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Recap / Sword Art Online II Ep 14 One Little Step

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Kirito and Kyoji struggle in Shino's apartment. As Kyoji hits Kirito with his poison-laced syringe, Shino knocks him out with her stereo. Thankfully, Kirito was protected from the syringe by one of the EKG electrodes on his body from the hospital. Shino thanks Kirito for coming to her aid, but Kirito apologizes for taking so long that Kyoji almost killed her.

A few days later, Endou tries to extort Shino again, this time threatening her with a model gun, triggering her. However, Endou can't pull the trigger properly on her model gun. To her shock, Shino regains her composure and is not only able to hold the gun, but to turn off the safety and shoot it.

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Afterwards, Kazuto picks up Shino from school and takes her to meet with Kikuoka about the "Death Gun" incident. According to an investigation Kikuoka conducted after the "Bullet of Bullets" tournament, the conspirators behind "Death Gun" consisted of Kyoji Shinkawa, his older brother Shouichi, and Atsushi Kanamoto. Shouichi and Kanamoto were both SAO survivors and members of Laughing Coffin, known respectively as "Red-Eyed XaXa" and "Johnny Black". Kyoji and Shouichi were in custody, but Kanamoto was still at large.

"Death Gun" began when Shouichi acquired an optical cloak in GGO. After hearing about how XeXeed tricked Kyoji into making an unideal character, the two conspired to kill him, with Shouichi relaying XeXeed's address to him. The succinylcholine used to commit the murders were stolen from the hospital that was run by Kyoji and Shouichi's father, which Shouichi would inject into XeXeed's player after Kyoji shot at him in-game. They would repeat the pattern with another high-level player, then, with "Death Gun" being regarded as a joke, attempted the same thing during the BoB tournament with three high-level player, two of whom they killed: Pale Rider and Garret. Sinon was intended as the third target. After escaping from SAO, Shouichi bragged of the lives he took in the game, earning his brother's support and admiration. They both believed "Death Gun" was little more than a game.

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Kirito claimed that there was a dark side to virtual reality: it made the real world seem unreal. Kikuoka asks Kazuto where his reality lies. Kazuto admits that a part of him was still in virtual reality, but Shino refutes this, stating that he treated virtual worlds as being just as real as true reality. Kikuoka tells Shino that the brothers Shinkawa were being confined in a mental hospital until their sense of reality was restored. Shino laments that Kyoji's reality was that of GGO: he had forsaken the real world.

Before leaving, Kikuoka tells Kazuto that Shouichi left him a message, taunting him and telling him he couldn't stop him.

Kazuto takes Shino to Agil's cafe, introducing her to Asuna and Lisbeth's player. They are not the only people he wants her to meet: after telling Asuna and Lisbeth of Shino's past, they tracked down Sachie Ohwase, who was present at the post office the day Shino, and the robber, had come. Sachie thanks Shino: thanks to her actions that day, Shino had saved not only her, but her unborn daughter. Her daughter, Mizue, had also come, thanking Shino as well. Kazuto explains that he brought them here, so Shino could see how her actions helped others, so that she could finally forgive herself. Shino, overwhelmed by her emotions, breaks down in tears as she finally casts away the weight of her past sins.

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