The case in question is episodes 5-6 of Sword Art Online
Let’s not get into a whole discussion about the rest of Sword Art Online, alright? I liked a lot of the episodes in the first part of the story. This murder in a safe zone case of course stuck out. And thanks to a comment on the last installment of this article series, I realized I had neglected this mystery for No Case Too Small.
Since Sword Art Online takes place inside an MMO there are certain structures and rules set-up by the game that can’t be broken by just simply wanting to do so. One of those is safe zones which prevent “player-killing.” So when Asuna and Kirito stumble upon what appears to be a murder in progress, everyone is understandable alarmed.
Asuna and Kirito are on the case after talking with a witness and former guildmate of the victim. The guild had broken up after the death of one of their members, Griselda, and suspicions about the rare tem she was going to sell before her death. Perhaps the victim’s husband is taking revenge? A ghost perhaps?
Then a second murder happens right before their eyes.
It actually ends up being an elaborate plot to draw out the thief of the ring and Griselda’s killer in which they faked their deaths using teleport stones and diminishing durability of their equipment. I actually really liked that Kirito figures this out with the classic epiphany moment when he drops a sandwich bringing the food’s durability to zero thus causing it to disappear.
The greater mystery is then who stole the ring and killed Griselda. The ghostly antics of the guild members worked their magic getting one of the guild to admit their part in the theft but it ends up bringing them face-to-face with a group of murders known as Laughing Coffin.
It is Kirito who provides the answers on who killed Griselda or rather who hired the Laughing Coffin to. Kirito realized that married couples share game storage so the ring couldn’t have been stolen, it had to be a ruse. But only Grimrock, Griselda’s husband, could answer the why.
It wasn’t the rare ring or the money. But rather that Griselda also happened to be Grimrock’s real life wife, not just in SAO. According to him she changed for the worse because she was no longer submissive and was more of a leader in SAO than she ever had been in the real world. At least Asuna puts him in his place in true melodramatic fashion: “You never loved her, you only wanted to possess her.”
A pretty good mystery with a couple of nice twists. A murders guild was a really cool concept that was added to SAO, too.
The end still left a question of what exactly the guild decided to do with Grimrock…