The author Mataras, a fellow author of mine has given me a review, and it is very kind and appreciated. This chapter will go through the first boss fight of Aincrad, introduce a certain chestnut haired girl, and create a group of inseperable friends. This chapter also introduces a character that does not belong to me or Sword Art Online:

Mataras is a character from an original book series known as the Omega Chronicles, the first book of which is called Dragon Roar. The author of this series, as well as the owner of the character is Mataras, and he has a profile on fanfiction, so go talk to him if you want to learn more about the character or his story. This character has appeared as the main character in two different stories:

The Red Swordsman: Toa of Aincrad

The Red Swordsman: Slayer of Aincrad

I do not own Sword Art Online or Star Wars, the Old Republic, they belong to their respective owners. I only own my characters Marcus/Ion and Emma Cersy. Mataras the Red Swordsman belongs to Mataras the author.

He felt eyes watching him while they all assembled at the boss meeting.

It had been two months since the death started, since the day Kayaba locked them all in, on top of the 213 people that died on day one, another 2000 players had joined their names on the Black Iron Name wall in the palace on floor 1.

Sat at the back of the theatre they had met in, he wasn't surprised when the three other loners like him ended up in a party, one looked like they were about to leave, he sighed, "If you would please miss, stay, and try to cheer up," he said, and walked down to slide in next to one of the two with a cloak on. Judging from their build, they must be male, a single sword was strapped to his back.

The boy in the middle wore blue clothes under a light chestplate, he also wore brownish pants and gloves, Ion also recognised his sword, the Anneal Blade, reward for completing a quest somewhere, not that it mattered, the weight was not his preference.

The third person had the tell-tale figure of a young woman, Ion didn't even see her weapon, because of the cloak.

"Hey, you want to join us?" Asked the boy in the middle.

"Might as well, this might actually be fun," Ion shrugged, leaning back, a message appeared in his vision, 'Kirito would like you to join his party. Do you accept?' Ion tapped yes, and three health bars joined his, appearing underneath, Kirito, Mataras and Asuna.

"Ion eh? American or European?" Asked Mataras.

"I'm from the states, but I live in Japan," Ion stated.

"Like me then," the cloaked male said.

"Mataras… Spanish word for 'You kill', interesting name in a game like this," Ion remarked.

"Hey, not bad, where'd you learn that?" Asked the player.

"My sister is a quick learner, she tells me all kinds of words she learns from class or from the library," Ion smirked.

"I'm not a player killer, don't worry about that," Mataras said, Ion turned his gaze to his other companions.

"Kirito and Asuna, Japanese then," Ion said, Kirito looked surprised while the girl visually tensed, Ion sighed and circled around to join her on the end.

"Please, would you both remove your cloaks?" He asked politely, Mataras did so, revealing a pale face that looked around the age of sixteen, his black hair was straight and long, partially covering his left eye, of which were a dark brown, closer towards black.

Asuna did not remove her hood, but suddenly stood and left, Ion sighed and glanced at the other two guys, they shrugged together.

The three males found working together in the field to be extremely effective.

Ion was quick, using speedy swipes and stabs to defeat his opponents.

Kirito used fast but heavier strikes, using momentum assisted swings to handle his enemies.

Mataras was a mix between the two, he had Ion's speed, and Kirito's strength.

They also spent as much time as they could analysing each other too. Kirito was seen as warm and friendly, but tended to stay away from other people that were lower level than himself. This wasn't due to superiority, because he was anti-social. But of a sense of isolation, it was well known that Beta Testers were increasingly becoming dis-trusted by others due to their natural advantages over those who weren't Beta Testers. Kirito seemed to want to try and avoid making a scene involving his status.

Mataras on the other hand, was kind enough towards his party members, but any other players they met in the fields and in town, he treated them with a cold and disrespectable stare or comment.

Ion was seen as a kind and respectable person, helpful, brave and cautious, these three traits made him an instant ally in Mataras' opinion, and he saved Kirito's life in the fields, so he wasn't fussed about him either.

It had gotten late when the three found Asuna hiding away from the main crowds of raid members, in the dark alleyways.

Ion sighed, "She stole my spot," Mataras chuckled.

"What? You gonna kick her off it?" Kirito asked him, grinning.

"Give me a second to talk to her, I'll give you the all clear if she at least smiles once," Ion said, and walked up and sat down next to her.

"Hi Asuna," He said, spotting Diavel and Kibaou laughing together in the main crowds, "You know, you don't have to hide from everyone," He stated carefully.

"I'm not hiding," She said stiffly, "I'm staying true to myself. I didn't want to lock myself away in the Town of Beginnings and rot away. I want to stay me until the end of this game. Even if that means death. That way, I'll beat this Death Game before it begins," Asuna sighed.

"Asuna, not all of this game is that bad." Mataras said, coming to join them, Kirito next to him, the two pulled out a loaf of bread each, Mataras even tossed one to Ion, who nodded at the gesture.

"What are you talking about, everything about this world is evil- how could you suggest that any good might come out of it?" She asked him, a sharp tone in her voice.

"Because look at us," Ion stated, "Four complete strangers are suddenly trying to bond, even just for one time, yes this game is practically Death incarnate, yes people will die," he looked at her, and put a hand on her shoulder, "But everyone still lives as normal as they can, we just… have a sudden new job; beat this game," He said.

Asuna seemed to ponder their words, "So… what you are trying to say is… we try to live on, fight for those who don't have the will to… and make friends?" She asked, she reached up, and removed her hood, revealing she had long chestnut hair.

"Right, try not to think to negatively about this Game of Death," Kirito said, finally speaking, he opened his inventory, and brought out another roll of bread, and handed it to Asuna, she cocked her head at the action, "Go on, just take it, it's not like I poisoned it or anything," He chuckled.

The four ate together, sharing two pots of cream between them, the boys were slightly surprised when Asuna wolfed down her meal quickly. They then decided to turn in, finding the closest inn and booking four rooms.

Ion laid on his bed, hands behind his head and staring at the ceiling. "Emma… I'm not even sure if you hear this, I hope so… the first boss fight is happening tomorrow, and it will be the hardest enemy to fight yet, please have faith that me and my newfound allies will have the strength to beat the boss," He sighed, tucked under the sheets and went to sleep.

Next morning, the raid party set off, cheers given by the players who were not going, Ion's party were at the back of the group. They had found out Asuna had no idea how to work in a party, Ion and Kirito took it in turns to walk her through the tactics and commands given in a party based fight.

The massive party soon arrived at a pair of massive doors that must contain the boss room. Sounds of players checking themselves over in their menus were heard everywhere, Ion put away his old sword, the rapier he had from the Town of Beginnings, and brought out a Curved Blade, which looked like a cutlass, when his party members questioned the weapon change, Ion said he had been testing out different weapons and tactics for speed based fighting.

The party of four were assigned as part of the rear vanguard, their job being to keep the boss' adds from being trouble, and to act as back up if the front group got beat up by the boss. Diavel opened the doors, the blue haired leader charged in, followed by every other player, "Spread out, stay alert!" Ion called out.

"There!" A player called, the boss stood from a throne at the far end of the room, and sprung far and into the middle of the room. He was big, fat, and looked like some sort of ugly red kangaroo, armed with an axe and buckler, and Ion saw the hilt of a weapon on his back. This was Illfang the Kobold Lord, and his minions spawned the moment he hit the ground, The Kobold Sentinels. The room seemed to light up as well, signifying the fight was on.

"Let's do this!" Diavel called, Ion was charged by the first mob, and the two were caught in a lock, he broke back, then spun and slammed the sentinel's sword aside, "Switch Kirito!" He called, Kirito took over, slamming his sword through the mob, taking it out.

Asuna meanwhile sprinted out to engage the second, her speed was really high, her strikes barely capable of being seen by the naked eye, she must be even faster than me, Ion thought. Asuna stabbed the last of the second minion's HP away, clearing the path for Mataras on the third.

When his attack came, it was the strangest way ever, he slid under the sentinel's blow, and then sprung upwards. Slashing at the mob's head, he landed a critical hit, killing the monster instantly, this shocked the others in his party, but there was no time for questions of his fighting style.

Approximately twenty minutes of cutting down the boss, and his always respawning soldiers, Illfang's HP finally entered the red zone, and he roared angrily. Like the guidebook predicted, Illfang cast aside the axe and shield. What wasn't seen coming was Illfang's new toy, it was a Nodachi, not a Talwar. Diavel stepped up, preparing a sword skill, Ion was already in motion, even as Kirito started warning him, Illfang jumped into the air, leaping straight at Diavel. Ion jumped too, and tackled the blue haired tactician aside, just as the sword slammed into the ground behind him. The two were sent slamming into the wall, and their HP was now in the yellow, Ion more so than Diavel.

Kirito joined them, "What were you doing!?" He muttered, handing them both health potions, Ion gulped his down, and jumped to his feet, "You were after the last attack bonus weren't you?" Kirito asked behind him, Ion parried a swipe from one of the minions, and then cut the mob in two with the sword skill 'Reaver'.

"Kirito!" A player called out, Ion gulped when he saw Illfang was targeting them, the three players prepared for the end, but it never came, Ion looked up, Agil was blocking the Nodachi! "You can't get distracted guys, on your feet y'all," He said.

Ion nodded, Kirito stood up next to him. "Like the minions!" He called out, Mataras joined the two in a final charge.

"Who blocks?" Asked Ion, just before they reached the boss.

"Me!" Kirito blocked the Nodachi, getting inside the range of the longer weapon. Ion took over, using his speed to slash multiple times at Illfang's big belly, while Mataras slashed heavily across his upper chest.

The two ducked under the counter attack, and dropped back, Kirito leaped, and activated the sword skill 'Vorpal Strike', which stabbed straight through the boss, dropping the last of his HP and it vanished in an explosion of pixels and polygons.

Everyone cheered as a massive alert of Congratulations appeared above them, Kirito noticed he got the last attack bonus, "Stop cheering!" A voice called out, everyone turned to the voice, Kibaou, the man who seemed to have a massive grudge against the beta testers, and saw the entire SAO incident their fault, "Why'd you let them die?" Asked the spikey haired man.

"Let them die?" Kirito asked.

"What are you talking about you fool?" Mataras questioned in a low voice that carried around the quiet chamber.

"Them! He knew about the attack patterns! About that different weapon! Why didn't he tell us?" Kibaou said, pointing at Ion and Kirito.

"I wasn't even in the beta!" Ion told him.

"I was," Kirito said, he stood, and turned to walk towards Kibaou, he ignored the stares he got from the players in the room, "In the beta, he used the weapons in the guidebook, I should have seen this coming, they must have changed up the bosses," He said. Ion raised both eyebrows and his eyes widened as he saw Kirito was grinning… evilly, he explained that he had gotten to higher floors than any other, because he studied attack patterns, weapons and skills that enemies used, he was bragging how he knew other things too, more than an info-broker.

"Then… you're a goddamn cheater!" Kibaou snarled. Others joined his call out, saying things like cheater and hacker, then…

"He's a Beta Tester and a cheater… he's a Beater!" someone called out.

An evil chuckle came from Kirito as he turned, and accessed his menus, "A beater," He said, testing out the title, "I like it," He smirked. "Call me what you want, just don't confuse me with those other Beta tester noobs," Kirito then equipped his new item, Ion had to whistle at the coat, "Not bad at all…" He whispered.

"So you think you're better than us huh? You son of a-" The whiny man found his voice stopped by the appearance of a sword at his throat, which shut him up.

Mataras gave Kibaou a very valuable lesson in the way of the Law of the Sword, and Ion's respect for the boy in red skyrocketed.

Everyone heard a sound of clapping, Ion was clapping, "Well said Mataras, come on, let's go catch him up," Ion said, and walked after Kirito, Diavel stood alone, unsure of what to do, "You too Diavel, you can come too," Ion said, the three climbed after Kirito, Asuna was right behind them.

"Asuna, I'm sorry, but this is where we must part ways for now," Kirito said, he turned to the men, "Are you guys sure you want this?" He asked them.

"What?" Everyone asked.

"If you join me, you'll all be classed as beaters like me, Asuna, you should go join a guild, claim innocence, that way, you'll still gain respect," Kirito said.

"Kirito, you won't take all the heat by yourself," Diavel said.

"He's right, they'll hate me because of my actions, and Ion approved of them of all things," Mataras said.

"Alright, thanks guys, it'll be great to have you watching my back," Kirito smiled.

Nothing more was said as the group of four entered the second floor of Aincrad.

Emma: And a group of four people, all different in their own ways, Kirito, Diavel, Mataras and Big brother!

Kirito: We are the four swordsmen who stand out from the rest.

Diavel: I feel honoured that you saved my life.

Mataras: Thank you for letting me into this story

Ion: no problem guys, and next chapter, we meet a certain little guild.

All four guys: Next time: The Moonlit Black Cats!