“General, I’ve ordered suicide watches posted. Many of these people act as if… no, they have just come out of combat. Computer-based or not. And all of them have been seriously dislocated from the reality they knew for the past two years. They need time to decompress. To figure out how things work in this world again.” Wry humor twitched Janet’s mouth. “Including bathrooms. Whatever Kayaba did left all the parts in working order, but – they’re still fumbling with sinks.” She shrugged. “Seriously, sir. It’s a major issue for coma patients. They have to come to terms with the fact that perfect strangers have been taking care of their bodies for two years. And a lot of these people are teenagers. Talk about death by mortification.”
From the faintly mortified look on the general’s face, he was imagining his own granddaughters in that situation. And didn’t like it much. “Let’s get this over with.”
“And some,” Kayaba’s voice chuckled, “truly rose to the challenge.”
One arm wrapped around the pink-haired smith, Kirito leapt off an icy wall into a backwards somersault, sword drawn-
The blade plunged into glistening white scales of a dragon’s back.
“No. Way,” Jack breathed.
Bigger than a Huey, the monster swerved and rolled as it soared upward through a chasm of ice, trying to shake loose its painful hitchhikers. Gritting his teeth against the wind, Kirito held them both tight to its back; gaze flickering between sword, dragon’s head, edge of the endless ice pit-
Screaming, both were flung loose into empty air.
“Urk,” Jack managed, as the image of the snowfield shrank. “Someone needs to get that kid a rope.”
“You’re just jealous you didn’t get to do it,” Daniel murmured.