Black Cats Survival
Chapter One: Saved
Hey, Forsaken Angel BlackWing here! Any of you that followed my original ESR and its KiriSachi branch will probably get the pun in this story's name.
Anyway, this is one of those classic "What if this happened?" stories. You probably already know based on the summary, but I'll give you a better one just in case.
What if Kirito had stopped the Black Cats before they entered the trap room? What would they think of him after he explained himself?
Okay, so it really wasn't that much better, but whatever. It still gets the point across.
Oh, and this is a KIRISACHI story! One of my all-time favorite pairings, and not just in SAO!
And I'm sorry about the short chapter length, but I'm going to make the rest of the story have longer chapters to make up for it!
That's about it!
See ya at the bottom!
June 14th, 2023
«Aincrad» floor 32
«Ralston's Tavern», southern «Polaris»
As I sat in a booth at the diner, sipping at my drink, I absentmindedly thought, I had no idea you could become an alcoholic so easily in this game. What's worse, I can apparently hold an impossible amount of liquor… it's gonna be a while before I get drunk enough to pass out.
I thought back to two days ago, when this whole mess began.
"Okay, I'm heading out!" Keita said happily. He then turned to the «Teleport Gate» and said, "Teleport: «Town of Beginnings»!"
Sasamaru sighed in happiness. "Can you believe it? I never thought buying a house would be so exciting!"
Ducker elbowed him in the arm. "Dude, you sound like an old man!"
At this, the guild shared a laugh, and I smiled softly.
"Hey, while Keita's off buying the house, what do you guys say we go out and raise some extra cash?" Tetsuo suggested jubilantly.
Sachi chimed in, saying, "Oh! Then we can buy furniture!"
"Come on, let's go to a dungeon on a higher floor!" Ducker proposed, voice full of energy as always.
I decided that this was the time to speak up. "We should stick to our usual hunting spots."
"But up there, we can make more, and faster!" Sasamaru countered.
Ducker butted in with, "Yeah! At our levels, we don't have anything to worry about."
As usual, my resolve was crushed by their happy attitudes.
Walking through the labyrinth on the twenty-seventh floor, everyone was happy and carefree…
Except for me.
What if we come across some kind of trap? I know I could easily beat it, but would they be able to survive that long?
"See, I told you guys this was gonna be cake!" Ducker exclaimed, giving me a victorious smirk.
"We might even be able to reach the front lines sooner!" Sasamaru added.
"That's what I'm talking about!" Ducker said with a broad grin.
"Look!" Ducker and Sasamaru said simultaneously, pointing to a glowing spot on the wall in front of us.
Please don't tell me that's what I think it is…!
Ducker ran over to it, putting his hand on it and using his «Lock Picking» skill to reveal a hidden door.
It is! But that means…!
Ducker opened it, and we all saw a huge treasure chest in the middle of the room.
Before anyone had a chance to say anything, I shouted at the top of my lungs, "DON'T OPEN IT!"
Everyone turned to me, startled by my sudden outburst, which was a stark contrast to my usual quiet demeanor.
"Why not?" Ducker asked me, a confused expression on his face.
"Because…" I said, looking down. "It's a trap. If you go open that chest, then I can guarantee you that at least twenty monsters will spawn and kill us. You've gotta believe me."
"Okay, I believe you, but… how do you know?" Ducker asked me, giving me a pointed look.
"I…" I started. "I'm a member of the «Assault Team». I know because those kinds of traps started showing up when this floor was being explored."
Everyone looked at me with shocked expressions save for Sachi, and I immediately realized the implications of what I had said.
They're going to hate me… they're going to kick me out… I can't deal with that!
"I'm sorry, guys… I shouldn't have kept all that from you. I should go…"
I began to run away, not stopping even when I heard Sachi frantically call my name.
The slow, sad BGM at the diner did nothing to improve my mood as I sat there, sipping my drink. I had long stopped feeling thirsty, but I wanted to drink enough so that I would pass out at the diner again. I certainly had the money, despite the outrageous prices for alcoholic beverages.
One advantage of drinking in this game versus the real world… you don't get a hangover. It was pretty damn nice of them to program that in.
I could finally feel myself slipping. Once I lost consciousness, I would fall into a dreamless sleep and wake up at the inn I was staying at due to the fact that the system didn't allow players to sleep in restaurants. Then I would get up, continue mapping out the thirtieth floor boss dungeon, and go back to the diner, get drunk and repeat the process all over again.
If only I was a lightweight with alcohol… that would make things so much easier, cheaper, and less painful on my…
With that, I passed out.
When I woke up, I found myself back at my room of the inn next door to the diner.
I got up. "Well, I guess I should get going. The thirtieth floor boss dungeon won't map out itself."
I opened my menu, equipping my battle clothes, along with the weapon I used on the front lines, the «King's Knightsword + 15».
I walked out of my room, and when I went outside, I saw…
What the hell?!
All of the «Moonlit Black Cats» were looking around outside, seeming to be looking for something… or someone.
I don't want to face them…
Unfortunately for me, they were north of me… and so was the teleport gate.
No big deal… I'll go around.
I went into an alleyway, walking north. When I exited the alleyway, I found myself close to the «Teleport Gate».
"Kirito?" I heard a feminine voice call out from behind me.
I started walking forward again, soon breaking into a run. When I got to the «Teleport Gate», I immediately said, "Teleport: «Rondos»!"
I turned around just in time to see the «Black Cats» running up to me. Then, blue light surrounded me, and I knew I was in the process of teleporting to «Rondos», the city closest to the boss dungeon.
Since I knew that they heard me when I said where I was going, I decided to wait for the inevitable confrontation. I sighed, walking over to one of the side pillars of the gate and leaning against it. Sure enough, a couple of seconds later, I heard the telltale sound of multiple people teleporting into the city.
I looked at them out of the corner of my eye, seeing them looking around frantically.
Why are they going through all this trouble just to kick me out of the guild? They can do it from the comfort of their new home, can't they?
When Keita spotted me, I immediately turned my head away in shame.
"Kirito?" I heard him ask.
"Why did you guys spend all this time looking for me? I'm not worth the effort," I said, my voice dangerously close to cracking.
"But you are, Kirito! You may have been lying to us about your level and how you're a member of the «Assault Team», but that doesn't change the fact that you're our friend. Besides, this counts the second time you've saved the guild!"
I gasped, looking up to face Keita. I was met with his smiling face, which instantly reminded me of my other secret.
But… I can't tell them that… yet.
"So… you're not going to kick me out of the guild?"
"Of course not!" Ducker exclaimed. "But there is one thing we want you to do for us."
"Train us! We want to get to the front lines someday!" Sasamaru said with a smiling face. Tetsuo nodded, and soon the whole guild was looking at me with the same face.
"You're okay with that? I train pretty hard, you know."
"Well duh!" Ducker shouted. "We wouldn't have asked you if we weren't!"
I sighed. "Well… if you're okay with it… I'll do it. Thanks for still having me."
They all cheered, but none looked happier than Sachi…
Why…? Wouldn't she be scared of the harsh training that I'm going to give them? Well, whatever. At least… at least none of them are mad at me.
"Hey, do you want to come check out our new house?" Keita queried. "We've got beds way better than the beds in whatever inn you're staying at!"
"All right," I said, smiling softly.
When we arrived at their new house on the first floor in the city of «Tolbana», I was taken aback by its size.
The house was styled like an American home, had two stories, and looked to be about eight hundred square meters. When we walked inside, I found there to be two staircases leading upstairs, and two hallways next to them.
"The staircases lead to the bedrooms, the left hallway leads to the kitchen, and the right hallway leads to the bathrooms.
"Wow… did the guild really have enough money for this?" I queried once I snapped out of my stupor.
"Well, everyone pitched in a bit after I decided to get this house instead of the original one, which was about a fourth as big. The original one was in the «Town of Beginnings», so it was a lot more cramped, and the area wasn't as friendly."
"By the way, there are only four bedrooms. I'm rooming with Ducker, and I hope you don't mind rooming with Sachi over there," Keita said, pointing to Sachi.
"It's cool, I don't mind," I said nonchalantly, trying not to sound nervous.
"All right, then it's settled," Keita confirmed. "Well, let's just stay at the house for today, then have Kirito help us train hard tomorrow!"
That night, when I was finished getting ready for bed, I entered my room for the first time.
There's only one bed… well, that's the way it was in «Taft», so I guess I'm used to it.
True to my thoughts, there was only one bed, with a bare nightstand next to it. On the other side of the bed, I saw a window that gave a breathtaking view of the sun setting on the first floor.
"Pretty, isn't it?"
I turned around, finding Sachi standing by the door in her light blue pajamas.
"Yeah… pretty amazing how realistic they can make things like a sunset, isn't it?"
We both sat down on the bed. I looked down, saying, "Sachi… I really am sorry for keeping all that info from you… from everyone."
"I've known for a while."
I looked up, eyes widening. "Huh?"
"I accidentally saw your level one night. You were going through your equipment menu, probably preparing to go out to grind."
"Why didn't you speak up?" I asked her.
"I was afraid of how you would react to someone knowing one of your secrets."
Don't tell me…
"I saw the «Coat of Midnight» in your equipment inventory. Only one person had that item. You're the first «Beater», right?"
I looked down once more, knowing that my fate was sealed.
"Don't worry, I won't tell. I haven't told up till now, have I?"
"No… you haven't. But… why?"
I looked up at her, finding a soft smile on her face, as if she knew I was just about to break.
"It's a secret," she said, closing her eyes. She laid down on the bed and slid under the covers, and I followed suit.
Okay, that was fun!
READ BELOW FOR A LISTING OF MY STORIES AND THEIR STATUS
That wasn't as short as I expected it to be! Still, the rest of the story will have longer chapters.
Just so everyone who is following my works knows, I'm going to list off all my stories and tell you which ones are active… and which aren't.
This story: ACTIVE
A Single Shot: hiatus until further notice
Black Cats Revival: abandoned
Black Cats Revival: Christmas in Despair: completed
Crossing Blades, Crossing Hearts: hiatus until completion of The Kendo Club
ERROR: SYSTEM REBOOT: abandoned
FATAL ERROR: SYSTEM REBOOT: ACTIVE
Last One Standing: completed
Misperception: abandoned, but there will be a rewrite… eventually.
Missing Beat: ACTIVE
Sword Art Online: Shattered Memories: hiatus until completion of The Kendo Club
Sword Art Online: The Final Stretch: hiatus until I come up with some inspiration, but I don't plan on abandoning it
The Kendo Club: ACTIVE
The League of Blades: ACTIVE… sort of
The Shadow of the Starless Night: ACTIVE
Okay, that's all of them! Now it's time for my least favorite line to write: THE DISCLAIMER!
I don't own the Sword Art Online novel series or any of its adaptations!