So this is the story I mentioned in my other story (Art of Combat Online) and wanting to finally get to writing this is part of the reason that one ended so abruptly. That said, this might still go nowhere.

It is inspired to an extent by the author 'A New Username' (really creative name). The account is specifically for femKirito yuri pairings, which is why I say inspired by the author and not a particular story. Though if I had to pick a specific story it would probably be either Gun Gale Online: The Swordswoman or Gun Gale Online: The Swordswoman — Transcendent Bonds, which are related about as much as their names would suggest and in a rather confusing way, which in itself was a bit of inspiration for something that appears later in the story.

This story will have an OC (Takano Sozen (username: Tazen), but the main character will be Kiriko (female Kirito). Though you already knew that from the summary, but whatever.

If you don't like OP main characters... well, I ask you still give it a try, but honestly, you should just leave now. If you want to know what 'Kiriko' looks like, it's basically like Kirito's GGO avatar with slightly larger (as in, existent) breasts, with different gear obviously.

Unlike my recent stories, this will be written in the first person (as opposed to third)—unless it feels too unnatural—because it has a single protagonist.

Kiriko's initial, male avatar looks roughly like Kirito during SAO, except a little older.

For pairings (if I have any), I haven't decided, however, since there aren't really any male characters around Kirito/Kiriko's age, aside from the OC, it will probably be yuri. I'm currently considering Kiriko X Argo, Kiriko X Sinon, Kiriko X Yuuki (as in Zekken), and somewhat less likely, Kiriko X OC and Kiriko X Asuna.


I smile as the fantasy world fades in around me. It's good to finally be back.

My avatar was male because I didn't want desperate male gamers hitting on me or giving me free stuff, and because people had a tendency not to take female gamers seriously.

I was one of the first in, however, the hundreds, thousands even, of other players (10000 sharp, including me) were logging in. I immediately run over to one of the many weapons stalls, beating most of the other players who were still stunned by the world, and even the beta testers simply by moving faster.

I intended to be strongest and I had had plenty of time to be amazed by the technology before.

I start to run down the north road of the [Town of Beginnings]. The circular city had its southern edge tangent to the inside of the southernmost point of the first floor of Aincrad, so the north road led towards most of the floating castle.

As I run, I hear someone call from behind me. "Hey! Wait up!"

I briefly contemplate ignoring them, but decide that I could spare a little time. I slow to a halt and look at the person who had called me.

A tall—at least compared to me—man with long purplish-red hair, matching eyes, and a red bandana. He had a loose white shirt with brown bands just above the cuffs and elbows were brown with a red leather half-vest of armor over it. It wasn't much, but then again, it was more than I had bothered with. He had dark brown pants that matched the accents on his shirt with black bands at around thigh level and lighter brown leather boots. He had a short, somewhat curved sword sheathed, attached to his brown leather belt.

"What do you want?" I ask.

"You look like you know where you're going. You were part of the beta test, right?" he responds with a question.

"So what if I was?" I reply.

"Look, I'm a total noob and I was wondering if you could spare a little time to show a rookie the ropes?" he asks.

Okay, this might take a while, but why not? It shouldn't slow my grinding down too much if I show him the basics.

"Fine. My name is Kiriko," I say.

"Thanks! Name's Klein," he says with a big smile.

I sigh and say, "Let's get to it then, Klein. I see you already have yourself a sword, so let's get to the fields and I can show you how to kill things."


I start running, slower than my previous pace—since speed depended both on stats and on how well you move in the game—so he could keep up and we reach the fields in a couple minutes.

"Let's go a little further since this place will be flocking with other noobs like you in a few minutes."

"Alright, you lead!" he says, still excited. I guess I can't blame him, I was pretty excited on my first dive too.

As we leave the city and head further out, I notice someone following us, someone I didn't notice before due to all the other people, but decide to ignore them for now. If someone tried to PK us, there's nobody who could possibly beat me. With no chance get anything that would allow you to play tricks, the best they would be able to do would be MPK or an ambush. No number of the [Frenzy Boars] here could ever beat me, no matter how bad my gear or low my level, and I already know they're there so they can't ambush me, which leaves a one on one duel of a fight of pure skill, which I'm not about to lose.

A couple more minutes of a slow run later, I say, "This should be far enough, let's get to it."

I kick up a pebble and catch it. I had selected [1H Sword] and [Throwing Weapons] as my two initial skills.

"Watch," I say and throw the pebble at the nearest [Frenzy Boar]. I didn't bother using a skill since it wouldn't do damage either way and my only goal was to attract the boar's attention.

The pebble strikes the boar square between the eyes and it squeals, turning to fully face me before breaking into a charge.

I draw my [Basic Sword] of unstated material off my back and get in position for the basic [Vertical] skill, letting it pop as the boar comes into range, the blazing blue sword moving down at unnatural speed and splitting the boar in half down the direction it was symmetrical about till about half way between its front and back legs. The boar's health drains from nearly full to yellow, to red, to zero, where it shimmers and shatters into polygons.

"Wow! Can I do that?" Klein exclaims.

"Not exactly, since you're using a curved sword, you have different skills. But you have you own, so it's your turn to try. You can check the starting positions and initial motions of all the sword skills you've unlocked if you tap on the skill in your menu," I say.

He goes into his menu and checks.

"Alright. You're turn to try," I say and kick up another pebble. I hurl it at a boar, this time using my [Throwing Weapons] skill since my target was farther away. I could hit without, but I didn't want to bother aiming.

I check on our follower, who had stopped and was hiding—fairly well, though not well enough to hide from me—and watching us. Maybe another noob who didn't know anything but didn't want to ask for help or risk having to walk back from dying.

I turn my attention back to Klein and see that he had raised his sword and failed miserably at using the skill, causing the boar to hit him right in the groin and knock him to the ground.

It gets to charge at him again, but I put my foot on its face and shove down, forcing it off-balance and to the ground.

He was clutching his crotch and swearing under his breath.

"Come on, get up. It doesn't even hurt," I say. Though I didn't know anything about how much getting hit in the nuts hurt in the real world, I did know that there was barely any pain in SAO.

"Oh. You're right, it doesn't. Force of habit," he says.

How do you develop that kind of habit? Like, how much would you need to get hit in the crotch for that? Whatever.

"Try again. You need to let the pressure build and then let it pop," I say.

"Let it pop, let it pop. Got it," he says as I push the boar towards him.

It charges at him and his sword glows with the crimson light of [Reaver]—a skill not nearly awesome enough for its awesome name—and he thrusts forward with a horizontal jump, cutting off the top of the boar and making it shatter.

"I- I did it! I killed it!" he exclaims.

I sigh. "Hate to break it to you, but that boar was about as weak as slimes in other games."

"Huh? I thought that was a midlevel boss or something," he says.

I chuckle slightly.

I pick up another pebble and without the [Throwing Weapons] skill, chuck it with a large arc at our follower. If I used the skill, it would be determined as an attack and make my cursor orange if it hits, however, this was it wouldn't unless it did a large amount of damage, which it wouldn't even if it hit his head.

However, he catches it and I call, "Come out!"

Our follower comes out from his hiding place, allowing me to clearly see him. He was a young—not that that said anything since it was just his avatar—man with short black hair and dark green eyes. He was a little shorter than Klein and most of his dress was green and black. I could see a dagger sheathed on his side.

"So why are were you following us?"

"You noticed me?" he asks in mild surprise.

"As soon as we left the city. Now, what do you want?"

"I was hoping to see a bit of how this game is played."

"Great. Another total noob," I say with a sigh.

He growls. "I may not know how to play this game, but I can fight," he says in annoyance.

"Wonderful. Prove it," I say and send him a half-death duel request.

"Since you don't know how to play this game, I won't use [Sword Skills] either," I add.

He accepts the duel request and the timer counts down.

As it reaches 3, I say, "Land a hit on me and I'll teach you how to play the game."

"Just one?" he says with a cocky smile.

"Don't push your luck."

The timer reaches 0 and he moves forward with surprising speed, his dagger—held in his left hand—aimed at my neck. Not the easiest place to hit, but it seemed he was going for the win and not for a single hit. I lean to the side slightly and avoid the stab, the dagger passing millimeters from my neck. I grab his right wrist as he tries to punch me in the stomach

He runs past me on my left and breaks out of my grip and I spin round to strike him with my sword, however, despite it being impossible for him to have seen it, he blocks—mostly—the strike as he moves out of range.

I was tempted to say, "You pass," right there, just because he was able to avoid getting defeated by that strike alone.

He twists around and comes to a halt.

I smile. "Okay. Not bad."

"To be honest, I was expecting you to just be overly cocky and used to using overwhelming levels to overpower people. I didn't expect you to notice the punch."

He charges once more, stabbing twice quickly with his dagger in succession, both of which I block with twists of my blade. His blows were fast but lacked force. As he blocks my simple vertical strike, similar to the [Sword Skill] [Vertical] but with much, much less power. Power wasn't the point, the point was getting him to block it.

I drive my left hand forward in a fist, which he blocks with his right.

I lift my left hand to the hilt of my sword and apply all my strength, as opposed to a fraction of one hand's strength, to it. The sudden increase in force breaks through his guard and cuts him vertically on the chest as he jumps back.

Maybe it's time to play offensive? Or should I give him a few more chances?

...I guess he gets a few more chances.

Suddenly, he moves forward at speed far greater than before, both hands on his dagger as he drives it forward in a stab aimed once more at my neck. My eyes widen slightly in surprise as I move to the side, getting grazed by the slightest amount. I catch him in the stomach with my fist as he tries to move past me and bring my sword on his back, doing enough damage to win the duel but deliberately not enough to send him back to the [Black Iron Palace] where people who die respawn.

"I suppose that technically counts as a hit," I say.

"So you'll show me how to use those [Sword Skills] and various other game mechanics?" he asks, sounding sour at losing.

"Yes. My name's Kiriko, he," I say, gesturing to Klein, "is Klein."

"I'm Tazen," he responds.

"Alright. Well, Klein. To show that you understand what I taught you, explain to him."

Tazen picked up on it much faster than Klein and rather quickly got the hang of killing the boars, after which we spent a few hours fighting the enemies. The amazing thing about SAO was that since you were fighting with your own body and not just pressing buttons on a computer, you could fight the same enemies over and over and it stayed fun for a while. Though for Kiriko it was a little boring, it was more or less necessary.

Currently, it was nearly 5:30 and they were taking a break.

"Thanks for all the help, I gotta log out, though, I ordered pizza for 5:30."

"You're prepared," I comment.

"Yeah," he says and opens his menu to log out.

A moment later he says, "Uh... total noob question, but... how do you log out?"

"Huh? It's right at the bottom of the menu..." I trail off as I check the menu and see nothing there.

"Well, it's the first day of launch. There's gotta be bugs," Klein says to reassure himself.

Yeah right. Kayaba doesn't make mistakes like that. Especially since there were no changes to the menu, so he wouldn't have had any chances to break it. Which meant that for whatever reason, Kayaba had decided to remove the log out button. And being the pessimist that I am, I had no hopes that it was an opening event of some kind.

"There's no way that kind of bug would make it past testing," Tazen points out.

"There's no way that kind of bug could be made in the first place. In other words, whatever this is, it's deliberate," I say.

"Isn't there some other way to log out ?" Klein asks, before proceeding to make some odd gestures and say things like 'logout', 'exit', and even 'escape'.

"Oh I know, I'll just pull the NerveGear off my head!" he says, before trying to do just that until Tazen points out, "You know, if you could move in the real world, you would have broken everything in your room and hurt yourself. The NerveGear intercepts, not just reads, the signals from the brain."

"Oh look, it's 5:30," I say.

"NOOOOO! My pizza!" Klein yells and collapses to his knees.

"I guess we have to wait until somebody pulls the NerveGears off our heads, however..."

"But I live alone," Klein says.

"Me too," Tazen says.

"My sister or mom will probably come fetch for me dinner in an hour or so."

"You have a sister!?" Klein asks, putting his hands on my shoulders and shaking me.

"How old is she?"

I sigh and kick him in the crotch. Well, that answers the question of how he got that habit.

Tazen chuckles.

Suddenly, a bell in the distance rings. A system announcement.

We are surrounded by a blinding blue light that blocks out everything, even the ground and each other, to the point where seeing my own hands was difficult and when it clears, we're standing back at the login plaza at the center of the [Town of Beginnings].

Red hexagons which had alternating messages of [Warning] and [System Announcment] on them appear, enclosing the plaza.

Then blood seems to seep between them at the center of the dome, pooling in the air and forming a giant figure of GM without any face and white gloves covering his hands.

He introduces himself as—unsurprisingly—Kayaba and says—unsurprisingly—that the lack of logout button was not a bug but a feature.

"The only way to log out now is to clear the game."

A map of Aincrad appears, a red dot highlighted at the south of the first floor.

"You are currently on the first floor. Locate and defeat the boss and you will progress to the next floor. Reach and defeat the 100th boss and you clear the game."

"The 100th floor? How are we supposed to do that? Even the beta testers never made it that far!" somebody yells.

We have ten times as many people now. Assuming we go 3 times faster, it'll take us half a year to beat the game. Ouch. Then again, I didn't have anything better to do.

"There will be no more respawns or revival items. When your HP hits zero, you will be erased from this world... and the real one. The NerveGear will destroy your brain."

"Can it do that?!" Klein asks in shock.

"The NerveGear uses microwaves to intercept nerve signals. If the power output was drastically increased, it could cook your brain like a microwave," I say.

"Can't it just be unplugged or something?"

"No. The NerveGear has a battery which lasts roughly 30 minutes. If the output was increased by 1800x for a second, it would almost certainly kill the wearer," I explain.

"If somebody on the outside tries to remove the NerveGear or it loses power or connection for a prolonged period, it will also destroy the wearers' brain. Regrettably, the friends and family of some people have ignored these warning so we are 213 people down from when we started the game. They have been erased from both this world and the real one. The people on the outside will be given a grace period and the locations of all NerveGears to get everyone to hospitals."

I grit my teeth. You treacherous, lying bitch, Kayaba! "I'm gonna kill you, you piece of fucking shit" I whisper.

"These deaths are being covered by practically every news network in the world and the chances of NerveGears being removed is very slim, so you can relax and focus on clearing the game."

He shows the various news feeds on screens to show he was serious.

"Lastly, I have left a present for each of you in your inventory, please, take a look."

I open my inventory and find the present at the top. A mirror. I take it out and look at it. It was a perfectly generic, rectangular mirror.

Then, people start being surrounded by flashes of light like teleportation, reaching to me. This time, however, I couldn't even see my own hands.

When the light clears, I find that I'm a somewhat shorter and I look at the mirror. What I see is my real face. My long straight black hair and onyx eyes. The rest of me had also become my real self.

I look at the people standing where Klein and Tazen were standing. Tazen had hardly changed, though he was a little younger and shorter. He actually looked around my age, maybe a little older. Klein's hair was shorter and messier and less purplish, and he had a little scruff on his face. He was a little shorter than before.

"Our real bodies huh? This is our world now? Is that what you're saying?" I say to nobody in particular.

Klein and Tazen look at each other and at me.

"Kiriko... you're a girl!?" Klein asks in surprise.

"Yes. I don't like people hitting on giving me or free stuff, so I figured I'd made my avatar a boy," I say bluntly.

"This concludes the official tutorial of Sword Art Online. I wish you luck in clearing the game."

The figure dissolves into mist, passing through the seams of the dome, which then disappears.

"Come on, we need to get out of here and get moving," I say, grabbing their wrists and pulling them through the crowd of stunned people and out of the plaza, along the north road.

After we get a short distance away, we stop in an alley.

"If you want to survive, you need to get strong. In games like this, spawn rates are limited, thus limiting total resources available after a certain amount of time. These fields will soon be hunted clean. I'm heading to the next town. It's considerably higher level and a fairly dangerous trip, but I know a relatively safe path that I can use to get there safely. I can take you two," I say.

Tazen nods, "I'll go."

Klein hesitates before saying, "I can't. I logged in with some friends, a guild from some other games, and they're still back at the plaza. I can't just leave them."

1 or 2 people I can take safely, but any more and I don't trust myself.

Apparently, Klein notices my hesitation and says, "It's alright. I can't ask you to risk your life for some total strangers, especially you helped me so much. Besides, with what you've taught me, we'll get by, no sweat!"

"Alright. But don't hesitate to message me if you ever need anything," I say.

"Come on, Tazen, let's go," I say.

Tazen, who had gotten fairly skilled in the various game mechanics and had combat skill pretty on point, to begin with, ran behind me as we ran towards [Horunka], where I would get an [Anneal Blade] and where we could farm the various higher level enemies for XP.

I slash through a wolf as it gets on our path and Tazen puts down another of the pack which leaps towards us. While in the real world, people didn't outrun wolves, but in SAO, if you knew how to run, you could, especially since these were low level. So that's exactly what we did.

By nightfall, we arrive in the town of [Horunka] and Tazen asks, "Is this it?"

"Yes. There's a specific quest I'd like to do, the sooner the better. The reward is a pretty good sword that'll be good enough for a few floors," I say.

Well, that'll conclude chapter one. Please tell me what you thought with a review, follow, and if you liked it for some reason, favorite.