Disclaimer: SAO does not belong to me. The only character belonging to me is Resha Midori / «Solace». The other characters are from my guildmates in Grand Chase PH.

A/N: Most of the things in this chapter are from the SAO Novel, but please read it, as it introduces one of the OCs. This is an OC(group) fanfic. So if you don't like those, you're free to leave.

Everything will change after chapter 2 is out. This fic will follow canon timeline. Although the canon characters will only make some appearances during events or times when the original characters are there.

Reviews are always appreciated.


Prologue

….

May 2022…. This date spurred the massive uproar due to the creation of one of the worlds' most awaited device- The «Nerve Gear», a device that completely immersed oneself into a virtual reality.

Hachiko Sora, an 16 year old teenage boy, couldn't contain his excitement at the way the virtual reality worlds work.

Nerve Gear had realized the future foundation for gaming with FullDive. However, due to the innovation of the actual machine, only unremarkable titles came forth for the all-important software. They were all puzzles, education related, or environmental type games; causing discontent among game addicts like Sora.

Nerve Gear can truly render a virtual reality.

However, a user could only walk 100 meters before hitting a wall in that world; it was really a huge letdown. It was almost unavoidable that hard core gamers like Sora, who had been deeply absorbed in the experience of being within the game, started anticipating a certain game genre.

Something changed this system, however.

«FullDive».

It was a total seclusion from reality, fitting of the word "full".

The reason for this is that the Nerve Gear not only sent fake signals to the five senses, it also blocked and rerouted the orders that the brain sent to the body.

This can be called the most basic requirement for moving freely in a virtual reality. If the body received the brain's signals when the user was in FullDive, the moment the user decided they wanted to «run» their actual body would run into a wall.

Because the Nerve Gear could reroute the commands the brain sent through the spinal cord, players could move their avatars around freely.

Gamers were waiting for a network response game, the kind that let millions of players log in and raise, fight with, and live as a character of their own—that is to say, an MMORPG.

When the anticipation and craving reached its limit, the first VRMMORPG was announced just in time, «Sword Art Online». The stage for the game is a floating castle consisting of 100 floors.

A huge castle made of stone and steel floating in an endless sky.

That was all this world was.

It took a varied group of craftsmen one month to survey the place; the diameter of the base floor was about 10 kilometers—large enough that the entirety of Setagaya-ku would fit on it. Above, there were 100 floors stacked directly on top of each other; its sheer size was unbelievable. It was impossible to even guess how much data it consisted of.

Inside, there were a couple of large cities, countless small towns and villages, forests, plains, and even lakes. Only one stairway linked each floor to another, and the stairways were in dungeons where large numbers of monsters roamed, so discovering and getting through was no easy matter. However, once someone broke through and arrived at a city in the higher floor, the «Teleport Gates» there and in every city in the lower floors would connect, making it possible for anyone to move freely through these levels.

The name of the floating castle was «Aincrad»; Otherwise known as...

«Sword Art Online»

The players lived on this world relying only on their sword and drive to discover the route to the upper floors, defeat countless monsters, and make their way endlessly to the top.

«Magic», considered an indispensable part of fantasy MMORPGs, had been boldly left out. An almost endless number of skills, called «Sword Skills», were created. It was part of a plan to let players actually feel the experience of fighting with their own bodies through FullDive as much as possible.

Skills were varied, including productive skills and everyday skills, allowing the player to not only adventure the huge game but also actually «live» in it. If they so wanted, and if their skill levels were high enough, they could buy a house and live as shepherds.

As the information was steadily revealed, the gamers' enthusiasm only grew.

The beta test only recruited a thousand testers. It's said that one hundred thousand people, the number of half the Nerve Gear sold at that time, volunteered to be a tester. Luck was the only reason that Hachiko Sora got through the narrow gap and was picked. Beta testers also received the additional benefit of being able to pre-order the game.

The two months of beta testing were like a dream. At school, Sora couldn't concentrate due to thinking endlessly of his skill set, equipment, and items. The beta test ended in the blink of an eye.

And now— November 6, 2022, Sunday.

«Sword Art Online», after all the preparations were finished, officially started its online service at 1 PM.

Of course, Sora had been waiting for 30 minutes and logged on without even a second's delay. When he checked the server, over ninety-five hundred people had already logged on. It seemed as if all of the people who had been lucky enough to get their hands on the game felt the same way Sora did. All the online shopping sites announced that the game was sold out seconds after it had gone on sale. The offline sales, which had started yesterday, had created lines of people who had queued up for four days, creating enough of a racket to get on the news. That meant that all the people who had been able to buy a copy of the game were almost all serious game addicts.

After logging onto SAO, Sora or he's in-game name, «Neko», walked along the nostalgic stone paved roads of the «Starting City» before he headed for the weapons shop. Looking through the list, «Neko» bought the basic «Pole Arm» from the shop. Looking at his right, «Neko» saw another player that bought a basic «Two-handed sword».

'He looks like he's been though this before. He maybe a beta tester like me...' he thought. "Hey, do you want to party with me? It would be faster to hunt if we do," asked «Neko».

The black-haired emo-looking player looked at «Neko» indifferently before saying in a cold voice, "I don't know you." He turned and said, "Don't talk to me." After that, he walked away.

«Neko» blinked at the player before shrugging, 'Oh well, not my fault he's anti social.' He looked around and smirked 'I wonder where I could get a flute... I never did get to buy one last time.'