Aincrad, 55th Floor, Granzam.
Today, the air in Granzam felt different.
As a large city, Granzam is relatively busy on normal days. There are a lot of NPCs going about their routine in this city. The players are also very active in this city. Some of them put up stores, some did missions and quests, some came here to resupply. Put it shortly, this is a very prosperous city and there is a lot of traffic here.
However, this city is rowdier than ever. Players all over SAO stopped non-essential work, some closed their shops temporarily, the players also delayed the completion of their quests. They all walked in the same direction, even players who wanted to resupply decided to shop on another day. Like star-struck fans, they wanted to see their idols, very desperately so.
The players made a beeline for Knights of the Blood Oath’s headquarters.
On a plaza near the KoB’s HQ…
The players pressed against each other to squeeze into this small plaza. They encircled the plaza’s center. The players formed a sea of players, they waved their arms in the air as they cheered, jeered, or yelled out loud. The situation here is very messy to say the least. There are at least a thousand players here.
At the line closest to the plaza center, the KoBs formed a defensive circle around the center to make sure the pedestrians and stray players stay out. They cleared out a vacant circle around 100 meters in diameter.
There are two players who faced off against each other in this square. These two players is the reason why this city is so noisy today.
Wu Yan and Heathcliff.
The figure in black and the figure in red stood out among the crowd. A coat and a cape fluttered with the wind. No one knew if the wind was caused by natural means or artificially by the sheer amount of people breathing and yelling in excitement. The two stared at each other without paying the other players a single iota of attention.
Asuna stood with the Knights who are in charge of maintaining order here. She’s the temporary leader while Heathcliff dueled Wu Yan. She pointed her fingers and she gave her orders from time to time.
She looked like she’s taking this job very seriously when in actual fact, she can’t help glancing over in Wu Yan’s direction.
Heathcliff glanced around and he shook his head.
“I am sorry, Wu Yan-kun, the rowdy players must not be to your liking, right?”
Heathcliff didn’t know who leaked the duel between the two of them. Somehow or the other, word got out, and now, they have to deal with this. Who could blame the players? Heathcliff and Wu Yan are both legendary players in SAO.
On one side, we have the strongest player in SAO. On the other, we have the guild leader of the strongest guild.
They only need to show their face in public to cause a commotion. When they are about to duel, like what is happening today, the players are bound to go crazy with excitement. It wasn’t hard to imagine that it would turn out like this if someone leaked this duel to the public.
“Yeah, I don’t really like appearing in front of a crowd.”
Wu Yan looked around and he continued nonchalantly.
“But, it’s not the first time this happened to me so…”
Heathcliff had his own thoughts.
“Looks like Wu Yan-kun is also quite an individual in the real world…”
“Oh no no, I am just some nameless mook in the real world…”
Wu Yan shrugged.
“I am not worth mentioning…”
“You’re being too modest…”
“If you’re a nameless individual, this world wouldn’t have anyone worth mentioning anymore…”
“Sure, if you say so…”
Wu Yan said with a faint smile on his face. Heathcliff obviously didn’t believe his words.
He’s speaking the truth, if he can’t accept it then there’s nothing Wu Yan can do.
Wu Yan is an alien in the SAO’s universe. He didn’t even have a proof of identity. Heathcliff is working on the assumption that Wu Yan’s skill set and background must be linked to a notable individual in real life as well.
Heck, he was even intimidated by what Wu Yan must have gone through in the real world to be as strong as he is today.
Heathcliff invited Wu Yan to a duel and Wu Yan saw this invitation in the next instant.
Wu Yan clicked on the “Okay” button in the prompt. He clicked on the First-Strike Mode option in the drop-down menu.
In a First-Strike mode, the one who hits the yellow HP Bar first, loses the fight. In other words, the one who gets reduced to 50% HP will lose this duel.
A countdown started in midair between Wu Yan and Heathcliff. The seconds slowly ticked to 0…
Heathcliff put on his game face and he raised the shield in his left hand, he pulled out a sword from the shield that served as his scabbard at the same time.
Wu Yan grabbed his Heaven Gazer and he pulled it out as he got into a stance. Wu Yan is smiling like he’s not facing a top player. He’s treating this duel like a curb-stomp match. The other players cheered for him.
Wu Yan isn’t stupid enough to let his guard down against an opponent like Heathcliff. He’s the one who’s actually in trouble here.
He’s not just a top-class player, he is an administrator, the GM of this game. Normally, a player wouldn’t even think about going against a GM. Has there ever been a case of a player prevailing over the GM of a game?
Wu Yan wasn’t completely sure he can win against someone who had administrator privileges. But, he’s sure he can pull through this in his own way.
Heathcliff will not blatantly abuse his administrator powers in front of the public. He can’t directly use GM powers to make Wu Yan lose. He also couldn’t use restricting interference on Wu Yan. Eagle-eyed players would be able to spot the difference, that’s just too risky.
Heathcliff, can, however, abuse his power to peg his HP bar at 51% or more so he never hits yellow. He can also use his privileges to move in defiance of the rules in this game. In the previous battles, Heathcliff has done well relying on this ability to cheese through his fights.
Pegging his Hp bar at 51% or more, that’s a form of invulnerability as well. If he chose to use that function, Wu Yan wouldn’t win no matter how hard he tried.
Wu Yan has the confidence to maintain his HP above 51% throughout the fight, add a few gimmicks here and there, it’s hard to say who would win in the end.
But, plans can’t keep up with changes, especially in a fight like this when anything can happen. If he messed up, he would probably lose and have to join the Knights of Blood.
In short, it’s hard to say who will win in the end.