Welcome to my world of Sword Art Online. A better one that is actually written by a gamer that won't insert the main character into a harem just because he's a nice guy. I am in such a love-hate relationship with SAO, so here goes to putting all my constructive criticism into my own story. As in all my stories, italics means inner thoughts and horizontal lines mean a time jump. I hope you enjoy the World of Virtual Reality.

Chapter 1: First Day

Day 1:

It was the longest week in existence; the week Sword Art Online came out. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting the whole week waking up every day with anticipation. The game hitting the shelves at midnight on a Thursday and there I was in line, skipping school, just to wait for two days so that I could grab my own copy. I got home as fast as my legs could carry me and instantly set up the nerve gear running through the setup process. Connecting it to the internet, downloading software, and allowing it to sync with my brain. I had to touch certain parts of my body to finish everything after I had put it on. Quickly I plop onto my bed and say the magic words, "Link start!"

A bright light blinds me and a few seconds later I can see again. I'm standing in an endless white void with to figures in front of me a girl and a boy. With the phrase, "are you a boy or a girl" hovering above the two. I select the girl option and the boy character disappears by shattering into rainbow-colored crystals. Two scroll bars appear one vertical for height and the second horizontal for size. With two quick slides of my fingers, the character is now extremely short and slender. The hair of the character starts glowing and a scroll bar appears with a color palette next to it. I start poking through my color options and scrolling through the many hairstyles. Till I come to the long straight hair that falls down to the waist and selects dark black. The same process happens for the eyes and I select the sharp eyes making them glowing red. More detailed options appear such as eyebrows, makeup, cheekbone height, scars, nose width, lip size, ear type selecting everything to my exact desire I hit finish. One last question appears, "name" typing into the new floating keyboard I put Karasu.

With a quick flash, the room is gone and now I stand in a humungous courtyard with a hundred or so other starting characters glowing to life. The fountain in the middle of the courtyard stands some twenty feet tall not sure till I get used to the new height of my character. The very start of the game in the City of New Beginning, the best place I could think of to meet up with my friends. I remember from some videos that the closest weapon smith is to the north I quickly take off without taking in any of the sights. Weaving through the new players taking it all in and under the grand archway towards the marketplace.

The street is packed with all the beta players all heading to the market for gear and equipment. I shouldn't stay long I need to get to grinding quickly before anyone else, but this crummy starting sword won't do any good. I head over to the weapon vendor looking at the wall I see a farmer's scythe hanging there alongside spears, daggers, axes, swords, and a mace. I know this is the weapon I am going to use the rest of the game, or at least a scythe. I got to upgrade my gear eventually. I speak out to the weapon smith, "How much for the scythe on the wall?"

He grabs it from the wall and places it on the table, "One hundred Col little girl." I drop a bag full of all my starting Col into his hands. Swiping up the scythe I hug it placing my face on the pole.

Behind me I hear, "Isn't that a little too big for a little girl like you?"

I turn around facing the fool and answer, "Size matters, anyway it may be a foot taller than me, but I know how to use it." Perking up with confidence as well as trying to seem slightly taller.

The tall silver-haired man continues to pester me. Though now trying to be friendly by crouching so that he is at my height. "Are you going off to do some kill quest? Because if you are, would you like to join me on a quest and kill some wolves at this den with me?"

I cross my arms pouting and look away, "I won't join you, but if you would like to watch me kill some wolves then you can come with me."

He chuckles a little and answers, "Fine whatever you say." He opens his menu as he stands back up and sends me an invite to a party. A screen popping up in front I select accept joining Gin's party and he shows me on the map of the 1st floor where the wolves were hiding.

The quest at the time didn't seem to hard just to kill a pack of wolves, but now I realized it was so far away or maybe it is due to my new short legs I felt like we would never get there. "Are we there yet?" I complained as I walked under a branch that Gin just pushed out of his face.

"They should be right up here not too far in front of us." Gin replies not taking his eyes off the map almost puzzled by something.

"Hey Gin, how many wolves do you think is in this pack?"

"Maybe like five or six, so it shouldn't be too big of a problem. Especially if you're as good as you say you are." Well, he was dead wrong, as we stepped into the clearing where the quest led us to. We were standing across from at least a dozen hungry snarling angry wolves.

In absolute synchronization, "Damn, that's a lot more than five!" Getting our weapons out I yell, "Queue the epic battle music!" and I charge into the wolves. A ballad actually begins playing to my surprise. I swing my scythe in an uppercut fashion and completely forgetting I'm about a foot shorter than in real life and dig my scythe into the ground. Gin wasn't doing any better after the wolves rushed him; he was on the ground stabbing the wolves anywhere he could land a strike as they kept jumping on him trying to remove his throat. I run back with wolves on my tail to save my poor companion fighting for his life by spinning around with my scythe crazily swinging at anything. Now completely dizzy and with all the still standing wolves backing off slowly with minor cuts.

The battle music stops and the sound of a loud church bell rings throughout the woods. We are all of a sudden surrounded by this blue blinding light. Teleporting into the courtyard where we spawned at the beginning of the game, but with all the other couple thousand people currently in the game with us. I scream, "WTF, we could have finished the quest just then! Just one more cyclone of death and that would have been it!"

Gin looking pretty banged up, "I hate wolves! I just want to kill them out of spite now!"

Immediately the sky is filled with red message boxes saying system announcements blood begins seeping out between the cracks. The red drops come together forming a large floating figure covered in a red robe. The hooded figure with no face speaks out, "hello I am the game master Kayaba Akihiko; I am the creator of the game as well as the Nerve Gear you are currently using. As of now, I am sure some of you have noticed the sign out button is missing. This is not a bug in the game it is how Sword Art Online was meant to be played."

Nudging Gin I whisper, "I wasn't planning of getting off till tomorrow at the earliest, so I'm kind of glad someone told me."

He replies, "Glad you aren't worried about the part where he said that we can't leave the game ever because that seems a little more president to me."

Kayaba continues, "There is now no difference between here and the real world because if you die in SAO your body in the real world will also die. Also if someone in the real world removes your Nerve Gear you die in-game and the real world; already two hundred and seventeen people have died for this reason. Now the news has gotten around on TV so that shouldn't happen anymore to any of you so no need to worry." Multiple screens appear tuned into different news channels circle him with breaking headlines about a death game, Sword Art Online. "The only way to leave the game now is to reach floor one hundred and beat the final boss, me." By now the crowd was in outrage and asking stupid questions probably how or why this is happening, but I could only hear a lot of mixed yelling. "Now as I was saying there should be a new item in your inventory."

I look in my inventory selecting it and there it is, a brand new mirror in my hands, "Yay, now I can look at my beautiful self all I want." But suddenly another blinding light comes out of the mirrors, and now after a few seconds of only seeing a white light, the reflection is of me in the real world. God damn, I am getting tired of these blinding lights.

I hear, "Hey Karasu, where did you go?"

I reply, "Right in front of you idiot." Weird my voice changed to my normal voice. Now Gin looks drastically different, he has black hair down to his shoulders, skinnier build than his masculine warrior, and now standing a few inches shorter than me.

Shocked Gin says, "Wait you're not a girl?"

I answer, "and you're not a tall silver-haired warrior. Who cares at this point, but it looks like the game master is done with his spiel and the invisible walls are gone. What do you say time to go finish off those wolves and collect our reward?" letting a smirk cross my face.

Gin Laughs, "Glad nothing gets you down, not even the possibility of death over a video game we are trapped in. Now let's go get revenge on some wolves." We bolt out of the courtyard past all the confused souls that have no idea how to cope with the new life-changing information they have just been given. Mid sprint out of the city Gin speaks up "Hey Karasu, do you have any friends playing right now?"

I reply, "Maybe, but we had no clue when we would be able to get on. So we decided to meet up tomorrow for questing once we traded our information, but that definitely isn't happening now. But for the most part, they are smart and half-decent gamers, so they should be just fine without me or at least till I beat the game."

Astonished Gin says, "You are way too laid back for the people around you and your own safety. I actually feel kind of scared about being your partner right now. More so for the fact that we are sprinting to go kill some wolves right now." We quickly reach the city gates and leave heading to the last known location of the wolves in the closest forest.

Reaching the clearing there is no sign of any wolves we once fought. Noticing behind some bushes that there is a cave that absolutely reeks something fierce. "Dude we have got to check this out. I can almost promise they are in here." I crouch down, "Let's try stealth though maybe it will be easier this way."

We make it about ten feet into the cave before it gets too dark to see; I turn around to Gin. In a hushed voice, I whisper "Got any light?" Suddenly a pair of eyes come flying out of the shadows behind Chad and pounces on him. "We're going loud!" I swing my scythe into the side of the wolf pinning my teammate down and look deeper into the cave. Now five pairs of white fangs are snarling at Chad and I. We both start swinging in the dark making sure not to hit our little green crystals marking where we each are standing. Finally, we stop when no noise except our heavy breathing from the recent struggle fills the cave and we delve deeper searching for any possible loot.

"Man, we finally finished that damn quest; it took way too long for the 200 Col we got at the end. Its enough for some healing crystals that we're really going to need now that it's a death game and all."

Gin angrily answers, "If you hadn't yelled while in the wolf den we would have been done earlier and not been bitten by starving feral wolves!" Gin winces as he touches the many cuts on his arms.

Laughing I replied, "It's all good if it ends well am I right? And you got a katana out of it so you got the most out of this little endeavor. This is only the beginning of our time here I am sure it will start getting better. We just need to start grinding since the higher level we are the better our chances of survival are going to be." Pushing a door open into a tavern, "but first let's eat and I can explain the strategy for the first four floors to you while we rest and eat."

Waving down a waitress we order some cheap potato soup and sit at a table. "Gin you are lucky you met me. Since I am going to get us through this game of hell. I did some extensive research into the game of Sword Art Online during the time the beta was out. I know quests, stats, enemies, strategies, key locations, perks, weaponry of everything they encountered during the beta. I am a walking talking game manual just for the two of us."

Two steamy bowls of yellow mush are slid in front of us. We begin slowly eating what should not be considered food spoonful at a time. Each bite causing our faces to twist and body to shiver at the disgusting cheap meal. "You need to open that user's guide in your brain for some better food next time. Or else I might die from how terrible our meals taste."

I push a half-finished bowl away, "yeah I hear you loud and clear. We just would need to get our cooking skill up if we want better food or more money to buy better food. It would be a waste, in my opinion, of resources and time to get a useless skill like cooking so high. It would be much better to get treasure hunter up so we can get more gold. Now lean in so nobody overhears my plan."

Hope you guys all really enjoyed the first chapter I put a lot of effort into rewriting what was once a pile of random ideas. As always if you like it leave a like and follow. If you don't like something tell me, so that I can fix it. Updates will be at random since I write when I am bored at work and the creativity juices are flowing.