Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume19 Prologue
Prologue: The Uninteresting Exchanges Between Evil-doers. Key_Shop.
District 15 was Academy City’s most prosperous area. In this District filled with TV stations and other media facilities, the land prices were the highest in all of Academy City.
Here was one building which was some sort of amalgamation between living apartments and company offices. This building was so extravagant one might as well buy a mansion along with the garden that comes with it and live there instead of here, it would be easier that way.
The #1 esper of Academy City, Accelerator, was currently at the top floor of this building.
Here was the place where a person called Depart lived, and it was also his working office. If one opened a restaurant here, disregarding how good the food was, just the view of the setting sun from the large windows would be enough to attract a fair amount of customers.
“You don’t have to envy me, after all this place is only somewhere to hide in, not somewhere I can live peacefully. This kind of house where I have to abandon it if someone comes to investigate, how could I possibly live here calmly?” The master of this place—a man who looked liked a university student, said that while shrugging, seated on a chair.
He didn’t look at all cautious about his surroundings.
It was the same even when face-to-face with a white-haired, red-eyed, esper holding a crutch with one arm but still giving off the feeling that ‘even if I’m disabled I can still beat you to a pulp’, Accelerator.
He was probably used to something like this.
All it took was some thought on what Depart dealt in, and it would become obvious that none of those that made business deals with him were small fries.
“I’m not interested in hearing what’s going on. All you need to do is like placing an order for food at a restaurant, and say just what it is you need.”
Facing the still wordless Accelerator, Depart showed no sign of tension.
“So what are you looking for? Vehicles for escaping? Keys to a safehouse? Or is it an ‘exchange’? For money laundering it is 1:0.8 right now, it was 1:0.75 a while back, so doing it now would be more valuable. Your appearance is too eye-catching, do you need me to introduce you somewhere with make-up or surgery to change your looks?”
As if promoting items on a menu, everything mentioned were necessities for running or lying low. Academy City was a city walled off from the rest of the world; it was exceedingly difficult to prevent being found with methods that relied on running away. So, things like preparing safehouses, or hiding your identity to smuggle onto supply trains to leave Academy City (of course, even the chances of success are still low).
Hearing that, Accelerator remained silent for a moment.
Then, he slowly looked around the spacious room.
“Safehouses… huh? Since this is one of those safehouses, does that mean this is a sample of what they are like?”
“Yep~ no matter what these are my main merchandises. I started my business dealing in safehouses. So, I have confidence in the quality of what I’m offering, and I still focus on this part of my business. From first rate mansions to caravans parked in the mountains of District 21, I have the keys to all of them. Do you want to have a look at the photos?”
The explanations came to a close, but Accelerator didn’t reply.
He only looked at the corner of the room. There the large windows that showed the outside view also reflected something that was obscured by the furniture. Something like a sandbag was hung up over there.
“Is ‘that’ also merchandise?”
“Hm? So you’re interested in that? Unfortunately, that’s not an option. That’s only my personal hobby.”
Depart turned to look, and when he saw that was hung up on chains his expression was a bit awkward. It was an expression like ‘when a friend found out you have an unexpected hobby’.
There was a girl around 15 years old.
She had only some underwear covering her pure white skin, and handcuffs chained her hands up as she hung there in mid-air.
She was not moving at all.
The girl had bruises all over her body and didn’t even have the strength to cover herself in shame. She could only hang there weakly, swaying slightly. The breathing sounds it showed she was at least still alive, though her eyes were lifeless.
Accelerator looked at the girl and then said,
“What a distasteful hobby. It’s pretty expensive right?”
“It’s so-so. Oi, wait. Don’t break it. Even if this place is a one-time hideout, it’s still a pain to clean up corpses. Even not taking into account disposing the corpse, she’s still really expensive! If you broke her you’d owe me at least 7 million.”
“And you still beat her up to this point. It doesn’t look like her purpose is for whoring.”
“That’s why I said this is only a personal hobby. She’s only here as a punching bag. She’s nowhere near the standard for something like that. Or are you into pettankos? That’s hard to believe.”(Note: Pettanko = Flat chest)
At this time, Accelerator took an envelope out from the bag in his hand that was not holding the crutch, and placed it lightly onto Depart's table. From the opened end of the envelope ten bundles of cash dropped out, each had 1 million tied up.
Seeing these, Depart could only give a wry smile.
“This is a prepayment. I’ve been given a boring job, and I’m fuming right now. I can’t guarantee that I won't slip up and end up killing someone.”
“Alright. I’ll say this first, the life is 7 million. Paying for disposing the corpse is not included.” Depart’s voice had a slight undertone of regret. He said it was something like a hobby to begin with, but he still gave it up like so. He was probably thinking all he had to do was buy a new one.
“I’m curious, why are you interested in that brat? Are you saying you are the kind of guy that can only be excited by something that’s abused thoroughly by another man?”
“Hmm? Oh I see, you misunderstood me.”
Facing Depart, Accelerator lightly denied his question.
“I’m not buying the girl that’s hanging there.”
Depart didn’t understand Accelerator’s reply for a moment.
Then he heard his nose being shattered.
“What, are, you doing—Aaaaaaaaaaargh?!”
A piercing pain accompanied the howl. Depart fell down from his chair and onto the ground. At the same time, a small bag landed next to him. Even though he knew intellectually that Accelerator had thrown that at his face, he couldn’t understand no matter what.
It was unimaginable that someone who relied on a crutch could throw something that hard with one hand. The pain was like being hit by one of those automatic ball pitching machines right on the face.
“Fu-Fuck…! What the fuck do you think you’re doing!”
Opening the drawers of the expensive looking office table, Depart pulled out a pistol. Though even with a gun pointed at him, Accelerator didn’t think much of the situation. His hand that had been holding a bag was now on the choker-style electrode around his neck, and his face had a sinister evil smile on it.
Then, he said while smiling:
“By your standards… a person is worth about 7 million right?”
No way?! Depart’s lips started to tremble.
As if to confirm his worst case assumption, Accelerator continued to say,
“Seriously, that bastard on the other side of the phone only gives me these kinds of boring jobs. I’m fuming right now, and I’ve paid already—there’s no problem in slaughtering you now, right?”
Being assaulted by an overwhelming fear that couldn’t be seen, Depart pulled the trigger while trembling.
The sound of flesh being torn apart and roars that was past the limits of what could be called a shriek exploded out simultaneously.
Five minutes later.
Accelerator kicked a piece of flesh with the tip of his shoes, and turned off his electrode with a bored expression. He was completely unhurt. As long as his ability was active, he could reflect any attack.
He held on to his crutch with one hand and pulled out a cell phone with another. He input a number and brought the phone to his ears.
“It’s finally over. This shitty job is too fucking boring. Huh? What is needed right now? That’s right, a recovery crew to tidy up this piece of trash that makes me sick just smelling what’s left of him. Also,”
At this point, Accelerator paused slightly.
He looked at the girl still hanging there, and turned on his electrode once more.
All he did was move his fingers slightly, and the chains binding the girl were cut off inexplicably.
“… Also, a set of woman’s clothing. The size? No idea, just bring a random set that’s wearable. There’s no use asking you classless grunts for specifics. And send only women as part of the recovery crew. If there’s a single male in the team I’ll kick his fucking balls apart.”
After ordering what he needed, he hung up the phone. Then he grabbed the bundles of cash on the table and threw it towards the girl that fell to the ground.
Accelerator turned off his electrode, and didn’t bother to turn and look at the girl. He moved towards the exit relying on his crutch, and said in an indifferent tone while doing so,
“Live freely from now on. For the rest of your life, whether it is a success or failure is up to your own efforts.”
The girl that showed no reaction up to this point finally moved her neck slowly towards Accelerator’s silhouette. Her lips were trembling and, as if talking to herself, she asked with effort,
Accelerator pushed the doors apart, and answered in a song-like voice.
“A villain that’s no better than a piece of shit.”
This was his, or rather their daily life.
Accelerator, Tsuchimikado Motoharu, Unabara Mitsuki, and Musujime Awaki.
These four people were called Group, and to this day they were dispelling the dark clouds of this city.