Monstrous Compendium Ch2 bit – Refuge

“Aunt Stheno.” A bare whisper. “It’s a – it feels like-”

“Shh.” Stheno crouched to block the youth from Yui’s sight. “Kirito wouldn’t hurt you. He wouldn’t ever harm a child.”

Right now, Stheno was more worried he might harm himself. He’d somehow snuck into her garden without setting off her alarms, and certainly without sending a polite message to ask if she wished a visit. If she truly were the AI-monster he thought her, breaking either of those patterns could have set off an automatic assault by every creature the Cardinal system could summon into being. Kirito was skilled. He wasn’t invincible.

And he knows it.

So. What did she do now?

If he were youkai, what would I do?

“Stay back, little one,” Stheno murmured. “I’ll deal with this.”

One wide-eyed nestling huddling behind a sugar-suckle bush, Stheno advanced on the pile of feathers, and clucked softly. Enough cockatrices scattered after grain to reveal a dark head; black eyes blinked at her….

Shut again, resigned.

Stheno sat next to that grim silence. “I’ve meant to ask for some time. Why did you never bring your guild here?”

“…I didn’t want them to know.” Halting words, as if he had to drag them up from lightless depths. “If they knew I was the Beater, if they found out how I failed against the Vampire Lord….”

The twenty-fifth floor. It made her want to throttle Beniryuu with her bare hands. So many deaths.

And well and fine for Beniryuu to say there would be no wasteful deaths. Years ago, when the youkai lords had first entertained the red dragon’s offer, she’d taken that to mean there would be no true death in Beniryuu’s net of magic. That any humans who could not thrive in Aincrad, would be released. But after hearing Beniryuu’s promise to the players from Kirito’s own words, that they would return to their proper world

Dragons lie with truth. And it is lies, all the same.

20 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch2 bit – Refuge

  1. From Shadow Run, some street graffiti wisdom:
    “Watch your back, shoot straight, conserve ammo, and never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon.”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh Dear.

    Wait, Stheno may be using past tense, but Kirito is using present, so maybe…

    But there is still a lot of Oh Dear in all of this.


    Liked by 2 people

      1. Is that like saying Jenova is a “smidge” bad for Sepheroth’s sanity? Or more like a little dust is a smidge bad for allergies?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “Here, have a tie to life.” *dumps Yui in his lap*
    “Don’t leave the garden bounds, have her inside and eating dinner by dark. I have a dragon who’s tail I need to kick.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Of course the wording here is that he is no longer part of the Black Cats. Nothing about whether any are dead or not.

    And even if Kirito managed to get them all out of the Shmuck Bait trap, it’s entirely possible Keita kicked him out for ‘lying about his beater status’ etc

    The sad thing is Kirito’s presence is probably what insured they survived as long as they did. If memory serves, he met them when they were in over their heads. And it was only through his quiet support that they didn’t lose any people.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Honestly, the hole “I must keep dual wielding secret from my own guild” never made much sense to me. And after moving the setting to Eberron and giving everyone D&D classes, it made even less sense.

    This isn’t a problem with your writing, it is a problem with SAO’s plot. one of the reasons why i liked the abridged series

    Liked by 1 person

    1. >Honestly, the hole “I must keep dual wielding secret from my own guild” never made much sense to me. And after moving the setting to Eberron and giving everyone D&D classes, it made even less sense.>
      He didn’t have Dual Wielding at that point. The reason he hid his higher level (he was about twice theirs) was that he was lonely and if he was truthful they’d think he was taking advantage of them or something. Also I think the ‘beater’ hate was still running fairly hot so high level+single sword+black coat might be recognizable.

      The idea was to get them to the point where they could survive on their own (they had a problem with biting off more then they could chew) and then go their separate ways. Of course we know how that turned out.

      The sad thing is Klein and Fuurinkazan in general had a constant open invitation for Kirito to join from practically the start. But Kirito never took them up on it because he always felt they’d get in trouble because f his presence.

      Liked by 1 person

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