Bercouli pursues Vecta, who's abducted Alice. After a long, vicious battle, Bercouli unleashes his secret sword skill, Uragiri, and finally defeats Vecta, despite having sustained severe injuries himself.
The traitor inside Rath turns out to be a researcher named Yanai. When Higa attempts to restore Kirito, Yanai tries to thwart the operation by holding him at gunpoint. Meanwhile, in the Underworld, Sinon confronts Gabriel.
Asuna and the others succumb to Vassago and the Chinese/Korean players. Discovering the catatonic Kirito, Vassago kicks his wheelchair over. Enraged, Klein lunges at Vassago, only to be pinned down by enemy players.
Sinon manages to damage Gabriel, but her strength has been sapped. Leafa collapses after wiping out the American players. And Asuna, her situation hopeless, gazes at Kirito. But the Black Swordsman continues to wander through his dreams.
Escaping his nightmares, Kirito regains consciousness at last. With the Night-Sky Blade in his right hand and the broken Blue Rose Sword in his left, he faces off against Vassago, armed with the Mate-Chopper, now enormous in size.
Alice and Asuna head to the World's End Altar as Kirito confronts Gabriel. Unless he can defeat Gabriel and return to the real world before the maximum-acceleration phase begins, Kirito will have to spend 200 years in the Underworld.
The maximum-acceleration phase has begun. Alice successfully logs out of the Underworld, but Kirito doesn't make it in time. In the real world, Higa and Kikuoka rush to shut down the STL, in order to disable the maximum-acceleration phase.
The "Rath Attack Incident," masterminded by the American National Security Agency, is over. Now head of the Oceanic Resource Exploration & Research Institution, Rinko unveils Alice as an authentic artificial general intelligence.