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Join Date: Aug 2010
Alicization WEB Ch7 1st half continued
Continued from above:
WEB Ch7 summary continued
Before back on topic again, Kirito also asked for a helping of the corn soup Cardinal has. Cardinal snarked how Kirito really is a glutton before complying (Flere821 note: let’s see, the ‘hotdogs’ from Warmth of the Heart, his obsession with Asuna’s sandwich/food, the number of times he went off to buy snacks in UW before trotting back to a worried Eugeo… yeah, can’t argue with that
The final stages of the battle was Kuniela creating a zone of no system commands can be used, and spawned the most powerful weapon available in existence to physically fight. Seeing no choice Cardinal did the same and summoned her staff. Kuniela found one advantage she had; Kuniela had a 16 year old’s body, while Cardinal only had a 10 year old’s. Cardinal demonstrated this by standing up and taking off her robe, showing her small chest with white bra and her black shorts; her body doesn’t have the reach or strength (and the TL notes there’ll probably be this picture when the LN comes out, as there’s ALWAYS fanservice pics of some kind). Kirito noted similar things happened in SAO, where someone’s real life reach differes from other players’ and they had a disadvantage, or how in ALO their race’s trait (such as being large/small in size) is different to their real life body and they can’t get used to it.
The battle ended up as melee combat and Cardinal couldn’t physically match Kuniela, even though Cardinal made the first strike in system command attacks and Kuniela would have had her fluctlight destroyed the instant before her own one did. After three exchanges of strikes Cardinal lost. It was fortunate Kuniela sealed the use of system commands first before she sealed the room, otherwise Cardinal might not have escaped.
Cardinal spoke about the horror of being chased by Kuniela with her blade , feeling slashes onto her back. Kirito agreed that must have been horrifying, and Cardinal shot back Kirito needed to feel the same terror of a woman chasing after him with a weapon from all the womanizing he did within the last 2.5 years. Kirito fervently denied he did any such thing, then realised Cardinal has been
observing him for quite a while now.
Cardinal escaped, into one of two places even the Administrator cannot freely travel to. One is the Dark Territory, the other is the library of records they’re in right now. This library was created by the Administrator as a external storage space for her knowledge, and she made it impossible for others to access it. It takes a specific system command to access this place, and Cardinal used it before Kuniela did and locked the place up behind her. It’s easier to lock things up than to break it with system commands, and by the time Kuniela almost broke through the lock Cardinal made the library her’s and made the entrance disappear from the physical location in UW. The fact this library does not have a real physical location in UW to be broken into as part of the security played against Kuniela here. If they broke the walls all there will be is the void. Thus began Cardinal’s lonely experience for 200 years.
Kirito can’t even begin to understand how can someone live this long by herself, before remembering a human only have about 150 years of memory available to them; how does Cardinal here still function, then? Even with system commands Cardinal could not create something from nothing, so she can’t make a back-up just in case. The alternative, safer way she did was to erase all her memory as ‘Kuniela’, and 97% of the memory she had as Administrator, after putting them down onto paper (or some other physical records). She had no memory of her parents, how a bed feels like, and no emotion (Flere821 note: although later events – and how she snarked at Kirito before now - suggest she’s not as emotionless as she thinks). Cardinal sees herself solely as a program with the end goal of stopping Kuniela’s reign, no matter what she has to do.
(Flere821 note: I just noticed the narrative seems to suggest Kirito finds Cardinal beautiful whenever she acts like a kid her age rather than a weary old-timer, with words like ‘perfect smile’ and whatnot… goddamn it Kirito,
You damn lolicon…
Cardinal had tried to fight back within the last 200 years, but there’s a big difference between her and Kuniela – Kuniela has access to many minions and more resources. The Synthesis Knights can tip the scales towards Kuniela’s favour in a direct confrontation. These minions also help her govern the world, so she can lessen the intake of new memories. Now she rests on the top of the cathedral, reliving the memories of her past glory to further reduce additional information.
Kirito raised the point that that is indeed a advantage Kuniela has, but wouldn’t her minions betray her? From his experience in SAO there’s always conflict in large groups, the most notable example was how Divine Dragon’s Alliance ended up disbanded though Heathcliff’s KoB remained stable. (TL note: they look forward to if/when this eventually gets covered in Progressive). Cardinal said no betrayal is possible, due to ‘Ritual of Synthesis’ – they’re all puppets of the Adminstrator. The first Synthesis Knight was the legendary figure from back in Eugeo’s village, and Kirito thought this will be like him facing legendary figures from the past like Musashi. He tried to convince Cardinal this isn’t a shounen manga where after defeat they’ll somehow amazingly power-up, so there’s no way he can win. Cardinal gave him a look of “what the hell are you talking about?”.
Of course this isn’t a manga, it’s a light novel =P
After many years the number of Synthesis Knights increased up to 50. Even taking into account border patrols and fighting against the Dark Territory, there will still be around 20 knights here in the Cathedral. Kirito thought it’s practically like he had just left the Town of Beginnings and the final boss dungeon is right in front of him.
Cardinal had been keeping a eye on Kirito, and a number of other people she might be able to recruit. Though most of the ones she found was taken by Kuniela and trained to be her minions, since Cardinal can only rely on her familiars while Kuniela can just open a window and see who has a high value of rule breaking tendencies. Cardinal revealed Charlotte, the familiar she stuck onto Kirito a while back and he never noticed. The winners of the tournaments are also inducted into a Synthesis Knight, the #30-50 are mostly such people. #1-20 are those with a high rule-breaking tendency values she captured. In a sense, Kirito was lucky they didn’t follow the original plan and win the tournament or they might have ended up as puppets.
After constant defeat Cardinal was thinking about giving up within the last 10 years. Kuniela steadily have gained influence while she herself have gained nothing, and have been losing hope. She questioned why it must be herself that corrects Kuniela’s mistakes, and started to yearn for the life she could have had as the 10 year old girl before she was erased; knowing nothing about the world, growing up, raising a family, and be surrounded by them on her deathbed. Originally it was on a whim Cardinal set her personality as a old woman, but now she felt more like one than ever. Rotting away with no future. Not even the Gods, Rath, has any interest in helping her even if they found this out. Kirito then knew Cardinal didn’t actually know about Rath, the real world, or have a connection to them, she figured all the truth of UW out with logic in the last 200 years.
Rath currently have been stepping up on the pressures to human society to try and see if it’ll force UW citizens to break the laws. Armies have started to amass in Dark Territory, and natural disasters have became more common. While the Dark Territory population is only half that of humans, there are vastly more combat-capable individuals in the goblins, beastmen and other races there. With how UW have stagnated and sword forms have been reduced to showmanship, UW will fall if Dark Territory invade. Administrator thinks she can defeat the Dark Territory with only her fifty Synthesis Knights, but Cardinal does not think it’s likely. Either way, the world will end, the only difference is if it’s by Kuniela’s deeds or that of the Dark Territory as they pillage and burn across human lands. 50 knights can’t hold ground, and even Kuniela will be defeated by the thousands of system command users within Dark Territory.
Cardinal knew there is no way out once Rath starts their pressure phase, so she wants to mercy-kill the entire UW, including the Dark Territory. While spending the next several hundred years to incorporate humanity with the other races is the best solution, it is not a possible one from what she has seen. Even if they stop Kuniela they can’t escape from Rath. It’s a military experiment after all, if UW tries to disobey they will just delete the whole thing and start anew. Cardinal likened this to fishes bred for consumption choosing to die by the hands of the fishermen or flop onto land and suffocate through their own actions. Cardinal offers Kirito her help to return back to the real world, if she became Administrator she can do so. In addition, she can use what little power she have to save ten Fluctlights and let them live on in the real world with Kirito. Ten of them is about the number Kirito can feasibly sneak out of Rath anyway, though Kirito doesn’t think he can choose between the ones he has met since coming into UW – and does he have the right to decide who gets to live solely because they have met him?
Cardinal went through how she found out about Kirito and Eugeo, when they cut down a tree that was supposedly to be impossible. Through Charlotte Cardinal found the reasons they got this powerful and how they cut the tree down. After Cardinal saw Kirito did things no UW citizen (little things, like feeding stray dogs) can do she knew Kirito isn’t bound by the laws of the world – if anyone else found that Kirito would have been instantly captured by the Church. And since Kirito isn’t from UW, his soul is in the STL and beyond the reach of the Administrator, so he is the best chance that can fight against the Administrator without being instantly deleted.
Kirito asked why didn’t Cardinal leave all this behind, start a new life and family, instead of spending 200 years in a library by herself? As part of Kuniela her blood from nobility should have been enough to break any bounds left on her by the laws. Cardinal replied as the subsystem her only desire is to stop Kuniela… before she remembered her one other desire. She told Kirito to get up, position his arms in a circle, and after much
incoherent orders Kirito found himself hugging Cardinal, with her on a stool so her head is level with Kirito’s. Human contact, after 200 years, and Cardinal thought this as worth all the efforts she had put in so far with a few tears shed. Loneliness and dedication towards a goal will eventually dry up a person’s mind and soul, which needs to be sated by human interactions. Kirito was reminded of his time back in SAO where he dedicated himself to one goal no matter what (training to get that revive crystal) and felt he can sympathize with what Cardinal has went through.
After who-knows-how-long, Cardinal broke off and went back to being a enlightened sage, asking if Kirito is willing to help her. Kirito said yes, though he said he will also be looking for the third option that doesn’t involve everyone dying. Cardinal acknowledged that Kirito’s a hopeless idealist, but that’s within her tolerance. Kirito added he doesn’t want to see Cardinal die – if he had to choose ten people to leave with him, he’ll choose her as one of the ten. (Flere821 & TL Note: Another addition into his harem ^^; xD)
Cardinal’s eyes widened at his claim (Flere821: haremette ‘loli #2’ confirmed as obtained), before giving a sad laugh saying Kirito’s not just a idealist, but also a fool; even if she wants to leave she can’t, she’s part of this world and if she’s gone there’s no-one left to destroy it for the mercy-kill. Kirito says he understand that, but he’s also not giving up. Cardinal said one day he will understand the meaning of despair and giving up; but enough of that, time to go look for Eugeo and plan out their next moves.
Eugeo had finished reading, and asked what’s the time – they lost track of it. Cardinal said it’s been three hours, the sun’s up and it’s about 8am in the morning. Kirito gave a brief explanation on who Cardinal is/was (nothing that will break Eugeo’s mind), such as Cardinal used to be the High Priest and she’s helping them to take down Administrator. Eugeo asked if Cardinal knew anything about Alice; is the Alice from his village the same as Alice Synthesis Fifty? Cardinal said she’s been spending all her attention on him and Kirito, so she doesn’t know – though she says she knows how to remove the brainwashing Administrator had done to the knights. The memory circuit of the knights are sealed, someone they love have been erased from their mind and using that as basis of the change. This was shown when Kirito and Eugeo accidently influenced the brainwashing of Synthesis Twenty-Six they fought when they tried to escape. The memory fragment is the key to return them back to normal. If they want to get that they’ll have to reach the top of the cathedral, since the Administrator is likely to keep those fragments in her own room. Kirito wanted to stop the knights non-violently but Cardinal derided that as futile – all she can do is raise their equipment onto the same level as the Synthesis Knights, not to the point where they can afford to go easy on their opponents. It’s either slaughter a way to victory or die. Kirito asked is she not coming with them, and Cardinal says if she shows up it’ll instantly be the final battle – she’ll gladly go with them if they think they can stop 20 Synthesis Knights at once. Administrator right now still wants to brainwash Kirito and Eugeo, so she’ll be sending her knights after them in 2s and 3s to capture them alive. This way Kirito and Eugeo will still have a chance to victory.
Eugeo said he’s fine with fighting, even killing his opponents, however he can’t fight Alice as that’ll completely deny what he has accomplished within the last 2 years. Cardinal handed him and Kirito each a small dagger that weighed as much as a real sword, saying if that’s the case use these as their trump card; these daggers have no attacking power whatsoever, but if stabbed into their enemy it will have a path established with Cardinal and she can use her spells to take them down. Use it on Alice and she’ll instantly be asleep, and stay that way until they recover her memory fragment. As even system commands can’t create something out of nothing, those daggers are built upon her own sacrifice; a hundred years’ worth of hair. Cardinal joked if Kirito and Eugeo had shown up a month earlier they would be able to see her long hair that was her pride then. Kirito found even Cardinal has some similarities with normal girls in that she has pride in her hair and she felt sad she had to cut it off. These daggers were originally made to use against the Administrator, so make sure when they use it it counts. Eugeo asks if it’s alright for him to use something there’s only two of in the world, and Cardinal says it’s fine. She almost let slip they will all die anyway so it doesn’t matter. Kirito inwardly vowed to include Eugeo, Alice, and Cardinal among the ten he can save, even if he has to trick Cardinal into coming with him. He then shamefully realised that meant he in a way agreed to Cardinal’s solution, but he resolved he’ll save them even at the cost of this world.
Kirito then raised the point if system commands can’t make something out of nothing, then where did the food they ate came from? Cardinal smiled and said all she did was use some worthless history books as raw material. Eugeo, as the history fanatic, choked at this revelation and said no they don’t need any more food when Cardinal offered to make some more.
Kirito had thought they’d get the best gear in-game before remembering Cardinal can’t make something out of nothing. Cardinal started to think if she had chosen the right person after Kirito found out he won’t be getting the stuff he thought he’d get. She then explained even without her they’d still have the best gear anyway, one is a sword belonging to one of 4 dragon knights, the other was made from material of a tree that had absorbed resources from a large area for the past several hundred years. Add to the fact they know how to use these powerful weapons they should be fine. Kirito was reminded of fools in SAO that got some rare drops and then went to test them out, but then their inexperience killed them when the NPCs attacked.
Kirito and Eugeo’s swords are at level 3. Their final destination is at level 100. Kirito had thought this will be a long quest and asked if they can start at level 50 instead, but Eugeo reminded them they wanted to keep the opponent separate. More space to cover means less likely to find the knights all in one place. Cardinal then reminded them of one more thing, that Synthesis Knights have abilities with their weapons that make them a extension of their body and have other special effects. Cardinal gave them 3 hours to write up a code/spell that will unlock their own weapon’s abilities (Kirito’s is a branch, Eugeo’s sword at the very basis is ice that can never melt). The harsh time constraints was because it has almost been 24 hours since they lost their swords, any longer they will lose ownership over it.
Three hours later, Kirito and Eugeo got some sort of code working (though Cardinal said those were really inefficient code) and Cardinal dropped them off close to the room where they have their swords. Cardinal left the world’s fate in their hands and let them decide whether the world will bathe in hellfire, fall into the void, or *looks at Kirito* there may be some third option. They left the room, and started their mission.
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