Inside the Red Jade Palace, the interior of the palace is as red as its external walls. This palace is at the center of the 100th Floor, it also sits at the highest altitude of Aincrad.
Even when the players standing further away from this palace looked in this direction, they could still see a clocktower-esque structure going into the clouds. If the players can fly, they would be able to see a needle-like structure jutting out of Aincrad…
That’s the top of the palace.
It glistened with red light under the sunlight. Like a giant that didn’t want to mingle with the rest of the world, the red tower shined in its own unique way. The players couldn’t put their feelings into words.
They have seen taller structures like the staircase that leads to a higher floor, they have also seen castles with a grander design than this Red Jade Palace. However, they couldn’t help but be rooted in place when they saw this structure.
It’s also not due to psychological reasons like seeing a bright-red tower glistening in front of them. They were also not stunned by the realization of facing the final boss waiting for them.
For the clearers, they saw a tower that mocked them for being puny beings. Its grandness only served to magnify the feelings of being inferior to it. They gazed upon the building for a good 10 minutes without saying anything.
Wu Yan exhaled slowly, pushing out all the amazement in his heart. He looked a bit bitter.
“Kayaba Akihiko must have designed this with the intention of shaking our hearts. I dare say this is way more effective than making the building golden in color…”
Kirito nodded with a serious look.
“If his intention was to lower the morale of raid members, I would say he did a very good job!”
The Red Jade Palace looked intimidating. The players who came here with steely convictions started questioning themselves when they looked at the red building in front of them.
At this rate, supposing the creature inside is on par with them in strength, there is a nigh 100% chance they are going to be wiped out!
Wu Yan glanced around as he looked at the baffled players around him with pursed lips. Then, he walked towards the castle with no apparent openings…
He knows he is going to have to be the one to carry the raid group again…
Led by Wu Yan, the players who came back to their senses quickly chased after him as they entered the castle. But, a closer look at the players would reveal some of them were holding their weapons with a tense look. Kirito & co shook their heads when they saw the nervous lot.
Being on the edge will only diminish their mental energy and stamina. This means they won’t be able to fight at peak form when the final fight comes around. In other words, they failed the test of attitude.
Kirito, Agil, Souta, and Klein couldn’t help but be puzzled. They didn’t understand why Heathcliff invited them, they are going to drag the raid group down, won’t they?
Only Heathcliff can answer this question, and he’s not here…
With red walls greeting them, the interior felt as wide as it should when viewed from the outside. The ceiling was also very high. The floor was draped with red carpets that dyed everything in their vision red.
In the distance, a grand set of doors that took in the surrounding colors greeted them.
The floor isn't leveled, it was inclined upwards. Walking ahead felt like they were ascending the stairs of heaven. The tense crowd only got more nervous when they got close to the door. They were gripping their weapons so hard their palms turned pale.
In half an hour, the raid group finally made it to the door.
"The final Floor boss is inside here..."
Kirito stared at the door intently while inhaling deeply.
"The last floor, we are finally here..."
Klein said with a grim look, he tightened his fists.
"If we pass this, we are going to win..."
Souta raised his head with heavy breathing...
"Once we defeat the jerk inside, we are all free!"
Asuna grabbed the rapier at her waist, she grabbed Wu Yan's hand and she queezed it.
Wu Yan turned towards her, he saw her warm gaze and he responded in kind. He gave her a resolute declaration.
"Believe me, I am going to make sure you return to the real world..."
Asuna gave him a very bright smile. She didn't care that the other players were watching them, she gave Wu Yan a big hug while mumbling.
"I believe you, but, don't you ever forget the promise we made..."
Wu Yan grinned with a nod. He closed his eyes to focus. Then, his deep red eyes shone with a brilliant glint when he opened them again.
As the other players watched, he gave the door a big push.
The door creaked open in front of the tense raid players. They took out their weapons in sync. Some players drew crosses in front of them as they prayed for divine help.
Alas, no god, not even Jesus can help them. The only god they are going to find is the creator god who is waiting for them inside.
Other than Wu Yan who knew what to expect with his lowered head, the other players immediately petrified with shock when they saw the scene inside.
Sitting atop the throne in the deepest part of the Boss Room is a familiar figure. He sat there in a gallant pose with his hand on his iconic sword and shield. The cape attached to his red knight armor danced with the wind. His blonde ponytail also danced in tune with the gale. He looked a bona-fide king.
The players couldn't think properly when faced with such a confusing twist. They couldn't understand why this familiar red figure is waiting for them in that place. The Knights of the Blood Oath and Asuna looked at the figure with eyes of deep shock and emotional instability.
The red figure slowly raised his head as he addressed the crowd with a cordial smile.
His voice came along with the gust.
"Welcome to the Red Jade Palace!"