Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume18 Chapter6
Chapter 6: Destruction of the Knights’ and Princess’s Defensive Line. Safety_in_Subway.
Second Princess Carissa stood in the dark forest at Folkestone.
Although, it might have been better to call it a former forest.
Tens and even hundreds of trees had been broken to pieces and blown far away by the last strike. Carissa was standing in the centre of an area with upturned black soil and torn up stumps that had just barely managed to remain behind.
“Hm, I guess that was a bit too much. …But I suppose this sword guarantees the success of the revolution.”
The second princess rested Curtana Original on her shoulder and gave a light sigh.
The dome-shaped explosion had not been the proper way of using Curtana. That may have been the reason the sword was lightly vibrating. It would probably subside before long, but it gave an ominous feeling that the vibrations would break the sword if she continued to use it like that.
(I guess you really should read the instructions manual and use your tools accordingly. This needs more than just emergency measures on the battlefield. I need to head back to Buckingham Palace and give it a proper tune-up.)
The carriage that had been ambushed by the mercenary William Orwell was completely gone. It had been transporting the Index Librorum Prohibitorum that possessed 103,000 grimoires, but she had no way of checking if the girl had survived.
That grimoire library had been necessary for the evidence that the French government had been behind the Eurotunnel bombing that had started the whole incident, but…
(…Well, it has no more value than a logical pretext, so that doesn’t really matter. I already have the right to control this country. Now that a war has broken out on an illogical pretext, no one’s going to argue.)
With the sword that had no tip or blade still resting on her shoulder, she pulled out a cell phone with her other hand and operated it with her thumb. She chose one of the speed dial numbers in the memory and held it up to her ear.
She was calling the knights waiting in London’s Buckingham Palace.
“How are things in London?”
“We have succeeded in mostly taking control of all the major British cities including the capital. The disturbances in London have ended and there is no sign of anymore reckless rioting by civilians.”
“I see. It seems Knight Leader was defeated here.”
“You had realized it, hadn’t you? Did you want to deny it?”
Second Princess Carissa laughed. As a large amount of Telesma had been sent to the knights and Knight Leader via Curtana Original, the defeat of that leader would create a tremor in the total amount of power.
(It seems that disturbance couldn’t be suppressed.)
Carissa came to that conclusion and then continued on as she didn’t especially care.
“I’m going to be heading back there now. Is the Eurostar train running?”
“We just received a report that the freight train sending more personnel your way has arrived…”
The man’s voice sounded somehow unreliable.
“But someone seems to have dismantled the track in various points between London and Folkestone. …Currently, it is being restored in 3 locations, but the entire 100 kilometre length of track needs to be checked over in case it was damaged elsewhere…”
(I suppose that Asian must have gotten here by sneaking aboard the freight train. After he got through, they must not have needed the trains anymore, so they started destroying our infrastructure.)
A smile leaked out onto Carissa’s face at that guerilla type of resistance.
She stared up into the starry sky.
“Then call in an Air Force helicopter patrolling nearby in Folkestone.”
“But…will that really be okay? Won’t that put you at risk of being targeted with anti-air spells?”
“With the amount of Telesma I have from Curtana Original, I won’t die even if the helicopter falls to pieces around me in midair. What matters is getting back to Buckingham Palace as quickly as possible.”
“Understood,” replied the knight. “In other matters, you received a phone call from France while you were away.”
“If it was just a senator, we can ignore it.”
“There was one from a senator, but…this one was from the president. What should we do?”
“Just ignoring it could be interesting, but connect him through to me here. You can listen in on the side. I’ll show you the diplomatic skills of the new head of state.”
“Understood,” he replied again, this time with a hint of a smile behind it.
After a few seconds, the static in the transmission changed. She was now connected to someone else.
“W-we should cooperate,” said a voice right off the bat.
The voice belonged to the French president who had a frequent presence in the media.
“We should cooperate regarding the Eurotunnel terrorist attack.”
“Oh, that’s a lot of noise.” Carissa put on a most unpleasant face despite the fact that the president could not see it. “Are you on the phone in a strip club or something? I can barely hear you over all the indecent noises. How about you quit shoving bills into the dancer’s stocking for a second and take this seriously?”
“Y-you’re the one that needs to take this seriously!! I’m saying we need to negotiate so we can choose the option that is best for both of us!!”
“Negotiate? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for us to fight to the death? What, do you want to lick my ass or something? I won’t say anything about a personal hobby, but it might have a negative effect on the next election if you let your constituents find out.”
“D-don’t screw around with me!! I know what you’ve done!!”
He must have breathed onto the receiver because actual noise entered Carissa’s ear.
The increasingly cornered French president continued speaking while the second princess messed with him.
“You’ve dispatched a destroyer in the Strait of Dover! And it has rather large missiles loaded on it! I don’t know if you are trying to threaten us, but surely you know that this is doing severe damage to the relationship between our countries!”
“Oh?” said Carissa as if she didn’t care. “I don’t see how someone who has a nuclear submarine hidden in the Strait of Dover has any right to say that to me. It has been frequently sending and receiving coded transmissions. From the ones we have intercepted, it seems to be an exceedingly French sub and it also seems to have a nuclear missile aimed at London.”
She had a feeling she could hear his mouth wordlessly opening and closing.
Ignoring him, Carissa continued.
“France is a nuclear power just like America and Russia. I know you had the option, but…it was just so damn blatant. Of course, there is the treaty banning them that you once borrowed the power of the Roman Catholic Church to get the EU to bring about. Did you let your guard down because you had used that treaty as a shield to rob us of nuclear weapons and the ability to develop them? Or did you just think we couldn’t take it out with a single preemptive attack?”
A loud explosion was heard.
The noise was coming from a long distance away. It was far enough away that there was a discrepancy between light and sound as with distant thunder. Carissa turned her gaze in the direction of the distant sea.
“Oh, don’t worry. According to the report from the destroyer, that was just a seagull.”
As she spoke, Carissa swung Curtana Original lightly with the hand not holding the phone. This caused a 100 metre dimensional slice which created a large white fan-shaped piece of wreckage along the trajectory of the sword.
Carissa kicked the giant fan with a leg that held a piece of Michael’s power and it flew off into the night sky. The fan rotated at high speed like a helicopter rotor as it disappeared beyond the horizon.
“…Our radars and anti-air defense weapons can detect and intercept foreign objects at that level of accuracy. The old large missiles are nothing more than targets. With mere hunks of metal that have no concealing spells cast on them, we can shoot down every single one you fire at us.”
Carissa created and kicked away a second and a third giant fan.
“N-no, you’ve got it all wrong!! That submarine isn’t ours. Coded transmissions? Those had to have been tricks intended to make the submarine look French!!”
“Well, it’s true we have no proof,” readily admitted Second Princess Carissa. “If you’re telling the truth, I assume you won’t mind if we sink this insolent submarine of unknown affiliation out of self defense as it is targeting our capital. If it really has no connection to France, you will have no reason to attempt to rescue those aboard either. …If you do attempt to interfere with this operation in any way, I will take that as confirmation that the ‘submarine of unknown affiliation’ is working with France.”
A tremor spread across the ground.
That had not been the destroyer’s weapons. It had been the noise of the giant fans Carissa had fired striking the ocean surface sinking the submarine hidden within the ocean with their enormous weight.
“Oh, did I get a hole in one? They probably shouldn’t have been staying so close to the surface in order to be able to fire the missile. And they won’t make it in time if they frantically try to dive now. At this rate, it won’t even last a minute.”
“Oh, I know what to do. For every time the submarine of unknown affiliation requests help from the French navy and for every millimeter it tries to flee in the direction of France, we will fire one of the bunker cluster cruise missiles on our destroyer. The first will be aimed for Versailles, the second for Paris, and the third…oh, who cares. I can decide on that if you haven’t learned your lesson after the first two. …The value of a leader is determined by how many of his people’s lives he protects. With how you handled this, I’d say you’re getting a failing grade.”
With that, he was only able to sit by silently and watch as his trump card sank. As he listened to the screams of his comrades, all options other than merely bearing with it had been sealed.
The French president remained at a loss for words and a tone of ridicule entered Carissa’s voice.
“How about you switch out with the princess at the top who is refusing to leave the cradle? This might be about the pride you gained by obtaining a parliamentary government, but no matter how many idiots gather together, they can’t come up with a plan that will have any effect against us. It would be best for you if you went ahead and bowed down to the Holy Woman of Versailles and ask for her opinion. …If you don’t, you will have nothing left but to be remembered as history’s most incompetent president because you doomed your own country to destruction by starting a war out of your own arrogance.”
Carissa heard a cry on the other end of the phone that sounded like a child throwing a tantrum, but she ignored it and hung up.
The sound of a helicopter rotor reverberated from above her head.
It was the Air Force helicopter that had been patrolling in Folkestone. An observation helicopter was basically an attack helicopter with the weapons removed and this was a very small one with a width of less than a meter. It was made for two people, so one of the pilots had likely needed to be left behind in order for Carissa to get on. Landing to let the other pilot down must have taken a bit of time, because there was no excuse for how long the helicopter had taken to get there otherwise.
Noticing Carissa, the observation helicopter stopped at about 20 metres up and slowly started to lower.
However, the second princess moved first.
She jumped 20 metres straight up into the air, grabbed the side of the helicopter with one arm, and thrust her sharp heels into its armor. As the shocked pilot watched on, she opened the door and climbed in as carefree as if she were climbing into the backseat of her private car.
“…Helicopters are convenient, but I don’t like how they mess up my set hair.”
Carissa, the woman who had just jumped high into the sky using the power of her own legs, looked displeased as she reached up to her hair. Folding her arms, she spoke with the tone of someone telling a driver where to go.
“Could you take me to Buckingham Palace? I have to do some work on this thing there,” Carissa said as she lightly tapped the side of Curtana Original with the back of her hand. “And don’t be slow. If you aren’t going to be any help, I can always just bring down the helicopter and run there on my own.”
Kamijou Touma awoke with a dull pain in the area of his backbone.
He was inside an old car left in the mountains near the foundation of an old ruined building. The car seemed foreign and was quite large making it look like it had bad gas mileage. However, it wasn’t all too clear whether it was accurate to say he was “inside” the car. It had no roof and its doors were missing. Kamijou was lying face up in what was little more than the chassis.
Beyond where the door should have been was a dark forest. It was still the middle of the night, but his eyes must have gotten used to the darkness because he no longer saw a single shade of black. Instead, the darkness had its own type of light and darkness and color allowing him to see objects’ silhouettes. For someone who lived in Tokyo like Kamijou, truly experiencing starlight was a rare thing.
Kamijou sat up on the sofa-like backseat and tried to sort out the information in his head.
(…Wasn't I not able to negate the second princess’s attack and then get blown away way up in the sky?)
Common sense told him that there was no way he would have survived falling from a height of a few hundred meters. That was well beyond the level where something cushioning him on the ground would save him. Nevertheless, Kamijou was in one piece and didn’t have any broken bones. In fact, he had nothing more than a few scratches.
“So you’ve finally decided to wake up? You certainly are carefree.”
Kamijou turned around in the direction of the low male voice.
“Ee!? Acqua of the Back!!”
Kamijou instinctively started to bring up his guard, but his foot got caught on a part of the unstable car and he fell right back down onto the backseat.
Acqua of the Back made no attempt to enter the car.
He merely stood outside the car holding a ridiculously huge weapon as usual (although this one was different from the one he had in Academy City).
Kamijou cautiously eyed Acqua and slowly asked a question.
“Only one who attacked his enemy with the intent to kill and then gained proper evidence that he had killed the enemy should ask that question.” Acqua sighed out of annoyance. “To be honest, I did not expect you all to cause the power I had stored up by using the Virgin Mary Worship spell to explode from within. I was able to immediately create a bypass and release the mass of power outside my body, but that has caused my power to temporarily drop to the level of a normal Saint.”
Despite normally preferring to remain silent, Acqua continued on about things Kamijou did not understand. The malice emitted along with the words made Kamijou shiver and think that Acqua might smash him to pieces right then and there.
“S-so, what happened to me after that explosion?”
“Hmph. Nothing much. I merely grabbed you in midair and landed with you.”
“That doesn’t sound like nothing much!!” said Kamijou in complete shock. “Hm? Hey, wait a second. What about Index!? Carissa’s final attack was basically an explosion in all directions, right!? What happened to the carriage she was on!?”
“Instead of asking me that, look around you and figure it out for yourself.”
Acqua pointed to the side with a look of pure contempt in his eyes. Kamijou looked in that direction and saw a nun in a white habit unconscious in the passenger seat of the car.
“…You grabbed her, too?”
“Yes, but two was pretty much my limit in that situation.”
He said that bluntly, but Carissa’s strike had definitely been an explosion. In that instant, Acqua must have grabbed Index from the carriage, caught Kamijou in midair, and put up at least the bare minimum of a defense for himself.
(…Th-the more I hear, the less I think I can win. Actually, how the hell did I survive against such a monster back in Academy City?)
“Why…did you save me?”
“It is true that it may have been simpler to just let you die,” Acqua unhesitatingly replied. “Are you aware that you are the cause of this disturbance?”
“However, the situation here is different than when I spoke with you in Academy City. Your defeat of members of the Roman Catholic Church is not the problem here. The true boss is after your right hand.”
“What? Who is this ‘true boss’?”
“The current leader of the alliance between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is a man called Fiamma of the Right. This Fiamma is after your right hand and the knowledge inside Index Librorum Prohibitorum that is necessary to make proper use of it.”
Acqua ignored Kamijou’s confusion and continued the one-sided conversation.
“As such, pulverizing your right arm until nothing remains or destroying Index Librorum Prohibitorum’s brain are possible methods of ruining Fiamma’s plans.”
He didn’t really understand the situation, but Kamijou’s body stiffened at the imminent danger.
However, Acqua himself rejected that option.
“If I had intended to go that route, I would have abandoned the two of you and you would have died on your own.”
“…Then what are you trying to do?”
“I plan to destroy the cause of this disturbance,” Acqua responded with no hesitation. “However, I am aware that Imagine Breaker and Index Librorum Prohibitorum are nothing more than accessories that are closely related to the true cause. Losing the cornerstones of his plan would be a major problem for Fiamma, but there is a danger he would change his plan and begin again. There is also a danger that he will spread meaningless destruction around out of desperation. …So I have determined that I must destroy the cause behind the cause.”
After saying that, Acqua turned his back on Kamijou.
With his gigantic sword in hand, the man spoke some more.
“However, it has become necessary to put a stop to a tiny dispute that is derived from the original cause. Increasing England’s strength may lead to a chance to put a stop to the increase in Roman Catholic influence over Europe. As a result, this may lead to a primary factor in preventing Fiamma from carrying out his goal.”
“Is there a way to stop this?”
“No petty tricks are needed. You should already be well acquainted with my methods.”
“But Carissa and the knights already have control of the entirety of the United Kingdom.”
“The size of the obstacle does not matter. Carissa and the knights’ new order is centred around Curtana Original which makes it especially fragile.”
“It is not my style to strike there. Perhaps I really should go with a completely fair and open attack,” Acqua of the Back spat out before he disappeared.
He must have left at such a high speed that Kamjiou’s eyes could not perceive it.
(Acqua of the Back, hm?)
Kamijou thought while he put his hand on Index’s shoulder as she sat unconscious in the passenger seat.
(That man is truly a deadly enemy to have. Can he really help overturn this situation?)
Kamijou did not know what to do to help Index, but after a bit she woke up on her own.
“Index! Are you okay!? Are you hurt anywhere!?”
Kamijou’s face lit up.
In response, Index stirred a bit.
“…Did you save me from the knights, Touma?”
“Yeah, that’s what you’d think, isn’t it?” Kamijou averted his gaze. “But things weren’t that convenient.”
Index stared at him in puzzlement for a second.
“Mh!? Did you come here with yet another strange girl…!?”
“I can see why you’d assume so, but fate was not so kind to me!!” Kamijou denied the claim with a shout. “I’m glad to see you’re your usual self.”
“Touma, I want a midnight snack.”
“And now you’re a little too back to normal.”
With Kamijou finally relieved and Index puzzled, the two of them wandered through the dark forest a bit until they met up with some Amakusa members. It hadn’t been pure coincidence. The Amakusas had detected the giant explosion Second Princess Carissa had created and were covertly searching through the area so she wouldn’t notice.
Their temporary base was the large rescue plane that could take off and land on water. With Kamijou and Index onboard, the plane raced along a narrow river at a speed that would cause even an expert pilot to pale in order to take off into the night sky.
The plane had looked big on the outside, but it felt cramped with over 50 people onboard. As it flew, Tatemiya Saiji spoke to Kamijou.
“It seems Second Princess Carissa used an Air Force helicopter to head for Buckingham Palace.”
Kamijou felt like he could hear voices from farther back in the plane yelling “Itsuwa, go! This is your chance!!”, “I-I can’t. I still reek of alcohol!!”, and “You’re just imagining it! That was hours and hours ago!!”, but Tatemiya pleasantly stood in the way.
“To quell the coup d’etat, we have to do something about the second princess. Fortunately, the physical body Carissa was born with is not special like that of a Saint as with the Priestess. The core of the coup d’etat is Curtana Original. If we can just destroy that, Carissa will lose all of her power.”
Upon hearing the word “Priestess”, Kamijou looked over at Kanzaki Kaori.
She was sitting with her back resting on the wall of the airplane. She had bandages wrapped around her in places and her exposed skin was covered in bruises. When Kanzaki noticed Kamijou’s gaze, her ponytailed head apologetically lowered slightly.
“…I am sorry. The former Agnese Force and Sherry Cromwell are currently battling the knights and normally I would be doing so too, but…as you can see, I have been defeated. My strength is being restored, but it may take some time before I can move again.”
“No, that’s fine… But are you okay?”
“I wish I could tell you that this wasn’t a problem.”
Kanzaki’s slightly torn up lips loosened up a bit and seemed to form a smile. She gave a look in Tatemiya’s direction and he gave a small nod and began speaking again.
He spoke about what Kamijou had told them Acqua had said.
“If it’s true that Acqua defeated Knight Leader who was such a major obstacle for us, this may have actually turned in our favor.”
“…Yeah, but Acqua is a member of God’s Right Seat. Also, that’s just what he told me. I didn’t actually see him defeat Knight Leader. Shouldn’t we keep in mind that he could have told us that as part of some plan?”
“One of our scouts has confirmed that those two really seemed to be fighting at Folkestone. Since Acqua is freely moving around, it’s only natural to assume for now that the head of the knights was defeated.”
They of course could not abandon the possibility that even that was part of some trap, but that was why Tatemiya had said “for now”.
Kamijou thought for a bit.
“If what Acqua is saying is true….”
“Then all that’s left is Second Princess Carissa and Curtana Original. …She is the most troublesome enemy, though.”
However, the problem would not be resolved if they did not do something about her.
Kanzaki then cut into the conversation.
“What happened to Queen Elizard and the head of the church, Laura Stuart?”
“We haven’t received any report regarding that. According to the knights’ communications network, they at least attempted to escape while being transported from Windsor Castle to London, but we don’t know what happened to them after that,” Tatemiya replied to Kanzaki with a bitter expression.
Kamijou looked at their faces.
“That queen seemed like she really knew what she was doing. Do you think she has some secret plan to turn this all around in one shot?”
“With her ability, we can hope for that kind of direct battle ability, but even if she does not have such a plan, her mere existence is very valuable both in domestic affairs and in diplomatic affairs. …The real way to defeat Carissa’s new order may actually lie there.”
As Kamijou looked on in puzzlement, Tatemiya spoke as if to bring that aspect of the discussion to a close.
“Anyway, we need to defeat Second Princess Carissa in order to bring this coup d’etat to an end as quickly as possible. To do that, we need to prevent her from using Curtana Original.”
They might be able to pull off destroying the spiritual item known as Curtana Original since they had Kamijou’s right hand.
“But she’s inside Buckingham Palace, right? With London, as well as the rest of the country, under the knights’ control, can we really break into a tightly guarded palace?”
“Trying to break into the front door of Buckingham Palace right now would be like directly taking on a country’s entire army. However, we may be able to sneak into London.”
“Quite a few subway lines run underneath London, but one of them is the Victoria line. That line runs almost directly beneath Buckingham Palace. Using that, we can still make some trouble just by getting to a nearby subway station and not actually entering the grounds of Buckingham Palace.”
Tatemiya stopped speaking for a bit and then started again on a slightly different topic.
“Why do you think Second Princess Carissa returned to Buckingham Palace?”
“Huh? She doesn’t want the coup d’etat to be defeated easily, right? So she’s probably just returning to the fortress with the strongest security.”
“Curtana Original has tremendous power and Buckingham Palace does not currently have any defensive magical spells cast on it. She isn’t someone who would be easily defeated if she was on her own, and if she were holing up for safety, she would have chosen a place with more magical security like Windsor Castle.”
“Then why? I doubt she would go there for no reason. Is there governmental value behind orders that come from London or something?”
“Well, I suppose there could be some kind of message like that, but there is a more direct reason. That reason is Curtana Original.”
“What does that sword have to do with it?”
“Curtana Original is too strong. It may be limited to within this country, but it uses power that rivals that of the leader of the angels. But that creates a certain concern. Curtana Original possesses the power to utterly destroy an external enemy, but if a mistake is made in controlling the power and the user loses control, the first one it will annihilate is the user herself.”
“I see,” Kamijou muttered.
Tatemiya looked at his expression and nodded once.
“Of course, whether it’s the Original or the Second, only a British queen or princess can wield Curtana. Those aren’t people who can be allowed to die, so a large facility is needed to suppress its power if its power is headed out of control. The facility for preventing Curtana’s power from getting out of hand and creating an explosion was built into Buckingham Palace because that is where they stay for the majority of the year.”
“Curtana Original was once lost to history and Curtana Second was used instead. The cause of its disappearance is said to be the Puritan Revolution, but if Curtana’s power truly was perfect, that revolution would not have succeeded because Curtana would have slaughtered all resistance. Since that didn’t happen…”
“Curtana Original’s power went out of control once in the past…?”
They were merely building suppositions upon suppositions, but according to Tatemiya, Third Princess Villian had given affirmation to some of their suppositions.
“As such, it sounds pretty likely that they would have planned a way to prevent that from happening again. After all, having no means of prevention led to an opening that allowed a revolution to form.”
Kanzaki continued where Tatemiya left off.
“If there is a large facility that gives and receives energy with Curtana Original, it may interfere with Curtana Original by reversing the flow of the magic power. That is our theory at any rate. Now that Carissa has entered Buckingham Palace in order to stabilize Curtana Original, we have a real chance to send it out of control making it unusable.”
As long as she couldn’t use Curtana Original, the second princess’s power would fall to the level of a normal human.
The knights would also lose the tremendous power they had within the country.
“The union between Carissa and the knights is not all that strong. After all, the knights are led by someone other than her, Knight Leader.”
“? But he started this coup d’etat with her, right?”
“That was because the knights had determined that Carissa’s new order was the most beneficial path for England. It also means that the knights will mercilessly turn their backs on the second princess if they determine that continuing to follow her would be disadvantageous for England. In other words…”
“Whether she can use Curtana Original or not is directly linked to the success or failure of this massive coup d’etat…?”
That vision caused Kamijou’s face to brighten, but the brightness suddenly left.
“Wait. But I thought Buckingham Palace didn’t have any magical devices in it? You all said something about causing diplomatic problems when guests sensed something magical and mistook it for being invited into a trap.”
“That is what the subway is for,” replied Kanzaki immediately. “It is true that there are no magical devices in Buckingham Palace during times of peace, but a subway line runs beneath the palace. A special railroad car with a magic circle on it is kept in an area branching off from the normal track. The special car is set up so it can be promptly taken to the area directly below Buckingham Palace when Curtana Original is headed out of control.”
It was true that, using this method, one could say that there were no magical devices within the grounds of Buckingham Palace and still be technically telling the truth. The Amakusas guessed that it may have originally been installed on a large carriage that would be left on the palace grounds, but had been moved over to the subway system at some point.
Curtana Original had been missing for a few hundred years, so the safety device that used the subway system must have been created for Curtana Second. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if Second Princess Carissa was planning to use that safety device since it was for another Curtana-type spiritual item.
“Currently, the Anglican Church is communicating with the air fortress Coven Compass. They are taking preparations to use Coven Compass’s large scale flash spell to use a large amount of magic power to forcibly interfere with Curtana Original via the subway in an attempt to send it out of control.” Kanzaki seemed to be carefully choosing her words as she continued. “There is a distance greater than 500 kilometres between Coven Compass and Buckingham Palace, but hidden members of the Anglican Church are setting up spiritual items to act as ‘relay points’ in 10 places along the way. They will be arranged to guide the massive amount of magical power. If it succeeds, it is possible that that dangerous sword will be made unusable or at least severely weakened.”
“So we’re headed to London so we can attack Buckingham Palace once usage of Curtana Original has been sealed?”
“There is that, but…” Kanzaki seemed oddly hesitant.
Tatemiya felt like he had no choice but to break in and continue for her.
“If you remember, she said that the special railroad car used to bring Curtana back under control is kept in an area branching off from the normal track.”
“Apparently, the point where it branches off is protected by a magical barrier, so it normally looks just like a normal wall. That means we need to destroy that barrier and secure the route.”
“I see,” said Kamijou looking down at his right hand.
He knew what he had to do more or less.
“Basically, we have to get to a subway station near Buckingham Palace on our own and then I destroy that barrier in the tunnel with my right hand?”
“There is still one problem with that.”
“Some new security measures have been put up within London. And they are especially sensitive to magic. To put it simply, it will immediately detect anyone wandering around if they have magic power. Their location will be displayed on a map and fully armed knights will be on them almost instantly. Basically, this means that magicians who can refine their own magic power cannot take part in this plan.”
Kamijou stared back at Tatemiya and Kanzaki’s faces as if he thought he had misheard, but Tatemiya and even Kanzaki averted their gaze.
“…U-um. People who cannot refine their own magic power at all are weak civilian-level people. In other words, you and Index are the only people who can fight here.”
Even if she averted her gaze, Kanzaki still said what had to be said.
Ahead of her averted gaze was Third Princess Villian.
“Without a member of the royal family like Lady Villian you cannot interfere with the magical barrier within the subway tunnel or the special railway car with the magic circle. Consequently, we have no choice but to rely on the three of you for this.”
And so they ended up breaking into the center of enemy territory.
Kamijou, Index, and Villian were in a high class residential area in western London called Kensington and moving east.
However, they were not on foot.
London was a few dozen kilometers across, so they couldn’t exactly walk to their destination. They were moving along a vacant street in a small car being driven by Third Princess Villian. Kamijou found it incredibly odd to see the kind of princess one saw in picture books holding the steering wheel.
“…Even if I am a princess, I’m not that sheltered,” was the 24 year old princess’s explanation.
Kamijou also felt really bad about having an actual princess drive him around, but neither he nor Index knew how to drive.
They were headed for a subway station at the center of London near Buckingham Palace. Even if they didn’t have to get on the palace grounds, they still had to get very, very close, so they were in a dangerous situation.
Apparently, there were hundreds of thousands of security cameras set up throughout London, but according to Tatemiya and the others waiting in the rescue plane that had landed on a street, those cameras were not functioning.
“Anyone who can use magic would move through the blind spots of the cameras or use spells to prevent themselves from being recorded by the cameras, so it seems Second Princess Carissa decided they were too much trouble since she already had almost complete control of the country. She most likely ordered the three major security companies in the city to stop the cameras.”
“If you know the cameras have stopped functioning, have you stolen the footage from the security companies? Are you that good with science-side security?”
“No, we just observed them from a long distance with binoculars. The security cameras have auto-focus, but there was no sign of it moving. That means they aren’t functioning. It’s similar to a human sitting there with his pupils completely dilated.”
They had analyzed the situation in an extremely analog way, but Tatemiya and the rest of the Amakusas had probably been right. The magic cabal known as New Light had snuck through the blind spots of the cameras and into London, but an amateur like Kamijou couldn’t do something like that and Index knew almost nothing of science. They had been travelling through side streets and back alleys, but if the security network made up by the cameras had been functioning, they would have been caught in no time.
Sitting in the passenger seat, Kamijou spoke while staring at the unmoving cameras placed along the street.
“But won’t the knights notice us if we move along these empty streets with an engine making all this noise?”
“We’ll be fine,” responded Index from the backseat. “Currently, the knights are staying on their guard by using magic. Instead of relying on their own senses, they have created a defense network that uses senses augmented by spells. Even if there are a lot of them, they still have to cover dozens of kilometers worth of ground covering all of London. …But if we magically use what they’re doing against them, we can make it so they won’t notice us even if we’re right in front of them.”
Kamijou was glad to have the knowledge of the 103,000 book grimoire library, but then he realized something.
“Wait a second, Index. How do you know what kind of magic the knights are currently using?”
“Eh? Because they’re on top of that building over there.”
Kamijou hurriedly looked over in the direction Index was pointing and saw some dark figures on top of the building. However, the silver armor-wearing silhouettes didn’t notice them and jumped over to a different building.
(With so few people around, I can’t believe they don’t hear the sound of the engine…)
Apparently, relying too much on magic had its drawbacks.
Nevertheless, if Index weren’t occasionally giving Villian (seemingly) arbitrary instructions such as “turn there and move slowly”, they probably would have been caught in an instant.
“So are the royal family and the knights not using the military or the police?”
“I would guess they’re being used to deal with the civilians. According to the Amakusas, the normal people have been gathered up in large facilities like hotels and theaters. And if you’re going to get people to listen to what some unknown person is telling them, they probably wanted to avoid using difficult to understand magic.”
When Kamijou thought about it, he decided that pointing a gun at someone would indeed be much more effective than pointing some type of unknown staff or crystal ball at them. Of course, firing off a warning shot with the magic would change that, but they probably wanted to avoid having to fire that much if they didn’t have to.
As Kamijou stared at the empty London scenery from the passenger seat, his eyes suddenly moved in Villian’s direction as she operated the steering wheel.
She was a blonde woman with white skin dressed in a green dress that looked straight out of a picture book. She was no more other-worldly than Index, but the two clearly had a very different feel to them. Index would go running headlong into even a foreign culture like science while Villian gave the impression that she would simply disappear were her delicate surroundings not maintained like an alpine plant quietly producing flowers. Villian noticed Kamijou’s gaze.
“Do you need something?”
“N-no…” Kamijou shook his head.
Before they had left, Kanzaki and Tatemiya had told him that inadvertently flipping up her skirt would be lèse majesté because she had the blood of the British Royal Family flowing in her veins, but Kamijou hadn’t understood what they were talking about.
“Come to think of it, they said that anyone who could refine their own magic power would be detected by Carissa and the knights, right?”
“Y-yes.” Villian awkwardly twisted up her body within the green dress as if she were attempting to escape Kamijou’s gaze. “I am very sorry. I know I should have learned that kind of thing as a member of the royal family, but I refused to be taught any knowledge or skills that could be used as a weapon. All I can do is operate already activated spiritual items by touching them. My sister Carissa is attempting to eliminate me because of the possibility that I could use Curtana Original, but I would not be able to use it even if it was handed to me.”
“Huh? Don’t we need a member of the royal family to get through the barrier in the subway?”
“Yes… If only my mother or my sister Rimea were here… With someone as inexperienced as me, I might not be able to do it right even with the help of Index Librorum Prohibitorum…”
“I-I don’t think you need to get so down! In fact, I don’t get why it would be necessary for a queen to know how to use magic!!”
“…Really? It seems the normal servants, maids, cooks, and gardeners in Buckingham Palace have headed down into the subway tunnel for this plan. If only I had a better way of protecting everyone without violence, I wouldn’t have had to head to such a dangerous place with you two.”
Villian looked quite discouraged. It seemed not being able to directly help fight the coup d’etat had taken its toll on her.
Kamijou forced his gaze back to London in an attempt to somehow change the subject.
“Y’know…the back alleys here sure are different from the ones in Academy City.”
“Touma. Being a connoisseur of back alleys isn’t something to be proud of.”
“I never said anything about being proud of it,” replied Touma. “Anyway, I know we have to do something about Carissa and keep her from using Curtana Original, but will taking out the top boss really put an end to such a large scale coup d’etat? I’m a bit worried this will just end up turning into a long and drawn out fight.”
London was not the only place that had changed. Almost all of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland were under the control of the knights led by Second Princess Carissa. Kamijou wasn’t confident that taking out a single pillar of a problem that had spread so far would really bring everything back to normal.
“I think that the coup d’etat will come to an end if we stop Carissa,” replied Third Princess Villian timidly.
Villian frowned at Kamijou’s puzzled expression.
“There are actually many different types of coups d’etat, but I think the odds of this one turning into a long drawn out war because its leader is lost are quite low.”
Index nodded and added to what Villian had been hesitatingly saying.
“The Amakusas had been intercepting the knights’ transmissions. Apparently, a disturbance has been spreading throughout the knights due to Knight Leader’s defeat. To the participants in the coup d’etat, Knight Leader and the second princess are like mental pillars of support. Now, one of those has been completely broken down. So if the remaining pillar is destroyed, the knights’ determination will simply collapse.”
“…Don’t you think that most of them will be unsure of what to do once the very people urging them to take part in the plan have been defeated?” asked Villian.
(She may be right.)
“Also, the roles of the United Kingdom are divided up between the three factions of the royal family, the knights, and the church. That can also be used to put a stop to the coup d’etat,” continued Index.
“Because the diplomatic relations with other countries is single-handedly done by the royal family. In other words, the knights excel at directly fighting, but they have no way of negotiating with other countries. Most likely, the only ones in the coup d’etat that can deal equally on a national level are Second Princess Carissa and Knight Leader because he acts as an advisor in those matters.”
“But will they really lay down their arms because of that? Once they realize they don’t know what to do, isn’t it possible the knights will just go on a rampage or something?”
“I have no way of being sure, but I highly doubt that would happen. The knights’ goal is to protect England. They joined the second princess’s coup d’etat because they deemed it to be the most effective method of doing that. …But once they lose Carissa, they should realize that continuing with the coup d’etat would catastrophically damage the country, so they should sheathe their swords at that point. They should determine that sheathing their swords would be the path that would damage England the least.”
Kamijou remained silent for a second and then looked over at Index.
“Hearing this kind of thing from Kanzaki or Itsuwa or someone is one thing, but hearing it from you, it just doesn’t seem to have much credibility,” he said slowly.
“…Touma. By any chance, do you think I’m completely hopeless at anything other than magic?”
Kamijou was about to point out that all she ever did was eat, sleep, and watch TV, but he realized that would only lead to a chomp to the back of the head, so he opted to remain silent.
During their discussion, they had gotten close to their destination the subway station.
“Stop. A car engine is probably too much now that we’re this close to Buckingham Palace.”
At Index’s insistence, Villian stopped the small car in the alley. The three got out of the vehicle and looked around the area.
Despite being almost 2 in the morning, the complete lack of people was unusual for a capital city like London. There was no one on the walkways and no cars driving down the road. Before Kamijou had headed to Folkestone, there had been residents looking on being pushed back by the police, but those disturbances had completely disappeared. The battles on the streets between the knights and the church had been at least temporarily brought to an end and the residents had been suppressed, so the knights were probably stationed throughout London so they could respond quickly to any complications.
Kamijou looked around, but he didn’t see any knights.
In fact, he didn’t even sense any human presences in the direction of Buckingham Palace beyond the subway station.
Suddenly, something soft wrapped around Kamijou’s right hand.
Looking back that way, he saw Villian’s small glove-covered hands covering up his own hand. Her gloves were not unfashionable ones to help with the cold. They were the elegant decorative gloves that royalty and nobles wore.
“…Please do not enter the palace grounds,” she said softly looking up at his face. “I don’t know much about magic, so I don’t know if it’s true, but I have heard my sister Carissa boasting about being able to accurately detect the number of bugs on a group of trees with her search.”
“U-umm…sure,” Kamijou said as he nodded repeatedly.
Even through the thin silk gloves, Kamijou could feel a soft marshmallow-like sensation that was clearly different to a rough male hand. It seemed Villian did not notice his odd reaction at all.
Glaring at him coldly, Index added to Villian’s words.
“Most likely, the knights are using sniping spells to continually scan the area from the windows and the roof. It’s probably a wide area version of a spell used to assist with Robin Hood.”
Kamijou was about to head for the subway station, but he stopped moving immediately after hearing that.
“Then will it be dangerous to just head to the station from here?”
“We can slip through the gaps in the search. Follow me,” said Index as she moved inconspicuously out from behind the cover. There wasn’t really anything there, but she took unnatural detours around areas of empty space on her way to the station as if she were avoiding invisible searchlights. Following her, Kamijou and Villian had no idea what they were avoiding, so they were about as uneasy as they could be.
Finally, the three of them reached the subway station.
Heading down the stairs, Index finally let out a sigh of relief.
“We should be fine here.”
“…I have no idea what just happened, but should I be thanking you?”
“That would be nice, but what do we do about this?”
Kamijou looked up in puzzlement and Index politely pointed in front of her.
“There’s some kind of wall with clicky things on it in the way.”
Okay, everyone. Let’s translate that from Index language☆
There’s a shutter with an electronic lock blocking the way. What do we do?
That day was only a half day of school!!
As such, Misaka Mikoto, ace of Tokiwadai Middle School, a prestigious esper development school, was in a family restaurant. The time was just before 11 AM. It wasn’t quite time for lunch yet, so there weren’t many customers. Mikoto was eating an early lunch before she planned to head back to Tokiwadai.
She was going to head back because they were preparing for Academy City’s largest cultural festival, the Ichihanaransai. The event was going to have an open campus, so it was going to be open to those from outside like the large-scale sports festival, the Daihaseisai. On the other hand, the more prestigious the school the more visitors hoping to someday get into the school would come, so the schools get rather fired up preparing for it.
Of course, Tokiwadai Middle School would be partially open to the public during the Ichihanaransai, so Mikoto couldn’t slack off.
Mikoto cut the large Salisbury steak on the iron plate in front of her into small bite size pieces.
(What’s with this restaurant? This is the first time I’ve been here, but is this the land of large breasts or something…?)
As she looked around, she went straight past frustration and into shock.
It seemed the restaurant was geographically located in an area where more high school students came than middle school students. She saw a girl in a sailor uniform with long black hair, a large forehead, and large breasts (next to her was a girl whose breasts weren’t particularly big who would have looked good dressed like a shrine maiden) and there was a woman who appeared to be a PE teacher who was wearing a green track suit and had ridiculously large breasts. And to top it all off, there was a girl with glasses and huge breasts sitting in a seat by the window who seemed to actually be a hologram. She may have been some new kind of fake customer to draw in real customers that was created with a type of psychic power, but Mikoto didn’t see why they had to make the breasts so big.
(Hm? Wait. If almost everyone here has such a clear bodily characteristic, maybe something in the food here makes your breasts grow!! I-if that’s true, this is a Nobel Prize level discovery!!)
Having gotten back to a positive mindset, Mikoto started putting the Salisbury steak into her mouth at a faster rate than before.
Suddenly, her cell phone that she had left on the edge of the table started to vibrate.
Right before the vibrations sent it off the edge of the table, Mikoto grabbed the phone.
(Kuroko wouldn’t be calling at this time…)
Mikoto opened the phone and almost fell out of her seat upon seeing the number displayed on the small screen.
It was that idiot with the spiky hair.
“Mgh!? Cough cough cough!!”
Mikoto started choking from the shock.
(Wh-why!? What for!? That idiot pretty much never calls me…Dah! If he had just emailed me beforehand with what he wanted, I wouldn’t be this frantic…No, that wouldn’t work. Then I’d just be too nervous to open the email!!)
As she thought through all that, Mikoto was trembling uncontrollably, but she couldn’t bring herself to just hang up either. Using the call history to call him back would be too high a hurdle for her. Mikoto used her trembling thumb to hit the connect button.
(Th-that’s right. Today is a half day all across Academy City, so he must have a lot of free time! I can’t skip out on the Ichihanaransai preparations, but if I manage my time well, I have a bit of free time…)
For some reason, she held the cell phone in both hands and brought it up to her ear in a refined manner that she normally did not use. With her mind in complete chaos, the first words that reached her ear were…
“Sorry, Misaka! I’m trying to sneak into a subway station. Do you know how to open a shutter’s electronic lock!?”
Misaka Mikoto removed the cell phone from her ear, sighed loudly, and calmly hung up.
She put the phone back on the table and started back on the giant Salisbury steak, but then the small vibrations of the phone started again.
She took a sip of her non-sugar latte and elegantly wiped her lips with a napkin before finally reaching over for the cell phone again.
“Sorry, Misaka! I’m trying to sneak into a subway station. Do you-…!?”
“I heard you the first time and decided to ignore you, you idiot!! Are you really that clueless!?” she yelled as loudly as she could before returning to a normal puzzled expression. “And why do you have to sneak into a subway station? Do you need to get in somewhere that only station personnel are allowed?”
“No, no. There’s a shutter lowered over the entrance and I need to get in. Well, the shutter isn’t too surprising. This is an emergency situation and the last train would have already run by this point normally.”
“Hah? The last train?”
Mikoto’s expression passed puzzled and reached suspicious.
The time was only 11 AM. She had never heard of a line that had its last train before noon.
Then he seemed to realize what had her so puzzled.
“Oh, I see, I see. So there’s a time difference. Sorry, Misaka, were you in class?”
“No, that was fine, but…no, wait just a second. Where the hell are you that there’s a time difference?”
Mikoto almost hung up again at that answer.
That clearly couldn’t be true. She looked over at the giant flat-panel screen on the wall of the family restaurant. The screen showed foreign news crews reporting the same things over and over again while standing in complete darkness. The people of central London had been moved to large facilities like hotels, theaters, movie theaters, and churches. They weren’t even allowed to stay in their own homes. It almost sounded like a joke, but it had been reported that civilians would be fired upon if they left the specified buildings and facilities. England itself had not made an official announcement regarding the situation, but the theory that a coup d’etat had occurred seemed the most likely.
(But didn’t he go to France before…?)
For an instant, Mikoto was seized with an ominous feeling, but she shook her head to clear it.
That kind of thing couldn’t just keep happening.
“Do you even know how much trouble the formalities for leaving Academy City are? Even the procedure for Academy City authorized events like wide area public visits is a pain to go through.”
“Yeah, well, I really am in London.”
He must have been having problems of his own, because she could hear the sound of him lightly scratching at his head over the phone.
“And I’m serious about having to do something about this shutter…”
“I don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself wrapped up in, but that isn’t something you should ask a girl.”
In response to her exasperated response, she just heard him groan over the phone for a bit.
Then Kamijou Touma spoke a single short sentence in a careless way.
“…You can’t do it?”
“I didn’t say that,” Mikoto replied without thinking.
“Hmm, that would be a Marvelous Lock 225 Passive. Remove two of the clasps below the panel and the maintenance jack should come out.”
Five seconds after sending a cell phone picture of the electronic lock’s panel to Mikoto, she had given that response.
“Uuh…” Kamijou responded in shock at her immediate comment. “Hey, isn’t technology outside Academy City 20 or 30 years off from the technology inside? Do you really know about the stuff from outside, too?”
“Marvelous Lock is a company that cooperates with Academy City, so the technology used is the same just with lowered specs,” Mikoto said lightly. “I wouldn’t know exactly what to do with a lock that was solely developed outside, but I’m not saying I wouldn’t be able to open it either. After all, the technology would be at a level of 20 to 30 years ago. Even the security in a military research facility outside of Academy City would be lower than the login management on a completely outdated computer in Academy City.”
“…And I can’t even open a padlock.”
“Well, you’re at the technological level of the Edo period.”
As they spoke back and forth, Kamijou operated the electronic lock’s panel as instructed.
“I know I’m the one that asked you…but you really do know what you’re doing with this kind of thing, don’t you?”
“D-don’t misunderstand. I only taught myself all this to make sure I didn’t interfere with the functioning of an electronic lock if my power were to malfunction. It isn’t like I want to be a sneak thief or a cracker or something.”
“Hey, do you think you could tell me what to do a little more slowly?”
His fingertips were moving all over the place while he also used a handkerchief to make sure he didn’t get any fingerprints on it, but he just couldn’t keep up with what she was telling him.
Then he heard a noise from within the lock followed by the shutter clattering as it rose. It may have been because there was no one on the street outside, but the noise seemed especially loud. This brought a bad feeling to Kamijou and Index’s hearts, but it seemed the knights didn’t hear it.
“It opened! Thanks, Misaka!”
“Okay, but you owe me one now.”
“Sure thing. Anyway, I’m in a hurry!”
“Eh? Wait! With the Ichihanaransai preparations, we’re going to be having more half days, right? So, um, if I manage my time, I’ll have a lot of time to kill and-…!”
She had started to say something quickly, but the connection had suddenly died. Kamijou looked down at the screen questioningly and saw that the antenna had zero signal.
(…Well, if it was something important, she can just call me back later.)
Kamijou put the phone back in his pocket. They had to enter the subway tunnel through the station and destroy the magical barrier with Villian’s help.
Villian herself was staring at the opened shutter with one hand on her cheek and a look of pure admiration in her eyes.
“That’s the city on the forefront of technology for you… You can even do that with just some help from a friend.”
“Y-yes, well, she is the #3 Biri Biri, so she’s pretty reliable with this kind of thing. …Hey, Index, why do you look so upset?”
“…No reason,” responded Index before she finally started moving and walked up next to Kamijou.
However, she decided to add in a light kick to Kamijou’s shin as a bonus.
(??? What’s with that pissed off aura?)
Kamijou was full of questions, but Index’s aura told him that a careless response could send her into an explosion of biting, so he didn’t say anything more.
Kamijou turned his gaze forward.
The shutter was supposed to be lowered, so there were no lights on within the station. However, the occasional light to an emergency exit or evacuation route kept the area from being completely dark. Those lights were installed directly on the floor, so it felt like they could walk through the passageway without a flashlight.
After heading forward a bit, Kamijou turned back around.
(…Come to think of it, maybe we should close the shutter again.)
He then remembered that he didn’t know how to open or close it. He would have to call Mikoto to close it and then call her again when they were escaping.
“What is it?”
“Nothing. …Yeah, if we run into trouble in the tunnel and have to flee, we won’t have time to ask Misaka for help.”
Villian tilted her head in puzzlement, but Kamijou didn’t say anything more on the matter.
As they headed down the stairs to the subway platform, there was still no sign of anyone else there. Kamijou wasn’t really an expert at detecting hidden enemies, but the area was wrapped in such silence, that it felt like he would hear even the breathing of an enemy if one was hidden there.
Kamijou, Index, and Villian continued in the opposite direction than the one indicated by the lights for the emergency exits and evacuation routes.
After making it down to the platform, they finally saw the glow of fluorescent lights.
However, these were not the lights on the ceiling. The tunnel and the station must have been on different electrical systems because only the fluorescent lights on the tunnel wall past the platform were lit.
Of course, that wasn’t enough light to illuminate the entire platform.
It was like a hospital after lights out.
Kamijou leaned forward from the edge of the platform and looked into the tunnel with fluorescent lights installed at set intervals.
“I know its past time for the last train, but I still don’t like jumping down there…”
However, they couldn’t just stop there.
Kamijou and Index climbed down onto the track, but Villian didn’t seem able to get down easily due to her long princess’s skirt getting in the way. To help support her, Kamijou held out his hands, but she unexpectedly put her entire weight on them causing him to topple over onto the track.
“S-sorry. I don’t know the proper etiquette for situations like this…”
“D-d-d-d-don’t worry!! And I doubt there’s a Q&A or a lesson in manners school to teach you how to climb down from a subway platform!! But it would probably be best if you got away from me a bit, Lady Villian!!”
“Touma, that’s lèse majesté.”
Index’s cold words pierced Kamijou’s heart and Villian apologized profusely as she hurriedly moved off of him.
Kamijou stood back up and looked deep into the tunnel.
It seemed the point the Amakusas had designated was only a few dozen meters down. However, it was in the opposite direction of Buckingham Palace.
“Yes. I have heard of it, but I have never actually seen it,” Villian said with a slightly tense expression on her face.
That was when Kamijou and the others heard footsteps from behind.
The three of them hurriedly turned around.
For an instant, he was reminded of the New Light magician Lessar whose shoulder had been split from a long distance attack. He wasn’t sure if he could defend against that type of spiritual item with just his right hand.
However, his guess had been wrong. Kamijou had taken up a position to protect both Index and Villian, but the princess spoke from behind him.
“P-please wait! They are not our enemy. Those are the servants from Buckingham Palace who had planned to meet up with us.”
“…That voice. Lady Villian…?” asked a questioning voice.
Perhaps because Villian had just spoken to Kamijou in Japanese, the voice coming from the darkness was also speaking Japanese.
A number of other figures started to appear. Almost 20 men and women had come to the station via the tunnel. From an old man in faded work clothes to a girl wearing a maid uniform, it was a varied group.
Villian moved past Kamijou and looked at each of their faces.
“Is this everyone?”
A maid of about 20 nodded.
“The numbers of the night shift are kept low and some of those, well…accompanied you to Folkestone. This is everyone who was in Buckingham Palace of a civilian background.”
Villian’s expression grew cloudy at the mention of Folkestone.
As she did not open her mouth to speak, Kamijou did instead.
“You all are going to escape to London with us after this, right?”
“Yes. We wish we could deal with the device within the tunnel so Lady Villian did not have to worry about it, but we don’t understand how the mysterious things known as magic work and we aren’t told any of the royal family’s secrets. We asked to help knowing full well how dangerous it is.”
“I see,” Kamijou said and nodded.
(In that case, we need to hurry up and get this job over with and get them somewhere safe.)
Kamijou then headed into the tunnel in the opposite direction from Buckingham Palace where their target lay a few dozen meters in.
The group of over 20 people walked through the tunnel half holding their breath.
As usual, both walls were made of concrete with fluorescent lights installed at set intervals. There were 2 tracks on both sides and the pillars supporting the tunnel were lined up at set intervals in the center.
“According to Tatemiya and Kanzaki, there’s a track that branches off from the main track for the special railway car, but…”
Kamijou looked around.
As far as he could tell, no such entrance existed.
With an unsure expression on her face, Villian looked around, too.
“This is definitely the area.”
“You can tell?”
“No, um…This is at least where it should be.”
Villian’s tone grew weaker and weaker, but then Index cut in.
“There is a mark here made with magic power. It’s most likely here so the magicians who have to maintain it won’t forget where it is.”
“Th-that’s right. Now that you mention it, there is supposed to be a mark showing where it is. Umm…I need something to write with…”
A maid pulled out and handed her some annoying-to-use stationary made up of a high quality letter set and a quill. The maid continued to hold the ink bottle.
The third princess frowned and hesitatingly moved the quill.
“Yes, I think it was…like this. A mark like this shows where it is. My knowledge of magic is not the best, so I don’t actually know what it means.”
The stationary she held out held what looked like some kind of symbol and Kamijou had no idea what it meant. It didn’t even have the extremely foreign feeling that a magic circle had. It was at the level where he would have believed someone if they had told him it was a rare mark used on maps.
However, one person frowned upon seeing the stationary Villian was holding out. That person was the mass of magical knowledge that was Index.
“What is it, Index?”
“Nothing. It’s just odd. Why would they use the ‘heart’ as a symbol of warning?” she muttered, but Kamijou couldn’t quite pick up what she was saying.
At any rate, they had to look around to see if they could find the mark Villian had drawn. Having come to that conclusion, the group split up and started checking the walls and floor of the tunnel. The servants helped too because all they had to do was find the mark.
(The fluorescent lights are enough to walk around, but they really aren’t bright enough to search for a small mark. We knew we had to enter a tunnel, so we really should have prepared a light.)
Staring intently in the dim lighting, Kamijou walked slowly along the wall.
Once they found the mark, it would be Kamijou’s turn. No matter how strong a spell it was protected by, he should be able to easily destroy it with Imagine Breaker.
Then, the fingers of Kamijou’s right hand touched something that felt different.
Removing his hand from the wall, he stared into the darkness again to find what looked like a poster. It was about two meters tall and one meter across. In the dim light, he couldn’t tell what was written on it, but the tape on the upper right corner must have come off because it was flipped up. Kamijou stared at that portion.
He leaned in closer to the poster to see what it said.
(Was this here before?)
And then he saw it.
It was not a poster.
It was a wall.
Something thin the exact same color and texture of the tunnel wall had been stuck there. It was like the large pieces of wallpaper ninja often used to hide themselves with in cheap historical dramas.
As soon as Kamijou muttered that, something moved.
He heard a whooshing noise.
Pale beams of light shot from the center of the wallpaper across the height and width of the tunnel wall. A grid of rectangles the exact same size as the “poster” spread out instantly.
“Touma!!” Index yelled having noticed what happened, but something interrupted her.
It was the sound of paper rubbing against paper.
One wall of the tunnel seemed to undulate. Just when Kamijou put himself on guard, each of the square portions of the grid flipped up like posters, tore off, and formed a giant aggregation of paper.
A few of those pieces of paper fell to the ground like dead leaves.
They were most likely the pieces he had touched with his right hand or that had been destroyed in a sort of chain reaction from that.
However, the others powerfully floated through the air.
Kamijou almost burst out laughing.
The sound of paper being crumpled in the hand of a giant reverberated throughout the tunnel.
“I knew magic went beyond any kind of common sense I would have.”
The enormous amount of paper that was spiraling around like a storm in an office finally concentrated on one spot. On top of that, they were all acting in concert.
“But I never imagined a wall would take on the form of a human and attack me!!”
When the pieces of paper covering one wall of the tunnel moved away, the entrance to a new half-circle shaped tunnel appeared. To forcibly connect it to the main track, the new tunnel even had a special rail that extended like a fire engine’s ladder.
However, a giant made of paper blocked the way.
It was around 3 meters tall.
Paper normally gave an impression of being light, but…
The giant swung its fist horizontally crashing straight through one of the tunnel’s pillars without losing its momentum and continued on heading straight towards Kamijou’s cheek. The fist was covered in masses of concrete each one larger than a school bag, so Kamijou abandoned the idea of intercepting it with his right hand. Practically falling backwards, he managed to avoid the first strike.
He then heard a short, high-pitched scream. He guessed it had either come from one of the maids or from Third Princess Villian. As a giant was currently trying to beat him to death, Kamijou didn’t have the attention to spare.
He looked at the paper giant that had destroyed a pillar of concrete in a single blow.
Bundles of paper must have been moving within its body because what almost looked like hard muscles rose to the surface.
(Dammit! It may just be paper, but it gains some actual weight with that much of it!!)
It was a bit like swinging around a bookshelf packed with thick books. The giant’s arm could literally pulverize a human or two.
“Touma, get away from it! That’s a spiritual item based on the creation of Mökkurkalfe!” Index yelled from a bit away.
Before Kamijou could ask what that was, she explained it.
“Mökkurkalfe is a prefabricated giant from Norse mythology! It was designed to fight against Thor who was known for having top-class strength even among the Norse gods, but the story goes that, at the very, very end, the wrong material was used for the ‘heart’, which led to poor results. This is an optimized custom model made to protect this location by rethinking the materials from the ground up using British theories! I think the symbol Villian wrote before was the symbol that was newly set for the ‘heart’!!”
(Yet another thing with a long history!!)
Kamijou clicked his tongue and the paper giant made its next move.
Kamijou instinctually tried to get some distance between him and the giant, but the giant kicked the ruins of the pillar it had previously destroyed. A soccer ball sized piece struck Kamijou’s jaw from below like an uppercut.
Kamijou bent backwards and he tasted blood spreading through his mouth.
However, the paper giant did not stop there.
Using its huge legs, it closed the distance between them with a single large step. All of Kamijou’s weight was tilted back leaving him defenseless and this time the giant fist made of paper that held more weight than a bookshelf flew up at him.
It seemed like a hopeless situation, but…
(…This is my chance.)
Kamijou immediately poured strength into his right fist.
When the paper giant made actual contact with him was the best chance for Kamijou to attack with Imagine Breaker. If he missed, he’d be turned to mincemeat, but if he managed to hit the attacking paper fist, he could counterattack.
(Don’t chicken out….Go!!)
Two fists roared through the air.
Kamijou’s right fist struck the very center of the huge fist that could easily turn a car to scrap in a single strike. In that instant, the giant fist stopped moving. Whatever was holding the paper together was undone and the giant turned into a flood of paper. Tens and even hundreds of posters flowed down and half buried Kamijou. With an eerie noise, he was swept over to the tunnel wall as if he were caught in a stream of water.
“Gh…!? Fuck, did I do it!?”
Pain ran through his back and head. Kamijou tried to move his limbs, but he felt as restricted as someone wrapped in a futon. At any rate, now that it had turned back into a bunch of paper, the Mökkur-whatever shouldn’t be able to function. He could just wait for Index or someone to help him out of the mountain of paper.
The sound of paper being crumpled up sent a chill down his spine.
“You’re kidding, right…?”
When he looked over, he saw a strange silhouette. A minimum amount of paper had been crumpled up to form strings of paper that created wire-like limbs and a backbone. In contrast to that, its face was just as large as before.
The wrinkles that looked like a human face formed and its right arm moved back like a giant bow about to be fired. It no longer had a powerful fist. However, it now had a sharp stake-like tip.
(Oh, shit. I can’t move! I can’t get away!!)
With his body restrained by the large amount of paper, Kamijou couldn’t even budge.
The paper giant carefully aimed its right stake at the center of Kamijou’s face.
Without hesitation, it shot the stake that could likely break through a wall.
That was when a figure suddenly cut in from the side.
It was one of the servants who had come from Buckingham Palace. A middle-aged gardener wearing faded work clothes attempted to grab the paper giant’s arm somehow managing to throw its aim off a bit.
Thanks to that, Kamijou’s head was not smashed.
The stake arm instead stabbed deep into the concrete wall next to his head.
However, the gardener did not escape unharmed.
He had attempted to restrain the paper giant’s arm, but he had been knocked away by the great force. On top of that, the paper giant’s body was as tough as layers upon layers of hardened paste, so it was as hard as stone. The gardener’s work clothes were torn and he shed a fair amount of blood too.
Kamijou felt more fear for the man’s life than he did gratitude for being saved.
“You idiot!! That was completely reckless…!!” Kamijou yelled as he continued to struggle in an attempt to free himself from the mountain of paper that was as heavy as a collapsed bookshelf.
Hearing that, the collapsed gardener smiled. It was the face of someone glad to see that someone else was worried about them.
“…Sorry. I don’t know anything about magic, but we can oppose this thing with your power, right?”
With a creaking noise, the paper giant attempted to pull the stake from the wall.
Broken shards fell to the ground from the cracked concrete.
“So please. Do something about that thing. Do something before its ridiculous stake is turned on Lady Villian!!”
The servants had protectively stepped forward in front of Villian when the paper giant had appeared. When those servants heard what the gardener said, they seemed to relax a bit.
Villian’s body stiffened with a very terrible feeling about what was to come.
She had felt that terrible feeling many times already that night.
A young female servant turned back towards Villian and spoke as if to prove the third princess’s intuition true.
“Leave this to us, Lady Villian.”
“If we can buy enough time for that boy to recover, we can turn this around. We may not know how to fight, but surely 20 people can keep it from moving by crushing it.”
That was definitely the normal way of thinking.
However, Villian knew something despite not knowing very much about magic: the strange phenomena she had witnessed before her eyes had not followed normal laws. Even if 20 powerless civilians charged in, it would use its normally unthinkable strength to destroy them.
The servants were not idiots.
Even if they couldn’t calculate out the numbers, the things they had experienced since the start of the coup d’etat should have been enough for them to guess at the truth.
However, they did not say anything about that.
It was as if they did not want to worry Villian.
A certain servant took off his coat in a manner that showed he felt he had no choice. A certain cook took off his tie and wrapped it around his fists in order to protect his hands as much as he could. A certain clothes designer glanced over towards the exit, but still managed to draw out enough courage to look back towards the paper giant. All of their faces had paled and their entire bodies were trembling.
They were of course scared, but they were still choosing to head to their likely deaths.
“Why…?” Villian asked them without thinking.
“There is no real reason,” said a young female servant with a bitter smile on her lips. “The reasons people feel the need to take action are not so special. We gathered here because we wanted to fight for you. That’s all there is to it, Lady Villian.”
That was when the paper giant made its next move. It must have decided that pulling out the stake from the wall next to Kamijou Touma’s head was impossible because the paper making up the tip of its arm fell apart on its own. Having regained its freedom by sacrificing part of itself, the paper giant sharpened the tip of its arm again.
It was going to make sure to kill Kamijou Touma this time.
It was going to eliminate the boy who had a method of resisting it.
Seeing that, the servants began to move.
Then Third Princess Villian placed her hand lightly on a young servant’s shoulder.
“I understand how you all feel.”
Due to some strong power, she understood how they felt more than she ever had before.
“But that reason does not make it all right for you to die. If that spiritual item is set to eliminate the threats to the barrier that itself is in order of priority, then I am the best option for a lure.”
As soon as she finished speaking, Villian ran forward.
The princess who had been hiding behind people’s backs the entire time now moved in front of everyone.
The servants behind her yelled out to stop her, but none of them physically tried to hold her back. They likely hadn’t been able to react in time to her sudden action. Also, their fear was probably preventing them from using their legs properly.
Of course they were afraid.
Of course they wanted to flee.
Gritting her teeth, Villian ran through the dark tunnel. A large wrench about the size of a mop was sitting next to the wall. It was likely used to manually switch the rails in emergencies. She grabbed it with both hands and ran further ahead. She ran and ran and ran in a direct line to the giant. As she approached, she poured all of her strength into the heavy wrench.
The servant had said that the reasons people feel the need to take action are not so special. Villian wanted to believe that that was true, so she swung the large wrench horizontally at the paper giant’s head.
As she swung the wrench, Villian let out a yell the likes of which she had never before uttered in public.
In response, the paper giant took action as well.
The spiritual item changed the aim of its arm that was sharpened like a stake and fired the tip at the approaching wrench. With a dull clang, a shock ran through Villian’s head.
The stake had not hit her.
The wrench had broken almost exactly in half and one side had struck her in the face.
(To Carissa, this thing is probably a complete weakling that does not even have the same amount of power as her pinky finger. If she saw us struggling here, she would surely ridicule us for our incompetence.)
Villian was knocked backwards to the ground, but her gaze did not waver.
She threw away the remains of the broken wrench.
The Amakusas had said that someone from the royal family was needed to open the magical barrier and they had lectured her on the spell needed to do that.
(But if even this tiny power is going to injure those who will stand up to support me and if my sister whose overwhelming power makes this fearsome power seem “tiny” is going to make people suffer…)
She just had to activate it.
Villian acted in order to carry out this magic on her own.
The paper giant itself was the barrier protecting the subway tunnel and the special railway car for Curtana. And Villian knew that the barrier could be controlled by the royal family’s magic.
That was why Villian decided to charge forward.
She would show that paper giant that she was a member of the British royal family.
She was doing it to save the servants who had come with her and to send Curtana Original out of control to save the United Kingdom from Carissa!!
Normally, the third princess might have been shaking from fear and might have had tears welling up in her eyes, but she clearly glared at the paper giant.
(I will oppose you!! I will oppose you to the very last instant no matter what!!)
However, the paper giant aimed its stake-like arm at Villian before she could stand up. The third princess ignored it. In the time she could have spent evading or defending, she quickly and desperately chanted a spell under her breath.
No voice could be heard.
The paper giant was merely automatically eliminating external enemies as a spiritual item.
Its stake-like arm flew.
It was accurately headed straight for Villian’s face.
“C A O! M A R A T T R!! (Alter the trajectory! Move the right arm right!!)”
Index’s voice came from somewhere and the stake unnaturally strayed from its route suddenly. It flew right past Villian’s face and stabbed deeply into the concrete floor.
Then the third princess’s chant caught up.
Strictly speaking, Villian had managed to complete the chant by taking Index’s advice partway through and switching over to a Quick Spell.
“O A G P A T A C O T P O T R B!! (In accordance with the order of one who has inherited the proper blood, open quickly!!)”
Along with those final words, most of the paper giant’s body started to fall to pieces.
However, its right arm kept its form and attempted to pierce Villian’s face with its sharp end as if in its death agonies.
The third princess did not flinch.
“Thanks. You saved me, Villian.”
The paper giant’s arm stopped moving.
The boy’s hand had forcefully grabbed the giant’s upper arm from behind as if he had been trying to stop a fight.
The giant crumbled further.
It turned back towards him even while continuing to lose its original form because it had determined that his right hand was more of a threat.
“Leave the rest to me. This time, I’ll end this here.”
Kamijou Touma vs. the paper giant.
The fight did not even last an instant.
Imagine Breaker vs. the stake-like arm.
Two strikes that possessed the power to immediately kill the other were thrown without hesitation.
A loud noise rang out.
This time, Kamijou Touma’s fist managed to destroy the entirety of the paper giant.
It had been just barely managing to maintain its human form already and the papers scattered about explosively starting with the place Kamijou’s fist had struck. The large number of rectangular parchments were blown almost to the tunnel’s ceiling and then slowly floated down due to gravity.
Third Princess Villian stared at the scene speechless for a bit.
She stared at the large number of parchments floating through the air as a result of the first action she had ever taken in an attempt to defeat a clear enemy.
Kamijou had no idea what she was thinking about.
He decided to leave her be for a bit and then he felt his cell phone vibrating.
He didn’t recognize the number, but he heard a familiar voice when he put the phone up to his ear.
“Oh, good. It got through!”
“Y-yes! Good evening! This is Itsuwa finally completely free of the alcohol!!”
Kamijou looked puzzled at how energetic Itsuwa was, but she of course had no way of knowing that.
“The plan was a success. Now that you, Lady Villian, and the others have released the lock on the magical barrier, the special railway car’s power source can be accessed remotely.”
“I see. So you can directly attack Curtana Original now.”
“About that… The special railway car for Curtana is heading your way at tremendous speed to move underneath Buckingham Palace! So please get out of the way!!”
Kamijou’s expression turned to one of shock and Itsuwa continued speaking.
“A-anyway, we are going to link the center of air fortress Coven Compass with Curtana Original via the special railway car. The reversing of the flow of power will create a large scale release of magic power. Most likely, the knights will detect the abnormality and head there to investigate and there is also a major risk of getting caught up in an explosion if you stay there! Please head back as quickly as you can!!”
October 18th, 2:30 AM.
Control of Curtana Original was lost.
An explosion with a radius of 50 kilometers erupted with Buckingham Palace at the center. However, it was a completely magical explosion that the normal people who lived there could not even detect.
The glass vibrated slightly. It appeared to be reacting to sound waves so low humans could not detect them.
Then there was the sound of blood being coughed up.
A mass of blood fell dirtying a luxurious carpet within the palace.
It was Second Princess Carissa’s blood.
“…A forced reversal from Coven Compass, huh?”
Even with all of the power from the center of the sky fortress thrown at it, it still hadn’t even been a tenth of the power Curtana Original controlled. However, the irregular power being forced in had acted as a stimulus to send Curtana itself in a bad direction. Having lost its stability, fragments of power leaked from Curtana Original. These fragments damaged Carissa’s body much like a blade stuffed in a bag tearing its way out.
(This is why I said merely controlling “most” of the major areas wasn’t enough. I told them not to let their guard down until we had crushed “all” of them… No, maybe I should be in awe of their cunning tactics.)
Most of the power distributed to the knights with Curtana Original had been lost.
Some of Carissa’s own power had been lost, too.
In fact, about half of it had been torn from her.
(I suppressed it.)
Carissa was confident about one thing.
Most likely, they had come up with that plan because they had determined that sending Curtana out of control would act as a foothold in overthrowing her due to loss of Curtana Original during the Puritan Revolution. However, she would not be defeated. That had not been enough to provide fatal damage to Carissa’s power.
“L-Lady Carissa,” a knight called out from the other side of the large doorway. “The recovery and resealing of the special railway car beneath the palace has been completed. Now the church cannot interfere with Curtana Original anymore.”
“Hm.” Carissa wiped the remaining blood from her lips with the back of her hand. “Then check to see what effect the power scattered around by Curtana Original had on London. Then check over all the spiritual items stored in the palace. It’s possible about half of them are now completely unusable.”
Carissa once again grabbed the sword with no blade or tip.
“Bring out the tools for working on spiritual items. I need to run another check on Curtana Original. Because of this, I will put the readjustments to and changes in usage of Curtana Original on hold. Rather than worrying about tricks against Curtana, we need to focus on exterminating the remaining pockets of resistance across the country.”
“Understood,” said the knight before he left.
At first glance, he seemed obedient, but Carissa had noticed a disturbance in the balance of the scales in his heart.
The knights were a group that obeyed Knight Leader and Carissa had used Knight Leader as a point of contact with the knights. Now that he was gone, a disturbance within the knights was spreading below the surface and a small rift had appeared between Carissa and the knights.
And now she had lost control of Curtana Original.
It had been due to sabotage carried out by the Anglican Church, but Carissa had an idea of what she would see if she could peek in the knights’ hearts. They now saw her as someone who could not control Curtana.
They had already lost their direct leader and now she had shown a sign of being “inferior”.
If the former queen Elizard and the church conspired together and started a large-scale opposition at this time, she wasn’t sure if the knights would be able to stick with it. It had nothing to do with the fact that Carissa’s side had a clear mathematical advantage. It was an emotional problem. Would they continue to believe that they could win? Would they continue to believe in Carissa as the head of state?
(Well, if an opposition does begin now, about half of them will probably crack.)
Even after making that blunt calculation, Carissa smiled thinly.
As she smiled, she rested Curtana Original on her shoulder.
(Now then. I have no need for cowards, but having them change sides would be a pain. …Maybe I should take the initiative and strike first.)
Tatemiya Saiji of the Amakusa Church held a pair of binoculars.
He was in a plain on the outskirts of London well beyond the range of Curtana’s explosion. It was unclear how much was a manmade pasture and how much was land where nature had been preserved, but it was a place with nothing but green undergrowth spreading out in all directions. In a certain spot there, members of the Anglican Church had gathered from various parts of the United Kingdom.
“Well, crap. We did succeed in weakening Curtana Original to a certain extent, but it looks like we weren’t able to avoid a reaction from it.”
Tatemiya was standing on the type of stepladder that gardeners liked. He was staring into the distance with his binoculars looking a bit like a referee at a tennis match.
The large Ushibuka spoke in a low voice from below the stepladder.
“That’s because a large amount of Telesma was emitted in all directions with the second princess at the center. It appears to have had an effect on the spiritual items and facilities within London. And it seems like at least 3 small churches were destroyed.”
“If the readings from the observation equipment remaining in St. George’s Cathedral are accurate, the Telesma hanging over London is incredibly dense. If magic were used within London right now, there is a risk of causing an explosion enveloping the entire city,” said the small Kouyagi as he wrote some numbers down in a notebook.
Tatemiya nodded while still staring through the binoculars.
“The second princess’s control over the knights had already been cracking with the loss of Knight Leader, so their trust in her has truly started to slip now that she lost control of Curtana Original as well. If only we could press in there now. Then we might be able to mentally bring down the knights without actually having to fight them.”
The old Isahaya took over.
“…It looks like we can only wait until the Telesma naturally diffuses making London stable before we attack. Is it possible that Curtana Original’s power could be restored and the knights could focus their strength on defending Buckingham Palace in that time?”
“I’m not so sure about the knights, but Curtana shouldn’t be a problem. The power it uses is simply too strong, so its power cannot be restored so easily after such a catastrophic failure. Given the amount of power it is theorized to control, it should take at least a month.”
“Then we both have a short break. But this break will double as a preparatory period for the final battle.”
Tension ran across all of them and someone audibly gulped.
“If you know that, then take your job seriously,” said a woman with fluffy blonde hair, Tsushima, from a short distance away.
In response, Tatemiya and the other guys pouted and objected.
“Quit accusing us of things like that.”
“That’s right! We’re having a completely serious strategy meeting here.”
“We need as many opinions as we can get in this critical moment.”
“Yes. We need to know for sure we’ve chosen the proper course of action.”
The guys let their unanimous opinion wash over Tsushima, but her attitude did not change. She tapped at her own temple with her slender index finger and shut one eye.
“Then why are those binoculars pointed in the direction of Itsuwa and her apron?”
And so the last supper began.
The Necessarius members who had escaped London, the Amakusas who had arrived on the rescue plane, the former Agnese Force members that had been rescued from the freight train, and others from various different religious denominations and cultures gathered in that one spot.
The nuns moving about around Kamijou were exchanging information.
“The Theodosia Electra group has arrived. It seems almost all of the Anglican forces from around England have gathered now.”
“The Stiyl Magnus group isn’t here yet. They had borrowed that transport plane for the Sky Bus 365 incident, but it seems they ended up in a battle at the airport once the coup d’etat broke out. They were bragging about having won out without any help, but it might take them a while longer to get here.”
From what he heard, it sounded like almost all of the remaining forces were gathered here.
The Anglican magicians were preparing and fine-tuning the weapons and spiritual items they used while at the same time preparing their bodies (mainly by eating). Due to the commotion caused by the coup d’etat, some had no stamina left because of the long fights and flights while others had skipped dinner assuming they would eat later and missed the chance to eat then too.
And with so many different people gathered, a lot of different types of food were gathered for them to eat.
“O-oh, wow! This soup…This hot soup is spreading beyond my stomach and into my entire body!!”
“U-umm, we’re going to be active soon, so you shouldn’t eat too much…”
“I can’t just eat a light salad at a time like this!! I’ve gotta have some heavy meat like this that drops into your stomach like a bowling ball!!”
“I’m saying you should only eat until your stomach is 80% full. If you fill up completely…”
“Another!! I’m definitely getting another one of these!!”
“Ch-chew properly. Eat slowly to make sure you don’t surprise your stomach.”
Innumerable nuns both big and small had entered a very un-nun-like gluttonous mode while Itsuwa nervously darted back and forth in between them wearing an apron. Kamijou felt a bit bad when he noticed that it seemed even his cat was greedily devouring some food.
He stood almost speechless holding a small plate with nothing on it feeling unable to keep up with the rush of nuns and magicians.
Meanwhile, two gluttonous nuns, Index and Angelene, were sitting together at a table a bit away from the commotion. At first glance, they seemed to be happily sitting next to each other eating, but…
“Wah!! Y-you just ate my food, didn’t you? Didn’t you!?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Y-you saw her, right, Sister Lucia!? This glutton just reached her fork over to my plate!!”
The tall cat-eyed nun sitting across from Angelene sighed. (Lucia hadn’t seen it because she had been giving a prayer before eating and didn’t really care).
“Sister Angelene. You are supposed to love your neighbors and not doubt others.”
“Mgh!? W-well, yes… But I could have sworn she just ate some of my food…”
“Now you clearly just stole my food!! That wasn’t just looking for an opening and sneaking it away! You ate my meatball right in front of me!!”
“No, I didn’t. Burp.”
“You said that on purpose!! S-Sister Lucia, please say something to her!!”
In response to Angelene who was almost in tears, Lucia tilted her own plate over as if she had no choice.
“Then take some of my food. You need to get rid of your triple handicap of wrath, gluttony, and envy.”
“Gyahhh!! That’s nothing but vegetables and bitter ones at that! Sister Lucia, are you the kind of person that brings her trials and tribulations to the dinner table!?”
Angelene took a timid bite and then started writhing around, so Lucia hurriedly handed her some vegetable juice, but a sip of that only made it worse. While the bent-backed nun with the braided hair was practically convulsing, Index left on a quest for more food.
However, calamity awaited Index as well in the form of the many Anglican nuns near the table lined with meat.
“Oh, how nostalgic!! Do you remember me? It’s Rachel. We used to always play together. Oh, right. Do you want a Salisbury steak?”
“Munch munch. Who are you and why are you pinching at my cheek?”
“Heh heh heh. It looks like Rachel has completely forgotten that you lost your memories. I suppose you don’t remember me, but that’s fine. Are you as much of a glutton as ever? Here, do you want this food?”
“Mgh!? I just ate a Salisbury steak!! Munch munch.”
“Ahhh!! She’s so cute! She’s just too cute with food stuffed in her cheeks like that!! Here, eat my Salisbury steak, too!!”
“…Ughh. I-I don’t think I need anymore…”
The silver haired, blue eyed nun spoke words that were very rarely heard from her. However, more Anglican nuns added to the clamors of “Me, too. Me, too!” “Eat mine, too!!” “Let me feed her, too!!”
Meanwhile, an emotional crisis fell on the normal girl that was Itsuwa while she provided people with various foods.
A certain boy was quite nearby.
The potato shochu had been completely broken down within her body and she was back to normal.
However, the giant wave of requests for food from the nuns prevented her from doing anything else. That was not something she could bear as a maiden in love. (And her love was not just for show or due to drunkenness. She was seriously prepared to die for him.)
Then rescue arrived in the form of Tsushima, the Amakusa woman with fluffy blonde hair.
“Ah. You’re clearly not working very effectively, so I’ll switch out with you. Look, I think that boy wasn’t able to get any food because of all the starving nuns. If you go bring him some food, you might gain a few points.”
“Ah, that’s…n-no!! I don’t want to do that!! I don’t really…!”
“You don’t like taking calculated actions? But if you keep saying that, you’ll never get any closer to him.”
“But after all that fighting I’m all beaten up and sweaty. I can’t face him looking like this…”
Perhaps because she was talking to another woman, Itsuwa let a glimpse of her true self be seen in her mutterings.
But then some unneeded guys butted into the conversation.
“Tah dah!! Itsuwa, you need to go with the Cinderella Plan!! It’s an advance sale roadshow!!”
“Wh-why are you suddenly jumping in here and talking about a roadshow? I don’t understa-hic!?”
Itsuwa hiccupped at the end because her breathing had caught for a second due to intense shock. While letting out noises that couldn’t exactly be called words, Itsuwa pointed a trembling finger at what Tatemiya was holding.
Held out in both his hands was…
“Yes!! It’s the Great Spirit Revealing Maid!!”
“Wha-cough!? Cough cough!! T-T-Tatemiya-san, why do you have the final weapon!?”
“Heh. I’m well aware that you want someone to give you a push forward. The designer is actually based in London, so I went by to pick it up just after the coup d’etat started. That way, I managed to get it way before its release date.”
“How did you have the time to spare to do something like that!? And how did you get my personal information!?”
Itsuwa was freaking out at how perfectly it matched her measurements, but she also saw it as the key to putting on a major offensive towards “that boy”, so she couldn’t bring herself to just throw it to the ground.
Meanwhile, Kanzaki Kaori was sitting a few meters away having finally recovered her strength. She let out a sigh of relief making sure no one else would hear it.
“(…W-well, about half of my baggage never made it out of the women’s dorm, so the Fallen Angel Ero Maid has likely been sent back to the darkness where it belongs. I don’t care about the rest because I managed to bring my pet tropical fish and my friend the washing machine onboard the plane.)”
Kanzaki did not realize that she was muttering these things out loud.
Then Tatemiya spun around towards her at a speed that gave her a very bad feeling.
“Don’t worry, Priestess!! I made sure to save your precious wedding dress!! I have both the Fallen Angel Maid and the Fallen Angel Ero Maid here, so take whichever one you wish!!”
“Why would you do thaaaaaaaaattttt!?”
Kanzaki accidentally yelled out loud at him upon seeing her nightmares properly wrapped up as if they had just returned from being dry cleaned. Seeing Tatemiya, Ushibuka, Kouyagi, and the others’ faces, she felt kind of stupid for having faced and been defeated by Knight Leader so seriously.
“I do not need these things!! And if you had time to enter the women’s dorm, then you should have taken my yukata or something out with you!!”
“You don’t need the Fallen Angel Ero Maid…? Y-you don’t mean…!! Do you have a Hyper Fallen Angel Extreme Ero Maid that goes even further!? …N-now I regret my effort.”
“I do not have anything like that!! Hyper!? Extreme Ero!? That completely loses sight of the original maid basis!! Are you people fine with anything as long as it has the ero part!?” Kanzaki yelled with a bright red face.
However, the Amakusa men had not risked their lives for a mere joke.
The true basis to their actions was…
“(…We’ve never actually seen the Priestess wearing the Fallen Angel Ero Maid! I can’t die happily until I do!!)”
“(…Yes, after the Acqua of the Back stuff, we were injured and writhing in pain on our beds. She cleverly worked it in during our one opening.)”
“(…I thought I was going to cry tears of blood when Itsuwa reported on what happened. I can’t believe something that sexy and hilarious went by without us seeing it.)”
“(…Nnh. With a once-in-a-hundred-years opportunity to see a showdown between the Fallen Angel Ero Maid and the Great Spirit Revealing Maid, it was worth risking our lives.)”
It wasn’t just the young Ushibuka and Kouyagi. The married Monozaki and the elderly Isahaya were joining in as well. Seeing this, Kanzaki Kaori began to seriously worry that her irresponsible departure had twisted the Amakusas in the wrong direction. Her thoughts were now more motherly than sisterly, but she was still an 18 year old girl.
The effects continued to spread.
After having eaten bitter vegetables at Lucia’s insistence allowing her to experience the feelings of a herbivore, Angelene’s hands and mouth had stopped moving and she had tears in her eyes. She then started focusing on the infighting (?) within the Amakusa Church.
Angelene’s leader, Agnese Sanctis, was sitting next to her having finished monopolizing a huge pizza covered in salami, wieners, and other meats which made Angelene incredibly jealous. Angelene now poked at Agnese’s side with her elbow.
“S-Sister Agnese! It looks like that Eastern denomination is having an interesting discussion about wasting excessive breasts! Can we really just ignore that!?”
“Hm. So basically it’s a contest to see who is the most mature by seeing who makes the sexiest maid? Since we have 250 nuns at our disposal, we can’t exactly keep quiet here, but I also know we don’t have anyone with breasts that excessive. Perhaps it would be most effective to decide on one person among our ranks to use as a countermeasure.”
Kanzaki and Itsuwa would probably have attacked those nuns while breathing fire if they had heard those words, but that was not what mattered to Lucia. She only cared about the fact that Agnese and Angelene’s gazes had turned in her direction.
Lucia had little feminine sexiness (although her breasts were quite large) and she tried to put a stop to what she saw coming.
“That isn’t happening.”
“I hear there is something called the Little Devil Flirting Maid.”
“It seems you are going to attempt this despite my firm statement, but there is simply no way I will do this.”
“It’s not a devil, it’s a little devil. Apparently, that has special meaning behind it.”
As they spoke back and forth, their speech sped up more and more.
A bit away, Sherry Cromwell sat silently watching the commotion. Her blonde hair was as wild as a lion’s mane and her skin was light brown. Her mostly black gothic lolita dress was worn out and it almost seemed to blend into the darkness of the night.
She had no food.
She had not been hungry.
What weighed heavily in her gut was the intense regret brought forth by self derision and self admonition.
She did not feel inferior to the knights.
In fact, she felt bad that she had been so heavily shaken by such insignificant bastards. No matter how much she mentally tried to deny it, they had eaten deeply into a supporting pillar within her. She felt that had been proven. She felt as if all the experiences and results she had worked so hard for had been snatched from her.
(This couldn’t be worse…)
As she internally spat out those words, Sherry lightly rubbed the bruises remaining on her light brown skin.
Sherry had sent out the golem, Ellis, in order to crush the knights in London, but she had lost consciousness at some point. She couldn’t remember if she had been knocked out by a last ditch counterattack by the knights or by the female exhibitionist magician who had cut in partway through. All her hazy mind could remember was the female magician carrying her away from the battle.
A sluggish helplessness wrapped around Sherry Cromwell’s body.
A single figure slowly approached her.
“I have something for you.”
“Tch. So it’s you.”
The nun with the overly polite bearing was Orsola Aquinas. She had originally been a specialist at deciphering grimoires within the Roman Catholic Church, but the two of them had ended up being paired together for analysis work at some point.
Whether Orsola knew what was going on with Sherry or not, she had brought over a sandwich mostly filled with vegetables and was practically shoving it in her mouth.
“It looks like we are going to be busy from now on, so it is important that you eat while you can. It seems stamina could be a deciding factor in this battle.”
“…What a pain. Although, I could actually see myself dying for such a stupid reason…Bgh!? Don’t shove sandwiches in people’s mouths while smiling like tha-mghbgh!!”
Sherry started chewing to avoid suffocating to death and Orsola continued to smile while almost shoving the plate the sandwich was on into her mouth as well.
Sherry violently snatched the sandwich away.
“…I did hear that you were rather late in leaving the women’s dorm.”
“I was slowly working on something and everyone just left without me. We were told to only bring the bare minimum with us, but that turned out to be an unexpected amount.”
“Hah. That does sound like you.”
However, there was no scorn or contempt held within it. After a few seconds of silence, she looked back at Orsola’s face.
“So one of the objects you risked your life to take out was this?”
Sherry kicked at something sitting on the short undergrowth.
It was a marble statue of a child.
Its pedestal said Ellis.
“A ha ha. So you found out.”
“You didn’t need to do that…” Sherry said displeased from the bottom of her heart. “You didn’t need to risk your life for this failed work. …In fact, it would have been refreshing to have this kind of thing disappear.”
“There is no reason that you have to force yourself to be refreshed.”
“Wiping away your regrets and denying the dead are not the same thing. I do not think it is right to cut yourself off from your past. There is no reason that people who treasure their memories of the dead should not have the right to have a new life and construct a new home.”
“…Don’t act like you understand,” Sherry muttered roughly, but she did not add on any other complaints.
She removed her foot from the statue of Ellis and looked at her failed work silently.
For a while, there was no noise.
It was a different sort of silence, a kind silence.
“Oh, that’s right.”
“Sherry, your dress seems to have become worn out from the repeated battles, so I prepared some clothes for you. I knew I made the right decision when I took every possible necessary thing from the women’s dorm.”
“I like this outfit, so I don’t mind if it’s a little worn ou-…Bghbh!?”
“Tah dah! Apparently, it’s called the Goddess Goth Maid!!”
“Don’t mock gothic outfits like that!! In fact, this has no connection other than being kind of Western-looking and old-looking!!”
“Oh?” said Orsola looking puzzled.
That reaction had seemed like a rare one for Sherry, but that brown golem user would often (especially in battle) get quite worked up.
It seemed even Orsola had figured out that the Goddess Goth Maid was disgraceful. As she held out the special maid uniform, she frowned.
“How very odd… The Amakusas are famous for being able to blend into every culture in the world and to know what is popular and they were just discussing the Fallen Angel Ero Maid and the Great Spirit Revealing Maid. I was sure that meant these were on the forefront of fashion…”
“Kh. Your sense of fashion is like that one of someone’s grandmother, so you’re no help at all!!”
“But it would be such a waste to just throw it away… Oh, I know. If no one else will wear it, then I suppose I have to.”
“Wait. Wait a second!! Stop that! Do you have any idea what will happen if someone as clueless as you with breasts that big puts on a maid uniform like that!? Just stop, you idiot!”
A certain mercenary was in an area about a kilometer from the Anglican campground.
William Orwell stood next to a dairy facility with a small barn for dairy cows and a silo. The house for the farm family was built elsewhere, but it was completely empty.
The 3.5 meter 200 kilogram Ascalon with its many different blades was more delicate and complex than it initially looked. William checked over each little thing while occasionally taking it apart and adjusting it.
(…My left shoulder is more of an issue than the sword. I’ve used a bit of healing magic since then, but…)
William suddenly looked up much like a wolf reacting to a distant howl.
That impression was not actually a wrong one.
He had picked up on a magical transmission from a distance.
“Can you hear me, William?”
“…Hm. It seems we’re rivals even when it comes to the strength of our bad luck,” he said bluntly as his lips loosened so slightly he didn’t even notice it.
The familiar voice belonged to Knight Leader.
“It seems control of Curtana Original was lost within London. It also seems it was artificially sent out of control using the safety device below Buckingham Palace. Were you involved in that? Well, either way, the knights’ unity is about to collapse. Of course, that is mostly due to my own defeat, so I’m not exactly proud of it.”
“I assume it was the doing of this country’s magic specialists.” William started rebuilding the sword from the dismantled parts. “And wouldn’t the knights regain their unity if you were to rejoin the battle?”
“You’re not sure you should,” the mercenary said frankly. “In that case, just watch what everyone does. I’m not sure how long you can wait, but it would definitely be better than rashly deciding your fate now.”
“And what do you intend to do if I end up choosing to stand before you again?”
“That changes nothing. I will simply defeat you again.”
“Tch. I can’t stand up to that will of yours.”
William could not see Knight Leader’s expression, but he was likely smiling bitterly.
William finally finished checking over Ascalon.
“That Spell of Thororm that you use can target any one of the weapons that you are aware of and make it useless for 10 minutes. Could you not destroy Curtana Original by using that?”
“You fool. Everything has exceptions. And any knight that kept an ability sufficient to surely kill his head of state would be guilty of lèse majesté. To demonstrate my loyalty, I made sure the theory behind the spell was constructed so that it could not be used to kill someone in the royal family.”
“…That doesn’t sound like something I would hear from the person who attempted to decapitate the third princess with an executioner’s axe.”
“I did not use my own weapon on Lady Villian. For her, I was forced to use a ‘normal tool’.”
At some point, they had returned to their old lighter manner of speaking, but Knight Leader did not pay that fact any heed.
“I will give you one piece of advice before you head off to your death.”
“And what is that?”
“At one point in our battle, you were worried that I held the ultimate strike. That I could combine Slicing Power, Weapon Weight, Enduring Solidity, Movement Speed, Attack Range, Special Use, and Precise Accuracy into a sure-fire attack that could not be evaded, blocked, or counterattacked. But in reality, I cannot use all of those at once and can only use one pattern at a time.”
Knight Leader stopped speaking for a second there.
Then, he seemed to have readied himself and continued.
“Second Princess Carissa can most likely pull off that strike using Curtana Original.”
“If you truly intend to defeat her, prepare yourself. You must not underestimate her by thinking there is a trick behind her strength or that you can turn around the situation by finding a weakness in her.”
“No matter who the enemy may be, what I must do does not change.”
There was not even an instant of hesitation before William’s response came.
That man did not speak except when necessary, so he did not even attempt to inspire himself with his own words.
“I will slice down the source of this disturbance. If taking Curtana from her, but not killing her will accomplish that, then that remains one of my options.”
There was not the slightest disparity between what William Orwell must do and what Acqua of the Back must do. He was the same at that point when he had once attacked the Imagine Breaker boy. Even then, he had given the option of allowing the boy to go back to his normal life after destroying the boy’s right arm that (he thought) was at the center of the disturbances. He thought that would stop the conflicts between science and magic across the world and that was enough.
“I do not know where or with whom I will take up my sword in the future, but until we meet again.”
“Yes. Whatever the circumstances, I will go all out to-…Nnhhh!?”
The man of few words gave a rare meaningless grunt.
This made Knight Leader very nervous.
“What is it? An enemy attack!?”
“(…Not good. The third princess has sensed my presence and is coming this way! It seems a magical courier is helping her. She is definitely headed this way!!)”
As William whispered, he gathered up the tools used to disassemble his large sword and let Ascalon rest on his shoulder using the reinforced area near its base that was made for that purpose.
“(…And I just finished saying some slightly embarrassing things to her! I was hoping it would help stabilize her mind, but I’m not used to it and should probably have avoided doing it!!)”
“I don’t really understand, but you are saying some pretty embarrassing things.”
The mercenary ignored Knight Leader’s last comment and hurriedly left the area.
The various suppers had ended.
All that was left was to wait for the war that would decide England’s fate.
They were all headed to a true battle where the lives of both friend and enemy could not be guaranteed.
However, they all naturally gathered together.
Between the lines 4
Queen Elizard had finally made it to the outskirts of London, but the military horse was completely exhausted. But then, it had run nearly 50 kilometers across asphalt, so it had done quite well for a horse.
“I really am sorry about this. I’ve been doing nothing but troubling you this whole time. If I manage to get my political power back, I may even make you the first horse in the world to receive a military decoration,” she said anxiously.
The queen held a bucket full of water. She and the horse were on a plain, but it turned into a manmade pasture a little further on. She had stolen the water from a barn there.
The horse continued to point its head in the direction of London as if to say “What are you saying!? I can keep going. I can keep going for quite some time!!”, but it truly wouldn’t last much longer if it didn’t take a rest. The queen gripped the reins rather forcefully to force its head down to drink the water.
The horse was somewhat excited, but the water must have helped it realize how tired it was, because it then folded its legs up underneath itself to sit on the ground. It then started eating the short undergrowth that was growing next to the asphalt.
(…I really am causing trouble for everyone.)
The queen frowned as she thought not just of the horse, but of everyone fighting across the United Kingdom.
She looked down at Curtana Second.
(…I have a feeling this would go faster if I just fully opened up Curtana’s power and started running, but I want to avoid doing that for a long period of time.)
“F-fheee…. Riding a horse certainly does wear you out when you aren’t used to it.”
The person who had ruined the solemn mood with that comment was a blonde woman bending over and pressing on her back, Laura Stuart.
Elizard looked over at her with a look of scorn that was quite different from her previous expression.
“You sure are weak. And you wore out the horse’s stamina by not matching your movements to its rhythm.”
Perhaps in response to Elizard’s sharp tone, the horse stopped eating the grass and looked over at her. Its kind eyes seemed to be saying, “Now, now. Carrying people and things is my job.”
(Even this horse looks more capable right now.)
That was when Elizard heard a rustling noise.
Her sharp gaze rushed over and found a single figure.
“Oh, what a hungry horse. Do you want one of my carrots?” said a soft female voice.
The queen’s hand had been gripping Curtana Second despite it having lost most of its power, but she relaxed upon hearing that voice.
“Yes, it’s me, Mother.”
The monocled first princess smiled while holding an orange carrot in one hand.
Elizard looked at her own daughter with a puzzled look on her face.
“What are you doing here?”
“I was waiting for you, mother. From the knights’ transmissions I intercepted, I knew where you had disappeared, so I concluded this was the most likely route you would head through to get to London.”
“…What do you want? I know you and you aren’t just going to join forces with me so easily. In fact, given your thought patterns, you’re more likely to try to defeat me here so you can take Curtana Second and use it in some plan to defeat Carissa.”
“I did consider such a plan at one point, but fighting using Curtana Second now that it has lost most of its power would be too much of a bother. I would rather use my intellect in order to play a smarter role.”
“…So says my daughter with a meaningful smile on her face and rough-looking spiritual items rolling around at her feet. And I’m willing to bet that wire stretching from that thicket over there connects to a Claymore mine. Normal cars might drive through here, so remove it.”
In compliance with Elizard’s casual-sounding instruction, Rimea removed the wire stretching across the road horizontally, with her tongue sticking out slightly.
“There we go. By the way, is it true that horses love carrots?”
“They are herbivores, so they’ll probably eat them, but it isn’t like they love them more than anything else. They mainly eat grass.”
“Oh, so it’s similar to the fact that goats don’t actually eat paper. Sorry.”
Rimea started to pull back her hand holding the carrot, but the horse stretched out its neck and grabbed the orange vegetable as if to say, “Why? I’ll eat anything you’ll give me.”
“Good, good,” Rimea said with a smile as she petted the horse’s head.
Elizard looked on almost in shock.
“You really do show your true face around those who have no political power or interests, don’t you?”
“Of course, mother. I do not intend to give my trust to anyone that knows who I am. I want to trust those who treat me kindly despite not knowing I am a princess.”
“I will admit that is one important aspect of a leader, but…why are all of my daughters at such extremes? The oldest strategizes everything and does not trust people, the second gets so caught up in fighting that she gets everything around her wrapped up in it, and the third takes others into such high consideration that she barely has opinions of her own.”
Elizard scratched at her bangs.
A thin smile appeared on Rimea’s lips.
“How unexpected. Are you really in a position where you can preach at us like that? Perhaps the problem lies in your principle of noninterference, combined with that incredibly harsh training you gave us? If you had wanted to, you could have at least given Villian a comfortable life.”
“What are you saying? If I didn’t let you develop your personalities on your own, it would have just invited you to be dependent on me. And that is especially true with Villian’s benevolence. She could easily end up simply relying on others, so I can’t just give her easy help like that. If you look at the long term, my methods are not wrong. Unlike you three, I am a sensible person.”
“Oh, but who was it that used Curtana Second to teach the politicians a lesson after they tried to use Villian as bait to gain South America ten years ago?”
“D-don’t bring that up. There are some actions that a parent must take.”
“…No, that kind of thing isn’t going to make her go soft,” muttered Laura from the side.
“Oh, right. Speaking of being at an extreme, Carissa’s methods this time are rather pointed.”
“So you think Carissa is after expanding Curtana’s effective area, too?”
“Yes,” nodded Rimea. “Curtana Original is a spiritual item that applies the concept of Michael, the leader of the angels, to the head of state within the United Kingdom. But if Curtana’s effects could be used outside the country, the Queen of England could become a disaster that overruns all of Europe. She would carry out divine punishment on targets of her own choosing and create more deaths on her own than a hydrogen bomb or the Black Death.”
“That sword is like a conductor’s baton that controls the massive spell put together geographically by the 4 cultures that make up the United Kingdom. The knights could use all their strength to protect the United Kingdom while Carissa single-handedly uses Curtana to demolish Europe. …That method could actually end up working. After all, it is possible that human magic would not be able to harm her if she fully released Curtana Original’s power.”
If that happened, it would be almost impossible for anyone to rival Carissa unless a true angel or possibly a magic god stepped forward.
“…But is that really all?”
“I had a spy at the Edinburgh base of New Light, the group used and disposed of by Carissa. Heh heh. Perhaps it is a special privilege of intellectual types to say something clichéd as ‘I won’t tell you until I have proof.’”
Rimea had said she had a spy, but that did not refer to a magician that served the royal family or a military intelligence agent. She especially hated those types of pros and elites that held political power. The person in Edinburgh was likely someone she had formed a bond with without using her political power during one of her frequent trips outside of the palace as someone other than a princess.
(Her self reliance and independence gained under her own power is the best of the three sisters. If only it wasn’t rooted in mistrust. Not being able to open up can’t be fun.)
When Rimea started to feed the horse another carrot, the queen looked at her suspiciously.
“Hey, where did you get that food?”
“Oh, you didn’t know? Just a bit ago, the remnants of the church had gathered around here to have a last supper. It seems they left the tools and cooking equipment not needed for fighting here. I assume they are planning on coming back for it if they win.”
“Don’t worry. I gave a taste of the different foods to my pet and none of it seems to have anything dangerous added in.”
The first princess gave three quick clicks of her tongue which was her signal for calling her small indoor dog.
However, there was no sign of a pet coming out at Rimea’s signal.
The first princess looked around to find a three-colored cat and an indoor dog glaring at each other at close quarters outside of a small cage with a broken door. Their low growls seemed to be saying “Who the hell are you!?” and “This is my country!!”
“Oh, what a cute cat. I’ve been interested in Asian cats for a while, but they’re so much cuter than I expected.”
Rimea picked up the cat with a completely defenseless childlike smile and the indoor dog barked seeming to say “Hey! I’m the one that risked his life tasting that carrot!!”
However, that was not what caught Queen Elizard’s interest.
“Dammit!! Something that delicious was going on not too long ago!? There had to have been things going on there on the level of pulling a picture of your lover from your pocket and saying you’re going to marry her once the war is over!! Am I just fated to miss out on the best parts!?”
“It seems they all proudly headed off towards the center of London.”
“And they left me behind!? D-damn. Let’s go, horse! I have to get to London as soon as possible!!”
Seeming to say, “Sure thing. Now this is how a queen should be,” the horse stood up.
Elizard easily mounted the military horse and grabbed Laura Stuart with one hand pulling her up onto the back of the horse.
“Hey. How’s the preparation of the flag going?” she asked the Archbishop.
“It’s probably about halfway done. It was mixed in with the normal displays in the British Museum, so not many people would have realized it was a spiritual item. It should be usable if Charles Conder did what he was supposed to.”
“A normal worker, hm? If the knights notice what he is doing, his life could be at risk… I have to show my respect to the gentlemen of this country.”
After saying that, Elizard remained silent for a bit.
She thought within her heart.
She thought of the people who had prepared at that campground and headed for London. She also thought of the other people risking their lives to help who could not even use magic.
(…Hm. Carissa gaining the ability to use Curtana outside of the country and attacking Europe while becoming nigh invincible using the position of the leader of the angels is certainly a problem, but…)
The look on the queen’s face changed.
Her expression turned grim as she stared in the direction of London.
(Have you forgotten that she already has that power here within the United Kingdom? You are heading off to fight someone more dreadful than a hydrogen bomb and who could easily destroy all of Europe single-handedly!!)
“Those fools! Even if the fate of England hangs in the balance, how can they head off to the final battle with no real trump card and with nothing at their disposal but their fighting spirit and their guts!? It’s not my fault if they die!!”
“Heh heh. For what you’re saying, you sound rather happy, mother.”
|Back to Chapter 5||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 7|