After grinding in the labyrinth on the 74th floor, Kirito comes across a rare Ragout Rabbit. He slays it and earns its meat as a rare drop, but alas, his cooking skill is insufficient to prepare it without ruining it.
As he considers selling it at Agil's shop, he is greeted by Asuna, who wished to inform him of an upcoming boss raid. As it turns out, she had leveled her cooking skill to its max, so Kirito enlists her help in preparing the Ragout Rabbit, since she had the tools necessary to prepare it at her house, in exchange for half of the meal.
However, Kuradeel, a KoB member and Asuna's appointed bodyguard, is not pleased with this arrangement, particularly since he found Kirito suspicious and also recognized him as a Beater. Asuna, not wishing to hear Kuradeel disparage Kirito further, dismisses him and takes Kirito back to her home, where she prepares a stew for herself and Kirito. Over dinner, the two discussed how in the years since the start of the Death Game, the players trapped within SAO had grown accustomed to it, as though the game was their new reality. Nonetheless, they resolve to beat the game. Asuna then asks Kirito to form a party with her so they could do some dungeon-raiding the next day. Kirito is reluctant to do so, seeing other party members as a hinderance, but Asuna manages to persuade him.
The next morning, after an awkward greeting at the teleport gate that resulted in Kirito accidentally copping a feel of Asuna, Kuradeel appears. Kuradeel, whom Asuna had been trying to avoid, demands she return to KoB headquarters. Kirito intervenes, prompting an angered Kuradeel to challenge Kirito to a duel. Kirito accepts, and in the ensuing duel, destroys Kuradeel's sword and forces him to concede. With this, Asuna officially relieves him of his bodyguarding duties and orders him to return to HQ, a command he obliges unwillingly.
In the 74th floor labyrinth, Kirito and Asuna fight against various monsters before coming across a massive door. Cautiously, the two open the door and realize they had discovered the Boss Room, and the floor's boss: the Gleam Eyes.