A/N: If you want to know why parasitic wasps come up in my stories, go ahead and Google tarantula hawks. Just… be prepared for the eww. Mother Nature is more creepy than I could ever be.
A bare breath of a whisper near her ear. The draconic girl almost jumped out of her skin, game-trained reflexes clapping one hand over her mouth before she could scream-
Kirito caught her free arm, helping her steady herself on the massive branch of the nearoak tree she’d perched in to overlook the dark mass of the nest. “Fuurinkazan’s coming.”
Nobody human should be that quiet. Tae took her hand down, still as jittery as if she’d downed a whole mug of that black infusion humans called coffee. “I still can’t believe they’re doing this,” she breathed. “I’m… I’m sorry, I’m just so scared.”
More scared than Kirito could ever imagine. Centuries ago, Mahrak Mistfeather had been rescued from a nest like this. She’d grown up with the old stories of what happened inside, the bleak advice to always, always carry a dose of lethal poison with you, just in case….
Does taking poison yourself even work in SAO? Wolfsbane’s supposed to, but that’s not just a poison–
“Tae.” A low, urgent murmur. “Look at me.”
Black eyes. Blacker than an oni’s; black as the obsidian gem-eyes on an earth elemental tearing mountains apart as it roamed free. No human should have those eyes.
He had a trade window open, of all things. “Put on full gloves.”
Tae arched a feathered brow. “You’re not wearing full gloves.” Why was he offering to trade her ordinary throwing pikes-?
There was a darkness on the metal tip, and a star next to their name. The system only did that if there were some kind of… player modification. “What did you do to those pikes?”
Kirito’s smile had an edge like Grandma Tiger about to go put the fear of her into a goblin horde. “Equip some gloves. You’ll need them.”