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Anticipation

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If there was one thing Cubia would claim an NPC shouldn’t have to suffer from, that was bad luck. NPC’s could trip or be clumsy or whatever, but bad luck was definitely one thing he didn’t like or want to have. Especially an NPC that was skilled at coming across as a PC, that just added to the issue.
After the third trip with Kite, he could see the boy behind the player just staring at him in confusion. Cubia was never clumsy or klutzy or anything of the like. It was just unheard of. Heaving a sigh, he directed Kite towards Fort Ouph’s Chaos Gate for Σ Graceful Tempting Fallen Angel in hopes to defeat the next Phase. Already on Macha, it wasn’t much further before all his plans were complete. Not much longer and he would be in control of The World. Not much longer and he wouldn’t be just some left over data that no one wanted.
Just the two of them, two Twin Blades, worked hard to clear out the field before heading their way down into the dungeons. And then, it happened again.
Cubia’s eyes widened and as he tripped over a minor indent in the entrance and tumbled, every joint and muscle seeming to collide with the ground somewhere on his way down. Finally, his body came to a stop, and Cubia had to recover from the fall and a bit of dizziness. As his vision slowly came to a stop, Kite was kneeling beside him, PC’s eyes huge with worry and his hands held out in front of him as if to help him up.
“You okay? You’ve been falling all over the place,” Kite’s human voice came through and Cubia sometimes could have sworn he was human too; that he was sitting at a computer like Kite’s Player, able to get up and leave whenever he wished, with a life outside of The World.
“I’m fine,” Cubia responded, standing up and brushing himself off. “Another Phase is in here. We need to be ready.” Kite nodded and the two continued through the dungeon. Occasionally Kite would glance toward him, as if worried, but Cubia brushed the look off. Why would Kite care about him, a NPC not worth paying attention to if he didn’t have Data Drain?
Eventually they came upon the cat avatar of Mia, crouching over a destroyed PC. The closer they went, the more obvious who the PC was.
“Did you do this, Mia?” Kite questioned, staring at the broken body of Elk.
Mia slowly turned to the two twin blades, her eyes wide and dull from shock.
Cubia stepped closer, drawing his weapons. “This is the location where the wave of the Sixth Phase is being emitted.”
Kite ignored Cubia, and the NPC felt something akin to annoyance appear. “Why…why would you do that to Elk?”
“No! It wasn’t me!!”
Cubia gestured violently. “She’s posing as a normal PC so she can create more Lost Ones!!” Mia shook her head, her body distorting as she screamed, her body shifting and changing into another form. That’s good! Awaken! You are the sixth Phase, “The Temptress.” Macha, a Phase that appeared as a woman, roared, and just beneath it Cubia could hear the sound of Kite asking if this was Mia’s true form. It went without saying, and Cubia ignored the question.
“You hit her with Data Drain while I distract her.” Cubia ordered, and watched as Kite summoned the bracelet to use the innate power that only they had. And as he watched, Cubia came to the realization that while Cubia may be an NPC, Kite had a Player, Kite was a human, and as such had those horrible things called feelings that would affect his judgment.
Kite’s Data Drain missed, and the PC dropped to its knees as the Player’s screen became covered with blurs and data codes he would be unable to read. It was a bit of a disappointment that he would be unable to complete their mission, but Cubia wasn’t worried. He could still Data Drain Macha, it wouldn’t be too difficult.
“Farewell, Macha~” he called, spreading his arms as the typical shape of the Data Drain appeared before him. Elk, the PC that appeared to be destroyed, awoke then, and stopped Cubia from immediately using the ability. It was an annoyance, especially when Macha began regaining characteristics of Mia all over again. It made her act ‘human’.
“Why are you trying to help her?” Cubia questioned, his voice a mere whisper. “She’s an accursed monster bent on destroying this world!”
“I don’t care what Mia is! I just don’t want to lose her!”
“Why do you care?!” Cubia lashed out, his whole form invaded by anger. “She’s an NPC! Just a bunch of data!!”
“That doesn’t matter!” Elk cried, “Mia’s my friend! Nothing matters as long as we’re together! I don’t want Mia to disappear! Why can’t you understand that?!”
“E-elk,” Macha moaned, reaching out towards the wavemaster, her limbs and body shaking with the effort. And Cubia wondered what made Macha/Mia so special, why she had PC’s worried about her, why humans cared about her when they didn’t give even a thought to him? And the anger stewed.
“Thanks a lot, Elk,” Cubia commented, moving in front of Elk’s character to face Macha/Mia. “With you right next to me, she won’t attack.” He released the Data Drain and watched gleefully as Macha was shattered and destroyed.
And as he watched Kite come back to action, the Player’s screen no longer overcome with random data and code, he defended his plan from BlackRose, from everyone judging the Player behind Kite with the words, “Kite killed Mia/Macha to save the Lost Ones! She was just posing as a PC! And you have a problem with that?!” His words alone did what was necessary to push the Heavy Blade away, and soon he was left alone with the PC that had the bracelet.
“Everything is proceeding as written in the Epitaph. Neither you nor I… nor anyone can do anything to stop it.” He grabbed the arm that wielded the Bracelet and felt a grin spread across his face. “But I’ve taken hold of the key known as Kite.” Just watch me, Morganna…I’ll finally have my freedom! “I will change the fate of The World!”
Already he had Kite in possession, and there was only one Phase left. How could he not win now? Kite was his, the bracelet was his. He awoke Kite from his anxious stupor and offered the unsuspecting boy a smile.
“C’mon, let’s go. Just a little more to do, and then all the Lost Ones will come back!”
Just a little bit more…!