The players were taken by surprise when Heathcliff voiced the meeting agenda. The room immediately burst into an uproar.
“The strategic meeting of the last floor?”
Kirito is the first one to voice his confusion.
“I don’t understand what you mean by that, Captain Heathcliff.”
Almost nobody got what Heathcliff meant. They looked at Heathcliff, urging for him to elaborate. Wu Yan and Asuna were also puzzled by the Captain. Except for Souta and Klein, they were cool as a cucumber, suggesting that they knew about this beforehand.Clearing a floor is more than just diving into the labyrinth, locating the boss's room, and killing the boss. There are more considerations than simple linear progress like that.
They had to worry about things like how to unlock towns, exploring the fields. There were also labyrinths where players have to complete certain quests before they can enter a dungeon. There is also the problem of collecting map data.
Before clearing a floor, there are usually multiple strategic meetings that are convened whenever slight progress is made in terms of floor clearing status.
Even floors with the relatively simple design would need at least 10 meetings from the beginning to the end. Each floor will always end with the boss raid meeting.
It has only been 2 days since the 99th-floor got cleared. Speaking from experience, they should still be scouting out the 100th-floor. Most of them don’t even know the layout, geography, monster levels, skills, and attack patterns of this floor. Heathcliff said this is the last meeting so…How can anyone stay calm under such conditions?…Heathcliff expected this response. He leaned forward with clasped fingers. He supported his chin with his joined fingers. He looked like a doctor who is about to discuss the diagnosis with a very sick patient. The noise died down when they sensed the somber mood.
“I know what you guys are thinking about, why are we talking like this? But, don’t fault your ears, you heard it right!”
Heathcliff continued with a calm tone.
“After clearing the 99th-floor, Fuurinkazan, the Moonlit Black Cats, and the Knights of the Blood Oath sent in their respective scouting parties into the deeper parts of the 100th-floor. We share the same sentiment as all the clearers, we want to clear this game as fast as possible.”
Everybody except Wu Yan nodded. He couldn’t help but marvel at how honestly Heathcliff said that line. Wu Yan also waxed thoughtful when he saw the honest look on Heathcliff’s face.
e’s probably the only one who loved this world, he created this world, after all.
This guy is probably the greatest actor for being able to assume the identity of Heathcliff so convincingly.
What Heathcliff said also enlightened everyone.
“Now, the reports of the scouting parties who went exploring…”
Heathcliff said something that surprised everyone.
“There are no monsters, fields, labyrinths, and labyrinth. There is only one city on this floor!”“Wh-what?!”The players were struck by this bombshell statement. Then, their brains reconciled the information to their knowledge.
The surface area of each floor in SAO decreased as one ascended through the floors. With only one town, it’s reasonable for the raid group to come up with such findings.
But, without fields, monsters, or labyrinth…
“If there are no fields, monsters, or labyrinth, how are we going to find the boss?”
Kirito is the first one to frown. Heathcliff said out loud after everyone held their breath in suspense.
“That leads me onto the agenda…”’Heathcliff stood up. He addressed everyone slowly.
“On the 100-th floor, the city encompasses the entire floor. There are NPCs living here, cafes, hotels, buildings. At the center of this city, there is a castle…”Heathcliff spat out the name of this castle.
“The red jade palace.!”
The other players started talking and whispering once more.
Wu Yan opened his mouth again, will the final boss be waiting for us inside the Red Jade palace?
The room fell silent as if someone had gripped the throats of every person here.
Heathcliff nodded as the players finally caught his drift.
Only a single boss stood between them and total freedom.
They don’t need to be bothered with mapping, testing out the attacks of the insets here.
Without the need to go into the labyrinth or do a special quest, they only need to go over to the Red Jade Palace to challenge the boss...If they won, they will be able to attain freedom. If they screwed up, they can only stay in this cage forever.
A heavy mood lingered in the room. The players lowered their heads in deep consternation. They weren’t excited by the fact that they only need to kill one monster that is the Floor boss himself.
They were the strongest players in all of SAO.
If they challenged the floor boss and won, all would end well. They can all return to the real world. But, if they lost, nobody dared to imagine the consequences. If they died, the next batch of competent players might never come. They would need to be stronger, more experienced, and cooperative than the ones right now. When is that going to happen?
Plus, nobody wanted to die, if they die, the raid group will get wiped out.
Heathcliff knocked on the table to draw everyone’s attention. He spoke with a voice that resonated within everyone’s hearts.
“Tomorrow is the day we face off against the final boss, make all the preparations you need for the fight. When you’re done, gather at the teleport platform of the 100th-floor…”Heathcliff shifted his gaze over to Wu Yan. Wu Yan stared back at him. They eyed each other for a short while before looking away.
Tomorrow is the day they are going to settle this once and for all!