I partied with them. They were counting on me to keep my head when the psiwasps attacked. All of Fuurinkazan was. I have to help them. And Tae. She’s terrified, I can feel it–
And that terrified him. What had Kayaba done to the NerveGear programming, that it was passing on not just sensory input, but this… this empathy with other creatures? Things that had never been human; people who should be human, but were starting to feel more and more like the wild-clannish-wide senses he’d tentatively labeled youkai….
And damn it, that empathy had tripped him up as effectively as any paralysis dart. The psiwasps had been one blurry bundle of wrong. And while he’d been trying to regain his mental footing from that – bam.
Tae… doesn’t feel human. But she feels scared. And she’s still here to fight.
He couldn’t turn away from that courage. He couldn’t let Fuurinkazan down.
Which meant this time, he couldn’t let the psiwasps take him out of the fight. And there was only one way to strengthen his defenses enough to block that daze attack.
Don’t think of the Otherworld. Don’t think about family. Let Kazuto Kirigaya sleep. Be Kirito.
It was like folding a puzzle box out of the fabric of his own mind. It was the exact opposite of what Vincent had advised; hiding part of himself away, rather than forming the shield of a seamless whole. But for a few hours, it should do.
Pressure here, and nudge there… I’m going to pay for this later….