the last gladiator, the one with the axe. He eludes a downward slash, then slashed the player’s body several times and finally impaled him through the jaw. The tip of Balmung came out of his head. He fell to the ground and shattered into polygons.

Just one was alive now. Galant got near the trident gladiator who crawled for his life, Galant grabbed his own trident and stab him in the back of the head.

Galant threw the trident to the ground as the crowd changed its chant.

“LIVE, LIVE, LIVE, LIVE!”

Galant looked towards the Pulvinus and to Kibaou.

Thinker: “Well. This presents some difficulties.”

Kibaou “The sentence of death stays.”

Thinker: “Yes…But defying the wishes of the crowd isn’t a smart move. “

Kibaou: “He’s a killer! He can’t be freed just for winning!”

The player behind Thinker spoke.

“A solution perhaps, if you want to hear it Kibaou.”

Kibaou: “Speak, Ducard.”

Ducard: “This player has showed great promise in the Arena against Solcius inferior stock. If I could take this men to my prison and school him in the ways of fighting. If he proves worthy, he’d represent more Col to be gained for the entrance to the Arena…”

Kibaou: “Alright…”

Thinker: “We’ll be merciful...”

Ducard: “What’s his name?”

Yuriel: “The way he fights, he’s definitely the Slayer of Cerdic. He’s called Galant.”

Thinker gets up and opens his arms to the crowd as he spoke.

Thinker: “Players of SAO. THIS PLAYER, GALANT, THE SLAYER OF CERDIC HAS PROVEN HIMSELF IN THE ARENA. FOR THIS KIBAOU AND MYSELF GRANT HIM…LIFE!”

The crowd approved and shouted approving the decision taken as they began to chant.

GALANT! GALANT! GALANT! GALANT! GALANT! GALANT! GALANT!

Galant continued to seriously look towards Kibaou with his face full of read data as the crowd continued to chant his name.

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