Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume7 Chapter2
Chapter 2: Roman Orthodox Church. The_Roman_Catholic_Church.
The sun set as night arrived.
The night did not bring about peace, however. Agnese, who was dressed in black robes, continued to issue orders through hand signals and foreign language to the other nuns wearing the same monastic clothes. At the same time, she was holding a quill pen and writing rapidly in a small notebook. “It’s like a telephone,” Index had explained. When one wrote words into that notebook, similar words would appear in other notebooks. Rather than a telephone, why not call it an e-mail? Kamijou secretly thought.
Some among this black organisation--official nuns from the Roman Catholic Church--had jumped into the sewer through the triangular hole that Orsola's kidnappers had cut open. Others had opened up their maps and used red ink and quill pens to draw lines on the map. Kamijou could not tell whether they were analysing the enemy’s escape route or setting up positions to monitor and surround them.
It was a noisy and chaotic night. Kamijou, Index, and Stiyl could only stand around and watch from afar. Kamijou could not speak any foreign languages--he did not even know what language the nuns were speaking--so he could not take part in the conversation. As for Index and Stiyl, they had chosen to watch from afar, trying to not cause any confusion among the Roman Catholic nuns, who followed a different command structure altogether.
Enduring his ever-growing hunger, Kamijou said,
“Oi, what did Index and I come here to do? Aren’t the people from the Roman Catholic Church supposed to do this mission? If we can only foolishly stand around, what’s the point of coming all the way here?”
“About that, our reinforcements should've arrived by now. I don’t know why those Knights haven’t arrived yet." Stiyl lamented, puffing out white smoke. “Also, we’ll definitely be useful in this situation--no, more accurately, she’ll definitely be useful.”
The "she" that Stiyl mentioned probably referred to Index.
“That’s right, since this concerns a magic book: the original copy of The Book of the Law.”
For his own interests, Stiyl brought the conversation to a close; it seemed like he did not intend to explain further. So, Index continued from where Stiyl left off, making a simple explanation.
The Book of the Law was rumoured to be a magic book written in codes that no one in the entire world could decipher, so the contents of the book were rather precious. Once someone could interpret it, they would be able to gain tremendous power. And now, there was finally a girl who had found a way to decode it.
But the Amakusa Catholics had stolen both the Book of the Law from the Roman Catholics and the girl who knew how to decode it, Orsola Aquinas.
The girl that Kamijou had met on the road was Orsola. She had escaped in the midst of the confusion in the battle between the Amakusa and the Roman Catholics. As for The Book of the Law, it was still missing, but it may have ended up in the hands of the Amakusa.
Kamijou felt that he heard that name before.
He decided to leave that aside for now, however, and asked,
“Nobody can interpret it? Not even Index?”
“No way. I tried, but it's different from ordinary types of codes.”
“But is this ‘magic book that nobody can decode’ really that valuable? Since no one can decode it, can it possibly be just gibberish?”
Index replied honestly. By not refuting that claim, however, Index made herself seem like an adult trying to cajole children, like an expert not sharing her views with a layman.
Stiyl spat out the cigarette that he had finished smoking, put it out by stepping on it, and said,
“It’s said that the spells recorded in The Book of the Law are too powerful. Once used, the world supported by the Christian Church will be doomed. No matter how truthful that legend is, it's best if we can keep this book sealed forever. One sect even believes that whoever reads the book will be able to use the Angelic spell, a spell that far exceeds human limits, freely."
On hearing that, Kamijou froze up.
“Hm? For an atheist like you, it might be hard to imagine what an angel looks like.”
Stiyl laughed. He was wrong, however.
Kamijou understood what an angel was. He still remembered what the angel with the so-called "God’s Power" had done. That night, the sky above the seaside had instantly been covered by a large vortex of magic spells. One single word from the angel would have been enough to turn half the Earth to ash.
Also, out of all the spells that the angel possessed, that had only been the tip of the iceberg.
Such a powerful magic could be controlled freely by humans?
“But…since no one's been able to decipher The Book of the Law, how would they know if it's just a bluff?”
Kamijou swallowed his saliva as he asked, disturbed. Index nodded her head like an innocent boy and replied,
“Mm. Touma, it's undeniable, however, that The Book of the Law has a tremendous amount of power. The person who wrote the Book of the Law was rumoured to be the most powerful magician ever; that man was even qualified to be recorded in the New Testament. He was active about seventy years ago, but the evolution of magicians during the past seventy years has surpassed the progress gained throughout the history of the past several thousand years. Of all the magicians in the world today, about 20% of them are his followers, and almost 50% of all magicians are affected by him to some extent.”
Since Index looked rather serious, Kamijou could not interrupt.
“I feel that the name The Book of the Law isn’t just for show. Even if the power of this book were to be even larger and scarier than that of legend, I wouldn’t be surprised.”
A group of nuns clad in black robes ran past them, making loud footsteps.
“Who…is that ‘he’ you're referring to?”
“Edward Alexander, also known as Crowley. He’s now buried in a cemetery in a certain town in Britain.”
Stiyl lit another cigarette and continued on,
“Anyway, according to history, this guy was the scum of humanity. During one of his trips, in order to carry out a magical experiment, he used his wife, who had been accompanying him around the world, as a medium to contact the guardian angel, Aiwass. And when his daughter Lilith died, he remained unmoved, continuing on with his research on theories of magick. In order to carry out the experiment, he even used a group of girls as old as his daughter as sacrifices…still, he did manage to define a so-called different world--a different but overlapping one similar to Heaven or Hell--and open new grounds in the field of magical rituals. Just by those points alone, his contributions cannot be denied.”
At that moment, the wind changed direction. Stiyl moved away, not wanting Index to breathe in the secondhand smoke. The secondhand smoke floated in Kamijou’s direction instead, making him cough really badly. Seeing that, Stiyl revealed an evil smile, puffing out white smoke even harder, like a wild beast.
“Anyway, there are too many legends about this guy. It’s the same with The Book of the Law; rumour has it that every time he had been in a situation where there had been no way out, he'd use The Book of the Law to carry out divinations, and decide on what to do next according to its contents. In other words, this was a magic book that could decide the fate of the strongest magician in the world. It’s almost equivalent to mastering all of modern Western history. So, one shouldn’t view The Book of the Law too lightly.”
Stiyl seemed rather irritated as he twisted his mouth.
The three Roman Catholic nuns who had run past them just now sprinted back again. One of the nuns smelled the tobacco smoke and subtly frowned. Her hands were holding a large 1-meter diameter wooden gear. It was either a weapon or something else entirely…
“If it’s such a scary book, why not destroy it as soon as possible? Since it’s a book, wouldn’t burning it do the job?”
“A magic book cannot be burned, especially the special class of original magic books. Using small amounts of energy released by nature or lifeforce as power, the words, paragraphs, and chapters convert into a magical code, like an automatically powered magic spell. So, the most we can do is seal it.”
Index revealed a smile which seemed to have profound meaning, and said,
“If it’s an original manuscript written from my memory, however, such a phenomenon won’t occur.”
“An 'auto-powered magic array’ has to be activated by the weak magical energy released by humans. The magic that an author possesses is like an engine’s starter. A magician writing a magic book will unconsciously input some magic into the paper along with the text. No matter what type of stationery or material is used, this phenomenon will always occur; thus, it’s unavoidable. She’s unable to use lifeforce to create magic, however, so this problem won’t occur. She can be considered the ideal candidate as the keeper of the Magical Library…it seems like everything was planned, and that really makes me feel unhappy."
“Oh…so that's how it is? Index?”
“Erm…hm…? What’s a starter? And what’s an engine?”
Stiyl’s explanation, however, puzzled Index.
After that, Stiyl impatiently explained to Index what an engine and a starter was--and for some reason, he looked rather happy.
Kamijou watched Stiyl and Index have their conversation, and his heart felt even heavier.
At the beginning, Kamijou had thought that this was not a big deal. Up until now, he had thought that rescuing the abducted Orsola would be enough.
But looking at things now, the situation was not that simple.
Kamijou had seen how capable an angel was. He had seen firsthand the "God’s Power" that Misha Kreutzev had used, the power that could turn half the Earth into ash.
And Kamijou understood this group known as "magicians". The magicians he had met before did not even know the meaning of the word "mercy". In order to get whatever they wanted, these people would give their all.
This group of magicians…if they were to use The Book of the Law and obtain the angel’s magic, what would they do?
Index had said that the original copy of a magic book could not be burned,
Since it was like an automatic magic array.
But Kamijou’s right hand had an inconceivable power.
If he were to use the power of his Imagine Breaker, maybe he could…
Oh, man! It looks like I can’t back out midway through!
After giving orders in a foreign language, Agnese returned to where Kamijou and the rest were, her mini-skirt shaking about and her sandals, with their extremely thick soles, making a tapping sound like that of horseshoes.
This girl, who was younger than Index, made Kamijou feel rather perturbed. After seeing some inexplicably young nuns from the English Anglican and the Russian Orthodox Church, Kamijou understood that there was no such thing as an age/authority hierarchy in the Magic world (Misha’s inner and outer appearances were completely different, however). Moreover, this girl had been shouting and directing orders at several subordinates in a foreign language, not to mention given out those same orders to others through different methods of communication.
To Kamijou, though, the biggest problem was not the high position and great power that this little girl had, but rather her foreign language. At the moment, Kamijou thought, Since I can’t speak a foreign language, I’ll have to have a showdown using the most hot-blooded high-speed body language instead!
Agnese gazed into Kamijou’s eyes, as if she was going to use a foreign language to engage in a foreign cultural exchange with him. Kamijou got ready as well, preparing to show off his most dramatic actions.
“Ah…erm…I really want to start explaining the current situation; may I ask if you guys are prepared?”
Such strange Japanese.
The surprise that Kamijou felt could not be described by pen or ink.
No matter how mindful someone was of their own unique culture and characteristics, they should not be speaking this sort of Japanese.
Seeing the Roman Catholic nun in front of him all frozen up, her legs shaking and her face flushed red, Kamijou now understood that being nervous when talking to a foreigner for the first time was a universal quasi-truth.
“It…it makes me nervous to show my lousy Japanese in…in front of a Japanese person. Ah, can you speak any other languages? It’s best if we can speak some language that’s far away from our cultures, like Albanian or Berber…”
Since she was nervous, she spoke really fast. Index stood next to her and told her, in a foreign language, something like, "Calm down, calm down, take a deep breath." In another corner, Stiyl’s face was rather gray as he lowered his head, muttering, “Never mind, don’t mind me; I was just thinking of another person who speaks weird Japanese.”
Agnese placed her hand on her almost flat chest, took a few deep breaths, and just barely regained control over her emotions. Her two feet, clad in those sandals with 30-cm-thick soles, were staggering about like those of a drunk because of nervousness.
But in order to do her mission, she straightened herself up and said,
“I’m sorry. Now let me repeat myself: we should discuss the current situation and the actions we’re going to take later--AHHHHHHHHH!”
Agnese, who had ignored the fact that she stood on unstable platforms, tried to straighten her back and hold her head high, but fell backward before she managed to finish what she wanted to say. “WAAAHHH!!” she screamed as she swung her arms wildly. In her confusion, she grabbed onto Kamijou’s arm.
In the end, even Kamijou was pulled to the ground. The sudden action made him unable to react in time to protect himself, and his entire body fell flat onto the asphalt. It hurt so much that he wanted to writhe on the floor. Suddenly, Kamijou realised that there was a piece of floating fabric covering his head.
It was Agnese’s skirt.
Kamijou looked up, and several centimeters in front of him was an entirely delightful scene of paradise.
Panicking, Kamijou tried to move his head away. At the same moment, Agnese also sensed something amiss; gave a loud, piercing “AHHHHHH!!!”; and pressed her skirt down tightly with both hands. Of course, it was a defensive action under a desperate situation, but such an action only caused Kamijou’s head to be stuck under her skirt, making him unable to move.
Kamijou heard Index shouting at him as his entire range of vision was blocked by Agnese's skirt and thighs.
“Tou…Tou-Tou-Tou-Tou-Touma! This sort of prank is really too much!”
“Please don’t get too aroused while we’re doing a mission; now hurry and stand up.”
Stiyl raised his leg to his waist before kicking Kamijou, finally freeing him from the terrifying prison formed from Agnese’s skirt and thighs. Stiyl seemed to have enjoyed the kick a little too much, however, and it seemed that he had felt compelled to do that after hearing Index cry out.
Having been kicked, Kamijou coughed as he shook his head.
At that moment, Kamijou and Agnese, who had fallen onto the asphalt, stared at each other. Agnese was trembling all over, her face flushed red, and tears were forming in her eyes. When Kamijou saw that, he became desperately pale.
“Never…never mind…I fell down myself. Maybe it was because I was too nervous that I lost my balance…Um, can you stand up?”
Agnese used her feet, with those 30-cm-thick-soled sandals, to support herself, and stood up steadily. She then stretched her hand out to Kamijou, who was lying on the ground. Kamijou looked like he had just seen a glimmer of light in the midst of some dark clouds and reached his hand out, grabbing Agnese’s hand. Index was rather unhappy with how the whole scene went.
After calming down, Agnese’s body was still rather stiff, but she was no longer nervous when she spoke.
“Okay, now I’ll start on The Book of the Law, Orsola Aquinas, the Amakusa’s actions, and our future course of action.”
Maybe it was because she was afraid to fall down again, but Agnese, who was trembling terribly, could not help but stretch her hand out again, wanting to hold onto Kamijou’s shirt--but she stopped halfway through. No matter what, grabbing onto a boy whom she was unfamiliar with was inappropriate, and also, the boy had just clearly seen quite a scenery under her skirt. Agnese groped the air before gently grasping onto a corner of Index’s nun robe.
“Right now, we can confirm that Orsola Aquinas has fallen into the hands of the Amakusa. As for The Book of the Law, I’m afraid that they may have taken that as well. The enemy we’re facing, the Amakusa Catholics, probably has slightly less than fifty people. They used the sewer to escape earlier, but it’s unlikely that they’ll stay there throughout the night.”
“In other words, there’s not even a single clear clue?”
Index asked. The way Agnese was pinning herself close to her seemed to be making her uncomfortable.
“Yes. Although we tried to use some of the remaining traces of magic to find out the Amakusa’s whereabouts, we weren't successful. As expected of the Amakusa Catholics, a sect that specialises in enhancing stealth.”
Agnese’s body swayed as she pointed to the equilateral triangle-shaped hole.
“But we have another group setting up a perimeter. Maybe we might get something.”
“A perimeter…how large is it, anyway?”
Kamijou tilted his head as he asked. Index looked at him, her eyes seemingly telling him to save her by pulling away Agnese. He pretended to not notice.
“With this place as the centre, the perimeter has a radius of about ten kilometers, enclosing 132 roads and forty-three sewers. With our manpower, setting such a perimeter isn’t a difficult thing,” Agnese said as she clung onto Index. “Anyway, once the Amakusa try to bring The Book of the Law and Orsola Aquinas back to their base, they'll be detected by our network. According to the information we've gathered, the Amakusa's base is located in Kyushu…though, unfortunately, we’re unable to confirm the accuracy of that report. If they aren't trying to get past us, but are asking Orsola the way to decode The Book of the Law on the spot instead, the situation will be even tougher to handle.”
“You don’t have to worry about that. I believe that Orsola isn't so stupid that she's unable to resist the magic spells that allow people to read minds. If they were to try and use force, this place wouldn’t be ideal for them.”
Stiyl blew out some white smoke and continued,
“The number of nearby enemies is too large for them, so they can’t carry out their work peacefully. Interrogating Orsola, getting the method to decode The Book of the Law, and then printing out manuals on how to decode it; all that work can't be completed in one day. If they want to break through her heart’s defence and force her to sell out information without pushing her toward suicide, the best method of interrogation would be to exhaust her or to prevent her from sleeping without directly interacting with her; that would take at least a week, however. Not letting her sleep for one or two days isn’t even a form of interrogation. They'll only make her sanity begin to deteriorate by forcing her to stay awake for at least 120 hours.”
Stiyl said that nonchalantly, but Kamijou got goosebumps just from hearing it.
Putting this expert in witch hunting and religious trials aside, Kamijou was afraid of what Orsola's kidnappers would do to her. Also, from what he had heard from Agnese, there were almost fifty members of the Amakusa.
The Amakusa Catholics.
At that point, however, Kamijou thought of something; he had heard Kanzaki Kaori and Tsuchimikado Motoharu mention this "Amakusa" group before. What he had heard was that Kanzaki had originally been the leader of that group, and had left them in order to protect them.
In the past, Kanzaki had really wanted to protect this group of people--but now they dared to do this sort of thing for their own selfish purposes?
That shouldn’t be the case…
Don’t tell me that these guys have changed?
After Kanzaki Kaori had left them, had these guys whom she had been protecting fallen?
“What’s wrong, Touma?”
Index asked suspiciously, tilting her head to one side, knocking into Agnese, who was clinging onto her.
“Nothing. Oh, yeah, what do we do now? Those guys from the Amakusa will be immediately found by the perimeter, right?”
“Ah, yeah, that’s right.”
Agnese still seemed to be nervous, as her entire face was almost touching Index’s. She continued,
“Basically, you guys just need to be the backup…there's still some danger of them using the spells from The Book of the Law, however, even though the possibly may be small, so it’d best if an expert of the magic book were to settle this—”
“Ahhhh! This is unbearable! It’s really hot!”
Index swung her arms around. After a while, she said to Kamijou,
“Will the Amakusa be found that easily, though? Touma?”
“If you ask me, then who can I ask? Speaking of which, if forty to fifty guys of a mysterious organisation were to walk onto the streets, wouldn't it be rather striking?”
“Touma, didn't you know that the Amakusa don't have a fixed attire? They’re a group of people highly specialised in hiding their whereabouts and covering their own tracks. Even if they were to walk onto the streets, outsiders wouldn't see them as different from ordinary folks.”
“What’s wrong, Touma? Why are you staring at me so suspiciously?”
“Nothing,” Kamijou replied. None of the people around him were dressed normally. What Index had said about them not being different from ordinary folks did not seem convincing to him.
“Anyway, the Amakusa specialise in hiding and escaping. After stealing The Book of the Law and kidnapping Orsola Aquinas, they’ll expect the Roman Catholics to hit back full force. If this was a planned operation, then they might have rehearsed this part.”
Agnese, who was still clinging onto Index, looked puzzled as she said,
“But…but even then, no matter what, they can’t possibly escape our perimeter…”
“It’s possible. There’s a type of magic for that.”
Index replied without hesitation. At that, Agnese sucked in a deep breath.
“There's a spell that can only be used in Japan. Basically speaking, there are special places called ‘portals’ all over Japan. One can use this ‘map magic’ to travel from ‘portal’ to ‘portal’.”
“Are you talking about the Dai Nihon Enkai Yochi Zenzu that Ino Tadataka created?”
Stiyl seemed to have thought of something, giving an ugly expression as he muttered.
Kamijou was extremely confused now. He asked,
“Who’s this Ino Tadataka? Is he another famous magician?”
Once that question was asked, everyone turned and gazed at Kamijou coldly.
“Erm, Touma, he was the person to create the first map of Japan using modern surveying techniques. It’s even recorded in ordinary history timelines.”
“Seems like you have no clue at all about history. I bet you’ve even forgotten who the previous five prime ministers were?”
“…even an Italian like me knows.”
Kamijou, completely embarrassed now, was bombarded and pulverised by the voices around him.
“Anyway, this Japanese map created in the Edo period has a special structure. Everyone should be clear about the Idol Theory, right? That's, except for…Touma.”
There were supposed to be only a few people who understood that magical term, but it seemed to be common knowledge among all the people around him. Kamijou felt that he was in a situation where he was struggling alone.
“For Touma’s sake, I’ll give a brief explanation. The Idol Theory is a form of basic knowledge that allows us to put the power of God and angels to good use. According to this theory, if one were to build a duplicate of the cross on which Christ was crucified and put it on the roof of a church, some of the holy power from those actual cross-wielders will be replicated. The power of the duplicate is not even 0.000000000001% of the original's--even the greatest legendary duplicate, Holy Manger, contains only a small fraction of that power--but if someone obtained even 1% of the original's power, they could match even the twelve apostles.”
All over the world, from the ones on churches to the ones hanging on nuns’ necks, there were a lot of crosses. But even with the power split away into so many duplicates, the power of the original is almost limitless. Maybe it’s like how the sun provides solar power for electricity, Kamijou guessed wildly.
“And, according to our hypothesis, this Idol Theory can be reversed; in other words, not only will the original cause some effect on the Idol, but also vice-versa.”
“Hypothesis…? Do you mean that it’s still unconfirmed?”
“There are some exceptions that cannot be explained, so right now, it’s just a hypothesis. But using this hypothesis, people have claimed that they’ll receive divine judgement if they treat the Bible badly; that's not unreasonable, however. In the Bible, there are many instances where several idols from different anti-Christian Greek religions were struck down and destroyed by lightning. Stepping on Fumie in Japan was a method designed to affect the original badly by stepping on the duplicate." 
Index frowned as she said that. As a treasure house of knowledge, she did not seem to like saying uncertain words like "what if" or "according".
“Ino Tadataka used the Idol Theory in the opposite manner. He understood that the real one and the idol would affect each other, so he plotted 47 ‘portals’ on the Dai Nihon Enkai Yochi Zenzu that originally didn’t exist on the Japanese islands. Thus, these entrances that allow people to come and go as they please appeared in modern Japan.”
Kamijou’s mind tried hard to arrange this extremely strange information Index had told him.
The Japanese islands and the intricate map of Japan that the guy called Ino Tadataka had made could actually affect each other. Once one randomly drew a teleportation entrance on that map, such a entrance would appear on that real island as well.
In other words, everything that they drew on the map would become real?
“Hey, that’s too scary, isn’t it? If one were to use an eraser to erase that map, wouldn’t every Japanese person and city disappear as well?”
“It’s not like that, Touma. Listen to me: the condition for being an idol is being a duplicate; as long as there’s even a slight difference in the levels of magic used between the idol and the original, the idol will lose its purpose. So, the Idol Theory can’t be used to solve everything. Once the original image is changed, the theory cannot be used.”
Index solemnly explained. There had been a group of magicians in the past who had tried to use a stone sculpture that looked like the Son of God to control the Son of God in the heavens, but it ended up in failure.
“Looking at it another way, this was where Ino Tadakata was really impressive. He added some things to the duplicates that the original itself didn't have, and yet he was still able to maintain a perfect balance between the duplicates and the original. In the entire history of Magic, he was the only one who managed to accomplish that. If he were a sculptor, he might even have been able to control the Son of God or an angel…though, of course, just being able to manipulate the map of Japan was pretty impressive.”
“…do the Amakusa know how to use this magic that employs the Japanese map?”
“The answer should be affirmative. Ino Tadakata, who lived in the Edo period, was very interested in the cultures of other countries. His clan even intended to sell the Dai Nihon Enkai Yochi Zenzu to Siebold.  When Christians were persecuted, he might have obtained some knowledge through the Dutch.  If he had met the Amakusa secretly in the interest of knowledge, it wouldn’t be strange.”
Putting aside the minor details, the Amakusa basically had a magic spell that allowed them to teleport themselves all over Japan. So, breaking through the perimeter would be easy work for them.
After hearing Index’s explanation, Agnese was stunned.
Kamijou organised the information that he had just heard and said,
“Then, what do we do? The Amakusa might have escaped through a portal, right? Since there are a limited number of portals, shouldn't we just check all of those in one go?”
“It’s impossible. Actually, people later said that they could only find 23 of the portals on the Dai Nihon Enkai Yochi Zenzu. But a manual from the time of when black ships arrived clearly stated that there were 47 portals.”
The location of more than half of the portals could not be identified.
Thus, they could not determine the whereabouts of the Amakusa.
“Besides using the special teleportation magic of the Dai Nihon Enkai Yochi Zenzu, the base of the Amakusa is famous for being a well-hidden secret. That's understandable, since outsiders can't even determine their escape routes. Just now, Agnese said that their main base was reported to be in Kyushu, but it's almost impossible to verify that. There are too many places that are suspected to be their main base. As for where the real one actually is, nobody knows. These reports could be all false, or those places could all have the capacity to be a main base.”
Agnese looked pale.
Her hands, which had been clinging onto Index’s body, were now grabbing Index’s shoulders. She exclaimed,
“Then…what should we do? Since you knew about this, why didn’t you tell me? We can’t determine the location of the portal, and we can’t find their main base! In this situation, if they were to get into the portal, it’d be all over! If we take action before they enter the portal, there’s still a chance that we can intercept them! Why do you still look so calm?”
“Because there’s no need to panic.”
Index calmly replied. When Agnese heard that, she was stunned.
“The Dai Nihon Enkai Yochi Zenzu is measured and mapped out using the location of the stars. So, the location of the stars is extremely important, as that's the condition for using this special magic. Basically, there’s a limited time frame; if the time isn’t right, the special teleportation magic cannot be used.”
Index gazed at the stars, her silver hair swaying in the air.
“Judging by the location of the stars right now…the time now is approximately 7:30 PM. The only time in which they can use the special teleportation magic is a short period after the date changes, which means that there’s around four and a half hours to go. Also, the location of the portal which they can use to teleport is fixed. Among the 23 portals that the descendants could find, only one is located within our vicinity…of course, they might use other portals that we don’t know of,” Index said rather confidently.
Every time this kind of situation occurred, Kamijou felt that he and Index were not really living in the same world.
“Where will that portal appear?”
“Touma, do you have that thing that can allow us to see a map? Lend it to me, lend it to me.”
Kamijou thought, She must be referring to the GPS function, and handed her his phone. Index accepted the phone, but she looked like she did not know what to do with it, so Kamijou had to use it for her. Index continued to give him directions like "a bit right" or "move down a bit", and finally pointed her slender white finger to a point on the map.
“Our scouts have reported two suspicious characters there. They’re likely from the Amakusa, but we haven’t tipped them off yet.”
After hearing Index’s explanation a while ago, Agnese had given the orders, and within 15 minutes, she had gotten a report from her subordinates.
It’s really easy to do things when there are so many people, Kamijou thought. The Angel Fall incident had been a whole lot more troublesome, even though this situation was just as chaotic.
“There’s no sign of the main force of the Amakusa, The Book of the Law, or Orsola, however.”
“Of course not. It'd be very obvious if they were all there at the same time. And it’s still ‘business mode’ over there.”
Although Kamijou did not know what time it was exactly, he guessed it was not even 8 PM right now.
If the Amakusa wanted to use the map magic created by Ino Tadataka to escape, they had to head toward the portal's location. Kamijou and the rest intended to attack the Amakusa before they could reach the portal and take back The Book of the Law and Orsola.
“Since they might use other portals that we do not know of, or not use any special teleportation magic at all, I can’t gather all my people into one group before we find the main force of the Amakusa. If we don’t maintain the perimeter and search for them within the area, we’ll probably let them escape. That place is where they’re most likely to appear, though." Agnese said worriedly.
Index did not seem to mind and said,
“You’ve done the right thing. Besides, even I don’t have any concrete evidence.”
“Because of those reasons, the number of people that can be deployed is only 74, including me. Right now, we’re readying our weapons and equipment. With that amount of manpower, if we meet the main force of the Amakusa, we won't have a sure chance of winning. I'm sorry, but you guys will have to take care of yourselves.”
Up until now, there had only been less than 50 people in the Amakusa, and yet they had been able to fight it out against the Roman Catholics for such a long time. So, Agnese was not just saying that to be humble.
Stiyl lit another cigarette and said,
“You don’t have to worry; we're sorry that there’s been no notice from the Knights who had agreed to arrive. So we won’t burden you guys. Oh, yeah, how long will it take for the preparations to be complete before we leave?”
“Besides the weapons and equipment, we still need to bless everyone here by pouring holy water and reading Bible scriptures…” Agnese thought for a while before saying, “Around 3 hours…we’ll likely finish by 11 PM at the latest.”
“If we count the time it takes for us to travel...that means that we only have 30 minutes to settle this? Ah, well; at least we may end up arriving there before the Amakusa’s main force; so far, we’ve just been waiting around aimlessly.”
Just like that, the time of the operation was set to 11 PM.
Agnese clapped twice, and after giving orders in a foreign language, all the nuns in black went into action. The 74-strong group of nuns split into smaller groups of 2 to 4 people. Each group then proceeded to do its own job.
For someone who was used to seeing lone striders like Stiyl, Tsuchimikado and Kanzaki--or to put it crudely, magicians who were stubborn and lonely--the orderliness of the Roman Catholics surprised Kamijou.
Agnese and the nuns participating in the "Retrieval of The Book of the Law and Orsola Operation" went into their preparations for war, and those who had already finished their own preparations took turns to eat or sleep. Kamijou was intrigued, not understanding how these people could still sleep before a battle. But Agnese told him that, once the battle was at a stalemate, nobody would even dare wish for a good nap on a comfy bed, so they could only dare rest up for 10 to 20 minutes to replenish their energy. To the nuns, this was already basic knowledge.
Seems like this is a specialised group of people who are really used to fighting for a long time.
Kamijou thought, his mind running wildly.
Since Kamijou, Index, and Stiyl had nothing else to do, they had time to enjoy their dinner and take a little nap. Kamijou thought,
Maybe this is the hospitality that Agnese shows to her guests.
Remarkably, they had to take their dinner and sleep inside a tent. This was supposed to be the capital of Japan, and yet they were setting up their own tent. That was really unexpected. Come to think of it, if these 70+ people wearing such strange clothes and preparing for war were to gather in a multi-chain restaurant or a hotel, then that would be an even more amazing sight.
Now that I think about it, we’re starting at 11…will I be able to make it school tomorrow? AH! Wait! The due date for submitting the summer holiday homework should be approaching soon, right?
Kamijou hastily looked toward the direction of Academy City, not knowing what to do.
Due to several complicated reasons, Kamijou had not completed his summer homework. So, Komoe-sensei had given Kamijou a "punishment assignment"--which she had made specially for Kamijou--and the last day to submit this assignment was tomorrow.
AHHHHHHHH! Kamijou turned gray as he screamed within his heart.
To be honest, Kamijou had thought that he could complete it. Up until now, the hard-working Kamijou had to block Index’s "Play with me!" attacks and fend off the calico cat, Sphinx’s, "Give me food!" attacks in order to do his homework. So, unfortunately, his abilities alone had not been enough. But yesterday, he had begged Misaka Mikoto to teach him how to solve those questions, and although Mikoto had grumbled, she had still stayed with Kamijou for many hours; thus, the rate at which he had been solving those questions had gone up, and there had been hope that he would be able to complete it today.
But now, that bubble of hope had burst.
Oh man! Oh man! I’ll be scolded! What to do? What am I going to do? It’s not just Komoe-sensei--even Mikoto will be angry! Ahhhhhh! I haven’t said this for quite a while, but…such misfortune!
Kamijou’s entire body trembled as he tilted his head slightly upward, looking up at the night sky. He continued to tell himself that the transparent liquid flowing down from the corners of his eyes was just sweat.
Kamijou dejectedly walked towards a corner of the campsite, got a piece of bread and a bowl of soup--the latter of which he could not identify--and ate as he looked around.
Small semi-circular tents were set up everywhere in the abandoned parking lot of the Gloaming House. Yet, no matter what anyone thought, there was no way this area could accommodate everyone. It seemed like some of them would be sleeping inside the building. Besides, all the Roman Catholic nuns were be busy preparing, so it was likely that more than half of them would not have time to sleep.
Seeing these people being so busy, Kamijou felt embarrassed and did not dare sleep. According to Stiyl, however, people who had nothing to do and kept moving around would only cause them more trouble.
Come to think of it, wouldn’t the police notice a group of people living in a dump? Or did they use something like a spell that turns away passersby?
Kamijou went from the campsite to his own tent, snuggled his body under the futon, and thought about all these things. Stiyl was sleeping just beside him, and Index seemed to be sleeping in another tent. In order to protect Index, Stiyl had actually intended to sleep with Index in the same tent, but that idea was rejected. Later, Kamijou had seen a disappointed Stiyl mutter to himself, “If Kanzaki, who is of the same gender, were around, it'd have been alright...” as he placed rune cards near her tent. It was said that Innocentius became stronger the more rune cards there were, and Stiyl appeared to be grumbling because there was a limited amount of space inside the small tent where he could stick them.
Unable to sleep, Kamijou rolled around in the tent. It was not because he was not tired or overly nervous because of the upcoming battle, but because he could not sleep on his own when there were so many people busy working outside. Even more, once he thought about how they were dressed, he could only think about Orsola, who was dressed in the same nun robes.
“…I should just go help them.”
As Kamijou got out from under the futon, Stiyl’s irritated voice rang out beside him.
“Do whatever suits you, but please don’t use your mysterious right hand to destroy their artifacts...If they’re broken, you'll have to pay for them yourself; it’ll be none of the English Anglican's business.”
After listening to that seemingly sarcastic reminder, Kamijou got out of the tent.
The summer night was extremely hot. The nuns ran around, busy doing their own things. Some of them carried a lot of silver candlesticks; some of them, stacks of old Bibles; and some of them, large wooden wheels that seemed to be used for horse carriages. Kamijou wondered, What use do those things have?
Is there something that I can help with…Eh?
Kamijou suddenly realised that something was strange, and stopped. Beside the tent he had just walked out from, the zipper to the entrance of Index's rune-card-filled tent was open, and there was no one inside.
Now where did she run off to--WA!
Seeing that Index’s tent was empty, Kamijou moved toward it--and noticed that the feeling of ground below his feet was gone. Actually, he got careless, and had already stepped into the equilateral triangular hole made by the Amakusa.
Oh, no…! I’m about to fall in--!
Before Kamijou could fall entirely into the sewer, a nun grabbed Kamijou’s waving hand in the nick of time. The nun pulled Kamijou out and started telling him off in a foreign language, but Kamijou did not understand what she was saying.
Oh, man, have I already started giving them trouble?
A dejected Kamijou turned around again to look at the triangular hole which he had nearly fallen into, and observed it carefully.
The Amakusa had been lurking in the sewers since a while ago, and had launched a sneak attack from below. Up until now, Kamijou had thought that this place could be considered the Roman Catholics’ base, and no matter how one moved around, there should not be any danger.
Thinking about it carefully, though, danger could still be nearby. The Amakusa could have set up something that could destroy the Roman Catholic command base before they had escaped, making their escape a lot easier.
Even if they were to launch a stealth attack, they wouldn't attack a layman like me, right? No matter how hard I think, they’d choose an important place to attack, such as the command post.
The problem was that Kamijou was unable to distinguish the important tents from the unimportant ones. He saw one in front of him that was a lot bigger than the rest. Kamijou casually thought, That tent looks like the most likely to be attacked.
Suddenly, an extremely loud crashing sound came from within that large tent.
Then, a girl’s scream was heard.
Kamijou felt the water content in his throat evaporating. Those wild thoughts that he had a while ago now came running back into his mind.
The Amakusa could launch a direct attack from below.
The more important the tent was to Agnese and the rest, the more likely it would be attacked.
No way; don’t tell me it came true…
Luckily, that tent was rather close to Kamijou. He clenched his fist as hard as stone and rushed forward. Although there were many nuns around, they were too shocked by this unexpected situation to respond. Kamijou ran to the entrance of the tent and pulled the zipper.
Just as Kamijou shouted, a heavy object suddenly flew out of the tent and crashed into Kamijou’s belly. It was a heavy and warm object that brought with it some humidity.
An indescribable feeling flowed through Kamijou’s entire body, his fine hairs standing still. Kamijou quickly raised his fist and was about to swing it down…
Before realising that it was Agnese Sanctis, now entirely naked, who was clinging to his waist.
A loud voice boomed inside Kamijou’s head, and then his mind went blank.
Agnese, who was completely naked, was wet, her skin dripping and moist. White steam continued to rise from her slightly pink and soft skin, and while clinging onto Kamijou, she continued to tremble. She buried her face into Kamijou’s stomach, shutting her eyes and muttering some foreign language. It seemed like she was confused.
Kamijou did not understand a single thing that Agnese was saying. Agnese pointed her finger at something, so Kamijou turned to look in that direction.
A small slug was in one corner of the large tent.
Agnese pointed to that small slug while speaking in that foreign language that no one could understand.
“Wait…wait, wait, Agnese! Let me go first, and put on some clothes! Also, I can only understand Japanese!”
Kamijou blushed as he shouted. Once Agnese heard that, her trembling stopped.
She lifted her head in fear.
And saw Kamijou.
The next moment…
Agnese fainted, and fell backwards.
The ground was hard asphalt. Kamijou quickly grabbed Agnese, who was about to hit the ground. An amazing sensation passed through Kamijou’s shirt, making him feel strange. Agnese was a lot slimmer than Index overall, so she was a bit skinny, but that made her soft parts more pronounced.
Kamijou, who was still hugging Agnese, looked up, and trembled.
Actually, there was a large golden basin in the middle of the tent, and above it, hanging from the roof, was a metal can. Attached to the bottom of the metal can was something that looked like a shower nozzle, and a tap above it. It seemed like this was a simple set-up for a shower, and by turning the tap, hot water from the metal can would flow out from the nozzle. And right now, hot water was flowing out of it.
Within that large, golden basin in the middle of the tent, drenched in hot water, was a silver-haired, emerald-eyed nun.
The nun spoke in a very low voice. Of course she was not wearing anything. Whether it was her wet hair, her flat chest, or her little belly button that was now filled with water, they were all in full view. Her skin was originally white, but after she had washed it with hot water, it was rather reddish.
“Wait… wait, wait, wait a minute! I thought that the Amakusa attacked, and was worried, so I rushed in, so I hope you can carefully re-evaluate this…”
Startled, Kamijou observed Index’s every movement.
“—Sniff sniff… Sniff sniff…”
This completely unexpected situation made Kamijou tremble mysteriously. Large teardrops continued to flow from the corners of Index’s eyes, and she used her hands to wipe them away.
Suddenly, Kamijou found many people looking at him coldly.
Over 100 nuns were labeling Kamijou as "a guy who would make a young and naked girl cry--and even our superior is naked and has fainted beside him".
Kamijou went pale.
“Wait…please…please calm down, Index-hime! This isn’t like you! You aren’t like this normally! See, Kamijou’s head is here, right? Come bite it, quickly, bite it… Eh? Wait…wait! Why do you look so serious all of a sudden? I…I’m just joking! Please don’t give me that expression, like you’re going to chew on a thick slab of beef--WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!”
“Didn’t I tell you not to cause them trouble? Hm? Why are you holding your head and crying?”
Stiyl, who was lying inside the tent, coldly asked Kamijou, who was bare able to drag his body back into the tent. As the tent’s entrance was zipped up, Stiyl figured out that there had been a commotion, but he did not know that it had something to do with Index. If he were to know about it, the next scene would probably be one where a crazed priest wielding a flame sword chased after Kamijou. Kamijou was told by Agnese, who had voiced her displeasure, “We’re about to discuss battle tactics; please LEAVE.” Of course he did not want to cause anymore trouble.
Kamijou stroked his scalp and snuggled into his futon. As long as he could get some time, whether it was five minutes or ten minutes, he should quickly rest and get some sleep. It was said that this was common knowledge for all magicians. Kamijou could not sleep before the pain went away, though.
“What? I’m rather annoyed right now. If there’s anything, we can talk later.”
“I'd like to ask you something.”
“Their ability to handle danger is so lousy. So what if it’s The Book of the Law? They’re already panicking like this over just a magic book. This is really unthinkable. Compared to this, that girl who possesses 103,000 magical books in her brain... Who knows how many magicians have coveted her…”
“Which girl do you like?”
Hearing Kamijou ask that question, Stiyl sucked in a breath of cold air, his body trembling slightly.
During nights in training or camp, that question would always be raised. That seemed to be something unique only to Japan.
“Answer quickly; I still have other questions to ask.”
“The lady I respect is Elizabeth the First, and the lady I admire is St. Martha; it’s said that she subdued a dragon with a prayer full of love and compassion, and that's really admirable. Any other questions?”
“The Amakusa Catholics...isn’t that the organisation which Kanzaki was serving?”
Stiyl squinted his eyes, and remained silent. He stretched his hand, wanting to get a cigarette, but realised that smoking while lying on the ground was not good, and pulled his hand back.
“Who told you? Kanzaki most likely wouldn’t say where she’s from. Did Tsuchimikado tell you?”
“Yeah. It was when you became the owner of the seaside resort.” 
Stiyl looked like he did not understand. Kamijou did not bother explaining and continued,
“In other words, the Amakusas are Kanzaki’s compatriots, right?”
Kamijou paused at this point, obviously looking perplexed. “…Should we continue to take action? Like that time against the Misawa Cram School?”
Kamijou and Stiyl had once fought on the same side before.
That battle could only be described as appalling. Many people had been injured, and some had even lost their lives. From that moment on, Kamijou had vaguely understood what a battle between different magical organisations was all about. In the real magical world, not a single hint of innocence was allowed. Thus, magic specialists like Index and Stiyl were born.
Since these people knew how cruel a battle between magicians was, would that not create a sense of compassion?
Stiyl answered without hesitation, however.
“Isn’t it obvious? I’ll do anything to protect that kid. Even if I’m not ordered by my superiors to do so, or even ordered not to, it’s the same to me. I can kill anyone, whether it’s burning them alive, or burning their corpses to ash--whether it’s in front of that kid or somewhere where she can’t see me,” Stiyl said in a self-depreciative manner. “Don’t get the wrong idea, Kamijou Touma. That I’m lying right here, right now...it’s all for that kid. Once you have no more value to that young child, I’ll burn you to a crisp anytime.”
Kamijou could not help but swallow his saliva.
This was the sole conviction that Stiyl Magnus had.
Being one of the English Anglicans, becoming an extremely strong battle magician, being ordered to bring back The Book of the Law and Orsola...all his actions were based on this conviction.
“A long time ago, I swore, '―Sleep well; even if you forget everything, I’ll remember it forever. I’ll live for you, and die for you.'”
That made Kamijou tremble.
But Stiyl’s words were filled with passion.
Kamijou pondered carefully on how to answer.
If he was not careful, it would be disrespectful to Stiyl.
“But even so, why must you get Index involved in this?”
“The one who planned this wasn’t me. If possible, I would not have gotten her involved either.”
Stiyl said calmly.
“But I can’t settle this on my own. If I do, that child will be seen as ‘useless’ by my superiors. As of right now, if we can’t make them see the value that Index has, it’s likely that she’ll be brought back to London. Right now, to her, not being able to live in Academy City would be much more painful than anything else.”
Stiyl’s voice was filled with frustration and reluctance.
They were both members of the English Anglican Church. As for Stiyl, he must be hoping to bring Index back to Britain.
But Stiyl Magnus replied with such reluctance.
“Let’s sleep; there’s only 2 hours left before the operation starts. We’ll get nightmares if we continue talking.”
After saying that, the rune spellcaster shut his mouth and eyes.
In a few hours, it was going to be a battle for keeps. In such an intense atmosphere, Kamijou had thought that he would not be able to sleep, and he did not expect himself to, after getting under his blanket and closing his eyes. Maybe it was because the preparations for Daihaseisai had taken more out of him than he had expected, but Kamijou soon fell asleep.
Sensing something heavy pressing against him, Kamijou woke up. At that moment, a message inside Kamijou told him: something as heavy as a human was pressing on him, the blanket had risen for some reason, and his body felt some warm and soft skin.
In addition, there was subtle breathing coming from under the blanket.
Wai—Wait, wait…oh, no, no way! Oh, man, I forgot that the tent doesn’t have a lock!
In his dormitory, Kamijou would normally hide inside the bathroom, lock the door, and sleep inside the dry bathtub. The reason was simple: if he did not do this, Index would snuggle into Kamijou’s futon while she was still dazed and sleepy. Because of that, Kamijou was grateful that the bathtub was large enough for him.
Besides this sin—-Index snuggling into his futon—-which would cause a severe adverse emotional impact on the young and healthy Kamijou Touma, the more important thing right now was that Stiyl slept beside him--and he had been rather stern when he gave that relentless speech before he slept. If this continued, Kamijou would likely die in Stiyl’s hands later.
Drenched in sweat, Kamijou suddenly noticed that the tender flesh of the girl was constantly rubbing against him.
The rubbing of different body parts together made Kamijou’s heart stop beating.
…Wooo…whoooaaa! Wait a second, wait a second! Index! Coming from the side is enough, but isn’t it too much to press onto my body!?
Kamijou hastily whispered--or so Kamijou thought, but it was actually very loud--voicing his objection.
“Hm…Touma, what are you saying…?”
Suddenly, a familiar voice came from the entrance of the tent; it was Index, half-asleep and dazed and her eyes half-open as she unzipped the entrance to the tent, preparing to enter Kamijou’s futon.
“Eh?” A large question mark appeared inside Kamijou’s head.
“Umum… Papa…Io non posso mangiare alcuno più qualsiasi più lungo…”
The face that was revealed from inside the futon was that of Agnese Sanctis.
Agnese, who was still sleeping soundly, did not realise that she was less than 5 cm away from Kamijou’s lips.
No way...Another person who snuggles into other people’s futons when she’s sleepy and dazed? Didn’t this girl order me to leave their bathing area a while ago?
Kamijou panicked as he pulled away from the approaching pair of peach-like lips. He then tried to crawl away while under Agnese’s body. The moment Kamijou tugged at the futon, however, it was lifted open.
Kamijou was stunned. Agnese, whose entire body was revealed from within the futon, wore only a white laced bra and a pair of panties with small bow ties on both sides. Maybe she was used to sleeping like this, as her nun's robes were neatly stacked and placed in one corner of the tent.
Stunned, Index stared at Kamijou and Agnese.
“Wait! Index, I’ve no idea what’s going on! I don’t have an inkling of why I'm being called that by a young girl!”
Because of the previous incident involving Agnese, which ended up with him having bite marks all over his head, Kamijou was frightened, and trembled, trying to explain his actions. Index observed Kamijou’s frightened expression closely, and said,
“Whoa…this…should probably be a dream…”
“Um, even if it’s Touma, he can’t possibly have so little integrity. So, this must be a dream. Mm-hmm.”
“Yeah…yes, yes! It’s a dream, it’s a dream! How can a real man like Kamijou Touma, who’ll forever treat nuns nicely, do such a shameless thing!?”
Kamijou continued to misguide Index, who was sleepy, like a hypnotist.
“Hm, ya, since it’s a dream, there should be no problem. It’s alright no matter how hard I bite. Since it’s a dream, it’s alright if I take this opportunity to vent all my daily dissatisfaction. Mm-hmm.”
“EH? AH…what? Wait, Index! You’re wrong! This is a real and authentic…”
Kamijou frantically tried to correct himself, but it was too late. Index bit his head with all her strength. The scream of the healthy high school boy, Kamijou Touma, made Agnese, clad only in her underwear and lying beside him, wake up in shock. As for Stiyl Magnus who was sleeping in the same tent and was annoyed, he simply took a glance at Kamijou and the rest, turned over to the other side, and continued his sleep.
11 PM. It was nighttime now.
The substitute Supreme Pontiff, Tatemiya Saiji, together with 47 members of the main force, were gathered around the portal of the special teleportation magic, the Thumbnail Tour.
The place was not some mysterious forest or mountain, however; they were at a large snack-themed amusement park called Parallel Sweets Wonderland.
This snack-themed amusement park had been built and financed by 4 large snack manufacturers, and it was as large as an electrical plant. Inside the park were 75 stores from 38 different countries. Throughout the park were several donut-like watercourses, linked to each other like the 5 rings on the Olympic logo. Outside the watercourses, there stood several snack shops similar to those of hawkers, but their products were top-quality. Inside of the circular watercourses was a square where many snack manufacturers could showcase their products and carry out activities. As it was almost the end of summer, it seemed like they were promoting ice products and frozen deserts.
Although the locations of the portals that Ino Tadataka had set did not change, the city developed and changed everyday. Some portals were located within certain rooms in certain condominiums, or even a large gold vault in a certain bank; it was now impossible to use those for teleportation. In comparison, this portal was the most accessible.
The Amakusa members who had infiltrated Parallel Sweets Wonderland were holding hands as they prepared for the Thumbnail Tour.
As conditions for its use, the Thumbnail Tour could only be used at midnight, and the ritual to prepare it had to be completed beforehand. As the timeframe in which the Thumbnail portal could be used was only 5 minutes long, it would be too late if they waited until midnight to begin the ritual. The ritual had to be activated exactly at midnight, however, so if necessary, they could finish it first and then activate it at midnight.
None of the preparations for the ritual required any weird magic arrays or spell chanting.
Aside from having infiltrated a theme park that was not open for service, these people were not really that strange. There were young people gathered in groups of 4 to 5, talking together; some occasionally took out French fries and hamburgers from paper wrappers to eat; some were holding discussions in front of the theme park’s introductory board; and others were standing and flipping through travel guidebooks. Their actions seemed quite normal.
Their attire was much more commonplace than those worn by Index or Stiyl: one girl wore a cutie top and a pair of short jeans, a boy had donned a mixed-colored shirt and baggy black pants, a lady wore an outfit with her overcoat slung over her shoulders, and so on. The only noticeable thing was that around 10 people were carrying sports bags, musical instrument cases, surfboards, and all other sorts of bulky luggage; these were the people responsible for transporting weapons.
Only people of the same trade would be able to understand that every detail of their attire and actions was carefully planned.
There was a magical meaning behind everything.
The number of males and females, the age difference, the color combinations of the clothes, the act of having 4 to 5 people gathering together, the content of the discussion, the religious ritual that "eating" represents, the ingredients used for the hamburgers, what "eating meals" meant in magical terms, the page numbers where they stopped, the act of reading, adding up all the page numbers together…
All these were classified as "codes" or "logos". Every action by the organisation created a spell and a magic array. Like this, the spells of the Amakusa used things from everyday life that had originated from several abandoned religious rituals, choreographed over and over so people could not tell that they used magic. This trait originated from the Bakumou era, when they were forced to hide to avoid persecution.
It’s about time…
Tatemiya Saiji stood alone, far away from everyone, and swung the sword in his hand horizontally.
The metal streetlights lost their light, breaking in half and leaving behind diagonal cuts.
Please observe carefully, for this is the Christian sect that is infused with many different religious values: the Amakusa Catholics.
He lifted his hands and muttered softly, looking at the night sky.
It's like an abandoned ruin covered by the night sky.
That was what Kamijou thought when he looked at Parallel Sweets Wonderland, 200 meters in front of him, where the special teleportation portal was. All the lights inside had been turned off, and what was originally a bright and vibrant theme park was now pitch-black. Although it had originally been designed to excite and delight people, right now, it was having the opposite effect. The warm, moist, and yet uncomfortable wind blew all of Kamijou’s sweat away.
Kamijou turned his eyes away from Parallel Sweets Wonderland and looked beside him. Several nuns dressed in black robes were gathered in the large parking lot of a department store. It was another strange scene.
Then, Kamijou turned to look at Index. Index continued to write on her palm using her thumb, likely simulating how everything would go in her mind. It seemed like she was unwilling to let Kamijou get involved in this battle between spellcasters. As there were fewer members of the Roman Catholics than available involved in this, the danger was much greater; Index was now a lot more anxious than she had been a few hours ago.
On the other hand, Stiyl stood behind Index, smoking a cigarette like usual. Of course, he was most likely thinking about ways to protect Index.
Agnese walked towards Kamijou and company, her thick-soled sandals continuing to make that tapping sound.
Right now, she seemed like a completely different person. The look that she had revealed when she had been bathing or when she had been sleepy inside Kamijou’s futon, of her seemingly going to cry anytime, seemed to befit her age. But right now, when she was working, she was like a person who had forgotten all emotions. That sense of nervousness that had caused her legs to tremble so badly that she seemed about to fall was now all gone.
“We've found the Amakusa’s main forces at Parallel Sweets Wonderland, but there’s no sign of The Book of the Law or Orsola. Although the probability is low, this may be a diversion by the enemy. So, I can’t remove the perimeter or recall our patrol squads. Right now, we can only use the manpower we have with us.”
Agnese said firmly, as if it was a foregone conclusion.
Kamijou repeated her words in his head, and said,
“Not knowing who has custody of The Book of the Law, or even where Orsola is in this area, is a huge bother to us. Is there any way we can save her? If we spend too much time looking for her, won’t the Amakusa escape with her in tow or even use her as a hostage?”
Once the enemy is really pressured, they’ll take a hostage to shield themselves. To Touma, this was almost like a golden rule.
Touma thought about Orsola. She was a girl who lacked common knowledge, ignored what other people said, and would get lost if no one kept an eye on her. No matter what, Kamijou did not want to see her being threatened by the enemy with sharp blades or guns.
Agnese said without hesitation, however,
“If they move out of Parallel Sweets Wonderland, our perimeter will pick them up. As for the hostage...I'm guessing the Amakusa won’t use her as a hostage.”
Kamijou asked, puzzled.
“The Amakusa’s main objective is to find a way to read The Book of the Law with Orsola’s help. If they use her as a hostage and kill her in the process, all their plans will have gone to waste. Since they want to use the power of The Book of the Law, they’ll want to ensure Orsola's safety through any means.”
Stiyl shook the cigarette in his mouth, and said,
“My guess is that, because they lost Kanzaki, the Amakusa want to use The Book of the Law to replenish their fighting strength. And since they’re using such tough means, I'm guessing that they’re really hard-pressed. In other words, if they fail in their attempt to steal The Book of the Law, they won’t be able to make a comeback next time. So, they’ll pay extra attention to Orsola’s safety.”
“...in other words, this means that we have to save Orsola before the Amakusa destroy everything indiscriminately?”
Kamijou felt that this was truly a dilemma. If they pressured the Amakusa too much before they found Orsola, the Amakusa would probably kill her in the process; if they took it too easy, there would be less time to look for her. Also, the difference in battle strength between them meant that there was no room for mistakes.
Agnese seemed to understand the slight dilemma, and said,
“For now, I’d like to divide our numbers into two groups. 80% of our main force will act as bait, and attack the Amakusa head-on. During that time, please act as guerrillas and investigate the interior of Parallel Sweets Wonderland. Once you find The Book of the Law and Orsola, take them back.”
Agnese tapped the soles of her sandals on the ground, and said,
“They can only use the special teleportation magic before 12:05 AM. If we can’t retrieve her by this time, we’ll treat the situation as if Orsola is not in this area; at that moment, please leave this place. Once we defeat the Amakusa, we’ll perform a thorough search in this area.”
In other words, if Orsola was not found before that time, but was actually still in the compound, she would be facing grave danger.
Looking at Parallel Sweets Wonderland, it appeared that trying to find someone was not going to be easy. According to Agnese’s information, there were 75 stores inside the compound.
Kamijou nervously swallowed his saliva. At that moment, Index said,
“We also can’t just leave the portal of the special teleportation magic unattended. If we don’t destroy it, the Amakusa might take Orsola away and escape through the portal. Although Touma can easily destroy an already-opened portal, the portal only opens at midnight. If we are going to try to stop this magic, we have to destroy all the tools used for the ritual. The problem, however, is that the Amakusa are best at disguising things; trying to find those things won’t be easy.”
“Finding The Book of the Law and Orsola, destroying the portal...seems like our schedule is rather packed.”
Stiyl said as he spat the cigarette onto the ground and stepped on it to extinguish it.
Agnese saw that everyone had finished their mental preparations and raised one hand. The nuns behind her, numbering more than 70, raised their weapons, and the ice-cold clang of metal echoed throughout the night sky.
These people carried all sorts of weapons: simple ones, like swords and spears; ones that could barely be called weapons, like silver rods and giant crosses; and even stranger ones for purposes unknown, like gears as tall as humans and torches. Agnese also received a silver rod from a nun beside her.
“..this is unforgivable.”
Agnese Sanctis placed the silver rod against her shoulder and said viciously, looking at the darkness in front of her,
“The promotion of Christianity was originally to save humanity, and yet these guys are using their power for such a meaningless purpose. Once they use violence for such a trivial matter, others will use even more meaningless violence to stop them. Why can’t they understand such a simple chain reaction?”
This was truly a simple truth. To outsiders, it was reasonable; to insiders, easy to understand. Of course, Kamijou himself agreed wholeheartedly with it.
“Maybe I’m a bit disrespectful...but I don’t have a good impression of any magicians--it's not just the Amakusa, but especially those modern Western magic societies that appeared at the beginning of the 20th century that twist Christianity or use backdoor tricks. The most notable examples are those who falsely use magic arrays with Archangels' names like ‘Demigods’ and ‘Power of God’. Even if we ignored the 20th century, the alchemists who signed agreements with royalty during the witch-hunting era used such high-sounding rhetoric like ‘These are teachings of Christianity and not witchcraft, so I’m a loyal servant of God.’”
Agnese tapped her sandals again and said,
“Those people love to memorise the Bible from beginning to end, sieve through every word of God, and find loopholes in it. That's what they call ‘Anti-God Black Art’. They aren’t scary outside enemies, but rather despicable thieves from within. Magicians are like the politicians who’ll exploit any loophole within the law, and then cause the downfall of a country. While we're following orders and queuing up to buy bread, these magicians will blatantly cut in line and cause all sorts of ridiculous problems. What I mean isn't that the magicians shouldn't have their bread, but that their act of cutting queue has to be condemned."
Now that Agnese was talking about Christianity, Kamijou had nothing to say. What Agnese wanted to emphasize was that she could not forgive the Amakusa for destroying (at least, that was what Agnese felt) the order that everyone followed. Stiyl Magnus, who was a real magician and had stood nearby and listened to Agnese’s emotional speech, only revealed a delirious smile and a nonchalant look. As for Index, she looked as if she did not know what to do.
Necessarius is composed entirely of magicians; these words must be rather harsh to them. Thinking about it, women really are creatures who’ll change really fast. Agnese was shaking nervously a while ago, and now she’s completely changed. This is unbelievable.
Kamijou looked around, trying to find something else to talk about, and ended up looking at the Roman Catholic nuns around him.
“To be honest, even though you humbly say that you can’t gather all your people, it’s remarkable that you can gather this amount with just one order.”
Kamijou said in a surprised and admiring tone. Once Agnese heard that, she smiled and replied,
“Our specialty is our numbers; we have compatriots in 110 countries throughout the world, and even in Japan, there are many of our Church Ministries. Also, we’re building a new house of God called the Church of Orsola. If I remember correctly, it’s located near here. Once it’s complete, it’ll be the largest Church in Japan. It’s about the size of a baseball stadium."
A soft sound came from the soles of Agnese’s sandals.
“Church of Orsola?”
“Yes. Orsola once went to 3 pagan countries to preach Christianity to them, and her contributions were great, so the superiors specially allowed a Church to be built in her name. Doesn’t she speak Japanese really well?”
Now that Agnese mentioned it, that seemed to be the case. But there were a large number of foreigners around Kamijou who spoke Japanese so fluently, so he had not paid it too much attention. Of course, to Kamijou, who could only speak Japanese, that was a good thing.
“After the Church is built, we’ll be sending invitations. Before that, however, let’s settle the problem in front of us.”
Agnese revealed a smile full of self-confidence. She carried the seemingly heavy silver rod over her shoulders, and stamped her heels on the ground, creating a dangling sound. The 30-cm-thick soles bounced off, leaving behind a pair of ordinary sandals; it seemed like the soles worked like the zippers on the nuns’ robes, and one could choose to remove them at any time.
"...since it's easier to walk like that, why don't you normally just take them off?"
“Shut up; it’s called a sense of beauty. Wearing thick-soled sandals is my own style.”
Kamijou, Index, and Stiyl had arrived at the metal fence near the workers’ entrance to Parallel Sweets Wonderland.
Although they were not on the battlefield yet, Kamijou felt jumpy, as if the air were filled with static electricity. The enemy could be monitoring their actions from within the darkness on the other side of the wired fence. Even though the enemy was only hiding in a corner of the compound, the entire area seemed to be one large stomach of theirs.
Such a scary place…
A girl left alone here must be really uncomfortable. She might be surrounded by several vicious sword- and spear-wielding criminals, too.
Deep inside, Kamijou cursed. If he had known that this would be the outcome, he would have brought Orsola to Academy City from the very start. Right now, Kamijou was really regretting it.
“Do you think that we can finish everything within the time limit? Destroying the portal, finding The Book of the Law, rescuing Orsola, everything?”
After hearing Kamijou’s question, Stiyl became silent. Index looked nervous as she turned back and forth, staring at these two.
“…to be honest, it’s gonna be difficult.”
After a while, Stiyl said again,
“We have no idea where the Book of the Law or Orsola are inside this area. Also, we know something that the Roman Catholics don’t.”
Kamijou looked suspicious and puzzled.
“After this incident happened, Kanzaki Kaori, who was originally supposed to be in England, went missing. I’m afraid that she’s going to help her former subordinates… by engaging in some drastic actions. So, if we want to utterly defeat the Amakusa, that Saint will probably attack us.”
Stunned and tense, Kamijou felt his throat go dry.
The magician Kanzaki Kaori had managed to contain a real Angel during the Angel Fall incident. Although Kamijou had not witnessed her entire battle against the Angel, it was not hard to imagine how scary she was as an opponent.
He also felt that all the predictions that Stiyl was making about Kanzaki were rather reasonable.
“So, I'll advise you not to think of executing this plan perfectly. There are too many flaws in this plan, and too many risks. Our last line of defence is to prevent the Book of the Law from being decoded successfully.”
“If that's the case…”
Kamijou looked at Stiyl’s and Index’s faces, and said,
“Should we put Orsola's safety as our top priority?”
“I’ve no disagreements with that. Without the decoder, the Book of the Law would be useless even if they did have it. Also, the contents of the Book of the Law is ingrained within Index's head; the original has no value to us. Since the Book of the Law belongs to the Roman Catholics, even if we lost it, it wouldn’t hurt the English Anglicans one bit.”
“I also feel that this is a good idea. In any case, even if we disagree, Touma will take action on his own, right? Our numbers are few, so we have to work together.”
The two magicians of the English Anglican Church, Index and Stiyl, had no disagreements.
As experts, it was expected that they knew things that Kamijou did not, but right now, they were using an idea that he, a layman, came up with.
“Um, thanks, guys.”
The two heard that and were somewhat stunned. Index already had a lot of different expressions, so it was normal, but Stiyl looked somewhat embarrassed.
Stiyl covered his mouth and said,
“Please don’t say disgusting things that’ll lower our morale before we attack. The battle will begin at 11:30 PM, and we have to go in at the same time. Seems like it’s about time…”
“Touma, when we go in, please be careful, alright? Stay behind me and follow my instructions, and you won’t get hurt.”
“Hm, what are you saying? My right hand is an iron wall against magicians! You should be the one staying behind me, and give me advice when necessary.”
Having different opinions, Kamijou and Index were now silent.
“…we’re about to begin our invasion; can you guys please get serious?”
Stiyl, who was coldly staring at the two regarding their argument, said softly. At that moment…
BOOM! An explosion erupted at the visitors’ entrance, far away.
Looking at the flames that were rising into the sky, Kamijou was flabbergasted as he said,
“…oi, do we have to make such a ruckus when attacking?”
“If we don’t do that, we’ll lose to the enemy in terms of momentum. Touma, don’t get careless.”
“They haven’t created any unrest yet. Seems like someone used a spell that repels passersby and creates a fixed image. However, there’s no sign of any of the Roman Catholics’ characteristics or habits…it seems like the Amakusa's. Having such an ability…this is really bad news for us.”
No matter what they said, it was time for action.
Index stuck the tip of her nose onto the wire fence, silently observing the compound. After confirming that there were no magical traps set, the trio climbed over the fence and into the dark compound.
The lights in the compound were off, so this place formed a mass of darkness within the entire city. One might even have felt that the stars in the sky were especially bright. The trio entered the tour route from the outside; through the gap between the shaved ice store and the almond jelly store, both of which were as large as jeeps; and got onto the tour route.
The tour route was a large circular road. Right in the middle was a watercourse, and the surface of the water was about 3 meters below them, the pool so deep that they could not see the bottom. Several small stores, like roadside ones, were arranged around the watercourse, each with only a bar and no space for the customers to eat inside. On the inside of the watercourse was a square with many tables and chairs. It seemed like the management hoped to divert the customers there.
If it were during the day, one ought to have been able to create some wonderful memories here. But right now, this place was as if it had come from a world in another dimension. There was not even any light, and all the stores were now barred by ice-cold shutters; it was as if no one in the entire compound welcomed Kamijou and company. Like someone who holds a flashlight below his chin and casts shadows over his face, there was a sense of fear and suspense here that could not be described. Even Index, a gluttonous girl who would love coming to this kind of place to eat, was now extremely tense as she stared into the darkness.
“Touma, Touma, there isn’t much time left; we have to find Orsola first, and fast.”
“Ya, there’s only 30 minutes left. If we can find the exact location of the portal, we could still stick around and wait, but we can’t expect too much right now.”
Stiyl said. Maybe it was because he was afraid of giving his location away that he was not smoking. There were sounds of growls, shrieks, screams, things being destroyed, and explosions; it seemed like the battle between the Roman Catholics and the Amakusa had already begun.
“Right, I got it.”
After Kamijou had finished saying that, he heard metal clanking against metal.
The sound seemed to come from above him. Kamijou casually looked up, and…
Four youths came crashing in from the roof of the shaved ice store.
They were wielding weapons that resembled Western swords.
Kamijou frantically pushed Index aside, and Stiyl grabbed Index’s collar, pulling her beside him.
The swords carried the moon's reflection as they swung downwards, quickly smashing the place where Index had just been.
A boy and three girls. The four of them were about as old as Kamijou. Their attires were not as eye-catching as a nun’s robes; instead, they were ordinary clothes that one could find on the streets. That, however, made the Western swords they were wielding even more sinister-looking.
Stiyl said reluctantly,
“A Hand-and-a-half sword, a bastard sword, a boar spear sword, a dress sword…seems like the people of this country really like Western culture!”
Kamijou felt that he had seen those names before, in several fantasy RPGs. The lengths of the four swords ranged between 1 and 2 m, and their designs were rather unique; one of them even had a small, circular-shaped thing that was like a bulbous plant on the tip of its thin blade. Kamijou really had no idea what that would be for.
Damn it, hasn't the main diversionary force attracted all the enemies yet?
The four teenagers landed on the ground, separating Kamijou from Index and Stiyl. As the road was narrow, Kamijou could not get past the four easily and regroup with both Index and Stiyl. Stiyl placed a rune on the ground, summoning a flame sword, then pulled something out from his torso, saying,
“This is for you. Don’t lose it if you don’t want to die.”
Kamijou hurriedly caught it. It was actually a silver cross necklace.
Kamijou looked up. Before he could even ask, “What’s this for?”, an Amakusa girl wordlessly raised a pair of thin swords as long as brooms--probably the dress sword--as she charged towards Kamijou.
Kamijou frantically jumped back, dodging the blow. The girl again stepped forward, swinging her sword. Kamijou could not react in time, and for a moment, did not know what to do. Luckily, he tripped and fell backwards, managing to dodge the strike.
Kamijou heard Index scream as the girl’s dress sword swung downward like a guillotine. Using his falling momentum to roll backwards, he barely dodged the blow.
Up until now, the enemy had not used any magic.
In this situation, the Imagine Breaker was useless. If he were to use his right hand to block, it would be cut in half.
Kamijou frantically shouted, but the four enemies were standing in the middle of the road, and so Kamijou was unable to get to Index. Stiyl raised his flame sword, standing in front of Index. Two of the enemies, both of whom were wielding longswords, charged forward, as if they wanted to run Stiyl and Index through.
DONG! There was a heavy collision sound.
Hearing that, Kamijou was scared nearly to death. But once he looked at it calmly, he noticed that Stiyl was not even bleeding. What was more, the two enemies who had charged at him simply went through his body.
Stiyl’s afterimage left behind a mocking smile and faded into nothing. The smile did not seem to be directed at the Amakusa, their enemies, but rather at Kamijou.
The duo then disappeared into thin air.
Right now, the four Amakusa were staring at Kamijou, who was the only one left at the scene.
Oi…wait a minute…if you’re going to escape, at least discuss a signal and a rendezvous point! Damn it, I’m the scapegoat again? This isn’t the first time! I remember the same thing happening when we were fighting the alchemist!
Kamijou, who had been left behind, quickly turned around and scampered away. The enemy did not seem to know how to react upon seeing that.
Kamijou looked back as he ran and saw 3 of them running off in different directions. It seemed like they were chasing after the escaped Index.
There was only one enemy left.
Only the girl who had raised her sword and swung at Kamijou continued to pursue him. She was really fast. Even though she was wielding a large and heavy Western sword, she moved as fast as a bird.
Oh, no…! I’ll be caught if I just run straight!
Kamijou quickly left the circular tour route and dove into a space between two stores that was not even 70 cm wide. The space could not be considered an "alley", but was rather a "gap".
While running through the tiny gap, Kamijou suddenly tumbled forward. The shop here seemed to be undergoing renovation, as a signboard had been placed next to the wall and toolboxes had been scattered on the ground. He had tripped on these.
Wa…! Why do they leave these things around and not pack them away nicely!?
If he were to continue running like this, his back would be hacked down by the girl sooner or later. Kamijou looked at the overturned toolboxes, hoping to find something that could be used as a weapon, but he immediately realised that it would not work. Even if he were to swing a hammer wildly, he could not possibly beat a real sword. Even if he were to randomly grab and throw some stuff, they would likely be cut in half by the enemy.
…they would be cut in half? If so…!
At that moment, the girl wielding the dress sword slid against the ground with her soles, arriving at the entrance of the shop like a drifting car.
Kamijou frantically grabbed something that was like a toothpaste tube and threw it behind him.
The girl did not even look at the tube-like thing as she raised her sword, slicing it in half. The girl then raised her sword again, rushing into the gap.
Kamijou quickly stood up, crossing his hands over his head.
The girl’s blade did not pause as she cut the air, swinging down onto Kamijou’s head. In terms of power, it was definitely enough to cut Kamijou’s hands and body in half.
Unexpectedly, the sound created as the blade hit his wrists was dull. There was not even a scratch on Kamijou’s skin.
The toothpaste tube-like thing actually contained grease used for machinery.
Such a highly viscous substance would stick on the blade like blood or fat and greatly reduce its sharpness. If the girl were using a heavy sword like a Japanese one, even if it was not sharp enough, it would still have had enough weight to break Kamijou’s wrists. It was too bad, however, that the girl was using a ceremonial sword that had belonged to ancient royalty. Although it was decorated with gold, silver, and all sorts of gems, the blade was long and thin, so it lacked destructive power.
The girl frantically raised her dress sword once more.
Kamijou had already swung his arms to the side, flinging the blade away, and slammed into the girl's waist viciously. With his entire weight pressing against her, the blow bowled her over backwards. Kamijou was kind enough to protect the girl’s head with his hand, however, so the back of her head did not hit the ground full-force.
The collision knocked out all the air within the girl’s lungs, and she could not move. It was like someone who completely lost her body balance and got tossed by a judo throw; it was expected that she would faint.
“…ouch, it hurts.”
After confirming that the girl was not hurt, Kamijou sat on the ground with one buttock, looking up. Above him was a night sky cut into a square by the four walls of the building. Such a scene was rather common in an alley.
In Academy City, street-fighting in the alleys was very different from what Japan normally saw or imagined. That was because many students, as long as they could manipulate their powers well enough, were far scarier than guns. Besides that, several delinquents wielded special weapons that were not inferior to esper powers. Maybe it was because Kamijou was used to those things that he was able to react accordingly when facing off against a sword user.
Kamijou sat down and adjusted his breathing, studying the dress sword that the girl had held originally. Although the blade was thin, it was heavier than expected, maybe because of its centre of gravity. After thinking about it, Kamijou felt that he could not use the sword, since he did not know any sword techniques, and therefore could not possibly beat an enemy with it. Also, if he were to hit an enemy with it, the enemy would definitely bleed; just thinking about it made him shiver. Although its sharpness had decreased by a lot, Kamijou was not willing to take this thing and recklessly swing it around.
Thinking about it, though, if he were to leave the sword here, then when the Amakusa girl wakes up, it was likely that she would come chasing after him again. So, Kamijou could only drag that heavy sword away from her position.
Damn it, what happened to Index and Stiyl? And where’s Orsola? Should I meet up with them? Or should I find Orsola on my own?
This was the consequence of not setting up a rendezvous point. Now that he thought about it, Kamijou had not expected to be working separately from them from the very beginning. After thinking about his next strategy, he dragged the heavy sword back to the circular road.
Suddenly, a figure came crashing into his side.
When that figure rushed out of the shadows, Kamijou had not sensed it at all. Crashed into like that, he lost his balance and quickly threw his longsword away, trying to prevent himself from being stabbed accidentally as he fell.
Right now, the situation could be said to have been completely reversed. Kamijou was the one who had been knocked onto the ground, but he had braced himself, so the damage he had received was not as bad as what the girl had suffered. To prevent the enemy from jumping him, he raised his fist, preparing to fight back.
Kamijou relaxed his fist immediately, however, because there was something strange about the enemy in front of him. The enemy wore a black nun’s cap and robes. It was already very hot, and yet this nun's clothes covered her entirely from head to toe. Not only that, but her hand had also been tied to her back with white duct tape, each of her hands holding onto the opposite elbow. Even her mouth had been gagged with duct tape. Looking closer, he noticed that the duct tape seemed similar to fabric, and that distorted kanji-like text were inked on top.
Anyone could tell that this was Orsola Aquinas.
At that moment, Kamijou heaved a sigh of relief, and his entire body crashed onto the ground.
“Mmmm! Mmmmmmmm! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!”
The moment Orsola, who was gagged up by that weird talisman, saw Kamijou, she tried to talk.
“What? Since you specially came all the way to Japan, you want to meet a real sumo wrestler? You’re really like an old granny! Not all Japanese are sumo wrestlers!”
“Ah? Wait…I’m only jok—!”
Before Kamijou could finish speaking, an angry headbutt met his chest. Both he and Orsola went crashing onto the ground. At first, Kamijou could only cough and gasp for breath, but after a while, he realised that his hands were touching something soft. Actually, his hand was placed on Orsola’s voluptuous and ample breast, the heartbeat and warmth traveling through his hands, but Orsola did not seem to realise it.
Kamijou immediately went red. Quickly climbing up from under Orsola’s body, he used his right thumb to gently remove the talisman taped onto Orsola’s mouth. Now that she felt someone touch her lips indirectly through the talisman, Orsola revealed a stunned expression, but upon feeling the talisman fall on its own naturally, she was even more shocked.
“May…may I ask…are you the mister who I met at the bus stop? Why…”
“Of course I’m here to save you! Ahhh, save the details for later; anyway, we have to get out of here!”
Kamijou looked around him, and after confirming that no one was around, retrieved the sword he had just thrown aside.
Orsola did not seem to be aware of what was going on, as she muttered seemingly to herself, and not to Kamijou,
”Eh? Eh? May I ask…you’re really…trying to save me? It does not concern…The Book of the Law?”
“I’m too lazy to bother with that kind of thing. You think that I’ll run all the way here just for an ancient book? Do I look that carefree?”
Kamijou shook his head as he shouted. Orsola seemed scared and shocked as she jerked back.
“Ah…um…really…thank you for your grace and kindness.”
“…you don’t need to thank me. Oh, yeah, why are you here? Where are those Amakusa?”
“The…the Roman Catholics and the Amakusa seem to be having a big fight. I escaped during this mess…now that I think about it, the Amakusa don’t seem to be good at confinement and imprisonment.”
Kamijou picked up the dress sword and went behind Orsola, breaking the seal on her wrists.
Orsola massaged her hands that were just freed, and asked,
“Thank…thank you. However…may I ask…how did you do it…?”
“Hm…? This is my special ability…I’m not going to explain it to you; the development process of esper powers on the Science side will probably confuse you badly. Come to think about it, why are you still here strolling around? Why didn’t you think of escaping right away?”
“It’s not that I didn’t wish to escape, but that I couldn't; the two sides were fighting really hard at the entrance. Also, my hands were tied, so I couldn't get over the fence. And just when I was looking for another entrance…!”
Before Orsola could finish speaking, Kamijou suddenly grabbed her arm and ran back to the gap between the shops. Orsola saw the Amakusa girl, who had fainted and was lying on the ground, and nearly screamed.
Kamijou whispered as he covered Orsola’s mouth with his right hand. He then ran to the end of the gap, and upon arriving there, pressed his body against the wall.
Several footsteps could be heard from the circular road outside, before becoming softer and softer.
These people did not seem to be looking for Index and Stiyl, but rather for the escaped Orsola. Each of them wielded either a sword or an axe, and were giving the others orders. They looked really scary.
After confirming the footsteps to be far away, Kamijou leaned his back onto the wall and slowly sat down. Orsola followed suit, gracefully sitting down beside him.
It appeared that the place where Kamijou and Orsola were sitting was a blind spot to the Amakusa. They were at the back of a shop, and there were shrubs growing around them, so if they kept low, it would be impossible for them to be seen from afar.
Because the safety area was small, however, Kamijou and Orsola were unable to move. Those youths from the Amakusa were running around, as their footsteps continued to echo from the tour routes nearby. Anyone who heard those footsteps could understand that the duo would be found if they moved out.
Kamijou worried about Index and Stiyl’s safety. As Orsola was beside him, for them to stay inside Parallel Sweets Wonderland and not escape was dangerous and meaningless. Kamijou was unable to contact them, however, and he could not take the risk of leaving his hiding place to go look for them.
“I heard that the special magical teleportation portal can only be activated from midnight to 12:05 AM; in other words, as long as I hide here, the Amakusa’s plan won’t work either way. But is that a good idea…?”
Kamijou took out his phone, wanting to check the time on the display, but he was afraid of the screen's light giving away his location in the darkness, so he stopped halfway through. He thought, it would be great if I could contact them by phone. It was too bad Index’s phone had been taken by that Calico cat, and he did not know Stiyl’s number.
Kamijou sat down, stretching his legs forward, and accidentally touched the blade of the dress sword. The sound and touch relieved Kamijou of his thoughts and awareness, and he realised at that moment that he was breathing heavily. He wiped his forehead with his hand, and found that he was sweating abnormally heavily. Maybe it was because he was overly nervous that even a short amount of exercise made him sweat like he had just ran a marathon.
“Eh?” Orsola seemed to realise that, as she grabbed a laced handkerchief from her sleeves. Kamijou had a bad premonition about it and shifted his butt backwards.
“No…there’s no need for that, no need! A little sweat is nothing; don’t dirty your handkerchief! Come to think of it, something similar happened at the station…GwuaaaaHHHH!”
Before Kamijou could finish speaking, Orsola mercilessly pressed the handkerchief, filled with a flowery aroma, onto his face.
“If you don’t wipe the sweat off, you may catch a summer cold! Ah, yes, didn't something similar happen near the bus stop?”
“Didn’t I tell you the same thing a while back? Just eight seconds ago! You really are an old granny that doesn’t listen to other people’s words! This is unbearable…really unbearable! Stop pressing against my mouth and nose!”
Kamijou, in a slight state of asphyxia, tried to gather enough strength to escape from Orsola’s handkerchief attack, but it was useless. While Orsola continued to wipe Kamijou’s face to her heart’s content, she revealed a dazzling smile, and asked,
“May I ask, are you from Academy City?”
“Cough cough…ugh…hm? Yeah, that’s right.”
“Since you’re from Academy City, why did you appear here of all places? Your actions should be somewhat related to the Roman Catholics, right? But from what I know, there’s no Church in Academy City, right?”
Orsola’s tone was somewhat skeptical.
But Kamijou's attitude was rather melancholic.
“Oh, I’m special. There’s a friend of mine among the English Anglicans. I was roped into helping in this case for some reason, and I'm not even clear about what’s going on.”
When Orsola heard that, her shoulders jerked.
It was like she was reacting to some major report.
“Hm? Are you worried? If I’m not wrong, you’re from the Roman Catholic Church, right? Is the relationship between the Roman Catholics and the English Anglicans that bad?”
“No, it’s not that.”
Orsola silently thought for a while, and then continued,
“May I confirm it again? You’re here to help on request from the English Anglicans, right?”
Kamijou casually nodded his head.
Orsola muttered a “Mmmmm…” sound, and did not respond for a while.
After a few minutes, Orsola suddenly opened her mouth and said,
“Ah, you’re sweating quite a bit.”
“Enough, I beg you! Stop wiping my sweat away!”
“In other words, you’re here on the English Anglicans' instructions and not the Roman Catholics', right?”
“Ugh…our conversation jumps from one topic to another? Eh…it’s not really that formal. Ah, let me clarify first, I can’t help you do anything for the English Anglicans, since I’m a resident of Academy City.”
For some unknown reason, Orsola let out a laugh, as if she had been relieved of a burden.
“That's the case, alright. Someone like you shouldn’t get involved with our side.”
“…you think so? Hm…so, carrying this thing around is useless.”
Kamijou said as he looked at the cross that Stiyl had thrown to him before he had left. Although he had no idea what effect this thing had, the moment he had caught it with his right hand, that effect would have been nullified.
“Ah, is that the cross that English Anglican friend of yours gave you?”
“How do you know?”
“There are many different shapes and designs for a cross, such as a Latin Cross, a Celtic Cross, a Maltese Cross, a Saint Andrew’s Cross, a Patriarchal Cross, and a Papal Cross.”
“Oh, I see. However, this thing in my hand is useless to me. It feels weird for an atheist to be holding this. Why don’t I give it to you?”
Kamijou had said that casually, yet when Orsola heard it, she looked so happy that she was about to jump.
“Ah, is that true?”
“Yeah. Although I don’t know why Stiyl would give this thing to me, there’s probably not too much significance. Also, that guy knows that I can’t use magic…he really likes to tease people; maybe it’s a joke. Oh, yeah, this cross should be useless now, since, even though I’m clueless about magic, I've already touched it with my right hand.”
Kamijou handed the cross over to Orsola as he said this.
Orsola grabbed his hand in a handshake, however, and wrapped her other hand around his, saying,
“May I ask you something?”
Orsola’s hand was even softer than Kamijou had expected, making his voice tremble.
“I hope that you can help me put this necklace on.”
Kamijou replied. For his convenience, Orsola closed her eyes and raised her chin to allow Kamijou to put the Cross around her neck. It really looked like she wished for Kamijou to kiss her. Kamijou freaked out and frantically looked down, only to see Orsola’s chest. Her already ample chest now looked much larger thanks to her posture.
“WAAAAAAA!” Kamijou was so scared that he did not know what to do.
“Noth…nothing! Really nothing!”
Orsola gave him a skeptical look with her eyes still shut. Kamijou hastily unfastened the necklace. Orsola’s neck was covered entirely by white cloth, so Kamijou hung the necklace around her neck. It was not until that moment that he realised he should have hung it from behind her; trying to hang it from the front was like wrapping his hands around her and hugging her. That made him extremely nervous. Kamijou’s fingertips touched the back of Orsola’s neck, his hands trembling continuously and not following his commands. It took him quite a while to hang the necklace around her neck.
Orsola looked rather satisfied as she continued to touch the Cross on her chest. Kamijou casually looked where her hand was pointing, but his eyes were attracted by her huge breasts, so he quickly looked away. Once there was an embarrassing thought within his head, it lingered on for quite some time. Kamijou could not stand the silence any longer, and so decided to come up with something to talk about.
“Oh, yeah, I heard that you know how to read The Book of the Law.”
“It’s not exactly reading. I would call it deciphering…”
Orsola said this slowly, but halfway through, she thought of something, and immediately turned around rigidly.
“Ah, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not asking you how to decipher it. I’m just curious: why do you want to analyze The Book of the Law? Isn’t the book supposed to be dangerous?”
Orsola stared at Kamijou for quite some time, then finally relaxed. She said,
“On a certain level of significance, it’s to gain power.”
She shook her head slightly, and continued,
“Do you know what kind of thing an original magic book is? That one can’t destroy an original through any means?”
“Um. I've heard of this before. The reason seems to be because the words, paragraphs, and chapters will form some sort of spell array, right?”
“Yes. A ‘magic book' is actually a blueprint. A magic book that records lightning magic is also a mechanism that creates lightning. Even if an original-class magic book doesn’t rely on human magic, as long as there’s a little natural energy or life force nearby, that power will be magnified exponentially, creating a semi-permanent defensive mechanism."
Orsola thought for a while, and said,
“With our spells now, we can’t destroy any magic books. The most we can do is seal them and not allow others to read them.”
She then continued,
“Being unable to do so now, however, doesn’t mean that it can’t be done in the future. Since the original is also a magic book, if someone added in a few specific words or paragraphs, they’d be able to make it ineffective. It’s like operating switches to change a train's path; we can use it on the magic book itself in order to destroy its magic array. In other words, it’s to allow the original to self-destruct.”
Finally, she said firmly,
“The power of a magic book isn’t going to give anyone happiness, and it’ll only bring about war. So, I’ve been analysing this book, hoping to destroy the original.”
Stunned, Kamijou stared at Orsola.
He had originally thought that the reason why Orsola was trying to decipher "The Book of the Law" was to gain power, but it was actually the opposite. The reason why Orsola was analysing "The Book of the Law" was to make its tremendous power disappear. Now that he understood that, Kamijou heaved a sigh of relief deep inside.
Dong! There was a heavy sound from outside.
The sound came from the other side of the shop, in the direction of the circular tour road; at that moment, something came flying in from above and into Kamijou’s sight.
It seemed like a person.
A priest that had red hair and was wearing a black coat.
Before Kamijou could finish speaking, Stiyl had already landed heavily onto the ground as his back crashed into the shrub that was originally covering Kamijou and Orsola. His clothes were torn badly by a sharp sword, blood flowing out profusely from his wounds.
That sound just now came out from the other side of the shop, but he fell here? Don’t tell me he actually flew over from there!
Kamijou conjured a horrific image in his head.
Stiyl, who was on the ground, shouted,
“Damn it! Kamijou… Touma… what are you doing? Hurry up and run!”
Kamijou was stunned. At that moment, something that looked alive pierced through a wall two stores away from him.
Before he could understand what was going on, the wall of the store completely collapsed. A silhouette appeared from behind the wall like a killer whale emerging from water. The construct which had lost its support quickly collapsed behind him as the shoulder-wide planks fell beside this silhouette. But this guy was unfazed by it, even revealing a slight smile.
He was a male around 25 years old, with a tall and skinny figure, but he was wearing a large T-shirt and jeans that even a sumo wrestler could wear. The T-shirt was white in color, with two red stripes forming a cross on the left side of his chest. His hair was waxed extremely messily, as if it was deliberate. The highlight however should be his hair. His hair was really so black that it was likely that he had used a black hair dye to dye it. It was not only black, it gave off a mysterious shine like a carapace. He was wearing basketball shoes with shoelaces so frightening long it measured about 1m. As it was so long, even if he were to accidentally step on it, it was unlikely that he’d trip. There was a rope made of either leather or another similar material hanging around his neck, with four to five mini fans about 10cm big hanging on the rope around his neck.
Nobody could guess the intentions behind his get-up.
Of course, the most unbelievable thing as what he was holding.
A 17th century dual-handed sword that originated from France and was about 180cm long. The unique characteristic about this blade was that the blade was as curvy as a flame. It was said that the current design was meant to increase its destructive power.
Stiyl’s magic emphasized numbers to gain strength. As long as the place was filled entirely with rune cards, he was able to use powerful magic. In other words, this battle was rather disadvantageous to him. He had no time to set the field up as he had to fight while moving. Also, he was protecting Index, and there was no other way out except to use his own body as a shield.
“Don’t bother about these unimportant things,” Stiyl said in a tone that felt like he was going to vomit blood anytime. “……Very good, looks like you found Orsola Aquinas. You’re the same as always, I don’t know whether to call it a blessing or a misfortune……anyway, hurry up and run away! Don’t think of beating him, it’s our victory as long as we escape!”
Stiyl attempted to support his body with his heavily trembling legs, and was unable to succeed.
Tatemiya Saiji happily looked at Stiyl, and then turned to look at Orsola, saying,
“Oh yeah, why am I meeting you here again? Didn’t I tell you so many times? Orsola Aquinas, we don’t intend to harm you any further.”
His tone sounded frivolous, as if he didn’t even want anyone to agree with him.
Orsola looked at the collapsed store, and the injured Stiyl, and the Flamberge in Tatemiya’s hand.
“The first time you said that to me, it was really full of hope. But now, I can’t trust the peace that you bring through violence.”
“Too bad. Even if you return to the Roman Catholics, what’s the point?”
Tatemiya gently waved his hand wielding the Flamberge, as if he was trying to confirm that nothing strange was on his shoulder.
Kamijou silently stood in front of Orsola.
He did not have a weapon in his hand. Even if he was to swing an unfamiliar weapon around wildly, he couldn’t possibly beat the opponent in front of him. He might as well not use a weapon which was heavy and unfamiliar to him.
Tatemiya stared at Kamijou’s face, followed by the ceremonial sword that lay beside his feet.
“No combat stance, no artifacts, and no hidden magic code on your clothes. You’re really ‘unarmed’. Hm, although I don’t feel like fighting against an amateur……seems like I have no choice. That sword, did you get it from Uragami?”
Tatemiya scowled, his expression looked severely distorted, deliberately giving off a sense of invisible pressure.
Kamijou had never heard of the person called Uragami.
“If you’re referring to your subordinate, she’s lying down there. I protected the back of her head, so it shouldn’t be life-threatening.”
There was now no sense of frivolity in Tatemiya’s tone now.
Seeing this reaction, Kamijou could already see Tatemiya’s character. He was not a monster, he was an ordinary man who would rage when his comrade was bullied.
“Since you’re someone who’ll fight for others, can you please put your blade away? I don’t really want to fight with someone like you.”
“I’m thinking the same thing, but the problem can’t be solved that easily. Although our main enemies are the Roman Catholics, since you British Puritans have joined in, I can’t just ignore this. Moresoever, I can’t let Orsola be taken away by you guys.”
Tatemiya raised the sword that was almost 2 metre long above his head easily, swinging it wildly like a cheerleader captain waving her baton.
“Anyway, you have become an attack target of mine now. I’ll see less blood if you are willing to kneel down and surrender.”
Tatemiya laughed, though he looked regretful.
Although he said it like this, he had predicted how the enemy would respond.
Of course, Kamijou was rather scared. He was aware of what kind of person a ‘Real Magician’ was. And among them, those ‘magicians that don’t over rely on magic’ were the hardest to take on. For someone like the alchemist, Aureolus Izzard, as he already had a powerful magic move, he wouldn’t prepare for a second move. But for someone like Tsuchimikado Motoharu, he wouldn’t rely on his spells too much, so he would always use different techniques.
Tatemiya Saiji was obviously the latter. Even if he didn’t use magic, he could use the Flamberge in his hand to hack Kamijou’s head in an instant. Just seeing that he had been able to beat Stiyl without a single scratch (Of course, another reason is that Stiyl is distracted, having to protect Index) showed that he was really good.
Fighting with him was almost futile.
Kamijou’s entire body started to tremble.
It was like a rather fast child racing with an Olympic sprinter.
Should he surrender?
Since the enemy in front of him couldn’t be beaten with abilities, Kamijou was unable to think of anything that could reverse the situation.
The problem was……
(If I surrender, what’ll happen to Stiyl?)
Stiyl bent his body, gasping heavily for breath, and glared at Tatemiya.
The reason why he had decided to take part in this was because he thought that it would be beneficial to Index. So, he would never give up. The reality of despair and Kamijou’s advice were not going to stop this man, Stiyl Magnus.
But if he didn’t give up, the outcome could be easily seen.
(If I surrender, what’ll happen to Index?)
Index looked like she was going to rush in anytime and get between Kamijou and Tatemiya.
Once Kamijou started fighting with Tatemiya, the option of ‘surrender’ would disappear. If so, she would try her best to create a chance for the outsider to the magical world, Kamijou to escape. Even if she was unable to fight, even if both sides had their special abilities, even if Kamijou didn’t wish for her to do that.
(If I surrender, what’ll happen to Orsola?)
The Roman Catholic nun looked worriedly at Kamijou’s face, and turned to Tatemiya’s face.
Since Tatemiya wanted the knowledge, spells and power of the ‘Book of the Law,’ he would probably not kill Orsola straight away. On the contrary, he would protect her so that she wouldn’t get caught in the crossfire.
But, once Tatemiya Saiji got Orsola, he would bring her back to the Amakusa’s main base. Over there, if Orsola refused to co-operate and tell them how to read the ‘Book of the Law,’ one could guess what the outcome would be. And what Tatemiya Saiji and the Amakusa wanted was only how to read the ‘Book of the Law,’ and not Orsola Aquinas herself. Once they achieved their objective, it was unthinkable what they would do to Orsola.
(“It’s not exactly reading it. I would call it deciphering it……”)
-What she wanted hadn't ever been the power of the ‘Book of the Law’.
(“On a certain level of significance, it’s to gain some power.” )
-To prevent something like this from happening, she was trying her very best.
(“We can use it on the magic book itself to destroy the magic array. In other words, it’s to allow the original to self-destruct.”)
-But there were people who would mock and trample on her hard work, or even use her accomplishments for their own gain. This man was smiling as he stood in front of Kamijou.
(“The power of a magic book isn’t going to give anyone happiness, and it’ll only bring about war. So I’ve been analysing this book, hoping to destroy the original.”)
Kamijou stretched his leg, kicked the ceremonial sword aside, and stepped forward.
No matter how sad or how awkward, the only one who could stop Tatemiya now was Kamijou.
Even so, was there any reason for Kamijou to release his fist?
“……Don’t look down on me.”
Kamijou murmured. The fist which as already as hard as rock was now even tighter.
When Tatemiya Saiji saw this, he sighed, as if he was trying to find regret from deep within the bottom of his heart.
“Seeing your eyes, that glare makes me feel so sad, really sad. Although the result has been settled, your outspoken personality makes me not want to kill you.”
Tatemiya gently waved the wavy longsword, the Flamberge.
“However, since it’s already settled, this day next year will be your death anniversary!”
Just as Tatemiya said that,
Kamijou heard a loud explosion. Tatemiya stamped onto the ground with his sole, filled with energy like that of an explosion. Kamijou was so nervous that his entire body froze, and his opponent had already taken the first step. Just one step and the tip of Tatemiya’s sword would touch Kamijou.
Tatemiya raised the long sword high, and the light that was reflected from his blade made Kamijou unable to move, as he felt like a frog paralysed upon seeing a snake staring at him.
He thought of raising his hands to protect himself. But that wouldn’t be able to block the longsword.
(Wu……ugh……! Don’t……don’t be afraid! Hurry up and move!)
Kamijou continued to give orders to his stiff body, and finally managed to take the first step. It was not backwards, or sideways, but forward. Seeing Kamijou coming forward from slightly to the right, Tatemiya was somewhat intrigued, not understanding why an amateur would run into his attack range.
Saiji breathed out some air and swung the sword down like a lightning strike.
This critical blow could cut Kamijou in half, who was rushing in like a cannonball.
Next, Kamijou used his entire body strength and jumped, not ‘slightly to the right,’ but straight on towards Tatemiya’s right arm. Sweat shed off into the air and was cut in half by the longsword. As this jump was completely different from what Kamijou would normally do, the impact to his ankle was rather great. Kamijou did not land successfully and lost his balance, slamming into the wall of the store beside him.
Tatemiya turned his body around, swinging the sword that had landed onto the ground. But upon seeing Kamijou leaning against the wall, he revealed a smile full of self-confidence.
(Here’s a chance!)
Kamijou lowered his body as much as he could.
When the enemy lowered his sword, if he were to dodge sideways, the enemy would normally cut laterally as a follow up. Because if he raised his sword and attacked again, his movements would be slower.
Kamijou got as low to the ground as possible and rushed in front of Tatemiya Saiji.
There was no need to think of attacks other than a ‘horizontal cut’. If Tatemiya insisted on doing a ‘vertical cut,’ he wouldn’t be able to react to Kamijou’s movements, who would land a punch on him before the sword landed.
Of course, as Kamijou expected, Tatemiya Saiji raised his sword and cut horizontally.
It grazed the top of Kamijou’s head, entangling his heart in fear.
Kamijou shouted loudly, clenched his fist, and dashed in front of Tatemiya.
Even Orsola, who was on the same side as him, was scared and stunned by his momentum.
Even Tatemiya, who used his entire strength to swing this two-handed sword, couldn’t dodge Kamijou’s punch.
At that moment, Tatemiya Saiji disappeared.
Tatemiya, who was supposed to be in front of Kamijou, instantly backed away about 1m; and the sword, which had been swung horizontally, was now raised above his head for some reason.
It was like time was reversed and everything had restarted.
It was like an illusion that deliberately lured Kamijou in.
Kamijou felt a chill all over his body, and quickly rolled to the side.
DONG! The vertical strike split the ground like paper. Maybe it was because of too much friction, the dirt that flew looked orange, like magma.
That seriously didn’t look like something that could occur according to the laws of physics.
(Magic……? If so……!)
Kamijou clenched his fist tightly. If that blade was made of magic, he could destroy it with his right hand. He made up his mind and swung his right fist towards the blade that was flying over.
Hearing Index’s voice, Kamijou quickly retracted his fist. In order to protect Kamijou, who was now wide open, the young girl rushed forward without hesitation into Kamijou’s vision.
(No way……that isn’t magic?)
Those actions that Tatemiya had just used……
Moving backwards in a way that eyes couldn’t see, splitting the ground with a single strike.
Don’t tell me those were just simple sword techniques? Kamijou felt a chill inside him.
“No! Don’t come over! Index!”
Kamijou’s shout was unable to extinguish the girl’s determination. Tatemiya’s sword came swinging down again, and it was almost like sound could be cut. Kamijou, who originally believed that his right fist could neutralise the attack, didn’t come up with a plan B. Thinking about it now would be too late. Kamijou could only stare widely and watch the blade come flying towards him.
“O original flame, turn thy into light, blade of gentle protection and divine judgement!”
Stiyl suddenly shouted, creating a huge explosion. It was an explosion caused by a fire absorbing too much oxygen. The Flame Sword in Stiyl's hands pierced through the night and successfully attracted Tatemiya’s attention.
Taking advantage when Tatemiya turned to look right, Kamijou jumped away in the opposite direction, trying to pull away from Tatemiya.
But, he failed.
When Kamijou made the first move, Tatemiya, who was looking in the opposite direction, was somehow able to catch up like a shadow. Tatemiya’s feet weren’t moving at all, and it was like he was skating on ice, his movements weren’t natural at all.
Kamijou felt his back go numb.
When Tatemiya turned around, the large sword came swinging around like a tornado sweeping across. He frantically bent down to avoid this strike.
DONG! A heavy impact hit Kamijou’s waist, who should have avoided successfully.
Looking closer, a transparent snowball as big as a soccerball was buried into Kamijou’s body. When he looked at it, the snowball vanished, as if someone coloured it with watercolour. Because of the blow from the snowball, Kamijou was knocked to the ground, and continued to roll.
-Let's go back in time for a moment, to when Kamijou and Tatemiya just met each other.
When the boy was about to be sliced by that sword, Index rushed forward without hesitation.
Index trembled as she ran.
Besides being fearful, she was impressed.
The magic that the Amakusa used wasn’t really special on its own. At least not as grand, unique and powerful as Stiyl’s ‘Innocentius’ or Aureolus' ‘Alchemy’.
However, the Amakusa in turn used this point against them.
Kanzaki’s ‘Nanasen’ was probably the best example. If there was one word that could describe the Amakusa’s basic fighting style, it was ‘disguise’. Most of the attacks that looked like magic were just simple illusions, but among these illusions, there was a real magical fatal blow.
Index continued to run.
Kamijou and Tatemiya seemed to be standing abnormally far away from her.
Defending against magical attacks was a lot different from defending against non-magical attacks. Once you messed up, you would be in for some suffering.
Index’s ‘Spell Intercept’ could seal off an enemy’s magic. As a magicians needed to think to create magic, by using words or action that would disrupt the magician who was chanting the spell, the magic would go out of control. It was like challenging someone to a tongue twister; saying something different in his ear would make a person mess it up.
But, the ‘Spell Intercept’ wouldn’t work on the Amakusa.
The spells, talismans and magic arrays that they used were too special. Their spells were made up of several religious significances in everyday business and interactions. Especially for an enemy like Tatemiya, whose magic was composed of 10 or 20 ‘Actions that had some magical meaning behind it’. The time taken for every single ‘action’ didn’t last for a single second.
With Index’s voice and technique, it was impossible to use ‘Spell Intercept’ to prevent the ‘actions’ in one second. Just after opening his mouth, Tatemiya’s ‘actions’ had stopped. As the conditions for activating his magic were all within his sword techniques, if one wanted to prevent his magic, they had to be able to match his sword movements. Of course, Index was unable to imitate those highly-difficult sword techniques.
In conclusion, even if Index were to rush in, she was unable to beat back Tatemiya Saiji. Besides the gulf in abilities between these two, Tatemiya’s specialities were the kind that Index had the most trouble handling. As a magic specialist, Index was acutely aware of this.
Kamijou took a hit from the magical snowball and rolled on the floor.
Tatemiya Saiji raised his Flamberge high, like a worker raising a hammer to hammer a nail in.
Index had no way to prevent the attack.
The ‘Spell Intercept’ would have no effect on the Amakusa.
But, Index’s feet never stopped moving.
She was not thinking that much either.
Seeing Index rushing in without caring for her own safety, Stiyl Magnus was frightened to death. She did not have any combat capabilities, and if she stood in front of Tatemiya, she would be hacked into two within a second.
Stiyl only had a flame sword in his hands. If he wanted to activate ‘Innocentius,’ he had to quickly place rune cards, and there was no time.
If he were to rush in wildly now, he might be able to get in front of Tatemiya before Index did. He would then attack Tatemiya next, and explode the flame sword when Tatemiya blocked it with the Flamberge. This would likely cause a little interference.
The problem, however, was that Kamijou was now standing between Stiyl and Tatemiya.
If he were to charge towards Tatemiya, he would have to pierce through Kamijou first.
In an instant, the flame priest’s face became distorted due to frustration.
The inner conflict inside him only lasted a while. Then, a glimmer of determination appeared in the priest’s eyes.
(A long time ago, I swore—)
Stiyl Magnus tried to adjust his breathing with his dry mouth.
(“―Sleep well, even if you forget everything, I’ll remember it forever. I’ll live for you, and die for you.”)
In order to protect the most important thing, Stiyl aimed the flame sword at the teenager’s back.
Exhaling all the oxygen inside his body and losing consciousness at the same time, Kamijou saw Tatemiya raise the longsword in front of him. He desperately recollected the thoughts that he had lost and tried to grasp the situation.
With his two legs shaking, there was no way Kamijou could dodge Tatemiya’s next attack.
Index was rushing there, and in several seconds, she would be beside Tatemiya, and be killed.
Glancing behind, Stiyl raised his flame sword, but his own body seemed to be blocking the flame sword’s path.
Within one second, Kamijou’s thoughts were very clear.
If he didn’t want to lose anyone, or anything, and allow everything to end with everyone smiling……
There was only one way.
Kamijou clenched his fist.
“Pierce me through as well, Stiyl!”
Kamijou squeezed out his last ounce of strength and dashed towards Tatemiya Saiji without hesitation.
Upon hearing this, Tatemiya Saiji was somewhat messed up.
There was a British Puritan nun rushing in from behind him, but killing her will be easy. In order to protect the nun, the boy in front of him also clenched his fist, but he would be alright even after killing the boy in front of him, then the nun behind him.
The problem was the priest behind the boy.
That British Puritan lowered the flame sword to his waist, and charged toward him.
If the priest decided to stab him with the flame sword, it would pierce through the boy’s body without question. But, there was no sign of hesitation in the priest’s eyes. His eyes were as sharp as the blade of a knife, his mouth smiling like a beast, and his mind seemed to only think about taking down the enemy.
In order to block the flame sword’s strike, Tatemiya raised the Flamberge.
But at that moment, the boy placed his right fist backwards, preparing to strike like a hammer.
If he blocked this strike, he wouldn’t be able to defend against the flame sword. Also, the main objective of the flame sword wasn’t to hack, but to explode. He would probably die at once if he was not careful in handling this. If he did not quickly activate a spell that defended against flames to defend against the flame sword first, he would be swallowed in the flames caused by the explosion together with the boy, who was sacrificing himself.
(I’ve already cast a basic spell that defends against impacts earlier during our battle, a mere amateur’s punch shouldn’t be able to hurt me. What’s scary is that flame sword — got to set up an anti-flame spell first!)
Tatemiya swayed the sword that was raised like a river. By removing the flame attribute from the ‘Flamberge,’ and by swaying the sword around like a river to ‘suppress,’ he managed to create a spell called ‘Suppress fire’.
(Good! The spell is complete! Once the sword stabs through, be prepared to taste my counter……!)
Tatemiya Saiji stuck his large tongue out, licking his lips greedily.
The priest charged on and slams into the boy’s back. The flame sword in his hand would pierce through the boy’s body and towards Tatemiya’s abdomen.
—But, things didn’t turn out as expected.
Tatemiya had already prepared an anti-flame spell, intending to send the heat and flames caused by the explosion of the flame sword back. But nothing like this happened.
The boy forcefully pulled his right fist back, ready to slam him like a hammer, and the priest’s flame sword just happened to land on his fist.
Bam! A sound similar to that of a balloon bursting is heard. The priest’s flame sword exploded into fireworks, and vanished.
“Ah……? This is…… Wha—!?”
Tatemiya, who had already set up the anti-flame spell and thinking about a counter, did not understand a single thing that was going on.
BAM! A terrifying sound was heard as the boy’s fist landed brutally on Tatemiya’s face.
(Ka……aaaa……! The anti-impact spell……was broken through……?)
Tatemiya’s body flew backwards. Just when he was about to stand upright, the boy and the priest slammed into him. Being hit by the weight of two people, Tatemiya’s body rolled on the ground at an astonishing speed like he was being hit by a large hammer.
Just like this, Tatemiya lost consciousness.
Twang! The Flamberge left his hand and rolled on the floor.
- When there was a wave of persecution against Christians during the Edo period, Stepping on Fumie was a method used to check whether people were Christians. The idea was that people would draw a picture of Jesus Christ or Saint Mary on a piece of paper, put it on the floor, and force others to step on it; those who didn’t dare do so would be identified as Christians.
- Siebold was a German doctor and biologist who came to Japan during the Edo period.
- During the Edo period, the Dutch were the ones who taught the Japanese all sorts of Western knowledge.
- They refer to the Western ships that came to Japan during the Bakumatsu era
- In Volume 4, the resort owner had Stiyl's appearance, contrary to the anime, where Kanzaki had it instead. The anime made a few other switches, too.