Jet Stryker - Level 17
Floor 8 / Dovren
Okay, the 'dad' joke didn't go over well, but Jet wasn't worried about that at all. He was thinking through different scenarios of what might happen when Daniel started talking. That did grab Jet's attention, especially the man's last sentence. Looking down at Tara as she spoke made Jet sigh. They were both friends, and Tara was an...adopted little sister, so... "You kinda deserve an explanation after my outburst, anyways," Jet said, sitting back in his chair. Tara was still standing, next to his chair as he began, the fingers on one hand quietly tapping a tune on the tabletop. The tune was from one of Jet's favorite songs that he'd listened to multiple times while playing games. Before he'd become trapped in Aincrad, anyways.
"So, there's this guy that calls himself Dexter Mincer. I first..." After glancing at Tara, Jet cleared his throat. It wouldn't do to confuse the child with the idea of video games. "...met him in a few other places, several months ago." The time should, hopefully, tell Daniel that Jet was talking about something outside SAO. "We started as rivals. Almost as much of rivals as we could be at the time. We...didn't start out well, which kinda sparked the rivalry. It hasn't gone well at all, really, and Dexter would often try to mess things up for me, where he could." It was a bit difficult to tell this story when Tara, an NPC child, wouldn't know about online games.
"'Dexter Mincer' was what he called himself every time we'd run into each other, and he knew the name I went by, as well." Tara got tired of standing and sat back down in her chair, glancing at the pot of stew before staring back at Jet. Jet paused, considering. He didn't consider himself the best of storytellers, and Tara was probably a little interested in eating some more. "Well, long story short, it got worse about a month ago. I was with another person, and we were fighting a strong monster." Tara immediately became more interested at the mention of 'monster'. Not too good a sign. "It was a tough fight, and the other person...um..." How to put it? Jet was sure Tara didn't fully grasp the concept of death, if she understood it at all, and had thus far only seen it applied to monsters.
"...he wasn't at all well once I'd finished off the monster." Jet gave a nervous chuckle. "Neither was I, but he was...worse. A couple days after that was when I first learned that Dexter Mincer was also in Aincrad. He apparently had a really good friendship with my partner--"
"Was your partner Ranzatsu?" Tara interrupted, curious. "Was Daddy there? Were you fighting the Golem?"
"Whoa, Tara," Jet interjected, one hand up as he halted the child's questions. "No, this was long before Ranzatsu and I saved Dan- er, your dad. And no, neither of them were with me at the time I'm talking about." Where was he? Oh. "Whatever the reason, Dexter was really mad about my partner's, um, unwellness. I'm a little surprised he hadn't actually retaliated before today..." Jet trailed off, thinking. For that matter, they hadn't met each other much at all in Aincrad. Maybe this is the first chance Dexter's had at getting back at me?
Looking out the window, Jet cocked his head, then pushed back his chair as he stood and walked to the window for a better look. His eyebrows rose before he turned back to Daniel. "They found Floor 8's dungeon," Jet announced.
"Dungeon? What's that?" Tara had hopped up and followed Jet to the window. "Are there more monsters? Are we gonna play with monsters now?" She was starting to get excited now. Daniel might not take that well.
"Not now, Tara," Jet answered, looking into her blue eyes. Tara was confused now, he could tell. "A dungeon is a place with stronger monsters." He hesitated before adding, "They're strong enough that they would...beat you, if either of us took you with. I'm sorry, but this dungeon isn't for you. Not now, anyways." An idea struck Jet, and he straightened and pulled up his message screen.
To: Dexter Mincer
Subject: Re: Long time, no see.
Yeah, I'd be surprised too, if I didn't know what I'd been doing for the last two weeks. It's not like I'm gonna tell you, though, is it? Just be sure that it was nothing to do with our enemy-ship. Hey, heard the news about the dungeon? If you wait until that whole thing's done with, then I'll meet you at the gates. Deal? Deal. See ya later.
As he sent the message, Jet looked between Daniel and Tara. "Um, next question, I guess, is what the three of us are gonna do now." He had the intention to tell Daniel more about Dexter, but it would've been preferable if Tara was occupied with something else. For now, though, what to do? They'd have to take Tara with if both Jet and Daniel wanted to go, and she was nowhere near strong enough for Floor 8's monsters.