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Sword Art Online - Progressive Volume 4 (ソードアート・オンライン プログレッシブ004, Sōdo Āto Onrain Puroguresshibu 004?) is the fourth volume of the Progressive manga adaptation. This volume covers the final part of the Rondo of a Fragile Blade story.
As the Dragon Knights Brigade members reached the second Floor Boss room before the members of the Aincrad Liberation Squad, Lind declared that he would be leading the raid and gave his opening speech. Meanwhile, Agil approached Kirito and invited him to join their team in fighting against Nato the Colonel Taurus. When Kirito asked what the last team’s job was, they saw that members of the Legend Braves were negotiating to be allowed to fight Baran the General Taurus. However, to their surprise, their leader Orlando approached Agil and offered to help with Nato instead, telling his commrades not to be in a rush to glory.
Eventually, Lind attempted to open the doors to the boss room, but Agil interrupted him to mention the possibility of changes to the boss since the beta test and thus suggested a retreat if different patterns of the boss are discovered. Agreeing to the suggestion, Lind attempted to open the doors again, but was interrupted by Kibaou this time. Kibaou stated that the guide was written by a player who had never seen the boss in person, thus he proposed to hear Kirito’s opinion, as he was the only one confirmed to have fought the boss in the beta test. In response, Kirito stated that there had been no changes to the regular tauruses, but warned the group to avoid the boss’s debuffs, as they could lead to paralysis. Afterwards, Kibaou nonchalantly opened the doors himself, thus upsetting Lind.
As the boss battle began, Agil's party blocked the first attack from Nato the Colonel Taurus, creating an opening for Kirito to attack. After a few successful hits, Kirito reflexively called Asuna to switch with him, but immediately realised that she was not present. Once the party evaded the taurus’s attack, the Legend Braves team began their assault, allowing Agil's party to heal with potions. While Agil teased Kirito about the lack of his partner, Kirito noted that Agil was missing his rare axe and was instead using a cheap store-bought one, causing Kirito to ponder if Agil was a victim of the weapon upgrading scam and whether he should share the truth about the scam with him. At that point, Agil noted that the Legend Braves were handling Nato quite well, while on the other hand, Kirito noted that the main force was not doing so well.
As more and more players of the main force were paralysed, Kirito rushed to Lind and Kibaou to warn them the situation was becoming dangerous and thus suggested retreating. However, Kibaou persuaded Lind to continue the battle until one more person was paralised, declaring that it would be a waste to retreat this quickly. Satisfied that the leaders had a plan, Kirito returned to his party.
Some time later, Nato the Colonel Taurus was finally close to defeat and entered its berserk mode. Just when Kirito began to think that there were no changes to the bosses since the beta test, Agil suddenly called Kirito to share his unease about Baran being only a general when Illfang had the title of lord and during his monologue, the actual boss of the floor, Asterius the Taurus King, entered the room through a secret elevator in the floor in the centre of the room, thus blocking the only path of escape for the main force in combat with Baran.
As Asterius began approaching the main force, Kirito ordered teams G and H to immediately assault and dispatch Nato. Due to the two teams attacking all-out, Nato was defeated and the two teams advanced in an attempt to intercept Asterius, but the boss suddenly used a breath attack that paralysed a large number of the main force. Kirito immediately ordered team H to help get the paralysed to safety and team G to help him defeat Baran.
However, while Kirito and the Legend Braves were occupied with Baran, Asterius began preparing for another breath attack. Just when the boss was about to unleash its attack, Asuna entered the boss room and used the boss itself as a stepping stool to jump high enough in the air to hit the boss in the forehead with her rapier. As Asterius raised its head due to the attack, Asuna, flustered that it was looking under her skirt, activated the Martial Arts skill Gengetsu and kicked the taurus in the face.
While Kirito and the Legend Braves were occupied with Baran, and while Agil and the other continued to move the paralysed players to safety, Asuna kept dodging Asterius’s attacks to stall for time. However, when Asuna noticed that Kirito had half of his attention on her, she attempted to attack the boss from the back, but was struck by the taurus’s tail, making her vulnerable to a follow-up attack with its hand.
Distracted by this development, Kirito was about to be struck by Baran, but was saved by the Legend Braves. Seeing that Asterius was about to fire another breath attack at Asuna, Kirito rushed to her in an attempt to move her outside the boss room; however, they were still within range of the breath attack when it was fired and were thus paralysed by it.
Asuna questioned why Kirito put himself at risk to save her, but Kirito answered that he himself did not know what spured him to action. Meanwhile, Asterius prepared to fire another breath attack at them and, just when Orlando was about to intervene, a chakram struck the taurus’s forehead, cancelling the attack, and Nezha entered the battle. He asked for someone to carry Kirito and Asuna to safety and for the rest of the raid to focus on Baran while he occupied Asterius’s attention.
The day before the boss battle, Argo visited Asuna and Nezha during their lunch break and informed them about rumours of a hidden log-out point on the floor, reminding Asuna of how she had fallen for such a trap once. Although Asuna was not interested enough in it to request Argo to conduct an investigation, Argo decided to search for the origin of the rumour anyway.
By asking the people in Taran, she managed to trace the rumour to an Non-Player Character (NPC) in an alley who gave her a vague hint about finding a so-called world of truth by crushing the hermit’s perch on the peak of Bald Mountain. Later that evening, Argo surmised that this might have been a hint to beating the boss of the floor and wondered if she should request Lind and Kibaou. However, she concluded that the two were too concerned with competing to delay a boss fight without evidence, thus she decided on a different approach.
In the early morning the next day, Argo returned to the 1st Floor and found her way to the cave that the first rumour about a hidden log-out spot indicated. After easily dispatching the monster guarding the cave, Argo ventured inside, where she found a secret passage that she had been unable to detect during her previous visit. In the passageway, she was surprised to find a mural indicating the change made to Illfang the Kobold Lord in the official service of the game.
In a panic, Argo rushed to Asuna, inadvertently attracting the attention of a Trembling Ox, and informed her about that the boulder the hermit was sitting on hid intel about changes to the boss of the floor, thus they needed to break it immediately. However, Asuna did not have her weapons with her and, at that point, the Trembling Ox began to target her. Realising that the Ox was attracted by her red cape, she used it to trick the ox into ramming the boulder. After several such attacks, the boulder was broken, revealing a passage underneath it. Inside, they found a mural depicting the three bosses and that a chakram could be used to deal with Asterius’s breath attack.
Just as Baran the General Taurus was finally defeated, Argo finished telling Kirito how they had the intel on how to defeat Asterius the Taurus King. She had informed Lind about the boss’s weakness and the usefulness of Nezha’s chakram on it, thus Nezha was entrusted with stopping its breath attacks. However, the majority of the main force was already exhausted, thus Orlando’s Legend Braves were left as the main force fighting the taurus.
Meanwhile, Kirito absentmindedly listened to Argo praising Asuna, while he was actually focusing on the expression Asuna made when he saved her. After giving a creepy smile, Kirito noticed that he had recovered and thus he invited Asuna to join the fight with him. Asuna, embarrassed by what had happened and wondering about what expression she showed Kirito initially refused. But, at that point, Asterius hit point gauge finally turned red, thus Agil called them to help defeat the boss and, after reminding Kirito about his claim that he would acquire the Last Attack bonus, Asuna charged into battle ahead of him.
Meanwhile, the Legend Braves defended Nezha from the boss, but as Orlando’s shield began to crumble, several other front liners came to his aid, inspired by his courage. At that point, Asuna and Kirito joined the battle. After Asuna discarded her hooded cape, the duo assaulted Asterius and defeated it by using several consecutive Sword Skills, including Martial Arts kicks.
- Asuna was part of the boss raid from the start, as a member of Agil's party, in the novel, thus there were forty-seven, rather than forty-six, members in the raid at the beginning.
- Lind assumed leadership of the raid through winning a coin flip, rather than being the first to reach the boss room, in the novel.
- Orlando was the member of the Legend Braves who demanded that their group be allowed to fight against the boss in the novel, instead of offering to aid Agil's group.
- In the novel, the Legend Braves were allowed to join Lind and Kibaou's parties in fighting against Baran, thus Orlando did not have a conversation with Kirito and Agil in the novel.
- As Kirito had followed Nezha and overheard his conversation with his friends in the novel, he already knew that the other members of the Legend Braves were involved in the weapon upgrading scam by the time of the boss battle.
- Orlando used an Anneal Blade, rather than a Stout Brand, for the boss battle in the novel.
- Lind was the one who opened the doors to the boss room in the novel.