'I have these dreams. They're sort of infrequent, or something. Is that the right word? Infrequent? It probably isn't… They're sometimes when I'm awake, just like a little flash, then I'm back to normal, and they're sometimes when I'm asleep.
'But I have this same feeling when I have them. Even when I'm asleep I can still tell the-… Recognize the feeling. It's sort of like I'm going light-headed, but it's also like an out-of-body experience. And what's even weirder is that they're all about the same thing, about some weird life, with no monsters, and a dark room with these bed-chair-things.
'It's very mundane.'
Chris was sitting inside his single-roomed house atop the waves. The house was connected by chains made from Akratic steel, the strongest of steels in the entire of the Musharn Archipelago. The chains lead inland to rocks by the town of Juran.
"Oh crap…" his house was struck by a large wave, knocking it about, and the houses surrounding. Luckily most of the contents inside his room were nailed to the walls and floor, including his bed and desk. However, Chris was not. He had to grab on as tight as he could to his bed in order to keep from rolling about. "Dammit I hate it here…" he mumbled as his house began to rock slower and slower until it stopped. "But I can't afford somewhere in town."
"A Fishman! Somebody help!" a voice screamed from outside.
Chris immediately turned his head to his door, recognizing the scream. All the people that lived in this part of Juran, couldn't afford Chamber Grid's, all but Chris. However, his was a leaving present from his parents in Hori-Haru. He grabbed his Chamber Grid Charm and slammed it on his wrist.
Upon launching himself out of the door and seeing the Fishman, he fired a Gauge Field Charger at it, halting it in its place, but waited before diving into the field. Taking his necessary stretches he usually took before a fight. After all, he did fight with his hands and his feet, no other weapon style was his forte.
After finishing his stretches he dived into the Gauge Field, initiating a battle.
Loading… Battle Ready. Start!
Chris was a little bit low on health, so he quickly healed himself with a Potion. The Fishman attacked with a normal physical attack. Fishmen don't have a lot of choice when it comes to attacking, so an ordinary physical attack is usually what they choose from. Fishmen also do not do considerable damage, especially to someone like Chris who can deal with the monsters of the area relatively easily.
Chris used an ordinary physical attack, and because he was a fist-fighter, he attacked with both his fists. Since he is a fist-fighter, he can deal considerable damage. His Chamber Grid Charm gave him a lot of boosted strength added to that, so he was able to kill the Fishman in one hit.
Battle Won! 1CP earned!
Loading… Field Ready. Start!
The Gauge Field lowered, leaving Chris looking at his Chamber Grid Charm. He was tapping around on it, looking at what was his next statistic upgrade: it was +5 Health Points (HP). He knew he wouldn't get any more ability upgrades; since his fighting style and abilities had already been pre-set by the Chamber Grid Charm.
He then checked the time on the Charm. It was late, he needed to get to bed. He headed back into his house, locked the door behind him, closed the curtains, blew out the candle at the side of his bed, stripped off his clothes and jumped into bed. He had a long day at work, and he was tired. He needed to work the next day, so it was for the best that he went to sleep.
"That Floor is PERFECT!" Chris came out of the elevator in the Lobby. He was talking to Kiyoko who had been previously watching the screen before Chris exited Floor 14. "But are we sure that we can't alter Protocol 10?" he stood on the holo-deck, it activated and lifted him up off the ground. "It's a shame, because it's currently set to its default of 1 hour equals 1 minute." He checked the details for the Floor. There was no way that they could alter the Protocol. With Emergency Protocol 1 running at full capacity, there weren't many other protocols that they could set up.
He quickly gave up on setting up Emergency Protocol 10 to something different, and started setting up new player forms. He had received consent from Alex, Zoe, Beth and Haggett to have them as testers for the Floor and its battle system; he just had to fill in the consent form himself. He also opened up a second window, he was messing around with the programming of the Floor, making time pass more quickly when the characters were asleep, but still having the option to exit.
"Hey, Chris?" Alex gingerly stepped into Platform Tower through the portal; it was Friday he was coming over for the weekend.
"Alexx!" Chris saved the data in the holo-deck and dived down, landing awkwardly on the floor, but uninjured. He went up and hugged Alex, who reciprocated the hug. They soon pulled away from each other and kissed for a bit.
Kiyoko waited for a while, feeling as awkward as anyone, but as their kissing persisted, she coughed. They didn't hear her, so she coughed louder. They didn't hear again, so she yelled out.
"Please stop kissing! There are infants here!" she was referring to herself.
Chris and Alex immediately pulled away from kissing as soon as they heard Kiyoko start yelling. Chris laughed lightly and started walking back over to her, "You're not an infant because you were created a year and a half ago."
"Did we ever celebrate my birthday?" this question caused a silence.
Alex walked over and sat on one of the stools by the Main Control center.
And after the long pause: "Where did you learn that term, K?"
"I searched it on my Internet. It's an annual celebration of someone's birth. I don't think we ever celebrated mine." She sat down on another stool, "I don't mind. Don't worry about it. You were very stressed around that time with sorting out the MCPU and getting him sealed."
"I'm so sorry, K." Chris stepped up to Kiyoko, and took her hand. "I'll make it up to you."
"Oh you don't have to, Chris-…"
"Oh yes I do! Once we finish the story in Floor 14, we're gonna celebrate your birthday." Chris raised his fist to Kiyoko's level, "Deal?"
Kiyoko nodded, raising her own fist to Chris' level. "Deal." They fist-pounded.
The next day, Chris had invited Zoe, Beth and Haggett over to play Platform Tower. Luckily Zoe had the day off work, so she could play in PT all weekend if she wanted, which of course she did.
The portal was already open, and had been all night. Chris and Alex had managed to get Chris's big double bed into the Lobby, and him, Alex and Kiyoko had fell asleep in it. Putting Chris in the middle was a bad idea, because both Alex and Kiyoko had ended up with at least one bruise from being hit by Chris in his sleep.
Beth was the first to arrive, and she was shocked to see that Chris' bed wasn't in his room, but in the Lobby. She would ask how they managed to get it in there, but she didn't bother in the end. Between Chris and Kiyoko, anything could happen.
"Hey." She called into Platform Tower before she stepped through the portal. From what she could see, all three of them were asleep. "I didn't know Kiyoko could sleep now."
"That's because I've updated her Intelligence Card." Chris was on the holo-deck, sorting through some programming for Floor 14. "She can now bruise, bleed, feel tired and fall asleep."
Beth walked up to the Main Control center and sat on one of the stools. "Why would you want her to bleed."
"Oh I don't. She wants to." Chris glanced down at her quickly. "She wants to be more human."
"Fair enough. It is something she's been wanting for a while. And at least now she isn't just waiting in the Lobby for you to return." Beth looked up at some of the screens Chris was using. She didn't understand what he was sifting through; it looked far too technical and complex for anyone else to understand.
Zoe and Haggett arrived together, since the bus Haggett takes to get to Chris' is the same as Zoe's. So they arranged a bus time to take, so they could get to Chris' together. By the time they had arrived, Kiyoko and Alex had woken up, and the four of those in the Lobby were eating some cereal.
"So do we have an idea of what the story is going to be?" Alex asked Chris and Kiyoko directly.
"That's the beauty of original Floor's. I never create a story so it's complete subjective. Floor 6 was an original Floor, and it didn't have a storyline! And look at what we got out of that?" Chris answered relatively quickly.
"Usually with original Floor's the story invents itself. And with having Emergency Protocol 1 on overload, it'll probably create an even better story because it technically won't be us in the Floor; it'll be that world's version of us." Kiyoko followed on with some more important information concerning Floor 14.
Zoe and Haggett sat down with them at the sofas, since they weren't going to be welcomed. But what Chris and Kiyoko were talking about was very interesting, and possibly very useful.
After about half an hour of Questions and Answers, most of the information concerning the Floor was cleared up, including the fact that it was indeed within Grella, and just a new archipelago that Chris and Kiyoko had invented: the Musharn Archipelago.
Kiyoko loaded up the Floor into the elevator through the Main Control center, and the six crowded into the elevator, ready to start their adventure, or continue, depending on what perspective you look at it.
Chris sat up in his bed, and looked to his window. It was day. It felt like no time had passed at all, but he wasn't tired anymore.
'I had that strange dream again. But who was that girl…? Ki… Kiy…?' "Kiya? Was that her name?" the name seemed familiar to him.
"Chris!" a girl was knocking on his door. "Get yourself up and ready! It's time for work!"
"Alright, Amy." Chris threw off his sheet and hopped out of bed. "I'm just going to get dressed. I'll be a few minutes."
A big wave struck the side of the house, knocking it about. Amy screamed from outside, possibly not prepared for the sudden wave. "I'm going to head inland! I'll meet you there!"
"Okay!" Chris quickly shoved his work clothes on, blue top and trousers and basic fabric shoes. He didn't want to be in his house, or anywhere on this side of Juran, if another wave struck. He grabbed his key and headed out the door, locking it behind him.
This was the tricky part. He now had to be very careful not to fall into the water, or get himself wet. He lived on the far end of the sea side of Juran, the furthest away from the mainland, making it very difficult for him every morning before work.
Unlike many days before this one, he managed to get to into mainland completely dry. This didn't last for very long however. A large wave bashed up against the side of land, spraying all across Chris, completely soaking him. Amy was left dry.
"Why do you have so much bad luck when it comes to getting inland before work?" Amy laughed, but still questioning, "At least you have enough water to mop the floor."
"Not funny…" Chris started waddling into town, followed quickly by Amy. "How do you think the boss is gonna take it today?"
"Dunno… He's getting pretty sick of me coming to work with wet clothes. But he needs to pay me more if I can get anywhere else. As it is I'm at the poorest area of Juran, and I'm struggling to keep up with rent." The two walked into the cliff tram, and waited as it moved upwards. Chris took off his shirt while it was slowly inching up the cliff-face and rang it out a few times out of the window, making sure not to get any inside the tram for the comfort of others.
"Don't take too long doing that, or else we'll be late." The tram stopped and Amy continued on ahead, even though Chris was still ringing out in the shirt.
This side of Juran was very large as opposed to its counterpart on the sea. There was the main, largest part along the edge of the cliff-side, and the annual festival was just setting up for the day. Banners and streamers were being hung all around the tall buildings. Festivals such as this were being held all the way across the Musharn Archipelago, and it was to commemorate the liberty of the Musharn Archipelago from the Sultana Archipelago.
As you venture further away from the cliff-side, the buildings get smaller and further apart, until you finally reach Chris' and Amy's workplace, the Liberty Inn.
Chris had gotten lightly scolded from the landlord when he got in for being wet, but Chris just held his tongue while he was being scolded. You see, Chris didn't mind being scolded, when it was definitely his fault, but this wasn't his fault. Everyone knew it wasn't his fault apart from the landlord of the establishment. But it's always best not to argue when it comes to hierarchies.
By the time he had got to working his clothes were relatively dry, and only his shoes were squelching by the time he got working. He worked as a bar-sweep at the local pub in Juran. He spent the day sweeping the floors of the establishment, and mopping up the floor if anything was spilt on it. Wiping down tables and counter-tops was also his responsibility, but him and Amy shared the jobs.
An Asian looking woman about the same height as Chris walked into the bar. She was wearing plate armour on both her shoulders and across her chest. She was wearing a lance across her back, and a Chamber Grid Ring. By the look of the symbol, it looked like she could use Tamer abilities and Magikal Musik.
She walked in with a gaping smile, looking around the room. She saw Chris and stepped up to him, "This is the local pub, right?"
"Yeah. That's a Chamber Grid Ring? I've never seen one before." Chris looked over at the woman's Chamber Grid, noticing the rarity.
"What?" she looked at her ring.
"The symbol on it means you're skilled in Tamer abilities and Magikal Musik. I've never seen Musikian's in action before. I heard they're very skilled."
"Err…" the woman looked up and Chris and flashed a half-smile, "Yeah! Yeah they ar-! I mean I am! Highly skilled in… Magikal Musik! It's erm…"
"Chris! C'mon if you talk much longer you'll get told off again!" Amy halted the conversation, and got Chris to start working again.
"Sorry I've talked too much… You can order a drink from the counter up there…" he pointed to the bar and continued sweeping.
The woman walked up to the counter relative quickly, possibly trying to avoid further conversation with Chris, he was being a bit persistent in asking about the Chamber Grid Ring and the abilities. But Chris was curious, at the very least.
It had been a few hours since Chris attempted conversation with the female-knight, and she was still in the bar; talking with the barkeep. Chris had occasionally listened in to the conversation, and it had mostly revolved around adventuring, since the barkeep was only part-time and enjoyed hiking back and forth from Merii. Which wasn't adventuring, Merii was only a few miles away, a half-a-day carriage journey at the longest.
But the woman seemed interested; reason enough to listen.
A man burst through the door, in his arm was a semi-conscious blonde girl, her body was covered in blood, and she was wearing a Chamber Grid Necklace. The man was a regular to the bar, but only because he was always looking for a job about Juran, and the pub was usually the place to go for that.
"Someone help me with her! I found her on the path to Merii! She was lying in a pool of blood. Someone go get some bandages!" the man brought her through into the main part of the pub, and laid her down on a table.
"We don't have any bandages here, but I have some at my house!" Amy dropped her work and ran out of the pub. "It's only 5 minutes away!"
Chris stepped up to the man and the girl, he noticed by the symbol on the girl's Chamber Grid Necklace, that she was a Sorceress and a Mechanik, two very opposite, but very potent Job Classes. He then thought to go get some water and a cloth, to wash away the blood that was all over her body.
Chris and the man had tried their best to wash away the blood, but some of it still stained her hair and clothes. What they found most peculiar is that there was no sign of a wound anywhere on her body, once they washed away the blood from her skin, and most of her clothes, there seemed to be no more. However, there was a large bruise on the top of her head; she must have been knocked unconscious.
The female knight was watching from the next table over, worried for the girl.
A strong gust of wind blew through the pub; the door had been opened by someone. Chris looked over toward the door, thinking it was Amy coming in with some bandages, but it was some tall, hulking person dressed in black plate armour, their face shielded by a similar coloured plate helm. A dark sword was hidden within a sheath slung across his waist.
The female knight reacted to the dark-knight, seeming to be shocked that they had come in. She stood up and took out her lance and stood in an attack position. "What are you doing here? Where's my father?" she barked.
"That girl…" the dark-knight ignored the woman pointing the lance at them. His voice was deep and dark, "She has a Chamber Grid Necklace," they took out their dark sword and pointed it at Chris, the man, and the girl. "Give it to me."
"Absolutely not." Chris stood in front of the girl, blocking the dark-knight from attacking her.
"You'll have to get through me first." The man stood up, also blocking the way from the dark-knight and the girl. He took out a pair of guns from their holsters aiming them at the dark-knight.
"What are you doing, Alex? You don't have a Chamber Grid!" Chris, still keeping up a defensive position, questioned the man's actions, calling him by his first name.
"I have Chamber Grid Glasses. It's been Junctioned with Tribute and Pirate abilities." Alex pointed to the pair of glasses he was sporting.
"Gauge Field Charger! Fire!" it sounded like the female knight fired a Field Charger at the dark-knight, since it rose around them. "You're going down!" she ran into the Field.
Chris and Alex seemed surprise about the sudden turn of events. Alex ran into the Field after the female knight, followed by Chris, who was complaining about not doing his stretches.
Loading… Battle Ready. Start!
The female knight was first to attack, and she used her Musikian abilities to cast Blaster Aria, casting non-elemental magic on the enemy. They couldn't tell how much damage the attack had done.
Chris saw the ability and had a brain-wave. Since he was the next to attack, he could use his Mimik abilities to cast Mimik, to copy the female knight's previous Musikian ability to cast Blaster Aria again. Or, he could use his Dice and hope for the best. For the time being, it was probably best to cast Mimik.
"Mimik! Blaster Aria!" Chris used his ability, casting the Musikian ability again. The female knight and Alex looked over at him.
"You can use Mimik?" the female knight was the first to speak.
"I'll discuss it later! Right now we have to fight…" 'He hasn't attacked yet. This is good! Means we can beat him easy! Blast him away before he can get any attacks in!'
Alex paused a bit, seeming to think about what attack to use next. He was taking longer than usual, and Chris was getting nervous. He wanted to go on an all-out attack blitz, but since Alex wasn't attacking, it gave the dark-knight a chance to attack. And he attacked Chris, causing considerable damage. However, this attack now meant that Chris' limit was charged, and when Alex was done attacking, he could use it.
Alex cast Bluebell on Chris, noticing that he was low on health. Chris was next to attack, and he was prepared to use his Limiter. He was feeling a little bit nervous about using his attack, since the dark-knight was attacked by Blaster Aria's and it didn't seem to faze them. He was nervous further because the amount of damage an ordinary physical attack did to him.
But he needed to use an attack, and his Limiter was his best bet for right now.
"Limiter Activate!" Chris rotated the symbol on his Chamber Grid Charm, until it shifted into the Chamber Grid Symbol for Limiter. "Level 1, go! Blitz Boom!" he dived forwards towards the dark-knight and struck them with his Limiter: Blitz Boom. Even though it was one of Chris' most powerful attacks it seemed that the attack did little damage, if any.
"I tire of this." The dark-knight finally spoke.
Loading… Field Ready. Start!
The Gauge Field lowered and the three people who had battled were left in confusion.
"Why was the Gauge Field lowered?" the female knight questioned.
"I don't know. I don't understand either." Alex was in shock as well, but he raised his guns, ready to attack if needed.
Chris fell to his knees. He knew exactly what had happened. The only way to break a Gauge Field Charger is to own a Chamber Master. "A Chamber Master is a special type of Chamber Grid that can hold 5 different job abilities, and is created by the merging of 5 Chamber Grid's. It's the only type of Chamber Machinery that can destroy a Field Charger…" Chris gulped. "And us…"
"You are a clever one. My Chamber Master Gauntlet is as powerful as you say. And it holds the Job Abilities of the Dark Knight, Jikan, Sorcerer, Sharpshooter and Samurai." The dark-knight held up his gauntlet, showing it to the three. It seemed to have struck a chord with the female knight, because all of a sudden she had launched herself at the dark-knight.
"You stole that from my father, didn't you?" the female knight screamed at him in mid-jump, about to attack the dark-knight in a full-on-physical-attack.
"This is my own Chamber Master Gauntlet." They lifted their free hand up and blocked the attack, then used the gauntlet to knock the female knight into the far wall and out of the way.
Alex fired a few times at the Dark Knight, and since the Gauge Field Charger wasn't raised, he was able to fire as much as he wanted. In cases such as this, not using a Chamber Grid was better, but you couldn't use special abilities such as Chris' Mimik or Alex's Cannon Fire.
"Stupid boy." The Dark Knight cast a spell and attacked Alex with it, firing him past Chris and across the room.
"Alex!" Chris screamed as he watched him fly past and hit the far wall near the counter. He was about to run to the back wall and see if Alex was okay, but he was distracted by the Dark Knight talking at him.
"Is he important to you?" the dark knight laughed, mocking him, "Do you care for him?"
"You leave him alone!" Chris barked back at him near immediately.
"He's not the most important thing to you. That girl who left earlier, that friend of yours. She is what's most important to you." The Dark Knight finished his judgments and lifted his gauntleted arm. "Limiter Activate. Timeless End." A beam of energy fired out of the gauntlet and through the ceiling.
Chris looked up to watch it fire into the sky, but upon looking down the Dark Knight was gone.
Chris stood still for a while, mind completely blank and not thinking about anything in particular. That was Chris realized what the Dark Knight had meant when they were talking about 'what was most important to him'. The Limiter that they fired was a beam that caused destruction, and there was no other place that they would have fired it, but at Chris' home, the eastern coastline of Juran!
"Amy went there!" he ran straight out of the building, "Excuse me!" he shoved a short woman aside into the building while in a panicked rush.
Unfortunately there was a parade going on in the middle of Juran, right where Chris had to go to get to the coastline, to his home and Amy. It didn't stop Chris though, he was pushing everything aside to get down to the coastline, and in no-time he had reached the cliff, where instead of hitching a ride down via Mira Train, he snapped off a piece of bark from a tree and essentially 'snowboarded' down the cliff.
However, by the time he reached the base of the hill, he could already spot a whirlpool forming far out in the ocean, pulling at some of the houses and taking some of them down. But by the looks of it, no-one was running in land, it looked like a lot of them were already waiting by the shoreline, inspecting what was going on.
All but one person.
It appeared that someone was running across the wooden surfaces, it had to be Amy. Chris sped up as to as fast as he could muster upon seeing her running, but it wasn't fast enough. The side of the decking was starting to unhinge from the Akratic Steel chains and Amy along with it.
Once reaching the beach, he made sure to keep the front of his make-shift board up so he wouldn't bury it in the sand, though with even that being done; he was still slowing down dramatically. Eventually he just jumped away from the board and continued running down the beach.
Amy jumped forward, diving for the only part of the entire wooden platform that was securely attached to the mainland; she just managed to hold on to the end, but she was slowly losing her grip.
Chris started pelting all the way down the wooden platform that Amy was hanging on to, not helping Amy's grip any, but he needed to get to her as quick as he could. He dived forwards and grabbed onto Amy's arms. For now she was safe, but they needed to get to the mainland.
They both ran across the wooden platform, back into the mainland. Chris was rocketing ahead, but Amy was hanging a bit behind, not on purpose, she couldn't run as fast as Chris could. What made things worse was that the wooden platform was starting pull away from the mainland, Chris and Amy with it.
Chris was able to make it into land pretty quickly, but Amy was struggling to catch up, and before long it was too late. She was knocked off the side of the platform as it pulled away from the land, and was knocked into the sea. All Chris could do was watch and scream her name, as she was washed away into the whirlpool.
Chris stayed there; sitting on the sand and watching the whirlpool slowly disappear. She was gone, Chris' best friend in the entire of the Musharn Archipelago, gone. And it was all that Dark Knight's doing, he killed her, with his Chamber Master Gauntlet.
"I'm so sorry." Someone was standing next to him, Chris hadn't heard where they had come from, and so it shocked him slightly. He didn't look around however. She sat down next to him, "That Dark Knight was Ethernal. He comes from the future, and he's out to obtain the Chamber Grid's of the past, particularly yours and some other people around the Juran area."
"Then why did he hurt Amy…? Why didn't he hurt me?" Chris still hadn't looked at the person sitting next to him.
"He did hurt you. The only way to hurt you was to hurt someone close to you."
Chris stood up, still looking over at the ocean. "Then I have to stop him. I have to hurt him back."