He was in a daze even after she had spoken, and it was only when her expression shifted in concern did he realize that he was trembling.
He swallowed, immediately forcing his body to stop, yet unable to calm the storm within him. Ever since Saber had faded away at the end of the Fifth Holy Grail War, he had never once given up on his promise. He searched for her, knowing his efforts were in vain yet doing so anyway in hopes of a miracle.
As such, he had worked tirelessly, drowning himself in the ideals he had fought for while remaining resolute. YGGDRASIL had only been a means to help him cope by seeing her physical form again, but now, seeing the life in her eyes and hearing the distinctness of her voice, he was starting to imagine that she really was here.
But it was impossible.
He had already resigned himself to the hope that they would eventually meet in the next life, and yet, and yet-
A hand placed itself on his shoulder, forcing him out of his thoughts to stare directly at a pair of clear teal eyes, the concern within them bringing him back to the night he had last seen them.
"I'm fine," he shook his head, forcing the emotions down and entering a work-like state.
Like it or not, there were things that he had to understand, and losing himself in the emotions welling up from inside him would do him no good at present.
Moreover, Arturia wasn't the only one in the room.
Numerous gazes were focused on him. Some indifferent, others friendly, but the majority of them had expressions that belied their inner feelings.
He gradually became guarded, but he focred his expression to remain neutral. Of the various NPC's he had created that had become Raid-Bosses or Sub-Bosses in their specific realms, there were those whose personalities were considerably hard to deal with.
Based on what Arturia had just demonstrated, the NPC's of YGGDRASIL that he had created appeared to have actual life and feelings. They were in no way similar to the mere script and data cubes that they had once been before, and this was where the problems may occur.
If one had life and the strength of thought, one would have the power to make their own decisions and choices. With the various personalities and character traits he vividly recalled programming into the NPCs scripts, it was of vital importance to understand their stance regarding him. More so for the blond-haired man standing with his arms crossed at the corner of the room, golden-plated armour gleaming amidst the flowing red cloth hung at the waist.
Gilgamesh, the King of Heroes.
A man whose arrogance could know no bounds, but also a man that had earned the right for said arrogance through the legend he had left behind.
Shirou had created Gilgamesh not for any particular reason other than one that was purely selfish. The Fifth Holy Grail war had passed many years ago, and to recall the exact events that had occurred in only two weeks was an all too difficult endeavor. Yet seeing familiar faces let him recall such events far easier. The basis was the exact same as seeing the face of an acquaintance one had not met for a certain time and suddenly recalling all the information related to that person.
This was the exact premise behind Gilgamesh's creation as well as the others of the Fifth Holy Grail War. Only when he had created them in YGGDRASIL, he didn't expect for them to become animate.
Fortunately, the proud expression on Gilgamesh's face softened when he was nudged at the side by another individual. This man had long flowing green hair that parted on the forehead and wore a simple white gown.
Enkidu, Gilgamesh's only friend and an individual Shirou only had the chance of understanding after glimpsing the chains stored within the Gate of Babylon.
He steeled his expression as he took one last time to survey those in front of him before speaking.
"Who am I to you all?"
He had to be certain of their views, even if it meant asking them a question that caused their brows to furrow. Yet in the end, the answer was the same even for the most arrogant of individuals in the room.
"You are my Master," was the reply. After all, for everything that was said and done, it was undeniable that he had the put time and effort into making them. He was their creator and as such, their loyalty and bond level to him were already at a certain point without him having to work tirelessly for it.
Shirou immediately sighed in relief, understanding that the worst situation didn't occur. Only he knew how difficult it would have had been if those in front of him became disagreeable. If the exact game mechanics of YGGDRASIL transferred over to whatever 'this' situation was, then there was a reason why some of the NPCs currently in the room had titles like 'World Enemy.'
Gilgamesh, the Cheat Boss of Babylonia of the Flowing Sand in Jotunheim was a prime example.
Shirou had equipped Gilgamesh with his name-sake, the Gate of Babylon in which he had a copy of all available World Items in YGGDRASIL inside his vault.
All of them.
Words could not describe how overpowered that was in YGGDRASIL. To understand why however, one would first have to understand the significance of World Items. In short, they were YGGDRASIL's most powerful and legendary items capable of changing the balance of the game itself.
The fact that Gilgamesh had all of them had led many players to curse him even in their sleep. The forums alone were always filled with different players frustrations. There were numerous accounts about how Gilgamesh could crush a full hundred-man party with a mere swing of a sword. To make matters worse, when players tried to prepare for his dungeon, there was no guarantee that Gilgamesh would use the same World Item.
It was driving players insane.
Of all Raid-Bosses in YGGDRASIL, Gilgamesh was the only one left undefeated with only a few close encounters. The sole reason that prevented YGGDRASIL's actual game developers from intervening on the matter was that Gilgamesh was exceedingly imperious. If a party couldn't even meet his standards, he wouldn't even bother calling forth a World Item and instead would use something else in his treasury.
Thus, the optimum method to defeat the boss of Babylonia was to face him with the lowest tiered items and rely only on a player's skill instead, but it was easier said then done. Babylonia was considered a High-Level Dungeon and challenging it with mediocre equipment was difficult. Of the different races in YGGDRASIL, the Heteromorphic races had the distinct advantage in this case as regardless of which items the Heteromorphic races wore, the disdain in Gilgamesh's eyes was always obvious. Perhaps the biggest reason for this disdain was the notion of pulling out a treasure from his vault for a slime or a skeleton. As such, many Heteromorphic players generally banded up to challenge the dungeon. The Heteromorphic Guild, Ainz Ooal Gown, was the most ambitious for its members were the closest to defeating the boss.
Therefore, defeating him wasn't technically impossible, just unimaginably difficult for Humanoid-type players which comprised the majority in YGGDRASIL. But the reward was worth the effort. It was hinted by the developers themselves that Gilgamesh's expansion pack in YGGDRASIL was a means for players to obtain a guaranteed World Item upon completion.
By hinting so, it made for a reasonable explanation for Gilgamesh's difficulty as World Items were exceedingly hard to obtain.
Other than Gilgamesh, there were other such World Enemies present in the room, but none Shirou truly had to concern himself with for their personalities were far more amicable.
He released a breath, thoughts spinning as the others in the room began to murmur with one another.
These were all the NPCs he had taken the time and effort to create and seeing them like this caused his feeling to surge even with just Arturia alone. However, the one thing that troubled him was a glaring question. Were they the same people he knew, or were they just the representations of the programming and histories he had created?
Staring at Arturia's life-like eyes and expression, it wasn't a question that he wanted to know the answer to at the moment. Moreover, right now he needed to think without any distractions.
"I'll be back," he said curtly, causing the others in the room to simply nod.
"Then take care," Arturia said kindly. "Its never a bad thing to be overly cautious."
"Mhm," he replied, moving to the exit of the room and towards the dim light shining from outside.
Once he exited the mausoleum's walls and he knew that he was truly alone, the calmness in his eyes finally gave way to his inner turmoil and hopes.
Looking out around him at the thick canopy of trees and the mountainside that the mausoleum he had created was lodged in, he understood that the very world had changed.
The sound of scurrying rodents and cawing birds echoed out from the forest, the scene once again too life-like to have had been something YGGDRASIL was capable of creating.
With a single practiced motion, a finger flicked in the air, pulling down the familiar heads-up display of YGGDRASIL, a small panel filled with in-game options. And yet no log out option was available.
He frowned, unable to wrap his head around the entirety of the situation but he had enough supernatural experiences to not let his confusion mar his judgement.
Aside from the happenings regarding his created NPCs there was another glaring concern he had as he shot off into the forest looking for an isolated clearing.
Did the magics of YGGDRASIL transfer over too, or did he only have his own Magecraft to rely upon?
He wasn't certain and this was why he had taken decisive action, undergoing his first steps into a land in the New World that was currently divided into two factions. The North and the South separated by a gigantic bay that formed a side-wards U.
It was the territory of what was known as the Roble Holy Kingdom.
The Kingdom of the Maiden of the Holy Sword.
Thanks for reading!
P a treon. com (slash) Parcasious