Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume19 Chapter4
Chapter 4: Two Monsters Inviting You to Hell. Dragon(≠Angel).
That was the name the being that seemed to be classified under the codename Dragon gave itself.
Facing Aiwass, Accelerator carefully observed the blonde being.
His thoughts did not lead him to an action he should take next.
Accelerator and the rest of Group had been acting on the basis of finding the identity of the top secret Dragon and using that information to negotiate on an even playing field with the higher ups of the city. However, they had been thinking of using the mere information. They had never thought Dragon itself would appear before them so easily.
It was possible Accelerator had believed somewhere in his heart that he would never find the identity of Dragon. That was why his thoughts ground to a halt when the being appeared before him so suddenly.
“You look surprised,” said the blonde being known as Aiwass without changing its expression.
Its golden hair seemed to be putting off a faint light.
“Is my appearance that baffling to you?”
Of course it was.
Why had the being that Academy City had been hiding at all costs appeared to him? Accelerator thought of a few possibilities and he chose the most logical one among them.
“…Do you work for Shiokishi? If you’re backup, you’re a little too late.”
“Do you really think that?”
Aiwass shook its head.
Despite having made a clear declaration of its intentions, Accelerator couldn’t grasp what the being was thinking.
Accelerator remained silent for a bit and then rejected the possibility he himself had spoken. It had seemed like Shiokishi had hated…no, feared Dragon. Even if that wasn’t it, it still hadn’t been the reaction one would have to one’s pawn.
But even so, why had Aiwass appeared before Accelerator at that time?
“I have recognized that you have a certain level of value and…I was curious,” said Aiwass.
The words were spoken with such a carefree sense that it seemed to deny everything Group, Shiokishi, and the others had done.
“I wanted you to meet me, so I appeared. Are you dissatisfied?”
Something wasn’t right.
But it didn’t seem the being was hiding anything.
It was like the being was saying that Accelerator had not been silently defeated along with Tsuchimikado and the others solely because the being had seen value and found interest in him.
(What do I do…?)
Accelerator slightly lowered his center of gravity.
Many beings had appeared threatening Accelerator’s life such as Kihara Amata of the Hound Dogs and Kakine Teitoku of School, but Aiwass was completely different. He didn’t even feel any ill will coming from the being.
Aiwass was an extremely important element to the higher ups of Academy City.
However, there was more than one way of using that fact. Defeating Aiwass would certainly bring major damage to the plan they were putting together, but there may have been a much more effective way of dealing with the situation.
It didn’t help that Accelerator didn’t know what kind of role Aiwass played.
He couldn’t come up with an effective way of using the being if he didn’t at least know that much.
Accelerator’s mental state was much like that of a chained up dog and Aiwass showed its first feeling towards him in a surprised looking face.
“This is a different result than I had predicted. I was sure the defeat of your companions would cause you to retaliate and be thrown to the ground before me within 3 seconds.”
“…Now that statement would be a perfect trigger,” responded Accelerator in a low voice.
Aiwass had indeed silently defeated Tsuchimikado Motoharu, Musujime Awaki, and Unabara Mitsuki.
However, that was not an impetus for Accelerator to take hostile action. As he had said many times, Accelerator saw Group as a nothing more than something to be used.
He would first try to drag out whatever information he could.
After that was when he would determine if he needed to take hostile action.
Having chosen what he would do, Accelerator looked back at Aiwass.
“What are you? Why are you hidden behind the codename Dragon?”
“Do I have to explain it from there?” the blonde being said in a tone that seemed to be saying it was surprised at how unintelligent Accelerator was. “My identity is nothing much. I am just a mere hboieEXISTENCEab, so-…”
Aiwass’s words blurred.
Accelerator frowned, but Aiwass itself seemed puzzled and brought its hand up to its throat to check on its voice.
“…Hmm. So I cannot even express that level of meaning in this world. There are not enough headers. This will make the explanation difficult. You do not mind if I do so in a rather roundabout way, do you?. It would be simple enough to express this directly, but then that wgbudDESTRUCTIONwsrui will occur.”
Aiwass did not seem to be joking.
The way its voice sounded was odd. When the being’s voice blurred like that, the source of the sound seemed to shift. That made it sound very odd. It was a bit like wearing stereo headphones with the right and left switched.
“Are you familiar with the term Fuse Kazakiri?”
Shiokishi had mentioned that name, but Accelerator had no idea to what it referred. However, when Aiwass saw his face, it sighed.
“It really is a pain to have to explain everything from the very beginning. Remember what I say and look into it on your own later. At any rate, that is a being that can be referred to as an artificial angel. Given her properties, that is not incorrect, but that does not actually reach what Fuse Kazakiri truly is. She is actually something like a production line used to form me, Aiwass.”
Accelerator had not understood most of what the being said, but the word angel stuck with him.
When Kihara Amata had injected Last Order with that virus, wings of light had appeared. Apparently, the true purpose of that had been part of a plan prepared for this Aiwass.
“Let us compare it to a crystal. And a familiar substance would be…water or salt. Yes, let us go with salt. Think of an AIM diffusion field as extremely concentrated salt water. However, that alone will not cause crystallization. To effectively proceed, it is better to add a foreign material to the salt water. That foreign material could be a single stick or it could be something like small dust. It could even be an nsrioANGELgau like Fuse Kazakiri. …Well, the crystallization is simple, but when you want it to be a particular shape and size, the qualities of the core must be carefully prepared.”
“…Are you saying you’re a being made based on this Fuse Kazakiri thing?”
“Technically, it is more accurate to say Fuse Kazakiri is a factory production line fine-tuned in order to create me. I will not deny that I was born following the pattern of Fuse Kazakiri. Although, born is not quite the right word. It would be more correct to say uyAPPEARidvif…damn, the language cannot keep up. Rather than ‘born’, let us say ‘appeared’. That is not technically correct, but I cannot express it any better than that.”
Aiwass moved its own index finger slowly down along its chest to its abdomen.
“Aleister seems to like roundabout methods, but I am not something that can be dealt with using clone technology.”
If that being was a mass of AIM diffusion fields, then it was not human.
Despite the discussion being so absurd, Accelerator did not laugh.
In fact, he would have found it incredibly odd if Aiwass were to claim to be human.
“What to do?” said Aiwass. “I appeared out of curiosity, but what do I do now? What do you want to do? Will you try to crush Aleister’s ambitions based on the information you receive from me?”
“…Are you serious?” Accelerator’s caution rose upon hearing those last words. “I don’t know what that board chairman is after, but you’re at the core of it. Crushing Aleister’s plan would be to return a being supported by artificially means such as yourself to nothingness.”
“True,” Aiwass nodded causing its blonde hair to sway. “What is your point?”
“Let us speak of history,” Aiwass said suddenly changing the topic. “The humans that live on the surface of this planet do quite a bit in the name of preserving their environment. They say that most of the plants and animals will go extinct if things do not change, so they diligently gather up empty cans and lower the amount of smoke they produce.”
“Well, some people are rather zealous about that kind of thing.”
“Are you humans taking these actions solely to get people to watch you?”
“What the hell is your point?”
“I am merely saying that history does not change in the slightest,” Aiwass responded smoothly. “This planet once had an ice age. The environment changed drastically and most plants and animals went extinct. …But did history itself come to an end? Whether the tiny beings clinging to the surface live or die, the flow of time continues on unchanged. Even if a worldwide nuclear war began right here and now and every life form on the surface of the earth were completely annihilated, it would have no effect on the thick pillar of history. In ten thousand years or in one hundred thousand years, something else would come forth in the place of the current life forms.”
“This is the same. I may not be a being that should be a part of this dimension’s history. It seems the man known as Aleister is persistent in his desire to use me, but it is no problem to me if his plan suffers a major setback. It may take ten thousand years or one hundred thousand years, but I will have another opportunity to asbuAPPEARoagbv…I mean, appear. Even that is of little value to me.”
Aiwass slowly spread its arms wide causing its long blonde hair to sway.
“Now then, what will you do? It could be amusing if you killed me here and gave quite a shock to Aleister. Of course, that is only if you possess the ability to do so.”
Accelerator couldn’t read the being.
Some kind of gear must have been missing because it felt like none of the usual offensive thought patterns appeared. That was what it felt like. It was not an issue of finding a basis. Accelerator did not think he would be able to find an opening if he just took a long time to calculate everything out. There was simply no point in fighting. The idea felt as foolish as running along the ground attempting to catch up to the sun sinking below the horizon.
As Accelerator made no movement, Aiwass spoke with its arms still spread wide.
“Oh? Is that really your choice? Let me tell you this first: Aleister may believe in his ability to a fault, but he is not a perfect human.”
“The plan he has put together has already begun to come apart at the seams in a few places.”
Despite describing a problem that its very existence depended on, Aiwass did not seem to especially care.
“With every irregular phenomenon Aleister himself brings about, he believes that he is recovering from it in a way that benefits his plan, but tiny cracks have started to spread bit by bit. At this rate, situations will develop from the plan he created that Aleister himself does not foresee. For instance…”
Accelerator had a very bad feeling about what was to come.
He had a feeling he was about to hear something he shouldn’t.
But Aiwass continued.
It continued as if toying with the minds of tiny and miserable people was its sole enjoyment in a boring world.
“For instance, Last Order, who is one of the cornerstones of the plan, will surely eventually ‘break down’ at the current rate. Although, she is just a clone, so that problem can be solved simply by creating another clone with the same functionality.”
Those words were enough.
Accelerator abandoned all cause for concern and determined to take action.
(Where am I?)
Hamazura Shiage was focusing on nothing but running down a dark, dark passageway.
(Where the hell am I!?)
He was alone. Up until then he had not left Takitsubo for even an instant, but she was gone now. The reason for that was simple. The two of them had been forcibly torn apart. The figure slowly approaching from behind him as if she were tormenting him simply possessed that much power. It wasn’t an issue of her physical strength or her special power. It was based in an overwhelming fear.
The voice was coming from the other side of the darkness.
Hamazura jumped to the side with everything he had not even bothering to turn around. He struck a metal handrail and flipped over it. By the time he realized the passageway was running through the air like a bridge, his body had already started to fall.
But that was still preferable to the alternative.
Immediately afterwards, a dreadful beam of light surged forth. It melted and blew away the metal passageway Hamazura had just been on creating an orange waterfall.
The #4 Level 5.
Just after those terms floated up from the back of Hamazura’s mind, his back struck the ground. He must have fallen about 3 meters. He was on yet another midair passageway. Below the metal mesh that made up the floor, was yet another manmade floor.
It was a rather large area.
It was more than 100 meters wide and its length had to have been in the kilometers. And further down below Hamazura’s feet a number of small fighter craft were lined up. A quick glance told him that there were more than 20 of them.
(So is this District 23, the district that specializes in aviation?)
The place did not look like a normal servicing area to him. It was probably a test area for new models. The freight train Hamazura and Takitsubo had hitched a ride on may have been supplying the area with materials.
Hamazura then heard footsteps.
They came from directly above him. That meant they were most likely coming from a passageway connected to the one Hamazura had just fallen from. He quickly hid himself by jumping behind a box-shaped object that seemed to be a crane cockpit.
“As usual, you’re quick only when it comes to running. But can you really afford to do that? You’ve left your precious Takitsubo-chan behind!”
Hamazura gritted his teeth.
As he was behind cover, he couldn’t see, but he could tell. Mugino Shizuri was likely dragging along Takitsubo’s limp form with one arm. The reason she hadn’t killed her was simple: she wanted to torment Hamazura as much as possible.
He truly wanted to jump out right then and there.
However, that was not a monster he could defeat in a frontal attack. He would merely be turned to ash in an instant. That would mean there would be no one left to save Takitsubo. Once the “tormenting Hamazura” reason was gone, Mugino would just kill Takitsubo.
(…Fuck. Fuck! Fuck!! Why? Why!? Why did she have to appear now of all times!?)
He pulled out his handgun with a trembling hand and pulled out the magazine to check how many bullets he had left. As he did, Mugino’s voice resounded throughout the fighter testing area like the voice of a mocking demon.
“Are you this panicked because you can’t understand how I was revived? Cyborg, cloning, or nanodevices☆!? If you get it right, I’ll give you a bonus, but I doubt you can figure it out. You do have the face of an idiot after all.”
She continued to shoot beams of light down.
She was clearly not aiming for Hamazura, but the vibrations caused still wrapped his entire body in fear.
“Well, it seems they used a ‘dark legacy’ left behind by an eccentric doctor known as Heaven Canceller. By using an oil-based melted framework to adjust the regeneration pace of the flesh, it brings about high-speed cell division. I doubt that doctor himself knows it is being used for this, though. But none of that really matters. Right now I just want to enjoy watching you cry.”
Hamazura stuck his face around the edge of the box just a bit to check on the situation.
“Haaamazuraaa. You can play hide and seek if you like, but you might want to show yourself soon. If you don’t, I may decide to go after your cute Takitsubo-chan first.”
“Aghh!!” came a groan.
Mugino had grabbed Takitsubo’s hair and held her up as if to use her as a shield.
Mugino brought her other arm, the large arm of light created by a loop of Meltdowner, to a position that was almost touching Takitsubo’s skin.
“Gya ha ha!! Oh, now where to start burning her? Maybe I should roast that little face of hers. Or maybe I should press against her pink ***** and burn it pitch black!! Hey, what do you think, Hamazura? You’d better come out, cause I’m gonna burn her into a black mummy! Or can you still get off to fucking a hole like that!?”
“I’ll count to three. If you don’t come out, I’ll burn Takitsubo’s ***** as punishment. Of course, if you’d rather just abandon her, then you can just sit there masturbating to the stench of her virginity being burned away.”
Mugino did not give a nice slow count as was usual.
Due to Mugino’s ridiculously fast count, Hamazura had to jump out from behind the crane cockpit box. He immediately aimed his handgun at Mugino, but she was much faster. And on top of that, Mugino had Takitsubo as a shield.
“Good boy, Hamazura.”
An explosive noise cut off all other noise.
She had merely made a motion similar to flicking a small piece of filth with her finger, but it produced a strike that was even more dreadful than a shell from a battleship. It flew by right next to Hamazura and struck a drum. The fuel within the drum ignited and the blast sent him 5 meters through the air.
If she had wanted to, she surely would have been able to kill him instantly.
The only reason she hadn’t was because she wanted to torment him more before killing him.
Rolling over so he was face up was all he could do. As he did he was reminded again that his title of “the Level 0 that once defeated Mugino Shizuri” was a bunch of crap. He had been saved due to a clear coincidence or a miracle back then. She was not a low level monster that he could defeat again and again. The factor that was Hamazura Shiage was not a trump card against her. He could not win.
He heard her calling his name.
He attempted to stand up, but she made her next move before he could.
However, she did not provide the finishing blow against him while he could barely move. From the beginning, she had been trying to extend the time he would spend in hell as she thoroughly tormented him.
Mugino Shizuri turned her aim towards Takitsubo Rikou.
“What? Are you trying to turn yourself into some kind of tragic heroine? You aren’t just some princess. You have the power to fight.”
An odd noise as if from a spasm came from Takitsubo’s throat.
Mugino casually tossed Takitsubo’s limp body aside and stuck her remaining flesh-and-blood hand into her pocket. She pulled out an object about the size of a case of mechanical pencil lead.
It was a Body Crystal case.
“If you use AIM Stalker at its fullest, you may be able to reverse the flow from my AIM diffusion field and take over my power, isn’t that right?”
She tossed the Body Crystal case over with her fingertips. The small case clattered across the ground and stopped right next to Takitsubo. That was the final piece Takitsubo needed to turn the situation around. However, she would certainly “break down” if she were to use it. Her body was already so limp due to the side effects of Body Crystal. She had no more leeway. If she used Body Crystal even once more, it would all be over.
“If you want to run away, you can just do so.”
Mugino Shizuri’s words were a major shock to Takitsubo’s weak heart.
No, they weren’t just a shock. They were so forceful they almost broke her heart.
“But then Hamazura would be burned to a crisp because you abandoned him. Gya ha ha ha!! I really don’t care what you choose! Either way, I get to see something most enjoyable!!”
Takitsubo Rikou stretched out her arm.
She stretched out her arm knowing full well that she was bringing destruction to her body.
She had a single reason.
She was doing it to save Hamazura Shiage who had been knocked down and would likely soon be killed.
With what sounded like a moan from a beast, Takitsubo grabbed the Body Crystal case. As if she were stabbing herself in the chest with a knife, she opened the lid all at once to make sure she did not hesitate partway through. Seeing that, Mugino laughed uproariously. She couldn’t help but enjoy seeing the desire to save someone precious bringing on the worst possible conclusion.
Takitsubo clenched her eyes shut and opened her mouth.
She moved her trembling hands and started to throw the contents of the case inside her mouth.
“Muginoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!” Hamazura Shiage screamed.
Immediately afterwards, the sound of a large motor running reverberated throughout the area. Mugino realized it was the sound of one of the crane arms that were used to service the fighters, so she moved back a bit. A swinging wire and the hook on the end of the arm used for hanging heavy things on swung down like a morning star. Mugino had evaded it, but it struck Takitsubo’s side just as she was about to use the Body Crystal.
An unpleasant cracking noise rang out.
The Body Crystal case was knocked far away and Takitsubo’s body went over the handrail and disappeared down onto the lower level.
“Ha ha ha,” Mugino laughed.
That hadn’t been the result she had expected, but occasionally coincidences brought even more enjoyment.
“Gya ha ha ha ha ha!! What the hell was that, Hamazura!? Who are you trying to protect here!? What are you doing finishing her off on your own!?”
But then Mugino felt a chill even as she was laughing.
Hamazura did not react when struck by her scorn. He showed no sign of disgrace or regret. And then Mugino realized what had happened too late. Hamazura had been aiming for Takitsubo from the beginning. He had prevented her from using the Body Crystal and had gotten her away from Mugino. Even if he had injured the person he was supposed to be protecting, he had done it to prevent her from receiving a decidedly fatal blow.
Mugino thought back.
The object being held by the crane’s hook had been a powered suit worn by workers who were dealing with dangerous objects like bombs for the planes. He had been handing it to the delicate Takitsubo to lower the odds of her dying even if by only a little bit.
Why had he gone that far?
The answer was clear.
“It looks like killing you once wasn’t enough.”
The Level 0 who had once destroyed the #4 Level 5 truly stood up once more.
And just as before, he did it to protect the girl known as Takitsubo Rikou.
Accelerator hit the switch on his choker-style electrode.
Now the #1 Level 5 could use his vector transformation ability at any time. He could reflect every sort of power and create tremendous amounts of destructive force from that little power. With that, there was no enemy he could not defeat.
Aiwass’s face had been expressionless with a slight bit of ridicule mixed in.
The being had said that Last Order would “break down” in the near future if Aleister’s plan continued as it was.
And the being had implicitly said something else: Try and kill me if you can. With your level of power, you cannot even temporarily cause my existence to disappear.
Accelerator controlled the vectors for the strength of his legs and shot forward explosively.
(Whether you’re a collection of AIM diffusion fields or an angel or whatever, I won’t hold back if you’re going to harm that kid. I’ll take you up on your offer and have you disappear!!)
Aiwass did not even attempt to evade. It stared at Accelerator with its arms still spread out. Accelerator charged in and stuck out a hand with its fingers spread out. He just had to alter the vectors to destroy Aiwass from the inside.
But an unexplained shock struck Accelerator on his upper body in a diagonal line.
It was a decisive strike with something like a heavy blade. Immediately after Accelerator was aware of that, he hit the floor and rolled a few times backwards. An unbelievable amount of blood gushed out. It wasn’t just coming from the wound on his upper body. Blood was flowing from his mouth and nose as well. It may sound like a joke, but it seriously seemed like a mystery that his organs didn’t come spilling out of that large wound.
He didn’t know what had happened. People like Kihara Amata and Kakine Teitoku had pierced his wall of reflection in the past, but Aiwass was different. That strike had not been based on some theory that allowed it to slip past the reflection. Even after receiving that decisive blow, he was still unable to analyze what had happened to his own body.
“Oh, whoops. That was my mistake,” said Aiwass sounding completely calm.
Something grew from its back pushing its long blonde hair aside. They were wings. The wings were emitting a too brilliant brilliance that gave the feeling that it was worse for the human body than a nuclear explosion. That must have been what had sliced Accelerator.
The wings were very odd.
They were not simply gold colored. They were a palely glowing platinum that had a white core. …That wasn’t quite accurate, but it was how Accelerator expressed it in his brain. The wings gave him a very strong out-of-place feeling because he could not comprehend what he was seeing.
“Dammit, Aleister. You added something into the snCONSTRUCTIONbozl virus. So you embedded an auto defense bseouABILITYgbu into my beuoAPPEARENCEdnm via Last Order. Sorry about that. It seems a suicide prevention device has been nbspgADDEDnpisr in. These nspidhWINGSgprws move on their own, so you’ll have to do something about them if you want to sbgpKILLnapedv me.”
Aiwass’s words became more and more distorted.
However, Accelerator was not really listening. His eyes changed to a red even more sinister than the blood spewing from his body. As he lay on the ground, his outstretched hand shattered the floorboards.
Accelerator's back split open and jet black wings burst forth. Those wings of darkness stood in stark contrast to Aiwass’s pale platinum-like wings. That demon whose upper body was dyed red with blood and whose lips and teeth had even been turned crimson slowly rose up smoothly as if ignoring gravity altogether.
“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law, hm?”
However, Aiwass shook its head while looking at those black wings.
Accelerator had no way of knowing, but what Aiwass had just said referred to the central pillar of a certain magician and had been recorded in the Book of the Law.
“Unfortunately, that is from the wrong rggrAEONipiregj. Your rsgPOWERnophe is from Osiris’s time. With that, you cannot truly hosefOPPOSEqierd one from Horus such as myself.”
A tremendous roar rang out.
It was a shockwave created by the clash between black and pale platinum wings.
The shockwave became a storm.
An explosive wind was created with Accelerator and Aiwass at the center. However, the fight was not even. In the first strike, Accelerator’s black wings were torn off at the base and the second strike completely sliced them to pieces. A sound that was more of a roar than it was a yell reverberated throughout the area. Aiwass swung its pale platinum wings again. Red blood flew into the air and was blown away by the explosive wind.
There was simply too great a gap between them.
Accelerator’s black wings were quite destructive, but it was a bit like he was simply swinging around a heavy wooden club. On the other hand, Aiwass’s wings were more like a sharp and famous sword that was being wielded with incredible skill.
The sound of something falling to the ground could be heard.
No, it was the sound of someone collapsing.
“So this is all?” Aiwass said looking down at Accelerator who was lying in the middle of a pool of blood.
A normal person would certainly have died, but Accelerator was still breathing. He was subconsciously using his vector transformation ability to circulate his blood between the broken blood vessels. Due to this, streams of red liquid were flowing around him like a drink spilled in outer space.
But that was it.
He was just barely managing to hold onto his life. He could do nothing more to revive himself.
“I tried to bring you to attack me by bringing up Last Order, but I was able to do so much easier than I had expected. With this level of maturity, you cannot even deal with Fuse Kazakiri. Dammit Aleister, are you rushing things this time, too? …The matter of Kakine Teitoku bothers me as well.”
Having said that, Aiwass turned its back on Accelerator. The being used its legs to walk from the area. That mundane method seemed much odder than if it had suddenly disappeared or flown away.
And then what felt to Aiwass like a tiny crack appeared in the center of its body.
An error had occurred in the aggregation of AIM diffusion fields that controlled Aiwass’s existence. Thinking about what could have caused it, Aiwass turned around. Aiwass began to disintegrate starting with the ends of its golden hair, but its expression did not change.
“You said…” came a cracking voice.
It was Accelerator’s voice, but it was no longer in the indecipherable language that Aiwass had also been using. He was now speaking in proper human words.
“…You said that…you appeared by using…the AIM diffusion fields…throughout Academy City… And that kid was…given a virus to create…something called Fuse…Kazakiri…in order to control…your appearance…”
“So you have thought about it.”
Aiwass smiled. As it did, its fingertips started to lose form.
Its eyes looked down at Accelerator’s cane.
“So you took the jamming device used to cut off the signal for the remote control for your choker and set it to the entire Misaka Network. That network guides the mass of all of Academy City’s AIM diffusion fields. It is true that blocking the Misaka Network from this area will locally remove the crystal’s core and return it to the original salt water.”
As the being spoke, Accelerator’s legs started trembling.
It wasn’t due to anything Aiwass had done.
“But do you understand what that means? That is the same as severing the sole lifeline that is keeping you alive.”
The sound of dripping blood continued.
Accelerator was just barely preventing himself from bleeding to death by using his power to keep the blood flowing between blood vessels. If he sealed his vector transformation ability, only one path would remain for him.
“…Shut the…fuck up…” Accelerator said with trembling lips.
The jamming was set to grow stronger with time. Before long he would be unable to talk or walk on his own. Knowing he had to end this before that happened, Accelerator gathered up all his remaining strength and pulled out his handgun.
He pulled out a human weapon instead of some unknown power of an angel or a demon.
He had walked along a blood-stained path to save the girl known as Last Order. To do so, he had determined to even make an enemy of Last Order and to become a king of pure evil.
That villain was not the type of person to bow down and beg for his life at a time like that.
That type of cowardly action was not part of the villainy Accelerator was presenting to the world.
That was why he did not hesitate in his decision.
Even if it meant he would collapse while spewing blood and have his organs spill from his wound, pulling the trigger to save Last Order was his form of evil.
“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” Aiwass muttered as if it were singing.
Its arms had already disintegrated up to the elbows and the pale platinum wings with a white core were not moving as if their gears had been removed. The being’s body had turned almost transparent and something like a triangular prism could be seen hidden in the center of its head. The object’s surface was continually moving around making a clicking noise like a keyboard.
Realizing that Accelerator’s gun was aimed squarely at it, Aiwass spread out its half-gone arms and smiled as if to welcome the bullet.
“I see. Then show me what your Law is.”
A gunshot rang out.
It was followed by a sound like a crystal being shattered and the dull sound of a human body collapsing.
Mugino Shizuri jumped down to the lower level from the melted passageway.
The sound of her landing on the wire mesh floor of the passageway resounded throughout the fighter testing facility. Hamazura Shiage stood on the same level. He was leaning his injured body up against the outside of a crane cockpit box while staring at Mugino’s one-eyed face.
“Killing me once wasn’t enough?” Mugino repeated Hamazura’s words in enjoyment as the arm of light created by looping a large number of electron beams crackled. “That’s not enough. That’s not nearly enough. If you want to deal with me, you need to use your brain cells a bit more before complaining!!”
Her arm of light explosively expanded.
But Hamazura was already moving.
If Hamazura had raised up his handgun that he was holding loosely at his side, aimed it at her, and fired, Mugino would have had enough time to blow his body apart.
So Hamazura did not do that.
He pulled the trigger with his arm still hanging down at his side. Of course, this caused the bullet to fly in a completely different direction. It accurately hit a nearby fire extinguisher.
The gas sent white powder all over the area.
(…Is he trying to hide?)
“Don’t take me lightly, Hamazuraaa!!”
Similarly to an audience responding to a cheap performance, Mugino fired beams of Meltdowner. By firing a few of the brilliant white beams in a row, the silhouette visible through the powder from the fire extinguisher was blown through in some vital areas and then blown away.
“Tch. I wanted to slowly crush him. Did I just take him out in an instant?” Mugino muttered, but that wasn’t what had happened.
What she had blown away was a pile of cardboard boxes that had been next to him. While Mugino had been distracted by that dummy, Hamazura had jumped down from the wire mesh passageway and fled to the bottommost level.
“Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha. Fleeing using a smokescreen and a dummy? …What are you, a ninja!?”
She fired more beams down towards the lower level out of annoyance and confusion before jumping down herself.
A number of fighter jets were lined up in the vast space. They were prototype models, but they had been fully painted and otherwise perfectly finished. They may have been scheduled to undergo an equipment load endurance test because a good number of missiles and bombs were installed below the wings.
Mugino looked around with her remaining eye.
Hamazura Shiage was most likely watching her from somewhere waiting for an opportunity. Even he would know that running away any more would just get him shot in the back.
For an instant, she glanced over towards one of the fighters, but she decided that it wasn’t likely he would counterattack with one of them. She would have some problems dealing with the 20-30 mm Gatling gun or the various types of missiles, but she seriously doubted that would happen.
She couldn’t see a thug like Hamazura Shiage knowing how to use something as specialized as a fighter jet. And even if he could operate one, they were in a storage area. The fighters were standing still so Mugino would be able to evaporate them in a single strike.
Mugino grinned as she slowly walked along the kilometers long passageway.
(This is it. This is it! If that small fry stands up to me, I can just kill him in a single strike. He needs to play his part too, so I can slowly torment him.)
“Where arrrre you, Haaamazuraaa?” Mugino sang to an arbitrary rhythm as she swayed her arm of light back and forth.
“Here,” came the unexpected response.
The response had come from quite close nearby. Mugino had been hit by a counterattack with a handgun the previous time, so she quickly and forcefully twisted her body around and fired Meltdowner without checking on her target. A brilliant beam of light shot out and the fighter jet in its path melted orange.
But just before it did, Mugino saw what was there.
A service tractor and a long narrow bomb packed in what looked like a large pipe were in the place she had fired on. On top of those was a wireless headset that was set at its highest volume so the sound would escape into the surrounding area and a fiberscope with a wireless LAN that would be used for aircraft maintenance.
She didn’t have time to think about it.
Before she could think a single thought, the 200 kg bomb that she herself had struck with intense heat split open and created a large explosion that enveloped the other bombs, the missiles, and the airplane fuel.
Hamazura was hiding at a distance, but he did not escape unharmed.
He had found an electric tractor-like vehicle used for moving the fighters and had been silently travelling at high speed away. He had hidden behind cover about 500 meters from the explosion. His cover was a small truck filled with paint tools used to change the color of the fighters. He had used a maintenance radio to send out his voice and was subsequently sent rolling along the ground as the blast struck him.
He felt like his eardrums were about to burst. An odd pressure came from within that felt like it was going to pop out his eyeballs. But he was more worried about where Takitsubo was. He had at least left the dummy radio in a place away from where he had dropped her and he had handed her the powered suit with the crane. Quick actions were too much for the suit’s normal mode and its high mobility mode could only be activated with a special electronic key, so the suit couldn’t be used to fight, but it should have helped her endure the explosive blast. Even so, he hoped that she had been outside the range of the explosion.
In any case, Mugino Shizuri should have been caught up in the blast.
Fortunately for Hamazura, she still looked down on all of her enemies. In this case, that wasn’t an inaccurate way of viewing her enemy, but it had created unnecessary openings in her defenses and had caused her to let her guard down a bit.
(That 200 kg bomb was created to destroy thick concrete bunkers. That isn’t something to be used on a flesh-and-blood human. I’m sure that was enough even for Mugino. I need to find Takitsubo and get the hell out of here.)
Hamazura tossed aside the radio and the small monitor for the fiberscope and ran back the way he had come.
A hot wind blew about.
The floor had collapsed in the area of the explosion and the destruction had even reached the underground space below. The connecting passageways above had been twisted and knocked down. Hamazura ran amongst it all and searched through that area where a secondary or tertiary explosion could occur at any time all the while calling Takitsubo's name.
Then he heard something moving.
Hamazura turned around.
Heat suddenly fled his entire body. It was already too late. That arm of light was stretching out from the black smoke. Hamazura twisted his body, but an unpleasant sound and smell came from his ear. It sounded like oil being poured onto a heated frying pan.
Mugino appeared cutting through the fog and looking down on Hamazura as he writhed around on the ground.
“Did you reallllly think this kind of mass produced weaponry could take out the #4, Hamazuraaa?”
“Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck!!”
Hamazura desperately tried to suppress the intense pain eating into his ear, gripped his handgun with both hands, and fired.
But Mugino suddenly disappeared.
She had fired Meltdowner like a rocket engine. She must have escaped the 200 kg bomb the same way. With the sound of a blunt weapon being swung, Mugino moved outside of his vision.
“Do you really think that kind of obvious counterattack will work on me!?”
The tip of her shoe stabbed into Hamazura’s back as he lay on the ground knocking him a few meters through the air. He couldn’t even cry out anymore. He had stopped breathing and he fell back to the floor…no, he fell through the crack in the floor opened up by the explosion.
A number of shocks ran through his body.
He was assaulted by such intense pain that he seriously thought a part of his backbone had been dislocated, but he didn’t have time to cry out at every little thing. With the cold killer intent coming from above, Hamazura used all his strength to roll along the floor. Immediately afterwards, Mugino’s beams came down one after another.
“Run! Run!! Flee from your predator, little piggy!! Let me enjoy this as long as possible!!”
A fragment of the floor stabbed into his body. He didn’t know whether he had rolled on top of it or if it had been blown into him. Even so, he twisted his body and leapt for cover. She must have been pissed at having lost sight of her target because Mugino jumped down into the underground area shortly thereafter.
(…Where is this? Where’s the exit?)
Hiding behind cover, Hamazura looked around.
It was an odd area. The room was a 100 meters square, but protuberances were sticking out from one wall uniformly. And opposite the protuberances, what looked like air conditioner vents covered the wall. One wall was covered in reinforced glass and what looked like a control room could be seen through it.
They were in a fighter testing facility.
(Is this an air friction endurance testing area?)
Hamazura was leaning up against a capsule-shaped model. It was a full size model of a fighter cockpit. It may have been a model, but it had proper reinforced glass covering it and it was made of the same composite material as a real fighter.
It seemed to have been fixed in midair on something like a stepladder, but it had been knocked over by the explosive blast. The reinforced glass covering the cockpit was sitting half open.
Hamazura Shiage’s shoulders gave a large jump at hearing his name called. He hurriedly searched for the exit and found it. However, it was a bit of a distance away. He would probably be shot 500 times before he reached the door if he ran out from behind the model cockpit.
He couldn’t use the exit.
He had to settle things there.
However, he doubted he could kill Mugino using only his handgun. She was the girl who had used her powers like a rocket engine to escape the detonation of a 200 kg bomb. A normal human could not hit her with a 9 mm bullet.
If he didn’t use some more powerful and overwhelming ranged attack that she could not escape, he could not defeat Mugino Shizuri. But Hamazura was a Level 0, not a powerful esper. He did not have something like that.
“God, this is really fucking ridiculous. It may be rather troublesome for you, but it’s even more so for me,” the Level 5 said as her footsteps approached. If she circled around, it was all over. “But at least I have it better than Kakine Teitoku. It seems that #2 was collected in an even worse state than me. His brain was split into three pieces and each one was stuck in a container full of some sticky liquid and a machine even larger than a refrigerator was installed on his side to preserve only his crushed organs. It seems he’s really nothing more than an object used to produce his Level 5 power.”
Hamazura frantically looked around the area.
“It looks like the board chairman wants to reuse us pretty badly, but I wonder why. Well, the one thing I know for sure is that you’re going to die here.”
He was searching for a hint of how to turn the battle around. And then he found a single ray of hope.
He suddenly realized that Mugino’s tone had changed. Hamazura thought for a second and then shook his head. He didn’t want to think about that. If he did, he wouldn’t be able to do what he had to do. He would hesitate in a situation where being even an instant too slow would be fatal.
But Mugino Shizuri continued speaking.
“…Why did I turn into such a horrible monster?”
Hamazura just barely managed to keep that curse silent.
That was what he had not wanted to think about. While Mugino Shizuri was a monster, she was also a girl. He didn’t know what she specifically was referring to with “such a”. It could have been her being kept alive by strange technology, it could have been her beginning to work in the underground organization of Item, and it even could have been her becoming a Level 5. At any rate, Hamazura Shiage did not have an answer to her question. All the question gave him was anguish.
Hamazura played with the small hint within his grasp and thought over it again.
Was it okay to kill her?
Could he just slay her as if she were a mere monster and then have a happy ending full of smiles?
“Is that what you wanted me to say, Haaamazuraaa?”
A grand noise rang out.
Mugino had circled around the model cockpit in an instant and kicked Hamazura squarely in the gut. That one attack was not the end of it. 7 or 8 of those sharp and heavy strikes sent deep pain to even Hamazura’s internal organs.
“Gya ha ha!! What are you twitching like that for!? Eh? Is that mouth of yours only there to cough up blood? At least use it to let me hear even rarer and more enjoyable screams!!”
(…Dammit. What’s happened to my organs?)
The inside of his body was shaking unnaturally. His organs were acting oddly. They felt like a living thing wriggling around inside a leather bag. That was the first time Hamazura had ever known a human body to work like that.
(They’re still in their proper places, right? …They haven’t gotten all shuffled around, have they?)
“C’mon, enough with the silence. Maybe your senses’ll come back with a bit of kindness.”
Her toes struck his gut even harder than before.
Like he was being thrown into a trashcan, his body flew into the half-open cockpit. He heard a crackling noise. Mugino’s arm of light expanded to a size bigger than he had seen it before.
“I think I’ll mix you in with the melted iron so I’ll have an interesting piece of art once it cools.”
He had no time to think.
Hamazura pulled the trigger of his handgun. However, he did not hit Mugino. The bullets travelled on and shattered the reinforced glass on the wall. Mugino’s smile turned even more villainous, but Hamazura’s expression did not change. He had hit what he had been aiming for. He knew he would never hit her. The stream of bullets caused the heavy glass to shatter and pour into the control room. The glass rained down on the control panel. It hit buttons at random and sent instructions to the large installation.
A low roar began.
Mugino looked around questioningly and noticed the air conditioner vent like objects on the wall moving. Meanwhile, Hamazura slipped even deeper into the cockpit. It was only a model, so it had no real controls, but it did have one button. He pressed it and the half-open glass fully shut sealing the cockpit.
Mugino Shizuri realized something and finally turned back towards Hamazura.
She moved her lips, but Hamazura could not hear her through the reinforced glass.
But Mugino’s eyes were wavering like those of a girl on the verge of tears.
Immediately afterwards, the area outside the cockpit became filled with an explosive orange wind.
The room they were inside was an air friction endurance testing area. When fighters travelled above the speed of sound, they received a huge amount of air friction. The surface temperature would reach a few hundred degrees. That facility was used to see if the craft could endure that friction. As they could not create air moving at the speed of sound, the room artificially created a special type of strong wind by using a large amount of iron sand to increase the friction like a file.
Hamazura was protected by the cockpit model.
Mugino did not have that protection.
A tremendous noise split the air as the 100 meter square room was filled with explosive wind that created friction of a few hundred degrees. Mugino could move at high speed like a rocket engine, but she couldn’t escape when the entire area was filled up like that. She was knocked back as if she had been hit by a giant fly swatter and she struck the other wall.
After that, Hamazura was unable to see what happened to her.
Everything outside of the transparent reinforced glass was dyed orange and he couldn’t see anything. It was like looking outside the window on a space shuttle heading through the atmosphere.
Hamazura covered his face with his hands.
His victory did not bring him any joy.
He squeezed his eyes shut and prayed that that hell would disappear as quickly as possible. Had that really been his only option? He kept asking himself the same question.
Finally, the phenomenon came to an end.
Hamazura remained motionless for a bit, but he finally slowly rose up from the cockpit seat. He hit the button to open the reinforced glass and rolled out. The hot air struck his skin. It was like the inside of a heated oven.
What had happened to Mugino Shizuri?
He had no time to check.
“Hamazura. Hamazura!!” came a familiar girl’s voice.
Hamazura looked up and saw Takitsubo through the crack in the ceiling created by the 200 kg bomb. Hamazura waved up at her to say he was fine.
He had chosen Takitsubo Rikou and had cast Mugino Shizuri aside.
Hamazura thought about that once more and then moved forward on his own legs once more.
That was when his cell phone rang. He answered it and heard Kinuhata Saiai’s voice.
“Hamazura!! Listen, you need to super get away from there as quickly as possible!!”
“They’ve super figured out that you’re in the fighter testing facility in District 23! An Academy City unit is super headed there to capture you. If you’re captured by them, I super can’t guarantee you’ll survive!! Take Takitsubo-san and get away from there super fast!!”
He could understand if they were sending a unit after Takitsubo or Kinuhata, but why were they going so far for a mere delinquent like him? He had been frightened out of his mind by Mugino’s appearance, but what had been with that unit that had been chasing him before?
At any rate, he had no time to think through it all then.
Hamazura ran over to the exit of the endurance testing area, ran up the stairs, and met up with Takitsubo.
“You said run away, but where to!? Even if it’s huge, Academy City is still a restricted area surrounded by a wall. If they just keep sending pursuers after us, we’ll be caught eventually!!”
“Don’t you have some kind of Skill-Out hideout or something!?”
“That would work if I was trying to hide from an enemy delinquent group, but I can’t hide anywhere that will permanently keep special forces from finding us!!”
He ran through a hangar like space while pulling on Takitsubo’s arm as he yelled into his phone. All the while, their pursuers were likely closing in on them. They would be killed at that rate.
And then Hamazura stopped running.
There was only one route through which they could definitely escape the Academy City pursuers.
“Hey, Kinuhata. The Academy City supersonic passenger planes have autopilot, right?”
“Hamazura, you don’t mean…”
“I know it won’t work for takeoff and landing, but we just have to get it flying in the first place! Hey, is there a manual or something!? We just have to get it in the air. We won’t think about the landing. We can just jump out with parachutes partway through and let it crash!!”
As he spoke, Hamazura looked straight forward.
A giant plane almost 80 meters long was stopped there along with the fighters. It was a supersonic passenger plane that could fly at over 7000 kph. To escape the Academy City special forces, they had to flee outside the city.
The plane required a special ramp vehicle to get aboard.
However, a connecting passageway had fallen down diagonally due to the 200 kg bomb. Hamazura and Takitsubo used it to get up right next to the plane’s side. Luckily, it wasn’t locked. They opened the hatch and climbed aboard.
“Hamazura, can you hear me? That underground hangar is made so planes can take off from it in case the fighters need to be super scrambled. Basically, it uses a super upwards sloping electromagnetic catapult.”
“What do we do? How do we escape into the sky!?”
“The catapult’s firing controls are super linked to the cockpit. If you activate the piloting computer, it seems you should be able to take off just by super touching the screen with your finger.”
He ran to the front of the plane where the cockpit was, opened the door, and entered the area with the stick and over 100 buttons. He started feeling dizzy, but he just pressed the buttons Kinuhata told him to as she seemed to be looking at the manual.
A number of screens lit up and a low roar started coming from the four giant engines. A diagram of the catapult was displayed on one of the monitors. He followed Kinuhata’s instructions and moved his finger across the monitor and a few points turned from red to green.
The door to the underground hangar started to open and a group of men dressed in black appeared. When they saw that the supersonic passenger jet was about to takeoff, they immediately took action. They did not waste their ammunition. They brought a tractor around and stopped it in a place that would seal the catapult.
“Fuck!?” Hamazura yelled out, but he couldn’t cancel the order to the catapult.
With a tremendous noise, the plane moved forward at high speed following the catapult’s rails. Hamazura saw the man who had been driving the tractor hurriedly jump out as the supersonic passenger plane headed straight for it.
Just when Hamazura thought the plane was going to hit it, something he didn’t expect happened.
A huge beam of light shot across and blew the tractor to the side. Before Hamazura could think about what that beam of light had been, the electromagnetic catapult shot the plane into the sloped tunnel leading to the surface. The passenger plane Hamazura and Takitsubo were aboard shot into the night sky as if it had been a paper airplane thrown by a giant hand.
Hamazura made sure not to touch the controls.
The autopilot program slowly leveled out the aircraft. As long as they didn’t run into any turbulence, they should be fine.
That beam of light had most likely been her. He didn’t know what she had fired that beam for, but he had a feeling he would meet her again somewhere.
“Hamazura…” Takitsubo muttered from his side.
Hamazura naturally embraced the girl around the shoulders. As if that action had cut the string of their tension, they both sat down on the cockpit floor.
The battle was over.
That one girl was in his arms.
Accelerator lay on the bloody floor. He had lost a terrible amount of blood, but he oddly felt no pain. He couldn’t move his arms or legs properly. However, he felt no fear. It was possible he didn’t even have enough strength to spare for that.
He had bet his life on that strike. That final bullet had accurately pierced straight through the triangular prism-like object he had seen within Aiwass’s semi-transparent head. That had been followed by the sound of a shattering crystal. He didn’t really know what that had been, but he assumed it was Aiwass’s weak point.
“I guess that was so-so.”
This time…This time true despair struck Accelerator. At some point, Aiwass had appeared standing before him. He didn’t know when exactly the being had appeared. He didn’t know how it had recovered, if he had even damaged it, or what that triangular prism was. The battle had gone on that long, but he still didn’t have a single piece of solid information.
“If I were on the same level as Fuse Kazakiri, that would probably have taken me out. Even if it hadn’t exactly killed me, it would have been a few years before I could have come out again. Aleister’s plan would have needed major revisions and you may have been able to rescue Last Order in that time.”
Aiwass was speaking in a carefree manner as if it did not particularly care if it lived on or died.
“However, it seems Aleister was a little more careful than I had thought in building up my security. He may worry too much. At any rate, my defenses seem to have been made much more solid than I had thought.”
“…God damn it…”
Accelerator desperately tried to stand up.
However, he had lost too much blood. He couldn’t move his arms and legs properly. As he struggled, Aiwass continued.
“It may not be particularly fair to you since you fought with everything you had, but…”
Aiwass smiled thinly.
A shining angel’s halo appeared above its head.
The halo was a palely shining platinum with a white core hidden within.
The blonde monster that appeared before people based on its curiosity that was based on subjective value then spoke its final words.
“It seems I can transform.”
An explosive noise rang out.
Accelerator’s consciousness was mercilessly blown away.
The final hope to protect a certain girl had fallen.