Floor 51st, August 16th, 2026
The five players fall after the crack was opened right beneath their feet. After ten meters, they appeared in a way larger cave, which looked the same as the previous one, where Kirito and the rest of KoB were.
Asuna, Sinon and Lamorak fall to a path, losing part of their HP, but stopping the fall. Leafa lands on the edge of the path, but she doesn’t stop the fall, rather bounces on the surface and continues her fall, following Galant meters below her.
As one the rules of the GAW didn’t allow flying, they couldn’t spread their wings to stop the fall. But even if that rule didn’t exist, just the race of the Imps could fly inside a cavern. If they wanted to live, they would have to find a way to stop or die after they hit ground and their bodies exploded in polygons and blood.
Galant looks around, and finds out that the path the other three KoB members felt was supported by gigantic columns made of stone. He looks down where he can see the ground one or two hundred of meters from him.
He draws a Kunai with each hand and puts his body diagonally, with his chest pointing down and the rest of his body upwards. This lets him rapidly move towards the nearest column. He drives both Kunais and places his foot firmly to the column, slowing him down a bit, while getting closer the ground. He finally stops then meters above the ground.
For some reason he looks at the sylph girl falling way above him. She couldn’t stop.
“God damnit…” Galant says.
He removes his knives from the wall and jumps backwards flipping in the air and landing on his feet, right below Leafa. He lets the Kunais fall to the ground and opens his arms ready to catch her just in time.
Leafa looks to Galant noticing he had saved her life.
“What are you waiting for? A kiss?” Galant sarcastically says, while she looks him.
Leafa looks to his chest, after she felt something touching her. Galant had placed accidentally his right hand on her breast to catch her. As soon as she notices, she jumps from Galant’s arms, giving her back to him and covering her chest with her left arm. She turns around as fast as she can, ready to slap him.
Galant catches her right hand in midair, when it almost touches his face.
“Nice way to say thank you to the man that just saved your life.”
She manages to get her right hand out of Galant’s grab and grasp the left side of her waist to unsheathe her katana, pacing it right in front of the mercenary’s neck.
They remain looking to each other. Galant kept his calm as Leafa was notably angry.
“Do it. If you want to die…”
“What do you mean?” She said keeping her blade close to Galant’s neck.
“The guy that attacked us was a member of The Band of the Nine, an elite group from the guild known as The League of Darkness Knights. The players of this guild are the same as me. They can kill on both real life and game. If Sturwas here, the others aren’t far away…”
“And what do you mean?”
“If you want to kill me, go ahead and do it. Good luck facing all of them together. You wouldn’t last a second. Not without me.”
“And how do I know you aren’t lying? How do I know you won’t betray me once I remove my blade from your neck?”
“You don’t. You would have to take your chance and maybe live. But if you kill me now, you’ll never know and you’ll die. So now lovely girl: choose.”
“What the hell?!”
A sylph girl is grabbed out of the cage by legionaries, who grab her hair and arms. She tried to force their hands out of her body and escape, but her hands were chained, she could do nothing against them.
She was carried forth to the commander and kicked to the ground on her knees.
The commander approaches, making her look up with his hand.
“You are indeed pretty little girl. Now we could have the easy way, or the hard way. Which one you like the most?”
“Fuck you!” She said.
“Hard way it is! Strip her!”
The started getting her clothes off while she struggled and the commander was about to remove his loin armor...
The gate of the boss room widely opened, making a cracking noise as both sides clashed against the walls.
“What the hell?!?!”
Screams and yells of the attacking players.
The Knights of the Blood advance on a small of the members of the Supreme Legion, inside of a large and luminous cavern of Boss Room. Now the room was one the legions temporal bases.
The surprise attack on the camp full of drunk and tired men makes the battle, a slaughter for the small legion.
Kirito advances pushing a soldier with his shoulder, another player rushes towards him, ready to swing his sword downwards. The black swordsman ducks, making the player clash with his body and fall to the ground. Another comes just behind the fallen soldier, but Kirito parries the attack with Elucidator, spins and slashes the player’s body with Long Sword.
Klein throws a player away, but other comes ready to attack him. He makes one sift and fast slash with his Katana, beheading the attacker. Recon sends a player to the ground just pushing him after a long rush and slashes his throat with his small dagger. Agil advances, chopping off the legs player with the power of his axe. He grabs his weapon with both hands separate, moving it to block an attack with the handle. The gnome quickly grabs the axe with both hands together, moving it to his right, making a giant wound on the back of the player. He changes his momentum, and smashes the player he had sent to the ground. Silica notices a legionary soldier killing KoB members. She rushes at him while drawing her dagger on her back, first slicing his body, then blocking one of his blows, and finally slashes his face, leaving a huge scar diagonally across his face, putting him on his knees with his back towards her. The Cait Sith girl thrusts her blade inside the players head, killing him. Kirito kicks a player, and thrust his blade thought the back of a player’s head. The sword comes out from the mouth of the player. He withdraws the blade and then finishes the other player with Vertical Square, ending the battle.
In the meantime, the other members of KoB stuck the chains and shackles from any player they found on the camp that wasn’t from the Legions, freeing them from the heavy heel of the Kingdom.
Most of them were scared, surrounded by players they didn’t know, but Kirito quickly steps forward among his men.
“Strike your fear and relax. The quarrel isn’t with you. Is for those that would place themselves as your masters. A title holding no meaning to us, neither to you now, if you wish it. You have a choice, as we once had: to submit forever to the power of the Legions, or to take up arms and join us in the path of freedom!”
“And who are you?! To present such fucking offer?!” The commander of the players tied and carried by Issin and Harry One.
“I am Kirito.”
The players start to whisper among them, while looking at him. They had already herd about him.
“Stop fucking speaking!”
The players stop talking.
“Are you the Commander of clutch of soldiers?”
Klein takes out his Katana.
“Then we should speak….”
Leafa looks to his eye thinking about killing him or not while her hands trembled as Galant directly looked to her face with his shining and serious blue eyes while she looked with her emerald ones.
“Alright.” She said as she removed her blade from his neck. “Don’t even think about betraying me, or I’ll cut you in half! And we’ll go back to where my Guild is.”
“And where is your guild now?”
“My brother said we would go the Boss Room.”
“We’re going there then.”
Galant walked a few steps, but suddenly feels strong pain right beneath his arm. He stops and places his left hand in that place and then removes it. He was bleeding a quite a lot.
“Are you alright?” Leafa asked.
“Tch… Stur’s strike inflected this wound. I was lucky he didn’t kill me. It must have opened more after the fall.”
“Can you continue?”
“Yes I can.” he takes half a step, and almost falls to the ground. “Shit…”
She helps him up.
“We’ll have to stop. You can’t fight with that wound.”
“I’ll be alright. I’ve suffered worse….”
“I won’t continue with you wounded. Come.”
Leafa helps him get to a small cavern at the side of the wall, ideal for resting and hiding for the night.
Galant sits with his back against a wall as Leafa sits down next to him.
“Remove your cloak. I’ll see what I can do.”
Galant takes of his cloak and his sleeveless shirt. A circular big wound was below his right armpit, bleeding a lot. Leafa activates her healing magic on her hands and places them on the wound. The ardor first felt unpleasant for the Knight, but he didn’t say anything.
“So… who are these guys from the Band of the Nine?”
“They’re nine members, as the name suggest. Each member represents one of the nine races of ALO. I know but a few members of that group.”
“Yes. They’re very strong.” Galant gets more serious. “But I’ll kill each and every one of them.”
Leafa notices his expression. Anger, hate, desperation and will all together in one being. Yet, she could notice Galant wasn’t just that. He had something hidden deep inside of him.
She finishes healing his wound quickly. Galant puts back on his shirt and Avalon’s Coat.
“I have temporally healed your wound. But you need to rest, if you want to fight against them.”
“You should do the same, but we can’t leave our avatars here, if somebody finds us while we’re soul-less for thirty minutes. Log out. I’ll take care of your avatar and remain here until you’re back tomorrow.”
“That’s a good idea…” She keeps her mile for a second until he looks. “You pervert!”
“Why the hell is that for?”
“You just want to do weird things to my avatar.”
“For fuck sake…”
“You want to!”
“Then fucking stay! That way I won’t be doing anything. But tomorrow you’ll be a living corpse in school.”
“And what of you?!”
“I don’t go to school. So choose again, blondie.”
“Tch…Alright. Don’t try anything stupid or I’ll kill you with my bare hands.”
She enters he menu and enters the log in button after she lies down next to a wall far from Galant.
“Good night.” He says.
She logs out leaving her soulless avatar resting.
“Freaking Tsundere girls.”
Galant remains sit all the night. He puts his sword next to him and rests for the moment. His detection skill was high, and would notice if there were any players nearby. Asuna and the other two members of KoB he didn’t know were more than two hundred meters up. If someone passed by near the place, it would be either members of The League of Darkness Knights or The Supreme Legion. Members of other guild or mercenaries could also appear but he doubted that to happen.
Galant looks to the time. Almost half an hour had passed. In few moments her avatar would disappear. He remained looking her for few seconds. Placing his right hand on his knee.
He looked to the purple ribbon.
“Her hair. Same color of yours, golden blonde.”
Her avatar disappeared.
Galant’s watch time was now 00:00 of August 17th, 2026.
Kirito: “We suffered no casualties. How many weapons were secured?”
Agil: “Enough to see a dozen more players armed.”
Klein: “We’ll use them, with the next soldiers we see.”
Kirito: “The Commander?”
Klein: “Just killed him. He knew nothing about the earthquake and Asuna and the others weren’t among the prisoners.”
Kirito: “Tch…I have to go and search of them.”
Klein: “If you leave know, then who leads the guild.”
Kirot reluctantly nodded his head while looknig down. He couldn’t leave his friends, his sister and his girlfriend alone
Agil: “Send a squad to search them. I would gladly lead it.”
Kirito: “No, I want you by my side. Recon, Silica, ready a squad of six players to the labyrinth, we’ll wait here.”
Agil, Silica and Rekon leave.
“My men are reading the freed players.” Klein says. “But few of them are skilled. If we’re to stand a fight against the legions we need fighting men. Not waste effort in dwindling hope and worthless players!”
“Any men or women have their worth!”
He looks to the almost twenty players formed in front of him. All of them wearing leather made collar, which made them point as slaves.
They were looking to the Twin Blade Swordsman, the one many considered a legend among the players, especially the ones that were trapped on SAO once.
“As I said you have a choice now. You can join us in the fight of freedom. Or you can submit to the Kingdom’s whims.”
A Sylph girl, the same that was almost raped by the soldiers, takes a step forward.
“I have a question for you.”
“Say it then.”
“What if we leave now?”
“You mean what we would do?”
“Would you kill us?”
“No.” Kirito stops for a moment. “If we took your lives, why are we better than Legionaries? Commanding though fear and threat of death. What class of message would that send for those that wish to join our cause? Those that won’t follow us are free to go. No one will stop you, and one will hurt you. But, for those that stay, they will as brothers and sisters.”
“That’s all I need to know.” She grabs the collar and removes it pulling it strongly. “My name is Sybil. I’ll gladly follow you.”
All the players remove their collars and throw them to the ground.
“Bonds of slavery have been struck. Never again to be bonded. Never again, you will fell it tight around your neck. Robbing you of breath, freedom and life. We’ll see the legionaries bleed for taking us as dogs. Harry One, Dale, their weapons.”
The two salamanders follow command and give them back their weapons. Sybil gets her spear and dagger back.
“Now, we’ll have blood.”
Floor 51st, August 17th, 2026.
Leafa materializes in front of Galant, who remained sit in the same place for more than twelve hours.
“You’re late.” He says.
“School just ended. What do you expect? Something happened while I wasn’t here?”
“Nothing. They must be in the upper levels of the labyrinth. We’ve get to going now.”
He places his belt across his chest again and sheathes his swords back.
“Yes we have to.” Leafa gets up.
They get out of the cave and start walking around the rainbow path trying to find a way to go up, what thy quicklydid.
They walk without speaking, as calm but uncomfortable silence filled the air. Galant didn’t care neither did he seek a talk with a girl he barely knew. All he cared about it getting out of that cave and get rid of the girl. If he could kill one or two members of the Band of the Nine it would be better use of his time.
Leafa, on the other hand, didn’t stand the silence. She was just following and looking at him. The man was as silent as a tomb. Leafa didn’t like at all his attitude, yet, she could notice something. He had a good side. He could have let her fall and die, get her gear, weapons and money and leave her. But he didn’t. Instead he chose to save her life. He was a total idiot when he wanted. But there was a deeper meaning for what he was doing.
It also seemed that Hao didn’t command him to kill them. He could have killed her when he had the chance. And he did have it more than once. But he didn’t. It seemed that thought they weren’t their guild, he somehow cared about them. For what she knew, Asuna, Klein and the former members of Fuurinkazan knew him, as they were all trapped inside SAO.
She kept her eyes on her for a long time, trying to figure out what passed through his brains.
“We’re close to the” Galant says as he turns around. “Why have you been looking at me all this time?”
“How did you…”
“I’ve noticed it since we started the walk. The colored crystals in the walls. They reflect everything. So, why you were looking me?”
“I just wondered: why a mercenary of Hao and a PK would save me.”
“Honestly: I don’t know.”
“Lie! You have a reason. WHY?”
“I just don’t like seeing girls die. That’s all.”
“Just that?” Galant turns around and continues walking with Leafa continuing yelling at him. “That’s why you saved me? Or you seek to find my guild mates to kill them as well? Or leave the task to Hao and his Legions?”
“I told you to leave the war. You think I want you dead? No far the contrary. I want all of you out of this mess. If you’d left when I told you, nothing of this would be happening.”
“So that’s it? No reason behind what the hell are you doing?”
“That’s none of your concern, girl.”
“There’s a deeper reason for this. I can see it in your eyes! They look the same as my brother’s!” Galant stops in that moment. “Only with less love and more anger on them.”
Galant turns around, walking to her. She begins to fall back, until she clashes against a wall.
“I had a girlfriend! She’s dead! Mordread, the leader of the League of Darkness Knights killed her! That’s all you need to know about me.”
Absolut silence for a moment.
Galant stops lookingLeafa for a moment, to see the complete darkness near a wall.
“Why is so cold suddenly?” Leafa asks.
“Tch…” Galant draws Maximus Caliburn and activated Dimachearus. “That’s no common cold. Back to back.”
Galant remains looking to the same place, while Leafa draws her katana right behind Galant.
Steps could be heard coming out from the dark from both sides, as two players appeared a male and a girl. The male dressed with a white hakama and a black Japanese armor, with a katana and a wakizashi forming his daisho on the left side of his waist. His eyes were shut by a white bandana. In the other side in front of Leafa, the girl was wearing a Persian-like armor, with beautiful long hair. She was armed with a sword and a dagger, which looked the same as the sword, but smaller. A frozen aura around her froze everything she touched, including the floor right beneath her feet.
“Yakuza and Sabrac. I never thought you would be here. What means Mordread is near. Tell me Ice Queen, is your boyfriend such a coward that she sends you to do his dirty job?”
“He finds himself occupied, with more pressing concerns than you.”
“But he sent us, to bring him your head!”
Silica: “Kirito! Kirito! The recognition squad has arrived. Seems they have found them!”
Kirito runs following Silica, accompanied by Klein, Agil, Recon and Sybil. Near the entrance, a single player appears. Strange thing, considering they send six men, and the only one returning, was the leader.
“What happened to the rest?”
He doesn’t speak a word.
“You’ve been of good use…” A voice is heard from behind the player. “…Your reward: tell them.”
His words finish once a blade pierced though his skull, coming out from his mouth. The sword slices upwards, dividing the head of the player in half, as liters of blood came from the wound. The corpse felt to the ground and blood splattered in the floor.
“Mmmm….Too slow, my friend…”
A black dressed player with a mask, holding a pitch black sword covered in blood appeared.
He stepped on the lifeless body as it shattered, then looking up towards the players.
“Black Swordsman! It’s been a while! I’ve missed you a lot!” the player said as he removed his mask, revealing his face.
Kirito refreshed his memory.
Almost two years had passed from that moment, inside SAO.
The high level players formed a squad to capture or kill the members of the assassin’s guild, Laughing Coffin. They were ambushed by the killers resulting in eleven players of the crusaders died. But in exchange, twenty one of LC died while others were captured.
The player standing right in front of him was one of those members of Laughing Coffin. One that he had fought by himself. A vicious, killing lover player. But he wasn’t wearing a mask at that time. However, he had a notorious violet scar right on the left side of his face and crimson red eyes as he had never seen before.
The player in front of him had the same on his face.
“Yes I am. The one you fought two years ago. I’m Mordread, leader of the PK guild The League of Darkness Knights.”
Two big Gnomes and a Pooka appear right behind him, preparing to fight.
“I heard what you did that time. Xaxa and Black where good friends of mine. You imprisoned them, two times. I’m here to take your fucking head for that…”