This article, SAOK: The Twin Sword Conundrum, is the seventh chapter of Sword Art Online (Kenji).
December 22nd, 2022, 04:18. Yeah, this was an all-night kinda thing.
The 3rd Floor had been successfully cleared by the front-running group at approximately 13:00 yesterday. The terrifying Floor Boss, Nerius the Evil Treant, was defeated without casualties. And once again I hadn't been involved.
At the rate we were going we might actually clear this game without our real-life bodies crumbling to dust.
"Enough of that Kenji," I thought sourly.
I shook my head, took a deep breathe of cool mountain air to dispel my cynicism, and went back to my soloist endeavor. It seemed forever ago that I fought a bunch of Windwasps with Asuka to get the materials to upgrade her claws. In truth it wasn't much more than two weeks ago. Huh. Amazing how time flew.
But what was I doing out here farming Windwasps? On my own no less? Experimenting! In my off-hand was a «Pale Edge» that had languished in my inventory since December 10th. I'd since upgraded it to +4 not two hours ago. To keep this experiment on the down-low I'd even forgone Sheila's expertise and upgraded it using the services of a Dark Elven blacksmith on the 3rd Floor. Statistically speaking it wasn't much different from what my «Scimitar» had been at +4 but strength wasn't what I was experimenting with this morning.
This was nothing more than an attempt to see if one could successfully dual-wield.
Right this moment I was suffering from an «Irregular Equipped State». This was brought about by having two one-handed weapons equipped in each hand. Because of it I couldn't launch standard Sword Skills; Reaver, Leaver and Fell Crescent where useless to me right now. But not all attacks where. I knew from the beta that I could still use my feet to launch Sword Skills from the «Martial Arts» category.
Now it was time to test something else.
Two Windwasps circled nearby, just overhead and out-of-reach, when suddenly they darted towards me! Before they did I noticed a third floating a little farther away. I evaded the first stinger with a sideways step, my motion taking me into range of the second, and I quickly slashed upwards with both arms from opposing sides. My blades connected the stinger at the point of the X-shape created by the two blades and it was enough to divert the wasp without me taking any damage, or even being hit. Ordinary attacks weren't ideal for causing damage -- most of the damage caused by a player was from Sword Skills. But I knew the Windwasps weak-point. With motions probably impossible outside the VR environment I shredded that poor Windwasp with a few quick swipes of my two blades, cutting into its weak spot with each attack, and it burst into polygons in a matter of seconds.
That was when I felt it: the second Windwasp approaching from the back.
I pivoted on the ball of my left foot and turned almost completely around. My right leg shone! Water Moon -- a roundhouse kick. My foot, aided by the buff to «Martial Arts» damage and proficiency gain from my «Martial Arts Leg Guards», swept right through the wasp and it exploded into polygons. It was good to see that I could defeat these things in what was essentially a single blow and that what was doable in the beta was still doable now.
My post-action delay wore off just as the third and final Windwasp approached.
My HP was close-to-full so I could afford to be a little reckless. I stabbed both my «Scimitar» and «Pale Edge» into the ground beside me -- removing the «Irregular Equipped State» in the process -- and waited. When the Windwasp attacked I ducked beneath its stinger, grabbed the «Pale Edge» with my left-hand, and released Fell Crescent! I deliberately aimed too low however and the Windwasp suffered little damage in-turn, but as I completed the circle and before the system assist was fully finished, I dropped my «Pale Edge». With my right-hand I grasped the hilt of my «Scimitar» and brought my entire body into motion in order to fire-off Reaver!
I tore through the Windwasp like a hot knife cutting butter!
What I had essentially just done was perform a Sword Skill with my left-hand before performing another with my right. The «Irregular Equipped State» would usually prevent this from happening, hence why it was necessary for me to drop my «Pale Edge» before grasping my «Scimitar». It also required fighting with the «System Assist» a little; which, of course, ran the risk of the entire Sword Skill failing to fire and leaving me completely open to a reprisal.
Which, should I be stunned, was essentially death for a solo player.
I tried to replicate the feat over the next two hours but out of twenty-seven attempts I'd succeeded in only six. Roughly 22% so slightly better than one-in-five. In DnD the system called for such close-calls to be rounded down. So 20% chance whilst being in a highly situational environment.
"Yeah, somehow I don't see you being effective. Ah, well. I might sink some time into trying to improve it. I might now. Regardless I should be heading back."