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Fatal Frame 3 *Call of Your Voice* ~Director’s Cut~

Written by:

Mad_Cartoonist

Original Story by: Tecmo©


Table of Content Introduction.................................................................................................. 7 Introduction.................................................................................................. 8 Warnings and disclaimers............................................................................ 8 List of Director’s Cut Changes..................................................................... 9

Story............................................................................................................ 11 Fatal Frame 3............................................................................................. 12 Chapter Prologue................................................................................ 12 Chapter 1............................................................................................. 19 Chapter 2............................................................................................. 24 Chapter 3............................................................................................. 31 Chapter 4............................................................................................. 36 Chapter 5............................................................................................. 39 Chapter 6............................................................................................. 43 Chapter 7............................................................................................. 46 Chapter 8............................................................................................. 49 Chapter 9............................................................................................. 56 Chapter 10........................................................................................... 61 Chapter 11........................................................................................... 66 Chapter 12........................................................................................... 71 Chapter 13........................................................................................... 76 Chapter 14........................................................................................... 80 Chapter 15........................................................................................... 84 Chapter 16........................................................................................... 88 Chapter 17........................................................................................... 93 Chapter 18........................................................................................... 98 Chapter 19......................................................................................... 104


Chapter 20......................................................................................... 109 Chapter 21..........................................................................................113 Chapter 22..........................................................................................118 Chapter 23......................................................................................... 124 Chapter 24......................................................................................... 131 Chapter 25......................................................................................... 137 Chapter 26......................................................................................... 144 Chapter 27......................................................................................... 149 Chapter 28......................................................................................... 155 Chapter 29......................................................................................... 161 Chapter 30......................................................................................... 167 Chapter 31......................................................................................... 172 Chapter 32......................................................................................... 179 Chapter 33......................................................................................... 183 Chapter 34......................................................................................... 189 Chapter 35......................................................................................... 195 Chapter 36......................................................................................... 200 Chapter 37......................................................................................... 206 Chapter 38......................................................................................... 212 Chapter 39......................................................................................... 217 Chapter 40......................................................................................... 222 Chapter 41......................................................................................... 227 Chapter 42......................................................................................... 234 Chapter 43......................................................................................... 239 Chapter 44......................................................................................... 244 Chapter 45......................................................................................... 249 Chapter 46......................................................................................... 255 Chapter 47......................................................................................... 261 Chapter 48......................................................................................... 266


Chapter 49......................................................................................... 272 Chapter 50......................................................................................... 277 Chapter 51......................................................................................... 284 Chapter 52......................................................................................... 290 Chapter 53......................................................................................... 295 Chapter 54......................................................................................... 298 Chapter 55......................................................................................... 306 Chapter 56......................................................................................... 312 Chapter 57......................................................................................... 316 Chapter 58......................................................................................... 320 Chapter 59......................................................................................... 325 Chapter 60......................................................................................... 333 Chapter 61......................................................................................... 336 Chapter 62......................................................................................... 341 Chapter 63......................................................................................... 346 Chapter 64......................................................................................... 352 Chapter 65......................................................................................... 359 Epilogue............................................................................................. 364 Secret Chapter: [Zero Hour]............................................................. 371 Extra Chapter: [Duty of a Handmaiden].......................................... 382 Extra Chapter: [Pain of the Tattoo].................................................. 393

Library...................................................................................................... 399 Character Synopsis................................................................................... 400 Picture Gallery.......................................................................................... 414 Mission List............................................................................................... 420 Tutorial List............................................................................................... 436 Original Skill Library............................................................................... 446 Relics Library............................................................................................ 458


Spirit Synchro Library.............................................................................. 464 Camera Lens Entry................................................................................... 470 Passive Skill List....................................................................................... 472 In-Story Texts............................................................................................ 476 Trivias........................................................................................................ 482 Shameless Advertising.............................................................................. 486 Closing....................................................................................................... 487 Cast Characters......................................................................................... 489


Introduction 7


Introduction

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Hello everyone. My name is Jittinan W. (nicknamed ‘Joker’), known throughout the Internet as Mad_ Cartoonist. This was my second Fatal Frame Fan Fiction (and my second fan fiction for the matter). [Fatal Frame 3: Call of your Voice] is a direct sequel to [Fatal Frame 2: The World Ends with You]. Let’s go over a history class again, shall we? Six years ago on GameFAQs’s PS2 Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly Message Boards, two users by the name of Arczero and Lawrence_Tan came up with a fiction based off Fatal Frame 2, with them being the main characters. The fiction started because they wished to visit the All God’s Village, and to fulfill that wish, they wrote out a fic for it. Time passed and gradually, new users requested to join the fiction as main characters as well. I was one of those users. Lawrence_Tan was the one who wrote the majority of fictions, completing over three fictions. Since the fiction was coming to a close (due to limited games back then), I offered to write another fiction for the community. Unfortunately, the community disbanded due to inactiveness. So my fiction, as well as Lawrence’s Fatal Frame 3 Fiction was put to a halt. A few years later, Lawrence completed the remaining fictions and sent it to all the members along with his website, which inspires me to revive the community again. As a result, I complete my Fatal Frame 2 Fan Fiction and posted on the very same Message Boards we used to frequent. The [Fatal Frame 2: The World Ends with You] was very well received, and a request for a sequel with returning casts was requested. I happily take on the request despite being in the middle of another project because I love this community, as well as all the members so much. This fan fiction is dedicated to the disbanded Fatal Frame Fan Fiction Community, as well as the new members who appeared in this Fan Fiction.

Warnings and disclaimers This fan fiction is based off Tecmo’s [Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly] and [Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented]. The settings and plot events belong to their rightful owner: Tecmo. This fan fiction is written for entertainment purposes and I do not earn any money from writing this fan fiction. This fiction contains references to the users of GameFAQs’s PS2 Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly Message Boards in real-life. Any resemblances to real life events or people, aside from what is directly referenced, are purely coincidence. Everything else in this fan fiction belongs to the Mad_Cartoonist. The contents and original characters in this fiction may not be used, replicated, modified, and / or hosted elsewhere without permission.


List of Director’s Cut Changes 1.) Fan Fiction’s title is changed. Former name: [Fatal Frame 3: Call of the Tattoo]. I changed the name because I want it to have the word ‘Voice’ in there, since ‘Voices’ is an important theme / keyword in the story, next to Tattoo. 2.) Rai Nahm’s name is changed to ‘Rai Naam’ for better reading. 3.) Voice Materializers (VM) are now limited to carrying only 4 skills per mission. When a new skill is crafted with their arsenal full, VMs has to choose which skill to remove from their arsenal. 4.) Shaman’s battle ability is completely rehashed. 5.) New items and skills, as well as removal and change in certain skills / items’ power. 6.) Jack now uses the special VM ability [Hyper Resonance] in the story. 7.) Rokej’s special VM ability [Synchronity Chain] is completely rehashed. All skills created from the previous [Synchronity Chain] ability are completely removed. 8.) Mission descriptions are changed and no longer straightforward. 9.) [Passive Ability] system added. 10.) [Bonus Missions] removed. Special rules are applied instead. 11.) Added several extra dialogues and scenes throughout the whole story. 12.) Bonus Materials.

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Story 11


Fatal Frame 3 ~Call of your Voice~

Chapter Prologue Shinran High School of Science…

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The lunch bell has rung and students pour out of their classes at the same time. The intensity of the lessons taught rapidly drains their strength, making them crave for a refill. The cafeteria quickly is filled with the hungry students eager to grab a bite for their lunch. The line from the counter stretches to the outside of the building. Luckily enough the cafeteria itself is spacious, so it is not too hard to find a seat. “The mysterious death of Kitamura Koga, the young master and only heir of the Kitamura Family, has yet to be explained,” said the reporter in the cafeteria’s television, “Young Master Koga was found dead within his own bedroom four days ago. His body was dehydrated and his skin black. The tissues of his muscles were dried up into soot like specks. The cause is currently unknown, but it’s suspected to be a new kind of virus. Further research----“ “Must be pretty tough to have their only heir dying all of the sudden,” said the red haired girl, sipping her strawberry milkshake. “Yeah. Their only son is gone - No one to take up the family name,” the brown haired teen sitting next to her nods in agreement. “But apparently, someone around here is happy that he’s gone, right Jack?” the girl teased. “What the? Why would I be happy!?” Jack exclaimed. “Oh, I didn’t say it was you, did I?” the girl teases, “Or did I hit a sore spot?” “Screw you,” the teen curses. “Well, he was the biggest obstacle between you and Sarin, wasn’t he?” the red haired girl continues her teasing, “They were engaged, but now that he’s gone, you have a chance to hit on her now, don’t you?” “Don’t be stupid, Natalie! Can’t you see what Sarin is going through!?” the teen’s anger is approaching its limit, “They loved each other, and I’m happy she was with the guy she likes.” “Oh, really~~?” the tone of her voice strongly suggests that she does not believe him. “Hey there folks!” a girl with long dark hair hops over to their table cheerfully. “Hey Konata! Where have you been?” Natalie asks the girl.


“I just went over to check my Chemistry mid-term score. I ace’d it by the way,” Konata brushes her hair in pride and adjusts the crystal pendant hanging around her neck. As she sits down with her lunch tray, she notices the news being reported on the television. “Man. That kind of death again?” she mumbles, munching her sandwich. “Huh?” Jack and Natalie turn to their friend. “You see, the other day some random dude around my place also died in his bedroom, just like Koga,” explained Konata, “I think his name is Reevers or something. They said he has been sleeping and hasn’t woke up for a few days. Until recently, someone found him dead inside his bedroom, just like Koga.” “Woah? No kidding!?” Jack exclaims, “That’s really creepy.” “Oh yeah, now that you mention it. I think I remember that news. It was about a week ago, right?” asked Natalie. “You think it’s a virus outbreak like what the news said?” Jack ponders out loud. “Whatever it is, it looks painful. I wonder what happens after dying like that.” “Life after dying? Oh trust me, you guys DON’T wanna know,” Konata mumbles and takes another bite from her sandwich. Jack and Natalie look at each other, puzzled at their friend’s mysterious words. But nevertheless, they shrug and continue with their lunches. After the lunch break is over, the teens head back to their respective classes. The afternoon classes were extremely boring and tiring, as usual. Jack packed his belongings into his bag eagerly once he heard the bell rang. “See you tomorrow, Jack!” the blonde teen waves good-bye to his friend. “Yeah, later, Reion!” Jack waves back and heads up the hill towards his residential area. The day is tiring but it is finally over. It is time for the break he deserves. While hiking up the hill, he notices a familiar girl walking a little ahead of him. “Hey! Sarin!” he calls to her. The girl turns around, allowing her silver hair to gracefully sway with the wind. “Oh? Jack?” she smiles. It looks rather forced, but he was not bothered by it. “Wanna…walk home together?” he proposes. Both of their houses are on the same direction so they have been walking home together for many years, until she recently got engaged with Koga. “Sure, I could use some company,” the girl smiles some more. Both of them stroll along the street, not speaking a word to each other. Normally they would always have things to talk or discuss with each other. But due to the recent death of her fiancé, he is not exactly sure about how to exactly spark a conversation without making her mad or more depressed. “Hey Jack,” in the end, she was the one who broke the silence, “If…If someone extremely important to you died, would you do whatever it takes to bring them back?”

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“H…huh?” the teen raises his eyebrow. She seems off today. Normally she is very strong willed and determined. It is just ‘not her’ to be asking about something that sounds so unrealistic. “Just answer me. Assuming you actually had a way to bring someone back to life, but it’s a very dangerous bet, would you still do it?” the girl asks again. The teen pauses for a while, thinking for a smart answer that would not destroy her mood. “W…well…if we’re gonna assume anything is possible, then I guess I’d probably do whatever I could,” said Jack, “That person is extremely important to me, right?” “I see,” the girl nods in agreement, “Thanks…Jack.” “You … seem weird today,” Jack laughs nervously as both of them stop in front of Sarin’s gigantic mansion. A ‘did something happened’ question usually follows, but this time is an exception because he knows darn well what happened. “Really? How?” “W…well…you know…,” the teen scratches his cheek, not sure how to answer her. “…Good night Jack,” Sarin smiles after an awkward silence and heads inside her mansion without another word.

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Jack sighs and bangs his head against the mansion’s wall softly, “Sigh…I blew it…can’t even make her laugh like before.” As he turns around, he notices a small piece of paper lying on a bush near the mansion. Curiosity made him pick it up. It is a ‘post-it’ note, but the glue has already dried up. Looking above, this bush lies exactly under Sarin’s bedroom window. Maybe it flew out of her room since she likes to leave her window opened. She said it gives the room better ventilation to the room. The note contains an Internet URL link, with a random combination of letters and numbers. “http://thegameofdespair.net?” the teen scratches his head, wondering what to do with it. The name of the link sounds rather fishy. An unknown hunch tells him that he will forever regret it if he ignores this link. Sighing at the baseless hunch, he stuffs it into his pocket and walks home.

Jack’s house… As he enters the house, Jack could smell the appetizing fragrance filled in the air. This could only means one thing; His mother is already home and is cooking dinner. “I’m home mom.” “Welcome home, Jack,” the kind lady yells back from the kitchen, “Dinner is almost ready!” “Right. I’ll come down soon!” the teen replies and heads up stairs to his room. He drops his stuffs right beside his bed like how he usually does and lies down on his bed. If someone extremely important to you died, would you do whatever it takes to bring them back?


Sarin’s voice echoes inside his head over and over. “What kind of question is that anyway?” he sighs, still pondering what is up with her. He has known her for several years, but she is definitely not the type to be asking baseless questions, let alone ones that sound completely impossible. She has always been the realistic type, so that question extremely bugs him. “Man, maybe I should stop thinking,” Jack gets up sitting, “Or even better, I should have just ask her what’s with it.” “Jackkkkkkkkk!!!! DINNER’S READY!!!!” a tough manly voice yells from down stairs. His dad probably came home while he was daydreaming about his crush. The teen lazily drags himself down stairs and joins his parents for dinner. His dad is loud and cheerful as usual, sharing stuffs that happened at work like he always does. But today he is not really in the mood to listen to his stories. His mind is still thinking about Sarin’s mysterious question. While he is keeping his dishes, the cell phone in his pocket rings. He reaches inside and pulls it out, dragging the small piece of paper he found earlier as well. “What’s sup, dude?” Jack picks up the call as well as the paper. “Hey, Jack. Wanna do something after school tomorrow?” the blonde teen in the line asks. “Sure, bro. Where to?” Jack replies the call but his attention is stuck on the piece of paper. http://thegameofdespair.net Something tells him that Sarin’s question must somehow be related to this link. “How about hitting the theatre? MC’s [Create Your Own World: Rise of the Abyss Guardians] just hit the cinema!” the teen on the line suggests. “Oh. Sure Reion. See ya tomorrow then,” Jack replies. “Right dude. I’ll ask Natalie and the others out too. See ya then!” As Jack hangs up the call, he rushes up stairs, straight to his computer. Opening his computer and Google Chrome explorer, he quickly enters the link with anxiety. A black screen slowly loads up on to his computer, revealing a menacing web page. There is no graphic or image on the page; only letters, written in blood red. “[The Game of Despair],” the teen reads the page heading out loud, “A game designed especially for people who have fallen into extreme despair from losing something precious.” Upon reading the message, Sarin’s face immediately emerges in his mind. Did she come to this web page?

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By following the instructions closely, you will be allowed to enter the Game of Despair. The reward for this game is the [Blessing]; You will be allowed to make ANY one wish and it shall be granted to you. “Yeah, right,” the teen laughs a little at the prank, “Full score for originality.” However, his eyes widen as they hit the remaining message. Be warned. If you lose this game, despair shall take over and you will die.

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“Oh god no, Sarin!!!!” the teen reaches for his cell phone and dials her number. Even if it is just a prank, something tells him that this is definitely not a good sign. “The number you dialed could not be reached, please try again later,” said the operator. “Goddammit!!” the teen puts on his jacket and dashes down stairs. Riding his bike, he kicks the paddle as fast as he could, and not long after, he is now standing in front of her mansion. He tries dialing her again but the response was the same. Hesitating what to do next, he decides to hit the gate bell. “May I help you?” a middle-aged man’s voice emerges from the interphone nearby. “Um…hi…is Sarin there?” the teen asks. “Sorry, Lady Sarin is already sleeping,” replies the man, “Are you an acquaintance of the Lady?” “Um…yeah, sort of.” “Then you shouldn’t be disturbing her. Do you have any idea what time this is!? Scram kid!” the voice turned from gentle to threatening in an instant. The teen looks at his wristwatch. It is almost midnight. “Haha…maybe I’m the fool here,” the teen scratches his head and slowly rides his bike home. Washing himself up after the rush, he lies down on his bed and closes his eyes, crossing his fingers that nothing happens to her.

The next day… Shinran High School of Science… “A fresh new day and we have Calculus right in the morning. How adorable,” the redheaded girl grumbles. “At least we’re not having it in the afternoon! I’d doze off immediately after the class starts,” said Konata. As she turns to her side, she notices her classmate sulking, “Hey Jack. What’s the matter?” “Oh…It’s…nothing,” the teen replies, still placing his eyes towards the silver haired girl sitting four rows in front of him. Assuming you actually have a way to bring someone back to life, but it’s a very dangerous bet,would you still do it?


The question she asked him yesterday suddenly pops up in his head. The Internet Address. That question. The Game of Despair. Everything fits together too much to merely be a coincidence. Something must be going on with her. After gathering his guts, he walks over to her right after the class is over. “…Can I have a talk with you in private?” he boldly asks her – something he has not done in a while. The girl tilts her head puzzlingly but replies “Sure.” Both of them exit the class and head to the garden behind the school. The area is normally clear of the crowd since there is nothing to see, so it has always been a perfect place for any couple to discuss something in secret. “What is it?” the girl asks with a puzzled look. “…Yesterday, you asked me [assuming you actually had a way to bring someone back to life, but it’s a very dangerous bet, would you still do it?],” the teen pauses after his introduction to see her reaction. “Yeah? What about it?” She seems to be surprised that he brought it up again. “What do you mean by that?” Jack asks some more. “It was…just a random question. Why?” “Liar.” “Huh?” “You’re lying, aren’t you!?” the teen interrogates further. “Wha…what’s with you!? Why do you think I’m lying!?” “The Game of Despair…” Sarin’s eyes widen in surprise. “It means something to you…doesn’t it?” “I…I don’t…how…how did you…,” the girl was struck with so much confusion that she did not know where to begin her response. “Don’t tell me you’ve actually tried it.” “I…I don’t know what you are talking about,” the girl turns away. “Turn around and look at me!!!” the teen flips her back, “Look into my eyes and answer me!! Did you try the ritual in that web page!?” “Yeah, I did!” the girl snaps back in frustration, “You got a problem with that!?” “You idiot! Don’t you know you could get yourself killed!?” “That was why I said it’s a dangerous bet! You told me you’d do whatever it takes too, didn’t you!?” Jack’s voice slips down his throat. “You told me yourself, didn’t you Jack? Answer me!!!!” “……Y…yeah…,” Jack steps back in shame. “I’m disappointed in you, Jack. I thought that YOU, out of all the people around me, would understand me the most,” the girl gives a sad sigh, “If I win…I can make whatever wish that I want. I’ll bring Koga

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back to life again.” “You seriously believe in that internet prank?” the teen grits his teeth, “Please, Sarin…I’m begging you…as a friend…stop whatever you’re trying to do.” The teen falls to his knees and pleads. “…It’s too late…,” Sarin replies, “Once one enters the Game of Despair, one cannot run away from it. Each night the player will be taken to the Manor of Sleep, where the game is hosted.” The girl loosens the bandage tied around her thigh. An indigo tattoo, depicting a snake and holly, has been engraved on the spot. Jack was speechless with his jaw dropped halfway to the ground. “You see that, Jack? It is the mark of a player. I can’t run away,” the girl said, turning her back at him, “I’m glad you are worried about me, Jack. But I want Koga back. I love him too much…” Sarin wipes off her tears and runs away, leaving the teen alone in the garden.

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He knew. He should have known she was up to something. But he could not stop her. What is going to happen to her now? What if she dies? It would absolutely be his fault. He was the one who puts her through this. I knew he could not live on in shame if she has to die because of him. He grits his teeth and clutches his hands tightly, angered at his own arrogance. His left hand reaches into his pocket and pulls out that small post-it note. “…An apology would not cut it. I’m the one who put you through this,” Jack stood up, “So I’m gonna be the one who helps you get through this as well.”


Chapter 1 Ditching classes is not a new thing to him. Jack jumps out of the school’s gate and hurries back home as fast as his feet can take him. His parents are not home yet. They are out at work and would normally come home rather late. Marching up to his own room, he hastily turned on his computer and entered the URL. After a few minutes, that black page loads up once again. The Internet connection is rather fast during the day and that is extremely in his favor The Manor of Sleep is where the Game of Despair is hosted. To enter the game, you must become a participant by engraving this tattoo upon yourself. Jack scrolls the page down, attentively reading every letter and word. There’s a picture of a tattoo hosted on that page that looks exactly like the one Sarin showed him earlier. This tattoo is not a proof of being a contestant. It signifies the pain that the player endures from losing something dear. The Tattooing Ritual can be performed by the following procedures: 1) Draw this glyph on a wide flat floor, enough for you to stand on it. Does not have to exactly resemble the example. A similar glyph will do. Jack picked a chalk from his desk and proceeds to draw the circular glyph as shown on the computer screen. He full-screens the picture so he could see the picture clearly while drawing the glyph. He is not exactly an artist, but the glyph is not very hard to draw since there are not many complicated patterns. 2) Stand in the middle of the circle and sing the following lullaby (Just read the lyrics. The tunes will be provided.) Jack raised his eyebrow a little, questioning the ‘Tunes will be provided’ phrase. There is no song hosted on that page, neither an MP3 download link. The instruction only said ‘Just read the lyrics’. After some thought, the teen shrugs and finally starts reading the lyrics as if speaking. “Sleep, child, Go to sleep. Sleep, child, Go to sleep,” the teen reads the words carefully. As he starts reading, he begins to wonder how this lullaby should sound, “If you cry, the boat you’ll ride. The boat to the other side.” All of the sudden, the tune starts to pick up in his mind for an unknown reason. As he continued read-

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ing the lyrics, it gradually tunes into a rhythm. “Once you get there. The bib you shall wear. And you will be punished. Should you fail to lie still.” At this point, he pauses to question the song’s feasibility as a lullaby. From the lyrics, it sounds too threatening to be a simple child’s lullaby. “Sleep, child, Go to sleep. Sleep, child, Go to sleep.” However, even thought his lips are no longer moving, he could hear a soft whisper echoing inside his ears. All he could tell was that it is a girl’s voice. The song continues echoing inside his ear eerily. If you should wake From your slumber at night Great wooden stakes Shall pin you down tight Lest the doors open wide And the others that sleep wake too.

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After that, the lyric repeats itself and the voice begins to desynchronize into several girls’ voices, echoing in his ears. The whole tone sounds more threatening and, frankly speaking, creeps the teen out completely. “Wha…what the hell is going on!?” the teen clutches his ears, trembling in fear. The voices keep on echoing, driving the teen off the edge of sanity. He finally kneels down, noticing that the glyph he drew earlier is now radiating an eerie blue light. His eyes widen in shock. The glyph shines brighter and brighter until he has to cover his eyes. After the light fades, he slowly reopens his eyes and before he knows it, he is already standing in the middle of a field, covered in thick snow. “What the…hell?” he mutters to himself looking around in confusion, “How did I----“ Suddenly, he felt cold numbness slowly spreading from his right arm. “Argh!? What the h----!?” he gasps in shock as he turns over to face a woman grabbing his right arm. She has long dark hair, covering a good part of her face. The teen trembles in extreme fright. Her cold eyes look straight into his, and strangely enough, he cannot look away from her either. He wants to scream, but his voice simply sinks down his throat. The lullaby keeps on echoing in his ears once more. He knew that if this keeps going for any longer, he would surely become insane. Luckily, a bright light flashes into his eyes and now he was standing in the middle of an old house. His body is still trembling from the fear but at least he was able to move for now. His knees gradually lose their strength and put him down on the wooden floor, puffing. “W…wha…what the hell was that!? W…Who was that woman!?” he gasps, looking around to see


where he is, “Where…the hell am I?” The middle of the room, on which he is kneeling, is a wooden raised platform, with an unlit hearth placed in the center of it. There are two doors in the room - one on the north and the other on the south. Next to the southern door is a wooden staircase leading up to the second floor. After a little rest, he is finally able to catch his breath and get some sanity back into himself. He carefully stands up once more. “I see we have another contestant.” A voice emerges from above the wooden staircase, startling the teen. A mysterious figure wearing a long white robe cautiously descends down the stairs into the Hearth Room. The figure has a hood covering over half of his face, not allowing Jack to see his face clearly. However, judging from the voice, it is safe to assume that beneath the hood is a man, and a rather young one at that. “W…who are you!?” Jack interrogates the mysterious man. “I am called ‘The Game Master’. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Jack” said the mysterious man. “What the? How do you know my name!?” “I know the name of all the contestants,” the mysterious man chuckles cunningly, “You entered this game in hopes of saving your loved one, didn’t you?” “So you are the one behind that website!?” Jack grits his teeth, “Whatever you do, just let Sarin go!!!” “I’m afraid I cannot comply,” the man refused, “Those who enter the Game of Despairs can never run from it. You will have to play it until you clear it or perish.” “Damn you!!” The teen marches towards the mysterious man but suddenly his whole body is halt still, preventing him from moving freely, “Wha…the…hell…?” “In this manor, everything moves and stops according to my will,” said the man, as he finally reaches the foot of the stairs, “If you want to save your beloved girl so badly then play my game.” “Your…game!?” “That’s right. The Game of Despair. You’ve already entered this game anyway, and in fact a ‘toll’ was already paid,” said the man. “WHAT!?” “To enter this game, one must pay something valuable to one’s self as a toll to enter. It can be anything, and in fact, it can even be something you’ve already lost,” the mysterious man explains, “In your case, my boy, your toll is her heart.” “GO. TO. HELL!!!” Jack yells in rage as the stranger rubs salt on him. “The ‘value’ of the ‘toll’ affects the ‘advantage’ each player has when they start the game,” the man continues, looking at a holographic screen that suddenly appears right next to him, “The value of your toll is…wow…remarkably priceless! She must be worth the whole world to you!”

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“SHUT UP!!! SHUT THE HELL UP YOU----!!!” “With this value, you should gain a huge advantage.” Jack is about to curse the man some more, but that last statement makes him swallow the curses down his throat. “Wha?” “Well, you heard me. With the value of your toll, you should be able to beat this game in a jiffy,” the man laughs, “The more valuable the ‘toll’ paid, the higher the advantage each player have when they start the game.” “Wha? You better not be messing with me!!!!” “Of course. After all, I am a man of my word. You should be able to gain the ‘Blessing’ fairly quick!”

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Suddenly, the teen was unfrozen from his position, allowing him to move freely once more. The teen glares at the Game Master, no longer wanting to look for a fight, but rather in doubtfulness. “What kind of advantage?” Jack asked, “Wait, no. Forget about that. What the hell is this game about anyway? What do I have to do to clear it?” “The rules are simple.” A faint trace of a malicious grin could be seen from beneath the hood. “Each night when you sleep, you will be summoned to this manor to perform a given task. Clear those tasks 5 times and the ‘Blessing’ is yours.” “That’s it!? All I have to do is clear those tasks in 5 nights and it’s over!?” “That is right.” The malicious grin never left his face. “However, in this manor, one will slowly lose their mind and sanity. Such is due to the weakness of humans’ mental structure. Will you be able to hold your sanity together until then, I wonder?” “Shut your trap,” the teen taunts, “I will clear this silly game of yours, and you will remove this goddamn curse from Sarin!” “I’ll keep an eye on you.” The mysterious man gives one last grin before disappearing away. After a blink, Jack found himself now sitting on his bed once again. The glyph he drew on his bedroom floor has magically disappeared. His clothes are drenched in sweat. He has not even noticed that until now. He was very freaked out and scared after all. Suddenly, a sharp pain emerged from his right arm; right on the very spot that eerie woman caught him. It is so painful that he felt numb from it. A tattoo slowly emerges onto the surface of his skin. It looks exactly like the one on Sarin’s thigh.


Suddenly, his cell phone rings, startling him. Jack carefully reaches for it with his shaking hands. “He…Hello…?” “WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU, IDIOT!?” a girl’s sharp yell blasts from the phone, “IT’S LAB TIME GODDAMMIT!!! GET YOUR CURSED ASS HERE RIGHT NOW!!!!” “Sorry Natalie, I’m ditching,” he replies. “Hey wait! You can’t---!!!” Hanging up, he leaves his cell phone on his table as he headed for the bathroom, cleansing himself of the sweat. “…Sarin…I won’t let anyone hurt you…”

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Chapter 2 After a nice evening bath and dinner, the teen returns to his room. This past afternoon had been very hectic. That was beyond creepy, and then there was that eerie woman that caught his right arm. He carefully lies down on his bed, trying his best to close his eyes. It was not too long before slumber took him away from the real world to the world of nightmares. Opening his eyes again, Jack found himself standing in front of a big old Japanese manor. Behind him is a huge empty field, covered by a thick pile of snow. Perhaps this was the snowfield where he had encountered that woman. Just the thought of seeing her again sent chills down his spine.

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He tried to shake the thought away as he pushed the double wooden door open. Suddenly, his cell phone rings, signaling an incoming message. The teen startled at the phone ring because he was not expecting it. “What the heck? Why is my cell phone here?” he mutters, “And why am I dressing like this?” Jack found that he is no longer in his pajama. He is now wearing a brown sleeveless t-shirt with long baggy ground pants. His favorite pair of orange headphones is also hanging around his neck, just like how he normally puts them. “Weird…” Regardless, Jack checks the message on his phone.

[Game of Despair] Tutorial Welcome to The Game of Despair, the game for those who seek to reclaim the precious treasure they have lost. The goal for this game is simple – Each night a mission will be sent to all the players via a cell phone message. The player who clears the mission first will attain a ‘Game Level’ and the game is over for the night.

[Game Level] Tutorial Game Levels are the evaluation level accumulated by the players of the Game of Despair. Each player starts with 2 Game Levels. The goal of this game is to reach level 7. Once the player does, they are removed from this game and granted a [Blessing].


[Blessing] Explanation The one magical wish a player is granted when they clear this game. It can be ANY wish, no matter how impossible it sounds. “Okay? Sounds simple enough,” Jack mutters to himself. After reading the in-game tutorials, it appears that the game is a lot simpler than he thought. All he has to do is clear whatever task the Game Master gives him.

Mission: In the corridor, a girl repeatedly hammers on something endlessly. Look at what she is up to and you shall be victorious. “…Come again?” Jack tries scrolling the screen down some more, but that was the entire message, “Great. Nothing makes an easy game harder than not directly telling you what you are supposed to do.” Jack kicked the wall nearby in frustration. Suddenly, cold breeze blows from the small opening near the exit, as if the manor responded to the kick. “G…guess I’ll just take a walk first,” said the teen, looking straight into the dark halls of the Foyer. This is the first time he realized how creepy this place is. The narrow hallway is not exactly well-lighted, and the whole building looks old. It would be a lie if he said that he is not afraid of ghosts. Taking a deep breath, the teen bravely ventures inside, passed the old shelves and drawers on the side. After a short stroll, he hits an intersection. “Great. Which way should I go?” he mutters to himself indecisively. After some thought, he takes the left path and bumps right into a locked door. “Hah, great. That helped cut down the choices,” he retraces his steps back to the intersection and takes the other path he did not pick earlier. As he makes a turn, his eyes widen as he sees a little girl in kimono heading to the door at the end of the hall. “A girl?” He mutters and follows her, “Hey~~!!!” However, just before he could reach her, she magically disappeared. “Wha!?” The teen was dumbfounded, shocked at what he just saw. He is sure his eyes were not lying to him; he DID see a girl here a second ago. Gulping loudly, he slides the door opened with his shaky hand. “Wait, is this…? Is this the room where I talked with the Game Master earlier?” the teen wonders, looking around the Hearth Room.

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Last time, the Game Master took the stairs from the left of the entrance. Jack approaches the stairs with curiosity. It is a wooden stair, made from several planks lining up in a diagonal fashion. As a result, there is a gap in the vertical alignment where you can directly see under the stairs. The teen ascends the stairs step by step carefully when he suddenly caught a glimpse of a woman standing right under the stairs. “WOAH GEESUS!!!!!” he fell to his back rolling down the stairs. Fumbling with his feet, he quickly gets back up and looks at the stairs again. However, no one was there. “What the heck…!?” he curses, trembling in fear. Was his mind playing something funny with him again? No. He is positive of what he saw. There WAS a woman standing there earlier. In any case, he decides to stay away from it for a while. However, as he turns around, he bumps right into the woman he saw earlier, face-to-face. “OHHH SH******!!!!!!!” he staggers back and cries in extreme fright. The woman is wearing a red kimono and has pale skin with long hair stretching down to her back. Her eyes are completely darkened and blank. The teen’s lips are shivering in fear. He does not want to think about it. But he knew damn well what he is facing – A ghost. He has never seen one before, let alone bumps right into one. “Where…is…he?” the ghostly woman whispers, approaching the teen. “I…I don’t know!!!!!” Scrambling to his feet, Jack quickly turns around and sprints towards the sliding door he entered. However, the door was closed tight and would not budge, as if the door became part of the wall itself. “WHA!? WHAT THE!? DAMMIT!!! NO!!!! WHY NOW!?” The teen kicks and rams the door with all his might but it still would not budge at all, not even an inch. All of the sudden, he felt a cold touch on his stomach. Looking down, he saw that girl from the Foyer earlier. She has pale skin and dark blank eyes just like the ghostly woman. “AAAAHHHHH!!!!!” Jack backs away from the girl and trips over the raised wooden platform. “Agh, dammit, that hur----!!!” Before he could finish his sentence, the ghostly woman reaches for his neck and starts applying force on it. Her face becomes distorted in satisfaction as she starts strangling him. The coldness from her hands passed right on to his neck. He could not breathe. Despair starts to fill up his heart. Maybe this game really is not as easy as he thought it would be.


Suddenly, a bolt of light runs straight at the woman, sending her across the room. Jack quickly inhales some air as he breaks free from her grip and gets up on his feet. “You okay, young man?” a middle aged guy, dressed in a black butler suit is seen standing at the door to the north. “Agh…gee…thanks pops,” the teen puffs, still breathing heavily from the woman’s attack.. “Why did you hurt mommy~~????” The ghostly girl from before quickly lunges at the teen who is still off guard. “Woah!!! Give me a break!!!!!” “Look out!” The mysterious man raises his palm and blasts the girl away with another bolt of light. “Woah…how did you do that!?” The teen looks at the man in awe. “A new player, I see,” the middle aged man moves his pince-nez eye glasses up slightly, “Check your cell phone. A new tutorial should arrive to you now.” “Huh? Wha?!” Jack quickly opens his cell phone and there is indeed a new message. It was probably sent to him while he was banging the door, which is why he did not hear it.

[Class] Tutorial [Class] is a special term used to categorize the ‘battle abilities’ of each player. There will be times in this game when battles against the spirits are inevitable. Each player is given a specific ‘Class’ when they enter this game. The given class is fixed and cannot be changed no matter what. There are four classes in this game.

[Voice Materializer] Tutorial A Voice Materializer (VM) is a fighter who can listen to spirits’ voices through special headphones and battles them with original skills, crafted from their voices. By manipulating their voice frequency, VMs can feel the spirits’ emotions and turn them into special powers. A VM can store up to 4 Original Skills per mission, and can select the skills to include in their arsenal only before the mission starts.

Passive Abilities: Mind Lock

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“A Voice Materializer? What’s that!?” the teen questions out loud. “A Voice Materializer? That’s a rare one indeed,” the middle-aged man nods. “Hey pops!!! Explain it to me!!! What am I supposed to do!?” Jack asked. “Well, I wouldn’t know since I’m not a Voice Materializer myself,” said the man. But then, he notices a pair of headphones hanging around the teen’s neck, “Young man! Try putting those headphones on!!” “Huh?” Jack looks at his trusty headphones puzzlingly, “What good will that do for me!?” “Just do it!!!!!” The teen cringes, still wondering what good would putting the headphones on do for him. But nevertheless, Jack still puts the headphones on since he does not have much choice at this point. As he puts on the headphones, everything around him immediately becomes pin-drop silent. Not even the sound of the wind blowing through the cracks on the walls was heard. It is hard to precisely describe this experience into words. The closest description would be that it was so quiet that he could hear the thoughts of that woman and the little girl. To make sure that he is not hallucinating, Jack closes his eyes and concentrates on listening to the voices. +Where is my husband? Take me to my husband!!+

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+Daddy… Where are you…?+ “What in the?” the teen speaks out loud to himself, “Why am I hearing their voices?” Even with his eyes closed, Jack could somehow tell the position of the mother and the girl. They are standing somewhere near the stairs he rolled down earlier and are heading for him. But suddenly, they are bounced away just like before by some force, but since he is closing his eyes, he could not tell what it is. All he knows is that it is being fired off from somewhere. Maybe that man had done something again. “I see…crafting original skills from their voices?” Jack mutters without opening his eyes. The teen places both of his hands on his headphones and listens to the voices even more carefully.

[Voices and Skill Crafting] Explanation Voices, literally, are the sound each ghost releases. It could be their moans or wails of pain. Each voice contains their thoughts and feelings. By listening to their voices, VMs can manipulate those emotions and turn them into special skills to use against spirits. Crafted skills remain permanently with the players, even after they become incapacitated.


Both the mother and the daughter are yearning to see the father again. Their emotions stirs inside the teen’s heart as a bright light shines in front of him. Jack slowly opens his eyes and absorbs the light into his body.

Original Skill Entry! Noise Crush Crafted from: Wandering Mother and Daughter’s yearning to see the father Description: Blast an ultra sonic wave from the palm of one’s hand. Does only minor damage but has moderately strong repelling effect. Good for creating distance between the VM and the opponent. The ghostly woman and girl regain their balance and approach the teen once more. Jack simply raises his palm at them and announced “NOISE CRUSH!!!!!” A blast of sound wave instantly bursts from his palm and pushes both of them away. Both of them scream from the impact and gradually vanish. “Phew,” Jack lowers his headphones and sits at the edge of the raised wooden platform. “Enjoying your new powers, young man?” the middle-aged man sits next to him, teasing. “Thanks pop, I owe you big time,” Jack laughs, but his voice was evidently shaking from both excitement and fright. “Don’t mention it. We players oughta help out each other anyway,” the man chuckles, “Oh, that’s right. How rude of me to neglect introducing myself. I am Ramsley, the butler. May I know your name, young man?” “I’m Jack. Nice to meet you, Ramsley.” Both men shake their hands. “I see you are a new player. Care to establish a party link with me?”

[Party Link] System Tutorial Each player will start their mission from the last time they left the manor (new players will enter through the front door). If two or more players happen to meet each other, they can form a Party Link. While linked in a party, each player’s power is strengthened by 10% per number of party members, including himself / herself. Some fighter classes gain access to exclusive passive or special abilities available when linked in a party. The maximum member limit of a Party Link is three.

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Increasing and Losing Game Levels The only way to increase your Game Level is by clearing that night’s mission. If other players or party complete the mission before you do, your game for that night will end but you will not lose your Game Level. If by some unfortunate events you happened to be incapacitated during the mission, then your Game Levels will suffer. If a member in the party clears a mission, all the members of that party gain a Game Level. However, if one of the members is incapacitated, that member is removed from the mission, and the whole party’s Game Level is penalized by one. (The party is still allowed to continue their mission) The deceased party member will NOT gain a Game Level even though the party cleared the mission afterwards. Consult the [Tutorial Library] for more detailed information. Caution!!! If your Game Level falls below Zero, you will die and your soul will permanently wander the halls of the Sleeping Manor.

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“If I am not risking my life, this really sounds like it could be an awesome video game,” Jack mumbles to himself. Ramsley chuckles at the teen’s comment. “I guess it’s better than going solo! Glad I could work with you, Ramsley!” said Jack. “The pleasure is all mine.”

[Party Link Established] Leader: Ramsley (Game Level = 3) Member 1: Jack (Game Level = 3) The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Hastened Delay]

[Contact Information Exchanged]


Chapter 3 Mission: In the corridor, a girl repeatedly hammers on something endlessly. Look at what she is up to and you shall be victorious. “So, how long have you been playing this game?” Jack asks the butler. “Two months, if memory still serves me,” Ramsley replied. “Woah!? THAT long?” “I believe there are players who have been here even longer than me,” Ramsley pointed out, “I met a party of players once, but their party is already full. Those players have been playing this game for over half a year. I don’t know what happened to them.” “Woah? No kidding!?” “Yes. Some nights, the missions are just too vague and we could not finish it before the dawn breaks. Good thing we don’t lose our levels for that,” Ramsley laughs. “Say, are all the missions this vague?” Jack shows the message from his phone. “Yes, young man, more or less. Better get accustomed to it,” Ramsley replies. “Ah shucks,” Jack shakes his head. “This is not even the worst,” said Ramsley, “Please follow me.” The butler ascends the stairways Jack rolled down earlier with confidence, while Jack follows him closely, never taking his eyes off from under the stairs. Both of them reaches the second floor of the Hearth Room. There is an unused partition screen lying on the wall to their right, and a door to the left. Taking that door, both of them enter the second floor’s Corridor. “Wow, you sure know your way,” Jack complimented. “It’s all in the map,” said Ramsley, chuckling. “Huh? What map?” The butler takes out his cell phone and shows the teen a portable map installed on his phone, “You should also have this on your cell phone. “Woah, no kidding!?” Jack opened his cell phone as well and looked for it as well. There is indeed a navigational map installed in one of his phone’s functions. “There are many things else sent to your phone when you entered this game,” Ramsley explains, “For instance, as a Gadgeteer, I have access to the ‘Relic Library’ function.”

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[Gadgeteer] Tutorial A Gadgeteer is a fighter who can unleash the Latent Powers sealed within an item. By unleashing those powers, Gadgeteers can manipulate them in battle against spirits. Each item has unique skill and duration. After an item reached its activation limit, it will enter a recharge state and cannot be used again for a set interval.

Passive Abilities: [Object Reading]

New Relic Entry! Four-Pointed Well Key

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Description: A key depicting a picture of a Four-Pointed Well. Latent Ability: Fires bolt of light at spirits. Minimal damage, but moderately high repelling effect. After four shots are fired, the relic goes into recharge state. Duration: -Recharge: 10 seconds “In your case, you should have a list of Original Skills inside your phone,” Ramsley explains further. Jack searches through his phone for any weird functions he never saw before. And just like what the butler said, there is indeed a menu called ‘Original Skill List’ in his phone. Opening up the list, he found two other skills in the list, aside from ‘Noise Crush’, which are labeled ‘NEW’.

Original Skill Entry! Quick Jab Crafted from: Jack’s Advantage Skill Description: Expend minimum spirit power to momentarily disable the astral plane differences, allowing direct assault on spirits.


Mirage Screen Crafted from: Jack’s Advantage Skill Description: Creates an illusionary screen that momentarily blocks any incoming attack for one second.

[Original Skill List] Tutorial The [Original Skill List] is a special function stored within the cell phones of the VMs. It allows them to see the list of Original Skills that they have crafted from spirits, as well as listen to the voice that was used to craft the skill. “When did I craft these two skills?” Jack scratched his head in confusion. “It’s probably your ‘Player Advantage’,” the butler explains, “Check your phone when you have the time.” “Advantage? So this is what the Game Master meant,” Jack replies, nodding to himself. “What was your toll, young man?” Ramsley questions the teen some more. The teen remains silent, not because he does not want to tell the butler, but because he is not sure about where to start. What is his relationship with Sarin anyway? What makes her so special to him that he has to risk his life getting into this game for her? A childhood friend? No. His feeling for her is much more than that. She probably does not feel the same for him, but it does not matter. She means the whole world to him. “She must be someone very precious,” said Ramsley, nodding. “Huh!? Wait!? How did you---!? I haven’t said anything!!!” “From the looks on your face and your appearance as a teen, it’s not exactly hard to tell what’s on your mind, son,” Ramsley teases, “Love problems?” “Kind of,” Jack sighs, “She entered this game to bring back her dead fiancé because of me.” “…Hm? Because of you?” “She asked me if I could bring back a precious person from their death, will I do it? I thought she was just having a hard time accepting the truth, so I just answered whatever I thought would make her happier.” “…I see. So she took it as a ‘you should enter this game’ from you…,” Ramsley nods. “It’s all my fault for saying that. If I realized she was talking about this game, I wouldn’t have told her to enter it,” Jack grits his teeth bitterly. “…Well now young man, so what would be your wish, hm?” “Huh?”

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“You entered this game because you want to make a wish for her safety, isn’t it? What would you do? Ask that she is removed from this game?” “I…Well…to be honest, I haven’t really thought about it. All I care was that if I am also in the game, then at least I could do something to protect her from harm,” Jack replies. After that, he takes a small pause thinking to himself, “…Maybe…It was a stupid move to charge in without thinking after all. I probably wasn’t really taking all of this seriously too.” “It is normal for a teen to be reckless,” Ramsley moves his pince-nez glasses, “I’ve been in a similar situation before, so I can hardly blame you for charging in without thinking.” “Haha, thanks for the comfort. But yeah, it was a really stupid move. I should have thought about better ways to do this,” the teen sighs at his own recklessness. “That being said, young man. You better think carefully about what you want to wish for,” Ramsley continues, “This girl. She entered this game because she wants to revive her dead fiancé, no?” “Yeah,” Jack tilts his head, wondering what the butler is trying to say. “If you somehow cleared this game before her and wishes for her removal from this game, what would stop her from entering this game again?” Jack’s eyes widen in surprise. “I apologize if I meddle with your affairs. But I am just concerned about you,” Ramsley gives the teen a polite bow. “No, that’s okay, Rams. You’re absolutely right,” Jack sighs, “Yeah. There’s nothing to guarantee that if I wish for her removal, she would not join this game again…” “Please take your time to consider that problem. For now, let us focus on clearing this mission together tonight,” Ramsley suggests. “Yeah. Thanks for the concern, Ramsley,” Jack smiles. Both of them finally stop walking once they reach the other side of the narrow corridor. “Say, you know what we are supposed to do?” Jack asks. “I am confident that I do,” Ramsley points to the square hole on the wall, “Try looking through that hole.” Jack tilts his head little but looks through the hole nevertheless. Inside the hole, the teen saw a girl with short hair dressed in a shrine maiden dress, pummeling her mallet on to something at the other side of the room. “What is she----?” “Shhhh!!!!!” Ramsley quickly stops the teen from speaking any further and points to the teen’s headphones instead. “Oh right,” the teen whispers to himself and puts on the headphones. The pin-drop silence covers him once more, and the voice of the shrine maiden flowed into his ears.


+I have to impale the priestess…It is my job…as a Shrine Handmaiden…I wonder what it is like…to be impaled…+ “A Shrine Handmaiden?” Jack thought to himself. After a while, that girl simply vanishes. “She’s gone,” Jack simply removes the headphones, “What was all of that about? Suddenly, a new message was sent to his cell phone and Ramsley’s.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Congratulations! You are victorious for the night! Leader: Jack G.Lv. 3 -> 4 Member 1: Ramsley G.Lv. 3 -> 4 “Oh, we cleared the mission?” Jack scratched his head. “It seems the mission wants us to see this girl after all,” Ramsley nodded, “But anyway, I see you started off with 3 Game Levels.” “Oh? I guess so. Why?” “That is one of the biggest advantages. Normally, players start with 2 Game Levels, but you started with 3. Your toll must be very valuable,” said the butler. Suddenly, faint light starts to envelope both of their bodies. “I guess this is it for tonight,” Ramsley smiles, “Once the light fades, you should be awakened at the real world.” “I see. So this is how the game flows,” Jack nods. “Our contact information has been exchanged when we formed the Party Link. If you have time during the day, give me a call and we can chat. Fare thee well, young man.”

Jack’s Bedroom... As the light fades, Jack slowly reopens his eyes. The morning sunlight breaks through the curtains into his room, forcing him to wake up. The teen lazily sits up on his bed, scratching his eyes and yawning. Just a second ago, he was very awake inside that creepy manor. But now that he had just woke up, his physical body does not agree with his mind. Taking a look on himself, he notices that the tattoo on his right arm is still apparent. Maybe he has to cover it with something, just like how Sarin does with a bandage. Thinking about it, Sarin was probably in that manor last night too. He was so caught up by fear and his own recklessness that he completely forgot about it. Could something happen to her? But then again, last night was probably her second mission already. She entered this game one night before him after all. The teen keeps his fingers crossed as he gets ready for school.

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Chapter 4

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Walking down the hill towards the school gate, Jack saw a familiar looking girl, walking down the slope ahead of him. “Hey Sarin,” the teen waved to her. The girl quickly turns around towards him with a surprised look that quickly turned into an unsatisfied look. Before he had a chance to say something, she walked straight up to him and pushed him in the chest. “Where the hell were you yesterday’s afternoon!?” “H…huh?” The teen was surprised at her frustration. “I said where the hell were you!?” the girl interrogates him again with an even more hostile voice. But before she could say anything else, she notices the bandage tying on the teen’s right arm. “No. Don’t tell me you---!?” “Yup, I did,” the teen replies with a straight face, before she could even finish her question. “A…are you mad!?” the girl yells some more, catching the attention of a few students walking around, “Do you have any idea of what you are doing!?” “I do,” Jack replies softly. “Wha!? And you STILL entered the game!?” “Yes I did.” “Why!? Why are you doing this Jack!? What were you thinking!? What wish did you plan to make!?” The teen just kept quiet, shaking his head. “Say something dammit!! Don’t just shake your head like that!” the girl frustratingly pushes the teen’s chest again. “YOU EXPECT ME TO SIMPLY WATCH MY FRIEND GO INTO THAT PLACE AND DO NOTHING?!” the teen yells back, scaring her. Several students stopped walking to look at those two and started gossiping. Jack takes a deep breath, trying to calm down. “Look, I’ve been to the Manor of Sleep myself, Sarin. That place is literally populated with ghosts!” The teen tries to keep his voice down. “Now you’re exaggerating,” the girl frowns, “I’ve only saw two or three ghosts these past two nights.” “Whatever! That place is still dangerous!” the teen argues, “I’m playing this game with you to make sure you get the wish that you want.” The girl was dumbstruck at his words. “…Wait…So…you did not enter this game because you wanted to make a wish?” the girl whispers in disbelief. “Of course not. I joined the game because I am worried about you…,” Jack sighs.


“Oh…Jack…I…,” the girl avoids eye contact in shame, “…I’m…sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled at you like that. I just…I don’t want to lose someone so precious to me any more…,” said Sarin. Jack quickly turns to the girl in surprise. “W…What did you say…?” “You’re a very important friend to me, Jack,” Sarin replies, “We’ve hanged out together for so long. I don’t think I can bear it if you leave me behind too…” “Ah…right…No. I won’t leave you,” Jack assures the girl, “You can count on that.” “…Thanks Jack. And sorry again that I yelled at you,” the girl apologizes sincerely with a bow. “Not a problem,” Jack looks around and notices several more students looking at them, “Let’s just go to class before we attract more crowds.” “…Yeah.” And so, both of them walk down the hill into the school gate.

Shinran High School of Science…Lunch Break… “…So…wanna tell me what happened this morning?” “Huh?” Jack looks at his friend puzzlingly “Don’t you ‘huh?’ me, stupid! What’s with you yelling at Sarin this morning!?” the red-haired girl shouts at the teen, almost screaming. “Ahhgh…You didn’t have to yell,” Jack scratches his head, “We just had a little fight, that’s all.” “Yeah, right,” Natalie rolled her eyes. “How about you start coughing up the truth now, buddy?” the blonde teen sits down besides his friend with a cunning face. “Look, Reion. It’s just a fight. Just forget it already!” Jack grumbles. “Fine. So where the heck were you yesterday!? Didn’t you know lab work’s worth a lot of your final grade!?” Natalie asks some more. “Yeah, I know. Like I care,” the teen spaced out. “Ugh. What’s with you today!?” the girl screamed. “Yeah, man. You ditched half of the classes yesterday. And today you are really not yourself,” said Reion, “Look dude. I’m just worried about you. Natalie too. If you’re having a problem, then tell us!” “Well…It’s just…there’s something I have to take care of, and it’s kinda putting me a little on edge,” Jack replies. “Involving Sarin?” Natalie raises her eye brow. “Maybe,” Jack rolls his eyes, avoiding to answer. “Sounds so much like you,” Reion smiles. “You sure it isn’t an excuse to explain why you ditched yesterday’s lab?” Natalie asks, still doubting. “Nah. I quit my bad teen attitude a long time ago,” Jack sigh. “Looks to me you still have it,” said Konata who happens to walk by.

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“Whatever,” Jack rolls his eyes. “Look, Jack,” Konata sits down next to her friend, “I’ve been through some situation that you can’t really share it with anyone else, and I can tell just who is going through it now.” “…Huh…?” Jack raises his eye brow in surprise. “I don’t know what you got yourself into, but be careful and don’t let it ruin your life,” Konata nudges her friend. “…Right…thanks…?” Jack mutters, trying to understand what Konata was trying to say.

After school…

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Jack packs up his stuff at the locker and stops by the school gate, waiting for the silver haired girl. As he expected, she never leaves the school too late, so it does not take him too much time to wait before she passes by the gate. “Hey,” he waves at her. “Hey,” she responds and stops in front of him, “…I guess tonight we’re going there again.” “Yeah. We’ve started this. We’ll have to finish it,” Jack replies. “Let’s meet up at the manor tonight! After that we can form a party and make stuffs easier,” the girl suggests. “Good idea! I’m actually already in a party with someone else I met last night, but there’s still place for you,” said the teen. “You already met another player? That’s great,” the girl cheers, “My first mission wasn’t really beautiful.” “Did something happen?” “I don’t want to talk about it,” the girl sighs. “Oh. Sorry I asked,” Jack ruffles his hair at the awkwardness. “Anyway, let’s see, I was at the Garden Corridor when the mission was over last night.” “I’m at the corridor. I cleared last night’s mission,” said the teen with a bragging smile. “Yeah, righttttt,” the girl laughs sarcastically. Obviously, she was not convinced. So Jack shows her the mission complete message he got last night. “Wow. You really did it? Now I’m ashamed. Two nights in and I still haven’t advanced,” the girl pouts. “Nah. I was just lucky I got a really nice dude on my party. I was almost killed by a ghost because I did not know how to use my powers,” Jack shrugs. “I see. Sounds about right,” the girl teases. “I’ll pretend I did not hear that,” said Jack, “Let’s meet up tonight and clear the mission together!” The girl simply nods with a confident smile.


Chapter 5 Mission: A woman plays her koto alone silently in her quarters. Follow the tunes and pay her a visit.

Jack’s Skills Noise Crush Quick Jab

Mirage Screen

“A friend?” Ramsley asks, “Was it the girl you talked about yesterday?” “Yeah, she joined this game a day before me. After talking, I thought we should meet up,” Jack replies. “I see. Did she know you joined this game for her?” “Yeah…,” Jack nods, “I still haven’t really thought about what to wish for.” “Take your time. We are at least 3 days away from clearing the game,” Ramsley pats on the teen’s shoulder. “Thanks, Ramsley. Let me call her now.” Jack picks up his phone and dials to the girl. After a few beeps, she picks up the line. “Hello?” “Hey. I see you’re here now. How do we meet?” Jack asks. “Let’s see each other halfway. I’ll wait for you at the Closet Hallway. I’ll hi-light the path you have to take to get here and send it to you,” said the girl, “Then we’ll decipher the mission later.” “Understood,” the teen replies and hangs up. “So what’s the plan, young man?” “She said she’ll wait for us at a rendezvous point,” Jack replies. “Well then, let’s go, shall we?” Ramsley purposed. “Yeah,” the teen replied, looking at the newly sent destination information from Sarin. Both men check the map she sent thoroughly. “Huh, it’s really not too far if we get there from the Hearth Room below,” said Ramsley. “Well then, let’s -----“ As he raises his head up from the cell phone, Jack noticed a familiar figure at the other side of the hall. His eyes widen in disbelief and shock. “What is it, Jack?” Ramsley asked the teen who just spaced out to the front. Looking at the same direction, the butler saw a young man standing quietly at the end of the hall. “Ko…ga?” Jack whispers the figure’s name, “H…how the hell did you…!?” “Is he your friend?” Ramsley asks. “Kind of. I…I need to talk to him,” said Jack, walking towards the supposedly deceased young man. Just when Jack was approaching him, Koga made a turn walks off the corner. “Hey, wait a sec!!!!” Jack follows Koga to the corner, but suddenly everything starts shaking madly, “Woah geez!? Now what!? An earthquake!?”

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“Look out, Jack!!!” Ramsley warns the young man as he noticed the cracks on the ceiling. “Oh crap!!!” Jack quickly rolls forward, dodging the ceiling that fell down just in time. However, as a result, the crumbled ceiling blocks the corridor behind him. “Damn. Hey Ramsley! Are you all right!?” Jack calls the butler. “I’m all right young man! What about you!?” he replies. “I’m fine. But I guess this isn’t good,” Jack looks at the rubbles in front of him. The mess is too big for him to cross over back to the other side, “I don’t think I can go back through here now.” “Don’t worry, I checked the map. You should be able to get back to the foyer through the stairs nearby. Check your map!” Jack opens his cell phone at the advice of the butler and begins to study the map thoroughly. The navigational map retraces a new route for the teen to take in order to reach the Closet Halway. “That’s quite a detour.” “We’ll meet up at the Hearth Room. I know the area around here so don’t worry about me. Take care of yourself, Jack,” said the butler. “Got it! You too Ramsley!” replied the teen. Ramsley’s footsteps echoes further away as Jack calls to Sarin to report her about his situation.

40

[Party Link Severed…] Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st floor…Closet Hallway… “I see. That’s bad,” the girl mutters into the phone. “The map said I can still go back to the Foyer via this path. I’m gonna regroup with Ramsley at Hearth Room before meeting up with you,” said Jack. “Okay. Take care,” the girl hangs up and leans against the walls outside of the Well Room behind her, “That’s weird. An earthquake? I didn’t feel a thing.” Everything was quiet as usual. Only the sound of cold wind blowing can be heard from the cracks of manor’s walls. She was a little disappointed that the reunion was delayed. She has been wandering this manor alone for two nights already and she just could not wait to see other humans. Suddenly, the girl’s eyes widen as she saw a familiar figure standing in front of the door to the Bell Hallway. “…K…Ko…ga?” she whispers his name in disbelief, “How…why are you…---!?” “Jack… in danger…” Koga’s voice whispers into her ears before he slowly vanishes. “Wait! Koga!!!” the girl calls out to him, but it was too late. She could feel tears building up on her eyes, “Why…? Why are you here?” She takes a deep breath and wipes off her tears, trying to stay focused. She wants to talk to him again,


but right now she also has something else to worry about. “Jack…in danger?” she mutters worriedly. After hesitating a little, she finally decides to leave for the Foyer via the Bell Hallway.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 2nd floor…Room with Blind… “Damn, where the hell did you go off to, Koga?” Jack mutters to himself as he strolls down the path further into the corridor. The better question here is what is Koga doing here? Wasn’t he supposed to be dead in the real world? Then why did he appear in this place? Is the manor trying to mess with him? But Ramsley saw the young man too. The teen knew that he is definitely not hallucinating. After some thought, Jack shrugs and continues on since there is nothing else he can do about it. As he passes the Blind Room, the teen startles upon seeing a girl sitting in the middle of the room, blankly facing towards the south walls. She is presumably a high school student, judging from the school uniform she is wearing. Jack gulps loudly, hesitating what he should do. From a thorough inspection, she does not seem to be a ghost. At least her skin is not so pale like the mother and daughter he encountered last night. The teen carefully approaches her from behind. “Um…Hello?” he calls to her. The girl just sits still without turning around, “Hello?” All of the sudden, she instantly turns her head towards him. Her face seems so blank that it freaks the teen out. “Yikes!” Jack staggered backwards, startling. The girl slowly stands up and walks towards the teen, step by step. Suddenly, he notices something shining on her right hand. Looking at it carefully, it appears to be some kind of faintly glowing needle.

[Possession] Explanation Possession occurs when a strong spirit outwits and takes control of a player. The victim of a possession loses control over their bodies, and often time, the possessed victim is not aware of it. There is nothing the victim can do when they are possessed, aside from having other players exorcize spirits possessing them or the possessing spirits decide to leave on their own. “Oh crap, that’s not good,” Jack mutters as he finished glancing through the tutorials while running away from the girl at the same time. Unlike ghosts, she does not hover nor floats around. But she literally sprints at him, making it even creepier.

41


The teen dodges a slash and rolls to the side, putting his headphones on. Two voices were heard, overlapping each other. +It hurts…it…hurts…+ “Please! Someone help me! Get this woman out of me!!!”

42

Apparently, one of the voices must definitely be the body owner’s voice. “NOISE CRUSH!!!” Jack waves his palm and blasts a sound wave at the girl. The wave did not blow her away like it did to the ghostly mother and daughter. However, it does halt her on spot, making her clutch her ears and scream in pain. “Hah. I’m glad this doesn’t harm humans!” Jack sighs with a relief and blasts two more waves at her. She screams even louder before falling to the ground. After she fell, the overlapping voice was no longer heard. A ghostly woman leaves the girl’s body and fades away. “Damn, that didn’t get her. But at least she’s gone now,” Jack removes his headphones and went over to look at the girl, “Hey! You okay?” “……I?...,” the girl slowly opens her eyes, “Where am…I? ...Who are you?” “I’m Jack. I was passing by and I noticed you sitting in this room. It appears that you were possessed, but I already removed it,” Jack explains. “Oh no. Again?” the girl trembles. “Don’t worry. No major harm done,” the teen tries to comfort her, “What’s your name?” “…I’m Cheryl…Thanks Jack,” the girl smiles. “Well Cheryl, I’m going to meet up with my friend. Wanna come with me?” “S…sure. Thanks,” the girl bows a little, “I’ve been in this game for a week now. But I kept getting possessed by that ghost. She just won’t stop following me.” “I see. Well, stick together with me then! I’ll take care of the ghosts if it tries to possess you again!” “Thanks again. I owe you big time,” Cheryl stands up. Both of them then head down the corridor into second floor’s stairs hallway.

[Party Link Formed] Leader: Jack Member 1: Cheryl

G.Lv. 4 G.Lv. 1

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability!! - [Mind Lock]

[Contact Information Exchanged]


Chapter 6 Mission: A woman plays her koto alone silently in her quarters. Follow the tunes and pay her a visit.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Bell Hallway… From the Closet Hallway, she exits the southern door and into the Bell Hallway. Taking her left towards the east, she enters the door at the end of the path and into the Hall with Tatami. Ignoring everything else, she takes the south-most door into the Hearth Room. “Jack!?” she calls to her friend as she slides the door opened. “Oh. You must be Jack’s friend,” a voice was heard from the stairs leading to second floor. Sarin staggers back, readying for battle. “Who are you!?” she interrogates the middle aged man. “Relax. I’m Ramsley, an acquaintance of Jack. You must be the one who sent that traced map to him, are you not?” the butler asks. “Yeah,” Sarin lowers her battle stance, “Say. Jack hasn’t come here yet?” “Not that I’ve saw him since we part,” said Ramsley, “It’ll probably be a while before he comes down to the Foyer.” “I see. I just hope he’s okay,” the girl sighs. “We’ll just have to wait for Jack,” Ramsley smiles and sits on the wooden stairs.

[Party Link Established] Leader: Ramsley G.Lv. 4 Member 1: Sarin G.Lv. 2 The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability!! - [Hastened Delay]

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Stair Hallway… After leaving the Room with Blind, Jack and Cheryl enter the dark Staircase Hallway, a narrow hall with three stairs. As they look deeper into the hallway, both of them can vaguely see a figure standing at the other end of the hall. “There’s someone there,” Cheryl nudges her friend. “Yeah, let’s see who it is,” Jack leads the way, approaching the figure cautiously. As they get closer, the teens could see a clearer face of figure.

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“Koga…,” the teen mutters the name of the figure standing at the north-most part of the hall. “Jack…,” Cheryl nudges the teen, “He’s…he’s a ghost…” “I know. He’s an acquaintance…sort of,” the teen mutters, putting his headphones on. However, to his surprise, no voice echoed from Koga, “That’s weird. I don’t hear anything from him.” “B…But…he’s definitely a ghost. I could just tell!!!” the girl insisted. “Let’s see what he wants,” the teen then takes the lead, moving closer to the ghostly young man. As both of them approaches, Koga moves closer to the corner of the hall, slowly pointing his index finger to the nearby staircase. “There’s something down the stairs?” Jack asks Koga. He simply nods without saying a word. Jack and Cheryl cautiously peek down the stairs. It is dark and empty. Not a single soul can be seen down there.

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That moment, Jack caught a glimpse of blue light radiating from behind him. “MIRAGE SCREEN!!!!” the teen announces and raises an energy barrier that blocks the light from Koga’s palm just in time. “Drats! That was some reflex you have there, boy,” Koga mutters, snapping his finger in regret. “What the heck? You’re not Koga. Who are you!?” Jack interrogates the ghostly young man who looks just like Koga. “My my. Now this is what I called ‘busted’. Haha,” the mysterious ghost emits a pale light and his appearances gradually shift. He has short black hair, and wears long baggy gray pants, showing his six-packs abs. His skin is no longer pale like a ghost, and he no longer looks anything like Koga, “My name is Incognito, a Player Killer.” “Player Killer!?” Jack grits his teeth. “Oh no,” Cheryl whimpered, trembling, “I’ve heard about Player Killers once. They are a bunch of inhumane creatures, mingled among living players and the spirits in this manor. They take out players who are off-guard.” “What the!? Hey! That’s just dirty!” “That’s not all Jack. If…If a Player Killer killed us…We lose 2 Game Levels instead of 1,” Cheryl adds. “My, you did your homework, girl,” the killer smiles confidently, “I have to compliment you though. It’s not often a player survives from me.” “Shut up you dirty bastard!!” Jack scolds the man, “I’m gonna kick your ass right now!!!” Incognito bursts out an insane cackle like a crow. “You? Defeat me?” he taunts, “Don’t disappoint me now, kid!” “No Jack! Let’s run! We can’t fight Player Killers! Not now!!!!” Cheryl warns him, but it was too late. Jack leaps forward, raising his fist for a QUICK JAB. However, the man simply hovers away from the spot, towards the path both of them just took from the Room with Blind. “NOISE CRUSH!!!” Jack waves his hand, blasting an energy wave at the man, but suddenly, black


crow like wings emerges from behind and protects him for the impact. “What!?” Jack was dumbstruck. “Noise Crush eh? That’s a pretty basic skill,” Incognito chuckles, “Is that ALL the advantages you got from your ‘priceless’ toll?” “SHUT UP!!!!” Jack sprints at the man and raises his fist once more. However, spreading his wings, Incognito fires a barrage of razor-sharp black feathers at the teen. “Oh crap!!! MIRAGE SCREEN!!!” An energy barrier momentarily appears again and blocks some of the feathers. However, it did not manage to stop the whole barrage, so the teen got a few cuts as a result. Cheryl screams as she ducks down at the stairs, making her safe from the assault. “Cheryl! You okay!?” Jack turns to his friend. “I…I’m fine! Look out!!!” As Jack turns back to the black winged man, he was already smiling maliciously in front of his face. Before he knew it, a fist rams right into Jack’s stomach, sending him against the other end of the hall. “Hmph. That wasn’t much of a fight,” Incognito chuckles, brushing dirt off his baggy pants. “…Dammit…he’s…strong,” Jack grits his teeth. In middle school, he used to get into lots of fights and being beaten up has been a normal thing for him. In a fair street fight, he is pretty sure he stands a chance of winning 80% of time. But that punch was different. One single hit completely knocks away all of his stamina. “Oh well. I guess this is where we part. Don’t worry though, after I kill you, your Game Levels will be down to two. You’ll still have three more lives to play around.” Incognito’s fist starts radiating an eerie blue aura, “Farewell, Jack.” “Noooo!!!” Cheryl closes her eyes and screams in desperation. Just before the fist touches the teen, a white barrier bounced Incognito’s fist away. Surprised at the barrier, he quickly takes a leap backwards away from the teen. Both Jack and Cheryl are now emanating the white light.

Mission Failed… Another party has completed the task before you. Please try again tomorrow… “Oh ho. You’re one lucky brat,” Incognito cackles once more, “Oh well. Remember MY face and pray you NEVER have to see me again.” Black fog engulfs the man after he finished speaking. After that, a crow simply flies out of the fog and through the round windows at the end of the hall to the outside of the manor. Jack’s consciousness slowly fades away.

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Chapter 7 Real World…Patrick’s Burger Fast Food… “Damn!!! That’s just low!!” Jack curses, banging the table with his fist. The bang was loud enough to catch the attention of several other customers. “Hey, quiet down Jack!” Sarin calms him. “That’s right. You’re lucky you survived from that Player Killer,” Ramsley adds. “That was reckless of you to run at a Player Killer like that,” said Sarin, frowning. “Fine. I’m sorry,” Jack apologizes, “It’s just that…I’m kinda pissed that guy took advantage of me.” “Well, I’m glad we got out of that unscathed,” said Cheryl, sighing in relief. “There’s still something that bugs me though,” said the butler, “If that really wasn’t a ghost of your fiancé, why would he tell you that Jack was in danger?” “I want to know that too,” said Sarin, with a sad voice. Jack then quickly nudges the butler, signaling him to change a topic.

46

“Oh. Ahem. In that case, I guess all we can do is keep on playing and clear it as fast as we can,” said Ramsley. “But now, there’s a problem,” said Sarin, “I had to point this out so we are clear about this. The maximum member we can have in a party is three.” “So?” Jack asks. “Now we have four people. If we form a team of three, then one of us will be left out,” said Ramsley, “Is that what you want to point out, young lady?” “That’s right. And as far as we know, only one party is allowed to clear a mission for that night,” Sarin adds, “You get my point now, Jack?” “You mean one of us will have to go find our own party?” Cheryl asks. “Worse, my dear, we’ll even have to compete with each other to clear a mission,” said Ramsley. “Damn! Isn’t there any way over this!?” Jack curses. “This is my plan, although, I’m not really sure how practical it’ll be,” Sarin starts, “We’ll form two parties of two members. We’ll stick together and fight through any ghosts we encountered.” “What about missions?” Jack asks. “We’ll take turns gaining game levels. For example, if tonight Party A gains a level, Party A has to do every way to help Party B gains the next level before Party A can gain a level again,” Sarin suggests. “Sounds like a plan to me,” said Ramsley. “I’m fine with that,” Cheryl smiles. “Me too,” said Jack. “Then I guess we’re settled,” said Sarin, “This way we’ll ensure we don’t fight each other over the game levels.”


“Well then, with our meeting over, I reckoned it’s time we part,” said Ramsley, standing up, “See you younglings again tonight at the manor.” “Take care, Ramsley,” Cheryl waves good bye to the butler as he left the restaurant, “I have to go too. Thanks again for helping me, Jack.” “Yeah. No problem,” the teen smiles as she leaves closely behind Ramsley. “Maybe we should be leaving too,” said Sarin, picking up her purse. “Yeah,” Jack got up as well. As the teen heads for the exit of the restaurant, his drops opened in shock as he caught a glimpse of a woman with pale white skin and long hair, just like the ghost he encountered on his first, mission, standing at the corner, looking blankly into the restaurant. “W…what’s the matter, Jack!?” Sarin calls out to her friend when she noticed him spacing out with a face filled with fright. The teen snaps and turns toward the girl calling him, “D…did you see that?” “See what?” The girl tilts her head and turns towards the corner Jack was looking. “I think I see a wall,” the girl mutters, folding her arms. “There’s a woman standing…Wha?” However, when Jack turns back to the corner, no one is standing there anymore. “…Hey. You okay?” she asks worriedly, feeling his forehead. “I…I’m fine. I guess,” Jack said, slightly trembling. …I saw it. I’m sure it’s not just my imagination. There’s a ghost standing at the corner…! Jack thought to himself as he follows the silver haired girl out of the restaurant. Both teens stroll up the hill back to their residential area. This time however, they passed Jack’s house first. “I’ll see you at the manor tonight,” the teen waves to her. “…Hey Jack.” “Huh?” “Do you think…do you think we can do this?” “What?” “Clearing this game I mean,” the girl asks with an unconfident look. “Isn’t it a little too late to ask that?” the brown haired teen scratches his head. “Yeah, I guess,” the girl sighs. He thought about teasing her since it’s not often he saw her afraid of something. But something tells him he should not be doing that. At least not now. “I…I wonder if I’ll really get to see Koga again,” the girl mutters.

47


Jack raises his head up to the sky blankly. He really does not know what to say to make her feel better now. So all that came out from his mouth were, “Who knows…?” “…See you at the manor, Jack,” the girl smiles at him sadly before walking back to her mansion. He thought he was over this. But every time she talks about wanting to see Koga, it pains him so much.

48


Chapter 8 Mission: In the hands of a carpenter lies a stone that calls for eternal sleep. Pick it up from the corridor stained in blood.

Jack’s Skills Noise Crush Quick Jab

Mirage Screen

Manor of Sleep 2nd floor…Kimono Room… “Corridor stained in blood? It must be talking about the Stained Corridor. Dang, that’s some way from here,” the blonde shoulder-length haired teen mutters, playing with his cross-shaped earrings, “No complaining I guess. I’m glad I could clear last night’s mission before any one else.” The teen laughs slightly. Seeing as how he is alone in this haunted mansion, it is best to keep up his spirit up so he does not lose his sanity. “Let’s see, I think I should go down the Closet Hallway. That’ll be a little closer to the Stained Corridor,” said the teen as he slides the west door of Kimono Room opened. All of the sudden, he felt some sort of presence emerging from behind him in the Kimono Room. The pressure was intense and hostile. He could tell right away that it is a ghost. The teen quickly slides the door closed, but softly. Before taking the stairs down to first floor, he takes a little peek into the Kimono Room. Through the Kimonos hanging in that room, he could see a woman sitting in front of the cosmetic mirror, settled at the eastern wall of that room. She is slowly brushing her hair, mumbling something completely inaudible to him. “Oh shucks. If I leave that room a few seconds later, she would have seen me!” The blonde teen gulps before cautiously stepping down the stairs into Closet Hallway. After that, he takes the south door and enters the Bell Hallway, safely and unscathed. “Phew! I normally wouldn’t mind talking to a girl, but getting killed by them as a result is definitely not my style,” he laughs again before walking forward, crossing paths with a ghostly man in white outfit. “GEEZUZ!!!!!” the teen quickly back steps from that ghost, dodging a smack just in time, “Grrr. That was close. Well then, time to teach you a lesson not to mess with me, the great Austin!”

New Relic Entry! Two Mandarins Key Description: A key depicting a picture of a two mandarins, walking hand in hand. Latent Ability: Summons a magical naginata to fight against spirits. Duration: 5 Minutes Recharge: 5 Minutes

49


A 2-meters long naginata appears onto the teen’s right hand, shining a magnificent radiance. The man in white covers his eyes from its radiance. Exploiting that, Austin slashes the naginata, splitting the ghost into two. The ghostly man wails in pain and slowly disperses to thin air. “Haha! Now that’s my power!” Austin laughs braggingly. “…Power?” A creepy whisper emerges from behind. The teen quickly turns around towards the voice, only to see another man in white about to strike a hammer on to him.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Stairs Hallway…

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“I see,” Sarin replies through Jack’s phone after he explains his situation, “I guess the Stained Corridor is the only answer. You should go for it since you are so close to that room. Ramsley and I will be waiting for you at the Hearth Room. You clear the mission for tonight then. We’ll meet up tomorrow’s night later.” “Got it. Thanks. And take care,” Jack tells her. “You too,” she replies and hangs up. “What did she say?” Cheryl asks, tilting her head a little. “She said we should just go for this mission and team up with them tomorrow instead since the ‘goal’ is just right below us,” said Jack, showing his friend the map. “I see. Let’s go then,” said Cheryl. “Before we go, can I ask you something?” Jack asked. “Yes?” “Do you…um…have any means of fighting?” “Oh. You’re right. I haven’t showed you my powers yet, have I?” Cheryl giggles and stands back a little distance from Jack. Suddenly, her body starts levitating slightly above ground. A small transparent hammer and a wooden stake appear on her hand.


[Shaman] Tutorial A Shaman is the fighter who can freely alter their fighting style by ‘switching’ their [Spirit Synchro]. Spirit Synchroes occurred when the Shaman can form some sort of bond with a spirit. Once the Shaman synchronizes with the spirit, he / she can use the special powers from that synchro. Each synchro has different unique attacks and bonuses. Switching Spirit Synchro to adjust to the tide of battle is Shamans’ key to victory. But since Shamans has to open their minds and allows spirits to influence to their body, they are extremely vulnerable to [Possession]. A Shaman can have up to 3 spirit synchroes per mission, and can choose their synchroes only before the mission starts.

Passive Abilities: [Sense]

Spirit Synchro Entry!! Shrine Handmaiden Description: A spirit of the Shrine Handmaiden that wanders the halls of the sleeping manor.

Skills:

• [Mobile Action] Slightly levitates the Shaman from the ground and allows him / her to move and attack simultaneously. • <Mallet Strike> Strikes a spirit with the magical mallet. Weak damage, but reliably fast. • <Impale Cracker> Place the Tattoo Stake on enemy then impales them with the stake. Does more damage than a single Mallet Strike. “Woah, a Shaman? That’s rather interesting,” said Jack. “It’s why I was being possessed back when we met though,” said the girl with a sad voice, “Without a party link, I could get possessed any time. I think it happened to me a few times already because some times when I was doing a mission, suddenly everything black out and I’m already awake in the real world.” “I see. Sorry to hear that,” he tries to cheer her up.

51


“That’s okay. Thanks for worrying about me,” the girl smiles and desynchronizes with the spirit, slowly landing back to the ground, “Let’s move.” “Right.” Both teens take the north most stairs that Incognito in disguise as Koga told them to look last night down to the first floor. Taking a u-turn, both teens enter through the small knee-high door entering a narrow hall. As they make a turn at the end of the hall, both of them found themselves inside a narrow corridor with several human-shaped blood stains on the walls. Was it an intentional design or was it something else? What actually happened in this room? Both teens thought of the same question in their minds, although they did not speak it out. “D…Damn, that’s disturbing,” Jack finally broke the silence, even though his voice is still trembling. “Y…Yeah. Let’s just take that stone and get out of here,” Cheryl suggests, taking a step forward. Suddenly, a man in white materializes in front of them in a flash and raises his hands up for a smack. “Look out!!!” Jack pulls the girl towards him, getting her out of the smack safely. The man in white looks at both of them with an unsatisfied look after whiffing an attack. “I guess you want a fight, huh!?” Jack attempts to put on his headphones, but then he realizes another man in white clutching his shoulder from behind.

52

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Bell Hallway… “WAAAHHH!!!!” the teen puts up his hands, attempting to block the smash. However, it took too long for the hammer to hit on him. So he cautiously lowers his arms to look at the ghost. Inspecting the man in white carefully, he noticed several black strings holding that ghost in place. “…What?” Suddenly, those black strings snap the man in white, cutting him into several pieces. “Yikes!!!” The teen jumps as the pieces of that ghostly man slowly disperse to thin air right in front of his eyes. “You okay?” A girl’s voice emerges from the west hall. Austin rapidly turns towards the voice’s source and found a girl with long mildly curly brown hair and beautiful glittering emerald eyes. Perhaps those eyes are her most notable trait, even more so than her hair. “Oh!! That could have not been more perfect. Thanks so much my lady. It must be destiny that we meet each other here. My name is----“ “I guess you’re okay. Later, chump,” the girl simply ignores him and heads for south. “Ah come on, wait a sec!” Austin calls her, “It’s been a while I actually see a player! Can’t we at least be friends?” He pleads. The girl stops walking and sighs while turning her back at him. “I’m in a hurry,” the girl replies with the feeling of burden in her tone.


“Hey, we’re players and we’re on the same mission anyway right? Come on! Let’s do this mission together! I’m Austin! What’s your name, gorgeous?” he asks, trying to flirt with her. “Aphiso. Thanks for the offer but I prefer solo,” the girl turns down the offer and continues her way towards the south exit. “H…Hey. Don’t ignore me like that!!!!” Austin quickly follows Aphiso from behind and taps onto her shoulder. Suddenly, the black strings that snap the man in white dress to pieces reemerge and snatch the blonde teen away from the girl. “Argh crap!? WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!?” Austin struggles to break free from the black strings. Upon a closer inspection, it appears that those black strings are actually hairlines - a VERY long one at that.

Spirit Synchro Entry!! Brushing Woman Description: A spirit of the lonely woman that dwells within the halls of the sleeping manor, waiting for the return of someone.

Skills:

• <Puppeteer> Tie the hairlines around a subject, temporarily holding the targets in place or controlling their actions like a puppet. • <Reflect Cutter> A Chain Attack, branching off <Puppeteer>. After tying the hairlines around the subject, the Shaman can also snap the subject to pieces with the hairlines. • <Comb Shot> Fire three combs attached with demonic hairs that home in at enemies. “Woah. Time out time out! Please, don’t kill me!!!” the blonde teen begs. “Just stay there for the time while I clear this mission,” Aphiso taunts at the boy and leaves the Bell Hallway through the Round Window Corridor into the Grave Courtyard. “…Eh…what’s her problem?” Austin rolls his eyes and continues struggling to break free. The Grave Courtyard is an outdoor area. Snow slowly drifts down from above, covering the tombstones in thick layers of snow. Aphiso approaches the south-most door and attempts to slide it open. However, for some reason, it would not budge at all. The door was stuck as if it is a part of the wall itself. She takes a few steps back away from the door and launches the demonic combs at the wooden door, but all of them just simply bounced off.

53


It appears there is some kind of an unseen force that keeps this door from opening. “Damn. A player must have already reached this room,” she checks the map, noticing that behind this door is the stained corridor. With not many choices left, she simply leans by the sliding door, hoping the players in there are defeated so she can enter.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Stained Corridor… Cheryl hits the man in white’s hand that was tapping on Jack’s shoulder with her mallet, making him cry in pain and release the grip. “Thanks! That was close!” Jack quickly gets away from the ghost. Cheryl quickly rests her back on Jack as he puts on his headphones. Although the voices echo together at the same time, it is desynchronized enough for him to tell that there are two ghosts in this room. “Two of them!” said Jack, holding his headphone tightly. “You take care of that one behind me, I’ll take that one!” said Cheryl, hovering at the man in white before her. “I got it!!” Jack replies and holds the headphones with both of his hands, “Let’s see if I can get some power out of you!!” +The secret…of the Shrine Carpenters…lies with me~~~~+

54

Original Skill Entry!

(Director’s Cut)

Detonate Smash Crafted from: A Shrine Carpenter Description: Release an explosion upon a fist contact with a spirit. Does medium damage and provides decent repel effect. The man in white tries to smack the boy, but he was too slow. Jack bends to the side, dodging the smack with ease and counters with the DETONATE SMASH. The punch creates an explosion and pushes the shrine carpenter backwards. After that, Jack raises his palm at the man and blasts some more NOISE CRUSH from his palm. Jack’s constant assault allows him to keep the man in white at a good distance, and it helps him that the ghost does not seem to have any long-range attacks at all too. Meanwhile, Cheryl hovers away from the other man in white, dodging his smack just barely. The girl counters by knocking her mallet onto the man’s head. It does not seem to do much damage, but it slightly dazes him. Exploiting that, the girl quickly places her stake onto the ghost’s forehead and knocks her mallet onto it. The stake releases an impact that pushes the man away and makes him cry out in agony. “Okay. I think I’m getting a hang of this. I should try to keep this up!” the girl inhales deeply, trying to calm her anxiety.


The man tries to regain his balance and approaches the girl again. Seeing that, Cheryl repeats the sequence one more time. She dodges the first smack, and then hits the man’s head with her mallet. The strike dazes him just like before. So she places the stake onto his head and smashes it with her mallet once again. This time, the man fell to his knees and disperses away to thin air. “I’m done!” Cheryl returns to the ground and looks for her friend. “Hold on! I’m almost done…TOO!!!” Jack dodges another smack from the spirit then punches right into his face. The DETONATE SMASH sends the spirit flying backwards to the floor. This time, he simply lies down there as his body disperses to thin air. “Phew! That was pretty intense,” Cheryl sighs in relief when she realizes that her friend is safe. “Yeah. I’ve been into street fights before, and honestly, this place has NOTHING like it,” Jack mutters, wiping the sweat off his forehead. Once the man in white fades away, a small stone was seen lying on the floor right on the same spot. “This must be the Sleeping Stone the mission was talking about,” Cheryl ponders, approaching the stone. Suddenly, a new message was sent to both teen’s cell phone just when the girl picks up the stone.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Congratulations! You are victorious for the night! Jack G.Lv. 4 -> 5 Cheryl G.Lv. 1 -> 2 “Only one game level? That was close,” Jack mutters. “Yeah. I have no idea how it happened too. Maybe something happened to me when I was being possessed,” the girl trembles, “When I realized that, I was really scared.” “Don’t worry! In a party you probably won’t have to worry about being possessed any more for a while!” said Jack. As he finishes, pale radiant light envelopes both of their bodies, taking them back to the real world.

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Chapter 9 The next day…Real World…

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“Jack at level 5, Cheryl and Sarin at 2, and I’m 4,” Ramsley counts the level of the team, “I guess Jack really is going to clear this game in a jiffy after all.” “Yeah. You’re pretty good, Jack,” Cheryl nods in agreement. “I didn’t do much,” Jack scratches his head, flattered, “If Ramsley didn’t help me in the first night, I probably won’t even be sitting here. And if Cheryl didn’t help me from that man in white, I’d probably get smashed on the head as well.” “Well, you helped me from that ghost possessing me, so I guess we are square,” Cheryl smiles. “You are so modest, young man. I like that. It reminds me of my young master,” Ramsley chuckles amusingly. “Young master? Oh yeah. You’re a butler, right?” Jack asks. “That’s right. Although, he is currently not present at our mansion right now,” Ramsley replies with a sad face. “Why so?” Sarin wondered, listening attentively. “He lost someone precious to him so he went to look for her,” the butler explains. “Oh? So, she’s not yet dead, right?” Cheryl asks out of curiosity as well. “Yes, I think so. One day I saw him had a fight with her. Both of them are deeply in love and I don’t think I’ve ever saw them having a fight like that before,” Ramsley explains, “After that day, I found a letter left for him in the dining room where both of them usually had dinner together. I’m not sure what the content of the letter was about because I didn’t take the liberty to look at it. But later that day, my young master packs a small bag pack and leaves the mansion after reading it. Before leaving, he told me to take care of the manor while he is gone.” “I see. He hasn’t return after that?” Jack asks. “Yes. I guess that was the reason I joined Game of Despair after all,” Ramsley chuckles some more, “It’s been over a year ever since he left and he only sent me a few notices telling me that he’s all right.” “Wait. So you joined that game to wish that he comes back home?” Sarin asks. “That’s one way to put it,” Ramsley smiles, “It sounds rather over exaggerating to do something this rash, but my young master is everything I had. I’d do anything for him.” “I see. You must love him so much,” said Cheryl, moved by his story. “Two years ago, he appeared in front of me, an old man who just recently lost all of his investments from betrayal. My young master said he wants someone he can trust to take care of his newly created mansion. It was rather funny, but since I was desperate and I have nothing more to lose, I took his offer. I never regretted that,” Ramsley explains some more, “Now I feel old reminiscing so much.” “Nah. Your story is cool. You’re a very lucky man,” Jack nods.


Ramsley simply smiles at the teen. “I asked him later on why he picked me – the old homeless man that is about to rot on the street. He simply smile and said ‘I can tell that you are a sincere fellow’. To this day, I’m still not sure why he thought that.” “Say, how is that mansion? Is he from a rich family?” Sarin asks some more. “I’m not exactly sure. He told me not to ask about his ‘origins’ – that’s how he puts it – but all I know is life at the mansion is pretty much a paradise on earth. You can think of me as his ‘Alfred’ if you know what I mean,” Ramsley laughs at his own joke. “Sounds rather mysterious. I like guys like that,” Cheryl giggles. “Well, I hope you get through this game and get your young master back!” Sarin cheers. “Yeah! I’ll be rooting for you too!” Cheryl adds. “Thanks, my dears,” Ramsley smiles, “Well then. That should be all for our meeting today. Take care of yourself on your way home!” “You too Ramsley!” said Jack and the two girls. After that, all of them head back to their own residences.

Meanwhile…Somewhere in the Manor of Sleep… “Incognito reporting in, sire,” the man with crow wings kneels down in front of a huge throne, “I managed to decapitate three players yesterday. One of them was ‘deleted’ as well.” “Good,” said the man on the throne, “Humans are so weak. They fall so easily, just like flies.” “With more of them falling like this, it shouldn’t be too long before the Rift is strong enough to cross ‘The Horizon’,” said Incognito, smiling in satisfaction. “Indeed. With more souls fed to the Rift like this, soon our goal will come true,” said the mysterious man on the throne. “Well then. I shall continue to reap more players,” said Incognito. “By the way, Incognito, anything else interesting to report to me?” the mysterious man asks. “I beg your pardon, I am not sure what you mean, my lord,” Incognito bows down. “Any sign of ‘it’ any where?” the man on the throne asks some more. “…Not that I’ve seen any signs of ‘it’, sire,” Incognito replies. “I see. You are dismissed.” “Yes sir, my lord.” Incognito flutters his wings and lifts himself off to the night sky. The man on the throne slowly stands up and walks for a nearby window, overlooking the Manor of Sleep. “…I see you would not fall to my hands easily now…would you…?”

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Mission:

Jack’s Skills

Across the room where the lone koto plays lies a corridor with round window. Touch the window to proceed.

Noise Crush Quick Jab

Mirage Screen Detonate Smash

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Stained Corridor…

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“…Where the hell would that be?” Jack scratches his head, wondering. “Um, Jack. Can we think about it after we get out of this room?” Cheryl asks, looking at the stains on the corridor. There is no ghost nor spirits in the area, but the human shaped stains on the wall are extremely disturbing. “…Yeah, that’s a great idea. Let’s just get out of here first,” Jack agrees. The teen then walks over to the north-most door and opens it, leading him into the Grave Courtyard, covered in thick snow. In the middle of the courtyard, both of them spotted a girl heading towards the door to the other side. “Oh…hey? A player…?” Cheryl mutters. “You’re right. Hey~~~~!!!!” Jack calls to the girl walking in the courtyard and waves for her. The girl responded to the call and turned around towards them. Jack and Cheryl quickly approach the girl eagerly. “Glad to see another player!!” Jack laughs. “…I swear this place is getting less scary with more people running around like this,” the girl mutters, as if complaining. “Wanna join our party? More heads oughta be better than one!” Jack suggests. “I don’t want to run around in big groups. I’m trying to clear this game as soon as possible,” the girl replies. “Come on! If we work together, we’ll clear the game faster that way! I’m on my way to---.” “No thanks. I’m going solo since I kind of have an idea where I should go,” the girl turns down the offer once more and continues moving forward. “Hey, wait a sec! You have an idea? Share with us!” “Figure it out yourself. We’re supposed to be competing to clear this mission, remember?” the girl sighs. “There you are, lady!!!” a blonde teen kicks the double door to the north opened. “Ugh. You again? Just how many more boys with weird hair colors do I have to deal with?” she mumbles, shaking her head. “What do you mean weird hair color!? Blonde is a natural color!!! You see, there are so many blondes out there, baby! I’m not sure what you mean by weir-----------AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!” Austin cries as he felt his legs being tied up by something and hanged him upside down with one of


the beams. “H…Hey, let him go!!!!” Cheryl scolds the emerald-eyed girl. “Yeah! Listen to that cute girl and let me go please. Pretty please, gorgeous!!” The blonde teen pleads with teary eyes. “I don’t have time for this,” Aphiso grunts, “I’m only two more levels before I can clear this game. Once I do I’m outta here so you guys have one less competitor.” “Easy for YOU to say. I’m two levels away too, dammit!” Jack snaps back at her, raising his palm at her, “Don’t make me do this! Let him go!!!” “…You guys really need some lessons, don’t you?” The girl shakes her head and swings her hand at Jack. Suddenly, several hairlines sprouts from the ground and ties up the teen’s arm. “What the!?” Jack exclaims and attempts to launch a NOISE CRUSH, but the hairlines jerk his arm away, completely redirecting the NOISE CRUSH elsewhere, “Argh! Dammit! That’s cheating!!!!” “Stop this! We’re not supposed to be fighting!!” Cheryl yells at Aphiso and Jack. “Then get out of my way and just let me clear the mission!” Aphiso swings her arm and commands the hairlines to drag Jack away. However, the teen fights against the hairs and holds his ground. “I guess there’s no avoiding this!!!” Jack raises his other hand and blasts the NOISE CRUSH directly at the girl. Aphiso bends away and dodges the wave before firing three demonic combs that rams straight into the teen’s stomach. “Ugh!” Jack falls to his knees. The impact was not as strong as Incognito’s punch, but enough to make the teen falls. “Jack!!!” Cheryl calls her friend worriedly. Suddenly, some more hairlines sprouts from the ground and ties up the male teen’s legs, preventing him from standing up. “That’ll teach you not to mess with me,” Aphiso pouts. “Hey lady, I know we’re not exactly in good terms with this. But can you at least put me down? After that we can go have a nice coffee and we’ll---oof!!!!!” Another demonic comb rams at Austin’s stomach, making him stop. “Later, folks,” Aphiso brushes her hair and continues on to the north. Suddenly, a bolt of light was shot from behind the double doors Austin made his grand enter and burns all of the hairlines, holding Jack and Austin. “What the!?” Aphiso quickly jumps backward in surprise. A silver haired girl lunges out from the darkness in a flash and swings a huge hatchet, about 80 centimeters in length, at Aphiso. The brunette dodges the slash swiftly and jumps backwards away some more with a mid-air flip. “Oh, Sarin!?” Jack calls out to the girl who just arrives, “What are you doing here? I thought we’re sup-

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posed to meet up at the Hearth Room!” “I wondered what took you guys so long to contact us so I came to see you guys,” Sarin replies, hanging the hatchet on to her shoulders.

Spirit Synchro Entry! Hidden Face Man Description: A spirit of a man covering his face that wanders the empty halls of the Manor of Sleep, with his trusty bloody stone hatchet.

Skills:

• [Speed Boost] Gains a boost in running speed. • <Smashing Cut> Strikes the opponent with the stone hatchet in hand. Depending on the strength of the target, the attack could crush a parry. If the slash is a clean hit, the opponent is repelled back.

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“Hmph, cutting my hair lines means nothing----!?” All of the sudden, a bolt of light flies by, scrapping her right hand and halting her from controlling the hairlines. “Looks like we made it in time after all,” the old butler slightly moves up his glasses and walks out from the same path Sarin entered. “Why you---!?” Jack quickly blasts another sound wave at the girl. Aphiso quickly bends away, dodging the blast. “Look, lady. If we players keep fighting like this we’re not going to advance!” said Jack, trying to be calm as much as possible, “We have absolutely no reason to fight against each other like this!” “Yeah. Everyone wants to clear this game, but if we keep this up, all of us would end up dead!” Cheryl suggests. “So what do you proposed we do about this?” Aphiso grunts. “How about all of you die here now?” Suddenly a huge bolt of thunder fell down to the snowfield, blasting everyone against the pillars that hold up the roof. “What…what the…hell?” Jack grunts as he looks for the bolt’s source. A white haired man with huge bat wings slowly descends down amongst the smoke in the middle of the courtyard. “My. That’s even easier than I thought. Don’t you know the more players group together, the easier it is for Player Killers like me to smell you? Haha!!” the bat winged man cackles maniacally.


Chapter 10 Mission: Across the room where the lone koto plays lies a corridor with round window. Touch the window to proceed. “P…Player Killer?” Ramsley whispers, looking at the man with bat wings. “Player Killers…other than Incognito!?” Jack grits his teeth in rage, “Dammit…How many of you guys are there!?” “You ran into Incognito, son? That’s some shit luck you have there,” the bat winged man chortles amusingly as he counts the number of players lying on the ground, “Let’s see there. One…two… three… Woah? Six of you? Wow, I’m lucky today!” “Damn. That’s a nasty trick!” Aphiso curses, trying to stand up. “Well, I guess it’s time to wrap things up for today!” the mysterious winged man spreads his wings and six more thunderbolts strikes down upon all players, burning them to a crisp instantly. “AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! NOW THAT’S SATISFYING!!!!” the man laughs maniacally and soars off the courtyard into the dark sky.

Players Incapacitated

Jack Sarin Cheryl Ramsley Austin Aphiso

G.Lv. G.Lv. G.Lv. G.Lv. G.Lv. G.lLv.

5 2 2 4 3 5

-> -> -> -> -> ->

(3) (0) (0) (2) (1) (3)

Once the Player Killer has left the area, a young teen wearing a blue cap takes a peek into the Grave Courtyard from the door to the Stained Corridor. “Damn. So that’s a Player Killer,” the teen mutters, “If I go out there a little sooner, I’d probably be fried too.” He leaves the room and inspects the corpses of the players that are turned into ashes. All of them gradually break down into dust and fly away into the air. “I feel bad for these guys, but the show must go on,” he mutters to himself and heads to the north door into the Bell Hallway. As he steps in side, he quickly ascends the stairs to the 2nd floor and slides the Kimono Room door opened. There are several Kimonos hanged up around the room, barring a clear view of the whole room. “Doesn’t look nice,” the young man mutters and checks his map. The goal of this mission is just to the

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south of this room, “Let’s get this over quick.” The young man takes a turn and head towards the south sliding door. However, as he reaches out to it, he felt numeral cuts suddenly emerging on to his right hand. “What the!?” he quickly pulls his arm back to himself as he notices blood slowly dripping off his right arm. Turning around, he found a woman in kimono with long hair standing in the middle of the room, turning her back at him. She slowly turns around to face him, making him gasps in shock. Her face is pale and her eyes show malicious murder intent. The red lipstick painted all over her lips only make her face even more horrible and scarier. “Oh shit!!!” the young man quickly pulls out his cell phone from his pocket. The phone eminates a bright light as it shifts its shape into an antique camera.

[Camera User] Tutorial A Camera User is the strongest fighter class who can turn their cell phones into Camera Obscura and exorcize spirits by taking their photos. Damage of each shot differs with the stances of the shots taken and special upgrade lens used. Lens are scattered throughout the manor.

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Passive Abilities: [Filament] [Alarm]

[Shutter Chance] Tutorial Often times when spirits are about to attack, they will be open to a [Shutter Chance] (the ‘Capture Circle’ will turn red). Taking photos at this time increases the power of a Camera Obscura’s shot by x1.2 and adds a free repel effect. This effect is very good for halting spirits that are coming too close to the Camera User.


[Fatal Frame] Tutorial Fatal Frames are Camera User’s special attack, performed by stringing several Camera Obscura shots at the ‘right’ moment into long chains of combo. Fatal Frame instances differ from spirit to spirit, and it is not possible to tell by normal means unless the [Alarm] passive ability activates. But upon a successful Fatal Frame, the same spirit will be completely opened for another Fatal Frame. Power up lens can be used during this instance to further boost damage. The camera users can keep on chaining his/her shots until the spirit is exorcized or repelled off the capture circle. Fatal Frame Combo is potentially the strongest attack in the Game of Despair. The young man quickly aims at that woman and begins charging the camera’s power, but she quickly hovers away from his capture circle. “Dammit! Stay still!” he tries to follow her motions, moving the camera accordingly. When he was about to tap the shutter, she quickly floats up, effectively dodging the focus. “Damn!” the young man lowers his camera and rolls away from her rip. However, as he gets up, he found himself stuck in the middle of the hairline network. “God, no!!!” he tries to shake free of the hairs, but the struggle only made them stronger. The ghostly woman slowly dives at the young man, raising her right hand. Her nails are long and sharp. A slash from her would probably tears you skin apart. Suddenly, a bright light flashes from the north part of the room, blowing the ghostly woman away as well as breaking the hair network, binding the young man. “Um…y…you okay?” a girl with orange hair was seen standing at the northern door. “Woah thanks! That was close!” said the young man, trying to get up. The woman screams in frustration, freaking both teens out. She quickly approaches the girl that just entered the room with a distorted raging face. “No you don’t!!!” the young man taps his shutter at her. The shot was taken while she raises her hand for a smack. As a result, she was completely vulnerable to a Shutter Chance. While the woman is staggering, the orange haired girl aims her camera and taps the shutter once more. This time the woman screams in pain before slowly vanishing away. “Is she dead?” the girl pants in fright, looking at the filament on her camera. “She didn’t disperse. That means she’s not exorcized yet,” said the young man, “But since the filament is no longer shining, we probably won’t have to worry about her for a while.” “Yeah,” the girl flips her camera, shifting it back to cell phone form and keeps it into her pocket. “Oh, that’s right. Thanks! Owe you big time! I’m Greg, a paranormal investigator. Nice to meet you,” the young man introduces himself.

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“I’m Teal. High School Junior of Shinran School of Science,” the girl introduces herself as well. “The goal of this mission is just beyond this room. What do you say we form a party and clear this mission together?” Greg suggests. “S…Sure,” the girl smiles shyly, “I’m a little relief to see some other players finally.” “Me too,” the young man laughs.

Party Link Formed Leader: Greg Member 1: Teal

G.Lv. 4 G.Lv. 3

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Boost Sensitivity]

[Contact Information Exchanged]

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Both teens exit the Kimono Room through the south knee-high door. The hallway in front of them is made up of three planks lined up parallel to each other, with some spaces among them. Despite the look, the planks are actually very sturdy and could easily hold the weight of both teens. “Let’s be careful,” Greg suggests, “I’ll take the lead. You watch the rear.” “I…I’m on it!” said Teal, slowly following her partner. Both teen slowly move forward the hallway until they reach then area right above the Round Window Corridor. Both teens carefully walk along the beams and avoid looking down below. “It’s only the second floor, but it’s pretty high up here,” Teal comments. “Yeah. Let’s just get over this quick----“ Greg stops when he notices a girl with long hair in a shrine maiden outfit standing on the small ledge with the round window. His cell phone starts shaking, indicating hostile intention from the girl. “Oh crap, this is not good,” Greg holds on to a vertical beam nearby and takes out his camera. “We…we’re supposed to fight her here!?” Teal cries, trembling at the thought, as if the height up here is not already bad. “I’ll try to get her attention! You hurry to the goal! If we managed to touch the goal, then we might not have to defeat her!” Greg tells the girl. “Oh…okay!” Teal replies and looks around for a path to take. There might be several beams, but most of them has already broken down. The only way she can reach the goal point without jumping is through the ledge Greg is standing. The long haired handmaiden slowly hovers at Greg, with her mallet and stake in hand. “Now, Teal!” Greg snaps a photo, repelling the girl away just when she raises her mallet up for a Shutter Chance. Teal quickly skips to the nearby plank and hurries across it towards the goal point.


Upon touching the end of the corridor, a new message was sent to their cell phones as their bodies began to radiate a faint white light.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Congratulations! You are victorious for the night! Greg G.Lv. 4 -> 5 Teal G.Lv. 3 -> 4 “Great job!!!” Greg exclaims, stepping back from the handmaiden’s mallet just in time. However, the teen missed a step and lost his balance off the plank, “SHIT!” “Greg!” Teal cries as she saw her friend catching onto the ledge. “Grrr, this is just bad!!!” Greg grits his teeth, trying to climb back up. The handmaiden slowly hovers down to the teen’s level and gives him a sadistic grin. She places her stake onto the teen’s worn out hand and raises her mallet. Greg takes a deep breath then let go off the plank. Just as he was about to touch the floor, his body vanishes and is taken away from the dream world along with the orange haired girl.

Real World…8 AM in the morning… The young teen got up, gasping in extreme exhaustion. His tank top is drenched in sweat from the horrible nightmare. “God. Is that what it feels like to die for a split second?” Jack puffs and looks up to the ceiling in relief that it is over, “Damn! That’s dirty, blowing from above like that.” The sensation when the thunderbolt strikes his body still lingers. He remembers his whole body shaking madly and burning before his consciousness fades. Jack sighs, trying to forget the sensation. As he drops his legs to the bedroom floor, an extremely sharp pain emerges from his tattoo. “ARGHHH!!! GOD!!!! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!?” the boy fell to the floor rolling and yelling in extreme agony. The pain lasts for a while before it subsided like nothing happened. Taking a small glimpse at the tattoo, his eyes widen as he notices that not only its shape changed, but it also becomes bigger.

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Chapter 11 Day time…Shinran High School of Science…

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The day progresses just like how it normally would. Except today, Jack did not see Sarin in the classes. He tried calling her in the morning, but she said she’s not feeling well so she is not coming. On an average day, Jack felt that the classes are extremely boring and difficult to stay awake. With things about the game going on his mind now, he finds it even harder to concentrate. After school, he turned down the offer from his friends to go to the movies and immediately rushed to Sarin’s place. He hits the bell and a butler answers his call just like before, except this time he was politely guided into the mansion. Her mansion is big and decorated in a renaissance fashion with a combination of modern designs, creating a remarkable estate of art. “Hey,” the girl calls to her guest, who is standing in the middle of the foyer hall, from the double stairs top. “Hey. You feeling better now?” he asks her. “Not really.” From his position, the teen could just tell that she is trembling. “Let’s go to the Study. We can talk there,” said Sarin, guiding her friend. “Did the tattoo spread?” the teen asks, noticing that she is wearing a long brown stocking, covering her legs. “Yeah. You too?” she asks back. Jack simply nods as a reply. Both of them sat down on the table quietly. “Did you call Ramsley and Cheryl?” she asks. “Not yet. I’m worried about you so it did not occurred to me,” the teen replies. Her current game level is zero. If she falls one more time, it means her life. “To be honest, Jack. I’m scared,” the girl finally admits, “After I woke up this morning, I felt the pain from the tattoo spreading. It hurts so much. So much that I thought I was about to die.” “Yeah, I know,” the teen nods. “Hey. What do you think it’s like to die?” the girl asks. The teen simply remains quiet, secretly gritting his teeth. “Do you think…I’ll see Koga when I die?” she asks some more, “If that’s the case…then…then maybe…” “DON’T even think about it!” the teen smashes his fist on to the table, freaking the girl out. “You’re not dying. NOT on my watch!” said the teen, “I promised you, didn’t I? I’ll protect you.” “Open your eyes, Jack! Didn’t you see the power of the Player Killer!? I thought you even fought against one yourself!!!!” Sarin asks, “You of all the people should already have an idea of their extent!”


The teen simply hushes. She is absolutely right. They don’t stand a chance against the Player Killers. One punch from the Incognito completely disarms him. There is nothing to guarantee his safety if he has to fight a Player Killer again. “I appreciate your kindness, Jack. Thanks for checking up on me,” said the girl with a sad smile, “It’s getting late. You should go home and take a rest for tonight. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.” He left her mansion silently. No matter how hard he tries to come up with something, the answer is already clear: Unless Sarin clears a mission tonight, she would constantly be in danger of dying. Clenching his fists tightly at his powerlessness, Jack runs straight forward as fast as he can. Not because he wants to run away from this nightmare, but because he does not have a better method of getting the stress out of his mind. Sarin slides her curtain opened slightly, just in time to see Jack running off somewhere. “…Was I too hard on him…?” she whispers to herself, “Great job, Sarin. He’s trying to comfort you, and you chased him away.” The silver haired girl sits down on her bed, sighing. “…Am I…Am I really going to die…?” “I promised you, didn’t I? I’ll protect you.” The teen’s voice echoes in her head, making her heart races. What is this she is feeling? There is no way it can be love. She loves Koga. Jack is simply a friend she felt that she can rely on. So why is her heart racing? “What the hell am I thinking?” she places her right arm onto her forehead, “I love Koga. Why am I even thinking about this? Wasn’t he the reason I joined this game in the first place?” To shake away the thoughts on her mind, she decides to take a small shower. She strips off her dress and turns on the shower, letting the cool water run along her fair skin. The water rinsed off the sweat and dirt, and surprisingly as well as the stress and worries. Once she’s done, she dries herself with the towel then her hair with a smaller one. Looking into the mirror at the sink, she sighs a little, thinking about what she might see tonight. She turns on the faucet to wash her face, but as she raises her face up again, she saw a reflection of a man in white wearing a court hat standing right behind her. “KYAAHHH!!!” she screams in fright and turns around. However, no one was there. She looks left and right one more time to make sure before stepping out of the bathroom. It is indeed empty. There is only her inside the bathroom. Was it just her imagination? Was she too tired? Whatever the reason, it is enough to send tears down her cheek in fear, as cries herself to sleep.

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Mission: The Tattoo Priestess is awake and hates seeing intruders walking in her grounds. The Priestess will return to her Chambers when the dawn breaks.

Jack’s Skills Noise Crush Quick Jab

Mirage Screen Detonate Smash

Special Rule: All players (parties) that survive until the dawn breaks win.

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Grave Courtyard…

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The six players stand up, looking at each other awkwardly. “How about we settle down and talk?” Ramsley suggests, “It’s not like we have to compete with each other for tonight.” “I’m cool with that,” Austin makes a carefree smile. “Do what you want,” Aphiso hugs her arms, frowning. “If we’re gonna talk, let’s go to some where that won’t be freezing us,” Jack suggests. “Well then, let’s go to the Hearth Room, shall we?” Ramsley suggests again. The group agrees and heads north into the Round Window Corridor.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep…Round Window Corridor… “The mission doesn’t sound too hard,” Greg mutters, looking at his cell phone, “All we have to do is stay away from the Tattoo Priestess.” “That sounds pretty simple,” Teal sighs in relief. “Well, why don’t we find a place to sit and wait until all this is over?” Greg suggests, “Come on! I’ll go meet up with you in the Kimono Room.” The teen raises his head up, looking at the orange haired girl who is still stuck on the second floor’s ledge. “Oh…Okay…Can you like…um…go on ahead…?” Teal asks. “…Huh? Why?” “Because I’m wearing a skirt,” the girl blushes. “Oh…Oh…Sorry,” Greg quickly faces away from the beams, “I’ll…I’ll be in the Closet Hallway then.” “Okay. Be careful!” “You too!” Once Greg starts walking away, Teal finally starts moving along the planks, heading back to the Kimono Room. Suddenly, the double door slides opened, startling the girl. “Aaaaahhh!!!”


The girl misses her step and lost her balance off the plank. “Teal!?” Greg quickly turns around to see the girl about the fall of the plank just in time. “Aaaahhhh!!!!” “I GOT YOU!!!! OOOFFF!!!!” A blonde teen suddenly runs in, trying to catch the falling girl. However, he trips over a raised wooden plank on the floor and fell down, cushioning the girl’s fall instead of gracefully catching her. “A…Aowww…” Teal caresses her hips, impacted from the fall. The teen lying faced down underneath her cushion her fall tremendously. If he was not there, perhaps she would have broke her hip bones. “T…Thanks…,” the orange haired girl thanks the blonde teen, lying under her hips. “It’s okay, my baby. I just got a little worked up from seeing an angel falling down from the planks. Of course my handsome heroic hearts told me to courageous run in and save my des----“ “Oh shut up!!!” the brunette with emerald eyes came by and kicks the blonde teen who keeps on spouting nonsense. “Yeah, don’t you dare think of doing anything perverted to her!” another girl with short brown hair quickly pulls Teal up from Austin’s back. “Sicko,” the silver haired girl hugs her arms and looks at the blonde teen discriminatingly. “…Ugh…come on girls, I just saved her life! Give me some reward!!!” Austin cries, trying to get back up standing. “I guess we should thank you,” Greg approaches the blonde teen and helps him up. “Ugh…would have been better if it came from the girl,” Austin sniffs. “I’m Greg. And this is Teal,” the young man introduces himself and the orange haired girl his partner. “I guess we should introduce ourselves too,” Cheryl suggests. The group takes turn introducing each other as well as exchanging contact information while strolling towards the Hearth Room. “Well! All we have to do is simply wait for morning to come, right?” Austin asks everyone to confirm. “That’s right. If we all manage to survive until then, we all will get the Game Levels,” Ramsley replies. “So, we should just stick together, right? That would probably be safer since we have more people,” said Cheryl. “I disagree,” Aphiso interrupts. Strangely enough, no one was surprised, “Don’t you guys remember what that Player Killer said last night?” “Don’t you know the more players group together, the easier it is for Player Killers like me to smell you? Haha!!” “I guess you got a point,” said Jack, “I still don’t like the idea of walking around this place alone though.” “No one likes it,” Greg added.

69


“I don’t want to draw the attention of Player Killers, so I’ll just volunteer to leave. No offense guys,” said Aphiso. “Are you sure you want to go alone? It’s dangerous for a girl you know?” Austin asks, smiling cheekily. “I’ll manage,” she frowns at him. “Come on! Why do you so insist on going solo?” Austin scratches his head. Aphiso sighs, “I enter this game because I thought my sister was dead.” “You…thought?” Sarin asks. “She was stressed over her exams and studies so she committed suicide. It was about two days later that I acknowledged the existence of this game and thought about bringing her back,” Aphiso explains, “However, I’m not sure if it’s called ‘miracle’ or ‘the gods were fooling with me’, but my sister wakes up one day like nothing happened.” “You mean…she woke up after you entered the game?” Cheryl asks further. “I felt as if ‘time’ rewind itself. The day she woke up was exactly the same day she committed suicide. No one realized that and they said I was crazy,” she folds her arms, “The funny thing was that while time rewinds my sister’s death, it did not rewind this curse. I still have the tattoo on my back as the very proof that my sister once died.”

70

“That’s definitely weird…,” said Greg, writing something onto his small notebook. “Greg? What are you writing?” Teal asks. “Oh, writing her story down,” Greg smiles nervously, “I do researches on occults and paranormal activities. This is definitely interesting.” “That’ll be all the interviews you get from me,” said Aphiso, heading towards the north exit. “Hey! Wait a sec! I’ll go with you!!” said Austin, following closely behind her. “Which part of the ‘I’m going alone’ do you not understand?” she sighs. “Hey~! It’s not like you’ll clear this game any faster doing it alone!” Austin smiles. Aphiso shakes her head, “Fine. Do what you want. Just don’t get in my way.” “Yes ma’am!!” Austin laughs and turns toward the rest of the party, “Sorry guys! I guess this is where we part! Two players leaving should draw less attention from the Player Killers!” “Take care, both of you!” Ramsley wishes them luck as they leave the Hearth Room.

[Party Link Established] Leader: Aphiso G.Lv. 3 Member 1: Austin G.Lv. 1 The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Hastened Delay]


Chapter 12 Mission: The Tattoo Priestess is awake and hates seeing intruders walking in her grounds. The Priestess will return to her Chambers when the dawn breaks.

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hearth Room… “Well, I guess it’s just the six of us now,” Jack mutters. “We shouldn’t stick close to each other. Regarding what that Player Killer said, maybe we really should split up,” said Greg, “I’m going to explore this manor a bit.” “I’ll go with you!” Teal volunteers. “Well now, we have 6 people here in total. We can form two full parties,” said Jack. “In that case, I’ll be going with Greg,” Ramsley volunteers, “Jack, you stay here with Sarin and Cheryl until the mission is over.” “Right,” the boy agrees. “Let’s go then,” Greg stands up. “Any place you specifically want to go, young man?” Ramsley asks. “There is an area to the west of the manor in which I haven’t explored yet. I’d like to start there,” said Greg. “Well then, off we go!” said Ramsley. “See you again in the real world then, Jack, Sarin, Cheryl,” said Greg, waving good-bye. “Bye…,” Teal shyly waves to her new friends. “You guys take care!” said Jack. And so, the three of them leaves the room through the same door Aphiso went.

[Party Link Modified]

[Party Link Modified]

Leader: Greg G.Lv. 5 Member 1: Teal G.Lv. 4 Member 2: Ramsley G.Lv. 2

Leader: Jack Member 1: Sarin Member 2: Cheryl

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Boost Sensitivity]

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Mind Lock] - [Boost Synchro]

G.Lv. 3 G.Lv. 0 G.Lv. 0

71


“It’s just the three of us now,” said Jack, standing and looking around the room. “I’m sorry. If I was not such a burden, we would have been able to explore this place some more,” said Cheryl, who is sitting on the raised wooden platform in the middle of the room. “That’s okay. With semi-free missions like this, it’ll probably be better for us to just sit around and wait for a spoon fed Game Level no matter what,” said Sarin, who is sitting nearby Cheryl. “I guess we’re all safe,” Jack announces, “I can hear the voices of any spirits that attempts to approach this room. Not to mention that you girls can also feel the presences of spirits three rooms from here.” “Let’s just take it easy for tonight,” Sarin stretches her legs.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Kimono Room North…

72

Aphiso slides the door opened, leading her party into the Barred Hallway. “Where are we going?” Austin asks. “No where,” Aphiso replies, “We should just keep moving so we don’t run into Player Killers or the Tattoo Priestess.” “Sounds like a plan,” Austin chortles. Aphiso sighs, “How can you be so carefree in a place like this?” “I dunno. Maybe because I’m walking with a girl?” he laughs. “Don’t even think about it,” she glares at the boy, as if reading his mind. “Awww. Oh well, can I hit on your sister instead?” “Sorry, she already has a boyfriend,” Aphiso sighs, “Not that I like his guts though.” “Aw. That’s too bad,” Austin frowns, “Say? You don’t like him? Why?” “Hmph, I can keep on going the whole day why I don’t like him,” Aphiso grumbles, “First off, he is freaking clumsy and messes up with several etiquettes like using forks to scoop up rice. You know what’s his excuse? He said this is his first time coming here. Well, what place in this world uses forks to scoop rice?” “………Uh…come again?” Austin scratches his head. “And then there’s his weird sense of fashion, dying his hair purple,” Aphiso puts her palm on to her face, “He even said it’s his natural hair color. Who the hell is going to believe some one is born with that sissy hair color!?” “That’s new,” Austin laughs, “Full score of originality.” “There’s more. I haven’t mention how he suddenly appears in my sister’s life around a week after she got up, did I? Well guess what, they got in a relationship right after that,” Aphiso continues. “Woah? THAT fast? I need that guy to teach me how to advance on a girl!” Austin chortles amusingly. “I bet he must be some kind of a spoiled brat from a big family, considering how my sister said his house is basically a palace!” Aphiso adds, “Grrr! Just thinking of that guy makes me want to kill something. I haven’t told you about how he kept on calling me ‘sis’, right?” “Nope, you haven’t,” Austin said, opening the door in front of them.


“WOAH GEEZUZ!!!!!” the blonde teen swears when the door was fully opened. “WHAT!?” Aphiso startled, almost letting out a scream as well. A young man with crimson haired is seen staring blankly at the wall in the room. “Oh…A player…,” Austin sighs in relief and approaches the teen. Aphiso keeps her distance, carefully examining the teen. “Hello…? Can you hear me…?” Austin calls to the crimson haired teen. “…Austin…Something is not right,” Aphiso warns the blonde teen. “Why? What’s wrong…?” Austin asks, tapping his hand onto the crimson haired teen’s shoulder. “WAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!” “GAAAAAHHHH!!!” The crimson haired teen screams as soon as the blonde teen taps his shoulder, making him screams as well. “DON’T HURT ME PLEASE DON’T---!!! Oh…?” The crimson haired teen carefully examines the players standing behind him. “Oh…! Players? Sorry, I thought you’re a ghost,” the teen smiles nervously, “I could tell that I was being possessed, but I couldn’t fight it back. Before I know it, you already tapped onto my shoulder.” “…Don’t freak me out like that, dude,” Austin inhales a deep breath, trying to calm down. “Wait…You…,” Aphiso steps forward, “…I know you.” “Huh…? …WHA!? APHISO!?” the teen yelled and gulped, fumbling his feet trying to get up and staggering back to hugging the wall behind him, “Waah!!! I don’t know anything! I haven’t seen Roke nor Sophia ever since I entered this place!!!” “You sure?” Aphiso cracks her knuckle. “Um…you know him?” Austin scratches his head. “He’s my sister’s boyfriend’s friend,” said Aphiso, “He tagged along her boyfriend to our house a few times, discussing stuffs I had no idea about.” “Like?” “Reapers or whatever. I thought he and her boyfriend tried to recruit her into an occult club or something,” said Aphiso, still raising her eyebrow at the teen. “I’ve told you many times! It’s not just an occult!” said the teen, “We’ve been to All God’s Village!” “That lost village?” Austin scratches his head. “WHA!? YOU’VE BEEN AT THE REAPER’S GAME!?” the teen screams. “Argh, can you not scream?” Austin scratches his ears, “I don’t know about your ‘Reaper’s Game’, but I’ve read about that village. Before the All God’s Dam was built, it was said that there was a village situated there long time ago. But something funny happened and the whole village was deleted from the map.” “Oh…I see. That village USED to be in the real world after all,” the teen mutters to himself.

73


74

“Enough about that. LEINA!!!” Aphiso screams his name. “WAAAAH!!! DON’T KILL ME!!!” the teen cries. “Why the hell are you here!?” Aphiso interrogates further, cracking her knuckles again, “You said you haven’t seen Roke and Sophia ever since you came here. Are you telling me that purple head actually enters this game just like her?!” “Huh? Your sis is in this game too!?” Austin was surprised. “I haven’t told you that?” Aphiso turns to Austin, “It didn’t take Sophia too long before she knew I entered this game for her. As a result, she felt burdened and secretly entered this game to reverse the curse and get me out.” “Yeah. Roke was so mad when he knew that. He sets out to look for an alternate way of saving her from this game,” said Leina, “But in the end, he said the only way to remove this curse is to clear the game and get the ‘Blessing’. That’ll automatically remove the curse.” “So that idiot really did enter this game too? Heh, I’ll give him that,” Aphiso then glares at the teen again, “AND WHY THE HECK ARE YOU HERE!?” “WAAHHH!!! I wanted to save Roke so I entered this game too!!!” Leina cries again, “PLEASE DON’T KILL MEEE!!!” “Are you doing that on purpose?” Austin scratches his head again, “The jumping and crying, I mean…” “Hmph, what a kook. If we keep this up then everyone around us would probably be drawn into this game too,” Aphiso sighs, “We have to clear this game and stop anyone from entering this place for good.”

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hall of Tatami… “This area is called ‘Headphone Graveyard’,” Greg explains, “I’m still not sure how this place got its name or how it looked like. But I’m guessing it is where many Voice Materializers met their end.” “I see,” said Ramsley, nodding, “It’s a great idea not to bring Jack here after all. He’s a Voice Materializer.” “Oh. I see. This would probably demoralize him,” Greg chuckles, opening the door in front of him. Behind the door is no longer the inside of the manor. The snow slowly drifts down to the ground, covering the staircase leading down the hill. The wind is blocked by the manor itself since it was blowing from the west, so it was not too cold. “It’s outside of the manor?” Teal asks. “I wonder about that too,” Greg checks his cell phone map, “Well, wanna check it out?” “I…I’m not so sure about this,” Teal whispers. “Well, you are the leader. It’s your pick, Greg,” said Ramsley. “We don’t have anything better to do by sitting around anyway. Let’s take a look in case we have to do missions here in the future,” Greg suggests and leads the party down the slippery staircase covered in snow. Luckily, there is a handrail nearby so at least there is something to hold while they descend.


At the bottom of the stairs, the three of them came into a wide cemetery area. There are several tombstones lined up nicely paralleled to each other separated with a narrow space, wide enough for a person to walk through. Each tombstone has either a pair of headphones or earphones hanging on it. “What’s this place really?” Teal mutters, following the party closely behind. “I wanna know too,” said Greg, carefully examining the headphones on a tomb. “Let’s see…,” Ramsley brushes the snow on a tombstone off, “Huh?” “What, Ramsley?” Greg turns to the butler. “That’s weird. No name on the tomb,” said the butler, moving his eyeglasses up. “Huh?” Greg walks over to Ramsley and looks at the same tomb, “You’re right. It’s just a plain tombstone with nothing engraved on it.” “What’s the meaning of this?” Ramsley stands up wondering. “Um…everyone…I think we have some trouble…,” said Teal. “What’s the matter?” Greg turns to the girl who shows him the filament shining red. The young man takes out his cell phone, only to realize that it has been shaking madly for a while now. Turning it into the camera, he notices the crystal shining red as well. “What’s wrong?” Ramsley asks. “Red filament means bad news,” said Greg looking for the source. Turning about, the teen saw a figure of a woman with long hair in white kimono standing a few meters away from the party.

75


Chapter 13 Mission: The Tattoo Priestess is awake and hates seeing intruders walking in her grounds. The Priestess will return to her Chambers when the dawn breaks.

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hearth Room…

76

“I see. So you enter this game because you want to see your brother again?” Sarin asks the girl. “Yeah. His cancer infection was very sudden. I just couldn’t take it. That was when I learned about this game,” said Cheryl. “I’m sorry to hear that,” said Sarin. “It’s okay. I’m still trying to adjust to a life without him. Our family is not really big, but with one of us gone, the whole place has became really quiet,” said Cheryl. “And here I actually thought my problem was bad, it seems that there are people out there who loses something much more than I did after all,” Sarin mutters, laughing at herself. She has a perfect family; parents who love her and can afford a luxurious life. When she thought about it, she realizes how silly it is to sink into despair like she cannot go on living any more. “No, we have our own share of problems. We can’t really compare our problems on the same scale,” Cheryl smiles, trying to cheer her friend up. “Thanks,” Sarin makes a sad smile, “Well. Let’s change topics. This is the first time I realize how boring it is to just sit down and do nothing, waiting for morning to come.” “Hey girls,” Jack calls out to them, holding his headphones tightly. “What is it!? A ghost!?” Sarin turns to the boy. “I think so. From the voice, I think… she’s still pretty far from us. But it’s funny how I start hearing her voice now,” said Jack with a serious face. “What was she saying?” Cheryl asks. “The voice is…rather unclear,” Jack grits his teeth in frustration, “I only hear her but I can’t make out what she is saying.” “Is it something to be aware of?” Sarin stands up, clutching her fist. “……No. She doesn’t notice us. Probably just passing---- Oh shit…!!” the boy curses all of the sudden. “Wha…what is it?!” Sarin asks. “It’s the Tattoo Priestess!!!” Jack stands up. “Wha!? She’s coming here!?” Cheryl stands up as well. “No…wait…,” the boy takes out his cell phone and opens the map, “I’m just making an approximate, but she should be walking around…the Garden Corridor! No…A little further!”


“Garden Corridor? That’s quite some way from us,” said Sarin. “Damn. Since I could hear her voice even she’s so far away from us, this must means she’s very powerful,” said Jack, gritting his teeth. “Why?” Cheryl asks. “You see. From the tutorial, it said that ghosts’ voices are their unconscious suppressed emotions. The stronger their emotional ties to the world, the more voices they can release,” said Jack, still listening to the headphones attentively. “Can you craft some skills from the voice’s owner?” Cheryl asks. “I don’t think so,” said Jack, “Her voice is too far. I cannot hear her clearly so I cannot understand her enough to craft a skill.” “Garden Corridor? Are there any one of us around there?” Sarin mutters to herself. “Maybe we should warn the others. I’ll call Austin. You call Ramsley,” said Jack. “That’s okay, Jack. I’ll call Austin. You shouldn’t take off your headphones,” said Cheryl, picking out her cell phone instead. “Oh. Okay then…,” the boy smiles and goes back to concentrating on listening to the voice. It surprises him how much he could tell just by listening to these voices. Maybe he is growing accustomed to this game now.

Meanwhile…Somewhere within the grounds of the Manor… “I see. That was a nice plan. I expected no less from Sophia’s sister!” Leina praised her. “Don’t let your guard down yet. I never said we would not run into a Player Killer or Tattoo Priestess by moving about,” said Aphiso, brushing her hair away to her back. “Let’s see where we are now, shall we?” Austin pulls out his cell phone and checks the map, “Let’s see…………….” “…So?” Aphiso raises her eyebrow after he kept quiet for some time. “Um…that can’t be,” Austin scratches his head, “It said…we’re not in the Manor of Sleep any more.” “What? Don’t be silly!” Aphiso pulls out her cell phone as well, “What? How can this be?” “What is it?” Leina asks. “Check your own map,” Aphiso snaps at him. The teen sighs and pulls out his cell phone as well. “W…Wha…?” Leina’s jaw drop to the ground, “A…All…All God’s…Village?” “I like how we were talking it about a second ago and BOOM! We are in it,” Austin laughs nervously. “I…It can’t be!!!” Leina shouts, “We…I mean…Roke freed All God’s Village almost year ago!!! How can this place still be here!?” “What do you mean ‘Roke freed All God’s Village’?” Aphiso raised her eyebrow again. “EXACTLY what I meant!” Leina replies, “A year ago, we played the Reaper’s Game and freed All God’s Village. It’s supposed to be over!” “H…Hey, Leina. You’re not making much sense! What are you exactly talking about!? What’s this Reaper’s Game?” Austin asks, nervously.

77


78

Suddenly, the air around them becomes heavier. Aphiso could feel every hair on her skin standing up as she feels the malicious presence from nearby. Turning towards Leina, she found that his face was equally pale. “Don’t tell me you are also a Shaman?” she asked. Leina simply nods. “You…you could feel it…right?” Leina asks her back. “Hey hey! What are you guys talking about! Don’t leave me in the dark alone!” Austin makes a nervous face. “Two rooms…,” said Aphiso. “Huh? What two rooms?” Austin asks, swallowing his saliva. “You dumbass! The Tattoo Priestess is just two rooms away from us!!!!” with that said, Aphiso quickly kicks the door they took opened and ran ahead, leading everyone out of the storehouse area. “Where to!?” Austin asks. “How about down the hall!?” Leina points towards the path to their right. “You kidding!? That’s a dead end!” Aphiso stops him. The three of them head up stairs into the Kimono Room. “Is she still following!?” Austin asks. “She’s moving slowly…but she’s definitely heading this way!!!” said Leina. “We have to get to a more spacious area,” said Aphiso, “Right now, our best bet is the Garden Corridor. Let’s go!!” And so, the party exits through the west door and descends down to the Closet Hallway.

Meanwhile…Headphones Graveyard…South… Greg aims his camera at the woman. His camera’s focus seems to react to her because it is now charging its power. “Definitely not a friendly lady I see,” the butler takes out his Four Pointed Well Key. “But…she’s not approaching us,” said Cheryl. “Whatever is her intention, I guess we should make our first move!” Greg taps his shutter immediately after the camera finishes its charge. The flash staggers the woman slightly. Once she regains her balance, she finally starts approaching the party. “Teal! Greg! Charge your cameras up again! I’ll buy you some time!” Ramsley raises his key up and starts firing bolts of light at the woman. The bolt halts her on spot when it hits, but not enough to keep her from moving forward. After four shots, the butler halts firing, waiting for the key to reload before unleashing another volley. The four shots hit her, but still not enough to cause enough damage. “That’s okay! We’re done!” said Teal. Both of them taps the shutter at the same time, dealing double fully charged shots, effectively making her stagger back a few steps. However, she does not show any sign of giving up.


“What the heck!? Not done yet!?” Greg reloads a new film with his hands shaking. “Damn!!” Ramsley unloads another volley. But just like before. None of the shots are strong enough to push the woman back. All they did is simply slowing the woman from stepping forward. “Let’s just aim and fire at will!” Teal immediately taps her shutter after reloading, however, the damage was so small that the woman didn’t even flinch. “We can’t do that! We’re just wasting our films!” said Greg, still charging his camera. She screams and quickly hovers at the party, twice as fast compared to before. “Okay! Another shot Teal!!!” said Greg. “Got it!!!” Both of them taps the shutter, dealing another double fully charge. She moans out in pain and slightly staggers back. But she has not completely given up yet. “What the!? Not yet!?” Greg cried. The woman continues her way towards the party, raising her hands up high readying to strike them. “Oh god NO!!!!” Teal puts her camera up, attempting to block the attack. Suddenly, an extremely bright light flashes from behind them, blowing her several meters away. “Phew…I guess I made it in time,” a girl’s sigh was heard. The party turns around towards the source and saw a girl with long hair and glittering emerald eyes.

79


Chapter 14 Mission: The Tattoo Priestess is awake and hates seeing intruders walking in her grounds. The Priestess will return to her Chambers when the dawn breaks.

Headphone Graveyard…South…

80

The woman in white kimono grits her teeth as a small snowstorm covers her body and takes her away from the area. “Woah, thanks! We owe you big time!” Greg laughs embarrassedly. “You’re welcome,” the girl who saved them smiled sweetly as she reverts her camera back to cell phone. “Wait? You’re Lady Sophia!” the butler blurted out. “Huh? R…Ramsley? Is that really you!?” the girl asks back in disbelief. “Um…You guys know each other?” Teal asks, looking at both of them. “Of course,” Ramsley moves his glasses up a little, laughing. “Well, he’s my boyfriend’s butler after all,” Sophia said, scratching her cheek nervously. “By the way, what are you doing here, my Lady? And where’s master Roke?” Ramsley asks, worriedly. “Well…you see…It’s…kind of a long story. Why don’t we go back into the manor first? We’ll freeze if we stay here for too long,” Sophia suggests.

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hearth Room… “Hey. I heard something…,” said Jack, holding his headphone tightly once more. “What is it?” Sarin asks. “Is it the Tattoo Priestess?” Cheryl asks too. “Yeah. She’s…moving…,” said Jack, trying to approximate her distance. “Is she coming this way?” Sarin asks some more. “I can’t tell,” said Jack, “Damn, her voice is growing louder, but I still can’t tell what she’s saying!” “Do you think we should start moving now?” Cheryl asks, worriedly. “…She…she’s moving further away,” said Jack, sighing in relief. “Oh. That’s a relief,” Cheryl sighs as well. “She’s actually heading deeper into the manor,” said Jack, “Her voice is starting to fade.” “Phew. You almost gave me a heart attack,” Sarin sighs loudly. “Well, if she’s really heading that way, I guess we’re safe,” Jack breathes out heavily, letting his hands off the headphones. +Sa…rin…+


“Wha!?” Jack quickly looks around, making the girls panicked. “What is it this time!?” Sarin grumbles. “This voice…it’s…” the boy looked at the stairs from which the voice echoed. A ghostly figure of a young man stood atop of the stairs, looking down into the Hearth Room. “K…Koga!?” Sarin calls the ghostly young man. “Hah! Same tricks don’t work twice on me, Incognito!!!!” Jack raises his hand, readying to swing it. “Hey Jack! Wait!” Sarin tries to stop him. But before Jack could swing his arm, a figure leaps down from above in a flash and halts the boy’s arm. “What the!? Who are you!?” Jack questions the mysterious boy with purple hair. “Use your brain a little,” said the boy. He is wearing a pair of earphones, so it is safe to assume that he is also a Voice Materializer. “That guy is the Player Killer in disguise dammit!” Jack shakes his hand free of the boy’s grip, “If we don’t get rid of him first, he’ll----!!!” The purple haired boy catches the boy’s arm once more as well as pushing him backwards. “Wha!? You got some problem, punk!?” Jack grits his teeth in rage, raising his fist. The purple haired boy sighs and dodges the fist with ease. As Jack loses his balance from the whiffed punch, the mysterious boy hurls him over his shoulders and onto the floor with a loud thud. “JACK!!!” the girls call out to him at the same time. “Use your brain and try to recall. Did you hear anything when the Player Killer disguised as that guy?” the purple haired boy asked the boy, lying on the wooden floorboards. Jack tries to recall back when he saw the fake Koga. There was indeed no voice being released from him. But a while ago, he just heard a voice from this Koga spirit. “…Dammit…you’re right,” Jack smashes his fist onto the floor beside him. The purple haired boy finally turns to the ghostly young man, standing atop the stairs. “Okay. Speak up. What do you want?” +Sa…rin…+ The mysterious boy turns to the girl, “Which one of you is Sarin?” Sarin just simply raises her hand, without letting her eyes off her ghostly fiancé. “He wants to talk to you,” said the boy. “Huh? What is it?” she asks the ghostly young man. +Don’t…do…this…+ “…He said ‘Don’t do this’,” said the mysterious boy, then pausing briefly, “Heck. Why do I have to be the translator? Hey you! Get up and do your job!”

81


“Grrrr!!!” Jack gets up, rubbing his aching back. “‘Don’t do this’?” Sarin repeats the question, “What do you mean, Koga?” “Maybe he doesn’t want you to risk your life like this?” Cheryl proposed. “But I’m already here,” said the silver haired girl. “Hey,” the mysterious boy looks at the ghost, “Get your points straight. What do you mean?” +Please…save…Sarin…+

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The boy vanishes right after he finishes speaking. “Wait, Koga!!!” the girl calls to him. “He told us to save you,” the mysterious boy mutters, leaning his back against the wall nearby. “Save you? Maybe he knew you have no game levels left,” Cheryl suggests. “That’s possible,” Jack agrees, “And he came here all this way just to say that?” “You obviously never had a girlfriend,” the mysterious boy whistles. “Argh! Okay. That does it. WHO THE HELL ARE YOU!?” Jack yells. “The name’s Roke. I’m just a player who happened to pass by and saw another player about to do something stupid,” said the boy, taunting. “Dammit, come back here and say that again!!!” Jack marches toward the boy, raising his fist. “Wait Jack!!!” Sarin halts him and looks at Roke, “Did he say anything else?” “Nah,” Roke shakes his head, “I don’t know why though. His soul seems rather…weak? Yeah. That’s the closest word.” “Huh?” Sarin tilts her head. “All the ghosts I’ve seen in this manor so far all project voices that can be heard clearly unless they are far away,” Roke explains, “But this guy. He’s just this close but he can’t speak clearly.” “…Could it be because he just recently died?” Sarin proposed. The purple haired boy stops and thinks, “Could be. Can’t rule out that possibility yet.” “He gathers his meager strength just to come here and tell you,” Cheryl was moved. “Hmph,” Jack sat down on the wooden floor. “Well, I have to get going,” said the purple haired boy. “Huh? Where to?” Cheryl asks. “To look for my girlfriend,” said Roke, scratching his head, “I can’t believe I still haven’t met up with her after all this time.” “Oh. Both of you came into this game together?” Sarin asks. “It’s a long story and I’m not exactly free to sit down and tell you guys now. I’ll just give you guys my number and we can meet up in the material world,” said Roke, taking out his cell phone to exchange contact information. “Material world?” Cheryl mumbles to herself.


“Hey, you sure you wanna go alone?” Sarin asks, “Want us to go with you?” “Nah, you should take care of yourself. I don’t spot any threatening ghosts around here. Zero Game Level players like you should just lay low until you have higher levels,” said Roke, “Besides, I still have a few more levels to burn if I die.” The purple haired boy spoke with a straight face. “Wha!? Aren’t you afraid of dying!?” Jack asks in surprise. “Nah. I’ve seen so many deaths before. This place doesn’t scare me one bit,” the boy yawns, heading for the northern door. “Hey!” Sarin calls him again. “What?” he turns around. “Thanks.” “……For what?” “Um…I don’t know. For telling us that was the real Koga I guess.” “You’re welcome,” he waves his hand and heads north into the Hall of Tatami. “He’s…kinda weird, don’t you think?” Cheryl asks Sarin, who is still looking blankly at the stairs Koga was standing earlier. “…Why is Koga here…?” Sarin whispers. “You said your fiancé died, right?” Cheryl asks. “…Yeah.” “Could it be that he was also a player of this game and lost?” Cheryl suggests. “It can’t be. Why would he play this game? His family is perfect and we are madly in love with each other. There’s totally no reason for him to play this game!” Sarin replies. “W…Well…I’m just stating a possibility,” said Cheryl. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have been so loud on you,” Sarin sighs. “It’s okay. I can understand your feeling,” Cheryl pats on her friend’s back, trying to comfort her.

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Chapter 15 Mission: The Tattoo Priestess is awake and hates seeing intruders walking in her grounds. The Priestess will return to her Chambers when the dawn breaks.

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hall of Tatami… “So…you entered this game, hoping to save your sister?” Ramsley asks. “Yeah. Let’s just say it’s a misunderstanding that she thought I was dead, so she entered the game in order to save me,” said Sophia, leading them into the middle of the Tatami Hall. “I see. So that is what that fight is about,” Ramsley nods, “Master Roke is very worried about you.” “Yeah. I know. He came over once with a really serious face,” said Sophia, giggling, “I mean, I felt bad making him worry like that. But I like his face when he gets so fired up and serious.” “That sounds so wrong in a way,” Greg scratches his head, mumbling to himself.

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Suddenly, the sound of a sliding door was heard from the other side of the room. The party halts their march and hides behind the wall. “I…Is it a ghost?” Teal whispers. “I doubt it,” Greg replies quietly, showing his crystal filament to the girl. It was not reacting at all. “Hey, isn’t that?” Sophia runs out of the corner, “ROKE!!!!” “Huh? Sophia!?” the purple haired boy quickly turned towards the voice’s owner with a surprise, “Thank god, am I glad to see you!!” The girl quickly hugs him tightly, ignoring the eyes of her new friends. “That’s…her boyfriend?” Teal wonders. “No doubt,” Greg laughs, coming out from the corner as well. “Oh. You already have a party?” Roke asks the girl. “Not really,” the girl laughs, wiping her tears of joy. “Long time no see, Master,” the butler steps out from the corner and bows at the young man. “What the? Ramsley!? Why are you here!?” Roke’s jaw drops to the floor. After some brief conversation, each of them explained how they ended up in this game as well as exchanging their contact information. “Oh man. I’m glad you’re worried about me,” Roke laughs, embarrassedly, “But don’t you think it’s a little too rash to enter something like this for someone completely unrelated to you?” “Hey Roke! He joined this game for you! That’s all it matters!” Sophia nudges him with her elbow, “You should thank him even!” “Uh…Right. Thanks, Ramsley,” the boy scratches his head.


“Lady Sophia told me about you,” said the butler, “You left the mansion to search for a way to remove her curse, right?” “Yeah. All of this was partially my fault anyway,” said Roke, looking at Sophia, “I never knew this curse existed. Reaper’s Game works in such a way that when the players were brought back to life, they are taken back to the time before they are killed. Reaper’s powers don’t resurrect people; we kill them. However, the curse that Aphiso puts on herself runs on a separate flow of time. Even though the flow of time was reversed to bring you back, it did not reverse Aphiso’s curse.” “I see,” Sophia nods. “If I have known this would happened, I’d probably be able to do something more about it with my powers. But now that I don’t have any connections any more…,” Roke folds his arms, breathing restlessly. “Um…what are you guys talking about? I don’t understand a thing,” Teal asks with a confused look. “…Um…It’s related to how we join this game. Let’s put it that way,” Sophia laughs nervously. “In any case, after I left your place, I traveled around to look for some information,” said Roke, “From the data I uncovered, I believe this place used to exist in the material world before.” “…As in this house was situated in our world?” Greg asks to confirm his understanding. “Yeah. There was some kind of ritual going on. I heard that when people had sorrow or suffering, they come to this house – which was a shrine by the way – to have the priestess relieve their pain,” Roke explained. “Relieve? In what way?” Ramsley asks. “I haven’t really research down on that. But for some reason, on one fateful night, wayyyyyyyy before The Repentance, the ritual fails and ‘The Unleashing’ was released,” said Roke. “Unleashing?” Sophia asks. “I heard it was the suppressed pain of the previous priestesses, leaked from the ‘Rift’,” said Roke, “Unlike The Repentance at All God’s Village, the Unleashing was not instantaneous. It gradually grows, slowly consuming this manor. There were measures done to prevent the Unleashing from leaking. I believe this house was one of it.” “This house was a ‘measure’ used to prevent the Unleashing from leaking? How does that even work?” Greg wondered, “And how did you know so much anyway?” “You won’t believe how well folklores provide you information,” Roke answered, “I traveled to the mountains where it was said this place is situated. The villagers said a huge crowd of carpenters was recruited to build something up on the shrine. However, none of them ever made it home. I’m guessing they were recruited to build this house and barricade the Rift from spreading. However, they were probably consumed before the job was done.” “Wait. You came to this very mansion in the real world!?” Sophia asks, worriedly. “The mountain was covered with fog in non-winter seasons. And in winter seasons, a huge snow storm covers this place so there’s no way of going in,” said Roke, “I’m resting at an inn in the real world near

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the air port. I should be able to return to the mansion soon.” “I’m glad to hear that,” Ramsley smiles.

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“So. What are you up to now, Roke?” Sophia asks. “My game level is 5, but I wasn’t really concerned about clearing. I’m confident I can clear it any time that I want, so I just stop playing it and had been exploring this whole place for a while now. It’s just that there is something that’s bugging me,” said the purple haired boy. “What is it?” Greg asks. “It’s about the ‘Blessing’,” said Roke, “There was no record of anyone clearing this game and getting it.” “You mean…after all this time, there was not a single soul who cleared this game?” Greg asks. “I’m not sure. Maybe I haven’t research thoroughly enough. But…I don’t know…it’s just something was extremely bugging me,” Roke scratches his head, “I had this kind of ‘itchy’ feeling going on in my head. Call it a hunch.” “Well. Take your time. It’s not like the Game Master had any limit on the number of missions we have to do,” said Sophia, cheering her boyfriend up. “Hah. Yeah. Now that I know you’re safe, I have one less thing to worry about,” the boy laughs, holding her hands tightly, “Anyway. This place is not really safe. You guys should focus on clearing it as soon as possible and get out.” “What about you, Master?” Ramsley asks. “There is still something I want to uncover about this place. I’ll keep exploring this manor until I can get some answers,” said Roke. “Then I’ll help!” Sophia volunteers. “Um, no, young lady. You’re going home with sis,” Roke glares at her. “Oh come on! Why won’t you let me help!?” Sophia fusses. “Because sis enters this game for you. If she knows you’re staying because of me, she’s gonna kill me,” Roke sighs. “Say. Have you met your sister yet, my Lady?” Ramsley asks. “No. We’ve communicated a few times but that’s pretty much it,” said Sophia, “Not to mention I was hesitating about who I should pursue too - Roke or sis…” “You go look for sis. I’ll be fine on my own. You need to get out of this place,” Roke warns her. “Look, Roke. I’m STICKING with you, and THAT’S FINAL! Got it!?” “Agh!!! Okay! You didn’t have to shout like that,” the boy startled. “Well then, any place you want to go, Roke?” Greg asks, “I’ll stick with you because I’m also interested in this place’s lores.” “I thought about going to Headphone Graveyard again. There’s something I want to check out,” said Roke.


“But Master, we’ve been there before. The spirits there are extremely tough!” Ramsley warns. “Of course they are. That’s not really an area for newcomers,” Roke laughs. “By the way, um…Sophia?” Teal calls to the girl. “Hm?” “What were you doing at the Graveyard?” “Oh that. Well, I was wandering around there since last week. There was a mission I had to do and it was really deep within the Graveyard. I managed to clear it. But while I was trying to get out, many other players clear the mission in the Manor before I could. So I’ve always been trying to get out ever since,” Sophia laughs, embarrassedly. “Okay then. Greg, if you insist on coming, I wouldn’t stop you. But the battles will be tough and you probably won’t be clearing this game soon,” said Roke. “That’s okay. I just want to do some exploring when we’re not having missions. I’ll leave the party after tonight,” said the young man. “Then take me with you, Master,” said Ramsley. “No. Ramsley, you go with Teal and wait in a safe area. Your main focus is to clear this game as fast as possible and get out of here safely,” Roke orders. “As you wish then, my Master,” Ramsley gives a polite bow. “Well, off we go now, shall we?” Roke proposed.

[Party Link Established]

[Party Link Modified]

Leader: Rokej Member 1: Sophia Member 2: Greg

Leader: Ramsley Member 1: Teal

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability!! - [Boost Sensitivity] - [Mind Lock]

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability!! - [Hastened Delay]

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Chapter 16 Mission: The Tattoo Priestess is awake and hates seeing intruders walking in her grounds. The Priestess will return to her Chambers when the dawn breaks.

Meanwhile…Aphiso’s Party…

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The girl leads her party towards the Garden Corridor through Closet Hallway’s north exit. “She’s…heading to the Shrine Courtyard,” said Leina. “We should get away from here then,” Aphiso checks her map, “Let’s go west to the Tatami Hall. We should be able to get away from her for now!” Agreeing so, the whole party travels down the east corridor into the Blind Room. They take a little break after entering the room, trying to pinpoint the priestess’s location. The air became heavier. They could feel the priestess approaching. “S…Should we run?” Leina asks. “Calm down. I think I feel her in the corridor now,” said Aphiso. “H…hey! I think we should run now!!!” said Austin. “Wait…She’s…She’s walking away,” said the girl. “…Oh? You’re right,” Leina nods. “Oh thank god,” Austin fell back to the floor in relief, “C…Can we have a break for now? I need to catch my breath!”

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep…Hearth Room… “How much longer before we wake up?” Cheryl stretches her legs, sore from sitting still for too long. “Waiting so long like this is starting to make me nervous,” said Sarin, folding her arms while exploring around the room. Jack is still on his duty of detecting ghosts, so she does not need to worry if she’ll bump into one while looking around the shelves and jars. Suddenly, the door leading to the Foyer opened, startling the party. “O…Oh…Players!” the young man with light silver hair exclaims in joy upon seeing the party. “Oh geez, you gave us a heart attack,” Sarin whines. “Oh. I’m sorry,” the young man makes a sad face. “H…hey. Don’t make that face. Now I feel guilty,” the girl scratches her cheek nervously, “You’re a new player?” “U…um…yeah. I’m Cross. Nice to meet you!” the young man smiles, introducing himself. “I’m Sarin. This girl here is Cheryl. And he’s Jack,” Sarin introduces her party, “If you don’t mind, you can join us here. This room is rather safe.” “Thanks. Honestly, I’m starting to lose it,” Cross smiles embarrassedly.


“Don’t worry. All of us could have snapped any time in a place like this,” Cheryl smiles back nervously. “Boy. Am I glad to see some one alive around here!” he climbs up the raised wooden floor and sits down. Jack looks at the young man and notices a pair of earphones hanging around his neck. “You’re a Voice Materializer too?” Jack asks, lowering his headphones down slightly. “Oh. Yeah,” the young man smiles, “But this is my second night here. I haven’t really crafted anything yet.” “I see. Just take your time then,” Jack smiles. “Say. Have you met any other players?” Cross asks. “Many of them, actually,” said Sarin, “But if players stick together for too long, we could attract the Player Killers.” “P…Player Killers…?” Cross gulps. “Yeah. Last night they got us and we have no Game Levels left to lose,” Cheryl explains with a sad face. “Oh no. Could this mean you’ll die soon?” “After this mission is over, we should be able to rest a little easier,” said Sarin, with a hopeful smile. “I see. Wow. You are so determined,” the young man praised her. “O…Oh…I’m not sure being ‘hopeful’ can be ‘determined’,” said the girl, blushing. “Really! If it were me, I would have rot and die,” the boy sniffs. “H…Hey now. Let’s just stick together okay? We’ll clear this game and get out. I’m sure of it,” the girl cheers him. “Thanks,” Cross smiles, expressing some hope once again.

Meanwhile…Headphones Graveyard…Slippery Staircase… “Hold the rail carefully folks,” Roke warns his party as he leads them down the stairs. “Say. Do you know what this place is for?” Greg asks the purple haired boy, “This place really doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the manor.” “I’m not so sure. But it probably has something to do with the curse in this manor,” said Roke. The party finally reaches the foot of the stairs safely. The three of them keep going forward the Path Covered in Snow until they reach the South of the Graveyard. “From the map, this whole graveyard is made into a shape of a cross. We are at the south,” the boy explains. “Last time I came here, I never get to go to the other part aside from south. Considering the shape of a cross, the south part is obviously the biggest,” Sophia explains, “I’m stuck here for almost a week cuz other players cleared the mission before I could get out.” “We won’t go too far in, otherwise Greg will have a hard time getting out after tomorrow,” said Roke.

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“Haha. Don’t worry about me. Just keep investigating. I like exploring too,” Greg laughs. “Ghosts here are tough. You wouldn’t want to see even one of them,” the boy warned. “Ugh…speaking of the devil,” Sophia pulls out her cell phone, now shaking violently. Flipping it into the camera, the crystal filament shines bright red, signaling a murderous intent. “Oh crap. It’s that same ghost again!!!” Greg quickly takes out his camera. “…Snow Demon I see?” Roke steps forward, “Come here. I don’t have time all night, lady.” Accepting the challenge, the woman in white kimono screams and jumps at the boy with an incredible speed. She raises her right arm and swings it at the boy. However, Roke simply bends away, effectively evading the smack as well as countering with a direct fist to her face.

Original Skill Entry! Demon Fist Crafted from: Rokej’s Advantage skill Description: Evoke the power of the Tattoo, turning the pain etched inside it into energy to attack spirits

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Even though it is just a simple punch, the ghostly woman still flies back several meters away. She quickly regains her balance, gritting her jagged teeth in vengeance, only to be snap by a bright flash.

Camera Equipment Entry! [Pierce] Description: The special lens with the kanji ‘Pierce’ engraved around it. Effect: Temporarily nullify any defense power the spirit has. The effectiveness is increased if the shot is taken during a Shutter Chance or a Fatal Frame. The woman cries in pain, but does not show any sign of giving up. “Woah. She’s a tough one,” said Sophia, loading a new film. “You won’t go down without a decent fight, won’t you?” Roke sighs, walking towards her. She leaps at him again, this time screaming as well. The wind blowing against her face brushes off her hair, showing her distorted face to the party. “Farewell,” Roke thrusts his palm forward, releasing a wave of flames at the woman, effectively staggering her back.


Original Skill Entry! Blazing Sword Crafted from: Rokej’s Advantage skill Description: Release a wave of flames that cuts the spirits and burns them to a crisp. As the Snow Demon was blown backwards, Roke puts on his earphones and listens to her voice. +You…lied…to meee…+

Original Skill Entry! Snowstorm Crafted from: Snow Demon’s pain of being left to die on the snowy mounts Description: Release a gust of cold current that freezes anything it touches. Roke raises his hand once more and swings it forward, creating a snowstorm the blows at the demon. Despite having a favorable affinity towards coldness, the Snow Demon surprisingly jumps away from the cold gust and vanished into the graves before she was frozen. “She just wouldn’t die, huh?” Roke removes his earphone, shaking his head. “W…Woah. You guys are strong,” Greg’s jaws dropped to the ground in awe. “Well, let’s just say we’re not exactly new to dealing with these kinds of stuffs,” Sophia gave the young man her signature smile as she keeps her camera back in place. “I’m still not really used to crafting skills and all. But it’s definitely better to not have to worry about running out of spirit orbs,” Roke laughs, “With that out of the way, let’s keep on going, shall we?” However, before the party gets to move, they noticed their body glowing a pale white radiance.

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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Congratulations! You are victorious for the night! Jack G.Lv. 3 -> 4 Sarin G.Lv. 0 -> 1 Cheryl G.Lv. 0 -> 1 Cross G.Lv. 2 -> 3 Ramsley G.Lv. 2 -> 3 Aphiso G.Lv. 3 -> 4 Austin G.Lv. 1 -> 2 Greg G.Lv. 5 -> 6 Teal G.Lv. 4 -> 5 Roke G.Lv. 5 -> 6 Sophia G.Lv. 4 -> 5 Leina G.Lv. 3 -> 4

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“Huh. Just great,” Roke mutters, “Just when we had time to explore something. Sorry Greg. Looks like we won’t get to explore around here together after all.” “That’s okay. Don’t worry about me. I’m not very far off from the manor. I can get back myself,” the young man smiles. The conversation comes to a close when the bright light envelopes the party, bringing them back to their real worlds.


Chapter 17 Material World…Morning… Walking down the hill towards the school, Jack notices a familiar face at the school’s front gate. “Huh? Hey~! Teal!!” he calls to the girl, startling her while she was entering the gate. “Oh? Jack?” she turns to him with a surprised look. “So you’re a student here?” Jack laughs, “Wonder why I’ve never seen you.” “Glad to know other players are just around me,” she smiles, “What about Sarin and Cheryl?” “Sarin is my classmate. I’m not sure about Cheryl though,” said Jack. “I see. That’s too bad,” Teal smiles, “I’m glad last night was over.” “Where were you before you woke up?” the teen asks. “I was sitting at the Hall of Tatami, right next to the Hearth Room with Ramsley,” said Teal. “I see. Right next to my party,” Jack laughs. “I hope we can go along well,” the girl gives him a polite bow. “Hey. Don’t be too formal! We’re friends, right?” Jack smiles confidently. The girl simply responds with a nervous shy smile. “Hey~~~~!!!! TEALLLLL!!!!!” a girl suddenly jumps onto Teal’s back and hugs her tightly. “Ahh! K…Konata!?” she calls to the girl hugging her. “Oh. Hey Konata,” Jack waves at that girl, “You know each other?” “Huh? What? Wow. You’re fast. You went after Teal right after failing from Sarin?” Konata teases. “Wha? NO! We’re just…talking,” Jack scratches his head, not really sure what to answer if she happens to ask ‘About what?’ “Rightttttt,” Konata glares at the teen with a look full of doubts. “We’re…we’re just talking, really,” Teal insisted. “Well then! Let’s just ignore him and go to class!!!!” “Ahh!!!” Konata quickly drags her friend into the school with a speed of light. “That’s a pretty lively couple,” a familiar voice was heard from behind. “Oh? Sarin,” the teen turns over to see the girl, “Natalie too?” “What? You’re saying as if you don’t wanna see me,” the red headed girl pouts. “Argh. That’s not it! I’m just surprised to see you walking with Sarin, that’s all,” said Jack. “What are you talking about? We’re friends! Rightttt~~? Sarin?” Natalie smiles, hugging Sarin. “Uh…Yeah,” Sarin gives a nervous smile, “I don’t know when we agreed on that though.” “Anyway! Let’s just go to class before the bell rings!!!” And with that, Natalie walks right off into the school, leaving Jack and Sarin to follow her from behind.

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“Hey,” Jack calls Sarin. “What?” “Feeling okay?” “Yeah, maybe,” Sarin folds her arms, “I already have one level back. But that’s not really safe. One kill from the Player Killer could still spell doom for me.” “You’re right,” Jack sighs, “Let’s just try to clear the mission for tonight and see what we can do.” “Yeah,” the girl nods and heads inside the school. She is potentially still in danger, but at least she does not seem so depressed like yesterday any more.

Mission:

Jack’s Skills

Carpenters are out looking for intruders wandering the halls. Compete for the highest score! Watch out! Other players’ accomplishment will penalize your achievements.

Noise Crush Quick Jab

Mission Rules:

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For this mission, a special rule will be enforced. Defeating one shrine carpenters will give the party 20 points. If however, other parties defeat a shrine carpenter, your accumulated points will be decreased by 5. Dissolving a party resets all accumulated points (forming party combines the scores). If a member of the party is incapacitated, the Party’s Game Level is decreased and the remaining members are removed from this round.

Mirage Screen Detonate Smash

Rokej’s Skills Demon Fist Needle Shower

Blazing Sword Snow Storm

Nightfall…Manor of Sleep…Hearth Room… “Carpenters?” Jack scratches his head. “Maybe they meant the ones we fought at the stained corridor,” Cheryl suggests. “That could be,” said Sarin, “We should get started now.” “Yeah. Let’s go to the stained corridor. Maybe we’ll see some more of them there,” Cross suggests. “Hey Cross. Uh…You sure about this?” Jack asks. “About what?” the young man asks back. “About not dividing among ourselves into two groups so you have a party,” said Jack. “Oh. That’s okay. You guys should get your game levels back as fast as possible,” said Cross, “I want to see how other players fight in a party too!”


“Um…okay?” Jack shrugs. “To each of his own then,” Sarin then opens her cell phone map, “The quickest way to the corridor is by going down the Stairs Hallway at second floor. We can’t go up via the Corridor here because the path collapsed, so we’ll have to go through the Partitioned Room.” The party agreed and proceeded to the Foyer together. However, as they reach the main intersection, the air around the hall became heavier.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Blind Room… [Party Link Established] Leader: Aphiso G.Lv. 4 Member 1: Leina G.Lv. 4 Member 2: Austin G.Lv. 2 The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability!! - [Boost Synchro] “So…all we have to do is just defeat the carpenters?” Austin mutters, keeping his cell phone. “As much as possible before other players do,” Aphiso adds, “Doesn’t sound too hard, does it?” “I don’t know. It means we have to fight among ourselves to get our target, doesn’t it?” Leina mutters. “Don’t run off on me now. I don’t want to feel guilty for leaving you out there and get possessed,” Aphiso folds her arms. “Uh…okay…in a party it is,” Leina gulps loudly. “Well, let’s move on now, shall we?” Austin suggests. “Say, Austin,” Leina halts the blonde young man, “Why did you enter this game?” Austin stops smiling, “Why would you wanna know?” “W…Well…I just thought we would be closer to each other if we know each other better!” Leina laughed it off nervously. “I’d rather not talk about it. But I guess it’s okay to tell---.” “Woah woah woah, wait there,” Aphiso stops, “Let’s not waste time and keep moving now, shall we? If you want to tell your story, do it while we are walking.” The girl turns around towards the door they entered into this room but bumped right into a ghostly lady.

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Meanwhile…Headphone Graveyard…South… [Party Link Modified] Leader: Rokej G.Lv. 6 Member 1: Sophia G.Lv. 5

<Greg left the party>

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“Well! I should get going before other players hog all the scores!” said Greg. “You sure you don’t need an escort?” Roke asks. “Nah. It’s only a small walk from here to the manor. You guys take care!” Greg waves goodbye and marches off. “Bye~~!!” Sophia waves goodbye as well, “Well. It’s just the two of us now, huh?” “Yeah,” Roke smiles, “Well now. Let’s get going shall we?” “Say, what were you trying to find out about this place?” Sophia asks. “The reason why it exists at all,” said Roke, leading the girl deeper into the snow-covered cemetery. “What about this place?” “In the records about the Kuze House – the original name of Manor of Sleep – this place does not exist,” the teen replied. “Huh? Really?” “Yeah. Something about this place just bugs me,” Roke looks around, examining the nameless tombs and the headphones hanging on it. “Let’s just go in some more and hope we find something,” said the girl. “You know. If you stick with me like this we might not get to clear this game any time soon,” the teen makes a worried face. “That’s okay. I’ve been to the Underworld and fought stuffs like Reapers and Ghosts before. To be honest, I’m not even scared. As long as I’m with you, I can keep on tackling anything,” Sophia reassured the teen, hugging his arms. “Hah. If only Aphiso doesn’t hate me,” the young teen laughs nervously. “Why don’t you guys get along?” “You have no idea how much I want her to like me,” Roke sighs. “Don’t hate her though. She’s just worried about me,” Sophia giggles, “Back when we were kids, I was bullied because kids around the neighbor say my eye color is a taboo. Aphiso always saved me from those teens.” “That’s nonsense! I…uh…I like your eyes,” the teen scratches his cheek, blushing. “You’re sweet,” the girl smiles and pokes his cheek. “Aghhh! Let’s just move on----,” Roke suddenly felt something wrong as he made a step forward,


“Wait.” “Huh?” Sophia halts her step and looks around. “…I know you are around here! Quit hiding and show yourself!” Roke shouts into wide-opened snowfield. “Impressive. As expected from the former Reaper King,” an unfamiliar voice spoke and a menacing figure slowly descended to the middle of the field. He is a young man with dark glimmering hair, dressed in an indigo tuxedo-like robe, extending down to the ground. But the trait that caught both teens’ eyes the most is the hawk wings, spreading on his back. “Those wings. You’re a Player Killer, huh?” Roke asks. “That is correct. My name is Latner, the Player Killer,” he politely bows. “Now, he seems like a nice guy,” Sophia tilts her head while hiding behind Roke, whispering, “You think we can talk ourselves out of this?” “Let’s see about that,” Roke whispers back, “So you’ve known of my identity, huh? What are you guys, really?” The teen took the opportunity to ask. “I’m afraid I am not in the liberty to answer you question,” Latner stands back up, “As a Player Killer, it is my job to end your mission for now.” “Right. You’ve been hiding yourselves pretty well ever since we started tonight’s mission,” said Roke. The girl turns her head to Roke in surprise. “Your senses are truly remarkable. I expected no less from you,” Latner applauds, “Unlike other Player Killers, I don’t enjoy dirty fights.” “I see. So you like to take stuffs head on?” Roke smiles back daringly. “That is right. I hope you can entertain me in a one-on-one fight,” Latner taunts. “Bring it on!” “H…Hey Roke? Don’t tell me you’re accepting his challenge!?” Sophia asked, worriedly. “Come on, why not? It’s not every day I meet someone who challenges me to a fight right off like this,” Roke laughs carefreely, “Besides. I don’t think he’s gonna let us off the hook without a good fight anyway.” “Yeah, but at least let me---.” “Nope nope, young lady. You are warming the bench on this one,” Roke interrupts her, “You go watch the show from aside. I don’t want you to get hurt.” “Um…Okay…Roke…Be careful okay?” “Always am!”

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Chapter 18 Meanwhile…Headphone Graveyard…Slippery Staircase… Mission: Carpenters are out looking for intruders wandering the halls. Compete for the highest score! Watch out! Other players’ accomplishment will penalize your achievements.

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“Phew! Looks like I made it!” Greg stops at the foot of the stairs, puffing a little. After parting from Roke and Sophia, he makes his way straight back from the cemetery. He had to run because he wouldn’t want to loiter around and risk getting attacked by a ghost. “Let’s see. I part from Ramsley and Teal at the Tatami Hallway. They shouldn’t be too far from me. I should try-----,” suddenly, the young man felt several cuts on his arms, making him cry in pain, “Wha!? What the!?” He quickly flips the phone into the camera and looks at the filament. However, to his surprise, it is not shining at all. “Wha…What’s going on!?” Greg quickly turns about, looking for the source of the attack. However, another assault slashed on to his left leg without knowing when. “Ahhhhh!!!!!!” the young man fell to the ground, “Damn it hurts!!! What’s going on!?” Greg grits his teeth, suppressing the pain. His eyes start to blur as he noticed several piano wires hanging around like a network. “That brushing woman again? No…, it can’t be! My filament is not shining!” Greg tries his best to stand up, and struggles to get up the staircase. Despite the pain, he could miraculously climb up to more than half of the case without trouble, “I…I need to get into the manor first! After that---!?” While he was puffing from exhaustion and pain, he felt something tying around his right leg. Before he could look at it, his right leg was snapped, cut off from him as he felt his body rolling down the staircase. “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” The last thing he could see before everything became black is an image of a man with big glowing yellow eyes and a pair of huge feathery wings looking at him from above.

Player Incapacitated

Greg

G.Lv. 6

-> (4)


Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hall with Tatami… “H…Hey, did you hear that scream?” Teal asks the butler. “Yes, I do,” said Ramsley, looking around for the source of the voice, “It appears to be a young man’s voice. Who could that be?” “I’m worried about the others. Do you think we should try calling them?” Teal asks, hopping down the wooden platform on the west side. “I’m worried too. You try calling Jack. I’ll call my young master,” Ramsley then takes out his cell phone. Teal scrolls down her cell phone menu to look for Jack’s number. Suddenly, she felt her leg being caught by something cold. She lets out a scream as she caught a glimpse of a pale eerie hand, stretching from inside a small gap next to her legs, grabbing her right ankle. The cold hand pulls its way back into the small gap, dragging the girl’s body with it. “NOOO!!!! Ramsley!!! Help me!!!!” The butler quickly runs over to the girl and aims his Four Point Well Key. But the hand already went inside the gap. “Damn!!!!” Ramsley quickly grabs the girl’s hands and tries to pull her out of the hole, “Hold on to me!!!!” “Please help me!!! I don’t wanna die!!!” the girl cries in fright, kicking her left leg around trying to shake herself free. But it was useless. She could not feel a thing, yet there is an unseen force dragging her right ankle. “Dammit! It’s not giving up!!!” Ramsley curses. “Oh no. My hand is slipping!!!!” Teal cries, “Please! Don’t let go of me!!!” “I won’t!!! Don’t---!!!!” “WATCH OUT!!!!” Teal cries as she notices a ghostly man in white raising his axe from behind the butler. The ghost struck his axe onto the butler’s neck, instantly snuffing any breath of life out of him. “NOOOOOOoooooooooooo!!!!!!!!” Teal scratched her finger nails onto the floor, attempting to hold herself down but it was futile. The unseen force kept on dragging her into the hole. When she was finally inside, the small lid closes and everything became dark.

Players Incapacitated

Teal G.Lv. 5 Ramsley G.Lv. 3

-> (4) -> (2)

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep…Foyer… The sound of a rusty wheel echoes from the other side of the dark hallway. “S…S…Some…something’s here!!!” Cross trembles, fumbling with his earphones. Jack walks to the front of the party, putting his headphones on. An eerie voice of an old lady cackled into his ears.

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+Where…is my…child…?+ “It’s a hostile ghost,” said Jack, closing his eyes to concentrate. “J…Jack? What---?” “Quiet!” Sarin interrupts the boy, “He’s crafting a new skill!” +Where is my child? I want to see my child! Let me see my child!!!!+

Original Skill Entry!

(Director’s Cut)

Momentum Crash Crafted from: Stroller Grandma’s yearning for her lost child Description: Release a relentless force that slightly damages and repels any spirits attempting to approach the player. [Quick Jab

100

->

Momentum Crash]

Jack opens his eyes once more. The shadow of an old lady slowly became clearer as she comes out of the dark narrow hallways. All of the sudden, she screams maniacally and rushes towards the party with her baby strolling car. “WAAAAHHH!!!!” Cross freaked out by her scream and fell to the ground. The teen raises his palm and blasts an unseen wave across the narrow hallway, blowing the old lady back into the dark narrow halls. “W…Woah…,” Cheryl opens her mouth in awe. “Kinda like NOISE CRUSH, but stronger,” Jack whistles amusingly. However, the intense air still looms. The sound of the rusty wheel echoed once more as the old lady makes her return. “Let me!!!” Sarin synchronized with her spirit and ran ahead of Jack. She raises her hatchet, and slices the stroller car in two without trouble. The old lady was surprised but still lunges at the girl in desperation. However, a stake suddenly flies right into the middle of her forehead, halting her on spot. Cheryl hovers at the old lady with an incredibly fast speed and knocks her mallet onto the stake, driving it further into the old lady’s head. The old lady slowly falls to the floor and begins to dissipate. Sarin raises her hand towards the old lady absorbing her spiritual powers.


Spirit Synchro Entry! Stroller Grandma Description: A spirit of an old lady, perpetually strolling her rusty baby stroller car around the halls of the Manor of Sleep.

Skills:

• [Physic Armor] Increases the endurance of the Shaman, allowing him / her to take an attack without staggering backward • <Charge Tackle> Tackles onto a spirit. The higher the momentum of the Shaman and the opponent, the more crash damage “Woah!! Taming spirits and crafting a new skill!” Cross lets out an awe while sitting on the floor, “T… This is the first time I’ve saw anything like this!!!” “You haven’t been in this game for too long, have you?” Cheryl smiles nervously at Cross’s amazement. “Get used to it. You’re gonna need it if you want to clear this game,” Jack speaks to Cross, lowering his headphones. “Y…Yeah!! I’ll train hard and try to craft skills with ease like you!!!” Cross laughs, “A…haha…w…why can’t I move?” “Hey,” Jack offers the young man a hand. Cross takes Jack’s hand and gets back up to his feet, “Don’t worry. At first I was really scared too.” “Y…yeah. Thanks.” “Well then, let’s move on, shall we?” Jack then leads the party back on their way to the Partitioned Room.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep…Blind Room… “Ahhh!!!!” Aphiso cries as the cold bloody hands of the woman caught on her throat. “WAAAHH!!!!” Austin cried out in fright and fell back to the ground. “W…waaah!!! L…Let Aphiso go!!!” Leina runs at the ghost out of instinct.

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Spirit Synchro Entry!! Shrine Carpenter Description: The spirit of a shrine carpenter, slaughtered and trapped within the walls of this manor. Skills: • [Physic Guard] Increases the endurance of the Shaman, reducing the damage taking while blocking an incoming attack. • <Uppercut Tackle> Tackles onto a spirits with spear and launch them. • <Soaring Shot> A branching attack from Uppercut Tackle. After launching an enemy, thrust the spear at the enemy for a combo attack. • <Teleport> Freely warps to any position within the room.

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Leina charges at the woman for an Uppercut Tackle. However, the woman simply grips the teen’s spear without even looking at him. Leina is extremely surprised. Her eyes are patched up by a piece of white cloth, stained by a red substance. However, it was as if she could tell where Leina was going to attack. With an incredible strength, the woman swings the teen’s spear away and smacks his face. “AHHHH!!!” Leina falls to the floor with blood dripping from his face. “W…what the hell!?” Austin cries as he noticed sharp needles growing out from the tips of the lady’s fingers. “Dammit! Let me go!!!!” Aphiso synchronized her spirit, tying several hairlines around the woman. The lady was a little surprised, but she simply slices those hairlines apart with ease. “What the!?” The lady then hurls Aphiso’s body through the wooden wall into a deep bottomless pit behind it. “Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!” the girl’s scream echoed the cliff as she falls down rapidly. “Aphiso!!!!” Austin cried out the girl’s name at the same time a new message was sent to him.

[Party Link Modified] Leader: Austin Member 1: Leina

G.Lv. 2 G.Lv. 4

<Aphiso left the party> <Passive Ability destroyed>


Player Incapacitated

Aphiso G.Lv. 4

-> (3)

“She…disconnects the party before dying?” Austin gasps while reading the new message. “Austin!!! Look out!!!” Leina warns his friend just in time before the lady could thrust her needle fingers at the blonde teen. Austin rolled out from the attack and ran at Leina, whose face is now bleeding with three slicing cuts.

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Chapter 19 Mission: Carpenters are out looking for intruders wandering the halls. Compete for the highest score! Watch out! Other players’ accomplishment will penalize your achievements.

Meanwhile…Headphone Graveyard…Wide-open Snowfield…

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Roke crosses his arms in front and blocks a straight jab just in time before it reaches him. The impact blows him backward but not enough to make him fall just yet. “Damn! I heard Player Killers are tough, but never thought they’ll be THIS tough,” Roke grits his teeth while hopping away to gain some distance and balance. His blue outer shirt was completely torn, and several cuts are on his inner white T-shirt. The man is strong. He has incredible strength and speed. A direct hit could probably knock the boy out right away. “You can’t defeat me just by running away, REAPER KING!!!!” Latner flaps his wings, blowing a huge storm at the boy. “Oh crap!” Roke quickly rolled away, dodging the wind just in time, “I’m not gonna run all day!!!!” Roke swings his arms, firing a wave of flames at the Player Killer. Latner simply flutters his wings and soars into the air, dodging the flames just fine. “Oh no you don’t!!!!” Roke follows Latner into the air.

Original Skill Entry! Needle Shower Crafted from: Needle Woman Description: Fires numerous cursed needles that spread unimaginable pain on to anything it sticks. Several needles stick onto Latner, darkening his robe and skin. “Ho. That’s one heck of a skill,” Latner taunts. “And that’s not all of it yet!!!!” Roke launches another DEMON FIST right at Latner’s face. The winged man falls to the floor, lying still from the impact. “Phew! That was a tough fight,” Roke puffed after landing back on the ground. “Roke!!!” Sophia calls to the boy from afar. “Don’t come here yet!” Roke warns the girl and turns back at Latner, “So. Will that be all?”


“You are extremely strong,” Latner gets back up, “You did not disappoint me, Mad_Cartoonist.” “Hah. Been a while since I’ve heard of that alias,” Roke laughs, “So, you want some more?” “I’m sorry. But tonight’s fight ends now,” Latner spreads his feathery wings. “Not if I can----,” suddenly, Roke felt something inside his abdomen. Slowly rolling his eyes down, he saw a fist, covered in blood, poking out of his body, “W…what…da…fuq…?” Sophia screams in fright as she saw Latner’s hand drove right through the boy’s body from behind. “You are a fast one, ex-Reaper King. But with human constraints, this is probably all you can do,” Latner pulls out his fist from the boy, “As you might be able to tell, we Player Killers are not bounded with human’s physical capabilities. That is the difference between us.” The purple haired boy fell to his knees, puking a huge pile of blood to the snow covered ground. “ROKE!!!!!” Sophia ran out from her cover to the boy. “N…No…Sophia!!!!” Roke tries to stop her from approaching. However, Latner simply steps away from the couple and ascends to the air, “Worry not, my friend, I shall not harm the girl. Our fight for tonight is done. I am glad I had a chance to fight you. Until next time.” And so, the man simply soars off to the dark snowy night sky. “Roke!! Roke!!!” Sophia cries, hugging the boy in her arms. “H…Hey…,” he breaths restlessly, “My blood w…will stain you…” “Oh god, just forget it! Like I care!!!” she cries, hugging him tighter. “…Haha…Nah…don’t sweat it…We’re not gonna die…,” Roke lifts his right hand up, looking at it as it began to fade. Sophia looks at her hand and notices that it’s fading as well. “Wha?!” “The mission rules said…i…if a member lost…in this round, the whole party is removed after all…,” Roke sighs, “I guess he really got me.” The girl still sobs, not speaking any more words. “Hey. Don’t cry…,” he wipes her tears softly, “This is not the first time we died after all.” “You idiot!” she cries, “I know we’ll be fine! I…I just…I don’t like to see you get hurt like this!” “Haha…well…, sorry I worried ya…” Both of them look up at the sky as their bodies slowly fades away.

Players Incapacitated

Rokej G.Lv. 6 Sophia G.Lv. 5

-> (4) -> (4)

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Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Blind Room…

106

“Waaaah!!!!” Leina was hurled across the room, crashing into a wooden wall. Good thing it did not broke down into a hole like how she does it to Aphiso. “Dammit! Just die already!!! We don’t have time all night!!!!” Austin swings his naginata, aiming at the woman’s head. However, she simply reached for the handle and snapped it to pieces, “Argh screw this!!! I need a new item that won’t fail me!!!!” The woman grabs the boy’s shirt and hurls him to the other side of the room, opposite from Leina. “HAAAAAA!!!!!” Leina runs up at the woman from behind and smack her neck with his spear. She staggers forward before turning around towards the crimson haired teen. “Damn!! She’s just not going down!!!!!” Leina grumbles dodging some more slashes. “Dude, you know what!? Let’s just RUNNNNN!!!!!!” Austin suggests. Leina dodges a slash and counters her with a kick. As she was thrown off balance, Leina quickly follows his friend out of the room via the north exit. Both teens sprint as fast as their legs can take time towards into the Garden Corridor. As they thought of where to go next, both of them saw a girl in a shrine priestess outfit with twin braided pig-tails pointing towards a small room to her left before she slowly vanishes away. “Uh…should we trust her?” Leina asks, hesitatingly. “Always listen to a girl’s suggestion!!!” Austin then sprints toward that room and enters it with Leina following closely behind. However, their eyes widen as they noticed the room filled with red paper dolls nailed over the whole room. Leina turns at Austin with a glaring eye. “…Well, I never said all girls’ suggestion worked!!!!” Austin shrugs. The crimson haired teen rolls his eyes and quickly turns to the knee-high door they entered. However it was sealed tight by a weird presence and would not budge. “…Oh no…we’re trapped!!!” Leina cried. “Damn! Isn’t there anything we can----.” “Be quiet…,” a girl’s whisper echoed through the whole room, halting all the teens’ movement. Everything becomes pin-drop silent and the sound of footsteps can be heard from outside the room. Leina kept his mouth shut but points nervously at the door; That woman is just outside this room. “…Where…?” Her whisper seeps into the room, making both teens gulp in fright. The sound of the footsteps was heard again, except this time it slowly moves away. After Leina could confirm that her presence is gone, he fell to the floor, puffing. “God. For a sec there I thought I was gonna die again!!!!” Austin cried, noticing that blood is still dripping from his friend’s face.


“Hey dude, are you okay?” Austin asks worriedly. “Not really,” Leina grits his teeth in pain. “Damn. Is there anything here we can use?” Austin looks onto the altar within the room and notices a few items lying scattered about\. There is a bottle of Herbal Medicine, a small glowing orb, a key with bell flowers engraved on it, and a pair of candles, settled in the middle of a weird contraption. “Well! First thing first!” Austin picks up the bottle of Herbal Medicine from the altar.

New Relic Entry! Herbal Medicine Description: A small wooden jar containing rare magical herbal medicine that eases the mental pain of anyone who eats it. Latent Ability: Releases the latent power within the herbs and restores a subject’s minor physical wounds as well as mental pain. Using the herb’s latent power withers it. Leina’s body slowly glow a warm radiant and the cuts on his face starts to heal. “Woah,” Leina’s jaw drops in awe, as he can no longer feel any pain. “Hah! I’m glad this works. Too bad it’s a one time thing,” Austin sighs in relief. “Thanks man,” Leina laughs and stands up. “Don’t mention it. Consider yourself lucky we have that medicine here,” Austin turns around to the altar once more. “We should find more of these. It’ll make walking around the manor a lot less intense,” Leina laughs jokingly. “By the way, where’s that girl?” Austin wonders, looking around the room. “You mean the girl that leads us here? I can’t feel her anymore. The presence locking the door is gone too,” Leina tries moving the door and it appears to be movable again. “Well, I guess we should be safe for now. Man, at least she could have let me thank her,” Austin chortles before leaving the Doll Altar with his friend.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Partitioned Room… “We shouldn’t be too far off from the stained corridor now,” said Jack, looking at the map. “Hey guys, did you hear that?” Cheryl asks. “Huh?” the party stops walking and listens carefully. A voice of a woman whimpering was heard from somewhere in the room. “Oh yeah,” said Sarin. “It’s not a ghost’s voice though,” Jack tries listening through his headphones, but nothing comes up.

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108

“H…hey look!!!” Cross points toward the southern end of the room. The party saw a woman in a red blouse and blue skirt crouching, with her hands clutching her head. “I’m sorry I survived. I shouldn’t have survived! It’s not like I chose to survive!!” the woman kept mumbling something over and over. “She’s…a human,” Jack commented and approached her, “H…hey…are you okay?” The woman startled and looked at the boy with frightened eyes, “P…Players?” “Um…yeah. Are you lost?” “P…Please…Listen to me!!!” she grabs onto the boy’s hand, scaring him. “W…woah!?” “You must not come here!!! You must leave!!! Go away from here!!!! You can’t stay!!!! If you----.” Suddenly her eyes widen as if she noticed something and quickly runs out to the Foyer screaming in fear, “GET AWAYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!” “What’s her problem?” Sarin folds her arms wondering. “Hey look, I think she dropped something,” Cheryl approaches the spot where that woman was crouching and picks up a purse. Inside the purse are a cell phone and a half-burnt passport. The passport was severely damaged, but the party could at least make out the name written on it. “Yoshino…Takigawa?” Jack reads the name. “She’s a player too,” said Cheryl, checking her cell phone. On the top page of the cell phone is the woman’s player status screen, showing her name and some of her in-game abilities. “She’s a Shaman huh? What’s her level?” Sarin asks, looking at the phone as well. “That’s weird…It’s not written here,” said Cheryl. “We’re supposed to have our levels shown on the status screen, right?” Jack flips his phone over and looks for his Game Level. A number ‘4’ was clearly shown on the screen. “Maybe there’s something wrong about her player status,” Cheryl suggests. “I have a bad feeling about this though. Why does she have to run away?” Sarin ponders to herself. Suddenly, the sliding door to the north of the room slides open, making the whole party jumps.


Chapter 20 Mission: Carpenters are out looking for intruders wandering the halls. Compete for the highest score! Watch out! Other players’ accomplishment will penalize your achievements.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Partitioned Room… “Oh…Sorry. Did I freak you guys out?” a young boy ruffles his hair in embarrassment as he looks at the party from the sliding door. “Uh…yeah, you kinda did,” said Cheryl, laughing nervously. “I’m Tim,” the boy introduces himself. “I’m Cheryl. And these are Jack, Sarin, and Cross” the girl introduced herself and her party to the young boy. “Glad to see other folks around!” the young boy laughs care freely, “I was in a party until last two nights, my friend got killed by a Player Killer and deleted.” “H…Huh!? You mean like…Game Level less than zero!?” Cross asks in fright. “Yeah. Haven’t seen a player after that,” said Tim, looking at the party, “Say…four people? One of you guys are not in a party, right?” “Oh, yeah. Me!” Cross raises his hand. “Wanna tag along with me?” Tim proposed, “We’ll beat up the carpenters in a jiffy!!” “You should go with him, Cross,” Jack suggests, “With a party, your powers are increased.” “B…But…I wanna follow you guys!!!” Cross pouts. “Well, don’t you…wanna get out of this game? I mean, in missions like this we are basically competitors,” said Jack, “Right Sarin?” “Huh? Oh, yeah,” Sarin replied with her arms folded. The boy noticed that she has been spacing out. Probably, she was thinking about something. “Ah well, see you guys around the manor then!” Tim waves good-bye and leaves the party through the door leading to the foyer. “Let’s go then, shall we?” Cheryl suggests. The party continues on towards the path Tim just entered into the stairs hallway. “Something bugging you?” Jack whispers the question to the silver haired girl. “Yeah,” she replied. “What is it?” “That woman. Yoshino, was it?” “What about her?”

109


“…First, it’s about her Game Level. Why wasn’t it on her status screen?” Sarin ponders. “Maybe it’s a glitch or something?” Jack suggests, “Who knows? Mistakes could happen, even to supernatural games. Maybe.” “That’s not all,” Sarin adds, “What was she afraid of?” “Afraid?” “Don’t you see how she was crouching and trembling? And her face. Her voice. She was obviously scared…horrified of something,” said the girl. “…Well…There are ghosts and stuffs in this place. Wouldn’t surprised me for a woman to be horrified,” said Jack. Sarin looks ahead. After making sure that Cross is busy talking with Cheryl, she bends closer to Jack, “I’m only discussing this with you because we know each other for a long time now. But…What do you think there’s a possibility that that boy, Tim, is a Player Killer?”

110

“Huh?” Jack almost let out a shout. “When I was at level zero, a big fat zero was on my screen,” said Sarin, “I’m not sure why Yoshino has no level shown on her screen, but it’s probably safe to assume that she’s not at a very safe level.” “Uh huh?” “But what bothers me most is when he entered the room,” Sarin adds. Jack pauses a little. “…Now that you mentioned it, that woman was looking at something behind me before she snapped and ran away!” said Jack, “But wait? How could she tell?” “Maybe she saw him in the boy form before?” Sarin suggests, “Like how you saw that Player Killer as Koga once.” “You’re probably right,” Jack frowned, “Damn! Could this mean she’s in danger!?” “Who knows? This might sound heartless but…maybe it’s best for us if don’t follow,” said Sarin, “If that boy is REALLY a Player Killer, then we should consider ourselves lucky he wasn’t going after us.” “…Damn…this bothers me so much,” Jack grits his teeth and stops walking, “You know what. You guys go ahead and hunt those carpenters. I’ll go look for that woman.” “H…Hey, you out of your mind!?” Sarin stops him. “Don’t worry about me! You guys should focus on getting your levels back as soon as possible! I’ll catch up when I can get something out of that woman!” said the boy. “Huh? What?” Cheryl turned around towards the boy. “Have Cross take my place. Sorry about this, I’ll be back real quick!!!” “You really are nuts,” Sarin puts her palm onto her face, “Just. Don’t get yourself killed.” “Thanks for the concern. I’ll contact you guys back immediately when I meet that woman,” Jack replies then jogs away from the team, pressing the commands on his cell phones to disconnect his party link.


[Party Link Modified] Leader: Sarin Member 1: Cheryl Member 2: Cross

G.Lv. 1 G.Lv. 1 G.Lv. 3

The Party Link forms Passive Ability! - [Boosted Synchro] - [Mind Lock]

<Jack left the party> Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Barred Hallway… “Damn. Where should we go next?” Austin scratches his head nervously, “I hate to wander around this place aimlessly.” “I used to see a carpenter walking around the Bell Hallway. Maybe we’ll be lucky to see one around there again!” Leina suggests. “Well, better than having no lead. Let’s go there then,” Austin agreed. Both teens strolled down the Barred Hallway. The creaky wooden planks make the blonde teen nervous. He kept turning around every four or five steps. “Hey, don’t worry!” Leina assured, “I’m a Shaman you know! When it comes to spirits’ presence, I’m a hell lot more sensitive than the camera’s filament!” “Uh…okay…? Doesn’t make me feel better though,” Austin sighs, “By the way, Leina. Why didn’t you tame that Needle Woman earlier? I thought you’re a Shaman and can create nifty skills from them.” “Well, Shamans’ powers don’t work like Voice Materializers. VM’s powers are a lot more convenient. They can create new skills immediately after listening to the voices of the spirit,” Leina explains, “In Shaman’s case, the Shaman has to form some sort of bond with the spirit before a Spirit Synchro can be created.” “Sounds complicated,” Austin mutters, opening the door to the Projector Room. “Complicated indeed. The spirits have to also understand me before they can form a bond. It’s a twoway thing, whereas in VMs’ case, it’s one-way,” Leina explains, “But there ARE cases where Shamans can force a spirit to synchronize with them, by allowing them to possess their bodies. If during the possession the Shaman can outwit the strength of the spirit, they will be able to suppress the spirit’s strength and form a synchro right away.” “Huh. That sounds kinda cool,” Austin comments. “Yeah, but I’m not that strong. Maybe if I could force that woman to form a synchro with me, Aphiso wouldn’t have to…”

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“Yeah. I mean…she’s still far from level zero. But still, that fall must have hurt,” said Austin. Both boys kept quiet for a few minutes, mourning for their lost friend.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hearth Room…

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Jack enters the room and walks to the middle. No one was there. “Damn. She’s pretty fast. Where could she be?” He mutters to himself before heading north into the Hallway with Tatami. It is dead quiet just like any other room he passed. “…Have the Player Killer got her?” he mutters to himself while standing in the middle of the room. Suddenly, he heard something up the stairs. The boy quickly puts on his headphones from instinct. “…Woah…woah…Cool down. Cool down! I’m not a ghost!” a boy’s voice was heard from the upper level. “…Oh?” Jack lowers his headphones, “Sorry. That was reflex.” “Nah. I don’t blame you,” the boy with short red hair jumps down from above, “I’m Colin, a Gadgeteer.” “I’m Jack. A Voice Materializer obviously,” Jack laughs, “What are you doing up there?” “Uh…don’t laugh okay?” said Colin, “I was…doing research.” “A research about?” “This whole manor,” said Colin, “Isn’t it amazing how this place existed only in our dreams?” “I wouldn’t call a haunted manor amazing, but yeah, it’s something,” Jack crosses his arms behind his head. “I was so absorbed by the folklore books placed around here. Before I know it, I found myself reading it none stop,” said Colin. “Ah well. I won’t disturb you any more then,” said Jack, turning away. “H…Heyyy! Where are you going!?” “I’m looking for a woman in red dress. Have you seen her running this way?” Jack asks. “A woman? Uh…well…a living one or a dead one?” “A living one,” Jack replied, chuckling a little at the question. “Well…I saw a woman running off that door,” Colin points to the door at the north. “I see. I have to---,” before Jack could finish, he noticed something lying near the brazier in the middle of the room. It’s a pince-nez glasses, stained in blood. He quickly ran towards the glasses and picked it up. From its shape and size, he knew right away it belongs to someone he is pretty familiar with. “Ramsley?!” the boy called the butler’s name in fright as he notices the blood staining the glasses. Moreover, he noticed traces of nail drags on the dirt ground near the spot he found the glasses. “What the hell happened here?!” Just when he got back up standing, he saw a man in white was raising a small hatchet over his head, aiming for the boy.


Chapter 21 Mission: Carpenters are out looking for intruders wandering the halls. Compete for the highest score! Watch out! Other players’ accomplishment will penalize your achievements.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Projector Room… “Okay. Enough rest. Let’s get moving,” Austin suggests. Leina follows his friend closely into the Bell Hallway. Before they reached the intersection, Leina quickly halts his friend and hides in the corner. Both teens took a peek and saw a few carpenters standing in the Round Window Corridor, looking left and right. “Three of them,” said Leina. “We’re out numbered. We should take one of them out as soon as possible,” Austin adds, taking out his Bell Flower Key, “We’ll do this in a flash!” “Ready whenever you are!” “Let’s do this!” Austin steps out from the corner and activates the Bellflower Key’s power

New Relic Entry! Bell Flower Key Description: A key depicting a picture of a Bell Flower. Latent Ability: Fires a holy cannon that exorcize spirits. Fires a holy cannon that exorcize spirits. Firing a shot puts the key in recharge. Duration: -Recharge: 30 seconds A hazy silhouette of a bellflower forms on the key in the blonde teen’s hands. The pollens inside the petals start to radiate a warm radiant before a huge glowing energy ball was blast at the carpenters. The shot completely dissipates one of the carpenters, while dealing damage to the other two. Both of them turned at the blonde teen, gritting their teeth in rage. However, Austin simply smiles back at them confidently. “Excuse me,” both carpenters turned around and noticed the crimson haired teen charging at them with a spear. The impact of the charge launches one of the carpenters airborne, while the other is pushed away. After the launch, Leina thrusts the spear right at the airborne carpenter, and dissipates him to thin air. The other carpenter attempts to counter the teen, but a naginata blade fell down onto his head and split his body into two.

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<Leina’s Party Current Score: 600> “Yeah! We rocked!!!” Austin cheers. “Yeah! Did you see that!? Those two went down in a flash!!!” Leina laughs braggingly. “Well. 200 points each. We got 600 now! Let’s move on some where----,” before the blonde teen could finish, he noticed another shrine carpenter appearing from behind his friend.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep…Hall with Tatami… “Oh crap!!! MIRAGE SCREEN!!!!” An illusionary field appears and blocks the attack from the carpenter just in time. The reflected impact made the carpenter loses his balance. Jack takes the opportunity to blast a MOMENTUM CRASH at the carpenter creating some spaces for himself. After that, the teen punches him right in the stomach, blasting him out of this room with an explosive punch. <Jack’s Current Score: 200>

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“Damn! That almost got me!” Jack lets out a sigh of relief. “Oh god that happened so fast!” Colin cried with his knees shaking, “Sorry I just stood there!” “Nah, that’s okay,” Jack takes another deep breath, “Maybe some of my friends are ambushed here.” “I…see…sorry to hear that,” said Colin. “Well. You be careful too!” said Jack as he waves at the boy and walks off to the north door. “Hey Jack,” Colin called suddenly. Jack stops walking but did not turn back at the boy. “Do you mind…if I stick along with you?” Colin asks with an innocent face. Jack kept quiet for a while. His fist starts clenching in doubt. “…Why?” he asks back. “U…uh…? Do I need a reason?” Colin scratches his cheek nervously, “Well, it’s a haunted manor and all. And this was like my third night here. I could use a company.” “…Maybe I was thinking a little too much,” Jack whispers to himself before turning to Colin, “Sure. But well, I’m not working on tonight’s mission now though. Like I said, I’m looking for a woman.” “Oh, that’s okay. Anything is better than staying alone. I mean, I’m still interested, but I’d choose to go with another person any time,” he laughs as he follows Jack closely from behind. However, just before both of them could leave the room, a woman’s scream of agony was heard from the east hall. “W…What the heck was that!?” Jack cried. “I…It’s from that hallway,” Colin points towards the small corridor to their right.


“Oh god no!!!” Jack ran ahead into the corridor. “H…hey!!! Wait for me!!!!!!!” Hesitating a little, the teen follows Jack into that corridor regardless.

[Party Link Formed] Leader: Jack Member 1: Colin <Current Points: 200> The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability!! - [Hastened Delay] - [Mind Lock]

[Contact Information Exchanged] [Jack’s achievement penalized Leina Party’s Score!] < 600 -> 550 >

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep…Bell Hallway… “Look out LEINA!!!!” Austin yells. “Huh!? WOAH!?” Leina holds his breath and vanishes right before the blade cuts through him. The crimson haired teen reappears behind the carpenter and raises his spear once more. However, the carpenter turns around and blocks the attack just in time. “Woah, you’re fast!” Leina gulps before stepping away. “Uwoooaaaahhhh!!!!!!” the carpenter moans and raises his blade at Leina again. Austin quickly runs up to the carpenter from behind and slices him in half with his naginata. The carpenter fells to the ground moaning some more. “The…secret…dies with…meeee…” < Leina and Austin current point: 550 -> 750 > [Leina Party’s achievement penalized Jack Party’s Score!] < 200 -> 150 > “Woah, man! That was close!” Leina takes a deep breath, as his heart was still pounding in fright. “Yeah, no kidding man,” Austin sighs in relief, “Let’s go some where else. Any place you wanna suggest?”

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“Eh…not really. How about the Grave Courtyard? I saw a few carpenters loitering there some times,” Leina suggests. “Well, it’s just out of this door, isn’t it?” Austin mutters, sliding the south door opened. The cold breeze blows into the teens face. Snow is seen falling, but for some reason it does not make both of them feel like being in an outdoor area.

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“Man, this place doesn’t bring back fond memories,” Austin sighs. “Why?” Leina asks curiously. “Me and some other folks I met were massacred by a Player Killer here,” said Austin, “It was an ambush so we weren’t able to fight back.” “Damn. That sucks big time,” Leina cringed. “Indeed. Let’s just go over----. Oh. I guess we made a good guess after all,” Austin takes out his Bell Flower Key. “Huh?” Leina turns toward the south door and notices two carpenters walking through the door. “Okay Leina! It’s rumble time!!!” “Right!!!” Leina synchronizes his spirit with the man in white once more. Both carpenters moan and lunge at both teens with their carpenter tools. Austin opens the fight with a cannon shot of bellflower. Although both of them did not take a direct hit, they were still blown back from the impact. Leina reappears above one of them while they are off balance and stabs his spear right in a carpenter’s chest. The stabbed carpenter cried in pain as he struggled around on the floor, while the other one raises his blade, aiming for Leina. Austin follows in with his naginata and blocks the attack just in time for Leina to stab his spear at that second carpenter. Both ghosts cried in pain before slowly dispersing like all other ghosts. “The…secret…dies with…meeee…” < Leina and Austin current point: 750 -> 1150 > “What secret are they talking about?” Austin wonders, keeping his relic inside his pockets. “Beats me,” Leina shrugs, “I wonder how long it is before the dawn breaks.” “Why don’t we go take a break in the Tatami Hallway?” Austin suggests, “It’s just right next to us.” “Sure. Let’s go then.” And both teens strolled off to the Hallway with Tatami.

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Blind Room… “There!!!!” Jack points to the small stair corridor at the west side of the room. The woman’s cry echoed even louder as both teens approaches the door at the end of the corridor.


Jack kicks the door open and his eyes widen in fright. “W…w…wha…waaaahhh!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!” Colin cried and fell back to the floor upon seeing the horrifying image. The woman in red dress was impaled on the walls right above the altar. Her whole body is covered with traces of slash wounds. Her hands and legs are staked against the wall as intense flames scorch her body alive. “Yoshino!?” Jack called to the woman. “No…no…!!!!” Another boy was seen lying on the floor inside the room, horrified at the scorching impaled woman. “What the?! Cross!? What are you doing here!?” Jack calls to the boy. “Ahh!!! J…Jack!!!!” Cross turns to the teen with tears and snots flowing down his eyes and nose. The woman screams in pain and struggles around, “HELP ME EE EEEEM EMEEE!!!! I DON’T WANNA DIEE AAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!” Jack gulps in fright as the woman’s head hanged down while the flames are still covering her. Once she stops moving, the flame magically subsides, and the stakes impaling her magically lifts off from her hands and legs, throwing her down to the floor. Jack quickly approaches the woman. By some miracle, it appears she’s not dead yet. Her eyes are still rolling and her mouth is still moving. “Ahh…ah…You…,” she calls the teen in front of her. “What? What is it!? What are you trying to tell me!?” Jack asks her nervously. “…You…must…not…c…c…c…a…agh…aaaaaaggggh.hh.hh……………………..” Her eyes rolled behind and her mouth finally stopped moving. “H…hey! Wait!!!” Jack calls her again, but there is no more response. “W…WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT ALL ABOUT!?” Colin yelled in fear. “Cross! Why are you here!? What the heck happened here!?” Jack turns to the boy trembling in the middle of the room. “WAAAAHHHHH!!! I…I don’t know!!!!” the boy cries and clutches his hands on his head, “When I open my eyes, I’m already lying down here!!!!! Please believe meeee waaaaahhhh!!!!” Suddenly, Jack’s eyes widen in shock. “…Wait a sec…if you’re here…then where the heck are Cheryl and Sarin?!”

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Chapter 22 Mission: Carpenters are out looking for intruders wandering the halls. Compete for the highest score! Watch out! Other players’ accomplishment will penalize your achievements.

Meanwhile…Some where in Manor of Sleep…

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The girl slowly opens her eyes, looking at the dark ceiling of the room. “…Where…am I?” she asks herself as she tries to get up. She staggers a little from the intense pain on her head, “Damn, my head hurts like crap.” Beside her is a familiar looking girl, sleeping like a baby. What happened? She asks herself that question when she is finally fully awake. “Hey, Cheryl!” she shakes the girl lying right next to her. “Mmmmhmmm??” Cheryl scratches her eyes lazily, “Already morning?” “No. We’re still in the manor,” said Sarin. “Huh!? Manor!?” the girl shot herself up from the floor, “…Oh? That’s…weird? Where are we? How did we get here?” They are confined within a small rectangular room, with red paper dolls impaled all around the room. “I don’t know, but I don’t like this,” said Sarin, standing up as well, “The map said we are in Doll Altar East.” “What? That’s really weird. It’s like on a different direction from the Stained Corridor!!” said Cheryl. “Yeah. Strange that,” Sarin keeps her cell phone back in place. “Let’s see, we were walking down towards the Staircase Hallways. But then just before we opened that door to the Stained Corridor…,” Cheryl paused and looked around, “Hey, where’s Cross!?” “Damn, did someone got him!?” Sarin turns around and leaves the room through the knee-high door. Right when she steps outside, she bumps into a familiar face. “Oh? Jack?” “Huh?” Cheryl follows Sarin out of the room closely. “Oh thank god you’re okay!!!” the boy sighs in relief and hugs the girl tightly, surprising her. “W…woah…hey…? What’s wrong!?” she asks, blushing. “For a second there, I thought you’re gone!” the boy let the girl go and sighs again. “SARINNNN!!!!! CHERYLLLLL!!!!” Cross ran down the hall towards the girls with another boy. “Oh hey Cross. What happened?” Cheryl asks him. “I don’t know! Just before we entered the Stained Corridor, everything went blank! And before I know


it, we’re already here!!” said Cross, still wiping tears off his face. “That sounds really weird,” another boy thought to himself. “Who’re you?” Cheryl asks him. “Oh, sorry. I’m Colin. I bumped into Jack and asked if I can tag along. I’m glad I see other players,” he scratched his cheek blushing. “Say Jack, did you find that woman?” Sarin asks. “Oh. About that…” Before the boy could reply, a new message was sent to their cell phone.

Mission Failed… The dawn has come. Another party gained more points than you. Please try again tomorrow… “Ah, over already?” Jack mutters, “Let’s talk about it tomorrow. I’ll call everyone after school.” “Okay. Good luck guys!” Cheryl waves everyone good-bye before they are taken back to the real world.

Leina Austin

G.Lv. 4 G.Lv. 2

-> 5 -> 3

Real World…Jack’s Bedroom… The boy slowly opens his eyes, looking at the ceiling blankly. “Damn, last night was hectic,” he sighs, slowly getting up. The sleepiness is not completely gone so everything around him is still blurry. As he tries to focus his vision, he caught a glimpse of a girl crouching under his table. “WHAA!?” the boy scratches his eyes a few times and gazes at his table again. But the girl he saw is already gone, “W…woah…That’s creepy.” He could feel his heart pounding as he breathes restlessly on his bed. “Damn. Didn’t I see something like that before too?” he slowly gets down from his bed, “Yeah. That was it! It was at the café downtown. We were leaving. I got up with Sarin and saw…a ghost of a woman.” He scratches his head with both hands, “Arghhh. I’m probably just too tired.” Suddenly, his cell phone rings, giving him a jump. He carefully reaches for the phone with a shaky hand and reads the name of the caller. “H…Hello?” “Hey, that you Jack?” the girl in the phone asks.

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“Yeah, what is it, Natalie?” “You don’t have lab today right? My lab gown is still in the laundry. Can I borrow yours?” “Well, sure, if you don’t mind wearing a boy’s gown that is,” he shrugs. “Nah. Big deal. Bring me the gown. Thanks a bunch!” she laughs before hanging up. Jack puts the cell phone down on his bed and heads into the shower. Cool shower washes the sweat covering him. Running or being frightened in the dreams probably has an effect on his sleeping body. He never really sweats much in his sleep because if he felt hot, his body would kick the blanket away automatically.

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While he is shampooing his head, he notices a shadow of someone standing outside of his shower closet. “…The heck?” the boy tried gazing at that shadow outside of the foggy mirror. He did not hear the door opening, and he already made sure the door was locked, “…Dad?” There is no response. It’s hazy and blurry, but he can verify that there is definitely someone standing there. The boy leans against the wall behind him, grabbing the old mop leaning nearby. The shower is still pouring down, but there is no sign of that shadow moving. Jack felt shampoo slowly dripping down so he brushes hit off, briefly blinking. However, when he turns back to it, that shadow is already gone. “What the heck? Again??” the boy takes a deep breath and kicks the hazy door opened. No one was there. “…Dammit…what’s going on with me?” he closes his eyes and massages his eyelids. Did he spend too much time in the dream?

After School…Café Downtown… The players gather at the café. Jack, Sarin, Cheryl, Teal, Ramsley, Colin, Greg, Austin, and Roke sit around the circular table facing each other. Roke said Sophia and Aphiso had classes for the whole day today, so they could not come. Leina told Austin he has a project to present to his lecturer so he could not come. Cross simply told Jack on phone that he caught a cold so he probably would not join the meeting. “Okay, here we are. Looks like we got several new faces this time,” Jack greets everyone with a small laugh. “So, mind telling us why we’re here today now?” said the purple haired boy. He was the first one who came to this café and waited nearly an hour before everyone showed up. “It’s like this, Roke. We would like to discuss about stuffs going on in the manor,” Sarin explains. “I got that much,” said Roke, “But what kind of stuffs do you want to discuss about? I thought you guys are focusing on clearing the game as soon as possible.”


“Well, that’s true. But you see, we kinda ran into a wacky situation last night,” said Cheryl. “Wacky? How wacky?” Austin raises his eyebrow. “It’s like this. I ran into a woman at the manor last night,” Jack explains. “OH!? Is she beautiful?” Austin asks curiously. “Uh…not really,” Jack replies, “She seems to be terrified by something.” “More players?” Ramsley moves his glasses. “There are a lot more players in this game than I thought,” Colin mutters, “Funny how we never ran into each other before.” “Yeah, funny that,” Greg laughs, “So, what’s with that woman, Jack?” “She’s dead,” Jack places today’s newspaper on to the table and spread it for everyone. “Wha?” Everyone’s eyes, aside from Jack, Sarin, Cheryl, and Colin, widen in surprise. The article read:

News Clipping: Survivor The sole survivor of plane crash dies from the strange death. Yoshino Takigawa, 26 years old, was the only sole survivor of the plane crash accident some time ago. She was stuck inside the plane’s wreck for four days, surrounded by the dead bodies of her relatives as she waits to be rescued. She had been hospitalized ever since and rarely woke up. However, this morning Ms. Yoshino is found to be dead inside her room. The cause of her death is unknown, but her body bears the same symptoms of the mysterious death floating around town. “Mysterious death…You mean how the body looks dehydrated and all the skin turned black?” Teal asks. “It has been spreading around the neighborhood these past few months, if memory serves me right,” Ramsley mutters. “Yeah. It appears so,” said Jack, “Maybe it is safe to assume that this death is some how related to anyone who played this game.” “I see. That’s really interesting,” said Roke. He then turns toward Sarin, “So, your ex-fiancé played this game too?” “Seeing as how his death is just like Yoshino and how we saw him in the manor, I think it’s safe to assume that,” the girl replied, gritting her teeth. “Makes you wonder why he goes there in the first place,” Teal mutters, “He was such a perfect guy. No reason to pursue the [Blessing].” “You know him?” Sarin asks the girl with a surprise. “Kind of. We were in the same class many times back in intermediate years,” said Teal, “I didn’t talk to

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him much after we moved to Shinran though.” “I see. I never knew,” Sarin mutters. “I’m surprised when I know you are his fiancée too,” said Teal, “I just never find the right moment to ask.”

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“So, we’re here to discuss if this death is related to the game or not? Is that all? Cuz I don’t think we need to really come all the way into a meeting for this,” said Roke. “Well. There’s another thing I want to discuss,” said Jack, “You see, her dying words…Yoshino’s dying words…She said ‘You must not c…’.” “‘You must not’…? Must not what?” Colin asks. “C?...K…k…? Cough?” Austin asks, jokingly. “I doubt that’s the case, but that’s what I want to discuss today,” said Jack. “You must not…?” Roke folds his arms and ponders, “Hmm…I can’t really think of anything right now. But this gave me a lead on something.” “A lead? You mean you were also looking for something in that manor?” Colin asks. “Yeah. Something about this game just bugs the hell out of me. Let’s just say I have this really itchy hunch ringing in my head,” said Roke. “Well, take me with you! I am also into researching stuffs. Maybe I can help you!” said Colin. “My girlfriend and I are in a pretty dangerous part of that manor now. Let us finish the investigation there first, then I’ll give you a holler,” said Roke, exchanging numbers with the red haired boy. “Researching, eh?” Greg mutters, “Hey. Would you mind if I tag along again for the research thing?” “Well, not that I mind. But what’s with you going and leaving for missions?” Roke chuckles. “Ehhh. Let’s just say my paranormal detector is doing its work,” Greg laughs nervously. “So you guys will be looking into this?” Sarin asks Roke. “Yeah. Why not?” said the purple haired boy, “Don’t worry about me. You guys better focus on clearing the game. Leave the investigation to these folks and me. As for you guys who wanted to join me, in the mean time, strengthen yourself. Get stronger synchroes, relics, or whatever, and gain as many levels as you can. You never know when you’ll run into a Player Killer like how me and my girlfriend did last night.” “Wait? You met a Player Killer last night, master!?” Ramsley asks. “Yeah, sort of. Dun wanna talk about it though,” the boy looks out of the window. “What? Got beaten to a pulp?” Jack teases. “Asked the guy who can’t even tell a difference between a spirit and a Killer?” Roke snaps back. “N…Come on guys. Please don’t fight,” Teal pleads nervously, “In any case, let’s be careful for tonight. Ramsley and I were ambushed pretty bad.” “Should have seen me,” Greg sighs depressingly. “So you guys really were killed,” Jack looks at them with a worried face, “I saw Ramsley’s glasses in


the Tatami Hall.” “Yeah. It’s really scary. I’m still not sure where I am at the manor now. I remember being dragged into a small hole under the floor and everything became black,” said Teal, trembling. Her eyes seem to start welling up in fear as well. “Don’t worry, my dear!!! I’m-----“ “Oh there. You’re okay now,” Sarin puts her arms around Teal and hugs her before Austin could do anything. “Eh…Whatever. Say, Roke. I got two questions.” “I’m listening,” the purple haired boy replies. “You happened to have a friend named Leina, right?” “Uh huh. He’s in the game too, I guess?” “Yeah. I’m in a party with him now,” said Austin. “He might not look it, but he’s awesome. Don’t give up hope in him. He never gave up hope on me back then either,” Roke mutters. “Does ‘All God’s Village’ mean anything to you?” Austin asks further. The question was almost like a switch, tipping the boy’s eyebrow up some more. “What about it?” his face doesn’t look so friendly. “U…Uh well…Apparently, we found a place called ‘All God Village’ in that manor. Leina, Aphiso, and I were there,” said Austin. Roke’s eyes widen a bit as he pauses to think. “…What the heck is AGV doing there?” Roke mutters to himself. “Is it a problem?” Cheryl asks the boy. “……Kind of. Thanks for telling me, Austin. I’ll look into it after I finish investigating the Headphone Graveyard,” said Roke. So far, he doesn’t really appear to be like the type of person who would care for anything, at least to the eye of the party. Now, his face is even more serious than ever. “Say, what about the other question?” Roke asks. “…Is that really your natural hair color?” Austin wonders. “This won’t end well,” Ramsley chuckles. “…For the last flippin’ time…THIS IS MY FREAKIN’ NATURAL HAIR COLOR!!!!!!!!” the purple haired boy roared.

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Chapter 23 Real World…Sarin’s Mansion… “I’ll be fine from here,” Sarin smiles. “Okay. Take care of yourself,” Jack smiles back before turning away. “…H…Hey Jack,” she calls to him. “What?” the teen turned around. “Thanks…for being worried about me,” said Sarin. “…Oh…Don’t mention it. We’re friends, aren’t we?” he smiles, “And friends look after each other.” “……Yeah. Thanks again.” Sarin enters the mansion and closes the door behind her. “…Again…Why is my heart racing?” she asks herself. Yesterday, when he hugged her, it was warm. It was a feeling she has not felt ever since Koga died. She felt safe and secured with in his arms. Why? She always thought they are only friends. Why is she feeling this way?

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The girl sighs and returns to her room. She crouches on her bed, hugging her knees thinking everything over. “…I love Koga. That has never changed,” she thought, “…Jack has always been kind to me. Too kind…” Beside her bed is a nicely framed photo of Koga and her in their engagement party. He is wearing his father’s tuxedo, making him look a lot more mature. She is wearing a glittering silver gown, with her hair tied at her back. She was never the type to wear an elegant dress. Koga asked her to wear this outfit for him. Funny. She thought she is over this, but for some reason her eyes are tearing up again. “Damn, I’m pathetic,” the girl laughs at herself. As she wipes tear off her face, she noticed a reflection of a woman sitting right next to her. “KYAAAHH!!!!!” the girl screamed in fright, dropping the photo frame and jumping out of her bed. She turned back to her bed, but no one was there any more. “…Am I seeing stuffs again?” she starts sobbing, “…Someone please make this stop. Help me… Koga…Jack…”

Meanwhile…Roke’s Mansion… “You sure you’re okay?” Roke asks the butler. “Of course, young master,” Ramsley politely bows, “I might not look it, but I’m still in top shape.” “Yeah, right,” Roke laughs, “Well. I’ll be in the study. I wanna look up on the research materials I col-


lected.” “As you wish,” Ramsley bows again before leaving for his quarters. “…Hey, Ramsley,” Roke calls the butler while he is heading up the grand staircase. “Yes?” “……Nah, forget it. Get me a can of A&W’s root beer,” the teen shakes his head. “Coming right up,” Ramsley nods and heads to the kitchen. “…Like he’s going to understand what I wanna ask,” Roke mutters to himself, softly banging his head to the wall nearby. He enters his room and sits on his table. Reaching for his cell phone, he dials the number and waits for the other party to pick up. A few moments later, a response came back. “Thought you said you’re not gonna call me again,” said a girl’s voice inside the phone. “I kinda ran into some trouble,” said the boy. “Sounds JUST like you,” the girl giggles, “You still really can’t leave your old self behind, huh?” “I just need you to help me check up on something,” said Roke. “How may I help you then?” the girl asks playfully.

Mission:

Jack’s Skills

In the attic lies a girl that witnesses an uncomfortable event that traumatizes her. Put her to rest.

Noise Crush Quick Jab

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Bell Hallway…

Mirage Screen Detonate Smash

Rokej’s Skills

Demon Fist Blazing Sword “Put a ‘girl’ to rest!? All right!!! I’m on it!!!!” said Austin, feelNeedle Shower Snow Storm ing hyped up. “Dude. I doubt the mission is talking about a living and breathing girl,” Leina moves his glasses. “Who cares! As long as it’s not that Needle Woman, I’m sure I can manage!!!!” Austin laughs cheerfully. “You really like girls, huh?” Leina asks. “What kind of question is that? Of course I like girls! Why would I like boys?” Austin glares at his friend. “That’s not what I mean,” Leina shakes his head, “I mean, you’ve been extremely gleeful every time there is something involving girls.” “Haha! Why not!? Don’t you know girls are what brighten up a guy’s life!? In the midst of darkness of harsh reality, the girl a man loves most is the candlelight the lit his path! In the center of the battle field, where death is everywhere, the girl he loves is the reason that stops him from giving up!!!” “……What’s with you being so poetic today?” Leina raises his eyebrow. “Nah, just ignore me, how do we go to that attic from here?” Austin flips up his phone, “……Where the

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hell is that attic anyway?” “Let’s see. There’s an attic-ish room on the 3rd floor of the All God’s Village area,” said Leina, “Details aside, I’m pretty sure I can take you around there.” “Well, what are we waiting for then!? Let’s move!!! We got a girl to save!!!” Austin then marches off, laughing.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Garden Corridor…

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“Okay, here we have five people, I see?” Jack starts counting the members in the area, including himself. “Before we decide on the party, shouldn’t we decide on our objective first?” Cheryl suggests. “She’s right. Only one party should focus on getting a level, while the rest should just look for information. That way we won’t have to compete against each other!” Colin suggests. “I agree with that,” said Sarin. “Well then, since I have the most level right now, I’m gonna be on the research team,” said Jack. “Me too!” said Colin. “You sure you don’t want to gain some more levels?” Jack asks. “Nah. I’m level two. Still have some more to burn,” Colin replied nervously. “I’m sticking with you, Jack,” said Sarin. “No. You should work on getting your levels back,” said Jack, “You are in danger of getting killed. Best get your levels back for now.” “…But…” “No but’s. Go get a level. After that we can stick together,” said Jack. “…Don’t worry Sarin! I’ll go with you!” said Cheryl, trying to cheer her friend up. “…Okay. You be careful, Jack,” said the girl. “You too.” “Hey…Jack…? Can I stick with you?” said Cross. “You sure you don’t want to go get some more levels?” Jack asks. “W…Well…I’m at level 3. I’m probably not going to fall soon. Besides, I want to be with a Voice Materializer. Maybe you can show me around the ropes,” said the boy. “Okay. Then it’s settled. Colin, Cross, and me will go look for some information. You girls focus on clearing the mission,” said Jack, “I think I saw a library in the room just above the Blind Room. I’ll start there.” “Got it! I’ll take care of Sarin, so don’t worry!!” said Cheryl, hugging her friend. “Hah. Thanks. Makes me feel a lot safer,” Sarin laughs, trying to hide her anxiety.


[Party Link Formed] Leader: Jack Member 1: Colin Member 2: Cross

[Party Link Formed] G.Lv. 4 G.Lv. 2 G.Lv. 3

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Hastened Delay]

Leader: Sarin Member 1: Cheryl

G.Lv. 1 G.Lv. 1

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Synchro Boost]

Meanwhile…Some where in the Manor of Sleep… The girl opens up her eyes, gasping in fright. She puffed in exhaustion and rolled her eyes around, looking at her surroundings. “Where…am I?” she asks herself, sitting up, “Oh yeah…last night…something dragged me into that hole.” The girl caresses her ankle. The cold grip of that woman still lingers on her nerves, making her shiver. She vaguely recalls a picture of a pale looking girl, glaring at her before her consciousness faded away. “What happened after that?” she wonders, standing up and looking around. Now she is inside a small rectangular room, with red paper dolls impaled all around the room. For some reason, just seeing them sends chill down her spine. She reaches for her cell phone shakily and opens the map, “Doll Altar West? I shouldn’t be far from Tatami Hallway. I should regroup with Ramsley.” She tried pulling the trap door to the east open, but it just would not move. It seems as if some unseen force is holding it down. “Oh no. What do I do now?” the girl checks her map again, “Let’s see. The other side leads to the Wooden Figure Room. I guess I’ll go there first then figure out where to go after that.” Thinking so, Teal heads toward the wooden trap door to the west of this room. Luckily enough, even though it is a little rusty, the door does not seem to be locked. She applied some force in pulling it opened, only to see a girl smiling back at her from under the door.

Headphones Graveyard…Wide-open Snowfield… “…oke!!! Roke!!!!!!!” the girl calls him several times before he finally opens his eyes. “Ugh…Oh…hi there, Sophia,” the teen smiles at her. “Don’t you ‘hi there, Sophia’ me,” the girl glares at him, “Quickly get up!!” “Huh? Where was I? Woah!!!” he quickly jumps up when he realizes he was lying on her lap, “S… Sorry…I wasn’t---“ “I’m not mad that you are sleeping on my lap, silly,” she stands up, crossing her arms, “I’m mad be-

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cause you made me worried sick!” “Oh, come on. I wasn’t expecting to lose,” Roke scratches his head in shame. “Whatever. Let’s just clear our investigation and get out of here,” Sophia suggests. “Yeah.” Both teens then head off towards the other side of the snowfield, entering the north area of the cemetery. There are still tombstones lying here and there just like the south area. But it seems the snow covering it was not as thick.

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“Roke…” “Yeah. I can feel it. The spirits here are even more evil,” said Roke, holding the girl’s hand tightly, “Is your camera sensing anything?” “No. Not at all,” said the girl, “But I can just feel the heavy air.” “Let’s be careful,” said the teen. Suddenly, footsteps can be heard from the other side of the cemetery. Both teens immediately turn toward the sound and ready for combat. The footsteps echoed more repeatedly, showing that something is approaching them. Not long after, a figure was seen walking towards them. “A…Aphiso…?” Sophia calls the figure. “Sophia!?” Aphiso calls her sister and runs to give her a tight hug. After that she looks at Roke and frowns, “What are YOU doing here with my sister ALONE!?” “Oh believe me. We’re not making out. Not in a cemetery, so don’t worry,” Sophia assures her sister. “WHAT!? YOU’RE MAKING OUT WITH HER!?” Aphiso glares at Roke. “Hey, you intentionally miss the ‘not’ part,” Roke cringed at the girl’s scream, “How did you come here anyway? I thought you’re with Leina.” “……DON’T talk about it,” Aphiso sighs. Sophia hugs her sister back. “I’m glad you’re okay~,” said Sophia, smiling cheerfully. “Yeah. I’m fine. I got more up my sleeve,” said Aphiso, giggling. The three of them stop and discuss the current situation of everyone in the manor. Roke told Aphiso about how Jack and the others met Yoshino, as well as how he is investigating the Graveyard. “I see. You still really had the nerve to take my sis out here,” Aphiso crosses her arms. “Eh…I did told her to look for you,” said Roke, “Come on, Sophia. Help me on this.” “I told him I wanna stick with him, sis. I planned to look for you after this is over. But since you’re here, we can go ahead and investigate this place together,” said Sophia. “I can’t believe I have to be working with you,” said Aphiso. “Don’t worry. I won’t let anyone hurt Sophia,” said Roke. “Right. Whatever. You’re the leader, aren’t you? So lead.”


[Party Link Modified] Leader: Rokej G.Lv. 4 Member 1: Sophia G.Lv. 3 Member 2: Aphiso G.Lv. 3 The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability!! - [Mind Boost] - [Speed Charger] - [Switch Bonus]

Meanwhile…Headphone Graveyard…Slippery Staircase… “…Aw man…,” Greg tries to stand up, covering his head which is still dizzy from last night’s impact. The pain from breaking his neck last night was still there, even though he is perfectly fine right now. “Geez. I just hope I don’t run into that Player Killer again,” the teen mutters, shuddering at the thought of being snapped to pieces with those piano wires. He quickly, but carefully, ascends the stairs and before long, he finally made it back into the Manor of Sleep. “Phew! Safe!” he talks to himself as he strolls down the hallway into the main hall of the Tatami Hallway. “Dammit dammit dammit!!!!!” Greg stops walking and hide in the corner when he heard someone cursing. He looks over the partition screen and notices a familiar butler, fumbling with something on the other side of the room. “Ramsley?” he calls the butler. The butler gave a startled jump and quickly turned around, “…Oh…Master Greg?” “Hey. What’s up?” Greg walks toward the butler. “Last night I saw Teal being dragged into this hole. I tried calling her but there’s no answer, so I thought I’d go in. But the hole is sealed tight and I can open it,” said the butler, kicking it again in frustration. “That’s bad. Can’t contact her either?” “Nope,” Ramsley grits his teeth, “That girl shouldn’t have experienced something like this.” “Okay. Let’s keep our cool and see where this hole leads to,” Greg flips his cell phone open, “It said this hole leads to Doll Altar West. If we are assuming that she can’t come back through this hole, then the only way she can get out is by the other side.” “Wooden Figure Room I see? Let’s go there!” “Yeah!”

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[Party Link Formed] Leader: Greg G.Lv. 4 Member 1: Ramsley G.Lv. 2 The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Hastened Delay]

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Chapter 24 Mission: In the attic lies a girl that witnesses an uncomfortable event that traumatizes her. Put her to rest.

Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Kimono Room… “This room is creepy,” Austin sighs, “Last time I came here for the mission, I almost had to fight a woman with long hair. Good thing I left it before that woman saw me.” “Ouch, ghosts with long hair,” Leina cringes, “That’s really creepy.” “Okay, all we have to do is go through this door and we’ll be in the Barred Hallway that leads to AGV,” said Austin, “Hm…since she’s not here yet, maybe we can find some relics I can use.” “…I don’t like this,” said Leina, turning his head around. “Nah, we’ll be fine. You’re a ghost detector aren’t you? If there’s one coming, then you should be able to tell right away,” said Austin, picking up a purple diary on the small mirror desk.

[Purple Diary 1] How many days has it been? How many months? How many years? Many outsiders have been brought here. But none of them are like him. He said my hair was beautiful, but no matter how much I arrange it, he’ll probably never know how I feel. All I can do is comb my hair, and wait for him. That way when he comes back with his camera, he’ll take my picture again. “So she’s waiting for her lover?” Austin mutters. “…H…Hey Austin!…She’s here!” Leina nudges his friend as he looks at the ghostly woman slowly materializing at the center of the room. “Aw crap! I guess we have to fight!” Austin takes out his Bellflower Key and aims at the woman. Suddenly, she turns toward both boys and leaps at both of them in an instant. “Oh crap!!!!” Austin keeps the key and rolls away, dodging her grip just in time. Leina does the same and synchronizes with his spirit, summoning a spear onto his hand. “You promise you would come backkkkkkkk,” the woman moans and raises her index finger at Leina. Suddenly, several hairlines slithers in and tied the boy’s legs and arms. “Waaah!!!! LET ME GOOOO!!!! When have I promised you anything!?” Leina cried. Austin slashes a few of them off Leina with his naginata and aims the bellflower cannon at the woman again. However, a hairline tied up his hand and jerked his arm off the aim, making the shot miss her entirely. “H…Hey, that’s cheating!!!” The woman glares at both boys with a murderous smile, showing her blood dripping lips.

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Manor of Sleep B1F…Doll Altar West… “KYAAAAHHHHH!!!!” Teal startled and screamed as the girl under the trap door rises up. She is wearing a shrine maiden outfit, and in her hands, she carries a stake and a small mallet. Her face maliciously grins at the helpless girl, lying on the floor. “It’s time to sleep,” the girl giggles and hovers at Teal. “Noooo!!!!” Teal quickly gets back up on her feet and runs away from that girl. The shrine maiden raises her mallet, readying to impale Teal with her stake. The orange haired girl dodges the stake just barely. “Stay still!” the girl grumbles and hovers to the side. “I…I have to fight!!!!” Teal pulls out her cell phone and flips it into a camera. After hovering to the side for a while, that girl approaches Teal once more with her stake. Teal aims at the girl and taps the shutter, just before the girl is able to impale her, scoring a clean Shutter Chance “Ahhhh!!!” the ghostly girl was repelled back by the flash released by the camera. Exploiting that moment, Teal quickly reaches into her pocket and pulls out a camera lens and installed it onto her camera.

Camera Lens Entry!

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(Director’s Cut)

[Blast] Description: The special lens with the kanji ‘Blast’ engraved around it. Effect: Consumes the spiritual power of the user to boost the power of a camera shot by x1.5 times the normal damage and adds a repel effect. Another x2 damage bonus is given if it is activated during a Shutter Chance or Fatal Frame. The shrine maiden attempts to approach the girl again. But this time, Teal simply taps the shutter while she is approaching. The power of the Blast Lens boosts her camera shot, and blows the girl further away. “You…must be sacrificed…” the girl moans and hovers away into the walls. Teal looks around the room, but her presence is already gone, and the filament stopped shining as well. “I should get out of here,” the girl talks to herself and jumps down the trap door she opened earlier. On the floor, Teal found a green notebook lying right where that girl was standing. “Does this belong to her?” Teal mutters. After picking it up, she makes her way through the hole and finally into the wooden figure room. “I should be safe for now,” Teal sighs in relief and opens the notebook.


[Green Diary] Why did you have to do this, Amane? Why did you have to lead a man into the shrine!? The head of the family is so angry now. At this rate, the Commandment will be broken, and the Rift will spread. She taught all of us so hard to not forget our duties. How could you Amane!? The family head’s order is absolute. I have to impale you. Amane, I’m so sorry. “…Impale? What in the world happened in this manor?” Teal mutters to herself. Suddenly, she could hear the scream of a boy, startling her. “That voice…? Austin?” she quickly opens the door into the Barred Hallway and head straight up stairs. The door to the Kimono Room has several hairs tied on it, preventing entry from the outside. Teal flips her camera up once more and snaps a photo of it. The flash of the camera disperses all the hairs and unblocks the door. Teal slides the door open and found Austin and another teen she never saw being thrown around the room by the ghostly woman with long hair. “COME ON AUSTIN! ISN’T WOMAN YOUR FIELD OF EXPERTISE!?” Leina cried while being strangled. “I’m trying, I’m trying!!!! What about you, Leina!? Isn’t staring at ghost to learn their skill your expertise?!” Austin replies, trying to break free of the hairs tying him. “Her again!?” Teal aims the camera at that woman and snaps her picture. The flash destroyed all of the hairs hanging around the room and loosens the boys free. “Aww, thanks a bunch Teal!” Austin calls the girl. “She’s not finished yet!!!!” Teal loads another film and keeps up her aim. The woman groans in frustration and hovers around the girl exactly like how that shrine maiden did earlier. “S…She’s too fast!!!” Teal lowers her camera, dodging the hairs thrown at her. “I got her!!!!” Leina appears behind that woman and stabs his spear onto her back. “AHHHHHH!!!!!” the woman cried in shear pain and smacked Leina against the wall. “Ahhh!!!” Leina cried as he was banged against the wall, “Oh man, that hurts!!!!” The spear was still stuck on her chest, hindering her movements. Teal aims her camera once more and taps the shutter, giving her a fully charged shot. While being staggered back, Austin reinforced that attack with another shot from the bellflower cannon, blowing her out of the room in an instant. “Damn! Is she done yet!?” Austin fell to the floor, puffing in exhaustion. “I don’t think so,” said Teal, reverting her camera back to its cell phone form, “But she probably won’t be coming after us for a while.” “Boy, am I glad to hear that!” Austin sighs.

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“I’m glad I made it in time,” Teal giggles, “I woke up in the Doll Altar West and I was attacked. I’m just glad I got out of it.” “Woah? You handle a ghost alone?” Leina asks in amazement, “I wasn’t expecting you to be so strong.” “I’ll take that as a compliment,” Teal crosses her arms, “Say, where are you guys going?” “To the attic in All God’s Village. I think we have to free a girl there,” said Leina. “Well, you mind if I tag along?” Teal asks. “Of course not! Welcome aboard,” Leina laughs, accepting a new member to the team.

[Party Link Modified] Leader: Austin Member 1: Leina Member 2: Teal

G.Lv. 3 G.Lv. 5 G.Lv. 4

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Activation Boost] - [Speed Charger] - [Switch Bonus]

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Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Grave Courtyard… Both girls quickly sprint across the courtyard into the Stained Corridor safely. “Phew! Looks like we made it,” said Sarin, “And I was afraid we might run into another Player Killer back there.” “Yeah. I’m just glad we got through that,” Cheryl asks, “Let’s keep moving. Both of them strolled across the Stained Hallway into the Stairs Hallway. As they ascended to the top of the stairs, both girls noticed a strange sudden change in the atmosphere. “…Something is here,” said Sarin. “Yeah,” Cheryl synchronizes with her spirit, “It’s from there.” Cheryl points to the other end of the hallway. Both girls tried glaring at the figure standing, but all they could tell is that a woman is standing there. “I don’t think she’ll let us go easily,” said Sarin, calling out the stroller grandma spirit. “Let’s go!!!!” Cheryl hovers across the hallway towards that woman. Sarin runs across the hall, following Cheryl closely behind. Suddenly, a little girl jumps onto Cheryl’s back, pinning her down against the floor. “Ugh!!!” Cheryl cried. “Hey you. Let my friend go!!!” Sarin tackles the little girl, pushing her away towards the woman. “…Mommy…” the girl sobs, looking at the woman.


The woman, who is supposedly her mother, slowly crept towards both girls. Suddenly, everything became extremely dark. “What the!?” Sarin cried in surprise, as she can no longer see anything in front of her. “Cheryl!!! You there!?” “I’m right----Ahhhh!!!!!!!” Cheryl cried in pain. “Cheryl!!!!” Sarin switches her spirit back to the Hidden Face Man, summoning the huge hatchet onto her hands. However, a cold small grip holds her right hand down, preventing her from swinging the weapon. Suddenly, a bright light flashed from behind, returning the visions back to the girl, as well as repelling mother and daughter ghosts away. Both of them screamed and vanished away. “What was that?” Sarin turned around. “You girls okay?” the young boy asks the girl, lowering his camera. “Oh. You’re…Tim…was it?” Cheryl called the boy. “Hey girls. We saw each other last night, didn’t we?” he smiles, “Haha. And here I thought I was the first one who came here. Looks like you girls are faster than me.” “What are you doing here?” Sarin asks with a doubtful look. “Huh? What am I doing here? I’m heading to the attic of course. We’re supposed to do some missions there, aren’t we?” he raises his eyebrow confusingly. “W…Well…,” Sarin scratches her cheek. That is kind of reasonable. “So come on! Why don’t we do this mission together? Don’t worry. Even Player Killers will have a hard time against me,” Tim laughs jokingly. “O…Okay,” Cheryl scratches her cheek nervously, “It’s better than us only two girls anyway, right Sarin?” “Y…Yeah.”

[Party Link Modified] Leader: Tim Member 1: Sarin Member 2: Cheryl

G.Lv. 5 G.Lv. 1 G.Lv. 1

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Synchro Boost]

[Contact Information Exchanged]

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Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Closet Hallway… “Let’s see. We will probably have to go up to the Kimono Room if we are going to go to the Wooden Figure Room,” said the butler. “Damn. That room again,” Greg mutters. “Did something happen there?” “I kinda ran into a ghost I don’t wanna talk about there,” said Greg. “I see. We should make some preparations first then?” Ramsley looks around the cupboard under the stairs. A white mask standing on a small pedestal above a chest caught his eyes. Ramsley closes his eyes and places his palm forward the mask concentrating.

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A hazy picture flashed into the butler’s eyes. He saw a man and a woman talking to each other, but he cannot hear what they are talking about. The man kept speaking and the woman listened attentively. The picture shifted again and this time, the man was sitting quietly while the woman plays a koto, singing for him. The man smiles happily as he listen to the tunes played by that woman. Not long after, the picture shifted once more, showing two dark figures sitting on the balcony. The moonlight cast onto their body, making it hard to see their faces, but it is safe to assume that those figures are the couple he saw earlier. Their lips move closer to each other and before he knew it, a bright light flashed into his eyes once more and the butler returns to present. “That was Object Reading, wasn’t it?” Greg asks in amazement. “Yes it is,” Ramsley replies, picking up the mask. “Got anything?” Greg asks some more. “It appears that it was trying to tell me a story of a certain man and woman, presumably someone in this manor in the past,” Ramsley moves his eyeglasses, “I’m not sure who though. But it looks like I can use this as a relics.”

New Relic Entry! Simulacrum Mask Description: A white Japanese mask finely carved from wood. Latent Ability: Putting the mask on unleashes its rage, giving a significant boost to the user’s relics power as well as double their duration and halves their reRecharge. Duration: 1 Minute Recharge: 5 Minutes “Let’s move on now, shall we?” Ramsley proposed. “Right!”


Chapter 25 Mission: In the attic lies a girl that witnesses an uncomfortable event that traumatizes her. Put her to rest.

Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Library… “Wow. There are so many books,” Cross mutters, looking at all the books lined up on the shelves. “Man. And I’m SO good with books,” Jack sighs. “Don’t worry. I’ll look up the stuffs. You scout out for ghosts then,” said Colin. “I’m on the scouting duty again? Meh,” Jack sits on the shelf nearby and puts on his headphones, “…I don’t hear any voice. We can relax.” “That’s awesome! You’re so cool, Jack!” said Cross. “Um…kid…You should try using your powers some time,” said Jack, “I mean, I don’t mind doing the dirty works, but you gotta have to take care of yourself if me and the others are not with you.” “Oh. Okay. Thanks Jack, for worrying about me,” the boy laughs and puts on his headphones, “I’m gonna do the patrol duty too!” “That’s the spirit,” Jack laughs as well. Colin strolls around the area looking up books and tomes lined up on the shelves. “Man, these are filled with old writing and texts,” said Colin. “Is it a problem?” Jack asks. “Not really. I can read all these texts, but I sorta need to decipher it into our words today before I can fully analyze it,” said Colin, “Let’s see…Rite of Purple Ink and Impalement Tome?”

[Rite of the Purple Ink] Tome Those who would offer their pain to the priestess must allow the red and indigo of living and dead blood to mix together to become the ink of the soul, which is then used to tattoo their pain into the priestess. The pain etched in with the ink of the soul appeases that memory, while the pain flows into the priestess. After the pain has matured, the ink of the soul must be rinsed away with the running water of the other shore.

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[Impalement] Tome The pain engraved into the tattooed priestess becomes a dream and eats away her soul. The pain, or the attachment to this world, is impaled as a doll dyed in soul ink and enshrined, and then the handmaiden’s song must be sung and prayers must be said for the priestess to lay in peace. This impalement is the duty of the Handmaidens.

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“Hmm…Interesting,” said Colin. “Care to share?” Jack asks, still having his headphones on. “Apparently, there’s some kind of ritual going on in this region. People will offer their pain of losing something precious to this shrine and those pains will be engraved onto the maiden known as the Tattoo Priestess,” Colin explains. “So that was like some form of pain relief? How will it help anyway?” Jack asks. “I’m not sure because it does not explain here. But here’s the thing. After the tattoo filled the priestess, she will have to be impaled and take the pain across to the other side,” said Colin. “The other side? You mean like the world of the deceased?” Jack asks. “Probably,” Colin flips the page a few times. “If the tattoo priestess is sent to the other side and we are seeing her here, does this mean we are in the ‘other side’ right now?” Jack ponders. “There’s a high chance! It said something about dreams. Maybe our dreams of playing this game will have something to do with this ritual,” Colin agrees, “I’ll check more books and see if I can find anything else.” “All right. I’m counting on you.”

Meanwhile…Headphones Graveyard…North… “This is probably the end of it,” Sophia looks over the metallic fence, setting the perimeter around this cemetery. “Look,” Aphiso points to a building, situated around the northwest corner. Since there is a huge crucifix settled on top of the building, it is safe to assume that this place is, or at least used to be, a church. The party approaches the building carefully, examining it. Roke pulls the wooden plank, jamming the front double door out, and opens it up wide. Inside is rather warm even though snow is building up on the outside. “Strange. Looking inside, it doesn’t really look like a church,” Aphiso mutters. The house is rectangular shaped. Unlike Catholic churches where you have wooden chairs to sit during the Holy Mass, the house is filled with several study desks and bookshelves. “This place really looks fishy,” Roke laughs jokingly, approaching the bookshelves, “Hey, Sophia.


Doesn’t this remind you of the Kurosawa House?” “Oh yeah. We were looking for information back then too, weren’t we?” Sophia laughs, “The door slammed shut on me and you look over the whole village for the key.” “……Excuse me, what are you guys talking about?” Aphiso looks at both of them confusingly. “It’s…kind of a long story, sis,” Sophia smiles nervously. “You can tell me about it. It’s not like we’re going any where soon,” said Aphiso. “W…Well…go for it Sophia. I’ll look up these books for some stuffs,” said Roke, continuing his search on the shelves. “Uhhh…Okay, sis. I know this will sound REALLY crazy. I’m sorry I’ve been keeping this from you for a while now,” said Sophia, apologetically. “Yeah?” Aphiso raises her eyebrow in dissatisfaction. The girl slowly explains to her sister about the time she died, as well as about the Reaper’s Game and how she met Roke and Leina. “………So…you’re telling me that you did die once, and this purple head here…used to be the almighty god of death. But he chose to throw away his power so he could stay in our world with you?” Aphiso confirms to her sister. “To put it bluntly, yeah,” Sophia smiles nervously once again. “Do you really expect me to buy all that?” Aphiso puts her palm onto her face, “Full points for originality, Sophia.” “Hey. Come on sis! We’re in the middle of a supernatural activity right now! Why won’t you believe me?!” “Nah, that’s okay, Sophia,” Roke stops the girl, “I don’t blame Aphiso for not believing you. And it’s not like I can prove what you said now anyway.” “But Roke!!!” “Look Aphiso,” the purple haired boy puts down the book he is reading, “I’m not really sure what you think about me. But I want you to know one thing. She is the very reason I am the ‘me’ that I am right here and right now. If it’s not because of her, I wouldn’t even be standing here.” “Enough of your little past,” Aphiso shakes her head, “You still haven’t earned my trust that you can protect my beloved little sister.” “Fine. I guess only time will tell you how much I love her,” Roke sighs and brings the book back up. As he lifts it up, a small piece of note falls down to the floor. The purple haired boy kneels down and picks it up. It is a standard note card used in citing research paper information sources. What caught the eyes of the boy was the letter written in red substance. “W…What is it?” Sophia asks. “I’m not really sure,” said Roke, looking at it.

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Bloody Note Card Shelf 521 Number 4932 “Maybe it was referring to a book on a shelf?” Sophia suggests. Roke flips the book and looks at the title again, “What the heck was I reading here?”

[The Unleashing] Tome The priestess’ pain is reflected in the Mirror of Loss. The commandment must be placed upon the priestess’ empty eyes. If tattoos should enter her eyes, the empty eyes will become mirrors, and all her pain shall be unleashed. If the commandment breaks and the priestess awakes, then the gates will open, and the Rift shall spill forth from the Chamber of Thorns. The Rift that spills forth will pass through dreams into the world, and love shall be consumed by torment.

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“The Unleashing…?” Sophia mutters, peeking over Roke’s shoulder. “More failed rituals I guess,” Roke sighs, “Seems like something went wrong here like in All God’s Village.” “You mean like because some sort of ritual failed, this place was created?” Aphiso folds her arms. “It’s possible,” said Roke, checking the bloody note card again, “Let’s check out this shelf shall we?” The purple haired boy left the Unleashing Tome on the study table nearby and looks for the shelf labeled on the note card. The shelf he found the book was labeled 551, so it’s not very far off from each other. “Okay? 521? And 4932? What does that number mean?” Roke wonders, ruffling his hair. “Hey, purple, look here,” Aphiso points to the small number pad, hidden in the corners of the same book shelf. “…A pass code for this?” Roke mutters. Four beeps rang out as the boy pushes each numbers, and after the fourth, a loud thud was heard, and the shelf seems to ‘sink’ into the ground a little bit. The party looks at each other, puzzled at what they saw. “Did we just unlock something?” Roke mumbles. “I think we just unlocked something,” Sophia assured. The three of them examine the shelf and found some air flowing from behind it. Applying some force on to the shelf, it seems that the shelf can be pushed further into the fake wall behind it. Once it hits a stop, the whole shelf splits in two and opens up a secret shelf behind it. “What’s this?” Roke picks up the book lying behind the shelf. However, the instant the boy picks it up, Sophia’s cell phone starts shaking madly.


Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Kimono Room… “Looks like there was a fight here not too long ago,” Greg examines the room’s surrounding. Many of the hanged kimonos fell to the ground, and the rest was a mess. “Seems like we missed the others,” Ramsley approaches the mirror desk and found a purple diary and a small key lying under the sitting matt.

[Purple Diary 2] His parting gift was a forbidden child. The child has handsome features just like him. But unfortunately, he can’t stay here. Males are not allowed in this manor aside for the purpose of producing an heir. My dear Kaname. I have to find a way to sneak him into the village below before they did something. If I give him the earring his father gave me, I’m sure someday he will be able to come back. He’ll be able to hear my voice and some day he’ll come back. If I’m lucky, I may even be able to see Akito again if he finds this earring.

New Relic Entry! Dianthus Key Description: A key with a picture of Dianthus drawn on it. Latent Ability: Throw Dianthus-shaped saw blades at the spirits. Also, at the command of the player, the saw blade can turn mid-air after being thrown once. Duration: -Recharge: 5 seconds delay before another blade can be thrown “I wonder if the lady I saw from the mask wrote this diary,” the butler mumbles. The story written in this diary seems to match the vision he saw too much. “Hey, Ramsley! Let’s move on! We have to find Teal!” said Greg. “You’re right!” Ramsley stands back up and follows the young man out of the room through the north door. The two of them stroll down the stairs and heads south through the barred hallway. Once they took the turn at the corner, Greg quickly halts the butler from moving. Ramsley was about to ask when Greg signals the butler to be quiet and points at the mirror hanging in the hallway. There was nothing to be seen in the hall, but inside the mirror, both of them saw a blindfolded woman

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standing in near the door at the end of the hall. “…What’s she doing here?” Ramsley whispers. “Let’s find out,” Greg flips out his camera and snaps a photo of her on the mirror. Suddenly, the woman slowly materializes, coloring the filament red. “Damn, I can’t believe she could trick my camera’s filament!” Greg comments at how the filament was not reacting to her at all before. “Let’s clear her in a shot!” Ramsley puts on the mask he picks up earlier and unleashes its power. The white mask with a neutral face magically turns into a red rage face and red aura bursts out from the butler. He picks out the Four Pointed Well key and fires a bolt of light at the woman. The shot felt many times stronger than what he was used to and it induced very strong recoil, making his arms shake as the shot flies at the woman and blows off her whole left shoulder. “W…woah…?” both of their jaws dropped to the ground after witnessing the power up Simulacrum Mask gave. The woman moans in pain before reaching toward the party. “Hold it right there!” Greg aims at the woman and snaps a Shutter Chance. The shot halted her on spot, but it was not strong enough to repel her back. Ramsley fires another shot, aimed at her head. The shot blasts her head to thin air, as her body kneels down to the floor before vanishing away. “Damn! That was awesome, Ramsley!!!” Greg cheers. “Yeah. I’m glad I picked this up!” the butler laughs, removing the mask off his face. The face of the mask turned from a red angry face into a black sad face, signifying its recharge state. “Okay, let’s move on inside!” Greg suggests and enters the Wooden Figure Room, but it was empty. “What the? Teal?” Ramsley calls the girl, but no answer was heard. “This can’t be,” Greg checks the map, “If she can’t return to the Tatami Hallway, the only way she can come out is through this room!” “Or did we just miss her?” Ramsley folds his arms, thinking. “That’s possible! Let’s look around. Maybe she is still some where around here!”

Meanwhile…All God’s Village…Storehouse… The teens stroll into the Storehouse, chatting to relief the intensity. “Oh. So you’ve been here before, Leina?” Teal asks. “Well…you could say that,” Leina laughs nervously, examining the door right next to the prison cell, “Although, I pretty sure there’s not supposed to be a door here.” The crimson haired teen opens the door and enters a big wide-open hall. “What a big room. I wonder what this place is for,” Austin mutters. “The air is pretty heavy though,” said Teal, holding her camera tightly.


“…Oh crap…is this…the Great Hall?” Leina’s face turned pale, “What the hell? No way…This can’t be!!! Why would the Great Hall be next to the prison cell!?” “What? What can’t be!?” Austin asks nervously. “I…I think we should get away from this room. NOW!” Leina quickly turned around but the door behind him was shut tight and would not budge for an inch. White miasma gushes up from the tatami covering the room and screams of agony echoed around the whole room.

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Chapter 26 Mission: In the attic lies a girl that witnesses an uncomfortable event that traumatizes her. Put her to rest.

Headphones Graveyard…Study… “Not good,” Sophia flips out her camera. The filament is shining bright red, “Definitely a bad news.” Roke puts on his earphones and tries to listen to the voice echoing, “…What? Damn!! How many of them are there!?” +It’s so cold…Help…+ +Need #$%^&*( souls for @#$%^&*() Rift…+ +Go away…from this place…You are not welcomed here…+

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“There’s one!” Aphiso points to a woman with long hair in white kimono. “Woah? Her again!?” Sophia equips her Pierce Lens. “Not the first time seeing that one?” Aphiso asks. “Yeah. She’s pretty tough too! Don’t let your guard down!” Sophia warns her sister. “Hmph. You underestimate me, my sister,” Aphiso smiles daringly and bravely marches straight at the woman in white kimono, “Let’s see what kind of power have!” The woman screams and hovers right into the girl’s body, throwing her own to the floor. The spirit sinks into Aphiso’s body, making her struggling around. “SIS!!!!!” Sophia screams. “What the hell!? She lets that ghost possessed her!?” Roke exclaims in surprise, “…Hey…wait a sec. She’s supposed to have [Mind Boost] on! The possession is not supposed to----!!” Suddenly, Aphiso’s body rises up again as the woman in white kimono was blown further away out of the girl’s body. “What in the?” Sophia mutters in awe.


Spirit Synchro Entry! Snow Demon Description: The spirit of a young woman, tricked and left to die all alone on the snowy mountains by her evil husband. Skills: • [Castle Wall] Provides a boost in Shaman’s guard and prevents staggering if the Shaman is in the middle of an attack • <Rahab’s Sword> A sword made from eternal ice that never melts. Freeze anything it slashes. • <Rabab’s Spear> Throw an ice spear at enemy. • <Hail Storm> Unleash a hail storm onto spirits, damaging them. If the spirit is caught in the storm for more than five seconds, they are instantly frozen. “Of course, she can’t possess me,” Aphiso brushes her hair and materializes a short sword made from ice onto her hand, “I know because we have [Mind Boost] on. I just forced her to form a Synchro with me.” “Much expected from you,” Sophia teases her with a nervous smile. “If you can’t get something by a simple request, then it resorts to the use of force,” the girl smiles daringly at the woman in white kimono. The Snow Demon screams and quickly leaps at the party at an incredibly fast speed, vengefully. Roke punches right into the face of that woman with DEMON FIST and fires a wave of BLAZING SWORD at the woman, scorching her. Sophia taps the shutter with her camera fully charged up at the woman, adding some more damage. The snow demon puffed from the assault but shows no sign of giving up. Aphiso rushes at the Snow Demon with her ice sword in hand and attempts a slash. The demon caught the girl’s action in time, so she bends off to the side, dodging the slash. However, Aphiso is extremely agile. After the first slash, she immediately swings the sword to the side for a second slash. The second slash cuts through the demon’s body, freezing her ghostly form and halting her movements. Aphiso raises her left palm right at the face of the woman and releases a hail storm that slowly freezes her whole body. “Whyyyyyy did you leave meeeee?????” The demon moans as she gradually turns into an ice statue. “That should take care of her,” Aphiso lowers her palm. “There’s still more. I can still hear some voice,” said Roke.

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Two more ghostly figures slowly enter into the building. One of them is a man in long white robe, holding a staff with huge mace head. Another one is a figure shaped like a human. However, its whole body is completely darkened and black smog flows out from it. “Two more?” Sophia loads another film. “…Damn…the guy in the robe is on the same level as that Snow Demon…but that black thing…,” Roke’s eyes widen, “That thing is on a totally different level of spirit!” “How so!?” Sophia asks. “I’m not sure. But I can’t understand a thing from that black thing!” the purple haired boy replies. “You’re right. I…I could tell too,” said Aphiso, “That black thing…it’s…----“

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“It’s a spirit that dwells within The Rift, those nearly on the same tier with us, Player Killers,” a voice was heard from the roof of the study. A man with bat wings was seen crouching on top of the beams, “You can say it’s a Player Killer in larva form.” “Hey. You…that cheap thunder bastard!!!!” Aphiso points at the Player Killer. “Oh, sorry? Have I killed you before?” the man with bat wings asks, “I killed too much player so I don’t really remember all of their face. Did you know what your corpse looks like? If you could tell, maybe---WOAH!!!!” The man with bat wings jumps down from the beam and descends to the ground just before an ice spear could impale him, “Hey, that was dangerous, lady!!!!” the man grumbles. “Shut the hell up, jerk!” Aphiso grits her teeth, “I was two levels from clearing this game and you HAD to interfere!!!” “Ahahahaha!!!! Poor poor girl. You still haven’t understand a thing, have you?” the man with bag wings laughs and shakes his head. “Understand? Understand what?” Roke raises his eyebrow. “Oh. Guess I said too much,” the man with bat wings laughs, “Whatever the case, tonight all of you will have to perish here! I, Anon, will send you all to your graves!!!!!”

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 3rd Floor…Stairs Hallway… “The attic should be right through here,” said the boy, leading the party, “I must commend you girls for your guts though. Never thought I’d see a girl walking around this place and not scared.” “Well, we’re scared. But we can’t just sit around shivering, right?” Cheryl asks. “Ha. That’s true,” Tim agrees. He opens a door on the third floor, leading to the roof area right above the Grave Courtyard. “W…woah…it’s pretty high up here,” Sarin comments. Tim looks around and notices a door across the other side. “Okay girls, I’ll lead the way. The roof has some snow on it, so watch your step okay?” the boy said and continued his way. Cheryl and Sarin look at each other for a brief moment.


“Think we can trust him?” Cheryl asks, whispering. “I still don’t buy it 100%. We are not even sure if this is where we are supposed to go for the mission,” Sarin replied softly, “We’ll just have to be extra careful.” “Okay. I’ll go on ahead. You take up the rear,” said Cheryl. “Hey! What are you girls doing! Come on, move!” Tim shouts. “Yeah! Coming!” Cheryl replies and starts following the boy. Sarin watches the girl moves forward carefully for a while before following her. It is indeed slippery, and one miss step can make you slide down the roof. She holds on to the wall nearby to keep her balance as she follows Cheryl from behind. “AHHH!!!” Cheryl cried as she missed a step and fell down. “Cheryl!!!!!” Sarin calls to her friend, but fortunately, Tim was able to grab her arms and the ledge of the roof just in time. “Y…You okay?” Tim asks, gripping her tightly. “Y…Yeah,” Cheryl brings herself back up onto the roof, “Thanks. I thought I was done for.” “Don’t mention it!” Tim laughs, “Let’s just keep going.” Tim leads the party on and Cheryl follows him closely. Sarin still casts an eye of doubt on to the boy but follows him carefully nevertheless. The party finally made it to the other side. Tim opens the door and enters the Attic Room. It is a wide rectangular room with many items lined up on the shelf on the walls. “Okay? What next?” Sarin folds her arms. Suddenly, a click was heard from the door. The party quickly turns toward the door in surprise and tries moving it. However, it is stuck tight and would not budge an inch. “Damn! It’s locked!” Tim grits his teeth. “Something’s here,” Sarin summons her hatchet. “You’re right,” Tim flips out his camera. The filament is shining red. “H…hey guys…look,” Cheryl points to the corner of the room. A girl is crouching at the corner, looking at the party with a blank face. “Oh crap. I don’t like her looks,” Tim aims the camera at the girl. When she saw that, she frowns and jumps up from the corner onto the wall. Sarin and Cheryl scream as they saw the woman moving towards them on all four like a spider at an incredibly insane speed. She jumps off from the wall and leaps at the party. The three of them roll away from the impact, successfully dodging her attack. The girl’s transparent body went through the walls behind them. But she does not seem to give up. She jumps back onto the roof, hanging upside down on all four while looking at the party.

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Meanwhile…All God’s Village…Great Hall… “Oh no. This is not happening!” Leina trembles as he witnesses an old man in white robes, tied with several ropes rising from the middle of the room. “Oh shucks…what in the name of geezus is that!?” Austin cried with his hands shaking. The old man turns to the party, smirking. Leina looks around the room, “…It’s not the same game, but since it’s not black and white, maybe our powers will work!” “Huh?” Austin and Teal look at Leina, puzzled. “Everyone! Blast whatever you have in your inventory at him now!!!!” Leina synchronizes a spirit and summons a spear. “I’m not gonna like this!!!” Austin aims the bellflower key and fires it. While the blast fully lands on him, he does not show any sign of pain at all, “W…what the hell!?” “M…My camera. I…It’s not charging!!!” Teal said, horrified. The old man slowly approaches the teens, raising his arms toward them. “Oh crap, RUN FOR IT!!!!” Leina cried and rams at the old man with his spear. The spear pokes right through him, staggering him a little, but does not seem to damage him at all. In the meanwhile, the party got to the other side of the room and exits the Great Hall immediately.

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The intense air is gone. All of them turned around looking at the door and sighs in relief. “Oh thank god he can’t come after us,” Austin sighs. “…Just like that time,” Leina mutters. “W…what’s that? You seem like you know that ghost,” Teal asks Leina nervously. “Okay. Just don’t ask how I get to know that guy. That ghost is a ‘Kusabi’, a super spirit created from the human that was tortured beyond pain, but not to the point of dying, and thrown into the Hellish Abyss. I’ve fought against one before, and I know just how tough that thing is,” Leina sighs, “I’m glad at least we can get away from him.” “Say, where are we right now?” Austin looks at Leina. The crimson haired teen looked around. The party is now in a narrow hallway, with cloth hanging down from the ceiling. “…The heck? Osaka House?” Leina mumbles, “I thought we’re in Kurosawa House…” “What are you talking about?” Teal asks, tilting her head. “It’s weird. I remember exactly where this place is because it’s the place I first met Roke!” said Leina, “But why? This place is supposed to be in a different house.” “W…well…why don’t we take a look around first? We might get a clearer insight on this,” Teal suggests. “Yeah, I agree,” said Austin. And so, the party heads forward the narrow hallway into the sunken fireplace.


Chapter 27 Mission: In the attic lies a girl that witnesses an uncomfortable event that traumatizes her. Put her to rest.

Headphones Graveyard…Study… “Ahahahahaha!!!! Run run run!!!! Or you’ll be well done!!!!!” the man with bat wings laughs as he throws several thunder balls, making the players run a mock. “Damn you! Get down here!!!!” Aphiso rolled forward and immediately, swings her arm, throwing a spear of ice at Anon. “Sorry! Missed!” Anon taunts as he easily bends away from the spear and throws another thunder ball at the girl. “Ahhh!!!” The thunder ball missed the girl, but the impact from hitting the tables caused and explosion that blows the girl away. “Sis!!!” Sophia cried after snapping a photo of the ghost in robe and the dark shadow, repelling them away. “Hahaha!!!! What were you expecting!? You really think that’ll hit me!?” Anon laughs. “Think again,” Aphiso grins at the Player Killer daringly. “What the!?” Anon turned around, but it was too late. Roke already kicks himself up onto by the ledge, created from Aphiso’s ice spear sticking into a wall, to level him with the Player Killer while he was busy attacking Aphiso. A fist rammed into Anon’s face, making him fall to the ground. “Now THAT’s satisfying,” Roke descends to the ground gracefully. “Grrrr…You….You….YOU!!!! HOW DARE YOU PUNCHED MY BEAUTIFUL FACE!?” Anon quickly gets back up and leaps for the boy. However, several hairlines tied onto the Player Killer before he knows it. “Not too fast, douche!!!” Aphiso pulled the hairlines, halting him on spot. Roke hurls his hand forward, blowing a snowstorm onto Anon, freezing his legs against the floor. “Grrrr!! You think this’ll hold me down!?” the man spreads his bat wings and flutters it against the floor. A strong wind blows from the impact, pushing Roke and Aphiso away. However, the girl would not let go of the hairlines so easily. “You think this’ll make me loose my grip?” Aphiso taunts back. “Hmph, think again,” Anon smirks. Suddenly, the black shadow ghost appears between both of them and cuts the hairlines. “Damn!” Aphiso switches her spirit instantly and throws a spear of ice at the shadow. However, the shadow easily catches the spear with its right hand.

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“What the!?” The shadow gazes at the girl with a blank look before approaching her. Suddenly, a bright light flashes from behind the shadow, making it cry in pain. “You okay!?” Sophia asks from afar. “I’m all right! Look out behind you!!!!” Aphiso warns her sister. The ghostly man in white robe raises his mace, aiming for the girl. But then, a wave of flames flew at the old man, scorching him and halting him on spot. Sophia quickly turns around after loading the film proficiently and snaps a close shot, adding further damage. “Get away from my girlfriend you old coot!” Roke runs over and smacks the ghost in the face. +You…are not…welcomed hereeeeeee!!!+

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The ghostly man cried as he staggers backward. “Don’t worry, I don’t wanna stay here for too long either!” Roke holds his earphones tightly, crafting a new skill. A bright light flashes before him before entering his hands, giving him a new power. “Damn? A defensive one!?” he grits his teeth in regret and immediately uses the BLAZING SWORD to blow the librarian away instead. “You okay?” Roke asks the girl. “Yeah. Thanks,” the girl gives her signature smile before turning away towards the black shadow. “Now this guy is the real trouble. We are basically dealing against two Player Killers, aren’t we?” Roke mutters. “It’s really time I end this!!!” Anon flutters his wings and rises into the air. His bat wings glow yellow radiance, and electrical sparks was heard cracking around his wings. “Not good! That looks like something big!” Roke grits his teeth. “Hey, Roke. What’s your Game Level?” Aphiso asks from behind the boy. “Can it wait!?” “I asked WHAT IS YOUR GAME LEVEL!?” the girl asks again, louder. “Argh! It’s 4!!!! Satisfied now!?” “You have 4. Sophia and I have 3 each. That makes 10, doesn’t it?” “Yeah!? What about it!?” “I’m about to kick is ass!!”


[Oversoul] Tutorial Oversoul is a Shaman’s special ability, available if and only if the Shaman is in a full party, and the sum of the members’ Game Levels is more than 10. By performing Oversoul, the Shaman can gain up to x3 boost in power output, depending on Spirit Synchroes. Some Spirit Synchroes have different behavior when in Oversoul and some gains access to exclusive skills available only during an Oversoul. (See the Spirit Synchroes Library for comprehensive Oversoul data) Oversouls last for 5 minutes and the Shaman cannot use it again for the next 5 minutes. Bright aura flashes from the girl, as six spears made of ice materializes around her. The air current starts circling around, making her hover above ground. “Hmph!? Oversoul!? Sorry but you’re biting the dust!!!!” Anon pulls back his wings, ready to flutter. “Can’t let you do that!” Sophia taps her shutter, discharging some of the energy Anon charged. “Argh!!! Don’t interfere!!!” the Player Killer grits his teeth. “It seems the Camera Obscura can harm Player Killers after all,” Sophia loads another film. Aphiso swings her hand, throwing three of the ice spears at the Player Killer. Only two of them hit his wings, and while it did not pierce the wings, Anon loses some of the electrical charges he was accumulating. “Okay fine! If you won’t let me charge, then just take whatever I have!!!!!” Anon flutters his wings, “Thunder Drive!!!!!!!!” “Oh no you don’t!!!” Roke raises his hand forward.

Original Skill Entry! Mirror Wall Crafted from: Unwelcoming Librarian Description: Creates an illusionary barrier that protects against a flurry of assault. The barrier’s protection will remain in effect until the assault is over. However, the barrier will disappear, if nothing hits it within one second. Hence, it is critical that the VM has to activate it precisely before an attack strikes. The electrical force hits on the illusionary field but it repelled away just like how a strong torrent rushes at a sturdy rock.

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“No way!!!! What the heck!?” Anon shouts in disbelief. “And here’s my turn!” Aphiso raises both of her arms forward. The six ice spears circle around the Player Killer and plants onto his shadow casted on the ground, “FROZEN PRISON!!!!” Suddenly, a tower of ice forms in the middle of the circle, freezing the left half of the bat-man’s body. “ARGHHH!!!!” the bat-man cries in pain as the ice tower shatters to dust along with the frozen half of his body. Blood splatters over the whole hall as his scream echoes around. “I’ll remember this!!!!” the bat-man flutters his wings and soars through the ceiling of the church. The black shadow gazes at the party for a while before deciding to retreat as well. “Damn. Didn’t get to finish him off,” Aphiso snaps her finger in regret. “He’s all talk for a Player Killer,” Roke laughs. “I’m just glad that was over,” Sophia sighs, shifting her camera back to its cell phone form. “Let’s take a look at this book now, shall we?” Roke suggests, waving the book he picked up before the battle earlier. “No. We should get back to the manor first,” Aphiso disagrees, “After fighting those spirits, I don’t think I want to fight something like that again.” “Sis got a point, Roke. Maybe we should go back to the manor first,” Sophia persuades. “Well. Majority wins. Let’s return to the manor then,” the purple haired boy nods.

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Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 3rd floor…Attic Room… “Aaaaahhhhh???” the Crawling Woman leaps over the party across the room and looks back at both of them. “Stay still, will you!?” Sarin raises her hatchet and aims at the woman, but she was too fast. She leapt onto the nearby wall before the blade lands on her and kicks Sarin away against the opposite wall. “Ahh!!!” Sarin cried as she rammed into the wall. “Hey Cheryl! Can you hold her down? I’ll one-shot her, but I need her in a full focus for this to work!” Tim asks. “Hold her down? I’ll try!” Cheryl synchronizes her spirit and summons the stake and mallet. The Crawling Woman cringes at the tools before leaping at the girl. “Ahhh!!!” Cheryl bends away dodging the leap just in time. However, the woman made a turnabout and kicks her leg, dropping the girl down to the floor. After that, she immediately crawls over the girl and opens her mouth up wide in front of the girl’s face. “AHHHH!!! OOOOHHHHH!!!?!? Aa…aaa…….aaa----“ The girl felt herself suffocating, as though that woman was drawing something out of her body. “H…hey!!!” Tim aims his camera at the woman and attempts to make her lose her grip on the girl. However, the woman quickly turns to the boy and spits something towards him. “Ewwww!!!” Tim jumps back just before the substance touches him. It looks like a lump of mucus, except it seems to be melting the mat that it lands on, “Holy geezus, she spits acidic mucus!?”


The woman turns back to Cheryl and continues sucking her soul. “Fight it back, Cheryl!!!” Sarin grits her teeth as she tries to stand up from the impact earlier. The brunette felt her senses fading, barely hearing Sarin’s voice. She knew that if this keeps up, she will definitely die again. Just the thought of it already sends the chill down her spine. Gathering her remaining strength, she uses her last bit of consciousness to poke the stake onto the woman’s arm, making her lose her right grip. “Uwaaaaah!?” The woman jumps away as the stake drove straight into her arm. Cheryl sits back up, taking a deep breath to make up for the suffocation earlier. “Gotcha!!!!” Sarin quickly sneaks up from behind and drives her hatchet down on the middle of the Crawling Woman’s back, making her scream in pain. She quickly turns about and tries to smack Sarin, but the girl swiftly somersaults backwards away from the assault. “Now come on! What are you waiting for?” Sarin wags her finger, daring the woman. The Crawling Woman grits her teeth in rage and leaps at the girl. Sarin picks her step and runs at the girl as well. “What the!? You craz----!?” Just when both of them crashed into each other, the Crawling Woman was rammed away from Sarin, lying still on the ground. “Sorry, but when I run, no one stops my momentum,” Sarin taunts, “Nail her down now, Cheryl!!!” “Right!!!” Cheryl hovers at the woman and impales another stake onto the woman’s right leg. She cried out in pain as the stake drives through her limbs and impales her to the floor. Cheryl quickly jumps away from the woman, leaving her to struggle around the floor trying to break free of the stake. “Okay! This should work!!!” Tim pulls out a lens and equips it onto the camera before tapping the shutter button. A bright light flashes onto the woman, making her cry out in pain.

Camera Lens Entry! [Crush] Description: The special lens with the kanji ‘Crush’ engraved around it. Effect: Converts the user’s spiritual energy into power and triples the power of a camera shot. The boost increases to 4 times if the shot is taken during a Shutter Chance or a Fatal Frame. The impaled Crawling Woman lied down still. Her mouth is still flapping from shock and pain. Her eyes are wide-open, glaring at the party with bloodshot eyes. “Looks like we got her,” Sarin sighs in relief. “I thought I was done for,” Cheryl sighs even louder, “Just now, it was like she was trying to suck out

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my soul. That was really scary!” “I heard some ghosts do that sometimes,” said Tim, “They ambush humans and sucks out their soul to prolong their lives.” “So like these spirits feed on the living’s soul?” Sarin asks. “Not always. There are some spirits that doesn’t harm humans. Most of the time they are simply attached to something and exist in forms of lingering thoughts. These vengeful spirits however are envious of the living and want the living to join them,” Tim explains.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

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Tim Sarin Cheryl

G.Lv. 5 G.Lv. 1 G.Lv. 1

-> 6 -> 2 -> 2

Suddenly, the stakes impaling the Crawling Woman shattered to dust and she jumps back up, standing on all four. The party startled and prepared for more battles. However, the woman just grits her teeth, looking at the party in rage and anger before crawling through the walls away. “Heh! Accept victory like an athlete!” Tim taunts, keeping the lens back inside his pocket. “So, the reason you were so confident was because of that lens?” Sarin asks. “Haha! Yeah. I got it from my player advantage. Most of the time, this lens one shot any spirit if I aim at the core. But even if I missed, a huge damage could still be done,” said the boy, “I haven’t really fight any Player Killers yet, but they won’t stand a chance against this lens!” “Haha. Let’s just hope we never have to fight one,” Sarin laughs as she is being taken back to the real world.


Chapter 28 Real World…Shinran School of Science…Cafeteria… “Jack, why the hell are you doing taking a nap in the cafeteria!?” Konata reprimands her friend. “Argh. Sorry, I was looking up the books all night last night,” said Jack, ruffling his hair, “Damn. I can’t believe even reading those stuffs in the dream can give me a headache.” “Well. Rest up a lot then. We still have a long way to go at night,” Teal suggests. “………Long way to go at night? Teal, am I missing something here?” Konata crosses her arms and legs, demanding some explanations. “Huh? Oh. Uh…W…Well…I…was talking about the studies! You know, the finals are coming next week, isn’t it?” Teal laughs nervously. “…Right,” Konata glares at her friend with doubt. “H…Hey. Don’t look at me like that,” Teal looks away. “Hey guys,” the red haired girl walks by and sits at the same table with Jack’s group. “You were absent from the morning period. Where were you?” Reion asks the girl who just came in. “I woke up late. I couldn’t sleep last night,” she sighs. “Why? Something the matter?” Konata asks curiously. “Nah, forget it. You guys won’t believe me if I say it anyway,” Natalie lies her head onto the table, exactly like how Jack was taking a nap. “Hey, you can’t just throw a hook and leave the cliff hanger like that! Now you make me wanna know even more!” Konata insists. “…Ugh…fine…Just don’t laugh okay? I’m so serious about this!” Natalie raises her head up. “Fine fine. We’re not gonna laugh,” Reion promised, “Right guys?” Teal simply nods without saying a word but Jack just keeps his head down on the table. Natalie sighs, “I saw a ghost last night. At my house. Bumped right into my face after I got out of the shower.” Jack’s head springs up immediately, turning his attentive listening mode on. “A ghost?” Konata raises her eyebrow. “How did you know it’s a ghost?” Reion asks curiously. “You kidding? She’s a woman I’ve never seen before in my life. And she wears a red kimono, people! A flipping red kimono in the middle of a no-special-season!” said Natalie, “I saw her standing behind me when I was brushing my teeth, but when I turned around she’s gone. Seriously folks, what else do you expect me to think!?” “Y…You sure you weren’t just too tired?” Teal asks. “Course not! I was FULLY awake AND aware of what I saw!” Natalie insists, “I just…don’t wanna think about it right now.”

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“Hey, Natalie. Did she happen to have pale skin, long sort of messy hair, and dark eerie eyes?” Jack asks. “Ugh…I just said I don’t wanna think about---…Wait a sec…how did you---? Don’t tell me you saw one too?” Natalie’s eyes opened up wide. “Uh…well…Yeah…I saw one too,” Jack brushed it off, “Although it was already some time ago.” “I’m not sure if you’re making fun of me, but I kinda felt good to at least think that I’m not the only one,” she sighs, “Let’s talk about something else.” “Well…talk about ghosts…I think I recently encountered one too,” said Reion. “Mine was not ‘in the face’ like how Natalie saw one, but mine goes like this. My bro and I were sleeping on our bunk when in the middle of the night, both of us were awakened by the sound of wood creaking.” “You sure it’s not your bunk being old?” Konata asks. “No. Our house have sturdy concrete floors, and there’s no way it’s our bunk since we were lying perfectly still,” said Reion, “Both of us saw a dark figure standing at the corners of the room. I was scared stiff so I didn’t move. After a while it just simply disappeared. My bro and I talked about it the next day, and he confirmed that we saw the same thing.” “Holy crap, that’s freaking creepy,” Natalie comments.

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Jack’s face turns pale. He knew it! Those ghosts really did come to the real world. But the question is how. How could ghosts from the dream Game of Despair escape into the real world? The boy turns towards Teal, who simply give him a slight nod, telling him she knew what he was thinking. After the meal, Teal and Jack leaves the group and calls Sarin over to discuss in the school’s garden. “…A…ghost in the real world?” Sarin’s face turned pale. “……Wait…with that look, don’t tell me you---!?” “W…Well, yeah. I saw some of them a few times. But I thought it was me being tired that my senses were messed up,” Sarin explained, “So there really were ghosts wandering around here.” “What the hell is going on!? How did those guys cross over here!?” Jack kicks the dust. “I…I saw one a few times too,” said Teal, “I woke up one day and saw a girl crouching under my desk, looking at me.” “I don’t think this is just a coincidence or hallucination any more. Let’s gather the other guys and talk about this,” Sarin suggests. Jack and Teal nod before returning to their classes.


After School…Real World…L’hrisa Café… “Holy geezus christ, you serious?!” Austin’s face turned pale, “Damn, and I thought I was the only one who saw a ghost in the middle of the day at my school!” “You too, Austin!?” Teal asks in shock. “Yeah. I’m just glad it’s not ghosts like that old man in white,” Austin mutters and folds his arms. “I investigate paranormal activities, so I can’t really say this is the first time I saw super natural stuffs,” Greg explains, “Although, lately I’ve heard lots of wood creaking sound in my house’s halls when my house is completely concrete.” “Gaaahhh!!!! So those shadows I saw behind my bedroom’s curtains at night are those guys!?” Leina ruffles his hair in anxiety. “Gosh, now that’s really creepy. I’m glad I haven’t seen one yet,” Tim sighs. Ramsley sits down quietly, thinking about something. “Now that you mentioned it, a week ago or so, I thought I heard something down stairs in early morning. I thought it was thieves, so I went down stairs with my shot gun,” the butler explains. “Woah woah woah. Wait a sec. A shot gun?” Jack raises his eyebrow. “…What about it? With that big mansion, I reserve the right to give my butler a weapon to protect himself and my mansion from thievery,” Roke said with a straight face. “So, what was that sound, Ramsley?” Sophia asks the butler to continue. “…Nothing. It turns out that the kitchen was completely empty,” the butler moves his pince-nez glasses up. “Damn, that’s pretty scary,” Colin shudders. “Things are getting really icky,” Jack mutters, “I think it’s pretty clear that the Game of Despair has something to do with this.” “That’s pretty obvious. But the question is how,” Roke crosses his arms. “Oh yeah. We saw some texts about the ritual at the manor’s library too,” said Colin. “That’s great. Hope you don’t mind if I go along to check it out?” Roke asks. “Sure, I don’t mind,” Colin laughs. “No offense folks, but don’t you guys want to just clear this game and stop messing with whatever is in that manor?” Aphiso asks. The whole table turns to her at the same time, “I mean, I admit it’s icky and all. But don’t you think our priority is to clear this damn game first?” “W…Well, you have a point,” Leina shrugs. “I kinda agree with Aphiso though,” said Austin, “I want to get the hell out of that place already.” “Me too,” Teal raises her hand, “I mean, it’s not like I don’t want to search for the truth behind this. But I don’t want to be a part of this any more.” “Me too,” said Cheryl.

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“Like I said. Leave the investigation to me. You guys need to get out of that manor as soon as possible,” said the purple haired teen. “I was afraid you’re gonna say that,” Aphiso sighs, “If you insist on staying, Sophia is also gonna stay with you.” “Of course, sis! I’m not gonna leave him! Not after all we’ve been through!” Sophia insists. “Well, I don’t want any harm done to Sophia, I already told you that, didn’t I?” Roke told the elder sister, “So if you want her out, you best quickly clear the game and wish that both of you are free.” “That was the plan,” Aphiso folds her arm. “Hey, ask for my consent first! Gee!!” Sophia frowns.

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“In any case, I guess all we can do is keep playing this game until some more information pops up,” said Jack. Everyone nods before standing up and goes on their separate ways home. The sun is about to set, and the road has less and less people. “It’s getting this late already?” Teal looks outside of the café. “Is it just me or it’s getting dark really fast lately?” Cheryl looks at the clock then at the dimly lit street. “Getting dark faster simply means we have to return to that manor faster, huh?” Leina sighs. “Well hey girls! If you don’t mind, I could walk you home!” Austin looks at the girls. “Thank you very much, but I can escort my girlfriend home alone,” Roke folds his arms. “Hmph? Who said you’re coming? Let’s go Sophia,” Aphiso grabs her sister’s hand and walks off, ignoring the purple haired teen. “W…Woah!!! Ah! See you at the manor tonight, Roke!” Sophia tells the boy as her sister drags her away. “…Let’s go home master,” Ramsley suggests. “Fine…,” Roke sighs and walks away with his butler. “So, what do you other girls say!?” Austin smiles confidently. “I’ll go home with Sarin. Our houses are on the same way,” said Jack. “Sorry, Austin. Maybe next time,” the silver haired girl smiles before leaving with her friend. The blonde teen then turns to Teal and Cheryl with hope. “Um…Our houses are on different directions, isn’t it?” Teal answers Austin nervously. “Too bad Austin. Let’s go Teal,” Cheryl grabs Teal’s arm and walks off giggling. “…Wait…So?” the blonde boy looks around. Only Greg, Leina, Colin, and Tim are standing around. “Haha. Better luck next time, dude,” Greg taps his friend’s shoulder and walks off with Colin and Tim on the same direction with Jack and Sarin. “…So I’m going home alone again?” Austin sighs. “Hey. You got me!” Leina laughs. “Ugh. We’re gonna be together at the manor anyway. I just wanna stick with other folks too,” Austin mutters but walks home with Leina nevertheless.


“With stuffs going on like this, I don’t feel like going back home after dark,” Jack mutters as he strolls down the street. “Yeah,” Sarin agrees. Both teens keep on moving forward until they reach the girl’s mansion. “Hey Jack. Can…can we…stick together tonight?” the girl asks. “H…Huh? Why? Did something happen?” Jack was surprised. “N…No…not really…it’s…it’s just…,” the girl kept quiet, presumably in loss of words. “W…Well, I’m not really sure what’s on your mind. But sure, why not?” the boy smiles. Sarin looks at him with relieved smile. “Thanks for always being there for me,” the girl was touched, “…I mean…we’ve been friends for so long…I’ve never realized that.” “……You’re right. It’s almost ten years now, isn’t it?” the boy looks off, as if avoiding eye contact. “…I…” “Yeah…?” There was an awkward pause between both of them. Sarin was at loss for words while Jack was looking away, avoiding any eye contacts. “……No, forget it,” the girl sighs, “Good night Jack. See you at the manor.” “…Yeah,” the boy replies without looking at the girl. Sarin turns away and heads for the mansion’s main door. Once he could hear the mansion’s door closed, he gives a louder sigh and shakes his head. “…Ten years. I’ve loved her for THAT long now?” The boy kicks the pebble in front of him and walks back home …… not knowing that the girl was still standing at the door right behind him. “W…What did…he just say?” she mutters to herself in disbelief after the boy left.

Nightfall…Somewhere in the Manor of Sleep… “The players are progressing very rapidly, sire,” the man with hawk wings reports to the man in white hooded robe sitting on the throne. “Indeed they do,” the man in white robe nods, “They’ve crafted several skills and tamed many spirits. Perhaps they are posing more trouble to us now. Do they not, Anon?” The man with bat wings who is kneeling right next to the man with hawk wings gulps loudly, “I…It was me being careless! It won’t happen ever again! I swear! The next time I saw Rokej and his party, I WILL annihilate him!!!” “You REALLY sure you can do that?” a voice taunts from the dark corners, “You lost your left arm and leg. I doubt you’ll stand much chance against a full party of players, let alone the ex-Reaper King!” “Shut up!!! Rai Naam!” Anon growls. “Now there there. You know I hate seeing fights,” the man in white robe sighs, “Do I need to ‘remind’ you?”

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Anon and the other man called Rai Naam gulp and immediately bows down apologetically. “They might be strong. But they do not stand a chance against us, sire,” another man walks into the room. His big shining yellow eyes can be seen distance away. “You are back, Mumei,” the man in white robe smiles, “How was the investigation?” “I’m terribly sorry, my master. But Incognito and I have come to a very regrettable conclusion. It appears the ‘item’ we’ve been looking for indeed belongs to a player,” the man with yellow eyes reports. “…I see. Now that’s a shame. Seems like we still have to keep this farce up after all,” the man in white robe brushes his hood, revealing a small earring attached on his ear lobe.

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Chapter 29

Jack’s Skills

Mission: A great construction occurred in this place. Commemorate the events with the photos of the four Master Builders and their leader. Non-Camera Users are allowed to use their cell phone camera. Special Rule: Mission is immediately cleared once the five ghosts’ pictures are taken. All parties that took part in taking the picture will gain Game Levels upon clearing.

Noise Crush Mirage Screen Momentum Crash Detonate Smash

Rokej’s Skills Demon Fist Needle Shower

Blazing Sword Snow Storm

Manor of Sleep 2nd floor…Library… [Current Party Status] Leader: Jack Member 1: Colin Member 2: Cross

G.Lv. 4 G.Lv. 2 G.Lv. 3

“I’m gonna go pick up Sarin. I promised I’ll stick with her tonight,” Jack said, keeping his cell phone. “Hey Jack. Something going on between you two?” Colin asks with a straight face. Jack did not say a thing. He simply sighs and looks up at the ceiling. “…Friendzoned?” Colin teased. “I don’t even know what to call it any more,” said Jack. “Woah? You liked her?” Cross asked. “It’s pretty obvious, Cross. You were with them a lot before me, weren’t you?” Colin asks. “W…well…yeah. But he never showed any sign that he likes her,” Cross shrugs. “Enough about that. You guys keep on researching here. I’ll go pick up Sarin,” said Jack. “You kidding!? We’re not letting you go alone!” Cross interrupts, “There are ghosts out there, dude! And we don’t know when the Player Killers are gonna strike!” “Yeah. I can’t let you go alone. Let’s at least stick together until we find Sarin then we’ll decide on the party later,” said Colin. “All right. Let’s move on together till then,” said Jack, leading everyone down to the Blind Room.

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Meanwhile…All God’s Village…Sunken Fireplace… [Current Party Status] Leader: Austin Member 1: Leina Member 2: Teal

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G.Lv. 3 G.Lv. 5 G.Lv. 4

“Everything looks perfectly the same,” Leina folds his arms, looking around the place, “Doesn’t bring back many fond memories.” “I don’t really want to get back the way we came,” Austin sighs. “Don’t worry,” said Leina, leading everyone towards the northeast door, “The exit to this house is just right behind this door. Maybe we can find some other path back to the main manor.” Leina opens the door to the Foyer, only to realize that the door was nailed shut, “Wha? No way!!!” He tries to remove the planks, but it was stuck like a decoration on the wall.” “You did say that this place was not arranged the way you were used to a while back, didn’t you?” Teal asks. “…Yeah. You’re right. One minute we’re in Kurosawa House, and the next we are already in Osaka House,” Leina folds his arms, sighing. “Let’s check out other places,” Austin suggests. The party enters the Kimono Room right behind the barred windows. In place of a weird red lamp, like how Leina was used to, is a shining blue lamp. Deeper in the room is a wooden unclosed box. “A friend of mine opened this box back when we were at the village. A ghost jumps out from it,” Leina told his friends. “You don’t really have to tell us everything, you know,” Austin shudders. Leaving the room, they try the door across the Kimono Room, but it was stuck and would not budge either. “I guess we only have the second floor to check,” Teal mutters. The party strolls up the stairs and found a door with a padlock on it. The funny thing is that there is actually a key inserted in the padlock. “What the heck?” Austin checks the key and padlock. There are some patterns engraved on both of them. The patterns look perfectly identical to each other. “If I correctly recall, this should be the ‘Ginger Key’,” said Leina, examining the key’s pattern. “Hmmm…Let me try Object Reading,” said Austin, “Been a while since I’ve read one.” The blonde boy raises his palm toward the key and padlock then closes his eyes. A bright light flashed at his eyes as several vision appears right before him. He saw Roke walking around this same house they are in with Leina closely following him from behind. The picture flashed


and he saw Roke unlocking this door with the same key. Suddenly, a ghostly woman jumps up and attack both of them, but Leina and Roke was able to fight the woman off. Several more pictures flashed at his eyes, but they were too fast and blurry to the point that he cannot make out anything from it. The reading was over and Austin opens his eyes. He turns to Leina and raises his eyebrow. “…What?” Leina asks. “You really WERE here with Roke,” Austin mutters. “What? You saw both of them?” Teal asks. “…Wait. You mean all this time you didn’t believe me!?” Leina frowns. “Well, kind of. I mean, no offense, how did you expect ANYONE to believe you?” Austin scratches his cheek, unlocking the door and keeping the key for himself.

New Relic Entry! Ginger Key Description: An old copper key with beautiful pattern engraved on it Latent Ability: Temporarily disables the astral field difference, allowing the user to physically harm a hostile ghost for one minute. Duration: 1 Minute Recharge: 2 Minutes “You kinda have a point,” Leina sighs, “I’m not exactly sure what you saw, but yeah, I’m glad you believe me now.” Teal slides the door opened. The party gave a jump as they saw two girls sitting in the middle of the room. One of them has long black hair, and the other has long white. However, both of them simply vanished after a while. “Okay. That freaked me out,” Austin lets out a sigh of relief. “…Weird. I don’t recall seeing those two,” said Leina, looking around the room, “And I think we’re in Kiryu House now. Heck, this room was even supposed to be on the first floor.” “Hey, Austin, look,” Teal points towards the futon where both girls were sitting on. Two keys are lying perfectly still on it.

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New Relic Entry! Light & Dark Key Description: Two keys, with ‘Light’ labeled on one, and ‘Darkness’ on the other. Latent Ability: Can be activated only when it is together. Turns the keys into swords of light and darkness. Duration: 10 Minutes (Go into recharge immediately after battle is over) Recharge: 2 Minutes

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“Hey, this is cool!!!!” Austin laughs in joy. “I remember Roke using that once, too,” said Leina, “I think it’s kinda powerful. Good you get to have it.” “Gee. I wanna get some good stuffs too,” Teal sighs. “I used to be a Camera User like you. Then I entered this game and get a different class instead,” Leina laughs. “…Wait. You mean you used Camera Obscura to fight spirits before!?” Teal was surprised. “Yeah. I’m sort of surprised I didn’t get to use one this time,” said Leina. “So this place isn’t the only place that has a spirit fighting camera?” Austin mutters. “Now that you mentioned it, it’s kinda interesting how there is a Camera Obscura here too,” said Leina. “Hm? What’s that?” Teal picks up a small notebook lying on the same futon that they found the keys.

[Twin Diary] I missed her so much. Who cares about sealing evil!? What’s so good about being ‘The Remaining’ when you have to live with the guilt of what you did!? I just want to see her again. I’ll do whatever it takes to see her again, even if it means I have to put my life on the line… “The Remaining?” Teal mutters upon reading the diary. “So they are Twin Shrine Maidens as well,” Leina sighs. “Explain?” Austin asks Leina. “You see, in All God’s Village, people believe that the only way to seal the gates to hell is to sacrifice twins by having one of them killing the other,” Leina explains. Teal and Austin gasp in shock. “The dead twin would be thrown into the Hellish Abyss, and the abyss will calm down. The Remaining is the twin that killed the other.”


“That was awful,” Teal whispers. “Dammit! People actually believe in something like that!?” Austin swears in frustration. Suddenly, the party heard a click from the sliding door that they took to enter this room.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Barred Hallway… “No use. This door is locked,” Greg mutters as he checks the door but it simply would not budge. “I can’t seem to reach her either,” Ramsley sighs, hanging up his phone. “Guess we can’t go this way. Let’s look some where else,” Greg leads his partner back down the Barred Hallway but then the butler stops around the corner before the stairs to the Kimono Room. “What’s the matter?” Greg asks the butler. “This path,” Ramsley looks over the small path, “I thought it was blocked the last time we’re here.” The butler walks over the small path and reached the other side of the Barred Hallway. “Awesome. Looks like we don’t have to go through the Kimono Room every time we want to get to this side any more,” Greg laughs. The two men continue their way to the other side and head towards the Garden Corridor when they heard someone calling them. “…Other players?” Greg and Ramsley gave a small jump before turning around. “Oh, sorry if I gave you a jump,” the young man laughs nervously. “Hey there,” Greg greets the young man, “I’m Greg. And this is Ramsley. Glad to see someone that ain’t ghosts around here.” “I’m Mike,” the young man introduces himself, “It’s been kinda lonely wandering around this place for weeks. I saw other players before but they moved around too fast that I can’t approach them.” “I must applaud you for traveling around this place alone,” Ramsley compliments. “Is your party free? Can I join your team for now?” the young man asks. Greg and Ramsley look at each other. “Well, I don’t really mind,” said Greg, “It’s just that we’ve been looking for another friend of ours. But since she’s not here, you can stick around for a while.” “Don’t worry, I’m already level 6,” the young man laughs, “If I clear tonight’s mission, I’m off.” “I see. Let’s help you clear the game first then?” Ramsley suggests. “What about Teal?” Greg asks. “I haven’t forgot about her. But we can’t reach her now. Plus, she said she’s with Leina and Austin during the meeting today. She should be fine,” said Ramsley. Despite what he’s saying, he is still gritting his teeth in anxiety. “Guess there really isn’t anything we can do now,” Greg sighs, “Let’s go, Mike.” “Okay. Thanks,” the young man smiles with relief.

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[Party Link Modified] Leader: Greg G.Lv. 4 Member 1: Ramsley G.Lv. 2 Member 2: Mike G.Lv. 6

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 3rd Floor…Staircase Hallway… “Okay. We finally made it back,” Tim sighs in relief after tiptoeing on the slippery roof. “It would have been really stupid if we fell down and lost for tonight,” Cheryl laughs, “Right, Sarin?” “Hm? Oh…Yeah. I guess,” the silver haired girl nods. Cheryl examines her partner’s face, and notices that it is redder than normal. “You caught a fever? Your face is all red,” Cheryl asks, worriedly. “Wha!? Really!?” the silver haired girl touched her cheeks with both hands. “Yeah, let me see if you caught a cold,” Cheryl reaches for her friend’s forehead. “I…I’m fine! It’s okay!” Sarin brushes Cheryl’s hand away nervously, “L…Let’s move on! We have a mission to clear!” Tim shrugs but leads the party down the stairs anyway. “Hey~, wait for me!” Cheryl follows closely.

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The party heads down the Staircase Hallway down to the path leading to the Stained Corridor. But then Tim and Sarin, who are walking ahead stops short with their eyes wide open upon seeing the walls behind the stairs. “What’s the matter guys?” Cheryl follows both of them down and gasps upon seeing the wall splattered with blood, “W…What’s this?” “Maybe a player was murdered here?” Sarin suggests, sounding nervous. “And the murderer could still be some where around here,” Tim flips his camera out, “Let’s be----.” The boy turns back to his party but was struck in shock as he saw a ghostly man driving a huge hatchet through Cheryl’s chest from behind. The filament shines bright red as the ghostly man smirks sadistically in satisfaction.


Chapter 30 Mission: A great construction occurred in this place. Commemorate the events with the photos of the four Master Builders and their leader.Non-Camera Users are allowed to use their cell phone camera.

Meanwhile…Headphones Graveyard…Wide-Open Snowfield… [Current Party Status] Leader: Rokej G.Lv. 4 Member 1: Sophia G.Lv. 3 Member 2: Aphiso G.Lv. 3 “Okay. Here we are again,” Sophia mutters upon stepping into the area. “Something happened here?” Aphiso asks her sister. “A Player Killer challenged Roke on a duel here,” said Sophia. “Huh? You won?” Roke did not say a thing. He just keeps on moving forward. “Um…he lost, sis. Both of us were removed from the game because it was a bonus mission,” said Sophia. “Ugh, you didn’t have to tell her everything, Sophia,” Roke sighs. “WHAT!? YOU LOST!? DID THAT PLAYER KILLER HARM YOU!?” Aphiso turns to her younger sister. “No sis! I said both of us were removed right away after Roke lost!” Sophia tries her best to calm down and explains again. “She could have been hurt, dammit!!!!” Aphiso still snaps at the boy, “Now you see why you still haven’t earned my trust!?” “I knew you’re gonna say that,” Roke sighs, “Look. I’m sorry about that---.” Suddenly, a loud smack echoed through the whole snowfield. The boy’s face was slapped from the left, making his face turn. “What the heck was that for!?” Roke complains, turning back to the girl. “An apology doesn’t cut it!!!” Aphiso screams, “You put her in danger! Haven’t you realize that yet!?” “H…Hey sis,” Sophia tries to calm her sister. “You stay out of this one Sophia! Can’t you see that he can’t protect you!?” Aphiso stops her sister. “Oh please. You thought I don’t have brain!? I’ve thought about everything for pete’s sake!” Roke yells back frustratingly, “Sophia had five levels! I had six! We are WAYYYYY too far from getting a game

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over! Plus I read the rules! If I happen to lose, which I did but that’s beside the point, she’ll lose only a level and be removed from the game right away! The Player Killer NEVER had a chance to kill her!!!” “You are dodging the point! The point is you are pathetic! What if there was no rule!? You still gonna fight head on!?” “Hell no!!!” Roke yelled, “I thought back and front! If it wasn’t because of that rule, I would have ran away with her!!!! Her safety takes priority! You don’t have to tell me that, dammit!” “And you think you’re gonna make it!? You lost in a head on fight! What would happen if ---- !?” “Okay, THAT’S ENOUGH!!!!” Roke and Aphiso jumped as they heard the girl screamed in frustration. “Look, sis. I’m glad you’re worried about me, but I’m not a helpless little girl any more, okay!? I know how to take care of myself!!!” Sophia yells, “Plus, it wasn’t even Roke’s fault he lost! Don’t you see how hard he wants you to accept him!? Stop attacking him!” Aphiso frowns and turns away, “Guess you don’t need me any more?” “N…No, that’s not what I---.” “Do what you want. But once I clear this game, you’re leaving. And THAT’S final!” Aphiso walks away. “H…Hey sis!!!” Sophia follows her sister when suddenly her cell phone shakes, signaling an incoming spirit.

168 Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Stairs Hallway… “CHERYL!!!!!” Sarin screams her friend’s name. “A…aahh…?” Cheryl’s eyes widen in shock as pain spreads throughout her body. “Hehehehe…,” the ghost chuckles as he pulls the hatchet out. “Damn you!!!!” Sarin synchronizes with her spirit and summons a hatchet onto her hands. She swings the hatchet at the ghost, but he was able to block the attack easily with his. He raises his left hand and reaches for the girl’s face, but a bright flash makes him stagger back a step. “Holy crap. That was a Fatal Frame but it does next to no damage to him!!!” Tim mutters as he loads another film. “Take this!” Sarin brushes the hatchet off the ghost’s hand and slashes her hatchet across the ghost’s body. “Arrrghhhh!!!” the ghost staggers back and places his left hand on the cut. However, he looks at the girl and smirks sadistically. Flames suddenly cover his right hand as he reaches for the girl once more. Sarin dodges the grip with a duck and smash the hatchet onto his body again. As he staggers back, Tim taps his shutter, further damaging the ghost. Before he is able to regain his balance, Sarin rises and slashes the hatchet again. However, the ghost blocks the slash and smacks her to the floor with his fiery palm.


“Ahh!!!” Sarin cries as she felt the flame burning her cheek. Luckily she was able to put out the flames before it spreads any further. The ghost leaps at Tim raising his hatchet. “Woah crap!” Tim bends away, dodging the slash just in time. However, after the assault, the ghost ran through the walls and disappears. “What the? He’s gone?” Tim mutters as he notices the filament no longer shining, “Ghosts running from players. That’s new.” “Cheryl!!!!” Sarin kneels down next to her friend, looking at her injury. Her lips are flapping from the spreading pain. “Please, no, don’t die on me!!! We just got our levels back!!!” Sarin pleads. “I…I’m…Sorry…” Tears flow down the girl’s eyes as her body slowly disperses away.

PLAYER INCAPACITATED

Cheryl

G.Lv. 2

-> (1)

G.Lv. 6 G.Lv. 2

-> (5) -> (1)

[Party Link Modified] Leader: Tim Member 1: Sarin

<Passive Party Ability destoryed> “C…Che…ryl…?” Sarin’s face is pale. “Damn! If only I could see him coming faster!” Tim grumbles. “You’re not getting away with this!!!!” Sarin gets up and follows the ghost, gritting her teeth. “H…Hey!!! Don’t go alone!!!” Tim quickly follows the girl right behind.

Meanwhile…All God’s Village…Twins’ Room… “What the heck?” Austin walks to the door. However, as expected, the door was locked and sealed shut. “Hey guys…Something is here…,” said Leina, looking around cautiously. “This is definitely not good,” Teal looks at her red filament. “Just great,” Austin sighs and turns his back against the sliding door, “Look out, guys. Anything can come out any minute.” Teal looks around the room for the reaction, but it appears to be shining very brightly from all directions. “Geez! Where is it?” Teal said frustratingly and turned around to bump into an old man with white hair.

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“AAAHHHHH!!!!!” The two boys gave a jump when they heard the girl’s scream. The old man grabs the girl’s throat and raises her up above the ground. “HEY YOU!!! Let her go!!!!” Austin activates the Light and Dark keys and rushes at the old man. However, several ropes slithers through the tatami mat and ties up both him and Leina. “Dammit!!!” Austin struggles but only made it worse. “Look at what we have here?” the old man taunts and moves the girl closer to him. However, she still could not breathe properly since her legs have not touched the ground.

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“Screw you Kusabi!!! Let her go!!!” Leina shouts. “Oh? So you really know what I am,” the old man laughs. “Dammit! How is there a Kusabi in the Manor of Sleep!?” Leina grits his teeth, “I thought we annihilate your kind when we freed the All God’s Village!!!!” “Hahaha! Did you think AGV was the only place that can create Kusabis!?” the old man asks, “I thought you, of all the people, should know best how Kusabis are born.” “Humans are tortured beyond pain but not to the point of dying then thrown into the Hellish Abyss,” Leina said, “But there’s no Abyss here!!!” “Fool!!! The Manor of Sleep itself IS A HELLISH ABYSS!!!!” the old man cackles. “W…What?!” Leina’s face turned pale in shock. “You heard it right! This Manor is a place akin to the Hellish Abyss! Let me explain the process of Kusabization,” the old man cackles, “After the infamous process of torturing, the tortured human is thrown into an abyss, a place where the tortured will be incubated with malice and pain!!! The negative emotions are absorbed through the cuts on the tortured body, corrupting its body and mind to create a Kusabi like me! Kusabis in AGV was broke free from the abyss and reached the surface because those stupid villagers provoked it with a failed ritual!” “How does that have anything to do with this manor then!?” Austin asks further. At the same time, he moves his wrists, trying to cut the ropes tying him with the blades. But the ropes are extremely tight and he can barely move them. “The miasma flowing within this manor is like the malice in AGV’s Hellish Abyss! Hence, any souls, wandering the halls of this manor, that are tortured beyond pain but not to the point of death will ended up as a Kusabi like me!!!” the Kusabi explains, “And since this place itself is like in the Hellish Abyss, I am completely free to move around!” “The heck!? So you were a player!?” Austin grits his teeth as the ropes tying his neck become tighter. “Who knows?” the old man smirks, “It’s been a while I saw anyone wandering into this area. It seems only players that have some sort of connection to the AGV can enter this place. Speaking of which, this girl is rather cute.” The old man glares at the girl being strangled in his hand. Leina and Austin’s eyes widen as they heard the old man said so.


“Reminds me of a girl that used to come to this place. I had fun playing with her before tearing her to pieces,” the old man cackles. “DAMMIT SUCKER!!!! You’re not a man if you harm a girl like that!!!!!” Austin yells at the old man. However, the ropes tying him only got stronger. “Oh yeah? What are you going to do, hmmm?” the old man asks, mockingly. “You’re gonna get hurt! No one hurts any girls in front of me!!!! Especially not an old fart like you!!!!” Austin grits his teeth. “Ohhh? Interesting. What would you do if I do this?” the old man taunts and nibbles the girl’s earlobe. Tears start falling down her eyes as she trembles in fear. “You won’t like me when I’m mad!!!!!” Suddenly, a burst of energy emerges from the boy’s body and the ropes tying the boy’s body were cut to slices in a flash. “What’s this!?” the old man was surprised. Austin slowly rises up. The Light and Dark Keys in their blade form propels around the boy. However, his hands are also holding another set of Light and Dark Keys. “Two pairs of keys!? What’s the meaning of this!?” the Kusabi grits his teeth.

[Trance] Tutorial Trance is a Gadgeteer’s special ability, available if and only if the Gadgeteer is in a full party and the sum of the members’ Game Levels is more than 10. While in Trance, the Gadgeteer can repeatedly activate the relics’ power with infinite duration (and no Recharge) until Trance runs out (Certain relics have limited activation per Trance). For instance, the player can summon two naginatas by activating the Two Mandarin Keys twice or two pairs of Light and Dark Keys vice versa. In cases of not being able to utilize all the activated relics (i.e. having not enough hands to hold the weapon), the repeated relics gain Auto-Assault ability and the Gadgeteer can control them via [Telekinesis]. Trance lasts for five minutes after activation and cannot be activated again for the next five minutes. “I told you,” Austin glares at the old man angrily, “You WON’T like me when I’m mad!”

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Chapter 31 Mission: A great construction occurred in this place. Commemorate the events with the photos of the four Master Builders and their leader.Non-Camera Users are allowed to use their cell phone camera.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Garden Corridor’s Spirit Tree…

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“Hey, my camera is reacting to something,” said Greg, looking at the filament shining blue. “A lingering intent?” Mike asks. “Probably,” Greg aims his camera, looking for reactions. His focus starts glowing immediately after he aims at the spirit tree. Tapping the shutter, the camera captured a weird photo instead of a picture of the tree. It appears to be a group commemorative photo of some sort, showing five carpenters standing in line. “Maybe these are the five carpenters we are supposed to take a photo of?” Mike suggests. “That’s possible,” Ramsley nods, “But how do we go about looking for them?” “How about we LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU!!!!!” Mike pushes the butler away just in time before a hatchet drove through his back. “Damn!!! Not like this again!!!!” Ramsley grumbles at how he was always attacked from behind. “Let’s take care of this quick!!!” Greg raises his camera and starts charging up its power. “Keep charging! I’ll hold him!!!” Mike puts on his headphones. +Must seal the Rift. Needs…more…sacrifice!!! More…blood!!!!+

Original Skill Entry! Hatchet Smash Crafted from: Hidden Face Man’s murderous intent Description: Materialize two small hatchets and throw them at enemy. The hatchet will reflect the physical surfaces twice before disappearing. “HATCHET SMASH!!!!” Mike hurls the hatchets at the Hidden Face Man. The hatchets hit on his left shoulder and right thigh, “Have the taste of your own medicine, hah!!!” The man grumbles and heads from the teen instead. “Oh crap!!” Mike ducks the hatchet and counters with a QUICK JAB. However, it was too weak and the ghostly man counters with a smack with his left hand.


“Ouch, that hurts!!!” Mike quickly gets up and dodges the slash just in time. A bolt of light blasts on to the ghost’s back. He slowly turns around at the source in frustration. The butler wearing an angry mask was holding the Four-Pointed Well Key on his right hand and a saw blade on his left. He threw the spinning saw blade at the ghost, who blocked it with his hatchet. Since the saw blade repeatedly spins even after it hits, the ghost had some trouble in blocking it. After brushing the blade away, a bright light flashed on to his back, making him wince in pain. As he turned around, the same light flashed on him once more, dealing the second Fatal Frame. “I still got some more you know!” Greg laughs as he taps the third shot. However, the ghost bends off, dodging the shutter just in time. As a result, he took some minor damage, but not enough to stagger him. Knowing that he is on the disadvantage, he quickly turned away and ran off to the west hall. “Hey, don’t run!!! Let’s follow after him, guys!!!! He’s in the photo! He’s one of our target!!!” Greg lowers his camera and leads his party down the West Hall as well.

Meanwhile…All God’s Village…Twins’ Room… The two propelling blades fly at the Kusabi in high speed and cut any ropes he tries to send out. “Argh! No way!!!!” The blades fly at extremely high speed and before he knew it, his right hand that was strangling the girl was cut and Teal was set free. The girl gasps trying to catch her breath while Leina helps brings her away from the old man. “AAAAARGGHHHH!!!” the old man cries, “I’M GONNA KILL YOU, YOU BRAT!!!!!!” Light and Dark blades stabs through the old man’s body, making him wince in pain. Austin raises his Bellflower Key and charges it up thrice before firing three energy cannon at once. The energy burst blast the Kusabi, making him fall to his knees. “No…way…how…could I…!?” “End of the line! You’re going down!!!!” The swords that were stabbed inside him flies off before raining down on him again with another pair of swords. “AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!! I won’t forget this!!!!” the Kusabi cried and ran away into the walls. “Hey!!!! Come back here you coward!!!!” the blonde teen pounds the walls, but there is no response, “Screw you!!! You’re not getting away next time!!!!” “I…It’s okay now, Austin. I’m fine now. Thanks for worrying about me,” Teal tries to calm him down as well. Even though she was glad he was worried, his anger was really scary. Austin bites his lips bitterly before sitting down on the floor frustratingly. The Trance timed out and all the blades dispersed to thin air.

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“Hey, dude, you okay?” Leina calls for his partner. “No I’m not,” the blonde haired teen snaps, “Grrh…I hate him…I hate guys that go too far! I mean…I like being near girls, but not THAT up close!!! It’s because of people like him that Emily has to move!” “Emily?” Teal repeats. Austin sighs, “My ex-girlfriend…” “Your ex-girlfriend? What happened?” Leina asks curiously. Austin clenched his fists, “…It was three years ago…”

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We met in Middle School. She was one of the most popular girls in our school. Pretty. Smart. Kind. I swear she’s the perfect girl. Because of that, she had so many haters that were jealous of her. We were in relationship for almost a year when that crap happened. It was after the finals. A group of friends invited us to the party after the exam, but it was a trap by Emily’s haters. I came out late because the exam was hard. Emily and the rest of the guys already left by the time I came out. I knew later on that they lied to her that I already went on ahead. Anyway, they took her to a club and drugged her. I’m not really sure if it’s fortunate for her that no sexual assaults happened, but those jerks took a video of when she was drunk and exposed it at school. She was expelled for misconduct because we are not old enough to enter the club yet. She closed herself up and couldn’t even bare to see me. Not long after that, her family moved away and we lost contact… Teal and Leina attentively listen to Austin with sympathy. “A part of me was so mad she closed herself, but in the end I always blamed myself for it,” Austin bit his lips, “I couldn’t save her. It was probably because of that event that I thought all pretty girls needed protection since there’ll be haters that hate them. Hence, I proceed to woo all of of the girls I met jokingly, just so I can know them and protect them.” “…So…You entered this game for Emily?” Teal asks. “Don’t laugh, okay? The wish I had in mind was to make myself smarter on that day, so I could come out from the exam room earlier. And even better, who knows I might even be able to tell her in advance that everything was a setup,” Austin places his palm on his face, trying to hide the tears, “Dammit…I hate this…I hate being weak…” “Hey, it’s okay to cry. We are allowed to cry because we’re able to,” Leina taps on Austin’s shoulders. “Thanks, dude,” Austin sighs, trying to stop sobbing.


“My story…well…is even more laughable than yours,” Leina sits down beside his friend, “Back at All God’s Village incident two years ago, I…fell in love with a dead girl.” Teal raised her eyebrows. Even Austin stopped sobbing and looked at his friend. “Am I…supposed to laugh,” the blonde teen was puzzled. “Um…no,” Leina glares at his friend. “Haha, sorry. Continue,” Austin teased. “So yeah, I liked a dead girl because I thought her maniac laughter was awesome,” said Leina, chuckling at his own story, “While traversing that village, I get to know about her past bit by bit and realized what kind of village culture she was in.” “Was she…a Twin Shrine Maiden?” Teal guessed. “That’s right. Wow, you could tell?” Leina laughs a little. “Well, you seemed to be bothered when we asked about the twins,” Teal explains. “I see. In any case, long story short, she was corrupted and made into a pillar that holds the village’s curse. We defeated her and freed her soul, but a part of me was not satisfied with her conclusion,” Leina grits his teeth, “She deserves a better life. She was raised to die as a scapegoat. I can’t accept that. So when I knew about this game from Roke, I told myself I just HAD TO play it too. I didn’t know or care what this game is about. If I give her back the life she deserves, I’d do anything.” “Wow, dude. And I thought of myself as a womanizer. You did a favor for a totally stranger chick? And more so when she was already dead?” Austin said in awe, “In my dictionary, that’s awesome, dude.” “Haha, you thought so? I thought you’d lost faith in me when I said I liked her from her laugh,” Leina laughs at himself, “Uh…but yeah, don’t tell Roke I used him as an excuse to join this game. He’ll yell at me if he knew I did this for Sae.” “Haha, we won’t,” Austin laughs and gives his friend a knuckle crash, “Let’s clear this game together then?” “Yeah! We’ll bring back the girl we love!” Both of them laughs and leaves the Twins’ Room through the door they entered. Teal slowly stands up as the boys leave. “…For someone we love…huh?” She whispers to herself before following them.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hall with Tatami… The three boys halt as they saw a carpenter ghost standing in the middle of the room. “Is this guy the one we have to take a photo of?” Cross asks, taking out his cell phone. “Indeed. I am the shrine carpenter, Shigeomi Moriya,” the ghost speaks. “What the!? He can talk!?” Colin was surprised. “Of course. We were humans after all,” said the ghost. “So, can we, like, take your picture and just leave?” Cross asks the ghost hopefully.

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“I’m afraid you cannot. All of you shall die and be a foundation to this Manor!!!!” the ghost raises his hatchet and runs at the party. “Waaah!!!” Cross was startled at his speed. Jack waves his hands and blocks the slash with MIRAGE SCREEN. While the hatchet was bounced away from the screen, Jack punches the ghost with his left fist, blowing him away. “Take his picture, Cross!!!!” Jack orders the young man. “A…Okay! Got it!!!” Fumbling with his cell phone, Cross managed to capture a picture of the carpenter just before he gets up. “You are strong,” Shigeomi compliments, “You will make a good foundation!” He raises his palm at Jack and fires a bolt of lightning. Jack bends away, dodging the bolt just in time. However, the bolt bounced off the walls and hit Cross, instantly frying him. “AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!” “Cross!!!” Colin and Jack call the boy at the same time. Cross’s lifeless burnt body fell to the floor silently.

<Cross left the party>

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Cross

G.Lv. 3

-> (2)

G.Lv. 4 G.Lv. 2

-> (3) -> (1)

[Party Link Modified] Leader: Jack Member 1: Colin

“You’ll pay for this!!!!” Jack grits his teeth in vengeance and puts on his headphones. +Must seal the shrine. All souls shall become the Sacrificial Pillar and seal the Rift!!!!+ The voice of the carpenter echoes inside the boy’s heart and creates a newfound power.

Original Skill Entry! Thunder Uppercut Crafted from: Shigeomi Moriya’s intention to seal The Rift Description: Launch the enemy sky high with an uppercut imbued with the power of thunder. [Noise Crush ->

Thunder Uppercut]


Shigeomi raises his palm and fires another bolt of lightning at the party. Jack negates it with the MIRAGE SCREEN and leaps at the carpenter. Shigeomi tries to fire another bolt, but his hand was knocked away by an energy arrow. “Can’t let you fire another one!” Colin taunts, holding a shining bow on his left hand.

New Relic Entry! Notched Arrow Key Description: A key depicting a picture of an arrow. Latent Ability: While activated, a bow of light will appear on the player’s hand. During this time, the player can fire energy arrows freely. Up to three arrows can be fire at once per second. Duration: 5 Minutes (Deactivates right after battle) Recharge: 3 Minutes Colin fires three more arrows hitting Shigeomi’s shoulders and his left thighs, effectively stunning his movements. Jack closes in and uppercuts the ghost at the belly. Electrical spark rises up along with his fist, launching the carpenter up before a huge thunderbolt fries him to mere ashes. “Cross!” Jack runs back towards the burnt boy, but his body is already dispersing, “…DAMMIT!!!!” “Calm down, Jack! He’s not completely dead yet!” Colin calms the boy down, “Cross has two levels remaining. If anything, you’re supposed to be worried about me!!!” Jack punches the tatami floor and tries to calm down. “Dammit! I shouldn’t have dodged that bolt!” Jack mutters. “Don’t blame yourself. What’s done is done. Let’s go find Sarin and the others!” Colin suggests. “I’m sorry, Cross. I promise I’d definitely come back for you!!!” Jack grits his teeth before getting up, “Sarin said she finished the mission at around Grave Courtyard. We should go there via the Bell Hallway!” “Right!” Both boys head for the north exit when suddenly the door slides open. “Woah geesus!” Colin swears. “S…Sarin!?” Jack was surprised to see the girl. “Jack…?” Tears flow down of her eyes as she hugs the teen. “W…Woah? W…What’s going on!?” the teen was surprised at her actions. “Che…Cheryl…she’s…she’s…,” the girl continues sobbing. “Thank god she finally stops,” another boy closely follows.

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“Tim?” Jack calls the boy. “Hey there, glad to see you, Jack,” the boy waves, “Cheryl was retired from tonight’s mission.” “WHAT!? What happened!?” Jack cried in shock. The party settled down and listened to Tim’s story thoroughly. “Damn…Cheryl too?” Jack mutters. “Too?” Sarin looks around, “Where’s Cross? Don’t tell me Cross was…?” “That carpenter got him,” Colin explains. “Carpenter!? Did you guys get him!?” Tim asks. “Yeah. But it doesn’t appears to be the one you were after,” said Jack. “Hey? What’s that?” Tim points to a small notebook lying where the carpenter was standing when Jack’s party entered this room.

[Moriya Tome 2]

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When building or repairing the Kuze Shrine and the Last Passage, all the carpenters of the Moriya family except for their leader must be prepared to stay behind, never to return. Excluding one who exceeds in their craft, all the carpenters must fulfill their duty to protect the secrets of the shrine by being buried as the sacrificial pillars lining it. I am assigned to murder the carpenters in this room, Nirei will walk around the Manor to chase the carpenters running a mock, Tatsumi is to kill the carpenters that are resting in the Futon Room, and Inui is to ambush any carpenters that managed to escape to the Foyer. “Now that’s handy, telling us where each carpenters are,” Colin comments, “We got Shigeomi. We have to go after the other three.” “That Nirei will probably wander around so let’s wait until he decides to come out,” Tim suggests. “That leaves the Foyer and Futon Room,” Jack points out as he checks the map, “Luckily we’re near both locations.” “Well then, we’ll go get the Futon Room,” said Colin, “Tim and Sarin. You guys go to the Foyer.” “Got it! Let’s move, Sarin!” said Tim. “Oh. Um, yeah,” said silver haired girl. Before she leaves, she turned to Jack, “H…Hey Jack?” “Hm? Yeah?” The girl pauses, “N…Nevermind. Let’s go over it after this.” “Yeah,” the teen nods.


Chapter 32 Mission: A great construction occurred in this place. Commemorate the events with the photos of the four Master Builders and their leader.Non-Camera Users are allowed to use their cell phone camera.

Meanwhile…Headphones Graveyard…Wide-Opened Snowfield… Three ghostly women slowly enter the snowfield, gazing at the party blankly. “Hanged Woman!?” Roke mutters, getting ready for battle. “Three of them too. Just one is already annoying enough!” Sophia sighs, readying her camera. “What do they do!?” Aphiso asks her sister. Suddenly, the three of them rush at the party at the same time, creepily giggling. Roke swings a wave of BLAZING SWORD but they bends off, dodging the flames just fine before continuing their way. “They do that!” Roke back stepped away, just in time before one of them smacks him. However, another one appears from behind and kicks him, “And that!!!!” The purple haired boy quickly rolled away, dodging another smack just in time. A bright light flashed and stunned all of them at once. Just when they are about to turn to the light’s source, another light flashed and the three of them staggers once more. Sophia quickly equips her Pierce Lens and activates it, staggering the women once again. However, before she could tap the shutter for the fourth time, the women were able to regain their balance and bent away from the focus just in time before the Fatal Frame reached them. “Ah! I missed!” Sophia curses and quickly loads a new film. Two of them head for the girl, but one of them was pulled away by Aphiso’s hairlines. The girl jerks her hairlines and smashes the woman into the snowy ground. Sophia taps her camera, blowing the other woman away just in time for a Fatal Frame. As she staggers back, Sophia taps her shutter once more for the second shot, which finally successfully exorcizes her. The one that was smashed on to the snow quickly gets back up and turns to Aphiso. She leaps at Aphiso still giggling, but the girl profoundly swaps her spirit and freezes the woman with ease. The hanged woman was frozen as her mouth opens up wide trying to devour Aphiso’s spirit. The brunette ties the woman up with her hairlines and snaps her to pieces, completely exorcizing her as a result. “That wasn’t too bad,” Aphiso laughs. “Hey, look out!!!!!” the purple haired boy shouts and quickly pushes the girl away from the third woman’s smack, taking the hit for himself.

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“Roke!!!!” Sophia cried as she saw the boy rolled to the floor. “Grrr! This will be the last time you mess with me!!!!” Roke puts on his headphones and starts listening to her voice. +Hehehehehe!!! All life will end! Nothing worth living if I die! Everything is coming down here with me!!!+

Original Skill Entry! Illusion Leap Crafted from: The Hanged Woman’s envy for the living. Description: Create illusion of the user as he/she runs around, tricking the ghost. The illusion is not a doppelganger. Therefore, it cannot attack. [Snow Storm ->

180

Illusion Leap]

“…Argh, non-offensive one again?” Roke sighs. The woman laughs and raises her hand for another smack. Roke rolled to the side, dodging the woman’s attack and ran behind her. For some weird reason, the woman seems to not be looking at him. She seems rather puzzled. “Ha, maybe this is useful after all!” Roke casts a BLAZING SWORD, pushing her backwards. As she tries to turn around, Roke smashes the DEMON FIST right into her face and follows up with a wave of BLAZING SWORD, burning her to ashes at point blank. “Phew! Done,” Roke sighs, putting his headphones down. He turns around to Aphiso and gives him his hand, “Hey, you all right.” “……I’m fine,” she takes his hand and stands up. The girl just kept quiet, looking at the boy. “…Look, if you got something, just say it,” Roke sighs, “I don’t expect you to be square with me from a single help so don’t worry.” “Thank you,” the girl said. Roke turns to the girl with a little surprise. “What? Something wrong?” she pouts. “Uh…no. Not really,” the boy ruffles his hair. “Fine. Let’s go back to the manor,” the girl turns around and walks away, leading the party. “You’re lucky,” Sophia caught on the boy’s arm and whispered, “It’s not everyday she thanked someone, you know?”


“Oh? Really? Do I take this as a step of acceptance?” “Haha, you wish,” Sophia giggles, “Thanking and accepting is a different thing after all, silly.” “Right. Human logic,” Roke sighs before following the girl.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hearth Room… “The Futon Room should be right behind this wall,” Jack tries knocking on the wall. “Let’s see if we can enter it from the room above,” Colin suggests and points to the nearby ladder. Jack takes the lead in climbing. The ladder looks rather old, but it was surprisingly sturdy. “Let’s just go in,” Colin suggests and reaches for the door’s handle when they reached the ledge on top. “…Wait, Colin,” Jack halts his friend, clutching his headphones, “There’s a ghost just right behind this door.” “Really? Is it one of the carpenters?” “…No. It’s a girl.” Both boys look at each other before entering the Tatami Loft carefully. Turning to their right, they saw a girl in a shrine maiden outfit standing above a small peephole in the tatami mat turning her back at them. “…Hm…?” the girl turns to the boys, “Hi…” “Um…Hi,” Colin waves back. “Came to see the carpenters?” the girl asks with a smile. However, the teens could tell right away that she is not really sincere. “You gonna stop us?” Jack tries asking. The girl giggles, “Nope. I came back to my post after a girl stormed into my room.” “Uh…Your post?” Colin asks. “Just do whatever you want. I won’t stop you. My job is only to make sure they don’t escape,” she gives an eerie smile before vanishing away. “Uh…That’s weird,” Colin scratches his head. “Let’s just move on,” Jack leads his partner down the Great Staircase. At the bottom of the creaky staircase, both teens encounter a carpenter standing in the middle of the Futon Room, looking blankly at a wall. Colin immediately takes out his cell phone and snaps a picture of the carpenter, catching his attention. “Finally here. Took you long enough,” the carpenter turns to the teens after he heard the sound of the cell phone’s camera. “Expecting us?” Jack taunts. “Of course. My job as a Shrine Carpenter, Tatsumi Moriya, is to prevent the Rift from spreading further,” he takes out his hatchet, “We have nothing against each other, but you have to die right now.”

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“Eh, not good,” Colin readies his bow and arrows. Tatsumi rushes at the party with his hatchet, which is now glowing an eerie aura. Colin runs to the other side of the room, pressing his back against the walls, and aims at the ghost. The energy arrow strikes on Tatsumi’s back, but he does not seem to stagger much. Jack quickly intercepts the carpenter and punch forth with a DETONATE SMASH. However, the carpenter only flinches back a little, as if taking next to no damage. “The heck?!” Tatsumi smirks and retaliates with a straight jab into the teen’s pretty face, making him roll on the floor. Luckily, it was covered with double futon, so the impact did not hurt him much. “Such weak attacks cannot harm me,” the carpenter chuckles as he marches towards the teen.

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Chapter 33 Mission: A great construction occurred in this place. Commemorate the events with the photos of the four Master Builders and their leader. Non-Camera Users are allowed to use their cell phone camera.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Foyer… Sarin and Tim cautiously move forth into the Foyer. The hallway is dark and dusty as usual. Cold breeze blows from the other side, just like how they remember it from the first time they entered the manor. This time however, the air is denser and heavier. A murderous intent could just be felt as the party plunges in deeper. “He’s here,” Tim said, looking at his camera’s filament. “I can feel him too,” Sarin summons her stone hatchet. “Let’s get this over quickly and regroup with Jack,” Tim suggests. As the word ‘Jack’ came out from the boy’s mouth, Sarin felt her heart racing faster. She places her left hand on her chest and takes a deep breath. “Stupid girl,” she thought to herself, “Now’s not the time for emotional stuffs!” The girl tries her best to shake away any irrelevant thoughts and focuses on what is happening right now. In a narrow space like this room, they have the disadvantage since they cannot move around freely. Getting distracted is the last thing she wants to happen. “Let’s go,” Sarin leads the boy head on into the main narrow hall of the Foyer. Tim looks over the rear to make sure nothing attacks them from behind. As they move closer to the other end of the hall, the dark figure standing at the entrance becomes clearer to them. “He’s there,” Sarin points to the carpenter, facing the double door. Tim turns off the camera’s battle mode and snaps a picture of the spirit, catching his attention. “…You…you’re going to escape, aren’t you!?” the carpenter scowls, after turning to the teens. “…Escape? Oh yeah, this door is the entrance of this manor, isn’t it?” Tim recalls. “I won’t let you!! You will become the foundation of this house!!!!! I, Inui Moriya, will kill both of you!!!” “Oh boy, he sure seems like he takes his job too seriously,” Tim cringes at the carpenter’s serious roar. Inui rushes at the party relentlessly after the roar with his trusty stone hatchet in hand. Sarin parries the head on slash perfectly and pushes him away to gain some distance. While regaining his balance, Sarin kicks herself up the wall to gain some height before smashing the hatchet down. The girl knew well that in a fight that she cannot gauge how strong her opponent is, the best strategy is to prevent them from showing their true powers at all.

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The carpenter blocks the attack, but the girl’s strength added with the weight of gravity is a force to be reckoned. Inui staggers back some more from the smash. “Do not resist!!!!” Inui roars and attempts to slash the girl again. Sarin retaliates the slash with her stone hatchet. Their forces are equal, forcing both of them to bounce away at the same time. At the same time, Tim was already done charging up his camera and blasts off the carpenter with a fully charged Crush lens. “Aaaarrrrggghhhh!!!!!” Inui cries in pain and staggers back some more. Sarin exploits that opportunity and smashes the hatchet again with a sweeping dive. The hatchet splits the carpenter’s body into two. Suddenly, as he was kneeling back down to the ground, he uses the last of his strength to thrust the hatchet at the girl. But luckily, another bright light flashes and the carpenter is blown away, stopping him all together as a result. The carpenter keeps moaning in pain, but soon disperse to thin air, leaving a small notebook behind.

[Moriya Tome 4]

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The ‘Rift Shrine’ makes the priestess wander for eternity, and stakes must be used to impale her limbs while praying for her peaceful rest. When the priestess is restless, it is necessary to build on to ‘The Shrine of Sleep’ and pray for her to slumber. The Shrine of Sleep is sealed within a dream to prevent the priestess from escaping and the spreading of the Rift. To keep the Rift from spreading, we must ensure that she stays staked down, and pray for her eternal sleep. “Phew. That was close. Thanks,” Sarin turns around to her friend. “No problem!” Tim laughs braggingly, “Okay. That’s two down! Jack and Colin should be done with the one in Futon Room by now. Let’s go back to the Hearth Room and wait for them.” “Yeah.”

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Futon Room… “MIRAGE SCREEN!!!!” Jack tries to block the slash, but the hatchet simply goes through the block, forcing the him to back off. Tatsumi relentlessly keeps up his attack, forcing the teen to be on the defensive side. “Dammit, there’s no opening!!!” Jack grouses as he tries his best to avoid being split in two. Finally, after another downward slash, the teen quickly bends outward from the carpenter’s attack range and jumps away, giving him more distance to breathe and plan. “You cannot run away forever. I’ll cut your legs from you!!!”


The carpenter’s hatchet shines an eerie light before he swings it forward. A bright energy wave rushes toward the teen. However, Jack easily jumps over the energy wave, successfully avoiding the attack. Just when Tatsumi is about to approach Jack again, an invisible wall barricades the carpenter, preventing him from moving forward.

New Relic Entry! Holly Hairpin Description: A hairpin with a holly crafted on its tip. Latent Ability: Forms an invisible box that grounds spirits and prevents them from moving or teleporting elsewhere. Duration: 10 seconds Recharge: 2 Minutes “What’s this trick!?” he tries smashing the walls with his hatchet, but they simply bounce his attack away. “Now Jack!!!!” Colin tells his friend. Jack approaches the carpenter in a flash. Since his movement is restricted, Tatsumi is not able to swing the hatchet to his heart’s content. Jack punches Tatsumi with a DETONATE SMASH at the belly with the left fist. As he was wincing from the pain, the boy launches the carpenter with a right uppercut, frying the carpenter with a bolt of lightning. Since he could not leave the barricaded area, he bounced back and forth inside the box until its power runs out and leaves lying breathlessly on the floor. “Must…not…let the Rift…spread…” The carpenter’s body slowly vanishes as he keeps mumbling the same words over and over. As he vanishes, a small notebook was seen lying on where he fell.

[Moriya Tome 3] After the ‘Unleashing’ happened, the priestess who had wandered loose from The Chamber of Thorns roamed about the manor as if in a dream. Those passages the priestess entered were engulfed by the Rift, and fell into darkness. The ‘Rift Shrine’ is a hidden shrine that ensures that the priestess wanders forever and never escapes, and the Rift does not spill forth. “I’m glad that’s over,” Colin sighs in relief. “Yeah,” Jack mutters, lowering his headphones, “Let’s just go back to the Hearth Room and regroup.” “Agreed!”

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Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Projector Room… The party follows the man with hatchet into the room and finally found him stop moving. “There you are!” Greg raises his camera. The man with hidden face turns around and faces the party. He starts chuckling softly and after a while it becomes a maniac burst of laughter. “I don’t like the looks of that,” Mike cringes but readies the hatchet in his hand. “The Rift must be contained…More blood must be spilt…You will become the sacrifices!!!!” Suddenly, the man’s body starts enlarging. His muscles grow bigger and the air around him becomes heavier. “This is definitely not good,” Ramsley notes, looking at his Simulacrum Mask, “My mask is recharging. I don’t think I can pull that shot off.” “Hey! Our party level is above ten now! Try your special ability!” Mike suggests. “Hm. You’re right. I’ve never really tried it until now,” Ramsley nods and concentrates. Soon, a burst of aura erupts from his body. The Simulacrum Mask changed its face from sad to neutral, signaling its ready state. The butler puts on the mask and activates it, covering himself in red aura. The hidden face man roars and leaps at the party. “Oh no you don’t!!!!” Greg equips his special lens and presses the shutter.

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Camera Equipment Entry! [Pressure] Description: The special lens with the kanji ‘Pressure’ engraved around it. Effect: Adds repel effect to a camera shot. Does not boost the camera’s damage in anyway. The flash easily pushes the hidden face man backwards, catching him off guard. Mike adds the damage by hurling his hatchets right at the ghost’s chest. While it seems to cause some damage to him, he does not seem to be staggered by it. The butler fires a bolt of light from his Four-Pointed Well Key. The boost from the key was powerful enough to blast the ghostly man back a few step. After the shot, Ramsley activates the mask once more, further boosting his relics’ powers. “Ho. So I can boost this as much as I want?” the butler chuckles and activates it three more times. The hidden face man seems to be aware of the butler’s increasing power and tries to reach for him. However, the butler simply releases one more bolt of light against him. The amplified bolt blasts the hidden face man away to dust in an instance. “Damn. That was scary,” Greg’s eyes widen at Ramsley’s power.


“Holy crap. Twice power five times. That’s two to the power of five… Dude, that’s 32 times the power of a normal bolt!!!!” Mike exclaims. “I see. I never imagined it would be THAT strong,” Ramsley chuckles amusingly, removing his mask and reverting it back to its neutral face once more, “Although, I think the boost capped at 3 times.” “Why think so?” Greg wonders “Well, after the third time, I don’t feel any more burst of energy,” the butler explains. “Even so, that would be 8 times the power. It’s still freakin’ awesome,” Mike laughs in excitement. “Hm? What’s that?” Greg notices a small item lying where the hidden face man fell, “An amulet?” “Let’s see,” Ramsley approaches the amulet and places his hand on it, reading its story.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hearth Room… “Hey guys!” Tim waves at Jack and Colin who just came down from the Tatami Loft. “Hey,” Colin waves back, “Seems like no problem for you guys too.” “It was a piece of cake. Sarin was awesome too. Should have seen when she kicked the walls up for added strength,” Tim states excitingly. “Should have seen Jack’s double punches!” Colin brags as well, “Right Jack?” The boy seems to be lost in thought as he gazes towards the Futon Room behind the walls. “What’s the matter?” Tim asks. “……Something’s not right,” Jack replies. “What’s not right?” Tim asks some more. “What those carpenters have been saying bugs me,” Jack turns back to the party, “Didn’t they say they want to ‘prevent the Rift from spreading further’?” “Yeah? What about it?” Tim folds his arm. “Colin, remember our discussion with Roke about the tomes we found?” Jack asks. “Well, yeah. [The Impalement] we found and [The Unleashing] that he found, right?” Colin confirms. “The priestess is engraved and impaled. The Rift will spread if the commandment is broken and the priestess was awake,” Jack repeats some part of the passage written in the tome, “If the carpenters are trying to ‘contain’ the Rift, then that would means the commandment was already broken and the priestess was already awake.” Everyone’s faces change their colors. “Hey. That’s a good point,” Sarin mutters, “That means the Rift has already started spreading?” “Wait wait wait. If those carpenters wanted to contain the ‘Rift’, which is apparently not really a good thing from the contexts, doesn’t that make them the good guys?” Tim raises an interesting question. “Exactly. That’s what was bugging me,” Jack folds his arms.

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“You know. This made me start thinking for the first time,” Sarin sits down on the edge of the raised wooden platform, contemplating, “What’s the matter with this manor? I mean, why does it exist? Solely to be the stage for Game of Despair?” “……Hey. Now that you mentioned it, I wonder why that never crossed my mind,” Tim ruffles his hair. “Roke said he was researching about this place, remember?” Jack reminds everyone, “He said in the past, this place was probably a setting for some ritual. But it failed and the Rift ‘leaked’ out.” “Oh yeah. He also said there were some measures done to protect it from spreading and that this house was one of them,” Sarin adds. “Wait a sec. It is not connecting folks! If THIS house is a measure meant to contain the Rift, which already leaked, why are we in this manor, playing this game?!” Tim ruffles his hair harder.

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“How about you stop thinking and help me prevent the Rift from spreading instead?” The party turns around and sees the last carpenter, standing at the corners of the Hearth Room. Several tattoos appeared on his skin and they appear to be blazing in flames. “You finally stop running and show yourself,” Sarin grits her teeth and summons her hatchet. “Hahaha…Who said I was running? I was REINFORCING!” Suddenly, an army of men in white marches into the room, surrounding the party. “Woah SHIT!!! This is bad,” Tim readies his camera. “These guys aren’t durable, but this number can spell trouble,” Jack puts on his headphones. However, so many voices were echoing in his headphones that it almost drove him crazy. “God! There are too many voices!” Jack lowers his headphones. “Oh crap. This is not good,” Colin takes out his light bow. “Now let us enjoy the massacre!!!!” Nirei spreads his arms laughing. The men in white roar and move at the party. “Ah!!! What do we do!?” Colin asks. “Isn’t it obvious!? We FIGHT!!!” Sarin swaps her spirit and rams three men that were approaching her away.


Chapter 34 Mission: A great construction occurred in this place. Commemorate the events with the photos of the four Master Builders and their leader. Non-Camera Users are allowed to use their cell phone camera.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Projector Room… “So, what’s the story?” Greg asks after Ramsley opens his eyes. “…That man…,” Ramsley gulps, “I saw him murdering hundreds of carpenters.” “Wha? Those folks in white?!” Mike exclaimed. “Yes. With that hatchet in hand, he and four other master builders chased after other carpenters, murdering them,” Ramsley explains, “I saw those bodies being buried within a narrow corridor.” “Narrow corridor…Could it be the ‘Stained Corridor’?” Greg suggests. “Yeah. Maybe we should check it out. It’s not very far from here isn’t it?” Mike checks the map. “I have a bad feeling about this. Let’s keep moving!” Ramsley leads the party out of the Projector Room into the Bell Hallway. Opening the door at the end of the round window corridor, they enter the Grave Courtyard. Snow seems to stop falling right now, making the party even more weary. Opening the Stained Corridor Hallway, the party enters it with a surprise. “W…What the?” Greg’s eyes widen as he notices several body parts sticking out of the walls. Hands. Feet. Fingers. And even heads. Mike walks around and examines the walls. After a thorough investigation, he notices a small door on the walls. Fumbling with the lock, he tries opening it, “Woah geesus!” “What’s the matter!?” Greg and Ramsley quickly approach the boy. Awful stench spreads out from the corpse, rotting inside the room. “That outfit…wasn’t it the hidden face guy?” Mike wonders. “This is disturbing. What the hell happened here!?” Greg trembled.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hearth Room… “Haha. I wonder how long you can keep this up,” Nirei chuckles as he watches the party fighting against the army of men in white. “Dammit, this is hopeless!!” Tim snaps a photo, exorcizing three men, but another three simply appear and take their place. “Guess we have to go for the head honcho after all!!!” Jack punches the men in white in front of him and turns to Nirei, “Colin! Cover me! I’ll craft a new skill!!!” “Got it!” Colin stops shooting for a while and throws the Holly Hairpin towards the wooden plank underneath Jack. The pin forms a small barricade around him. As a human, the barricade does not affect

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Jack at all, but all spirits are not allowed to go through it. Jack closes his eyes and tries concentrating again. There are so many voices echoing in his headphones. All of them are either moaning of pain or about building the shrine. Ignoring all those voice, the boy searches for Nirei’s voice. +Aaaggghhhh+ +Must build…the shrine…+ +The Rift Shrine must prevent the priestess from wandering…!!! I shall close the doors to the Chamber of Thorns!!!+ +Uwaoooohhhh+ “There you are!!!” Jack opens his eyes at the same time a newfound power flashes right before him.

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Original Skill Entry! Pyro Crash Crafted from: Nirei Moriya’s intent to close the Chamber of Thorns Description: Forms two giant fiery balls on both hands and throws them at enemy. “You’re gonna get it!!” Jack rushes at Nirei, but five other men in white simply block the boy’s path. He tries making them move but one of them smack him with a stick, making him stagger back. “Hehehe…now be a foundation for this manor!!!” “Oh just shut your trap!!!!” Jack hurls a giant fireball at the laughing carpenter, knocking him off balance. “PUNK!!!!” Nirei screams in rage and releases a wave of flames at the boy. “OH crap!” Jack bends away right before it reaches him and throws another fireball. Nirei grabs another carpenter nearby by the neck and hurls him against the fireball, negating it. “Damn! Come out of your human shield!!!!” Jack grumbles. “Aaaah!!!” The girl’s scream could be heard, making the teens turn to her. One of the men kicked her legs from behind, making her lose her balance and fall. Three more carpenters quickly gang up, aiming their


spears on her. “SARIN!!!” Jack rushes at the girl, but Nirei suddenly appears in front and smacks him down against the floor. “Jack!!!!” Tim and Colin call the teen at the same time and try to help him. But the men in white cover them up, blocking the path. Although she fell to the floor, Sarin still keeps up her fight by brushing the spears away with her hatchet. However, suddenly her hatchet stops shining and its power return to normal. “Oversoul timed out!? Why now!?” the girl gasps in despair but still keeps on brushing the attack. Another carpenter sighs and stabs his spear at her arm, stopping her hatchet. “AAAAHHH!!!” she cries out in pain as she tries to take the spear off, but he was too powerful. With the hatchet pinned down, the girl no longer has any means of defense. “SARIN!!! OOFF!!!” Jack tries to get up to the girl, but Nirei kicks him in the stomach, sending him against the walls on the other side of the room. The carpenters start ganging on the girl laughing and raise their spear. “Nooooo!!!!” Sarin cries, trembling as tears flow down her cheek. Suddenly, a bright flash emerges right above the girl, and the ghosts were repelled away. A ghostly young man appears in the middle of the light, kneeling above the girl. “K…Ko…ga?” the girl whispers the man’s name with a trembling voice. He tries to stand up but fell back to his knees immediately. “Koga!!!” Sarin calls him but her arm was still pinned down by a spear. The young man reaches for the spear and pulls it out, using it as a tool to help him stand. “What’s the meaning of this!!!?” Nirei grits his teeth in rage and heads for the ghostly young man. “No! Koga! Get away!” Sarin stands up trying to hold her hatchet with an injured arm. Nirei brushes the girl’s hatchet off her hand and aims to decapitate her. However, the ghostly young man stabs the carpenter with the spear he was holding and fell to the ground. “AHHHHH!!!! YOU WIMPY BRAT!!!!!” Nirei grits his teeth and aims at Koga instead. That moment, an arrow strikes onto his wrist, making him drop the hatchet. A bright light causes the carpenter to stagger and takes a clean hit from a ball of flames, making him fly away into the walls. “Thanks guys,” the girl cries in relief as she saw her friends managed to brush away the other men in white just in time. Jack slowly walks towards the girl and her ex-fiancé, holding his stomach, which still ache from Nirei’s kick. The ghostly young man slowly turns up his head and looks at Jack with a relieved face. Jack puts on his headphones, trying to listen to the ghostly young man. +I’m glad…I made it in time…+ “Yeah, you sure did,” Jack replies.

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+Jack…there’s something…you have to know…about this game…as you are a…Voice Materializer like me…+ “Huh?” Jack raises his eyebrow. “What’s the matter?” Sarin asks. +Ugh…My soul is still…not strong enough…Listen carefully…Jack…You must not c…+ Before Koga could finish what he was about to say, Jack was smacked away across the room. “JACK!!!!” Sarin calls the boy as the carpenter comes out from the walls and follows the boy. “Dammit, you don’t know when to give up, do you!?” Colin pulls his bow, but it suddenly disappears, “What the!? Time out!? NOT NOW!!!” Nirei hurls a ball of flame at Tim, setting part of his clothes on fire. “Ahhhh!!!” Tim quickly drops his camera and rolls on the ground, trying to put out the flames. “You little termite. I’ll kill you and make you a foundation myself!!!!” A huge fiery ball forms on the palm of the ghost. Jack no longer has any strength to move. “NOOOOOOO!!!!!” Sarin cries and closes her eyes.

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Suddenly, several razor sharp black feather rains down on the carpenter’s back, making him cry in pain. “AAAAHHHH!!!!!!” Nirei grits his teeth and turns around. His face is horrified as he saw the man with black wings descending down from the ceiling. “In…cog…ni…to????” Jack’s eyes widen at the grand appearance of the Player Killer. “Hey there, players. Sorry to disturb your night,” the man chuckles, landing on the ground gracefully. The ghostly young man lying on the floor grabs the tip of Sarin’s skirt, flapping his mouth as if trying to tell her something. However, he simply disappears before he could say it. “Koga!!!” the girl calls to him. “Don’t worry. He just uses too much of his spiritual power. He’s still ali---…eh, nah. Let’s just say he’s not gone yet,” Incognito chuckles. “Wooaaaaahhhh!!!!” Nirei cries and runs towards the north exit. “Oh oh oh. You’re not running,” the man with black wings rushes to the carpenter and grabs his head. “NOOOaaaahhh!!! L…LET ME GOOO!!!!” “Well, let’s see. How about a ‘no’?” Incognito gives a sarcastic smile and tears the ghostly man in two with his bare hands. The players were horrified as they watched the whole event. “Sorry for any inconvenience caused, folks,” Incognito laughs, “You guys already cleared the mission, but this guy meddled with the system and blocked you from moving on. Now that I killed the bug, you guys should gain a level by now.” A new message was immediately sent to the players’ cell phones after Incognito finishes speaking.


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Jack G.Lv. Sarin G.Lv. Tim G.Lv. Colin G.Lv. Ramsley G.Lv. Greg G.Lv. Mike G.Lv.

3 1 5 1 2 4 6

-> -> -> -> -> -> ->

4 2 6 2 3 5 7

Pale light emanates from the players’ body as they are being taken back to their world. “Wish you enjoyed your time here. Hope we won’t be seeing each other again,” Incognito laughs and flutters his wings through the ceiling, leaving his black feathers behind. “W…What the hell was all that about?” Jack mutters before his conscience fades away along with his friends.

[The ‘Hidden Face Man’ Spirit Synchro has evolved!]

Spirit Synchro Entry!! Hidden Face Man II Description: The spirit of the Master Builder Head, Tengai Narumi. The Spirit Synchro evolves from the defeat of the Master Builders.

Skills:

• [Speed Boost+] Gains even more boost in running speed. • <Aura Smash> A firm stone hatchet slash that ignores any forms of parry or guard. • <Searing Strike> A launching slash that will definitely lift the target off the ground.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Grave Courtyard… “Oh? Looks like the mission is over,” said Greg. “Hey guys! Thanks a lot! I’m level 7 now!” Mike laughs in joy and shows a new message sent to his cell phone.

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CONGRATULATIONS! Dear player, you have successfully cleared the Game of Despair. Please proceed through the north door in the Garden Corridor to meet the Game Master and accept your [Blessing]. “Woah. Congratulations man!” Greg laughs as well, “What are you going to wish for?” “Well, I joined this game because my girlfriend died in a car accident. I wanted to see her again,” the young man replies. “Good for you. You deserve your reward after all this time,” Ramsley taps on the young man’s shoulder. “See you guys in the real world! I’ll show you my girlfriend when I get back!” “Bye for now!” Greg waves good-bye to his friend before disappearing with Ramsley. Both of his friends are now gone, and he is left all alone in the Grave Courtyard. “Oh great! I’m finally done!” Mike laughs then looks around, “I’m still in the manor. Maybe I’m not 100% safe yet. Better be careful while I go to the Garden Corridor!”

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Suddenly, the boy hears the sound of a door creaking opened. “Who’s there!?” he quickly turned to the south door. As the door opens wider, his eyes also widen in shock…


Chapter 35 Real World…Jack’s room… “Aaaarggghh!!! Dammit!!!” Jack squirms and rolls on his bed repeatedly, gritting his teeth from the pain that was spreading on his right arm. The tattoo spreads again. This time it almost extends all the way to his wrist and neck. The pain’s duration was longer than usual, making the teen even more frustrated. After it subdued, he lies down, gazing at the ceiling restlessly. “This sucks. What’s with it spreading anyway!?” Jack sighs loudly before getting up from bed. He looks around the room and even around the foot of his bed to make sure nothing is going to pop up. “Weird. Not gonna freak me out this morning?” he ruffles his head and pulls the bedroom door opened, bumping right into a woman in red blouse. Her face was blank and her eyes are widened in shock. Her jaw is wide-opened, as if she was trying to munch on something. “HOLY GEESUS CHRIST AAAAHHH!!!!!” Jack staggers back and falls to the floor. When he turns his head back to the door, she is already gone. “W…What the hell is going on with our world?” he shakes his head and picks up his cell phone, noticing a new message.

Subject: Discussion appointment Hey, it’s me, Rokej. Before my party left the manor last night, I took some time to read the book I found in the Headphones Graveyard. Meet up at my mansion around 3PM and get your clothes. I’ve prepared rooms for everyone. It’ll be a long discussion. “Discussion?” Jack mutters. As he is rereading the message for Roke’s address, the cell phone rings and incoming call, making him jump. “WAAAHHH!!!!” the teen almost drops the phone. Taking a careful look at the screen, it was Sarin. “H…hello?” the teen picks up the call, trying his best not to let the girl knew she startled him. “…Hey, Jack. You saw Roke’s message?” the girl asks. “Yeah, just saw it,” Jack replies. “I…If…If you don’t mind…can we meet up some where before going to Roke’s?” The girl’s question makes the teen’s eyes widen in surprise. “C…can we?” the girl asks again. “Oh. Uh…Um…s…sure. May I ask what this is about?” “Meet me up at the riverbank by 9. I’ll tell you later.”

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The girl hangs up right away. Jack immediately shoots his eyes to the clock. There is only 15 more minutes before the appointment time. Sarin’s house is right next to the riverbank so it does not take her too long to reach it. After acknowledging the current time, the teen rushes into shower and dresses up as fast as possible. “Jack, you okay, honey?” a kind woman asks the teen as she saw him running into kitchen with a panicked face, “What’s going on? I heard you screamed twice.” “I got an appointment, mom! Talk later! Love you!” he picks up a toast, a roasted ham, and a sheet of cheese then folds them together into a mini-sandwich before running off with his bike.

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Jack reaches the riverbank barely in time before the long hand strikes twelve. Another bike was parked nearby before he came. He saw the girl, sitting next to the bank on a picnic mat, reading a small pocket book while waiting for him. Jack wipes the sweat off his forehead and takes a deep breath before sliding down the bank. Sarin heard some footsteps so she turns towards the source. “Hey,” she smiles, closing her book. “H…Hey,” the teen gulps, “M…May I?” “Sure,” the girl laughs, moving a little to the side. Jack sits down and gulps nervously. The girl is wearing a blue sleeveless dress, extending to around three inches above the knee. She has a blue jacket with her, but since the weather is rather hot at this time of the year, she took it off and folded it right next to her. There was an awkward pause between the two. He wants to ask why she asked him out, but he knew it would be a stupid move. This is pretty much something he is supposed to figure out by himself. Like other girls, Sarin has always been extremely implicative. If she has something on her mind, you are expected to know it by making your own observations. Thinking about it, the guilt when he could not tell what was on her mind when she asked him that question builds up in his chest again. “Assuming you actually had a way to bring someone back to life but it’s a very dangerous bet, will you still do it?” “Remember this bank?” the girl asks, looking across the river. Jack looks at the river then around the area, “Yeah. We walked home together by this bank a lot back when we were kids, right?” “Reminds of the good old time, huh?” “Yeah,” Jack nods. “When did we stop walking around this river?” she asks. Jack starts counting in his mind. Now they are in grade 12. He was walking with her until grade 6. “Six years?”


“Six huh?” Sarin mutters and mumbles something to herself, “I am engaged with Koga when I was in grade 11…so there’s a five year gap?” “From grade 7 to 10, you had other after school activities to do so I had to go home first,” Jack answered, even though she was not outright asking, “Around the second semester of grade 10, you were escorted back home either by Kitamura House or your own personal driver.” “Oh. You have good memories,” the girl giggles. “Of course. We’ve known each other for so long, didn’t we?” Jack smiles back at her. “The engagement of Koga and me was arranged. I think you already knew that,” Sarin starts. “Yeah. You didn’t really like him, nor hate him for the matter, at first. But as time passes, you know he’s a good guy,” Jack replies. “Wow. I’ve told you that much?” Sarin laughs embarrassedly. “Nah. Natalie spouts it,” Jack sighs. “Oh? Really? Why would she do that?” Jack gulps. The reason why Natalie did that was because she knew that he likes Sarin. She tells him this and that about Sarin to tease him. They are close friends after all so he did not mind her teasing. “Um…aren’t you supposed to be mad she told me about those stuffs behind your back?” he tries to avoid the topic. “Nah. It was expected among friend girls,” Sarin giggles, “So. Any reason why she told you about me?” “Huh? Ah. I thought you said it’s normal for friend girls to gossip?” Jack ruffles his hairs. “We have reasons for gossiping, silly,” Sarin laughs. “Eh. I dunno? Trying to mess with me I guess,” Jack mutters and lies down on the mat. “How would that mess with you?” the girl keeps on asking. “I dunno! Well…we’re childhood friends right? Maybe she was trying to pair us up?” Jack blushingly answered the question and lies down on the mat, avoiding eye contact with her. “…I see,” the girl looks away from him, “…So…Anything you want to tell me?” “H…Huh?” Jack is surprised by the question. The girl lies back down on the mat, turning her head to the teen, “Anything is fine.” Her face is so closed to him. Their shoulders are only two or three centimeters apart. “W…What do you mean ‘Anything’?” the teen is now frightened by the question. The heck!? Was she reading my mind!? The teen thought to himself as sweat flows down his cheek. “So…nothing to say?” the girl frowns. “Uh…Well…I dunno!!!” the teen sighs and takes a deep breath, “N…Nothing comes to my mind right now.”

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“Well, if you don’t have anything to say, can I say…ask something instead?” Jack gulps again, “S…Sure. What is it?” “…Do you like me?” Her face was not playful like before. She seems to be serious. Even her cheeks are red. “W…Wait…Wha…What d…do you mean ‘like’? I mean…Like as a ‘friend’…or----“ “The latter.” Jack’s jaw drops wide opened, “H…Hey. Won’t you let me finish----?” “JUST ANSWER!” “WAAAAH!!! I LIKE YOU!!!!”

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Both of them got up sitting, moving a little further from each other. Their faces are blushing red as they look at each other. There is an awkward silence among them. Jack clutches his head with his palms and ruffles his hair. “Oh crap. Oh dear. Oh crap. Oh no. I said it. I said it. I said it. Did I really said it? Wait. I think I did. Oh crap. I REALLY DID said it!!!!” the teen mumbles to himself and turns away from the girl, blushing. She was a little embarrassed, but now she found herself giggling at his reaction. Jack slowly turns back to the girl. His face was all red. She was giggling. “What’s the matter?” she asks. “Ugh. What’s the matter!? I just confessed that I like you after keeping it for over 10 years,” Jack screamed like an idiot. “Why didn’t you say it before?” the girl asks with a sweet smile. “…I don’t know. How did you expect me to do it? Walk right up to you and say ‘Hey, Sarin. I like you’?” Jack scratches his cheek, “We’ve been friends for so many years. You don’t know how hard it is to even look straight at you in the eyes.” “I’m sorry I never knew how you felt,” the girl apologizes. Now the teen’s face is redder than before and his heart races harder. Why is she apologizing? Why did they come here? Why is she forcing this out of him after all this time? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Many questions pop up inside his head instantaneously, but none of them are answered. The awkward silence filled the atmosphere once again, driving the brown haired teen crazy. Both of them look down at the mat, avoiding eye contacts. After a while, he snaps and decides to break the silence to pieces. “So…What’s gonna happen after this?” “Huh?”


“You know that I like you. Now what?” Jack looks at the girl. Now it’s her turn to avoid eye contacts. “W…When…when you said you wanted to protect me…,” she starts, “…in what way were you doing it? For a friend? Or for a girl you loved?” Jack kept quiet for a while, looking for the best answer that would not make him look stupid. “…Does it even matter?” the teen calmly takes a deep breath, “It doesn’t matter. Friend or lover. I protect you because you are you.” The girl blushes, “Thank you Jack. Thank you for everything you’ve done. You have always been there for me. You risked your life into this game to help me. You did so much for me. But I…” “Don’t mention it. I don’t care if you love me or see me only as a friend. I intend to keep the promise I made. And I promised I’ll take you out of that game safe and sound,” Jack looks up at the sky. “Jack. I called you today because…,” the girl pauses, as if mentally rearranging what she wants to say, “…I want to tell you that I also care for you.” Jack remains quiet. “But…It’s just that…Koga just died only a few weeks ago. He is very important to me and I really love him too. Besides, it would not look good for my family that I have a new lover right after my fiancé just passed away. So please. Give me some time,” the girl begs with teary eyes. Jack exhales and lies back down, “And I thought you’re gonna say let’s continue being friends. That’s way too mainstream.” The teen laughs jokingly. Sarin giggles and lies down next to his right arm, caressing where she once saw his tattoo. Jack moves his arm and holds her within it. Her tears start flowing down, as she felt safe and secured once again. Her heart pounds with excitement, but she knew that in his arms, nothing would ever harm her again.

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Chapter 36 Evening…Rokej’s Manor…Main Foyer… Jack was looking at its elegance in awe. From simple estimates, it should be about twice as big as Sarin’s mansion. “This is a really big mansion. And here I thought mine is big,” the silver haired girl giggles, putting down her luggage down on the floor. “Yeah. And to think there’s only Roke and Ramsley living here. Doesn’t it creep him out?” Jack mumbles. “Nah, we’re having our third member soon in a few years,” a familiar voice echoes from the other side of the hall. “Hey Ramsley,” Jack waves at the butler. “Third member? Oh. You mean that girl, Sophia?” Sarin asks. “That’s what I heard him discussing with the lady. Although considering his circumstances with the lady’s sister, I doubt it’ll be as he wishes,” Ramsley chuckles.

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“I heard that,” another familiar voice echoes from upstairs. The young man with purple hair slowly descends down the stairs, looking at his guests. “My apologies,” Ramsley laughs and bows. “Glad you guys came,” Roke greets Sarin and Jack with a smile, “Go keep your stuffs and come down to the Study. We’ll commence our meeting when everyone is here. Ramsley. Show them the way.” “Yes, young master,” Ramsley replies and picks up Sarin’s luggage. “It’s okay Rams, I’ll carry mine,” Jack picks up his bags. “As you wish,” Ramsley then leads both teens up stairs to the living quarters. On the third floor, there is a long hallway stretching towards the farthest end of the manor. The hallway is well-lighted, unlike the manor of sleep. Several doors lined up on the side of the room, counting up over 20 vacant rooms for guests. “Wow. So these rooms are normally left empty?” Jack asks the butler. “Yes. But Master Roke travels around a lot, so there are many times where he has lots of guests visiting. Those guests normally rest in these quarters,” said Ramsley, “Oh yes. Some of his old friends came to visit and spent a night often too. Leina is one of them.” “I see,” Jack nods. After keeping their belongings in their respective rooms, the teens and the butler march down the stairs and head to the study. “Please wait here for other members,” Ramsley gives a polite bow and leaves the room.


The Study is air conditioned, so it is cool and quiet, extremely ideal for reading books or sleeping. There is a huge round table settled in the middle of the room, with up to twenty chairs around. “Felt like the knights of the round tables, doesn’t it?” Jack pulls out a chair and sits on it. “You seem relaxed,” Sarin smiles. “Yeah. A little. We have to enjoy every little thing when we can right? Especially when we put our lives on the line,” the boy gives her a smile. Sarin pulls out a chair next to the boy and sits on it, “I wonder what our discussion tonight would be about.” “Me too. I hope we get some more new information. I don’t want to be stuck, looking at the same information and get nothing out of it again,” Jack sighs.

Late Evening…Rokej’s Mansion…Study Room… “Let’s see. Is everyone here?” Roke folds his arms, looking at all of his guests. “Master Cross said he might show up a little later. Master Colin said he is compiling the documents he planned to show tonight in his room. And Miss Teal will drop by around 8 PM,” Ramsley reads the note in his pocket book. “Right. I guess we should start discussing now since we will have to enter the game soon,” Roke mutters, “Everyone. Today, I want to recap about what we have known about this manor so far.” Everyone nods in agreement. “Let’s start with what we already know,” Roke clears his voice before briefing. The Manor of Sleep is previously known to be the Kuze House. In the past, people who faced the pain of losing something dear will travel up the mountains to this house and have their pain relieved. According to the [Rite of Purple Ink] Tome, the pain will be engraved onto the priestess in a form of tattoo, using the two ink of soul – One red and the other indigo, symbolizing the blood of the living and the dead. This whole process is known as the Piercing of the Soul rite. Once the tattoo has covered the priestess, she must be casted into the other side along with those pains. To do this, she will have to be put into a deep eternal sleep. According to the [Impalement] Tome, her limbs will be staked and she shall remain asleep for eternity. However, it was said in the [Unleashing] Tome that if the commandments were to be broken and the priestess wakes up, a disaster called the [Unleashing] will occur. It was described that the [Rift] will leak out and disaster will strike the world.

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“Everyone gets that so far?” Roke stops, looking at everyone’s reactions. “So that place wasn’t supposed to be a bad place,” Aphiso folds her arms thinking. “Since we already know that the Tattoo Priestess has been wandering around the manor, it is safe to assume that this [Unleashing] has already occurred and a disaster is moving about?” Jack asks. “That’s right!” the door bursts opened and the red haired boy enters, puffing, “Sorry I was late folks! I finally finished gathering all the information.” “Glad you came in time, Colin,” Roke sits back down on his seat, “Colin will take over everything from here.” “Okay, everyone. Listen up,” Colin walks over to a seat and lines up his documents on the desk.

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From studying the old documents found in the manor and the ones Roke researched, I found out what happened after the Unleashing took place. Several shrine carpenters were recruited from the village at the foot of the mountains to build a special shrine in for the Kuze House. This special shrine is believed to be the ‘Rift Shrine’. It was said to be built over the ‘Chamber of Thorns’ where the tattoo priestess was sleeping. The shrine has to cover the ‘Last Passage’ and make sure not a single light penetrates the darkness. However, to empower the shrine, human sacrifices are needed. The very shrine carpenters that constructed the Rift Shrine are murdered and buried behind the walls to create a ‘Sacrificial Pillar’ that prevents the Rift from spreading. According to all the information we have right now, it is safe to assume that this measure failed as well, and the manor was devoured by the Rift. Hence is why the manor is not accessible in the real world. Several unknown forces are preventing any forms of entry. And it is possible that it can keep spreading and covers our whole world. “So did we actually do the right thing in beating the crap out of those Master Builders?” Tim wonders. “It won’t affect anything,” Roke explains, “The Rift has already leaked out of the Rift Shrine. Adding more sacrifices means nothing. I believe they are the spirits stuck within that manor, acting their last thought over and over again in eternity.” “That’s not really the case, Roke,” Colin explains. “Huh?” Roke raises his eyebrows. He was sure he did his homework until now. “The Rift might have already spread out, but the Rift Shrine has been doing another function until now – Sealing the ‘Miasma’,” Colin explains. “Miasma? I don’t like the sound of it,” Cheryl mutters. “The ‘Miasma’ is a pure form of evil and malice, flowing within the shrine. The Rift has escaped the shrine, but the Miasma still looms within the shrine,” Colin explains. “So it still has some function left, after all,” Roke mutters.


Suddenly, the Study Room’s door opened up once again. Ramsley guides an orange haired girl into the room. “Sorry I’m late, everyone,” the girl bows politely. “Of course don’t worry! We don’t mind. I’m sure you have many preparations to do. After all, a beauty like you reserve the right prepare yourself for the best appearance,” the blonde teen greets the girl, making everyone in the room look at him, “……What? Never saw a guy hitting on a girl?” “…Sorry, I already have a boyfriend,” Teal frowns at the blonde boy. “Oh. Okay,” Austin sits back down, banging his head to the desk. “That’s okay, dude. You did your best,” Leina pats his friend on the back. “Let’s continue discussing, shall we?” Colin proposed after Teal properly sits down. “Say Roke, I have a question,” Leina raises his hands. “What is it?” the purple haired boy asks. “Have you researched on the All God’s Village portion?” Leina asks. “Oh yeah, I did. I had an old friend helped out,” Roke explains, “I believe those two twins you saw in the AGV portion of the Manor of Sleep are Tsuzuri and Musubi Osaka.” “Osaka House’s twins? Now that you mentioned it, we never saw any twins there,” Sophia mutters. “That’s right. Their Crimson Sacrifice was one of the best and most complete sacrifices. Musubi Osaka was strangled and thrown into the Hellish Abyss, and Tsuzuri’s hairs turned white,” Roke explains, “In the older records of the All God’s Village that my friend has, it was said Tsuzuri dies from an unknown cause. Her body was dehydrated and her corpses were turned into soot-like substances.” “Wait? She got the Tattoo Curse!?” Leina’s mouth drops wide open. “I believe so. Tsuzuri probably entered the Game of Despair from back then, hoping to bring back her sister,” Roke explains, “The All God’s Village portion was believed to be carved out from her memories.” “Hey wait a sec. Does this mean the whole Unleashing took place a long time even before the Repentance?!” Sophia asks. “That should be the case,” Roke nods. “Wait. Can I have a comment on this?” Tim raises his hand, “I’m not really sure what you guys are talking about, but if you’re saying Game of Despair dated way back into the past, how would that even be possible? I mean, how did that girl enter the game in the first place anyway? Didn’t we all enter this game because we saw that internet link?” “Remember that the internet is only a medium,” Greg reminds the boy, “That web page only explains how to perform that little ritual to enter the game. If we assume Tsuzuri enters the game using the same method like us, all she needs are some instructions and the lullaby lyrics.” “Oh yeah, you got a point,” Tim agrees, nodding. “So I guess we clear the AGV part up. I’m glad it had nothing with the real AGV we released,” said Roke.

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“Me too. Sae, Itsuki, Chitose, and the others…they all can sleep peacefully now,” Sophia adds. Upon hearing some random unfamiliar names, Austin turns to his side, looking for Leina’s reaction. As he expected, Leina seems to be saddened upon hear those names. “Hey guys! Could you leave the AGV issue on the off track? I thought we’re discussing the Manor of Sleep,” Austin blurts out. “Oh, you’re right. Sorry, we side tracked,” Roke apologizes. “So is there anything else you want to discuss?” Jack asks the purple haired boy. “One more thing. Remember the book I said I found the Headphones Graveyard?” Roke asks, “It’s a notebook, hidden in one of the shelves, written by the guy named ‘Reever’. I believe he was a player as well.”

Reever’s Note

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This is a very important message. I just hope that those cold-blood Player Killers will not find this before a player does. Anyway, my name is Reevers Grant. If you are reading this, then you are probably like me, a Player who questioned the essence of this game. I’ve saw many ghosts in this manor, telling me phrases like “You must not…” or “Don’t do this…” I’ve separated my research result somewhere else and hid it within the manors. For some reason, I won’t explain how I know this, but the Player Killers are not capable of deciphering codes that are not proper language. So this is the code to where I hid my research: MORF EHT LLEB SYAWLLAH, DAEH TSEW OTNI EHT ROTCEJORP MOOR. YM SLEER ERA NEDDIH DNIHEB EHT S’NEERCS SEVLEHS. Everyone looks at the code and starts scratching their heads. “What the heck is this?” Tim mutters. “It’s Reevers Code. His name hints how to cipher the codes,” Roke explains, “His name, Reevers, is an anagram of ‘Reverse’.” “Reverse? Are we supposed to read the whole thing backwards?” Teal wonders. “It is a double trick. If for some reason, the Player Killers are able to figure ‘Reverse’ out, reversing everything would not make any sense,” Roke explains, “We have to ‘Reverse’ only the alphabets, but keep the words in the same position.” “Woah? The heck? I’m actually reading this!!!” Austin laughs. “Let’s see, [From the Bell Hallways, head west into the Projector Room. My reels are hidden behind the screen’s shelves]?” Sophia tries reading it, “Wow. It’s kinda weird Player Killers can’t figure this out.”


“They’re stupid if they can’t figure this childish code out,” Aphiso brushes her hair and folds her arms. Everyone in the room kept quiet. “W…Well…I cracked it, but it took me some time,” Leina laughs it off. “So here is tonight’s plan,” Roke explains, “Sophia, Aphiso, and me are already back into the manor. Who here is going to fetch the reels with me?” “Me!” Sophia raises her hand. “Me too,” Colin raises his hand, “Jack joined with Sarin and Tim, so I don’t have a party right now.” “We’ll have to go and pick up Cheryl too. So they need one blank spot,” Tim explains, “I’ll leave the party. You guys go find her.” “What about you Tim?” Cheryl asks, “I mean, I don’t want to be alone. But I’m worried about you too.” “Nah. We still have Cross. And Aphiso is not joining the investigation party, right?” Tim asks. “Yeah. I’ll be on the offense and try to clear this game as soon as possible,” she replies. “Okay then. My team will meet up with Jack at the Tatami Hall. After that we’ll arrange our party and go on our research. The remaining party should just focus on clearing the game,” said Roke. Everyone nods in agreement. “Well then, let’s go and take a rest, shall we? We’re having a long night to go after all,” Roke teases and leads everyone out of the room. “Hey Ramsley, when did Cross say he’s gonna come?” Jack asks. “Hm? He said a little later,” Ramsley opens his pocket book, when suddenly, the doorbell rings, “Ho? Maybe he is already here?” “He’s pretty late,” Roke mutters, walking by, “You should take a rest, Jack. I’ll brief him what he missed.” “Okay. Thanks. I need some rest,” Jack yawns and walks off to his room. The boy lazily drags himself up the staircase. Last night was very tiring. Despite his body getting a full sleep, he does not feel like he had enough rest. While on the hallways, he notices Greg using his cell phone. “Hey there,” Jack waves to the boy. “Oh, Jack,” Greg lowers the phone. “Hey it’s okay. Finish your call first.” “Oh, no. No one was on the line. I tried to call Mike, but he didn’t pick up the phone,” Greg explains. “Mike? The new player you said you met last night?” Jack asks to confirm. “Yup. He cleared the game last night too. I wanted to congratulate him for it, but maybe he’s out there celebrating,” Greg laughs, “Well, we better go take some rest. Night Jack.” “Yeah, night,” Jack waves good-bye once more before going into his room.

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Chapter 37

Jack’s Skills

Mission: To complete her ritual, the priestess has to shatter all of her attachments with this world. Gather all of them back into one to proceed further. Special Rule: All parties that took part in finding the fragments will gain Game Levels upon clearing.

Thunder Uppercut Mirage Screen Pyro Crash Detonate Smash

Rokej’s Skills Demon Fist Mirror Wall

Blazing Sword Illusion Leap

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Tatami Hallway…

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Jack, Sarin, Tim, and Colin stroll into the Tatami Hallway, as soon as they entered the game. However, the room was empty and no one is around. “Huh? Where’s Cross?” Jack mutters, looking around. “He probably didn’t know we’re coming to fetch him and moved away,” Sarin suggests. Not long after, footsteps were heard from the other side of the hallway. Roke’s party enters into the middle of the Tatami Hallway not long after Jack’s party arrived. “Okay, we’re finally here,” Roke gave a sigh of relief. “Let’s not waste any more time and split our party right now,” Jack suggests.

[Party Link Modified] Leader: Jack Member 1: Sarin

[Party Link Modified] G.Lv. 4 G.Lv. 2

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Mind Lock]

[Party Link Modified] Leader: Aphiso G.Lv. 3 Member 1: Tim G.Lv. 6

Leader: Rokej G.Lv. 4 Member 1: Sophia G.Lv. 3 Member 2: Colin G.Lv. 2 The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Mind Boost] - [Activation Boost] - [Speed Charger]


“Okay. It’s done. I’ll be off then,” said Tim. Aphiso turns to Roke with a doubtful look. “…Don’t worry. I won’t let anything lay a finger on her,” Roke assures the girl. “I hope you keep your word,” Aphiso said then turned away with Tim into the hallway she just entered. “…At least she didn’t snapped on me,” Roke laughs nervously and turns towards Jack and Sarin, “You guys take care.” “You guys too! I’ll contact you again after we meet up with Cheryl,” said Jack. Roke and his party members wave good-bye to then head to the Bell Hallway. “…So I guess it’s just the two of us?” Jack laughs, leading the girl back the Hearth Room. “Yeah,” Sarin agrees, “Let’s go pick up Cheryl fast.” “Right.”

Meanwhile…Some where in Manor of Sleep… The girl slowly gets up, looking around in confusion. “Where…am I?” she wonders, “I thought I died at the staircase hallways. Why am I in this room?” After a thorough examination, her face pales as she realizes this is the room Jack met her being possessed by a ghost. “Oh no. Why am I here?” the girl was trembling. She felt her heart pounding faster. Her Shaman powers are telling her that a hostile spirit is nearby. She quickly heads for the exit, but as she turns around the corner, she bumps right into a woman with blindfold – the same type of ghost that possessed her last time. “Noooo!!!!” Cheryl turns around and runs away from the woman. She simply follows the girl back into the main part of the room, “Nooo!!! I…I don’t wanna be possessed again!!! Anyone help me!!!!” She cries for help but there was no answer. Suddenly, she felt the back of her shirt being grabbed by something. The woman pulls her back and strangles her with her left hand, lifting her up above ground. The fingers on her right hand slowly grow long sharp needles. She slowly moves it closer to the girl’s shirt and pulls it down, revealing her tattoo. “Please…noooo…,” the girl begs with teary eyes. The woman does not care. She stabs her needle onto the girl’s tattoo, spreading a sharp pain over her entire body. The girl could feel the tattoo slowly spreading some more even though she was not looking at it. The smile of satisfaction was seen on the woman’s face as she grits her teeth in entertainment. Suddenly, a loud clank was heard and the woman cries, letting go of her grip and dropping the girl down as a result. Cheryl quickly catches her breath and looks for her savior. She notices a ghostly girl in shrine maiden outfit with twin pigtails, rising up from the ground. “Y…You…?” The girl turns to Cheryl, “…You okay?”

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“Y…Yeah,” Cheryl replies, “Thanks.” The girl turns back towards the Needle Woman, who is now regaining her balance from being staked in the knee. “Tame her,” the shrine maiden girl tells Cheryl, as if ordering, “Concentrate, and takes her power for yours.” “B…But…” “Believe in yourself,” the girl turns back to Cheryl with a kind smile, “She possessed you once, so there should be an affinity between you and her.” “…Okay. I’ll try,” Cheryl stands up straight and raises her right palm forward. She closes her eyes and concentrates. It does not take too long before she could feel the power of that woman right before her. Before she knows it, she is already synched with the Needle Woman.

Spirit Synchro Entry!! Needle Woman

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Description: The spirit of a tattoo artist who was forced to endure the same pain as the priestess. Skills: • [Boosted Senses] Becomes aware of an incoming attack even though the opponent is not in sight • <Tattoo Slash> Slash enemy with needles dipped in the ink of soul. Slashed spirit will be engraved by tattoo with immeasurable pain. The woman returns for another attack. But even though she could tell the girl’s position despite being blindfolded, her reaction was that of a blind, so the girl could dodge the attack easily. Cheryl slashes her needle claws onto the woman’s abdomen. Purple ink dipped from the slashed wound as tattoo starts spreading over the woman from her cut and makes her cry in pain. The ghostly girl who saved Cheryl rises up and smashes her mallet onto the woman’s head, instantly killing her as a result. “Thanks. I owe you big time,” Cheryl cancels her synchro with the spirit, puffing in exhaustion. “…I’m Amane. You might not know me personally, but you have been using my powers for a while,” the pigtailed ghost girl introduced herself. “Oh. It was your powers after all,” Cheryl smiles at the girl. “Listen, Cheryl. I need your help,” the ghostly girl requests, “Can you hear me out?” “Sure. I’ll help you,” said Cheryl, “But may I ask why me? I mean, there are other Shamans more pow-


erful than me here too.” “…We have something much alike,” the girl said with a sad face. “Oh?” “So, will you help me?” “O…Of course! You helped me out a lot until now. I have to return the favor!” “Thanks. But the time will come when you can help me. For now, please quickly go to the south staircase hallways. Your friends are coming to get you there,” said Amane before vanishing away. “H…Hey, where are you going?!” “I cannot expose myself for too long, or ‘they’ might find me,” said the girl. “O…Okay. You take care!” After the conversation, Cheryl leaves the Room with Blind and heads down stairs towards the partitioned room.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Bell Hallway… “Hey Roke,” Greg waves to the purple haired boy who is walking by the intersection of the hallway. “Oh hey,” Roke waves back. “So you guys logged off from around here last night?” Colin asks. “Kind of,” Greg replies. “We are on our ways to the bookshelves in the Tatami Hallways. I thought we should start by knowing what we’re supposed to be looking for,” Ramsley explains. “All right. You guys be careful. I’m off to the Projector Room,” said Roke. “Please take care,” Ramsley gives Roke a polite bow. “Don’t worry, Ramsley. I’ll take good care of him,” Sophia hugs the boy’s left arm and pokes his cheek. Although he did blush, the boy did not say a word. He just scratches his head and looks away. “Haha. Okay. Let’s move on then,” said Greg. Both parties then part ways to the different side of the hall. Greg and Ramsley enter the Tatami Hallway and head up stairs. Several shelves are lined up against the walls. A few books scattered about on the floor, in the shelves, and even on it. “Someone needs to tidy up this place,” Ramsley mutters, picking up some of the books. “Well, that’ll be a little hard to do since it’s already hard trying to stay alive,” Greg shrugs and picks up another book to look at. Both of them continue looking at the shelves and skim through the book’s saddle, looking for a book that catches their eyes when suddenly the butler accidentally kicks a cell phone lying on the floor. “Hm?” the butler picks it up. “What is it?” Greg asks. Flipping the phone opened, a familiar face was shown on the desktop wallpaper. “…This is probably Mike’s phone. And the girl next to him… Maybe that’s his girlfriend?” Ramsley sug-

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gests. “Huh? What’s Mike’s cell phone doing here?” Greg wonders, “Miss calls…? From you and me…” “I tried calling him to congratulate him too, but he never kicked up his phone,” Ramsley explains. “What the heck?” Greg points to Mike’s status screen, “His Game Level is gone. It’s just like that woman, Yoshino.” “I’ll…try Object Reading. I have a bad feeling about this,” Ramsley mutters and closes his eyes.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Projector Room…

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“This should be the reels,” Roke picked up a film reel placed on a small shelf behind the projector screen, “Colin. Can you try starting the machine?” “No problem. I used to be working on these projectors before,” Colin said as he examines the projector, “This one is a rather new projector too. It even has the audio player on it. Maybe we can listen to the sound of the film reel as well.” “That’s awesome. Try playing this,” Roke hands the red haired boy the film reel. The film installation did not take too long. Colin installs it into the projector professionally and hits the start button. The light flashes and the reels start turning, showing a picture of a young man. He seems tired. His face is full of wrinkles and his lower eyes look extremely black, as if he had not have any sleep for a week or so. But what gave the party a shock is the tattoos, similar to the ones they have, covering his whole body, unlike theirs. “I’m Reevers Grant. If you are watching this reel right now, you are either in the same situation with me, or at least by some miracles, you’ve discovered the strange things going on about this game,” the young man with wrinkled face was seen talking to the screen, “Have you ever wondered if there is actually anyone out there who cleared this game?” The young man gets straight to the point after a small introduction. “If [The Blessing], as the Game Master refers, really grants a miracle wish to anyone that clears it, then wouldn’t that means the person can basically become an almighty god if he wishes for it? It’s a psychological trap. The person drowned in despair of losing someone precious is less likely to think logical. When hope is flashed in front of their eyes, they are more likely to blindly pursue that hope without questioning about it,” Reevers continues his explanation, “I know because it happened to me; in fact, it probably happened to all of us in this game. I lost my wife and my children, which is why I joined this game in order to get them back. But it seems I am too late. For those of you watching this reel, please, calm down and carefully listen to what I am about to say. You must NOT clear this game!!!!”

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Tatami Hallway… The butler puffs restlessly, still shocked from the visions he saw. “W…what was that? What the hell are you talking about, Ramsley!?” Greg’s eyes were widened in fear,


“You sure about what you saw!?” “No. The ‘past’ recorded in this phone is extremely clear since it happens only recently,” Ramsley explains, “…Mike…he was chased down by the Game Master!!!!” Ramsley repeats.

Back at the Projector Room… “W…what?” Sophia’s emerald eyes widen in shock. “D…Did he just say ‘You must NOT clear this game’?” Colin’s jaws dropped opened. “There is no [Blessing]. It has never been there in the first place! The Magical Wish you were told to believe has NEVER existed,” Reevers’s face becomes more serious, “As a proof, look at my Game Level.” The young man shows his cell phone screen to the monitor. There is no number indicated on the ‘Game Level’ slot. “As you might be able to tell, I already cleared this game. My Game Level is 7. But the Blessing is a farce. Clearing this game does not give you a magical wish. Instead, it does the exact opposite. Clearing the game simply means allowing your souls to succumb to the curse, disconnecting your soul from the material world. Once that happened, you will forever be trapped in this manor for eternity!!!! Your body will NEVER wake up once your game level reached 7!”

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Chapter 38 Mission: To complete her ritual, the priestess has to shatter all of her attachments with this world. Gather all of them back into one to proceed further.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Garden Corridor…

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“Hey guys~!!” a silver haired boy waves to Aphiso and Tim who just walked out from the west hall. “Cross?” Tim mutters, leading Aphiso towards him. “Hey! The mission talked about the ‘attachments’ right? I believe it should be the Mirror of Loss! I saw a tome about the Mirror of Loss from Roke’s research papers before I went to sleep. It’s supposed to be situated inside the shrine behind this door,” Cross explains, pointing towards the north door of the Garden Corridor. “Mirror of Loss?” Aphiso folds her arm. “Yeah! I believe it is some sort of key that’ll open the path to the Last Passage, where the Tattoo Priestess will be impaled,” Cross explains some more. “That’s nice. Guess we have to look for it,” Tim nods. “Well then, shall we go ahead and look for it?” Cross turns toward the door and reaches for the door handle. Suddenly, a strange sensation runs through Aphiso’s body, sending chill down her spine. “What the?” she looks around for the source. “What’s the matter?” Tim asks. “Something felt off…,” Aphiso explains, still looking around. “What is it?” Cross asks. “I don’t know,” the girl grits her teeth, “I just suddenly have a bad feeling about this.” “Well, let’s just quickly get this over then?” Cross suggests and grabs the door’s handle once more. The strange sensation ran down the girl’s spine once more – It is now clear to her what is the source. “Wait Cross! Don’t----!!!!!” It was too late. The door was slid open and suddenly the air becomes twice heavier. All the surrounding visions become blurry, but the scariest part is all the colors were bleached. Everything is now monochrome. “W…what’s this?” Cross’s face turns pale and horrified. His trembling legs lost to the pressure of the new air the flows from the other side of the door.


[Miasma] Tutorial The Miasma is the darkness that casts the world into eternal night. In this eternal night, the souls of the living shine brightly, and attract all manners of unspeakable things. While covered in Miasma, the parties are weakened and will become more susceptible and vulnerable to spirits’ attacks. Penalties from losing game levels are also doubled.

[Purifying Light] Tutorial Use the Purifying Light to light the darkness. The blue flame glimmers faintly in the darkness, and purifies the miasma. The Purifying Light are scattered all around the Manor of Sleep. Holding them will temporarily negate the party’s penalty from Miasma. However, the Miasma is extremely strong and the faint light only shines momentarily. The party has to replenish their light if it goes out. (The Purifying Light is fully replenish at each night if the party managed to pick up the light at least once) “Damn, I don’t like the look of this,” Tim mutters. “Cross. The mirror is supposed to be somewhere behind this door, right?” Aphiso asks. “Y…yeah,” the boy tries to get up while still trembling. “Let’s just quickly clear this mission,” the girl suggests as if ordering before heading into the door that just opened. Behind the door is a wide-open courtyard. The air is even denser inside compared to the outside. “I…It should be in that shrine,” Cross points toward the shrine to the north. The party heads towards the shrine and enters it. Inside the shrine is a small circular pedestal with a tome lying on it.

[Mirror of Loss Tome] Once the tattooed priestess’ ritual duty has finished, the door to the other shore must be opened with the mirror. The Mirror of Loss, which reflects this pain shall be placed in the Shrine of Loss. She must break it with her own hands and cast her attachments away. The tattooed priestess then will take the Last Passage deep into the Abyss, where she will be hidden in the Chamber of Thorns to sleep for all eternity.

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“…’She must break it’? Then I guess we have to find the mirror pieces to clear the mission?” Tim folds his arms. “That makes sense. The mission said to gather all the attachments after all,” Aphiso nods. “W…Well…let’s get going then! The faster we clear the better!” Cross suggests. The party then leaves the shrine back into the courtyard. As they are walking back into the manor, a shiny object was seen lying on the courtyard floor, a little further from the manor’s door. “You guys see that?” Aphiso points at the object and approaches it. Picking it up, it appears to be a fragment of a circular disc-like item. “Hey. Could this be the Mirror of Loss fragment?” Tim proposed. “That’s possible. I was actually thinking maybe this could be the Purifying Light,” Aphiso mutters, “Oh well. Better than nothing…” Just when they are about to walk back to the manor, a shadow suddenly soars above the party. “Guys, look out!!!!!” Tim pushes his friends away and takes a full hit from a thunderbolt, frying his body into a crisp.

[Party Link Modified] Leader: Aphiso G.Lv. 3 Member 1: Cross G.Lv. 2

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-> (1) -> (0)

<Tim left the party>

Tim

G.Lv. 6

-> (2)

Meanwhile…All God’s Village…Sunken Fireplace… The air is heavy and monochrome. Everything has been bleached black and white all of the sudden, making the party nervous. “H…Hey guys. Did you hear that?” Leina asks. “You mean the sound of a thunderbolt? I did,” Austin grits his teeth. The current environment is already bad enough without the thunderclap, “That bat-winged Player Killer should be around here.” “Moreover, I think he is fighting someone too,” Teal adds, “With the Miasma like this, if someone dies to a Player Killer, they’ll lose four game levels.” “Damn. That doesn’t sound good,” Austin mutters. “Come on. There is still an area we haven’t explore,” Leina leads the party down stairs into the dirt hallways. After that, the party traversed across the hall on the opposite side of the stairs. “Hey? What’s that?” Teal points to the pale blue flare, glittering right in front of the door at the end of the hallway slightly.


Upon closer examination, the party found a pedestal with a candle settled on it. “Pale blue light. Could this be the Purifying Light?” Austin suggests and volunteers to examine it. As he lays his palm onto the light, the light was drawn onto his body, as well as Teal’s and Leina’s. Once the absorbed light covers their bodies, the bleached environment around them obtains its colors back once again. “Oh,” Teal looks around, “Everything is colored again!” “This must be the Purifying Light,” Leina looks at the candle carefully. The candle’s wax extends its way down into the pedestal holding it and the wick inside does not seem to be burning even in the slightest.

[Purifying Light] Tutorial II The faint pure blue light covers anyone who approaches it. However, the candle must remain on the holy pedestal for the pale light to eternally shine its radiance. Once your light runs out, return to any of these pedestal placed all over the manor to replenish your light. “Aha. I see how it works. If stuffs start to become black and white again, we should return here to refill our light, huh?” Austin nods. “What if we run out of light while we are far from this?” Teal shudders. “Uh…We’re screwed?” Austin laughs nervously. “Way to go, womanizer. Scaring girls like that won’t get you any score,” Teal shot her eyes at the blonde teen. “Aw, come on! I was not trying to scare you!!” Austin smiles nervously. “Hey guys. Let’s get moving,” Leina suggests and turns to the door slightly ajar, “If this is still the All God’s Village, this should lead to the room I met Roke the first time.” Opening the door, the party enters into a narrow hallway, completely unfamiliar to Leina. “Figures,” Leina rolls his eyes. “This is not the place?” Teal asks. “Yeah. It’s supposed to be a room with contraptions,” Leina leads the party forward into the Book Storeroom. There is a staircase leading to the second floor, and a door leading outside. “Hey folks, listen!” Austin places his ears onto the wooden door. “Damn you, Anon!!!!” Aphiso’s voice was heard screaming from the other side. “Hey, that’s Aphiso’s voice!” Leina exclaims. “Anon…? Isn’t that a Player Killer?” Teal asks.

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“Crap, she’s in trouble!” Austin instinctly kicks the door open. Aphiso and Cross immediately turn around towards the shrine door on the west of the courtyard. “What the? Leina?!” Aphiso was surprised to see the crimson haired teen and his party. “Ho. More players to fry,” the bat winged man slowly descends to the middle of the courtyard. His body has completely recovered from his last battle with Roke’s party. “Hey, guys, look!” Teal points to Aphiso and Cross. Their bodies are completely bleached. “They don’t have the Purifying Light!” Leina suggests. “Hey? How are you guys are not bleached?” Cross asks. “Don’t mind that now. You and Aphiso leave now! We’ll take care of this Player Killer!” said Austin. “Haha! Being cocky now aren’t we!? Don’t think you’ll have the advantage even with the Light!!!” Anon snaps and swings his hand, sending a thunderbolt at the party. Teal flips out her camera and shoots at the thunder, dispersing it instantly. “What the!? When did they become THIS strong!?” Anon exclaims. “Not about to tell you!!!!” Austin taunts. Suddenly, an aura of energy emanates from the teen’s body and two pairs of light and dark blades rain down onto the Player Killer’s body. Unfortunately, he could see the attack coming and leapt away before the blades hit. “Go now Aphiso!!!!” Leina summons his spear. “You guys better not die on me!!!” Aphiso grits her teeth and drags Cross out of the shrine. “H…Hey! Why are we not fighting!?” Cross asks. “Are you insane!? With our current state, we won’t even be able to hold Anon’s attacks! One shot and we’re history!!!!” Aphiso reprimands the boy as they leave the shrine. “Hmph…I planned on getting my revenge on Aphiso but I guess that’ll have to wait,” Anon pouts, “I guess I’ll just play with you guys in the mean time!” “Sorry, we’re NOT playing,” as Leina speaks, an energy aura burst from his body as well. The spear in his hand shifts it shape and becomes a long crimson colored spear.


Chapter 39 Mission: To complete her ritual, the priestess has to shatter all of her attachments with this world. Gather all of them back into one to proceed further.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Projector Room… Everyone’s face is still pale from hearing the inconvenient truth. “Wait…what is that supposed to mean!? We were set up this whole time!?” Colin exclaims. “Hey, listen to Reevers first,” Roke calms his friend down. “I know this might be hard to accept. I can’t really accept this truth as well. After my game level reached 7, I found myself not taken back to the real world. Instead, the Player Killers and the Game Master himself came after me. Luckily my powers as a Voice Materializer are still with me, so I was able to escape from them. But I don’t know how long I would be able to run. Not to mention the Tattoo Curse itself has almost consumed me,” Reevers showed his hands and body onto the screen. The Tattoo has spread all over his body, covering every pores on his skin. “H…Hey. You mean, whatever we do, we’re gonna die!?” Sophia asks. Fear emerges from the bottom of her heart, making her tremble. Roke holds onto her hands but still listens attentively to the reels. “From what I overheard the Game Master and Player Killers talk, they are looking for an item. I’m not very sure what it is, but all I know is the only way they can get it is to make a player clear the game. More specifically, it has to only be Voice Materializers, so I’m guessing it has to have something to do with ‘Voices’.” “What about the means of escaping!? Isn’t there anything we can do to stop the Tattoo from spreading on our body!?” Colin exclaims. “But of course, I did not work on this reel only to tell you guys to give up. I THINK there is a way to stop this curse from spreading and bring us home,” Reevers explains. The ray of hope breaks through the despair clouding inside the players’ heart. “According to the tomes inside this manor, I believe this game was created as a result of the Unleashing. Perhaps, the Game Master and the Player Killers are actually the beings that live inside the Rift. Because the ‘Commandment’ was broken, the Rift was spilt out of the Chamber of Thorns. So, on the reverse logic, sealing the Rift SHOULD undo the Unleashing and stop this madness altogether,” Reevers explains, “The tomes in this manor mention that the Unleashing happens when the Tattoo Priestess was awake. Perhaps, the Impalement Ritual was a failure. The Tattoo Priestess was not impaled and she did not sleep eternally. If we could perform the ritual again successfully, she should be able to rest eternally and the Rift should be sealed.”

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“Impalement Ritual?” Sophia wonders. “I think he meant the ritual where we have to impale the priestess’s body and sang the same lullaby we sang to enter this game,” Roke explains. “Thank god, so we have a way out after all?!” Sophia sighs. “I hope you, who found this reel, will be able to make use of this information and escape this curse successfully,” Reevers said, “Don’t look for me. Chances are I’m probably already a part of this manor by the time someone found this. Please. End this nightmare for the sake of mankind…” The reels stop rolling. The room was filled with awkward silence. Sophia hugs Roke and buries her face onto his chest, sobbing. The boy simply hugs her back and pats her hair, trying to comfort her. “Boy, this is definitely not good,” Colin leans back against the projector table.

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Suddenly, the air became heavier as the thick miasma covers the whole room. The party quickly reads the tutorial message that was sent to them at the same time. “Just great,” Roke mutters. “Hey look,” Colin points to the blue light radiating from the hall behind the screen. Roke walks over to the light and notices a candle magically appearing on a pedestal behind the screen. The blue light was absorbed onto the boy’s skin and everything becomes colored again. “At least we won’t have to worry about the Miasma for a while,” Roke mutters, “We still have to warn the others. Let’s go to the Tatami Hallway and get Ramsley and Greg first. “We’re here,” the Projector Room’s door is opened and the butler and the paranormal investigator enter. “Glad you guys are here,” Sophia sighs in relief. “We have big news Roke,” Greg explains. “Same here. But before that, get your Purifying Light from behind the screen first,” Roke points toward the hall behind the projection screen. After absorbing the light, the two gathered around the middle of the room and hear out Roke’s story. “I can’t believe this,” Ramsley moves his pince-nez glasses up. “Come on, what’s hard to believe when we saw what we did?” Greg folds his arms. “Now’s your turn. What did you guys know?” Colin asks. Ramsley takes out Mike’s cell phone and walks over to the projector, “Let’s see if I can use this projector to project my object reading.” The butler places the cell phone onto the projector then slightly back off. He raises his right hand at the projector and tries to activate it. That moment, the projector starts moving magically. The film reel did not roll, but the projector is projecting an image onto the screen.


Mike was seen running endlessly with a panicked face. He was puffing and looked exhausted, but he showed no intention to stop running. Suddenly, he was grabbed by the collar of his shirt and hurled onto the second floor of the Tatami Hallway. “AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!” the young man cried in pain as he was rammed against the bookshelves and several books fell down on him. His cell phone fell off his pocket and was buried by the books along with him. “What? Finally done running?” a man in white robe slowly ascends the stairs and approaches the boy. Mike tries to stand up and raises his hatchet, but several black feathers flew onto his arms, making him drop them. “You are now standing in front of the Game Master. Have some manners, young man,” the man with black crow wings follows the Game Master from behind closely. “W…Why are you doing this?! I cleared the game! I thought I’m supposed to get my Blessing!” Mike pleads. “Of course the Blessing. Game of Despair works just like capitalism. You know, advertisements to make people interested?” the man in white robe laughs at his own joke, “While I can’t really give you a magical wish, but I can give you a Blessing by freeing you off the Despair.” “So you tricked people to enter this game!? Why!?” “Awww, I’ve been dealing with players asking me this since forever,” the man in white robe sighs, “Incognito. If you would.” “With pleasure master,” the crow-winged man bows before turning to the boy, “You see, we are the creatures the live within the Rift. We have long wanted to leave our dark hole, but the Tattoo Priestess’s ritual continuously sealed us. Luckily enough, that stupid hag Yashuu murdered her own flesh and blood grandson in front of the Tattoo Priestess. If she left him be, he would have left after seeing the priestess and she would fulfill her duties. But nooooo, she smashed him with a hatchet, breaking Reika’s heart in front of her! Guess what! The very same people that have been sealing us for ages are actually the ones that screwed up and let us out!!!!” Incognito cackles amusingly. The Game Master is also laughing, but not as loud as the crow-winged man. The boy lies on the floor, horrified at both of them. “But you see, the Rift itself is rather lazy. All it does is covered the Kuze Shrine and takes it to the ‘dream world’. Although we CAN partially cross over to your world, we cannot bring our powers with us. So in order to cross over to the

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pathetic world that sealed us, we need more human sacrifices. That was when my master came up with an awesome plan to make stupid desperate humans OUR sacrifices! But it would not really be fun we simply kill them do we? So we arranged this game, using this creaky manor as the stage,” Incognito explains further, “Haha! And guess what! Capitalism Advertising principle works darn well! We have had several humans entering this game out of desperation! And their struggles NEVER failed to amuse us at all!!! We’ve been having more and more players recently when we are able to use the humans’ technology to create our home page!”

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“You…you monsters!!!!” Mike grits his teeth and struggles to stand up. Incognito flutters his wings and smacks the boy against the shelf behind him before stabbing his entire left arm with his razor-sharp feathery wings. “Okay. So you know why we are doing this now, huh? Can we kill you now?” the Game Master speaks in a joking voice before proceeding to grab the face of the boy with his left palm. The boy cries as the tattoo flows out from the Game Master’s palm onto his face. The snake and holly vine tattoos slithers all around his body, covering up every single pores on his body. Over three minutes, the boy was screaming and crying in pain as the man in white robe and crow-winged man laughed. The boy’s flesh slowly dried up and turned into soot along with his clothing, leaving his earphones behind. Incognito picks up the headphones and shakes it up and down a few times. “…Not this one too?” the man in white robe crosses his arms. “Seems so, my master,” Incognito sighs, “I’ll just put it inside the Headphones Graveyard.” “Wait…Incognito…,” the Game Master halts his subordinates and descends down the stairs, “Summon me a carpenter. Anyone of them.” Incognito snaps his finger and a ghostly shrine carpenter appears in the middle of the Tatami Hallway. The man in white robe approaches the carpenter who is trembling in fear. He fell to his knees and started begging for something. However, the Game Master mercilessly smacks the face of the ghostly carpenter with his fist before stomping on him repeatedly. As he does it, he curses and swears in a horrible language angrily. After a while, he picks up the carpenter’s body and tears him to pieces like picking flowers. “WHERE THE HELL IS IT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?” the man in white robe lost all of his cool and lets out a scream of frustration.


He slowly puffs and tries to calm down after venting his rage. “Don’t worry, Master. We WILL find it,” the crow-winged man bows down trembling before walking off into the darkness. The projector stops moving. Everyone was silent, not sure what else to say to each other. The very people who fell into despair were struggling to reclaim what they lost only to find out that their only ray of hope, that has been driving them, has always been a farce all along. “We have to call and warn the others,” Roke breaks the silence, trying to cheer everyone up, “After that, we’ll look into the details for the impalement ritual.” “Roke…it’s all static,” Sophia said after dialing to her sister. “I can’t get a call too,” Greg keeps his cell phone back in place, “Maybe the miasma is preventing the signal from working?” “Damn. Let’s split and look for the others then,” Roke suggests, “Just hope all of them are still okay.”

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Chapter 40 Mission: To complete her ritual, the priestess has to shatter all of her attachments with this world. Gather all of them back into one to proceed further.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Staircase Hallways… [Party Link Modified] Leader: Jack Member 1: Sarin Member 2: Cheryl

G.Lv. 4 G.Lv. 2 G.Lv. 1

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Mind Lock] - [Synchro Boost]

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“And things only get worse…,” Jack pouts, looking at the bleached surroundings after reading the new tutorial. “Let’s go regroup with the others first,” Cheryl suggests. “I agree. Or at least we need to find these ‘Purifying Light’ first,” Sarin mutters. “Okay. Let’s head back to the Hearth Room first. Then we’ll think about what to do after that,” Jack suggests. The two girls nod in agreement and follow the boy’s lead into the partitioned room. However, once they slide the door closed, a loud click was heard. “…I don’t like that,” Sarin turns to the door. “Hey…someone is here,” Cheryl points toward the other end of the hall. A girl with long hair in a priestess outfit was seen standing, quietly glaring at the party, “That outfit…Just like Amane.” “…Oh. You know Amane?” the girl asks with an eerie grin. “Who’s that?” Sarin nudges Cheryl. “She’s the spirit I’ve been synchronizing with,” Cheryl explains. “What do you want!?” Jack asks the girl. “Oh, not really,” the girl giggles creepily, “The Miasma has spread and I smell a traitor walking around here, so I thought I’d drop by.” “Traitor?” Cheryl asks. “That’s right. That Amane…such a shame. She was naturally born a Kuze but broke the codes herself!” the girl’s face turned twisted in rage, “Seems like she was still able to wander freely after all. But whatever, I’ll hunt her down and make sure she stayed impaled in the darkness!”


“Not if I can help it!!!!” Cheryl rapidly hovers at the girl with her stake in hand. “Ha! You wanna play!?” the girl dodges Cheryl’s stake by hovering to the side. “What the!? This speed!!!??” Cheryl was surprised at the ghostly girl’s speed. “So I DID smell a traitor after all. It was you who was using her powers!” the girl smashed her mallet onto Cheryl’s back, knocking her down to the floor. “Hey!!!!” Jack hurries towards the girl. However, she simply raises her stake and blasts and unseen force, pushing the boy backwards. “Jack!!!” Sarin runs towards the boy. “Hmph. I normally don’t make any exceptions for fools like you who mess around this holy manor. But since I’m rather feeling a little kind for now, I’ll let you fight something for size,” the girl keeps her stake and mallet then snaps her finger. Suddenly, a small ghostly girl in kimono appears from the corner of the room. Her face seems blank just like a puppet. “Hey…aren’t you that girl I saw when I first came here!?” Jack looks at that girl confusingly. “Oh, you met her before? Her name is Kozue. I think she entered this game long long time ago with her mom to get her father back,” the shrine maiden hovers toward that girl and pats her on the head, “Poor poor girl, feeling guilty because her father dies from falling down stairs trying to pick up her ball.” “She was a player?” Cheryl tries to get up. The smack that shrine maiden gave her hit on the sore spot, weakening her physical body. “Yeah. Many many years ago too. Isn’t she cute? Being stuck here for many years made her lost her mind, so I kept her as a pet,” the shrine maiden laughs maniacally, “I guess I’ll let her play with you.” The shrine maiden lowers herself to the girl’s ear’s level, “Heyyyy~. Kozue. Do you miss your father?” Her eyes seem to move from hearing about her father. “…Daddy…?” “Guess what? You can’t see him unless you kill these guys,” the shrine maiden whispers to the girl, cunningly grinning at the party. “Why you!?” Cheryl grits her teeth. “Come on. Get rid of them for me, and you’ll see your daddy,” the shrine maiden teased the girl’s earlobe before vanishing away. “…I wanna see daddy…why won’t you let me see daddy?” the girl raises her face towards the party, “I WANNA SEE DADDY!!!!!!” Suddenly, the surrounding around the party becomes darker, and the chime of a small bell echoes from all direction. “Oh crap. This is just bad,” Jack mutters, standing back up.

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Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Shrine Courtyard… “Woah woah woah!!!!!” Austin rolls around, dodging three lightning strikes just in time. “Stop moving around, dammit!!!!!” Anon grumbles as he continues to spam the thunders. “I can’t aim if he keeps spamming the thunders like this!!!” Teal mutters. “We have to some how hold him down,” Leina said, hiding behind a stone lamp, “If we keep this up, our special powers will time out before we can do anything!!!” “Dammit!!! Come down here!!!!” Austin yells. Two more pairs of light and dark swords materialize and fly at the Player Killer at high speed. “Tch! These flies are annoying!!!!” Anon spreads his wings and summons six pillars of thunder around him, blocking all the swords from approaching him. “I got him!!!!” Teal comes out from the stone lantern she was hiding and aims at the Player Killer.

[Double] Tutorial

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[Double] is Camera User – Teal’s special function, unique to her and only her. The function allows Teal to charge up her Camera Obscura in two stages, increasing her camera powers up to twice the normal damage. This special function is available only if Teal is in a full party and can be used unlimitedly as long as the party link is not severed. A bright light flashes and disperses one of Anon’s wings in an instant. “Wha…what the hell!?” the Player Killer falls down to the floor, but did not lose his balance. A small red light flashed above the girl’s camera, signaling her to tap the camera again. Another light flashes and blasts the bat-winged man backwards. “Arrrgghhh!!!!” the Player Killer grunts in frustration. “My turn!!!!!!” Austin proclaims and fires another barrage of light and dark swords at the Player Killer. “Don’t think you’ll get me yet!!!!” Anon flutters his remaining wing, creating a small force field that repels the blades off. However, Teal taps another shutter and blasts the force field away. “DAMMIT!!!! Stop doing that!!!! I’m NOT a celebrity!!!!!” Anon yells in frustration and dodges the second sword barrage. “Oh no you don’t!!!!” Austin raises his Bellflower keys and fires it three times in a row. Two of the shots go off the track and miss their target. However, the third one rams right into the Player Killer, knocking his feet off the ground. “Here’s my cue!!!!” Leina vanishes from his current spot and reappears above Anon, pinning him down to the floor through his stomach with the crimson spear. Teal further adds the damage by tapping her shutter once more, dealing a total of four Doubled Fatal Frames combos. After the furious assaults, the bat-winged man finally lies down quietly, blankly gazing at the court-


yard’s ceiling. “…Unbelievable…You guys really DID kill me,” the man mutters as his skin starts to peel off. “Woah…we really got him?” Austin puffs from exhaustion. “Yeah…I think,” Teal takes a deep breath, but keeps her camera active. “After all these years, I’m finally going to fade away to nothing. Hah…maybe this is what humans feel when they are afraid of dying,” the man chuckles. “Let’s just leave him, guys,” Leina turns around. “I won’t until I am 1000% confident this guy is down,” Austin aims his Bellflower Key at the man, even though his trance already timed out. “Hah. I’m really going to die. No doubt on that,” said Anon, “But you see. The manor is restored back to its original state every night, and I really love it when stuffs go out with a bang.” The party’s eyes widened in surprise. “Surprise!!!! You all are going down with me!!!!!” The bat wing on his back flutters one last time and a huge thunderbolt struck onto his body as well as cracking the whole shrine’s roof. “Oh crap!!! Let’s move guys!!!!” Austin shouts and leads the party off as the ceiling starts to lose its balance and crumbles. “AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!!!!” Anon constantly laughs maniacally even though his body is already half fried until a huge beam fell down and crushes his body. More beam starts to fall down and the whole place is shaking madly. As he was running, Leina notices a huge beam about to fell down onto Teal. “TEAL!!! LOOK OUT!!!!” Leina shouts and quickly pushes the girl away, just in time before the beam fell down on her. However, he himself became the victim. “LEINA!!!!” Teal quickly turns around to the crimson haired teen, who is stuck underneath the crumbled beams. “Don’t worry about me!!! Just go!!! I’m level 5! Not about to die so soon!!!!” Leina explains. “Come on Teal!!!!! Leina will be okay!!!!” Austin insists. “DOES HE LOOK OKAY TO YOU!?” the girl screams back. “Dammit Teal!!!! You want him to die in vain!?” Austin ignores the girl’s voice and quickly sweeps her up before running for the exit. “Haha…I said I’m not gonna die yet, but getting crushed by the beams doesn’t sound very nice,” Leina nervously laughs and closes his eyes as another beam fell down on top of him. The shrine was in ruins, Austin and Teal are lying on the Garden Corridor, looking back into the crumbled shrine courtyard. “Leina…,” Teal sobs at the lost of her good friend. “H…Hey…,” Austin tries to comfort her, but realizes anything he said would probably get the girl screaming back at him. At that time, their body slowly radiates a pale light.

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PLAYER KILLER [ANON] DEFEATED!

Teal Austin

G.Lv. 4 G.Lv. 3

-> 6 -> 5

The Death of Player “Leina” is classified as incapacitated by a Player Killer. Leina G.Lv. 5 -> (3) “Remember the tutorials? I think they said that if you defeat a Player Killer, you get two Game Levels and is immediately removed for the night,” Austin explains. “…Oh? I never knew that,” the girl mumbles. “I guess that’s it for us and Leina tonight. Let’s take a break. We should be able to still see Leina tomorrow!” Austin tries his best to comfort her. “…Yeah…I hope that did not hurt him too much,” Teal wipes her tears off just before she and Austin are taken away.

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Chapter 41 Mission: To complete her ritual, the priestess has to shatter all of her attachments with this world. Gather all of them back into one to proceed further.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Partitioned Room… “I don’t recall her having this power last time!!!” Jack keeps on moving as he hears the chime of a bell approaching him. Everything is covered in darkness and the boy could barely see his hands. “Aahh!!!” Sarin cries as she fell down to the floor. “Sarin!!!” “I’m okay! I think she just pushed me,” Sarin quickly gets up again, “But this is really bad. We can’t see where she would come from! Not to mention our powers are weakened in this miasma!!!” After a while, everything is lightened up, and the players’ visions returned to normal. “Oh hey, I can see normally again!” Cheryl notes. “I guess she can only do that only for a while. Let’s get her before---!!!” before the boy could finish what he was saying, he felt something yanking his left arm. Jack’s eyes widen as he turns to his left arm. That girl was there, holding his left arm with her two small hands. However, her eyes are completely darkened and her face is filled with wrinkles of an old hag. More over, her skin is very cold and completely bleached white. “Did you see him…?” “Woah geesus!!!!” Jack tries to pull his arm away from the girl, but her grip is incredibly strong. “Hold her!!!” Sarin shouts at the boy as she runs towards that girl and rams her away from the boy, “You okay?” “Yeah. Don’t see you using that spirit very often,” Jack was a little surprised at how she easily rams the girl away with a tackle. “I only use it for defense,” Sarin explains and switches her spirit synchro, summoning a hatchet onto her hands again. “I want to see daddy…,” the girl shoots her darkened eyes at the party blankly before slowly tiptoeing towards them. “This must be the effect of the miasma. The spirits are fiercer and wilder,” Sarin grips her hatchet tightly. “BRING ME TO DADDY!!!!” the girl screams and runs at the party. Sarin rushes head on against the girl and swings her hatchet, however, the girl simply blocks the onslaught with her left wrist. Her pale white skin is surprisingly tough like iron. Sarin can almost feel her hatchet being bounced back as if she just slashed onto a steel pole.

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“What the!?” The girl punches into Sarin’s stomach. While it was not as powerful as many other ghosts, the silver haired girl found herself staggering back a few steps. “Woah geez…she’s tough!” Sarin grits her teeth in pain and hops away from her. Kozue screams and continues her way at the silver haired girl. Cheryl rapidly zooms towards Kozue with Amane’s power then instantly switches her synchro to a Needle Woman and slashes Kozue on her right arm. Kozue screams in agony as the snake and holly tattoo spread onto her arm. “That should weaken her skin! Cut it off now!!!” Cheryl tells her friend and quickly steps away, dodging Kozue’s counter smack with her left arm. Sarin swings her hatchet and cuts off Kozue’s right arm. Surprisingly, this time her limbs were cut away very easily. The cut hand rots and turns into soot before vaporizing into the air. “Jack!!! What the hell are you doing!?” Sarin turns around to the boy. “Ugh. She’s a little girl!!! I don’t feel right hitting her directly, okay!?” Jack simply waves his hand.

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Kozue screams in rage and pain. Her face is even more twisted than before. Black fog gushes out from her crippled right arm and turns into a black arm with long claw like fingers. “Does she still look like a normal girl now!?” Sarin tries blocking Kozue’s slash, but her new black claws simply rip her hatchet to slices with ease. The silver haired girl quickly switches her synchro back to the strolling lady and tackles Kozue away, creating some space between the girl and her. Cheryl slashes Kozue again but this time on her back. The pain of the tattoo spreads on her back, halting her body altogether. Sarin resummons her hatchet, which has been restored to its previous state from synchronization reset, and slices the girl’s body in two. Kozue’s darkened eyes slowly return back to normal as her body fell down to the floor and the monstrous arm stretching from her crippled right arm vaporized into the air. “Daddy…I’m sorry…,” the girl sobs before fading away to nothing. “Oh my, you guys are heartless, beating up a little girl like that,” the shrine maiden reappears sitting on a vault in the room. “Damn you!” Sarin snaps. “Well well. I guess I’ll let you guys off my hook for now because, like I said, I’m feeling a little merciful,” the girl smirks an eerie grin as her body slowly vanishes away, “I am Hisame Kuze. The next time we see each other, I will impale all of you.” “That cold blood little wretch,” Cheryl folds her arm in frustration, “Maybe Amane was referring to this girl…” “Let’s keep on moving,” Jack suggests and leads the girls out of the room into the Foyer.


“So, you met this ‘Amane’ girl in person?” Sarin asks as she turns at the intersection in the Foyer. “Yeah. She told me she wanted some help from me because we have something in common. I’m not really sure what she meant though,” Cheryl explains. The party enters into the Hearth Room. This room used to be the place where they gathered around to discuss about what is going on in the manor, as well as a rendezvous point. A candle pedestal faintly glowing blue light was seen radiating underneath the staircase leading to the corridor on the second floor. “Could that be the Purifying Light?” Jack wonders and approaches it. The blue light is absorbed onto his body and the girls’, recoloring their environment back to normal. “I guess it is,” Cheryl giggles at the obvious. “Oh, hey? Could this be the ‘legendary’ Herbal Medicine Austin and Leina told us about?” Jack jokingly picks up a small wooden jar placed on the barrels next to the candle pedestal. “Looks like it,” Sarin gazes at the kanji written on the bottle. “That’s great. Feels a lot safer with these things around,” Jack laughs and puts it inside his pocket. “Well, where should we go next?” Cheryl asks, “It’s not like the mission instruction was very clear about this.” Suddenly, the north door opens up, making the party jumps. Two teens with familiar faces entered into the room. “Cross? Aphiso?” Sarin calls onto both of them with surprise. “JACK~!!!” Cross screams the boy’s name in joy. “H…Hey Cross…,” Jack then notices how both of them are covered in black and white, “Oh? You guys haven’t found any Purifying Light?” “No. Worse. We ran into a Player Killer. That guy with bat wings. He got Tim,” Aphiso grits her teeth in frustration. “Wait. What!?” Jack exclaims. “Hey. No light. Dies by a Player Killer!?” Sarin adds. “Yeah. Tim…Four straight levels gone in a flash,” Cross starts to sob. “Damn,” Jack punches his fist onto his palm, “Where is that Player Killer now?” “Leina, Austin, and Teal are handling him,” Aphiso explains. “Wha!? Come on! We gotta help them!!!” said Sarin. “Wait a sec! Hey Jack, look!!!” Cross points towards a small shiny object on the shelves at the west walls, “That could be the mirror fragments!” “Huh?” Jack scratches his head and walks over to the shelves. There is indeed a shiny object, presumably a fragment of a circular item. “Oh yeah. I haven’t told you this yet. I believe the game wants us to collect all of these fragments!” Cross suggests and shows the party two other pieces, “Aphiso and I picked up one on the Shrine Courtyard before Anon attacked us, and another one in the Blind Room on our way here!”

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“You have good eyes,” Aphiso smiles in compliment. “I see,” Jack picks up the mirror fragment, “In any case, we better go help Teal and the others! Aphiso. Cross. You guys take the Purifying Light and follow us!” “Got it!” Cross replies and runs for the pedestal under the stairs.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Projector Room…

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Greg and Ramsley already left the room to look for other players. Roke’s party volunteered to stay around and clean up this room, erasing all traces of their reels discovery. “Man, just when I thought we’re almost done with this game,” Colin mutters as he puts the reels back on the shelves where he found it, “Hm…? What’s this?” The red haired boy picks up a small shiny item lying on the shelves right next to where he picked up the reels. “What is it, Colin?” Sophia takes a peek behind the projector screen wall. “I found this,” Colin shows her the shiny circular object fragment. “What is it?” Sophia tilts her head. “I’m not really sure. Let me try Object Reading on it,” Colin takes the item back to the middle of the room and places it next to the projector. He spreads his palm on it and closes his eyes. “What is he doing?” Roke asks Sophia after hiding Reevers’s note to make sure the Player Killer cannot find it. “Shhhh!” the girl hushes her boyfriend. “Uh…okay?” Roke scratches his head and leans against the nearby wall. I can feel the thoughts of so many people being etched into me... So many voices, so much pain... Please don’t forget me. This is my voice, my memory, my pain... Colin opens his eyes and turns back to the party, “I don’t see anything. But I heard some lingering thoughts. I think it belongs to the Priestess.” “Could this be a fragment of the Mirror of Loss?” Roke mutters. “Mirror of Loss? What’s that?” Sophia asks. “It was said in one of the tomes I have at my mansion. It was said that this ‘mirror’ is the key that opens up the ‘Last Passage’ leading to the Chamber of Thorns. The Priestess has to etch her memories and attachments into the mirror and breaks it to pieces, to signify that she no longer has any bonds for this world.” “Attachments? Hey wait a sec! Could this be what the mission wants us to find!?” Colin suggests. “Man. Just when we know that we’re screwed if we clear this game, it became a hell lot easier,” Roke sighs. “Well, what do we do now?” Sophia asks. “We are still pretty far from getting a game over, both in terms of 0 and 7 Game Levels. It’s probably


okay if we gain a level more,” Roke explains, “Let’s quickly find the others and warn them about the game.”

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Barred Hallways north of Projector Room… “I can’t believe we’ve been set up this whole time,” Greg sighs as he strolls along the path with the butler. “That is depressing indeed,” Ramsley folds his arms and nods in agreement. “Makes me kind of nervous,” Greg sighs some more. “Say young man. May I ask why you joined this game?” the butler asks out of curiosity. “…Oh…I haven’t told you guys yet, haven’t I?” Greg laughs, “Remember how I said I was a paranormal investigator?” It was about seven years ago. My younger sister and I were walking back home along the riverbank. It was rather late because we just finished the school festival. Our house is not very far from the school, so we would always walk home. Anyway, while we are strolling down the bank, my sister stops walking all of the sudden. Her face turned pale in shock and fright. I tried looking at the same direction with her but I saw nothing. Many adults in our family told us that my sister is born with a gift. They did not explain it in our today’s terms, but basically, they said she has a very strong sixth sense. She is extremely sensitive to a presence of a spirit. I knew right away that there was ‘something’ standing right in front of her. I’m not very sure what it was, but I grabbed my sister’s hand and ran for it. She kept looking back the whole time we were running. We got back home safely, but my sister’s attention has not. I remember seeing her looking out of her window the whole night. Maybe that spirit actually followed us but could not enter our house since we had several holy relics like a cross hanging on our walls and a holy bible under our pillows. However, those relics did not really help after all. Two days later, my sister vanished without a trace. We could not find her anywhere and we thought she was kidnapped. But I knew darn well. It was that spirit. It definitely had to be. There was really no other reason. I knew the adults would not believe me because I was just a kid. So ever since then, I set out to find out about the truth myself. That was how I became a paranormal investigator.

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“I…see…,” Ramsley nods, “I’m sorry to hear that.” “That’s okay. To be honest, I did not really expect to find my sister alive all these years. But I just have to know what the ghost wants with her, so there would be no more unfortunate victims,” Greg folds his arms, “Ever since I proclaimed myself as an investigator, I’ve been engaged in several paranormal activities, and to be honest, seeing spirits is now almost a chore.” “You are a brave one,” Ramsley praises the boy. “Thanks. The reason I played this game, aside from doing my normal investigation, was partially because I want to bring my sister back too,” Greg explains, “I kinda stopped on all other investigations just to work on this.” “Maybe you can help Master Roke out,” Ramsley suggests, “After all, we should focus on how to undo this abominable curse as soon as possible.” “I’m planning to,” Greg laughs, “I already discuss with Roke that I’ll be staying over at his mansion from tonight onwards until we managed to get out of this mess.”

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Suddenly, both men heard a giggle from deep inside the halls. Both of them get ready for battle and press their backs against each other. “Your reactions are impressive,” Ramsley praises. “You packed some reflex for your age,” Greg laughs, never losing sight of the filament on his camera. “Look!” Ramsley nudges the boy and points at the intersection. A girl with short hair in shrine maiden outfit was seen standing quietly, glaring at the party. “I don’t think she’s friendly,” Greg looks at the red filament before looking at the girl again. She giggles and rapidly hovers at the party. “Here she comes!!!” Ramsley activates his Four Pointed Well Key and fires a bolt at the girl, however, she bends to the side, completely dodging that shot, “Damn! She’s fast!!!” Greg snaps his shutter, but the girl was able to leap into the air before the camera captures her. She lands back down to the floor and attacks both men with her mallet and stake. “Aargh!” Greg staggers back from being staked on his hands. No blood was spilt, but his hand was extremely numb from the assault. Ramsley tries to get her with his Dianthus saw blade, but she dodges the slash and stakes on the middle of the butler’s back, making him fall to the ground. “Argh…my back…,” Ramsley grits his teeth as the numbness spreads. “Does it hurt?” the girl giggles before hovering away to the other side of the hall. “Dammit, come back!!!” Greg follows the girl, with Ramsley following him closely from behind. Turning at the screen that divides the west and east side of the hallway, the girl was seen hovering down towards the south. Both men follow her into the Wooden Figure Room, but she is gone. “Dammit, we missed her!” Greg notices that the filament is no longer shining. “She’ll need to be punished,” Ramsley rubs his back on the spot where she nailed him with her stake. “Hm? What’s that?” Greg walks over to the middle of the room and found a shiny object lying on the


floor, “What could this be?” “Let me see,” Ramsley looks at the object and tries reading it. I feel like you’ve been in my dreams for so long... Over and over... but I don’t want this dream any more... “Hm…I don’t see anything. But I heard some voices from it,” Ramsley explains, “What could this be?” While the two men are pondering, a new message was sent to their cell phone.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

Jack Sarin Cheryl Ramsley Aphiso Greg Roke Sophia Cross Colin

G.Lv. G.Lv. G.Lv. G.Lv. G.Lv. G.Lv. G.Lv. G.Lv. G.Lv. G.Lv.

4 2 1 3 1 5 4 4 0 2

-> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> ->

5 3 2 4 2 6 5 5 1 3

“What the!? We were supposed to pick these up?” Greg exclaims. “Perhaps other players have already picked these up before us. That’s a shame. Just when we knew we will die from clearing this game, every thing became conveniently easy,” Ramsley sighs as their body started radiating a pale light and vanishes.

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Chapter 42 Real World…L’hrisa Café… “A…are you serious?” Teal’s face turns pale as the purple haired boy explains their current situation. “You mean…this whole time…we were playing this game for nothing?” Sarin whispers. Jack holds the girl’s hand, trying to calm her down. “Damn. First I lost four flipping levels straight. And now you’re saying we can’t clear this game even if we maxed our level!?” Tim smashes his fist onto the table. “I can’t believe it either. But we saw the whole thing…Reevers’s Reels. Mike’s Cell Phone,” Roke mutters, “Your fiancé told you ‘Don’t do this’ too, remember?” “S…So like…we’re completely screwed…?” Austin asks. “At this moment, Master Greg and Master Colin are researching on the [Impalement Ritual],” Ramsley explains, “According to Mr. Reevers, the Unleashing caused the Rift to leak into our world. If we can perform that ritual and seal the Rift again. All of this should be over.” “So there’s still some hope,” Leina sighs in relief.

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“Come on, you can’t be serious!!!” a girl on the seat behind the party spoke up. “I’m serious!!!! Believe me!” another girl on the same table argues, “I really did saw it! There’s a woman sitting underneath my study desk last night!!! I was having my late night review and boom!!! She was sitting between my legs looking at me!!!!” “Eeewww, stop explaining! It’s giving me the chills!!” the first girl sighs again. “Hey, talk about ghosts. Can I share mine too?” the third girl from the same table spoke up, “While I was taking a shower this morning, I saw some shadow behind my shower door.” “Are you sure it’s not your perverted brother?” the first girl pouts at her friend’s story. “You kidding? The door is locked. And why would he let me know that he’s peeping me?” the third girl raises her eyebrow, “Anyway, I could see the shadow approaching the door, and it was actually a woman. I kicked the door opened, but no one was there.” “Seriously girls, you need to cut down your Resident Evil time with your boyfriends…” “Resident Evil does not have ghosts, bitch.” The party looks at each other after hearing the girls’ conversation. “More people are seeing ghosts from the manor,” Sarin mutters. “I don’t normally listen to my neighbors’ ghost stories. But I guess they are not lying,” Leina grits his teeth nervously. “The Rift is getting stronger in each day. We can’t afford this to continue!!” said Tim. “Let’s end this for today,” Roke stands up, “I’m going back to my mansion to help Colin and Greg with the research. You guys better get some rest.”


Everyone stands up and goes on their separate ways. “Hey girls! Want me to walk you home??” Austin cheerfully volunteers like usual. “No thanks. I’m walking home with Jack,” Sarin turns down the offer. “Awww…wait a sec…only two girls here today?” Austin looks around. Sophia and Aphiso are having classes today so they could not come. Cheryl said she is going out with her family today. “Well, I have some where else to go on your direction today. Wanna come with me?” Teal offers. “Woah really!? Score!!!! Then it’s a da---!!!” “I said I already have a boyfriend,” Teal glares at the boy, “If you don’t care about walking with me as a friend, then I’ll be on my way.” “Hey, don’t get too uptight!” Austin sighs before following the girl, “See ya Leina!” “Bye!” the crimson haired teen waves good-bye to his friends before walking off on a different direction. “So like, where did you say you’re going?” the blonde teen asks the girl as he fondles with his crossshaped earrings. “Santo Fes Hospital,” Teal answers shortly. “Hospital…? Someone admitted there?” Austin asks curiously. “My boyfriend,” she replies with a straight face as she keeps walking forward. “…The heck?” Both of them did not speak a word to each other again until they got into the hospital. After talking to the nurses at the reception, Teal leads her blonde friend up the elevator towards a patient room on the sixth floor. The room is lighted only by the sunlight ray that escapes into the room from the gap on the curtains. A young man with short dark crimson hair was lying on his bed, with a respirator covering his mouth. “Good afternoon, Carmine,” the girl greets the sleeping handsome as she slides the curtain opened. Austin quietly enters the room and looks at Teal from afar. “How are you doing today, hm? Having a good dream?” the girl giggles as she changes the flowers in the vase with a new one she bought on the way here. The blonde teen sits down on the visitor’s sofa quietly, thinking of how to ask about him without offending her. Teal sits down and softly pats his forehead. “It was an accident,” Teal explains without looking Austin, as though she knew that he wanted to ask her, “We were coming back home from a party. While crossing the streets, a car passed by and he pushed me away…” “I…see…I’m sorry to hear that…,” Austin replies. “He did not break any bones, but the impact made his brain fell into coma. No internal bleeding. No nothing. Just went to sleep,” Teal explains, trying her best not to sob, “The doctor said it was a miracle, but I’m not very sure about it. When I heard about the games, I did not hesitate for a second to play it.”

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“…Man…that made my problem sounds so small,” Austin laughs it off, trying to relieve the intensity. “Nah, don’t say that. We can’t measure our problems with others. A weight of the problem can feel like a feather to someone, and a mountain to the other,” Teal sighs, “Now that we can’t really make a magic wish, I probably only have to count on a miracle for him to wake up.”

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Austin strolls out of the hospital alone, looking outwards at the river flowing in front. “…Boy. I’m pathetic. And here I call myself a womanizer,” the teen laughs at himself, trying to shake the thoughts of failing to cheer Teal away, “Argh. Screw this. I’m hitting the bar for a few shots!!!” Suddenly, the cell phone in his pocket shakes and rings. “Ah!! A call? From who I wonder?” the boy mutters and pulls out the phone from his pocket, “Hello?” “H…Hello,” a girl’s voice emerges from the line, “Is that…Is that Austin?” “Uh…yeah? Who’s that…?” Austin raises his eyebrow. “It’s me. It’s Emily. Do you remember me?” The teen’s eyes widen in surprise, “Wait…wha? What? Huh? Hey!!! Wait!!! You serious!? Is that REALLY you!?” “Yeah. Haha. Hey. How have you been?” “Oh!!! I’ve been…,” the words slip down his throat when he thought about his current situation, “W… Well, let’s just say I’m not in a very comfortable situation right now.” “Oh…I see. Can we talk?” “Of course of course!!!” the teen replies and quickly grabs a seat on the bench by the river, “So like, how have you been!? It’s been like…what…three years?” “Yeah. Sorry for cutting all contacts like that,” the girl apologizes, “I just…I just want to completely leave everything behind. But things should be rather calm for now, so I decide to call you again.” “Oh, that’s okay. D…don’t mention it,” the teen clenches his other fist when he thought about what happened to her. “I…I thought about going to visit you in a few weeks during the spring break. Are you okay with that?” “Oh, of course! I’ll be glad to see you!” the teen laughs in joy. “I’m glad,” the girl laughs and falls silent again. “Hey…something the matter?” “Hey, Austin…,” the girl calls him, “Is it…Is it over…between us I mean…” The blonde teen leans back onto the bench. “Are you kidding…?” the teen sighs, “How would it have been over when there was no closure.” “I see. I’m glad we still feel the same way for each other,” the girl laughs again, sounding relieved. “I’m glad that I’ll be seeing you again soon,” said Austin. “Yeah, same here. So…Spring Break it is. I’ll see you again by then…right?” The blonde teen kept quiet for a while, taking a deep breath. “Yeah. I’ll definitely be there to see you…,” the teen replies. “Well. You have my number now. Let’s talk together like before,” said Emily, “I have to hang up now.


Take care.” “Yeah, you too,” the teen hangs up the line and grips his cell phone tightly, “…Can’t give up now…can I?” The blonde teen stands up and stretches, “Okay! I’m fired up! Just throw anything at me!! I’ll keep fighting and I will not give up!!!!”

Meanwhile…Sarin’s Mansion Gate… “We’re here already?” the girl mutters as she realizes that she is finally in front of her home. “Is it just me, or it’s extremely fast for today?” Jack laughs jokingly. “Who knows? I think we talked a lot today, didn’t we?” Sarin smiles. “Yeah. Well…guess it’s time for a good-bye?” the teen makes a sad face. “It’s not very late yet. Wanna come in for some tea?” the girl proposed. “Um…I don’t know…Can I?” the teen scratches his cheek. “Look. Can we try acting normal like before? It’s really awkward when we are going formal at each other,” Sarin pouts. “I’ll…try,” the teen smiles nervously. “Well then. Hush and come inside with me,” the girl leads the teen into the mansion, as if ordering. “Yes ma’am,” Jack sighs at her bossy mode. “Welcome home, Lady Sarin,” four maids in full costume bow down and greet the girl at the same time. “I need the living room. Take my friend there. Be nice to him,” Sarin orders the maids and turns back to Jack, “I’m gonna go change. Wait for me, okay?” “Y…Yeah,” Jack replies and follows the maids into the living room. The living room is wide and filled with several luxurious furnitures. Jack sits down on the huge sofa, looking around the room. He has been in her mansion several times, but he has not really been to all of the rooms yet. After sitting down for a while, a maid enters the room with a jar of cool water and serves it onto the glass table for him. “Please wait for Lady Sarin here,” the maid bows and leaves. “Man. Maybe the difference between us is indeed a little too extreme,” Jack laughs. His house is not exactly poor, but also not a millionaire like Sarin’s family. The girl was taking her time, so Jack could only guess that she is also taking a bath. But that did not bother him. He simply picks up a book from the shelf in the room to kill some time. It appears to be the collector’s edition of [Symphony of the Devil], one of the titles in the novel series [Create Your Own World] Saga, written by a mysterious writer by the name of M_C. He heard about this series before. It used to be a big hit five or six years ago, and it is also M_C’s currently longest novel series, branching off several sequels, prequels, and spin-off. It seems that the whole collector’s edition is up on the shelf, along with the collector’s edition of almost all of M_C’s other novels as well. The only novel series that is not on the shelf is [Zodiac Angels] because it just recently ended and no one has translated it yet.

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After reading a few chapters, the door was opened and the silver haired girl enters. Her long silver hair is untied and extends down to the middle of her back. She is wearing a relaxing, yet elegant, blue dress. “Oh, you read [Symphony of the Devil] too?” the girl notices him reading. “Ah, well. Not really. I only watched the movies. Not really into fictions,” Jack laughs embarrassingly. “I see. I’m not really into fictions too, but my dad is a big fan of M_C. As you can see, he has the collector’s edition of almost all of M_C’s works, aside from Zodiac Angels, since the collector’s edition has not been released yet,” Sarin giggles, “He can go on and on the whole day about how the movie was an extremely bad adaptation when only four or five minor scenes from the novel was removed. I personally think it’s a good movie though.” Both teens kept talking for hours without realizing how fast the time flies. And before they knew it, the short hand already reached six. “Huh, it’s this dark already?” Jack looks out of the window, “I swear that these past few days I felt the days become a lot shorter.” “Yeah. Think it has something to do with the games?” Sarin asks. “Who knows? We’ll just have to hope Roke found out about something we can do,” Jack replies, “Well then, I’ll be off.” “Hold it. I’m gonna get the driver to escort you home,” Sarin offers and walks over to the internal phone. “H…Hey, that’s okay…I can walk home,” Jack tries to turn down the offer politely. “Nah. It’s getting dark. Who knows if you’ll run into those ghosts from the manor or not,” Sarin ignores him and continues dialing. “Well…thanks,” Jack smiles. Jack enters the car he saw Sarin normally rides home these past few years. Never before has he thought he’ll have a chance to ride it. The car took off from the manor smoothly and slowly moves forward its destination. “I see you have been friend with Lady Sarin for a long time,” the driver tries to converse with him. “Um…yeah,” Jack nods. “She is a kind young girl, although she can be forceful at times,” said the driver, “I’m not sure what is going on, but it doesn’t take a genius to be able to tell that something is not right. Please, take care of the lady.” “Yeah, I will,” Jack replies and looks outside of the window. His eyes widen as he found the whole path on the side filled with many shrine carpenters, walking in line. “…Holy crap…,” he whispers to himself to the driver would not notice. More and more ghosts crossed over to the real world. If this keeps up, what could possibly happen to the world that he knew?


Chapter 43 Mission:

Jack’s Skills Thunder Uppercut Mirage Screen Pyro Crash Detonate Smash

Above lies the sleeping quarters of the Tattoo Priestess that can be lowered only when the Rokej’s Skills lullaby is played. Play the tunes and lower Demon Fist the prison. Special Rule: Mission is immediately cleared Mirror Wall once prison is lowered. All parties that took part in lowering the prison will gain Game Levels upon clearing.

Blazing Sword Illusion Leap

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hearth Room… “I guess everyone is here,” Roke looks at the party and counts the members. Fourteen people are presented within the room, with each already picking their personal sitting spot. “So like, what should we do tonight…? Cuz some of us are already on level 6,” Jack asks the purple haired teen. “You, Greg, and Teal should lay low for tonight,” Roke suggests, “I hope you guys don’t mind.” “Well, I don’t really mind, but can’t we at least escort you guys?” Teal asks, “I don’t feel right sitting around while you guys risk your life.” “I am afraid I have to turn your offer down,” said Roke, “We are not sure if simply escorting would register as taking part in completing the mission or not. Best you guys should just standby.” “Damn. If a Player Killer shows up right now, we’re kinda screwed,” Greg mutters, “We can’t fight back and I don’t really wanna get killed either.” “I’m afraid that is all you can do for now,” Roke apologizes, “Anyway, on to our next agenda. I’m not really sure if this can be considered lucky or not, but tonight’s mission is extremely in our favor.” Everyone’s faces clearly shows curiosity aside from Colin and Greg since they were the ones who helped Roke in the planning process. “Colin, Greg, and I have been researching on the tomes about the Impalement Ritual. From the information we gathered, we found that the Impalement is the very last process of this whole ritual,” Roke explains, “The Tattoo Priestess will be impaled on four limbs, holding her down in the Chamber of Thorns. There, the exact lullaby we sang to enter this game must be sung again to put her to sleep. That will complete the ritual.” “So, all we have to do is go down to the Chamber of Thorns and impale her?” Austin confirms. “That’s pretty much it,” Colin replies. “Sounds simple! What do we do!?” Tim asks eagerly. “First of all, we have to pick up all the Tattoo Stakes. Those stakes are special stakes used by the

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Shrine Handmaidens to impale the priestess. There are four of them in total, and I believe they are stationed within the 4 Doll Altar Rooms,” Roke explains further, “Now here’s the catch. Those four rooms also have the items that we need to clear tonight’s mission as well. Along with the Tattoo Stakes, the Doll Altar Rooms should also have the Purity Stones in each of them. Those stones are used as the key to the mechanism in lowering the Hanging Prison.” “Oh? But wait, if we are going to close this game up tonight, what’s the point in clearing the mission? Wouldn’t that just postpone our real task?” Leina asks. “This is the plan Roke, Greg, and I thought up when we realized how our task will be related to tonight’s mission,” Colin starts explaining, “First, we will collect those Purity Stones and the Tattooed Stakes then return back to our base here, in the Hearth Room. After that, we will make some preparations and form two teams. The [Impaling Team] will venture into the Rift Shrine through the Last Passage into the Chamber of Thorns and impale the priestess. Another team, the [Prison Team], will standby at the Tattoo Altar, where the control mechanism for the Hanging Prison is located. Should anything fail, the Prison Team will hit the mechanism, completing the mission and remove all of us from the manor tonight.” Everyone seems to feel relieved and secured. Not only it sounds very possible and simple to accomplish, but there is also a backup plan in case it failed.

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“With the power of Purifying Light, our phones should now be able to connect to each other,” Roke announces and asks everyone to try calling each other. It worked. They are able to call each other again. “Okay then, it’s time we form our party. We’ll decide on the Impaling and Prison team later. For now we have to form the parties that will go out to pick up the stakes and Purity Stones,” Roke explains, “As I said before, this will probably registered as ‘taking part’ in clearing the mission, therefore, Jack, Teal, and Greg must either remain here or secure the Blind Room which leads to the Tattoo Altar.” “Let’s do the latter. I feel kinda bored if we have to stay still,” Jack states. “Fine by me. Everyone else try to form a full party with total Game Levels of 10, so you guys can use the special abilities! Let’s see…taking out you three…we have only 11 people?” Roke folds his arm and frowns. “It’s okay, Roke. You and me can form a team,” Sophia offers. Roke looks at the girl then at her sister, who is leaning against the nearby screens. “Just do what you want,” the girl said and looked away. “…You think she’s still mad?” Roke scratches his cheek. “Nah, forget the small stuffs,” Sophia nudges her boyfriend and laughs it off. “You guys sure you’ll be okay by just the two of you?” Sarin asks. “Oh please. Don’t worry about us,” Roke laughs. “We’ll be fine. Let’s just say we used to do stuffs like this together before,” Sophia giggles. “Is this one of their ‘All God’s Villages adventure stories’ again?” Tim mutters.


“Yeah. Roke will be fine!” Leina assures the silver haired girl, “He is the ex-Reap----“ “Oh Leina, you and your big mouth!!!” Roke quickly tackles his crimson haired friend. “Waaahhh!!! I’m sorry!!!” “Ahem! Anyway!” Roke turns back to the party, “I’ll be fine. Only two Doll Altars are secretive anyway. The North and the East are all at the Garden Corridors.” The group finally starts forming another three parties together, trying as much as possible to remain balance in their team in terms of both diversity and total Game Levels.

[Party Links Established] Leader: Rokej G.Lv. 5 Member 1: Sophia G.Lv. 4

Leader: Austin G.Lv. 5 Member 1: Sarin G.Lv. 3 Member 2: Cheryl G.Lv. 2

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Mind Lock]

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Synchro Boost]

Leader: Leina G.Lv. 3 Member 1: Aphiso G.Lv. 2 Member 2: Colin G.Lv. 3

Leader: Ramsley G.Lv. 4 Member 1: Tim G.Lv. 2 Member 2: Cross G.Lv. 1

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Synchro Boost]

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Activation Boost] - [Speed Charger] - [Mind Boost]

“Hey, doesn’t this seem a little imbalanced? Shouldn’t Roke and Sophia be spread off since they have high levels?” Jack comments. “What? Jelly cuz you were separated from Sarin?” Roke teased. “Argh no dammit!!!!” Jack shouts. His face is all red, just like Sarin. Everyone in the room laughs lightheartedly. “There needs to be a party of two people, since you three are immobile,” Roke explains, “Sophia and I can handle this, since like she said, we’ve been doing this before. If I like, I’d want to trade my Game Levels for someone else too, so that more teams can reach 10 Game Levels.” “I’m fine with the party arrangement though,” Austin puts his arm around Cheryl and Sarin and laughs tauntingly at Jack. Both girls look at each other then give the blonde teen an elbow thrust at the same

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time. “W…Well guys, let’s get going now! We should finish this up as fast as we can!” Cross suggests. “We can use the special abilities, so we’ll take over the South one since it’s a little far from here,” Sarin volunteered. “We’ll take the West then,” said Aphiso. “West. Oh yes, I have something to tell you,” Teal halts Leina’s team, “The Doll Altar West is hidden under ground. You’ll need to crawl through the small space at the Wooden Figure Room since the one at the Tatami Hallway was sealed tight.” “Got it. Thanks for the info!” Leina thanked the girl. “That leaves the North and East,” Tim mutters. “Master Roke, you take the North. We’ll do the East,” Ramsley proposed. “Right. I probably don’t have to say this, but be careful, guys. Who knows what is waiting for us in those rooms,” Roke warns everyone, “Well, if you guys are ready then, let’s move out!”

Meanwhile…Somewhere in the Manor of Sleep…

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“Well well, seems like those players are trying to challenge us,” the man with huge feathery wings mutters, opening his big glowing yellow eyes. “What did you see, Mumei?” the man in long tuxedo asks. “They are trying to impale the priestess,” Mumei replies. “AAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!! What? That’s a good one!!! AHAHAHAHA!!!!” a skinny bald man laughs out loud. But when he noticed that his friends are not laughing, he stops as well. “Wait. That wasn’t a joke?” “Doubt it,” the man with short black hair sighs, “They are pretty stupid, aren’t they?” “Damn, what are we waiting for!? Let’s go kill them!!!!!!” the skinny bald man screams. “No,” the man with huge glowing yellow eyes refuses, “Master told us to lay low for tonight. He said those stupid players are in for a surprise.” “Well that’s interesting. Let’s see if they are gonna make it,” Incognito chuckles and sits down on his sofa.

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Partitioned Room… “Say, what was the Hanging Prison used for?” Austin mutters. “Who knows? Maybe they used that to confine the prisoners? That Handmaiden said there was a ‘traitor’ after all,” Sarin suggests. “Traitor…huh?” Cheryl mutters, “I wonder what Amane did.” “You formed a synchro with her, didn’t you?” Sarin asks. “Yeah, but it’s a Player Advantage synchro. I don’t know much about her. And she never told me what she wants me to do,” Cheryl replies as the party ascends the stairs in the Staircase Hallways.


“Man. I felt like we came this far, but there are still so many stuffs we don’t understand,” Austin mutters. “…Things we don’t understand…?” Sarin mutters and starts thinking. “What’s the matter?” Cheryl asks, leading her friends down the stairs to the blood stained hallways. “It’s just…it felt like I had something that was bugging me before. But I can’t really remember what it is now,” Sarin sighs, “And it’s a rather bad one too.” As the party enters into the blood stained hallways, they found that the walls are fixed back in shape, and no more stains are seen. “Those stains are gone,” Cheryl carefully examines the walls. “Jack said he saw the carpenter armies on his way back home tonight,” Sarin explains, “…Maybe those stains left this place and crossed over to our world.” “Damn! We have to end this quick!” Austin announces, “Let’s go down that stairs and quickly get the stakes!” “Agreed!” both girls reply and open the small knee high door to the west of the room, leading down to a narrow underground passage.

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Chapter 44 Mission: Above lies the sleeping quarters of the Tattoo Priestess that can be lowered only when the lullaby is played. Play the tunes and lower the prison.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Wooden Figure Room…

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“Let’s see…,” Aphiso examines the small opening at the corner of the room and found a small trap door, just like Teal mentioned. “Looks rather tight in there,” Leina mumbles. “You can wait outside if you want,” Aphiso teases. “H…Hey, I never said I’m not going in!!!” Leina feels a little nervous before climbing down the trap door with his party. “It’s kinda dark,” Colin takes out his flashlight, “Follow me.” The three of them walk closely to each other when they finally reached a dead end. Colin tries knocking the floorboard above the spot they are standing. It seems to be a trap door above their head. Fumbling with the lock, the door was unlocked and the party climbed up into the room filled with red paper dolls. “This looks kind of disturbing,” Leina cringes at the room’s decoration. “I heard that these red paper dolls represent the pain of the people who visit this shrine,” Colin explains. “Why are they all impaled on the walls?” Aphiso asks as well. “I’m not sure. Maybe it’s one of those traditional beliefs that bad luck must be impaled?” Colin suggests and looks up on the altar in the room. A small shining orb lies still on the altar, and a stake was impaled within a pedestal right above the altar, “These must be it!” “Well, let’s just get them and----“ “Go? I’m afraid not,” a girl’s voice echoes around the room and a loud click was heard from the floor board that they entered. “Who’s there!” Aphiso asks. A girl in shrine maiden outfit slowly steps through the wall into the room, smiling eerily. “This is the second time someone busts into my room. And more over, this time you are taking something back with you?” the girl crosses her arms. “I think Teal was the first,” Leina whispers to his friends. “Who cares? We need those stakes to impale the priestess. If you’re not gonna let us have it, then I guess we’ll need to apply some force!” Aphiso readies for battle. “Hm…it’s been a while since I actually get into a fight,” the girl giggles eerily and summons a mallet


and a stake onto her hands, “Don’t disappoint me!” Suddenly, the environment starts to darken and before long, everything became monochrome. “The heck!? The Purifying Lights are out!?” Leina exclaims. Colin unhesitatingly pulls out his arrows and shoots at her. However, her extremely agile reflexes make her able to dodge them with ease. Leina charges at the girl with his spear, but she is able to dodge his attacks with ease as well. The crimson haired teen raises his spear for a launching strike, but the girl simply steps onto his spear and jumps over his head. As she lands, her body sinks halfway into the floor, and before the teen could react, the girl places the stake onto Leina’s leg then strikes it with her mallet. “AAAAAHHHH!!!!” Leina fell to the floor, hugging his thigh. Several hairlines slither around the room and reaches for the girl. The handmaiden hovers away from the floor and dashes at Aphiso with her mallet. Colin quickly shoots an arrow straight across the handmaiden’s face, halting her movements. As she stops from the arrows, the hairlines finally managed to catch up onto her ankle. “Gotcha!!!!” Aphiso jerks the hairline and snaps the girl’s foot from her leg. “Are you silly?” the girl laughs as she hovers away into the air, “Do you really think cutting off my legs will hinder me?”

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep B1…Doll Altar South… “Here we are!” Sarin leads her friends into the room. “Huh. Maybe we took a detour,” Austin looks at the map, “Apparently, there’s supposed to be a Grand Staircase just to the west of this room that leads to the Tatami Loft above the Hearth Room.” “Really? Man, we should have checked the map carefully,” Sarin laughs in embarrassment. Cheryl walks over to the altar situated inside the room. On the small altar are a shining palm-sized orb and a pedestal holding a stake with tattoos on it. “This should be what we are after,” Cheryl explains and grabs the orb. After that, she tries to pull the stake out of the pedestal. It was surprisingly loose and came out of the pedestal very easily. Once the stakes came out of the pedestal, a small contraption clicked and the shelf behind the altar was disclosed. The party examines the newly opened shelf behind the pedestal and found two notebooks lying inside.

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[Blue Diary 1]

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My mother told me that I have an older brother. His name is Kaname, and he lives in a house on the outside. In the Kuze house, they throw away boys, so he was sent outside. She told me many times that this was a secret. My brother has the same earring as my mother. They’re beautiful earrings that she got from father. Mother gave it to him so that no matter where he is he can hears her voice. I wonder if he can hear my voice too. I want to see him so much. Reika was made into a priestess and was placed under my care. I like talking to her. She seems rather lonely. That was to be expected when you are stuck in the Hanging Prison. Reika tells me about the outside. I cannot leave the house because I’m a Handmaiden, so I really like to listen to her stories. She says when she talks the pain isn’t as bad. I’m glad that I can be of some help. I noticed that Reika has an earring just like the one my mom has. She says it was a present from a good friend, so that she can hear his voice no matter where she is. She talks about him a lot. Could this friend of her been ‘Kaname’?

[Blue Diary 2] I met Kaname, but in a very unfortunate time. He snuck in with the people who came to ease their pains. He said he wants to see the Priestess, just once. He really was the friend Reika talked about. It is against the code, but since Reika is going to have to perform the Rite of Commandment soon, she won’t be able to leave again. I want to help them meet, just once. Kaname went into the shrine - To the Priestess’ place. Men cannot go into the shrine. I’m sure the grandmother will be upset.


[The ‘Shrine Handmaiden’ Spirit Synchro has evolved!]

Spirit Synchro Entry!! Shrine Handmaiden II Description: A spirit of the Shrine Handmaiden, Amane Kuze, who mourns for her brother. The Spirit Synchro evolves when the Tattooed Stake was removed from the four Doll Altars.

Skills:

• [Precision Parry] Block any incoming Slash Attacks with fan. • <Fan Strike> A three-hit fan strike. Good for close quarters self defense. • <Fire Storm> Creates three swirling fire storms that home at enemy. • <Flame Pillar> Creates three fire pillar around self. “…A brother…huh?” Cheryl mutters. “Maybe that’s what she meant when she said you have something in common with her?” Austin suggests. “Yeah,” Cheryl nods, “What does she want me to do anyway?” Suddenly, the environment became monochrome once again. “Wha!? Something coming!?” Austin panicked. “No. I don’t sense any spirits nearby,” Cheryl explains, “I think the Purifying Lights are out.” “Let’s think about it while we head back to the Hearth Room. I don’t want to stay covered in the miasma for too long,” Sarin suggests and leads the party towards the west exit.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Doll Altar East… “Hey. It’s not very far after all,” Cross laughs as he steps into the room. “Indeed. Let’s just complete our task and return,” Ramsley suggests and walks over to the altar in the room. Suddenly, a loud click was heard from the door they enter and the room became monochrome. “Wait! You serious!?” Tim grits his teeth and brings out his camera. A giggle echoes throughout the whole room as the party presses their backs against each other. “Hello?” a girl’s voice was heard from the ceiling. The party quickly spreads away as the handmaiden descends down where they were standing earlier.

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“Oh. It’s you,” the butler remembers the girl from last night. “Does your back still hurt?” the girl giggles sadistically. “Oh my god. She creeps me out,” Tim immediately aims his camera at the girl and snaps a photo, making her stagger. “Hehehe…,” instead of a moan, the girl simply giggles and turns for the boy. “Waaaaahhhhh!!!” Tim and Cross freaked out at the same time. “Calm down!! We must not panic!!!” the butler tries to calm his comrades down as he puts on his Simulacrum Mask. He fires the Four-Pointed Well Key at the girl continuously four times. She is extremely fast like usual. Only one of them directly hits her shoulder, but even then, she simply smiles at the butler upon hit. “Damn, she didn’t feel a thing at all!?” Ramsley was astonished with her durability. “Ahahahaha!!!” the girl cranks her stake with her mallet and sends a sound wave at the butler. With the boost from Simulacrum Mask, he only staggers back for a few steps. “Ramsley!!!” Tim calls to the butler. “I’m okay!! Get her!!!” said Ramsley. Tim immediately taps his shutter after the girl attacks the butler and scores a Fatal Frame. The camera’s flash effectively halts the girl from making any more moves. However, she rapidly recovers her balance and jumps up, avoiding the second combo altogether. “Hey, not fair!!!!” Tim aims his camera upwards, but she was too fast. The boy has to lower his camera and dodges the girl’s onslaught as she sweeps down from above. Ramsley throws a saw blade at the girl but it only slightly shears off her hakama without hitting her body at all. The girl then dashes at the butler raising her stake and mallet. She cranks the stake and blasts another sound wave at Ramsley, this time at point blank. The wave blows the butler away against the walls and deactivates his Simulacrum Mask. “D…Damn…Time out…!? No…Her powers were so strong that the mask deactivated!?” “Does it hurt?” the girl giggles and raises his stake up, readying to impale the butler. “LOOK OUT!!!!” the silver haired boy quickly pushes the butler away and takes a full hit at point blank. The sound wave seeps through his body and bursts it to a mess.

Ramsley G.Lv. 4 Tim G.Lv. 2

Player Deleted Cross

-> (2) -> (0)


Chapter 45 Mission: Above lies the sleeping quarters of the Tattoo Priestess that can be lowered only when the lullaby is played. Play the tunes and lower the prison.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Doll Altar North… “So, you can’t let us pass without a fight?” the purple haired boy asks the Handmaiden with long hair and looks around the room. It seems the Purifying Light has lost its effect faster due to the thick miasma flowing within this room. “You kidding? You stormed into someone else’s room then stole their stuffs, and you asked the question?” the girl laughs sarcastically “Fine with me,” Roke accepts the challenge. Sophia flips out her camera and prepares to give support. “Purple hair. Glittering emerald eyes. Both of you must be Rokej and Sophia,” the girl giggles again. “You’ve heard of us?” Sophia asks surprisingly. “Why yes. The Player Killers and the Game Master told us about you guys. Of course we are aware of what you are as well,” the handmaiden grins maliciously and looks at the purple haired boy. “Ha. Sorry to disappoint you, but I’ve already thrown away my Reaper’s powers for ages now,” Roke shrugs, “Now, I am simply Rokej, the young boy who just wants to save his girlfriend.” “Oh really?” the handmaiden crosses her arms. “What about you? I thought handmaidens are supposed to be the one who impales the priestess and prevent the Rift from spreading. Why are you working as those guys’ lapdogs now?” Roke asks back. “Shigure, Minamo, and me are given a special offer by the Player Killers due to our nature of being dutiful,” the handmaiden explains, “Our job is to make sure players like you do not try to mess with our new master’s system.” “And you give in to their corruption?” Sophia asks. “Corruption? Please lady, you understand something very wrong here,” the handmaiden replies, “All of us handmaidens, aside from that traitor Amane, are an outsider and not a Kuze by blood. We are given shelter and teachings in exchange for loyalty. We are humbled by their mercy, and in return, we gave them our loyalty. That’s all.” “Oh. So basically those guys upgraded you from being a mere wandering ghost into their personal lapdog?” Roke taunts some more. “I prefer the term humble and honest servant,” the girl snaps back, “Enough with the talking. I shall destroy both of you now. Shigure and Minamo are probably dealing with the rest of your friends as well.” “Now we’re talking,” Roke smiles daringly and puts on his earphones.

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+Amane, you betrayed us. You let that man into the shrine. It’s because of you we ended up like this. I, Hisame Kuze, will make you pay!!!+

Original Skill Entry!

(Director’s Cut)

Reflect Raid Crafted from: Hisame Kuze’s envy and wrath for Amane, who betrayed the very family that raised both of them. Description: Hurls a hatchet at an enemy like a boomerang [Blazing Sword

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->

Reflect Raid]

Hisame leaps at both of them in high speed. Roke moves forward head on against her while Sophia steps back a few steps and aims her camera. The handmaiden swings her mallet at Roke, but the teen simply jumps right over her head, dodging the attack as well as giving Sophia a clear shot. The brunette taps her shutter and scores a successful Fatal Frame. Before the handmaiden could regain her balance, Sophia snaps the shutter one more time, dealing some more damage. “Hehehehe…,” the handmaiden giggles, “I’m sorry. With the miasma this thick, two Fatal Frames are not enough to get me.”

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Wooden Figure Room… “Damn, she’s fast,” Aphiso puffs. “She needs to stay still!!!!” Leina grumbles. “I should be able to do something. But I need you guys to keep her busy!!!” Colin explains. “Hehehe!!! Then I guess I’ll get you first!!!!” the handmaiden leaps at the red haired teen. “Not on my watch!!!” Leina reappears in front of the girl and swings his spear at the girl for a home run. However, the handmaiden responds quickly and blocks the attack just barely. “Hmph! Nice try,” the girl grins and counters with her mallet. “Gaaahhh!!!” the crimson haired teen is knocked away by the mallet. It looks small, but it is surprisingly hard. “Done!!!!” Colin throws the Holly Hairpin down onto the floor right below the handmaiden and creates a force field that barricades her. “What’s this!?” the handmaiden tries smashing her mallet onto the barricade but it bounces off immediately. “Now you’re gonna get it!!!!” Aphiso swings her hand and throws three ice spears at the handmaiden. Each spears pierce through her body, making her cry in pain. “Argghhhh!!!” the handmaiden kneels down frustratingly. Colin further aids the assault by firing hordes of light arrows at the handmaiden. She was hit helplessly due to having no space to move.


After the assault, the girl falls to the floor puffing. Her body starts to disperse. “You’re better than I thought,” the handmaiden mutters. “We’re not fooling around after all,” Aphiso brushes her hair off her shoulders, “Now hand us the stakes.” “Hmph…don’t think this is over,” the handmaiden grits her teeth and vanishes. After that, a soft thud was heard from the altar. The tattoo stakes fell off from the boards onto the altar. “All right!!! We got the stakes! Let’s go back to everyone!” Leina laughs and picks up the stakes. “Hey, you okay, Leina? I saw you took a hit,” Colin asks with concern. “Oh? That? Nah, you’ll need more than that to bring me down,” the crimson haired teen laughs and leads his friends back to the Wooden Figure Room.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Doll Altar East… “C…Cross?” Tim’s eyes widened as he witnesses the pulverized mess that used to be his friend. “Hehehe…I wonder if that hurts,” the handmaiden giggles sadistically and turns to the remaining players, “Who’s next?” “You’ll pay for this!!!” Ramsley grits his teeth and shoots the Four-Pointed Well Key at her some more. But she is able to dodge it like before. After the barrage, the key’s power times out, and goes into recharge. “Damn!” the butler grits his teeth as he quickly gets back up to his feet and tries to avoid the girl’s counter attack. “Man, this is hopeless! She’s too fast! And I can’t even get a Shutter Chance off her!!!” Tim grumbles, trying to follow the girl’s movement. “I have an idea,” said Ramsley taking out the small charm he picked up last night.

New Relic Entry! Sacred Stone Description: The charm that belongs to Tengai Narumi, the Master Builder. Latent Ability: While activated, the fabrication of time will be distorted, extending a period of 1 second into 5 second, slowing the movements of spirits. The stone has a total of 30 seconds duration. It can be activated or deactivated at any time. But once the duration reached a total of 30 seconds, it cannot be used again for the next two minutes. Duration: 30 seconds (real time) total Recharge: 2 Minutes

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“We have only 30 seconds to do this!” Ramsley explains. “Then what are we waiting for!? Let’s do it!!!” said Tim. The butler activates the charm’s power. All of the sudden, the girl’s movement seems a lot slower. Tim aims his camera at the girl. In the girl’s view, she felt like Tim moves a lot faster than before as he catches up with her movement very easily. The boy quickly taps his shutter, blasting the girl back a step. The small red light flashes and tells him to tap the shutter again. Tim does so and connects the second Fatal Frame with ease, making her stagger back one more step. Ramsley quickly rolls away from the camera’s range and throws another saw blade at her, stopping her from regaining her balance. Tim taps the shutter once more, this time with his Crush lens, triggering the third Fatal Frame combo. “Aaaaahhhh!!” the girl finally stops smiling and falls to the floor. She tries to get up again, but fails. The girl pounds the floor a few times in frustration before vanishing away. It seems like she was not exorcized yet. The stake impaled on the pedestal, fell off onto the altar. Ramsley walks over to the pedestal and picks it up. “Let’s go, Ramsley,” Tim suggests. “Yeah, we have to tell the others about Cross too,” Ramsley sighs. Both of them then exit the Doll Altar Room without saying another word.

252 Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Blind Room… “Well, I guess we got this place under control,” Greg checks his filament. There is no reaction from it. They have been scouting a few rooms adjacent to this room, and there was no sign of ghosts or Player Killers at all. “…Hold it guys,” Jack covers his hands on his headphones, “I think I heard something.” “A ghost? Why isn’t our camera…? Oh?” Teal was surprised when her filament suddenly starts to glow blue. “A lingering intent?” Greg mutters and turns around, trying to look for the source. +Must not…let the Rift…spread…+ “I heard her voice,” Jack tells his friends. “Man, I still don’t see anything,” Greg scratches his head. Jack looks around the room and coincidentally peeks into the curtains, covering the middle area of the room. The teen slides the curtains opened just in time to see a silhouette of a woman fading away. She was standing quietly overlooking the small shelf above the futon in the middle of the room. “Hey guys,” Jack calls to his friends as he picks up the notebooks lying on the shelves.


[Calico Notebook 1] Amane led a man into the Chamber of Thorns. Because of that, the priestess could not sleep and the tattoos entered her eyes. As a result, the Unleashing occurred and I am tainted by the Rift’s miasma. Before the Rift spreads any further, we must find a way to shut it. We must summon shrine carpenters, and seal the Kuze Shrine. We will need many sacrifices.

[Calico Notebook 2] The pain etched into the priestess must have been very deep. At this rate, we may not be able to stop it even with the Shrine of Sleep. My body has been halfway engulfed by the Rift, and misery surrounds me. I’ve already lost count of how many days have passed since the Unleashing. The only ones left in the house are the young handmaidens. I feel pity in doing so, but I will instruct Hisame to conduct the final impalement. That is our last resort. We must not allow the Rift to spread any further.

[Calico Notebook 3] Now that I recall, that man was holding an ‘Echo Earrings’. It fell into the Rift when the Unleashing occurred. Could he have been Kyouka’s forbidden child? If so, then maybe he is Amane’s older brother; my grandson. What a shame… “From the tone of this diary, this probably belongs to the house’s mistress,” Greg suggests after reading the entries. “Sounds reasonable,” Teal nods in agreement, “What did she mean ‘What a shame’?” “Hm…, it made sense,” Greg mutters to himself. “What made sense?” Jack raises his eyebrow. “You guys didn’t see Ramsley’s Object Reading, but this is what we heard the Player Killer named Incognito said,” Greg explains and tries to imitate the words of the Player Killer.

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Luckily enough, that stupid hag Yashuu murdered her own flesh and blood grandson in front of the Tattoo Priestess. If she left him be, he would have left after seeing the priestess and she would fulfill her duties. But nooooo, she smashed him with a hatchet, breaking Reika’s heart in front of her! Guess what! The very same people that had been sealing us for ages are actually the ones that screwed up and let us out!!!! “She knew about her mistakes,” Jack mutters, thinking. “So this whole mess happened because the priestess’s boyfriend was murdered in front of her eyes?” Teal proposed, “That’s really sad. If it were me, I probably won’t be able to take it.” “I doubt the priestess was able to take it as well,” Greg notes, “Otherwise, this whole mess would not happened.” “You meant to say that these ghosts, back when they were humans, actually have good intentions?” Jack asks. “That’s what I’d like to think,” Greg crosses his arms.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Doll Altar North…

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“Ha…as expected from the ex-Reaper King,” the handmaiden kneels down on the floor, puffing from battle. “You’re not very bad for a little girl,” Roke compliments back, cracking his fists. A thud was heard from the altar in the room. “All right. You guys win, for now,” the girl pouts before vanishing away, smiling cunningly. Roke keeps his eye contact at the girl until she completely vanishes. “Okay! We had the stake!” Sophia picks up the stake from the altar, “Let’s go, Roke!” Sophia yanks the boy’s arms after she sees him standing quietly. “Huh? Oh. Okay,” the boy replies. “What’s the matter?” “Nah. I’m just lost in thought. Maybe I was thinking too much,” Roke shakes his head before leaving the Doll Altar with Sophia.


Chapter 46 Mission: Above lies the sleeping quarters of the Tattoo Priestess that can be lowered only when the lullaby is played. Play the tunes and lower the prison.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Blind Room… “What? Cross is dead?!” Jack’s mouth opens up wide in disbelief. “He saved me from that girl’s attack. I owe him so much,” Ramsley sulks. “Do you guys think the Game Master already knew that we are attempting to end this?” Leina proposes. “Who knows? All we have to do is just close this game up, and it would all be over,” Aphiso mutters. “Yeah. We can’t give up now. We have to close this game. For Cross and Mike too,” Ramsley cheers. The north door slides opened and Roke and Sophia enter into the room. “Guess we all made it?” Roke looks around the room, counting the members. “Cross didn’t,” Austin notes. “He…died?” Roke mutters, “…Damn. That sucks.” “Roke. We don’t have time to mourn for Cross,” Aphiso notes. “…I know,” the teen nods and leads the party into the Tattoo Altar to the west. The altar room was left just like how the party remembered it last time when Yoshino was murdered, except this time they notice a Purifying Light candle stand placed at the south wall. Right beneath the area where Yoshino was crucified and burnt alive is a small altar with four small pedestals for inserting the Purity Stones. “This is it. This will be our base from now on!” Austin laughs in pride. “You seem rather happy,” Leina teases his friend. “Of course! Why would I not be happy?! We’re about to get this nightmare done and over!!!” the blonde teen announced. “I guess we’ll have to form the Prison and Impale Team now,” Jack states and looks at Roke, “So, what do you say, Roke?” “Huh? Oh, right. The teams,” Roke clears his throat and walks to the middle of the room, “I’ve been thinking about the team members, and I think we’ll form three parties for the Impale Team. The remaining members will stay here.” “So, who’s gonna be on what team?” Cheryl asks. “Jack, Teal, and Greg. You guys will take the lead this time,” said Roke, “Since you guys have over 6 Game Levels, you should not be in the Tattoo Altar Room when the game is cleared or it might register as taking part in the mission.” “Got it,” Jack agrees. “This is the party I had in mind,” Roke then assigns the members to each party.

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Impaling Team

Prison Team

Leader: Jack Member 1: Greg Member 2: Austin

Leader: Leina Member 1: Aphiso Member 2: Cheryl

Leader: Teal Member 1: Sophia Member 2: Roke

Leader: Sarin Member 1: Colin Member 2: Ramsley

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Tim

“Are you guys okay with this arrangement?” Roke asks everyone. “Hey Roke, put me in the Impalement Team,” Tim volunteers. “But Tim, you don’t have any Game Levels left!!” Cheryl argues. “Yeah. You should lay low. You’ll gain a level if you clear tonight’s mission in case everything failed,” Sarin agrees with her friend. “No. I don’t want to do that,” Tim clenches his fist, “Cross was murdered right in front of my eyes. I don’t want to sit around thinking that.” “Neither do I, Master,” Ramsley steps up, “Please, allow me to accompany you.” “But you guys won’t form a full party,” Jack argues, “We’ve never been to the Last Passage area before. We don’t know what we’ll run into!” “Then allow me to take Lady Sophia’s place,” said Ramsley. “Hey, but I wanna go too,” Sophia pleads. “Nah, it’s okay. Deep down I want her to stay too,” said Roke. “Come on Roke, not again!!!” Sophia pouts. “Don’t worry, Lady. I will take care of Master Roke,” Ramsley comforts the girl. “Sis, take care of Sophia,” Roke turns to Aphiso. “Hmph, of course,” Aphiso grabs her sister’s arm. Sophia frowns but does not say any more words. “What about you, Tim? Who do you want to swap with?” Jack asks. “It’s okay. I’ll be on my own,” said Tim, “No offense, but with my Game Level touching the red line like this, I feel more comfortable knowing that I wouldn’t die if my friends are to die.” “You kinda have a point,” Greg nods. “Well then, I guess this will be our party,” Jack announces the new party arrangement. “Man, all the girls are in reserve?” Austin sighs. “Well, you can trade places with me,” Ramsley laughs. “Seriously man!? Woah, thanks!!!” Austin laughs, making Teal cringes.


“Be careful out there, Teal,” said Sarin, glaring at Austin. “Yeah. Careful out there, and look out for your party member as well,” Cheryl glares at Austin as well. “Yeah, thanks for worrying about me,” Teal smiles. “Hey, why are you girls looking at me like that!?” Austin grumbles. “………Party members…Was that supposed to include me as well?” Roke scratches his cheek nervously.

Impaling Team

Prison Team

Leader: Jack G.Lv. 5 Member 1: Greg G.Lv. 6 Member 2: Ramsley G.Lv. 5

Leader: Leina G.Lv. 3 Member 1: Aphiso G.Lv. 2 Member 2: Cheryl G.Lv. 2

Leader: Teal Member 1: Roke Member 2: Austin

G.Lv. 6 G.Lv. 5 G.Lv. 2

Leader: Sarin G.Lv. 3 Member 1: Colin G.Lv. 3 Member 2: Sophia G.Lv. 4

G.Lv. 0

Tim

“Are you guys really sure about this?” Leina asks worriedly. “Yeah. We’ll be fine. All of us, beside Tim, is able to use our special abilities,” Teal explains. “Don’t worry, dude! This will be over in a jiffy!” Austin laughs again. “A jiffy indeed. Listen up everyone,” Roke looks at the party from the middle of the room, “This is going to be the riskiest part of our operation. The Purifying Light has extremely limited time span, and we do not know exactly how long the Last Passage is. Not to mention that in certain areas where the Miasma is thicker, the effect will run out even faster. Since the Miasma flows out from the Chamber of Thorns, it should obviously be thicker down there.” “Oh yeah, you’re right,” Leina nods, “Our Purifying Light ran out really fast in that Doll Altar Room.” “The closest Purifying Light refill spot is at the Blue Lamp in the Garden Corridor. I’ve roughly calculated the time span of the effect. From the refill spot, we have less than ten minutes to go down the Last Passage and impale the Priestess. If ten minute is up, I want the Prison Team to hit the mechanism right away.” “Got it,” Sarin nods. “Well, our lives are in you girl’s hands!!” Austin waves at the girls. “You guys take care! We better finish this game together!” Cheryl cheers. “Okay then. Everyone. Let’s move out!!” Jack announces and leads everyone out of the room.

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Meanwhile…Somewhere in the Manor of Sleep…

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“Well now, it’s time for some serious fun,” Incognito laughs as he sees the players’ conference from the holographic screen. “They are going down to the Chamber of Thorns, eh?” the skinny bald man laughs. “Well now. Maybe we should try to humor those players a bit,” the man with big glowing yellow eyes stands up. “No, wait Mumei,” the man in long tuxedo stops, “Rai Naam. You take the job.” “Got it!! Hehe,” the skinny bald man chuckles and leaves the room. Once he left the room, Mumei turns towards the man in tuxedo. “What were you thinking, Latner?” Mumei asks. “He didn’t want to lose an awesome guy like you, Mumei,” Incognito chuckles as he spreads himself on the big comfortable couch. “Are you assuming that I will lose?” Mumei almost took it as an offense. “I do not doubt your ability to ambush those players,” Latner explains, “But since Anon already fell, we should be extra careful in our personnel management.” “Not to mention that killing all of them right now will simply make them more fired up,” Incognito chuckles, “They will attempt this mission again and again every night until they finally succeed. We’ll have to make them feel true despair.” “Master also told us not to ‘harm them’ as well, remember?” Latner adds. “But both of you fought those Voice Materializers before. I thought our goal is to make them clear this game?” Mumei asks. “That was supposed to make them thought we’re not going after them,” Latner explains, “Now that all of that has been done, let’s continue to watch these humans struggle.”

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Shrine Courtyard… The party rushes through the wide courtyard into the Engraving Shrine. Inside, a small circular pedestal was seen on the north screen of the room. “I think we’re supposed to put the Mirror of Loss here,” Jack explains. “Then we’re lucky I came,” Ramsley takes out the fragments of the mirror that the party collected last night. After joining all the pieces together, the cracks magically bind themselves together and form a complete Mirror of Loss. “Way to go, Rams,” Jack laughs. The butler places the mirror onto the pedestal and the screen at the back slides opened. Behind the screen is an altar, large enough for an adult to lie on, stained with purple ink, and a door further to the north. Ramsley tries removing the mirror from the pedestal, but it seems that the mechanism as rusted and the screen does not close up any more. “Glad I can bring this with me. It seems like a powerful relics after all,” Ramsley laughs.


New Relic Entry! Mirror of Loss Description: The mirror with the Tattoo Priestess’s pain etched on it. Latent Ability: While activated, an invisible force field will cover the player. Any attacks that attempt to harm the player will result in a retaliating force. Duration: 1 second Recharge: 20 seconds The party opens the door to the north and a new message was sent into their cell phones.

[Last Passage] Tutorial The Last Passage is the most dangerous area where the Rift spills out. The miasma is extremely strong and wicked. Players who experienced game over’s in this area and those who are simply in the area when the mission is over will be taken back to the manor’s entrance in the next night instead of waking up where they are. “Doesn’t sound like a problem,” Austin shrugs. “Let’s go everyone. It’s already two minutes!” Teal reminds everyone. Behind the door they opened is a staircase leading down into the darkness. A blue lamp was seen flashing at the foot of the stairs. “Hey, I think we can refill our light here,” Greg examines the blue lamp. “That’s great. Looks like we have another ten minutes after this,” Jack explains, “Let’s call the Prison Team and confirm our current situation.” “I’m on it!” Teal flips her camera back into cell phone and dials a number to Sarin. “Hello? What’s the matter?” the girl in the line seems to be surprised. “We’re just went down the stairs into the Last Passage. There’s a lamp here, so we can reset our 10 minutes timer,” Teal explains. “Okay. Reset the timer? We got it! Good luck!” “They understand,” said Teal, keeping her cell phone in place. “More time eh? It should be more than enough. Let’s keep going, folks!!!” Austin cheers.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Tattoo Altar… “So they found a Purifying Light refill spot down there?” Sophia asks the silver haired girl. “Yeah. They told us to reset the timer,” Sarin explains to the brunette and proceeds to reset her count

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down timer. “That’s excellent,” Colin smiles in relief. “Man, waiting like this makes me feel nervous,” Cheryl leans against the wall restlessly. “There’s nothing more we can do. We’ll have to count on Teal and the others,” said Aphiso. “They’ll succeed!” Leina cheers, “Roke is leading this operation! There’s no way we’ll fail!” “Hmph. I wonder,” Aphiso sighs.

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“Hehehehe…Wow, six of you here?” a laughter was heard from the above. Everyone turns their heads upwards and found a skinny bald man sitting on a ledge above the room. “Who’re you!?” Sarin interrogates the man. “Me? You’re asking my name? Hehehehe,” the man laughs and jumps down from the ledge. As he falls down, a pair of wings spreads from his back and flutters, hovering him above the ground, “My name is Rai Naam, a Player Killer!” “Man. These guys again?” Sophia flips out her camera. “It’s okay. All we have to do is hold this guy until Roke and the others impale the----!!!!” “Leina, shut up!!!!” Colin halts his friend. “Oh crap…,” Leina quickly closes his mouth. “Hehehe!!! Don’t worry. We already know about your little operations,” Rai Naam laughs, “Master said you guys are in for a surprise. Hehehe!!!!” “What surprise!?” Sophia interrogates some more. “Yikes! You’re scary,” the bald man made a small jump from the girl’s interrogation, “No wonder the Reaper King fell for you.” “If you’re not gonna tell me then I guess I’ll have to force it out of you!” Sophia taps her fully charged camera and snaps a shot of the bald man, making him cries in pain. “Ouch!!!! That hurts lady!!” the man grumbles, “I guess I’ll have to teach you a lesson!!!” “Ha. Against six of us? Think again, buddy,” Leina laughs, swinging his spear. “No, YOU think again,” Rai Naam smirks and raises his hand above his head. An electric guitar materializes onto the man’s hand. He strums the chords and suddenly, three dark figures enter the room through the walls. “These shadows…They look like the ones Anon summoned!” Aphiso grits her teeth worriedly. “Is it a problem?” Sarin asks, summoning her hatchet. “He said they are creatures born within the Rift, akin to the Player Killers,” Aphiso explains. “Wait. So like, we’re gonna fight four Player Killers at once!?” Leina gulps and grips his spear anxiously. “Man, I really wanna see the faces of your friends when they saw our surprise, but I guess playing here would be equally fun!” Rai Naam cackles loudly, “Now let us RUMBLE!!!!!!”


Chapter 47 Mission: Above lies the sleeping quarters of the Tattoo Priestess that can be lowered only when the lullaby is played. Play the tunes and lower the prison.

Meanwhile…The Last Passage…Underground Shrine… The party keeps moving forward through the gigantic double door into a bridge above a big body of water, much like lakes, except it is under ground. Or perhaps underground reservoir would be the better word. The bridge extends its way across the room to the other side. “A lake down underground?” Austin wonders. “It could be underground reservoir,” Roke suggests, “Then again, in places like this, I don’t expect stuffs to sound logical. In fact, if these aren’t water, I wouldn’t even be surprised.” Suddenly, bubbles start popping up around the whole room and several hands rises up from the water surface. “They’re probably here to greet us,” Roke laughs sarcastically. “We’ll handle this place! You guys just move on!” Teal tells Jack’s party as she takes out her camera. The filament is now shining bright red from several reactants. “Got it! You guys be careful!” Jack leads his party and Tim straight across the bridge to the other side before anything else pops up. The ghostly hands continue to rise up from the water surface, and suddenly one of them flies right at the party. Teal aims at the hand and taps her shutter, exorcizing the hand profoundly. “That’s kinda fast. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get all of them,” Teal explains. “Don’t worry my dear! With my Tranced Light and Dark swords, we will never have to fear these abominated hands!” Austin swings his arm and summons three more pairs of swords. The swords home at all demonic hands that attempt to approach them. “…Wait a sec, how the hell did you get these!?” Roke looks at the swords in surprise, “And how did you summon so many of them!?” “I got it back at the All God’s Village section. Leina said you used these once, right?” Austin teases, “You jelly, bro?” “…Damn, I miss using real weapons,” Roke shakes his head, “I’m not even the type to shoot stuffs too, honestly.”

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Tattoo Altar… “Man! These guys are tough!” Cheryl jumps away from a shadow’s smack just barely. The black figure keeps glaring at the girl. Due to not having a face aside from a pair of glowing white eyes, it is hard to

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tell the intent of the spirit. Is it angry? Curious? Or was it smiling? “Ahahaha!!! Prepare!!!!” Rai Naam swoops down at the party and raises his guitar. Leina jumps in and tries to attack him with his spear, but the bald man dodges his attack and counters with a smack, sending the crimson haired teen against the walls. “Argh, man. That hurts,” Leina shakes his head, trying to regain his balance. “You’re dead!!!!” Rai Naam reaches for the chords, but suddenly, several hairlines tie onto his hands and pull his hand away from the chords. “You first!!!!” the silver haired girl kicks herself up the wall, aiming her hatchet at the man. “Yikes!!!” Rai Naam blocks the attack with his electrical guitar. It is surprisingly durable because Sarin’s slash does not do a single scratch on it. The bald man jerks his right arm, snapping the hairlines tied around him. “Tch! These guys’ hides are a lot tougher than normal ghost!” Aphiso draws all the hairlines back and dodges an incoming smack from the front. Sarin lands back onto the ground and blocks an attack from a shadow behind her just in time. “Dammit! My arrows aren’t even flinching them!” Colin halts his fire when he realizes that it’s not doing any damage. “Everyone, get down!!!” Sophia flips a small switch on the side of her camera and taps a small button near it. A bright light flashes, repelling all the spirits.

[Flash] Tutorial [Flash] is Camera User – Sophia’s special function, unique to her and only her. The function allows Sophia to release a special flash that halts and repels all spiritual beings on spot. The flash itself does not deal any damage, but it can immediately exorcize certain weak spirits. After releasing a flash, it cannot be used again for the next five seconds. This special function is available if and only if Sophia is in a full party, and can be used unlimitedly as long as the party link is not severed. The dark figures cover their eyes, crying in pain. “Damn!!! What’s that light!?” Rai Naam covers his eyes as well. “Sis!!!” Sophia calls her sister. “Got it!!!!” Aphiso casts her hairlines onto the Player Killer’s arm and jerks him down against the floor. “Agh!!!!” Rai Naam cried as he fell. “I got you!!!” Cheryl scratches onto the Player Killer’s chest with her right hand, pushing him away. Rai Naam performs a quick somersault in the air and regains his balance. “Ha!!! Is that all you got!?” the man taunts, laughing at the girl’s scratch.


Cheryl smiles and points at the spot she scratched onto him. Rai Naam confusingly looks down at the scratched mark. His face turns pale as he notices the tattoo spreading from it. “WHAT THE HECK IS THIS!?!?!?” he cries and holds his chest in pain. “How’s the taste of your own medicine?” Aphiso taunts some more. “Damn you!!!!” Rai Naam grunts and strums his electrical guitar. Loud noise covers the whole room, as if it turned into a concert hall. “What the heck is this awful noise!?” Colin cried and covered his ears. “How do you like my song!? Think of it as your requiem!!!!” Rai Naam laughs and strums the cord some more. “A rock song for my funeral!? Think I’ll pass!” Aphiso casts some more hairlines at the electrical guitars, but all of them bounces off. “Sorry lady! My guitar is as hard as----.” “Who said I’m going to cut your guitar!?” Aphiso grits her teeth and jerks the hairlines again. Suddenly, the cords on the guitar are snapped and the loud noise ceased. “The hell!? How did your puny hairs snap my beloved guitar!?” Rai Naam’s jaw dropped wide open in surprise. At that moment, Leina appears in front of him and thrusts the spear through his chest. The tattoo from Cheryl’s scratch weakens his physical skin, allowing the spear to completely pierce through his body. “Arrrgghhhh!!!!” Rai Naam staggers backward, “You guys will regret this!!!!!” As a last resort, the Player Killer throws his cordless guitar onto the altar, crushing the prison’s mechanism. “That’s a dirty trick!!!!” Leina yells and thrusts his spear further. But the bald man punches the spear with his left fist, snapping it in half and flutters his wings, ascending above. “Oh no you don’t!!!!!” Aphiso casts some more hairlines and jerks him down against the floor once more. Colin adds onto the bind with his Holly Hairpin, completely sealing him down against the ground. “AGH!!!! LET ME GO DAMMIT!!!!!” Leina appears above Rai Naam and falls down impaling him with another spear, just like how he impaled Anon. “…Y…You must be kidding…,” Rai Naam’s jaws dropped opened as his body slowly disperses away.

PLAYER KILLER DEFEATED!!! Leader: Leina G.Lv. 3 Member 1: Aphiso G.Lv. 4 Member 2: Cheryl G.Lv. 2

-> 5 -> 6 -> 4

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“Dammit, I guess we are out for tonight,” Aphiso notices her body radiating. “H…Hey, how are we going to lower the prison now!?” Colin examines the altar, but it was completely cracked and does not seem to be working any more. “The mission said ‘lower the prison’,” Sarin mutters, “Don’t worry! We’ll manage!!!!” “How!?” Sophia asks, snapping another photo of the shadows. “I know!!! Colin! Shoot the prison!!!” Leina suggests. “Dude! That’ll ‘destroy’ the prison! Not bring it down!!!” Colin argues, firing another bolt at the shadows. “We’ll have to cut the chains holding it!!!” Sarin explains, “You guys hold the shadows here! I’ll go up stairs and cut it!!!!” “Alone!? Are you kidding!?” Sophia dodges a smack from the shadow and blasts another flash, stunning it. “There’s no more time!!! Ten minutes will be over soon! We’re their only hope!!!!” Sarin explains and slashes the shadow approaching her. “Sarin, please take care!” Cheryl pleads and vanishes away with Aphiso and Leina. “Sophia! Help me clear the way!!” Sarin kicks the shadow approaching her from behind. The brunette taps her Flash button again, making the shadows stagger. That moment, Sarin rushes through the shadow’s line and leaves the room. A shadow tries to follow her, but Colin creates a barricade that prevents the shadow from following her. “We’re your opponent!” Colin aims his arrows at that shadow.

< Sarin left the party> [Party Link Modified] Leader: Sophia G.Lv. 4 Member 1: Colin G.Lv. 3

Meanwhile…The Last Passage…Underground Shrine… Opening the door with several charms pasted on it, the party found a spiral staircase leading further down. “This looks pretty deep,” Ramsley comments while looking down. “Come on! Let’s go!” Jack moves on ahead down the staircase when suddenly several ghostly hands sticks out from the wall. “Oh crap!!!” Tim gulps as he saw the hands. However, despite having several ghostly hands hovering around, only one ghostly woman steps out from the wall.


“What the!? Those belong to her!?” Greg readies his camera. Suddenly, a hand flies into the face of the teen, making him falls to the ground. “Greg!!!” Jack, and Tim turn to their friend. “I’m fine!!!” Greg quickly raises his camera again, “Wha!? What the!? What are these hand marks!?” The shutter hole of the camera was covered with several hand shaped stains, clogging up the views. “Damn, we shouldn’t waste any more time!!!” Jack puts on his headphones. +The Rift…it must not spread…must…stop…the rift…+

Original Skill Entry! Thousand Fists Crafted from: The voices of Yashuu Kuze, who has been corrupted by the Rift and drowned in misery and shame. Description: Launch a single punch with the strength of a thousand punches in one. [Detonate Smash

->

Thousand Fists]

The ghostly hands extend from the woman and attempt to catch the teen. Luckily he is able to dodge the attacks, but it keeps him off the offensive side. “Damn! This won’t do me much good if I can’t punch her!” Jack curses as he leaps down the stairs dodging the hands, “Tim!!! You go on ahead! We’ll take care of this!!!!” “Got it!!! You guys be careful!!!” Tim quickly rolls away from the hands that woman threw at him and rushes down the stairs. The boy descends the stairs, quickly but cautiously. As he reaches the foot of the spiral stairs, he looks up at the huge double stone door standing in front of him. “Let’s get this on!!!”

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Chapter 48 Mission: Above lies the sleeping quarters of the Tattoo Priestess that can be lowered only when the lullaby is played. Play the tunes and lower the prison.

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Blind Room…

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Sarin quickly ascends the stairs to her right, heading up through the Library area. Opening the small door in the library, she enters the Flickering Hallway. The hall is divided into three sections, each separated with a paper screen. The lights bulbs in the room keep flickering on and off, explaining the name of the area. However, as Sarin steps into the middle of the room, she found herself frozen in place. Chills run down her spine as her body froze in place. She senses a hostile intention lurking somewhere in the room but she cannot see it. The flickering lights in the room only make everything worse. “I…can’t move…,” Sarin whispers, struggling to break free from the paralysis. Suddenly, she could feel a cold touch, caressing her bare thighs. “What the?” the girl thought as fear spreads through her whole body – Something is trying to possess her body!!! A Shaman is vulnerable to spiritual influences and possession. This completely slipped her mind since she has been traveling in a party for too long. “N…No…,” she cries as the cold touch climbs up her body. The worst part is she cannot even turn her head to look at whatever is touching her. After a moment of fear, everything becomes clearer as the presence rises up to her eye level. It was the Crawling Woman she fought in the attic! The woman makes a creepy grin at Sarin. She sticks out her tongue and starts licking the girl’s cheek. “N…Noooo!!!!” Sarin struggles even more to move, but her body is completely paralyzed. Tears start welling up in her eyes. “Aaaaaa…aaaa…aaa,” the woman seems to want to say something, but only gibberish sound came out. “S…Someone…help me…?” the silver haired girl cries inside, desperately asking for help. Suddenly, the cold touch left her body and she is freed. Her knees fall to the ground as she trembles in fear. The Crawling Woman was repelled away several meters from her. Sarin raises her head up and notices a ghostly man standing in front of her. “…Koga…,” the girl whispers his name. “I’m sorry I couldn’t make it here faster,” the ghostly man speaks with a sad voice, “I wish I could have told you about this game earlier. But my soul was too weak to manifest.” “It’s okay…It’s not your fault,” the girl replies, “I…I just wanted to see you again.” “I understand,” the ghostly teen looks down in shame.


All of the sudden, the Crawling Woman rapidly gets back on all four and glares at both of them. “Asanuma Kiriko…Poor girl. She witnessed the whole murder scene,” Koga whispers. “Murder…?” Sarin asks. “I used to listen to her voice. She was hiding in the closet when the bandits attacked her home and killed her family. She joined the game in hopes of bringing them back and taking revenge on the bandits. But she gave in to hatred, and the tattoo curse turns her into a monster,” Koga explains. “That’s horrible,” the silver haired girl grits her teeth. “…Can you stand?” Koga asks his fiancée. “Yeah,” Sarin gets back up standing. “Use my power. Form a synchro with me,” said Koga, “After the ‘extraction’, I’m finally strong enough to lend my strength to a Shaman.” “Extraction?” Sarin tilts her head puzzlingly. “I’ll explain later. Synchronize with me now!” the ghostly man said. Sarin closes her eyes and reaches for Koga’s ghostly hand. His body radiates a pale light as a bond between them forms.

Spirit Synchro Entry! Wandering Fiance (Koga Kitamura) Description: The spirit of the unfortunate young man who joins the Game of Despair. He became a victim of the game’s curse and had been wandering the halls of the manor.

Skills:

• [Armor of Wind] Covers the shaman with slow but strong wind current, circling five swords around the Shaman. • <Blade Shot> Throw the five swords at enemy at once. The blade must return before it can be used again. • <Spiral Cutter> Propel blade up around self, attacking any spirits that attempts to approach. “Woah,” Sarin is a little surprise as a warm wind current slightly lifts her up from the ground. Five swords appear circling around her. “Let’s go,” Koga’s voice whispers beside her ears. “Yeah,” Sarin nods. The Crawling Woman screams and sprints at the girl in all four. Sarin hovers back away from the

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woman’s smack and waves her hand, slashing the woman’s left front leg off. The woman’s face is filled with surprised as she jumps back onto the partition screen. “What’s the matter?” Sarin smiles and daringly wiggles her finger at the woman.

Meanwhile…Abyss of the Horizon…

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“I’m finally here,” Tim gulps loudly as he carefully approaches the double stone doors slightly ajar in front of him. The door is extremely heavy so he could only move it just barely for him to squeeze inside. “This must be the Chamber of Thorns,” Tim mutters to himself. The room is extremely dark and he cannot see in front of him clearly. Nevertheless, he still bravely ventures inside with a steady step. As he keeps moving inside, he caught a small glimpse of pale blue light, shimmering in the darkness. Tim approaches the light curiously but immediately halts when he accidentally kicks onto something. Suddenly, the pale light flashes brighter and the boy could finally see his surroundings. His eyes widen in fear as he witnesses several tattoo priestess impaled on all four covering the room. On the floor. On the walls. And even on the ceiling. Several priestesses lie all over the room, sleeping their eternal sleep. “Oh crap…,” Tim gulps, “I…I have to find Reika and impale her…” He keeps looking around the room, looking for the last priestess. At the same spot where he saw the pale blue light, he found the body of a young man, lying next to a priestess. “This must be her,” Tim thought, “Her boyfriend was murdered in front of her. This must be it!” He approaches both of them carefully, not wanting to accidentally wake any priestess. However, his face turns pale as he got closer to both of them. On the limbs of the priestess are four stakes exactly identical to the one he is holding – Reika was already impaled! “N…No way…,” Tim shudders, “This can’t be…” Suddenly, the stakes start moving. It slowly lifts itself up from the ground, freeing the priestess’s impaled limb. Not only Reika’s stakes are lifted, but all the other priestesses’ stakes as well. “N…No…No!!!!” Tim turns around and heads for the exit. However, the heavy stone door closes at his face as he approaches it.

Meanwhile…The Last Passage…Spiral Staircase… “Damn! My camera doesn’t seem to be working!” Greg shakes his Camera Obscura up and down, but the hand-shaped stains would not go off. “Now this is really bothersome,” Ramsley fires his Four-Pointed Well key at the hands that attempts to approach him and Greg. “We’ll have to handle the lady! She’s the one summoning these demonic hands!” Jack explains to his friends. “Well then young man! You take care of her! I will try my best to cover while you approach her!” Ramsley pulls out his Simulacrum Mask and activates it. After that, he aims at the hands surrounding the


Kuze Mistress, dispersing them. Jack immediately approaches the Kuze Mistress and raises his fist. However, the ghostly woman quickly resummons some more demonic hands and shoots it at the teen. Jack took a full hit from four punches straight, making the lady grins in satisfaction. However, to her surprise, the teen’s fist continues its way straight into her face, as several more fists emerge from behind the teen and rapidly punches her as well.

[Hyper Resonance] Tutorial [Hyper Resonance] is VM – Jack’s special ability, unique to him and only him. Under [Hyper Resonance] state, Jack gains twice the normal endurance, boosting his defense and preventing him from stagger while he is attacking. Also, while under this state, some Original Skills gain different effect and behavior. This special is available if and only if Jack is in a full party and the sum of the members’ Game Levels is equal to or more than 15. Hyper Resonance lasts for 5 minutes and cannot be used again for the next 3 minutes. The ghostly woman slowly rises up, gritting her teeth at the teen who is wagging his index finger at her daringly. “Come on, what’s wrong? Let’s see who have more hands to use!” Jack taunts and readies his battle stance again.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Flickering Hallway… The woman pouts and screams before sprinting at Sarin again. The silver haired girl snaps her right index finger and thumb. On her command, the swords surrounding her disappeared and immediately reappear, raining down on the woman. Unfortunately, the woman was too fast and the swords ended up pinning only her hind legs. But even then, she struggles to break free from the swords and waggles her hands, trying to catch the girl. Sarin is hovering above ground, so the woman could not reach her at all. The remaining three swords that did not impale Kiriko return to circle around Sarin once more. The silver haired girl snaps her fingers again and the three swords disappear once more. This time, the swords rise from the ground and pierce the woman’s chest. Her voice falls down her throat as her eyes rolled up in agony. She tries to fight against the pain, but in the end, her body is exorcized and slowly disperses away. “Phew,” Sarin sighs in relief and lands down on the ground. At that moment, a new message was sent to her cell phone, “What now?”

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Opening the message, her eyes are widened in surprise. A hastily written text message saying “RETREAT!!!” was shown along with an image file of a tattoo priestess with four stakes impaled on her limbs. “I…It didn’t work!?” Sarin exclaims in shock. “It wouldn’t work,” Koga reappears next to the girl, “Reika was already impaled when the Unleashing occurred.” “Why!? Why did the Unleashing occurred then!?” Sarin’s face turns pale, “…And…how are we going to stop this game now!?” “There is still a way,” Koga explains, “But now is not the time. You need to save your friend. I’ll tell you about it later.” Sarin gasps, and immediately heads out of the Flickering Hallway, into the Hanging Prison balcony. Right below the balcony is the Tattoo Altar where Sophia and Colin are still fighting against the shadows. Sophia heard the door’s voice from above, so she turns up and notice Sarin standing on the balcony. “Sarin!!!! Drop the prison now!!!!” the brunette urges the silver haired girl. The prison is higher up on the ceiling. With the mechanism no longer working, her only choice is to cut the chains and makes the prison drop down. Sarin switches to Koga’s synchro once more, and leaps upward into the air. She swings her hand as hard as she can and sends one of the swords at the chains. It was a success. The sword cuts the chain and drops the prison down.

Player Deleted

Tim

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

Sarin G.Lv. Ramsley G.Lv. Austin G.Lv. Rokej G.Lv. Colin G.Lv. Sophia G.Lv.

4 5 6 6 4 6

A pale light radiates from Sophia and Colin, taking them away from the Tattoo Altar just before the prison falls down and crumbles the whole room.


Somewhere else in the Realm of Dreams… “Hehe, stupid humans,” Incognito laughs as he lies back on the couch. “Serves them right,” the man with big glowing yellow eyes smiles with satisfaction. Suddenly, the wooden door slides open and the man in white robe enters the room. “Welcome back, Master,” Incognito and the other Player Killers quickly kneel down before the man in white robe. “How was the surprise I had in store?” the man in white robe laughs, “I was a little afraid they’ll find out about it when I had the handmaidens purposely lose to them.” “It was perfect sire,” Latner praises his master. “With two of their comrades taken out, they’ll probably sink into deeper despair,” the man in white robe chuckles and sits down on his throne. “Wouldn’t that hinder our ‘Extraction’ process?” Incognito asks. “No. The ex-Reaper King and Jack are at level 6. Tomorrow’s night will be a giveaway mission and they WILL reach level 7,” the man in white robe lowers his hood and fondles with his earrings, “One of them HAS to have the earrings.”

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Chapter 49 Rokej’s Mansion…Study…

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The remaining 12 players sit down quietly, not knowing what to say to each other. The operation was a failure – Not only they could not stop the Game of Despair, but they lost two of their valuable comrades. “…This is all my fault…,” Roke is the first to break the depressing silence, “The Impaling Ritual serves the purpose of ‘sealing’, as in ‘preventing’, the Rift from leaking. But since the Rift has already leaked, the Impaling the same priestess again means nothing.” “Don’t blame yourself, Roke,” Colin taps onto Roke’s shoulder. “Yeah. The three of us researched and planned this out together. Colin and I also share the blame,” Greg explains. “But still, I was the head of this operation,” Roke insists, “I should have realized something was wrong when those handmaidens let us off so easily. But I did not bother to bring it up.” “I…It’s okay, Roke…,” Sophia tries to comfort him, “We tried what we thought was the best and all of us agreed with the plan.” “…Sophia is right,” Aphiso adds. Roke seems to be a little surprised. “Even I myself thought that the plan was perfect,” Aphiso explains, “Those handmaidens put up a fight and even got one of us. I can’t blame you for not bothering with it.” “Y…Yeah, man! All of us believed and placed our trust on you. You did your best,” Leina adds. “Thanks guys,” Roke makes a sad smile. “Hey. Do you guys think that what that Reevers guy said was a lie after all this time?” Cheryl suggests. “You mean like, that whole reel thing was the Game Master’s doing, trying to throw us off?” Austin asks. “It’s possible,” Ramsley nods, “We never met this Reevers in person. Not to mention that he told us to not look for him.” “So, you’re suggesting that this Reevers could actually be one of the Player Killers trying to trick us?” Teal wonders. “That’s possible. He even knew that the Player Killers cannot decipher his code,” Greg agrees. “Um, guys. No offense but I think we should just forget about that for now. We should discuss what we should be doing after this,” Jack interrupts, “Whether or not that whole reel was a lie or Reevers is a Player Killer, we have to come up with a plan. I still don’t think we hit a dead end yet.” “I agree with Jack,” Roke adds. “Yeah. There’s no point dwelling in what happened,” Sophia agrees. “Well, Koga did say there’s still some hope left,” Sarin explains, “I never get to listen to him because I


have to lower that prison. If I only did it sooner, Tim wouldn’t…” The silver haired girl hugs her arms and looks down in guilt. “Even with a plan, we were still thrown off,” Aphiso states, “I can’t picture how we would come off if we barge into that manor without a plan.” “She’s right. Many of us are on level 6. One more mission and we’re screwed,” Austin grits his teeth bitterly. “We don’t have much option at this point,” said Colin, “All we can do is wait for tonight and hope that we can get a better lead.” “For now, let’s just go home,” Roke stands up, “From tonight on, anything can happen to all of us. Spend as much time with your family in case anything unfortunate has to happen.” “C…Come on, Roke. Don’t jinx it,” Sophia frowns, “How many times do I have to tell you that?” “I’m sorry, but I really can’t be optimistic on this,” Roke crosses his arms, “Ramsley, see the guests off. I’ll go look up my researches to see if there is anything else that I missed.” “Understood, master,” Ramsley stands up and gives Roke a polite bow as he leaves the room. Sophia makes a sad face as she watches him leaves the room. “Just leave him be,” Aphiso walks over to her sister. However, the tone of her voice was not suggesting to ‘ignore him’ like how she would normally sound. Sophia could just tell that she is concerned for the purple haired teen as well. “I don’t know Roke like you do, but I can tell when he is serious and when he’s not.” “H…How … did you…? I mean…when…----“ “I’ve always been observing him,” Aphiso interrupts, “Like I told him before, I’ll keep a close eye on him. I have to make sure he’s a worthy guy for you after all.” “I…see…,” Sophia looks down. “Let’s just go home,” Aphiso suggests. “Hey sis,” Sophia stands up, closely following her sister out of the room, “I’m sorry I yelled at you.” Aphiso sighs, “That was like two days ago. I’m not mad at you anymore.” “……So you WERE mad at me,” Sophia glares at her sister. “Of course I’m mad. You yelled at me when I’m concerned about you, remember?” Aphiso glares back. “Yeah. But you were intentionally picking on Roke,” Sophia insists. “……Well…I guess I was really a little too hard on him sometimes,” Aphiso sighs and opens the mansion’s door. “See you guys later!” Leina waves at everyone in front of the mansion as everyone goes on their separate ways. Roke’s mansion is located up on the hill in the middle of the town, so everyone’s houses are on a completely different directions. “Bye Leina,” Sophia waves at the crimson haired teen, along with other friends before leaving with her sister. As they stroll down the hill, Aphiso speaks some more.

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“To be honest, Sophia,” she begins, “I’m…jealous of Roke.” “Huh? What for?” Sophia raises her eyebrows in surprise. “Remember those days when you were bullied?” Aphiso asks. “…Yeah. Didn’t wanna talk about it,” Sophia sighs. “You would come back home every day, crying about how no one at school loves you. You will always hug me and cry to your sleep. I love being there for you,” Aphiso explains, “But…when you were magically resurrected, Roke came into your life.” Sophia turns around to her sister. “As a little girl who never opens her heart to any one, you love and trust your life with Roke. Frankly speaking, I was afraid of being replaced,” Aphiso turns her head up to the evening sky. This has always been her method of chasing the tears back into her eyes. She used it so much that once she does that, it is a dead giveaway that she is crying. “From a little girl who never trust anyone aside from your big sis, you’ve grown up to be the young lady who is ready to face anything,” Aphiso continues, “I stood at the same place, turning into a shadow of the past. I still wanted to be the big sis you cling on too. That was why I was afraid that Roke would take my place.”

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Suddenly, she could feel her arm being pinched so she gives a little cry. “Hey, what’s that for!!?” Aphiso looks down at her sis, but stops in surprise when Sophia hugs her. “You’re silly,” Sophia whispers. Her voice is obvious that she is trying her best not to sob, “Roke is Roke. And you are you. You will always be my big sis who I look up to. Roke can never take your place.” The girl backs away and wipes her tears, “I mean, I love Roke. But that has nothing to do with him replacing you. I know that when I am in trouble, both of you will definitely come running for me.” Aphiso smiles and pats her sister’s head, “Thanks.” “Glad we’re clear on this,” Sophia giggles, “So don’t pick on Roke again, okay?” “That depends on how he acts in front of me from now on,” Aphiso turns away. “Heyyyyy. Then I was emotional for no reason!!!” Sophia frowns. “Haha. Let’s go home,” Aphiso holds her sister’s hand. “Only after you treat me jumbo fruit parfait,” Sophia teases. “Challenge accepted,” Aphiso smiles back to her sister.

Meanwhile…Santo Fes Hospital… Teal changes the flowers in the vase and closes the curtains since the sunset ray was shining on the boy’s eyes. “I had a really depressing adventure last night,” Teal sits down next to her boyfriend’s bed, “Wanna know what it was about?”


A beep was heard from the respirator. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’,” Teal giggles, “We tried to end this nightmare. But it turns out all was in vain. Two of our friends died and we couldn’t end it.” Another beep emerges from the respirator. “Yeah, I’m completely down in the dumps,” Teal frowns, “You know, I really don’t know what’s worse any more, between being fooled that I can make a magical wish or continue on living knowing that you might never wake up.” Tears start to flow down her eyes. “Come on. Don’t just lie down there. Say something,” the girl sobs, “……I guess you won’t really understand. It’s not easy trying to cope with the fact that you might have to be wandering that place for eternity, you know.” Suddenly, the door opens up and two unexpected guests enter the room. “…Austin…? And Cheryl?” Teal raises her eyebrow and wipes her tears. “Hey. We passed by and thought you might be here,” Austin makes a nervous smile. Cheryl approaches Teal and gives her a small bouquet of flower. Teal smiles and puts the bouquet inside the same vase. It is not very big so there is still some room for it to fit in. “Austin briefed me about what happened to your boyfriend. Sorry to hear about that,” Cheryl hugs her friend. “It’s okay,” Teal forces a smile. “Guess we came at the right time,” Austin mutters. “Right time to see me cry?” Teal frowns. “Nah, not really. But you seem pretty down at Roke’s,” Austin explains, “I knew you are feeling down. So as the womanizer, it is my job to----“ “Excuse me, I was the one who dragged you here,” Cheryl pouts. “Ah. Arh. Errr…My apologies,” Austin sits down at the visitor’s couch quietly. Teal giggles at the blonde teen’s reactions, slightly lightening the mood in the room. “I thought about what I should be fighting for after this too,” said Cheryl. Teal is a little surprised her friend knew what she was thinking. “I probably haven’t told you this yet since we didn’t have much chance to talk, but I joined this game to bring back my dead brother,” Cheryl explains. “What happened to him?” “Cancer.” “I see. Sorry to hear about that,” said Teal. “I almost lost sight of my hope when I knew The Blessing was a lie too,” Cheryl adds, “It was a slap in the face. We were taken advantage from our sadness and desperation. The worst part is we can’t do

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anything about it.” “……Yeah,” Teal nods. “I kept thinking about what I should be doing after last night’s mission failed and I honestly thought about giving up too,” Cheryl speaks further, “But I didn’t want to die. I still want to live.” “I don’t think anyone wants to die,” Teal sighs. “Exactly,” Cheryl replies, “I don’t want to die with regret. Amane, the girl that has been lending her powers to me, said we have something alike. She wants to help her brother just like me.” “Really? That’s a funny coincidence,” Teal giggles. “That is why I told myself I will cling on to whatever hope there is left,” Cheryl explains, “At least I want to help Amane do whatever she wants me to do, so her soul could rest in peace. That is what kept me fighting.” “I see…you are so strong,” Teal smiles genuinely and looks at Austin, “What about you? I know you wanna share something.” “Man, am I THAT easy to read?” Austin scratches his head embarrassedly, “I haven’t told Leina and you about this yet, but Emily gave me a call.” “Oh, that’s good for you,” Teal congratulates her friend. “She said she’ll come give me a visit during spring break,” Austin adds, “That is why I’ll keep holding on to any hopes that is left. I made a promise to see her again after all.” “Wow, that sounds so cool of you,” Cheryl teases. “Never thought you can have a cool emotional moment,” Teal agrees. “Hey, that’s not nice!” Austin frowns. “In any case, that’s why we came here today,” Cheryl stands up, “We’re friends and we look out for each other.” “Thanks,” Teal stands up as well. “So! No more frowning and being depressed, okay!?” Austin gives a big smile. “Let’s see through this nightmare to the end together,” Cheryl proposed. “Yeah. Thanks guys,” Teal smiles again as both of them leave the room. The girl wipes her tears and takes a deep breath, walking back to the sleeping handsome. “…Hold on to whatever hope that is left…huh?” Teal mumbles, “It was because of ‘Hope’ that I entered the ‘Game of Despair’ after all, didn’t I? That’s rather ironic.” The girl giggles to herself and turns to her boyfriend. She bends down and kisses him on the cheek. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to cry over this anymore. I will fight to the end together with everyone. You better wake up when I’m done,” Teal softly pinches the boy and leaves the room.


Chapter 50 Mission: In the manor lurks a shadow, the true self. Overcome the fear and face yourself.

Special Rule:

Party links are not allowed.

All Party Links has been severed…

Jack’s Skills Thunder Uppercut Mirage Screen Pyro Crash Thousand Fists

Rokej’s Skills Demon Fist Mirror Wall

Reflect Raid Illusion Leap

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hearth Room… The Impalement Team from last night enters the manor through the main entrance at the Foyer and regroups with the Prison Team at the Hearth Room. “More than half of our crew is already at level 6,” Roke crosses his arms, “Since their goal is obviously to get us to level 7, I am highly certain they won’t be sending the Player Killers out tonight.” “So what should we do? Did you know anything more from researching yesterday?” Greg asks. “No. I got nothing at all,” Roke sighs, “There is absolutely nothing related to actions to pursue if the Rift were to spread.” “Say Sarin, have you seen your fiancé yet?” Teal asks. “No. He hasn’t show up at all,” Sarin explains, “I’ll go back to the Hanging Prison. Maybe he is waiting for me there.” “You go to the Prison then. I’ll go look around the Library in case I over looked something,” Roke volunteers. “I’m going with Roke,” said Sophia. “I’ll be on the mission,” Aphiso leans against the screen nearby, “Roke. I trust that you’ll take good care of Sophia.” “…Yeah, I will. Don’t worry sis. Nothing will be laying a finger on her,” Roke replies. “I’ll just walk around to manor to look for some relics to use then,” said Austin. “I’ll go with you,” Teal volunteers, “I don’t have anything better to do. Who knows I might find a nice lens to use while at it.” “Yeah, cool! So it’s a date!?” “Austin, how many times do I have to tell you I already have a boyfriend,” Teal pouts at the boy. “I guess I’ll be looking for more info with Roke then,” Greg said. “Me too. Information is my specialty anyway,” Colin laughs. “I’ll go to Doll Altar South,” said Cheryl, “I want to look for Amane.” “Okay then. Greg and Colin, you guys look for info at the Library. Sophia and I will cover the Tatami Hallway,” Roke suggests. “I guess we all have a heading. Let’s move out,” said Greg.

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The players then went on their separate ways towards their own heading, leaving Jack, Sarin, and Leina in the Hearth Room. “…Oh, Leina? Any place you wanna go?” Jack asks the crimson haired teen. “Well, I’m not at level 6 yet, so I’ll go hunt for the doppelganger. It’ll probably be an easy fight since I don’t have any special flashy moves like you guys,” Leina laughs. “Hey. Don’t say that,” Sarin comforts the teen, “That teleporting stab on the Player Killer was badass.” “Thanks, Sarin. But I could do it only because Colin and Aphiso pinned him down,” Leina sighs, “You got a heading, don’t you? See you around later!” “Hey, wait!” Sarin tries to catch the teen, but he left off before she could, “…I…guess it’s just the two of us again.” The silver haired girl turns to her friend. “You’re gonna go see Koga, right?” Jack asks. “Y…yeah…,” Sarin feels a little uncomfortable, “L…Look Jack. I ---” “I won’t be in your way when you guys are talking. So just go,” said Jack, “I’ll just walk around the manor for the mean time.” “N…No…That’s not what I…” “You don’t have to say it. I understand. I’ll just wait around here and----“ “Argh, would you shut up and listen!?” the girl screams in frustration, making the teen gulps his own words, “Look. I know that there is no more bringing Koga back, but I’ll be lying if I say I’m completely over him.” “Well, that’s why I want you to---.” “But I’m too scared to be alone,” the girl interrupts him, “Last night…I was almost possessed. Luckily, Koga came for me. I don’t know if I’ll be lucky again.” “Is that all the reason you want me to go with you?” “I want you to be with me,” the girl corrects him, “It’s not just about my safety, Jack. I…I just want to know I have someone who is going to be there for me.” Jack keeps quiet, not knowing what to say. “So please…I’m begging of you…Please come with me … and give me some more time…,” the girl pleads. “Under one condition,” the teen sighs, “I won’t be in the room when you guys are talking.” “Well…Okay…,” Sarin nods. “He was at the Hanging Prison last time, right? Let’s get going.” “Yeah. Thanks Jack.” Jack simply keeps quiet and leads the girl into the Tatami Hallway.


Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Tatami Hallway… “You know, this is really depressing,” Roke sighs and places his forehead against the bookshelf. “Huh? Why?” Sophia tilts her head puzzlingly. “Well, two of our friends are taken out, three if you count Mike. We placed our hope on that last operation, but it did not work. Frankly speaking, I’m sort of discouraged,” Roke sighs some more. “I didn’t have time to discuss this with you since we haven’t been together alone for a while, but have you asked Viola to do something about this?” Sophia asks. “Of course I did. She was the first I turned to when I knew the Blessing was a farce,” Roke replies, “But you know Reapers. Our main job is to take humans life, not give life.” “I see. That’s too bad,” Sophia mutters. “I’m not at the point where I feel like giving up yet. But with things not looking good like this, it’s really hard to build up the morale,” Roke crosses his arms. Suddenly, he felt a peck on his cheek, making him jump a little. “Does that build some morale back?” the girl giggles and throws her arms around his neck. “…Nah. Give me more,” the teen smiles cunningly. So the girl moves closer and gives him a passionate kiss on his lips. “How’s that?” Sophia giggles. “Yeah. That kinda helps a lot,” Roke laughs shyly. “You know, part of the reason I really like you is because you’ve always been dependable,” said Sophia, “Back at the Reaper’s Game, all of us appointed you as the leader because we trusted you. You are the person that everyone just knew that they’ll be all right when they’re in your hands.” “Uh…well…the situation is not really like back then,” Roke scratches his cheek, “I mean…Back then, I was a Reaper and I know very well about the structure of the game, so I could tell what we have to do.” “That has nothing to do with why we appointed you as a leader,” Sophia pokes the teen’s nose, “You are brave, Roke. I don’t know about others, but Leina and I never lost faith in you. Back when we know that you are the head of the Reapers, we still believe that deep down there you would still return to us. So you shouldn’t lose faith in yourself too.” Roke hugs the girl back, “Ha. I guess it’s not like me to mope around after all.” “Yeah. You’re always confident, cocky, and full of life. Don’t frown on me. I don’t like emo guys,” Sophia laughs and kisses him again. “Well, that was refreshing,” Roke smiles cheekily. “That’s enough morale boosts. Now get back to those shelves and look for some info!” the girl pushes him playfully. “Yes, my lady,” Roke scratches his cheek before turning back to the shelves, “Hm…?” “What is it?” Sophia tilts her head. “…I found something interesting…,” Roke replies, taking out a small book with a camera lens inserted in it.

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[Echo Earrings] Tome The mythical stone earrings passed down in the Kuze House. It was said to be crafted from a mysterious stone that has a very sensitive reaction to voices, especially those of the spirits’. There used to be an abundant source of such stones, but it has been lost forever due to landslide. The stones were carved into a pair of earrings, and were said to have been tuned at the same voice frequency – Allowing the wearer of one earring to hear the voice of the other. It is also said to have to power to listen to the voice of spirits.

Camera Lens Entry [Explode]

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Description: The upgrade lens with the word ‘Explosion’ engraved on it. Effect: Tremendously boosts the power of a shot against spirits. If the shot is successful, the damage spreads over to all spirits nearby, even if they are not in the capture circle. The lens does not consume spirit power if taken with a Shutter Chance or Fatal Frame shot, but ends a Fatal Frame chains prematurely if used during a Fatal Frame. “Echo Earrings?” Roke mutters. “I remember reading the Calico Notebook Jack found. I think one of them fell into the darkness of the Rift when the Unleashing occurred,” Sophia explains, “Could this be what the Game Master and Player Killers are looking for?” “That’s my thought, exactly,” Roke replies, “The question is why? And what does it have to do with getting players to Level 7?” “That’s true,” Sophia agrees, “And what does the Game Master intend to do with the earrings?” Roke just keeps quiet. The girl immediately knows that he probably has an idea or a lead about something already. “You thought of something?” she asks just to be sure. “…I think so. But I’m still not really sure yet. I have to check the Headphones Graveyard out again,” Roke explains. “Well, we got a lead! Let’s get moving!” Sophia cheers and grabs the purple haired teen’s arm.


Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep B1…Doll Altar South… “Amane?” Cheryl sticks her head into the room after walking down from the Grand Staircase. The small confining room is quiet and eerie as usual. Several hundred red paper dolls are nailed on the walls, sending the chills down the spine every time someone sees it. The altar that used to be the resting place for the tattoo stakes has been left the way she remembered since the last time she visited. “I guess you’re not here. It’ll be a little too obvious,” Cheryl sighs, thinking about where to look for Amane. “What do you need me for?” a girl’s voice unexpectedly echoes behind Cheryl, giving her a jump. “Woah!? Oh, it’s you,” Cheryl sighs in relief once she saw the familiar ghostly girl standing behind her. “If you need my powers, you should just have synchronized with me, instead of calling out to me like this,” said Amane. “Well, I have some other matters to ask you,” Cheryl replies. “Hm? What is it?” the ghostly handmaiden tilts her head puzzlingly. Despite having ghostly features, such as pale skin, transparent body, and dark eyes, she is actually a very cute girl. The most notable feature that distinguishes her from other handmaidens, appearance-wise, is her twin-braided pigtails. “It’s about what you told me earlier – that you need my help on something,” Cheryl explains. Amane’s face frowns sadly in an instant. “O…Oh…I’m sorry. Did I ask the wrong question?” Cheryl flustered upon seeing her frown. “No. I was the one who asked you to help me, so sooner or later I have to tell you anyway,” Amane sighs, “You’ve probably already know what this house was used for in the past, right?” “Yeah. I heard there was some ritual being performed here to ease the pain of those who lost something precious,” Cheryl replies. “That is right. Long story short, the shrine of Kuze creates Tattoo Priestess to take on the pains of those who lost something precious. Once the priestess has tattoo filled on her bodies, she is impaled in the Chamber of Thorns, where she will sleep eternally and take all the pain to the other side with her. Because this ritual involves tampering with souls, it is extremely dangerous and requires the priestess to be a true pure maiden,” Amane summarizes the job of the Kuze House. It is rather funny how everything her friends were researching for weeks can be summarized in just a few minutes, “Male visitors, aside from those who came to offer the pain, are accepted into this manor only for the purpose of bearing an heir. After that, they are to leave the manor.” Cheryl listens to the ghostly girl attentively, nodding at times to show her that she is listening. “My big brother, Kaname, was a forbidden child. Mother sends him to the village down the mountains for his own safety because men are not allowed in the manor. She gave him an Echo Earrings so he can hear her voice where ever he is,” Amane explains further, “After Akito, Kaname’s father, left the manor, another man was brought into the manor to produce another heir with mother. I am the baby.” “So…both of you have different father?” Cheryl asks.

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“Yes. Even so, I wanted to see him so much. I was raised as a handmaiden so I’ve never been to the outside much. When Reika, the recent Tattoo Priestess, was brought in, I was given the duty to care for her. Because of that, we talked together a lot. She would tell me about what the outside world looks like,” Amane continues, “One day, I noticed Reika carrying an earring that looks exactly like my mother. She said she got it from a good friend of hers. It was supposed to be a memento of his late mother.” “…Wait…so your brother---!?” “Kaname is Reika’s friend. Well, actually, their relationship is deeper than that, I could just tell,” Amane explains, “Kaname sneaks into the Kuze Shrine on the night that she will be impaled. It’s funny that of all the handmaidens, I, his little sister, was the one who caught him.” Amane gives a sad laugh. “When he said he came in for Reika, I knew right away that he must be Kaname,” Amane continues some more, “He wants to see Reika for the last time, and I’m sure she felt the same way. Once she goes into an eternal sleep, she will never wake up again. That was why I decided to lead him into the Chamber of Thorns.” “I see. No wonder Hisame labeled you as a ‘traitor’,” Cheryl whispers, as if talking to herself. “Hisame found out and called grandmother. She was extremely upset. And well, you know about the rest,” Amane sighs. “I’m sorry to hear about that,” Cheryl approaches the girl. “I didn’t even know if they get to see each other because I was holding the other handmaiden away from the Chamber,” Amane explains, “But of course, 3 against 1, I lost and was impaled.” The handmaiden shows Cheryl her palm, making her gasps in fright. There is a huge scar in the middle on it. “Hisame, Minamo, and even Shigure, who I thought understand me the most, are ruthless. They strictly follow the codes and every order given by grandmother,” Amane explains, “If only they let him see Reika, all of this might not have to happen.” “I understand,” Cheryl nods, “So…you want me to end this nightmare, right?” “Well, kind of, I guess,” Amane makes a nervous smile, “I want you to help me find my brother.” “Huh? Find Kaname’s spirit?” “Yes. Because he was right next to Reika when the Unleashing occurred, he was one of the first souls that was devoured,” Amane explains, “Reika is now corrupted by the Rift. She wanders the manor even though she was impaled. The only way to stop her, and the Rift, is to put her back to sleep.” “How do we do that? We thought about the same thing and tried to impale her too. But she was already impaled,” Cheryl asks. “You need to find Kaname. If it is his voice, I’m sure it will reach Reika,” Amane explains, “Once Reika regains her consciousness back from the Rift, we might be able to make her sleep peacefully once and for all.”


“I see. Don’t worry, Amane. I’ll tell my friends and have them help too!” Cheryl assures her. “Thanks. By the way, Cheryl, take that with you,” Amane points to a small vial of water standing in the corners of the altar, “You might not be able to manifest its powers, but I’m sure your friends might be able to use it.” “Okay,” Cheryl keeps the vial into her pocket, “I’ll be off now. Hope we see each other again!” “Please take care,” Amane smiles sadly before fading away, “I will be wandering around here since I have a force field preventing those three from entering this room. Come back if you need to find me.”

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Chapter 51 Mission: In the manor lurks a shadow, the true self. Overcome the fear and face yourself.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Staircase Hallway…

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“Shouldn’t we…you know…look for places that we’ll actually find something?” Austin scratches his cheek nervously. The staircase hallway is rather empty and eerie as it has always been ever since they’ve started this game. “I’ve never really been to this portion of the manor. I’m scared, but I’ve been going to several areas and haven’t got new stuffs to play with yet,” Teal explains. “Whatever you say then,” Austin sighs, “Really, I’ve been here for months now, and the chill still goes down my spine every time we are not walking in a crowd.” Teal ignores her friend when she notices a set of dresser at the end of the hallway. The girl approaches and examines it carefully. “A drawer? You think there’ll be awesome stuffs to use in here?” Austin pulls out the top drawer without a second thought. “…Aren’t you afraid something might jump out?” Teal glares at the blonde teen. “Uh…well…if there’s anything around us, your camera should already have said something,” Austin replies nervously. Teal looks into the drawer and found a small purple notebook hidden inside along with an old camera lens.

[Purple Diary 3] Akito has not come back ever since he left. Everyone disappears from the manor, leaving me behind alone. I feel so lonely. I’m always the one who is left here, combing my hair impatiently. No matter how much I comb my hair, no matter how much I concentrate my feelings, he never returns. Every time I put on the earrings, I could hear his voice; Kaname’s voice. I want to see him so badly. I wonder if he could hear my voices at all.


Camera Lens Entry [Zero] Description: The upgrade lens with the Kanji ‘Zero’ written on it. Effect: Consumes the spiritual power of the user to boost the power of a camera shot by twice the normal damage and adds a repel effect. If the Camera’s charge is at maximum level when the lens is activated, the boost increases to 3 times. Another x2 damage bonus is given if it is activated during a Shutter Chance or Fatal Frame. This effect also stacks with Camera User’s special ability [Double]. “Now that’s a nice lens,” Teal eagerly keeps it into her pocket, leaving the reading duty to Austin. “I felt like I’m slowly getting to know this woman,” Austin mutters. “What woman?” Teal looks at her friend doubtfully. “Hey, don’t look at me like that. It’s just that I already read her diary twice, and Ramsley told me he read her diary once too,” Austin replies, “I think she is the lady of this house. Not as in the ‘mistress’ though. She said she was confined in this manor like being in a prisoner.” “Wasn’t this her house?” Teal asks. “It’s supposed to be. But she was forbidden to leave,” Austin explains, “Ramsley said a random dude was brought in to make baby with her. She seems to like this guy, but he was forced to leave the manor since outsiders only serve the purpose of producing an heir.” “I see. That’s kind of sad,” Teal sighs, “It’s really horrible when you can’t be with the person you love.” “Yup. It sucks,” Austin sighs as well. As he pulls out another drawer, he feels cold air flowing out along with it. Confused, he takes a careful look into the dresser and notices a hole in it. There seems to be an area behind the dresser. “Hmmm,” Austin tries pushing the dresser to the side. It is heavy and rusty, so it took a while before it was completely moved out of the way. Behind where the dresser stood is a small wooden door. It is rather old and there are a few holes on it; that is probably where the cold air came from. Teal tries messing with the door. It is not locked. “Interesting,” Teal looks outside. It appears to be the balcony area above the Grave Courtyard. There is a small room at the other side of the balcony. “Let’s check it out,” Austin suggests

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Hanging Prison… After the players left the manor last night, everything in the manor was repaired and fixed back to the

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way it was. The room below is not crumbled down into rubble by the hanging prison. However, the strange thing is that the prison has been lowered to the 2nd floor level when last night it was still several ways higher up. Perhaps the manor was ‘fixed’ in a way that it was ‘intended’ to look like after the mission is completed. The hanging prison is empty. Inside the prison is a double futon, covering the whole prison’s floor. There are a few books inside the prison. Perhaps someone actually lives in this prison in the past. “There’s no one here,” Jack mutters. “Yeah,” Sarin nods and looks around, “Koga…I wonder what he wants to tell me…I mean…tell us.” “What did he say to you?” Jack asks. Sarin keeps quiet, trying to recall her conversation with Koga last night. “After the ‘extraction’, I’m finally strong enough to lend my strength.”

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“…Extraction…?” Sarin mutters. “What?” Jack is puzzled at her random murmur. “He said ‘after the extraction’ he is finally strong enough to lend me his strength,” Sarin repeats Koga’s words, “What could that ‘extraction’ means?” “…Could that ‘extraction’ be what the Game Master did to Mike?” Jack suggests, “Remember what Roke and the others told us about the Object Reading on Mike’s phone?” “They were looking for something in his earphones…,” Sarin recalls, “Could this mean…Koga cleared this game just like Mike?” “The Game Master is looking for something, and according to Reevers, the only way they can attain it is by making the players clear the game,” Jack mutters, “This must be the ‘extraction’ Koga was talking about.” “Then he must know what the Game Master is after!!!” Sarin suggests. “We’re not going any where if we wait for Koga here. Let’s go look for him in the manor,” Jack suggests. “Yeah!” Both teens then head back into the manor through the west door, entering into the Kimono Room. Surprisingly enough, the Kimonos that have been hanging in the room are now gone. As they look into the middle of the room, the teens saw a man with baggy pants standing in the middle of the Kimono Room, looking off to distance. “…Incognito!?” Jack exclaims. “Damn, and to think we wouldn’t have to see Player Killers today!” Sarin gets into her stance. “Hi there. You guys are finally here,” the Player Killer maliciously smiles at the teens, “I was a little bored and I thought I could use an exercise.” “…Sarin…,” a familiar voice echoes from beside Incognito. “Wha…Koga!?” Sarin exclaims as she notices a familiar looking ghostly young man lying near Incog-


nito. “Oh, yeah, this guy,” Incognito chuckles, “I bumped into him when he was heading for the Kimono Room. Kinda surprise me since not many spirits could survive the extraction.” “Damn you! What did you do to him!?” Sarin yelled. “Not much, really,” Incognito brushes his hair, “He picked a fight as soon as he saw me, so all I did was defend myself.” “What are you guys after!?” Jack screeches at the Player Killer. “Why should I tell you?” Incognito taunts, “You have crafted more skills, Jack. Last time the fight ended really fast. How about we go for another fight?” “Damn! And this is just what I’m afraid,” Jack grits his teeth, readying his stance like Sarin. “I’m fighting this guy too,” Sarin takes out her hatchet. “No, Sarin, you stay----.” “To be honest, I am still not very happy that you disguise as Koga,” Sarin ignores her friend, “So I’m going to clear this off the ledger.” “I’m not sure when I’ve been on your account, but whatever, this will be a good fight!” Incognito spreads his dark crow wings and gets into his battle stance.

Meanwhile…All God’s Village…Great Hall… Before the teen realizes it, he is already standing in the middle of the Great Hall. “…This place…,” the teen mutters to himself, “Ha…Maybe I’m really attached to this place, coming here without even realizing it.” He takes a look around the room and examines every little detail around it. The blood stains of victims. The broken down partitions. The cracks on the walls. Everything looks exactly like the Great Hall of Kurosawa House that he knew. He recalls his last adventure as well as the ordeal of leaving Roke to die once back at the Reaper’s Game. Not to mention that this is also the place that he fought Roke in his Reaper Form. Thinking about it, this room has more bad memories than a pleasant one. “…Now what do I do?” he mutters to himself, “Everyone looks so fired up. They have their reasons to move on. Not like me…” Leina leans against the walls nearby, “What am I fighting for now? I won the hard fought secondchance…but at what cost?” The crimson haired teen reaches into his pocket and takes out a small gemstone that was carved into a necklace’s pendant. He has always been carrying it with him everywhere ever since he came back from the Reaper’s Game. It is rather funny how the game allows him to bring it into this game, as if the tattoo alone was not enough to remind him why he joined this game in the first place. “I’m sorry. I guess there’s no way to bring you back after all,” Leina sighs, “Ain’t I pathetic? In the end, I haven’t achieved anything at all.”

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Suddenly, the teen was pushed away from the wall onto the middle of the Great Hall. “Dammit! What the heck----!?” Leina’s mouth dropped wide open as he sees a shadowy figure walking out from the wall behind him earlier. The shadow summons a spear and rushes at him. Leina quickly stands up and dodges the incoming thrust, as well as summoning his own spear. The teen tries to counter the menacing figure, however, it simply teleports to behind the teen and strikes him with the spear’s hilt. “D…Damn, I never knew the teleportation is THIS fast,” Leina mutters and tries to get up. The shadow smirks and swings his spear in circle, taunting the teen. Leina carefully notices the appearance of the shadow. The hair. The glasses. The facial structure. The shadow looks exactly like him. “God, this is really creepy,” Leina cringes and holds his spear with two hands. The doppelganger strikes the spear at Leina. He blocks the strike and attempts to counter with a thrust. However, the doppelganger was faster; he brushes the thrust away with the dull side of the spear and smacks Leina on his head, making him roll against the floor. The shadow jumps up, aiming to stab the teen from above. Leina quickly rolls away, dodging the stab just barely, and teleports away from the spot to gain some distance. “God, why is he so good!?” Leina grumbles. The shadow moves his arms, cracking some muscles before rushing at the teen again. It attacks with several rapid thrust, forcing Leina to constantly be on defense. But then, the shadow got the best of him by thrusting the dull side of the spear onto Leina’s stomach. The impact caused Leina’s synchronization to cancel, leaving him vulnerable for the second smack that sends him against the walls behind. “…I…Is this it…?” Leina mutters. The shadow smirks with satisfaction and approaches the teen with its spear. “…Ha…Ha…haha…I guess that’s all I can do,” Leina laughs at himself, “I…I’m so pathetic…” The shadow raises its spear, aiming for a fatal spot to poke. The surrounding also starts to lose its color, signifying the weakened Purifying Light. “Perfect. I guess I’ll be seeing you sometime soon…Sae…,” he whispers, “I’m sorry, Roke. Everyone…” Just as he closes his eyes, a strange sensation envelops him. He feels really light as if he was flying in the air. He curiously opens his eyes again but found that everything around him is plain white. “Eh…what?” he thought. “Now this is really disappointing. Who would have thought that my savior would end up in this state?” A girl’s voice echoes inside the teen’s head, startling him. “T…This voice…?” The teen was dumbstruck, not knowing what to say. “Really Leina. Do you really want to have your soul trapped and corrupted like I was?” “I…Well…I just…” “I don’t want anyone to end up like me; especially you, Leina,” the girl’s voice continues, “So please,


don’t take your life so lightly and give up like this.” “But I…I can’t…” “Argh. You haven’t even tried yet. Why are you saying you can’t do something!?” Leina was startled at her scream. “I could feel the souls trapped in this place. Maybe because that place has the memories of All God’s Village, that’s why I’m connected to it too.” “…Nah, I doubt that’s the case,” Leina replies, thinking about the fluorite he was holding on tightly. “Whatever the case, I don’t want this place to be trapped any more. Let’s free it together. Believe in yourself, Leina.” “…Yeah…Let’s do this.” Suddenly, the fluorite in the teen’s hand shines a menacing crimson glow and red miasma gushes from below the teen as he rises above the ground. The shadowy doppelganger jumps back in surprise and looks at the teen puzzlingly. “I don’t have any flashy moves like Roke, nor am I powerful like Sophia,” the teen moves his glasses up, “But there’s one thing you should know about me: I’m one of the toughest die-hard guy there ever was.”

Spirit Synchro Entry! Bloody Kimono Description: The spirit of the Twin Shrine Maiden who attains the power of the Hellish Abyss. She transcends the spiritual plane into the Game of Despair through her connection with the Fluorite.

Skills:

• [Miasma Screen] Covers the shaman with flock of red miasma, protecting the shaman against all sorts of assault. However, nullifying any damage will weakens the miasma. Miasma will automatically recover when the shaman is idle. • [Together as One] When in a Party Link, all members’ powers are twice boosted. • <Crimson Butterfly> Converts the miasma screen into butterfly-shaped energy shots and shoots at enemy. Shooting the shot temporarily reduce the intensity of miasma. Rapid fire is allowed as long as there is still some miasma left around the shaman.

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Chapter 52 Mission: In the manor lurks a shadow, the true self. Overcome the fear and face yourself.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Library…

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“Let’s see,” Greg takes out a book from the top shelf. “So I heard that you’re a paranormal investigator?” Colin asks. “Huh? Oh yeah,” Greg replies, “Is something wrong?” “Nah, I just wanna know how you do your investigation,” said Colin, “You seem rather young for an investigator. Don’t you have classes?” “Yeah, I’m still studying. But I do my investigations after classes and during holidays,” Greg explains, flipping the page of the book he is holding. “I see,” Colin picks up another book as well, “I like doing researches. It makes me know more about the world.” “That’s good,” Greg closes the book when he realizes it has nothing to do with what he wants. “The world is a beautiful place, isn’t it?” Colin speaks while reading the passage in the book, “There is so many places to see and so many things to learn.” “You spoke like you’ve never been outside,” Greg teases. “Well, in case you can’t tell, I’m a real nerd. It’s just that I don’t wear glasses,” Colin laughs, “I never get to go out much. My parents had high expectation of me so I have to spend lots of time studying. I make up the times I can’t go out with friends by reading books instead.” “I see. What was your toll by the way?” Greg asks some more. “My toll? I guess ‘my freedom of life’?” Colin laughs nervously, “Like I said, I spend lots of time studying - those precious time I could use to hang out with friends.” “Is that so? Sounds kind of sad.” “Yeah. I try not to think about it though. I’m happy when I’m with you guys, even though we are struggling in this hell hole,” Colin laughs, “I don’t have many friends. You could say you guys are my first group of close friends.” “Now I’m flattered,” Greg laughs as well. Searching through the shelf one more time, Greg found a small notebook with an old camera lens placed on it.


[Echo Stones] The echo stones are special magical stones, mined from areas around the Kuze Shrine, to create the ‘Echo Earrings’. Recently a land slide destroys the mines containing the stone deposits. The stone is sensitive and susceptible to spiritual influences.

Camera Equipment Entry! [Serial] Description: The upgrade lens with magical powers imbued in it. Effect: Consumes the spirit power of the user to double the power of a Camera Shot. If the shot taken is a Fatal Frame, the shot gains another extra x2 boost. This stacks with the primary effect mentioned above. Also, if the Camera’s charge is at maximum level when the lens is activated, no spirit power will be consumed. “Hey, this looks awesome. Should work extremely well with my special lv10 ability,” Greg laughs. “Oh? What is it?” Colin asks curiously. “Stick in a party with me. I’ll show you next time,” Greg teases. “Meh. Fine,” Colin frowns, “Anyway, did anything in this book catch your attention?” “Jack found the mistress’s diary. She seems to be concerned of an earring that dropped into the Rift when the Unleashing occurred,” Greg explains. “I see. Do you think this means something?” Colin asks. “I’m thinking about the possible correlation,” Greg replies, “But nothing too confident with it yet. Let’s look for more books about this earring. I have a good hunch about this.” “Well, I trust your hunch,” Colin laughs.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Grave Courtyard (Roof Path)… The teens cross the roof path towards the other side and open a small door at the end. Both of them enter into a closed room. The room is rather empty. There is only a drawer placed against the wall and a futon set. Perhaps someone lived or was confined here. “Some times I really wonder who is the architect of this house,” Austin folds his arms and examines the room. “Why? Because they are a genius?” Teal asks, checking the drawers. “Why yes I am jealous of the architect who is smart enough to not create a real floor to walk on in front of my room,” Austin rolls his eyes, “Seriously, who makes the plan for this house?”

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Teal ignores the teen’s sarcastic rant and continues her search. “I think I found something,” Teal flips a small notebook she found from the drawers.

[Purple Diary 4] The manor has been closed off due to The Unleashing for several days now. Yet, I’m not allowed to go outside. I wonder if I’m destined to be alone in here forever. This is not good. His face is starting to become vague to me. It’s all so hazy now. Everything seems like it was all just a dream. I want to see you so much, Akito. That earring. I left it at the manor. Maybe I should have taken it here with me.

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“It’s her diary again,” Teal mutters. “She must be really lonely,” Austin adds, “Is there anything else of important in there?” “Nope. Nothing,” Teal closes the drawer and shrugs, “…I think we should go back to the Hearth Room for now.” Both of them then realize that the colors in their surroundings are starting to turn pale. “Oh crap, the Purifying Lights are almost out!” Austin exclaims. “Yeah, let’s go,” Teal then leads her friend out of the room back into the manor.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Kimono Room… “Ha!!” Sarin firmly swings her hatchet onto the Player Killer. However, Incognito simply parry the attacks with his jet-black wings. Even though, it looks light and feathery, the wings are extremely durable as though they were made from steel. Incognito flaps his wings opened, brushing Sarin’s hatchet away, and shoots a straight jab directed at her face. Jack quickly runs in and grabs the fist before it could reach the girl’s face and kicks the Player Killer backward. “Wow, you’re a lot faster, Jack,” Incognito taunts. “I wasn’t sitting around doing nothing after that fight after all!” Jack rushes at the Player Killer for another punch, “THOUSAND FISTS!!!!” Incognito blocks the punch with his metallic-like wings once again. However, the Player Killer was blown away against the walls of the room in just a single punch. “Much expected from a skilled crafted from Yashuu,” Incognito chuckles, “But you’ll need more than that to defeat me!” “I don’t think you’d fall that easily either!” Jack rushes at the Player Killer, raising his fist once again.


This time, Incognito flaps his wings and fires a flock of razor sharp feathers at the teen. “MIRAGE SCREEN!” Jack stops running and announces the skill name. An illusionary screen opens up in front of the teen and blocks the barrage. Sarin quickly takes the opportunity to rush at the Player Killer one more time and swings her hatchet. This time, she lifts her hatchet up for a launching attack. The launching slash pushed Incognito’s wing guard wide open with ease. “You’re one tough lady!” Incognito compliments and blocks her downward slash with his arm. Much like Rai Naam, his skin is strong like steel, so only a small scratch was done to him. “I never really felt like being the damsel in distress anyway!” Sarin makes a 360 degrees swing with her hatchet to power up the smash. Incognito quickly steps out and dodges the swing. Even though he knew he could take on the hit, but he could just tell that it would have hurt him if he takes a full hit of that swing. “Haha! It’s been a while that I haven’t have this MUCH fun!” Incognito cackles and flaps his wings at the same time. A gust of wind pushes both teens backward away from him, but no damage was done to them. “I’ve finish testing your strength. It’s time I slightly turn up my powers!” Incognito spreads his wings and a burst of energy erupts from him. “He’s been holding back this whole time!?” Sarin grits her teeth and holds her hatchet with two hands.

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Meanwhile…All God’s Village…Great Hall… The doppelganger tries to approach Leina by several means, be it head on or teleporting. However, each time he gets near the teen, the red miasma will burst at his face and chokes him. Leina did not do anything. All he does is stand around, looking at how the doppelganger desperately tries to reach him. As a result, he learns about several new cool stuffs he could have done with the Shrine Carpenter’s spirits that he was always using until earlier. For instance, a tactic that the doppelganger loves to use is rush at the target but immediately teleports to behind the target right before it crashes for an ambush. Of course this tactic means nothing when Leina has the red miasma screen covering him from all directions. After several attempts, the doppelganger jumps away from the teen and kneels down, exhausted. “My turn,” Leina raises his palm forward and two crimson butterflies fly at the doppelganger in high speed. The butterflies hit the shoulder and leg, dispersing the dark foggy body of the doppelganger. It cries in pain and staggers away in frustration. Leina fires two more butterflies at the doppelganger. This time it was a direct hit. The doppelganger falls back on the floor, and slowly vaporizes to thin air.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

Leina

G.Lv. 5

-> 6


“Ah well, now I’m almost screwed like Roke and the others,” Leina laughs nervously as he de-synchronizes with his spirit. He lifts the fluorite up and smiles. “Thanks…Sae. I will not lose sight of hope ever again…” A pale radiance covers the teen’s body as he is taken back to the real world.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Kimono Room…

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“Damn, he’s strong!” Jack puffs as he backs off for some space. “What’s the matter, huh? Getting tired already!?” Incognito cracks his knuckles. “It’s because we’re going alone against him,” Sarin explains to Jack while puffing as well, “Normally we fight Player Killers when we are in a party. But this time around we aren’t allowed to form Party Links, so our powers are not amplified. Not to mention that he gains boosts from the miasma!” “Dammit, we had all the odds stacked against us tonight!” Jack grits his teeth. Suddenly, both teen’s bodies emanate a familiar pale radiant light. “Oh…? Some one cleared the mission!?” Jack wonders. “…It’s Leina. Thank god no one touched level 7,” Sarin sighs as she looks at the mission clear notification. “Well, that’s too bad,” Incognito folds his wings, “I guess we’ll have to fight again later.” “You’re acting like you’re giving us a favor!” Jack snaps. “Ha. If you REALLY wanna fight me on equal footing that much, quickly get your last level and come for me. I’ll be waiting for a real good fight before tearing you to pieces.” Sarin looks at the spirit of the young man lying in the room worriedly. “Don’t worry, I won’t kill him,” Incognito chuckles, “I only came out here for a stroll. It was boring sitting in the same room again and again you know?” The Player Killer then burst out an insane laughter as he walks out of the Kimono Room while both teens are taken back to the real world.


Chapter 53 Rokej’s Mansion…Study… The players gather around once more. The atmosphere of the discussion, this time however, is different from last time. Instead of the feeling of hopelessness, the room is filled with intense anxiety. “…Okay, I’ve listened to every thing you guys found out last night. Let me give a recap of what we know right now,” Roke starts the meeting, “The Game Master and the Player Killers are after something. According to Reevers and a few other sources, the only way the Game Master can get a hold of that item is through the process called the ‘Extraction’, occurred when a player clears the game. So far, we’ve seen at least three victims to this process. They are Mike, Koga, and possibly Reevers.” “Care to expand on that?” Jack raises his eyebrow. “Of course,” Roke turns to the red-haired teen, “Colin. If you would.” “Like what we already discussed. We saw Mike being ‘extracted’ by the Game Master from Ramsley’s Object Reading. According to Sarin, Koga said it himself that he was ‘extracted’. Reevers said it himself that he is a Voice Materializer and cleared the game. He even evidently proves to us by showing that his Game Level number has disappeared,” Colin explains, “We have not seen him ever since we’ve come to this manor, but it is safe to assume that he has been extracted.” “Wait. What about Yoshino?” Sarin asks, “She cleared the game too since she has no Game Level number too.” “Yeah. Does this mean she was extracted too?” Cheryl asks further. “We believe not,” Greg replies, “At least two of the three guys we said were extracted had something in common; They are Voice Materializers.” “It could be possible that this ‘Extraction’ process has to be done only on the Voice Materializers who cleared this game,” Colin explains some more, “As we saw from Mike’s extraction, Incognito was trying to see if there is something coming out from Mike’s headphones. Any other players who got to level 7 are probably just killed right away.” “So. Any idea what is this item they are after?” Aphiso asks, leaning against her chair. “From the information we’ve seen and gathered, I am guessing that it’s the Echo Earrings that those guys are after,” Roke explains. “The Echo Earrings? You mean the one Kaname got from his mother?” Cheryl asks. “That’s right,” Roke explains, “The [Echo Earrings] tome said the earring is extremely sensitive and has the power to listen to the voice of spirits. Sounds familiar to anyone?” “It’s the trademark power of a Voice Materializer,” Sophia replies, looking at Roke and Jack, “Wait… So…” “Yup. Jack and I could be their primary target,” Roke leans back, as if he is not worried about it, while Jack’s face turns pale in shock. “W…Wait…Isn’t that a bit groundless?” Sarin argues, “I mean…are you really sure about this?” “I went back to the Headphones Graveyard last night with Sophia after we read the [Echo Earrings]

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Tome to confirm something. And it was as I thought; those headphones are broken. All the insides of them are fried,” Roke explains, “But now, here is the bigger question. ‘Why’ do they need the earrings?” Everyone looks at each other, puzzled. “Uh…well…maybe they want to craft skills like Roke and Jack and didn’t have a headphone?” Austin suggests jokingly. “Why would they need to craft skills?” Greg shoots back a question. “Uh…to get stronger…? I don’t know,” Austin ruffles his hair, “It was just a joke, don’t take me too seriously.” “I considered it a possibility too, Austin,” said Roke, “But like Greg’s question. Why would they want to craft skills? To become stronger? Unlikely. With how they are playing with our lives like this, they have more than enough power to crush us if they want. Who knows? The Player Killers that we slew might have never been serious in fighting us.” “Now that’s just depressing,” Teal sighs. “H…Hey…Don’t be disheartened by that! We’ve killed TWO of them, right!? That’s all it matters!” Austin desperately tries to lighten the mood.

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“Exactly like what Austin said, everyone. Don’t be disheartened yet,” Roke smiles daringly, “From the reactions of the Game Master’s frustration, I think we can come to only one obvious answer: The Game Master is afraid of that earring.” “Huh?” Everyone in the room raises their eyebrow. “That’s right. The Game Master seems to be frustrated that he can’t find the earrings. Perhaps the earring has some kind of power that can actually oppose the Game Master,” Colin adds. “That makes sense. Assuming we are right that the Game Master is looking for it,” Jack agrees. “Awesome! Then all we have to do is find it before the Game Master, right!?” Leina asks eagerly. “Well, Leina, it’s not that simple,” Roke crosses his arms, “The Game Master has been looking for it for centuries now, remember?” “Oh bummer,” Cheryl frowns, “Those guys have been there longer than us. If they haven’t found it, then there’s probably no way we can.” “Again, like Austin said. Don’t be disheartened yet,” Roke cheers. “Haha! Roke quoted me so many times today. See how awesome I am now, girls!?” Austin smiles cheekily at the girls. “Austin?” Aphiso calls the teen. “Yes, babe?” “Shut up. Let Roke talk,” Aphiso shot her eyes at the teen, sending the chills down his spine immediately. “…Okay,” the blonde teen frowns and settles down, almost crying.


“…Aaaanyway,” Roke gulps, “We actually have an idea on where to find one of the earrings.” “This credit goes to Austin and Teal,” Greg explains, “From the Purple Diaries they have been reading, we’ve found out where the other earring is.” “All right! So all we have to do is go get it tonight!!!” Leina cheers again. “That woman said she left the earring at the manor. The only place I can think about is the Kimono Room where she appears a lot,” Austin explains. “Now that you mentioned it, I remember seeing a drawer locked in her room,” Ramsley mutters. “That must be it!” Austin exclaims, “All right! We got a lead!” “Let’s just hope it works this time,” Jack mutters. “I thought we’re not supposed to jinx it,” Roke laughs and looks at Sophia, as if teasing her quote. “…What?” Sophia shoots her eyes back at him. “Nothing ma’am,” Roke turns away, “…Just like your sister.” “But now we have a second problem,” Greg explains, “Even though we know that the Game Master is afraid of the earrings, we do not exactly know what the earrings can do nor do we know about how to manifest the powers that the Game Master is so afraid of it.” “Don’t worry, I’ll arrange that,” Roke assures everyone. “What is your plan?” Aphiso looks at Roke with a doubtful look. “Let’s just say our main objective tonight is to look for that earring and find out why the Game Master is afraid of it,” Roke explains, “Don’t worry about clearing the mission given. I’ll get your backs covered. Just go all out and beat the crap out of everything. Even the Player Killers.” Sophia and Leina’s faces seem to be brightened, as if knowing what Roke is planning, while everyone in the room remained puzzled. “In any case, let’s go take a rest. I had Ramsley already arranged the room for everyone like usual. Just go to the same room you guys came last time,” Roke smiles assuringly and walks out of the room. Both of teens walk up the stairs and before long, they finally reach Sarin’s room. As they stop in front of her room, there is a small awkward pause among them. “…So…I’ll see you in the manor,” Jack waves the girl good-bye. “…Hey Jack,” the girl calls him, “Will I…Will I ever stop thinking about Koga…?” “How would I know?” Jack sighs. “I hate myself for this,” Sarin sobs, “You cared so much for me. You did so much. But…My heart is still with Koga. Even so I…” “You don’t have to force yourself to love me,” Jack interrupts her. “But…I …” “I’d probably be lying if I say I am happy to see you with the one you love now,” said Jack, “But at the same time, I won’t really be happy if I have to force you to love me.” “Jack…you’re so kind…” “Nah,” the boy blushes, “We still need to focus on this mission. After that, we’ll discuss later.” “Okay,” Sarin whispers and enters her room, “Good night.” “Yeah. See you.”

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Chapter 54

Jack’s Skills Thunder Uppercut Mirage Screen Pyro Crash Thousand Fists

Mission: The manor has been overcome by the Rift. Bring five spirits to your mercy.

Rokej’s Skills

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hearth Room…

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Demon Fist Mirror Wall

Reflect Raid Illusion Leap

“Okay, can you be more obvious?” Austin rolls his eyes sarcastically at how clear the mission’s objective is. “Now it’s clear that the Game Master wants to get rid of us as fast as possible, so we can’t spread the word to any new players,” Roke points out. “Let’s just get over this quickly,” Greg suggests, “What would the plan for tonight be, Roke?” “First, we’ll investigate the ‘Closed Room’ Austin and Teal went last night. The key to the drawer must be with the Brushing Woman,” Roke explains, “After that, we’ll go to the Kimono Room and look for that earring. Actually, we don’t really need a plan this time. Just arrange a team to go and meet up at the Kimono Room. The rest should scout out the area. For those who are already level 6, keep track of the number of ghosts you’ve defeated and avoid defeating 5 of them.” “So what will the party be?” Leina asks. “Keep the balance. Although it won’t be really hard since we should touch 10 levels total with any combination,” Roke explains.

Party Link Established!

Leader: Roke G.Lv. 6 Member 1: Sophia G.Lv. 6 Member 2: Aphiso G.Lv. 4

Leader: Jack G.Lv. 6 Member 1: Sarin G.Lv. 4 Member 2: Ramsley G.Lv. 3

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Mind Boost] - [Speed Charger] - [Switch Bonus]

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Activation Boost] - [Mind Boost] - [Switch Bonus]


Leader:

Austin

Member 1: Teal Member 2: Cheryl

G.Lv. 6

G.Lv. 6 G.Lv. 4

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Activation Boost] - [Switch Bonus] - [Speed Charger]

Leader: Greg Member 1: Colin Member 2: Leina

G.Lv. 6 G.Lv. 6 G.Lv. 6

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Activation Boost] - [Switch Bonus] - [Speed Charger]

Meanwhile…Somewhere in the Manor of Sleep… “Man, they never learn,” Incognito cackles amusingly. “They probably know what we are after now. So we should do a preemptive strike to shatter their plans,” Mumei suggests. “You are free to do that. The Master allows you to do whatever you want as long as Jack and Rokej can reach level 7,” said Latner, “Although, killing them right now would really be a waste of time unless you do it when their lights are out.” “Don’t worry. I’m not going to risk myself,” Mumei smirks and walks over to a control panel at the corners of the room. He taps a few keys and the red light flashes on the screen. “Releasing the Rift Shadows.” A voice announces from the panel. “Guess we’ll see something fun again tonight,” Incognito laughs as he looks at the holographic screen again.

Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Staircase Hallways… “If you feel anything, tell us right away, okay?” Teal asks her friend. “Sure. But well, we already have your filament. I guess my powers won’t be that necessary,” Cheryl giggles. “Nah. My filament reacts only if the ghosts are really near. You can feel it from miles away,” Teal corrects her friend. “I still can’t tell where it’ll come from. I can only tell if they are close or near,” Cheryl explains, “We’ll need your filament to see where it’s coming from.” “Well, fair enough. Just tell me if something is near,” said Teal. “Don’t worry girls! As long as you girls are with me, no spirit will be able to harm you!!!!” Austin brags out loud, banging his chest with his fist. “I’m actually more worried with you in my party,” Teal glares at the blonde teen. “Teal, if Austin tries anything funny, let’s just kick him in his nuts,” Cheryl suggests.

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“Or even better. Do you think my camera works on humans?” Teal aims her camera at Austin. “Doesn’t hurt to try,” Cheryl nods and glares at the blonde teen as well. “Oh come on! I’m a gentleman you know! I won’t do anything dirty to you!!!” Austin swears. “Yeah right,” both girls roll their eyes and proceed to the other side of the hallway where Austin moved the dresser last night.

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Opening the small gap, the party carefully walks along the path above the Grave Courtyard heading to the other side. The path is covered in snow and slippery just like last night. Cheryl already had an experience in walking these slippery paths; except it was on the third floor last time she did it. Opening the knee-high door, the party enters into the Closed Room both of them explored last night. It was empty as usual; contains only a set of futon and a dresser. “Let’s see if there is something we haven’t checked around here yet,” Teal suggests and looks around the room. She walks over to the drawers and examines them one by one, while Cheryl flips the futon inside out to see if there is anything hidden in it. Austin simply walks around the room to see where else an item can be hidden. Just to his luck, he steps onto a tatami mat that slightly sinks into the floor due to his weight. The teen raises his eyebrows and walks back and forth on that mat for a few times. Once he is sure that there is definitely something funny about this mat, he kneels down and flips it up. It turns out there is a small hatch hidden under the mat. Austin kneels down and pulls the hatch up, automatically removing a stopper to a mechanism that drops a ladder down to the Hearth Room below. The girls give a jump at the sound of the mechanism and immediately look at Austin. “I didn’t do anything! I just open this hatch!” Austin immediately raises his hands to prove his innocence. “And that’s your ‘I didn’t do anything’?” Cheryl teases. Teal ignores the blonde teen and look down below the hatch. “Oh…it’s you girls?” Colin looks up at the newly dropped down ladder, “Man, we almost had a heart attack when the ladder dropped down.” “Blame Austin,” Teal teases her blonde friend. “So, you girls found anything yet?” Greg asks. “No, not----“ Cheryl’s face turns pale before she could finish her sentence. “Guys!!! LOOK OUT!!!!” Leina quickly raises a curtain of red miasma that protects his party from an assault of thousand hairlines just in time. “She’s here!!!!” Teal notices her camera shaking. “You guys stay up there! It’s too dangerous to climb down now!!!!” Greg tells Teal’s party and proceeds to look for the woman.


Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Shrine Courtyard… “So, why are we here, Roke?” Jack asks. “I just wanna check out the All God’s Village area,” Roke explains, “I’ve never been there myself so I wanna see what it’s like.” “Uh…Can’t it wait? I thought we’re supposed to be securing the area around the Kimono Room,” Sarin asks. Suddenly, Aphiso stops moving. “Hey…Roke…,” Aphiso stops her party leader. “What is it?” Roke asks. “Something is coming our way,” said the girl. “Huh…? Oh…I felt something too,” Sarin confirms. “A ghost?” Jack puts on his headphones. “…Not just one too,” Aphiso synchronizes with her spirit, just to be sure. “This feeling…It’s similar to those shadows in the Tattoo Altar!” Sarin announces. “Agh. Just perfect, more of those guys,” Roke puts on his earphones, “Cover the rear, Ramsley!” “I’m on it, Master,” the butler takes out his mask, and gets ready to wear it. After a while, Sophia’s camera finally starts shaking. Three black shadows steps out from the corners of the Shrine Courtyard. +@#$%^&*…Rift…$%^…feed…more%^&*(+ +#$%^&kill…%^(more…+ +to…%&^*…abyss…+ “Damn, this gibberish again!?” Roke mutters. “…Gibberish?” Jack looks at Roke puzzlingly. “Yeah. Back at the Headphone Graveyard’s church, I fought one of these and I can’t make out crap what they are saying,” Roke grits his teeth. “……Roke…what the hell are you talking about…?” Jack glares at the purple haired boy puzzlingly, “Is your earphone broken? Cuz I heard these things speak as clear as a day.”

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hearth Room… The Brushing Woman was spotted, standing at the corners of the room muttering something. “You said you’d come back…,” her whispers allow the party able to see her long vampiric fangs.

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“Oh crap. How the heck did Aphiso tame her in the first place!?” Leina gulps. Greg quickly aims his camera at the woman, but she quickly dives up and down, effectively escapes the teen’s capture circle every time. “Damn, she’s too fast!!!” Greg grits his teeth. Colin throws his Holly Hairpin at the woman, but she was too fast and the seal failed to catch her. “I guess we’ll have to just keep shooting!” Colin takes out his bow and starts spamming it at her. The woman bends away flexibly, dodging the arrows and occasionally counters them using her long demonic hairs. Leina raises his palm up and fires a few crimson butterflies off his miasma screen. The shot was extremely fast and powerful, so much that one hit from the butterfly completely staggers her on spot. “All right!!! Now it’s my cue!!!!” Greg press a small button next to his shutter button and immediately snaps a photo using the [Serial] lens.

[Max] Tutorial

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[Max] is Camera User – Greg’s special function, unique to him and only him. The function allows Greg to expend minimal amount of his spirit power in exchange for immediately gaining a full camera charge. This special function is available if and only if Greg is in a full party, and can be used unlimitedly as long as the party link is not severed. Since Greg’s shot is at maximum charge, the [Serial] lens does not consume his spirit powers at all, giving him almost a free boost in his shots. Moreover, the shot he took was a Fatal Frame, further boosts his power to four times the damage of a normal fully charged shot. The woman screams and staggers back, leaving her vulnerable for another shot. Greg activates his lens once more, scoring the second Fatal Frame. However, after the second shot, the camera’s capture circle simply stops reacting temporarily, disrupting the Fatal Frame combo. “The heck?” Greg curses when he notices that his chain was boldly canceled. The woman vengefully glares at the party and teleports to the other side of the room. “You’re not running!” Colin fires his arrows at the woman again, however, she simply blocks them by launching her hairlines at the arrows. After handling the arrows, the ghostly woman opens her mouth and screams. The miasma starts to gather around her, bleaching her skin white. “Oh crap, she is attracting more miasma to herself!” Greg warns everyone. “Dammit! I want some actions too!!!!” Austin yells from above and jumps down courageously. “What the!? Hey!!!!” Cheryl calls to the blonde teen but it was too late as he already joins the party below.


“Colin! Go Trance now!!!” Austin rushes at the woman and activates his Trance, summons two pairs of light and dark swords that home in at the woman. “Oh hey, I forgot I could Trance already!” Colin activates his Trance as well. After that, he activates the Notched Arrow Key three more times, summoning three silhouette of himself. As he shoots his arrows, the silhouettes also start shooting as well. Soon, the room is filled with several flying projectiles, so much that the woman can barely move without getting hit at all. “This is it! If we can’t make her slow down, all we have to do is prevent her from dodging at all!” Leina cheers. After a while, the woman finally starts to lose her strength and moves a lot slower due to fatigue. “Now Leina! Greg!” Colin signals his friend. “Got it!” Leina fires another butterfly shot at the woman. The shot successfully lands on her once again, making her open for a Fatal Frame combo. Greg activates his lens, hitting her with the first Fatal Frame then immediately does it again, this time completely draining her of her strength and making her fall to the floor. “We did it!” Leina cheers. “Aw man. I remember fighting her a few times, and it’s seriously not fun to tackle against her,” Greg sighs, lowering his camera. The darkness that bleached her body slowly disperses away, reverting her back into color. She slowly raises her head up to look at the teen. It is no longer twisted and distorted by malice. Underneath the long black hair is a face of a very pretty woman. “…Did I…just beat the crap out of a pretty woman?” Austin opens his mouth up wide, “Oh my god I don’t deserve to live anymore!!! SOMEONE SMACK ME!!!!!” Suddenly, a fist drives straight into Austin’s face, sending him down to the floor. “What the heck!? What’s that for!?” Austin snaps at the crimson haired teen. “Oh? You asked someone to smack you. As a buddy, I thought I should be the one to do it,” Leina smiles cheekily at his friend. “Can you talk?” Greg approaches the woman, ignoring the two guys chasing each other behind him. “…Thank you…for freeing me…,” the woman gives a weak smile, “I’m Kyoka Kuze. I’ve been locked up in that room for so long. The darkness got to me and corrupted my mind. Before I realize it, I was already taken over by the grief of losing Akito.” “It’s okay. We understand,” Greg nods. “…You…?” Kyoka turns to the girls who have just descended down the ladder. “Huh?” Cheryl notices the woman looking at her. “…You’re using Amane’s power…aren’t you?” “Oh. Yes. You’re her mother…right?” Cheryl kneels down besides the woman. “That’s right…is…is Amane all right?”

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“Yeah. But she’s been hiding from the other three handmaidens,” Cheryl explains, “Hold on a minute, I’ll patch you up.” Cheryl clutches her fist at her chest and activates her Oversoul with Amane’s spirit. After that, she places her hands over the ghostly woman’s fading body and starts concentrating. A bright aura starts radiating around the woman as her body becomes more opaque. “Oh…recovery powers…?” Greg was surprised at Cheryl’s powers. “Yeah. It’s usable only when in Oversoul though,” Cheryl explains. “Thank you…I feel a lot better now,” the woman slowly rises up again. “We need your help,” said Colin, “We’re looking for the Holly Key to unlock your drawer.” “What do you need it for?” Kyoka asks with surprise. “We need the Echo Earrings. We believe it is something the Game Master fears,” Greg explains their situation. “…So if you have that earring, this manor will be freed?” she seems to not understand. “Yeah. Hopefully,” Teal nods. Kyoka simply raises her clenched fist up and placed it onto Colin’s palm. As her hand moves away, a small key with the picture of a holly engraved on it was seen on the red haired teen’s palm.

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New Relic Entry! Holly Key Description: A small key with Holly engraved on it. It belongs to Kyouka Kuze. Latent Power: While activated, the Gadgeteer gains extra boost in running speed and gravity defying physics, allowing them to run on walls, stand up side down on the ceiling, or perform an antigravity leap. Duration: 2 minutes (activates only in battle and deactivates immediately after) Recharge: 1 minute “Please…make good use of it,” Kyoka gives a weak smile and slowly fades away. “H…Hey, where are you going!?” Cheryl calls to her. “To the girl who tamed me powers,” the woman’s voice echoes around the room, “I want her to help me with something.” “Why can’t we help you?” Greg raises his eyebrow. “Spirits form unseen bonds with Shamans. She probably trusts the shaman who tames her more than any one, just like how Amane trusts me,” Cheryl explains, “So I guess she went off to see Aphiso.”


“Oh well, we finally have the key,” Colin cheers and dials his phone to Roke. The purple haired teen picks up the line not long after Colin dials. “Got the key?” Roke asks. “You bet! We’ll be off to the Kimono Room now. What are you doing, Roke?” “Making preparations. We’re done over here too,” Roke explains vaguely, “Look Colin. Here is the plan. You guys might not like it, but you’ll have to trust me on this. With this done, we will uncover everything the Game Master has in mind.”

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Chapter 55 Mission: The manor has been overcome by the Rift. Bring five spirits to your mercy.

Manor of Sleep 2nd Floor…Kimono Room…

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Leaving the girls and Austin at the Hearth Room, Leina’s party volunteers to go and pick up the Echo Earrings from the Kimono Room. After they have been traveling around the manor for almost two weeks, they have finally memorized the path of the manor. Hence, the party travels to the Kimono Room without needing to consult the map on their phones. “Doesn’t it feel great to not worry about having to fight Kyoka when we enter this room?” Leina laughs lightheartedly. “Yeah. Really helped reduce some intensity in exploring this place now that we know some of the spirits are cleaned,” Colin agrees and walks over to the small drawers in the room, “Okay guys, here we are!” The red haired teen excitingly unlocks the drawers and pulls it out. However, the teens’ faces turn pale when they realize that the drawer is empty. “…No way…,” Leina’s shudders. “Looking for this?” a taunting voice was heard from the other side of the room. The party quickly turns towards the voice and sees the man in white robe, dangling an earring in front of them. His face is covered with the white hood from his robe as usual. “Game Master!?” Colin takes out his bow. “Damn, were we set up again!?” Greg quickly flips up his camera. But all of the sudden, the teens found themselves frozen in place – They cannot move an inch from where they are. “W…what the!?” Greg curses, trying to break free. “Have you forgotten that this place is MY game? I can do whatever I desire with you pitiful fools,” the Game Master taunts, laughing, “But I have to say though, good job struggling THIS far – Knowing that the Blessing is a lie. Finding out that we are after the earrings. You humans never failed to entertain me.” “Dammit! What’s your scheme!!? Why do you want the earrings!?” Leina yells at the Game Master. “Haha…well…since you’ve been extremely keen, I guess I’ll give you a reward for coming this far,” the Game Master laughs, “You know what this earring can do?” “Listen to spirit’s voice?” Colin asks. “That is correct. But not just a normal ‘voice’ mind you,” the Game Master corrects, “Ever since the


stones were tainted by the Rift, they gain new power – the power to listen to entities that resides within the Rift.” “Listen to entities in the Rift?” Greg asks. “You all know what Voice Materializers can do, right? They listen to voices and craft new powers for their own disposal. The strength of the skills they craft differ with the strength of the spirit,” the man in white robe explains some more. “……I get it…So with that earring, a Voice Materializer can craft powers that are of equal strength to you guys?!” Greg asks. “You’re a smart one! But that’s not all,” the Game Master replies, “Out of all the spirits in this manor, there is one that contains the power that exceeds even the Rift.” “The Tattoo Priestess?” Leina guessed. “That’s right. The Echo Earrings also allow a person to listen to the priestess’s voice that is mingled among the moans of pain.” “So it’s the Tattoo Priestess that you are so afraid of!!” Colin exclaims. “Lucky us she was tainted by the Unleashing, which is why she mindlessly sided with us. But even so, nothing guarantees that someone would be able to craft a skill from her. So of course, naturally, I would not leave such an item hidden around the manor, especially when they are extremely dangerous to our existence. I picked up the earring in that drawer as soon as I knew of its existence several centuries ago. And in case you wonder, of course I am the Game Master; I can lock and unlock stuffs in this place at will. But you see, this is only one of the earrings. Another one that belongs to Kaname fell into the Rift when the Unleashing occurs. Because of that, that earring was tainted and lost its physical form; it went on to possess other souls, like a parasite. Once the host dies, it moves on to another host without revealing itself. The only way to extract the earrings out without letting it escapes onto another host is to cut the connection the host has with the real world by making the Tattoo Curse consumes them, a.k.a. ‘clearing this game’.” “How does clearing this game has anything to do with this!? I thought it’s just a stupid game you guys play with us!” Leina yells. “Man, you guys are dense. But that’s okay. I have time all night to talk because you guys are not gonna wake up unless I allow it anyway,” the Game Master laughs, “Anyway, as you ‘clear’ our missions, the tattoo will slowly spread further until the point where your body in the material world rots. When that happens, your soul will also become weak and opened up for Extraction.” At the moment, the Game Master stops explaining when he notices that the three teens are not screaming at him any more – In fact, they are chuckling at him. “…What’s so funny…?” the Game Master is unsatisfied, “Don’t you dare mock me while in my game!” “So with that earring, we can craft skills that can completely screw you?” Greg asks again, trying his best not to laugh. “Thanks for the giveaway, buddy,” Colin laughs and waves his hands, taunting the Game Master.

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“What is this!? How did you become unfroze!?” the Game Master steps back in surprise. “Thanks for the info, pal. We’re off,” Greg crosses his arms and slowly vanishes away. Leina sticks out his tongue at the Game Master and vanishes along with Greg and Colin as well. “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!? Latner!! Mumei!! Incognito!! Status report!!!!!” the Game Master shouts, “GIVE ME A FUCKING REPORT NOW YOU LAZY ASSES!!!!!” “Sorry sire!!” Latner’s voice echoes from all direction, “We got an infiltration on our game server! The invaders interfered with our systems and logged the players off the game!!!!” “That’s not all sire. All our systems are temporarily authorization restricted. We lost control over our game server!” Mumei’s voice accompanies Latner’s. “What in the? Who are the invaders!?” “It’s the Reapers sire!!!!!!” Latner replies. The Game Master’s jaw drops to the floor. He inhales as much as his lungs can intake and releases a furious screaming curse. “FUCK YOU ROKEJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

[Mission Canceled] The next day…Roke’s Mansion…

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“And then I said ‘thanks for the giveaway, buddy’,” Colin laughs out loud, “Man! You should have seen the looks on his face!!!!!!” “So you saw his face?” Austin asks, trying not to laugh too loud. “No, we didn’t. But we saw his mouth flapping in anger,” Greg explains, trying to keep his laugh down. “Aww man, I can’t believe he’s THIS easily fooled!” Leina laughs as well. “I still can’t believe you guys are willing to pull that stunt,” Sarin compliments, “I mean…I still have no idea what happened and why we’re logged out last night.” “I had some help from a friend,” Roke explains, trying to keep his laugh down as well, “She told me this is possibly the only way she can help; hacking onto the game’s server and gaining control of it. She is good at this because she has been doing it all her life. I knew that the Game Master would have to come after us when we got our hands on the earrings. After then I would have my friend interfere with his ability to freeze players within the server and take us out to analyze the earrings further. But who would have thought that we actually had that earring with us this whole time? So I changed the plan a little to trick that idiot to spill the beans.” “Aw man, and it works like a jar! Give me five!” Leina raises his hands and tags with his purple haired buddy. “…So it really was Jack?” Sophia asks again just to be sure. “Yup, honey. Jack’s headphones IS Kaname’s Echo Earring that fell into the Rift,” Roke replies to his girlfriend, “Here’s basically what happened last night, guys.”


“What was that!?” Roke looks at Jack with surprise. “Yeah. I heard all these guys’ voice so clearly. If you don’t believe me, then I’ll just craft new skills from them now. Look,” Jack raises his palm forward. +Must spread the Rift…Feed more…soul…+ +Must…kill some more…+ +To the Abyss…+ In a blink of an eye, three shiny light orbs appeared in front of the brown haired teen before being absorbed into his body.

Original Skill Entries! Blood Smash Crafted from: ??? Description: A downward smash from above that cracks the skull of the target.

Rush Assault Crafted from: ??? Description: Performs a series of punch and kicks that weakens the spirits with every strike.

Voice Spiral

(Director’s Cut)

Crafted from: ??? Description: The buffed version of Noise Crush. The ultra-sonic blast covers more range, does more damage, travels faster, and has stronger repel effect. “…He crafts new skills from these spirit’s voice?” Aphiso’s eyes widen in surprise. “Roke couldn’t do this earlier…”

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“Wait…what’s this supposed to mean!?” Sarin screams in confusion. “…Hey guys. I think I have an idea of what is going on now!” Roke explains, “Let’s clear these shadows up then I’ll explain!!!”

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“Wait, it still doesn’t make sense to me. Why would the earrings be with me?” Jack raises his eyebrow. “Who knows? The Game Master said it moves around after its previous hosts die and it happens to caught onto you when you entered the game. Or maybe it could be your ‘Player Advantage’,” Roke suggests, “But whatever the case, the fact here, Jack, is that you are our hope; You are the only one who possesses the potential to tackle with the Game Master himself.” Everyone around the room claps and cheers the boy, making him fluster. “Awww man, you’re so awesome!!!!” Austin cheers. “Yeah! With your powers, we might actually stand a chance against the Game Master!!!!” Leina agrees. “I… I don’t know what to say…,” Jack mutters, anxiously, “I’m not a leader by nature. I don’t know if I can do this, guys.” “Some men are born to be great. While others have greatness entrusted on them,” Roke quotes. “You don’t have to say anything Jack,” Sarin holds the teen’s hand, “The Game Master is afraid of the Tattoo Priestess. All we have to do is craft a skill from the Tattoo Priestess and defeat the Rift. Then all of this would be over.” “…Yeah…I guess,” Jack tries his best to smile. “Hey, don’t get all bashful now. Tonight, you’re leading our operation!” Sophia nudges the boy. “H…huh!? What!? Why!?” Jack cries. “Why not? I don’t see a problem. You guys are probably fed up with me being the head now too,” Roke laughs nervously. “So, our new leader! Why don’t you say something to boost our morale!” Cheryl cheers. “I…I uh…well,” Jack flusters, thinking about what to say. He remains silent for a few moments, rearranging what he wants to say in his mind. As he mentioned earlier, he was never the type to be a leader. He does not mind if he has to do the dirty job since he was never good with leading. But everything is different this time. This time, he is the beacon of light – the only ray of hope that breaks through the despair filling up the players’ hearts. “A…All of us entered this game with different reasons. But when we boil it down, we all joined because we lost something precious to us; be it a family member or a lover. I joined this game for someone very important to me.” The whole room cheers at his speech, making him and Sarin blush. “Ahem. That was not all that we have lost. We’ve lost our comrades. And we even lost the hope to bring back those that already parted from us,” Jack continues his speech, “However, there is some-


thing else that I’ve gained from this game. It is the friendship and bonds that we have for each other.” Everyone remains quiet, listening attentively. “This time. We are not going to lose. Tonight, we will strike back at the Game Master and end this nightmare together!” Jack announces, “Let’s do this together. Everyone.” The crew stands up and gives the young man a round of applause. Jack turns to the silver haired girl beside him. She stood up and claps for him. “…Let’s finish this once and for all,” the girl smiles. “Yeah. Together…”

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Chapter 56 Somewhere in the Manor of Sleep…

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The Game Master sits on his throne, breathing restlessly. The Player Killers and the handmaidens kneel down in front of their master, trembling in fear. “…HOW did this happen?” the Game Master grinds his teeth against each other. “We are truly sorry, sire,” Latner bows down, “The Reaper Queen is extremely proficient. She hacks our server without setting any alarm and restricts all of our authorization in just a few seconds.” “How long will it take before the server’s control returns to us?” the Game Master asks further. “Not too long sire. Even though the server is not under our authority any more, the curse is still working, and the players will undoubtedly be brought here tonight,” Mumei explains, “We’ve already regained the controls on the logging process, so she should no longer be able to log the players out like last night.” “Overall, we should be able to send out missions like before again,” Latner summarizes their current situation. “In the mean time, we will try to set up a firewall to prevent any more access from the Reaper Queen, sire,” Incognito adds. “…Good. Send them the hardest mission possible, so they will be occupied until we can fix the server,” the Game Master commands, “Stupid bitch messing with my server. I’ll show YOU who’s the boss!!!!!” “What about the players, sire? Do we engage against them as well?” Mumei asks. “GET YOUR BIG FAT ASSES TO FIX THE SERVER FIRST!!!!!!!” the Game Master screams frustratingly and smashes his throne’s hand rail with his fist, “GET THAT STUPID BITCH OUT OF MY SERVER BEFORE THINKING ABOUT DOING ANYTHING ELSE!!!!!!!” “Yes sire!!!” the three Player Killers immediately bows down, frightened at their master’s wrath. “AND WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING NOW!? GET YOUR LAZY ASSES TO WORK NOW YOU LAZY TRASHES!!!!!!!!” The three Player Killers immediately gets up and runs out of the room to the server control. The three handmaidens remain kneeling down, still trembling in fear. “…Hisame. Shigure. Minamo. Aid the shadows in killing those players,” the Game Master commands. “Yes master!” the three girls reply and vanish away at the same time. “…I’ve come this far…I am NOT going to lose!!!!” the Game Master stands up and smashes his throne to pieces in frustration.


Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Hearth Room…. Mission: The Game Master is now angry. All of you shall be put to a test with the 7 sins.

Jack’s Skills Thunder Uppercut Mirage Screen Pyro Crash Thousand Fists

Rokej’s Skills

Demon Fist Reflect Raid The party returns to the manor and found themselves together in the Hearth Room, even though last night some of Mirror Wall Illusion Leap them were somewhere else when they logged off. No one questions it, but it is obvious that it is the work of Roke’s ‘friend’. “Ohhhhh, the Game Master is angry,” Leina laughs, “Seriously, was it really necessary to say that in the mission notification?” “I know I’ll be leading the operation. But what’s the plan, Roke? How do we even charge at the Game Master when we don’t know where he is?” Jack asks. “Those guys are almost done with fixing the server and soon Viola’s influence on the server will be cut off. But she already has another plan for that,” Roke explains, “The thing is, she doesn’t even bother to tell me what it is too. All she told me was to clear tonight’s mission and she’ll handle the rest.” Roke sighs and places a palm on his forehead. “Sounds just like her,” Sophia giggles. “By the way, what are these shadows of sin?” Leina asks, “From the sound of it, they don’t sound like a good opponent to be fighting against.” “Viola told me that these shadows are the Rift Creatures, on the verge of evolving into a Player Killer. Speaking in simple terms, they are stronger than the shadows we have fought so far, but weaker than the Player Killers,” Roke explains. “So all we have to do for now is to beat those shadows, right?” Jack asks Roke. “Yup. And that’s all my job for tonight. You arrange the party, Jack. I can be in any party you arrange,” said Roke. “…Okay. Let me decide on it,” Jack looks at the crew. “Please, put me with girls. Put me with girls. Put me with girls!” Austin keeps whispering the same things over and over again next to Jack’s ears. “…Argh, fine. Here’s our party for tonight.”

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Party Link Established!

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Leader: Jack G.Lv. 6 Member 1: Sarin G.Lv. 4 Member 2: Ramsley G.Lv. 3

Leader: Austin G.Lv. 6 Member 1: Teal G.Lv. 6 Member 2: Aphiso G.Lv. 4

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability!

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability!

- [Mind Boost] - [Switch Bonus] - [Activation Boost]

- [Activation Boost] - [Speed Charger] - [Switch Bonus]

Leader: Roke G.Lv. 6 Member 1: Sophia G.Lv. 6 Member 2: Leina G.Lv. 6

Leader: Greg G.Lv. 6 Member 1: Colin G.Lv. 6 Member 2: Cheryl G.Lv. 4

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability!

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability!

- [Mind Boost] - [Switch Bonus] - [Speed Charger]

- [Activation Boost] - [Speed Charger] - [Switch Bonus]

“Aww yeah! I’m with the girls, babe!!!!” Austin laughs loudly in joy. “Jack. Are you trying to mess with me?” Teal glares at the young man. “Gah…uh…well…you have Aphiso there, so…,” Jack smiles nervously. “Don’t worry, Teal. Austin will behave…,” Aphiso cracks her knuckles and shoots her evil eyes at the blonde teen, “RIGHT!?” “Ahh!!! Yes ma’am, I’ll behave!!!!,” Austin replies, almost crying once again. “Aw man, I’m with you guys again! Now this’ll be just like old times!” Leina laughs at the nostalgic feel. “Yeah! I’m glad I get to fight along side you again,” Sophia winks at the crimson haired teen. “…Uh…no…Sophia…Please. Sorry. I already have my heart for Sae,” Leina mumbles something inaudible to the girl. “…Whatever,” Sophia rolls her eyes. “Hey, Roke,” Aphiso pushes her knuckles against Roke’s shoulder, “You know what I told you…right?” “Yeah. Don’t worry. I’ll protect Sophia. Nothing will harm her. You have my oath, sis,” the purple haired teen smiles daringly. “Then you have my trust. Brother,” Aphiso gives him a rare smile before walking back to her party.


“Okay then. We have four parties, for four directions. Each party will scout around each direction of the manor and fight any spirit they come into contact with,” Jack explains their operation, “Tonight will be our last night in this nightmarish manor. So please everyone. Live through tonight and see tomorrow’s daylight together!” “YEAH!!!!” The party raises their arms and cheers. The whole crew is boosted with morale, filled with the conviction to end this nightmare for the sake of themselves and their loved ones. After Jack’s speech, the party moves on their separate ways. Greg’s party moves down the Hearth Room back into the Foyer to cover the south area. Jack and the others head north into the Tatami Hallway before separating again. Roke’s party heads off to the north for Shrine Courtyard. Austin’s team heads off to the east for the Headphones Graveyard. And finally Jack’s party heads out to the Garden Corridor to cover for the middle zone.

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Chapter 57 Mission: The Game Master is now angry. All of you shall be put to a test with the 7 sins.

Manor of Sleep 1st…Grave Courtyard… Jack, Sarin, and Ramsley enter into the Grave Courtyard. It has been a while since their last visit to this area. The snow has stopped falling. Perhaps there is a bad sign behind this, but for now it is considered lucky for the party since they have a non-slippery sturdy floor to run around. “…It’s some where around here,” Sarin notes. “I heard them too,” said Jack, putting on his headphones, “…Nice and clear too.” “It looks like we have no reason to hold back any more,” the butler chuckles and readies his mask. Suddenly, an eerie chuckle echoes from all direction. “Up there!” Sarin looks up and points at a small shadowy figure, looking down from the roof above. “…Three of them…” Jack notices two more shadows sticking their heads out from the walls of the building. The teen holds his headphones tight, trying to listen to their voices. +…Food…You guys are food…must feed to the Rift+

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+Fighting…what a chore…+ +Feel the anger…of the RIFT!!!!!!+ “I heard their voices. These must be the sin shadows,” Jack explains to his friends. The three of them leap out from their position and land down on the Grave Courtyard, surrounding the players. “Perfect. One for each of us,” Jack adjusts his headphones tightly. “And no one to get in the way too,” Sarin teases. “Wish the best of luck to you youngsters!” Ramsley activates his Trance and puts on the mask. As if reacting to Ramsley’s mask, the shadows immediately leap at the butler at the same time. Sarin summons her hatchet and smacks one of them away. Jack does the same to another shadow with his THOUSAND FISTS. Ramsley fires a bolt of light from the Four Pointed Well Key, but the third shadow simply flips back, dodging the bolt. The first shadow that Sarin knocks away leaps up to the second floor, and growls at the girl. “Oh no, you’re not running!” Sarin activates her Oversoul and power jumps up to the second level, following the shadow, leaving her friends to take care of the other two.


Meanwhile…Headphones Graveyard…Wide-open Snowfield … “And there they are. Coming out all the way here to greet us,” Aphiso looks around and notices two shadowy figures rising up from the snow fields. “Two of them? This will be over in no time!” Austin smiles confidently and brings out a Naginata. “Nope. Three,” a handmaiden with short hair steps into the snow field following a giggle “More handmaidens?” Aphiso mutters. “I’ve saw you before…,” Teal takes out her camera. “That’s right. I’m Shigure. You stormed into my room, remember?” Shigure giggles. “More like dragged into your room,” Teal rolls her eyes, thinking about when she was dragged into the small hole in the Tatami Hallway. “I can’t let you get away this time though. I’ve been holding back for too long. It’s time I actually get serious,” Shigure giggles. “Well, bring out your stakes and mallet then. Don’t worry, I always go easy on girls,” Austin teases her. “Hehe…you guys stole my stakes, remember?” the girl asks. “Oh yeah, we took those tattoo stakes right? Sorry we stole your weapons,” Aphiso flouts. “Like I need them,” Shigure giggles again and pulls out six hair pins hidden under her hair, then holds three of them on each of her hands, “You guys know that we handmaidens represent the four cardinal directions, right?” “Yeah? What about that?” Aphiso asks. “The four cardinal directions represent the four sacred beasts, guarding in each directions. We handmaidens received the blessings from those beasts, although we are not allowed to manifest their powers back when we are alive.” Suddenly, a slow wind current starts circling around the handmaiden, lifting her ghostly form above ground, “Wanna see what it’s like when we fully manifest our powers?!” “…Eh…this doesn’t look good,” Austin wipes the sweat on his forehead. “Wuss,” Aphiso rolls her eyes and dauntingly charges at the handmaiden with her ice blade in hand.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Shrine Courtyard… The handmaiden with short hair stands in the middle of the courtyard grounds, tauntingly smiling at Roke’s party. “Only one of them?” Roke wonders. “Well, isn’t that nice?” Sophia giggles and takes out her camera. “Not only me,” the girl smiles eerily at the party. Suddenly, an old man in white with several ropes tied around him steps out from the corners of the shrines and stands next to the handmaiden, along with another shadowy figure. “…What the hell is this? A Kusabi?” Roke raises his eyebrow.

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“Damn, this guy is not yet dead!?” Leina yells at the old man. To the teens’ surprise, the Kusabi remains silent, speaking nothing to the party. “…That’s weird…He’s not as talkative like last time,” Leina mutters. “Uh…you know this guy?” Roke looks at Leina then at the Kusabi. “I prefer not to know,” Leina clutches his fluorite tightly. “This poor old man was on the verge of fading away, so I brought him in as a pet,” the shrine handmaiden giggles, “I fed him miasma every moment ever since he lost to you.” “As if a Kusabi alone is not already malicious enough,” Roke mutters, clutching his earphones. +The Rift…The malice…More…power…+

Original Skill Entry!

(Director’s Cut)

Energy Cannon Crafted from: The Kusabi Description: Release a single energy cannon that blows spirits away. Does moderately high damage and has remarkable repel effect.

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“My master is very angry at all of you right now. It is my job to end your life,” the girl smiles at the party, taking an item the looks like a huge animal fang out of her hakama, “You guys stole my stakes. Now I will never feel what it is like to drive a stake through someone again.” “It’s supposed to hurt, don’t you know that?” Leina rolls his eyes sarcastically. “…But how hurt? Does it ache? Does it sore? Is it excruciating?” the girl whispers, as if talking to herself. “I think she needs some help,” Sophia cringes at the handmaiden’s psychotic thoughts. “If you wanna know that much, then impale yourself!” Leina snaps. “…Whatever the case, I’ll just drive my Seiryu fangs into you guys. Then I’ll ask you later how you feel. Hehe…” A malicious twisted smirk emerges on her cute face, turning her from a sweet looking girl into a sadistic demon.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Partitioned Room… Greg’s party enters the Partitioned Room and saw a handmaiden with long hair standing inside the room. A shadowy figure and a woman in red kimono also accompanied her. “You guys are finally here, I’m getting tired of waiting,” the handmaiden giggles, “Remember Kozue? The girl you beat up last time? I brought her mother, Makie, with me today.” The woman in red kimono seems sad. She keeps looking down at the floor, saying nothing. “Why are you siding with the Game Master, Hisame?” Cheryl asks the girl, “I thought your job is to pre-


vent the Rift from spreading further!” Hisame sighs, “What does it matter to you? The Kuze House has been conducting its code strictly for century, until Amane broke everything down to pieces!” “Amane just wants to help her brother and Reika meet. She just did what is right as a younger sister,” Cheryl corrects the handmaiden. “That does not change the fact that she disobeyed the Kuze’s Code,” Hisame snaps, “It’s a shame. An outsider like me is even more dutiful than the very direct heir of the family.” “You are not a Kuze?” Greg asks. “Of the 4 handmaidens, only Amane carries the Kuze name by birth. It is an honorable title to be a Kuze, the family that relieve the pain of others’ loss,” Hisame grits her teeth, “But that girl…the honor of being a Kuze…she trampled it to the ground just for some stupid sibling love!” The handmaiden almost lost all her cool from the envious scream. “She has a kind heart!!!” Cheryl argues, “She just wanted them to see each other before the priestess goes to sleep! You wouldn’t understand because you don’t have a brother, do you!?” Hisame sighs and shakes her head, “…It’s really a waste of time arguing with someone with a traitorous blood like you.” The party readies for battle as the handmaiden shows a sign of frustration. “The Kuze House picked me up from the village. I was given the honor to serve under the family name of Kuze. It is only natural that I respect and give them loyalty in return,” Hisame materializes a black stone hatchet onto her hands, “But now that the Kuze House had fallen, everything has been stripped away from me. All that I have left is my hatred for the traitorous colleague! Come at me, Amane’s Shaman! Let this fight end here and now!!!! I shall make you suffer the most painful gruesome death!!”

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Chapter 58 Mission: The Game Master is now angry. All of you shall be put to a test with the 7 sins.

Meanwhile…Back at the Grave Courtyard… Ramsley fires some more energy bolts at the shadow, forcing him to always be on his feet. Since the butler has twice increased his power for three times, the bolt is eight times more powerful than a normal shot. One blast can spell doom for any creatures that are hit by it. “You’re good at running,” Ramsley compliments, “Let’s see how long you can run?” The butler takes out his stone amulet and activates its power. The amulet’s power completely slows down the movement of the shadow in the view of the butler, allowing him to successfully aim at the spirit with ease. The butler’s bolt of energy rams the shadow, blasting him through the walls.

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On the other side, Jack rushes in for the shadow he just smashed, but it quickly regains balance and starts blocking the teen’s RUSH ASSAULT. “You’re a fast one,” Jack compliments, smiling daringly. The shadow is surprised at the teen’s smile and immediately jumps away. Suddenly, he notices his arms that were blocking Jack’s assault slowly dispersing away. “You like that? It’s the skill I crafted from your friends last night. Not only taking a hit will damage you, but each hit will also slowly weaken your body,” Jack wiggles his hand, daring the shadow to approach him again. The shadow opens its ‘mouth’ up wide and screams at the teen before rushing at him again. “You just don’t learn,” Jack holds his headphones sturdily.

Original Skill Entry! Raging Anger Crafted from: Shadow of Sin [Wrath] Description: Temporarily doubles the strength of the user, but halves his vitality, for 30 seconds

Headphones Graveyard…Wide-open Snowfield… “Tch!” Aphiso curses as she keeps rolling away from the handmaiden’s furious assault. “I just wonder how long you can run!!!” Shigure hovers around and throws the hairpins at Aphiso. The brunette keeps dodging her attacks and occasionally throws some comb shots back at her as a counter. But so far, none of them hits the target.


Shigure is extremely fast and nimble. Not to mention that with the blessing of Byakko, the White Tiger of Wind, she moves even faster than ever. “I can’t aim at her like this!” Teal grumbles and keeps dodging the shadows’ attacks. “Come on! Just leave that girl for Aphiso! She can handle that handmaiden just fine! Let’s worry about ourselves! Waaah!!!” Austin bends off just in time before the shadow rams at him. “I need a full charge to blow these guys away. Can’t you hold them, Austin!?” Teal takes out her Zero Lens and dodges another incoming attack. “Easy for YOU to say! I don’t have that cheap shot mask or amulet like Ramsley!!!” Austin somersaults backwards, dodging another tackle. “Anyone of them is fine! Just be a bait for me for a sec!!!!” Teal grumbles since she has not been able to get a full charge ever since they started fighting. The most she could get was a Shutter Chance to repel the shadows away from her.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Shrine Courtyard… “Hehehe!!!!” Minamo giggles as she rains a continuous assault on the purple haired teen ruthlessly. All he could do is constantly move about. “You can’t beat me by dodging like that!!!” Minamo quickly ducks down for a low round horse kick, killing the teen’s balance. “Damn, you’re annoying!” Roke grumbles as he falls. He springs himself against the floor with his left arm and quickly regains his balance with a quick aerial flip. Minamo reappears next to the teen and attempts to stab him with her dragon fangs. Roke barely dodges the attack and counters with a DEMON FIST, pushing her off a little. However, no cry or moan was heard. All she does is giggle at the teen’s attack, as if she felt nothing from it. “Let’s see if you’ll keep laughing after this!!!!” Roke puts his hands onto his earphones and crafts a new skill. +Hehe…Are you hurt?+

Original Skill Entry! Dragon Roar Crafted from: Handmaiden Minamo Kuze Description: Release three souls of dragon that rams at enemy. The dragon souls disappear after attacking.

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Roke raises his palm forward and summons spirit of three dragons that rushes at the handmaiden. Unfortunately, Minamo was able to dodge away with a cartwheel nimbly, taking only slight damage from the attack. “Hehe. Not bad!!”

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Meanwhile, the Kusabi fires several white fogs at the teen, but Leina’s red miasma gave him a perfect defense against them. However, at the same time, it also negates his ability to counter attack as he needs the full screen to block each fog. As the teen stands still, blocking the attacks, he keeps thinking about how he can turn the table onto his favor. His past experience at the All Gods’ Village did not help him much this time since he was not the one who defeated the Kusabi. On the other hand, the Kusabi also seems to enjoy spamming his attacks again and again as he does not show any sign of stopping any time soon. On the other hand, Sophia sidesteps away from the shadow’s smack again and again. Although she has not been working out much daily, her reflex back at the Reaper’s Game never seems to have rusted at all. The only thing bugging her is that now she cannot stay full time at the back line like before. “Man, this can go on forever,” Sophia grumbles to herself and quickly steps away from another smash. After that, she quickly pulls out her camera and flashes the shadow. Although it only slightly flinched compared to the other ghosts she has flashed before, it was still enough to hold the shadow in place for a second. The girl constantly spams the flash again and again, forcing the shadows to stay at the same spot over and over. After a while, she snaps a photo of the shadow, using her [Explode] Lens, taking advantage of the spirit’s stun time for a Shutter Chance. A brighter light flashes and completely disintegrates the shadow instantly. Not only that, the damage also spreads over to Minamo and Kusabi, flinching them as well. “Thanks for the help!!!” Roke laughs gleefully for the girl’s help as he blasts another DRAGON ROAR at Minamo from point blank. “UGH!?” The blast sends her way across the Shrine Courtyard in a few seconds. Since it was done at pointblank, the girl suffers a lot more damage. With so much pain, the girl was no longer able to smile at the damage done to her. “Oh, you think it’s over? Sorry, it’s not!” Roke raises his other hand releases the DRAGON ROAR for the second time.


[Synchronity Chain] Tutorial [Synchronity Chain] is VM – Rokej’s special ability, unique to him and only him. This special ability allows Rokej to directly chain another Original Skill after his first Original Skill hits an enemy. If the second Original Skill also hits the target, the third chain will be possible with thrice the power. (No more chains can be done after the third) This special function is always active if and only if Rokej is in a full party and the sum of the members’ Game Levels is more than 15. “Take this!” After the second set of DRAGON ROAR, Roke fires an ENERGY CANNON directly at the girl. “Now it’s my turn!!!!” Leina cancels the miasma screen and rushes at the Kusabi while he was staggered by Sophia’s flash. The rope man raises his hand at the teen and continues his assault after he regains his balance. Leina switches to the Shrine Carpenter synchro and continues charging forward, occasionally brushing the fogs that got too close to him away. As he gets closer and closer to the Kusabi, Leina raises his spear, readying for a straight on thrust. The Rope Man swings his hands forward for a smack when Leina suddenly disappears and immediately reappears behind him, driving the spear straight through his body. “ARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!” the Kusabi screams in pain. “You’re done!” Leina switches his synchro back to the Bloody Kimono and summons the stream of red miasma, commanding them to gush up from under the rope man. “CRIMSON REPENTENCE!!” The red miasma bursts the Kusabi up all the way through the Shrine Courtyard’s ceiling and completely exorcizes him to thin air. “…Whew…I did it…I pulled that doppelganger’s tactic off!!!” Leina falls down to the ground, laughing excitingly. “Hey,” Sophia walks over to the crimson haired teen, “Need some help?” “Hahaha…Nah…I’m just a little too excited…let me…relax…for a while…haha,” Leina keeps on laughing nervously, trying to calm himself down. “I saw that dude. That was a really awesome finisher,” Roke walks over to his friend. “…Ugh…” The three teens quickly turns to the source of the moan and found the handmaiden struggling to stand up. “…Boy, you’re a tough one,” Roke sighs at the girl’s persistence.

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“This…is not over…yeeetttt!?!?!?” Suddenly, the girl’s limbs are stiffened as her jaws dropped opened, “N…Nooo…NOOOOO!!!!!!!!” Her ghostly body starts to lose its shape and gradually fades away to nothing. “…So we’re done here?” Sophia gives a sigh of relief. “Yeah. Let’s go check out on the others,” Roke suggests and walks to Leina as well, “Need a hand?” “Nah. I can stand,” Leina gets back up but trips down almost immediately. The purple haired teen quickly grabs on to his friend’s arms, stopping him from falling further down. “Hah, that was all talk,” Roke teases and helps his friend up. “Thanks Roke,” Leina laughs embarrassingly, “Let’s go! Everyone is probably fighting against the shadows now!” “Let’s go!” And with that, Roke leads his party members back into the manor.

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Chapter 59 Mission: The Game Master is now angry. All of you shall be put to a test with the 7 sins.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Partitioned Room… “WHERE IS MY GIRLLLL!?????? GIVE ME BACK MY HUSBAND!!!!!!!” the ghostly mother cries and tries to approach the players. Sadness, grief, and sorrow drove her to the edge of madness and attract the miasma towards her even more. Her skin is bleached white and her eyes darkened just like when Hisame summons her daughter. “Ugh, this is going to be a problem,” Colin cringes and dodges the woman’s grip just barely. He quickly counters by repeatedly firing his arrows at point-blank, forcing her to stagger back away. Once he gains a little more distance, he leaps away to the other side of the room and continues shooting at her, “Heh. Man. This Holly Key is kinda cool.” The red haired teen laughs amusingly as he was able to get over to the other side of the room by just a single jump. After the woman staggers, Colin activates his Notched Arrow Key two more times, creating two shadow silhouette that helps him fires another barrage at the woman. The furious barrage kept the woman on her toes and after a while, she is exorcized and disappeared to thin air. The black shadow lunges at the teen rapidly, giving him no space to fight back. “And you just had to come after guys that can’t fight point-blank like me!” Greg grumbles as he tries his best to get hit as little as possible. When it reaches forward for another hit, Greg immediately raises his camera and max out his charge, just in time for a Shutter Chance to trigger. The shot was a success and the shadow took some damage, repelling away as a result. Greg adds on by activating his Pressure Lens, pushing the shadow away even further. “Now I have more space,” Greg sighs in relief and aims his camera properly again. The shadow mindlessly follows after the teen one more time, falling right into the teen’s setup, “You should have just walked away.” As the shadow raises its arms for an attack, the Fatal Frame indicator triggers. Greg maxes his camera charge and blasts the spirit with a normal Fatal Frame. The indicator flashes again but this time Greg uses his [Serial] Lens instead. After the second hit, the indicator flashes the third time and Greg successfully scores the third shot with his Serial Lens. After the third shot, the shadow cries out in pain and disperses away to thin air. “Phew! All done!” Greg gives a sigh of relief. Even though he is getting better, the split second of timing each Fatal Frame shot is very unnerving. “I’m done here too!” Colin runs back to his friend, “Let’s go help Cheryl out!”

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“No. This is her fight,” Greg flips his camera back to its cell phone form. “Huh? But…!!!” “Hisame declares a fight against Amane, but Cheryl is fighting as Amane’s representative,” Greg explains, “We have no right to interfere in their fight.”

Meanwhile…Headphones Graveyard…Wide-open Snowfield…

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“I HOPE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!!!!” Austin yells as he withstands an assault from the two shadows of sin, “Just feel lucky you’re a girl! Otherwise I wouldn’t have been doing this!!!!” “Aw just shut up! You’re disturbing my concentration!” Teal rolls her eyes as she is trying to get the two shadows into her capture circle. “Agh! That hurts dammit!!!!” Austin cries as he took a hit. Another shadow aims for a second hit, but the blonde teen was able to block it with the lower handle of his naginata, “You so owe me a date after this, TEAL!!!!” “I’ve never agreed on that, dammit!!!!” Teal screams in frustration and taps her Camera for a Shutter Chance. With the help of the Zero Lens and her Double ability, her shot gains a damage boost 12 times that of a normal shot. The boosted shot completely destroys one of the shadows, but leaves one of them severely injured because the capture circle captures only a part of it. “Now it’s my turn, sucker!!!!” Austin swings his hands and launches the Light and Dark sword assault that repeatedly attacks the shadow again and again until it is finally exorcized, “MAN! It’s done finally!!!!” The blonde teen sighs in exhaustion and sits down on the snowfield. “Get your ass up now! We have to help Aphiso!!!!” Teal reprimands her friend but heads for Aphiso right away instead of helping him up. The brunette keeps exchanging hits with the handmaiden until her whole body is covered in several small cuts. On the other hand, several foggy spots also appear on Shigure’s transparent body, clearly showing that she also takes a lot of damage just like Aphiso. “You’re…not bad for a human…,” the handmaiden taunts. “And you’re pretty tough for a little girl,” Aphiso chuckles, “Wanna end this yet?” “I’ve always been giving my all from the start!!!” Shigure clenches her two fists together. “Oh, Byakko, White Tiger of Wind...bestow me your strength and slice my opponent to shreds!!!! ZEPHYR HOLLOW!!” The White Tiger silhouette is shown briefly before disappearing, and the massive hurricane gushes out towards Aphiso. “Oh really?” the brunette simply stands still and switches her synchro, “I’m just getting started!” A powerful energy aura bursts from the girl as she unleashes her Oversoul. “Y…You gotta be kidding!!!” Shigure panics at the brunette’s sudden burst of power.


Aphiso waves her hands and sends a swirling snow storm against Shigure’s hurricane. Surprisingly, the snow storm, not only push the hurricane away, but it blows the handmaiden into the air as well. “I won’t lose! I am blessed by Byakko! The wind is mine!” Shigure swings her arm, and immediately, the wind stops throwing her around. Moreover, the swirling gust runs back towards the brunette. “Tch! You’re persistent!” Aphiso grits her teeth then stabs her ice sword down to the snow field, holding her footing. “How long can you withstand the gust of wind!?” Shigure taunts. “Not if I can help it!!!!” Suddenly, the blonde haired teen jumps into the swirling gust, blowing himself into the air with the current. “What the!? Austin!?” Aphiso exclaims in surprise. The blonde teen was blown into the air, spinning around in circle with the gust. “Ahahaha!!! You’re pretty stupid to run into the swirling current like this!” Shigure laughs at the teen. “Sorry about this lady!” Austin smiles daringly at the girl. Before she knows it, she was already surrounded with several blades swirling around her. “What the!?” Shigure exclaims as she constantly get cut. “How do you like that!? Your wind is doing more harm to you that aid you!!!” Austin laughs at the girl. “Don’t mock me, idiot!” Shigure snaps her finger and the violent wind stop swirling instantly, dropping the blonde teen back to the snowy field. “Waaaaaaahhh!!!!” Austin cries as he gradually falls to the floor. A loud thud was heard as he fell right into the snow. “Ahahaha!!! Serves you right!” Shigure laughs mockingly but immediately stops when she notices several hairlines tied around her, “Wha…!? When!?” The girl was surprise that the hairs are all messily tied around her body. “Aaahhh!” Aphiso jerks the hairline and rams the girl against the floor, “Now, Teal!” Just after she hits the ground, a bright flash was seen and the handmaiden was repelled several meters away by a Double fully charged Zero Lens shot. “AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The camera’s flash completely disintegrates her body to dust, as her voice echoes in the air. “…A…mane…I’m…sorr…y…” “Austin!!!” Teal quickly runs towards her blonde teen that remains unconscious on the snow field, “Come on, wake up!!!” The girl softly pats on the teens cheek. Aphiso quickly kneels down next to the teen and feels his pulse. “It’s getting weaker,” the brunette whispers. “Wha? No…that can’t be. Tell me this isn’t true!” the girl cries, “Come on, wake up, stupid!” The orange haired girl keeps on patting his face again and again, but there was no response.

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“Damn…if only Cheryl is here…,” Aphiso grits her teeth in regret, “I should have caught him instead of aim for Shigure.” “Come on, wake up! I thought I owe you a date! Aren’t you going to claim that!?” Teal sobs then smashes her fist onto the teen’s chest. “Yeoooowsh!!!!” The blonde teen cries and both girls quickly jump away from him. “Hey, that hurts!” Austin cries, trying to get up, “Ow ow ow ow!! Man, my whole body is aching!” “You dropped onto the snow. Of course it’s gonna hurt, stupid,” Teal frowns at the teen, wiping her tears. “W…Woah…d…did you just cry for me?” Austin opens his jaw wide in surprise. “Cry for you!? Of course NOT jerk!” Teal throws her camera at the teen then starts cry even louder. “W…Woah…don’t cry now, please, don’t cry! I don’t feel right for making a girl cry, please stop crying!” the blonde teen pleads and quickly crawls for the girl. “You had me freaking worried you stupid!” the girl punches him some more.

328

Aphiso stands up and sigh in relief. She walks over to the blonde teen and gives him a hand. “Need some help?” “Nah, I can stand,” Austin laughs then stand up. “Come on, Teal. Let’s get going. We’re done here,” Aphiso helps Teal stand up. “Okay…,” the girl picks up her camera then stands back up with her friend, trying to stop sobbing. Suddenly, a bright light emerges from the middle of the field. The party immediately turns their face towards the light in surprise. “…So you defeated Shigure…” A gentle voice echoes from the light. “Yeah. Who are you…?” Aphiso asks back. “…My name is Akito. I’ve been lost in this snowfield for a long time now.” The voice replies. After that, the light slowly fades and a ghostly man was seen standing right where the light was shining. At the same time, Aphiso could feel something walking out of her body against her own will. It was Kyoka, the spirit of the Brushing Woman that she has always been using. “Akito…you are here…,” Kyoka whimpers in tear. “…I’m sorry, Kyoka. I could not keep my promise,” the ghostly man replies to the woman, “I sneaked back into the Kuze House a few months after I left. However, Yashuu and her men caught me. I was brutally murdered and buried inside the snowfield next to the manor. To ensure that I can’t even visit you in your dreams, Yashuu orders a handmaiden to take care of my seal. I had been confined in this cold field ever since that day.” “Oh Akito. I was a fool to think that you lied to me.”


“It is a fact that I could not bring you out of that manor with me. And for that, I deeply apologize. I really want to listen to your koto again someday. And we can keep talking as you brush your hair…” “Uh…hey, um…Sorry for interfering, but I’m kinda in a hurry,” Aphiso interrupts the couple’s reunion, “You are Kaname’s true father right?” “…That is right. The son I bear with Kyoka…,” the man speaks in reminisce. “Tonight we are on an operation to free the curse that covers this manor. I am going to need all the powers I can gather. Will you couples help me out?” Aphiso asks. “My powers had been tamed by you ever since you started this game. I will always walk the same path with you,” Kyoka replies. “Me too. Please use my strength and free our child from this torment.”

Spirit Synchro Entry! Unfortunate Visitor (Akito) Description: The spirit of an unfortunate man who fell in love with Kyoka Kuze. He attempts to sneak into the manor to take Kyoka out with him, but was caught and murdered.

Skills:

• <Voice Blade> Wields a special blade that reacts differently to each spirits. “All right, we should get back to the manor. Roke and the others are probably done,” Aphiso suggests. “Yeah. Let’s go!” Teal nods.

Meanwhile…Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Partitioned Room… Cheryl hovers away from Hisame, dodging her stone hatchet just in time. But Hisame shows no sign of giving up and continues swinging her stone hatchet madly. Cheryl was forced to be on defense and kept herself away from the handmaiden’s assault. “Are you going to keep running all day!?” Hisame smashes her hatchet down against the tatami mat, creating a tremor that crumbles the mat to pieces and destroys some of Cheryl’s standing space, “I am Hisame Kuze, the Shrine Handmaiden who represents the North Cardinal Direction. I am blessed with the powers of Genbu, the Black Tortoise. The earth is mine. As long as you stand on the ground, you cannot dodge my attacks forever!!!” Hisame strikes the hatchet one more time, but Cheryl quickly jumps over the slash and gracefully lands on the other side. The handmaiden holds her hatchet with two hands, to strengthen her grip firmly. Cheryl simply stands up and turns around, revealing her needle hands to Hisame.

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The handmaiden’s eyes widened in surprise, as tattoo slowly spreads over her stone hatchet. “This cannot be…,” the handmaiden grits her teeth trembling, “AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!” Hisame madly swings her hatchet some more. Cheryl quickly switches her synchro back to Amane’s spirit and halts the attack with her Japanese fan. “This fan!? Amane’s Suzaku’s power!?” Hisame grits her teeth in anger. “It’s over, Hisame,” Cheryl twists her wrist, shaking the hatchet off Hisame’s grip with ease. At the same time, the girl swings her fan, creating a swirling current of blazing storm at the handmaiden. “GREAT PHOENIX BLAZE!!!!!” “AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” the handmaiden screams in pain as the flames covered her body and burns her to a crisp. “Wow, that was awesome,” Colin claps for Cheryl with his jaws dropped down in awe. “Y…Yeah…never knew Amane had these powers,” Greg mutters. “Well, Amane and these girls’ sacred beast powers were unsealed after we stole their tattoo stakes,” Cheryl explains and folds Amane’s fan back in place, desynchronizing as a result, “Let’s go back to the Tatami Hallway. Everyone should already be done by now.” “Agreed! Let’s go!!” And so, Greg leads everyone out of the room into the Foyer.

330 Back at the Grave Courtyard… The shadow raises his claws and reaches for the girl. However, Sarin raises her hatchet and brushes the attack away with ease. “HAVE SOME MORE!!!!” Sarin smashes the hatchet down, releasing a circular wave the blows the shadow off into the walls nearby. “Looks like I’ve gotten stronger a little,” Sarin looks at her hatchet, “Last time I used that attack, I lost almost all of my energy.” Suddenly, the shadow tackles her from the wall beside her, pushing her off the ledge. “That’s a dirty trick!” the girl immediately switches her synchro to Koga’s power, hovering herself back up to the roof, while the shadow jumps mid-air onto the ledge nearby. The shadow shows the needle-like claws sticking out from its hands, as if threatening the girl. “Ha. Oh yeah?” the girl crosses her arms and summons five swords, circling around her, “Think you’re a big shot!?” The shadow seems intimidated but leaps at the girl nevertheless. Sarin simply remains still as the wind current protects her from the shadow’s tackle. At the same time, two of the five swords immediately homes onto the shadow, impaling it against the walls. The remain three swords shuffles and takes turn ramming into the shadow, repeatedly attacking it again and again as the girl stands still doing nothing at all. Finally, the shadow gives in and disperses to nothing.


“I’m done here, Jack! How are you doing!?” Sarin asks Jack while hovering up above the ground. “All. Most. DONE!!!!” Jack ducks down, dodging the shadow’s last smack and counters with a THOUSAND FISTS uppercut. After the single uppercut, several more fists appears from nowhere and repeatedly punches the shadow over and over until it disperses to thin air. “Yup! Done here! I wonder how the others are doing,” Jack exhales from the work out.

Meanwhile…Game Master’s Server Room… The huge holographic screen pops a message, reporting the current situation of the game. “Sire! The players have cleared the mission!!!!” Incognito reports. “Good. The earring is with Jack! Extract the earring from him right now!!!!” the Game Master orders, anxiously biting his nails, “Use automatic extraction because I’m not going out there to extract him manually! Kill that son of bitch on spot!!!!” “Understood!” Incognito flips the glass lid covering a big red button opened, “Sorry Jack. I guess we really won’t get to actually fight each other again.” The Player Killer smashes his fist onto the button. The sound of a machine running was heard outside of the control room. However, after a few minutes, the screens simply went dark out. “………WHAT IS IT THIS TIME!?” the Game Master yells in frustration. “HELLO EVERYONE~~~<3!!!!!!” A cheery girly voice echoes throughout the whole realm. The manor. The courtyards. The graveyards. And even in the Game Master’s prohibited area. Everyone in this dimension of dreams can hear her voice. “……T…This voice…?” Sophia looks around the Garden Corridor in surprise. “Yup, it’s her! Took her long enough,” Roke laughs. “…Who the heck is she?” Greg crosses his arms and looks around him. “Reinforcements,” Leina laughs jokingly. “I’m sorry it took me so long! Since your Game Master closes all sorts of external accesses off, I had to wait until the realm itself is opened for a connection to the living world before I could hack in again, which happens only when you guys cleared the game and is about to be sent back home!” the voice explains, “But in any case, here is your current situation. The Game of Despair’s engine has now been completely overridden by the Reaper’s Game engine. The Game Master no longer has any controls over this game anymore. Rest assured! You guys can no longer die from losing Game Levels or reaching level 7. In fact, I just glitched all of your levels to 7 so you guys can use your special ability as much as you want!!”

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“Yayy!!! I don’t know who she is, but I already like her for what she did!!!” Austin dances around gleefully. “She probably doesn’t have to do that for you to like,” Aphiso rolls her eyes. “Agreed,” Teal nods. “Now with the Game Master having no more authority in controlling you guys, you can now tackle him at full force! His castle is inside a closed space within the Last Passage! This is all I am allowed to do as a Reaper Queen!!! And for the sake of nostalgia, here’s a little something to boost your morale! I wish you all the best of luck!”

Final Mission: Free the Manor of Sleep and shape your future. Gather the twelve remaining players at the Engraving Shrine to commence. Good luck!

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Chapter 60 Final Mission: Free the Manor of Sleep and shape your future. Gather the twelve remaining players at the Engraving Shrine to commence. Good luck!

Manor of Sleep 1st Floor…Shrine Courtyard…

Jack’s Skills Thunder Uppercut Mirage Screen Pyro Crash Thousand Fists

Rokej’s Skills Energy Cannon Mirror Wall

Reflect Raid Dragon Roar

[Final Mission] Tutorial Hello folks! Been a while since I’ve written a game tutorial for players! I hope my explanation skills haven’t rusted yet! Anyway, let’s get into business! This is the Final Mission. There is nothing to hold back! Fight all your way into the Last Passage. After a certain door, you will be taken inside the closed space where the Game Master’s Castle is situated. Go through his castle and venture into the Abyss of Horizon!

[Final Mission’s Bonuses] All players’ Game Levels are raised to 7, so any party combinations can allow the players to use their special abilities. With the interference from the Reapers, the miasma has been temporarily weakened. As a result, the Purifying Lights will shine perpetually. Be warned that the vengeful spirits still gain a boost from the miasma. There is no Game Level Penalties for this level. Once you are incapacitated, you are forever deleted. So good luck everyone! Use all the skills, items, and bonds that you have forged ever since you entered this game and defeat the Rift! Strike everything without hesitation! Reaper Queen out! <3 The players gather into the Shrine Courtyard from all parts of the manor. Everyone agreed for this place to be their new base since it is a lot bigger and wider than the Hearth or the Tatami Hallway Rooms. “Okay, so I see all of us are here,” Jack looks around the room, counting the number of crews. Twelve players, including himself, are present.

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“Yup! And all of us are more than ready to kick asses!” Austin cheers enthusiastically. “From the extra information, this will truly be our last mission. The Game Master will probably play all sorts of tricks with us. That goes without saying; The Player Killers are also probably going to come after us,” Jack explains the situation, “Since unlike any other missions we’ve been through, a death in this mission means a real death to us. Therefore, we cannot afford to lose.” Everyone nods. “We will form four parties of three; My party will be the spearhead of this operation. We will end this nightmare as fast as possible,” Jack explains, “The Player Killers will definitely be there to stop us, so as we thrust forward, I want the three remaining teams to hold them off. The moment I can craft a skill from Reika Kuze, everything will be over.” “Sounds easy!!!” Austin jumps enthusiastically. “With no restriction on us, this game will be over in a jiffy!” Leina cheers along with his friend. “So, let’s get to the point, Jack. What will the party be?” Greg asks. “I’ve already thought up about it. And I think our previous party setup should be fine,” said Jack, “I see that everyone came out fine with it, so there’s really not much reason to swap around.” “Hey,” Aphiso interrupts Jack, “I wanna swap my party to Sophia’s.” “Sis…?” Sophia tilts her head puzzlingly. “It’s not that I don’t trust you, Roke,” Aphiso explains, “But I also want to be there for my sister in times of desperation. I hope you understand.” “Well…I don’t really mind,” Roke laughs, “Who do you want to swap with? Me?” “No. Leina. I also want YOU to stay with Sophia,” said Aphiso. “Yeah. You guys should stick together like a family. I’ll be fine in Austin’s team,” Leina laughs. “HELL NO I’M NOT FINE!!! I prefer being surrounded by ladies!!!!!!!!” Austin cries as Leina pats his back trying to comfort him. “I’m glad you guys finally get along together!” Sophia giggles. “I still think he’s a total sap for using a fork to scoop rice,” Aphiso shoots her eyes at Roke. “And I still think you’re too overly protective of your younger sister,” Roke snaps back, smiling daringly. “Fair enough. Let’s do this then,” Aphiso laughs as well. “I really don’t know what’s going on between the two of you anymore,” Sophia sighs. “…Uh…okay. So I guess with that out of the way, we can form our parties now,” said Jack, “Let’s wrap this up and go home together. Everyone!”


[PARTY LINK ESTABLISHED] Leader: Jack G.Lv. 7 Member 1: Sarin G.Lv. 7 Member 2: Ramsley G.Lv. 7

Leader: Teal Member 1: Austin Member 2: Leina

G.Lv. 7 G.Lv. 7 G.Lv. 7

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Mind Boost] - [Switch Bonus] - [Activation Boost]

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Speed Charger] - [Activation Boost] - [Swtich Bonus]

Leader: Rokej G.Lv. 7 Member 1: Sophia G.Lv. 7 Member 2: Aphiso G.Lv. 7

Leader: Greg G.Lv. 7 Member 1: Colin G.Lv. 7 Member 2: Cheryl G.Lv. 7

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Mind Boost] - [Speed Charger] - [Switch Bonus]

The Party Link forms Passive Party Ability! - [Speed Charger] - [Activation Boost] - [Switch Bonus]

[MISSION BEGIN! Best wish to all players!] Game Master’s Castle…Throne Room… “…They are heading here,” the man in white robe sits quietly on his throne, “Their goal is to perform the final craft with Reika.” “Don’t worry, sire. We will hold them off,” Mumei kneels down before the Game Master. “How is Reika’s status?” the Game Master asks. “Her powers are stable sire. Nothing will be able to harm her,” said Latner. “Guard each level with care and don’t let them advance to the Abyss of Horizon!” the Game Master commands. “Yes sir!” the three Player Killers vanishes away into the darkness. “…So…it’s finally time for us to fight…Jack.” The man in white robe stands up. He taps a small button on his throne and opens a secret door to an elevator like room. The double door slides closed as the man in white robe slowly lifts the hood off his head.

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Chapter 61 Final Mission: Free the Manor of Sleep and shape your future.

Manor of Sleep B1F…Shrine…

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The 12 players rush down the shrine stairs passed the glowing blue lamp. Since they no longer have to replenish their lights, they simply ignore the lamp. The crew opens the big double doors at the foot of the stairs and enters the ‘Last Passage’ area. The water underneath the bridge is glowing an eerie light just like usual. “Everyone, hold on!” Sarin halts everyone as she glares through the thick fog covering the area into the small pavilion next to the bridge. “There’s a spirit there,” Teal looks at her camera. It is shining bright blue. “……Oh…? You must be the ‘players’,” the spirit of a young man sitting in the pavilion stands up, looking at the crew. “Who are you…?” Jack asks the ghost. “My name is Kaname,” the ghost introduces himself. “KANAME!? Amane’s brother!?” Cheryl asks in surprise. “Uh…Yes…Did you know my sister by any chance?” “Well, yeah. But…how did you get here!? I thought you were killed and sealed in the Chamber of Thorns!” “A man who called himself a ‘Reaper’ brought me up from Chamber of Thorns and told me to wait for the players here,” the young male ghost explains. Obviously, he is not really sure what is going on himself. “Another male Reaper? You have any idea who he is, Roke?” Leina raises his eyebrow. “Does he have a short silver hair?” Roke asks Kaname. “Um…yeah…You know him?” “It’s Cello…I brought him in to serve under Viola. But last I heard she said they are in love with each other,” Roke explains to his friends, ignoring Kaname’s question. “Um…excuse me…,” Kaname tries to get everyone’s attention again, “Mr. Cello told me to help you guys because he said you guys are the only one that can free Reika now.” “Yeah. We are on our way to free Reika Kuze,” Cheryl confirms, “Please lend me your strength.” “I understand. Please use my powers. Do whatever you can and help Reika sleep in peace,” Kaname pleads, “It’s my own selfishness that causes this. I’m so sorry.” “What’s done is done. It’s all in the past,” Sarin comforts the young man. “Yes. Let’s free Reika together, Kaname,” Cheryl smiles and holds on to his hands. Kaname’s body then radiates a warm bright light and enters Cheryl’s body.


Spirit Synchro Entry!!

(Director’s Cut)

Handmaiden’s Brother Description: The spirit of a young man who sneaks into the Chamber of Thorns to see the priestess before she is impaled.

Skill:

• [Mobile Action] Slightly levitates the Shaman from the ground and allows him / her to move and attack simultaneously. • [Speed Boost] Gains a boost in running speed. “Let’s move on,” the girl turns around to the crew, in which everyone simply nods in reply. The crew keeps moving across the room towards the double doors at the end of the path. Opening the huge double doors, the party’s eyes widen in surprise. Supposedly, behind these double doors is supposed to be a spiral stairways that leads them down into the abyss. However, they found that they are now inside a huge dominion, decorated in Japanese style. The foyer in front of them is wide-open, covered with Deluxe Tatami mat across the whole room. “So this is the Game Master’s castle,” Leina whispers, “I’m getting nervous.” “Don’t be. These guys will take advantage of you,” Roke taps on his friend’s shoulder, “Stay focused.” “Man, I wanna be tough like you,” Leina sighs. “Get ready everyone…something is coming our way,” Sophia notifies everyone as she saw the filament on her camera glowing an eerie red light. A ghostly silhouette starts to materialize in the middle of the room. It appears to be a spirit of a woman in some kind of ceremonial outfit. Several demonic hands appear from behind the woman as she coldly gazes at the party. “It’s Yashuu Kuze, the mistress,” Jack warns everyone. “You guys go on ahead. We’ll hold her here,” Teal loads a film into her camera. “Okay. Thanks,” Jack nods, “Sophia. Help me clear the way.” “You got it,” the girl giggles and walks forward with him. The ghostly mistress gazes at the teens, watching their every move. Sophia quickly releases a flash at the woman, making her stagger and temporarily exorcizes all demonic hands away. Jack instantly rushes in for a THOUSAND FIST punch to the front. Unfortunately, Yashuu is able to block the initial attack with her own arms, and immediately resummons the demonic hands to catch all the other followup punches. “Let’s go!!!!!” Jack waves a signal and leads everyone further into the castle’s halls. Since the mistress is still catching the remaining punches, she was not able to immediately follow the crew.

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As she attempts to follow the teens after the assault is over, a flock of red miasma gushes from the Tatami Mat and covers the entrance to the halls that Jack and the others just entered. “WE are your opponent,” Austin smiles daringly at the mistress and readies his swords.

Game Master’s Dominion…Stone Elevator…

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The party enters into a cylindrical room with the floor and walls purely made up of stones. Looking up, the party found that the room stretches all the way up to the point that it got too dark and they cannot see anything. “A dead end? How do we move on?” Greg tries touching the walls, but they look extremely firm; too strong to bring down with force. “Maybe this is some kind of elevator?” Roke suggests as he examines a small metallic circular plate in the middle of the room. The purple haired teen steps on to the plate curiously and suddenly, the path they entered into the room was closed. The stone floor they were standing on starts to move and they could feel that they are moving further down “So it’s actually an elevator. How convenient,” Ramsley remarks. “Aren’t you afraid that something might actually falls down on you when you stepped on it?” Sophia asks the teen curiously. “From the looks of the room, I don’t really think there can be any traps installed,” Roke shrugs, “The walls are tight and there’s not a single opening. And if anything is to fall down from a ceiling that high, I would have been able to react and dodge in time.” “Confident as always,” Aphiso teases. “Of course,” Roke chuckles. The stone plate moves down rather fast. Before the players know it, the plate already stops moving. The stone walls on one side split up and open into a double stone door. “Let’s move on, everyone,” Jack leads the party towards the exit when Greg suddenly pulls his friends backwards, “H…Hey? What?” Greg simply snaps a photo of the view in front of Jack and shows him the developed photo. “…The hell…?” Jack’s eyes widen as he found several transparent piano strings wired up around the exit of the room. “Those looks like hairlines,” Aphiso remarks. “Aside from Kyoka, there is only one person who does something like this,” Greg explains and raises his head up. There is indeed someone hugging on the walls some ways above the floor. The players could tell because they saw its big glowing yellow eyes from below. “Great job noticing my wires,” the figure chuckles and slowly descends to the floor. “Of course I know. Those wires got me once,” said Greg, “Ever since then I’ve always been looking out for these wires again.” “Excellent. Finally a player who could witness my existence before being sliced,” the man with big


glowing yellow eyes chuckles, “My name is Mumei, a Player Killer.” “Awesome. That gives me even more reasons to kick your arse,” Greg laughs daringly and loads a new film. “Jack, you go on ahead. We’ll handle this guy,” said Colin. “You sure you can do that?” Jack asks with concern. “Hey. You’re the leader, remember? And besides, it’s your idea that we should hold these guys down while you move on for Reika,” Cheryl reminds Jack of the plan. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I should have trust you guys more,” said Jack, “Good luck. I’ll see you guys later!” “Hah!!!!” Sarin cuts all the wires and opens the path for them to continue on. Mumei simply watches the remaining players run off without moving at all. “…Oh, you won’t follow them?” Greg taunts. “Of course not. There are two more Player Killers waiting for you ahead of me. After I’m done with you I can follow them later,” Mumei chuckles, “Well now. Let us get to business, shall we?”

Game Master’s Dominion…Arena… The crew keeps moving straight forward from the stone elevator and enters into an area similar to a coliseum arena. There are many stone benches surrounding the circular arena, with a huge bulb on the ceiling, several meters from the floor, being the only light source of this room. A man in long tuxedo was seen standing in the middle of the arena, waiting for the players. “…Ho…You again…?” Roke chuckles at their reunion. “It has been a while…Reaper King…,” the man in long tuxedo greets the purple haired teen. “You fought this guy before?” Aphiso asks. “Sort of. I got careless last time,” Roke chortles nervously, “Ever since then I’ve been looking forward to a rematch!” “And today you shall have the rematch you desire…,” the Player Killer gets into his fighting stance, “There is no need for an expository banter. We fight with all our strength!” “I’m not gonna sit by this time,” Sophia equips a lens to her camera. “You guys move on, Jack. This Player Killer probably has no business with you,” Aphiso notifies her friend. “Got it. You guys take care!” Jack then moves on to the other side of the arena with his party members. “All right…let’s get this started now, shall we?” Roke moves his muscles around, creating a crackling sound everywhere.

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Game Master’s Dominion…Headphone Cemetery… “There’s a Headphone Graveyard here too…?” Jack mutters as he notices several tombstones settled everywhere in the area. “This place was filled up, so we had to move some of the corpse up stairs,” a familiar voice was heard from above one of the tombstones. A man wearing baggy pants is spotted kneeling on one of the tombstones near the middle of the area. “So it’s you,” Jack taunts the familiar looking man. “It’s been a while,” the man chuckles and gets down from the tombstone, “I hope this time you’ll give me a good fight. I heard your limits are all removed.” “Yup, this will be a fast fight, and you will be lying on the floor beaten up after this,” Jack puts on his headphones. “I guess we will have to fight our way through this one,” Sarin readies her hatchet. “It seems this fight is unavoidable,” Ramsley readies his mask. “Yeah. That’s the spirit. Come at me all at once! I’ll squash all of you like worms in a single smash!” Incognito flutters his black crow wings and ascends into the air, “Now get ready to die, you pathetic humans!!!!”

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Chapter 62 Final Mission: Free the Manor of Sleep and shape your future.

Meanwhile…Game Master’s Dominion…Foyer… “Woah geez! That was close!!!” Austin steps back, barely dodging a punch from the demonic hands. “They just keep coming! I don’t think we can destroy all of those hands!” Leina remarks as he keeps firing at each arms behind the ghostly mistress. However, the more he fires, the more hands she creates. “We’ll have to blast her instead,” Teal notes, “Austin. You bait her out. Leina. You cover me. I’ll charge up and end this in a shot!” “I’m the bait again!?” Austin grumbles. “Well, you’re pretty fast, dude! I can’t run like you!” Leina shrugs. “You’re obviously trying to get rid of me, Teal!!!” Austin grumbles some more but rushes in as a bait nevertheless. Yashuu is standing still, letting the demonic hands do all the dirty works for her. However, as Austin keeps dodging while charging at her, she realizes that she can no longer stand on the same spot. So she lifts herself slightly from the ground and hovers back away from the blonde teen. “Hey, don’t move too much, dammit!!!” Austin summons more swords from his trance and throws them at her, but she is extremely agile for an old lady. She simply moves to the side and dodges his throw with ease. “I have a better idea, Austin!” Leina runs a little forward to the middle of the room, “I’ll confine her within my red miasma! But to do that I’ll need all the miasmas I have so I’ll be completely vulnerable! You have to cover me!!” “Better than just running around! Do it Leina!” said Austin, as if ordering. Leina raises his hands above his head and the miasma around him gradually disperses. However, soon after that, the miasma gushes from under the Tatami Mat around the whole room, like how steam seeps out from a small gap in the metal pipes. The miasma starts to cover around the whole room, limiting the area Yashuu can move. The demonic hands attempt to fight off the miasmas, but it counters the attack by firing butterflies from the gushing miasma at the hands. “Hey, I never knew I could do that,” Leina laughs. Yashuu quickly shoots her eyes at Leina, realizing that he is the cause of these red fogs. So she sends all of the demonic hands protecting her at the teen. “Oh shoot!!! Waaah!!!!” Leina cries as he saw the attack moving closer at him. “Not so fast!!!” Austin summons more swords down onto each demonic hand, completely protecting

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Leina from the attack. “That was close dude!!!” Leina cheers with a tone of relief. “Great job guys. Now she’s open!!!” Teal releases the Double charge she has been storing through her Zero Lens in a Shutter Chance. Since the demonic hands had left, the mistress is completely vulnerable. The shot was 12 times more powerful than a normally fully charge shot with all the bonus conditions satisfied and it causes the mistress to stagger away for a few feet, making her grumbles in anger.

Meanwhile…Game Master’s Dominion…Stone Elevator…

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“Gah! He’s fast!” Colin rolls away, barely dodging the man’s swooping claws. “Just so you humans know. I have been a Player Killer ever since this game has started along with Latner. Both of us are the strongest Player Killers ever to exist! Don’t gauge my powers with Anon or Rai Naam!!” Mumei ascends into the air once more, “Do you humans know the nature of an Owl?” “Nature of an owl?” Cheryl spreads her fan, readying to attack. “An owl is a nocturnal predator. It hunts for its prey at night in the dark. Its yellow glowing eyes allow them to see the movements of their preys as clear as during the day,” Mumei taunts, “In the place where darkness covers, I gain the advantage over all of you!!!” Mumei spreads his wings and releases a burst of black aura in all direction. In just a few seconds, the player found themselves standing in the darkness, barely seeing their hands. Even the light from the hall way outside of the Stone Elevator was dimmed out. “Oh crap, this is not good,” Greg looks around, “My capture circle won’t work if there is no light!” “Then let there be light!” Cheryl swings her fan and suddenly, a huge flame pillar forms in the middle of the room. The light from the flames was bright enough to at least allow the player to see around them. “Oh yeah! Amane’s power is Suzaku, the phoenix!!” Colin recalls, “At least with some light, we should be able to see him!” “But I can’t fight while holding the lights up like this. You guys will have to cover me!” Cheryl notes. “No problem! I got you covered!” Colin calls out three more silhouettes and orders them to guard around Cheryl. “And I’ll get Mumei myself,” Greg puts on his Serial Lens. “Hmph, this is going to be interesting,” Mumei’s chuckle can be heard from above. It is clear that he is hiding in the darkness somewhere above them, “All I have to do is crush Amane’s shaman. Then, the two of you will be helpless!!” “Not on my watch!!!” Colin aims at one of the walls above and randomly fires his arrows. The sound of wings, although faint, could be heard. Obviously, the red haired teen guessed the Player Killer’s position right. “I’m here!” Mumei swoops down from one side and swings his claws, “SHADOW RUNNER!!!” Three pitch black darts homes in at the party. Greg snaps a photo and completely destroys them.


However, after the attack, Mumei soars up into the darkness once more. “His attacks are considered spiritual, so my camera is still able to capture it,” Greg notes, “But we’re not getting any where if we kept defending like this.” “You worry about getting him, Greg. I’ll get both of you covered!” Colin pulls his bow’s string, readying for another shot.

Meanwhile…Game Master’s Dominion…Coliseum… “How do you like this!” Roke throws a white energy ball at Latner. However, he simply steps to the side, dodging the ball with ease. At the same time, Aphiso rushes in at the Player Killer and swings her Voice Blade. The sword struck onto Latner’s wrist, creating a huge crack on his skin. Panicking, the Player Killer quickly pushes the girl away and flutters his wing, leaping away. At the same time, Sophia taps her shutter, snapping a photo of the Player Killer, making him flinch even further. However, the shot was just a simply shutter chance, so it does not do much damage to him. Latner observes the crack on his skin carefully then looks at the girl. “How do you like that?” Aphiso taunts, “The Voice Blade creates random effect against the spirit it fights against. I don’t even know what it was going to do to you.” “Interesting. The blade reacts to my spirit armor and opens a crack on it. Formidable weapon indeed,” Latner smiles. “You haven’t shown me any new tricks yet,” Roke cracks his knuckles, “Isn’t it about time you pull out some new toys on us?” “Don’t hasten me, Reaper King,” the Player Killer chuckles. “Ex-Reaper King,” the purple haired teen corrects. “Okay then, ex-Reaper King. I have not go full strength in a while. I will need some time to warm up,” Latner replies. “…Roke, he’s dragging,” Sophia nudges the purple haired teen. “Yeah, I know. Although he is right about the warm up part cuz I could tell,” Roke explains. “What is he waiting for?” Aphiso asks Roke. “Trying to disconnect Viola now, aren’t you?” Roke asks. “The Reaper Queen does not own this realm’s server. We have all the right to drive her away,” Latner replies. “Feel free to resist. Viola has been hosting the Reaper’s Game her whole life. If there’s the award for the best game host, then it’s her,” Roke smiles confidently. “We will see about that. But now, allow me to show you my true splendor!” Latner spreads his gallant hawk wings and flutters it, levitating him off the ground, “Hawks are prideful predators. The wind sided with them. Embrace in the frenzy of the wind!!!!”

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Meanwhile…Game Master’s Dominion…Headphones Cemetery…

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“Nice, Jack! You’ve gotten a lot stronger since our last fight!” Incognito laughs as he rains down assault of punches and kicks onto the teen. However, with the power of Hyper Resonance, Jack is able to exchange hits with the black haired man without flinching from his attacks at all. “I’m not playing after all!!!!” Jack raises his fist and directly jabs at the Player Killer. Several demonic hands appear from nowhere and repeatedly storm onto the Player Killer. Although the first wave was inevitable since it was released at point-blank, Incognito quickly flaps his wings and blocks the last half of the assault. “That’s a nice skill,” Incognito compliments after the attack ceases, “But it won’t be enough to get to me!!!!” The crow-winged man rushes at Jack once more, but Sarin jumps down and obstructs his dash with a block using her hatchet. “You got the guts, girl!!!!” Incognito swings his legs, for a full force round horse kick. But Sarin simply activates her Oversoul and blocks the kick as well. “Tch! You’ve gotten stronger too,” Incognito mutters and hovers back for some distance. “And this is for Koga!!!” Sarin smashes her hatchet forward and releases the huge energy wave at the Player Killer. “Sorry!” Incognito flutters his wings, ascending up into the air, dodging the wave. “Let’s see how you handle this!” Ramsley fires a bolt of energy at the Player Killer from the corners of the room. He has already activated his Trance and the Simulacrum Mask five times. The blast is eight times the power of a normal bolt. “Don’t make me LAUGH!!!!” Incognito flaps his wings at the bolt. It took him some effort, but he successfully deflects the bolt away at the walls, creating a huge crack on it. “N…No way,” Ramsley exclaims at what he saw in disbelief. “Your mask is powerful, I won’t deny that. But the more power you inject into your attacks, the less control you have over its direction and target! It might work on big targets, but it won’t work on me!!!” Incognito taunts, “Learn that before putting on the mask! OLD MAN!” The crow-winged man flutters his wings and casts flocks of razor sharp black feather at the butler. “Hmph!” The Simulacrum Mask did not only increase his attack powers, but his overall physical parameters as well. So the butler simply runs off from the assault radius to the other side of the cemetery and fires his bolt some more. This time Incognito simply bends away and dodges the attack without trouble. “Well then, why don’t we slow you down a little!?” Ramsley activates the stone amulet, attempting to slow down Incognito’s movement. “Oh please, you gotta be kidding!!!” Incognito rolls his eyes and swoops down at the butler, raining another assault on him. “This can’t be!! Why is my powers not working on him!?” Ramsley dodges the assaults, but had a hard


time countering back. “From your point of view, you might see that the ghosts around you move slower, but you forgot about one thing! Even though time slows, your body is also affected by the flow of time!” Incognito replies, “In MY point of view, all I see is you having better reflex and reaction!!!!” The crow-winged man launches a punch straight into the butler’s face, sending him several meters away. “Ramsley!!!!” Jack calls the butler worriedly. “…I’m fine,” Ramsley stands up and shakes his head, removing the mask. It has turned from an angry face into a sad face. Perhaps the boost from the mask protected him and went directly into recharge from the impact. Otherwise, that punch could have been fatal.

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Chapter 63 Final Mission: Free the Manor of Sleep and shape your future.

Game Master’s Dominion…Foyer…

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“Grrrrr…,” the ghostly mistress finally kneels down after a furious assault from the players’ cooperation. “Awesome!” Leina and Austin tag a high five once they saw the mistress falling to her feet. “Thought she’d never give up,” Teal sighs in relief when the mistress finally decides to fall. “I guess we are done here,” Leina laughs, “Let’s just move on-----“ Suddenly, the mistress rises up one more time. This time her face looks extremely blank and her skin is bleached white. “Oh crap, the miasma!!!!” Austin picks up his naginata one more time. “She just wouldn’t go down without a bang, does she!?” Teal loads a new set of film and prepares for battle again. More demonic hands appear behind her as she screams a malicious wail. “Oh crap. This is definitely not good,” Austin realized that his Trance has timed out. “Damn, my Oversoul is out too!” Leina mutters, noticing the fall in his strength. “We will have to take that shot again,” Teal explains, “But I got enough power only for one more Zero Lens. I’ll need a clean shot at her core for this!” “You take some rest, Austin. I’ll do the bait this time,” Leina switches back to his spear. “Hey, you sure dude?” the blonde teen asks his friend with concern. “I oughta try. I can’t stay behind Sae’s power forever,” Leina explains and swings his spear, “All right! Here I go!!!” The crimson haired teen rushes at the demonic mistress with his spear. She screams at the teen and releases flocks of hands at the teen. “I can’t cover him this time! Teal! Do something!” Austin pleads. “I thought I just told you I need to charge up!” Teal rolls her eyes and removes the Zero Lens before flashing the demonic hands, stunning them, “They are definitely stronger. One single shot did not take them out!” Leina teleports behind the flocks of hands and continues his way at the mistress. Yashuu reaches for the teen, aiming for a smack. Leina quickly warps behind the mistress for an ambush thrust. It was a success because she is completely opened for an attack. After the thrust, Leina quickly back off for a launching charge, lifting the lady off the ground. “Austin!” “Here we go!” Austin fires his Bellflower Key. The energy cannon blasts the lady higher up into the air, “Teal! Now it’s your cue!”


“I got her!” The orange haired girl quickly snaps a photo with Zero Lens equipped. The shot was fully boosted, perfectly aimed at her core. “GAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!” The mistress wails in pain as the miasma surrounding her disperses along with her ghostly body.

Meanwhile…Game Master’s Dominion…Stone Elevator… Greg taps his shutter, but he was a split second late. Mumei has already escaped the capture circle and the shot was wasted. “I admit you humans are tough. But you cannot defeat me so easily,” Mumei gets back on his feet. The hands of the Player Killer turn into an owl-like claws as he rushes at the party. “I’m on it!!!!” Colin commands his silhouette to fire at the Player Killers at will. The arrows all hit their target, but Mumei shows no sign of stunning at all. The Player Killer reaches it claws for Cheryl, but Greg pushes her away and takes a hit instead. “Stupid player,” Mumei smirks in satisfaction, “I am going to tear you to pieces!” “Think again,” Greg smirks back and aims his camera at the Player Killer, despite the claws sticking inside his body. “What the!?” “Now Colin!!!!” Greg calls his friend and starts tapping the shutter button. “NO WAAAYYY!!!!” The Player Killer repels away, letting go of its claws. However, he could not repel back further or ascends because he is barricaded inside a small restricted area with Colin’s power. Greg repeatedly taps his shutter button again and again with the Serial lens on. The shot connects on and on, damaging the Player Killer as if he was being fired with a machine gun. However, after a while, the pain starts to spread and Greg loses his stand, making him fall to the ground. Unfortunately, the barricade has timed out as well, and Mumei is not yet defeated. “Hmph. That was a crazy tactic, but you wouldn’t---“ “Wouldn’t what?” Cheryl asks. Before he knows it, Mumei is already surrounded inside a pillar of flames. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The blaze scorches the Player Killer’s wings, disabling him from flying and completely turns him into ashes. The darkness fades away, and light returns to the room. The player’s vision becomes clear once again. “Greg!!!” Colin rushes over to his friend who is lying in a pool of blood. “Damn…this hurts,” Greg grits his teeth, breathing heavily. “Hold on, I’ll heal you!” Cheryl kneels down next to Greg and applies the healing aura onto his wounds. “He okay?” Colin asks. “If this were to be the real world, he’s probably done for. But with this he should be able to regain his strength back in no time,” Cheryl replies.

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Meanwhile…Game Master’s Dominion…Coliseum…

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“Damn, that was strong!” Roke rolled around and quickly got back up standing. Latner’s attacks are strong and deft. Each of his attacks is fast and extremely powerful. One direct hit could probably knock any of them out. Since the battle has started, he has never once complained about being outnumbered. He is definitely confident in his strength. “I guess we can’t go one on one with this guy,” Aphiso discussed, swinging her Voice Blade. “You thinking like me?” the purple haired teen asks his sister-in-law. “Great minds always think alike. Think you can catch up?” “You better mind your own step, my sister,” Roke chuckles and quickly rushes at the Player Killer. Accepting the challenge, Latner swings his right fist, but the purple haired teen duck down and unleashes a REFLECT RAID at point-blank. The Player Killer is surprisingly agile. He was able to dodge the majority of the attack, taking only little scratch damage. However, while he is regaining his balance from the dodge, Aphiso rushes in for a close quarter slash, scoring a free hit on his shoulder. A huge crack appears on his shoulder, forcing him to back off. Once he gets into an open area, he was shot and staggered back a few steps by Sophia’s camera. After a while, the tides of the battle completely flipped over. Latner helplessly blocks the relentless assault from the purple haired teen and the elder brunette as they take turns attacking over and over again, not allowing the Player Killer to take a rest. Moreover, every time he jumps out for some space, he was immediately opened for a clean shot by Sophia. “This is the fight I’ve always been looking for!!!! STORM CRUSHER!!!!” Latner flaps his wings at Roke, sending two swirling wind currents forth. “Don’t make me laugh!” Aphiso switches her synchro to Snow Demon and blows a hail storm against the current. Latner grits his teeth as he notices that he no longer controls the wind current. “Unlike Shigure, I don’t think you can stop it, huh?” Latner spins and releases another gush of wind against Aphiso. While she was occupied with it, he dashes out of the way and heads for the purple haired teen. Latner raises a fist at the purple haired teen and aims for a straight direct jab. However, this time, the teen simply catches the punch with bare hand. “What the!?” Latner exclaims in surprise. “I guess it’s really time we end this!” Roke hurls a REFLECT RAID at point-blank, pushing the Player Killer away. Immediately after, the purple haired teen raises his left palm for a DRAGON ROAR. Three dragon spirits repeatedly hits on Latner, forcing him to step back. And for the final step, Roke blasts an ENERGY CANNON directly at Player Killer. It was a clean shot. Latner takes a full hit and drops to the ground.


Meanwhile…Game Master’s Dominion…Headphone Cemetery… “THUNDER UPPERCUT!!!!” Jack launches an uppercut with his right fist. The Player Killer was launched into the air and shocked with a strong electric current before falling back down onto the floor. “Gaah!!” Incognito staggers back, puffing from exhaustion, “Not bad…” Jack is also puffing in exhaustion as well. The fight is really a close call. Each of them has been exchanging so much hits with each other. Now they are on the verge of fainting at any moment. “He’s not down yet,” Sarin whispers and looks at Jack. The teen has several bruises on his body, “Hey…you still okay?” “Yeah, I’m still fine. Can you cover me?” Jack asks, “Next set will be the last strike.” “What are you planning?!” “Just trust me!” Jack replies, “You’ll know what to do!” “I guess I really underestimated you humans,” Incognito grumbles. “We still have to move on forward. I’m not going to give up yet!” Jack walks forward and gets into his battle stance again. “Big words for some puny humans! I’m going to finish this up right now!!!!” Incognito dashes at Jack once again. “Look out, Jack!!!” the butler warns the teen. Jack turns on the MIRAGE SCREEN and blocks the first straight punch with ease. Incognito launches a left hook, which Jack blocks with his arm guard. “Let’s just see how long you can hold this up!!!” Incognito prepares a launching uppercut with his right. Jack quickly launches the THOUSAND FIST at his face, but it did not stop Incognito’s uppercut. The teen was launched into the air where Incognito immediately follows by a full spinning stomp like a drill, crushing the teen against the floor. “How do you like THAT!? HAH!” Incognito laughs victoriously at the teen who is now lying on the floor. “…H…Heh…heh…” “Hm? You wanna say something!?” Incognito flouts. “Let’s see…who has the last laugh.” “Huh!?” Incognito quickly looks behind and notices the silver haired girl charging some energy. Her five swords are lined up horizontally paralleled to the ground, forming a circle in the air. Energy starts gathering in the middle of the circle, aimed at the Player Killer. “ETHEREAL CANNON!!!!!” The energy ball blasts into a bright energy beam that fully blasts the Player Killer against the walls behind him. The crow-winged man falls to the floor, choking from damage. “Jack!!!!” Sarin quickly hovers towards the boy, tending his wounds. “I’ve got this covered!” Ramsley takes out a jar of herbal medicine Jack picked up a few nights ago and uses its latent power, restoring Jack’s wounds. “Feel better?” Sarin asks.

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“Not really. It still aches here and there, but at least I can stand now,” Jack replies and gets back up standing. “That was reckless!” Sarin hits the teens shoulder. “I’m sorry. This guy is fast. The only way we can finish him is to blow him off in a single strike when he was off guard,” said Jack. “It’s a shame because I would be more than happy to fire my boosted bolt at him,” Ramsley laughs jokingly. “…Hmph…looks like you guys are having fun…” Incognito mutters as he was lying on the floor. “Still want some more?” Jack cracks his knuckles. “You’re a pretty tough one. I gave that Ethereal Cannon a full blast,” Sarin pouts. “Hmph…I’m already done for,” Incognito sighs, noticing that his body is starting to fade away, “You guys really are something.” “We want to live. That was why we can’t afford to lose,” Jack tells the Player Killer. “Pfft…Human logics are corny as hell. Speaking as if WE don’t want to live as well,” Incognito mutters, “Just know that defeating the likes of me means nothing unless you completely seal the Rift. So don’t be glad you won just yet. My master would never let you through.” “Then we’ll just bust through him,” Jack replies. “…Fine. Go on ahead. I have no more strength to stop you,” Incognito sighs, closing his eyes. The party looks at each other and nods before walking away, leaving the Player Killer lying down quietly. “…Hmph…Whatever,” Incognito sighs and looks up at the ceiling, “Feh…I’m chickening out at the thought of death…? Maybe those stupid humans have infected their stupidity on me. Whatever…I came from nothing…so I’ll just …go back…to nothing as well…” The crow-winged man’s body gradually fades away into nothing, leaving only a few traces of his black feathers on the ground. “We’re almost there,” Jack opens the double door and found the spiral staircase leading down. They are now back inside the Last Passage area, “We hold the ghosts down here while Tim ran down for the Chamber of Thorns last time. This time we’ll go there ourselves.” “The Game Master should also be somewhere around here. Let’s be careful,” Ramsley advises. “Got it. Let’s go.” Jack leads the party down the stairs further into the abyss. As they reaches the foot of the stairs, they push the giant double doors opened. Behind the doors is a wide-open room. The ceiling and the walls are made from stones. But the floor looks rather strange. The players are not very sure what it is, but some sort of thick fog is covering their foot, preventing them from seeing the floor clearly. At the other side of the room is a giant double stone door, sealing another room behind it. Standing in the middle of the room with thick fog on the floor is a man in white robe, turning his back on


to the party. He is no longer wearing his hood. “You’re finally here…I’ve been waiting for you since forever…Jack,” the man turns around towards the party, finally revealing his face to the party. “………T…This can’t be…This can’t be right…,” Jack’s eyes widened in shock. “Yup. Trust what you see. This is neither magic nor trick. This is my true face,” the man in white robe smirks maliciously. “No way. You gotta be kidding! Why the hell are you the Game Master!? Explain yourself!!! CROSS!!!!”

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Chapter 64 Final Mission: Free the Manor of Sleep and shape your future.

Last Passage…Abyss of Horizon…

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“…Now I know what was bugging me,” Sarin whispers with a shaking voice, “Back when we found Yoshino for the first time, you were there along with Jack, Cheryl, and me. She KNEW that you were the Game Master!” “Hahahaha!!!! Took you guys long enough to realize that!!!” the boy in white robe laughs manically, “I thought I was busted back then too!! Lucky for me she’s already out of her mind and can’t even speak properly! And guess what! After that, Tim even entered into the room after me, taking all the suspicion!” “So when Miss Sarin and Cheryl were taken to the Doll Altar, it was your doing too…!?” Ramsley interrogates. “That’s right. I was actually looking for her before joining you twerps. Even though she’s already driven to the verge of madness, I still have to close up the loose ends,” Cross chuckles, “I still need to stick around your group for a while so I really can’t get rid of those two girls yet. Otherwise the suspicion would fall on me again. So I had to knock them off and quickly get rid of that wretch. Too bad you guys came in the middle of it, so I couldn’t rejoin those girls smoothly.” “Why…? What’s the big idea!?” Jack grits his teeth. “Isn’t it obvious, twerp? It was to confirm if the earrings are with you or not!” Cross snaps, “I’ve always mingle with the Voice Materializers every time I suspect any one of them to have the earrings. Aside from the Reaper King, you were on top of my list because of your toll. Of course the Reaper King seems to be a little smarter than you, so I decided to go after you first! I kinda think that you are a little too stupid to have the earrings after a while, so I crossed you off the list. Never thought I’ve always guessed it right.” “So we really got it right. Jack’s headphone has the Echo Earrings and you are afraid of its power,” Sarin mutters. “I am afraid of Reika’s power, bitch,” Cross corrects the girl, “She is the most powerful creature in this realm because she herself IS the gate to the Rift. Crafting the skill from her true thoughts and feelings will obviously allow the humans to seal the Rift back. I can’t let that happen. Not after I’ve come this far.” “Why are you doing this!? Why are you torturing so many people!?” Jack grits his teeth in anger. “Isn’t it obvious? Because I wanna go out to the real world,” Cross chuckles, “You guys have seen them, didn’t you? The spirit of the humans murdered in this realm has now occasionally crossed over to the other side. Soon the Rift will spread and cover the whole world. And the world itself would be-


come a dream. There we will reign as the supreme ruler!” “How did you go to the real world then!? You showed up at Roke’s manor too, didn’t you!?” Jack interrogates some more. “Um…Master Jack…Cross never came to our mansion,” Ramsley corrects. “Huh? What!?” Jack exclaims in disbelief, “I thought he came! But a lot later than us! He even said he read Roke’s notes!!!” “No, Master Jack. That door bell was a prank,” Ramsley replies, “I’m sorry I haven’t brought this up to you. I thought it was redundant.” “How did you know about Roke’s notes anyway?” Sarin mutters then starts thinking, “…You never read his notes…” “Of course, silly wretch. I’ve never been to his mansion, but I’m the flipping Game Master for crying out loud. I know EVERYTHING about this realm,” Cross laughs mockingly, “All I did was have one of the ghosts strong enough to possess some random kid in the real world to play the prank at the right time and boom!!!! Everyone thought that I went to Roke’s manor and read his notes! HAHAHA!!!!” “I…I can’t believe we were fooled this easily,” Jack clutches his fists. “Enough talking…,” Cross frowns immediately after the laugh, “You guys leave me no choice but to fight you myself.” “He’s coming!?” Sarin readies her hatchet. “All of you shall become food for the Rift!” Suddenly, the double stone door behind Cross burst opened and a strong wind current blows out from it. The players hold their ground to prevent themselves from being blown away. After the initial burst, a figure was seen marching out of the dark room behind the double stone door. It is a woman wearing nothing but a blue hakama. She has long hairs, covering a good portion of her face. The familiar looking tattoo runs along her skin throughout her whole body, as if turning her skin blue. Jack’s jaw drops opened – She is the creepy woman who gave him his tattoo when he entered this game. “Is that…Reika…?” Jack whispers. “That’s right. My lovely Tattoo Priestess who allows all this to happen,” Cross chuckles and walks toward the priestess, caressing her cheeks, “Doesn’t she look lovely? Look at her eyes. The tattoo spreads even into her eyes.” “You’re sick…,” Jack clenches his fist tighter, “Cross…I trusted you. I thought of you as a comrade. We’ve been through so much together. Even though you never took part in any battles, I never blamed you for it.” “Oh. Okay, whatever. You don’t talking yet? I don’t really give a damn what you think. You guys will die right here and NOWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!” Cross’s jaws dropped opened as his whole body turns twisted into a foggy like substance, covering

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the Tattoo Priestess. “Jack! Listen to her voice quick!!!!!” Sarin reminds the teen. Jack quickly puts on his headphones and listens to her voice with full concentration. +It hurts…Q$%^&U+ +My par$%^&*IOents…My fa$%^&*(mily…+ +I di%^&*(dn’t choT^(%^&*(ose to survive!!!+ +Help m&*()_e!!!+ +MAKE$#%^&*( IT STOP!!!!+

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+Br%^&()OPother…^&*()Where a$^&*re you!?+ +I can’t$^%^IUO se$%^&*()e you!!!+ +Whe#$%^&*(re’s my husb&#$%and!!!+ +Gi$%^&*ve me ba*&()ck my family!!!!+ “What the hell…?” Jack mutters, “I…I can’t hear her voice!” “WHAT!?” Sarin and Ramsley exclaims. “There are so many voices coming out from her…I can’t pick out her voice!!!” Jack grits his teeth nervously. +Ha! You like that, sucker!?+ Cross’s voice echoes in Jack’s headphones. “That’s Cross’s voice!? What the hell did you do!?” Jack angrily asks.


+I jammed the voices! Reika’s tattoos contain the pain of several humans! All I did was turn on their volume to cover Reika’s!!! Now even with the earring, you won’t be able to hear her voice!!!!+ “Grrr. It’s useless! I can’t hear her voice! Cross is jamming it!” Jack tells his friend. “Hey, Jack, look!!!!” Sarin points behind Reika. A transparent skeleton-like figure was seen floating behind the Tattoo Priestess. “That must be Cross’s true form,” Jack mutters, “We have to get rid of him first!” +Oh ho. Sorry. Not gonna happen! I’m one with Reika right now!!!! You think you can fight against the Tattoo Priestess!? DON’T MAKE ME LAUGH!!!!+ Reika hops down from stone stairs in front of the Chamber of Thorns and rushes at the party. “Look out!!!” Sarin swings her hatchet at Reika, but she simply brushes it away with her bare arm. The Tattoo Priestess punches the silver haired girl and smacks her away to the side. Ramsley trances and fully charges his mask before firing another bolt of light. However, Reika simply crushes the light to nothing with her bare hands. “This can’t be!!!” Ramsley panics. Reika reaches for the butler’s face and smashes him against the floor heartlessly. After helping him survives an attack for several times, the mask finally breaks down to small pieces. Reika slowly turns towards Jack, and before he knows it, she already pops up three centimeters away from him. “What the!?” Jack could feel a fist driven into his stomach as he flies across the room. +AHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Puny little humans!!!! So weak compared to the Tattoo Priestess!!!!+ “Oh yeah? How about this!?” the silver haired girl charges up the same energy beam she fires at Incognito and launches it straight onto Reika. The foggy skull behind her immediately comes up to the front and deflects the beam away, leaving Reika completely unharmed. “No way…,” Sarin gasps in disbelief. +Want some more, girl?+ Reika reappears in front of Sarin and slaps her to the ground before a follow up kick that sends her to the other side of the room completely opposite to Jack. “SARIN!!!” Jack calls to the girl while struggling to stand up. The priestess’s attack was brutal. A single punch made the boy completely powerless to stand up.

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+HOW DO YOU LIKE THIS!? Suckers!!!! This will teach you not to fucking mess with MY GAME! YOU play with MY goddamn RULES!!!!! You hear me!?+ A ball of energy starts gathering in front of the skull of the skeleton-like figure. The priestess looks around for her target, then glares at the silver haired girl who is lying down helplessly. “…No…,” Jack grits his teeth, while crawling on the floor. Reika raises her arms, taking the ball into her own palm. “NOOO!!!!!!” The tattoo priestess throws the ball directly at the silver haired girl. “RAMSLEY!!!!! MIRROR!!!!!!” A yell was heard from the other side of the room. A blonde teen gallantly dashes forward into the room with a gravity defying reflex. The butler reaches for the Mirror of Loss inside his coat then tosses it at the blonde teen. Austin quickly fetches the mirror and rolls over to the silver-haired girl. Just before the energy ball reaches both of them, the teen activates the mirror’s power and completely deflects the shot back to the Tattoo Priestess, forcing her to stagger back a step. +WHAT THE HELL!? You guys are supposed to be busy up there!!!!+

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“I guess I came on time! Ha!” the blonde teen laughs in pride and sighs in relief. “Woah, man! That was awesome!!!!” Another voice was heard from the same direction the blonde teen ran in. The crimson haired teen entered into Abyss of Horizon room a few moments before the remaining crew follows. “This feeling…she must be Reika!!” Cheryl warns the crew that just came in. “Woah…Look at the filament!!!” Sophia shows the filament to everyone, “It’s…bright red…” “Dang. She looks tough…,” Greg shakily loads a new film. “G…Guys…,” Jack looks at the crew in relief. “Sorry it took us a while, man!” Austin laughs and returns the Holly Key and Mirror of Loss to their respective owners. +Oh, all of you guys are here? Awesome. NOW I’LL JUST KILL ALL OF YOU GUYS AT ONCE!!!!!!+ “Think again!” Suddenly, six ice spears poke down onto the floor, surrounding Reika. A cold energy wave forms and freezes everything in the circle into an ice pillar. Unfortunately, Reika was extremely fast and the Frozen Prison only caught the arm of the dark skeleton.


+WHAT THE **** IS THIS!!!!????+ Suddenly three dragon souls rush in at the Tattoo Priestess, ramming onto her. Unfortunately, she was able to parry the ram, so the damage was not very severe. Before she could regain her balance, two hatchet boomerangs reflects on the ceiling and drops down on to the dark skeleton. +Grrrr!!!! Reaper King!?+ “What sup, creep,” Roke waves at the dark figure floating behind the priestess. +Don’t you dare mock me!!!!!+ The dark skeleton reaches for the purple haired teen, but the swipe completely missed. Roke and Aphiso quickly jump away back to the party. Reika hovers into the air and looks down at the party. “Guess she’s not going down properly,” Roke mutters. “Hold on, Jack. I’ll heal you up!” Colin takes the vial he got from Cheryl and tries to activate its latent power. The vial shines a comforting light and covers Jack’s party members.

New Relics Entry Sacred Water Description: A vial of water, containing sacred purifying water. Anyone who drinks it shall be blessed. Latent Ability: Manipulate the sacred power stored inside the waters and restores a party’s physical health and mental stamina to perfect condition. Can be used only once. “Thanks everyone. You came just in time!” Jack thanks everyone when he finally regains enough strength to speak. “Don’t mention it. If anything, thank Amane for that vial,” Cheryl giggles. The crew stands strong and fearlessly looks at the tattoo priestess hovering above the ground. +You humans are starting to become like roaches. + “This is it, guys!!! The last battle!! If we can get rid of the Game Master possessing Reika, we win!” Leina cheers. “If only it’s THAT easy,” Aphiso mutters. “Hey sis, don’t jinx it! It’s 12 against 1!” Sophia teases, jokingly. “…Hey, Cheryl,” Jack turns towards the girl, “You have Kaname’s spirit with you, right?”

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“Huh? Yeah. Why?” Cheryl tilts her head puzzlingly. “I have an idea…,” Jack replies, “We’re gonna need your strength. If we can get Kaname’s voice to Reika, we might not even need to beat the Game Master!”

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Chapter 65 Final Mission: Free the Manor of Sleep and shape your future.

Last Passage…Abyss of Horizon… “If we can get Kaname’s voice to Reika, maybe we can wake up her conscience to mess with the Game Master’s influence!” Jack suggests. “I’ll try,” Cheryl synchronizes with Kaname. “Sarin! Cover me and Cheryl!!” Jack orders. “Understood!” Sarin responds and switches to Koga’s synchro. “The rest prepare to back me up!” Jack orders everyone else. “Got it!” The crew replies to the teen. As soon as Jack heard the reply, he heads off towards the Tattoo Priestess with Cheryl following him closely from behind. +STUPID HUMANS!!!!+ Reika raises her palm forward. The tattoo on her body suddenly, moves and materializes into real holly vines, slithering at Jack and Cheryl rapidly. However, red miasma gushes from below and blocks the vines, preventing it from moving any further. “Haha! I have a shrine priestess’s power on my side too!!!” Leina laughs braggingly from the back lines. Reika raises another palm. This time, the serpents on her tattoo materialize and slither forward. However, several light and dark swords, as well as arrows and bolts of light, rain down on the serpents, halting all of them together. “You guys keep moving! We’ll hold these serpents!!!” said Austin. Jack and Cheryl keep moving forward fearlessly. +This is not over yet!!!!+ The foggy skeleton dispatches itself from the priestess and approaches the players, dashing straight at the priestess. “Oh no you don’t!!!” Roke raises his palm forward, releasing three dragon souls that slows the skeleton from moving. “Take. THIS!!!” Aphiso swings her Voice Blade, releasing a huge sound wave the aids the three drag-

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ons in halting the demonic figure. “Ready guys!?” Sophia asks her friends. “Whenever you are!!!” Teal replies. “On three!!!” Greg suggests. The three camera users tap their shutter at the same time, dealing three Fatal Frames at the same time. The shot completely stun the skeleton, making it stop moving on spot “Okay, Koga. One last time!” Sarin forms her sword into the Ethereal Cannon stance once more and releases all the energy she has left, “ETHEREAL CANNON!!!!” The energy beam blasts through all the chaos and directly disintegrates everything below the skeleton’s rib cage. +SCREW YOU HUMANS!!!!!!!!!! ARRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!+

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The skeleton figure began to fades away to thin air. “I got it!!!!” Jack opens both of his hands and charges up two fiery balls, “PYRO CRASH!!!!!!” The teen throws the two fiery balls at the priestess, burning all the vines and serpent on her skin. “Now! Cheryl!!!” Jack commands the girl running closely behind him. As the priestess screams in pain, Cheryl rapidly hovers at the priestess, “Go, Kaname!” Cheryl deactivates her synchro and releases Kaname out of her body. “…Reika…” The spirit of a young man leaves Cheryl’s body and hugs the priestess. “Please, listen to my voice. You can lie down in peace now. You don’t have to suffer any more…” “AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!” Reika lets out a sharp scream, making the whole cavern shakes madly. “This is it! Kaname’s voice is messing with the Rift’s influence!!!” Roke explains, “Now’s your chance! Jack!!!” “Hurry up Jack!!!! Seal the Rift!!!” Sarin tells the teen as she struggles to stand up. Jack walks towards the priestess and puts on his headphones. + I never wanted to leave you...I wanted to be with you...I’m here. I’ll always be here...I want to see you again. I know I can’t see you again...but still, if I could just see you once more...once more...just one more time...I can feel the thoughts of so many people being etched into me...So many voices, so much pain...Please don’t forget me. This is my voice, my memory, my pain...+


Final Skill Entry! Unleashing Seal Crafted from: Tattoo Priestess Description: ??? A bright light flashes right before Jack and slowly absorbs into his body. The boy slowly raises his right index finger up to the ceiling and the same light starts radiating on the tip of his fingers. The shaking finally starts to settle down as Reika falls to the ground and vanishes. “Hey…Look!” Greg shows everyone the tattoo on his left arm. The tattoo starts slithering away from the surface of his skin and gradually crawls into the light on Jack’s finger. Everyone’s tattoos seem to be reacting the same way. After all of the tattoo has left their bodies, the light on Jack’s finger flashes again. The party covers their eyes from the bright light, blinding them for a few seconds. After a while, they decide to open their eyes again and found themselves standing on some kind of shore, overlooking a dark sea. “Did we…did we do it?” Sophia whispers, looking at everyone else. “…Yeah…It was a success. My tattoo is gone!!!” Austin looks at his left wrist where the tattoo used to be engraved. “Does…Does that mean we won?” Teal whispers in disbelief. “Yeah!!!! We did it!!!! We closed the Game of Despair!!!!!” Leina jumps around enthusiastically. “Yeah. We sure did,” Roke laughs carefreely. “Yay!!! We won!!!!” Sophia jumps gleefully onto her sister and laughs. “Haha! We sure did,” Aphiso giggles, holding her sister tight. “…We did it…didn’t we?” Jack sighs in relief and turns to the silver haired girl, standing behind him. “Yeah, we sure did,” Sarin replies with a smile and holds the teen’s hand. “Woah, hey guys! Look!!!” Cheryl points towards the sea. Everyone gives a slight jump when they notice a group of shadows marching into the sea. All of them slowly rises up from the sandy ground and heads into the light at the farthest end of the horizon. “W…what’s that? We don’t have to fight them, do we?” Leina gulps. “They are the spirits trapped inside the manor of sleep.” A girl’s voice was heard whispering among the players. The handmaiden with pig-tails steps out from Cheryl’s body and turns around looking at the crew. “Amane…?” Cheryl calls the girl. “We cannot thank you enough for freeing the manor.” A woman with long hair steps out from Aphiso’s body along with a man.

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“We will now leave for the other side. You have our gratitude,” Akito politely bows to the party. “Kaname already went on ahead of me with Reika. It’s time I follow him,” Amane holds on to her mother’s hand and smiles at the party. “We’re glad you guys are free,” Cheryl replies. “We will never forget all of you,” Kyoka smiles at the party. “Oh my god…she’s beautiful…,” Austin whispers to Leina, who simple nudges him back. “We couldn’t do all of this without you guys too. We owe you our thanks too,” Aphiso crosses her arms and smiles as well. “This dimension should crumble down any time soon. Once it does, all of you will go back to the real world. Please live your life to the fullest and never forget the people who have left,” Amane explains. The three of them then turn towards the sea and head off into the light at the horizon.

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The crew watches several other souls march into the light. The souls are wearing various style of clothing. Since the Game of Despair has been going on for several centuries, it is only natural that the players trapped in this manor all came from a different time era. “They can all rest in peace now,” Roke nods. “You can tell?” Aphiso asks. “Please, sis. I’ve been a Reaper my whole life. I know which souls are going to reborn and which are going to burn from just looking,” Roke laughs jokingly. “Where are they going, Roke?” Sophia asks the purple haired boy. “Viola already connects this realm to the Reaper’s Game server. It’s only natural that the souls move on just like how you guys used to go through. Except I doubt there would be any games waiting for them,” Roke explains, “After all the soul has escaped, this realm will crumble down and all the Rift that has spread will disperse. I guess that closes up the loose ends.” “…Hey…isn’t that…?” Teal looks off into the sea and notices a spirit of a familiar young man walking toward the light. “Koga…?” Sarin whispers his name. Before she knows it, her legs are already leading her into the sea. “KOGA!!!!!!” the girl bursts into tears and starts running. “What the!? Hey!!! Someone stops her!!!! If she crosses the borders, she won’t be able to come back!!!!!” Roke yells. “SARIN!!!!” Jack quickly follows the silver haired girl into the sea. The waves make it hard to move forward, but the boy keeps on moving until he catches up with the girl. “What do you think you’re doing!?” Jack asks the girl as he tightly grips her wrist. “Let me go!!! I wanna talk to him!!! Just for once!!! Please!!!!!” Sarin cries, struggling to break free of Jack’s grip.


“NO I’m not going let go!!!” Jack yells back at her, “What do you think we all came here for!? It was to free this place and go back together, isn’t it!?” “But!!! But Koga…He…I just…” The girl stops crying when she notices the young man stops walking and turns around to look at her. “Ko…ga…,” the girl whispers his name in tears. Jack is hesitant. He is not sure what he should do. He wants her to talk to Koga for one last time. But deep down he was too afraid that she would do something stupid and make him lose her again. “Sarin…,” the ghostly young man whispers her name, “Thank you for the love you have given me. My time with you was wonderful, even if it was only for a few years…” The ghostly young man slowly walks towards Jack and Sarin. “I understand how you feel…but I must go alone,” Koga’s face seems to be saddened. The silver haired girl sobs. “When you…when you die…I will also be gone forever. As long as you go on living, a part of me will continue to live on as a memory,” Koga explains to the girl and slowly drifts away, “That’s why I need you to live.” “Live on as a memory…,” Jack repeats Koga’s words. “Jack…Please…take good care of Sarin. Not for me. But for her…” “…Yeah…I will,” Jack promises the young man as he finally disappears into the light.

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Epilogue One week later… Shinran High School of Science…

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“Oh my dear Teal~~~~~!!!!!!” the girl with long black hair in green dress jumps onto her orange haired friend from behind. “Aaah! Hey Konata,” Teal looks over her shoulder to the girl hugging her from behind. “Might I ask were you are going, my girl?” Konata scratches Teal’s chin like her own kitten. “H…hey! That tickles!! Stop it!!!” Teal giggles, trying to break free of Konata’s grip. “Um…Come on, Konata. You’re choking her,” a kind-looking young man with short white hair walks over from behind the girls. “Hey there, Koizumi,” Teal waves at the young man when Konata briefly stops tickling her. “What’s the matter, hon? Want me to scratch your chin instead?” Konata jumps onto Koizumi and teases him. “H…Hey…come on. Everyone is looking,” the white haired teen smiles nervously. “So, where are you headed off to, hon?” Konata asks her friend. “Well, I’m going to the hospital to see Carmine,” Teal replies. “Oh right. He just woke up a few days ago, didn’t he?” Koizumi asks. “Awwww, you guys are cute. But not as cute as me and Koizumi. Right~~~?” Konata tickles the white haired teen’s chin. “Uh…Let’s just go to the theatre, Konata. The movie could start any minute,” Koizumi laughs nervously. “See you later, Teal!!!!” Konata hugs her boyfriend’s arm and waves at Teal. “Yeah! Bye~!” Teal smiles back at the couple before heading off towards the Santo Fes hospital. “Hey Teal!!!” The orange haired girl turns around towards the voice calling her. “Oh…Austin? What’s up?” The girl waves at the teen. “I’m strolling around the neighborhood, listing down the places I would take Emily to,” Austin gives Teal a cheeky smile. “…I hope there’s no motel on the list,” Teal glares at the teen. “Oh yes, an Inn!! How could I have----“ “Oh you sick perv!!!!!” Teal hits the blonde teen with her fist repeatedly. “Aaaahhh!!! I’m just kidding!!! I’m kidding!!!” Austin screams. “…You better not be up to no good,” Teal continues shooting her eyes at the teen. “Of course I’m not! She’s my girlfriend for crying out loud, geez,” Austin scratches his head, “So anyway, I heard your boyfriend woke up. Congrats.” “Yeah. Thanks. I’m on my way to visit him now,” Teal giggles.


“Send him my regards! Tell him that I protected you a lot when he was sleeping!” Austin laughs and quickly runs away. “You better not let me catch you!!!!” Teal screeches at the teen. “Hey! Don’t forget you still owe me a date!” Austin continues laughing. Teal waits until the blonde teen disappeared from her sight. “Boy, this guy will never change,” she giggles, shaking her head before continuing her way to the hospital.

Meanwhile…L’hrisa Café… “And yeah, we beat the crap out of that Isane and freed the All God’s Village! Roke throws away his Reaper powers in order to be in the real world with us,” the crimson haired teen explains. “Correction! To be with Sophia,” the teen with dark spiky hair sitting right next to Leina corrects. “Haha…well Kyon…he DID say he wanted to see all of us again though,” Leina laughs nervously. “You guys had an interesting adventure. So the Game of Despair is the second time you went on a life and death run?” Greg teases. “Haha, sort of,” Leina laughs. “I still can’t believe you actually joined that game to bring Sae back. You really are nuts,” Kyon teases his friend, “At least you should have told me so I could join you.” “Nah. It’s my choice to bring her back. I don’t want to burden other people,” Leina replies, “Well, so what’s up next for you, Greg? I heard you already finished an article for the Game of Despair and sent it to the MC Publishing.” “Haha, well yeah, about that. The publisher rejected the article,” Greg smiles embarrassingly, “He said there’s not enough evidence to make it sound like a possibility. I tried entering that Internet URL again, but it’s no longer accessible. Perhaps the URL was linked with the Game of Despair’s server and went down when our good friend crashed it down.” “Awww, that’s too bad. It would have been an interesting article!” said Leina. “Yeah. I agree,” Kyon nods in agreement. “Well, whatever the case, things will have to move on,” Greg laughs, “Oh gee, look at the time. I gotta go now. I got an interview with another publisher in less than an hour. See you guys later!” “Yeah yeah. Bye dude!! I heard you teamed up with Colin in your paranormal investigation right? Give him my regards too!” Leina waves good-bye to his friend as he walks out of the café. “Well, Leina. I gotta go too. My lunch time is over now,” Kyon looks at his wristwatch. “Oh. I’ll walk you back to your company!” Leina volunteers. “Nah, that’s okay. It’s just on the next block and they don’t let outsider in anyway,” Kyon waves goodbye at Leina and walks out of the café. “…Meh. I guess I’ll just go and bug Roke,” Leina laughs devilishly and leaves the café for the bus stop. It is almost an hour pass noon, so the crowd is getting smaller and the bus stop is not packed with passenger waiting for the bus.

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As the blue bus arrives, Leina steps onto the bus and looks for a seat. However, the seats are already full. Luckily, there are not many people standing on the bus, so it is not too tight. “So, I hope you brought our tickets to Amano’s concert with you.” Leina heard a girl speaking behind him, but he was busy thinking about something else to care. “Of course! Well…um…I’m pretty sure it’s in here…I put it in here this morning!” Another girl replies to the first girl. A ruffling sound was heard, so it is only natural Leina guesses that she was looking for something in her purse. “Eh…It’s supposed to be…Ahh!!! It’s here!!!! Waaah!!!” The girl screams when the bus made a turn and throws her off balance since she is not holding the handrail when looking through her purse. As a result, the girl bumps right into the crimson haired teen and drops her whole purse. “Ahhh!! I’m so sorry!!!” The girl quickly bows at the crimson haired teen and kneels down to pick up her stuffs. “Uh…Let me help,” Leina kneels down and helps pick up her stuffs. He reaches for the concert ticket and hands to the girl. “Aw. Thank you very much! You’re so kind!” the girl smiles and takes the ticket from him. As their eyes come into contact, both of them pause and look at each other puzzlingly. The girl has short dark hair, about shoulder-length, with sharp glittering crimson eyes. “…Uh…Hi…,” the girl smiles awkwardly. “H…Hey,” Leina gives the same smile. “……I know this must sound kind of weird…But have we…do we know each other…?” “Ugh…Sanae…can’t you think of a better guy pick-up line!?” Another girl standing next to her nudges. Leina looks at the girl in surprise. She looks exactly like the girl kneeling in front of him. “Aaah! I’m not hitting on him!!!” the girl named Sanae screams at her twin and stands up, “It’s just that…I felt like I’ve saw his face before.” “Right…in that dream of yours again?” “May I ask what the dream was about?” Leina stands up and asks her curiously. “Oh. It’s nothing. I was probably a little too tired when I had that dream,” Sanae laughs nervously. “That makes you tired every night,” her twin rolled her eyes, teasing her. “Ah! Yanae!!!” Sanae softly nudges her twin back with her elbow. After that, she turns to Leina embarrassingly. “…You…really wanna listen?” “Sure!” Leina smiles cheekily. “Okay. Don’t laugh okay?” Sanae sighs, “I dreamt that I was some kind of a shrine maiden in an old Japanese village. Something went wrong in the village and I was left alone, surrounded by sadness, grief, and despair. And then in the midst of the darkness, I heard a young man calling my name. I think he called me ‘Sae’ or something. After that a bright light flashed and I was only able to see his face briefly before waking up.”


“…And you have that dream every night…?” Leina asks curiously. “Uh…Sort of lately. I don’t know why too. I thought it’s because I’m reaching my puberty period that I dreamt of having the destined guy or something,” the girl laughs embarrassingly. “Nah. I hope you find the guy in your dreams,” Leina cheers the girl. “Haha…well…thanks,” Sanae bows to the teen. “Hey, Sanae. We gotta go now,” Yanae nudges her twin as she saw their destination approaching. “Oh. Uh yeah,” Sanae replies and looks at Leina, “……Will we see each other again…?” “Of course we will. I’m sure of it,” Leina smiles, “Want my number…?” “Sure,” Sanae smiles and exchanges number with the crimson haired teen. Both of them finish just when the bus stops, “I gotta go now.” “See you. Hope you enjoy the concert!!!” Leina waves at the girl as she steps down from the bus with her twin. “I never knew you like to pick up guys like this,” Yanae mutters, raising her eyebrow at her twin. “How else would I spark a convo with him?” Sanae asks. “…Did he really look like the guy in your dream that much…?” Yanae wonders. “No, Yanae. He IS the guy in my dream,” Sanae giggles. “Heh. I wonder what this is all about,” Yanae shrugs and simply continues on her way to Amano Tsukiko’s Concert hall, finally together hand in hand with her twin.

Meanwhile…Galaxia University…Front Gate… A shiny limousine parks at the university gate, waiting for someone. “Here’s our ride! See ya Auria,” Sophia waves good-bye to her friend. “See ya, Sophia! Give Roke my regards!” The hair band brunette waves back at Sophia as she walks towards the car with her elder sister. Both girls get on the limousine and sits on the back seat. “Good afternoon, Ramsley,” Sophia greets the butler. “Good afternoon, my Lady Sophia, and Lady Aphiso,” the butler greets the girls back and drives off onto the main road. “Where’s purple?” Aphiso asks the butler. “Master Roke is getting ready for his flight this evening,” Ramsley replies. “Hm? Where is he going?” Aphiso raises her eyebrow. “Oh? I haven’t told you yet? Roke said he wants to see if the Rift’s influence is completely sealed off or not. So he’s going back to that manor in the real world again,” Sophia explains to her sister. “Huh. That’s the first time I heard about it,” Aphiso mutters. “Yeah. Guess I forgot to tell you,” Sophia giggles, “He travels around a lot normally. He said he wants to see this world as much as he can.”

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“Right. Aren’t you worried that he goes out so often?” Aphiso asks curiously. “Nah. Guys that stay settled down are pretty boring after all,” Sophia replies. “Master Roke will be happy to hear that,” Ramsley laughs as he drives.

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“You sure look like you’re happy working for that guy,” Aphiso notes, “Isn’t it tiring to clean that big mansion 24/7 alone?” “I do admit being the only butler in that mansion feels a little lonely. Luckily Master Roke now allows me to recruit my own maid teams. Now I have a lot of helper. The mansion won’t look too lonely the next time you visit us,” Ramsley chuckles. “……I never knew you swing that way, Ramsley,” Sophia cringes. “I don’t know what you are talking about, my lady,” Ramsley chuckles and moves his pince-nez glasses up, “In any case, where might I drop my ladies off today?” “The theatre. I’m watching Zodiac Angels with Aphiso today,” said Sophia, “And by the way, thanks Ramsley, for picking up and dropping us off at the university every day like this.” “Not a problem my lady,” Ramsley chuckles happily. “I heard you’re not paid for this. Did Roke force you to do it?” Aphiso asks. “Let’s just say it’s a favor, my lady. Master Roke picks me up from the streets. I’m just doing what I can do to return the favor,” Ramsley replies and parks in front of the theatre, “Please call me when you want me to come and pick you up.” “Yup, thanks Ramsley,” Sophia smiles and gets down from the limousine with her sister. After that, the limousine drives off back to Roke’s manor.

Meanwhile…Shinran Cemetery Hill… The silver haired girl kneels down and prays in front of the stone tomb after lighting the candles and leaving a bouquet of flowers. After the prayer, she opens her eyes and touches the picture of the young man on the tomb. “…I’ll go on living, even with the pain…So a part of you can always live on in me,” the girl whispers, “I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.” The silver haired girl stands up and stretch, breathing fresh air. She turns around and walks towards the young man, waiting for her atop of the hill. “You’re not gonna pay some more respect?” The girl reaches for the brown teen’s hand, stretching out to help her get up. “I already did. I just want you guys to have some private time together,” the teen replies. “You’re so sweet,” the girl smiles sweetly. “I’m glad I get to see you smile like that again,” the teen laughs. “Oh. I guess I look really depressed,” the girl giggles nervously.


“Jack? Sarin?” A girl’s voice calls out to both of them from behind. “Oh? Cheryl?” Sarin waves at the girl, “What are you doing here?” “Well, I’m on my way to visit my brother. I promised him that I’d come back here when all of this is over,” Cheryl replies with a smile, “We did awesome, didn’t we?” “Yeah. We did,” Sarin replies. “So what about you guys? Don’t tell me you came on a date at the cemetery,” Cheryl teases. “Of course not! We came to pay some respect to Koga,” Jack replies. “I see. So you guys are heading back now?” Cheryl asks some more. “Yeah. I’m going to drop Sarin off her mansion since I believe she has some family meeting this evening,” Jack explains. “Well then, I won’t bother you guys any more! See you guys around!” Cheryl waves good-bye to both of her friends and walks off for her brother’s tomb. “…Hey Jack…Mind if we take a detour somewhere before going home?” “Huh? Sure. To where?” “Just follow me!” Sarin giggles and leads the boy off, holding his hands. Both teens run down the hill and take the outer route around the town. After a while, both of them reach the riverbank where they used to play together back when they were little. “So this is where you want me to come?” Jack laughs at the nostalgia. “Yeah. Come here,” Sarin leads the boy towards the small pavilion by the riverbank and sits down. It is almost time for the sun to set, so the sunray is not very hot. Plus, the wind’s breeze is rather cool at this time of the day; so sitting under the pavilion at this time is extremely comfortable. A pillow is all one needs for a sleep. Jack sits next to the silver haired girl and looks off into the river. “…I still can’t believe we made it,” Sarin whispers, “A part of me deep down just screamed that we’re not going to make it.” “I know. I was very nervous when Roke and the others said I’m their only hope too,” Jack replies, “But I just don’t want to give up. I joined that game because I want to protect you from harm. And I intend to complete that mission.” “Even though knowing that back then I didn’t feel anything for you?” she asks. “It doesn’t really matter to me back then. I already lost your heart. I just don’t want to lose even more of you,” the boy sighs. “You’re sweet,” she giggles. “Argh, you’re making me blush on purpose,” Jack sighs. “Thanks again Jack,” the girl exhales in relief, “It was because I know you are with me that I could keep moving forward.” “Haven’t I already told you? Whatever you do, or where ever you are,” Jack smiles, placing his arms

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around the girl’s shoulder. Sarin rests her head onto his shoulder. Jack’s body is a lot bigger than Koga, probably because he works out a lot more than him. Both of them look into each other’s eyes as their lips move closer to one another. The girl presses her lips on to the boy, allowing him to taste the love she has for him. Both of them are locked in a passionate kiss as the sunsets down the hill. “Please…Don’t ever leave me behind…I love you, Jack.” “No, I won’t. I promise. I will always be there for you when I heard the call of your voice.”

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Fatal Frame 3 *Call of Your Voice* ~Director’s Cut~

The End


Secret Chapter: [Zero Hour] I stand on top of the hill overlooking my hometown. My mourning dress sways with the wind as I silently look at the tombstone. I still cannot believe all of this has happened. A few days ago we were still hanging out at the beach together, just me and him. He held my hands and looked into my eyes. We kissed and we lie down under the stars. I still remember those time we spent together clearly like it just happened. It was only a few years, but I remember how our love developed. It used to be an arranged engagement for family’s business alliance, but our feelings gradually developed. He is very kind and gentle, like falling rain – completely the polar opposite of me. Maybe because of that, I felt like I found the ‘other half’ of me in him. But now he is gone. Koga is gone. My ‘other half’ has vanished. His maid found his dead body lying on his very own bed. We don’t know what happened to him. He went to sleep that night and the next morning he is dead. His body is completely hydrated, darkened into soot like substances. The hands that used to caress me are now dried up to mere ashes. I cannot bear it. This is all too sudden for me to accept. My life goes on, but no longer with him by my side… “H…Hey,” the brown haired teen calls me as we crossed path in front of school in the morning, “I…I heard about Koga. Sorry about what happened.” “Thanks,” I nodded. Jack has always been so sweet. We’ve known each other since we were little. Our house used to be right next to each other, so we would often play together with other kids in the neighborhood. It was not many years ago that my father got promoted and our status is lifted. We moved to a bigger house near the old neighborhood. Jack is the only kid in that old neighborhood that still keeps in contact and visits me often. He has become a very valuable childhood friend. “W…Well…see you in classes,” Jack waves at me and walks away. Back in elementary and intermediate school, we stick together like a couple, so much that many other kids loved to tease us. But of course, I did not think of him more than a friend. And I think he thought the same way too because he never showed me any intention of developing our relationship further than what we have. But lately we’ve been a lot farther from each other. I had to go home early with the escort that came for me. After Koga and I were engaged, we are expected to have dinner with our families almost every evening to strengthen our relationship. I did not mind because I get to be with him, but that also cut down the free time I can spend with my beloved friend.

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Days passed like how it normally would, except without Koga holding my hands any more. I packed up my stuffs and headed back home like how I normally would. I told my driver I don’t want any escort because right now I want to be with myself. I don’t feel like walking home that evening so I decide to walk around town before going back home. I stroll passed the shopping arcade where I would normally hang out with other girls. It is crowded like usual. The newly released [Zodiac Angels] of M_C fills up all the bookstores with people, eager to read it. I’m not exactly a hardcore fan of M_C’s work, but I do read many of his novels so I know what my friends are talking about. But right now, I’m not really in the mood to read anything. In fact, I’m not in the mood to do anything but let time heal the scar in my heart. With so many people covering the streets, it is just impossible to walk through the area. So I take the shortcut through the small alley on the nearest block and walk around the crowd. As I reached the middle of the alley, I noticed a small path I don’t think I saw before, which is extremely weird since I’ve been walking around this neighborhood ever since I was born. Because I’m absolutely free and don’t feel like doing anything, I decide to take a look out of curiosity. I stroll deep into the alley until I reach a dead end. “Much expected.” This alley probably opened up because the building next to this was overtaken by another owner. So the renovation probably created this alley mistakenly. Surprising enough, despite the area being extremely new, the walls are already occupied by street arts. One would call it vandalism, but you have to admit that sometimes these arts look way better than Picasso’s scribbles. What caught my eyes is the small Internet URL, engraved near the corners of the walls. http://thegameofdespair.net “A web link…?” I mutter to myself. Most of the time I ignore the phone numbers and internet links scribbles on the walls since they are either psychotic perverts looking for free sex partner or pornographic website links. But strangely enough, this URL caught my attention. From the looks of it, it sounds like a movie’s name. Since I have nothing better to do, I pull out a small post-it note out of my purse and note the link down out of boredom. I return home immediately afterwards and launch up my computer. Inputting the Internet link, the web page loaded up almost instantly after I finished, as if there was no load time at all. “[The Game of Despair],” I whisper the title page to myself, “A game designed especially for people who have fallen into extreme despair from losing something precious.” I felt my heart wavered after reading the introduction sentence. I cannot help but feel that something led me to find this website. I have indeed fallen into deep despair from losing someone precious.


By following the instructions closely, you will be allowed to enter the Game of Despair. The reward for this game is the [Blessing]; You will be allowed to make ANY one wish and it shall be granted to you. My eyes grow wider from reading that last paragraph. Make any one wish…? So if I clear this game, I can make any wish and it would come true? If that’s so, then I could make a wish for Koga to come back to life? I don’t know why this never cross my mind as being some random internet pranks. Maybe I was really desperate to find any hopes I have left. I could just feel myself smiling as I felt a tiny beacon of light breaking down the darkness of despair. However, the next sentence completely snuffed off the tiny glint of hope that just sparked up in my heart. Be warned. If you lose this game, despair shall take over and you will die. I am very desperate to see Koga again. But I’m sure as hell I don’t want to die yet. That moment I came to a realization that all of this could be just a prank and that nothing would really happened if I lost. However, the message sounds extremely threatening, and frankly speaking, I am simply horrified at the thought of dying at all. I close the internet browser and try to forget all about it. Frustratingly enough, this whole thing is a lot harder to forget compared to the pain of losing Koga. Have you ever been flashed with hope in the eyes only to know that the cost of that hope is equally harsh compared to your situation? The dilemma is extremely disturbing. The possibility of reviving Koga was shimmering right in front of me, but the fear of potential death also keeps me from reaching out to it. I kept thinking about it for the whole night, after I wake up the next morning, during a bath, during dinner, during the ride to school, and throughout the whole day in class. I just could not shake the thought of it away. After class, I pack up my stuffs and walk out of the school alone like how I’ve been doing recently. Right now I want to be alone more than ever. Should I just ignore this whole thing altogether? Would it be a traitorous act towards Koga…? What would he say if he knew I risked so much for him? What would my parents say if I risked something stupid for a faint possibility of bringing Koga back…? What would J----

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“Hey! Sarin!” A familiar voice called me from behind. I quickly turned around towards the voice’s owner. Strangely enough, he came to me just when I was thinking about him. “Oh? Jack?” I tried to smile for him. I hope he could not tell it was a forced smile. “Wanna…walk home together?” he proposes. “Sure, I could use some company,” I replied. Maybe having someone walking together on the way home is better than being alone. Lately I’ve been isolating myself from people too much. And when I am alone my mind thinks too much. Should I ask him about my dilemma? Would he think that I’m stupid to ask about something like that? What would be his response? I guessed I think too much again. I’d never know the answer if I never ask. Maybe if I asked it indirectly, it might not come out as too awkward.

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“Hey Jack,” I broke the silence after we’ve been walking together for a while, “If…If someone extremely important to you died, would you do whatever it takes to bring them back?” “H…huh?” Jack raised his eyebrow after hearing the question. A much expected reaction, I have to say. “Just answer me. Assuming you actually had a way to bring someone back to life, but it’s a very dangerous bet, would you still do it?” I asked the question again. He pauses. He might be the hot-headed type, but he is definitely not the type to take a serious question for granted. “W…well…if we’re gonna assume anything is possible, then I guess I’d probably do whatever I could,” he replied to me with a warm smile, “That person is extremely important to me, right?” Much expected from him. I knew he is someone I can depend on when I am having some trouble. “I see,” I replied, “Thanks…Jack.” “You … seem weird today,” he laughs nervously as we stopped in front of my house. …He could tell? “Really? How?” “W…well…you know…,” he scratches his cheek shyly, probably not sure how he figured it out. Perhaps I have to give a guy’s hunch more credit. “…Good night Jack,” I quickly give him one last smile and enter the mansion before he could figure anything out and destroy my conviction. I’ve already decided: I WILL play that game and bring Koga back to life, no matter the risk.


After dinner and the evening bath, I lock myself up inside my room and open that web page again. There is an instruction to follow in order to enter the game. The process overall is simple. I don’t even need to be an artist to draw that magic glyph, but the lyric of the lullaby I had to sing was creepy. I slowly read the lyrics line by line and before I knew it, my consciousness fades away. When I came to it, I am already standing in the middle of an abandoned snow field. “Where…am I?” I mutter to myself and look around, “Why am I here…?” Is this a dream? Wasn’t I supposed to be in the Game of Despair? Now that I think about it, what is the game about any way? Fear starts to build up in my heart like the snow that slowly pile up into thick layers. It was cold. The sky is as dark as night. I am standing alone without anyone in the middle of darkness. Everything feels too real to be a dream. Maybe I was a little too reckless. I probably should have thought more thoroughly before attempting this. Since there is nothing better for me to do, I start walking forward aimlessly. Everything around me is covered in snow. It was dark and I don’t exactly know where I am heading. I just keep moving forward until I saw a shadow of an old Japanese manor. Could this be the Manor of Sleep the instruction in the web page talked about? I felt myself drawn into the manor, despite it being very creepy and old. From the looks of it, I would say it’s haunted even. But nevertheless, I still open the double wooden door and enter it. A dark dusty narrow corridor stands before me as a new message was sent to my cell phone.

[Game of Despair] Tutorial Welcome to The Game of Despair, the game for those who seek to reclaim the precious treasure they have lost. The goal for this game is simple – Each night a mission will be sent to all the players via a cell phone message. The player who clears the mission first will attain a ‘Game Level’ and the game is over for the night.

Mission: In the garden sleeps a spirit tree. Pay respect to the tree to earn your mark. Is all of this for real? I wonder to myself as I look deeper into the manor. Cold breeze blows from the small gap near the entrance, sending chills down my spine. I gulped loudly before venturing inside; hoping nothing comes out at my face. I turn right at the first intersection then left along the path until I reach a wide open room with raised

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wooden platform in the middle. There is an old hearth situated in the center of the platform. What is this house anyway? Why is it a stage for this game…? So many questions keep popping up in my head like popcorn, and none of them are answered. Will I find more answer as I play this game?

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I take a deep breath and calm myself down. There is no need to think about those questions. I came here because I want to revive Koga. I just have to focus on playing this game. And once I clear it, I would not have to think about it ever again. With that thought in mind, I keep plunging forward through the north door in the Hearth Room and entered the ‘Hall with Tatami’ room, according to the navigational map newly installed in my cell phone. The mission said to pay respect to a spirit tree in the garden. The only place on the map that comes close to a garden to me is the Garden Corridor, situated about two rooms away from me. I keep moving forward through the Tatami Hallway into a new room called the ‘Blind Room’. As I stepped into the room, I could feel the chills running down my spine yet again. What is it this time? The sensation is a lot different from when I entered the manor. I could not explain why I have this feeling, but for some reason my mind is screaming ‘something hostile is near!’ I turned to the stairs to my left where I could feel the presence coming from. Nothing was there… Am I just paranoid? Maybe if I stay in this place a little longer I would really lose my mind. I take a deep breath one more time and turn back to the north door that leads to the Garden Corridor. Suddenly, my whole body froze as I witness a figure standing in front of me. It was a woman with long hair, wearing nothing but a blue hakama. Her whole body is covered with blue patterns, possibly some kind of tattoo. Who is she? What does she want? And most importantly, how did she appear right in front of my face when a while ago I was sure that I am the only person standing in this room!? A bright light flashed at my eyes and before I knew it, I was lying on a wooden floor. The whole room is completely dark, with a single spot light shining from above over my body. I tried to get up standing, but for some reason my body would not cooperate. The most I can do was slightly lift my head above ground. My body is lying down on the floor, with legs and arms spreading apart. A piece of white blanket is covering my body, which has been magically stripped naked. What the heck happened? What is going on?


I saw shadows of four girls, stepping out from the dark corners of the room. Each of them wears some kind of a shrine maiden outfit, with a stake and mallet in their hands. The four of them carefully place the stakes onto each of the limbs on my ankle and wrist. “Wha…? N…No…please…NO!!!!” I cry as I see each of them raising their mallet up above their head. The four of them smash onto the mallet, driving the stakes through my limbs. I could feel the pain when those stakes drove through my ankles and wrists. But just before the pain reach its peak and made me scream, I found myself standing in that Blind Room once again. “What…was that…?” I whisper to myself. The eerie presence I felt a while ago is gone. But now, a new sensation emerges. I felt a sharp pain emerging from behind my right thigh. I fell to the floor, hugging my knees because the pain was too much to bear. I tried not to cry, but after a while I just could no longer hold it. So I let out a scream to the top of my lungs. After the scream, the pain subsided. I took a peek and notice some tattoos that were magically engraved onto my thigh. The tattoos look exactly the one that woman has on her. What is the meaning of this? What is happening to me…? I get back up when I felt my legs being strong enough to support me again. I lean against the wall nearby, puffing from exhaustion. I’m scared. Horrified. I don’t want this anymore. I want to go home. Suddenly, I felt something pushing me from behind. I stagger forward and quickly turn around to see what hit me. My eyes widen as I saw a man in white outfit with a black court hat walking out of the walls. He just came out from a wall. How is that possible? His skin is extremely pale and his eyes look lifeless. That goes without saying that this man is definitely a ghost! I turned around and tried to run. But another similar ghostly man appeared right behind me, blocking me from moving forward. He smacked onto my face, sending me rolling to the floor. The two of them ganged up on me, pinning me down to the floor. “LET ME GOOO!!!!” I cried, trying to break free from their grip, but it was no use. Both of them have inhuman strength. I might have some martial art skills to defend myself, but my strength is still that of a girl. Just when despair begins to cover my heart, I heard a familiar voice echoing in my ears. +-----od NO!!! SARIN!!!!!!+

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All of the sudden, a bright light emerges, repelling all those men away from me as well as lifting my up from the ground. The light is warm and … speaking frankly, I could feel some kind of power flowing inside. In my hand a faintly glowing stone hatchet starts to materialize. It looks bulky, but funny enough it does not feel heavy to me at all. In fact, I felt that it is extremely light like feather. My cell phone rang, signaling an incoming message. But obviously, I don’t really have the time to look at it now. The ghostly men yell some gibberish and come at me again. I dodge the first smack and swing the stone hatchet at one of them out of instinct. The swing instantly decapitated one of them, indirectly threatening the other man. However, he does not seem to be too intimidated and continues to attack me. I dodge his pathetic smack and proceed to decapitate him as well. Both of their bodies fell to the floor, gradually dispersing to thin air. My hands are still shaking from the battle. I wondered what all of this is about and where does this hatchet come from. Thankfully, those two questions are answered by the message that was just sent to my cell phone.

[Shaman] Tutorial

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A Shaman is the fighter who can freely alter their fighting style by ‘switching’ their [Spirit Synchro]. Spirit Synchroes occurred when the Shaman can form some sort of bond with a spirit. Once the Shaman synchronizes with the spirit, he / she can use the special powers from that synchro. Each synchro has different unique attacks and bonuses. Switching Spirit Synchro to adjust to the tide of battle is Shamans’ key to victory. But since Shamans has to open their minds and allows spirits to influence to their body, they are extremely vulnerable to [Possession]. A Shaman can have up to 3 spirit synchroes per mission, and can choose their synchroes only before the mission starts.

Passive Abilities:

Sense – Allows the Shaman to feel the presence of a spirit as well as its intent in the radius of three rooms from the Shaman’s current position.


Spirit Synchro Entry! Hidden Face Man Description: A spirit of a man covering his face that wanders the empty halls of the Manor of Sleep, with his trusty bloody stone hatchet.

Skills:

• [Speed Boost] Gains a boost in running speed. • <Smashing Cut> Strikes the opponent with the stone hatchet in hand. Depending on the strength of the target, the attack could crush a parry. If the slash is a clean hit, the opponent is repelled back. After a deep breath, I tried to recall the owner of the voice that I heard. It was extremely familiar. I just knew that it has to belong to someone extremely close to me. “…Koga…?” I thought to myself outloud. It can’t be. Definitely not his voice. It is someone else’s. But who…? Whose voice could it be that transcended the darkness to me? When I was lost in thought about it, a bright light starts to envelope my body and another message was sent to my cell phone.

Mission Failed… Another party has completed the task before you. Please try again tomorrow… Well done Sarin. First night and you failed your mission. I sigh at how close I was to the first step in resurrecting Koga. When my senses returned, I found myself lying on my bed in my pajama. I am back to my room once again. I guess this is how the game works. I’ll probably have to go to that manor again tonight. I went to school again like another average day. The professor goes on and on like usual, but my mind kept thinking about the manor and Koga. The whole experience was scary I have to admit. Possibly the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered in my life. I definitely won’t be forgetting about it in a while. When I was packing my stuffs after class, a familiar face walks over to me. “…Can I have a talk with you in private?” he boldly asked me.

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He has not done that in a while. Like I said, lately we’ve been farther apart from each other, so I didn’t mind some private time with him. “Sure.” Both of us exit the class and head for the garden behind school. The area is normally clear of the students since there is nothing to see, so it has always been a perfect place for any couple to discuss something in secret. “What is it?” To be honest, I am a little surprised he asked me out here. I thought it would be just a normal chat together alone somewhere. I guess I should have known better from the seriousness on his face. “…Yesterday, you asked me [assuming you actually had a way to bring someone back to life, but it’s a very dangerous bet, would you still do it?].” He restated the whole question I asked him yesterday, word by word. What is his intention? Did he figure out I was up to something? “Yeah? What about it?” I tried as much as possible not look more surprised than I already am now. “What do you mean by that?” he asks some more. “It was…just a random question. Why?” “Liar.” “Huh?” “You’re lying, aren’t you!?” he interrogates me some more. His voice is a lot more threatening. He has always been the hot-headed type, so he can be extremely scary when he is mad. “Wha…what’s with you!? Why do you think I’m lying!?” “The Game of Despair…” W…What did he just say…? “It means something to you…doesn’t it?” “I…I don’t…how…how did you…” “Don’t tell me you’ve actually tried it.” Not only he did figure out I was up to something; he completely knew what I was doing! “I…I don’t know what you are talking about.” Thinking about it, that was a really weak comeback. “Turn around and look at me!!!” he grabs my shoulder and forcefully turn me towards him, “Look into my eyes and answer me!! Did you try the ritual in that web page!?” “Yeah, I did!” I snapped back in frustration, “You got a problem with that!?” “You idiot! Don’t you know you could get yourself killed!?” “That was why I said it’s a dangerous bet! You told me you’d do whatever it takes too, didn’t you!?”


Jack’s voice slips down his throat. “You told me yourself, didn’t you Jack? Answer me!!!!” “……Y…yeah…,” he staggers back with a horrified face. Was he afraid of me? “I’m disappointed in you, Jack. I thought that YOU, out of all the people around me, would understand me the most. If I win…I can make whatever wish that I want. I’ll bring Koga back to life again.” “You seriously believe in that internet prank?” he grits his teeth as he spoke, “Please, Sarin…I’m begging you…as a friend…stop whatever you’re trying to do.” He falls to his knees and pleads. Maybe I was a little too soft. Now I feel guilty for screaming at him a while ago. “…It’s too late…,” I replied with a calm voice, “Once one enters the Game of Despair, one cannot run away from it. Each night the player will be taken to the Manor of Sleep, where the game is hosted.” I reveal the tattoo on my thigh to him; the reminder that I cannot run from this game. Jack was speechless with his jaw dropped halfway to the ground. “You see that, Jack? It is the mark of a player. I can’t run away. I’m glad you are worried about me, Jack. But I want Koga back. I love him too much…” I quickly run away from him. I felt bad for yelling at him. He was concerned about me, but I flush his care down the toilet. I’m such a horrible girl. I could never forgive myself for what I did. Little did I know that what I said to him will drive him down the hell hole like I did.

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Extra Chapter: [Duty of a Handmaiden] “…I have a big brother?” I curiously asked my mother about it several times when I was younger. “Yes. But keep it a secret.” Mother will always tell me that every time I asked her. The Kuze House is considered to be a sacred shrine. Several people travel up the hill to offer their pain to the Tattoo Priestess. These people lost something very precious. Their family. Their friends. Or even their lover. The Tattoo Priestess takes all the pain those people suffered and engraves it onto her skin as a tattoo. Because the Tattoo Priestess has to be a pure maiden, it is forbidden for men to stay in the manor for too long. Most of the time, they are allowed into the manor only to produce an heir. I heard mother was extremely in love with Akito, my big brother’s father. They are deeply bonded together only after knowing each other for a few weeks. But before she bore Kaname to the world, he was forced to leave the manor. Mother has always been waiting for him. He never returned…

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Anyway, Kaname was not even allowed to be in the manor. Mother had to send him away after he was born. It must have broke her heart to do so. A while after that, another traveler was brought in to make an heir with mother. He was my father. I’ve never saw him before, and mother did not love him like Kaname’s father. But she does love me, so I did not mind. Ever since mother told me about my secret big brother, I have always wanted to see him. I once saw a little girl who came to the shrine to offer her pain because her big brother just died. She must have loved her brother so much. That was when I started to wonder even more what it is like to have a big brother. But I did not have much time to wonder about it. I was chosen as a representative to be a Shrine Handmaiden along with three other girls that are adopted into the Kuze House from the village below. The Handmaidens are selected for several purposes. Generally, we do the chores for the shrine and the manor itself. But our primary task is to impale the Tattoo Priestess with the tattoo stakes and sing the priestess lullaby to send her off to the eternal sleep. Aside from that, we also take special jobs assigned to us, such as looking after the shrine carpenters to make sure they work as schedule. Recently, I was given the job to look after the new Tattoo Priestess, Reika.


“Reika~!! Your breakfast is here!!!” I carried her breakfast tray up the stairs through mom’s room into the hanging prison where Reika is staying. She slowly sat up from her futon, scratching her eyes, and yawned. Reika is a very pretty girl. She lost all of her relatives from an unfortunately natural disaster. Because of that, she decides to become the Tattoo Priestess so the people who suffered the same pain with her can be relieved. “Good morning, Amane,” she greeted me with her sweet smile, “…I was just having a sweet dream.” “Oh, sorry I disturbed you,” I teased her and slid her breakfast tray into her quarters, “Was it about THAT friend of yours again?” “…Yeah…,” Reika blushed and sipped her tea before picking up her bowl of rice. “Hey, tell me more about him,” I insisted. “Well,” Reika pauses. Maybe she was thinking about what she should tell me. “Anything is fine.” The reason I want to know about her friend is because on the other day, I saw her looking at an Echo Earring – a special earring created from Echo Stones, allowing the wearer to hear the voices of spirits. But when properly tuned and refine, it was said that the earring would also allow the wearer to hear the voice of anyone wearing its other pair. I am not sure what the purpose of the earrings is exactly, but it was created only to the order of the Kuze House. When mother sent Kaname away, she also gave him one of her tuned Echo Earrings, hoping that she would be able to hear his voice some day. Reika’s earring looks exactly like mother’s echo earring. I asked Reika how she got a hold of that earring. She said she got it from a good friend of hers. He told her it was a memento of his mother, but he gave it to her because he wants her to hold on to it for him when he left her village. Echo Earrings are not crafted anywhere else aside for the Kuze House. I might be too fast in making conclusions, but I think it’s safe to assume that her good friend could be Kaname. Ever since that day, I kept asking her about him again and again. “Sis Amane~~!!!” A sweet cheery voice called to me from behind. The small knee-high door behind me flipped opened and a fellow handmaiden entered into the hanging prison area. She has dark shoulder-length hair and a little shorter than me in height. “Shigure? What are you doing up here?” I asked her in surprise, “I thought you’re supposed to be looking after the shrine carpenters today.” Shigure calls me ‘Sis’ because she looked up to me like an older sister back when she was recruited as a handmaiden. We have been extremely close to each other back then, but recently, our works made it impossible to hang out like before. “Minamo is taking over that job for me today,” Shigure explained, “The mistress is looking for you, so I volunteer to come up and get you. I just know that you are probably slacking off, chatting with the priestess.”

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“Haha…I guess I’m caught,” I laughed it off nervously. “It’s okay, I haven’t told the mistress about this yet. You better go see her quickly,” Shigure warned me. “You better go, Amane. Don’t want the mistress to be mad at you after all,” Reika forced a smile. She seems to be very lonely. But of course, that is to be expected when you are confined in a prison and having nothing to do but read and read. She told me that when she talks, her pain is not so bad. I also felt good that I am able to partially relief her pain.

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“Well then, see you later, Reika,” I waved good-bye to Reika and stood up, “You coming with me? Shigure?” “I also have something to discuss with the priestess. You should go ahead. Don’t keep the mistress waiting,” said Shigure. “Oh. Okay then. See you later,” I walk out of the room back into the Kimono Room and head straight for grandmother’s quarters. As I walked through the hallways, cold breeze blew through the window onto my face. The manor is cold almost all year round. It is only around a brief period in summer that the air is not as cold. I slide the door open and quietly crawls into grandmother’s quarters. “I am here, grandmother.” “There you are, my child,” grandmother smiled at me from her working table. “How may I help you?” “…As you can see, the time for Reika’s impalement is nearing.” When she mentioned it, I just realized that I completely forgot about it. Maybe it was because I spent too much time with her that I forgot about her ultimate duty – To carry the pain and cross the Rift to the other side. “Yes, grandmother.” Sometimes being a handmaiden is rather stressful, especially when you have created a bond with the Tattoo Priestess like I did. “I know that you have been extremely close to Reika, so I just want to remind you not to forget your duty.” I know about my duty. I am the shrine handmaiden, guarding the south. My primary duty is to impale the priestess and sing her a lullaby into eternal sleep. I don’t think I could ever forget that. “Yes, grandmother. I would not waver during the impalement ritual.” “That’s good to hear. However, I still wish that you cut off the bonds you had with the priestess,” grandmother continues, “From now on, I want you to be on the patrol duty.” “Huh? I mean…what about the duty of taking care of the priestess?” “I’ve already assigned Hisame to that duty.” When I heard what she said, I just could not help but worry about Reika even more. Hisame became a shrine handmaiden after me, but she is the eldest among us. She is extremely dutiful and loyal to


grandmother to the point that I am not even sure if she has a thought of her own. Being so cold that she is, Reika must be even lonelier. I could already see Hisame giving her a cold stare and pretending to be listening to Reika while she is really not. “From today on, Hisame will be on the duty of taking care of the priestess. She is no longer in your concern.” “……Understood,” I gritted my teeth as I bowed down, bitterly accepting the new task assigned to me. I crawled out of her quarters and stroll around the corridors, sighing. Could this be what Shigure wants to discuss with Reika? “…Amane?” I heard someone calling me, so I turned to the source of the voice. “Oh…Minamo.” Another fellow handmaiden was seen strolling around the corridor’s intersection. “What are you doing here, hm?” she asks with a smile. To be frank, Minamo has always been a weird girl to me. Something about her is just not right. She likes to question about the impalement ritual, and most often she would ask when she would get to impale Reika. “I’m…on patrol. Grandmother just assigned this job to me,” I replied, “What about you?” “Shigure is already back on her post, so I am on standby,” Minamo replied back, “It’s about time we impale the priestess, doesn’t it?” “Huh? Oh…yeah…I guess.” “…Hehehe…I wonder what it’s like…” There she goes again. “Do you think it’ll hurt, Amane?” “I don’t know. I’ve never been impaled before. Maybe it could be instantaneous and---“ “What do you think will hurt more? Driving it all the way through at once or slowly impale it through?” The girl started mumbling, as if talking to herself, not me. Seeing as how she no longer looks at me, I decided to walk away from her. Funny enough, she did not seem offended when I am obviously avoiding her. She just kept on mumbling to herself. A week had passed and I had not seen Reika at all. I wonder how she is doing. Tonight is supposed to be her impalement ceremony and I am still not allowed to see her. I decided to go take a walk around the manor so I would not think about her too much. As I walked through the corridor, I noticed a shadow hiding behind the trees nearby. Looking at it closely, it appeared to be a young man, looking at the manor.

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Since the Kuze House only has women as the primary residents, there often are visitors that only come to look at the priestess. Of course, as a handmaiden, it is also my duty to chase those people away when I spotted them. I walked out of the manor through the side doors, making a circle around the whole manor. If I still catch that man hiding by the time I get to him, someone is seriously getting hurt. As I stepped out from the corners, the man turned around just in time to see me. He was extremely startled and simply pressed his back against the tree. “P…Please, don’t kill me!” the young man begged, “I…I just want to see the priestess.” “You can’t, It’s against the rules,” I sigh, evidently showing him that I am fed up of these kinds of guys. “No, you got it all wrong!” Still trying to make excuses, huh? Maybe he really needs some lecturing.

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“I…okay…this might sound weird…but I’m…a friend of the priestess,” the young man continues. Of course if it were to be other handmaidens, she probably would have just chased him away. However, that caught my attention. “…A friend, huh? The priestess has several friends wanting to see her every day,” I faked a pout so he would tell me more about himself. “I went on an errand to another village really far away. But when I came back, a disaster strikes and the village was lost. I heard that she survived and decided to become a priestess to people with the same pain could share it with her,” the man explained. “……What’s your name?” I boldly ask him. “K…Kaname…” My eyes widened as I heard his name. I immediately scan through his body feature. Mother showed me a picture of Akito once. This man’s eyes look just like mother’s. He is tall and handsome, and overall, he looks just like Akito. “S…Something the matter with my name?” The young man asks. Maybe my reaction is a little too obvious. “…The priestess cannot come out any more. She will enter the eternal sleep tonight,” I replied. “Wha!? Why!?” “She has to carry the pain to the other side through eternal sleep.” If he really is my brother, then he even has more reason to not be here. If he does get caught, he will definitely be killed. “Can’t I at least see her before she goes to sleep!?” “No.” “B…But…after this she won’t be waking up any more, isn’t she!?” “I said no!”


“B…But…please…she is extremely important to me! At least let me see her one more time! I don’t care if I don’t get to talk to her. I just want to see her one last time!” Reika’s face emerges inside my mind. She has been extremely lonely and it is obvious that she also wants to see Kaname again. If she enters the eternal sleep, she would really never be able to see him again. Would she really have a peaceful sleep after that? I carefully think about it. There is no way Reika would be happy about that. But what if both of them get to see each other one more time before she goes to sleep? That should make Reika happy, and she might be able to sleep even more peacefully. “……After the impalement, the security on the path to the Chamber of Thorns will be lax. You will have to hide somewhere before that,” I explained. “T…Thank you very much!!!” the man cried in joy. “Don’t thank me yet. Other handmaidens will definitely smell you. You will need someone to guide you in there.” “…Oh…” Looks like I completely ruined his mood. “I’ll be your guide, but promise me that you won’t talk to her in such a way that will not allow her to sleep peacefully.” “Yes, I promise,” the young man gave a nod with a serious look, “Thank you. I owe you so much. Can I at least know your name?” “…I’m Amane.” “I see. Thank you so much, Amane!” The young man gave me a sweet smile. I know I totally brought this on myself. I just hope everything goes well.

Last Passage…Chamber of Thorns… “Sleep, priestess, lie in peace~~~” The lullaby chorus echoes through the chamber. Reika slowly closed her eyes and drifted off to her sleep. I could tell that the impalement is painful. The expression on her face. It was beyond bitter. The four of us sang the lullaby and once we made sure she already drifts off to sleep, we stop and leave the chamber. “…Impaling is kind of fun,” Minamo giggled, as if mumbling to herself like usual. “I guess everything is done,” the long haired handmaiden brushed her hair, “With this I would be free from my duties for a while.” “Hey, Amane. Wanna have dinner together?” Shigure asked me. “No thanks. I’m rather tired for now,” I lied, “I’ll go straight back to my room. Thanks for the offer.”

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“Oh…okay. Take care,” Shigure waves good-bye to me and walks off with Hisame and Minamo. I immediately head back to the Doll Altar South and unlock the room. “You can come out now,” I whisper into the room. “All right.” The young man crawled out of the room, looking left and right. “Follow me quietly and quickly!” Both of us run along the outer walls of the manner and sneak into the Engraving Shrine. Lucky for us the guards are even more lax than I thought. I guided Kaname down the spiral staircase until we reached the final door leading to the Chamber of Thorns. “…Reika is beyond that double door,” I explained to Kaname. “Okay. Thanks so much!” Kaname gave me a bow and ran off towards the Chamber of Thorns. “……Please make it quick, brother,” I whispered to myself worriedly.

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“…Brother huh?” I startled when I heard a familiar voice from above. The handmaiden with long hair jumped down from the spiral stairs on to the ground and gave me an unsatisfied look. “Hisame…!?” I was very surprised to see her. I thought she already went off to the dining hall with the others. “And not just me too,” Hisame gave me a sarcastic smile as two other handmaidens followed her into the room. “Shigure!? Minamo!? How did you---!?” “I saw you talking to him from the corridor,” Minamo giggled, “I wondered what you guys are talking about so I spied on you.” “…No wonder the security was so lax!” I should have known something was wrong when this whole process was too simple. “You disappointed me, Amane. You broke the Kuze Code,” Hisame took out her stone hatchet. “It’s not like Reika won’t be able to sleep after this! I just want both of them to see each other one last time!” “Sorry. It’s official. You are to be punished,” Minamo gave me a sadistic grin as she pulled out her fang-like knife. “So this is how it’s going to be, huh!?” I pulled out the metallic fan from my hakama, readying for a fight. All I want was for them to see each other one more time before she goes to sleep. Reika is a very stern priestess. I am sure something like this would not make her waver from her duty. The Abyss of Horizon is a rather wide area, so keeping distance is the key to winning against these girls. “Aaaah!!!”


I flapped the fan and knocked Minamo away as she tries to approach me. Hisame raised her hatchet and smashed it down, aiming at my back. Of course I am not a pushover. I could see where they are coming from, so I perfectly parry the hit with my fan. It was made from metal, so it is very durable and has no trouble taking hits from Hisame at all. “You’ve always been a tough nut to crack,” Hisame hissed at me, “Of the four of us, you are the one that slacks off the most!! And even then you never care to accept your own mistake!!!” “And you’ve always been the stubborn one, doing all the dirty jobs without raising a question!!” “I am a handmaiden!! It is my job to serve the Kuze House!!! My emotions have not meaning!!!!” “So much for your pride!!!” I pushed Hisame away and flapped the fan one more time. I am blessed with the power of Suzaku, so in the time of need, the vermilion bird would lend me its flame. The firestorm blew at Hisame, forcing her to take a step back. I raised my fan up, aiming for a knock out strike at her neck, but suddenly three hairpins pierced through my hakama and stuck it down against the floor, holding me from moving. “Wha!? Shigure!?” “Please, Amane, stop this! I don’t want to fight you!” Shigure begged me with tears. “Then don’t!” I flapped the fan and burned the portion of the hakama that was pinned down, freeing myself one more time. But as I was standing up, I felt something pierced through my right shoulder. “Does it hurt?” A sadistic voice giggled behind my back, followed by a full force kick. Hisame already regained her balance and swung her hatchet for another strike. With my right shoulder injuried, I was not able to completely parry the hit. Not to mention that this time she was also using the strength of Genbu rather than a normal hatchet swing. As a result, I was pushed away against the walls. “You’re a fool, Amane,” Hisame slowly walked towards me, gritting her teeth, “You had everything I wanted – the blood of Kuze flows within your veins! You have the honor to be born as a Kuze. But you threw it away just for a man!!!” “He’s…my brother…” I could barely stay conscious at this point. “But you broke the Kuze Code! YOU betrayed the very house that raised you! You traitor!!!” My right cheek felt numb and swollen from Hisame’s brute slap. Suddenly, I could hear a very loud high-pitched scream, followed by an explosion. “Aaaaaaaagggghhhhhh!!!!!!” “Mistress!?” Hisame, Shigure, and Minamo screamed out at the same time. I tried my best to look through the double doors. I saw grandmother crawling out from the Chamber of Thorns with a hatchet covered in blood.

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How did she get in there before me!? And those blood…Is it Kaname!? Did she kill him!? Please god, tell me this is not true! Upon a more careful look, I saw several tattoos emerging on grandmother’s skin. They look exactly like the one on Reika. “Well well well… look at what we have here…?” I heard a scary voice echoing from inside the Chamber of Thorns. My eyes widened as I saw the figure walking out of the room. It was Reika! But the voice…it was not hers… “I’m finally able to come outside, thanks to the old hag here.” The last thing I saw before I fainted was a faint silhouette of a man, overlapping Reika’s body. Reika…what in the world happened back there?

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I woke up and found myself confined inside the hanging prison. The wounds I got from being beaten were never tended. Hah, well, why would they tend the wounds of the one they labeled as a traitor? Hisame walked inside the prison area just in time to see me wake up. Talk about perfect timing. “So the traitor is finally awaked,” Hisame snickered. “What do you want?” I hissed at her. “The mistress wants to see you,” the handmaiden unlocked the prison, “Get your ass out here.” “…Make me…” “Oh ho, good. You DON’T know how long I’ve wanted to do this!” Hisame grinned maliciously and smacked my face even harder than back at the abyss. After that, she dragged me out of the prison with my twin braided pig-tails. It hurts. But this is probably nothing compared to Reika’s pain. Hisame threw me into grandmother’s room heartlessly and kicked me once for her own personal satisfaction. “I’ve brought the traitor, mistress,” Hisame reported and bowed at the mistress. “You are dismissed.” Grandmother waved her hand, as if chasing Hisame out of the room. The long haired handmaiden kicked me one more time before walking away, looking at me discriminatingly. “…Grand…mother…” “You useless wretch still have the nerve to call me your grandmother!?” She hurled a vase at me. I am not sure if it was because of her age catching up with her or because of her newly acquired tattoo, but she missed me completely.


“You lead a man into the Chamber of Thorns! Now look at what you’ve done! The Unleashing has occurred! We are doomed!!!!” The Unleashing is when the commandment of rite failed and the Rift spilt into the real world. “Why…why did the ritual failed?” “You blithering mindless little doll!!! It’s because the priestess could not sleep!!! The tattoo has entered her eyes!!! We are barely able to confine the Rift!! This is all your fault you traitorous little wretch!!!!!” I still could not believe those words came out of my grandmother’s mouth. It was like our blood-relation no longer has any meaning at all. “What about Kaname…?” “Hmph! What do you expect? All intruders must die! There is no exception!!!!!” “You…killed him…?” I whisper in disbelief. Technically speaking, Kaname would be her direct grandson. And yet she shows no sign of remorse from his death at all. “You…killed…him…?” I could felt my eyes welling up as I started sobbing. “Of course. He woke up the priestess. You expect me to keep him alive!?” “Y…You…” I gritted my teeth as I felt my heart aching like never before. “You’re…You’re heartless!!!” “What did you just say!?” “You killed him!!! You killed him right in front of Reika!!!! The Unleashing happened because of YOU!!!!!” I screamed at her with the top of my voice. My body is still aching from Hisame’s attack, but it was nothing compared to the inconvenient truth I just heard. “You little wretched girl!!!” Grandmother got up from her seat and kicked me with full force, just like Hisame. “Hisame!! Minamo!!! Shigure!!!!” The door slided open as soon as grandmother calls to them. “Take this traitorous little brat to the abyss and IMPALE HER!!!!” “Yes, mistress.” I heard Hisame and Minamo answering grandmother as they came over to drag me away. Shigure simply followed them closely behind, showing no intention to stop them. “Help me, Shigure!!!!” I screamed for help out of desperation. “I’m…I’m so sorry…sis,” Shigure sobbed as she kept up her steps behind me. Those two kicked me rolling down the stair helplessly when we almost reach the bottom of the spiral

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staircase. My body is aching all over that I could barely move. The three of them stretched my arms and legs off, then place a stake on each of my limbs. After a careful aim, Hisame and Minamo unhesitatingly smashed the mallet, driving the stakes through my limbs at once. ……It hurts. It hurts so much. But I don’t even have any more strength to scream. Is this the same pain Reika felt when I impaled her…? Did she suffer THIS much pain? Later on, I could also feel pain from my legs as well. Those two probably impaled me too, since I saw Shigure cying throughout the whole time. “Why Amane…? Why did you let this happen!?” She cries, repeating the same thing over and over. My senses are starting to fade. Everything was so dark. It was so painful that I no longer feel anything. So cold. So dark. I’m so scared… Mother…Reika…Kaname…

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To this day, I have yet regretted what I had done. I might have failed my duty as a shrine handmaiden, but at least I could proudly say that I have done my duty as a younger sister…


Extra Chapter: [Pain of the Tattoo] Snow slowly drifts down onto the rubble of the ruined house. The weather became extremely cold right after the disaster has passed. Winter has always been very harsh and merciless in this region. Snow always pile up into thick layers and stay for several months. But I’ve never seen a storm this strong in my entire life. Everyone is gone; all disappeared in just a blink of an eye. My father. My mother. My brother. Everyone was swift to the other side. I am the sole survivor. I have been left alone with no one else beside me. Just like that time when I couldn’t go with Kaname. There is nothing left for me any more. “I found one survivor here!!!!” A group of men came to the village not long after it was over. They rescued me from the rubble when I am on the verge of losing my consciousness. From the seal I saw on their uniform, they are probably from the Kuze Shrine. That shrine is well known around this region. People go to that shrine to offer the pain of the loss of loved ones to the Tattoo Priestess. All year round people will travel up the hills to have the priestess relief their pain. I used to see the people lining up there some times. It usually stretched all the way down to the foot of the mountains. Many of them even had to pitch a tent over night because it could take a while before their turn. Many people are crying as they line up waiting to see the priestess. I felt sorry for them. But now, I am one of them. I woke up again in the Kuze House. They treated my wounds for several weeks until I am healthy once again. I will never ever forget what they have done for me. “I see you have fully recovered,” Yashuu Kuze, the mistress of the house, spoke to me as I pay her a visit. She is very kind and gentle to me, although she can be really strict at the maids and servants. “Yes. Thank you very much for all you’ve done,” I bow down to her. To be honest, I’m not very sure if I am happy that I’m still alive. My family is gone. So does my village. And Kaname too. What am I going to do now? “I am going to get straight to the point with you,” Lady Yashuu said out of the blue, “We just sent the last Tattoo Priestess to the other side. Now we need a new Tattoo Priestess.” “I see. I do hope you find the maiden who fits to be the next priestess soon,” I gave her a polite bow. “In fact, Reika. I am wondering if you are up for it.” I raise my head up in surprise. Frankly speaking, the thought of being a Tattoo Priestess never crossed my mind for once.

393


394

“Excuse me…?” “I am wondering if you would take the honor of being the next priestess,” the lady repeated. I could feel my jaws dropped opened in surprise. “N…No way…I mean…No. I’m not worthy enough…,” I humbly bow down once more, “A lowly peasant like me is definitely not worthy of taking such honor.” “My dear dear child,” the lady moves to sit in front of me and caresses my cheek, raising my face to her, “You are a perfect candidate to be a Tattoo Priestess.” “W…Why…?” Yashuu grins and helps me up, “Let’s go take a walk in the garden.” I humbly follow the kind lady out of the room. She leads me out of the manor into the garden near the manor. The Kuze Manor is very beautiful. One could even call it a castle if one so desires. The air is even colder up on the hill than down in the village. If the breeze were a little warmer than it is now, it would have been perfect. “I am pretty sure you know about the duty of the Tattoo Priestess?” “Engrave the pain of the holly onto her skin. Enjoy the prestige of saving people from the pain of loss. Then once she fulfilled that job, she will lie down in the eternal sleep and cross the Rift to the other side.” I recite the famous saying, spoken in this region. There is not a single soul in this region that does not know about the Kuze House. “That is right. But there is also something you should know,” Lady Yashuu comments, “To completely cross the Rift to the other side, the priestess has to be free from all attachments when she falls into eternal sleep.” “Free…from attachments…?” “That is right. The priestess must no longer have any attachments to the world. No family. No friend. Nothing.” I remain silent, waiting for her to continue. “In order to endure the pain of holly, the priestess has to also experience the same pain. Those who suffered the pain of the loss of loved ones are the ones worthy of becoming a Tattoo Priestess. By surrendering their flesh, the Tattoo Priestess can save many people who suffered the same pain,” the lady explains. She really does have a point. I do not want other to suffer the same pain that I did. It was too much to bear. “It is an honor to do this duty,” I gave the lady a polite bow, “I am honored you chose me for it.” “But there is something you must know before you agree,” said Lady Yashuu, “Once you become a priestess and have the pain of the holly engraved into you, you cannot leave the shrine ever again.” I shudder at the thought when I heard it. I already know very well about the ultimate fate of the Tattoo Priestess. But when I realize that I will have to experience that fate, the thought sent chill down my


spine. Maybe I am just not ready for it. “I’m telling you because I want you to think twice before accepting my request. I do not want to have to perform ‘The Tearing’ on you.” I’ve read about The Tearing in an old text while I was recovering. There have been many priestesses who could not endure the pain of the holly until the end. The skin with the holly tattoo is considered sacred, and the maiden who cannot bear the pain of the tattoo is not worthy of having it on her any longer. And as a result, she will be skinned alive and sent to the other side without being impaled to sleep. Such is the consequence of having so many attachments to the world. But I am different. My entire village is gone. If it is decided that I can never see my family again, then that means that I can sleep for all eternity. I can save other with the same pain. “That is okay. My mind is made up.” Lady Yashuu gave me a week to prepare my mind for whatever I have to face. But I told her I need only three days. During that time, I made a grave for my family and take care of their tomb. I said my proper good-byes to them as I return to the Kuze House on the third day. I hope they can rest in peace. No one will have to suffer the pain I experience any more if I become a priestess. The preparation to becoming a priestess requires several procedures, taking up about a month. I had to study about the rituals and the meaning of the tattoos as well as cleanse myself so I am pure and worthy of becoming a priestess. After the first month, I am finally a full fledge Tattoo Priestess and has to perform my first Piercing of the Soul right away. The engravers help strip off my robes and slowly engrave each pain onto my skin. It was very painful and tormenting. But I gladly accept and endure it so the people can wash those pains away. Each time the pain of the holly is engraved on to me, those pains will also appear in my dreams. I get to see several kinds of dreams and pains. Of the various pains, the more vivid ones ache more intensely. I am glad that I can help the people relief their pain of being left alone and pain of living. But deep down I know very well that these pains – these pains of losing my family – they will not fade. They are engraved somewhere hidden in my heart and will remain even in my eternal sleep. Nobody will take my Holly because they are my feelings alone. “Hello Reika!” The cheery voice greets me up in the morning. The girl with twin-braided pigtails slides my breakfast tray into my personal quarters: the Hanging Prison. “Good morning Amane,” I give the handmaiden a sleep smile and yawns. I am confined in the Hanging Prison during the day, not allowed to go outside. This is to prevent me from accidentally forming any attachments to the world without knowing it.

395


396

Amane is the shrine handmaiden who is assigned to take care of me. She is cheerful and always greet me with a smile. I am glad she is assigned for this job and I really enjoy her company. I get to share about the pain and dreams I experienced with her, which for some reason incredible relief the anxiety and tension in my mind. “How is the tattoo from yesterday? Is it better now?” Amane asks with concern. “Yeah. It is not too aching any more,” I replied, “It’s all thanks to you for patching me up. Thanks Amane.” “I’m just doing my job,” Amane giggles, “So did you have a nice dream? What did you see last night?” …Last night’s dream…? “It was weird...,”I replied. “Weird…?” “Yes. I would normally see the dreams and pains of people who engraved their pain onto me. But last night…I…” “What did you see?” Amane seems even more worried. “Remember that earrings I showed you a few days ago…?” “Oh yeah. You said you got it from a friend, didn’t you?” Amane replies with a smile, “Don’t tell me you saw him in your dreams…?” “Yes…I had a dream about him. In the Rift, that hell of Holly, he appeared before me, as I was to be lowered into the Abyss. The mistress did not notice. Well, it was my dream, after all,” I laughed at the silly dream. “Tell me more. Tell me more!” Amane asks eagerly. “Heehee…Well, he reached his hand to me. I did too. Just as our fingers were about to touch, the prison lowered and we missed each other,” I continue. “Awwww…that’s too bad!” Amane frowns. “I am glad I get to see him again though. Never thought I’d see his face again,” I giggle, trying not to depress Amane. Even I, who have been engraved with the Holly of so many people, could have my own dream. If that’s the case, then I might still be able to dream of him in my eternal sleep. The impalement… The pain was horrible. The four handmaidens impaled their sacred stakes onto my limbs and sang the lullaby. My consciousness slowly fades and everything turns dark. Perhaps my eternal slumber has started. Both the pain of the holly and the impalement gradually disappear. Everything felt so light. I found myself standing on the shore, overlooking the dark sea. At the horizon is a bright light – The other side across the Rift. That is where I have to lead the pain I bear. As I step into the waters, I heard a familiar voice calling my name. “Reika!!...Reika!!!!” This voice…it’s so familiar…and heart warming…


Who could it be? Who could be calling me at this moment? As I open my eyes again, I woke up once more in the Chamber of Thorns. A familiar young man with handsome features appears before me, smiling. “Reika…it’s you…It’s really you!” He cried. “Ka…na…me?” Is it really him? Please tell me this is not a dream. He caresses my cheek with his warm hand – the gentle touch I’ve been yearning for. This is real. It’s him. Kaname is right in front of me, calling my name. “I’m glad to see you again! In my dreams, I-----.” A loud smack was heard and he fell down to the floor, lying next to me. Kaname…? What happened…? His eyes are wide opened and lifeless. “Why did that insolent child guide a man such as you into the Chamber of Thorns? You must not disturb the priestess who lies asleep,” another familiar voice was heard as I noticed another figure standing nearby, right next to Kaname’s lifeless body. In her hands is a stone hatchet with fresh blood dripping from the blade. Mistress Yashuu…? Why? Why did she have to do this…? Why did she murder Kaname…!? Please tell me this is not true. Please tell me this is not happening!! Please say something to me, Kaname! No. I can’t bear this. This is too painful. As the sorrow builds up in my heart, I could feel the tattoos on my body spreading even further to every inch of my body, and finally into my eyes. Everything is so dark. Kaname’s lifeless face looked into me as the darkness spreads out covering everything around me. I don’t want to see any more…

397


398


Library 399

A/N: The following section will contain spoilers to the main story. I highly suggest you read the story before proceeding beyond this section. I am not held responsible for any information youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve spoiled yourself.


Character Report This section explains each characters’ overall battle capabilities by the end of the ‘game’, as well as provide reference materials for the readers to speculate a ‘tier list’ among the characters. The analysis of each character’s powers are based off the items and skills each of them attain throughout the course of the story. While I have not yet established a tier list of my own, the analysis of each characters’ abilities are canon and final.

Stats Explanation POW

EN

SPR

TECH

400

Sheer power output, considering the bonus each player accumulated in the game. Defense Power. The higher the EN, the more damage the players can sustain and higher tendency to prevent staggers. Spiritual Power. With higher SPR, the player can use more of their special powers. In Shamans’ Case, this also refers to resistance against possession. Battle Techniques. The higher this parameter, the more technicality in battle. i.e. More tendency to block an attack, more capability to chain Fatal Frames, etc.


EN

SPR

STR

Jack Class:

Voice Materializer

TECH

Analysis:

Skills Crafted:

Jack is primarily a close range fighter. He has extremely high defense and can take lots of hits. Not to mention that his [Hyper Resonance] also allows him to completely protect against stagger if he is attacking. His damage output is considered to be on a high level, making him one of the best front line fighters. The fact that he can craft skills from spirits of the Rift makes him an even more valuable asset. His down fall is having low TECH, giving him some trouble in battles that requires brain.

• Rush Assault • Noise Crush • Voice Spiral • Quick Jab • Mirage Screen • Raging Anger • Detonate Smash • Unleashing Seal • Momentum Crash • Thunder Uppercut • Pyro Crash • Thousand Fists • Blood Smash

Game Level Log: (Disregarding Viola’s influence) Game Start Player Advantage Clear Night 01 Clear Night 03 Incapacitated by Anon in Night 04 Clear Night 05 Member in party (Cross) Incapacitated Clear Night 08 Clear Night 09 End Game

2 +1 +1 +1 -2 +1 -1 +1 +1 5

401


EN

SPR

STR

Rokej Class:

402

Voice Materializer

TECH

Analysis:

Skills Crafted:

The ex-Reaper King loves fighting close range head on. However, in this game, he is severely handicapped, having only a few close range attacks and filling the rest of his arsenal with longrange and defensive skills. Even then, he is able to adapt very well to different battle situations. His weakness is surprisingly, low SPR power, making every shot of his power extremely valuable, as well as having mediocre attack power.

• Demon Fist • Blazing Sword • Snow Storm • Needle Shower • Mirror Wall • Illusion Leap • Reflect Raid • Energy Cannon • Dragon Roar

Game Level Log: First Appearance Clear Night 05 Incapacitated by Latner Clear Night 09 Clear Night 10 End Game

5 +1 -2 +1 +1 6


EN

SPR

STR

Ramsley Class:

Gadgeteer

TECH

Analysis:

Relics:

Our kind butler is a powerhouse with the boost from the infamous Simulacrum Mask he picks up in the middle of the story. With multiple boosts from his relics, he can exorcize a spirit in just a single shot. Moreover, he is surprisingly durable for his age, and he can use his relics a lot with high SPR. His weakness is low TECH due to limited relic arsenal.

• Four-Pointed Well Key • Simulacrum Mask • Dianthus Key • Sacred Stone • Mirror of Loss

403

Game Level Log: First Appearance Clear Night 01 Incapacitated by Anon Clear Night 05 Incapacitated by a Shrine Carpenter Clear Night 08 Clear Night 09 Clear Night 10 End Game

3 +1 -2 +1 -1 +1 +1 +1 6


EN

SPR

STR

Austin Class:

404

Gadgeteer

TECH

Analysis:

Relics:

Despite having the ex-Reaper King’s arsenal mid-way into the story, Austin falls extremely short on power output due to Light and Dark key power nerfs. His overall attack power is considered to be below average. He makes up those weaknesses with having extremely high SPR, allowing frequent uses of his relics and high TECH in battle.

• Two Mandarins Key • Bell Flower Key • Ginger Key • Light & Dark Key

Game Level Log: Game Start Clear Night 02 (Off screen) Incapacitated by Anon Clear Night 05 Clear Night 06 Defeat Anon Clear Night 10 End Game

2 +1 -2 +1 +1 +2 +1 6


EN

SPR

STR

Colin Class:

Gadgeteer

Analysis:

TECH Relics:

Possibly the weakest member of the party. • Notched Arrow Key Colin’s main and only weapon is the Notched • Holly Hairpin Arrow Keys, which has very low damage output. • Holly Key He also gains very few relics throughout the whole story and none of them are offensive. On the bright side, he has one of the best support relics, Holly Hairpin, that works well in support with just about every other fighter.

405

Game Level Log: First Appearance Member in party (Cross) Incapacitated Clear Night 08 Clear Night 09 Clear Night 10 End Game

2 -1 +1 +1 +1 4


EN

SPR

STR

Sarin Class:

Shaman

Analysis: 406

TECH Spirit Synchros Mastered:

Sarin is the strongest powerhouse of the party, having • Hidden Face Man II (Tengai Narumi) extremely strong spirit synchro with very powerful • Stroller Grandma Oversoul Bonus from the start. She even has high • Wandering Fiancé defense and speed, making her one of the best player among the crew in a head on fight. However, she falls extremely short on SPR and TECH. Having less SPR means more tendency to get possessed and less frequent use of her special Oversoul attacks. Her low TECH results from having poor TECH spirit synchros, otherwise she is a lot smarter than Jack.

Game Level Log: First Appearance Incapacitated by Anon Clear Night 05 Clear Night 07 Member in Party (Cheryl) incapacitated Clear Night 08 Clear Night 09 Clear Night 10 End Game

2 -2 +1 +1 -1 +1 +1 +1 4


EN

SPR

STR

Cheryl Class:

Shaman

TECH

Analysis:

Spirit Synchros Mastered:

Cheryl is the best support Shaman, with a spirit synchro that allows her to heal her party members, as well as ones that cripples the defense of ghosts. Damage-wise, she is not very strong until Amane spirit synchro was upgraded. Having low SPR, she falls easy as a victim to possession.

• Shrine Handmaiden II (Amane) • Needle Woman • Handmaiden’s Brother (Kaname)

407

Game Level Log: First Appearance Incapacitated by Anon Clear Night 05 Clear Night 07 Incapacitated by Nirei Moriya Defeated Rai Naam End Game

2 -2 +1 +1 -1 +2 4


EN

SPR

STR

Aphiso Class:

Shaman

Analysis: 408

TECH Spirit Synchros Mastered:

Aphiso begins the game with an extremely • Brushing Woman (Kyoka) powerful spirit synchro, second to Sarin’s. Her • Snow Demon mind is extremely strong so she was able to travel • Unfortunate Visitor (Akito) alone just fine without the need to worry about being possessed. While considered to be the best all-round shaman, Aphiso falls rather short in the damage department. Also, aside from Akito’s spirit synchro she gains very late into the story, her battle style is extremely straightforward.

Game Level Log: First Appearance Incapacitated by Anon Clear Night 05 Incapacitated by Needle Woman Clear Night 09 Defeated Rai Naam End Game

5 -2 +1 -1 +1 +2 6


EN

SPR

STR

Leina Class:

Shaman

TECH

Analysis:

Spirit Synchros Mastered:

While being the weakest Shaman in the beginning of the story with crappy spirit synchro, he later on gains the best spirit synchro in the whole game, in terms of both offense and defense hands down. In a head on fight, he falls on extreme disadvantage with having low endurance. But even then, his high TECH partially covers up for that weakness, by allowing him to block and dodge incoming attacks.

â&#x20AC;˘ Shrine Carpenter â&#x20AC;˘ Bloody Kimono (Sae)

409

Game Level Log: First Appearance Clear Night 05 Clear Night 06 Incapacitated by Anon Defeat Rai Naam Clear Night 11 End Game

3 +1 +1 -2 +2 +1 6


EN

SPR

STR

Teal Class:

Camera User

Analysis: 410

TECH Lens:

Teal’s camera is considered to be the strongest, • Blast damage-per-shot-wise. She gains a lot of • Zero damage boost throughout the whole story, be it the Zero Lens or her special Double ability. Her strength came at the cost of having extremely low defense, making the ‘Glass Cannon’ metaphor perfect for her.

Game Level Log: First Appearance Clear Night 04 Clear Night 05 Incapacitated Defeated Anon End Game

3 +1 +1 -1 +2 6


EN

SPR

STR

Greg Class:

Camera User

Analysis:

TECH Lens:

Among the camera users, Greg is considered to â&#x20AC;˘ Pressure have the weakest camera due to having only a â&#x20AC;˘ Serial few damage-boosting lens. However, he makes up that weakness by having the best shutter-happy camera. He can connect Fatal Frame Combos extremely better than any other camera users. He even gains a camera lens that works very well with his special ability, Max. He also has the highest defense among camera users.

411

Game Level Log: First Appearance Clear Night 04 Clear Night 05 Incapacitated by Mumei Clear Night 08 Clear Night 09 End Game

4 +1 +1 -2 +1 +1 6


EN

SPR

STR

Sophia Class:

412

Camera User

TECH

Analysis:

Lens:

Sophia is considered to have the most balanced Camera. She can connects Fatal Frames better than Teal, but not as crazy as Greg. Her single shots are not as powerful as Teal’s, but stronger than Greg’s. As a result, she is not outstanding in any way, battle-wise. Lucky enough, she makes up with having the Explode lens, a lens with decent boost and unique effect.

• Pierce • Explode

Game Level Log: First Appearance Clear Night 05 Member in Party (Rokej) incapacitated Clear Night 09 Clear Night 10 End Game

4 +1 -1 +1 +1 6


413


Picture Gallery This section contains pictures of the characters of this fan fiction, along with a brief commentary from me. The link for the picture is provided below the thumbnail. However, the picture uploaded on photobucket has been scaled down from its original size 1680 x 1080 px (my laptop screen size), so the link could be considered ‘Medium Quality’. I can email you the Full Quality version. Please contact me via the email given in my blog, indicating the subject about ‘Fiction Picture’ (or whatever that would prevent me from accidentally classifying it as junk mail) as well as the name of picture you want in Full Quality. (I can also do single (480x272) or double (960x544) PSP screen size. The renders are made in vectors so don’t be afraid about pixelating or disscaling.) Also optional, but telling me who you are or how you get to know this fan fiction would be very appreciated.

414

Promotional Poster 01 - Girls This is the very first promotional poster for this fan fiction, featuring the female casts and their tattoos. I chose Kimono as the costume for this picture because it was very well received in the Fatal Frame 2 fan fiction. http://tinyurl.com/728ha9p

Promotional Poster 02 - Guys This second promotional poster features the male casts along with their tattoos. Originally, these guys are meant to be a silhouette in the first Promotional Poster, but doing made the picture extremely messy and unfocused. Therefore I decided to just make another poster for them. http://tinyurl.com/7kpcpqr


Cheryl and the Handmaidens

Picture: http://tinyurl.com/7mdwhkv Video: http://tinyurl.com/88tbfof

This is the first picture I drew for the Director’s Cut. Reason? Well, I thought it was one of the simplest picture among the pool of pictures I scanned at that time. Also, I promised a friend in Corpse Party Message Boards that I’ll make a video of myself doing digital paintings, and I picked this picture for it. The link for the video is provided below the picture link.

Greg the Paranormal Investigator

http://tinyurl.com/7fvkfnv

Frankly speaking, Greg is one of the characters with lots of potential for a spin-off, about him on his paranormal investigation, searching for his long lost sister. If I have to do a Fatal Frame 1 fan fiction some day, Greg will definitely be one of the returning cast. Well, if there are any request for it anyway.

The Sisterly Bonds

http://tinyurl.com/86a68cs

Here we have Aphiso, the overly protective elder sister, and Sophia, the younger sister who has always clinged on to her older sister. I never expect Sophia’s character to be so well received that someone requested to be her elder sister, considering how her base character in Star Ocean 3 was extremely hated.

Ramsley the (Old) Butler

http://tinyurl.com/6tqsm5q

See what I did in the title? (lol) Nah, I don’t think Ramsley is that old. At least he does pack some action for a middle aged man. I gave him white hair, not because he was old, but because for some reason I felt that it fits his image of a butler better. That said, the Simulacrum Mask does make him maliciously evil, lol.

415


Teal and Carmine

http://tinyurl.com/7bpxqav

One of the loveliest Camera Users who Austin has been flirting with throughout the whole story, only to know later on that she already has a boyfriend. (lol, well, you already HAVE a girlfriend too, Austin) I personally like the scene where Teal was talking to her boyfriend in his coma. It was really emotional even though I am an outsider (lol).

Austin the Gadgeteer Womanizer

http://tinyurl.com/7rvvjz9

416

Austin is one of my most favorite characters. I really enjoy writing his scenes with Teal and Leina. I felt that they are a perfect team, which is why I set them together in the final party. Sorry Robo, if Austin still did not fling enough with the girls in this Director’s Cut >_< I added as much as I could.

Austin’s Harem I don’t think any more words are needed for this, lol. @Robo Lee: I hope this makes up for the fact that he did not get to fling with girls as much as you might expected >_<. http://tinyurl.com/6qgtf8a

Sarin and Koga

http://tinyurl.com/854gnd9

Have I told you guys how much the actual ending of [Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented] made me wanna cry? ...Oh wait, I just did, lol. Yes, I love it so much that I had the urge to replicate it in this fan fiction as well. (By the way, is it just me or does Yuu’s words really does sound weird grammar-wise?) The biggest problem I had with this picture was the background. I even had to open Youtube to re-watch the ending to capture the actual atmosphere of the setting.


Sanae Shirosaki Poor Japanese Puns, please forgive me .___. Anyway, this picture features Sae Kurosawa in her several forms: Her living form, her reincarnated self â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Sanaeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, and of course, the infamous maniacal laughing murderous Bloody Kimono. http://tinyurl.com/7mkzzyo

The Bloody Kimono

http://tinyurl.com/7rnzd6g

My version of the Bloody Kimono, dedicated especially for my good friend. I hope she looks scary and bloody enough, lol. The funny thing about this picture was when I first drew it, I actually forgot to put on the bloodstains. I kept glaring at the picture again and again, asking myself what the heck was missing from this pic, lol.

Rokej and Sophia A picture for Rokej x Sophia shipper, if there is any out there, lol.

http://tinyurl.com/7zvp2k7

Reaper King Rokej

H: http://tinyurl.com/6mju35p V: http://tinyurl.com/74apgzu

This picture is drawn at the request of Old_Butler, asking me to draw the picture of Rokej in his almighty Reaper King form. There are two versions of this picture: Horizontal and Vertical. Horizontal was because it has to be in a wall paper size. But the vertical version was for a more dramatic focus on the Reaper Form.

417


(FF2) Kimono This picture was done at the request of PeckingBird of GameFAQs. When he said he wanted to see Sophia and Auria in Kimono, I told myself I just had to draw it. I threw in Konata, Mikoto, and Viola because those girls also deserve some attention. http://tinyurl.com/762mm6d

418


[Reapers and Angels] Promotional Poster*

http://tinyurl.com/6ugna3m

I’m going to be honest. I love the casts from my Fatal Frame fan fictions. So much to the point that I felt like recycling them in another original fiction. This will be a purely original action fantasy fiction, featuring the casts from [Fatal Frame 2: The World Ends with You] and [Fatal Frame 3: Call of Your Voice] (In a completely alternate universe from both fan fictions). The war between the Giver of Death and Savior of Life has been going on for millennia, when a forbidden love between the heir of the two opposing forces blooms in the middle of the battlefield. Join the Reapers and Angels in their battle of life and death and witness the truth that will forever change the fate of the two clans.

Characters confirmed to appear... http://tinyurl.com/6ogatfa

http://tinyurl.com/7w2sr77 http://tinyurl.com/7mbq2y9

As Reapers: • • • • • • • • •

Rokej Viola Cello Shalroe Ramsley Leina Sanae Mikoto Konata

As Angels: • • • • •

Kyon • Incognito** • Luke • Itsuki** • Chitose** • • • • •

Sophia Auria Aphiso Jack Sarin Natalie Cheryl Austin Greg

• Teal • Carmine

For anyone that is wondering, don’t worry. This project will NOT start unless I am done with the [Corpse Party: Bloody Carnival] fan fiction. (Corpse Party Fan Fiction members who are reading this fan fiction out of curiosity are also welcomed to join if you are interested)

*Top Row Left to Right: Natalie , Jack, Sarin, Albel, Aphiso, Sophia, Auria, Cheryl, Teal, Austin, Greg. Bottom Row Left to Right: Mikoto, Konata, Luke, Shalroe, Cello, Viola, Rokej, Ramsley, Leina, Sanae, Kyon, Incognito

**Might need name change.

419


Mission List Night 00

Chapter Span Chapters

Description:

In the garden sleeps a spirit tree. Pay respect to the tree to earn your mark.

Explanation: The first player (party) that bows to the Spirit Tree in the Garden Corridor wins.

420

Ghost Appearances: â&#x20AC;˘ Men in White (Shrine Carpenters) â&#x20AC;˘ Tattoo Priestess

Player Killers Appearances: --

Cleared by: ???

Players Incapacitated: NONE

1 Zero Hour


Night 01 Description:

Chapter Span Chapters

2 2-3

In the corridor, a girl repeatedly hammers on something endlessly. Look at what she is up to and you shall be victorious.

Explanation: The first player (party) that peeks into the small peephole in the 2nd Floor Corridor wins.

Ghost Appearances:

Cleared by:

• Wandering Mother • Wandering Daughter • Shrine Handmaiden - Minamo

• Jack • Ramsley

Player Killers Appearances:

Players Incapacitated:

--

NONE

421


Night 02 Description:

Chapter Span Chapters

2 5-6

A woman plays her koto alone silently in her quarters. Follow the tunes and pay her a visit.

Explanation: The first player (party) that opens the door to the Kimono Room first wins.

422

Ghost Appearances:

Cleared by:

• Needle Woman (Possessing Cheryl) • Wandering Fiance – Koga Kitamura

• Austin (Off Screen)

Player Killers Appearances:

Players Incapacitated:

• Incognito

NONE


Night 03

Chapter Span: Chapter:

Description:

1 8

In the hands of a carpenter lies a lullaby stone. Pick it up from the corridor stained in blood.

Explanation: Pick up the Sleeping Stone from a shrine carpenter in the Stained Corridor. The first player (party) that completes this task wins.

Ghost appearances:

Cleared by:

• Brushing Woman • Men in White

• Jack • Cheryl

Player Killers Appearances:

Players Incapacitated:

--

NONE

423


Night 04

Chapter Span Chapters

Description:

2 9 - 10

Across the room where the lone koto plays lies a corridor with round window. Touch the window to proceed.

Explanation: Touch the window at the end of the 2nd Floor Round Window Corridor. The first party that completes this task wins.

424

Ghost appearances:

Cleared by:

• Brushing Woman • Shrine Handmaiden – Hisame

• Teal • Greg

Player Killers Appearances:

Players Incapacitated:

• Anon

• • • • • •

Jack Sarin Cheryl Ramsley Austin Aphiso


Night 05

Chapter Span Chapters

Description:

6 11 - 16

The Tattoo Priestess is awake and hates seeing intruders walking in her grounds. The Priestess will return to her Chambers when the dawn breaks.

Explanation: Do not let the Tattoo Priestess catch you. Hide or run from her until the dawn breaks to win.

Special Rule: All players (parties) that survive until the dawn breaks win.

Ghost appearances:

Cleared by:

• Tattoo Priestess (Off Screen) • Snow Demon • Wandering Fiance – Koga Kitamura

• • • • • • • •

Player Killers Appearances:

Players Incapacitated:

--

Jack Sarin Cheryl Ramsley Aphiso Austin Greg Teal NONE

• Rokej • Sophia • Leina

425


Night 06

Chapter Span Chapters

Description:

6 17 - 22

Carpenters are out looking for intruders wandering the halls. Compete for the highest score! Watch out! Other players’ accomplishment will penalize your achievements. [© Robo Lee]

Special Rules: For this mission, a special rule will be enforced. Defeating one shrine carpenters will give the party 20 points. If however, other parties defeat a shrine carpenter, your accumulated points will be decreased by 5. Dissolving a party resets all accumulated points (forming party combines the scores). If a member of the party is incapacitated, the Party’s Game Level is decreased and the remaining members are instantly removed from this round.

426

Ghost appearances:

Cleared by:

• • • • •

• Leina • Austin

Needle Woman Stroller Grandma Men in White Crawling Woman Shrine Handmaiden – Amane

Additional Notes: Max Points – 1150

Player Killers Appearances:

Players Incapacitated:

• Latner • Mumei

• • • • • •

Greg Teal Ramsley Aphiso Rokej Sophia


Night 07

Chapter Span Chapters

Description:

5 23 - 27

In the attic lies a girl that witnesses an uncomfortable event that traumatizes her. Put her to rest.

Explanation: Go to the Attic Room and defeat the Crawling Woman. The first player (party) that completes this task wins.

Ghost appearances:

Cleared by:

• Crawling Woman • Wandering Mother • Tim • Brushing Woman • Wandering Daughter • Sarin • Shrine Handmaiden – • Cheryl Shigure • Snow Demon • Unwelcoming Librarian • Distorting Shadow • Rope Man (Kusabi) • Needle Woman

Player Killers Appearances: • Anon

Players Incapacitated: NONE

427


Night 08

Chapter Span Chapters

Description:

6 29 - 34

A great construction occurred in this place. Commemorate the events with the photos of the four Master Builders and their leader.

Explanation: Take the photo of the four Master Builders and their leaders. Non-Camera Users are allowed to use their cell phone camera.

Special Rule: Mission is immediately cleared once the five ghosts’ pictures are taken. All parties that took part in taking the picture will gain Game Levels upon clearing.

428

Ghost appearances:

Cleared by:

• • • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Men in White Engraved Men Hidden Face Man Osaka Twins Hanged Woman Rope Man Wandering Fiance – Koga Kitamura

Jack Sarin Tim Colin Ramsley Greg Mike

Player Killers Appearances:

Players Incapacitated:

• Incognito

• Cheryl • Cross


Night 09

5 37 - 41

Chapter Span Chapters

Description:

To complete her ritual, the priestess has to shatter all of her attachments with this world. Gather all of them back into one to proceed further.

Explanation: Gather all the fragments of the Mirror of Loss.

Special Rule: All parties that took part in finding the mirror fragments will gain Game Levels upon clearing.

Ghost appearances:

Cleared by:

• • • • •

• • • • • • • •

Shrine Maiden – Amane Shrine Maiden – Minamo Shrine Maiden – Hisame Wandering Daughter – Kozue Needle Woman

Jack Sarin Cheryl Ramsley Aphiso Greg Rokej Sophia

• • • •

Player Killers Appearances:

Players Incapacitated:

• Anon

• Leina

Cross Colin Teal Austin

429


Night 10

Chapter Span Chapters

Description:

6 43 - 48

Above lies the sleeping quarters of the Tattoo Priestess that can be lowered only when the lullaby is played. Play the tunes and lower the prison.

Explanation: Gather all of the Purity Stones containing the voices of the Handmaidens and lower the Hanging Prison.

Special Rule: All parties that took part in lowering the prison will gain Game Levels upon clearing.

430

Ghost appearances:

Cleared by:

• • • • • •

• • • • • •

Shrine Maiden – Shigure Shrine Maiden – Minamo Shrine Maiden – Hisame Kuze Family Head – Yashuu Tattoo Priestesses Crawling Woman

Sarin Ramsley Austin Rokej Sophia Colin

Player Killers Appearances:

Players Incapacitated:

• Rai Naam

• Tim (DELETED) • Cross (DELETED)


Night 11

Chapter Span Chapters

Description:

3 50 - 52

In the manor lurks a shadow, the true self. Overcome the fear and face yourself. [© PeckingBird]

Explanation: Doppelgangers of the players are scattered throughout the manors. The first player that defeats his / her own doppelganger wins the mission.

Special Rule: Party Links are disabled in this mission.

Ghost appearances:

Cleared by:

• Shrine Maiden – Amane • Leina Doppelganger

• Leina

Player Killers Appearances:

Players Incapacitated:

• Incognito

NONE

431


Night 12

Chapter Span Chapters

Description:

2 54 - 55

The manor has been overcome by the Rift. Bring five spirits to your mercy.

Explanation: Find and defeat five spirits within the Manor of Sleep. The first player (party) that completes the task wins.

432

Ghost appearances: â&#x20AC;˘ Brushing Woman â&#x20AC;˘ Rift Shadows

Player Killers Appearances: --

Cleared by: --

Players Incapacitated: NONE


Night 13

Chapter Span Chapters

Description:

3 57 - 59

The Game Master is now angry. All of you shall be put to a test with the 7 sins. [© Impersonator]

Explanation: Find and defeat the Seven Shadows of Sin within the Manor of Sleep.

Special Rule: All parties that took part in defeating the shadows will gain Game Levels upon clearing.

Ghost appearances: • • • • • •

Shrine Handmaidens – Hisame Shrine Handmaidens – Shigure Shrine Handmaidens – Minamo Rift Shadow of Sins Rope Man Wandering Mother

Player Killers Appearances: --

Cleared by: --

Players Incapacitated: NONE

433


Final Mission

Chapter Span Chapters

Description:

6 60 - 65

Free the Manor of Sleep and shape your future. Gather the twelve remaining players at the Engraving Shrine to commence. Good luck!

Explanation: Viola: Eh, do we need really any more explanation on this?

434

Ghost appearances: • Kuze Family Head – Yashuu Kuze • Tattoo Priestess – Reika Kuze

Player Killers Appearances: • Mumei • Latner • Incognito

Cleared by: --

Players Incapacitated: NONE


435


Tutorial List [Game of Despair] Tutorial Welcome to The Game of Despair, the game for those who seek to reclaim the precious treasure they have lost. The goal for this game is simple – Each night a mission will be sent to all the players via a cell phone message. The player who clears the mission first will attain a ‘Game Level’ and the game is over for the night.

[Game Level] Tutorial Game Levels are the evaluation level accumulated by the players of the Game of Despair. Each player starts with 2 Game Levels. The goal of this game is to reach level 7. Once the player does, they are removed from this game and granted a [Blessing].

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[Party Link] System Tutorial Each player will start their mission from the last time they left the manor (new players will enter through the front door). If two or more players happen to meet each other, they can form a Party Link. While linked in a party, each player’s power is strengthened by 10% per number of party members, including himself / herself. Some fighter classes gain access to exclusive passive or special abilities available when linked in a party. The maximum member limit of a Party Link is three.

[Player Killer] Explanation Player Killers are group of assassins, dispatched and mingled among the players and spirits within the Manor of Sleep. Their main job is to take out players while they are off guard. Caution!!! Being incapacitated by Player Killers will decrease your Game Levels by 2. On the other hand, defeating a Player Killer will increase your Game Levels by 2, but your session for the night will instantly end. (Other players and parties can still continue their missions)


[Toll] Explanation A Toll is the precious treasure a player lost. It can be anything, ranging from simple charms to intangible items such as love for someone. The lost for their precious treasure draws despair to the players and allows them to enter the Game of Despair. The more precious the ‘toll’, the more advantage each player has when the starts the game. For example, Voice Materializers start with some original skills already crafted for their disposal, Shamans can connect to some spirit right off the bat, Camera Users gain special Lens from start, and finally, Gadgeteers start with some items in their inventory from the beginning.

Increasing and Losing Game Levels The only way to increase your Game Level is by clearing that night’s mission. If other players or party complete the mission before you do, your game for that night will end but you will not lose your Game Level. If by some unfortunate events you happened to be incapacitated during the mission, then your Game Levels will suffer. If a member in the party clears a mission, all the members of the party gain a Game Level. However, if one of the members is incapacitated, that member is removed from the mission, and the whole party’s Game Level is penalized by one. (The party is still allowed to continue their mission) The deceased party member will NOT gain a Game Level even though the party cleared the mission afterwards. (If the whole party is annihilated at the same time, each player will be penalized only once.) Caution!!! If your Game Level falls below Zero, you will die and your soul will permanently wander the halls of the Sleeping Manor. Condition for raising and losing Game Levels Clearing a Mission = Defeating a Player Killer = Failing to clear the mission before dawn = Other players (party) clear before you = A member of the party is incapacitated = Incapacitated = Incapacitated by Player Killers =

+1 +2 (Removed from mission) ±0 ±0 -1 -1 (Removed from Mission) -2 (Removed from Mission)

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[Blessing] Explanation The one magical wish a player is granted when they clear this game. It can be ANY wish, no matter how impossible it sounds.

[Class] Tutorial [Class] is a special term used to categorize the ‘battle abilities’ of each player. There will be times in this game when battles against the spirits are inevitable. Each player is given a specific ‘Class’ when they enter this game. The given class is fixed and cannot be changed no matter what. There are four classes in this game: A Camera User, a Gadgeteer, a Voice Materializer, and a Shaman.

[Voice Materializers] Tutorial A Voice Materializer (VM) is a fighter who can listen to spirits’ voices through special headphones and battles them with original skills, crafted from their voices. 438 By manipulating their voice frequency, VMs can feel the spirits’ emotions and turn them into special powers. A VM can store up to 4 Original Skills per mission, and can select the skills to include in their arsenal only before the mission starts. Passive Abilities: [Mind Lock]

[Voices and Skill Crafting] Explanation Voices, literally, are the sound each ghost releases. It could be their moans or wails of pain. Each voice contains their thoughts and feelings. By listening to their voices, VMs can manipulate those emotions and turn them into special skills to use against spirits. Crafted skills remain permanently with the players, even after they die.

[Original Skill List] Explanation The [Original Skill List] is a special function stored within the cell phones of the VMs. It allows them to see the list of Original Skills that they have crafted from spirits, as well as listen to the voice that was used to craft the skill.


[Hyper Resonance] Tutorial

(Director’s Cut)

[Hyper Resonance] is VM – Jack’s special ability, unique to him and only him. Under [Hyper Resonance] state, Jack gains twice the normal endurance, boosting his defense and preventing him from stagger while he is attacking. Also, while under this state, some Original Skills gain different effect and behavior. This special ability is available if and only if Jack is in a full party and the sum of the members’ Game Levels is equal to or more than 15. Hyper Resonance lasts for 5 minutes and cannot be used again for the next 3 minutes.

[Synchronity Chain] Tutorial

(Director’s Cut)

[Synchronity Chain] is VM – Rokej’s special ability, unique to him and only him. This special ability allows Rokej to directly chain another Original Skill after his first Original Skill hits an enemy. If the second Original Skill also hits the target, the third chain will be possible with thrice the power. (No more chains can be done after the third) This special function is always active if and only if Rokej is in a full party and the sum of the members’ Game Levels is more than 15.

[Gadgeteer] Tutorial A Gadgeteer is a fighter who can unleash the Latent Powers sealed within an item. By unleashing those powers, Gadgeteers can manipulate them in battle against spirits. Each item has unique skill and duration. After an item reached its activation limit, it will enter a recharge state and cannot be used again for a set interval. Passive Abilities: [Object Reading]

[Relics] Tutorial A relic refers to any key items found within the Manor of Sleep. Each relic has its own story about the Manor of Sleep, as well as a unique latent power. Some relics maybe have little powers stored in them, and can be activated only once.

439


[Relics Library] Tutorial The [Relics Library] is a special function stored within the cell phones of Gadgeteers. It allows them to see the list of relics that they owned, as well as the description of their unique powers, activation duration, and their past.

[Trance] Tutorial Trance is a Gadgeteer’s special ability, available if and only if the Gadgeteer is in a full party and the sum of the members’ Game Levels is equal to or more than 10. While in Trance, the Gadgeteer gains [Telekenesis] ability and can repeatedly activate the relics’ power with infinite duration (and no charge interval) until Trance runs out (Certain relics have limited activation per Trance). Trance lasts for five minutes after activation and cannot be activated again for the next five minutes.

[Shaman] Tutorial

(Director’s Cut)

A Shaman is the fighter who can freely alter their fighting style by ‘switching’ their [Spirit

440 Synchro]. Spirit Synchroes occurred when the Shaman can form some sort of bond with a

spirit. Once the Shaman synchronizes with the spirit, he / she can use the special powers from that synchro. Each synchro has different unique attacks and bonuses. Switching Spirit Synchro to adjust to the tide of battle is Shamans’ key to victory. But since Shamans has to open their minds and allows spirits to influence to their body, they are extremely vulnerable to [Possession]. A Shaman can have up to 3 spirit synchroes per mission, and can choose their synchroes only before the mission starts. Passive Abilities: [Sense]

[Possession] Explanation Possession occurs when a strong spirit outwits and takes control of a player. The victim of a possession loses control over their bodies, and often time, the possessed victim is not aware of it. There is nothing the victim can do when they are possessed, aside from having other players exorcize spirits possessing them or the possessing spirits decide to leave on their own.


[Oversoul] Tutorial Oversoul is a Shaman’s special ability, available if and only if the Shaman is in a full party, and the sum of the members’ Game Levels is equal to or more than 10. By performing Oversoul, the Shaman can gain up to x3 boost in power output, depending on Spirit Synchroes. Some Spirit Synchroes have different behavior when in Oversoul and some gains access to exclusive skills available only during an Oversoul. See the [Spirit Synchro List] for more information. Oversouls last for 5 minutes and the Shaman cannot use it again for the next 5 minutes.

[Camera User] Tutorial A Camera User is the strongest fighter class who can turn their cell phones into Camera Obscura and exorcize spirits by taking their photos. Damage of each shot differs with the stances of the shots taken and special upgrade lens used. Lens are scattered throughout the manor. Passive Abilities: [Filament] [Alarm]

[Shutter Chance] Tutorial Often times when spirits are about to attack, they will be open to a [Shutter Chance] (the ‘Capture Circle’ will turn red). Taking photos at this time increases the power of a Camera Obscura’s shot by x1.2 and adds a free repel effect. This effect is very good for halting spirits that are coming too close to the Camera User.

[Fatal Frame] Tutorial Fatal Frames are Camera User’s special attack, performed by stringing several Camera Obscura shots at the ‘right’ moment into long chains of combo. Fatal Frame instances differ from spirit to spirit, and it is not possible to tell by normal means unless the [Alarm] passive ability activates. But upon a successful Fatal Frame, the same spirit will be completely opened for another Fatal Frame. Power up lens can be used during this instance to further boost damage. The camera users can keep on chaining his/ her shots until the spirit is exorcized or repelled off the capture circle. Fatal Frame Combo is potentially the strongest attack in the Game of Despair.

441


[Double] Tutorial [Double] is Camera User – Teal’s special function, unique to her and only her. The function allows Teal to charge up her Camera Obscura in two stages, increasing her camera powers up to twice the normal damage. This special function is available if and only if Teal is in a full party, and can be used unlimitedly as long as the party link is not severed.

[Flash] Tutorial [Flash] is Camera User – Sophia’s special function, unique to her and only her. The function allows Sophia to release a special flash that halts and repels all spiritual beings on spot. The flash itself does not deal any damage, but it can immediately exorcize certain weak spirits. After releasing a flash, it cannot be used again for the next five seconds. This special function is available if and only if Sophia is in a full party, and can be used unlimitedly as long as the party link is not severed.

442

[Max] Tutorial [Max] is Camera User – Greg’s special function, unique to him and only him. The function allows Greg to expend minimal amount of his spirit power in exchange for immediately gaining a full camera charge. This special function is available if and only if Greg is in a full party, and can be used unlimitedly as long as the party link is not severed.

[Miasma] Tutorial The Miasma is the darkness that casts the world into eternal night. In this eternal night, the souls of the living shine brightly, and attract all manners of unspeakable things. While covered in Miasma, the parties are weakened and will become more susceptible and vulnerable to spirits’ attacks. Penalties from losing game levels are also doubled.


[Purifying Light] Tutorial Use the Purifying Light to light the darkness. The blue flame glimmers faintly in the darkness, and purifies the miasma. The Purifying Light are scattered all around the Manor of Sleep. Holding them will temporarily negate the party’s penalty from Miasma. However, the Miasma is extremely strong and the faint light only shines momentarily. The party has to replenish their light if it goes out. (The Purifying Light is fully replenish at each night if the party managed to pick up the light at least once)

[Purifying Light] Tutorial II The faint pure blue light covers anyone who approaches it. However, the candle must remain on the holy pedestal for the pale light to eternally shine its radiance. Once your light runs out, return to any of these pedestal placed all over the manor to replenish your light.

[Last Passage] Tutorial The Last Passage is the most dangerous area where the Rift spills out. The miasma is extremely strong and wicked. Players who experienced game over’s in this area and those who are simply in the area when the mission is over will be taken back to the manor’s entrance in the next night instead of waking up where they are.

[Last Passage] Tutorial The Last Passage is the most dangerous area where the Rift spills out. The miasma is extremely strong and wicked. Getting a game over by ghosts in this area will result losing 3 Game Levels. (Losing to Player Killers in this area still remains at 2 Game Levels penalty.) Players who experienced game over’s in this area and those who are simply in the area when the mission is over will be taken back to the manor’s entrance in the next night instead of waking up where they are.

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[Final Mission] Tutorial Hello folks! Been a while since I’ve written a game tutorial for players! I hope my explanation skills haven’t rusted yet! Anyway, let’s get into business! This is the Final Mission. There is nothing to hold back! Fight all your way into the Last Passage. After a certain door, you will be taken inside the closed space where the Game Master’s Castle is situated. Go through his castle and venture into the Abyss of Horizon!

[Final Mission’s Bonuses] All players’ Game Levels are raised to 7, so any party combinations can allow the players to use their special abilities. With the interference from the Reapers, the miasma has been temporarily weakened. As a result, the Purifying Lights will shine perpetually. Be warned that the vengeful spirits still gain a boost from the miasma. There is no Game Level Penalties for this level. Once you are incapacitated, you are forever deleted. So good luck everyone! Use all the skills, items, and bonds that you have forged ever since 444 you entered this game and defeat the Rift! Strike everything without hesitation! Reaper Queen out! <3


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Original Skill Library (01) Noise Crush Crafted by: Jack

Crafted from: Wandering Mother and Daughter

Voice Clip: +Where is my husband? Take me to my husband!!+ +Daddy… Where are you…?+

Description: 446

Blast an ultra sonic wave from the palm of one’s hand. Does only minor damage but has moderately strong repelling effect. Good for creating distance between the VM and the opponent.

(02) Quick Jab Crafted by: Jack / Mike Advantage Skill

Crafted from: --

Voice Clip: --

Description: Expend minimum spirit power to momentarily disable the astral plane differences, allowing direct assault on spirits.


(03) Mirage Screen Crafted by: Jack’s Advantage Skill

Crafted from: --

Voice Clip: --

Description: Creates an illusionary screen that momentarily blocks any incoming attack for one second.

447

(04) Detonate Smash

(Director’s Cut)

Crafted by: Jack

Crafted from: Shrine Carpenter

Voice Clip: +The secret…of the Shrine Carpenters…lies with me~~~~+

Description: Release an explosion upon a fist contact with a spirit. Does medium damage and provides decent repel effect.


(05) Demon Fist Crafted by: Rokejâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Advantage Skill

Crafted from: --

Voice Clip: --

Description: Evoke the power of the Tattoo, turning the pain etched inside it into energy to attack spirits

448

(06) Blazing Sword Crafted by: Rokejâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Advantage Skill

Crafted from: --

Voice Clip: --

Description: Release a wave of flames that cuts the spirits and burns them to a crisp.


(07) Snowstorm Crafted by: Rokej

Crafted from: Snow Demon

Voice Clip: +You…lied…to meee…+

Description: Release a gust of cold current that freezes anything it touches

(08) Momentum Crash

(Director’s Cut)

Crafted by: Jack

Crafted from: Stroller Grandma

Voice Clip: +Where is my child? I want to see my child! Let me see my child!!!!+

Description: Release a relentless force that slightly damages and repels any spirits attempting to approach the player.

449


(09) Needle Shower Crafted by: Rokej

Crafted from: Needle Woman

Voice Clip: (Crafted off-screen. No voice was recorded)

Description: Fires numerous cursed needles that spread unimaginable pain on to anything it sticks.

450

(10) Mirror Wall Crafted by: Rokej

Crafted from: Unwelcoming Librarian

Voice Clip: +You…are not…welcomed hereeeeeee!!!+

Description: Creates an illusionary barrier that protects against a flurry of assault. The barrier’s protection will remain in effect until the assault is over. However, the barrier will disappear, if nothing hits it within one second. Hence, it is critical that the VM has to activate it precisely before an attack strikes.


(11) Hatchet Smash Crafted by: Mike

Crafted from: Hidden Face Man

Voice Clip: +Must seal the Rift. Needs…more…sacrifice!!! More…blood!!!!+

Description: Materialize two small hatchets and throw them at enemy. The hatchet will reflect the physical surfaces twice before disappearing.

(12) Thunder Uppercut Crafted by: Jack

Crafted from: Shigeomi Moriya

Voice Clip: +Must seal the shrine. All souls shall become the Sacrificial Pillar and seal the Rift!!!!+

Description: Launch the enemy sky high with an uppercut imbued with the power of thunder.

451


(13) llusion Leap Crafted by: Rokej

Crafted from: Hanged Woman

Voice Clip: +Hehehehehe!!! All life will end! Nothing worth living if I die! Everything is coming down here with me!!!+

Description: Create illusion of the user as he/she runs around, tricking the ghost. The illusion is not a doppelganger. Therefore, it cannot attack.

452

(14) Pyro Crash Crafted by: Jack

Crafted from: Nirei Moriya

Voice Clip: +The Rift Shrine must prevent the priestess from wanderingâ&#x20AC;Ś!!! I shall close the doors to the Chamber of Thorns!!!+

Description: Forms two giant fiery balls on both hands and throws them at enemy.


(15) Reflect Raid

(Director’s Cut)

Crafted by: Rokej

Crafted from: Hisame Kuze

Voice Clip: +Amane, you betrayed us. You let that man into the shrine. It’s because of you we ended up like this. I, Hisame Kuze, will make you pay!!!+

Description: Hurls a hatchet at an enemy like a boomerang

(16) Thousand Fists Crafted by: Jack

Crafted from: Yashuu Kuze

Voice Clip: +The Rift…it must not spread…must…stop…the rift…+

Description: Launch a single punch with the strength of a thousand punches in one.

453


(17) Blood Smash Crafted by: Jack

Crafted from: Rift Shadow

Voice Clip: +Must spread the Rift…Feed more…soul…+

Description: A downward smash from above that cracks the skull of the target.

454

(18) Rush Assault Crafted by: Jack

Crafted from: Rift Shadow

Voice Clip: +Must…kill some more…+

Description: Performs a series of punch and kicks that weakens the spirits with every strike.


(19) Voice Spiral

(Director’s Cut)

Crafted by: Jack

Crafted from: Rift Shadow

Voice Clip: +To the Abyss…+

Description: The buffed version of Noise Crush. The ultra-sonic blast covers more range, does more damage, travels faster, and has stronger repel effect.

(20) Raging Anger Crafted by: Jack

Crafted from: Shadow of Sin [Wrath]

Voice Clip: +Feel the anger…of the RIFT!!!!!!+

Description: Temporarily doubles the strength of the user, but halves his vitality, for 30 seconds.

455


(21) Energy Cannon

(Director’s Cut)

Crafted by: Rokej

Crafted from: Rope Man

Voice Clip: +The Rift…The malice…More…power…+

Description: Release a single energy cannon that blows spirits away. Does moderately high damage and has remarkable repel effect.

456

(22) Dragon Roar Crafted by: Rokej

Crafted from: Shrine Handmaiden – Minamo

Voice Clip: +Hehe…Are you hurt?+

Description: Release three souls of dragon that rams at enemy.


(23) Unleashing Seal Crafted by: Jack

Crafted from: Tattoo Priestess

Voice Clip: + I never wanted to leave you...I wanted to be with you...I’m here. I’ll always be here...I want to see you again. I know I can’t see you again...but still, if I could just see you once more...once more...just one more time...I can feel the thoughts of so many people being etched into me...So many voices, so much pain... Please don’t forget me. This is my voice, my memory, my pain...+

Description: Restore the tattoo curse on all the living victims and send it back to the depth of darkness, as well as close the door to the Rift.

457


Relics Library (01) Four-Pointed Well Key

Description: A key depicting a picture of a Four-Pointed Well. Latent Ability: Fires bolt of light at spirits. Minimal damage, but moderately high repelling effect. After four shots are fired, the relic goes into recharge state. Duration: -Recharge: 10 seconds

(02) Two Mandarins Key

Description: A key depicting a picture of a two mandarins, walking hand in hand. 458 Latent Ability: Summons a magical naginata to fight against spirits. Duration: 5 Minutes Recharge: 10 Minutes

(03) Herbal Medicine

Description: A small wooden jar containing rare magical herbal medicine that eases the mental pain of anyone who eats it. Latent Ability: Releases the latent power within the herbs and restores a subjectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s minor physical wounds as well as mental pain. Using the herbâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s latent power withers it.


(04) Bell Flower Key

Description: A key depicting a picture of a Bell Flower. Latent Ability: Fires a holy cannon that exorcize spirits. Firing a shot puts the key in recharge. Duration: -Recharge: 30 seconds

(05) Simulacrum Mask

Description: A white Japanese mask finely carved from wood. Latent Ability: Putting the mask on unleashes its rage, giving a significant boost to the userâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relics power as well as double their duration and halves their recharge interval. Duration: 1 Minute Recharge: 5 Minutes

(06) Dianthus Key

Description: A key with a picture of Dianthus drawn on it. Latent Ability: Throw Dianthus-shaped saw blades at the spirits. Also, at the command of the player, the saw blade can turn mid-air after being thrown once. Duration: -Recharge: 5 seconds delay before another blade can be thrown

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(07) Ginger Key

Description: An old copper key with beautiful pattern engraved on it Latent Ability: Temporarily disables the astral field difference, allowing the user to physically harm a hostile ghost for one minute. Duration: 1 Minute Recharge: 2 Minutes

(08) Light & Dark Key

Description: Two keys, with ‘Light’ labeled on one, and ‘Darkness’ on the other. Latent Ability: Can be activated only when it is together. Turns the keys into swords of light and 460 darkness. Duration: 10 Minutes (Deactivates and go into recharge immediately after battle is over) Recharge: 2 Minutes

(09) Notched Arrow Key

Description: A key depicting a picture of an arrow. Latent Ability: While activated, a bow of light will appear on the player’s hand. During this time, the player can fire energy arrows freely. Up to three arrows can be fire at once per second. Duration: 5 Minutes (Deactivates right after battle) Recharge: 3 Minutes


(10) Holly Hairpin

Description: A hairpin with a holly crafted on its tip. Latent Ability: Forms an invisible box that grounds spirits and prevents them from moving or teleporting elsewhere. Duration: 10 seconds Recharge: 2 Minutes

(11) Sacred Stone

Description: The charm that belongs to Tengai Narumi, the Master Builder. Latent Ability: While activated, the fabrication of time will be distorted, extending a period of 1 second into 5 second. The stone has a total of 30 seconds duration. It can be activated or deactivated at any time. But once the duration reached a total of 30 seconds, it cannot be used again for the next two minutes. Duration: 30 seconds (real time) total Recharge: 2 Minutes

(12) Mirror of Loss

Description: The mirror with the Tattoo Priestessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pain etched on it. Latent Ability: While activated, an invisible force field will cover the player. Any attacks that attempt to harm the player will result in a retaliating force. Duration: 1 second Recharge: 20 seconds

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(13) Holly Key

Description: A small key with Holly engraved on it. It belongs to Kyouka Kuze. Latent Power: While activated, the Gadgeteer gains extra boost in running speed and gravity defying physics, allowing them to run on walls, stand up side down on the ceiling, or perform an anti-gravity leap. Duration: 2 minutes (activates only in battle and deactivates immediately after) Recharge: 1 minute

(14) Sacred Water

Description: A vial of water, containing sacred purifying water. Anyone who drinks it shall be blessed. 462 Latent Ability: Manipulate the sacred power stored inside the waters and restores a partyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s physical health and mental stamina to perfect condition. Can be used only once.


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Spirit Synchro Library (01) Shrine Handmaiden

(Amane Kuze)

Mastered by: Cheryl

Description:

A spirit of the Shrine Handmaiden that wanders the halls of the sleeping manor.

Oversoul:

• <Soul Heal> Heals the physical and mental fatigue of a subject.

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Skills:

• [Mobile Action] Slightly levitates the Shaman from the ground and allows them to move and attack simultaneously. • <Mallet Strike> Strikes a spirit with the magical mallet. Weak damage, but reliably fast. • <Impale Cracker> Place the Tattoo Stake on enemy then impales them with the stake. Does more damage than a single Mallet Strike.

(02) Shrine Handmaiden II

(Amane Kuze)

Mastered by: Cheryl

Description:

A spirit of the Shrine Handmaiden, Amane Kuze, who mourns for her brother. The Spirit Synchro evolves when the Tattooed Stake was removed from the four Doll Altars.

Oversoul:

• <Soul Heal> Heals the physical and mental fatigue of a subject. • <Great Phoenix Blaze> Burns enemy to a crisp with the power of Suzaku.

Skills:

• [Precision Parry] Block any incoming Slash Attacks with fan. • <Fan Strike> A three-hit fan strike. Good for close quarters self defense. • <Fire Storm> Creates three swirling fire storms that home at enemy. • <Flame Pillar> Creates three fire pillar around self.


(03) Brushing Woman

(Kyoka Kuze)

Mastered by: Aphiso

Description:

A spirit of the lonely woman that dwells within the halls of the sleeping manor, waiting for the return of someone.

Oversoul:

• [Boost Bonus] x1.5 • <Flash Cut> Release an invisible cutter that cuts target into two.

Skills:

• <Puppeteer> Tie the hairlines around a subject, temporarily holding the targets in place or controlling their actions like a puppet. • <Reflect Cutter> A Chain Attack, branching off <Puppeteer>. After tying the hairlines around the subject, the Shaman can also snap the subject to pieces with the hairlines. • <Comb Shot> Fire three combs attached with demonic hairs that home in at enemies.

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(04) Hidden Face Man

(Tengai Narumi)

Mastered by: Sarin

Description:

A spirit of a man covering his face that wanders the empty halls of the Manor of Sleep, with his trusty bloody stone hatchet.

Oversoul:

• [Boost Bonus] x3 • <Razor Gale> Launch a huge circular energy disc that cuts anything it touches.

Skills:

• [Speed Boost] Gains a boost in running speed. • <Smashing Cut> Strikes the opponent with the stone hatchet in hand. Depending on the strength of the target, the attack could crush a parry. If the slash is a clean hit, the opponent is repelled back.


(05) Hidden Face Man II

(Director’s Cut)

(Tengai Narumi)

Mastered by: Sarin

Description:

The spirit of the Master Builder Head, Tengai Narumi. The Spirit Synchro evolves from the defeat of the Master Builders.

Oversoul:

• [Boost Bonus] x3 • <Razor Gale> Launch a huge circular energy disc that cuts anything it touches.

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Skills:

• [Speed Boost+] Gains even more boost in running speed. • <Aura Smash> A firm stone hatchet slash that ignores any forms of parry or guard. • <Searing Strike> A launching slash that will definitely lift the target off the ground.

(06) Stroller Grandma

(???)

Mastered by: Sarin

Description:

A spirit of an old lady perpetually strolling her rusty baby stroller car around the halls of the Manor of Sleep.

Oversoul:

• [Boost Bonus] x2.5

Skills:

• [Physic Guard] Increases the endurance of the Shaman, allowing him / her to take an attack without staggering backward • <Charge Tackle> Tackles onto a spirit. The higher the momentum of the Shaman and the opponent, the more crash damage.


(07) Shrine Carpenter

(???)

Mastered by: Leina

Description:

The spirit of a shrine carpenter, slaughtered and trapped within the walls of this manor.

Oversoul:

• [Boost Bonus] x1.2

Skills:

• [Physic Guard] Increases the endurance of the Shaman, reducing the damage taking while blocking an incoming attack. • <Uppercut Tackle> Tackles onto a spirits with spear and launch them. • <Soaring Shot> A Chain Attack, branching off <Uppercut Tackle>. After launching an enemy, thrust the spear at the enemy for a combo attack. • <Teleport> Freely warps to any position within the room.

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(08) Snow Demon

(???)

Mastered by: Aphiso

Description:

The spirit of a young woman, tricked and left to die all alone on the snowy mountains by her evil husband.

Oversoul:

• [Boost Bonus] x1.5 • [Snow Blessing] Six ice spears circle around the player, protecting from any close quarter assaults. • <Frozen Prison> Freeze the spirit within an ice pillar that stretches to the heavens.

Skills:

• [Castle Wall] Provides a boost in Shaman’s guard and prevents staggering if the Shaman is in the middle of an attack • <Rahab’s Sword> A sword made from eternal ice that never melts. Freeze anything it slashes. • <Rabab’s Spear> Throw an ice spear at enemy. • <Hail Storm> Unleash a hail storm onto spirits, damaging them. If the spirit is caught in the storm for more than five seconds, they are instantly frozen.


(09) Needle Woman

(???)

Mastered by: Cheryl

Description:

The spirit of a tattoo artist who was forced to endure the same pain as the priestess.

Oversoul:

• [Boost Bonus] x2 • <Needle Cannon> Shoots engraving needle at enemy. Rapidly drains the stamina of any spirits engraved by it.

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Skills:

• [Boosted Senses] Becomes aware of an incoming attack even though the opponent is not in sight • <Tattoo Slash> Slash enemy with needles dipped in the ink of soul. Slashed spirit will be engraved by tattoo with immeasurable pain.

(10) Wandering Fiance

(Koga Kitamura)

Mastered by: Sarin

Description:

The spirit of the unfortunate young man who joins the Game of Despair. He became a victim of the game’s curse and had been wandering the halls of the manor.

Oversoul:

• [Boost Bonus] x1.5 • <Ethereal Cannon> Charges energy in the circle formed by the five swords and releases an energy cannon that exorcizes spirit.

Skills:

• [Armor of Wind] Covers the shaman with slow but strong wind current, circling five swords around the Shaman. • <Blade Shot> Throw the five swords at enemy at once. The blade must return before it can be used again. • <Spiral Cutter> Propel blade up around self, attacking any spirits that attempts to approach.


(11) Bloody Kimono

(Sae Kurosawa)

Mastered by: Leina

Description:

The spirit of the Twin Shrine Maiden who attains the power of the Hellish Abyss. She transcends the spiritual plane into the Game of Despair through her connection with the Fluorite.

Oversoul:

• [Boost Bonus] x1.5 • <Crimson Repentence> Covers enemy in red miasma and launch them into the air.

Skills:

• [Miasma Screen] Covers the shaman with flock of red miasma, protecting the shaman against all sorts of assault. However, nullifying any damage will weakens the miasma. Miasma will automatically recover when the shaman is idle. • [Together as One] When in a Party Link, all members’ powers are twice boosted. • <Crimson Butterfly> Converts the miasma screen into butterfly-shaped energy shots and shoots at enemy. Shooting the shot temporarily reduce the intensity of miasma. Rapid fire is allowed as long as there is still some miasma left around the shaman.

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(12) Unfortunate Visitor

(Akito)

Description:

The spirit of an unfortunate man who fell in love with Kyoka Kuze. He attempts to sneak into the manor to take Kyoka out with him, but was caught and murdered.

Skills:

• <Voice Blade> Wields a special blade that reacts differently to each spirits.

(13) Handmaiden’s Brother

(Director’s Cut)

(Kaname Ototsuki)

Description:

The spirit of a young man who sneaks into the Chamber of Thorns to see the priestess before she is impaled.

Skills:

• [Mobile Action] Slightly levitates the Shaman from the ground and allows him / her to move and attack simultaneously. • [Speed Boost] Gains a boost in running speed.


Camera Lens Entry (01) [Pierce]

(03) [Crush]

Claimed by:

Claimed by:

Sophia (Advantage)

Tim (Advantage)

Description:

Description:

The special lens with the kanji ‘Pierce’ engraved around it.

Effect:

Effect:

Temporarily nullify any defense power the spirit has. The effectiveness is increased if the shot is taken during a Shutter Chance or a Fatal Frame.

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(02) [Blast]

The special lens with the kanji ‘Crush’ engraved around it.

(Director’s Cut)

Claimed by: Teal (Advantage)

Description: The special lens with the kanji ‘Blast’ engraved around it.

Effect: Consumes the spiritual power of the user to boost the power of a camera shot by x1.5 times the normal damage and adds a repel effect. Another x2 damage bonus is given if it is activated during a Shutter Chance or Fatal Frame.

Converts the user’s spiritual energy into power and triples the power of a camera shot. The boost increases to 4 times if the shot is taken during a Shutter Chance or a Fatal Frame.

(04) [Pressure] Claimed by: Greg (Advantage)

Description: The special lens with the kanji ‘Pressure’ engraved around it.

Effect: Adds repel effect to a camera shot. Does not boost the camera’s damage in anyway.


(05) [Explode]

(07) [Serial]

Claimed by:

Claimed by:

Sophia

Description: The special lens with the word ‘Explosion’ engraved on it.

Effect: Tremendously boosts the power of a shot against spirits (x3) and adds repel effect. If the shot is successful, 75% of the damage spreads over to all spirits nearby, that are not in the capture circle. The lens does not consume spirit power if taken with a Shutter Chance or Fatal Frame shot, but ends a Fatal Frame chains prematurely if used during a Fatal Frame.

(06) [Zero] Claimed by: Teal

Description: The special lens with the kanji ‘Zero’ engraved around it.

Effect:

Consumes the spiritual power of the user to boost the power of a camera shot by twice the normal damage and adds a repel effect. If the Camera’s charge is at maximum level when the lens is activated, the boost increases to 3 times instead of 2. Another x2 damage bonus is given if it is activated during a Shutter Chance or Fatal Frame. This effect also stacks with Camera User’s special ability [Double].

Greg

Description: The special lens with magic imbued within.

Effect: Consumes the spirit power of the user to double the power of a Camera Shot. If the shot taken is a Fatal Frame, the shot gains another extra x2 boost. This stacks with the primary effect mentioned above. Also, if the Camera’s charge is at maximum level when the lens is activated, no spirit power will be consumed.

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Passive Skill List [Mind Lock] Class Benefited: All Effect: Provides 100% immunity to spiritual influences and [Possession] Condition: Voice Materializer’s Initial Passive Skill Other: Form a Party Link with at least one Voice Materializer

[Mind Boost] Class Benefited: All 472 Effect: Provides 100% immunity to spiritual [Possession] and increase the power of each player by x1.5 Condition: Form a Party Link with exactly one VM and two other players of different classes (Overrides [Mind Boost])

[Object Reading] Class Benefited: Gadgeteer Effect: Allows the Gadgeteer to see into the past through the ‘eyes’ of the object being read Condition: Gadgeteer’s Exclusive Passive Skill


[Hastened Delay] Class Benefited: Gadgeteer Effect: Reduce the recharge interval of all Relics by half Condition: Form a Party Link of two members with at least one Gadgeteer

[Activation Boost] Class Benefited: Gadgeteer Effect: Increase the duration of each relics activation period by x1.5. Condition: Form a Party Link with exactly one Gadgeteer and two other players of different classes

[Filament] Class Benefited: Camera User Effect: A special crystal that reacts to the presence and intent of a spirit. The crystal glows red when it senses spirits with murderous intent, and blue on all other spirits. Condition: Camera Userâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Exclusive Passive Skill

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[Alarm] Class Benefited: Camera User Effect: Notifies the Camera User when a Fatal Frame can be taken against a spirit. Condition: Camera Userâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Exclusive Passive Skill

[Boost Sensitivity] Class Benefited: Camera User Effect: Increase the distance at which the Camera Obscura can starts charging its power Condition: Form a Party Link with at least two Camera Users 474

[Speed Charger] Class Benefited: Camera User Effect: Increase the rate at which Camera Obscura charges its spirit power Condition: Form a Party Link with exactly one Camera User and two other players of different classes


[Sense] Class Benefited: Shaman Effect: Allows the Shaman to feel the presence of a spirit as well as its intent in the radius of three rooms from the Shamanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s current position. Condition: Shamanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Exclusive Passive Skill

[Boost Synchro] Class Benefited: Shaman Effect: Powers up the Spirit Synchro by x1.2 when remained synchronized with a certain spirit synchro for more than one minute (bonus is lost when Spirit Synchro is switched) Condition: Form a Party Link with at least two Shamans

[Switch Bonus] Class Benefited: Shaman Effect: Boosts the power of Spirit Synchro by x1.5 times for 20 seconds when switched into a new Synchro. Condition: Form a Party Link with exactly one Shaman and two other players of different classes

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In-Story Texts News Clipping: Survivor The sole survivor of plane crash dies from the strange death. Yoshino Takigawa, 26 years old, was the only sole survivor of the plane crash accident some time ago. She was stuck inside the plane’s wreck for four days, surrounded by the dead bodies of her relatives as she waits to be rescued. She had been hospitalized ever since and rarely woke up. However, this morning Ms. Yoshino is found to be dead inside her room. The cause of her death is unknown, but her body bears the same symptoms of the mysterious death floating around town.

[Purple Diary 1] How many days has it been? How many months? How many years? Many outsiders have been brought here. But none of them are like him. He said my hair was beautiful, but no matter how much I arrange it, he’ll probably never 476 know how I feel. All I can do is comb my hair, and wait for him. That way when he comes back with his camera, he’ll take my picture again.

[Green Diary] Why did you have to do this, Amane? Why did you have to lead a man into the shrine!? The head of the family is so angry now. At this rate, the Commandment will be broken, and the Rift will spread. She taught all of us so hard to not forget our duties. How could you Amane!? The family head’s order is absolute. I have to impale you. Amane, I’m so sorry.


[Rite of the Purple Ink] Tome Those who would offer their pain to the priestess must allow the red and indigo of living and dead blood to mix together to become the ink of the soul, which is then used to tattoo their pain into the priestess. The pain etched in with the ink of the soul appeases that memory, while the pain flows into the priestess. After the pain has matured, the ink of the soul must be rinsed away with the running water of the other shore.

[Impalement] Tome The pain engraved into the tattooed priestess becomes a dream and eats away her soul. The pain, or the attachment to this world, is impaled as a doll dyed in soul ink and enshrined, and then the handmaidenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s song must be sung and prayers must be said for the priestess to lay in peace. This impalement is the duty of the Handmaidens.

Bloody Note Card Shelf 521 Number 4932

The Unleashing Tome The priestessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; pain is reflected in the Mirror of Loss. The commandment must be placed upon the priestessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; empty eyes. If tattoos should enter her eyes, the empty eyes will become mirrors, and all her pain shall be unleashed. If the commandment breaks and the priestess awakes, then the gates will open, and the Rift shall spill forth from the Chamber of Thorns. The Rift that spills forth will pass through dreams into the world, and love shall be consumed by torment.

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[Purple Diary 2] His parting gift was a forbidden child. The child has handsome features just like him. But unfortunately, he can’t stay here. Males are not allowed in this manor aside for the purpose of producing an heir. My dear Kaname. I have to find a way to sneak him into the village below before they did something. If I give him the earring his father gave me, I’m sure someday he will be able to come back. He’ll be able to hear my voice and some day he’ll come back. If I’m lucky, I may even be able to see Akito again if he finds this earring.

[Twin Diary] I missed her so much. Who cares about sealing evil!? What’s so good about being ‘The Remaining’ when you have to live with the guilt of what you did!? I just want to see her again. I’ll do whatever it takes to see her again, even if it means I have 478 to put my life on the line…

[Moriya Tome 2] When building or repairing the Kuze Shrine and the Last Passage, all the carpenters of the Moriya family except for their leader must be prepared to stay behind, never to return. Excluding one who exceeds in their craft, all the carpenters must fulfill their duty to protect the secrets of the shrine by being buried as the sacrificial pillars lining it. I am assigned to murder the carpenters in this room, Nirei will walk around the Manor to chase the carpenters running a mock, Tatsumi is to kill the carpenters that are resting in the Futon Room, and Inui is to ambush any carpenters that managed to escape to the Foyer.


[Moriya Tome 4] The ‘Rift Shrine’ makes the priestess wander for eternity, and stakes must be used to impale her limbs while praying for her peaceful rest. When the priestess is restless, it is necessary to build on to ‘The Shrine of Sleep’ and pray for her to slumber. The Shrine of Sleep is sealed within a dream to prevent the priestess from escaping and the spreading of the Rift. To keep the Rift from spreading, we must ensure that she stays staked down, and pray for her eternal sleep.

[Moriya Tome 3] After the ‘Unleashing’ happened, the priestess who had wandered loose from The Chamber of Thorns roamed about the manor as if in a dream. Those passages the priestess entered were engulfed by the Rift, and fell into darkness. The ‘Rift Shrine’ is a hidden shrine that ensures that the priestess wanders forever and never escapes, and the Rift does not spill forth.

Roke’s Cell Phone Message Subject: Discussion appointment Hey, it’s me, Rokej. Before my party left the manor last night, I took some time to read the book I found in the Headphones Graveyard. Meet up at my mansion around 3PM and get your clothes. I’ve prepared rooms for everyone. It’ll be a long discussion.

Reever’s Note This is a very important message. I just hope that those cold-blood Player Killers will not find this before a player does. Anyway, my name is Reevers Grant. If you are reading this, then you are probably like me, a Player who questioned the essence of this game. I’ve saw many ghosts in this manor, telling me phrases like “You must not…” or “Don’t do this…” I’ve separated my research result somewhere else and hid it within the manors. For some reason, I won’t explain how I know this, but the Player Killers are not capable of deciphering codes that are not proper language. So this is the code to where I hid my research: MORF EHT LLEB SYAWLLAH, DAEH TSEW OTNI EHT ROTCEJORP MOOR. YM SLEER ERA NEDDIH DNIHEB EHT NEERCS.

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[Mirror of Loss Tome] Once the tattooed priestess’ ritual duty has finished, the door to the other shore must be opened with the mirror. The Mirror of Loss, which reflects this pain shall be placed in the Shrine of Loss. She must break it with her own hands and cast her attachments away. The tattooed priestess then will take the Last Passage deep into the Abyss, where she will be hidden in the Chamber of Thorns to sleep for all eternity.

[Blue Diary 1] My mother told me that I have an older brother. His name is Kaname, and he lives in a house on the outside. In the Kuze house, they throw away boys, so he was sent outside. She told me many times that this was a secret. My brother has the same earring as my mother. They’re beautiful earrings that she got from father. Mother gave it to him so that no matter where he is he can hears her voice. I wonder if he 480 can hear my voice too. I want to see him so much. Reika was made into a priestess and was placed under my care. I like talking to her. She seems rather lonely. That was to be expected when you are stuck in the Hanging Prison. Reika tells me about the outside. I cannot leave the house because I’m a Handmaiden, so I really like to listen to her stories. She says when she talks the pain isn’t as bad. I’m glad that I can be of some help. I noticed that Reika has an earring just like the one my mom has. She says it was a present from a good friend, so that she can hear his voice no matter where she is. She talks about him a lot. Could this friend of her been ‘Kaname’?


[Blue Diary 2] I met Kaname, but in a very unfortunate time. He snuck in with the people who came to ease their pains. He said he wants to see the Priestess, just once. He really was the friend Reika talked about. It is against the code, but since Reika is going to have to perform the Rite of Commandment soon, she won’t be able to leave again. I want to help them meet, just once. Kaname went into the shrine - To the Priestess’ place. Men cannot go into the shrine. I’m sure the grandmother will be upset.

[Calico Notebook 1] Amane led a man into the Chamber of Thorns. Because of that, the priestess could not sleep and the tattoos entered her eyes. As a result, the Unleashing occurred and I am tainted by the Rift’s miasma. Before the Rift spreads any further, we must find a way to shut it. We must summon shrine carpenters, and seal the Kuze Shrine. We will need many sacrifices.

[Calico Notebook 2] The pain etched into the priestess must have been very deep. At this rate, we may not be able to stop it even with the Shrine of Sleep. My body has been halfway engulfed by the Rift, and misery surrounds me. I’ve already lost count of how many days have passed since the Unleashing. The only ones left in the house are the young handmaidens. I feel pity in doing so, but I will instruct Hisame to conduct the final impalement. That is our last resort. We must not allow the Rift to spread any further.

[Calico Notebook 3] Now that I recall, that man was holding an ‘Echo Earrings’. It fell into the Rift when the Unleashing occurred. Could he have been Kyouka’s forbidden child? If so, then maybe he is Amane’s older brother; my grandson. What a shame…

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Trivias 1.) The whole Fan Fiction covers a total of 15 missions (including Sarin’s Extra Chapter). This reflects the total number of Chapters (Hours) in [Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented]. [Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented] has ‘Zero Hour’ to ‘Hour XIII’, plus ‘Final Hour’. [Fatal Frame 3: Call of Your Voice] Fan Fiction has 13 main story missions, Sarin’s Night 0 Mission, and Final Mission. 2.) Konata’s crystal necklace in the introduction chapter was Itsuki’s Crystal Ore. She kept it as a keepsake from her last adventure. Of course when she said “Oh, you guys DON’T wanna know what life after death is like”, she was talking about her adventure in the Reaper’s Game with Roke and the others. 3.) Originally, the ending was meant to exactly adapt [Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented]’s ending, swapping Sarin with Rei and Koga with Yuu. Jack and the others are not supposed to be on the [Shore to the Other Side]. The idea was crossed off because half a chapter into the story, one of the readers guessed it right.

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4.) The idea of making Koga the true identity of the Game Master was considered after the original ending was busted. However, the idea came up rather late and there was already a mention of the ‘good’ Koga spirit in the fiction updates at GameFAQs’s Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly Message Boards. I thought of an excuse to use this twist by saying his soul splits, like Kirie from Fatal Frame 1. However, I could not come up with a good plot to explain why his soul splits (not to mention I have yet played Fatal Frame 1), so the idea sat on me to the very last moment before it was crossed off. 5.) Sophia’s original class was planned to be a Shaman in order to reference her power as a Spirit Stone user in the [Fatal Frame 2: The World Ends with You] Fan Fiction. However, I do not want the returning casts to have repeated class among themselves. So I pick Leina’s priority as a Shaman over Sophia because I want him to synchronize with Sae. Another reason I picked Shaman as a class for Leina (User: FatalFrame2_Fan) was because I get to know him from his Shaman King x Fatal Frame 2 Fan Fiction, starring Hao and Yoh in All God’s Village (without their shaman powers) on GameFAQs. And as many of you might have thought, [Oversoul] is a direct reference to [Shaman King].


6.) Sarin was created in many ways to resemble Rei. Originally, her class was even supposed to be a Camera User, but the idea was scrapped mere pages before she uses her powers for the first time. She swaps her class (Camera User) with Sophia’s original class (Shaman). 7.) Sarin appeared in two of my original fictions, none of which she is the main female protagonist. (Both stories are not related in any way.) In [Zodiac Angels], she is the Zodiac Angel of Taurus, using a huge axe and the power of earth, portrayed in this Fan Fiction by her synchronization with Tengai Narumi (Hidden Face Man). In [Create Your Own World: Symphony of the Devil], she fights using five swords and the power of wind, portrayed by her synchronization with Koga. 8.) In [Create Your Own World: Symphony of the Devil], Natalie is Jack’s partner and actually has a one-sided love for him (But he has a crush on Sarin as usual). I thought about putting this relationship into this Fan Fiction. But it would be a little too redundant, since we already have JackSarin-Koga love triangle. So in this Fan Fiction (just to be clear), Natalie did not have a crush on Jack. 9.) Despite Jack, Sarin, and Natalie making appearance in my original fictions, Koga is actually an original character, created for this Fan Fiction. 10.) In the early development of the Fan Fiction’s plot, my first thought on the Game of Despair was “The basic flow of the game has to be different from The Reaper’s Game.” There were several Game of Despair mechanics that did not make it into the final plot. One of the candidates that I really regret in crossing off was the mechanics called the ‘Manor’s Level’ and ‘Paradigm Shift’. Clearing a mission raises the Manor’s Level, increasing the difficulties of the missions given to players. Once the Manor’s Level reached a certain level, a Paradigm Shift will occur, changing the Manor’s Format and Layout. If the Manor’s Level reached 100, the Rift will cross over to the real world. The only way to destroy the game was to decrease the Manor’s Level to 0. This concept idea is later on applied in [Corpse Party: Bloody Carnival] Fan Fiction.

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11.) The Player Killers’ names are all related to being ‘Nameless’ Incognito literally means ‘Nameless’. Latner is derived from ‘LATENTER’, a Latin word for ‘Nameless’. © Google Translate Anon is derived from ‘Anonymous’. Mumei is Japanese for ‘Nameless’. © Google Translate Rai Naam is Thai for ‘Nameless’, with ‘Rai’ meaning ‘to lack something’ and ‘Naam’ being an old vocabulary for ‘Name’. 12.) In the early creation of character pool, Mike was originally intended to be Incognito in disguise to mingle among the players. But because we already have Cross as the Game Master’s Avatar, it would be redundant. Hence, the idea was crossed off. 13.) The early plot development, Tim was supposed to be [the character that clears the game but dies]. However, I also need a character that will have the same ultimate fate as Kei and partially create some emotional attachments. So I had Tim took ‘Kei’s fate’ role because he was more developed than Mike.

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14.) Tim’s death was written in such a way that reference Kei’s death in Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented. After that chapter, Kei Amakura will turn into soot on Rei’s couch. However, his fate changes if you managed pick up Kyoka’s Echo Earrings in a side quest. Because of this, the Echo Earring plot was one of the first few ideas chosen to save the players when this Fan Fiction was newly planned. 15.) Colin is actually meant to be one of the Original Characters that die. However, he is one extremely lucky character. His death sequence was supposed to be in Night 12 (Mission: Defeat 5 spirits). He will unlock the drawer and realize that the earrings are already taken from the drawers. After that, he would be ambushed and killed. However, due to my own bad Game Levels distribution, Colin was one level away from dying even the highest penalty possible (Killed by a Player Killer whilst covered in miasma). And killing him off in the next night would not create as much impact. Making the Game Master kill Colin is too convenient and requires explanation on why he did not do it to the rest of the cast. Although minor, but with Colin removed, there would only be 11 casts left; one short for a 4 full parties. Hence, the plan to kill off Colin was changed ON SPOT. 16.) Tim (Timothy) and Colin are recycled character from [Create Your Own World: Rise of the Abyss Guardians]. Needless to say, they are killed in that story.


17.) The shelf number 521 4932 on the bloody note card in Headphone Graveyard, Study, is my university student ID. 18.) The ‘All God’s Village – Sunken Fireplace’ was called ‘Hearth Room’ in Fatal Frame 3’s game map. I use the original name so it would not be confusing. 19.) [Light & Dark Keys] were actually called [Sunlight & Shadow Keys] in [Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented]. I go with Fatal Frame 2’s name for the sake of reference. 20.) Jack’s [Thunder Uppercut] is one of Auria’s special attacks in the original fiction [Zodiac Angels]. 21.) Sarin and Sophia’s tattoo emerges correspondingly to the location where they have their Zodiac Mark in Zodiac Angels. 22.) My Fatal Frame Fan Fiction is the very first story that my character Rokej actually ended up happily with Sophia. They were never made a couple in any of my other fictions. 23.) I’m starting to think that maybe I should pursue the career path of being a game designer, rather than a fiction writer >_>

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Shameless Advertising Like my fiction? If you do, I’m glad. This is the second fan fiction I’ve ever written. Normally, I write all genres of original fictions but horrors, mystery, thrillers, and porn. So frankly speaking, writing the horrors in this fan fiction was a challenge for me. So, if you would like to see my other works, check this link out: http://madcartoonist.wordpress.com/ This is where I will host my original fictions. Although there are only a few English updates right now, there will be much more in the future. Support my fictions by reading, commenting a review, and pressing ‘LIKE’! The more frequent the comments and LIKES, the faster I make my updates!! Please enjoy the fiction!

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Closing The [Fatal Frame 3: Call of Your Voice] fiction has finally come to a close. Honestly speaking, this fan fiction has been one of the most wonderful experienced I’ve ever written. The discussion of this fan fiction started in the [Mad_Cartoonist’s Fatal Frame Fiction ‘continue’] topic, created on March 1, 2012, 10:57:42 PM Thailand’s Time (If memory serves, it should be GMT+7). I started the topic right after my Fatal Frame 2 Cross Over Fan Fiction was completed and intended for it to be more of a ‘Wish Topic’. However, with many discussions going on in that topic, I’ve decided to just post the Fatal Frame 3 Fan Fiction there anyway. The beta version of the prologue was the 102nd post, created on March 5, 2012 7:44:20 PM same time zone. Back then, I did not have the plan to post the introduction chapter that early since I am still in the middle of Fatal Frame 2 Fan Fiction’s Director’s Cut. But since I’m the kind of guy that is a sucker for fan requests, I just felt the urge to post right away. [Fatal Frame 3: Call of your Voice] took less time to complete compared to [Fatal Frame 2: The World Ends with You]. The last update was posted on May 6, 2012, 11:33:48 AM. In other words, it was only two months for the whole fan fiction updates, while Fatal Frame 2 Fan Fiction took up almost 6 years before I stopped being lazy and complete it. To be honest, I still could not believe it was only a short amount of time. It felt like I’ve been writing the fan fiction in forever, but maybe that was because I took a lot more time in planning out the plot. After all, I started the Fatal Frame 2 fan fiction 4 or 5 years ago when my writing skills were not developed yet. Of course, that goes without saying that I did missed lots of stuffs I wanted to put into that fan fiction. Most of which I’ve already fixed in this fan fiction, i.e. more detailed characters’ indexes. As of the moment, yes, I am working on a Corpse Party fan fiction. The story would be the same style with my Fatal Frame fan fiction. However, I plan to go all out on horror this time around because I don’t want to turn it into another action fantasy horror-wannabe, lol. Another reason for it was because I want to capture the feeling of Corpse Party. Fatal Frame and Corpse Party are very different in my opinion. In Fatal Frame, you have the power to battle against spirits, while in Corpse Party, you can die at almost every other turn you make. Giving your character the powers to fight would not really capture the feeling in my opinion. (Yes, I know about the battle thingy in the original Corpse Party game, but I am working on the fan fiction based off the ‘Blood Covered: Repeated Fear’ version.) As for whether or not there will be another sequel or more [Fatal Frame] Action Fantasy fan fictions, I currently have no plans on them. I lack the console to play Fatal Frame 4, and I have not yet played Fatal Frame 1 myself. Needless to say, I do not feel qualified enough to write a fan fiction for those games yet. However, if I get lots of requests (and I mean LOTS), I would consider doing a [Fatal Frame] fan fiction. Sequel or not, we’ll wait until then.

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So all in all, I want to thank the members who are a part of this fan fiction again. You guys are the ones that made this fan fiction possible. Without your comments, I don’t think I would be motivated enough to finish it. As for any other readers who passed by to read this, I hope you guys enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Finally, please support me by visiting my original fiction website as provided in the ‘shameless advertising’ section (lol). Hope I see you again in the future. Until then, please take care.

The Mad_Cartoonist

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Cast Characters

Jack Sarin Rokej Sophia Leina Aphiso Ramsley Austin Teal Cheryl Greg Colin Tim Cross Incognito Anon Latner Mumei Rai Naam Viola Cello Konata Kyon

ORIGINAL CHARACTER ORIGINAL CHARACTER Mad_Cartoonist ORIGINAL CHARACTER Lawrence_Tan (FatalFrame2_Fan) Truescissorsman Old_Butler Robo Lee SerPounceALot Rhoda_Teneiro Impersonator2 ORIGINAL CHARACTER ORIGINAL CHARACTER ORIGINAL CHARACTER PeckingBird ORIGINAL CHARACTER ORIGINAL CHARACTER ORIGINAL CHARACTER ORIGINAL CHARACTER Mad_Cartoonist (?) ORIGINAL CHARACTER SerPounceALot Arczero_X

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