Did Heathcliff use Yui (which was possible because he was Kayaba after all) or did he rely entirely on asking them for help with the final boss raid?

In episode 1x11, Asuna and Kirito ask for a leave of absence from the Knights of the Blood Oath. Surprisingly Heathcliff agrees. He then says, "I'm positive you won't stay away from the battlefield for long." This clearly foreshadows he'll manipulate them into coming back.

How did he do so?

2 Answers 2


Yui only appeared during a sidestory in the second light novel so we can say that she didn't play a role in their decision.
Basically Heathcliff knew that Kirito and Asuna felt a responsibility for clearing the game seeing how they were some of the strongest players.

Asuna then suddenly removed her smile and muttered:
“Up until now, I had only fought on the upper floors. I had completely forgotten that there were people who lived normal lives…”
“I don’t mean that we’re special; but since we’re on a high enough level to fight on the front lines, I suppose it also means that we have an obligation to them.”
“…I had never thought about it like that… I always felt that becoming stronger was just a way to survive.”
“I think that a lot of people are going to be counting on you from now on. Of course, that includes me.”
“…except with my personality, hearing these kind of expectations only makes me want to run away.”
“Oh you.”
As Asuna pouted in dissatisfaction, I stroked her hair and hoped for this life to continue for a while longer. For Nishida and the other players, we have to return to the front lines at some point. But at least for now-
Based on the messages that Agil and Klein had sent me, I knew that they were having a hard time trying to clear the seventy-fifth floor.

He did guilt-trip them a bit with his message:

That night, we received a message from Heathcliff, requesting us to take part in fighting the seventy-fifth floor boss.
Seeing as we had temporarily left the guild, we could decline the request. But the last line of the message, that “some people had already died,” laid heavily on our minds.

Both excerpts are from the first light novel Aincrad (translations by Baka-Tsuki).


In the anime, he didn’t really... They realize that they were responsible for the people of the game. Their bodies, their IRL bodies couldn’t last forever with them in this game. The game needed to beaten, and since Kirito and Asuna were of the strongest people they needed to go back to the front lines... Honestly it’s possible that heathcliff, Akihiko Kayaba, was manipulating the game and made the enemies stronger in the dungeon so that they would hear about the struggle to clear the level. But that is a guess and not really explained.

It’s possible the manipulation would have come if things were different

Think about this... He knew how hard this boss fight would be and how many were going to die in the fight. He asked them to help with the fight and if they said they were going to sit this fight out, they would have learned of the deaths and felt guilty for not fighting.

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