Yuuki has dragged Asuna to New Aincrad's 27th floor, the current front lines. The floor's dark, normally, even in the noon; it hasn't been long enough from their duel for it to be night.
They've grandly shown up in the OP already, but here are the members of Sleeping Knights, introducing themselves. The 3 vanguards (Yuuki, Jun, Tecchi), the 2 middle guards (Nori, Talken), and the lone rear (Siune)….
…A muscle-brained party formation like what Kirito would form up…
"Huh?" (she's joking?)
"Hah?" (or serious?)
"Haaa?!" (no way no way no-way-we're-doing-that!)
Raid parties were limited to 48, 8 parties of 6, back in SAO, but ALO upped it by one to 49 with 7 teams of 7. Floor bosses are designed with those numbers in mind, so just 6's absurd, of course…
And Siune takes over the explanations! She's voiced by Shimamura Yuu. Listening to her gentle and calm voice's so relaxing…
"We met in a net-community somewhere" "We can only be together until Spring" These lines are worth committing to memory… probably!
The 1st floor's Town of Beginnings's Black Iron Palace back in SAO had the 《Monument of Life》 with the names of deceased players horizontally engraved. Must have been terrible finding any one name with the tiny font size to fit 10k names.
And in the same spot in New Aincrad is the 《Monument of Swordsmen》 which records those who cleared the floor bosses in a huge font size, but due to its surface area, only seven names are written per floor.
As Siune mentioned, defeating the boss with a single party would mean every member gets their name engraved, but with 7 teams, only the 7 leaders of those teams get that treatment.
Then why not recruit more clearing members and set the Sleeping Knights as the leader of each party…? Unfortunately, they have their circumstances for not getting too close to other players.
Having shouldered the responsibility of her subordinates' lives as the leader of the clearing group back in SAO, it's only natural she plays cautiously even in ALO…
Yuuki-san's reaction of "don't think he'd work" towards Kirito, heh. As expected of the strongest duellist!
"1 o'clock tomorrow" refers to the one at noon, of course! It's Asuna's last day of winter break. She's done with her schoolwork.
A messaging app-ish feature! It'd be a menu screen zombie rather than a smartphone zombie, but doing that in the fields seems pretty dangerous, huh…
Asuna returns to reality after that sudden disconnection. With the need to adjust to gravity, she'd have been assailed with a few seconds of dizziness upon waking up in reality.
And there her mother after exiting the game… how awkward…
AmuSpheres prioritize their users' safety over all else, so there's no health issues (aside from the discomfort in sensations) even if the power was cut off despite lacking an embedded battery like the Nerve Gear.
She did say all that about the AmuSphere, but it's a product from Yuuki-papa's company, Rect, so the circumstances are complicated.
Here we see Asuna, torn by her desire to call up Kirito and her resistance towards showing weakness, betraying what he had said about her being strong.
Asuna-san settles in as a healer among the Sleeping Knights. It's just as expected of her communication ability, to see them being so candid with her already… No way Kirito could replicate that feat, huh!
The design bears a resemblance to the 74th floor in season one, huh? And those nostalgic lizardmen… Those lizardmen I fought over and over again in Hollow Fragment. They're definitely appearing in Lost Song, too.
The spell chanted by Asuna is to summon a 《searcher》, and the fish would reveal any player it touches. As for why she notices hiding players… it must be instinct!
Siune-san's getting all excited for PvP, lol. That's one of Yuuki's companions for you…!
And they meet the 27th floor's boss at last! The spawning scene's cool with those spinning polygon cubes.
And they're all ded ＼(＾o＾)／
《Peeping》, which lets you steal another's vision, could be so easily used for evil… One just came to mind, and I thought about writing it down, but kill everyone's buzz, so I'll refrain. ☆
Attempt no. 2… but someone's there already. Still, it doesn't look like they're all that ready…
It depends on your viewpoint, really, between "The clearing guilds lined up first, so they get first dibs" or "They aren't ready yet, so the Sleeping Knights should get to go first".
Still, with PK allowed in ALO, the last resort for a quarrel, "an exchange between blades", is encouraged. GMs wouldn't get involved for such cases either.
Yuuki sounds all innocent with those words, but there's an intensity in her voice…
As expected of the clearing guilds, to betray Asuna's expectations by gathering all these people even at noon!
But there are some familiar faces running in behind them…!
That's a common skill for lightweight fairies, 《Wall Run》. It's limited to Sylphs, Undines, Cait Siths, Imps, and Spriggans, but there were rumors of this person running at three times the usual speed…
And the 20th episode ends with Kirito-san stealing the spotlight despite not showing up anywhere else! See you again next time!