The Progressers (攻略者たち, Kōryaku-sha-tachi?), released at COMITIA 82 on November 18, 2007, is the 1st Material Edition written by Kunori Fumio. The story features the events of the Field Boss fight on the 56th Floor.
After a failed attempt to defeat the GeoCrawler, a Field Boss on the 56th Floor, Asuna and Kirito had an argument on the next method to use in the battle against the monster. She proposed sacrificing the Non-Player Characters (NPCs) of the village, a strategy Kirito strongly opposed, stating that the NPCs were also living beings. Unable to reach a consensus, the two ended up dueling each other, with Kirito emerging as the victor by employing a feint. Later at midnight, while mulling over her defeat, Asuna was approached by the small NPC girl Ruru. Their conversation triggered a flag, providing a clue for defeating the boss.
Afterwards, Asuna realized that despite being in a VRMMO, Kirito thought of SAO as reality as well. She observed him celebrating the defeat of the boss with Ruru, while he got an in-game harassment warning for holding her into the air.
- Due to the story being written before Sword Art Online became a light novel series, the introduction states that fifty thousand players were trapped in Sword Art Online, as opposed to the ten thousand players in the light novel version.
- This Material Edition is in manga format and the artwork is drawn by Reki, instead of his light novel illustrator 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 omitted 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