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« SAO:NA - Chapter XV: Two Paths

Sword Art Online: New Aincrad
Written by: FedeTkd
Published: FedeTkd (talk) 16:37, January 28, 2015 (UTC)
Chapter 16: Harsh Truth

SAO:NA - Chapter XVII: Balance Scale »



Floor 50th, September 25th, 2026

“The port of Bluewater Bay was attacked?” Thanos asks.

“Three days ago. A slave trader was killed along with his men. They had captured Sylphs and Gnomes.” Vorhes says.

“Warriors. The Rebels freed them to make larger their ranks.” Hikami says.

“Obvious conclusion!” Vorhes tells him angrily.

Thanos opens a map and places it on the table in front of him.

“Which places they’ve attacked so far?” he asks.

“Kirito and his men have attacked the Black Mines on the 46th floor. After this they travelled to the upper floors. Days after, they attacked the Arena on the city of Luccinea on the 50th floor. And the last one was the city of Bluewater Bay on the 55th floor.”

Hikami says this while pointing the places on the map.

“They must be on the higher levels.” Vorhes adds.

“Obvious conclusion...” Hikami says, just to make Vorhes angrier.

“Enough, both of you!” Thanos says ending their discussion. “The last floor cleared was floor 56th, right?”

“Yes, my general.” Vorhes answers.

“Hikami and Lyn, get a clutch of our troops ready to march. I’ll command them. We’ll depart as soon as we can. I’ll take this matter into my own hands. The rebellion can be crushed very soon...”

“What do you plan, General?” Hikami asks.

“I’ll tell you on the road to the 56th floor. But first, I need to send a message.”

“To who?”

Thanos grins.

---

Floor 55th, September 25th, 2026

Kirito finishes putting on his gear by strapping the scabbards of Long Sword and Elucidator to his back. He grabs his throwing picks and adjusts them to his belt.

He walks out of his room where Asuna, Yui, Klein, Leafa, Sinon, Kana and Diana were waiting for him. He gets close to his cousin.

Kirito: “You feel ready for this, Sugu?”

Leafa: “I have to face battle sooner or later...”

Kirito: “Stay close to us, and don’t try anything stupid.” He looks to the others and asks. “Everyone’s ready?”

Klein: “Yeah.”

Kirito: “Let’s get going then.”

He walks to the sand garden of the temple with his six players accompanying him.

Lamorak waits for them against a wall.

Lamorak: “You really think it’s a good idea? Going to Neerin you seven?”

Kirito: “That’s why our plan will work. Low numbers are more difficult to spot and easier to hide. With Yui’s help, we can find and safe way to the city going through the Swamp on Mysteries.”

Klein: “And we can fly there, dumbass!”

Lamorak: “I wasn’t asking you, fucking Salamander.” He turns to Kirito again. “I don’t like your idea…”

Kirito: “Trust on me, Lamorak. As I trust you with the leadership of the guild while I’m gone.”

Lamorak: “Alright...” He says reluctantly.

Kirito advances, stopping on the beginning of the stairs. All the players stop training and look to him.

The Black Swordsman starts talking.

“You’ve all heard what we’ll do today. We seven are going to the slave trading city of Neerin on the 56th floor to free enslaved players. Players, who the same as you, despise Hao and the Kingdom of Aincrad. Once our numbers become higher and obtain enough weapons, we’ll have the power we need to eliminate Thanos and his legions from Aincrad!”

---

Floor 50th, September 25th, 2026

Galant rushes through a narrow alley outside the city. He jumps once and then another time on the wall and starts climbing up by whatever means he can. He quickly arrives to the top and starts going towards the center of the city. The Knight jumps from ceiling to ceiling, rushing as fast as he can. He quickly gets to the top a building before looking to the entire city. He looks around, and finds the building he was looking for, towards the southeast. He jumps, landing on another ceiling and rolls on the ground and getting back up by the momentum before continuing his rush. He jumps the street, landing on the other block. He continues doing this for four blocks until he finally arrives to a terrace where Jack was hiding behind a short wall, looking towards a building crossing the street.

“I’m here. Thanks for the message.”

“Nice to see you again.”

“What’s up? You found them?”

“Yeah. They’re inside that building.”

He looks from the edge while leaving the rest of the body behind the short wall.

“That’s a tavern with…girls. These mercenaries must be having fun. How many?” Galant asks.

“I don’t know. From six to ten.”

“That number’s bigger than I expected…”

“Did you find out what you wanted on the Real World?”

“I found out something. Otome, my friend who was yesterday crucified, is dead.”

Jack looks to Galant before he continues.

“She had the AmuSphere on her head when they found her.”

“But…how?” Jack asks. “Her body should’ve been wounded when we found her.”

“She wasn’t wounded by a normal weapon, like a sword or a spear. But she had three nails piercing her body, one on each wrist and the last one on her. The wounds made by a nail have an attribute called Continuous Piercing Damage over Time, which will inflict damage per second until it is taken out. That’s how a player dies crucified.”

“That means the player or players who nailed her had a VRSMA activated at that moment.”

“Yeah. And one of these mercenaries must know why they did it. I need to talk to them. But here’s the thing: I don’t know how many are inside.”

“What’s your plan then?”

“Come with me…”

Galant walk to the left edge of the building and falls to an alley. Jack follows him.

“Give me your blade.” Galant says.

Jack grabs his blade along the sheath and gives it to Galant, who places it on his own belt. Galant then opens his menu and takes out a long rope.

“Your hands, Jack.”

The Lone Ronin puts his hands forth. Galant ties them quickly, leaving a single string for him to carry.

“What the hell you’re doing?!” Jack asks.

“Don’t fucking scream. If they hear us we’re done.”

“Why’re you tying my hands?!”

“Because if things get ugly I’ll need someone to back me up.”

“I’m with my hands tied. How the hell can I help you then?

“I’ll cut them with your katana. You act like if you were my prisoner, after all there’s a bounty on your head. Don’t talk, let me do the talking.”

“You better don’t be betraying me, Knight.”

Galant finishes tying his hands.

“Just trust on me Ronin, as I had to trust you yesterday.”

Galant crosses the street with Jack following him. He opens the door and almost immediately most eyes lay upon him. Galant and Jack briefly look around.

They see eight mercenaries, recognizing them for their outfit. Thanos didn’t let them wear the distinguishing and impressive armor of the Legions, since first they needed to be members of the Legions and swear an oath of loyalty to Hao. However, he made players create a uniform which resembled the armor of the legionaries, with the same colors and Hao’s emblem on the left side of the chest. The mercenaries were roughly “playing” with the girls, who refused the pleasure of their company. They harassed the girls sexually, while laughing, eating food and drinking alcohol.

Galant walks and pushes from the rope on his hands. The two new customers sit on the only empty and lonely table on a side of the tavern, far from the mercenaries. Galant briefly gazes them, once they return to their own matters, ignoring him as if he didn’t existed. The bartender was talking with the mercenaries about leaving the girls alone. The Captain refused, telling him to give them more free food and beer, unless he wanted the girls dead. The Captain then looks to the new customers for the first time.

Galant stops looking at him.

“Wait…” the Captain says to him.

Galant immediately looks down.

“You’re the Champion of Aincrad!” He gets up, walking towards Galant and Jack’s table. “Bartender, give this man a free drink.” He sits down on a chair in front of Galant. “I must say it’s a pleasure to meet you in person.”

“And you’re?” Galant asks.

“Ah. Sorry, I didn’t introduce myself. Captain Rocke of the mercenaries of the King.”

“I’m Galant. He’s the Lone Ronin, Jack.”

“The Lone Ronin.” Rocke says while looking Jack. “I’ve heard a lot about this piece of shit. A traitor. A coward.”

Jack’s about to insult him, but Galant’s faster than him.

“He’s not a big talker. I’ve captured him for the rewards offered to the King.”

The tavern man comes and gives to each of them a chop of beer.

“I like your job, taking commands from the King himself. I, on the other hand, must serve General Thanos. Nothing interesting. No major battles. No killing innocents. No more fun than this. The major thing we do is just crucify anyone who dares to speak against our mighty King.”

“Crucify…”Galant says, curious. “I’m curious about something about crucifixion. You mind if I ask you?”

“Sure Champion, ask away.”

“I saw a cute Pooka girl crucified yesterday. She had brown eyes and hair. I just wondered why she suffered such fate…”

“Ah…That cute girl. I know who you’re talking about. I heard she spoke the Rebel Leader’s name, what’s prohibited right now.”

“Who did it?”

“We receive direct commands from Hikami, Thanos’ second-in-command. But this time, I saw the Imp, Captain Vorhes, crucifying her personally.”

Jack clenches his fists, but tries to relax afterwards.

“Why?”

“I don’t know. They didn’t tell me and I didn’t dare to ask him. But he nailed all three of them before leaving her to die. It was a pity…”

“Why you say that?”

“She was a cute girl. We’d fun with her before that fucking Imp got in the middle and snatched her from our hands. But whatever, she’s a just a common whore, there’re plenty of those here.”

Galant’s face immediately changed while hearing them. He clutched his hands and almost breaks his glass. However, he manages calms down before blowing his cover.

He makes a fake smile and drinks trying to calm down a bit.

“Hey…I just had a wonderful idea. Come with us. There’re lots of taverns like this on this city. We always do the same. If you know how, you can make these guys serve you like if you’re the fucking Hao. Just think it for a moment. With a player like you in our ranks, they’d give us even more.”

Galant looks down to the table before raising his sight again.

“I work solo. And I’ve never done these things you’re doing.”

“Really, you haven’t ever done this?!”Rocke says surprised. “I must insist Galant. Think it for a while. We can do whatever the fuck we want. Anything! The girl you asked about, we did that to every single girl we crucified so far. You’ve seen them. They’re just whores for us…”

Galant clenches his fist again.

“Remember Galant: we have the King’s power with us! We do anything for the sake of peace, wherever we are. This uniform represents the King .No one stands on the way of the King, and that means, no one stands on OUR way!”

Galant’s anger finally reached his peak, but still he manages to hold back his red eyes.

He slowly bends forwards looking to Rocke directly to the eyes.

“To shit with the fucking King!”

Sudden silence on the room while Galant and Rocke seriously stare each other.

Insulting the King was considered a great offence against the legions, especially in front of Legionaries or Mercenaries of the Legions. Galant grabs his drink and finishes it in a single long sib. Once the beer was on his stomach, he places the glass back on the table while placidly exhaling.

He looks to Locke’s serious sight, alongside the sight of the mercenaries.

Suddenly Galant begins a mad laugh for more than ten long seconds while the players wondered if he was really mad or if he really meant what he said. He put his forehead on top of his forearm on the table, and hits the wooden structure several times with his other arm before raising his head again and stop.

“It’s a joke! I’m just joking! I’d never talk about our King in that way.”

The mercenaries relax again.

“I’ve heard better jokes…But it wasn’t bad.” Rocke says

“Well. I have a better one.”

“Okay let’s hear it.”

“Alright. This joke consists in a play. You have to guess the end.”

“Okay. Go.”

“Part1: a player finds a girl who was friend of his dead crucified. Part 2: the player goes to a tavern where some players may know several things about his friend’s death. Part 3: the player finds out by one of the players on the tavern that her friend was raped and murdered by them.”

Galant grabs the drink of Rocke and finishes it quickly.

In the meantime, the girls and the bartender hide behind the bar.

“What happens on the last Part of the play?” Galant seriously asks.

The Mercenaries don’t answer and grab the handle of their weapons, getting ready for the worst.

“The player kills every single one of the killers on the tavern.” Galant says looking to Rocke to the eyes again. “I’m going to rape every last fucking bitch on this fucking tavern.”

Of course, “bitch” was referring to the Mercenaries.

“You’d lived and fought for the King for a long time. Now you’re going to die for a slut?” Rocke asks.

Galant bends forward again.

“Say that word again…please…”

“Slu-”

Before he can finish, Galant delivers a fast and hard Stardust Ryusei Ken to his mouth, sending Rocke flying away before clashing with the wall. The mercenaries attack him but Galant and Jack place their hands on the lower part of table and flip it over. A mercenary advances on them. Galant kicks him back and reaches his belt to draw Yahaza, Jack’s katana. He performs an Iai, drawing the blade and slashing the neck of the same mercenary and killing him. Jack placed the middle of his hands on the blade’s reach, so that he was finally freed of his restraint. The Champion sheathes the blade quickly and tosses it to Jack, who catches it in midair before turning all the way around to draw the blade faster with his right hand and slash another mercenary two times. Jack then attacks a mercenary who was about to slash Galant. The Knight reaches his back and draws Maximus Caliburn, slashing the player who Jack was fighting. Jack parries an attack with his scabbard before kicking a player back. Other approaches him, but the Lone Ronin just spins and slashes three times with blinding speed. The player falls to the ground dead. Jack turns around kicking back the player from before again, before piercing his heart with his blade. The last one attacks Jack, but Galant intercepts him with a Stardust Slasher, making him fall to the ground. Galant walks to him and pierces his mouth with his blade.

He looks up with his red eyes to Rocke, whose mouth was bleeding and had lost a lot of his teeth.

“You motherfucker! Come here and face me!”

Galant walks unarmed towards him. Rocke attacks him, but Galant parries the blades with his forearm protectors. Galant grabs his right hand holding the blade and punches him against the wall. Rocke coughs blood.

“Hope you like this penetration…” Galant says, grabbing Rocke’s own blade from the ground.

He pierces Rocke’s stomach with his own blade, leaving him there to die.

He walks back to Jack near the door waiting for him. He draws the blade sheathing it back.

“Bartender, the money on their pockets is yours, for the troubles we and them caused.” Jack says before leaving next to Galant.

“What’s your plan now?” Jack asks him.

“Fuck the Legions. Fuck this city. Fuck the King. I’m done with them. What of you?” Galant says.

“I’m going for Vorhes.”

“Vorhes? He’s on Thanos’ fortress.”

“Yeah. Thanos, Hikami and Lyn left the city going to the upper floors with a large part of their army. Vorhes must be there alone, taking care of the place. I’m going for him…”

“I’m with you on this, he killed Otome. He’ll answer for that today.”

“Let’s go then.”

---

Galant parries the two blades from his opponents while falling back. He blocks the left ones attack, making the blade clash against the sword of the one on the right. Galant spins and slashes the body and the neck of the player. He kicks the body and makes it clash against the other player, sending both the ground. He steps on the dead player before piercing the body of both players with his sword, killing both.

Jack waits for him.

“I thought we’d find more here…” Galant says.

“Just four soldiers. The rest of the soldiers must be somewhere else.”

“Come here, Jack. I know where he can be.”

Galant follows him up through a long circular staircase.

They arrive to Thanos’ office. They get ready to enter with weapons in hand. Thy open the door and enter quickly, ready to fight.

“He’s not here. Empty.” Galant says seriously, as he sheathes back his blades.”

“We should see the papers on here, to see what these guys are planning.”

Galant walks to Thanos’ desk while Jack looks around. He sits on the chair and searches on any drawer or on it. He opens the last drawer and finds a file folder. He places it on the table and starts looking at it, while his eyes widen surprised. He quickly looks to all the papers and arrives to the last page. He quickly reads.

“Jack, come here…”

“What happened?”

“What do you think of this…”

Jack walks closer to him and Galant extends his hand to show the papers to him.

“You shouldn’t see that, traitors…”

They look up.

The door was opened and a large member of the Supreme Legion was standing there. He was an Imp of approximately six feet tall, with dark black hair, purple skin and yellow eyes with his long Gladius on his right hand.

Jack immediately draws his scabbard from his belt and pushes the cross guard slightly with his thumb, taking an half an inch of the blade out of its sheath.

“Vorhes…” Jack says.

“I knew Galant’d come soon, but I didn’t expect you to tag along as well, Jackie. Most unfortunate thing none of your race brothers could join you.”

“That’s why I’m here, for your head.”

“Vorhes, I have questions for you.” Galant says. “Answer to me and this’ll be much easier for all of us.”

“If you really think I’d betray General Thanos, you’re pretty fucking stupid.”

“Tch…” Galant says while grabbing the handle of his weapons.

“No…far the contrary…” Vorhes says holding up his opened right hand as a black sphere is created on his palm. He blinks activating his VRSMA. “…I’LL BE PROUD OF GIVING YOUR HEADS TO THANOS HIMSELF! BLACK HOLE!!!”

A black hole creates on Vorhes’ hand, similar to the magic Lyunatix used to destroy the falling rocks of the ceiling on the labyrinth of the 51st floor.

“JUMP!!!” Jack shouts.

Jack makes a hole with his blade on the wall and jumps, swiftly followed by Galant. They jump from the tower, falling on an empty courtyard on the middle of the facility, buy they manage to reduce damage by opening their wings and glide to the floor.

“Damnit, seems he won’t listen.”

“I expected this.” Jack says, getting ready. “Galant I want to take him alone.”

Galant nods, respecting Jack’s wish.

“Just one thing. Don’t kill him. He needs to answer a few things to me.”

Jack nods.

Galant jumps and lands on the roof of the ceiling. He crosses his arms and gets ready to see the fight.

Vorhes falls to the courtyard as well.

“You’re facing me alone?!”

“I’ll kill you myself, Vorhes.”

“We’ll see…Now, let’s dance traitor!”

Jack rushes to his opponent and in no time he is in front of him, slashing upwards aiming to his neck. However, Vorhes blocks with his own blade and deliver a hard fist to Jack’s face, who’s sent flying several meters away, but he manages to spin on the air and land firmly on his feet. Jack regains his balance but Vorhes rushes fast and attacks. Jack barely manages to block his attack with his scabbard and then counters with as fist of his own followed by a strong kick to his body, and this makes them separate. Jack draws his blade at blinding speed several times, but Vorhes eludes each and every single one of his attacks before getting close to Jack and slashes vertically. Jack blocks putting both blade and scabbard in an x position, leaving the gladius on the middle. They struggle, pushing each other strongly trying to gain ground. However, Vorhes massive strength is greater than the one of Jack, who slowly faded away. Vorhes wins the struggle, but Jack uses his own strength to jump, flipping on the air and redirect a kicks towards Vorhes, who drops the blade and catches the attack.

“I WON’T LET YOU GO!!!”

Jack spins and delivers with his other leg a kick with his heel to Vorhes temple, sending him flying away and clashing against a wall, sending small rocks, dust and debris to the courtyard.

“You really thought that would stop me?” Jack asks him.

Vorhes comes out of the dust with just the lower part of his armor. The rest was destroyed by the impact, leaving his torso, arms and abdomen uncovered.

“I’ll kill you…I’ll kill you…Demonic Berserk!”

His skin starts to shine, and an organ begins to come out of his flesh, covering his upper body with a new red armor which emerged from his own body. His muscles become bigger.

“I’ll kill you!!!” Vorhes shouts again.

This has no effect on Jack, who remains calm, looking at him.

Vorhes rushes at him with no other weapon rather than his body. He rams at jack, who easily doges the attack and several others. Vorhes had now more brute strength but he was fighting like a blind berserk, with strong and annihilating attacks, but not disciplined at all. Jack, on the other hand, relied on his speed and agility to doge the berserker’s obliterating assault while trying to find an opening. He finds one and delivers a strong Ryu-Ken fist to the middle on his chest. This doesn’t make Vorhes even flinch. He grabs Jack’s neck and throws him to the wall, sending rocks, dust and debris everywhere.

Vorhes smiles, thinking he had won. But moments afterwards, from the dust, a shadow comes out. It was jack, with just a few scratches and wounds from the attack.

“Now’s…my turn! Demonic Berserk!”

A black armor comes from Jack’s flesh on his shoulders, arms, back, torso and legs.

Vorhes roars.

Jack rushes to him faster than before and they exchange bows. Jack this time fights with his katana, but even with his strength, he wasn’t damaging the armor of Vorhes. The violet monster just constantly attacked, leaving Jack on the defensive. Jack jumps to the air, with Vorhes just following him. He flips on the air delivering a solid kick to his face, before stopping of a moment and performing an iai. He glides with his wings and lands on the ground, sheathing again his blade. Out of the crater, Vorhes attacks again with a berserk wrath. Jack eludes his attacks but sees his armor was badly damaged after his last attack. They exchange attacks until the Lone Ronin finds an opening, slipping past his punch and punches his chest with a right, and this time stronger, Ryu-Ken shattering his armor. Jack ends up right behind of him, getting in position drawing the blade and blinding speed and rushing to Vorhes even faster. He ends up meters in front of him. He swipes the blood of the blade, returning the blade to its sheath and pausing briefly before completing sheathing it.

Vorhes falls to the ground with his legs cut off, screaming by the pain.

“You’re done…” Jack says, looking at him.

Jack walks to see the wound he’d just made, while Galant walked towards them. He squats and looks Vorhes to the face.

“Now, ready to spit everything out?”

“Fuck you both!”

“Jack…”

Jack creates a wakizashi with the spell “Dark Blade” and throws it to Vorhes left arm. The captain screams in pain again.

“Now...” Galant says. “We’ll have a friendly little conversation…”

---

Floor 55th, September 25th, 2026

Kirito lands on a tree with his six partner’s right behind of him. In front of them, a large clearing on the swamp.

Kirito: “Where’re we Yui?”

Yui: “This clearing’s on the center of the swamp. We’re halfway to the city.”

Asuna: “We just spent two hours going through these swamp. Two more and we’ll be done.”

Sinon: “We’re lucky to not find any patrol or squad walking here.”

Klein: “But now, we’re facing a problem what’re we going to do now?”

Leafa: “What do you mean?

Klein: “We have two options here. Either we cross through the clearing, going slower but we don’t risk being seen or…”

Diana: “We cross it, risking being seen but making the journey faster.”

Asuna: “What’re we doing then?”

Kana: “Voting seems the fairest thing here.”

They all nod while Kirito keeps on looking to the large clearing before turning around.

Kirito: “It is. But we aren’t considering the players on the Temple. If they’re attacked while we’re here, we’re lost.”

This causes a moment of silence among them.

Kana: “Lamorak’s a good leader, but if he’s attacked he’s lost.”

Asuna: “Not to mention that we seven are some of the most skilled players on the guild.”

Sinon: “Then what’re we doing?”

Kirito: “We vote. And later see. Now who wants to go through the clearing?”

Asuna, Leafa, Kana, Diana and Kirito raised their hands, and they win since they held the mayor quantity of votes.

Kirito: “Seems we won.”

Klein: “Alright then. What do you suggest Kirito?”

“We’ll go as quick and as fast as we can, close to the ground to avoid any suspicions and any eyes. And one more thing, not matter what happens down there, don’t stop.”

Kirito jumps down, followed by his friends. They land on the edge of the clearing and once they’re ready open their wings to fly as fast as they can in formation. Kirito goes first with Yui on his right shoulder, then Asuna next to Klein, then Kana next to Leafa and lastly, the two archers.

“Ice barrier!!!”

A giant ice barrier appears several in front of the group.

Kirito: “Damnit! Fly up!!!”

They begin flying up. But soon, spikes of ice appear out of the wall and begin to get on their way. They don’t have much time to start eluding them and trying to distance from the wall, but the pikes become larger as they do this.

Kirito looks back for a millisecond to see his comrades and realizes Leafa, Kana, Diana and Sinon had been captured by a large gnome who appeared out of the earth. He had four tentacle-like metal whips to hold them.

Kana looks at their attacker, and recognizes him.

Kana: “Whipper…”

She becomes mad when she sees the killer of her boyfriend, Gawn. He manages to get the whip of her and draws her daggers attacking the player killer. However, Whipper eludes her blow and delivers a hard fist to Kana’s stomach. She coughs up blood, before falling to the ground.

Diana: “Kana!!!” She shouts. “You fucking monster!”

Whipper: “I just do as commanded, girl.”

He makes all three whips go down, smacking all three girls to the ground. After the girls are down he grabs their necks.

Klein: “Shit!!!”

Asuna: “No!”

They say while stopping ready to go back bellow and help their friends, but a shadow comes out of the ice water and makes them fall to the earth with her. They fall to the ground. The shadow rolls and gets up, revealing to be Sabrac.

Asuna: “You…”

Sabrac: “A pleasure to finally meet you, Flash, Berserk Healer. I’ve heard much about you.”

She draws her blades. Asuna and Klein get up and do the same. However Whipper grabs Klein with one of his whips, and sends him up all the way above him to the other side before slamming him against the ground. He releases Klein who quickly gets up.

“You’re facing me, boy…” The player killer says.

“Tch…”

They engage in battle.

Kirito looks at them from the top of the wall, until other shadow grabs him and both fall together. However, the Black Swordsman manages to separate from him and draws both blades before looking to his aggressor, who also starts flying.

“Thanos…”

“DIE!!!”

Thanos rams against him with his giant halberd, but Kirito parries the blade with Longsword and slides near the edge of Thanos’ own blade, aiming his neck. However, Thanos is faster than he expects and parries with the handle of the halberd, spinning on his same place and kicking Kirito far from him and assaults again. The Shadow of Death spins his weapon on the air and assaults Kirito again with his weapon like a sawblade, but the Black Swordsman blocks the attack with both blades. They struggle for a moment until Thanos redirects the momentum of his attack, slashing to the opposite side. The Dual Swordsman barely has time to block the attack with Long Sword, but the strength was enough to send him plummeting down to the ground, making a small crater once he hit the ground. Thanos the rams to the ground with his blade, giving Kirito almost not time to roll backwards and elude the attack. Both of them regain balance before Thanos grabs Claiomh Solaris and draws it from the ground, slashing down vertically. Kirito has almost no time to place his swords in an X-position to block.

They begin to struggle, but Kirito’s strength fades against the massive halberd and Thanos superior strength. If he could draw Excaliber from his equipment, he could fight him better, but if he stopped blocking with both blades for just one second, Thanos’d defeat him.

“That’s enough, Thanos. Everyone stop.” a voice says from the top of the wall.

Thanos kicks Kirito back, making him slide on the ground. Whipper and Sabrac also stop fighting and jump nearer to the huge ice wall which starts to disappear. The three knights get together, looking to their enemies before seeing the descending wall.

Kirito: “Mordread…”

Mordread grins while sat on top of the wall. Right next to him other five players appear. Yakuza and the four members of the Band of the Nine, ready with weapons on their hands. Chezire, Kalius, Lyunatix and Zomrat. The wall finally disappears, and Thanos army appears from the other side of the swamp, with Hikami and Lyn leading them. The soldiers remain on the edge of the clearing while the two commanders approach the League of Darkness Knights.

Mordread: “You may be wondering Kirito, how this happened…”

Kirito doesn’t answer; he just remains serious, looking to the large army in front of him. Mordread continues.

“Did you ever think why you just knew just the last five members of The Band of the Nine?”

Kirito: “I just knew we’d kill them some day.”

Mordread grins.

Mordread: “My cousin, the King of all Aincrad, had a brilliant idea.”

Asuna: “Hao…Hao’s your cousin?”

Mordread: “He sent my Party to destroy your pathetic rebellion. But he’d need two parts to constantly assault you. One to act from the light. The other from the shadows. He divided the party and named one of those players General, with the order to defeat you. The other half would fight you, from the shadows.”

Kirito widens his eyes.

“Let me introduce you to: Sylph Member of The Band of The Nine, Third: Lyn! Salamander Member of the Band of The Nine, Second: Hikami! And lastly Spriggan Member of The Band of The Nine, First: General Thanos, the Shadow of Death!

Kirito: “This was a trap all along!”

Thanos: “Jackpot!”

Mordread: “Now, if you’d be so polite to throw your weapons to the ground…” Mordread draws a new sword from his back and places it on Diana’s neck. “…unless you want someone dead here…”

Diana: “Don’t do it!”

He punches her stomach, blowing the air out of her and making her cough blood.

Kana: “Leave my sisters, you fucker!”

Whipper chokes her strongly.

He then starts punching her face with strong and ignited with fire fists.

Klein: “Fuck…” He says angrily, clenching his fists and grinding his teeth.

Kirito advances to attack Mordread, but all the Darkness Knights draw their weapons. Asuna holds him back.

Asuna: “He’d kill her if any of us tries something…”

Klein: “Why so you can kill us!?”

Thanos: “You don’t have much chooses here, do you?”

Kirito: “Tch…” He throws his weapon to the ground. “Do as he says.”

Asuna and Klein do the same reluctantly.

Mordread stops beating the imp girl briefly looks on Diana, lifting her hurt and bleeding face. He recognizes her and grins. Whipper releases the four girls, letting them walk again with the strength they still had.

Mordread: “Good...If it were for me, I’d kill you here and take your weapons…but, Hao wants to meet you in person, Black Bastard, along with you friends. Now get ready to march.”

Lyunatix, Zomrat and Kalius grab the weapons of the knights, before grabbing them as well and start walking to the army.

The group walks towards the legion.

A stream of sky-blue fire coming from the sky ignites their way to the army and creates a large wall, which divides the field in two.

They all look to the sky.

Klein, Kana and Diana smile while Leafa and Sinon remain confused. All the members of the League draw their weapons and get ready for battle.

Asuna: “That’s…”

Kirito: “Impossible…”

Mordread: “WELL, THIS IS TURNING INTO A LOVELY AFTERNOON!!!”

A large white dragon was flying above them in circles.

It was Stardust Dragon.

Galant and Jack jump from the flying beast and land on their knees. They get up slowly, looking towards the league.

Galant draws Maximus Caliburn from his back and gets ready while the player killers advance on him...

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