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[PP-F1] Shattered Perceptions <<EAL | Gatherer>>

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<<EAL | Gatherer>>

Only hours had passed since the shadows had swept her away into nothingness. Left with only her equipment, she had been completely reset and forced to reallocate everything. It seemed much had changed and somehow she hadn't returned the same level. She was left weaker. 

They had won the boss battle right? She was alive, so that had to have meant something. That meant it was time to continue as normal. She had returned to the first floor as a net of safety from players who would take the moment of weakness in the world to strike. She needed to reaccess herself and get everything figured out again. However, that was hard to do when even the first floor resembled nothing of what was lodged in memory. It was like everything had changed. 

A strand of dark hair fell in front of her face, making her even more annoyed. That was another thing that needed to be fixed. Having returned to her black hair made her feel less secure about herself. She opened her menu, beginning to create a message to send to Raidou. 


Her doubt seemed to almost have a voice of its own, halting her progress.

 'Why reach out to someone who's just made you a part of his chessboard? Are you not strong enough to deal with everything yourself? Can't you do anything?' 

She shook her head, pushing the doubt's voice away. "I need him to answer some questions anyway." She promised herself, continuing to send the message. Speaking with Simmone left her with questions that couldn't be left unanswered. The now black-haired girl sent the message, before huddling herself next to a tree.


To: Raidou

Come down to the First Floor, I've got something to ask. Bring one of the White Ivory Potions if you can. 



Hidden, White Silence
Level: 31
Paragon Level: 35
HP: 760/760
EN: 94/94

Damage: 22
Mitigation: 44
Evasion: 4
Accuracy: 3
Battle Healing: 41
Loot Dice: 1
HLY: 16
V.O.: 83

Equipped Gear:
Weapon: Kura Yu Yami
Armor: Shadow's Silence
Misc: Shadow's Blossom

Dagger R5
Battle Healing R5
Cloth Armor R5
Extended Mod Limit

Active Mods:
Surprise Attack (Assassin)

Inactive Mods:

Active Extra Skills:
Hiding R5

Inactive Extra Skills:

Battle Ready Inventory:

Housing Buffs:
Rested: -1 energy cost for the first two expenditures of each combat
Filling: Increase the effectiveness of a single food item consumed in a thread by +1 T1 slot.
Relaxed: Increases out of combat HP regen by (5 * Tier HP) and decreases full energy regen to 2 Out of Combat Posts.
Skylight (-): +1 Rank to the - skill.
Advanced Training: +10% Exp to a thread. Limit one use per month [1/1]

Guild Hall Buffs:

Scents of the Wild:
Kumatetsu Statue: +1 Base Damage for a thread

Wedding Ring:


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A glance to a menu, a small inert stone in his hand. A memory of a sea of black, a check to a roster that showed that all were well. The man had concerns, the man had been unable to access his own stats page. It took on a string of garbled text unable to be deciphered in a static, as if some motive of resetting itself had taken hold. But there were chores to be had, and a proof to be made. He needed to know where he stood, The Shadow had fallen and they had the next floor to claim. But he was not ready for another of these conflicts.

Shuffling through the hall toward the vault, another check and balance. Everything was still in its proper place, on the shelves where they belonged. A lift of his left hand to his shoulder sees the crimson robe on his back pulled tightly. It was what he could access, and the lenses that still adorned his brow. Through a ripple of the past it still held him comfort, a notification breaks this tether through time and snaps him back to current. A fiddle of those glasses and an open of the few segments of his HUD he could read. From Hidden, a meeting. She'd spoken of seeing him on the floor above, but now it was on the first of the rings. A single reply: "Alright" is left through the ether, to her on a digital pigeon.

From the second floor he finds the first, and into the apothecary area. Ruri was hard at work, the blunette finding still the ability to do what she was trying to do. A soft smile, and a place of concerns aside. He'd not disturb her and allow her to play until she discovered his methods from the book he had given her. A boil and bubble, a solid white leaf plant sees a thick white like syrup into a bottle. Hidden's request, procured and cooling in his hand. "Keep at it. I'll be back to check your progress." he responds over her shoulder as she drug a pen across a page. "Yeah Yeah, Raidou. I'll get it, just gimme a bit. There's just so much math."

Through the gates of Coral, through the town square still indifferent and unfazed by the events that had altered Aincrad as a whole. As if nothing had ever changed, when everything had. A flash of blue light, a warp to a lower floor.

To begin again.

Consumed: Lemon Berry Palmiers (+4 LD, Filled: 175862)

Raidou | HP: 860/860 | EN: 104/104 | DMG: 1 | EVA: 3 | LD: 12


Raidou, The Lost
Level: 31
Paragon Level: 60
HP: 860/860
EN: 104/104

Damage: 1
Evasion: 3
Loot Dice: 12

Equipped Gear:
Armor: Robe of the Red Wanderer [T1/Perfect/Cloth] +3 Evasion
Misc: Onyx Spectacles [T1/Perfect/Trinket]: +3 Loot Dice

Searching R5

Active Mods:

Inactive Mods:

Active Extra Skills:
Forgotten King’s Authority

Inactive Extra Skills:

Battle Ready Inventory:
Iron Will (Tierless/Unique/Salve) Bloodclot: 1
Terra Firma Scale: 1
Darkness Salve: 3
Mass Heal Crystal: 5
Mass Heal Crystal: 5
Teleport Crystal: 1
Inert Pillar Fragment [Vanity/Broken Glowstone]: 1


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Hidden's eyes fell on a campsite as she waited for Raidou. She had received a reply with the simple word, 'Alright'. She didn't know exactly how long he would be. Stepping towards the unfamiliar campsite, she would approach with extreme caution. Hidden figured it was an NPC's based on the fact that it was a complete with a firepit and horse-drawn wagon. A woman dressed in green emerged from the wagon, bringing Hidden back to an alert state. 

"So, it appears you've found me,

The silver-haired girl frowned. "Exactly whom did I find?"

Seeming to almost ignore her question, the woman continued, "I tend to move around quite a lot, but someone always finds me. I suppose you are looking for some herbs?" This caused Hidden to simply blink in confusion. "Why would I be looking for herbs? That's kinda my fri-... my ally's shtick."  The woman's emerald eyes lit up with excitement. 

 "Most simply expect me to gather their materials for them, but few truly care about the process itself. You surprise me."

Hidden frowned. This was an odd NPC"I can make you gather materials? If so that would actu-" She paused as the woman reached into her dress and pulled out a thin, silver compass.  "You may borrow my compass. Dark magic has made it capable of locating an incredibly rare item called a Demonic Shard. Should you find one, and bring it back to me, you will prove yourself worthy of my teachings. Take care, and may good  fortune travel with you." With that, a message appeared in front of her, stating that she had accepted the <<Earning a Living | Gatherer>> quest.

"What's a demonic shard? I've never heard of one of those." The NPC spoke no more words, instead beginning to tend to an assortment of herbs on her wagon. "What a crazy woman"  she muttered. 

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Through the flash, the midmorning sun still held high across the first of many. The lush fields of emerald held ripe and fresh having just taken to drying from the moisture of an early morning. In his senses that smell, the one that helped him remain stable and focused. A chore like so many before it, days that blended together with no end in memory and intention. A focal to his thoughts, a calm anchor in that storm. To few knew what it was like behind amber eyes, and he chose to keep it that way.

Emboldened crimson held loosely on his shoulders, a small vial in his right. By chance, Raidou finds the both of them. Curious. Hidden wasn't much for conversation, and it was easy to understand why. A placid stare as if a wait in turn, but ears could not help but intrude.

A Demonic Shard?

The notion eluded the wanderer, and with that revelation he'd slide open a book and add it to the list. His first insight would tell him: The eggs. There was a moment not to far back where out of nowhere with no change in the standard that a small addition began to clutter his inventory. His intuition told him that it was to be something similar, but it was nothing more than an assumption. A click of that black book shut sees it find a pocket of his robe, and an adjust of his lenses sees him approach the pair.

A sudden fuzz and a twist, his menu haywire. On his vision was an old friend, his method. His gathering skill adds itself to view, but had since been reduced to nothing. Another glance with concealed concern. Where the nomad was once completely outmatched, his skill had forgotten itself. As he'd lift a hand to open a diagnostic, instead found is a dial the same as the girl's given. A compass. Raidou was about to start over.

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A snap brought her to attention, causing her to turn. Unfocused eyes trained on Raidou and as they did the doubt once again began to creep in. Words spoke directly into her heart, poisoning her judgement. 

'Are you even sure you know who he is? Are you sure you can trust him?'

Attempting to shrug away the thoughts, Hidden spoke up first. "Sorry, I was wondering who this chick was." She told him plainly as she pushed the dark hair away from her eyes. Looking at Raidou now, she didn't feel the same passion she had the last time she looked at him. Now, all she could feel was the overhanging doubt that hung over him. He was using her in some way. Everyone else intended to use her until her use expired and then they would throw her away. 

Eyeing the small silver compass in her hand, she couldn't help but feel the heartbeat that resonated from within it. It seemed to beat faster when faced in a certain direction. "Its good that you came... I have some questions to ask. And apparently, I need to find some shard now." 

190147 LD:13 - No mat found


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"A very strange individual." Raidou offered the girl as he offered her the vial she requested, his own subtle changes still lingered from a raid completed held beneath a carefully placed visage. A glance to the compass given from the NPC as it failed to function, an ode to the already completed edition of this affair showing that he could be of no assistance other then a guide. He had studied her minimal, trying at first to come to terms with what was awry with his own problems before documenting others.

"Ask your questions." the wanderer spoke to Hidden, being forthright and a tone of honesty. The first step of many sees a crunch beneath his feet, finding a foothold and beginning to begin a routine again. There was some ease into focus from his demeanor, a softness littered with time that showed that he was in his own private sanctuary. There was something to this, where before Hidden simply discredited the action perhaps the girl would attempt to see his perspective now. After all this time had passed, it had been quite an age since floor 4. That ever white sleet where he was shoved. Perhaps she could learn from him.

ID# 190149 results: Craft: 1+1=2, Loot: 15+1=16
Gatherer R1: [3/49] +3 EXP
+1 Material Obtained

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Raidou offered her the vial that she requested which she took ahold of. The doubt didn't voice its opinion as she knew this was the correct substance. It was freezing cold to the touch. Spreading the substance through her hair like she would shampoo the black of her hair would wash off in sheets like ink. 

Returning to the state of her white hair put her at ease a little, but her troubles with Raidou had only begun. As he informed her to speak her questions, she took a deep breath. Swallowing her doubt for just a moment, she turned on him. "Recently I had a run in with another orange player that had been messing with me randomly over the span of the last few months. Than, just as he launches his biggest move, Setsuna just happens to be there.... Which could've just been coincidence, but than the player just turned up dead. I would've waived it off as disconnected but then I met Simmone..." 

The memory of the cat-like wise woman stuck with her like a cloud of smoke. The heartbeat of the compass began to beat at a rapid pace as she walked and talked, and she stuck her hand into a nearby log. Pulling out a black crystal, she would eye it for a moment. A dark sense of power seemed to emanate from the material. She held the material in between them as if it created some for of distance. 

"The question is: Are you making Setsuna follow me around? Is she supposed to be protecting me or something? That isn't part of the deal." 

#190165 LD:15 CD:6 -> Demonic Shard found!

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"Simmone is correct." Raidou offers without any hitch or blockage in the phrase as he peels another plant from the floor and adds it to his bag, tapping his hands together as he notices the girls dial spinning. "Setsuna has been tasked with making sure that you are never left without an ally. This world is much less forgiving if you are." Another coin to his own experience, although leagues past its truth Raidou was still stuck on the sentiment. Hidden wished all too much to assume the burden of protecting members of the guild, but failed to realize that that very umbrella had a much wider birth. By holding it and protecting against the coming pouring black rain, she hadn't noticed that it covered herself as well. "It was always part of the deal." He spoke as he turned the plant matter over, sliding it into the satchel on his hip and moving for the next in sequence.

ID# 190292 results: Craft: 12+1=13, Loot: 16+1=17
Gatherer R1 EXP: [10/49] +7 EXP
+2 Materials Obtained

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"Simmone is correct."

A frown placed itself on Hidden's face. Everything? Everything she said had been correct? As he continued and explained it was Setsuna that had been tasked with her safety. The frown quickly was placed with silent fury, eyes trained on him now as if he were foe. She remained silent a few seconds after he said that it was always part of the deal. 

"Tell me... how does that make any sense. Having her involved with me just endangers her. Her being in danger is entirely counterproductive." She tried to defeat him with logic; however, with her emotions so high she doubted she could play that front for very long. "I find danger or danger finds me. You really want her following me around?" 

Not that she wanted the girl to follow her around anyway. "I've already got one little girl following me around, I don't need to worry about another. Especially one that might stab me in the back for my cursor." She didn't want anyone to follow her. She just wanted to be left alone. 

'What is the real reason he is having her follow you? To strike you down when you are weakest? To spy? Its proof he doesn't trust you.' The doubt spoke to her. That's right. He distrusted her, and now he was trying to play it cool by casually telling her the answers. 

191061 LD: 15 CD:7
Materials gathered: 1
Shards Gathered: 1

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A shuffle of his hands pauses for a moment as Hidden began to decipher the meaning behind what was spoken. He turns to look to her. "Setsuna is growing to be much stronger than you'd think. If I was concerned for her safety then I wouldn't have sent her. I was worried. For you. The reason your name was spread so rapidly. It doesn't happen without reason. Danger does find you... Hidden. You shouldn't be fighting this entire thing alone. You want me to accept your help when I am about expire, then you must allow me to do the same." It came off placid, but those with keen ears would sense the plead in it. She was so determined to help, to assist others but refused the hands that would offer it to her in tandem.

Like Mari

Removing his glasses from his face and placing them away. "We've been through this before, you've seen sides of me I hardly share with others. If your unconvinced in my intentions then ask. I have never hid anything from you." He could sense the tone of disbelief on her voice, she was getting angry. Hidden was so self condemning that she was wishing to bury herself in isolation. The commonality and hypocrisy was almost too much to bear. She wanted to protect others like he was, she wanted to change his fate and stop him from meeting that fate. But simply wouldn't accept that he wanted to do the same for her.

ID# 191074 results: Craft: 9+1=10, Loot: 16+1=17
Gatherer R1: [17/49] +7 EXP
+2 Materials Obtained

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He wasn't willing to give her the answer she was wanting to hear. Instead, he promised that Setsuna was growing stronger and that everything he had done was because he'd been worried about her. She opened her mouth to speak, but she was interrupted by her own thoughts. 

'Lies. There has never been anyone in this world that has shed a care for us. Why would he be any different?'

Closing her eyes and taking a breath, her fist tightening around the demonic shard that lay in the palm of her hand. She opened them, a glassy fierceness in her violet eyes. "It doesn't matter if I have to do this alone. I've always done things alone even before coming to this world. Anyone that has even pretended to care just leaves or gets hurt. Whether its from someone else or me." 

As he mentioned that he didn't show everyone all the sides to him the doubt screamed at her. 

'What else is he hiding? You can't trust a word he says! Listen to your gut feeling!' 

"Never hid anything? What do you call going behind my back and working against everything I'm trying to accomplish?" She stepped forward jabbing her index finger into his chest. "HAVING A F**KING CHILD STALK ME AND CLAIM ITS FOR MY SAFETY?" 


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A flare of red matches the violet she was giving off, his glasses placed way played no part in the link between their eyes. A variable tone on his voice that was not unfamiliar to her. That dark and raspy like sandpaper dualed vocal tear. "It is clear that you have some precognition at what is and isn't fact. You are deaf to what is being spoken, twisting it into your own interpretation. Risque is dead, and I was the one who killed him. I will not allow you to face this alone. You want to continue acting like a child then fine." The boom was not unlike a howl, that fury undeniable.

"But do not expect me to abandon you, You mistake caution for larceny. The girl was to be your shadow simply because you would decline otherwise. That child has leagues on you in wisdom, she knows when to cut it away. She knows who she is." A slight thump of crimson fog finds the floor, but it is glitched and misshapen. "I have seen far too many fall in this trap of yours, bite off more than they can chew and die alone." A flash of blue begins to build around his neck, a tiny tear on a string wiggling softly. "It is clear you have doubts, are unconvinced at what my intentions may be. Know this..." Ripping her into an embrace before Hidden could pull out a dagger. "When you are all alone, and you are sure that it is the end. Do not be surprised when I appear. I have always meant what I've said. I will talk when your willing to listen."

A flash of blue light, and Raidou was gone.

Ruri's Tear triggered, Raidou teleports to floor 22

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  • 4 weeks later...

Despite Raidou's sudden change in demeanor, Hidden didn't back down. Some part of her felt as if she needed to assert herself here and now. If she backed down, she was submitting to him overstepping the boundaries. His words made it even easier for venom to pour into her voice. 

"A child? That's exactly what you always look at me as isn't it? I'm just some defenseless child that needs to be watched and protected?" Despite the anger in her voice, a sadness rested in her eyes. The doubt that she had came out to be true. 

"But do not expect me to abandon you, You mistake caution for larceny. The girl was to be your shadow simply because you would decline otherwise. That child has leagues on you in wisdom, she knows when to cut it away. She knows who she is."

Hidden shot a look of hate in Raidou's direction. "There you go again, comparing me to some random little girl with a prejudice against the color orange." Setsuna was just a brat that thought she could just call orange player's monsters. "It isn't doubt, I know you-" Before she could react quick enough, he lunged forward bringing her into a tight embrace. 

"When you are all alone, and you are sure that it is the end. Do not be surprised when I appear. I have always meant what I've said. I will talk when your willing to listen."

A flash of blue light and she was released, left alone. She bit down on her bottom lip and as a growl of anger escaped her throat. "...and just like that, he's gone." 

'Your suspicions were correct, see? Now's he's fled because he was unwilling to trust you with the truth. It would be best to never see him again.'

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  • 2 weeks later...

A flash of light sees Raidou back within the walls of the Cathedral of the forgotten, to where the materials he had gained follow with him into a room with the clattering of glass. A bright young face greets him but finds only an expression of concern. Looking to the girl with a softened smile, he adds the components for potion making to her side. "Is there a problem, Rai?"

He hesitates as he looks at one of the potions she had produced, allowing the light to pour through the liquid and prove its transparancy. "A small one, but its nothing to worry about." He offers softly to the girl, before placing that vial back where it had lay before. Ushering around the lot and seeking a place to which he was secluded from such eyes. Ones that would see concern he'd rather not allow to bleed from him. A black molassus struggles to find a corner of his secluded chamber, where he slides a message box open and begins to compose a note.

"When she's finally able to hear me, then I will speak. I am done allowing my words to fall on deaf ears. My actions will speak for me." He murmurs to himself as that message is sent into the ether, for there was more upon his plate then the delivery of a vial of hair dye.

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The uncertainty in her heart had claimed victory over her. Unknown to her, it had lost her trust in one of the few she could call friend. One of the few people that she could feel at ease with, was now hidden to even her. The problem was, she didn't feel bad about the events that transpired. Hidden felt as if she had done the right thing. That she had managed to protect herself in some way by breaking one of the bonds in between them. The only thing that tied them together was a promise. 

'Are you sure that promise actually means anything now? He admitted to overstepping the boundaries of the deal. You shouldn't have to feel obligated to protect those he cares for anymore...'

Hidden shook her head, silencing her voice in her head for a moment. 'If I broke our promise, than I would just be less of a person wouldn't I? Besides, he didn't break the promise, just overstepped it. He would only be breaking it if he died, isn't that right?' 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sliding out of that chamber, where the black ichor swims its way back to Raidou's ankle and worms itself back beneath his armor. Back where it was out of view, to its host with the ability to sustain it. Wandering out past the main table with most of the glassware on its tabletop. The bluenette perks up as he passes by, and he offers her a wave to quench her concerns. He had other matters to attend and the girl was more then familar with the fact, Raidou did it on the regular after all. He made a note to tell her that he'd be back to bring her along another lesson in the fields, the next location being floor 4.

Into the vault and moving the days gains to the shelving for the others to dig their teeth into. Taking account of what was missing and preparing a list for what needed to be replaced, an array of shelving mixed with bottles, boxes with foods and the like. A candy store for some, but provisions for the army it was set up for. A shame that so few were under its umbrella, had access to such a boon. But it was what it was. Raidou wouldn't and couldn't sweat those that could not see his intentions.

He had Ruri to thank for that

Now he'd focus his attentions toward the journey ahead, push that path headstrong on his own if he needed to. But thankfully he wasn't alone, not anymore. The guild had been their to support him more than he wished them too. They were supposed to be under his protection, and yet time and time again all they managed to do is save his skin. Raidou, the red wanderer was still coming to terms with the fact that they were his foundation. And were quickly becoming his identity.

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She walked alone, the only noise to be heard was her own thoughts. Walking home alone, something she was used to doing. She hadn't partied up with Assassin for a few days now, and she didn't feel like doing it. There wasn't anyone she knew without a possible intention to just be using her. Even Yuki had constantly ignored her warnings and only seemed to be inviting her around for tough battles. No, Yuki had surely thrown her away. Thrown her away for Crozeph and NIGHT. NIGHT made since, she was just a better version of herself. Crozeph; however, surprised her. What did he have to offer Yuki? He was cowardly, weak, and relatively useless. He could serve as a meatshield, but nothing else. Mari just felt bad about her. She was certain that Aereth was afraid of her and in hiding. 

With Raidou and Ayame gone, she was alone again.

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A mix of vials that rattle as they are added to the shelving. A small book removed from his pocket sees a line drawn and a few more written to the list, a soft scratch before its clamped shut. Out of the vault into the main stage, the primary house of the guild. The meeting hall. To the table Raidou pulls over a blank sheet, and quickly transcribes the outline for the new version of Earning a living and its parameters down. For the others to sink their teeth into, should they need his insight.

A push of his lenses on the bridge of his nose, a reflected lens flare that darts quickly across the wooden floor. Hiding his eyes from view, keeping them shielded from faces that would be looking to them. A few sets of eyes that he was becoming accustomed to feeling on his back. The man in red, the wanderer, and guild leader despite his attempts to remain away from seat of power. The guild was to be a conglomerate of voices and nothing more. All of those voices had an equal say and part to play.

A silent nod payed and returned, as Raidou moved for the door to the guild's doors. He had his own day to push through, the small detour having been handled.

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