After his encounter with "Death Gun", Kirito racks his brain over who he could've been in SAO. He also recalls one incident in SAO when Laughing Coffin ambushed the Assault Team, claiming several lives. Kirito and his friends managed to emerge victorious over the assailants, felling twenty-one Laughing Coffin members, two of whom Kirito personally slew, but whose names and faces Kirito cannot remember.
Kirito's introspection is interrupted by Sinon, who appears worried about Kirito. Kirito clutches her hand for comfort, shortly before Sinon is teleported to her next preliminary match.
Sinon emerges victorious in her match, blasting her humvee-driving opponent through the windshield.
Sinon's next preliminary match is against Kirito. The outcome of the match would end with both of them in the finals. To her surprise, Kirito doesn't appear to be willing to fight, instead slowly marching towards Sinon. Sinon fires wildly at Kirito, missing repeatedly as he continues to walk unflinchingly towards her. As she berates him, Kirito realizes that he had promised to fight Sinon. He decides to settle the dispute between them with a single-shot duel.
Sinon believes she will easily win, as she has a massive range advantage with her sniper rifle. She fires her rifle, but to her surprise, Kirito cuts the bullet in two with his photon sword, using the direction her eyes were looking in to predict her shot's trajectory without the need for prediction lines. Shocked, Sinon asks Kirito where he gets his strength from. Kirito claims it's not strength, but pure skill, a claim that Sinon refutes. Kirito asks her if she would kill someone in the real world to protect those precious to her, bringing back memories of the fateful day at the post office and making her realize how similar their histories were.
Kirito claims he no longer has that strength, and asks Sinon to land the finishing blow upon him and win the match. Angrily, Sinon concedes the match to Kirito, but vows that she would emerge victorious when next they fought.