"Woah, this is amazing!"
Harry looked around the virtual world in awe, there was no way to tell that this wasn't real if you didn't know about it being a game, everything looked so realistic, looking down at himself he saw that he was wearing, or had equipped, the basic gear which consisted of a dark blue long sleeved tunic under some leather Armor that covered his chest, dark pants tucked into leather traveller's boots.
Remembering the guide that he had read before he entered, he studied his field of vision for a moment and noticed his screen name, health bar and level in the top left corner, ignoring them once he found them he swiped his index finger downwards in front of his face and the menu opened, checking through his gear he found that he had a one handed straight sword equipped, looking back over his right shoulder he saw the hilt and frowned "That won't do, need to find a katana."
Exiting his equipment menu, he scrolled to his skills menu and saw that Katana was blacked out meaning he didn't have access to it yet but One Handed Curved Swords was "Better than nothing I guess."
He swiped over to his inventory and found no items but he did have two thousand Cor, which was the game currency "Damn, looks like I need to find a merchant."
Closing the menu, he looked around the area and found that he was in a large circular area in the middle of a relatively large town, not knowing where to find a merchant he decided to just wander in a random direction. Soon enough he came across an NPC merchant and began to browse the inventory, finding the Basic Curved Sword which he bought for 600 Cor, he equipped the sword and then sold his Basic Straight Sword.
"Much better. Now it's time to get out there and do some quests."
So Harry made his way down one of the main streets until he saw what appeared to be a notice board and stepped up to it, as he did a menu appeared with a quest "Hmm, Cows Counter Attack Kill 8 Frenzy Boars. Seems Easy enough."
Swiping the menu closed Harry continued his way down the street and made his way out of the Town of Beginnings. Seeding lush green fields and rolling hills he decided to search for the nearest town while he learnt the combat mechanics and searched for the Frenzy Boars.
After about five minutes of walking, not on the main path but across the grassy hills he came across a large purple dark purple furred boar that stood as tall as his shoulders, looking at it carefully he noticed the green health bar above it.
Swiping open his menu he moved back into his skills list and check the Sword Skills "Hmm, seems the only Sword Skill I have for One Handed Curved Sword is Reaver but it doesn't tell me how to activate it." After thinking about it he sighed and closed his menu before drawing his Basic Curved Sword "Oh well, like they say, experience is the best teacher."
Rushing the Frenzy Boar as quietly as he could he managed to slice deeply into its back before it noticed him scoring a critical hit, the Frenzy Boar squealed angrily and spun about trying to gore him with its tusks, but the agile young man dodged the attack and slashed across the back of the Boars neck dropping its health to zero. Harry watched in amazement as the boar burst into glowing blue lights which quickly vanished.
A window suddenly popped up in front of him telling him he had earned 24 Exp and 30 Cor. Closing the window he continued on and quickly found another Frenzy Boar "Okay this time I'm going to kill this thing with Reaver or not at all!"
So after drawing his sword he charged the Boar which noticed him faster than the first Boar he faced, said Boar charged him back, with Reaver not activating he tried to dodge the Boars charge but wasn't quick enough, instead of getting impaled by the tusks he was instead hit by the large shoulder of the Boar and sent rolling several feet, quickly looking at his Hp he noticed that he had lost just about 15% of his max Hp with that one hit "Damn, what would have happened if he hit me with his tusks."
"You'd probably be reviving back in the Town of Beginnings by now."
Harry shook his head and then rolled to the side to avoid the charging Boar which seemed to ignore the other player "What are you trying to do?"
"I'm trying to figure out how the Sword Skills work."
The new player which was wearing a body length brown cloak that only showed their face revealing fox like eyes and short golden blonde hair "Reaver Right. It's a charge-type Sword Skill that delivers a single, fast thrust with a forward jump. The skill is activated by lowering one's stance and raising a one-handed curved sword atop one's shoulder."
Listening to her advice Harry did as she said, he crouched slightly with his feet apart and raised his sword above his right shoulder, he could feel the skill activating, he waited a moment for the Boar to charge again and when it was close enough he dashed forwards and thrust his sword at the Boar scoring a single deep cut all the way along its left side from its head to its hind legs.
With the Boar dead and him now knowing how to use Reaver he turned to the cloaked person "Thanks for the advice."
The cloaked girl just shrugged "The first one is free, you want any more information and it's going to cost ya."
"Yep, I'm an information broker."
Harry just nodded as he sheathed his sword "Well thanks again. I'm Harry by the way."
"Argo, you've only just started haven't you."
Harry nodded "Yep, had to make sure I had all my homework done before I could start."
"Your parents make you do that?"
"My mom, but I would have done it anyway, this place is awesome and all but it's still just a game."
Argo nodded before turning and walking away "Oh well, see ya around Harry. Come find me if ya ever need some info."
Harry just shook his head "Hey wait can you tell me where the nearest town is?"
Argo spun about and said "500 Cor."
Harry just shook his head again "Never mind I'll find it myself."
Argo merely shrugged "Suit yourself."
Harry grinned to himself as he turned in the Cows Counter Attack quest that he had completed "Sweet."
Opening his menu, he quickly moved into his level menu and saw that there were six stats, Strength which effects the amount of damage you can deal per attack, Vitality which effects your HP, Durability which effects how much damage you take, Agility which effects your attack and movement speed, Intelligence which seemed to just be a joke stat Akihiko Kayaba put in to basically show people how smart you are and doesn't seem to affect anything making it useless, except to the games creator who probably got a giggle out of watching people put stat points into a useless skill thereby wasting stat points, and finally Luck which increases the item drop rate and the chances of finding rare items.
He also saw that he had earned four stat points for levelling up, thinking things through for a moment he put one stat point in Vitality, one in Luck and the last two in Agility.
Once that was done he looked at the time and saw that it was getting late so he decided to log out and head to bed.
The next day just seemed to drag on for Harry, he was ahead of his main subjects so he didn't really have anything to do until after class. Once his classes were done for the day he made his way back to his room and swapped his books for his shinai and then made his way to the Pagoda where his sensei would be waiting for him. Sure enough Shunsui was there, laying in the middle of the Pagoda sleeping.
"Get up, old man."
"Kids these days, no respect."
Harry just shook his head as the older swordsman got up "Oh I respect you plenty, doesn't mean I'm going to go around treating you like a fucking emperor, it just means I'll treat you like a normal person."
Shunsui simply laughed as he picked up his own shinai "Alright, let's get started. Get started on your warm up."
"Oh my whole body hurts!"
One of his classmates shook his head in amusement as Harry laid down on the floor of the living room on the first floor of the dorm "That bad Harry-san."
"My bruises have bruises."
The student just chuckled and handed him a plate, on the plate was several pieces of Hawaiian Pizza "Here, I managed to save you some."
Harry gratefully took the plate and started eating "I'm assuming you want something in exchange for saving me some pizza?"
His classmate nodded "I've heard that you're a beta tester for SAO. I was hoping you could share some of your information with me so I'll have a bit of a head start when the actual version is released."
"Excellent, thanks Harry-san."
Harry just nodded and finished his pizza "Well thanks for the pizza, I'm going to get my homework done and then play online for a few hours."
Harry turned from the quest board on which the Cows Counter Attack was back up so he took it again for the Exp, to see Argo standing next to him with her hood down showing of her red hair and vibrant purple eyes "Argo right?"
Argo nodded "Interested in a trade?"
"What kind of trade?"
"I'm trying to do a mission that's in the far west of this floor and could use some help. So you help me with this quest, doing so will get you some nice Exp and rewards, and I'll tell you about a One Handed Curved Sword you can get on this floor."
Harry thought about it for a moment before looking at his own Basic Curved Sword and then nodded "Sure. Let's go."
Argo nodded and a screen appeared in front of him.
Argo has invited you to join a Party
Harry pushed the green yes button and Argo health and level appeared under his own "Your level seven?"
Argo nodded "I've been playing since day one, so let's go, we need to head to Horunka Village, it's to the North-West from here."
Harry nodded and started following Argo "So what's this Quest?"
"It's called Secret Medicine of the Forest and apparently you can get a decent One Handed Straight Sword called the Anneal Blade for completing it."
Harry nodded in understanding before he drew his sword and cut down a Frenzy Boar "So why do you need my help?"
Argo just stood back and let Harry take out the Frenzy Boars as she explained "Apparently you need to kill these monsters called Little Nepenthes, you need to kill a specific one with a flower on its head but that one rarely spawns, so the best bet is to attack one of the ones with the fruit on their heads, this will cause a mass spawning of Little Nepenthes which can be difficult if you are a low level or by yourself. So I figure I bring you with me, you help me, we both get the sword. And then in return for your help I'll tell you a rumour I heard about a One Handed Curved Sword, you'll go and do that and then let me know thereby confirming a rumour for me."
Harry nodded as he cut down his fifth Frenzy Boar with Reaver and got a message telling him that he had levelled up which he ignored "So while it may seem that we both get the same from this little deal of ours in reality you'll end up with a lot more because you can then sell information about the rumour to people like me."
Argo just grinned "Don't hate the player, hate the game."
So after about an hour they reached the quest giver and found someone else there, it was a man in his late teens maybe early twenties but Harry knew that it wasn't his real appearance, because they guy was unrealistically handsome.
The man turned to them and offered them a polite smile, only Argo noticed the guy's eyes widen for a second as he saw Harry "Hello. You two here for the quest."
Argo nodded while Harry just shrugged "I'm following her."
Argo in response reached back and smacked him across the back of his head "This is the place. So are you just starting or are you turning it in?"
"I'm just about to begin."
Argo nodded "Do you want to join us? Three are better than two."
The man thought about it for a moment before he nodded and Argo sent him a party invitation "I'm Kirito. Nice to meet you."
"I'm Harry and that's Argo."
"So is this the right area Argo?"
The information broker nodded "Yep, now we need to kill Little Nepenthes until one with a flower spawns, which we also kill, and if we are lucky enough it will drop the quest item that we take back to the NPC."
Kirito nodded in understanding "And how long will all that take?"
"A fair while normally because the spawn rate is low, so to speed it up we can attack the Little Nepenthes with a fruit on its head, it was cause the spawn rate to spike, this would normally be a problem for low level or solo people but with three of us even if Harry is only level two at the moment, it should be simple enough."
Harry turned to his party members and asked them "So, could I take care of this and you guys step in if it looks like I need help, that way I can get some combat experience."
Argo nodded while Kirito looked unsure "You sure about that?"
Harry just nodded and drew his Basic Curved Sword "Yeah, don't worry I've been training to use a sword since I was seven. The only problem I'll probably have is when I kill the one with the fruit and they spawn."
Seeing his explanation Kirito relented and stepped back but had his One Handed Straight Sword ready, as did Argo with her claws.
Seeing them standing back Harry stepped forwards and spotted two Little Nepenthes wandering about the area "You know that's not what I was expecting."
What he saw was a predatory plant that stands a meter and a half tall. Its lower body consists mostly of countless roots that it uses to move around. It has two arm-like vines with pointed leaves attached to either side of its body, just above the roots. The centre of its head holds a wide red mouth with viscous liquids dribbling out of it as it opens and shuts.
"what were you expecting?"
Harry just shrugged "Something smaller."
"Yeah? Too bad, you'll just have to deal with it Harry, now get in there."
The young Englishman just sighed at Argo's ordering tone and said "Yes Ma'am."
Stepping forwards one of the Little Nepenthes spotted him and began to move towards him while trying to lash out with the vines Harry blocked one with his sword and then slashed at the vine severing it from the body, the Nepenthe tried to hit him with the other vine but Harry dodged it and ran for the body and slashed it right through the vines that were its legs. With nothing to stand on the Nepenthe fell to the ground where Harry stabbed it with his sword finishing it.
Turning to the second Nepenthe Harry prepared to use Reaver and when it was close enough he sprang forwards and slashed right through it severely wounding it, he then spun about and slashed through it from behind finishing it.
Hearing a noise to his left he looked in time to see another Nepenthe spawn, so he rushed it and stabbed his sword into the plant monsters mouth pushing it to the ground before tearing his sword up through the things head killing it.
"Not bad Harry."
Harry grinned as he turned to his team "No problems, takes a few hits but it isn't so difficult."
Harry pun about and slashed at the arm vine from a newly spawned Nepenthe before taking a second to prepare Reaver and then dashed and cut through the vine arm that was aiming for him and then the beasts body killing it.
"This is ridiculous! How long is this going to take!?"
Argo sighed at Harry's outburst but agreed with him, Harry had been killing Little Nepenthes for almost three hours now and they hadn't even seen a Nepenthe with a fruit that they could attack, it probably wasn't a good idea to let Harry keep fighting by himself, he had to be mentally exhausted by now, as if sensing her thoughts Kirito stepped in "Take a break Harry."
Not really in the mood to argue Harry finished up the Nepenthe he was fighting before retreating as Kirito and Argo both stepped in. dropping to his butt Harry tried to catch his breath, he knew he wasn't physically exhausted but it sure felt like it. Deciding he had levelled up several times during the past three hours and decided to use his stat points, so he flicked open his menu and scrolled to his stats page.
Stat Points: 20
Strength: 29 (+2)
Durability: 29 (+2)
Seeing that he had twenty points to assign he did the same as his first level up and split them between Vitality agility and luck. Increasing Luck and Vitality by six while putting the remaining eight points into agility, judging by his current stats he figured that he started at five points in every stat and for every level he gained each stat gained four points not including the stat points he could assign.
Stat Points: 0
Strength: 29 (+2)
Durability: 29 (+2)
Once he had assigned his stat points he swiped over to his skills list and saw that he had gotten some decent progress and learned a new skill.
One Handed Curved sword 103/1000
Light Armor 92/1000
NEW! Parry 49/1000
Satisfied with his progress he flicked into his items menu and saw that he had gotten around twenty items called Nepenthe Leaves seeing them as just junk to seel he ignored them and closed his menu. Looking back to the fight he saw Kirito and Argo taking out the plants when he caught sight of something red in the corner of his eye, turning his head to look he spotted a Nepenthe with a red fruit on its head hiding in the tree line.
Suddenly he saw it begin to make its way towards Argo who was fighting another Nepenthe, getting up he rushed the Nepenthe just as it tried to stab Argo from behind with its vine arms, he made it in time to block the vines with his sword before he cut through them and then rushed forwards and slashed into the apple.
"Heads up guys, I found the one with the fruit, they're about to spawn!"
Turning his attention to the field he saw multiple Little Nepenthes spawn "Jeez, you were right Argo, a solo player would have real trouble with this, there has to be at least ten of them."
Argo nodded as she and Kirito stood shoulder to shoulder with Harry "Can you see the one we're looking for yet?"
Kirito scanned the group and shook his head "Not from what I can tell, how long will they spawn like this?"
Argo just shrugged "No idea."
Harry then flew past them using Reaver "Who cares, we came here for a reason right!"
Seeing Harry manage to slash through two Nepenthes at once, not killing them but seriously damaging them the other two sprang into action, both Argo and Kirito finishing of one each before moving to another. It was quick, five Nepenthes were destroyed in a matter of seconds.
Harry deflected several vine arms from three Nepenthes before leaping at one as they attacked again, he jumped around it letting the other two Nepenthes vines pierce into it destroying it, acting quickly he cut through a vine arm before using Reaver to attack. He cut through one Nepenthe but left himself open to the second and took a vine arm to the chest. He rolled with the blow and got back to his feet in time to deflect the remaining vine arm and then grabbed it. Seeing Kirito and Argo had already finished their targets both rushed the trapped Nepenthe destroying it in a combination Sword Skill attack.
Before they could catch their breath another ten spawned making Harry cry out "Oh for fucks sake!" Only for another one to spawn only this had another fruit on its head "There's another fruit, don't hit it!"
"Can we kill it without spawning more!"
Argo shook her head not knowing the answer to that "I don't know, but it seems like a fine time to figure that out yeah."
Kirito shook his head as he cut through a Nepenthe with Horizontal Arc "No we should try leave it alone until the numbers die down!"
Harry agreed with the dark haired man as he rolled under a vine arm and the dashed into a Reaver cutting through its vine legs "I agree with Kirito, leave it alone for the moment Argo!"
Argo sighed but nodded "Fine."
It took several minutes of carefully fighting and a couple of healing potions before they took managed to defeat all the Nepenthes and learning that you actually have to destroy the fruit on the Nepenthes head to force the spawning effect.
All there were trying to catch their breath "This is ridiculous. How much longer will this take, it's getting really late."
Harry nodded in agreement "No shit. I've got to get up early tomorrow for classes."
Argo just shook her head in defeat "Maybe we should just give up and try again another time."
Kirito nodded "Sounds like a plan. Harry?"
Harry was about to agree when he caught sight of a Nepenthe, only this one had a large flower on its head "No. Look."
Argo and Kirito looked and saw the Nepenthe making its way towards them "It's about time!"
Kirito just chuckled and raised his sword, as did Harry while Argo held her claw weapons at her side "Let's do this!"
All three charged the Nepenthe who tried to attacked them with its vines but Harry leapt ahead of the other two and parried the vines, as he did Argo leapt over him and slammed her claws into the things face and then kicked of it like a springboard just before Kirito cut right through it with Horizontal.
The Nepenthe quickly exploded into blue lights leaving behind only an info screen in front of all three of them saying that they had all received an item Little Nepenthes's Ovule.
Argo and Kirito were pleased while Harry was fuming "Almost four hours of continuous fighting and we kill it in like four seconds. We are not amused!"
"Well thanks for the help Harry, Kirito."
Kirito nodded and began to make his way back to the NPC "Yeah, I'll see you guys around. Thanks for this."
Harry just shook his head as he watched Kirito walk away before they received a message saying that Kirito had left the party, followed by a friend request from him which both accepted "So shall we follow him and turn it in as well?"
Harry shook his head "No I'm good for now, I'm going to log of and get some sleep, turn it in tomorrow, I'll have to travel back from the Town of Beginnings but I still have to turn in the Cows Counter Attack I took earlier."
Argo nodded "Alright, but before you go I still need to pay you for helping me."
"Oh right, the curved sword right."
Argo nodded again "Yep, okay I heard from a guy that if you complete the mission Boarish Intruders a level 5 monster will spawn in that same area called Lumpy Boar kill it and it should drop something called Hardened Tusk then take that to a NPC swordsmith in the Town of Beginnings and he should forge you a curved sword."
Harry just sighed "I got it, thanks for the info Argo. Guess I'll see you around."
Before he could Log Off Argo sent him a friend request which he accepted and then Logged Off.