Volume 23 Afterword

Thank you for reading Sword Art Online Volume 23 《Unital Ring II》.

First of all, I sincerely apologize for the irregular setup of Volume 21 being 《Unital Ring I》, followed by Volume 22 being 《Kiss And Fly》, and then Volume 23 here. I didn't leave the short story collection《Kiss》unnumbered, instead choosing to publish these stories as Volume 22, because I was thinking about maintaining consistency with Volumes 2 and 8, which are short story collections too. Please understand!

So... I've kept you waiting for a year, but here's the continuation of Unital Ring. Since the previous UR volume ended with making iron, I made the goal of this volume to rendezvous with the whole gang, but then unexpectedly wrote to the point of building towns. That being said, since they only just began to arrange the buildings on the land, I'd like to explain in the next volume what use Kirito and the others' city has and what role it will play in clearing the game.

This volume was mainly written between August and September 2019, before the second half of the anime adaptation of 《War of Underworld》 aired, where Alice was a recluse outside Rulid Village, taking care of the mentally-disabled Kirito, working odd jobs to make ends meet. I couldn't help but think about the huge gap between that Alice and this Alice from Unital Ring. But, her heart has not changed at all from the Underworld era. She's only trying to 《live in the present with all her might》, so she will be a spiritual pillar of Kirito's team in the future.

And then, in the last chapter, the one with the glasses finally makes his appearance, giving the feeling that Underworld will be involved in the story once again! I'm also concerned about what will become of the Human World and the Dark Territory, so it'd be nice if the next volume depicted some of that world... but since the Unital Ring world will also have some unexpected situations, what will become of it? Next time, to not keep everyone waiting, I'll work hard!

In recent times... I got on the bike again after having not ridden for about 5 years. At first, just biking up a slope along a riverbank made my feet cry, but after a few months, it didn't take as long to get up there; I think the human body is really impressive. From today onward, I want to continue not being lazy. Not to mention, my daily schedule is also worrying this time around. It has nothing to do with biking; it's all caused by the laws of the universe. Apologies to the person in charge and abec-sensei!

A particular day in October 2019
Kawahara Reki


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