NOT about Lisbeth, though she MAY be a character, NOT a main one.
Another story, sigh.
No 'real world,' takes place in a world which is the fusion of Aincrad (non flying and really having little relation to Aincrad in SAO, just happens to be known as the lands of Aincrad), Alfheim, and Underworld. (Little interaction at the beginning)
Kirito is a prince (a literal prince, not like in 'Prince of Swords'(I don't even need to tell you who the story is by, it's the most favorited story of all SAO fanfics, you can find it easier that way anyway, just go to search opens and changed the sort options from update date to favorites)), OC main, though Kirito and possibly Asuna are going to be around quite a bit. Inspired by 'Prince of Aincrad' by CloudyLightning, if you like this kind of story, go read it. Just do. It's awesome, one of my favorite stories over all on this site, I'd say. Actually, just go ahead and read all their (her?) stories (at least the SAO ones, I don't know about the other ones)
I'll try to keep the OC from being too powerful, but it probably won't happen.
Unlike my stories up to now, I will try to write in 3rd person because emotions are easier in 3rd person. On the other hand, writing in general is easier in 1st person so I might stick with it.
I chose the start date to be November 6th but nothing like in the original SAO will happen.
Please tell me what you think of this first chapter via PM or review.
Some obvious questions (totally not things I just felt like saying):
Yes, real sword making takes longer. Yes the techniques described in the beginning are generally used for making katana's, well some anyway, others I practically made up on the spot or were inspired by things unclear to me. As for the sharpening, the time taken is based off my own experience with this sharpening technique (obviously not from scratch, I just know how to sharpen a kitchen knife to the point where it can cut a small tomato without holding it in place or squishing it) and adjusting for the size of the blade and that it is far duller to start with.
Lastly, to CloudyLightning (if you so happen to read this, however unlikely), A, please update any of your SAO stories, I don't care which one, and B, if you feel like this story is too based off of yours, please PM me and we can discuss what to do about it.
(3rd person, Karu, 722 SYS (Standard Year System), November 6th, 2:04am)
Working away at a sword she didn't exactly know why she was making. That's what Karu had been up to for the past 6 hours almost continuously and why the blacksmith was up till 2 in the morning. She had been making this sword for the past few days however.
It was a simple longsword in appearance. Made of high-quality steel with little to nothing other than carbon and iron, using iron sand instead of iron ore. The young girl had hammered it flat, folded it, and planned to repeat the process a total of 12 times, 11 of which had been completed to strengthen the metal. The blade had two parts, the core and the edge, technically three as the edge was being done in two pieces, since it was a double edged blade. The core was made of a tougher and less brittle alloy since it was the structural part of the blade, it had already been completed. The metal currently being worked had a greater amount of carbon in it than the complete part, to make it harder so it would keep its edge better.
As the last few hammer blows hit the girl is satisfied and takes off one of the thick leather gloves she was wearing and raises her goggles, wiping the sweat off her face.
She puts it back on and picks up the repeatedly folded ingot with tongs, putting it in the forge to heat it once more for working.
Hammer blow after hammer blow falls on the ingot, which was being 'rolled' to make it extend in one direction instead of two. Slowly but surely it turns into a long piece of metal, several millimeters thick, about two centimeters long, and 115 centimeters long. It was still glowing hot as it had been heated several times during the process.
The two other readily available pieces of metal were put into the forge, one in approximately the shape of a blade with a small metal rod sticking out of the base and the other a nearly identical, rectangular piece.
At the moment when the 3 pieces were the same temperature, the remaining piece was put into the forge and they were all heated till they glowed a brilliant yellow.
The core was taken out, along with one of the two edges—which was rather fragile—and with a special implement and tongs, was folded over the edge of the core in such a way that it was a bit farther away from the core at the very tip. This part needed to be done quickly because at this point, there was no turning back without starting over entirely. The edge was hammered until the two pieces fused seamlessly along the whole blade and the other edge was taken from the forge, the process was repeated. Then as the blade cooled a little so it wouldn't bend so easily, it was picked up by the rod sticking out of the part that would be touching the handle with tongs and lowered into the water with a satisfying hiss.
As the blade finally cooled, the girl breathed in relief and took off both gloves, along with the thick leather apron and goggles.
She checks the clock on the wall—something that was rather rare and expensive, but she had decided to purchase. The clock read 3:01.
Karu heads to one of the three connected rooms and collapses on her bed, not bothering to change. She was physically tired more so then mentally. Well she did remember to remove her thick leather boots.
The next 'morning' she awoke at a little past midday and was very glad her shop was closed today anyway. That wasn't to say people weren't allowed to come, but it just meant that they shouldn't expect her to there.
She heads to the room where she had left the blade and takes it out with her barehands, since it had long since cooled. Since it wasn't sharpened or polished it didn't look perfect, but it did look beautiful in its own way.
The next step would be to polish and sharpen the blade, which were practically the same thing. Sharpening involved grinding the blade away on whetstones with varying size of particles, starting with coarse whetstones and heading to fine ones. Polishing was done with a fine abrasive whetstone which one held in their hand and rubbed along the blade, instead of being like sharpening, where the whetstone was fixed and you moved the blade. Sharpening would take 4-5 hours, but polishing would probably take considerably less than an hour.
As the girl ground away at the blade for hours a small smile was on her face, this is what she did. She made swords, it made her happy and that's why she did it. Every time a sword was completed it gave her immense satisfaction.
About 5 hours after she began, the girl lifted the blade off the very fine whetstone and rinsed off the abrasive that remained on it. She stood back to the window and looked at the blade, there was no white line visible on either side and the girl grinned with satisfaction, a little bit of polishing and the blade would be finished.
The handle that the rod at the base of the blade was inserted into consisted of two metal halves that had been prepared earlier with a simple guard which was also split in half and was shaped as if someone with an arm about 2 centimeters long had walked around the blade as far as they could while still touching it. Well, that wasn't exactly true, as it was then somewhat stretched in the already wider direction. The counter balance on the hilt was also split in half an was shaped like a flattened sphere.
The two halves were were put around the rod, but not before some molten copper had been poured into the grooves to firmly hold it together and the hilt was dunked in cold water to cool the copper. A dark leather strap was carefully wrapped around the metal handle and the sword was finished. She slipped it into one of the sheaths, previously prepared to fit a sword approximately that size.
The happy girl removes all her smithing equipment and picks up the sword, brandishing it. The girl was talented with a sword and somewhat felt it was a waste not to learn to use one properly, on the other hand, she didn't really want to because of how her father had died, killed by a group of bandits that had called themselves Laughing Coffin while on a hunting trip, at least, that's what the lone survivor had said. She did want to learn to fight with a sword at some point, but for now she satisfied both conflicting sides by watching various practices. Being the princes's best friend had its perks, like being able to watch the guard and knight practices, something that normally wouldn't really be allowed.
She had never known her mother though.
When the girl checked the time she found that it was almost 7 and she walked out into the shop part of the building, which was a smithy, a house, and a shop in one.
She put the sword up in the place of her previous prized blade—behind the counter and above her head—which was a rapier which had been bought by the vice-leader of the warrior guild known as the Knights of the Blood Oath, known to be the strongest of all the combat guilds in Aincrad. Why they referred to themselves in short as KOB and not KBO she didn't really know, since it was Knights of the Blood Oath, KBO.
The bells on the door ring and a black haired teen two years older than her walks in.
"Hey Kirito, how you doing?" the cheerful black haired female smith asks one of her few friends, who happens to be the prince. His real name was Kazuto, but he preferred to be referred to as Kirito outside the castle so that people wouldn't recognize him as the prince. He had never bought anything, saying it was a waste for such good weapons to be used by someone they were not perfect for, but he often visited the shop just to chat or marvel at the weapons.
If someone had seen them without knowing that one was of the royal family and the other wasn't, they may have even assumed that they were half-siblings or cousins. Both moved with a similar, almost inhuman grace—something which was somewhat odd for a blacksmith—and were very good with animals as well, even able to communicate with them, though neither of them knew the other had that ability.
"I'm doing alright..." he trails off, noting the sword in the previously empty spot reserved for her best swords.
"You wanna try it out?" she asks hopefully.
"If you don't mind," he says.
The girl grabs the sword and passes it to the prince.
He brandishes the sword with a smile and without hesitation asks, "How much does it cost," startling the girl who hadn't actually priced it yet.
"Um... you're buying it?" she asks.
"Yeah, it feels perfect," he says. It made her rather proud that her sword had been instantly purchased by the prince, who was known by her—though not many—to be an amazing swordsman. The way she knew she had talent was that she had managed to last a whole 2 seconds in the first sword fight she ever had against him. As in the first sword fight ever, not the first against specifically him. Oh sure she'd watched practice fights before, but she'd never been in one.
"Uh... well just pay whatever you feel is fair, since I haven't actually decided on a price," she says, slightly embarrassed.
The sum the prince gives her seems fairly ridiculous and she pushes it back, "No way, that's WAY too much!"
"It's a better sword than any other sword of its type I can remember, except the ancient King's Blade. There's no way it's not worth this much." he says adamantly and the girl reluctantly takes the ridiculous amount of col.
"So do you have any plans for today?" asks the nearly 16 year old boy.
"I planned to just go and get some fresh air, I've been in a place as hot as an oven for hours today and yesterday," the girl answers.
"Mind if I come with you? I found a cool place out in the forest near the edge of the city with a very nice view," he says.
"I guess I don't mind," she says. She had long since learned that doing everything he wanted just because he was the prince pissed him off and that he wanted her to treat him just as a friend. She had also ditched all 'Your Highness' and 'My Prince' a while ago, something that annoyed the royal staff considerably when she did it in the castle.
She snatches a longsword off the wall and puts it on her waist. After their short—and yet surprisingly long—duel, the prince had asked the smith to carry around a sword when possible because she may be attacked or held hostage as a friend of the prince and she had enough skill and strength to fight off someone not particularly skilled.
(1st person, Karu)
The prince led the smith out into the forest and to the edge of a cliff, with a beautiful view.
"Isn't it beautiful?" the prince asks.
"Yeah... I'm just wondering when you found the time to explore the forest..." I say.
"Um..." he doesn't answer.
"You ditched something, didn't you?" I scold.
"Yeah," he says with a sigh.
"You know you shouldn't right? If Aincrad gets a king as tardy as you, there'll be problems," I say.
"I know, it's just... so boring, I already know everything I was being taught and it was pointless even if I didn't know it," he says.
"Alright, but at least make sure not to miss anything important." Look at me, scolding a prince whose older than me for missing classes... If I were considerably older or he wasn't a prince, it would be somewhat normal, but like this.
"Hey Kirito, you know we're being watched? In the woods, about 5 o'clock," I ask in a whisper, pretending to just lean my head on his shoulder tiredly. Well, that was half of it.
"Yeah," he answers in a whisper, not minding me leaning my head on his shoulder. I let my left hand idly fall to my waist where my sword is sheathed as I sense the person becoming a bit more prominient.
"Do you think it could be a guard that's supposed to watch you? Or someone hostile, I don't feel any particular bloodlust," I whisper.
"Maybe call them out?" I ask, once again in a whisper. From someone watching's perspective, I would simply be whispering whatever I was saying because I was close to his ear and I didn't want to be too loud, if they even noticed I was saying anything.
"We could probably take them, since there's just one," he says.
I slowly stand up and stretch, Kirito doing the same.
"Well, let's head back?" I 'offer.'
Kirito nods and we had exactly in the direction of the person we noticed.
The person, seeming to realize they'd been noticed slowly walks out. Both of us draw our swords and Kirito steps slightly in front of me, brandishing my recently forged sword.
The person was someone I vaguely recognized, Kirito however immediately recognized the woman and sheathed his sword, implying for me to do the same.
"I asked to go alone, you know I don't need protection," Kirito says, almost complaining.
"It was by the King's orders," she says.
"I don't think you can protect Kirito. Unless you're the strongest guard in the castle or something, he'd beat you in a fight and you couldn't even hide your presence well enough to be a covert guard. On top of that, you didn't even notice that we noticed you or that we were focused on you," I say.
"Hide you presence..." she echoes.
"I thought 'detecting someones presence' was something only the Prince could do..." she says. Wait really? But I know people who can hide their presence other than Kirito. I guess other people just don't have it in the same, conscious sense as Kirito and I.
I swear she's thinking I'm some unannounced sibling or cousin of Kirito's. Who knows, with all the similarities, I might be. I look the same, I have the same nearly-unique abilities, both have great talent with swords, we even act similar in some ways.
I never really considered it before, but I would be kinda surprised at this point if we weren't related in some way, maybe not by blood, maybe not as close as cousins, but seriously, it's just too unlikely. Some part of me just hoped we weren't siblings.
"My Prince, please return to the castle, it is getting late," the guard says.
With a sigh Kirito agrees, but adds a condition.
"I'm going to take her home, head back to the castle. I promise I'll come right after," he says.
"Alright," the guard says hesitantly and retreats into the woods.
"Being a prince must suuuuck," I say, dragging out the word.
"Let's go back," he says.
"Alright," I say and we walk through the forest, glancing back to see the setting sun.
The next morning I make my way up to the castle, the guards letting me pass on the orders of the Prince. I had waited till there were few people around and had the hood of my coat up when I walked in because I didn't really want it to be known that I was allowed into the castle with no questions asked.
I was here for no particular reason, just because I wanted to take a break.
I silently walked through the maze that was the castle, one which I had finished memorizing recently, at this point I would say I knew the castle than most of the servants and guards who work here, given that Kirito had shown me a bunch of secret passages and such.
From the perspective of most people, it would seem ridiculous. Just some random smith who happens to be a friend of the prince to know the royal castle inside out and know every single secret passage generally reserved for the king and his direct family. It felt awesome though, being able to navigate a place where even the people who live here don't know everything.
I was currently headed towards the library where Kirito was usually at this time of day, being bored to death by boring lessons on stuff he knew. At least, that's what he said.
Checking to see that nobody was around I pressed on a brick on the wall near the door of the library. There was a way to spy on—and enter/leave—practically any room in the castle from the corridors and there was a rather complicated rule that told you where the trigger bricks were so you don't have to remember it.
I didn't just walk in because Kirito had asked me not to randomly barge in because there could some annoyance, confusion, or trouble from it.
As I peek in front above I notice Kirito glance up to where I was and see a tiny smile appear on his face. He looked like he wasn't paying the slightest attention to what the teacher was saying and seemed to be lost in thought, well at least until I showed up, now he was just occasionally lost in thought. I sighed, silently wishing for some sort of telepathy or some other way to chat with him.
Thankfully his 'class' ended in a few minutes and the teacher left, I lid the hatch-ish open and dropped down, closing it behind me.
"Hey Karu," Kirito says.
"Hey," I say.
"What you up to?" he asks.
"Just taking a break. I thought I'd stop by since you seem to be perpetually bored," I say.
"Oh, well, I'm pretty much free for the day, so I was planning on stopping by your shop and seeing if you were up to anything..." he says.
"Times like these I wish I had some other friends, 'cause we both have no idea what to do right now," I say with a sigh.
"Do you not know anybody but me?" he asks, surprised.
"Well, I know a few people, but I can't really call any of them close friends, or really friends for that matter. And even those I can count on one hand," I say.
"Oh, why's that?" he asks.
"Guess I'm just not particularly good with people, probably just get along with you so well because we're so similar," I say.
He nods idly and asks, "Since we don't really know what to do, would you like me to teach how to fight with a sword some?"
This again... do I want to learn? Yes, yes I do. Father certainly wouldn't be happy if I died, and for some reason, I get the feeling I might need it soon. Also, I did enjoy it.
"... Let's do it," I say with slight hesitation.
Kirito and I walk through the halls, earning no second glances from the various servants and headed to the training arena. Today was a day off for all the guards and knights who would be training, so there would be only a few very passionate ones there and thus, plenty of room.
There were two main training arenas, one was a large courtyard and the other was fully enclosed and somewhat smaller, the one we were currently headed to was the outdoor one because it was larger, the weather was nice, and Kirito had yet to see the sun today.
As we walk into the sunny area we have to wait for our eyes to adjust. I look down into the arena and in the middle of the arena was a girl who looked fairly similar to Kirito, the girl who was officially his sister and by blood his cousin. She was sparring with a knight and behind the knight who was currently losing was a line of knights.
The girl was a very good at sword fighting, however, her style was more of a tournament/sport style and a somewhat less practical as a real combat style. The movements were all very well trained but nearly as limited as sword skills. It looked very beautiful, but it wasn't very practical. I just said that like 3 times in a row.
Thankfully nearly half the arena was still empty so Kirito and I wouldn't need to wait. We approach the edge of the arena and drop down from the viewing areas, which were just 2 meters above the arena floor. Yes there were stairs, but stairs are for the weak... and sane.
We each grab a training sword, one for Kirito as well, since he wasn't going all out but was going to teach me.
"You wanna just start off with a practice match?" Kirito asks.
"It's hopeless on my side, but sure," I say and ready my sword. Basically the only advantage I had going for me was strength, since I spent an average of at least a few hours a day swinging a heavy hammer—deliberately switching arms to not have my right arm be strong while my left was weak, especially since I was ambidextrous—I was much stronger than him. Since he was rather small for his age, he didn't really have any reach advantage, which basically meant that his advantages were speed and skill.
And I was screwed, because no matter how strong I was, if I couldn't land a single hit and couldn't move fast enough to block, I would not be able to win no matter how strong I am.
Kirito readies his sword and I idly note that the guards who had been previously waiting to fight Suguha—and Suguha herself—we watching.
"3... 2... 1... GO!" as Kirito reached zero he dashed forward, I on the other hand decided that meeting him at that speed would not be a good idea and jumped back, holding my sword horizontally in front of me and blocking his first overhead strike, immediately swinging it forward right after collision.
Unfortunately Kirito ducked under my strike and I once again retreated to avoid his horizontal swipe. As he approached I slashed downwards with a vertical strike, blocking his slanted attack, unfortunately, he was able to redirect his sword before me and his sword nearly touches me a little above the waist. I lean to the right and back and the blow swipes just past me, touching my shirt.
I cartwheel backwards away from him to regain my balance and hold my sword in front of me with both hands.
This time we both dash forward. I duck down and slash, unfortunately missing by a few centimeters. Kirito's sword stops a few centimeters away from my neck.
"I win," he says.
"I'm not surprised, but hey, at least I lasted longer than last time," I say.
"Seriously though, are you sure you haven't practiced with a sword, 'cause you're way better than anyone who's had one practice match and just watched people fight with swords should be," Kirito says.
"You're one to talk." Kirito had been insanely good the first time he touched a sword too. "Since when are you that good? I've never once seen you fight before," Suguha asks.
"Um... dunno. I've fought Kirito once before, swung some swords around without any real purpose, and watched practice matches, but that's about it," I say.
"Anyway, weren't you all training?" Kirito asks, taking the attention off me.
Suguha and the knights return to their matches and Kirito says, "Okay, let's do some practice."
Several hours of swinging swords later I was sitting against the wall of the arena next to Kirito, panting slightly.
"You alright?" Kirito asks.
"Yeah, I'm fine, just a bit tired," I say with a deep breath.
"Well, seeing as nobody should be able to do that for that long on their first time, it's not surprising," Kirito answers.
"Hey, I may not have done much sword fighting, but I'm not unfit or anything like that," I say.
"You wanna do some more?" he asks.
"Nah, I'm good," I say.
"Thought so. Let's go get something to eat then."
"Where? It's not like there's alway food available at the castle," I say.
"Well, if we looked hard enough we could find something, and anyway, we can just go and eat in the city."
"I'll take option B."
Kirito nods and we leave the arena, quickly leaving the castle—which was very quick from the training arena—and heading down to the city.
"So what do you want to eat?" he asks.
"Food," I say jokingly.
"Alright, what kind?" he asks.
"You pick, since you inevitably won't let me pay," I answer.
"I don't let you pay because I'm the one with the practically unlimited supply of money which my parents want me to spend more of," he says.
"Alright, fine, but still, you pick," I say.
Hows that for a first chapter of yet another story... I'm never gonna get one done, am I? Maybe Duo of Darkness, but other than that.
Well anyway, please review and tell me what you thought.