第9話 青眼の悪魔 ／ The Blue-Eyed Demon
Kirito: Okay. Are you ready? There’s nothing in here.
Asuna: Hey, wait!
Kirito: I’ll be okay. I’m not going in too far. Besides, we should find out what kind of boss we’re dealing with? How else are we gonna figure out how to beat it?
Asuna: Yeah, I know. It’s just… Kirito and
Asuna: That one’s gonna be tough to beat.
Kirito: You’re right. I saw it only had that one big sword, and I’m pretty sure it’s got special attacks too.
Asuna: We’re gonna have to put tanks in the front row and keep switching out just to wear it down.
Kirito: Yeah, then it wouldn’t hurt to have about ten shield users.
Asuna: Shield users, huh?
Kirito: What? What’s wrong?
Asuna: You are. You’re hiding something, aren’t you?
Kirito: What are you talking about?
Asuna: I just realized something. The biggest advantage of using a one-handed sword is you can also use a shield. But you know what, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you using one. I don’t use a shield because it’ll slow down my rapier. Others don’t because they think it looks dumb. And how come you’re not using the sword you commissioned from Liz? There is suspicious. Mm-hm. Oh, never mind. It’s rude to ask people to justify their skills.
Asuna: Since it’s gotten so late, we might as well have lunch here.
Kirito: Really? D-Did you make it yourself?
Asuna: Yup! But you better take your gloves off before you eat.
Kirito: Oh, sure!
Asuna: Here you go!
Kirito: Oh… This is good! How did you get it to taste so amazing?
Asuna: Chalked up to a whole year of training and study. Aincrad has everything you need. There’s about a hundred different seasonings. I made everything just by calculating all the parameters used by the flavor-recreation engine. This was made with grogua seed, shugra leaf and calim water.
Kirito: It’s mayonnaise!
Asuna: And I made this using abilba seed, sag leaves, and ulafish bone.
Kirito: Whoa! That tastes exactly like… soy sauce!
Asuna: You’re right. I made the sauce for the sandwich out of that.
Kirito: Amazing! It’s perfect! Have you thought about selling this 'cause you’d make a fortune?
Asuna: You think it’s that good?
Kirito: Ah, wait. You can’t sell it.
Asuna: But, why not?
Kirito: 'Cause there wouldn’t be any left for me.
Asuna: My god. You’re so greedy… If you like it that much, I could always make more.
Klein: Hey, Kirito! How’re you doing, buddy!
Kirito: Hey, Klein. Still alive, huh? Geez.
Klein: Jeez, you’re the same as ever. Wait. Whoa! You’re a solo player. What the heck are you doing with a… girl?
Kirito: Um… I could’ve sworn you guys met before one of the boss fights. I wanna introduce you. This is Klein of the Furin Kazan guild. And this is Asuna of the Knights of the Blood Oath. Hey, come on! Say something! What’s wrong? You lagging? Hmm?
Klein: Hi, I-I’m Klein! I’m twenty-four, single, and looking for a…
Guys: Boss! Wow! Are you really that Asuna?!
Kirito: Don’t worry. It’s cool. These guys are okay. Yeah, but I don’t about Klein. Ugh! What the hell?
Klein: That’s payback, you weasel!
Kirito: What, Klein?
Klein: What are you doing with a girl? Holding out on me! What’s the deal, man? Spill it!
Kirito: Uh, well…
Asuna: Excuse me. Kirito and I are together because we’re sort of in a party.
Klein: Kirito, you son of a…
Kirito: Wait! It’s not what you think!
Kirito: What the hell? It’s an army.
Klein: It’s the big guild that runs Floor One. What are they doing up here?
Asuna: They were almost slaughtered on Floor 25, instead of clearing levels, they’ve been trying to build up their numbers. I haven’t seen them on the front lines in a while.
Corvats: At ease!
Corvats: I’m the Aincrad Liberation Army Lieutenant Colonel Corvatz.
Kirito: I’m Kirito, solo.
Corvats: Sure you are. Have you cleared the area up ahead?
Kirito: Yeah. We also got a map, the directions to the boss room.
Corvats: Hmm, right. And hand over that map, we’ll be on our way.
Klein: Huh? You wanna us to just give it to you? Do you even know how much of a pain in the ass mapping is?
Corvats: We share all information and resources with civilian players all the time! And we don’t charge a thing for it! We maintain order in the chaos of battle so that all players can leave this world as quickly as possible! Therefore, it’s your duty to cooperate with us! So, hand over that map!
Asuna: Listen, you!
Klein: You bastard…
Kirito: Easy. When we got back to town, I was gonna go public with the map anyway. It’s cool.
Klein: Oh, now wait. Come on, man! You’ve been way too nice to him!
Kirito: I don’t care about making money off map data.
Corvats: Hmm… Thanks for cooperating.
Kirito: By the way, if you’re planning to hit the boss, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Corvats: That is my decision to make.
Kirito: Hey, I just took a look inside that room, pal. And you can’t beat that boss, if your troops are half dead! Look at 'em! They’re exhausted!
Corvats: Nonsense! My men are tougher than that! They won’t quit till I say so! On your feet! Come on, move!
Klein: Oh, man… Are those guys gonna be okay?
Asuna: I’m sure they know what they’re doing. They won’t rush the boss without checking it out first, right?
Kirito: Maybe we should keep an eye on 'em anyway.
Kirito: I don’t know who’s nicer, he or me.
Klein: So, um, anyway… Asuna. I got a favor to ask. He can be hard to talk to, and he’s a loner and addicted to combat. But he’s a good guy. Take care of him, will you?
Asuna: Okay! I promise he’s in good hands.
Klein: That’s the last one. The only thing left’s the boss’s room. Maybe those guys use some kind of teleportation thing if they need to go back.
Kirito: Hey! You guys okay? Ah! Don’t just stand there! Use your teleport crystals!
Guy: We can’t! Th-The crystals aren’t working!
Asuna: I’ve never heard of a trap like this being in a boss room before.
Corvats: The Aincrad Liberation Army doesn’t know the word “retreat"! Come on! Keep fighting!
Kirito: They’re insane.
Klein: Hey, what the hell is going on?
Kirito: They can’t use their teleportation crystals. We could distract the boss, but going in there is too risky.
Klein: But, isn’t there something we can do?
Corvats: Ready! Charge!
Kirito: Don’t do it!
Kirito: Hey! Hang on, Corvats!
Corvats: I can’t believe this…
Asuna: No, I can’t… No… No!
Klein: Oh, what the hell?
Kirito: Get out!
Klein: I got you, buddy.
Kirito: This’ll take forever!
Asuna: Get out of there!
Kirito: The only way to end this is if I use it! But then…
Kirito: Damn it, just use it already! Hey, Klein, Asuna! Listen! I need ten seconds! Keep him off me!
Klein: Yeah, you got it!
Kirito: Okay, I’m ready! Switch out!
Kirito: Okay, here goes. Starburst Stream!
Klein: What the hell kind of skill is that?
Kirito: Faster! Gotta go faster!
Kirito: Is it… over?
Asuna: Kirito! Wake up, Kirito!
Kirito: Aw, man, my head… That was too close. How long was I out for?
Asuna: Just a few seconds. You’re reckless! Idiot…
Kirito: Geez, don’t hug me so hard, I’ll lose the last of my HP.
Klein: Corvats and two of his men are the only ones who didn’t make it.
Kirito: We haven’t lost a player in a boss fight since Floor 67.
Klein: That wasn’t a boss fight. That was suicide. Corvats was a damn fool. There’s no point to any of this if you die! You’re not off the hook either. What the hell d’you do just now?
Kirito: I don’t think you wanna know.
Klein: Oh, come on! I’ve never seen anything like that before!
Kirito: It’s an extra skill I picked up. Dual-wielding.
Klein: Dude, other prerequisites?
Kirito: If I knew that, I’d have shared it by now.
Klein: It’s not on the information broker’s skill list. Guess it’s exclusive to you. Hey, you got a unique skill! Way to stay on the down low, Kirito! How come you keep an awesome secret like this from your buddies.
Kirito: About six months ago, I was scrolling through my skill menu. And it was just… there — Dual-wielding. But… if anyone else found out I had a skill like this…
Klein: They’d get pissed 'cause you had some they didn’t. Some gamers are like that, but not me. You’re right though. People would definitely be jealous if you had that. And that… Well, they say your character’s built by life challenges, so keep soldiering on, young man.
Kirito: Easier said than done.
Klein: We’re gonna go trigger the warp gate. You coming?
Kirito: Nah. I’ll catch up with you later. Need a rest for a bit.
Klein: I heard that. Have a safe trip back. Oh well, by the way…
Klein: You know, when you ran in there… to rescue those Army guys like you did…
Klein: Well, you know… Glad you did. Anyway, I’ll see you.
Kirito: What’s wrong, Asuna?
Asuna: I was so scared… If you died, I didn’t know what I’d do.
Kirito: What are you talking about? You’re the one who jumped in first, remember?
Asuna: I’m taking a leave of absence from the guild.
Kirito: Why? And do what? Sleeping all day?
Asuna: Did you forget already? I said I was teaming up with you.
[—October 19, 2024 Floor50: Algade—]
Agil: “A blue daemon that annihilated a big squad of Army guys. “"And a fifty-hit combo from a dual-wielder who took out the boss by himself". I can’t believe what a big deal they’re making out of this thing.
Kirito: Yeah, it’s blown up right in my face. A butt-load of swordsmen and info brokers showed up at my place this morning. Now I need a new pad 'cause they know where I live.
Liz: Yeah well, that’s all kind of your own fault. You said it was gonna be our little secret, but you went and blabbed it to everyone.
Asuna: What are we gonna do, Kirito? We’ve got ourselves a huge problem!
[—October 19, 2024 Floor55: Grandzam—]
Heathcliff: Outside of boss fights, I don’t believe we’ve ever actually met, Kirito.
Kirito: Well, there was that conference on Floor 67. We talked a little bit there, Commander Heathcliff.
Heathcliff: Yeah, that was a difficult battle, wasn’t it? We almost lost a few players there, too. We may be the top guild, but we barely get by with the amount of troops we have. And now here you are trying to poach one of our best players. I don’t know what to say.
Kirito: If she’s that important, maybe you should do a better job picking her bodyguard.
Heathcliff: You have my sincerest apologies for any trouble you might have had with Kuradeel. But you must understand that we simply cannot allow our second-in-command to leave the guild just like that. If you want her, you have to use your dual blades to take her from us. If you can defeat me in combat, you’ll be free to take Asuna with you. On the other hand, if you lose, you will join the Knights of the Blood Oath.
Kirito: Yeah, okay. If you wanna settle this with swords, that’s fine by me. We’ll have ourselves a duel then.