Sword Art Online:Volume 1 Chapter 23
Kayaba pursed his lips and flaunted his arms dramatically.
“This is really surprising. Isn't it just like a standalone console RPG scenario? It should have been impossible for her to recover from the paralysis... So things like this really do happen...”
But his voice didn't even register in my mind. It felt as if all my emotions were being burnt out, as if I was falling into a bottomless abyss engulfed by despair.
There was no reason for me to do anything anymore.
Whether it was fighting in this world, returning to the original world, or even continuing to live on, all of them had lost their meaning. I should have killed myself in the past when my inability and lack of strength led to the death of my guild mates. If I had done that, then I wouldn't have met Asuna, nor would I have made the same mistake again.
Prevent Asuna from committing suicide— what a stupid and careless thing to say. I hadn't understood anything at all. Just like this— with my heart filled with emptiness, how could I possibly keep on living...
I stared blankly at Asuna's rapier, shining as it laid on the ground. I reached out with my left hand and grabbed it.
I sought to find a trace of Asuna's existence on that thin and nimble weapon, but there was nothing. There wasn't a thing left on that expressionless shining surface that would hint at its owner. With my own sword in my right hand and Asuna's in my left, I slowly stood back up.
Nothing mattered anymore. I only want to go find her with the memories of the short period we spent living together.
I thought I heard somebody call me from behind.
But I didn't stop and continued to walk towards Kayaba with my right sword raised. I took several unsightly steps towards him and stabbed with my sword.
Kayaba looked pitifully upon my movement, which could neither be called a skill nor an attack— he deflected my sword easily with his shield and sent it flying, while the long sword in his right hand pierced straight through my chest.
I stared emotionlessly at the shining piece of metal buried deeply within my own body. My mind no longer thought of anything. All that was left was the blank resignation that everything had ended.
From the edge of my vision, I could see my HP bar slowly reducing. I don't know if it was the continuation of my accelerated senses from the battle, but it felt like I could see each dot disappearing. I closed my eyes, hoping that the image of Asuna's smile would resurface as my mind went blank.
But even though I closed my eyes, the HP bar still didn't disappear. It was flashing red and getting smaller at an unrelenting pace. I felt as if the god called the system, which had tolerated my existence up until now, was waiting for the final moment. Only ten dots left to go, now five dots, now—
Then, I suddenly felt an anger that I had never experienced before.
It was this bastard. It was the one who had killed Asuna. The creator Kayaba was merely a part of it. The one who had ripped apart Asuna's body and extinguished her spirit, it was the presence which surrounded me right now— the will of the system itself, the digital death god which mocked the stupidity of the players and swept its scythe mercilessly—
What the hell are we? Are we just a bunch of idiotic puppets controlled by the inviolable threads of the SAO system?
My HP bar vanished completely as if mocking my anger. A purple message appeared within my vision: [You are dead]. It was the command from the god to die.
An icy coldness permeated my body. My senses dulled. I felt the innumerable blocks of code unraveling, severing, and destroying my very being. The cold crept up my neck and into my head. Touch, sound, sight, everything became hazy. My entirely body was starting to dissolve— becoming shards of polygons— before scattering in all directions—
You think I would let that happen?
I opened my eyes widely. I could see. I could still see. I could still see the face of Kayaba, whose sword was dug deeply into my chest, and the expression of surprise on him.
Perhaps my accelerated senses returned, as the death of my avatar, which normally happened within a single moment, felt like it was slowing down. The outline of my body was hazy, and particles of light broke off and disappeared here and there. But I was still existing. I was still alive.
I screamed with all my strength. I screamed and resisted. Resisting the system, the absolute god.
Just to save me, the shy and spoiled Asuna had shaken off the incurable paralysis with her willpower and thrown herself against an attack that was impossible to block. How could I fall now without doing anything. I couldn't fall now, absolutely not. Even if I couldn't avoid death— I had to— at least—
I tightened the grip on my left hand. I took back my senses as if pulling them back with a thread. The feeling of holding something in my left hand returned. Asuna's rapier— I could feel the determination she had. I could hear her telling me to be strong.
My left arm slowly began to move. Its shape was distorting and chunks of it broke off with every bit of movement. But it didn't stop. Bit by bit, it consumed my very soul in order to raise itself.
Perhaps it was the price of my insolent resistance, as an unbelievable pain was coursing throughout my body. But I gritted my teeth and kept on moving. The distance of merely tens of centimeters felt unbelievably far away. My body felt like it was frozen. Only my left arm had any feelings left, yet the coldness was quickly enveloping that part as well. My entire body was like an icy statue with shards of it continuously breaking off.
But at last, the silver rapier reached the center of Kayaba's chest. Kayaba didn't move. His expression of surprise had already disappeared— a soft, peaceful smile had taken its place.
My arm covered the remaining distance, half propelled by my determination, and half moving by some inexplicable force. Kayaba closed his eyes and received the blow as the rapier pierced his body soundlessly. His HP bar had also vanished.
For a moment, we simply stood there, with swords that penetrated each others' bodies. I used the last of my strength to force my head up and look at the sky.
Is this— enough...?
Although I couldn't hear her answer, I could feel a slight warmth wrap itself around my left hand. Finally, I released my body, which was about to shatter completely.
As my mind sank deeper into the darkness, I could feel my body and Kayaba's body breaking into thousands of pieces at the same time. The familiar sound of two objects being destroyed rang out and overlapped one another. As everything pulled further and further away at an incredible speed, I could hear faint voices calling my name. I figured those must be the voices of Klein and Agil. Then, at this moment, the emotionless voice of the system announced—
『The game has been cleared — The game has been cleared — The game...』
|Back||Return to Main Page||Forward|