- This article is about the manga adaptation of the original Progressive series. You may be looking for the original light novel.
|Spoiler Alert: This article or section contains details about plotlines not covered in the anime. Do not proceed unless you wish to be spoiled. |
Sword Art Online - Progressive Volume 3 (ソードアート・オンライン プログレッシブ003, Sōdoāto Onrain Puroguresshibu 003?) is the third volume of the Progressive manga adaptation. This volume covers part of the Rondo of a Fragile Blade story.
After Asuna's Wind Fleuret was seemingly destroyed, Kirito was approached by Argo and found out that a weapon could only be destroyed via enhancement if the blacksmith attempted to upgrade an «end product». Asuna and Kirito soon discovered the trick that the blacksmith Nezha used to steal the weapons of high-leveled players via an enhancement scam and that Nezha had been giving the money earned out of the scam to the members of the Legend Braves to obtain expensive equipment. Using a disguise, Kirito tricked Nezha into performing the scan in front of him, and confronted him about it. Nezha revealed that he had been suffering from FullDive Non-Conformity and that by helping him cope with his handicap, the Legend Braves were too low-leveled to participate in boss raids, thus when a mysterious man told them of a trick to earn money quick, Nezha began his scam. Kirito told Nezha about an item that he obtained from the Bullbous Bow, a chakram, which would return to the user after being used, and thus allow him to take part in battles. However, using the chakram required an Extra Skill and Nezha had to forsake his smithing skill to obtain the skill needed to use the chakram.
In a flashback to Asuna's childhood, her mother bought her a teddy bear for her hard work, but the teddy bear was later run over by a car and could no longer be repaired. In the present, after Asuna's rapier broke, Nezha immediately began apologising while Kirito demanded an explanation for how could the sword break, when it should have only been downgraded in the worst scenario. Nezha explained that there might have been a new penalty added in the official version of the game. After the incident, Kirito took Asuna to an inn, planning to buy a new sword in the morning. Leaving Asuna in the inn, Kirito headed out and activated his «Hiding» skill.
While Kirito was observing Nezha from an alley, he was approached by Argo. Kirito asked Argo if she had anything to report and Argo revealed that there had been seven cases of a weapon breaking during enhancement. But she then informed him that it was impossible for a weapon to break during enhancement even in the official version of the game, as she had already researched it. She then explained that the only way for a weapon to break like that was if the item being enhanced was an «end product». Argo then encouraged Kirito to think if there was a moment during the process where they could have been distracted long enough for the blacksmith to switch the weapons. Kirito then remembered how they were distracted by the forge before the enhancement process was begun.
Meanwhile, Asuna was having recollections of the recent events while in bed. Suddenly, a man barged into her room and demanded her to bring out her items. Asuna tried looking for her sword that she no longer had, but then recognised the man as Kirito and questioned him on how he got in. After Kirito explained that party members could enter one's room unless set otherwise, Kirito demanded Asuna to bring up her menu in visible mode and guided her to the «Completely All Items Objectize» function which he then told Asuna to confirm before she managed to grasp what it was about. After Asuna confirmed the action, all the items in her inventory, ranging from her weapons and armour to her underwear, materialised nearby. Kirito then scavenged through the pile of items until he found Asuna's Wind Fleuret.
Having returned the Wind Fleuret to its rightful owner, Kirito brought Steamed Buns of Taran for them to eat but unbeknownst to him, the buns were filled with cream, which spilled over Asuna once she took a bite. While Kirito was looking for something to help Asuna wipe the cream off, Argo came to the inn room.
Some time later, Kirito asked Argo about the results of her investigation and found out that Nezha had met with four cloaked men and attempted to give them something, but suddenly panicked the same moment that he recovered Asuna's Wind Fleuret. Argo then suggested informing the public about the scam; however, Kirito expressed his concern that revealing this information might lead to even worse consequences, such as the tricked players demanding an execution, and stated that they needed more information and a way to relieve the anger of the victims before the scam was made public.
The next day, Kirito and Asuna went to the Labyrinth where they encountered a Lesser Taurus Striker. Kirito was the first to attack the monster and left it with merely a sliver of hit points when he suddenly called Asuna to switch with him. However, Asuna was intimidated by the minotaur and was stunned by its numbing attack, prompting Kirito to deal the finishing blow himself.
While navigating the Labyrinth, Kirito and Asuna noticed that the members of the Legend Braves were fighting a monster there, and were amazed by the group's team work. However, Kirito noted that the group had an unusual disparity between equipment and their levels and skills and thus he suspected that they had found a more effective source of money. Seeing that the group defeated the boss, Kirito mentioned that he wanted to go through another floor as he was close to getting another mod for his One-Handed Sword. As Asuna asked him what mod he would choose next, Kirito began listing some of the mods that he would want, including the Quick Change mod. Since Asuna did not know what that mod was, Kirito began explaining its use, when he suddenly realised that the mod could have been used for Nezha's scam.
Some time later, dressed in a full set of armour to hide his identity, Kirito approached Nezha and requested an upgrade for his Anneal Blade, while Asuna and Argo watched the scene from a nearby building. Once Nezha once again broke the sword that he was upgrading, Kirito revealed his identity, used Quick Change to retrieve his sword, and asked Nezha to come with him.
Later that day, when Nezha was questioned about the fate of the weapons he had stolen, Nezha claimed that he had sold them and used the money for a lavish lifestyle; however, Asuna revealed that Argo had investigated Nezha's throwing weapon and discovered that it was player-made, while the only player blacksmith in the game at the time was Nezha, and this explained why Nezha had Quick Change. The three then accused him of giving the money he had earned through his scam to an acquaintance and revealed that they knew the etymology of his name to get him to react to the names of the members of the Legend Braves.
Kirito continued to accuse the Legend Braves of being a band of thieves and having Nezha take all the risks. However, Asuna interrupted him and, with a simple test, proved that Nezha had problems with his eyesight. But rather than being blind, Nezha confessed that he had a case of FullDive Non-Conformity, which robbed him of depth perception. When Nezha denied accusations of the Legend Braves abandoning him, Asuna shared her suspicion that Nezha's friends attempted to help Nezha with his issue, but their effort was fruitless and they ended up being too low-leveled to participate in boss raids. At that moment, they were approached by a mysterious man in a poncho, who told them how to scam other players.
Nezha then claimed that all of the responsibility for the scam was his and he attempted to commit suicide by falling out of the balcony. However, Asuna caught him and, with Kirito's help, pulled him back in. Kirito then brought up that Nezha had a skill for knife throwing and revealed that he had obtained a chakram, a thrown weapon that returned to the user after being used, from the Bullbous Bow. However, he revealed that wielding a chakram required an Extra Skill, thus he asked Nezha if he was willing to forsake his smithing skill for it.
While en-route to the location for the Martial Arts quest, Nezha was weighed by the silence, thus he decided to ask Kirito how long he and Asuna had been a couple. This led to a chain of revelations about how much information Argo had leaked to the public about them.
When the group finally reached their destination and encountered the Non-Player Character (NPC) for the quest, Argo explained that the sole requirement for the quest was to crack a boulder. After investigating the durability of the stones, Asuna determined that she did not have the time to do the quest; however, due to the teasing of the quest NPC, Asuna ended up accepting the quest, prompting the NPC to take their weapons until they completed the task, and painting whiskers on their faces. Kirito then revealed that it had taken him three days to complete the quest, while the boss raid would take place in two, and complained that he and Asuna were supposed to be forming a team for the raid. When Asuna denied having made such a promise, Kirito left in a fit of anger. Nezha and Asuna spent the next day trying to break a boulder.
- Kirito did not express the anger in novel.
- The reason why Kirito used the hiding skill was simplified.
- In the novel, Kirito used Hiding to follow Nezha to a bar where he met with his guild mates and they talked about their scam, instead of Argo following Nezha and the Legend Braves dressed in cloaks meeting up with him in an alley.
- In the novel, Argo did not make an appearance while he was observing Nezha. The scene where Argo explained how a weapon could be broken during enhancement actually took place several days later when Kirito and Asuna were both spying on Nezha.
- In the novel, Kirito only realized which part of the strengthening could be used for the scam after he had returned the Wind Fleuret to Asuna and they both discussed the incident.
- The first part of the chapter is not part of the original story, while the part with the taurus is an altered adaption of the events that occurred after the battle with Bullbous Bow, but before Kirito and Asuna arrived at Taran.
- In the novel, Asuna ate the steamed bun with cream when she and Kirito were spying on Nezha together rather than Kirito bringing it to the inn after helping Asuna recover her rapier.
- Kirito, instead of Argo, spied on Nezha in the novel.
- Asuna did not ask Argo to investigate the throwing knife in the novel.
- Asuna was not distracted during the battle with the Lesser Taurus Striker.
- In the novel, Asuna defeated the Lesser Taurus Striker herself, instead of needing Kirito's help.
- In the novel, once Kirito brought up that he had obtained a strap-style armour, he noticed Asuna's cold stare and mentioned that the armour might look good on Agil, instead of talking about trying it on himself.
- Kirito and Asuna did not encounter the Legend Braves in the Labyrinth in the novel.
- In the novel, Kirito did not brag about his One-Handed Sword skill progress.
- In the novel, Kirito realised what Nezha's trick was after hearing the etymology of Nezha's name, rather than by considering what mod to choose for his One-Handed Sword skill.
- In the novel, Kirito had to spend two days after discovering Nezha's trick to obtain the Quick Change mod before confronting Nezha, rather than discovering the trick just as he was about to get a mod slot.
- Argo's source of information was not revealed in the novel.
- The scene where Kirito and Asuna spied on Nezha and saw how he scammed Shivata was omitted.
- Argo did not take part in confronting Nezha about the scam in the novel.
- In the novel, Nezha attempted to escape the scene, but Asuna blocked his path.
- Argo did not participate in the conversation with Nezha in the novel.
- In the novel, Nezha did not attempt to deny his connection to the Legend Braves and lie that he spent the money he earned through his scam for his own benefit.
- Kirito, rather than Asuna and Argo, was the one who explained the etymology of Nezha's name in the novel.
- In the novel, Nezha confessed that he suffered from FullDive Non-Conformity after Asuna tried to cheer him up, rather than after Asuna tested his eyesight.
- Nezha did not attempt to jump out of a balcony to commit suicide in the novel.
- In the novel, the chakram was a rare drop from a Taurus Ringhurler, rather than the Last Attack bonus from a Field Boss.
- This chapter was not part of the original story.
- In the novel, only Nezha took the quest to obtain the Martial Arts skill. Asuna was never mentioned to have taken the quest.
- In the novel, the player's weapons were not taken away upon starting the quest.
- An alternative cover version of this volume can be purchased from Comic Toranoana.