Thank you for reading Sword Art Online Volume 24 «Unital Ring III».
Since I left the first volume off in a suspenseful spot, I was hoping to bring you this volume in the series as soon as possible... but in the end, I kept you waiting for five months. And this time, too, I left it off with a cliffhanger... (*sweat*). I'll do my best to get the next one out early again!
【Please note, the contents of this story are mentioned below.】
This is the third book in the Unital Ring series, so it feels like the story is finally moving forward. There were various topics, such as Argo's full-scale entry into the survival game's competition, Mutasina's appearance, and «The Skull Reaper»'s reincarnation, but I'm still most interested in Commander Eolyne, who appeared in the Underworld part.
From when I first conceived the sequel after the Alicization arc's completion, he's been a character whom I decided would be a part of its plot. The details, such as him wearing a dubious mask and sitting in the rear seat of a luxury sedan, went as planned, but I had a hunch that his role would change from my initial plans once this was released. I can't write here yet about what and how things will change, but I will continue to write to see what future this story chooses for itself.
Anyway, writing about an Underworld where 200 years passed was a lot harder than I thought it would be... or rather, it was a laborious task. Every time I thought about the characters that Kirito loved, that I also love, and how none of them were in this world any longer, my pen stopped... But I'm sure there is some hope there too. In the next volume, I'm going to write a lot about Underworld, so please look forward to it!
By the time this book was published, the fourth season of Alicization's anime version was supposed to have begun airing, but it was postponed due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. I feel heartbroken when I think of the staff who have been working on the story with all their might, and the readers who have been looking forward to the broadcast, but I hope that you too will be able to continue waiting, just like how Kirito and Asuna have been struggling in the story, believing that there is a bright light beyond the hardships.
To abec-san (congratulations on the release of your second art book!), Miki-san, and Adachi-san, I'm sorry for the trouble I caused you this time too! See you in the next volume!
A particular day in March 2020
If you like what you see and want to read a better adapted, less literal translation, please support the author by getting the officially licensed and translated light novel when it is released (by Yen Press for English). They cost a fraction of the price many bestselling novels are sold at, and best of all, you'll help Kawahara Reki continue the story we love!