Ep 18 – “To the World Tree” / “Sekaiju e” (世界樹へ) 

In the real world, Suguha reminisces about how she started virtual reality gaming, and meets up with Recon’s real-life persona, Shin’ichi Nagata. She informs him that she will be leaving their party to join Kirito. Later, she logs-in as Leafa and begins to lead Kirito to the World Tree, which stands in the center of Alfheim. However, before their departure, a member of Leafa’s party, Sigurd, is disappointed that she “betrayed” her other members. Annoyed about how they treat Kirito, Leafa announces that Kirito is her new partner. Later during their travels, Kirito and Leafa arrive at a landing point, where they take turns logging out to refresh themselves. Meanwhile, Asuna learns from Oberon (revealed to be Sugou in the real world) that Kirito is still alive, and secretly obtains the key code for her cage’s lock.