Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume6 Chapter1
Chapter 1: Opening Ceremony. Baby_Queen.
The morning of September 1.
Though Academy City, which covers 1/3 of Tokyo, was scorched by the sun, it was still covered by the cool air. There were very few pedestrians; only a Middle schooler bringing a dog for a walk and a University student jogging around. The wind turbines that were set everywhere were slowly moving, continuing to move this icy wind that seemed to come from deep within a forest.
In this cooling scene, Kamijou Touma was dragging his tired body on the road.
“So…so tired…this shouldn't be a day that an ordinary High school student should be having…”
This High school student’s T-shirt and pants were all drenched, as if he had just ran a marathon. Because the clothes had absorbed the moisture, they seemed twice as heavy.
If there was a need to mention the reason, we would have to go back to one day before, the 31st of August.
Last night, Kamijou had met a man named Yamisaka Ouma. In order to save a woman he knew, both of them had left Academy City.
One thing that had to be mentioned was that ‘leaving’ here could be used interchangeably as ‘forcing a way out’. Academy City was surrounded by high walls, and they were tightly guarded by Anti-Skill. No one could get out without a permit. In fact, if not for Yamisaka’s help, Kamijou himself wouldn’t have been able to get out. That magician had the nifty ‘Confusing Demon’s bow string’ that could ‘let them think that he had an exit permit’. However, everyone’s mental barrier differed in strength, and the effect would differ. Sometimes, they had to force their way out as well.
“…So ridiculous. It took my half my life just to break through the security perimeter, and yet it became another intense battle later. These creatures called magicians, why are they always merciless to outsiders? If I have to write a diary, yesterday’s exploits will be enough to fill one entire book up.”
Before everything was over, he had to forcefully break through a second time with Ouma as an escort to get back into Academy City.
(…Ah, can finally see the dorm now. Oh, now I’m finally back to the ordinary daily life.)
Truthfully, he had only left the dorm for less than one day, and yet Kamijou felt that it had been months since he was last there. However, as Kamijou didn’t have any memories of what happened before August, he was rather unclear about what it felt like to ‘leave home for months’.
Kamijou dragged his tired and sleepy body as he shakily stumbled into the student dormitory. He took the lift and then arrived in front of his room.
(Uu…I really feel like sleeping..)
Kamijou inadvertently gritted his teeth and yawned. If possible, he really wanted to collapse onto the bed and sleep for 2-3 days, but unfortunately, today was the 1st of September, the school opening day.
To Kamijou, who had lost his memories during the summer break, besides a few exceptions, he didn’t really have any memory of most of his classmates. So to his other classmates, today may have been an ordinary day, but to Kamijou, it was not much different from being a transfer student. It would have been a bit too crazy for a transfer student to skip school on the first day.
(I don’t really want to let anyone know…that I lost my memory. Besides, I won’t be having lessons today. I’ll just spend the day resting in school and pay attention to how I interact with others.)
The extremely unlucky Kamijou sighed with a sleepy feeling as he opened the door.
Just at this moment, a girl’s shrill voice could be heard within the room.
The voice had anger within it, but nothing else happened. The girl didn’t rush at Kamijou, who was standing at the door.
For a moment, Kamijou revealed a surprised look…and then he remembered.
Just as Kamijou was trying to make his almost-sleeping brain work, the owner of the voice finally moved herself from within the room. The foreign girl with waist-length silver hair and white skin was wearing snowy white nun robes with gold embroidery. It did look rather extravagant, but for some reason, the seams were patched with safety pins.
This girl with a childish demeanour was called Index.
…However, right now, Index was all tied up in ropes. Unable to move her limbs at all, Index continued to twist her body around the room like a caterpillar. A calico cat skillfully sat on Index’s head and casually yawned, giving one the impression that ‘the following guilty’ era had arrived.
“WAH! I forgot all about this! Were you like this all that time?”
“Touma! You left me and ran off like that. Is this what you’ll say when you came back!?”
Index said as she revealed her fangs.
As explained just now, Kamijou had met a man named Yamisaka Ouma last night. In order to save his friend, both of them had fought together for the entire night. For them to do such dangerous things, they obviously couldn’t bring the weak (?) Index along. But after Index had heard both their explanations, she started kicking, hammering and biting. In this situation, Yamisaka could only use what could be said to be a rope binding spell to tie Index up and force her to wait quietly at home.
“It happens again, it happens again! Touma went off to fight by himself again…! Touma, anyway, just get these ropes off me! These shimenawa form a mini-barrier. Touma just needs to use his right hand to destroy it!”
Touma’s right hand.
Within this right hand lay the power of something called the Imagine Breaker. As long as it was a supernatural power, whether esper or magic, everything would be erased with the single touch of the right hand. However, the weakness was that the power of the Imagine Breaker only existed on the right hand itself.
“However…you’re going to create quite the commotion once I undo the ropes.”
Index had a nasty habit of biting people when she was angry. Seeing her like this, releasing her would be like removing the collar of a vicious starving dog. To Kamijou, going to school on the first day with bite marks from a girl wasn’t a good thing…
At this moment, Index’s expression suddenly softened.
Basically, it was as if she was tricking a lost kid.
“Touma, if you release me right now, I won’t get angry. Why don’t you try it now?”
“…Really? You won’t get angry?”
“You won’t start biting me when the ropes are released?”
Index revealed a Virgin Mary-like smile.
Kamijou bent over and lightly touched the ropes on Index, who was on the floor, with his index finger. Immediately, as if a spell had been cast, the numerous ropes unravelled off Index.
The next moment, Index, who was released, immediately pounced onto Kamijou without any hesitation.
The girl bit onto Kamijou’s head viciously, as if a primitive just saw a huge slab of meat.
“TOUMA’S A BIG IDIOT!!”
Kamijou cried out in despair, but it was too late. Kamijou could only jump about painfully through the room. The right hand with the Imagine Breaker could dispel any magic or esper power, but it was completely useless against the ferocious beast Index.
“You…you lied! You said that you wouldn’t be angry! IT HURTS!!”
“Of course I would be angry! Really, you knew that you’re going to fight against magicians, and yet you left me at home! Even if Touma has an inexplicable power, you’re still an amateur when it comes to fighting magicians! What would you do if something happened?”
Kamijou stared at Index’s face, who was close in. Though she looked rather angry, her eyes looked like they would tear up any second.
Index suddenly reached her hands out and hugged Kamijou tightly as if it were a memento.
“…Really, what should I do?”
Being hugged in her chest, Kamijou heard the voice from above.
The long silver hair let out a faint scent.
The girl’s body was trembling.
Seems like she had been worried for the entire night when Kamijou hadn’t been at home.
Kamijou just said that.
He couldn’t say anything else.
Kamijou thought that he couldn’t let people who cared about him so much feel even more uncomfortable. Kamijou honestly wished not to hurt Index any further.
Index didn’t know that Kamijou Touma had lost his memories.
She would be even sadder once she knew of it, so Kamijou chose not to tell her.
Kamijou swayed about with his extremely sleepy head as he made breakfast for two. That said, it was just toast, bacon and eggs and vegetable salad and milk, four items.
On seeing breakfast, Index (and the calico cat) rushed towards the glass table. Kamijou however just bit into the toast as he moved through the room, dumping all the things he needed for the opening ceremony into his school bag.
“…Mm…slippers…stationery…got to hand in my holiday homework, right? It’s today alright…sigh, never finished it in the end…and…a contact directory? Why don’t they use emails?’
Maybe it was to prevent hackers, Kamijou casually thought of an answer as he tossed the contact directory that was made from a thick piece of paper into his bag.
At that moment, Index, who was sitting in front of the glass table alone, stared at Kamijou unhappily.
“Touma, are you really going to school?”
Kamijou casually tossed the bag that was full of stuff onto the floor, finished off the remainder of his breakfast and placed his own cutlery back onto a rack.
“Ah…yeah. Once school term starts, you’ll have to be alone at home.”
“Humph…well…Touma…I’m not saying that I’m afraid of being lonely.”
Truthfully, Kamijou himself felt that it was dangerous to leave her alone at home like this, but he didn’t dare to say that.
Of course, Kamijou didn’t forbid Index from leaving the room. However, it seemed rather dangerous to leave Index on the streets like that when she didn’t know of the ‘common sense’ of Academy City. It had been almost a month since Index had arrived in Academy City, but she didn’t look like she had adapted to this city. It seemed like he couldn’t just verbally teach her the common trivia.
Based on past experiences, the fastest way was for Kamijou to continue to move with Index, but the problem was that he couldn’t possibly let Index transfer into his own school. The ‘magic side’ and the ‘science side’ didn’t really have good relations, Kamijou understood that. As an important person of the magic side, if Index was to have the same lessons as Kamijou and become an esper on the science side, there was going to be trouble.
“As for that, I really have to think it through. Sorry Index, please stay at home for today. Just put the cutlery into the basin and rinse it with water.”
Kamijou said hurriedly as he looked at his watch.
Kamijou decided to head into the bathroom that had become his bedroom to brush his teeth, wash his face and then change into summer uniform. He really wanted to take a shower, but unfortunately, there was no time.
After roughly finishing up, Kamijou opened the bathroom door, only to see Index waiting in front of the door. Index stared at Kamijou with some rather deep thoughts.
“Touma, will you come back earlier today?”
“Mm, okay. Once I come back, we’ll go out to play.”
On hearing this, Index smiled happily.
Though Kamijou was happy to see Index smile so happily, he was feeling rather complicated. Right now, Index’s interactions with the outside world were all through Kamijou. Maybe it would be good to build Index’s relationships through ‘Kamijou’s friends’.
On one hand, this really was something lonely.
But regarding this, Kamijou couldn’t really chip in to help out, since if he wanted to settle the problem, Index would have to build human relations on her own and not through Kamijou.
“Alright, I’m going.”
Unable to help at all, Kamijou could only leave the problem aside for now.
“Mm, be careful on the way.”
Index said to Kamijou and smiled.
Less than 5 minutes after Kamijou had left the house, Index started to feel bored.
Though she had been asked to watch the house a few times, it didn’t mean that Index was unhappy. For her lively personality, it was not hard to imagine how uncomfortable it was for her to do this.
The TV was switched on, but Index was not looking at it, instead lying on the floor as she played with the calico cat. After a while, Index stopped.
(So bored. I really want to go outside. I want to go find Touma.)
Index was filled with the impulse, but she immediately shook her head. She couldn’t cause trouble for others just because of her own selfish reasons. It was easy to think of it the other way, what if Index was ordered to be recalled back to St. George Cathedral and Kamijou Touma came chasing because ‘he got bored’…
Though she may have been happy, she would feel troubled.
For the magic expert Index, she definitely didn’t want to expose her image at her workplace to Kamijou. It was rather embarrassing to show others one’s other side.
The same thing applied, if Index was to look for Kamijou, Kamijou may have been bothered. Thinking about it, Index didn’t dare to chase after Kamijou.
(Touma also said before that he’ll bring me out to play when he comes back.)
Index again played with the calico cat and rolled on the floor. Though boring, I should endure, Index thought.
At this moment, she stopped again.
“…Eh? Touma, where’s my lunch?”
Index turned pale as she muttered to herself.
She didn’t have any culinary skills, and the snacks, like biscuits and stuff, had been ripped and eaten by the calico cat a long time ago, and they hadn’t stocked up.
“What…what do I do now? This seems like the greatest calamity that I never had before.”
Muttering to herself, she inadvertently gazed at the door.
On the outside of the door lay the wide world with Kamijou Touma.
On the other hand, Kamijou was dashing down the morning streets as he headed towards the school.
A vandalizing prank had been done on the rail track in the city. The train had actually stopped because someone placed a stone on the track.
In order to encourage students to take the school bus that was really expensive, Kamijou’s school forbade students from taking the train. On the surface, it seemed like it was to prevent students from creating trouble after school and prevent them from being harassed by perverts, but the real reason was to earn money by forcing the students to take the bus.
But in reality, the bus had only ½ the speed of the train, and yet the bus fare was 3 times that of the train’s. Anyone would want to take the train. Ever since he had taken the bus once during summer vacation, Kamijou had decided to secretly take the train to school as well.
But because of this ridiculous school rule, even if he was to show the certificate that proved that the train had a mishap, they wouldn’t erase the record of being late.
(Damn it…I’m already so tired and sleepy, and now there’s one entire morning of misfortune. Though I’m not the only unlucky one this time, I can’t feel happy even though I know this.)
While Kamijou was thinking of this with that sleepy head of his, someone dashed past Kamijou at an amazing speed.
A middle-school-aged looking girl. She had shoulder length tea-coloured hair and was wearing a short-sleeved blouse with a summer woolen jacket over it. The top matched the grey pleated skirt, and there seemed to be shorts underneath them. Truly a ‘I don’t care whether my skirt flips’ attitude, completely different from an ojou’s image.
“…Ah, so it’s you, Biri Biri.”
Kamijou, who was sleep-deprived and thus unable to think, finally understood who the person in front of him was.
Kamijou continued to run as he flicked his heavy eyelids and said,
“…Morning, as expected of the young to have so much energy early in the morning.”
Hearing this voice, the Biri Biri Misaka Mikoto unhappily slowed down and ran beside Kamijou, giving him an unhappy look.
Mikoto glared angrily at Kamijou, who was beside her, and said,
“How can you still talk to me so casually? Weren’t you ignoring me com, com, com, com, completely yesterday? Aren’t you the least apologetic?”
Kamijou rubbed his sleepy eyes and processed Mikoto’s words in his mind.
Speaking of which, on the 31st of August, which was last night, when Index had been taken away by Ouma, he seemed to have met Mikoto on the way, but as the situation had been really urgent, he had ignored her.
Kamijou and Mikoto continued to run really fast on the morning streets. Kamijou said,
“Hm? What? You were looking for me yesterday? For what?”
“No…nothing, it’s not really urgent…”
Kamijou blinked his tired eyes and said,
“Ah, can I ask an unrelated question? If there’s nothing, why did you call me?”
“YOU…YOU’RE TOO NOISY! STOP GETTING NOSEY! Never mind, we’ll change topics! Do you normally take this road?”
Since when does anyone mention that she wants to change topics…Kamijou thought, but he didn’t say it out loud.
“…Nope. The train stopped today, so I came by this road. But then again, there’s only two stops, so it’s sort of a running distance.”
“Oh yeah. Why are you looking so listless? Are you afraid of early risers?”
Running beside him, Mikoto revealed a puzzled look. Kamijou ignored her stare and said,
“A lot of things happened yesterday, and I’m really tired. As for you, why are you so energetic today? Is this the power of youth?”
Yesterday, on the 31st of August, Mikoto had gotten involved in a little trouble as well. However, the one who had been victimised the most was Kamijou, who got involved in it…
“Wha…what, is the date…act really tiring to you?”
“Mm? It’s not just that…I got involved in something else as well.”
Mikoto slightly heaved a sigh of relief.
Good thing that she didn’t give Kamijou a whole lot of trouble, Mikoto thought. Just as Mikoto was feeling relaxed, she pondered, and said,
“Eh? Something else? Oi…don’t tell me you did something with other girls?”
“Are you an idiot!? Most likely, only you’ll casually request others to do such an awkward thing.”
As he was sleep-deprived, Kamijou’s tone was rather flat, but on hearing that, Mikoto blushed.
“Who…who’s casual about it! I…I was bothered by it for a long time as well! I couldn’t think of any other way, so I could only drag you along!”
“…Ah. Okay okay, I understand.”
“Oi, are you seriously listening? Don’t you dare listlessly ignore what I say just like that!”
Just like that, with both of them having rather bad feelings, they continued to bicker all the way to school.
After saying goodbye to Mikoto, Kamijou continued to run on, and finally saw his school.
(Seems like…I won’t be late. Ah, good thing I took part in summer remedial.)
He roughly remembered all the paths from the dorm to the school and the location map during summer remedial. Because of that, Kamijou didn’t need to take a map out and do some suspicious stuff and loiter around.
(There’re two buildings, the front one is the new one and the back is the old one. My classroom’s on the third level of the new one, it’s the second room from the right, and the shoe cupboards are on the right side of the staircase. Good!)
In order to act like he hadn’t lost his memory, Kamijou collected the information in his head and passed through the school gate like every other student.
The school had a flat campus, which was rather rare in Tokyo. The school wasn’t big, there was a school compound at both the front and the back, and there was a corridor in the middle linking them together, making it look like a ‘エ’. There was also a semicircle roofed sports hall on the left, and a swimming pool on the right.
In this city that had 2.3 million students, there were all sorts of schools. Some had their swimming pools on the roofs, some had their gyms dug underground in a bunker, it was not strange to see all sorts of weird constructs.
But in this school, the layout was so ordinary it didn’t have any characteristics. The students passing by Kamijou were also wearing ‘model’ like uniforms, completely ordinary.
(That’s okay either way. It’s too troublesome to make it too special. Tokiwadai Middle School’s uniform should be rather terrible.)
Kamijou pondered wildly as he rushed towards the school entrance. He was almost late already, and yet this was the time when most of the students entered school. On the way, while rushing through the staff carpark, Kamijou suddenly heard a sharp honk. Turning back to look, a car looked like it was about to reverse and park, only to stop halfway through and honk, scaring a white cat that was in the middle of it away.
It was a round-model small car that was bright green in colour. However, the car itself sure was too small.
There was no passenger seat, instead, it looked like it was a one-seater.
(Woohh! That car is great! As light as a sheep, and there’s no need to worry about getting drenched by the rain! How about I get one? I can’t buy a car, but a bicycle…wait, never mind. If it’s my vehicle, if I park it in front of a train station, it’ll definitely be stolen.
Already used to misfortune, Kamijou could already imagine the car being stolen, and could only sigh.
Then, Kamijou noticed that the elementary student-looking Komoe-sensei was in the driver’s seat, her hand was holding onto the steering wheel.
“—OI! DON’T TELL ME YOUR LEGS ARE LONG ENOUGH TO REACH THE BRAKES!”
“I…I can still drive even if I can’t reach it!”
Komoe-sensei deliberately opened the door and retorted.
Looking closely, the steering wheel of that small car was somewhat unique. There were buttons on the left and right sides, as if it was a joystick for a racing car game. Maybe the car utilised technology for the disabled, allowing the driver to accelerate and break through the buttons.
Komoe-sensei’s actions were unexpectedly steady as she easily parked the car. She pulled out what seemed to be a pile of folders with information inside them.
“Really. To say such words the first time we meet when you came back from summer vacation, sensei doesn’t remember teaching you these words—”
“(…Anyone who sees this will be worried about you…)”
Kamijou muttered as he turned away.
“What did you say, Kamijou? Are you thinking of running behind sensei and throwing sensei into the sky?”
“I’M NOT! YOU’RE BEING TOO SUSPICIOUS HERE!”
Kamijou and Komoe-sensei continued to talk loudly as they headed towards the school. Maybe there was still work to do before opening ceremony, as Komoe-sensei rushed forward in small steps. But every time the students greeted Komoe-sensei, she would politely stop and reply ‘good morning’, thus, even though Kamijou was merely walking fast, he was still able to catch up to Komoe-sensei easily.
“Oh yeah, what’s that pile of papers? Don’t tell me it’s a mini-test?”
“Kamijou, whatever bad things sensei experienced as a student body, sensei will never let you experience. Okay okay, don’t be so slow, hurry up.”
Komoe-sensei prompted Kamijou,
“These aren’t schoolwork, but a university friend of mine asked me to help read through some theses.”
“University…well yeah, you do have a teacher’s license.”
Komoe-sensei looked puzzled as she tilted her head, staring at Kamijou, who was muttering to himself.
Kamijou again stared at the pile of papers, and then said,
“What’s on them?”
“Something not too difficult. It’s AIM research, and it’s rather related to you.”
On hearing this, Kamijou wondered, what was AIM? He had never heard of it before.
Komoe-sensei seemed to be rather mindful about the time as she started to speed up. However, she still continued to maintain her teaching spirit as she said,
“When you grow older, you’ll understand that this AIM is An Involuntary Movement…which also means ‘no awareness’. And the AIM dispersal field means the same thing. It’s like body temperature, an energy field that naturally radiates out from an esper.”
“Oh, like how Misaka’s body will let out weak magnetic fields, right…?”
“Ah, you’re talking about Misaka-san…eh? Misaka? Hold on, eh? No way?”
Komoe-sensei was stunned for a moment. She then continued,
“Anyway, AIM dispersal fields will differ according to the esper’s power. For example, a pryokinesis user generates heat, a telekinesis user generates pressure; these powers will generate from the espers’ bodies and scatter around. But as they’re rather weak, it’s impossible to detect them without a powerful machine.”
Komoe-sensei saw that Kamijou, who was moving very fast, was ahead of her, and immediately chased up.
“I see, so if there’s an esper that can detect that AIM whatsoever thing, the esper can detect whether there’re other espers around, right? Such an esper can go ‘hm? There’s powers nearby’ like a manga!”
“Hahaha, that’s right. If it’s even more powerful, it may even use the AIM dispersal field to detect how strong and what type of ability the power is. At this moment, the esper may end up saying ‘hm, this guy battle ability is over 70,000’. There’re all sorts of people with varied weird interests studying these things.”
Kamijou and Komoe-sensei dashed towards the school as they continued to talk, but immediately separated. The staff members had their own entrance.
After Komoe-sensei was gone, Kamijou heaved a sigh of relief.
He decided as he headed towards the school entrance.
To Kamijou, who had lost his memories, a school life of deceptions would now begin.
Kamijou had come to school for remedial lessons before, so he knew where his shoe locker and classroom were. Like an ordinary student, he placed his shoes in his locker, put on his slippers, walked up the stairs, into the corridor and arrived in front of his classroom.
But here was the tough problem.
When Kamijou was having remedial for the first time (about the time when he first met Misaka Imouto, actually, it was already a remedial of a remedial), there were only him and Komoe-sensei, so Kamijou had sat at the table in front of the podium, but that was not his original place. In other words, having lost his memory, Kamijou didn’t remember where he should be sitting.
(What should I do now…?)
Kamijou was slightly troubled by this, but it would be rather suspicious of him to loiter around outside the classroom. Though he couldn't think of anything, he still reached his hand out to pull the door open.
Kamijou cursed as he walked into the classroom. There were less than half the number of students present, and they were all not sitting at their own place.
If all the students had been sitting at their own place, the last one left would definitely have been Kamijou’s. But of course, things weren’t going to be that simple.
Just at this moment, Aogami Pierce, who had arrived at school earlier today, saw Kamijou stunned at the door. The 180cm high school student walked towards Kamijou and said,
“Hm? What’s up Kami-yan? Did you walk here only to remember that you forgot to bring your homework? If that’s the case, it’s really funny and pitiful.”
After Aogami Pierce said this, everyone in the class turned to look at Kamijou.
And the class got louder.
“Ah? What? Kamijou forgot to bring his homework?”
“Eh, Kamijou, did you really forget to bring your homework?”
“BANZAI! SENSEI’S EYES WILL BE ATTRACTED BY KAMIJOU’S MISFORTUNE! OUR DAMAGES WILL BE REDUCED TO THE MINIMUM! BANZAI!!”
Seeing the entire class cheer like that, Kamijou inadvertently let out an impatient look.
Though his own father was really bothered that his son was treated like this, to Kamijou himself, this was just a common thing in the daily life of a manga.
“Oi, don’t tell me you guys didn’t do your homework? Komoe-sensei will cry!”
Kamijou couldn’t help but press against his temple. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to make it, and right now, he was too stupid to even rush through his homework.
At this moment, Aogami Pierce thievishly said,
“Don’t worry, that sensei loves problematic students more than good students. Komoe-sensei seemed really happy when she saw that 2/3 of the class needed to take the summer remedial.”
“…Don’t tell me she went to a bar alone to cry?”
“Ahhaha, what nonsense are you spouting, Kami-yan? I deliberately left my finished homework at home so that Komoe-sensei would scold me!”
“I DARE SAY THAT SHE’LL CRY! ARE YOU GUYS LITTLE KIDS WHO SPECIALISE IN BULLYING YOUR CRUSH!?”
Kamijou couldn’t help but shout, but such a thing was abnormally normal in this classroom. Everyone started to return to their own conversations.
Being finally able to stop crossing paths with a bunch of weirdos, Kamijou really wanted to sit at his own place, and he could take a slight nap during morning assembly, but he just didn’t know where his seat was.
(What should I do now? I can’t just honestly ask ‘where’s my place’ right?)
Kamijou pondered for a while, and then said to Aogami Pierce,
“’Cuse me, but can you help me get my notebook? It’s in my drawer.”
“What’s up Kami-yan? Forgot to bring it back before summer break?”
On hearing Kamijou’s words, Aogami Pierce obediently headed towards a table at the back of the classroom that was near the window.
(I see, so that’s my place.)
Kamijou saw Aogami Pierce peek at the drawer of the table and thought,
“Oi, Kami-yan! Where’s that notebook?”
“Ah? Eh? I didn’t put it in the drawer?”
Kamijou casually replied to the puzzled looking Aogami Pierce and finally sat at his own place.
Aogami Pierce also sat at the neighbouring seat, and both of them started to chit-chat.
“In the end, after that so-called scholar launched that electric brain, he started to promote some manga brain. What an idiot. If reading manga can change the brain, wouldn’t power development become way too easy? But it’s cool to change every power development textbook into manga.”
“Ah, but those manga that are used as teaching materials are normally rather boring. They seem to have so much lesson content.”
“Damn you! What’s exciting are the things behind these useless things! Haven’t you realised that those kids-rated cartoons and special effects films have such devastating destruction? Do I need to punch you to wake you up?”
“Why are you so excited? I’ll feel strange if those teaching materials can actually turn one into a Level 5 esper.”
Like usual, Kamijou continued to discuss useless things with Aogami Pierce, and slowly found himself merging into this space.
It had been a month since he had lost his memory, and the Kamijou sitting there was no longer the blank-slate-state Kamijou. It was as if the 'he' who had lost his memory was overlapping with the 'he' before he had lost his memory.
Kamijou now had memories that he could discuss with others.
But that was just for Kamijou.
To that white nun, it was likely that none of the problems were solved.
Kamijou didn’t remember meeting with Index, but from the way their conversations went, it seemed like Kamijou and Index had only met recently. Most likely, the amount of time he had spent with Index after losing his memories was more than the time before that.
But that didn’t mean anything.
In the short time before he had lost his memories, Index had trusted Kamijou. To her, the memories in that short moment were treasures that she definitely didn’t want to lose.
Right now, Index and Kamijou were rather close, but Index didn’t know something.
That was, Kamijou had lost his memory, and no longer held those precious memories of being with her.
“Kami-yan? Oi, Kami-yan?”
Hearing Aogami Pierce’s voice, Kamijou finally recovered.
“Ah, oh, sorry. I didn’t sleep last night, so I’m a little dazed.”
Kamijou tried to motivate himself and returned back to the fake everyday life.
“Okay okay—morning assembly’s about to start—there’s not much time till the opening ceremony, so we have to hurry up!”
Almost everyone was at their seats when Komoe-sensei walked into the class.
“Eh? Sensei, where’s Tsuchimikado?”
“Sensei didn’t hear him report sick, maybe he overslept.”
Komoe-sensei tilted her head as she answered Kamijou.
“Ah—before I take attendance, sensei has something to announce to everyone. A transfer student will be joining us today—”
Mystified, everyone stared at Komoe-sensei.
“This transfer student is a girl—congratulations, you perverted wolves—don’t be too disappointed, kitties—”
The mood in the class started to boil.
Among them, only one person, Kamijou was getting a bad premonition for some reason.
Impossible. In this life of Kamijou Touma that was full of misfortune, there couldn’t possibly be something like ‘an ordinary pretty female transfer student’.
(…Is this some sort of a set-up to hide some terrible truth?)
Considering Komoe-sensei’s relations with others, the person most likely to be the transfer student was Himegami Aisa, but the world was so big, anything could happen. Maybe Misaka Mikoto would falsify her age and transfer in, maybe Kanzaki Kaori would come rushing in, or maybe it would be the Suzushina Yuriko who was really Accelerator, or maybe it would be the almost 10,000 ‘imoutos’ all squeezing in here and increasing the student population by more than 10 times, or maybe it would be an Angel with hidden wings having descended into the human realm.
“Damn…damn it! I’m actually getting interested in this!”
“Kamijou? Why are you holding your head and muttering to yourself?”
Komoe-sensei tilted her head as she asked, and then said,
“Anyway, I’ll let her present herself! The detailed self-introduction will have to leave till after the opening ceremony is over—will the transfer student please enter—”
The moment Komoe-sensei finished saying, the classroom door opened.
Who’s the student? Kamijou stared suspiciously…
He saw a white nun carrying a calico cat.
Such an unexpected development caused Kamijou’s mind to go blank.
Everyone in class also didn’t seem to understand what was going on, because Index was definitely not wearing an ordinary uniform. Things like ‘what’s that church school uniform?’ were whispered throughout the classroom.
However, Index remained unmoved.
“Ah, Touma, so this is Touma’s school, right? I’ll have to thank Maika later for bringing me here.”
With these words from Index, everyone turned at Kamijou.
Everyone’s eyes seemed to be telling him: you again.
For some reason, even Komoe-sensei, who was intending to introduce the transfer school, was stunned when she saw Index at the door.
“Hold…hold on a sec, Komoe-sensei. What’s going on?”
Kamijou inadvertently asked Komoe-sensei, but it seemed like Komoe-sensei herself was rather shocked by this sudden development, and only managed to recover after hearing Kamijou’s voice.
“Sister-san! How did you get in? You’re not the transfer student, go out, go out—!”
“Ah, but I want to look for Touma. My lunch…”
Index seemed like she wanted to say something else, but Komoe-sensei tried to force her out by pushing her back out.
Kamijou stood up instinctively.
“Kamijou, please don’t get involved in this!”
Kamijou wanted to chase up, but Komoe-sensei shouted to stop Kamijou. She was not angry, but she did look like a child who would cry any second soon as she pushed Index’s back.
Kamijou could only stand about blankly as he saw both of them leave the classroom.
The person who replaced them was a long black-haired girl.
“The real transfer student is me, Himegami Aisa.”
Seeing the familiar face, Kamijou heaved a sigh of relief as he collapsed onto the table.
“Thank…thank goodness. Good thing that it’s ordinary Himegami, and she’s wearing an ordinary low-profile uniform, not a miko outfit. Thank goodness…”
“I do feel some evil intent in your words.”
On hearing Kamijou utter the word ‘ordinary’ here and there, Himegami seemed rather unhappy.
Having been chased out of the classroom, Index puffed her cheeks as she walked along the classroom.
She was holding 2,000 yen. That was what Komoe-sensei had stuffed into Index’s hands after saying ‘why did you come here? Go home! Don’t follow strangers! Here, use this to take a taxi back!’.
(…Touma actually showed such an expression.)
On remembering the scene just now, Index’s jaw dropped. It had been a month since she had started living together with Kamijou, but that was the first time that Kamijou had actually given such a painful look the moment he saw her. Obviously, he had ‘rejected’ her.
Just as Index was wondering what to do with this lonely feeling, she got hungry again. When it rains, it pours, Index thought as she bit her lip unhappily.
At this moment, she passed by a canteen.
The aroma of fried vegetables and food floated in, causing the calico cat that Index was carrying to purr. Index stopped.
As she recalled, as Kamijou had been in quite the rush this morning, the breakfast that he had made was a little subpar. In terms of satisfaction, the grade was only about 40%.
Like a zombie, Index crept into the canteen.
Though the canteen was large, the set-up was rather simple. There were about 100 sets of 1 round table and 4 metal chairs. There was a counter at one corner of a wall, and the kitchen seemed to be behind. The sound of food being fried could be heard from the kitchen, and there were three coupon vending machines near the other wall.
(Mm, I did read it up in a manga before. If I put money into that thing, there will be a food coupon.)
Index compared the image in front of her with the knowledge in her brain and made this conclusion. Right now, besides ‘The Kinugyokutoshū’ (The Moon and The Rabbit), ‘The Book of Creation’, and the ‘Book of the Law’, the library in Index’s brain had stockpiled a few shounen manga. Stiyl and the rest would definitely faint if they were to know of this, but for Index, who was able to store her memory appropriately, this didn’t seem to be a major problem.
Index was standing in front of the vending machine.
She pulled the crumpled piece of 2,000 yen note flat and inserted it into the machine.
(See, I can do it. Touma always said that I can’t catch up to the times, said that I’m old fashioned. This sort of thing won’t stump me. Now, all I need to do is just to press the button.)
Index felt slightly proud, and just as she reached her hand out and intended to press the button…
Because there wasn't a single button on the coupon vending machine.
(Ah? Eh? This…what’s going on? Where should I press?)
There seemed to be some table lamp strip on the vending machine, and there was a liquid crystal display on the front, each showing the prices. Other than those, there was nothing else. There were no other options to choose from.
In fact, this coupon vending machine was similar to the ticket vending machine at a train station; both used touch screen display. However, Index didn’t know that.
(Ah…eh? Ah…uuu, yeah, that’s right, got to get back the money first. Ah…eh? How do I get the money back? Where’s the button?)
The ‘cancel’ button was also at the edge of the display, but that had already become a psychologically blind spot to Index. Ever since she had seen the calico cat claw at a cooking show on the TV screen to no avail, Index didn’t think that ‘reaching out to touch it’ was a meaningful thing to do.
Index grabbed the vending machine and shook it as she peeked into the coin outlet, but this action obviously wouldn’t do anything.
“Uu…uuuuuuuu…I became as unfortunate as Touma…”
Index collapsed weakly in despair. She was like the High School baseball players who lost in the Koshien Finals as she sighed in despair. Only the calico cat didn’t understand the situation as it casually yawned.
At this moment, footsteps could be heard from behind.
Just as Index was feeling rather intrigued, someone tapped her shoulder.
The opening ceremony was held in the sports hall.
The students were all exiting the classrooms and heading to the sports hall, causing the entire corridor to be crowded like a train station during a vacation.
At this moment however, Kamijou didn’t move along together with his classmates. The reason was simple, because he was worried about leaving Index alone.
“Damn it…though I have no right to say this, she gets into trouble very easily!”
Besides that, there was also another problem. Since Index had photographic memory, if she were to see the esper development programme, the magic side may have ended up getting information on the science side’s secret intel, but of course, Kamijou hadn’t thought that much.
Anyway, he had to find Index. Kamijou kept his sleepy mind active as he ran along the corridor.
The one who had tapped Index on the shoulder was a girl who she had never met before.
She was taller than Index, but shorter than Kamijou. Her hair was black with a light tinge of tea, but it seemed like she didn’t dye her hair; instead it seemed to be a natural colour. Her hair was long, about waist-length. However, there was a small bunch of hair that split at the ears, with a rubber band holding. She had a knowledgeable look with those spectacles on her, but they seemed to slide down for some reason. Index stared at the chest of the person. Unfortunately, based on this protrusion from the inside, the girl beat Index by quite a margin.
(Who is she?)
Though Index didn’t have the right to say that to someone else, this girl was wearing a different uniform from the people at Kamijou’s school. The female students here all wore white short-sleeved sailor blouses with a deep blue skirt. However, this girl was wearing a short-sleeved collar shirt and a long blue skirt. The red tie that seemed to be used by the men looked rather eye-catching over the white and blue clothing, but this was also obviously different from this school’s uniform.
Index exchanged looks with that girl.
A pair of tiny animal-like eyes could be seen behind the spectacles that dropped down slightly.
“That…you need to press that button.”
“That…button on the screen…”
The girl said softly as she pointed at the coupon vending machine with her finger. After a while, Index recovered as she saw the liquid crystal display that was attached to the vending machine.
Right now, Index was showing a look of a child who was lost in a country where she didn’t know the language.
“Button? But there’s no buttons on it?”
The girl seemed to be rather puzzled.
“What I meant is that…you just need to touch the screen…don’t you know? Ah, uu…please don’t look like you’re about to cry.”
“You’re lying. I know that there won’t be any change even if I touch the people in the TV.”
The girl silently walked towards the vending machine and pressed the cancel button on the corner of the screen.
With a ‘crack—’ rotor spinning sound, the vending machine spat out the 2,000 yen it had just swallowed. Index was stunned by this.
“How…how did it become like this?”
“That…that’s why I said that you just need to touch the screen…”
“A…amazing! Is this TV connected to the inside?”
“Eh…this isn’t the TV…”
“Amazing, this is amazing! Do it again! Do it again!”
Facing this sudden shout, the calico cat purred in protest. For some reason, Index was so abnormally excited that she forgot that she was hungry, as she reinserted the 2,000 yen note that was had just been spit out back into the vending machine, staring at it like a girl watching a magician.
The girl revealed a reluctant look as she again pressed the ‘cancel’ button.
The 2,000 yen note was ejected again. Such a simple thing, and Index was already giving a look of admiration.
“Then…then what about this? What’s this ‘filter condition search’ thing?”
“Eh…you just need to insert the keywords here, and it’ll list all the things that doesn’t include the keywords…for example, those who are allergic to eggs just need to type in the word ‘egg’, and this thing here will list out all the things that don’t include eggs…”
“Then what’s this? What’s this information search?”
“Exactly as what it says…it can use numbers to search for nutritional values like Vitamin C or Iron…for example, if you’re looking for less than 150 kcal…it’ll come up with a diet meal.”
The girl continued to explain the unnecessary details, yet Index was as excited as a child, as if she was some kindergartener who dreamed of being an astronomer hearing the introduction of a spaceship. The girl again continued to get praised, revealing a look of whether she should be happy or not.
After explaining everything, Index smiled at the girl, and said,
“Thank you. What’s your name?”
“…Mm, Kazakiri Hyouka.”
In the end, Index and Kazakiri didn’t order anything, instead merely taking up the chairs of the canteen as they started to talk. Though they were talking, it was mainly just Kazakiri hearing Index complain. Index was concentrating too much about complaining and forgot that she was hungry.
“In the end, I called Touma’s name, but Touma didn’t answer me, and he even looked away. Really, it’s Touma who forgot about making lunch…”
Kazakiri stared at Index, and then at the calico cat Index was carrying.
“Uu…mm…but basically, outsiders are prohibited from entering school…if you’re seen by the teachers, it may be troublesome…”
“But Hyouka, didn’t you do the same thing?”
“I…I’m alright, because I’m a transfer student…even though I don’t have a uniform…”
“Then I want to be a transfer student too.”
Kazakiri Hyouka frowned, giving a look of not knowing what to say.
“Anyway, I want to floor Touma up pretty good. I don’t want to go home like this, and if I don’t ask about lunch, I might really have a hunger crisis.”
“But…your attire is too eye-catching…”
Index noticed the clothing on her.
Pure white nun robes with gold laces, it was as eye-catching as one huge princess robe, but Index was too used to it that she didn’t notice it.
“If you’re caught…that person will be rather bothered, right…”
“Then what should I do?”
If it was someone with a tougher personality that didn’t have a good choice of words, the likely words would be ‘hurry up and go home’. However, Kazakiri Hyouka could only frantically roll her eyes and say,
“…Eh, the infirmary may have extra uniforms…but they may be ordinary P.E. attire instead of standard uniforms…”
“P.E. uniform? We won’t get discovered if we wear them?”
Facing this naïve problem, Kazakiri Hyouka revealed a bothered look.
If one was to consider through common sense, no matter what, it was less conspicuous than the nun robes Index was wearing. However, today was the opening ceremony, and there wouldn’t be any lessons, so it was too eye-catching for them to wear P.E. attire. Also, no school would allow pets to be brought in. However, she couldn’t think of any better idea…after thinking about it for a while, Kazakiri said,
“…Nn, definitely…should be…possibly…maybe…unlikely?”
Unable to respond properly, Kazakiri finally gave an ambiguous answer.
Index and Kazakiri walked down an empty corridor.
“Oh…that’s right, how does a P.E. attire look like?”
“Eh…how should I describe it…they’re clothes meant for sports. The materials are specially selected, and are rather elastic, so they’re rather comfortable, and dust won’t stick on it easily…”
“A…amazing! Is this the ‘hi-tech stuff’ that Touma talked of?”
“Amazing! Oh yeah, Hyouka should wear it too! It’ll be great!”
Being weak in personality, Kazakiri was unable to imagine the wild imagination of the petite Index as she could only let herself be dragged away by Index, the corner of her eyes behind the spectacles secretly shedding a tear.
At this moment, Kamijou was still looking for Index.
Right now, the crowded corridors just a while back were completely empty. Kamijou continued to run throughout the corridors as he secretly sighed. The opening ceremony should be starting soon.
(…Damn it! And I was so close to mixing into the class! Oh well, at least the opening ceremony is just about listening to what that principal has to say…how does that principal look like anyway? Oh well, better go find Index first.)
Kamijou looked around in all directions as he continued to run.
At that moment, he could hear a familiar voice.
(Hm? This voice is—ENEMY PLANE DETECTED! THE MODEL IS A STUPID NUN!)
He stopped and pricked his ears. It was the sound of a girl happily chirping about. There was no one nearby, but the voice was extremely clear. Kamijou turned to where the voice came from and frowned. The sign on the door said ‘infirmary’.
Kamijou’s mouth inadvertently twitched.
(Da…damn it! I dragged my sleep-deprived brain all around to look for you, and you’re actually fooling around on the bed of the infirmary? That’s too much!)
Kamijou placed his hand on the infirmary door and pulled it open.
“Oi! Index! What are you doing inside the infirmary? You’ll only get one disease called the 10,000 year 5 month illness!”
Pa! Kamijou pulled opens the door of the infirmary hard.
Feeling extremely motivated, Kamijou decided to lecture Index good today.
But like a manga scene, what he saw was girls who were changing clothes, two of them.
One of them was the nun he was familiar with, but for some reason, she was not wearing the nun habit, but short-sleeved gym shirt and shorts…and she was only wearing the shorts halfway through. She was bending her back, with both hands on the sides of the shorts. She stopped what she was doing, her mouth was twitching.
The other was a girl he had never met before, she was wearing some other school’s summer uniform. The girl had long hair, but a small bundle of it was tied up in a rubber band and extended out to the side. Maybe it was deliberate or second nature, but the spectacles of the girl slid down slightly. However…the main point was that the girl’s shirt was unbuttoned. She was holding onto a short-sleeved shirt, and she was completely frozen to the spot. Only those small animal-like eyes behind her spectacles looked like they were about to tear up anytime soon.
The two girls who were unable to register the current situation stared blankly at Kamijou.
Only the calico cat was unable to register the danger as it washed its face with its front paw.
Facing this almost certain death situation, Kamijou could only shout,
“…………………EH, I GOT INTO THE WRONG ROOM!!!”
The next moment, both girls’ faces were blushing.
Kamijou sincerely hoped that the reason they were blushing was because they were embarrassed, but that wasn’t the case.
The next moment, the angry scream and the sound of something breaking roared into the skies.
Right now, Kamijou Touma was extremely angry.
He should be the one who was grumbling, but for some reason, he had witnessed two girls changing clothes, which meant he should apologize. However, because of this alone, he got scolded by Index and even got bitten on to such an extent that there were bite marks on his head, and Kamijou really couldn’t explain why this had happened.
However, Kamijou still brought the two girls who had changed back into their own clothes to the canteen. Kamijou and Index ended up quarrelling with each other, while the stranger just stared at both of them and looked like she didn’t know what to do. The calico cat curled itself up, not caring about what was going on.
Sleep-deprived and unhappy, Kamijou said in a deep voice,
“Oh yea, who’s she, Index?”
Once Kamijou asked, the girl jerked her shoulders for some reason. In contrast, Index continued to remain unhappy as she said,
“I don’t know, but she’s a friend.”
“You don’t know? How can you not know who she is?”
“I don’t know, but Hyouka’s a friend!”
While both of them were shouting, the girl called ‘Hyouka’ was trembling like an animal. She then inhaled deeply and said cautiously, “O…okay, okay…”, wanting to help them settle their dispute.
“My…my name is…Kazakiri Hyouka…what’s yours?”
“Hm? Mm, Kamijou Touma.”
Kamijou just answered, but for some reason, Kazakiri’s shoulders jerked again.
Seeing this, Index grumbled,
“Touma! Stop scaring Hyouka! Don’t worry…Hyouka, Touma’s hot-blooded, indecisive, and a rare specimen of one who’ll help every girl he sees, but he’s a good guy.”
“…Ah…eh…I don’t know how to ‘don’t worry’ in this situation…”
Hearing Kazakiri’s solemn thoughts, Kamijou’s lips turned slightly numb.
Probably seeing that Kazakiri was nervous, in order to calm her down Index said,
“Here, Hyouka. I’ll lend you Sphinx. Carry it, and you won’t be so stiff.”
“Erm…is Sphinx…the name of this cat?”
The calico cat lay on the round table without any restraint as it revealed its stomach, making a ‘here, Missy, I’ll let you pat my chest’ gentlemanly gesture and raising its front paw to do a banzai pose.
Kazakiri was a little hesitant from the start, as she only dared to let her hand swim slightly in the air before stroking the soft abdomen of the cat gently.
Then, Kazakiri said,
Kazakiri’s face unknowingly revealed a smile, and on the other hand, the calico cat trembled as if someone had grabbed its paw, as it was gritting its teeth, enduring it and saying “Don’t…don’t worry, Missy…this…won’t stump me…haa!”. As for Kamijou, he was completely ignored.
“Mm…mm. do you want to hug Sphinx? Though there might be a bit of fur, it’s comfortable to hug it.”
“Uu…erm…eh, like this?”
Kazakiri imitated Index as she carried the calico cat slightly and stuck into at her chest. It wasn’t any different from what Index did.
But the calico cat’s head was buried within Kazakiri’s chest.
Kamijou, who was staring coldly at this, immediately blushed and turned his head away from the completely defenceless Kazakiri. The calico cat also tried to struggle, as if saying, “Uu…oo, M…Missy! Even I can suffocate!” Kazakiri also started to panic, and the calico cat jumped out from it. It landed onto the round table and shook its head.
However, the two girls didn’t seem to understand why the calico cat would do such a thing.
“Eh…an animal’s five senses are sharper than a human’s…maybe my smell is different from yours…”
“Don’t feel bad Hyouka. If that’s the case, you just need to build a relationship with Index…Touma? Why did you turn your head away?”
“Nothing.” Kamijou replied.
Kamijou turned to look at the calico cat who was the only other being that knew the truth. The calico cat merely purred twice, as if telling Kamijou, “There’re some things in this world that’s better off left unsaid.”
Feeling rather awkward, Kamijou tried to change the topic, but he was afraid that Kazakiri may have been fearful of men, so he directed it at Index.
“Oh ya, why did you come to school?”
“Uu, yeah, Touma. Lunch, lunch. You went out without preparing anything. I may have died if I remained at home.”
“Today’s the opening ceremony, I would be back before lunch!”
“How…how would I know if you didn’t say that?”
“How do you not know? That’s common knowledge!”
“This is Touma’s common knowledge, not mine! Then do you know, Touma? In English rituals, if you want to activate an Idol creation spell by using the Telesma that’s infused into a Cross, the interior positioning of the Church is directly related to the caster’s position! In fact, the defensive magic array is used to protect the body from getting involved in the aftermath of the main spell, and it has a strict rule of thumb. Once the position is change, the secondary defensive spell may be unable to work normally. Touma, do you know the Golden ratio? Say it, that’s common knowledge.”
Just like that, Kamijou continued to argue with Index, and Kazakiri Hyouka had to interrupt them every 20 seconds.
And on the other hand, Komoe-sensei was infuriated.
(Where—is—Ka—mi—jou--? To skip lessons on the first day of school, he actually has quite some guts. Hoho…hohoho…hohohohoho…)
Having realised that Kamijou wasn’t inside the gym, Komoe-sensei revealed a dark smile that was rarely seen as she started to look for Kamijou…
(Uu…however, maybe he’s feeling unwell or injured, so he had to absent himself…is Kamijou alright?)
Burning inside as she was looking for the student who had skipped class, Komoe-sensei was thinking about this seemed like she was still a gentle teacher.
At this moment,
Komoe-sensei heard a conversation near the canteen. All the staff and students should be gathered at the gym.
“Don’t tell me…”
Komoe-sensei carried a suspicious feeling as she approached. It was Kamijou Touma.
And there were two girls beside him.
Though they were quarrelling, there was a weird jolly vibe.
Having worried for nothing, Komoe-sensei’s anger broke the limit.
She let all the air enter her lungs before shouting,
“KA…KAMIJOU! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!?”
Komoe-sensei shout caused the calico cat that was curled up on the round table to jump up in shock and nearly fall off the table.
Kamijou and company stopped talking as well as they turned their heads over.
The female teacher who was 135cm tall and looked like she was 12 stormed into the canteen. Maybe it was because she was too angry and the blood was rushing up that even her ears were all red.
“Ah…eh? Komoe-sensei? Why are you here? Isn’t it the opening ceremony now…”
“Are you even allowed to say that, Kamijou? Sensei was worried that you weren’t in the gym and came out to look for you! And yet you’re here having quite the sweet school life! If you’re going to continue flirting over here, sensei will have to lecture you on the basis of impure opposite gender interaction!”
“What flirting…sensei, can’t you see that we’re arguing here?”
“Arguing with a casual look on your face is called flirting! And… and why is it that Kamijou always has a girl appear beside him? Does Kamijou have some sort of weird AIM dispersal field?”
“Wha…what do these two things have to do with each other? Do we have to talk about it right now?”
Just like that, Kamijou started to quarrel with Komoe-sensei—
—5 minutes later, the conversation was getting weird.
“Tsuchimikado never came to school and yet Sister-san came to school, sensei’s already having a headache over that, so please stop creating so many problems! Sensei really can’t stand your casual attitude towards girls!”
“What has Tsuchimikado and Index got to do with this? And this Kamijou is a hardcore man, in gaming terms, what happens to make are all events that won’t benefit me!”
“Ka…Kamijou! You’re living such a romantic school life and you dare call yourself hardcore?”
—Ten minutes later, and the conversation got even weirder.
“Why is it that when it comes to girls, Kamijou’s movements and thinking ability will improve by multi-fold times? Sensei hopes that you can use that on your studies!”
“Hold…hold on a minute. Are you thinking that ‘I’m a guy who likes to do weird things in order to get girls close to me’, sensei?”
“…Actually, it’s the opposite. It’s that you betting on your own life will cause girls to become closer to you. Haven’t you realised that, Touma?”
“Damn it! Even Index is saying this…?”
—15 minutes later, and the conversation was completely out of point.
“An…anyway, sensei will lecture Kamijou thoroughly in the counselling room!”
“Touma, Touma, you still have to apologize to me.”
“Ahhh…that’s enough! I’m already having a headache due to sleep-deprivity, so stop saying such ridiculous things with such high decibels! Oi, Kazakiri, help me talk them out of it! You’re the only kind one here…eh?”
Kamijou looked puzzled; Index and Komoe-sensei turned their eyes over.
Kazakiri Hyouka, who should have been sitting at the same table, was now completely gone. The place she had been was now an empty metal chair.
“…Ah…don’t tell me she couldn’t take it any longer and left?”
Kamijou asked, but obviously, he couldn’t get an answer.
Having been chased out of the school, Index leaned her back on the metal fence near the school as she waited for Kamijou. The calico cat in her arms looked rather tired.
“…Eh…that was really scary. I was shocked.”
A soft voice came from behind her. Index turned her head around to see Kazakiri Hyouka, who had vanished because she couldn’t stand it, was now standing right in front of her.
“That’s common. Why didn’t you talk with us just now, Hyouka?”
“Really…? But that teacher looked really angry.”
“Komoe wasn’t really angry. Why are you so mindful, Hyouka?”
“Because…you looked rather sad…”
After Kazakiri said that, Index remained silent.
After a while, Index said,
“I quarreled with him quite a few times, but this time seems to be different. Touma didn’t listen to me at all. He was angry, not smiling at me…”
Hearing what she herself said, Index's face crumpled.
Index was very lively when she was quarreling, but she seemed really depressed.
“Does Touma hate me now…?”
Index lowered her head and muttered.
Index didn’t want to say the next words.
(Or maybe Touma hated me right from the beginning, and I only just realized that.)
Index bit her lip slightly.
Maybe the arms were exerting extra force as they carry the calico cat, as the calico cat was meowing in protest.
On seeing this, Kazakiri smiled lightly.
“…That’s not the case. To quarrel… is a proof of good friendship.”
“Why? Quarreling will hurt others. I’ll be hurt if I hear someone say something bad about me. Friends with good feelings won’t say anything that will hurt others.”
“Friends who are able to quarrel…”
Kazakiri said calmly,
“Are friends… who can be together even when they quarrel. A friendship won’t end because of a quarrel. That person… because he believes in you, he won’t break off with you just because of a quarrel… thus, he could quarrel with you without holding back.”
“That’s true… if not, do you think that it’s better not to quarrel? Because if you don’t want to quarrel… you have to hold in your feelings, and you have to laugh even when you don’t want to… and it’s over once you quarrel… you just have to give up on this friend and go make another one. Do you want this thin ice-like relationship…?”
On hearing that, Index revealed an unwilling look.
On seeing Index’s expression, Kazakiri smiled.
“I don’t want it to be like this. I want to be with Touma forever.”
“Mn… since you can think of this… you don’t have to worry about your relationship… at least he would be angry about you. It should be alright.”
Kazakiri Hyouka said to Index.
However, she added on something else,
“…But he's also the kind of guy who speaks to you with a straight face even when you're naked…”
Kamijou was finally freed from Komoe-sensei’s lecture.
The corridors, classrooms—nobody was around. The opening ceremony had ended together with the assembly, and everyone had gone home. There were the voices of people talking, probably of those taking part in extra-curriculum activities. The canteen continued to operate even on opening day, most likely for these people.
Until now, he still hadn’t met Tsuchimikado. Who knew whether he really came to school today?
Being sleep-deprived and fatigued, Kamijou was as tired as a piece of cooked vegetable leaf.
The time seemed to be past noon, and he was hungry. Kamijou returned back to the empty classroom to collect his school bag and walked towards the entrance of the school compound. He took off his slips and changed back into his shoes. While walking through the school, he passed by the soccer players who were warming up. At this moment, he could see Index and Kazakiri Hyouka standing near the school gate.
Kamijou shouted at them as he headed towards the exit.
“Oh, it’s Touma…”
“Hm? What’s wrong? Why do you look so depressed?”
“Oh? Good that everything’s alright. Where are we going to eat? Don’t choose a place that’s too expensive.”
On hearing Kamijou’s words, Index revealed an intrigued look.
“Touma, aren’t we eating at home today?”
“It’s a hassle to eat at home, and don’t you want to go play after we eat?”
“What? I told you this morning, right? Did you forget?”
“I…I didn’t forget…”
Index blushed as she hugged the calico cat tightly. The calico cat purred twice impatiently as it started to struggle.
“Oh ya, does Hyouka want to come along?”
“Why not? Touma will agree, right?”
Kamijou replied quickly, without a second delay. Kazakiri looked surprised.
She said softly as she stared at Index’s face.
“Mm, since we’re going to play for the entire day, we need money. Sorry, but I need to go to a convenience store to get money. Wait for me here.”
After saying that, Kamijou headed towards a convenience store that was near the school and operated the ATM that was near the door.
All the students in Academy City had a scholarship they could claim, and the money would be automatically banked into their accounts like a salary.
On first glance, it was a system that was worth being envious over, but basically, it could be considered a contract for esper development. The more prestigious the school, or the higher the Level of the esper, the greater the reward. In contrast, the esper would have to take part in more research.
As for ordinary Level 0 school students like Kamijou, the reward they could get was rather limited.
(…Though it’s a human experiment, it’s not really that scary.)
Kamijou randomly thought as he stuffed the money into his wallet and walked out of the convenience store.
At this moment, he heard someone,
“Oi oi, that boy over there! Aren’t you too careless?”
Hearing the female voice, Kamijou turned his head around, only to see a rather glamorous looking woman in a green sports jacket standing there. Her long hair was tied behind her head, but this careless feeling added to the intriguing sexy feeling. Looking closely, the woman had an armband on her; it seemed like ‘Anti-Skill’.
It was rare to see such female Anti-Skill member, and the reason was simple. Though there were equal job opportunities for both men and women in Japan, the ratio between men and women in a defense force was still unequal. It was the same logic.
She looked at Kamijou, and said in an exasperated tone,
“Don’t carry your wallet around near an ATM so openly. Wouldn’t people be tempted to rob you?”
“Eh? Ah? Oh… sorry.”
Kamijou didn’t seem to understand the situation, but he felt he might as well apologize. The woman in the sports jacket seemed satisfied though as she said,
“Mm, nn, be mindful of it next time, boy.”
The woman gave Kamijou a smile and then disappeared.
Kamijou inadvertently scratched his head.
Though Anti-Skill members were trained fighters, their real professions were teachers. Though by law, civil servants weren’t allowed to have a secondary job, the rule didn’t apply well to Anti-Skill. That wasn’t because it was an exception, but because Anti-Skill did not earn any extra money. Simply put, Anti-Skill personnel weren’t much different from those who helped to patrol the night streets voluntarily, but they were more professional. Anti-Skill had to take part in dangerous activities, and the reward they got was just some Anti-Skill privileges. But even so, Anti-Skill’s work was rather popular. That was because Anti-Skill members could use their identities as teachers to gain convenience when lecturing students, and once they were officially Anti-Skill, they would be extremely respected by students.
(Speaking of which, she’s been walking around here. Don’t tell me she’s a teacher from our school…? Damn it, I just spoke to her as if I just met her. But seeing her attitude…seems like she doesn’t know me…)
Thinking about this, Kamijou felt that someone was tugging at his shirt. Turning around, he saw Himegami standing in front of him.
“Eh? Himegami? What are you doing here? Aren’t you going home?”
“…You’re really cold to a transfer student.”
Speaking of which, today was the big day—‘Himegami’s first day after transferring schools’, but because Index had appeared out of nowhere, he had forgotten all about it.
“So I’m really a woman with such a faint existence.”
“Ah, no way, don’t feel so distressed. It’s just that there’s not enough sunlight around you…”
With a ‘DANG—’ sound effect, Himegami collapsed into despair. After a while, she lifted her head up and said,
“Leaving this aside…”
“(Leaving this aside…? She’s really as unpredictable as ever…)”
“I overheard some things. Is that bespectacled girl called Kazakiri Hyouka?”
Kamijou turned his head around.
Index and Kazakiri were standing near the school gate that was far away, and both of them seemed to be chatting happily, but Kamijou couldn’t hear them.
Kamijou again looked at Himegami.
“Ah, yes, her name is Kazakiri Hyouka. Is she your friend?”
On hearing Kamijou’s words, Himegami turned to look at Kazakiri, who was far away.
She seemed to be staring, yet observing, however, she was not looking at her with kind eyes.
“Oi, what’s with you?”
“Let me confirm this again. Is her name really Kazakiri Hyouka?”
“Hm… she herself said this, and Index also said this. Of course, I didn’t see her ID, but there’s no reason to suspect her, right?”
Himegami again muttered this name.
“Do you know the High School I previously attended?”
“Kirigaoka Girls’ Academy. It’s a star school that can rival Tokiwadai Middle School in terms of esper development. Tokiwadai specialises in following the orthodox method of developing high-Levelled espers, while Kirigaoka specialises in developing espers with powers that are strange, unique and hard to replicate.”
It was true that Himegami’s ‘Deep Blood’ ability was an esper power that was of not much use in science. If so, Kamijou’s right hand may have been heavily noted in Kirigaoka Girls’ Academy. However, Kamijou did not have any intention of studying in a girls’ school.
“I once saw the name Kazakiri Hyouka at Kirigaoka.”
Himegami seemed to add extra emphasis on Kazakiri’s name.
“So she’s a transfer student like you?”
For some reason, Himegami didn’t reply. Feeling slightly intrigued, Kamijou asked,
“Since Kazakiri was from Kirigaoka, it means that she has some amazing ability like you, right?”
Even so, Kamijou wasn’t feeling surprised. He already knows of the strongest electromaster, and his own power is pretty unique.
“I don’t know.”
“Nobody knows what Kazakiri Hyouka’s power is.”
Himegami paused, and then continued,
“When the school unveils the score rankings, her name is always at the top.”
“Oh… so she’s that smart.”
“No, this has nothing to do with being smart. Kirigaoka’s rankings are purely based on ‘how rare the power is’. In other words, Kazakiri’s power is just extremely rare, but it remains to be seen whether it’s useful.”
Himegami paused again, and then continued,
“Also, nobody even knows which year and which class Kazakiri is. Everyone in Kirigaoka knows of this name Kazakiri Hyouka, but nobody saw her before. However, her name will always appear when the results are out.”
“…What’s going on?”
“It’s all a mystery. I once asked a teacher out of curiosity, and the teacher secretly told me that the teachers call Kazakiri Hyouka the ‘Counter Stop’.”
Himegami didn’t stop.
“But this isn’t the point. The teacher told me that the most important thing isn’t the ‘Counter Stop’ name, but something else.”
She then continued,
“It’s said that Kazakiri Hyouka’s the key to the Imaginary Number District - Five Elements Institution.”
Imaginary Number District - Five Elements Institution. It was the first research facility in Academy City and no one knew where it was now. It was said that there were many latest ‘Imaginary technology’ that couldn’t be used, and the rumours went that it was secretly controlling Academy City from behind the scenes, the mastermind.
The mysterious organization that should exist, yet no one knew its exact location.
That feeling gave a strange vibe like a certain girl.
“The teacher told me that there’s a special lab that’s used to analyse Kazakiri Hyouka’s ability. It’s rare to have a research lab set up just to research on one person’s ability, so it’s said that the research lab isn’t meant to investigate the ‘Counter Stop’, but the Imaginary Number District - Five Elements Institution.”
Himegami pondered for a while, and then continued,
“However, that teacher had never seen Kazakiri Hyouka before. There’s a research lab, and her name will appear when the results are out, but even among the teachers, only a few know of her true identity.”
“But… this seems to be a little too…”
“Nn, I don’t know how much of it is true, so I’ll just give an advice. However, it’s better to be careful.”
After saying finish, Himegami seemed like she finished what she had wanted to do and she turned to leave.
“Ah, hold on. We’re going out, so do you want to join us?”
Himegami turned her head around, and her expressionless face seemed to show some surprise.
“…Komoe… that idiot.”
“Nothing. Someone asked me to do something, so I can’t come along.”
Himegami said coldly, then turned her back to Kamijou and walked away. Kamijou looked stunned as he saw the back of the depressed Himegami. Suddenly, Himegami seemed to remember something as she stopped and turned to Kamijou. She asked,
“Oh yeah, why did that Kazakiri Hyouka come to our school?”
“Eh? Index seemed to say… she’s a transfer student.”
After a while, Himegami said,
“But the records indicate that I’m the only transfer student.”
Kamijou was speechless. Himegami left for real this time after saying ‘anyway, please be careful’, and Kamijou turned his eyes from Himegami to the two girls near the school gate.
Kazakiri Hyouka, who was chatting happily with Index, looked like an ordinary person no matter what.
She didn’t seem like someone who would be involved with that mysterious Imaginary Number District.
(Really, I don’t know… whether that’s purely a rumor, or a fact…)
Kamijou scratched his head as he walked towards them.
Index and Kazakiri smiled as they invited Kamijou back.
The cat meowed.
There didn’t seem to be anything strange.
At least not yet.
Between the lines 1
There were many Middle school and High school students at the road in front of the train station.
As every school had an opening ceremony today, all the students who were released had gone out to the streets to play in the afternoon, and a certain corner of a train station in front of a large department store was exceptionally squeezed.
Shirai Kuroko was amongst this packed crowd.
She was about as tall as an ordinary Middle school girl, and her tea-coloured hair was tied into two ponytails. She couldn’t be considered pretty, but she could be considered cute. She was wearing the Tokiwadai Middle School uniform, and she had an armband on her right arm.
The armband had the word ‘Judgement’.
‘Judgement’ was a security group that specialised in taking down espers; it was a group that was similar to a police riot force. All Judgement members were espers, and in contrast to ‘Judgement’, the security forces of teachers that were equipped with the latest weapons were called ‘Anti-Skill’.
The security was divided into two systems in order to let both sides check on each other and prevent internal corruption. Besides these people were basically just ‘students’ and ‘teachers’, and nobody could guarantee that there wouldn’t be people who would abuse their authority like bad cops.
(…Really, why can’t they just separate the entertainment facilities a little further? Didn’t the creator of this city have any psychological sense of transport and environment?)
As a fellow ‘student’, Shirai grumbled, her mind seemingly forgetting the land prices and customer gathering effect.
Like many others, Shirai hated to be in crowded places. Though it was nearing the end of summer, the weather was still hot. There was a special reason why she would come to this hot and crowded place in front of the train station.
Shirai was staring at a person 10m in front of her. She took out her phone and compared the person with the photo on the phone. The foreign looking woman seemed to not notice Shirai’s presence as she brazenly walked through the crowd, seemingly forgetting that she was being pursued.
Before 7am this morning, there were two unknown intruders in Academy City at different parts of the walls.
As one of them was under the jurisdiction of Anti-Skill, as a ‘Judgement’ member, Shirai wasn’t really clear about it. All she knew was that it was a student who was registered under Academy City. Maybe it was a corporate spy?
Shirai was in charge of chasing after someone else.
The photo on the handphone screen was an enlarged image of what the surveillance camera caught. The blond woman actually attacked from the ‘entrance’ of Academy City, forcing her way in and causing 15 people to be wounded, 3 severely injured.
At the moment, Academy City had already launched a ‘special alert status’, which was also known as ‘red alert’. It had already sealed off access from outside, and all the ‘Judgement’ members had requested leave and were now looking for the intruder.
Just like that, Shirai Kuroko had not even attended the opening ceremony as she continued to patrol the streets for several hours…
(At this point, according to standard protocol, I should request for backup, evacuate the people and then carry out the arrest. But it’ll be too time-wasting; I’ll probably lose the best chance to arrest her.)
Shirai muttered as she continued to keep her eyes on the target, who continued to move forward.
Though the security’s divided into two systems, normally speaking, the ones at the frontlines weren’t ‘Judgement’ members, but ‘Anti-Skill’. That was logical, since ‘Judgement’ members were all students. Shirai’s orders were just to ‘find the intruder’, and the rest of the work was to be done by ‘Anti-Skill’. However…
(I can’t let Anti-Skill handle this. Seeing the current situation right now, there’re already so many injured people. Better for those without abilities to fall back.)
Shirai thoughts were based on the self-belief of being a Level 4. To her, those teachers who needed to strap themselves with lots of weapons were really weak.
Shirai didn’t wish to let Anti-Skill get work that they couldn’t take. If Anti-Skill, who came to help her, were injured, she would have nightmares at night. If so, she might as well go fight herself.
She reached her hand into her pocket.
What she took out was something similar to a mini-handgun, but the barrel’s more than 3cm. It was a special gun that fired signal-type bullets.
(Really don’t want to use this…I’ll have to write a report when I use it.)
Shirai raised the gun and pointed it at the sky. She then squeezed the trigger.
With a comical ‘BAM’ sound, a lipstick-size metal cylinder slowly rose 7m in the air.
Then, with a sudden boom, the glaring flash scattered from the metal container. All the pedestrians were terrified by the sudden burst of light as they covered their eyes with their hands and rooted to the ground.
But at that moment, everyone’s actions were rather swift. Once the shrieks and roars subsided, everyone immediately moved towards the nearby buildings, even the university students and the teachers abandoned their cars and headed into the buildings.
Every resident of this city would know this.
This was an evacuation order that the security forces would let out. It meant ‘there will be a battle here, so please don’t be involved in the gunfight that’ll start within 30 seconds’. The originally busy road in front of the train station was now completely empty.
Only Shirai Kuroko and the woman were left.
The woman who was in the middle of that flash didn’t run or shriek, instead merely stood around casually.
They were about 10m away from each other.
Shirai stared at that woman.
One could tell that she was a suspicious woman. She was wearing a black-based robe that had white laces and butterfly knots all over the place; maybe it could be considered a gothic outfit. It should fit a blond haired green-eyed girl really well.
That woman had blond hair, but her skin was really rough.
She should be more than 25 years old, and it seemed like she hardly took care of her hair, as it popped up like a lion’s mane. Her skin was brown, but it didn’t match the sunlight. Her robe looked rather old; not only was the cloth tattered, the white laces were now yellowish. Basically, she couldn’t be considered a beauty, but there was some wildness to her. She looked like a woman who had the illusion of a luxurious gothic lifestyle completely destroyed.
“Please don’t move, my name is Shirai Kuroko, and I’m a security member tasked with protecting this city. You’re under arrest. I believe I don’t need to explain further, right?”
However, the blond Godiva hair woman didn’t respond to Shirai’s words.
The decadent, emotionless woman just moved her neck slightly and looked around. It seemed like the disappeared citizens were much more interesting to her than Shirai.
After 5 seconds, she finally turned to look at Shirai.
“Ending search…you really added quite some trouble for me.”
The woman’s voice had some contempt in it, and it seemed like she hadn’t expected to see an opponent at all. Shirai couldn’t even twitch her eyebrow before the woman quickly reached for something in the tattered sleeve of that old black gothic robe—
—At that moment, Shirai Kuroko was already right in front of the woman.
The 10m distance between both of them was erased by Shirai.
The casual expression on the woman’s face was now mixed with a little surprise.
However, Shirai didn’t intend to explain further, because there was no need to. This was the Level 4 ability ‘instant teleport’.
Shirai Kuroko reached her hand out and grabbed the woman’s wrist that was covered by the tattered lace.
Then, the woman unknowingly landed on the ground. There was no pain, no impact, and more importantly, no memory of falling. Basically, Shirai just used her teleport ability to teleport the woman to the ground the moment she touched the woman, but to the woman who didn’t know what was going on, this may have seemed like some mysterious judo technique.
The woman seemed tired even as she dodged. Just as she rolled on the floor and intend to stand up…
“I told you—”
DONKA DONKA DONKA! The hi-speed impact of a sewing machine needle-impact-like sound could be heard.
Looking closely, the woman’s robe and all the excessive cloth on the dress were pierced through with 12 needles, and the woman was stuck on the ground.
“—Not to move. Don’t you understand Japanese?”
Shirai said silently.
That was also an attack that used the teleport ability. The needles that were hidden underneath her skirt were instantly teleported to the targeted location. They not only had the rapid-firing power of a machine gun, as they were moving from space to space, they wouldn’t be blocked by anything, and there was no need to worry about anyone getting hit by the shots. It could be considered a dangerous way to attack.
Even after seeing such power, the woman remains unmoved.
The mouth on the mask-like face slowly and silently extended to both sides, forming a long smile that reminded one of a Kuchisake-onna.
Instead, it was Shirai Kuroko who was surprised as she frowned.
Suddenly, a huge explosion occurred behind her.
“..What’s going on…?”
Though Shirai was shocked, she didn’t have time to look back. The entire asphalt road rolled up, causing Shirai to be tossed high into the air. Shirai finally managed to look behind after landing on her back.
A giant arm.
It was just like a long-necked dragon that probed out of the water. There was a long ‘arm’ grown out of the road that was longer than 2m. This ‘arm’ was shaped like a human’s, but the materials were asphalt, bicycles, road signs, anything that was around. It was like something that was shaped from clay, a mechanical arm that was attached to heavy machinery when a demolition work was under way.
Shirai frantically tried to escape from the place, only to find that her ankle was stuck into something.
The ground and the ‘arm’ rose up, causing the fragments of asphalt to gather together, and Shirai’s ankle just so happened to be stuck in it.
(…Ah…uu…to think that this outsider’s… an esper…?)
The force on her ankle got bigger as Shirai’s expression inadvertently worsened.
Turning back to look, the woman who was pegged onto the ground seemed to be holding some white-chalk like thing as she wrote something strange on the ground.
Those weren’t signals that research labs use, but they looked like some random magic codes.
Maybe it was like a handphone that used short and simple buttons to replace long codes; and maybe she prepared some special codes to hypnotise her and hijack my powers. Shirai, who didn’t know anything about magic, could only use what she knew to analyse the situation in front of her.
(This…isn’t good…got to hurry up and stand up…!)
Shirai tried to regain her composure, only to find out something.
The ‘arm’ that extended from the ground had a raised portion, and Shirai’s ankle was stuck in it. The lump was shaped in a circle, and it looked like a human head.
Her ankle seemed to be bitten by the ‘teeth’ of the asphalt road.
Shirai’s ability was called instant teleport. It was not limited to 3 dimension rules, so she could move about freely within space.
However, there was a weakness to this ability. Though the phrase ‘to teleport within space’ sounded simple, the theory behind it was to get away from the 3 dimensions, find her position in the 11th dimension, and then calculate the vectors to teleport. Such calculations complexity couldn’t be compared to the simple commands that ordinary espers would have, like ‘fire a fireball’, ‘fire electric strikes’.
So once she was in pain, anxious or confused, or when she was unable to remain calm, she would lose her calculating ability and thus wouldn’t be able to use her teleport ability.
The ‘teeth’ on the asphalt road brought a clattering sound as it occupied a smaller area, and Shirai was already screaming in pain.
She just needed to teleport away in order to escape, but she was unable to think properly due to nervousness.
Looking closely, the woman on the ground was revealing a slight smile as she merely scribbled on the floor with her wrist moving the white chalk. The giant ‘arm’ seemed like it was being controlled as its movements were slowly changing. It seemed like it was changing angles to squash a worm on the floor.
Shirai understood this, but she was unable to move.
The sharp pain and the fear of death affected her calculation ability, causing her method of teleporting away to be rendered useless.
It was like having a key to a nuclear shelter, only to lose the key.
The woman waved the white chalk in the air, drawing curvy lines on it, and the five fingers of the ‘arm’ tightened. The ‘teeth’ that were biting on Shirai’s ankle exerted even more force, causing her to close her eyes in pain.
She closed her eyes, and could only hear a spine-chilling ridiculously-loud noise.
But that was not the sound of Shirai’s ankle being bitten off.
It was also not the huge ‘arm’ that was made of rubble slamming down.
But the sound of the ‘arm’ being sliced off.
This sudden strike caused Shirai to open her eyes in shock.
The ‘arm’ was sliced off horizontally. Before she could even look clearly, the ‘teeth’ that’s holding Shirai’s ankle down got destroyed, releasing Shirai. Shirai’s body inadvertently rolled back after regaining her freedom. The cut parts instantly collapsed upon impact and scattered in all directions, forming back the original shape.
BOUM…! The sound of bees buzzing about that was magnified several hundred times echoed through her ears.
Looking closely, something that looked like a black whip and yet like a long sword extended about 10m in the air. This was the thing that was making the bee buzzing sound. Looking closely, it was formed by iron sand. The large amount of iron sand was being manipulated by magnetism as it vibrated.
Basically, it was a hi-speed chainsaw.
Zzz! With an air-ripping sound, the iron sand returned to the owner.
(Hold on…manipulation…magnetism…? Don’t tell me…!)
Shirai Kuroko coughed violently as she tried to take in more oxygen and turned her head around.
The one standing in front of her was…
‘Ding’, a soft metal sound could be heard.
It was actually the sound of Mikoto flicking a coin with her thumb. The coin slowly, slowly, flipped above Mikoto.
“Though I don’t know why you’re fighting—”
The sliced off ‘arm’ stood upright, forming a large pile of rubbish. However, this tower seemed like it had its own will as it collapsed falling, aiming at Shirai Kuroko.
But at that moment, the coin returned back to Mikoto’s thumb.
“—BUT I WON’T ALLOW YOU TO HURT MY FRIEND!”
At that moment,
The one hit from Mikoto, also known as the ‘Railgun’, caused the coin to travel at 3 times the speed of sound. It heated up due to the friction with air, forming an orange laser as it hit the ‘2-staged tower’. The large impact destroyed the ‘main tower’, and the ‘head’ was also affected as it exploded to smithereens.
BOOM! The terrifying explosion could be heard after a delay.
The surrounding area was covered with smoke, but the strong wind pressure that was created scattered the dust away. This was the after-effect of the Railgun compressing the air.
Though Shirai was still wary of the surroundings, she was focused on something else.
(The strong winds created by the shockwave already far surpasses what a wind esper can do. Onee-sama’s ability’s too terrifying, too stunning!)
On the other side, Mikoto slowly walked towards Kuroko, as if the danger was over.
“Ah, Kuroko. No need to be so jumpy now. That large arm was a diversion. It wasn’t the Railgun’s power that caused the explosion; the arm self-destructed. See, that stupid woman ran away when the smoke’s flying about.”
Mikoto slightly stuck her tongue out as she stretched her arm out and pointed a finger.
Shirai turned back to look. The woman whose robe had been pegged down by the metal needles had already disappeared. Pieces of black robes remained on the ground, and they looked like the remains of cement.
“Oh ya, who’s she? Since you’re chasing her, it means that it’s part of Judgement’s work, right?”
“Mm, yeah. Seems like she’s an intruder…onee-sama…”
At this moment, Shirai’s legs wobbled as she held onto Mikoto.
“Hold on, oi! What’s with you having this kind of weird fantasy even at this moment…”
Mikoto remained stunned for a while before thinking of pushing Shirai away. However, she did not do so.
Shirai was gently grabbing onto the thin summer vest.
Mikoto could already tell from this small area that Shirai’s body was trembling slightly.
“Really can’t be helped with you.”
Mikoto sighed softly as she wondered…
If at this moment, if she was the one trembling, what would that boy say?
“Kuroko, you really like to take things into your own hands. How can you take down that kind of enemy? The Law never stipulates that you have to fight your enemy alone, you know.”
Mikoto understood that the words themselves didn’t have any meaning to it. The significance was in the actions and the feelings she was trying to convey.
“Just look to me for help if you can. Once you see that something’s wrong, just contact me and don’t wait till things get out of hand. Don’t think that this will cause much trouble to me. The more dire the situation when you ask me for help, the more it proves that you trust me. I won’t refuse at all.”
Mikoto pat Shirai’s head gently.
At that moment, the kouhai who had leaped into Mikoto’s arms said,
“…Fufufu…such a rare opportunity. To approach onee-sama in this situation, I can enjoy this wonderful chest…fufu…fufufufufu…!”
“WHA? AH…EH? HOLD ON…I…I’M SERIOUSLY COMFORTING YOU HERE! YOU’RE TREMBLING DUE TO EXCITEMENT!! KUROKO!!?”
Mikoto blushed as she shouted, but it was too late.
Shirai Kuroko wrapped her arms around Mikoto’s back, pressing her face into her beloved onee-sama’s chest as she rubbed into it.
- lengths of braided rice straw rope used for ritual purification in the Shinto religion