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Kirito

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a character in “SAO: Path of Honesty”, as played by Retsamrieht Mai

So begins...

Kirito's Story

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"We can't go in there," Kirito mumbled at the entrance to the dungeon. Tetsuo, the other forward, turned his head towards him.

"Did you say something, Kirito?" He asked.

Kirito held his breath. For a little while now, he had gone under the guise of a fellow low-leveled player in the guild, because he didn't know how different he would be treated if the other actually found out he was level 48, more than twice the others in his party. His initial hesitance came from the fact they may not accept him, but as more time passed, he realized his true anxiety came from the fact that the others might fear him. He couldn't blame them; why would a high level player join a low level guild unless he had some ulterior motives?

Kirito wanted nothing more than the closeness and friendship that everyone in the guild shared. It wasn't enough to fight for himself anymore, he had to fight for something to keep the darkness of this world out of his heart.

He knew the this dungeon was a tough one because he had been one of the few who helped clear it. He had been level 25 then, and even that was cutting it a bit close. He didn't want to risk him not being able to manage by himself, even with his higher level. He didn't want to risk the lives of his new friends.

"That dungeon, we can't do it. It's too dangerous..." Kirito said quietly.

The rest of the gang had stopped and turned to him curiously. "Oh come on, no it's not! We can totally do it," laughed Ducker the treasure hunter. Ducker took another glance at Kirito to know he wasn't messing around. "Okay then, how are you so sure?"

Kirito could not bring himself to look at his guild members. "Because I...I helped clear it."

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Sachi wasn't feeling too hot at the moment. Sure she had her guild with her and even Kirito, but something just felt.... off. And the way Kirito was acting didn't make her feel any better. He looked on edge.

They were stopped at the entrance to the dungeon now and Sachi was sure her heart would brust any minute now. She wrung her hands nervously and looked up at Kirito spoke.

'That dungeon, we can't do it. It's too dangerous...'

He seemed truthful but no one looked to believe him. It wasn't until Kirito admitted to clearing the room himself did they realize he wasn't joking.

'Whoa....Kirito are you serious? Dude....' Ducker crossed his arms and looked to the rest of the gang.

They muttered together but Sachi stepped forward. 'S-so? Kirito's still Kirito. I trust him....don't you guys?'

Tetsuo nodded though he still looked a bit curious. 'Well yeah we do. But Kirito....why are you hanging out with us? You should be out with a much stronger guild, not...' He motined to his friends around him. 'Us.'

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Kirito's brow furrowed in thought, but after a few moments of contemplation, he finally understood himself.

"Levels are just...levels. Up until now, I've only ever been fighting for myself; for my own survival. But you guys fight for each other."

Kirito looked around unto his gaze stopped on Sachi. Her eyes were wavering inquisitively, searching his own. He couldn't hold the gaze for too long before he had to turn away.

"I guess..." he began, rubbing the back of his neck nervously, "I guess I was a little jealous. In the short time I've been with you guys, I've realized something very important: this game is not about getting out, it's about getting out together."

"I hope you'll still have me, but if you don't, I'd understand."

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Kirito began to look nervous and Sachi bit her bottom lip. She didn't want him to feel like they'd kick him out for this. And sure it was a surprise seeing just who Kirito was, but that didn't change what he had done for them.

'It's okay Kirito.' Sachi clasped her hands together. 'You still helped us. You're part of our guild. You always will be.'

Behind the the rest of the guild nodded. They all agreed Kirito was with them now.

Ducker grinned and walked over to Kirito, clapping a hand over his back. 'Hey, don't worry Kirito. We're together like you said.' He squeezed Kirito in a hug before returning to the other members.

'Well,' said Tetsuo. 'We'd better head back then. If Kirito says it's unsafe then it's unsafe. Come on guys.' He nodded his head and they all began the trek away from the dungeon.

Sachi caught up quickly to Kirito. 'It's really okay Kirito. You don't have to worry. I-er....we still like you....'

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Kirito was humbled by Sachi's words. He felt a weird mixture of emotion. On one hand, he was overjoyed that, at first glance, nothing had changed. On the other hand, he felt regret for hiding it in the first place. All he could do with the warmness in his chest was turn it into a smile, ever so slight.

"Wow, I don't know what to say," Kirito blushed lightly. "Thank you, Sachi."

They continued down the path for a while, heading back towards town. Judging from the sun (or whatever its equivalent was in this world), it seemed to be about noon, and Keita wasn't due to return for another hour or two.

"Well, I guess we have some time to kill..." Kirito announced casually, "what should we do?"

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'N-no problem Kirito....' Sachi grinned and and gazed at the ground. Seeing Kirito blush made her feel a lot better about this who thing. And she could only imagine how worried he was about telling them this.

'Well...' She said in response to Kirito's question. 'We could go wait for Keita, or made swim in one of the rivers. Or maybe we could tell eachother stories of our old lives?'

(I'm so sorry this took a while and it's short. I'm sick and I want to take a nap)

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(No problem, I'm patient.)

Kirito chuckled. "Those all sound like good ideas. Why not all three? Let's go get some lunch and we can have a picnic by the river. I know a place a little further down stream where the water is slow, and there are plenty of shady spots to rest under. It'd be a shame to waste such a beautiful day."

The others gave a quick look in between themselves, before they all nodded.

"Sounds awesome!" Sasamaru said, giving a fist pump.

"Yeah, after a long morning of leveling, a picnic would hit the spot," Tetsuo agreed.

"Then it's settled then!" Kirito announced. He gave a quick smile to Sachi before turning around and beginning to walk back towards town. The group walked together chatting for a while, many of the other team members asking Kirito the specifics about his levels, and the stuff he could do. They were all amazed to find out he was truly level 48, which made him feel slightly embarrassed all over again. The only one who didn't seem to ask very many questions was Sachi, who walked contentedly at Kirito's side.

"YOU were the beater who cleared the first dungeon by yourself!?" Ducker exclaimed.

Kirito put both his hands up defensively and smiled. "Well, it wasn't by myself. I had a full team of people helping me. I just happened to get the final blow."

"So humble!" Ducker joked.

Together they made their way into town, and went to a grocery where they might be able to find some food to eat. After everyone had selected their food, they made their way back out of town in the opposite direction, towards one of the wider gaps in the river where the water moved at a near standstill. Up a hill they marched until they reached a shady area that overlooked the swimming area. The sun shimmered beautifully off the water, and the cool breeze ruffled past them.

"So, what do you guys think?" Kirito asked.

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Sachi really liked this. They all walked together while Kirito told what hr could do at such a high level. It really was amazing and in hindsight she probably shouldn't of been suprised when they found out he was the beater. After all, if anyone could cleat a dungeon it would be Kirito. He just had that about him.

A fee stories and a trip to a grocery later they had arrived at the water. Sachi spent a few moments just gazing at the sight before smiling. Not only was it a beautiful day, but the weather was just right. This was a lot better then going into a dungeon like they planned earlier.

'It so beautiful....' She grinned and turned to her friends. 'It almost reminds me of home.'

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"I'm glad you like it," Kirito responded. "You're lucky to live in a place like this." Kirito quickly sent a private message to Keita so he would know where to find them.

He knelt down into the grass, and as he adjusted himself, laid down in a shady spot. His hands propped his head as he stared at the streaks of sunlight shining through the canopy.

"It's kind of funny: I spent almost my whole like playing video games and other indoor stuff, but it took a video game for me to cherish nice days like this."

"I know what you mean, brother!" Tetsuo agreed as he stretched his limbs. He nudged Sachi. "Great idea by the way."

Ducker was no where to be found. He had already donned his swim trunks and was cannonballing into the water.

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Sachi smiled as she sat down by the water. This was much better then what they had originally planned. They didn't have to fight and instead here they sat just enjoying themselves. Yup. This was much better then fighting in a smelly old dungeon.

Tetsuo sat down as well and stretched his legs out next to Sachi. 'So Kirito,' hr grinned and tapped his leg. 'Tell us more about your black swordsmenness. We'd love to here it.'

'Come on Tetsuo.' Sachi leaned close to then as she broke the conservation. 'We never have time to not talk about the game. Why don't you tell us about your life back home Kirito?'

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Kirito chuckled and scratched his cheek. "Oh I'm nothing special... just another averagely intelligent high schooler wasting his life away playing video games." He shifted his weight as he sat up from the grass, shaking his hair to get a few strands of grass out of it.

"I can't complain too much. My mom took good care of me, and I have a little sister, though she probably hates me. I don't have many friends IRL, which is why this game seemed like an opportunity to me. An...escape."

Kirito rubbed his neck nervously. "Ironic, huh? Sorry, didn't mean to get so serious. What about your life, Sachi?"

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Sachi sat back as Kirito spoke. She wasn't very surprised at his story. Kirito seemed very much the big brother type. Though she did notice the lack of a father in his words. Unfortunately Sachi was to much of an coward to dwell more into his past.

'Me?' She pointed to herself when Kirito asked about her own life. 'It's nothing special really....'

Tetsuo rolled his eyes placed a hand on her shoulder. 'Come on Sachi. We all know about eachother, but Kirito has no idea. Team members need to know about their friends.'

He grinned and Sachi sighed. 'Okay....I was a high school student. We all were in a computer club together. And, uh.....oh! I lived pretty close to Keita.' Happy with her story she nodded and say back. 'Like I said, nothing special.'

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"Don't sell yourself short, Sachi," Kirito replied. "Not many girls have the courage to be in a guild, especially one that aspires to play on the front lines some day. You get scared sometimes, but you never run from a fight. I just know when we beat this game, you'll be one of the heroes that saved all of them; the ones who don't have fighting spirit."

Kirito folded his arms and closed his eyes. "And you're pretty lucky to have a club that's got your back."

"Nail on the head, Kirito!" Tetsuo nodded. "Sachi's always been like that."

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Sachi blushed and ducked her head as Kirito went on about her. 'I....thank you Kirito. I couldn't do it without you. Without any of you.' Again she blushed deeper while Tetsuo laughed.

'That's what we're here for Sachi. We've all got to look after eachother.' He grinned and sat back in the grass. 'It's our job as Guild Members.'

Sachi nodded. 'Yeah. That's for sure. I'll protect you guys best I can. Even if I get scared. Cause we're Guild Members.'

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"Yah, we are. I'm glad you guys found me that day, in the inn," Kirito spoke as warmness spread inside his chest. He had been a solo player for so long he had forgotten what it was like to have people care about you, and to care about them in return. A deeper relationship than just a party invite or even guilds. The whole system just felt like a contract, not necessarily meant to be something special, just a means to an end. But the Moonlit Black Cats understood that people come first, not their skills or levels.

It felt good to be accepted by them.

He body betrayed him as his stomach growled noisily, breaking the mood. "Heh heh... sorry, guess I was more hungry than I thought."

Kirito swiped his hand down to bring up his inventory screen, from which he pulled out the basket containing their food. It materialized in front of them with a digital sizzle. At the same time, a large blanket materialized under them. "Well that was convenient," he chuckled.

He reached over to hand Sachi her food when suddenly a red and white beach ball flew from the sky and hit kirito in the head. It was mostly air, so it didn't do any damage, but it was enough to surprise him to where he almost dropped Sachi's sandwich. Kirito glanced over to where Ducker was laughing in the water.

"Come on, I can't be the only wanting to swim!" he yelled. "Sachi, wasn't the point of coming here to show off your swim suit to Kirito!?" he teased.

Sasamaru rolled his eyes. "Don't mind him."

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Sachi smiled and grabbed at a piece of bread. Despite this game being a hell hole most of the time she still couldn't get over the magical things that went on. It was one of the few things that kept her sane.

After Kirito of course.

Speaking of the swordsmen he had just began to hand Sachi more food when a beach ball hit him in the head. Sachi jumped and picked it up where it landed.

Ducker called out to them and mentioned her swimsuit. Sachi blushed deeply and pressed her face into the beach ball. 'Ducker!' She called out. 'Stop doing that!'

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Kirito chuckled and handed Sachi her sandwich, this time more carefully.

The group sat there eating their lunches while talking about random stuff. Some conversations led to real life, others about the game. It was a very pleasant conversation, which Kirito hasn't been able to have much of. As the time went on, Sasamaru and Tetsuo eventually joined Ducker in the water, splashing around and trying to dunk each other. Kirito and Sachi sat on the shaded hill and watched from above.

"This has been a good day," Kirito said contentedly. "And by the end of it, we'll have our own guild house. It's unreal to think about. It'll be nice not sleeping in an inn for once."

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Sachi nibbled her sandwich in silence, cheeks still red. She only started to speak up again once their conversation changed to life and things about the game. Soon enough they were all laughing happily.

A little while later while eating a second loaf Sachi found herself alone with Kirito. He spoke happily about them getting a home and she could only agree. 'Yeah... A place to call our own. And it's really cause of you Kirito. Who knows where we'd end up without you.'