December 8, 2012
Kazuto remembers when he discovered the truth about his parents and starts thinking about why he started playing video-games as a way to run away from reality, but after his two years in SAO he understands that it's the same. He then tells Suguha that he'll wait for her in the north terrace of Aarun.Suguha feels sorry for how she treated Kazuto and decides to enter ALO again. However she just happens to meet up with Recon who had escaped from the Salamanders and followed her all the way to Aarun. He confesses and tries to kiss her, but Leafa in return punches him and sends him rolling down the stairs. He returns and tells her that he thought that if he was honest about his feelings she will understand him.
Leafa arrives to the terrace where Kirito is waiting; they decide to fight to express their feelings. The battle was taken to the air and on the last moment Leafa throws her sword, aiming to be slashed by Kirito, but finds out that he did exactly the same, they ended up hugging in mid-air, where Kirito expresses his thoughts to her and Leafa decides to help him rescue Asuna.
Back in front of the Dome, Kirito summons Yui, and she informs that the quest was made to become impossible to be cleared due to the Guardians' high numbers, but that Kirito might be able to clear it by using his speed. Kirito, Leafa and Recon decide to challenge the Grand Quest again, and everything begins smoothly with Kirito attacking and Leafa and Recon stay behind for healing support, but everything changes when the Guardian Knight start targeting Recon and Leafa, so Recon takes the offensive, attacking with magic and attracting the Guardians' attention, and finally reveals his strongest spell, Self-Destruction magic, and uses it to take a huge quantity of Guardians and leaving a large gap.
With Recon's sacrifice they get a brief relief, but the Guardians resume their attack almost instantly. When they were about to be surrounded, a squad of Sylph warriors appear, followed by a squadron of Cait Sith with tamed Dragons, Sakuya and Alicia appear to help. They explain that they owe Kirito their help because they finished their preparations with the money he gave them.
Leafa decides to take action and fights back-to-back with Kirito, opening some space to him, finally Kirito flies toward the highest part of the dome, but another group of Guardians appear in front of him. Leafa throws him her sword and with it he breaks through the Guardians and arrive to the summit. Alicia and Sakuya retreat, since their mission was complete.
On the top however, the doors remain closed. Kirito asks Yui why it will not open, she explains that the game administrators blocked it so no-one could open it, leaving nobody able to complete the quest. Kirito remembers the system access card given by Asuna and gives it to Yui, with the Administrator rights, she opens the door and they teleport.
- Adapted from Sword Art Online Light Novel Volume 4