Author's disclaimer: SAO and its characters doesn't belong to me. It belongs to Reki Kawahara. I'm just playing in the beautiful universe he created.

May 1st 2026, 14:00

It was a warm sunny in Alfheim Online. In a small log cabin next to a lake, a group of friends had gathered after another successful quest. A table filled with freshly prepared food filled the living room with rich, mouth-watering aromas courtesy of one of the owners of the cabin. Said person decided to speak up.

"Allright dig in everyone!" ordered Asuna. The blue-haired Undine had once more outdone herself in her cooking as her friends and family could attest.

"Thanks for the food mama!" exclaimed Yui while enthusiastically piling up food on her dish.

A tall dark skinned man was filling up his platter next to her.

"I gotta hand it to you Asuna but you really know how to make some good chow!" praised Agil, "Think you could work at my place IRL?" he suggested with a grin.

"Yeah," cut in Liz, "You really ought to open a restaurant or an inn. Think of the money you could make!" she added slyly before moving to her seat.

Across the room, Klein was talking with Kirito.

"Man, you are lucky as hell to have a pretty wife that can cook," commented the red-haired samurai with a hint of jealousy in his voice.

Kirito merely rubbed the back of his head while a nervous smile adorned his face.

"Eh, if you say so."

At a corner of the table, Sinon was conversing with Liz, Leafa and Silica.

"So Sinon, could you tell us a bit more about your adventures in GGO?" Liz asked with curiosity, "I heard you were quite the player."

Silica looked at Sinon with awe as she remembered a story she had overheard.

"Was it really true that you took a top player while you were falling down from a building!?"

"Behemoth?" answered the blue Cait Sith nonchalantly while cutting some meat, "It wasn't my best moment since the rest of my team almost got wiped out by him and his teammates. He wasn't a top player either, just some powerful mercenary that rented his services to anyone that needed it."

A grinning Liz slapped Sinon on her back, surprising the latter.

"Don't be so modest!" exclaimed the pink haired blacksmith while holding a piece of food, "I'm pretty sure that got all the guys to like you!"

Sinon let out a groan of annoyance and crossed her arms.

"If you knew how many guys were hitting on me…"

Leafa scoffed and put down a glass she was holding.

"No trouble imagining that," she said with a frown, "I get the same treatment IRL."

"We wonder why," joked Liz, "With those-"

Silica was red with envy by now as she glared at the other girls.

"Shut up!" cut off Leafa before returning her attention to Sinon, "So could you tell us abit more about your adventures in GGO?"

Sinon placed a finger on her chin and leaned back in her chair.

"I could tell you how I got Hecate." she answered with a hint of pride in her voice.

"Hecate?" asked Silica in curiosity, "Who's that? Was it a companion you had? Like Pina?"

Upon hearing her name, Pina, perched on her master's shoulder, cooed and rubbed her head against Silica's head. Sinon shook her head.

"It was my main weapon. A very powerful sniper rifle that I could hit targets out to 1500 meters with. It was like tossing a ball of paper in a trash can when I used it."

"1500 meters?!" exclaimed Leafa, Liz and Silica at the same time.

"Yup" Sinon answered with a proud smile.

"No wonder why you have no trouble hitting stuff with your bow." stammered Silica, "That's amazing."

"Well to be honest, Hecate did have a good scope and GGO did have alot of mechanics to help you aim."

Liz seemed to be annoyed at this fact and she frowned.

"So if it was so easy… are there many players that can pull that off?"

"Well not really…"

"Then stop selling yourself short!" Liz exclaimed enthusiastically, "Tell us how you got that weapon."

Sinon began telling her tale. The more she told of it, the more the girls seemed impressed. Across the table, even Agil and Klein had taken an interest as well to Sinon's tale.

"And that's how I got Hecate."

The GGO player finished her story while her audience were staring at her in awe.

"Sinon, that's amazing!" exclaimed Silica before an idea ran through her mind, "I want to try out GGO too!"

"It could be a lot of fun," added Liz with a mischievous smile, "Beside, it'd be a change of scenery too."

The others seemed to approve of the idea.

"We could try out together," said Sinon with a small smile, "It'll be fun to have my friends with me in squadron."

'Not to mention that I've always wanted to squad up with girls…' Sinon thought. GGO's player base was rather male dominated much to her annoyance at times.

"My account should still be good," mentioned Kirito lazily.

"What do you mean?" asked Klein as he scarfed down some food.

"Well, GGO has fees that you have to pay after six months." the Black Swordsman answered, "I just did the math to make sure mine was still good."

"Why don't give it all a spin. If we like it, we can pay the fees" suggested Agil. Everyone seemed to nod in agreement before they started planning their transfer to GGO. They had to agree on a time as well as making sure that they could deposit or convert their respective inventories before switching over. They also got some information from Sinon about how avatars worked in that world.

May 2nd, 1300

"Man, this place ain't sunshine and roses," muttered Agil. Looking around, he noticed he was as tall as always. Various players were milling around, their way of dress completely different from ALO. Long trench coats and improvised military uniforms in dull colours seemed to be the norm here, a long cry from the colorful suits of armor he normally wore in game. It reminded him of some of the old RPGs he had played in his youth that took place in a post-apocalyptic United States. Names like "NCR" and "Brotherhood of Steel" came to his mind. It was a stark difference to the lush worlds of Aincrad and Alfheim but he couldn't wait to face this world's challenge.

"Agil!"

Turning to the source of the voice, he saw a scruffy looking man with red hair. He had a rather roguish appearance with a pair of long scar on his right cheek. His clothing did nothing to help. Black pants with a brown belt and light grey shirt along with a worn out brown leather jacket made him look like a rough adventurer exploring hostile lands. A red bandana covered

"Klein! Enjoying the weather my man?" chuckled Agil.

"I got to admit this place looks interesting," said Klein, "Damn man, you look fucking badass. Check it out in the window behind you."

The African-American player turned his head and saw his reflection. He had to admit but his friend was right. His imposing height and muscular body that he usually had in other games had converted over as well. His clothing made the difference however. Combat boots with camo pants and a tight black t-shirt gave him the appearance of a stereotypical commando or special forces operator. His stern and rugged face and clean goatee further enhanced the look.

"Yeah, that's what I'm talking about!" he exclaimed before turning to Klein, "Any idea where everyone else is?"

"I haven't seen anyone so far." the red-haired rogue answered while looking around, "Though I think they shouldn't be too far from here since we were suppose to spawn in the beginner's area."

The two players took off in search of their friends, taking in the sights around them. Neons shone against dirty old signs while the two men walked on metal plates. Holograms were advertising the various weapons and gear a player could buy. The soft sound of rain splattering could be heard as they walked around the plaza. Something caught Klein's attention.

"Hey check it out over there," he whispered to Agil.

"What the..."

They saw a throng of excited men surrounding someone. It piqued their curiosity and they decided to move closer. Their gut feeling also told them that something was up. As they drew closer, they caught snippets of what the men were saying.

"That's a cool drone!"

"Do you want to join up with us? We'll give you 50% of the credits we find!"

"A little lady like you can't just wander off by herself! Please join us instead!"

Agil and Klein looked at each other in realisation. This reminded them of a story they had heard.

"Silica!" shouted Agil, "Is that you?"

The crowd's heads turned in surprise at the same time that a small voice squeaked out.

"It's me Agil!"

The players surrounding her began murmuring. Thinking fast, Klein ran up to her.

"I've been looking all over for you little cousin. You ready to go?," he said with a quick wink before turning towards the gathered men with a fake smile, "Thank you for keeping an eye on her."

The crowd began to disperse, some with looks of annoyance though some still tried to persuade Silica to join them as they left. Once the crowd was gone, both men saw one of the people they were looking for. Silica was, as always, an adorable young teenager with her usual pigtails. She was dressed in a simple set of light brown fatigues, but what stood out was the quadrotor drone hovering around her and a wrist mounted tablet.

"Thanks for coming cousin!" she said with a smile, "I couldn't wait to find you and Agil."

"No problems little lady," Agil replied. He had caught up to them by now. Once everyone was gone, everyone blew a sigh of relief.

"Where's everyone else?" Silica asked, "I've been trying to look for them but I guess Sinon was right about the playerbase here," she added with clear annoyance in her voice.

"We've been trying to find everyone for the past half hour. We managed to find each other first before running into you," stated Klein. He looked in curiosity at the drone hovering around her. "Is that Pina?"

Silica perked up at this.

"Yes, it seems that in this game, drones replace familiars." She took a look at her tablet. "I'm still looking over at the various abilities that she has here. There's a lot I haven't unlocked yet."

Agil rubbed his chin in thought.

"Does Pina have scout abilities?"

Silica began playing around on her tablet, inputting commands. The drone began flying a bit higher.

"With this, I can see what she sees," replied the small girl, beaming, "It'll make our task easier of finding everyone easier."

"Stay close to us then", instructed Klein, "You'll be our eyes in the sky."

Pina's rotors spun faster as she climbed above their heads. Walking down the street, the small party was discussing places where they could find their friends.

"Maybe we should look at the nearest marketplace?" suggested Silica, "They could have decided to shop for some equipment. Gimme a sec and I'll find the nearest one."

Agil and Klein nodded in approval. Silica took a quick look at her pad.

"There's one not very far from here. We'll just need to make a right at the next street."

"Alrighty, just lead the way little lady!" said Agil with enthusiasm.

"Have I told that you've been getting better Silica," added Klein as he gave her a friendly headpat.

The young player merely beamed as they kept walking. The holographic ads seemed to get more and more numerous. The party finally arrived at their destination and Silica called Pina back to her.

It was a large metal, grey building with no windows and a large doorway. The walls were dirty from years of pollution and it had a very industrial feeling to them. A large sign indicated that it was the marketplace.

'At least we'll be out of this rain' mused Agil as the trio entered the building. The automated doors opened and revealed a bustling marketplace with dark grey walls. Players were standing at various vending points, buying and selling equipment.

"Well good luck finding anyone in here quickly," groaned Klein as he looked around the crowd. However, he barely had time to finish what he was saying that he heard a familiar voice ranting and another pair of voices telling her to calm down. Looking at the source, they recognized friendly faces who were standing around a bench.

"Asuna, Liz, Leafa!" Silica shouted happily as she ran over to them followed by Klein and Agil. Asuna and Leafa were standing while a rather grumpy looking Liz was sitting on the bench.

Their clothing were surprisingly quite similar. Simple green combat shorts and tank tops of various colours completed by black combat boots.

"So what's going on here?" asked Agil as he arrived. A red-faced Liz exploded in a rant.

"This is completely ridiculous! I can't own a weapon store right away in this game! Not until I get enough leveling done!"

Asuna sighed and lowered her head. Leafa was trying to calm down their friend

"She's been like that for the past few minutes," she explained, "We've been trying to calm her down."

By now, Liz seemed to have calmed down a bit.

"Whatever, it'll be a little challenge for me!" she exclaims, "Besides, I got Sinon who can show me how to level up quickly."

Everyone smiles upon hearing this.

"Let's do our best everyone!" declares Silica with a raised fist and a giggle.

"This is fine and all," remarks Agil while looking around the crowd, "but where's Sinon and Kirito?"

His friends look around the crowds.

"Hey everyone!"

Turning to the source of the voice, the group recognized it. It was Sinon. She was wearing her green and white clothes and her avatar had her blue hair and eyes.

"Ah Sinonon!" exclaims Asuna, "We've been looking for you."

Before anyone could say anything else, Klein had spotted another player walking next to Sinon. The smiling figure had long black hair and purple eyes. The young woman had a slim figure that was dressed with a white vest and black pants. The red haired dashed forwards towards her.

"My… my name's Kk-Klein, 26 years old, si-single!" he stammered, blushing, as he leaned towards the girl with his hand outstreched, "Pl-pleased to-to meet you! Wa-Wanna g-g-go out on a date with me?"

The "girl" glared at Klein before shouting.

"WHAT THE HELL KLEIN?! IT'S ME KIRITO!"

There was a brief pause where everyone's jaw except Sinon's dropped before getting their wits back. The sniper had a smirk on her face.

"WHA!? Kirito?!"

Kirito merely looks sheepish while Klein backs off awkwardly. Asuna and the girls were giggling.

'Kirito looks so adorable,' his girlfriend thought before looking at Sinon with a mischevious smile, "I wonder if I can get him a nice dress in this game."

A small nod all but confirms it. Kirito looks at Asuna with a betrayed look and an increasingly blushing face.

"I could help you choose Asuna," adds Liz with an evil look, "Want to help Silica?"

"Of course!" exclaims the small girl with a smile, "I'm pretty sure Kirito'll good if we all work together to get him a nice dress."

"Nii-san," Leafa chuckles as she takes a screenshot, "I am so showing this to mom!"

"NO!" screams a red-faced Kirito with an embarrassed air. His day just couldn't get any worst.

"Sorry man, I'm so sorry," Klein says nervously as he pulls away awkwardly. Before he can say anything else, a loud roar of laughter interrupted him.

"LOOK AT YOU!" exclaimed Agil between laughs.

Author's concluding note:

While the cast did see Kirito fighting in GGO alongside Sinon... it's one thing to see it on TV and another in front of them. I couldn't resist this.

Hope you all had fun reading this.