In what seemed like a blink of an eye, Christmas season arrived for the players still stuck in SAO.
Nobody knew about the time-limited boss known as Nicholas the Renegade. When it spawns on Christmas Eve at 1200 of the 25th, anyone who defeats it would get the Divine stone of Returning Soul, an item that can revive dead players.
Feng Yu Chen brought over his entourage as they descended from the 40th floor. They came back because they wanted to celebrate their first christmas in SAO.
Mishe, that's the 35th floor's name. The main street is lined with quiant cottages that had white walls and red roofs. It gave off a humble, country-side feel that added to its romance. Given the festive season, it became even more beautiful.
Soon, players started disrupting the peace here. The players that watched the original work like Feng Yu Chen also knew about the Divine Stone of returning Soul. A day before christmas, this news spread like wildfire with everyone talking about it. What should have been a peaceful night became a rumbling night as everyone gathered to fight for the loot.
After the Knights came two other major guilds, the Aincrad Liberation Army and the Divine Dragon Alliance.
The Army espouses information sharing and resource pooling to get everyone through this game. Its leader, Shinka stepped up his game by releasing any and all advantageous information he got, making him something of a popular and well-liked leader in the game. They also recruited everyone who wanted to join. The army made up 5% of the total player population.
Meanwhile, the Divine Dragon Alliance is a guild that doesn't mind turning into a red guild if it meant they could their hands on good items and loot. Their motto is to catch up to the Wings and the Knights using any means at their disposal. They took utilitarianism to its extremes. They also had a lot of members, by guild members alone, they outnumbered the Wings and the Knights.
Everyone should have been getting ready for Christmas tomorrow. Yet, on the night of peace, players gathered while the air smelled like gunpowder. Almost all the major forces in SAO were here.
The Wings, the Knights, the Army, the Dragon, Fuurinkazan, and various other guilds.
"Yo, what's this? A raid? Why's everyone gathered here? Don't tell me you all believe the item will appear? Who leaked the news out anyway? This is our first christmas, I don't want to come here only to go home when this thing turns out to be an elaborate hoax."
Klein came here to check things out, he didn't really think the Divine Stone would work or even appear.
"So what if it's only a rumor? Look at the turnout, everyone's here. Confirming it is a worthwhile endeavor. If you get your hand on that revival item, that's equivalent to an extra life, I don't know about you but I am in. If you think it's silly, hit the road then."
The captain of the Dragon spoke up.
"It appears we are at an impasse, everyone wants the item and there's only one. How do you guys propose we resolve this?"
Heathcliff asked. He turned towards Feng Yu Chen. Feng Yu Chen is the only one here who can fight on par with him. He wondered what would happen if he pressed harder.
Will the duel between the apex fighters unfurl ehre?
Feng Yu Chen looked at Heathcliff.
Is this guy planning on starting a fight here?
Heathcliff's defense is ridiculous, it makes him nigh invulnerable in any fight. Feng Yu Chen outclassed Heatchliff in speed but against the GM of SAO, the one who created all the skills in this game. Feng Yu Chen couldn't really rely on SAO sword skills to take him down, he might even get countered if he messed up. With Soru and Geppo, Feng Yu Chen has the confidence to fare well in a duel. But, will Heathcliff really go down just like that?
Everyone's gaze fell on Feng Yu Chen and Heathcliff. These two combatants are arguably the strongest in this game. They always wondered just who is stronger of the two.
While it looked like the two might brawl, Heathcliff suggested something.
"I think we should avoid fighting over a single item. How about this? After the fight, we will decide with rock-paper-scissors who will get the revival item. If it's only Feng Yu Chen and I, it wouldn't be fair for the other players. As players fighting at the frontlines, we should avoid any unneeded conflicts and chaos, what do you guys think?"
Heathcliff's words made Feng Yu Chen sigh in relief. A real duel would have an uncertain outcome. If he lost, what would happen? If he won, what would happen
Although he avoided the duel today, it was only a postponement of an inevitable duel in the future.
"I like that idea. We can avoid fighting, let's see who has the better luck during this festive season..."
"Yeah, we could do that..."
The others nodded.
Kirito felt a bit disappointed. He was hoping Feng Yu Chen and Heathcliff would duel, he wanted to see how strong Feng Yu Chen is in a duel. More like, he wanted to see Feng Yu Chen get whooped by Heathcliff.
(Author's note: Kirito became a bit of a prick because Feng Yu Chen taught him well. He was worked like a horse, it wasn't even grinding as Feng Yu Chen ordered him to do chores..."
"Rock-paper-scissors isn't suitable in my opinion. I say we take turns fighting the boss for 3 seconds, switching out for the next captain of each guild. Every captain gets a 3-second timeframe to attack the boss. Whoever lands the last hit gets the item. I think that would spice thing up the most? No?..."
Feng Yu Chen suggested a different solution to this problem. Rock-paper-scissors, nah, using a boss-raid style method to determine the winner, that should be how it is.
They thought about Feng Yu Chen's idea and they agreed. Merely relying on luck is ridiculous. If Lady Luck isn't smiling on them, they would lose out on a great item. Frustration wouldn't be the only negative emotions plaguing them.