Chapter 25

The two Moderators lead Pyrotechnix, Shadowz, and Krimson into a server that the three recognized to be one that was definitely not accessible by normal players. The whole area was a large building that was bleach white from the floors to the weapons the people inside were carrying, and it hurt the eyes to stare at any one thing for more than a few seconds, much like snow on a sunny day.

"This isn't the kingdom server… Do you know where they've taken us?" Pyrotechnix whispered.

"I have no clue, but Yokuraba is a Hacker, so anything is possible, I suppose," Shadowz whispered back.

"Just keep quiet and look for any possible means of escape. I don't want to spend any more time here than I have to," Krimson said.

"But I thought they had us tagged for movement," Shadowz said questioningly.

"It was a bluff," Krimson said flatly. "You can only be tagged for movement if your internet connection is still active, and yours and mine are not. Granted, they could have tracked us using only Pyrotechnix, but even he has to log out sometime."

"Yeah, I was actually planning to, but the bastards have a log-out lock. I'm stuck until Yokuraba is done with me," Pyrotechnix said. "They sure are crafty."

"Why thank you."

Krimson, Pyrotechnix, and Shadowz suddenly snapped to attention and saw Yokuraba standing in front of them, smiling slightly. He adjusted his glasses and took a slight bow before he spoke. "So glad that you could come. I've been expecting you. Not that you really had a choice in coming," he said, chuckling at this small joke.

"Har Har," Krimson muttered sarcastically.

"My, my, such a negative attitude," Yokuraba cooed. "You need to be more positive! The world is your playground! Enjoy it! - Oh, wait a second, it's soon to be mine, but you can play in it anytime if you do what I wish. Now, let's move along to my private quarters, shall we? Number 23 and 24, you may go back to your normal duties. Thank you for your help."

"You are welcome, sir. Just call if you need our services again." And with a quick salute, they disappeared. Yokuraba then motioned for the three to get on a silver elevator, the only color change they had seen in the building. After entering, Yokuraba quickly entered a 32-key code, and soon they were speeding upwards. Yokuraba turned to the three, who were leaning against the elevator walls with their heads down, avoiding looking at him.

"I don't see what all of your problems are. You've broken the law, and I'm giving you a chance to redeem yourself, possibly even be a part of my new idea! This is a genuine opportunity! You should be excited, saying "Thank you, Yokuraba," and "We're not worthy of your kindness, Yokuraba!"

"Ego, much?" Krimson muttered.

"Such anger you have, Krimson. Is there anything I can do to help you with that?" Yokuraba asked, a mock look of concern on his face.

"Yeash, it's called get me the hell out of this game so I don't have to listen to your voice ever again," Krimson shot back.

"Well, as much as I'm saddened to see that you don't like me, there is a possibility I can get you out of this game, if you would just hear me out." Yokuraba said. Suddenly, the elevator shuddered to a halt, and the doors opened. "Now won't you come in so we can discuss this."

The room looked much like a modern CEOs office, including the putting hole and the zen garden neatly kept on the desk. In the corner, a large cage held a phoenix, which was sleeping peacefully. "I like to make sure that I keep myself in touch with reality, while still keeping some fantasy elements around me. Not bad, eh?"

Krimson, Shadowz, and Pyrotechnix stayed silent. "Ah. The Silent Treatment. Do you realize how childish you are all acting? Come, sit down, please." With a snap of his fingers, Yokuraba summoned a large conference table and five leather chairs. He sat down, and beckoned for the others to do the same. Reluctantly, they did.

"Wait a minute," Yokuraba said, pausing. "Where is DeltaX?"

"Not with us anymore. He decided to leave our group," Shadowz answered.

"Actually, he's coming right now." JDubya appeared from the right side of the room, panting slightly. Suddenly, DeltaX and Zach appeared in front of them.

"Krimson, Shadowz? What the hell are you doing here?" DeltaX asked, bewildered. "Did you invite them here, Zach?!"

"Actually, no, I did," JDubya said, pulling out a pad of paper and a pencil. Flipping to a page that appeared to be already drawn on, he started to erase its contents. Magically, Zach slowly disappeared before their eyes, leaving nothing but giant eraser crumbs on the ground. JDubya took his foot and ground them carelessly into the ground.

"Impressive, eh? My best work, if I do say so myself," JDubya said, grinning.

"Yes, it was, although you will have to clean those eraser bits up," Yokuraba said, laughing.

"You bastard…," DeltaX said, his face turning red with anger.

"I'm sorry, did I just hear a profanity uttered? We'll have none of that here. Sensitive ears, you know," Yokuraba said, gesturing to JDubya, who grinned slyly. "Anyway, I was going to give a full explanation of my plans for you all, but it appears as though our time together has run short, so I'll get right to the point. For my playground, I have developed a new type of enemy. Problem is, I'm far too busy to test them myself. So I figured, since you all are still technically wanted criminals, you would want to do this, so that your record could be cleared. Am I correct?"

Silence filled the room.

"I take that as a yes. If you perform to my satisfaction, I will pardon all your crimes, and let you fight me for a chance to log out, as I hold that power. Have fun, and be careful, as I'm still fiddling with the level balance.."

"Wait-" But before Shadowz could get a word in edge-wise, Yokuraba pressed a button, and they were warped to another server that appeared to be nothing but a large grassy field. Inside were many crystallized enemies that all four recognized to be human. Krimson pulled out his sword, and had only these words to say:

"Put aside our differences. It's time to be ready."