In medias res Shiroe, Naotsugu and Akatsuki find themselves ambushed by a pack of briar weasel monsters. Following a game update in the present, a confused Shiroe awakens to find himself in the District of Akihabara inside the Elder Tale MMORPG while donning his in-game avatar. He encounters other panicked players and all find themselves unable to log-out. Accessing his HUD, Shiroe quickly makes contact and teams up with his friend Naotsugu. Eventually the assassin Akatsuki joins them on account of helping her revert to a feminine avatar. The next day, Shiroe and co. meet with his friend, the Master of the Crescent Moon Alliance Guild—Marielle to compare notes on their current reality. Shiroe and co. learn that the teleportation gates across all the Japanese game districts have been rendered offline in addition to the start of a widespread guild recruitment campaign to deal with the changes of the recent "Novasphere Pioneers" update. After declining Marielle's recruitment offer, Shiroe and co. discuss the possible outcomes of an in-game death and head into the Archive Tower Forests to test the theory where they are ambushed by the pack of Briar Weasels. After some initial difficulty, they are able to overcome the ambush by naturally moving their bodies to attack rather than relying on their preset attack commands. Elsewhere, a girl called Serara makes a panicked call to Marielle while being chased by two male players as a mysterious figure looks on.