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« SAO:PoA - Chapter Twenty Six

Sword Art Online: Past of Ashes
Written by: FedeTkd
Published:
Chapter 27

SAO:PoA - Chapter Twenty Eight »



Floor 14th, November 1st, 2024 Galant jumps and double slashed his opponent with Blamung Blade and Guren. The attack deals considerable damage to his opponent, who falls to the ground. Other appears and kicks back the Champion before he cans finish off his opponent. The other two appeared out of the shadows of the cave, with their silver scythes drawn.

“Antinomy!” A hand could be useful against these assholes.”

Antinomy draws his blade and puts back to back with his friend. They were facing former members a guild previously known as “The Reapers”. Their reason to exist was quite simple: kill in the name of justice. They actively searched through Aincrad those who maliciously murder other players and eliminate them. The number of members was quite few, not exceeding 20. However, after the death of their guild leader at the hands of a PK, the Guild disbanded. Nevertheless, some former members kept on slaughtering killers.

The four reapers surrounded them forming a square round the two former gladiators.

“Now near the end of this trip and you guys have to appear.” Galant says “We’re not interested in fighting. Leave now, and no one has to die.”

“I don’t need to answer that. You already know my answer.” One of the Reapers says.

“Well…that presents some difficulties…” Antinomy says.

“We appear wherever a player killer is.” Another one says. “The likes of you deserve just one thing, death. Proper justice.”

“Justice?” Galant laughs. “There’s no such thing. Not in this world.”

“You’ll see soon enough. I never believed we’d have the honor of bring the Champion of Aincrad to justice...”

“No. You’ll have the honor of perishing by my hand.”

The reaper advances and swings the weapon towards Galant. The tip clashes against his forearm protectors. Galant parries the blade and advances towards the reaper. The tip of Balmung slashed the left side of the reaper. The other swings its scythe towards the back of Galant, but he rolls in the ground, avoiding the attack. The reaper stops and swings the blade back, in the opposite direction, forcing the former champion to jump back. The scythe whistles as it passes right behind his feet in the air. Galant lands firmly on the ground. The reaper tried to use the same move for a third time. Too predictable. Galant bends his body forward and the curved blade slashes inches from his head, cutting some hairs from his head. He rapidly gets up and grabs the handle scythe with his empty left hand. Using a powerful Crescent Stardust Slasher, he bisects the handle and grabs the upper half of the weapon, as if it were a sickle. The reaper attacks with the stick left. Galant blocks the reaper’s attack with the edge of his blade, before swinging the sickle forward, impaling the player in the chest.

Antinomy shields from the attack of a scythe with his shield. The other reaper jumps and attacks from above, swinging his weapon downwards. He barely parries with his sword, and uses a lunge attack with his shield, pushing him back. The other one starts chaining fast attacks to his chest. The first one he eludes, but the second one connects, slashing his chest. The smith regains quickly and blocks a third attack, with his shield before lunging forward. The shield hits the reaper in the nose, distracting him. Antinomy thrusts his blade, stabbing his chest. Now angry, the other reaper attacks while Antinomy was distracted. He uses his shield to attack, but loses grip of his blade. Now widely opened, the reapers swing his blade, slashing his stomach before kick him into the ground.

The last reaper facing Galant shouts a curse and jumps forward, hacking down with both hands on his scythe. Galant jumps and rolls backwards in the air; looking how the huge weapon destroyed the ground he was standing on. He lands firmly on the ground. Angrily, the reaper attacks again. Galant rushes forward, ducks under the blade and thrusts upwards. The blade pierces though the head of the reaper, killing him. At last, he sees Antinomy having trouble with the last reaper alive. Galant takes aim and throws the makeshift sickle at him. The weapon twirls like a boomerang before it piercing his. The reaper looks at the weapon before walking a couple of steps backwards and falling to the boiling hot lava.

Galant walks towards his friend.

“Hey that one was mine!” He claims.

“Yeah. Totally.” Galant replies sarcastically. “I noticed by the way you were in the floor, blocking his strikes with your shield.”

Galant helps him up.

“How these assholes make it here?”

“No idea. This hallway was secret. Just my master and I…and now you, know it.”

“They may have been following us...”

“Maybe. I hope the rest of the brotherhood is okay.”

“It wouldn’t have been a good idea to remain all together.” Galant sheathes back his blades. “We chose to go on our separate ways, and that way it’s more difficult for our enemies to finding us.”

“Anyhow, we should get going.”

“Yes.”

They continue on their way walking through the long cavern-like secret corridor, while the lava of the dormant volcano lighted their way towards Hephaestus chamber. In few minutes they arrived.

“My master! Hephaestus!”

The player appears out of the place, dressed with leather padding over parts of his body, as well as heavy leather gloves and boots, with dark blue clothing underneath.

“Antinomy!”

They share a handshake.

“I thought you have died during the escape. I’m glad you’re back here!”

“So do I. I am accompanied by a friend…”

“Friend…?” The smith sees to Galant. “Slayer of Cerdic! Champion of Aincrad!”

“Smith. Seems I’ve made a reputation for myself.”

“I’m very glad to meet you.” He extends his hand.

“I’m also glad.” Galant says, taking his hand. “Antinomy has told me a lot about you. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him.”

“Neither would I.” Antinomy tells him.

“Still Champion, let me repay you the favor. Come!” Hephaestus walks towards his small smithy, followed by the two former gladiators. “You can give me your metal gear. It needs some powering up.”

Galant removes part of his gear and gives it to the smith. Quickly, Hephaestus starts looking to the weapons and equipment. He was eager to see it, especially the weapons.

“Let me see: Balmung Blade, from Belphegor, the rage king. It’s a heavy prized weapon and old at the same time.

Laevatein, from the 5th floor boss drop. Also old, but very useful. What more, ah Aegis armor, an incredible armor. It has an incredible resistance; it can even afford hits of Hellkarium weapons. The coat you’re wearing, Avalon’s Coat, it’s unique. It has also boosts your Battle Healing Skill, and makes you receive less damage form attacks.”

“I noticed…It saved my life on more than one occasion.”

“And the last …no why, Carnwennan!?”

“Carnwennan? Its name’s Guren…”

“You didn’t tell him, did you?” Hephaestus says, looking to his apprentice.

“No.”

“What’re you two talking about?!” Galant shouts.

“Guren isn’t the true name of this weapon...” Antinomy says. “Its true name is Carnwennan. Guren is just an epithet.”

Hephaestus drew the blade from its scabbard. The blade was shining silver. The darkening had disappeared.

“What the hell?” Galant

“Carnwennan is not a common Hellkarium weapon.” Antinomy continues. “If it was, its color would be black. When I made this weapon, I added a special metal to make it easier to forge. The color of the blade depends on the wielder’s personality. The lighter color, the more good. The darker… ”

“The more bad.” Galant deduces. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It was months ago.” Antinomy says. “I knew what had happen to you! I but wished to help you.”

“Help me? Help me to do what?”

“To keep control of yourself!” He yells. He takes a deep breath. “Remember when you fought against the members of Laughing Coffin? Your eyes turned red. That’s Darkness.”

“Darkness?!”

“It’s a glitch in the game. It hasn’t been fully studied, but it appears in players who’ve suffered. Those player who feel anger, pain and Hate.” Hephaestus adds.

“When your guild was killed by Laughing Coffin, in that moment, Darkness was born within your heart.” Antinomy continues. “Small and weak. But over the last months it has grown. It manifests when your eyes turn shinning red.”

Galant looks to his right hand trembling. He takes hold of it.

“So what’s why I couldn’t stop?”

“Yeah. Darkness has grown enough in you for partially takeover of your actions.” Antinomy says. “When you’re in a situation that angers you, your eyes will change color into crimson red. This wrath augments your strength and overall skills and abilities. It’s basically like a berserk state. Still, it’ll make you much more savage. With time, it’ll grow stronger.”

Galant nodded reluctantly.

“I’m glad you understand.” Antinomy says. “I’ll take care of you equipment in a few hours. Champion, take rest. I guess you need it.”

---

“The weapons have been sharpened and the armor has become stronger by adding Hellkarium to it.”

“Thank you both.” Galant says, putting his gear back on. “I’m leaving now.”

“Where, Champion?” Hephaestus asks.

“To find this Nightshroud and kill him.”

“What the hell? No. It’s not a good idea now.” Antinomy says.

“Champion, I told you not to take this path!” Hephaestus warns him. “If so Darkness…”

“Let it happen. I don’t give a shit.”

“Galant! Come on!”

“ANTINOMY, I’VE BEEN WORKING FOR THAT MOTHERFUCKER DUCARD FOR NINE MONTHS, AND THE ONLY THING I HAVE GAINED IS LEVELS AND EXPERIENCE, AND I’LL USE IT TO KILL NIGHTSHROWD!”

“Galant! I…” Antinomy draws his blade.

Galant’s eyes wide as he reaches to his blade.

“What are you planning to do?!” He screams.

“If I can’t make you stay, I can’t make you leave.”

Hephestus catches the arm of Antinomy.

“Don’t Antinomy. Every man is free to make his own choice. Galant has made his. You have to respect that.”

Antinomy sighs. He spits to the ground.

“Well. Champion, if you so wish it, I can but warn you about Darkness, I cannot stop you from going your way. Still, you must know something: after you escaped from the Arena, you’re among the most wanted players of Aincrad. Many PK eliminating guilds may be searching for you. You ought to be careful.”

“I will. But I must do this. I cannot leave my brothers and Guinevere’s memories be left in oblivion. I have to repay them. Even if I die, I’ll die knowing that I tried to do something for them.”

“How are you planning to find him?”

“I heard there is a player in 37th floor known as the Chronicler. He’s recorded every single thing that has happened here in Aincrad in the last two years. I know Nightshroud isn’t a fool, he must have found a way to hide himself, even from this player. So I’ll search for other player I have not seen in the prison: Tyrant. He’ll surely know where he is.”

“Goodbye Smiths. Thanks again.”

Antinomy tosses Carnwennan to Galant. The blade becomes blood crimson. He briefly looks at the blade, and sheathes it to his right side of Guinevere’s belt. He takes out of one of his pocket, a teleport crystal”

“You’re one stubborn motherfucker.” Antinomy says, looking seriously towards his friend. “Good luck, Gal.”

“Stay close to the light, Champion of Aincrad. If not, you’ll regret it.”

Galant nods to them slightly.

“Teleport: Aurora's Edge!”

---

Floor 61th, November 4th, 2024

Galant runs through the dark alleyways of the city of Selmburg. The darkness of the night clocked his body to be unperceived by players.

The moon was full, shining in the sky and lighting some of the dark corners of the City. Galant tried to stay far from it. Lucky for him, Selmburg wasn’t full of players. Only but a few walking through the city, unaware that there was the most wanted player in Aincrad. He’d made a research back at the Chronicler’s library, and found out that many guilds had put a bounty on his head. Under such circumstances, it’d be more logical to stay away from cities and from players. But that wasn’t choice for Galant. Or, at least, not in that moment. He had also found something about Laughing Coffin in the Chronicler’s. Nothing about PoH as he expected, yet he found information about Tyrant. One of the few last members of Laughing Coffin who were still free. If someone new about PoH’s place, he would. He would definitely do.

He runs some steps and jumps to the wall. Then jumped again, back flips and lands on a balcony. He jumps again while drawing two kunai from his back and stabs the wall, stabbing it. He proceeds to go up by stabbing the wall. In a short while, he was on the top of the building. He goes to a near building, the tallest in the block, to be able to see further. At distance, he could see a player’s shadow moving through the ceilings, like a cat. He jumps down and follows the shadow at max speed but still trying to make the least sound possible. In few minutes he was few meters from the shadow, who stops and knees next to the edge of the building, looking towards a shop where members of a guild served pastries and sold weapons.

Galant draws one of his kunai and walks nearer to the player.

“Has anybody told you, Galant…” He says.

The player turns around and throws a knife towards Galant’s face. He barely dodges the blade and sees how the blade spins in circles, few millimeters from his face. Tyrant rushes at him and punches his face. Galant is forced back, but he plants his right foot behind him and looks to his adversary. The PK attacks a second time, Galant blocks bit the forearm of Aegis and then blocks his knee with his own, and jabs him strongly directly the chest with Garuru Fist.

Tyrant’s feet slide on the floor. He stops near the edge of the building.

“…that you aren’t very good concealing yourself?”

“Tyrant. You should well know why I’m here.”

“Nightshroud…Well, I don’t know where he is…”

“I can be VERY persuasive.”

“You’re not the only one that has become a better warrior, Champion.” He draws his blade from his back.

“We shall see.” Galant unsheathes both Balmung and Carnwennan and rushed to Tyrant who did the same.

Galant slashes with both blades diagonally but Tyrant blocked both blades with his own and kicks Galant back and attacks. Galant blocks his dagger and then tried using Stardust Slasher diagonally upwards with his other blade. Tyrant foreseen it. He moves his blade swiftly and blocks the blow before kicking Galant’s right side.

They separate from each other as they start walking in circles to each other, waiting for best moment for to attack. They keep their eyes trained on each other, searching for an opening. Tyrant sees that Galant is near the edge of the building and attacks. But Galant parries first with Balmung, advances and manages to slash his right arm. Galant aims to stab him with his dagger. Tyrant drops his weapon and hits punches the blue knight’s right elbow. This attack makes Galant lose the grip on his weapon and drop Balmung to the ground. Nevertheless, he continues his attack, but the PK blocks the attack and slams his first straight into Galant’s face. Carnwennan falls from his grasp before he falls to the ground. The Champion reacts quickly and uses his hands to stop the fall and hurl himself forward. He lands on the ground and turns around.

Galant rushes to him without drawing weapons, with both fist ignited in fire and ice. He punches with his left, but Tyrant kicks downwards. Galant blocks with his left forearm, and jabs him on the chest. Tyrant steps back before going forward back again and attack. The Slayer of Cerdic grabs the punch with his right and bends it downwards, leaving his face open, and slams his left fist into his face. Tyrant falls and grabs his blade on the ground with his left hand, but Galant steps on his hand and punches him one last time hardly in the nose, leaving him stunned. At last, he drags the PK to the edge of the building, lifts him up and holds him from falling to his death.

“Now you better fucking talk! Where’s PoH?!” Galant shouts.

“I give no shit from him. But you’ll still kill me after this! I gain shit for telling you.”

“You earn a quick death. So confess now, WHERE’S HE!?”

“I don’t know. He had some bases, in from floor 70 to 75. I don’t know anything more.”

“Where?”

Tyrant gave a piece of information via the chat. For some reason, he had no love for Nightshroud. After finishing, Galant draws a knife from his back.

“Die.”

He bends his arm, ready to slice Tyrant’s throat, but something nails to his arm and stops his move. He sees that it’s an arrow. Tyrant uses the distraction to punch Galant hardly on the face, forcing him to drop the killer. He falls to the streets, but used his left hand to roll on the ground, get up and run away.

“Wait!” Galant shouts.

Galant is struck by other arrow directly on the back. He turns around and sees the archer who was aiming from a building far from him. He runs, grabs both weapons and hides behind a wall. He managed to remove the arrow on his back, and then the one on his arm. He briefly looked at them. White arrows.

“No…” He whispers

He decides to advance. He gets out of his hiding place and runs for a brief distance. When he was passing near a wall, he receives a hard kick to the face and falls flat on his back. He hears the sound of two knifes spinning when they suddenly stooped and clash. Galant looks at his attacker.

“Remember me, killer?”

“Kana…”

He gets up. Kana immediately starts a savage frenzy barrage of attacks. He didn’t want to fight back. He could just block, talk and try reason with her.

“WAIT!” He shouts.

Galant parries several of her blows with Carnwennan.

“IT WAS LAUGHING COFFIN WHO KILLED HIM!”

Galant continues to defend from her until he jumped back, securing some safe meters of distance.

“I DIDN’T KILL TAICHI!”

“Lie!”

She spins and attacks Galant, but he blocked with his dagger and slashes with his blade. Kana ducks under the blade and pushes him. He falls to a lower height roof. She quickly follows and attacks. Galant parries her first attack, but she spins for the second time and kicks him, sending him against a wall. She throws her right hand knife to him. Galant barely eludes it and the knife embeds to the wall. She then strides forward stab him another time, but he parried with his blade. The stroke is strong enough to make Dipugio fall from her grasp. She turns her around and grabs her neck. Kana responds by elbowing him with his left arm and raising her leg to kick him in the face. Galant releases her. She grabs his arm and moves it away, kicking him on the chest and sending him for the second time against the wall. She runs forward, grabs the Dipugio struck in the wall. She makes a backflip while jumping on the wall and lands on her feet, before stabbing Galant in the chest. Galant pushes her away.

“I didn’t do I Kana!”

Another arrow nails in a wall behind Galant. He looks back for a second and sees it’s an explosive arrow. He runs from the wall, but the explosion still took a big part of his HP left, leaving him at almost 14%.

Galant gest up, as Kana walks near him and kicks him to the ground.

“Now tell me!” She screams. “Tell me why you killed them! Tell me why you killed you three left friends and the person you most love in this world!! Tell me!!!”

“I…did not…”

She kicks him for a second time, ending his sentence. Afterwards, she steps on him with anger. After doing this for a brief moment, she lifts and pushes him against the wall. Galant didn’t defend himself.

“Say hello to Diana.” She says.

“She’s the archer…isn’t she?”

“Yes…”She places her knife at Galant throat. “She didn’t wish to believe you have done that, and neither did I!”

She stabs Galant with his left, piercing his chest. This attack blows the air out of him. With the strength he had left, he briefly looks to the distance, towards the place he believed Diana was, though he couldn’t see her.

Diana looks at this and she briefly stared at him. She turns around, places her back against the wall and closes her eyes, sniffing. A tear rolled down her right cheek. She couldn’t see any more of this.

“Kana…stop this…I have to get PoH whatever the cost!”

“Shut up! All you wish is to kill me off-guard, just as you did to your friends. And then kill my sister. Diana…She didn’t wish to believe what you’d done! SHE WAS DEPRESSED AND CRIED ALL NIGHTS FOR A LONG TIME!”

“Why…so…?”

“Isn’t it obvious…She loves you …You, the player who killed his guildmates and became one of Aincrad’s most wanted criminals. The player who struck down dozens of innocent lives. The player who terrorized and entire arena. And yet, she loves you, despite of all that has happened.”

“I…I…”

“Now that you know how much pain you’ve caused, die!”

Galant sees the blade coming slowly getting close to his face.

“Is this…what I deserve? After all what I have lost…after all what I have suffered… I will die, at the hands of a friend of mine…Sakura…”

He looks down, and noticed in his right hand, the purple ribbon. His fate…

“No! Not yet. NOT YET! I WILL…KILL THEM ALL.”

Galant catches Kana’s hand with his right hand strongly. He looks up to her, with crimson red blood eyes.

“What the…!?”

Galant punched her strongly with Grey Fist sending her sliding away until she clashes against a nearby wall. He removes the knife with his left and throws it near her. Kana grabs the knife and get up, but she attacked the new Wrath Galant. He grabs Carnwennan and Balmung. She attacks him with all she has, but he easily parries all of her strikes and then counters by delivering a hard kick to the chest sending her to the wall again.

Wrath Galant advanced on her, but she was disarmed, she slashed her diagonally with Stardust Slasher, then horizontally and then vertically. She kneels on the ground and Wrath Galant took a brief look at his blade, he looks back to her and sheathes the blade. He cracked his knuckles. Kana gets up and tried to hit him, but Galant blocks her fist with his hand and punches her stomach. Kana falls to the ground, suffocating.

“What happens little girl?! Weren’t you going to kill me?! Uh??”

“You’re…truly a monster…Galant!”

“I’m not Galant. I AM WRATH GALANT!”

She punches her hardly in the face, sending her against the wall.

“Hey? What happens? Uh? Where not you going to kill me Girl?!”

She lays down on the ground, and was really bad hurt.

“What you cannot get up? Then let me help you!?”

Galant helped her up, grabbing her by the hair.

“Now that you’re finally up...” Galant draws his blade from his belt, and places it on her neck “Let me send you with Taichi, he must be eager to meet you again…”

An arrow embeds in Galant’s back.

“She has saved you…” She releases her and she falls to the ground, dropping as dead weight. “I’ll take care of your sister and come back. Don’t move.”

Galant turns around, and sees Diana at distance. Diana was shocked to see his eyes, which drastically changed his overall appearance. The player he knew, the player she was in love with, he wasn’t behind those eyes. Instead there was an evil demon.

Wrath Galant smiles and run towards her at max speed. Diana shoots one of her arrows, but Galant parries it with Blamung. She shot two more but the result was the same.. Galant jumps to the ceiling where she was and kicked her on the face.

“Hi, missed me?” He asks.

She draws Virbius from her back and attacks Galant, though he kicked her back. She regains her ground quickly and then slashes him. Galant blocks with his dagger and slices her chest with Balmung sending her to the ground. She gets up again and grabs one of her arrows at her back, and thrusts to stab him, but he slice the arrow in half before, slashing her chest and kicking her to the ground. Galant approaches, pointing his blade at her.

Galant walks towards her slowly.

“No…”

She turns around facing Galant, looking at him with her purple beautiful eyes, as a tear rolled down from her cheek with a face that at the same time held fear, and happiness…

“I’m happy to see you again.” She says sobbing. “I wanted to tell you something: Galant…”

Galant looks at her with a vicious smile drawn on his face.

“NO…”

“I…”

He charges Stardust Slasher and raised his sword…

“…love you…”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

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