The Progressers (攻略者たち, Kōryaku-sha-tachi?) is the first Material Edition of the Sword Art Online series. Kawahara Reki published it under his pen name Kunori Fumio. It was sold at COMITIA 82, in November 2007.
After a failed attempt by Klein and Kirito to defeat a Field Boss on the 56th Floor, the GeoCrawler, using food, Asuna and Kirito argue over the way on how to defeat it. Asuna proposes using a massacre of NPCs in the village to defeat the boss and Kirito disagrees with her, saying that the NPCs are human too. Asuna states that she's on a level higher than Klein, but he tells her that Kirito is even higher, so they end up dueling each other, with Kirito emerging as the winner using an outside system skill as a feint to win. Asuna mulls over her defeat outside at midnight where she talks to the small NPC girl Ruru, and unknowingly triggers a flag that gives her a clue on how to defeat the floor boss.
Later Asuna realizes that even though they are in a VRMMO, Kirito thinks of SAO as reality as well. Asuna watches Kirito celebrating with Ruru over the defeat of the floor boss, while he gets an in-game harassment warning for holding her into the air.
- This material edition is in manga format and the artwork is drawn by Reki, not Abec.
- The story had been mentioned briefly in the novel and manga. Additionally, the beginning of Episode 5 depicted the part of the story about the boss meeting, though it ommited Kirito and Asuna's duel.
- In the web version, the duel in this material edition lasted for 20 minutes, and was the occasion that made Asuna love Kirito.
- ↑ Web version story Zekken