The players of a virtual reality MMORPG, Sword Art Online, are trapped and fighting for their very lives. After it is announced that the only way to leave the game is by beating it, Kirito—a very powerful swordsman—and his friends take on a quest to free all the minds trapped in Aincrad.Kirito awakens in a vast, fantastical forest filled with towering trees. In his search for clues to the truth of his surroundings, he encounters a young boy who seems to know him. He ought to be a simple NPC, but the depth of his emotions seem no different than a human. As they search for the boy's parents, Kirito finds a peculiar memory returning to him. A memory from his own childhood, of this boy and a girl, too, with golden hair, and a name he should have never forgotten—Alice.