Monstrous Compendium Ch7 bit – Thermal

Kayaba seemed to spike the difficulty every ten levels. Put that together with the horror on level 25, and Asuna wasn’t the only one who dreaded level 50.

All of which meant Pollista might not be a fluke. She might just be the first warning of worse to come.

If she was… the Knights of Blood couldn’t clear Aincrad alone. They had to rely on other clearing guilds to help. And those guilds in turn depended on other high-level players stepping up when another clearer fell. If new high-level monsters were going to pop up in cleared levels – monsters that could wipe out that vital base of recruits – then the Knights had to rethink their whole strategy.

Kirito let the last primary feather slip through his fingers, and scooted back on the bench to give her room. “Now check your flight gauge.”

Settling her wings back over her shoulders, Asuna sighed. It’d been nice to have someone paying attention just to her, yes, but it couldn’t make that much of a….

Her flight gauge was full. Her flight gauge had never been full.

Black eyes danced at her open-mouthed surprise. Face carefully straight, Kirito cleaned off the Metal Claws and started packing everything back away. “Tae says a good preening adds 20% to her flight time. It’s like item durability. The better you take care of your wings, the better you’ll fly.”

Daring, Asuna stood to spread her wings, feeling the difference in how they caught the breeze wafting over the balcony. No more ribbons of chill sneaking through her feathers to shiver her back. Now azure feathers spread like a slice of sunlit sky, warm and calling for the high winds….

She was up in a thunder of feathers, wings digging into the sky to find the thermal that had to be there. All the stone in this city would have soaked up heat since dawn. There would be a rising wind.

There was.

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31 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch7 bit – Thermal

  1. talk about less then human senses and instincts…
    and in retrospect, the preening feathers scene between the two seems somewhat intimate, now.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Since at least the 60s, people have been actively interpreting any intimacy as sexual– and any denial of that as a lie, as well as probable evidence of mental issues. Good heavens, that guy who played a rather good Samwise in the LotRings movie couldn’t grasp Sam’s relationship with Frodo except for sexual, and don’t get me started on the “Holmes and Watson HAD TO be gay” thing, or telling huggy girls that they’re suppose to be as sexually open as they are affectionately open– and if they’re not happy with trading sex for intimacy, there’s something wrong with them.

        Sorry, bit of a sore spot…watched so many people get chewed up because they trusted experts they shouldnt’ have…..

        Liked by 5 people

  2. Heh. You know, every story I’ve ever read where the protagonists learn to fly speaks of the utter joy of finding a thermal. It’s a strange bit of convergent evolution — that, or they’ve all read each other’s works :V.

    (… well, that or every author who writes goes skydiving or hang gliding at least once for their research. Which is a badass thought, but somehow unlikely.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I haven’t done either, but I have done a lot of reading up on falconry – with golden eagles, especially. A good thermal lets them conserve energy for hours, and the falconer specifically described how eagles would find a thermal, slowly spiral up in it looking for prey until they hit the top, then fly to the next thermal. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hope Kirito is keeping an eye on the sky. Asuna will remember that she forgot to thank him, probably several thousand feet up. So she might dive down to give Kirito a hug or a peck on the cheek, if he does not get out of the way…

    Liked by 4 people

  4. All of which meant Pollista might not be a fluke. She might just be the first warning of worse to come.

    Once more, with feeling: Kayaba is a bastard.

    . . .the Knights of Blood couldn’t clear Aincrad alone

    Sweetheart, they probably never could. KoB are good. You’re very good. But pinning everything on one group, putting all of your eggs in one basket, can and does go pear-shaped.

    Always have a back-up plan, a plan B instead plan A goes awry.

    Plus you have decent numbers but nobody can be on all the time. People get hurt. You lose people. People can’t handle that level of fighting anymore – not because they don’t have the levels but because they just can’t anymore.

    Plus it might be good for other groups to be involved with clearing the game. People can very . . . people. One guild saves everyone and some of its members might start getting swelled heads. Also sometimes people are shocking ungrateful about getting their bacon hauled out of the fire. Especially if anyone gets the idea that the reason your guild won was because they were collaborators with Kayaba . . .

    Just saying it wouldn’t surprise me if some paranoid souls think certain people have to working with / for Kayaba because otherwise they would be dead like everyone else, no one is that good. And yes, I know some people probably already think that of the beta testers but I bet that the betas aren’t only to be the only ones painted that way eventually . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. >>Just saying it wouldn’t surprise me if some paranoid souls think certain people have to working with / for Kayaba because otherwise they would be dead like everyone else, no one is that good. And yes, I know some people probably already think that of the beta testers but I bet that the betas aren’t only to be the only ones painted that way eventually . . .<<

      Hilariously Kirito /is/ one of those souls in canon. His face to face interactions with Heathcliff, especially during and after his duel, left him feeling exactly like that.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, he wasn’t exactly wrong about Healthcliff, now was he?

        And put of the reason that paranoia might be hard to argue against is . . . it might not be entirely paranoia. Kayaba might be the main instigator and the mad genius behind SAO / MCO but that doesn’t mean he was working entirely alone.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. A lot of our favorite heroes probably get people giving them the side-eye for being that good.

        Because a lot of people would have the thought: Nobody is that good. It’s impossible. Anyone who looks like they are that good has to be cheating* somehow.

        And there is the not entirely unreasonable uh-oh feeling of those who realize that yes, Person X really is that good. Because that, that is scary. Very scary.

        Person X might be your friend, your ally, you’d trust them with your life – you know they aren’t going to hurt you but your survival instincts can’t help but demand brown pants.

        *I maintain that if it is life or death, there is no cheating. There is only dead and not dead (yet).

        (Sorry for the uncharacteristic silence – my body and I have been having an on-again, off-again argument about whether or not I’m allowed to breathe without coughing, have a nose not clogged with mucus, ears that don’t ache, not have a fever and/or headache / other pains, etc . . . feeling better so I might be winning the argument . . . but I’ve thought that before . . .)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. have a nose not clogged with mucus,

        Please excuse the unsolicited medical advice (especially if you’re already doing this), but rinsing out the sinuses with salt water helps enormously with this.

        It’s the only reason I’ve been able to sleep and go to work this last week without being partially choked all night and completely gross all day (intermittent grossness is a different matter…)

        Like

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