“I Promise I will return”
Were the handwritten words found by DBQT and her friends, at her apartment in that CyberPunk world she liked so much she started living in it, on a piece of paper with characteristics they had not seen before.
The paper felt like, well, paper, but the ink on it glowed on and off as if it were a light on a Christmas tree. The letters had a metallic quality to the eye, but felt like paper to the touch.
On the table, Kiyo’s enhanced Steam VR device was left behind. QT had used his engineering prowess to embed It with portal creating technology, back when the Beat Saber world had a shortage of warriors. It was very strange for her to leave it behind.
The letter was addressed to Kiyo, from “the Beat Saber Council”. QT and Skreth knew them, as they were the ones that provided them with contingent Saber Warrior licenses when they needed help. The letter spoke of incomplete training, and a well worded demand for Kiyo to return to her world.
QT knew that Kiyo was not the kind of person to be easily manipulated, however the letter made it clear. Her contingent license had been revoked, and as such, her sabers were no longer functional. QT and their friends knew, Kiyo had no choice. Being a Saber Warrior was everything to her, and she surely would not let it slip away.
Holding on to nothing but her handwritten promise, QT and their friends saw threw years pass by, with her absence now having become a harsh reality…
In Kiyo’s world. Rhythmic energy is what emanates from a warrior while fighting the blocks. Rhythmic energy is basically an essence of their soul, their power, and their passion.
There is a special ritual, known as a Debut ritual, carried on by elders of the Saber Council, where the essence of the warrior is gathered, while they either dance or fight at full passion, while an object made out of the special material found from slashing blocks is placed nearby.
The rhythmic energy is then gathered while the Saber Warrior performs a grueling test of stamina and strength, which Is why it requires years of training.
Because the rhythmic energy is essentially soul energy, the object is usually shaped into something that is meaningful to the warrior, as it has been found that the energy absorbs into it better. Usually a pendant of some sort.
Once the raw rhythmic power is harnessed into the pendant, it is sealed within. The pendant is to the warrior as a wand is to a witch, something that they will carry with them always, forever.
The pendant is known as an Index.
After the Index is realized, the remaining pieces of block material left over from crafting the index are crafted into yet other smaller pieces that are also shaped to either resemble the newly crafted index, or other things of meaning to the wearer. This crafting process of the Debut ritual is known as Pairing.
Unlike the index, these Pairing pieces are not a source of rhythmic energy, but become uniquely compatible with it instead. A Saber Warrior’s index is only compatible with the imbued pieces that were crafted during the Debut ritual’s Pairing. One warrior cannot use another’s Index, or another’s pieces, for reasons already made clear.
The pieces resulting from Pairing are given one of two names, depending on their purpose. Those that are meant to be worn on clothing or other objects are known as trackers.
Those that are meant to be imbued into sabers are known as controllers.
The Index behaves similar to a magnetic field. As long as an object is imbued with either a controller or a tracker, it is possible for a Saber Warrior, or index wearer, to control it, or power it.
Sabers are the best example of this, as they are always imbued with controllers. Upon grabbing a saber, the index wearer powers it instantly and completely. The power from the index flows into the controller easily, due to the compatibility realized during the Pairing portion of the Debut ritual.
Once the Debut ritual is over, it is customary for the Warrior’s clan to provide them with garments that are tailor made to match the theme of their Index. These garments, along with the Index, are unique to each warrior, and are considered a sign of being a full fledged Saber warrior.
For Kiyo, her index was shaped after her family’s, the Haiteku clan’s crest, which is a simple diamond of half blue and half red color. It was common for prominent clans to have crests that were related to the blocks in some way. If your family crest had something that resembled the blocks, it was a sign denoting that you belonged to a major clan, that was also likely part of the inner circle of the Beat Saber Council.
Kiyo is a proud member of her family, but she continues to be driven by her “3 t’s” mantra, which are her favorite and most personally inspiring things: Tech, Travel, and Treats. This resulted in Kiyo insisting to the elders that her Index include a reference to her 3 t’s in some way. After much deliberation, she came up with a design accepted by the elder’s as “craftable”. She arranged the t and the 三 (san) symbol, which means three, in an elegant way over the diamond shape. She then wrote her name, キヨ(Kiyo), underneath it, in what she deemed “cute”.
Kiyo would wear her Index in her upper chest, right below her neck, held in place by her garments design.
For said garments, they donned a theme of t and 三 throughout, present in her hair pendants, her neck chain, her crop top, and her thigh high stocking. The recently crafted trackers were placed as a t shaped pendant at her waist, and as a replica of her Index at the bottom of her back. It was common for Saber Warriors of the Dancers faction to wear their trackers at places that strengthen the fluidity of their dancing, such as their feet, or waist. Kiyo had opted for waist dancing enhancements, as it was one of her preferred kinds of dancing.
The material of her garments was something that does not exist on Earth, where a lot of her Leisure Club member’s reside. It had a glossy appearance, reflective, metallic almost. It seemed like it would be rigid to the touch. However, if you reached out and touched it, it was smooth, like the finest silk. If the was equivalent of looking at an apple, taking a bite, and tasting an orange instead. Something that was only possible due to the unique properties gained from using block material fibers.
There was a reason, why people from this world use slashed blocks as source material for almost everything. And that is because, block material was extremely easy to use as a resource, but it was also extremely resilient. In fact, that is the reason only a saber can cut the blocks. Block material alone cannot cut another block. But block material imbued with the power of a warrior, in other words an Index based power, can and does destroy a block.
For that same reason, using Block based fibers in clothing served as the best protection a Saber Warrior could wear, as the fibers were strengthened by trackers throughout the body, which in turn were powered by the Index.
Nonetheless, there she was. Two and half years later after leaving her Leisure Club and her friends behind, having no choice, being strong-armed by the Saber Council to return. She had completed training. She was now a full fledged Saber Warrior Dancer.
She had changed physically, too. The former 18 year old teenager with the shoulder length hair had transformed into what she loved to call a “cute and lewd” woman. Where her hair would have ended two years ago, right in between her shoulders, in the middle of her back, there was now a long tail of hair going all the way to her butt. But the rest of her hair at the back, on the left and right sides, remained somewhat below shoulder length. On her front, she refused to let time take her signature bangs away, but she was now donning two long but thin tails of hair, down to her breasts, but not as long or thick as her back one. It was common for Saber Warriors to have hair designs that were unorthodox in many other places, such as Kiyo’s insistence to keep some parts of her hair long, and some short.
Kiyo hates commuting
“Two years, 6 months, 9 days, 4 hours, and 20 minutes” She thought to herself, looking into the distance.
“That’s how long ago I was forced to leave everything behind.” She muttered in her head.
“But I can come back now! I could see my friends RIGHT NOW….” She paused.
“IF I had my stupid Steam VR device. Stupid Council testing rules now I have to commute literally ACROSS worlds to get back home. GREAT!”
And right she was to be annoyed. In fact, she had only trained for two of the 2.5 years for which she was gone. The other six months had been spent traveling without her DBQT-issued portal maker.
After the Beat Saber world disruption caused by DBQT’s portal technology experimentation had taken place, and the Beat Saber Council had accepted strangers from other worlds to help battle the portal-induced influx of Block invasions, inter-world travel had become common place to residents of the Beat Saber world.
Other worlds already had giant official portals connecting one another, but the Beat Saber world was a new joiner of this infrastructure. DBQT’s technology was unique in that it was a PORTABLE portal maker, which was unheard of in all worlds, at least of this era.
Due to a Saber Council imposed rule that “all Saber Students must procure passage to the training site on their own means without the use of external assistance”, Kiyo was not only forced to come back to her world, she had been forced to do so while traveling in inter-world “coach” class. Giving up QT’s technology in favor of self-commuting through the inter-world portal infrastructure was the equivalent of driving somewhere instead of flying there.
This wasn’t exactly a cross country trip, either. It was from world, to world, to world, until she reached hers.
And now, she had to commute back… No matter how much she trained, distances do not get any shorter. It would still take her an additional 6 months before she would see her friends again.
Kiyo sat at the window of an inter-world dimensional ship. Lost in thought. Reflecting.
Two months had passed since Kiyo left her world to come back to her friends. She was anxious. She was nervous. She was TERRIFIED. What if they were mad at her? Surely they SHOULD be right? Just taking off for YEARS with nothing but a note. But she reflected further. She had had no choice.
She realized she had never explained to her friends how Sabers worked. It was not exactly a secret, but the exact HOW was not public. Censored truth, perhaps?
The reason her sabers had stopped working, was because her contingent Saber Warrior license had been revoked.
What not many knew is that, this license was in fact an artificially constructed, much less powerful Index.
Saber World scientists had found a way to power an Index without the Debut ritual. The wearer, however, needed to have previous combat experience of some sort, or they would not be able to power the device.
Artificially creating an Index is not new. That is how training sabers for students were done, but those were imbued with power by powerful Saber Warriors. While Saber Warrior’s could not technically use each other’s weapons, a Saber Warrior with enough power has the ability to imbue a practice saber with power for one to three days.
“These are the sabers all students use before getting their own index!” – Kiyo recalled what her dad had revealed to her, having insider information as an inner circle clan.
“One more week remains before reaching the next world” said an intercom voice, suddenly interrupting her daydreaming.
She quickly recovered her thoughts.
“I was forced to leave because my license was revoked. The license is an artificial Index. The Saber Council has the power to disengage it remotely…and without it, I could no longer train. I could no longer do the thing I love most! Surely my friends will understand if I explain…right?
“Plus…I am the ONLY daughter of the Haiteku clan…I cannot bear to be the only High Clan daughter to not have completed my training…just because I was snatched mid-training by QT’s portals.”
Her daydreaming stop, and Kiyo falls asleep, exhausted with many days ahead.
It wasn’t that common , but sometimes the Debut ritual netted leftover Block materials even after crating an Index, trackers, and controllers.
Usually this amount was small, but Kiyo had somehow managed to end up with two L shaped sides of a block, one lilac, and one red. Those were usually kept for whenever a Saber Warrior wanted to make more trackers, but Kiyo had decided to bring it with her.
It had been already 3 months since she came back to her apartment in the Cyber Punk world. Her anxiety and fear had turned out to be unfounded, as her friends received her back with nothing but love and affection.
After getting past the inevitable shock of seeing a 18 year old’s growth spurt into a 21 year old woman all at once, DBQT had redirected his focus towards a project he had been working on for the last 3 years of Kiyo’s absence: A SteamVR AI.
He had grabbed Kiyo’s SteamVR device, previously used by her to write words and open portals, and had added an intelligent AI that would serve as a companion of sorts.
In virtual environments, the AI worked perfectly. But when placed into the SteamVR device, QT had not found a way to properly power it.
In one occasion, he had been accused of using an EMP device, when trying to power the AI caused a major blackout. But even then, the AI was unable to power on within the device.
Eventually, an idea surfaced in Kiyo’s dangerous head.
“What if…I power it?” communicated Kiyo to QT, using a QT-issued pen that writes in mid-air while attached to the tip of her finger.
Kiyo had already explained to QT, upon her return, the truth about the contingent licenses, and how the Saber World’s Index’s work. But what she had forgotten to tell him was, that she had a pieces of raw Block material, already infused with her Debut Ritual energy, ready to be turned into either a tracker or a controller.
“Two L-shaped pieces, eh?” – said QT, genuinely surprised that Kiyo actually such a large amount of material to work with.
“How about a cube?” – he joyed.
After some engineering prowess implementation, suddenly, what used to be an amorphous pile of electronics, was now a cube shaped AI, with a screen for a face, displaying a characteristically cute smile at most times.
The sides of its body were constructed from the two L shaped block pieces, and in order to properly channel the energy from the Index, Kiyo’s Index insignia was draw on the cubes back.
Cubey, as Kiyo called him, was powered entirely by Kiyo’s index. He was essentially a floating tracker, and as such, when Kiyo was not around, he simply powered off.
QT had packed a lot of features in him, but Kiyo had yet to discover them all…