Crossing Point~

"Then it concludes the official Sword Art Online tutorial, good luck to all of you, players." With those words, the hooded figure disappeared from the sky and the surrounding scenery is no longer tinted by bloody red color.

Few seconds later, several screams can be heard. We all got panicked and don't know what to do. The chaotic town square that filled by about 10,000 players, no if what Kayaba Akihiko said about the death of 600 players was right, then in this square there should be around 9,400 players remained.

Over nine thousands people screaming, yelling, cursing, and crying. The town square wasn't comfortable for us to think about our situation now and it got worsened by Alice's condition. Shura was trembling as well but Alice looked like she would collapse any time. So both of us took her to the nearby inn and rented a room for her.

Once we got there, we laid her body to the bed and sat on the floor. There was no chair inside the room that rented for 100 col per night. Silence surrounded the room for several minutes. We still confused and can't believed that such thing happened. Our souls, trapped inside this game which can't be called as a normal game anymore. Once our virtual health reached zero, the nerve gear will fry our brain and kill us. Same thing would occur if someone forcefully tried to disconnect us from service or remove the nerve gear from our body. I think about our situation and can't say anything to my nephew who sat right in front of me, which is beside the bed.

"Jii-san." Surprisingly, the swordsman, who now having his real life appearance talked first. His thin body that only as tall as my shoulder trembled a bit. His wavy black short hair and his dimple that would appear if he smiled showed how he is just a high school student that loves game. He's not that handsome, yet it seems that he is quite popular at his school despite the fact he is a hardcore gamer. His appearance now looks exactly the same with his appearance when I saw him a week ago. Although of course it's kind of polygonal.

"Do you think we can still go back?" Even though I didn't say anything in response, he continued. I understood what he implied, in this game called Sword Art Online, we were imprisoned by the hi-tech game machine which cut off our senses from real world, Nerve Gear. Should our virtual health reached zero, we are going to lose our real life as well. Shura also said that SAO has high difficulty compared to usual MMO, so to clear the whole 100 floors as presquite to clear the game, is most likely impossible.

Moreover, in order to clear a floor by the safest possible way, they need to be at least 10 levels above the floor level. So if one is about to join the raid group to clear this floor, they need to be at least lvl 10. I, Shura, and Alice were level 2 as result of our hunting before system announcement. We also have someone with knowledge of this game as a beta tester. However, even he was not confident, how could a mere newbie like me can be sure?

Yet…

"Of course! No matter how long it is, we will get out from here!"

I can't be pessimistic in front of my nephew who was looking for support. I sense a change in his eyes when I said that to encourage him. Those eyes no longer show trace of despair.

"It would be troublesome if we don't get out quickly though." He smiled.

"Well, it's not like we have lover that wait for us at the other side" I teased him to cheer up the atmosphere.

"Shiba-san is waiting for your new manuscript."

"Uh… don't remind me to him" It seriously reminded me to the point where he was looked like demon starving for my manuscript when I accidentally forgot the deadline.

"Besides, I have a girlfriend that will wait for me." He continued

"Ah I se- WHAT?"

I knew that he is popular but I didn't know that a girl will actually going out with him.

"Well it's been 2 months since we started to going out."

"This boy!" I strangled my nephew due to jealously and admiration. A strange feeling seemed to be overflowing inside my heart. I feel that if we're together, clearing this game is not impossible anymore.

"Hey, Jii-san it hurt!" He smiled and said something that impossible as in this game we won't feel any pain no matter how strong we got hit. I guess he just wanted to express his feeling.

I released my nephew and then talk with serious intonation.

"Then what's the plan Akio?"

"Jii-san, call me Shura."

"If nobody around let me call you and Kana by your real name, if I don't do that, I might forget my own name."

I must be looked depressed when I said that as Akio looked at me with worried stare.

"Don't worry I'm fine." I patted my nephew's head as I said that.

"Okay, then let's discuss about the plan Jii-san."

I nodded as signal for him to continue.

"Since you are familiar with MMORPG, you can tell that in order to survive in this world is to gain level and money or in this game, col."

I nodded again.

"It's been nearly an hour since the system announcement, so I guess people who planned to clear this game and the one who don't want to be left behind are forming parties to start hunting the mobs. Beginner area is going to be cramped."

I recalled the memories of the old day whenever a game just opened their service or when it opened a new server. There would be a massive amount of players at the starting points. Some of them either driven by irritation or just a real asshole, started to steal the kills from another person. Some game has fixed experience points rate which make the last hitter of the mobs will gain all the exp. However the developer newer games realized this problem and remake the system into percentage ration of exp gain equals to your attack to that mob.

For example, a monster would give you 400 exp points if you take out its 100% HP, then someone steal the finishing blow which is about 5% of the monster remaining HP. The one who deal the finishing blow will only get 5% of the experience or 20 points while the one who fought from the beginning will get the 95% of the experience which is 380 points. This is the system which SAO adapt.

However problems still occur. As the highest damage inflictor would be given the maximum amount of items drop and experience, some people going to wait for someone to attract the attention of the mob and then unleash a high damage sword skill that would usually do 1 hit at the low level mobs. They can level up without any risk to get killed by accident. After that they would usually run away.

"But I'm sure 90% of the players who decided to fight would form a party rather than solo hunting and kill steal the people around." Akio seemed to understand what I was thinking that time.

"Still they would form party of 5 or 6, to hunt the level 1 mobs because of safety reasons. Even though they all know with party of 2 or 3 or even solo it, you would level up faster."

"I get what you mean, so we need to find a good hunting spot that has few players around right?"

He nodded, his expression became stern when he continue.

"I know some, but if we want to go there we need to be at least level 3 for safety reason. Jii-san, do you confident with dagger or should we find other weapon that fits you?" he asked me with serious expression. It seemed that he don't want to think this as a game anymore.

"It's alright, I feel safer using this rather than big weapons." I smiled confidently to calm him.

"I see, the let's prepare ourselves we are going to leave starting city and heads to the hunting ground." He operated his menu and equipped his one-handed sword.

I nodded and silently turned my gaze to the little girl who was laid on the bed while I operated my menu to equip my dagger as well. Akio seemed to understand my feeling as he stood up and stroke the hair of his little sister.

"Let's make her a manufacturer, maybe smithing is not possible but sewing, leather working, and cooking should be no problem."

"Yeah, let me become the blacksmith instead." I continued in agreement, smile formed on Akio's face.

"See you later Kana."

We bade farewell to the sleeping cutie and head toward the exit of the room.

~To be continued~

Author note: Uwaaaah I don't realized that we may put author note at our story (I won't be banned because of this right?)

Anyway maybe this is really late but thanks for read my story and you might wanted me to be clear about few things from the first chapter. Okay here I go:

1) Jii-san/Jii-chan is short form of Ojii-san/Ojii-chan, Japanese equivalent of Uncle or older male above 20 years old. Not to be confused with another Jii-san/Jii-chan that has the meaning of Grandpa. Derp Japanese surely complicated.

2) If you still don't realized yet, the first avatar of Strela before system announcement is FSN Archer and the first avatar of Shura is Masaomi Kido. Okay maybe you guys think his eyes isn't green but it's green for me!

3) Alice real life appearance is simple, flat chested Taneshima Popura from Working and with shorter hair too.

4) Some people might be asking "Wasn't one-handed sword is the initial equipment?"
Well I'm not sure how to answer this, but remember how Klein get one-handed curved sword instead of one-handed sword? I think we can either buy it cheaply or pick initial weapon from the character creation screen.

5) Ando said that he is not that famous but he IS famous to the level that hardcore mystery maniac know about his name and his appearance.

6) "Strela" is a Serbian for "Arrow". No I'm not Serb.

Okay maybe that's all, I hope it clarify many thing. If you have another thing that wanted to be clarified feel free to ask via PM or review or something similar. So see you later at the next chapter.