Monstrous Compendium Ch 12 Ficbit -Logout

It was like surfacing from deep water.

Throat feels… lousy. Kirito blinked, feeling what had to be a crust of sleep-sand thick as a silver coin crack and stick. Scrunched his eyelids shut at the sting, letting new tears wash some of it away; a habit learned hard from too many encounters with swamps, slime, and dragonbreath ashes. Everything feels lousy.

And heavy. Lifting a hand felt like trying to drag himself onto the deck after half a day lost at sea and treading water. Which had only happened once. Once was more than enough.

Everything feels… empty.

No animals. No youkai. No wild. Just his own breath in his ears; his own heartbeat, drumming away in a rhythm he hadn’t felt in two long years.

Earth. We’re back on Earth….

Get the damn NerveGear off!

He forced shaking hands to move; to lift, grip painted metal, and pull. Because everything was empty and it hurt so much but they were back. They were back, they were on Earth with his family, and he was not giving a damned backstabbing dragon any chance to have vindictive second thoughts with a brain-frying helmet.

Damn you, Beniryuu!

The NerveGear thumped onto the mattress beside him, curve bumping against his side as the cable bunched up white sheets. It hurt.

Sheets, no tiger blanket… someone’s house of healing? No. Wait. Earth.

Translucent panels set in the speckled white ceiling, light glowing through. Plain white sheets on a Western-style bed. Japanese voices drifting from the walls, businesslike and formal with an odd edge of hurrying. A lack of green scents, almost covered by tangs of soap and bitter and possibly one faint wisp of coffee.

Hospital. This has to be a hospital. Kayaba – Beniryuu – said he’d give the government time to move us. Guess he had to make sure our bodies stayed alive long enough to snatch them.

Kirito made himself take a deep breath, hackle-raising scents and all. He lost. We’re alive. Asuna’s alive.

Alive, and he was going to find her. And his family. First step, get up….

Owwww.

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61 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch 12 Ficbit -Logout

  1. Yeah, you haven’t moved in two years. Moving is going to hurt. I wonder if you just discovered you still have feather grafts? And soon, the lack of Wild is going to get to you. Also, I’m elated that the first thing he noticed was he had a distinct lack of tiger blanket and wondered where he was a second.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. -HOW many times did he wake up in Tetsutora’s infirmary?-
        Enough.

        Or more accurately, enough times that he can recognize the particular tiger-fur blanket she uses by feel and and learned to parse Tetsutora’s subsonic growls of ‘crazy half-grown man-cub that’s going to get himself killed one of these days’ to understand the current extent of his injuries and how long it will take him to recover to the hour.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. Actually… Yes, no loadbearing exercise in two years.

    But there is plenty of evidence that if a person is watching other people doing vigorous exercise, the observer’s muscles and heart respond sympathetically, albeit at a very low level. It is like a covert warmup.

    Also, it is possible to “exercise” an unconscious person. Usually folks do not bother unless they have a relative in a long-term coma, and again there is no way to do loadbearing exercise (AFAIK), but it can be done.

    So it would really stink, but there might not be total atrophy.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Apparently physical therapists do work with people in comas these days. So do speech therapists (to help with swallowing reflexes being kept up) and respiratory therapists. So Japanese hospitals treating SAO patients may have been rather full of personnel.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I was pleasantly surprised to find this out. It always seemed like a good idea to move comatose people’s muscles around, and obviously therapists are better able to do that safely and systematically.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. An additional thing that’s being tested nowdays is direct artificial stimulation of the muscles. Several different variants of it, including vibratory systems (sonic, or direct contact hardware) to get better movement of all the muscles than a therapist can get with just a few minutes a day, or zapping the nerves/muscles to make them twitch as if they’d gotten a signal from the brain. Tho I expect that last would be looked at as risky, in the case of SAO, the point stands that there’s lots of new things being tested to try to get even better results.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. The big thing is that usually a coma patient is dealing with recovery from a severe brain injury, and often other injuries, as well as forced physical inactivity. The SAO folks are more like a really long induced coma, but otherwise they have healthy bodies and brains (barring PTSD).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m plotting on a bunny that is immediately after wake up, and replaces Fairy Dance.

      I use two different assumptions from canon. First, there are some lingering psychological, ‘psychological’, and neurological effects, due to the brain adapting to the Nerve gear, to brain ‘burns’, to things similar to light blindness (parts of the nervous system not functioning due to over use), and maybe due to things that will remain a mystery to me, for lack of time to study them in story.

      Second is a more standard sort of ‘Aincrad gave the players occult powers’ thing, where these included breathing techniques and such, permitting the likes to Kirito to be mobile much faster than is otherwise reasonable.

      On the other hand, there are apparently parts of human visual processing that take days to start up after the shut down. I understand that is the result of studies they’ve done on temporarily stopping saccades. I’m ignoring that, of course.

      Liked by 5 people

  4. Asuna and Kazuto ought to have traded enough personal information to make finding/contacting each other relatively simple in this story at least. Oh, hmm…

    Considering possible contingencies of Beniryuu, and that there was likely at least one the “Resistance” wouldn’t have known/been able to do something about, and what Sugou did canonically to 300 SAO players… Even if Sugou fell afoul of Beniryuu, his plans might have been found useful.

    If Beniryuu did plan another deeper laid trap, he would likely have “bookmarked” his “favorites”, and Asuna would be likely among them. Kazuto and any rescuers would immediately have some idea where to look at least, since ALO pretty much has to serve as the Gateway, and wouldn’t be sitting around for weeks without a clue.

    On a more general note, Furinkazan-tachi are going to have legendary level “street-cred”, so far as the events and personages involved in clearing SAO become known in Eberron.

    Here’s a thought, the Kirigaya Dojo becomes the core of a training center for (potential) Moonswords and other “heroically minded” volunteers/agents for defending Japan/Earth, and/or supporting Aincrad/Eberron against The Forces of Evil. It would at least be relatively secure against those factions who would seek to prevent the resurgence of Moon Swords and other Forces of Good, being on another Plane entirely.

    Magic, especially divine/elemental magic (I.e. The Wild) would be quite restricted/nonexistent, but that might have some advantages, in that a lack of available power could limit any dangerous situations/abuse of powers…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. One fanfic I’m reading does something somewhat similar to that last idea, Thiemo, tho not quite. It’s a SAO/Sailor Moon crossover, where Asuna (instead of Usagi) is the reincarnation of Princess Serenity, but was late awakening (the Senshi have been active for a decade or so before SAO starts). In that one, Kayaba’s actually a good guy, who created SAO from memories of their past lives, as a training ground to produce an army to aid the Senshi… only for it to be subverted and cursed by one of the Dark Generals (thus setting it as a death game). But it does end up useful for its intended purpose, and after they get out, they’ve got the start of their army ready to return to training to, as you said, “defend earth against The Forces of Evil”.

      The fic’s moderately good, not the best, but it was an interesting turnaround from the standard formula.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m reading it on Spacebattles, but the link Vathara provided works (tho that’s book 1, of a planned 5, according to the author). Mostly, I try to play the part of the Voice of Reason in the thread on SB, reigning in the rampant “ooh, this is cool, what about adding this too!?” that constantly threatens to derail it and send it into the land of crack. (I also drew the fanart of Asuna for it)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That was actually why I initially joined, just so I could find stories more easily (the search features are actually pretty good on that forum), but then I got dragged into posting (people were _wrong_ on the internet! :p), and now I just acknowledge that I’m part of the community.

        Anyway, Neph Champion is writing several other SAO stories on there too, so here’s the links to make it easier for you:
        https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/the-moons-flash-princess-book-1-surviving-aincrad-complete.526021/
        https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/the-moons-flash-princess-book-2-waltz-of-the-unseelie-court.715480/

        https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/the-neko-swordsman-sao.630655/
        This one’s an AU where cat-people exist, and Kirito is one. (it is also a harem fic, because Neph decided to try an experiment to see if it was possible to make it “reasonable”… and needed the “not quite human” bit to make it work. of course, since it’s on SB, it’s clean, so that’s just the relationship stuff there)

        https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/this-is-no-game-isekai-sao.694744/
        This one’s an AU that’s got some similarities to MCO (just not on purpose) and to Log Horizon (SAO “became real” when they cleared it, but a convergence is coming up so despite Aincrad being “a real world now”, players of ALO can fly to visit it).

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Aaah, results and their implications time.

    Kirito kept wyld empathy. He still feels it / and it returns relevant, accurate information/. Chances he didn’t also keep the powers of a warlock?

    We’ll see. But if so and this is consistent, there is an implication of something else.

    The silver flame interfeared and /didn’t/ clear those powers on logout. It helped them go home, too, which is, yes the act off a good power… but it left them with those terribly dangerous, destabilizing powers.

    Which means it either couldn’t which stikes as unlikely with the amount of loose power at that point….or it thinks earth will have need of those powers in the very near future.

    At lunch, so..perhaps more thoughts later

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Huuuuh… You definitely read that differently from me.

      I was assuming that ’emptiness’ was him reaching for Wild Empathy and not getting any feedback – á la Ichigo’s post-Aizen problems in Shattered Sky. That sense he’s so used to just… isn’t there.

      As for the Warlock stuff…

      Didn’t Lightfall still have his Warlock powers – albeit vastly reduced – outside of Alfheim Online? Given that Warlock powers here involve channeling power from other planes, I’d assume that cutting that off would actually be harder for the Silver Flame than just assisting them in getting home.

      The Silver Flame lent its power, but the Silver Flame does that all the time, that’s how Paladins and Clerics work. Outright using that divine power to interfere directly in the world… The Silver Flame is – by canon – not a god. It’s a clump of noble divine souls and their worshippers holding a demonic demigod prisoner. Its ability to reach out and empower is thoroughly real, but exactly how much Divine Interference you can expect from it is genuinely up in the air. Nevermind that the Shadow In the Flame is constantly trying to escape, so what seems like the Flame’s interference can just as easily come with the chances for greater evil or an unknown danger alongside it.

      I don’t think we know enough to say if the Flame ‘decided’ that Aincrad’s adventurers were/should keeping those powers or not. There’s just too many possibilities.

      Like

  6. We already know that some SAO survivors can use (limited) magic IRL. It seems quite possible to hold true for at least some cases among ALO players, though we didn’t get “onscreen” confirmation.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Give Stheno‘s comments on how Sorcery/Moonsword powers have cropped up in ordinary humans – hi there, Connlan – I would NOT be surprised to find out that the feathered grafts aren’t the only things sticking around Kirito.

      Given that, the SAO Taskforce might now have a bunch of actual youkai to handle…

      Liked by 5 people

  7. Everything feels lousy.

    After having your body effectively be a coma for a couple of years, I’m not surprised.

    Everything feels… empty.

    That probably adds another layer of uncomfortable.

    You’ve gotten used to that sense.

    Wonder if that will add to sleeping difficulties you are likely going to have. Because knowing logically that you are not in SAO anymore, will probably not make the alarm bells stop ringing because you can’t sense the danger coming.

    First step, get up….

    Good luck with that.

    Unless part of magic involved keeping your muscles in better shape they should be after being immobile for a couple of years . . .

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That reminds me, the house that Asuna’s mother was raised in was implied to be out in the woods of some mountain village/town “in the boonies”. At least Asuna and Kirito’s “love nest” on Floor 22 canonically had an atmosphere that was very much like that of the place her grandparents had.

        In Mother’s Rosario, I got the impression the house was no longer there, or in possession of Asuna’s Mother, but that kind of place could be a great refuge for Asuna and Kirito, and any close Youkai friends needing the proximity to nature.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Sounds like a neat idea – they do need a space like . . . actually, many of them might need a certain of time outside of the big cities or way from the busier sections – because they just aren’t used to that level of crowding anymore.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Self-healing actually is a warlock thing, D&D canon.

        Probably one of the reasons that Kirito is still alive.

        That and he has people who are willing to, metaphorically (usually), sit on him when he’s too hurt / exhausted until he’s well enough to be back out there solo again.

        Liked by 3 people

  8. -and he was not giving a damned backstabbing dragon any chance to have vindictive second thoughts with a brain-frying helmet.-
    This is a completely valid concern and one I suspect the vast majority of the 75th boss raid members will be copying.

    -He lost. –
    Don’t celebrate just yet, Kirito. Do remember that ALO is still a thing and it’s possible that whatever Beniryuu planned for the game won’t end with his death (assuming he is dead).
    -Kirito made himself take a deep breath, hackle-raising scents and all. He lost. We’re alive. Asuna’s alive.

    Alive, and he was going to find her. And his family. First step, get up….-
    Well there is only one BGM appropriate for this scene now. Time to cue up Yume Sekai on repeat.

    Also I suspect Klein might be finding out he’s now wearing a particular silver necklace. I doubt the Silver Flame would give up one of it’s newest and potentially most promising paladins so easily.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. -*G* Lucky for Klein the staff will probably miss it in all the ruckus of people waking up.-
        I admit that when I first thought of the necklace popping up I had the image of a would-be thief on the staff trying to take it. Said individual shortly thereafter is seeking medical attention for the burn on their hand they just suffered.

        Silver Flame: “Excuse me? That belongs to MY paladin, no touchy. Particularly somebody like you.”

        Liked by 6 people

  9. he was not giving a damned backstabbing dragon any chance to have vindictive second thoughts with a brain-frying helmet.

    Yeah, I could see how that could go badly. I wouldn’t want that on my head a minute longer either.

    And I would make plans for what you are going to do when said dragon comes for revenge. Because you know he’s going to. I suppose he could actually be dead but that sounds too easy. Our heroes aren’t THAT lucky.

    Wonder if our vicious dragon will lie in wait and attempt to blindside them with his revenge . . . or set up a number of petty bits and/or minor attacks that wear our heroes out and make them jumpy / stressed, then hit with a massive, damaging strike . . . probably closer to the later than the former. Dragon’s ego probably demands that his enemies know just how screwed and defeated they are before they die.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Kirito: We throw Klein at him.
        Asuna (wryly): And pray?
        Kirito: No, and hit him from behind to keep him distracted while Argo meteor storms him.
        Klein: …I think I’m supposed to object to you guys plotting a dire and dastardly ambush. But Kayaba. Yeah, I’m good with this….

        Liked by 6 people

      2. Of course the downside of fighting a lich is that you can only ever kill the thing for good if the phylactery is destroyed. And any Lich worth it’s spells is going to guard that item VERY well.

        One genre-savvy example that I saw/read about put it’s phylactery into a jewel box-sized container constructed and enchanted to be as indestructible and undetectable as possible. The lich then went out into the middle of the ocean, deliberately provoked some giant kraken/sarlac thingamabob, paralyzed it, and threw the box into it’s gullet (where said box presumably adheres to the side of the beast’s digestive tract) before letting the gribble swim off back down into the depths.

        Good luck winding that phylactery without something on the order of a wish spell.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. That one sounds like it’s got several flaws in it, Shiori. Most versions of d&d, if a Lich gets killed, it respawns near its phylactery. So just make sure to have a contingent Scry set up to find where it respawns when you kill it. Also, if it’s respawning near its phylactery, it’s respawning in the gullet of a giant sea monster, likely deep beneath the surface. That’s not gonna be an easy thing to deal with when it happens suddenly and without warning, and he’s already been using his spells for other stuff.

        And that’s just the flaws in it that I saw right off. There’s almost assuredly many others that I didn’t think of because of not dealing with lichs in my rpgs very often.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. >That one sounds like it’s got several flaws in it>
        Unfortunately the scene didn’t describe what spells, contingencies etc the lich put in place on the box so I can’t say if said flaws were taken care of or not.

        The vision was more (presumably) to show the players and no, they won’t be able to truly kill the lich because it’s phylactery isn’t even on the continent right now.

        Liked by 3 people

      5. The reason I listed those particular flaws was because they are flaws that are related to being a lich, and to the placement of the phylactery. Specifically, that it explicitly takes a while to finish respawning, and that the respawning happens adjacent to the phylactery. Even if there was a contingent “teleport to my safe base”, it would have to happen after the respawn was finished, which would give whoever killed the lich time to scry on the lich’s new body (that has lost whatever protective spells were on it, and can’t yet have new ones applied to it). Also, from the description of how the respawning works, it should have trouble working under the pressures that exist at the bottom of the ocean.

        But then, that depends on if the GM is a “RAW is all that matters” type of guy, or if he takes into account the descriptions and fluff that come with them, and “what actually makes sense if that’s a real world, not just a game”. From the way the story went, I expect it was the first type of GM, thinking himself clever in his ability to stymie the players, and then interpreting the rules in whichever way allowed him to deny the players any agency.

        Liked by 4 people

      6. Which bugs me, because you CAN give plot armor without cheating- dragon (The Eldest Dragon) hoard, liche made a deal with a demon, a god said you can’t come here…..

        Liked by 4 people

      7. -From the way the story went, I expect it was the first type of GM, thinking himself clever in his ability to stymie the players, and then interpreting the rules in whichever way allowed him to deny the players any agency.-
        Actually from everything I’ve seen in ‘Tales from my D&D campaign’ (the series in question) the players have a fair amount of agency when it comes to dealing with whatever the DM throws at them ad more than once took a third option that successfully went against the DM’s script who rolled with it.

        Somebody did bring up the issues you mention in the youtube comments to which the DM/author replied: “You didn’t see all the magic he put on that box.” and the DM has been running a fairly high-magic universe (seriously some of the magical items etc that are in existence/the players are using are pretty impreesive) up to and including an ancient magitek civilization. So it is possible for there to be the proper magical contingencies to ensure safe recorporealization.

        He’ll probably give more info on the channel at some point but the phylactery box only showed up in the most recent episode so we’ll just have to wait and see.

        Liked by 3 people

      8. >> Actually from everything I’ve seen in ‘Tales from my D&D campaign’ (the series in question) the players have a fair amount of agency when it comes to dealing with whatever the DM throws at them[…]

        From what I’ve seen of Tales From My DnD Campaign I actually agree with you – tho’ I haven’t gotten to the part with them fighting a Lich yet – but knowing it’s in that setting if I were a Lich that’s definitely not the strategy I’d go with. Too much chance when whatever sea monster that was dies of the Kua-Toa getting ahold of your phylactery and then you’re stuck doing their bidding.

        Personal favorite ‘here’s how I keep my Phylactery safe’ was from Pathfinder. They had an example Lich in one of their books who was a Cleric. She kept her Phylactery buried in her own coffin 6-feet down on the grounds of an ancient hidden/lost temple to her god, one of the dieties of Undeath (I can’t remember which).

        Said Lich did a lot of her stuff on other continents, so if she was destroyed she’d have to dig her own way back up from her grave. Her character notes actually said she viewed the process as something of a religious ceremony, which was why she would dig her way out by hand instead of using magic (unless necessary for whatever reason).

        Bonus points: the temple was long lost, so she’s basically the only person still in existence who knows where it is. The jungle around is vast, trackless, and filled with its own dangers for unwary/good adventurers to get chomped by. The temple was the high temple for her diety, so there’s all sorts of high-tier ‘direct-territory-in-this-world-of-a-god’ protections (including anti-scrying) on the grounds beyond even what this high-level Cleric could nornally pull off on her own. Finally, her coffin was buried when she first became a Lich multiple centuries ago, so what was a 6-feet down place of honor in the cemetery is now enough of a pain to get to that you’d likely need an archeological team working the full temple grounds to find the damn thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I recall seeing mentions of using teleport spells to get to the moon in older campaigns. Older versions of the rules apparently had actual androids.

        So, teleport to a dark planet far from any star, and put the phylactery there. As a bonus, the cut outs the lich uses to reenter the campaign world without being tracked back could include riding a meteor from orbit.

        I’ve noticed one implication of a Darker than Black/Nanoha cross.

        Mao possesses animals. Nanoha setting has a familiar creating technique involving the magic user making a contract with an animal, and using certain arts and lore, bestowing it with intelligence, magical power, and the ability to take a humanoid form. An obvious ruling is that Mao’s power would not work on a familiar that has been created from an animal he was not possessing at the time. But, if the process were done with him and his cat body…

        Liked by 2 people

      10. / Too much chance when whatever sea monster that was dies of the Kua-Toa getting ahold of your phylactery and then you’re stuck doing their bidding./
        Said hiding was done in the Shadowfell which apparently the Kua-Toa don’t have any foothold in since it’s been mentioned the oceans in that plane are ‘wild’.

        Liked by 2 people

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