"How about it? Yan-kun, do you have the confidence to solo the Floor Boss one more time?..."
A cold gust blew over everyone, chilling their already cold hearts. But, this didn't dowse the flames of anger and hatred for Kayaba Akihiko. Heathcliff's words stopped them from blowing their tops.
They held their breathes. Although they were already short of breath from all these revelations, they couldn't help but stay silent...
Asuna, Kirito, Souta, Klein, and Agil also had trouble keeping their breathes under control. They prayed to their respective gods so Wu Yan wouldn't say yes.
They know he's strong, ridiculously so. It is as Heathcliff placed it, he is the strongest player in this game. No one could take the first place away from him because he's in his own class.
They were 100% confident that Wu Yan can come out victorious in a duel if it was just Heathcliff. But, with his stats boosted to a Final Boss', he's not just Heathcliff, he's a player with Floor Boss-level power.
Although Wu Yan achieved a nigh flawless victory in his duel with Heathcliff. Wu Yan admitted to them that he only came out on top because his STR stats outpaced Heathcliff. Even when Heathcliff blocked all his attack, his abnormal strength chipped away Heathcliff's HP.
If they had the same stats back then, not even Wu Yan is sure he can predict the outcome of the duel...
With his battle experience and techniques, he is sure he can stay unharmed. But, against Heathcliff's turtle-like stout defense, he is sure he can only get a tie.
With Final Boss stats, Heathcliff will outclass Wu Yan in terms of Strength.
Stats are just as important as battle experience and proficiency with sword techniques.
Can Wu Yan still win under such a condition?
They didn't know, what they do know, however, is that this is going to be dangerous!
Asuna got so anxious she went against her prohibition to voice her dissent.
"Don't agree to this!"
Kirito eyed Heathcliff as he stepped forward.
"If he's the Final Boss, we should all take him on, no players should be allowed to confront him by himself!"
Heathcliff looked at Wu Yan with a calm look.
"Yes, according to the rules of the game. All the players here can fight me at the same time. As far as I am concerned, there are no monsters that issued duel challenges..."
"Although, I have a feeling you're not going to say no..."
Wu Yan pursed his lips.
"Yeah, what makes you think that?..."
"Because you're not a normal player, are you?"
"No, you're something different, you're a man of a different caliber!"
"You're someone who can act despite all the bloodshed, all the deaths, you're someone who is different from the other players."
"That is why I am sure you wouldn't turn me down. A strong individual like you would never back down from a proper challenge!"
Heathcliff's words rang inside everyone's head. They weren't sure what they should say. The conversations is going out of their expectation.
Wu Yan's deep-red eyes had a brief flash of amusement. Then, he laughed in a self-derisive manner.
"Heathcliff, you give me too much credit..."
Heathcliff frowned but Wu Yan stopped him.
He looked at the ceiling and he spoke with a distant look.
"A hero is someone who does not fear standing up to adversity, resilience and growing stronger step by step, that all comes with the suit."
"But, I am no hero!"
Wu Yan closed his eyes.
"I am just a guy with a bit of power. I don't have the qualities of a hero. My desire for power is only fueled by one goal!"
"To keep my loved ones safe..."
Wu Yan is just an average Otaku before he came into possession of the System. Upon his advent in Silvaria, he grew in power but he never pegged himself as a hero.
He wanted power because might makes right in this unfamiliar world. Then, the girls came into his life, literally, their life force got merged with his...
Without sufficient strength, his death would mean the death of girls who are intrinsically linked with him.
His life didn't belong to just him.
Asuna clasped her hands together. She heard his heartfelt words and she got lost in her own feelings.
Asuna felt a strong urge to understand the real Wu Yan. She wanted to learn more about his past. She wanted to know what motivated the man who opened the door to her heart.
Kirito and the others were speechless. It is only now that they feel the weight upon the shoulders of the man who had strength they could never imagine.
Heathcliff laughed with a jovial attitude.
"I see, so that's how you attained your current strength. I can see where you're coming from. The desire to protect the ones you love, huh? Indeed, that can make you very strong!"
He looked at Asuna.
"With this, I am sure you won't turn me down, right?"
Wu Yan sighed.
"To protect Asuna, the better choice would be to gang up on you with the other clearers!"
"That's regrettable, I don't know how to come up with a logical answer..."
Heathcliff tilted his head.
"I am just going with my guts!"
"What an irresponsible answer coming from a researcher..."
Wu Yan chuckled.
He drew Heavengazer while Heathcliff took out the sword within his cross-shaped shield. The others recognized what they were going to do even without a referee to call it.
Asuna's palm started sweating.
"Believe me, Asuna..."
Wu Yan took out Elucidator too.
" I am definitely going to return you to the real world!"
Asuna looked at Wu Yan's firm back and she nodded with a resolute expression.
"I believe in you, Yan!"
Kirito, Souta, Klein, and Agil gave up on talking him out of this duel. They yelled at him.
"Don't you dare lose!"
Wu Yan defiantly raised his head.
"I haven't lost once, to players or bosses!"
Heathcliff lost his cool side. He laughed out loud as a heavy aura rained down on everyone.
Then, the figure in black and the figure in red disappeared from their respective spots!
The sound of intense collision reverberated in the throne room.