Monstrous Compendium Ch 9 Ficbit – Feather

Warm feather in hand, Suguha ducked past the nurse stalling her mother, and dashed into Kazuto’s room.

Blood.

Just a thin line, trickling down her brother’s pale cheek from under the Nervegear. But she could almost smell it.

“Miss, I’ll have to ask you to get back- assist on room 1515!

“Great. More people who can’t do anything,” Suguha muttered, trying not to cry as she dabbed at blood with a wipe from a box near the bed.

Her mother was right behind her, white-lipped. “You said you saw him bleeding.”

“He wanted to prove it was real. He wanted me to believe.” Down seemed to twitch against Suguha’s hand; she opened her hand to look at the green-black feather, as stark against her brother’s skin as blood. “Like I could ever not believe you, big brother-”

Down and vanes twitched. Curled away from her fingers, bloody quill questing over her skin like the head of a snake. Purple-black sparked along its length, raising answering sparks of blue and violet from the trail of blood.

Falcon-swift, the feather swooped off her hand, and dove under the helmet.

One hand fumbling blindly alongside the bed, Suguha tried to sit down.

Midori caught her before she tumbled, tugging her over to the visitor’s chair to collapse. “Have you seen… that… happen in ALO?”

“I’m not sure,” Suguha started. She’d seen some monsters regenerate a little like that, once or twice. But her brother wasn’t a hydra or a troll-

Swarming nurses shoved them both out of the room.

Suguha wanted to cry. Or scream. Or grab a bokken and just-

A hand closed on her shoulder. “Getting mad at them won’t help, Kirigaya. You know that.”

“Nagata.” She blinked at him; glasses, shy brown eyes, and all. With all the faces ALO could generate, why did Recon’s look so much like Shinichi’s? “He was with you.”

“He disappeared a minute after your avatar did,” Nagata told her. “I just got to an inn to log out, and – never mind. He said don’t give up. That he’ll find a way back.” He looked up, and gulped. “Mrs. Kirigaya. It’s nice to meet you with good news. Well, kind of good news….”

“You saw my son in Alfheim Online.” Midori gave him a considering look, as the noise in Kazuto’s room died down to confused murmurs. “Tell me everything.”

40 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch 9 Ficbit – Feather

  1. Well, I suppose that kinda explains why some people are ashamed of the players. If their bodies are changing ouside of SAO, families are watching as they become less and less human.

    The suprising thing is that some fanatic- or government- hasn’t decided to offline them all. Or take a player apart to see how they tick.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’m pretty sure that this first visable change of any of the players. Stheno had a discussion with her sister about it stating that adoptions were in spirit only for now:

      -And many more of them will be youkai, before Beniryuu’s arcane device runs its course. That their adoption is only of the spirit – for now – and not of the body, makes it no less real.-

      Also Beniryuu is far from stupid. If he let the players change while they could still be observed by Earth humans, even he wouldn’t be able to throw around enough SEP effects to keep things from going nuts.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. -Shadow magic is starting to make a certain red dragon very cranky. –
        His own fault for letting it come into play in the first place.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. And as you/Stheno outright stated all the freaking way back in Chapter 1, what research does get done in Galifar, is jealously hoarded to a degree that makes dragons look like philanthropists!

        Liked by 3 people

      3. -magic is researched by very few people. –
        Caerulus is probably going to love the ‘share info and perform communal research’ aspect of the player’s culture.

        Well after he gets over the shock anyway.

        Liked by 4 people

      1. -I don’t know XCOM, but I think the Taskforce is going to have more oomph in this story.-
        XCOM is a computer games series (old and a modern remake) with the core premise of commanding a secret UN taskforce that defends the earth against invading aliens. It’s one big war of escalation as the aliens go from scouting, to large scale abductions, to outright attacking cities and trying to destroy your base (with nastier and nastier gribbles over time) while you do furious R&D on everything you capture (including live and dead aliens) to create better equipment to fight them.

        I brought it up because if the taskforce did manage to grab some of the dragon’s pawns/accomplices they’d likely try to find out what the heck these people are doing.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. -Just a thin line, trickling down her brother’s pale cheek from under the Nervegear. But she could almost smell it.-
    Sympathetic magic I guess? If Kirito amps up the juice what he does in the game can alter the real world around him due to his talent for Shadow magic. Hopefully that is not a common occurance for Moonswords because Asuna could potentially cause a thunder/snow storm in her hospital if she gets panicked enough.

    -“Nagata.” She blinked at him; glasses, shy brown eyes, and all. With all the faces ALO could generate, why did Recon’s look so much like Shinichi’s?-
    Because in all likelihood, Shinichi is the generated appearance and Recon is what he actually looks like.

    -“You saw my son in Alfheim Online.” Midori gave him a considering look, as the noise in Kazuto’s room died down to confused murmurs. “Tell me everything.”-

    Can of worms just got cracked open. Because there is no way that somebody won’t overhear this conversation. And it looks like Kazuto isn’t the only member of the Kirigaya family that can loom in order to get information. Midori ‘s just more subtle about it.

    Thoguh I hope that his family manages to remain at least mostly human when everything blows over/up if and when they end up in Aincrad. Because that could put him in a rather bad mental place.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. A bit of meta for you – some of this will be in chapter 10. 😉 Basically, for the planar magic warlocks (called sorcerers in SAO and ALO) draw on to have physical effects, the spirit and body have to be in the same place. Right now, all the SAO players’ spirits are… not exactly in-body. So Asuna won’t be causing any lightning or snowstorms unless she wakes up.

      But that feather was part of Kirito’s spirit, materialized. So once it was close enough to reconnect with the body’s own energies, it did. 🙂

      Yep, Recon is Recon. Which is actually kind of d’aww. Sugu gets to decide if he’s cute or not based on his own merits, no computer cheats.

      The SAO Taskforce is going to realize Kirigayas in general are not to be trifled with. *G* People on Earth may have plans, too!

      Liked by 7 people

      1. -But that feather was part of Kirito’s spirit, materialized. So once it was close enough to reconnect with the body’s own energies, it did. 🙂-
        Yes, I’m sure this don’t have any unforeseen side effects down the road.

        -The SAO Taskforce is going to realize Kirigayas in general are not to be trifled with.-
        “Lead, follow or be ground under my boot as I keep going forward.”

        -People on Earth may have plans, too!-
        And some of them might not even be at cross purposes and/or impede each other while heading for the same goal.

        Liked by 5 people

  3. Moved down to comment:

    *G* I’m not sure he really grasped what a force multiplier a bunch of gamers in the same place all communicating could be.

    NOBODY ever grasps that. Even folks who depend on it!

    Look at the Secret World Online launch event– and that was just folks in their free time!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’m part of quite a few Gamer Discord groups that are dedicated to figuring out how specific systems work in a specific game. The amount of testing and experimentation and theory-crafting they do is frankly impressive. And this is in a game where the game devs are sometimes open about not wanting to tell players how certain systems work specifically so the players can band together and figure it out themselves…

      I can definetly see Beniryuu severely underestimating a bunch of gamers who are actively trying to collect as much data as they possibly can as well as figuring out how far they can push their application of the data they know is correct. That poor, poor, game engine (programed curse)…

      Liked by 6 people

      1. The moment your life is on the line, anything goes. Which is going to *bite* the scaly bastard, hard and in the rear parts.

        Heh. I’m reminded of that litte discussion in „Waking to another sky“, where Daniel Jackson comments that VRMMORPGs tend to have an… interesting skill spread with regards to computer literacy.

        Methinks Beniryuu hasn’t factored in teenage hackers…

        Liked by 4 people

  4. so how did Recon make it so far into the hospital, last time I checked those aren’t placed you can just wander around in? I wonder how human Recon’s materialized form is?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. *raises hand* I can give up to six months ago information, I was able to wander into quite restricted areas because I was so obviously not trying to pull anything.

      It’s so bad they actually have alarms on a lot of areas, in the US, like baby wards.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yup. If you mind your own business and act like you belong, you can go anywhere that is not locked. They have better things to do than mess with you.

        In Lt. Kenda’s biography, he notes that as a young police detective wearing a nice suit and carrying a clipboard, nurses sometimes mistook him for a doctor. He also provides reasons why you should not take advantage of that. (Good true crime audiobook, not safe for listening without earphones because the content is pretty bad in parts. Also he messes with you the listener on at least one occasion.)

        Liked by 4 people

  5. Back in the previous time of writing this, I think I commented that one of the better outcomes for the overall narrative scenario could be that those of Aincrad (NOT Beniryuu/Kayaba) make overt (but not necessarily public) contact with at least a certain segment of Earth authorities.

    Cast it as a foreign(alien?) polity seeking aid, and offering at least knowledge about the nature of Interplanar…Space? For lack of a better world. The fact that Beniryuu and the Aincrad Council are responsible for the SAO Incident just shows that Earth is open/vulnerable on a “border” that they know nothing about. Beniryuu is an example of the more “benign” entities that might/have become aware of Earth. The Aincrad Council can at least argue that they acted out of desperation, not malice (mostly?=P), in agreeing to work with Beniryuu to “Spirit Away” those in SAO. What he’s up too in ALO is another story.

    Above all, there would definitely be those of Earth, all over the World in fact, that could be recruited to come to Aincrad, to fight, die, and more importantly, want to live for it/in it. IF, they can be honestly recruited, and not be just coerced because they are fighting for their very survival in a way that causes them to lose aspects of their humanity that make living on Earth problematic, even unbearable.

    Space, as a “new frontier”, has so many technical hurdles, and is arguably harder to romantize, than going to a World of literal Fantasy. Even though Eberron(and other Planes) are in some ways just as deadly and nforgiving an environment as Space is.

    On a somewhat related topic, I’m reminded of the original canon events regarding ALO, Jotunheim, Kirito and Leafa. Tonkii, specifically. Does D&D have something like a flying tentacled elephant-beast that can be tamed/befriended/is not aggressively hostile? Kirito as a Ranger would/could have some rapport with it… Just imagining some possible adventures if Tonkii weren’t bound to Jotunheim, or ALO at all…

    Hope to see more sibling action, of the combat variety.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, that’s the thing about D&D settings. They are lal Death worlds to the point you sometimes wonder how the various villages/towns/cities survive without being fortified to the level the station-cities in Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress are.

        I mean think about it. Even with equal mundane equipment if a raiding party of level 4/5 Orcs descend on a farming village. The guards there would be likely something on the order of level two to three at most and simply get mowed down.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. “you sometimes wonder how the various villages/towns/cities survive without being fortified to the level the station-cities in Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress are.”

        …Now that would be an interesting crossover. Or campaign setting.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Though Kabaneri is a ‘low magic’ setting compared to the vast majority of D&D. I mean yes there is the Kabane, the Kabaneri and the insanily effective/compact steam-tech but compared to a lot of the stuff and people floating around in Eberron/the Forgotten Realms? It’s nothing.

        You;d need to make a certain number of tweaks/changes/power-ups to the KotIF setting on order for it to survive without plot-armor.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. There’ve been a fair number of worlds built that are similar to fantasy role playing with magical fortress cities. Beet the Vandal Buster for one.

        City Cores are a fairly common element that gets reused a fair amount in those.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. “Like I could ever not believe you, big brother-”

    It’s not personal, sweetie.

    Your big brother isn’t very good with people, knows it, and has had more than one person in SAO / MCO call him a liar when he was telling them the absolute truth.

    Falcon-swift, the feather swooped off her hand, and dove under the helmet

    Ooookay . . . . that’s different.

    I have a feeling there is going to be a story with that.

    But her brother wasn’t a hydra or a troll-

    No but given the . . . everything . . . I wouldn’t be surprised is something is different.

    “Tell me everything.”

    I predict this story is going to bring out Mama Bear.

    Liked by 1 person

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