SAO: The Worthless One

The Gathering

The year is 2022, and gamers have lined up on launch day for Sword Art Online, a hotly-anticipated MMORPG that lets players connect to an immersive virtual reality world with special helmets called Nerve Gear. Kirito is one such gamer who's eager to jump back into action, having spent a great deal of time as a beta tester, and quickly becomes friends with newbie warrior Klein. But soon, Sword Art Online's 10,000 players discover that not only are they unable to log out, the only way they can return to their physical bodies is by beating the 100-level tower's final boss - death in the game means death in the real world. Now, with no one else to turn to, Kirito and the other participants must survive the game as best they can. However, our story isn't about Kirito, it's about another survivor, the worst one by the name of Shinji Itsagi…

December 2, 2022, Floor 1: Town of Beginnings...

One month has passed since the game began. During that time 2,000 people have died. However, no one has yet been able to clear the first floor. Kirito used to be a beta tester and even he has not found where the boss room is. Kirito leans up against a wall watching other players gather in an open stage theater to conduct a meeting on how they were going to defeat the first-floor boss. Kirito had slightly long but neat black hair and black eyes. His delicate face showed no trace of masculinity, allowing people to easily mistake him for a girl.

The stage had 4 ascending rows with 15 steps each. Kirito sat in row two on the 13th step. Shinji Itsagi was in row three sitting in the fifth row by himself. He had very light brownish almost grey hair that was parted and hung down in front of his eyes and past his ears. He wore the basic armor and gear, which was a dark chest plate, a white long sleeve undershirt with black pants and boots. There was one man dressed as a knight with blue hair who clapped to get everyone's attention.

"Okay, let's get started, people!" he said out loud. He looks around keeping his left hand on his hip and his right hand up in the air. "Thank you for responding to my summons today. My name is Diabel. My job my own mind I like to think I'm a knight" he explains to them. Some of the players laugh out loud with one yelling out "There's no job system in this game". Shinji listened to another player ask if this meeting was a joke. "You should take this seriously!" Diabel tells them holding up his hands trying to recenter their attention. They all get silent when they see the serious look on his face. "Today, our party discovered the boss room at the top of the tower" was all he needed to say and everyone got serious.

"Seriously?" Shinji said outloud.

"We need to defeat the boss, reach the second floor, and tell everyone waiting in the Town of Beginnings that it is possible to beat this game" Diabel tells them.

"I see, he wants to give the people hope in lou the 2,000 people who have already died…" Shinji thinks to himself, narrowing his eyes at Diabel keeping his hands rested across his legs while he leans forward a tad bit.

"And that's the duty of everyone of us here now!" Diabel proclaims.

"Our duty huh…" Shinji gives a thoughtful look at Diabel taking to heart what he said.

"Isn't that right, everybody?" Diabel asks outloud. Everyone nods looking around at one another with serious looks. Other players start to clap, some whistle. "Then without further delay, I'd like to get this boss-raid meeting started" he tells them. He then tells them to team up into parties of six stating a conventional party would have no chance against a floor boss. Kirito gives a panicked look as he sees everyone pairing up into teams.

Shinji watches a display pop-up in front of him asking him to join someone's party. Shinji blinks looking around to see it was from one of the guys sitting a few steps below him who just sent the request out to the five nearest players to him. Shinji being one of them. This player was a tall intimidating muscular black man whose name popped up in the party as Agil. Shinji sighs and reluctantly accepts the party invitation. Kirito looks around and sees a hooded girl sitting in the same row as him. He quickly scoots over to her.

"You got left out too?" Kirito inquires.

"I wasn't left out" she replies in a cold voice. "Everyone else seemed to be friends already, so I just stayed out of it," she explains to him.

"So you're a solo player? Then want to partner with me?" Kirito asks her. The hooded girl glances his way but remains silent. "He just said we can't beat the boss on our own. So just for this fight?" Kirito reminds and asks her again. The hooded girl just nods, Kirito sends her an invite and sees her name is Asuna.

"Okay, are you about done forming your parties?" Diabel asks.

"Hold up a second!" a voice yells out, capturing everyone's attention. Shinji glances over giving a bored uninterested look at the young man who yelled out. Shinji watches him stand on the 15th step jumping all the way down to the center of the stage. Shinji just blinks at him. "Whose this nut job?" Shnji thinks to himself.

"My name's Kibaou! There's something I wanna say before we take on the boss. Some of you here need to apologize to the 2,000 who have died so far!" Kibaou declares. Most players give him shocked and dismayed looks. Shinji just leans back crossing his arms with a dark glare at this young man. Shinji already had an idea of what this man was going to say. Shinji watches Kibaou point his left finger at the audience gathered. Kirito grimaces quickly realizing what group of players Kibaou was about to accuse.

"Kibaou, these people you're referring you mean the ex-beta testers, perhaps?" Diabel inquires.

"Of course I do!" Kibaou says in a respectful tone toward Diabel. Shinji and Kirito watch intensely to see where this would go. "On the day this stupid game started, the beta guys ditched us beginners, and they all disappeared" Kibaou accuses outloud. Shinji clenches his left hand hidden under his crossed right hand over his chest tightly with a dark look. Like Kirito, Shinji was an ex-beta tester too. So he took what Kibaou said offensively. "They took all the good hunting spots and easy quests for themselves, so they were the only ones getting stronger and since then, they've just ignored the rest of us" Kibaou accuses.

"Ignorant fool, we didn't abandon you people! We split off to get stronger and try to beat this game so idiots like you wouldn't have to go get yourselves killed!" Shinji thought to himself taking a breath showing no emotion lowering his head and closing his eyes uncaringly not wanting to hear anymore of this garbage Kibaou is spewing, all it's doing is sowing distrust among the players and promoting a witch-hunt for ex-beta players.

"There's got to be some of them here! Guys who were beta testers!" Kibaou points at random players. "We should make them get on their knees and apologize and give up all the items and money they've hoarded," Kibaou suggests. Shinji opens his eyes finding it harder and harder to hide his growing anger and animosity toward this player.

"Is this guy serious?" Shinji is starting to quickly see if something isn't done about Kibaou's hate rant ex-beta players like himself will be at the unjust and unruly mercy of a mob of players. Kibaou's ignorance is dangerous. Shinji realized as if this death game wasn't hard enough, he didn't need or want to deal with this.

"As party members, we can't trust them with our lives, and they can't trust us!" Kibaou continues his rant. Kirito cringes at what Kibaou was saying. Kirito closes his eyes, starting to shake with indecisive action, not sure what to do or how to deal with the growing tension. He also assumed he wasn't the only ex-beta tester in the crowd. He wondered how they were truly reacting to these words.

"Can I say something?" a tall black man calls out from the crowd. Kirito stops shaking and opens his eyes. Shinji glances over at the tall black man who had sent him the party invite. Even, Kibaou hushed up when he saw the tall black man with the giant two handed axe across his back. Shinji just blinks.

"This could be bad…" Shinji thought to himself watching intently to see how this would all play out, if nothing else he was prepared to fight other players if it meant his survival.

"My name is Agil. Kibaou, let me get this straight. You're saying that because the ex-beta testers didn't take care of them, many beginners died. That they should take responsibility, apologize, and provide compensation is that right?" Agil asked towering over Kibaou in a very intimidating way.

"Y-yeah" Kibaou said in a hesitant almost fearful voice. Next, Agil pulled a little brown guide book out from his pocket. Shinji recognizes the book and watches Agil intently. Agil asks if Kibaou had received the guide book. Agil made sure to remind him and everyone who was listening that it was a free gift from the item store. Kibaou puffed up his chest saying something about how he got one. Agil then told him and everyone in the stands that it was the ex-beta tester who made the guide book and handed it out to any and everyone who would take one.

Everyone was shocked, Shinji and Kirito breathed a sigh of relief watching the tension start to melt away as Agil proved to everyone that the ex-beta testers did care and did try to help them. Agil explained to the gathered players that everyone had equal access to the guidebook that held the knowledge of what the ex-beta testers knew.

Agil also pointed out that even with this information lots of players still died. Agil also didn't want to point fingers at anyone's failure; he just wanted to come here and figure out how they were going to defeat the boss. That is what was important. Agil turned around looking at Kibaou who grumbled to himself and took his walk of shame back to the stands.

"Serves you right" Shinji thought to himself looking back, thankful and with a look of respect at Agil who didn't even notice Shinji was staring in his direction. Agil takes his seat a few feet away from Kibaou in row one of section two with Shinji on the fifth step above them.

"Okay, can we resume the meeting now?" Diabel asks and most players nod. "As for information on the boss actually, the latest edition of that guidebook was just issued" Diabel explains once again to everyone's shock at how the ex-beta testers were looking out for them by giving out new updates to the guidebook. "According to it, the boss's name is Illfang, The Kobold Lord. Also, he has an entourage known as the ruin Kobold Sentinels. The boss is armed with an axe and a buckler. He has four health bars and when the last one is in the red, he switches to a curved sword-type weapon called a Talwar" Diabel explains to the players who listen intently taking notes. Diabel also warned them that Illfang can change his attack patterns according to the book. Shinji glances around listening to everyone murmur and come up with attack plans and stragems. "That concludes the briefing. Lastly, regarding item distribution money will be automatically divided equally. EXP goes to the party that defeats the monster and whoever receives an item keeps it. Any objections?" Diabel asks but no one objected just the opposite the players agreed.

"I'll be the one to defeat Illfang and get the special item" Shinji thinks to himself. He glances around one last time and see's Kirito at the top with the hood girl, he didn't think anything of them at the time and didn't even give them a second thought.

"Okay, we leave tomorrow at 10 in the morning. All right, dismissed" Diabel tells them. Signalling them off. Players gathered into their groups and started to take off. While Agil, Kibaou, Diabel, and some other players talk on stage. Shinji opens his menu and equips his short sword and buckler. He loved being a sword and shield user, he felt almost invincible with his ability to block and counter slash with his weapons. He was even over-confident in thinking he could use his block and slash stragem to solo Illfang on his own. Shinji looks down at his left hand clenching his fist tightly. He wanted to be the strongest in SAO, Shinji glanced up seeing the hooded girl leave with Kirito following behind her. Diabel glances over at Asuna and Kirito leaving as well and then over to Shinji with a serious look.

That evening Diabel and Kibaou hung out with their party members drinking and having a good time. Kirito hung out and got to know Asuna, and as for Shinji, he retired to his room after eating and getting a few drinks. He practiced his sword and shield skills for tomorrow's raid. Shinji was a proud gamer and with tomorrow's raid he was going to show them all the true skill of a professional gamer.