|Spoiler Alert: This article or section contains details about plotlines not covered in the anime. Do not proceed unless you wish to be spoiled. |
Concerto of Black and White (黒白のコンチェルト, Kokubyaku no Koncheruto?), released at COMITIA 99 on February 5, 2012, is the 9th Material Edition written by Kunori Fumio. The story features an adventure of Kirito and Asuna on the 3nd Floor of Aincrad. It was later expanded and published as the second volume of the Progressive series.
After clearing the 2nd Floor boss, Kirito and Asuna made their way to the next floor. The boy explained that actual humanoid monsters would debut on the floor and how Kayaba Akihiko had considered SAO a concerto of life and death. While talking, they arrived at the door leading to the new floor; however, Kirito did not notice it and thus hit his head, falling on the ground of the newly unlocked zone. Having entered through the door as well, Asuna started to admire the sylvan scenery but was soon interrupted by Kirito, who wanted her to decide whether she wanted to come with him for an errand or disband the party and return to town. Assuming that the errand Kirito was interested in was important, Asuna decided on the former option and thus the two ventured deeper into the forest.
While navigating the forest, Kirito informed Asuna about the patterns of the local monsters, as well as the peculiarity of the Forest of Wandering. Just as Kirito finished his explanation, Asuna noted the Treant Sapling behind him, which engaged them in battle. After quickly defeating the enemy, Kirito explained that he wanted to start a quest, which required finding certain Non-Player Characters (NPCs) in a random location. They started to search for the sound of sword clanging that was the hint for the location, following which they eventually spotted two elf NPCs fighting each other. Kirito informed Asuna about the procedure for starting the quest and, choosing to help the female Dark Elf, they attacked the male Forest Elf.