Maboroshi no Fukushū-sha
August 11, 2012
After witnessing Yolko dispersing into fragments, Kirito spots the hooded murderer fleeing from the crime scene and attempts to capture him. During the pursue, the hooded murderer takes out a teleportation crystal. When Kirito notices this, he uses his blade throwing skills to stop the hooded man, but the attack is blocked by the safe area protection. Unfortunately, the hooded murderer gets away by using the teleportation crystal and, because of the bell, Kirito was not able to hear where he was going.
Frustrated in his failed attempt to capture the perpetrator, Kirito returns to the room and slams his fist against the wall, which prompts the «Immortal Object» pop-up to appear. Meanwhile, Asuna was guarding the terrified Schmitt, who fully believes that the murderer is the vengeful ghost of their deceased guild leader, Griselda, because the assassin’s robe is similar to Griselda’s outfit. But Kirito still believes that it was not a ghost and that there must be a logical explanation to the two murders within the safe areas.
After sending Schmitt back to the «Divine Dragon Alliance» main base, Kirito and Asuna contemplate about the recent events. Asuna begins to believe that the black robed player really is Griselda's ghost by having seen it twice. But Kirito still insist that it was not a ghost, because ghost would not be able to use a teleport crystal. It seemed Kirito had an explanation regarding the teleport crystal, but he quickly disregards it after. After a moment, Asuna gives Kirito a sandwich. Kirito praises the sandwich, thinking that the sandwich was bought, but he is then told that it was handmade by Asuna. Kirito jokingly suggests to auction Asuna's handmade food, in order to get rich. This angers Asuna, causing Kirito to lose grip of his sandwich. As he witnesses the sandwich shattering into fragments, he falls to the ground, at first seemingly upset with the disappearance of the sandwich, but in reality, he realizes the truth about the crime, exclaiming that what they had seen was something else and that there have never been any weapons or logic that could make murders possible in safe areas.
Meanwhile, on the 19th Floor: «Hill of the Cross», Schmitt visits Griselda's grave, asking for forgiveness. Then a ghost-like voice is heard, repeatedly asking "Really?" and thus frightening Schmitt. Then he realizes that something is getting close to him quickly and Schmitt turns around, only to find a rabbit. Schmitt, now relieved, turns around to find the hooded ghost. The ghost asks Schmitt what he has done and takes out a sword. Frightened, Schmitt confesses that on that day, he found a crystal and a memo in his belt pouch, but he is then interrupted by a man's voice asking him whose orders was it. Schmitt believes that the man is a ghost of Grimlock and replies, saying that he does not know who gave the order and claims to never murdering anyone. The two ghosts are revealed to be Yolko and Caynz.
Returning back to Kirito and Asuna, Kirito states that Yolko and Caynz are in fact still alive. Explaining that within safe areas, a player's HP cannot be lowered under normal circumstances, but the durability of objects, on the other hand, can still be decreased, like the sandwich which lost its durability and shattered into fragments. The spear that pierced Caynz's armor didn't lower Caynz's HP, but the armor's durability instead, which explains the dispersing shards. And by timing for the moment the armor broke, Caynz teleported away resulting an effect, which acted as the imitation of the death special effect. And as for Yolko, Kirito estimates that Yolko had the dagger behind her the entire time she was talking to them, because she never once stood with her back to them. When the timing was right, she acted like a dagger from the outside had hit her. Their plan was to bring Schmitt to their old leader’s grave, and record his confession for aiding the murder of Griselda.
Meanwhile, Schmitt realizes Yolko and Caynz's plan and states that he was only following an order that someone had paid a lot of money for him to do. Schmitt was then suddenly attacked by a dagger that causes him to be paralyzed. The attackers were members from the player killing guild, Laughing Coffin. They have come with intention to kill Schmitt, Yolko, and Caynz. Just as the situation is looking grim, Kirito arrives in time on a horse to save them and scares off the player killers by claiming that he has reinforcements arriving soon. Heeding to Kirito’s warning, «PoH», «Red-Eyed XaXa» and «Johnny Black» depart from the scene. Schimitt thanks Kirito for saving them, but asks how he knew that they would be ambushed. Kirito responds, that he didn't know, but thought it was a possibility.
Kirito begins asking questions about the two weapons made by Grimlock. Yolko and Caynz admits that Grimlock was not willing to help them at first, but eventually gave into their request. Kirito tells them that Grimlock didn't oppose their plan for Griselda's sake, surprising Yolko and Caynz.
Kirito then recalls the conversation with Asuna. Asuna ask Kirito, what he would do if he got a legendary drop. Kirito responds that he hates that kind of situation, that is why he went solo. Asuna responds, that in her guild, they have a rule that the item belongs to the person who received it. She continues saying that in SAO, it's up to the player to announce what he or she received after a battle. That's why, it is better to set a rule like that to prevent having secrets and lies between the party members and that this rule would make marriages mean something in SAO, explaining that once you're married, the item storage is shared with the significant other. After getting married, the player cannot hide anything anymore. Asuna thinks that it was romantic and realistic, while Kirito, out of curiosity, asks if Asuna was ever married. Asuna misunderstands the question and is prepared to attack with a fork. Kirito quickly clears up the misunderstanding and realizes something about the storage sharing. Kirito asks what would happen to the items if a significant other dies. The answer is that mostly likely all of the deceased's items would be given to the partner. Leading them to believe that the rare ring in Griselda's storage must have went to Grimlock, and not the murderer and that Grimlock stole the ring from his own storage.
Now in the present time, Caynz questions if it was Grimlock that send the memo and killed Griselda. Kirito explains that Grimlock hired the Laughing Coffin to commit the murder. Kirito also explains that Grimlock helped with Yolko and Caynz's plan so that he could use their plan to bury the ring case forever, by getting all three of them to get together and exterminate them for good, thus explaining the appearance of the Laughing Coffin.
Asuna arrives with a captured Grimlock the client of the «Laughing Coffin» who was watching from a distance. After being cornered, he admitted that he was the mastermind behind the death of his wife, whose real name is «Yuuko». His actual motive was that he did not want her personality to change from what it was originally in the real world. Believing that his Yuuko had vanished and wanting to keep Yuuko as she appeared in his memories forever, he decided to kill her, convinced that he killed his wife out of love. Asuna corrects him, saying that it was not love, but a feeling of possession. Startled by Asuna's word, Grimlock fell to the ground shaken. Schmitt, Caynz, and Yolko come to Grimlock, take him by the arm and ask if they may take Grimlock, to which Kirito agrees.
As the case draws to a close, Asuna asks Kirito what he would do if he was to get married and noticed a side of his partner that he had not known before. Surprising Asuna, he replies that he would feel lucky to be married to someone because that would mean that they would love every side of their partner that they already know and would have another part of them to love. Before leaving, Kirito grabs Asuna's arm to show her Yuuko's ghost and feels that the Yuuko can now rest in peace. Asuna suddenly asks if they can add each other as friends and, even Kirito still insists that he is a solo player, Asuna urges him to think about while they get some food as they head back to town.
- Teleport Crystal
- Throwing Pick x 3
- Sandwich - given by Asuna
- Record Crystal
- Guilty Spike
- Mate Chopper
- Aincrad Floor 19: Hill of the Cross
- Adapted from Volume 8 A Murder Case in the Area.
- In the LN, Asuna and Kirito go over to the 20th Floor in an attempt to ambush Grimlock at an NPC restaurant that he apparently likes, but in the anime, they just sit on a bench to have dinner.
- In the LN, Schmitt was asked to write down the names of all Golden Apple members and he gives the parchment with the names to Kirito. While waiting for Grimlock on the 20th Floor, Kirito reads the parchment and notices that Caynz's name is romanized as Caynz, instead of Kains, which clues him in that the murder was a hoax. In the anime however, Kirito deduces the truth through his sharp intuition after seeing his sandwich burst due to hiting the ground with low durability.
- In the LN, Grimlock denied his guilt of having Griselda murdered at first, saying that Griselda must have tried the ring on which is why he did not receive the ring himself after she was killed and only admitted his guilt after Yolko unearthed an «Eternal Storage Trinket» with Griselda's Seal of the guild leader and her marriage rings, proving that Griselda could not have tried the ring on.
- If you married someone, that means you love every side of your significant other that you already know. So if you find a new side after to love, doesn’t that mean you’ll love your partner even more? - Kirito