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« SAO:PoA - Chapter Twenty One

Sword Art Online: Past of Ashes
Written by: FedeTkd
Published:
Chapter 22

SAO:PoA - Chapter Twenty Three »



Floor 45th, March 27th, 2024 Galant runs at high-speed towards a gladiator with spear and shield. His opponent remains still, as he slides on the ground, avoiding the thrust of the spear to the ground. Galant passes right between the legs of his rival, slashing the inner part of his right left making him lose his balance. He gets up and thrusts his sword through the back of the neck, which comes out from his mouth.

“Galant VICTOR!”

---

Floor 45th, May 1st, 2024

Galant slashes several times the body of a gladiator with Stardust Slasher and Crescent Stardust Slasher, killing him.

“Galant VICTOR!”

---

Floor 45th, May 17th, 2024

Galant jumps on the shoulder of a gladiator, slashing the throat of other behind him.

He quickly lands on the sands and uses his momentum to roll. Once he regains his feet, he turns around and throws Guren to his remaining opponent. The blade sticks right in the middle into chest, killing him.

Ducard smiled as Kibaou was certainly disappointed.

“Galant VICTOR!”

---

Floor 45th, May 28th, 2024

Galant exchanges some blows with a gladiator. He manages to kick him back, but the gladiator quickly regains his balance to fight back. Galant spins on the player’s shield, getting behind the player and slashes his throat backward killing the player.

Ducard continues to enjoy what his champion; the new Champion of Aincrad is capable of.

“Galant VICTOR!”

---

Floor 45th, June 10th, 2024

Galant makes an upwards strike with Balmung, severing his right arm along with his sword. He stabs with both swords in the body, forcing the player to kneel. Galant draws back his sword and beheads the player with a circular swing with both swords.

Galant opens his arms widely his blades pointing upwards. He looks to the Pulvinus.

Ducard: “Galant! VICTOR AGAIN!”

Galant turns to the crowd and yells out.

“Solcius, it’s a marvel that you have any gladiators left!” Ducard says smiling

Kibaou: “It’s a marvel...But he really must appear in every Primus? You don’t have any other gladiator suitable for the main spectacle?”

Solcius: “None of note, Commander …”

Ducard: “I do, Arkadios, Antinomy and others. But they can’t be compared to the new Champion of Aincrad.”

Solcius: “Whatever you say…”

Solcius was the Warden of the Prison of floor 6th , and a lanista as well. He was also the main competitor of Ducard. Since Galant defeated four of his gladiators during his execution, his men had had the worst luck and as well as Solcius himself. Angry and jealous, he man rises from his chair and leaves the Pulvinus with a superficial farewell.

Kibaou: “I’m already tired of this killer and his victories.”

Ducard: “I have an idea then. I’ll receive a bunch new recruit tomorrow; you’d like to see them?”

Kibaou: “Thank you, Ducard. But, I’d rather prefer to see them here in the Arena, as true gladiators. Not mad dogs.”

---

Floor 1st, June 11th, 2024

The gladiators shout to the upcoming recruits. Galant remained silent with Antinomy next to him. The new ones form a line in the training square. In the balcony, Ducard was watching anxiously while tapping the wooden railing. The Doctore, the trainer of gladiators, enters the sands with a long dark brown whip in his hands.

Doctore: “What‘re you standing on?”

None of the recruits respond

“Answer!!!” The Doctore shouts again.

“Sand…?” Dangrenn One of the recruits answered.

The ridiculous answer causes the laughter of all the gladiators.

“You, fucking idiot…” His older brother, Naggeron, hisses angrily.

Doctore: “Galant, answer!”

Galant: “Sacred field, Doctore, watered with the blood of players.”

“Yes.” Doctore says. “Your blood. Your pathetic lives used something of worth. Listen, learn, and perhaps you’ll live and join the Brotherhood of Gladiators. NOW, ATTEND YOUR NEW MASTER.”

Ducard: “You’ve been blessed. All of you. For being here, in the Ludus of the Prison, MY LUDUS. I’m the provider of the finest gladiators in all of Aincrad. Prove yourselves in the upcoming days. Prove you’re more than a common player. More than a man! Fail and be sent back to the cells or even worse! Succeed, and stand proud among my titans!”

The gladiators cheer in single voice.

“DUCARD, DUCARD, DUCARD!”

Doctore lashes his whip as the training of the new players begins.

---

Floor 1st, June 12th, 2024

After a long day training, the recruit players had been walking in circles carrying above their shoulders a large and heavy beam of wood the whole night.

The sun was rising now. It was morning and the Gladiators took morning meal.

“They’re shit, scorching under the Sun.” Antinomy tells Galant. “It seems yesterday when I had to go through the same training....”

“Why I didn’t?” Galant asks him.

“Because you defeated four gladiators at the same time. According to the tradition, that immediately makes you a member of the Brotherhood. You just had to beat Arkadios to become the Champion. And now look at you…”

“Much has changed.” Galant tells him

“You became the first Champion of fucking Aincrad, a legend that will echo for years. I…”

“Became a good friend.” Galant adds.

Other gladiator spoke from distance.

“Antinomy, we’re placing our bets. You come?”

“Yeah!” Antinomy gets up.

“You continue to gamble still?”

“Just a few coins to pass the time…I’ll wager 500 Col on the idiot with the red hair.”

The Gladiators used to gamble with the recruits. They could either bet for those who they thought would become members of the Brotherhood or those who wouldn’t.

The recruits drop the heavy beams wooden beams from their back, leave the sand and walk to the dining room where all the gladiators where eating. When one of them got near to the kitchen, Arkadios grabs him and throws him to the floor violently.

Arkadios: “You all have to fucking wait, until all gladiators have finished eating!”

Galant: “Arkadios!” He interrupts him. “Let them eat…”

Arkadios: “They have to accept pain and suffering to become true gladiators. That’s how it’s done!”

Galant: “Not by me. Let them eat.”

Arkadios laughs.

Arkadios: “Galant. The Slayer of Cerdic. The Champion of Aincrad. The Kind and Gentle One.”

This comment caused laughs among the gladiators. Nevertheless, Galant gets up from his chair begins walking towards Arkadios.

Galant: “You don’t understand me Arkadios. I give no SHIT about these men. But you’re no longer the Champion of the Ludus. I AM. YOU DON’T TAKE DESITIONS ANY LONGER HERE…YOU FOLLOW ME.”

This comment ended the discussion. There was silence for several seconds as Galant and Arkadios stared down. Finally, the former champion surrenders surrendered.

Arkadios: “Remember one thing: The man following you is always behind of you. Something to consider, Champion.”

Arkadios walks inside the prison, towards his cell.

“Thanks champion.” Craxus, one of the recruits, tells to Galant.

Craxus was also the most promising man among the recruits.

Galant: “No men should die with an empty stomach, and fighting without being hungry is easier. That’s all, new boy.”

Craxus then sat among the recruits and began eating while speaking to each other.

Naggeron: “That tiny player is the fucking Champion of Aincrad?”

Dangrenn: “The players have invented his whole story. We can easily win against him, brother.”

Craxus: “Galant defeated Cerdic, four gladiators at the same time and then seven prisoners at the same time. He can easily beat the shit out of you without weapons.”

Both of them start laughing loudly as if they were a looking at a clown.

“Do you think what I’m saying is funny?”

Duron: “What you’re saying? No”

Naggeron: “The fucking stupid who speaks them, yes. Very fucking amusing.”

Dangrenn: “What makes you think that you are better from us, friend?”

Craxus: “Nothing really. I just dream of the arena, the sands, blood and the glories within it.”

The two brothers once again laughed.

Dangrenn: “You haven even passed the test.”

Craxus: “Soon enough Dangrenn. Soon enough”

---

Antinomy strikes a hard blow to Craxus face with his shield, sending him to the ground.

Doctore: “Craxus, you lower your shield when you attack! Raise it! Or your brain will end up on the ground!”

Craxus: “Yes Doctore!”

Craxus got up.

Antinomy: “Don’t mind him. It was a lucky attack”

Craxus: “No. It was well struck. I won’t make the same mistake.”

Craxus attacks Antinomy once again and exchange a few blows with him, he manages to cover with shield an attack directly to the face, but Antinomy parries it and counterattacks. He gets around Craxus and deals another hard hit to the back of his neck.

He gets up once again and attacked, but the blacksmith blocks easily. He manages to then place his sword between his shield and Craxus’ sword. He spins and the Craxus’ blade slips from his fingers. At last, he strikes his head with the shield.

Craxus: “Shit…”

Antinomy offers his hand. Craxus takes it.

Antinomy: “You charge like a goat, without thinking too much. When you face a stronger opponent, drive him to you, and then counter.”

He gives him back his wooden sword and reassumes training.

Craxus attacks again. Antinomy doesn’t fall back and countered, yet the recruit defense had suddenly become much better.

Antinomy then thrusts his blade. Craxus barely eludes the weapon and places his shield and sword at both sides of the blade. He spins and the weapon slips from Antinomy’s fingers. At last, he deals a strong blow to Antinomy’s face, forcing him to walk a step back.

Craxus had perfectly imitated Antinomy’s move, but changed it slightly so that it’d suit a thrusting attack


“Finally, my words pass thought you skull.”

Doctore: “Craxus, change your partner and reassume training.”

Craxus: “Yes Doctore.”

Antinomy walks towards his friend Galant, drinking a bit of water.”

Galant: “That player has shown promise. What’s his name?”

Antinomy: “Craxus. He lacks discipline, but he does show promise as well...”

Galant: “But…the man for which you betted for, is not shown much promise.”

Galant points towards the left side of the training square. There Arkadios was fighting the player with the red hair.

Arkadios rams the player against the wall. The player manages to block other blow, yet Arkadios forces him to turn around and strikes his back with his blade. The recruit turns around and attacks Arkadios, but the former champion strikes the weapon, sending it flying away. He then kicks the player back, pushing him to the ground violently.

“This isn’t the arena!” The recruit yells out.

“The world’s my arena, pup!” Arkadios responds

The player the rushed at him, but Arkadios catches him, punches him in the face and throws him to the sands.

“Doctore, send me a man!!!”

Dangrenn appeared to defend his friend but he was easily hit back and threw to the floor. His brother appears and delivers a punch to Arkadios’ face, but he quickly countered with two of his own. Yet the recruit didn’t stand retreat, and punches the stomach of Arkadios who then proceeds to deliver an onslaught on the recruit before he falls to the ground badly wounded. Not even Naggeron’s skill was enough to defend against the former.

Doctore: “STAND DOWN!” Naggeron! Dangrenn! Half of the food rations for the rest of the week. Continue, I’ll send you both to the lower floors.”

Galant: “Arkadios continues making friends…”

Antinomy: “And it seems that the man who I betted for is useless…Shit...”.

Arkadios: “Now that I am done with my opponent perhaps someone more worthy shall fight me!”

He directs his sight to Galant.

Galant: “Are you so eager to reclaim your position, or to return to the medic?”

Arkadios: “You seem to underestimate me. I’ll prove you wrong right now...”

Galant: “Doctore! Arkadios offers a demonstration to the benefit of the recruits. Shall I accept?”

Doctore looked up for approbation from Ducard who nods to him, in sign of accepting.

Doctore: “Attend!”

All the gladiators and trainees left the sands of the Ludus, leaving Galant, Doctore and Arkadios

“Show who’s champion, Arkadios!” a gladiator shouts from behind.

Galant: “Show me.”

Arkadios rushes to Galant and tries to push him with his shield. Galant parried it and then continued to block the continuous frenzy barrage of multiple attacks. He begins walking around Arkadios. He strikes the former champion’s right left. He loses his balance and falls flat in his back to the ground. Galant then hits his stomach strongly.

Galant: “Reckless attacks in a violent frenzy, to hasten victory…”

Arkadios manages to get half of his body up.

“…is contrary to proper training.”

He gets up and rushes to Galant, but he blocks the slash of his sword. He attacks with his shield, but Galant evades it. Arkadios swings his blade, but Galant catches his hand and then pushes out his shield and starts hitting his ribs with his left sword several times before hitting with elbow his face, sanding him back to the ground.

He looks to the audience again.

“Allow advantage to your back and you’re dead. You can be defeated not only by the sword, but also the crowd. If fall from their grace…”

He turned back to his adversary ho was getting up still.

“…you may never rise to further glories.”

Arkadios gets up once again and attacked Galant, but he rapidly managed to spin around him and hit his back with both swords, sending him to the ground for a third time.

“A TRUE GLADIATOR IS TAUGHT TO EMBRACE PAIN AND SUFFERING!”

Arkadios gets up for the third time.

“TO FIGHT UNTIL THE LIFE LEAVES HIS WORTHLESS BODY!”

Once again, the former champion gets up and attacks. But this time, with his only weapon left: his shield. The Slayer of Cerdic blocked it easily and grabbed his arm with his arm. He gets near Arkadios and begins hitting him constantly with his free hand, both in the chest and in the abdomen. After a short while, he hits his face before attacking the back of Arkadios’ legs. He loses balance and falls to the ground.

Seeing the useless fight, Doctore prepares his whip.

Galant placed his left sword in front of Arkadios face and looks to the audience.

“Learn from this man, or share his fate.”

Galant raised his right sword ready to kill Arkadios.

Ducard: “GALANT, reassume training.”

Galant: “Master.”

Galant walked back to the place where the water was. The other Gladiators went back to the sand, as two gladiators helped Arkadios to walk to the medic. He turns around slowly and sees his enemy.

Whatever happened to him, Galant had to die in his hands, so he can reclaim his title of Champion.

---

Galant sit on the empty baths, finishing what was a long day of training. He washed the purple ribbon on his wrist and thinks while looking to the floor.

Suddenly a rope passed in his neck and begin choking him. He tries to liberate himself going backwards, but the one choking him makes a circle around his neck. Galant attacks with his elbows, yet this didn’t stop his attacker, who places his back against the floor.

Arkadios: “Who’s the champion, now?! Asshole!!!”

Suddenly other player appeared and attacked Arkadios, forcing him to liberate Galant. Arkadios gets up and was followed by the player who manages to punch him several times, yet the former champion countered before rushing towards the player, but the player spins around Arkadios. He grabbed the back of his head and smashed his head against a wall, killing Arkadios.

The player felt to his knees a bit wounded from the fight.

“When faced to a stronger opponent, drive him to you, and then counter.” The player says.

Galant turns around and sees Craxus, the trainee and player that’d just saved his life.

Galant: “Why did you do that?”

Craxus: “You’re the Champion of Aincrad. You must live, until someone defeats you in a proper fight.”

Galant: “Thanks you…I owe you one…”

Craxus: “You can pay me that right now. I’d like advice, for the training.”

Galant: "Just Antinomy's instruction and you’ll swear the oath soon."

Craxus: "No, it isn’t the oath what concerns me. It’s becoming champion."

Galant: "Champion?!” He says surprised. “You want my position?”

Craxus: “I want to be free. Becoming champion is the first step to earn my freedom.”

Galant: “Alright then. Craxus, there’s only one way to becoming champion: never lose."

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