Chapter 1: Home
“Gaaaaaaah... I don’t wanna do this anymore.” complained a black haired teen as he buried his head into his arms before him. Sounds of people and laughing could be heard in the floor below him. The teen was sitting at an old desk. It was beaten and chipped in many places, but it was still in good shape. A feather pen was held loosely in his grip with black ink at its tip. A long brown parchment covered the desk and hung off the edge.
A knock echoed through the slightly empty room. The teen groaned and sat up with a look of annoyance.
“Whoever you are, you better have a good reason for being up here! This place is off limits, you know!” he called out as he leaned against his wooden chair.
The door opened to reveal a tall, dark skinned man carrying a cup of steaming tea. He smiled at the teen. “Well, I think bringing up a cup of tea for a friend is a good reason for being here. And, I own this place.”
The teen half smiled. “Well, nice to know you remembered about me. Let me guess, chamomile tea, Agil?”
The man, Agil, smiled. “It is one in the morning, Kirito. I did add a little something in there, but it isn’t alcohol. By the time you get home, it’s effects will kick in and you’ll be out like a light.” he said as he placed the tea on the desk. He noticed the parchment. “What are you up to?”
Kirito, the teen, sighed and tired rubbed his eyes. “Father wanted me to map out the castle. He said that I should know it like the back of my hand.”
“Sounds like a lot of work.” Agil said as he looked over the parchment. Black lines and circles littered the page and he could see the outline of one of Aincrad’s capital castles. Agil was impressed with each precision of every measurement and angle of practically every knook and cranny of the castle. “You know all this?”
Kirito shrugged. “Kind of. I saw the real blueprint that is...about 250-years-old and I memorized half of it. The rest, I actually measured it one day because I was that bored. All this is pretty simple, really.”
Agil’s eyes widened in shock. “Simple? Knowing every single measurement of every knook and cranny of the Royal Castle is not simple, Kirito.”
“What kind of son would I be if I couldn’t do something like this?” Kirito asked rhetorically as he reached for the cup of tea. He took a sip and savored the sweet, flowery taste. Placing the cup down, he set out to clean up. He haphazardly tossed his feather pen in his open side bag on the floor and rolled up the parchment. He stood up and stuffed it into his bag with a small jar of ink. Kirito looked up to Agil, who was looking out the window. “Agil, thanks for the tea...and everything else.”
The tall man looked away from the window and gave a small frown. “Don’t worry about it. Just go.”
Kirito shook his head and downed the rest of the tea. He set the empty cup down and was stopped by Agil’s voice.
“Be careful on your way back home! I heard that there’s a murderer on the loose.” he warned. Kirito nodded.
“I’ll be fine.” he replied as he slipped his bag on. He quickly walked out of his temporary home, and headed down the steps. The lanterns were unlit, but the hallway glowed with the lights downstairs.
The drunken laughs and happy music became clear when Kirito reached the first floor of the bar. He paused. The door to the up was slightly ajar, and he could see his people smiling and dancing happily.
Kirito smiled to himself as he watched his people enjoy themselves. He blinked out of his daze and heads out the back door to make sure no one saw him. Next to the door was a loose plank. Kirito knelt to one knee and removed the price of wood. He set it the side and reached inside. He pulled out two simply made steel swords and quickly strapped them on his back. Readjusting his bag, he hurried off in the direction of the Royal Castle of Aincrad.
The streets were bare and the night was cold. He pulled his black coat closer to himself as he hurried through the silent town. Quiet as a mouse, he snuck past the guards as he arrived at the castle gates. Kirito stopped in front of a random bush. He reached in and grabbed the thickest branch, moving it aside. The bush revealed a hole small enough for Kirito.
Inside was a brown bundle that was placed there previously. Kirito quickly removed his swords and bag, and unwrapped the bundle. He changed his black attire into an expensive long sleeved, silk, white sand blue night shirt with matching pants.
Kirito slung his bag over his shoulder and warped his other attire in the brown cloth with his swords sticking out. Without a word, he crawled into the hole with care. After all, he can’t soil the cloths he wore.
Once inside, he moved the bush the cover the entrance. He turned around and crawled out the other side. He left the brown bundle in the small tunnel as he emerged at the other side.
With a quick look around, Kirito made his way through the open courtyard and didn’t stop until he reached the tallest tower in the area. He carefully dragged his hands across the white brick walls and pushed one back. A soft click sounded behind the wall and a small portion of the wall slid back and moved to the side. He smiled when the sliding door made no sound.
With one last longing look around, Kirito went inside and manually closed the door. Next to the entrance was a ladder leading to the top floor. He reached the top and pushed a small door outward to reveal a room. He crawled out of the secret passageway onto the floor of his bedroom. Closing the door, he stood up and took a quick look around.
The room was dark and was barely visible in the weak light of the moon. Kirito quietly made his way to his bed at the corner. He felt his body tire as he unceremoniously plopped himself on it.
Kirito laid there for a minute before forcing himself to get up with a tired sigh. He sat up, kicked off his boots, and shoved them behind the bed skirt. He finally crawled underneath the royal blue blankets and curled up into a ball. Whatever Agil added into his tea began to kick in. The moment he closed his eyes, he fell asleep.