The Neuro Band chimed a screech-like sound as it began to flash. In an instance, Nana’s body was being scanned by a visible, kinetic light that emitted from the band. Once her whole body was scanned and recognized, the sensors in the band pulsed into her nervous system and she then saw a flash and everything turned pitch-black. She could feel her body become as light as a feather and even beyond that. Her heart raced as she was clueless to what would happen next. She didn’t even notice that she was no longer breathing. As she began to think she was in an empty space, millions of numbers flashed in her vision and she could feel her body and breathing again. She coughed as the air felt lighter and sleeker. The sensation was addicting as she breathed in three times her normal respiration limit could take in. She also noticed that she was set in a female attire that was nothing but a white shirt and white skirt. She looked around to find herself in a void that seemed blank in its own term. Seconds later, more people began to generate in the void all in white apparel, confused. In front of the herd stood a transparent panel that read the number of logging-in players. The number increased drastically. Nana observed around her and could tell there were less people than what the panel was telling them so she could only conclude that there are separate locational voids with the same boundaries as Nana’s. She also noticed that everyone still had their Neuro Bands on. She would’ve figured that the bands would not show themselves inside the software but she didn’t know much about games in general. Moments later, another panel appeared as the first one disintegrated. The panel read HEDRA-HEX UNLIMITED and a voice came into earshot, Welcome, Children of the World. The voice sounded male. As you can see, there is nothing. But do not fret. You are simply in between strings of space, muck like the threads and fibers of the iris. You are on the edge of entering a world where you may thrive in both physically. Socially. And mentally. My name is Takeo Kammamoto. Creator of this diverse and heavenly reality I call Hedra-Hex. In a few moments, a portal will be ready ahead into the new world. You will be able to create lives of your own. Interact with all who have come like you. And, of course, fight to your heart’s content.
The voices of thousands cheered with excitement.
But before you go, there is one rule that applies to every one of you. Anyone has the power to change everything. But you are limited. To achieve that goal you are given and only given three chances. The first is your most treasured chance. Do not take it for granted.
Nana felt uneasy by the tone of the creator’s statements.
Your second is your warning. Be aware of your flaws and use everything in your power to not make the same mistake as the first.
The atmosphere was less than settling.
Your final chance is your last chance. It will also be the chance where you will feel at most vulnerable. If you make the wrong choice, well, let's hope that never happens.
Nana could feel the seriousness in the creator’s tone. This guy meant business.
Suddenly, a large mechanism opened from the floor and rose to the heavens of the void as a pure bright beam of light surrounded the machine.
And with that, I welcome you. To Hedra-Hex Unlimited.
In an instant, the light from the infinitely tall mechanism flashed brighter than the sun, blinding everyone for seconds. When Nana opened her eyes to see, she saw a faint sign of wide land below her. She was falling out of the sky. Everyone was falling. Nana panicked and screamed in agony. I don’t want to die! She kept to herself. People around her also screamed and shouted for their lives as the land mass grew closer. Suddenly after hitting a layer of clouds, a force pushed against Nana lightly as she began slowing down. Continuously, everyone’s fall slowed exponentially fast. In seconds, Nana landed firmly and harmlessly onto the ground. She was in shock after what just happened.
Kizami woke up after fainting during the free-fall and found himself in a garden full of birds, small animals, and flowers—things that could amaze any girl at first sight.
He stood up, rubbing his head as if he had a migraine, and looked around. He found a cave-way that was covered in willow vines and flowers and headed inside. The cave was long to be seen as a tunnel. At the end, Kizami could see a very faint light and rushed towards it. Finally making it out, the sunlight blinded him for a second before revealing an enormous old century-looking city that extended for miles, surrounded by forest and mountains. Kizami recognized the city from the demo he played in the previous month before its release and started to walk towards the shining utopia. 10 minutes into his journey, Kizami heard struggling in the woods to his right and decided to check it out.
Vines were wrapped around Maria’s right leg, caught in a willow tree just outside the city.
“Dammit!” she mumbled, “How did this happen? Why couldn’t I have landed somewhere more open?” She yanked at the vines, splitting a few at a time. The more she tore, she lower she got. Unfortunately, she was still quite high in the tree. One wrong move and she would fall fatally. Maria whined, “Someone help me!”
Suddenly, a boy ran to the tree and saw Maria in a tangle, “Are you okay?”
“Ah! Stranger! Can you help me?”
“Sure. What do you want me to do?”
Maria tore the last vine and began to fall, “Catch!”
She landed on the boy with a thud, dazed. Regaining consciousness, Maria was face to face with her rescuer, the boy flustered in surprise. She also felt something squeezing against her and looked down to find his hand groping one of her breasts. In an instant, Maria screamed with embarrassment, jumped up and ran over the boy, into the bushes a few feet away.
The boy got up, trying to soothe the pain on his face from Maria’s stomping, and searched for the girl.
“Hello?” he began, “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine! Just go away!”
“I just wanted to know if you didn’t get hurt or anything. Sorry if I offended you.”
“You groped me!”
“In all honesty, I never meant any harm. I was just trying to help you get out of the tree. What happened after that was completely out of my control, I swear.”
Maria stood silently. When the boy suddenly found and surprised Maria, she reacted and fell backwards over a stump, her legs dangling in the air, exposing her white panties underneath.
The boy saw and turned red.
“Don’t look!” Maria shouted in embarrassment.
“Y-yes, ma’am!” he said as he turned around.
Maria brushed herself off and fixed her skirt. She had a few minor cuts on her arms and legs from the confusion and struggling. Maria sulked, “Darn. I look like a mess…”
“Um,” the boy mumbled, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Maria sighed and nodded, “Yeah. It just stings a little is all…” After realizing what she just said, she realized it, “It…stings?” She didn’t expect the game to produce actual pain sensors with their bodies, “Pain! It hurts! Owww!”
“Do need help??” the boy asked. Before getting a reply, he looked closely at Maria’s wounds. There wasn’t any red blood at all. Instead, the cuts leaked a white fluid.
Maria also noticed it and began to panic, “W-what is this?! Is this….f-from you?!”
The boy’s face turned red and flustered, “N-no! I didn’t do that!”
Maria began to sob, covering her face with her hands, “I can’t get married now!”
The boy knew he had to calm her down and decided to show her what he meant. He painfully scraped his arm against a sharp rock, making a small cut as white fluid began seeping out. “Look, I got it too.”
Maria looked at his arm and saw the same colored liquid that covered her, appalled, “Is that supposed to be…blood?”
“I guess so,” he answered, feeling the pain in his arm. “Look, we should get out of here and find something to help with the cuts, okay?”
Maria calmed herself and stood up firmly. The boy nodded and began walking towards the city. “Oh, by the way, I’m Kizami Jinnouchi. What’s your name?”
In the city, Kazuma spent his initial amount of 10,000 gold on new clothes, armor and weaponry. He sighed, “Still got 2,000 left.” He decided to look at the nearby map on the bulletin sphere that hovered in the middle of the city square. He saw the name of the city. “New Eden, huh…” He found where the battlegrounds were and had an idea.
Sightseeing the major structures of the city, Aevella took a number of snapshots from the In-Home menu and saved them to her Neuro Band storage. As she turned to explore more, she bumped into a girl, almost dazed.
“Ah! I’m so sorry!”
“No,” Aevella replied, rubbing her forehead, “it’s my fault. I wasn’t looking where I was going.” She helped the girl onto her feet. “Are you lost?”
“Yeah,” the girl murmured, “I am.” She was still in her default clothing from the open ceremony.
“Come on,” Aevella said, “Let’s get you some decent clothes.”
The two then shopped in a store labeled Ocula Attire. Aevella let the girl look around. “By the way,” she continued, “do you have a name?”
The girl felt the texture of certain clothing, “Nana.”
“Nana? That’s cute.”
“You think so?”
“Yeah. You also sound Asian.”
“Yeah,” Nana answered while looking at shoes, “I’m from Anaj.”
“Interesting, I’m from Serco.”
“Eheh, I’ve never been there before.”
“Mhm!” Nana then found a fitting room and began changing with Aevella watching the door.
“By the way, my name is Aevella.”
“Nice to meet you, Aevella.”
Aevella leaned against the door, “Ditto.”
After a few minutes, Nana came out. Aevella was amazed at Nana’s fashion combination. She wore a black under-layer of spats and a short skintight top. The top layer consisted of a white shirt top with attached black sleeves as part of the top. The spats served as bottoms to Nana. Wearing long black knee-socks, she wore thin, knee-high white boots that extended two straps just above the knees.
Aevella was impressed, “Black and white. Not bad.”
“Are we there yet?” Maria whined as she was piggybacking Kizami.
“Almost,” he told her.
“Are we there yet?”
“Are we there yet?”
Kizami sighed, “Yes.”
Kizami started to get annoyed, “Isn’t there a fast-travel option or something?” He looked through his In-Home menu and found Navigator. Pressing on the option, a girl in a white bodysuit and a compass labelled on her chest appeared in front of Kizami and Maria.
“Hello,” the girl said, “I am your navigator. It seems you might be lost. Would you like to teleport to the nearest waypoint in the city?”
The two were saved, “Yes, please!”
In an instant, Kizami and Maria vanished from the forest and reappeared near the exit of the city.
“We’re here!” Maria cheered.
Kizami collapsed on the ground, exhausted. Maria leaned over into his ear calmly, “Hey. Thanks for carrying me.”
Kizami laughed a little despite being so tired, “Don’t know why you didn’t walk since you weren’t that injured…”
“My legs fell asleep, what can I say?”
“That’s not a very good excuse.”
“Hey, we should seriously get clothes. These white shirts are annoying the hell out of me.” Kizami just nodded as Maria began dragging him to the nearest clothes shop.
In a store named Kleine, Kizami looked for simple matches while Maria tried on hundreds of outfits in the fitting room. Kizami bought a dark-grey overcoat with cardinal trimming and hunting pants that went with any addition and a pair of red and silver heavy duty boots. Kizami waited outside the fitting room, “Have you found anything yet?”
“Tada!” Maria announced as she spun out of the room in a cherry-pink attire set with black trimming, black under-layer, and a detachable hoodie that was black on the outside and pink on the inside with an embroidery design in the front. “What do you think?”
Kizami was frozen and speechless at the sight of Maria’s true charm. Maria read his expression and checked out at the front, “I’ll buy this one, please.”
“Oh,” Kizami instated, “You’re not going to buy another one?”
“This is all I need for now. I don’t want to blow all my money, now, do I?”
On their way out, Kizami realized how busy and full of activity the square was. Everyone was trying to get what they needed and others were simply interacting with new people. In the distance, Kizami saw someone who looked familiar, “Is that…?” He could make out who it was, “Nana??”
Nana heard her name called and saw her brother running towards her, surprised, “Kizami?”
Kizami saw Nana accompanied with Aevella, “Who is this?”
“Oh,” Nana responded, “This is—
“Vella!!” Maria jumped onto Avella, hugging her with all of her might.
“Where were you, Maria??” she asked.
Maria let go, “Well….” She told about how she and Kizami met and got acquainted (leaving out the embarrassing details) and came into New Eden up to where they are now.
“Sounds like you had fun,” Aevella replied with an amused smile.
“Ah, forgot introductions.” Maria cleared her throat, “Kizami, Aevella. Vella, Kizami.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” Aevella greeted with a handshake.
“Y-yeah,” Kizami nodded, shaking her hand. He then introduced Maria to Nana and vice versa.
“How adorable!” Maria instigated, “Kizami told me a lot about you!”
“He did?” Nana asked.
“No, not really. He should’ve, though.” Maria and Nana both glared at Kizami with hostility.
Kizami felt uneasy, Somehow, I don’t feel safe anymore.
“I want to make you my little sister!” Maria resumed, holding Nana tightly.
Kizami soon realized something was off. He looked around and back at Nana, “Um, have you seen Kazuma?”