Shasta had intended to use Administrator's death as an opportunity to propose a truce with the Human Empire, but his plans are thwarted by Emperor Vecta's return to the Land of Darkness.
The Dark Forces are now closing in on The Eastern Gate, which separates the Human Empire from the Dark Territory. Resolving to fight for humankind, Alice joins the Human Empire Forces, bringing Kirito with her.
The Final Load Test has begun, and the Eastern Gate has collapsed. Incited by Gabriel, now Emperor Vecta, the massive army of the Land of Darkness pushes on towards the Human Empire.
Integrity Knight Renly Synthesis Twenty-seven has been tasked with protecting the Supply Corps. In battle for the first time ever, he flees his post terrified allowing the Dark Forces goblins to invade the Supply Corps tent where Kirito is.
The powerful spell unleashed by Alice, the Integrity Knight, inflicts severe casualties on the Dark Forces, pulling them back from the brink of disaster.
Now that he's seen Alice, Gabriel orders his entire army to charge in order to capture her. The Dark Forces' elite Pugilists Guild arrives ahead of the main army in pursuit of Alice and the raid unit.
Asuna has logged into the Underworld using the super-account of Stacia, the Goddess of Creation. She unleashes a rainbow-hued aurora-like Sacred Art that causes landscape alteration.
Using the "landscape alteration" command, Asuna has created a bottomless gorge. The Dark Knights and the Pugilists attempt to cross over to the other side where the Human Empire Army awaits them.