“Whew.” Recon slumped in relief, tucking his rope back into inventory. “That ought to give them something to think about. Though maybe Lyfa won’t mind hunting deeper in avariel territory for a while- eep!”
He’d watched Vincent loom at people, Kirito thought, bemused. It was oddly interesting to try it himself. “How do you know Lady Stheno?”
Moss-green eyes widened. “W-well, there were rumors-”
“My sister trusts you.” And that hurt, a mix of fear and anger that made him dizzy. “She’s my sister. Do you think I’d let her get sucked into Aincrad? Into Beniryuu’s reach?” Aha. Another flinch. And no one outside SAO should know that name. “I don’t know what I could do to you – not here, not now – but I’m willing to find out.” Under his half-gloves, he knew his knuckles were white. “And if my first try doesn’t take you down, I’m sure Lady Stheno would be willing to send me for another.”
“You know her?” Recon’s eyes got even wider. “And… you talk to her, and she hasn’t….” He made an abortive gesture toward his eyes.
Oh, now Kirito really wanted to kill something. “You’re from Aincrad.”
“I never said that!” Recon yelped, skipping backwards.
“Fine,” Kirito bit out. “Don’t say it. Why are you partying with my sister?”
“Because she takes too many chances!”
Whatever he thought he’d expected, that hadn’t been it. “Sugu?” Kirito said incredulously. “She doesn’t take chances….”
She stood up to Grandfather to protect me. She might.
“She thinks I’m a dope, sometimes.” Recon shuffled his feet. “But that’s not all bad. She looks for easier fights if I’m with her. She slows down and thinks. And when she does fight,” his gaze softened, as if watching a treasured memory, “she just flows. Like gliding over water.”
Kirito blinked, the white-feathered scarf finally making sense. If somewhat crazy sense. “You’re a swanmay.”