While Kazuto tries to defend himself against Kyōji, he leaves an opening for the latter to attempt to inject him with the poison used to kill Death Gun's victims. Shino then knocks Kyōji out with a stereo before checking on Kazuto's condition, and finds that there was an electrode stuck to the part of his chest where Kyōji had tried to inject him, which protected him against the syringe. Several days later, Endou calls out to Shino, from whom she tries to demand money. When Shino refuses, Endou takes out a model gun and threatens her. However, when she unsuccessfully tries to fire it, Shino takes the gun from Endou and shows her that the safety needed to be disabled to fire, then shoots a can with it before returning it back to Endou. Shino is then picked up by Kazuto, who takes her to meet with Kikuoka to report on the Death Gun incident. During the report, it is revealed that the third conspirator in the Death Gun murders, another SAO survivor named Johnny Black, escaped while Kyōji and XaXa (who was Kyōji's brother) were both institutionalized. After that, Kazuto takes Shino to the Dicey Cafe, where he introduces her to Asuna and Rika (Lisbeth). Kazuto then reveals that he had told the two girls about Shino's past and explains that he had them help him find a certain person that she should meet. The person is revealed to have been a woman, named Sachie Oosawa, who was working at the post office during the robbery. Sachie thanks Shino for saving her life and tells her that she was pregnant at the time, so Shino had also saved the life of her daughter, Mizue. Kazuto then explains that he wants Shino to think about the people that she had saved by killing the robber and thus be able to forgive herself for it. As a result, Shino bursts into tears of happiness.
Death Gun continues his assault on Kirito, greatly weakening him. While they are fighting, Kirito has a flashback to the meeting before the Laughing Coffin raid in Sword Art Online, recalling a strikingly similar player with the same red eyes as Death Gun. Kirito deduces that Death Gun is really Red-Eyed XaXa, the second-in-command of Laughing Coffin. As XaXa moves in for the final blow, Sinon creates the illusion of a bullet path using her experience in the game alone, causing XaXa to use his invisibility cloak to avoid it. However, Kirito pulls out his sidearm and fires it at XaXa, stopping the cloaking process and rendering him vulnerable. Using the willpower and strength he possessed in SAO, Kirito defeats XaXa, cutting him cleanly in half. Before he dies, XaXa reassures Kirito that their battle is not over. Kirito and Sinon then come to an agreement to end the BoB tournament by committing double in-game suicide using a grenade, crowning them both the winner, but not before they reveal to each other their real names. While logging out, Kirito finds that another BoB participant besides Pale Rider was suddenly disconnected, confirming his suspicions that Death Gun has more than one accomplice. After logging out, Kyōji visits Shino, who, after making romantic advances on her, pulls out a syringe and reveals himself to be Death Gun's second accomplice in the real-world killings. Kyōji then tries to kill Shino, but Kazuto bursts through Shino's door and attacks Kyōji, holding him off while telling Shino, who recognizes Kazuto as Kirito, to run.
After checking the map, Kirito finds that twenty-four players had already been killed, while only Dark Wind and himself are shown on the map. Seeing as, even accounting for Sinon, Death Gun, and Pale Rider, the numbers of those killed and those who are still alive did not match the total, he speculates that Death Gun had more than one accomplice in charge of the killings in the real world. Fearing that Dark Wind might also be a target, Kirito and Sinon decide to set up the former as bait, while Sinon snipes Dark Wind and Death Gun from a distance when they arrive. Sometime later, while Dark Wind is closing in on Kirito, Death Gun attempts to kill Kirito himself. Sensing his intent to kill, Kirito manages to sense where he would be shot from and barely manages to dodge the bullet. Noticing a sniper shot, Dark Wind immediately hides behind an obstacle for cover, but he is then shot by Sinon and killed. Sinon then turns her attention to Death Gun, but, as she had already fired her first shot, which wouldn't be detected, Death Gun is able to see her targeting him. The two of them fire at each other at the same time and, while Death Gun manages to destroy Sinon's scope, she manages to destroy Death Gun's weapon. However, as Kirito is about to strike Death Gun, the latter pulls out an estoc and counters the attack. After having a conversation with Kirito, Death Gun begins assaulting him with overwhelming speed.
After hearing that Kirito had killed people in SAO, Sinon asks him how he was able to overcome the memories of the people he killed, but Kirito reveals that he didn't overcome them, instead accepting the weight of them, since it was all he could do to atone for his actions. Then, while thinking about how Death Gun was able to stop the heart of players by shooting them in the game, Kirito realizes that Death Gun did not shoot him with the pistol, but with the sniper instead. Based on this, Kirito deduces that Death Gun had to make preparations in real life to be able to kill the players with his pistol, and that he could've seen players putting their real-life details in the General Governor's Office since it was an open space and the terminals did not offer much privacy. Kirito then brings up the idea that Death Gun could have used his mantle to spy on other players without being noticed. After some thinking, Kirito realizes that Death Gun was actually two people: one shoots the player in-game, the other kills the player in real life by injecting them with a lethal drug. Meanwhile, Kikuoka Seijiro logs onto ALO as Chrysheight under Asuna's request and, after Yui reveals all the information on the incident that she had gathered, Chrysheight explains the situation to Asuna and the others. Asuna then requests Kazuto's whereabouts and decides to go to him in real life. Back in GGO, Kirito and Sinon decide on a course of action and are surprised to find out that they were being filmed by one of the cameras.
Before Death Gun could shoot Sinon, he is interrupted by Kirito, who shoots him in the shoulder with a sniper rifle and then throws a smoke grenade, which forces him to retreat. Kirito then grabs the stunned Sinon and flees to a nearby buggy and horse rental point. While commandeering a buggy, he orders Sinon to shoot the only functional mechanical horse to make it unusable. However, Sinon is unable to exert force on the trigger, and Death Gun catches up and takes control of the mechanical horse. During the subsequent chase, Death Gun fires at Kirito and Sinon with his pistol, terrifying the latter. When Sinon tries to shoot at Death Gun, Kirito is forced to help her pull the trigger. Though the shot misses Death Gun, it hits the fuel tank of a truck, which explodes and forces Death Gun to abandon his horse, allowing Kirito and Sinon to escape. The two then drive into the desert, where they find a cave that they hide in to avoid the next satellite scan. Inside, both Sinon and Kirito confide to each other that they have killed someone in the past.
Sinon shoots at Death Gun, but he dodges the bullet and then kills Pale Rider with his pistol. Death Gun then introduces himself and his gun to the spectators, finishing his monologue with a catchphrase used by PoH, the founder of Laughing Coffin. Meanwhile, Sinon attempts to find out Death Gun's name, but he was not shown on the satellite scan, thus Sinon assumes that he traveled through the battlefield underwater. She and Kirito then decide to follow Death Gun, eventually going to the Lost City. However, since they could not find him along the way, they look for him during the next scan. Seeing that two players, Sterben and Gunner X (銃士Ｘ?), were present in the city, they decide to go after Gunner X, as his name sounded like Death Gun (死銃 Shijū?) backwards. During the scan, they find Gunner X at a stadium, while Sterben abruptly vanishes from the city. The two rush to the stadium and, after confirming that there was a sniper, decide to split up. However, before Sinon could take a sniping position, she is suddenly shot with a stun bullet. Death Gun, who is actually Sterben, appears and proclaims that he is going to kill her. Sinon tries to defend herself, but then sees that Death Gun is carrying the Type 54 Black Star, the same weapon she used to kill the robber at the post office.
While waiting for BoB to begin, Kirito assumes that Death Gun will sign into the tournament under a different name, given the perfect stage for him, and vows to find him and face him again. After much persistence, Kirito is able to convince Sinon to explain to him the details of the BoB royale. After she explains the rules and regulations, Kirito stops Sinon from leaving and asks her whether there were BoB participants that she did not know about. He then finds out that, aside from him, there are three other players who had not participated in the previous tournaments. He then explains her his motivation behind that question, and she theorizes from his explanation that he is an SAO survivor. Later on, during the tournament, Sinon decides to target Dyne and Pale Rider. Having found a sniping position on the west side of the bridge that Dyne had crossed, she prepares to take action, but is stopped by Kirito, who instructs her to not shoot and just watch Dyne and Pale Rider's battle. After Pale Rider defeats Dyne, he is suddenly shot with a silenced stun bullet and, after several moments, the shooter, Death Gun, reveals himself from the bridge. As Death Gun prepares to finish off Pale Rider, Kirito yells at the confused Sinon to shoot him before he does.
At the Kirigaya residence, Suguha shows Kazuto a news article about the participants of the BoB tournament, among which was Kirito's name. Although Kazuto tries to hide the fact that he converted his avatar to GGO, Suguha tells him that she already found out from Asuna. After a flashback of Kazuto's talk with Asuna the previous day, Suguha tells him that she is worried due to Kazuto having a frightening expression when he returned home last night. Kazuto then calms Suguha down by promising that he would return. Meanwhile, Sinon vents her anger about Kirito to Kyōji, who then tells her that she isn't acting like her normal self and, after a short conversation, tries to hug her, but is rejected by her. At the hospital, after seeing that Kazuto was troubled by something, Aki offers a free counseling session. When Kazuto tells her about how he killed the Laughing Coffin members in SAO, she tells him that she cannot help him with that burden, but reminds him that he killed them in order to protect others. After calming down, Kazuto logs into GGO. Meanwhile, in Alfheim Online, after completing a boss fight, Asuna, Leafa (Suguha), Klein, Lisbeth, and Silica get ready to watch the broadcast of the BoB tournament. In GGO, Sinon meets Kirito at the General Governor's Office, and they tell each other that they will not lose.
Kirito pretends to not understand Death Gun's answer, and Death Gun states that he will kill him, whether or not he is the real Kirito, before leaving. Kirito then has a flashback to his time in SAO, when he and several others battled Laughing Coffin, and notes that he killed two members during that battle. He then realizes that the player who confronted him was actually Death Gun. Sinon later meets up with him and senses that something is wrong, but before Kirito can confide in her, he is teleported to his next duel, which he wins. Eventually, both Kirito and Sinon have made it into the finals. While waiting for Kirito, Sinon begins to feel he is just like her. She becomes frustrated when Kirito calmly walks straight toward her position, seemingly unwilling to dodge her bullet. Sinon fires at him repeatedly, but misses, and she personally confronts him about it. Remembering the promise he made to Sinon, Kirito apologizes and sets the rules for a rematch: he would move away by ten meters, and they would start fighting once he throws a bullet to the ground. Despite Sinon's Hecate's one-hundred percent hit rate at such a range, Kirito shows his confidence in his abilities. When the rematch begins, Kirito is able to slice Sinon's bullet in half and hold her at the tip of his Photon Sword. Realizing that Kirito predicted the bullet path by watching her eyes, Sinon realizes that his strength goes beyond a virtual game and asks him what he is afraid of. He implies to her his experiences in SAO are not strength, but skill. He then asks her to surrender, since he doesn't want to defeat a girl. In anger, she does so, stating that next time would be different.
Kirito and Sinon arrive at the General Governor's Office and go to the terminals to register. Kirito is surprised that the registration asks for his real-life information, and he leaves the fields blank. He is then registered into the same block as Sinon, and both are able to make it to the finals due to the ladder arrangement. Before they can enter BoB, however, there is a qualifying preliminary. Kirito promises to fight Sinon fairly if they are ever opponents. While waiting for the preliminary round to begin, Kirito reveals his gender after an embarrassing incident with Sinon in the changing room, and this creates a rift between them. Sinon demands that he make it to the finals so she can defeat him there, then proclaims her intention of "killing all the strong ones", which causes Kirito to briefly suspect her of being Death Gun. They then meet up with Kyōji in his GGO avatar, Spiegel. When Kirito is transferred to his first battle, he is initially put off-balance in the gunfight, but is able to defeat his first opponent using his Photon Sword. Upon returning to the preliminary waiting area, he is confronted by Death Gun, who Kirito feels he recognizes. Death Gun asks Kirito if he is the "real deal". He then catches a glimpse of a tattoo on Death Gun's wrist and recognizes it as the mark of the SAO Red Player guild "Laughing Coffin".
Kirito logs into GGO, but becomes baffled as to why his avatar has long hair and feminine qualities. These attributes lead to all of the male players mistaking him for a girl. Without many leads on how to reveal himself to Death Gun, Kirito wanders around the city until he spots Sinon. He explains to her that he wants to find directions to the General Governor's Office to sign up for BoB "(Bullet of Bullets バレット・オブ・バレッツ, Baretto Obu Barettsu)", an intense PvP game mode. Mistaking him for a girl as well, Sinon directs Kirito towards a market to buy weaponry and armor. However, being out of cash, Kirito participates in an arcade game, "Untouchable", an extremely difficult QuickDraw game where the player must dodge the bullets fired from an NPC and then tag him to receive all of the credits placed in for bets. Sinon warns him the game is rigged, but after witnessing a player fail to win the game, Kirito decides to participate. Using the agility and training he acquired from his previous experiences in ALO (Alfheim Online), he is able to dodge all of the bullets and win all of the earnings, which surprises Sinon and other onlookers. Back at the weapon shop, Kirito mulls over the better weapons with the aid of Sinon, and decides to purchase an energy sword called a Photon Sword, then an FN Five-seven at Sinon's request. Back outside, Sinon realizes they only have ten minutes to get to the General Governor's Office and sign up for BoB, but Kirito spots a buggy station and commandeers one of the buggies, taking himself and Sinon to the Office down a highway. Impressed and exhilarated with his driving abilities, Sinon tells Kirito to go faster.
While walking home, Shino Asada, Sinon's real-life counterpart, is bullied by three schoolmates, led by Endou, but they are warded away by her friend Kyōji Shinkawa, who introduced her to GGO in the first place, as a form of immersion therapy for her fear of guns. After talking about their personal lives, Shino leaves for home. There, she tries holding a gun replica, but this induces a flashback to when she was eleven years old; while she was at a postal office with her mother, a man carrying a gun tried to rob the office, shooting an employee and threatening to kill other people. When the robber aimed his gun at her mother, Shino attacked him, wrestled the gun out of his hand, and shot him repeatedly, killing him. The flashback triggers a panic attack from Shino. Meanwhile, Kirito informs Asuna that he will be converting his ALO avatar to GGO, which surprises her, but she approves. As Kazuto, he goes to the hospital to log into GGO, while his real-life body will be watched by Aki Natsuki, a nurse who oversaw his condition while he was trapped in SAO. Shino logs into GGO as well. Meanwhile, Death Gun overhears an online voice-chat discussing Death Gun before looking at a photo of Sinon, grinning.