At the crack of dawn, the players started coming out of the teleport plaza with energetic looks. They started heading towards their respective destinations.
The players operating here are very high leveled and some of them are barely strong enough to fight on this floor. Then, there are players who are lower than lvl80, these are novices who can't even fight in the fields, forget the labyrinth.
This didn't stop the flames burning within their hearts. There are tons of players who came here from the lower floors just to look at the stone spire that pierced the sky. Their eyes were brimming with hope.
If they can conquer that tower, they will all be able to ascend to the last floor, the 100th-floor.
They came here with a singular dream in their minds. They wanted to clear this floor. If levels weren't a concern, the players would have stomped the labyrinth into oblivion with their sheer numbers.
In a sense, these players were more self-conscious than the raid members.
With 100 floors, Aincrad looked like a weirdly-shaped pyramid with area increasing the more one descended from the top. At the 99th floor, this floor is a bit cramped compared to the lower floors. The stony labyrinth guarding the stairs to the next floor were encircled by four NPC towns around it. Aside from that, the outer areas were neutral fields.
With only four towns here, being cramped is an understatement. Any city in the real world would easily be larger than the 99th-floor.
Asuna and Wu Yan arrived via teleportation. Their visions blurred for a second and they lost sense of balance until they returned to their consciousness with the labyrinth staring back at them from the distance.
The platform is moist, it probably rained a while back. The two looked at the heaven-piercing tower which looked rather impressive.
They stared at the tower in silence, nobody knew what they were thinking about.
Asuna sucked in a deep breath. Her stern look unseen since her time as the vice-captain returned. The Demon of Conquest has returned.
After ditching her title as the vice captain of Knights of the Blood Oath, and the Demon of Floor conquest, Asuna kept only her title as the Flash.
"Are we diving into the labyrinth?..."
"Yeah, without any delay!"
Wu Yan walked down the teleport platform.
"We are high-leveled enough to deal with the labyrinth monsters, barring abnormal situations..."
Wu Yan stopped and he asked Asuna.
"Are you sure about this? Yui must be dying to stay together with you..."
Wu Yan already knows what she's going to say. He arranged for Sachi and the other girls to look after Yui...
Wu Yan relied on this to make sure Asuna stays at home. Asuna knows about Yui's true identity so she knows Yui can take care of herself now. On the contrary, with game master privileges and access to the game's databse, an AI designed to understand and repair human mentality definitely knew how to take care of herself and she probably knew more than Wu Yan and Asuna.
Asuna wasn't going to stay at home after finding out about Yui's true identity. But, Wu Yan had to ask this question...
Asuna glanced at him, without a word, she pulled Wu Yan's hand towards the labyrinth.
Bitterly laughing, he let Asuna take charge this time...
With the labyrinth only some distance away from the town they are in, the monsters were weak as expected. The medium-sized map posed little challenge to them, Asuna could have taken the monsters solo.
Wu Yan brought out his healing fairy. The fairy changed little in this one year, it still restores 20% max HP per minute, however, the healing fairy was upgraded to obtain the ability to heal other players.
Anyone in a party with Wu Yan can enjoy this healing effect. The healing fairy can also cast AOE healing on the party members. After cooling down, the healing fairy has a moderate chance to cast 20% max HP heal on Wu Yan and the players around him.
With the healing fairy, he can rest easy letting Asuna take the vanguard. Plus, she's capable enough to solo the labyrinth on her own. The monsters in the field were a cinch in comparison.
After reaching the 75-th floor, most players have already reached their limit, including Kirito. They found solo movements harder and harder, especially in labyrinths.
The monsters are getting stronger for sure. This is further exacerbated by the complex attack patterns of the monsters here that made challenging monsters alone a very dangerous move for even skilled players like the raid players. Moreover, the higher concentration of monsters made hostile encounters all the more dangerous. Encountering monster in packs of two and threes are a common sight on higher floors.
Kirito ended his solo move a long time ago. He didn't join a guild but he would always team up with the Moonlit Black Cats when he went into the labyrinths. Other than that, he would also team up with Klein and the other Fuurinkazan members. Klein was over the moon when Kirito joined his party, he dragged the guy into labyrinths whenever he felt like it. An outsider would have assumed they were BFFs or something.
With the healing fairy assisting them, the two charged into the labyrinth area. Soon, they found the labyrinth's entry.
An old-fashioned door welcomed the duo. The steps were withered by wind and weather. Stepping on it gave players the impression that the floors would crumble away.
The iron doors weren't in great shape too, the iron spikes were already corroded to the stage where they melded together. Like a fortress that withstood a thousand years of history, the dilapidated castle stood solemnly to block the players who came here.
"The labyrinth is inside..."
Asuna looked at the entrance. The moment they enter, they will be greeted by monsters stronger than almost everything they fought, excluding floor bosses. She couldn't help but get a bit worried.
After getting to know Wu Yan, she had this nagging anxiety every time they entered a labyrinth.
She's worried that a mishap would destroy her perfect life.
A strong hand wrapped around her hand, pacifying her trembling body. She beamed at him.
Wu Yan nodded and they pressed on the iron door at the same time.
The heavy iron doors opened up!