12 Weapons Online

Summary: Kazuya Hoshimoto is a normal high school student (yeah, right). He is invited to play the VRMMO Paradise Online by his friend, and now, as the player Arthur he is roped into an adventure as he sets out to save a virtual world from destruction. Inspired by the .hack/ saga and SAO. Warning: Harem!

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Chapter 1: First Log-In

25th June 2018

The landscape was quite barren. It was a rather cold night, and the desert in the middle of nowhere was, as you may expect, quite dark.

But it was hardly quiet.

The screams of players, the *clang* of metal hitting metal, the sounds of arrows piercing bodies and spells being casted were heard for kilometres away.

At the centre of these noises, a group of player-killers, or PKs, surrounded a trio of players; a male warrior, a female mage, and a male knight.

"Pl-please leave us alone! We already gave you all the items we have, so please!"

One of the players, a man, pleaded. Over his head, his health bar had already depleted to no more than 5% left.

"Eh? Why would we do that? Sure, we have your items, but we don't get any EXP (Experience) points! You can only obtain EXP from PvP (Player versus Player) and PvE (Player versus Environment) by finishing them off...so we'll have to kill you."

"Ack! Fine...kill us, but please don't kill him!"

The player said, pointing to one of his own, the male knight. Next to that person's health bar was the word NPC.

In most MMORPGs, NPCs – Non-player Characters were just characters that have no real will, and nothing more than just programs.

Here, however, it was a bit different.

It had one of the most advanced AI systems in the world, with the NPCs having real thoughts and emotions, and unique personalities. Of course, not all players see it that way.

"Sure..."

The PK agreed, relieving the player...only to shatter his hope.

"Just kidding!"

The PK exclaimed, before cutting off the head of the NPC. There was no blood, as this was a VRMMO, but it was still quite gruesome to see someone die.

"No...NO!" The player screamed.

There was one other thing that made this game different from others. While players just re-spawn after dying...NPCs don't.

At the player's reaction, all the PKs laughed.

"Hey, hey, why are you like this? It's fine, right? It's not like that guy was really even alive anyways. He's just a computer program, just like everything else in this world! This is just a game! It's not like we really killed someone."

One of the PKs said, and laughed, with the others joining along. They all just laughed at the two crying players kneeling on the ground, sobbing as they held the body of their dead comrade. They were so distracted that they didn't notice that someone was casting a spell until it hit.

"La VeQuas."

A voice said in an unknown language, and suddenly a large wave of water collided with half of the PKs, making them stumble to the ground and reduced their health to around 50%.

"Eh, pretty crappy job, Omoikane." A male voice expressed his opinions.

"That's a lot coming from someone who hasn't even joined in the fight yet, Arthur." Another voice responded dryly.

"Shut it, I was about to."

Two players argued. One of them was a young man with long black hair tied as ponytail with black eyes, wearing a dark green robe with a black trim, and held a sceptre that had an intricate handle in his hands. The other was another young male with short spiky white hair and blue eyes, wearing a blue shirt and white pants with a white long-coat on top. He was wielding a one-handed sword.

The man with the one-handed sword jumped from the top of a cliff and to the front of the PKs. He held out is sword, pointing at them, challenging the group.

The man that seemed to be the leader of the PKs growled as he got up and dusted himself off. He glared at the swordsman. "I guess you want to stop us?"

"Bingo! Yeah, we do wish to stop you." The swordsman responded. "Don't get me wrong, however. We have no problems with PKing. It's just a way to enjoy worlds like these. Besides, Players just re-spawn anyways." He reasoned, before his face turned serious. "However, there's one thing we can't forgive...and that is the killing of NPCs. Unlike us players, they don't just respawn when they die. Instead, they are lost forever...it's practically murder...and that's what we can never tolerate..." the swordsman finished.

The PK just growled in response. "Man, are you stupid or what? How can it be murder when they're not real? They're not alive, they're just a bunch of code! Stop confusing reality with the virtual world, dumbass!" he snarled, the members of his group agreeing with him.

The swordsman narrowed his eyes at the PK. "You...you're the leader of this group, aren't you?" he asked.

The PK in question raised his brow. "Yeah? And what about it?"

"...Fire." the swordsman simply commanded.

Before the enemy could react, an arrow lodged itself between his eyes. The headshot instantly killed him, and he fell to the ground.

Around him, the other PKs went into panic.

"Wha...WHAT THE HELL?"

"B-BOSS IS DEAD!"

"WHERE DID THAT ARROW COME FROM?!"

They looked around in panic, trying to find the archer who killed their leader...and in the distance, they saw a girl standing on top of a large rock, in front of the moonlight, a large crossbow beside her.

She wore a long-sleeved black shirt and similarly-colored pants, with brown leather armour and caps covering her chest, thighs, wrists, elbows and knees. She had shoulder-length black hair and golden eyes.

"...Target eliminated." She muttered.

Not that the PKs could hear her, but the swordsman seemed to. "Good shot, Artemis." He congratulated with a smile, before frowning to look at the remaining PKs.

"I'll give you guys one chance; you can run away if you want to, or stay to fight." He asked – no, ordered.

The PKs froze in place, each of them contemplating on their actions. Three of them, however, already made up their minds.

"Screw it! You can't tell us what to do!" one of them said, before the three of them charged towards the swordsman.

"Well, can't say I didn't warn of them..." the swordsman said with a sigh as he readied his blade.

The PK closest to him lunged with a knife in his hands, and the swordsman simply dodged out of the way, letting him pass before getting a clean slash on the PK's back.

Another PK used the delay to swing his sword sideways, but the swordsman ducked in time, and stabbed the PK through the chest.

The third PK, armed with a gigantic hammer, rushed in. But yet again, the swordsman simply moved out of reach, letting the PK smash the sandy ground. He took advantage of the great delay of swinging a great-hammer and beheaded him.

And then, silence. It didn't last too long though.

"H-how...!"

"This guy..."

"H-he just killed them in one go!"

The PKs panicked among themselves. The swordsman smirked.

"See? You guys are far too used to fighting people of a weaker level, so you can't do jack when facing those who are stronger." He stated their flaws. "Now, another chance; leave now or fight."

The message still didn't stick.

The mages of the group readied their staves, hoping to bombard the swordsman with spells. But before they had the chance...

"La Ence." The green-robed sorcerer from before said, enveloping the group of PKs with purple light for a brief moment, after which the other magi finding themselves unable to cast any more spells.

"See? Stopped with a simple silence spell. You guys are so damn used to being on top, that you guys aren't ready for simple countermeasures."

In response, the archers too readied their bows, but...

"CHARGE!"

A voice cried out, and a large figure slammed into the group like a boulder.

The figure was that of a large and muscular knight, wearing heavy iron armor. In his left hand was a shield, and his other hand was a one-handed sword. A metal helmet covered his head and face.

"Don't you even try, evil-doers! I am Hercules the Awesome, and I will not allow any of you to harm anyone else!" he proclaimed to the dumbstruck PKs.

That was the last straw for them.

"Oh, screw all of this! These guys are crazy!"

"Yeah, let's just run like hell!"

The PKs agreed to the idea, and ran away from them all.

"Huh...hey, wait!" the large knight called out to them, but they were already out of sight.

"Leave them be, Hercules. Getting them to run away was the plan anyways." The swordsman told him. He frowned and gave the knight a patronizing look. "Besides, who told you to come out? I thought I told you to hide unless the situation turned awry."

The green-robed sorcerer joined in. "As odd as this may sound, I actually agree with Arthur for once. We still had that situation under control." He stated.

The archer girl also joined the conversation. "Indeed. I was ready to kill the other archers, your help was unneeded."

"Oh come on, guys!" the Knight responded, "You know I can't do that! I can't just stand by and watch a fair maiden get harassed!" he yelled out, pointing the now-forgotten victims of the PKs, specifically the female mage, who blushed at the proclamation.

The Knight walked towards the female mage and held out is hand. He opened his helmet, revealing a handsome face with blonde hair and blue eyes. "Are you okay, fair lady? It must have been scary, getting caught by those nefarious PKs! If you'd like, I can accompany you for a while..."

The others sighed. "There he goes again, hitting on every girl he meets..."the swordsman lamented.

Suddenly—

"OH, YOU GUYS~!" A female voice cried out.

It came from a girl wearing a white robe with a blue trim. She wore a necklace with a blue gem, and in her hands held a staff with a blue orb. She head long blond hair and green eyes. Beside her health bar stood the letters 'NPC', indicating her true identity as a resident AI.

"You guys are so mean! Arthur, how dare you just leave me out of all that..." she pouted.

The swordsman laughed sheepishly and scratched the back of his head. "Ah, sorry about Eva. We wanted to leave you out since you're our resident healer and it'll be bad if you died. Besides, I think your expertise is kinda needed right now..." he said, pointing at the corpse of the NPC knight from earlier.

The blonde mage looked alarmed, and rushed to the body. She kneeled down beside the corpse and readied her staff.

The other victim, the male warrior, looked on in confusion. "Huh?...I thought NPCs can't respawn?" he asked.

The blonde mage shook her head. "You're right, we NPCs can't respawn. But that doesn't mean we can't be revived. Of course, there's a time limit, of which if you did not heed, that NPC would truly be lost forever. Since you guys are low-levelled, that time limit is around 5 minutes, however it decreases as you level up." She stated. "You know, I've always wondered why we NPCs have so many disadvantages...then again, you players do have Divine blood after all..."

The players stayed silent, contemplating her words.

NPCs...other than their many disadvantages, there was yet still one more thing that was kept from them; the truth.

And that is the truth that this is a fake world, and NPCs were nothing more than just a bunch of data given sentience, and that this is just MMORPG made for the enjoyment of players. What they presume to be 'the Players's divine blessings' is really just what the programmers did to give players an edge over NPCs.

The blonde mage shook her head. "No, I shouldn't think about such things. Now, to revive this fellow...Carna..."she uttered the word of the spell, green light enveloping the corpse for a full 5 seconds, before it disappeared, revealing a living NPC knight.

She smiled. "Welcome back to the living, fellow brother."

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"Once again, thanks for all the help, kind sir!" the male warrior thanked the swordsman and his group.

"Hey, it's no sweat. We were tasked to patrol this area in the first place anyways." He shrugged. "Besides, my name's not 'kind sir'. I'm Arthur." He introduced himself. He pointed to the green-robed sorcerer. "That asshole over there is—"

"Number one, I'm quite sure I'm human, and number two, I can introduce myself, thank you very much." He snarled. "I'm Omoikane."

Arthur pointed to the black-haired archer. "She's Artemis." he stated, at the girl in question simply nodded.

The large knight slammed his chest. "I am Hercules the Awesome at your service!"

Arthur sighed. "And before you ask, yes, 'the Awesome' is part of his name."

The blonde mage beamed. "I'm Eva!" she introduced herself with a smile.

"And together we are...!" Arthur was about to exclaim, but stopped himself. "Actually we don't have a name for the team yet. But we're working on that!"

"Nice to meet you all, then." The male knight said. "Again, thanks for the help. We're gonna go back to town now. I guess it was a bit stupid for us to venture this far out of town when we're new..." he said sheepishly.

Arthur smiled as he watched the three newbies walk away, but sighed and looked at the night sky.

To think, that not that long ago, he too was a newbie like them...

-x-x-x-x-x-

Several months ago...

Kazuya's/Arthur's POV

Ah, to think the day that my life started to change started off so normally. Of course, that's what always happens, doesn't it?

I woke up to do my daily routine, which was to wake up, go to school, and go to bed. Unfortunately, 'save the world' was not there...until that day, but even than it would be a virtual world.

After doing some other stuff of no great importance, I headed off to school. Being a third-year high school student who lived on his own wasn't too hard, especially since I get a monthly allowance from my family, and they pay for rent and everything, so I didn't have to do much. But I did take a part-time job at a local grocery market though.

So the same as every weekday, I entered class and sat down on my seat. Normal so far. No life-changing events yet.

Until suddenly, a wild best friend appears!

"Hey, Kazuya! Good morning, how are you?" I heard a familiar voice calling out to me. I turn around to see my best friend, Tora Ishikawa.

He's short and has short brown hair and wears nerdy glasses, but he's far from a nerd. He gets the lowest marks in tests and is the class pervert. Being friends with such a person would ruin my reputation, but he's the only friend I have and is quite nice when you get to know him.

"Oh, good morning Tora. I'm fine, thanks." I replied, still feeling a bit sleepy.

"Great! Wait, lemme get something..."he says, searching his bag.

I sighed. "Tora, I told you hundreds of times before; I don't want your doujinishii." I stated. Tora was a bit of an avid fan of anime and manga, and he frequently draws doujins. They're not bad or anything – he has surprisingly good art skills – but let's just say...they're not suitable for school. Yeah.

"No! It's not that…." He said as he pulled out is hand, holding a wrapped box. "Happy Birthday, Kazuya!" he said as he gave me the box.

My...birthday?

Oh yeah...

...it's next week...

"Wow, I didn't think you would remember my birthday. Heck, even I forgot my birthday!" I exclaimed in pleasant surprise. See, he can be a very good friend at times. "So, what is the gift?"

Tora smirked in response.

...at the time, I didn't realise that the contents of the box would be so life-changing.

...at the time, I didn't know that this one gift would give me one hell of a ride.

...a ride full of many things; action, love, comedy, tragedy, drama, and even racism and things that would make me question my own morality...

...all of this, I would experience...

...in Paradise Online.

.

.

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End of Chapter 1


Author's Notes

Let me just say this: this is actually a re-write of Fion Online, another original story of mine. Why did I decide to re-write it? Simple, because I wanted to.

I changed the names of the main characters, and decided to do what SAO did and start off in the future before jumping back to the origin. This way people can get a taste of what's to come before the actual start of the stories.

If you enjoyed this pilot chapter, feel free to fave, follow and/or review! Thanks in advance!