Three days later, Feng Yu Chen gathered the frontliners as they arrived at the labyrinth of the first floor.
To clear each round in Aincrad, players must work together to conquer the labyrinth of that area. Players need to locate the boss room in the labyrinth, beat the boss inside, and proceed to the next floor.
The Town of Beginnings is a town on the first floor. Aincrad's design narrows off the higher one ascends, the first floor is relatively larger in area. With a diameter of around 10 kilometers, the whole floor is about 80 square kilometers. As this floor is rather wide, there are a variety of geographic areas on this floor. The Town of Beginnings is a town surrounded by walls located in the southern area of this floor.
There are other villages and smaller towns on this floor. The closest settlement to the labyrinth is Tolbana. There is a tower about 300 meters wide and 100 meters tall standing proudly some distance from this Northern settlement.
Feng Yu Chen & co need to make their way from the south to the north. Along the way, they encountered a ton of monsters.
Feng Yu Chen made this arrangement to gauge the power of the players at this juncture of the game.
"From here onwards, it will be a roughly 10 kilometers journey to the labyrinth, look out for the monsters, help each other out, and make sure to keep moving along. Familiarise yourself with the teammates around you. Fighting a boss isn't the same as fighting against mob monsters. Make sure you are all prepared for it. Teamwork is very important, a cooperative teammate will go a long way towards reducing injuries and casualties in your party."
Feng Yu Chen said as they moved along.
"Captain Feng, show your power, everyone wants to see you in action..."
A blue-haired guy said. He is a guy who looked okay but his flashing eyes suggested that he was thinking about something else.
This guy is named Diavel. In the original work, this is the guy who found the labyrinth first. He led the players into battle with the intention of landing the last hit on the boss for the sweet last hit loot. He wanted to finish the boss up so bad he told the other players to back down. He didn't think the boss algorithm was changed to include a special low-hp attack that killed him. He was the first beta tester to die in this game, bad luck and greed led to his early demise on the first floor.
"Yes, Captain Feng, let everyone see your power..."
"Wings of Freedom, how strong is the leader?"
The other players started discussing among themselves. Included among the crowd were Infinity Players who wanted to see Feng Yu Chen's power.
Feng Yu Chen couldn't turn down so many people. He nodded.
"Okay, there are wolves in the forest ahead, they should be around level 7 or level 8, allow me to demonstrate my powers since you all want to see it that badly."
"Nn, that would be great..."
"Oh, I can't wait..."
"I wonder how his ATK varies from us?"
The players were ecstatic beyond belief. They wanted to see the strength of the apex players in the early stages of this game. A lot of them saw Wings of Freedom in action before, they were elites who can hold their own in any fight. Wings of Freedom's fame started spreading virally because of their competence. The players did free marketing for them. They came to watch subsequent fights and they left even more convinced of the Wings' power.
Now, they get to see the captain in action.
Feng Yu Chen came into this game with enough strength to sunder mountains and pulverize boulders. By relying on his brute strength, he can easily rip apart the monsters here. However, he decided to keep his monstrous power secret for now. He just needed to show his sword skills, specifically, the Extreme Mysterious Sword Art he learned before.
A calm-looking forest appeared in front of the players. However, this peace belied the danger within. Wolves were sneaking around behind the trees, ready to pounce on unsuspecting players. The other native lifeforms were scared off by the monsters.
The monsters were endowed with advanced, almost life-like artificial intelligence. Although they are only digital units in a digital system, they behaved like normal animals in the real world.
Monsters inside this game had adaptive intelligence. They learned from the attack patterns of players, the monsters can change depending on the flow of the battle. Like players, monsters can learn too. For instance, Yui, a program designed by the Cardinal system to handle emotions had human-like emotions and intelligence.
Feng Yu Chen took out his Xuan Yuan Sword (only cold steel weapons can be transported into this game), his eyes turned steely as he entered a focus state. Against any foe, it's important to keep a cool head.
He slowly entered the forest with restrained steps. The wolves detected him through sound and smell. They started swarming him...
Howl howl howl
5 wolves greeted him with their gnarly red maws. These animals were programmed to attack players who entered their territories. A lot of players got hurt because of insufficient skill or weren't prepared to be flanked by multiple enemies. It's not unheard of for players to die here. The wolves were also programmed to chase players far out of their designated spawning grounds. This made the forest a very dangerous place to grind, especially when the player is alone.
Feng Yu Chen stood there as the wolves surrounded him. He waiting for the wolves to move, he wanted to seize the gap in their movements to execute his Extreme Mysterious Sword Art. His sword style revolved around keeping a still heart that responded to enemy attacks without a ripple in the practitioner's mental state.
One of the wolves attacked. Activating a skill, the wolf rushed towards Feng Yu Chen with a flashing red light.
Feng Yu Chen stepped towards the right, dodging the wolf with incredible ease. Feng Yu Chen predicted this attack so he was already half a mind to dodge in the first place. Dodging is a valid move, especially when attacked by multiple boogies like Feng Yu Chen was in this fight. He needed to unleash lethal attacks or stay away from harm.
Dodging forms a core part of the art of battle.
Author's note: The intro where Kayaba Akihiko explained the game to every player was skipped. Focus will be placed on writing something a little bit different from the original story.