Sword Art Online: Alicization – 09 – Stay Cool

When it comes to baddies, SAO isn’t exactly subtle. Lord Raios and his toadie Sir Humbert are both extremely hoity-toity noblemen, and it would seem they draw their power from their conceitedness and by comparing themselves to others. They seem acutely aware that Kirito and Eugeo are Good Guys and thus it’s basically in their nature to want to fuck with them at every turn.

After experiencing the power of Humbert’s conceit in a duel that Raios cuts short in a draw, the two noblemen warn Eugeo that “battle is more than swinging a sword,” suggesting they’ll seek other ways to mess with him. Humbert seems to find a way in Frenica, the dorm-mate of Eugeo’s page Tiese. Specifically, he’s sexually abusing her by, likely among other things, ordering her to massage him in nothing but her underwear.

Until now the duo seemed almost pathetically petty in their bullying (Stomping some flowers? Seriously?). But with his casual cruelty toward Frenica—while staying within academy regs—Humbert, and by extention Raios, have crossed the line into Despicable SAO Baddie territory. Rooting for Eugeo in putting a stop to the abuse is almost too easy.

But the fact that regs aren’t being explicitly broken (the page is merely following orders of her mentor, as is the order of things) and the extreme deference Eugeo must show to his social betters make things tricky for Eugeo. Last week he was holding Kirito back, but now it’s he who must be held back by Kirito. The baddies are counting on him making an unforced error and getting into trouble, or worse.

Of course, that’s not going to stop Eugeo from doing everything he can. He asks Raios and Humbert to knock if off the nicest way he can, though I doubt they’ll heed him, which means stronger measures will be needed that still fall within the strict rules of the academy and the world at large.

Then there’s the relationship between Eugeo and his page Tiese, which escalades very rapidly due to the Frenica incident. Tiese is of a lower-level aristocrat family, and once she becomes the head of the family a husband will be chosen from an equal or higher level. Tiese is terribly afraid of ending up with a man like Humbert.

So after making her formal report, she appeals to Eugeo, whom she knows to be kind, gentle, and honorable, to fight and win the Four Empires Tournament, which will allow him to become an aristocrat and thus an acceptable match for her*. It’s a big ask, but Eugeo will need to do a bit of social climbing anyway to have any shot at reuniting with Alice, so he agrees.

But in the meantime, Raios and Humbert won’t leave Eugeo or Frenica alone easily. I’m worried about what kind of trap they might have planned for him. It might be safer or easier for Eugeo to keep his head down and take everything they throw at him in stride. But that’s not who Eugeo is, any more than it’s who Kirito is. If there’s a wrong being done that they can stop, even the laws can’t get in the way of justice and honor.

*Since Tiese doesn’t explicitly ask for Eugeo to marry her, it could be she’s asking, and he’s agreeing, to simply be there for her when she marries someone else, which would also require him to rise to a higher station. Though marrying her makes the most sense to me. LN readers, set me straight!

Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

One thought on “Sword Art Online: Alicization – 09 – Stay Cool”

  1. Yes, Tiese is essentially proposing to her first crush due to having anxieties about her future (at this point in time she and Ronie are 16 while Eugeo and Kirito are 19).

    The in-universe reason for why Raios and Humbert are focusing on harassing Eugeo/Kirito specifically is due to them being unique in Swordcraft Academy. The student body is composed almost exclusively of nobles. Actually I’m pretty certain Kirito and Eugeo were at this time the only ones at the academy who were of common birth. Eugeo No-Name is the third son of a farmer while Kirito (obviously also No-Name) is technically a vagabond. The most arrogant nobles probably feel like their presence is a detriment to the Academy’s reputation.

    Even Ronie and Tiese got at least slightly shunned just for being lower-class nobles. The only reason they ended up as Pages for our duo was because Kirito and Eugeo decided to pick whomever two would be left after all the others had been chosen (Elite swordsman trainees personally choose their Pages from the top 12 freshmen). Technically 5th and 6th class noble families are something like government officials, but they own no land. So they don’t lord over other people and thus don’t have the on-the-spot judicial authority 1st to 4th ranking nobles have.

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