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The two riders overcome another obstacle in their adventure and, thanks to unexpected help, continue rapidly towards the upper floors of the tower.
What they find within them, however, will prove unexpected.

Synopsis

Resuming from the previous cliffhanger, we witness Kirito releasing the true power of his sword, throwing the malevolent roots of the Demonic Tree towards Fanatio.
With the help of Eugeo and, apparently, the Knight of the Sun's wavering will, the woman is finally defeated and mortally wounded by the blow, leaving her unconscious on the ground.

Kirito, exhausted and wounded, is about to try to alleviate the serious wound inflicted on Fanatio which, however, seems to be too deep for the two protagonists, helpless in the face of the impending death of the knight.

Determined to find an alternative solution, therefore, Kirito uses one of the daggers that had been entrusted to him by Cardinal, created to save Alice and defeat Administrator, allowing Cardinal in person to take care of the woman.

Before doing so, however, he reassures his two champions by telling them that if Administrator is not yet awakened, they will not necessarily need the daggers, after which he pushes them to continue their climb, giving them the opportunity to recover through two healing potions.

However, the two friends soon find themselves at a dead end, if not for the presence of an operator who is entrusted with the task of operating the lift, a task that she has practiced continuously for 107 years.

On this occasion we discover that even if aging is stopped, among the subordinates of the pontiff, not even Quinella is able to stop the natural deterioration of the mind, and that even the knights and servants of the Cathedral are destined to collapse, after centuries.

Guided to the highest point reached by the lift, Kirito and Eugeo manage to avoid thirty floors of the tower, reaching the eightieth floor, a wonderful grassy hill at the top of which stands a lush tree.

In the shadow of the plant, unexpectedly, Alice is found, composed and concentrated in her meditation under the rays of the sun.

The girl asks the two intruders for a few moments of calm before proceeding to their imminent battle, a time that the two use to devise a strategy that could allow Eugeo to use Cardinal's dagger taking advantage of Alice's lack of weapons.

Kirito, who has the task of keeping the girl busy, therefore throws himself on the target, ending up easily and surprisingly blocked by the Integral Knight, revealing to the two opponents that the tree present there was nothing but Alice's sword.

Already in the previous episode the "Blade of Osmanthus" had been indicated as a possible knight to have surpassed Fanatio in his position, and it is here that we find out how this referred to Alice, implying his superiority compared to the Knight of the Dazzling Sun despite being a of the latest additions to the ranks of Quinella.

One of the most striking elements of Alice is, undoubtedly, the power of his weapon: it is the embodiment of the Golden Osmanthus, a tree that stood at the center of Underworld at the time of its creation, making it in fact the most ancient of that world.

The sword is impeccable in its physical form, but even more hypnotic is its ability, which transforms the golden blade into a luminous cloud with terrifying offensive abilities.

To try to safeguard the original plan, therefore, Kirito challenges a formal duel Alice, a duel that the knight accepts.
The two begin to exchange several shots, showing off Alice's remarkable skills who despite her armor are perfectly capable of putting Kirito in difficulty despite her vast experience.

At the right time, however, Kirito throws himself not on Alice, but on his sword, creating an opening that allows him to immobilize her allowing Eugeo to freeze both friends with the Blue Rose and, therefore, to obtain victory using the dagger by Cardinal.

However, Eugeo's plans are ruined by Alice's extraordinary abilities, who manages to free himself and repel Eugeo.

In the process of resuming the battle, Alice and Kirito are suddenly thrown outside the tower by an unexpected opening of the wall adjacent to them, caused by the special skill of Kirito's weapon and which is immediately sealed leaving Eugeo alone inside of the Cathedral and his two friends to the viewer's imagination.

Considerations

Episode 16 ends with the same cliffhanger of the original Light Novel to which it adapts, concluding the coverage of Volume 12. The current act of the story will therefore have eight more episodes to conclude, outlining a certain rhythm to expect.

The Knight of the Golden Osmanthus, therefore, represents a turning point for the story by bringing Alice back into the narrative frame permanently, rather than leaving her out in the long-term goal position for Kirito and Eugeo.

The implication that Alice, in her position as an Integral Knight, is superior even to Fanatio despite her youth inevitably leads to wonder if this is not related to her being such a special Fluctlight that even Rath is trying to get her, but certainly the her abilities are fully demonstrated to us making the girl the centerpiece of the entire episode.

Alice Synthesis Thirty is a formal and rigid woman, far from the traits exhibited during her childhood, confirming Quinella's mental manipulation and her total lack of memories towards Kirito and Eugeo.

The already difficult task of immobilizing her to be able to free her from the control of the pontiff is further complicated by the accidental expulsion of Alice and Kirito from the Cathedral, isolating Eugeo from the two and leaving for the first time the boy to total freedom of initiative without having the guidance of Kirito , present since the days when he was only a woodcutter, to help him.

The duel between Kirito and Alice showcases several spectacular visual effects, in particular linked to Alice's golden sword, which in its state of dust creates a very suggestive effect, but the action is somewhat dampened by the frequent use of slow motion, alleviating the magnitude of the actual capabilities of the two fighters in the spectator's eyes.

Although Alice's reappearance is the central aspect of the episode, there is no shortage of contents worthy of mention: first we have the opportunity to witness the definitive form of Kirito's weapon, a discharge of dark energy that takes the form of the plant from which originated.

From a visual point of view it is not as spectacular as Eugeo's ice, but it is evidently more powerful offensively, so much so that a single shot of the weapon was able to lethalate Fanatio.

Particular attention should be paid to Kirito's attempt to save Fanatio, which seems to want to be a lesson for Eugeo, but which leaves one wondering if Kirito sees all the obstacles they will face as corrupt souls without control over their actions, a position that could lead him to hesitation before Quinella.

Operator, the girl whose job is to operate the lift of the tower, seems to have the function of further demonstrating the Administrator's monstrosities, giving eternal youth to someone confined so as not to even remember their name anymore.

The seventeenth episode, entitled "An armistice pact", foreshadows a more active return of Alice in the cast of the protagonists, whose fate and future objectives we will therefore discover.