by Fintan S.
Part two of my bad fan fiction
Open Your Eyes
“My name is Akihito Kayaba. As of this moment, I am the only human being alive with control over this world.” The hooded figure gives off a presence that is threatening but assuring at the same time. Finally we can log-out of the game and get on with our lives. The crowd at first were distressed at the appearance of the floating figure, but calmed down as they were going to hear the words of assurance they desperately needed. We stand patiently waiting for the Game-Master to announce the bug and a possible force log-out.
In a voice of monotone boringness, he continues, “You have likely noticed by now that the log-out button has disappeared from the main menu.”
As I expected, now for him to apologize and force log us all out- “This is not a bug. I repeat, this is not a bug—it is a feature of Sword Art Online.” The crowd collectively gasps at this new information brought to them, almost blocking out my own train of thought. Huh… it is a feature? No, no no, he is fucking with us, right? He continues with the speech.
“From this point onward, you will be unable to freely log-out of the game until the summit of this castle is conquered.” The occasional screams of terror rippled through the robot-like voice of Akihito Kayaba. Some people exclaim with Huh! and What! The figure continues without interruption, like he knew this would be the response.
“Furthermore, the NerveGear cannot be removed or shut down via external means. If forceful means of exit are attempted…” Few seconds of silence that seemed to last forever, the only thing that could be heard was the wind blowing in our ears and the sounds of gasping from the crowd of mice that surrounded their master. “…the high-powered microwaves emitted by the NerveGear will scramble your brain and shut down your vital processes.”
Woosh… the sound of wind blowing and painful silence follows. Not a single person person speaks for a minute or two. The silence was broken by the screams of distressed players and the sounds of polygons breaking and exploding in a flurry of blue light. Everyone starts to talk among each other, some denying what came from the figures non-existent mouth. I however believed every single thing he just said. Why would he lie about a life and death situation, only to create pointless chaos? The idea of it seems stupid. Of course a part of me wants to deny all of it, but I couldn’t let myself slip into a false set of security. I wonder how Kanji and Youhara are taking this information.
“To be more specific, the brain-frying sequence will commence upon any of the following circumstances: ten minutes of no external power; two hours of network disconnection; removal, dismantling, or destruction of the NerveGear. The authorities and media in the outside world have already announced the details of these conditions to the general public. At present, the friends and family of several players have already ignored these warnings and attempted to forcefully remove their NerveGears, the results being…”
The robot-like giant pauses for a breath, however I personally think he added the pause for some sort of effect. What a heartless bastard…
“…that sadly, two hundred and thirteen players have already been permanently retired from both Aincrad and the real world.” Ahhhh! A shrill female scream fills the cold, night-break air with a bunch of murmuring mixed in. However, the majority of the players standing there in that square are paralyzed with fear. Some of them believing every single word that he spoke, including myself. Most of them are just trying to deny everything the fifty feet tall hood just said, laughing to themselves. What fools, get your act together! I thought to myself. Two hundred and thirteen players were just killed, fuck’s sake, you don’t know if you are going to be next!
Soon after, the emotionless hood continues, “There is no need to worry about your physical bodies back in the real world. The current state of the game and today’s fatalities have been covered far and wide on television, radio, and the Internet. The danger that someone will forcefully remove your NerveGear is already much diminished, the two-hour offline leeway period should provide enough time for your physical bodies to be transported to hospitals and other long-term care facilities with proper security, eliminating concerns over your physical well-being. You may rest assured… and focus on conquering the game.”
This did not calm the storm of worried players. Shouting and protesting was steadily building up, almost blocking out the message the large humanoid figure had to say. I however stay quiet, listening to every single piece of information thrown at me. Why? I want to survive. In basis, this was a tutorial at heart. Everything he is saying is an announcement to the players to not fuck up one bit. I see it that way anyway, even if a lot of others see it the other way.
“However, please proceed with caution. As of this moment, Sword Art Online is no longer a game to you. It is another reality.” Yeah, you can say that again. “The standard means of player resurrection will no longer function as they did previously. When your hit points dwindle to zero, your avatar will be permanently deleted and the NerveGear will destroy your brain.” As he finishes that sentence, a riot breaks out among the crowd. It was like it was a plot-twist of some sort that no-one predicted. If anyone in this game had a brain, that condition would of been expected. However, emotion takes over my logic and I start to feel extreme anger and paranoia.
Kanji is shit at the game! He’ll die in two minutes if that’s the case you heartless bastard! I grab my sword and unsheathed it from the scabbard that wrapped around my chest and protruded from my back. Heck, what’s to say he isn’t dead now?! And Youhara?! What’s to say old-lady Masami ignored my note and made her way into our apartment and take off the NerveGear… oh shit. I grab my head, as if I felt the NerveGear being taken off me. She never reads or watches the news! Fuck fuck fuck fu-
“There is only one condition through which you can be freed from this game.” Kayaba continues. “Simply reach the hundredth floor at the pinnacle of Aincrad and defeat the final boss who awaits you there. In that instant, all surviving players will be able to safely log out once again.” People shout in protest, myself included.
One hundred floors?! And we are suppose to clear every single one of them and not die?!
“Are you fucking mental?!” I shout, my voice not being heard over the echoing voice of Kayaba. My voice seemed to of ignited the refutes and fear that spreads among the crowd. Kayaba was however not deterred by the uprising. He interrupts the protest.
“Finally, let me prove to you that this world is now your one and only reality. I’ve prepared a gift for all of you. You may find it in your item storage.” As if he is controlling our minds—go figure—I along with the rest of the crowd open their inventories. In doing so, an item was placed in it, named the Hand Mirror, was sitting in our inventory. Tapping it, two options for the item appeared, Materialize and Discard. Knowing Kayaba’s trickery is fruitful, I move my finger over to the Discard option. However, if like magnetism, my hand is attracted and I press Materialize.
From thin air and a sparkle sound effect, a small square mirror appears in my hand. I look into it, my hand shaking like hell, to see a more masculine edition to my real life face. My hair black and spiky, unlike my floppy dirty blond hair back in the real world. I rub the screen of the mirror to admire the face that appears in-front of me.
I look really cool! I think as I press my finger on my cheek. Unlike me in-
A white light consumes my vision, almost blinding me. A sound of ringing and sparkles like with the mirror materializing. I notice this sound being played multiple times around the Square, even when I couldn’t see. Eventually, the light died down and what greeted me in the mirror shocked me to the core. A slightly chubby face, big blue eyes, a floppy mess of hair—dirty blond in color. My nose small in size and my mouth open with shock. The definition of baby faced.
“What… the… fu-” I say, looking at the face presented to me. I look around at the crowd surrounding me. No-one is familiar. The people that surrounded me are attractive, perfect built robots. No, they are now more fat, unfit, real people. In-fact, the female to male ratio changed dramatically. The once cute girl that stood near me was now a thirty year old male with a disgusting, greasy beard. I accidentally say “Eww” out loud. My mistake, sorry. I look back at the baby that was on my mirror, it is me. No, it is me me. The me in real life, baby faced and floppy haired. Well, the acne was non-existent, but still. That also means Youhara and Kanji are also back to normal, hopefully.
Fuck, I thought I got rid of you, I say looking at the angry face that greeted me in the mirror. Now I will never get a girlfriend with this ugly mug. I grab my cheeks and pull them. I was subtracted into my own mind in these few seconds, completely forgetting the stakes that were put on me. Soon enough however, I was brought back to the harsh reality.
“You are likely asking yourselves, why? Why would Akihito Kayaba, developer of SAO and the NerveGear unit, do such a thing?” Because you are an ass. “Is it an act of terrorism? An elaborate kidnapping to extract ransom money.” Let me repeat, because you are an ass!
A slight enthusiasm can be heard in his voice, like he is extremely proud of this act of imprisonment. “What I see is neither of these things. I have no goals or justifications at this moment. In-fact, this very situation was my ultimate goal. I created the NerveGear and SAO precisely in order to build this world and observe it. I have now achieved that aim.” The enthusiasm drains from his voice once again to end his speech.
“This concludes the tutorial phase of Sword Art Online. I wish you the best of luck, dear players.” The system extends those last few words. He slowly starts to be sucked into the sky the same way he entered. His head gets sucked first, then his arms, torso and legs.
Silence. No-one reacted for a few moments, allowing everything Kayaba just said to soak in. The system messages disappear and the orange sky returned. The background sounds of the town seeped in again, filling the environment with normality and peace. Well, for a few seconds at least.
“What the fuck!” the voice of a male breaks the silence and ignites the building fury the crowd has been cooking for the last while. People started to turn on each other, shouting, arguing, and insulting every other person that stood beside them. Some cursed Kayaba, shouting at the sky that once he was present at. I have to find Kanji and Youhara. They are probably be flipping their shit right now so… I run into the thick, populated crowd.
“Kanji? Youhara?” I cut through the people, pushing past people of different sizes and heights. The square is still packed with people, however navigating through them was easier. I need to look for a blond boy with big blue eyes and an angry green eyed midget. Easy enough. I hear my name being called over the constant mumbles and I rush my way towards the sound. I get to the sound and I see two, perplexed teenagers stand in-front of me.
“Hey, you guys alright?” I ask, catching my breath. It seems some of my real life physical abilities are transferred to this bloody ga- no, world.
“Well kinda,” Youhara replies. He still wears the yellow starter gear. It took a while to process his chest being flat in this. “I had to hold Kanji back or he would of tried to attack Kayaba.” I look over at Kanji, his face clearly redden with anger. “I would of stuck one up that asshole’s backside, but heh, what would that achieve.” He shrugs, clearly worried about the situation.
“That bastard,” Kanji intervenes. “See when we will get out of this fucking game, I will murder him in cold blood.” I wouldn’t put it past him, he would do that.
“Well that is the thing, we don’t know when we will get out.” Youhara adds, scratching his head.
“He has a point Kan. Open your eyes, it isn’t a ransom move or anything.” Kanji clenches his fist in anger. “It could be months, years to get through the entire castle.”
We all look at the empty sky that once had our prisoner, Akihito Kayaba, staring down at us.
“What are we going to do?” Kanji asks, looking through his inventory.
“Where is Korusu at, that bastard was suppose to meet us here.” Youhara asks.
“I- I don’t know.”
Three weeks have passed since then. Since the beginning of this game, news broke out that players have been dying rapidly. Rumors say over one thousand to two thousand people have deceased from this world—and the real one. Reason? Mis-information of mobs, causing whole parties to be wiped out. Mass suicide from those who either didn’t believe a word Kayaba said, testing the system, and from fear of the world that they were trapped in. And from Player Killing.
The village of Horunka—our current residence—is almost completely full. Some people are here for living a peaceful life in this prison. Others, including Youhara, Kanji and I, are here to stop by to sharpen our weapons and get some new gear to continue on fighting. Our levels are in the twenties, Kanji being the highest at seventeen and me being the lowest at eleven. Youhara sits comfortably at level fifteen. I am not the front-man of our group as I specialize in defense. I know, nothing really too interesting. But I did my part and hey, we have survived the last couple weeks and made it to another town instead of camping out in the Town of Beginnings. Kanji says that we are going to be in the raiding parties of the game. Youhara has a red icon above his head from killing a player, but he says he did it in self defense. Kanji and I didn’t see this person, but we can safely assume Youhara didn’t want to do it.
He understood that meant our chances of death increased dramatically, however he has faith in the leader of the raid party, Diavel. He has blue hair that was long and wears a bronze chest plate, a lot like us. However, his charisma and ability to fight was far more than us newbies, meaning he is a beta-tester of course. He never openly admitted this, especially due to the shit they have been getting. But he was too comfortable with this floor that his actions spoke for him. I’ve talked to the man and sure as Kanji romanticized, he is strong.
Now I am lying on the wall of the weapon shop, drinking water from a flask. I got rid of the idea of this being a game for reasons of immersion. It means I will not do stupid things to end up dead, just like real life. Every-time Kanji and Youhara talks about the real world and how this is a game, I repeatably punch them to shut up. Now I am stuck outside in the sun, waiting for those two to get new weapons. I wasn’t allowed to get a new sword, no, Kanji says he is going to get one FOR ME.
I swear, if he gets me a fucking kitchen knife I will stab a bitch, I thought to myself, swigging the last of the flask. I look up at the sky, blue as always. The floor has one huge pillar that shoots up at the sky, piercing the roof above us. That pillar is complimented by grasslands, lakes and forests, all containing mobs that could kill you if you are not careful. This game—I mean world—has no magic. When Youhara, a huge lover in magic found this out, he almost went of a rampage. He wanted to shoot fireballs from long distances. Now he is stuck in this god forsaken world that requires close up attacks and melee abilities—sword magic to fight mobs that can hit you from a mile away.
“Naoki!” I hear my name being shouted from in-doors. “Get your ass in here.” Yay, I have been forgiven for my sins… I get up and waltz into the door, closing it behind me. I see Youhara testing his new sword, a nice clean steel sword with an arm’s length blade and a golden hilt—well, it was customized yellow to be precise. Kanji holds a sword with a green blade and silver hilt.
Wow, subtle much. I hold out my hand and awaited Kanji to present me with a shitty knife that is only good for stabbing reasonably fast. However, I feel something heavy land in my palm. I look up and see a bag containing small pieces of gold metal round in shape—col—the game’s currency. A small transparent, purple screen appears in-front of me with the words, 1000 Col has been added to your inventory, Accept? I look back up at Kanji who stands there with a sincere look on his face.
“Wha… what?” I say, looking at the number again. Kanji never is charitable, what is he trying to pull?
“Happy Birthday, Naoki.” Kanji says, managing a small smile to develop on his face. Wait, yes of course! That’s why we got the NerveGear. We got the NerveGear for my thirteenth birthday, so we can muck around on my birthday on a game. We got it a bit early, but we had to just in-case the next shipment taking weeks. That was a bad mistake. Yeah, I am thirteen years old. At my age, people call me extremely mature but I ended up this way due to my family life, the reason I moved to a student apartment with Kanji and Youhara. They are both older than me, Youhara being fifteen years old and Kanji being sixteen years old. The age gap is huge, but we get along.
I see Youhara getting sentimental, saying the old phrase, “They grow up so fast.”
“Shut up Yoh!” I push him to get him out of that state. He laughs and Kanji chuckles slightly.
“So dude, go ahead and buy what you want.”
Finally, I can get a proper weapon! Maybe some health potions mixed in! I go up to the counter and look at the items that laid in-front of me. I scroll through the different items, each showing the stats and the amount of col each of them required to purchase it. Most of the items are in the seven hundred range, however I see one item that catches my eye. Steel Sword of the Night. The blade is darkest blue with a black hilt. It looks cool and costs all of my col. All one thousand two hundred of it—the two hundred from mob drops.
I need some potions, but it seems this is a great attack weapon. Something to get my level up. I select it and a button appears, Purchase. I do so and the item appears in my inventory.
“So what did you get?” Kanji asks, looking over my shoulder. I equip the weapon and show the party my weapon of destruction. They both exclaim “Wow” as the long blade shines in the sun light. I swing it at the air and a long, dark purple streak appears behind the blade, a nice glow appears as well on the blade. It looks awesome. I sheath the blade into scabbard that hung around my back.
“So guys, are we ready to conquer the rest of the floor?!” I shout, raising my fist in the air. The both shout as loud as they can in reply—making a some sort of word resembling “Yes”. We run out of the door, running at the fields that were outside of the village.
As we run towards the fields, the mobs spawn in-front of our very eyes.
“About three boars and five wolves,” Kanji shouts, looking at the field of mobs. “Shit, one noticed us, Naoki defend!” I run at the charging wolf and pull out the dark blue blade and my shield. I parry the wolf with my sword and push it away with my shield. I bend over and Kanji leaps over me and does an air attack with his new sword, striking the wolf down ending its existence. I turn to see a wolf flank Kanji on his right side.
“Kanji, look out-” Youhara strikes the beast down with his sword, slicing through the middle and leaving a large red cut on the side of its pelt. The wolf fell on the ground and was about to get up and strike again, however Youhara sticks the tip of his sword into the head of the wolf, killing it instantly. I look behind me and see the pack of boars charge at us from behind. I stick my foot into the ground to stop almost instantly creating a gust of wind from the traction. I point my sword at the boars, my blade a compass to their deaths.
I run at them, my blade at the forefront of my attack. The boar on the left charges at me and I block it with my shield. The boar on the right charges at me and I slice head off, leaving a dark mark on its incision. The boar in the center, not deterred by my attack, charges full force at me—its horns point at my chest and stabs upwards. I was able to get my shield around, so with my left arm I stop the tusk by letting it impale my arm. The tip misses my chest by mere inches. I swing my sword down-wards and with the tip of the blade stabbing into the spine of the boar. It screams in agony as it breaks into blue polygons.
I catch my breath and I look over to Kanji and Youhara- smash. The boar I defended against earlier came back and stabbed at me in the chest, throwing me back. Fuck I forgot about that bastard. I land on my ass, my health bar dwindling down to near the yellow zone. The boar charges again, its tusk aiming for my throat. I get my sword and shield ready for the attack, slice, crunch. I remove my shield from my face to see the boar breaking away, a huge red slice mark on its neck. Smash, like that, the boar disintegrated. I look over to see Kanji and Youhara, staring in awe of what just happened. I see a shadow form over me; I turn to see what or who is creating it.
From what I can see, it was a young male. A year or two older than myself, however his face was considerably younger. The only way you can tell of his real age is his voice and his stature. He has black ebony hair that was of considerable length, almost as long as mine; his eyes the same color as his hair. He wears a steel breastplate and dark blueish clothing—starter gear. I wear the same get-up, only mine is light blue in color. He looks like a lonely type so starting conversation with him would be pointless. I deny his hand to help me up and I get up on my own accord. Now standing, he is smaller than me however his presence being more threatening. Wiping the grass off my backside, I say a small “Thanks” and bow my head before running back to my group. He just grunts to reply—Just as I suspected, the quiet loner. He spots some mobs in the distance and runs off, leaving a stream of wind behind him. He’s fast, I’ll give him that.
“Hey Naoki, who’s the prince in shining armor?” Kanji mocks, pointing at the fleeting loner. I give him a look before getting a health potion from Youhara and drinking it, the sweet tea like taste replenishes my health fully.
“Didn’t ask for his name, he didn’t look the type to talk-”
“So? A simple question wouldn’t of hurt!” Kanji replies, kicking the soil beneath him. Yeah, but types like him aren’t the most friendly ones…
Kanji starts to stretch his legs out, then his arms. Youhara seemingly not effected by the attack, swipes through his inventory. I look over his shoulder to see what he is looking at.
“So You, what did you get?” I ask, pointing at the transparent screen.
“Well,” he closes the panel. “Nothing good at all.” His look of disappointment was obvious, but seeing the amount of col he got should of gotten I see no reason to be sad.
“What did you want?”
“I wanted the rare drop from a certain type of wolf, their teeth.” He grins to show me his pearly white canines. “I can make a sword that has spikes on the blades like a saw. Especially good at cutting armor and flesh.” I sigh at his grotesque fantasies as I open my own inventory to see what stuff—shit—I picked up.
“Its been two weeks since then.” Youhara says, with a straight look on his face. I look up at this sudden change of mood, something Youhara isn’t frequently known to do. I look down in remorse for the last two weeks of Hell.
The first few days spent in this new world we now call home was spent staying in a hotel room, hugged in a corner and worrying about our life outside. We were all forced offline for some sort of movement process so my best guess is our bodies are lying in a hospital bed, strung up with a life support machine. After Tuesday of that week, Kanji finally got to his senses and got us to go out and fight on the front-lines. It was until we were halfway out of the town when we found out how many died. The number alone almost made us turn back. Now, after growing up a bit and meeting strong people who would for surely make sure the group stays together in the assault, we now are on the fifth stage of grief—acceptance.
Kanji looks over at us and says, “Right guys, we should now head for-” Kanji looks behind us and points, his eyes widening with fear. A shadow pears over Youhara and I as we turn to see what’s up. Four red eyes, gray fur, white paws. Stands at six feet on all four fours. Oh my fucking-
“Get the fuck back!” Youhara shouts, jumping back from the colossal mass. I swing my sword at its neck, cutting directly into the pelt but not passing the skin. Damage, minuscule. I fall backwards and scramble to where Youhara and Kanji both stand. Now away from the beast, we can see it in its full integrity.
The beast looks like a wolf, but it is humongous. I saw right, four red, glistening eyes. The teeth are bloodstained with the fur messy and dirty. A name appears above the ferocious beast, Grinning Four Eyes, Lvl. 15. The name matches the ugly mug of the thing. It growls and starts to ready its first attack. Then, I remember something.
A certain type of wolf… wait Youhara you mean…
As if he can read my mind, he says, “Yes, its this bastard I want.” His eyes glisten in the sunlight as he stares at his “prey”. He readies his sword. “Die-” His charge is stopped by Kanji’s arm, grabbing onto his shirt.
“You, if you go out without a bloody plan, you’ll end up dead.” Youhara pushes Kanji out of the way, but settles a bit.
In an instant, the wolf jumps at us, its paws the front of its attack. We jump out of the way of the fanged paws and… no impossible! The nails extend outward, exposing twice the length of claws that was originally visible. Slice slice slice. We all get hit by the large, silver claws, slicing into our stomachs. We all hit the ground and observe our health, we are all in the yellow zone.
“Fuck guys, we don’t stand a chance!” Kanji shouts, looking on his quick menu for a potion. “You, Naoki, we all need to get the fuck out of here-”
“No,” Youhara replies, his hair blocking his eyes. I could tell he isn’t himself, even with his mouth producing a smile. “I’m getting those fucking claws whether you like it or not.”
“You, it ain’t worth it!” I shout, trying to get over the madness overshadowing his logic. “If you don’t run, I will drag you!” He charges at the wolf, his sword in the air. Slice, his blade goes down on its leg, cutting the right paw off.
“Haha, see that guys! That is how you attack at boss-” Smash, grind. Youhara’s limp body flies backward, landing near Kanji. Red zone… fuck. I look up at my health, I notice that I have the most left. I shout at Kanji.
“Kan, get Youhara out of here. I’ll hold the bastard off!”
“OK… if you say so!” Kanji grabs the barely moving Youhara and places him on his back. He runs towards the village and disappears out of sight. The sun is now setting over the green landscape, I was alone with the foul beast. I stare into its eyes, all four of them, knowing full well the outcome of this fight. I could turn and run, but the wolf would catch up with me and wipe me out faster. This is it.
Well, I ain’t going down until my health reaches zero you hairy bastard! I charge at the creature full force, my purple sword glimmering in the redden sun. The light ray spreads over the eyes of the wolf, the wolf being blinded by its shine. I have a chance, fuck you-! I witness a blur pass my vision, blocking the creature from me. I witness a red mark appear on its face, the bars that floats above the creature’s being depletes to the yellow zone—almost red. I stop in my tracks to focus on the new figure that stands before me. Black ebony hair, dark-blue starter gear, baby faced. It was that stranger from earlier.
“Get back, that wolf can strike farther than it looks-” Swipe, clash, the unnamed loner slices deeply into the wolf’s neck, diminishing the health-bar until it is completely empty. The creature roars its dying breath and breaks into millions of shards. I stare in awe—again—at the speed, power, and experience this person has. My hand was still shaking from the thought of dying, but I steady myself and go up to the stranger.
“Hey, I had the wolf. I didn’t need you help-”
“You think blinding it will actually do anything?” He asks, his voice almost as monotone as the voice who introduced us to this world. “Its a virtual creature in a world of data. Blinding it wouldn’t of worked. It may of reacted, but it doesn’t do any actual problems to it.” He sheathes his sword, the blade grinning against the rims of the scabbard. “You wanted to get the claws I assume?”
“Yeah, uh…” I am taken back by how blunt this guy is. “How much do you want-” A bell sound interrupts my speech, a small purple screen appears in-front of me. It reads Four Eyes Claws (x10) have been added to your inventory. My eyes widen with surprise as I stare at the text.
“Have it, I have no need for the material.” He looks at his inventory before introducing himself. “Name’s Kirito, nice to meet ya.”
“Ah…” These turn of events are happening way to fast for me to process.
“I have to go now… by the way,” He turns and looks back at me. “Don’t attack things that are not ten levels below you.” He jogs off before I could reply to him and disappears into a nearby woods.
“Wha…” I muster from my mouth, still not processing what just happened in the space of a few seconds. “What the fuck?!”