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As Sterben (Death Gun) was about to shoot Sinon, Sinon reminisced on how she thought, if she continued to watch Kirito, she would learn how to be strong, and thought that she did not want to give up. Just then, someone shot Death Gun with a sniper, forcing Sterben to retreat behind a pillar while returning fire, and then threw a grenade. Sterben retreated as he thought that it was an explosive grenade, but it was actually a smoke grenade.
The shooter, who was revealed to be Kirito, who then grabbed the petrified Sinon and her sniper and ran for a nearby buggy and horse rental point, despite Sinon asking him to leave her behind and save himself. Kirito put down Sinon in the only working buggy and then told Sinon to shoot the only functional mechanical horse to make it unusable. Sinon took aim; however, her shock prevented her from exerting force on the trigger and they were caught up to by Sterben, who then took the mechanical horse to chase them as Kirito drove the buggy away.
During the chase, Kirito continued to plead to Sinon to pull the trigger, but she responded by saying that she could not do it. Kirito then told her to drive while he would shoot the pursuer himself, resulting in Sinon attempting to fire again due to her protective ownership of her PGM Ultima Ratio Hecate II. As Sinon was still unable to exert force on the trigger, Kirito reached back and grabbed Sinon's hand to assist her in pulling the trigger. The aim was too unsteady for an accurate shot, but this issue was solved when Kirito drove up a ramp. At that moment, Sinon realised that Kirito's strength came from attempting to do his best and she fired. Though Sinon missed Sterben, she hit the fuel tank of a truck which then exploded next to Sterben, forcing him to abandon his horse and thus allowing Kirito and Sinon to escape.
The two then drove into the desert, where they found a cave that they could hide in and avoid the next satellite scan, as well as avoid Sterben's cloaking as they could hear and see his footsteps in the sand. When Sinon asked how Kirito was able to come to her aid so quickly, Kirito explained that he knew she was in trouble after confronting Jūshi X, discovering that the player was actually a woman, whose name was supposed to be read as Musketeer X, and thus not Death Gun whom they had assumed her to be. After defeating Musketeer X, he found Sinon lying on the ground and used Musketeer X's rifle and smoke grenade to save her.
Sinon complained about not being alert, but Kirito claimed he was just as much to blame, and that he could have easily been in her position, in which case he believed that Sinon would save him. This left Sinon humiliated over the fact that her rival was consoling her like a child. Kirito then planned to leave to fight Death Gun alone. He admitted to being afraid of Death Gun, and that the old him would not be afraid to die, but now he had things to protect in the real and virtual worlds. Sinon told him to just be patient and let Death Gun win, but Kirito refused, as he did not want other players to be killed.
Finally accepting Kirito's strength, Sinon refused to remain behind, as she could not stand living in fear, even saying that she would rather die than live like that. She tried to walk out, but Kirito grabbed her wrist and argued that it would not be worth dying alone and that if she died, the part of her in Kirito would also die, but she insisted on dying alone as people saw her as nothing but a murderer, causing Sinon to break down. Despite Kirito's attempts to console her, Sinon pushed him away, declaring that she hated him.
After calming down, Sinon found herself laying her head in Kirito's lap. She then revealed that she had killed a person five years before when she was eleven and that this resulted in a trauma for her, as she would imagine the face of the man she killed whenever she saw a gun. She explained that when Death Gun appeared, she felt like she stopped being her avatar persona and returned to being her real self. To her surprise, however, Kirito revealed that he had also killed someone, and that he and Death Gun are Sword Art Online survivors. After summarising the outcome of the raid on Laughing Coffin, Kirito stated that this was the reason why he had to defeat Death Gun in the world he was in at the moment.
- Musketeer X (cameo)
- Musketeer X
- «M14EBR» (Mk 14 Enhanced Battle Rifle)
- ISL Ragnarok
- Lost City
- A cave
- Lost City
- Adapted from Volume 6 Chapter 12
- The scene where Kirito used a first-aid kit to heal up in the cave was omitted.
- The part mentioning the road obstacles that was slowing the buggy down and Death Gun getting closer was omitted.
- In the novel, the scene where Sterben was riding the mechanical horse was later referenced in the A Murder Case in the Area story where XaXa (Sterben) told Kirito that he would one day use a horse to hunt him down. This reference was omitted in episode 6 of the first season of the anime.
- Although the novel had a furigana reading for the kanji part of Metamaterial Optical Distortion Camouflage (メタマテリアル光歪曲迷彩, Metamateriaru Kou Reikyoku Meisai?) as Optical Camo (オプチカル・カモ, Opuchikaru Kamo?), in the anime, the term was read without accounting for the furigana.
- This was an MP7 sub-machine gun in the novel.