Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume4 Chapter4
Chapter 4: The Last Magician of This One World
While Kanzaki and Power of God were having their one hundredth out of this world fight, Kamijou and Touya finally dashed into the seaside resort.
But that didn't mean they were safe.
No matter where they ran to in the world, that Sweep spell the Power of God could use would instantly kill them. The Power of God was an enemy that surpassed all understanding.
Unable to understand anything, Touya waved his arms and breathed heavily as he asked, "T-Touma! Wait up, let me rest! What was that? What just happened? I seemed to have seen that guy on TV before. Are we filming now?"
It was obvious that Touya would feel weird about this without an explanation. But at this critical moment, the culprit behind this still looked like he didn't understand, angering Kamijou.
Just as Kamijou was about to start scolding, he noticed something weird. There seemed to be someone in the shadows behind the round table.
It was Misaka Mikoto.
"Wha...? Oi, are you all right? What happened?"
Kamijou rushed up to Mikoto and asked her, but Mikoto didn't respond. The final countdown needed about thirty minutes before activating. Had the Sweep started to activate?
At that moment, Kamijou noticed that something was amiss.
Kamijou's nose seemed to detect some light mysterious smell. Understanding what it was, he immediately held his breath.
The chemical he had inhaled entered his brain, causing Kamijou's consciousness to become blurry. But as it wasn't much, he barely managed to stay conscious.
"Oi! Touma, what's with you? Oi!"
Touya asked worriedly. Kamijou raised a hand and waved it, indicating that he was alright. Who would do such a thing? Chloroform was the most toxic among Trihalomethanes, and may even cause cancer. Mikoto couldn't possibly inhale this thing.
(Who is it...?)
Kamijou suddenly started to worry about Index, who wasn't there. Even though he knew that time was short, Kamijou still couldn't help but run up to the second level.
Up the stairs, through the corridor, he slammed Touya's bedroom door open.
Kamijou saw Index collapsed on the floor as well. But this time, Kamijou didn't try to get down and detect CHCl3. The moment he saw Index's rhythmic breathing, Kamijou concluded that Index was drugged. With them sleeping like that, they wouldn't wake up just from shaking them.
(The question is, who did it?)
He didn't know who did it, or for what reason; Kamijou could only keep his guard up meaninglessly. At that moment, Touya finally caught up. On seeing Index—no, to Touya, she was his wife Shiina—on the floor, his face went pale.
"T-Touma! Why did it end up like this? What's going on?"
"I want to ask this question!"
Kamijou remembered something he had to do.
"Listen, dad. If this keeps up, everyone will lose their lives. If we want to stop that, we have to remove Angel Fall. Since you activated it, you have to remove it!"
"Touma, now's not the time for jokes—"
"I KNOW! NOW'S NOT THE TIME FOR JOKES! YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO REMOVE IT? THEN ALRIGHT! JUST TELL ME WHERE YOU ACTIVATED ANGEL FALL! I'LL HANDLE THE REST!"
But Touya still stared at Kamijou with a puzzled expression.
He didn't seem to understand what Kamijou was saying.
"Touma, what's this Angel Fall? Is that an expression?"
Now that Touya asked that, Kamijou looked puzzled.
Touya didn't look like he was lying. He really didn't seem to have anything with magic. Had he mistaken something? Kamijou wondered.
"Forget about it, Kami-yan. He really doesn't understand anything."
A voice suddenly rang from the entrance of the room.
Kamijou and Touya turned around, and they were shocked to see the person in front of them.
To Touya, he should have been some television idol. This man that suddenly appeared confused Touya.
"Ah, I knocked them out. We shouldn't get ordinary civilians involved anyway."
Tsuchimikado did not sound any different from usual.
The image of the Tsuchimikado he knew through his everyday life started to crack.
"Ahh, from what I can tell from Kami-yan's expression, you still don't know the truth? Can't be helped, you're still an amateur in magic."
The cracks were starting to extend out, cracking like glass.
What was standing in front of him wasn't the Tsuchimikado Motoharu that Kamijou Touma was so familiar with.
He was mysterious and unknown.
"Wait, wait a second, Tsuchimikado! You did notice that something's wrong with my dad, right? I'm thinking that maybe someone else caused Angel Fall—"
"Nope, the culprit's Touya, that can't be wrong. It's just that he didn't realize it because he didn't intentionally activate Angel Fall."
Hearing Tsuchimikado say that, Touya was enraged.
"W-what culprit? We just met for the first time. It's disrespectful for you to say that! Are all actors like you!?"
Kamijou looked puzzled at Touya's reaction. If he really had activated Angel Fall, then why was he affected by it...?
"That, that's right, Tsuchimikado! My dad's just an ordinary person unlike you magicians. How can he activate such a complicated global-scale spell? And you did say before that such a large spell needs a huge magic array or ritual site, but you couldn't even find—"
"At your house. It's at your house, Kami-yan. Haven't you realized that?"
Hearing Tsuchimikado say that, Kamijou was dumbstruck.
He couldn't understand what Tsuchimikado meant.
"I said before, my specialty is feng shui. And feng shui is about using the space and household furniture in the house to create a circuit of magic."
"Basically, it's about arranging the space and household furniture to form a magic array."
Kamijou didn't understand what Tsuchimikado was saying.
He was lost.
"Oi, oi, what are you saying? Isn't that too ridiculous? How can such an ordinary house be some mysterious ritual site? What changing room space is able to create a magic array...that's too ridiculous!"
"That's not an ordinary house. Aren't there are lot of charms, exotic crafts and religious gifts? Though each are mass-produced items that don't have too much meaning in them, and their power is weak, don't look down on these counterfeits. Once you place them in the correct feng shui and Onmyodo positions, there will be a multiplying effect."
For some reason, Tsuchimikado seemed really happy.
"For example, isn't there are a Cypress shrub beside the main door?"
"How would I know?"
"There is one. There's also a nest on the tree. That's mistletoe, and it means to let birds rest. In Shintoism, the shrine entrances will always set up mistletoe. There's a huge significance to this, do you understand, Kami-yan?"
"That's the Torii. As the name suggests, it's the resting place of birds. Torii are places to let spirit birds, the messenger of Gods, rest. And speaking of cypress Torii, one will think of the Ise Grand Shrine. Explain it, why is there such a coincidence?"
Tsuchimikado said happily.
"Also, the main door facing south has a red mailbox. South is represented by the colour red. There's a tortoise guardian beast toy in the bathroom, which represents water. The fridge and microwave in the kitchen have tiger toys on them; the guardian beast of metal is the Byakko. Though all these aren't anything much, that house has at least three thousand charms. If such a large amount gather together, the house will form a shrine."
Even hearing Tsuchimikado's words, Kamijou was still unable to believe it.
To Kamijou, these were all twisted logic on Tsuchimikado's side.
"Hm, I guess it's because the Kamijou couple came to the seaside and left the house empty that the ritual site is incomplete, huh?"
Tsuchimikado stared at Touya with an enthusiastic yet cold-blooded smile.
"Really, it seems like Touya's a lot scarier than your right hand. In terms of probability, that's too perfect. My feeling right now is like seeing a complete diamond. But is this perfect coincidence something lucky or unlucky?"
"S-stop joking about! Anyone can tell that your words are too far-fetched!"
"I know, it's really too far-fetched—which was why I didn't dare to destroy it easily."
For the first time, the carefree attitude disappeared from Tsuchimikado's face.
Just as Kamijou was feeling puzzled, Tsuchimikado said, "Kami-yan, it's true that what I just said was too far-fetched, really twisted, but Angel Fall was really activated. The term 'miracle' should be referring to such things. Kami-yan, do you believe in miracles? Do you believe in a one in ten thousand coincidence?"
"STOP SPOUTING NONSENSE! HOW CAN THERE BE SUCH A THING! I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MAGIC, BUT HOW CAN ELECTRICAL CIRCUITS AND INTRICATE MACHINES CONNECT UNKNOWINGLY!?"
"But it's a fact that Angel Fall activated. Let's think about this, Kami-yan. There's a way to cause a miracle to happen 100% of the time."
Wha, what...? Kamijou's mind went blank.
Tsuchimikado chuckled as he said to Kamijou, "The Kamijou residence has a lot of souvenirs. The reason why these souvenirs were placed like that wasn't because he wanted to create Angel Fall. To the amateur Touya, this is just a coincidence, a result of setting things up like this. This Angel Fall magic array was just created by the numerous souvenirs out of coincidence."
Tsuchimikado then said, "But even if Angel Fall doesn't activate, another huge magic spell will be activated. By slightly changing the location of the souvenirs, the magic array's circuit will merely be switched."
Tsuchimikado flipped his hand about and said, "So that magic array won't fail. No matter how he placed the souvenirs, a large magic spell will still be activated."
It was just that they just so happened to activate Angel Fall this time.
Even if the spell that was activated wasn't Angel Fall, another calamity would still occur.
"Kami-yan, do you know why I didn't say all of this in your house? It's because that magic array's in a stable state and can't be changed. Angel Fall is one of the less dangerous spells. That magic array may change into Great Earthquake, Abnormal Reverse World, Eternal Cold—such terrifying spells can easily cause a country to disappear from the map...or may even become some unique magic array that even I don't understand. Forget about an amateur like you not understanding, that's something not even a magician——a feng shui master like me, Tsuchimikado could understand. We definitely can't allow this magic array to activate. Once it does, it's all over."
If Kamijou touched a souvenir and caused Angel Fall to be removed.
Another huge spell may instantly occur.
"Now that I think back about it, that was close. Kamijou Touma, Kanzaki Kaori, Misha Kreutzev, Hino Jinsaku and me, Tsuchimikado Motoharu—if anyone of us touched one of the souvenirs in Kami-yan's house, Angel Fall may be changed into another huge spell."
Kamijou finally recalled; this was the reason why Tsuchimikado had wanted everyone to leave Kamijou's house.
But Kamijou was still thinking of excuses to deny it in his heart.
"B-but, oh yeah, my dad's just an ordinary person, an ordinary company worker. You need magic power to activate magic, right? My dad doesn't know how to control magic power!"
"There's no need for it. I said it before, Kami-yan, the so-called feng shui are spells that use the energy of the earth, and these are unrelated to human magic."
Tsuchimikado raised his index finger and shook it.
"Assume that the energy of the earth is a generator, Kamijou Touya is a transformer, and the souvenir magic array is a circuit. Touya's an important accomplice."
Perhaps the reason Touya was only half-affected by the Angel Fall was because of this.
Touya was one of the culprits behind Angel Fall, not the main culprit, but an accomplice.
Angel Fall wasn't activated through human hands.
The main culprit behind Angel Fall was the devilish-luck-like coincidence of feng shui's mechanisms.
"Damn it," Kamijou cursed softly.
Tsuchimikado completely ignored Kamijou's response and continued.
"That house is like a train that has numerous changing tracks. Randomly destroying a souvenir will cause Angel Fall to be changed into another magic array," Tsuchimikado rattled on, "So if we want to destroy Angel Fall, we definitely can't move the souvenirs one by one. We have to destroy it all. I actually wanted to get you away from the magic array, kidnap that uncle, then talk with Kreutzev before getting Kanzaki's help to get back to your old house and destroy the magic array...guess I was too naive. The schedule was so packed that an accident wrecked the entire plan."
"Damn it," Kamijou cursed again.
"What's going on? Why did it end up like that? Dad doesn't know anything about magic, so why did it end up like that—"
"There's no reason."
Tsuchimikado casually replied to Kamijou, who was full of despair, and said, "There's no reason, no cause, no logic, no theory, no cause and effect, no aim, no meaning, no value. Nothing at all. Kami-yan, you should understand this well."
Hearing Tsuchimikado say that, Kamijou was still unable to understand, and could only look puzzled like a child.
Tsuchimikado however brought a cruel smile and said, "It's just bad luck."
Kamijou couldn't understand that at all.
After a while, his frozen brain, like ice melting in a cup, started to think.
Because of bad luck.
Because of misfortune.
Was that the conclusion? Hino Jinsaku got involved unnecessarily, Power of God created such havoc, half the earth would be burned thirty minutes later, Kamijou Touya was treated as the culprit behind this, all that was explained with such a simple sentence?
"...You, YOU'RE KIDDING ME!?"
Kamijou shook his head. He didn't know what expression to show.
But anyway, Angel Fall must be removed.
What bad luck? What misfortune?
The situation couldn't be treated as if it had never happened just because it was so stupid.
Even if Angel Fall's magic array was at Kamijou's old house, there was no other way. Even though he didn't know what magic array would form, he could only hurry up, go back and destroy the magic array—anyway, they had to prevent the Power of God from activating the Sweep!
"Never mind, it's too late,"
At that moment, Tsuchimikado coldly said that.
"Have you forgotten how far your house is from here? No matter how much we dash, we won't be able to make it."
"Then what do we do? I don't know whether we can succeed, but at least we can try, right? Do you have any better ideas?"
Tsuchimikado smiled sinisterly as he replied without any hesitation.
His face was giving a look saying 'why can't you even think of such a simple method' and he stepped into the room.
"A certain someone here just needs to sacrifice himself."
Kamijou's body went cold.
Even though he didn't know what that meant, Kamijou instinctively stepped in front of Touya. Though Touya didn't understand what was going on, he seemed to notice that he was in danger.
Seeing Kamijou, Tsuchimikado laughed.
He said, "Great, really great. Kanzaki's accompanying that stupid angel. She definitely wouldn't allow anyone to be killed in front of her. I would be stopped if I proposed this.
Saying that, Tsuchimikado stepped forward.
Kamijou felt a tremendous pressure in his stomach, and inadvertently pushed Touya back with his back.
"You should understand, Kami-yan. In this situation, we need someone to sacrifice himself if we want to end this. Don't worry, only one person will be needed, I can assure you that. So Kami-yan, you don't have to worry at all, but someone will have to, Kami-yan."
Tsuchimikado smiled as he waved his arms. His arms were rather long, matching his height.
"Truly, I'm in a fix, since I can't use magic now. Even with this body, I still need to accept orders from the church, and it's really difficult, don't you think so, Kami-yan?
Tsuchimikado said that with a really interested tone.
At that moment, Kamijou finally remembered how Tsuchimikado often called himself.
A liar, a spy.
"Damn it, what kind of sick joke is this!?"
Kamijou gritted his teeth and said, "Don't belittle me! I won't allow you to kill for this reason! No way will I allow it!"
"Fu, Kami-yan, you don't have to be too mindful? Besides, you're not the one who's dying anyway, it has nothing to do with you."
Tsuchimikado's words seemed to be mocking Kamijou.
Kamijou's own father was about to be killed right in front of him, how could he just leave it as it was?
"Damn it, get out of the way! Tsuchimikado! Don't get in my way! Can't we just run back to my old house and use my right hand to destroy the magic array?"
"Seems like you still don't understand. Unless one hit can kill the entire spell, or we kill the caster who's providing the power, it won't work. Besides, no matter how much we try, we can't possibly get back to your house in time."
"HOW YOU DO KNOW WITHOUT TRYING!"
"Do you think this traitor will be willing to use such an unreliable method?"
Kamijou was almost about to grind his teeth to bits.
Tsuchimikado didn't want to try a method with only questionable reliability; right from the start, he had chosen the simplest and most evil method. It was useless to try and talk to that sort of person. No matter what, he wouldn't be able to convince that person.
Kamijou clenched his right fist and stepped forward.
Seeing Kamijou like that, Tsuchimikado Motoharu smiled with a pitiful expression.
"Forget about it, Kami-yan. This will only get you injured for naught."
"STOP MESSING AROUND! I CAN'T WASTE A SINGLE SECOND! I WILL TAKE YOU DOWN WITH ONE HIT!"
Kamijou definitely wouldn't dare underestimate those beings called magicians. He had seen the power of Stiyl and Aureolus Izzard, and so he understood how terrifying magicians could be.
But right now, Tsuchimikado couldn't use magic.
Having gone through the esper development program in Academy City, he shouldn't have been able to use magic again.
"Kami-yan, do you think that I, an expert, will lose to an amateur just because I can't use magic?"
But Tsuchimikado was still rather carefree.
"Let me ask you again, Kami-yan. Even if you know that there's no other way, are you still going to try and stop me?"
Kamijou gritted his teeth tightly.
In the corner of his eyes, Kamijou saw Touya looking rather nervous.
Touya shouldn't have been able to understand the conversation between Kamijou and Tsuchimikado, but perhaps he could feel that the situation was getting tense, and that it was all related to him.
Seeing Touya's expression, Tsuchimikado revealed a cruel smile.
"Ah, it should be painful that you don't understand your own position right? Though you won't understand the details even after I tell you, I can tell you the conclusion."
Kamijou was stunned.
Kamijou frantically tried to prevent Tsuchimikado from continuing, but it was too late.
"Basically, in less than thirty minutes, a lot of people will die. And this is your fault, Kamijou Touya."
But that roar ended up affecting Kamijou Touya even more.
Tsuchimikado happily stared at the father and son pair.
"Okay, Kami-yan, what do you intend to do? Are you going to stop me, or not?"
If they didn't remove Angel Fall soon, Power of God's magic would raze half the earth.
To Kanzaki, who was holding off Power of God, the longer it went on, the more dangerous it was.
If there was no other way...
If they couldn't find any other way even if they searched throughout the entire world.
"...Do you still need to ask?"
"I WILL STOP YOU!"
Kamijou roared like a beast.
"I DON'T AGREE WITH THIS! IF SUCH A CRUEL RULE THAT NEEDS TO SACRIFICE OTHERS REALLY EXIST, I WILL KILL OFF THIS RIDICULOUS ILLUSION!"
For a moment, Tsuchimikado was smiling like a child.
"Then how about this, Kami-yan."
The smile instantly vanished.
Both of them were about three metres away from each other, each within attacking range.
Tsuchimikado casually said, "Ten seconds, If you can last for ten seconds, I'll give you a pat."
BAM! Tsuchimikado let out a stomp underneath his foot. But it wasn't the sole landing on the floor.
But the foot.
Kamijou Touma's foot had been stomped on by Tsuchimikado. The loud stomping sound was actually a cheap blow.
Kamijou felt that his foot got nailed and inadvertently tried to back off, but his foot was held in place, and he couldn't move. Kamijou's body swayed, unable to do anything, and his eyes looked down at the foot that had been stomped on.
But that was a fatal mistake.
The moment Kamijou looked down, Tsuchimikado smashed his head down from the blind spot above, and the hard forehead slammed into Kamijou's undefended skullcap.
GONG! With the sound of this intense hit, Kamijou's feet lost balance. It was like he had been hit by a concrete block or a glass ashtray.
But Tsuchimikado didn't stop.
Tsuchimikado right hand started to move. Kamijou could roughly see Tsuchimikado's right hand take a large swing. In boxing terms, it was a hook. The sure-kill boxing technique moved in a horizontal manner as it aimed at Kamijou's temple.
With his foot stepped on, Kamijou couldn't back away, and his dazed brain couldn't see the attack clearly enough to dodge. Thus, he could only try to use his hand to block the side of his head.
Shu! The punch missed.
This less-than-a-second blank stunned Kamijou. Both of them were so close that their noses could touch, so there was really no need to swing a missed punch. Why didn't Tsuchimikado's fist hit at such a distance?
It wasn't that he didn't hit, but that he had deliberately missed.
Kamijou got the answer in less than a second. Tsuchimikado's punch passed the side of Kamijou's head and aimed at the back of his head. It was as if his hook was aimed at hugging the neck.
The back of the head.
Even if it was karate or boxing, it was illegal to hit here as there could be aftershocks.
BOOM!!! A huge impact.
The hit caused all the strength in Kamijou's body to vanish and his body tumbled down. The second punch that Tsuchimikado sent out fizzed past his head from above.
But Kamijou was unable to make use of this chance.
Kamijou couldn't take the savage illegal attack and collapsed onto the floor. His wrists were moving irregularly. His rattled brain gave him a feeling of vertigo. It seemed like the moment his abdomen relaxed, something would flow out from his stomach.
If he compared the alchemist and Accelerator's attacks to slamming the entire body onto a huge metal plate, then Tsuchimikado's attacks were like nails that smashed into the main 'vital spots' on the skeleton.
Front back left right up down far near. Though he was facing Tsuchimikado, Kamijou felt that he was being stared at by numerous people around him.
"You can't even last three seconds?"
Looking down at Kamijou, Tsuchimikado sneered.
That was the difference between Kamijou and Tsuchimikado.
Even though an expert may slip up and reveal an opening when fighting against an amateur, the difference in ability between an expert and an amateur wouldn't change because of a little slip up.
An ace pitcher of a pee-wee club wouldn't become a real professional opponent.
The main fighter of a judo club in middle school wouldn't be able to beat an Olympic gold medalist.
Kamijou frantically tried to get even.
Even though he could barely move his fingers, he was still trying to stand up.
"It's useless, Kami-yan. Because of how the human body is constructed, there are some parts that can't be strengthened no matter how much training you make. For more information, please read the Kaitai Shinsho."
In other words, those were vital spots.
"Kami-yan, AIDS can't be healed through willpower, the Ebola virus won't be healed through patience, everyone knows that, right? It's the same logic, right now, you can't stand up, it's not a mental issue but an anatomical issue."
Even though numerous people in the past had confirmed its effectiveness, their destructiveness was so powerful that most people abstained from using them out of consciousness. However, these had become Tsuchimikado Motoharu's favourite weapons.
Even if he was criticized as being despicable and dirty, Tsuchimikado wouldn't even frown.
Tsuchimikado fought on the battlefield with his life on the line.
To Tsuchimikado, defeat would mean that everything he had been protecting would be lost.
Kamijou looked up at that strong opponent who was looking down at him.
But Tsuchimikado showed a gentle smile that shouldn't be used in this situation at Kamijou.
"Kami-yan, right now, I don't have anything, nothing at all. The magic I originally had was wasted, my half-ready esper abilities are stuck at a useless Level 0. In order to sneak into Academy City, I was a magician no longer. I lost all my fighting abilities."
Tsuchimikado said, "—But the enemy won't be waiting for me."
He then continued.
"—So I have to win no matter the means."
In that calm tone, Kamijou could feel a slight chill and shuddered.
The talent that he was born with didn't exist anymore, and no matter how much he worked, he wouldn't get any results. The only strength Tsuchimikado had was that desire to win. Burning and refining his fists on the purgatory-like battlefield, training in the hellish-like death-matches. With the price of numerous scars, he had managed to obtain the foul techniques of fighting for his life even when an inch away from death.
Despicable was nothing.
Tsuchimikado Motoharu would even defy human nature in order to win.
What caused Tsuchimikado to thirst for victory so much?
Even if he didn't ask the person himself, Kamijou could guess.
It was most likely because there was something that Tsuchimikado wanted to protect.
There was something that Tsuchimikado must protect no matter what, even if he had to roll in the dirt, taste blood, lie to others and betray the entire world. Any disadvantage wouldn't cause Tsuchimikado to hesitate, none.
Staring at the lost Kamijou, Tsuchimikado said slowly, "Can you win Kami-yan?"
He sounded like he was lecturing a disobedient child.
"Do you think you can beat someone like me? This isn't a shallow question of an expert against an amateur. Can the Kamijou Touma who casually lived his everyday life beat me, Tsuchimikado Motoharu?"
Kamijou couldn't answer.
"Lie down, amateur."
Tsuchimikado said nonchalantly.
Tsuchimikado stepped over the defeated Kamijou and moved forward at Touya.
Kamijou glared at Tsuchimikado's back as he gritted his teeth and tried to get up. However, his wrist trembled as he moved, and he couldn't support his own weight. Also, there was a mistaken feeling that if he used too much force, his wounds would open and he'd start losing blood.
Even so, he still had to stand up.
He had to!
Kamijou suddenly heard someone talk at him.
It was not Tsuchimikado's voice.
But an even gentler voice that had a force hidden in it. It was his father's voice.
"That's enough, don't stand up any more, Touma. You shouldn't be hurt because of this."
"Oh, seems like Kami-yan's father is really understanding."
Kamijou couldn't see Tsuchimikado's expression, but he felt that he was grinning.
However, facing Tsuchimikado, Kamijou Touya wasn't terrified at all.
"I don't understand what's going on, but you can do anything to me. However, don't do anything to Touma, he's unrelated to this. No, even if he is, I won't allow you to do anything to Touma."
Tsuchimikado let out an enthusiastic smile.
Touya should have been afraid. He was just a member of the working class, an amateur among amateurs. Forget about fighting at an expert level, even a fight in an alley should have terrified him.
"Let me say this again, don't do anything to Touma. I won't allow it, never. If you do that, I won't forgive you, ever. Listen up, ever."
But Touya actually manned up and said such things to a real magician.
There was no reason to explain it. The only reason was that Touya felt that this was the attitude a father should have.
"How amusing. Do you think you can beat me on rage alone?"
"I don't think so."
Touya mocked himself as he chuckled.
"I'm just an ordinary middle-aged man. My lungs and liver were already damaged by smoke and alcohol, and because I lack exercise, I'm getting all sorts of problems all over my body and this really troubles me."
But Touya continued to glare at the magician.
He never looked away nor turned his eyes; he just glared at him straight in the face.
"But I definitely won't forgive you. Even if I can't beat you, even if I lose countless times, I won't forgive you. Because I'm an amateur, I don't have what I'm going up against, and I have no place to negotiate. Decades, centuries, no matter what, I will pursue you. Even if I die and turn into bone, I won't forgive you. Listen, if you don't understand, let me tell you something."
Kamijou Touya said as he stepped forward, looking like he was taunting.
In order to be of equal standing as the magician Tsuchimikado Motoharu.
"I'm Kamijou Touma's father. I'm proud to be his father."
Kamijou heard those words.
He started to think.
Kamijou Touya was just a guy who bought weird souvenirs and still flirted with his mother (Index during these two days) even at this age; he didn't look reliable. For the things that happened to Kamijou, like his memory loss or anything related to the magic world, he wouldn't be able to help. To be honest, in terms of arm strength, that man still couldn't beat an ordinary middle school student, so there was no point in hoping that he could perform in a battle.
But Kamijou Touya was Kamijou's father.
Who could be stronger and more reliable than a father?
So how could Kamijou just sit by and watch this?
How could he watch and let his father be killed by a magician just like that?
(...I, definitely won't.)
Kamijou's lips were moving. The silent muttering echoed in Kamijou's heart.
His fingers were moving as well.
(...Allow you to do that.)
Kamijou gritted his teeth, forcing his muscles that were like cut wires and not following orders.
The fingers grabbed the floor, gradually increasing in power.
(I DEFINITELY WON'T ALLOW YOU TO DO THAT!!)
A cracking sound could be heard within Kamijou's body.
But he didn't mind. Besides, his body didn't feel as much pain now.
He crouched down, barely forcing his upper body up.
"Stop it! Touma!"
Touya said it. Kamijou Touya, who could declare war without flinching even when he was up against a real magician, was about to cry on seeing the battered Kamijou.
"You don't need to worry about dad. From what you two said just now, dad knows that he did too many unforgivable things. So Touma, you don't have to stand up again."
Hearing Touya's painful words made Kamijou even more determined not to give up.
Like a puppet with a gear loose, Kamijou swayed about randomly, causing Touya to be unable to look on again.
"That's enough. Even if you risk your life to save me, nobody will benefit. So Touma, please don't stand up. Please, just like that—"
"What...kind of a joke is that."
Kamijou interrupted Touya.
Facing the surprised Touya, Kamijou gritted his teeth and said, "THE ONE WHO WILL BE SAVED IS HERE. I'M HAPPY IF YOU CAN LIVE ON!!!"
The time within Touya's body stopped. The expression disappeared off his face.
Wasn't that a simple logic?
No matter what, Kamijou Touma always wished for Kamijou Touya to live on.
Because Touya hadn't done anything wrong.
Of course, if he hadn't meant ill, he didn't need to be responsible for his own actions, Kamijou understood that. Right now, there was no time to settle the responsibilities, he understood that as well.
But Touya really hadn't done anything wrong.
His own child was unfortunate. There was no reason, he had never done anything wrong, but he had been born with constant misfortune. As his father, Touya had bought some charms to save his child. It was just that.
Kamijou Touya had just wanted to save his own son.
It was just that simple.
It was just that simple!
Why had Touya's intentions ended up creating Angel Fall, ended up with him being the culprit, and unfortunately ended up with him being hunted?
Misfortune Misfortune Misfortune Misfortune!!!
Such a stupid meaningless word that demanded Touya die because of it; how could anyone accept it? No, no matter the reason, Kamijou wouldn't accept it. Even though Kamijou's legs were medically unable to move, he still continued to force strength into his legs, with a determination to get up even if he became a zombie.
Kamijou's eyes were glaring at the magician who was looking down at him.
"--Listen to me, if you don't understand, let me tell you something."
"--I'm Kamijou Touya's son. I'm proud to be his son!"
Just like that, Kamijou Touma roared as he stood up.
Just that action alone made Kamijou's muscles, bones, organs and blood vessels cry out in agony.
But so what?
Those things weren't enough reason to stop Kamijou Touma.
Like a wounded beast, Kamijou glared at the enemy in front of him.
The enemy in front of him.
He was no longer feeling fear nor despair.
Kamijou wanted to beat down the enemy in front of him.
"I didn't hit your vitals...? No, it's because you stepped forward the moment after you took the blow to the head. Your courage ended up causing you lesser damage."
Tsuchimikado said to Kamijou with a slightly surprised look, but Kamijou didn't reply.
Seeing Kamijou's expression, Tsuchimikado smirked.
"Oh, your eyes are finally showing something. Now I can finally go all out. Alright, this Tsuchimikado Motoharu recognizes Kamijou Touma as an enemy."
Tsuchimikado casually said that as he faced Kamijou head on. As Touya was blocking them, Tsuchimikado pushed him apart. And just as Touya was trying to block Tsuchimikado...
"GET YOUR DIRTY HANDS OFF MY DAD! OR ELSE I'LL KILL YOU!!!"
Touya was more shocked by his own teammate Touma shouting at him rather than the enemy Tsuchimikado's actions, and stopped.
In that narrow room, Kamijou and Tsuchimikado were calculating their attack ranges. In Kamijou's current situation, Tsuchimikado just needed to use some stalling tactics and let Kamijou die off, but it didn't seem like that was what he intended to do.
He must beat the enemy. He must beat the enemy at this moment.
Right now, the smile disappeared off Tsuchimikado's face as though he was being respectful to the enemy. His long arms went into a boxing pose, swaying about slightly and looking like he was going to go all out. For a battle between an expert and an amateur, this may have been too cruel, too merciless, but Kamijou smiled. To Kamijou, it meant that Tsuchimikado was willing to go all out.
Kamijou clenched his limp fists and silently raised them.
A second of blank.
Kamijou's and Tsuchimikado's fists tapped each other.
At that moment, the fight restarted.
BAM! Tsuchimikado immediately dashed up at Kamijou.
This time, Kamijou took a step back, and so didn't get his foot stepped on.
But the momentum Tsuchimikado had from charging wasn't changed.
In such a short distance, where their noses could touch each other, Tsuchimikado swung his fist. The right hook took a huge semicircle—it looked ordinary, but it was another attack to the back of the head!
But Kamijou immediately brought his left hand to the back of his head to protect it. If the brain that maintains the balance got hit, one hit would be enough to knock someone out. That really was a killer technique.
But unexpectedly, Kamijou's defending left hand didn't take any impact.
Looking closely, Tsuchimikado took back the right hand that had swung halfway and launched into another attack.
A move that could merely beat an opponent couldn't be called a killer technique. A real killer technique was one that made enemies fear its name alone, one worthy of the title 'sure-kill'.
But the moment Kamijou realised it, it was too late. At such a short distance, Kamijou had pulled a hand back, meaning that he had left the entire body unprotected, open to the enemy.
In contrast, Tsuchimikado didn't have any unnecessary moves.
Tsuchimikado wasn't clenching his left hand. The open hand cut an arc with amazing speed and smacked into Kamijou's ear. PA! The impact passed through the ear into the eardrum and the three semicircular canals. Kamijou's legs weakened as they lost their sense of balance.
Just as Kamijou's kneecap bent down, at the moment he was about to kneel down, Tsuchimikado's right arm attacked again. It was not a fist, but a hammer-like elbow. Kamijou managed to see it, but his limp and tired limbs were unable to accept his commands. The hard hit wasn't aimed at the face or the chest, but at Kamijou's neck.
Kamijou was unable to breathe at all. It was amazing that his windpipe didn't snap.
He knelt down.
Even though he was trying to support himself, his body wasn't able to muster any strength.
But Kamijou still clenched his fist.
Even though his body was about to collapse, he bit his lip and swung a right punch at Tsuchimikado's face.
The decisive punch was focused onto Tsuchimikado's face.
But what he got was only a light sound.
That was Kamijou's remaining strength.
Even if he was left alone, Kamijou would collapse. However, Tsuchimikado used his kneecap to kick up at Kamijou's chest.
The hit of a raging bull knocked Kamijou up.
His body, floating in the air, was unable to maintain balance and then collapsed down onto the floor.
Tsuchimikado said happily, "Ten seconds. Very impressive, Kami-yan."
Kamijou didn't respond.
He couldn't move even a single finger now. He couldn't even tremble. No, the fact that he could stand up just now was already unbelievable. After Tsuchimikado's kneecap attack, he felt like a patient who had some anesthesia and got his chest cut open in an operation.
It was amazing that he was still alive.
But Kamijou still didn't give up as he glared at Tsuchimikado, who was looking down at him.
Touya shouted as he came running over. He bent down to Kamijou's face, seemingly shouting something, but Kamijou was unable to hear it. Kamijou only knew that Touya looked like he was about to cry anytime. Such an idiot, Kamijou thought. What Touya should have been worrying about right now was his own life.
(I don't want to lose him.)
Kamijou thought that from the bottom of his heart. He didn't want to lose his father. He definitely didn't want to lose that stupid father who knew that he was about to die and yet was only thinking about his son.
But he couldn't even move a single finger.
Touya seemed to be shouting something as he clenched his fist and charged at Tsuchimikado. Even when he saw that scene, Kamijou was still unable to clench his fist, let alone move. Tsuchimikado looked like he was trying to chase a bug in front of him away as he smacked the side of Touya's face, sending him collapsing to the side.
It looked like a light hit—but that wasn't the case. Tsuchimikado's palm hit directly onto Touya's ear, directly hitting the eardrum and the three semicircular valves, knocking him out.
Being hit on the side, Touya was unable to move again.
Unable to move.
Kamijou, collapsed on the floor, glared at Tsuchimikado who stared back at him.
Tsuchimikado then said, "Kami-yan, it's time to give up. Time's up. Even if you drive a Ferrari back, we won't be able to get back to your house in time. There's no way to remove Angel Fall other than to sacrifice someone. You understand this, right? Even so, you still wouldn't accept my method?"
Kamijou, who shouldn't have been able to hear anything now, clearly heard Tsuchimikado's voice.
So Kamijou replied, "...Of course!"
Though he didn't know whether Tsuchimikado could hear it, he still continued.
"...Why must we accept such a method! I won't accept any method unless everyone can smile happily and live on peacefully!"
"Is that so?" Tsuchimikado asked.
Then, Tsuchimikado stopped talking to Kamijou.
"—Establish the Altar. The paper snow will now remove the corruption on the eight-sided Altar (Ladies and gentlemen, behold a magic full of tricks and mysteries!)"
Tsuchimikado pulled out a camera film roll container, opened the contents inside and scattered them around.
One-centimetre squared papers flew out of that camera film roll container.
"—Designate the boundary. The four sides of the seal protected, treasures to be obtained from the four earths (Today's stage is over here! Let me begin with the cumbersome preparation!)"
The surrounding air started to feel cold.
The atmosphere changed completely. The hot tropical night seemed to become a spring deep inside a forest.
"—The folded paper will be the basis of this spell that's to be supported by the spirits (And now, allow me to introduce my comrades of the magic brigade!)"
Tsuchimikado continued to mutter as he pulled out four camera film roll containers.
Each of them contain miniature folded animals, tortoise, tiger, bird and dragon, and he tossed them to the four corners of the room.
"—Commanding the four beasts. Black of the North, White of the West, Red of the South, Blue of the East! (Work faster, you idiots! Genbu, Byakko, Suzaku, Seiryuu!)"
The four walls seemed to respond to Tsuchimikado's command as they let out a dim glow.
Black, White, Red, Blue. With the film roll containers at the centre, the folded colours at the walls became even brighter.
"—Offering the Altar. Summoning the force to stabilize the Altar (The pistol is complete, now it's time to load the bullet!)"
(This is magic,) Kamijou thought.
He could have used his fists to kill, but Tsuchimikado chose to use magic. It was as if he was trying to brag to Kamijou.
"—At the early hours of 1-3, the wicked and wild witch with the nail will provide the motivation (This bullet shall be one so ridiculously powerful and violent!)"
(Wait, something's not right.)
Kamijou felt that something was not right, and inadvertently looked up at Tsuchimikado.
"—Using this boundary to replace the scarecrow (A seal will be formed on the pistol!)
Tsuchimikado was grinning.
He was grinning really happily.
"—Using thy God to replace the nail (A Shikigami will be cast on the bullet!)"
But even though he was grinning, Tsuchimikado's mouth was bleeding.
Tsuchimikado didn't have any intention of stopping.
"—Using thy fist to replace the hammer (Your hand will pull the trigger!)"
Espers couldn't use magic.
Tsuchimikado had said so before. Besides, to counter Angel Fall, Tsuchimikado had already used a spell once, and his body had barely been able to take the damage. If he used magic again, he would really die.
If so, why did he want to use magic?
If he wanted to kill the amateur Touya, he could have just used his fists.
"I said it before, Kami-yan."
"There're only two ways to get rid of Angel Fall. One is to kill the caster, the other is to destroy the magic array."
(Don't tell me,) Kamijou wondered.
There was no need to use magic to kill the caster Touya.
If so, the method Tsuchimikado wanted to use was...
"Kanzaki's too kind," Tsuchimikado stuttered and said, "If I were to use this method, I would definitely be stopped by her. She's just like that."
It was as if numerous blades were slicing Tsuchimikado's body, and blood gushed out from numerous wounds.
That was right, Tsuchimikado had said so before. If they wanted to settle this, they would have to sacrifice someone's life.
Tsuchimikado had never said that he wanted to kill Kamijou Touya.
His body instantly became thoroughly scarred, but he still smiled.
He was the one who understood the most what happened when espers used magic.
It was because he understood this that he had to learn all sorts of betrayals and cheap tricks.
Kamijou inadvertently muttered.
But Tsuchimikado said, "Ku, fufu. I knew that you'd do that. It's because I knew that you'd say that that I made you unable to move. Kami-yan, you're really like Kanzaki. If you knew of what I intended to do, you would have tried your best to stop me, right? If it wasn't, there's no point for me to protect you."
Tsuchimikado grinned like a child.
How could there be such a foolish man in the world?
At first, Kamijou thought that Tsuchimikado had some goal for him to get stronger, but as it turned out, there wasn't. He just wanted to protect the school life he so enjoyed even though he knew that he was a spy.
"Don't worry, Kami-yan. This little Angel Fall ritual area will definitely be blown up with my super long distance magic cannon. Though the water got controlled by the Power of God, which meant that I couldn't use my favourite black spell—it's good to use the red spell once in a while."
Tsuchimikado casually said.
"Sorry to beat you up so badly, Kami-yan. I wanted to use chloroform to knock you out, but it would take a few minutes to knock you out if I used a chloroformed handkerchief to cover your nose. If I used that on you, you wouldn't sit by and wait during those few minutes. I had no aces left, so I could only go tough on you. My magic definitely can't fail, not by your right hand—Imagine Breaker...the chances aren't great, but it's not impossible, isn't it?"
Tsuchimikado narrowed his eyes.
"Kami-yan, it's easy for a person to die, really easy. I understand that clearly. So I can't leave any chances—even if the chances of failing are 1% out of 100%, I have to eliminate it. Because human life is so weak."
So this spell must not have even a chance of failing. It must succeed.
"Kami-yan, you didn't have to worry about anything," Tsuchimikado said.
The thoroughly wounded Tsuchimikado Motoharu used magic again, and that meant...
"Hahaha. 'I don't agree with this! If such a cruel rule that needs to sacrifice others really exist, I will kill off this ridiculous illusion'. Such nice words. Though I didn't say it, I'm touched by it."
Tsuchimikado suddenly remembered and said that to Kamijou.
The silent smile on his face was like a patient who was about to die.
"S-stop it, you idiot..."
Kamijou tried to reach his hand out, but he couldn't even move his fingers by half a centimetre. Even though he was trying to stop Tsuchimikado, who was right in front of him, he was helpless.
Tsuchimikado looked at Kamijou and said, "I can't lend my ear to that wish."
Tsuchimikado finally sent some parting words to his close friend.
"Have you forgotten, Kami-yan? I'm a liar who works in my own way."
Just like that...
In front of Kamijou Touma's eyes...
Tsuchimikado continued on in a tone that was no different from before and finished the chant.
The glaring white light spread around, and a force broke through the roof and entered the night sky. The loud boom sounded like a beast's roar as it ripped through the night sky and headed towards the target.
That place was Kamijou's house.
Could that last hit end everything?
The multiple damages in Kamijou's body started to take effect. He started to lose consciousness.
However, Kamijou did hear something fall. He saw Tsuchimikado collapse onto the floor as if he was a puppet someone got sick of playing with.
The night sky with the full moon over it was now the sunset with a burning sky.
The night that was summoned by the Power of God's magic reverted back to the evening.
The girl who was collapsed beside the boy, Index, who was knocked out by the CHCl3, started to change in appearance.
A moment later, Index took on another woman's appearance. Kamijou Shiina, the boy's mother.
The role switch effect had ended.
Angel Fall was removed.
"Tsu, chi, mikado?"
The boy, who had been beaten badly, called out his friend's name before losing consciousness.
But he didn't get a response.
Tsuchimikado was lying on the floor, and red fluid started to seep out from the gap between the face and the floor.
His body sunk silently into the pool of blood.
He was not moving at all.