|Spoiler Alert: This article or section contains details about plotlines not covered in the anime. Do not proceed unless you wish to be spoiled. |
Karluin was a town built in the centre of a huge swath of ruins covering the southern end of the floor, giving the impression of a settlement of newly-arrived people reusing a fallen city of centuries past. Crumbling buildings made of darkened stone blocks dotted the town, while its centre was full of leather and canvas tents that bustled with chaotic liveliness on the dark cobblestone paving. A ruined old castle with various secret passageways was located on the east end of Karluin. Although the castle itself was considered to be part of town, its basement fell outside the town boundary.
In the north side of town, about fifty metres away from the Teleport Gate plaza, was a large, crumbling ruin in the middle of another large plaza. In the centre of the dark and dank ruin with thick stone walls, the main entrance to the catacombs beneath the town could be found, in the form of a descending staircase with bizarre holy statues on either side. The first floor of the catacombs was still considered to be part of the Inner Area of the town, thus it had no monsters or traps, while the second and third floors were treated as a dungeon.
The path leading to the town had a number of square stone blocks scattered throughout and was surrounded by half-crumbled stone walls, without any clear visual cue delineating the boundary of the town's Inner Area.
- Teleport Gate plaza
- Tavern Inn BLINK & BRINK
- Entrance to underground catacomb
- Ruined old castle
- Various ruins
After 19:00 on December 28, 2022, Asuna and Kirito decided to return to town, where Asuna requested to go to a restaurant that had tasty food but was not crowded. Thus, Kirito took her to BLINK & BRINK, where they had a meal and ate a special, limited-supply dessert that gave a buff to finding relics in town. Upon discovering the existence of various relics in town, Asuna persuaded Kirito to make use of the buff to find some relics. Having spent the next hour relic hunting, the two sold the majority of their loot, after which they decided to head to Yofel Castle on the 4th Floor.
At around eight o'clock the next morning, the duo returned to Karluin, only to find that it was raining. Wanting to avoid the rain, at 08:20, the two stepped into the catacombs beneath the town to complete some quests. For their first quest, the «Thirty Year Lament», they visited an underground chapel in the catacombs. There, they encountered a ghost, who had been trapped in the chapel for thirty years. After conversing with the ghost, the two found a gold pendant in the chapel and had it identified in town.
The pendant led them to the mansion of an affluent merchant family in Karluin, whose leader had sealed the girl he was betrothed to in the subterranean chapel. After escorting the merchant to confront the ghost and then returning him to his mansion, Asuna and Kirito received their rewards for the quest and, once they left the merchant's room, the latter disappeared with a rattling.
Having completed two more underground quests and gained another level, Asuna and Kirito returned to BLINK & BRINK for a glass of wine to celebrate. Noticing that the special dessert was still in stock, Kirito recalled having yet to see Argo's guide in the stores. Due to not being able to send her a friend message, Kirito concluded that Argo must have been busy with the dungeon beneath the town.
After a meal, the two seemingly retired for the night, but when Asuna stepped out into the hall to make use of a bath at the end of the hall, she noticed that Kirito was leaving the inn. Realising that he was going to the dungeon to look for Argo, Asuna decided to join him. However, before she could reach him, she lost track of him in the catacombs.
Several days later, on New Year's Eve, a New Year countdown event was organised at a ruined castle at the east end of Karluin by the Aincrad Liberation Squad and the Dragon Knights Brigade. Asuna and Kirito met the New Year in a hidden terrace of the castle. As they were running low on champagne, Kirito decided to head downstairs for a fresh bottle and some food. However, en route, he was ambushed by a player who had concealed himself with Hiding.
Holding a dagger at his back, the man attempted to deceive Kirito into moving to the basement of the castle, where the Anti-Criminal Code would not protect him, by claiming that the castle's interior was not part of town, as well as claiming to have applied a paralysis poison to his dagger. Realising what the man's intentions were, Kirito escaped his clutches and attempted to apprehend him, but the detonation of a smoke bomb allowed the man to flee. Fearing that Asuna was also in danger, Kirito rushed to her, finding her enjoying the view without an issue.
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