Like a month... again. Maybe I should say monthly updates, that seems about right. So much for my plans of daily updates. Yes, I kinda planned for daily updates. I was working off the fact that I managed to make daily updates for my first story (technically 3) but it seems that I don't have the inspiration to write that much right now... and writing without inspiration is torture for me.

Yes, this is a cheap copout ending for the first arc. Deal with it. Or leave a whiny review.

I am kinda sorry for this, but it's just painful to write at this point. It's not like I write it on the last day of the month and post it, it literally takes a month to write. I write a few sentences, switch to something else (generally some RWBY fanfiction, possibly my own), write a few more.

And yes I skipped everything between floor 60 and 75. Including Yui. God I'm going to get a lot (at least percent wise, since this story doesn't have enough people to get 'a lot' of feedback at all) of hate for that. At least I made the final fight a bit... interesting. No deus ex machina with Kirito not dying when his HP drops to zero (though that, along with Asuna breaking out of her paralysis and Kayaba copying his conscious, I'm going to chalk up to the NerveGear actually being similar to an STL, with the first two being explained by Incarnation) or whatever. Okay, maybe a little tiny bit, but you'll see what I mean.

(1st person, Jun)

"How many people died?" Kirito asks.

"13, I think," I answer.

"And Heathcliff still didn't drop below half," Kirito says, slowly getting up. And then activating [Rage Spike] at Heathcliff, as pretty much planned. The plan involved using this battle as confirmation.

I myself walk over to where Kirito was standing, sword lunged out and blocked by an [Immortal Object] label, shocking all the muttering in the room into silence. The sword was aimed in such a way that had we been wrong, it wouldn't have killed him, but that was not a concern at this point. The only people in this room not surprised were Kirito and myself. Kayaba must have been surprised by the fact that we had figured him out.

"C-commander... p-please explain," Asuna says in a shaky voice.

"There's a reason why his HP never drops below half. It's not because he's that good or because his stats are that high, it's because the system doesn't let him. Isn't that right, Kayaba?" Kirito asks, lowering his sword since pointing it at the immortal god of this world was pointless. And his sword would become pointless if he kept at it. I'm so sorry.

There was another long pause until Kayaba spoke, ignoring the question directed at him by Asuna which almost every single person in the room was probably thinking he says, "I'm curious, how did you figure me out?"

"You're too strong," I say ambiguously.

"Coming from someone higher level than me," he points out with a chuckle.

"Unlike you, I spend most of every single day killing the strongest currently available monsters with just one person to share the XP with. You on the other hand, rarely go grinding and when you do, it's with a full party of 7 which means you should be nowhere near Kirito or I. In fact, you should probably be nowhere near the average clearer level.

On top of that you've never fallen below 50% HP, at all. Even before the 50th floor when you supposedly got [Holy Sword]. Even in this fight, you conveniently fell to exactly 50% about 3/4 of the way through and then your HP didn't fall any further.

Plus you cheated in our duel," I say. The last two points were the strongest, since for the first there might be some guild XP system.

"I thought you might notice that. Yes, I was overwhelmed and was forced to use the System Over-Assist in order to avoid dropping below 50% HP and revealing my status that way."

"What are you going to do now? Kill us all and cover it up?" Kirito asks.

"Now that wouldn't be very sporting of me. Now that you know how I am, it should come as no surprise to you that I am the final boss. I will go to the 100th floor and wait for you there."

"Our trust... our loyalty... you bastard!" A Knights of the Blood Oath member says, yelling the last part and charging. Kayaba simply opened his menu and pressed a few buttons. Everybody collapsed. Paralysis. Everybody except Kirito and I...

Turning to us, he spoke, "As a reward to the two of you for figuring out my identity, I will fight the two of you to the death. Naturally, I will disable my immortality and not use any form of system assistance. If I die, every player will be logged out. If you decline, I will wait for you on the 100th floor."

"Don't!" Asuna yells. Along with Klein, Agil, and the rest of the few people we could consider friends. We of course had no plans of listening.

"We accept," Kirito says and I nod when Kayaba looks at me.

A few button presses in his menu later, each of us had our HP at 25% and his was at exactly 50%.

Without any need for action from me or Kirito a timer appears, counting down from 30.

We both draw our swords and get ready. We can't use sword skills, I realize. He made this game practically single-handedly, which means he'll know where any sword skill will go. The same could be said about us for simple ones, but even Kirito only had muscle memory for things like [Starburst Stream] and [Eclipse]. Simple ones huh... they would be just as effective against him as against any other player since they were trivial to predict anyway. That is to say, not very. Unless you could overwhelm your opponent with shear force and speed, sword skills didn't work for PvP because they were too predictable or too stationary.

In a long combo skill you generally stay in about the same place, which means if the opponent manages to disengage, you miss the rest of your attacks and are then left frozen, which means you are open for attack.

"We split up. He defends with a shield so if we attack from both sides it should work," Kirito says quietly and I nod.

The timer hits zero and we both jump forward and apart from each other. Kayaba jumps back to avoid being caught between us. The few people near where he landed were teleported away from him. So our arena is the entire boss fight arena, that's annoying.

We were forced to approach him from one side and our attacks glanced off his shield. Whenever we slipped up, he would counter attack.

This wasn't working. We were tiring ourselves out pointlessly.

We both jump back. Kayaba doesn't follow, allowing both parties to take a break. Our HP had dropped significantly thanks to a few light hits from his sword, however his had dropped far lower. Unfortunately, we were tired and he'd done basically nothing and was not tired basically in the slightest so we would lose at this rate.

"Kirito I have a plan," I whisper.

"What is it?"

"You stab him through me. There is 10 seconds after someone's HP drops to zero before they die, otherwise the revival item wouldn't work."

Kirito starts to protest. "No. You will do it."

"I don't like this plan."

"It will work."

Not giving him further chance to protest I jump forward again, attacking with a relentless barrage of [Horizontals], [Verticals], and [Slants]. Simple skills which would allow me to put more pressure than regular attacks. Kirito stayed behind me.

"Switch," I say in order to make Kayaba think our plan was entirely different and jump back.

Kirito takes his turn, unleashing a barrage of attacks. "Switch."

I jump back in and this time I just charge in, trying to keep his attention completely on me and ignoring the occasional nick he gave me. He parries a strike just right with his shield and knocks my left sword out of my hand, using the brief moment of 'surprise' I feigned to cut off my right hand. I smile us creepily as I possibly can and the slight reaction on his face shows that it worked as I activate a [Martial Arts] skill with my left hand, not aimed at him, but at the side of his shield, knocking it far, far away from his front.

Then charge in with another. As we slashes down with his sword, I catch it with my remaining hand, using my armored glove to mostly stop the blow before closing the distance between us completely.

Then a pitch black longsword known as Elucidator impales us both, causing Asuna to try to reach out towards us and a considerable amount of shock to appear on Kayaba's face, probably along with everyone else but I couldn't really see them.

Kirito pulls out his sword and I jump back, giving him a high-five with my remaining hand as my and Kayaba's HP drained to zero and then we both shattered.

My vision turned black and a 'game over' message appeared. Now hopefully I get logged out before I get killed.

5 seconds pass. Then 10. Then 30. What? I should either be dead or logged out by now and yet... it's neither. I'm still on the game over screen.

The blackness vanishes and is replaced with a beautiful sunset. Looking around I see Aincrad crumbling, the bottom floors falling away and being covered by red meshes before vanishing as they hit the clouds. Continuing to look around, I see Kirito appear next to me.

He looks around in surprise before hugging me. I hug him back. We won... huh?

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" a vaguely familiar voice spoke. We turn to the source and see a man in a white lab coat.

""Kayaba..."" we both say at the same time.

"Congratulations on clearing SAO. I admit, I did not expect that. I was suspicious of the sudden suicide attack since it wasn't your usual style, but I did not expect your plan to involve me thinking I would be safe from attacks from Kirito because you were between us."

"So what happens now?" I ask.

"The remaining 6000 players that are still alive are being logged out and the SAO servers in Argus headquarters are deleting SAO as we speak. In 5 minutes, this world will be no more."

We chat a little about why he made this world and then he says, "Well, I'll be going now. In a short while longer, you two will be logged out."

Beeping. And AC. I slowly open my eyes and find the green visor of the NerveGear overhead. I lift my arms and with a considerable amount of difficulty, take off my NerveGear, setting it down on one of the few things not white or light blue in the room, namely, the wooden table next to the head of the bed. I was in a hospital, that much was obvious. There was an IV needle in my arm and a heart rate monitor next to the bed I was on.

I slowly sit up and look out the window to see Tokyo. Like in Aincrad, the sun was setting outside.

Well, I'm home now. Whether that's good or bad? I guess I'll find out.

Right now I want to sleep because for some stupid reason, I felt it was a good idea not to do that last night. Not literally, I just didn't get much sleep.

If I recall where Kirito- no, Kazuto, said he lived now, it was fairly near to where I live and—if this was the hospital I thought it was—this was probably the closest hospital appropriate for taking care of someone in a comma for a prolonged period of time to where he lived, which meant he was probably close by.

I'll see if I can find him tomorrow. For now, I just feel sleepy. I lie back down and close my eyes.

I hear the door slide open and open my eyes, looking to see who had entered the room. It was a nurse. And one very surprised to see me awake.

I try to say something witty but find my throat too dry for me to speak. And now that I noticed it, it hurt like hell.

"I'll be right back with some water," she says and I just smile and nod, since I failed to speak.

Once she leaves I sigh. Or try, even that comes out raspy.

So yeah, this is my copout of a final chapter for the first arc. I will—almost certainly—be writing another arc so this is not the final chapter of this.