Aincrad, 2nd floor…
Players continued appearing near the fountain plaza. They grouped up and they departed the plaza on their own terms. They curiously looked around when they first arrived. They were like inmates who were freed from their cages. They examined the town with the intrigue of a free man. They are also trying to accustom themselves to the change in the environment.
Most of the players here are veterans who came equipped with the best gear they could get their hands on. They had tankers with bulky armor, damage dealers with sharps weapons. They looked like an adventurer party typically seen in fantasy novels. This NPC town soon turned very lively with the arrival of the players.
Anyone who wants to seize control of their own fates chose to abandon the safety of the stagnant heaven known as the 1st floor in favor of the 2nd floor. This included specialist players who have sub-jobs.
To get stronger, they needed to go to higher levels. Specialists also needed to move here if they wanted to be closer to their clients and materials.
Some of these players came to sightsee. These players had foundations on the 1st floor, they had friends or businesses in the 1st floor that needed oversight so they can’t stay long on this level. By the time they left, only around 60-70% of the players who arrived here stayed behind.
It’s already almost half a day since the floor boss was killed.
The established squads and guilds are already gearing up to gather intel on the 2nd floor. They wanted to quickly get their hands on hunting grounds, field monster data, boss locations, and etc so they can get ahead of the competition. With sufficient information and preparation, they can give the monsters a run for their money.
The Town of Beginnings in the 2nd floor quickly filled up with players roaming the street and exploring NPC shops. Some of them wanted to get their hands on newer material while others want to find better equipment. They also wanted to see if they can get secret missions or quests from random conversations with NPC. All in all, it was getting pretty hectic in this town.
While everyone’s busy with their own work, Wu Yan leisurely sat inside the hotel he’s staying in, drinking beer while killing time…
He downed his beer and he sighed.
“It tastes better than the beer found on the 1st floor but at least it was free on the 1st floor. 20 Cors a bottle of beer? This ain’t a drink for the average novice or anyone who ain’t got the shekels…’
Said the player with millions of Cors in his inventory…
A menu appeared in front of Wu Yan when he tapped the table. He ordered a bottle of beer and he closed the menu.
The menu is more diverse here on the higher floor but the food here still couldn’t compare to his own cooking. He would rather drink his time away than waste his time on poor-tasting food.
Thus, Wu Yan drank while the NPC kept replacing the empty bottle with new ones whenever he ordered another beer. Wu Yan let the NPC do their jobs without bothering them. At one point, a six-person party appeared in front of the hotel he’s staying at.
Moonlit Black Cats entered the hotel and they found Wu Yan drinking beer in casual clothing. Shion yelled while running towards Wu Yan.
“We are here~~` Wu-mugh…”
Wu Yan immediately gagged her.
“I am in my casual clothes because I don’t want people finding out about my identity, don’t go blowing my cover with your yelling!”
Wu Yan made sure Shion heard every word he said. By the time he was done, she almost fainted from the lack of oxygen.
His black coat and Heaven Gazer became a signature for the strongest player in SAO. Even his name is publicly known so the other players here will swarm this hotel if they found out he’s staying here.
The other Black Cats stopped in their tracks because they were just as guilty as Shion. They almost yelled his name out loud. They choked on their own words, Souta & the other 3 had to beat their chest to relieve the pressure. Sachi is the only one who didn’t screw up.
Sachi grabbed Wu Yan’s hand, the hand which silenced Shion, and she beamed at him.
“I think you should let go. Shion-chan is about to expire…”
Shion’s eyes are rolling back because she’s about to faint. Wu Yan released his hand and this prevented the first impossible case of a player being choked to death in a safe zone.
“Ugh, I could have sworn I saw a person in white clothes with bird wings…”
Shion returned to the world of the living and she wheezed while leaning on Sachi.
“Sachi, did you see it?…”
Sachi awkwardly laughed.
“Seriously, are you going to give it a rest…”
Souta slapped his shoulder with excitement written across his face.
“I know you’re strong but when I heard the news, I thought they are just blowing it out of proportions…’
“It wasn’t as hard as you imagined…”
He motioned for them to sit down as he chuckled.
“The players are already sufficiently leveled to take down the floor boss. It took us one whole month because most of the players felt despair and that sapped their spirits to try and clear the 1st floor. I am sure if more players were motivated, the Boss’s lair would have been discovered a long time ago.”
Wu Yan gulped his beer down.
“The moment someone discovered the lair of the floor boss, it’s only a matter of time before someone killed it. I just sped up the process because they would have been casualties during the raid fight.”
The others thought about it and they could see the point in his words. Sachi replied.
“But Onii-san is the incredible one who fought the boss on his own, the other players had to party up in order to fight it…”
Shion cheekily sneaked up to Wu Yan’s ears as she whispered furtively.
“Tell us your secret, why don’tcha? Did you exploit some kind of bug or secret technique to beat the boss? Like using the fatal weakness points of the boss, or some high-damage bug or something…”
Wu Yan scolded her.
“That was pure skill!”
“Is that so?…”
Shion didn’t pursue the matter any further. From her looks, it’s evident that she’s not fully convinced Wu Yan did it on his own.
Wu Yan’s lip twitched and he sighed.
“Hey, I remember back then somebody tried to tag along while pleading with me thusly ‘Can I tag along with you pweetty prish?’…”
Shion immediately blushed as she stuttered.
“I… I… That was out of my control…’
Wu Yan dragged his tone out with her. Shion grew redder in embarrassment as she piped down.
Souta shook his head and he turned towards Wu Yan.
Wu Yan thought about it and he replied.
“Same as usual, grinding and finishing quests, I guess…”
Souta nodded like he expected this answer from him. Sachi drummed up her courage and she said.
“If you want a quest, I’ve got one here…”
The others flinched as they directed their attention towards her.
Shion hugged Sachi.
“What quest? Why didn’t we hear about this?…”
“I-I just got it…”
Sachi shrunk away with a bashful look.
“When we came here, I accidentally clicked on an NPC and then I got this weird teleport crystal…”
Wu Yan, Shion, Souta, and the others weren’t sure what they should say.