Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume1 Epilogue
Epilogue: The Conclusion of the Index of Prohibited Books Girl. Index-Librorum-Prohibitorum.
“Seems it was nothing,” said a plump doctor in an examination room of a university hospital.
The doctor spun around in a swiveling chair. He seemed to have been aware he resembled a frog because he had a sticker of a small tree frog on the ID card on his chest.
Index may have had a great love for humanity but scientists were the one group she did not care for. While magicians were indeed a collection of oddities, she felt scientists were even odder.
She wondered why she was alone with him but, without anyone to be with, she had no choice.
Correct, she had no one to be with.
“I don’t like speaking so politely to someone who isn’t my patient, so I’m going to stop. This is my first and last question to you as a doctor: Why did you come here to my hospital?”
Not even Index knew the answer to that question.
No one —truly no one— had told her the truth.
She disliked having magicians, whom she thought were her enemies, to tell her about the yearly wiping of her memories or about how a certain boy had risked his life to save her from those horrible circumstances.
“But having three people in Academy City without an ID is quite a surprise. Did you know a strange beam shot down one of our surveillance satellites? It’s left Judgment quite busy.”
That wasn’t your first and last question at all. Chided Index
Index was one of the three without an ID. The other two were likely those magicians. Despite having chased her all over, they had brought her to the hospital and then disappeared without a trace.
“By the way, that letter you have there is from them, isn’t it?”
The frog-faced doctor stared at the envelope in Index’s hand that looked like it could hold even a love letter. With an angry look, Index ripped the envelope apart and took out the letter.
“Oh? I thought it was addressed to that boy, not you.”
“It doesn’t matter,” replied Index indignantly.
Since the letter was sent by “Stiyl Magnus” and started with “Dear Kamijou Touma”, it was simply too suspicious. A deadly malice could be felt from the heart sticker on the envelope.
At any rate, the letter read…
Any standard greetings would be a waste of time, so I’m skipping them.
Well you’ve done it, you bastard... and I’d like to go on like that, but if I threw all my personal feelings at you here, I would end up using up all the trees in the world and still not have enough paper for this letter. As such, I’ll end that there, you bastard.
It went on like that for 8 pages of stationery. Index silently and carefully read through it all, crushing up each page she finished and tossing it behind her. The doctor’s frog face grew more and more annoyed with each new balled-up page littering the floor of his workplace, but could not say anything to Index who emitted the odd intimidation of a bullied child on the verge of tears.
Now on the 9th and final page, the following was written:
For now, I will do the bare minimum of what etiquette demands of me for your help and explain the girl and her circumstances. I can’t have either of us owing each other anything. The next time we meet, we are sure to be enemies.
We don’t trust you scientists, so we examined her in our own way before the doctors saw her, and she seems to be fine. The higher ups in the Anglican Church seem to want to retrieve her as soon as possible now that her collar has been removed, but I think a more wait-and-see approach would be better. Although personally, I cannot stand to have her with you for even an instant longer.
However, she used magic based on the 103,000 grimoires when in the John’s Pen mode that the church prepared. Now that John’s Pen has been destroyed, it is possible she can use magic with her own free will now. If the destruction of John’s Pen has caused her magic power to recover, we must reorganize our strength.
That said I don’t see how her magic power could have realistically recovered. It’s hardly worth warning you, but a Magic God that can freely use those 103,000 grimoires is just that dangerous.
(By the way, this does not mean we have given up and are leaving her to you. Once we have gathered the information we need and gathered the equipment we need, we intend to come back to take that girl again. I don’t like catching people off guard, so make sure you prepare yourself for our arrival.)
P.S. This letter is made to self destruct after it has been read. Even if you had realized the truth, you need to be punished for making that bet without consulting us. I hope this blows off a finger or two of that precious right hand of yours.
Post-letter, one of Stiyl’s runes was carved into the paper. As soon as Index frantically threw the letter away, it burst into pieces with a crackling noise.
“You seem to have some rather extreme friends. Did they soak the letter in a liquid explosive?”
The fact that the letter exploding did not surprise the doctor made Index half-seriously think he was a bit crazy himself. However, Index’s feelings seemed to have numbed over too because no other thoughts entered her mind. As such, she decided to do what she had come to the hospital to do in the first place.
“If you want to know about that boy, it would be fastest to just meet with him directly…Or so I’d like to say.” The frog-faced doctor truly seemed to be enjoying himself. “It would be rude for you to receive the shock before the boy himself, so how about a quick lesson beforehand?”
She knocked on the door twice.
It was all she did but Index still felt like her heart would burst. While waiting for a response, she restlessly wiped the sweat from her palms onto the skirt of her habit and crossed herself.
“Yes?” replied the boy.
Index brought her hand to the door but hesitated because he had not actually told her to come in and she wondered if she should ask before doing so. But, she feared having him say something like “God, you’re persistent. Just come in already.” She was very, very afraid.
She opened the door jerkily like a robot. Instead of a hospital room with six patients to the room, it was a private room. The walls, floor, and ceiling were all pure white which threw off her sense of distance, making the room seem oddly large.
The boy sat up in a pure white bed. The window next to the bed was open and the pure white curtain fluttered slightly.
He was alive.
That truth alone almost brought tears to Index’s eyes. She was unsure if she should leap into his arms right then and there or if she should first give his head a good chomp for being so reckless.
“Um…” the boy said with a quizzical look on his face while bandages were wrapped around his head like a headband. “Did you go to the wrong room by any chance?”
The boy’s words were the polite and doubtful words of someone probing for information.
It was the voice of someone who had just received a phone call from a complete stranger.
This was less amnesia and more a case of complete memory destruction.
The words the doctor had told Index in that freezing summer examination room floated up in the back of her mind.
He did not just “forget” his memories. The brain cells were physically destroyed. I really don’t see how he could remember those things again. Honestly, did someone open up his skull and jam a stun gun inside?
Index’s breathing stopped. She could not help but lower her gaze.
Serious damage had been done to the boy’s brain as a reaction to his forced overuse of his esper powers and as damage from the light Index herself had fired. (Or so she had heard. She did not remember it herself.)
Since it was physical damage —that is, just a wound— healing it might have been possible with recovery magic like with Index’s sliced open back. However, that transparent boy had a right hand called Imagine Breaker. It would negate all magic whether for good or evil.
In other words, even if she tried to heal the boy, recovery magic would be negated.
It all came down to the boy’s mind and heart being dead rather than his body.
The boy’s voice sounded unsure… no, worried.
For some reason, Index could not allow that transparent boy to speak like that. The boy was hurt for her sake. It was unfair for him to be worried for her.
Index forced down whatever it was that was gathering in her heart and then took a deep breath. She tried to smile and thought she might have managed.
The boy was transparent through and through clearly showing that he did not remember Index at all.
“Um, are you okay? You look really sad.”
That transparent boy smashed her perfect smile to pieces all at once. Index recalled that the boy had always seemed able to see the true emotions hidden behind her smiles.
“I’m perfectly okay.” Index worked to keep her breathing steady. “Of course I’m okay.”
The transparent boy studied Index’s face for a bit.
“…Um. Did we know each other by any chance?”
That question was the hardest one for Index to bear, proving that the transparent boy knew nothing about her.
Nothing. Truly nothing.
“Yes…” replied Index as she stood in the middle of the hospital room. Her body language was similar to that of an elementary school student in a manga, sent to stand out in the hall for forgetting her homework.
“Touma, you don’t remember? We met on your dorm balcony.”
“…I live in a dorm?”
“…Touma, you don’t remember? You destroyed my Walking Church with your right hand.”
“What’s a Walking Church? …Is it some kind of new jogging religion?”
“… …Touma, you don’t remember? You fought magicians for me.”
“Is Touma someone’s name?”
Index felt like she could not continue to speak for much longer.
“Touma, you don’t remember?”
Even so, she had to ask one last thing.
“Your friend Index… loved you.”
“I’m sorry,” said the transparent boy. “And what is Index? It doesn’t sound like a person’s name. Do I have a cat or a dog?”
“Weh…” Index felt the urge to cry rise up as high as her chest but she crushed that urge and forced it down.
She forced it down and smiled. It was hardly a perfect smile, but she did at least manage a crumbling smile.
“Just kidding! You totally fell for it! Ah ha ha ha!!”
“Hweh…?” Index froze in place.
The unsure expression left the transparent boy’s face. It was completely swapped out for a fierce and incredibly evil smile with bared canines.
“Why are you getting so emotional over being called a dog or cat, you masochist? What? Are you into things like collars or something? C’mon, I have no intention of having this end with me revealing a secret interest in kidnapping and confining little girls.”
At some point, color had filled the transparent boy.
Index did not understand why. She thought she hallucinated and rubbed her eyes. She thought she was hearing things and cleared out her ears. It felt like her perfectly sized habit had somehow become so big that one shoulder would slip off.
“Huh? Eh? Touma? Huh? I was told your brain cells had been destroyed so you forgot everything…”
“…C’mon now. Don’t make it sound like it would’ve been better if I had.” Kamijou sighed. “You really are slow. It’s true I chose to take those feathers of light at the very, very end. I’m no magician, so I have no idea what effects they had, but according to the doctor, my brain cells were damaged. As such, I was supposed to have amnesia, right?”
“You were supposed to?”
“Yup. After all, that damage was done by magic power, right?”
“Ah,” said Index as she realized something.
“That’s right, that’s it, and you’ve got it. Is three times enough? That makes things simple. I just touched my own head with my right hand and used Imagine Breaker on myself.”
“Ahh…” Index weakly sat down on the floor.
“Basically, I just had to negate the magical damage before it could reach my brain and do permanent damage there. If it were more like a physical phenomenon like Stiyl’s flames, it would never have worked, but those feathers of light were nothing more than a strange supernatural power, so there was no problem.”
It was the same as how a bomb would not explode even if its fuse were lit as long as the fuse was cut before it reached the bomb. Before the damage running through Kamijou’s body could reach the brain, he had negated that damage itself.
It sounded ridiculous. It sounded absolutely ridiculous, but that boy’s Imagine Breaker could negate even the rules created by God.
As Index sat on the floor in a daze with her legs bent backwards to either side, she looked up at Kamijou’s face. Now she was sure, the shoulder of her absolute nun’s habit had indeed slipped down. Her expression was just as stupid looking.
“Ha ha ha. Man, you should’ve seen your face. With how you always get everyone to volunteer for your sake, I hope this incident has taught you something.”
“…” She could not respond.
Kamijou grew a bit unsure of himself and the tone of his voice dropped.
Index slowly lowered her head and her long silver bangs covered her expression. As she sat on the floor, her shoulders trembled slightly. It seemed she was gritting her teeth.
“Um, there is one thing I would like to ask. May I ask it, princess?” With an unpleasant tone in his voice, Kamijou returned to probing for information.
“What?” replied Index.
“Um… Are you angry by any chance?”
The nurse’s call rang.
The scream of a boy who had been bitten on the top of the head rang throughout the hospital.
Perfectly fitting in with some angry sound effects, Index left the hospital room.
“Oh?” said a voice near the entrance. The frog-faced doctor entered just as Index exited and had almost bumped into her. “I came because the nurse’s call went off, but… Oh, now this is bad.”
The boy’s upper body had slipped from the bed and he cried while holding the top of his head with both hands.
“I’m gonna die. I’m really gonna die,” he muttered to himself with such realism that it was frightening.
The doctor glanced back towards the open door to the hallway before turning back to Kamijou.
“Should you really have done that?”
“Done what?” replied the boy.
“You don’t remember anything, do you?”
The transparent boy fell silent. The reality that God had created was not as kind and warm as what he had told that girl.
As a result of the magic that had afflicted them, the boy and girl had collapsed in the apartment and the two naming themselves magicians had brought them to the hospital. The supposed magicians had told the doctors what had transpired and the doctors had of course not believed them. The doctors had only told the boy all of it because they felt he had the right to know.
To him, it was like reading someone else’s diary. To him, it matter not what someone else’s diary said about a girl he could neither picture in his head nor recognize if he saw her.
What he had told her had been nothing more than something he had made up based on what someone else’s diary had said. Even if it said that that right hand that was wrapped in bandages held a power that could destroy even the rules created by God…
He did not really believe it.
“But should I really have done that?” asked the transparent boy.
Even though it had been someone else’s diary, it had been so enjoyable… and so heartbreaking. His missing memories would never come back but he had somehow managed to think of that as a very sad thing.
“For some reason, I didn’t want to make that girl cry. That was how I felt. I don’t know what kind of feeling it was and I’ll probably never remember, but that was how I felt all the same.” The transparent boy gave a truly colorless smile. “Doctor, why did you believe that story? I mean, being a doctor is about as far as you can get from things like magicians and magic.”
“Not necessarily.” A proud look appeared on the doctor’s frog-like face. “Hospitals and the occult have a surprisingly close relationship. …And I’m not talking about ghosts haunting hospitals. Depending on their religion, some people refuse to take blood transfusions, refuse surgery, and will sue you even though you saved their life. For a doctor, it is best to just do what the patient says when it comes to the occult.”
The doctor smiled, though he did not know why smiled. When he saw the boy smile, he instinctively smiled back like a mirror image.
Or perhaps it was the boy that was a mirror of the doctor. That was just how hollow the boy’s smile was. It was like he could feel no sorrow.
The boy was really, truly transparent.
“I may still remember more than you think.”
The frog-faced doctor looked at the transparent boy in slight surprise.
“Your memories were ‘killed’, brain cells and all.”
What a ridiculous thing for me to say, thought the doctor.
But, he continued.
“To liken the human body to a computer, your hard disk was utterly fried. If there’s no data left in your brain, just where are these memories supposed to be?”
Somehow, the doctor felt the boy’s response would blow that ridiculous logic away.
“Isn’t that obvious?” replied the transparent boy. “In my heart.”