Kyaga and Itaka opened the door to the main part of the church and headed through first. They instantly saw Shizu still standing, or now rather kneeling, at the door. There was someone else sitting beside her and they seemed to talk.

"Hey, Shizu!" Yelled Kyaga from the other side of the room while walking over to her. The others still behind him.

"He-..." She cut off and glanced behind Itaka, where Rex and Toya were walking. "Who are these people?" She asked, obviously curious.

Kyaga turned his head while walking and pointed at them with his thumb. "Oh, these guys? They are Rex and Toya, we met them at the top." While talking Kyaga and the others finally reached the door and Kyaga threw himself on the ground. "Phew, since when is walking in this game is so goddamn exhausting..."

Itaka, who sat down as well, but not as abruptly as Kyaga, nodded. "Yeah, I've noticed that too. Maybe this isn't the AOS we are used to after all."

The still very confused Shizu seemed to ignore their conversation, as she still looked at Rex and Toya dumbfounded. "And you met these guys... On top of the church? Or what?"

Rex and Toya sat down on the nearest bench, which was only a few meters away from the door. "Yeah, we had the same idea as you guys and wanted to get a better look at the current situation." Said Rex and pointed at the stranger. "And who is this?" He asked. "Your friends didn't talk about two people down here. Is this the Kanagaki guy?"

Kyaga shook his head. "No, this isn't him." He looked over to Shizu expectant.

"This is Duncan. Duncan Asheton." Said Shizu, while gesturing in his way.

Everybody looked at him with different expressions, but mostly confusion. He just waved back and smiled.

"Duncan?" Asked Kyaga unbelieving. "Duncan Asheton? That's a weird name for sure..."

He scratched his head in embarrassment and just smiled. "Yeah, it's my Gamer Tag..."

In AOS it was pretty unusual to have a real Gamer Tag. Most people used their real first name, or some kind of variation or nickname because in highly realistic VR many people were way more comfortable with that. Gamer Tags were mostly used by older players, who were playing other PC games before AOS and already had their Gamer Tag as an own internet personality. But these people were only a few.

"What's so weird about that?" Asked Rex, who didn't warp a single muscle in his face. "My Gamer Tag is Rex, that isn't typically Japanese as well."

"Yeah, but with 'Rex' it's clear that it's a Gamer Tag. Duncan on the other hand just sounds like he's coming from West and that's weird." Answered Itaka, whereupon Rex nodded in comprehension.

"Well, could we maybe change the topic?" Asked Duncan a bit awkward while smiling. He was seemingly still very embarrassed by his own name.

They nodded before Kyaga started to talk again. "Just one last question. You are not a pro player, right? With such a strange name I would've remembered you for sure."

It seemed like everybody sighed in unison as Duncan got out an unsure "No... I'm not a pro player..."


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L M SkyY

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