The next day, the time is currently around 12:55 Noon.
It didn’t matter if you’re currently on a busy street, a small alley. Anywhere with television or computer are all reporting on the same thing, Sword Art Online is going to come online.
It is a type of full immersion game where the player will “Dive” into the gaming world. It is a very earth-shattering concept that intrigued everyone, it didn’t matter if they were into games in the first place. Heck, even if they aren’t interested in this game, the hype surrounding it drew in everyone.
The server will come online at 1300. In other words, they will be able to log in in about 5 more minutes.
The players who managed to secure a VR headset all sat tight while waiting to be logged into Aincrad. They can’t wait for the timer to finish counting down.
Inside an abandoned house, within a secured and unused room, Wu Yan leaned against the wall with closed eyes.
He didn’t have the VR headset but the System can log him into the game without any hardware or software. He can see the same thing the other players can due to the almighty System.
Wu Yan searched around to find a spot where he can dive into the game without being disturbed. He expects to be prevented from logging out once he logged in as per the original story. He didn’t want to get chugged into a hospital like the other would-be victims of the first SAO game. He excluded places like apartments and residential areas with dense populations. He chose this dilapidated place precisely because no one would come here.
According to the rumors he gleaned off the media and available public records, this place has been abandoned for more than 5 years already. It is also apparently haunted so no one in their right minds would come here. Nobody knew who the original was since said person disappeared a long time ago.
Wu Yan decided that this was the perfect place to log in. He expects to be stuck in Aincrad for at least 2 to 3 years, after all…
He silently praised the game for being so interesting.
This seemingly harmless game had a hidden feature within that would indiscriminately prevent all players who are logged in from logging out about 4 hours after the game comes online.
The logout option will disappear from the user interface. Only by clearing the top floor, the 100th floor will the players be allowed to escape from this world.
Forcibly removing or tampering with the VR headset will result in the player’s death when the equipment effectively microwaves the player’s brain.
Similarly, dying inside the game will result in death in the real world as well. This was designed as a sick game that trapped the players in a game world where death is permanent.
Wu Yan wasn’t intimidated in the slightest bit. Firstly, there’s no VR headset to microwave his brain. Secondly, supposing that the game can somehow emit a long-distance high-intensity EM wave to fry his brain, his brain would regenerate in the next instant with his True Ancestor’s ridiculous regenerative powers. Finally, with Eternal Arms Mastery, he highly doubts there’s anyone or anything in a game designed for humans that can threaten him.
He pursed his lips as the time displayed in his field of vision hit 1259.
“Fuck, it’s going to be a long time before I can get some food in me. I won’t starve to death with True Ancestor sustaining my body. I just hope I won’t be overwhelmed by my hunger when I come back from this game…”
The time in his vision finally hit 1300
Wu Yan issued a command with a sharp look.
“System, connect me to Sword Art Online!”
He blacked out for a second there. He felt like someone drew him into an infinite expanse of space as digital numerals started appearing in his vision. A bunch of OK signals passed by and finally, the darkness returned.
This time, control returned to his body. He opened his eyes, sending the darkness away.
A mix of Medieval European and Fantasy-like structures appeared in front of him. The sky is an unpolluted blue with trees everywhere the eyes can see. The air itself gave him a sense of invigoration. A gale blew by and he basked in the pleasant sensation.
Players started logging in in streaks of light that struck the ground like lightning bolts. It didn’t take long for the Place of Beginnings to be filled with countless players. It’s starting to get to the point where he had to shove other people to move around. The deafening rowdiness here gave him a rough idea of how many people had logged in.
“This is SAO’s Aincrad?”
“A game world? Is this fake or real? It looks too real to be true…”
“Haha! Oh my gosh, this place is so beautiful, I absolutely adore this place!”
“SAO, get your butt ready, yours truly is coming in without lube!”
He could hear ecstatic chatter all around him. A few seconds ago, this place was quiet and tranquil. Now, it’s basically a cacophony of noises blended in an unpleasant mix.
Wu Yan sighed when he saw their excited looks.
He wondered how they would all react when they find out they just entered a Death Game.
He shook his head and he slapped his cheeks to perk himself up. Then, he started walking into the city.
Each building was taller than the last. In this city, all the buildings looked like somebody carved them out of a giant boulder. Countless players explored the city, giving this place a rowdy feel not unlike when he first arrived.
This city was aptly named the Town of Beginning, it’s a location on the 1st floor of Aincrad. Grassland surrounded the city with smaller towns and villages forming the outer parts of this floor. There are also monster areas where one could start farming mobs.
“Premium level 1 Novice Sword for sale! Its attack is 50% higher than the default weapon given by the system! It costs only 2 Cor (the currency here). Limited sale of 3 Novice Swords! Come get your sword while stock lasts!”
“Player-made potion! 1 Cor per potion! Useful for both PK and farming mobs alike! Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!”
“Looking for a mentor to grind with! Come form a party with me!”
“Looking for a monster-hunting squad, is there anyone with an open position in their squads? Hey Onii-san, wanna party up? I can kite monsters, kill efficiently, roam effectively, and plan equipment acquisitions, I need help with leeching because I suck at playing the leecher in a party, you won’t regret partying up with me!”
Wu Yan started sweating when he heard the crowd growing out of hand in this place. He didn’t think a 2D world would be so hectic.
Each new player who logged in got 10 Cor as their starting fund. In order to get ahead of the player curve, the seasoned players all started touring the stalls to buy starting equipment and potions. This world is almost not distinguishable from the real world they came from, if you didn’t notice the game features in the game, that is.
You got to give it to the man, Kayaba Akihiko had the brains and talent to create something as extraordinary as this. In an ordinary world without magic or beyond sci-fi levels of science, he’s basically the epitome of what a human can achieve in his lifetime.
He took a quick look at the weapons being sold here and he snorted with disappointment. He turned around and he directed his attention towards the map outside the town.
Indeed, the weapons are better than the default weapons given by the system but he’s not hooked since the equipment would soon be obsolete as the early stages of the game allowed the players to grow quickly in power.
This equipment can greatly enhance the average novice’s leveling speed but the benefits are negligible in Wu Yan’s opinion.
He can make up for the lower attack with pure skills and efficiency. He’s gonna grab some drops from the monsters and make his way up with Eternal Arms Mastery.
He drew an arc in the air with his hand and he opened up the user interface like how he would open up the System’s interface. He checked his stats and he saw an unbelievably complex attributes screen. He was dizzy just looking at the array of figures.
There are at least dozens of attributes and parameters, he can’t help but silently riff on this.
“This is just a game, who in their right minds would turn status screens into a mathletic’s greatest dream? These attributes and parameters are absurdly convoluted!”
Sighing for the nth time, he closed the status screen and he continued walking towards his destination…