第7話 心の温度 ／ The Temperature of the Heart
[—Jun 24, 2024 Floor48: Lindas—]
Liz: Here you go. All done.
Asuna: You’re the best, Liz. Thanks.
Liz: Sure, anytime! Hey. Aren’t you supposed to be out hunting with the guild today?
Asuna: Yeah, I had to take the day off ‘cause… I sort of have this little meeting with someone.
Liz: Oh… Huh? I bet you have a little meeting, eh?
Asuna: No, it’s not like that! Oh, I have to get going!
Liz: I bet he must be pretty special, whoever he is.
Asuna: Huh? Did you say something?
Liz: Uh-uh. Get going! It’s rude to keep your date waiting!
Asuna: It’s not like that. I… Whatever. See you!
Liz: I wonder if I’ll ever find someone special?
Liz: Hmm… Good enough, I guess. I better get ready for the customers. Mm, perfect! Welcome to Lizbeth’s Blacksmith Shop!
Kirito: Oh, hi. I-I was wondering if you do custom orders.
Liz: He doesn’t look like he has that much money. I can. The thing is, metal prices are kind of high these days.
Kirito: Oh, well, I’m not worried about the cost. I just want the best sword you can make as soon as possible.
Liz: Well, I make a lot of different swords. But if you have any idea of the quality of sword you want, I can make it.
Kirito: Uh, sure. One sec. So, I’m looking for something either the same quality or better than this.
Liz: Oh… An Elucidator?! This is a notorious magic sword a person can get from a monster drop.
Kirito: What do you think?
Liz: How about this? It’s the best sword I’ve ever forged. I call it my masterpiece!
Kirito: I don’t know. It’s a little light.
Liz: It should be. I used speed-type metal to forge it.
Kirito: I’d like to test it if it’s cool.
Liz: Test it, how?
Kirito: You know, its durability.
Liz: What the heck are you doing? If you break your sword, I’m not responsible.
Kirito: If it breaks then, that’s too bad!
Liz: Eeek! You broke my masterpiece… What the hell were you thinking?!
Kirito: I’m sorry! I didn’t think your sword was gonna break so easy, honest.
Liz: Are you saying my sword, my masterpiece of swords was lamer than you thought?!
Kirito: Yeah… something like that.
Liz: For your information, if I had the right materials, I could make a buck load of swords that would shatter yours into a million tiny little pieces. You got that?
Kirito: Oh, yeah. That sounds like the kind of sword I’m looking for, as long as it can shatter mine then.
Liz: Okay, smarty-pants, but you have to help me make it every step of the way!
Liz: Absolutely. We’ll start by getting the metal for it.
Kirito: I think I can handle that myself. I’d rather not have you slow me down.
Liz: Don’t you dare insult me? Believe it or not, I’m an expert mace user.
Kirito: Suit yourself. So, where do we find the metal?
Liz: Floor 55, on the Western Mountain. There’s a dragon there that eats crystals. According to the legends, it’s supposed to store rare metal in its body.
Kirito: Floor 55, huh? Yeah, I should go alone…
Liz: And… they say that in order to get the metal, you need to bring a master smith along. Still think going alone’s a good idea?
Kirito: Fine. Just keep quiet and stay out the way.
Liz: What? Keep quiet and…
Kirito: By the way, my name’s Kirito. Looks like we’re a party until you make that sword.
Liz: Yeah, whatever, Kirito.
Kirito: Well, if you’re gonna be like that, I can roll with it. Lis-beth.
[—Floor55: Western Mountain—]
Liz: Achoo! It’s cold…
Kirito: Well, you should’ve brought a coat or something.
Liz: I didn’t know Floor 55 was going to be this freaking cold. Are you going to be okay without this?
Kirito: You don’t feel cold if you’re disciplined.
Liz: If you’re trying to piss me off, it’s working. It’s warm though. I can’t believe I’m out here all alone with this guy. This is getting weird.
Kirito: What’s wrong, Lisbeth? Giving up already?
Liz: Not on your life! And if you’re gonna be a jerk about it, you might as well call me Liz.
Kirito: Okay, okay. Got it, Liz.
Liz: Yeah well, don’t wear it out!
Liz: Wow… It’s beautiful! Ugh, what’s your problem?!
Kirito: You should get your teleport crystal ready.
Liz: I know, I know, I’m doing it.
Kirito: And I’m handling this part on my own. Once the dragon appears, you’re gonna hide under one of those crystals over there. Don’t come out, no matter what.
Liz: Oh, come on! I’m not a noob. But if I wanna help you or…
Kirito: Do what I say! Good. Okay, let’s get going.
Kirito: Hurry up and take cover!
Liz: Watch out! It’s the breath attack! Wow… With that skinny sword… Who is he? Come on! Stop playing with it and finish it off already!
Kirito: Dammit! Don’t come out yet!
Liz: What’s the big deal? You’ve got a right while you…
Kirito: Liz! Hang on to me, Liz!
[—Bottom of the hole—]
Kirito: Are we still alive?
Liz: Yeah, looks like it.
Kirito: Drink one of these just in case.
Liz: Thank you… , you know, for… for saving me.
Kirito: It’s a little early to be thanking anyone. We have to find a way to get out of here first.
Liz: Huh? Can’t we just teleport out? Teleport: Lindas! No way!
Kirito: Well, if we can’t use crystals, that means there should be another way out.
Liz: How can you be so sure there is? I mean, maybe this is some kind of trap that would kill anyone who falls into it.
Kirito: Good point. Maybe it is.
Liz: What? Could you at least try to cheer me up?!
Kirito: I think I have an idea.
Kirito: Yeah. We can try running up the wall.
Liz: You’re insane.
Kirito: Maybe, that’s all I got for ideas right now.
Liz: No way…
Kirito: Ugh, ahhhh! If I had more of running start, I probably would’ve made it.
Liz: Yeah, I don’t think so.
Liz: This is kind of weird, isn’t it? This wouldn’t happen in real life. You know, going to strange places, meeting a total stranger, and then sleeping next to them. I mean, you actually tried running up that wall. You really are a weirdo, you know that?
Kirito: Well, excuse me.
Liz: Kirito… Can I ask you something?
Kirito: Ask away. I’m all ears.
Liz: Why did you risk your life like that to save me?
Kirito: I can’t just sit back and watch someone die. I’d rather die along side of them than do nothing. Especially if that someone’s a girl like you, Liz.
Liz: Ah, you really are an idiot. You’re the only person who thinks like that. Hey… Hold my hand.
Liz: It’s so warm…
Liz: Even though you and me are just these ones and zeros in a virtual world…
Kirito: I know…
Liz: What the… ? What’re you doing?
Kirito: Hm? Here, look!
Liz: Is this… ore I think, it is?
Kirito: Uh-huh. It’s that special metal we came all this way for. Like you said, the dragon eats crystals and they turn this in its stomach. No wonder it’s hard to find.
Liz: Yeah, but you found it. What’s it doing down here though?
Kirito: This hole isn’t a trap like we thought. It’s the dragon’s nest.
Kirito: Uh-huh. And that’s not just an ingot. That’s dragon’s excrement. You know, poop?
Liz: Huh? Oh… Ah!
Kirito: Well, I guess this means we’ve got all we came for. Still stuck though.
Liz: Wait. This is supposed to be a dragon’s nest, right?
Liz: ‘Cause dragons are nocturnal, so it won’t be long before it comes…
Liz: It’s here! Wha-what are you doing?!
Kirito: Hang on to me, Liz! Almost there!
Liz: Wow, look at that! Kirito! You know what?
Kirito: Know what?!
Liz: Don’t freak out! But I’m falling in love with you!
Kirito: I can’t hear a thing! What did you just say?! Oops!
Liz: Never mind!
[—June 25, 2024 Floor48: Lindas—]
Liz: A one-handed long sword, right?
Kirito: Yup! Make it awesome.
Liz: I didn’t imagine it, the warmth of Kirito’s hands… the way I feel… As soon as I made the best sword I can… I’ll tell him.
Liz: The sword is called Dark Repulsor. One of a kind. And it’s not even in the info brokers’ directory. Go on, try it.
Liz: Good? Bad?
Kirito: It’s real heavy. It’s a good sword!
Kirito: It feels like you forged your soul into it. Okay, you held up your end on the deal. It’s time for me to pay up. So, how much?
Liz: Um, well… I don’t really need any… money… I-Instead, I’d like to be your exclusive blacksmith from now on.
Kirito: What do you mean exclusive? What’s wrong?
Liz: I mean… anytime you get back from the field, stop by and let me do maintenance on your gear, every day, from now to the end!
Kirito: Liz, I…
Liz: Kirito… I just… I…
Asuna: Liz! I was so worried!
Asuna: Liz! Where were you last night? I tried messaging you but you didn’t answer and I couldn’t track you on the map!
Liz: Sorry. I kind of got stuck in a dungeon.
Asuna: A dungeon?! You went all by yourself?
Liz: Uh-uh. I went with him.
Asuna: Huh? Ki-Kirito! ?
Kirito: Hey, Asuna. Long time no see. It’s been a while like… two days?
Asuna: Oh, this is a surprise. I didn’t know you wanted to check this place out. I wish you’ve told me, I could’ve come with you.
Liz: I’m sort of confused. Do you know each other?
Kirito: Yeah, both of us are on the Assault Team, so…
Asuna: He said he was looking to get a more power sword, so I told him about you and your shop.
Asuna: Why is she acting like that? I swear, if you did anything weird to her…
Kirito: I-I didn’t do anything!
Asuna: Then, why did you stutter just now, huh?
Kirito: You know, you could try to show a little more compassion. I almost got killed!
Asuna: Like that’s my fault! Don’t I always tell you not to fight solo?!
Liz: Right. I get it now…
Asuna: If this guy said anything rude, you tell me, right? Liz?
Liz: If you wanna talk about rude, try this! The first thing he does is when he comes in and shatters my best sword.
Asuna: What?! I’m sorry!
Liz: Oh, come on! You don’t have to apologize for anything. He might be a little weird, but he’s not such a bad guy. Don’t screw this up, Asuna. He’s a keeper.
Asuna: But I told you, it’s not like that! Liz?
Liz: Sorry, I have to go pick up some supplies. I’ll be right back!
Asuna: But, you’re gonna leave the store?
Liz: Hold down the fort for me. Later!
Asuna: What? No, wait, Liz!
Liz: I almost got away with it. A couple of more minutes, and I would’ve gone back to my usual cheerful self.
Kirito: Liz, I…
Liz: How’d you know I was here?
Kirito: I scanned the whole town for you from up there.
Liz: Figures. You do something crazy like that. Sorry if I worried you. I’m fine now. Must feel all the excitement, I’m not used to having adventures. Anyway… Come just forget everything… I said… Okay?
Kirito: Liz, I… I just wanted to thank you. See I… I don’t know… I always thought dying was better than surviving day after day… living with a guild.
Kirito: But then, we got stuck in that hole, and I was really happy we were still alive. I realized that even here our lives are real and have meaning. Thank you for helping me see that, Liz. I guess it’s what I’ve been looking for this whole time.
Liz: Yeah, me too. I know what you mean. I was also looking for something, something real, hoping I find it. The warmth of your hand… and me… that was real. Do me a favor, okay? Tell Asuna what you told me.
Liz: I’m fine, really. The “getting over it” part, that’s gonna take a while. Until I do, promise me… promise me you put an end to this world. Till then, I’ll keep doing what I do best.
Kirito: I promise I will. I swear I’ll beat the game.
Liz: If you ever need your weapons or gear repaired, my door is always open.
Liz: Don’t forget now, you’ll always be welcome at my shop!