Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume10 Chapter 10
Chapter 10: V.S. “The Fury of Two Billion” Round_02.
They were far from human civilization.
Kamijou did not know if Othinus had frostbite, hypothermia, or whatever else, but he had to take her somewhere warm as soon as possible. Unfortunately, he did not know how he could do that. There had been almost no traffic on the road in the first place and the previous commotion would only keep vehicles away. The two of them would be buried in snow before they made it anywhere.
Or so he thought.
The situation completely betrayed his expectations.
“They say it’s a meteorite! That’s so cool! Too bad I didn’t manage to record it with my smartphone! I could’ve been the hero of a video site right about now!!”
The amount of traffic increased considerably. More and more people drove up to see (what they mistakenly thought was) the unexpected astronomical show. They were all quite carefree because it had fallen in the middle of nowhere rather than in a city. After walking for about ten minutes, Kamijou and Othinus started seeing stands selling roast pork or salmon salad sandwiches.
He fully expected them to be selling fragments of the glass ground as souvenirs.
(Hmm. I hope Accelerator is okay lying around at the blast site.)
Kamijou and Othinus carried out their hitchhiking plan and received the help of an RV remodeled into a food cart. Othinus acted as a translator and it seemed the food cart had sold out of roast mutton and was on its way back home to gather more ingredients.
Kamijou parted with some of his precious few yen to buy some vegetable scrap and lamb bone stew. It seemed to be the food supplied for the workers. He had a feeling the price they charged him was exorbitant, but he was still glad to be able to warm themselves up.
“Hey, Othinus. Where are we headed?”
“F-fine. I apologize for the overly short answer, so don’t give me that teary look, human! We’re travelling thirty or forty kilometers south from that plain near Hjørring. We’re headed in the right direction and we aren’t going too far out of our way by hitchhiking.”
The representative transportation methods for a high school boy like Kamijou Touma were walking and bicycling, so forty kilometers felt like a long distance. However, that distance could be cleared in twenty or thirty minutes in a car on the highway. That realization gave him a small desire for a license.
Othinus’s complexion was looking better than before and she could move her limbs normally. It was likely due to both the warm soup and the vehicle protecting her from the outside air. However, her senses were still numbed over, so he had no choice but to continue keeping watch over her.
Once the RV food cart arrived at a large city, Kamijou bowed to the workers and left. Othinus stood tall in a grand pose like always, so he could not use her to judge what proper behavior was.
Ten seconds after leaving, the cold began eating away at their body temperature.
“Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. W-we need to buy coats. All our skin will turn purple if we don’t.”
“I’ve heard enough about that. How weak are you?”
“You’re only saying that cause your senses are numbed over! That triumphant look isn’t very convincing when your lips are turning blue!!”
Overall, the city was colored the hue of brick. Several factory smokestacks rose from the waterfront, but everything from the apartments to the fire station were made of stone. The population was packed together in this one area like a collection of variously-shaped building blocks, but there were few buildings taller than seven stories.
“Why is all of Europe like this? How do you handle the security deposit or key money with three or even five hundred year old apartments? Do they not care about fire laws?”
“They just have a large deposit. And if you look at the entire world, Japan is the odd one out. You won’t find another country with nothing but 2x4s and reinforced concrete.”
“By the way, I was sure something would happen when we passed through that undersea tunnel. I was prepared to have to race a giant wave of water out after the tunnel was blown up.”
“They think they have to fight a magic god at 100% power, so they don’t think submerging me under the ocean will kill me.”
Kamijou and Othinus’s overall goal was to find someone else to hitchhike with or walk to the next city, but they needed proper clothing first. Before that, they had to exchange Kamijou’s Japanese yen for Danish krone. If they continued with those RPG errand quests for too long, they would become a real-life Little Match Girl, so they hurried along.
“I-I don’t see anyone on this street and all the shops are closed.”
“It’s still early in the day.”
“Where is this anyway?”
“Virgin Anne's Street. It was originally developed as a large-scale prostitution district.”
“………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………”(←Really, really not sure how to react.)
“Did not hear me say ‘originally’? It’s just filled with bars now. And do you really have time to be getting your hopes up?”
“That bitter look came from hearing a beautiful girl bring up a topic like prostitution!! Come to think of it, was all this even necessary? Why are you explaining things and then getting mad about it!?”
They exited that bar district and entered a normal shopping district. Unlike Japan, all of the buildings were centuries old and made of stone or brick, but that was not what caught Kamijou’s attention most of all.
“What’s with the statue of a muscular macho man? Does sliding it aside reveal a stairway below it?”
“That’s a statue of Odin, aka me. You can find these statues all over Scandinavia.”
Below the chilly sky, Kamijou looked back and forth between the lovely girl and the macho statue.
“Well, there goes the beautiful girl image… Hey, just how much were people afraid of you?”
“Sh-shut up! That’s how I was treated in one of the worlds in the opposing mirrors!! The information about me is not always accurate, but it’s still a record left by a third party. And those records ended up remaining while I was continually remaking the world.”
“But why is the statue wearing nothing but pants and a cape? Then again, with you…”
“If you say ‘I could see it happening’, I’ll punch you. Keep that in mind.”
They exchanged currencies at an ATM-like device on the road. It was surreal seeing the machine directly embedded in the five hundred year old building.
The strange bills filling Kamijou’s wallet looked like toys to him, so he did not feel like he had any actual money.
“A-anyway, we need to buy coats. Please don’t tell me there are only made-to-order tailors around here.”
“What kind of place do you think Denmark is?”
“Let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised to come across items named ‘herb’ or ‘potion’ around here.”
All of the stores were small, had no show windows, and were in centuries old buildings. Kamijou was more afraid to enter them than to head to a ramen shop run by a stubborn old man for the first time. He feared finding a high-class world where a single handkerchief would set him back 10,000 yen, but Othinus quickly found the best store and entered.
“It looks like a cheap one will only cost about 2500 krone. How much do you have?”
“Sensei, I don’t understand krone.”
“2500 would be about 50,000 yen.”
“How in the hell is that cheap!? Does that coat have a CPU inside!?”
“Don’t you dare bring up my ability to support myself. I’m a high school boy who was launched overseas with almost nothing but the shirt on his back!!”
“This cheap piece of junk can’t repel water at all. We’ll need to buy an umbrella as well.”
The normal boy named Kamijou Touma took a step back and held up his thumbs and forefingers in L-shapes to create an imaginary frame.
“I think we might need to start as far back as getting you some underwear.”
“Oh, I get it. You’re insisting on mocking me at every turn, aren’t you? How about we take this outside?”
Approximately half an hour earlier, preparations were underway.
Around the world, Denmark was well-known for sightseeing and manufacturing, but in Northern Europe it was known for dairy such as cheese. In fact, seventy percent of its territory was farmland.
Most large agricultural areas were never lacking in topics of discussion such as crop circles, but the situation was a bit different in the Aarhus area near the center of the peninsula.
Several military vehicles were parked there and air force soldiers were guarding them. The flat, snow-covered farmland had been levelled by tractors to clear a two or three kilometer stretch. It looked like a giant piece of duct tape had been attached to the ground and ripped up.
The biggest oddities were the several large aircraft politely stopped on the side of that straight line. They were the United States’ representative bomber. While a little less well-known than the V-shaped flying wings, they had a certain level of stealth ability, could travel at Mach 1.3, and could carry strategic nuclear weapons.
However, these did not carry any dangerous NBC weapons.
But in a way, they had transported something even more dangerous to Denmark.
“Yes, yes. We can’t go to Aalborg air force base as planned. Because of that supposed meteorite!! They’re keeping absolutely everyone out of the airspace there! Please send an official complaint to Academy City! I mean it!! They’re getting in the way!!”
Nuns in black habits disembarked from the bombers.
The brown-haired nun in the lead was Sister Agnese Sanctis and she was speaking into a cell phone.
“We had to make an emergency landing at a field airport near Aarhus. Yes, these ‘ruins’ were quickly prepared during World War Three and we just had them repaired once more. It wasn’t fun. The paving is all cracked, so the landing was really bumpy. …But anyway!! I can’t believe you would cram people inside a place as unlivable as a bomb bay! Eh? It’s a lot faster than a transport plane? I don’t care!!”
Agnese and the other nuns sent by the Roman Catholic Church exited into the silver world, but those few hundred were not the only ones there. A quick glance around showed the faces of elites from the Anglican Church and Russian Orthodox Church as well.
This was not their destination.
They were preparing to use cars, trains, domestic flights, helicopters, and other means of transportation to arrive at different destinations and find Magic God Othinus and Kamijou Touma.
Despite being in the same place, they were all focused on different places.
They were sharing information to a certain extent, but they all had different interpretations of that information.
“Is this really all of the information?”
“They aren’t giving us false information to take the credit for themselves, are they?”
“If we give away their position, won’t the targets avoid them and come straight to us?”
“If we attack right after the target fights through them, wouldn’t we have a much better chance of defeating them?”
“No one’s going to attack us and make it look like the magic god’s doing, are they?”
Agnese concluded that the biggest reason for all the suspicion was the power of their opponent. It was an improper example for a nun, but she felt it was similar to a high-stakes game at a casino. They were betting the fate of the world or the right to steal and analyze the power of a magic god which could influence the fate of the world. The level of pressure was much greater than a child’s game of poker.
“We will be following our information and heading to Aalborg. Ask the pope to make the preparations on his end. The other forces will most likely lay in watch on the alternate routes and watch what we do. We have the greatest numbers, so they’re probably viewing us as bait or something to scare them out of hiding. But if we get a bite, they might come rushing in.”
While speaking, Agnese gestured instructions to her subordinates.
They had no one-man powerhouses like a Saint or God’s Right Seat, but they did have the strength of two billion believers worldwide.
They held the great mental strength of 1/3 of humanity.
A loud, staticky noise filled Aalborg.
It came from the disaster prevention speakers set up around the city.
While lightly beating her partner outside the tailor, Othinus stopped her hands and looked up. Incidentally, having the lovely maiden sitting on top of him had sent Kamijou straight into swine mode.
“This is a warning for Kamijou Touma or Magic God Othinus. We already know you are hiding in this city. Please disarm yourselves and surrender at Ansgar Church within ten minutes.”
The confused looks on their faces did not come from the dangerous content of the warning.
The warning was given in Japanese.
“No matter the reason, if you do not comply with the aforementioned demands, we will view you as hostile and begin an attack. Also, do not attempt to use civilians or historic relics as a shield. Such an act would be meaningless before our spell. To repeat…”
The voice filled every corner of the city, but it was unlikely many of the people looking up understood what it meant. Some younger people assumed it was some form of event and began whistling.
While lying on his back, Kamijou lightly shook Othinus who sat on his stomach.
“What do you think?”
“I don’t understand why they would bother warning us, but they must be confident to not try for a surprise attack. They must be prepared to kill a magic god at 100% power.” Othinus let out a short, white breath. “We’ve already seen the fairy spell as an example. They would have to be insane to attempt a straight fight, but they may have some weakness they can exploit.”
Kamijou fell silent because something seemed odd to him, but he decided it was not important at the moment. Once Othinus got off of him, he stood up on the snow.
“What should we do now?” asked the eyepatch girl. “Kick their asses?”
“When we don’t know who’s here or how many? They said ten minutes, so that means they won’t attack until then. Whether we’re gonna run, hide, or fight, we need to gather some information. For one thing, do they really know where we’re hiding? They might be playing this warning in every major city in Denmark to get us to react.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure they’ll wait the full ten minutes.”
The shopping district road was pedestrian only, so Kamijou jogged along it and peeked out on a larger road.
He immediately pulled his head back and pressed his back to the wall.
Othinus looked doubtfully at the Asian pretending to be a spy.
“What is it?”
“Don’t go around that corner. You’ll stand out like a sore thumb dressed like that.”
A few nuns in black habits were wandering around near a bus stop on that larger road. Kamijou recognized the habits; they were the same ones worn by Orsola Aquinas and Agnese Sanctis.
“It’s the Roman Catholic Church. First the strongest esper and now violence with numbers. Othinus, we can’t fight through this one. If we head out without thinking, they’ll push back and crush us. We need to think up a way out of this city.”
“I may not be one to talk now that I’ve lost my power, but aren’t they just a mob of weaklings? Wouldn’t it be more realistic to defeat a few of them and continue on our way?”
“We can only rely on my right hand here. It’s useful against great firepower from a single direction, but there’s nothing I can do about repeated attacks from every direction at once. In a way, this is a worse opponent for me than that monster from earlier.”
“Ahh! Dammit! Why didn’t I think of that!?”
“Othinus-chan? Why do you look so regretful?”
At any rate, they decided to fall back and try to escape Aalborg on a different route. On the way, they spotted several more nuns with the exact same habit design. Some noticed them and some kept an eye on them while pretending not to notice. It was possible every single one of them had noticed the pair.
“From the flow of people and cars, it doesn’t look like the roads have been blocked off. If it comes down to it, we might be able to jump onto the back of a truck to quickly leave the city. Othinus, are you confident in your athletic ability?”
“Who do you think you’re talking to? I’m a god of war.”
“Just to be clear, this is without the support of the spells you can’t use any more.”
Magic God Othinus fell silent!!
Kamijou brought a hand to his forehead. It was possible he would have to push on Othinus’s petite butt to help her into the back of the truck.
However, it turned out the two of them had made two small mistakes.
First, they had not been accurately counting down the ten minute time limit.
A flash of light suddenly burst from a nearby wall. It was some kind of spell that resembled a laser beam. The instant Kamijou realized that, he twisted his body around and held up his right hand.
Second, they had grown conceited. They were not up against a Saint or Magic God. They had Imagine Breaker at their disposal, so Kamijou had assumed he could deflect any attack spell as long he was not surrounded and over-saturated with attacks.
That had been a fundamental mistake.
The instant he received the attack, his right arm was knocked backwards.
The intense impact twisted the joint of his right shoulder and sent his entire body spinning at least twice through the air.
At first, Kamijou Touma could not feel the pain properly.
His vision spun dizzyingly around and the idea that his right hand would work was destroyed. Confusion filled his head and he could not process even the most basic of sensations.
The intense pain finally exploded out once he crashed into the snow.
Othinus was right next to him, but she sounded so very far away. She grabbed his unharmed left arm and half-dragged him to another alley.
A few similar beams shot out along the road and several footsteps followed. The nuns seemed to have lost track of them, but that would not last forever.
More importantly, Kamijou could not think about a long-term plan with his right arm almost destroyed. He clenched his teeth and put up with the pain.
“I’ll be touching it.”
With that warning, Othinus lightly traced her fingertips along his right shoulder. He was assaulted by a feeling of intense heat rather than pain. He felt as if the entire shoulder had grown two sizes larger.
“It isn’t broken. It’s only dislocated. This will hurt a bit, but an external impact can get the joint back in place.”
Othinus grabbed an edge of her cape.
“Bite this. It’ll keep you from biting your tongue in pain.”
“…? What is this?”
“What’s the matter?”
“Well, this is really…sweet and salty? Wait a second. Is this your sweat?”
After some unthinkably painful noises, Kamijou could move his right arm once more.
There was no medical basis for it, but he felt as if he were going to cough up a clump of blood.
“Anyway, what was that?”
He tried rotating his shoulder and heard some dull cracking noises inside his body.
“Was it not magic? My right hand couldn’t negate it.”
“That was definitely based in human magic power. The beam pierced through the walls yet didn’t destroy the walls. It passed right through them. It’s clearly meant to target us while inside the city. My guess is it’s a spell that takes an offensive interpretation of stories about lightning and divine punishment. And its structure is simple enough for anyone with a bit of Christian knowledge to put together.”
The beam of light would pass through buildings and passersby while accurately roasting only its target.
With a spell like that, they could fight all out even in the middle of a city.
“But that doesn’t make sense. My right hand didn’t work.”
“Have you never seen exceptions before? You should understand your right hand better than anyone.”
He realized there were indeed spells that Imagine Breaker could not negate in time, such as Stiyl Magnus’s Innocentius and Fiamma of the Right’s Third Arm.
“So is the spell itself simple, but the power is…no, the numbers are too great?”
“If so, this might be a dangerous situation. We’re up against the Roman Catholic Church, the largest denomination in the world. If the pope released their ‘lock’, they can do whatever they want.”
It should have been obvious something out of the ordinary would be coming.
They did not care about Kamijou, so they had been preparing to fight a magic god who could destroy the world. They would use whatever means necessary to raise their odds of success by 10% or even 1%.
“You should assume that all two billion of them are consciously or subconsciously your indirect enemy here. Worst case, they might be using a standard spell two billion times at once here.”
They considered the layout of Aalborg.
The enemy was the Roman Catholic Church. That enemy’s primary weapon was a spell cannon with two billion times the output thanks to gathering the magic power and processing power of two billion people across the world. The nuns scattered through the city acted as the eyes and ears of the cannon. If they caught sight of Kamijou or Othinus, the immensely powerful projectile would attack in a straight line while ignoring all buildings and passersby in the way.
The ability to pass through obstacles meant they could not use anything as a shield. If they were found, it was all over. Kamijou’s right hand could not completely negate it, so his arm would either be dislocated again or broken. Needless to say, Othinus would fare even worse now that she had lost her powers.
“We need to do something about that cannon,” said Kamijou with all that in mind. “Eliminating a few of their eyes and ears won’t do any good.”
“Yes, that seems to be the only option. We don’t know how accurate it is or what its range is, so we can’t be sure leaving Aalborg will bring us to safety.”
Othinus began by agreeing.
“But where is this cannon? And we don’t know how many eyes and ears there are in Aalborg. There could be hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands. Slipping past all of them won’t be easy. If we try searching through every corner of the city, we’ll be shot a million times over.”
Othinus drew a crude map of the city in the snow and Kamijou pointed at one spot after looking across it.
“It’s probably here.”
“Let me ask you this, Othinus. If it was you, where would you put the cannon? In a safe place surrounded by thick walls? Or would you hide it in the middle of the closely-packed population?”
Othinus thought for a moment.
She had not simply relied on her power as a magic god. Until the lance had been completed, she had plotted against the entire world.
“Somewhere with a good view. Whether on its own or with help, that cannon uses visual targeting, so the best spot would be somewhere with no obstacles such as a desert or plain. That way any approaching enemy could be shot before they arrived.”
“In that case…” Kamijou tapped on the snow. “There’s a giant hole in the cityscape to the southwest where the churches and art museums are. There must be a park or something here. This is where I would put it.”
“And it has a convenient 100 meter tower named Aalborg Tower. Make fun of the name if you want, but their cannon gets a view of the whole city from there.”
With that, their plan was set and Kamijou gave a suggestion.
“I’ll go. Othinus, you hide somewhere.”
“Do you want me to punch you?”
“At least let me explain the decision first!!”
Fearing a crushed skull, Kamijou quickly explained with plenty of gestures. He told her what had seemed odd about the announcement given to the entire city earlier.
“I see. So you aren’t just trying to show off.”
“What kind of person do you think I am?”
“Just how much of your showing off do you think I’ve had to put up with?”
Othinus brought a hand to her chin and thought for a while.
“But if you’re going to destroy the cannon, you need a way to get close. If you just ran up, you’d be shot.”
“Don’t worry. I know what kind of person you are, so you don’t have to worry about disappointing me. I’ve already decided to punch you a few times once this is over.”
It seemed his only paths to happiness were to convince her to not punch him or to accept it as a reward.
“B-by the way, do you have any good ideas, oh great goddess?”
“That title is a good start, so I suppose I’ll give you the answer you want.”
In a straight line, Aalborg Tower was less than two kilometers away, but Kamijou would be pierced by magical lasers a million times over if he tried to head straight there.
He had received a secret strategy from Othinus, but he could not unconditionally make use of it. He avoided standing out by running and instead walked through the streets while mixed in with the crowds.
(When you think about it, there were a few odd points to that announcement.)
Thinking about this was the same as admitting he was decisively cornered.
And admitting he was at a disadvantage did not give him a comeback plan.
(The warning was in Japanese and it addressed “Kamijou Touma or Magic God Othinus”. That means it was primarily addressing me rather than Othinus.)
As he stepped through the snow, he lost himself in thought.
(And were those beams really a spell meant to use on a magic god? The Roman Catholics may not know just how much of a threat a magic god is, but isn’t that spell more of an Imagine Breaker countermeasure?)
Needless to say, the threat to the world was Othinus, not Kamijou. He could not complain about how they treated him now that he was travelling with her, but the “enemy” should not have been focusing on him all that much.
Nevertheless, this group of two billion was prioritizing his elimination. He could only think of one reason why.
(Their original plan was to attack Tokyo Bay and utterly defeat Gremlin and Othinus. Why would they be giving us a chance to surrender now? The situation should be even more urgent than before, so why does this feel like the exact opposite?)
In other words…
(They’re trying to take me out of the fight early.)
In other words…
(They don’t know if I’m truly an enemy, so they’re taking me away from Othinus and then attacking that true threat with unwatchable destruction.)
In other words…
(They’re giving me a chance. If Othinus is with me, they’ll have no choice but to mercilessly attack, but they can put that off if I’m acting separately from her. Why would they be this kind? Am I up against someone I know?)
Once he came to that conclusion, he entered a main road.
His gaze met that of a nun in a black habit. She pointed at him and gave some sort of instruction.
A moment later, a tremendous flash of light burst out.
He did not feel any kindness in this at all.
He instinctually started to rely on his right hand, but he instead crouched down as quickly as he could. As the beam of light shot by overhead, it passed through the passersby and cars, but it did not harm any of them. They seemed to think it was some kind of light show similar to projection mapping.
Kamijou began running with all his strength.
“I was naïve!! That wasn’t what they were doing!! They’re definitely trying to kill me!!”
The nuns must have been contacting each other because more and more of them began appearing from different alleyways. All of those “eyes and ears” corrected the aim of the cannon spell. Kamijou felt a chill run down his spine, but he had no choice but to evade while moving forward.
Due to his pain and confusion earlier, he had not been able to carefully observe the attack, but he was able to estimate the general direction the attack came from this time. Just as he had predicted, it came from Aalborg Tower. His only option was to focus all his attention in that direction.
But that idea proved a mistake.
Another beam burst out at close range from the side.
(What!? That’s a completely different direction!!)
He was caught entirely off guard.
He could not evade in time, so he raised his right arm and received a tremendous impact. Just as before, pain exploded in his right shoulder and he was sent spinning through the air.
He continued running with his right arm dangling limply down at his side.
Intermittent beams of light attacked from countless directions.
(I misread it.)
His consciousness wavered and not just because of the pain.
(It wasn’t multiple eyes and ears supporting a single cannon. Do all of the nuns function as both the eyes and ears and the cannon!?)
He could no longer use his right hand now that the shoulder was dislocated.
He had completely lost and the beams of light pursued him from behind.
A moment later, the boy’s body vanished from the streets of Aalborg.
In the group of other nuns, Sister Lucia and Sister Angelene cried out as they saw the boy suddenly disappear.
“Too far! That’s going too far!! Stop firing the Fish of the Supper! We were supposed to safely take him out of the fight! Who’s the one who killed him!?”
However, complaining would accomplish nothing after the fact.
The nuns gathered around the point of his disappearance and then noticed something.
“S-Sister Lucia, what is this?” asked the girl with a bent back.
They were all focused on an opening in the stone-paved road. The square hole was about sixty centimeters across.
Ansgar Church was located in the same green belt as Aalborg Tower and the modern art museum. Inside it, Agnese Sanctis was groaning at the report she had just received.
“A secret underground passageway!? What are you talking about!?”
“Just from looking in from the entrance, it seems to be dug by hand. At the very least, I doubt it’s from the past 100 years. We are requesting documents from the city hall, but we have received nothing yet.”
“What do you think it is, Sister Lucia?”
“Aalborg has had the misfortune of being destroyed by war a few times in Danish history. If this was secretly dug by the residents at the time to protect their property and lives, they might stretch around the entire city like a spider web.”
“Then contact the gas company, the water department, and the subway contractors. Ask for any records of construction stopped because they ran into some old ruins.”
“We are already doing so, but will we make it in time?”
“Stop asking questions that only god knows the answer to. Nuns are forbidden to test the Lord.”
Agnese ended the communication, leaned back in her chair, and stared at the ceiling. She had been given a map for distributing her personnel, but it seemed she needed to draw a great number of new lines on it.
She looked down toward the map on the table once more, but the map and table below it were suddenly knocked away.
Some great force had pushed up on them from below.
She very nearly jumped out of her chair in surprise, but then she saw it.
A square hole had been opened in the floor where the table had been. In other words, it was right below her chair. In other other words, it was between her legs. In other other other words, a spiky-haired boy’s head was approaching in the perfect position to see up her short skirt.
“Wha-…bu-…!! Do you have some kind of grudge against me!?”
“Ask yourself that. And are you multiplying your magic by two billion!? The spell isn’t called ‘inflation’, is it!?”
The sight of the perverted submarine named Kamijou Touma making an emergency surfacing was so shocking that she forgot to kick her chair away and move back.
Once she finally came to her senses, she glanced around without even trying to grab her Symbolic Weapon named the Lotus Wand that was lying on the floor with the map.
“Wait! Wait! Please give me a break! What were you going to do if I was really planning to kill you?”
“You wouldn’t try to kill me after warning me in Japanese and telling me the name of the church. Once I knew everyone functioned as a cannon, that ruled out Aalborg Tower and a Roman Catholic leader would definitely stay in a church. It isn’t a rational thing; it’s more like your instinct. Anyway, I knew I would find someone who knew me if I came here, but you guys got a little carried away and almost vaporized me on the way!!”
“Why are you here?”
“I’ll explain my reasoning, so please overlook us.”
“And if I say no?”
“You’re the breaker, aren’t you?” said Kamijou from his low angle. “I’ve seen several different kinds of Roman Catholic power: the Croce di Pietro, the Queen of the Adriatic, the C-Document, and the Star of Bethlehem. None of them were made with completely parallel functions. There was always a leader in the center and everything was made evenly parallel below that.”
Kamijou was speaking about an idiosyncrasy of the Christian Church that stated that all mankind was equal yet viewed the Twelve Apostles as special. The Roman Catholic Church in particular said god used his power evenly and people’s beliefs reached god evenly, but they still liked to put an intermediary in between man and god.
In that case…
“Your group is known as the Agnese Forces, so the intermediary here is clearly you. You may just be a breaker in case the others lose control of the spell, but that still means you’re the spell’s Achilles’ heel. If you refuse to cooperate, I’ll do what I have to do. I’ll destroy that inflation magic and leave the rest to Othinus. Or do you have another trump card?”
“That’s what I don’t understand. You were working with the coalition force to stop Othinus from producing her lance, so why are you relying on her now?”
“You’ll listen? You’ll let me explain!? Really!?”
“I have a feeling I’ll regret it. And what’s with this annoying air of someone speaking about their sweetheart or bragging about their pet!?”
If he suddenly told her the world had been destroyed and Othinus had used Imagine Breaker to return it to normal, Kamijou doubted she would understand.
For that reason, he changed his outlook slightly.
“Would you believe a huge amount of time took place between our arrival on Sargasso and the attack on Othinus, but no one in the world realized it?”
“I would have a hard time of it.”
“Then can you explain why Othinus suddenly changed her plan? If she had completed her lance at Sargasso, she could have checkmated the world, so why did she suddenly abandon it and head to Denmark?”
“Now that you mention it…”
Agnese frowned in her chair.
Kamijou was using a psychological trick. One gave an initial demand that would never be accepted and then switched to an easier demand. Statistical data showed that made it easier to accept the second demand than if it had been given first.
He was truly glad he had been paying attention in Komoe-sensei’s class.
“Othinus is trying to give up her power and she needs something in Denmark to do it,” he said slowly. “This isn’t a bad deal for us. Letting her disarm would be more constructive than splitting the earth in two in an all-out war.”
“That would be ideal, but I don’t see why Othinus would have a sudden change of heart. Please don’t try to tell me you seduced her.”
In truth, it was due to the long time that only he and Othinus knew about, but Agnese would never accept that explanation.
He decided to keep it short and with as few lies as possible.
“Othinus was afraid of her power.”
“Even though she filled the world with chaos to obtain it?”
“It was because she obtained it. To be honest, she had already completed the lance by the time we arrived at Sargasso. She had used a different method than we expected, but she became a completed magic god and learned the truth of that power. …And that truth did not exactly delight her.”
The most painful part was the fact that he could not explain how Othinus was nearly powerless already.
Explaining it would only spread more confusion, but not explaining it made her out to be a villain.
“Othinus left Sargasso to give up her power as a magic god, but Gremlin will view that as a betrayal. She’s prepared for that and she has come this far. If we act now, we can avoid the clash that would be the worst case scenario both for the world and for Othinus. We might be able to save both of them and I want to bet on that possibility.”
Agnese remained silent for a while.
Even if she did not understand everything on the emotional level, Kamijou felt he had helped her answer some of the questions concerning the current situation.
“By the way,” she finally said. “What will you do if I still refuse?”
“Then I have no choice but to fight.” He could hear the creaking of his clenched teeth. “But you of all people must know I won’t go down easy when I have someone to protect.”
A heavy sound of metal filled the church.
Agnese had snatched the Lotus Wand from the floor and thrown it overhead.
After the Symbolic Weapon flipped through the air, she grabbed it in one hand.
“It’s time you showed me that fact again!!”
The pressure of attack magic amplified two billion times crushed every inch of the church’s floor.
A clattering sound filled Ansgar Church.
Agnese Sanctis stood alone inside the church with the Lotus Wand resting on her shoulder. She was contacting the distant nuns.
“Yes, yes. He came here. I crushed him with the Lotus Wand, but it didn’t seem to have much effect. I didn’t feel a good solid hit, so he may have escaped. Expand the circle.”
Her voice held no emotion.
“He also showed his intent to fight and escape, so abandon the plan to knock him out of the fight early. Yes, tell this to the outsiders as well.”
Her voice held no highs or lows and she went on to state her conclusion.
“Kamijou Touma is wholly on Magic God Othinus’s side and it would be impossible to separate them. As such, there is no way to target her without killing him.”
She ended the communication and let out a short sigh.
She spoke quietly toward the empty church.
“Now how about you actually start escaping?”
The church itself was deserted, but a response came from the square hole in the floor.
“Sorry about all the trouble.”
“You had better be. Don’t forget that I have a role to play here. The best excuse I can manage is that Heinous Criminal Kamijou Touma slipped past my attempts to stop him and escaped.”
“I will repay you for this.”
“Do you have any idea how difficult this will be? The spell we used is called the Fish of the Supper and it has a few complex conditions that must be met to activate. First, the pope has to personally order it to be released. Second, two billion people must hold a common hatred. All of the world’s fear is currently gathered on Othinus. Not a single one of them – myself included – would think of trying to protect her. Or at the very least, that’s what is widely believed. Reversing that will not be easy.”
“Nevertheless, I will bring this madness to an end. I swear it.”
Agnese scratched at her head.
This method had saved her in the past and it had also tripped her up in the past. Someone who had seen Kamijou Touma from the standpoint of enemy and ally was surprisingly rare.
And because of that position, she had made an objective decision to give Magic God Othinus the opportunity to surrender.
It may have been an absurd and extreme decision based on what she had said before, but she knew it was possible that boy was truly thinking something so ridiculous.
(If he pulls this off, it’ll be worthy of a statue in the public square.)
The boy then gave a final comment.
“Oh, and sorry about looking up your skirt this whole time.”
Since she already had the Lotus Wand ready, Agnese once more released a spell amplified two billion times.