.Hack//New Testament Chapter 5

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Then I started to play The World.

More accurately, I did start to play online games the very next day, but it actually didn’t go very well.

Starting anything new is fairly difficult.

First I had to persuade my parents. After all, they have to sponsor me.

“Yeah, it’s fine,” my father said flatly.

“I think it’s useful to experience new technologies early on.”

“Will you do it from now on? Will you study for next year’s high school entrance exams?”

My mother was somewhat difficult.

Although I showed my disapproval, I finally agreed.

“Well, it’s fine as long as you study properly.”

Yasuhiko lent me the controller and the FMD used to play the game.

He had too many old things laying around, so I got a whole set of new items.

The hardest part was setting up the computer.

I bought and downloaded the software of The World with my mother present, but for some reason the installer did not boot up normally.

So after spending my time in vain for three days, I finally decided to call in reinforcements.

I asked Yasuhiko.

I introduced Yasuhiko to my mother and brought him to my room.

Yasuhiko started up my PC, quickly found a problem and solved it by hitting the keyboard a few times.

“There, you handle it like that,” Yasuhiko said as he lifted his eyes from the installation screen which was displayed with a percentage bar.

“During the download a few strange behaviors happen that beginners typically get stuck on.”

“Thanks, you saved me,” I said while eating a pudding that my mother brought me.

Plastic clothing bags were piled up around my room. School textbooks, personal books and other personal items were also piled up throughout the room.

Yasuhiko looked around the room and spoke.

“Looks like you’re getting organized.”

“The stuff keeps piling up, but it’s relaxing.”

Just then, there was vibration rushed up the stairs. The vibration came in front of my room and without a knock, the door opened and and my sister came in.

“Hmph…”

She noticed Yasuhiko, bowed with a smiley face and said hello.

She had without a doubt come to complain that I ate her pudding or something like that. Awful false accusations.

“Hi, welcome back.”

I said without explaining myself, so my sister silently shut the door and retreated to her room.

“You little sister?”

“Yeah.”

“What a polite kid.”

“I’ll be glad when I hear it.”

The computer screen changed and a notice that the installation had finished was displayed.

“Okay, we’re ready now. After you answer a few questions, you can play the game,” said Yasuhiko with a tone of satisfaction.

“Let’s play today.”

“Today?”

“Do you have something else to do?”

I did not need to think, but I thought for a moment anyway.

“No, not at the moment.”

“Then, it’s settled. Eight o’clock this evening. Get something to eat, take a bath, and then we’ll start the game.”

After that, we chatted for about an hour and then Yasuhiko went home.

My sister passed by and came into my room.

“Hey. We’re both teenagers now, so I think you should knock.”

“That guy from earlier, did he go home?”

“Yeah.”

“What’s his name?”

“Hmm,” I said.

“What’s ‘hmm’?”

My sister turned a little red as she said this.

“Hmm, tsk tsk, tee-hee, that meaning of hmm.”

When I answered, my sister got angry and left without closing the door.

An email arrived from Yasuhiko before dinner.

This was the content. The energy I usually sensed from him was somewhat strange.

Subject: Did you register?

From: Yasuhiko

Message:

Yo. Did you register?
Which kind of player-character did you pick? I’m looking forward to it.

Oh, that’s right. I said at school that you will regret
it after a while if you pick a weird name.

In The World I am
Orca, so you’ll meet
him soon.

So don’t call me by my real name.
In that world I can be a different person.

Well, the person I want to be… (^_^;)
I’ll be waiting at the Root Town.

I wondered if this was the first crossroads.

The choice may be unrelated to the events that happened later.

The choice of whether to get involved in the game or not.

However, whichever I chose, it may have turned out the same in the end.

Even if I spent that day without any problems, Yasuhiko would undoubtedly have been involved anyway.

The difference would be how much of it would happen in front of me.

In any case, when everything happened, I was there. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t help Yasuhiko and I couldn’t protect myself.

Because I did not have a hammer in my hand. Not yet anyway.

I wasn’t troubled at all while creating a player-character.

I chose a suitable name, appearance and class by what simply felt intuitively right.

A Twin Blade male with a green color palette.

It was completed with a few taps of the controller buttons.

Then I switched the screen to the FMD and put it on my head while I somehow recalled fencing lessons from physical education class.

I was standing among bustling crowds in a congested town.

I looked around restlessly and someone talked to me from behind.

“Yo, you came. Is that your PC?”

It was a deep adult voice. I looked at him and saw a large muscular man looking back at me.

“Ummm.”

“It’s me. ME.”

“Yasuhiko?”

“Here I’m Orca, a Blademaster.”

I stared at a man in silence for a while. Was his height of almost two meters in line with reality? His upper body was uncovered and from the chest to his face there was a complex pattern, perhaps a tattoo or paint. The more I looked at him, the more he looked like a barbarian than a Blademaster.

“What?”

“Nothing. I’m just surprised you look so different from how I imagined. So, this is Yasuhiko.”

“I told you, I go by Orca here,” said Yasuhiko. When he said that, I realized that that way of talking was definitely how Yasuhiko would talk.

“How did you change your voice?”

“A voice changer. Is my voice harsh?”

Yasuhiko wrote in the e-mail that he would become who he wanted to be.

In other words, did he mean he wanted to be this muscular man? It was unexpected.

“You’ll be surprised by many more things,” Yasuhiko, I mean Orca, said as though he was astonished.

“This is the first time you’ve played an online game, isn’t it? Don’t you think the graphics are amazing? Doesn’t it feel real?”

“Well, I’m pleasantly surprised,” I said.

“Although it may not seem so on the surface.”

Orca taught me the minimally required terms on the system and setting in order to advance the game.

Root Town.

Chaos Gate.

Member Address.

Spell.

Area Word.

Attribute.

Dungeon.

Field.

Treasure Chest.

All this in addition to many others.

He spoke after he finished his brief explanation.

“Well then, shall we go on an adventure? I found a good area.”

The place where Orca took me was an area that looked like a cloudy plain.

“So, what is the purpose of this game?” I asked.

“Its purpose?”

“Like, do we defeat the devil, collect something and ultimately save the world?”

“That’s a great question,” Orca said as he walked in front of me.

“There is no purpose.”

“No purpose?”

“There is no purpose as prescribed by the circumstances of the game. It’s up to each player to find their own purpose. Maybe they devote themselves to raising their level, or they seek out rare items, or they make friends and collect member addresses.”

“Hmm,” I said.

I don’t really like that sort of thing, I thought to myself.

I preferred it when something like ‘this is your purpose’ got displayed with a bang at the beginning of a game, like in GIGA.

“If you want to learn more about the game, you should read the BBS. If you can’t find the information you want, just post a question and someone will usually answer.”

While walking around the field, I encountered an effect like many yellow flashing marks. These were summoning circles and they seemed to be a representation of where monsters and treasure chests appear.

As we made our way to the end of the area, enemies such as goblins or some warriors appeared and attacked, but Orca swung his sword and they fell down in an instant and disappeared.

When I asked him, he told me that Orca was at level 50. I didn’t understand the specifics of attributes, but I understood that it was awesome.

“You destroyed them all.”

“Well, I’m too powerful here,” replied Orca with a tone mixed with embarrassment and pride.

We found the entrance to the dungeon and entered it. At the end of the dungeon there was useful, highly rare equipment and it seemed the standard way of enjoying the game was to go on an adventure and aim for this area of a dungeon.

I beat the monsters, opened a treasure chests, went down the stairs and arrived at a T-junction.

Then something strange happened. Two shadows jumped out from the aisle on the right, passed by us and disappeared to the left. It happened in a blink of an eye.

“What was that? Did you see that just now?” Orca said with a tone of bewilderment.

“A girl was being chased by a strange monster…”

“Is this some sort of event?” I asked. Orca shook his head.

“No… I didn’t think there was anything like this in this area…”

White noise unexpectedly flashed on the screen. The FMD’s screen became distorted, accompanied by harsh sounds.

Suddenly the landscape changed. The view of the dungeon we’d been in until then faded away and we were now standing in the midst of a desolate rocky place.

We were surrounded by what seemed to be ruined buildings. The sky was an eerie rust color as though it was indicating an impending cataclysm.

It was a place which should not exist, but was a place which could not be removed. That was the feeling I got from this place.

“Orca? What is…”

Orca interrupted me by raising his hand.

“Shh…”

The expression on his face was deathly serious.

Just then, a purple effect flashed across the ground several meters around and a white girl appeared from the center of the effect.

I suddenly lost my breath.

The girl was so pale, she looked frail.

She did not seem to be a game character.

Yet she was strangely vivid.

It’s as if she was really alive.

The girl was smiling. It was a smile like the one I made when I was relieved to meet with Orca.

Orca approached her.

“Or… was the rumor true?”

“Take this,” the girl said in a thin voice. She then presented a big black book to Orca.

Her gesture reminded me of how a parent bird leans over its chicks to feed them.

“Huh?” Orca said as though perplexed.

“There’s no time! Please!”

“What’s this?”

“A great force. The power it holds can bring forth either salvation or destruction at the whim of the user.”

“You’re…”

Suddenly the girl turned away. After she looked at the sky as if she was seeing past it, she spoke in a voice as though she were losing her voice.

“It’s coming!” was all she said.

The girl’s figure disappeared as though she were being erased.

“Something’s coming? What the hell-”

When Orca spoke, I saw it.

A distortion appeared behind us and something pushed its way into the area through the distortion.

The moment it appeared, I felt the hairs all over my body stand on end.

It felt more sinister than any game monster I had seen before.

It was at least twice as big as the giant Orca.

There were no eyes on its face, just three dots arranged in the shape of an inverted triangle.

Its appearance was like that of a child’s drawings and its body was like building blocks.

However, there was nothing amusing about it. It just looked horribly fiendish.

It was a strange sight to behold.

All of the evils of the world were condensed into its body. A “god of death” was what came to mind.

I quickly put myself on guard, but Orca was much faster to respond to him.

“Run! It’ll kill you!”

Orca swung his sword as he said that, but no damage was done. Only the word “MISS” was displayed.

Instead, the thing mowed Orca down with the staff it had and Orca received damage. It didn’t look as though the monster was getting hit at all.

Orca shouted with a tight voice.

“What the hell? What is this…? Something’s wrong. Nothing works!”

The monster took one step back and made a strange hand gesture. It used some sort of magic attack.

A mysterious effect entwined Orca’s body and disappeared.

As I watched this, Orca floated up in the air.

Before I knew what was happening, the monster’s staff appeared behind Orca and was affixed to the staff as if he were being crucified.

Then the monster also floated up in the sky and extended its left hand towards Orca.

Something like a stream of energy was released from the palm of its hand, piercing Orca’s PC body.



Orca fell in front of me. He tried to push himself back up with his hands once, but he fell down as if he had lost all his strength.

“Orca!” I shouted.

The back of my head became numb.

A strange unreal sense came over me.

What was this? What on earth was happening? Wasn’t this just a game? Then the sensation stopped. I felt an amazing power which I quickly took a liking to. As a newbie, I was both shock and excited by this.

When Orca lifted his face and looked at me, I realized that my thoughts were not suitable for this occasion. Even though it should only be an animation in the game, an dark expression like a look of death appeared on Orca’s face.

“No… I… It… it wasn’t supposed to be this way. I’m… sorry…” Orca groaned.

“Get out of here!”

As he finished speaking, Orca ‘s PC body disappeared.

After that, only the monster and I were left.

The monster turned to me and lifted his hand as he did to Orca.

Then it happened. Something fell from the sky with tremendous force.

When it pierced the ground, it stirred up a dust-like effect.

The monster lowered its hand in puzzlement and moved backwards.

An effect became entwined with my body and seemed to shine. I became dizzy.

At this point, I no longer knew anything.

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