Alicization Rising (アリシゼーション・ライジング, Arishizēshon Raijingu?) is the 12th book in the Sword Art Online Light Novel series, published on April 10, 2013.
Cardinal continues the story of Quinella after she found the system command list and became the Administrator. After explaining how the Integrity Knights and Cardinal herself came to be, Cardinal warns Kirito that the creatures of the Dark Territory are on the verge of invading the Human Empire and slaughtering all of its residents. Cardinal makes a deal with Kirito to help her defeat Quinella and then teaches Kirito and Eugeo how to use the «Armament Full Control» art. The two youngsters are then taken to the backdoor closest to the Cathedral's equipment vault and they begin their quest to recover their weapons and reach the top of the Cathedral.
Chapter 7 - The Two Supervisors
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Kirito recollected his life since he entered high school, and how he had been forced to leave his education three times already (one time because of the SAO incident, another time due to being stuck in Underworld and now again because of breaking the Taboo Index). He then resumed his talk with Cardinal who continued the story of Quinella after she had found the list of system commands in Underworld.
She explained that when Quinella attempted to steal the system authority level from the Cardinal System using a complex system command, Quinella accidentally burned the primary instruction of the Cardinal System (to preserve regularity of the world) onto her Fluctlight as a non-changeable principle due to her low knowledge of the complex syntax of supervisor level commands. Because of this, Quinella inherited the Cardinal's duty of regulating the world, but pushed it to even greater extents - to regulate the residents as well.
It was Quinella who divided the Human Empire into four empires and created different obstacles, such as the Gigas Cedar, to restrict the movement of the residents and thus be able to regulate them. Then, Cardinal proceeded to explain the origin of Quinella's worry and how she created the Synthesis Ritual to exceed the limit of her memory, which was estimated to be about 150 years. The Synthesis Ritual allowed Quinella to manipulate the Fluctlight of a chosen person and thus she decided to use this ritual to create a backup of her memories in another person's Fluctlight.
At the time, a ten-year-old daughter of a furniture's shop owner had become a nun at the Axiom Church due to her above average System Control Authority. Because of her young age and thus, a large free memory capacity, the girl was invited to the top floor of the Cathedral, where Quinella attempted gaining control of the girl's Fluctlight and using it to store a back-up of Quinella's memories. The Synthesis Ritual was successful and Quinella's compressed memories were successfully copied onto the girl's Fluctlight. However, as Quinella and the girl regained consciousness at the same time after the ritual, they realized that they were exactly equal existences and began to break down due to the shock caused by this realization.
The nun's Fluctlight was the first to break down and, at that moment, the Cardinal System's sub-program, which was copied onto the nun's Fluctlight along with Quinella's memories, managed to assume control of the young girl and the two Fluctlights stopped breaking down. Cardinal immediately attacked Quinella to gain the upper hand and, at first, she was winning because of taking the initiative. However, Quinella then realized a weakness that Cardinal had and made her room a place where no Sacred Arts could be used, generating a weapon afterwards. Although both generated weapons to fight, but Quinella had the advantage due to being used to her body, while Cardinal had yet to adapt from controlling a grownup's body to that of a young girl, so Cardinal had to escape. She took refuge in the Great Library Room, which Quinella had created to store her memories and had made hard to access from the outside, and destroyed its only connection to the Central Cathedral, thus preventing Quinella from being able to enter the Library.
Cardinal waited in the Library and released familiars to look around the Human Empire for people capable of helping her, but whenever she found someone, Quinella always reached the person first and captured him or her to turn into another Integrity Knight. During the over 200 years without any success, Cardinal began to grow impatient, until she heard rumors that the Gigas Cedar was cut down by two youngsters. She immediately sent Charlotte, her most trusted familiar that was stationed in the northern region, to find the two youngsters and investigate how they were able to cut down the Cedar. Having deduced that Kirito was in fact a real human after a year's worth of observation, meaning that Kirito would be immune to Quinella's Fluctlight altering commands and would be able to face Quinella head on, Cardinal set up the maximum amount of backdoors in the Cathedral, to await for the time when Kirito would enter the Cathedral as either the winner of the Four Empires Unity Tournament, or as a criminal who broke the Taboo Index. As Kirito ended up breaking the Taboo Index, Cardinal guided the two youngsters via Charlotte to one of the backdoors in the Cathedral's garden, after they had escaped their prison.
Cardinal explained that the gods - Stacia, Solus, and Terraria - were all fabrications of the Axiom Church to solidify its rule, but «Rath» was the true God of the Underworld, and had created the Cardinal System with two main processes that were later burnt into Quinella and Cardinal. She explained about how Rath was observing the residents of Underworld until the «Final Load Test» occurred, when the Dark Territory would invade the Human Empire, and how Rath had likely intended for the Human Empire to build an opposing army to fight off the invasion but Administrator Quinella's intervention prevented this from occurring. Cardinal stated that she cannot stop the «Final Load Test» with how far it has come, but she still intended to defeat Quinella, regain her full authority as the Cardinal System, and delete everything from the Light Cube Cluster, thus rendering null everything from Underworld. Cardinal offered Kirito a deal that should he help her, she would save up to ten Fluctlights of his choosing and leave them in an archived state. Kirito questioned why she chose him to help fight Quinella, to which Cardinal told the story of how she discovered that Kirito was not bound by the Taboo Index and thus was not a soul born in Underworld. She explained that he was the only person immune to Quinella's use of Sacred Arts to alter a person's Fluctlight, as she did not have the power to control the «STL» he was using. Kirito agreed to help her, but stated that he would not stop trying to find a way to prevent the need to nullify everything in Underworld.
Having finished their conversation, Kirito and Cardinal reunited with Eugeo. Kirito explained who Cardinal was to Eugeo, and told him that she planned to help them defeat Quinella. In response, Eugeo asked if she knew about Alice Synthesis Thirty's origin. Cardinal revealed that she did not know who she was prior to becoming an Integrity Knight, but she told him how he could reverse the «Synthesis Ritual» and return her to her former self by removing the «Piety Module» inserted into her and restoring her lost memories. Kirito and Eugeo were reluctant to kill any of the Integrity Knights, thus Cardinal gave each one a dagger made from her hair that would link the target to the Great Library room, and told them to use it to stab Alice should they be unable to persuade her, allowing Cardinal to put her into a deep sleep until they were ready to reverse the Synthesis. Cardinal explained that the other was to be used on Quinella, as that was their original purpose, with one created as a spare, and that using the daggers on their targets was to be accomplished by any means necessary. After being asked about their weapons, Cardinal explained to Kirito and Eugeo that they would have to recover their swords from the Central Cathedral, and taught them how to use the «armament full control art» through the memories of the swords, but told them to avoid using the «recollection release art» to the best of their abilities. Afterwards, Kirito and Eugeo said their goodbyes and left the Great Library Room.
Chapter 8 - Central Cathedral
After entering the Central Cathedral, Kirito and Eugeo went to retrieve their weapons, while, along the way, Eugeo had an inner conflict about his actions since he left Rulid Village. After retrieving their weapons and changing their attire, they were confronted by Deusolbert Synthesis Seven, who fired a hail of arrows at them using his Divine Instrument, the Conflagrant Flame Bow. They beat the Integrity Knight and banter a bit with him about the Central Cathedral and the nature of its rule. Finally, they convinced the Integrity Knight not to pursue them.
They then met two ten-year-old girls, Fizel and Linel, on the 29th floor of the Cathedral. The girls talked to Eugeo, as Kirito was "bad with kids", asking if they were really monsters from the Dark Territory. When the boys claimed that they were real humans and they had come to the Cathedral to rescue their friend, the girls asked if they could take a closer look at them to confirm that they are not monsters. Eugeo decided that that is alright, as he wanted to prove to himself and them that he is a normal human. Finally, the girls asked the two youngsters for their names and ask if they have family names. Eugeo told the girls his and Kirito's names and stated that they did not have family names. He then asked if the girls did not have one either. However, Fizel and Linel stated that they did, and revealed themselves to be "Synthesis Twenty-Eight" and "Synthesis Twenty-Nine", before suddenly paralyzing the duo with poison blades. As they dragged the two youngsters to the 50th floor, they explained how they wish to kill the two in front of the other Integrity Knights, in order to prove themselves as full-fledged Integrity Knights and receive their own sacred weapons and armor.
The four reached the 50th floor, where five Integrity Knights awaited. The kids got into an argument with one of the knights, Fanatio Synthesis Two, before Eugeo saw a shadow quickly appearing behind the kids. Kirito had managed to cast a Sacred Art that countered the poison from the venomous blades before they were cut. Kirito then pulled Fizel's and Linel's blades from their sheaths and paralyzed the duo, before giving Eugeo the antidote. He told Eugeo to start chanting the «armament full control» ritual, and then asked the Knights to allow him to explain the situation before battling. He explained that he realized that the two girls were lying when they said that they were sisters of the church, as they ignored the order for the sisters of the church to lock their doors. He also mentioned that he noticed that the scabbards of the girls were made out of ruby evergreen oak, which is used for sheathing blades made out of a poisonous metal, thus he realized their plan and started chanting the ritual for countering poison, while Eugeo handled talking to the girls.
Kirito then seemed to wordlessly ask Fanatio for an individual fight, but Fanatio had the four other Knights battle him instead, beginning chanting the «Armament full control art» while Kirito is distracted. The four knights tried to overwhelm Kirito by using their Sword Skills one after another, anticipating where their opponent would be after blocking one of their attacks, thus creating consecutive hit skills via group. However, Kirito soon realized their strategy's weak point and he dodged the 5th hit by slipping under the Knight's sword instead of blocking it. As the next Knight came in to deal a blow, Kirito used the previous Knight as a human shield by pulling the Knight atop of him, thus absorbing the blow from the attacking Knight. He then stabbed the Knight and shoved him towards another charging Knight. With the consecutive attacks put to an end, Kirito charged through the created gap in the Knights' formation and attempted to use «Sonic Leap» to get close to Fanatio.
However, at that moment Fanatio finished the chant and uses the Heaven Piercing Sword's special ability to shoot a powerful ray of light at Kirito, shaking the latter's trajectory. Fanatio continued to fire the rays of light at the black-clothed swordsman and, although Kirito managed to dodge a few of them, the 7th shot finally hit its target in the foot and Kirito crashed onto the floor. As the four supporting Knights had recovered from their injuries and again surrounded Kirito, the overconfident Fanatio decided to explain the origin of the ray-shooting sword to Kirito while aiming at him in case he moved. With the explanation complete, a final deadly ray is fired at the black swordsman. However, Kirito who used the time while Fanatio was busy talking to chant a Sacred Arts ritual used the finished ritual to create a mirror through a combination of crystal and metal elements. Although the mirror was not powerful enough to stop the ray, it did buy Kirito enough time to dodge the ray, while part of the ray was deflected back at Fanatio. The reflected beam however was only partially as strong as the original, and Fanatio was able to avoid it, with only their helmet struck by it...
Having hit the helmet's weak point, the ray caused the helmet to break into two, revealing that Fanatio was actually a woman. Fanatio became angered due to Kirito's surprise, mistaking it for an unwillingness to fight her seriously now that he knew her true gender. Kirito used the opportunity to close in on Fanatio, who was distracted, with his outstanding speed, coming too close for her to use her light rays. While crossing his sword with hers, Kirito explained that he was actually surprised by how Fanatio's resolve in her sword decreased so much after her helmet broke and told her that he had no intention of going easy on her, saying that he himself had experienced how powerful swordswomen are. The two then began their magnificent ultra-high speed clash of swords.
After an exchange of numerous sword blows, Fanatio complimented Kirito's ability, while the latter used the opportunity to try and persuade her that he is trying to help the humans of the world live normally. Fanatio, saying that if the authority of the Church was lost the world would be thrust into chaos and admitting that Kirito was an extreme threat to the Church, decided to fully unleash the ability of her sword by activating the second phase of the «armament full control art», causing her sword to fire extremely powerful rays in random directions once per second, many of the rays even hitting Fanatio herself and some of her comrades. However, Kirito refused to give up and managed to obstruct the ray by blocking the tip of Fanatio's sword with his own.
At that point, Eugeo decided that this is the ideal time to take action and activated the «armament full control art» for his Blue Rose Sword, sinking his sword into the ground at the same time. With this, from the ground a wave of ice quickly spread through the floor and icy tendrils to started forming around the Integrity Knights, who had not been quick enough to avoid the attack. The four knights were frozen into blocks of ice with blue ice roses blooming out of them, however Fanatio managed to see through the nature of the attack in time and jumped to avoid it. She is stopped by Kirito, however, who used the advantage of knowing about the Blue Rose Sword's ability beforehand to jump up a few seconds ahead of her in anticipation of her next move and then used her as a stepping stone to escape further into the air, while Fanatio is sent falling back down to the ground, where she is then entrapped in the ice.
Kirito then somersaulted backwards several times to Eugeo's position where, despite his injuries and Eugeo's protests, he began chanting the lengthy ritual for his own sword. Meanwhile, Fanatio, who refused to give up so easily, was able to use her sword's light rays to melt the ice enough to move her sword bit by bit towards the two youngsters, until, despite Eugeo's efforts in containing her, she unleashed her sword's final and greatest beam of light at them. At that moment, Kirito finished chanting the ritual for his sword and unleashed a pitch-black torrent of darkness, which clashed with the spear of light with explosive impact. The powerful clash of light and darkness continued for a while, until Kirito's ray of darkness managed to break the balance of power and shattered the spear of light into thousands of streams, some of which hit the four lying Knights, until the torrent of darkness reached the source of the torrent of light, hitting Fanatio with a tremendous impact.
With the battle finally over, Kirito collapsed onto his knees due to the suffered injuries. Eugeo made haste to immediately seal Kirito's wounds to stop his bleeding and then chanted a ritual for transferring Life to share his own Life with his unconscious friend. With nearly of half of Eugeo's Life transferred, Kirito finally opened his eyes and stopped Eugeo from continuing with the ritual. Worried about Fanatio's condition, he started walking towards her, before he remembered about Fizel and Linel and threw the bottle of antidote to Eugeo to cure the girls, while making sure that their venomous swords are destroyed. After doing so, Eugeo joined Kirito and attempted to help him seal the fallen Knights' wounds before she ran out of Life. However, even with their efforts, the bleeding was too intense to handle, thus Kirito cried out for help from the Knight Leader and Cardinal. Kirito then recalled the dagger given to him by Cardinal and decided to use it to save the dying Fanatio, despite Eugeo's protests. Shortly after Fanatio is stabbed with the dagger, the voice of Cardinal is heard. Although annoyed by how things turned out, Cardinal agreed to handle the treatment for Fanatio but says that she needed to bring the Knight's body over to the Great Library Room to do so, thus Fanatio disappears. Cardinal then told them that if they hurry, they might be able to reach and deal with Quinella before she awakens, thus they would not need the dagger. She then took her leave, with two small glass bottles left behind.
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After entering through the grand doors, instead of a grand staircase, Kirito and Eugeo found a spacious, but empty room with only a strange, smooth cavity in the middle of the floor and a shaft in the same shape as the room extending farther than they could perceive with their eyes. Just as they were wondering how they were supposed to reach the higher floors, they saw a large disk descend from the shaft and a single young girl in the middle of it. Although Eugeo was cautious about the disk and girl, the girl offered to bring the two youngsters up to a higher floor without even making an attempt to look at the pair's faces and Kirito, having found out that she had no other instruction aside from operating the disk, decided to accept the girl's offer and asked to be taken to the highest floor that they could go to with the disk. Generating and bursting Aerial elements, the girl made the disk rise via blowing the resulting explosive wind gust downwards. While riding, the two found out that the girl could not even remember her name and thus referred to herself as Elevating Operator, as that was how people who used the disk called her. They also found out that she had been operating the disk for 107 years. The disk soon reached the 80th floor and the two swordsmen got off onto the terrace, while the Elevating Operator descended back to the lower floors.
There, they had a chance meeting with Alice, whom they had come to rescue. Alice, having no memories of them, showed no mercy. Kirito challenged Alice to a sword fight without using their sword's special abilities in a bid to give Eugeo a chance to use the dagger meant for Quinella against Alice. Alice, possessing an overpowering sword easily beat Kirito, but Eugeo managed to pull off his sword's special move and immobilized both of them. Alice, however, broke the seal with ease. Kirito, seizing the opportunity, attacked with his special move. The special moves of Alice and Kirito clashed, breaking the wall and sending both of them tumbling out of the Central Cathedral a few thousand mel off the ground. The wall then resealed itself and Eugeo tried to break it in an attempt to reach Alice and Kirito, before giving up in despair.
- In the web-version, Linel and Fizel were instead two boys, by the names Aashin (アーシン, Āshin?) and Bisten (ビステン, Bisuten?).
- Fanatio's «Four Oscillation Blades» (
四旋剣, Shisenken?) were originally a 9-member team called «Nine Death-declaring Blades» (宣死九剣, Sen-shi kyū ken?) in the web version.
- The Piety Module was originally a Key Principle (行動原則キー, Kōdō Gensoku Kī?) in the web version.
- In the web-novel, when Kirito had been severely injured and Eugeo came to his side to heal him, he used a Sacred Arts Ritual, "Recover Partial Damage", to close his wounds. In the light novel publication, this was changed, to where he generated 3 Light Elements to mend his wounds.
- Although the pages 4-5 colour illustration depicts Fanatio as wearing white armour, the novel mentions that the armour is purple instead. Volume 15's colour illustration corrects this.