Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume13 Chapter9
Chapter 9: The Differences of Obstacles that Stand in One's Way. Two_Kinds_of_Enemies.
A large vehicle was parked in a District 7 parking garage.
The white vehicle was as large as a tour bus, but it had no windows. And it was not a bus; it was the world’s largest ambulance. It contained enough beds equipped with life support devices to hold 10 people and it held the equipment needed to perform simple surgeries. It was known as a hospital vehicle.
About 10 of those vehicles were parked in that parking garage. In full use, they could hold 100 patients total.
A number of small figures hid behind the hospital vehicles.
They were the Sisters.
Those girls were armed with assault rifles or anti-tank rifles that looked out of place with their Tokiwadai Middle School uniform blazers. These girls numbered about 10 as well. They were on the lookout for the enemy organization named Hound Dog that a man named Kihara Amata had sent out.
Amid all this, another girl’s voice rang out.
“Let go! If you don’t have a battery to connect to the Misaka Network, then I don’t need to stay here! Something seems odd about the city, so I need to go see what’s happening!!”
A girl wearing a white nun’s habit was being held back by the nurses. A calico cat’s fur was standing on end, but it could not escape the grasp of the female doctor holding it no matter how much it tried to flail its legs around.
This commotion reached the ears of Misaka Imouto, but she could not even turn her head in that direction.
She could not move her body properly.
“(Signal confirmed from superior model #20001.)”
“(Signal estimated at danger level 5. Misaka #10032 is attempting to reject it.)”
“(Rejection failed. Accepting signal through routes R, V, and Y.)”
“(Misa-…Great burden…on thiiiiiinking processssses.)
A certain signal was spreading through the Misaka Network like a giant wave. It spread across the entire world in no time at all.
It was an emergency code from Last Order.
No matter what its contents might be, the lower model Sisters could not oppose it.
With most of their brain functions taken from them, they froze in place as living creatures that could do nothing but continue breathing.
They all wondered what they could do.
Last Order had clearly been captured by someone. No matter how horrible these commands were, they could not oppose them. However, they refused to simply sit idly by and watch it happen.
(We must…take what actions…we can without opposing…these commands…)
Misaka Imouto, #10032, transmitted her thoughts across the Misaka Network.
(If that…ultimately results in…breaking free of…this crisis…)
All the others Sisters responded.
They stopped pointlessly attempting to fight the virus. (The Sisters had redefined the emergency code from Last Order as a virus.) This gave them free use of the calculation area they had been using to resist. This provided only a tiny amount of free thought. Misaka Imouto still could not even move a finger.
Nevertheless, when all 10,000 of them worked together, it became a single power.
The Sisters did not hold onto that power themselves.
They knew someone who could use it much more effectively.
That term best described Thomas Platinumburg’s life.
He had been born into a wealthy family, lived a comfortable life, received an excellent education, won big with some bold business deals, and as a result gained a massive fortune and authority. Not counting Aleister, there were only 12 members of Academy City’s board of directors and he had been selected at the exceptionally young age of his late thirties. He viewed that as the trophy that symbolized the life he had lived.
He had never once failed and he would walk only the path of success in the future as well.
He believed that with his whole heart.
He had never told this to anyone, but he felt it would not be hard for him to eventually hold all of Academy City in his hand as the board chairman. This was not an ambitious dream of his. He simply assumed that would naturally be the case if he did his best.
Never in his wildest dream would he have imagined that he would open his front door, have a shotgun pressed against his chest, and be blown back 5 meters when the trigger was pulled.
Accelerator watched with cold eyes as this nouveau riche man was launched through the air. The man did seem to be aware that people might target his life because he was clearly wearing a bulletproof vest below his clothes. That prevented his upper body from being separated from his lower body, but his ribs had to have been smashed to pieces. He convulsed slightly on the ground, but he appeared to be completely unconscious.
Accelerator felt a sense of relief
It had appeared at about the time he launched that attack on the windowless building. He no longer had any limits on who he made his enemy. He finally understood what that goddamn doctor had meant. He needed to focus on a single objective. That doctor had been absolutely right. He needed to save Last Order even if it meant making an enemy of Last Order herself. If he was willing to make an enemy of that brat, why would he hesitate over anyone else?
Why had he not thought of this method from the beginning?
Accelerator smiled in self-derision at the fact that he had created this kind of mental blind spot without even realizing it.
Accelerator walked into the mansion while his dripping wet clothes created dark stains on the luxurious carpet. Despite how much careful attention had been given to each individual item within it, the mansion itself was rather small. For that reason, it looked more like a cottage than a full-sized house.
Each individual piece of furniture was valuable enough to buy an entire house with.
Accelerator glanced into various rooms and spotted men and women who seemed to be workers sleeping on beds, sofas, and the floor. That may have been why the nouveau riche man had answered the door himself.
Accelerator found the man’s office and walked over to the large ebony desk. It looked like an antique, but a portion of the polished surface rose up to reveal an LCD monitor and keyboard when a button was pressed. It made no noise as it moved. It was as easy to use as a black luxury car.
It had a few key locks, but Accelerator unlocked them all after a short delay. They did not use biometrics such as a fingerprint or retina scan. Most likely, the man had realized the danger of having his hand or head taken off to get past it. And Accelerator would have done just that.
The 30-inch monitor displayed data a normal person would never see.
He found a number of documents on policy within Academy City. The topics addressed were biased in one direction, but that may have been the man’s field of expertise. The mountain of data appeared meaningless, but Accelerator was afraid of overlooking some important document if he skimmed too quickly through it. However, it would take days to carefully read through all of it.
While growing more and more impatient, Accelerator finally found the data he wanted.
“This is it.”
It was information on Hound Dog.
An unknown threat was attacking Academy City and Last Order had been quickly retrieved to fight it. It almost made him laugh, but it seemed those bastards thought they were playing the role of the heroes protecting the city.
(What a joke…)
He felt like spitting on the floor.
If their ideals were really that admirable, they should have used themselves as shields first. Hoping to be praised for making that little brat suffer was getting carried away.
“What is this?”
Accelerator stopped breathing as he continued looking through the data.
It seemed the board of directors was trying to oppose this threat by writing a virus into Last Order’s mind. That meant they could not allow Last Order to die at least until this threat was gone.
It might not be over yet.
He might still be able to get her back.
Accelerator tapped a key with a hand trembling from this slight hope.
However, the report never stated how exactly Last Order could be used to eliminate this threat. Nor did it mention any details of this threat or the virus. There was too little information. There was a strategy application (that was effectively a written command), but it never specified what exactly was being requested. Any data beyond this may have only existed in the board chairman’s head.
However, a certain code name appeared in the strategy application.
That term reminded Accelerator of the giant wings that had appeared in Academy city.
And that boy who had said he would stop it.
He may not have been the only one fighting in the darkness of the night.
However, he did not have time to worry about that. Last Order was his top priority.
On August 31, Accelerator had eliminated a virus from Last Order’s head.
However, he had only managed that by having data on the virus beforehand and having his powers in top form. He doubted he could manage it in his current situation.
More importantly, his battery would not last.
He had less than 2 minutes left in esper mode. That was not enough time to heal her.
(No, I don’t need to heal her with my power. Kihara is using a professional Testament to mess with that brat’s head. I just have to use that. And he should have the virus data and the original script with him.)
It was possible Kihara would destroy the Testament after writing the virus, but Accelerator found it unlikely. If something went wrong, Kihara would be unable to fix it. He would want to keep some form of insurance around.
(I just have to do what I was planning to do from the beginning.)
He pressed several more keys.
(Hah! That’s a hit!!)
He quickly found the point where Hound Dog was waiting.
(I just have to kill Kihara and take that brat away from them. Ha ha! A concrete goal sure gives you a hell of a lot of motivation!!)
The mansion contained a few different hunting weapons.
Accelerator searched until he found some bullets that matched the ones for his shotgun. He loaded them and then left the building.
Index ran out of the parking garage and into the pouring rain.
She had been riding along in those large hospital-like busses, but she could no longer sit around hiding.
A voice called out telling her to stop, but she did not turn around.
(Honestly, what was with that request for a battery to connect to the Misaka Network!? Was I tricked!? And we already have enough trouble with that lost child, so why did that thing have to appear in Academy City!?)
The wings were huge, but that the actual body was hidden behind some buildings. Index could tell that mass made up of dozens of wings was slowly moving. It seemed to be about the same as a human’s walking speed.
It was an angel.
Index could not understand why that would have appeared in Academy City. And on top of that, her 103,000 grimoires contained no information on this angel. This had not happened since Aureolus’s Ars Magna. That meant this phenomenon was as big a deal as that.
(I have to stop this.)
Index stared at the wings that measured up to 100 meters.
(This will get very, very bad if I don’t.)
Even the initial attack had contained tremendous destructive power. However, if this was truly an equal existence to the angels Index knew of, its true ability would go well beyond that. It would be able to eradicate all life on earth with a single finger or wield a power that deeply affected the stars of the universe.
The Index Librorum Prohibitorum.
She and that organization had been created in preparation for exactly this sort of situation, but she did not feel very reliable. Even an expert magician would feel fear here. And Index felt she could not allow that fear to reach those who had no part in any of this.
Index ran through the eerily silent city. Perhaps due to the pouring rain, she did not pass by anyone else.
Suddenly, the angel far, far in the distance let out a roar that tore through the night sky. It sounded like a beast being dragged along by a collar made of barbed wire.
The several dozen giant wings trembled violently. They looked like they were writhing ominously and they also looked like they were squirming in order to put up with some horrible pain.
And the angel cried out the entire time.
Index focused on that sound in order to gather as much information as possible.
Confusion suddenly filled her mind.
It was nothing more than the air vibrating in an incomprehensible manner.
And yet for some reason, Index felt something nostalgic as she listened to that voice.
She stared at the giant wings of that angel.
Those wings of light that should not even exist in this world sent a divine chill down her spine. The outlines of those wings occasionally grew blurred as if they were being blown in the wind, but they would quickly return to normal. It looked like waves on a beach or a fog being blown by the wind.
The movements looked random, but there was a set pattern to them.
It may have been thanks to Index’s perfect memory that she was able to match that data with data she had seen in the past.
She had seen those same movements before.
It had been on September 1.
It had been when she went with Kamijou Touma to the hospital with a frog-faced doctor after defeating the magician named Sherry Cromwell in that underground mall.
The shy and generally cowardly owner of those movements had been…
“What is that?” muttered Misaka Mikoto blankly.
She stood in the middle of the street with the rain striking the umbrella she had bought in the convenience store. Whether it was due to the curfew having long since passed, the weather, or some other reason, that main road was completely empty.
She had been searching for Kamijou Touma, but it had gotten so late and the rain had grown so heavy that she had been beginning to think about giving up. That had been when a group of buildings elsewhere in the city had suddenly crumbled and sent clouds of dust into the air while dozens of sharply pointed wing-like objects appeared.
The scale was simply too great to be an esper power.
And she could not imagine what power could accomplish that even if she ignored the scale.
The wings had produced a phenomenon similar to an electrical discharge and thoroughly destroyed an area along the outer perimeter of Academy City.
It had resembled an electrical discharge, but it had not actually been one. Mikoto was Academy City’s most powerful Electromaster, so she could tell that the attack had not used electricity.
But then what was it?
That power had looked so much like electricity yet Mikoto was unable to determine what it was. She understood that the scientific rules she believed in did not apply here.
She tried to use her cell phone to call Shirai Kuroko, but the girl did not answer.
She received the same result when she called the Judgment station or Anti-Skill.
She felt as if she had been left all alone in some horrible place. She did not know why, but it seemed Academy City’s law enforcement had completely ceased functioning. And now this monster had appeared. It had all happened so suddenly that it did not feel real to her. Mikoto simply stood still with her umbrella up.
Mikoto heard someone splashing through puddles as they ran past her. They were running along a route directly to the distant monster. This running girl had no rain gear and was soaking wet. Mikoto recognized her. She was the nun wearing a pure white habit that was always with Kamijou.
“W-wait! What are you doing here!? Don’t you know it’s dangerous!?”
Mikoto instinctually chased after the girl and grabbed her arm.
“Let go!!” shouted Index without even turning around. “I have to go. Hyouka is there. I don’t know what’s going on, but I have to stop her. That’s my friend!!”
She was so panicked that her explanation was incomprehensible. Mikoto assumed the ridiculous situation had thrown her into a state of confusion, but then a new figure appeared.
Yes. It was Kamijou Touma.
He ran out onto the main road from a corner about 100 meters ahead. The boy did not seem to notice them. Just like Index, his gaze was fixed on the giant wings.
Having found the person she was looking for, Mikoto opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out.
This was because Index’s resistance had explosively increased despite finding someone she knew.
She tore herself from Mikoto’s grasp and shouted amid the pouring rain.
“No, Touma! Don’t kill Hyouka!!”
Kamijou Touma was being chased.
After losing sight of Vento on the bridge, he had focused on returning to the more urban area to stop the angel. On his way, he had run into a group of those same men in black who had been pursuing Last Order.
He had immediately run down a narrow back alley their vehicle could not enter in an attempt to lose them in those complexly intertwining pathways. However, not even a slight advantage from the terrain was enough to get the better of professionally trained men. He could hardly believe he had not been shot yet.
“No, Touma! Don’t kill Hyouka!!”
And that was why Touma thought his heart would stop the instant he heard that shout.
It was less the words spoken and more the fact that he had mistaken the “loud noise” for a gunshot.
He froze in place and took two whole seconds slowly turning around. When he finally saw Index and Mikoto running toward him, he relaxed a bit. He immediately realized this was no time to be relaxing, grabbed them both by the arm, and ran down a back alley.
Several sets of footsteps charged out onto the main road.
They belonged to the men in black.
They were looking all around, but they would realize where Kamijou and the girls were soon enough. Mikoto was one thing, but Index showed no concern for the men in black. She looked up at Kamijou with fearful eyes.
She did not ask what had happened or why he was being pursued. Index had something more important to say.
“Please, Touma. Don’t go there. I don’t know how this could happen, but that angel is definitely Hyouka. This is something we have to stop no matter what, but you can’t get involved! If you touch her, Hyouka will disappear!!”
Index earnestly begged him while clinging to his wet shirt.
She must have been very agitated because her words came out in quick chunks.
However, he recognized the name “Hyouka”.
She was an aggregation of AIM diffusion fields. She had a human heart but not a human body.
(It can’t be…)
The Kazakiri Hyouka he knew would never cause destruction like this. But if someone could interfere with the composition of the AIM diffusion fields from the outside, this sort of change could be possible. If the AIM diffusion fields could be completely controlled, it would be possible to control everything from her form to her actions.
This current phenomenon appeared to be incomplete.
In that case, who was doing this to her?
(Is it because Vento is knocking out all the students in the city? No, that isn’t it…)
As Kamijou desperately thought, Index spoke up once more.
“Touma, I will do something about Hyouka. Don’t get involved in this!”
Kazakiri Hyouka was Index’s very first friend.
She did not want to become Kazakiri’s enemy due to her position as the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.
Kazakiri Hyouka was a good person, but no guarantees could be made when she had lost control like this. It was the same as how a person’s normal personality could not be relied on when they were drunk.
And so he said, “I have to do something.”
“I will stop her. And she is not the only problem. I can’t just leave this to you.”
“But if you use your right hand, Hyouka will die!!”
“I won’t let her die!!” shouted Kamijou, forgetting that they were hiding from the men in black. As Index continued to complain, he grabbed her collar and pulled her in closer. She froze up in surprise and he said, “I’m not going there to kill her! I’m making a stand to save Kazakiri! Does that look like the Kazakiri you know!? Of course not. Something must have happened to make her like this! I need to save her!! Don’t get involved? To hell with that. I don’t need your permission to save her!!”
Index’s mouth flapped wordlessly open and closed.
Kamijou continued, “I don’t understand any of this complex magical stuff like angels, so I need your knowledge. But whatever is happening to Kazakiri involves the AIM diffusion fields, so there may be aspects you don’t understand. I’ll help you out with that part. Together, we can save Kazakiri Hyouka!”
The sound of the pouring rain seemed to fade into the distance.
Only that boy’s words filled the area.
“A lot has happened in this city today. To be honest, I still don’t know the whole of it and don’t see any way of resolving it all. But I know one thing we have to do! We will save Kazakiri! Isn’t that right!?”
He asked for confirmation.
He wanted to snap Index out of thinking in terms of killing or not killing.
“Let’s go, Index. Help me save Kazakiri Hyouka!!”
Index nodded in response.
Kamijou let go of her collar.
He then glanced back at the exit of the alleyway. They first had to lose the men in black somehow. Real bullets that had nothing to do with magic or esper powers were the worst possible matchup for Touma. His right hand was only any use against supernatural powers.
Mikoto let out a long sigh and tossed her umbrella aside in the alley. She looked at Kamijou and Index with a weary expression.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but you’ve gotten yourself involved in some huge incident again, haven’t you?”
“M-more or less.”
“And someone you know is at the very center of it all?”
“She isn’t just someone I know. She’s my friend,” corrected Index.
Looking even more fed up with it all, Mikoto looked out along the alley.
“Just to make sure, that thing isn’t the bad guy, right?”
“Definitely not,” replied Kamijou with no hesitation whatsoever. “You heard Index. That’s my friend over there.”
“Your friend…” Mikoto watched the angel scattering electrical discharge-like phenomena from between its wings while it moved further and further away. She then looked back at Kamijou and Index. “And you want to go meet this, um…friend of yours?”
Index and Kamijou replied at the exact same moment.
“Yes, of course.”
“Stop asking such obvious things.”
“Ha ha ha,” laughed Mikoto. “But these men in black are bad guys, right?”
“I don’t actually know what they’re after, but they’re certainly not very nice.”
That was when several sets of footsteps entered the alley.
The men in black must have determined they were in this alley.
The men in black were not heading in slowly; they were heading in to attack. They could not waste any time.
Nevertheless, Mikoto smiled.
“You leave me no choice. I don’t know what’s going on, but I guess that’s a precious friend of yours. I know neither of you will listen once you set your mind on something, so go save this friend. I’ll take care of things here.”
“Wait, don’t be stu-…!!”
Kamijou tried to grab Mikoto’s shoulder, but…
“Sorry, sorry. It’s too late to stop me.”
Mikoto had already fired an arcade coin at the exit of the alley.
That was her Railgun.
That strike was fired at three times the speed of sound. It tore through the walls on either side of the ally. A great noise and light blasted out onto the main road. She had chosen a trajectory that would not directly hit the men in black, but the shockwave alone was enough to knock down a few of them.
Gray dust filled the air.
Before the rain could knock that dust down to the ground, Mikoto stomped on the stomachs of the men in black collapsed on the alleyway ground. This knocked them unconscious and she then charged out into the open street.
“Misaka!!” shouted Kamijou, but he could not follow because the men in black still out on the street were firing at the entrance to the alleyway.
Meanwhile, Mikoto called out to Kamijou from that bullet-filled battlefield where her powers could be used to their fullest.
“This is your punishment!!”
“You said you would do anything! That stays in effect for this entire day and now I’m asking you to go rescue this friend of yours!! Got it!?”
Kamijou tried to yell back, but he was drowned out by the sounds of electrical discharges and gunfire.
“Shit,” he cursed quietly. “I will protect her! So don’t you die!!”
He grabbed Index’s hand and ran further and further down the alleyway as if shaking free of something. He had a single destination. If what Index had said was true, Kazakiri Hyouka was waiting for him there.
Mikoto sighed on the battlefield as she heard those receding footsteps splashing through puddles.
She gained nothing from playing this role.
(So this is his punishment. I can’t believe I used it for something like this… But it can’t be helped.)
He had said he would risk his life to save his friend. She could not get in the way of that. However, she might have been able to give him a better punishment had these men in black not interfered.
That thought angered her a bit.
“I am not in a good mood right now.”
Mikoto faced multiple gun barrels with no weapon of her own.
However, she gathered manhole covers, water pipes, and signs to create a shield right in front of her. She was using magnetism. When the guns were fired, the steel shield repelled all of the bullets.
“If you aren’t going to run, then I hope you’re ready to die.”
She fired back with a lightning spear.
She saw no way she could lose.
Kamijou and Index ran through the pouring rain.
Kamijou was worried about Mikoto, but he would likely only be a hindrance.
He pushed her out of his mind and looked forward.
As Index ran alongside him, she asked, “Hey, Touma. The city has been really quiet. What is going on? I sense a flow of magic power separate from Hyouka!”
“The silence is probably due to everyone being unconscious. This was done by a magician that entered the city! I want to know how her magic works. And if there’s a way to heal them, I want to know that too!!”
He summarized what was happening in the city.
Index fell silent and looked down as if thinking.
As she continued running along the wet road, she finally looked back up.
“That is probably…Divine Punishment.”
“It uses a certain emotion as a key. Anyone feeling that emotion will be crushed no matter how far away they are! It is god’s Divine Punishment. No matter where you are or who you are, no one is allowed to spit on god!” explained Index. “Touma, did that magician show any sign of trying to induce a specific emotion in people!?”
A specific emotion.
Kamijou thought back to what he had seen of Vento of the Front.
-She had purposefully provoked people with her words and actions.
-She had purposefully worn makeup and piercings that people would be repulsed by.
-She had purposefully attacked people who had nothing to do with the fight.
It was possible Vento’s actions were needed for some magical reason, but it was also possible they played the role of leading people to feel a certain emotion. If that was the case…
“Is it hate…no, hostility or malice? Is that the key to activate the Divine Punishment spell!?”
It was true that Vento would be near invincible if she could pull off an attack like that.
No one would be able to stand in her way.
The instant someone tried, her magic would activate.
Anti-Skill had tried to stop Vento when she passed through the gate without permission. The rest of Anti-Skill had been informed by radio that those initial Anti-Skill members had collapsed. And then the information had spread throughout the city via the news.
“The Divine Punishment spell probably has different levels based on the amount of hostility! It might knock them unconscious, bind their physical body, or even block out any external interference. But it is over no matter what level one is attacked by. They will likely never recover until the magician decides Divine Punishment is no longer needed!!”
That was why everyone had collapsed.
And it was no longer contained within Academy City. The damage may have spread beyond the city and to Japan and the rest of the world via the news. Organizations that cooperated with Academy City might have been automatically informed of the situation, causing more victims.
“Can they really do that? Is magic really that convenient!?”
“Normally, no! My 103,000 grimoires have no records of this. But this is the only way to explain what is happening! I know it seems strange. As the name suggests, Divine Punishment is supposed to come from god. A person should not be able to do this!!”
But Vento had accomplished it.
That may have been the power of God’s Right Seat.
“Damn her. So that’s how she’s planning to destroy Academy City!!”
“Wait, Touma! If this is true, you can’t tell me the identity of this magician! My Walking Church has lost its pope-class defensive ability. Unlike you, I can be affected by this Divine Punishment spell!!”
“Oh, that’s right,” muttered Kamijou under his breath.
Index could not defend against Vento’s Divine Punishment spell. Ignoring exceptions such as Kamijou’s Imagine Breaker, anyone would be defeated as long as they met the requirement. And Index was someone who fought magicians that harmed others.
But if they had no way of healing the victims, there was no point in lingering on that subject.
Kazakiri came first.
Index had been able to explain Vento’s Divine Punishment spell, so she might know something about this as well.
“How does this Kazakiri…this angel work? Is she okay!? Can we still save her!?”
“Dammit, why did this have to happen now!? Is it related to the Divine Punishment affecting the city!? Why did she take the obvious form of an angel instead of simply going out of control!?”
“I don’t know!!” shouted Index despite having perfectly memorized 103,000 grimoires. What they could see in the distance was clearly an angel of the magic side, so this lack of knowledge on her part was unusual. “Its appearance and structure are very similar to the information from my grimoires, but the parts used are all mixed up and I’ve never seen any of them before!! It’s like seeing a fresco written in some strange alphabet. The overall look of the painting is enough to get the general idea, but I cannot read deeper into the culture or spirituality behind it!!”
Index herself seemed the most frustrated by her failure.
The Index Librorum Prohibitorum existed to answer just this kind of question.
“At the very least, I can tell that this angel and the core that controls it are located in two different places.”
“So not even you can answer this one.”
Kazakiri Hyouka was created from AIM diffusion fields.
The base of her existence came from psychic powers research and cutting edge technology. It may have been that Index’s lack of understanding of those aspects prevented her from coming up with a countermeasure for this angel.
Kamijou and Index continued speaking as they ran.
They were in such a hurry that they did not care about the pouring rain.
“What about you, Touma? Do you know anything about Hyouka’s current structure?”
Saying it used AIM diffusion fields was simple enough. However, he could not explain how that worked. Everyone knew cars ran on gasoline, but not many would be able to draw out a blueprint of how exactly that worked.
(Is there anyone else who knows more about this? Someone on the level of a university professor who could easily draw up a blueprint?)
But Kamijou did not know any adults or researchers like that.
“Dammit,” he cursed, but then a name appeared in his mind. “Komoe-sensei!!”
When Sherry had attacked the underground mall at the beginning of September, Komoe-sensei had seen through to Kazakiri’s true form after hearing his description. She had to know a lot about AIM diffusion fields.
Her number was still recorded in his phone from that phone call.
As he ran through the rainy streets, Kamijou quickly called Komoe-sensei.
“What is it, Touma?”
She was not answering.
Whether she had fallen victim to Vento’s attack or she could not use her cell phone for some other reason, he could not reach Komoe-sensei no matter how much he tried.
(That was a dead end!!)
Kamijou gritted his teeth and scrolled through his list of numbers. However, they were all students. He doubted any of them would know more than Komoe-sensei. But then…
Kamijou immediately contacted the very last number on the list.
This was the most recent number he had recorded.
The name listed was…
“Dah!! Wh-what? Don’t give me even more work when I’m so damn busy!!”
Mikoto’s voice was staticky and gunfire could be heard in the background. The connection may have been so poor because she was using lightning attacks.
But that did not matter.
He ignored her complaint and cut to the chase.
“Tokiwadai Middle School teaches its students a lot more than your average middle school, right!? They want you to stand on the front lines of your field when you graduate, so they give lectures on a university level, right!?”
“What!? What are you -…That was close! What are you talking about!?”
“I need your knowledge to stop that angel! I need an adviser who knows a lot about AIM diffusion fields!! You’re my only hope here! Can you do this!?”
Kamijou heard a strange noise over the phone, so he took it away from his ear and shouted back.
“H-hey, Misaka! Were you shot!? Hey!!”
Repeated lightning blasts could be heard.
Mikoto continued speaking afterwards.
“Y-you’re not going to give me a choice, are you!? You’re going to make me fight while thinking about something else! You really aren’t going to let me get off easy here!!”
“Okay! Index, you take my phone. If you don’t understand something, just ask her!”
“Eh?” said Index with a disappointed look as Kamijou tried to hand her the phone.
Meanwhile, Misaka shouted, “Ehh!?”
“??? What’s wrong, Misaka?”
“No, um…well, it doesn’t matter. But…Ehhh!?”
“I’m counting on you two!!”
He was not quite sure what their problem was, but he did not have time to think about it.
Kamijou gave his phone to the white nun.
“With my right hand and all, I doubt I’ll be much help with this magical stuff. Sorry, Index, but can you handle this on your own?”
“What will you do, Touma?”
“You said the angel and the core controlling it are in two different places, right? You head to that core and fix this. I’ll head to the angel and take care of things there,” said Kamijou. “The magician using that Divine Punishment spell is still out there. This magician is named Vento and is with an organization called God’s Right Seat. She wants to kill Kazakiri now that she has become an angel, so we still need to stop this magician even if we can free Kazakiri. You take care of the core causing this problem and I’ll protect Kazakiri from Vento’s attacks!!”
Hearing that, Index’s eyebrows moved slightly in worry.
She was likely thinking about this angel Kamijou had mentioned.
But she kept those thoughts to herself and said something else.
“Okay. Touma, take care of Hyouka!!”
“You too! I’m counting on you, Index!!”
The two parted ways and ran down their respective paths.
They both had their minds set on rescuing Kazakiri Hyouka.
“Ha ha! Now, this is amazing! What the hell is that thing!?” cheered Kihara Amata in the unused office.
Several hundred meters away, a large number of “wings” had shot out, destroying the buildings around them. Kihara could only see the wings through the window, but the word “angel” immediately came to mind for some reason.
Last Order was lying on top of a desk. That angel had appeared the instant they had inputted the virus into her head and rebooted her. And the virus the higher ups had given him had simply been named “Angel”. He saw no way these two events were unrelated. This unscientific existence had been manifested by scientific means. Kihara did not deny this unscientific situation. Instead, he was shocked that science had finally made it this far.
This was Academy City’s board chairman’s doing.
Kihara Amata had thought he himself was quite the mad scientist, but Aleister took it to an entirely different level.
“I can’t fucking believe this! You’re completely insane, Aleister!! I can’t even begin to understand this! What kind of scientist denies science!?”
Unlike Kihara, the five subordinates around him were completely confused. It looked like they could not decide whether to accept what they were seeing as real or not.
“So all of this was about crushing Academy City’s enemies with that! Yeah, with something like that, we can handle most anyone. I don’t know who was hanging out on the outer edges of the city, but they’re fucked now! Look at that! People are gonna want more than the Three Non-Nuclear Principles once they see this angel!! When did the bible become a pop-up book!?”
The Hound Dog members were still unable to comprehend the situation, so they slowly followed Kihara’s instructions and looked outside through the dusty window.
But none of them were able to see the distant angel.
This was simply because Accelerator flew through the sky and kicked through the window just as they looked over.
The glass noisily shattered.
He has already activated esper mode.
The man in black closest to the window was knocked to the opposite wall by Accelerator’s flying kick. The Hound Dog member struck the thin inner wall and his armored uniform fell to pieces as he collapsed to the floor.
Accelerator did not check to see if he was alive or dead.
His deep red eyes rolled around in his head, but he still managed to accurately lock on to his target.
“Kiiiihara-kuuuuuuuun!!” he shouted as he aimed his shotgun and unhesitatingly brought his finger to the trigger.
He was aiming at everything from the man’s chest to his gut.
He intended to utterly kill him.
Meanwhile, Kihara shoved one of his subordinates forward. “Wah!” cried the man in black as he was forced forward to act as Kihara’s shield.
Countless shot struck the Hound Dog man. His blood splattered about and he collapsed. Kihara did not care. He was laughing so hard it looked like his face was going to break apart.
“Don’t you know how to aim!? You’re just getting in everyone’s way if you don’t!!”
Accelerator ignored the obvious provocation.
He sent a glance racing along the other men in black who were frantically holding up their weapons.
(These shields are in the goddamn way…)
He gritted his teeth.
(Perfect! I don’t hear a single one of you bastards begging for forgiveness because you were only acting on orders!!)
He manipulated the vectors of his leg strength, altered his aim from Kihara to the Hound Dogs, and charged right up to one of them. Ignoring his shotgun, he stretched out his hand. The man’s uniform had a knife, a handgun, and other weapons attached. Near the shoulder, he had four grenades.
Accelerator was aiming for them.
He used his index finger to little finger to pull all four pins.
With no pause whatsoever, Accelerator kicked the man in the gut, sending him flying back and knocking over the other Hound Dog members as if they were bowling pins. The man on the top frantically reached for the grenades still attached to his uniform.
And then the human bomb detonated.
These were fragmentation grenades, so they sent flesh and blood flying in every direction.
This left a single Hound Dog member and Kihara.
Accelerator glared at the last Hound Dog member who immediately grabbed something lying on a desk. It was Last Order’s limp form after forcible use of the Testament had left her unconscious.
Accelerator was armed with a shotgun that could not be aimed carefully.
The man must have assumed Accelerator could not aim if he had a hostage.
The look in Accelerator’s eyes changed. An explosive noise rang out. He manipulated the vectors of his leg strength to shoot right next to the Hound Dog member in an instant.
The man had been right about one thing: Accelerator did not fire the shotgun.
Instead, he swung the meter-long piece of metal straight into the Hound Dog man’s face. He swung it so hard the shotgun was smashed to pieces. The small springs and the cylindrical shells contained within the magazine flew through the air. With a dull noise, the man’s body rotated four times like a bamboo copter before crashing to the floor and not moving.
After the man let go of her, Accelerator caught Last Order in midair with one arm and placed her gently on top of the table.
He then stared at Kihara Amata, the source of all his problems.
The troops protecting the man had been wiped out.
But Kihara only laughed as if this only left less he had to deal with.
“Oh, how badass!! If this is how you do things, I think I might be falling for you, Accelerator!!”
“It’s time you were scrapped, you piece of shit!!”
The two villains’ shouts reverberated through the air.
Kihara opened and closed his slender hands and licked his lips as he charged toward Accelerator.
Accelerator’s reflection did not work on Kihara, but he would no longer hesitate.
Accelerator too opened his hands and ran forward.
He had 60 seconds left in esper mode.
Kamijou Touma arrived at the site of the blast.
It was a familiar area of District 7. The tall buildings all contained famous businesses or relatively high-grade department stores meant for students. The restaurants in the department stores were often introduced in magazines. The area was off of his path to and from school, so he did not come here every day. However, he would occasionally bring Index here for a meal (that would always lack any kind of decent mood).
District 7 contained both the high-class School Garden and the much more common areas such as Kamijou’s dorm. This area fit more into the high-class side of the district. During the day, a lot of girls wearing Tokiwadai Middle School and Kirigaoka Girls Academy uniforms could be seen walking around.
It was a uniquely arranged adult space that could not be made just with children.
And it had been transformed into a pile of rubble like a destroyed sand castle.
Every single building within 100 meters of the center of the blast had been destroyed and leveled. However, there was no absolute crater where nothing was left. The destruction was much more random as if a giant hand had knocked over each individual building. However, those diagonally-tilted buildings and departments stores with only the first floor remaining created oddly vivid scars that shook Kamijou’s heart.
Vento of the Front’s attack had to have affected people in those buildings.
And they would have still been inside when this large-scale destruction had happened. Kamijou could not imagine how many people were buried in those piles of rubble. A rescue team would be delayed, but how many people could be saved even if it arrived this very instant?
His feelings numbed over.
Kamijou walked on shaky legs and looked toward the center of the destruction.
He saw a single angel there.
The main body was the same size as a normal human.
The scale of the wings was so great in comparison that it looked more like a collection of wings had swallowed up a human.
Her wings emitted a brilliant light that seemed to blow away the gray dust, the pouring rain, and everything else. They measured from 10 meters to 100 meters. Those giant wings sharpened to a point and stuck up randomly like weeds. Dozens of them were attached to this small girl’s back.
The angel was around 100 meters away from Kamijou and slowly moving perpendicular to him. She was only walking on those two slender legs of hers, but each step sent a low vibration through the earth.
This girl was Kazakiri Hyouka.
She had long, beautiful hair that was black with a bit of brown mixed in. It mostly fell down to her waist, but a bit was tied off to the side of her head. She wore glasses that hid her timid face, she had not adjusted the length of her skirt, and she wore her school’s designated blue blazer. A red necktie accented that blazer.
Kamijou Touma knew this girl.
She was timid, a crybaby, and would hesitate to even punch a villain.
The person before him was clearly not the Kazakiri Hyouka he knew. Her head was hanging limply down and her tongue was partially lolling out of her half-opened mouth. Her half-lidded eyes were moving irregularly like mechanical lenses reading through some small writing. The rain striking her face mixed with her drool and soaked the chest of her uniform. But despite the slimy sheen and feeling of it, Kazakiri did not move at all.
Dozens of giant wings. An inhuman atmosphere. A presence that felt like a brick wall.
It all resembled Misha Kreutzev.
However, this girl before his eyes was even more unnatural and twisted than that archangel.
Her face displayed no emotion whatsoever.
Her eyeballs wandered creepily and she did not shed even a single tear.
She was not allowed even that.
Some sort of restrictions had been placed over her.
A halo about 50 cm across floated above her head.
The speed of the halo’s rotation and the size of its diameter both changed to match the movements of Kazakiri’s limbs. Countless pencil-like rods stuck out from the outer edge of the halo and they moved in and out at blinding speed.
Kamijou Touma recognized this.
A triangular prism existed within Kazakiri Hyouka’s head. She would move in accordance with that object’s movements.
He felt like this was the same.
This sight felt even colder than the sight of a human being controlled by countless electrodes stabbed into their skull.
Kamijou immediately averted his gaze from Kazakiri’s face.
He might have found it easier to see her corpse.
Kamijou felt from the bottom of his heart that he needed to stop this. It did not matter what had caused it.
“Kazakiriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!” shouted Kamijou without thinking.
Wherever she had been headed, Kazakiri’s legs suddenly stopped. Her head slowly turned toward Kamijou.
With a sound like scraping metal, the angel’s halo above her head began rotating even faster. The pencil-sized rods filling the outer edge of the halo all stabbed out at once.
He heard what sounded like a scream.
The movement of Kazakiri’s head was forcibly stopped and it seemed to tremble and creak. Her head moved back to face forward with the movements of a machine with something caught in the gears. With her neck still twisted at an odd angle, Kazakiri slowly began walking once more.
An electric zapping sound rang out.
Kamijou looked up and saw bluish-white light flashing out as two of the giant wings drew closer and closer together. It was as if they were preparing to fire.
A strange light flashed around Kazakiri. The flashes seemed timed perfectly with the movements of the angel’s halo. And Kazakiri’s body moved as if led by that light.
It was as if she did not want to do anything, but that light bothered her so much that she was afraid of what would happen if she did not move in that direction.
It was as if she was worried she had left the gas on.
It was as if she felt the need to wash her hands again and again yet the stain would never come out.
(Is this like serious OCD or something?)
That was the general impression it gave him. There were no set rules, but she needed to check on it no matter what. That was what that light was to her. By sending out those points of interest again and again, Kazakiri could be mentally controlled into moving in a certain direction.
If that state continued at length, her mind would inevitably be worn down to nothing. It was like pressing a red-hot metal plate against a blindfolded person’s back and leading them through a maze as they fled.
This completely ignored Kazakiri’s human heart.
This was like sneering behind the back of someone who had tripped.
(Dammit… How dare you!!)
Kamijou began to run over to her, but then he stopped.
What good would approaching her do?
He could not touch her body.
Imagine Breaker would destroy the illusion that was Kazakiri Hyouka.
Kamijou gritted his teeth and slammed his useless right hand against a wall of rubble.
He could not save the people buried under that rubble. He could not save Kazakiri from this change that had come over her. He was too small and too pathetic to do anything.
And then he heard a new set of footsteps.
The misfortune in front of his eyes had invited in more misfortune.
“Oh, what’s this? Were you sinners licking each other’s wounds?”
Kamijou spun around.
He found a woman with piercings all over her face and wearing an outfit modeled after an ancient style of dress. This was the member of God’s Right Seat who had robbed Academy City of its functions as a city and walked casually through the streets to kill Kamijou.
This was Vento of the Front.
She held a giant hammer with barbed wire wrapped around it.
Whether due to an illness or some other reason, Vento had red blood dripping down from her mouth and bloody stains across her clothes that were otherwise wet with rain. Even so, her expression remained unchanged.
The balance of her face was ruined by the countless piercings as she grinned and held her weapon in one hand. This grin was filled with scorn and ridicule. It was not the sort of smile meant to be turned toward a fellow human.
“I was kind enough to put you off until later, but you’re just insisting I kill you now, aren’t you? Do you want me to put you out of your misery so you don’t have to see any more tragedy?”
“I won’t let you do anything to Kazakiri.”
“Oh? You can sympathize with that thing, too? How much of philanthropist are you? This symbol of blasphemy is even uglier and viler than the great whore mentioned in Revelation. I doubt even your average pervert would accept something like this.”
“Damn you!! You take that back!!”
“Why? Are you trying to say she isn’t normally like this? Don’t be ridiculous. This may be the first time I’ve seen her, but do you really think the head of Academy City would use everything the city has to create a harmless and useless creature? She has great value and power. Whatever you saw before must have been an irregularity created when this was still incomplete.”
The head of Academy City.
The person who controlled half of the world via the science side.
If Kazakiri Hyouka had been created by using all of the AIM diffusion fields in Academy City, that was indeed the most likely person to be controlling her. And if she had been created for a reason rather than by chance, the idea of her having been “incomplete” held some credibility.
“As a member of God’s Right Seat, I cannot overlook this monster. I’m not saying we’re a blameless group, but not even we can accept that monster. This is an incarnation of blasphemy that mocks all those who follow the cross. She must be eliminated.”
A great roar reached Kamijou’s ears.
(…!? Not again!!)
He turned around just in time to see a lightning-like flash coming from the giant wings connected to Kazakiri’s back. Sparks bridged between two wings and the tone gradually grew higher and higher pitched. It felt like a great power was going to overflow and burst forth at any moment.
Kamijou fell silent and thought on it all for a moment.
And then he said, “Allow me to repeat myself just this once.”
“Take that back, you bitch.”
“Oh?” Vento smiled in amusement. “You can be surprisingly cute. Fine. I’ll take your feelings into account. I was going to kill you both anyway. This just means you get to die together like friends.”
That may have been the most compromise he could have hoped for from her.
But for Kamijou, it was so inadequate he wanted to spit on the ground.
“Don’t tell me you’re hoping for help from this monster. If so, give up. You cannot defeat me even if you work together,” said Vento in enjoyment. “Did you know that angels have no will of their own? They are truly nothing more than god’s tools.” Vento sneered at him. “When they malfunction or receive erroneous instructions, they become what is known as a fallen angel. The most well-known example would be Lucifer’s rebellion. A bug in a single angel sent erroneous instructions to a third of the angels deployed around the heavens which started a war.”
She scraped at the asphalt with her hammer as she spoke.
She looked Kamijou in the eye as she spoke.
“Do you think this monster is a holy angel? Or is it a fallen angel?”
“Do I even need to say it!? That’s nothing more than a goddamn fallen angel!! And this is not just one of god’s angels losing control! This is an ugly winged doll created by the hands of man! It is a pitch black sinner carrying sins upon sins!!” Vento raised up her hammer and pointed it toward Kamijou. “I don’t know what Academy City was trying to do! Maybe they were trying to make a perfect angel and failed and maybe they were trying to make a fallen angel from the beginning! Either way, we cannot accept what you are doing!!”
Nothing more than the emotion held in her words was enough to knock someone back.
She was completely denying Kazakiri Hyouka’s right to exist.
“I doubt my true attack will be of any use against her right now. I don’t even know if she has the same type of mind as a human. But I will kill her! My own power may not be enough, but this is only an incomplete fallen angel! I can put together a spell to interfere with the internal control of her powers and cause her to self destruct!! I can make this monster blow itself to smithereens with its own monstrous power!!”
Kamijou was not listening to her.
He gritted his teeth, glared at her, and spoke.
“…I won’t let you.”
Just how difficult could the conditions for one battle be?
Kamijou was unsure if he could even defeat Vento, but now he had to fight her while also covering for Kazakiri. Plus, he had no guarantee Kazakiri was harmless. If a single one of the splendid sparks flying from those wings struck his back, he would not survive.
Nevertheless, Kamijou Touma tightly clenched his right fist.
He said, “She’s already been twisted into this form by the higher ups of Academy City. She’s already being forced to bloody her hands. She’s already being kept from asking for help or even shedding a single tear. And now you barge in and start treating her like a monster and saying you need to kill her?”
It did not matter if that girl could hear him now or not. Kamijou had decided to protect Kazakiri Hyouka. He stood before Vento in order to do so. With the rain pouring down on him and that giant angel behind him, he accepted all of the unfavorable conditions.
“To hell with that. Is that any way to treat someone’s friend!?”