Sword Art Online
Aria in the Starless Night
One could describe the fight as bloodcurdling.The level 6 humanoid monster, «Ruin Kobold Trooper», was swinging an uncouth hand ax,and the person fighting the Kobold was barely able to dodge. I felt a chill run down my back as I watched the battle. But after the player dodged three consecutive strikes, the Kobold completely lost its balance and, instead of using this chance to escape, the person used asword attack skill at full strength.The skill was the first rapier skill players learn: the single thrust attack «Linear». This sword skill is activated by holding a sword in front of the body with the main hand, concentrating onit, and then thrusting the sword straight forward; it was a simple, basic skill, but the speed was terrific. Clearly, the speed was not left to the system motion assist alone, but was boosted by the player's own movement commands.During the beta test, I saw with my own eyes many party members and enemy monstersusing this same sword skill many times, but I could not see the rapier itself now, only thetrajectory drawn by the sword skill's special light effect. That pure white flash cutting throughthe darkness of the low light dungeon reminded me of the shooting star of that day.The rapier user continued dodging the Kobold's three strike combo and then counterattackingwith «Linear». After using this attack and defense pattern three more times, the player finished off one of this dungeon's stronger monsters, an armed beastman, without beingwounded. Even then, it did not seem to have been an easy battle. After the killing sword skill passed through the center of its chest, the monster collapsed backwards and dispersed into particles. The rapier user wavered as if being pushed by the unsubstantial polygon shards, and leaned back onto the corridor wall, slowly slid down against the wall to sit, and started breathing hard.The person did not seem to notice me standing about 15 meters away at the corner of anintersection.Moving far away without saying anything and finding my own prey, was my normal way of doing things. One month ago, on that eventful day, I decided to selfishly live as a solo player.And after that day, I never approached anyone alone. The only exception was if I saw a player in battle who was clearly in danger, however the rapier user's HP gauge was still near full. At the very least, the person did not seem to need the help of some busybody.Even so...After about five seconds of deliberation, I left the shadow of the intersection and walked toward the still sitting rapier user. Skinny shape, somewhat slender. The torso was equipped with a dark red leather tunic with a lightweight copper breastplate, while the lower body wasdressed in neat leather pants, with boots up to the knees. A hooded cape cloaked the bodyfrom head to near-waist, so the face could not be seen. Other than the cape, the equipmentseemed to be that of a fencer, very similar to my equipment as a swordsman. My beloved sword «Anneal Blade», a reward from a difficult quest, is very heavy. So, to utilize thesharpness of my skills, I wear very little metal armor—only a small chest guard with a dark-grey leather coat over it.