Leather boots amble toward the left atop a wooden stage against the rock wall of a cave. The boots then turn toward the camera, which pans up to reveal a man of Hispanic descent in his mid-twenties, POH[† 2]. His hair and eyes are covered by a hood, and a tattered cloak rests on his shoulders. He addresses a congregation of players before him.
Players... I welcome you to «Laughing Coffin».
All of you... are invited on your prowess and on your own behalf. All of you realize the reality that Kayaba Akihiko has inflicted upon us. Our HP becomes zero, and we die...
POH pauses once more to emphasize his next statement.
We do not become murderers if we kill another player. In all online games, there exists the mechanic of player-killing. In Sword Art Online, there exists this mechanic... but the death of the player... shall be attributed to Kayaba’s doing.
And so... we, of Laughing Coffin, bear the right to kill and judge others.
A lone dirt path extends from the eastern gates of MISHE[† 4] , the Labyrinth raid city of the 20th Floor of Aincrad. The city meagerly lights the horizon, but the surrounding landscape could still be easily identified; a grassy plains dotted with a few trees. Grass sways with the nightly wind. The camera sweeps across the landscape.
KAI stands beside the road, beside one of the trees. He is dressed in a dark blue, leather trench coat, with a LONGSWORD sheathed at his side. A PURPLE RECTANGLE[† 6] appears as he vertically slices the air in front of him with his hand.
We are the advocates of justice.
KAI pushes a button that shows two icons of two people’s heads, and pushes the first message thread at the top. The message reads: “Mishe, nighttime hunting, Time-Governing Covenants leader, 'Ferrick', Level 46. Two-handed spear user, short brown hair, leather armor. Usually accompanied by two or more players.” KAI looks to his upper left; a green bar showing the fraction “18800/18800”; after the term “LVL:” shows the number “90”.
We are the bane of the oppressors.
KAI looks to the lower right, watching a numeral marked “«Hiding»” rise from 3 dashes to the number 99.9. The third digit oscillates between 6 and 9, and KAI looks away toward MISHE again. Three figures are walking from MISHE towards KAI.
We have the power to choose who stays in this virtual world forever.”
We’re sure to level up after this hunt! Then we could move up to a better hunting ground and join the frontlines in no time!
Getting optimistic now, Hal?
We’ve come pretty far. Watch your backs.
FERRICK, as described in the previous message, walks into view beside HAL, a young adult male with black, short, curly hair dressed in a steel chestguard and armed with a SHIELD and SWORD. The two are followed by COCO, a young adult blonde dressed in light clothing. A DAGGER rests at her hip. The three walk toward the TREE KAI is hiding behind.
We have the skills to act according to our mission.
KAI draws his LONGSWORD, which is glowing blue[† 8]. Kai thrusts his SWORD outward and FLIES through the air toward the trio. The three manage to jump away, and draw their weapons.
W-who are you?!
(when Kai does not answer, and raising his sword)
I’ll show him!
HAL’s SWORD glows orange[† 9] as it swings down upon KAI, who steps to the side and bats the SWORD away with his own, which is GLOWING silver[† 10]. HAL’S SWORD FLIES away, slowing reverting to its original color.
KAI raises his SWORD and swings down on HAL, who is guarding with his SHIELD. The SHIELD breaks as KAI’S SWORD touches it. KAI slowly turns, and his SWORD glows crimson red[† 11]. The sword is swung in the figure of the number 4, and Hal hits the ground, bounces once, and explodes into countless blue FRAGMENTS.
KAI turns to FERRICK and lowers his body, leaping forward with his SWORD glowing blue[† 12]. FERRICK manages to redirect KAI away by intercepting the SWORD with his SPEAR. KAI lands a short distance away, and turns to FERRICK and throws three «THROWING PICKS». Two of the PICKS hit FERRICK, one on the shoulder and one on the waist. FERRICK’S body seizes up and he falls to the ground paralyzed.
All of you show promise in dealing justice toward evildoers and the unfair.
(behind clenched teeth)
You wretched red player... You gain nothing by killing players! You’ll be stuck in this iron castle forever!
...I'm just doing my job.
KAI raises his SWORD and begins to hack away at FERRICK’S back, revealing orange wireframe. Later, KAI slices at FERRICK’S neck, and FERRICK explodes into countless blue fragments.
Join me, brothers and sisters, and help create a utopia for only what is correct.
KAI’S face contorts as he lays eyes on COCO, whose wrist is punctured by a THROWING PICK. KAI sees the WEDDING RING on COCO’S left hand, and cuts off the hand before preparing to end her life.
It can’t be...
COCO’s body explodes into countless blue fragments.
Camera zooms out to show KAI among the swaying grass against a night sky. He sheathes his SWORD and reaches into his trench coat, pulling out a BLUE CRYSTAL[† 13]». KAI looks toward MISHE.
(after a sigh)
PoH... what did you wish to accomplish? You say we are “advocates of justice”... something feels a bit off...