Chapter two.

Once again, credit to Racke for the general idea and a good deal of how it actually goes, read his story, Aincrad's Landing, it's a lot better than mine.

The way the story is fragmented into small chunks is an accident and not the intended writing style.


(Jun)

I'm the most hated non-criminal player in Aincrad, a complete jerk, and someone with zero social skills, so what the hell am I doing in the group of 5 people sent as diplomates to the celebration of the defeat of the Goblin King's army.

Well, in a way it makes sense that I'm here since I'm the only person from Aincrad who actually fought the armies of the Goblin King.

The other 4 people were Asuna,—unsurprisingly—Kirito, Yui, and Argo. Yui was here because Asuna didn't want to leave her there and also for the sake of being one of the People.

I guess I was a body guard...? Officially that is. In practice, even Argo didn't need protection and both Kirito and Asuna were quite a ways above the level cap of Elder Tales. Yui was safe as long as she was near either Kirito or Asuna, which she basically would be at all times.

Shiroe would no doubt be confused by our group as well thanks to thinking too much about it.

The main problem for me was that it was a party. And if it wasn't bad enough that I'm going to a party full of strangers, they're nobles and if I mess up I could start a war. Which, while given the enemy, I could probably win single-handedly, would still seriously piss off Asuna and possibly Kirito.

Maybe I'll just hide in a corner all day.

"So, why are we doing this again?" I ask.

Asuna just sighs.

"It's important to—" she starts to say.

"Why? In the event of a war we would be able to crush them easily, scratch that, I would be able to crush them easily alone, and it's not like we really need anything from them either," I cut her off.

"Yeah, we might as well wage war on the rest of this world as well," Asuna says, annoyed.

"Oh whatever, I'm just whining," I say.

"Besides, we do have a giant castle, which with some work may once more become a flying castle, after all, the safe zones still work so why not the flight?" I add.

"I must admit, you have a point there," she says.

"But for now, fixing it wouldn't be a good idea, even if we knew how, because we would have no good way to get up or down," I say.


Okay, I must admit, this frozen castle did look cool, which could be expected from an MMO. Maihama was actually rather interesting, but it would be much better without all the nobles.

Argo on the other hand had hit her head, or at least that's the theory Kirito and I had come up with to best explain the way she was acting. Then again, maybe it's because there is no threat of death anymore and that's her real self.

I would rather believe the former, I rather liked the previous her, much more relatable for me.

What she had done was first walk up to the Adventurer bards playing the music—apparently there were only 42 songs the People knew, to the point where their word for music and the number 42 were the same—to play tango and then grabbed Nyanta—the werecat swashbuckler of the Debauchery Tea Party and a member of Shiroe's guild, Log Horizon—and started dancing with him, which caused a young druid girl to be very heartbroken.

The dance should be considered scandalous by the nobles, given how much physical contact there was, but instead they were too awestruck by the music for the aforementioned reason of there being only 42 songs in this world originally and they were unable to create more. All 42 of these songs were familiar to heavy players like myself since they were the 42 songs in the game.

After she finished she came over to where Kirito was keeping me company and playing with Yui while I tried to cease to exist while technically not using my [Hiding] skill.

"Did you like the show, Kii-bou?" asks Argo.

"I think you hit your head, hard," I say coldly.

"Ouch," she says.

Kirito nodded slightly and said, "I've never really watched people dance before, so it was interesting. I never considered how the footwork involved might effect someone's ability to fight."

Argo's grinning face stuttered slightly and her shoulders slumped slightly. "Ah, you're the same as always, Kii-bou," she says and glances towards Asuna while making a weird motion with her hand. "You have my deepest sympathies, Aa-chan."

Asuna smiled, looking somewhat amused and says, "I don't know, I think it's adorable."

Kirito, being as dense as ever when it came to girls, didn't realize they were making fun of him. Even I was able to realize that and was tempted to tell him.


3 weeks after that experience, a noble and trader from the Holy Empire Westelande—the not quite at war with Eastal major power that controlled the other half of Yamato, the Elder Tales' version of Japan—Lord Marves was passing through Aincrad's ports—though his ship would need to be carried over as the canal that was being dug was not yet finished—and at some point he was stupid enough to grab Yui with some stupid reason like "returning a child stolen from the People."

The result was Kirito almost instantly severing his arm.

Then Lord Marves's body guards tried to step in... and I sent them back to Minami in a matter of 30 seconds, they were just so slow. All 50 of them. Level 90+. If there were 50 SAO players at level 90, it would have taken me much longer to kill them, but these people still weren't used to fighting with their bodies apparently.

Then Lord Marves complained about being important and desperately talked about his many elaborate plans for Akiba.

And then he was sent back to Westelande—sans an arm—with a note saying that should they ever want to come through Aincrad they should send an official apology for one of their nobles assaulting the princess of Aincrad... oh yeah, Yui was the princess now. Which meant it was only a matter of time before Kirito and Asuna became king and queen respectively... or just Asuna becomes king and queen, since Kirito wasn't much of the ruling type.

Kirito had wanted to stick Marves's arm on a stake at the harbor, but Asuna insisted it was unhygienic so Thinker suggested making a 'burning of the arm' festival.


(Kirito)

A week after the burning of the arm festival, we reached the 100th floor.

"Welcome," a familiar voice echoed across the large throne room of the ruby palace.

It was Heathcliff. Or Kayaba.

"Kayaba," Asuna says quietly, her tone wasn't even anger, but more of stunned horror and heartbroken betrayal.

Heathcliff's smile grew a bit warmer as if he was actually happy to see her, like that was believable. "Ah, I hear motherhood is treating you well, Asuna-kun."


It had been a total wipeout. Within a minute everyone except Jun was dead. In that minute, he'd managed to break the sword Lisbeth had made for him.

Jun appeared in the cathedral, not two minutes after we entered the room.

Still lying down she mutters with a sigh, "So that's what respawning is like."

That's right, she hadn't died yet a single time, had she?


(Jun)

"Heathcliff... is ours to kill!" Asuna said loudly.

"I'm going too, he has a duel to finish with me. If you want I can try to fight him solo first," I say.


After a week of grinding and even me leveling up... twice... we were finally ready to fight Kayaba again.

"Welcome back," says the familiar voice as we enter.

"Don't you get bored sitting there all day? I mean even if you're watching us, if grinding is boring for the person playing, isn't it even more boring for someone watching?" I ask.

Our current plan went like this, I challenge Kayaba to finish our duel, if he accepts we duel and if I win, well he's dead and if I lose the KOB will fight him as a raid boss. If he doesn't accept the duel, then I simply help Kirito with their main plan, namely, Kirito fights the two floor boss level monsters he summons solo while the rest overwhelms him with numbers. In the event Kayaba refuses the duel, I am to fight the two summons with Kirito.

When Kayaba doesn't answer my previous question I ask, "Can we finish the duel you ditched during the Transition?"

In response he simply goes into his menu and taps some buttons. 3 of his 4 HP bars vanish and the last one shortens to the length of a player bar instead of a boss length bar, the name disappearing from next to it.

In other words, he changed himself from a boss to a player.

Then, by tapping a few more buttons he instantly lowers both mine and his HP to the red. He then sends a 'full death' duel request.

I press accept and a timer counts down.


To summarize the duel, neither I nor him managed to land a single good hit in the time limit of 10 minutes and the duel ended with a draw.

"Are you satisfied?" he asks.

I nod and retreat back to the entrance.

A few button presses in his menu return him to a boss and the two bosses Kirito and I would be dealing with appear.


At the end of the fight, Kirito and I limped out leaning on each other, because believe it or not, two players vs. two raid bosses is supposed to result in the death of the players, but we managed to kill them... and were nearly dead as a result. And dead tired.

Thanks to this no longer being a fully game world however, our low HP alone made us feel very sleepy and slow, as well as light headed, as if we had actually lost a lot of blood.

We had decided to kite one while focusing on the other—as opposed to each fighting one—so that for half the time we're fighting just one boss, and while the plan had mostly succeeded, it didn't mean we didn't get hit.

Kirito had scored one of the LABs and received a sword to at least temporarily replace the broken one. I scored the other one and received a pair of black leather boots called the [Darkened Windwalkers], which disappointingly didn't let me fly. But they did greatly increase my already insane [DEX] stat along with having an effect which was somewhat close to flight, though it was more like generating lift without an engine, so more of a glider. Basically, the faster I was moving horizontally, the less gravitational effect on me. They also had the bonus of letting me run on walls inexplicably, though not for more than a few seconds at a time.


(Shiroe)

Finally, after 6 weeks, Naotsugu and I were back in Akiba... along with an extra passenger named Tetra.

Supposedly Aincrad had gone into isolation once more for the whole time he was gone, which may have something to do with them having reached the 100th floor or something. He could ask Akatsuki if she knew anything of it, and if she didn't, he could ask Jun, who would know something about it.


(Jun)

After Asuna had declared that Kayaba was theirs to kill, effectively pulling a rank on HDA, the HDA decided to get her back by making her the official Queen of Aincrad. If I became queen of Aincrad, people would probably find that I had mysteriously disappeared.

It was somewhat fitting that Asuna would be queen, she was rich in real life, though she had become thoroughly practical over the time of SAO, so that doesn't really matter, but what did is that she was a natural leader and the mother of the Princess of Aincrad.

And now we were going to the christmas (I guess the seasons are shifted by about 6 months here, it wasn't like that in the original game... then again every month was an in game year so I wouldn't really have noticed anyway) festival to escape from the horrible schedule that the HDA managed to put together and somehow involve me in it when I had nothing to do with royalty.

Asuna had managed to use 'international relations' as an excuse to skip out on the whole thing, saying that it would be good for their relations with Akiba and the other Adventurers if they accepted the invitation.

I would probably spend the whole time hiding in Log Horizon HQ or something, if they let me that is. Maybe I can go do some of the competitions. Or I'll help Shiroe with some administrative stuff.