Sword Art Online: “If You Were Here” chapter 8

Chapter 8

By the time we went all the way from the ninety-fifth floor to the twenty-eighth and reached our room, Eugeo and I had become so worn out that we could basically collapse to the floor at any moment.

Supporting each other, we somehow managed to get to the sofa and let our bodies sink into the soft cushions. Having returned to her black spider form, Charlotte should be lurking somewhere on my clothes again, but I didn’t have the energy to care about that right now.

Our initial goal: getting Administrator and Cardinal to continue their dialogue, appeared to have been achieved somehow, though in return I had to pay the price of being forced to make a new cake every week from now on. Instructor Scheta shortening our practice as a result of that…… was definitely not going to happen, so starting tomorrow…… make that tonight, I’ll have to pull out all the stops on my research and development in the kitchen. For the time being, I planned to make a cheesecake for next week, though I wonder what else goes into it aside from cheese. ‘At this rate, I should have helped out Suguha and my mom with making confections’, the thought popped in my mind, but it was too late to cry over spilt milk.

——Wait, for now, I should just be glad about what results the Cake Plan has achieved.

The moment I had that thought, as if my tension had finally dissipated, my stomach grumbled. Eugeo beside me chuckled.

“It’s a shame that we never got to eat the cake we spent so much time making, huh.”

“You’re the one who just up and gave our portions away…… And here I was planning to eat mine.”

After making my complaints, I immediately followed up.

“Though, well, if it weren’t for your display of quick-wittedness back then, I don’t think we would have been able to persuade the Esteemed Supreme Priest. Thanks for that.”

Raising my right hand, I ruffled his flaxen hair, before forcing myself to stand.

“Our hard-working Eugeo-kun deserves a reward.”

“Eeeh……?”

“Listen, just keep sitting there and wait.”

I went over to the kitchen and opened up a compartment on the wall. Taking out the small box that I had slipped in among the tea leaves and sugar jar, I returned to the sofa.

The box I then gently placed on the low table was a miniature version of the wooden box I had carried over to the ninety-fifth floor. The box, made out of the exact same materials and with the exact same structure, caught Eugeo’s undivided attention.

“Kirito…… what is this?”

“Try opening it.”

“O-okay……”

Bending forward, Eugeo grasped the wooden box by its sides with his hands, and slowly lifted it up. White, cold air flowed out from the gaps. This box was made from palm trees native solely to the volcanic region of the southern empire, and since it had highest-grade insulation capabilities, the ice I had put inside of it hadn’t melted throughout the half a day we’d been away.

Having stopped for a moment, Eugeo once again put his hands to work. What appeared from beneath the lid he removed was a small shortcake twelve centimetres or so in diameter. Handpicked, large strawberries lined its outer circumference, while a 【Happy Birthday EUGEO!】 sign was written in its center with strawberry jam.

The English words circulating in this world were basically only used for Sacred Arts rituals, thus Eugeo couldn’t read it. My partner looked at me with a questioning look.

“Kirito…… what does this say?”

Happy Birthday, Eugeo. It means happy birthday(otanjoubi omedetou).”

“Huh…………”

Staring in round-eyed wonder, Eugeo looked down at the cake once more, then again at me.

“Oh…… I-I get it, today’s the Tenth Day of the Fourth Month……”

“Oh come on, did you really forget your own birthday?”

“We did have a really rough day today, after all…… Though, you remembered it for me, huh, Kirito……”

“Well, ‘course. I did give ya a honey pie from the Leaping Deer Pavillion on last year’s Tenth Day of the Fourth Month, too, didn’t I?”

“Wha? That was a birthday present?”

The wry smile that found its way on my partner’s face, suddenly, crumpled.

Large tears welled up in his green eyes. Suddenly turning his face away, as if trying to keep me from seeing them, he whispered in a trembling voice.

“……Thanks, Kirito, you made me so happy……I haven’t been this happy with a present since that time you made me a wooden sword from silveroak when we were kids……”

“I’ve had quite some trouble with that sword too, but it was easier since Alice made the scabbard for it. If we had Alice’s assistance with this cake too, it would have been far easi……”

Just as I began that thought, my mouth closed up.

Once Eugeo raised his face, we stared at each other in silence for a few moments. Several seconds later, we both raised our voices at the same moment.

“”WHAA””

 

(The End)


Sword Art Online: “If You Were Here”

Sword Art Online: “If You Were Here”

Score 7
Status: Completed Type: Author: , Artist: Released: 2019 Native Language: Japanese
If You Were Here is an Alicization what-if story, answering the question of what would have happened if Raios and Humbert hadn’t been around to force Eugeo and Kirito into breaking the Taboo Index.In this timeline, Eugeo and Kirito graduate from the Swordcraft Academy, win the Four Empires Unification Tournament, and become Integrity Knight apprentices at the Central Cathedral. However, Quinella (Administrator) and Cardinal are still at odds with each other. Can Kirito find a way to resolve their century-old conflict and bring the two to work together?— The story was released as a bonus with the 8th BD/DVD volume of the Alicization cour 1-2 Blu-Rays/DVDs and is based on Material Editions 28 and 29, with 50 pages of original content not part of the M.Es.

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