Part 2: .hack Infection - //Update 02 - Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground//Update 02
Last time, Kite just learned that his friend Orca had been hospitalized by the game. Let's jump right back into the fray and see if we can't figure a few things out.
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My friend is in a coma after playing this game. He's hospitalized and still isn't out yet. But do these things actually happen? Does anyone know the reason? Anyone know someone else in the same state? How can I get him out of the coma? The people who made the game look here too, right? Please give me some kind of information.
Well, that was a total bust. With nothing better to do, checking e-mail seems like as good a way to pass the time as any. Hopefully maintenance will be over soon.
To t@e ^%* w*! +ol%s /:e book.
+<6it% is lo8$in! f>r m|.
T+/&e i, ^o time.
Ple}se. Hel? 3e.
(Who sent this? I can't read it.)
The message is actually pretty readable. No, the symbols don't stand in for the same letters each time they appear. If you know what it means, please don't give away the secret. Anyway, maintenance should be over by now, so let's head back into the game and get some answers!
Video: Meeting Blackrose
: What? What is it? You got something to say?
: Oh I get it now. You are a newbie, aren't you? I might've guessed. Well are you or not? C'mon now, don't be shy, you can tell me. Listen, in case you're not aware of it, you're being very rude. It's impolite to stare at someone like that. You have to understand that it's the same as the real world. Don't you get it?
This entire scene is just a setup for a pretty vicious feedback loop. Kite is staring because she's acting like an idiot. This makes her yell, which just makes him harder.
: Last chance... What is up with you anyway, huh?
: Come on! Will you say something already!
Then she runs off. What a weirdo.
Welcome to Mac Anu! As you can see, there are six areas of interest in the town. Behind us is the Chaos Gate, which Orca introduced us to last time.
Off to our left is the Save Shop, which does just what you think it might. Right now, that odd girl (Blackrose is her name, if you hadn't paid attention.) is talking to the man there. Let's... go somewhere else. Away from her.
The Elf Haven is a good place to escape her. This is the game's bank. You can store a bunch of items here and they're accessible from any other town in the game. We'll probably be using this to store rare items, for the most part.
Across from the bank is the item shop. Naturally, we'll be spending a lot of time here. This guy sells health potions, sp restoring items, status cures, and misc. items. (Miscellaneous items are things like Fortune Wires, Fairy Orbs, and Sprite Ocarinas.) This guy will be your Best Friend in these games. The bastard doesn't offer a bulk discount, though!
The Weapon Shop is a bit of a misnomer. It also sells armor. There was a joke from the old webcomic 8-bit Theater, the gist of which was poking fun at the fact that weapons you can buy in the various towns are much inferior to what you can find in the fields. The same is true here.
The Magic Shop is a place where you can buy spells. Specifically, it is a place where you can buy scrolls that have instructions on how to cast a single spell once. There is really no reason to ever visit here in //Infection - you can find plenty of elemental scrolls in the dungeons and fields. The only thing you might possibly want from here is the tolerance-cancelling scrolls.
Because I promised it last time, these are the stats of the Steel Blades we found in the Gott Statue at the bottom of Δ Bursting Passed Over Aqua Field. This weapon is pretty good! We lose Saber Dance, but gain Tiger Claws, which isn't too bad of a trade-off. Saber Dance is a series of slashes, while Tiger Claws lets you "spin like a top and slash at high speed."
Anyway, that's about all the damage we can do in town. Perhaps we'll have some better luck finding something in one of the fields. Everyone remember Orca's tutorial on how to use Chaos Gates? I hope so, because we're about to put it to use!
It's her again! What does she want now?
: Yeah, you. I uh - I know some interesting keywords. If you go with me, I'll tell you what they are. Do you want to know?
: Right on! That's the spirit! Spoken like a true newbie.
You now have BlackRose's member address!
: The keywords are: Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground.
Video: Holy Ground Flyby
: Whoa. This place is...
: Nevermind. Let's go. Well, are you going to escort me like a proper gentleman?
This place is pretty cool. Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground is a very important place in the .hack universe. It is the site of the "Hulle Granz Cathedral" and it has shown up in basically every version of .hack that has ever existed. For the most part, if you're told to go to the cathedral, something important is going to happen.
Kite and Blackrose walk up to the cathedral and enter.
Video: Cathedral Interior
I love this screenshot purely for Kite's "what the fuck" expression.
: Stay back! Oh no...
Blackrose decided to hang back and brandish her sword scarily at a goblin. Kite kicked its ass.
: So that's it? Pretty weak, huh? What do you know. You didn't even need my help at all, did you?
: That statue... It looks so - so sad.
Video: Enter Balmung
: Skeith, Innis, Magus... I can't read anything else. The inscription is faded.
: By the way, uh...
: I guess you can tell that I'm a newbie, too?
: Mmm... yeah.
: It must be pretty obvious by the way I acted back there. But you still hung out with me. You know what? You're nicer than I thought. You see I'm - I'm trying to find...
A noise interrupts the moment between the two. Blackrose acts considerably less awful toward Kite from now on, as a bonus!
: Hey! What are you doing?!
: What?! What about you, huh?
: No time to explain. It's too dangerous here.
: I'm telling you to get out!
At this point, a high level suit of armor holding a skull drops from the sky. Balmung, being a complete badass, kills it in one hit.
: Leave here at once!
The monster stays dead for all of a second.
: This one as well...
: But how? Tell me what's going on here! That thing should've been - it should've been dead!!
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a data bug. It is a monster... well, I'll let Balmung explain.
: It's a bug from a computer virus. The virus is rewriting the data. It has a HP that is - infinite.
: This is the one...!
: You must escape while I buy some time.
: Because of this thing... I'll kill you!
: No! You can't kill it! Leave it be or you'll be killed!
: The book?
The power it holds can bring forth either salvation or destruction at the whim of the user.
Video: The Book of Twilight
You now have Virus Core M.
Sorry for the long stretch of screenshots like that. A bunch of stuff happened all at once, though. Kite read the Book of Twilight, changed outfits, and used the same move that was used on Orca - the move that put Orca into a coma to be precise. For his troubles, he got a Virus Core. I'll explain about those later.
Video: Balmung Freaks Out
: That skill... Now I understand. You are the same as the virus. To think that I was saved by someone like you!
: No! That's not - I don't even know what's...
: Recently, many places within "The World" have been damaged by a virus. Those who willfully spread the virus and destroy this world for their own amusement, they... They shall receive no mercy!
: No! That's not me! I...
: I did not expect to find the one responsible so soon...
: I won't! There's no reason to do that!
: There is for me.
: No! I don't want to fight! I just... I...
Blackrose decides she's had enough of this and stands up.
: What is the matter with you! That's hardly the way to talk to someone who just saved your life!
: Mm! Hmm...
: I still do not trust you. I just require time to think this through. But if I find out you are indeed in with them... I will kill you.
Video: Balmung and Helba
: That was rather childish for Balmung of the Azure Sky, the Descendant of Fianna...
I dunno if this image was just a freak coincidence, but it was too cool to not leave out.
: I do not speak with hackers!
She teleports away.
: That boy... he's a friend of your partner.
Back inside the cathedral, Kite is explaining things to Blackrose.
: I see. But what're you going to do if the Data Bug shows up again? That power put your friend - um... Sorry.
: I don't even know what this power is... Or what she wanted Orca to do. And what am I supposed to do with this power? All I want to do is help Orca...
: Today was - um... I don't know what to say, but... Good night.
Logging off is probably a good idea. Let's see if someone responded to our forum post!
The message I posted is deleted.
I'm Stehoney the Golden Goblin gob. If you win tag against me, I'll give you a reward. Though that probably won't happen gob.
Good luck gob.
Oh forgot something important gob.
Stehoney is at:
Δ Detestable Golden Sunny Demon
Come alone gob!
Δ Detestable Golden Sunny Demon is added to the Word List.
That'll give us something to do next time! Goblin Racing is where Speed Charms really prove their usefulness.
Blackrose's e-mail is special. It is one of several in the game that you can respond to. Give the right response, and she'll e-mail you back. Give the wrong one and she shuts down entirely. The game lets you preview the responses before you send them, so just don't act like a complete jackass and you'll be fine.
I've seen your powers. You can rewrite the monster's data by performing Data Drain when the OK sign is flashing.
If you use it wisely, it will be very valuable in the future. You will need its powers.
You can check the spread by a gauge in the Skill Selection Menu. When the spread is at 100%, there may be a lethal effect on your character, so be aware of the spread of the viral infection.
If you defeat monsters without using Data Drain, then the spread will decrease little by little, so do not let it get above 100%.
And another warning. You are always being watched. Though you may not wish it, you will be in the eye of the storm in "The World." That is the fate of the one who bears the bracelet.
She knows about my bracelet. Who is she?
So many more questions raised! Why did Helba save Kite from that thing earlier? Was she tracking that strange little girl? What secret is Blackrose hiding? Just why is Balmung such a prick? Find out the answers to none of these questions next time!