On November 5, 2024, Kirito went fishing and met a man named Nishida, a well-known fisherman of the area. After talking and eating one of the fish Nishida had caught with some of Asuna's "soy sauce". Nishida was amazed that something that tasted like soy sauce existed in Aincrad and Asuna allowed him to take several bottles of it back to his home. Nishida then requested Kirito to catch assist him in catching a very large fish he had seen in the lake but could not catch because of his low strength skill. Kirito agreed to help, with Nishida using his high fishing skill and Kirito's strength skill.
A few days later, Nishida hosted an event, during which other fishermen came to watch. After struggling, they managed to pull the fish out of the lake, which turned out to be a humongous The King of Lakes. Everyone ran away in fear until Asuna confronted the creature and killed it, but she took off her cloak in the process and everyone was able to recognize her, causing everyone to run towards Asuna. Kirito was going to join in the crowd but, at that moment, he received a message from Heathcliff calling Kirito and Asuna to return to the front lines, to Kirito's dismay.
The next day, they said their farewells to Nishida. Nishida wondered if he would be able to return to his old life in the real world and revealed that he had been thinking that his life as a fisherman in Sword Art Online was the best thing for him at such circumstances, but Asuna told him that she used to think the same way until Kirito reassured her to enjoy life to the fullest, convincing Nishida to rethink about living in the real world. Kirito and Asuna then promised to return as soon as they could before teleporting to Granzam.
Upon their arrival, Heathcliff told them that a group of twenty players had found the 75th Floor's Boss Room, but when 10 of them reached the center of the room, the door quickly shut and disappeared, leaving the other 10 players outside unable to assist them. When it reappeared 5 minutes later, no one could be seen there, neither the players, nor the boss. Because it was an Anti-Crystal Area, like boss room of the previous boss, the players could not escape and were slaughtered by the boss. Thus a team of players from several guilds was being assembled to confront the dangerous boss.
As the time of the battle approached, Kirito expressed his true feeling of wanting to run away with Asuna, believing that it would be better to live in SAO rather than risk their lives in order to return to the real world. Asuna then mentioned that the bodies of all players were most likely being treated in hospitals at that moment and that their condition could not be kept indefinitely, thus life in the game would not last forever, and that she wanted to live with him in the real world. With that he came to the realization that whether they cleared the game or not, there was a time limit and that they had no choice but to fight.
Prior to the battle, Kirito and Asuna found out that Klein and Agil were also joining the fight, the latter having closed down his shop. They all enjoyed a light conversation, with Kirito jokingly telling Agil that if he was participating out of his selfless desire to help, then he did not need to get any loot, before Heathcliff and the Knights of the Blood's arrival. Heathcliff then used a Corridor Crystal to open a portal to the 75th Floor's boss room. After everyone got ready, Heathcliff gave a word of encouragement to the players. Meanwhile, Asuna held hands with Kirito, reassuring him that she would protect him and asked Kirito to protect her as well. Kirito told Klein and Agil not to die and Klein responded by telling him the same. The large party then charged into the boss room, and waited for the boss to appear.
Once all players entered the room, the gateway closed and disappeared. However, the boss was no where to be found. At that point, Asuna listened carefully and heard a snake-like rattling above her, and quickly informed everyone that the boss was above them. The boss was a skeleton-like centipede named The Skull Reaper with a pair of gigantic scythes as weapons. The boss dropped down and immediately killed two players with its scythe in one hit, leaving others horrified and frozen with shock at the fact that the boss could kill such high-level players in one hit. The Skull Reaper then attacked another player, but Heathcliff blocked the attack with his shield, however, the boss quickly ignored him and re-targeted the same player with its other scythe, killing him instantly. As it was about to kill another player who was in shock, Kirito quickly jumped in front of the player and blocked one of the scythes, although it continued dangerously pushing his swords towards him.
The boss was about to strike Kirito with its other scythe, but Heathcliff came to the rescue and blocked it, while Asuna helped Kirito fend off the other scythe, and the three began distracting the boss while ordering the others to attack it from the sides. Although some players were worried, they helped with defeating the boss. Agil, Klein and two other players started attacking the boss, but The Skull Reaper smashed them with its tail, killing the two players and wounding Agil. Everyone then continued to attack the boss from the sides, while Heathcliff, Kirito and Asuna kept it busy from the front.
Known Sword Skills
- «Flashing Penetrator» - Asuna
- Aincrad Floor 22
- Aincrad Floor 55
- KoB headquarters
- Aincrad Floor 75
- Adapted Volume 1, Chapters 18-21
- In the light novel, Kirito wondered if Nishida was an Non-Player Character, before Nishida confirmed that he was a player, while in the anime, he explained his real-life occupation after meeting.
- In the light novel, when Asuna confronts The King of Lakes, Nishida takes a fishing rod from one of his fellow fishermen to use it to help Asuna with the monster, while in the anime he panics and tries to get Kirito to call her back.
- In the light novel, the fish takes a while to kill, being hurt when an explosion from Asuna's rapier sends it flying. The fish then gets hit by a chain attack, and is killed by the ability Flashing Penetrator. In the anime, Asuna instantly kills it with only Flash Penetrator.
- The rare fishing rod that Asuna got for killing The King of Lakes was not mentioned at all in the anime.
- In the light novel, the crowd that came to the fishing event discovered that Asuna and Kirito were married and expressed their displeasure about it. In the anime, they simply flocked to Asuna after she killed The King of Lakes, but showed no signs of realizing that she was married.
- In the light novel, during their conversation with Nishida before leaving, the group was sitting on a nearby bench. In the anime, this scene was changed to them standing near the Teleport Gate. Nishida's past was also omitted in this scene.
- In the anime, there was no mention of the scouting party reaching the boss room without casualties. Additionally, the fact that the group that was left outside after the doors were sealed attempted to open the door again was also omitted.
- Kirito does not mention that the Aincrad's quarter bosses, the 25th and the 50th Floor bosses, were much more dangerous than the bosses of the adjacent floors when Heathcliff explains that they have found the 75th boss room in the anime.
- In the novel, when The Skull Reaper lands onto the large platform, there were three players who did not react quick enough and were killed by the boss. The anime instead only shows two players. Additionally, Heathcliff and Kirito were able to protect the next player attacked by the Skull Reaper in the novel, but only Heathcliff managed to reach the targeted player's side in time in the anime, resulting in the Floor Boss killing its target with a second attack.
- "I got stronger so I'd be able to survive." - Kirito
- "I cried alone every single night. It felt like every day that passed here stole another piece of my real life away. After I cried, I'd go and fight as hard as I could. My only thought was winning, moving forward, and getting stronger." - Asuna
- "But as we partied up together. Even in a world like this, he was really living. He wasn't losing a day in the real world. He was gaining a day here. The one who taught me that was Kirito-kun." - Asuna
- "For the first time since I arrived here, I was happy here. To me, Kirito-kun is the meaning of my two years here and proof that I am alive." - Asuna
- "In other words, whether clear the game or not, there's a time limit?" - Kirito
- "I want to stay with you forever, I want us to date for real. To really get married.. To get old together!" - Asuna
- "Don't die." - Kirito
- "If we block together, we can do this." - Asuna