Hello everyone! I'm trying my hand at a Sword Art Online fanfiction. I got some inspiration from another writer to try a fanfiction with the Kirito/Sachi pairing. Instead of making a one shot, or a fast intense sort of fanfiction, I am planning on making having an alternate story line. I introduce you to my newest work.

-Floor One Hundred and Beyond-

By: Kirisaki Kyouko


Chapter 1: The Lamb in the Lions' Den

It all started twenty-two years ago with the new full-dive technology that would change mine, my wife's, and ten thousand other lives forever. After playing in the beta test for a few months, the full game released as a huge hit. The ten thousand copies sold out almost immediately, though the one thousand beta testers like me were guaranteed a copy. The game that would define our lives, the death trap that a crazy inventor came up with was called Sword Art Online.

November 6, 2022 [Floor 1, Town of Beginnings]

A forced teleport brought every player back to the Town of Beginnings. Mass confusing spread through the crowd. Whispers became shouts, and shouts became screams. The smell of fear hung potent in the morning air. Only a few hours had passed since the servers for Sword Art Online turned on, and all of this was happening. In all of my time as a VRMMORPG/MMO player, something of this magnitude had never happened before.

Someone shouted to look up. By instinct, I followed his advice and looked to the sky. A single red polygon was hanging in the sky of Aincrad, the floating castle that the game existed in. Soon, the polygon started to spread until the entire sky was filled in a blood red color. Something that looked like blood actually started to ooze out from between the polygons. The red gloop congealed together, eventually coming together in the shape of an enormous person. There was no face in the hood, yet it still spoke out to us.

Someone bumped into me as I took a step back. The large man's message was one that drove shock into the entire crowd. This was a life or death game. To die here was to die in the real world as well. Everyone was screaming. The den in the Town of Beginnings was almost too much to endure. My ears rang in response. After what seemed like an eternity, I noticed that someone was clinging onto my arm. A girl about as tall as me with dark blue hair clung to me as if her life depended on it. Fear dilated her eyes to absurd proportions. Her legs shook violently beneath her skirt. Suddenly, she dropped to the floor. She raised her palms to either side of her head and screamed.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHh! Let me out of here! I don't…" she trailed off. Tears streamed from her eyes. "I don't want to die…" she whispered. "Someone save me," she mouthed. I could no longer hear her, but I could understand what she meant. She sat there on the hard tiles of the plaza. Just watching her stare a life and death ultimatum in the face was enough to bring tears to my own eyes. I tried to shrug off the feeling before extending a hand to her. She looked at me like a deer looking into the headlights of an oncoming car. It took a few seconds before she reached for my hand. The moment she was on her feet again, she looked like she would faint again.

It was then that the red game master announced that we all had an item in our inventories that was a "gift" from him. Everyone in turn opened their inventories and extracted the item. It was just a mirror. After a moment or so, the mirror split up into infinite polygons and scattered. All around me, flashes of light could be seen around each of the players. When the light disappeared, the avatars that each person had built when the game started were gone. What replaced them was somewhat of a shock. There were some guys dressed in female clothing, some people had gotten shorter, while other's had a completely different color complexion. The game master chimed in one more time. He explained that to make sure no one had an unfair advantage in the game, he reverted everyone to their original look in the real world. It was a sight to behold. The tension in the atmosphere was almost suffocating. There were some guys that looked absolutely disgusted, while the ones that were wearing female clothes were turning red. I looked beside me to the person that was a girl. Her face had become younger and more innocent. She was shorter, but she was definitely still a girl. It hit me then that I must have reverted to how I looked in the real world as well, but now was not the time to be thinking about it. I made my way to the force field boundary at the edge of the plaza, waiting for the announcement to end. I was determined to beat this game, so I needed to get started as soon as possible.

There was a tug at my shirt. I turned around to see the small girl clutching one hand close to her heart.

"I just wanted to thank you for helping me back there. I didn't meet anyone before we were brought here. It was so scary not having anyone to talk to…" She paused for a moment, looking thoughtfully at the ground. I thought this was kind of funny, since most people I knew looked thoughtful when they looked towards the sky and beyond. Or maybe it was just me. "I completely forgot to introduce myself. I'm Sachi. Nice to meet you." She gave a funny little bow.

I'm not really used to giving many introductions. I returned with a stiff looking bow of my own. "I'm Kirito." I gave her an awkward looking smile. "Well it seems that the game master is done talking. I'll be on my way now then. It was nice to meet you Sachi." I turned to leave once more when someone caught my hand. I looked back to see Sachi holding on.

"P-please take me with you. I have some of my friends from school playing with me as well, but they're scared right now. They want us to just stay in the Town of Beginnings until the game is cleared. I don't want to stay here." Her face gave away something. Her hesitation. The way she wouldn't look me in the eye while she was talking. It was all a farce. "I want to overcome my fear of this game." Her eyes fired up. The light reflecting off of them made them sparkle. "Take me with you!" she repeated.

"Is… is it really just you, Sachi?" I said. I didn't really know what to do. Her request was from her heart. Everyone has their own demons to defeat, and maybe this was hers. "I do not want to be responsible for anyone's death if I can't protect them."

I didn't really know what I was saying anymore. I didn't know what to do. I was a beta tester. I knew how to move along to the first dungeon. I knew the best way to level up and which quests were good. This girl, Sachi, would probably hinder me a little bit. I can't say she wouldn't be a good partner to keep while going through this game, but the burden on me if something happened to her, especially because she's a girl.

"Yes. It's just me. I'm scared beyond belief, but if I just stay here and do nothing, I think I might go insane. Please, Kirito." A single tear rolled down her cheek.

I conceded. I opened my menu and issued a party invite to her. A small ringing of a bell probably occurred on her side as well because she looked up in shock when she received the invite. It took her a moment to hit the accept button because of how much her hands were shaking. As she accepted the invite, a second status bar appeared in the top left of my vision representing Sachi. It showed her in game name as well as a bar for her hit points. To my relief, though a bit obvious, her HP was still green. After a second check to my supplies and status, I set off at a brisk pace to the edge of the town which would lead me to the next one I planned to visit. My destination would be a place people that were not beta testers wouldn't find for a while. It would be a good spot to train and get an early advantage. If I wanted to clear the game, we would need to have only the strongest players, and I planned to be in that group.

I heard the soft clacking of Sachi's footsteps behind me. As we left the city behind us, I moved even quicker. I couldn't tell if Sachi was having trouble keeping up with me or not, but I needed to get to the next town as soon as possible. It would take a while for me to complete the quest there that I wanted, so it was best to get started.

The path to the town wasn't very eventful. Sachi asked me to teach her to fight a little bit, so I demonstrated for the same thing I did for Klein. I pulled out my sword and concentrated so that the sword skill would activate. Then I lunged towards the boar in our path. The sword cut out a light blue path in the air as I soared towards the doomed creature and cut it in half. She applauded when the boar burst into a thousand polygons after a cute death animation. She tried out her sword skill on the next boar we found. As I showed her she lifted her arm into position as to tell the game system she intended to use a sword skill. The mace she had equipped glowed bright orange, turning her hair for a dark blue into more of a purple. She dashed forward and impaled the boar through its snout. The boar flew back several meters before hitting the ground and shattering into the polygons and disappearing. For a while we trained on the boars until Sachi had mastered the basics of calling forth her sword skill. Neither of us had reached level two, and we needed to get moving before someone else beat us to the first quest.

It was a bit past mid-day when we finally reached the village. Using the money we'd made from killing monsters earlier, we purchased as many restoration items as possible. This shop didn't sell a teleportation crystal, though we probably wouldn't have enough to buy one anyone. But in case of an emergency it would have been nice to have one.

After purchasing our supplies, Sachi and I headed over to the house of this female NPC who would give us a quest. It was more for me than for her because I needed to get a stronger sword than the one that was given out as a beginner item. As I waited and went through the motions to start the quest, Sachi followed through the motions with me. I didn't protest, thinking this would be a good experience for her even if she wouldn't get anything particularly good out of it.

To complete this quest, we had to get a rare drop from a monster outside. The drop rate was about one in one hundred. To cheer us up over this fact, Sachi and I just started to train on the flowers. Being a beta player, I knew all of the attacking patterns of the flowers, but Sachi was struggling. I shouted out behind trying to explain to her how to avoid everything. Something had changed in Sachi in the few hours since I'd known her. When we first met she was frightened beyond all reason. Her motor skills were compromised, and she had trouble breathing. Now as I watched her fight, she had a new found determination. She took everything I said to heart and charged straight at the flower monsters. Her dodges were stunning, almost as if she'd played VRMMO's all of her life.

Two hours after we started slaying the flower monsters, we both hit level two. Having played the beta, I knew both the ups and downs of the two new skills available to me. One was the hiding skill which would hide me from sight from people and monsters that did not have a high scouting skill. The other skill was the scouting skill. The higher this skill got, the further out one could detect approaching enemies, eventually being able to find players that were using the hiding skill. I decided on taking the detection skill. This game was for real. This was for life and death. The key to staying alive was identifying what wanted to kill you before it could find you.

Because it's considered rude to look at other people's stats, I refrained from looking at what Sachi chose for her level up skill. Her face was crinkled up, thinking hard on what to put her new skill points into. It took about five minutes before she finally made a choice. She seemed to be happy about it, turned to me, and gave me a "v" sign with her fingers. She raised her mace and charged in once more.

The internal clock on my menu said that it was 20:40. Light was long gone at this point, but we had still yet to find a flower. Sachi and I had leveled up to level 3 already. Killing the flower monsters became something like a chore, but this was the life as an RPG player. Grind, grind, and grind some more until you're satisfied. All of the sudden I hear a gasp from Sachi. In her hands was one of the flowers that we needed to complete the quest. A smile was spread across her face as she presented it to me. Almost by habit I raised my hand to take it but stopped myself. This was her quest item. Sure she could give it away, but I could find my own. I shook my head.

"Sachi, you found it. You should turn it in to complete the quest. I can find my own." I grimaced as I finished talking looking at my feet. It would be so easy for me to just take the flower she had gotten and finish my own quest. I didn't even plan on playing with other people in Sword Art Online. I was, and still am, a solo player. As I looked up I noticed Sachi had brought out her menu and reading a pm from someone.

"Kirito…" she mumbled to herself. "Kirito." She said again."

"Hm? What?" I replied, finally realizing that she was talking to me.

"I… I really can't thank you enough for showing me the basics of this world, but my friends have decided that they're going to go out and play the game to its fullest and want me to play with them. I think it's best if we part ways here." She held out the blue flower to me once more. "I really want you to have this. Take it as a token of our friendship." Once more she gave me one of her sincere smiles. I reached out to take the flower from her. In a very cheeky fashion she pulled it back. "On one condition. You have to add me to your friends list, okay?"

"Haha!" I laughed. I couldn't help it. "Okay, okay." I opened my menu and sent the friend invitation to Sachi. After I confirmed that she had accepted it, I closed the menu and reached for the flower. This time she gave it to me without trouble. "I suppose I'll see you later then, Sachi. Try not to get lost on your way back to the Town of Beginnings. If you die, I'll never forgive you."

She pouted, exaggerating every movement. "Hmph! You just watch Mr. Beta Tester. Someday I'll pass even you!" And with that she turned towards the Town of Beginnings.

"You knew I was a beta tester?" I asked. I wasn't sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing for my relationship with her. Some people looked up to the beta testers as people with good knowledge about the game like Klein. He noticed immediately that I knew what I was doing and followed me so that he could get some pointers. I taught him to fight intelligently. There were also some people that did not put their faith in the beta testers. Everyone knows that an MMORPG player plays for his or herself. That means to take the best training spots for themselves and milk it for all its worth, be it experience, gold, or items. Sachi didn't really seem like the kind of person that would play a lot of MMORPG games, but her quick adjustment to the situation made me rethink.

"I knew there were one thousand people that were allowed in to test the game before it went live known as the beta testers. The way you seem to know your way around the place, I could kind of tell that you were something else." She looked up at the starry sky with a long face. She turned to me and smiled again. "Don't worry. I trust you and your intentions. I'm really grateful that you were willing to share some of your time with me. Remember me every time you swing that quest reward sword. I'll see you later, Kirito-kun."

"Yeah, I guess I'll see you around," I replied. I hope. I thought to myself.

As she disappeared over the horizon, I returned to the small village where I'd started the quest. I gave the woman the flower which she mixed into her stew. She kindly thanked me for all of the hard work I'd done and gave me a few items, one of which was the one handed sword I was looking for. I quickly went through my menu and equipped it, substituting it for the newbie sword I was issued at the start. The time now read 21:05. It wasn't so late that I couldn't see anything, so I went back into the fields to fight the flowers again. They were becoming too easy, but to grind is the life of an MMORPG player. I relished in it.

The night drew on and on as I cut down monster after monster. More people had shown up, and the place was becoming crowded. No one noticed anything special about me. Not many people knew that the sword I wielded was the reward from the quest many of them were doing. As the POP started to decline, I decided that it was time to move on. I knew of one more city close by that I would be able to train around for a bit.

It was 22:56 when I arrived at the designated training area. The monsters here were level five but not particularly difficult. I was about a quarter of a level away from level four, so I rushed in. The Mega Mantis level 5 was a monster I had trained on back in the beta. They were about two meters tall with two long forearms able of extending to just about one meter. Their attack patterns involved using a quick combo of the right arm, left arm, them both together to attack. To compensate for the lack of variety in attacks, the Mega Mantis had a relatively high attack power, able to shave off almost one quarter of my hit points with a direct hit.

I killed almost fifty of the Mega Mantis before realizing I was too tired to continue. My supplies were running out at a frighteningly fast rate. As I grew more tired, I got hit more and more often. I headed into the village to find an inn to stay the night. After I paid the dues at the desk, I headed up to my room, went inside, and closed the door. I checked the clock once more before going to bed. It read 02:39. Exhausted I collapsed onto my bed. I set an alarm for 08:00 before falling into a restless sleep.

December 22, 2022 [Floor 1, Town of Beginnings]

Today was the first meeting since the start of the death game to find a strategy to defeat the first floor boss. It has been a month and we have yet to clear the first floor. On my own I have been grinding day in and day out to try to gain levels and money. I have reached level ten on my own, though I have no idea what level the others around me are. Your level is your life line in this world. Every night I stayed up later and later to take the best training spots while everyone else went to sleep. This was the moment many of us have been waiting for for the longest time.

I looked around at the crowd. There were quite a few people there of all shapes and sizes. Honestly, I thought that not many people would come to the meeting to defeat the boss for being afraid of dying. I was honestly still afraid of dying, but because I knew that death here meant death in the real world, I couldn't be afraid forever, or I would never get anywhere. I noticed a well groomed girl with dark blue hair in the crowd surrounded by four other guys. Sachi was here with her friends to fight the boss. My heart skipped a beat. I don't know why. But seeing someone like her at a meeting where we would plan out how best to preserve our lives in the upcoming fight made me want to protect her, to make her run away from this fight.

"Sachi! What are you doing here?" I tried to hide the concern in my voice. She was the first one in her group of friends to decide to start off and play the game to its fullest after all.

She turned to me and flashed another one of her radiant smiles. "Oh! Kirito! I'm glad to see you here!" She quickly brought up her menu and typed something out. Shortly after, I received a PM from her. "Kirito, how are you doing? I'm level six now! What about you? I know it's rude to ask about another person's level, but I thought since it's you, I would ask."

I hesitated for a moment. Levels in this game were really important. I would normally always keep my levels to myself so that I could always have the advantage when confronted by an enemy in a PvP situation, but I decided against my better judgment and replied. "I am level ten now."

Sachi was four levels lower than me. This was going to be the first fight against the first floor boss - the boss that prevented us from progressing in the game for over a month. The beta testers had complied data on how to defeat the first boss when they played before the game's release, and that was the data that was available to everyone in the guidebook in our inventories. The leader at the front of the crowd stood up.

"We are all here today for the same reason!" He shouted into the crowd. "We have finally managed to find the first floor boss, and we're here now to figure out the strategy to take him down!" This speech brought some cheers from the crowd. Taking the initiative he started to explain the situation. "In order to best preserve the lives of everyone here, please make a party of six! This will give everyone the best chance of survival as well as the best chance of defeating the boss!"

Everyone in the vicinity started to make parties. I looked around, seeing with horror that almost everyone had a full party of six. Even Sachi's group had found a sixth member and created a party. No one was left that I could party with. Then I noticed a cloaked figure on the same row as me, who appeared to not have a party yet. I scooted over to the person.

"Uhh, d-do you have a party yet?" I asked. The figure shook its head. "Would you like to party with me then?" This time the figure nodded. I opened the menu and sent the party request. The figure promptly accepted the invite. I noticed in the top left of my screen, just as it had with Sachi, I saw the name and HP bar of the other person. The name read "Asuna." A female name.

Now the leader held out the guidebook and held it out over his head. "This is the data that has been collected on the first boss! It has all of its attack patterns up to the point when its fourth health bar hits the red zone. It will switch attacks from its normal axe to another sword called a talwar. It will also gain a new attack pattern! If no one has any more questions, this will be the end of the briefing!" He snapped the guide book closed. "We will meet tomorrow outside of the boss dungeon at 10:00. That is all!"

Everyone stood at the last announcement to go prepare. Asuna quickly left the area and headed up the steps. Taken aback, I quickly followed her. We ended up going back to the close-by city. We bought some bread for dinner and sat down outside on the stone steps to eat. She took a quick bite out of the roll, stiffly chewing it while I opened my inventory and brought out some butter. It was a quest reward item from a quest in the last village I visited. It was delicious and reminded me that there were foods in the other world that I had to get back to. It was almost completely gone, two doses left. I offered one to her.

"Here, try this. It's good." I said, holding out the jar. She nodded and stuck out her finger over the jar. A small sphere of light covered her finger, and she spread it over her roll.

"B-butter!" she cried out. Not quite knowing what to expect, she bit into the roll. After only a moment's hesitation, she devoured the rest of the roll in a heartbeat.

While we ate I finally got a good chance to look at her. It wasn't much of a view to be honest, since she was always wearing that grey cloak over her body. From what I could see, she had a thin frame and was a little bit shorter than me. She wore a white hilted rapier at her left side, and I could see strands of orange-red hair sticking out the sides of her hood. She raised her head to look at me. I wish I could see her face, but it was covered by the hood and the mask of darkness where we ate.

"I guess we'll head in for the night then?" I offered. "There's an inn nearby that we can stay in for the night." Asuna nodded and stood up when I did. We headed off in the direction of one of the further off inns that was close to the boundary of the city. I was about seventy percent of the way to level eleven, so I was planning on sneaking out during the night to get to level eleven before the boss fight tomorrow. To my surprise, Asuna offered up no resistance to going off such a far distance while there had been an inn only fifty meters away from where we ate.

We entered the inn which was called the Blade-Sheet Inn, paid our dues at the counter and headed up towards our rooms. Of course we had separate rooms, but the thought did cross my mind to share a room and save money. I suppose it was for the best though. The time was now 20:09. I decided to wait an hour before heading out to grind in the fields.

As soon as the clock ticked 21:09, I went to door, unlocked it, and headed outside. I locked the door once more before I left the building and headed out towards the fields. Not many people were out this late, and the people who were were mostly couples that 'didn't want to leave yet.' No one gave even the slightest indication that they acknowledged my existence as I walked past them to the fields.

As I got closer, monsters started to appear. Because this was still the first floor the highest level monster I could find was around level seven. The Mutated Brine Bat level 7 approached me, flapping its giant wings. Unlike the bats I might have seen in the real world, these bats walked on the ground on its feet instead of hanging to the ceiling of a cave. It raised its wings in an intimidating fashion, then brought them down hard, dragging its giant body into the air. Wind rustled across the plain, ruffling the bat's grey fur. After a moment of waiting, it attacked.

Just as I was about to raise my sword to activate the sword skill, a blue-green streak flashed by me, knocking out half of the creature's hit points. "Switch," the figure said. I raised my sword and charged through the bat which was still trying to recover from the sneak attack. The light blue light left behind my sword skill cut straight past the bat, reducing its remaining hit points to zero. The creature brought its wings up again and froze, breaking apart into polygons and disappearing from the plain.

"I thought you went to sleep," the figure said. Asuna appeared out of the fog, rapier drawn at her side. As before I couldn't see her face, but I could feel her stare from under the hood.

"I… I could say the same thing to you," I stuttered.

"I don't know about you, but I wanted to be as strong as possible for tomorrow, I decided that I would get some extra training done tonight," Asuna said. The breeze ruffled the cloak drawn across her body. Red strands of hair fluttered around her head, reflecting in the light of the moon in the virtual sky.

"I was close to leveling, and I wanted to have the extra advantage tomorrow," I replied, sheathing my sword on my back. I glanced at my experience meter, noting that it would be about twenty more of those Mutated Brine Bats before I would be able to level up. Asuna nodded before getting back to work. Three more bats had spawned in the time that we were talking.

Together, the two of us took only an hour and a half to defeat the twenty bats I needed to level up. I didn't mention this to her when we started, but she noticed when I leveled up. A small notification box along with a few small pieces of confetti appeared to notify the event.

"Congratulations," was all she said before turning back to work.

For the next two hours we hacked away at the bats until the POP spawn in the area was nearly depleted. It was only then that we decided it would be good to head back to the inn and get ready for the fight later in the day. We parted from each other outside our rooms and went inside. After un-equipping everything, I crawled into bed, set the alarm once again for 8:00 and went to sleep.

December 23, 2022 [Floor 1, Boss Dungeon]

Being a solo player, I was one of the last people to arrive at the dungeon. The doors were already open where the first parties had gone in already to clear the way to the boss. Asuna was next to me, nibbling on another roll she'd saved from the night before.

"Let's go, we're late as it is," I said as I entered the dungeon. I heard her footsteps tapping behind me. After a few minutes of walking, we saw the boss door with the other parties already around it. Diabel was the center of attention, spelling out the last minute strategies for everyone. Near the front of the gate I spot Sachi and her party. I was about to wave, but I decide against it at the last minute. The boss would come first.

"That's the end of the strategy meeting!" Diabel called out to the crowd. "Let's head in and win! Remember, the person that gets the last hit gets the drop!" The crowd cheered as they charged into the room. The large imposing doors spread wide, allowing for the group to run in. When everyone was inside the room, the torches around the room lit up, drowning everyone in a blue glow.

Then the boss appeared.

The boss's name was up next to his hit point bars, Illfang the Kobold Lord. As the information had said, there were four of them. Diabel stayed in the back of the crowd, shouting out directions as we fought. With Asuna beside me, we charged in at the boss. We'd practiced switching in and out while fighting monsters the night before, so we were very familiar with each other's fighting patterns. Each time I hit the boss, I would switch with her, our swords mixing in a beautiful choreography of light and metal.

When my party was supposed to stay back, I looked around the room, looking for Sachi's party. I saw four of the five, and none of them were girls. I couldn't find Sachi. My heart sunk. She was gone. She had just started living in this world, and she was already gone. The closest member of her group lunged forward to block one of the boss's attacks, and I saw Sachi, squatting down in the middle of her party, crying. The roar of the boss was deafening, intimidating, and Sachi couldn't handle it. I was about to leave my post and approach her when I heard Diabel call out for my party to go on the offensive again.

Sachi wasn't meant for this. She was true to her words when she said that she wanted to learn to fight. She's here now because of that, but she can't fight. Her heart was telling the truth when she asked me to accompany her. The way she looked away from me when she talked, the way her feet tapped on the ground; her heart knew what she wanted. It's pathetic really, yet… I can't let it end like this.

After a quarter of an hour of fighting, the boss's hit points was finally reduced to its last bar. Asuna and I took the lead. Sword skill after sword skill, sword hit and rapier, the two of us danced around the boss, defending and attacking in turn. Finally, the HP bar dropped into the red zone. The boss jumped to the very back of the room, away from all of the players. He dropped his axe and pulled out his reserve weapon. Instead of the talwar that the guidebook said it would be, it was a katana.

My heart skipped a beat. Diabel called for everyone to fall back as he jumped into the fray. I understood immediately. He was a beta player, trying to get the last hit on the boss for the rare item that would drop for the person to slay him, but he didn't notice that the weapon was different. He charged in, most likely not noticing the different weapon. He shouted a war cry, drawing his weapon back when the boss's attack pattern changed entirely. It jumped up towards the ceiling, dodging Diabel's attack entirely, and jumped down from the ceiling, slicing right through Diabel's abdomen. He landed right next to me. Raking my mind, trying to figure out what to do, I drew out a health potion and tried to hand it to him. He looked up at me with his cyan blue eyes.

"Heh," he huffed. "I guess you know what I was trying to do, don't you. I myself was a beta tester." He signed heavily. "I guess in the end I was wrong. All I did was try to get the last hit item, and I'll die for this." He breathed out, closed his eyes, and burst into polygons.

A burning anger grew inside me. Everything in my field of vision became sharper as I stared down the boss. The room was a mess. People were running around left and right, using health potion and restore crystals as the boss ran rampant around the room.

"Asuna," I breathed. I didn't expect her to hear me, but she appeared by my side. She nodded. The two of us charged for one last attack. Illfang slashed out with his katana to my right side. I used a sword skill to knock the attack back. "Switch!" I shouted. Asuna jumped in front of me and ran through the boss with her rapier. The boss recoiled as Asuna called to switch. I focused all of my energy into the last sword skill and ran through the boss with a flash of blue light. Illfang hissed and burst into polygons as he died.

As the boss died, I dropped to the floor. It was the first boss battle, and it we lost the leader of the charge. Was that supposed to happen? There was cheering behind me. Why were they cheering? We just fought against a boss and lost an important member. That person died in the real world too. Why were they cheering!?

There was mumbling behind me. They were singling me out. Yes, I was a beta tester. Was this the sort of ridicule I'd have to take as long as I was in this game? I started to laugh. I couldn't stop. The whole situation was so funny. They thought I was a cheater because I was a beta tester.

"Hahaha! Yeah…" I looked solemn. "That's right. I'm a beater." I finally checked the menu in front of me. I had gotten a black coat for defeating the boss. I went through my menu to equip it. With the new black coat on, I stepped towards the gate to the second floor. I heard two pairs of footsteps behind me. I looked back to see Sachi and Asuna.

"Asuna, I think that if you ever get asked to join a guild you should join. You're a strong player that should be one of the elite. Sachi, I don't know if clearing the game is for you. I saw you while you were fighting the boss, and if it's too much for you, it might be best to stop here. I don't want you to stop, but if it puts you in that much danger, I don't want you in the front." Putting my arrogance ahead of me, I stepped towards the entrance to the next floor and opened it.

After one month stuck on the first floor, those of us who were meant to be on the clearing party advanced. Those who were still afraid stayed behind in the Town of Beginnings. I didn't really worry about the two girls I left behind. Where they would go I have no idea. This game became all of our realities. This game could be cleared, but for the time being, we would be here.


This is my first Sword Art Online fanfiction. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Feedback would be amazing, especially because this is a longer chapter than usual. I hope you all enjoyed and will keep reading in the future. I'll leave this story as rated M for later themes.

Truly yours,

Kirisaki Kyouko