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List of Volumes
List of Episodes
- "The End of the World"
- "Land of the Fairies"
- "Captive Queen"
- "To the World Tree"
- "The Lugru Corridor"
- "General of the Blazing Flame"
- "The Truth of Alfheim"
- "Grand Quest"
- "Gilded Hero"
- "The World Seed"
Plot SummaryIt has been two months since Kirito cleared Sword Art Online, saving thousands of players from the virtual prison in which they have been trapped. Unfortunately, 300 players remain comatose for reasons unknown. Among them is Asuna, Kirito's lover from SAO.
While visiting Asuna one day, Kirito becomes acquainted with Nobuyuki Sugou, a developer from RECT Progress and an employee of Asuna's father. When Asuna's father steps out of the room, Sugou shows his true colors as he reveals to Kirito that he plans to marry Asuna the following week; he had long fancied Asuna, but she had always spurned his affections. She wouldn't be able to do so while she was still comatose, however.
As Kirito despairs over his inability to save Asuna, he receives an email from one of his old SAO friends with a screenshot of a woman that looks just like Asuna! He learns that the screenshot was taken in the game Alfheim Online, which had been released during the SAO incident for use on the Amusphere, a safer alternative to the NerveGear. The goal of the game is to clear the Grand Quest and reach the top of the World Tree. Some players attempted to get around the quest by reaching the top from the outside; while they didn't succeed, one of them managed to take the screenshot. Also of interest is the fact that the game was developed by RECT Progress, Sugou's company.
Determined to save Asuna, Kirito borrows a copy of ALO and logs in. After restoring Yui and learning how to fly, he comes across another player being pursued by other players; since PVP combat was a central feature of ALO and death did not result in players dying in the real world, players pursuing and killing each other was a common occurance. Kirito intervenes and befriends the player being pursued, a swordwoman named Leafa. Leafa offers to help Kirito reach the World Tree and clear the Grand Quest with him.
What Kirito doesn't realize at the time is that Leafa is actually his younger sister, Suguha Kirigaya, who had been struggling with feelings of romantic attraction to Kirito since he returned from SAO after finding out that they were actually cousins and Kirito had been adopted into her family. Leafa doesn't realize that Kirito is actually her brother Kazuto, either.
As Kirito and Leafa fight their way across ALO and make their way to the World Tree, Asuna, who is confined to a bird cage atop the World Tree, learns from Sugou, who appears in-game as the fairy king Oberon, that she and the other players who were still comatose in the real world had their disconnect signals from SAO's being cleared re-routed by Sugou so that he could conduct experiments into using VR technology to manipulate memories. Asuna is determined to stop Sugou and, after an ill-fated attempt to escape herself, gets her hands on an administrative keycard which she tosses from the top of the World Tree to Kirito below.
Kirito attempts to clear the Grand Quest by himself, but he finds himself overwhelmed by the endlessly respawning enemies within and killed. Leafa revives him and begs him to stop and confesses her love for him, having come to fall in love with Kirito after realizing that her brother was in love with Asuna after accompanying him to visit her in the hospital. Kirito, however, is determined to save Asuna.
The mention of Asuna's name leads to a frightening realization as both Kirito and Leafa discover each other's true identities. In the real world, Kazuto and Suguha are forced to confront the fact that they each know that they weren't truly siblings, and that Suguha had harbored romantic feelings for him, feelings that she knew he couldn't reciprocate, hence why she fell in love with Kirito instead. The two log back into the game to duel, and eventually come to terms with their feelings for each other.
Their determination renewed, Kirito and Leafa, along with the friends they made during their journey to the World Tree, fight their way through the Grand Quest until Kirito reaches the end and uses the keycard he got from Asuna to finally reunite with her. Before they can log out, however, they are confronted by Sugou, who uses his administrative privileges to confine the two as he begins to sexually assault Asuna's virtual body while also announcing his plans to rape her real body.
As Kirito begins to despair his powerlessness before Sugou, Akihiko Kayaba's virtual ghost approaches him and reminds him of a valuable lesson he learned during their last duel in SAO about the strength of the human will. He bestows upon Kirito his administrative login credentials, which Kirito uses to break free of Sugou's restraints and fight back, disabling Sugou's pain inhibitors and visciously attacking him until he killed his avatar. With Sugou defeated, Kirito logs himself and Asuna out of ALO, and races to the hospital.
Sugou attempts to attack Kirito in the real world as he approaches the hospital, but Kirito is able to subdue him and finally meet with Asuna in the real world.
In the months since then, all 300 players whom Sugou experimented upon were revived without any negative side effects or memories of the experiments done on them, while Sugou was arrested and charged for his crimes. Unfortunately, the controversy of the experiments caused RECT Progress to go out of business, and the VRMMORPG industry was on the verge of complete collapse. Kirito, however, received a parting gift from Kayaba after defeating Sugou: the "World Seed", a development kit for VRMMO games that Kirito disseminated across the internet. Now, anyone could create their own virtual worlds, leading to a VRMMORPG renaissance.
Kirito and his friends, including Leafa and Asuna, log back into ALO after it was relaunched to witness the re-appearance of Aincrad, the castle from SAO. Since Kirito had only made it to the 75th floor before, he was now determined to clear Aincrad in its entirety, this time with friends old and new at his side.