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Alicization WEB Ch7 1st half
Chinese translations on WEB Ch7 is about half done, this part is a lot longer than previous parts. Here’s a summary of it (will be continued in my next post):
Ch7 1st half
This chapter really shows how bad it can get when humans try to pose as gods. Intellectually we readers understood UW was created as an experiment, but it's another to see the place designed for bloodshed and the recreation of pillage and war first hand emotionally through the narrative.
Kirito and Eugeo was captured by Alice before, they escaped the dungeons, and before they got hunted down they were rescued by a girl that looked around 10 years old with light brown hair but talked like a old woman (more precisely, a old woman using old English, with her words in English approximately using words like ‘Thou’ and so on). Using ‘magic’ Eugeo and Kirito was taken into a library that housed the records of everything in UW since its creation, the coding for the world and the System Command lists. The girl revealed herself to be named ‘Cardinal’ (as in, from the Cardinal System – explanation will come up later). As Kirito understood it the Cardinal System does not have a anthropomorphic avatar of sorts, even in games like ALO and GGO. Kirito and Eugeo was given food to heal all their wounds taken from escaping, and Eugeo asked where the history section of UW is, and Cardinal pointed him to the ‘Corridor of History’. After Eugeo left Cardinal sighed and said the history of the world and those records are only fakes written by the priests, and Kirito took the chance to clarify some things (Flere821 note: go make a sandwich, grab a drink or something, this is going to take a while to explain).
The three gods as UW know it does not exist, only as accounts with more abilities than others – and those accounts have never logged into UW even once before now. Cardinal confirmed this world is made by Rath, and she’s a offshoot of the Cardinal System designed by Kayaba. Cardinal was surprised Kirito knew about Kayaba, and found how Kirito knew other versions of the Cardinal interesting.
Cardinal went through how Feudalism came to be set up in UW – the developers didn’t put that in themselves. Cardinal doesn’t have the means to talk to the ‘Real World’, that is something only the Adminstrator of UW have. Because of certain events (will be explained later) Cardinal has lost a lot of her abilities, and unlike the other Cardinal systems Kirito knew she’s not omniscient within the setting. Back to the topic of Feudalism, of the four humans that took care of the first Fluctlights one of them was not the morally upright person Rath thought he was. It may have been unintentional, but his ambition, desire to satisfy his own wants, and desire to control others – basically the darker side of human nature – have infected two of the 8 fluctlights. (As an aside, Cardinal cannot access the names of the four people; so Kirito couldn’t be forewarned by who within Rath might be a traitor or intending to harm him). These negative traits was bred out if people married lower class nobles or commoners, but for those that maintained blood purity of ‘nobility’ there was a much higher chance of inheriting these negative traits (like the scheming rapists from previous chapter). The current Pope is the one that led to Feudalism being installed, and she had taken the name ‘Adminstrator’. (Kirito was surprised that the Pope was a ‘she’ – to him Popes are normally wizened old men with plenty of life experience). In a sense, the Adminstrator was Cardinal’s mother (more on that later).
Feudalism was installed 350 years ago, 100 years after the experiment started. At the time UW citizens are married around 20, and each family have on average 5 children. By 5th generation the population of UW is around 500 people (marriage and birth mechanics will be skipped here, it’s a aside to the plot).
From these people, the ones with domination desires took the land of people around them and became leaders, and made people who lost their land servants. Those that disagreed with them went to pioneer other settlements near the outer edge. There was hostility between the various leaders, and there is very little marriage between them. This all changed when from one of these few political marriages a girl named Kuniela (Note: I’m bad with names, so this might not be the correct spelling) was born. She had the strongest negative desires of people being born ever at that time. She was amazingly talented, in multiple areas such as sword skill, system commands, singing, sewing etc. She could have excelled in any lifelong career she was assigned to, but her father that was in charge of giving them wanted to keep her close by and gave her the career of practicing system commands (ie, like a priest). Kuniela figured out system commands aren’t meaningless words, but of a different language, and eventually figured out a spell to launch fire arrows.
She then took advantage of the ‘exp system’ of UW, by defeating other creatures in UW you can gain exp in the ‘System Access Authority’ of UW. Most people are kind-natured, and do not like to harm animals without reason, but the tainted nobility was the exceptions. At age 11 Kuniela went on nightly hunting trips killing foxes and other animals, and to keep the balance the Cardinal (before she had a sense of self) replenished the surroundings as per the system. Kirito understood the idea, he went level grinding himself back in SAO, but for some reason he felt horrified at what Kuniela has done. It’s like something from a nightmare, a small girl dressed in her pyjamas and unflinchingly burning anything she came across at night. Kuniela’s level increased steadily, along with her understanding of system commands. She eventually mastered healing and weather forecasting, and along with her beauty by age 13 she seemed like an angel or divine descent.
Cardinal said Rath the biggest mistake they made was introducing the concept of God to explain the system commands. To humans, the existence of the divine is the most effective painkiller, with it humans can endure any kind of pain, and commit any kind of sins without guilt. With Kuniela’s deeds she established a Church and her own ‘divine’ authority she established herself as the ruler of UW. Kirito thought Kuniela had some decency left in her, or otherwise why add further restrictions in killing when the system forbid it? Cardinal explained it was because Kuniela didn’t want anyone else to reach the same power as she did, and killing humans is one of the fastest ways to gain exp.
Cardinal also refuted Kirito’s claims humans by nature are kind-hearted beings – UW citizens are only this way because of Rath’s meddling. The Goblins from Dark Territoty Kirito had met that had tried to kill him and Eugeo are also Fluctlights, given the opposite commands as the ones in UW; to kill, to forcibly take things, they are the product of fluctlights following the more basic human desires. Kirio had known something was off when he fought them, those weren’t like NPCs; their movements were too natural, they had sparks of life in their eyes. But he had never thought this might be the case. Kirito was tormented for a moment how he had killed another human (the Goblin captain), before Cardinal cut him off of his thoughts. He is not God, and there are some things that can’t be solved even after one or two hundred years of thought.
Cardinal thought of herself as a God once, and intervened in the world uncaring of what life actually is, following the laws of the world. It was only after obtaining a body that she started thinking about life. The world’s creators, Rath, probably have no idea what they have created and even then they are not omnipotent Gods. With the coming pressure experiments UW as it is now will become a living hell. Back to Kuniela, the Church’s laws was expanded (like do not feed sheep certain types of grass that will take away their ability to produce milk, or do not go into bogs that have poisonous gasses) and people lost their ability to think for themselves and relied on the Church for almost everything. They no longer question the authority of the Church. The main cathedral, first from a measly 3 floor high building eventually became higher and higher, like a symbol of her insatiable desires. Kuniela reached age 30, then 40, her body slowly being influenced by age. She left ruling UW to her minions and tried to research a way to extend her life, breaking the bounds of age. Her efforts produced no results however, and by the time she was over 60 her body was frail and her beauty was all gone. On her deathbed at age 80 she refused to give up however, and tried all kinds of combinations to find a way. Cardinal said Kuniela’s chances of success was smaller than throwing a thousand coins and expects them all to land heads up… but she succeeded. Even Cardinal was horrified at her obsession.
The command “System Call: Inspect Entire Command List” opened up an A4 sized window that basically gave her access to the root code of the world. Cardinal said this was another huge mistake Rath made, they should have eliminated this command after the four was logged out. At the bottom of the list was the command she needed, the emergency command that allows someone to take control of the world to restore balance – take control of all of the Cardinal System’s abilities and make yourself literally the God of the world. Kirito thought Rath really could not have kept this world under control; all of their personnel was basically in their thirties, and Kuniela had 80 years of life experience by then to find a way to break the system. Rath controlling the situation now was even less likely, with Kuniela having about another 300 years of experience.
Kirito’s worry was interrupted by Cardinal – she said it’s too early to start being afraid.
To build things up for later explanation, Cardinal explained how when the four humans was raising their kids there were other NPCs around them – after all, it’s strange for a world to only have two families. These were limited AIs, artificial Fluctlights without their own will.
Anyway, after Kuniela found this command she reset her age to 16 and removed the upper limit to her age. Kuniela was ecstatic to have recovered her youth and beauty, which Cardinal remarked no male would ever understand how happy she would have been. Kirito remarked that even he knew that’s the dream of all women, but Cardinal’s wasn’t convinced at his understanding. Cardinal remarked even she would have preferred an appearance maybe 5-6 years older than what she had right now…
Putting that aside, Cardinal continued on with her narration. Kuniela’s reasoning was affected by the joy of eternal youth and beauty, plus command over human territory. Cardinal seemed to be either laughing at human foolishness here, or maybe pitying it. Kuniela’s desire knows no bounds, and she could not accept another entity having the same authority as she did. Even if that entity is the Cardinal System, a program without its own will. Kuniela spent the night reading the instruction manual to use the full command list, but she only has a limited understanding of it because ultimately she’s a citizen of UW and not a scientifically-minded human. She tried to incorporate the Cardinal System into her own self, and she made her one and only mistake then. The motivation for the Cardinal System ended up overwriting her own desires within her own Fluctlight, and this was irreversible. Cardinal said it was a pity the Cardinal System’s driving motivation was not incompatible with Kuniela’s, as her Fluctlight would have broken apart under the paradox and solved a lot of problems right there. The motivation was ‘keep the current state as it is’ – as Kirito knew, if there was a good way to get rich very quickly or to power-level easily the Cardinal System would find it and correct it, for example by re-pricing items or making monsters harder to kill. Cardinal smirked at Kirito’s own complaints how once upon a time (ie, SAO) he and others tried to trick the Cardinal System but ended up failing. She has her own pride that no matter how many brats gather they can’t beat the system (ie, herself), this gave her a look more matching her 10-year old body that her old woman atmosphere earlier.
Due to Kuniela’s change, she wanted to keep things as it is so she used her new powers to make the walls separating the UW into quarters and declared the four most powerful nobles as Kings. This decreases human interaction and new ideas that can result from those, and things have stayed the same for 270 years after that. When before Kuniela had considered a reform to make things for the better for the commoners, now she no longer cares and strangles any signs of change. She placed similar symbols around UW to limit the pioneers’ expansion, such as boulders that can’t be broken, streams that can’t be crossed, trees that can’t be cut down etc. 50 years after Administrator took power nothing have changed and nobility has stagnated, and became even more worthless than before. 70 years after Kuniela became Administrator, she found she reached the limits of human memory – she lost memory of things that happened a few days before, occasionally when sleeping she loses consciousness, and she forgot some of the system commands from before. To address this Kuniela took in one of the Sisters-in-training that was in the cathedral and said she’ll make her the successor of UW. From the description the sister was only about 10 years old and with light brown hair, which Kirito deduced it’s talking about Cardinal in front of her. Kuniela attempted to overwrite the girl’s Fluctlight with her own, as a spare copy in case when she tries to fix herself by erasing some memories she breaks some part of her own soul. The same way people make back-up copies of important files before messing with them.
However, this was the second mistake Kuniela made; when her back-up copy was made and before she fixed herself, there was two Administrators in the same room with equal power. The Cardinal System split off, one is the main system that checks the entire game and the other became a subsystem to check the main system for bugs. Exactly like the SAO Cardinal system Kirito was familiar with. The second core system was the Cardinal which is in front of Kirito right now, finally free after being taken into Kuniela 70 years before she left. In a sense this Cardinal was a split personality of the original Kuniela given form. While Kirito stated in real life the existence of split personalities are debatable Cardinal said that was a good fit for what happened to them in UW. This Cardinal was operating when Kuniela’s desires was not that high at times, and when she was conscious she tried to correct the mistakes Kunela made. Cardinal attempted many suicides (jumping off the top of the cathedral (100 floors high) – 3 times. Stabbing self in the heart – 2 times. Using system command to burn herself alive – 2 times) to correct what Kuniela had accomplished. Even as the Administrator, if her health goes to zero she will still be destroyed. With literally the final drop of HP left Kuniela regained control of her body, so Cardinal could not finish the job.
To stop Cardinal killing her, Kuniela sealed away her own emotions and perfected the ‘Ritual of Synthesis’, basically cutting apart people’s fluctlights and stripping them of their personalities. The Synthesis Knights was basically the test subjects, in exchange for near-immortality and skills beyond mortals they are only puppets of Kuniela. Administrator is now like a machine, and only when Kuniela tried to make a back-up copy did Cardinal manage to free herself. After they saw each other when Kuniela finished operating on herself and deleting some memories, she failed to instantly eliminate Cardinal. Both of them felt fear that one of them is the exact same copy of themselves and they fought. Instinctive enmity and fear led them to fight, two Gods warring for three days and night upon the top of the cathedral. The original fluctlight in the 10 year old girl’s collapsed from the strain first, and that led to a fundamentally difference between Kuniela and Cardinal enough to make them seem different.
Kirito asked how the Administrator could break the taboo of killing another human, and Cardinal explained it’s a matter of perception. She demonstrated the rules of ‘teacup cannot directly touch the table, it needs a saucer underneaths it’ – even after so many years she could not bring herself to break that deeply ingrained rule from Kuniela’s childhood, but change the cup’s content from ‘tea’ to ‘soup’ she could put the cup down directly; it’s no longer a ‘tea’cup but a ‘soup’cup. Most people would not even be able to think about why they can’t put the teacup down directly, but people with high enough ‘hidden value’ of rule breaking tendencies could. The rapist that tried to kill Eugeo did something similar, he saw Eugeo as one of the Dark Territory residents in disguise and not a human, hence his ability to attempt to kill Eugeo. Cardinal mused if this inability to break rules was something Rath built into UW humans, and Kirito decided that’s impossible – they built the experiment in trying to break rules, not the other way around. (Flere821 note: They did find out by the end of this arc a US spy had written in some codes into UW that wasn’t part of Rath’s design, this was one of them)
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