Asuna, Janet thought, mouth dry as she focused on the pair of swordsmen standing in the midst of the fallen. Where’s Asuna?
One swordsman was a tall, blond man in elegant red armor whose shield and insignia echoed Asuna’s white battle garb. The other was Kirito….
She’d seen men who’d stared into hell before. Kirito was there.
He has Asuna’s sword.
But he could barely raise it, much less his black blade, shaking even as he tried to step forward. The blond’s eyes narrowed, just the slightest hint of a terrifying disdain–
Kirito didn’t even fight as the blade sank home. He just looked… broken.
–You are dead.–
Silent words burning below the image, as Kirito’s avatar began to glow and shatter-
You are dead still blazed. But Kirito stood, translucent as mist, Asuna’s rapier gripped in one spectral hand. Took one echoing step forward, hand lifting through sheer will….
The rapier punched through the red breastplate like butter.
The blond almost seemed to collapse over the blade, surprise on his face.
No, Janet realized, through the red haze that wanted to take over and make her break something. That wasn’t surprise. That was pure, shocked delight.
Kirito sighed. Smiled, in a way that twisted Janet’s heart. And shattered.
–Game cleared,- a computer-generated voice announced, as Agil stared in shock and Klein started screaming. –Logout authorized.-
The game flickered away, to Kayaba’s familiar desk. But the man sitting behind it….