|Spoiler Alert: This article or section contains details about plotlines not covered in the anime. Do not proceed unless you wish to be spoiled. |
Rondo of a Fragile Blade (儚き剣のロンド, Hakanaki Ken no Rondo?), released at COMITIA 98 on October 30, 2011, is the 8th Material Edition written by Kunori Fumio. The story features Kirito and Asuna meeting on 2nd Floor of Aincrad. It was later released as the first chapter of the Rondo of a Fragile Blade story in the first volume of the Progressive light novel series.
Four days after the 2nd Floor of Aincrad was unlocked, Kirito, disguised while in town as his fame as a beater had now spread, noticed a player complaining to a blacksmith because the latter had failed to upgrade his Anneal Blade four times, making the sword useless. While Kirito was watching the scene, he began thinking about the probabilities of such an event to occur.
While Kirito pondered on this thought, Asuna arrived and asked him to explain the situation, discerning his identity despite his attempt at a disguise. Thus, Kirito informed her of a player failing his weapon upgrade attempt four consecutive times. While they discussed the enhancement system in Sword Art Online, the incident was resolved with two of the player's friends helping him regain his composure. Everyone apologized and the blacksmith, Nezha, offered to buy the now useless sword for a generous eight thousand cor as compensation.
After the incident, Kirito and Asuna sat on a bench to talk. While Kirito was hesitant about upgrading his sword, Asuna informed him that she noticed his intention and hesitation and told him that she was also planning to upgrade her rapier. After enquiring about her collected materials and discovering that she had enough only for an approximately eighty percent chance of a successful upgrade, Kirito convinced her to gather more materials to maximise her odds. In turn, Asuna informed him that he will have to help her collect the materials because of his persistence.