This is Kawahara Reki. Thank you very much for reading『Sword Art Online 8 Early and Late』.
This is another compilation of side stories after volume 2. As the title says, it is the records of the latest story of SAO world (to be accurate, in chronological order, it was about a week before volume 7『Mother’s Rosario』) and the earliest story of SAO world (this too, to be accurate, happened an hour after chapter 1 of volume 1『Aincrad』<Laugh>).
Readers who had followed from volume 1 (or from the web version) would already know, that this SAO story happened two years after the start of the death game «Sword Art Online», the incident at about three weeks before the game was cleared was written first. After that, even though I wrote four side stories of the past episodes in volume 2, but I actually at a loss at the news that the SAO would get published into a Dengeki Bunko version. I thought if I shouldn’t publish the web version as it was, but rewrite the large portion of the scripts in volume one and two, by carefully filling the gap between the start and the clearing of the death game.
Of course, even though those thoughts had already ended (the reason was mainly due to the fear of having to write enormous amount of pages <Laugh>), but inside me, the figure of «Kirito after separated with Klein at the Starting City» had been smoldering for years. From the former β tester, he who full sprinted along the shortest course to become stronger, what kind of feeling he had kept within his heart, I want to follow along with him —— that sort of feeling was left in me without disappearing.
At the time I decided to put the two stories which had been published on the web (『A Murder Case in the Area』and『Caliber』) in this eighth volume, ‘Then why not writing that day story, when Kirito ran out into the wilderness in addition!’ After thinking so, I wrote『First Day』. Come to think of it, it is now close to ten years after writing the first story of SAO, there may be some fluctuations in Kirito’s figure, if you are enjoying it including those, I’ll be very happy.
From here on, if the chance arises, I feel like to write about when Kirito obtained his very first beloved sword and challenged the first floor capture. Please wait patiently!
Now this is the custom ‘I’m sorry corner’…… About『A Murder Case in the Area』in this volume, I’m sad to say, there were inconsistencies from what described in volume one (for example, in volume one, Kirito recalled that『He had never entered an NPC restaurant with Asuna before』but it was exactly that in this volume……). For a moment, I was puzzled if I should make a temporary excuse that it was a player’s shop, but I stopped before getting the conclusion. Others are “Huh?” feelings here and there, for those, I beg for your forgiveness as the work came after the various complicated processes.
Next is an apology again,『A Murder Case in the Area』which borrowed the trick and solution part from the mystery format, I think the mystery fans may angrily said “There wasn’t any!” As someone who loves to read mystery novel, I had an impulse to challenge it, but I’m sorry for my inadequacy! I’m training to correct it and one day I think I’ll challenge it again.
Then, this is no longer an apology but an advertising, this book tells the «Quest success part» of『Caliber』, the IF expansion of the «Failure part» will be published in the June 2011 issue of the Dengeki Bunko Magazine. If you have a chance, I think it’d be one or two times more enjoyable!
The one responsible for the publishing, Miki-san, who already was mega-busy during the moving of the editorial department, had additional giga-trouble as I forgot to submit the afterword; the illustrator abec-san, who tera-worked hard for the serialization schedule in June and August; this time I also thank you very much! Then to every readers, please continue your support in volume nine which will be the start of the big fourth arc!
A certain day in May 2011, Kawahara Reki