|Spoiler Alert: This article/section contains details about future plotlines described in the light novels, not covered in the anime. Do not proceed unless you want to be spoiled. |
Continuation: Aria of a Starless Night is a Material Edition continuation of Aria of a Starless Night. This story was later published as part of the first volume of the Progressive series under the name of "Intermission - Reason for the Whiskers".
Kirito hides until the celebration on the second floor died down, as he would be in serious trouble since information of him being a Beater had spread amongst the players. While in hiding, he notices «Argo the Rat» running from two people towards the outskirts of town. He immediately chases after them until they come to halt. He recognizes that the two men were from a Beta test guild Fūmaningun. The members are after Argo for information on a certain Extra Skill that could be acquired on the second Floor, but are confronted by Kirito. They are then chased away by a Trembling Cow monster. Kirito, using Argo's promise for a free piece of information of his choosing, asks Argo about her whiskers. Instead of telling him, the information dealer shows him the location for the «Martial Arts» Extra Skill quest. After accepting the quest, Kirito's new sensei paints whiskers on his face. He would not be able to remove the paint until he had broken a demonic rock into two with his bare hands. Argo, during the Beta test, had given up on this quest and thus she had permanent cat-like whiskers on her face. After the Beta test, she kept the whiskers with make-up because they had become a part of her own image. Originally, Kirito also wanted to give up on the quest, but after Argo starts laughing after being asked how he looked, he decides to not leave until he completed the quest. After 3 days and 3 nights, Kirito finally manages to break the rock, acquiring the Martial Arts skill.