So, here's chapter two. Now then, there are a few things I wanna clear up.
SAO in this story is mostly going to serve as a backstory to some of the character, namely, the ones mentioned in the prologue. The main story is gonna be after the end of Aincrad, and going to be two separate but joined plotlines: one being the DxD storyline, the other being a modified SAO storyline.
Also, to the anonymous Guest who gave a review, Issei will still be a perv. Not overly so like in canon, but still a very vocal perv. Although, the experience in SAO will give him a bit more basic fighting experience, and something else too (spoilers). He remains a perv because that defining trait of his happened way back when he was a kid (source: Light Novels).
Anyway, I don't plan to spend much time on the Aincrad arc, so it's going to be glimpses here and there of how the extra characters changed the story.
That's that done with. On to the story.
Obligatory Disclaimer: SAO and DxD do not belong to me any more than the French fries of an alternate universe.
"Well, let's part here. If anything comes up send me a message. … well, see you later, Klein."
Klein called me as I turned my eyes downwards and turned to leave.
I sent him a questioning glance but he didn't say anything, his cheek only shook a little.
I waved once and turned northwest – the direction of the village that I'd use as my next base.
When I had taken about five steps a voice called out from behind me again.
"Hey, Kirito! You look pretty good in real life! You're quite my style!"
I smiled bitterly and shouted over my shoulder.
"Your look suits you ten times better too!"
Then I turned my back on the first friend that I had made in this world and ran straight forward ceaselessly.
After I had run through the winding alleyways for a few minutes, I looked back again. Of course, there was nobody there.
I ignored the odd feeling of my chest being constricted and ran.
I ran desperately to the northwest gate of the Starting City and then past the large plains and the deep forest, then a small village located past all that – then past that to an endless, lonely game of survival.
Chapter One: The Shooting Star
A few days had passed since that first day full of despair. The day on which everywhere on the First Floor there was a thick atmosphere of panic.
On the first day alone, many players had tried every method they could think of to escape the game. Too many players. Dozens of them thought that if they suicide here they would go back to reality. The last thing they probably saw was the endless expanse of sky they were falling through, until they hit the limits of the VR world. Many more suicides followed afterwards, but this time done in despair, done because they had given up all hope and would rather have it end there and then.
I don't blame them. Most of them were just casual players here to have a fun time. And suddenly the swords they held, the monsters out in the fields and the green bar of HP at the corner of their visions became real. It wasn't surprising that many people couldn't deal with it.
Among the others who remained, most of them holed themselves up in the cheapest inns of the Starting City. Spending 1 Col or so daily on a piece of bread, they decided to wait out the last of their days.
A few players, like me, wandered the dungeons of the first floor, always careful, stocking up EXP so that we could begin to start clearing the game. Truthfully, none of us had any hope of doing so. We just needed something to do to give us the merest pretense of hope.
While most others went around the dungeons in full teams, never going into the more dangerous areas out of fear, I travelled alone. Even during the beta test, I had always gone about the game alone. And by travelling alone, I discovered more than the team players ever did.
On that life-changing first day, I had first gone in search of a new sword. The best one-handed longsword that you could get on the first floor was the Anneal Blade, and it was available through a quest at a nearby village. As a beta tester, I was privy to this information.
However, I was not the only one. I met another beta tester who had decided to partake in the same quest. His handle was Coper. At first he seemed like he had wanted to work together.
But soon I had found out what this kind of situation did to a person. It was in human instinct to put one's survival over others. Coper had decided he would be the one who would survive no matter what the game threw at him. And as a result, he decided to do everything in his power to achieve that – including MPKing a party member so he could be the one to get the better sword.
Was this what Kayaba wanted? To create a situation where the players themselves became their own enemies?
Once again I reasserted my opinion that Kayaba Akihiko, the man I used to look up to, was a psychotic murderer.
A month into the game, I saw a shooting star.
The dark dungeon at that moment had only three individuals inside. Myself, who was watching from a distance, a Ruin Kobold Trooper monster, and a lone fencer.
The player wore a red tunic, leather pants and a hooded cape. I could not see his face. A fencer's equipment, and the sword was the standard rapier.
All this I registered at a glance. What I was focusing on, was the shooting stars that the fencer's sword was making.
It was the basic rapier skill Linear. I had seen it countless times during the beta test.
What I had never seen, was the blade itself disappearing as the skill activated.
The fencer danced around the Kobold, barely dodging its attacks. However, each of his lightning-fast strikes all pierced it accurately. The result was that the Kobold's HP dropped rapidly while the fencer's was still in the green. Soon, the monster had shattered into polygons, and the fencer leaned back onto the corridor wall and slid down, clearly exhausted.
Normally, I would've taken the selfish path and just walked past. But for some reason I felt like I should walk towards this lone fencer.
"… That was an extreme overkill."
The fencer moved very slightly. From beneath the hood, all I saw were dark brown eyes.
The next minute I explained what overkill was to who was now evident as someone who had never played video games before.
"… Is it a problem?" the fencer said.
I realized then that the fencer was female.
"It's not exactly a problem, but it's not efficient…" I started. "Using Sword Skills to often like that can make you too tired to go back."
"That won't be a problem," she replied, weakly but forcefully. "I don't plan on going back."
I was surprised, to say the least.
"Not going back? Hold on, potions, equipment maintenance, you'll need to do all that–"
"I don't need potions if I don't take any damage. And I have five of the same sword with me so there's no problem."
"But, what about sleep?" I asked, astonished.
"A nearby safe area suffices for rest."
Safe areas were in no means a comfortable place to sleep. They were found inside dungeons, a place where monsters could not set foot. It was an area of cold stone where, although there were no monsters, you could constantly hear animal noises. It didn't matter how brave you were, you could not have a decent sleep in there.
This person, however, had done so for I didn't know how many hours. I tentatively asked the question.
The answer was something I never expected.
"One week … no, more than that. Is that all? I have to get going soon, the monsters will return soon."
A leather-gloved hand pushed against the wall and she stood up, legs shaking. I also noticed how tattered the cape was. It should have disappeared long ago, unless she wasn't kidding about 'not taking any damage.'
"If you keep this up, you are going to die."
The rapier user stopped, and turned back to me. Red-lined hazel eyes shot glares at me.
"… It won't be long before everyone's dead. It has only been a month, and over two thousand players are gone. Getting out of here is impossible. All you can decide is where, when and how … you die …"
The exhaustion seemed to finally get to her, as she fell down onto the hard ground.
Yuuki Asuna had completely given up.
She wondered for a second how it was possible to faint in a virtual reality, but dismissed it, thinking "It didn't matter."
It no longer mattered whatever happened to her here. Because no matter what she did, she and all the others were just going to die anyway.
Asuna had never had any patience for video games of any sort. It was her brother Koichirou who had bought the NerveGear and was excited about being there on the opening day of Sword Art Online.
However, he had been requested to go abroad on the first day. Asuna did not know what made her want to go to her brother's room and place the damned helmet on her head.
Perhaps it was curiosity. Perhaps it was just out of sheer boredom. Perhaps it was as a stress relief from all those studies she had been taking, stress she did not even know she had.
Just that one small decision, had completely altered her future … no, it had ended her future.
The first two weeks after the devastating announcement, Asuna had locked herself up in an inn. She tried to contact the real world, but to no avail. She waited for someone, anyone on the other side to set her free while she dealt with nightmares. The fact that no one was able to do so brought questions to her mind, but she discarded them because there was no point any longer in thinking about them.
And in the end she had decided. She, like all the others, was going to die. What she did have control over was how she was going to die.
And so she made her choice.
Run. Charge forward. Then disappear, like a meteor burning up upon entering the atmosphere.
She left the inn, and went into the artificial wilderness of Aincrad's first floor. And there she had remained: no food, no proper rest, just endless fighting. Until now.
Opening her eyes and looking around, she noticed that she was out of the dungeon. It should have been impossible. The weight limit imposed upon every player should have made it impossible for the only person nearby to have carried her out of the dungeon. And yet here she was.
She looked around, and found the culprit. Slightly long, messy black hair. Average equipment, but a sword that looked above the average standard. He was leaning against a nearby tree, deep black eyes looking at her.
She felt angry. Carrying her out of the dungeon was meaningless. She also took it as a blow to her pride. Who was he to interfere with her choices?
Sitting up with some effort, she stared daggers at the boy. "That was unnecessary," she spat out.
"You weren't the one I saved. I did so for your map data."
"You should've just left me there in that case."
He didn't answer that as Asuna pulled up a window and sent him the map data she had accumulated over the long days in the dungeon. She then stood up and turned to leave.
"Do you really want to just die out here in the middle of nowhere?"
That question stopped her. It also made her angrier.
"We're already in the middle of nowhere!" she said, turning back to him. "And what other choice do we have? Each and every one of us is going to disappear here at one point, and at the same time those helmets will fry our brains! I think I'm allowed to decide how I want to go out!" she snapped.
"You say that, but some people have already decided to start clearing the game."
"What's the point?" She honestly didn't see any. "What point is there in doing that when the task is impossible?"
"The point is in knowing that even if you fail, you die trying," he said sharply, eyes now staring back with conviction.
This made her fall silent. Seeing that, the boy continued.
"Until now, I thought the same way. I had also planned to give up, and just keep wandering the dungeons around here hoping that some miracle would break us free. However," he said, getting to his feet. "Watching you in that dungeon made me realize something. If we can only choose how we're going to die, then I only have one option. If I'm going to die, it's going to be in attempting to clear this game."
"Pointless," Asuna snarled. "Anything we do is pointless. What would make you want to even try?"
The black-haired boy paused for a second. Then he asked her, "Do you have any family waiting for you? Parents, siblings, relatives, even friends?"
For the first time in a long time, Asuna thought about it. She had a doting father who was surely wallowing in grief at the moment. She had a strict mother who she occasionally did not get along with. She had a brother who was no doubt relieved and at the same time deeply worried for her. And she did have one real friend back there as well. But she had long since given up any hope of going back there.
"I have a family to get back to," the boy said. "I have parents to apologize to, and a cousin to reconcile with. And so, even if it's hopeless, even if there's nothing we can do, I'm still going to try. Not for anyone else's sake, but for my own."
He walked past her, and said, "There will be a meeting of all the players who wish to challenge this floor's boss at 4pm today. If you want to get out of here and back to the real world, even in the slightest, then I suggest you come as well."
With that, he left Asuna to her thoughts.
She had given up. She had given up truly and completely.
And as such, she hated herself for unwillingly clinging on to the false hope the boy had given her.
After a long while, Yuuki Asuna made her second big decision in Aincrad. She would fight. Not aimlessly in the dungeons, but on the frontlines, working her way out. It was hopeless, and it was also pointless. Yet she would fight, if only for the sake of her pride.
Deciding so, Asuna turned to walk back towards the town. If she was going to follow the blind hope she had been given, then it would be while completely prepared.
Phew, that's another chapter.
Now, those of you nitpicky about details have probably noticed it straight away.
While this chapter was, for all purposes, the first part of Aria in the Starless Night, there were a few changes.
One, Asuna was in the dungeons for more than a week, and not three-four days. Two, she had not eaten anything in those days either. Yes, of course she would feel the hunger, but this Asuna decided to just forget it and fight until her mind was completely drained.
There were also two words that were for some reason in italics.
All of that has one reason. A reason which I'll leave to you to guess. This is a crossover fic after all.
Also, Kirito and Asuna are definitely very, very OOC. Kirito because I wanted to try out the idea, Asuna because of the same thing, but also relevant to the reason for the previous points.
With that said, I don't plan on outlining every moment of AitSN in this fic. The next chapter will skip straight to the end of the first floor battle. It's probably going to be a shorter chapter than usual.
And in the chapter after that, you'll see the first of the people who should not have been in SAO. So, on that bombshell, Punitor567 out. El Psy Congroo.