Snow fell, white and silent, muffling the sounds of battle behind him. Kirito spared one thought for Fuurinkazan, up against the Divine Dragons – let them win, let them be safe–
Closed off his heart, and ran on.
“You seek Nicholas the Renegade,” Vincent’s grim voice rang through memory, as Kirito skidded to a halt in a drift. Fast fingers adjusted his inventory, gearing for the fight. This had to be the right place, he could hear phantom sleigh bells…. “He is a powerful undead.”
Above, two streaks of light through the night. A fur-trimmed red coat fluttered as it fell, giant-sized boots aiming to stomp Kirito even before the event boss landed-
“And he won’t be alone.”
Kirito jumped back and braced himself as Nicholas the Renegade landed, dodging sideways the next instant as a frost-chain scythed through the air where he’d been standing. The undead goblin-spawn one of Caerulus’ tomes had called tomtin hissed through decaying lips, following up with a whirling figure-eight meant to drive him toward the rest of the jangle.
Kirito hurled darkfire with his free hand, shattering unnatural ice. Links gleamed like poisoned diamonds in violet shadow-flames.
The next instant, the undead’s negative energy yanked frost-links back together. But Kirito was already past, one well-aimed Horizontal taking the tomtin through the throat.
Ordinarily, undead didn’t care if they bled out. Which was why he’d aimed precisely.
Spine severed, the tomtin shattered.
Now he was inside Nicholas’ range. That giant ax would kill him if it connected, but the rest of the jangle of tomtin were equally at risk if they got too close. Which meant he might survive the next few seconds. Not much longer, as one sword alone….
Teeth bared at the night, Kirito drew his second sword.
He didn’t know when he’d gained the Skill. He didn’t know why. And he definitely didn’t know why the system treated it differently from any regular swordsman trying to wield two swords. It had just been there, weeks ago; and his careful work leveling it up had given him the first threadbare hope that he could actually win this event battle. He hadn’t mastered the Skill, not yet, but two-sword style had been part of Grandfather’s teachings and he had paid attention-
Ice on steel. Steel on steel, ringing sharp in snowy air. Kirito whirled in a storm of darkfire-lit blades, holding off the tomtin while slicing away Nicholas’ HP. The air was cold, colder than any natural winter; the deadly chill of undeath that would suck the life from most players before they even knew they were dying.