Chapter 2: Waking up in Hell (Or is it?)

Alright, guys! Here it is, the 2nd chapter of my fic! I recently took up an online game (Mabinogi) and I love it! I don't really like fighting, but I still play just to play music. It's a really awesome game! If any of you play it, tell me your username and we'll be friends…

So anyways, thanks to GuyInBlack for giving me the author's note advice… Sorry man, I just owed Kisdota bigtime for his support from day one… okay, let's do this!

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I stared at him, frozen in place. Move , Neku! MOVE!

Joshua slowly cocked his gun, eyeing me with satisfaction. "Goodbye, Neku."

BANG!

The world around me disappeared, melting away until I was surrounded in darkness. I heard the sound of the gun reverberating through my head, echoing away. I felt as if I were floating. Is this what it's like to be dead? Last time was so long ago… This time, though, I knew what was coming, and hated every moment of it. Slowly, but slowly getting faster, I felt myself returning to my body, as the silence slowly changed into voices, the incoherent melody of thousands of people chatting at the same time… I had heard this before, the voices. I opened my eyes before I realized they were closed, and stared at the cold, hard concrete of Scramble, an acrid taste in my mouth. Blood. I spat it out and felt around in my pocket for my pins, all without a word. I guess that I had been in the Game long enough to know that angst came after finding a Partner. I looked around, and saw no one else with a Player pin. Hachiko, then. I half walked, half ran to the dog statue, trying to keep my cool as I scurried to a partner before the Noise found me. I had just about reached the statue, still scanning the crowd for anyone wearing a player pin.

"Neku!" I turned around, eyebrows raised. I'd recognize that voice anywhere.

"Shiki?" I saw Shiki sprinting towards me, smiling with joy, and my face nearly broke out into a smile. Oops, gotta be more careful…

Shiki kept running, Mr. Mew in tow. Wait. Something seemed kinda strange… I was trying to figure it our when she stumbled and tackled me, knocking us both to the ground. My head hit the ground hard, making me see stars, but that couldn't distract me from one very important fact. Shiki was right on top of me! I reacted quickly, awkwardly breaking away from her before my nether regions could betray me as the hormone-crazed teen I really was. I blushed and helped her up, until I realized that she could see me. That meant one thing. She was dead, too. Once she had gotten up, I grabbed her by the shoulders, almost frantic out of worry.

"You died? How, what happened?" I felt rage, both icy cold and burning hot, pour into my system. When I find out who did this to her…

Shiki turned serious. "That composer kid, Joshua, right? He came into my room last night and I think he shot me…"

I felt my jaw tighten. "Same thing happened to me. What's that kid plotting…?"

"Oh, yeah!" Shiki seemed to remember something. "Will you form a pact with me?"

I tried to stop it, but a small smile crept into my face. "You know it."

Instantly, I felt the warm light envelope me, and I began to rise over the ground.

Just as quickly, it stopped, ushering me back to the ground almost urgently.

I looked at her. "Okay, Shiki. I don't know what this is about, but I'm going to tell you one thing- No matter what, I'm going to get us both back out of here alive."

Shiki nodded, somber, but then smiled. I realized what I was puzzled about; Shiki had retained her body, so she looked like she did in real life. I didn't seem to have lost anything, either."Just like old times, huh, Neku?"

I nodded. "Yeah. But Joshua's gotta be up to something… For now, let's grab a bite to eat. Dying really takes it outta you."

Shiki nodded, and we walked into the nearby Sunshine burgers. I was great friends with the cashier, so it was no problem getting tatsumi burgers for both of us.

We walked outside together, waiting for the telltale ring that would mark our first mission together. Suddenly I heard my ringtone, and I whipped out my cell phone to read the text.

Hello Neku, Shiki, I see you've already bonded. That's good. First, you should know that this isn't an actual Game. Your lives will be threatened, but you can handle that, right? Also, no entry fees have been taken. Think of this more as a… reward for Neku, like an After-game Party. Lucky for the other players, they will partake in this.. AfterGame as well. Don't worry, you'll see what I mean after today. Also, Neku… Don't think Uncle Joshua's forgotten about you. Trust me, by the end of this week you'll be thanking me.

Sincerely,

Your pal Joshua.

I turned to Shiki, who was still reading the note. She soon finished and looked up. "Hmm. I wonder what he means by an 'AfterGame'."

I was about to respond, but was interrupted by another text message.

Today's mission:

Objective 1: Take out the… special… noise on top of 104. Extra clothing optional

You have 60 minutes. Fail and face erasure. Complete in 30 minutes to have the rest of the day off.

I raised an eyebrow. "A day off? This is new… And what does he mean by 'Extra clothes optional'?"

Shiki shrugged. "I dunno, but that day off would be pretty cool."

"All right, Ten-Four it is!" Shiki announced before noticing my retreating figure.

"Neku! God, you never change!"

But I did. Never before would I have been caught smiling under my collar at the girl of my dreams.

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All right that's it! From my viewpoint after just finishing it, it doesn't seem very strong.

Chapters are slow because

I'm a slow guy

I have a life

If I go through a day a chapter, then there would only be 8 chapters. I'm stretching the storyline out.

Because I can never think of fourth reasons.

Okay, Later! Don't forget to R&R!