Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume9 Chapter4
Chapter 4: Did the Battle End in Victory or Not? Being_Unsettled.
Stiyl Magnus was sitting on the ground of the bus depot.
From a while back, the mechanics who were supposed to be there for the regular maintenance of the machines had been moving in and out. As Stiyl was in a blind corner, nobody noticed him. In normal circumstances, he’d use the ‘empty area’ spell, so there was nothing he should be worried about. But right now, he was unable to use magic.
(I’m already looking like this just by losing my trump card. I haven’t grown up one bit at all.)
Stiyl gently puffed out some air.
Thinking about it, it had been the same situation during the end of July, with his ‘Innocentius’. Once Stiyl was deprived of his trump card, he’d be extremely weak. After that incident, he had reflected on it, and put in quite a bit of effort to improve himself, like thinking of a mirage spell to dodge attacks, and improving the effectiveness of his runes, but these were just tactics to ‘prevent the enemy from taking away his trump card’, and it really felt like he was too lazy to put in some basic effort.
(Now that I’m in this ugly state, can I really protect that child…? If the enemy’s target this time is that, what should I do? I’m in a…)
The ring of the handphone interrupted his thoughts.
Stiyl pulled out the phone from his coat, and pressed the ‘call’ button.
It was from Tsuchimikado.
“Kami-yan has already destroyed Oriana’s ‘shorthand original’. Is there any changes to your body’s conditions?”
“Until you asked this, I didn’t feel anything at all…”
Stiyl carefully pulled out a rune card, and took a deep breath, held his breath, and exhaled, muttering a few words.
Voom. With a soft sound, an orange flame appeared on his finger.
There was no feeling of the rejection on his entire body that was caused by the counterspell.
“…Okay, seems like there’s no problem.”
“I see. Then please use that searching spell ‘all-around reality array’. I’ve already set up the coloured paper and the magic array beforehand. You know what to do?”
“Don’t belittle me,” Stiyl said.
Around his feet were the circle and the four pieces of coloured paper that Tsuchimikado had set up, and in the middle of the circle, was the thick piece of paper that Oriana set up. Though he didn’t understand the positioning that was based on the Onmyoji arts, activating a spell that someone else set up wasn’t difficult.
“Are you alright over there? Isn’t Oriana’s spell in the middle of an arena? If you snuck in, isn’t it impossible for you to leave like that?”
Sneaking into a match wasn’t easy, and leaving halfway through was difficult as well. If one or two were to sneak out like that, they’d be seen.
But, Tsuchimikado calmly said,
“No problem nya. We have already left the arena.”
“…How did you do that?”
“There was a student hurt in front of our eyes. That person was diagnosed to have severe heatstroke, and was sent to the hospital. We pretended to take care of that unconscious student, and while helping her out of the arena, we slipped away.”
His tone wasn’t as frivolous as before.
That’s the voice of a magician, Stiyl thought.
“Did Kamijou Touma go berserk?”
“Since you knew about it, I’ll leave it to you. We’ll be launching our counterattack here. If we don’t, it’ll be disrespectful to that student.”
Tsuchimikado hung up the phone.
As Stiyl put the handphone back in his coat, he thought,
(Nobody’s perfect. To think that this Kamijou Touma, who beat me the last time, has times of failure.)
But, he continued,
“—Am I feeling remorseful of my immaturity because of this?”
Was this the fact that Kamijou Touma, who had been unable to save the victim in front of him, realised so precisely and personally?
Stiyl didn’t have anything else to say.
He was just silently doing what he had to do, as if he didn’t want to burden his comrades any further, even if he didn’t realise it himself.
The four pieces of coloured paper started to spin. The magic array ‘all-around reality array’ was activating, ready to look for Oriana Thomson’s whereabouts.
In the middle of the road, where the people were walking about, Oriana was looking up, staring at the electronic bulletin.
Many people weren’t noticing what was developing on the screen. Even if some people did, they were just interested in the critical patient who had caused the match to be interrupted. It wasn’t weird, just a critical patient, there was nothing much to talk about.
Well, at least that was how it looked on the surface.
With one hand holding onto a billboard that was covered with white cloth, she muttered. On her work clothes, only the two buttons were buttoned up, as the attire revealed her navel, giving off some tension.
“Should be something that I didn’t expect.”
After saying this, Oriana’s eyes left the electronic billboard.
She started to move.
There were still things to do.
Oriana’s fingers gripped onto the thing beside her.
Kamijou Touma and Tsuchimikado Motoharu were running down the streets, knocking into other pedestrians. The pedestrians were giving them an accusing look, but right now, they didn’t have time to bother about it.
Tsuchimikado turned on the loudspeaker of his phone, as both men were listening to Stiyl’s voice as they continued to run.
“I have confirmed Oriana Thomson’s whereabouts. She’s near the Futsuka subway station in the Seventh district. Give me some time, I’ll give you a more accurate location.”
“Futsuka station! We ran past it already!”
Tsuchimikado was the one who had been leading, now it was Kamijou who was leading. As the specialist, Tsuchimikado, was left behind.
“North…oh yeah, she seems to be heading north. The road is split into three, and I still don’t know which one it is. It should be stabilised soon.
Before they finished hearing the conversation, Kamijou and Tsuchimikado had already passed through the street. On a side of the road, they could see the entrance to the underground subway. They continued to run in a northwards direction.
“Three streets…now…now…it’s here. Hear carefully—”
“The one on the far right! I see her!!”
As Kamijou shouted out, the blonde lady who was twenty metres in front turned her head around. When she saw the two people who were passing through the crowd, she immediately panicked and ran to another road.
Kamijou and Tsuchimikado were chasing after her now.
The road was short, and it immediately ended at another road. But this road was different, there was no sense of hustle and bustle. The small shops were side by side in a corner, there was no welcoming atmosphere. Though there was an arched arcade as normally seen on a shopping street, it just made visibility even worse.
It was morning, and yet all the stores were closed. Maybe the retailers felt that this location wasn’t viable in attracting customers, so they probably had opened some temporary stalls near the arenas, where it was much more crowded.
The lateral road extended left and right.
Oriana Thomson, who was wearing work clothes, ran to the left. When Kamijou and Tsuchimikado were about to catch her, the auto-bus passed them from behind.
Kamijou, who was just casually looking in Oriana’s direction, was stunned.
She was running to the bus stop.
Oriana pushed something at the bus stop that looked like a button, causing the auto-bus to stop. Of course, the auto-bus robotically stopped.
While the auto-bus was still opening its door, Oriana stepped inside.
It was obviously hard to chase a moving bus by just running, but taking other buses that went in different directions wasn’t going to make their job easier. As ordinary vehicles were banned from entering during Daihaseisai, it was hard to find any other vehicle. Besides, Kamijou couldn’t drive.
The auto-bus only answered the command that it was issued right at the start.
If it was driven by a driver: when waving one’s hands behind a bus, the driver may assume that the person was unable to catch up to the bus in time, and may stop. But for an auto-bus, asking for these may be a bit too strict.
Kamijou frantically ran.
The distance between the two of them was only 20 metres.
By the time Kamijou reached the bus-stop, the auto-bus had already moved away silently.
Kamijou pressed the button, wanting the bus to stop, but it was too late. The bus, which was already moving, didn’t respond as it accelerated.
Tsuchimikado, who was a step behind, watched the bus leave, and said,
“Oi, Kami-yan, I can’t see it from here. Are there any other passengers on that bus besides Oriana?”
“WHAT? IT DOESN’T MATTER RIGHT!?”
Seeing Tsuchimikado looking so relaxed, Kamijou anxiously replied.
“Listen to me, this is very important.”
“…There doesn’t seem to be anyone else on board.”
“THERE’S NO ONE! AH, THIS MEANS THAT THERE’S NO ONE ELSE ON THE BUS! MAYBE EVERYONE HAD ALREADY ALIGHTED TO WATCH THE GROUP A RELAY RACE NEARBY! IT’S A MATCH WHERE ALL THE WINNERS ARE PARTICIPATING IN, SO IT’S AN ATTRACTION FOR THE FIRST DAY!! EVEN THE TOUR GUIDEBOOK INTRODUCES IT! SO WHAT!!?”
“If so, I’m relieved — Stiyl.”
Tsuchimikado wasn’t talking to Kamijou, but to Stiyl, who was on the other side of the phone call,
“Before this, when we were at the auto-bus depot, did you put some runes cards on the bus? If so, we can use it. I need you to help me with something. Destroy the card that you stuck on the bus no. 5154457.”
The other party’s response was rather fast.
An explosion was heard.
On the side of the bus that was slowly accelerating, a strong flame erupted. One second later, the body of the bus exploded. The bus that was lying on the road surface continued to spin on the ground without losing any momentum, as it became a fiery lump of metal.
The flames that were rising up vertically, upon reaching the arcade, spread around.
With one hand, Tsuchimikado folded up the foldable phone—
“Isn’t the effect a bit… too strong nya?”
He revealed a confused look as he bitterly said,
Looking at the burning bus, Kamijou was speechless. It was true that the objective of Kamijou and company was to stop Oriana, but did it count as purely ‘stopping’ her?
Looking at Kamijou’s expression, Tsuchimikado realised what he was going to say, and said,
“Oh my. Didn’t expect that to be like this. I originally told him to light a fire in order to activate the bus’ safety device. Damn it, I thought that that was a tram, and got careless nya. That was probably a gasoline-electric hybrid bus that uses electricity and some natural gas.”
He then proceeded on without any sense of tension,
“However, since the people in the shops should be out doing business, and the satellites and unmanned helicopters are blocked by the arcade. There shouldn’t be too much of a commotion.”
“Why…why can you still remain so calm!? Where’s the fire extinguisher? If we don’t save her, she might really die!!”
“Hm, so what?”
Just as Tsuchimikado said this…
A vortex emerged from the raging pillar of fire, as the large fire was blown away by the tornado inside, and vanished without a trace. The wind that blew the flames away was filled with moisture, and it was also called ‘mist’. On what remained of the burnt bus lay a layer of moisture, like how water droplets stuck onto leaves. The mist caused everything to be covered with a thin layer of moisture. This moisture didn’t seem to evaporate off. In fact, it seemed to take away anything flammable, and prevent the flames from advancing.
Standing in the midst of this mist, was a woman.
Because of the moisture that she created, her hair, face, and work clothes were all slightly wet.
She was holding something that looked like a billboard with her right arm, a flashcard with her left hand, and a piece of paper that had the blue words ‘Wind Symbol’ in her mouth, between her teeth.
Oriana spit out the paper that she was biting aside, and pulled out a thread of saliva from her mouth.
She casually laughed,
“Hohoho. A flame that’s not created by magic, that uses ordinary physics, is unable to heat up this nee-chan. However, this lady is still nervous enough to get so wet. See this? Even my underwear is already wet.”
To think that in this juncture, she could still make a joke.
Facing this fact, Kamijou slightly squinted his eyes. Though this action was rather subtle, he really did squint his eyes.
“…The spell that you set up hurt someone who’s completely unrelated to this. Do you still remember? It’s the girl I was with the first time we met. Do you feel that girl has any relation to magic?”
“In this world, no one is unrelated to one another. As long as one has the desire, anyone can have some sort of relationship with one another, right?”
“You…you knew about all these. You knew about all these, and yet you never reflected on it?”
Kamijou’s voice sounded rather fierce.
Hearing this tone, Oriana slightly frowned.
“Right now, it’s useless to talk about anything else, but I really didn’t intend to hurt that child. Nee-chan also didn’t want to hurt ordinary people, unlike now.”
After she finished speaking, Oriana tore a piece of paper with her mouth.
It sounded like glasses being knocked together.
In that instant,
With this sound, Tsuchimikado Motoharu bent his body forward. He held onto his flank with his hand, gnashing his teeth and staring at Oriana.
Panicking, Kamijou moved closer to Tsuchimikado. The wound didn’t seem to open, but Tsuchimikado’s face was ghostly pale. Was it because of how he still continued to work despite getting injured?
Seeing this scene, Oriana laughed,
“Oh my, I thought you’re the one who got injured. Seems like I was wrong.”
There was another thick piece of paper on her lips. In blue ink, the words written on it were ‘Fire Symbol’.
KlaKaKaKa. Tsuchimikado gradually collapsed to the ground.
Oriana subtly smiled,
“Let’s see how much you can endure…but just like this, you can’t beat this nee-chan.”
The moment she finished speaking, Tsuchimikado’s body finally seemed like it couldn’t take it anymore, and collapsed. He had lost all the strength in his arms and legs.
“What? What did you do to Tsuchimikado?”
“I just used the blue words to remove the fire element that signifies rebirth and regeneration. This uses the medium of sound to enter a person’s ears, and render a person unconscious if he’s injured enough. The ring just now was the trigger…looks like you aren’t hurt at all?”
Kamijou rubbed Tsuchimikado’s body with his right hand, but it was useless. To be precise, even if one removed this effect, it would continue to regenerate. This spell seemed to be different from the counterspell before. If one didn’t remove the original magic book, the effect wouldn’t go away.
(A spell that knocks out anyone who’s injured to a certain extent without exception…)
In other words, as long as the condition still applied, that Tsuchimikado’s injuries weren’t healed. He would remain unconscious. Even Kamijou’s Imagine Breaker couldn’t heal Tsuchimikado’s wounds. This method wasn’t going to bring back his freedom.
Kamijou glared at Oriana, as she happily picked up the card that was lying on the ground with her left hand, and tossed it into the air. In an instant, the extremely light flashcard followed the wind and flew behind Oriana.
Kamijou’s face suddenly became hot.
Oriana, who felt this rage, trembled happily. She licked her lips to moisten them, and said,
“If you want to save him, you’ll have to beat this nee-chan. If you don’t do that, until this nee-chan says stop, that guy will continue to be like that. However, I don’t know if he can hang on till then. He might not even last that long, right?”
Kamijou’s teeth were clattering.
He was trembling in rage.
Kamijou choked as he said.
If not for this case, Tsuchimikado Motoharu might have forgotten about his spy duties and enjoyed Daihaseisai. If there wasn’t any mission, he’d probably enjoy it with everyone.
The same went for Stiyl Magnus.
If Oriana hadn’t started off this situation, there would be no need for any battle. He wouldn’t have had to come to Academy City. Even if he was to be here, he’d be here to see his old partner, Index.
And Fukiyose Seiri.
Though Kamijou didn’t understand why she wanted to be a member of the Daihaseisai Organising Committee. But since she wasn’t forced by anyone, but volunteered herself to be a committee member, she must probably have some goal in mind.
To a professional magician, this might be trivial.
Compared to the ‘Stab Sword’ that could shake the world, this may not be anything much.
“I don’t know what kind of value that ‘Stab Sword’ has. I really can’t feel how that thing is going to change history, and how the world is going to change after that.”
“However, I do know this. Hurting others for this stupid reason is wrong. If this ‘Stab Sword’ is something that will create these useless results, I’ll destroy it with this hand of mine.”
Hearing this, Oriana Thomson laughed, as if it wasn’t worth hearing, a nonsensical joke that anyone would laugh at. Like the people who were involved in this case, there was no value in this.
“If this time, if I say that it’s because of work that I’m emotionless about this, maybe this might make me look cool a bit. But saying it this way…might be considered as dishonest to my client.”
There was no heavy feeling in her tone.
“Of course, I must finish my objectives. As for how I do it, just leave it to this nee-chan.”
The rising temperature inside Kamijou started to distort like a hurricane.
He was gnashing his teeth so hard that his molars were about to break.
He clenched his right fist.
“—OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES AS GAMES—!!”
He sent a straight punch over.
Seeing Kamijou like this, Oriana continued to smile.
And it seemed like she was really happy.
The distance between Kamijou and Oriana was only 10 metres.
But Kamijou’s fist couldn’t reach her.
Oriana’s left hand moved, as she tore out a flashcard.
The green words written on the thick piece of paper were ‘Wind Symbol’.
An ice wall about 50cm thick appeared on the road, separating Kamijou and Oriana.
Kamijou and Oriana exchanged glances through the transparent ice wall.
Not looking at the 3m tall ice wall in front of him, Kamijou hit it with his right fist.
The sound of glass breaking could be heard.
As if there was gunpowder inside, the ice wall shattered the instant it was hit.
But Kamijou couldn’t see Oriana in front of him.
Like a portrait drawn on a piece of glass shattering, her figure shattered together with the shattered ice.
Kamijou gasped, wondering what was going on.
(The function of ice is—)
Suddenly, he felt a chill.
Besides him, something started to bounce.
Just as his eyes narrowed due to the approaching gust of wind.
He felt that his cheeks were cut by something.
A thick liquid flowed down his wounded face before feeling this pain.
“Hm. This sharpness is rather stimulating, isn’t it?”
From the far end of Kamijou’s vision, Oriana immediately tore another flashcard with her mouth, activating a new spell.
The super-thin stone blades flew over, cutting deeply into Kamijou’s face.
“Hoho, I felt it the first time I held your hand. To think that there are so many strange kids gathered in Academy City.”
The lady must be referring to Kamijou’s right hand.
But Kamijou didn’t have time to reply.
There was no need to touch the wounds in order to know how deep they were.
To think that Oriana could use this spell to knock out any enemy who was injured to some extent by using the sound created by the thick piece of paper!
(Damn, damn it…!)
Kamijou felt a chill flow down his body, and inadvertently covered his ears.
Seeing him like this, Oriana put another thick piece of paper between her lips.
“The next one will be a shadow sword. This nee-chan won’t let you get tired of this, okay?”
As she tore the card, swinging her left hand about, a dark sword appeared in her hand. The sword, which could be reshaped to any length, extended to 7m long, and stabbed onto Kamijou’s shadow that was on the ground. At that moment,
POM! The shadow near Kamijou’s feet exploded.
Like someone stepping on a land mine, Kamijou’s body was blown up into the air. He spun in the air like a dragonfly, getting into a protective posture before he landed on the ground.
The arm that smacked onto the asphalt pavement hurt, but compared to this,
(Why? Why didn’t she use that technique that knocked out others like Tsuchimikado!?)
Compared to being relieved over being saved, Kamijou was even more troubled now that he couldn’t understand what the enemy was thinking. Since the enemy had a trump card that could beat the opponent, she couldn’t possibly have forgotten this.
Oriana, who was in an advantageous position now, jumped away from Kamijou, pulling the distance apart.
Seeing Kamijou’s puzzled look, Oriana subtly giggled,
“Humph, this nee-chan has no interest in using the same spell over and over again.”
With a relaxed expression, she said,
“The five elements form the basis of modern Western Magic. From an alchemist’s viewpoint, anyone can have them, but this is just a prelude. Though it’s easy to use, on the other hand, it’s easy for the enemy to read one’s own attacks, and come up with a defensive spell to counter it. Wouldn’t anyone be worried about being too simple if one keeps using this in an actual battle? This nee-chan doesn’t want to make my enemy feel bored, so she prepared a lot of these cards, so these magic texts that I prepared must be torn away like a calendar. This—is—how—it—is.”
Kamijou ignored Oriana’s words, and intended to close the distance.
Seeing Kamijou act like this, Oriana tore another flashcard.
After that, a huge gust of wind appeared behind Kamijou. Being pushed by the wind from behind, Kamijou’s speed continued to increase, as he continued to stumble. Now that the distance was shortened, Oriana raised the billboard on her right side, and smashed it into Kamijou’s jaw with a hook-like manner.
With a blunt sound, Kamijou’s body bent into a ‘<’ shape, falling backwards.
Kamijou’s thought process and breathing stopped at the same time, and he couldn’t even tell which side was the right side up. To him, the four directions were all messed up now, rotating all over the place. Even so, Kamijou still placed his hand on the ground to support himself, trying to get up.
Oriana tore another flashcard.
“So useless, we’re only in the prelude, and yet your legs have no strength left?”
A certain power was activated.
Between Kamijou’s back and the ground, something that was like steam erupted, tossing Kamijou into the air. This time, Kamijou didn’t have enough time to defend himself as he rolled on the ground.
Kamijou tried his hardest to gather his consciousness that was about to fail at any moment, as he considered the situation that was right in front of him.
Now even his thought process was painfully cut off.
Kamijou grit his teeth, enduring the extremely sharp pain that was spreading throughout his body.
Kamijou continued to think, only doubts appeared in his mind.
“…She did say that she won’t use the same spell a second time. So why are there so many different…”
He didn’t know what the four or five main things are that she was talking about. All he knew about was mixing the colour and the name together. In this situation, by continuously using magic like that over and over again, all the combinations would be used up in an instant.
“Hohoho. Combinations don’t just work like that. You should be able to tell from this nee-chan, right?”
Oriana put another flashcard into her mouth with her left hand.
Kamijou inadvertently prepared himself, but he was unable to transfer his strength throughout his body.
Seeing the boy in front moving rather slowly, Oriana didn’t attack, only choosing to lick the thick piece of paper with her tongue, from the short rectangular side, then the corner, then the long side.
Stunned, Kamijou stared at what Oriana was doing, and finally said with much difficulty,
“…The edge? It got something to do with the edge when you held the thick piece of paper in your mouth…?”
“Un. That’s also one requirement. This is the basis of Western Astrology. From zero degrees to 9 degrees, 171 degrees to 189 degrees, 81 degrees to 99 degrees, 111 degrees to 129 degrees, 54 degrees to 66 degrees, 0 to 1 degree, and there are more laws for these coordinates. The theory is that ‘the relationship between the planets and the constellations will have different functions due to different angles. Do you need me to give you a lesson on the relationship between stars, colours, and elements?”
“Because this nee-chan added in page numbers to identify them, so strictly speaking, I can’t re-use the same spell again. Like how lost time can’t be retrieved again, the pages that were flipped can never be retrieved again.”
She moved the flashcard, now slightly damp on the edges, and moved it along her upper lip.
“This is the limit of nee-chan. No matter how hard I continue write magic books, the ‘original’ won’t stabilise, and will continue to lose control and self-destruct. Also, my words are too messy to be understood. Whether as a magician or a mage, my strength is only half-baked.”
Oriana slightly narrowed her eyes.
“However, because of this, this nee-chan continues to write magic books to create new spells. Since nee-chan knows she’s using a half-baked original, the most each book can last is one hour, if it’s fast, it’ll self-destruct in several seconds. Because I’m aware that I’ll lose if I ever stopped to compromise, this nee-chan wants to continue improving—this is called ‘not forgetting one’s original intention,’ right?”
After saying this, Oriana used her teeth to bite the damp piece of paper.
But she didn’t tear it off this time.
She placed the thick piece of paper on her tongue, and without moving her mouth too much, she said in an obscure voice,
“Right now, I’m going to use the symbol of wind that’s in red. The angle is at 0 degree conjunction, total number of pages, 575, disposable-type spell, ‘Light coloured severing axe’. You’ve been warned.”
“You’ll die if you move.”
“But if you don’t move, you’ll surrender on the next move. You’re not a kid anymore, so decide what you should choose — pick your poison.”
—Oriana pulled the thick piece of paper aside. On the thick piece of paper, pulled from the metal ring, were the red words ‘Wind Symbol’.
Kamijou placed his hand on the ground, supporting himself as he tried to get up, but his body, which was still shaking, was unable to respond immediately. Just trying to put a knee on the ground was difficult for him.
He thought, it’s good that no one else is around. If anyone were to see this, it’d cause a commotion.
—Remembering what Oriana had said, Kamijou felt something crawling below the ground. With Oriana as the centre, there was a circle on the ground of a metre radius. Outside the circle, there were patterns similar to those of tree branches. It looked like those capillaries around the eyeballs that were filled with blood. The patterns passed by Kamijou, through the roads, below the bicycles, the vehicles and the billboards, all the way in front of Tsuchimikado, who was lying on the ground.
“—You’ll die if you move.”
—The patterns on the ground gave off an irritating vibrating sound.
I might as well admit defeat, Kamijou thought weakly. He was totally unable to predict what kind of attack Oriana would use next, and thus he couldn’t think of any counter-strategies. Also, she did say that the damage would be enough to stop his heart if he took the next attack directly.
(If I don’t move, the next move will be checkmate…)
The difference between the two choices was, the latter ‘would solve this without killing him’. He’d probably be knocked unconscious like Tsuchimikado. Just like that.
After this, Oriana would run away, but Stiyl would still chase after her. Victory wouldn’t be decided just because Kamijou fell. Even if the amateur fell, no one would blame him. Didn’t the specialist, Tsuchimikado, suffer defeat as well? It was unreasonable for him to continue to resist.
(Then, what should I do next…)
But, Kamijou continued to clench his right fist.
He clenched it tightly, till his fingernails sunk into his palm. The sudden influx of willpower filled his hand with strength.
He then gave the order to his weak legs, and steadily stood on the ground.
The feelings of fear and resistance continued to swirl about inside him, but he was thinking, (Can I forget about Fukiyose Seiri’s “Do you have any plan on letting Daihaseisai succeed? You useless fellow.”—)
(—No matter whether the enemy is a professional magician, or whether it involves some important deal, I don’t care about these! Fukiyose-san herself chose to be member of Daihaseisai’s Organising Committee, and continued to work hard till this day. Right now, her efforts are about to go to waste! Should I sit here and do nothing!? Will this Kamijou Touma settle down with ease just like that?)
Kamijou roared, using his entire strength to run forward. He hadn’t regained his balance, and he looked like he was standing in a plane that was in the midst of turbulence, but he was definitely running forward.
At this moment, Oriana spit out the piece of paper that she was biting on.
The spell was instantly activated completely.
‘Light coloured severing axe’.
With Oriana as the centre, the power was transferred to the patterns, like bricks engraved on the wall, or like capillaries around the eyeballs that were filled with blood.
The vacuum blades started to swing about wildly.
There were numerous patterns depicted on the ground. The grooves were facing upwards like a pickaxe facing upwards. The blades swayed from down to up, and the total number of strikes was 208. Like a spider web extending outwards, the world of blades sliced through anything that was above it.
(…! You little idiot!!)
Oriana Thomson gnashed her teeth.
On first glance, it looked like an attack that was randomly set up, but she had actually intended for the blades to avoid where Kamijou was standing. However, Kamijou ignored this, and stepped outside.
Oriana originally intended to use the vacuum blades that were coming out of the ground to surround Kamijou, making him unable to move before rendering him unconscious. Like how she didn’t kill off the professional magician, Tsuchimikado, in the first place, Oriana found that having someone dead would affect her own ‘work’.
At the same time Kamijou stepped out, the spell started to activate.
The vacuum blades shooting out from the ground avoided the safety zone that didn’t have anyone in it. The 208 vacuum blades started to cut the billboards and bicycles that were above the patterns mercilessly.
However, he ran out of the safety zone, and jumped into the vortex of blades. Besides getting cut, blood spilling out, and death, there was nothing else waiting for him.
Kamijou's body wasn’t cut.
The numerous blades shoot upwards from below the ground, and the 208 guillotine blades sliced the surrounding air—yet it was ineffective on him. He just so happened to jump into the area where there were less blades shooting out. Where Kamijou was standing could be considered as a second safety area that Oriana prepared. Oriana didn’t know how he figured it out, or whether it was all a coincidence.
Oriana used a standby spell. To be able to escape the field of blades, whether she actually prepared it or not, the entire area was separated by the blades, so what Kamijou did was to just run from a hole in the hive nest to another hole.
He wouldn’t be able to escape.
However, Oriana’s predictions were wrong again.
Kamijou, who was roaring, waved his right hand at the vacuum blades in front of him. On first glance, it looked like a stupid act that would get his arm sliced off, yet the vacuum blades were shattered.
Not only were the blades in front of him shattered, all the blades that Oriana had released were shattered.
Crack! A moment later, the sound of something breaking could be heard.
At this moment, Kamijou had already taken a step forward.
Three steps left. The distance between them was about to become zero.
(What…!? To think that that right hand is able to negate it to this extent…!!)
Oriana, who was unable to understand what was going on, focused on the enemy in front anyway. She bit on the flashcard that had yellow command text written on it.
This time, the spell was called ‘Sleeping Wind’. It looked like a compressed air gun, and when it hit directly, would turn the target’s consciousness inside out. It was an attack that would knock out others without hurting them. She originally intended to let the airgun pass through the blades and hit the target that was surrounded by the blades. This could be said to be something completely unexpected.
Even if it was completely unexpected, Oriana fired it without any hesitation.
Before she finished speaking, Kamijou’s right fist had already punched away the front of the ‘Sleeping Wind’. The destroyed gun flew around pointlessly and vanished into thin air.
While she was still shocked, Kamijou took another step forward. Two more steps left. Oriana was in a situation where she was unable to understand what was going on. The enemy was in front of her, yet she didn’t know how to react.
(How is he able to respond!? Even if he has a special right hand, how can an amateur predict my attacks!? There must be some sort of reference material, that’s…)
The enemy stepped forward. One more step.
In Oriana’s mind, an answer appeared like an electric shock.
(Oh yeah. I’m unable to use the same magic over and over again! In other words, there won’t be a similar attack coming from the same direction! So he knows the answer…)
Oriana Thomson could not re-use the same spells that she had used before.
In other words, each place that was attacked wouldn’t be attacked the same way.
Of course, a place that was attacked by a flame sword could be attacked with ice bullets. But the scope of attack for both the sword and the bullets were different, and so such a difference would create a ‘loophole’.
What Kamijou did was to move along those places that were attacked. Since there wouldn’t be similar attacks, in other words, he just needed to worry about attacks other than it, and responding to attacks would be much easier. It seemed like somebody taught him that while the next attack would contain, there were ‘escape channels’ to be taken advantage of.
(What? I originally continued to use the same spells in order to seal off all the dead ends and let the enemy be unable to think of a countermeasure. In the end, this…)
Oriana’s lip twisted inadvertently.
She didn’t know what kind of smile that was, but she knew that it was a smile.
(…ends up being a dead end instead, and I ended up giving the enemy a hint on how to counter it! Haha, such a good boy. This nee-chan loves this kind of creativity the most!!)
In an instant, both of them were within range of each other.
Right now, Oriana didn’t have the luxury to use her flashcards. She swung the billboard that she was holding on the right side downwards, and this time, she aimed for Kamijou’s head.
However, Kamijou Touma dodged to one side. With one foot as the axis, Kamijou dodged aside. The billboard grazed Kamijou’s nose, creating a ‘whoosh’ sound that could be heard, and slammed onto the asphalt.
Oriana Thomson was speechless, as she just looked in front.
At the same time, the boy’s right fist fired in from point blank range.
Kamijou roared, exhaling all the air in his lungs.
Gathering all the strength and speed of his body into his right fist, Kamijou aimed for the centre of Oriana Thomson’s face. The shock from the impact reverberated from his tightly-clenched fist to his wrist, hand, and shoulder.
With this loud and heroic sound, Oriana’s body flew backwards.
Just like that, Oriana, who was surrounded by this force that was aided by Kamijou’s momentum, fell and rolled on the ground.
With the wind, the billboard fell out of Oriana’s loose hand and landed beside Kamijou.
Kamijou felt that his right fist was somewhat numb.
(I succeeded…? Did I manage to prevent the deal of this ‘Stab Sword’ magic tool from taking place?)
Anyway, what Oriana had been carrying was in his hands. Though he was still worrying about the unconscious Tsuchimikado, and the trading partner who snuck into Academy City, it seemed like they had averted the greatest danger, no?
Just as Kamijou was thinking about all this, he heard this laughter that moved with the wind.
Kamijou frantically turned back and looked.
“Hoho, you’re really rude. See, my button came off!”
Oriana, who was lying on the ground, raised her upper body like how someone finishes taking a nap. Her right hand, which was originally holding onto the billboard, was now pressing down near her breasts, since her work clothes were wide open now.
Kamijou was somewhat stunned. In contrast, Oriana didn’t seem to mind.
“Ugn. This nee-chan isn’t a fighting queen that’s full of muscles, but your movement wasn’t straight, and the trajectory was somewhat off. You’re hurt, so your sense of balance is somewhat off as well, so the impact wasn’t as big. Oh yeah, overall—”
She paused, and then proceeded on,
“—considering that it’s a punch from an amateur, it’s not too bad. But to nee-chan, who’s used to facing off against others who’ll read these attacks and counter, this standard is somewhat unsatisfactory.”
After saying this, she pulled the flashcard in her left hand near her mouth.
Kamijou placed his entire body on alert, but the physical pain of his bruises worked up out of a sudden. The gathering of the pain prevented his body from moving momentarily.
Seeing Kamijou’s face getting distorted due to the pain, Oriana happily tore off another page.
Unexpectedly however, she didn’t launch another attack.
A gust of wind surrounded Oriana, and in an instant, she was taken away by the mini-tornado.
In a second, Oriana passed through the gap between the ceiling of the arcade and the buildings, and reached the top of the building.
Even though the billboard that she left behind was at Kamijou’s feet.
On the other hand, the ‘Stab Sword’ was an important trading item.
Oriana was standing at the edge of the roof, as she turned around and tore off a flashcard with her mouth.
“I’ll leave that thing to you. However, don’t think that this is over yo? The real action will heat up later.”
The whisper-like voice clearly reached Kamijou as if it had been conducted through the air. He looked at the ‘Stab Sword’ on the ground, then turned to look at Oriana, who was on the roof.
He raised a doubt, and though it was soft, the voice seemed to reach Oriana’s ears.
“Why ask why?”
“The ‘Stab Sword’ is in my hands. And yet you’re not forced into a tight corner, so why are you pulling back so easily…?”
Oriana softly laughed,
“Why, huh? Isn’t guessing the reason somewhat interesting?”
She jumped towards the centre of the building, such that Kamijou, who was looking up, was unable to see her due to the angle.
Oriana’s figure vanished from the gap between the ceiling of the arcade and the wall of the buildings.
“Wait a sec! The spell that you set on Tsuchimikado—!!”
Kamijou suddenly shouted out, but Oriana had already vanished. The ceiling of the arcade covered the sky completely. She may be hiding inside the buildings, or she might have jumped off to another building.
All he heard was a voice,
“The spell only lasts for 20 minutes, and will stop working after that. You’re really an esper who likes to worry.”
After she said this, nothing else could be heard.
Kamijou looked around. Oriana’s figure and voice were completely gone.
Seemed like Tsuchimikado would only wake up a while later.
Kamijou was wondering whether he should be chasing after Oriana, but finally decided to stay behind. He couldn’t leave behind the unconscious Tsuchimikado and the ‘Stab Sword’ that was disguised as a large billboard. If he was to run around with it, his speed would slow down, and if it was taken back by Oriana, it’d be adding insult to injury.
Thus, Kamijou decided to call Stiyl.
But he didn’t know Stiyl’s number. Although Kamijou felt a bit sorry, he decided to rummage through Tsuchimikado’s pockets and borrow his phone. Searching through the call records, he pressed the call button.
Stiyl’s suggestion was rather simple and straightforward.
“Alright then, destroying the ‘Stab Sword’ with your right hand should be a piece of cake. With that, we can prevent the deal that Lidvia Lorenzetti is planning. I’m not too sure about the situation with Academy City’s security, but they should have received contact about a bus burning. Before anyone else gets there, hurry up and destroy that thing, then leave.”
“But, is it alright to destroy it so easily? If we anger Oriana and the rest, wouldn’t they attack Academy City?”
“If they do that, the one getting surrounded will be them. This is Academy City, and to the magic side, it’s equivalent to being in the midst of the enemy’s camp. If they’re people who’ll plan this trade calmly, they’ll calmly leave the place. Even if there are disputes among the parties, they’ll proceed with it once they reach a safe area. To a magician, this place is too dangerous.”
Academy City was a dangerous place. To Kamijou, who practically stayed here, this explanation didn’t seem real to him. However, since it was a professional speaking, Kamijou decided to follow.
“Roger that. I’ll use my right hand to destroy the ‘Stab Sword’.”
“Hurry up. I’ll be discussing with the higher-ups on what to do later on.”
After Stiyl finished speaking, he hung up the phone.
“Can’t you even say the word ‘please’?”
Kamijou cut the call, and put the phone back into Tsuchimikado’s pocket. Seeing Tsuchimikado like this without reacting at all made Kamijou feel chilly, but as one listened carefully, one could hear him breathing as if he was sleeping. Seemed like his life was not in danger.
After saying this, Kamijou turned to look at the billboard that had fallen onto the ground.
It was a large rectangular billboard that was covered with a piece of white cloth. Maybe because of the length and width of the ‘Stab Sword’, the excess areas were filled with other materials to keep the rectangular shape. Though it was covered in white cloth, once the shape of the sword was revealed, it would immediately garner attention.
Just using the power of the Imagine Breaker would be enough to destroy the ‘Stab Sword’. Kamijou decided to remove the white cloth, wanting to see whether he could really destroy it.
“Ugh…! What is this? It’s…rather hard.”
Seemed like an imitation of how the industries wrap their products, as the white cloth was wrapped rather tightly. The knots were tied so professionally, and so it was hard to release when one didn’t even know where to begin with. It wasn’t like a rope where he could just tear it apart using force. Kamijou, who was at his wits end, could only tug at the cloth, and after pulling it for a while, he at least felt that the cloth was loose.
As long as a side was loose, the white cloth that was used to wrap the item would lose its hardness. Kamijou peeled the layers of white cloth one by one, and the item that had been wrapped in several layers gradually revealed its original shape.
(What kind of shape does that ‘Stab Sword’ have?)
As Kamijou thought about this, he undid the cloth.
But, upon undoing the white cloth,
He didn’t see the ‘Stab Sword’.
Kamijou inadvertently stopped undoing the white cloth.
Like the bandages of a mummy being unravelled, the thing inside the white cloth was revealed. It was a long thin billboard. Seemed like this billboard, a thin piece of iron that was painted on, was made by students, and it was a decorative item to be placed at a student’s stall during Daihaseisai. The words ‘Ice-cream stall’ were written in a cute form.
Wasn’t the billboard a disguise? Transporting the ‘Stab Sword’ directly in Academy City would be too obvious, and with those dimensions, it was almost impossible to even put it inside a bag. So Oriana had disguised herself as a painter, disguising the ‘Stab Sword’ as a billboard, wrapped it with white cloth, and spent some effort in letting others see it.
However, no one expected her to take a real billboard.
The entire premise of this had collapsed.
Where was the ‘Stab Sword’?
Why had Oriana appeared in front of them, only to escape?
Was the premise that Stiyl Magnus and Tsuchimikado Motoharu talked about true?
Also, were they really dealing the ‘Stab Sword’?
“What’s going on…?”
Kamijou Touma muttered.
Nobody could answer his doubts. The professional magician, Tsuchimikado, was now unconscious, and the person who had planned this, Oriana Thomson, wasn’t around.
But he continued to ask again.
The exact line.
“What’s going on…?”
Between the lines 3
Oriana Thomson was walking on the streets.
She was at a temporary clothes stall that was set up near a large department store. Due to fears of terrorist bombings during Daihaseisai, Academy City had stopped providing locker service. Instead, an item deposit service that ‘ensured the goods and kept them manually’ was used.
Oriana gave the plastic number card to the receptionist, a young lady, who was revealing a puzzled look, wondering why the painter would be using a cloakroom. In response, Oriana smiled, and told her, “If I don’t take care of my own belongings, paint might end up on my purse. The receptionist gave a response, indicating that she understood.
Oriana took the handbag and left the item deposit area.
What was inside the handbag wasn’t a purse, but clothes.
Since she didn’t have the billboard in her hands, it was too eye-catching for Oriana to disguise herself as a painter. It would be unnatural if she continued to wear the work clothes, and just walk about without doing anything. Also, the second button of her work clothes had come off due to the battle just now. Though the first and third buttons were alright, as her breasts were rather ample, one could see them from the seam.
(…I’ve used quite a few spells this time. Really, there’re quite a few people who I really want to be gentle with again.)
Although Oriana had quite a number of spells at her disposal, there was the limitation of being unable to re-use a spell that had been used before, so she had to pause and think about what could happen after that, and use whatever means to battle. But this time, she had used two ‘killer spells’ that she had never expected to use, only for the enemy to escape. Though she was satisfied with the excellent results, just thinking about how she was not going to use those spells a second time makes her somewhat lonely.
“Can I consider this as meeting a worthy opponent? Let’s change before I think of a countermeasure.”
Oriana muttered as she looked around, looking for a place to change her clothes. It was too eye-catching if she entered a building with her painter clothes still on.
(Never mind, I can change at any place I want to.)
Oriana wildly came up with this conclusion as she left the crowded two-way street. After walking into the alley, where no one was around, and put down her handbag. Seemed like she was really intending to change clothes there.
She intended to finish her report as she changed her clothes, so she tore another card, and stuck it to the ground with tape.
A horizontal line of orange words appeared on the dusty surface.
It was a spell that acted as a display of her superior, Lidvia Lorenzetti’s voice, and translated her words into text.
“Is this urgent? You keep using different methods to contact me every time. It’s troublesome for me when I have to receive these messages.”
“Hm. This is the policy of nee-chan, so please be a bit forgiving.”
Oriana’s words would appear as text on the other side as well.
She unbuttoned the buttons on the front of her top as she explained. Just like this, the clothes bounced outward like a spring. It was not really suited for her anyway.
“I’m trying to tell you that the first phase is complete. This nee-chan is trying to tell you that though there are quite a few troublesome issues, you can relax, since I’ve already checked the places. I even had the time to walk around.”
Oriana broke free from the tight clothing, and puffed out some air to calm herself down. She then took off her top without hesitation. Because she was not wearing a bra, the stripping of her upper body was complete.
“You said that quite a few things happened, what’s going on?”
The original paragraph vanished, and a new wall of text appeared on the card horizontally from left to right.
“Hm? Oh, that. I was hit straight in the face by a boy, and the button came off; seems like he saw my breasts. No, I’m certain that he saw them.”
“…As a Sister who’s supposed to be pure and poor, how can you be so nonchalant about this?”
Another paragraph appeared. This was a spell that reads words and thoughts, and prevented translation errors. Sometimes, it also showed silence.
“Deary me, what’s with this contemptuous attitude? Didn’t Adam and Eve walk around the world with a leaf over their genitals in the Old Testament? Compared to the global scale of that shameful act, this is nothing.”
Oriana placed her hands on her pants, before realising that the other party didn’t respond. Seeing this silent response on the card, a drop of sweat inadvertently flowed down her face.
“Eh, oh my? Hello, hello? Not again, what are you angry about? Okay, don’t cry, don’t cry. This nee-chan won’t say any jokes about the Bible.”
“I’m not crying. Anyway, how are your injuries?”
The long silence vanished, as a new block of text appeared.
“Oh, no big deal.”
Oriana said. She took off her shoes, her belt, and pulled down the zipper. As she placed her hands on the edge of her pants, which was revealing a bit of her butt—
“I can’t really say that…I’m completely uninjured…my face is a bit swollen, and maybe even my heart may be punched through…”
Suddenly, her body jerked sideways.
Oriana was shaking her head, as if she was trying to prevent herself from falling asleep, as her two hands pulled down the pants. At least she was wearing panties, and as Oriana’s legs left the pants, her body was somewhat imbalanced.
“Will it affect the plan?”
“It won’t okay? I can tell. Just leave everything to this nee-chan.”
Though the other party couldn’t see it, she was trying her best to force this smile. Now that she was only wearing panties, she bent her upper body and opened the handbag near her feet to look for a change in clothes. Her movements were abnormally gentle, and her body was so soft that it seemed that she could place her entire palm flat on the ground.
“Un. Now this nee-chan is going to change into her battle clothes. It’ll be easier for me to work if I can stop giving the impression of being a worker with my clothes…”
Now which one should I choose? Oriana continued to rummage through the bag. Through the opened zipper, one could see that all her clothes were rather fanciful.
At this moment, a line of incredulous words came from Lidvia.
“What? You’re changing clothes?”
“Didn’t I tell you already? My button came off, and I nearly exposed my breasts to others, or maybe they might have seen it. I can’t wear this as my clothes are damaged. It’s just like that.”
“…I’m trying to say, why can you be so casual about this?”
It’s my personality, okay? Oriana thought as she ignored her, taking out several pieces of clothing from her bag.
“Also, I forgot to take the billboard back when I escaped. When I’m wearing work clothes and yet not holding anything, this nee-chan feels that it’s too unnatural.”
“Oh, I remember. The billboard was taken by the enemy.”
“…What’s going on…”
“Seems like the contents inside were revealed. And the fact that this nee-chan was just running around with garbage should be clear as well.”
“Eh, oh my? It’s okay. Even if the issue about the ‘Stab Sword’ is revealed, it won’t affect the deal. We won’t get disqualified just by getting a demerit point. Also, the actual battle is different from the battle. Even if we get deducted a point for taking advantage, we might even get the victory in the end.”
Wearing only a pair of panties, Oriana picked up the bra with her two hands and pulled it near her breasts. She started to calculate the compatibility of the colours and the degree of revealing.
“I’ll finish my job, and won’t let anyone else affect this deal. No matter who the person is, he won’t be able to prevent this dealing from happening. If this deal can bring happiness to everyone, it’ll be more reason for me to do this, right?”
This was her last sentence.
She looked at the sky as she said this.
The sky of Academy City was so blue and clear that it was close to signifying peace and leisure, though there were the occasional fireworks being fired.
“So we’ve been had, huh?”
After finishing the conversation with the head of Academy City, Aleister Crowley, Archbishop Laura Stuart of the British Puritan Church, who had many subordinates at her command, sighed. It had been hours since the two of them had contacted each other, and since there was a 9 hour difference between Japan and London, it should be noon in Japan now. Surrounding the St. George Cathedral were the darkness and silence of the night, and the cold air of the ground.
She was sitting on a chair in front of the altar, and as her blond hair, which was more than twice her height, lay on the floor, she puffed out some air and extended both her arms backwards. With both hands, she grabbed the roots of her hair that was too long, and swung it forcefully like she was swinging a rod. She cleanly grabbed the front of her wavy hair that moved like a slithering snake, and used a silver hairpin to clip her hair with one hand. In an instant, she reverted back to her normal hairstyle that looked like her hair was cut in half.
Though it looked a bit crude, as she was already skilled in doing this, her movements had a beautiful sense of refinement and grace. Especially when the blond hair created ripples under the moonlight, this light was like a piece of art with beauty that could fill the entire hall.
One of the twelve Apostles, John, once prohibited women from keeping long hair, and forced nuns to keep their hair short and keep it within their hoods.
The reason was that the long hair of a woman would attract a man and cause him to fall. In modern times, it may seem like a laughable, twisted reason…but Laura’s hair was so shiny that it could make anyone change their mind.
“So these are all true?”
Laura grabbed the bundle of documents that was on her thigh with one hand and waved it. It was a twenty-page report by the British Museum regarding the ‘Stab Sword’.
On first glance, it was just a random action, but there were hidden emotions inside it.
The emotion was called anger, and the temperature was extremely cold.
Hearing Laura speak, who seemed to be talking to herself, the other party paused for a breath, and responded.
It was the voice of a middle-aged man.
“I’m really sorry. You’ve appointed us to manage this for a long time, but till today, we didn’t find it at all. In the end, we’ve continued to give the wrong instructions…”
“It’s alright, you don’t have to panic. I’m not angry with you. Besides, it’s tough on you, to continue to work till this time.”
Laura sensed that under the light that was shining into the interior of the Cathedral—near the entrance—that man was cowering in fear. Seeing that, it seemed that the other person was rather fearful for being under the same moonlight as Laura.
His name was Charles Conder.
He was the highest authority of Archaeology, and the ‘keeper’ of the British Museum.
Compared to the ‘investigators’ who were running around the world, looking for artefacts and collecting them, his job was to manage and restore the items inside the Museum. For one to enter the bureau that had lasted for 1,000 years and maintained individual historical items that were up till 3,000 years old, one had to have the ‘brain of a scholar’ and ‘hands of a artist’ that was of the highest order in the world.
Right now, he was at the level where he was considered to have the capability, but his experience was unrecognised.
Among the items that they processed through, there were quite a few magical items…though the people working at the British Museum were ordinary people who had nothing to do with magic, even the head wasn’t exempted. The British Puritan Church provided support by giving advice on the items through Theological, Religious, and ethical point of views.
The British Museum was already famous itself, and only did general recruitment. If they were to set up a magic department brazenly, the idea of magic would quickly spread around the world.
Charles himself didn’t know anything about the British Puritans being involved in magic, and didn’t know that the item that he had researched and compiled a report on was a magical item. The respect that he had for Laura wasn’t that of being threatened by her real ‘power’, but just about sincere faith.
“Oh yeah, Conder. I have something that I would really like to ask you…”
The other person who was in the darkness gave such a reply.
It was not an immediate answer, but rather, one that came after a pause. Only those who could immediately sense the atmosphere in this situation could tell that this was an opportune time.
Un, Laura seemed satisfied as she looked at the darkness in front.
“…Conder, you’ve heard my choice of words, so have you ever laughed at me before?”
“Are you hiding in the dark corner in order to hide it?”
“No…no…I would never do such a thing as…”
“Then why must your voice be trembling, you idiot!? Everyone’s laughing at my choice of words! Basically, this is all that Tsuchimikado Motoharu’s fault for teaching me this odd choice of words…”
“Dear Archbishop, I’ve heard that you seem rather uncomfortable speaking in Japanese.”
“DON’T TELL ME THAT THE ENTIRETY OF LONDON HAS HEARD ABOUT THIS!!??”
“Please calm down. Right now, we’re communicating in English. Even if you really can’t speak Japanese fluently, it has nothing to do with this situation.”
Ahem. Laura purposely coughed to conceal her embarrassment.
Seemed like Charles Conder had tried his best to calm her down, but why was Laura still feeling so bitter?
“Excuse me…may we get down to the proper issue at hand?”
Laura tried hard to concentrate, and intended to continue on with the topic.
Charles smoothly proceeded on,
“In the report, it is also written that though we have a duplicate of the ‘Stab Sword’ in our museum, we can deduce that the actual item doesn’t exist. This is something that may occur during Archaeology, and thus a mistake in the heritage.”
“So what’s this mistake about?”
Laura slowly asked.
The British Museum had an Archaeological point of view that could give the British Puritans, who were magical based, a completely different input, so it was considered an extremely valuable mind.
“Yes, you've received this kind of report before, right? Like say…yes, the Nazca Lines ( Note: the Nazca lines are located 250 miles south of Lima, Peru’s capital. There’s a variety of about 300 of them, and they’re built during the Nazca culture that’s from B.C. 509 to A.D. 1500. Some pictures are inexplicable, while others are obviously shaped like plants and animals, like hummingbird, monkey, heron, whale, spider and flowers etc.), the Moai figures on Easter Island, and a local example would be the Stonehenge…there are numerous things in history that we discover, yet we don’t know their purpose.”
Charles bent his body in the darkness.
“After this, strange things begin to happen, people will randomly add in reasons as to why these things are made. Legends and stories without evidence that are passed down will accumulate like a snowball. One example that’s easy to understand would be the portrait of the Virgin.”
The portrait of the Virgin Mary (though a restraint order was issued during a monotheistic Christian occasion, it was rather popular) was hailed by her worshipers to be a ‘miracle item’. At first, there was the rumour that ‘the Virgin in the portrait would weep.’ After a while, it became ‘whoever touched it could heal their wounds,’ ‘whoever hung it could dispel evil spirits,’ as new ‘heritages’ continued to be formed, such that it was on a scale that even the ‘Idol Theory’ couldn’t explain it. Notwithstanding religious issues, just based on facts alone, it was unbelievable.
“So, it’s like this? The Roman Catholics do have a magical sword that’s made of marble. But the Roman Catholics don’t know for what reason it was created, so they added their own ‘definite reason’ anyway, and thus it continued to spread around, and it ended up being part of their heritage?”
“Yes. But from an Archaeological viewpoint, this isn’t of ill intentions. Besides using theory, humans are creatures who’ll use their imagination. Besides the ‘Stab Sword’ this time, there are similar reports around the world. So we can’t blame the Roman Catholics entirely…”
Laura thought, what Charles said was true.
Actually, Christianity itself was like that. At first, the content of the ‘Son of God’ was recorded through the hands of the apostles, and compiled into the Bible. And because of different interpretations, people had disagreements over their view of the Bible. In the end, this ended up meeting the tastes of the countries and their people, creating new religions in the process. This was the actual situation of today’s Christianity, no matter whether it was Catholicism, Protestantism, British Puritanism, Roman Catholicism, Russian Orthodox etc, the centre of their faith was definitely the ‘Bible’. The language would differ according to different countries, and ‘a Bible which had content that suited the British Puritans’ didn’t exist at all.
Even so, it led to a generation of different ideas, which led to the differentiation of faith.
So, such a thing wasn’t abnormal in history.
(…Or maybe, the Roman Catholics intended to hide the truth about how the ‘Stab Sword’ was passed down. No, maybe this is just pure speculation?)
Laura shook her head to both sides.
Anyway, she could confirm that the legend of this spiritual weapon called the ‘Stab Sword’ was just a rumour that people had passed around, and that it didn’t exist in the first place.
She didn’t know why the marble sword had been made, but at least it didn’t have the ridiculous effect of ‘killing all the Saints by pointing the tip of the blade at them.’
Thus, the importance of the deal that was to be done in Academy City was lessened. This made Laura heave a sigh of relief.
“Then, did you manage to find out the original heritage behind this marble sword?”
“Yes madam. As this heritage continued to snowball, we don’t have enough evidence to support this. But I’m afraid that this record seems to be correct.”
Eh? Laura tilted her head sideways. That was information that was not in the report.
It seems that I really can’t just rely on magic’s point of view. An ‘ordinary’ viewpoint from Archaeology is important as well. Laura’s thoughts went wild.
“To be honest, this item isn’t a ‘sword’?”
Laura suspiciously frowned. She saw the keeper of the British Museum holding the duplicate ‘Stab Sword’ in the dark. In the darkness, he turned the white marble sword around.
“It’s a cross. The locals seem to call it the ‘Apostle’s Cross.’”
At that moment, Laura Stuart nearly stopped breathing.
“You’re saying that that’s the Cross of St Peter?”
Pietro was another name for Peter, one of the twelve Apostles. Even for those who weren’t familiar with Christianity, they should have at least heard of the ‘St Peter’s Basilica’ that was inside the Vatican. It was truly famed for being the largest Church in the heart of Roman Catholicism, the largest religious sect in the world.
St Peter’s cross had a huge historical link with the St Peter’s Basilica, and even all of Rome and Vatican. It was the highest level of a spiritual weapon of all Christianity.
Its danger was such that even the ‘Stab Sword’—a spiritual weapon that could kill any Saints no matter the obstacles or distance—couldn’t match up to this.
Hearing the Archbishop exclaim loudly, the keeper of the British Museum must have been shocked. This wasn’t surprising, as Charles was just the authority on Archaeology, and had absolutely no idea about magic. So if he didn’t know how dangerous the name of this item that he said was, it couldn’t be helped.
However, Laura was different.
Because she knew all about the magical world and the Christian world, she could understand the seriousness of the issue. She was not looking at Charles, who was standing in the darkness, as she was immersed in her own thoughts.
(This is bad. If so, then the meaning of this ‘deal’ that those people are planning is completely different now. If they really want to carry out this ‘deal’ in ‘Academy City’—)
The ‘Apostle’s Cross.’
It truly existed in history, but up till now, the Roman Catholics had never revealed it. It could be said to be the highest level of a spiritual tool in historical ‘legends’ that could be compared to the holy items that the ‘Son of God’ left behind. If it really had the effect that the book recorded…
(With the end of this ‘deal’, Academy City will collapse. No, something worse than that will happen.)
Laura murmured, swallowing her own saliva.
Her face revealed a heroic smile.
Laura thought, in this extremely complicated situation, what should she do to get the best benefits?
“The ‘Apostle’s Cross’…we call it the St Peter’s Cross. Really, what’s going on?”
After receiving the report from his phone, Stiyl Magnus muttered these words.
It was an open-air coffee shop near the auto-bus depot. There were ten tables with umbrellas, and Stiyl had taken one of them. Seated in the other seats were Kamijou Touma and Tsuchimikado Motoharu, who was finally awake after having been hit by the sleeping spell that Oriana had used.
There was nothing on the table. They were not waiting to order anything, as no one was in the mood to eat or drink.
“Oi, what’s that St Peter’s Cross about? Is it a Cross that’s made of some incredible material called Peter?”
“Peter’s the name of a person, idiot. He’s one of the twelve Apostles, and legend has it that he has the key to Heaven. But right now, we’re not going to talk about that myth, but rather about some other heritage.”
Kamijou asked again. Tsuchimikado, who hadn’t recovered his strength, said,
“This man called Peter is that…owner of the Holy Vatican. No, strictly speaking, the Holy Vatican was established on the large piece of land that Peter left behind—”
“The Vatican…it’s that smallest country in the world?”
Kamijou tilted his head sideways and asked. Stiyl irritatedly puffed out some smoke.
“This name, the ‘Vatican City State,’ was decided in 1929 under the Lateran Treaty. In the past, it was called the land of the ‘Vatican.’ Also, that place wasn’t that small to begin with. The land differs in size according to time, and at its peak, occupied even Rome, in the centre of Italy, a land that’s 47,000 square kilometres in size. Italy was like the Sengoku era in Japan, because of internal strife, the Vatican shrunk as the unity of Italy became weaker.”
“The question is, how did they establish the Vatican. On the land that Peter left behind, what were the Roman Catholics doing in the first place?”
Kamijou raised a voice of doubt.
Maybe everyone was farming on the wasteland, he wildly thought.
“They built a tomb. By burying Peter’s corpse, and erecting a Cross.”
Kamijou was shocked.
The St Peter’s Cross referred to the Cross that was set up on Peter’s grave.
Kamijou didn’t look so good, but Tsuchimikado just ignored him and continued,
“The view of the Roman Catholics is that since that place is where Peter’s buried, the Church didn’t want anyone to disturb him, so they wanted to do their best in maintaining his heritage. At first, it was Emperor Augustine who paid his respects and built a Church. During the Renaissance, there was a pleasant large scale revolution. The St Peter’s Basilica that’s designed by Michelangelo—truly the world’s largest Church—is built on the domain of this dead Saint.”
Peter died in A.D. 1st century, and the Old St Peter‘s Basilica was built in the 4th century, while the king of the Lombards handed over power to the Vatican in the 8th century. Actually, there’s quite a bit of time difference, but the first turning point was Peter’s death and the building of his tomb.
Hearing this explanation, Kamijou was still unclear of what was going on.
“Ugh…is it that…kind of place where you offer sacrifices to those great people?”
“Well, you can say that nya. However, if you think of it another way, it’s like ‘building one’s authority by using the dead body of a Saint.’”
If so, were they really trying to let the deceased rest, or were they using the tomb as a tourist attraction? One couldn’t really decide.
“I always felt that…though I don’t still know after hearing about this. Are the Roman Catholics a bunch of people who’ll do something like this?”
“What? There are people who’ll do all these sorts of things. Like in England, there’s an Archbishop named Thomas Becket (Note: Thomas Becket was appointed to be the Archbishop of Canterbury Cathedral by King Henry II, and for he went against King Henry II, he was assassinated. His exploits were documented in a film ‘Becket’ made in 1964). This man was assassinated in 29th December 1170 in a certain Church by the ‘Royal Family’. This Church is Canterbury Cathedral, the main base of the British Puritans.” Tsuchimikado finished speaking, and paused for a while.
Then he smiled,
“The Canterbury Cathedral was a Cathedral that was located far away from the capital, London…but because of the death of a great person, it became the main base straight away. The situation when Archbishop Becket got assassinated ended up triggering an offense against the ‘Royal Family’, resulting in the ‘Royal Family’ having to recognise the independence of the Church — this place is also known as the birthplace of British Puritanism. Just having ‘the land of a sleeping Saint’ has a large effect, Kami-yan.”
Though Kamijou didn’t understand, he knew that no matter what, any Church that had any link with a Great would have its value multiplied exponentially.
“…Also, the thing that Oriana’s carrying around isn’t the ‘Stab Sword’, but rather that ‘Apostle’s whatever,’ huh? Is that a dangerous thing as well? Or is it like an art piece that has a strange and rare value?”
“Both. But we’re focusing on the former.”
Stiyl impatiently puffed out some smoke.
“Didn’t I say this before? This huge piece of land inside the Vatican — or strictly speaking, the place where ‘Christianity’ was established. If so, on the other hand…”
“In other words?”
“Yes, any place that has the ‘Apostle’s Cross’ will be under the Roman Catholic Church’s dominion. Even Academy City isn’t exempted.”
Wait wait…!? Kamijou was at a loss of words.
Tsuchimikado said in a bitter tone,
“The ‘Stab Sword’ was rumoured to be ‘a sword that can pierce a dragon and pin it onto the ground.’”
He paused, holds his breath for a while, and continued,
“This large existence that has huge wings, that will either guard a treasure while asleep or desire for a massacre, such a ‘dragon’ has the hidden meaning of serving God’s ‘Angels’ or the fallen ‘Devil’ nya. ‘Pinning the dragon’ has the meaning of ‘turning this place to Holy grounds by letting the Angels protect this place’ hidden in it…those bastards.”
There were many doubts he wanted to ask about, but speech wasn’t going to convey them properly.
“Wait a sec! What do you mean by ‘dominion’? What are those guys intending to do here!?”
“This country called the Vatican is like a large Church inside. Kami-yan, that interior is rather strange. Over there, the balance between fortune and misfortune is distorted, no matter what one does, it’ll be beneficial to the Roman Catholics.”
Kamijou was still unable to understand Tsuchimikado’s explanation.
“Specifically, the area inside the Vatican is filled with magic that biased. Things that normally happen will turn out to be of the Roman Catholics’ benefit. For example, it’s like using a magnet to control a roulette in a casino, ignoring the original action of the bead to make it land inside the number that one wants.”
Hearing this, Kamijou still didn’t understand.
But, he knew that ‘there was a magic spell that allowed the circumstances to be beneficial to some people.’
“So, it’s like that guy, huh? Like that alchemist, who can materialise anything that he wishes for?”
The man named Aureolus Izzard.
The result of him developing his alchemist skills to the extreme, and creating his own spell of ‘turning anything he wishes for into reality’ was that because of it, he was defeated by his own ‘doubt’…
“No, it’s not like using human willpower to ‘form gold.’ This is about ‘making things advantageous for the Roman Catholics.’ But, if such a thing was to be set up in Academy City, then what?”
“Now that you mention it…”
Would Academy City end up being beneficial to the Roman Catholics?
It was a blurry image, as Kamijou couldn’t think of any specific thought. He just said out the thought that was on his mind.
“About that…it’ll be beneficial to the Roman Catholics. Then if the Roman Catholics are to come over to Academy City, wouldn’t they become very lucky?”
“That’s right; you may regard it as such. What will happen if the effect of the ‘Apostle’s Cross’ acts like a document? It’s not a bad thing, as any Roman Catholic who enters Academy City may lose a large sum of money when they gamble, but will end up winning money in the long run. Even if the building’s bombed, there won’t be any injury at all. This is unnatural. Also…”
Stiyl cynically twisted his lips.
“The ‘Apostle’s Cross’ will help anyone who isn’t a Roman Catholic as well. If the Roman Catholics are to continue winning money through gambling, normally there would be losers as well. But the ‘Apostle’s Cross’ would create a nice losing situation. Even if a building is bombed and destroyed, nobody would be hurt. It creates a ‘oh, nobody’s hurt, that’s good’ kind of situation.”
Kamijou tilted his head.
If what Stiyl said was true,
“If so, wouldn’t everyone be happy? That shouldn’t be a problem.”
“That is where the problem is.”
Stiyl mentions this,
“Listen, if one doesn’t set up this thing known as the ‘Apostle’s Cross’ from the start, nobody would be losing money through gambling, and nobody will target Roman Catholics in their bombing attempts. On first glance, everyone’s happy. But in actuality, the ‘Apostle’s Cross’ brings a huge burden to anyone around, and normally in situations where one cannot see.”
Tsuchimikado, who had no strength left in his upper body, was sprawled on the table. He continued,
“Actually, in Christian history, the number of times this happiness was ‘switched’ is unexpectedly frequent. Like San Matorras, or as the British Puritans call him, San Martin. This guy has a very interesting story. When he went to evangelise Christianity, he once broke an ancient pagan temple, and even intended to cut a holy tree down. The non-believing farmers who didn’t want to become Christians resisted till the end, and said, “If there’s a God protecting you, go ahead and cut down this tree. If you’re really protected by God, you won’t die.””
To think that Tsuchimikado, who normally was just messing around, was able to say this Christian fairy tale so smoothly. To his classmate Kamijou, this was truly not a familiar sight.
“Hearing this, San Martin faced the holy tree that was falling on him, and drew a cross on his chest. Then, the unthinkable happened. The holy tree fell to the other side, and nearly crushed the farmers. The farmers were touched that there was really a miracle from God, and promptly accepted Christianity… Don’t you find this strange nya? The one who used this inexplicable force to cause this holy tree to fall towards the farmers was San Martin himself. He could have allowed that tree to fall somewhere that’s even safer. Come to think about it, he could have just cut the tree down easily nya? Why can he still receive this amount of thanks…?”
“Anyway, the result is that, the holy tree that fell the other way didn’t kill the non-believers. Because this was the mercy that God gave, every farmer rejoiced at having the chance to change their religion. No matter whether this outcome is good or bad, their history, traditions and spiritual culture were completely erased.”
Kamijou thought, so what.
This indeed could bring about happiness, but not because of ‘something that happened that brings about happiness,’ but rather ‘happiness that was brought about no matter what happens.’
Tsuchimikado lifted his head, and said,
“The effects of this method had gotten some recognition in psychology nya. First, satisfy a condition ‘A’ that cannot be fulfilled. When the other party begs and cries, saying that he can’t do it, force him to do the original condition ‘B’ that one wants. In this case, it’ll be easier to succeed than to offer condition ‘B’ right from the start. Just like how ‘Compared to ‘A’, ‘B’ is so much better, we’re really lucky’ nya. By manipulating the specific order, manipulating the balance between one negative effect versus another, one can reduce the relative value required for happiness.”
Stiyl twitched the cigarette in his mouth up and down, and continued,
“The ‘Apostle’s Cross’ uses the psychological effects of this myth. No matter what happens, the situation will end up benefiting the Roman Catholics. When people are given unrealistic proposals, they’ll agree for some unknown reason…to the Roman Catholics, wouldn’t this place be the most comfortable and enjoyable ‘Holy Land’?”
The magicians’ words gradually sunk into Kamijou’s head.
A long time was needed for one to slowly understand such a large scale issue.
“Wait a sec, Stiyl. About the deal of that ‘Apostle’s Cross,’ what is Oriana and company going to do exactly?”
“If this world is split into two, one can classify them as the science side and the magic side. Right now, it’s on a delicate balance.”
Stiyl simply replied.
“Among them, the leader of the science side is Academy City. If this Academy City ends up being under the dominion of the Roman Catholics, what do you think will happen to the balance of this world?”
Ah! Kamijou finally realised it.
If the science side, which occupied half of the world, ended up being ‘some random group’ of a magic sect, then with ‘the science side that occupied the world plus one’s own magic sect,’ that sect could control more than 50% of the world. Then, they just needed to do the simple thing of a majority resolution in order to control the world at will.
If that sect was the Roman Catholics, the largest Christian sect in the world.
“If any sect is attacked by both the magic side and science side, organisations that are of a ‘single world’ will be unable to resist; it’s like being attacked in front and behind. The balance of world power will be entirely concentrated on the Roman Catholics.”
The Roman Catholics didn’t need to consider ‘what they had to do in order to conquer Academy City.’ By planting the ‘Apostle’s Cross’ in Academy City, Academy City would do anything that’d be ‘beneficial to the Roman Catholics’ after that.
Specifically, what would happen?
Would the Board of Directors suddenly decide to seek asylum under the Roman Catholics?
Or would Academy City sink into bad management, and end up receiving funding from the Roman Catholics?
Or would Academy City itself be reduced to ash, and end up being rebuilt by the high-ranking Roman Catholics, and not the Japanese government?
Though he didn’t know how, Kamijou knew that no matter what, the situation would end up being ‘most beneficial’ to the Roman Catholics.
And the people of Academy City, nobody would question the outcome.
No matter whether it was an unreasonable request, no matter how heavy the burden that they had to carry.
It was a world where everyone had happiness.
“Then the deal that Oriana…”
“Yeah. It’s not a simple deal of the spiritual tool ‘Stab Sword’ or ‘Apostle’s Cross,’ but rather, the deal is about the ‘benefit to the Roman Catholics’ dominance’ — Academy City, and the world.”
Stiyl Magnus inhaled deeply.
As the cigarette in his mouth received oxygen, it started to give an orangish-red glow.
“The courier, Oriana Thomson, and the trader, Lidvia Lorenzetti. Besides them, there’s no receiver on the other end — this deal just doesn’t involve anyone else at all. The suspicion that it’s the Russian Orthodox Church is a fake, because this is something that the Roman Catholics want to send to themselves.”
He paused, and said a last sentence,
“We have to prevent this deal from taking place. Otherwise, it’ll end up being even worse than the destruction of the world.”
Kamijou Touma and Tsuchimikado Motoharu nodded their heads.
But nobody knew what the three of them could do.
There was no guarantee that they could beat Oriana Thomson and the person behind her, Lidvia Lorenzetti.
Those two thought that by forcing thoughts that were beneficial to themselves onto the people of Academy City, the Roman Catholics would gain world domination.
—He had to use this hand of his to destroy this illusion.
Kamijou Touya and Shiina were walking on the streets.
It was now 1pm. According to the schedule in the thick tour guidebook, it should be lunchtime. But right now, there seemed to be matches going on at other places. Discrepancies in the schedule were rather common for sporting events like Daihaseisai.
If it was an international event like the Olympics or the World Cup, the schedule would be much tighter.
Touya rolled up his sleeves, smoothed his wrinkled shirt, and said,
“Alright, okaa-san. Though it’s late now, let’s find a place to eat.”
“Ara ara, you’re right.”
Shiina readjusted her lady’s hat.
“…Why do I feel that I didn’t see Touma just now? Was he really in that match?”
“There are so many people competing in the same event, so sometimes it’s hard to look for him. We’ll hear about Touma’s heroics when we meet him later. Right now, the most important thing is to get our seats.”
Touya frantically looked around for a place to eat lunch, not because he was hungry.
One thing that Daihaseisai had in comparison to other sporting events was the need to ‘book seats.’
Compared to ordinary events, in Daihaseisai, the arenas had to change according to the type of competition. It was not that getting one’s seats once was enough, as parents would have to switch places according to where their children were having their events. Of course, eating lunch was the same. Once the event was over, the contestants and the spectators would be chased out of the arena, so they had to ‘ensure that they got a place to get their lunch.’
There were 2.3 million residents in Academy City, and there were many more spectators. With so many people looking for a place to eat at the same time…it was not hard to imagine the school canteens being crammed with people.
Touya looked around, his hair combed to the back.
“It’s supposed to be lunch at twelve. We arrived late because of the matches getting delayed. To be honest, it’s hard to find a place now.”
“Ara ara, I’ve prepared bentos, so you don’t have to find such a good place.”
Shiina happily said as she looked at the rattan basket hanging on her arm. Seeing this, Touya frowned, and said,
“Okaa-san, that won’t do. These are the bentos that you put so much effort into preparing. Let’s find the best place to eat our meal. Touma and I would be happy if we do so. It’ll be fine if okaa-san feels happy as well.”
‘Ara ara, Touya, really.”
Shiina smiled as she placed a hand on her face. Touya, who was releasing his tie with one hand, and looking around for a place, didn’t notice her smile and gaze.
“…Hm, the seats at this shop are occupied. Of course, there are other ways to look for empty seats, or should we contact Touma and ask him for his suggestion—eh?”
Touya, who was considering this, saw a familiar face coming over from his opposite side.
It was the female university student he met at the opening ceremony.
Right now, there was a middle-school aged girl walking beside her. The girl was wearing a jogging shirt and shorts that contestants wear. Shoulder-length tea-coloured hair, he remembered the name of that girl seemed to be ‘Mikoto.’
The two seemed to be sisters who were extremely close to one another, as they were conversing loudly.
“Oh my, Mikoto. Don’t tell me you’re angry that dad hasn’t turned up? I also begged for the university to give me an entire week off, so please spare me.”
“…I’m not. Isn’t dad working in London? It’ll be even more troublesome if he forces himself to come over with a pale face.”
“Un. If dad were to hear your angry tone, he’ll be delighted. But to you, it’s better for dad not to come, huh?”
“Because doesn’t Mikoto like some other guy? If dad heard this, his reaction would be rather interesting!”
The middle-school girl suddenly did a spit-take. Mikoto's face flushed red, and she stared at the female university student who was taller than her by a head.
“WH…WHWHWHWHWHWHWHHYYYYYYYYY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THIS ALL OF A SUDDEN!!”
“Eh? Isn’t it supposed to be like this? You can’t resist hugging the pillow when you’re in bed, being unable to sleep as you’re thinking about that guy whose black hair shoots up to the sky?”
“No…nonono way! On what basis are you saying that! Also, how did you know about that idiot!?”
“I’m concerned about this, to think that you’re calling that guy ‘that idiot’ with such an affectionate tone. Mikoto, what do you hope to gain through the penalty game? Am I right? Isn’t it good that dad isn’t here? So what’s the result of the bet, Mikoto?”
“The penalty game…where did you hear about it? OI! STOP WRIGGLING AROUND, HURRY UP AND ANSWER!!”
Seeing the middle-school girl emitting blue and white sparks from her shoulders and cropped bangs, Touya got a renewed feeling that this was Academy City. Because his son was an esper at Level 0, so he really hadn’t noticed it, but this was truly an esper city where those superpowers in movies and manga did appear.
“Isn’t there a night walk tonight after the competitive events? So what do you intend to do, Mikoto? Or are you going to use that electricity to create neon lights just for the two of you?”
“Eh? Your tastes are really bad…eveeveveven if there’s a night walk, that has not…nothing to do with me…”
To them, as they had ‘superpowers,’ they were not surprised by these sorts of things. Touya thought, it was probably be an atmosphere that only Academy City had.
The female university student and middle-school student seemed to have noticed Touya, who was staring blankly at them. The female university student’s face glowed,
“Ah! Thanks for just now. Thanks to you, I met up with Mikoto at last.”
The middle-school girl frowned at the female university student.
“…Wait a sec, who’s this group of people? Are they people you acquainted with while working?”
“Nope, these are the parents of that boy that you’re so mindful of. Come on, Mikoto, present yourself properly.”
“YOU’RE TOO NOISY! KEEP QUIET! I SAID THAT IT ISN’T LIKE THAT!!”
The middle-school girl looked like she was going to bite on the other person and not let go as she shouted. The university student however didn’t seem to notice it,
“Oh yeah, may I inquire, have you eaten your lunch yet? If you don’t mind, do you want to have lunch with us? We’ve booked a small restaurant, so bringing in bentos should be alright. Right Mikoto?”
Touya considered what the female university student proposed.
They could bring bentos into a restaurant…so it seemed like they wouldn’t be blamed for this if they did this during Daihaseisai, where the space was really limited. It’d be better if they ate Shiina’s bentos with others than eating at a quiet place. And to the extremely petite Shiina, it was probably better for her not to walk on the asphalt under the hot sun.
Thus, Touya said,
“Alright then. Mind if we add another person later?”
“Fine by me. Sorry, Mikoto.”
Facing the smiling university student, the middle-school student turned around, as she speechlessly emitted blue and white sparks.
This girl really has character, Touya thought as he shook his head, and turned towards Shiina.
“Okaa-san, this should be alright—why are you revealing such a terrifying expression?”
Seeing Shiina reveal this lost expression from the bottom of her heart, the shadow of her face being able to be on a 1000-yen note or a 5000-yen note, Touya inadvertently backed off. Shiina’s lips weren’t moving at all, but one could hear a clear voice,
“Really, Touya, you’re always like this. What do you want me to do? Do you want me to throw the entire basket of bentos at you? Ara ara ara ara ara ara ara ara, this is too bad, the completely innocent Touma will have to remain hungry now?”
Why must she be angry!? Touya backed away. Shiina was not joking. She was the type of lady where during a quarrel between husband and wife, whether it was a plate or a DVD player, she would throw anything that she could get her hands on.
Thus, Touya quickly backed off, keeping a safe distance.
Unexpectedly, he knocked into another person behind.
Kamijou Touya turned around, quickly lowered his head, and apologised, but instead, he was staring at her huge breasts. As they were too close to each other, he intended to bend down and apologise, but it ended up looking like he was peeking at her.
The woman’s breasts were just 4mm away from the tip of his nose.
Touya quickly looked up at twice the speed.
“I…I’m sorry, I’m really sorry! WAAHHH…okaa-san's glare from behind is really piercing me…!!”
The situation had gotten out of hand, but Touya didn’t have the courage to look back and confirm Shiina’s expression. Touya looked at the woman in front of him.
“It’s alright, are you hurt? Sorry, I’m not used to having so many people around.”
The woman in front had blond hair that was curled in a complicated way.
White skin and blue pupils, a Westerner with such stunning looks.
Her homogeneous body gave off a seductive atmosphere.
A metal sound could be heard.
On her long index finger, there was a metal ring that was about 2cm in diameter. Wrapped by the ring were rectangular pieces of paper that were as big as a chewing gum wrapper. They seemed to be flashcards that were used to memorise individual words.
She played around with this stack of flashcards like a key-chain.
“This nee-chan doesn’t mind at all — I really want to say this, but I’m really younger than you, so I can’t really call myself ‘nee-chan.’ Bye bye.”
After saying this, she turned her back on Touya, and walked away.
She then naturally mixed into the crowd, and soon, she was gone. She had such an outstanding appearance, and she did give off a rather seductive atmosphere, but it seemed that nobody noticed her.
Touya stared at the blond lady through the corner of his eyes.
“Ara ara, ara ara ara. Touya? You’re rather awake now, huh? Would breaking your joints be letting you off too lightly? Ara ara, how irritating, what should I do? Should I just let you be one of the stars in the night sky?”
“Eh…it’s not that, okaa-san, you’re mistaken. I didn’t stare at that woman’s attractive face and breasts and waists and legs, so that’s…this is all my fault!!”
Seeing Touya turn his excuse into an apology, Mikoto softly said,
“…Like father, like son.”
They didn’t realise.
The things that were happening inside Academy City.
The boy that was close to them was running around, trying to stop this.
The danger, that was within 4mm from Touya’s nose.
There were no onlookers that were safe. In this street that was full of dangerous people, Daihaseisai was proceeding on, and heating up.
Whether it was in the scientific sense, or the magical sense.