A/N: Alright decided to stay up and write this chapter as I actually really wanted to write this. I have to say I may have made them a little over powered but I am pretty sure I have a plan to balance things. Also, this chapter is almost double the length of my previous chapter, so woohoo for me. Please tell me how I did for this chapter as I really want to find out how I did with this story arc. Enjoy.
"Well we have a decision to make. Do we see where the dagger will lead us or do we continue searching for the boss room?" I asked while still looking at the mysterious dagger.
"What do you mean follow the dagger?" Kirino still seemed to not have noticed the pattern to the glowing of the dagger. Kuroneko just continued to stare at the dagger with a semi interested look on her face.
"Kirino. The dagger only glows when it faces one of the corridors. Now, as I said before we can follow its guidance or just ignore it and continue searching for the boss room." Understanding slowly began to trickle into her eyes as I watched, which was quite amusing I must say. Her face instantly lit up with enthusiasm.
"Well of course we have to see where this takes us. I haven't heard of a quest like this before, therefore it would be a crime if we did not investigate. Besides do you think Argo would let us live if we told her about all this, just to say we decided to ignore it?" I had to admit seeing Argo after ignoring this would probably take years out of my lifespan.
"What about you Kuroneko? You think we should go as well?"
"Yes. I don't particularly want to spend our day aimlessly wandering for the boss room, let the others do it. We can go do the interesting quest." Her eyes betrayed her calm words. I could definitely see enthusiasm that rivaled Kirino's, burning within.
"Alright, well let's get going then." I said while motioning Kirino to lead us forwards. Kirino simply nodded her head and walked into position ahead of us. We continued on for quite a while constantly choosing the path that caused the dagger to glow. After about a solid hour of walking I began to notice something odd. "Hey, does it feel like the floor is slightly sloping down or am I just imagining things?"
"Hmm. You may be right." Kuroneko replied as I took a look at the corridor behind us to find that indeed the path was heading downwards. This is definitely going to lead somewhere interesting or at least I hope it does. After about another hour and half of walking another curious thing happened.
"Aniki, the floor and walls are changing." Kirino said with a nervous voice. As we walked on I began to notice what she meant. The walls were beginning to have engravings depicting some sort of ancient kingdom, and the stone floor changed from stone brick to smooth flattened stone. Up ahead I could see a light similar the glow of Kirino's dagger. After a couple of minutes we could see what was making the glow. Bluish white crystals were seemingly growing out of the walls and floor and were giving off the same glow the dagger was. As we continued staring at the glowing crystals, Kirino's dagger began to glow brighter until it completely lit up the corridor for us. Shielding our eyes from the dagger we walked forward.
At the end of the corridor there seemed to be a wall of light the same color as the dagger, but as we walked closer it seemed to only get brighter until we had to close our eyes to walk through it. I cracked my eyes open a smidgen only to throw them open at the sight before us. "Uh, Kirino, Kuroneko, you may want to look at this."
"What do you...Oh." Kirino and Kuroneko both fell silent as they saw the sight in front of them. A giant. No giant is too small. An astronomically sized crystal seemed to grow out of the center of this large circular cavern. The crystal was surrounded by glowing lake that had little creatures flitting around it. We stood there for about five minutes before I regained control of my body.
"Well, let's go check it out." They both simply nodded their heads before falling in behind me. The first thing I noticed as we finally descended down the long path that led to the floor of the cavern was that the small creatures were not in fact small, but large dragon like creatures with wings that looked to be made of the same crystal that was in the center of the cavern. Luckily for us the dragons seemed completely content to continue flying around the crystal. I couldn't see how all this was just below the dungeon and no one had found it, or if they did no one else knew about it..
"Aniki. The dagger is acting weird." Kirino said while holding the dagger away from her.
"What do you mean?" I said turning around only to be surprised by the dagger no longer glowing. Instead it was constantly pulsing sending rings of light away from it. "Um. Kirino can you check to see if the sword has any special stats? I never did check." Truthfully a glowing dagger may cause one to forget that kind of thing.
"Sure...Um aniki I think the stats are broken." Kirino bit her lip showing me the stats. My mouth fell open as the stats became visible. "Shard of the Origin Crystal" Range: Short. Type: Slash. Attack: 2500. Durability: 5000. Weight: 10. Requires: N/A. Bonus damage: 5000 plus half the remaining health points of any beings of the crystal.
"Yeah they must be broken, there is absolutely no way we could have received that as a drop in the first floor dungeon." Before I could try and make any more sense of the situation a loud roar ripped through the cavern causing ripples to form on the surface of the lake. I turned around only to see a gigantic dragon, similar to the ones flying around except that his wings, claws, and teeth all seemed to made of the crystal, land right in front of us knocking us off our feet and sending dust everywhere.
As we got back on to our feet the dust cleared and we could see the dragons name. It was simply named "Guardian of the Origin Crystal". Then his health bars appeared, I can honestly say I have never been as surprised as I had during that time, twenty health bars quickly stacked themselves. Three is tough enough, five is practically impossible, but twenty that's just suicide for just the three of us.
We really didn't get much of a choice in the way of running away, because as soon as the dragon appeared all the other dragons landed and formed a ring around us preventing our escape. Just as the dragon began his attack something clicked. He must be one of the beings of the crystal, if that is the case then Kirino should be able to do massive damage to him. As I dodged one of his claws and sank my sword into his arm I yelled to Kirino "You are going to have to do almost all the attacking, that is what the bonus damage is for." Her eyes widened for a moment, then went back to normal as she nodded her head and sprinted towards the dragon.
Honestly this fight was terrifying, the dragon was so beyond our level that dodging was really the only way to avoid dying instantly. The worst thing about it was that the wind that was caused from the giant claws swinging past us still caused damage if we were caught in it. Looking at the health bars I realized if we didn't have Kirino hit him soon we were going to die simply from the wind. The damage that Kuroneko and I had caused did not cause a visible change in the dragons health and Kirino was having trouble landing a hit as the dragon seemed to sense the danger she posed. Seeing this I yelled for Kuroneko to help me block one of his claws so Kirino could actually hit him. Just as Kuroneko made it over to me our chance came, he was bringing his claw down towards which would have caused her to jump back had we not both jumped in front of it bringing both our swords up to block the claw that was bigger than the both of us.
"Go Kirino. We can't last more than a couple of seconds" That was the truth, our relatively high health compared to other players was almost three fourths of the way gone and mine was already dipping into the red. Luckily Kirino finally got into range of the dragons body and she began to launch a torrent of fast hitting sword skills on to the dragon causing him to instantly lift his claw from us. Looking at his health bars I could see that they couldn't drain fast enough to keep up with the sheer amount of damage that Kirino was dealing. Finally the bars drained to zero, and the dragon seemed to freeze before shattering into the familiar shards except the shards glowed as they fell to the ground and disappeared. As the shards fell around Kirino the shards caused her to appear to be glowing.
I have to say it caused her already beautiful appearance to only increase to that of what could only be an angel. Even Kuroneko was staring at her with a slightly awestruck face. As I continued to stare at her my attention was torn away by a new figure approaching us. It appeared to be a woman wearing some sort of cloak and a hood that completely hid her face from view. The dragons encircling us seemed to have completed their task and flew off. When we walked over to rejoin Kirino the glowing had stopped and she had returned to her normal appearance, which was still incredibly beautiful.
"The carriers of the key please follow me." The mysterious woman commanded. We really weren't in any position to refuse as both Kuroneko's and my health were still in the orange as we had taken some health potions earlier and were still waiting for our health to return to full. Kirino had somehow taken almost no damage so her health was already back to full.
The woman came to a stop at the shore of the lake, but just as I was going to say something she raised her hand and the light from the lake seemed to solidify and form a bridge for us to walk across. "Wait, I am sure this game has no magic except for the crystals." I questioned.
"And where do you think we are?" She replied back.
"Ah. Right." It took us about ten minutes to walk all the way across the bridge. At the end of the bridge we were completely surprised at what was there. A giant metal gate that blocked off what seemed to be a corridor leading into the giant crystal itself. To the right of the gate there was a small crack in the wall.
"Now. Keeper of the key please insert the key into the crystal." She said turning to Kirino.
"Eh! You mean this thing is a key not a dagger?" Kirino said exasperatedly.
"Yes. That is why it wanted to come back to what it was meant to open." As we looked at the dagger, I mean key, it was pulsing almost crazily. Kirino looked back at us seemingly wanting our go ahead. I nodded for her to go on as did Kuroneko. Satisfied she walked up to the crack and plunged the dagger inside. Instantly a bright flash appeared momentarily blinding us all. "Now the gate has been opened. Go and claim your reward, but I warn you this will change your life forever." She said in what could only be described as an ominous voice.
Right as we were about to cross the threshold into the crystal she halted us. "Keeper, as a reward for bringing the key back accept this small token." She then handed a red sphere that looked like a giant ruby over to Kirino. Kirino gently took it from her hands, as she did so a flame like light appeared in the center of the sphere. Examining the crystal only brought up a name "Crystal of the Joka".
The woman then seemed to just vanish into thin air. "Okay. So do we go in?" I asked as we had no idea what awaited us, and the warning kind of worried me. I don't generally like things that change my life forever, I mean SAO kind of did that for me already.
"Of course we go in. You think we would come this far just to leave? Idiot" As I winced from the harsh words, I then winced from the kick to my back that sent me past the gate into the crystal corridor. As I got up holding my back, I quickly turned around at the sounds of alarm I heard from both Kirino and Kuroneko. The sight I saw definitely caused me a, how to put this politely, shitload of worry. The gate that had been raised up had silently fell right back down when I had been kicked across the threshold.
I quickly ran up to the gate only to want to jump back. Both Kirino and Kuroneko were crying. This is bad, very bad. "Aniki, I am so sorry. I didn't mean for this to happen." She barely got out before breaking down into a crying mess.
Trying to salvage the situation I tried to placate them until I finally just said "I will go get the reward and come back. The gate will most certainly open when I come back." I turned to begin walking when Kuroneko spoke.
"You have to come back nii-san. You are all we have, remember that." Well damn, since when did they both start thinking that way.
"Don't worry about it. I will back before you know it." I said flashing a grin. That seemed to placate them as they didn't say anything as I turned back and started walking down the corridor. When I looked back they had sat against the gate leaning on each other for support.
The corridor was perfectly lit. Then again, this was cut out of the giant crystal so it is kind of a given that it is lit as it is glowing. As I seemed to draw closer to the end of the corridor, the air seemed to hum with a mysterious power. The power did nothing to make me turn back though, I simply pushed on until I finally reached a large circular room in which the air was practically visible with power.
The first thing I noticed was the large raised dais with what looked like an old throne against the far wall. The second thing I noticed was the sword that pierced the center of the room. There were what looked like light blue veins that spread away from the sword making it look like the sword was absorbing some sort of power. This must have been the reward that the woman talked about, although I don't see how something as simple as a sword could change my life. Then again maybe she only said it to give the quest some impact. Assuring myself of this I walked over to the sword and grabbed the hilt.
Oh dear god the pain was immeasurable. I could do nothing but drop to my knees as my hands would not loosen their grip of the hilt. After what seemed like an eternity the pain finally subsided, as I went to get to my feet the sword slid out of the ground as easy as if somebody had gently placed it there. I gripped it in one hand to examine it. The swords pommel seemed to be a large chunk of the giant crystal, the rest of the blade seemed to made of a golden metal. The blade had vein like blue lines that spread out from the center of the hilt. In plain terms the sword looked amazing. Majestic even.
When I turned my head to examine the dais I noticed something that definitely was not there before. A small podium had seemingly grown out of the floor. My eyes finally rested on what resided on the podium only for them to widen. There was a crown, a crown made of the very same metal the sword was. Decorated with large pieces of crystal it glowed even brighter than the rest of the room did. I felt compelled to walk over to it, but as I stopped in front of the crown I knew it was not nearly enough to just look at it. My hands shakily grasped the crown and brought it up to eye level. This must be what the woman meant, as I gently placed the crown upon my head I collapsed to my knees once again as the same incredible pain shot throughout my body.
As I went to get back to my feet, I felt something strange. My body felt as though it was brand new. No pain, no fatigue, nothing except for what could almost be called bliss. I sighed in relief, at least nothing life threatening had happened.
"Congratulations you have passed the trial which none have ever passed before. This allows you to obtain the most coveted title of all." A loud voice boomed throughout the room.
"What title would that be?" I asked warily.
"Why, The title of king. The King of Aincrad."
"That's not possible. How could a title of such importance be obtained on the first floor."
"It is not a matter of when the trial is passed, only the one with the required mental fortitude could pass the trial of "The Chooser of Kings". Therefore you are now the King of Aincrad. You will learn more as the time comes for you to know. Farewell" With that the voice faded away leaving me completely dumbfounded. I mean King of Aincrad, who does he think he is kidding. I might as well take a look at the sword.
"Holy!" I exclaimed as I opened the stats for the sword. "The Chooser of Kings" Range: Short. Type: Slash. Attack: 50x Player level. Durability: 100x Player level. Weight: 100. Requires: Must pass the trial of "The Chooser of Kings" Bonus Effect: Form change depending on stance. Sword skills are unavailable while equipped.
"How?" I wondered aloud. I mean this has to be completely unbalanced. I am level sixteen so this sword already does 800 damage and has a durability of 1600. "Now what the heck is a form change?" I said as I gripped the sword with both hands to see what it felt like as a two handed sword only to have it suddenly grow about a foot longer causing me to drop it in surprise. Okay so it's not just unbalanced but completely game breaking. I don't even want to know what the crown does.
"Okay that is a complete lie." I said to myself as I opened the stats for the crown. "Crown of Aincrad" Effects: Prevents one hit kills as well as poison and stunned status effects. Also provides 50x Player level heath regeneration every ten seconds. Does not stack with battle healing skill.
"Seriously all this and we haven't even cleared the first boss?" I grumbled to myself as I began to head back down the corridor. On my way down the corridor I opened my stats window to see if the so called title was in there and wouldn't you know it the stupid voice was completely serious. At the very top of my stats menu it had my title clearly displayed as well as a little plus sign next to it. When I tapped it, it brought up an info screen that basically told me I get to unbalance the game again if I want to. "As king you may choose a particular floor and have a castle built that comes supplied with a forge, a master bed, ten guest bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a ball room, and a dancing hall."
"Alright that may not be so bad. A place to stay sounds pretty good actually." I said nodding to myself. "Actually this might not be so bad. I mean this means we can clear the game faster. Doesn't it?" I bet I look really weird about now. Talking to ones self is not generally considered normal.
Looking ahead I could finally see the gate. Kirino and Kuroneko had apparently fallen asleep while I was gone, and they had snuggled up to each other with Kuroneko curled into a little ball and Kirino had curled around her protectively. Oh god, they are so cute.
"You guys miss me?" I asked rather loudly as the gate rose up when I stopped in front of it. Kirino and Kuroneko both slowly got up wiping their eyes. I just smiled and waited for them to realize that I had come back completely safe just like I said I would.
Kirino stared at me for a while before asking the worst possible things I could think of. "Who are you?" I simply stared at them for a minute. How in the hell do they not recognize me?
"It's me Kirino. You know your brother." Her eyes widened for a minute and her voice came out at almost a whisper.
"Oni-chan? Is that you?"
"Of course. I wouldn't think a sword and a cool crown would make me look so different."
"That is not all that changed." Kuroneko said while pointing to my head.
"Here." Kirino handed me one of the mirrors that they always kept.
"What in the hell? First a sword, then a crown, now they go and change my hair?" I said exasperatedly. Of course just as I thought nothing else could change, chunks of crystal began to break off the wall and floor and began to orbit me. "I give up." The chunks of crystal then began to glow much brighter until we could not see anymore. When I could finally see, I just sighed. The crystal had formed a strange crystalline armor around me. Granted it looked freaking awesome, but after all this I just wanted to go back home. I don't mean back to the inn either. I lived a normal life, ah normal, normal is definitely the best. This is a good time to be jealous of Minami I suppose.
Of course I completely forgot about the two girls standing in front of me, mouths agape. "I can explain when we get back to the inn." They simply nodded and we were about to step onto the bridge when it disappeared and a teleport gate took its place. "Whatever nothing will surprise me now." Although I said that I was surprised that as soon as we stepped on the gate we were teleported straight to the entrance of the dungeon, much to the surprise of the parties that were leaving the dungeon. "Okay I suppose I take that back." Of course the obvious happened, everyone instantly stared at the guy in the really cool looking armor, wearing a crown with long flowing silver hair flecked with crystalline fragments, and a really cool looking golden sword.
Waving off all the questions and comments I forced the crowd to make a path for us to get out. As we left the gossiping crowd behind Kirino finally asked. "So, what happened."
"The short version is I grabbed a sword, went through excruciating pain, passed some sort of trial, put on a crown, went through more pain, became a king, got a new hairstyle, and apparently received some really cool looking armor."
"Oh." We walked on in silence until we reached our inn. There I could finally regain some normalcy. We all flopped down into our normal booth, and waited for the NPC to come take our order. Of course my normalcy only could last for so long.
"Good evening, my lord what can I get for you and your party. You don't have to worry everything is on the house. It is not every day we receive visits from royalty." I just slammed my face onto the table and groaned. I let the girls order for us, and we finished our bread and soup. We then trudged up the stairs to our great single room. When I went to unequip my armor I frowned. I could now only "Hide" my armor, the armor still disappeared but it was still technically equipped which meant I could no longer get any different armor.
As we all crawled into bed I sent a message to Argo. "I have one hell of a story you aren't going to believe." I didn't even bother to check the reply as I gave into oblivion.