Monstrous Compendium Ch3 bit – Problem-Solving

You got distracted by that Competent Hero on Opening Day, Klein thought. Just like he meant for everybody to.

Kirito hadn’t been running off to join a group. He’d been heading out to solo. Only he really did love Sword Art Online, and the chance to let someone else in on the fun – not to show off, as Klein had thought then, but to share….

I must have caught him on a good day. One he hadn’t had too many people to deal with already.

Because if Issin was right, and this was Kirito trusting them-

The Beater’s all an act. He’s not the tough loner. He’s not the life of the party, either. He’s the IT guy hiding in the corner farthest away from the karaoke machine, praying he can go home soon.

And Klein had a pretty good feel for how groups worked, in and out of the game. Whoever put their idea out first and loudest, tended to get listened to. Which meant the Black Cats had had one of the best survivors in the game on their side – and he might as well have been gagged in a closet.

…Okay, maybe not that bad, Klein allowed. Still. For all Kirito’s survival skills – and the guy was good, the guy was beyond good – his people skills were an utter fail.

Unless you count “skill to get everybody to see me as their hated scapegoat”. That, he’s good at. Which means damn it, that could not have been the first time

And oh, that was an ugly image. Klein shuddered.

Outside of that, he flunks the people quiz. And he knows it. Damn.

Klein chewed that over, trying to find a solution. Nothing brilliant was popping up.

All I know is, Issin’s wrong. We don’t need to get Kirito in the guild. He’d just fold up and wilt. We need to get him to realize he can call Fuurinkazan for backup….

Hah! Klein almost slapped himself in the forehead. I’m an idiot. How do you handle IT guys? You send ‘em an email. And a problem if you’ve got one. With a “we need X by” and “anything we can do for you?” attached. If we can get him used to just talking to us about the monsters – Damn. There goes the sun.

At first all Klein saw were faint threads of pale mist creeping over broken stone, no different than he’d see above a lake on a winter’s day.

Except there’s no pond. Okay, this thing gets points for sheer spooky….

Mist swirled and moaned, twisting into a score of tormented faces that appeared and vanished, moment to moment. The undead fog thickened, curves of green HP bars appearing-

<<The Caller in Darkness.>>


38 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch3 bit – Problem-Solving

  1. Klein seems to have the brains on people that Kirito lacks.
    It’s really adorable how he has this little mission to make sure Kirito isn’t alone – almost like a big brother!

    Great writing. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Heh. Bear in mind that at this point, Kirito is barely 15. (If that old; I’d have to check the timeline again.) Nobody’s smart about people at 15. Plus, he’s adopted – and finding that out, canon, completely shattered his self-confidence in being able to read people or relate to them. After all, if he didn’t know his family wasn’t his “real” family, what else didn’t he know?

      Klein is definitely a good older brother guy. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Kirito, as far as I can recall, does not have a specific birthday. At launch he is confirmed to be 14, and I believe that he says he /recently/ turned 16 to Asuna after clearing the game (or was it Asuna that had recently turned 17? ). So if this is before Launch Day then he’s probably still 14, 15 at the oldest.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I have a feeling that Klein is a manager of some kind in real life, one of the too few good ones that understands people and tries to get them to succeed instead of just giving out orders. (or if not, he should be) I’m sure his people skills are natural, but you don’t pull that kind of analogy and solution randomly out of a hat. Which just makes him even better as a guild leader, especially since Fuurinkazan at it’s core is a group of real life friends if I remember my canon correctly.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. *reads Klein’s analysis of Kirito* *thinks back over Kirito’s actions* That is scarily accurate. And ‘must have done this before’? *more thinking* Yeah, probably. Yikes. Is this thing where he did it before something you came up with for this crossover, something that is mentioned in the light novels but never made it into the anime, or just speculation on Klein’s part? I only ever watched the anime.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s either part of the author’s made up backstory for this story (or headcanon for all SAO stories) or Klein’s speculation. Then again for somebody on the outside looking in it’s /really/ easy to see how to make people dislike you. It’s a /lot/ harder to figure out how to get them to like you because you’re never confident you can do the stuff that the popular/well-liked people can do and make it work.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Hoy, Klein, I suspect you’re still at the tip of the iceberg. Kirito’s feelings about his family and being adopted were the bulk of this particular iceberg, but by this point you can also add multiple (un)healthy doses of survivor’s guilt, and whatever gnawing guilt comes from having started to piece together the true reason behind SAO.

    Also – only tangentially related but worth repeating – Kayaba is a bastard.

    Between Klein’s analysis here and previously, and Kirito’s own monologue at the beginning of the Pay Attention snippet I think I’m starting to get a more precise read on Kirito himself. It’s funny, Feather Blade previously commented in Pay Attention that Kirito draws people to him through charisma and then doesn’t know what to do. I don’t think that’s quite accurate.

    Kirito’s good at what he does. He might not have the most confidence in other areas, but if you ask him to rate his abilities as a gamer or a programmer then he’ll be honest. He’ll probably underestimate himself just a bit, but he knows he’s good at those things. It’s part of why he retreats into them. (Well, that and the lack of outside pressure to excel in those areas when compared to, say… his grandfather pushing him with the sword when he and Suguha were young.)

    But Kirito doesn’t know very well how not to be good at things either. If Kirito’s good at something, he’s going to stand out because of it. That’s part of what caused the problem with Ilfang, and it’s part of what lead to Kibaou and his near-mob: ‘The nail that sticks​ up gets hammered down’.

    This tendency, to be too skilled, to stand out and be punished for it… it attracts attention. When those eyes are on him, it’s what Kirito does next that attracts people to him.

    Kirito isn’t the type to lead armies or inspire legions. The people he attracts are pulled to him because they see what he does for others. Because like Klein here, they see him care and try and help – even if that means volunteering as tribute. People notice him for his talent and remember him for his nobility, provided they recognize it.

    Klein manages to see Kirito’s character because Klein’s actually a really good judge of character; and if Fuurinkazan are anything to go off of – as someone else commented – Klein is actually the type to lead and inspire others. Argo and Agil have also picked up on it, because they’ve watched him deal with them reliably and honestly as merchants, even when he didn’t have to (though Siberys knows he’s not above teasing them when he gets the upper hand). It takes Asuna a little while to really catch on, but much of Aincrad was even more overwhelming for her than others as a total neophyte gamer anyways, so she can probably be forgiven for her distraction. Silica and Lisbeth will come next, but those are more personal situations, so Kirito can be less worried about behaving himself for others. In the end though, people chase after him because they decided he was a decent person and deserved the regard they give him.

    What Kirito was confused by previously is his own lack of understanding. He doesn’t get people, so he doesn’t know how he became respected and valued. Because he doesn’t understand he thinks the regard he receives is conditional. Kirito’s afraid he may just make a mistake he doesn’t realize and wake up with that regard – that friendship – gone. Further, as someone who knows what he’s doing but not fully how to explain it to others, Kirito doesn’t know how to explain the unpredictability and variability he knows is there. And that’s part of why he’s afraid to commit and encourages people not to rely on him, because​ here it means lives and he doesn’t know how to tell them enough to keep them safe.

    Of course, no matter what advice Kirito gives, he can’t ensure peoples safety. But survivors’ guilt hardly cares for little things like ‘reason’ or ‘logic’.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kirito’s family issues stem from two sources: The overt dissapointment and dismissal of his (adopted, not that he knew it then) grandfather when he decided he didn’t want to continue with Kendo. This is something we already know a bit about given it’s commented on in the anime. The other source is only ever touched on in the Light Novels, and that’s the way his adopted parents treated him. He found out about his adoption by accident and when he confronted them about it they did confess to the truth and tell him about the circumstance.

      Then they proceeded to treat him exactly as they always had. It kind of broke his brain, and as a consequence he decided that he didn’t really know his parents. And it made him suspicious of others, made him wonder what they were hiding behind the faces they presented to the world. As such he lost his ability to trust in other people and retreated into online games, MMOs especially, because at least there you /knew/ everyone was presenting a false face, that you were /expected/ to so.

      The one member of his family he didn’t have mixed feelings about was Suguha, but by the time he realized how badly he’d hurt her by shutting her out too…he didn’t know how to fix it and couldn’t find the courage to reach out to her because he didn’t /want/ to tell her that he was adopted and not her blood sibling.

      This in turn made Launch Day all the more traumatic for Kirito than anyone else we know from his circle of friends and allies because…he’s also wearing his true face. Combine that with, just a few hours later, being the victim of a thankfully failed PK attempt at the hands of another player and…well it’s not hard to see why Kirito has trust issues.

      …though I’m still not sure why Kirito thinks his survival of that PK attempt makes him unworthy of having friends or working with people like Klein.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Might go back to cultural issues. In many cultures, you can answer violence with violence. But Kirito didn’t. For all that Kirito doesn’t know what to do with them, he does take care of people. So, in a way, he failed his family by not fighting and killing Copper himself. He failed himself by not saving him.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Leafa is his real cousin, so the grandfather might be a common ancestor, and thus not adopted. I’m not certain the exact relationship is specified in canon.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I think it’s canon that his aunt was his mother’s sister? Trick is, we don’t know which side of the family the Kirigaya name comes from – if the wife’s family is higher status, a guy might take her clan name.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The grandfather is explicitly – in the light novels anyways – Midori’s husband. Given that Midori is Kirito’s /maternal/ aunt, if there’s any blood relation its far enough back to not be worth mentioning.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Explicitly Midori’s husband’s father. Stupid lack of edit buttons. I hate it when my mind gets to far ahead of my fingers.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. So… What Klein is saying is that Kirito needs to join the Debauchery Tea Party? *evil grin*

    …Kirito and Shiroe. In the same party. The world would //break//.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. The worst bit is Asuna and Shiroe would work so well together.

        Asuna is used to being important, attention getting and leading from the front.

        Shiroe meanwhile is all about standing back, analyzing, playing chess with the battlefield and relaying instructions for others to act on.

        Shiroe isn’t comfortable in the spotlight outside his affectation as The Devil in Glasses. Asuna assumes she’s in the spotlight whether she likes it or not.

        The two would would be the best team.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Question is, do you want to see a mess that would challenge them?

        I think I have one.

        (I haven’t the wits for the pitch.)

        Liked by 2 people

      3. >Question is, do you want to see a mess that would challenge them?>
        A challenge doesn’t need to be a monster.

        If you look at some of the blurbs relating to the later Log Horizon novels, their biggest hurdles are related to politics and governance.

        And with none of the players being skilled politicians, they can be on the back foot. Doesn’t matter if they have the strength and skill to tear dragons apart.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Oh, for this mess I’ve put more into making politics and governance screwed up than I have into the monsters. Monsters need work, but latter in the project. I needed the geopolitical, military, and social world building first. One the major reasons my bunnies like this project is that Aincrad cognate’s intelligence, strategic, and tactical subgames left some of the surviving players better prepared than the politically reliable person currently running things for the good guys in the central conflict of the story. (Competently developed long term professional military officers would be better, and exist, but the people calling the shots have sacrificing the good guys as their end game.)

        I haven’t entirely worked out how and when the conflict spreads to Theldesia.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. You know the Legendary Strategist could turn Kayaba’s own game against him?

      Or at least give it a very good go?

      Klein and Naotsugu might have their hands full with their respective quiet guys.

      Through Theldesia might be closer to this setting (MCO) than the canon universe . . .

      Liked by 2 people

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