74th Floor’s labyrinth.
Standing before Asuna and Rozen was a huge tower-shaped structure, the labyrinth. It has been 11 days since the last Floor was cleared, so this was not the first time Asuna and Rozen went into this Floor’s labyrinth.
That was why the two made their way straight to the labyrinth without taking any detour.
Since Rozen went off track earlier because of Asuna, Aincrad Liberation Force’s members were no longer seen in the labyrinth entrance.
All Rozen and Asuna found was the fidgeting and irritated Kuradeel. Of course, those two paid no heed to him and went straight to the labyrinth under cover of Hiding Skill.
When Rozen and Asuna entered the labyrinth, they found barely any monster hindering their path, meaning someone has just defeated the monsters there.
However, neither Rozen nor Asuna could prove that it was Aincrad Liberation Force’s members’ doing.
If Rozen or Asuna had Tracking Skill, they might be able to find Aincrad Liberation Force’s members easily, but since they didn’t, they had no choice but to proceed forward, hoping to run into them eventually.
After about thirty minutes, they finally ran into Aincrad Liberation Force’s members, who were engaging an over two-meters tall skeletal swordsman surrounded by an eerie blue light.
It carried around a huge straight sword in its right hand and a round metal shield in its left. The monster was called a Demonic Servant.
Despite having no muscle, they were powerful monsters with high Strength stats. In addition to their high defense due to their shield, they were also capable of using One-Handed Sword Skill. They were quite a troublesome monster to deal with.
Setting Rozen aside, Asuna herself might not be able to defeat it so easily alone if she held back.
Under normal circumstances, a party consisted of twelve Players should be able to defeat this monster easily, but Aincrad Liberation Force’s members were overwhelmed by that monster.
Rozen and Asuna, who were hiding in shadows as they watched the fight unfolded, instantly grasped the cause of the problem.
“They’re too exhausted…” Please visit fr𝗲𝙚𝔀e𝙗𝓃oν𝐞𝑙. c𝚘𝘮
Indeed, Aincrad Liberation Force’s members were panting as they desperately gripped their weapon, their movement was sluggish, and sweat constantly dripped out of their helmets.
Even their hands and feet were shaking as if the weapons were so heavy. No matter how you looked at it, they were in no condition to fight a monster.
As Rozen predicted and Asuna said, they’ve accumulated too much fatigue, which made it even harder to defeat the monster.
Just because the Players’ avatar was a virtual body, that didn’t mean they didn’t experience fatigue because everything the Player sensed was transmitted to the brain by the NerveGear, including fatigue.
Although how fatigue worked in this world worked differently from the real world since it mainly involved Strength stat, energy, and weight limit, even high-level Players were not exempted from fatigue.
Aincrad Liberation Force’s members gradually accumulated fatigue without realizing it due to prolonged battle because they were not used to dealing with the monsters in the frontline.
And even in that state, Kobatz still yelled at his men.
“Don’t let the enemy escape! Surround it! wrap from behind!”
Kobatz kept yelling as if he didn’t realize that his men were already out of breath.
Rozen couldn’t stand it anymore and asked Asuna.
“Can I go over there real quick and cut him?”
“How about paralyzing him with Saichou and Hanachou’s Skill?”
“In that case…”
“No! Just no!”
With each suggestion Rozen made, Asuna sighed even heavier, and the helpless look on her face became even more apparent.
Rozen clicked his tongue, and Asuna just shook her head helplessly.
Despite being such a smart and capable commander that there was no casualty during Boss Raid so far, his childish side sometimes really threw people off.
Without knowing how Asuna felt, Rozen then said bluntly while still observing the Aincrad Liberation Force’s members.
“With Aincrad Liberation Force in that state, It’s perplexing why Kibaou is so obsessed with returning to the frontline.”
Asuna was quiet for a while before she finally voiced her opinion.
“It’s not like I don’t understand how Kibaou-san feels.” Asuna muttered while looking down: “Wasting even one more day in this world distance us from our friend, our family, our dear ones. Our real life gradually crumbles as we’re stuck here. Every time I close my eyes, I always dream about the real world. That’s why I give it my all to clear this game even a minute faster than I could’ve.
Asuna’s confession silenced Rozen because what she said was understandable.
“You’ve changed, though. At least I’m sure you didn’t dream about the real world as much as you used to, right?”
Hearing such a response from Rozen, Asuna looked straight at Rozen.
Somehow, Rozen couldn’t look Asuna in the eye at this moment because the look on Asuna’s eyes made his heart beat faster.
“It was thanks to a certain guy, though.”
Asuna said while smiling.
“It was thanks to someone who told me not to waste what I have in real life. That person also told me to laugh more often.”
Asuna’s words caught Rozen off guard as he slowly turned his head toward Asuna in surprise.