Monstrous Compendium Ch 11 Ficbit – Missing Pieces

Bracing himself against that shiver of terror, Kirito looked around. First things first. Killing a red dragon had to come later. For now they had to breathe, regroup; figure out who could go on, who needed a break, who was going to have to fall back to mid-level adventures because they just couldn’t take it anymore….

Flash of red.

Heathcliff, Kirito told his shrieking nerves, as a few more snakes focused that direction and made blurry red sharper. Not as sharp as his own gaze behind obsidian lenses, but clear enough to make out silver hair and wings, the red cross on the silvery shield. Guild leader, not another stray add.

And for a moment he drowned in jealous fury, because Heathcliff could look through all the empty places in the raid and still be the perfect, noble knight. Face mild, gaze intent; noble and calm as a carved princely statue. And why not? His lifebar was still squarely in the yellow, not a sliver past half; even one last solid hit from the Reaper wouldn’t have killed him-

I never saw him take a potion. Or a cure.

Carefully, very carefully, Kirito moved out from under Asuna’s wing.

44 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch 11 Ficbit – Missing Pieces

      1. You’re making the mistake of assuming that Kirito had a plan in canon. And whatever plans he might have for dealing with Beniryuu probably assume that he’s got some back-up and prep time.

        Here he has neither. Or at least that’s how it appears at this time (I fully expect Klein to scruff him once Asuna’s done reading him the riot act regardless).

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Kirito has a plan. It might not be a good plan, but it is a plan.

        And he figured out in advance that finding Beniryuu was going to be, as anti-submarine warfare experts put it, “like hunting a rattlesnake with a shovel.” So he has prepped as much as possible in advance. And as for backup… well, there’s about 30 clearers right here.

        You got to go with what you’ve got. 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      3. But a shovel _is_ what you hunt rattlesnakes with… My dad was on the snake patrol at the Wycliffe center in Dallas Texas (which had been built on “Rattlesnake hill”, which was the site of an annual rattlesnake hunt and pit fight before Wycliffe got the land), and had lots of interesting stories to tell about it.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. In the context I read it (ASW in fact), what it meant was you were either going to kill your target very fast, or it’d kill you, or it’d get away and you would have to hunt it down all over again. While it’s hunting you… and now it knows you’re there.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Now that you mention it we did always go for the shovel to deal with snakes we found in our yard when I was a kid. We usually killed them, but if we recognized it as something that wasn’t particularly dangerous it also made a great tool for moving them.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Yeah. It’s that way when actually hunting rattlesnakes too. I just found it amusing that “the right way to do it” is being used as an analogy for “this is horribly dangerous and tricky”… because it is both.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Oh, man, that is damning, isn’t it? I was wondering what would give him that vital clue since he never dueled Heathcliffe this time. Also, does this mean that Beniryuu is actually going to be going into Kirito’s Last Ditch Plan weakened, or does he heal before/during the goading?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It kinda isn’t, though? Like, even playing a relatively easy game, where you are familiar with the mechanics to the point they are mostly reflexes, with your battle companions calling their attacks, when the stakes aren’t literally life or death so you have the breathing room necessary to pay attention to things not in your immediate surroundings, it’s still really easy to lose track of what other people are doing unless you are specifically looking out for something. If Kirito didn’t think about this until after the battle then it /might/ be unusual (depends on how much of an in-battle healer Kirito functioned as, can’t remember off the top of my head) but it wouldn’t be unbelievable that he just never noticed Heathcliff healing during the battle. We know he’s right. But that’s a hell of a coincidence to hang your argument on.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. And now im interested to see how this will go to the Big Reveal Battle VS Heathcliff.
    Will it clear the game and send them into real world? if so, which world?
    It just might be that the red dragon planned to fall to the clearers to seal it all, thus agreeing to the challange, freeing them from the game, and dooming into his world.

    As an aside, Vathara, have you considered trying to write a SAO crossover with the New World of Darkness game setting, also known as Chronicles of Darkness? I would be fascinated to read your take on such crossover

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Beniryuu had a plan. Kirito is about to screw with it.

      Heh! I liked Geist (I keep hoping they’ll put out the second ed. PDF), and Changeling: the Lost, but I’m not sure if those fit so well with SAO. (And I don’t know how the Vampires and Werewolves in that setting work at all.) Still it is an idea. Hmm.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Is it size? After all, if a dragon cannot move freely around, humans can avoid attacks easier. And the dragon might not be able to avoid attacks by flying up and raining death from above…

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Nooo, the question is, what about people like Tae? Where do they go? To Earth, with the rest of the players? To Aincrad where they came from? It is all very up in the air.

      And I love it.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Ah, THAT moment of epiphany. Kirito realizes how much damage the Clearers have taken, how much effort reorganizing will take, and that it may be hard to find replacements.

    The thing is, taking action right now may well be the best chance of taking Beniryuu unaware. Any delay to organize for an attack risks Beniryuu being able to discover their efforts (he knows Fuurinkan and compatriots have been rattling the cage, too much “looping” for covert meetings could become even more suspicious), being at full health, having more protective measures in place outside of a Boss Battle, etc.

    At this moment, Kirito might manage to push “Heathcliff” into an arrogant mistake, risky as it all is. I do bet that the bloodstones Kirito and Asuna bear will play a significant role in the show down to come. Not too mention, the fact that it’s a Ranger’s Role to carry out Vengenace for the Wronged.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Beniryuu is albino?!

    I can’t wait until the chapter is out so i can read it in its entirety. (Take your time; I can wait.)

    Thanks again for an awesome snippet!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I suspect aside from the reveal this next bit isn’t going to do anything like canon as Beniryuu has no reason to play fair/offer a duel like Kayaba did.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. -Of course he doesn’t. Kirito knows that… and it’s part of the plan.-
      Which means he somehow intends to keep an ancient red dragon in a place that he doesn’t want to remain in. And it has something to do with a terrain advantage that Kirito has in the current situation…..

      I admit I have nothing. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. >Hint: Beniryuu was watching the clearers. He should have been watching Argo.>
        I know Argo is a pretty good spell slinger, hacker (prime example: the disk fireball) and enchanter (given she helped with the mask) but isn’t she kind of locked out of the boss room?

        I mean I don’t recall seeing the doors ever opening post Skull Reaper fight and there was never any indication Argo had been part of the fight here or in canon.

        And I’d assume that you can’t cast any spells effecting what’s inside the boss room from the outside.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. So either Argo is invisible and inside the boss room (feels unlikely to me) or she’s created a magical item/scroll etc at some point prior to this that Kirito will use to spike Beniryuu wheels.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Huuum. I have a sudden moment to realize that someone left an information/organization specialist who is also a spell hacker alone and unsupervised with access to several thousand lower level mages, a few higher level ones, and the knowledge that this /entire situation/ is essentially one massive spell.

        I mean. There are time constraints. I wouldn’t want to try to mess with the base simulation. But you gave her the base tools you used to make the simulation, dragon. There are /all kinds of things/ you could do with that without messing with the game world at all, and it’s been noted you kind of have some blindspots with regards to what can be accomplished by large amounts of people working together….

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Time constraints, energy constraints, level constraints, and “need to keep info compartmentalized so a red dragon doesn’t catch on.”

        But inside those limits? There are possibilities. Including one that just might take advantage of the whole background spell in action.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m more wondering about the other direction. There are “summon specific ally” spells and items, for example, using a variety of different types of magic (I’ve seen ones that are specifically summoning, others that are specifically variant pre-defined teleports, and a couple other variants that purport to be different things yet). There’s also a variety of spells and items to allow someone elsewhere help you do stuff (including spellcasting), where it’s technically not “casting the spell over there” but instead “casting the spell here, with help over there”.

        I expect some of these are blocked, but I’ve seen enough different things that might possibly be involved, that I’m expecting there to be odd shenanigans happening.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. The smartest and most innocuous place to hide her enchantments is in the mask.

    On the positive side, at least Kirito hasn’t had a chance to see Yui, if this has taken only a week since the mask was given to him.

    Liked by 2 people

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