Kirito and Leafa enter the Lugru Corridor, with Kirito leading the way thanks to his Spriggan ability to see in the dark. Leafa jokes about Kirito's choice of race: Spriggans tend to be an unpopular choice since their treasure-hunting skills and illusion magic aren't very effective in combat.
Leafa then receives a message from Recon: "I was right. Be careful. S." Before she can decipher the message, Yui detects twelve players approaching. Leafa uses a concealment spell to hide herself and Kirito. From their hiding spot, they find a small bat that Leafa recognizes as a high-level Tracer spell. She manages to destroy it, then tells Kirito that they have to make a run for it: the Tracer's fire attribute meant it was created by a Salamander.
Their escape over a narrow passage is cut off by a stone wall erected by the Salamander mages. With the only way around being a lake, which would be a death sentence without the aid of an Undine player, Kirito and Leafa are left with no choice but to fight, with Kirito taking point and Leafa providing support. Kirito's attacks, however, are rebuffed by shield using Salamanders supported by healing mages, and countered by more mages using fire spells. With the battle looking hopeless, Leafa suggests surrendering and starting over at Swilvane, but Kirito adamantly refuses to let anyone die on his watch and continues to fight.
Yui gets an idea. She tells Leafa to use all of her mana reserves to block the Salamanders' next attack while she tells Kirito the incantation for a powerful illusion spell. When the spell activates, Kirito transforms into a monster resembling the Gleam Eyes from SAO, and proceeds to lay waste to the Salamanders.
One of the Salamanders are spared, so that he can be interrogated. Kirito manages to bribe the Salamander into telling him that he and his party were sent to hunt them down after receiving word that a group of Salamanders had been defeated by a Sylph and a Spriggan. In addition, a large number of Salamanders were headed north.
Upon arriving safely in a town, Leafa logs out and finds that Recon's player, Shinichi, had been trying to call her for a while. When Suguha answers his next call, she learns that Sigurd was conspiring with Salamanders against the Sylph leader, Sakuya. She was planning to meet with the leader of the Cait Sith, Alicia Rue, to establish an alliance which Sigurd planned to prevent.
Leafa logs back in and relays this information to Kirito. She suggests he ally with the Salamanders, since they were most likely to reach the top of the World Tree and that there was no way to save the Sylph and Cait Sith leaders. Kirito declines, refusing to abandon his friends, and quickly sets out for the location of the Sylph and Cait Sith parley.