Author Notes: I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of "The Kirita Chronicles." It is time for me to unveil the next chapter of this new story. Be ready for the introduction of quite a few new characters. As TVTropes puts it, they are 'second episode introduction characters.' You will be seeing plenty more of them later on.

As you can tell by the title of the story arc, this story arc is more or less a prequel to the main storyline. The story arc will provide a few details regarding the lives of some of the players before the Sword Art Online incident. Besides learning some details for Kazuta, Akio, and Suguha's lives, you will also see a few tidbits for some of the other characters too. Some will have more detail and be more fleshed out than others. There will be some that will be more fleshed out as the story continues.

On another note, I hope everyone likes the official cover for, "The Kirita Chronicles." It was drawn by the talented Z3phyra from deviantart. He provided character designs for Kirita and Akio in advanced. They are wearing the outfits they will eventually obtain much later in the story during 2024 with Kirita in her 'Dueling Swordswoman' attire and Akio in his 'Knights of the Blood' outfit. Z3phyra has shown interest in providing additional character designs as well as drawing pictures for key scenes similar to light novels. In the meantime, be sure to check him out on deviantart because he is an artist that deserves more recognition.

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy reading parts of the backgrounds for the various characters. Any and all feedback will be appreciated. Also be sure to check out the new poll that has been made available.

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The Kirita Chronicles

Story Arc One: What Happened Before – Part II

Chapter 2: Lives in the Real World

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Choices affect all

They will have consequences

Make them carefully

/

The Self-Imposed Isolationist

Real Name: Kirigaya Kazuta

Avatar Name: Kirito/Kirita

Age: 13 (currently) 14 (Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Biological Father – Suzuki Katsumi (Deceased)

Biological Mother – Suzuki Tomoni (Deceased)

Grandfather – Kirigaya Riku (Deceased)

Uncle – Kirigaya Minetaka (Deceased)

Aunt/Adopted Mother – Kirigaya Midori (Alive)

Cousin/Step-Sister – Kirigaya Suguha (Alive)

After I learned the truth of my adoption at the age of ten, I confronted my mother, Kirigaya Midori, about it. She was shocked that I was able to learn the truth on my own at such a young age. Although I suppose that her surprise was understandable. After all, how many people are able to hack into the national registry let alone someone who wasn't even a teenager yet? To be honest, I cannot completely remember what I said to my mother or how I reacted to the news, but I doubt I was very pleasant. However, when I demanded the truth, she did not attempt to deny it. She told everything about my biological parents.

Knowing that Kirigaya Midori was not my real mother caused everything to change from that point onward. I couldn't bring myself to look at either her or Suguha the same way ever again. I had let the facts of biology dictate my actions. As time went on, I had distanced myself from them bit by bit to the point we were almost strangers living in the same house. Unfortunately, it would be a long time before I would realize how foolish I was. It would take being placed in the most life threatening situation to finally realize my mistakes. There were so many times I wish I could go back in time and undo the many things I had done.

When I think back on everything that happened, I realized that being adopted should not have mattered at all. Kirigaya Midori may not be my biological mother, but she still took me in and raised me as if I were her own. Throughout the years, she never favored Suguha over me due to biology. She loved me regardless of the fact I was not actually her daughter. It would be when the incident began on November 6th, 2022 that I would finally realize that Kirigaya Midori had been and always would be my mother. I think my realization of that fact would influence certain decisions I would make in 2024. Decisions I think were actually the right ones.

It's just unfortunate that I cannot go back in time and try to change everything I did after I learned the truth. However, like a river, time only flows forwards and never backwards. I can only hope that going forward will give me another chance to correct my mistakes. It is doubtful, but it is something I can hope for. If I get that chance, I can only hope that they will forgive me for my mistakes.

/

Even though I had been distancing myself from my mother and Suguha during the three and a half years prior to the incident, there was one activity that Suguha and I were still able to bond over. It was cooking. My talents were not limited to computers, mathematics, and fighting. I also had a real talent for cooking too. In my home etiquette class, I was one of the better cooks. If I had to guess, I was probably the fifth best cook out of over thirty students. It was through that class that I came to enjoy cooking so much and I found it to be more of hobby rather than a chore. My affinity for cooking would also influence some of actions in the virtual world, and it would come in handy.

One time when I went to the kitchen to cook myself something, I noticed that Suguha was having difficulty cooking a dish for her class assignment. I can still remember how hard she was trying and how difficult it was for her to get it right. It was then I decided to help her. When I was helping her, I could see how happy she was that I was spending time with her. After I was done helping Suguha cook the meal, she seemed almost disappointed that we were done. I assume it was because I would not have a reason to spend time with her.

I always had a difficult time dealing with Suguha's look of disappointment. Even though I wanted to distance myself from Suguha, a part of me could not let myself go through with it completely. I guess part of me was telling me that despite everything, Suguha was still my sister. If I had to guess, that 'part of myself' was my common sense, and it prevented me from taking things too far when it came to distancing myself from my family.

When I saw that look on Suguha's face, it was then I promised her that we would make 'cooking exercises' a regular activity for us every week. I will never forget how much her face brightened after I told her that. I made sure to stay true to that promise every week until the incident happened. It was an activity that we were able to enjoy together.

The days we cooked together were better times. Whenever we cooked, we worked together as a team. Every meal we cooked was fun to create, and it was always a success story. We would talk to each other, and it would almost feel as if things were the way they had always been between us. There were times I would come close to forgetting the truth. Unfortunately, I would remind myself of the truth soon afterwards. However, at the very least, I feel cooking was what stopped my relationship with Suguha from becoming completely broken.

During one of our cooking sessions, there was one conversation in particular when I could have told Suguha everything. If I would have done it right then and there, that could have triggered a discussion that could have mended our relationship. However, I choose not to. I play the conversation in my head from time to time, and I kick myself for what I said. If I would have done the right thing back then, I am sure things would be so much different now.

While Suguha and I were beginning the preparations for dinner, Suguha asked me, "Hey Big Sis, I was wondering about something?"

"What is it?" At first Suguha seemed to have difficulty saying what she needed to say, so I reassured her, "You can ask me. I promise I won't bite."

That seemed to be enough to motivate Suguha to asking her question because she then asked in a somewhat nervous voice, "Did I do something to upset you?"

I stopped what I was doing and responded in a confused voice, "Huh?"

Suguha explained herself, "It's just that. When we were younger, we used to be so close. You always used to call me my nickname 'Sugu,' and we would do almost everything together. You would tell me secrets that you wouldn't even tell mom. However, for the past few years, you seem to do everything you can to avoid me. We barely talk anymore, and the only times we really get along is when we are cooking together. So I can't help but wonder if I did something to upset or hurt you."

What she said was somewhat of a wakeup call. I started to realize my actions were having a greater effect on others than I thought. However, I was not sure of what I could say either. The best thing I could come up with was, "I'm sorry Suguha. It's not your fault. It's not your fault at all. This is all me."

It was Suguha's turn to be confused, "What do you mean?"

I reassured her, "It's a teenage thing. I'm sure I will get over it."

To be honest, I still wasn't sure if I ever really would get over it. It just felt like that was something I needed to tell her. However, what I said was cowardly and stupid. I should have told her the truth then and there, but I lacked the ability and courage to do the right thing. In hindsight, it seems like I lack the ability and courage to do the right thing a lot of times. Without a doubt, I was a coward, and it feels as if karma generally has a funny way of paying me back for my cowardice in interest. However, I would not complain because I did deserve that payment. It was just unfortunate that others had to pay for my actions too, and that is something I'm not sure I can forgive myself for.

Suguha was still confused by what I meant by a 'teenage thing,' but she seemed to accept it. I could tell she was still saddened by the situation, so I told her, "If you ever need help with something Suguha, you can come to me."

After I said that, Suguha asked in a semi-hopeful voice, "Really?"

I responded, "Yeah. Regardless of anything, we are still family, and we help each other. That's what families do." The one thing I could not deny was if we were not actually sisters, we were still family. That much was still true.

After I made that promise to Suguha, it did brighten her up, and it made me happy to see her smile again. In the following months prior to the incident, Suguha did come to ask me for advice from time to time. While I may not always be the best person to ask for help, it did make me happy that she thought I could help her. I would do what I could to help her with whatever problems she faced. However, even though I still did my best to help Suguha with her problems, I was still far from being considered 'Big Sister' material.

Despite everything I have done since I learned the truth, I don't think my mother or Suguha hated me. However, I would not blame them if they did. Personally, I think I deserved to be hated by them. In fact, I probably deserve to incur the wrath of a lot of people's hatred. Sometimes it feels as if I was let off the hook a little too easily for my actions. I suppose it was a good thing that my conscience and my karma were not as willing to let me off as easily as other people were. After all, there are many things that I need to atone for, and it could take me the rest of my lifetime to reach absolution.

/

Before everything happened, my actions not only led me to isolating myself from family, but I ended up isolating myself from my peers as well. There were a number of reasons for my isolation that go beyond my grandfather making me uncomfortable around boys. When it came to doing work or needing to work with another, I generally found it difficult to trust others to do their part.

It was not unusual for me to take up a majority of the responsibilities for an assignment because I did not believe my group members would complete their portion. Unfortunately, there were more than a few times when I was correct in my assumptions, so that made me even less willing to trust my classmates even if they were willing to do their part. While our projects would get good grades, my actions certainly did not help my social standing.

In Japan, you are encouraged to work alongside others and be more team oriented, but I seemed to have difficulty embracing that part of our culture. Due to my inability, to embrace the team oriented portion of Japanese culture, it made interactions with some of my fellow students rather difficult when it came to school work. This made me one of the least desirable people for others to pair up with when it came to group assignments. If I did manage to make it to a group, it would generally be because there were no other openings, and the group members would be less than enthusiastic by my presence.

While my isolation from others was generally my fault, there was one reason my isolation was actually a complete accident. It happened during my time in the karate club. While I did quit kendo, I still figured it would be important to take some kind of martial arts activity. My mother advised me on multiple occasions that I should know how to defend myself. At that point, I believed any martial arts activity would be better as long as I did not have someone like my grandfather, Kirigaya Riku, as an instructor.

After some consideration, I decided that I would join my school's karate club. It was a casual club that would only meet up on select days of the week. Even if you missed a few sessions, they would not kick you out. I did not need to worry about missing out on the computer club. However, I did find the karate club to be enjoyable. When I did attend the karate club, I would learn a number of useful moves, such as being able to use my opponent's weight against them in order to take them down. It allowed me to become a 'competent' fighter, and it was fun to learn those moves.

While the club did have some in-club sparring, we were not competitive with other schools like the kendo club. We would only spare with other club members or 'guests' that wished to test themselves. To be perfectly honest, I think that was one of the reasons I was fine with being a member of that club. I did enjoy physical training and working out to a certain extent, but I am not a fan of engaging in physical competition.

Since I was the only girl in the karate club, my only sparring partners were male. While I may not have socialized with the boys, I was more than happy to spar with them because I didn't need to talk to them when we fought. Quite frankly, I found it much easier to kick a boy's ass than to engage one in a conversation. When I fought them, I know most of them went easy on me at first because I was a girl, but they quickly regretted it. Eventually, they decided to get serious with me, but it did not really make much of a difference in the end. In the end, they all lost to me. Some of their defeats were probably quite humiliating.

As it turns out, participating in that karate club and beating up the boys there really worked to my advantage. Before the karate club, despite my poor social skills, I was a popular target for a lot of 'awkward date' requests that usually ended rather poorly. A lot of boys would want to spend time with me because they found me 'appealing.'

According to someone I talked to, my appeal was due to a number of factors that included as they put it: my cute face, my waist length hair, my dark eyes, my intelligence, and the fact I was developing an 'interesting set of assets.' I was one of the first girls in middle school to start developing much to their chagrin, and they were expected to become quite large by the time I stopped growing. Even Suguha had told me on a few occasions that she was envious of them. I have a feeling that I inherited these 'assets' from my biological mother.

When word got out that I beat up more than half of members in my karate club, I no longer received any awkward date requests. In fact interacting with me was probably just as awkward for them as it was for me. It gave me a bittersweet feeling, but I was okay with it for the time being because it made me more comfortable to be in school. However, a time would come that I would realize that I needed to get outside my comfort zone otherwise I would never be able to properly mature as a person.

/

Despite my comfort with being isolated from others, there were still a number of times when I wanted to have real friends. However, whenever I did try to become friends with other people, it never worked out. Sometimes I would become 'friends' with other students for a short period of time, but it wouldn't amount to anything. While I was not close to being a social butterfly, I wasn't completely socially inept either. I was more than capable of starting up a pleasant conversation with my fellow students. From what I could tell, they would seem to be interested in being my friend at first, but they would change their mind shortly afterwards.

After sometime had passed, I could eventually tell that most of the people that I interacted with eventually became annoyed by my presence, and they did not want to spend time or even talk to me. Eventually, they wouldn't even return my messages and simply ignored me. It always seemed to come out of nowhere for me, and I never did understand why it always happened. What makes it worse is the fact they lacked the guts to tell me to my face that they were not interested in being my friend. Instead, they chose to ignore me completely, and I considered those actions to be cowardly. If they would have personally told me they were not interested in being my friend, I would have been fine. It would have been less painful.

It makes me wonder if I gave off similar signals to my mother or Suguha over the past few years. While I doubt I was as bad as this, it probably was not much better. Needless to say, I found these experiences to be rather discouraging. I could honestly say that before everything happened, I did not have a single friend in the real world. That made me envious over how Suguha was able to have so many friends of her own without any issues.

My continuous failures to become friends with people in the real world made me wish I could replicate the success I had at making 'friends' in video games or online. However, despite repeated attempts to try and become friends with others, I was always rejected in the end. I never ended up knowing the exact reasons why I was rejected. Although, a part of me thought that perhaps it was due to my tendency to act whenever I am in groups.

It is true that I would be somewhat of a 'control freak' in group projects or prefer to work on my own on assignments rather than work with others. I understand that such characteristics would make me less than an ideal friend, but I was certain that I kept that behaviors separate when I tried socializing with people I was trying to befriend. Even I knew that acting like that would be no way to become friends with others. That's why whenever I socialized with others, I always tried to be as friendly as I could, and I showed interest in what they were interested in, but it never mattered in the end because I would always be rejected. As a result, I never did know the exact reasoning for being constantly rejected, and it was up to me to speculate their reasoning.

In hindsight, I guess this constant rejection was my 'divine comeuppance' for my behavior towards my family. I rejected them after finding the truth and in turn I have been rejected by others I have tried to befriend. I suppose it was a rather fitting punishment for me. However, I did not complain about being rejected by others and accepted the reality of my situation. From my perspective, the reality was, 'Becoming a friend with anyone in the real world was impossible for someone like me.'

After I accepted that reality, I gave up on the notion of becoming friends with anyone in the real world and embraced my self-imposed isolation, computers, and the virtual worlds. I believed that I should only count on myself to handle any problems I might face. I also told myself repeatedly that befriending others online was much easier and ideal for me since the only thing I needed to do online was prove my usefulness in whatever game I was playing. That was something I was able to do. There might have been times when players would only party with me because they thought they could 'use' me to get stronger, but I did not mind it too much. It made me feel happy that I could prove myself to be a 'useful friend.'

Eventually, there would be a time when I would understand that choosing to live that way was the wrong choice for so many reasons. Sure playing games and making friends online was a good thing to do, but I should have kept trying to make friends in the real world. If it was possible, I should have asked for help with becoming friends with others, but I did nothing. Before the incident, I let so many things blind my judgment.

I wish it didn't take me too long to realize that living in such self-imposed isolation is no way to live. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I was eventually able to begin changing myself and start turning that around. I wish I could have done something about it much sooner, and I didn't need such a massive wake-up call to finally understand that I needed to change. However, even though I have done a number of things I was ashamed of, there are a few things I did before the incident that I could still be proud of. After all, it's not like every decision I ever made was bad.

/

Date: Saturday, March 5, 2022

Location: Outside an Arcade in Shinjuku

The skills I had learned in karate club ended up being useful for me outside of the school as well. One time I had decided to play a few games at an arcade before going home. Since the Spring Break that would take place between the school years was about to begin and the exams were over, I did not feel compelled to head home. I felt like I could just take it easy, and it would not matter when I got home.

After I left the arcade and walked a few blocks, I overheard something. I heard a voice say, "Please let me go! I gave you what you want!"

Against my better judgment I decided to check out what exactly was going on. I saw that there were these three boys ganging up on this orange haired kid. The orange haired kid had a pathetic, helpless look on his face. I could not help but feel disgusted by what I was witnessing. I wanted to help the orange haired boy, but I was not sure if I should call for help or do something myself. However, that choice was quickly made for me because it did not take them long to notice me.

One of them rudely asked me, "What are you doing here?"

I casually told them, "I was just passing through when I heard what sounded like a mugging."

The one that was holding the orange haired kid who appeared to be the 'leader' asked, "So you decided to come check it out to see for yourself?"

I sheepishly replied as I scratched the back of my head, "Yes not the smartest idea in the world, but I can see that there really is nothing to fear from this situation."

The last one seemed insulted by what I had said as he asked in a threatening voice, "What did you say?"

I am not sure what came over me, but I gave them an overconfident/smug face as I told them, "I said I do not see much of a threat here. I can tell that you all seem rather pathetic." What I said was completely on impulse. I did not think it through, but I knew I was right. These guys were pathetic.

What I said seemed to be the last straw because the leader let the orange haired kid go and focused his attention on me. He told me, "I don't usually try to beat up girls, but I think I will make an exception in your case."

He clumsily threw a punch at me that was easy to dodge. After I dodged his attack, I managed to get behind him and kicked him in the back which led him to smashing right into a wall. By using the force of his own body against him, he collided with the wall. He fell down to the ground unconscious. His 'subordinates' seemed surprised by how easily their 'leader' was taken down by a girl, but that did not stop them from wanting to take me down anyway.

The two of them came at me one at a time. I guess they figured that even though they were pretty big guys they did not have the coordination necessary to actually fight as a team. The first guy charged at me like the other one. I was able to dodge his attacks easily, and I tripped his legs. I would have attempted to knock him unconscious right then, but then the third guy attempted to attack me.

This third attacker was slightly better at fighting than the other two, but he was still a pretty crappy fighter. He tried utilizing a mixture of kicks and punches to hit me, but his wild kicks left him wide open. When I saw my opportunity, I kicked him right in the stomach. While he was stunned, I punched him as hard in the face as I could. He went falling down like a ton of bricks.

After I managed to land that punch, the second attacker was getting up. However, I was not about to let him try to attack me again. I ran straight in his direction and gave him a jumping kick that was aimed right for his face. Let's just say it was a good thing I was wearing shorts underneath my skirt when I kicked him because he would have gotten an eyeful otherwise before my kick managed to connect with his face. After watching a 'certain' anime, I decided it would be wise to wear shorts underneath my skirt.

When my kick connected with his face, all the attackers were down for the count, and the fight was over. I looked around, and I saw that the orange haired boy was still standing. He had not moved an inch, and he was staring at me. He appeared to be dumbstruck by the sight of me. Based on his facial expression, he probably never expected a girl of all people to save him from those bullies. To be honest, I was surprised I was able to take down those bullies that easily. I have a feeling that they probably didn't have any fighting skills to back up their relatively big size. However, as I mentioned before, I found it much easier to kick a boy's ass than to converse with one.

Before either of us were able to say anything to each other, I heard the sounds of people approaching us. Unfortunately, the 'fighting' I had done managed to catch some unwanted attention. Quite a few adults were approaching us pretty fast. If they saw that I was the one responsible for beating up these boys, I had a feeling I would get into trouble. I had to make a run for it before they got there. My mind was telling me that it was now or never.

Before I ran off, I told the boy in a rushed manner, "If you don't want any trouble, you better run. See ya."

After I said that, I dashed out of that alleyway as fast as possible. Even though I knew those adults would question the boys, I had a feeling they would not tell them a girl was the one that beat them up. They would probably tell anyone who asked, it was 'some really big guy with a lot of muscles' that beat them up. As a result, I would probably get away scot-free as long as I put my distance from the scene of the crime. This was one of the many perks to being a girl.

While I was running, I could see that the orange haired boy was following me. He said to me in a near breathless tone, "Hey wait!"

For some reasons, I did decide to slow up, so he could catch up. However, that was all I did because we kept running for a while to ensure no one would know we were in that alleyway. After we ran for a few minutes, we ended up at a park. We stopped running when we reached the park benches. While I was not tired, the boy was just trying to suck air.

After he caught his breath, he said to me in a gracious tone, "Thank you for helping me back there."

I replied in a somewhat embarrassed tone, "It wasn't a problem, but why were you in that position in the first place?"

He nervously explained, "I was on my way home from a club activity, and those three sort of ganged up on me."

I always considered bullying to be one of the lowest activities ever. I replied to him, "They looked like they were going to beat you up before I arrived. Why didn't you fight back?"

He responded in a mixture of shame and embarrassment, "I don't know how to fight. I have never been in a fight before."

From the way he said that, it sounded more comical to me than depressed. I guess it sounded comical because I would have expected a boy to have some fighting experience since I have some. Of course, that way of thinking was a little 'simple' minded on my part. After all, I should have understood that not all boys would be as willing to engage in confrontations.

I openly questioned him, "Someone as big as you doesn't know how to fight? That's a little sad, but I guess not everyone takes karate."

He admitted, "That's right. I don't know any kind of martial arts."

While I could understand that his lack of 'martial arts' training would make him an easier target, his attitude and demeanor also did a good job at making himself an easy target. I told this boy, "Despite your lack of 'fighting experience,' I would think you would at least try to defend yourself in that kind of situation."

He sheepishly told me, "Well I didn't want any trouble, so I was willing to cooperate. It was just my luck they felt like they needed to beat someone up."

When he said that, I felt like I was becoming more frustrated by listening to this guy. As I spoke to him, I tried to keep the frustration in my voice to myself, but I felt like it was making itself more known as I continued to speak. "Yeah you are pretty unfortunate all right, but perhaps they decided to bully you because you let them walk all over you. Instead of groveling at their demands, you need to be able to stand up for yourself. From what I was seeing, you would have just let those bullies beat you up, and you wouldn't have lifted a finger. You need to take charge for yourself."

The look in the boy's face showed he was resistant to the idea of taking 'charge' before he finally said, "I can't."

I responded in a voice that was mixed with confusion, disbelief, and frustration, "What? Why not? Give me one good reason."

He admitted to me in a voice that indicated he was uncomfortable with admitting the truth, but he was going to do so anyway. The boy shamefully admitted, "I have never been the type of person to really make decisions or voice my opinions. I have always just gone along with everyone else. It has always been easier that way."

Hearing this pathetic boy speak like that made me feel disgusted. Normally, I would have started to feel uncomfortable talking to this boy any longer, but what he said compelled me to say this to him. "That's stupid. If you let other people decide who you are, then you become one of them rather than yourself. That is a huge difference between you and me."

The boy seemed insulted when I said that to him when he questioned me, "What do you mean a huge difference?"

I explained to him in a firm and 'in-charge' voice that caused him to shut up. "The huge difference comes from how you choose to live. While I may not always make the best decisions, at least I go with them, and I do not allow others to make them for me. My decisions make me who I was, who I am, and who I will be. At the end of the day, I can still be glad that I was the one making those decisions and not someone else. You on the other hand sound like your living someone else's life or rather someone else is making you live the life they desire."

What I said to him was true. I had made a lot of decisions that were wrong that I would come to regret, such as rejecting my family. However, it is not like every choice I made was wrong. I made the choice to pursue computers and enjoy the virtual world. Despite the 'mixed' results I have had in those areas, I do not believe I made the wrong decisions because I believe the computer and virtual world were my 'calling' of sorts. I believed and I still believe that they could lead me to the path of my future. Not to mention the abilities I gained from devoting so much of my life to computers would come in handy for me and others.

In the end, whether the choices I made were right or wrong, I could tell myself that I was the one who made those choices. A part of me could still be proud that I did not let someone else live my life for me. Additionally, even when I made the wrong choices, the regret I felt from them did eventually cause me to change. I know for a fact that would not have been the case if I had let other people make those decisions for me. That's why it made me disgusted to see this boy in front of me. He could never claim to have the same pride no matter how hard he tried.

I gave him a chance to respond, but he did not say a word. He just stood there without moving a muscle. I took that as an 'invitation' to continue my point. "I think it is time for you to start making your own decisions rather than always following someone else's. For your sake, I hope you start making your own decisions. If you don't, you are just going to end up a miserable person without any of his own prospects, and you will only have yourself to blame for it."

After I was finished speaking, he did not respond. I waited for a few moments to see if he had anything to say, but he did not say a word, but he seemed to be considering what I said. However, a part of me was certain that he was not going to say anything I would be interested in hearing. Since I told him what I felt he needed to hear, I decided it was time to go before he annoyed me anymore than he had.

I told him in a somewhat angry voice, "If you have nothing else to say, then I'm going to leave. I have better things to do than waste my time with someone who is incapable of making his own decisions in life." What I said to him seemed to stun him, but I no longer cared. I turned around and started to walk away without turning around.

While I may regret the results of some of my actions and decisions, I do not complain about them. What happened to me was the result of my own decisions, and the only one I can truly blame is myself. Unlike that boy, I can tell myself that where I am is because of the decisions I made and not by letting others choose for me. People who choose to live life the way he did disgust me because they don't 'live' or rather they don't even try to live their own lives.

/

During the days that would lead to the incident, there were many more lives that would be affected besides Kirigaya Kazuta. While a majority of these people would never have known each other if it were not for the events that began on November 6th, 2022, their lives would eventually become intertwined by a shared fate. The event would forever change their lives and the lives of those around them. Some would change for the better while some would commit acts that could never be forgiven. The story of what happens within the game belongs to these people as much as it belongs to Kirigaya Kazuta.

/

The Sheltered Weakling

Real Name: Yuuki Akio

Avatar Name: Akio

Age: 14 (currently) 15 (Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Father – Yuuki Shouzou (Alive)

Mother – Yuuki Kyouko (Alive)

Older Sister – Yuuki Kanon (Alive)

Sister's Possible Fiancé – Sugou Nobuyuki (Alive)

A boy who lived in Setagaya which was a few hours away from Kazuta's home in Kawagoe went by the name of Yuuki Akio. He was born a year earlier than Kazuta and was slightly taller than her. The boy had a face that most people would describe as being 'bishonen' or a 'pretty boy.' He had short orange-brownish chestnut hair that went down to his neck with hazel eyes to match. He had the habit of braiding a part of his hair on the side of his head. Apparently, it was a part of his style.

Yuuki Akio was the only son of Yuuki Kyouko and Yuuki Shouzou, but he had an older sister named, Yuuki Kanon. He came from a rather privileged background due to his father Yuuki Shouzou being the CEO of RECTO Progress. Due to being their sole son, Akio had been groomed his entire life to become the next in line to be RECTO Progress' CEO. Throughout his life, he had been forced to participate in many activities that would further his growth and understanding of the business world.

However, despite his parent's expectations, Akio did not believe business was in his blood. In fact, he believed he had another calling. He believed that acting was what he was meant to do. At first it was merely a hobby of his when he was younger and participated in acting classes. His ideas of acting changed during early summer of 2018. It was at that time when he was eleven years old, and acted as one of the lead characters in a kubuki production that was being presented together with his private school and a theater group.

His parents were fine with him being in the play because they considered it a good thing that he was filled with 'school spirit' in helping his school promote the arts. Not to mention the proceeds of the play would be used to support a 'good cause.' His mother was wearier of Akio's participation in the kubuki production, but she was ultimately fine with it because he was playing one of the male characters. Participating in that play was one of the most enjoyable experiences of his life, but it meant much more to him after he left the stage.

While Akio believed he performed well, he never actually received praise for his acting before. However, that changed after he left the stage and went into the hallway. One of the people in the audience, a girl with black eyes and long dark hair approached him. She told him that she really thought he had stage presence. She left without telling him her name, and he was not able to tell her his name either. While it saddened him that he would probably never see her again, he greatly appreciated what she said to him, and he would never forget her.

A few months later, Akio told his parents that he wished to pursue acting. At first, his parents dismissed Akio's dream as nothing more than a joke or a 'childish fantasy.' However, when they realized that Akio was serious, they were not accepting of his dream. While his father was more tolerant of Akio's new found desire than his mother, they both made it clear that they wished for him to take his 'rightful place' as eventually becoming the CEO of RECTO Progress. They would tell him repeatedly that what they had planned for him was for the best.

After hearing their repeated rejection of his acting career, Akio began to believe his parents' way of thinking and believed following their orders was what he should do. For over two and a half years, Akio listened to his parents orders without question. He did not attempt to make any deviations from the path they chose for him or take any initiatives of his own. Akio believed that taking his own initiatives would be disobeying and dishonoring his parents. If things remained unchanged, Akio most likely would have succeeded his father as being RECTO Progress' CEO, but Akio would not have been content with his life. Despite any kind of success he could have obtained, he would not have been happy in the end.

/

Due to Akio being the son of RECTO Progress' CEO, Akio was generally a popular individual in the schools that he attended. Akio could be described as a 'chick magnet' because there were numerous girls who were attracted to his 'pretty boy' face. However, Akio never returned their advances. There were also a lot of boys in the school that would approach Akio in hopes of 'becoming his friend.'

One day, after Akio's classes, he was approached by one of his classmates. He said in a somewhat friendly voice, "Hey there Akio!"

Akio returned the greeting. "Hello Wakasa. What's up?"

"I was wondering would you like to have lunch on the rooftop?" While Wakasa's words said one thing, his tone was saying something else. It sounded more 'disingenuous' rather than genuine.

Despite Wakasa's tone, Akio accepted the invitation. "That sounds great. I'll meet you up there in a few minutes."

Wakasa replied, "Sounds good. I'll bring some of the other guys up there too."

Everything they said seemed like a normal thing that people would say when trying to befriend another. Unfortunately, there was always something wrong with their 'presentation' when they spoke to Akio or rather their intentions when speaking with him. Whenever Akio would deal with these people, Akio could see in their eyes and hear in their voices that they were not really interested in being his friend. They were more interested in some kind of 'gain.'

When Akio would spend time with these individuals, Akio would do the right thing and ask to know more about them, but they did not always give him the most 'detailed' answers. While they did ask Akio a number of questions, they would generally focus on asking questions about his family or about what life is like for the 'son of a CEO.' It became abundantly clear that they were not so interested in Akio himself but rather his connections, so they could benefit themselves in the long run by becoming his friend.

At times like these, Akio would think to himself in a mixture of frustration and disgust, "They all just want to get to know me because they know my father is the CEO of RECTO Progress, and I'm expected to become his successor. All they want is to establish themselves as being my 'friends,' so they could call in favors later."

In the end, while Akio would have 'friends,' they would be superficial at best. He would wish to have friends that would see him for more than being a son of a company's CEO. This would be one reason why he would keep certain details about his past a secret from others after the incident happened.

/

Dealing with classmates that were more interested in his family rather than himself was not the only problems that Akio faced. There was a man that Akio had to regularly deal with because he was a friend of his father. Talking to this man could be described as nothing less than a great 'displeasure' for Akio. This was a man who had repeatedly proved himself to his father and appeared to be a 'kind' person whenever his father was around. However, that was nothing more than a façade because this man was truly an arrogant man with an ulterior motive. Apparently, this man planned on becoming the fiancé of his older sister much to Akio's disgust.

This man went by the name of Sugou Nobiyuki. He was practically the right hand man of Akio's father, Yuuki Shouzou. Much to Akio's distain, Sugou had become a 'family friend,' and they met far more often than Akio would have wished. However, this did allow Akio to learn certain 'interesting' facts about Sugou Nobiyuki.

Akio learned that Sugou apparently lost to someone a few years earlier and had to work under him back in the company Argus prior to working for his father. He speculated that Sugou was using his employment in RECTO Progress as an attempt to outdo the man he worked for back in Argus so he could finally 'surpass' the man he lost to. Akio's speculations were not far from the truth.

One day, Akio would learn firsthand what Sugou would do in order to 'surpass' his rival. The actions that Sugou would take to outdo his 'rival' would be frightening. However, what Sugou would do and be responsible for would fill Akio with so much rage that he would do anything to go back to this moment and kill Sugou right then and there consequences be damned.

Sugou Nobiyuki was what most people would describe as 'two faced.' As soon as Akio's father or someone who was in a position of authority would leave the room, Sugou would reveal his true colors. Akio had the 'displeasure' of witnessing this transformation for himself several times in the past. Even though Akio had told his father about Sugou's 'transformations' his father refused to believe him.

One time when Sugou and Akio were left alone, Sugou spoke to Akio in a venomous voice, "You really have it easy now don't you Akio-kun?"

While Akio could care less about what Sugou was talking about but seeing as he had nothing better to do he asked in a rude tone, "What do you mean Nobiyuki?"

Sugou's voice was sounding more venomous by the second as he said, "Don't act like you don't know. Everything in your life has been spoon feed to you. You are the one that is set to become the next CEO of your father's company simply because you are his son and not because you earned it."

Akio sarcastically remarked, "Are you saying that you think you should take it?"

Sugou's voice had a mixture of rage and venom as he responded, "Of course I am. If you look at the facts, I am far more qualified to become your father's successor than you ever would be."

That was something Akio could not completely disagree with. "Well you certainly have more drive to become my father's successor than I do."

Sugou gave a nasty grin as he told Akio, "That's one thing we can agree on."

Akio responded in an annoyed tone, "Yeah it is, but I didn't ask to become my father's successor. I don't have any say in his decisions. Why don't you complain to him rather than to me? If anything, you are just wasting both of our time by always talking to me."

Hearing Akio say that to him, made Sugou even angrier as he told Akio, "You say you don't have any say, but you do and you act like you don't."

Akio went from being annoyed to being confused as he asked, "What are you talking about?"

Sugou told Akio in a rude matter of fact tone, "I've seen how you have been growing up for the past few years. All you do is go along with what your father and mother say, and you don't do anything on your own. You're a pathetic little boy who just does as his parents tell him and never step out of line. Maybe you should grow a pair and start doing something if you really don't want to be your father's successor."

As much as Akio hated Sugou Nobiyuki, he could not disagree that Sugou had a point. Akio may not have asked for any of what he was being given or liked how his life was progressing, but he was doing nothing about it. He had been doing what his father and mother told him to do for so long that the thought of doing something for himself did not cross his mind. While what Sugou said to him did give him something to think about, it was difficult to take advice from someone that he hated. However, when someone else would say something similar to Akio, it would stick with him for the rest of his life.

/

Akio's life began to change when he was getting picked on by some bullies near an arcade. Previously, Akio had been attending a club activity, and he was on his way to the railroad station that would take him back home to Setagaya. However, a few bullies had the drop on him and dragged him into an alleyway. Due to Akio's 'sheltered' lifestyle and never taking his own initiatives, he never took any form of self-defense classes. As a result, the bullies were able to walk all over him until a girl with long dark hair and black eyes happened upon the scene and became his unexpected salvation.

When Akio saw this girl, he felt he had seen her before. Something about her stuck out in his mind. After gazing upon her for a few moments, he recognized her as the girl that praised his acting abilities almost three years earlier. When he spoke to the girl, the girl clearly did not recognize him. However, Akio did not care that the girl did not recognize him because he was certain that this was the girl he met over three years ago.

For reasons even unknown to him, he admitted to the girl that he was not the type to make decisions of his own or stand up for himself. The best answer he probably could come up with was that he 'needed someone to tell.' He knew that he could not tell anyone in his household because they were more loyal to his parents than to him. This stranger didn't seem to know who he was, so he decided to tell her a few things without revealing the exact circumstances. However, instead of being sympathetic, the girl really tore into Akio and more or less called him a fool for never making his own decisions.

While this girl criticized him, Akio did not attempt to defend himself because he knew the girl was right. What she said to him gave him a lot to think about. Unfortunately, before Akio could think of something to respond to her question, she walked away. Akio realized that he was probably seemed rude for not saying something sooner which was why she lost patience with him. It frustrated Akio that despite fate giving him the chance to meet this mysterious girl again, he did not have the courage to exchange names with her.

As Akio saw the girl walk away from him, he wanted to run after her and continue talking to her, but he lacked the ability or rather the resolve to do so. The girl soon disappeared from his sight, and Akio believed that he would never see the girl again. However, despite not learning the girl's name, what she said to him did have a profound effect on him. Akio vowed that very moment that he would begin to take action to change himself. It saddened him to think that the last time that girl would see him was being nothing more than a pathetic mess, but at least he would attempt to become someone different.

/

When the new school year began for Akio's final year of Middle School in April of 2022, he dropped out of one of the clubs that his parents wanted him to be part of without them knowing. Instead, he began participating in acting clubs again. Akio told himself that he would begin pursuing his dream. It was his dream to become a famous actor throughout Japan similar to Mifune Toshiro or Shimura Takashi and eventually gain fame in the international spotlight. Even though achieving such dreams was a long way off, it was a good idea to dream big and work towards something like that.

In addition to acting, he wanted to participate in activities that could make him strong, so he would be able to not only protect himself but others as well. Akio wanted to be able to defend others just like that girl defended him from those bullies, and he vowed that he would be sure to become strong enough that no one would need to save him again. While Akio would be successful in fulfilling the former, he would not be so successful with the latter. Such failures would weigh heavily on Akio in times to come.

After making a few considerations, Akio decided to participate in the school's 'Rapier Club' and the 'Swimming Club.' Akio decided to participate in the 'Rapier Club' because something about that type of sword appealed to him, and he wished to gain the ability to actually wield it. He participated in the 'Swimming Club' because he knew that when people swim, they are exercising every muscle in their body. Akio believed it was the best method to gain the strength he needed to fulfill his goals.

/

Surprisingly, Akio's participation in both of those clubs was something that his parents did show support for, so he did not have to worry about them pressuring him to quit. By participating in the clubs, Akio met a few individuals who had more genuine intentions to befriend him. For starters because they participated in the same club, they had more common ground to begin friendships. A few of these friendships he formed began more as 'friendly rivalries,' which developed overtime.

During one of the swimming club meetings, Akio was approached by one of his fellow members who cheerfully greeted him, "Hey Akio!"

Akio politely returned the response, "Good afternoon Katsuaki. What's new?"

Katsuaki wasted not time to get to the point, "I was wondering if you would be interested in a challenge I have for you."

Akio asked in a curious voice, "A challenge?"

Katsuaki enthusiastically replied, "Yeah. I have noticed how much faster you have been getting while swimming your laps. Would you be interested in a race?" While what Katsuaki said to Akio might not have been much different from what Wakes said to him, Akio could tell by Katsuaki's tone that he was genuinely interested in competing against him.

Akio accepted the challenge, "You're on!"

When he participated in the clubs, Akio was far from being the best, but he did not mind that in the least since he was only a beginner. The rivalries that Akio formed would help push him to become stronger, and confident. Over the course of a few weeks it was clear that he was making progress. Akio believed as he continued to participate in the clubs, he was beginning to take the steps he needed to change himself. Unfortunately, despite the progress he believed he was making, Akio still felt he lacked the ability to actually talk to his parents and begin openly making his own decisions about his life. To become his own man, he believed he still needed an outlet that could help him truly change.

During May of 2022, Akio saw an advertisement that gave him his outlet. It was advertisement regarding the Nerve Gear, and how it would be capable of allowing the user's mind to experience things that would never be possible in the real world. Akio believed that if he were to enter these 'virtual worlds' it might be another way that could allow him to practice being someone else which could allow him to change in the real world too. Due to being the son of the CEO of RECTO Progress, Akio had the connections necessary to acquire one of the Nerve Gears. Akio would later use those connections to secure a copy of the game Sword Art Online without his parents being any the wiser until the day of the incident.

/

The Aspiring Artist

Real Name:Shinozaki Yoshio

Avatar Name: Leonardo

Age: 14 (currently) 15 (Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Parents – Unnamed Mother and Father (Both Alive)

Younger Sister – Shinozaki Aina (Alive)

Somewhere in the Japanese countryside, there was a teenager, Shinozaki Yoshio, who had brown hair that went down to his shoulders and had dark-reddish eyes. It would appear that his eye color might have influenced his favorite color to be red. It was not unusual to see Yoshio wearing red clothing. His preferred choice of clothing was not limited to the real world either. Whenever, he would play video games that allowed him to affect his character's appearances, he would have his characters wear some kind of red outfit too.

Another feature that stood out for Yoshio was the fact he had a creative mind. He enjoyed various types of activities, such as building models, writing, or painting. He also had an interest in playing video games on a causal basis. Whenever, he played MMORPGs that allowed his character to take on different roles, he would generally chose one of the supporting roles, such as being a 'blacksmith' rather than being one of the soldiers. It was Yoshio's belief that such a role was more befitting of his 'creative' personality.

While Yoshio did have his characters go on quests and fight monsters in such games in order to acquire materials, he was not one of the players that were 'in it to win it.' He was more than happy to supply the players with the tools they needed in the games for the right price. Having such a mindset would serve Yoshio well in the days following the incident. It would keep him alive for a long time, and he would meet very interesting individuals that he would provide services for. There would be two individuals in particular that he would meet who would become the 'love of his life' and his 'best friend' respectively. However, that would be for a later point in the story.

At this moment, he was with his family enjoying the Japanese custom known as Hanami, which is known as enjoying the beauty of flowers. In this case, the 'flower' generally means the cherry blossoms also known as 'Sakura.' Throughout Japan from the end of March to early May, Sakura are known to bloom, and it is a custom for families to enjoy viewing their beauty. However, Yoshio had decided to take enjoying them one step further. He was attempting to capture their beauty by drawing a picture of them.

His little sister, Shinozaki Aina, was watching in awe at her brother's talents. She said in an amazed voice, "Wow Big Brother. I never knew that you were so good at drawing. You are better than my art teacher in school."

Yoshio grinned as he respond, "I appreciate that Aina-chan."

Aina then asked her brother in a curious voice, "So how do you draw something like this? It's amazing. If we were looking at this in black and white, I would almost think we were looking at a photograph."

"You don't have to exaggerate Aina-chan. I'm not that good." Yoshio was not lying. While he was a good artist, he was certainly not as good as his sister was 'building' him up to be. After he said that, he responded, "Well to answer your question, there really isn't one answer to this, but I guess the best way to describe it is that it is 'in the wrist.' However, I guess it also requires being able to observe things and visualize them on paper. Then I try to convey what I see on paper."

Aina seemed interested in hearing more as she said, "Is there more to drawing besides that?"

Yoshio knew the answer was yes, but he was not really sure how to really explain it. He came up with the best answer that he could. Yoshio said, "Well what I said basically describes what I'm doing, but there are plenty of other things that people can do to draw."

Aina asked, "Like what?"

Yoshio had a hard time coming up with an explanation, so he was more or less coming up with it on the fly. "Well there are plenty of artists that don't necessarily look at other things when they are drawing something. They could have visualized in their mind, and they try to bring it to life by continuously attempting to draw it."

After hearing her brother describe drawing like that, she seemed to come to a realization of her own. "It's no wonder you like drawing so much. You are able to do anything you want whether it be drawing something based on what you see or creating something that comes to your mind."

Yoshio merely responded, "Well that is one reason I guess."

Aina seemed to be satisfied with that as she said, "In that case, I will let you continue drawing. After all, it's not like we are going to be here all day, and you will need time to finish. See you later."

Before Yoshio could respond to his sister's comment, she ran back to their parents' picnic area, and he was left alone to continue his drawing. Yoshio thought to himself, "Well what she said was certainly true, but it isn't just drawing that I enjoy doing. It is the idea of creating something with my own two hands. All the hard work you put into making something and feeling the pride of the final product is what matters. As far as I'm concerned, it does not matter if it is a drawing, a poem, or a model that can be created using my hands."

With that thought, Yoshio continued his drawing, and he was successful in finishing it. When he showed it to his family, they were impressed, but Yoshio acted more humble. Even though Yoshio did feel pride in his work, and he did enjoy the praise, he believed it would be for the better if he acted humble about his work. He knew that he if was too arrogant about anything he did, that it would only be a matter of time before someone would show him up with something greater. Yoshio knew full well that no matter what field he would get into that would utilize his 'creativity' it would take a long time and a lot of hard work to become the best at anything assuming that is even possible.

/

The Kindred Pet Lover

Real Name: Ayano Keiko

Avatar Name:Silica

Age: 11 (currently) 12 (Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Parents – Unnamed Mother and Father (Both Alive)

In a house that was not too far away from Yoshio's home, lived a little girl by the name of Ayano Keiko who lived with both of her parents. Keiko had brown hair that she wore in two short pigtails, and she had brown eyes to match. She had a strong will and spirit behind her adorable face. There would eventually come a point that it would become clear that despite her cute appearance, she would be someone to be reckoned with.

Before the incident, Keiko lived in a perfectly normal household, and she had no dark secrets or made any tragic mistakes in her past. She was a normal pre-teen girl who enjoyed her carefree life in the countryside. Keiko loved her parents, and she loved all kinds of animals. Her favorites were lemurs, cats, and dogs, and she would have loved to have any of them as a pet.

Her love for animals was only trumped by her love for the fantasy animals known as dragons. Luckily, Keiko was grounded enough to know that dragons were nothing more than a work of fiction, but she still loved to imagine having one as a pet. She would later find out that such ideas would not be impossible thanks to the Nerve Gear and certain games that would be released for it later that year. Knowing that such a fantasy could come true in the game Sword Art Online would be one of the many factors that would lead her to becoming one of the ten thousand players who would participate in the game's launch.

Prior to Keiko's participation in the game, her parents had recently adopted a cat that she named Pina. Keiko and her cat became 'fast friends.' Almost immediately, Keiko believed she and Pina formed a connection of sorts. The two of them were nearly inseparable, and they enjoyed every minute of each other's company. One of their moments regularly happened when Keiko would give Pina her dinner. After Keiko poured Pina's food in her bowl, Keiko laid on her stomach and watched Pina begin gobbling up her food.

While Pina was eating her supper, Keiko petted Pina's back and playfully said, "Are you enjoying your dinner Pina?"

Obviously the cat could not respond to Keiko's question, but Pina purred as she continued to eat the food in her bowl. Keiko giggled as she said, "I think I will take that as a yes."

After the cat was done eating, Pina and Keiko's foreheads touched. Keiko laughed in her childish carefree manner while Pina continued to purr. This was a playful moment of bliss for the both of them. It would be moments like this that Keiko would be missing the most.

/

The Shy but Confrontational Young Man

Real Name: Tanaka Heihachi

Avatar Name:Heihachi

Age: 15 (currently and beginning of the Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Father – Tanaka Yasuhiko (Alive)

Mother – Tanaka Orika (Alive)

Younger Brother – Tanaka Daiki (Alive)

Younger Sister – Tanaka Etsuko (Alive)

In the city of Kyoto, there was a young man by the name of Tanaka Heihachi. He had short dark hair and bluish green eyes. He had a tiny mole next to his right eye that was hardly noticeable. Heihachi appeared to have an affinity for the color blue. Some people believed that it more or less represented his more easy going and peaceful nature. If you took one look at this person, you would see someone that did not like fighting, and he was generally not the type to fight back.

As his appearance would indicate, he was a rather meek person who did not really care much for conflict, but it made him an easy target for bullies. However, if Heihachi was pushed too far, he had a tendency to become quite confrontational. It was hard to tell how you could 'push his buttons,' but if you did push them, he would become a much different person.

His confrontational side began to make itself more known after he started taking self defense classes and the incident began. Unfortunately, before that development happened, Heihachi was quite pathetic. Heihachi was actually pushed into joining the martial arts club by his best friend Keita.

The two of them were childhood friends, and they did many things together over the years. It was through Keita that Heihachi decided to become a member of their school's computer club. By joining that club, he also became friends with some of the club members who went by the names of Keita, Ducker, Tetsuo, and Sasamaru. The five of them would develop a family like bond that would remain for the rest of their days.

/

One day after Heihachi was saved yet again from several bullies by Keita, Heihachi graciously said to his best friend, "Thanks for saving me from those guys."

Keita cheerfully told Heihachi, "That's what friends do."

Heihachi responded in a somewhat depressed tone, "Yeah . . . I guess they do."

After a few moments of silence, Keita decided it would be a good idea to ask, "So how many times does that make it now?"

It took Heihachi a few moments to think about it. "I guess this is the fourth time you have helped me from a situation like that."

While Keita was not annoyed by this fact, he did point out, "Something tells me this probably will not be the last time either."

Heihachi shamefully said, "Well I . . . really want it to be."

Keita told his friend in a stern voice, "We all would, but maybe it is time for you to start taking some initiative of your own."

That caught Heihachi's attention as he asked, "Initiative? What do you mean?"

Keita explained, "I mean that maybe in addition to being in the computer club, you should join our school's martial arts club too. I'm a member of that club as well, so I know they should be able to teach you quite a few things."

Heihachi was uncertain about that idea. "I don't know. Do you really think I'm cut out for it?"

Keita shrugged as he told his friend, "Well I can't really answer that question for you. Maybe you should give it a chance and try it out for yourself."

In the end, Heihachi did take Keita's advice and decided to join the martial arts club. Unfortunately, unlike Kazuta who showed promise for martial arts, Heihachi's abilities were mediocre. While his training would allow him to put up a better fight against the bullies, he would not stand a chance against Kazuta. It did not matter that he was a year and a half her senior and almost a head taller than her. However, unlike Kazuta's martial arts club, the club that Heihachi participated in permitted weapon training.

After trying out almost every weapon available, Heihachi was finally settled for the spear. It was the only weapon he showed promise for, and something about the spear 'felt right' in his hands. In Heihachi's head, he felt that being able to use the spear would be important to him somehow in the future. He did not have any clue how it could be important, but it was his gut feeling which would unfortunately be proven right.

/

Certain aspects of Heihachi's life were not too different from either Akio's or Kazuta's. Similar to Kazuta, they were both members of their school's respective computer and martial arts clubs. With respect to Akio, they were both passive and pathetic individuals who were easy targets for bullies and needed to be saved. However, there were a number of factors that would show clear differences and would separate Heihachi from either Akio or Kazuta.

While Heihachi may not have been a strong individual, he never let someone else make decisions for him. He was still his own man, and he was happy that the decisions he made allowed him to become friends with others. There were not many people who could say they loved their friends as if they were family. While Heihachi had the pleasure and privilege of this gift for quite some time, Akio was only starting to make some real friends prior to the incident, and Akio would still be all alone when it happened.

Additionally, unlike Kazuta, Heihachi was more willing to work with members of his computer club. His friendships with Keita, Ducker, Tetsuo, and Sasamaru eventually led to such a close bond that they would ultimately stand in line together to purchase the game Sword Art Online. They were hoping that they could form a guild in the virtual world, so they could have a club in both realities. Unfortunately, while they would form a guild, it would not be under the circumstances they were hoping it would be under.

/

There was one issue that would completely separate Heihachi from Akio and Kazuta. It was the relationship he had with his family. Heihachi may have had his 'disputes' with them, but he never had any doubts that he should love them. In Akio's case, he was not certain at times if he really should love members of his own family for always trying to make him into someone he did not wish to be. Kazuta on the other had selfishly let the facts of biology dictate her actions only to regret it when it was too late.

Heihachi had an ordinary family life. He had two parents that gave him encouragement, and he had two younger siblings, a brother who was just starting middle school and a sister in elementary school.

Yasuhiko asked his son in an interested voice, "How was the martial arts club today Heihachi?"

Heihachi cheerfully answered, "It was fine father. I think I'm starting to get the hang of some of the moves they have been teaching me."

His father chuckled as he said, "That's good to hear. I'm glad things have been going well for you in the club."

Orika asked her son in a concerned voice, "You haven't been doing anything too dangerous I hope right."

Heihachi was more hesitant to answer this question, "No, not really."

After hearing the tone of her son's question, Orika inquired further, "What do you mean not really?"

Knowing how his mother was, Heihachi was a little hesitant to give an answer. "Well … I recently started to learn how to use a spear."

When her son said that, Orika was in the middle of swallowing some of her food, and she nearly choked upon hearing that part. Orika said out loud in surprise, "What?"

Heihachi's overexcited little brother, Daiki, had his own response, "Cool! Can you teach me how to use a spear?"

His sister, Etsuko, might not have been as excited as Daiki, but she was enthusiastic as well when she said, "Can you teach me too?"

Since Heihachi was not exactly a skilled spear user, but he did not want to disappoint his siblings, the situation was becoming a little awkward for him. "Well I . . ."

Luckily for Heihachi, his mother interrupted him. "No he cannot!"

Both Daiki and Etsuko were disappointed, but their father chimed in and said, "Maybe not from your brother, but you two could probably learn how to use it when you get into high school and join their martial arts club."

While that made Daiki and Etsuko feel better, his wife on the other hand said to her husband in disbelief, "Yasuhiko!"

Heihachi tried to calm his mother down, "Mom. The spear isn't real. It's just a practice spear, so I can learn new ways to defend myself."

Orika asked in a questioning voice, "When would you ever need to know how to use a spear?"

Heihachi scratched the back of his head as he responded, "I don't know, but it could come in handy sometime. It's that the point of me taking martial arts lessons, so they might be useful and hope they will never been needed."

Before Orika could say anything, Yasuhiko told his wife, "He has a point Orika."

Orika bit her lip because she was not comfortable with the idea of her son using a spear. In fact, she had been against the idea of using any kind of weapon at all, especially after witnessing an incident that involved an eleven year old boy about two years ago. What was supposed to be a quick visit to the bank ended up becoming the scene of a robbery that went south.

She had been in the bank and the robber appeared to be deciding whether or not he would shoot a pregnant teller or one of the other bank patrons. Then an eleven year old boy managed to catch the robber by surprise. The struggle resulted in the boy accidently killing the robber. She would never forget the look in that boy's face after he had taken a life, and she did not want her son to potentially do something like that as well.

Needless to say, Orika still had a few concerns to bring up before she would eventually let this issue go. The dinner conversation would continue to go on until a few them would realize that they were letting the food get cold. These conversations that Heihachi would have with his family would sometimes go longer than he would want them to, but he was happy that his family cared so much about how things were going for him. He would never take that for granted and would always be grateful for their support.

/

The Good Natured Wannabe Samurai

Real Name: Tsuboi Ryoutarou

Avatar Name:Klein

Age: 22 (currently and beginning of the Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Parents – Unnamed Mother and Father (Both Alive)

The man known as Tsuboi Ryoutaru had recently turned twenty-two years old. He enjoys wearing a red bandana on his forehead which complements his reddish brown hair and thin beard. Ryoutaru has gentle eyes that revealed his friendly nature. If anyone were to look at his eyes, they could tell that he would never be a threat to them unless they were a threat to him or anyone that he cared about.

Ryoutaru recently graduated from college, and he was moving out of his parents' home. Unlike a number of his old classmates and friends, he was set for a job shortly after his graduation. His five best friends were helping Ryoutaru move into his new home. It was certainly not going to be an easy task.

Ryoutaru met most of his friends during his high school years, and he remained in contact with them even when they went to different colleges than him. One of the primary methods they remained in contact was through MMORPGs where they would work together as a guild. Ryotaru would always take on the role as the leader of their guilds, and none of his friends questioned that idea. They always believed that he was the more 'qualified' individual to be their leader anyway.

After spending so much time socializing with each other online, his friends preferred to go by their online names Issin, Harry One, Dale, Dynamm, and Kunimittz even when they were able to interact in the real world. Apparently, they liked their online names better than their actual names. Similarly, they preferred to call Ryoutaru by his online name, Klein, as well. Ryoutaru did not mind because it was because they went by these names online that they were able to remain close friends despite being separated from each other for so long.

/

Date: Sunday, May 29, 2022

Location: Ryotaru/Klein's New Apartment

Ryotaru would be grateful for more than one reason that his friends decided to help him move into his new home. As the saying goes, 'many hands make light work.' It would be a motto that had served them well before, and it would continue to do so in the future.

As Issin was carrying a box, he called out to his friend, "Hey Klein! Where do you want me to put this?"

What Issin had in his hand was Klein's recently purchased Nerve Gear that Klein had not had the chance to open yet. Klein merely told his friend, "Just put it in the corner for now. I haven't figured out a place to put it yet."

Issin immediately complied. "Okay."

After brining a few more of his things into his new apartment his friend Dale asked, "So Klein how does it feel to be the first of us to get a job in the real world?"

Klein did not have an answer to give him other than, "It hasn't really sunk in yet. When I get used to it, I'll get back to you on it."

The one that went by the name of Kunimittz asked in a playful voice, "Now that you have a job does this mean that this mean you will be resigning as our leader of the Fuurinkazan? If so, I'll be more than happy to take up the mantle, and . . ."

Klein interrupted Kunimittz's fantasy of becoming the new leader with, "Hell no! Just because I have a job now doesn't mean I'm going to stop playing games, especially with the game that huge that is coming out later this year."

Harry One asked in a curious voice, "Do you mean Sword Art Online?"

Klein shrugged as he said, "What else could I be referring to? It's the game that has the most hype behind it after all."

Dynamm replied in a no-nonsense tone, "You shouldn't get yourself caught too much in the hype of a product because even if it is good, it might not be as great as you think it will be."

Klein responded to his friend's comment in a slightly less enthusiastic tone, "Man you really can be such a downer Dynamm you know that. I know that you're looking forward to that game too, so why are you trying to bring it down?"

Dynamm explained, "I'm just trying to prevent you from getting your expectations too high. It won't do you any good if you do."

Issin told Dynamm in a relaxed voice, "You have got to lighten up a little Dynamm you know that."

Dale said to Dynamm, "Seriously."

Kunimittz decided to ask the important question regarding the situation, "Anyway, speaking of Sword Art Online, do we have some sort of plan for when the game releases? According to the announcements the initial shipment will only be ten thousand, so it could be difficult to secure a copy."

Dynamm answered Kunimittz's question with, "Well I guess the best solution would simply get there early and wait on line."

Harry One responded in an annoyed voice, "Man that is probably going to be a pain. Between the waiting and worrying if there are going to be enough copies. I don't get why they just can't make more if they know the demand is going to be so high."

Klein countered Harry One's annoyed comments with an enthusiastic voice, "Who knows what is going through those people working in Argus. Even though waiting on that line will be a pain, I'm sure the payoff will be worth it." His friends more or less agreed with that sentiment.

In early November of 2022, Klein and his friends would be successful in securing their individual copies of Sword Art Online. They would be able to form their guild that they would refer to as Fuurinkazan. It was just unfortunate that the payoff they would be receiving from their venture would be more than they could chew.

/

The Entrepreneur

Real Name: Andrew Gilbert Mills

Avatar Name:Agil

Age: 26 (currently) 27 (Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Parents – Unnamed Mother and Father (Current Status Unknown)

Wife – Kathy Mills (Alive)

Andrew Gilbert Mills was a man of African-American ethnicity, but he was born and raised in Ueno, Tokyo. He would be described as a man massive in stature and easily towers over most people in the country. Andrew had a brown goatee, brown eyes, and wore two earrings on his left ear. His most distinctive trait was that he always shaved his head.

Prior to Andrew's birth, his parents took a liking to Japan, and they decided to make it their home. It was not long until their son was born. As he grew up, Andrew could not imagine the possibility of living anywhere other than Japan. Shortly after he completed college, he decided that he would open up his own business, and he began making preparations to make that dream a reality.

Several years later, at the age of twenty-five, Andrew was successful in opening his own business. The business was a shop-bar known as the Dicey Café was located in Okachimachi which managed to gain a substantial following. While his business would only see a handful of customers during the day, he made a majority of his business during the night. Based on the rising popularity of his establishment, most would believe that Andrew's business would flourish for years to come.

Out of all of the customers he would receive, there was one in particular that stood out to him. This customer's name was Kathy. She was a regular at the Dicey Café. While she originally came there because she enjoyed the selection that the Dicey Café had to offer, her continued patronage was due to having other desires. She had come to admire the owner of the establishment. Similar to Andrew, Kathy was not of Japanese ethnicity either.

Over the course of Kathy's many visits to the Dicey Café, she and Andrew would speak about numerous topics, but it never went further than a few friendly chats. Andrew wanted to change the friendly chats into something much more, but he was nervous to take action. However, during one of Kathy's visits to the Dicey Café, Andrew finally decided to take a chance. It would be a conversation that would ultimately lead to major changes in both their lives.

The most difficult part about conversations is finding a way to start it and give them enough momentum to keep going. It took Andrew a few moments before finally coming up with a decent line. The line he was about to say was far from the best but there were worst ways of starting a conversation.

Andrew decided to begin the conversation with a normal starting question, "So how are you doing tonight Kathy?"

Kathy gave him her standard response, "I'm doing okay." She then asked her own question, "How about you?"

Andrew confidently told her, "I can't complain. Business has been going smoothly for me, and it is not showing any signs of slowing down."

Kathy chuckled a little at his response and said, "I can see that. You must be pretty happy."

Andrew replied with a grin, "Yeah. It was my dream to run a successful establishment."

Kathy playful said to him, "So I guess you are living the dream huh?"

Andrew scratched the back of his head as he replied, "Not quite yet, but I'm sure I'll get there eventually."

After he said that, Andrew and Kathy laughed for a few moments. Then Andrew tried to move the topic of their conversation more towards the direction he wanted it to go. "I have noticed that you have been coming to my bar a lot lately."

Kathy responded in a playfully curt way. "Is that a problem? I thought you liked receiving patronage."

Andrew did not catch the 'playful' part and attempted to fix something that was not broken. "No, no that was not what I was getting at. I meant something different . . . how do I put this?"

Seeing Andrew having difficulty finding the right words was rather amusing and Kathy chuckled a little at his expense. Kathy then told Andrew, "Just take a step back, and I am sure what you want to say will come to you."

Andrew sheepishly said, "Yeah I guess you're right." After collecting his thoughts for a few moments, Andrew finally said, "I was wondering if you would like to go on a date with me next weekend?"

Kathy smiled and happily replied, "I'd love to."

When Andrew heard that response, a part of him felt like dancing. However, he was luckily able to keep himself from doing that. It would not have been a good scene if he did dance. His dancing could have turned off a decent number of patrons to his establishment. The only person that probably would not have been turned off by his dancing would have been Kathy.

What started out as an awkward attempt to have a date ultimately led to a blossoming love between Andrew and Kathy. It was not long before they formed an unbreakable bond. Eventually, they would be married. This was the perfect set up for a 'living happily ever after.' Unfortunately, that would not be the case. The unfortunate circumstances would be of no fault of their own, but they would be separated before long.

/

A Simple University Student

Real Name: Yamada Sasha

Avatar Name:Sasha

Age: 20 (currently) 21 (Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Parents – Unnamed Mother and Father (Both Alive)

Uncle – Unnamed (Alive)

Brother – Yamada Rikuto (Alive)

Sister – Yamada Chouko (Alive)

In the city of Tokyo lived a young woman by the name of Yamada Sasha. She was of average female height. While her appearance was not intimidating by any means, you could tell by the look in her eyes she had a strong spirit. Sasha had green eyes and long brown hair that was tied in a braided ponytail. It was rare for her to be seen without her trademark glasses. Without them, she would be as blind as a bat. However, her glasses seemed to be a fine representation for her intelligence.

Yamada Sasha was a hard working University student who wished to become a professor. Her siblings, Rikuto and Chouko, were eight, and Sasha had played an active role in raising them. The business her parents worked for picked up significantly around the time when Sasha was fifteen years old and her twin siblings were three. Their employers would generally have her parents travel to various destinations. Sometimes they would go overseas for several weeks.

During the time when Sasha was still a minor, her parents would make sure they received some 'supervision.' However, Sasha still acted as the primary caretaker for her twin siblings. She would be the one to cook most of the meals, and she would give them advice on how to handle certain situations. After Rikuto and Chouko were done with school, Sasha would tutor her siblings with their subjects and help them with their homework.

Due to their big sister acting as their private tutor, Rikuto and Chouko would call Sasha 'Sensei' and 'Big Sis' interchangeably. It was Sasha's goal to become a teacher after she graduated from the university, and she was confident that she would succeed. By using her siblings as 'guinea pigs' for developing her teaching skills, Sasha's confidence in her abilities had been raised substantially. Her siblings were also confident that their 'Big Sis' would be successful in her future teaching career. In fact, they already believed she was smarter than their own teachers which was probably not an exaggeration. Sasha's confidence and experience would prove to be invaluable for what would eventually happen.

While Sasha loved her siblings and training to become a teacher, she would be lying if she said that balancing her life between acting as their caretaker and handling her own responsibilities, whether it was her school work or her part-time job, was not exhausting. There were times when she was wondering how she would be able to get through the day. Sometimes she wished that she could 'escape' from her current world for a few minutes, so she could have a healthy 'stress relief.'

Sasha's exhaustion did not go unnoticed by her siblings. Seeing that their big sister generally had her hands full between taking care of them and handling her own school responsibilities, they attempted to find an activity their big sister could enjoy. They eventually came across an advertisement for the 'Nerve Gear.' It advertised that it would allow the user's mind to enjoy experiences that would never be possible in the real world. After seeing what this device could potentially do in the advertisements, they decided to bring the Nerve Gear advertisement to their sister to see if she would be interested.

When they brought the Nerve Gear to her attention, Sasha became interested in the prospect of owning one of the Nerve Gears and entering these virtual worlds. She thought to herself, "The Nerve Gear is a little pricy, but I have more than enough money saved up to purchase one. If it really is capable of what it claims to do and as good as people are saying, I think this might be worth checking out."

Shortly after she made those considerations, Yamada Sasha became the proud owner of a Nerve Gear. In the days before the incident, the games that were available for the Nerve Gear proved to be a decent outlet for Sasha on several occasions, and she did not seem as stressed out anymore. Her siblings were happy that she was enjoying their suggestion. After experiencing some of the unique aspects of virtual reality, Sasha was looking forward to the game that everyone was talking about, Sword Art Online. Based on the previews alone, she rightfully believed that this game would give her an experience that she would never be able to forget.

/

The Corporate Executive and the Housewife

Real Name: Saito Shigeru

Avatar Name:Grimlock

Age: 28 (currently) 29 (Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Parents – Unnamed Mother and Father (Both Alive)

Wife – Saito Yuko (Alive)

Real Name: Saito Yuko

Avatar Name:Griselda

Age: 27 (currently) 28 (Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Parents – Unnamed Mother (Deceased) and Unnamed Father (Alive)

Husband – Saito Shigeru (Alive)

In Tokyo, there lived a happily married couple who went by the names of Saito Yuko and Saito Shigeru. Yuko was a woman of an average build and had short brown hair that reached the middle of her neck. Her appearance gave off a friendly and welcoming aura to all those who would interact with her. Shigeru on the other hand was a relatively tall man who generally enjoyed wearing clothing that gave him a more mysterious aura, namely dark clothing and a hat. His choice of clothing complemented his short dark hair with long bangs. In addition to that, he also wears dark glasses which add to that 'mysterious aura.'

The two of them had met during college and fell in love. They dated for several years before finally getting married about three years earlier. During their time as a married couple, Yuko had taken on the role of the housewife while her husband, Shigeru worked at a technology company. Due to his finances, they are living in a rather luxurious apartment.

Through Shigeru's connections, his career was able to take an early leap forward in the corporate world. Within a few years, he was already a corporate executive in the company he worked for. This job provided more than enough money to support both himself and his wife. Yuko on the other hand did not have a career or occupation to call her own even though she wanted one.

Despite what she wanted, Shigeru managed to convince her to continue her role as a housewife. He had always been the more 'superior' one in their relationship, and Yuko was always willing to follow what Shigeru told her. Shigeru saw Yuko as the 'perfect housewife' because she was 'cute and obedient.' She never spoke out of turn, and she always listened to what he had to say for better and worse.

On an ordinary day after her husband would return from a long day at work, Yuko would happily tell her husband in a soft voice, "Dinner is almost ready Shigeru-sama."

Shigeru would happily respond, "It smells delicious. I can see you put a lot of effort into making this for me."

Yuko would happily respond, "Yes I did. I hope you will enjoy it."

Shigeru would then pleasantly chuckle, "I'm sure I will."

While Yuko was happy with her life, there were many times in her life she felt unfulfilled. Yuko knew that it was not 'necessary' for her to work due to her husband's occupation as a corporate executive. However, she felt that not having an occupation of her own made her feel uneasy, and she should be more than a housewife. She felt like she needed a change of some kind. The only thing that was stopping her from taking some initiative was listening to what her husband had to say.

One of the activities that Yuko would do in her free time to help fill some of the void in her life was to spend some time participating in the virtual reality games using the Nerve Gear. When the Nerve Gear was released, the two of them waited in line for hours, and they were lucky enough to purchase one of the last copies in the initial shipment. The couple hoped that when games, such as Sword Art Online, were released, they could go on adventures together. In the meantime, Yuko would play what was available, and a few of those games would prove to be surprisingly useful to her later on.

When the incident would happen, there would be changes waiting for both Yuko and Shigeru whether they liked it or not. Neither of their lives would ever be the same again. In fact, anyone who knew them saw what the game did to those two, they would be surprised by how much the two of them would be changed by the events that were going to unfold before them.

/

Dying for Love

Real Name: Koga Kaori

Avatar Name:Kira

Age: 18 (currently) 19 (Sword Art Online incident)

Koga Kaori was an average girl who did not have an appearance that really stood out. She had orange-brownish hair that reached a few inches past her neck that she would occasionally tie into either a bun or a ponytail. Her eye color matched the color of her hair too. Generally she would have this peaceful look on her face, however, if she would become angry her face was something that could be considered rather 'frightening.' It would be a look that she would eventually be giving off more often than not.

She was a girl who recently had her heartbroken. When she finished high school, she and her boyfriend broke up because they would be going to different colleges. Kaori was fine with it at first because she understood the logic that they would not be able to maintain a long distance relationship. However, the heartbreaking moment came when she found out that her boyfriend began dating this new girl less than two weeks later. That revelation was shocking for her to say the least.

Apparently, her boyfriend met this girl during the school's orientation, and they had a lot of 'chemistry.' However, despite his attraction to this girl, he did not cheat on Kaori. Before he began dating this new girl, he wanted to officially break up with Kaori, so there would be no 'issues.' Unfortunately, while this plan might not have been the worst, it certainly did not work out the way he hoped.

Kaori could not help but sadly think to herself, "So I guess I am easily replaced huh?"

Her depression from the news caused her to turn to video games. She participated in a variety of games, including MMORPGs and 'socialize' with various people. Kaori thought, "I guess by playing these games, I could form relationships with others without really needing to worry about forming any kind of attachment to them. That will definitely make things easier."

Before the Sword Art Online incident, Kaori was a relatively decent person. She did not try to trouble others, and she would keep to herself. However, the game world would have a profound effect on her. It would make her into someone no one would recognize. Unfortunately, it would not be for the better.

/

Samurai Brothers

Real Name: Oshiro Masa

Avatar Name:Gorobei

Age: 16 (currently) 17 (Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Biological Family – All Unnamed (All Deceased)

Sworn Brother – Kikuchi Taiki (Alive)

Real Name: Kikuchi Taiki

Avatar Name:Kikuchiyo

Age: 16 (currently) 17 (Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Biological Family – All Unnamed (All Deceased)

Sworn Brother – Oshiro Masa (Alive)

Although Oshiro Masa and Kikuchi Taiki were not blood related, they acted like brothers, and they did share a few features such as both having dark hair and blue eyes. However, there were a number of contrasting features between the two. Oshiro Masa had much longer hair that if someone was to approach him from behind, it would not be too unusual to mistaken him for a girl, but his facial appearance would make it quite clear what his gender was. He was of average height that would not intimidate anyone. Kikuchi Taiki on the other hand was what some people could describe as being the 'big guy.' Even though Taiki's build was not as big as Andrew, Taiki was more than a head taller than the average height of people his age. However, despite his huge size, he was more of a 'gentle giant.'

Both Oshiro Masa and Kikuchi Taiki were roommates who were entering their second year in their local high school, and the two of them were best friends. However, they actually thought of each other more as brothers than best friends because they considered the other to be the closest thing they ever had to family throughout their lives. While Masa and Taiki lacked any blood relation, they had grown up together in the same orphanage.

While growing up in the orphanage, they did almost everything together. They shared a number of interests, which included watching a number of movies together. Every Saturday Night, the orphanage would have movie night. Of all the movies, Masa and Taiki had seen, there was one movie that stood out in particular in their mind. The movie was the classic, Seven Samurai, which is generally considered to not only be one if not the best movies ever produced in Japan, but throughout the world. It was produced in the 1950s and it was over three hours long. However, despite the film's incredible length, the two of them never felt bored watching this classic work of art.

The influence the movie had on them transferred to whenever they played video games. Oshiro Masa would go by the name Gorobei because he liked the fact the Gorobei in the movie was a skilled archer while also having talent in close range combat. Masa also liked how Gorobei was the second in command of Kambei's group, and he hoped that he could become a high ranking and respected member of his archery club. Kikuchi Taiki would use the name Kikuchiyo partly because the only difference in their names were the 'yo,' and the fact that Kikuchiyo was his favorite character. It led Taiki to watch a number of other movies Kikuchiyo's portrayer, Tofine Mifune, which was a pretty extensive resume.

Despite not having any parents to raise them and only having each other to look out for one and another, both Masa and Taiki grew up to be young men who seemed to have promising futures. Both of them always worked hard, and they would get high grades in their various school subjects. The two of them were both the best of friends and also the best of rivals when it came to academic success. Additionally, they were good at balancing their school lives with their extracurricular activities. Masa was part of the school's archery club, and Taiki worked part-time at a local daycare.

/

From an early age archery was always something that Oshiro Masa enjoyed, and he wished to become skilled enough to become the best member of his club. Unfortunately, while Masa did prove to have a rather high proficiency in using the bow, his abilities were not enough to make him the best. Similar to anyone else, when he started in the club, he was at the bottom, and he had been working his way up. While he was able to climb up the ranks, his efforts were not enough to get him into the top five let alone the top position.

It frustrated Masa that regardless of how much hard work he put into improving his abilities that he could not seem to catch up to the other members of the team. Although, despite his frustrations of always falling short in archery skills, he never let it cause problems with the team. Masa would accept his 'defeats' like a man, and he accepted that his opponents were better than him 'for now.' While Masa still hoped that he would soon be able to outdo them in the near future, his confidence was not at a high point.

During moments like this, he would use video games as a 'release' for his frustrations. Due to being a member of the archery club, he needed to 'release' his frustrations quite often. Luckily for him, there were a number of games that allowed him to take on the role as an archer. In those games, his 'efforts' bore more fruit. Whenever, he would participate in online virtual tournaments, he would be the winner. Masa just wished that he could replicate that success in the real world too.

/

Kikuchi Taiki was what some could describe as being a 'friend to all children.' He really enjoyed working at the daycare and spending time with the various kids who he took care of. Taiki would develop such a relationship with these kids that some of them would even go as far as calling him "Big Brother." Since Taiki always wanted to have a younger brother or sister to call him that, he was more than happy the kids felt that connection with him.

However, while he was good with kids, he was not so good with handling women. When it came to talking to women, Taiki is incapable of speaking to women who are around his age. Some of the kids had big sisters and when Taiki would try talking to them, the situation would get a little awkward to say the least. Luckily for Taiki that was not a problem that he had to deal with too often, but he knew that he would need to work on it.

In addition to those occasional awkward situations, there was another one part of the job Taiki disliked. This part happened at the end of the day when all the children would go home. It was not only because the children would be leaving to go home, but it would be seeing the children had someone to take them home. Whenever he would see the parents or guardians of the various children he had helped take care of for the past few hours pick up their children, Taiki could not help but feel a little jealous. Throughout his life, he had never had anyone do that for him. When he was in the orphanage with Masa, there was no one to claim them or would want to claim them. They were always on their own.

It was for this reason that Taiki valued his friendship with Masa above all else. They did almost everything together whether it be studying, going to the beach, or playing video games. If it were not for Masa, Taiki probably never would have been into video games. While he did enjoy playing them once in a while and playing alongside Masa, Taiki did not have the 'natural gamer' abilities that Masa has, but he still had a fun time participating in them.

However, in addition to video games providing entertainment value, they allowed Taiki to practice speaking to various girls. In certain social type games, he was able to build up his confidence when he tried talking to them. Since Taiki would probably never meet any of them in the real world, he figured that he had nothing really to lose to talk to them and risk screwing up. Unfortunately, when the incident happened, those ideas did not apply anymore, and it would force Taiki to make a few changes in more ways than one.

/

Date: Thursday, June 30, 2022

Location: Masa and Taiki's room

It was the end of yet another day for Masa and Taiki as they returned home from their respective days. Neither one of them had been making a lot of progress with their real world issues. Unfortunately, it did not seem like either their problems would be settled anytime time soon.

Taiki was the first of the two to get home, so he welcomed his friend home after his return. He then asked Masa, "So how did the archery club go for you today Masa? Did you make it to the starting lineup?"

Masa responded in a disinterested tone, "I didn't make the cut."

The look in Taiki's face dropped when he heard that. He tried to comfort his friend by telling him, "I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm sure that you will be successful next time."

Masa did not share Taiki's optimism, "I wouldn't be too sure about that?"

While Taiki could understand Masa's pessimism, he tried to boost Masa's spirits with, "Why? I've seen how you have practiced, and I'm sure you will eventually prove yourself to be better than any of the other players."

Masa smiled a little after Taiki said that, but he still responded with, "That might happen but right now the odds are not in my favor. They only accept the top five for starting positions. While those three positions are filled by seniors who will leave next year, there are still quite a few others in my year who are better than me. It seems regardless of how hard I practice, my progress still falls short."

Taiki was not really sure what to say after hearing that, so he responded with, "Is that so? That must be pretty frustrating then."

"Yeah it is really is." There was an awkward silence in the room before Masa decided to change the subject, and said, "So how about you? Have you managed to get over your own problems yet?"

Taiki asked in a voice that indicated he was not completely comfortable talking about this. "You mean my problem with talking to women?"

Masa responded in a playfully sarcastic voice, "What other problem could I be talking about you knucklehead?"

Taiki chuckled for a few moments before responding, "No I have not been making much progress in that area at all."

Masa cheerfully responded, "That's disappointing to hear, but it is hardly surprising." The two friends exchanged a good laugh with one another.

Taiki then proposed, "Since neither one of us appear to be making any progress in our problems, do you want to blow off some frustration in the virtual world?"

Masa was actually going to propose the same idea himself, and he was a little surprised to hear his friend suggest it first. However, he was still onboard to go along with that idea. Masa enthusiastically responded, "Definitely."

Taiki grinned as he said, "Then let's go."

Before they put on their Nerve Gears Taiki told his friend, "Just so you know. Things might not look great now, but always try to look ahead. I'm sure things will turn around soon enough as long as you stick to it."

Masa responded, "I hope so."

Taiki said in a confident voice, "I know so."

/

The Non-Walking Master

Real Name: Kudo Tomomi

Avatar Name:Delano

Age: 17 (currently) 18 (Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Mother – Kudo Mary (alive)

Father – Kudo Hachiro (deceased)

Kudo Tomomi had what some would be described as having a 'scarred appearance' both figuratively and literally. He had three scars on his face. There was one jagged scar that went down the left side of his face. He had another that cut into his right eyebrow. If it was any further down, Tomomi most likely would have lost his right eye. The final scar was on his right cheek that began a few inches from his lip and ended right by his right ear which was partly nicked. In addition to his facial scars, Tomomi had several other scars on his body that were not visible while he wore his clothes.

He was a person who had a mixed heritage, half Japanese and half American. He received his Japanese blood from his father, and his American blood came from his mother. Luckily for Tomomi, he was able to avoid discrimination from his classmates due to having dark hair and resembling his father more than his mother. He also generally avoided bringing his friends back to his home because he wanted to avoid them meeting his mother unless he was absolutely certain he could trust them.

However, he was not ashamed of being a half-blood. In fact he did feel a sense of pride of having both nationalities in his blood, and he did his best to keep up with both Japanese and American culture. Although, Tomomi did feel a sense of relief that he resembled his father more. Tomomi was afraid if he resembled his mother, it would lead to him being ostracized as he knew it was not unusual for children with mixed heritage to be less than warmly welcomed in society.

In school, Tomomi proved to be extremely popular. There were a lot of girls who were 'more' than interested in him, and there were a fair number of guys who admired him as well. During middle school and his first two high school years, he was seen as the 'Ace.' This was due to him having excellent grades, and being one if not the most talented baseball and football, which is known as soccer in North America, players of his year.

Due to his fellow students thinking of him as being an 'Ace,' they often misperceived him as being someone who always had these talents. Tomomi had always practiced extremely hard like any other player on the teams, but he tended to push himself even further. He earned that title of being an 'Ace' through old fashion hard work that paid off. Unfortunately, what happened to him prior to his third year would be something that no amount of hard work could ever hope to undo.

During the Spring Break that occurred before Tomomi would begin his third year of high school he was taking a mini-vacation with his parents. He was traveling with his mother, Kudo Mary, and father, Kudo Hachiro, to visit some relatives on his father's side of the family. It was going to be a 'lovely family reunion,' but there was a problem. Due to his father's busy schedule, his wife had decided to drive them to the reunion while he could sleep on the way there. She decided to drive them, but there was a problem she did not consider.

Mary had been meaning to have the car checked for maintenance purposes, but it had slipped her mind. However, the car seemed fine before they began their trip. Unfortunately, using this car proved to be a most tragic mistake because the brakes were on the verge of a malfunction. When she was driving the car, the brakes failed. Due to the faulty brakes, the car ran a red light, and they collided with several cars in the road.

The final result of the accident was her husband's death and her own son becoming paralyzed from the waist down. Needless to say, Tomomi was no longer seen as the 'Ace' anymore, and he lost any chance of ever having a scholarship or being a professional athlete. According to the doctors, it is unlikely that he would ever be able to regain full use of his legs. While there was a unique surgery that could help him it was in the experimental stages, it was too expensive and possibly life threatening if it went wrong.

/

Between losing his father, the loss of his legs, and having his face scarred, Tomomi's popularity in his school went down the toilet. Not having a feasible method to regain the use of his legs, Tomomi would be best described as a 'broken' young man. Understandably, it made him an extremely bitter person. However, unlike some bitter people he did not go out of his way to make things hard on others. Instead, he simply avoided talking to others and kept to himself. Although to be fair, no one went out of their way to befriend or comfort him at school either.

The only thing he still had that was worth anything was his mind, and he was still able to maintain his grades. In fact, his grades were even better than before. Since Tomomi figured he had nothing better to do, he would remain in the school's library to study rather than going anywhere else or returning home. He preferred to avoid going home until it was almost time for the last train ride. Whenever he did go home, he refused to speak to his mother. He blamed her for everything that happened, and she knew that it was true that this was all her fault. As far as she was concerned, her son had every right to hate her.

As a result of not having any other alternatives, his mother attempted to find something that could help her son cope with his condition out of atonement for her actions. One of which included buying him a Nerve Gear that became available two months following the accident. It would allow him to experience virtual reality, and she was hoping that something about this would give him the ability to walk on his own two feet again even if it was a false reality.

When she returned from the video game store, she handed Tomomi a package, and he bitterly asked her, "What is this?"

She replied in a cheerful voice, "It's called the Nerve Gear."

The bitterness in Tomomi's voice did not go away as he told her, "I know what this is specifically. I haven't been living under a rock you know. I have seen this advertised, and I am aware of a number of the games that are coming out for it this year, but I want to know 'what this is?'" His voice was becoming angrier by the moment, "Is this supposed to be your sad attempt at trying to make things better after everything you did to father and me?"

Mary could not find the words to say to her son as she tried to respond, "Well I . . ."

Tomomi rudely interrupted his mother before she could say anything else. "Just so you know, there is nothing that could possibly make up for what happened? There is nothing you can do to make things right."

His mother sadly responded, "I know Tomomi. I know. My carelessness cost us everything. There are a few things in this world that can never be set right, but I'm trying to do what I can to make things better. I'm really trying." Tears were beginning to roll down her face as she was talking to him.

Seeing that his mother was being sincere in her intentions, Tomomi told her, "Despite everything, I do appreciate that you are attempting to at least do something for what you have done. I accept the gift, but don't think this means I forgive you. Don't ever assume that."

"I understand. I'm sorry." Mary handed Tomomi the packaged Nerve Gear and walked away. The tears in her eyes welled up and they rolled down her face again as she walked away.

As he saw his mother walk sadly walk away Tomomi bitterly thought to himself, "I want to forgive you. I truly do, but I just can't. After everything that happened, I just can't bring myself to forgive you. If I forgive you now, I feel that I would be letting you off the hook too easily. For costing me my father's life and my legs, you will need to do much more to atone."

Shortly afterwards, Tomomi began making extensive use of the Nerve Gear. Every game he experienced in virtual reality gave him the sense that he was alive. In the virtual reality world, he was able to use his legs again. While he knew they were not his real legs, it still felt as if he was experiencing the real thing. Being able to move on his own again without the need of a wheelchair or needing someone to carry him felt like a dream come true.

His experiences in virtual reality made him look forward to the upcoming release of Sword Art Online which promised to be an extensive virtual world. Based on all the information that was released, it would almost seem like a world that he could live in. He had every intention of using every bit of his free time practically living in the game. As if someone was listening to his desires, he was one of the thousand players chosen to participate in the Beta Test for Sword Art Online during the summer of 2022.

Needless to say, he was more than happy to take part, and the experience was every bit as exciting as he hoped it would be. After the servers were open for the Beta Test, he spent a few hundred hours in the game. He considered those few hundred hours a warm up for when he planned to practically live in that game after its official launch in November. While he may not have had as much experience in these types of games beforehand, the time he spent in this game allowed him to be 'adaptable.'

The amount of time he spent in the game did not go unnoticed by his mother. While his mother was concerned about the amount of time he had spent on the Nerve Gear, she never attempted to speak to him about it. She believed that she was the last person who had the right say anything like that to him. After all, she was the reason why he would feel so attached to the virtual world in the first place. She was the reason why he even needed an outlet in the first place. His mother believed if she interfered in his life now, he would have even more of a reason to hate her.

/

The Man of a Different Story

Real Name: Kikuoka Seijrou

Avatar Name:Chrysheight

Age: Unknown

Family:

Biological Family – All Unnamed (Status Unknown)

Close Colleague – Aki Natsumi (Alive)

A tall man with gray hair, brown eyes, and glasses was leaving the game store. If someone were to see him from behind, they might assume he was an old man, but if they saw his face, they could clearly see that he was much younger. It was rather difficult to correctly guess just how old this man could be. However, this man was old enough to have made some important connections and to know many facts that most people would not have any access to.

The man's name was Kikuoka Seijrou, and he had purchased a copy of the Nerve Gear. However, unlike other people who were successful in purchasing the initial shipment of the Nerve Gear for reasons such as having fun or being able to pretend to be someone different, this man had different ideas in mind. In his mind, the Nerve Gears and virtual reality had the potential to serve an even greater purpose than entertainment.

Whether people could describe the plans he had for the future as being either good or bad for the future, there was one things most could agree with. His intentions and ideas for utilizing virtual reality would certainly be one of the least evil ones that a number of players would soon be encountering. He believed that if he conducted any 'evil actions,' they would be the 'necessary evil' to accomplish something greater and worthwhile. Kikuoka Seijrou wished for his actions to result in something that could be beneficial to the human race.

On the day that the Nerve Gear was released, he was one of the people to acquire his own copy of the Nerve Gear. As he was leaving the store, an excited young teenage girl who had purchased her own copy of the Nerve Gear accidently ran into him in her pure excitement of acquiring the device. The girl was Kirigaya Kazuta.

After she bumped into Kikuoka, she immediately apologized, "I'm sorry sir."

Kikuoka politely responded, "It's not a problem young lady. I see that you just purchased the Nerve Gear, so I can understand you are a little 'overexcited' about having it."

Kazuta noticed that he was carrying a Nerve Gear too. "I see you bought the Nerve Gear too. Are you excited to have one?"

Kikuoka smiled as he answered, "Indeed. It should prove to be quite an interesting experience."

Kazuta curiously asked him, "Are you looking forward to any games in particular?"

Kikuoka responded in a courteous manner, "Besides the upcoming Sword Art Online, none of the other games catch my interest in particular. However, I may give a few of them a try in order to pass the time until the main attraction."

Kazuta chuckled as she replied, "I figured as much. Everyone is waiting for that game."

"That would seem to be the case." Kikuoka then noticed that one of his colleagues were waiting for him. "Well it would appear I need to be going now. It was a pleasure making your acquaintance."

"Okay. Sorry for bumping into you again." With that, Kazuta ran into the distance carrying her purchased Nerve Gear.

When Kazuta was no longer within ear shot of the stranger he chuckled to himself. "It appears you share the same love of technology your parents once had for it. I see the apple truly does not fall far from the tree Kirigaya Kazuta-chan."

He could not help but smile as he saw her continue to walk away, "I am looking forward to seeing what you are capable of in the future Kazuta-chan. Perhaps you may prove to be a useful asset to me in the future."

/

The Creator

Real Name: Kayaba Akihiko

Avatar Name: Currently Undecided by User

Age: 28 (Currently) 29 (Sword Art Online incident)

Family:

Biological Family – All Unnamed (Status Unknown)

Love Interest – Koujiro Rinko (Alive)

With the successful launch of the Nerve Gear and anticipation of Sword Art Online being high, Kayaba Akihiko and his subordinate who he referred to by the name of Hideyoshi were busy deciding who should be selected as the one thousand Beta Testers for the game. Kayaba Akihiko had his methods of finding out who had purchased the Nerve Gear. He knew some 'interesting' individuals, such as Kudo Tomomi, Oshiro Masa, and Kirigaya Kazuta, were among the first ones to possess a NerveGear.

Kayaba Akihiko had his methods of obtaining information on a number of the Nerve Gear owners, especially Kazuta. He had kept an eye on her development for the past few years. Kayaba was aware that she had managed to hack into the National Registery and found out about her adoption. Even though Kayaba would have been fine if Kazuta had chosen a different path, he was pleased to see that she appeared to be going down the same route as her parents.

One particularly interesting subject was regarding a 'request' they received from Tokyo Metropolitan Matsuzawa Hospital, a well known mental hospital in Japan. The hospital had requested they allow one of their patients to take part in the Beta Test for the sake of an experiment. It was a request that neither Hideyoshi nor Kayaba Akihiko were taking lightly.

Hideyoshi went through the request and the file and told Kayaba in an unsure voice, "It sounds like the request is reasonable. While it is true that Sword Art Online could help the patient, we cannot be certain what prolong exposure into the game could possibly do to him. He could possibly put other players in jeopardy."

Kayaba Akihiko seemed to strongly consider this potential problem too. He continued to ponder about the issue for a few moments before finally speaking. "That could be the case. However, as you know in Sword Art Online, it will be their new reality. As in any reality, there will always be someone who may not be 'mentally' fit. In a world such as Sword Art Online, I believe it will bring about both the best and the worst in the players. I would be most interested in finding out what it brings out in a player like this assuming he decides to become a player after the Beta Test. Would you not be interested as well Hideyoshi?"

With great reluctance, Hideyoshi could not help but admit, "It would be interesting to observe what the ultimate result will be."

Kayaba then asked, "Then we are in agreement? You will not have any issue with him being one of our Beta Testers."

Hideyoshi responded, "No sir. However, would you mind if we move on to the next potential candidate."

Kayaba could see that Hideyoshi wished to change the topic immediately, so he replied in his normal stoic voice, "Very well."

Hideyoshi then turned to a file that displayed the picture of Kudo Tomomi. "I believe the one known as Kudo Tomomi would be a prime candidate as a Beta Tester because he would definitely appreciate the world you created Kayaba-sama. According to our research, he spends an exceedingly high amount of time playing in various virtual world games. In all likelihood, he would attempt to live up to the fullest in your world."

It did not take long for Kayaba to consider this possible candidate. "Indeed he would. A once promising young man who was stripped of everything he worked so hard for and the death of his father due to an unfortunate blunder on his mother's part. The odds of him becoming one of the best players in the game are exceedingly high if his recent behavior is brought into consideration. I believe he will make a fine Beta Tester."

Hideyoshi asked in an interested tone, "Will you want me to keep a special eye on him?"

Kayaba replied, "I would appreciate it if you would. I am expecting interesting results from this young man."

"Consider it done. Then let's move on to the next candidate." Hideyoshi then moved to files that had information on Kirigaya Kazuta. "According to the data, Kirigaya Kazuta is an owner of a Nerve Gear and made extensive use of it as well. Shall we make her a Beta Tester?"

Without hesitation Kayaba answered his subordinate's question, "That was never a question to begin with."

Hideyoshi replied, "I see. Then I will send her the invitation then."

Kayaba immediately responded, "It has already been done, and she has accepted."

Without a hint of surprise in his voice, Hideyoshi remarked, "I should have expected that from you."

Kayaba then decided to slightly alter the conversation by saying, "I see that Suzuki-san's daughter is thirteen years old now."

Once again Hideyoshi was not surprised that his superior knew that bit of trivia without needing to look at the file. "That is correct. Her fourteenth birthday is not until October. I take it that you have been keeping an eye on her."

Kayaba replied in an emotionless tone, "Indeed. I have been observing her development, and I believe she is truly capable of utilizing the potential her parents once had. I can see that leaving her in the care of Kirigaya Midori was indeed the correct choice. Similar to Kubo-san, I believe she will utilize the game to its fullest, and she will most likely pre-order the game."

Hideyoshi knew exactly what Kayaba was talking about. "In that case, I suppose it will be fortunate for her that that her birthday will be a few weeks before the release of Sword Art Online."

"It is for her. It would be a shame if she was forced to miss her own birthday. It could very well be the last one she will experience in this world." While Kayaba maintained his stoic voice, there were a few moments, when a 'hint' of emotion seemed to slip in if only slightly.

Hideyoshi thought to himself, "He almost sounds guilty that Kazuta-chan is one of the more likely ones that will be playing his game." He asked in an interested tone, "I take it that you would want her to complete the game when the time comes correct?"

Kayaba replied, "If she is the one that completes the game, I would consider it both ironic and fitting. I would actually be quite pleased if that is the ultimate result. Even if she is not the one who will win, there is little doubt in my mind that the results she will provide in the game will pique my interest."

While Kayaba did not show any noticeable emotion in his voice, the 'subtle gestures' indicated that he appeared to genuinely want that to happen. He would indeed keep an eye on Kazuta's progress. However, he had no intention of treating her any differently than any other player that would be entering his game. She would still have to work to earn his respect, but the difference between her and the others players was that Kayaba was certain that she eventually would.

/

Omake:

Kirita: Well this chapter provided a lot of background information for a number of characters wouldn't you agree Akio?

Akio: Yeah, but the ones that received the greatest amount of attention were you and me. While the amount of information we learned about other characters varied from only being a handful to being extensive. Do you think other readers will be upset by that?

Kirita: Maybe, maybe not. I know there were some back stories some readers might want to know more about, but the two of us are labeled as being the main characters of this story. As a result, the readers should be expecting to see us get more development. Besides, the other characters will receive more development and characterization when they interact with either you or me, or they receive their 'day in the limelight.' This chapter and a few other chapters in the near future are more or less meant to give you a 'taste' of that.

Akio: Well I guess that makes sense. I suppose at this point it would be difficult to give to many characters a thorough back story so early in the story. However, I also get the feeling the author probably wanted to include more characters in this.

Kirita: That is also correct, but after thinking of the first bunch of characters another bunch came to the author's mind. Unfortunately, it became a little too crowded, so additional characters who may get introduced later on will receive a 'belated back story' later on.

Akio: I see. On that note, I do realize that quite a few details of certain character back stories either received massive alterations or expansions.

Kirita: Yeah I wonder if the readers noticed and liked the alterations and expansion that were made to certain characters back stories. I mean for one thing, the author decided to give characters, such as Grimlock and Griselda actual names in the real world.

Akio: Well I'm pretty certain they noticed them, and I would hope for the sake of this story that they liked them. I would probably say giving names to some of those characters was justified since I don't think canon actually reveals what their real names were, and unlike Sachi or Heihachi, the author was under the Grimlock and Griselda were their exclusive game names. However, when it comes to the other back story changes, I have to wonder why the author went through the trouble to provide those details or make those change ups in the first place.

Kirita: I think the answer is pretty obvious. Knowledgeseeker66 wants to make it clear that "The Kirita Chronicles" will offer a completely alternate take on the original light novel. It is a story that will simultaneously go in a parallel and in different directions to the original storyline. As long as readers stick to this story, they will see that the gender differences and other alterations will matter. Knowledgeseeker66 has plans on how they will have effects on the storyline, including events that were merely referenced or did not happen at all. Additionally, it could even have an effect on who lives or dies in Sword Art Online.

Akio: Basically, in the way that some fanfictions offer 'what if' scenarios similar to how Knowledgeseeker66's "Fairy Dance Alternate" offers a switch between Sugou capturing Kirito instead of Asuna, you could say that this story will offer multiple 'what if' scenarios, such as we might see certain characters lived in canon might die in this story and possible vice versa.

Kirita: Correct. In this case, I guess one of the 'what ifs' would be, 'what if a female Kirito met a male Asuna at certain points before the Sword Art Online incident.'

Akio: That is pretty specific 'what if' scenario, but I get what you mean. In my case, it would lead to me wanting to make changes to myself months before being trapped in Sword Art Online. Additionally, it also led me deciding to buy the Nerve Gear to further my resolve to change rather than borrowing the Nerve Gear from a sibling and making the decision to change myself after I have been trapped in the game.

Kirita: Should I be apologizing for that?

Akio: No not at all. I was pretty pathetic beforehand.

Kirita: Yeah that's true. Based on the written material for the next chapter, that will further enhance more 'what ifs' because I will be meeting with plenty of other characters in the Beta Test who my male canon counterpart probably didn't meet. This will further affect my interactions with them or their views of me during the actual incident. I suppose it would basically reduce at least some of the readers' knowledge of later parts of the series to being moot in certain cases.

Akio: I can't wait to see how that turns out.

Kirita: Yeah me neither. So I guess on this note, I will announce what will happen in the next chapter. It looks like the next chapter will go into something that other fanfiction stories probably haven't gone into much detail. Next time I will be participating in the 'Sword Art Online Beta Test.' I hope you will enjoy it.

/

Author Notes: What did you guys think of the changing up and/or expansions of certain characters back stories along with the introduction of certain original characters? I hope you enjoyed them. Writing this story has been a lot of fun, and I can only hope that you are having fun reading this story as well. It will be great to continue producing more chapters for this story along with my other fanfiction stories.

As you can see this chapter featured numerous, 'second episode' introduction characters. While I began writing 'The Kirita Chronicles,' I figured that it would be a good idea to not only provide information on not only Kirita and Akio's lives prior to the Sword Art Online incident, but I should provide some insight for several of the other characters who would be trapped too. Since Kirita and Akio are the main characters of this story, they would receive the greatest focus. These little snippets were meant to give some initial characterization to the other characters both canon and original.

For the characters that were introduced in this chapter, you can expect a number of them, such as Sasha, Griselda, Gorobei, Kikuchiyo, and Delano, to be reoccurring characters throughout the story. As I mentioned before, while I do plan on a number of events that happened in canon to happen in somewhat altered ways, there will be plenty of original events that will cause great divergences. A few of these original events will be triggered because of Kirita being female. At the end of this story, you can expect the final results to have some similarities while having more than a fair number of differences. You will have to wait and read what those differences will ultimately end up being, but I think you will enjoy them when the story reaches those points.

Several of the back stories may not necessarily be the most interesting. However, I was under the impression that a majority of the players had fairly 'normal' lives that did not all necessarily involve tragedy. It would be crazy if all the players had darks pasts or lost loved ones. There had to be a few that started out more 'whole' than others. For a few of the characters, I used tidbits of the information I had from the 'character interviews,' such as Silica having a cat named Pina. I made up a few back stories for canon characters, such as giving Sasha a younger brother and sister. The only thing we really know about Sasha is that she is a University student, but since she seems to be good with children, I decided to explain that by giving her experience in that category. Similar to canon, you can expect that to come in handy and be a plotline.

When I was writing this chapter, I did have some initial plans to introduce even more characters than this, but after a while it became a few too many for me. There will be a number of characters who will be introduced after the incident begins, and they will receive some background and characterization as the story continues. During the story, you can probably expect for there to be a few flashbacks.

As some of you have read, there are a fair number of Seven Samurai references. Originally, I only planned on having a male Sachi renamed to Heihachi and that would be it for using names from that movie. However, during the planning of this story, I knew that I wanted to create a few original characters to represent some of the additional players trapped in Sword Art Online. Then I figured the names of a few of the other samurai were perfectly good avatar names that could help represent certain characteristics to develop in these characters.

I originally gained a liking for the film Seven Samurai when I watched the steampunk anime adaptation Samurai Seven on the resurrected Toonami block. When I found out it was loosely 'based/adopted' from a classic foreign film, it piqued my interest. If you wish to find out some more information regarding the names and other trivia regarding the characters of this story along with other facts of this story, I recommend you visit the topic page for "The Kirita Chronicles" on the Sword Art Online fanfiction forum "SAO Fandom Nexus."

Be sure to check out the poll that is available on my profile. I definitely would like to hear your thoughts on which reoccurring characters you will be looking forward to seeing more of in the future. In addition to that, I also hope that you would leave a review. I greatly appreciate the feedback.