Some interesting revelations this episode indeed! Eldrie Woolsburg has no recollection of his memories prior to becoming an Integrity Knight, and seems to believe he descended into the Human Realm rather than being promoted into the position. What is the administration behind the Integrity Knights playing at? Would severing all former memories and connections make them easier to control and use? Do the family members and friends of former Integrity Knights know of this system of brainwashing and memory alteration? Why is it necessary?
But before we get to the dark secrets of the Axiom Church, let’s talk about that skirmish between Eugeo, Kirito and Eldrie. I didn’t expect them to succeed in any way whatsoever, but Kirito does what he does best, and almost overwhelms Eldrie. Not something you’d exactly expect from the champion of the Four Empire Unification Tournament, but he was holding himself back and trying to knock them unconscious rather than straight up killing them or hurting them. Kirito himself does some crazy stuff like grabbing ahold of Eldrie’s whip. It seemed a bit strange how Eldrie was gripping onto Kirito’s chains and the two were locked in a strength battle, yet Eldrie didn’t clearly win considering he’s the much larger and older man.
Eldrie’s past memories are brought back to the surface when Eugeo brings up his real name, and a giant pink prism of sorts emerges from its head. Kirito deduces it is the device that alters the memories of Integrity Knights such as Alice, and tells Eugeo to keep bringing up memories in an attempt to remove it completely. Now if I was there, I would’ve been tempted to straight up yank it out of the knight’s head, but I have a feeling that would end badly.
Kirito and Eugeo are pursued by a red armored Integrity Knight for putting Eldrie in such a position, but a magical voice is channeled through his ahoge, leading him to safety. Through a golden portal, the two find themselves standing in front of Cardinal, the grand librarian of a secret library, and also an autonomous system created by Rath to supervise the world. Unfortunately, the power to contact the outside world lies with the Pontifex, who’s another mess altogether. The world of Alicization is really expanding greatly beyond the scope I believed it’d strive for, and I’m honestly glad for it!
Cardinal explains The Pontifex’s history, as a woman named Quinella. Almost akin to leveling up and enjoying the power boost, Quinella strived to boost her element authority to its max potential. She achieved her mission by hunting, essentially grabbing experience, until no one else could rival her authority level. Taking advantage of the the fact that people worshipped her for her authority level and mastery of the sacred arts, Quinella established the Axiom Church at the center of the town, fortifying her control over the masses while expanding the influence of the Church. Surprisingly, she was even the one to write the Taboo Index, not to preserve order, but rather to ensure no one else could ever outlevel her.
Even age was unable to stop her, as she discovered the system command to access every possible sacred art and command. Once she had access to that database, everything was moot. Doing what any normal person would do at her age, she restored her youth. However, she didn’t stop there, and it becomes quite clear that Quinella is quite insane, and whatever thirst for power she possessed a teenager, has become an unhealthy obsession. Cardinal even says this obsession has become integrated into her system after she became one with the Cardinal System, leading her to an unshakable goal of preserving the order of her world.
It’s quite the power trip for an artificial fluctlight in an artificial world, but I have no doubt she would try to expand out of the game if she could. Quinella is clearly quite dangerous, with both the resolve to survive and the ruthlessness to ensure no one else can challenge her. To make things worse, she has the command console at her command and a code inside her psyche that dedicates her to her mission entirely. It’s honestly quite scary and I have no idea how Kirito is going to be able to defeat someone he can’t just swing his sword at.
Overall, a lot of big reveals! Looking forward to next episode since the library was a bit exposition heavy.