Chapter 19:



The Hellforged Desire served her well, teleporting her to Jason, despite him being in this separate plane of existence. As the item faded into nothingness, she unleashed the spell which she had chanted beforehand.

In the infinite whiteness of the dev room, the flow of time was disrupted.

Jason stopped moving. He had been afflicted with Chronolock.

Unlike Petrification, where the afflicted player remained conscious, Chronolock momentarily placed the actual human in a “suspended state.” The status effect didn’t exist in the official version of Aksara Online for obvious health and safety reasons.

But it did exist in the closed beta.

Buried deep within the game’s files, Alice had excavated the data necessary to perform [ Chrono Apocalypse ]. Only someone who had been around since the birth of the game would know the existence of such a spell. But to manipulate the game’s files from within…

“W-What did you do?!”

Hatano stood in shock, unaffected thanks to his high MDEF. He could tell from Jason’s status that he was Chronolocked, but couldn’t find the option to reverse it in his list of console commands. Resetting the player did nothing.

“Protecting him. He's heard enough of your bullshit," she materialised Pareidolia, pointing the halberd at Hatano.

“Enough with this lunacy! Your mind has been poisoned by this game. You can’t even tell what is real and what is not! We need to talk about your sur—”


A devastating beam exploded from her hand, engulfing Hatano’s character. A decently sized chunk of his HP bar was shaved off.

“Look at me. So what if you damage this body? So what if I die? This is a video game, Sakur—”

“Don’t. Call. Me that. My mother gave me that name. Don’t you dare tarnish it with your mouth!”

Closing the distance instantly with a [ Blink ], the blade of her massive weapon crashed into her uncle, meeting a blade of his own.

A rather unassuming katana.

Despite the massive size difference, the two Lvl 100 players stood their ground, weapons locked.

“I’m sorry, I really am. But you need the surgery!”

Her reply came in the form of a literal black hole spawning right inside of him. But there was no cause for concern. He teleported himself right outside the skill’s effective range. An impossible task for any player.

But not an admin.

“You need to wake up! Who do you think pays for your medical bills, huh? You think I make a profit from running this server? Everything I’ve done is to keep you alive!”

“I didn’t ask for that! You should’ve pulled the plug years ago. Every day, I kill, kill and kill over and over and over again just so that I could forget about that girl on that hospital bed.

There’s nothing for me over there. Mum, dad…they’re all gone. Tell me, what happens if I wake up?”

“You’ll pick up where you left off. Sit for that entrance exam. Study in uni and live a normal life.”

“And end up like you? I’d rather die!”

“Stop being stubborn! You think your mother wo—”

Jet black smoke permeated around Hatano’s avatar, causing it to play a choking animation as it burned even more of his HP away.

“Don't. Say. It. She’s gone because of you. You took everything away from me. And now here you are…wanting to take everything away from me again.”

“Sakura-chan, I—”

“You’re sorry? You drag Jason into this shit and YOU'RE SORRY?! Haha, maybe you're the one who needs to wake up.

I mean…it's just a game…"

"This isn't a g—"


Alice's legs started to buckle. The same throbbing pain, like that of a cordless drill digging into her skull, happened once again.

"You need help. You can still play this game even after the surgery. You can do—"

“Shut up shut up shut up SHUT UPPP!!!!"

"That's why I'm here. That’s why we’re all here. That’s why Jason is here. For you."

It finally snapped.

Flipping her weapon around, she pierced her chest with her own weapon!

[ Thanatos.exe ]

As blood gushed out from her mouth and chest, Alice was engulfed by darkness. Swallowing her completely. Emerging from this dark cocoon was the devil’s true form. One that didn’t belong in the game.

A form of her own creation. An amalgamation of ones and zeros, of unused assets and corrupted code—twisted and warped through her own fractured mind.

And by using the game’s own rules, she created a form best suited for what she did best—killing.

The six Wings of Perdition protruded from her back, upside down. Gone were the feathers, replaced instead by Stygian fire. These dark flames crawled under her skin and all over her body, which grew nearly twice her size.

Her hands and feet were massive in comparison to her thin, lanky limbs. Her frame, while still upright, resembled that of a hungry beast.

Object Undefined.

Two words that appeared in Hatano’s vision as he saw the beast. While the abomination that towered over him was terrifying, all he felt was sadness.

She was going through a completely different reaction than that of her mum. While Queen's mind was unable to adapt to the game, Alice had assimilated perfectly.

But despite her new form, there was little cause for concern.

For he had turned on Godmode.

This was his server, after all. Even if her niece was completely glitched out and unable to be targeted by his console commands, there was nothing she could do. His character was immune to everything.

“If the only language you understand is violence, so be it. Maybe knocking some sense into your skull would wake you up!”



The voice of her sister poured out from the creature.

"C'mon mum! This is gonna be so much fun!" a younger-sounding Alice chimed in.

It uses its words to try and take advantage of my emotions. How terrible…

Vanishing right behind Alice, Hatano swung his blade. Any hits he dealt in Godmode would turn a player into a crystal instantly. But despite its hulking size, the beast was no slouch, evading the slash with minimal effort.

He kept slashing, dancing through the white void as he followed Alice’s movements. But no matter where he struck or how he swung, her finesse was unbelievable. She was like water slipping through his fingers.

The gap in how they controlled their characters was simply too great. Hatano was no gamer, while Alice had completely mastered it. Even in this monstrous form, she retained her godlike skill. Regardless, all he needed was a single touch. And he had just the tool to achieve that.

[ Effervescence and Evanescence ]

The ultimate skill of the Hatamoto class. In an instant, the entire dev room turned from white into silver—an incalculable number of blades eviscerated the entire space. The fight was over.

Or so he thought.

Upon his blade making contact with the beast, an HP bar appeared—signifying a boss battle.

Alice Thanatos: God-Devil of

The hit had shattered its HP bar, revealing a new one underneath. Some bosses had multiple phases, and upon losing all their HP, would start the next phase with a new bar.

God knows how many phases the transformed Alice had. Her appearance remained the same, but there was one major difference in this fight.

Hatano’s knees gave way, covering his ears as the most hellish sound imaginable played in the dev room.

The screams of every single being whose life Alice had taken in the server, all 2,580,689 of them, played at once. Player, monster, NPC—blasted and looped continuously.

It was no attack.

It was simply her boss theme.

Visualising his menu, Hatano scrambled for the audio settings in his mind. Every second was pure agony. He had no room to think—the soul-splitting screeching was all that filled his head.

After turning the volume to zero, his ears still rang. But he could move again. As he got up, the maw of Thanatos was directly in front of his face.

Its two glowing red dots for eyes began to shine, before blanketing Hatano's vision in red.

Then blue. Then white. Then purple.

Every spectrum of colour played microseconds after another.

The beast knew full well no attack could bypass Godmode. Nidma was invincible. But Hatano Hideki was not.

First, a deafening theme stunned him.

Then, flashes of light triggered his epilepsy.

Nidma stood idly. The avatar showed no reaction whatsoever. But underneath the VS in his apartment in Tokyo, Hatano Hideki was having a seizure.

Thanatos faded away. Its hellfire skin extinguished, revealing the normal state of Alice once more.


She had no idea what had happened. Moments ago, they were fighting. But now, his avatar had a blank slate for an expression. Observing him a little longer, she concluded that he was AFK.

Good. Perhaps his boss called him or something. Such was the life of a salaryman. Anyhow, it was time for her to get her party member out of there.


He was still frozen in time. His face had “worry” written all over it. Worry for her. Perhaps, if she had made a different choice, she would have had the chance of seeing what his actual face was like.

They may be living in two different worlds, but as long as he was here, she was happy.

For now, this would do.

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