Continuing off the exposition train of the previous episode, Cardinal speaks of her creation and goal. If I’m understanding correctly, Quinella had achieved immortality and unrivaled control of the world through her system access. However, as she realized the memory limit of her fluctlight was drawing near, she chose to consume another fluctlight with plenty of memory to spare. Unfortunately for her, Cardinal awoke during this fiasco as the subprocess, and became determined to end the Administrator’s tyranny. The two had a little duel using their administration abilities, which was quite amusing to watch, as they had to announce the long commands before unleashing them. But Quinella proved her resourcefulness by shutting off the system command potential of the environment around them, forcing the Cardinal in the younger body to fight physically, a battle that only Quinella could win.

Understanding the threat to her own power, Quinella began the Integrity Knight system, as a means to give her the edge should Cardinal appear again to threaten her. Cardinal herself explains that the two are evenly matched, but with the addition of powerful warriors to Quinella’s side, it was hopeless. Thus she began her own quest to find warriors for her side, and through her elaborate spy system of insects and animals, she found Kirito and Eugeo. I’m not sure if the two can really compare to the likes of the other Integrity Knight, but perhaps there’s a power up or training session coming up!

Cardinal drops another information bomb on us viewers with her understanding that Rath is subjecting the fluctlights of this world to trials and pain, with the ultimate trial of an invasion from the Dark Territory. Unable to accept a god such as Rath, one that would purposely invoke such cruelty onto the fluctlights of the land, Cardinal decides that she wants to delete very fluctlight in the entire system. Now this is a bit much, but from the perspective of the system administrator that is Cardinal, it’s quite understandable she’d want to do that. There’s no way to free everyone from Rath’s selfish rule, so what better way to spite them than deletion of the entire system? She even offers Kirito the choice of ten or so fluctlights to save, should he deem it so. Quinella is twisted and cruel, but the solution that Cardinal is so intent on pursuing isn’t one to be taken lightly either. Whichever choice Kirito is forced to make in the future, it won’t be something he can pick easily.

The Piety Module is also brought up by Eugeo, a device inserted into an Integrity Knight’s head to cut their links with their former memories and swear absolutely fealty to the Pontifex. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as yanking out the module after jogging their memories, as whatever memory was removed in its place must be recovered. Cardinal describes it as the Knight’s most precious memory, and I have no doubt when we recover Alice, it’ll be of Eugeo. Cardinal also informs them of how to draw out the strength of their swords to the max, an ability they’ll need to stand up to the Integrity Knights of the cathedral. It’s almost like a gauntlet they’re running, similar to Aincrad, from the lowest floor to the top where the Pontifex waits. Even Kirito himself seemed a bit exasperated when Cardinal told him there were around a hundred floors to pass before reaching the Administrator.

With their final bits of knowledge given to them by Cardinal, she has done for them all she could do. She has told them how to save the Integrity Knights, how to harness the power of their swords, and the threat that looms over the horizon. She has given Kirito the choice in determining the world’s fate and has placed the fate of everything onto his and Eugeo’s shoulders. These past two episodes have almost been like a quest giver telling you everything you have to know before sending you off on the quest of a lifetime. Kirito and Eugeo have every odd possible stacked against them. The Administrator stands atop the Cathedra, with more power than anyone should hold, an array of Integrity Knights stand between them and her, and all the while the fate of the world hangs by a thread.

It’s go time!