Toaru Majutsu no Index:GT Volume2 Prologue
Prologue: The Bloody Christmas Begins – 12/24_to_12/25.
It was Christmas Eve.
Snow was falling, making it a white Christmas, the city was illuminated by colorful lights and filled with cheerful music, and everyone should have been smiling together and feeling thankful for their daily happiness.
In that sense, her action may have blended right in. Because however it was seen elsewhere, Christmas was primarily a couple’s holiday in Japan.
It was hard to say her action did not come as a shock.
At least for Index.
And Misaka Mikoto.
And Othinus, a god shrunk down to a mere 15cm.
Those three saw lips pressed against lips.
An alluring magician stood at the center of it all, quietly stealing the lips of a pointy-haired high school boy named Kamijou Touma.
Her name was Anna Sprengel.
Her long strawberry-blonde hair hung down in a few flat shapes reminiscent of fried shrimps and she stood taller than Index and Mikoto. Her sexy curves were covered by a red dress…if you could call it that. It may have been something like a red leotard plus a long skirt around the hips. It looked out of place in modern Japan, in Tokyo, and especially in the cutting-edge Academy City, but if asked what era and what region it better belonged to, no one would be able to find an answer. Instead of adjusting to fit her surroundings, she dyed the world around her in her colors. Even Martians visiting with a UFO would make more of an effort to follow earth’s standards.
Her every movement spread a sickly sweet rosy scent around her.
Was she laughing or pouting?
Either way, she seemed to shove her heated breath into her partner’s mouth as she stole this long, long kiss.
Finally, she pulled her head back while keeping her arms around Kamijou’s neck. She leaned forward with her large chest squished against him and looked up into his eyes.
“How was it?”
“Ah, ahh, ah, ah, ah…”
The stammering came not from Kamijou Touma but from Misaka Mikoto who had watched it play out – no, who had found herself unable to do anything but watch.
Her throat almost seemed to be convulsing, but she did her best to force out the words.
“You!! Wh-what do you think you’re doing just showing up out of the blue and doing th-that!?”
This made no sense.
It really had come out of nowhere. A girl of about 10 had wandered out of the crowd before suddenly growing larger, embracing Kamijou Touma, and kissing him. What did any of it mean? Mikoto’s mind had gone blank and she could not keep up. And if she could not draw causal links between the events she had seen, she needed to assume there was more going on behind the scenes. She had to fall back on the old adage that there was no such thing as a free lunch.
That had to be what this was about.
This feeling burning in the back of her mind was her response to detecting a new threat and it had nothing at all to do with her personal feelings. The weird combination of sadness, irritation, unfairness, and loss roiling in her stomach that she could not easily find a name for was all just an illusion.
There had to be more to this.
Something smelled fishy about this.
She prepared for a fight, gathered strength in her legs, and forced down the feeling threatening to bring something to the corner of her eyes if she did keep her body tensed. With that done, she viewed the scene before her again.
And that was why she noticed it.
Blood was slowly dripping from that pointy-haired idiot’s nose.
“………………………………………………………………………………………Ohhh, I see how it is. So you’ve finally accepted this ‘gift’, have you? I see, I see.”
As her feelings dropped to absolute zero, she just about shifted her aim from the mysterious fried shrimps to the familiar pointy hair.
Perhaps she should have been more observant.
Kamijou did indeed have a nosebleed, but why? Was the trope of getting a nosebleed due to excess arousal even biologically possible? And why had he not spoken a word this entire time? Be it surprise, joy, or protest, he should have shown some kind of reaction to this unexpected turn of events.
What if he was in no state to do any of that?
Something escaped from his mouth.
Anna Sprengel giggled and pulled her arms away to release him from her chest. He immediately doubled over, like a plug had been removed.
“Bgh!? Agwahh!! Abwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!?”
Some disgusting sounds followed.
At first, the couples walking nearby laughed quietly from a distance. They likely assumed some high schooler had gotten carried away on Christmas Eve and had too much to drink. But then doubt clouded their faces. Once they noticed the substance splattering from his mouth was colored red and did not appear to be a soup or drink of that color, panic began to fill the public square.
“Touma!! Are you okay? What did she do to you!?”
“Did she…did she make you swallow something just now!?”
Only one person was still smiling: Anna Sprengel.
“Oh, dear. Was that too exciting for you, boy?”
She responded in a very childish way for such a sexy woman.
She stuck out her tongue in a teasing fashion.
And that malicious tongue already had something sitting on top of it.
“Is that St. Germain?” asked 15cm Othinus with a click of her tongue.
“I suggest you put up a fight if you don’t want to lose yourself to the inner pain and unknown fear.”
She kept her seductive smile while waving something in her hand.
It was a perfectly ordinary smartphone.
“And if you think your own techniques are insufficient, feel free to put in a request at any time. Hee hee. R&C Occultics will provide the means to combat every unfair aspect of this world. We welcome anyone and everyone equally.”
“Kh!! Wait! I don’t know if that’s poison or bacteria, but if it’s yours, you must have an antidote or vaccine or-”
That shouted word seemed to freeze time.
It had come from Othinus.
But had she been speaking to Anna or to angry Mikoto?
Anna Sprengel did not seem interested.
And while she stood there, the falling snow was unnaturally avoiding her.
“You got lucky.”
Everyone belatedly noticed an unknown energy filling that space with an electricity-like tension.
And that calm comment clued them all into something.
It did not matter if this was something an ordinary person could understand or not. Everyone there could tell something had been set up here and, if Misaka Mikoto had carelessly taken even one more step toward Anna, she would have been reduced to a pile of gore on the snowy ground.
Othinus had to be furious as well, but she knew what she had to say to avoid bringing any more sorrow to that boy.
“Give it up for now. If you can’t see that, it means you still aren’t standing on the same field as her. Attempting to fight her like that would be no more than suicide.”
Mikoto knew that herself.
She knew she could not win or keep up.
With Maidono Hoshimi and Neoka Norito, she had felt this same way for what felt like the entire day of December 24. She may have been able to hold the line for a time and the trail might have gone cold without her efforts, but the final move had always come down to that pointy-haired boy.
How many more times would he have to be injured for everyone else’s sake?
Couldn’t she carry that burden for him just once!?
“Rebellious phases are so cute, don’t you think?” Anna Sprengel did not move a bit as she pointed her thumb toward the center of her own chest. “As you can imagine, I do have a solution to this problem. It’s right here. If it bothers you that much, why not reach out and grab it? That might be all it takes to save him right this instant.”
Misaka Mikoto bit her lip and an unnatural spasm ran through her right arm.
Simply imagining that unknown drug caused her fingers to crawl as if they had a mind of their own. She seemed to be experiencing some kind of withdrawal symptoms.
Miss Sprengel sounded disappointed.
She looked truly surprised to find Mikoto shrinking her body down and grabbing her dominant hand with her other hand to keep it at her side.
“That earns you a perfect 100 – the most boring score imaginable. It’s as boring as those linear RPGs this country loves to produce. Don’t you get tired of tapping the button over and over to watch some dreary conversation play out? Haven’t you ever considered breaking free of the tear-jerking story the developers created?”
That seemed to determine how this would play out.
With footsteps as light as a fairy frolicking in the snow at night, Anna kept her eyes on Mikoto while stepping back from that wall of death. She seemed to vanish into a darkness that they could all see but none of them could reach.
“Not even Imagine Breaker can solve this,” said a singsong voice. “This is not the natural St. Germain that’s corrosiveness had weakened as the generations passed. No, this is an acute version that I created. You could probably even call it a weaponized version.”
She laughed as if mocking Mikoto for being a straight-A student who could not take a single step outside the rules.
“This city’s scientific technology cannot cure him. The magic found everywhere outside the city’s walls cannot heal him either. Struggle for as long as you like – extend that boy’s suffering as long as you like. And once you despair in your ability to blindly extend his life, come to me. Knock on the doors of R&C Occultics and this trivial problem will be solved with the snap of a finger.”
This time, Anna Sprengel really did withdraw beyond the veil of darkness like a large fish easily snapping the fishing line and fleeing below the surface.
Like she was withdrawing now that she had set up the parameters of the battle so her enemy had no chance whatsoever of victory.
“Wait!!” shouted Misaka Mikoto without thinking.
Even though she knew it was no use.
And the nuance of the word had changed from her previous raw anger. There was clear regret in her voice. If the chance arrived again, she might just reach out her hand even if it meant having her body obliterated. She would tear through the gamemaster’s predictions and render the game impossible to continue. That was the sort of misguided courage driving her now.
The class rep who always scored a perfect 100 had instead made a careless mistake and earned only a 99.
That may have piqued Anna Sprengel’s curiosity just a bit. The nuance she had picked up in that single word was enough for her to briefly stop her dancing steps backwards. She may have also been eliminating a concern about the game’s rules.
If they did give up, how were they supposed to find her? If they did not know how to contact her, they would have no way of letting her know when they gave up and had succumbed to her terms, so the boy might just run out of time and die regardless.
That magician, whose very existence had become a legend, had a simple response to that subconscious fear.
She pressed her index finger against her lips as if revealing a secret.
“You can contact me from any part of the world these days. You know how to use a phone, don’t you?”
Anna Sprengel disappeared.
She vanished into the city’s crowd so silently it made you doubt she had ever existed at all.
Between the Lines 0
Golden and Dawn.
If those two famous words meant nothing to someone, then they did not belong. It would be like a café owner who had never seen a siphon. At least in this one field, anyway.
But there was no reason to feel ashamed for not recognizing that term.
The society that used magic as a technical system was a very niche field when compared to the entire world population. The majority were not familiar with it, so it was only natural to not know.
Now, let us get to the real topic at hand.
Those two words refer to a magic cabal established in the British capital of London during the late 19th Century. It was known as the world’s greatest cabal with good reason. It produced many great magicians (and just as many troublesome perverts) such as Westcott, Mathers, Mina, Waite, and Aleister Crowley, it systemized the occult which had previously been a mixed bag full of unreliable information, and it even worked to create a simple kit that would allow anyone to easily create new magic. The Golden cabal possessed superb skill, but they were not blessed with ample operating funds and their members had been so devastatingly lacking in social skills that even their genius was not enough to make up for it. So in just a few years, that untouchable cabal had broken apart from within. The simplest way to understand how that happened is to look to the world’s greatest magic battle – the Battle of Blythe Road.
The shards of the shattered Golden cabal – that is, the few survivors – had held onto the spiritual items and grimoires they escaped with and started smaller cabals, all of which insisted they were the true heirs to the original one. Well over 100 such cabals have been officially counted, but you could say it was that great number that left no chance for them to reunify. The various Golden cabals that exist today are too busy sabotaging each other up to do much else, but surprisingly, there is no better example of a group that performs systemized magic as an organization.
Even as shards, splinters, and fragments, they carry unbelievable influence.
That may help you imagine just how much power the Golden cabal originally held.
Even though the Golden cabal is so idolized (for their techniques and culture, not for their personalities and social skills), were you aware they had assistance in establishing themselves as a magic cabal?
It all began with Westcott, one of the three founders.
He managed with difficulty to decode a text he happened to acquire and (with the help of Mathers) used the fragmentary scribbles found there as hints to discover a new grimoire. Then he sent a letter to the address of the grimoire’s supposed owner, used letter correspondence to get to know an organization with a long history in Germany, and received authorization to establish a new magic cabal along the way.
That German organization was the Rosicrucian cabal.
Now, is the Golden or the Rose more widely known?
When looking purely at the depth of their history and how many people and nations were involved with them, I will state here that the Rosicrucians win by a mile. The Golden cabal is said to have created the foundation of modern magic, but that had a lot do with how much information they leaked due to their many troubles. So the Rose should not be seen as inferior to them in that regard – they simply did a better job of keeping their secrets. And they have survived into the modern age even as networks and drones have become ubiquitous.
Now, let us dig deeper into the Rosicrucians.
The cabal’s origins date back to the legendary magician Christian Rosenkreuz. He organized the knowledge gathered during his long journey around the world and then he redistributed it in a form usable by ordinary people. The three grimoires people were more likely to be blessed with an opportunity to read (in the form of a copy given to them if they abandoned their ordinary life in order to enter the hidden side of the world) were the Fama Fraternitatis, the Confessio Fraternitatis, and the Chymische Hochzeit, but there are also rumors of a highly-pure original grimoire known as the Book of M which Christian Rosenkreuz himself claimed to have received from sages. The cabal’s goal was to heal the “illnesses” of the people and of the world and they would not hesitate to work without compensation to accomplish that.
Thus, they knew a lot about the traditional methods of gathering and mixing medicines.
Illnesses of the people are self-explanatory, but what are illnesses of the world? The most common theory is that the illnesses plaguing the world can be eradicated by guiding human society with proper knowledge and correcting the mistaken beliefs that lead to war, pollution, and overuse of resources. In other words, the cabal’s magicians themselves function as the medicine.
Rosenkreuz himself was a man of the 14th century, but in the long time since then, the Rosicrucian group has risen to the level of common knowledge during the few times it gained an explosive boost in popularity. Even well-known historical figures are linked to and spoken of in regards to that popularity. For example, Francis Bacon who proposed the four idols was active in the 16th century, St. Germain who was occasionally sighted at social parties starting in the 18th century, Eliphas Levi who dug up some old Rosicrucian texts in the 19th century, and Advanced Wizard Aleister Crowley who claimed to be a reincarnation of Levi. And then there is Anna Sprengel who is shrouded in even greater mystery, who barely seems like a real person, and who some doubt ever did exist.
She was the one who corresponded with Westcott via letter.
Thus, she was the master who gave her apprentice permission to establish the Golden cabal.
To repeat, Anna Sprengel is shrouded in mystery.
She is an old magician who claims to be the master of the Rosicrucian No. 1 Temple in Germany. She is addressed as Miss Sprengel, so she is likely a young woman, but her actual age is unknown. She has not surpassed or abandoned her humanity and instead claims to hold a position similar to a priestess who can contact the supernatural beings known as the Secret Chiefs. And if she is the only one to hold that position, then she carries the authority to wield their power against the rest of the human race.
Her existence is doubted because there are no official records of her ever appearing before other people and because she only ever appears within Westcott’s letters. Also, the responses from Anna have clearly had the handwriting forged, so it is strongly suspected they were faked by Westcott himself. It is thought he wanted the stamp of approval from the respected Rose in order to give their new Golden cabal its historical bona fides.
But the letters being forgeries does not necessarily prove that Anna Sprengel does not exist. Westcott may have based the forged letters on a real person or he may have created those fake letters as a distraction to keep the real letters hidden from any other interested parties.
Miss Sprengel is the key.
As far as humanity can follow her actions, she indeed appears to be the highest level of magician. She is a legend with deep ties to the Golden and the Rose. In terms of a set of scales, she does not stand on either side – she sits at the center, viewing the angle of the tilt. By holding that position, you can see all sorts of numerical values. If someone could track her down, they would be able to drag up the entire dark domain lurking on the underside of this world that claims on the surface that science rules all.
What would happen to the world then?
If someone carelessly peered into that domain, could humanity’s flimsy spiritual culture survive the encounter?
It is hard to guarantee it would.
Andreae, who served as an abbot in Germany, claimed in his writings to have invented and distributed the early 17th century Rosicrucian text, Chymische Hochzeit, when he was 19. He claimed that confessing to his prank had ended the dream, yet the Rosicrucians have in fact survived to the modern day. And survived as a mysterious magic cabal that practices “usable” spells. Thus, it seems shortsighted to accept that one man’s claim of fraud and rest easy. That would be throwing caution to the wind on the level of claiming radiation does not exist just because you cannot see it.
“Hm, so this is what happens when you use glue to forcibly piece back together the broken sculpture. As someone who knows the whole truth, this is such a shocking mosaic of fact and fiction.”