.hack//SIGN Fan Fiction / .hack//LIMINALITY Fan Fiction / .hack//Legend Of Twilight Bracelet Fan Fiction ❯ .hack//Twilight Exodus ❯ Chapter.1//ReturnToTheWorld ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

.hack//Twilight Exodus
 
Whispers from the Past
 
Disclaimer: I don't own the .hack name, nor anything affiliated with it. I am, however, the intellectual owner of this story and its characters.
 
Notes: I decided, looking back on this chapter, that the story needed some serious revamping, so that's why this update took so freaking long. It's a fairly long chapter, though, to make up for my absence…I hope it placates you? I've re-written this chapter, and I'm reworking the story line so that it makes more sense, and so that there aren't so many plot holes involved. Please be patient with me while the fic is under construction!
 
Also, I have finally managed to get my hands on the first game of the .hack series, and I'm playing it religiously. I plan on copying down all the gate words and combinations I can, since I don't know how long I'll have the game or the system (both are on loan from friends).
 
Chapter.1//ReturnToTheWorld
 
Two laptops sat on a table across from each other, their owners each facing the other across the small table as they conversed.
 
Do you still have your FMD?”
 
“Are you kidding? My mom threw it away before I could say a word against it. Do you have a spare?”
 
“Three of them; here.”
 
“How'd you manage that?”
 
“I begged all my friends to give me theirs…only two of them did, because they hadn't played in years.”
 
“Wow.”
 
“Yeah….You ready to go?”
 
“Been ready for two years.”
 
They placed the headsets on and instantly the picture on the flat screens became a reality as they leapt into The World.
 
 
∆ (Delta) Server Zone: Root Town, Port Town, Mac∙Anu
 
 
Traditional Irish music played in the background, adding to the Gaelic feel of the town. The river made calm rippling sounds as gondolas drifted serenely up and down the water way, passing under the bridge where the two friends stood, looking around at the oh-so-familiar town.
 
The girl watched a smattering of players walking in groups of twos and threes up and down the streets with ruby red eyes that glistened under a frame of white hair topped with a pointed black witch hat. Simply clad in a white skirt, blue tank top, white separated sleeves, and knee-high leather boots, Fricka looked her class, if the u-shaped rounded wooden staff didn't give away her Wavemaster status.
 
She glanced over to her Pole Arm companion Loge, who was decked in light leather boots, armor, and grieves. He twirled his halberd absently as he looked around. “So they could salvage avatars, but not level information? Wow…it's been a loooooong time since I've been level one.”
 
“Yeah, I know…But hey, I'm just happy to be back playing as Fricka.”
 
“Mm…You never know how much you miss a place until you go back to it, eh?”
 
“Indeed. So what first?”
 
“Well, we should probably--” Loge was cut off as a chime sounded, and he looked upward. “Mail? I guess they managed to keep member addresses too…how weird.”
 
“Already?” Fricka asked, here eyebrows going up. “From who?”
 
“It's Kuro,” he replied with a grin. “Wants us to meet him at the chaos gate in ten minutes for some adventuring. It seems he's back in as well.”
 
Fricka laughed. “So it's the old trio up to no good again, huh? Well, it sounds like more fun than this essay on ambition I have to write for lit class.”
 
“So that's a `yes'?”
 
“Yes.”
 
“Cool. Let's go stock up on supplies.”
 
“Alright. I'll hit the scrolls.”
 
“Then I'll peruse the items.”
 
“Meet back here in five?”
 
“Gotcha.”
 
The split up at one end of the bridge and proceeded to blow most of their starting money. Meeting again approximately five minutes later, they stood in the center of the bridge, trading items and listening to the somewhat sparse conversation of passing players.
 
“I told my mom that I was studying for a test tomorrow. What about you?”
 
“My parents are out tonight, so I have plenty of time to play. It feels great to be back.”
 
“Yeah, it's awesome. Hmm…I wonder if the Crimson Knights are going to be reorganized?”
 
A third party member threw in a comment. “Aw man, you were around then? You're more hardcore than I thought.”
 
Loge and Fricka laughed at this. Two and a half years before the Twilight of The World, Lady Subaru of the Crimson Knights had disbanded the group after a dispute with her second-in-command. That they would think that a long time meant that this person must still be fairly new.
 
“It was only two years before the game shut down. You didn't join that long afterwards.”
 
“But still, do you think they'll come back?”
 
“Or maybe the Cobalt Knights!”
 
“Wow, you've been playing a while, haven't you?”
 
“We're only a year older than you, so be quiet. Besides, the Cobalt Knights were Sys Admin, so why would they come back?”
 
“Well, someone has to keep The World in order, don't they?”
 
As the two friends headed towards the Chaos Gate, they discussed this point. Who would take over Admin-ship of The World? It was far too large a place for four people to watch over on their own.
 
“Maybe they're looking for people to do that now?” Fricka asked as they passed by the recorder's booth.
 
“Or it might be that just the four of them is enough. Remember, it only took four of them to completely rebuild The World, or somehow salvage what they could from data scraps.”
 
“Or,” chimed in a third voice, “they could just be letting everyone run free.”
 
“Hi Kuro,” Loge said as they reached the Gate. Kuro was a heavy blade with heavily tanned skin, and dark brown hair and eyes. He wore sparse plate armor and a large double-handed sword held diagonally on his back.
 
“Hey you two. How are you holding up?”
 
“The usual,” sighed Fricka, examining her nails nonchalantly.
 
Loge laughed. “Ignoring homework, leaving our parents out of the loop, you know…nothing new, really.”
 
“Have you two gotten together yet?” Kuro asked with a grin. He had met these two online, but couldn't see them in real life because of a large distance between them. He had always known they had a thing for each other.
 
“What?” Fricka blushed and Loge laughed again, awkwardly.
 
“Blunt much, my friend?” the long arm asked, scratching the back of his head.
 
“I'll take it that means yes, then.”
 
“Oh, shut up,” Fricka snapped.
 
“Right, so anyway,” interrupted Loge, eager to get on with it. “Where are we going today?”
 
“Well, I thought we could clear a dungeon or two and do some exploring. Sound good?”
 
“Works for me. Here, I'll invite you.”
 
Kuro joined their party, and they began to figure out which areas were open, and which were low levels. They found one easily enough, and with a small amount of more item trading, they set off.
 
∆ Bursting, Passed Over, Aqua Field-
 
It was a simple field, grassy with a few trees and artistically placed boulders. Kuro activated his Fairy Orb, and immediately a map of the area appeared for all three of them, detailing monster locations.
 
“Let's head to the spring demon first, eh?” Loge suggested.
 
“I'm game,” Kuro replied as Fricka set off for the water-drop symbol on the map.
 
It was not long before they ran into their first monster, a goblin. Fricka stood back while Loge and Kuro went head-to-head with it, defeating it fairly easily. It dropped a chest, and Kuro opened it. “Amateur blades?” he asked. “That would be okay if we had a twin blade…”
 
“Don't worry about it,” Fricka replied. “You can give that to the spring demon and either trade or sell what he gives you later.”
 
The three friends reached the lightly glowing spring and stopped at its edge. Kuro tossed in the two low-level daggers, and as they sank out of sight, a large drop of water appeared from the surface of the pool. It had a strange face; two large eyes and prominent lips. When it spoke, it sounded like something from an old cartoon. This was Monsieur, the spring demon that could up- or down-grade (depending on certain factors) equipment you threw into his water. “Did you drop this golden axe?” He asked. “Or this silver axe?”
 
As was usual, Kuro chose the third option: `neither'. “Whaaat?” Monsieur asked. “Neither one? Hmm…Then…take this!” He spun in a small circle, leaving a trail of blue sparkles. “Until next time. Good bye!” And with that, he disappeared.
 
“What did you get?” Loge asked.
 
“I…don't know…”
 
Fricka looked concerned. “What do you mean, you don't know what the item is?”
 
“No,” Kuro was looking very confused at this point. “I mean I really don't know if this even is an item.”
 
“Give it to me,” suggested Loge. “I'll see if I know what it is.” The exchange was quick, but the strange object left Loge in the dark, as well. “I've never seen this before. Here, Fricka, you take a look.”
 
Once more, the object was passed around, and Fricka stared at it in her inventory. “It's a key item?”
 
“Apparently,” Kuro shrugged. “Whatever it is, we'll deal with it later. Let's go clear out that dungeon.”
 
“Okay, yeah,” Loge took the lead, followed by Kuro and a slightly slower Fricka. She was still pondering the odd item.
 
“It could be a bug they haven't worked out yet,” the heavyblade suggested. “I mean, they only finished this, what, a week ago?”
 
“Yeah…” Fricka was distracted. “But somehow I don't think that's it.”
 
“It could be a new item,” Loge tossed around the idea. “I mean, it's possible, right?”
 
“But why something called `Twilight Charm'? That makes it sound like it has something to do with the system shut-down.”
 
“Well, whatever it is, we can figure it out later,” Kuro shrugged as they entered the dungeon. “I, personally, want to see what's in that chest there.”
 
It turned out to be a health drink, and Fricka added it to her stock. They followed the next doorway to a long hall, crossed at the other end to make a T-shape. As they reached the junction of the two halls, something strange happened.
 
The image their FMDs provided glitched, becoming fuzzy and laced with static lines for a second before refocusing and returning to normal. This was immediately followed by a young girl's scream of pure terror.
 
“What the hell-” Loge started.
 
Fricka finished for him. “-Was that?!”
 
“I don't know, but let's check it out,” Kuro said, running to the left as he followed the sound of the source.
 
The next chamber they entered was normal but for the ten-year old girl cowering in the corner. She had silvery-white hair with just a hint of blue, offset by a pale blue dress, ivory-white skin and eyes such a deep shade of blue, they almost looked black.
 
The thing that towered above her scraped the high roof of the room. It appeared to be a rough-hewn figure of a person with no discernable features. It seemed to be comprised of rock, covered in bits of glowing data and almost rotting away in places. There was a broken circle floating above its head almost like a halo, and it held a glowing red cross-shaped staff with a ring going through the junction of the crosspiece.
 
Acting on impulse, Kuro and Loge rushed the creature as Fricka ran to the young girl, assuming she was a newbie who was in over her head.
 
“What the hell is this?” Loge asked as he swung at the creature. “Why is something this level here?”
 
“I can't land any hits,” Kuro said in disbelief as he, too, slashed at this strange monster.
 
Fricka was more concerned with what the girl knew of the situation. “Who are you?” she asked. “What level are you? What's going on?”
 
“Fricka!” The girl spoke with a childish voice, and startled the Wavemaster.
 
“How do you know my name?”
 
“Use the charm, Fricka!”
 
“What?” But at that moment, her attention was drawn away from the strange girl to her companions as they cried out in pain.
 
“Yukino!” Loge called her by her real name. He meant what he was saying. “Get out of here, now!”
 
The creature raised its staff and ran it through Kuro. With a burst of light, his avatar seemed to distort and shatter, returning to normal only to fall flat on the ground unmoving.
 
Fricka grabbed the girl's hand. “Come on, we've got to get out of here.” But the girl wouldn't move.
 
“Please, use the charm!” she repeated.
 
“Yukino, now! Log out, come on!”
 
“I can revive Kuro, and we can all go,” Fricka replied snappishly. But when she selected Kuro's corpse, which should have disappeared and left his shadow in its place, the resurrection item was rejected. “What is this? Why won't it let me use the item?”
 
“Forget it! Yukino, please, just get out of here. I don't have many health potions left, this thing is about to kill me,” Loge pleaded. As he spoke, the creature raised its staff once more, aiming for the heavy blade.
 
“Fricka, use the charm!”
 
Turning to the girl frantically, Fricka questioned her. “What? How?”
 
“Use the charm!”
 
“How do I use it?”
 
“Please, save Loge!”
 
The spear seemed to be flying through the air in slow motion as Fricka selected the charm from the item menu.
 
In the blinding burst of light that followed, two things happened. Loge's body collapsed dead to the ground, and the creature disintegrated into nothing.

Prologue
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