Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sword Art Online Volume 12 - Alicization Rising

Chapter 7 
The Two Supervisors 
5th Month of Human World Calendar 380

I, Kirigaya Kazuto, had logged out from the VRMMO-RPG, «Sword Art Online», on the 7th of November, 2024.

It was mid-December when I returned to my home in Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, following my rehabilitation period. I had turned sixteen a couple of months ago, but since I had been challenging the fiftieth floor of Aincrad while my previous peers in the same grade were challenging the high school entrance examinations, there was obviously no school that I could attend.

Fortunately—though I hesitate to call it such, I received a certificate of graduation from the middle school I've only half finished, so the normal route would be to spend my time at a preparation school until I can take the examinations next year, postponed by a year. However, here, the country proposed an unimaginable relief measure.

Among the roughly six thousand players who returned alive from imprisonment in SAO, the middle-and-high schoolers numbered over five hundred. It was decided that a school for them all would
be established in Nishitokyo, Tokyo, from the April of 2025 with no need for entrance examinations or school fees, and the graduates would be granted qualifications to take entrance examinations for universities.

The building used was that of a metropolitan high school, abandoned the previous year and awaiting its demolition. Re-employed teachers who had retired from old age, serving part-time, largely made up the teaching staff. It was classified as a National Vocational School under the School Education Law.

That unexpected level of sympathy, even as a safety net, certainly did cause a tinge of unease, but I decided to enter after consulting Asuna and of course, my family. I have never regretted it even
once. Designing and creating various devices with friends in my Mechatronics course was extremely fun and I could meet Asuna, Lisbeth, Silica, and the rest every day. I could still claim it was a
fulfilling schooling life even after taking away points for the compulsory weekly counselling session.
However, I was unable to attend that school to the end as well.

It was a year and two months after I entered, on the 6th of June, 2026. For some unknown reason, I gained consciousness in another world, «Underworld». Waking in the forest near Rulid Village, on the northern edge of the Human World, I had cried out with all I could muster to the staff from the venture company that should have been developing and managing this world, Rath, but no reply came back.

Reluctantly, I aimed for the place most likely to have a console capable of contacting the outside world from here—the center of the Human World, Central Centoria, or what was at its core, the
Axiom Church's towering Central Cathedral, and had set out on a journey from Rulid with the partner I had met in this world, Eugeo.

I had somehow reached Centoria after spending an Underworld calendar year's worth of time, but I hadn't simply continued on and entered the Cathedral. The gate of the Axiom Church was always firmly shut, with access restricted to the champion swordsman of the «Four Empires Unity Tournament» held in spring each year.

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