“She could die in Aincrad!”
“She could die on the street hit by a fish truck tomorrow!” Recon shot back, embarrassment fading out of his face. “She could slip under a train! She could – she could do what some other SAO relatives have done, and think she just couldn’t take the shame anymore, and….” The swanmay’s face crumpled. He rubbed at an eye with the heel of his hand, swiping away a tear. “You’re right. Okay? You’re right. She thinks I’m just a transfer student. I’m lying every time I go to class with her. And… I want her to come to Aincrad. She’s smart. She’s fast. She takes care of people.” He looked up. “But I want her to be okay. Even if she stays in Japan. Even if she hates me.”
He cares about her. He’s there for her. Kirito winced. And I’m not. “ALO can take people into Aincrad? How? You said it’s not level-based.”
“It’s not,” Recon said seriously. “I’m not an archmage. I don’t know how it works. But about a year, maybe two years from now, there’s supposed to be a planar conjunction. A weak spot in the walls between the worlds, where magic can open a gateway. Anyone who’s made an avatar in ALO… they’ll be able to walk through it. If they want to.”
“Anyone?” Kirito said in disbelief, as Lyfa’s avatar finally went translucent, and faded. Don’t panic. She didn’t shatter. Don’t panic. “How many people are in ALO?”
“Last I heard?” The swanmay said cautiously. “Um. About eight or nine hundred….”
Oh good, not too many more – wait a minute. If it’s an online game–
“…thousand?” Recon finished weakly.