1x24Gilded Hero Episode Summary Aired: Saturday December 15, 2012
Arriving at the top of the World Tree, Kirito and Yui finally manage to reunite with Asuna. However, they are suddenly hit by high gravity magic, which forces Yui to retreat, and are confronted by Sugou. As Sugou reveals his plans to control the human soul, he chains Asuna up and starts to molest her in front of Kirito, who is stabbed and forced to endure incredible pain. As Kirito falls into despair, he hears the voice of Akihiko, who encourages him to stand up and fight, realising the pain is nothing compared to the pain of SAO. Using Akihiko's administrative abilities, Kirito manages to strip Sugou of his high level and challenges him to a fight with no pain absorption, showing him what true pain is before finishing him off. After logging Asuna out, returning her to the real world, Kirito meets with the remnant of Akahiko's memory, who gives him an item called The Seed before leaving. After returning to the real world and giving his thanks to Suguha, Kazuto makes his way to the hospital to finally meet Asuna for real.