Arc I - Unlikely Pact

Chapter 10 - We Are Gambit

Hollow Area, Shrine of the Folkblood Ritual

"Now, I'd love to sit and chat on the fact that we were right about this being a boss and it activating the keystone, really I do, but...do you hear that music?" White pointed out the growing instruments, sounding similar to the Phantom of the Opera, and getting louder

In a literal que of the drums beating with the chorus of trumpets and guitars, orange and yellow danced with the lights of green and purple, flashing and dancing the beat of the darkness that now dimmed around the two of them, the chamber becoming more and more illuminated by spotlights, meanwhile, Philia and White stood perfectly still, their heads following the sounds and lights.

[NateWantsToBattle - Phantom]

LYRICS
I'm just a phantom in your room
With no intent on leaving soon
And you're still not even sure just how I got here

Another ghost that's in your bed
That you wish you could leave for dead
Ain't no magic word can make me disappear

Now that room it starts to dim
Set the mood for onset sin
And now we're passed out on the floor of your apartment

With every single warning sign
It passed you up and slipped you by
But we're all bound to end up back to where we started

Make no mistake
I'll break you down
Shout it around town

I'm not what you want
But I'm exactly what you need
Take a bite and feed
Your satisfaction guaranteed

I'm your sunshine whoa
I'm gonna burn down your parade
I'm a shooting star
That wish you wished you never made

Don't wanna take a leap of faith
You wanna do this face to face
And like an animal the instincts taken over

There ain't nothing to debate
Blow this purgatory state
The city lights will drown you out in the exposure

Now that room it starts to dim
Set the mood for onset sin
And now we're passed out on the floor of your apartment

With every single warning sign
It passed you up and slipped you by
But we're all bound to end up back to where we started

Make no mistake
I'll break you down
Shout it around town

I'm not what you want
But I'm exactly what you need
Take a bite and feed
Your satisfaction guaranteed

I'm your sunshine whoa
I'm gonna burn down your parade
I'm a shooting star
That wish you wished you never made

Startling them again, they watched as the lights revealed a small collection of Sable Knights and Cursed Swords, dancing and singing alongside the cackling voice that echoed from every corner of the festive music.

This world is what you need
Where the monsters roam and the demons all feed
Relax don't you look so wary
It's all only temporary

We roam and sing along
While the choir joins in sing an abhorrent song
We bite it's a little bit scary
The pain's only temporary

For a small moment, while the next chorus played in a whisper, the lights went dark around the two, the shadows of a laughing jack o' lantern dancing among the shadows, but now, the voice felt like a cold rush up their spines, both looking at each other, as they turned to the sound coming from behind. Slowly, along with their hearts threatening to burst, they turned and soon saw a massive, golden, jagged smile hovering in the air, alongside two massive, curved, pupilless eyes, also golden in color.

I'm not what you want
But I'm exactly what you need
Take a bite and feed
Your satisfaction guaranteed

Then the lights came on brighter than ever before, revealing the two-story creature with inky-black skin.

I'm not what you want
But I'm exactly what you need
Take a bite and feed
Your satisfaction guaranteed

I'm your sunshine whoa
I'm gonna burn down your parade
I'm a shooting star
That wish you wished you never made
Wish you wished you never made...

The song was finally coming to a close, with the piano playing the song out, while the creature slowly shrunk before Philia's baffled eyes, and White's child-like awe at the show, clapping as he did. The creature was replaced by a regular person now, a girl even. She smiled coyly at them both with ruby eyes, She wore a white short jacket, with purple lines up the arms and down the zipper, with an amethyst symbol on the back, with a black shirt under that.

White cargo shorts, a purple belt held them up, all of which housed multiple pouches. Last, she wore black boots with purple stars along the laces, while her signature scarf blew in the light breeze, it was white, with a purple splash effect on the front. Her marigold hair was too tied in a ponytail, allowing the locks to brush out wildly behind her.

"Sup." She spoke, and to their reality-changing shock, a title card appeared under where her arms crossed for a short time

Gambit. AKA Dimitri. The Multiverse Freelancer

Want to make a deal?

"Oh, right, forgot Borderlands did that 'title card' thing to us." Dimitri chuckled nervously, throwing the title into the abyss to their right, yet both White and Philia stared, unblinking, making Dimitri look uncomfortable. "Uhh, you guys ok?"

"Give us a second." White pointed out, slapping himself across the face, with Philia finally regaining her composure. "Hi, names-"

"White Hat. Philia. We know, We watched your fight." Dimitri interrupted, clapping lightly for them both. "Nice show though, haven't seen coordination like that since Floor 75, Skull Reaper was it?"

"Aye, and...who, better yet, what are you?" White slowly spoke to the girl, who was busy flicking through a hand of cards, her eyes glancing to and from their faces

"Are you an NPC?" Philia asked curiously. Yet Dimitri snorted a laugh

"Well, depends on how you view us." Dimitri continued to talk as if she was two people, yet she shook her head. "No, we're a supporter if you wish to you that term, and provide our services when she hires us to handle a situation that's gotten...sour."

"So, you make trades, I guess?" White pictured and Dimitri clicked her fingers, moving close to look at White dead in the eyes, her nose touching his, causing him to look from her to Philia. "Hi."

"Hello there," Dimitri replied, moving away from him again. "Seems you're far more than what you seem, eh, White?"

"Uhh...what?" Philia had never seen White so conflicted by someone else before, granted, she's never met anyone he knows, but to see him come out with short answers was a first for her

"And you?" Philia saw the finger pointed at her. "You are a girl with a few problems hanging over your head it seems?" That made her wince at the reminder of her Orange cursor. "BUT! Hehehe, we have good news for you both! We can help you with this 'Hollow Area', so long as we make a deal."

For a moment, White looked to Philia, the two sharing a look the other mirrored perfectly.

"First off, how can believe this is true? Any of it?" Philia crossed her arms with an inquisitive look

"You saw how that boss changed into that knight, right?" Dimitri mentioned, then she pointed to the door behind them where they entered the arena. "And you also saw that strange, torn white patch."

"What did that? I get this is a sealed off sector of Aincrad, buuut that didn't look like a texture glitch?" White explained, seeing the look on Philia's face. "I say 'sealed off sector', but after that Ultio guy showed his edgy ass, I doubt it."

"Now that you mention it...nothing like this has happened before, sure, I encountered lag spikes during segments of the area, but never texture loss." Philia confirmed, but they then looked to Dimitri's smug look

"Yeah, see the not-so-nice-guy We're after happens to have more privileges in this world than us, so he's already a move ahead, for now." Dimitri's cryptic answers made Philia cautious of her, while White was still blinking

"I'm still lost on the texture part." He whispered to Philia

"If you see those 'White Patches' again, we suggest you steer clear of them, less you want to die a more horrific death than the Nervegear going Gallagher on your grey matter." The sudden chill made the deep impact of Dimitri's warning stern, and she didn't look too pleased about it either

"Want my opinion? We haven't a clue why Trinity ought to trust teens with the fate of reality, but given how Sky went...We're inclined to take a leap of faith here." She was only greeted with bemused looks from the two of them. Clearing her throat, she gave them an honest look. "We're not going to keep you both in the dark, but in order for us to do that, we need info on what this thing's planning, even a name would be a start, could fast-track that back to an old friend."

For a small fraction of time, White was contemplating the situation in his head. How everything had escalated beyond any normal mystery behind the Hollow Area, to a fight against what could be the end of all the two years of pain and despair people had suffered.

I know you're a good person...just smile.

=Pause=

...

...

"Okay..."

=Resume=

After the break, White looked back to Dimitri. "Guess we'll take a chance." White chuckled at his usual phrase. "Ok, Dimitri, what's this 'deal'?"

For her answer, she clicked of fingers, followed by a tiny flash of light before them both. Now, they stared directly at the small, white keystone, just like the one White held, before their eyes. It hummed a soft white tone, like the fall of snow against the light of day, but from where they stared, White felt it, a resonating heartbeat to its form, its drum was soft, gentle, yet it held back something else. Power.

"This here, is a shard of the Devourer, like the one in your inventory. With the sacrifice of a funnily similar guy like you, White, he defeated this creature, leaving only five fragments of its power behind." Dimitri spoke in a voice that held familiarity in her tone? In another flash of colors, the other keystones appeared before us in the dark like stars floating around all three of them

"The Keystone of Desire." Red. "The Keystone of Poison." Purple. "The Keystone of Abyss." Sky Blue. "The Keystone of Creator." Yellow. "The Keystone of Power." Emerald Green. "And last, the Keystone you both obtained. The Keystone of Soul." Dimitri was silent, the Keystones vanishing into the air

"That Necklace will help you both through the sections of this world, and be warned, something in Sword Art Online is after those Keystones, you have to protect them with your lives, if he obtains them, the remaining lives in this realm will cease to be, full stop." Dimitri sunk the truth into them, yet smiled all the same

"My deal is simple since we can't manipulate this world due to the Cardinal System being...well, the Cardinal System, we shall give you information with each Keystone you collect, or an Item of your choosing." Dimitri shrugged, sitting down on the air, flicking through her cards. "Here's your fortune."

Before them were five cards. An Ace of Spades with Umbra's clan symbol from Warframe. A Joker with that Ultio guy from before. A Queen of Hearts had Philia on it. A King of Clubs revealed White's own face. The last card was that of the same creature that Dimitri was before, only...different. It looked to have purplish-blue eyes, with a grin revealing a forked tongue, and blue scales running up the sides of its face. It was on a Jack of Diamonds.

"Consider what these show as a sign, however, you interpret their meaning is your business, not ours." Dimitri flipped them back, and with a clap, they were gone from her hands. "If you manage to do this, you will be rewarded greatly, and we don't just mean in terms of quest rewards, We're talking whatever you desire."

That prospect made the two of them look at each other, White's smile grew reassuringly for Philia, who had been looking detached the whole time, but she felt a small grin reach her face too.

"Oh, if you guys get into biiiiiig trouble, We'll be here, might set-up shop here too, it's got potential." Dimitri nodded with her hands on her hips. "So then...do we have a deal?"

"I'm in if you are, Philia?" White offered a hand out to Dimitri, her eyes sparkling with the ace of spades in her eyes. Placing her hand atop his, both now looked to the Treasure Hunter.

For that moment, Philia wondered if all they've done was right and if they could handle what came next. During the battle with the boss, not once had fear or loss infected her mind, nor had this mysterious stranger said their task was to be impossible. But with what she held over her head, what Philia had done...could she still be his friend?

"Hey, kid?" Philia looked to Dimitri, her eyes glowing with endless possibilities, and her smile matched White's usual grin too. "This is not down to us, whatever you chose will be your own, and nothing in this Multiverse can take your choice from your heart."

"I never forced this on you Philia, I always felt like you wanted to join me on this if you said no, I wouldn't have forced you to come with my crazy ideas." White added softly, yet Philia's hand softly pressed itself atop Dimitri's, and when Philia's eyelids revealed her ocean-blue gaze to White, she looked to him with conviction in every ounce of her soul

"I know, I followed you because you held answers, but now...now I want to stand with you too, as partners." Philia held more confidence in her reply. "Whatever comes next, I won't run away."

"I never doubted it." White grinned

=Pause=

"This day...has been one I don't think I could live without...Philia, she's just like Argo, Kirito, Umbra, all of them, she's someone I can't live without now, despite what short time we've known each other..." White paused, looking at himself with a content smile

"This isn't going to be easy...but...I never would have it any other way." White then looked to Dimitri, her eyes winking back at him with a frown, catching him off guard. "Seems Dimitri is for real, despite everything that's happened within this Death Game, I...honestly still absorbing all of this, but I like it, Dimitri's fun."

"Boy, we 'ARE' Fun." Dimitri muttered

=Resume=

"Ugh, so you're the reason we keeping having...hurk, problems with time." Dimitri groaned, shaking her head out of the trance, her cunning look rising back to her features

"No turning back." Philia spoke with a hint of anxiety that had risen

"So we'll keep moving forward, together." White agreed, holding out his fist to Philia, who, after a short moment of hesitation, bumped it back with a more motivated expression, the wind breezing past them both

"We cannot wait, to see how this turns out." Dimitri concluded with herself and the man that grinned in the back of her mind

This was the next step in what would become the greatest untold battle for lives held in the iron castle of Aincrad. The Players have gathered, the darkness has risen, and the light has assembled from the most unlikely of places. The Pieces are set, the first moves played on either side of the board. Now, the game begins.

To Be Continued...


And so the end of this small fragment of one of my past stories, I apologize if this leaves it on a bit of a cliffhanger but I have my hands full with Destiny's second Book, but hey, atleast its a decent SAO story, right? Maybe? I don't know, still, hope you enjoyed it, until next time!