Twenty-four of the thirty players in the tournament have been eliminated. The satellite map reveals only another player, Yamikaze, nearby. Discounting Kirito, Sinon, Sterben, and the late Pale Rider, that leaves one player missing. Since the killer is likely already in her home, Sinon suggests using Yamikaze to draw Sterben out. Kirito, however, is worried about the missing player. He believes there may be another conspirator behind "Death Gun", and the missing player was yet another victim.
Kirito takes point as decoy to draw out Sterben and Yamikaze while Sinon takes up her sniping perch and takes them out. Yamikaze finds Kirito and goes after him, but Kirito can feel Sterben's killing intent. He manages to dodge Sterben's shot while Sinon takes out Yamikaze. This costs her the element of surprise in targeting Sterben. The two aim for one another, and fire. Sterben's shot shatters Sinon's scope, while Sinon manages to destroy Sterben's rifle, forcing him into a close-range battle with Kirito using an estoc, the weapon of choice of a prominent Laughing Coffin member.
In the real world, Asuna finds the hospital where Kirito staying to play GGO and hunt down "Death Gun". Kirito is sweating profusely and his heart rate is climbing. Yui explains that Kirito is in battle at that moment, with the livestream showing him in mortal combat with Sterben. Aki recognizes the name as being the German word for "Death".
Back in GGO, Kirito tells Sterben that he knows the truth behind "Death Gun" and that if he can discover his real name, he would be arrested. Sterben, however, knows that Kirito doesn't have a clue to his identity: when Kirito had captured the Laughing Coffin members after their battle with the Assault Team, Kirito stated that he had no desire to know their names. With Kirito's confidence wavering, Sterben gains the upper hand.