you are an only child. your parents are wealthy and have better things to do with their time than spend it with you. they're almost always out on business meetings, having lunch with clients, doing anything other than getting to know you
. honestly, the thought flutters through your mind that if your mother hadn't been pressured to have children, you wouldn't even exist right now. she never seemed to care about what you wanted or what you liked. if you did anything it was with your parents blessing and it somehow always
you hated their world though and fought against it every chance you got. you did extra-circulars in school you knew they would hate. painting (you weren't very good), pretty much anything that would've been something frivolous to them was something you enjoyed doing. you were determined though, there would be some aspect of your life that they could not control.
and much to their dismay you eventually found it. it was a video game, something you had dabbled in before. and by that, you were really good at video games and loved playing them. they allowed you to escape the grasp of your parents, even if only for a moment. so when sword art online came out, a virtual reality game where you got to dive in head first, you were more than excited. this was your chance. it might've just been a game, but you didn't care. you would finally be able to come as close to living your own life as possible.
it took some convincing, but she finally got you the things you needed to play the game. nerve gear. a headset system that would be able to bring sword art online to life and allow you to escape reality. little did you know it would ruin any sense of reality you once had.
it didn't take long. the game was released, thousands of people joined, and at the end of the day (when people tried to log out) they couldn't leave. the log out option from the menu was gone. you were stuck. an instant panic ran through your body and before you could really react you were teleported to the town of beginnings main square. there the sky went red with an error message and the game master appeared to tell you what you knew in your heart, but didn't want to believe. there was no error. the log out button was gone because it was never meant to be there in the first place.
for a moment you couldn't breathe. you couldn't think. nothing made sense anymore. you were trapped here. no. you couldn't be. you looked around, everyone seemed to be freaking out. so you decided then and there that you wouldn't let this sick bastard get to you. you would keep your cool, even when your heart fell into your stomach and you wanted nothing more than to cry. in that moment, beyond any reality you knew, you wanted to see your mother.
a moment later everyone was pulling out mirrors from their inventory and all chaos broke loose. suddenly everyone's avatars changed. this was what everyone really looked like, who everyone really was. no amount of determination kept you from silently freaking out when it happened. you were all about privacy. your father was very well known. your name alone could get you into trouble. but now everyone would know your face. in a matter of a few minutes everything had turned upside down. what was once an escape from reality had quickly become a prison you never wanted. the last thing he said, the final nail in the coffin (no pun intended).
if you die in game, you die in real life.
david and goliath
at first you were determined to be a solo player. you didn't want a partner, you didn't want to have people to worry about, people to protect. it was bad enough that if you died, well, you died
. you didn't need someone else's life in your hands too. that was something you never signed up for. you were only sixteen after all. motherhood was a long ways away and you weren't even sure if you wanted kids right away. maybe in the future, but right now clearly not. so to have someone to protect... the thought was too much.
you were solo for a long time. well, not a long time, but every day in the game felt like you lost a year real time. you were scared, you spent your days grinding and training, working hard to get stronger. you weren't going to die here. not in a freaking video game. you had to be prepared for the first boss fight.
some time passed and finally people were ready. it was during the meeting for the raid group that you met him. he had dark hair and he seemed like he was a solo player too. you didn't speak to him, kept your hood up, and avoided contact. he didn't need to get to know you and you didn't want to know him. at the end of the meeting he asked you to partner with him, just for the fight, and you accepted. despite everything telling you not to, you did. you were nervous, you could die. at least with one other person working with you there would be someone to have your back. someone to watch out for you.
the boss fight came and went, your hood was thrown down as you and the dark haired boy fought together to kill the boss. he'd already claimed the lives of innocent people and it enraged you to know that others could perish at its hands as well. when it was revealed that he was a beater, an old beta tester that knew all the good hunting areas and wasn't helping those that hadn't gotten the upper hand in beta testing the game, he left you with one piece of advice. join a guild. get a team. fighting alone was hard. it would be better to fight with the help of others.
you weren't sure why, but you took his advice and eventually became second in command of the knights of the blood oath. it quickly became your mission to save as many people as possible. you made plenty of friends along the way and they only fueled your desire to put an end to this miserable life. lisbeth was your best friend. someone you would've done anything for. you weren't quite sure what you would do without her.
two years had passed, it was hard to believe you'd been trapped in a video game all that time. you were seventeen now, having been almost sixteen when you were initially trapped here. you were stronger, faster, and more confident these days. you were second in command of the strongest guild in the game and people feared you. well, your enemies did. others thought you were super cool and strong. which, you couldn't lie, you knew you were, but you tried not to let it get to your head. it didn't matter what your skill levels were, what mattered was how hard you worked to clear the game and save everyone.
so when you walked by a boy laying on the ground, a boy that should've bene preparing for the next boss fight, you were furious. you kicked his foot and rested your hands on your hips. when he opened his eyes you all but growled. "i can't believe you! shouldn't you be preparing for the boss fight?" this was kirito you were talking to, that boy from so long ago. the beater who fought solo on the front lines alongside the knights of the blood oath. you were never sure why he didn't just join your ranks, he could be an officer in a heart beat. he just didn't seem to care about that. when he smirked your face flushed red with heat.
'today is the most beautiful day in the game though!' he sighed almost wistfully. 'the weather is at it's most optimal setting.' you raised a brow and held back an eye roll. this was ridiculous. it was just a game, the weather was hardly anything to get excited about. despite your inner and outer protests, you eventually sat down on the grass next to him. before you knew it, you were asleep.
that day taught you something, he taught you something. before then you had only ever focused on clearing the game and getting out. every day spent here was another day missed in the real world. and despite your lack of a family life outside the game, you missed you parents, you missed school... you missed your real life. but that day, kirito taught you something you never thought you would know. he taught you that even though you were trapped in a video game, you could still live. like truly live. your cooking skill was incredibly high and you were able to recreate your favorite foods from the real world, so why not live your days here to the fullest too?
after that day, you were inseparable.
fear was her best friend in that moment. her eyes wide in terror as she watched kirito fight for his life. not only his, but everyone else's. he was their hero. and if he died now... what would any of them do? what would she do? next to fear was anger. asuna was furious at the deal he made. if he lost... if he died she couldn't do it. she couldn't take her own life. that scumbag wouldn't let her. but without him, without kirito what was she? who was she? it sounded stupid when the thought went through her mind. she'd been someone before him and she could learn to be someone again without him. but he was such a driving force in her life. he'd taught her so much, shown her that their situation wasn't as awful as it originally seemed to be. another blow of the swords and asuna felt her finger twitch. she was paralyzed, but she was determined to help. even if heathcliff... no, akihiko wouldn't let her.
time seemed to stand still then as she watched kirito lose his footing. he was open, he was going to lose. kirito was going to die. asuna couldn't let that happen. every inch of her burned, her body didn't want to move, but it had to. she had to reach kirito before that blade ran him through. he was worth so much more than she was. she was just some little rich girl. no one would miss her. no one needed her. not like they needed kirito. this fight couldn't end yet. so she fought. asuna fought every ounce of programming that was keeping her down. and through her own determination she was able to get up off the floor and in the blink of an eye, using her own speed stat to her advantage, made it in front of the sword before he got to kirito.
everything moved normally when the sword hit her and went straight through her. the pain, the sudden fear, the peace... all of it hit her at once when she turned to look at kirito one last time. he was worth more than anything in her world. he was worth everything. kirito was the hero of their story and she was merely a support character. he always had been. when he caught her in his arms one last time, she could only cry for a moment. his voice hit her ears and the only words she could muster, the only words she could think to say... "i'm sorry," asuna paused for a moment and looked at him one more time before closing her eyes. "goodbye."
once you disappeared you only knew darkness. there was no sound. no light. nothing. it was almost as though you were floating in a void. was this death you wondered. was this the afterlife? were you just a consciousness, ever stuck in all consuming darkness? you raised your hands in front of your face. you could see them. it was almost as though you were glowing. and for a moment you had hope. at least you could still see something. you knew that before long, this darkness would make you insane. there were no details here, no landscapes, nothing. it was simply a void. and it terrified you. for a while all you could do was cry. because despite the darkness being all consuming, you could still feel
. you still knew your emotions and for now that was all you needed.
in a matter of what felt like hours the darkness was gone, replaced by flashing images of some fantastical place. a tall tree... fairies? they were flying everywhere, but before you could land in this new world you were back in the darkness. if only for a second. the next thing you knew you opened your eyes to a white ceiling. you raised your hands again, the glow gone. nothing made sense. you sat up and looked around the room. it was all white, pristine in nature. when you looked out the window you gasped and then smiled. it was beautiful outside. a moment later the door opened. "welcome to elysion miss. yuuki."
halcyon. that was where you were, where you lived. your mother was nowhere to be found and neither was your father, much less kirito and all your friends from the world of sword art online. the people here assured you that it was all real, that you were real and alive and perfectly fine. you weren't lying in a hospital somewhere attached to your nerve gear. as much as you didn't want to, you believed them. they had no information regarding your friends arrivals, so it was safe to assume you were alone here. they settled you with a place to stay, but getting a job and keeping that place were entirely up to you. the apartment you had was furnished, but it was all plain. you would decorate though and make the most of it.
despite being scared and confused, you couldn't lie to yourself. part of you was beyond glad that your parents were no longer here. you were free from their grasp. free from their life choices for you. you could be who you wanted to be here. so at least you had that to keep you going. and as you plopped on the couch of your new home, you couldn't help but a little overwhelmed. for now you'd do what you needed to do. you'd get a job. you'd make money. you'd survive. and you'd await the day your friends joined you here, if they ever did.