So yeah, I'm writing another story because I don't really know what to write for my other stories. Story heavily inspired by Racke's(author) Aincrad's Landing. And by 'heavily inspired,' I mean go read the first chapter of his story, because I'm just going to pretend that's in my story. (don't worry, I asked him)
This chapter—and possibly the next one or two—will likely be based quite heavily off of said story. Please, please, to go read it. It is a great story if you like Log Horizon and SAO and if you plan on reading this one,
I am—in a way—fusing it with my current SAO story, but not all the things that 'have happened' in this story will happen in my SAO story, so while it gives you a general idea of the direction, I'm not even sure about pairings for the pure SAO one yet. (This is KiritoXAsuna) (Definitely NOT OCXShiroe)
Other than that, I don't really have a direction for this story and it might end as fast as Aincrad's Landing ended, which was rather sad since I liked the story.
As a final note, Racke, if there was some misunderstanding and this isn't what you allowed just message me and I'll either take the story down or change the chapter as necessary.
(3rd person, Shiroe)
In the end it hadn't been Shiroe who had decided that they needed to make contact with Aincrad, but one of the crafting guilds.
The crafting guilds decided that in order to transport troops to aid in fighting the goblin king, they would need to take the sea-route or it would take to long, but unfortunately, Aincrad had landed/fallen/appeared right in the way.
The other question is how to actually get through Aincrad, even with the permission of the people there, assuming it wasn't a raid dungeon in cruel humor. There were hopefully enough rivers for the ship to pass through in Aincrad, but even if there aren't, the combined strength stats of hundreds of adventurers—perhaps thousands if they can get Aincrad's assistance—should be enough to carry the ship.
There were records of such events and history, and even though the Ocypete was much heavier and larger than any ships in ancient history, it had a larger crew of people who were each worth tens if not hundreds of normal humans in raw strength.
However, bringing an army through Aincrad without asking the current denizens first may result in a war, someone very much not needed, especially against people who had much more experience with being inside the game and much more incentive to be strong, given that getting out and surviving both depended on it.
Thus, negotiation was needed, and Crusty managed to dump it all on him saying, "Shiroe has a gryphon so it won't slow him down."
One day he would make Crusty suffer for all that he was putting him through, but for now it was best focus on the task at hand. And Shiroe was one of the Adventurers who kept up with the SAO incident the most, so it was likely he was actually the best person for the job.
But one day, even so, he would have his revenge.
Akatsuki shifted slightly behind him on the gryphon, confused by his change of mood when Shiroe chuckled darkly, thinking of that treasured moment of exquisite vengeance.
(1st person, Jun)
Ever since Aincrad was randomly transported into the world of Elder Tales in the middle of my duel with Heathcliff—who had disappeared—after the defeat of the 75th boss and the disappearance of real death—as well as any known way out—we had managed to clear 15 floors in 5 weeks, getting all the way to the 91st floor. Unfortunately, at this point, even I was getting pretty close to being under leveled.
Some people were leaving the front lines thanks to the fact that it was no longer necessary to reach the top, as it would not result in escape, but it also meant that without the threat of death, many people flocked to the front lines.
I stayed at the front lines since I had nothing better to do and people still hated me so seeing them die—especially since they weren't actually dying, but I had never really been saddened by their stupidity—wasn't all that much of a bother, which was one of the main motivating factors for people to leave the front lines.
Currently the people of Aincrad were celebrating reaching the 91st floor when a spot appeared on a horizon and as it grew in size it became more and more clear it wasn't a bird.
As a former Elder Tales player who owned one, I knew it was gryphon.
We approached Aincrad at a fast pace. He remembered it being a fantastical castle while it was airborne, but now it looked more like a harbor, the pylons sticking out at almost exactly the right height for a ship to dock.
Landing inside was probably not a good idea, whether this was dungeon or a castle of people.
As we got closer I could see some people, so it likely wasn't a raid dungeon, not that there had been much hope of that in the first place.
Signaling Akatsuki to be alert but nice I came in for a landing on one of the pylons, close to the castle itself, maybe a few tens of meters away.
The landing was about as soft as I could hope for and Akatsuki and I dismounted.
We walked to the castle and entered through what looked like a wrecked barrier of the same black metal-like rock the castle was made of in other places which in other places was about 2 meters tall and saw that he was in a fairly large city, though not as large as Akihabara.
He looked around and saw that most of the people who had gathered to meet him had the 'Adventurer' title.
Perhaps some of these people are the lost family of some of the people in Akihabara.
The few 'People of the Land' here were actually 'People of Aincrad.' Just like 'Adventurers' were actually 'Adventurers of Aincrad.'
An important thing to keep in mind, it had to have some significance, though it may just have to do with the flavor text of Aincrad.
Still, this is no time for that, and I should try to make an effort to be formal, "I'm Shiroe of Log Horizon, member and representative of the Round Table of Akihabara. I wish to speak to your leader."
"Papa, who's the that?" asked someone who sounded like a little girl.
I glance in the direction of the voice and see a young girl who looked 6-7 years old who was sitting on the shoulders of a teenage boy younger than me by a few years who she was apparently calling 'papa.' It was strange, since the girl was clearly one of the People while the boy was an Adventurer, not to mention she was much to old for him to be her actual father.
Not that it would be a good idea to mention any of this, given that he had no idea what was normal here.
"He's the man mama's supposed to talk to," the boy answered, looking almost lazy and very at ease and yet at the same time he looked very dangerous and kept Akatsuki and myself and his sight at all time, though he seemed a bit too at ease for someone as he seemed, if that made any sense, so perhaps someone he trusted completely was watching more carefully.
Anyway, so this girls 'mama' was one of the leaders, did this mean that one of the People was leading Aincrad? Or that two Adventurers adopted one of the people. Anyway, no point thinking about it, I'll find out when this 'mama' shows up.
Akatsuki tapped him and made a gesture for 'numbers,' looking wide eyed in the direction of the boy. I studied them and realized what she had been so surprised by.
The boy's level was over the level-cap of 100, in fact it was 111.
In fact, several of the Adventurers around had levels over 100, though none were above it by much, the only one more than 10 levels above was said boy, it was obvious that Aincrad either followed a different set of leveling rules and were fundamentally stronger at whatever their max level was than the Adventurers of Elder Tales—which was a somewhat scary thought—or that the level-cap advertised in the expansion wasn't the real level-cap and level 100 was just another level to climb above.
No Adventurer of Elder Tales had time to reach level 100 yet, so it was unknown what the level-cap really was and would be for some while, but part of him really hoped there wouldn't be a war against Aincrad, the other part just didn't want one.
A group showed up—all dressed in red and white, with an icon next to their name marking a guild—and gestured for us to follow them.
As we walked Akatsuki gestured 'watched,' and I reply with 'where.'
Akatsuki's response was very surprising, that is to say, she didn't know. Granted Aincrad had higher level players, but in Elder Tales there should be practically nobody who would be able to avoid her detection, regardless of level.
We arrived at a door and it was swung open, a large round room with seats in concentric circles, a quarter of the circles were missing and this was where the entrance was. Directly opposed was an area which looked like some form of stage, but at the time nobody stood on it.
Adventurers occupied a small fraction of the seats and there seemed to be no more than two or three people from any given guild present, except for the guards, which were all dressed in red and white with the same icon, suggesting that said guild was likely the strongest.
Perhaps this was their version of the Round Table... or a war council?
One person was not seated and were instead standing somewhere between the stage and the center of the room.
"I am Asuna of the Knights of the Blood," the person introduced themselves bluntly.
Given her position and the lack of introduction of anybody else, it was probably safe to assume she was in charge, or at least representing them.
She then asks, "Where did you come from, what do you want?"
A girl in black with white hair literally appears next to the person speaking and whispers something before disappearing.
Akatsuki gestures, 'her' to me, likely meaning that she had been watching us. The brief glance at her tag led him to believe her level was 121, which was 10 levels above what he had previously seen, but it was possible it was just some overlap or he miss-saw. The expression of Akatsuki's face said otherwise though.
Another important thing to note was that the player was not wearing the uniform of the guild and didn't have the icon showing guild membership next to her name.
Better answer her. She had the kind of no-nonsense aura about her that made me feel that she would happily have me stabbed to death—or do it herself—if I didn't speak up.
"I am Shiroe. I was sent by the Round Table of Akihabara to seek passage through your lands for the sake of defending the the eastern coast from the armies of the Goblin King," I answer.
Asuna didn't interrupt but her eyes narrowed dangerously.
"In order to stop said King's attack on Eastal we need to cripple its armies. The only way to do so without massive civilian casualties is by using a pincer attack, meaning that time is somewhat of the essence."
I then hastily reassure them, "We have no intentions of involving you in this war, and the battlefield is quite some distance northeast of here so you shouldn't be affected regardless."
The mysterious and vaguely familiar girl once again appears and whispers something to the leader/representative which seems to reassure her far more than what I had just said, the she promptly vanishes. If she has an ability like that, it means she could easily kill us without us putting up much of a fight.
"Why do your armies need to pass through here?" asks one of the people, putting emphasis on here, not bothering to introduce themselves.
No need to read into that at the moment, pissing them off could reset the negotiations to square negative one and sent him back to Akihabara. Besides, he wasn't here to figure out the internal politics of these Aincrad.
"In order to reach the eastern end of the battlefield in time we must take the sea-route, which just happens to have Aincrad placed right on top of it right now," I say with a slight frown, "The water north of here used to be a bay with easy access to the ocean, but it is now better classified as a salty lake."
"Do you have a map of the area in question?" Asuna asks, once again taking charge.
I nod and take out the map in question. The map had Shibuya and Akihabara labeled on it. And though Tokyo wasn't labeled on it, it should be blatantly obvious to anyone who lives in Japan that it is the area in question.
Elder Tales was modeled after the real world, so it would be reasonable to assume that SAO-survivors would recognize their own capital, even having been away from it for over two years.
The map also included the goblin armies and the route their ship was supposed to take.
"How accurate is this map?" asks Asuna.
"Quite accurate," I say rather proudly, I had drawn it myself and was a master scribe.
"What happened to Tokyo, Shiroe-san?" asks Asuna.
It was likely just a probe to see if they shared a country of origin, "It's probably still there, back on Earth," I answer shrugging.
"I doubt whatever power brought us here actually did damage to that place," I add.
"As far as we've been able to determine, we are in the world of Elder Tales, a fairly old MMO. The timing of us coming here happens to coincide with the launch of a new expansion, though that could just be a coincidence. The People, who were once NPCs have become perfectly sentient individuals. The world seems to share the event history of the game. As of yet, that's all we really know," I explain.
"See, I'm not the only one who thinks so. Idiots," says the guild-less girl, who had appeared at some unknown time leaning against the back wall of the room.
So this person was an Elder Tales player, perhaps that is why she seems familiar.
Asuna nods and says, "I see."
"Wow, we must be having the worst string of bad luck ever record," says one of the council members, a red-haired samurai, slumping back in his seat. "God I miss pizza."
I can't help but smirk. "I have it on good authority that it isn't actually all that difficult to make," I say.
"Y-you... you're telling me you can make pizza here?" he says, leaping from his seat, "Asuna-san you-"
"Sit. Down. Klein," Asuna says bluntly shutting him up.
"Should I do it for you?" asks the girl in black.
Asuna just nods slightly. The girl disappears and a way too short time later for invisibility—teleportation perhaps?—appears next to said samurai, high-kicking him in the face and clearly revealing that she wasn't dressed like girls normally dress under her coat/cloak.
She then prepared to step on his face while he lay on the ground, damn, she was ruthless.
"Wait Jun!" he says covering his face with his hands.
The girl sighs and walks back to where she was previously standing, not turning invisible for whatever reason.
What was more interesting was the name, which was likely just a coincidence, but it was possible that's why she seemed familiar...
The diplomate sent by the Elder Tales players—also apparently trapped here—was none other than the head strategist of the Debauchery Tea Party, Shiroe, though he didn't seem to recognize me yet, which was probably a good thing. He also seemed to have created/joined a guild, something he firmly refused to do when it was a normal game.
The post-attack cooldown on my [Hiding] had finished and I was once more invisible, standing next to Asuna, who was now sitting at a conference table.
The discussion finish and a lean over next to her ear and whisper,—which breaks [Hiding]—"Is it okay if I go with them? I haven't played Elder Tales in ages and it could be fun, besides, the monsters on floor 91 are boring me by now?"
I promptly reactivate [Hiding] since the cooldown was tiny when you didn't attack anything or take damage.
"Do whatever, not like I could stop you anyway," she responds.
Aincrad had rather easily been willing to give them passage, and it seemed they hadn't been all that affected by the Apocalypse, at least not nearly as much as the Elder Tales players, I suppose in the time they spent with a way out, they had gotten used to it.
And apparently this girl was outside the authority of the person in charge...
And apparently coming with us to Akihabara and then to fight the armies of the Goblin King... how she planned to get to Akihabara... well it probably included her invisibility.
The next day we landed in Akihabara, with an extra passenger, who was apparently light enough that the gryphon had no trouble flying with her, Akatsuki, and myself. Then again, both girls together probably still waited less than Naotsugu's armor.
The girl's only reason for helping us out seemed to be curiosity and boredom, but whatever it was, she was a player 25-30 levels higher level than the elite of the group which was coming, so she would likely be fairly useful.
She jumps off the gryphon—literally—and says, "That was more fun than expected."
"I see you're a pessimist," I mutter, like a certain person I was starting to suspect she was.
"I didn't expect sitting for a few hours to be fun..." she answers and stretches slightly.
Since she's here, I should probably introduce her to the Round Table.
"Just so we're fully clear, I'm not a diplomate of any kind and my actions are my own and not Aincrad's," she says.
"The way you say it, it's almost as if you plan to do something," I answer.
"I don't plan to, but I'll probably end up doing something anyway, like insulting your whole Round Table Council on accident or something," she answers.
"Right, just come with me please," I say.
She nods and turns to Akatsuki and says, "You know it's okay to say hello, it's not like I'm going to bite your—or his—head off." While she says 'his' she gestures to me.
"-And I'm just here 'cause I'm bored and felt like fighting this goblin king will be more fun than grinding for levels, so I'm willing to help out if you need it, once again, not as Aincrad, but personally," Jun concludes her introduction.
The members of the Round Table were still in some awe of her level, which was about 4/3 of most of theirs.
Crusty starts to say something about us not needing help when she cuts him off saying, "I'm also a former member of the Debauchery Tea Party."
So she was who I fought she was.
Crusty sighs, "Fine."
"So you're the same Jun as form then?" he asks.
"Yes," I answer.
Akatsuki—the ninja midget—moves her hands in a somewhat unnatural way and Shiroe replies similarly. Some form of sign language I suppose.
"Anyway, you can stay at Log Horizon headquarters for the night, since we leave tomorrow," Shiroe says to me.
"Log Horizon is your guild, right? Are you the leader?" I ask.
"Yes and yes," he answers.
"Alright," I say.
The headquarters was basically a multi-story house, the way it was furnished and what not.
Akatsuki had showed me to a room on the 5th floor and told me to make myself at home.
I just lay down on the bed there and close my eyes, damn I'm sleepy.
A short while later Shiroe knocks on the door and says, "I was wondering if you could explain about the little girl."
"Sure," I say after a moment and walk out of the room.
"You know her 'parents' well, right?" he asks.
"Guess how long ago I first met Kirito," I say.
"2 and a half years ago or so?" he asks.
"Good guess, but the answer is about 13 and a half years," I say.
"I hadn't met him since the start of the Beta for a bit under ten years though, not that we recognized each other until nearly a year after," I add.
"As for Asuna, she's a fairly close friend," I say.
"So basically, they found her in the forest alone on their honeymoon and took care of her, and during this time they thought she was some little girl diving?" I clarify.
"Yeah, that's pretty much it. At this point though, pretty much everyone loves her, including the people who would be happy to see Kirito and I die... before there was respawning," she adds.
"You do have a knack for pissing people off," I point out.
"It was deliberate, at the start of the game so people didn't hate all the Betas we called all the Betas noobs after displaying our skills by finishing off the floor boss," she says.
"Despite that, it is interesting how much people can hate someone who has done nothing to them to the point where in after all the times I've saved them, they still can't manage to say thank you a single time," she says.
"Some day you'll have to tell me a summary of what happened, but for now we don't exactly have the time," I say.
I sat on the couch, which was very comfortable and contemplated taking a nap, or just going to sleep since it was already night.
The ninja midget walked up to me and was going to ask something but then blushed and looked away, I can't even guess at what she would be thinking about.
Well, actually I could. It probably had something to do with romance, not that I could help her in any way.
I move to a more comfortable position and close my eyes, not having slept all of last night thanks to... reasons... could be tiring.
I wake up to Akatsuki nudging me.
"The ship is going to leave in less than an hour, so if you want to go, you should hurry up," she says.
I get up and say, "Thanks," while rubbing my eyes.
Since I slept in my combat clothes and didn't actually bring anything other than my current clothes and weapons, I was already ready to go.
It turned out that Shiroe—for whatever reason—wasn't actually coming to the front lines and that the only present member of the Round Table Council was Crusty, the leader of DDD, the largest guild in Elder Tales at the time I last played, and apparently still now.
We were on a large steam ship, something definitely not makable in the original Elder Tales, so it was probably created with their hands, not the menu, like the food that tastes like something.
It was sailing towards Aincrad, so me coming along here was actually rather pointless on second thought and I could have just waited for the ship to arrive at Aincrad and get on then after they carry it through the first floor or however they plan to get it through.
With the combined strength stat of several hundred Adventurers of level 80+ it should be easy enough to carry it through.
"You say you're a former member of the Tea Party?" he asks.
"I left a little while before it was disbanded to play the SAO Beta, it was disbanded somewhere between the end of the Beta and the official release, why do you ask?" I respond with a question-ish.
"Nothing, it's just that the other members I've met have been generally polite, and they're all serious if necessary. You don't seem to care in the slightest about being respectful and take nothing seriously," he says.
"When you live in a world where you can actually die, constantly fighting for two years, and once you've killed a raid boss basically solo, basically nothing will faze you anymore, especially in a world where you can't die even if you wanted to," I say.
"Including people like you or your whole council," I say.
"If Aincrad and Akihabara were in a war, which side would you be on?" he asks.
I don't answer. Which side would I be on? Probably Aincrad. What if Kirito, Asuna, and the rest of my small list of friends weren't there? Then Akihabara probably. After all, I don't really care for the castle and even less so for the people there.
I finally answer saying, "It doesn't matter, whichever side I'm on, Akihabara would be flattened. Even I can't fight the combined forces of Aincrad."
Boring. I was up on some cliff with a princess of some kind. A princess. What am I supposed to do with a princess? At least I wasn't the only one here other than her and not the person technically supposed to guard her.
The battle was going to start soon, and I was up on a cliff NOT there.
Oh well, I can always just jump off the cliff and go there.
"Boring, boring, boring," I mutter.
"Are all the Adventurers of Aincrad like you?" asks the princess. Oh, I forgot to mention, she was one of the People.
"I'm pretty close to as bad as it gets in some regards, at least if you don't count the imprisoned people," I answer. I swear she just sighed with relief. Then again, so would I.
The other person guarding her was one of the top rank officers of DDD, a scythe wielder named Misa. Why she would be appointed as a guard I don't know.
In the front of the forces stood Crusty with a huge battle axe and heavy blueish plate armor with gold trim.
This girl was somewhat strange. Firstly, she came to a battlefield with her only reason being boredom, then again, I guess it isn't all that strange that someone who spent more than two years fighting for their life wouldn't be scared of a battle while immortal. Second she had zero respect for anyone. The most interesting thing about her though, was her level. At level 121 she stood well above the highest players and even the supposed level-cap.
"Is it alright if I leave guarding the spoiled one to you? I don't think any of them will get past anyway and I'm bored of sitting and watching," the girl asks. As I said, zero respect. She literally referred to a princess as 'spoiled one' in her presence.
The battle had already started and Crusty was charging through, as his face became visible an expression of shock appeared on the princesses face, the charisma was gone and it was just a violent grin.
"Your leader is quite the berserker," the girls says, getting up.
She draws two swords from her back and puts their handles together. Surprisingly, they form into a bow, though she still has no arrow- oh. When she starts to draw the bow 3 arrows appear between her fingers and she fires into the midst of the combat.
"So these goblins die in one hit, well that'll back things easy," she mutters.
She takes a few steps back and sprints forward, turning into a blur and leaping off the cliff straight towards the battle. Completely insane. Besides, a fall like that would flat out kill most players.
As I fall I turn my bow–which I had used simply to gauge the strength of the enemies—back into swords and land in the middle of the goblins.
Their levels were disappointingly low, none even at 80.
I swing my sword at one and despite the more standard MMO balance of Elder Tales where things can take a while to kill, it easily dies in one hit.
This could hardly be considered entertaining. Well, I am like 40 levels over leveled so I guess it isn't all that surprising.
Dang it, they're all dead. If there were corpses, I would be standing on a pile of them right now.
I had singlehandedly taken out hundreds, if not thousands, of the goblins, far exceeding the results of even the artillery mages with armor like tin foil whose job was damage, especially crowd control.
The single person who came closest was the leader of DDD, unsurprisingly.
"That wasn't as exciting as I had hoped," I say as I lean back against a rock wall while sitting on another rock, having finished the battle completely unscathed.
Howls could suddenly be heard in the distance.
"More of them!" I say with some excitement, maybe these'll be stronger.
The charismatic smile on the face of DDD's leader once again was replaced with an expression of bloodlust, kinda like how I feel when I fight, the reason I challenge bosses solo.
Turned out the extra enemies were just some goblin tamers which were decimated in moments and their general was leveled in one blow by Crusty.
Well that's the first chapter, the first half was basically copied from Aincrad's Landing, though mostly in 1st person.