Chapter 15 (extract, web novel)
Translation of a part of the web novel of Sword Art Online that was changed when published by Dengeki Bunko.
An extract from the end of chapter 15.
The anime equivalent is in episode 10, so do watch that first to avoid spoilers.
This was from the web novel, so it’s technically non-canon for the light novel series.
I’ll be continuing the Q&A series next week.
“Heh, isn’t it obvious? It’s that girl.”
Kuradeel spoke in a hoarse voice as he licked his lips with his pointed tongue. I felt my entire body flare up upon realising he was referring to Asuna.
“Don’t glare at me like that. It’s just a game, isn’t it… Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to take properly care of that precious sub-leader of yours. There are plenty of useful items to choose from, after all.”
Picking up the bottle of poisoned water from his side, Kuradeel shook it, causing the sound of it sloshing about to ring out.
He stood up in a motion resembling that of a machine.
“That’s it for our little chat, with the poison wearing off soon. Shall we proceed on to the climax? I’ve been seeing this every night in my dreams… this very moment…”
Flames, ignited by his delusions, burned within those eyes opened so wide that they appeared to be almost perfect circles as he flamboyantly raised his sword overhead while standing on tiptoe, a long tongue dangling from that mouth that had its two corners curled upwards.
Right before he moved, I tossed the throwing pick grasped within my right hand, using nothing but my wrist. I targeted his face where the damage would be greatest, but the penalty from the paralysis threw off my aim, and the steel pick embedded itself into Kuradeel’s left arm. His HP bar fell by a despairingly meagre amount.
Kuradeel scrunched up his face and lifted his lips before driving the tip of his sword into my right arm. From that, he twisted it twice or thrice.
There was no pain. However, the strong numbness alongside the unpleasant sensation of having my nerves stimulated directly ran through my body. Each time the sword dug into my arm, my HP decreased slowly, but steadily.
Not yet… the poison isn’t gone yet…? I waited for the time my body regains its freedom as I gritted my teeth, withstanding the blows. It does depend on the strength of the poison, but the usual paralysing poisons should wear off in five minutes.
Kuradeel pulled out his sword and stabbed it down into my left foot this time. The numbing shocks ran through my nerves once again, the damage accumulating mercilessly.
“Well… how is it…? How does it feel to know you’re about to die…? Tell me… would you…?”
Kuradeel said that in a whisper while staring at my face.
“Say something, kid… how about you try crying, if you don’t want to die…?”
My HP finally dropped below half, changing to a shade of yellow. I have yet to recover from the paralysis. Coldness gradually enveloped my body. The possibility of death, enshrouded in a chill, crawled up from my feet.
I have witnessed the death of countless players within SAO up until now. All of them had the same expression on as they scattered into an immeasurable number of glittering fragments. Am I really going to die this way? That expression asked that simple question.
That’s right, we must have all doubted the rule that served as the basis of this game, how we would really die if we die within the game, somewhere in our hearts. Perhaps we would really return to the real world safe and sound when we vanished as our HP reached zero—that was the hope we held. There was no way to find out aside from actually dying. If one were to go down that path of thought, death within the game might just be one of the methods to escape the game—
“Hey, hey, say something. You’re really dying here, you know?”
Kuradeel’s sword was pried from my leg and then stabbed into my stomach. My HP fell heavily and went into the critical red area, but that too, seemed as though it was unrelated to me, happening in some other faraway world. As the sword tortured my body, my thoughts meandered through a dark path, deprived of light. My consciousness began to drown in a thick, heavy veil.
But— An absurd fear gripped my heart all of a sudden. Asuna. Asuna being left behind when I disappear from this world. Asuna falling into Kuradeel’s hands, suffering the same pain I did. The unbearable pain brought by that possibility shook my consciousness awake.
My eyes opened and I gripped the blade of that sword pierced into my stomach with my right hand. Mustering my strength, I slowly pulled it out from my body. My HP had a mere one-tenth remaining. Kuradeel shouted in surprise.
“Oh… oh? What, so you really are scared of dying, huh?”
“That’s right… I can’t… die yet…”
“Heh!! Haha!! I see, that’s more like it!!”
As laughter like that of an eerie bird escaped out from Kuradeel, he shifted his entire weight onto the sword. I frantically held that back with my right hand. This was merely a clash between numerals. One done through complex calculations of our strength parameters.
The result—although slow, the end of the sword steadily sank downwards. Dread and despair surrounded me. Is this the end…? Am I going to die…leaving Asuna behind… all by herself in this twisted world…? I desperately resisted. Gritting my teeth, I opposed the sword drawing closer.
Kuradeel screamed out in a shrill pitch.
The killing intent that assumed the form of dark-grey metal descended a centimetre at a time. The sword tip came into contact with my body—and sank slightly in—…
At that moment, a turbulent gust of wind blew.
A wind dyed in shades of white and red. Its advance threw Kuradeel high into the sky along with his sword. I silently stared at the figure that had swooped down before me.
“…I made it… I really made it… Thank god… I made it…”
Those hushed murmurs were beautiful beyond even the sounds of an angel’s flapping wings. Kneeling as though she was about to collapse, Asuna stared at me with her eyes widely opened, her lips trembling.
“Alive… you’re still alive, aren’t you, Kirito-kun…”
“…Aah… I’m still alive…”
The fragility of my voice surprised even myself. Asuna nodded heavily, fetching a pink crystal out from her pocket with her right hand, shouting out “Heal!” with her left hand on my chest. The crystal broke apart and my entire HP bar recovered in an instant. Upon acknowledging that,
“…Wait for a bit. It’ll be over right away…”
Asuna whispered and stood upright. Drawing her rapier in an elegant motion, she started walking.
It appears that Kuradeel had finally gotten up on the other side. Recognising the approaching shadow, his two eyes stared in bewilderment.
“A-Asuna-sama… why do… N-No, this is, practice, yes, during practice, something…”
He jumped to his feet like a spring, retaliating with words spoken in a rasping voice, but he didn’t manage to finish. That was because Asuna’s right hand flashed, the sword tip tearing into Kuradeel’s mouth.
He threw his head back with a hand holding onto his mouth. Ceasing motion for a moment, that familiar expression saturated with hatred creaked back onto his face.
“You bitch… don’t you get carried away… Keh, fine, I’d have to take care of you sooner or…”
But that line was forcibly interrupted as well. Asuna began her ferocious attacks as soon as she adjusted her rapier.
Kuradeel desperately fought back with his two-handed sword. However, that was no match. As the tip of Asuna’s sword drew countless streaks of light in the air, it tore at Kuradeel repeatedly with dreadful speed, piercing right through. Those trajectories were practically invisible to even me who should have been several levels above her. Before the visage of that white angel thrusting her sword almost as if she was dancing, I merely stared in fascination.
Beautiful. With her chestnut-coloured long hair flowing, the figure of Asuna emotionlessly driving back her enemy while enshrouded in flames of animosity was unbelievably beautiful.
The wildly swung about sword of Kuradeel, half-submerged in fear, did not even graze her. His HP bar quickly decreased. As it finally burst into the critical red area from yellow, Kuradeel threw down his sword and shouted with his hands up the in air.
“I-I got it!! I got it!! I’m the one at fault!!”
And he cowered onto the ground.
“I-I’ll quit the guild! I’ll never appear in front of you guys again!! So—”
Asuna ceased her movement at that moment and listened to Kuradeel’s words in silence. She had a gaze as if she was looking at a mere scrap of object data. I was taken aback.
“S… stop it, Asuna… you mustn’t… do that… you mustn’t…”
But, that voice was simply too feeble.
Atop Kuradeel’s head, as he knelt at her feet, screaming pleads for his life with his forehead scraping the ground, Asuna precisely tapped the pointed end of her rapier—
And stabbed it through without a hint of hesitation. Kuradeel’s entire frame shivered in jolts.
Asuna drew out the sword tip and Kuradeel raised his face with a blank expression.
“Ah…? Hey, what did—”
At that moment, his HP bar soundlessly extinguished. All of the data making up Kuradeel’s flesh broke into small fragments and scattered away. A grating sound effect, like that of glass being crushed. The fine objects that scattered everywhere started to vanish all at once, as though they were dissolving—before I noticed it, nothing remained there.
The rapier fell from Asuna’s right hand as she stood stock still, rolling over as it made a dry sound off the rocky ground.
Asuna approached unsteadily with her eyes cast downwards and fell to her knees before me, like a puppet with its strings cut. She softly stretched out her right hand, but jolted it back on the verge of touching me.
“…Sorry… it’s… all my fault…”
She struggled to get that line out with her face showing grief. Tears flowed out from her large eyes, trickling down one after another as they glittered like gems.
“I’m sorry… I… wo… won’t… meet Kirito-kun… a… again…”
I forced my body up, with the paralysing poison finally worn off. An unpleasant numbness remained from all that damage dealt to me, but I took no notice of that, stretching my two arms and embraced Asuna’s form. With that, I pressed against her beautiful, cherry-coloured lips with mine.
Asuna’s entire body stiffened and tried to push me away with her hands. I ignored that, holding onto her forcibly, the tip of my tongue intruding onto her lips. That was an act that definitely went against the harassment prevention code. A system message prompted by the code should have been displayed in Asuna’s vision right now and should the girl touch the OK button, I would be instantly teleported to the prison area of the Black Iron Palace. However, that was of no concern to me.
I pushed apart Asuna’s lips, sliding my tongue in, stretching the system’s feedback simulation to its limits through various deeds before our faces finally parted.
“I won’t forgive you if you do that.”
I spoke while staring into Asuna’s eyes, her face flushed deep red.
“My life is yours, Asuna. So I’ll use it for you. I’ll be with you till the very end.”
Asuna nodded countless times while warm breaths escaped from her, with cloudy eyes set upon an enraptured expression.
This time, she reached out with her arms on her own volition and I embraced Asuna tightly as her face approached. I felt the core of my body, frozen in the depths of death, starting to thaw gently from the fervour of Asuna’s life.
- Translation – Tap