“It means that they can still hear you even if they can’t see you, so if they deem you a big enough threat they’ll still try and take you out so make sure you keep out of their attack range,” Butterfli3 replied, “But remember too, that I’m there and I won’t let them get you.”
You smiled with gratitude. “Thanks babe.”
Asuna then spoke up with some ideas on how to take on the boss with some inside information that she had heard and soon everyone was feeling confident enough to embark to level 44.
You all stood and left the building as a group, heading out towards the town centre and teleporting to the middle of level 43 and heading towards the path that lead to the cave that was home to the boss dragon that guarded level 44.
“So do we know what this dragon looks like?” you asked Migata as you walked behind him.
“Yep!” he called back over his shoulder, “looks like a dragon!”
You snorted out a little laugh and he spun to face you.
“D-Did you just laugh?” he asked incredulously.
“Yes… it was funny…”
“You thought it was funny?!” he gasped excitedly, his face lighting up with a big smile.
“Yeah?” You laughed.
“This is the greatest day of my life!” he hollered with enthusiasm.
“You have a lot of greatest days of you life, Migata,” SSG69 commented.
“Every day is a great day when you look it at right,” He replied, throwing her a wink and your heart just about exploded.
“The preciousness of this literal ray of sunshine! I just cannot—.”
Kirito was the first to round the corner on the path and he stopped to survey the surroundings. Ahead was the mouth of a very large cave but so far no dragon or henchmen were in sight- he stayed alert regardless.
“Thoughts?” he asked lowly as Butterfli3 walked up beside him.
“The henchmen will probably come out once we get to the mouth of the cave,” Butterfli3 replied, looking around as well.
“Shall we start then?” Kirito asked, looking across at Butterfli3.
Butterfli3 nodded and turned to the rest of the group.
“Ok, we’re up now, get ready… ” he said, his eyes Migata’s, “time to buff everyone.”
Migata opened his menu and started distributing attack and defense buffs to your raid party.
“Here, this will give your attacks more boost and defend you better against the dragon’s attacks,” he said as he boosted SSG69’s stats, “but uh… I’ll be keeping an eye on you anyway so I won’t let that dragon get you..” he added softly to your best friend and she looked away slightly- acting a little shy.
“Oh, thanks. You don’t have to do that though.” she said, trying to be nonchalant about his comment.
“No, but, I care….” He cleared his throat and looked away. “Umm… nah, it’s fine. I’m a hero in training, right? Wouldn’t be very plus ultra of me to abandon you.”
“I’ve never seen you not plus ultra, Migata, so I’m not worried,” your best friend replied him and he did a nervous chuckle and rubbed the back of his head.
He was definitely starting to make some moves and so was your best girl. You were excited for the two of them.
You smiled over at Butterfli3 but he seemed to be a little preoccupied with the cave.
“You ok?” you asked as you approached him.
“Uh, yeah, something just doesn’t feel right though…” he commented, “I don’t know why but something seems off…”
“Ok, O/N, here’s your invisibility cloak!” Migata said, walking up behind you and casting his spell.
Your form faded slightly so you knew you had turned invisible and you turned your attention back to Butterfli3.
“What are you feeling?” you asked him.
“That the boss is too hard for us? Or that it’s not going to be in the cave like we’re expecting?”
“Hmmm… no…” Butterfli3 replied dubiously, “it’s not either of those…I don’t know, maybe I’m being paranoid.”
“You feeling like something is off?” Kirito asked, sidling up to you two.
“I feel it too… a disturbance…”
“That’s what I feel,” Butterfli3 confirmed.
“Let’s head in there and find out what’s going on…” Kirito said boldly, striding out towards the cave.
The closer you got, the more apprehensive you became and the air seemed to grow a little colder.
SSG69’s fox growled and his hackles stood on end as everyone got closer to the cave.
Just then, manic cackling could be heard coming from behind the rocks at the entrance of the cave and Kirito, Asuna, Migata and Butterfli3 all drew their weapons of choice.
“Show yourselves!” Kirito called.
7 cloaked heads popped up over the large boulders that framed the caves entrance and your best friend gasped from behind you.
“What’s wrong?” you whispered, looking back at her.
“That’s… that’s the PK group that attacked me and separated me from my fox! The Tormentors!” she said fearfully, “why are they here?”
“Hoooo!” the leader of the Tormentors called as he climbed up and over the rock he was hiding behind and jumped down, “so you did come!”
“What do you want?” Kirito asked darkly, both eyes keenly trained on the leader.
“To be the most powerful group in RFO. That’s what!” the leader replied in a confident voice, “we were told you would be coming here, so that’s why we came.”
Others of the PK group started to emerge, all quite ghastly dressed in grim reaper style outfits complete with various style masks.
“Who told you?” Butterfli3 asked, stepping up beside Kirito.
“That’s for us to know and for you to… never find out,” the leader sneered hauntingly.
“You may never know because you are meeting your end here.”
The leader then drew his sword and prepared for the first attack, but he was too slow in his movements because Butterfli3 and Kirito were already among him and his clan.
In one swipe Butterfli3 took out 3 of the Tormentor players and crossed swords with the fourth while Kirito and the leader fought tensely for the upper hand.
“For a second I didn’t recognize you,” Kirito said lowly to the leader, jumping back a bit to take a breather.
“So you do know who I am then,” the leader replied with a devious smirk.
“I recognize you now, after we have crossed swords. You’re red-eyed Zaza from the Laughing Coffins. I thought you had been put away for good,” Kirito said bitterly.
“They did put me away, but they couldn’t put me away forever.” He sneered. “I have powerful friends who owed me.”
Kirito grit his teeth and you whispered to SSG69. “Who is red-eyed Zaza, and what are the Laughing Coffins?”
“They’re a PK group from SAO, if I remember correctly.” She replied. “He must have been part of their guild and he must have met with Kirito before, because it sounds like they have history.”