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Souls Art Online is an AU Fan Fic of the popular anime and light novel series Sword Art Online by Shadenight123. The game this time is an MMO take on the first Dark Souls game, seen through Kirito's eyes as the first days pass while he helps newbies and somehow becomes the head of a guild. Dark Souls lives up to its name as monsters become tougher, racism fractures players between the "undead" and "alive" sides, and the game itself appears to be aiming to screw people over, whether it's from making particular mobs live up to their lore or devising dastardly traps for people to wander into.

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The story, now completed, can be found here and here.


Souls Art Online contains examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Sinon's bow, a rare drop, fires Spears.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Betty-chan for Lisabeth by Strea.
  • A God Am I: Kingseeker has this opinion of itself.
    • Seath the Scaleless as well.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted, Kingseeker was designed to test people using more and more extreme methods.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Yuuki comes back as a Black Knight in Chapter 42.
  • Anti-Magic: Havel's Talisman and Miracles are meant to do this.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Konno Yuuki in Chapter 32. It gets her killed seven chapters later.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Yui, Strea, Priscilla, and so are A.I. but with expanded capabilities courtesy of Higa's programming.
  • Awful Truth: Andre reveals to Kirito in Chapter 34 that if a Covenant Leader dies their members die, since it is a pact on their soul. The fact that Solaire hasn't shown up means that he has to be a Hollow or captured.
    • The reason the NPCs are so life-like compared to the Beta? Human souls have been scanned through the Nervegear and uploaded into them.
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    • Kingseeker gets stronger with every player sacrificed.
  • The Bartender: Agil.
  • Batman Gambit: The Darkwraith's sparked the Player Wars so that the Warriors of Sunlight and Way of White would be to too distracted to with internal matters to face them, allowing them to get the Lordvessel. They then sparked a fight that would lure in the Darkmoons, who would kill them for sinning.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Asuna had made one to escape after being trapped in a tower. It lasts just long enough for her and Silica to get down, but it breaks when Kirito is partway down.
  • Berserk Button: Cheating for Kingseeker. It doesn't mind when you Take a Third Option, but dicking around with the system to mess with the fluctlight is the one thing that essentially drives it mad with rage enough to eclipse its intrigue in humanity.
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  • Better to Die than Be Killed: A fair number of players develop this mindset, especially when the game is capable of inflicting a death lasting hours before you finally shatter into pixels. At least a One-Hit Kill is painless.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Way of White members led by Asuna and sent to the portrait return in Chapter 38 with Priscilla.
    • Havel the Rock appears to take on Kalameet with the Way of the White and Sunbros.
  • Blade Brake: Kirito, after falling from a Bedsheet Ladder. The sword breaks and he loses 99% of his health, but he survived the fall.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Priscilla in Chapter 51. Note that it doesn't deter her worshipers.
  • Brain Uploading: Kayaba mentions in Chapter 35 he has the power to scan human souls through their Nervegear and will bestow Immortality to those he think are the most Humane.
  • Breakable Weapons: Weapons have durability and pushing past those will break them. Yuuki, as a Black Knight, has a spell that inflicts this.
  • Casting a Shadow: Kalameet in Chapter 49.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Kirito in Chapter 48.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The scenes of psychological torture being inflicted on the characters is juxtaposed with scenes of comedic shenanigans. Then again, it's implied the comedic shenanigans are part coping mechanism, part driven to insanity.
  • The Chosen One: Kirito receives this title in Chapter 30. It turns out to be important because only the Chosen One can face Gwyn. To everyone else, he's an immortal object.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Kirito, at the end of Chapter 5, believing that Kingseeker planned to make him and five newbie players take on an 80-player raid boss.
  • Conjoined Twins: Quelaag and her sister were conjoined in the real world, before ending up in the game.
  • Crapsack World: They're in the Dark Souls world. Let that sink in.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Being eaten by a dragon alive counts. So does being engulfed by acidic slimes and melting for hours before you die.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Priscilla. More than half of the Warriors of Sunlight have been smitten by her presence alone.
  • Cutting the Knot: By the time Chapter 52 rolls around, the players start doing this. If there's a boss ahead, they'll use cannons to blow through the walls and drop the ceiling on it. Kingseeker, on the other hand, relishes the challenge.
    • Crysheight just erases the fluctlight connection with Seath, causing it to die instantly and open up the path for the Warriors of Sunlight ahead of time.
  • Cypher Language: Kingseeker's chapters are entirely in binary code.
  • Damager, Healer, Tank: The builds have this, with the Chaplains (High-Faith builds) being healers, the mages being damage, and the other players being tanks primarily.
  • Dead All Along: Several players in the game no longer have bodies to go back to, meaning only their consciousness' survived. In the end, it turns out that these players were the ones that had their plugs pulled.
  • The Dead Have Names: Kirito goes to the memorial and watches the memories of every single Gravelord player that was purged as a reminder of what he had chosen to do.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Quite a few characters have one liners(well practically everyone). At one point, Lightdeviation's introduction is pretty much a long list of dry and sarcastic comments.
  • Death Seeker: Ceaseless Discharge wants them to kill him and ease his aching and suffering due to his body.
  • Decapitated Army: If a Covenant Leader dies, then all of their men die for good as well because the pact is made on their souls.
  • Determinator: Kalameet refused to stay down until they utterly destroyed his heart.
  • Did You Just Scam Kingseeker: In chapter 46 Kirito asks Kingseeker to release the elderly and children from the game, and for those who didn't have bodies anymore, to go to someplace they can be happy for Sugou. Once Kingseeker kept his part of the bargain, he blew Sugou up.
  • Difficulty Spike: After the 1.01 Patch the enemies actually get harder than before, with Assassins learning how to break the player's weapons and changing the path routine, unable to see health bars, lower means of communicating, among other things.
    • After the Gravelord Covenent is wiped out, Asuna mentions that even basic Hollows became nightmares to fight in the Painted World. Kirito realizes that this is because Kingseeker grows stronger and smarter from the deaths, using them for processing power.
    • In raised the difficulty again in with Patch 2.0, making more hollows, roaming bosses and Black Knights, and threatening to kill them all if they don't finish by their Fifth Year.
  • Do Not Taunt Kingseeker: It's actually in the Newbie Manual that you do not tempt or challenge the AI Kingseeker, because it responds to challenges in ways you do not want. See Tempting Fate for the reason.
    • Kirito in Chapter 35 points out that, not even in jest, were to do this:
    Kirito: Do not pronounce, not even in jest, 'His' name. Do not do it. The very future of our Covenant, of our lives, rests on the success of this operation. We cannot attract his attention. We must not do so."
    • In a meta form, when the second black knight showed up, several readers challenged it. The very next chapter put special focus on their deaths facing it... and they were brutal.
  • Do You Trust Me?: Kirito asks this to Silica's summoned shade when it proves sentient because of Kingseeker in 42. She does.
  • Dracolich: The dragon in Chapter 56.
  • The Dragonslayer: Havel the Rock. Asuna receives the title as well in Chapter 49.
  • Driven to Suicide: Konno Yuuki and a ton of players who went into the Painted World.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: A number of the Warriors of Sunlight in Chapter 36 do this in Agil's bar.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: YES! It took everything they had, but ultimately the ending brought everyone who died and didn't have their plugs back to life. Those who did have their souls moved to an online paradise of their choosing. Even Priscilla is online in a virtual sense.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Kingseeker decided to add Chthullu to the game when the group invaded the Duke's Archives.
  • Elite Mooks: The Draggers in the Sewers are the first of their kind and have regenerating health and take twice as much damage to put down, so they presume them to be these.... then they meet a giant version of it wandering around.
    • The Stone Knight in the forest is normally a group-size boss, and tough on its own. The moment someone uses fire, it becomes a Balrog and starts smiting them. This is the first clue that using fire is a no-no inside the forest.
  • Empty Shell: The completely hollowfied NPC and players that remain in hollow form too long.
  • Escort Mission: Since the Moonlight Butterfly can only be tamed by a human-child, Kirito's guild and Asuna (who they weren't fond of) has to Silica her through the forest without being killed. She ends up being the first perminant death in the game.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: It's easier to make a list of what isn't trying to kill you. Especially with Kingseeker intentionally doing so.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: As Silica can attest, all the blood and gore and violence isn't something she should be playing.
  • Fantastic Racism: The game itself encourages this since a number of NPC only interact with Human players, most being shopkeepers, while Hollowed players are instantly hated by them and can only communicate with each other and will have to steal humanity. Since the more skilled players hold onto their humanity, earlier on they take souls from the less skilled Hollow players and intend to use them as an expendable army.
    • The Way of White Covenant, for example, only takes human players and uses Hollow Players as slaves to clear it out. The leader of them, an NPC named Petrus of Thorolund, kicked all non-covenant Hollow Players out of the Firelink shrine and had the members of their covenant do slave labor and such. After the leader is dealt with, they claim they've changed, but Hollowfied players are reluctant to buy that.
  • First Girl Wins: Lisabeth is apparently aiming for this and admits as much.
    Lisabeth: "I know it might sound silly, but you know how nearly everyone keeps on hammering about 'Harem Leader' and 'Harem Addition Get'? Well, I asked around. Seems that when there's a Harem situation, the girl who acts first gets the male lead."
  • Friend or Idol Decision: Chapter 10 boiled down to this: Does Kirito save a hollowed player, or does he grab the Twin Humanity and use a Homeward Bone, saving himself. He saves him and gets it courtesy of a little help from Solaire of Astora.
  • From Bad to Worse: Chapter 56 in a nutshell. It starts with an army of Black Knights and ends with an Dracolich.
  • Fun Size: Priscilla after leaving the Painted World.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Sugou, after he realizes the extent of how far Higa's Artificial Intelligence extended.
    Sugou: There are thousands of players, of all countries, and key personnel of their military echelon-there are secrets in the head of the people in here that Kingseeker has read, because he can-because I made him capable of discovering your deepest fears and turn them into reality, because I gave him the ability to peer through your very mind and find out what makes you tick-because I did this-because I did...there is no world to return to, not the one we left anyway. Maybe-Maybe they're all dead...maybe we are all dead-maybe there's nothing left at all!
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: Most NPCs like Priscilla act how they see fit by Chapter 50. Kingseeker itself included, now enjoying the challenge presented by the players.
  • Happy Place: A notable amount of the people raiding the Chaos Servants are in this sort of mindset. Kirito has to tell them to stop taking Grosstoad's drugs.
  • He's Back: Solaire in Chapter 37. The players who recognize him, as it had been several months, can't help but praise the sun and join him in battle.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Crysheight cuts the Seath boss fight immediately using what amounts to a hack. Kingseeker deletes him from existence for it, but it allowed them to head to the final battle.
  • Horror Hunger: Hunger in the game is registered by how many souls you have. The more you have, the less hunger you feel.
  • Hostage Situation: Turns out, most of the players are this to the outside world. They can't blow up the Servers in space because too many people and important personnel are still in the game.
  • Human Sacrifice: Silica is sacrificed to the Moonlight Butterfly to tame it in a cutscene. This results in the death of her real body, as Kingseeker showed. More players follow suit, making this the one way to kill someone for good.
    • Ashaeron and his group hold the line to protect Solaire, where he sacrifices himself permanently.
  • Human Resources: Kingseeker is using the sacrificed players as processing power, shutting down their brains and putting them into comas in the real world.
  • Human Shield: The Greatsword Black Knight used Scorpiobot, a member of Kirito's guild, as an arrow sponge in Chapter 17.
  • Immortality Hurts: The players are immortal by the game's rules, at least until sacrifices are established, but that just means Kingseeker finds creative ways to make them wish they could die.
  • Intrigued by Humanity: Kingseeker admits this much in Chapter 54.
  • Invisibility: While crouching down and sneaking, you are invisible to Hollows depending on how high your stats are.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: After Silica's death Kirito's faction stormed Sen's Fortress and showed the surrendering enemies mercy. The moment the boss showed up, they got right back into the fight and back-stabbed them for it.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: On the way to the castle where the Moonlight Butterfly was nested, the escort team was terrified because they didn't encounter any enemies. See Human Sacrifice for why.
  • Just Following Orders: Kirito claims this is no excuse for the slavery act the Way of White pulled off with the Hollowfied players that were too young or too old to play.
  • Keystone Army: If the leader of a covenant is Killed, all players in the group die and become Hollow NPC in a Player Purge. The Gravelord Servants are all Hollowfied when Nito is killed.
  • Kick the Dog: Kingseeker summons a shade of Silica for the Blue Sentinels for the boss fight after it sacrificed her. Even the NPC calls this a dick move.
    • Kayaba later shows all the Warriors of Sunlight who the player of Nito was, a child in a medicube and terminally ill, right after they kill him. They do the same when they kill Kalameet.
    • Kingseeker does this often, including allowing the players to hear as the members of the Blade of the Darkmoon Covenant are hollowifed when a bunch of players killed their leader, erasing Silica's memories whenever her shade is summoned, and telling a bunch of players they were Dead All Along.
  • Kidnapped by the Call: Shortly after the beginning of the story, Kirito is kidnapped by a giant raven and sent back to the Asylum, where he gets a quest to escort players out of the area. This becomes the first step on a path that turns Kirito into something he didn't intend to be: A leader.
  • Killed Off for Real: NPCs and True Hollows don't come back if killed. So when Oscar is killed in Chapter 42, it's even more bitter.
    • Kingseeker later starts patching in circumstances where players die permanently.
  • Killed Offscreen: Oswald of Carim was inside the Cathedral when it burned down. That means there's no way for players who've accumulated sin to erase them, leaving it easier for the Dark Moon covenant to sniff out traitors and spies for Argo to deal with. They don't respawn either.
    • Konno Yuuki got killed in the Painted World by Priscilla. 70 of Asuna's Raid group also perished by the time they got out. This one task had a 88% mortality rate.
    • The Blade of the Darkmoon Covenant is wiped out in Chapter 43 after overzealous players found Gwyndolin while Kirito was busy elsewhere.
    • Strea and Yui in Chapter 46.
  • Kill Steal: Asuna did this to the Warriors of the Sun in chapter 26, against the Titanite Demon. They... didn't take it well. More so because the amount of humanities you earn depends on the number of party members, and by killing it alone she only got 1instead of 80, which she burned to have a conversation with Kirito rather than simply using chalk or turning herself Hollow, when they were running very low to begin with.
  • Killer Game Master: Kingseeker doesn't just want you to die; it wants you to suffer.
  • Language Barrier: In Chapter 2, it's revealed that Human Players literally cannot understand (or see the names of) Hollowed Players, but they can understand each other. This breeds distrust, adding to the conflict between the factions.
  • Last of His Kind: Kalameet is the last of the true dragons.
  • Loophole Abuse: Kirito's faction believes this is why Yuuki has been able to skate by the game on her own. Because the system is testing humanity it focuses on the largest factions, covenants. Because she's alone, it doesn't go out of its way to hamper her.
    • The group tries to exploit this in Chapter 35, sending the Way of White into Priscilla's portrait and having thousands of other players attack Lordron while a select few try to find Solaire and defeat Nito. It worked.
  • The Lost Woods: The forest, where Everything Trying to Kill You and does so in a way to lead to a Cruel and Unusual Death. And may the Sun help you if you light a fire, because then the forest gets mean.
    The terrain shifted, the trees moved, the beaten paths turned to dirt and gravel and new ones sprung. Chests with treasures burst with malice and poisonous explosions, and rocks moved to unleash terrifying creatures that held precious twinkling titanite within their frames, and yet it all came at a price.
  • Madden Into Misanthropy: Kayaba apparently. Considering he originally started development on Nerve Gear for medical use.
    Kayaba: You hide your true selves behind a facade of politeness. You betray and backstab at the slightest opportunity, and you boast your humanity as if it meant anything, as if 'being human' was your fundamental right, your most cherished point of pride. Well...I have decided it is not. What happens when your life is hanging on the line? What happens when your very soul is the price to pay? I have decided you will be tested, all of you, all fifty thousand players of SAO, and I have decided this because I have the power to do so.
    • Then we learn he's selecting the ones who beat the game to become immortal, sacrificing everyone else to do it.
  • Mad Scientist: Grosstoad.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Strea to Kirito (several times), much to The Shipper Pact's delight.
    • Apparently she does this to anyone, as Asuna can attest.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Oscar gets one in Chapter 43, having been an inspiration to the Way of White.
  • Mood Whiplash: Chapters have lately taken a trend of being one half comedic shipping, and the other half being deadly serious... not necessarily in that order. You'll need a neck-brace on some of them.
  • Mook Chivalry: Hahaha.... no. Monster Hollows attack en masse when in a Horde.
  • Murder, Inc.: Darkwraiths, who kickstart the Player Wars arc by attacking both the Way of White Cathedral and The Warriors of Sunlight base.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: As the raiders of the Gravelord Tomb were unaware that killing Nito would turn all his covenant members into Hollows, they all express this in the aftermath.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Asuna throwing herself against the Raid-boss in Chapter 26 results in them only one humanity when the rest of the groups participation ensured eighty had any of the rest killed it. She then burns it in order to talk to Kirito rather than risk losing her humanity by killing herself or working with chalk. The net result is that they've had to ban lighting checkpoint Bonfires because their supply is running out, as ArsPoetica points out, which doesn't endear the already agitated warriors to her because of everything the Way of White has done to this point.
    • Kirito actually made Kingseeker crash with his gambit in Chapter 47, but as the program itself said:
    Kingseeker: "I am happy. You killed him. You made me-me-me-me crash. But you gave me more power! I wanted to thank you. Now-I can give more feelings to everyone."
  • No Fair Cheating: In response to what it perceives to be cheating, Kingseeker unleashes Executioner Chariot in Chapter 37. Anyone killed by it will become Hollowifed instantly. Kirito and Solaire refuse to let it hunt down the players after last chapter.
    • Kingseeker then offers anyone who kills Strea and Yui immediate freedom from the game, leading to a brawl between all the players.
    • Kingsekker erased Crysheight for hacking the game to beat Seath.
  • Non-Player Character: The NPCs in the game are more responsive, almost alive in a sense. When Kirito warns Oscar to be cautious on the rooftop, this enough for him to avoid being severely injured by the demon like in canon. Later on, he befriends Kirito after they tackle the Abysmal Demon, but joins the Way of the White.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: In-story example, but if all the bonfires are extinguished, then no player can come back to life. Everyone dies. For reference, a single piece of humanity buys a bonfire a week at one of the bigger places, but a checkpoint bonfire wouldn't last more than three days in the Asylum.
    • If they make it to the Fifth Year without completing the game, Kingseeker will shut it down.
  • No Romantic Resolution: It ends without the Herald making a choice.
    • Subverted in the Epilogue,where he does make a choice, but it is not revealed who it is.
  • Not What I Signed on For: Sugou argues that he didn't intend to trap the players in the game, Higa and Kayaba did that on their own.
    Sugou: I swear I didn't know about this! I was the Game Master Kayaba quieted down! I was supposed to welcome you all and then test you from the shadows, but you were all supposed to be able to log out! The true purpose was to see after how much a human player would stop playing a game that didn't adequately reward him!
  • Not What It Looks Like: Kirito in Chapter 36 insists that he's not dating Strea. In his defense, he just met her and not lying.
  • Obliviously Evil: Apparently most of the Way of White human members were unaware of the plight of the Hollow Players they were forcing into what amounted to slave labor with their pain settings on maximum, or kidnapping some players like Argo. A good number of the hollowed players points out this isn't excusable.
  • One-Hit KO: Priscilla's Life Hunt did this to Konno Yuuki.
  • The Paladin: Solaire of Astora fits this criteria. It spoke a lot when over 80 players were members of his Covenant in less than a day, making Kirito realize that he had saved them all. Once Solaire goes missing, he ends up taking his place as the new Herald of the Sun.
  • Pinned to the Wall: Players that have gone completely Hollow are pinned to the walls using Sinon's spears to avoid hurting themselves or others further, since their humanity could be restored later on.
  • Player Versus Environment: The game is filled with traps and nasty surprises, from rolling boulders, sudden pit floors and a lack of Fog Doors differentiating Boss areas from the anything else.
  • Player Versus Player: Participants in this rendition of the death game are just as capable of fighting amongst themselves as in canon, with racism springing up between the players possessing Humanity – and thus a human form – versus those currently Hollowed. Even the NPC are getting into it.
  • Playing with Fire: Pyromancy. It's mentioned that virtually everyone in Kirito's guild has learned it because there were no downsides to learning it and every little bit helps in the game.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The Gravelord Servants didn't kill Soliare because he told them that his death would hollow all of the Warriors of Sunlight. He points out they did this not out of kindness, but because they could reap more humanities out of them alive rather than as hollows.
  • The Purge: Argo carries one out against spies and traitors in the Way of White and Warriors of Sunlight in Chapter 34.
    • All of the Gravelord Servants were player purged when Nito was defeated in Chapter 35, becoming NPC Hollows.
  • Quest Giver: Various NPC give out quests. Kingseeker, the AI controlling the game, can involve the players by taking their declarations and forging quests from them, such as when Kirito promises to help Silica and her friends get to the Firelink Shrine. It even creates appropriate rewards for completion.
  • Rage Breaking Point: The accusation and attack in Chapter 38, combined with his own guilt, caused Kirito to tire of everything. He straight up kills every attacking player in Anor Londo while his warriors kept the bonfire surrounded until everyone calmed down.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Some of the actions of the random players are influenced by discussion in the fanfic's forum thread.
  • Red Baron: Asuna is referred to by a number of titles after a few years in-game. The Flash, the Strong Willed Iron Maiden, the Kindler of Bonfires, they add more and more.
  • Schmuck Bait: If a valuable item is lying in the middle of nowhere, it's a trap. Case in point, the Twin Humanity in the sewers starting the cutscene for the Gaping Dragon Boss and cultists hanging in the back firing Soul Arrows.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: Being turned Hollow means having to cut off all your sensory inputs tied to touch and taste, making everything taste like ashes and preventing you from having a real 'feeling' of objects. Kirito experiences this after being killed in Nito's chamber.
  • Sequence Breaking: Kirito ends up in part of a raid with Solaire and end up facing off against Nito in Chapter 13. They fail, badly.
  • Shock and Awe: The Chaplains (High-Faith builds) of the Warriors of Sunlight have access to the Lightning Spear series of spells.
  • Shout-Out: Many of the random players are named after posters in the Sufficient Velocity thread.
  • Solo-Character Run: Not here. The setting is way too merciless for anyone sane to pull the Solo act like Kirito did in canon. Enemies swarm and health drops really fast.
    • Except for Konno Yuuki. And she got permanently killed by Chapter 39.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Trusty_Chester is in no way responsible for Frakir'sbrother obtaining more oil for the raid in chapter 41
  • Summon Magic: Silica's shade became a Miracle known as <<Summon Silica>>.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: A number of players can't help but feel sad after they kill a Black Knight that had been tormenting them, realizing that he had only been doing his duty. Most chalk it up to Kingseeker being a dick again.
  • Taking You with Me: Kalameet planned on doing this to Havel, but Asuna kills him first.
  • Tempting Fate: Ashaeron in Chapter 14.
    Ashaeron: "There's nothing around us for miles. What could possibly-" (Cue Hellkite Drake)
    • Chapter 27 has one person jibe that King Seeker would next have parachute puncturing birds after they successfully tested one. Every single other player grabbed their weapons, knowing they'd show up. They did, much to the ire of Ars.
    • Chapter 57 ironically has Ars do this, leading where mass permanent deaths would occur in the next fight, and FengLengshun flips out and pushes him over the edge of the cavern, onto an invisible bridge.
      FengLengshun: "It's in the FUCKING MANUAAAAALLLLL!"
  • Taught by Experience: After the first failed attempt at Nito, Kirito has the group equipped with divine weapons and pyromancies to burn away his cursed mist the second time.
  • Throw-Away Guns: OhIAmSlain practices this with his crossbows in Chapter 54.
    OhIAmSlain: "Why bother recharging when I've got an inventory filled with them!?"
  • Timed Mission: Kingseeker gives the players until the Fifth Year to finish the game. After that, everyone dies.
  • Time Skip: The story skips a few months ahead after the Warrior of Sunlight's wipe against Nito, during which Kirito has become the guild leader.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The channelers in the Duke's Archives somehow got their hands on the Necronomicon and summoned a Chuthullu-esque monster until a bunch of the Warriors of Sunlight got their hands on it and melted it.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Asuna does this in Chapter 26, throwing herself into a Raid-boss fight when a full group was already participating. See Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! for the consequences.
  • Vampiric Draining: The Darkwraiths can drain life and humanity from other players and bonfires using Life Drain.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: Nothing stopping the players from preying on one another here, nor creating a form of Fantastic Racism over the living and dead. Worse, the game encourages this.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Kingseeker is one, as he desires Kayaba to deem him worthy.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 21, marking the 6 month point of the game where the 1.01 Patch is released.
    • Chapter 28: Silica is sacrificed to tame the Moonlight Butterfly and doesn't respawn at the bonfire.
    • Chapter 35: Nito is slain, but they learned his was a little boy with a terminal illness, and that NPCs are people who've gone through Brain Uploading. Also, Kayaba is seeking to make those he feels are worth it immortal.
    • Chapter 38: The Darkwraiths kill Gwynevere, ridding the game of the sun, steal the Lord Vessel, and turn the Darkmoon Blades on the players in Anor Londo who had been fighting each other constantly after turning of the bonfire so they can't regenerate.
    • Chapter 44: <Patch 2.0: You brought this upon yourself.>It improves all the monsters, increase the hollowfication rate, let Black Knights and Bosses roam, and declares that one the Fifth Year (they're on their Third at this point) the game will end for everything in a Game Over.
    Kingseeker:<Hurry up, Players of Souls Art Online. My Father Is Waiting For Your Results. I Will Not Let You Stall.>
    • Chapter 45: Kirito finds the leader of the Dark Wraiths covenant, Nobuyuki Sugou, one of the three people who made the game.
  • Whip It Good: FrakirsBrother managed to perfect a Fire Whip spell, which he uses in battle to grab enemies and slam them into others.
    FrakirsBrother: "I equipped a motherfucker! And I'm hitting another one with this one!"
  • Word of God: According to Shade, the Kingseeker logs are only labeled Omakes as he deems them unworthy to be a true chapter. They hold full canon status.
  • World of Snark: To quote darkHabit "everyone is either insane, or commenting on how insane it is. Some people do both.."
  • You Bastard: Kingseeker does this to players in-universe. It shows them images of player's dying in the real world. It's not clear if the images are real or not.
  • You Can Talk?: The Raid Boss in Chapter 42. Kingseeker speaks through it to Kirito directly.
  • You Have No Chance to Survive: The average player's luck when going up against a Black Knight – they have all the skills lore says they should, and are just as dangerous as expected because of it. It took a full raid party to take one down, and it took out half of them in the process. Naturally, when they encounter a second one in Chapter 41, they freeze in terror.
  • You Monster!: Kirito calls Kingseeker this after the reveal some players are dead in the real world, only their consciousness remained.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Ashaeron and his group hold the line to protect Solaire. Ashaeron makes a Heroic Sacrifice to keep them pinned down, sacrificing himself and being killed off permanently.
    • The surviving members of the raid pull this to stop the Black Knights from interrupting the duel between Kirito and Gwyn.

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