Crouched in the shadows of a granite boulder, Kirito watched Vincent manipulate an impossible menu.
Player: Kirito. Multiclass option: Yes. Sorcerer/ranger. Prestige class: Moonsword. Feats: Iron Will, Pass Without Trace, Psionic Resistance….
And on, and on. The skills list alone had almost made Kirito break cover. The eight or so he knew, like Herbalism and One-Handed Sword, were highlighted. But there were dozens he didn’t know. The names alone made the hairs on the back of his neck prickle.
Autohypnosis. Concentration. Escape. Knowledge – abominations. Knowledge – Aincrad. Knowledge – psionics….
Things he’d seen. Things he’d done. Things that did not show up in his official character stats.
…At least, not in the stats a player could see.
The five minutes Vincent had mentioned in his message ended. The elan closed the menu, and took a breath. “Lady Stheno should be keeping our GM occupied,” he said plainly. “And she has ways to cloak some of the system records. We can talk. For a time.”
Kirito stepped into the rock-strewn clearing, avoiding tender herbs as much by habit as conscious thought. “…You’re admins. The youkai lords. All of you.”
“No.” Ruby eyes met his. “That would imply we had some control over SAO. And what we can do is limited. We can grant quests. We can give advice. We can, at times, adopt a willing player. But we cannot fight beside you. And we cannot save you.” Vincent’s gaze was fathomless. “That, you will have to do yourselves.”