Toaru Majutsu no Index:SSVolume2 Chapter22
 Chapter 22: The Conclusion Cannot Be Grasped Individually. The Second Friday of October.
A cold sweat was pouring from George Kingdom’s body.
During the Cold War, he had (unofficially) been the leader of the Stargate Project to develop psychic powers in a certain country. That project had failed, but he was still rumored to be a skilled person who was behind various different projects. He was in charge of those projects both because the CIA could freely control him and because his value was legendary.
However, he was cornered now.
It was odd. He thought he had prepared for every possible circumstance, but reality had slipped through the cracks and brought it all to an unthinkable conclusion. There had been over fifty research groups that all had independent financial backing and different methods of being funded. All of them had simultaneously seized Gemstones all over the world, yet all at once, someone had destroyed them and the projects they were working on before any progress could be made.
The word “self-protection” floated into the back of his mind.
All those projects had been carried out under each organization’s individual judgement, and they had all resulted in great losses without a single result. The Senate wasn’t going to let George get away with this one. He wouldn’t just lose his ability to act; he would lose his life.
However, there was something other than fear filling George’s head.
He didn’t need to ask who it was that had physically stopped his project. It wasn’t as if the people who had attacked each organization simply hadn’t been seen. He had received the final reports from the spies in each place.
He had a question beyond that.
The operation had been top-secret. Only George Kingdom himself had all of the information; that was why George was the only one in the operation that was asking this question.
How had girls who looked exactly the same attacked simultaneously all across the world?
A small bit of static sounded in his ear. He had only given his radio frequency to his closest associates, and all of them had been taken out in the attack.
“Are you done sorting everything out? It’s pretty underhanded to not even give you a trial. I’m sure someone who lives in the dark side is well aware of what it means to make an enemy of an entire country.”
George was dumbfounded at hearing the voice of the brain of the Board of Directors.
He simply asked a question, forgetting to even be angry.
“Don’t tell me you people… mass-produced those…”
“Yup, that’s it,” responded the genius girl Kumokawa Seria cheerfully. “Cloning humans from cells is against international law, and more importantly, making those girls take military action was an unnecessary risk. I owe someone for that, so I thought I should at least help take care of the aftermath.”
George Kingdom had a feeling that he had set foot somewhere he shouldn’t have. He was currently standing inside a special facility that could function as a shelter, but that didn’t ease his mind at all. Ever since ancient times, the fate of fools who touched something they shouldn’t have was always the same.
He heard a small footstep.
“Really… I finally make my super return and they have me taking care of some fat old man who’s super misunderstanding things. Well, once I’m done here, I can go watch a super movie. I’ll have a festival of minor movies that aren’t released in Japan.”
He heard a young female voice.
George Kingdom did not turn around.
Before he could send a signal to the muscles in his neck, it was already over.
Number Seven, Sogiita Gunha, lay collapsed on the ground with obvious wounds all over his body.
He was lying face-up, staring at the starry sky.
The intense fighting had left its mark on the area. One side of the mountain of containers had collapsed, the asphalt had been ripped up, and in some places, the ground itself had split and was rising up like a cliff.
Even after doing all that, he hadn’t been able to win.
During that fight, the man who should have become a Magic God had been above Sogiita Gunha.
He had been beaten down with an overwhelming power, yet his eyes were filled with a pure light. It was the light of hope. The world was still overflowing with ridiculous monsters, and there were plenty of things he didn’t know about. The world was vast. That was the honest feeling wrapped around Number Seven. It was obvious, but the world was vast.
The world is filled with amazing people.
Number Seven hadn’t been up to it this time. And most likely, that man who should have become a Magic God had been holding back. It had felt like he was playing around. Number Seven had faced him with all his might, but the man had easily dealt with it, and then spared his life to boot.
It had been overwhelming.
Sogiita Gunha understood that truth as he stared up at the starry sky, and then he slowly stood up.
It was much like the action of someone waking from a midday nap.
He spoke as he raised his hands and slowly stretched.
“Now then... I need to renew my guts and train myself all over again.”
A single vaguely defined road stretched along an Arizona desert.
A man holding a cell phone was sitting on the hood of a parked off-road car.
It was Misaka Tabigake.
He was the man who led the world in a better direction without relying on violence by proposing what it was the world lacked.
“It seems something rather troublesome happened.”
“It is just the usual violence. It was nothing that required you.”
“True enough. I don’t use that kind of method. I can come up with at least three more peaceful methods off the top of my head.”
“It is a matter of cost. It depends on the situation, but this time, a violent method was cheaper.”
“What a boring reason.” Misaka sighed, and picked up the coffee cup sitting on the hood. “So, now the small bits of possibility that were spread out around the world have been gathered up by Academy City. They didn’t have much of a chance to begin with, but now pretty much every hint towards successfully developing psychic powers has been cut off. You really are the only one that profited from this.”
Misaka smiled, and took a sip of the bitter liquid before continuing.
“By the way, there’s something I wanted to check with you about regarding that violence.”
“What is it?”
“Those areas were pretty chaotic, so people’s accounts of what happened aren’t too reliable, which is why I’m just ‘checking’. Academy City is a city of espers, though, so maybe there’s someone who can make copies of herself or some monster who can teleport hundreds of thousands of kilometers.”
“Anyway, I’ve heard that identical-looking girls were spotted near the estimated fifty research facilities all over the world.”
Misaka Tabigake’s manner of speech changed.
It wasn’t a change due to a wave of emotions, but there was definitely a change.
“As I said before, the eyewitness accounts can’t be relied on, and Academy City is a city of espers. Even if something that seems contradictory happens, you can just say that there was actually a special power behind it, and the conversation ends there.”
“I will leave this one to your imagination. However, I will tell you this much: this is not a problem you need to worry about.”
“I see,” responded Misaka.
He then asked a further question.
“…So, are you also saying that I shouldn’t worry about the information saying that the girls who were spotted resembled my daughter?”
“Hey, Aleister. If you say I don’t have to worry about it, then fine; after all, I can’t trust what you say in the first place. But there’s one thing you need to keep in mind: if you do anything to my wife or daughter, what do you think will happen once I find out? Do you know what it means to make an enemy of a mere father? Think about those things.”
“How would you do it?” Aleister’s voice asked a simple question. “How would a normal freelancer attack the Chairman of Academy City’s Board of Directors?”
“It’s true that there may not be anything in this world that can take you out in one blow,” admitted Misaka Tabigake. “However, my job is to point out what it is this world lacks. If the world is lacking such a thing, then the ball’s in my court; that's why I gave you that warning. So, keep that in mind.”
The conversation between the two adults was over.
After that dangerous exchange, they both slipped back into the darkness of the world.
Silvia was vacuuming the apartment’s hallway.
Most of the kids a certain idiot had brought in had been taken in by churches or had found a new life with foster parents, but a few remained in the apartment. This was not because no one was willing to take them in; the children themselves wanted to wait for that certain idiot to return.
Why was she here? Her extended overseas training to polish her skills as a Bonne Dame was over, and the United Kingdom had ordered her to return again and again. She wasn’t getting paid, and she wasn’t doing it out of a traditional master-and-servant relationship. She earned her own living expenses, so there was no real reason tying her to this particular apartment. Now that the idiot had left, there was no real meaning in staying. Returning to England or moving to a nicer place would have been the better option, but Silvia simply did not feel any urge to leave the apartment.
Her reason was a silly one.
She refused to put it in words because it was too ridiculous.
When Silvia sighed again, she spotted something. She brushed her hair, put down the vacuum cleaner, and headed for the entryway. She opened the door like always, and said the same thing as always.
“Hey, welcome back, you dumb bastard.”
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