Kirigaya Kazuto

Sword Art Online Universe

Kirito's History


Born on October 7, 2008, Narusaka Kazuto was adopted by his aunt and uncle a year after his birth, when his biological parents died in an accident. Raised by his foster parents as a son, Kazuto was originally forced to train with his cousin in the neighborhood kendo dojo; however due to his aunt's influence as an editor for a computer systems magazine, Kazuto became more interested in computers and dropped kendo after two years. This decision earned him a heavy beating from his grandfather, prompting Suguha to defend him by promising to practice enough for both of them. At the age of ten, Kazuto discovered that he was adopted from erased Juki Net records and since then unintentionally began distancing himself from Suguha.

Sword Art Online Closed Beta

One of the lucky 1000 players accepted into the closed-beta, Kirito logged hundreds of hours of playtime. He, along with the other top players, were able to reach the 10th Floor before the beta had ended.

Aincrad Arc

Shortly after logging in to the fully released SAO, Kirito was stopped by a stranger. Klein, a new guy, asks for his help in learning how to play. After befriending each other and training in the fields for several hours, they were forcefully teleported back to the Town of Beginnings, to receive an announcement from Kayaba Akihiko. He revealed that the lack of a logout function, which they had recently realized, was a "feature" of his new game, and that forced removal of the NerveGear headpiece from the other side would fry the person's brain using microwaves.

The only means to escape was to clear the game, in other words, to successfully defeat all 100 floors of Aincrad and defeat the final boss. Kirito immediately took Klein and ran off, and after hearing that Klein would remain with his friends here, left him and headed off to the next town.

The First Day Kirito spent the first day making his way to the next village. He decided to complete a quest, which he knew of from the beta period, to obtain a new sword. During this quest he encountered another player, a beta tester named Coper, who proposed forming a party and completing the quest together. After killing many «Little Nepenthes», two more Nepenthes, one with the required item and another with a fruit, appeared. Kirito killed the one carrying the flower while Coper intentionally kills the one with the fruit while triggering the fruit, which caused many Little «Nepenthes» to swarm on their position. Kirito managed to escape, but Coper, who did not know that his «Hiding» skill would not work against monsters that did not rely on sight, died. This caused Kirito's mortality to weigh heavily on him.

Aria of a Starless Night At around 04:00 on December 2, 2022, nearly a month since the start of the official service of the game, Kirito encountered a hooded player fighting a Ruin Kobold Trooper on the nineteenth level of the 1st Floor's Labyrinth. While amazed by the player's brilliant skill with a rapier, the former beta tester hesitated before revealing himself to the fencer after the fight to comment on the inefficiency of using Sword Skills on a nearly dead enemy.

During his conversation with the hooded player, Kirito realised that he was speaking to a girl based on her voice, and was astonished by her disregard for her self-preservation, the time she had spent in the Labyrinth, and the condition of her equipment. When the player collapsed just before she could leave, the swordsman carried her to the forest outside of the Labyrinth and waited for her to recover. Seven hours later, the girl awoke, desiring to return to the Labyrinth again, thus Kirito suggested going to the First Floor Boss Strategy conference at Tolbana instead, if she truly wished to beat the game, instead of just dying pointlessly.

Having arrived at Tolbana, Kirito informed the hooded player that the meeting would take place at the town square at 16:00, before they momentarily parted ways. Immediately afterward, Kirito encountered the Argo the information broker, who notified him that the person interested in his «Anneal Blade+6» had raised his offer to 29,800 Cor; however, Kirito again refused to sell his sword, wondering why Argo's client was so persistent.

Kirito later found and joined the player from the Labyrinth, they both began to eat their bread. Kirito gave her a pot of cream and later explained how he had obtained the item and offered to give tips on how to gain the item efficiently, but the player quickly rejected his offer, stating that she did not come to the town to eat good food. Kirito questioned why she was in the town and listened to her explanation. After the clarification, Kirito began to apologize but was interrupted by the clock bell. The player realized that the meeting was about to start so they both headed to the conference.

The meeting was organized by a player named Diavel. Forty-four people went to the meeting and decide to try to defeat the 1st Floor boss, discovered in Argo's strategy guide to be Illfang the Kobold Lord. As the members gathered themselves into parties at Diavel's suggestion, Kirito and the mysterious fencer found themselves without a group. Kirito offered to form a party with the female player and was accepted, upon which he learned her name was Asuna. They were assigned to support E group, charged with clearing the monsters that accompanied the boss.

After the meeting, upon learning of Asuna's complete ignorance of MMO game mechanics, Kirito offered to explain MMO terms and strategies to her in detail so as to improve her chances of survival, but she requested the lesson to take place where they would not be seen. As Kirito considered several possible locations, Asuna revealed she had been sleeping in cheap inns that made sleeping less than ideal. Kirito disclosed that there were other rooms outside of inns that could be rented and described at length the details of his own rented room, but was suddenly seized by Asuna when he divulged that it had a bath. Confused at her response, he finally realized her intention when she requested the location of other such rooms with baths, but he had to reveal that there were no others, as he had rented the entire space and he could not cancel his transaction. At that moment, he was asked to lend his bathroom.

At the farmhouse where Kirito had rented his space, he showed the bathroom to Asuna and warned her that the NerveGear could not adequately recreate a liquid environment. As he waited for Asuna, he focused all his willpower to not look at the bathroom door and tried to read Argo's strategy guide. At that moment, he was visited by Argo, from whom he learnt that her client had raised his offer for Kirito's Anneal Blade to 39,800 Cor. Shocked at how the buyer was willing to spend so much money on his sword when it would easier and cheaper to acquire a similar sword, Kirito requested the name of Argo's client, and was surprised to learn it was Kibaou. Pondering on the reason behind Kibaou's actions, Kirito was late to realize that Argo intended to use the bathroom to change her equipment. A few seconds after the info broker entered the bath and Asuna exited, Kirito lost consciousness.

The next day on December 4, when the boss raid party gathered in Tolbana for the upcoming boss battle, Kirito was approached by Kibaou, who gruffly ordered him and Asuna to only engage stray Ruin Kobold Sentinels during the battle. As Kibaou was walking away, Kirito suddenly noticed that Kibaou had not spent the money offered for the former's Anneal Blade to upgrade his equipment instead, causing Kirito to become suspicious, but his thoughts were interrupted when, at that moment, Diavel began his speech to the raid party.

Several hours later, the raid group finally reached the doors to the boss room. Before the battle began, Kirito reminded Asuna to aim her Sword Skills at the throats of the Ruin Kobold Sentinels after he secured an opening. Resolving to ensure Asuna's survival, he faced the doors and followed the other raid members as they charged into the boss room and commenced battle with Illfang and his guards.

All went well until Illfang's last hit point (HP) bar reached its last third. Instead of a talwar, as he originally carried in the Beta, he now carried a nodachi. In this turn of events, Diavel was heavily wounded and subsequently died, after Kirito realized that Diavel had been a beta tester as well. Kirito then reorganized the shocked players and, with Asuna, worked together to take down the boss. After an intense battle, one of the tanks made a mistake and triggered Illfang's Tsumujiguruma. Kirito quickly countered the attack with Sonic Leap, causing the boss to tumble and allowing everyone to attack in full force while the boss was recovering. However, just as the boss's HP neared depletion, it recovered while the tanks were still recovering from their post-motion delays, prompting Kirito and Asuna to finish off the boss themselves. Kirito finally managed to deal the Last Attack on the boss and gained a unique item from it, the Coat of Midnight.

However, as the raid party celebrated their victory, someone from Group C brought up the death of Diavel and blamed Kirito for withholding information which led to Diavel's death. Kirito then realized that the beta testers needed to make peace with the regular players before the beta tester hatred went out of hand. Therefore, Kirito created a new category of players, called Beaters, who were the only ones withholding information for their own benefit and dubbed himself as one them, so that all of the hate and rage would be focused on him rather than upon all beta testers.

After this announcement, Kirito decided to open the 2nd Floor and activate its Teleport Gate. However, while he was enjoying the view of the floor, Asuna followed him to show her gratitude, as well as to relay two worded messages from Agil and Kibaou. After Kirito parted with Asuna once again, he received a message from Argo about his infamous speech. She wished to compensate him for the trouble she had caused by allowing a one-time free offer on any piece of information, thus Kirito mischievously replied by asking for the meaning behind her painted whiskers.

Reason for the Whiskers Several minutes after parting with Asuna, Kirito reached the town of Urbus. While hiding from the players entering through the Teleport Gate that he had just opened, Kirito saw Argo running from two male players and decided to follow them using his Tracking mod. Once he reached them in an area outside of town, he identified that the two players were part of a guild from the beta test period that simulated being ninjas. Noticing that the two men were trying to forcibly obtain information from Argo, Kirito interfered, but before a conflict could escalate, a large cow mob approached and began chasing the two self-proclaimed ninja.

In the aftermath, Kirito jokingly reminded Argo about his desire to know about her whiskers, but when it seemed that Argo would show him her whisker-less face, Kirito panicked and instead inquired about the hidden skill the two ninja were interested in. After Kirito promised not to hold Argo accountable for the consequences of the quest, Kirito was led to the quest NPC for the Martial Arts Extra Skill. Only after Kirito accepted the quest given did he discover that the goal was to break a rock that was near unbreakable and that whisker markers would be drawn on his face until he could complete the quest. Thus, he realized that the reason why Argo kept the markings, even after the beta test period, was because it had become a part of her image. After three days and three nights of working on the quest, Kirito finally completed it and obtained the Martial Arts skill.

Rondo of a Fragile Blade While Kirito visited the town of Urbus looking for a blacksmith to enhance his «Anneal Blade» to +7, he found Asuna and the two of them watched a discussion between two players because one of them, the blacksmith Nezha, failed four consecutive times to enhance the other's weapon.

Kirito decided to help Asuna gather more materials to enhance her Wind Fleuret, so they made a bet to kill the most Windwasps faster, which Kirito lost and had to treat her to dinner. Asuna chose a restaurant that he knew, and after exiting, they found out that they had received a luck buff, so he took Asuna to the blacksmith to try to enhance her weapon. Although it had a 97% success, the enhancement failed and the weapon seemingly dissipated.

After calming Asuna and taking her to an inn, Kirito returned outdoors and followed Nezha into a bar, where he encountered him talking to some friends about business. Kirito noticed something, ran to Asuna's inn, abruptly entered her room, made her materialize all her items, and at the bottom of the item pile, he uncovered her Wind Fleuret.

Upon figuring out Nezha's scam, Kirito donned a suit of armor to conceal his identity, approached Nezha and asked for a weapon upgrade. After Nezha seemingly destroyed his weapon and began apologizing, Kirito revealed himself and retrieved his sword with the One-Handed Sword mod, Quick Change.

Concerto of Black and White Following the defeat of Asterius the Taurus King, Kirito and Asuna climbed up to the 3rd Floor. After messaging Argo that the 2nd Floor had been cleared and the 3rd Floor would be opened shortly, Kirito turned to his partner, proposing to take a detour through the forest instead of going straight to the main city. After a brief encounter with one of the forest's denizens, the two followed the sound of clashing blades to the southwest of their position for under five minutes under Kirito's request.

There, the duo found two NPCs, a Forest Elven man and a Dark Elven woman, locked in combat. Kirito explained to Asuna that the two characters were questgivers for a campaign quest that lasted until the 9th Floor, but warned that they could choose only one of the questlines, with no possibility of changing their choice afterwards. The two decided to follow the same route Kirito had chosen in the beta and assist the Dark Elf named Kizmel. Before entering the battle, Kirito informed Asuna that it was impossible for them to defeat the Forest Elf, thus he recommended focusing on defence until the Dark Elf used a special attack to end the battle upon half of their hit points being depleted, withholding the fact that the Dark Elf would die in the process.

When the two stepped into the clearing, Kirito and Asuna ignored the elves' order to leave and pointed their blades at the Forest Elf. As the elf directed his aggression towards them, the swordsman reminded his partner to prioritize defense, but grew uneasy at seeing a determined expression on the fencer's face. Twenty minutes later, to his surprise, they managed to defeat the Forest Elf just before their hit points could reach the halfway point. After a moment of shock, Kirito gingerly directed the girls' attention to the bag of sewn leaves containing the Jade Key quest item that the Forest Elf had dropped on his death. Once Kizmel retrieved the bag, he and Asuna were thanked for their assistance and invited to accompany her to the Dark Elf Base, where they would be rewarded by the Dark Elf Commander for their help.

After fifteen minutes of hiking and fighting monsters along the way, the trio reached the Dark Elf Base, hidden by a Forest-Sinking Charm. Once the players were rewarded by the Dark Elf commander, they initiated the next quest in the campaign and joined Kizmel in her tent for sleep at 19:00 after a bath and dinner. Early the next morning on December 15 eight hours later, Kirito's party left the camp for the second part of the questline. During their search for the Queen Spider's Cave, the three were forced to fight two Thicket Spiders, after defeating which the group decided to head in the direction from which the monsters had appeared to locate their nest.

Following several more battles against the spiders, Kirito, Asuna, and Kizmel found the cave that served as their nest. But as they were about to finish investigating the cave's first floor for their quest, the group noticed that Kibaou, an ax-wielding player in a chain coif, and four other members of the Aincrad Liberation Squad had entered the cave as part of the guild creation quest, prompting the trio to hide until the players reached the stairs to the second floor. However, moments after the party located a Dark Elf scout brooch required for their quest, they overheard Kibaou's party retreating from Nephila Regina, the queen spider boss of the nest. Kirito's group decided to assist the fleeing party by discreetly defeating the boss, acquiring the queen spider's poison fang in the process.

Having returned to the Dark Elf Base just before dawn, Kirito and Asuna delivered both the scout's emblem and the queen spider's fang to the commander to complete their quest. After receiving their rewards from the quest and then having a new rapier forged for Asuna, the duo elected to return to the main town. While navigating their way to the city, Kirito and Asuna found Lind, a swordsman in a chain coif, and three other members of the Dragon Knights Brigade fighting alongside the Forest Elf questgiver for the Jade Key quest against a different Dark Elf. Once Lind's party completed the quest, the boy and the girl resumed their trek to the town. Arriving there at around 10:00, they slept for two hours before accepting quests to level up. Having managed to complete their quests before 17:00, the pair attended the Clearers' strategy meeting for the 3rd Floor, after which they traveled back to the Dark Elf Base.

For the next three days, Kirito and Asuna remained at the Dark Elf Base while strengthening themselves and completing the Elf War campaign, pausing only to participate in the battle against the Field Boss The Indolent Treent on December 18. Having returned to the camp later that afternoon, they resumed working on several more quests with Kizmel's assistance for four hours before retiring for the night. Two hours later at 23:45, the boy awoke and surreptitiously journeyed to the staircase pavilion linking the 3rd and 2nd Floors for a private rendezvous with Argo. After paying the information broker for her services, he learned only one player had joined the newly-formed Dragon Knights Brigade (DKB) since the 3rd Floor's opening: a metal coif-wearing swordsman named Morte who had been inducted into the guild by Lind himself. However, he had not been present at the previous strategy or anywhere near the DKB's temporary base in Zumfut, leading the two to speculate he might be a secret weapon against the recently established Aincrad Liberation Squad (ALS).

Having separated from Argo, Kirito trekked to the Forest Elf Camp he and Asuna had discovered earlier that day, where the next sequence in the Elf War quest series required them to steal a set of orders. However, the swordsman was reluctant to accomplish that goal by leading a midnight assault on the camp and killing the Forest Elves in their sleep like he had in the beta; instead, he opted to infiltrate the camp from the rear by climbing a set of cliffs, which he could only achieve by himself. As the boy approached the cliff just before 01:00, though, he sensed someone hiding and watching him nearby, revealed to be Morte. As the way his Searching skill detected the coif-wearing player indicated he had been waiting for him and his partner for a while, Kirito was suspicious of Morte's presence. This wariness only grew when he was requested to postpone the quest for the night for an undisclosed reason, with the implicit threat Morte would alert the Forest Elves to his presence and potentially have him killed if he continued with the infiltration. When the swordsman questioned why he should accept, the other player suggested they settle the matter with a duel. Concerned at the lengths Morte was apparently willing to go just for the chance to hinder him in one quest out of a lengthy questline, the boy agreed to the proposal with the caveat that in the event he won, the other player would explain why he was doing this.

Once both swordsmen had moved to a clearing a short distance nearby, Kirito accepted Morte's duel request and drew his Anneal Blade into a neutral battle stance. To his surprise, the coif-wearing player, who only unsheathed his own Anneal Blade with just a few seconds remaining on the countdown timer, charged toward him with a Sword Skill, perfectly timing the attack so as to make the first strike without triggering the criminal code. Though initially panicked, the boy regained his composure after blocking the blow and exchanging attacks with his opponent, even landing the first damaging strike of the duel. Then he attempted to exploit a perceived opening in Morte's defense but was caught off-guard when it was revealed the coif-wearing player had switched his Anneal Blade for a Harsh Hatchet and shield via the Quick Change mod before inflicting two stunning attacks that reduced Kirito's HP to just above half. While contemplating how he was outclassed by his opponent in terms of dueling, the boy realized with how the mechanics of duels operated, Morte was attempting to kill him without becoming an orange player. At the same time, Kirito recognized from the coif-wearing player's handling of his weapon that he was the same axman who had accompanied Kibaou's party in the Queen Spider's Cave days earlier, yet joined Lind's party for the Jade Key quest only hours later. This revelation renewed his resolve to win the duel and discover Morte's motivations, despite his concerns for his life.

Carefully timing and aiming his next move, Kirito managed to disarm Morte of his shield with a Martial Arts skill, which exposed his opponent to several attacks that depleted his HP to just about half as well. Before either fighter could continue their battle, however, the coif-wearing player suddenly announced he had run out of time and took his leave, declaring the swordsman was free to resume the infiltration quest since the duel was a draw but cryptically warned it might be difficult. Once Kirito had confirmed Morte was gone, he returned to the cliffs below the Forest Elf Camp. As he drew closer, though, he was startled by a loud shout, which the boy identified as coming from two groups of players that had gathered at the entrance of a path leading to the camp.

Having stealthily approached the players under the cover of the forest, Kirito recognized them as members from the ALS and DKB, respectively playing the Elf War campaign on the side of the Forest Elves and Dark Elves, with Kibaou and Lind personally leading the groups. While eavesdropping on the confrontation, he became shocked at Kibaou's claim that completing the Elf War questline provided critical information in defeating the 3rd Floor Boss and accusation that the DKB had deliberately withheld their awareness of such knowledge during the strategy meeting. Deducing Morte must have manipulated events to set the guilds into conflict with each other like this, the boy elected to resolve the situation before the current tensions between them escalated to the point of potential player killing.

Inspired by something he overheard from Lind, Kirito quickly backtracked through the forest to the river spot below the Forest Elf Camp. From there, he climbed the cliff, sneaked past the guard patrols into the captain's tent, seized the orders, and retraced his steps back to the river. Once the quest log updated and the camp teleported to a new, randomized location, the boy reascended the cliffs and followed the path to where the ALS and DKB had frozen in shock over the disappearance of their destination, announcing what he had just done. Frustrated when the guilds attempted to resume their argument regardless, Kirito regained their attention by declaring he would be postponing his progress in the Elf War campaign to focus on clearing the Labyrinth, even organizing the boss raid if necessary should they insist on quarreling over the quest series. However, Lind questioned if he was only distracting them while Asuna worked to complete the quest. Unable to refute the Dragon Knights leader's speculation, the boy could only remain silent as the other players threw accusations at him, growing uneasily aware of the situation's similarities with Nezha's public condemnation after the 2nd Floor Boss fight.

To everyone's surprise, Asuna suddenly revealed herself from Kirito's original eavesdropping spot in the forest and declared she would assist her partner with his plan. This was shortly followed by Kizmel unveiling her presence and pledging her support in helping the pair clear the Labyrinth, the Dark Elf's high level convincing the other players they were capable of such a feat. After some discussion between the ALS and DKB, Kirito's party was requested to investigate if the Elf War campaign indeed held relevant information on the Floor Boss while the guilds worked on mapping the Labyrinth. Recognizing it as the best option available, the swordsman agreed, whereupon the groups separated to focus on their assigned tasks.

Barcarolle of Froth On December 21, 2022, upon ascending the spiral staircase to the 4th Floor at 13:32, Kirito paused for several seconds when he noticed that the carved relief on the doors to the floor was different from the beta test version, likely indicating a modification to the floor's terrain. The swordsman followed Asuna as she pushed the doors open, and found that the crisscrossing web of sandy canyons from the beta had been changed into rivers.

Contemplating on the alteration of the landscape, Kirito concluded that the only method of navigating the now water-filled canyons was to swim through them. As swimming was hazardous in Sword Art Online, the boy doubted that players would be left without assistance. At that moment, he noticed a tree with donut-shaped fruit standing behind the staircase pavilion and rushed towards it with Asuna. Upon managing to acquire two of the fruits by accidentally striking the tree with Senda, Kirito determined how to inflate them into inner tubes. Now having a means to traverse the floor, he left a scroll next to the pavilion for the other boss raid members, describing the procedure to obtain an inner tube.

After advising Asuna to remove her heavy equipment for easier maneuverability, Kirito stripped to his underwear himself, before testing how well the inner tubes would support their weight. Once the pair was satisfied that they would be able to float adequately, the two swam further into the river, holding onto each other's inner tubes and allowing the current to carry them downstream when they reached the middle.

Upon reaching land and reequiping their gear, the duo arrived at the northern gate of the main town of Rovia just before 14:00. As the streets had been converted into channels, the boy decided to hire an NPC-owned gondola to transport them to the Teleport Gate plaza, learning from the gondolier along the way that the gondola services would only operate within the city. After activating the Teleport Gate at around 14:12, the two retired to a small inn at the edge of the plaza, where Kirito sent a quick message to Argo requesting the location of all the quest NPCs in Rovia, before falling asleep.

After three hours of sleep, Kirito joined Asuna for an early dinner at the food carts in the plaza. Just as the two were about to start their meal, they were approached by Argo with Kirito's requested information on a map scroll. Upon paying the info broker for her services, Kirito examined the quest NPCs on the map, noticing a quest that had not been present in the beta test. Believing the quest was essential in conquering the 4th Floor, Kirito and Asuna traveled to the northwestern quadrant of Rovia, where they found the NPC quest giver Romolo in a large old building there. As the boy pondered on the required question to initiate the quest due to the NPC's unresponsiveness to the usual ones, his attention was drawn to a half-rusted, long square nail on the floor by Asuna. This allowed him to deduce that the old man was a shipwright, whom they could request to build a gondola, thus beginning the Shipwright of Yore quest.

For the first part of the quest, Kirito and Asuna journeyed to the forest southeast of Rovia to gather bear fat. Due to the girl's insistence on collecting only the highest quality versions of the quest materials, the pair trekked through the woods for three hours in search of the bear king rumored to live in the area. Immediately after they found claw markings that demarcated the bear king's territory, Kirito and Asuna were assaulted by the bear. While evading the bear's attacks, the duo discovered that they could collect Noblewood Cores by manipulating the bear into ramming trees. Deducing that the wood would be required for the next part of the quest, the two continued guiding the bear into ramming trees until they filled their free storage capacity with wood. At that point, the pair switched to active close combat and eventually defeated the bear, whereupon they returned to Rovia.

Having arrived at Romolo's home at 23:50, Kirito and Asuna delivered the bear fat and the other crafting ingredients to the NPC and configured the design of their gondola, which they decided to name The Tilnel after Kizmel's sister. Once the gondola was completed at 04:30, the boy navigated The Tilnel into Rovia's waterways to practice steering it, where they encountered several surprisingly abrasive NPC gondoliers. Upon checking his quest log, Kirito discovered the Shipwright of Yore quest prompting them to speak with Romolo, who instructed them to covertly follow a large ship carrying wooden boxes when it departed Rovia around nightfall. Exhausted from their activities, the two agreed to rest and inform Argo of their progress on the quest before proceeding any further.

After resupplying and eating lunch about ten hours later, Kirito and Asuna circumnavigated Rovia's southeastern quarter in search of the boat from Romolo's description. Once they identified the ship around 16:30, the duo stealthily followed it out of the city into a submerged dungeon, where they saw the crew handing the boxes to Fallen Elves. Though exhausted from attempting to relocate the vessel when they had lost track of it earlier while navigating the dungeon, Kirito and Asuna decided to continue the quest by investigating the boxes. Having managed to evade the guards while sneaking through the Fallen Elves' hideout, they discovered where the boxes had been stored but to their surprise found them empty. However, after eavesdropping on a conversation between the Fallen Elven General N'ltzahh and his subordinates, the boy deduced the boxes were actually meant to be dismantled into ship construction materials for an unknown scheme that would commence in five days hence. Deciding they had learned enough, the pair departed the dungeon, returning to Rovia by 03:00 for sleep.

Having rested from their night adventure, Kirito and Asuna relayed the Shipwright of Yore quest details to Argo, who published the information not connected to the Fallen Elves in her strategy guide that afternoon. While the Clearing guilds used the guide to construct enough gondolas of their own, the two finished quests and scouted the attack patterns of Biceps Archelon, the Field Boss guarding the caldera that granted access to the southern half of the 4th Floor. As soon as the raid party was ready, they began their battle against Biceps Archelon at 15:00 the next day on December 24. Once the swordsman landed the final blow to defeat the Field Boss, he navigated The Tilnel to the nearby village of Usco to celebrate their victory, being joined by Argo along the way.

While the trio briefly rested in Usco, Kirito was shocked to learn from the girls that the ALS and DKB had returned to Rovia for a Christmas party at 17:00, to which the guilds had purposely neglected to invite him. Shortly after Argo left to gather information on the village, it began snowing, prompting the boy to remember how Asuna had wished to see such an event on Christmas back on the 2nd Floor. Although his partner feigned disinterest in celebrating the holiday, he decided to invigorate her spirits by holding their own private Christmas party at a special place where they could view the snowfall better.

Once the pair finished resupplying, Kirito steered The Tilnel further downriver, arriving an hour later at the Dark Elven stronghold of Yofel Castle. Having gained entry to the fortress, the boy guided Asuna to the central courtyard, where they reunited with Kizmel. After a sumptuous dinner together, the three relaxed in Yofel Castle's bathing, during which the players learned the base's defenders had grown complacent due to the stronghold's position in the middle of a large lake. Kizmel's explanation of how the Forest Elves consistently lacked enough ships to launch an effective naval assault prompted Kirito to remember what he and his partner had discovered during the Shipwright of Yore quest, which caused him to realize the Fallen Elves were providing the Forest Elves enough ships to attack Yofel Castle in three days. Having reminded Asuna of this, they informed the Dark Elf of what they had found in the Fallen Elves' hideout, whereupon the trio hurried to notify Viscount Leyshren Zed Yofilis, the reclusive master of the fortress, of this new development.

After the three reported the Forest Elves' impending assault on Yofel Castle to Yofilis, they were assigned to retrieve the Lapis Key to send it and the Jade Key to a higher floor while the fortress prepared for the siege. Therefore, Kazuto, Asuna, and Kizmel spent the next two days completing quests that eventually allowed them to enter the dungeon holding the key and return to the castle by sunset. At noon on December 27, the trio joined the rest of Yofel Castle's navy in facing the Forest Elven fleet when the latter appeared. Despite managing to sink several enemy ships from aboard The Tilnel, they failed to prevent the Forest Elven flagship from breaching the naval defenses and landing at the fortress dock. Sensing they could still claim victory with Yofilis's help, Kirito decided to beseech the viscount for aid while Asuna and Kizmel assisted the castle gatekeepers in keeping the invaders at bay. Having reached Yofilis's office, he reported the dire state of the battle and implored him to personally take command of his soldiers. When the viscount questioned why he supported the Dark Elves over the Forest Elves, the boy honestly answered he and Asuna simply wanted to protect Kizmel and her people, which convinced Yofilis to join the fight. With the viscount's presence boosting the morale of Yofel Castle's defenders and granting them buffs, the swordsman was able to help repel the invaders, even defeating the Forest Elven inferior knight leading the assault at the cost of shattering his Anneal Blade.

Scherzo of Deep Night On December 27, 2022, after reaching the 5th Floor and recounting the rampant player killing (PK) on the Floor in the beta, Kirito and Asuna arrived at Karluin to activate the town's Teleport Gate and spent the night at an inn. The next day on December 28, the pair committed most of the day to fulfilling quests. As dusk fell, Kirito was requested by Asuna to teach her the basics of player versus player combat, thus the two initiated a first-strike duel. However, Kirito had to halt the duel just as he began his first attack, as Asuna refused to continue with it.

Having returned to Karluin after 19:00 that evening, Kirito led Asuna through the southern part of the town to the BLINK & BRINK inn, where he ordered a limited-supply Blue-Blueberry Tart dish as part of their dinner. When the girl drew his attention to an icon that appeared within her view after they consumed the dessert, the boy explained that the dish gave an hour-long buff that highlighted relics littered throughout the town. After spending the next hour on an impromptu relic hunt, the duo teleported to Rovia at around 21:30, where they borrowed a gondola from Agil to travel to Yofel Castle in order to claim their rewards from Viscount Yolfilis. After spending the night in the castle, Kirito and Asuna returned to Karluin at 08:20 the next morning on December 29 to continue completing quests. Having finished all the available quests in town by evening, they decided to eat dinner, during which Kirito realized that Argo's strategy guide to the 5th Floor was unusually late. Concerned that the info broker might be in a dungeon, as she could not be reached by friend message, the boy left the BLINK & BRINK after 21:00 to search for her in the catacombs beneath the city.

While hurrying through the second level of the catacombs, however, Kirito noticed Asuna's HP bar drop by ten percent. Realizing the girl had followed after him into the dungeon but fallen afoul of a trapdoor, the boy headed to where the trap let out on the third level. Along the way, he found Morte meeting with another player in a secluded room, the latter of whom to his horror was holding Asuna's Chivalric Rapier. Overwhelmed at the thought that the two men might have killed his partner, the swordsman revealed himself to confront them on how they had acquired the weapon. As he and Morte tensely glared at each other, however, his fear for Asuna's safety proved unfounded when the girl revealed herself by startling Morte's confederate into dropping the Chivalric Rapier, allowing the fencer to retrieve it. Though relieved to see his partner was alright, Kirito overheard a large group of monsters attracted by Asuna's entrance approaching their location, thus he grabbed Asuna to conceal both of them with his Hiding skill while Morte and his associate were forced to flee. Even long after the monsters moved past their position, the boy remained in place to gently comfort the girl, who was still frightened by her ordeal.

Once Asuna had recomposed herself, Kirito resumed his search for Argo with his partner in tow. Less than an hour later, they found the information broker investigating the area boss guarding the shortcut tunnel that led to the next town of Mananarena. Thanks to Argo solving a puzzle that weakened the resilient boss, the two were able to defeat it alongside the other Clearers on December 30. Afterward, they spent some time working on the Elf War campaign, quickly finishing its chapter on the 5th Floor before the next morning. During this time, Kirito and Asuna invited Argo to join them in the Dark Elven village of Shiyaya as thanks for the information broker's assistance in vanquishing the catacombs boss and to discuss what the fencer had overheard from Morte and his partner. Apparently, while the Dragon Knights Brigade would be occupied with preparing a New Year's party in Karluin, the Aincrad Liberation Squad had been manipulated by Morte and other PK-agitating players into secretly challenging the Floor Boss at the same time, which could sow discord between the two guilds. After Asuna finished relaxing with Argo in Shiyaya's baths, Kirito debated with his partner how to counteract the PK gang's scheme without disrupting the celebration. Hoping to gather more information, the pair decided to contact the Liberation Squad member collaborating with the Dragon Knights on planning the festivities, suspecting the ALS party planner would be opposed to their guild's clandestine boss raid attempt.

To that end, Kirito and Asuna traveled to where the DKB was currently stationed in the nearby village of Mananarena and persuaded Shivata, who was acting as his guild's representative for the New Year's party, to disclose the identity of his partner from the ALS. When the Liberation Squad member arrived, revealed to the boy's surprise to be a heavily-armored girl named Liten as well as Shivata's girlfriend, the duo spent the next several minutes learning how she had been recently scouted into the guild. His suspicions having been assuaged during the recounting that Liten was not secretly in league with Morte, Kirito felt comfortable enough to divulge his awareness of the ALS's intention to attempt defeating the Floor Boss on their own, whereupon the ALS member explained the senior members of her guild had made that decision due to acquiring information that the 5th Floor Boss might drop an item which could destroy the balance among the Clearers. While recollecting his participation in the boss fight from the beta test, he recalled there was indeed an item that could give one guild an advantage over others: the Flag of Valor, which provided a buff to every stat of all the wielder's guildmates within range.

Canon of the Golden Rule At 03:00 on January 1, 2023, Kirito and Asuna teleported to Stachion, where the former drew the latter's attention to the puzzles that comprised much of the town. As the duo wandered through the city, the boy recalled how he had been ambushed by a man in a black poncho in Karluin only a few hours earlier. Predicting that another attempt would be made on his and Asuna's lives, he resolved to teach his partner how to protect herself against such inevitable encounters. With that thought in mind, Kirito informed the girl of the incident, requesting to resume their player versus player combat practices in the morning before proceeding any further with clearing the 6th Floor, to which she agreed.

After breakfast that same morning, Kirito and Asuna traveled to the Dark Elf Base on the 3rd Floor to upgrade their weapons and armor, as well as privately practice player versus player combat. After upgrading the Sword of Eventide's Accuracy and Durability and spending an hour training in player versus player combat, the pair returned to Stachion at 12:30 to meet with Lind, Hafner, and Shivata to inform the Dragon Knights Brigade on the Flag of Valor, which resulted in the two parties coming to an agreement that Kirito would continue maintaining custody of the item. After the meeting, Kirito and Asuna began working on quests in-town, including the Curse of Stachion quest series. As part of the questline, the two journeyed to Suribus by nightfall to investigate a mansion owned by Pithagrus, the previous lord of Stachion.

Having obtained a key needed for the quest from the haunted building after 21:00, Kirito decided to surprise Asuna by not warning her about an upcoming scripted event, allowing themselves to be ambushed on their way out of the house by Cylon, an apprentice of Pithagrus who had hired them to investigate his former master. Immobilized with a paralyzing gas, the duo was abducted by Cylon and his henchman to be transported back to Stachion as part of the quest. Shortly after leaving Suribus, however, the carriage carrying the pair was intercepted by Morte and his accomplice. Still paralyzed, the boy could only helplessly watch as Morte disarmed and killed Cylon so as to target them next more easily, resulting in a bonanza of the NPC's valuables falling to the ground upon his death.

Among the pile of loot, Kirito noticed a small skull-marked jar: the Namnepenth's Poison Jar Cylon had used to incapacitate them in town earlier. As Morte approached them, Kirito and Asuna independently arrived at the same plan of action: to topple the jar by blowing on it. With their combined effort, the two managed to spawn a cloud of paralyzing smoke that forced their would-be murderer to retreat. As soon as he was freed from his paralysis debuff, the boy retrieved his sword and pursued Morte out of the toxic fumes, only to find himself outnumbered as Asuna seemingly failed to escape the gas cloud. As he engaged the two men, however, his fears for his partner's safety proved to be misguided when he noticed the girl sneakily leaving the fumes with a gas mask to launch a surprise attack on Morte's dagger-wielding associate while the two assailants were preoccupied with him.

Now able to focus his attention solely on Morte, Kirito baited the axman into overextending himself during his assault by pretending to trip. As an emboldened Morte took a broad step towards him, the swordsman suddenly closed the distance between them and blocked his opponent's ax by the handle, creating an opening that allowed him to sever the man's left forearm. To both of their surprise, when Morte attempted to block a followup attack, Kirito's Accuracy-boosted Sword of Eventide unexpectedly evaded the weapon at the last second to embed itself in his opponent's heart. Just as the critical hit had reduced Morte's hit points by about seventy-five percent, Kirito was attacked by the man's associate. Though the swordsman managed to deflect the attack, he was too exhausted from the fighting to counterattack or pursue the player killers as they fled from the area.

Having returned to Suribus, after breakfast the next morning on January 2, Kirito and Asuna examined the items they had obtained the previous night, which included the golden key from Pithagrus's mansion, an iron one dropped by Cylon, two poisoned throwing picks used by Morte, and his confederate's dagger. During their survey, Kirito explained how they were now unable to complete the Curse of Stachion quest due to the player killers' interference, opening the quest log to illustrate his point. To their surprise, the quest log had updated to reflect Cylon's death and was directing them to locate where to use the keys. Though curious over how they still could continue the quest despite the quest giver being killed, the boy was more interested in the player killers' weapons, whose descriptions indicated they had been received from Fallen Elves. Concerned at the possibility that the player killers might have access to an unlimited supply of high-level poisoned weapons, the two agreed to prioritize investigating the throwing picks further. To that end, they needed to help clear the 6th Floor so they could contact Kizmel again.

After Kirito and Asuna joined the Clearers at the front lines later that day, they assisted in clearing the first of the four mountainous dungeons that sequentially blocked access to the rest of the 6th Floor. During their journey, the boy surreptitiously attempted to confirm that Joe of the ALS was Morte's accomplice, but without success. Once they gained access to the northwest sector of the Floor by defeating the first Field Boss, the duo separated from the Clearers to trek to the Dark Elven fortress of Castle Galey at the north end of the Floor, arriving there by twilight. Having reunited with Kizmel inside the castle, Kirito explained the attempt on his and Asuna's lives and showed her the Spikes of Shmargor and the Dirk of Agony, Morte's and his accomplice's weapons, which the Dark Elven knight confirmed had likely been gifted by Fallen Elves. To his relief, he learned Kizmel knew of a Dark Elven storyteller in Castle Galey that could possibly inform them how to counteract the Spikes' poison, who they could contact while working on the Elf War campaign.

Since the trio could only visit the storyteller in the early afternoon, they decided to focus on retrieving the Agate Key after breakfast the next morning on January 3. With the aid of special Dark Elven equipment, Kirito, Asuna, and Kizmel were able to enter the south sector of the 6th Floor by crossing Lake Talpha in the Floor's center without disturbing the starfish monster Ophiometus inhabiting it, thereby bypassing the need to trek through the mountainous dungeons. Having reached the key shrine, the humans were surprised to find the dungeon entrance locked with a thirty-five puzzle, when such puzzles were were supposed to be restricted to Stachion, though the Dark Elf was able to quickly solve it. Once the three had managed to secure the Agate Key, they returned to Castle Galey by 16:20 but were too late to meet with the storyteller.

That evening, just as Kirito and Asuna were about to explore Castle Galey after dinner, they heard the arrival of other players entering the fortress. Concerned it might be Morte or members of the PK gang, they decided to investigate. To their surprised relief, the visitors were revealed to be a small guild named Qusack, who focused on obtaining money and strengthening themselves purely by completing quests. While learning the history behind Qusack's formation, the pair were interested to discover that instead of another variant of Kizmel, the guild was accompanied by a generic Dark Elf Scout, who would only appear while they worked on the Dark Elf side of the Elf War campaign.

⚠ There is missing information between this event and the next that the author has not written yet ⚠ Red-Nosed Reindeer One day, when Kirito was walking in the labyrinth area of a lower floor, he met Sachi and the others in the Moonlit Black Cats guild. After rescuing them from the labyrinth, he hid his higher level from them and was invited into the guild. He helped them reach higher levels, taught Sachi how to fight and, had fun with them. One day, Sachi ran away from the group and Kirito used his Tracking skill to find her. He talked with her and made her forget her fear of dying, while she helped him clear his conscience of lying to the other members of the guild. One day, the group decided to hunt for treasure while their leader, Keita, was off to buy their guild base. In a Labyrinth on a higher floor, they activated a trap, causing a multitude of Dark Dwarf Miners and Granite Elementals to spawn. The members, unable to use teleport crystals due to the room being an Anti-Crystal Area, were all killed one by one, except for Kirito. He returned to their temporary headquarters in Taft to inform Keita, who committed suicide out of shock at the loss of his friends and the reveal that their newest member was a Beater.

With the approach of Christmas Eve, all of the NPCs started talking about a mysterious monster which would appear on Christmas and drop rare items if defeated, causing players to look for clues regarding its future location. However, nobody could find a good lead, as the NPCs said that it would spawn at "a certain fir tree". Originally, Kirito and Klein had not cared about the boss until they learned that it would drop a resurrection item.

When Kirito found the spawn location of the boss within the Forest of Wandering, Klein and his guild Fuurinkazan followed him there so that they could fight the boss. Moments later, the Divine Dragon Alliance (DDA), who had followed Klein and his guild, showed up. Klein told Kirito that the alliance would do anything to obtain any rare items and then told Kirito to defeat the boss while they distracted the DDA. Kirito then arrived at the correct tree, and when the bell announced midnight, the event boss, Nicholas The Renegade, spawned and was about to begin its speech, but Kirito attacked it without listening to him. After a long struggle and barely surviving, Kirito defeated the boss and obtained the Divine Stone of Returning Soul. But, to his disappointment, the item only revived players up to ten seconds after they had died. After several minutes of mourning, Kirito then gave the item to Klein and slowly walked back to his inn. He stayed up until early morning, planning to die trying to solo the floor boss once dawn broke. However, at seven o'clock, when he was about to leave, he heard a strange alarm ring in his ear and noticed an item left in his shared inventory with Sachi. Once he took out the item, a recording crystal, he heard a message left to him by Sachi before her death, urging Kirito to survive.

The Black Swordsman Upon encountering Silica in the Forest of Wandering, Kirito saved her from a party of attacking «Drunk Apes». He apologized for being unable to save Pina, Silica's Tamed Monster, and told her that it was possible to revive Pina. After explaining the item needed, and that she needed to come with him, Kirito gave her new equipment to supplement the level needed to clear the quest. After having dinner with her and showing her the location of the Pneuma Flower, they slept and departed to the floor the next day. Kirito revealed that he was helping Silica because she reminded him of his sister.

The next day, they departed to the 47th Floor to find the Pneuma Flower on the Hill of Memories. On their way back after retrieving the flower, they were ambushed by Rosalia and the Titan's Hand guild. They attacked Kirito but were forced to surrender due to his higher level. Kirito revealed that he was looking for them because of a request from a leader of another guild, whose members were all killed, with the exception of the leader, by the Titan's Hand guild. Kirito then threatened the bandits until they agreed to voluntarily go to the prison managed by the Aincrad Liberation Force (The Army). After returning to Floria, Kirito and Silica promised to meet again in the real world.

The Progressors Around the end of February 2024, Kirito and the other Clearers spent a week attempting to determine a way to circumvent the GeoCrawler, the Field Boss of the 56th Floor blocking the path to the local Labyrinth, as frontal attacks against it were ineffective, while its position prevented flanking the monster. On March 6, 2024, after another failed attempt to bait the GeoCrawler, Kirito entered a quarrel with Asuna due to the latter proposing to lure the boss into the village and allow it to slaughter the villagers to give them an opportunity to attack the monster while it was occupied.

Kirito protested against her suggestion, arguing that the NPCs were not mere objects. When Asuna learnt from Klein that Kirito was one level higher than her, the boy accepted her challenge to a first-strike duel to vindicate his belief, recognizing some traits of his personality from his darker times in her eyes. Although he was initially forced on the defensive by her speed and usage of short-delay-time Sword Skills, the Black Swordsman was able to trick the Flash into leaving herself open by feinting the use of a second sword, granting him the opportunity to defeat her.

The next day on March 7, during the celebration of the successful vanquishment of the GeoCrawler using an alternate method, Kirito excitedly lifted Ruru, the NPC girl who had been integral to beating the Field Boss, into the air. However, the boy received a system warning for harassing an NPC the next moment.

A Murder Case in the Area On April 22, 2024, noticing the unusually favorable weather settings that morning, Kirito elected to take a quick nap in the fields right outside the Teleport Gate plaza of the main city of the 59th Floor. During his nap, the boy was found by Asuna, from whom he received an admonishment for not actively assisting the other players in clearing the Labyrinth. Despite offering her to rest beside him, Kirito did not actually expect to find the girl sleeping next to him when he awoke thirty minutes later. Sensing her exhaustion, the swordsman decided to let her sleep, guarding her from player killers. When Asuna finally awoke over eight hours later, the boy was offered a free meal as compensation for his consideration.

Shortly after they began eating a salad at a restaurant in Marten on the 57th Floor, the duo suddenly heard a horrified scream from outside, prompting them to rush to the source. In the town square, they found an armored player hanging by his neck from a noose from a church's second floor window, with a barbed short spear impaled into his chest, who seemingly died before anyone could help him. Convinced that the player had been killed in a duel, Kirito and Asuna quickly searched for a duel winner notice, but to no avail. Aware that the existence of a method to kill players within a safe zone would lead to panic, the two agreed to investigate the matter together.

After retrieving the spear and the rope from within the church, Kirito and Asuna returned outside to the plaza, where they found that a young woman named Yolko was the first person to witness the incident. Gently questioning her, they learned that the victim, named Kains, was one of her former guildmates who had had dinner with her just before his murder. Having escorted Yolko to the nearest inn, the pair had other players spread news of the incident, while they themselves investigated the rope and spear for any further leads on the killer. Since neither of them possessed an Appraisal skill and Asuna's blacksmith friend would be occupied with business at the time, Kirito proposed to contact Agil for assistance.

Having sent a message to Agil beforehand, Kirito traveled with Asuna to his shop in Algade on the 50th Floor, where they had the shopkeeper examine the rope and spear with his Appraisal skill. The duo learned that the spear, named Guilty Thorn, had been crafted by Grimlock, a player unknown to Agil. Although apprehensive of locating someone willing to create a weapon designed for player killing, Kirito and Asuna resolved to search for anyone on the middle floors who had been acquainted with Grimlock.

After teleporting to the Town of Beginnings, Kirito, Asuna, and Agil investigated the Monument of Life at the Black Iron Palace, where they verified that Grimlock was still alive, while a player named Kains had indeed died that day at 18:27. Having decided with Asuna to resume their search for Grimlock the following day, Kirito returned to Lindarth past 22:00 to spend the night at his current residence. However, he was immediately surrounded by several members of the Divine Dragon Alliance, led by Schmitt, upon his arrival. After being interrogated by Schmitt about Kains's death, he acquiesced to surrendering the murder weapon to him.

Upon meeting with Yolko at 10:00 the following morning, Kirito and Asuna learned from her that Grimlock, Schmitt, and Yolko herself had once been part of the Golden Apple, a guild that had acquired a rare agility-boosting ring about half a year prior, yet subsequently collapsed when their guild leader Griselda was murdered for the ring shortly afterwards. Believing whoever killed Kains was connected to Griselda's death, the two secured Yolko's stay at her inn for several days to keep her safe. Afterwards, Kirito suggested consulting with Heathcliff for advice on how to proceed with the investigation, due to his knowledge of Sword Art Online's mechanics.

Once Heathcliff joined them thirty minutes later, Kirito led him and Asuna to a restaurant deep within the mazelike city. While they waited for their lunch, the boy proposed several theories on how the Inner Area murder could have happened, all of which were debunked. After the meal, Kirito asked his partner for clarification on the guild leader's lengthy recommendation not to rely on secondhand sources of information, to which he learned they should question the motives behind Golden Apple's dissolution over the rare ring. Therefore, he agreed to the girl's suggestion to inquire Schmitt for his part of the story on the incident in hopes of acquiring new information.

Having deduced Schmitt would seek the most secure location in which to hide, Kirito and Asuna journeyed to the Divine Dragon Alliance's headquarters on the 56th Floor shortly after 14:00, where they persuaded the heavily armored lancer to speak with them. While interrogating Schmitt on the whereabouts of Grimlock, Griselda's husband and the main suspect in Kains's murder, the pair learned the blacksmith used to frequent a NPC restaurant; however, the man insisted on meeting with Yolko before he would reveal the establishment's name. Though confused by the nature of the request, they reluctantly accepted it after Yolko agreed via friend message. Once they had escorted Schmitt to Yolko's inn by sundown, Kirito and Asuna kept guard as the former Golden Apple members speculated who could have killed Kains and why. In the middle of the discussion, however, a black, barbed throwing dagger suddenly appeared in Yolko's back which had been facing her room's window. The boy rushed to the young woman's side, but her avatar fell through the window to disintegrate on the street below before he could reach her.

Frozen in horrified disbelief, Kirito spotted a black robed, hooded figure watching them from the rooftop of a building two blocks away. Outraged over his failure to protect Yolko, he leapt from the window to the next building and recklessly jumped from roof to roof toward the assassin, who suddenly withdrew a teleport crystal as the boy approached. In an desperate attempt to delay the murderer's escape, Kirito hurled three Throwing Picks at the figure, but the Anti-Criminal Code Effect Area protected the assassin from the projectiles. Additionally, the 17:00 bells began tolling just as the hooded figure activated the crystal, preventing the swordsman from hearing the name of the destination while the killer vanished.

Having retrieved the throwing dagger along the way, a frustrated Kirito returned to the inn, where a hysterical Schmitt insisted the murderer had to be Griselda's ghost based on its appearance. Believing otherwise, the boy had the frightened lancer give him the name of Grimlock's frequented restaurant, hoping to dissuade the man from his vendetta if he really was the killer and was motivated by vengeance over his wife's death like Yolko had suggested during the conversation earlier. In addition, Kirito requested a list of all the other former Golden Apple members so he could check which of them were still alive. Afterward, the swordsman and Asuna escorted the agitated Schmitt back to the DDA's headquarters before heading for the restaurant to unravel the mystery for Yolko's sake.

Warmth of the Heart Around noon of June 25, 2024, due to Asuna's referral, Kirito visited Lisbeth's Smith Shop and requested Lisbeth to create for him a sword that was on par with his «Elucidator». When the blacksmith offered her best sword, he expressed his dissatisfaction with its light weight and decided to test its durability by striking it against the Elucidator, accidentally shattering the former. Apologizing to an indignant Lisbeth for destroying her masterpiece, Kirito casually agreed to her demand to accompany him in gathering the materials to craft a weapon that would surpass his own blade. Thus, the two traveled to the West Mountain to obtain a «Crystallite Ingot» to forge what would eventually be known as «Dark Repulser».

⚠ There is missing information between this event and the next ⚠ October, 2024 After two years into SAO, Kirito was currently on the front lines which were now located on the 74th Floor on October 17, 2024. As he left the Labyrinth, Kirito found and killed a Ragout Rabbit, the meat of which he later gave to Asuna to cook. He was then forced on a mapping run with Asuna. After defeating Kuradeel, Asuna's bodyguard, in a duel, the two departed for the Labyrinth the next day on October 18. Together they found the boss room. While resting at a nearby safe zone, they encountered an elite unit of the «Aincrad Liberation Force» (The Army), whom Kirito and Asuna assumed would try to challenge the boss. They chased after them in case the platoon did something unreasonable, but «The Army» platoon started fighting the boss before they could reach them. Kirito told them to teleport out, but one of the soldiers told him that their crystals would not work in the boss room as it was an Anti-Crystal Area.

Upon arriving, Asuna impulsively ran in to help them, and Kirito quickly followed her. He was forced to activate his «Dual Blades» secret skill to save Asuna and the others. After the boss fight, word about Kirito's ability spread throughout Aincrad. Asuna asked for a temporary leave of absence from her guild and Heathcliff, the leader, said that he would only allow permission if Kirito defeated him in a duel. If Kirito lost, he would have to join the Knights of the Blood guild. Kirito accepted the challenge and was on the verge of winning, but, at the last moment, Heathcliff moved with impossible speed. The duel ended with Kirito's loss, forcing him to abide by their deal. He was given a KoB outfit, and after a few days, sent to a mandatory training session with Kuradeel on October 23. After the latter killed Godfree, the vanguard who wanted to see Kirito's skills, and revealed his plan to kill him, Asuna quickly came to Kirito's aid. After Kuradeel successfully feigned a surrender, he attacked Asuna after she lowered her rapier, and almost killed her. Kirito quickly intercepted, and though he lost his left arm in the process, he killed Kuradeel using the Martial Arts Sword Skill, Embracer.

After this, Kirito announced his feelings for Asuna, and the two asked for another leave after the incident, which Heathcliff accepted.

The Day Before After proposing to Asuna at