Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume17 Epilogue
 Epilogue: Everyone’s Expectations and In Their Hearts. War_in_Britain.
A carriage was headed down a dark forest road with no street lights. The carriage held an old lamp and was like something one would see in a picture book. The Queen of England and the Archbishop were the ones sitting in that 4-seat carriage which may have been perfect material for a picture book as well.
However, they were restrained to their seats with 50 different restraints, so it wasn’t exactly the kind of story one would tell a child as a bed-time story. Add in that fact that London had been conquered in a coup d’état and that they were being transported as prisoners and it seemed more like a nightmare.
Elizard and Laura were sitting next to each other and a knight was sitting in the opposing seat as an escort.
“…So in the end, almost all the knights fell to Second Princess Carissa’s side. You’re a surprisingly unpopular queen.”
“Yes, well you’re the head of the church, but not a single magician from Necessarius seems to have come to rescue you. Have they simply abandoned you or is this a reversal of trust? It’s really hard to tell.”
Both of the faction leaders had been hoping for rescue from the other’s faction and they sighed now that they realized that wasn’t going to happen. It was a light sigh similar to when a taxi drives right past one’s outstretched hand attempting to wave it down.
Laura attempted to move her restrained body emitting a creaking noise.
“Nhh. They must be experts at this to accentuate my breasts by binding me above and below them. But they shouldn’t take the Archbishop of the Anglican Church lightly!!”
“…Well, I’m sure you’re fine since pads can’t feel pain.”
“You fool!! These are real! Wait, no, not that. Study the history of restraints and you’re studying the history of the witch hunts. In other words, all the restraints, torture devices, and execution devices developed in this country have been influenced by us. As such, it would be quite odd if I didn’t know how to remove them, don’t you think?”
Hearing that, the escorting knight half-rose to his feet, but the queen responded coldly to the Archbishop.
“I really doubt you can do that.”
“I’ve known you for a long, long time. I know you want to show off, but I can already tell you’re just going to fail, so let me put an end to this before you get people’s hopes up: Stop. If you try, you’re just going be struggling against your restraints grunting after 30 seconds. I know you can’t stand feeling like you’re being attacked from all sides at once, so don’t force yourself.”
“I-I can do it!! I’m the Archbishop of the Anglican Church and the head of Necessarius! Someone like that has to be able to deal with all the different forms of magic from all over the world!!”
“…Yes, yes. And that idea is what is pressuring you into this. I completely understand.”
“Wh-what-!? O-okay then!! I’ll show you! It’s show time!!”
As Laura Stuart shouted while restrained to her seat by 50 different restraints, her oddly long blonde hair started glowing for some reason.
The escorting knight started to reach for his sword thinking she was going to have her hair move and unlock the restraints or something, but something else happened.
Simply put, the glow turned into a flash.
To be a little more descriptive, the carriage was filled with a golden flash so bright the knight couldn’t open his eyes. It felt like something was about to explode.
The knight yelled out without thinking.
“G-gwaaaahhh!? Y-you idiot! I thought you were going to pull some kind of escape artist trick, but that’s just an explo-…!!”
“Quiet!! As long as I can remove all 50 restraints, I win!!”
With the pleasant sound of an explosion, the carriage itself blew up from the inside.
The two horses pulling the carriage let out a whinny at the shock and the momentum of the explosion sent the driver splashing into a nearby river. With the wreckage spread around like a flower, Laura Stuart stood tall with her hands on her hips in the center of the carriage that now had no wheels.
“Hm, this was because it was restrained by hair pins. This much was to be expected.”
“…I-I see. I now have a much better idea of how little common sense you have,” groaned the queen who was still bound to the chair that was now on its side. “Well, as long as you have your restraints off, that’s enough. Hurry up and remove mine. We need to get away from here before the other knights sense something is wrong and-...”
“Hmm, I wonder what I should do regarding your restraints…”
“…Hey.” Elizard asked a serious question as a chill ran down her back. “You understand the current situation, right? If what those knights were saying is true, almost all of the United Kingdom has been conquered by this coup d’état. My daughter Carissa is behind it and she might very well cut ties with Academy City and then fire a missile at France. We need to do our best to overcome this seemingly hopeless situation, so this is no time for this…”
“Yeah, but your heartless words really hurt me. Hmm, I know. If you put me at ease by saying ‘I’m so very sorry, oh great Archbishop. A small person like me can only rely on the advice of the church’, then I might be able to cool my head and make a rational decision here.”
Elizard’s cheeks twitched, but arguing wasn’t going to get her anywhere. It was the Queen Regnant’s duty to put the future of the country ahead of her personal pride. She had no choice but to give in to the demand. However, just when the queen had accepted that terrible fate, she heard a snapping noise.
It seemed the chair hadn’t been able to withstand Laura’s explosion. Cracks spread through it and the restraints holding Queen Elizard broke.
Elizard and Laura remained silent for a short time.
Finally, the queen slowly stood up and wiped the dirt from her luxurious dress. She then reached down towards something that had fallen to the ground with the wreckage of the carriage.
“Oh, look. It’s Curtana Second.”
“Wait, wait! I’m sorry for getting carried away, so don’t turn that national treasure of a sword on me!!”
“Don’t worry, don’t worry. This sword is not made to harm people. It’s a ceremonial sword with no tip and no blade, remember? …It only has enough power to sever dimensions, so you have nothing to worry about.”
“I’m dead!? Wait, it still has that much destructive power left after having most of its power taken by the Original!?”
Laura shrunk down and trembled, but the queen wasn’t really going to slice her open. The queen returned Curtana Second to its scabbard and sighed out of exasperation.
“But since we need to be in London, this was rather pointless. You could have at least waited until we were in the capital.” Elizard looked around. “The carriage was completely destroyed, but we can still travel on foot.”
“…I-in that case, I have a brilliant plan.”
Laura slowly stood back up and looked out into the darkness.
What looked like a car’s headlights could be seen approaching from the distance.
Elizard looked on in shock.
“D-don’t tell me you’re referring to that legendary plan!!”
“Tah dah!! It’s the hitchhiking plan!! Hey, you. The guy driving that filthy truck! Would you be interested in going for a drive with a beautiful girl!?”
Laura Stuart was sticking out the thumb of her right hand and gave a bewitching wink.
The truck came to a stop 50 meters ahead of her, made a slow U-turn, and left with proper driving technique.
Laura Stuart spoke while the wink and a giant smile remained on her face.
“…Let’s kill him.”
“You idiot, he made the right decision.”
Elizard looked through the useless wreckage of the carriage and suddenly spotted a spiritual item. It seemed to be what the knights had used for communications.
“I see. William Orwell has returned with Ascalon.”
“The Roman Catholic Church’s Acqua of the Back, huh? As the head of the Anglican Church I have mixed feelings about that, but a mercenary who isn’t controlled by what the knight’s want is the perfect right-hand man for Third Princess Villian. It looks like there may be some hope left.”
“The perfect right-hand man, hm?” muttered the queen as she tossed the communications spiritual item to the side. “…Will this really proceed so simply?”
“I don’t like how you always say small meaningful-sounding things that only you understand. What exactly are we going to do? Don’t tell me we’re going to trudge through this dark forest on foot.”
“Hmph. Why did you have to ruin the mood like that,” spat out Elizard as she looked around the area.
Elizard’s eyes stopped on the horses that had been pulling the carriage. The devices tying them to the carriage had broken off. The queen cleared the devices away and easily mounted the horse despite its lack of a saddle.
The long reins were made for the carriage’s driver to use them, but Elizard forcibly gathered them up to make them easier to use while on horseback. Seeing this, Laura’s expression turned to one of clear displeasure.
“Ehhh? I don’t know how to do anything as uncivilized as riding a military horse.”
“Okay, let’s go. Our destination is London!”
“You’re clearly planning on leaving me behind!! Wait, wait, I’ll really be all alone and as we saw hitchhiking is impossible!!”
Kamijou Touma somehow managed to reach the Anglican women’s dorm.
It was the first time he had been in the building, but he didn’t have time to look around. All the truly necessary things had already been taken away from the dorm and most of the people had already fled. The only remaining people were battle personnel who were staying behind as a rear guard to buy time before the knights could attempt pursuit. Kamijou felt kind of bad about having to ask them to heal an enemy magician like Lessar, but then…
“Oh, long time no see.”
“Eh? Orsola!? Why is someone with zero battle ability, and thus the first person who should have fled, still here!?”
“Everyone was making such a commotion and I just couldn’t keep up with them.”
That nun who seemed unbelievably slow was Orsola Aquinas an acquaintance of Kamijou’s. She was a large-breasted woman who specialized in the deciphering of grimoires.
She looked down at Lessar’s limp form in his arms.
“Oh, my. I see you’re having the usual type of thing happening to you.”
“…I’m not quite sure what you mean by that, but can I leave her with you?”
“Okay, you need her healed with magic, correct?” she responded readily.
Kamijou handed the New Light girl to Orsola. It seemed the nun wasn’t good at constantly changing high-speed battles, but she had a certain amount of skill when it came to work that could be done slowly. She wasn’t an expert at healing magic, but she could at least carry out emergency aid by reconnecting torn blood vessels.
“And will you be doing anything in return…?”
“I know, I know. I’ll help with the escape as a member of the rear guard,” Kamijou responded while loosely clenching his right hand.
Imagine Breaker could get in the way of the spell, so he left Orsola. He walked through a dark passageway with the lights out and ran into a nun (this one with a tense expression) who had stayed behind as a member of the rear guard.
She had blonde hair and blue eyes and she went out of her way to speak to him in Japanese.
“Including the back entrance you came in through, almost all of the routes have been fortified by the knights. It looks like forcing our way out is the only option. …Will you help us?”
“What’s the plan?”
“After shaking the knights with all the long distance bombardments we can muster, we will scatter and force our way out and escape in all directions. The enemy’s faltering and hesitation will buy us a little bit of time, but it’s impossible to know who will end up drawing the short straw.”
(That’s rather vague as usual.)
“What exactly are the knights trying to accomplish with this coup d’état? The country was already having problems acquiring resources, so why would they isolate themselves further…?”
“From what we can gather from the communications we’ve intercepted, they seem to have their eye on ocean resources,” said the nun. “The United Kingdom’s level of self-sufficiency isn’t all that low. There are various barriers produced by everyday life, but people won’t start starving right away. Queen Elizard was acting carefully to ensure the people’s dissatisfaction did not turn to rioting, but Second Princess Carissa seems to be pushing in an entirely different direction.”
“So she went with a forced subjugation using military force on a national scale…”
“The most worrisome aspect regarding the food supply is that about half of seafood consumed here is imported, but something could be done about that by reopening the closed ports. At any rate, with the real risk of hundreds or thousands of people being slaughtered, the people are unlikely to riot. Normally, people can put up with most things while they have the tip of a sword sticking into their side.”
“But food isn’t the only problem. What about oil or metals like iron?”
“It seems they truly believe it can be mined from undersea mountains. The United Kingdom is an island nation protected by a natural barrier of ocean, but that barrier has been strengthened by installing various devices on the ocean floor. Carissa and the knights could be secretly preparing to turn those into large-scale mining facilities. However, if it was all really that easy, I doubt the queen would have been so worried about the explosion in the undersea tunnel.”
The nun changed the subject back to an actual strategy.
“After we break through the knights surrounding the women’s dorm, we will head to a designated rendezvous point, but you should probably head for Waterloo Station. …I more or less understand the situation. Don’t worry. The Eurostar line will take you in a straight shot to Folkestone where Index Librorum Prohibitorum is.”
“…That’s gonna be tough,” said Kamijou with a bitter look on his face. Index’s face floated up to the top of his mind. “A stray shot from a battle a bit ago tore apart the overhead structures and the power lines. That train isn’t going anywhere.”
It was over 100 km from London to Folkestone. It was simply too far to travel on foot, so he had to use the train.
“Not necessarily,” said the nun and Kamijou looked back at her. “Even if they have Curtana Original, the ultimate leader of the knights, Second Princess Carissa, is currently wide open in Folkestone and unable to get to a special fortress. To deal with the combined forces of us with the church, the knights have to transport personnel and materials to quickly fortify a defensive position. In other words, they need to get a train down there.”
“There are diesel engines used to pull trains in case of power issues. Even if the power cables were cut, it can still move. The knights will most likely use a crane to get the train past the area with the structural damage and then go from there. If you can sneak onto the train…”
A path to Folkestone had opened up.
Strength naturally gathered in Kamijou’s right fist as he heard the nun’s words.
Seeing that, the nun gave a small smile.
“…Of course, all of this depends on first escaping from here safely.”
“This is perfect. …As long as I have clear objectives, I’ve pretty much already won.”
Kamijou and the nun then began preparing for battle.
A certain man came to the southern English city of Folkestone.
Seeing the large man come running to save Third Princess Villian with the spiritual item known as Ascalon in hand, Second Princess Carissa smiled thinly.
That man annoyed her greatly because he was uninfluenced by the various organizations and he would unhesitatingly destroy the carefully laid out plans of even the royal family because it was “for England”.
She had a thought while everyone was left speechless at the appearance of that mercenary.
(Ascalon? A sacred sword spiritual item made according to the legend of St. George?)
Carissa knew that man was naturally skilled with water and that he had to be overwhelmingly powerful due to his strength from his mercenary days being furthered evolved as a member of God’s Right Seat.
(Why did he need to prepare something like that? Folkestone is a port city and a mountain with a water source that isn’t far away. The water he is so skilled with should be all over the place, so why is he relying on such an obvious weapon like Ascalon?)
She also knew the reason the mercenary was not using water. A pipeline still existed between England and Academy City. As such, they had received information that the man known as Acqua of the Back who had control of the power of Gabriel had attacked Academy City and had been defeated.
(He’s wounded meaning he can’t control water. That’s why he has to rely on a spiritual item as over the top as Ascalon. If he’s lost some of his power leaving him at the level of a mere Saint, Knight Leader is enough to deal with him. And Knight Leader’s power isn’t just theoretical. He has been tested in his fight against the Saint from the Far East.)
Having checked the information she already had with the information she was currently gathering with her own eyes, Carissa smiled.
She came up with an overall conclusion.
(Right now, we can kill him. We can kill that annoying mercenary.)
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