“Relax.” An oddly whiskerless Argo grinned at all of them, blue sheet wrapped around her as a hooded cloak. “There was a lot of screaming, but the Aincrad Liberation Force pulled together, and the rest of us didn’t like them either.” Her grin had all the Rat’s wicked humor. “Ki-bou put the fear of him into Titan’s Hand, and you should have seen where Yulier got Kibaou. He’s going to feel that one for a week. Ooo, Sharpie!”
That quick, Argo was across the room waving a black marker in glee, as Janet did a double-take at her empty hand.
Pickpocket? Asuna blinked. The Skill flash was subtle, but – but how? They were out of the game-
Cold metal kissed her left wrist.
Asuna gripped the thin handle of a scalpel tucked into her sheet, and breathed a sigh of relief. Argo hadn’t just zipped across the room to snatch a marker, even if she was using it to draw whiskers on her cheeks with wicked amusement. The information broker had managed to pass by all three of them….
A quick glance at the tension easing out of Klein’s shoulders, and Asuna knew she’d guessed right. We’re armed. Not with much, but better than nothing.
“Oh, yeah.” Capping the black tip, Argo twirled the marker through her fingers. “Kirito asked me to pass on that you’d better watch out. Item durability here isn’t what we’re used to.” Smirking a little, she produced a bundle of red and white cloth. “And Lisbeth had some extra clothes. Thought you could use ‘em.”
Clothes. Yes. That would definitely help. Especially since the medics here seemed to need a refresher on the Ethics Code. Underwear was a good thing. “Thanks, Argo,” Asuna smiled, as the information broker made her way back across the room. Argo was tapping her fingers across books and tables and everything else as she went, outwardly delighting in just being able to touch something real. Inwardly… Asuna could almost see O’Neill’s blood pressure rising.
Good plan, Asuna thought. See how far you can push him. See how much he wants to control us, when we haven’t done anything wrong.
Keeping her eyes wide and innocent, she turned toward the doctor. “Is there somewhere we can go to change?” Because we need to get away from you. We need time to think. If Skills are still working, what do we do?
“Well,” Kirito said right behind her, “I did find a shower.”