Floating City, Aincrad.
Even this virtual floating fortress had four seasons like in the real world. Aincrad’s seasons correlated with the seasons of the real world, but they were generally much milder. As a result, it was not always snowy in the winter or scorching hot in the summer.
Of course, in addition to seasons, Aincrad also had other climate parameters like windy, rainy, humid, and dry. There were even detailed natural backgrounds similar to the real world like bugs and such, allowing players to experience a variety of different environments in the world.
Among these environments, some were quite harsh for the players, while some were quite pleasing to the eye, it was quite impressive, really.
Aincrad’s 24th floor was that kind of place.
The floor was mostly covered in water, with an innumerable amount of isles dotting the landscape that was connected via floating bridges stretching out in all directions
The main settlement on this floor was a town called Panareze, a man-made island in the center of a vast lake. A little further north from Panareze, there was a huge tree, which was an acclaimed tourism spot among the players.
However, the small islands surrounding Panareze were not part of the Inner Area. Those small islands were Outer Field filled with monsters that only Players with level 30 or above could deal with.
Fortunately, there weren’t that many level 30 players who stayed on that floor as players with level 40 or above were busy clearing higher floors. Those players were clearers, and each of them belonged to a prestigious guild.
For average players, clearers were something out of reach and the beacon of hope that will free them from that world.
But, while some players placed their hope on them., some feared, or even disgusted at the clearers.
The fact that one’s strength didn’t necessarily determine their attitude was true here.
Among the clearers, there were some guilds and players that the rest of the players weren’t exactly fond of. The members of the said guild were beta testers, players who abandon other players to become stronger, hiding their identities, and blended among other players. Eventually, these beta testers revealed their identities for various reasons and joined this guild.
There were mainly two reasons why Players have mixed feelings about this guild.
The pros was because this guild was the strongest guild in SAO. Even though they only had a few dozen members, each of them was the former beta tester, which meant that they knew a lot about the game. This guild’s members were also considered the most active guild among the clearers. This guild’s members always stood at the forefront, and rumor said that the guild’s leader was considered the best commander in SAO who has always participated in every Floor Boss Raid, leading every clearer to victory without any casualty.
The cons was obviously because the members of the guild were beta testers. Some people still believed that beta testers were just a bunch of selfish guys.
However, compared to how it used to, the treatment and prejudice toward the beta testers were much better.
At least, the testers did stand up in order to liberate all the players. They always participated in the Floor Boss Raid, and from time to time, they would distribute the latest information to the lower-level players so that players knew the details about monsters residing in each floor, dangerous areas, and the location of quest NPC. This gradually gave birth to a group of brave players who finally stepped out of Inner Area and picked up their weapons to fight.
Thanks to this, although this guild wasn’t exactly supported by all players, at least it managed to clear up some misunderstandings about the beta testers.
Some people looked forward to their endeavor in the future, some people hated them, and some people looked at them objectively.
That was a considerable improvement compared to the past.
And Players knew all of these were thanks to one Player.
During the most difficult times for beta testers, he stood by himself with his carefree and lazy attitude, exposing the truth and overturned the prejudice about beta testers, he eventually formed a guild for beta testers and earned recognition among Players.
Most players didn’t know his name.
Most Players only knew that this Player had a beautiful butterfly as his tamed monster. Despite being a commander who mostly gave instructions, his technique didn’t fall short compared to his leadership. Amazing Sword Skills combined with a tamed monster that could use a variety of debuff skills. It was said that even the most resistant Floor Boss was still being toyed around by this tamed monster of his.
The Players who didn’t know his name gave him nicknames instead. For example, “The Messenger of the Butterfly,” “General Commander,” “Commanding Officer”, “King of Clearers,” etc.
However, there was one nickname that people used most often.
The name came from the fact that Rozen both led the clearers and instructed the tamed beast as well on the frontline.
At this moment, that said Player currently resided in Aincrad’s 24th floor, because the current base of the guild that he led was in Panareze.
As the bell sound rang, the door was pushed open.
Rozen walked into the bar yawning. There were already several players inside that welcomed him.
“Good morning, Commander!”
The players waved their hands and greeted Rozen.
“Good morning.” Rozen said listlessly.
The Rainbow Butterfly perching on Rozen’s shoulder was as sleepy as him.
Upon a closer look, there was an emblem beside those Players’ hp bar, including Rozen.
That is the guild emblem.
Upon joining a guild, the guild emblem will appear beside a player’s hp slot.
Red Wings’ guild emblem was a pair of spreading red wings.
All the players there were members of Red Wings, and they were also among the highest-leveled players who were above level 40.
Rozen himself was currently at level 48, far above these players.
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