A virtual reality gaming system known as the Nerve Gear is finally released to the public alongside the world's first virtual reality game called Sword Art Online (SAO). Kirito, one of the game's beta-testers, logs-in to Aincrad, the world of SAO and quickly befriends novice player Klein, to whom he teaches the basics of the game. After a few hours, Kirito and Klein discover that they cannot log-out. Akihiko Kayaba, the game's creator and employee of the computer corporation Argus, announces to the players that he intentionally removed the log-out option and that all players will die if their Nerve Gear is forcefully removed or their in-game health bar is depleted to zero. He informs them that he created this game as a way to become God over his own dominion. The only way to escape is to clear all 100 floors of Aincrad.
When a group of gamers immerse in a virtual reality game, they soon switch to survival mode when they are stuck inside and unable to log off
A beast tamer named Silica quits a party after arguing with their leader, Rosalia. Later, Silica is ambushed by a group of monsters while making her way alone through the forest, and her dragon familiar, Pina, is killed while trying to protect her. Kirito arrives and saves Silica. He tells her of an item at the Hill of Memories on the 47th floor, which can revive her familiar within three days of its death, and offers to accompany her there.
Asuna offers to buy dinner for Kirito, but their meal is interrupted by a scream. They rush out of the restaurant to find a player, Kains, hanging outside a church, impaled with a spear. He dies immediately after. Fearing there is an unknown player versus player skill, they began to investigate the murder.
Kirito and Asuna continue to investigate the murder of Kains and Yolko, who were members of a disbanded guild called Golden Apple. Kirito wonders how it is possible to kill someone in a safe zone. Schmit, another former member of Golden Apple, declares that the killer is the ghost of Griselda, their deceased leader. After watching a dropped sandwich vanish, Kirito deduces how Yolko and Kains died, and later, who murdered Griselda.
Kirito teams with Asuna as they clear the dungeon and discover the boss room on the 74th floor. The room contains a formidable beast - a humanoid chimera with ram's horns, a gigantic sword, and a living snake for a tail - the Gleam Eyes. They flee from the room to another part of the dungeon, where they encounter Klein and his guild. The Aincrad Liberation Force appear, visibly exhausted from exploring the floor. As the soldiers rest, their leader Corbatz demands Kirito give them the map he made of the floor.
Leafa / Suguha Kirigaya
©2014 川原 礫／ＫＡＤＯＫＡＷＡ アスキー・メディアワークス刊／SAOⅡ Project
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