Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume21 Chapter7

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Chapter 7: An Angel Massacring from the Heavens. MISHA_the_Angel_“GABRIEL”.[edit]


Part 1[edit]


A giant vibration shook the field hospital within the Elizalina Alliance of Independent Nations.

At that time, Hamazura Shiage was watching Elizalina treating Takitsubo Rikou.

Takitsubo was lying on an emergency stretcher and was wearing a clear oxygen mask. Instead of an oxygen tank at the other end of the tube, it was connected to something like incense made of various dried and crushed plants. According to Elizalina, that would remove the Body Crystal from Takitsubo’s body, but…

Suddenly, a large earthquake shook the building.

Takitsubo’s body fell from the stretcher onto the ground.

“What the hell!? Takitsubo!!”

Hamazura yelled out and started to run over to her, but Elizalina stopped him with a hand.

Elizalina used her abnormally thin fingers to remove the mask from Takitsubo.

“This is not a problem. The treatment is already complete. The toxin within her body has been removed.”

“…”

She had said it so easily that it didn’t feel real to Hamazura.

The issue of the Body Crystal had been such an impediment to Hamazura and Takitsubo and yet it had been dealt with so easily?

Elizalina then spoke again as if adding a remark.

“But this only removed the undigested toxin. The portions of her body that have already been eaten into weren’t replaced. She should recover a bit, but she isn’t fully healed. A different method of healing will need to be found for the after effects of the drug,” Elizalina said as she put out the small flames causing the smoldering incense. “Forcing her status up will only give her a greater relapse. I’ve never been too fond of the performance of science.”

Someone threw open the door.

Accelerator entered the room.

“Hey, have you seen what’s going on outside!? What the fuck is it!?”

“It’s Fiamma. I never thought he would shake the four elements themselves…”

Elizalina frowned and disappeared through the door. The field hospital had originally been an old fortress. There were no windows, so they could not see outside from there.

Hamazura was curious, but he had to focus on Takitsubo.

In order to return her to the stretcher, Hamazura held her in his arms. He then noticed something was different. The feeling of lifting a bag filled with dirt was gone. She was lighter. This was because Takitsubo was making sure to adjust her weight.

Her will had returned to every corner of her body.

Hamazura felt that more than anything symbolized what a large change had occurred within her.

“Hamazura…?”

“It’s okay,” Hamazura said as he was overcome with relief.

Hamazura continued speaking as Takitsubo actually wrapped her own small arms around him.

“I’ll explain everything later, but I’ll tell you this for now: it’s okay now. You aren’t completely healed yet and it will probably take Academy City’s help to completely cure all of the after effects, but the Body Crystal will not make your health deteriorate any more. The risk to your life is gone. So it’s okay. …From now on, it’s our turn to take them on.”

The body heat he felt from Takitsubo was that of a normal girl.

She didn’t have the unnaturally high temperature like that of someone with a cold.

After just feeling that sensation for a bit, Hamazura finally pulled himself away from her.

She could now stand up under her own power.

Takitsubo sat on the stretcher and Hamazura spoke to her again.

“I’ll go call a nurse. Do you need some water? If you’re hungry, I could get you some fruit.”

“Hamazura, what are we going to do now?”

“If we’re really going to take on Academy City, we can’t just stay here. We managed to escape the Academy City pursuers by entering the Elizalina Alliance. What’s left is heading back to Russia and searching for something to negotiate with.”

Hamazura stopped speaking for a second.

He looked Takitsubo in the eye as he continued.

“But we don’t have to do that together. You’ve just gotten over your illness. You can just wait here and…”

“Hamazura,” Takitsubo said cutting him off. “Would you wake up if I kissed you or would I have to slap you?”

“Saying something like that just makes me want to leave you here even more.” Hamazura roughly stroked Takitsubo’s head and looked over toward the door. “I need to find some assistance. But I don’t really like stealing a car from someone who saved you.”

And then Hamazura saw some scattered documents out of the corner of his eye. They were in a field hospital, but it was really just a military facility that had medical equipment in it. It seemed some of the military related equipment and documents still remained.

What caught his eye was a pile of fax paper.

Hamazura could not read Russian, but he recognized the photo given along with the text.

It was Digurv’s village.

“…It’s a request to be taken into the Alliance and the issues related to doing so,” said Takitsubo who had read the Russian report from behind Hamazura.

Hamazura frowned.

“So the village Digurv and the others live in wants to join the Elizalina Alliance?”

The village was located almost right next to the border of the Elizalina Alliance and the Russian army had been trying to take the land. They had harassed the village by scattering land mines and had even sent privateers in to attack. Escaping that violence from Russia by becoming a part of the Elizalina Alliance was not too surprising a desire.

However, the people of the Alliance had not taken in the village despite their suffering just outside the border.

That likely had to do with the “issues” mentioned in the report.

“It doesn’t seem there are any issues with the village or the people living in it.”

“What do you mean?”

“There is a nuclear missile silo from the cold war era near the village. Because of what it was, it was hidden in a forest away from the base.”

Hamazura listened in shock to what Takitsubo was saying.

She flipped through the report.

“The silo itself has been untouched for decades and the missiles were removed, so it’s just an old abandoned facility. However, there is a concern that Russia will determine that the Elizalina Alliance has obtained the technology of Russia’s nuclear launching facilities if they were to take the village and that area into the Alliance.”

“God dammit,” Hamazura spat out.

The nuclear silo didn’t belong to Digurv and the others. The Russian army had made the facility long ago, but now it was taking away the villagers’ freedom and putting them under the threat of landmines and privateers. It may truly have been a good thing that those Academy City forces had arrived because the villagers might have been massacred otherwise.

“The Kremlin Report…?”

However, the unfairness did not end there.

Takitsubo reached for a different report.

“…This is bad, Hamazura.”

“What’s that report? Those diagrams look like data on the area’s weather.”

“It’s the values for wind direction, temperature, and humidity. I think the data is being used to predict the spread of bacteria.”

“…Bacteria?”

Hamazura’s shoulders stiffened at that word.

Takitsubo looked down at the fax paper on which the Kremlin Report was printed.

“This was sent by the Russian army. The original Kremlin Report and supplemental documents were faxed together. In order to justify the actions they’re taking within their own country, they’re making this performance of a warning. It was actually only sent out a few hours ago so no major evacuation could be carried out even upon seeing it. Most likely, it was sent to the Elizalina Alliance as a threat. It’s basically saying ‘you’re next’.”

“What’s this about bacteria? What does this have to do with Digurv and the others!?”

“It seems the Russian army has made an official announcement of the Kremlin Report which is a defense manual for the nuclear launch facilities. The plan is to disseminate a bacteriological weapon in order to recover nuclear launch facilities that have been occupied or that are about to be occupied. This is…”

“Is that being used on the nuclear silo near Digurv’s village!? That’s their own country. Is the Russian army planning to indiscriminately spread a bacteriological weapon!?”

He felt a bit dizzy.

However, given the location of the nuclear silo and the Academy City forces protecting Digurv’s village, that area could very well become a target of the Kremlin Report.

“Didn’t you say that silo hadn’t been used in decades? And there are no missiles there, right?”

“It still possesses the functionality to launch and missiles can be brought in from outside. Russia’s experimental missile defense network they put up in recent years is focused on the national borders, so a launch from a silo within the country was not taken into consideration.”

“…So they can’t defend against a missile launched from that silo?”

“The heads of the Russian army who created the defense network would know better than anyone the threat of a ballistic missile getting through. They would probably do anything to stop that from happening.”

“Dammit…”

At that rate, a killer virus would be disseminated near the nuclear silo in the name of protecting the Russian people. If that happened, Digurv and the other villagers would be caught up in it. That virus was bad enough that it was referred to as a weapon. Hamazura did not even want to imagine what kind of mortality rate it had.

“When is it scheduled to be disseminated?”

“I don’t know. I just know that the wind direction means that the bacteriological weapon is unlikely to reach the Elizalina Alliance. And if that danger came up, that Elizalina person would likely give an evacuation order to the people here.”

They didn’t know when it would be disseminated.

The operation might have been in progress right that very instant. If Hamazura and anyone else took action to stop it, they could easily end up just getting caught up in it.

But…

“Takitsubo, will you wait here?”

“Are you planning to use the military technology of the bacterial wall used in the Kremlin Report to negotiate with Academy City? But that has no special meaning to Academy Cit—”

“No, not that. I can’t just leave Digurv and the others to die. I know it’s nothing more than a risk for us, but I can’t abandon them. I mean, this is just wrong!! I haven’t exactly walked down a proper path in my life. I’ve made a lot of people suffer through violence. But this is well above that level. Stopping it isn’t what’s strange. It’s strange that it’s happening in the first place!! How can everyone head down paths like this with serious faces!?”

“…”

Takitsubo Rikou stared at Hamazura’s face for a bit.

Finally, she nodded.

“Understood. I’ll go, too.”

“Takitsubo?”

“I didn’t get to talk with anyone in that village, but I remember what they did for me. I want to fight for them, too.”

“You’d better not regret this.”

“The same goes for you, Hamazura.”

They both nodded and then headed for the exit of the hospital room.

They knew that wasn’t what they should be doing at that time. They had yet to find anything to negotiate with and they could easily lose their lives simply by heading into the war torn Russia and getting involved in a fight they had nothing to do with. Making an unnecessary detour amid all that, would only shorten their lives.

Hamazura Shiage checked over all that in his mind.

But his mind was still made up.

He had a debt to repay.



Part 2[edit]


A scream rang out.

It was not a human scream.

The howl was more foreign. It slipped into human hearts with no resistance and shook up the emotions within. One wanted to reject it more than the sound of fingernails on the blackboard, but one also felt an intense feeling of guilt at rejecting it. The incomprehensible cry was difficult to accept and difficult to reject. The voice easily exceeded the limits of human vocal cords as it resounded throughout that nighttime battlefield that looked as if it had been covered in ink.

An angel.

Gabriel.

Misha Kreutzev.

“Stop,” Kamijou said without meaning to.

Something floated in the vast battlefield like a single light in the darkness. It was a bluish-white light. A human-like silhouette stayed oddly still at 3000 meters up in the air.

Wings grew from the silhouette’s back.

They were ice wings that looked like crystals.

Their lengths were uneven. Some were only a few dozen centimeters while others were longer than 100 meters. Each of those uneven wings moved independently and ominous sparks flew when they struck each other. Kamijou knew that all of those wings held the destructive power to sever a mountain just by touching it.

As they struck each other, the wings stored up just a tiny bit of power.

But that was enough.

“Stooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp!!!!!”

A mere human’s voice was meaningless.

The wings swung.

A storm of destruction and slicing was born.

The Academy City fighters and supersonic bombers that were made of the latest technology were sliced apart. A few of the ice wings intentionally came apart and became hundreds and thousands of blade-like fragments which rained down on the tanks spread out on the surface. A great shockwave was created and even the Star of Bethlehem shook slightly despite being so high up in the air.

Kamijou looked down from a broken window, but he couldn’t see what was happening on the surface because of the thick cloud cover. There were a few openings here or there, but he couldn’t grasp the situation just from that. A large amount of snow had been blown into the air creating a further curtain obstructing his view.

“Dammit…”

Directly below the distant archangel, a hole with a radius of a few dozen meters had opened in the thick cloud cover. When the great number of fragments had been fired down, they had blown away the clouds in that area.

Pilots could be seen escaping the sliced up fighters in parachutes.

The archangel paid them no heed.

It did not aim its ice wings in their direction.

However, that was not due to mercy or kindness. Gabriel swung a wing toward another bomber and the gust of wind created by the pylon-like wing swinging through the air was enough to crush the parachutes and rid them of all lift.

If they had a spare parachute, they might be fine, but if they didn’t, they had no way of avoiding death.

The word war did not fully cover it.

It was divine punishment.

Kamijou gulped at the thought of that word.

(It isn’t just the Star of Bethlehem. Fiamma, you bastard, did you kidnap Sasha in order to add that archangel to the power at your command!?)

“Dammit!!”

That was no time to freeze up. Kamijou rushed through that stone room and ran on through the Star of Bethlehem. It seemed Fiamma was giving that angel orders. However, he would have used it sooner if he had been able to use it at any time.

There may have been a connection with the rise of the Star of Bethlehem.

If there was some kind of key object that was moving the archangel, he might be able to destroy that. And even if there wasn’t, he might be able to stop Gabriel by defeating Fiamma himself.

Of course, Kamijou did not know much about the magic side.

But…

(That doesn’t matter.)

As he heard numerous explosions even then, Kamijou gritted his teeth while he ran.

(I’ll just destroy everything of importance until that angel stops moving!!)

After running through a few rooms, the sky was before him.

He was on a wide stone bridge, but it had no railings on either side. The intense winds and shockwaves from explosions threatened to blow Kamijou’s body to the side. The dark sky gave him the same kind of bottomless unease as the ocean at night.

However, he couldn’t just stop.

Even Academy City’s elite troops could do nothing against that monster. At that rate, they would just get defeated as a demonstration. Even if he couldn’t fight it directly, Kamijou was the only one who had a chance of stopping that angel indirectly.

He ran across the 100 meter long bridge and opened the door to the room on the other side.

A complex structure that looked like a pipe organ was spread out on one wall. It may have been a magical item or it may have just been one of the decorative items used to construct the Star of Bethlehem. And even if it had some magical purpose, it might have had nothing to do with the angel.

The way to check was simple enough.

He just had to touch it with his right hand and see if it was destroyed.

Kamijou stepped further into the room with that idea in mind, but…

“…!?”

His breath caught in his throat.

It came directly from the side.

A person had been hiding behind the pews lined up in the room like it was a chapel. That person had suddenly tackled him from the side.

The two of them collapsed to the floor.

Kamijou was having trouble breathing from the impact and his body reflexively tried to suck in air, but he forced down that urge in order to hold his breath and roll along the floor. When collapsed like that, the battle could be decided by who ended up on top. It seemed his attacker was thinking the same thing because the person tried to continue to roll and stay on top.

But the attacker’s body struck one of the pews.

Now that they had stopped, Kamijou got up on his attacker’s stomach to keep the person on the ground.

To be in that place, the attacker must have been a Roman Catholic or Russian Orthodox elite.

Kamijou was just about to swing his fist down, but…

“Huh…?”

He froze in place.

He recognized the face.

Long wavy blonde hair covered up the person’s eyes. She wore restraint-like black belts and clothes that were really just innerwear made of a sheer red material. She was younger than Kamijou. The belt at her waist held instruments of torture that were tools such as hammers and saws modified for use on the human body.

While he did recognize her, she was not an acquaintance of his.

After all, when he had first seen her, she had been “switched out”.

For an instant he mixed up her name, but then he muttered the attacker’s proper name.

“Sasha Kreutzev…?”



Part 3[edit]


Elizalina walked quickly through the gloomy field hospital.

It was really an old fortress being used as a military facility, so it did not have many windows. Before peering out a small window, she had an uncomfortable feeling and when she actually did look out, her lips moved almost on their own in response to what she witnessed.

“How can this be…?”

Night spread out before her.

Floating in the completely starless night was a giant fortress made of churches, monasteries, and convents from across the world.

And like a moon shining in that odd night was “something” bluish-white.

It was a human silhouette with giant wings.

It was an angel.

Even if a magician used a portion of one in the form of Telesma, that magician never really thought of the possibility of actually seeing one. She didn’t know what Fiamma was thinking, but the danger was even greater than if an asteroid were on a collision course. It was like bringing about a global ice age in order to defeat an enemy who was pointing a blade at you.

“…”

Accelerator was leaning against the wall and looking in the direction of Elizalina. He had been drawn to the area by the window as well. His focus was not on Elizalina’s back but on the window past her.

The mysterious being known as Aiwass had told him to go to Russia.

The parchments he had found there seemed to have been intended to be delivered to that fortress that had floated up into the sky from the Russian military base near the border.

That angel-like thing had appeared from that fortress and it was making large-scale attacks on the elite Academy City forces.

That’s right.

An angel.

(…It’s almost exactly like the mysterious core of the issue that brat and I were forced into dealing with.)

On September 30th, Accelerator had seen giant wings of light dancing during his fight with Kihara Amata. It seemed their appearance had been related to Last Order. And Aiwass had appeared based on those giant dancing wings of light that were apparently called Fuse Kazakiri.

If the angel that had appeared in the Russian sky was the same thing and that giant fortress was a means of bringing about and controlling the angel…

(It’s possible that technology could also be used to control the movements of an angel and send it away. This could be the way to save that brat from the angel or whatever that’s making her suffer!!)

Elizalina suddenly turned around toward him.

“Run away,” she said.

“What?”

“Hurry!! If you do not leave this place now, they will come here!!”

“They who!? And why are they after me!?”

They yelled at each other and Elizalina cooled her head first. She worked at keeping her voice calm.

“The person who started this war is likely in that castle. If he can freely control that angel, then even Academy City is in a hopeless situation. If they truly grasp the threat, they may consider using nuclear warheads. But…”

“But what?”

“That castle is incomplete.” Elizalina glanced over toward the window. “The parchments you have prove that. If they are important enough that Fiamma wanted to bring them to himself even if he had to use the army to do it, then he will have all of the pieces he needs once he gets them.”

Accelerator’s focus turned to the parchments in his pocket that he did not know the point of.

“They were important enough to have transported in secret…”

“Whatever he is going to use them for, if they are necessary for Fiamma’s plan, he will use everything he has to retrieve that final piece. …And that may include that angel,” Elizalina said quietly. “Fiamma currently has almost complete control over Index’s 103,000 grimoires, but from past examples, it seems possible that deeper information regarding angels or God’s Right Seat is not recorded there. Those parchments may be needed to plug the hole made by some missing information. When put together with the 103,000 grimoires, he can make a bridge of knowledge taking him to his ultimate goal.”

“Index…?”

A faint dangerous light appeared in Accelerator’s eyes.

Aiwass had told him to remember the term Index Librorum Prohibitorum and the Level 0 who had defeated Academy City’s strongest Level 5 had left a note saying the same.

Yet another connection had been made with the dark side of the world and with some unknown set of laws that Accelerator did not know the details of but still apparently had some deep connection to Accelerator and Last Order.

(That fucking Level 0. How far ahead of me on this path is he…?)

Not knowing what Accelerator was thinking about, Elizalina continued.

“So you are in danger. Due to the spies that had unfortunately made it into my base, they must have received word of this. Even if you hand over the parchments, you could easily still be captured in an attempt to find out where they ended up.”

“Hand them over?” Accelerator muttered. “Those might be the last key to freeing that brat from this angel or whatever kind of fucking fairy tale creature it is. I’m not going to hand them over now.”

“Then you need to hurry. To be honest, the Alliance will not be able to protect you if Fiamma and the Russian army go all out. If you do not intend to face defeat here, you should hide yourself for now even if you intend to fight back.”

As if provoked by Elizalina’s words, Accelerator moved his gaze elsewhere.

Misaka Worst responded to his gaze.

“Sure thing. Misaka will go retrieve Last Order.” She waved her hand and cheerfully headed for the hospital room. “But she would like a weapon. Even an old gun would be fine. But this rifle is supposed to have a pretty strong recoil, so it would just be a burden with a broken arm. But then just a handgun might not have enough power. Now, this is a problem. Maybe it’s just because the image of the AK is so strong, but do you have a nice version of this submachine gun?”

“?”

Without even looking at Elizalina who was frowning, Misaka Worst opened the door to Last Order’s hospital room.

“You are a person that was kind enough to save Misaka. You probably just want to flee while letting the Russians see you have the parchments so the soldiers will leave the Alliance. Ee hee hee.”

Elizalina looked surprised, but Misaka Worst entered the hospital room before she could ask for details. Instead, she turned toward Accelerator.

He was gritting his teeth.

(…That bitch. That’s quite a personality she has. She doesn’t think about anything other than pissing me off, does she?)

“I-is what she was saying true? That’s just too reckless!!”

As he waved a hand as if driving Elizalina away, Accelerator muttered a few words in a tone that made it sound like he really didn’t want to say them.

“…It’s a bonus job, god dammit.”



Part 4[edit]


There was a night sky when it should not have been night, the Star of Bethlehem floated in the sky, and an incomplete archangel had been dragged down by artificial means.

William Orwell, the mercenary who had once been called Acqua of the Back, silently stared up at that warped world. After crushing the privateer base, he had headed for Fiamma’s fortress, but he had not made it and was standing in the middle of a snowy plain.

Fiamma of the Right had made it that far.

Using Telesma to accomplish one’s goal was not a rare thing in magic. It was done in old times, recent times, Western styles, and Eastern styles. However, using that huge an amount was different. That situation was not normal. It was true that it was theoretically possible using the proper methods, but it was still astounding that power that could massacre every single human on earth could be used so easily.

But then, an archangel was an archangel.

That was the existence that had announced the conception of the Son of God, that received great awe at being deeply related to the beginning of the Christian Church, and was feared as the one that carried out punishments on evil cities. Even a Saint or a member of God’s Right Seat could not win in a straight fight against an opponent like that. In fact, it was unclear if that archangel could be defeated if every single power of humanity were to work together.

To put it bluntly, that archangel alone held the power to end World War III.

It wasn’t an issue of winning or losing.

The war would be “ended” by being thrown into a situation where the war could not continue due to every force in the war being slaughtered.

(I see. So that is why Fiamma has grown so arrogant.)

William Orwell gave his frank assessment.

And even then, his will did not even know how to waver.

(But have you forgotten what I rule over as a member of God’s Right Seat?)



Part 5[edit]


Cardinal Pietro Yogdis moved from the center of a church in the Vatican to a window. He could not see the situation in Russia from there and he would receive reports from his subordinates who were monitoring it magically. Yet the old man still moved toward the window. He could not help but do so because he had felt the pressure of incredible power.

It was a torrent of divine power.

It was an archangel.

It was Gabriel.

“Ohh…”

A sound of admiration leaked from the Cardinal’s throat. He was surrounded by priests and bishops. Some slowly crossed themselves and others recited verses of the New Testament. They were constantly being watched over by their great Father, but it was rare to be given a chance to feel the strength of that existence. For those pious men, it was a scene where one could shed tears without being ashamed.

But…

Pietro Yogdis held different feelings from the others.

He did not know the details of the plan being carried out by the man behind it all. Nor had he cooperated with him. But he understood what Fiamma of the Right was doing. And if the things he would carry out would work in Pietro Yogdis’s favor, he did not care what they were.

In other words, he just wanted a chance to steal the position of pope.

He just so happened to have the same type of ideas as a certain Russian Orthodox bishop.

(I was a little worried when I saw the records of what the Academy City forces were doing in Russia, but now our victory is more or less confirmed! The papal conclave is beginning as I expected. I will be the one who guides the world as the next pope!!)

Signs of coming riots could be seen all over Italy, but the Cardinal did not care. The sudden change from day to night must have caused quite a bit of chaos. It was the same as how the existence of Halley’s Comet had created society-wide unease. However, it did not matter. Roman Catholic agents were hidden among the people to ensure that the rioting did not exceed a certain level and even if it did exceed that level, there was something more important. He had to solidify his own position first. As such, he would send Roman Catholic forces to silence people if need be. Then, there would be no problem. The damages would stay within acceptable bounds and the bodies would be cleaned up along with the rubble. And then Pietro Yogdis would be in the world’s closest position to the Lord.

But…

“Cardinal Pietro Yogdis!!”

Suddenly, a warrior priest who looked out of place in that church rushed in.

“It’s an emergency!! The papal conclave will be temporarily postponed! We will strengthen the defenses, so you need to get down to safety!!”

“…”

His irritation grew slightly.

He lowered his gaze from the heavens down to the earth. His view of the city of Rome was blocked by thick walls, but he could hear some kind of uproar. It was a riot. It seemed the people who should have just been rioting in Rome had flowed into the Vatican. Apparently, the Roman Catholic agents hidden among the people just were not enough to stop it.

“The papal conclave will continue as planned.”

“B-but…!!”

“Have a Roman Catholic unit suppress them. A mob can be silenced with a baptism of blood. The flow of events here must not be overturned.”

“I can’t do that!! If we give that order, it will be starting a competition!! We can defend against that group, but we cannot aim for them!!”

“What?”

Pietro Yogdis’s expression clouded over.

He could not understand the man’s response. With the pope gone, Cardinals like him should have had the greatest authority. Any order he gave should have been absolute.

But the warrior priest was not obeying him.

The priest expressed the reason why.

“It’s the pope…” He seemed to be squeezing out the words and yet his tone of voice made it sound like he had been waiting for it to happen somewhere in his heart. “The pope calmed the rioting people with a few short words!! He is headed here now! We have no way of stopping him!!”


What the pope had done in the city of Rome had not been anything special.

He had called out to the people, approached, spoke, and given them time to slowly calm down.

That was all.

Normally, someone who had done that would likely have been ganged up on by the 50,000-strong riot. His words could have even caused a catastrophic explosion.

And yet he stood before that special wartime group mentality that had an odd heat to it and that both saw fighting as the norm and deemed those who stood in their way to be evil.

His words had returned the humanity to all of them. He had not shaken their feelings by any magic means and he had not read some speech calculated to affect their group mentality. The words of a single old man had merely spread throughout the area and then guns and blades were lowered one by one.

Of course, the world was not constructed on a simple balance between good and evil. There were Roman Catholic agents hidden within the people who had fanned the flames of the riot in the direction they wanted. They did not want a chaotic riot to spread, but they deemed the people being silently drawn in by the power of the pope to be even more dangerous. That was why they had tried use a single gunshot to overturn the situation they deemed unfavorable. By applying another stimulus to the calmed crowed, they hoped to bring things back even stronger than before. In a time like that, a simple gunshot was much more effective at creating a large panic than some unknown bit of magic. The Roman Catholic Church had standardized spells that used their great group that numbered up to 2 billion, but they chose a single gunshot for that reason.

And yet…

(No…)

The professional assassins were unable to reach into their pockets. No one was able to aim for and shoot the pope who had calmed the people by saying he would resolve everything.

Fear was at the root of it.

A lead-like weight at the bottom of their guts stopped even the fingers of true assassins.

Those assassins had continued fighting despite their fear countless times, but there was something odd there they had never experienced before.

(The small flow of events this man has created must not be stopped…!!)

And the pope’s advance began.

A large number of people including obvious assassins and not-so-obvious assassins blocked his path. However, the pope said nothing. He made no motions. He merely advanced. With just that, the people created a path for him. Some dropped weapons and spiritual items and a few even made tearful repentances. People started following behind the old man. They were not being ruled by feverish hearts that were full of swirling emotions. They merely walked quietly behind him.

The warrior priests who guarded the main gate into the Vatican crossed themselves upon seeing the pope’s return.

A voice prayed that his visit would change things for the better.

The old man continued forward.

Each step was a man’s resistance to the great monster that was a world war.

He was fighting to test his worth as a human by using weapons of reason and philanthropy rather than swords and guns.

“…No…”

Pietro Yogdis shook his head as he saw the old man enter the church.

His expression was that of a child about to burst into tears.

“No!!!!! I-I…I will be the next pope!! It has already been decided!! You are nothing but a ghost! There is nothing left for you to do!! K-kill him. It was his fault that the Roman Catholic Church fell into such chaos!! Once I am pope, I promise you I will make you much, much wealthier than you are now!! So kill hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!”

“…”

“What are you doing!? Warrior priests, what do you think you were given spears for!? Strike your enemy!! Skewer the ignorant masses that follow him, too!! You must!! This is the only way for me to heal this world!!”

“Do not worry.” The solemn voice of an old man instantly silenced Pietro Yogdis from his rage. “If you are going to carry out the papal conclave, I have no intention of stopping you. If you wish for me to take responsibility for the chaos in the church, I will willingly head for gallows. I am no longer the pope. I have come here to stop this war as a single believer named Matthai Reese.”

“What…?”

“St. Peter’s Basilica was half destroyed by Fiamma, but below it is a great library filled with a vast amount of knowledge that England’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum was once guided to. I wish to view what is kept there. A strategy to oppose Fiamma’s temple may be sleeping there.”

Matthai Reese then stepped forward.

Pietro Yogdis moved back like he was a magnet being affected by an approaching magnet with the same pole pointed toward him. But he soon hit a wall. The old man further approached the Cardinal who was shaking his head.

He would be killed.

That was what he naturally assumed. After what had happened, that was the obvious result. Matthai Reese had no weapon or spiritual item in his hands, but that did not console him even slightly. He knew how skilled the other man was at magic. Without using those things, he could give a single order that would cause the people, the warrior priests, and the bishops to all lose their senses and tear Pietro Yogdis to pieces. In the end, he had no true allies.

And yet…

Matthai Reese placed a hand on Pietro Yogdis’s shoulder. That was all. It was a gentle action. The man who had cast aside his title of pope then spoke to the man who had tried to steal it.

“You did a fine job of ruling over two billion followers during these tough times. It was clearly your abilities that allowed everyone here to live on while I slept. As you said, I was an incompetent leader. If it had just been me, the damages would likely have been greater and more widespread.”

He was smiling.

It was not an act meant to deceive or a twisted smile filled with irony or scorn. The simple believer known as Matthai Reese blessed Pietro Yogdis’s advancement from the bottom of his heart.

“Call me once the papal conclave begins. I’ll vote for you. You took the full brunt of all the pain and made countless extreme decisions to protect everyone’s lives, so you have what it takes. I may not be able to do much, but I will help you advance on that path.”

After saying that, Matthai Reese quickly turned around.

“This is a fight to make sure you survive, so make sure not to die before this war is over.”

Matthai Reese had abandoned his title of pope, but Pietro Yogdis saw everything he desired in that strong back.

Pietro Yogdis had been putting all his efforts into his own fortune, so he was unable to watch that old man head off for a new battlefield where he would fight for those who believed. Instead, he broke down crying.



Part 6[edit]


“Sasha Kreutzev…?” Kamijou Touma muttered while sitting on top of her.

He couldn’t gather his thoughts.

The archangel being called Misha Kreutzev was even then flying through the artificial night sky and crushing the Academy City forces.

And yet Sasha Kreutzev was before his eyes.

The blonde girl with her slender body bound in that restraint-like outfit looked slightly puzzled.

“My first question: Why do you know my name?”

“Where do I start…? Umm, I actually met you at the end of August, but it was technically Misha Kreutzev that I met, so I have never directly spoken with you. Anyway, I heard from Kanzaki and Tsuchimikado that the pre-switched out body belonged to someone named Sasha Kreutzev.”

“…”

Before he finished speaking, Sasha twisted her body to roll and shook Kamijou off of her. Kamijou yelled out and suspicious eyes stared at him from behind long bangs.

“My first response: I have decided that I will not get a proper explanation out of you. A supplementary explanation: I have concluded that the odds of you being an enemy are exceedingly high as you are aboard the Star of Bethlehem. You are probably a member of the personnel come to capture me after I fled from the ceremony room.”

She pulled a saw and an L-shaped crowbar from the belt at her waist.

Kamijou’s face paled.

“Wah!! Is this just how you act whether you’re Misha or Sasha!? And what is that angel, anyway!? Is it actually unrelated to you!?”

Kamijou was speaking mostly out of panic, but Sasha fell silent. She took a few steps back in the same way a cautious animal would.

(...It does not change the fact that he is suspicious, but he seems to know something about my “condition”.)

What stood out to her was the mention of the end of August.

At around that time, an odd “condition” had come over Sasha. When she drew near spiritual items or the magic power of others, she felt a pressure in her chest. According to the Russian Orthodox analysts, it was a response to having a large archangel-class power put inside her body.

Sasha glanced down at her torture saw.

(I could make him talk here, but I can’t figure out if he is merely an idiot or if he is intentionally making himself sound like he doesn’t know what he is talking about. There may be a shorter way to getting the answer I want than just asking him.)

As Sasha silently came up with that plan, Kamijou asked her a question.

“Do you know who Fiamma of the Right is? He’s the one who captured you in the Elizalina Alliance and brought you here.”

“…?”

“I’m sure he’s doing something.” Kamijou looked over toward the door of the stone room. “If he wasn’t, that monster would not have appeared. Fiamma referred to you as the medium for the angel or something like that. I’ll be blunt. Did he use you to call in that angel?”

Summoning an angel.

If you called it that, it might sound kind of stupid. However, Kamijou knew just how fearsome a being like that was. He had seen it magically during the Angel Fall incident at the end of August and scientifically with Fuse Kazakiri on September 30th.

What Fiamma was doing was a threat of that level.

And at the same time, Kamijou knew that an angel was not something so easily controlled. There had to be some sort of foundation. With Misha Kreutzev it had been the magic circle of Angel Fall and with Fuse Kazakiri it had been the AIM diffusion fields. And if it was supported by some kind of large-scale preparations, it would no longer be able to function in that world if he eliminated those preparations.

He knew the key to stopping it.

It was Sasha Kreutzev.

If the appearance of the astounding angel had started with her, she may have come into contact with some kind of important spiritual item. Assuming there was something like that, Sasha might know what he had to destroy in order to stop the angel.

“Listen. Anything you know is fine. I need to know where the magic—do you call it a ceremony in this case?—anyway, the place on the Star of Bethlehem where the actions to call in the angel were carried out. And I need to know the process as well. Don’t worry, I don’t need anything detailed. I just want to know what tools were used and in what way.”

Of course, Kamijou did not have a good understanding of magic.

However, his right hand could negate and destroy any phenomena or items related to supernatural powers whether he understood them or not. If he just destroyed everything Sasha mentioned, he might be able to destroy Misha.

Of course, Sasha was still suspicious of Kamijou.

However, she could feel the vibrations from the archangel flying around and sending large-scale attacks toward the Academy City forces in the sky and on the ground. As what they wanted seemed to be the same, Sasha started speaking.

“…My second response: When I awoke, the ceremony was already complete. That may have been why I was able to escape. A few Russian Orthodox magicians are here in addition to the leader, so I normally would have been unable to escape. However, I rushed out of the ceremony room right when they were relaxing over having gotten past one of their major difficulties.”

“That’s fine. Did you see anything in the ceremony room before you fled?”

Kamijou doubted Fiamma would leave an opening like that and he also wasn’t sure if you could really “flee” from him as he could fill in a gap of a few kilometers in an instant, but he didn’t mention either thought. Perhaps Fiamma had determined that there was nowhere to escape to while trapped on that sky fortress.

Sasha seemed not to have noticed Kamijou’s thoughts and she continued.

“My third response: The ceremony room was in the Christian style. It was oddly made with an especial focus on the great element of fire… Other than when using one to its extreme as an attack, ceremonies usually gain an effect by using all four great elements together, but that man known as Fiamma’s ceremony room was exceedingly uniform in that one color…”

Her explanation continued.

However, Kamijou suddenly looked down at his right hand.

There might be another way.

Fiamma had used Sasha to call out that archangel. This time, the pure archangel was exposed externally rather than residing within Sasha like it had during Angel Fall. But if Misha had been called out using Sasha, then the odds were good that the same set of rules would apply. Sasha was necessary to stabilize the existence of the archangel.

If so, Sasha and Misha might be connected like someone having an out-of-body experience. If that were the case, Kamijou could use Imagine Breaker. By touching Sasha, he might be able to directly damage Misha. After all, it seemed angels were giant masses of magical power.

(…Even now, Misha Kreutzev is doing all sorts of damage to the area. Academy City forces, Russian forces, and maybe even surrounding villages are being damaged.)

Kamijou opened and closed his right hand as if seeing how it was doing.

(So I need to try everything I can. We’re the only ones that can do anything right now!!)

“A supplementary explanation: The ceremony room is on the rightmost end of the Star of Bethlehem from the perspective of the direction it is travelling in. Most likely, that location is used to signify the Archangel Michael who symbolizes fire. It is a very thorough method, but the angel flying around the battlefield is Gabriel. Gabriel signifies water which seems quite odd to me as—Hyawan!?”

Suddenly, Sasha’s back stiffened and she let out an odd shout.

Index v21 177.jpg

It was because Kamijou had stretched out his arm and touched her cheek.

Not noticing that Sasha had begun to tremble, Kamijou then touched her head, her shoulders, her sides, her stomach, her thighs, and so on.

“…No. Not here either. Or here. Or here. Dammit, there’s no change in Misha. Is this method not going to work? I guess I’ll test her back as well just to be sure. And what’s with this crazy outfit…?”

“…”

As Kamijou muttered to himself, Sasha silently swung around her L-shaped crowbar.

As if she were striking him with the back of a sword, she got a nice clean hit with the horizontal strike. The corner that bent at a right angle struck Kamijou in the temple.

“…My second question: Do you possess the same soul as Vasilisa?”

“Gyabh!? What? Cough! What’s a Vasilisa!?” Kamijou vaguely shouted as he rolled around on the floor with his arms and legs twitching.

Sasha swung down the corner of the crowbar twice more, but she must have decided that beating him beyond repair would not get her anywhere because she put the instrument of torture back in her belt while blushing profusely.

“My fourth response: This Fiamma person’s ceremony room was quite high class, but the spiritual items used were quite popular ones. I do not believe that he could control an existence on the level of an angel with what I saw.”

It was possible the special item was Sasha herself and tools with normal functionality were all that was needed to draw out her functionality.

“However…A supplementary explanation: There was a single spiritual item I had never seen before.”

“A spiritual item!?” Kamijou repeated.

It may have had to do with Index’s remote control spiritual item.

“My fifth response: Specifically, it was a staff. No, the symbolic weapon of fire is the rod or the staff, so that in itself is not surprising.”

“So what made it stand out to you?”

“A supplementary explanation: Normally a staff being used as the symbolic weapon of fire is made from a red-colored main body with a bar magnet on the end. However, this staff had something else there.”

“?”

“A further supplementary explanation: It was a cylinder about the size to hold in one’s hand with many different thin rings on its side. It was reminiscent of a dial padlock. It was placed at the center of the ceremony room.”

“…”

Kamijou knew that spiritual item.

It was Index’s remote control spiritual item.

Kamijou initially assumed Fiamma must have used the knowledge of the 103,000 grimoires to summon Misha Kreutzev, but then he noticed something odd about Sasha’s explanation.

Fiamma had controlled Index by operating the spiritual item in his hand. He should just been able to get the information he needed that way.

Why had he gone out of his way to use it as a part of the staff?

Kamijou thought for a bit and then spoke.

“Is he controlling Misha Kreutzev by using the spiritual item’s ability to control someone remotely?”



Part 7[edit]


“So things are finally turning around,” muttered Russian Orthodox Bishop Nikolai Tolstoy within a Moscow palace.

He was holding a communications spiritual item in the form of a book.

It was connected with Fiamma of the Right.

“The appearance of Misha Kreutzev has been confirmed even here. I cannot believe that you can keep all that Telesma in one place. Of course, it is not a problem as it can be used to fight in this war. Hurry up and have Misha Kreutzev crush the Academy City forces.”

Nikolai had a great number of maps and documents spread out on the table before him.

“The vast majority of their forces are unmanned units using AI and remote controls. Start by destroying this command location. Top priority goes to destroying the EU war front pressing in towards Moscow from Eastern Europe. Once that is over, eliminate the aerial forces passing over the Arctic Ocean. I will send you the maps and movements of the troops. Once you see them—”

“Heh heh.”

At that time, Nikolai clearly heard Fiamma laughing.

“You have the incomplete archangel of water in your grasp and that is all you can think of?”

“What are you saying?”

“Now I can see why you only made it up to bishop. There are many irrational things in this world, but that seems to be correct. The position of Patriarch does not suit you. The church would certainly begin to fall apart.”

“What are you saying, Fiamma!?” Nikolai yelled back after being jabbed straight in his complex.

However, there was no change.

Fiamma of the Right’s laughter did not stop.

“Hey, Nikolai. Did you think I of all people was using what I had at my disposal for the sake of Russia? Of course I wasn’t. If anything, it was the opposite.”

“You bastard…”

“I use what I have at my disposal for my own goals. Buying time is difficult, Bishop Nikolai Tolstoy. And a role like that does suit you. Now you can just fight Academy City on your own and be destroyed on your own.”

“Heh.”

Nikolai’s emotions exploded.

However, the primary emotion was not rage.

It was joy at seeing that what he had prepared for just such a moment had not gone to waste.

“Are you an idiot, Fiamma!? You have made a fundamental mistake! Did you forget that your floating fortress was created with Russian Orthodox spells!?”

“…”

“The 200 magicians I sent to you were all acting as my pawns. Did you think I would not add in any tricks? With a single order from me, that fortress will immediately fall apart and the countless parts will rain down on the surface.”

While members of God’s Right Seat could use special magic normal people could not, they could not use the spells that normal magicians could. That was one of the reasons Fiamma had asked for help from Russian Orthodox magicians. In other words, normal spells were necessary for the construction of that fortress.

And the same applied to the removal of the traps Nikolai had made sure were mixed in with the construction spells.

“What will you do, Fiamma?” Nikolai asked in a teasing manner.

That man continued to rise in position by taking advantage of any situation, so he was used to that kind of strategy.

“I don’t know what you want to use that fortress for, but it must be a necessary part of your plan since you took such meticulous care in getting it up there. Can you really let it be destroyed?”

Nikolai knew he had won.

He had the absolute advantage.

“If you go along with what we in Russia want, that fortress will not be destroyed. I’m just saying that things have an order of priority, Fiamma. Russia comes first. If you have time left over after that, then you can carry out your own plan. Of course, that’s only if it does not cause Russia any trouble.”

“Ha ha,” Fiamma laughed quietly.

Nikolai frowned.

That wasn’t what he had expected.

That had not been a laugh of desperation. Fiamma had uttered the type of laugh that one gave after hearing a bad joke.

In other words, it had been a sarcastic laugh.

“If that was the only plan you could come up with, then you aren’t even fit for the position of bishop.”

Immediately afterwards, a sound like some kind of fiber being ripped apart filled Nikolai’s ears. He had a bad feeling. The magical lines needed to disassemble the fortress’s construction spells were being severed.

“A mere member of God’s Right Seat cannot use normal spells. While that’s true, it doesn’t add up, does it? After all, why do you think I attacked England in order to gain the remote control spiritual item for the 103,000 grimoires?”

“You don’t mean…?”

His throat went dry.

He could feel the advantage he thought he had slipping from his hand like a lively fish.

“Of the four great elements, I rule over fire, but it does not end there. I have determined that each of the four great elements is at the farthest point in its directions but also has the other elements within it. I have gathered everything I need to use magic.”

“You can use it…? You can use magic other than your power as a member of God’s Right Seat!?”

“While all that did have to be detached in order to become The One Above God, it’s basically an issue of using the right thing at the right time. If you divide things up appropriately, it is not impossible to store up knowledge as a human. And once it is all complete, the sacred light will naturally wipe away the human knowledge like the puny darkness it is.”

Fiamma continued speaking in order to finish off the shallow bishop.

“In other words, my request for magicians was a means of gaining knowledge of the techniques for the necessary spells and to make you Russians lower your guard. …So unfortunately for you, your role ends here. The lifeline you tried to cling to has just been destroyed. I’ll take care of the 200 magicians, so don’t worry about that. Just accept defeat.”

The connection ended.

It had been severed from the other side.

Nikolai felt as if he could clearly see the difference in value between himself and Fiamma. One was the head of God’s Right Seat, an organization that could influence the fate of the world. The other was just one of many disposable bishops.

Nikolai Tolstoy thought about that for a bit.

And then he completely exploded with rage.

He threw the book-shaped communications spiritual item onto the table and grabbed a cell phone. The phone had a chip for encrypted communications used by high-level government officials. As he operated the phone, he gave an order to a subordinate.

“Bring out the ‘reserves’.”

That word held dreadful meaning.

Nikolai ignored how much of a dilemma that order would put Russia into as he yelled.

“Blow that fortress away!! Now!!”



Part 8[edit]


Index and Stiyl’s battle continued within St. George’s Cathedral.

However, the battle was not an equal one.

There was no way a mere magician like Stiyl could be a good match for the grimoire library who could freely use 103,000 grimoires.

“Chapter 13, Verse 9. Maintaining my reach with projectiles.”

The red wings on Index’s back burst off.

The dancing red lights that were like sprays of blood flew towards Stiyl like lasers. It wasn’t just one or two shots. Dozens of attacks came from countless angles at the same time.

“…!!”

Stiyl was not immediately killed due to the blessing of the area he was in.

Because the floor on the first floor had collapsed, Stiyl had fallen into the underground spiritual item vault.

He immediately grabbed a spiritual item and passed magic power through it which activated it.

The block-shaped stone named Hrungnir’s Stone glowed bluish-white and successfully repelled four of the red lights Index had fired.

The remaining ones flooded in and destroyed the bluish-white light and the spiritual item itself.

Stiyl barely managed to evade the killer beams of light by twisting his body.

(From what I can see, the control of her physical body is being carried out by her brain. The remote control spiritual item is only used to send out the necessary signals to her body which input the necessary parameters for her movement. In that case, Index’s movements should stop if I knock her unconscious.)

He hated having to put more of a burden on her, but he had no choice. Stiyl checked on the rune cards in his pocket. They weren’t all flame ones. With a focus on people clearing fields, he had cards that created other effects. Depending on the arrangement, he could create many different effects and some of those effects involved mentally binding a specific person.

He had been postponing using it because he couldn’t calculate the risk to her without knowing how the remote control spiritual item worked, but he could not put it off any longer. He needed to quickly incapacitate Index and mentally bind her.

The problem was…

(How am I supposed to get close to her with these constant attacks!?)

At that very moment, a great noise resounded throughout the area.

It was the sound of the door to the underground spiritual item vault being thrown open and a number of nuns rushing in.

“Stiyl, we’ll cover you!! Make your preparations!!”

“Stop!!” Stiyl yelled out, but it was too late.

“Chapter 8, Verse 43. Refinement of magic power detected. Those holding the power within them are recognized as enemies. Commencing elimination of their actions.”

Sparks flew from Index’s forehead.

Immediately afterwards, a huge fan-shaped shockwave shot out. The nuns were protected by spiritual items to a certain extent, but they were completely blown away. The door to the underground spiritual item vault was destroyed and Index’s enemies were pushed away as if by a bulldozer.

(The primary battle members have gone to the Strait of Dover or overseas. Most of the people still here deal with transmissions and communications. They’ll all be defeated at this rate!!)

Index looked around the area.

She looked at the walls and the ceiling…and she detected the magic power beyond them.

“Chapter 8, Verse 47. Beginning elimination of all elements likely to help the enemy.”

She fired thick beams again and again. They mercilessly pierced straight through the walls and ceiling that were protected magically and destroyed the magical constructions within St. George’s Cathedral.

(This is bad. At this rate, the large scale spiritual items supporting those on the front lines could be damaged!!)

At that time, Stiyl saw someone standing at the edge of the destroyed portion of the ceiling. It was Laura Stuart, the Archbishop at the top of the Anglican Church.

(Is she here to help…?)

Stiyl had a slight hope, but he realized he was wrong immediately afterwards.

She lightly waved her hand showing something off.

(That’s her remote control spiritual item!!)

Of course she was not there to help.

What she was wordlessly expression was rather simple: If you don’t do something soon, I’ll use this.

Stiyl gritted his teeth.

He had a pretty good idea what would happen to Index if the burden of the remote control spiritual item being used were added on top the burden she already had.

He pulled a rune card from his pocket and forced magic power through it.

A flame sword appeared.

As if drawn in by it, Index turned her gaze in his direction.

“Chapter 20, Verse 6. Top priority target reset. Reanalysis of the highly dangerous element complete.”

After waiting for his opponent’s focus to be drawn to him, Stiyl ran for the underground spiritual item vault’s exit. Staying there would increase the damage done. He had to start by bringing her to a more suitable battlefield.

Stiyl heard the girl’s merciless voice from behind him.

“Preparations complete. Commencing attack.”



Between the Lines 5[edit]


Misaka Mikoto looked above while standing atop a snowy plain.

It seemed the giant fortress that spiky-haired boy was on was rising even further. She had come all the way to Russia, but she now had no way to meet up with him.

(…Ahh!! I can’t just be left out after coming this far!! I need to think of a way to get up there!!)

It seemed clear to her that the spiky-haired boy was at the center of that giant disturbance known as World War III. Part of her was amazed at the difference in the scale of the things that idiot was involved in, but she would drag him down to a safe place before lecturing him.

The Sister next to her then spoke up.

“What is that frog strap sticking out of your jacket’s pocket? asks Misaka brimming with curiosity.”

“Ahn? It’s Gekota. I got it from a cell phone campaign I dragged that idiot to on September 30th.”

“…With #10032’s necklace and that strap, it really seems like the Academy City group has an advantage, says Misaka hinting at her need to reformulate her strategy. Long distance is tough.”

“Um, strategy?”

Mikoto blinked repeatedly, but the Sister holding a Russian assault rifle like it was a stuffed animal did not explain further.

She instead looked up toward the fortress.

“It seems you want to somehow assist him, says Misaka as she suggests a topic of discussion.”

“…Well, I do, but the problem is how to get up there. It looks like it’s up to about 5000 meters now. I just can’t get that high with my magnetism.”

“Would it be possible to prepare a number of relay points in the air and then raise your altitude in steps? asks Misaka putting forth a random idea.”

“How?” Mikoto asked and the Sister looked around the area.

She then pointed toward a half-destroyed Russian short-range missile launcher vehicle.

“First fire that missile.”

“I’d die,” Mikoto responded immediately. “But a normal military helicopter probably wouldn’t get me all the way up there. They aren’t airtight and it looks like that fortress is still rising. If I’m really going to go, I guess I’ll need an airplane.”

“(…This could be my big chance to blast away my long distance handicap by gallantly appearing just when his situation seems impossible, says Misaka as she chuckles and begins leaking horrible delusions into the network.)”

“Hey, I can hear everything you’re saying,” said Misaka in exasperation, but the Sister’s head suddenly shot up.

She started to focus on her headset radio.

“Misaka has intercepted a Russian transmission, reports Misaka. The encryption is different from the usual one for their vehicles. Someone named Nikolai Tolstoy is mentioned quite a few times, but this is probably a transmission from an independent unit, conjectures Misaka.”

“?”

“It seems a large scale attack from the surface is going to be carried out against the floating fortress in the sky, says Misaka summarizing the contents.”

“Hmm. That isn’t good. That sounds like that idiot could get wrapped up in it.”

She honestly did not care what happened to the strange fortress, but she didn’t want an acquaintance to be blown up along with it. Finding a way to reach the fortress was important, but she had to stop the attack on it from the surface first.

“So what kind of weapon are they going to be using? They were at least firing short-range surface-to-air missiles before, but I doubt those would do anything to that thing.”

“Nu-AD1967.”

“What is that?”

“That is the American name for it, says Misaka continuing her explanation. It seems it is called an Opasnosti here, says Misaka as she listens carefully to the transmission.”

“But what is it?”

“It is a former Soviet Union strategic nuclear warhead, reports Misaka.”



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