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[F1-PP] When the day met the night

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Download wallpaper from anime Sword Art Online with tags: Windows Vista

One moment ago, Sera was back at home cuddling with 'Stormy the cat', and then the next everything started to be encapsulated by a void. As the world around her - the plants, her favorite blanket, everything - was eaten by the darkness a bright light followed. In the depths of the light movement could be seen.  Shadows flicking dangerously and ominously in the distance. Then, spouts of color start to pass by in a whirl. Red. Blue. Yellow. All of them blending and molding together to create a figure that hovers menacingly over a crowd. Suddenly, everything dropped as her body was propelled downward. Helpless to do anything wide eyes watched as a light the - THUD! Loudly groaning the women slowly opened her ruby orbs and see a reddish brown before her. Blinking rapidly so that blurry vision cleared Sera found that the floor was staring back up. Pushing herself up so that she leaned on her right arm the player glanced around rapidly. There was nothing to be alarmed about. Sighing, the women then plopped back down on the floor as exhaustion took over. It had been weeks since this dream started to occur, and it was finally catching up with her.

"I just wanna sleep..." Sera mumbled, her voice getting softer with each word. For the next few hours, she attempted to sleep, but the restful slumber that was needed never came. Instead, the light started to peek over the window seal was the world woke up. Slowly, the sounds of movement began to echo through the room. Perhaps it was time to get up and start the day. Effortlessly pushing off the floor the women rose until she was standing. Carelessly throwing the blanket on the bed she exited the room. 



Edited by Seraphina
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Another day, another morning. Another moment that her secondary had been left fast asleep, pretend or not, when NIGHT herself had withdrawn from her bed. She spent only seconds with her eyes glazed, drawn to the golden curls upon her white sheets, before rising, pacing, throwing herself into the corridor of home in order to get herself ready.

System updates weren't supposed to happen often, but Cardinal had proven itself finicky in the passing days. Strangely enough, it never seemed to bother her deviant of a construct; rather, her image had always been plastered with perplexity, come this new knowledge whenever the player stole DAY a glance. She swept the thought to the side, drying her face off with a towel, a questioning gaze met to herself as she raised it to the mirror. Some part of her thought the extra effort to hone her expertise in combat was unnecessary given her past experience. A different angle was uncertainty instead, if it would be enough for the challenges ahead.

So she slid herself out the home, a granola bar between her teeth and a prepared note on the counter that told her housemate to go busy a meal for herself. Messy hair, sport shorts, running shoes and a tracksuit, all dipped and dyed in black. Under the glow of the rising sun, the Town of Beginnings was only starting to stir, the sleepy city, and the woman stowed away to a quiet part of the haven, winding through the alleys as her guide once lead her through.

Efficient. Quiet. Hasty. There was a corner on one of the northern quadrants where a dead end had been transformed into a secluded square of sorts. What clustered and vibrant foliage that bordered the makeshift arena now fell to dimmed hues as the skies ahead were barely starting to wake. NIGHT's steps had slowed once she'd found the place, soles drawing a dusty shuffle, and in her hands a shimmer of light pulled itself together to form one of her weapons.

It stilled. NIGHT couldn't decide which to begin with.

Her first greatsword was forged, once balanced on an altar on a display in her house. Doombringer; the blade was weightless, forged from beginner's steel, edges white with a dip at the center of the arm's body, a trap for those that got its claws caught into its hold. It should've been heavy, but now it was far from it given NIGHT's improvement since its use. She started giving it a few gentle sweeps, testing the sword arts she knew to ones she didn't.

 | Status: [tfw cardinal cant make up its mind smh]



NIGHT HP: 840/840 | EN: 122/122 | DMG: 23 | ACC: 3 | EVA: 3 | MIT: 44 | LM: 2 | HLY: 8 | PHASE | LD: 5 | BH: 25 | Stealth Rating: 5


  • Orgoth's Legacy
    ACC, PHASE, HOLY (8)
  • Tracksuit of Unfathomable Fashionability
    MIT (24), LM II
  • Silver Crescent Necklace

 battle-ready inventory

  • - - -
  • - - -
  • - - -



mod count: 7/7

  • 2HSS | RANK 5/5
    • ferocity, stamina
    • athletics, nimble
  • SEARCHING | RANK 3+1/5
    • tracking


    • blindside, vanish, surprise attack-t

 consumed buffs



  • MOTHRA | +1 EN Recovery
  • TANOS | +25 MIT
  • MORETSUNA | +50 HP
  • OROCHI | +1 LD


  1. - - -
  2. - - -

 misc buffs



  • Dimensional Backpack, Item Stash
    | +2 Battle-Ready Inventory Slots.
  • Well Rested
    | -1 EN for the first three expenditures of each combat. 
  • Relaxed
    | +(5 * Tier) HP per out-of-combat post. Full energy restoration occurs after two turns out of combat.
  • Squeaky Clean
    | -25% DoT damage taken from the first DoT applied to this player in a thread.
  • Skylight: Searching
    | +1 Expertise to declared utility skill. Cooldown of 30 days to reassign.
  • Multipurpose
    | +1 LD/Prosperity/Stealth/Detection to one post per thread. Can be applied after a roll.
  • Filling
    | +1 T1 slot to a food consumed by this player in a thread. Can exceed Cook enhancement caps.
  • Col Deposit
    | +5% col from loot-minimum mobs, +10% col from treasure chests.


  • Lv. 5 | Gain additional col equivalent to 10% of EXP earned in that thread.
  • Lv. 10 | +3% EXP Gain.


  • Greenhouse
    | +2 G.EXP, +1 CD&LD to gathering attempts.
  • Familiar: Profession
    | +2 G.EXP
  • Demeter's Cornucopia
    | +1 CD to gathering attempts. 


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Players of all kinds wandered by as Sera walk the familiar path to the sweet shop that was located on the first floor. Since the beginning of this journey, it had become a place of comfort. The NPC that ran the shop, Tallula, was as sweet as the pastries that were sold. Currently, the personal favorite was the cinnamon bun that was the size of Sera's head. She was pretty sure that the sweet was well known of the first floor; but if it was not then players were missing out. Sitting at the usual spot - the corner to the right of the counter - she waited patiently as Tallula walked from table to table purposely. The wait was never long. Before Sera could even think the bluedette was promptly taking, and bringing, the order. Feeling the tea slip down her throat a deep, muscle relaxing sigh exited. This was what she needed this morning. A little peace and quiet before the day officially started. 

For the next half an hour the woman sat in the café minding her own business. Since starting the game Sera had only made one potential friend and that was ChaseR. Briefly, her mind wandered to what he might be doing right now and if he would like to party up with her for a quest. After several minutes of pondering the thought, a decision was made. He had just done a quest with her, and a break was deserved. Maybe even a little exploring. Standing, and scooting the chair back at the same time, payment was left and then the women exited the building. 

With no destination in mind, the white-haired woman let her mind wander and her feet decide the path. Wherever they were going the surrounding area started to grow quieter and quiet until a strange noise could be heard in the background. More curious than a cat the woman followed the strange noise until she came upon a clearing. There, in the clearing, was none other than another player. Even more curiously a gigantic two-handed sword was being swung around like a baseball bat. Forgetting the manners that had been instilled ruby orbs stared in fascination. Sera was worried that even the slightest sound was startled the player; so, she did her best to stay quiet until the demonstration was complete. 


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If she had been so lucky, her toolkit would've been graced with a familiar skill, one where she could switch her weapons out with only a simple maneuver. Though Cardinal was lenient on its considerations of her movements, registering swings that should've been rocky left and right, it wasn't the same so on other aspects of her combatative build. NIGHT paused after a moment, letting out a huff of annoyance to the system she'd assumed to know so well; these little details were something she'd aught to take great note of, before a stray slash on the field would catch her off-guard and trapped in an execution unintended.

She let her gaze idle, waiting, steps shifting around the grounds just as the game patiently avoided registering her out of action. Then, lilac eyes met crimson.

NIGHT wasn't aware she had an audience.

The player only stared at the other, uncertain which one of them was the figurative deer in headlights — by the square's exit was a taller woman with long white hair, and though NIGHT had other thoughts about being observed surreptitiously as the other person had done so, her immediate connection was a swear that the look was a fashion trend by then.

The white-haired anime protagonist adventurer renaissance.

And here, she figured it was only popular with the newbies, from what she'd made of them from her shop.

NIGHT stayed silent, holding contact and blinking once only when she'd timed the system to allow her to switch out her arms again. Then, the weapon on her fingertips faded from monochrome, consumed by white, to form a thicker and heavier jet black blade, texture almost stone-carved. When her hand rested easy on her executioner's grip once more, she raised her empty other, palm turned up slightly.

"... Can I help you?"

It only took her a few more seconds to realize that the location she'd scouted was just as known as any other public space. "—Wait, do you usually use this corner around this time of day?" It showed on her face as some small amount of shock; her voice rushed was rushed as she quickly followed up, sheepish. "Sorry, I didn't know. I'll find somewhere else to train if you need me to."


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The realization dawned on Sera that she had been staring. Blinking rapidly, a hand was brought to the back of her head and an embarrassed grin expanded across pixelated features. “No no,” Sera reassured the women, “I was just walking around and kinda got lost in thought...”

With that said a quick gaze was cast about the surrounding area. This was not the familiar streets that had been wandered the past two years. In fact, now the player was not entirely sure that she had been to this corner. Scolding herself slightly at being so unaware the white-haired women turned her attention back to the player in front of her. “If you don’t mind sharing, where am I exactly? I seem to be a little lost.” Sera turned in a tight circle before a curious gaze landed back on the other girl. “Also, I’m Sera. Nice to meet you.”

As time had passed a routine had developed for Sera; wake up, go get breakfast, and then wander the streets, eat, and then wander again until dinner. There were a few spots that were enjoyed on a daily – much like the sweet shop – and then other places where she had never been. As much as an effort was put into trying new things it was hard to deviate from the normal. However, it appears that effort was not the key to deviation, it was luck.

Pure, dumb luck.

First she had met ChaseR and now this player. When she had met ChaseR there had been a feeling of content had filled her life. She was fine with living the rest of her days adventuring and alone - at least until going home. However,  now that a connection had been establish a craving for more was sparked and would not die down. It was that feeling that cause heeled feet to be planted firmly on the ground. 

“Also, do you come here often? I can see why if you do. It would be a wonderful training location.” Sera mentioned while casually while trying to keep the conversation going. 


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Only one thought registered with her when NIGHT watched the other woman spiral around:

—An airhead?

The player could only tilt her head forward; just as Sera herself had been lost in both mind and body, so too was NIGHT on their individual dispositions. Multiple years in the Town of Beginnings, and someone could still find themselves lost in it? Had Cardinal not been shifting about the pieces of the realm as of recent, the latter would scarcely believe it.

"You're in the north of the city," she replied, resting the black barb upon her shoulder by slant of its edge. Her other hand found purchase on her hip, eyes half-lidded as she recalled the directions she'd taken to get to their grounds. "If you take a left out of this alley and continue going straight ahead from here, you'll find the main street again."

“Also, I’m Sera. Nice to meet you.”

"... NIGHT. And... likewise."

The introduction left the swordswoman in a pause, a rut of confusion. An exchanging of names, especially on abrupt notice, was always so strange by the player's account. After all, was there a reason any two people needed to get to know each other upon first notice? It wasn't as though she was going to work with Sera in the immediate future... right? Why expend the effort for any amount of familiarity?

“Also, do you come here often?”

(—Was that a pick up line?)

It was, similarly, by luck alone that NIGHT had managed to catch the rest of what Sera was saying as she choked, eyes widened, stunned on the spot. The woman only managed to stutter before looking away, trying to ignore the seeping cherry crawling up her face. "N-no," came her quip, the flat of her pointer working at her cheek, a swiveling of her body turning the bulk of her blade towards Sera, almost as though it was being used to cover up the fact that the player had been caught in a fluster once again.

"It just looked like a nice secluded location that I last noticed while exploring the city. Um. Due to the patch updates and all."

NIGHT proceeded to clear her throat before turning back to her companion, seeming a little more worse for wear had the other player paid too much attention to the burning warrior. "So, um... A-are you looking to train here too...?"

Not like the former was looking for a sparring partner or anything, but granted, she'd only expected the most outgoing of players to have strayed away from the Town of Beginnings. That, coupled with Sera's apparent sense of being lost, told a believable story in the woman's head.

"I mean, I don't think I've seen you around the city myself," NIGHT justified, empty hand sinking deep into her shorts' pocket; only one part of her brutal attempt to make herself seem smaller, the player shy, gaze almost searching the ground behind Sera just so she wouldn't have to make eye contact of any kind. "If you wanted to share the square... I guess I wouldn't mind."


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It did not take long to realize that a mistake had been made. 

Well, not a mistake per say, but something akin to the idea of a mistake. Perhaps a misjudgment? Deciding the misjudgment was the preferable and more accurate word Sera found herself nodding. As the thought finished forming in her head the reaction from the other player - now known as NIGHT - caused ruby orbs to flicker with worry. 

As the last question had been asked it suddenly dawned on the player why NIGHT was reacting such a way; such a way being wide eyed, choked, and coy. Not only that, but NIGHT's face turned the color of a ripe tomato at mid-summer. At the realization her own features started to turn their own version of cherry tomato. 

It was too late though. NIGHT had moved on from the conversation. 

"So, um... A-are you looking to train here too...?"

Quickly, in an effort hide her own embarrassment, Sera waved her hand frantically in front of her face. "No, no," Sera chimed, bringing finger up to twirl one of the snow colored locks, "I got a little lost in thought and just kinda wandered here..." Being reminded of what on her mind prior to arriving the sheepish grin faltered for just a second before being replaced. In truth, Sera had been stuck thinking about her life in the real world. As much as she was aware that this was her new life it was hard to let go of what was once was -  especially went ones memory was struggling to recall important faces and imformation. 

It was NIGHT that brought her back to (virtual) reality. Hearing that the other player would be willing to share the square caused the taller players eyes to glisten with excitement. "Thanks, I appreciate that." Then, Sera made her way over to one of the bench's on the outskirts of the square and sat down cross legged. "You can carry on training if you want. I won't disturbed you. Plus, you seem experienced and I could always stand to learn a thing or two." 


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Experienced? The thought of this other player being unlikely so had briefly crossed her mind. It didn't fully register to the woman the other implications of being referred to as 'experienced' until Sera had seated herself fully, when the woman was already in the midst of trying to rejudge the stranger's character while also gathering her composure. "U-Uh," NIGHT found herself stuttering, tucking a lock behind her ear out of habit. "Thanks— I guess. I mean, I'm not really much of a teacher myself, but..."

It dawned on the woman to have made more sense vocalizing her assessment of Sera, by then. "I-I mean, I'd figured you were... uh, experienced — yourself, too." She gestured towards Sera with a palm turned upwards, gingerly following after the other player's footsteps; NIGHT stopped when she was close enough to speak comfortably to the other player, a few feet away from her new audience. "Not that there's anything wrong with it otherwise, of course." A clarification meant for both her and her newfound companion, the shocking and gentle reminder that life about Aincrad was not filled solely with combat despite what the world might have them believe. Her eyes trailed down to her blade as she swung it lightly, tilting it away from Sera. "I used to not do this for a living myself, come to think of it. You just... sort of look the part of an adventurer. That's all."

A cleared throat and her lips hidden behind a closed fist. NIGHT paced just a little further away, making sure to get a good breadth from her bystander, knowing full well the destructive ability of her weapon and gauging a range of her practiced arts. Cardinal was deciding to allow movements to shift freely, fluent; it would serve them both well safety precautions were taken when executing less familiar arts.

"I guess... Let me know if you want something clarified from my abilities," NIGHT decided, once she'd readied up a stance and the length of her blade started to shimmer a bright blue flare. Her weapon, hefty, was situated at her side, almost looking to be drawn from a non-existent scabbard by her waist. Steadied breathing and a flicker of violet, the warrior's gaze shifted from the white of her audience to the wall behind her.

Though her attacks were chained, NIGHT still found it relatively difficult to concentrate. Not that it would show, nor would she tell her associate this. 'Being watched'.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The response was not immediate more for the fact that the smaller player had decided to wander back to the middle of the square and re-start practicing. As the other player wandered away Sera thought about what the NIGHT had said. The words "I'd figured you were... uh, experienced — yourself, too" rang through her mind. Had Sera come off as experienced? She had always perceived herself as someone who appeared to be new. Either way, the young women decided it was a compliment. 

"I certainly will," Sera stated, not even being sure if sword moves could be transferred to the assault spear, "Also, I'm definitely a new player. Back in the real world I rarely played fighting games; only farming and puzzle. I couldn't stand the stress that came with trying to win a battle." As the statement finished a soft, sad smile befell the smooth features. How she missed the simplicity of a farming game. They were predicable. Move to a new town, inherit a house and land, tidy up the land, plant, and then harvest. There was rarely any surprises and the goal of the game was typically to grow your farm. Fighting games were not predicable. 

Sword Art Online was not predictable. 

Yet here she was. Sitting in a virtual world engaging with another virtual representation of a person and in a game that main premises was the very thing she tried to avoid in games - fighting. The memories of her friends and family come rushing back. Misha and Gwen. "It's funny," Sera said softly, "I probably would even be here right now if it wasn't for some friends. I don't even know where those friends are. Of if they even made it in..." In her head, Sera hoped that they were still in the real world. Alive and safe. Realizing that it was a depressing note to engage a conversation on Sera perked up a little and stated, "But yeah. That is why I was kinda surprised you thought I was experienced." 


Edited by Seraphina
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NIGHT's ears nearly pricked up at the mention of them. Had it not been for her meditation at the falls, she wouldn't have had the remembrance of her own isolation seep into the forefront of her thoughts. Her movements slowed, just as Seraphina began speaking; it bode well to pay attention to someone when they were talking, after all. But part of it was from that fresh taste of melancholy.

And in addition... what was the best wish for them, for Sera? That she hoped they'd made it in, just to remain refugees of the iron castle? Or that they hadn't, to better leave her companion alone?

"But yeah. That is why I was kinda surprised you thought I was experienced."

"I guess you wouldn't know it," NIGHT replied, uncertain about their conversation's topic, "But in larger multiplayer games, there used to be a saying that 'fashion is end-game'." Her empty hand rubbed the corner of her jaw, thumb fidgeting idly, fist plush on the skin of her neck. "All it takes to fool anyone is to look stylish enough. 'Like you know what you're doing'," the player recited. "At the very least, have you ever seen those advertisements for action games? Protagonists with baggy pants or too many belts -- it's all part of street fashion in Japanese culture. That's how deep that rabbit hole stems."

It was only after that last bit of information that NIGHT wondered if she should fall quiet, knowing that it showed her experience with games, among other details about herself.

"Farming and puzzle though," she began again, gaze lifted off of Sera as the player shifted into another stance, readying another chain of attacks. "A casual player? You used to play mobile games?"

NIGHT stilled herself, however, thinking back on the memory of her isolation. Upon the other players she'd become familiar with. Farming, gardening.

She should make contact again, some time.

"I used to know someone who emulated that for a business model here." NIGHT slowed her breathing, trying to clear her thoughts before she struck out once more. "The farming bit. Don't know if he's still doing it, however. He wasn't all that into combat."

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As NIGHT mentioned that fashion was the key to looking like an advanced player a quick glance was cast down at her outfit. If that was true, no wonder the small player thought that. If she saw herself walking around the first floor, she would think the exact same thing. Nice clothes. Hair piece. Gloves. The more attention that was paid to the outfit the more self-conscious she became. "You make a good point..." Sear mused out loud, while grimacing softly, "Maybe I need to go shopping tomorrow..." The thought of changing how she dressed was lingering in her mind.

Hearing the words “mobile gamer” a firm nod was provided. "Yep, it was always so easy to just pull out my phone and mindlessly plant some crops." As NIGHT then pulled on the knowledge that the same thing could be done in SAO the white-haired player perked up. "That can be done here!" Sera exclaimed louder than anticipated due to the excitement bubbling over. "I've always heard player say that they could buy houses on the upper floors but never anything about farming or gardening." Just hearing that brought on a new sense of motivation. Even here, in this virtual death trap, there was a way to do the things that she enjoyed. 

"Do you have any hobbies that you do?" Sera questioned, red eyes glancing up at NIGHT, "In the game or real life?" Earlier Sera had shared some inner thoughts and the weight that had been felt since learning her fate had lifted slightly. No one talks about the real world. No one talks about how much they lost or, sometimes more importantly, who they lost. There was an awareness there that those conversations brought up vibrant, painful emotions but that was part of the healing process. That was how one moved on.

"I used to garden in real life too. There is something so calming about it. When I wasn't doing that then I was writing papers or working on presentations. I remember really liking presentations - there was just something about knowing about a topic and sharing knowledge"




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Her evaluation of Cardinal's new sword skills were as such, as she lunged forward in a flurry of lights, bright attacks. She could be deft and swift as she once was, and new enhancements had been made to the system to ensure almost all strikes were registered motions for an impactful swing. Especially with a weapon. When NIGHT slowed, her breathing was maintained; her mind rushed to take notes of her experience, graciously understanding them to not be as meticulous as usual.

But she had been listening to someone else in the meanwhile. She could grant herself understanding for that notion. However -- hobbies? The woman wasn't sure what would count as an acceptable answer.

In the past, it used to be video games. But that was in part due to her field of expertise, and it couldn't be replicated in Aincrad. That, and she had appearances to keep up with.

So her fingers fidgeted with the sword grip in her hand.

"I took up artisanry after professions got released." NIGHT's eyes wandered, facing Sera, trying to recall if she had anything else relevant to have brought up. "I... guess I have drawing experience. I'd opened up a shop in the first once I got comfortable. Designed each piece myself. I specialize in trinkets and jewelry, though the system lets me put together display pieces too."

--Not that she believed it should've counted as a hobby...

"I'd read too, but books are difficult to come by these days." She recalled someone else being particularly upset about a novel he was reading not too long ago. At least, he'd seemed that way from her perspective, though she wasn't too certain of his demeanor at the time.

(And if she'd begun explaining the intricacies of trying to ease away from her housemate to a complete stranger, while it would be an honest answer for their topic of conversation, surely it would've sent alarm bells through her companion. Let alone the rest of Aincrad.)

(So NIGHT kept quiet about it. Hummed as she thought instead.)

"The guy I'd mentioned," she disclosed, ball of her thumb on the side of her chin. "He used to rent out space on the first, too, as a store front. As other floors got cleared, rent was cheaper on the higher levels despite the initial deposit. It wasn't a housing lot; he used to do indoor gardening himself. Had a few of us build furniture for his little warehouses..."

NIGHT sighed, folding her arms. The blade was still lodged in her hands as she leaned on one foot, thinking. "I don't know if he was familiar with the concept in real life. Maybe it was easier to do it with Cardinal's simplified systems. But it was almost like a full-time job for him, gardening, and supplying his materials to a few of the first crafters."

Then Sera mentioned papers and presentations, and a faint anxiety sank back in.

"A student?"

So too did kinship. Because at least she wasn't alone in her predicament.

"I can't remember liking menial work myself." There was a wry smile on her face, finger tucking the lock of hair that had gone astray behind her ear again. "Always at arbitrary times, in the middle of one project or another. Like I had the time to take myself away from my code..."

Still, NIGHT found herself humbled, recalling her disorderly morning routines despite having everything else at school kept presentable and organized. In midst of her words, a slight realization struck her; how many hadn't often spoken about their lives outside of Aincrad. The player wasn't sure when that notion first sunk into her -- that such a topic of discussion was intrusive, unwelcome to the average adventurer. Here Sera was, speaking about it as though it had been natural. Expected.

The player was like that, once. Maybe it proved Sera as a novice, whether she realized it or not.

Maybe it was a good thing.

"I was... studying for my diploma," NIGHT confessed, hands holding herself closer as she spoke. "Majoring in... Let's just say it's IT and call it a day. Two years into the course, and I was on my way to complete my third. My final year."

When the woman exhaled, her gaze initially went back up to the sky. Then, she recalled her disposition, standing ahead of Sera, and she shifted to take a seat beside her companion. The tip of her weapon lodged firmly into the dirt, and NIGHT brought herself to lean against its dull edges; arms upon the underside of its blade, and the flat of its ribbed guard.

A pout could be seen on her face, but wistful remembrance was reflected in her eyes.

"... What about you? What were you pursuing that you had time for gardening for?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

A lingering gaze that had been fixated on herself rather than NIGHT shifted again when the sounds of "whooshing" filled the space. Mesmerized by the calculated, graceful swings that the smaller player was creating Sera found herself unable to look away. Despite the continuance of movement there had been something that the player had not missed. A shift in air and presence. It appears the topic of schooling had caught NIGHT attention. That thought was confirmed when NIGHT stopped her actions.

Leaning forward, Sera attentively listened as NIGHT shared her thoughts and about the other player who managed to successfully garden. How she would love to one day be strong enough, and stable enough, to afford a shop on the first floor and sell goods. That topic quickly moved on as the black-haired player discussed her school. 

"I was... studying for my diploma majoring in... Let's just say it's IT and call it a day. Two years into the course, and I was on my way to complete my third. My final year."

As the other player took a seat on the bench and leaned on the sword Sera scooted over to make enough room for both. The bench was much bigger than the two-player sitting on it. Deciding that now was the time to get comfortable the women folded up her legs and then placed an elbow on her knee so that it was clear she was paying attention. The next question was predictable, and rightly so. 

"I was studying Non-Profit and Business Management," Sear relayed, wistfully smile at the ground in front of her, "My dad owned a non-profit company that assisted families who had been screwed over the medical organizations. He had a dedicated legal team and truly cared for those that came to him for help." It was obvious that he emulated her dad. He was smart and successful but also had a heart of gold. "Did you always want to major in IT?" 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Business Management? Back in her country, it was something to be proud about. A degree in the financial sector was steady, comfortable, and perhaps that was why Sera's work-life balance didn't seem to be pushing boundaries, NIGHT reasoned. The player's focus switched then, to the 'Non-Profit' append of the title. There weren't such things like those as far as she could remember... but was she right?

"Medical organizations and fraud?" A slow blink, gaze set upon grass. One small twitch of her brow could be seen, the woman considering that detail carefully, before she turned back to look upon Sera. There was a hum that trailed her shift. "Don't tell me. You're from the States, aren't you? Figured that's how bad the system over there's been. Honestly, I'm more surprised that they've even..."

NIGHT held that last note, smoldering its tone in between the roof of her mouth and tongue. She shook her head.  "Never mind." Aincrad was already morbid enough for a daily player, much less herself. And discussing of mortality, within the game or out, was a fragile topic not suited for a peaceful morning. The player took her eyes off her companion, letting them wander off towards the distance.

"Did you always want to major in IT?" 

A quiet pause accentuated their conversation.

"I don't think so."

And Sera might've caught a gleam of uncertainty in the tight corners of NIGHT's lips.

"It's just something I've always grown up with," she added, facing towards the clouds once again. "So it's the most likely. That's all."

Another silence, as NIGHT shuffled herself backwards, getting comfortable in her seat.

"IT's pretty prevalent where I'm from." The woman had brought her sights down to earth, looking to the folds of Sera's clothing as her mind worked to continue speaking. "Might be the only thing I'm certain would persist in the years to come. Think it wanted to proclaim itself as the world's 'first smart nation' or whatever." NIGHT's smile was weary, strained, as a chuckle expressed her denial. "They might've had a hand to play in the research of the NerveGear too. I don't know. Leading experts in science and all that."

Her eyes met blue again, fading out into white. Above the cracked cream, white and gray walls that extended outwards, trying to reach the heavens, clouds were drifting idly by. A calm firmament. NIGHT straightened her back with an exhale, pulling her arms alongside the act, wrists hooking upon her blade for good measure.


The woman's gaze bounced back to her conversation partner. "'Non-profit heiress.' Where'd you pick up gardening from? The community centers?" With a light stare, her comment should've been easily read in a jest. Still, NIGHT kept her excuses about her, resting just below her tongue.


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