It took Kirito and Odrim a few days to clear through the levels of the dungeon with the equipment they had. Kirito's gear more based on quest pickups and gear recovered in the field rather than actually having others make their gear like Odrim's gear was. Resting outside the boss door, Kirito sent the map of the area to brokers in town. A day prior there was an announcement for a raid to clear the second floor in a few days.

"It's been nearly a month right?" Odrim asked as Kirito finished the message.

"Nearly in a few days."

"A month and we're still on level 1, Gods were bad at this."

Kirito sat down beside him sitting in a cross leg position, "This isn't a game anymore both beta and normal players are being cautious about their actions. One misstep and…"

Odrim nodded "Yeah death is not a fun thing to think about. We just have to live one day at a time."

He stood up, "If we restrict ourselves to living in fear then we're already dead. Live life to the fullest virtual or real."

"Is that what you did before in the real world, live?"

Odrim stared at the boy before chuckling, "Aye Kirito I lived life like no tomorrow because in my profession there was always a chance of such things occurring. I'll do the same thing here making a life out of these ones and zeroes."

Kirito didn't respond sitting in silence as Odrim leaned beside the boss door. The engravings made it seem like a throne room in those old school RPG castles with intricate designs.

"I'm going to head back now" Kirito announced taking out his crystal. "You coming?"

He shrugged, "in a bit I've got some thinking to do."

Kirito nodded activating the crystal before teleporting out of the dungeon and back to town. Odrim sighed before sitting beside the door staring at the darkness in front of him. Bringing up the menu he dissolved the party with Kirito before drawing his hammer.

"Anytime you want to come out?" He called out into the darkness. A curse echoed out of it before the sound of footsteps approached. Three figures stepped out into the light of the torches beside the door.

The first one had a blue cloak on, covering most of their body except for the hard leather boots that they wore and a sword hilt peeking out from the covers.

The second was a woman dressed mostly in iron armour except the gloves which were hard leather. Her helmet covered most of her head except around the mouth region enabling the user to speak without being muffled. The great sword she gripped hung off her shoulder rotating slightly as the wielder repositioned her hands on the blade.

The third was a man with scruffy brown hair and wore a studded leather vest along with greaves and boots. A dagger hung at his side along with a pouch of throwing knives, one which was twirling in his hand. His brown eyes locked onto Odrim's blue eyes and smiled at him.

"It's been a while Challengers."

He blinked before looking at the man again… and burst into laughter after realizing who it was.

"Kundan I barely recognized you without your hat on, we must get you another hat else I fear I'll never see you the right way ever again. And who are these lovely people; friends or comrades?"

"The eye is always watching" the cloaked woman spoke rising her head slightly to reveal dark green eyes peering out at Odrim.

"Even in a virtual game such as this" the other woman spoke sheathing her sword and rotated her shoulders.

"I believe that answers my question" Odrim smiled, sheathing his hammer and leaning back against the door. "So what are you three doing here?"

"We plan on taking on the boss and I wanted to see if you'd like to join us?"

"Us? Just the three or four if I come along?"

"Yes" the cloaked woman said nodding.

"That's insane… I'm in" Odrim said his smile becoming even wider.

Kundan pulled up the menu and sent Odrim an invite which he accepted. Three names appeared under Odrim's name: Kundan, Reika and Celly.

"Celly?" Odrim questioned looking at the cloaked woman who shrugged.

"On the form it said to put a name, didn't say it had to be my real name so I wrote Princ-"

"No"

"What?" she looked at Odrim put his hands on his face, turn around, lean on the wall face first and shake his head. "What!? Are you a hater or something?"

Odrim turned putting his hands down and laughed, "No I just think your silly for naming yourself after a cartoon horse, but you know what I don't care. Have whatever name you want, its fine by me."

"Anyone anything about the guy on the other side?" Kundan asked looking at Odrim.

Shrugging a bit, "if I remember this guy correctly it's a kobold lord who spawns in three adds. They usually come back after fifty percent of his health is gone and that's it. When he hits the red he changes weapons but I can't remember what it is. So what's the plan, two by two scenarios?"

"Aye that seems like the best plan since you and Reika are more decked out for tanking, me and Celly will take care of the adds and then back you guys up. And since we don't have a healer we got to take care of ourselves, I'm not willing to try the respawn system in this game."

"Dying to the first boss? That's disgraceful."

Odrim gripped the door handle, "Everyone ready?"

Reika drew her sword and gave a nod, Celly drew her rapier and took position and Kundan just keep spinning the throwing knife and he drew his dagger.

"Ready when you are."

Odrim opened the door leading to a large chamber, columns lined the sides of the room all the way up to the where the throne on the other side. On a throne in front of the stairs that lead to the second floor sat the Kobold Lord waiting with sword and shield in hand. Walking in to the chamber seemed to rouse the kobold as he stood up and roared at us, which spawned in the three kobold guards. A large green health bar appeared beside him along with his name, Illfang the Kobold Lord.

Shield up and hammer drawn Odrim started sprinting towards the boss Reika hot on his heels sword first. Any add that tried to stop the pair was hit by a throwing knife or stricken by a rapier. Shield glowing Odrim's starting move was Shield Bash as Reika stabbed her blade into Illfang. Odrim held the aggro keeping his shield up and wailed away on it when given the chance.

"Switch!" Reika yelled from behind, he spun around allowing her to mount the shield before spring boarding her at the enemy. As she made her attack on the other side, knives imbedded themselves in its torso and Celly attacked its shield arm.

"Tis a dangerous foe we face Arisen" Kundan said as he threw more knives.

"Quiet you… beside Reika is being more Arisen than I am." The sound of spawns echoed in from behind. "Adds are back, we got this."

The battle continued before Illfang roared and jumped back, his health bar in the red as he threw his weapons away.

"Everyone form up and be ready, heal if needed!" Odrim yelled as he looked at his health bar hovering in the yellow.

Illfang grinned as it drew a sword and pointed at Odrim before bringing a thumb across his neck.

"That's a nodachi superior attack power and reach, poor defence." Celly commented as they spread themselves out away from Odrim.

Odrim just banged his shield before charging at Illfang as it did the same. It had a lot of attack power but Odrim's shield was no joke absorbing most of the damage as the others chipped in to help.

"Switch!" Reika yelled again running pass Odrim as he back stepped out of range and quaffed a regen potion. He watched his health increase before charging back into the fray.

Dispelling the aggro Illfang turned to where Kundan was redrawing his dagger as he ran out of knives and struck at him.

"Shit!" Kundan said raising his dagger a vain hope to deflect some damage and closing his eyes for the hit.

"Absolute Defense!"

A few seconds went by before he opened his eyes seeing Odrim, his shield glowing purple and three times larger and a look of surprise on Illfang's face.

"Switch!" Odrim started charging and jumped on the Reika's revolving sword as she launched him at Illfang. "Helm Splitter!" he yelled as his hammer carved through Illfang's head and dropped on the other side the boss exploding into fragments. A banner dropped reading congratulations as Odrim got the last strike item.

'Very Good!' the hall echoed, Odrim turning to see Kundan throw a carving to the ground and say the same thing.

"Where'd you get that?"

"Deep in the Emerald forest there's a hut and the guy inside sells these carvings that infinitely spawn when sold."

"Take me there sometime that seems fun anyway the item is light armour did any of you want it?"

"Is it any good?"

Odrim shrugged and sent it to Kundan. Putting it on a black trench coat hung nearly to the floor as Kundan moved around a bit.

"Not my thing you can have it back."

"Alright I'll send it off to someone else to have" Odrim brought up Kirito and sent him the coat.

Celly and Reika opened the second floor doors and walked out Odrim and Kundan right behind. The four stood on a hill overlooking a large forest with a town sitting at the foot of the hill.

"Well that was rather easy if the bosses are like that, we should be out of here in no time."

"Unlikely" Reika said as she started walking down the hill.

"Boy she's just a ball of sunshine." Celly said following her down. The guys merely shrugged and followed, their health slowly regenerating as they headed off.

(*)

Lisbeth stood in the plaza where it all began standing near what Odrim called a level transporter. He said he'd come back for her which made her think he'd gotten up to the second floor. Asuna told her that there'd be a meeting to clear it but she was sure it was tomorrow. Still she stood nearby all equipped and waiting before a bell began to chime.

'Second floor is now unlocked'

There were few people around but those that were began calling out and running towards inns to tell players what had happened. Lisbeth on the other hand went straight on the transporter.

"Floor two" she said as the machine went into action teleporting her out of the plaza.

As the light faded and her vision straightened she saw the tops of trees overlooking the houses around her and four people sitting a few feet away from the teleporter. One she recognized as an unarmoured Odrim hunched over and smiling at her. Two out of the three had their faces hidden while the other man merely nodded his head at her.

"Told you I'd be back for you" Odrim said standing up. He didn't move very far as Lisbeth covered the distance and hugged him burying his head into his chest. "Hey easy easy I'm fine." He whispered patting Lisbeth's head as the other arm hugged her back. The sound of more people teleporting in as Odrim looked up to see mostly well-armed strangers and Kirito wearing the coat of midnight. Two snickering girls caused Lisbeth to turn around and let go of Odrim when she saw Asuna and Silica grinning at her.

"Well met strangers young and old to the second floor as I heard there was supposed to be a raid on the first boss, well that's no longer necessary as he is dead. Now most of you won't understand what's going to happen next but just bear with me."

The other three got up and un-equipped parts of their armour and lifted up clothing. Odrim has it the easiest as he just held up the back of his right hand. A blue pyramid was tattooed into the four on different points of the body. "We've won the first round Templars and Dragons." Reika said not caring as she showed off her stomach to the crowd in front of them.

A single clapping sound came from the crowd as a raven-haired woman stepped out, "Well done Lumies, so we are making this another battle ground then?"

"Not really' Kundan stated rolling his sleeve back down 'just a little competition if went killing each other in here then these kids would never leave this place." A statement showing a lot of confusion on most people's faces as she walked up to Odrim.

"You the leader of this merry little band?"

"According to him' he held out his hand 'Odrim Stonewall."

She took his hand, "Kazumi" taking the other hand and wrapping it around Odrim's head and kissed him hard, getting a small mutter of protest from Odrim, a gasp from the other three and a death glare from Lisbeth.

Ending the kiss, she winked at him and strutted down one of the paths in town.

"Oh I like her she's feisty" Kundan commented as he gripped the shoulder of a stunned Odrim.