One month has gone by since the start of the death game - it is December 2022.
Already, 2,000 players have met their deaths.
Using his knowledge as a beta tester for the game, Kirito tries to overcome the dungeon on his own, but it proves to be a steep challenge.
No one has yet been able to clear even the first floor of the 100-level Aincrad; just then, a player named Diabel summons the others to a boss raid meeting.
Kirito attends the meeting, and teams up with a certain solo player.