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Shinji

[PP-F3] Minos' Labyrinth <Search for the Hoya> <COMPLETE>

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The Forest of Wavering Mist. A forest filled with mist of unknown origin, large trees, dangerous wildlife and most likely the starting point of the inclusion of fantastic beasts rather than real animals. Shinji stands at an entrance of the forest, fresh from resting for a long time, now ready to slay more beasts. He hears about a quest about receiving a pendant guarded by twin minotaurs, which gives his monster slaying spirit some excitement, though now that he is standing here and gazing towards the misty woods, fear begins to develop in his mind.

But Shinji shakes his head instead as he wants to keep going. He survived the Queen Wasp and a Mantis, so surely he can survive this too if he is careful or ruthless enough against the cattle beasts. Drawing his new sword that was strapped to his back, Shinji faces the blade and stares at its design and metalwork. Silvery, jagged near the tip, and decorated with twirling leaves. It is the perfect weapon that was rewarded to him for killing the Mantis, and identified by an alluring merchant in a Floor 2 shop that appears similar to a Japanese temple of sorts.

The new sword is his new guardian, and Shinji breathes deeply with slight determination on his face, putting his confidence into his sword.

@Cordelia

Spoiler

Stats

Level: 5 -- HP 100/100 -- Energy 10/10 -- DMG: 5 -- MIT: 17 -- ACC: 1

Skills

Sword Art: Two Handed Straight Sword (Rank 1)

Two Handed Weapons (Rank 1) (+3 DMG)

Heavy Armor (Rank 1) (+8 MIT)

Equipment

Spoiler

Name: Silver-Etched Greatsword - Gleam

Item Type: Two Handed Straight Sword

Tier: 1

Quality: Perfect

Enhancements: +1 DMG, +1 Bleed, +1 Keen

Description: A silver greatsword bearing a blade thin enough to easily follow up attacks. Near its point are its 'teeth' that allows the wielder to bleed their foes. Engraved on the blade are small leaves twirling in the wind, giving the greatsword a decorative appearance much like a nobleman's sword.

 

Spoiler

Name: Iron Cuirass

Appearance: https://cdn0.rubylane.com/_pod/item/1524904/2179C-141/France-late-19th-century-small-astonishing-pic-1o-2048%3A10.10-73-f.jpg

Item Type: Heavy Armor

Tier: 1

Quality: Uncommon

Enhancements: +9 MIT

Description: A simple iron cuirass that only provides protection for not only the torso, but vital organs as well.

 

Spoiler

Name: Starter Healing Potion (4)

Item Type: Potions

Enhancements: +50 HP

Description: A small vial containing a red liquid, capped by a cork. Restores health at a decent rate.

 

Spoiler

Name: Healing Potion (5)

Item Type: Potions

Tier: 1

Quality: Uncommon

Enhancements: +40 HP

Description: A glass vial containing a red liquid that restores vitality.

 

Spoiler

Name: Over-Health Potion (1)

Item Type: Potions

Tier: 1

Quality: Uncommon

Enhancements: +50 Temp. HP

Description: A glass vial containing an orange liquid that temporarily extends health for a short amount of time. Lasts one thread.

 

Spoiler

Name: Necklace With Miniature Round Clock Attached

Item Type: Trinket

Tier: 1

Quality: Rare

Enhancements: +1 LD, +1 Accuracy

Description: This is a unique necklace with a working clock hanging on it. Increases the ability to find objects and one's accuracy.

 

Spoiler

Name: Matriarch's Stinger

Enhancements: +1 Damage

Description: Its deadly poison can be applied onto a weapon, granting extra damage. Lasts one thread.

 

 

Edited by Shinji

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Cordelia drummed her fingers against the sheathed hilt of her katana, hopping off of the teleport platform. She looked around. It was relatively late enough in the morning for merchants and shop owners to be opening their doors and stalls, but still early enough in the day to feel the crisp air that always loomed over this floor in the mornings. 

The girl sighed, scratching the back of her neck. Oscar was already gone by the time she had woken up this morning. . . which usually wouldn't be such a worrying thing to her but she had been seeing him less and less lately. Her pale gray eyes averted to the sky in thought. She wondered what was going on with him. 

Her eyes directed over to her palms. Maybe she was the problem. . ? She grunted before shaking her head. Of course not, what was she thinking? He was probably just busy getting ready for the next floor boss fight at his shop. . . or something.

She blew a hot puff of air before she made her way to the town exit. 

She should be doing the same thing; preparing. She was. . . conflicted about participating in this floor boss fight. . . but she had to. No way in hell was she going to let Oscar go off to that thing without her, even if it killed her.

Dark thoughts swarmed through her head by the time she had made it to the entrance of the Forest of Wavering Mists, which was probably not the best way to start off her already crummy morning. 

Her eyes trailed up to the beginning of the treeline and deadpanned. 

She forgot how much she hated this place.

Spoiler

[STATS:]

LVL: 40 | HP: 820/820 | EN: 80/80 | 14 DMG | 12 MIT | 3 ACC | 3 EVA | 1 PARA VNM [DF] | 2 REC | 4 HLY

[INVENTORY:]

☆ T2 Katana | Haunted Verdict: [Cursed] 4 HLY, 4 DMG
 T1 Light Armor | Bastille’s Resistance: +2 EVA, +1 PARA VNM
☆ T2 Jewelry | Mauve Kanzashi: +1 EVA, +2 REC

[BATTLE READY:]

☆ [5] Standard Healing Potions [Heals 50 HP]

[CONSUMED:]

[SKILLS]

☆ R3 Accuracy Familiar Mastery: 3 ACC
☆ Disguise: [Gain +1 EVA until the start of your next turn]
☆ Survival: [Increases out of combat health regeneration to (15 * Tier) per post. Grants immunity to most damage dealing environmental
attacks/effects.]
☆ R1 Curved Sword Skill 
☆ R5 Katana Skill [+7 DMG/+1 BASE]
  > FEROCITY MOD: +1 DMG
☆ R3 Hiding Skill: +1 Stealth Rating
☆ R3 Light Armor Skill: 12 MIT
  > ATHLETICS MOD: +1 DMG, +20 HP

 

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Shinji steps into the wavering mist, the large trees are enough to unnerve him for a bit, but he moves on as he carries his greatsword with the blade resting on his shoulder. It is hard to make out anything that is more than a few feet away from him, and for one or two occasions, he thinks he hear footsteps or a low growl. Keeping himself alert, Shinji trudges on, looking around for Minos' Temple, the place where the pendant resides.

He thinks about what to do with the pendant should he gets it. Maybe he could sell it to an engaged couple, or someone who wants a token of friendship for their own friends. Maybe he could keep it as some sort of good luck charm. Or maybe he could give it to someone he has a crush on...

Shinji shakes his head. No way that will happen. It is impossible. Someone else could play a better role as a groom than him. Yeah, that is it. 

Shinji soon reaches a large tree with some toadstools growing at its base, and he stops for a while and looks around, searching for any foe he might come across, be it human or beast.

@Cordelia

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Cordelia huffed as she crouched down. The Forest of Wavering Mist, hah. . . 

She looked over to her raven familiar and nodded, to which he squawked loudly before fluttering off into the canopy, leaving his sight with her. 

She blinked, taking a few seconds to adjusting to her newfound eyesight before standing up, her eyes now glowing a bright red all thanks to her beloved familiar. With that, she slithered her way into the folds of the trees. It would've possibly been best to enter stealth at this moment but she didn't really find a need to. There shouldn't be anything here that should lay a scratch on her, key word; should be. 

She looked up, her face dimming as she barely saw a crack of light peek through the dense leaves of the forest. "Shoot," she muttered, resting her hand on the hilt of her katana as she journeyed farther into the forest, her red eyes constantly flickering back and forth.

Something smelled fishy.

Her boots skid to a stop as she peered at a large central tree from behind the overgrowth. Fishy, indeed.

Her brightened eyes narrowed just before she let out a silent sigh of relief. Thank God, it was just a player, a green one at that, even better. She tilted her head. Was he here for the same quest as her?

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No sooner than a second after Shinji turns around again and faces the direction where he came from, he sees a green diamond and freezes, his eyes glaring at a female player tilting her head at him. Sighing in relief after his brain mistook a green diamond for an orange, he lowers his greatsword with his two hands and slowly approach her out of curiosity, though he is aware enough to be careful.

He stops as soon as he can see her up close, and look at her up and down while retaining his curious expression on his face. Fairly blonde, young, and...a katana wielder. The katana itself surprises him as he had no idea that such a weapon exists in SAO. He wonders if a wielder like her could execute very fluid attacks, and cutting up beasts like butter.

He now looks at the girl's purplish eyes, and opens his mouth to say something...only to not so. He looks slightly away as his shyness starts to develop in his mind, at a loss for words except...

"...C...carry on..."

@Cordelia

Edited by Shinji

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"Are you here for the Hoya quest?" Cordelia asked in a straight-forward manner, the red light in her eyes slightly dimming as she stepped over the tall grass, her hand still placed firmly on top of her katana's hilt as she looked the unfamiliar player up and down. 

She wasn't going to fall for the same trick twice in a row after what that stupid Pinball brat pulled on her.

Though this player had no similarities to Kobold or Pinball, but she could never be sure. Her eyes flickered to the top of his head.

Green.

She cursed under her breath before folding her hands by her side, giving him an apologetic bow. "My apologies. I didn't mean to be so stand-offish. Recent events have put me on edge," the platinum-haired player explained before letting out a strained laugh. She ran a hand down her hair as she sighed in frustration. Finding Pinball hadn't been her intention. . . but next time she saw that bastard, she was going to make sure to slit his throat.

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"I...it's alright...and yeah, I'm here for the quest too, though...I am more keen to slaying the minotaurs then getting the pendant. You can have that to yourself," says Shinji as he breathes calmly, clearing his throat for a second.

This is the first time he talks to a player outside safe zones, and though he is aware of an imminent backstabbing that might happen, Shinji decides to put hostilities aside and try to be at least decent. Here's hoping that he doesn't wake up with a blade stuck in his chest if he ever camps and sleeps here.

With his sword still lowered, Shinji asks a question as he at the girl's red eyes. Admittedly, they look dangerous but...pretty. A pretty dangerous girl.

"Are you coming along or you will sit back until the minotaurs are gone? I don't mind either as again, I'm more interested in them than the treasure. It's...my main purpose in my new life after all. Slaying monsters."

@Cordelia

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“I really have no use for the pendant,” she sighed, shaking her head to remember the last time she had gone here with NIGHT and Lessa. “I’m only here for the experience. Surprisingly, this quest offers better rewards than the ones on the upper floors,” Cordelia mumbled, the corners of her lips tugging down for a brief second. She found that to be completely bull[doo-doo].

She looked the player up and down. He couldn’t have been more than a level ten. She couldn’t exactly remember the stats of this Minotaur. . . but she wasn’t exactly sure if he could do it all by himself. Oh, well?

She rubbed the chin with her fingers and shrugged. “If you really want to kill it, I won’t stop you. I can one-shot it so I can just stay back and let you go at it,” Cordelia said as she leaned back against a thin tree. She opened her HUD and sent the player a quick party request. “Here, I’ll be able to gain the EXP if you kill it,” she explained before reaching out her hand to the player with a warm smile. “And pleasure to meet you, I’m Cordelia.”

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"Shinji," he says after hearing the girl's name being spoken from her own lips. Taking her hand gently with his, he smiles warmly as he shakes it for a second and then lets it go while his eyes is still looking at her outfit and equipment. Cordelia looks stronger and more well equipped than him, although he couldn't tell what level she is currently in. Whatever. At least he has backup in case things go awry, though he is aware to be careful himself.

"I'll take the lead," says Shinji as he turns around and slowly starts to walk towards his supposed destination again, relying on some big trees with fungi as 'landmarks' of his path. He walks a little slower as he doesn't want to leave Cordelia behind, either in fear of losing his own backup or worse, getting his back stabbed by her katana. His blade is now resting against his shoulder again, ready to be swung about at the sight of a foe.

Though Shinji ensures that he isn't straying too far from Cordelia, he would slightly bite the corner of his lip in a discreet manner as he has nothing to talk to her about for now. He thinks personal questions are not the best to be asked about at this moment.

@Cordelia

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Cordelia nodded before following after him. Seeing that she shouldn’t have much to worry about, she whistled a high note. Like the good little familiar he was, Pacco came swooping in from the canopy, silent as a mouse. 

He landed softly on her shoulder, right before the red light in her eye began to fade completely until it was merely its usual gray again. 

Cordelia smiles to herself as she caught up to Shinji, now walking right by his side. She peered at his face and blinked. “You don’t get out much, do you?” She asked bluntly, craning her neck to let her familiar catch a glimpse at the player too.

They boy looked much too tense, and judging that he barely fit the description of a tier one player. She guessed that maybe he was one of those kinds of players who stayed cooped up in the town of beginnings before a few weeks ago.

 

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Cordelia's question makes Shinji's heart jump in a second as he is surprised that she could tell what kind of character he is. Himself being cooped up in accommodations was what he had done a lot of times ever since the death game started. Every time he finished a quest, he would often go back into the settlement, eat, maybe wander around for a bit, and then sleep or just lie down in bed. He finds no energy in getting out to socialize at least one person as he is still clung to his loneliness and shy to start a conversation with people. It was just like his NEET days in Tokyo except with a fantasy setting.

Shinji retains his neutral expression on his face as he turns his head to look at Cordelia, only to see some creature peering at him while perching on her shoulder. It surprises him as he never heard of the familiar concept in SAO. And now that he has seen one, he could read up about familiars when this quest is over.

"I...well..." he says in his usual soft voice as he keeps walking alongside Cordelia while trying to find the proper words to speak. "I was...resting. Perhaps a bit too much after my fight with a Queen Wasp and a Mantis. Slaying both of those were rewarding but especially for that Mantis, the fight almost sapped much of my energy. It was exhausting and...violent."

@Cordelia

Edited by Shinji

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She hummed, nodding her head as she clasped her hands together behind her back, a pleasant expression on her face.

"I see. . ." She murmured, inhaling slowly before letting out a small sigh. "Well, I'm glad that you're getting out again, then," Cordelia exclaimed, tilting her head to give the player a small grin.

"Don't worry, it'll get much easier once you level up just a bit. All sorts of players will want to party with you, I just know it," She said reassuringly, giving the player a thumbs up before intertwining her hands behind her back again. 

Cordelia peered at the blade he was wielding. "Ah, so you're one of those people who uses a straight sword, huh?" She exclaimed under her breath before chuckling to herself. She knew Bahr used a great sword of his own. . . who else? She hummed in thought. She was pretty sure one of the frontliners used a greatsword of his own, she had seen him at the Obsidian Invasion event. . . maybe it was more rare than she thought it was.

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"Y..yeah," he says as he holds up his sword and looks at the silvery blade and its twirling leaves, admiring the decoration while he still keeps his vicinity within Cordelia's at walking speed.

"I used to favor a sword and a shield, but overtime I saw that not only greatswords deliver more pain, but just wearing armor without a shield is enough...assuming you can afford a decent set. Maybe chainmail or plate. Plate's better. Shields are getting obsolete in my line, and they are nothing but extra luggage to carry around if you are wearing full plate."

Shinji lowers his sword and attempts to hide his blush by looking at the trees and away from Cordelia's face. He didn't expect himself to speak in full sentences in only a few minutes after he first met her. Maybe it is because whatever he just spoke of is something he is fond and have knowledge of...

He turns his head to look at Cordelia's sheathed katana, then looks back ahead of his path as he says, "Katanas are great too...very fluid...very sharp...but...I don't find it as a superior weapon itself...what matters more is the hands wielding it."

Shinji stops as he begins to make out a clearing ahead, and at that clearing is a stone gateway arch. Behind the gateway arch is something muscular in build standing still. He couldn't make out the figure within the mist, but it looks like it is guarding a small building that resembles a ruined Ancient Greek temple.

@Cordelia

Edited by Shinji

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“Deliver more pain, huh,” Cordelia muttered before laughing out loud. “That’s certainly one way to put it, I suppose,” she sniffed, wiping at her eyes.

”Ah, I’ve got no bit of mitigation on my armor,” she sighed, frowning to herself. “I honestly prefer it that way. I don’t like being too bulky in a fight, I work better with speed. I won’t get damaged if they can’t hit me, after all,” she said coolly, crossing her arms. “It’s a dangerous game to play, but I’m willing to gamble.”

She nodded her head and looked at her katana before unsheathing it as well. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right, but pure skill can only do so much in a game that involves numbers,” she sighed, running a finger down the blade before smiling to herself. “This is a special katana in itself. God, I’m not sure it was worth it. . . I’ll never be the same after that event. . .” She murmured lowly before smiling to herself. 

“Quick tip: don’t kill a hundred zombies for a weapon,” she advised, giving him a childish smile.

”Ah, it seems we’re almost there,” Cordelia said with a grin, squinting as she tried to make out whatever or whoever was on the other side of the mist.

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Cordelia's childish grin honestly makes Shinji himself smile a little since he is entertained by her childlike behavior and her proud boast about her speed. Up until now, it has been years since he smiled thanks to a real person. It feels refreshing, and...a little sad, as a part of him starts to regret spending his days as a NEET.

Shinji's face wears a serious expression as he readies his sword and walks through the arc. Soon, he could see the structure within the mist, and it turns out to be really a Greek temple with no roofs and broken pillars. It has a large hole where its presumably large door should be. The pillars aren't many in number so Shinji could see its barren insides. Nothing but concrete floors....he suspects that the entrance must be downstairs...

The thought only lasts for a few seconds as though he is close to the entrance, he already perceives the mysterious figure approaching him, which is revealed to be a Hoya minotaur. Must be one of the two. Shinji lets out a grunt as he slowly approaches the creature, which lets out a snarl towards him in return. The minotaur, an unnatural offspring of a human and a beast, walks on a pair of bull legs and hooves and is humanoid in build. The body is close to human, but covered entirely in fur. The head is that of a bull, but with sharp teeth, ferocious eyes and two pairs of curved horns.

It roars at Shinji as it starts to charge towards him on all fours like a real bull.

@Cordelia

Spoiler

Hoya Minotaur

latest?cb=20100730113159

 

Stats

HP 45/45 -- DMG: 30 -- MIT: 0

 

Edited by Shinji

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Sidestepping out of the bull's path, Cordelia gave the player a thumbs up before retreating a few meters away. "Just give me the call if you want some help, okay?" She called, cupping her hands over her mouth as she grinned, ". . . and be careful! I wouldn't want you dying on me now!"

Seeing that he might have it handled, Cordelia plopped herself down on a small patch of shat grass at the base of a large tree. "I want to go against something challenging now," she whined under her breath, propping her elbow against her knee as she rested her cheek against her palm. It's been a while since she has gone against something truly challenging. Perhaps the Night's King? Though, that thing had never managed to catch her. That was pretty upsetting at the end of the day. 

It seemed that all of the thrill had been sucked out of her life since she had reached level thirty. Everything got almost too easy. . . but she supposed that the next floor boss fight was going to change that.

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ID: 135749 -- BD: 2 + 1 ACC = 3 -- MD: 5

Shinji: HP 100/100 -- Energy: 8/10

Minotaur: HP 45/45

It is too late for Shinji to take a swing against the charging minotaur, so he quickly side steps as its curved horns graze his breastplate. The minotaur stops and turns around only to see its foe already swinging his sword towards it. It quickly deflects his attack with its own horn, and for a minute or so, the fight consists of Shinji and the minotaur dodging and deflecting each other's attacks, the sounds of Shinji's sword clashing against the minotaur's tough horns fill the air.

At one point the minotaur attempts to grab Shinji with its bare hands, but for some reason Shinji delivers a punch into the minotaur's eye, temporary blinding it while he retreats and stands in his fighting stance. The sword's teethed tip is pointed towards the bull man. Meanwhile, it recovers and roars out to Shinji as it scrapes the ground with its hoof before letting out a loud moo while charging its curved horns towards Shinji on all fours.

@Cordelia

Edited by Shinji

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Cordelia hummed to herself as she watched the battle, her finger softly scratching the top of Pacco's head feathers. Ah, nothing like the sound of blade against horn to soothe her pain.

Not.

At least it was fun to watch. She chuckled to herself. She was pretty sure this is one of the first quests she had done with another person where she didn't have to carry her load. . . course, if she tried doing that with this mob, she might just accidentally kill it.

This Shinji guy seemed pretty skilled for being at such a low level? Perhaps he did some kind of training back in the real world? She was sure a couple of skilled swordsmen she knew had done that, because there was no way that they could be that skilled without any background knowledge. Heck, not even she was perfect. She was pretty sure she was constantly holding her katana wrong and doing the wrong movements, but apparently winging it is what gets you through this game. . . so at least she was getting half of it right?

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ID: 135750 -- BD: 8 + 1 ACC = 9 (No ACC based critical) -- MD: 8

Sword Art Used! (x2 Straight)

Shinji: HP 87/100 -- Energy 7/10

Minotaur: HP 35/45

The minotaur's thick skull crashes into Shinji's breastplate, causing an unsettling sensation to spread all over his body thanks to the impact of its skull. But in spite of this, Shinji still stands his ground, though both are now struggling to shove off each other. The attack felt like he was hit by a boulder that was thrown directly towards him.

Shinji grunts through clenched teeth as his facial expressions resembles a man who has enough of evil in the world and is now hell bent on destroying it as violently as possible. He bashes the minotaur's head with the hilt of his sword numerous times until he is able to shove it off him, then quickly bending his knees, he lets his sword glow green in color and unleashes his Sword Art upon the beast. The jagged blade lances through the minotaur's stomach, then it is withdraw and swung across the same area. The minotaur reels backwards as it roars in pain while holding onto its new wound for a second before recovering and stomps its way towards Shinji, its curved horns facing him.

@Cordelia

Edited by Shinji

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Cordelia blinked. Well, this might take a bit longer than she thought it would. She sighed before she brushed off her lap and pushed herself up, letting Pacco rest on her shoulder before she grabbed her katana sheath. 

“Hey, so I’m kind of crunching on a bit of time, I’ll just go ahead and kill this for you!” She called, waving her hands at Shinji before nodding to her familiar before he flapped away without a sound. 

Once again, a bright red hue illuminated from her eyes, an effect she and probably the others around her will never get used to. 

With incredible speed, she darted forward, her katana swerving towards the bull as a white blur. Seeing that his focus wasn’t on her, she too the initiative and swung the blade at the Minotaur’s abdomen, slicing it right in half like a hot knife to butter. The creature let out a low guttural sound before exploding in a cloud of blue.

”There should be another one, I’ll handle that too, okay?” She asked, looking over her shoulder at Shinji before she smiled.

The loud sound of hooves clashing against the earth brought her attention to an incoming red blob, well at least in her eyes it was a read blob. She readied herself as it got closer. . . and closer. . . and closer until it was just a few meters in front of her.

She pushed herself off of the ground with a burst of energy, sending herself into the air. Taking the last second to adjust her grip on the hilt, she directed her blade down, right on top of the Minotaur’s head.

Thanks to her best friend, gravity, she eventually came right back down, putting all her weight into her katana.

The blade slammed against the Minotaur’s head, earning a slight crack before he too fell to the fate of vaporizing into thin air, leaving small and weightlessness polygons in his wake.

”Ah, well, that was overkill,” she sighed before sheathing her katana, landing softly on the ground. She turned to Shinji and smiled. “It’s been fun to watch you battle. I’m sure you’ll be a great swordsman one day!” She exclaimed, clapping her hands together before nodding to him.

”It’s time for me to go, but I’ll make sure to friend you, okay?” She asked, opening her HUD menu before sending a friend request to him.

”You can go ahead and keep that pendant or whatever, I don’t need it right now,” she said, giving him a small wave before she made her way out of the area.

ID: 135751 BD: 9, Hit

ID: 135752 BD: 9, Hit

Minotaur #1: HP: 0/45

Minotaur #2: HP: 0/45

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