Ep 3 – “The Red-Nosed Reindeer” / “Akahana no Tonakai” (赤鼻のトナカイ)
After saving the Moonlit Black Cats guild from a monster attack, their leader, Keita, thanks Kirito and asks him to join their guild. Kirito accepts the invitation, but hides the fact that his level is twice the average level of the players in the Moonlight Black Cats guild. Kirito bonds with his new friends, especially Sachi, who confides in Kirito that she is afraid of death. Kirito assures her that he will protect her, and they will be free one day. On June 12, 2023, while Keita goes to buy a house for the guild, the other Moonlit Black Cats members decide to earn some money by going to the upper floor dungeons. However, they become trapped in a room with higher-level monsters. Unable to save them, Kirito watches as each of his friends are killed, including Sachi. When Keita learns of his guild’s demise, and Kirito’s high player level, he commits suicide in bitter anger. After realizing that there’s a crystal capable to bringing a player back to life, Kirito sets off to a dungeon, defeating the boss which drops the crystal. Originally wanting to use the crystal to revive Sachi, Kirito gives the crystal to Klein instead after realizing that she needed to be revived within ten seconds, otherwise it is useless. In his room, Kirito then receives a pre-recorded message from Sachi telling Kirito not to blame himself for her death and live strong.